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Women's NCAA Tournament: Berkeley Region preview

Berkeley Region

THE FAVORITE

Duke is the most questionable of the No. 1 seeds, and much like North Carolina last year, will likely face a motivated Stanford team at No. 2 that thought it deserved a No. 1 seed. There's an awkward reunion first: Duke coach Joanne McCallie could face her old school, ninth-seeded Michigan State, in the second round. All four of ESPN.com's experts picked Stanford to win the region.

OTHER CONTENDERS

Stanford is the best of the No. 2 seeds, with a ton of experience from last year's national runnerup team. It's hard to imagine Tennessee as a No. 5 seed, but with a slew of talented freshmen, the Vols could easily upset Iowa State and face Duke in the Sweet 16 — a relatively easy path to another Final Four.

BEST PLAYER

We'll cheat and pick two: Stanford's 6-4 center Jayne Appel (14.9 points, 9.0 rebounds) and Duke's 6-5 Chante Black, left, (14.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg) are dominant post players. Black had 66 blocks this season, Appel 59. That brings us to …

DREAM MATCHUP

Duke-Stanford reads so much like UNC-Stanford last season — the West Coast bias slighting the Cardinal, which won the regular-season and tournament crowns in the Pac-10. That it'd happen in Berkeley — you wonder if Duke would rather be a No. 2 under Maryland, whom the Blue Devils beat in Durham and lost to in overtime in the ACC title game.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

Women's NCAA Tournament: Berkeley Region preview 03/16/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 16, 2009 11:15pm]
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