Tennessee Without Chamique Holdsclaw: The orange-and-white checked cupboard is not exactly bare though the Lady Vols lost their opener to Louisiana Tech. Tennessee has two preseason all-Americans -- junior forward Tamika Catchings and junior guard Semeka Randall -- and its additions include Kara Lawson, below, The Washington Post All-Met player of the year from West Springfield.
Andy Landers Pursues a National Title: The Georgia coach has taken five teams to the Final Four during his 20 years with the Bulldogs. He has been national coach of the year three times. His teams have averaged 24.3 wins per year. With four starters back from a team that lost to Duke in last season's national semifinals, Landers hopes this can be the season he adds a national championship to his accomplishments.
Wither Stanford?: Since making the Final Four six times in eight seasons, the team has lost in the first round of the past two NCAA tournaments, to 10th-seeded Maine and 16th-seeded Harvard. The Cardinal is better this season, but UCLA and Oregon are the teams to beat in the Pacific-10.
C. Vivian Stringer Bids to Take a Third School to the Final Four: Stringer, who needs five victories to reach 600 for her career, has taken Delta State and Iowa to the Final Four. Last season, she took Rutgers to the round of eight. The Scarlet Knights have 11 letter-winners returning.
Players to Watch
G Jackie Stiles, Southwest Missouri State: In a game against Baylor last season, Stiles scored 52 points -- the 12th-best single-game effort in NCAA women's history. She averaged 25.7 points per game last season as a sophomore and is the nation's leading returning scorer.
F Linda Froehlich, Nevada-Las Vegas: This 6-foot-2 sophomore led the Western Athletic Conference in scoring (23.5 ppg) as a freshman.
G Shaquala Williams, Oregon: Only the fourth freshman in Pacific-10 Conference history to be named first-team all-conference.
The Coaching News
Belinda "Boe" Pearman, the longtime Maryland assistant, who spent the past two years coaching in the now-defunct ABL, takes over at Rhode Island.
Kristy Curry, a former Louisiana Tech assistant, is Purdue's fourth coach in five years.
Rick Reeves, who went 71-16 the past four seasons at Liberty, hopes to find similar success at Southern Mississippi.
Jenny Yopp replaces Jill Hutchison at Illinois State. Hutchison had been the only coach in the program's 28-year history.
Of the 17 sets of twins playing Division I women's basketball, Georgia's Kelly and Coco Miller are probably the best known. But Texas Christian's Amy and Jill Sutton might be the closest. The Suttons, who form the Horned Frogs' starting back court, live together, share a major (education) and even have a joint checking account. Most can't tell the twins apart. They are so devoted to remaining identical that neither will change her hairstyle without consulting the other.
Iowa State (25-8 last season): The Cyclones never had played in the NCAA tournament before 1996-97. This season, they have everyone back from a team that upset top-seeded Connecticut in the round of 16. Guard Stacy Frese is the Big 12 preseason player of the year.
Boston College (22-8): Last season, the Eagles' top player, Cal Bouchard, suffered a season-ending knee injury in January, but that didn't stop them from making their first NCAA tournament appearance. This season, Bouchard is back and Boston College is on the rise.
Texas (16-12): Four returning starters, led by preseason all-American senior forward Edwina Brown, look to lead the Longhorns out of their recent mediocrity.
UCLA (26-8): After getting within one win of the Final Four last season, the Bruins have five starters returning and hope to take that next step. Forward Maylana Martin could be the WNBA's top draft pick next spring. The Bruins added freshman guard Nicole Kaczmarski, rated by many as the nation's top high school prospect.
Purdue (34-1, national champion): Coach Carolyn Peck, guards Stephanie White-McCarty and Ukari Figgs left for the WNBA. The Boilermakers don't have much left.
Duke (29-7, national runner-up): The surprise team of last season's NCAA tournament, which ended Tennessee's bid for a fourth consecutive title, lost three starters, including 6-6 center Michelle Van Gorp.
Colorado State (33-3): The Rams must replace 60 percent of their offense, most of which came from Becky Hammon, the most prolific scorer -- men's or women's -- in Western Athletic Conference history.
Texas Tech (30-4): The Red Raiders have made 10 straight NCAA tournament appearances, but that streak is in jeopardy. Neither of their two returning starters had a double-figure scoring average last season. The Big 12 coaches pick them to finish fifth in the league.
Where's the Women's Final Four?
First and Second Rounds
March 17 and 19 and March 18 and 20, campus sites.
Region Semifinals and Finals
East (March 25 and 27): Stuart Siegel Center, Richmond.
Mideast (March 25 and 27): The Pyramid, Memphis.
Midwest (March 25 and 27): Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Mo.
West (March 25 and 27): Memorial Coliseum, Portland, Ore.
March 31 and April 2: First Union Center, Philadelphia.