So, what did I miss?!?!”

Is it just me, or are all the#2 and below teams looking a little ragged?

Brunner hurt in ASU women’s basketball 60-58 loss to No. 2 South Carolina

UAlbany Women’s basketball takes the #4 Lady Vols to the brink, narrowly losing 63-55

#5 Baylor was down 12 before Nina Davis powered them to an 84-76 win over #20 Michigan State.

It took overtime (and Turner’s injured), but: Cable helps No. 3 Notre Dame beat UCLA 92-84. The Irish have a 12/2 game against Ohio State.

The second half doomed Dayton’s upset dreams. #13 Cardinal win, 74-66. The Flyers are still #1 in the Mid-Majors rankings.

#16 Cal escaped Liberty, 77-72.

#19 Northwestern escaped up-and-coming East Carolina, 78-75.

*really, how can they still be ranked?* #22 Louisville (1-3) lost to Purdue (5-0), 62-60.

Wright State stunned #24 George Washington, 77-71.

“Happy Debbie Game”: Sacramento State edged by San Francisco, 95-94.

HDG #2: #11 Ohio State over #10 Texas A&M, 95-80. Coach Kevin’s on the Dishin’ & Swishin’ podcast: Love it or hate it, Kevin McGuff’s opening schedule has people talking about Ohio State

Yep, she’s back: Rachel Banham breaks Lindsay Whalen’s career scoring mark in OT loss

Worth noting: Behind freshman Taylor Pierce’s school record NINE three-pointers, Idaho took down Iowa State, 97-65. (The Vandals’ only loss is to Duke, 74-68.)

Worth noting: with its win over Montana, Lehigh is now 6-0.

Worth noting: with its 95-78 win over the traditionally strong Gaels, Missouri is now 7-0 and tops the SEC. (Anyone else worried about LSU and Nikki?)

Speaking of the WCC…is there a changing of the guard this year? San Diego is undefeated  and BYU (3-2) and Gonzaga (5-3) aren’t.

Worth noting: FSGU is 3-3. Might the A-Sun be up for grabs this year?

Seton Hall is 7-0. How come we have to wait until Jan 5th before they play DePaul?

Yup,#6  Maryland is undefeated. They play #23 Syracuse Dec 2nd.

Yes, it’s early in the Mid-American, but Buffalo is 6-0, Ohio is 3-2 and Bowling Green is 3-2.

There’s a lot of perfection atop the Pac12: USC, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington State.

Coach Trakh’s got his Aggies rollin’: NMSU routs Northern Arizona, go to 6-0

Billikens (5-0) win! Sycamore Women’s Basketball Falls to Saint Louis

Penguins (5-0) win!

Someone please give coach Giorgis a hug – his Marist team is 0-6.

Folks making a difference:

Ruth Riley: Let’s end childhood hunger — and the shame that goes with it

On Oct. 27 in Washington, D.C., I testified at a public hearing for a subcommittee on nutrition about my family’s experience receiving governmental assistance with food stamps and free and reduced lunches. That five-minute testimony was an important part of my continued effort to fight the social stigma involved around participating in these programs.

I knew that sometimes my mom paid for groceries with what looked like Monopoly money instead of cash. And off and on, I had a little ticket that would get me a free breakfast or lunch at school. But as a child, I was clueless to the level of poverty we lived in.

Chamique Holdsclaw embraces role of mental health advocate

Heading into the 1999 WNBA draft, there was no doubt that University of Tennessee star Chamique Holdsclaw would be the No. 1 overall pick.

Holdsclaw was dubbed the “Female Michael Jordan,” and like MJ, she was expected by many to use her electrifying talents to raise the league’s popularity and visibility. But as chronicled in the newly released documentary, “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” her battle with mental illness would eventually trump any opponent she would ever face on the hardwood.


I’m travelling tonight….

a dead logic board.

As I await the return of my trusty laptop, I’m sneaking a moment from work to say….

Hmm…. South Carolina, I know Dawn ain’t happy, and I can’t imagine your work against UCLA improved her mood.

Notre Dame: In Muffet we Trust, ’cause I know she can coach’em up like nobody else, but it’s going to be a bump-bumpy ride.

Tennessee: Lot’s of talent, but I can’t say folks are happy with the execution.

Louisville: Can Jeff right the boat?

Marist: Ouch, this is painful to watch.

In a match up between two teams that might have big struggles this year, MSTU defeated  Ole Miss .

Hello, Missouri’s Sophie Cunningham!

Let’s not sleep on Texas A&M, shall we?

Yup, Baylor won – but let’s not sleep on DePaul, neither, ‘kay?

Dayton, Cal and Albany are still undefeated. So are the Billikens! And the Cavaliers. And the Wolf Pack. And East Carolina. Drake and the Ducks (see what I did there?) and the Hawkeyes. And Washington State.

Ooops! Coffee break over!

(Unless you’re UNC, JMU, South Carolina Upstate, George Mason, East Carolina, UCF (mebbe I made’m mad?), Loyola (CHI), Eastern Michigan, OSU, Tulane, Missouri State, San Diego…)

Will say that my boxscore reading concerns about #25 Chattanooga seem to have been on point: the Mocs lose to Indiana (WNIT game), 54-43.

Another upset: Florida Gulf Coast forgets how to score in the third quarter.. and lose to Florida Atlantic, 62-55.

“I think the obvious thing to take away from tonight is that FAU really outplayed us in the second half,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “They dominated the boards, they took advantage of every defensive breakdown we had and we couldn’t get things going offensively at all. We have to start to improve every day because the schedule is just going to get harder.”

Penguins win!

Billikens win! Can you feel the change?

Using the previous 30 years as a gauge, the progress made by the St. Louis University women’s basketball team last season was significant, even if the Billikens again failed to break .500.

They were 15-16, beat a ranked opponent for the first time in 12 years and had several young players recognized with postseason Atlantic 10 honors. For coach Lisa Stone, it wasn’t enough.

It’s been since 2004-05 that Columbia started 2-0.

Nothin’ like those in-state rivalries: New Mexico State over New Mexico with authority, 78-58.

Michelle: Arizona State looks to be tougher, more consistent this season

Toughness. It’s the difference, senior guard Elisha Davis says, between the way Arizona State will finish this season and the way it finished the last one. It boils down to that one word.

“And when I say that, I don’t mean acting tough, but being tough enough to still do the little things at the end of the game,” Davis said. “The hard cuts, the hand signals, the counter moves you have to have when someone has scouted you. We have to be tough enough to push through it to the end.”

Kentucky: U of L women adjusting to new NCAA rules

Accompanying usual press notes and roster sheets at Sunday’s Louisville women’s basketball opener was also an NCAA explainer. This year, games split into four periods, not quarters, and it’s officially called intermission, not halftime.

“Did they by chance dim the lights on and off for everybody to come back to their seats?” Cardinals coach Jeff Walz joked after U of L’s 75-71 loss to California at the KFC Yum! Center.

Both Walz and Bears coach Lindsay Gottlieb otherwise praised rules changes that call for two free throws on the fifth foul of every period and allow teams the option to advance the ball up court via a timeout inside of a minute to go in the fourth.

Guevara leads CMU women’s basketball into new era

Forget about the 2013 Mid-American Conference Championship and the trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Forget about 1,000-point scorers Jessica Green and Jas’Mine Bracey as well as WNBA first-round draft pick Crystal Bradford.

Forget about them because they’re all gone, graduated and out of eligibility.

As the CMU women’s basketball team enters the 2015-16 campaign it enters a new era, one where the likes of Britni Houghton, Brandie Baker, Kaihla Szunko, Shonda Long, Taylor Johnson, Niki DiGiulio and the aforementioned triad are no longer around to put a face on the program.

In short when you open the doors into the upcoming season you must understand you’re entering into a new era of CMU women’s basketball, one that leads not so much towards what will be but rather what might be?

Huskers have rapidly improved inside game

For emphasis, maybe just out of pure excitement, Connie Yori raised her hands to demonstrate the point she was trying to make about the Nebraska women’s basketball teams rapidly improved inside game.

During a recent news conference, the Nebraska coach raised her left hand and made a zero with her fingers. That represented how in recent seasons the Huskers have had no true inside post players.

Then Yori raised her right hand and held up five fingers. That’s how many post players Yori thinks can make an impact for the Huskers this season.

LSU women’s basketball point guard Hill takes care of business on, off the court

Junior Rina Hill is more than the starting point guard for the LSU women’s basketball team — she’s the team’s CEO.

Hill is the first Japanese national to play basketball in the Southeastern Conference and was named the starting point guard for the Lady Tigers before the start of the season. LSU coach Nikki Fargas recruited Hill and said she isn’t surprised she chose to major in business when she arrived in Baton Rouge.

“When Rina comes to practice, she has an agenda,” Fargas said. “She’s very organized and committed. She commands the same level of attention to detail as if she was running a company — as if she were the CEO or COO of her own company.”


Read the Catchings:

Where has time gone? It’s been literally a month since my last post. People tend to assume that my life slows down once the season ends, but it’s quite the opposite.

Despite taking a 3-week break from working out, I’ve been getting my fair share of exercise just running through airports en route to meetings, appearances & events! From Baton Rouge, to New York, to Indy, to Louisville… God is truly setting me up for something big!!

With so much going on I’ll just give you a brief synopsis of this months highlights:

Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi… ouch:

The Canberra Capitals’ miserable season has taken another major hit, with Lauren Jackson suffering another injury setback which will keep her out of WNBL action until January.

Capitals coach Carrie Graf admits she faces the biggest challenge of her career to lift Canberra out a horror slump which has put the club on the verge of the longest losing streak in its history.

Speaking of Australia: Alaska hoops star Griffin will become an Australian

From Terrence McCoy at the Washington Post: How one of the nation’s most promising basketball players became homeless

On a summer day in 2012, a basketball superstar walked into Jimmy John’s in downtown Washington just as employees were attempting to kick out a homeless woman. Chamique Holdsclaw, who was drafted first overall in 1999 by the Washington Mystics and played in six all-star games, tried to ignore the commotion until she suddenly became part of it.

“Chamique,” the homeless woman begged. “Please buy me a sandwich.”

Holdsclaw had nearly mistaken her for a man. She was tall — taller than Holdsclaw, a former forward who stands 6-foot-2. She was dressed in baggy, dark men’s clothing. Her long fingers clutched a cigarette. She seemed disoriented, Holdsclaw recalled, maybe even on drugs. But her voice was smooth, feminine — and familiar.

Then it hit Holdsclaw. This wasn’t just another homeless person in a city full of them. It was Schuye LaRue.

North Texas – aka the team that was Karen Aston’s rest stop on the way to the Texas gig – took an early lead on Oklahoma IN Oklahoma and.. never. let. it. go.

“We just got really, really frustrated and then we panicked,” Coale said. “When you don’t have energy, there’s an abyss and in the abyss, tonight, grew panic from our team.”

The cure for panic? Taking the floor with energy, according to Coale, something OU didn’t do Monday.

“We weren’t being the aggressor at all,” Little said. “North Texas came out and punched it right at us.

Last year, the Sooners stomped the Mean Green 68-39. UNT has endured 9 straight losing season. This year, under first year coach Jalie Mitchell, a UNT Hall of Famer, they were picked to finish last in C-USA’s preseason. Well, they just beat Oklahoma.

Not as seismic, but equally significant: Florida (who lost to Temple) took down #6/7 Florida State, 82-72.

We beat a very, very good team this afternoon, and I’m just proud of first of all our effort and our preparation,” UF coach Amanda Butler said. “We had a quick turnaround in coming off a disappointment (97-91 loss at Temple Friday), and I thought we showed a tremendous amount of maturity. I thought we had great leadership from our upperclassmen, and it meant a ton for our seniors to make sure that we got what we deserved tonight. I’m just really, really proud of that group to get this win for them. It was a significant game, and this is why we love college sports because of these type of rivalries.

In a bad news, better than we hoped news for Florida State – Romero, who went down with an injury late in the game, suffered a high ankle sprain (not that other, horrible, thing).

Seton Hall doesn’t miss a step – and wipes out Rutgers, 77-49. Not a good sign for the Scarlet Knights.

The fabulous (should earn the WBCA’s Mel Greenberg Award. This is the start of my campaign) Jim Massie sums up the #1 UConn v. #7 Ohio State game nicely:

Playing Connecticut is a lot like spending the day with seven or eight hungry polar bears.

Oh, the humanity.

Is it the new rules…

or something in the Gatorade? Sure have been a lot of 85+ games so far. For example:

Maryland: 102
Texas: 90
George Washington: 85
Stetson: 107
Michigan: 90
Nebraska: 96
Cincinnati over St. Francis (PA): 93-86
Manhattan: 85
Sacramento State over Utah State: 95-86
Oral Roberts: 89
Colorado: 92
South Carolina State: 90
Jackson State: 100
Morehead State over Kentucky Christian: 121-91
Washington: 100
Utah Valley: 91
Abilene Christian: 96
South Carolina: 92
Notre Dame: 85
Tennessee: 102
Texas A&M: 88
Princeton: 94
NC State: 89
Michigan: 88
James Madison: 88
Georgia Tech: 89
TCU: 85
Central Michigan: 110
North Dakota State: 88
Vanderbilt: 89
St. Mary’s: 91
Charlotte: 94
UTEP: 98
St. John’s: 85
Long Beach State: 89
Northwestern: 89

Yah, yah, yah, it’s early… but I am intrigued to see how it plays out in conference play….

Calling this an upset: UNO has been horrible, and just a few years ago Joi Williams and UCF was making some noise. This time it was the Mavericks who had the last laugh.

Calling this an upset: Boston College, who has disappeared off the face of the women’s basketball world since Kathy Inglese exited the sidelines, over Maine, who has rebuilt their program.

Calling this a “still trying to see if the rankings match the team” upset: #18 Kentucky over #14 Arizona State, 68-64 (OT). Especially impressive, considering it was in Tempe, and the Wildcats fraught off-season.

A “heads up” game – though I’m not sure if it’s for Stanford or Gonzaga: After an even first three quarters, the fourth saw the Cardinal pull away from the Bulldogs and win, 65-48.

Considering the Tar Heels’ opening game, not sure this can be qualified as an upset: Oregon over #22 North Carolina, 79-77. The shadow the academic scandal is casting is long…

This is an upset: AT the Yum Center, Cal rebuffed a fierce comeback by #8 Louisville to capture a 75-71 win.

Hmmm… looks like this could be a good year for the Blue Jays, and a tough year for the Red Foxes: Creighton over Marist, 89-46.

Well, Hello, Ragin’ Cajuns! It was a nail-biting last few minutes, but you pulled off the upset of Ole Miss.

And, yes Drake, we see you takin’ down Iowa State.

And we’re off!

Princeton probably wasn’t surprised by the fight Penn put up against Duke. Coach McLaughlin is no joke and neither are the Quakers. Blue Devils 57-50 victors.

Hmmmm…. Yale only lost to Dayton by 6. Wonder if this means the Ivy League is something to keep an eye on….

North Carolina was not so lucky, as Gardner-Webb stunned the Tar Heels with a last minute basket.

Q might think his Syracuse team will go undefeated, but you still have to play the games – and people should start paying serious attention to the job Daynia La-Force is doing at Rhode Island, dabnabbit! Orange win, 57-54.

Boy, Debbie Antonelli’s must’ve loved this game: South Carolina‘s offense outlasted Ohio State‘s offense. And if anyone had any doubts that Kelsey Mitchell is legit… they ain’t got’em now. Mechelle liked it, too.

Staley and McGuff are both 45 years old, both of the college class of ’92, both at programs that one can assume they might want to stay at for the rest of their careers. It has been fun to see what they’ve done so far, and you get the sense they are only getting started.

“We aspire to be one of the best programs in the country, and part of that is going out and proving it,” McGuff said. “You’ve got to play people. South Carolina has done that, and now we’re trying to do the same thing. We inherited some great kids, and we’ve recruited some other great kids. I think we’re certainly going in the right direction. I appreciate South Carolina playing us, and we look forward to having them up at our place next year.”

Debbie REALLY must have loved THIS game: Marshall over Morehead State, 104-101.

If Marshall’s young women’s basketball team didn’t exhale until it reached about the Grayson rest stop on the I-64 bus trip back home Friday night, it’s understandable.

Equally enjoyed by Debbie, I’m sure: Temple over Florida, 97-91.

More Debbie happiness: Lehigh over Monmouth, 95-88.

Yup, it’s going to be an interesting year for Wichita State and coach Adams – Creighton stomped all over the Shockers, winning 79-54.

Yah, the Mocs beat the Cowgirls, but if I’m coach Foster, I’m concerned that Chattanooga was outscored by McNeese State 18-9 in the fourth quarter.

St. Joe’s will be kicking themselves about their fourth quarter – they had Rutgers on the ropes and then… whoops! the Knights recovered for the 78-65 win.

Speaking of fourth quarters: Holy Cross outscored Penn State 27-11 in the 4th, but couldn’t snag the OT win.

Gotta wonder about Caldwell at LSU: they open with a loss to Wake Forest, 60-57.

New Mexico State picks up where it left off: winning.

Hello, Jordin Canada (as UCLA sees if it can build on last year’s lessons). Bruins take down St. John’s by 15.

It’s becoming a program habit: San Francisco wins.

Well, this is…a surprise? UC Riverside tromped all over Fresno State, 86-68.

Another surprise: Florida Atlantic seriously upends Akron, 91-77.

Minnesota wins, but more importantly, Rachel Banham went 7-15 in 26 minutes.

Wabbits can beat Foxes… at least on the basketball court, they can. South Dakota State over Marist, 77-68.

Important win for Virginia, who survived Brea Edwards’ 30 pts and hang on for a 70-66 win over Middle Tennessee.