Pac-10 packed with talent
Stanford was the preseason pick of both media and coaches to win the Pac-10 for the eighth year in a row, but other teams around the league have the talent to make a run at Tampa, Fla., site of the 2008 Final Four.
Coming off an appearance in a regional final that salvaged some conference pride last March, Arizona State wears down opponents with a rotation that looks at times like a hockey team changing lines. Emily Westerberg and Aubree Johnson are gone, but Tennessee transfer Sybil Dosty and Minnesota transfer Lauren Lacey join the frontcourt.
Point guards Briann January and Reagan Pariseau might average 35 minutes a game on their own anywhere else, complementing a trio of dangerous scorers in Dymond Simon (who averaged 9.4 points in just 17.1 minutes before a season-ending injury), Danielle Orsillo and Jill Noe. The next challenge is reversing a 1-7 record against Stanford the last three years.
Losing incoming freshman Lenita Sanford as a non-qualifier hurt Cal, but the Bears still have enough talent to earn acclaim in the postseason. Devanei Hampton and Ashley Walker combined to average 34 points and 16 rebounds last season, and the return from injury of guard Alexis Gray-Lawson solidifies the backcourt.
After a disappointing, injury plagued run last season, Southern California is a mystery this season. The Women of Troy lost a lot of talent to graduation but also get a host of players back from injury, including point guard Camille LeNoir, highly touted recruit Jackie Gemelos and Brynn Cameron, who was known to basketball fans as an outstanding shooter long before she was known in wider circles for anything else.
-- ESPN.com's Graham Hays