Players who are ready to take their turn in the spotlight
G // LEE CUMMARD // 6'7" // SR. // BYU // Big, versatile shooting guard ranked fifth in the Mountain West in scoring (15.8), sixth in rebounding (6.3) and seventh in assists (3.5).
G // STEFON JACKSON // 6'5" // SR. // UTEP // This slasher averaged 23.6 points per game as a junior despite making only 35 three-pointers.
C // JEROME JORDAN // 7'0" // JR. // TULSA // A late bloomer who lifted the Golden Hurricane to the Conference USA title game, he ranked sixth in the nation in blocks per game (3.7).
F // HEATHER BOWMAN // 6'2" // JR. // GONZAGA // Reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year averaged 20.1 points and 8.3 rebounds for the 25--9 Bulldogs.
G // EMILY FOX // 5'9" // SR. // MINNESOTA // Former world champion sport stacker has some of the best hands in the game (17.2 points, 4.2 assists, 2.5 steals in 2007--08).
C // TA'SHIA PHILLIPS // 6'6" // SOPH. // XAVIER // She pulled down 11.2 rebounds a game as a freshman, the fifth-highest average in the nation.
Familiar faces in new places
KENO DAVIS // PROVIDENCE
National coach of the year in his one season at Drake, the 36-year-old tries to work his magic again at a school that hasn't been to the NCAAs since 2004.
MIKE MONTGOMERY // CALIFORNIA
After 18 years at Stanford (the Bears' archrival) and two seasons with the Golden State Warriors, he takes over a program that won six Pac-10 games last year.
JOE MCKEOWN // NORTHWESTERN
He won 509 women's games at George Washington, and now tries to mold the Wildcats —who had one Big Ten victory last season—into a winner.
DAWN STALEY // SOUTH CAROLINA
After eight seasons (and six NCAA bids), she left Temple for a bigger paycheck ($650,000 a year) and the chance to go head-to-head in the SEC against her mentor, Pat Summitt.
Cinderella teams that will dance deep into March
The Saints return all five starters, including 6'6" junior swingman Edwin Ubiles (17.0 ppg), from a 23-win team that routed Vanderbilt in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament.
Leading the way is junior forward Rachele Fitz, who averaged 18.5 points and 7.4 rebounds last year, when the 25--2 Red Foxes gave No. 2 seed LSU a scare in the second round of the NCAAs.
Freshmen who aren't getting all the props they deserve
G // DEMAR DEROZAN // 6'6" // USC // He won't score as many points as O.J. Mayo did last season, but Derozan can do more things to help his team and is lethal finishing the fast break.
F // DELVON ROE // 6'8" // MICHIGAN STATE // The lefty shooter provides the aggressive rebounding presence the Spartans have lacked the last four seasons.
C // SAMARDO SAMUELS // 6'8" // LOUISVILLE // A true post player with an NBA-ready body, he could be the final piece in the Cardinals' championship puzzle.
C // B.J. MULLENS // 7'1" // OHIO STATE // Following Greg Oden and Kosta Koufos, will Mullens be the Buckeyes' next one-and-done big man?
G // WHITNEY HAND // 6'1" // OKLAHOMA // Prolific scorer who once beat the Dallas Mavericks' Jason Terry in a shooting contest gives the Sooners a perimeter threat.
G // NIKKI SPEED // 5'9" // RUTGERS // Aptly named dynamo can push the ball and defend; she has a good shot at becoming a starter at the point.
G // TYRA WHITE // 6'0" // TEXAS A&M // Silky guard whom coach Gary Blair calls a "zone buster" gets a chance to shine after tearing her ACL.
G/F // SHEKINNA STRICKLEN // 6'2"// TENNESSEE // An explosive player on both ends of the court who will fill up the stats sheet in points and steals.
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JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (HARANGODY)
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