Saturday , Jan , 28 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Duke or UNC: Only one can be undefeated

It looks like Pat Summit will have to get used to waiting. Win No. 901 isn’t coming as easy as the first 900. In the Lady Vols’ loss to Kentucky on Thursday, Summit had to experience something she hadn’t experienced for nine years – consecutive losses.

With this turnaround for the Vols, I’m placing my bets on Duke and UNC to be the top teams in the NCAA. Tennessee, in no doubt, has some of the best talent in women’s hoops with Candace Parker and guard Shanna Zolman. But so far this season, the Blue Devils and the Heels have one particular advantage: consistency. Of course, it’s still early in the season (considering conference tournaments aren’t for nearly another month and a half) and, just as Tennessee shocked most people with their last couple of losses, Duke and UNC could do the same.
For UNC, (and please don’t say I’m biased just because I go there. They’re undefeated. My argument is valid.) even when Ivory Latta doesn’t put on a stellar performance, she’s got plenty of players to back her up, and back her up well. In the Heels’ last match up against Wake Forest, Latta didn’t play her typical game. But freshman Christina DeWitt put up 22 points. Erlana Larkins, who averages about seven rebounds per game, can definitely hold her own down low.
For Duke, with Lindsay Harding back on the squad this year, their strength just got that much stronger. Her and Monique Currie are seemingly unstoppable on offense and Alison Bales has been their key player on the boards, averaging nearly seven rebounds and three blocks per game.

Carolina and Duke meet for the first time this season tomorrow night. Just as Pat Summit’s streak came to an abrupt end, one of these teams’ streak will also. By the end of tomorrow’s game, the pressure for the reigning victor will be huge. As the only undefeated team left, the question will always be whether or not they can hold on until the end. For Summit, the answer was no. Maybe one of these teams can get a ‘yes.’