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It’s a battle between the Rutgers and the Kansas State folks. From Mechelle: Controversy swirls at Kansas State

Leticia Romero sits in a Starbucks, about 4,600 miles away from her home in Spain’s Canary Islands. It’s a gray afternoon, an average April day in Kansas.

For the Kansas State breakout freshman star, this is her first spring in the Little Apple. It also appears to be her last.

A 5-foot-8 guard, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, Romero wears a purple Kansas State shirt. Which — all things considered — seems ironic. “This last month has been really frustrating,” Romero said. “And right now, I’m in a position where I don’t know what to do.”

That position happens to be at the center of yet another NCAA-at-a-crossroads issue, as amateurism has become the story of the past college sports year. We’ve seen Oklahoma’s Pastagate, Johnny Football’s autograph scandal and Northwestern players’ attempt at unionizing. But Romero’s situation touches on another hot-button issue — the NCAA’s transfer rules.

In the W:

Ouch: Devereaux Peters out indefinitely

No surprise, but…sadness: Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn to retire after 2014 season

On the move: Dream add depth with the acquisition of veteran Swin Cash

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I must believe the following are ESPN errors:

Marist over #20 Oklahoma, 76-69. How glad are the Foxes to have Casey Dulin back: 7 rebs, 7 assts, 17 points.

“Oh, my God! We’re so excited!” senior shooting guard Leanne Ockenden said after scoring 17 points to help the Red Foxes earn their first-ever triumph in Poughkeepsie against a top-25 team.

Rutgers over #16 Georgia, 61-58. Guess that’s what you get when you order up cupcakes for your OOC schedule.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was hoping her team would be ready for a top-25 challenge.

The Scarlet Knights answered with a thrilling 61-58 victory over No. 16 Georgia.

Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney each scored 18 points to help Rutgers hand Georgia its first loss of the season.

“We needed to have our confidence as this is a young group,” Stringer said. “This is a major game to find out how well we’re going to play at that level.”

#6 Stanford over #3 Tennessee, 76-70. TN was no match for Chiney.

Ogwumike was Tennessee’s biggest problem — she finished with 15 field goals and 11 offensive rebounds. The Lady Vols knew they had to stop her, but they couldn’t do it.

“She is the heart and soul of that team,” Warlick said. “She was just a force inside that we had trouble with all night. Rebounding is effort and positioning and knowing where the ball is coming off, and that’s what Chiney does. She’s just at the right place at the right time.”

But Ogwumike was hardly the only issue.

(Clearly, it was a good day to wear red.)

Some other teams almost became part of the error-fest:

#23 Syracuse over St. Joe’s – by 2. That’s four 20pt games in a row for the Orange’s Sykes.

#7 Louisville over #11 Colorado - by 7. And they needed every one of Shoni’s 30pts.

#13 Oklahoma State over Georgia Tech – by 8. Donohoe shines again.

#25 Gonzaga over Washington State - by 8.

Holding the party line:

#14 UNC over High Point, 103-71, as coach Hatchell watched.

#19 Nebraska over South Dakota, 87-53.

#22 Iowa over Drake, 73-51.

#24 Florida State over Long Beach, 72-57.

In other games:

Great win for the Hampton program: they take down Kansas State 86-75 (2OT)

Kids, don’t do this to your coach: Penn spotted Drexel 19. Then came back to win the game by two.

USC did a little better, spotting Hawai’i 10, winning by 11.

Who dat? The Illinois Chicago Flames, dat’s who! They’re #1 in the Horizon, and just took down Wisconsin, 58-56, thanks to a Rachel Story game-winning three-pointer with twenty seconds remaining. It’s the sixth win over Wisconsin in program history and the first in 34 seasons.

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basketball “stuff,” but it is cool how basketball can distract you from “stuff.”

So, I did manage to catch my first live Lib game of the season last Sunday. Thoughts:

  • Shout out to Hasim, the Lib’s media person, for being so welcoming. (RU! RU!)
  • It’s REEEEALLY easy to get lost in the bowels of the Rock.
  • Yes, back in the day there WAS a lot of media at Lib games. Not so much now. But it still was heartening to see some familiar (stubborn) faces doing what they want to do – and love to do – in service of the game and players.
  • Speaking of someone who loves to do what she does: lovely chatting with coach Coyle. She knows next year will be a challenge, but is excited to be in the MAAC.
  • The best part of going to the game was seeing the “regulars” in the stands. And shouting “REEEEFFFFFFFF SCHOOOOOOOL!”
  • The game: The ESPN headline credits Cappie with the win over the Dream, but really it was Mini Mi and the Old Lady. Watching the 39-year-old Katie Smith dog Angel all game was a lesson in ferocity and stubbornness. Yes, Angel got her points, but on 4-16 shooting.
  • What about Mini Mi? Well, in the season preview, coach Bill stated he wanted “strong-minded women that want to be themselves, but want to play within the structure, and want to know where they stand every minute of every day.” Leilani Mitchell sure as heck knew where she stood at camp: “In front of everyone he said, ‘I don’t like small guards.'” Mitchell is generously listed as 5’5″. “It’s hard when your coach doesn’t have confidence in you.” Her response? Play with a sense of freedom and abandon. She made the team (to the surprise of some) and, while she only made one basket Sunday (a key 3), it was everything else she did that made an impression: 7 rebounds, 3 steals and +13. Which earned her praise from her not-short coach. And the fans.
  • Cappie looked outta sorts in the first half, her shots all coming up short, as if she had no legs. And then something clicked in the second half. After the game coach Laimbeer spoke about her leading by being part of the offense, “not just jacking up shots.” So I started wondering about her transition to working under a Laimbeer-esque coaching style and how that will impact her attitude and game-sense.
  • The rooks did good. Honestly, was there EVER a time when you could say, “The Lib have three rookies on the floor” and not have it because the game was outta reach? Favorite moment: Angel and Bone arm wrasslin’ each other for the ball. Bone does not let go, and Angel gets in to her face a bit, as if she believes a rookie should release control to an All-Star. Yap, yap, yap like my miniature Dachshund used to do at our bigger Kerry Blue. Bone just stood there, patiently, until her teammates stepped between the twosome.
  • Yes, it’s fun to watch the Dream get all emotional. But, while it’s tempting to draw a conclusion about their “chemistry,” don’t get fooled. It works for them. “That’s how they’ve always been,” said Smith post-game. The only thing “bad” I can see about Atlanta folks barking at each other or the refs is when they use their barking as an excuse not to get back on defense.

Speaking of Smith, the fabulous Jim Massie catches up: Former Buckeye Smith, 39, still climbing upward

Check in with L’Alien for more info on this past week’s games, like:  Charles dominates ice cold Fever

Check this week’s Top Plays. (Mark, you’d a very poor inspirational speaker…)

Other stuff:

Ah, yes, INJURIES!!! John Altavilla writes: Short WNBA Rosters Are A Problem For Sun, Other Teams. On a related note, Pilight wonders: Is there enough talent for WNBA expansion? The Rebkellians discuss.

Kwai Chan at the Meniscus: WNBA 2013: One year, big difference for the Washington Mystics

There is no jumping or shouting in the Verizon Center…yet.  But what a difference a year makes for the Washington Mystics, who defeated the Minnesota Lynx, 85-80.

Mike Thibault, who has the most wins of any active coach with 209-135 (.608) record in the last 10 years, is the new head coach of the Mystics.  Eight of the 12 players on the 2012 roster are gone, and have been replaced by four rookies and three veterans.  With these changes, one would think that just getting a team on the floor would be an accomplishment in itself.

Not so much fun being in Indiana these days: Fever not feeling, looking like champions – Defending WNBA titlists are off to 1-4 start, worst 5-game start since 2001

Michelle says: Griner’s popularity reels in fans

It’s more than two hours before tipoff at U.S. Airways Center on Memorial Day, and a Phoenix Mercury staff member is erecting a banner of Brittney Griner that shows the exact physical dimensions of her height and wingspan and the size of her hands and feet.

Immediately after he is done, a group of kids rush over and put their hands and feet up against the banner to compare.

The big girl is a big deal here.

From Media Planet:  WOMEN IN SPORTS: NO LONGER ON THE SIDELINES: Title IX opened the gates for female athletes—a halo effect empowered women to own, manage and work in the once male-dominated industry.

Case in point: Laura Gentile, espnW vice president, launched the digital initiative as a voice for women who love sports. “One of the best parts of starting this business was connecting women in sports to discuss issues and work together. Women have made a lot of strides,” she adds, ticking off names including WNBA’s president Laurel Richie and USA Today’s Christine Brennan. 

No Sancho? Williams is going to change things up a bit.

Prince leaves Chicago. Again.

No Ice, Ice Baby Tonight: From Odeen Domingo:#WNBA suspends @phoenixmercury Candice Dupree 1 game for making contact w/ game official Sat. Will not play tonight vs @LA_Sparks cc: @WNBA

All Star Voting Time! Who do YOU think deserves a $5000 bonus?

So what did you think of the Complaint Cam… I mean Borg Cam … I mean I Need my Dramamine Cam… I mean Ref Cam? WNBA debuts live high-definition ‘Ref Cam’. A ref speaks. And this: WNBA successfully debuts ref cam in Indy.

Nate keeps his promise: 2013 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year watch list: Weighing scoring & value added in the post-Bonner era

After a three year run of Sixth Woman dominance (it’s difficult to argue that anyone was snubbed in the three years she won the award), Connecticut Sun guard Renee Montgomery won the award last season in familiar fashion in the world of basketball awards: she had among the highest scoring averages of any reserve in the league on a team that won its conference.

However in a year in which Bonner is starting (for now?) and Montgomery will miss significant time due to injury (WNBA voters tend not to give awards to players who missed significant time, which is fair in 34-game season), there is a chance the award will go to someone who isn’t quite a dynamic scorer.

In college news:

Swish has Gary Blair, Jim Foster reflecting on their careers at induction ceremony and some Hall of Fame interviews: Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Jennifer Rizzotti, Annette Smith-Knight and Sue Wicks:

Who had the greatest influence on Wicks?

“When I was a professional in Europe, players I would see, the way they held themselves, the pride that they had, the way that they played in total obscurity most of the time, I modeled myself after them. Along the way I would find someone who had a quality I really admired and I would try and emulate them.”

Coming back from an ouch: CU Buffs’ Rachel Hargis healing after MCL tear

Bye: Beckie Francis out as Oakland women’s basketball coach and Mines, women’s basketball coach Felderman part ways

Ooops: NCAA bans UNO men’s and women’s basketball from 2013-14 postseason

Yikes: Memphis Tigers women’s basketball team loses four players – Starter Abdul-Qaadir off to Indiana State as grad transfer

Wow! Congrats! Meia Daniels named new HPU women’s basketball coach

“We are pleased to be able to promote Meia Daniels to our head coaching position as well as our Senior Woman Administrator (SWA),” said Howard Payne Director of Athletics Mike Jones. “She has been mentored by two outstanding coaches in Chris Kielsmeier and Josh Prock and was a great collegiate player. She knows how to win and how hard you have to work to be successful at this level. These experiences will serve her well as she enters this new phase of her career.”

As a player, Daniels was 109-12 over four seasons leading the Lady Jackets to three American Southwest Conference championships, four NCAA III national tournament appearances and a NCAA III National Championship in 2008. A 2008 graduate of Howard Payne, Daniels holds numerous HPU and ASC records and is second in career scoring at Howard Payne with 2,118 points.

Some of you may remember Howard Payne’s run to perfection in 2008 because of the WHB or from this piece.

From Storming the Floor:

“After the incredible, unprecedented run through the 2013 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament that Shoni and Jude Schimmel, Umatilla, led the Louisville Cardinals on, ICTMN reached out to some of the most amazing and historically important Native hoops players to get their thoughts on the state of Native basketball, how to succeed in life and where they’re headed next—including from the Sisters themselves. “Let’s give them something to talk about!,” we promised. And so we kicked off a Conversations With Champions series, sitting down with eight basketball trailblazers, champions and builders for some one-on-ones. Here is a recap of the series, in case you missed any of the engaging discussions. These are men and women you need to know.”

Thank you: Iconic Elba coach Nowak retires and  Elba girls basketball coach Tom Nowak retires – Popular basketball coach compiled a 457-133 record

“It was really very rewarding to have gone through generations of family,” said Nowak. “To see the dads play football for me and then their daughters playing basketball — maybe both parents and children winning sectional titles.”

In the 2011-2012 season, Nowak coached his girls to their first state championship in the program’s history. Fittingly, the Lancers earned a perfect 25-0 season in their quest for the Class D title in Nowak’s 25th year as coach.

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By SNL:

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Clemson fires coach Coleman

In other news:

From Kelly Kline at Full Court: SEC’s fresh faces make an immediate impact (part I)

From the ACC Tourney: Preeeeeetty!

From SMU: Rhonda Rompola’s conference championship run 30 years in the making

In 1981, the SMU women’s basketball team welcomed a junior transfer from Old Dominion.

Rhonda Rompola led the Mustangs in points with 683 total points per game with 21.3 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per game during the ’81-’82 season. She set and still holds school records for season scoring and free throw percentage.

A year later she graduated with a business degree, but… she never left. After graduating, she remained at SMU and worked as an assistant coach for eight years.

Thirty years after her arrival on the Hilltop, Rompola is the head coach of the Lady Mustangs and the team is experiencing one of its greatest season to date.

It’s a different kind of run: Stringer not ruling out WNIT

Unlike the last time the Rutgers women’s basketball team was in danger of missing the NCAA Tournament, coach C. Vivian Stringer is not dismissing the idea of accepting a WNIT berth if that is the fate that awaits Rutgers.

“I’m not going to say that we’re not going to go,” Stringer said after Thursday’s practice. “I’ll need to talk with my athletic director and our school and see what is best should that be an option. But to be honest with you, it’s not part of my DNA so I have not given even two seconds worth of conversation. I can’t think about that now. You’ve got to always think about doing what you can at the highest levels.”

Yah, we knew this: Marist perfectly situated in MAAC

Eighteen down. Three to go.

Having already turned in only the third 18-0 regular season by a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference basketball team — men’s or women’s — Marist College’s women will look to take the next step toward a perfect league season today, when the Red Foxes open the MAAC tournament in Springfield, Mass.

“Oh, we’re definitely excited,” said junior guard Leanne Ockenden, whose top-seeded Red Foxes (23-6) play in today’s 1:30 p.m. quarterfinals against No. 9 Manhattan. “We just want to get there and start playing.”

What’s this from Bleecher Report? Could Baylor’s Brittney Griner Play on a Men’s College Basketball Team?

The women’s game and the men’s game are comparable on several levels. At the core, both games are about dribbling, passing, cutting, shooting and working as a team. 

However, the differences are obvious. The best explanation for why a woman cannot play in the men’s game is that the game moves much faster. The players are much bigger, much stronger and much more physical. Almost too physical at times.

Jayda gives us this “good news” tweet: Jayda Evans@JaydaEvans  #WSU coach June Daugherty released from hospital. Not attending shoot-around/questionable for tonight’s gm v No. 4 Card

and this WATN? Kate Starbird, former basketball star, chooses a different route — as usual

Kate Starbird does what she can to brighten her dreary fourth-floor office at Sieg Hall. A picture of her newborn nephew is above her desk. A cluster of succulent plants sits below a window looking out onto the University of Washington campus.

Starbird, 37, is a first-year assistant professor in UW’s Department of Human Centered Design and Engineering and director of the Emerging Capacities of Mass Participation laboratory. In English, that means she teaches how social media is used in crisis situations and how to design better applications for digital volunteers.

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“wearin’ o’ the pink,” but at least we don’t have women dressed as bumble bees, RuPaul rejects and… well, I’m not sure WHAT this is. Athletes as Skittles?

On to the important stuff:

It wasn’t easy, but the CU Buffs slipped past Oregon on road. CU has its longest conference win streak since an eight-game streak from Jan. 12-Feb. 6, 2002.

As for the Ducks, freshman Jillian Alleyne a bright spot for struggling Oregon

The 18-year-old has recorded a team-high 10 double-doubles this season, and is one of just 39 players in NCAA Division-I women’s basketball to be averaging a double-double (13.1 points per game, 12 rebounds per game). She is just 41 rebounds shy of the single-season rebounding record set by former Duck standout — and former Oregon coach — Bev Smith.

All this has led Ducks coach Paul Westhead to say that he thinks Alleyne could be the best player to ever come out of Oregon, a distinction usually given to Smith.

More on the West Cost teams: Cooper, Westhead struggle in Pac-12

From the NBA legacies that defined their careers, to the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1980 championship, to WNBA titles, to Pac-12 women’s basketball, Michael Cooper and Paul Westhead represent a bevy of basketball intersections.

And now one more.

Both find themselves occupying the same awkward space, the subject of disappointment and “evaluation” by their respective athletic directors, who have to be seriously contemplating whether either will still be head coach next season.

At Southern California, the Women of Troy are having the toughest season of Cooper’s four-year tenure.

From Ryan Dunleavy: Rutgers women’s basketball NCAA hopes precarious

When it snapped an ill-timed four-game losing streak Tuesday night by beating South Florida, the Rutgers women’s basketball team added a few believers to a following clinging to hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth. The nation’s leading expert on the subject isn’t part of the crowd, however.

Richard Kent asks: What is C. Vivian Stringer’s future at Rutgers?

Stringer’s team (15-12, 6-8 Big East) boasts 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, many more than no. 1 Baylor and no. 2 Notre Dame, yet they have fallen to 9-18 Seton Hall and 10-17 Boston College and lost by 16 to Princeton of the Ivy League.

Her mentor, John Chaney, former Temple coach says that she doesn’t have top talent and that some of her assistants should be fired. Former Stringer player at Iowa, Nadine Domond, now running HoopGurlz for ESPN called her talent good, but not at a UConn or Baylor level.

One of the top coaches in the game was not bashful in saying that if Geno Auriemma had Stringer’s talent, Rutgers would be a Final Four team and if Stringer had the UConn players, they would struggle in the Sweet 16.

There’s a lot of coaching on Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli’s podcast. They also interview Notre Dame players Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride.

Another team hoping to be inside the bubble: UW women’s basketball team battling odds for NCAA ticket

In the past two weeks of a remarkable regular season, the Washington women’s basketball team played its worst game against Utah, lost consecutive road games and had three players suspended for its biggest game yet, Thursday’s matchup against No. 4 Stanford.

A finish with potential records and awards appears to be spiraling down faster than UW coach Kevin McGuff can put a plug in the drain.

Rob Clough at Full Court says: ACC scramble to the finish is critical for NCAA bids

As the ACC enters its final week, there’s not a lot of mystery regarding the top of the league. The only question left regarding Duke is whether or not they can run the table and finish 18-0. We’ll see how much motivation and emotion they can summon after beating Florida State and Maryland in the span of three days.  For the rest of the league, there’s still a good bit at stake, including jockeying for position in the ACC tournament and the potential for making statement wins to draw the eye of the NCAA selection committee.  I’ll also dole out my ACC awards. RPI information was culled from realtimerpi.com.

Also at FullCourt, Kelly writes: The last week will tell the tale in the SEC, Pac-12 and Big East

The final week of the NCAA regular season is kind of like the final episode of a reality show — a lot of drama is unfolding. Three major conferences (the Southeast, Big East and Pac-12) have yet to crown a regular season champion, which means the pressure will be on all through these final days.

Cal is close to sharing a title  in a tight PAC12 race.

They’ll will the Ivy regular season title, but Harvard made sure Princeton paid attention to the Crimson, giving the Tigers their first in-conference loss.

Yup: The Saint Bonaventure Bonnies: What a difference a year makes

In W news, as Bill rebuilds the Newark Shock, Mechelle says: Laimbeer puts personal touch on Lib – New York coach isn’t optimistic that Deanna Nolan will play this season

One thing you’d never call Bill Laimbeer is a sentimentalist. His Liberty team might have familiar faces from his days as Detroit’s coach. But that’s only because he thinks those players can help New York now. The past is past. He’s thinking of the future.

From Tulsa, Mike Brown has some words from the newest member of the Shock:

“I’m so excited to play in Tulsa,” Candice Wiggins said. “I want to thank the city of Minneapolis for all it’s given me. I want to thank the coaches, the players, the fans and people of Minnesota for their support. Tulsa is a warm place and I have always loved playing in the BOK Center. I’m excited be a part of this organization. I want to thank Tulsa for this golden opportunity for me to bring my talent to this righteous city.”

Nate says Tulsa scores in three team deal with Minnesota, New York

BTW: Sheeeeeee’s baaaaak: Mishicot High School graduate Wojta signs with WNBA’s Silver Stars

Need to keep up on the player movement? Go here.

And yes, it’s been One Nnek Of A Year

“The transitions have been quick and I’ve had to really get used to a different type of lifestyle so quickly,” Ogwumike said. “But it’s been so much fun going from playing my senior year, playing in the Final Four, then going straight to L.A. to play for the Sparks, then going straight from L.A. to Poland.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind.”

Did you know we’re Seven weeks away from WNBA history?

Mark your calendars: We’re exactly seven weeks out from the 2013 WNBA draft. For the first time in the league’s 17-year history, the draft will be carried live on prime time television (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Speaking of history: Bingham coach Ramussen, one of the all-time winningest coaches in state history steps down.

Rand Rasmussen already knows his son won’t understand.

The Bingham girls’ basketball coach is 39 wins away from breaking the state’s all-time record for victories.That’s basically two seasons for the Miners.

Why retire? Why now?

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As most of you know, it’s become an annual thing with me: get as many people as possible to join me at the Garden for the Maggie Dixon game.

We usually get a group rate ($40 each) and the seats have been super. I purchase the tickets, then mail’em out to you — and then you send along a check or hand me the big bucks at the game.

Details:
Sunday, December 9th. First game starts at 11am.
Louisiana Tech vs. Rutgers

Duke vs. St. John’s

If you want tickets, drop me a line at womenshoopsblog@gmail.com. I’m looking to put in an order this Friday.

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A Q&A with Coach Stringer about the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

When you think back on your life, how might it have been different with Title IX?

I didn’t have the advantage of a Title IX. As a result, I saw women in the more traditional roles (housewife, teacher, etc.). Now, you see women doing everything. They’re CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I think, with Title IX, I might have been given a full scholarship to play basketball. Think about it, maybe I would’ve wanted to become a doctor. Who knows? But I couldn’t have done that. Look at how many women simply couldn’t afford to go to college. I was a poor kid.

Another Q&A, this time with Ann Meyers Drysdale: The former basketball star, the first female athlete to receive a four-year scholarship from UCLA, discusses the landmark equal-rights legislation Title IX (passed 40 years ago) and her new memoir

Q: What athletic performance — your own included — would you point to as the ultimate validation of Title IX?

“For me, it has to be my own. . . . We didn’t have enough money for me to ever attend UCLA, but because of Title IX, I got an education at UCLA. I think my Pacers tryout is part of the history of Title IX, as well. I know Lynette Woodard, an All-American at Kansas, told me it gave her the courage to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters, and I’d hope it gave others the courage to pursue their dreams.”

Michelle Smith writes about a couple of folks who’ve benefited from Title IX: Guard play puts Sun atop East

Kara Lawson, in her 10th season in the league, is experiencing the best start of her career. Through Sunday, she is averaging 13.8 points a game (second on the team) and has scored in double figures in 10 straight contests. Through 12 games, she has established career-best numbers in scoring, minutes played (29.0), field goal percentage (52.5), 3-point percentage (47.1) and free throw percentage (94.9).

Lawson, in the best shape of her career after switching to a vegan diet late in 2011, is also motivated to avoid being brought off the bench again as she was last season.

“It wasn’t something that I liked, but I don’t think anybody likes that,” Lawson said. “Nobody grows up dreaming of coming off the bench or wanting to be a role player. Everybody wants an opportunity to play a significant role and I would expect nothing less.”

Missed Mechelle’s chat from last week, and she was in rare form:

Judith (Broiling in DC):  After the Mystics’ loss to NY on June 8 that dropped DC to 1-5, Trudi Lacey required every player on the the team to write her a letter, at least one-page long, about why the team couldn’t finish and was losing. Since then, they eked out a 1-point win over Indy (scoring only 7 points in the last quarter), were blown out by LA, and last night couldn’t beat the Mercury bench. If you were a Mystics player writing a letter today to Trudi, what would it say?

Mechelle Voepel: “Trade me, please?” But that woudn’t take up a whole page, unless I wrote in first-grade script. I just think the vibe there is hard to overcome. Although I guess you could say there are a few other WNBA teams now that aren’t experiencing roses and sunshine, either.

From Richard (you can tell he’s an Alien because he insists on adding extra vowels.): WNBA Today, 06/24/2012: Favourites all cement their superiority. Just.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday – it’s been a busy few days in WNBAlien-land. Everything should be back to normal next week. For now, we’re going to catch up on Friday night’s game, as well as everything that happened on Saturday. Everyone who was supposed to win eventually took care of business, but some of them did it with far greater ease than others.

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checking it twice.

Yup, it’s that time of year: planning for the Maggie Dixon Classic. Held at the Garden, this year’s double-header (11am, 1pm) features: La Tech (Spoon) v. Rutgers (CViv) and Duke (Coach P) and St. John’s (thenewguy).

I’m putting together a list of folks and will send out a “ya want?” email later on in the year. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with an awesome MSG person (oddly enough, not an oxymoron) who’s gotten us great seats at a generous group rate.

How it works: It’s an honor system. I collect a list of folks, and when it nears purchase time I send out a “confirming you do/don’t want tickets and how many?” email. When I get a total, I purchase a group of tickets. I then mail’em out (or hand deliver, in some cases) and you respond with a check or slip me some cash the day of.

If you’re interested in being part of the WHB Maggie Dixon Classic Horde (last year I think we numbered 53), drop me a note at Womenshoopsblog @ gmail.

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like Annie Meyers?

That means she (and the other 100%-ers) id’d the one upset of the day/night: Gonzaga v. RU in Spokane. (Is the seat getting warm in New Jersey?)

The results of the rest of the games, ESPN-link-free:

As anticipated, Texas was one and done.

Dawn had no trouble with James and the Eagles.

No reason Navy shouldn’t be proud of their effort against Maryland.

Close, but not quite for Princeton against K-State. Tweet of the night from Coach B: And our #32 takes a mid-term on the way back to Princeton. Tough day. http://yfrog.com/esf17pnj

It Fresno, Purdue was singing “It’s rainin’ threes!

Louisville kept Michigan State at a safe distance throughout the game.

Stanford (by 22) and UConn (by 36) move on.

A tale of two halves for Dayton, as Arkansas pulled away in the second.

There was a moment when the “other” Tennessee was led “that” Tennessee, but then the Vols said “enough.”

If Kentucky fans weren’t already concerned about their team, the fact that they “escaped” McNeese State, a 15-seed, should start them worrying.

Nice battle between DePaul and BYU, but Ms. Martin & Co. made sure the Blue Devils advanced.

Texas A&M kept the Great Danes at bay.

Even down a star, Miami had little trouble with the Bengals.

Green Bay ripped through the Cyclones.

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Debbie mentioned concussions as a current hot issue (or reality?) in women’s bball during her State of the (Basketball) Nation address. Case in point: Rutgers. Rushdan back, Wheeler out.

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last night’s game in Jersey was either gutty or gut-wrenching.

Depleted DePaul rode the hot hand of Anna Martin to a nice lead over Rutgers. Then turnovers, a missed field goal and Khadijah Rushdan’s end of game scoring streak spelled disaster for the Blue Demons: the Scarlet Knights win.

Hard to cheer against Gary Blair. Harder to cheer against Oklahoma State. Cowgirls pull off the 57-53 upset of # 14 Texas A&M.

Mechelle says the Big 12 about more than just Baylor, but I’m not sure of the overall (NCAA-level) quality of the teams.

Graham has his mid-majors poll and, picking up on Doug “The APWBall King”‘s theme, notes: Zags, BYU give WCC two entries

Speaking of the Zags: from the Spokesman-Review: Gonzaga’s Redmon proves her dedication

Ooops. Will this undermine the Miners? 2 UTEP guards suspended indefinitely

So, has there been some shaky play this season, or do we get to pull out the p-word? LSU had to go to overtime to escape with a 71-68 win over East Tennessee State.

From the Observer: ND’s Peters comfortable in her role and I missed this Hoops Across America entry from espnW: Love of the Irish drives volunteers

Xavier’s misery continues: Temple 64, Musketeers 38.

About those Idaho State Bengals: Ashleigh Vella: the wonder from “down under”

Ouch: BG coach Miller’s health ‘not 100 percent’

San Diego State remains undefeated in the MWC, and Nick Canepa writes: SDSU women’s basketball deserves show of support

What Beth Burns needs is a show to call her own. To be square, not necessarily The Show, the roaring, cunning group of San Diego State’s men’s basketball wackos, but maybe something along the lines of The Showups.

Speaking of San Diego — a little WATN? with Charity Shira of then-Southwest Missouri State’s Final Four team of 1992: Elliott has her NCAA Division II California-San Diego Tritons ranked No. 1 in the country

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but before Princeton goes up against Stanford next Saturday, they have a Tuesday game against DePaul.

17 miles away, the Blue Demons’ Sunday opponent, Tennessee, will square up against Rutgers. The game has been moved to ESPN, 7pm.

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Turnovers and fouls…

they’ll kill ya.

Of course, for Rutgers, it took two OTs before they collapsed under the weight of their 26TOs and Speed and Rushdan fouling out. (Not to mention Williams’ 36pts.) Made for an exciting game down in Miami.

“What an epic basketball game,” said UM coach Katie Meier. “I can’t believe the scenario of being down by 16 to such a great defensive team as Rutgers, down 40-24, and winning. You’ve got to have some really cocky and confident kids to look over at Rutgers, one of the greatest defensive teams in the game, and even think that we had a chance.

“But we just kept chipping away, and made huge timely plays. It usually takes me four hours to break down a film, but this one’s gonna take me 10.”

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but it was close. (Have you noticed the extra minutes seem to be taking toll on Kia: 25 minutes, 0 pts, +/-25?)

The end result? Washington took down the visiting Lib 91-81.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio ended their losing skid by hosting Tulsa (who, all credit to them, did not go down easy).

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yesterday:

Birdfan (Louisiana): Just watched NY hold Chi-town to 49 points and one in the 4th…not the most interesting game…what does Chi-town have to do to make it into the playoffs?

Mechelle Voepel: That game was gross, sorry. One point in the fourth quarter? Anybody got a Rutgers joke handy? Of course, the funny thing is that it was two former Scarlet Knights – Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson – who led the way for the Liberty against Chicago today. It’s going to be a race between the Sky and Dream to see who can get their act together well enough to grab that fourth playoff spot in the East. Chicago has to find some more consistent scoring options.

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Scarlet night past, bright days ahead

They are linked through a college experience in which they shared some triumphantly transcendent moments … and some frustratingly distracting ones, too.

Now, still quite young in their professional careers, former Rutgers teammates Essence Carson and Epiphanny Prince are WNBA All-Stars. Both are having a breakout kind of season, which merited their selections as reserves for Saturday’s game (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).

Looking at the photo…hmmmm…why do I have a sudden urge for candy corn??

Keeping with at Big East theme, from ESPN’s Page Two there’s a little on Rookie Hazing and  Sue Bird set for reunion at WNBA All-Star game

Saturday is the WNBA All-Star Game in San Antonio, but it will be more like a University of Connecticut family reunion.

For the Western Conference, four of the five starters — Swin Cash (2002), Maya Moore (2011), Diana Taurasi (2004) and Sue Bird (2002) — played for the Huskies. On the Eastern Conference side, Tina Charles (2010) is starting and Renee Montgomery (2009) is a reserve.

Page 2 had a chance to catch up with Bird, who has won a championship with UConn, an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA championship. Even though she’s been playing for the Seattle Storm since 2002, she still has a Connecticut cellphone number

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UCSB Names Carlene Mitchell New Head Coach

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This time it’s Rutgers: Daisha Simmons requests transfer from women’s basketball team and Nebraska (2nd player): Kellie McCann-Smith leaving NU women’s hoops team

Might be some coaches transferring, too: ODU balks at extension for women’s basketball coach Larry and the tweets are flying: SID Melissa Dudek says Boyle is not going, sources tell Jayda she is for a $1million gig and channel 7 says she’s a Cavalier.

Kristy Curry ain’t goin’ nowhere: Terms of Curry’s new contract released

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to the previous night’s drama. But yesterday did feature a significant upset as well as a couple other tasty surprises. Says our pal Doug Feinberg of AP: Two rounds done; women’s tourney full of intrigue:

The Stomps:

#1 UConn wasn’t working to earn style points, just survival points. Their defense stymied the #9 Boilermakers and Connecticut notched the win, 64-40. Writes Mechelle:

…next up is fifth-seeded Georgetown in the Philadelphia Regional semifinals. And there’s a possibility that the Huskies could also face a Big East team in the regional final (No. 3 DePaul) and the national semifinals (Dayton No. 2 Notre Dame).

UConn has not lost to a Big East foe since Feb. 5, 2007, when the Huskies fell 73-71 at Rutgers. The Huskies’ record in league play since 2005-06 is 93-3.

#7 Rutgers didn’t have the horses to keep up with Texas A&M’s Danielle Adams, and the Aggies moved on rather effortlessly, 70-48.

#9 West Virginia didn’t have the horses, or the ladders, to keep up with Baylor’s Brittney Griner and the Bears won 82-68. Writes Mechelle:

Players who are disappointed in an aspect of their performance frequently say that it will fuel them to improve. Frankly, it doesn’t always happen. But in the case of Brittney Griner and free-throw shooting, it has.

The Trip Ups:

# 6 Oklahoma raced out to a lead, then resisted the urge to fold in the face of a Hurricane comeback, surviving to knock off #3 Miami 88-83.

#3 Florida had the lead at the half, but #6 Georgia clawed their way to escape with the 61-50 upset.

Graham gets to keep on following them ’cause #5 Green Bay won their 25th straight. They also earned their first trip to the Sweet 16 by taking down #4 Michigan State, 65-56. Writes Graham:

The slippers fit for Green Bay, but they aren’t made of glass. And there is no midnight curfew on this party.

As Green Bay prepared last week to leave for Wichita, Kan., and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, senior Kayla Tetschlag and junior Hannah Quilling distributed some unconventional wardrobe accessories to teammates who otherwise spend a lot of time clothed in the not-quite-emerald hue that makes their city famous. For the trip to Kansas, players donned ruby slippers like those worn in “The Wizard of Oz” by Dorothy, perhaps that state’s most famous fictional resident. Only it turns out there is a slightly different takeaway to this telling of the classic adventure.

Home is nice, but it will be there in another week or two. For this team, there’s no place like the Sweet 16.

The Stomp Trip Ups:

#5 Georgetown was all over #4 Maryland from all over. The Terps didn’t hear Kara’s advice (Umm, maybe guard #14?) and Sugar Rodgers’ 34pts powered the Hoyas to a 79-57 rout. A little ESPN Quick Dish:

When Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers, already 5-of-6 from the 3-point line at the time, saw the shot clock about to expire late in the first half of Tuesday’s game against Maryland and tossed up a one-handed push shot that arced high in the air and banked in off the glass, she just shrugged her shoulders, put her hands out wide and retreated to the defensive end. Sometimes it’s just your night.

And the Hoyas couldn’t have picked a better one on which to live up to their coach’s inner shooter.

It was worse than the final score suggests. #2 Xavier had the lead and then went ice-cold as #7 Louisville got red hot (As did Schimmel) and took down the Musketeers, 85-75. Says Graham:

As good as Xavier was throughout the careers of Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips (not to mention oft-overlooked point guard Special Jennings), it had a way of courting disaster in the postseason.

And considering what Louisville freshman Shoni Schimmel can do with even a sliver of daylight, you can’t open the door of opportunity when she’s wearing the other uniform.

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which may explain why Notre Dame got blown out and Baylor got blown over.

In retrospect, we should have been paying more attention to the game at Texas Tech. #1 Baylor hadn’t been playing particularly elegantly and Texas Tech had been rumbling. But really, who expected that yesterday Kristy Curry would get the biggest victory of her tenure with the Red Raiders?

“I don’t think we ever had a doubt that we couldn’t do it from the beginning,” Tech sophomore guard Casey Morris said. “We know we can beat Texas A&M, we know we can beat Baylor, and we know we can beat anybody.

Wrote Mechelle: Pumped up Texas Tech upsets Baylor

…perhaps it’s really not very surprising that Tech’s still-simmering emotions helped result in a big upset.

Texas Tech bottled up Baylor’s offense, while coach Kim Mulkey’s team seemed to have bottled up much of its passion. Which actually was understandable, even if it might have cost Baylor on this particular day.

They got the New York Time’s attention:

The Lady Raiders wore pink jerseys and the arena was blanketed in the color as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. The outside of the arena was blanketed by circulars that spoke to the venom that those involved with the conference rivalry also hoped to see eradicated.

For the first time this season, there were signs posted at every entrance encouraging fans to be loud and “get crazy,” but reminding them that profanity, racist or sexist comments, running onto the court and throwing anything onto the court were grounds for removal from the arena.

At Baylor’s request, there were four state troopers — twice the usual number — behind the visiting bench. Dan Burns, the associate director of the arena, said, “We want to ensure the safety of our guests.”

Meanwhile, #2 UConn spotted Notre Dame a 7-point lead and then took over behind their freshmen Bria Hartley (29pts/5 assts) and Stefanie Dolson (15pts) and rolled to a 19-pt win.

There was some upsey daisys in the Big East: Rutgers stomped #21 Marquette by 21 and Syracuse defeated #22 St. John’s by 11.

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simply plays better when they’re unranked.

Last night, the #23 Buckeyes lost a lead, and then the game, to Michigan. Michigan had never beaten Ohio State twice in a season and the Wolverines had not won in Columbus since Jan. 21, 2001.

In the ACC, #15 Florida State won a barn burner and #22 Miami survived North Carolina State.

Green Bay stayed perfect in the Horizon League after winning a dog fight with Butler. The Ducks were no match for Stanford, and UCLA put away Arizona State.

Friend Pseudonymity has the “who can figure what’s going on here?” SEC wrap up:

Dawn Staley got her first win against a ranked team at South Carolina by upsetting Georgia behind Newton’s 5 of 5 from the 3 pt. line.

#6 Tennessee overcame a first half deficit to rout Mississippi State behind Johnson’s standout performance.

Kentucky grabs the lead in the final minutes to beat Ole Miss.

Arkansas beats LSU in low-scoring game.

Florida beats Alabama to stop the bleeding at four.

Wednesday saw much of the same ole same ole amongst the ranked teams: #3 Duke smooshed Clemson, #2 UConn survived Rutgers, #2o Iowa State handled Nebraska and #5 Texas A&M v #12 Oklahoma was an Adams/Robinson duel where DRob won the battle, but DAd won the war.

#25 Texas Tech was not so fortunate against Texas, as the Longhorns got a nice win.

BU is now 8-0 in the Am. East. Ditto with Middle Tenn St. And Bowling Green’s home win streak didn’t survive its encounter with the Rockets. From Swish Appeal: Toledo’s “Steel Curtain” defense ends Bowling Green’s 23-game home winning streak

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From John Altavilla’s blog:

the Garden is apparently on the verge of a sellout for UConn’s game against Ohio State at the Maggie Dixon Classic. A UConn spokesman said Tuesday he’s been told only upper level seats were remaining for the Dixon double-header, which will also feature Rutgers vs. Texas A&M.

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I and my 47 women’s basketball fan friends have purchased our tickets for the Maggie Dixon Classic, have you?

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from Black Voices:

BV: A lot of people don’t talk to female basketball players about their overseas experiences, but what was different about playing on the Russian and Turkish teams during your off-season?

CP: In America, we’re taught the game differently than the European players. They understand the game better than typical American basketball players: They’re very fundamental. Their game is finesse; it’s not powerful like we are. Everybody can shoot from every position, no matter if you’re a center. You can shoot, as opposed to American basketball, [where] your five is mostly your dominant force and you really don’t shoot past the 15-foot range. I’ve been fortunate to play with one of the best clubs in Russia. We charter everywhere and it’s just a comfortable lifestyle. It’s unfortunate that the WNBA hasn’t reached that level yet.

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