What Did We Learn?

By Jeff Lippman - November 18, 2007

Two of the big three matchups featuring ranked teams Sunday are over and from their results one can infer two very specific things.

One, Texas is not a Top 25 basketball team, and two, Maryland is really, really good.

Sure the Longhorns had to play No. 1 Tennessee in Knoxville, but I don't think Gail Goestenkors thought her team would walk out of Thompson-Boling Arena as 25-point losers, 92-67. And the final score was only that close because Tennessee let up at the end and only won the second half by six points.

In fact, Candace Parker didn't even have a particularly great game. She didn't need to, only finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds against No. 21 Texas. And Nicky Anosike and Alexis Hornbuckle, the senior leaders, only combined for 20 points. And point guard Shannon Bobbitt, who hit so many big shots in UT's win over Oklahoma, only registered five points. The players who had the biggest games for Tennessee, freshman Angie Bjorklund and junior Alex Fuller, are both much less heralded than the other players.

But that's just how good Tennessee is.

As far as Maryland goes, the Terps proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, in my eyes, that they are ready to win their second national title in three years. They defeated an LSU team playing at full strength that has been to four consecutive Final Fours and did it with style and without senior All-American Crystal Langhorne, who sat out with a foot injury.

Maryland won 73-62 to take the WNIT finale in College Park and were led by a player who is having an amazing start to her year. Junior point guard Kristi Toliver has completely made up for any shaky play from a season ago by starting the year averaging a near double double in points and assists. Toliver again led Maryland against the Tigers by scoring 23 points, grabbing four boards and dishing out seven assists. She is truly the point guard that coach Brenda Frese hoped she'd become.

For No. 4 LSU, they played well away from home, but not well enough to beat the Terps. And Sylvia Fowles had a monster game registering 24 points and 13 rebounds in Langhorne's absence. Can you imagine if Lang played? This game could have been a blood bath.

But while I fault Texas for their poor play and their over-engorged ranking, LSU is as good as their ranking indicates. But Fowles needs to be even better for the Tigers to beat the likes of UConn, Tennessee or the Terps.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 05:10 PM on November 18, 2007

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