Thursday, October 14, 2010

A different kind of Top 25

Don't get us wrong, we love that is introducing a women's basketball Top-25 mid-major poll, and it's nice to see two of this state's coaches, Liberty's Carey Green and Longwood's Kristin Caruso, as part of the 31-member voting panel.

But can we lose the term "mid-major"? Enough of this splitting the Division I baby. A D-I school is a D-I school, period. And schools that aren't in the Big Six conference fraternity should stop allowing themselves to be defined as something less. You know, there are many, many more schools outside of the BCS conferences than there are within them. They just don't make nearly as much noise. Perhaps instead of mid-majors, they should call themselves the "Silent Majority"....

We digress. Now we're sure Coach Green and Coach Caruso don't need our help with their initial poll. But, guys, just in case you need a few ideas, we're kind of thinking that initial poll ought to look something like....

1. Xavier (30-4) - With Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips, these Musketeers have Final Four potential.

2. TCU (22-9) - Meet Helena Sverrisdottir. Name is a mouthful, game is a handful.

3. Dayton (25-8) - Doesn't it seem as though Justine Raterman  has been around for years? In fact, she's just a junior, and three other seasoned starters return from last year's NCAA 2nd-round team.

4. Green Bay (28-5) - Phoenix returns its top 11 players from a squad that came within five points of reaching the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16. Top 11? Maybe these guys should be higher....

5. Temple (25-9) - Ask James Madison (see 2010 NCAA Tournament) how tough these guys are.

6. James Madison (26-7) - Dawn Evans and every other key contributor save Sarah Williams is back, and it sounds as though BC transfer Lauren Whitehurst will contribute from the get-go.

7. Fresno State (27-7) - Jaleesa Ross (17.4 ppg) and four other seniors look to close their careers with a 4th straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

8. Gonzaga (29-5) - Granted, the Zags lose a lot. But since two-time WCC Player of the Year Courtney Vandersloot is back, the Zags still have a lot.

9. UALR (27-7) - Preseason Wooden Award nominee Chastity Reed (24.8) and 3 other starters return from a Trojan team that spanked Georgia Tech in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament.

10. Bowling Green (27-7) - Lauren Prochaska's legit. And if basketball games were held in classrooms, these Falcons would be ranked even higher.

11. San Diego State (23-11) - Arizona transfer Courtney Clements should help Beth Burns' Aztecs challenge TCU for MWC supremacy.

12. Tulane (26-7) - Four starters return and 8 letterwinners are poised to challenge for a return to the NCAAs.

13. Princeton (26-3) - All five starters (led by the sensational Niveen Rasheed) and 10 of 12 letterwinners are back. Shouldn't these guys be even better in 2010-11?

14. Old Dominion (19-14). Call it a homer hunch. But we just think Wendy Larry is sick of watching other teams play in the NCAA Tournament and this season, she'll pass that virus on to her players.

15. Brigham Young (23-10) - Returns 4 starters and the MWC's Sixth Player of the Year (Coriann Wood Fraughton).

16. Marist (26-8) - Rachel Fitz and the most successful class in school history has (finally) departed, but the Red Foxes still have a whole lot of players that have won a whole lot of games.

17. Liberty (27-6) - Carey Green is one heck of a coach, but we wonder about him as a schedule-maker given the brutal non-conference slate he's lined up. Then again, if it doesn't kill 'em, it should definitely make these loaded Lady Flames stronger.

18. Florida Gulf Coast (24-7) - The preseason Atlantic Sun favorites continue to script a textbook in how to seamlessly transition into Division I.

19. Hartford (27-5) - This isn't the same team as the one that dominated America East last year. But they still have the same coach, and this program's history of success is too strong to ignore. Look for a breakout year from Richmond's own Ruthanne Doherty.

20. South Dakota State (22-11) - OK, so we're not quite sure how the Jackrabbits will churn out another successful edition. But given the team's 3.622 GPA (2nd among all Division I teams), we are sure they're smart enough to figure it out.

21. Lehigh (29-4) - A host of returners and a souped-up non-league schedule could allow the Mountain Hawks to prove that gaudy record wasn't just a product of feasting on Patriot League foes.

22. Oral Roberts (23-10) - Talk about fun to watch. Four starters return led by the remarkable sophomore Kevi Luper (24.6 ppg), who took home Summit League Player, Newcomer and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

23. Delaware (21-12) - Elena Delle Donne is a transcendent talent, and she's got a little more help this year.

24. Hampton (20-12) - Virtually every key contributor is back from a group that dominated MEAC competition over the second half of the 2009-10 campaign.

25 (tie): Lamar (26-8) - Jenna Plumley, best player in the Southland Conferene, has already proven she can lead the Lady Cardinals a long way.

25 (tie): Central Arkansas (21-8): The Sugar Bears (love that name!) improved by 14 games a year ago despite a 9-player roster features six freshmen and two sophomores. Now those kids are a year older - and most likely better.


  1. The top player in the Southland is Megan Herbert. The only reason she wasn't Conference player of year was because she was a freshman (and Lamar won the conference) playing on the youngest team in D-1. She led the team to the largest turnaround in Southland conference history. Just look at the numbers and read the Southland's season ending press release.

    "Megan Herbert Named Freshman of the
    Central Arkansas freshman forward
    Megan Herbert recorded one of the top
    seasons in Southland history. A native of
    Rogers, Ark., Herbert is one of only four
    players in the conference to lead the league
    in scoring and rebounding in the same
    season. Herbert’s 633 points are the most
    scored in a season since 1997 and her 399
    rebounds are the most since 1990, ranking
    fourth in conference history. Herbert’s
    190 free throws rank second in the nation
    and she led the league in shooting (.554).
    Herbert’s 27 double-doubles are the most in a season including 23 consecutive
    ranking second all-time in NCAA Division
    I behind former Oklahoma All-American
    Courtney Paris (33).

    Keep this young lady on your radar...

  2. Easy now. We know Megan's a stud and her numbers were ridiculous. Perhaps we should have said Plumley was "voted" best player in the Southland. Because we never intended to champion either players' case for POY; we'll let them settle that on the court. But don't worry, Megan and the Sugar Bears are definitely on our radar.