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after a week of travel, teaching and tummy upsetness.

So, are you intrigued that #6 Stanford didn’t easily put away the Longhorns?

What about how #5 Notre Dame handled Penn?

LaTech stayed even with LSU in the second — it was the first half that did them in. The Techsters are still 0-for.

Wow, Liberty is still 0-for, too.

Looks to be a long season in Arizona.

Marist finally got a win — and it was a nice one over Bowling Green.

UMass followed their incredibly surprising win over Rutgers (RU fans are not happy) with a takedown of Hartford.

Hmmm… Southern Miss took down the high flying’ FGCU Eagles.

Still perfect on the season: Wyoming, Missouri, Va Tech (via OT), SMU, BYU, San Diego, Baylor, Winthrop, Indiana, East Carolina, Colorado, Purdue, Maine (!), Tulane, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville (Walz is the winningest Card), Northwestern, Iowa State and Nebraska, Tennessee and Connecticut.

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McGraw is dealing with some bad injuries.

A different kind of injury: Two Georgia women’s basketball players suspended three games

From Arizona: New wrinkle to camp: etiquette class (wonder if the men’s team gets it, too)

From Oregon: What does Scott have? Youth.

Out of Nebraska: Is this a first? NU women now the target of the Big Ten

Out of Wisconsin: Don’t get mad, get even: Badgers women’s basketball: UW coach Bobbie Kelsey irked by Badgers’ snub

This has got to have been awkward: Burns returns to SDSU for Hall induction

From Florida: Yes you can play: FGCU’s Kaneisha Atwater granted eligibility by NCAA

From Oklahoma: Ellenberg leads experienced No. 11 Oklahoma

From Utah: Michelle Plouffe emerging from a long shadow — could surpass fellow Canadian Kim Smith as the best player in Utah history  but her team is dealing with injuries.

From Illinois: Women’s basketball looking to address concerns in exhibition game

From Indiana: Purdue Lineup not set in stone

From HoopFeed: Rebecca Lobo and Stephanie White discuss the upcoming NCAA women’s basketball season

Full Court has a couple of previews:

2013-14 ACC women’s basketball preview: Notre Dame will challenge Duke and Maryland for title

2013-14 PAC 12 women’s basketball preview: Cardinal picked to win conference; others threaten

Been waiting for this: Ex-women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis sues Oakland U.

Time for some good news: Doctors Offer Optimistic Update For Coach Hatchell

More good news: Sutton-Brown to Enter Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame

WATN? Fredonia State names Hill-MacDonald as interim head coach

WATN? 2: Figgs Accepts Engineering Position At Toyota

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draftees have a better chance to surprise this year.

Mechelle says the WNBA draft hinges on the No. 4 pick

Last September when the WNBA draft lottery was held, Washington president/managing partner Sheila Johnson couldn’t hide the look of frozen horror when the Mystics got the No. 4 pick. Fourth was the “tough-luck” spot in a draft where there were perceived to be three prizes.

Washington’s woes were not Mike Thibault’s worry that day. He was still coach of Connecticut and focused on the playoffs. But almost seven months later, the No. 4 pick doesn’t look as bleak as it did last fall, and now it’s Thibault’s choice to make.

Remember when Swish Appeal set up their 13 to Watch? Now Nate offers up A preliminary draft board for the 2013 WNBA Draft

Last year, I posted an essay about the evaluation of draft prospects in terms of minimizing risk, drawing from principles outlined in the widely-read book Moneyball. Since then, I’ve set out to see if there are tangible ways to weigh a prospect’s value by their level of risk relative to past prospects based upon a set of red flags and similarity ratings. The following is a partial draft board based what I’ve been able to put together.

From the Des Moines Register: Iowa State’s Prins, Poppens bullish on WNBA teams’ interest

From the Daily Princetonian: Rasheed looks to go pro after Princeton

From the Bleacher Report: WNBA Draft Order 2013: Teams in Best Position to Acquire Elite Talent

Here’s the espnW’s first-round mock draft

Full Court offers up their WNBA 2013 draft preview: One, two, three, and then…

Some interesting dribs and drabs on the college season:

From Zach Neiner at Penn State: Breaking the stigma of women’s basketball

In December 2011, I sat in the Ernie Davis dining hall at Syracuse University with a friend watching, for a moment, Syracuse battle West Virginia in an empty Carrier Dome.

We made jokes about the game, itself, and attendance. Before this school year, I carried the same stigma as most do toward women’s basketball.

“Women’s basketball?” we thought. “What’s that? It’s certainly no men’s basketball.”

A lot has changed since that day.

For more than six months, I have covered women’s basketball, quickly learning to admire the beauty, the athleticism and the competition of the game. And how can one not?

From Fort Myers: FGCU ready to move on after disappointing end to season

Sharing the same facilities every day at a small school, the Florida Gulf Coast Universitymen’s and women’s basketball teams also share a close bond.

So it’s not that the women weren’t happy when the men, whom they consider brothers, made a historic run in the NCAA tournament last month. It’s just that seeing the program achieve unprecedented success was bittersweet after the women’s own promising season ended in disappointment.

From the AP’s Gary Graves: Louisville expects to grow from title-game loss

Add Lee Michaelson: For Louisville, season may be over but the magic lives on

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…’cause Temple stunned Charlotte, 48-47. The Owls (14-17), are in the semi’s of the A10 and will face Fordham (and Marah Strickland.). Let’s say that again: Fordham is in the semis. It’s time for a review of McManus’ piece on Fordham coach Gaitley

 It’s been a long time since Fordham had a women’s basketball team to be proud of. Anne O’Connell remembers. She was on the school’s last team that really stood out, reaching the postseason all four years when she played as Anne Gregory. She was grabbing her 2,000th career rebound in her final game when she fouled out on an over-the-back call. She made the AIAW record books with 1,999, and waited for the wins to return to Rose Hill gymnasium again.

It was a long wait.

“They’ve honored my team enough,” said O’Connell, who graduated in 1980. “And I love what they’ve done for our team over the years, but they need a new team to honor.”

On the other side of their bracket, Dayton will face off against St. Joe’s who, equal records aside, easily dispatched Duquesne.

In the Big South, the finals feature Liberty, of course, against upstart Longwood.

Longwood women’s basketball coach Bill Reinson quipped that because his team hasn’t won many games the last few years, his players have grown comfortable playing from behind.

And sure enough, when Radford rallied to take a lead late in the teams’ Big South tournament semifinals clash Saturday,the Lancers kept their composure and reclaimed control of the game down the stretch for a 54-51 win inside The HTC Center.

The top four seeds are through to the semi’s in the Southern: Chattanooga v. Appalachian State and Davidson v. Elon.

Ping-ity-ping ping: Tennessee Tech is feeling like they might be on the outside, especially since Tennessee Martin did it againthis time in OT.

It was going to end.

Trailing by a point with 10 seconds left in the OVC championship game, the UT Martin women’s basketball team was fouling desperately. Control of the game had slipped and was fading fast.

Only it didn’t end. Tennessee Tech made its first free throw but missed the second, and the one thing opponents cannot give these Skyhawks is an extra opportunity.

The Sky Hawks gets the OVC’s automatic bid with their 87-80 win, and Tech will have to wait the Committee’s decision.

More pinging: Top-seed Florida Gulf Coast raced to an impressive lead over Stetson behind a career game by Joyce Iamstrong ( pts). But, defense, timely & gusty offense, and closing the game on an 11-2 run added up to the Hatters stunning the Eagles. Great job by coach Lynn Bria, who led her team to a program record 24 wins this season.

Stetson fully embraced the underdog role in ruining FGCU’s bid at a repeat NCAA tournament appearance. The Hatters knew everyone picked them to lose their sixth straight to FGCU, but that only fueled them more.

“I remember telling (teammate Victoria McGowan) after the second time we lost to them (this season) that maybe it’s a sign,” Stetson senior Shanasa Sanders said. “We were saving our best for last. The third time’s the charm. We stuck together today and got the win.”

That’s the fourth straight trip to the dance for Princeton. Will another New Jersey team come knocking on Banghart’s door?

Dynasty.

There’s just no other way to put it.

Turning it on in the second half, the Princeton University women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive Ivy League championship tonight, turning back Brown
80-51.

The title was its 11th and fifth in the past eight seasons.

And more pinging: Purdue, via Mingo, shut down Hooper and the #21 Huskers. The Boilermakers are in the Big 10 finals and face Michigan State, who stifled, and then stunned, #8 Penn State, 54-46. Writes Graham: Both teams have a will and a way

Letters of welcome from schoolchildren line the hallway outside the locker rooms at the Sears Centre Arena, each Big Ten team in town for the conference tournament allotted a dozen or so such missives.

One letter to Purdue offered these words of encouragement.

“I really hope you win,” the handwritten message began. “Even if you don’t win, at least you know you tried. You’ll probably win if you try.”

Score one for the optimism of innocents.

Check out how this impacts the Bracketology.

Western Kentucky comes back from a 12pt deficit and has moved in to the semis of the Sun Belt. They are joined by FIU, AR-Little Rock and MTSU.

Gonzaga rolled over BYU, and now will face San Diego in the WCC finals. Their victory over St. Mary’s gave Toreros coach Cindy Fisher her 200th win.

Lucky Iona — the prize for taking down Sienna: they move into the MAAC finals and face Marist. The last time these two teams met, the Red Foxes won by 23.

In the SEC, writes Mechelle:  Texas A&M knocks off top seed – Aggies’ defense and rebounding spoil Spani’s career day, ends Lady Vols’ run

Tennessee had the No. 1 seed, acquired with gutsy play throughout its injury-plagued SEC season. They Lady Vols had the crowd support, with their contingent of orange-clad fans dwarfing the maroon group for Texas A&M. And they had Taber Spani having a career game, as she was trying to help Tennessee continue on the path to a fourth consecutive SEC tournament title.

What Tennessee didn’t have enough of, though, were two things that have long been a staple of the Orange Crush: defense and rebounding. The deficit in those areas cost the Lady Vols a chance at another title.

Nice photos from Kelly at Full Court. She also adds “SEC’s fresh faces raise the bar on defense (part 2)” which, somewhat prescient, has Graves (29 minutes, 4pts) and Walker (40 minutes, 18pts) at the top.

The first half of the Georigia-Kentucky game was beyond ugly. It got no better for the Bulldogs, but improved a tad for the Wildcats, so they’re in the SEC finals.

For the first time since 2003, the champion of the SEC women’s basketball tournament will come from someplace other than the state of Tennessee. And it took Gary Blair’s second win over Tennessee in his long career as a head coach to ensure it.

The fourth-seeded Aggies started Saturday’s semifinals with a 66-62 victory over No. 1 seed Tennessee. Then second-seeded Kentucky beat No. 3 seed Georgia 60-38. That sets up a championship matchup Sunday (ESPN2/WatchESPN, 6 p.m. ET) between a program that hasn’t won this title since 1982 — Kentucky beat Tennessee that year in the final — and one that has never been SEC tourney champ.

In the ACC, Thomas couldn’t save the Terps from losing a 14pt lead. And, writes Fagan, UNC’s Latifah Coleman answers the call

When North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell sent backup guard Latifah Coleman to the scorer’s table with 6 minutes, 16 seconds left in Saturday’s game against Maryland, she did so with one bit of advice: “Be a leader.”

The 5-foot-9 sophomore entered the ACC tournament semifinal with a season average of 3.4 points per game. She had played only a couple of minutes in Friday’s quarterfinal win over Boston College. And in the first half on Saturday, Coleman had gone 0 for 1 from the floor with two turnovers in just seven minutes. So it’s not unreasonable to think that when Hatchell told Coleman to “be a leader” and sent the young guard into the biggest game of her life, the coach was hoping only for a few minutes of mistake-free ball — and maybe some really good defense.

Duke got by Florida State, so it will be a dark blue/light blue tussle for the Championship.

So much for Pac-12 prognosticators. #14 UCLA raced to a early lead, and #8 Cal never had a chance to get back in the game: Bruins over Bears. Writes Michelle:

No one has been a bigger cheerleader for the power of the Pac-12 Conference this season than UCLA coach Cori Close.

She has preached the gospel wherever she has gone, talked up her conference mates in front of plenty of microphones and cajoled people to see the world the way that she does.

But sometimes words aren’t quite enough. So on Saturday night in KeyArena, the Bruins took action.

Stanford’s win over Colorado was no cakewalk, neither.

“It had the intensity of a (NCAA) tournament game,” Chiney Ogwumike said after her 25-point, 19-rebound performance. But she sank just 9-of-24 field goal attempts.

Seems they’re enjoying playing in Seattle:

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is in the Emerald City this week, observing the new setting for his postseason women’s basketball tournament. He likes what he sees.

“This is certainly a big step forward,” Scott said.

After a dismal few years in Los Angeles, where tournament attendance lagged from its previous home in San Jose, Calif., things are picking up.

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maybe I’m old fashioned, but I find the Swish Appeal formatting confusing…but there’s lots of good stuff, so check it out.

2013 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament: Preview, predictions, schedule and games to watch for

Joanne P. McCallie’s journal: Preparing for the 2013 ACC Tournament

2013 Pac-12 tournament: Stanford’s path to reclaiming title will be tougher than usual

2013 Atlantic Sun tournament: FGCU looks to repeat as champions

From student-athletes:

Sarah Hansen’s journal: Studying for North Florida, and Sarah Hansen on FGCU’s win in A-Sun tournament

Lindsey Moore’s journal: Huskers ready for Iowa

Brittany Kennedy’s journal: Ready for N. Florida

Brianna Sanders’ journal: Excited for B1G tourney

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Saw the mom, birded through a (mini) blizzard, got to see my first King Eider, had my email hacked (so sorry, everyone! fingers crossed you’ve learned not to open goofy stuff like that), and oh, there was some basketball played.

In no apparent order:

Yada-yada-yada, Princeton wins and wins.

Lookee! Penn had a nice win over Harvard, 77-72, and followed it up with a win over Dartmouth.

Neither Arizona nor Arizona State are having much fun this season.

Cal’s having fun. So is Stanford. Too bad the PAC 12 regular season doesn’t end with a match up between these two.

I warned Navy that Army was stalking them, but did they listen? Noooooo.

As it should be, the Michigan/Michigan State rematch was much closer and decided by one point.

Rolling: Marist, Chattanooga, Quinnipiac, Boston U, Green Bay, Toledo, FGCU, Gonzaga, Seattle U, Albany, Charlotte (they’ve beaten Stetson, Davidson (Aleksandravicius  – wheee!), FGCU.. and don’t face Dayton in the regular season?), St. Joe’s (though it wasn’t easy), Delaware, San Diego State, Tennessee, Hampton, Texas Southern (they play Southern Feb 28th), Dayton (by the hair of their chinny chin chin), Baylor.

Baylor wears down turnover-prone UConn, UConn women’s basketball falls short against No. 1 Baylor 76-70, and from Mechelle: Griner gets best of Dolson, UConn

It wasn’t quite the mano-a-mano battle in a tight-spotlight focus that perhaps it could have been. Still, Baylor center Brittney Griner and her UConn counterpart, Stefanie Dolson, were quite an intriguing show Monday.

The No. 1-ranked team and defending NCAA champion solidified its standing as Baylor won 76-70 in the game that women’s basketball fans have been looking forward to all season. For the most part, it lived up to expectations.

Not so fast! Creighton took down Wichita State, NKU took down Stetson, Arkansas Little Rock took down Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State took down Utah State in a Debbie Antonelli special: 106-94.

Hello. That’s Hawai’i winning again. It took overtime, but they beat Pacific, 74-71, to claim a share of top place in the Big West.

Hello, again: St. Francis (NY): winning.

I’m going to add #19 Florida State to the “which one is gonna show up” group of Iowa and Iowa State (what with #24 ISU losing to WVa and Iowa defeating #18 Purdue.). They defeat #14 North Carolina, 80-73.

In a battle of ugly, Clemson over Va. Tech.

It has to be asked: Is head coach Paul Westhead to blame for Oregon women’s basketball’s losing season?

Congrats to Angel, who set the Kansas assist mark during their win over #22 Oklahoma. From Mechelle:

We see these scripts so often, especially in women’s basketball, where the ACL regularly plays the role of dastardly villain. Senior guard Angel Goodrich has been through two ACL injuries at Kansas: one that pre-empted what would have been her freshman season, and another that cut short her actual rookie year.

Yet here she was Sunday playing in her 100th game for the Jayhawks, finishing with 10 assists — the exact number she needed to break the KU women’s career record. Goodrich now has 687 assists, surpassing Lisa Braddy, who was at KU from 1986-90.

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Not an easy year for Semeka Randall’s Ohio team: they’re 0-10 in the MAC.

On the flip side, it’s the Great Danes of Albany at 11-0 in the Am. East. BU is trying to keep pace (10-1). Of course, it’s more about pride than the conference tournament, since they won’t be invited. Why? They’re moving to the Patriot League next year.

Speaking of the Patriot League: The Leopards made it a game, but Navy prevailed in OT, 60-42. Coaching at any Service Academy ain’t easy, but coach Pemper has done a nice job since arriving in -08.

FGCU (12-0 A-Sun) is still soaring. This time, their victim was USC Upstate, 72-49. Interesting commentary by David Moulton: Time for the A-Sun to set in FGCU athletics history

Six years ago, the Atlantic Sun conference was FGCU‘s savior. They were there when no one wanted the university.

FGCU has done well by the A-Sun and vice versa.

For example, just this year FGCU had the best volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams in the conference with both soccer squads winning titles and earning NCAA berths. Both basketball teams are in first place with the women having not lost an A-Sun game in two years. The softball team is the defending conference champion and both the softball and baseball teams are pre-season favorites this year. Throw on top of that a Top 50 swimming/diving program and Florida Gulf Coast University is arguably the best athletic program in the A-Sun.

Which would be great if the Atlantic Sun conference wasn’t dying.

The Fightin’ Camels of Campbell (8-5) are trying to keep the Big South close by taking down conference top dog Winthrop (9-3), 84-69.

Cynthia’s Texas Southern is still winning. They now stand at 10-1 in the SWAC. Clearly, the runaway COY in the conference. They’ll face Southern, their best competition, on the 28th. The Jaguars (10-2) got surprised by Arkansas Little Rock (4-8), 59-50.

It was all Chambers for K-State (34,12,4), but she couldn’t overcome Iowa State’ Poppens and Christofferson.

That’s why sometimes a dunk is not just two points: it gets your teammates up and motivated: Baylor wipes the floor with Texas, 75-48. (Speaking of Baylor: Baylor women’s basketball transfer Destiny Brown enrolls at University of Delaware.)

Fresno State had a chance to claim the top spot in the Mountain West, but San Diego State  said, “No thank you, that spot is still ours.

Davidson (11-1) kept pace with Chattanooga (13-1) in the Southern by taking down Appalachian State, 56-49. The Mocs dismissed Elon, 63-40.

Again, it’s a long journey to recovery, but IUPUI is now 7-3 in the Summit. Of course, they have to face the Jackrabbits next, who may be looking for revenge. SDSU thumped Oakland, 83-48.

And again, I’m just sayin': St. Francis (NY) wins again.

I’m sorry “I saw you,” Sam Houston: the Bearkats go down to their Southland conference challengers, 52-48.

It took OT, and 26pts from Smith, but St. John’s is still clinging to the NCAA tourney bubble — which is nice, since they’re a host.

Northern Colorado is on a roll, with back-to-back wins over the Montanas. They’re now a half game out of the top spot in the Big Sky.

Green Bay continues to be the class of the Horizon, dispatching Milwaukee, 64-49.

Couple of huge upsets: Bradley, (10-12, 4-7 in the MV) shocked Wichita State (16-7, 10-1). In fact, it wasn’t even close: the Braves by 20. #2 and #3 in the conference met, and the Redbirds of Illinois State took it to Creighton in the second half, capturing the 66-60 win.

Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2 Sun Belt) may have overlooked Troy (5-18, 2-12). IN Murfreesboro, the Trojans took the Blue Raiders to OT, and didn’t fade. MTSU goes down, 74-70.

It took 3OTs, but Arkansas finally got the win over Alabama, 91-80.

In the battle of the Tu’s, Tulsa used a strong second half to send the Green Wave to a loss.

The two top dogs met in the MAC (West & East), and Toledo topped Ball State, 68-64, but only after blowing a 20pt lead. The Cardinals will have a change for revenge on last day of conference play, March 6 @ Toledo.

Whyte did everything she could to keep Arizona in the game (26, 7, 8) but she couldn’t stop Cal from getting their 9th win in a row.

Charlotte gave St. Joe’s their first conference loss, and now there are four one-loss teams lurking behind Dayton. Actually, three, ’cause Dayton beat Fordham. But, unlike previous years, it wasn’t a cakewalk.

After the Lions roared away from Michigan State, the Big 10 is a bunch of teams looking up at Penn State – Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois.

Fittingly, Delle Donne breaks Dawn Evans’ CAA scoring record against JMU. I’m sure she’s happier that Delaware got the win, 71-64. Oh, and the Hens’ pre-game trick shot was pretty cool, too.

In a battle of two teams who may have coaches feeling the heat, NC State raced away from Clemson, 79-45.

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No, I’m not talking about Baylor’s 17pt win over Oklahoma (or BG setting the all-time block record), or Notre Dame’s 45pt win over Providence (or Diggins’ 2000th point, joining Morgan, Gaither and Riley), or UConn’s 36 pt win over Cincinnati, or Oklahoma State’s 13pt win over Kansas, or Iowa State’s four point win over… well, actually, that was fun, in that they came back from 9 down in the first to beat West Virginia.

No, I’m talking about Stetson walking in to Naples and getting stomped by FGCU, 74-55. Yah, there’s bad blood between the programs, but don’t stir the pot if you can’t bring the needed ingredients, I say.

“It’s obviously a very big win for us,” said FGCU coach Karl Smesko, acknowledging Stetson as a top rival despite FGCU’s sizable advantage in the series. “Stetson’s not going to lose very many games in conference, so you’ve got to win your games at home against them.”

The Hatters will get a chance to even the score on February 23rd.

American squeezed by Army. They’re  joined by Navy atop the Patriot League, making the conference name seem quite appropriate.

It was all Enemkpali, as Texas got its first Big 12 win.

Ball State moved to 5-1 in the MAC, but at 6-0, Central Michigan may be the class of the league. We’ll see how they handle Bowling Green on the 3rd. Their rematch against Toledo (which they won, AT Toledo) is on the 24th. The Rockets had to do everything they could to escape MAC-winless NIU, 44-42.

In the Southern, Davidson powered past Elon in the second half, to move to 8-1 in conference play — .5 behind the Mocs, who defeated Appalachian State, 59-55. That rematch, the Wildcats lost at home the first game, will happen on Feb. 25th AT Chattanooga.

Green Bay dismissed Valpo, moving to 5-0 in the Horizon.

Quinnipiac held Fairleigh Dickinson to 13 in the second half, on their way to a 66-39 win. The Bobcats are now 7-0 in the NEC, and have their best start in program history.

After opening the season with three losses, and suffering their first conference loss, Seattle U recovered against Texas State and moved to 8-1 in the WAC. Utah State (7-2 in the Conference) is up next.

Nebraska-Omaha gave the Wabbits a wun for the munny, but South Dakota State held on for the 10pt win and the 7-1 Summit record.

St. Joe’s keeps up with Dayton, Duquesne and Fordham, and now  sits at 4-0 in the A-10.

‘Ware the Bengals: Idaho State took down conference top dog Montana State, 63-55. That made Montana, relieved 61-53 winners over winless Weber State, quite happy.

Albany is proving they’re the American East’s Big Dog.

Nice, nice win for San Francisco and coach Azzi: 65-56 over BYU, avenging their 80-58 loss in the WAC opener.

Coop’s Texas Southern keeps winning. This time, it was Alabama A&M on the losing end.

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while work has been kickin’ butt?

A whole lotta Griner and Baylor kickin’ Big 12 butt.

Oklahoma is continuing to win, despite injuries, and continuing to make Aston’s welcome to the Big 12 miserable.

TCU ain’t enjoying the Big 12 much, neither.

Texas Tech getting a nice, and somewhat surprising win, over #23 Kansas — unless, of course, KU ain’t all that, or TTU is something more than that.

Sacred Heart got a little of it’s swagger back, and handed St. Francis (PA) its first NEC loss.

Those Stetson Hatters are now 7-0 in the A-Sun (school record 10 wins in a row). They meet up fellow 7-0ers, FGCU, on January 26th, in Florida. Looks to be fun game.

It’s been a tough year so far, but the Bonnies can still beat UMass.

The Big South is kinda feisty. Winthrop took down Presbyterian. Liberty beat the Fightin’ Camels, and face Conference leader Longwood (who came back from 17 down to get a victory) next.

With a squeaker over New Hampshire, the Terriers have moved to 6-0 in the America East. They face 5-0 Albany next.

I’m not reading too much in to it, but it looks like the youngsters at Villanova have gotten some seasoning — they’re 4-0 in Big East play.

I’m still not reading too much in to it, but St. Francis (NY) won another game. Yes, wins in the past have been that rare that I notice. Credit new coach John Thurston.

Central Michigan stomped all over Northern Illinois, and is now 4-0 in the MAC. Akron got surprised by Western Michigan, but Toledo took care of Buffalo.

Looks like coach Michelle Clark-Heard learned a lot at Louisville:  The Hilltoppers are now 8-1 in the Sun Belt. They’ll meet fellow 8-1ers MTSU in a couple of games, January 27th AT Murfreesboro..

Hampton had a nice second half over Morgan State, and is now 4-0 in the MEAC.

In the Battle of the Big Sky, Tricia’s Montana State took down Robin’s Montana, 58-49.

Gonzaga has put together three straight wins since its lost against the Gaels of St. Mary.

Nice win for IUPUI and coach Parkinson (remember when they were a hot-coaching mess?) as they handed the Jackrabbits of South Dakota State their first Summit Conference loss, 57-56.

In the battle of the birds, the Phoenix took down the Penguins, and Green Bay is now 4-0 in the Horizon.

Boink: The Shockers moved to 4-0 in the MVC, after they gave Creighton their first Conference loss, 67-45.

Hmmm… that’s Seattle U at 7-0 in the WAC. Not looking too far ahead, but… they’ll go up against Utah State (currently 5-2) on Feb 2.

Chattanooga gave Davidson just enough hope to keep the game interesting, but exited with the win, 60-56, taking them to 6-1 in the Southern. That helps them keep pace with Samford and Elon.

In the past two days, two Elon University basketball players had something special happen to them on the hardwood in Alumni Gym.

One of them started most of their first two seasons. Then after suffering an injury two games into their junior season and missing the rest of the year, their playing time lessened, all the way to playing just 42 minutes in ten games this season.

Another one played two games of their sophomore season before tearing their ACL and missing over a year of basketball before returning to action this week.

Both played efficient minutes in their respective teams’ most recent games, helping to spark their teams to victory.

Marist may not be making national noise, but their still winning in the MAC. They held Canisius to 9 points in the first half.

Win or lose, Ohio State still has the Dispatch’s Jim Massie’s fine writing to fall back on. He reflects on the Buckeye’s struggles: Ohio State wants to add to success

As the Big Ten losses mounted, the Ohio State women’s basketball team had to develop the kind of tunnel vision that spelunkers need while exploring a cave as confining as a coffin.

At 0-4 in the conference, the only direction the Buckeyes could move was forward. And even after Ohio State trounced Indiana 68-45 on Thursday to end its losing streak, the single-mindedness couldn’t change.

While Nate considered Three things we learned about Stanford from the Battle of the Bay, Chiney made sure UCLA didn’t get any ideas, and led Stanford to a Bruin-stomping, 75-49. Writes Michelle:

Maybe playing Stanford on Friday night was a little like stepping in front of a freight train.

The Cardinal stared at the business end of a three-game home losing streak, something that hadn’t happened since way back in the 1986-87 season when Tara VanDerveer was a second-year Cardinal coach and parachute pants were all the rage.

Tomorrow, undefeated Duke goes to Connecticut to play the Huskies. At DWHoops, Rob Clough has a preview:

UConn’s top priority will be disconnecting Chelsea Gray from the rest of the team. They’ll face-guard her in an effort to get her to give up the ball or never get it in the first place. They’ll flood passing lanes in an effort to pick off passes made under duress. They’ll let her take contested jump shots all she wants, especially if Gray hesitates before shooting. If you hesitate before taking a shot against UConn, then they’ve already won.

As for UConn, Hartley was better against Louisville, but rolled her ankle (again) against Syracuse.

At Mel’s blog, Mike Siroky has his SEC Report: New Uniform for Bone – Still an SEC Star

Kelsey Bone is used to coming out parties.

Maybe all children born on New Year’s Eve arrive with great expectations.

She is back in the SEC after once playing at South Carolina and earning Newcomer of the Year honors with nine double-doubles. She transferred to Texas A&M and sat out the required year, but stayed busy. Last season, as a sophomore, she was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and a member of the conference all-tournament team.

A good, but hard read, from Lady Swish: You’re Old Dominion’s Sara Jones, and here’s what that means

The doctor didn’t believe that the cancer had come back.

“For that to be so,” he explained to Sara Jones, “it would have to have eaten through the bone.”

Somehow, it did.

For the third time, Sara Jones had cancer. For the third time Sara Jones, 40 years old, has cancer. Metastatic cancer, and metastatic — the cancer has spread to other parts of the body — is one of those words –malignant, chemotherapy, tumor – that it hurts to say. Especially when you think you’ve beaten cancer not once, but twice. Remember, you weren’t supposed to even have it in the first place. That’s what the doctor said not once, but twice.

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Texas senior Cokie Reed and junior Chelsea Bass retire from basketball

On the opposite side of the spectrum, looks like Duke commit Becca Greenwell took a little inspiration from the FGCU Eagles — making 17 three-pointers in a game. Oh, and so did a high school team: Michigan girls basketball squad sets new state record with incredible 22 made 3-pointers)

How’s Kim doing at her new gig in Michigan? It’s still early, but consider this: Women’s basketball ranked for first time since 2002

Their in-state rivals won their first Big 10 game of the season.

It ain’t easy being a Buckeye these days: They took Purdue to three OTs but,  their Valiant effort ends in defeat

It ain’t easy being a Ute, neither: Cold-shooting Utah loses to No. 23 Colorado

Make that “Hatters 6-0 in the A-Sun.”

Ditto with the 3-happy Eagles.

Got a little WATN? for ya: Usha Gilmore Named New Women’s Basketball Coach

And here’s a little, “You Stay Put” for ya: Silver Stars head coach accepts contract extension

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The Mocs go down to Elon – as the Phoenix fought back to take the game to overtime, and then motored to the 70-60 win.

And it’s not my fault ’cause Stetson seemed to avoid the WHB curse, moving to 4-0 in the A-Sun with their victory over Jacksonville.

Since their win over LSU, Florida Gulf Coast is on a roll — they too are at 4-0 in the A-Sun.

The Skyhawks are enjoying Conference play (pre-Conference, notsomuch)

College soon-to-bes get some love from espnW: 25 Power Rankings: Week 4

The espnW 25 Power Rankings welcomed one new face to the top 10 in Week 4, and the teams at the top continued to dig in their heels.

With coach Kevin Keirnan missing the game and Washington recruit Kelsey Plum racking up 30 points, No. 1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) still managed to pull off a 70-52 victory over La Jolla Country Day (Calif.), which was ranked No. 19 earlier this season.

No. 2 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) stepped on the gas when it felt heat from highly regarded Oakland (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and posted a 63-46 win to extend its winning streak to 39 games.

And speaking of winning streaks, No. 3 Duncanville (Texas) is at 54 games and counting.

 

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While the rest of the ranked teams (UCLA-recovering nicely from that Cal-Northridge oops, TAMU, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Cal) were dispatching their overmatched opponents by various ridiculous margins, two “undefeated” and ranked teams were tested: Georgia by the mighty Illini (6-5) and #25 Arkansas by the fierce Coppin State (4-7). One escaped, the other didn’t. What up with your scheduling, Dawgs and Hogs? (And yah, there are no upsets in women’s basketball, just inaccurately ranked teams, right? Which explains what happened to #20 Texas at the hands of Iowa, right?)

Is the Stanford/UConn game on yet? (UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer expect lots of offenseStanford-UConn: More Than A Fairy Tale,

While you’re waiting, check out Mel’s blog on early Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year candidates. (I’ll say, as a Lib fan of “a certain age and longevity, I’ve been following the Hilltoppers since Shea Mahoney. Flashback, much?)

Then wander over to Swish Appeal and check out The state of the WNBA: 2012 edition

Hmmm… maybe the third year’s the charm for Caldwell. Her LSU team goes down to FGCU.

Will Spidey make the Tourney? Bilney! They might!

How tough is it in Sooner-land? The volleyball players are coming to the rescue.

From at Amy Farnum the NCAA.com: Forging the path – Kansas star Goodrich looks to inspire other Native Americans

Kansas senior point guard Angel Goodrich may be known for her vision on the court in women’s basketball circles, but it is her perseverance that may be her greatest strength.

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people pay more attention to your first game.

#8 Ohio State got silenced by #9 Florida, 70-65 (even though the Gators did try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.) Enjoy it while you can, Florida: Baylor is up next.

The bigger upset was #13 Marist taking down #4 Georgia, 76-70. Kudos to the Red Foxes for not folding after losing the lead late in the second half. Even more kudos to coach Giorgis for getting the win (his third 13 over 4) with a team many thought was vulnerable. Writes Graham: Brian Giorgis makes Marist magic happen

#6 Nebraska gave #11 Kansas the early 8-point lead and never could catch up. Jayhawk Angel Goodrich notched 20pts and 5 rebounds.

San Diego kept it close, but in the end, Nikki Caldwell and LSU earned a 64-56 win – mostly in part to the return of LaSondra Barrett.

There were some serious near misses for the higher ranked teams: Dem #14 Creighton Blue Jays gave #3 St. John’s all they could handle, and then some (even the ESPN headline writer thought they’d pulled off the upset: Creighton wins at buzzer  (Dated line Sunday, 7:40pm, EST). But no, it was a coast-to-coast layup by (who else) Jeanette Pohlen… I mean, Nadirah McKenith that rescued the Johnnies, 69-67.

#12 Fresno State shot poorly, and yet still had a chance to take down #5 Georgetown. The Hoyas pulled it out, 61-56, but you’ve got to wonder how far they can go without more Sugar.

A last second layup got #12 FGCU into overtime, but the #5 Bonnies regrouped and gutted out a 72-65 win.

Put it in the books: the first Tourney win for the #3 Delaware program, and the player people were waiting to see didn’t disappoint: 39pts, 11 rebounds against # 14 UALR. Oh, and she took some time to do some writing: Expect a large Delle Donne contingent.

Nice, solid effort by #8 Cal’s “newbies to the Tourney”, as they took down a stubborn #9 Iowa, 84-74. Writes Matt Fortuna: Brittany Boyd delivers for Bears

#10 Middle Tennessee didn’t have enough in the tank to deal with #7 Vanderbilt: ‘dores win, 60-46.

#4 Georgia Tech freshman Wallace left nothing to chance, and her Yellow Jackets stung #13 Sacred Heart, 76-50.

#6 Oklahoma enjoyed every inch of home court, tattooing Michigan, 88-67.

#4 Penn State outscored a stubborn #13 UTEP team in the second by 8 — and that was the margin of victory.

The #1s took similar paths: crush their opponents in the first half, cruise in the second half. Side note: Sims did not start and Kim says “She knows why.” Ummm, hello folks, it’s the TOURNAMENT. Keep yourselves together.

Duke didn’t need Williams (24 minutes, 4/10, 3rebounds) to defeat Samford 82-47, but I’m sure they will soon.

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Tournament Has a Different Feel for Lady Vols

Another women’s N.C.A.A. basketball tournament approaches and Tennessee is seeking to hang a ninth championship banner in the rafters. But the usual postseason excitement is tinged with somber uncertainty, given that this year’s tournament might be more about departure than arrival.

Don’t forget to check out Kim’s Daily News page for tons of links. Some that stood out for me:

Albany: Coach Abe has a winning way
BYU: Knee failed 3 times, but Haley Steed had heart
Eastern Michigan: Eagles head toward NCAA tournament
Florida Gulf Coast, St. Bonaventure: Three will be key for Eagles, Bonnies in NCAA Tournament game
Fresno State: Bulldogs women’s basketball team can hear ghost of Michael Jordan
Middle Tennessee State: Lady Raiders unfazed by stage
Navy: Latest Navy Women’s Basketball NCAA Tournament Diary
Penn State: Washington Hasn’t Lost Sight of Portland’s Success on Court
St. Bonaventure: St. Bonaventure living the good life as FGCU awaits
UTEP: ‘Hard work pays off': UTEP assistant draws on experience
UW Green Bay: Green Bay Way makes mid-major one of country’s top women’s programs

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Top NCAA women’s seeds could be tested on road

Putting together the NCAA bracket is one giant jigsaw puzzle. The selection committee tries to make every piece fit using a certain list of procedures and principles.

This year, the group was in a bind because many of the host schools for the opening two rounds were going to be seeded in the lower half of the bracket. Only three of the top 16 teams in the tournament were sites for the first two rounds, leaving many of the higher seeds left to potentially play on opposing floors.

The committee spent hours trying to avoid that situation. They actually had three brackets working at once, but in the end it was impossible to make it work.

From fellow-APer Tim Reynolds: Florida Gulf Coast’s long-awaited NCAA trip awaits

More 3-pointers made than any team in the country. One of only four teams ranked among the nation’s top 15 in both points scored and points allowed per game. Owners of the third-longest current winning streak in women’s basketball, along with the fifth-best record in the nation.

Yes, Florida Gulf Coast’s resume is catchy.

Forgive the Eagles if they’re not impressed.

Florida Gulf Coast—which is headed to NCAA tournament in its first season of eligibility, five years after playing in the Division II championship game and then transitioning to the top level of college sports—isn’t that keen about keeping up on all its numbers, even though many of those stats have the Eagles in line with the nation’s elite.

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When looking at the 1/16s and 2/15s, it’s amazing to see how many regular season conference winners aren’t involved. Random first round games I’m looking forward to:

Georgetown v. Fresno State: Can’t wait to see the Bulldog on Bulldog battle. The Cali-dogs have been more consistent than the Eastcoast-dogs, and they’re seriously threatening from beyond the three-point line.

Nebraska v. Kansas: Nebraska’s been up and down. I’ll be intrigued to see which Husker team shows up a Kansas team that hasn’t been to the Tourney since 2000.

Delaware v. UALR: Who doesn’t want to watch a first round match-up that doesn’t feature a member of the “Big 6″ conferences? CAA v. Sun Belt. Let’s go!

BYU-DePaul: Coach Bruno has done a great job cobbling together a team out of spare parts. BYU is trying help out its new conference.

Tennessee-Tennessee-Martin: Coach Summitt goes up against her high scoring alma mater.

Cal-Iowa: It’s an important game for a program that wants to show that Stanford ain’t it for the Pac-12.

St. Bonaventure-FGCU: Two “Cinderella” stories. Again, two non-6ers clashing. How will the Bonnies handle the Eagles’ flurry of threes?

Georgia-Marist – This isn’t coach Giorgis’ best team, but they’re also going up a rather confusing Georgia team. Interesting match-up.

Louisville-Michigan StateTwo teams with talent but confusing results. They’ve both fought hard to get to the Tournament.

West Virginia-Texas: Considering how much I picked on Texas, they’ll probably make a run at the Final Four.

South Carolina-Eastern Michigan: EMU’s point guard Tavelyn James played for USA Basketball, the first MAC player to be selected.  How will legendary USA point guard Dawn Staley plan against her?

Green Bay-Iowa State: Watching the selection show last night, my non-follower of wbball friend (who’s gotten vaguely interested now that the Huskers are makin’ noise) said: “Wait, 30-1 and they get a 7-seed?!?!” This’ll be Green Bay’s chance to show folks they were underrated.

LSU-San Diego State: Shhhh! There’s a baby in the house! (I feel a drinking game coming on!) Because of her time at UCLA, Caldwell is  familiar with Beth Burns’ team and their feisty guards.

Princeton-Kansas State: Tigers first AP ranking followed by the highest seed in the Tourney? My grandpa would have been proud. Take down a Big 6 team? Wow.

Queenie has her own unique take on the First Round Dance Cards.

At Swish Appeal, 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Links: Reactions From Around SB Nation

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First win for Arkansas — ever – in Knoxville against the Vols. It took OT, and Stricklen is going to be kickin’ herself for a while. But I know that my friends Candy and Teddy are jumping up and down (even though T is an enormous Pat/Vols fan.). For Charlie, the Vols are still a #2.

First Big Ten win of the season for Indiana, as the seniors go out on a good, but tense (the win rested on the shoulder of a 44% FT shooter. Sound familiar?), night with a 2pt win over Wisconsin. The photos remind me of what Navratilova said about herself compared to, say the #100 ranked player: Winning is easy. Coming back, game after game, when you’re losing? That’s hard.

A first for Senior Night and Ohio State’s program: Prahalis scores a record 42 and makes sure the Gophers don’t even SNIFF an upset.

It’s been a season of firsts for Nikki Caldwell as first-year coach at LSU. The Tigers beat Vandy and earned their 20th win of the season.

A first-class stomping of Nebraska by the surging Spartans: 73-53.

First time I’ve said this: Shockers get shocked by Redbirds, 68-62.

Not really a first, but up there in terms of accomplishment: 6,532 in attendance at UTEP to witness the Miners’ earn the C-USA regular season title.

No firsts involved, just noting that EUI got surprised by Morehead State, and SIEU beat Eastern Kentucky, so the OVC got a tad tighter.

FIU (W flashback: Nagy’s alma) and MTSU of the Sun Belt and FGCU of the A-Sun all won. (Which is a mini-one/won pun, which is a blogger’s version of a 1st, which is what you get when you participate in the inanity!)

First time I can blame Sue for  jinxing a team (or did they jinx themselves?): CS Northridge (10-4) goes down to UC Santa Barbara, 61-44.

First time I’ve paid attention to the Northeastern Huskies of Boston because, well, they’ve kinda stunk it up since forever. They earned their third-straight victory for the first time since the 2009-10 season after taking down Old Dominion, 78-66. The Northeastern coach is Daynia LaForce-Mann, a former Georgetown player with strong coaching roots in New York (LIU, St. John’s).

Wright State continues to grow: they’re 11-4 in the Horizon.

Ditto with the Toreros: San Diego (11-4 WCC) takes down St. Mary’s (10-5), 74-59. Get your tickets for the conference tourney, y’all!

Okay, so maybe there’s no separation: UCLA 53, Arizona State, 38. Hey, did you see this WATN? Natalie Nakase: Ex-UCLA player 1st female coach in Japanese men’s basketball league

Colorado looked good (or was it the Cards looking bad?) in the first half… then they got stampeded by the champeens.

Yah, SC and UK should have been on the 3.

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attention from Graham for their long, steady evolution into an A-Sun power: FGCU eyes first NCAA tournament – Eagles a 3-point launching, turnover-forcing group just on the outskirts of the Top 25

For a guy who hasn’t gone anywhere, Karl Smesko has come a long way.

As a result, Florida Gulf Coast is going places.

A decade ago, Smesko was the coach of what he thought would be an NAIA program, one that had yet to play its first game. He worked out of a makeshift office in a trailer he shared with other members of the fledgling athletic department. His first individual workouts took place on the asphalt of an outdoor court, constructing a team even as the school in Fort Myers, Fla., constructed a building in which it could play.

Yet his team won by 17 points the first time it took the court. The next night, it won by 46 points. It lost just once that first season, rolling to a 30-1 record against the likes of Indiana Tech, Cardinal Stritch University and Flagler College.

Like a lot of coaches winning in the most distant reaches of college basketball, Smesko moved on to bigger and better things. Unlike almost any of his peers, he didn’t actually move to do so, save for relocating to a better office.

Longtime readers of the WHB are familiar with the Eagles’ story, but it’s great to have them get wider exposure. Focusing on the non-big six conferences is an essential part of building the game from the bottom, middle and top.  I’m looking forward to ESPN’s stories of program redemption (Fresno State, 10-0 WAC), program (re?) emergence (Boston University, 13-1, Am. East), program building (UTEP, 13-0 C-USA), and program fortitude (Middle Tennessee 14-0, Sun Belt).

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Happened to a few fer-0s.

Key parts have been missing for both teams (coach and star player), but in a game of almost equal and opposite halves, it was Toledo who topped Bowling Green, sending the Phoenix to their first MAC conference loss.

Good match up in the MEAC between Florida A&M (10-1) and Howard (10-2). The Bison emerged victorious, sending the Rattlers to their first conference loss, 68-61.

Here the game Debbie and Beth would have loved: Eastern Illinois (11-1) v. Tennessee-Martin (11-1). Skyhawks had a big lead in the first, Panthers roar back, then Skyhawks explode for 16 in OT to hand EIU their first loss in the OVC, 94-86.

Dayton was thiiiiiiiiis close to the upset, but #25 St. Bonaventure, and Megan Van Tatenhove, didn’t let entering the top 25 distract them, and got the win, 56-55. (Aren’t pre-season polls interesting?)

Boston University easily dismissed Stony Brook, and the Terriers are now 12-0 in the America East. (Might be nice to see a story on’em…hint, hint)

FGCU’s record in the A-Sun is still pristine (and the regular season title is clinched), as is Fresno State’s in the WAC.

After their 20-pt. win over Holy Cross, American U is 10-0 in the Patriot. (Another team that might be worth a story — tracing the transition from McFerrin, who built the program, to now 4th year coach Matt Corkery)

Princeton (84-56) carved up the Crimson, 84-56, making them odds on favorites in the Ivy. From coach B: Three 1,000 point scorers in one season – proud is an understatement.

There was no surprising Baylor this time, thankyouverymuch. A sold out house listened, then watched the Bears crush the Aggies, 71-48. (Blair gets a lot of chuckles: “Sometimes the key to beating Baylor is the key itself. Lock Griner in the bathroom, don’t let her out” ) I am wondering, though, if there’s some kind of message hidden in Griner’s 40 minutes and Sims’ 38.

Looks like the Camels were spitting mad and took it out on Big South Big(ish) Dog High Point, 89-68.

Bombs away! 18 three pointers? That must have been some YUM fun! (Unless, of course, you were a Syracuse fan.)

Yah, it took two OTs, but Liberty is now 10-1 in the Big South.

‘Ware the Sugar Bears of Central Arkansas! They hog tied McNeese State 64-53, and are now 10-1 in the Southland.

Can you get a double double-double? #9 Green Bay need every single one of Wojita’s 30 points, 20 rebounds, 8 steals and 5 assists and 4 blocks (They’re still tallying the total number of programs, hot dogs and sodas she sold.) to escape the much improved Wright State, 64-59.

No, Vermont is not the team of Pilypaitis and Kotsopoulos, but you still gotta pay attention to them and their history. Which is why it’s important to note that New Hampshire beat them, 58-48. Another great story in the Am. East.

The Mountaineers have climbed to 14-1 in the Southern.

The Jackrabbits hopped over the Kangaroos, 79-73, and now South Dakota State sits at 12-1 in the Summit. It would have been fun to hear the play-by-play folks handle the names of the top scorers from both teams: Sunnarborg and Nezianya.

San Diego State had to come back from a couple down to secure the 77-64 win over UNLV and move to 8-1 in the MWC.

Am I right in remembering that San Diego has been a tad fodder-esque over the years? Not so much this year: they’re 9-3 in the WCC.

At 9-1 in the A-10, the Owls are now quietly stalking the Bonnies.

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Yes, they were missing Thomas, but still…Maryland losing to Va Tech? At home? Gotta be the upset of the season. (Hmmm, maybe there’s an anti-WHB curse goin’ on — I poke Kansas, I poke Va Tech… and look what happens!) DC BasketCases keep their reaction short and (not so) sweet.

If you though the Terps’ 19 TOs were bad, look at Auburn: 30 against Kentucky, and the loss.

Vandy regrets dropping out of the polls and took it out on #15 Georgia, 68-48.

No problems for Baylor as they took care of Oklahoma and (oh, oh) Griner hit a… three!?! (That’s just not fair.) Oh, and how cool is this? At the New York Times Krista Pirtle of The Lariat at Baylor University will file reports about the top-ranked Baylor Lady Bears throughout the season for The Quad.

Hofstra put up a great fight in the first half, and was tied with Delaware going into the break. Then EDD took over: 41pts, 15 rebs, 5 assists, and the Pride fell, 84-66.

It took overtime, but the Illini got their first Big 10 win: 71-62 over Michigan State.

The Tribe finally win a close one: William & Mary 83, ODU 80. Oh, and it’s their first win against ODU in 53 tries. (Great photo.)

Whoa! The Penguins (3-5 Horizon) took down Detroit (5-3 Horizon), 80-67.

FGCU beat up on the Mercer Bears, 92-55.

Bookends in the C-USA: UTEP goes to 7-0 in conference play (and coach Adams gets her 300th win) and sends Southern Miss to 0-7.

Looks like this isn’t the Vikings’ year — perhaps it’s the Bobcats’? Montana State 70, Portland State 50.

Six of Arizona’s seven losses are in the PAC-12.

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a pause to ponder who to watch in (or out) of your neighborhood:

America East: Hartford sits atop the standings, but watch out for BU. And, might we have to learn New Hampshire’s mascot?

The Musketeers no longer rule the A-10. Perhaps Dayton will fly to the top, but at the moment it’s the Bonnies and Dukes who have the upper hand. Don’t ignore the Spiders…

It’s the Terps at 11-0 who are looking down at the rest of the ACC. Will the Tar Heels be able to right the ship during conference play? And while I don’t want to be too cavalier about the Cavalier’s 10-2 record, though their January 2nd game against Duke may give us a truer assessment of their mettle.

This is fun to type: The Hatters top the A-Sun. My gut says they won’t rule the FGCU Eagles.  Makes the NCST/FGCU game tomorrow worth keeping an eye on.

Yah, Mechelle says the Big 12 always offers an upset — but I’m not betting against Baylor running the table. Are the Red Raiders riding under the radar?

The Big East currently holds six ranked teams… but fess up, aren’t you really focusing on the two Irish/Huskies tilts? (Jan 7th and Feb 27th.)

Bloggin’ coach Tricia Binford…

Since I have been asked the question daily why we have two weeks between our North Dakota and Illinois games I thought I could just tell you all on my blog.

Scheduling preseason games is one of the most challenging tasks we have here at Montana State. That’s why I gave the task to Amy!

Scheduling away games is easy as EVERYONE wants a home game. Home games, however for a remote, and winterland tropicana, NOT SO EASY. If I was a California school I would be jumping at our offer to come play us. How many times do your players get to make snow angels or have a snowball fight.

…has her Montana State Bobcats (no, I’m NOT calling them the Lady ‘cats) high in the Big Sky. Of course, the sturdy Vikings of Portland State (though they’ve stumbled out of the gate a bit) are lurking.

Okay. Maybe typing this makes me happier: The Chanticleers rank above the Fighting Camels in the Big South (formerly the land where Liberty ruled). Oh, and since I know you’re wondering what, exactly, is a Chanticleer (no, it’s not these guys), click here to find out. Scanning the list, methinks the Big South has the best collection of nicknames….

Speaking of interesting collections, how about the handful of teams sitting at the top of the Big Ten? Yah, 13-0 Ohio State, but followed by Nebraska? Michigan? Northwestern (ouch)?

The Big West is a bit of a hot mess, to be honest. I can’t imagine working with the UC budgets is helping any of the programs thrive.

The big story out of the Colonial is Delaware, of course, but don’t sleep on the Hofstra Pride. They host the noteworthy Princeton Tigers at the Mack 4pm, Jan 29th. Hmmm… pondering a road trip.

C-USA is under construction next year, what with the realignment roundabout, but it looks like the Miners, Green Wave, Blazers and Tigers will go out with a bang.

There are only four teams listed amongst the Independents, and it looks like Nebraska-Omaha (aka, UNOs) and Joan Bonavicini’s Seattle U will fight for the top spot.

The Great West covers a lot of territory (New Jersey to Texas to North Dakota to Utah to Illinois) but not quite sure their talent level is that expansive.

I’m not saying that the 10-0 (and #10) Phoenix of Green Bay won’t rule the Horizon League, but c’mon! The Penguins are 6-4! (Call it the Ornithological Bias.) (Dang, 6-5.)

The Ivy League title seems destined to go to the Tigers, but are the Quakers shakin‘?

The Fairfield Stags of the MAAC stand at 7-3 (of course, they play UConn next. Oops.) followed by the Rider Broncs. The Red Foxes are at 5-5, but they might bite.

The MAC has been ruled by Bowling Green — they currently have the same record as the Miami (OH). Will coach Fantanarosa‘s Red Hawks topple coach Miller’s Falcons?

Looks like Hampton will pirate their way through the MEAC, but Bison are always unpredictable (check out the coach cam!).

In the Missouri Valley it’s the Bradley Braves (who lost to the Hatters), but I wonder if Missouri State and Northern Iowa will surge ahead of them once conference games come in to play.

The Mountain West is another conference in flux, but right now all eyes are on Kathy Olivier’s (ooo – did we catch this watn? Nikki Blue is assisting.) UNLV Rebels.

Usually I expect to see St. Francis (PA) Red Flash dominating the Northeast. Not this year — it’s Sacred Heart (CT). Interesting: the Pioneers play the Bonnies Jan 3nd.

Let’s let the Ohio Valley quietly sort itself out in conference play, shall we?

Yah, this will last: Pac-12 rankings have Colorado (11-0) in the top spot, followed by Arizona (who face UNLV tomorrow). Stanford clings to the #3 spot.

It’s all smushed up in the Patriot League, though American holds the #1 spot.

Yup, time for conference play in the SEC: You’ve got #6 Kentucky, #25 Vanderbilt, Arkansas, #17 Georgia and South Carolina. At 7-3, #7 Tennessee finds itself in 10th place.

Conference play is well underway in the Southern, but the top four teams (Furman, Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Davidson) have yet to play each other.

The Southland East (McNeese State) and West (Stephen F. Austin) are familiar. Looks like Central Arkansas might be the biggest threat to the Cowgirls.

As for the SWAC, please see Ohio Valley.

For the moment, I’ll say that for the Summit, see the SWAC. But it’s hard not to have a soft spot for the Jackrabbits.

Middle Tennessee is not the powerhouse it has been, but looks like they’ll still rule the Sun Belt (East). It will be interesting to see if Aston’s Mean Green North Texas team can challenge Denver.

In the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga’s gotten the (well deserved) press, but check out new-to-the conference BYU and its 11-2 record.

Last but not least, it looks like Spoon’s Techsters will have to hop to it to catch Fresno State.

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FGCU will become full-fledged member of NCAA Divison I today

“FORT MYERS 60, BETH-COOK 57.”

It was a peculiar sight for then-Florida Gulf Coast University junior third baseman Cheyenne Jenks when she first saw how ESPN labeled her school as the men’s basketball team made its first appearance on ESPN’s ticker the night of Nov. 12, 2007.

Then-men’s hoops coachDave Balza was hot. So was then-athletic director Carl McAloose, who had his sports information director clear things up with ESPN.

Sort of.

ESPN’s solution? “FL GLF CST.”

“That was infuriating,” McAloose said. “You finally get on the ticker and nobody knows what the heck they’re talking about.”

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the FGCU coach is craaaaan-ky! Change to 3-point distance has FGCU coach fuming

“I’m not somebody who really supports the change, for sure,” Smesko said. “Right now it’s done and there’s not much I can do about it. I hate to see them make a move that I think has more to do with following the men’s game or to get one line on the floor. If this was a good move, why didn’t we do it before now?

“I don’t know how it got started or by who, what the motivation was, but this is something they’re saying they’re doing so we can have one line on the court instead of two, and now that it’s happened, we’ve got to deal with it.”

Hey, I can understand his crankiness. Don’ have much tolerance for his ignorance (“I don’t know how it got started or by who”) of NCAA rule procedure. If he wants to be a NCAA D1 program, he should take the time to learn that there’s something called the Rules Committee, currently chaired by committee chair Leslie Claybrook, senior associate athletic director at Rice, that gets input from coaches and such, and they’ve been talking about the 3-point line for a while. From the 2010 report:

2. EXPERIMENTAL RULE FOR 2010‐11 SEASON
In a continued effort to examine the distance of the three‐point line, the committee proposed that during all exhibition games and 40‐minute game‐like scrimmages, the current men’s three point line of 20 feet, 9 inches, be used as the three‐point field goal distance. The current distance for the women’s three‐point line is 19 feet, 9 inches.

Data collected by the committee from all three divisions showed that more than 60 percent of three‐point shots are being taken from behind the men’s line with comparable shooting percentages. The experimental rule will allow the committee to augment data for future consideration, as well as analyze qualitative data from coaches.

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Monday, March 21

Syracuse 63, St. Bonaventure 50
Eastern Michigan 63, UNC Wilmington 54
Florida 73, Florida Gulf Coast 69
Oral Roberts 92, Tulane 86
Colorado 81, California 65
Wyoming 75, Oklahoma State 71

Up next: Third Round

Tuesday, March 22
Alabama at Toledo, 7 p.m. EST

Wednesday, March 23
Arkansas  at Oral Roberts, 8 p.m. EST
Southern Cal at BYU, 9 p.m. EST

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in the WNIT Round One Pt. 1.

Check out Lady Swish for the Liberty and ODU breakdown.

Here’s what’s on tap for tonight:

Thursday, March 17
Lehigh at St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m. EST

Monmouth at Syracuse, 7 p.m. EST
Michigan at Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m. EST
UNC Wilmington at Richmond, 7 p.m. EST
Boston College at Yale, 7 p.m. EST
VCU at St. Joseph’s, 7 p.m. EST
Morgan State at Virginia, 7 p.m. EST
Kent State at Duquesne, 7 p.m. EST
Arizona at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. EST
Oral Roberts at TCU, 7:30 p.m. EST
Lamar at Arkansas, 8 p.m. EST
Southern at Tulane, 8 p.m. EST
Creighton at Northwestern, 8 p.m. EST
Auburn at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m. EST
Central Michigan at Illinois State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Rice at Missouri State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Alabama at Memphis, 8:05 p.m. EST
UC Riverside at Colorado, 9 p.m. EST
Denver at BYU, 9:30 p.m. EST
UC Santa Barbara at Southern Cal, 10 p.m. EST
Nevada at St. Mary’s CA, 10 p.m. EST
California at Cal Poly, 10:05 p.m. EST
Friday, March 18
UMBC at Florida, 7 p.m. EST

Drexel at FGCU, 7:05 p.m. EST

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has some WNIT thoughts: ODU, Liberty in WNIT: Who wants to play?

Because it’s not clear where the players’ heads are – and also due to the short preparation time teams have for opponents they often know little about – home teams have historically had an even greater-than-normal edge in WNIT games. Doesn’t mean Liberty can’t win at Charlotte tonight, and it doesn’t guarantee Old Dominion will take down Loyola (Md.). But in the WNIT in particular, there really is no place like home.

For Central Michigan, their WNIT game against Illinois State on Thursday will be their first postseason bid since 1984.

Other teams playing:

Florida: Tickets for UF Women’s Basketball WNIT First Round Game on Sale

Arizona: For Cats, win in WNIT might mean trip back home

Nevada: Pack takes to road for WNIT opener

Yale: Women’s basketball to face BC in WNIT first round

Oklahoma State: Cowgirls to host Pepperdine in WNIT

Check out the rest of the schedule.

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Doink!

FGCU women’s basketball team’s unbeaten run ends abruptly

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From Graham on Heather Golden, who’s been forced to finish her career on the bench because of injury: The best 3 minutes of Green Bay’s season

If it wasn’t the kind of effort the coaching staff wanted to see out of its nationally ranked team in January, it certainly wasn’t the vantage point Golden wanted to have for her final season.

But when it would be easy to be bitter about so many lost minutes, Golden instead cherishes the three she found earlier this season — minutes that proved no less meaningful as a farewell than as the beginning of a comeback. And as her hair-tussling on an otherwise forgettable night seemed to suggest, there are worse places to be, even in the most frustrating of moments, than around Dr. James Naismith’s creation.

Also from Graham, his mid-major poll: Top two teams remain the same, which you can compare with the CollegeInsider Mid-Major Top 25 ranking.

Lady Swish says:

We bow our heads to Hampton, shake our heads about Norfolk State and offer this heads up about Radford: These guys are pretty good!

From the NCAA blog, John Infante asks: What Would Paying Student-Athletes Look Like?

Holy three-ball! FGCU took 55… yes FIFTY FIVE of them. Oh, yah. They also won.

Word has it that over 8000 tickets sold for Sunday’s Civil War and women’s MKA opener.

Q has: How Washington’s Defense Frustrated A ‘Lackadaisical & Unfocused’ Cal Team

Mark your calendar for the post-season WNIT.

There’s a job opening at Stonybrook.

Charlie’s got his latest Bracketology and says an Emphasis on road wins is the key

In a season in which winning away from home has proved to be especially difficult — Stanford lost by 22 at DePaul and then the Blue Demons, just five days later, lost by 13 at Arizona State, a team that the Cardinal would then beat by 47 at home — scoring some occasional success on the road will prove to be a difference maker in seeding or even inclusion in the NCAA tournament. This isn’t groundbreaking news, for sure. The tournament committee has used road/neutral records as one of its chief criterion for years. And why not? There is no better measuring stick for a team’s abilities come March because, at least after the first two rounds, that’s exactly what the tournament is. And for most, the opening rounds are, at best, neutral site games.

The AP says, Meighan Simmons key for Lady Vols

Tennessee point guard Meighan Simmons likes to play fast. Even coach Pat Summitt, who loves to push tempo, has had to warn “Speedy” to slow down.

“There will be times where I can’t even slow myself down,” Simmons said. “There will be times, I admit, where I do jack up shots. I’m rushing into it because I just want to get a feel of the ball and where the basket is. I know after a while, once I get into the flow of the game, I just let the game come to me.”

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Friday:

#3 Duke stays undefeated after their 87-70 win over #15 FSU.

#25 Miami won their 16th straight as they took out Clemson, 77-48.

#4 Stanford dismissed Washington, 80-51.

The #11 Tar Heels are trying to give coach Hatchell heartburn, all but blowing a 24pt. lead, but escaping with  a 83-76 win over North Carolina State.

Saturday: The stompers and the stompees pretty much held serve.

#1 Baylor over Oklahoma St., by 31.

#2 UConn over Louisville, by 23 (but they made it interesting when Moore’s Abs of Steel knock Hayes out of the game 45 seconds in).

ESPN viewers saw #6 Vols dispatch Vandy, by 12. (Check out Summitt by the numbers and an interview with coach Summitt.)

The #5 Aggies over Missouri, by 45.

The #9 Bruins over Oregon, by 30.

The #12 Irish over Pittsburgh, by 32.

Temporarily #22 St. John’s over Seton Hall by 10.

#18 Green Bay over Illinois-Chicago, by 9.

#7 West Virginia over Syracuse, by 9.

Squeak! Georgetown escaped Providence, 49-45.

Obviously, Colorado didn’t get the memo: they took advantage of overtime to upset #16 Iowa State, 66-60.

Other games I noticed:

Duquense got a nice win over the Flyers.

FGCU is still undefeated.

American looks to be the class of the Patriot League, but Navy seems to be making noise.

North Dakota may not have a great record, but they have state-v.-state braggin’ rights as they took down South Dakota.

I have no idea why Maine is sticking with Blodgett.

Maybe this is the year BU returns to being a player in the America East. (That’s win #200 for coach Greenberg.)

What does Texas Tech at 16-1 (3-0 in the Big 12) mean?

Remember when George Washington was a team you noticed?

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From David Moulton at the Daily Naples News: Season that started roughly for FGCU women’s basketball turning special

To say it started slowly would be an understatement.

They lost their two best players to graduation.

A top recruit quit the morning of the first game. This did not look like a special season in the making.

Now it could be historic.

Of course, as we know, FGCU is in the news for other reasons. From the Title IX blog, FGCU Trial On the Horizon

The Naples Daily News reports that the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by Florida Gulf Coast University’s former provost Bonnie Yegidis will soon go to trial. Yegidis has claimed that FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw forced her to resign her in retaliation for urging a thorough investigation of female coaches’ Title IX concerns. Pretrial motions are scheduled for later this month, which will be followed by juror-selection and a two- to three-day trial.

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