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Senior combo guard Jasmine Thomas is a stat machine (16.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists), but what makes this squad one to watch is the nation's No. 1 recruiting class—including four state players of the year: guard Chelsea Gray (Calif.), forward Haley Peters (N.J.), forward Richa Jackson (Okla.) and guard Tricia Liston (Ill.) and a top 50 recruit in guard Chloe Wells.
7 OHIO STATE
When junior point guard Samantha Prahalis (who averaged a Big Ten--best 8.0 assists last season) is in "Sammy mode," as All-America center Jantel Lavender describes it, Ohio State is a nightmare to play. Lavender herself is a two-time Big 10 player of the year and has scored in double figures in all of her 102 career games.
8 TEXAS A&M
Coach Gary Blair says senior forward Danielle Adams (16.3 points) has "George Foreman's personality and Charles Barkley's game." What she doesn't have is a place in the starting lineup. Last season Adams started only 10 of 33 games, but she's likely to see more time as a starter this year while promising 6'5" freshman center Karla Gilbert gets up to speed.
The Wildcats have adopted an attention-getting slogan this season: Can you hear us now? "Last year people did not expect us to get [to] where we got," says senior All-America forward Victoria Dunlap, who averaged a team-high 18.1 points in leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight, "so it's a message saying Kentucky women's basketball is an elite program."
10 WEST VIRGINIA
Last season West Virginia won a school-record 29 games, but coach Mike Carey is still looking for one prized accomplishment. "This is my 10th year here, and we've beaten every team in the conference—except Connecticut." West Virginia has five starters back, including senior guard Liz Repella (13.9 points), and one well-known believer in its corner: Says Geno Auriemma, "I think West Virginia is good enough to go to the Final Four."