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WNBA Players' 2006 NCAA Tournament Predictions
Want to know what the other "experts" thnk? Here is what several WNBA players had to say about their NCAA Tournament predictions just prior to the brackets coming out.
Swin Cash, Detroit
"Michigan State will make a late run. I have watched them and they are really gelling. I also like Duke, L.S.U and I will pick UConn to win it all. My surprise team might be Stanford. I think they are getting better."
Catchings, Indiana Fever
"I've been overseas for so long, I haven't been able to watch, of course I'd love to say Tennessee, I saw that Tennessee-Georgia game last night, I'm a little worried about Tennessee now, they need to pick it up on defense, hopefully they'll be able to come together and get some chemistry on the court."
New York Liberty
"UNC, LSU, Duke, and we need some sort of an upset team in there, so maybe Maryland."
Harrison, Free Agent
"It's really hard because there is so much parity this year. Obviously I'm going to say Tennessee because they are the best program in the country. I love watching Candace Parker who may just be a freshman, but she is the future of the game. She is a big 6-3 but plays like a guard. She can dunk and is totally the type of player we need in this league. Obviously L.S.U. and Seimone Augustus are very good, Duke and Monique Currie, Baylor and Sophia Young… there are a lot of great players and talented teams."
Haynie, Sacramento Monarchs
"I think it will be a lot like last year. There are several contenders, but they really have to bring their A-game in every Tournament game, but there is no one really dominant team. Five teams to watch are Michigan State, Tennessee, L.S.U., Duke and North Carolina. I also think Maryland is pretty good, too."
Ivey, Phoenix Mercury
"I think that North Carolina is amazing. I think it's going to be close, between North Carolina, Duke, and Tennesse, whoever is really gelling at the that point. It's going to be interesting to see, I think between those three teams. And LSU, I don't know if I said that, but those four teams, and Maryland actually, we played Maryland, they are really good, and they're stepping up."
"I don't know what my prediction would be, I've been watching and I keep see teams going up and down, changing places in the polls, so who knows what's going to happen in the Final Four, some team could creep in like Baylor did last year and so did Boston College."
Mann, Minnesota Lynx
"I've only watched Duke and Maryland and I was really impressed with Maryland."
McCray, Free Agent
"I am still a Tennessee supporter in my heart and it's great when we can go back and practice with the best coaches, the best teams and fun just to be around the different age groups. It's an entirely different atmosphere. They are so different from when I grew up. But, when you play at a school or for a coach who is very demanding, you know that they are going through the same things that we went through. The college game continues to get better and better. There is so much parity right now in the game. When Baylor won last year, I was completely surprised. I originally want to say Tennessee, L.S.U., Duke, Georgia, but I have no idea. Maryland just came out of nowhere, Rutgers… you just never know who is going to win right now."
Riley, Detroit Shock
"Oh man, you put me on the spot, I was over in Spain for three months. I think Duke, I've seen them play, Duke and Carolina are definitely the two top teams this year, I think that there's gonna be a team that a lot of people aren't expecting because women's basketball is increasing across the board. So I think's it pretty open at this point, it's how you finish the season."
"I think L.S.U. will be there. Down the stretch, I see them getting to the Final Four again. I'm not feeling Tennessee and Maryland is scary, but I really do like Duke and North Carolina, both of whom are very deep, and of course I have to go with Ohio State. There is a lot more parity inn the women's game. There are ten teams who can win it all and a few more on the verge. I'm going to love watching some of the earlier matchups en route to the Final Four. Some battles and even some upsets."
Weatherspoon, WNBA legend
"At this point I took a look a North Carolina, and I was like I like what they bring. I like the pressure they put on you defensively, and I tell you when that kind of pressure is put on you defensively and they constantly running it back at you on the offensive end, it gets kind of tough. Duke is still going to be in there, I mean stuff happened in the regular season, but what really happens when the playoffs come, who's still going to be there, who's going to stay in. Pat (Summit) is going to have her team there, Tennessee's going to be standing strong, Connecticut's going to be standing strong, but who's going to really bring it in playoff time, that's key. If North Carolina continues to bring it the way they are but takes it to another level, you have to take it to another level come playoff time, but if they take it to another level, it's going to be difficult."
San Antonio Silver Stars
"I think Georgia will be a contender and Oklahoma has played very well representing the Big XII. They have a stud freshman who could make a big splash in the Tournament. I look for them to make some noise, along with the traditional teams like L.S.U. and Tennessee. But I really think the teams to beat this year will be Duke and North Carolina."
Whalen, Connecticut Sun
I like LSU, Rutgers, I see Connecticut, Tennessee, Duke and U.N.C. as the top teams."
Wyckoff, Chicago Sky
"I like to watch Duke. They are my team as an ACC girl. I really have a lot of respect for their coach, Gail Goestenkors. Their players are great and they play so well together."
*All photos: NBAE/Getty Images