Can't-miss games of the 2008-09 season
Key games in the 2008-09 women's college basketball season:
The last time these two teams met Courtney Paris didn't get a double-double. She hasn't missed getting one since. This early season showdown features two of the country's best players -- Paris and Connecticut sophomore Maya Moore.
This matchup is expected to be the highlight of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Sure the Big Ten was down last season, but Purdue had an excuse. Starters Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Jodi Howell were out with injuries. Those two and four starters return to the Boilermakers, making them a formidable opponent for the Terps, who feature guard Kristi Toliver and forward Marissa Coleman.
Maggie Dixon Classic
The Maggie Dixon Classic returns to Madison Square Garden for the second straight season for a women's doubleheader. Rutgers will play Army for the second consecutive season, and Connecticut will face Penn State.
In this NCAA championship game rematch, Candace and Candice are gone, not to mention all Tennessee's other starters. The two teams played a thriller in California last season that the Cardinal won in overtime. The loss seemed to wake up the Lady Vols, who had been sleepwalking through the early part of the season.
Two of the top young recruited classes will square off in Piscataway, N.J., led by two Hall of Fame coaches -- Pat Summitt and C. Vivian Stringer -- who have combined for nearly 1,800 victories.
JAN. 18, FEB 14:
Could this be the season Cal finally knocks Stanford off the top of the Pac-10? The Bears return a very talented group that was shocked in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Stanford has a really strong front court but needs to replace one of the best Cardinal players of all time -- Candice Wiggins.
JAN. 25, MARCH 8:
Every Big 12 contest could be a key game as there are so many quality teams in the conference. Texas hosts Oklahoma in the regular-season finale on March 8. A conference title or at least NCAA tournament seeding could be at stake.
FEB. 9, MARCH 1:
No matter how good or bad these two squads are, it's always a battle between the Tobacco Road rivals. North Carolina will be looking to get up and down the court as quickly as possible, while Duke looks to the inside presence of Chante Black and the outside shooting of Abby Waner.
FEB. 3, MARCH 2:
The Big East's two top powers renew their rivalry first in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies won two of three meetings against the Scarlet Knights last season, including rallying from a 14-point deficit in the NCAA tournament regional final. Rutgers might be all that stands between Connecticut and an undefeated Big East season.
Two of the best mid-major teams square off in Hartford. Marist, led by reigning MAAC player of the year Rachele Fitz, has put together an impressive run the past few years, reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament last season. Hartford made its own stellar run through the America East the past few seasons under the leadership of coach Jen Rizzotti.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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