Points of impact


Most experts agree that a good point guard is an integral part of any team's potential for success. Point guards handle the ball more than anybody else. They run your offense. And they're usually the first line of defense.

And because these five players are the best of the bunch, just about every coach in the country would love to have any of them -- four of whom led their teams to the Elite Eight last March -- running their team.

A look at the top five point guards in the nation (listed alphabetically, with last season's stats):

Erin Grant, Texas Tech, 5-8, sophomore
"Excellent freshman season; showed us she's a great passer with an excellent sense of the floor." -- Nancy Lieberman
"Bit off a great deal as a freshman, now wants to be a bigger scoring threat." -- Mechelle Voepel

Temeka Johnson, LSU, 5-3, senior
"A tremendous passer who's small but quick and plays with a lot of heart and soul." -- Nancy Lieberman
"She makes up for small stature with quickness and decisiveness." -- Mechelle Voepel

Cappie Pondexter, Rutgers, 5-9, junior
"A very exciting player who can run the floor and push tempo." -- Nancy Lieberman
"The tools are all there, the next step is consistently elevating her teammates' play." -- Mechelle Voepel

Erika Valek, Purdue, 5-6, senior
"She makes an art of getting the ball to the right people at the right time." -- Nancy Lieberman
"Tough-minded and loves the big games. She's the quintessential point guard in knowing how to run an offense." -- Mechelle Voepel

Honorable mention: Jess Strom, Penn State; Giuliana Mendiola, Washington

ESPN analyst Nancy Lieberman, ESPN.com columnist Mechelle Voepel and Melanie Jackson, who coordinates ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage, contributed to the selection process.