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Things we’ve noticed so far:

Suspensions hurt: LSU, missing Ballard, lost at home. To the Trojans. Now, the Trojans are no slouch…within the Sun Belt Conference, but the taking down the Tigers was huge.

“This type of win gives the kids instant belief in what you’re trying to accomplish especially when you do it against a top-25-caliber team,” Coach Joe Foley said. “There are a lot of ups and downs in the season. It’s a long season. You want to get off to a good start and that helps.”

Suspensions don’t hurt (for the moment): Oregon rolled over Utah State.

Suspensions don’t hurt (and, hopefully, neither do injuries): Tennessee pulled away from Penn to earn a 97-52 win.

Courtney Banghart’s still got a team, Susie McConnell-Serio is still working on it: Princeton over Pittsburgh, 59-43.

Ya, James Madison knows how to duke it out — especially at home. They roared back in the second half, pulling out the overtime win over #23 UCLA. JMU shot poorly, but the Bruins’ offered up a generous 26 turnovers  to help the Dukes to their first win over a ranked team since 2009. From Lady Swish: 

Now just as we weren’t going to make a huge deal had JMU lost, well, we won’t get too carried away with the win. After all, we don’t really call it an upset. JMU advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year. UCLA didn’t have a winning record. But this will no doubt an eye-opening win for the Dukes, who bested the team that boasts the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation in a trio of freshmen who are McDonald’s All-Americans.

There is an “I” in team, as Iona sends an early message, taking down Fordham, 72-51, in their season opening. Nice to see Bowling Green, KU, UCF and Rutgers on their schedule (though Bowling Green lost a bit of a shocker – Bucknell defeated the Falcons, 54-52.).

I’m thinking it’s going to be a bruising season for Penn State.

Well, hello, Washington State! The Cougars proved to be unfriendly hosts to #22 Dayton – forcing 30 turnovers and come away with a 76-60 win. The Flyer’s Andrea Hoover did all she could, but WSU’s Lia Galdeira got more support from her teammates.

Richmond won their first game of the season.

Joe Doyle, a northern New Jersey resident, never missed his sister Ginny’s basketball games — not the games she played for the University of Richmond Spiders from 1990-92, nor the games she coached for 15 seasons as a beloved and respected assistant for the women’s team.

So for Joe to return to the Robins Center on Friday night for the Spiders’ home opener, six months after Ginny and women’s director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis died in a tragic hot air balloon crash, was both fitting and hard.

“It was very emotional,” Joe said afterward. “It was difficult to see [their photos] in this venue, at the first game of the season, without them being here. It’s tough and devastating. Every day, we think of Natalie and Ginny, from the minute we wake up until the minute we close our eyes. And it doesn’t get better.”

Freshmen are fun: Louisville’s Mariya Moore (announcers are going to have to be very careful when identifying her, no?) opened her career with 22 points in the #12 Cardinal’s win over IUPUI. Notre Dame’s Brianna Turner only played 19 minutes, but managed to take 18 shots…and made 13 of them.

Ah, a game Debbie Antonelli would have enjoyed: San Diego State over Sacramento State, 99-91.

Beth Mowin’s Leopards start of the season well with a win over Delaware.

The big dogs are still big: Albany over St. Francis, 90-47. Penn State is up next.

Wings Up! FGCU opens the season with a win over George Washington and – surprise! – shoots 46% on threes.

Yah, it’s early in the season, but a nice 2-pt win for the 49ers over Liberty.

Arizona State opened strong…. strongly?… well with a 81-67 win over Middle Tennessee.

Ohio State opened their shorthanded season against Virginia and couldn’t hold a first half lead, falling 87-82. Shout out to the Cavaliers’ Sarah Imovbioh for setting a new single-game rebound record (24).

Win #400 for Sherri Coale. How is it possible that she’s been coaching for 19 years at Oklahoma??? Ahem – I can’t think of a better reason to produce a new Write Space and Time, can you? (HINT, HINT!)

UConn’s 47th win in a row for was also an opportunity for Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis to remind folks how ridiculously good a three-point shooter she is: she scored 30pts on 10-13 shooting.

#5 Texas A&M needed a 10-2 closing run to take down #18 DePaul, 76-68.

Are we going to call her Double-Double Davis? Nina got off to a good start in that quest in Baylor’s game against Oral Roberts.

Hmmm…. South Dakota State over BYU, 75-65. Watch out for the Wabbits.

Penguins win!

Quinnipiac wins their opener against a stubborn Army team, 79-64.

In a season full of expectations, #9 Texas got off to good start, keeping UT-San Antonio to 15 points the first half and cruising to a 68-48 win.

Was USC-east bending under expectations in their match up against USC-west? Only time will tell, but the short-handed Trojans sure gave the Gamecocks a run for their money. South Carolina pushed through for the 70-61 win.

Every career starts with a first step. Tyler Summitt’s at La Tech started with a 76-69 win over SF Austin.

In kindergarten, when classmates wanted to be firefighters, police officers and doctors, Tyler always had the same unflinching ambition: “I want to coach basketball.”

It drove his mom crazy. Be an astronaut, a scientist, anything but a coach.

So, are you ready to look a the brackets yet? Charlie is. (Remember,  all top 16 teams (seeds 1-4) play at home for the first 2 rounds before the winner of each site is sent off to “neutral” regional sites.)

Mechelle wonders if  North Carolina be even better?

While DeShields seemed naturally suited for the spotlight, Gray has the kind of low-key, low-maintenance personality that made her too easy to overlook last season. But that probably won’t happen as much this year. The 6-foot Gray should be one of the top players in the ACC and a leader — albeit still a fairly quiet one — for the Tar Heels.

“I know more of what to expect, and more how to handle different situations,” Gray said. “I think our offense is way more balanced, and everybody knows what everybody else can and can’t do. It’s more of a team this year.”

As always, Graham shines some light on the mid-majors:

Like the videos we no longer watch or the records we no longer listen to, mid-major is a term that might be in the process of outliving whatever it was that it was originally supposed to describe.

Are there five major conferences or seven? What is Dayton that Butler is not? If a tree falls in the forest near Storrs, Connecticut, does it make the American Athletic Conference important? And if we have high majors and mid-majors, where are the low majors? All reasonable questions that philosophers could ponder on windswept Himalayan peaks.

Check out his top player list. 6. Damika Martinez, Iona, guard

Martinez is the only one of last season’s top 10 scorers nationally who returns this season, so that’s a place to start. She’s also one of the more efficient high-volume scorers you’ll find. It takes a lot of shots to average 24.9 points per game, but Martinez connected on 44 percent of her nearly eight 3-point attempts per game. Only DePaul’s Megan Rogowski connected on a better percentage among players who hit at least 100 3-pointers. Martinez also shot 88 percent from the free throw line and 47 percent on her two-point attempts. If you prefer big moments to big numbers, it was her jumper with 2.9 seconds remaining on the road that ended Marist’s 36-game MAAC winning streak.

Mel writes up wins by the Scarlet Knights and the Temple Owls (amongst others).

Did you catch David’s Dishin & Swishin 11/13/14 Podcast: The roundtable returns to preview the 2014-15 NCAA DI season?

So, there’s this game on Monday night, ESPN 9pm: Stanford v. UConn.

From John Altavilla: Chiney Ogwumike On What It’s Like At Stanford

 “It was a pleasant surprise for me to be asked to write about the upcoming Stanford-UConn game. As a recent graduate and former Stanford player (and a very outspoken, opinionated, biased Nerd Nation minion) that request comes second nature to me. 

 “Basketball is a game of respect. If Wilson or Spalding created college hoop commandments, the top ones would be: respect your school, respect your coaches, respect your teammates and most importantly, when the ball is tossed up, respect your opponents because if you don’t, you will feel their wrath.

Get ready for some stuff from ESPN: Experienced Core of Commentators & New Faces Enhance ESPN’s Women’s College Basketball Coverage

“3 to See” & “Need to Know”
ESPN will continue to promote the top players in the women’s game through it’s’ “3 to See” and “Need to Know” initiatives. The two brands will be present all season long on ESPN platforms with additional content on espnW.com.

  • Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Breanna Stewart (Connecticut) and Jewell Loyd (Notre Dame) make up the “3 to See” brand.
  • “3 to See” will be integrated in games involving Mosqueda-Lewis, Stewart and Loyd.
  • “Need to Know” players include: Nina Davis (Baylor); Brittany Boyd (Cal); Moriah Jefferson (UConn); Elizabeth Williams (Duke); Lexie Brown (Maryland); Rachel Banham (Minnesota); Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina); Aleighsa Welch (South Carolina); A’ja Wilson (South Carolina) and Isabelle Harrison (Tennessee).
  • The “Need to Know” brand will used throughout all women’s telecasts, and also include the “3 to See” players.

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besides my to do lists for work….

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New news: From Sabrina Scott – Get Mine vs. Team-First

Americans playing in Europe have a certain reputation…usually consisting of being a scorer, a shooter, a me-first player, and probably even selfish. It’s no secret that general managers in Europe bring in Americans to bolster their team’s scoring attack, so it should also not come as a surprise that the ‘me-first’ American reputation has developed over time.

But it’s a slippery slope.

(Slightly) Older news: Game Notes: DePaul at Notre Dame – The Irish aren’t lucky, but good.

The biggest event in the state of Indiana yesterday featured Eli Manning and Tom Brady facing off in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium, no doubt. The potential undercard, however, took place earlier that day in South Bend. That’s where Skylar Diggins and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish made slight work of the DePaul Blue Demons, coasting to a 90-70 victory.

“They’re a great team,” DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said after the game. “They’re very, very well-coached and one of the four teams that I think have the best chance to win the National Championship.”

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Yes, Baylor won (though they got more of a tussle than anyone expected) and Tennessee won, but the day offered so many other things. From Graham: Lady Vols follow Summitt’s example

Monday morning headline: Tennessee aces new test.

Tennessee has a heck of a role model when it comes to leadership under adversity.

During a timeout in the opening game of Sunday’s Maggie Dixon Classic between Baylor and St. John’s, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt made her way onto the court at Madison Square Garden to accept an award named for the late coach and given to members of the women’s basketball community fighting particularly courageous battles. Even in the midst of a game proving to be closer than most expected, the players and coaches of both teams broke their huddles, stood and applauded, one testament in a day full of them to just how universal is the support for the legendary coach of the Lady Vols as she battles early onset Alzheimer’s.

By comparison, playing 40 minutes of basketball without a freshman point guard is hard to file under the category of a hardship. On the other hand, the essence of Summitt’s battle — to some degree the essence of her career — is that you fight the battles in front of you, no questions asked and no excuses given.

From Harvey Araton at the Times: Summitt Still Inspires, Often in Silence

But even as Summitt assumed the familiar position she has held for 38 years — at the head of the Tennessee bench, arms folded, eyes darting — there was the inescapable feeling that so much has changed since Summitt, 59, revealed in August that she has early onset Alzheimer’s.

Standing tall in her trademark pantsuit, Summitt still barked commands to her players — “hands up, get back, box out.” But in the huddles, the coaching trenches, it was her assistants whose words rang loud.

From Richard at SI: All eyes on Summitt at Madison Square Garden

The sparse Madison Square Garden crowd, clearly punch drunk from an 11:00 a.m. tipoff, got its first glimpse of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt late in the second half of top-ranked Baylor’s win over St. John. This was the early game of the annual Maggie Dixon women’s basketball doubleheader, and when the Lady Vols coach arrived at center court during an extended time out, the crowd of 2,000 or so woke up and cheered.

From Swish Appeal, you have lots of stuff on the games from Ray and Queenie:

Tennessee Lady Vols Roll over DePaul Blue Demons in Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor 73, St. John’s 59 at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor Lady Bears Claim Hard-Fought Win At MSG

Tennessee Overpowers DePaul

Photos From The Maggie Dixon Classic: Baylor Lady Bears, DePaul Blue Demons & Tennessee Lady Vols

The Maggie Dixon Classic: A Tempo Free Look

 

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We’ve known for a while that the teams had changed — and kinda knew who the were. Finally, confirmation: Summitt’s Lady Vols to play in Maggie Dixon Classic

The card:
Baylor v. St. John’s
Tennessee v. DePaul
Some where I saw the games listed for an 11am start.

NOTE:
Over the last few years I’ve corralled a huge group of random fans (45+ last year) to attend the Classic. I’ve been fortunate enough to snag great seats ($40-$45) and it would be my pleasure to help anyone interested in attending avoid Ticketscalper fees.
Just drop me a line (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and we’ll celebrate Maggie, Pat and all the good things women’s basketball has given us.

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From Mechelle: Tennessee ready to tip off tourney – Lady Vols help open the games at 11 a.m. ET Saturday (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt got a laugh as ESPN dug up old photos of her playing days at Tennessee-Martin in the 1970s to use during the NCAA tournament selection show. The Skyhawks are in the NCAA field for the first time this year, and their most famous women’s basketball alum is very happy for them.

She doesn’t have to be concerned with making their stay a very short one; UT-Martin is the No. 15 seed in the Philadelphia Regional and faces No. 2 seed Duke in the first round.

Mechelle’s Spokane preview is up.

This year’s NCAA tournament No. 1 seeds established themselves well before Selection Monday. In fact, if you’d been asked to predict them just days after last season’s Final Four, you likely would have come up with this quartet.

Some might have thought UConn would struggle a bit more than the Huskies have in their one-loss season. But certainly no one is surprised that the Huskies, Baylor, Tennessee and Stanford are the top four teams in the NCAA tournament. Although …

Graham has Players to watch

Five who could catch lighting in a bottle

Seedings suggest these players won’t be around for more than one game, but each could make that game one to remember or even prolong her team’s stay.

Also from Graham: Vandersloot stands strong for Zags: Point guard needs 44 points to become first D-I player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists

For all of her statistical milestones, national accolades and basketball skills, Courtney Vandersloot’s greatest strength as a point guard remains nothing more complicated than her ability to make everyone around her that much better.

But after piloting Gonzaga to the first Sweet 16 appearance in program history last season, she reflected on the postseason run and realized there was one player on the court whose limitations she felt might hold the team back at a time of year when championships are decided. So it was that the best point guard in the country decided there was one more player she could make better.

And even MORE Graham: Green Bay’s season to remember – Phoenix join UConn, Tennessee as teams to enter NCAA tourney with at least 32 wins

It’s the morning of the Horizon League championship game, and the staff and players who comprise one of the most successful programs in women’s basketball are gathered around waffles and eggs at a local restaurant, their blank (and insufficiently caffeinated) expressions serving as placeholders for the emotions the day will bring. It’s quiet enough, in fact, to hear the background music, and Green Bay associate coach Mike Divilbiss perks up when Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” starts to play.

Across from him, junior starter Julie Wojta is unimpressed, or more precisely, unaware of Morrison. Divilbiss tries to give her a hint, offering up “Brown Eyed Girl” as the clue that will unlock the mystery identity.

“Yeah, that doesn’t help,” Wojta responds.

Scott Powers has Long road for DePaul’s Naughton nears end

Deirdre Naughton was laying poolside when her cell phone rang on a Friday in early August. It was the NCAA calling to tell her she had been granted a sixth year of eligibility to play for DePaul women’s basketball team.
Naughton immediately sprung to her feet and jumped around in celebration.

The catch was she couldn’t tell any of her teammates until it was finalized on Monday. Naughton promised she would keep her mouth shut for the weekend.

Not long after she hung up, she called her teammate and close friend Sam Quigley.

“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but she told me on Friday,” Quigley said, laughing. “I remember her calling me, and I was screaming hysterically. I was probably more excited than she was.”

Skyler Diggins writes: Communication key to handling NCAA hype

Life is all about growth. When you experience things, sometimes you may make mistakes or do some things well, or both. Regardless, there will be an outcome. Whether that outcome is negative or positive, you will have an opportunity to reflect. Take note of the positive things or things that you did well. Then reflect on your mistakes. If you learn from these mistakes and do not make the same ones, you have grown.

I had to learn this in my freshman year of college.

Over at espnW, Angelique Chengelis writes Samford’s stock on the rise

Mike Morris knows the routine.

He calls a recruit and identifies himself as the head coach at Samford, and occasionally there’s a pause.

“They get all excited when they think it’s Stanford,” Morris said, laughing. “I kid around and I’ve said I always wanted to ask [Stanford coach] Tara VanDerveer, ‘Do y’all get that, are you Stanford or Samford?’ just to see if I get a grin out of that.”

Also at espnW, Jane McManus writes: Marist’s Brian Giorgis has the winning formula

Basketball was his first sport. He played as a youth. But after getting a glimpse of his 7-foot counselors at Willis Reed’s basketball camp, Giorgis realized the limits inherent in his 5-foot-9 frame. He decided to coach, but after a difficult season with the baseball team, Giorgis decided he didn’t want to coach boys again. He realized his style just fit better with his girls’ teams.“It wasn’t about style points and who looked better,” Giorgis said. “It was about what they could do to win games.”

Mark Simon does a little research: Stefanie Pemper’s Navy seeks upset  – Mids coach was on Harvard staff when the Crimson knocked off No. 1 Stanford in 1998

Before coming to Navy, Pemper was the coach at Division III Bowdoin College, a liberal arts school in small-town Brunswick, Maine. There she developed a coaching style that emphasized there was more to basketball than what took place on the court. She has brought that to Navy, as well.

At Bowdoin, practices opened with the players talking about the classes they’d been in that day. When the team took an undefeated record into the Division III Final four in 2004, it left campus early so it could spend a day in Colonial Williamsburg on its way to the championship site.

At halftime of one game at Bowdoin, the players got engrossed in conversation and lost track of time and came out of the locker room 30 seconds before the second half was to start. Undaunted, the team suffocated its opponent into 25 percent shooting and won easily.

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Yes, the SASS coach loves his rock ‘n roll: Dan Hughes: An Unforgettable Musical Journey

Did you catch Mercury Managing Partner Robert Sarver’s statement on Diana Taurasi?

Speakin’ of Coach Dan, some interesting observations from Mechelle during her chat.

From the NAIA world: Next step for Bethel remains: Beat Union (You and every other NAIA team <g>)

Dan Fleser reports Tennessee is getting a much needed breather before facing Kentucky: Lady Vols get chance to recuperate

Lynn Jacobson writes about the Big 12 Frosh living up to the hype.

Congrats to coach Boyle on win #200. (What’s happened to those Arizona programs?)

Left Coast Hoops has highlights from the first Pac-10 teleconference in a month.

Welcome news from Kevin Tersolini: Elena Delle Donne is right at home – UD dominates; star reaches 1,000 points

Mel strikes a similar theme:Delle Donne’s Time, Overtime, And Nick of Time

Lady Swish writes: ODU, JMU, UNCW still tied atop CAA

Full Court Press has This Week in the Big Ten: Battle Royale for Top Spot on Tap

Graham talks about the Blue Demon’s as they prepare to face UConn: Passing fancy leads DePaul into UConn Only unbeaten teams in Big East clash Saturday, when Huskies host Blue Demons

More well-deserved press for coach Cook and and the Bisons: Gallaudet women’s basketball enjoys perfect season

Oh, this is a good basketball rebounder name: Plucker Taking Summit League By Storm – Parker Native, NDSU Junior Leads League In Rebounding

A little somethin’ somethin’ for Robin fans: Robin Roberts Returning to Roots for Jersey Retirement

I offer you two groan inducing headlines: Pacific women can beat flu but not Gauchos and (the really awful) Georgetown’s press creases Louisville women 76-52

That “squeak” you heard was Maryland escaping with a win on a three with 1.2 seconds left as the DCBC listened in. That other squeak came from Michigan State’s win over Wisconsin. Coach Stone will have to wait another day for win #500.

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