Powell to pose problems for Tennessee
Updated: December 12, 2003, 10:46 AM ETBy Melanie Jackson | Special to ESPN.com
Pat Summitt doesn't usually watch game film on upcoming opponents until that team is next up on Tennessee's schedule.
But even though Tennessee's next foe was Rutgers, Summitt admits she snuck in a little game tape of Stanford -- which hosts the Lady Vols on Sunday -- earlier this week. "I had to sneak a peak on this group, since it is going to be a challenge," Summitt said Wednesday during her weekly teleconference. Despite Tennessee's 14-4 advantage in the series, Summitt knows a battle with the Cardinal -- especially at Stanford's Maples Pavilion, where they had won 26 straight games before losing at home last March in the NCAA Tournament -- is never easy. After all, these two programs dominated the 1990s, combining for six NCAA championships. The coaches have combined for more than 1,400 victories, and both teams are unbeaten ranked in the top five (Tennessee is second, Stanford fifth) in this week's ESPN/USA Today poll heading into Sunday's matchup (3 p.m. ET, Fox Sports Net). Tennessee has won six consecutive games against Stanford, which last beat the Lady Vols on Dec. 15, 1996. But eight of the games have been decided by fewer than 10 points. Summitt expects another close challenge this weekend. "There are a lot of similarities between our teams," said Summitt, whose Lady Vols embark on a three-game, 10-day road trip after beating Rutgers on Thursday. "Stanford plays well in transition and shoots the 3. They are solid on the defensive end and play well together. They come at you and are aggressive. They make you play them or pay for it." Summitt knows that's especially true for Stanford senior Nicole Powell, who's averaging 22.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 93.8 percent at the foul line. "With Powell, Stanford will present greater problems for us since she makes everyone else on the floor better," said Summitt, who added that a combination of Shyra Ely, Tasha Butts and LaToya Davis would shoulder the bulk of the responsibility of guarding Powell. "I would not ask any one player to defend Powell for the duration," Summitt said. "Obviously the assignments will be done by committee. Potentially, Ashley Robinson could defend her as she is mobile enough to move out." Summitt said Tennessee is also weary of Stanford's 3-point shooting ability. "Obviously, 10 3s in the championship game last year cost us," she said. "We have to use our half-court defensive quickness and coverage to limit open looks. I hope we can do a good job of defending them in their transition game. We have to do a good job of not giving them open 3s and early layups. "It is going to be a big challenge to play at Stanford. They have a great facility ... and the floor has a bounce to it. We need to have a bounce ourselves to compete." Cannon balls
APPat Summitt expects Stanford's Nicole Powell to cause Tennessee problems Sunday.
Australian Lauren Jackson stole the show -- and the MVP award -- last summer in the WNBA. Now, one of her mates is putting on a show at the college level.
|Updated statistics were released Monday. A look at the leaders:
Top scorer: Stefanie Collins, St. Bonaventure, 25.4
Top rebounder: Sherry McCracklin, UNLV, 14.0
Top shooter: Iva Sliskovic, South Carolina, 73.6
Top blocker: Amie Williams, Jackson State, 5.0
Top steals: Jenni Dant, DePaul, 5.2
For a complete look at the stats, click here.
Ask and you shall receive
Fortune created this mockup for Alana Beard after she said she'd like to appear on its cover.
Some athletes aspire to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated or ESPN The Magazine. Others, such as Duke's Iciss Tillis, are more focused on fashion and would prefer a cover story in Vogue. And then there's Duke's Alana Beard. The senior All-American told SI in a recent article that if she had her choice, the cover of Fortune is where Beard wanted to be. Beard even offered her own headline: Alana Beard, the second wealthiest African-American woman in the world behind Oprah Winfrey. Well, turns out at least one Fortune writer reads SI. And in Andy Serwer's Dec. 9 Street Life column (check out http://www.fortune.com/fortune/streetlife/0,15704,558421,00.html and scroll to "Loose Change" near the bottom), the magazine created a mock cover just for Beard (see image at right). Talk about good Fortune. Aggies update
When the Utah State women's basketball program was dropped in 1987 because of state budget cuts, Raegan Pebley was just a 12-year-old sixth-grader who wore parachute pants and Izod shirts with the collar flipped up and listened to Bon Jovi, Madonna and Lisa Lisa. Now, Pebley is the Aggies coach -- at 28 the youngest head coach in Division I basketball -- and trying to rebuild a program that on Nov. 21 played its first game in 17 years. It's a tough road, and so far the Aggies (0-4) are still looking for their first win. But it's still the feel-good story of the year and there have been some bright spots for the nation's third-youngest team (no seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and nine freshmen with an average age of 18.9). Through four games, Utah State ranks second in the Big West in rebounding (39.0 per game) and tied for second in the conference in offensive rebounding (15.0). Sophomore center Ali Aird was named to the Fiesta Bowl Women's Classic all-tournament team after averaging 14 points and six boards in losses to Massachusetts and American on Dec. 6-7. Aird has scored in double digits in each of her last three games. Record watch
The 2003-04 season might hold several milestones in store. A look at some of the records that might fall on the way to New Orleans:
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