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Terps' Toliver named top preseason player

The Baltimore Sun

Maryland senior Kristi Toliver was named the Preseason Player of the Year for the Atlantic Coast Conference yesterday, and the Terps' Lynetta Kizer is the top rookie.

Toliver, an All-American and Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the top point guard in Division I, averaged 17.1 points last season and broke the ACC's single-season assists record with 275.

Kizer, a 6-foot-3 center out of Potomac High in Virginia, was a McDonald's and Women's Basketball Coaches Association All-American.

The all-ACC team includes Toliver and Maryland's Marissa Coleman, Duke's Chante Black, North Carolina's Rashanda McCants and Virginia's Monica Wright.

The league also released its preseason basketball poll, and North Carolina was chosen first by 15 of the 42 voters in the ACC's panel of reporters and school representatives. The Tar Heels have won the past four league tournaments and went 14-0 in league play last season.

North Carolina hasn't lost to an ACC team since March 2007 and is coming off an upset loss to LSU as a No. 1 in the regional finals of the NCAA tournament that left the Tar Heels 33-3.

Maryland and Duke were second and third. It's the fifth straight year those three schools were 1-2-3 in some order in the preseason poll.

"The conference this season has a lot of depth, when you look at the success that we've been having in the postseason," Maryland coach Brenda Frese said. "You look at the teams like Virginia and Florida State and Georgia Tech, I do feel like we're continuing to have even more and more parity within the conference."

Although Erlana Larkins and LaToya Pringle have moved on, the Tar Heels don't expect much of a dropoff. One year after she averaged a team-best 15.8 points, the kid sister of NBA guard Rashad McCants is ready to keep making a name for herself.

"I don't think it's any pressure," McCants said. " ... It's kind of a passing of the torch. You learn from the others, and you take what they've given you and you run with it."

North Carolina State: : Kay Yow says she's feeling better after spending a few days in the hospital. The Hall of Fame coach said during the ACC's media day that she was hospitalized because of a change in her cancer treatment. Yow said it started after a round of chemotherapy about three weeks ago when "my body just couldn't handle that combination of drugs." She checked into a hospital Oct. 8. She was released the following Monday, coached the Wolfpack's first practice Friday and hasn't missed a practice. Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987.

Georgia Tech men: : Senior guard and team captain D'Andre Bell will have season-ending surgery to correct a spinal condition, but he said he still hopes to complete his college career in 2009-10. Bell was diagnosed with a congenital condition known as spinal stenosis, a narrowing and compression of the spinal cord. Bell, who started 22 games last season, is regarded as the team's top defensive player.

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