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Fingers crossed it’ll be a great match up: Let’s be real, it’s #1 v. #1, coaches who are friend-enemies, teams who are trying to find their identity and make a statement… I’m saying Irish because of experience and home court. But, honestly, who the heck knows! Lucky us! And read up!

NCAA.com: No. 2 Notre Dame eager to face top-ranked UConn

Notre Dame site: Top Two Teams to Tangle Wednesday

Notre Dame Insider: ND’s McGraw looks past polls, focuses on progress in showdown with UConn

Also from NDI: Freshman Jackie Young flashes potential during Notre Dame rout of Valpo

Swish Appeal: Perfection on the line for No. 1 UConn, No. 2 Notre Dame

Hartford Courant: UConn Vs. Notre Dame: Plenty Of Memorable Games, Moments

ESPN: UConn, Notre Dame renew rivalry in 1-2 showdown

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw still absolutely adores practice, and she always will. It appeals to the puzzle-solving side of her, and how she enjoys the process of finding the right answers.

“I went up to Michigan and spent some time with John Beilein, and it was like Christmas,” McGraw said recently of the Wolverines’ men’s basketball coach. “We had two hours, talking about the 1-3-1. I just love it. I’ll watch YouTube videos about zone offense. I’ll play with the sugar packets at lunch, lining them up. I can’t wait for practice; it’s my favorite part of the day.”

Mechelle: Diggins: McGraw and Auriemma are ‘two of the best basketball minds’

Skylar Diggins knows how much the UConn-Notre Dame game can tell each team about itself. She played in 15 games in the series from 2010-13, and won seven of them with the Fighting Irish.

The rivalry changed, certainly, with Notre Dame going to the ACC and UConn then becoming part of the American Athletic Conference in 2013. But it’s still a measuring-stick game, and Diggins will be courtside at Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET) to see for herself this No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup.

Of note: 

Ute’s rising:  Utah women’s basketball win eighth consecutive game

Yale’s 7-2 as Defense makes strides in Guth’s second season

Tough times for the Huskers: Nebraska tries to stay upbeat after losing streak hits 5

In-state battle: Green Bay over Marquette, 78-63, as the Eagles never quite got it going. Learning curve…

 

WNBA

WNBA star Maya Moore speaks to Greenville youth

News from abroad, via Excelle Sports: WNBA’s biggest stars face fierce competition in EuroLeauge Women this week

Yes, maybe Michigan should have gotten some AP votes, but they sure didn’t make their case against Xavier. Instead, the undefeated Musketeers are saying, “Notice us!” with their 61-58 win.

Umm….if anyone has an explanation for this, please email me. SMU withstood a furious fourth quarter comeback by Texas A&M to earn a 54-53 win. Huge moment for new head coach Travis Mays.

Yup, Vandy’s now at 8-1. Gulp – they’ve got Louisville on the 21st.

Hoop Hype! Michelle Video: No. 1 ranking on the line in Notre Dame, UConn rivalry  and New Haven Register: Auriemma eager for UConn women’s basketball game with Notre Dame

Congrats! DeSales women’s basketball coach Fred Richter collects win No. 500

Love your computerSerena Williams, WNBA stars join nonprofit coding campaign

Didja catch this? audioBoom / Locked On Women’s Basketball: Episode 7 with Debbie Antonelli of ESPN, CBS, and so much more

Wait, what happened?!?!

*Poll voters: Pay. A.tten.tion!*

So, no, I wouldn’t have picked Duke over #3 South Carolina (and you wouldn’t have either!), but I’ll take credit for asking “Are the Blue Devils flying under the radar, or…” But, honestly, REALLY?  74-63 Blue Devils? Her stellar play earned Rebecca Greenwell POW honors. I’m sorry Orin’s not writing about it.

South Carolina knew offense sells tickets. Attendance at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Sunday was 6,036, most of which were wearing garnet and black.

But defense wins championships – which is what Duke felt like it won by upsetting the No. 3 Gamecocks 74-63.

“We were undisciplined. That’s what it’s called,” USC coach Dawn Staley said. “We knew coming into this season that we would take a hit defensively. And sometimes when you’re winning, and you’re beating top-ranked teams, you can’t give that lesson to your players because they just think, ‘Hey, we’re winning! We’re doing it the right way.’

Equally, “What… WHAT?!?!” Oral Roberts – which has, in the past, had some strong teams… in the Summitt. BUT they get an 18-0 run v #12 Oklahoma for the win? This is the ORU team has four losses – Iowa by 20, Northwestern by 9, Kansas by 8, UALR by 6. Guess the law of diminishing margins added up to their 7-point win over the Sooners.

“We’re just really appreciative of Coach Coale allowing us to come down and play,” ORU coach Misti Cussen said. “I think that is the biggest thing, just having that opportunity to come down here and experience women’s basketball here at the University of Oklahoma. To play an in-state team was really exciting for us. Obviously, it was a huge win for us, and a big moment.”

No style points, but #16 West Virginia kept Ole Miss at bay, 66-61.

In the beginning, #14 Texas’ trees and speedy guards gave #2 UConn fits. Then Geno *sorta* gave them a pep talk, Natalie Butler came in and plugged up the middle and Napheesa Collier was unstoppable. Huskies win,  72-54. Same story for Texas:

“I thought they competed better, competed a little longer than we did on possession and were just a little tougher than we were,” Aston said. “We’ve got to fix ourselves in several areas in the next few weeks.”

#18 Miami got more of a tussle from ODU than they expected, I’m guessing. Hurricane escape, 66-56.

“We talked all about toughness,” Meier said about her locker room pep talk.

“Back when Miami was terrible, we got good because we were gritty. Now that’s Old Dominion. They’re at that phase where we were. Every ball matters to them. We came in … yeah, it was a trap game, but it’s so soft to say that. To give that excuse. We just didn’t feel like being tough until the start of the second half.”

Unfortunately, not totally unexpected. Baylor pulled the foot off the gas in the fourth or it might have been worse – #4 Bears 88, #22 Vols 66.

“Maybe I think we’re more talented than we are,” [Warlick] said. “Talented or not, you have to play hard. It has nothing to do with talent. It’s respecting the game and right now, we are not respecting the game. It’s not about Lady Vol basketball; it’s about the game. This game is meant to be played as hard as you can. You have to be mentally tough and you have to compete. If you don’t do that, then you’re going to get beat by whatever we got beat by.”

#5 Maryland is still undefeated, and will have to make sure it doesn’t look too far ahead (to UConn, Dec 29th.)

Sixth time’s the charm: Louisville finally took down Kentucky, though it took overtime, 69-67.

Dayum, one point in the fourth, Cincy? Does this mean we have to say #9 Ohio State knows how to play defense?

In the battle of the undefeateds, #6 Mississippi State needed OT to defeat Iowa State. Might I suggest to both programs that they beef up their schedule a bit?

*No jinx, no jinx, no jinx*

Clemson‘s undefeated.
South Florida‘s undefeated.
Ohio‘s undefeated.
Oklahoma State stayed undefeated courtesy of their win over Georgia, 71-51.
Buffalo’s undefeated. It’s their best start to a season since 2000-01 when UB started out 8-0 and was receiving votes in the top-25 polls.
Cal is undefeated.
Boise is undefeated – and they beat Washington State to stay so.

I think Matt Daniel’s Marshall may be a program to keep an eye on. They took Penn State down to the wire at the Bryce –  but the Lions escaped, 82-80.

So the Hatters have moved to 6-1. Not sure what competition they’ve really faced, (Chattanooga tonight) but they do get USF on the 30th.

Yes, it was wicked ugly – but for William & Mary a win is a win, thankyouverymuch.

It WAS a good oneFormer player falls to former coach, but there may be some writing on the wall. UNC 78, Elon 73.

In the battle of the purples, it was LSU over TCU, 67-61.

Remember when IUPUI was a hot, hot mess? They tamed Missouri, 73-45. The victory marks the first time in program history that the Jaguars have defeated an SEC opponent.

Well, hello. Patty Coyle hasn’t had much to cheer about at St. Peter’s, but a win over Marist (whatever is happening to them this season) is always nice.

#1 Notre Dame got their groove on v. Valpo, 114-54. They sit in wait for the UConn team.

BTW: San Francisco, Loyola-Chicago, Nebraska and UNC are stories that all deserve follow ups by sports journalists.

Re: Jeff Walz’s rant. Honestly, I call bullish*t. Point fingers at players you recruited, demand new arenas and sweet gear, talk about the good old days, pretend that “the real world” isn’t full of folks who should be fired, kvetch about AAU but then get pissed when the kid you’ve made an appearance for only has one game ’cause they lost, then make sweeping generalizations about young people? Whatever it takes to motivate your team, I guess, but you don’t get any “truth teller” points from me.

DOWN goes…

#12 Oklahoma falls with enthusiasm to #17 Kentucky, 82-68.

After the No. 17 Cats upended her No. 12 Sooners 82-68 on Thursday night, Coale was asked if there was anything different about this Kentucky team.

“These guys are a little bit more purposeful,” she said simply.

Minus Stephanie Mavunga, #9 Ohio State almost escaped #18 Miami when Calhoun’s three pushed the game into overtime, but the Hurricanes prevailed, 94-89.

Hello, still perfect Kansas State! Yes, #23 Auburn hasn’t played a tough schedule, but they were ranked.

It was tight, but eventually #5 Maryland maintained their unblemished record, toppling Louisville, 78-72.

What doesn’t kill ya makes you stronger, but oof and the ranked teams, Longhorns! #14 Texas put up a fight, but South Carolina’s Wilson came to the rescue with 31pts to seal the win for the Gamecocks.

Sorry dad. A strong second quarter made sure that Stanford beat the Roadrunners, 77-56.

They may have started slowly, but #4 Baylor just wore out Abilene Christian, 79-34.

#13 Washington climbed all over Grand Canyon.

I’m sure Doug’s thinking, “thanks, Geno, for lighting a fire under their butt…” #2 UConn blitzed #15 DePaul, 91-46.

Pay some attention to Felisha Legette-Jack’s 6-0 Buffalo team.

And pay attention to Michigan, who knocks off previously undefeated Georgia Tech, 92-52.

“Definitely didn’t expect it,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico regarding the blowout. “We came out of the gate and jumped on them right away. We never really looked back. We kicked their butt and I didn’t think we were going to do that coming into someone’s home court, especially a team that was 6-0 and had some real quality wins.”

Hmmmm…. after a win over Temple, it may be that Harvard is looking to make some noise in the Ivy.

VaTech came back to beat a struggling Nebraska, 76-67. In other Hokie news: Genesis Parker will transfer.

Fordham’s looking mighty feisty in the A-10, taking down conference rival Duquesne, 64-51.

They’re not world beaters yet, but William & Mary is doing so. much. better.

By the way, Boise is still undefeated.

Towson is not any longer, having been dealt a defeat by Georgetown, 75-59.

Bummer: Maine women’s basketball team undaunted after theft of belongings

WNBA

Totes sucks: Chiney Ogwumike Undergoes Achilles Surgery

Newsday: Swin Cash finds a positive early in her retirement

W.T.F. Charles Barkley does not want Warriors’ ‘girl basketball’ style to catch on

Weekend Watch List:

Tonight: San Diego v. Washington State, 10pm EST

Saturday:
Marshall v. Penn State – an interesting measure of two teams in interesting places. 1pm EST

Battle of the undefeateds: Mississippi State v. Iowa State, 2:30pm EST

Go, in-state rivalries: Utah State (6-1) v. Utah (6-0)

Big12/SEC Challenge: Georgia (5-2) v Oklahoma State (6-0)

Sunday

#4 Baylor v. #22 Tennessee – big challenge for the Vols. 2pm EST

TCU v. LSU – nice match up between unranked teams looking towards the future (what kind of future to be decided). 2pm EST

#3 South Carolina v. Duke. Are the Blue Devils flying under the radar, or……

Oooooo, in state rivalry!!! #17 Kentucky v. #7 Louisville, 2pm EST

What’s the dealio, Ole Miss? Ole Miss (6-1) v. #16 West Virginia (8-0), 4pm EST

I’ll be in the house! #14 Texas v. #2 UConn, 4pm EST.

Boise State v. Washington State, 5pm EST

Color me intrigued: Elon v North Carolina, 5:30pm EST. AND they’re giving away a Charlotte Smith Bobblehead!

 

Stream This!

(Unless you’re watching games… but hey, multitask!)

https://www.facebook.com/AWSMPennState/

In April, a video titled #MoreThanMean called out the insulting and obscene harassment routinely heaped on two female Chicago sports reporters. That video has now been viewed more than 3.7 million times and started a national conversation.

Now, the women who made the video — Julie DiCaro and Sarah Spain — are visiting Penn State on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. in HUB’s Freeman Auditorium.

The #MoreThanMean video can be watched here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9tU-D-m2JY8

Also, have you had a chance to read this piece by Sarah Spain? Sharing stories of harassment is one way to combat a still-pervasive issue

She was a young newspaper writer. He wrote her a letter threatening her life and the lives of her children, telling her: “You stupid b—-. Stop writing. Now.”

These are just a handful of stories my friends and colleagues told me in this week’s “That’s What She Said” podcast. I didn’t have to seek out women with shocking tales of harassment; I already know plenty. And I had my own stories to tell. If you know a woman who works in the sports industry, she probably does, too. Stories of men abusing their power, hoping to take advantage of young girls’ ambitions. Or men asserting control, working to make women feel unwelcome and unsafe.

Speaking of multi-tasking: LaChina! ‘Around the Rim’ podcast: West Coastin’ with Washington’s Kelsey Plum

From the Notre Dame Insider: Steady, sturdy Lindsay Allen makes Notre Dame women’s basketball go

We’ve noticed! Hot-start UTA Lady Mavericks playing like it’s 1977

Just, ’cause, it’s nice to know that I’m not the only Wheelock who sucks at basketball…: Women’s Basketball rallies past Wheelock, 66-59

Tough times: Arkansas: Guard Jordan Danberry to transfer, senior Tatiyana Smith quits due to medical issue

Also bye: Ohio State: Sophomore post Theresa Ekhelar to leave program

Baylor: Why adventurous Australian guard Kristy Wallace is so important for Baylor

WNBA

So, I know math is not my strong point, but… by my calculation, there are 204 games available for ESPN/ESPN2 broadcast and they’ve decided to broadcast 9. That’s like…under 5% of the games, right? Great way to follow up on last year’s good ratings, @CStiffESPN, ESPN Vice President, Women’s Sports Programming at ESPN, Inc

From the .com: Skylar Diggins’ Road Back

also .com: Q&A: Kiah Stokes on 2016 Season and New York Liberty’s Future

Wherein a Chicago Tribune reporter writes an article that is, basically, a huge quote of the real article by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

From Rolling Stone: Why Don’t More Female Athletes Have Signature Sneakers?

Swish Appeal: WNBA prospects to watch – PART I

If you’re in New York on Monday evening, come with me to the New York Historical Society:

Course Correction
A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX
A memoir by Ginny Gilder

MONDAY, DECEMBER 5, 6:30 PM

 Enjoy a conversation with author Ginny Gilder, Olympic Silver Medalist in Rowing, and co-owner of the Seattle Storm, the women’s professional basketball team. Presented as part of the Diane and Adam E. Max “Salon” Series in Women’s History

 

to soothe your reading palate:

This is worth your time if you missed it when I first linked it:EDD profile, The Audacity Of Height

She’s been 6-5 for a long time — by eighth grade she was already 6 feet — and one of the things she learned from standing out so egregiously is that people are watching and the best bet is just to behave. People sometimes think she’s bland — I was warned she was a boring interview — but it’s not true. What’s true is that she has learned to stay quiet. She’s learned that people aren’t really interested in the truth of your experience if it doesn’t confirm their theories about you. They don’t understand what it’s like when you present with something special, like height or ability — or both, in her case — how your future is decided for you long before you’ve had a moment to consider it. They don’t understand how you could spend the rest of your life wondering if the choices that were made on your behalf were ones you would have come around to on your own.

From Excelle, another reminder of the light the sports platform can shine: Chamique Holdsclaw is changing how we talk about mental health

For Holdsclaw, sharing her story is the best way she knows to break the social stigma that surrounds mental health issues. “It is OK to talk about these things, and I think we are going to start to see a change,” she said. “There are a bunch of people who are passionate and all coming together to break down these borders.”

All of this is not to say that everything is now bright and sunny in Holdsclaw’s world.

“Some days I wake up and it’s debilitating,” she said. “My mind will tell me, ‘I’m worthless, I’m nothing, I don’t want to be here on this earth anymore’ … But I make an effort to really hone in on those things and take what I can from them.”

And she relies heavily on the fact that, every day, she has the chance to be grateful and make an impact, showing someone—if only herself—that people do care.

About basketball: WATCH: South Carolina tells us exactly how it beat up Louisville at Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge

Mel adds his 25cents: South Carolina Has The No. 1 Look in Hoop Hall Challenge

Third-ranked South Carolina, coached by Philly roundball legend Dawn Staley, ran roughshod over No. 5 Louisville after a competitive first quarter to gain a non conference 83-59 triumph.

Afterwards media here, those watching from afar via ESPN2, and other observers said despite Notre Dame’s No. 1 ranking and No. 2 Connecticut’s recent upset of then-No. 2 Baylor, the team on the floor right now that is looking like the best bet to leave Dallas on April 2 with the NCAA trophy is Staley’s unbeaten Gamecocks (4-0), who also own an impressive win over then-No. 7 Ohio State in Columbus.

    “As you can see we’re pretty balanced,” Staley said of a roster offering several all-American candidates and at least one player of the year contender in 6-foot-5 junior A’ja Wilson. 

From Graham: South Carolina defense shuts down Asia Durr to improve to 5-0

Almost in the shadow of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, No. 3 South Carolina and No. 4 Louisville played a game that was about entry into a select club.

South Carolina is already in, just as its coach is enshrined among select company in the building across the highway from the MassMutual Center. Louisville is not yet in the club. The Cardinals have championship aspirations — but not yet championship expectations.

Connecticut, Notre Dame and South Carolina have those expectations.

And after South Carolina’s 83-59 win Sunday, that is how it is going to stay for now.

More basketball: Polls! AP Women’s Basketball Poll Week 4. Hello, Colorado, Auburn, Texas A&M. And someone’s got some ‘splainin’ to do re: Tennessee and Texas (I’ll get to see them live next Sunday. Woot!).

As for the “polls-in-waiting” crew? Not sure what Arizona State’s done to deserve attention, but we’ll be keeping an eye on VaTech, Georgia Tech and Cal.

Well deserved: Virginia Tech’s Chanette Hicks is espnW’s player of the week

Learn a little more about Maine’s coach Richard Barron from Sue’s Coach’s Chair Q&A.

Games: Honestly, not a lot on the schedule that piques my interest today or tomorrow. Wednesday offers:

Undefeated Towson v. Georgetown

USC v. #25 Texas A&M – they’re a combined 10-1.

Battle of New Jersey: Princeton v. Seton Hall

Battle of New York: Albany v. St. John’s

Big 10/ACC Challenge: #20 Syracuse v. Michigan State (6-1)

Big 10/ACC Challenge: #1 Notre Dame v Iowa (5-2)

Battle of New Mexico: Aggies v. Lobos

McNeese v. Tulane: Two 4-1 teams.

Battle of Colorado: State v. Denver. Williams’ Rams have played a tough schedule so far, expect them to get their groove back.

Battle of California: Fresno State v. San Francisco

 

It was deja vu all over again for Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Kenny Brooks got an important program win, 67-63, behind a huge game (on both ends of the floor) from Chanette Hicks. Not only did the Vols lose for the second time in two years, it’s their second consecutive loss to an unranked team. The box score is really ugly… and you’ve got to wonder how so much talent can play so poorly.

After a pretty even first half, then #3 South Carolina made a strong argument for being the team to beat, cruising to a 24pt win over #4 Louisville. 

#8 Ohio State was no match for #5 Baylor’s size and defense. The Buckeye’s shot 34% as Mitchell tried to do too much on her own (5-20). Alexis Jones was terrific, but the Bears really need to work on their free throws (59%).

DePaul jumped all over Syracuse in the first quarter, and never let the Orange get close. Typical Demon-ball – 19 threes – and poor Syracuse defense resulted in a 108-84 romp.

#19 West Virginia handled High Point and #13 Oklahoma put away Colorado State.

Neither #21 Miami, #15 Washington or #2o Kentucky faced much of challenge.

George Washington dispatched Western Kentucky, 68-49.

Temple fought back to earn a victory over Quinnipiac, 71-68.

Speaking of fighting back, that’s what Auburn did, behind Brandy Montgomery’s 28pts. They came back from 17 down to beat Indiana, 71-67.

That’s 5-0 for Towson.

Rutgers finally gets a win – perhaps it was ’cause Billie Jean King was in the house?

Whoops! Perhaps they got distracted by their win over Syracuse? Drexel falls to Bucknell (which, if you recall, has improved a ton), 78-66.

It was tight, and it was against a struggling UT Martin team, but a win’s a win – Vandy moves to 5-1.

Warned ya – UT Arlington owned Seton Hall, 86-61.

UNLV dumped Ole Miss, 64-57, and moves to 5-0.

Ooof – Chattanooga falls to Maine, and it was ugly: 49-39. Next up for the Mocs? Tuesday at UConn. Gulp.