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November 13, 1998|By Milton Kent

Count to 10: If Tennessee wins its first 10 games, it will own the longest streak in women's history, which belongs to Louisiana Tech at 54. To do that, the Lady Vols will have to beat the Lady Techsters on the road in their fourth game, and Louisiana Tech has a 45-game home streak at work.

What's next, Cinderella?: North Carolina State and Arkansas made surprise first trips to the Final Four, but return visits seem unlikely. Both suffered substantial graduation losses, and assistant coach Breezy Bishop (Western), who had a positive impact on the often-underachieving Wolfpack, left.

Huskiemania: With a heralded class of freshmen and two talented sophomores, Connecticut fans see a return to the Final Four. That's more likely a year away.

Welcome back: Virginia senior forward Monick Foote, an All-ACC performer, took a year off to allow her leg injuries to heal. The Cavaliers, who missed a trip to the Sweet 16 last year for the first time since the 1986-87 season, may return to the nation's elite, but only if Foote can come back and hit three-pointers, taking pressure off forward DeMya Walker.

Six Super Sophs: Besides Tamika Catchings, Svetlana Abrosimova and Nikki Teasley, a half-dozen second-year players Tennessee's Semeka Randall, North Carolina State's Tyneshia Lewis, Southwest Missouri's Jackie Stiles, Georgia's Coco and Kelly Miller and Connecticut's Shea Ralph -- will be forces on the national stage.

Players to watch

Chamique Holdsclaw, Sr., F, Tennessee: The best player in the college game today, Holdsclaw could become the best ever with another title.

Tamika Catchings, So., F, Tennessee: Some believe her all-around skills already make her better than Holdsclaw.

Dominique Canty, Sr., G, Alabama: Best rebounding college guard, she may be asked to play point.

Amanda Wilson, Sr., F, Louisiana Tech: Great blend of strength and speed and shoots 62 percent.

Nikki Teasley, So., G, North Carolina: If her shot is more consistent, Teasley will be an All-American.

Dalma Ivanyi, Sr., G, Florida International: al: Best point guard no one has ever heard of.

Svetlana Abrosimova, So., F, Connecticut: Her defense and versatility may help Huskies get to the Final Four.

Maylana Martin, Jr., F, UCLA: Leading the Bruins back to historic place of prominence in women's game.

DeMya Walker, Sr., F, Virginia: Painfully thin, but the nation's best shot-blocker and a good shooter.

Stephanie White-McCarty, Sr., G, Purdue: Point-guard skills, but with size and ability to create her own shot.

Games to watch

"Four in the Fall," today-tomorrow (Lifetime): time): From the Final Four site in San Jose, Calif., Duke, Connecticut, Stanford and Arkansas meet in the year's first big tournament.

State Farm Classic, Sunday (ESPN, ESPN2): Purdue is host to a doubleheader with Tennessee, North Carolina and Kansas visiting.

Tennessee at Louisiana Tech, Nov. 30 (ESPN2): 1998's title game contenders meet in a possible 1999 title game preview.

Elite 4 Classic, Dec. 6 (ESPN, ESPN2): Duke, Tennessee, Illinois and Washington play in a doubleheader in Orlando, Fla.

Florida at Illinois, Dec. 19 (ESPN2): A matchup of SEC and Big Ten title hopefuls.

UCLA at Tennessee, Dec. 21: A Lady Vols win could give them the longest winning streak in women's history.

Tennessee at Connecticut, Jan. 10 (CBS): The best rivalry in women's basketball.

Connecticut at Louisiana Tech, Jan. 18 (ESPN): A Martin Luther King Day meeting in the bayou.

George Washington at N.C. State, Jan. 31: Both teams hope to make noise in the East come tournament time.

Alabama at Florida, Feb. 15, (ESPN): The winner likely finishes second to Tennessee in the SEC.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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