Wednesday, December 29
Things to watch in women's sports
By Melanie Jackson

 While it's easy to ponder whether sports bras will become the standard uniform "top" in women's soccer in the next century, or whether Michael Jordan's daughter Jasmine will grow up to be the next Chamique Holdsclaw, it's a bit tougher to predict ways in which women's sports will really change over the next 100 years.

Here are some ideas:

Bring on the noise, bring on the dunk
Although women's college basketball players have proven they can dunk -- in practice, at least -- no one has done it in a game. And for now, women's hoops fans have relied on 3-pointers -- largely touted as the equivalent for dunking in the men's game -- for excitement.

Most recently, Tennessee sophomore center Michelle Snow dropped in a two-handed jam in the Lady Vols' Midnight Madness practice session in October. At a practice during the Final Four last March, Duke's Michele VanGorp, now with Portland in the WNBA, sent a two-handed dunk through the hoop as well, albeit after three tries.

Still, no one has even attempted to dunk in a game, perhaps because they're scared of failing. Maybe they just need a bit of encouragement. Go ahead, girl, go for it.

Show me the money
The American Basketball League tried to offer hefty paychecks -- and failed. The league folded in December 1998. Sooner or later, however, a league will have enough payroll -- and enough fan support -- to offer female athletes what they deserve: as much as men.

But salaries have a long way to go -- think millions -- to even compare to what NBA, Major League Baseball and NFL players get.

If you don't think women sacrifice their bodies as much as men do every Sunday on the gridiron, you didn't see the World Cup or watch any women's college or pro basketball games in 1999. And we're not just talking floor burns, either.

Fantasy football
The Women's Professional Football League is up and running, but so far, the league has just two teams. It'll grow, or a similar league will also emerge. Although only 100 players were needed when the league opened, more than 300 showed up for tryouts.

Of course, with females kicking field goals and extra points in a limited number of high schools and colleges around the country, it's not too far-fetched to think that eventually we'll have a woman in the NFL. Although women certainly wouldn't be confined to kicking positions, that is the likely position women will debut at in the NFL.

Next hoops dynasty? Try Duke
In women's college basketball, Tennessee, Connecticut, Louisiana Tech, Stanford and a few others ruled the past couple of decades. But Duke is the team of the future.

Coach Gail Goestenkors -- also known as "coach G" -- and the Blue Devils broke through last season, reaching the Final Four and championship game for the first time. And although Duke lost, it didn't seem to hurt coach G's recruiting. According to recruiting expert Bill Hodge, the Blue Devils signed the third-best class in the nation for 2000. As he put it, coach G has "given Duke two powerhouse basketball programs."

And in addition to a great program, Duke also offers a top-notch education, something that had a big influence on at least two of Duke's five signees, which included two of Basketball News' top 10 recruits.

Melanie Jackson is the college sports editor at