Dallas: Four Teams, One Goal

By Jean Neuberger - March 25, 2007

Saving the best for last? Maybe so.

Welcome to Reunion Arena, where today, four teams take the floor with the goal of Cleveland on their minds. Upsets have been rampant (ask Duke and Oklahoma), and when tonight is done, we'll have two teams in the Elite Eight, with only three games seperating them from a national title.

Having said that, let's look at the four teams.

#1 North Carolina (32-3)
Like their male counterparts, the Tar Heels are all that's left for the ACC. Last year, the conference put three teams in the Final Four. However, this year, Maryland fell early, while Duke suffered the shocker of the tournament yesterday. Ivory Latta's the catalyst of this great Tar Heel team, who has the talent to win the national title. However, it's all about execution in these rounds, and North Carolina must learn from the mistakes of their fellow ACC programs and step it up here in Dallas.

#5 George Washington (28-3)
Redemption? I'd say so. The Colonials were sitting in the Top 10 and cruising through the A-10 when all of the sudden, they lost to St. Joseph's in the A-10 Tournament, and a team that should've been seeded much higher ended up as a five seed, playing Big 12 co-champion Texas A&M for the chance to get here. The Colonials though showed that they aren't your typical mid-major, beating the Aggies and proving to the basketball world that they aren't a fluke. GW beat Pac-10 and SEC teams this season, including Georgia, who's here for the party as well, so don't be surprised if the Colonials make a lot of noise.

#3 Georgia (27-6)
This team might be the real darkhorse of the bunch. UGA started the season by beating C. Vivian Stringer and Rutgers, and they've only gotten stronger as of late, as they throttled what was a very good Iowa State team. When you think of the Lady Bulldogs, all eyes go to Tasha Humphrey, who has terrorized the SEC with her inside play. However, keep an eye out on freshman point guard Ashley Houts. In her first game for Georgia, Houts showed right away that she was ready to lead the team, and when you're able to shut down a player of Lyndsey Medders's caliber, you have made a huge statement to the country. Houts might be the key to UGA's ticket to Cleveland.

#2 Purdue (28-5)
So much for coaching transitions being tough. Sharon Versyp took over for Kristy Curry this year, and the results have been pretty good for the Boilers. Purdue raced through their schedule with relative ease, including an impressive road win at Ohio State. The heart of this team is senior Katie Gearlds, who hardly ever takes a rest in leading the Boilers on (and off) the court. Although Gearlds has a great supporting cast in Erin Lawless and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, the Boilers will only go as far as Gearlds will take them. So far, that's a two seed and a spot in the Sweet 16, so that tells you just how great a player Katie Gearlds is for Purdue.

We should have a great regional here in Dallas, and we'll be set to go with Georgia-Purdue in just two hours!

Posted by Jean Neuberger at 04:36 PM on March 25, 2007

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