Auburn's Killer B's

By Jeff Lippman - November 26, 2007

Monday brings the release of the latest AP Top 25 poll, with the newest version's top three teams all identical to last week's with the Lady Vols still the unanimous No. 1 followed by UConn and Maryland.

The Terps survived a scare from UCLA in Los Angeles with From Downtown in the City of Angels for the matchup, while Connecticut showed why it enjoys its lofty rankings by destroying No. 11 Duke in the championship of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

But the biggest story of the new Top 25, and perhaps the early season, is Auburn.

The Tigers have been nothing but superb on their way to an early 6-0 record capped Sunday when they defeated then-No. 15 (now No. 19) Ohio State in the Buckeyes' own Buckeye Classic.

Led by junior All-American candidate DeWanna Bonner, who has averaged nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds so far this year, and junior guard Whitney Boddie, who leads the team with almost six dimes a contest and also has surprised averaging 14.7 points and eight rebounds, Auburn has climbed all the way to the No. 18 spot.

In that game against Ohio State, Bonner scored 16 points and grabbed six boards, but her effort was overshadowed by that of Boddie, who was three assists shy of a triple-double with 20, 10 and seven, and junior guard Sherell Hobbs, who scored a team-high 21 points.

What that means for Auburn and coach Nell Fortner is that the Tigers are getting a balanced attack. The key for the Tigers before the season was to find a go-to scorer other than Bonner, and it appears Auburn has done that.

Purdue Shows True Colors
The Boilermakers may be black and gold, but despite what AP voters were thinking up until this week, they've looked better in black and blue.

Because of their established name in women's basketball circles, the Lady Boilers were ranked as high as No. 22 in last week's AP Poll, but after dropping a huge doughnut in the Virgin Islands - Purdue lost to Duke, Temple and Old Dominion - they have finally dropped from the rankings.

At 2-3 it is obvious they don't belong in the Top 25, but if you want to know the truth, it was obvious well before they went out and proved it. Their latest 13-point loss to Old Dominion is pathetic, especially considering their efforts in the two games previous.

Other than Lakisha Freeman, who scored 18 in the game against the Monarchs, and Danielle Campbell, who leads the team with 12.6 ppg, the Boilermakers don't have one player who can score points on a consistent basis. The bottom line is that this is no Top 25 team and won't be again until at least next season.

Blue Rising
The North Carolina Tar Heels are climbing. Now sitting pretty at No. 4 in the rankings, Sylvia Hatchell's team is now 7-0 and on a crash course to meet No. 1 Tennessee on Dec. 2 as two undefeated Top 5 teams.

That will be a very telling game played down in Knoxville, as the Tar Heels have really yet to play anyone of great value. Yes, they defeated No. 14 Arizona State in Chapel Hill, but the Sun Devils have since lost again, this time to No. 9 Oklahoma, a team who started the year 0-2, and also played Iowa to a 2-point game.

North Carolina will most likely get smoked when they travel to Tennessee, but it is how they take their lumps that will determine just how far the Tar Heels can go this season.

Are You Kidding Me Score Of The Week
No. 11 Duke was cruising right along at 5-0, playing solid basketball after beating Purdue and Temple in the U.S. Virgin Islands at the Paradise Jam.

They hit a wall. Hard.

That wall was dressed in blue, red and white and was led by two former Big East Freshman of the Year and another who will most definitely win the award this season.

No. 2 UConn spanked the Blue Devils to the tune of 74-48, almost a 30 point win for one Top 10 team over another (at the time).

Of course, it helps UConn that Duke's best two shooters, junior All-American candidate Abby Waner and freshman Jasmine Thomas, finished a combined 1-for-15 from the field, including 1-for-8 from long range. Waner failed to score a single point for Duke, an extremely rare feat, but Waner was coming off an injury.

On the other hand, Connecticut got four players in double figures, led by Tina Charles' 13 and freshman Maya Moore's 12 in only 18 minutes of play.

The Huskies shot 53 percent to Duke's 35 and simply outplayed the Blue Devils in all aspects of the game.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 04:39 PM on November 26, 2007

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