Feeds:
Posts

Posts Tagged ‘North Carolina’

Yup.

Thanks to Nan for doing some of my work:

UConn women face early test in No. 3 Stanford, Post
Dolson, UConn frontcourt deliver strong message, Post
No. 1 UConn women’s game day: Monday vs. No. 3 Stanford, Post
UConn Women Ready For Visit From No. 3 Stanford, Courant
Preview Capsule: No.3 Stanford At No. 1 UConn, Courant
UConn hosts Stanford in a banner matchup, Register
Younger Ogwumike sister carving out her own legacy at Stanford, Register
Stanford comes to Gampel tonight looking for some revenge, Day
No. 1 Huskies top Rizzotti, Hartford, face No. 3 Stanford Monday night, Daily Campus
Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer on the doorstep of elite coaching club, San Francisco Chronicle

From ESPN:

Michelle writes, “Cardinal must be more than Chiney”

Mechelle’s piece I linked previously is her “preview” for the UNC/Tennessee game: Time for Tennessee to just play

From Melanie Jackson: Doubleheader to introduce new faces

If you are a women’s basketball fan, there are some names you’ve likely heard a lot, but you might not have seen the players yet. Monday, you’ll have the chance.

North Carolina hosts Tennessee (ESPN2 and WatchESPN, 9 p.m. ET; Stanford plays UConn at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN) in a game that will be an early showcase for some of the top freshmen this season.

The Tar Heels’ Diamond DeShields, Stephanie Mavunga, Allisha Gray and Jessica Washington comprised what was generally ranked the No. 1 recruiting class this year. North Carolina also has two redshirt freshmen, Hillary Fuller (foot) and Hillary Summers (knee), who sat out last season with injury issues.

From Harold Gutmann at the Herald Sun: UNC’s freshmen face early test vs. Lady Vols

From the AP’s Aaron Beard: No. 12 Tar Heels host No. 4 Lady Vols

North Carolina’s youngsters didn’t get much time to prepare for their first major challenge in college.

With No. 4 Tennessee arriving Monday, the No. 12 Tar Heels will have a tough test that comes early in their work to shape a team featuring the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class and reigning Atlantic Coast Conference rookie of the year Xylina McDaniel.

Freshman Diamond DeShields says Monday means, “America’s basically going to see us and what we have to offer.”

Read Full Post »

Hatchell will tackle cancer head-on

There are people who, if you gave them a free pass from work for the rest of their lives, simply wouldn’t take it. Having expectations to face, goals to meet, production to accomplish — it’s just how they are wired.

North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell is that kind of person. Let’s put it this way: Earlier this year, during the build-up to her 900th career victory, she was asked what she might do someday after basketball. And in true Hatchell form, she immediately spoke of the job she’d want after she retired: mowing the giant lawn at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, N.C. (she figured it would be a relaxing chore).

That’s Hatchell: She’s thinking ahead to work after work. It’s the way she was raised in the textile-mill town of Gastonia, N.C., outside of Charlotte. It’s how she has operated for the past 40 years as a coach.

And, as everyone who knows her would tell you, it’s how she’ll deal with cancer. She’ll tackle it head-on, with a commitment to a game plan and her trademark relentless optimism.

Read Full Post »

It was close, and then it wasn’t:

#7 Cal over Utah.

#8 Penn State over Ohio State.

#5 Kentucky over LSU.

#22 Florida State over Virginia Tech.

Texas Tech over TCU.

NC State over Georgia Tech.

UTEP over Houston.

Butler over VCU.

Delaware over Drexel.

Creighton over Bradley.

Washington over Oregon.

It was close, and stayed close:

#19 UCLA over Arizona State

#13 Louisville over St. John’s.

#11 North Carolina over Miami.

#18 South Carolina over Arkansas.

#15 Purdue over #25 Michigan State.

Seton Hall over Rutgers.

Wichita State over Evansville.

It was never close:

#4 Duke over Boston College

#15 Georgia over Florida.

#17 Dayton over Massachusetts.

#16 TAMU over Missouri

#10 Maryland over Clemson.

Duquesne over Fordham.

MTSU over Western Kentucky.

Fresno State over Colorado State.

It wasn’t close, and then it got close.

Virginia over Wake Forest.

It was so close, it became a loss.

Iowa over #23 Michigan.

Washington State over Oregon State.

Read Full Post »

’cause it’s fun, since we know how much Mechelle hates making predicitions.  In anticipation of the Kentucky/South Carolina and UNC/Maryland game, Mechelle Voepel said this:

jbb1985 (ny): Which of the two games tonight between ranked, Conference rivals are you the most interested in: MD vs. UNC or UK vs. S. Carolina?

Mechelle Voepel: Interested in both, but if I have to pick I’ll say Maryland vs North Carolina because it’s a rematch and may indicate how the Tar Heels will go through this tough four-game stretch vs. Terps, Miami, Florida State and Duke. Sylvia Hatchell is 3 wins from 900 in her career, and it could come as early as Jan. 31, I believe. But it could also be delayed awhile, as these are tough games. The interesting thing with Kentucky-South Carolina, of course, is which team sets the pace in that game, since they are so opposite.

MV got it right. Cats’ streak stopped by South Carolina, 55-50

Every shot, every cut, every pass.

Every minute of the game, South Carolina wanted to make Kentucky as uncomfortable as possible.

The No. 18 Gamecocks succeeded and upended the fifth-ranked Cats 55-50 Thursday night, ending UK’s 17-game win streak.

“They played much harder than we did,” Cats Coach Matthew Mitchell explained. “They played much more physical. Their desire was much stronger to win tonight. When that happens, then we get beat.”

Check out what else MV has to say, when she teams up with Michelle as they talk Mechelle & Michelle: Coast to Coast

On their podcast, Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli talk to a pair of head coaches, Baylor’s Kim Mulkey and UNC’s Sylvia Hatchell.

Out west, Oregon breaks into Pac-12 women’s basketball win column at the expense of the Washington State Cougars. 

The Buffaloes got so much deserved attention, and then got close to a huge win, but couldn’t put Cal away. Stanford handled the Utes.

Some good news for Ohio State, Stokes’ knee injury is healing quickly.

Nebraska welcomed Michigan State to the polls by beating them.

The Shockers continued their winning ways in the MVC, and now sit at 6-0 in the conference. The Blue Jays are keeping pace, now at 5-1.

In the Horizon League, Algoma’s Zastrow emerges for UWGB

Speaking of emerging stars, Graham offers up this: Rodriguez emerges as FSU star: Senior guard from Canary Islands has tripled her scoring average from a year ago

It might seem at first glance as if one of the season’s biggest surprises came out of nowhere to emerge as one of the best players in the ACC. But for someone who crossed an ocean just to get to Florida State four years ago, a senior season to remember turns out to be one more leg of a long journey.

Rodriguez comes from a place people dream of visiting for a few days’ respite from the real world. Where she grew up, others hope they might someday soak up the sun in retirement. So frankly, it’s a little surprising to sit across from her in a hotel lobby on a wet winter night near Boston and find that there is nowhere she would rather be than where she is, with three years worth of waiting and working behind her to prove her point.

Clearly, Graham has no jinx-ability, as Chelsea Davis helped No. 22 Florida State rally past Georgia Tech.

It’s around the corner: UConn v. Notre Dame. Jim Fuller writes: Huskies need their bench to be the best. Curt Rallo writes: Irish need to keep foot on the gas

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

Rocks with Wings?” (If no, check it out.)

The Lady Chieftains are looking to make some noise: Shiprock ready to make a run under new head coach Larenson Henderson.

Speaking of 2000-01, the Utes are 6-0 — the first time since their run into the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in ’01.

“We just love to play, and I think we play really good together,” junior Michelle Plouffe said of the hot start. “Our chemistry on the court and off the court is just top notch. It’s the best it’s been since I’ve been here, and it just shows out there.”

This could be an interesting game: From Jim Massie, Buckeyes gear up for speedy Tar Heels

The North Carolina women’s basketball teams always play the game at a pace that would warm the heart of a greyhound with a mechanical rabbit in its crosshairs.

So when 16th-ranked Ohio State takes the court against the No. 22 Tar Heels tonight in Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C., surprise should have nothing to do with anything in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game. (ESPN3)

The Huskers ain’t skeered of no turtles: NU women look to stand tall against Terps

Don’t make out Wednesday’s tilt with No. 11 Maryland to be too daunting for the Nebraska women’s basketball team.

Since coach Connie Yori’s arrival in 2002, the Huskers have beaten 25 teams in the AP Top 25 — including six in the top 10. So No. 21 Nebraska (5-1) has faced and slain giants before.

DWhoops has a preview of tonight’s Duke v. Michigan game.

The dismantling of the Big East continues: Louisville to the ACC.

Oh, yeah, dey be Flyin’: Dayton new No. 1 in mid-major poll.

MTSU’s Kortni Jones gets one last shot vs. Lady Vols, which gives Graham an opportunity to offer up this on her teammate: Ebony Rowe rules court, classroom

Few people can stop Ebony Rowe when she gets going.

On the basketball court, that reality is most definitely Middle Tennessee’s gain. The latest in a long line of undersized and overlooked All-America candidates for the Blue Raiders, Rowe is a relentless force in the post. She put up 25 points and 16 rebounds in 40 minutes in her first college game, against Big East member South Florida, three seasons ago, and has yet to ease off the throttle. The 6-foot-1 forward averaged a double-double as a freshman and again as a sophomore. And through the first five games of her junior season, wouldn’t you know it, she’s averaging 19.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.

For Janay Brinkley, on the other hand, it’s not such a great thing off the court. It seems the Blue Raiders teammates, roommates and best friends can’t go anywhere in the car without Rowe, a physics major who plans to pursue a career in engineering, interrupting whatever music or conversation might be under way to explain why, for example, the exit ramp they are in the process of taking was designed the way it was.

Read Full Post »

…with all 16 teams in Round 1 action.

All of the teams, including Delaware, Georgetown, Iowa, MTSU, and North Carolina, officially begin their path to March Madness. The Preseason WNIT helps prepare them with a three-game guarantee and a tournament-playoff atmosphere. The teams that play for the WNIT title will play four games, with the Championship Game televised live on CBS Sports Network at 4 p.m. ET Sunday, Nov. 18 at one of the participating schools.

To get up-to-date scores and news of Preseason WNIT games, visit www.womensnit.com and click on “Sign up for WNIT Pocket Updates.” You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to use #wnit when posting any Twitter messages.

Friday’s schedule:

Round 1 Games
(All 2011-12 team records in parentheses)

Friday, Nov. 9, 2012

Davidson (22-10) at North Carolina (20-11), 5 p.m. ET

Northern Illinois (14-17) at Iowa (19-12), 6:30 p.m. ET

Kennesaw State (14-17) at Middle Tennessee (26-7), 6:30 p.m. ET

Liberty (24-9) at Duquesne (20-12), 7 p.m. ET

Sacred Heart (25-8) at Georgetown (23-9), 7 p.m. ET

Grambling State (15-15) at Memphis (25-8), 8 p.m. ET

Sam Houston State (18-12) at Delaware (31-2), 8 p.m. ET

Morehead State (10-19) at Illinois State (19-13), 8 p.m. ET

Winners of Friday’s games advance to play in Round 2 games Sunday. The losers of Friday’s games will move to Consolation Rounds 1&2, details of which will be announced Saturday, Nov. 10.

Read Full Post »

From the fundraising site indiegogo:

Who else is involved

Debbie Antonelli, one of the nation’s most esteemed women’s basketball analysts, has agreed to narrate the film.  Bill Jackson, an Emmy-winning Hollywood sound mixer, has agreed to do the sound mix for the film.  They are both very talented and I’m excited to have their help.

Missed the first post about this documentary by Angela Gorsica Alford (Vandy/USA Basketball)

Granny’s Got Game is a documentary film about a senior women’s basketball team in North Carolina. These seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies battle physical limitations and social stigma to keep doing what they love. They started playing 6-on-6 basketball in the 1950s but stopped after high school as there were no opportunities to keep playing in those pre-Title IX days.  Now they must learn a new, physical style of play while overcoming the skepticism of their peers. The team has had great success together over the last two decades, winning a multitude of medals in tournaments across the country.  Just like so many younger sports teams, this one includes a bossy captain, a guard who never runs the plays correctly, a tentative post player, and a benchwarmer who wants to play more than anyone.  As teammates and friends, they support each other off the court through the difficulties that accompany aging, such as breast cancer and widowhood. These women are more than a team…they are a family. The film follows them for a yearlong season culminating in a nearly disastrous trip to the National Senior Games Championship in Houston, Texas.

If you want so support the film (donation amounts start at $10) click here.

Read Full Post »

the ACC/SEC/BEast Conference tourneys turn out, the #1 and #2 seeds could radically change.

Start your viewing pleasure tonight with Miami v. Duke, 7pm on the 3.

I’m not ignoring North Carolina and Kansas — really I’m not…. BUT:

Harvard has another shot at the Tigers.

Missouri State (18-6, 13-3 MVC) could build on a good season when they play the Sycamores.

Fairfield needs to finish strong if they want to battle Marist – they play Joe Logan’s Greyhounds.

Creighton is dealing with some off-court coach stuff and Northern Iowa is not having the kind of follow-up to the 2010-11 season they wanted — makes for an interesting 9:30pm game on the 3.

Read Full Post »

you know, blogging, so it took me a while to get to the big upset of yesterday… which, when you look at the box is quite easy to explain: Free throws and fouls.

Great, great back-and-forth game between #8 Maryland and #6 Miami, and it wasn’t Williams or Johnson who pushed the Hurricanes to victory, but Yderstrom.

Vandy couldn’t take advantage of their big win over TN and got handled by the Bulldogs.

It was reeeeeally, reaaaally close, but #23 Georgia Tech continued North Carolina’s misery, 56-54.

Loyola (MD) (12-13, 8-6MAAC) surprised the heck out Fairfield (18-7, 11-3), 55-48.

Nice, if not important, win for ODU (9-16, 6-7 CAA) over UNC-Wilmington (15-9, 8-5).

Indiana missed out on their first Big Ten win by one point.

The worst thing about the Border Showdown was not the score (KState 47, K 43), but the injury to Jayhawk Carolyn Davis.

VCU v. James Madison was the expected dogfight: Dukes over Rams, 65-64.

There was a moment during halftime when UCLA had visions of upsets dancing in their heads. Then N.O. said, “No.”

Both UTEP and Middle Tennessee won to stay fer-0 in conference play.

Read Full Post »

damned if you don’t when it comes to the question of parity in women’s basketball: if you say, “Look at all the ranked teams that lost (many to unranked teams)” folks will say, “The ranked teams aren’t that good,” or “it’s a down year for women’s basketball.”

Of course, if all the ranked teams win, then they’ll say, “There’s no parity.”

So, Sunday, clearly the ranked teams aren’t that good:

#9 Ohio State lost to Minnesota (12-11), 76-65.

#19 Penn State lost to Michigan State (13-9), 83-77.

Yes, #12 Rutgers had Rushdan go down (hopefully temporarily), but how do you only score 36pts in your loss to #16 Georgetown?

Ranked, and lucky to escape with a win:

#13 Texas A&M by 2 over Iowa State (11-8).

#16 Delaware by 7 over James Madison (15-5).

#24 Georgia Tech by 9 over Clemson (5-14)

#25 North Carolina by 4 over Wake Forest (12-9).

In the spirit of “there’s no parity in women’s basketball:”

#6 Kentucky over Alabama by 14.

#8 Miami over Boston College by 31.

#9 Tennessee over #15 Georgia by 17.

#21 Nebraska over Illinois by 20.

Conference undefeated UTEP over UCF by 29.

Conference undefeated Marist over Sienna by 11.

Read Full Post »

Coach Hatchell says her team didn’t quit, they just got frustrated. I can understand why UNC might have been frustrated — getting blown out on national television can do that to you (and goodness knows, every ranked team has pummeled one team or another into dust).

But, when you are getting beaten every which way but loose, viewers start to assess you by how you handle it — and I think Lobo’s comment in the first half about “not sprinting back on defense” says a lot about the state of mind of the Tar Heels.

I’m also thinking Hatchell may regret her “Stringer-esque” ramble about “physical play,” if only for the reason that it will probably inspire some “you want some whine with that cheese” responses. Like, say, this one from Jeff Jacobs

She said she wasn’t criticizing officiating. She was talking philosophically. And on and on she went … about scoring in volleyball and soccer.

It was all well and good, but here’s the problem. This game wasn’t physical at all. At some point, you had to wonder, was she using the occasion as a soapbox to change the game or, more probably to deflect attention away from a truly hideous beating.

In other (more interesting) games:

Maine got a huge win, beating Vermont 70-60. This doesn’t make the Black Bears world beaters (they’re 1-4 in the Am. East), but it may be indications that they’re moving in the right direction.

Another fun name to type: The Retrievers moved to 4-1 in the American East with their 71-59 win over Hartford. The Hawks are having no fun this year – they’re 10-9, 1-4 in conference play.

In a match up of American East undefeated, it was BU using a strong second half to take down Albany, 58-54.

New head coach Jenny Palmateer (Hey – did we catch this WATN? Olympian and Maryland great Jazz Perazic - who I had the pleasure to meet at the WBHOF induction a couple of years ago – is an assistant) has Monmouth at 4-2 in the NEC (of course, it was courtesy of the victory-challenged St. Francis (NY)).

It looks like Sacred Heart has (for the moment) displaced perennial NEC champ St. Francis (PA) — the Pioneers stomped the Red Flash by 29.

Joy for first round tourney attendees – Hampton is 5-0 in the MEAC. Don’t pack your dancing shoes too early (’cause Hampton does have a fab band), Florida A&M is also 5-0, while Howard sits at 5-1. Hampton faces Howard on the 23rd and will have to wait until Feb 25th to battle FAMU.

The Lady Flames gave the Buccaneers their first Big South loss – both stand at 4-1 in conference play. New head coach Jennifer Hoover (ex-Cal assistant) has High Point atop the league at 5-0.

Ouch. The Illini missed their first Big 10 win by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin.

Eastern Illinois now stands at 4-0 in the Ohio Valley conference. Morehead State (yes, THAT Morehead State) sits at 4-1, and they’ll meet Feb 4th.

In the meeting of the Dakotas del sur, it was the Jackrabbits over the Coyotes. SD State is 7-1 in the Summit with Oral Roberts (who have the Jacks their one conference loss) lurking at 5-2.

That’s the Bengals of Idaho State (hey, if you’re a Judy Garland fan, you get a kick out of games being played in Pocatello) sitting at 5-0 in the Big Sky with their 78-63 win over Portland State.

The Terps shook off their post-loss hangover and defeated Virginia, 68-61.

Read Full Post »

South Carolina took a huge lead in the first, and built on in it the second, stomping their way to a 79-48 win over North Carolina.

NC State took a good lead into the second, and held off a furious Vandy comeback and gave the Commodores their first loss of the season, 66-59.

In a back-and-forth game, a CLUTCH three-pointer by Carter capped a huge comeback by Texas A&M. The Aggies took down USC — but honestly, all eyes are on Jackie Gemelos, who went down with a knee injury.

The Red Foxes go down again and the Bonnies are 10-1.

The Penguins win again!

Fun, fun game between Kentucky and Notre Dame. Not much defense, lots of offensive fouls, some painful missed layups,  a key foul-out  (some extra curricular stuff) and Diggins didn’t disappoint. Result? The Irish come away with the 92-83 win.

With one bold decision to launch the basketball skyward and an afternoon otherwise spent protecting it like it had a Secret Service code name, Skylar Diggins made sure there was one fewer member of the undefeated club by the end of Sunday’s game between No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 7 Kentucky.

Just how hard she and the Fighting Irish had to fight to do so suggests the club of championship contenders extends to Lexington.

Don’t let the final score (65-61) fool ya — Baylor/UConn was just as fun. A back-and-forth battle, electric atmosphere, and a great showcase for Griner (and not a bad one for Hartley and Simms). Bears win, time to start the “will they go undefeated” chatter!

“You’re not just playing the current UConn team, you’re playing a very proud tradition,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “No matter how good we play, they’re not going to go away.

“I don’t want to keep using the phrase ‘I saw a team grow up’; I think we’re grown now. But we still have lots of things to do. It was the first time we’ve beaten Connecticut; we’ve played them three times now. I’ve never coached a team that’s done that.”

Read Full Post »

’cause the Saturday games were worth it.

#1 Tennessee moved into their first Elite Eight since ’08 by holding off a revitalized and feisty #4 Ohio State. After coach Summitt’s…. impressive halftime speech propelled the Vols to victory, Graham wrote: “Ohio may just want to close its southern border at this point.”

#2 Notre Dame had little trouble with #6 Oklahoma, taking down the Sooners 78-53. Said Sherri post-game: “Maybe they don’t get enough credit for their defense because their offense is so salty.”

Did you wanna know “who dat?” for some of the heroines of the ND and TN games? Check out Graham’s: Unheralded players become elite.

Anyone who’s watched #7 Louisville knows that you live by the Shoni and, sometimes, you die by the Shoni. There was no magic for the frosh against #11 Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs’ 76-69 win means I can type “Vandersloot” again, and that makes Steve happy. He ain’t the only one. Writes Mechelle:

Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves summed up the effect that his point guard, Courtney Vandersloot, has not just on the outcome of a game, but on those watching it.

“She’s mesmerizing,” Graves said. “It’s hard to take your eyes off her.”

Like Tennessee, #1 Stanford was down to #5 North Carolina and, like the Vols, the Cardinal fought back to claim the victory. “This is one of those classic survive and move on,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. Mechelle says, thank the sisters.

Can’t wait for tonight’s Elite Eight!

Read Full Post »

on Kim’s Daily News site.

Also, at ESPN, Graham writes “Lady Vols look to make statement”

The more things change, the more we wait to see whether they stay the same for Tennessee.

The locker room top-seeded Tennessee occupies for Saturday’s Sweet 16 game against No. 4 seed Ohio State (ESPN, noon ET) is the same one it occupied four years ago at University of Dayton Arena, an instance of history repeating itself that allowed longtime team trainer Jenny Moshak to sit in the same spot along one wall Friday morning while the Lady Vols waited for their turn to practice, as she had while players endured similar waits four years ago in the Sweet 16. Pat Summitt is most definitely the same, save for a couple of additional championship rings now in her possession. Even the infamous ramp that leads to and from the locker room is familiarly steep.

Check out the Ohio State v Tennessee and and the Notre Dame v. Oklahoma previews.

Did you catch Graham and Mechelle’s piece Breaking down the Sweet 16.

Mechelle also has Versatility is Pedersen’s calling card

Did you ever face one of those miserable-weather days in the winter when you were chilled to the bone? And maybe you thought to yourself, “Why do I live here? I’m moving somewhere warm.”

Of course, many people think that … but don’t actually do it, right? But Gary and Kelli Pedersen, then living in Flint, Mich., felt that way once and decided to do something about it.

“We had an ice storm, and I couldn’t get either car out of the garage,” Gary remembered. “And I said to my wife, ‘Remember that place we went on vacation? Let’s just pack up and move.’”

At espnW Michelle Smith has Gonzaga’s fairy-tale tournament

At the beginning of the season, Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves told his team a fairy tale. We’re not saying it started with “Once upon a time.” But we’re not saying it didn’t, either.

“I told them the story about how, 10 years ago in Spokane, a little blond-haired girl — the kind of girl who was something special, the kind that people don’t see all the time — led her team to the Final Four.”

That little blond girl was Jackie Stiles, the former Southwest Missouri State star, whose transcendent performance in Spokane a decade ago helped her team become the last non-BCS conference team to reach a women’s Final Four.

Read Full Post »

Point guards lead the way in Sweet 16

We may be living in the year of the quarterback, but March will always be the month of the point guard.

When the Sweet 16 gets under way on Saturday afternoon, some of the biggest stars on the court will be the smallest players on the court. From eight standout seniors looking to play at least one more game to four freshmen who appear ready to battle for bragging rights for years to come, the weekend’s most intriguing subplots may come from duels between players who do considerably more than merely bring the ball up the floor.

Read Full Post »

of basketball. Tonight’s crew is going to have to pull out the stop to match’em. Mechelle sizes up the games.

Every team except Green Bay that will be playing in the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament Tuesday night has previously been to the Sweet 16. Even though for some of them, it has been a long time.

That includes No. 3 seed Miami, which faces sixth-seeded Oklahoma on Tuesday for a trip to the Dayton Regional semifinals.

About last night:

The Stomp:

#1 Stanford was pushed in the first, but pulled away in the second behind their sister act to take down the #9 Red Storm, 75-49. Writes Michelle Smith:

Connecticut. Tennessee. Duke. Texas. DePaul. Gonzaga. UCLA. Xavier. Rutgers.

All have been to Maples Pavilion in the last four years. None of them have won.

Now add St. John’s to that list.

The Stanford seniors bade farewell to their beloved home court Monday night in impressive style, as the top-seeded Cardinal overcame an early eight-point deficit to blow past ninth-seeded Red Storm, 75-49.

So it’s time for the final tally: 63-0. Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen walked off the floor for the last time in their careers never having experienced the disappointment of a home-court loss.

The Semi-Stomp:

#2 Notre Dame took a lead into the half and maintained it through the second half to defeat the #10 Owls, 77-64.

Notre Dame had the impressive NCAA tourney resume.With a dominating inside game Monday night, the Fighting Irish just padded it some more.Their 77-64 victory over Temple advanced the Irish to the regional semifinals for the ninth time, and second in a row.It wasn’t exactly easy as Temple refused to quit, pulling within five points early in the second half and within nine late thanks to a defense that forced 19 turnovers. But when they needed a play, the Irish got it.

Almost a stumble:

It’s not as if #1 Tennessee was totally out of sorts as much as it was that #8 Marquette simply would not stop. Writes Mechelle:

…for a while, it looked like the Golden Eagles just might be able to pull what would have been one of the bigger upsets ever in the women’s NCAA tournament. Not because Marquette isn’t a strong team; the Golden Eagles proved they were. But because Tennessee has been impossible to beat at home in Thompson-Boling Arena in NCAA tournament games.

That record remained intact, but not until after the Orange Nation probably needed to munch on a Tums or two.

It was a tale of halves: the first one went to #6 Penn State, the second to #3 DePaul, as the Blue Demons survived, 75-73. PA native Keisha Hampton’s free throws were the difference. Writes Graham:

The NCAA tournament isn’t sentimental. It’s thrilling precisely because it’s ruthless, an unfeeling entity that exists not to reward the valiant or the deserving but simply the team that scores more points.

If you want a happy ending, you have to go out and write it yourself. And DePaul junior Keisha Hampton wrote one for her seniors Monday night.

#2 Duke was down, then up, then survived as Marist gave’em all they could handle, even after losing their best player to an ankle injury. From DWHoops.com:

Incredibly, Marist’s resolve hardened even further when their star guard Erica Allenspach when down with an injury and did not return. The Red Foxes pushed the lead to 11 on a couple of occasions and still led by 6 late in the game, but Chelsea “The Closer” Gray led the late charge, along with key baskets from Jasmine & Krystal Thomas. The mantra from the players after the game was simply “Survive and advance”. Duke played poorly for much of the game but their experience, toughness and resolve allowed them to ultimately prevail.

#5 Georgia Tech had a slim halftime lead over #4 Ohio State, but Lavender said, “Nope.” (Um, AP editor? How do you let someone get away with a sentence like this: “MaChelle Joseph said when Lavender got untracked, the game shifted.”

“She is the best post player in the country, and one of the top three players,” Joseph said. “She was aggressive in the second half. In the first half, she was a little passive, setting picks outside away from the basket. But then they started getting the ball to her on the block.”

The Trip Ups

#5 North Carolina was up on #4 Kentucky by 10 at the half and won by 12. I don’t know that I’m surprise the Wildcats fell, but I’m slightly surprised it was the Tar Heels who took’em down.

“We just haven’t had a game like that that our team just wouldn’t go to the boards,” Mitchell said. “We just got caught standing in the middle. So we wouldn’t go rebound, jogging back, it was a real uncharacteristic game for us. That’s why I’m so disappointed I could not get the team motivated to play North Carolina.”I thought it was a very pathetic performance in transition. When you let North Carolina get out and go 3-on-1 and you’re just jogging back; lights out, you’re done. It was one of the most disappointing performances I’ve ever seen from our team here at Kentucky.”

The Bruins were up by three over the Bulldogs, but Standish and Vandersloot put down the hammer and pushed #11 Gonzaga to a 89-75 win over #3 UCLA. (Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history — men or women — to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career.) Write Mechelle:

…no one can argue that Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves has built a terrific program in Spokane, and Vandersloot has been the centerpiece. The senior guard was sensational Monday: 29 points, 17 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals. During the game, she scored the 2,000th point of her career. Are you watching, WNBA scouts?

And it’s not too often that a player could score 30 points and be overshadowed by her teammate, but Gonzaga’s Kayla Standish was. Not that she minded.

Read Full Post »

Writes Mechelle: Miami, Florida State eye first ACC title – Seminoles to test Canes’ perfect 19-0 mark in Coral Gables this season

“It is a huge game,” Meier said of Florida State’s visit to Coral Gables. “We’re not Triangle schools in the ACC. We’re not Duke or North Carolina or NC State. We’re not Wake. I know what it means to be in that group. But also know what it means to come from the ‘perimeter,’ and challenge that.

“I’m proud and happy for Sue. I love her team, and I know she feels the same about my team. I think it’s pretty awesome, and it’s great for women’s basketball that we’re rising up to say, ‘Hey, the ACC goes from south Florida to Boston.’”

Read Full Post »

North Carolina State is so shorthanded they had to borrow a player from the cross country team.

It’s been a tough season for the Wolfpack, with far too many “almost a win”s. So I’m guessing last night’s 88-72 stomping of #13 North Carolina must have tasted mighty sweet.

“We’ve been telling our kids all year to hang in there, we were going to get a big win, to keep fighting, it was going to happen,” the second-year coach said. “And I thanked them after the game. I thanked them for believing and having faith in what our staff was saying because it finally paid off.”

Nothing sweet about the schellacking #4 Tennessee laid on the Bulldogs.

#16 Miami continues its hot play, taking down Wake Forest by 28.

#24 Marist was equally dominating, winning by 41, but #23 Iowa State needed overtime to defeat the (likely to miss the NCAAs) Longhorns.

Prairie View A&M whacked fellow SWAC member AR-Pine Bluff 99-38. That puts the Panthers’ in-conference record at 11-3.

Loyola (MD) smacked fellow MAAC member Manhattan, 60-45. The Greyhounds are now 14-2 in the conference.

Florida Gulf Coast came back in the second half to defeat Stetson 64-59, and a WNIT berth looms.

Hampton handled Florida A&M, 88-49. They now sit at 13-1 in MEAC and have won the regular season title.

The Golden Grizzlies rallied late to take down the Bison, so Oakland’s 11-5 in the Summit. Makes the race to the conference title interesting, since IPFW (12-4 conf) lost to the Jackrabbits (11-6) on (ouch) senior night.

Whoops! Georgia South (12-16/9-10) surprised conference-mate Appalachian State (22-5/16-3), 67-57.

Read Full Post »

Or might have been, if Ariana Morer didn’t hit a buzzer-beater to avoid a FIFTH overtime. It was Virginia over NC State, 94-92.

Sometimes the numbers lie: #11 Maryland shot over 50% and won the battle of the boards, but Miami’s Shenise Johnson couldn’t care less. She went off for 30pts and the #21 Hurricanes came away with the upset. The DC BasketCases called it a “Tale of two Halves.”

I know it’s all the rage to wonder what’s up with Ohio State, but I kinda have the same question about #18 Kentucky, especially after the Wildcats lost to the suddenly surging South Carolina.

The UW women got their first sweep of Cal since ’04-’05.

LSU free throwed…threw… used free throws to squeak by Auburn.

It’s Tigers v Lions in a key Ivy match-up tonight.

The Ducks, says Rob Moseley of the Register-Guard, reached a new low in their loss to UCLA.

That makes 10 in a row for the Northern Iowa women.

Not to be out done, that’s 49 Pac-10 wins in a row for the Cardinal.

We’ve heard this before: “Sloppy” and “Tennessee.” We’ve also seen the result: Lady Vol victory.

In a battle of the States, Michigan took it to Penn and Anthony Odoradi thinks Merchant should be a household name.

North Carolina enjoys playing Clemson.

Read Full Post »

is Graham:

Monday

Duke at North Carolina (ESPN2/ESPN3.com, 7 p.m. ET): The Blue Devils have won just once in their past six trips to Chapel Hill, so home-court advantage isn’t without meaning. In terms of trends that have more to do with the players currently on hand, we might know how things are going to go by the second television break. In North Carolina’s three losses, its opponents averaged 52.3 percent in the first half. Only Georgia Tech didn’t eclipse 50 percent en route to victory, and it got to the free throw line 20 times before halftime. As for Duke, the less said the better about its first half at Connecticut last week. The Blue Devils attempted just five 3-pointers in Thursday’s 82-58 victory against Miami, their fewest all season and the first time in single digits.

Tennessee at Kentucky: It’s a road game for Tennessee against perhaps its closest challenger, and it’s a game in which Pat Summitt’s team is likely to still be without Angie Bjkorklund. In other words, SEC supremacy might not be on the line for Kentucky, but as a representative of the 11 teams chasing Tennessee, SEC self-respect is at stake. Kentucky wins games by dominating the turnover battle and surviving on the boards. That’s not a great matchup against a team that can survive a few turnovers, in part by winning the rebounding battle. Kentucky is 10th in the SEC against the 3-pointer. Can the Lady Vols’ Taber Spani, coming off back-to-back 18-point performances and a 10-of-17 effort on 3-pointers in the past four games, stay hot?

Read Full Post »

UNC

Breland-free in (area near) D.C.

Read Full Post »

as North Carolina hosts UConn.

Graham, of course, has the game tucked within his “Watch to watch for in the week ahead” blog entry.

Connecticut at North Carolina (ESPN2/ESPN3.com, 7 p.m. ET): The Huskies picked apart the Tar Heels the past two seasons, showing what happens when a team that relies on size, speed and forcing mistakes meets a team with equal size and speed that doesn’t get flustered.

The Tar Heels still aren’t going to run away from the Huskies, and Geno Auriemma’s young team has shown it isn’t easily flustered, but the size could be a factor with Tina Charles out of the mix — assuming the ACC side holds onto the ball long enough to get it into the post or get shots up to allow for offensive rebounding opportunities.

Some articles on the match-up:

UConn women game day, Post
Huskies will face Tar Heels without Walker, Courant
Auriemma on his heels heading to North Carolina, Register
Hayes’ injury leads to questions, Day
Breland back for Tar Heels, Bulletin
Tar Heels, schedule to be put to UConn test, Charlotte Observer
Tar Heels get a home court shot at Connecticut tonight, Independent News
Tar Heels women await No. 2 Huskies, News Observer
Lucas relishes chance to finally beat UConn, Las Vegas Review

 

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

The Red Foxes knocked off #21 Big Red. I’m guessin’ they’re hoping what happens in Vegas DOESN’T stay in Vegas.

And how about’em undefeateds:

Arkansas (11-0) knocked off #12 Oklahoma.

Boston College (11-0) over NC-Willmington.

North Carolina (11-0) over South Carolina.

UCLA (9-0) over Hawai’i.

Xavier’s undefeated, going into a big game v. undefeated Duke, Tuesday, 7pm. (The contest will be aired live on http://www.GoDuke.com via GoDuke Inside Access.)

Oh, and Florida Gulf is 8-0.

Read Full Post »

putting the past in the past and welcoming the present:

Jordan Barncastle ready to move on

There was no apology from Baylor’s Brittney Griner to Texas Tech’s Jordan Barncastle at Big 12 media day. In fact, the two didn’t talk or even see each other.

Barncastle was on the receiving end of the punch from Griner that went viral last March. The 6-foot-8 dunking sensation broke Barncastle’s nose after the two tussled in the lane during a game in Lubbock, Texas.

Griner, who was suspended two games, issued a general apology for her actions, but she hasn’t told Barncastle directly that she’s sorry.

“I have not crossed paths with her,” Barncastle said Wednesday. “The Baylor team went in the early session this morning. Maybe by coincidence, maybe not, we were in the later session.”

Jessica Breland ready to return

Jessica Breland doesn’t mind the prodding questions about her health. The North Carolina forward is getting comfortable taking a front-and-center position in the fight against cancer.

Back on the basketball court 1½ years after being diagnosed with the disease, she wants others to find hope in her comeback story.

“A lot of people wouldn’t want to kind of put their business out there, probably, but I think it’s for a good cause,” Breland said Tuesday. “Every time I talk to someone about the cancer stuff, I can just tell that their spirits are uplifted — especially young kids.

“I get something back in return from it, because I experienced it,” she added.

Read Full Post »