Feeds:
Posts

Holy kamole, is the Elite Eight well named or WHAT? The Monday folks are going to have to step it up to top these two games.

#2 Stanford v. #1 Notre Dame

It was exactly the chess game you’d expect from these two coaches – a back and forth game that suddenly bloomed into a 16-pt lead for the Irish. And then, the Cardinal made a monster run in the third to tie and take the lead, creating a chess game to the finish. How fitting that it should come down to a last second shot/block.

“It took us a while to get going,” [Vanderveer] said, “but then when we got going, we were charging down that stretch and came across that finish line.”

Brittany McPhee’s career-defining performance sends Stanford to its 13th Final Four
Stanford Women’s basketball heads to the Final Four after defeating Notre Dame 76-75
Stanford defeats Notre Dame in Elite Eight to advance to Final Four
For the Stanford women, NCAA hoops win was in the details
Frantic Fourth Quarter Sees Irish Fall to Cardinal
Notre Dame falls short of Final Four, drops heartbreaker to Stanford
Lesar: Regret clutters Notre Dame women’s basketball locker room

“It all went downhill for us (in the third quarter),” said Irish sophomore Marina Mabrey. “We started changing up our defenses and we’re not on the same page. Some people thought we were in one defense, some people thought we were in another.

“(Stanford) had open 3s. That was a problem.

#2 Mississippi State v. #1 Baylor

It’s almost as if Baylor and Mississippi State looked at the earlier game and said, “That was fun. Let’s do it one better!” And the 5’5″ Morgan William went OFF for 41 points (and 7 assists and no turnovers) AND the game went into overtime. Mercy!

In a game that featured two players that were 6 feet, 7 inches, it was the smallest kid on the court who stole the show.

William, Mississippi State women earn 1st Final Four berth
Emotional Morgan William scores 41 to lead Mississippi State to first Final Four

Four-gone conclusion: William, Bulldogs end Baylor Lady Bears’ Final Four dreams, 94-85
Baylor misses chance at Final Four in Dallas as Mississippi State forces turnovers, an upset

Monday Night – no pressure, y’all

#10 Oregon v. #1 UConn

Upset-minded Oregon sets sights on No. 1 UConn

“We’ve played against a lot of really good teams,” Graves said. “We’ve played them tough. We’ve won a few. I think our kids — the more you win these close games and these big games, they start to believe. Like they said, they really don’t have a lot to lose.”

UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma isn’t surprised by Oregon Ducks’ NCAA Tournament success
Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team gets its shot at UConn Huskies juggernaut
Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team hopes to join the men’s team in the Final Four
Oregon women need monumental upset to reach Final Four
Inside the Pac: The Oregon Women Keep on Dancing
How Oregon took over March Madness

Auriemma: Attendance woes can be fixed
Scott Hamilton: Never seen anything like UConn
Oregon hopes for monumental upset of UConn to reach Final Four
Elite Eight notes: Graves and Auriemma admire each other, another large crowd expected

#1 South Carolina v. #2 Florida State

Dawn Staley not sleeping much as South Carolina women prepare for physical Florida State in Elite Eight
Notes from Stockton: USC women go bonkers for men’s win, Kaela Davis’ family all over the map

Michaux: Gamecocks toast of basketball world

Florida State coach Sue Semrau is quite aware of South Carolina’s strengths. The teams have been scrimmage partners the past two years.

One South Carolina player who won’t be on the floor Monday is senior center Alaina Coates (ankle). While Staley said Coates’ presence is missed, particularly on rebounds and defense, the Gamecocks are more than holding their own in her absence.

Florida State gets another shot at South Carolina with Final Four on the line
Florida State, South Carolina like to scrimmage in preseason
Final game deserves respectable crowd

 

Oregon/Maryland

It started slowly but, after an even first period, the Ducks inexorably pulled away from the Terrapins. The freshmen played just like everyone said they were playing – NOT like freshmen – and Kelly Graves’ #10 Oregon team recorded its third upset of the Tournament, 77-63, becoming just the third double-digit seed to make the Elite Eight.

Freshmen lead 10th-seeded Oregon to upset of Maryland

“We’re just excited about everything,” Ionescu said. “None of our kids have experienced anything like this. So, I think we’re just excited to advance and be able play another day and see where that takes us.”

Oregon women on way to Elite Eight after upset of Maryland
Oregon Ducks women stun Maryland, will face UConn in Elite Eight
Cinderella still dancing: Oregon Ducks shock Maryland to advance to NCAA women’s tournament Elite 8
Oregon women’s basketball upsets Maryland to advance to Elite 8
Ducks women’s basketball coach delivers intense postgame victory speech

The third-seeded Maryland women’s basketballteam almost always had been able to lean on Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Brionna Jones during the most meaningful moments this season. Uncharacteristically, the senior duo was not up to the task in a 77-63 loss to No. 10 seed Oregon on Saturday, bouncing the Terrapins from the NCAA tournament’s round of 16.

Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough saw their legendary Maryland careers meet a sad end against Oregon
Maryland Falls Short In NCAA Women’s Tournament

Florida State/Oregon State
The Seminoles joined that Duck, as they found their defensive chops and ignited a comeback from 17 down to upset the #2 Beavers.

Ivey Slaughter stands corrected. And she will probably continue to stand there for the next couple of days.

Sitting in front of a microphone after her game-changing performance Saturday in the Sweet 16 against Oregon State — an 11-point, eight-rebound, nine-steal effort that led the Seminoles to a 66-53 comeback win over the Beavers at Stockton Arena — she tried to demur.

The senior forward tried to say that she isn’t the best defensive player on the Florida State team. But teammate Leticia Romero and coach Sue Semrau weren’t having it, and they cut her off before she could finish her thought.

Florida State brings its defense to defeat Oregon State

UConn/UCLA

Don’t let the score fool ya – UCLA v. UConn was a dogfight, especially in the second half. Close’s team has learned from their previous NCAA experiences, and there’s no doubt that the program is on the move up.

After an Uncharacteristic Early Stumble, UConn Breezes to Win

“We like to say that, you know, to play with us, it’s a marathon; it’s not a sprint,” said Gabby Williams, who had 17 points and 9 rebounds for UConn. “They came out hard. They came out aggressive. But there was 37 minutes left to play.”

UConn Women’s Basketball Holds Off UCLA, 86-71
UConn beats No. 4 UCLA for 12th-straight Elite 8 appearance
UConn Storms Back From Early Deficit, Beats UCLA; Geno Ties The Great Pat Summitt
Connecticut women turn back UCLA, 86-71
UConn women march past gritty UCLA team, into Elite Eight
UConn women rout UCLA in Sweet 16 showdown in Bridgeport
110 in a row for U-Conn. women’s basketball, and a record 112 for Geno Auriemma
UConn beats UCLA 86-71 to advance to regional final in Bridgeport
Analysis: Chong’s all-around performance key to help Huskies beat UCLA
Brian Koonz: In her senior year, Chong isn’t letting go
In a Twist, It’s Saniya Chong Powering UConn Women’s Basketball

Saniya Chong fell hard after a rattling foul late in Connecticut’s 86-71 victory over U.C.L.A. on Saturday. She made two free throws, then soon jogged to the sideline. She rinsed a small cut on her lip with a swig of water and spit into a cup, as if the game were being played by rounds instead of quarters.

After rolling through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, UCLA’s (25-9) season ends after making consecutive trips to a regional semifinal for the first time in program history.

“I don’t want it to end,” UCLA Coach Cori Close said after the game as her voice cracked and tears welled in her eyes. “I thought they fought their guts out.”

South Carolina/Quinnipiac
The Gamecocks soared early against the Bobcats, barely giving Cinderella a chance to put on her shoes, much less dance.

“It doesn’t matter what name is on the jersey, we come out to play. Obviously they had a good run, but we’ve still got a mission to complete, and that’s to make it to the Final Four and national championship,” Allisha Gray declared.

“I second that,” Davis followed.

South Carolina women’s basketball easily moves to Elite Eight
Elite Again: South Carolina women romp Quinnipiac out West
South Carolina destroys Quinnipiac in NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament: Score, stats, live updates recap
A dominant performance in Stockton: South Carolina women roll past Quinnipiac in Sweet 16
Siroky’s SEC Report: South Carolina Eases Into Elite 8
Keys for Gamecock Women to Make the Final Four

Tears Fell But Martucci Helped Lift Bobcats Program

As these things go, tears tend to fall. There was no shortage of that from Martucci.

“You’re going to make me … water-works over here … Indescribable, life-changing, the best years of my life,” Martucci said in talking about her experience at Quinnipiac and her voice cracking. “I’m just so proud to be a Bobcat and to be a part of this family. It’s really hard to describe my five years here because it’s been so amazing and just the growth that I’ve witnessed with our program and within myself, it’s life-changing.”

1-2, 1-2, Testing the 1-2s…

#1 Notre Dame v. #2 Stanford, 12:06

Graham: Notre Dame, Stanford meet again with Final Four trip on the line

“I think the NCAA committee just really likes this matchup,” Stanford’s Erica McCall said. “They want to see it time and time again. So it means it must be pretty iconic.”

That sounded at least a little tongue in cheek, but she’s right.

Notre Dame women’s basketball set for Stanford chess game in Elite Eight
Elite Eight Collision With Cardinal
Notebook: Defending Arike Ogunbowale a challenge for Stanford
Notre Dame, Stanford meet for 3rd straight year in NCAA
Irish downplay revenge factor vs. Stanford in duel for Final Four berth
Irish look for revenge against Stanford in Elite Eight
Notre Dame, Stanford meet with Final Four on the line (Mar 25, 2017)
Lesar: Can Erin Boley deliver big again for Notre Dame women’s basketball?

#1 Baylor v. # Mississippi State, 7:36

Mechelle: Finding the perfect fit will be key for Baylor, Mississippi State

Victoria Vivians led Mississippi State in scoring average this season, while Baylor’s Alexis Jones was second on her team in that statistic. But when Sunday’s Elite Eight game begins at Cheasapeake Energy Arena, both guards could be on the bench. Or … neither could. Both might make a huge difference. Or … neither could.

Baylor hoping to get back to Final Four with win over Mississippi State
Mississippi State, Baylor battle for Women’s Final Four berth Sunday
After rolling to 3 wins in record fashion, Lady Bears face tower of power in Mississippi State freshman
Kellenberger: How MSU’s Vic Schaefer built an Elite 8 team
Mississippi State’s success all about conditioning
Kellenberger: MSU makes history, focuses on next game
Baker wears many hats, helps keep MSU women’s basketball program going

BTW: Yes, we see you, Michigan Women’s Basketball going to the WNIT semis, notching your 26th win of the season.

ICYMI: How Kelsey Plum and Sydney Wiese transformed their programs

A few weeks ago between games at the Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament at Key Arena, I popped into the bathroom and witnessed a scene that perfectly encapsulates women’s basketball on the West Ccoast right now.

At the sink, a young mother washed her hands while her toddler daughter, who looked to be 3 or 4, dribbled a small basketball underneath the paper towel dispenser. “Look mama!” she said. “I’m dribbling! I’m dribbling like Kelsey, I’m dribbling!”

Wanna get to the Elite Eight for the first time? Teaira McCowan says, “Follow me!”

McCowan’s career night pushes MSU to Elite Eight
Kellenberger: MSU makes history, focuses on next game
NCAA women’s basketball: Mississippi State tops Washington
Teaira McCowan leads Mississippi State into Elite Eight; Kelsey Plum has 29 points in final NCAA game
Veteran Nina Davis and youngster Teaira McCowan drive Baylor, Mississippi State to Elite Eight
MSU Notebook: Sophomore center shines in win
MSU women advance to Elite Eight for first time
Dillingham’s defense helps Mississippi State advance

Huskies fall to Mississippi State 64-75
Washington Huskies fade in fourth as their NCAA women’s tournament run ends
Women’s basketball’s season ends after loss in Sweet Sixteen
Huskies fall to Mississippi State as Kelsey Plum’s record-setting career ends
How Kelsey Plum Took Over Women’s College Basketball
Washington’s Kelsey Plum: ‘I think everyone can learn a lot from UConn’s success’
After delivering surprise joyride of a season, these Huskies will never be forgotten

“Think you can outscore us?” Ogunbowale and Da Yoots say. “Just try.”

Notre Dame women’s basketball puts on a clinic to beat Ohio State
Ogunbowale leads Notre Dame women to Elite Eight
Irish Elite in Historic Victory Over Buckeyes
NCAA Women: Top-Seeded Irish Rout Buckeyes
Notre Dame rolls to Elite Eight
Lesar: Glass is half-full for Notre Dame women’s basketball
Lesar: Jackie Young a key part of re-tooled Notre Dame attack
Notre Dame Sizzles Into Elite 8

Buckeyes bounced from NCAA Tournament by hot-shooting Notre Dame
Ohio State’s season ends with 99-76 loss to Notre Dame in Sweet 16
Ohio State eliminated in Sweet 16 by Notre Dame
Ohio State women’s basketball falls to Notre Dame, 99-76
2017-18 recharge begins with Kelsey Mitchell’s decision
Ohio State star Kelsey Mitchell undecided on senior year return

“Want our seat?” Stanford asks. “Can’t have it.”

Erica McCall leads Stanford women past Texas for Elite Eight berth
Stanford women hold off Texas for 77-66 win in NCAA Sweet 16
Stanford women seek the win at the end of the rainbow
Hot-shooting Stanford rallies to stop Texas, ending UT’s season

This Just In – Texas Fans Tired of Stanford
No. 14 Women’s Basketball Falls in Sweet Sixteen to No. 6 Stanford, 77-66

ESPN: Confident stars carry Irish, Cardinal to Elite Eight

Baylor says, “Oh yeah, we remember you…”

OKC notebook: Lady Bears paint Louisville into a corner
Rocket-fast start pushes Lady Bears past Louisville, 97-63
Baylor women roll into Elite Eight, crush Louisville 97-63
Baylor rolls past Louisville 97-63 to reach Elite Eight
Baylor too much for women’s basketball, Cards’ season ends in Sweet 16

UofL Sweet 16 loss a lackluster final
Louisville women can’t slay the giant again, Baylor r – WDRB 41 Louisville News
No. 13 Women’s Basketball Falls to No. 5 Baylor in Sweet 16
The Louisville’s women’s basketball team saw its season come to an end on Friday night, a 97-63 loss to top seed Baylor

ON TAP

Oregon v Maryland

Maryland women’s basketball is fueled by regret ahead of Sweet 16 game vs. Oregon
NCAA Tournament 2017 preview: Maryland takes on Oregon in Sweet 16
Maryland women’s basketball will arrive in Bridgeport with plenty of motivation
Former Courant Player Of Year Gillespie Back In State With Maryland At Bridgeport Regional
Mountain View grad Destiny Slocum is the talk of the town for Maryland women’s basketball
Maryland Women Face Tough Task In Bridgeport Regional
Women’s basketball tournament: Maryland women ride rails to NCAA regional
Maryland-Oregon to face off in Sweet 16
Maryland’s Brenda Frese sees similarities between Oregon and her 2006 title team
Maryland women embrace Ashlyn Barrett, the youngest Terrapin

Oregon Ducks women’s basketball set to face No. 3 seed Maryland in Sweet 16: Game preview
Oregon’s rebuilt women’s basketball team prepares to face Maryland
Sweet 16 notebook: Ionescu and Slocum to square off, Maryland fans shut out of ticket allotment
Starting for Oregon, Three Freshmen Who Don’t Play Like It
Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team feels like it’s playing with house money entering Sweet 16
Oregon Ducks go to the land of the Huskies for their first women’s basketball Sweet 16
Bridgeport Regional: Oregon Not Shying Away From Mighty Maryland
Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens has memories of hiring Brenda Freese

UCLA v UConn

Tipping Off: Reaching the Sweet 16 Commonplace for UConn
Collier, Samuelson at forefront of UConn’s quest for another national title 

UConn women’s notebook: UCLA’s Ally Rosenblum goes way back with UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson
Women’s basketball gameday capsule: Sweet 16, UCLA vs. UConn
UConn Women’s Basketball Exceptional at Passing the Ball
UConn’s Recipe for Success Is to Run, Run and Run Some More
Bridgeport Regional Capsule: UConn Vs. UCLA
UConn women’s basketball lives for tournament pressure
The Auriemmas and the UConn dynasty: Its Philly roots, and why they stayed
UConn’s Collier isn’t flashy, but she’s a ‘nightmare’ for opposing defenses
Bent does jersey number 10 proud at UConn
UConn Invades Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena For Regional Semifinals
UConn Women’s Basketball Team Dynasty Reveals Sexism in March Madness
UConn women’s basketball one win away from holding longest winning streak ever in a college team sport

Pac-12 NCAA Feature: What UCLA has to do to stop UConn
Bruins building solid foundation
How Smart Is UCLA’s Cori Close? She Chose Wooden, Geno As Mentors
UCLA women facing tall order vs. mighty UConn in regional semifinal

Quinnipiac v South Carolina

Sweet 16 Has All 4 Top Seeds, 2 State Schools In UConn, Quinnipiac
 Meet Quinnipiac, the NCAA Tournament darling
Quinnipiac women on bigger stage against South Carolina
Gamecocks wary of Quinnipiac, the Cinderella story of women’s NCAA Tournament
Quinnipiac is a team with a story to tell
From LI to Quinnipiac, Jen Fay has No. 12 seed dancing in Sweet 16
Quinnipiac women eye another NCAA basketball tourney upset
Quinnipiac women’s basketball focused on Sweet 16 matchup against South Carolina
Quinnipiac women’s basketball ready for not-so-sweet task of playing South Carolina
Quinnipiac women’s basketball takes on South Carolina in Sweet 16

South Carolina women’s basketball not going to ‘sleep on’ Quinnipiac
Staley transforms South Carolina into elite program
South Carolina Stands In Way As Quinnipiac Women Try To Reach Elite Eight
South Carolina players love coach Staley’s Lifesaver habit
Candy girl: Gamecocks dish on Staley’s courtside habit
Unspoiled by success, Gamecocks keep on striving
Allisha Gray’s injury stressed USC fans, but not her
USC broadcasters help fans make Sweet 16 memories

NCAA Notebook: UConn sends love to Quinnipiac
Quinnipiac Coach, Daughter Will Look Back On The Magical Run Later
Geno Auriemma says Quinnipiac reminds him of UConn back in 1991
Jeff Jacobs: Geno Shows He’s A Big Quinnipiac Fan, And Dresses The Part

Florida State v Oregon State

WBB Preview: #2 Oregon State v. #3 Florida State – Q&A With Tomahawk Nation
Meet Oregon State
Beavers playing with sense of urgency for seniors
OSU women’s basketball: Brown focused on the present
For Love of the Game: Tudor returns home for Sweet 16
Breanna Brown making impact in possible final NCAA Tournament run with Oregon State
Oregon State women’s basketball winning with grit, experience

Florida State no stranger to the Sweet 16
FSU women’s hoops in familiar territory against somewhat familiar foe
Seminoles arrive at third consecutive Sweet 16
Here and Now
FSU women’s hoops pushes for first Final Four bid
Our View: Sweet hoops: NCAA regional a highlight for Stockton
Women’s Hoops vs. Oregon StateRomero breaks out of slump at right time for Florida State

Mind the Gap

Listen up! LaChina Robinson is joined by espnW writers Michelle Smith, Graham Hays and Mechelle Voepel to discuss Kelsey Plum, key injuries and break down the regional brackets.

Listen up, too! Locked On Women’s Basketball: First Weekend Recap with Gabriella Levine

A little something from Howard: TAKEAWAYS FROM THE WOMEN’S TOURNEY

The first weekend of the women’s NCAA Tournament is in the books, and as you’d expect once 32 games are played, we’ve learned quite a lot about the shape of both the season so far and what to expect over the next two weeks, when a champion will be crowned. Here are the biggest takeaways from the paring down of 64 teams to the Sweet 16, which resumes this Friday night, beginning with Notre Dame vs. Ohio State at 7:06 p.m. ET (all games air on ESPN and ESPN2).

Parity is real

Notre Dame v. Ohio State

Stinky news: Those who saw, knew…. Notre Dame women’s basketball loses top scorer Brianna Turner

And so, Injury might change landscape for Lexington Regional in Rupp Arena this weekend

When Notre Dame’s women’s basketball team opened the season ranked No. 1 in the nation — ahead of even mighty UConn — an appearance in the NCAA Tournament’s round of 16 seemed a certainty.

After what the Fighting Irish went through to get to Rupp Arena, taking the next step might be significantly more difficult.

When the Notre Dame women’s basketball team took personality tests earlier this season, Lindsay Allen wasn’t surprised by her results.

Her color was green, an appropriate choice — not just because of the lime shade she and her Irish teammates wear on their fingernails during the NCAA tournament.

“Greens” are eminently disciplined, precise, logical and analytical. They aren’t overly expressive or dramatic. “Low-key” is the most fitting description.

“That’s Lindsay!” teammate Kathryn Westbeld said. “She’s that calm, cool, collected person we all enjoy being around on and off the court.”

Buckeyes in better position in return to Sweet 16

“No question. We’re deeper, we’re more experienced, and we’re just better,” McGuff said. “I think we’re in a much different place this year. I like where we are, and I like the opportunity that’s in front of us.”

Buckeyes catch a break against Notre Dame

South Carolina v. Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Women’s Basketball Team Headed for Sweet 16

Bruce Saulnier has been teaching in the School of Business at Quinnipiac since 1972, long before it was known as a university as opposed to a college, long before many of its current structures were built.

And he has been following the women’s basketball team nearly as long, rarely missing a home game — a season ticket holder, he says, “ever since they moved up to Division I and started selling season tickets.” The Bobcats hadn’t kept him up past midnight, though, until Monday.

“Stayed up past my bedtime,” said Saulnier, 70, as he noshed on a soup and sandwich in the student center. “Watched the game the whole way and it was just amazing. We’ve come a long way.”

Quinnipiac takes 12-seed, good omens and great shooting into Sweet 16

“It’s honestly addicting,” Quinnipiac guard Adily Martucci said of the wins. “There is something about this tournament. You just want more and more and more. And we’re going to try to get some more.”

AP: Quinnipiac: Tough to say, hard to beat

Quinnipiac women’s basketball team returns home after making their first ever Sweet Sixteen

Good news: Allisha Gray gets nod to play for South Carolina in Sweet 16 and After a scare, Gray full-go as Gamecocks head to Stockton

South Carolina the toast of tourney

More news: Fearless freshman Tyasha Harris is playing beyond her years as South Carolina’s point guard

South Carolina point guard Tyasha Harris said before the SEC tournament final in early March that she expected to have a few jitters, considering she was playing for a championship. But they never showed up.

“I live for big moments,” she said, smiling. “I thought I would get nervous, but nothing came. I was ready to go get that ring.”

Ah, the life of a freshman. Much of what you encounter in college basketball is new. But depending on your personality and how your coaches and teammates respond to you, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. It can be exciting.

Oregon and Quinnipiac crash women’s Sweet 16 field

Pac-12 making statement with 5 teams in the Sweet 16

Louisville v Baylor

Meet U of L’s Sweet 16 opponent: Baylor

Mechelle offers: First impressions of the Sweet 16

Probably the most anticipated regional semifinal matchup will be No. 1 seed Baylor versus No. 4 Louisville in Oklahoma City. Those teams met in 2013 in the same round on the same Chesapeake Energy Arena court, when Baylor was the defending national champion with one loss, and Louisville a No. 5 seed with eight losses. But the Cardinals upset the Lady Bears 82-81 in an epic game, and went on to the NCAA final.

Both coaches might downplay that 2013 game — Baylor’s Kim Mulkey almost certainly will — and the key players from that matchup are all graduated. But the fact that it’s in the same building, with the Lady Bears again as a No. 1 seed … it’s natural to look back on what happened then

Baylor heads to Oklahoma City, site of both cheers and tears

Washington v. Mississippi State

Schaefer’s bold strategy moves Bulldogs to second straight Sweet Sixteen

Mississippi State thriving with father-daughter combo

Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer and guard Blair Schaefer established the separation between father-daughter and coach-player nearly a decade ago when Blair was in seventh grade.

The coach watched from the stands as his daughter turned the ball over multiple times during an AAU game. She was nearly in tears at halftime. He said at that moment Blair had a decision to make — did she want him to talk to her as a coach or a father? She said a coach.

“Then stop turning that dadgum thing over,” he said.

Victoria ViviansHow We Do It in Mississippi

I am pretty sure you’ve never been to my hometown, but there’s a chance you’ve driven past it and not even known. It’s called Forest, Mississippi. Five different highways crisscross through Forest — the biggest one, Interstate 20, runs west toward Jackson and east toward the Alabama border. The other four are state highways. People are always either coming or going in Forest, but hardly anybody ever stays. The population there is less than 6,000. 

I know about the highways because since before I was born my dad has been a truck driver, cruising all over the South in one of those big 18-wheel rigs. My dad was on the road a lot when I was a kid, and when he was gone I’d always try to envision him driving his truck on those highways. I bet you’re thinking I’m really country —being from a tiny town with a big rig in our driveway — but oh well. 

To this day, I’m really grateful to my dad for making it a priority to come to my basketball games

UW Women’s Basketball confident about return trip to the Final Four

When the Washington Huskies Women’s Basketball Team made the Final Four as a #7 seed during last year’s NCAA Tournament it was seen as an aberration to many outside the program.

“I think a lot of people wanted to think that was a fluke,” Washington head-coach Mike Neighbors said. “I heard that a lot during the offseason. That it was a fluke year, blah, blah, blah.”

Loved this: Players put on impromptu dance-off during Oklahoma-Washington NCAA tournament game

Although Washington went on to win 108-82 to advance to the Sweet 16, star guard Kelsey Plum admitted defeat on the dance-off. “When they really started going at it,” Plum said, “the girl from Oklahoma did some crazy stuff.”

Osahor attributed that to the lineup on the court. “They were very fortunate that Aari [freshman guard Aarion McDonald] was in the game because if she wasn’t, it would have been over,” Osahor said.

She also appreciated the message the friendly competition sent.

UCLA v. UConn

UCLA women’s basketball team warms to the idea of facing mighty Connecticut

“[UConn is] a great team; they obviously have our respect,” Close said after the Bruins, the No. 4 seed in the Bridgeport Regional, routed No. 5 Texas A&M, 75-43, Monday at Pauley Pavilion. “But my team has my respect and I need to lead them the same way that we’ve done it all year long.”

What’s Bruin Show – Episode 128 – UCLA Basketball in the Sweet 16!

UConn is dominating women’s basketball by realizing it takes more than just talented players

UConn Is 1 Win From Being The Streakiest College Team Ever

Up next for the Huskies is No. 4-seed UCLA, a team that was ranked 15th at the end of the season and that UConn hasn’t played since 2014. If UConn wins that game, it’ll have 110 straight wins, moving it clear of Penn State’s 109 consecutive wins in women’s volleyball in 2007-10 — acknowledged as one of the longest winning streaks in collegiate sports history.

Both streaks are over twice as long as the next-longest streak by any other entity in their sport.

Carl Adamec: Huskies don’t pass up opportunities for assists

BTW: Auriemma, UConn haven’t lost consecutive games in 24 years

Maryland v. Oregon

Oooops: Sold-out Connecticut regional leaves ‘furious’ Maryland fans boxed out

The school did, in fact, get its usual NCAA allotment of 100 tickets. That’s been the allotment for schools in the women’s basketball tournament for years, although typically schools are given the opportunity to purchase more, which Maryland has usually done. (Their regional request has been about twice the 100-ticket allotment in recent years.)

Bridgeport, though, features a smaller venue — Webster Bank Arena seats just 7,881 fans. And with Connecticut’s women’s team in the midst of a historic win streak and certain to be playing regional games in Bridgeport, the arena sold out of inventory on March 9, four days before the brackets were even unveiled.

Maryland fans, of course, were not about to buy tickets at four different regional sites in early March, just in case.

Maryland women’s basketball to play Oregon in Sweet 16

Oregon college basketball’s historic week: What to know

Oregon Ducks wait for another chance to play road warriors in NCAA women’s basketball tournament

“The Pac-12 and the season prepared us for this moment,” Graves said after Oregon handed the Blue Devils their first home loss of the season. “Duke is a great team, there’s no question about it. But so is Oregon State, who we had to play twice. So is Stanford, who we had to play three times. They’re both two seeds. Washington we played a couple times, and they were a three seed. UCLA was a four seed.

“I think that’s what made these guys better. They couldn’t take a night off.”

Oregon alums say NCAA Tournament run has brought them together

Oregon State v. Florida State

Ducks and Beavers would love an all-Oregon NCAA championship

Gazette Times: Beavers will see familiar teams in Stockton

For seniors Sydney Wiese and Gabby Hanson, their desire to face Florida State is finally going to be a reality.

“There are some schools that when you’re in college you want to play them and somehow you hope that you will,” Wiese said.

Semrau, third-seeded Seminoles focused on Oregon State

Semrau’s message throughout the tournament – really, since the end of the regular season – has been about the “now.”

“It’s so easy to spend way too much energy on the wrong things,” Semrau said. “We have to spend energy on focusing on our film today. We have to put energy in our practice today. We don’t have time or space for anything else.”

Stanford v. Texas

Janie McCauley/AP: Travel challenges just part of NCAA Tournament for Stanford

Nadia Fingall took her three-hour economics final Wednesday while stationed in the hotel dining room. Erica McCall and Briana Roberson were set up in different conference rooms for their psychology exams.

Brittany McPhee and Karlie Samuelson each had chemistry finals — biochemistry for McPhee, organic for Samuelson.

When the charter plane for Sweet 16-bound Stanford never arrived Monday night in Manhattan, Kansas, because of a parts issue, Tara VanDerveer and her staff decided the best course would be to head to the next game destination without a trip first to the Bay Area. The coach checked with a few players and the plan was a go: onward to Lexington, Kentucky.

Texas women’s Basketball to face No. 6 Stanford in NCAA Regional Semifinals

Development of Joyner Holmes culminates in re-match with Stanford

Texas seeks revenge in rematch with Stanford

The season-opening loss for Texas at Stanford in November seems so long ago that the five newcomers for the Longhorns no longer seem like freshmen.

Joyner Holmes, a guard, is one of those top recruits who had more fouls (four) than points (three) in the 71-59 loss to the Cardinal in Palo Alto, Calif. She enters the rematch with the Cardinal on Friday night in the Sweet 16 averaging 12 points and 8.2 rebounds.

A sweet (16) look at Texas women’s postseason history

Other news:

Dan: Lady Vols need to pay more attention to consistency and John Adams: Holly Warlick could be coaching for her job next season

The last game of a season, no matter when it occurs, invariably leads to a question about the next season.

Monday night was no exception. Moments after Tennessee’s 75-64 loss to Louisville in the second round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, UT coach Holly Warlick was asked: “What is the message for the offseason with the No. 1 recruiting class coming in?”

Said Warlick: “These kids know what they’re getting into. It’s Tennessee. You’ve got to be on your A game every game.”

That also could apply to the season that had just ended, short of the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009.

Syracuse women’s basketball faces massive rebuilding job to remain among the elite

Congrats to coach Fahey, new head coach at Illinois. Lucky program. D-III says farewell to Fahey

At times, her teams were unbeatable. At their worst, they were still a threat to reach the NCAA Tournament and advance. But if you learned nothing from Nancy Fahey’s 31 years coaching Division III basketball, know this: She, and her teams, never ducked a challenge.

Now, Fahey will be taking on another challenge: Division I basketball. 

Spurs Asst. Coach and WNBA Legend Becky Hammon In Running For Florida WBB Job

Excelle: WNBA Mock Draft Monday, version 2.0

Moriah Jefferson’s Emergence Gave Stars’ Coach Hughes Second Thoughts On Retirement

Moving on, Pt. 2

Honestly, ESPN techs – as a techie myself, I gotta say: You only had ONE job… And for the producers who decided which games to broadcast when? YOU only had one job….Fix this, @CStiffESPN

As for the games…anyone notice there’s a lot of history being made this Tourney? Amongst the fantabulous player performances, the equally fabulous  informs us that

We will have our third with two double-digit seeds. 1996: (11) SFA, (12) San Francisco 2007: (10) Florida St., (13) Marist

(Seriously, @WNBA, HIRE THIS TWEETER!!!!!!!)

MAAC ATTACK, Pt. 2. Not satisfied with their first NCAA tournament win, the Bobcats raced out to a 15pt lead over the host Hurricanes, then held on for dear life as Miami clawed its way back into the game. But Quinnipiac did. not. fold. Helllllloooooooo, the (other) team from Connecticut makes their first Sweet Sixteen!

PAC ATTACK: Yes, #2 Duke was without guard Kyra Lambert, but that doesn’t diminish #10 Oregon’s accomplishment – winning on the Blue Devils‘ home court. With all the pieces finally healthy, the Ducks are really clicking. Boom – a 74-65 victory means the program is going to its first Sweet Sixteen.

#4 Louisville kicked it into high gear in fourth to put away #5 Tennessee, 75-64. Fouls and free throw shooting hurt the Vols, and Mariya Moore’s perfect night of three-point shooting really helped the Cardinals. Anyone feel like Jeff has his team cruising, shark-like, under everybody’s radar?

So, how does that old Jim Croce song go, “You don’t tug on UConnGuards’ cape…” #1 UConn crushed the #8 Orange#8 Orange, as Kia Nurse made like Katie Lou Samuelson and went 9-12 from three (tying the NCAA Tournament single-game record). Rest of the Huskies weren’t too shabby, neither: 62% shooting, 30 assists on 33 made baskets.

The Cal Bears were no match for the Baylor Bears who look loaded for…bear on their way to an 86-46 win.

#2 Stanford proved to be rude guests as they declawed the #7 Wildcats, 69-48.

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer has been doing this a long time — 37 seasons as head coach, to be exact — and so when she gets a feeling a player will have a big game, she’s usually right.

And she had a feeling about guard Brittany McPhee on Monday. The 6-foot junior set the tone for No. 2 seed Stanford in an NCAA tournament second-round matchup with No. 7 Kansas State. By the time she’d finished a 21-point, seven-rebound, five-assist night, McPhee had helped break down the Wildcats’ zone, and her team’s post players had done their thing, too.

Down 21 at the half, #5 Texas A&M simply didn’t have another run in’em. The Bruins kept pouring it on, earning a 75-43 victory. With its win, #4 UCLA adds to the Pac 12 Sweet Sixteen total of FIVE.

So, ya gotta believe before the game Osahor turned to Plum and said, “You’ve never had  double-double? What’s wrong with you?” Pluminator goes out,  breaks Jackie Stiles’ women’s NCAA D-I single-season scoring record AND notches her first double-double. ’bout time, woman! Oh, yah, and Washington mauled the Sooners, 108-82.

So you know what all this means (beyond some of us being able to catch up on our sleep):

Friday, March 24th:

#5 Ohio State v. #1 Notre Dame (7:06pm)
#3 Washington v. #2 Mississippi State (7:11pm)

#4 Louisville v. #1 Baylor (9:00)
#3 Texas v. #2 Stanford (9:00)

Saturday, March 25th

#10 Oregon v. #3 Maryland (11:36am)
#4 UCLA v. #1 UConn (1:30pm)

#12 Quinnipiac v. #1 South Carolina (4:06pm)
#3 Florida State v. #2 Oregon State (6pm)
:

Moving on, Part 1

and boy did we have some doozies. And it’s only the 32! (And no, I am not going to discuss officiating, unless you read this first and then come at me with some action plans.)

So, yeah, Destiny just turned “Rise and Fire” into “Turn and Toss.” What an amazing shot, no? #3 Maryland as a whole didn’t look too shabby, neither, as their firepower allowed them to surge away from the #6 Mountaineers for a comfortable 83-56 win.

Destiny Slocum stood frozen, as if she had just fumbled a dish and watched it shatter on the kitchen floor.

The Maryland women’s basketball team’s freshman point guard could not process what she’d done until teammates crushed her in a group hug and the bellows of an ecstatic home crowd washed over her.

High octane offense met higher octane offense as #2 Mississippi State tamed #7 DePaul, 92-71.

“I felt like they didn’t have an answer for anything,” Blair Schaefer said.

That was because MSU again received production from its entire rotation against slick-shooting DePaul (27-8), which worked with a rotation of mostly seven players.

Vic Schaefer has said a few times recently, “I don’t think you want to get into a track meet with my team.” DePaul did and experienced some success, making MSU use 10 different players in the first quarter.

After a slow start, #3 Florida State found their groove and galloped away from #6 Missouri,

Sunday’s win was head coach Sue Semrau’s 400th career win.

“We just continued to remind them it’s about the now,” Semrau said about her message to the team at halftime.

“When we had the run, it was important to say, ‘Let’s go have another one.’ It’s not, ‘Stop their run.’ It’s, ‘Let’s go have another one.’ This team feeds off that.”

Hot and cold #4 Ohio State was scorching in the first, behind Kelsey “The Kid” Mitchell’s breath-taking offensive display. Got a little chilly in the second half, but #5 Kentucky never really threatened. Buckeyes finish the Wildcats off with an 82-68 win.

“Yeah, we escaped with a win! Crap, now we’ve got to wait on news of Allisha Gray’s injury….” Ah, the life of #1 South Carolina’s journey through the tourney. Arizona State proved to be far greater test than most presumed. #8 Arizona State’s stifling defense, the lead, losing the lead and it seemed, the momentum, only to surge back… but just not enough time left to pull the upset. Gamecocks advance, 71-68.

“It’s relief, it’s elation,it is being battle-tested and winning another war,” Staley said. “And it is thankful, thankful that we got a chance to play at our place because I don’t think the results, and I say this a lot, I think the results would be different if we were at another gym. 

“That’s what we play for.”

Crap, too. #1 Notre Dame held off #9 Purdue, but the status of oft injured  Brianna Turner is up in the air as she landed awkwardly. Injury aside, who is this Purdue team and where have they been hiding? They pushed the number one seed all game… and into overtime (don’t they KNOW I have to teach in Brooklyn early tomorrow?!) before falling to the Irish, 88-82.

This was gong to be the “Game of the day”, but the ND/Purdue happened. Even so, it was pretty awesome. In a back and forth battle where they kept swapping quarters, #3  Texas and #6 NC State put on a great show. 84-80 tells you how close it was, but the game tape will show you how heartfelt it was.

“Really, really proud of our team,” said Aston. “I wrote on the board ironically enough today before the game that it didn’t matter what it looked like that we just needed to win. That was a good thing to write, probably, today. But our group never gave in. They showed a lot of resilience and toughness and just really proud. It was a complete team effort, I think, from our part.”

#7 Creighton stumble out of the block in the first quarter and never quite got their footing. In a fitting final game at the Gill, Sidney Wiese guided #2 Oregon State into the Sweet Sixteen over a stubborn Blue Jay team, 64-52.

Monday Madness includes:

#8 Syracuse v. #1 UConn, 6:35pm
Freshmen Gabby Cooper, Crystal Dangerfield in the spotlight as UConn hosts Syracuse
UConn Women Well Aware Of Syracuse’s Big-Time Backcourt; Huskies, Orange Meet Monday At 6:30,
Syracuse Coach Quentin Hillsman Wants To Be Just Like Geno Auriemma
Women’s basketball NCAA Tournament gameday: Syracuse at UConn,
Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman wants to be ‘bad for basketball’ like UConn’s Geno Auriemma,
Syracuse women’s basketball has best backcourt in the country? We’ll see, UConn says,

#7 Kansas State v. # Stanford, 6:35pm
Stanford looks to shake off rust vs. Kansas State (Mar 19, 2017)
K-State women ready for Stanford with Sweet 16 on line
K-State not afraid of Stanford in NCAA Tournament matchup

#10 Oregon v #2 Duke, 6:40pm
Without Lambert, Duke ready to face Oregon
Duke ready for Oregon in 2nd round of women’s NCAA tourney
Inside the Pac: Ducks Upset Temple, but Duke is Ready
Oregon Ducks women’s basketball secures future, lands international star
The gamble: Oregon Ducks women’s basketball coaches draw up 3-year rebuilding plan

#5 Tennessee v. #4 Louisville, 6:45pm
Lady Vols need shipshape effort in NCAA showdown with Louisville
U of L, Tennessee, set for marquee matchup
No. 4 seed Louisville, No. 5 Tennessee meet in second round
Tennessee, Louisville rely on pressure defense
Lady Vols, Cardinals to clash in second round
Louisville, Tennessee seek consistency as they meet (Mar 19, 2017)
John Adams: Georgia players could decide UT-Louisville matchup

#6 Oklahoma v. #3 Washington, 9:05pm
Huskies hold court, will host familiar foe Oklahoma in second round
Sooners to face Washington, super scorer Kelsey Plum
Win and Return Home: OU Takes on Washington
Sooners Meet Washington in Seattle for Trip to OKC
Matchup inside will be key when Oklahoma faces Washington
Why Huskies basketball stars Kelsey Plum and Chantel Osahor are the game’s greatest weapon
Thiel: Huskies have it semi-easy; Oklahoma next

 

#9 Cal v. #1 Baylor, 9:10pm
Lady Bears Meet Golden Bears Monday
Women’s basketball notebook: Wallace’s family travels from down under to watch the Lady Bears

#12 Quinnipiac v. #4 Miami, 9:10pm
Another mid-major will be test for Canes women’s basketball
UM women seek second Sweet 16 berth in program history
Women’s basketball NCAA Tournament gameday: Quinnipiac vs. Miami
#12 QU Women’s Basketball Continues With NCAA Second Round Matchup at #4 Miami
Miami, Quinnipiac ready for shot at Sweet 16
Meier, team break down Quinnipiac challenge
History made, Quinnipiac women’s basketball team looks to scale second step
Miami happy to be alive ahead of matchup vs. Quinnipiac 

#5 Texas A&M v. #4 UCLA, 10:05pm
Aggie Women’s Basketball Takes On UCLA In NCAA Second Round On Monday
Texas A&M and UCLA set for second round matchup
Texas A&M comes off record rally to face UCLA 

FO

Read: Sunday will be tough for many in Beaver Nation

Even though I was on vacation, I decided to head out to practice and cobble together a preview story before the team hit the road to take on the Los Angeles schools.

It was also the first day my daughter, Abby, accompanied me to a practice.

I never could have imagined just how impactful those few minutes would turn out to be for Abby, who was 5 years old at the time.

After conducting a couple interviews, I looked over to where I had told Abby to sit and wait for me.

But she wasn’t there.

I started to look around, a bit of panic beginning to form. As I turned to look across the court in the practice facility, that feeling of panic quickly melted and turned to one of pure joy.

There was Sydney Wiese, dribbling the ball at center court while Abby did her best to try and take it from her.

LA Daily News: Great chemistry helps UCLA women’s basketball do the dirty work

One reason why the UCLA women’s basketball team is 23-8 is because it has a solid offense that averages 73.9 points. But defense, and all that it entails, is probably more responsible.

The Bruins allow only 64 points. They out-rebound opponents by an average of 2.5. They harass teams into 17.5 turnovers per game while committing only 12.1, they average 10.2 steals to just 6.6 for their opponents and they average 5.0 blocks while giving up 2.7.

It’s tough to get teams to buy into doing all those little things, because they’re not as sexy as a 3-point basket or a sweet dribble-drive and dazzling finish. 

Quinnipiac women’s notebook: Jen Fay shines bright on big stage

Are ya wondering? Could These 5 Mid-Major Stars Make a WNBA Roster?

Geno Auriemma, Albany assistant Yolanda Griffith share bond

The mere mention of Geno Auriemma’s name elicited a playful cackle from women’s basketball legend Yolanda Griffith.

Sitting in the locker room inside Gampel Pavilion used by 16th-seeded Albany, the Great Danes’ first year assistant coach probably could have spent the next hour repeating some of the classic stories from the wise-cracking Auriemma from their time together helping the United States to the 2000 Olympic gold medal. Perhaps some of those stories could even be printed in the newspaper, but Griffith wasn’t quite ready to spill the beans.

“A lot of his stories he used to tell …,” Griffith said.

Still battling cancer, ESPN analyst & U. grad Holly Rowe embraces the madness of her busy schedule

She was speeding toward an airport last month when, somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Atlanta, a patrol car’s lights flashed and an officer would end up giving her a speeding ticket for driving 20 mph over the limit.

But here’s the thing about Holly Rowe: she can’t slow down, not right now.

The ESPN broadcaster’s calendar is swamped, just the way she wants it.

Rowe, a University of Utah graduate who still calls Salt Lake City home, has covered gymnastics in Alabama, the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game in Florida and basketball in Kansas over the past few months.

In between, Rowe fights.

She is in her second bout with melanoma cancer that spread throughout her body. She underwent surgery last February to remove cancerous tumors, malignant tumors and 29 lymph nodes. The treatment she receives every 21 days staves off the disease.