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Archive for February, 2011

From Michelle and Left Coast Hoops: Pohlen and Rueck should win Pac-10 awards

From Mel: Atlantic 10 Fit To Be Untied By Temple-Xavier Showdown

Lady Swish has: Virginia-Virginia Tech part II; JMU goes for 14th straight

From Rich Elliot: Maya and Kathryn Moore: Teammates In Life

while many people have made an impact in her life there is one person that stands above the rest. It is a person who has been with her every day of her life, helping her to overcome the hurdles that life put in her path. It is her mother, Kathryn. Maya’s teammate in life.

“She’s more than a teammate,’’ Maya Moore said. “I know she’s going to be on my side. We’d do anything for each other. And definitely a teammate as far as you work hard with your teammates … You have preseason workouts and you go through crazy practices and when games come you feel that sense of `that’s my sister out here.’ So I feel the same way with my mom. It’s like we’ve gone through a lot of things. We moved when I was a kid and just kind of being on our own for a little while. We’ve been through a lot of things that brought us closer. So it’s kind of like that unspoken bond that you know you have with that person that I have with my mom.’’

From Palo Alto Online: Pac-10 basketball title No. 20 is only the beginning for the Cardinal women

From Dan Fleser at Go Vols Xtra: Angie Bjorklund begins saying goodbye and Pressure, adversity has prepared Sydney Smallbone

Sydney Smallbone hasn’t let quantity determine the quality of her Tennessee experience.

As a freshman, she enjoyed the view from the top of a step ladder as a member of a national championship women’s basketball team.

Last fall, a two-day assessment as part of an interview with a multi-national logistics firm felt more like game day than pressure to the senior. She landed a job with the firm.

“She’s way ahead of where I’d have been,” UT coach Pat Summitt said.

From Tom Archdeacon at the Dayton Daily News: Nothing ‘plain’ about UD’s Ebony

She was the center of attention at the University of Dayton women’s basketball Senior Day game against Fordham at UD Arena. She was the player who struck chords of pride and inspiration in others, the player who brought so many to tears.

The 6-foot senior got a standing ovation at the game’s outset and in the final minutes of UD’s 69-51 victory she had the student section chanting “We Want Ebony.”

There has not been a day like this around UD sports in quite a while. And there has never been a Flyers athlete who’s had a career quite like Gainey’s.

In anticipation of the Bears/Sooners match up: Baylor’s Brittney Griner has changed the women’s game

Similar to Chamberlain routinely swatting away shots decades ago, forcing teams to shoot from the perimeter, Griner has changed the way teams prepare for the No. 3 Bears, who play Oklahoma Sunday afternoon at Lloyd Noble Center.

“When OU had Courtney Paris, even though she was on the All-Defensive team three times, you still ran your same stuff,” Blair said. “Griner changes the way you can score. She can intimidate you. You’re going to short-arm a lot of shots. She’s effective even if she doesn’t block any shots.”

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TV Alert!

Make sure you check women’s basketball online for the listings. Here’s a sampler for today (CST):

James Madison at Hofstra……….TBA……….FiOS1 TV
Niagara at Rider……….10:30am……….MSG Plus
Saint Joseph’s at George Washington……….11:00am……..CBS College Sports
Northwestern at Penn State……….11:00am……….Big Ten Network
Virginia at Virginia Tech..12:00..Comcast SportsNet/Fox Sports Net/NESN
North Carolina at Duke……….12:00……….Fox Sports Net
Iowa at Indiana……….1:00……….Big Ten Network
Delaware at Old Dominion..1:00..Comcast SportsNet/Comcast Network PA
Marshall at East Carolina……….1:00……….CBS College Sports
LSU at Tennessee……….1:00……….ESPNU
Kentucky at Auburn……….1:00……….SEC Network
Vanderbilt at South Carolina……….1:00……….Fox Sports Net
Florida at Georgia……….1:00……….CSS
Texas A&M at Texas……….2:00……….Fox Sports Net
Xavier at Temple……….3:00……….ESPNU
Wisconsin at Ohio State……….3:00……….Big Ten Network
Baylor at Oklahoma……….4:00……….ESPN

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ranked teams were pretty straight forward unless, of course, you’re intrigued by a ton of turnovers or a team in a tailspin with a cranky coach.

Bowling Green made a (12-3) MAC statement by stomping Kent State, 80-59.

American moved to 10-4 in the Patriot by disposing of (Beth Mowins’) Leopards, but Navy matched them with their 75-59 victory over Colgate, and earned the #1 seed.

Stony Brook surprised the heck out of Binghamton, 54-37.

Toledo (13-2 MAC) followed suit by being surprised by Northern Illinois (6-9)

Coast Carolina lost by 20 to Liberty, which is now 12-1 in the Big South.

Centenary finally won a game!!!

Sacramento State won a game in the Big Sky!

Down 16, BYU moved to 13-1 in the MWC with a 56-52 win over San Diego State.

There goes Hampton, now 14-1 in the MEAC.

Spoon and her Techsters are still undefeated in the WAC.

Gonzaga (yah, they’re ranked, but quietly) is 14-0 in the WCC.

That’s three losses in their last four games for USC.

The Bulldogs beat the Crimson, but the Tigers still rule the Ivy League.

Chicago State lost their first Great West game courtesy of South Dakota.

Portland State roared back from a 10-pt halftime deficit to take down Montana State. Both teams are now 10-4 in the Big Sky, but it’s Northern Colorado in the top spot, on the verge of winning their first regular season title.

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coach Tanya Warren and her Northern Iowa team (really, readers shouldn’t let me post without my coffee!) who won their first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship.

We knew this: From SI via the AP, Cooper-Dyke building UNC Wilmington into a winner

During her Hall of Fame playing career, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke always seemed to make the toughest moves look easy – and she’s doing the same thing as a coach.

In her first season at North Carolina-Wilmington, she has the Seahawks on the verge of setting a school record for victories. They’ve won 20 for just the third time in program history, and she’s got them believing they can earn the school’s first NCAA tournament berth – if not this year, then soon.

“It’s been a great experience to play for a Hall of Famer,” senior Brittany Blackwell said. “Just being dominant in the league, it’s just another state of mind and feeling. You’ve kind of got swag with you, and I think we’re gaining the respect of our league for once, which has not been the case.”

It’s been hard to put your finger on Georgetown this season — they’ve been up and down. But, there’s no doubt the program is continuing its upward trajectory. From Joseph White at the AP: Georgetown women want to add their own hardware to Hoyas’ trophy case

There are more than 100 trophies, plaques, statues and other mementos won by various Georgetown sports teams in the John Thompson Lobby at McDonough Memorial Gymnasium, including awards earned by the baseball, soccer, golf, track and field and cross-country teams.

And, of course, rows upon rows are dedicated to men’s basketball, including nets that have been cut down after the biggest wins, most of them overseen by the longtime Hall of Fame coach whose name is part of a mural near the lobby’s ceiling.

Not a single item in any of the trophy cases was won by the women’s basketball team.

UConn will play the next two weeks or so with an even shorter bench.

The Duke-UNC game on Sunday is SOLD OUT! DWHoops has a game preview.

Florida’s win over Vanderbilt was their first in Nashville since 2004.

With their 22nd straight win, #21 Marist also clinched the MAAC regular season title (17-0). Loyola (MD) stayed on their heels (15-2) with an OT win over Iona.

Creighton (12-4 MVC) got “Shocked” by Wichita State (7-8 MVC), 60-51.

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Well, over at Swish Appeal, James Bowman has For Your Consideration: Ten Outside Prospects for WBB Coach of the Year. It’s certainly worth a look, because he spotlights programs that are…well, usually out of the spotlight.

I’m proud to say that we at WHB have noticed the rise of Appalachian State and Florida Gulf Coast.

We do wonder why, if June gets a nod (even with Nate laughing),  Scott Rueck doesn’t get a big ole slap on the back? And how about Cougar coach Todd Buchanan? No one in C-USA is laughing.

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On getting it right,

and how sometimes it seems people get it wrong deliberately.

From the Title IX blog: Default was not “consequence” of Title IX

There were a lot of issues/controversies raised by last week’s story about a male high school wrestler who defaulted his match rather than wrestle a girl. Religion, violence, gender roles. Title IX was not one of them. Why? Because of the contact sport exception.

So I was surprised to read a blog post on the Chicago Tribune website Chicago Now entitled “The Unforeseen Consequences of Title IX” by Kirk Mango. Note that the title is pretty ubiquitous. Opponents of Title IX use it all the time to talk about a myriad of issues. But the post colon blog title “Top Iowa High School Wrestler Defaults, Won’t Face Girl” was a little surprising. Because, again, Title IX does not require integration of teams when the sport is a contact sport.

And then, as the Title IX Blog notes, sometimes they correct their error.

Would they if no one had called their attention to it?

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As our friend Pseudonymity notes, wet weather did a number on some SEC games:

Rain delay? What sport are we talking about? Tennessee beats Ole Miss in rain-shortened game after roof failure.

The same weather system caused the Florida-Vanderbilt game to be postponed until Friday night.

Auburn ends losing streak, upsets Georgia.

LSU wins overtime home game against South Carolina.

Mathies’ layup in the final seconds gives Kentucky the home win over Arkansas
Slow start dooms Alabama against Mississippi State, ending their mini-win streak.

I believe the following analysis is correct: With South Carolina’s loss to LSU, three of the first round byes in the SEC tournament are set: Tennessee is the #1 overall seed, and Kentucky and Georgia have byes. Vanderbilt can clinch a bye with one win in their next two games, tonight or against South Carolina on Sunday.

Otherwise, the fourth bye is complicated.

Want more on the SEC? Check out Rocky Top Talk, where David Hooper write: Three Weeks Is Enough Time for the Lady Vols

In a way, I really couldn’t be happier about how the regular season has gone for the Lady Vols.  Despite dropping a real head-scratcher to Georgetown in the Paradise Jam, the no-show against Baylor, and the multitude of dubious wins throughout conference play, Tennessee is positioning themselves for their best shot at a deep NCAA run since the Candace Parker-led championship teams.  The depth may actually be the greatest in the history of Tennessee basketball, and the mix of players affords Tennessee the opportunity to match up favorably against just about anything the field can throw their way.

In other games:

Note to self – Don’t be an idiot: Flip a finger, lose your Senior night. Guess it was a “fun” game between Rutgers and the University of South Florida.

In the “We’re not dead yet,” category: Ohio State got a pound of flesh when they rallied to upset #8 Michigan State.

No really, what is going on with the #16 Tar Heels (no disrespect to Georgia Tech intended)? North Carolina goes down for a third straight game.

There was no drama when the #9 Blue Devils met the Cavaliers.

Being ranked didn’t go to Houston’s head. The #25 Cougars easily handled the Thundering Herd.

No really, keep an eye on “insanely awesome” Miami. The #14 ‘Canes won big against #12 Florida State.

#17 Maryland easily defeated Virginia Tech and Green Bay hand no problem with Valpo, earning them the Horizon title.

Speaking of the Horizon, Butler (11-5  – Horizon) got surprised by Milwaukee (7-5), 73-66.

I’m thinking that if you’re in the CAA, you simply don’t want to face the Blue Hens and Delle Donne in the conference tourney. Delaware (9-7 – conf) took down VCU, (11-5 – conf) 75-67.

Doink! Maybe it’s a delayed WHB curse: Penn State lost to Purdue, 51-49. Mingo snagged 16 rebounds and 12 points.

Squeak! Maybe it’s a delayed reaction to their Stanford loss, but UCLA just squeaked by Arizona, 74-70.

Sports Illustrated (aka the AP) writes about this year’s new crop of players: Talented young guards make immediate impact

So does Mechelle: Simmons, Fussell live up to expectations – Freshmen from Tennessee and Texas shine in loaded and talented rookie class

Meighan Simmons has a little scar on her forehead, the kind you guess was caused by some childhood mishap. Considering the Tennessee freshman does everything at about 100 mph, you correctly suspect she wasn’t much different as a toddler.

“I was 2 years old,” Simmons explained. “I ran into the wall, split my head open. I was running from my older sister, and my dad had told me to slow down. Then I turned around to look to see if my sister was still coming and — bam. The wall was right there.”

And DishnSwish writes: From Rings & Medals to the Bottom of the Big East, Anne Donovan Is Loving the Challenge

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From Chris Solari at the Lansing State Journal: Keane rock solid for Spartans – Kalisha Keane plays with fierce exuberance and rarely gets rattled. Even when off-court matters weigh heavily on her mind.

Tonight against Ohio State, the Spartans can clinch the program’s first outright title. And by Keane’s side, as the fans celebrate a special senior class, will be her parents – supportive survivors who she’s quietly helped through a series of serious medical ailments and who’ve been a driving force in her carpe diem attitude.

“I think earlier in her career, maybe some of that might transcend onto the court. But now I feel like you can see that maturity come,” MSU coach Suzy Merchant said. “And between the lines, that’s where she belongs. And that’s where her family wants her to be. No matter what’s going on around her, that’s her outlet and she plays with a great passion.”

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STUDENT-athlete?

Yup!

Moore Named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year – Moore is a Three-Time Academic All-American

Her teammates:

Senior forward Erin Anthony of U.S. Military Academy and senior guard Liz Repella of West Virginia were named to the first team for the second straight season. Junior Amanda Johnson of Oregon, a second team pick last year, joins senior Kathleen Barry of Columbia to complete the Capital One Academic All-America® Women’s Basketball University Division first team.

A Civil Engineering major with a 3.79 G.P.A., Anthony is a Rhodes Scholar candidate and a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. A three-time All-Patriot League selection, she has been named as the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice. The only Patriot League player to be averaging in double figures in scoring (14.9) and rebounding (10.8), she serves as Tau Beta Pi president. A native of Allentown, Pa., she stands 28th in her class and she is a Battalion Executive Officer.

An Exercise Physiology major with a 3.94 G.P.A., Repella was named first team All-BIG EAST as a junior and earned second team honors as a sophomore. The ninth-leading scorer in West Virginia history with more than 1,500 points, she was the Most Valuable Player at the Paradise Jam earlier this season. A pre-season All-BIG EAST pick the last two years, the 5-11 guard is a co-captain for the #19 Mountaineers, who are 21-7 on the year. A native of Steubenville, Ohio, she averages 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

An All-Pacific-10 Conference honorable mention pick last year, Johnson is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Child & Family Health Services with a 3.97 G.P.A.  A second team Academic All-America® selection last year, she is a junior athletically and is averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for Oregon. The Ducks’ second-leading scorer, she leads the team in rebounding. A native of Santa Rosa, Cal., she has already earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology, graduating Summa Cum Laude. A member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, she was the winner of the Doyle Higdon Memorial Trophy, presented to an Oregon sophomore who excels in athletics, scholarship and citizenship.

The top scorer and rebounder at Columbia, Barry is averaging 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Lions. A senior with a triple major in Economics, Mathematics and Spanish, she has a 3.99 G.P.A. An honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year, the Valley Center, Cal. native ranks among the Lions’ top 20 all-time scoring and rebounding leaders. She has been named to the Academic All-Ivy team twice.

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This time, in the world of high school: Girls’ basketball: Santa Monica upsets Long Beach Poly

In a shocking upset, Santa Monica defeated Long Beach Poly, ranked No. 2 in the nation, 57-56, in the Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinals at Poly on Wednesday.

In a *sad* barometer of how the pressure to win has pushed coaches into making bad decisions, even at the high school level: (Top seeded) Lake Ridge Academy’s girls basketball program banned from playoffs for two years for recruiting violations

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From Graham: Gainey to play first and last game – Heart disease cut career short as a freshman, but she’ll play in Saturday’s Senior Day

It is a truth of both muscle and metaphor that one basketball game cannot mend a broken heart.

Watching the ball rise in the air for the opening tip, a split-second of stillness and inhaled silence giving way to a blur of movement and the squeak of sneakers, will not repair the myocardium of Ebony Gainey’s damaged heart. Rubbing a defender off a teammate’s screen, catching a pass and squaring up to the basket cannot fill the void left by a sister and best friend who went to sleep one night almost four years ago and never woke up.

But a basketball game, at once insignificant and monumental, can help heal a spirit. To that end, as she prepares to take the court for the first and last time as a member of the Dayton Flyers in Saturday’s home finale against Fordham, Gainey knows what advice she would receive from one person who will not be there.

 

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#3 Baylor, #6 Xavier and #19 Georgetown got wins (though the Hoyas struggled a tad). But the Blue Demons got eaten up at the YUM Center by Louisville. The Cardinals have knocked off five ranked teams this season.

DePaul had company in the upset department: Colorado used 24 points from Brittany Spears to snap an 8-game losing streak against #15 Oklahoma, 73-68.

Over at Fanhouse, Milton Kent looks ahead to the tourney No. 1s.

With roughly three weeks remaining before the field for this year’s NCAA tournament is unveiled, it’s a pretty safe bet that, barring some catastrophe, one part of the women’s basketball committee’s work is largely done, even before the nine members get to Indianapolis.

That is to say, that we pretty much already know who the four No.1 seeds are, and can pretty safely assign them to their regions.

As for the other teams still in the “discussion:”

Toledo escaped with a one-point win over Eastern Michigan to go to 13-1 in the MAC West. Central Michigan (West) and Kent State (East) both got wins to take them to 10-4 in the conference.

It’s interesting at the top in the America East, especially since Binghamton beat BU. Now both teams sit at 11-4 in the conference. UMBC rules the roost, though, at 13-3. Oh, and don’t look now, but Hartford’s lurking at 10-4.

It’weren’t easy, but the Owls beat the Hawks to stay perfect in the A-10. On the horizon looms the clash with the Musketeers. (Feb. 27th, ESPNU, 4pm EST)

Navy’s defeat of American runs the Midshipmen’s record to 9-4 in the Patriot League. They’ve got a shot at the regular season conference title on Saturday.

With their 81-57 win over Air Force, Wyoming looks to run up on TCU and BYUs heels in the Mountain West. By the way, congrats to Dale Ann Meeker, who’s having her Powell High School jersey retired:

The first female athlete to receive a basketball scholarship at the University of Wyoming, Meeker played for the Pokes from 1975-1979. During her senior season, her team earned the Intermountain Conference championship, finishing with a school-record 25 wins and seven losses. That season would stand as the best in school history until surpassed by the 2006-2007 NIT team.

In high school, Meeker was part of the first-ever girls’ basketball team at Powell High School as a freshman. As a junior, she brought home a mythical state title — mythical because Wyoming did not hold an official state championship tournament for girls — while serving as the team captain. One year later, she repeated the feat, again as team captain.


 

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Video: Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender on ‘being feminine and being good on the court’

While perusing Ohio State’s website for statistics the other day, I saw the video above in which center Jantel Lavender articulates discusses how she thinks about being a feminine athlete at about the 4:30 mark in a voice over while getting her nails done.

“I know when it’s time to get down and dirty and I know when it’s time to be girly and prissy – I enjoy the finer things of being a girl,” Lavender said. “You never have to be too much of one thing – I don’t think you have to be too ‘manly’ or anything just to be a great basketball player. I really take pride in that and I really want to be a feminine basketball player.”

The question is what exactly does it mean to be a feminine basketball player?

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to the Tennessee/Georgia game, because I appreciate the irony of Chris Pendley appreciating the “Evil Empire” metaphor: The Death Star is Operational: Lady Vols Claim the SEC Regular Season Crown, 77-44

The Lady Bulldogs never had a chance.

You’d be forgiven for not thinking this game was for the SEC regular season. To be fair, it looked like a close game for the first 7:30; Georgia didn’t lead, but facing a 15-9 deficit, the game certainly seemed within reach. The Lady Vols outscored them 62-36 the rest of the way, and what should’ve been a close, tight contest turned into an easy SEC regular season crown.

For all the concerns I’ve had about this team as the season wore on, I had no reason to be concerned about the game tonight.

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Swin checks in

on Coping With the Other Side

Well, I’ve been gone for a minute but I’m back now.

They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I’ve decided that I don’t want any lemonade; I’d rather throw those dang lemons back at life! Y’all ever have those kinds of moments? When one thing after another keeps happening and you wonder when the heck it’s going to stop? For most of my January, and some of February, my life was exactly like that; it brought me heartache, fear, anger and most importantly growth.

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from DWHoops: Devils Must Win to Stay Atop ACC

Unfortunately for the Hoos, they got spanked at home by the team they were tied with in league standings, Boston College. The Eagles are now in position to snag an 8th NCAA bid, leaving the Hoos in dire straits. Essentially, they have to beat Duke to even be considered for consideration, and then need to beat Virginia Tech and win a game in the ACC tournament. It’s important that Duke should be well aware of this, because this is a do-or-die, season-saving scenario for their opponent. Anything less than Duke’s best effort could result in another embarrassing road loss for the Devils.

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didn’t pass Carolyn’s “one eye test.” They got themselves blown out by Texas A&M as Danielle Adams went off for 30 and 13. Writes Brent Zwemerman at the San Antonio Express-News:

Following yet another Danielle Adams basket — this time from beyond the 3-point line in the second half — Adams turned to play defense, and allowed herself a few skips of delight near midcourt en route to another Texas A&M prance past a Big 12 opponent.

The rest of the ranked teams held form as it was Marquette over Providence, Notre Dame over West Virginia and UConn (ugly) over Seton Hall.

A note about the Seton Hall team. Last year they scored 24 points against UConn. Total. This year they put up 59. What a difference a coach makes? From Anne Donovan:

“I think most of the girls came and watched the New York Liberty [who she coached last season], so their hunger has really helped me. Who I have been able to coach, what my background has been with the Olympics and the WNBA, they are hungry to get whatever they can from me. That has helped me from the credibility standpoint. I have coached a long time so there have been a lot of different situations and different rosters and trying to bring out the best in the rosters that I have had and that has helped me throughout my career.”

Phew! That was the sound of Bowling Green (11-3 in the MAC) escaping with a 2pt win over Akron as Lauren Prochaska hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.2 seconds to go in the game.

Tennessee Tech is now 14-3 in the Ohio Valley conference.

I’m not sure Elaine Elliott would have enjoyed coaching this season: The Utes fell to TCU, 71-60, and are now 6-8 in the Mountain West.

I can understand why the Huskers might be cranky this season, but 76-34 over Missouri? Ouch.

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Writes Mechelle: Miami, Florida State eye first ACC title – Seminoles to test Canes’ perfect 19-0 mark in Coral Gables this season

“It is a huge game,” Meier said of Florida State’s visit to Coral Gables. “We’re not Triangle schools in the ACC. We’re not Duke or North Carolina or NC State. We’re not Wake. I know what it means to be in that group. But also know what it means to come from the ‘perimeter,’ and challenge that.

“I’m proud and happy for Sue. I love her team, and I know she feels the same about my team. I think it’s pretty awesome, and it’s great for women’s basketball that we’re rising up to say, ‘Hey, the ACC goes from south Florida to Boston.'”

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The NJCAA’s Top 26 (I like that!) sees 27-0 Pensacola State College at the top. Vincennes is #2, and the ever present Trinity Valley sits in third.

NAIA Division II: Davenport (MI), Northwestern (IA) and Morningside (IA).

NAIA Division I: (Drum roll please!) Union (TN) *gasp*, Oklahoma City and college name of the day Azusa Pacific (CA)

NCAA Division III: (Deja vu all over again?) Thomas More (KY), Hope College (MI), Amherst (MA).

NCAA Division II: Clayton State (GA) earns the top spot with their 26-0 record, followed by Lander (NC) and Fort Lewis (CO).

NCAA Division I: Yadda, yadda and yadda… Oh, LOOK! It’s HOUSTON coming in at the 25th spot!

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Mess with my heart, Mel, why dontcha!

Blazejowski Gets A New Job – Not That One

Also from Mel: Will Evans Be The One In The CAA?

Virginia Commonwealth’s Courtney Hurt picked up a another CAA player of the week award, her fifth of the season which is tops in the conference. She is fourth in the nation in scoring with a 23.4 average and leads the nation with 21 double doubles off of 13.0 rebounds.

Meanwhile, James Madison’s Dawn Evans is No. 1 in the nation with a 23.9 average and the Dukes, who won the postseason tournament a year ago, seem likely to win the regular season crown.

Evans will soon make former Drexel star Gabriela Marginean’s reign as the all-time scorer in CAA short-lived, an achievement Dragons coach Denise Dillon predicted several years ago would happen.

Evans currently has 2,528 points and just needs 54 to reach 2,581 points to rewrite the record book.

Lady Swish has her Silent Majority Rankings.

From Sue at They’re Playing Basketball: More WNBA fit at Jam Session

Yesterday’s clinic was hosted by Tina Thompson and Katie Smith. Here’s the slideshow.

That lonely picture of Thompson’s son Dyllan is a result of her knocking out her own child in the “knockout” game.

“Gotta start learning the hard way,” the Sparks emcee said.

Funny. And he didn’t seem bothered by it at all.

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Rhode: ‘You’d have to smile back at her’

(Note from MV: I wrote on Feb. 14 about the anniversary of the 1961 plane crash that killed the U.S. figure skating team on its way to the World Championships in Prague, and how that event had prompted some essays I’d written over the last decade. Sorry for the delay in posting, but here is the first.)

If she went into a room that was dark, she’d be the light bulb.”

_ Mike Michelson on his sister, Rhode

The home at 21808 McHelen is tan, and you can imagine that once, there was an energetic little girl running around inside this house, getting into everything, exhausting her mother.

Or, at least I can imagine this because of what I’d been told about Rhode Lee Michelson from the people who knew her, all of whom seem to have exceptionally vivid memories of her. She would grow up to go to Banning High School, but she wouldn’t finish there. Her life would end during her senior year.

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North Carolina State is so shorthanded they had to borrow a player from the cross country team.

It’s been a tough season for the Wolfpack, with far too many “almost a win”s. So I’m guessing last night’s 88-72 stomping of #13 North Carolina must have tasted mighty sweet.

“We’ve been telling our kids all year to hang in there, we were going to get a big win, to keep fighting, it was going to happen,” the second-year coach said. “And I thanked them after the game. I thanked them for believing and having faith in what our staff was saying because it finally paid off.”

Nothing sweet about the schellacking #4 Tennessee laid on the Bulldogs.

#16 Miami continues its hot play, taking down Wake Forest by 28.

#24 Marist was equally dominating, winning by 41, but #23 Iowa State needed overtime to defeat the (likely to miss the NCAAs) Longhorns.

Prairie View A&M whacked fellow SWAC member AR-Pine Bluff 99-38. That puts the Panthers’ in-conference record at 11-3.

Loyola (MD) smacked fellow MAAC member Manhattan, 60-45. The Greyhounds are now 14-2 in the conference.

Florida Gulf Coast came back in the second half to defeat Stetson 64-59, and a WNIT berth looms.

Hampton handled Florida A&M, 88-49. They now sit at 13-1 in MEAC and have won the regular season title.

The Golden Grizzlies rallied late to take down the Bison, so Oakland’s 11-5 in the Summit. Makes the race to the conference title interesting, since IPFW (12-4 conf) lost to the Jackrabbits (11-6) on (ouch) senior night.

Whoops! Georgia South (12-16/9-10) surprised conference-mate Appalachian State (22-5/16-3), 67-57.

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#5

from SlamOnline: Candace Parker

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From Q: On Brittney Griner’s Dunk Making ESPN’s ‘Dunks of the Day’

For better or worse, even if you don’t pay attention to the NBA, at some level you probably could have appreciated that dunk contest – dunking, if you judge by Sportscenter standards, is quite possibly the most captivating aspect of basketball to mainstream fans.

So the excitement in the sports world about Baylor Lady Bears center Brittney Griner bringing the dunk to women’s basketball makes quite a bit of sense.

Star-divide

For those concerned about lacking mainstream coverage of women’s sports, the fact that Griner’s dunk on Saturday against Texas Tech ended up on ESPN multiple times that evening – including a “Dunks of the Day” segment – is probably pretty cool. Although I couldn’t find the video of that segment to post here, while searching for it, I stumbled across an article about Griner being featured on ESPN’s “Sports Science” as well.

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(which ain’t really news). The NCAA Division I poll is out.

Of more interest, Charlie’s latest bracket and his explanation. Some might argue that Rutgers should replace Syracuse. Charlie says:

Syracuse (IN): The Orange picked up two huge victories, one at St. John’s in the past week, to match Texas Tech and play their way into the bracket. Plenty of holes exist in Syracuse’s case for inclusion, but no one in the mix has two road victories the quality of Marquette and St. John’s.

From Graham’s chat:

kevin (macon ga): How much of a headache will Syracuse be for the committee? Two top 25 wins and no bad losses is usually a lock, but the Orange are 9th in the BEast and had a very weak non-con schedule.

Graham Hays: Unless they do something strange against Cincinnati and Providence down the stretch, I don’t know that they’ll be one of the teams giving the committee the biggest headaches. You hate to see a program rewarded for that kind of scheduling, but at the same time, they did what they needed to do in getting wins against St. John’s, Marquette and Louisville, in addition to the Ohio State win that is looking better now than it did a week or two ago.

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some SEC links before tonight’s important tangle between Georgia and Tennessee:

Auburn doesn’t help their postseason chances, losing last week at home to Alabama
and yesterday to South Carolina.

Arkansas wins at home against LSU.

Alabama making a bit of a late season run, winning against Ole Miss.

Florida dominates Mississippi State, snapping a four game losing streak.

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Courtesy of the Ref’s Forum: Coach sends self to hospital

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Pester Graham at 4pmEST, see if he can untangle the Bracketology mess the Baylor loss has made.

Also, make sure you check out EPSN2 tonight when Georgia goes after #4 Tennessee (7pm EST) followed but the Big 12 match up between #23 Iowa State and Texas.

Ryan Black says the Lady Dogsare trying to ‘shut up’ the Lady Vols (not a very lady-like headline), Carroll Rogers of the AJC says Georgia is “looking for rarity against Vols — a win streak,” and Coach Landers thinks his team is ready for the “raucous arena.

Maria Cornelius at Inside Tennessee previews the game and Vol fans will be happy to know that Angie Bjorklund will be back in time for this SEC showdown.

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considering the mess (on SO many levels) he inherited, I’m naming Scott Rueck Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Women’s basketball blows 20-point lead, falls to Oregon State – Despite leading 36-16 at the half, Ducks are now 3-11 in conference play

Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck doesn’t like to convey excess emotion at the end of games.

But following the Beavers’ upset victory over Oregon in the Civil War on Saturday, how couldn’t he?

Earlysia Marchbanks clutched the ball in her hands. The buzzer sounded, the red lights flashed, and the Oregon State Beavers, now 9-16 overall (2-12 Pacific-10 Conference) rushed to center court in a show of joy. They had emerged from a 20-point halftime deficit to win, 61-59, and energize 3,130 fans, the majority of them Beaver believers.

In a game between two teams struggling against different forms of adversity, a last-second shot by Ohio State’s Brittany Johnson secured the Buckyeye’s 2-pt win over Purdue.

“She took her time, she got her feet set and she hit the shot,” said Lavender, who felt the shot was good as soon as it left Johnson’s hands. “I just saw the way she shot it. She stepped into it like she normally does. I had the utmost confidence in her.”

Johnson, however, seemingly had come from nowhere over the final 20 minutes to help the Buckeyes (17-9, 8-6 Big Ten) rise from what looked like a tough loss.

One Ogwumike was enough (say C&R) as #3 Stanford took care of business against #9 UCLA, 67-53. Writes Graham:

Like a lot of big events that take place in the shadow of Hollywood, Sunday’s game between No. 3 Stanford and No. 9 UCLA arrived with ample talk as to what one of the famous invitees would wear. And while they weren’t the work of Versace or Vera Wang, the warm-up pants, shirt and protective boot sported by Cardinal All-American Nnemkadi Ogwumike threatened to overshadow the show that followed.

But there’s a reason Stanford has more staying power than the latest movie or music icon, a reason the Cardinal have won 19 of 24 Pac-10 regular-season championships. And a reason they appear headed for championship No. 20 after beating the second-place Bruins 67-53 in Pauley Pavilion.

It was a back-and-forth game, but it was #13 Florida State who got the win over #17 Maryland. Is the ACC title going to the Seminoles?

The America East might come down to a tiebreaker or a dogfight: With their win over Hartford, the UMBC Retrievers are now 12-3 in conference while the BU Terriers’ victory over Stony Brook puts them at 11-3.

The dogfight continues in the CAA. No style points were given to UNC-Wilmington’s win over Northeastern, but they’re now 12-3. So’s ODU, who got a 2-pt win over Hofstra. James Madison escaped the Blue Hens (writes Mel – On Delaware’s day to Think Pink for breast cancer awareness, coach Tina Martin was internally seeing red over her Blue Hens’ inability to think at all at the finish.), and now is 14-1 in-conference.

The Blue Raider is dead, long live the Trojans? That might be the chant, as AR-Little Rock moved to 12-1 in the Sun Belt after defeating Middle Tennessee State 69-61.

Michigan State clinched a share of the Big 10 title, their first since 2005.

Houston claimed the C-USA regular season title with their 77-61 win over UTEP. (Todd Buchanan is the only first-year head coach in the country whose team is currently undefeated in conference play.)

Speaking of firsts, that was Kentucky’s first win at Vandy in 25 years.

Reaping the benefits of their red-shirt senior-laden team, #11 DePaul rolled over an inconsistent #18 Georgetown. (Nice to hear Kayte Christensen doing a fine job with the color commentary.)

#7 Duke (by 50) and #6 Xavier (by 26) got comfortable wins.

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From Donald Barnat at SportsPage Magazine: Swoopes Speaks!

Former Houston Comets forward and WNBA superstar Sheryl Swoopes was among the many basketball luminaries who showed up to work with some 500 local youngsters at the NBA/WNBA FIT All-Star Youth Celebration at the Expo Center in Los Angeles this past Thursday night. The four-time WNBA champion and three-time league MVP sat down with SportsPageMagazine.com to answer a few questions about her glory days with the Comets, the importance of being physically fit, and just what she’s been up to for the last three years.

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