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Archive for November, 2010

Milton Kent: FanHouse Women’s Basketball Terrific 12

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the FanHouse Terrific 12!

Each Tuesday, FanHouse’s Michelle Smith and Milton Kent will walk you through the best of the week gone by in women’s college basketball, identifying the dozen best teams and performances, not just from the power leagues, but also from the mid-majors.

I want to know why their stuff rarely comes through my news alerts..,.. (hint, hint)

We’ll also give you a quick preview of the big games on the docket for the coming week, with an eye toward the most meaningful inter-league and non-conference contests between teams that are bound to make a splash come tournament time.

Speakin’ of Michelle, from her Left Coast Hoops blog: Candice Wiggins talks about World AIDS Day

I’ve known Candice Wiggins since she was a 17-year-old at Stanford. She has always been remarkably dignified and open about her family story and her father’s death from AIDS.

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day and Candice talked to me yesterday with her usual honesty and passion.

She is participating in a Public Service Announcement with the NBA and the organization Greater Than AIDS. This is worth passing along.


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On that Volleyball Bracket

Mechelle tweets: Love this comment from DotYourEye volleyball blog: “If these brackets were anymore lopsided, they’d tip over and fall on their face.”

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Rumor mill…

Ticha to NY?

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A few years back, former Notre Dame player Danielle Green drew attention not because she was in the service, but because she was injured while serving.

Check out the two part “Catching up with Danille from 2008. Part 1 and Part 2. An article from 2009 caught up with her: Wounded Warrior Diaries: Life Lessons Shape Iraq War Veteran

“I looked over at my left leg and saw my uniform busted open,” she said. “The initial hit, when I first went down, I thought that I was about to die in Iraq, on the rooftop, in the sand, in Iraq. To me, that was the hardest moment — to think that at 27 years old, I was about to die.”

She said that at that moment she was “waiting to die.” As she continued to pray, she remembered, she gained strength and tried to use that energy to leave the rooftop for a safer area to assess her injuries. But she was unable to move, feeling trapped as she continued to hear the small-arms fire in the distance.

Though it seemed what like a lifetime of waiting, she said, comrades were treating her within five minutes of the attack. She later learned that her sergeants had gone up to the rooftop against the company commander’s orders to find her wedding rings.

The sudden rise and tragic death of Maggie Dixon brought attention to the powerful connection between the athletes at West Point. In 2009, Mechelle wrote about Oklahoma’s Caton Hill who followed her father and uncle into the army.

The stories are still there. From Missouri’s News-Leader: Kinga Kiss-Johnson: Getting her life back – Despite wartime injuries, former Lady Bear returns to sports.

Kinga Kiss-Johnson is used to standing above a crowd.

The former Missouri State women’s basketball player stands 6-foot-7, the tallest player in team history. She was the tallest service member in her U.S. Army company when she took the oath of citizenship to the United States in 2007.

And now, three years after suffering devastating neck, back and brain injuries in Afghanistan, she’s one of the tallest on her new basketball team, the Augusta (Ga.) Bulldogs of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, one of two sports she has picked up since her accident.

“It’s given me back my basketball life, a little piece of my life back,” Kiss-Johnson said.

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Triple-doubles are amazing

Griner got her fourth and UCSB got their first.

Two-time All-Americans Erin Buescher and Kristen Mann never did it. UCSB all-time scoring leader Lindsay Taylor didn’t do it. Gaucho legends Kristi Rohr, Jenna Green and Barb Beainy couldn’t turn the feat either.

Eight UCSB players have played in the WNBA and 10 others have played professionally overseas and on Sunday Mekia Valentine one-upped them all.

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Sue was there

when Temple gave UCLA all it could handle.

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A profile of Nebraska volleyballer Hannah Werth

…in a program this popular in the community and the state, players do stand out as individuals because the fans see them that way. And there really is no other way to view Werth.

The one with the Rec Specs, the black bandana headband, the towel tucked in the back of her shorts — and so much energy she usually can’t stop herself from bouncing like Tigger over to every huddle.

A little Huskers fan came dressed up like Werth for a pre-Halloween match Oct. 30 at Nebraska Coliseum. You suspect volleyball-playing youngsters across the entire state have started mentioning vision problems in hopes that they, too, could get some specs and look like Hannah.

(side note: Reminds me of a comment Chris Evert made after Martina Navratilova finally got glasses. “Great, now she can actually SEE the ball!”)

There’s more volleyball in Mechelle’s preview of the NCAA D1 Tourney: Tough roads to Kansas City

Figuring out brackets is its own little exercise in conjecture, no matter what the official parties say. You read between the bracket lines and do your own sleuthing, and your conclusions may or may not be right.

But you’d probably be hard-pressed to look at the NCAA volleyball bracket, announced Sunday, and not conclude that three-time defending champion Penn State seems in great shape to head back to another Final Four.

Stepping in for an under-the-weather Graham, Mechelle does a little week-o-basketball wrap up: Hoyas pull off biggest tourney upset

If you have observed the various Thanksgiving hoops tournaments over the years, you know one thing for sure about them: You can never really tell if they mean anything.

Usually, the events are in distracting warm-weather places, and it’s early in the season, so weird things can happen that don’t necessarily translate into any deeper meaning. Or sometimes … they end up foreshadowing things that do occur later in the season. Most of the time in regard to upsets, I think it’s the former.

But it’s going to be intriguing to see which is the case in regard to the most surprising upset of the holiday weekend: Georgetown’s 69-58 victory over Tennessee on Saturday at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

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From Mel: Health Issue Stops Delaware’s Delle Donne In Win At La Salle

Is Delaware sophomore sensation Elena Delle Donne on the road to becoming the Stephen Strasburg of women’s basketball with injuries and health conditions impacting her career of great potential as a collegian?

In major league baseball last summer, Strasburg made a dynamic pitching debut with the Washington Nationals. However, in late August he was diagnosed with a season-ending right-elbow injury requiring surgery that could keep him off the mound until 2012.

Now it’s the Blue Hens folks’ turn to worry over a young phenom of their own, especially after Delle Donne took herself out of action six minutes into Sunday’s afternoon game here at La Salle’s Tom Gola Arena.

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TCU Accepts Offer From Big East

Yah, duh, it’s about money. I mean, football. But it raises some interesting geographic scheduling challenges — think of the travel costs for all the non-football/basketball teams. Any guesses as to what kind of fan-traveling you’ll get? Sorta the same that you get with BC and Miami in the ACC.

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Good news

Purdue’s Drey Mingo out of hospital

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Top 20: Tina Thompson, no. 17 – The definitive ranking of the WNBA’s best players.

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especially if you’re someone who’s interested in the officiating profession.

From the Ref’s Forum: Coach Asks

Last minute of 4th.
Team B is pressing. I am the Lead.
Coach say to me.
“Watch team B holding #22 jersey, please get a good look at it.”

Heres the deal.
I am in the front court, A22 is in the back court, right in front of C.

If they would of held A22 and there was no call, how would I handle that with that coach being right next to me?

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If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch Burnt Orange v. Cardinal today in a variety of forms at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV – FSN/CSNBA

Audio

Gametracker

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Crossing paths with two Jordans

Sorry that it has been dead around here at the blog in recent weeks. I started my new role at ESPN.com – covering a variety of college sports beyond women’s basketball – in late September, and it’s taken up not just a lot of time, but a fair amount of emotional energy.

I don’t say that in a bad way. It’s really good. I had followed some of the other college sports _ such as volleyball, women’s soccer, wrestling and cross country/track _ formerly for the Kansas City Star, so catching up on them again has been a little easier. Still, each year in every sport brings you a new cast of characters.

Other sports, such as men’s soccer (which unfortunately is not a Big 12 varsity sport) and field hockey (which I never covered but watched a bit when I lived on the East Coast) have required more of a learning curve to get up to speed on the most compelling stories.

But it’s been great.

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Drexel Suddenly Best In Philly Going 4-0 Against Big 5

With a just-completed almost unheard of sweep of four Big Five schools to start the season, the Drexel women’s basketball team has emerged, for now, as the best in town.

The Dragons got underway a week ago with lopsided wins at La Salle and over Penn before rallying at home for a narrow 50-47 win over St. Joseph’s Tuesday night in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

They remained there Friday night and mounted a late rally to beat Villanova 56-50 for the first time in two meetings against coach Denise Dillon’s alma mater and her mentor Harry Perretta.

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interesting, and that Georgetown was on the move.

The 12th ranked Hoyas upset #4 Tennessee (last year they knocked off Nortre Dame.) Sugar Rogers (remember that name), was on fuego from outside, and the Vols battled fumble-fingers (29 turnovers!)

“Our team did not come to the gym on a mission,” said Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, whose squad was playing its first ranked opponent of the season. “We won our first two games pretty easily but you have to respect every opponent. Tonight, we watched a team take us apart. I am very, very disappointed.”

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or a U2 program, Mechelle writes about forward Jordan Hooper

Coach Connie Yori refused to see last season as a brief open door that would inevitably shut. Yes, there would be rebuilding to do, lessons to be learned, lumps to take. But she viewed 2009-10 as another important piece of the foundation of what she is constructing at Nebraska, not just a scrapbook season to wistfully file away.

Plus, she knew she was getting Hooper.

“I’m never one to blow up kids … in fact, I usually do the opposite,” said the hyperbole-adverse Yori. “But Jordan is going to be a pretty special player in our program. She set an all-time record in our agility test this fall. And that includes every player that I have ever had. She’s very, very skilled and a great shooter.”

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Back to School for a Basketball Coach

Before accepting the Seton Hall job in March, Ms. Donovan had spent the past 12 years coaching professionally and for USA Basketball. Already a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame based on her international and collegiate playing careers, she has won an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA championship as a head coach—an accomplishment to which only one other person can lay claim. But in returning to coach at the collegiate level for the first time since 1998, she is attempting to make a midcareer transition that her counterparts in men’s basketball generally find to be tricky at best and impossible at worst.

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Force 10 minus 1

Storm owner leaves

The Storm announced Wednesday that co-owner Anne Levinson is leaving Force 10 Hoops, the WNBA team’s ownership group. The other three founding members — Dawn Trudeau, Lisa Brummel and Ginny Gilder — will remain.

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five girls basketball storylines you’ll want to follow, including:

1. Ed Zink landed the Beavercreek head coach position by default. He applied for the open sophomore boys and varsity girls positions, and the only other applicant insisted that he wouldn’t coach girls. Thirty-five seasons later, Zink is just seven wins away from becoming the state’s all-time wins leader. “I just thought it was a couple years deal,” he said. “My goal was to become the head football coach at Beavercreek.” Instead, his girls hoop career record is 651-171, all with the Beavers.

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Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper:
 
Villanova women’s cross country feature:
 
NCAA cross country championships, focusing on women’s winner from ‘Nova:

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Out of Purdue:

MEDIA ADVISORY

Purdue women’s basketball coach Sharon Versyp and team physician Alayne Sundstrom will be available at 4 p.m. ET today to discuss a confirmed meningitis case involving one of the university’s women’s basketball student-athletes.

Drey Mingo, a redshirt junior from Atlanta, remains hospitalized in stable but critical condition this morning. She was admitted Tuesday afternoon.

The Boilermakers were scheduled to fly to Mexico this morning to participate in the Caribbean Challenge, but the team cancelled the trip. The team had already arrived in Indianapolis on Tuesday night in preparation for its flight when the decision was made not to participate in the two-day tournament. The Boilermakers were to have played Montana on Thursday and Florida Golf Coast on Friday.

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Wise choice!

What an Amazing Game!!! Congratulations, Terps!!!

The picture should give you a hint that today’s most exciting game for Terps fans, in the BCs’ opinion, was the one held outside at the Field Hockey Complex. That’s where a standing room only crowd (10 deep!) saw the Maryland Field Hockey team win the NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in double OT, 3-2, over defending champ UNC . . . and lucky us, the BCs were on hand to witness this intense, exhausting, well-played, nailbiter of an event. As a bonus, it was played on a beautiful, sunny day, in a state-of-the-art facility on Maryland’s campus. What a wonderful place to win a Natty and what a fitting way to crown a champion!

***
Among the fans who packed the FH Complex were plenty of familiar faces; fans we’re used to seeing indoors, at basketball games. If the Natty game had been decided in regulation, we would’ve had time to watch it end, cheer the Terps’ trophy presentation, and still make it to Comcast for the tip-off of Maryland (basketball) versus American U. But we don’t regret the extra time. As basketball fans, we know how exciting, how memorable it is to see your team win a Championship in overtime. Now we can say that double overtime is also our time.

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but you can catch them streaming online.

November 23-28, 2010

Island Division
Iowa State, TCU, Virginia, West Virginia

Reef Division
Georgetown, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Tennessee

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poll (Xavier tops mid-major rankings), Graham gives us this piece on Green Bay’s guard: Celeste Hoewisch still beating the odds

Few players seem less fluent in the language of failure than Celeste Hoewisch, whose very basketball existence suggests that sheer stubborn will to succeed comes in packages as distinct from the norm as Brittney Griner’s size or Kayla Pedersen’s versatility.

Too small to play big-time basketball, at a school too small to make a name for herself on the national scene, Hoewisch will instead leave a pair of giant shoes to fill when her Green Bay career ends next spring.

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Talkin’ money…

Leonsis: Mystics are losing money, but franchise will survive

When Sheila Johnson announced earlier this month the Washington Mystics got rid of their general manager and coach in a cost-cutting move, the reason she gave for the drastic measure was keeping “the franchise alive,” leaving some to wonder if the team was about to go under.

Ted Leonsis attempted to allay that fear in an interview last week, and others around the WNBA, including the commissioner, gave a more upbeat analysis of the league as a whole.

We shall see if seriously pissing off the fanbase will add to those fears.

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Candace Parker is

bloggin’.

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Lindsay Whalen

Some of you won’t care, and we’re about 99 percent positive we’ll get a few of the traditional “what is the WNBA?” comments we usually do. But this is long overdue – SLAMonline’s first ever in-depth player rankings for the WNBA.

Why just the top 20 and not the top 50? Simple. There are 18 fewer teams in the WNBA than the NBA and roster sizes are limited to 11 players. Thus, the NBA has hundreds of more players than the WNBA does – and this list needs and deserves to be competitive.

This list is based solely on projected performance in the 2011 season. Traditional player statistics are taken into account but being a successful and effective player in The W is so much more than that. It’s what each player means to the team – in terms of responsibility, leadership, management and all-around game.

We know you’ll see players you think should be on the list but aren’t. Conversely, you’ll also see players on the list that you’ll vehemently disagree with. Maybe you agree with the entire top 20. Just be sure to let us know in the comment section. – Ed.

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Baylor G Shanay Washington out for season after tearing knee ligament in practice

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Chat alert!

With Graham, 4pm EST.

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