Archive for November, 2011


Duke suspends starting G Shay Selby indefinitely for violating team rules

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Blue, that is, and welcome to the AP Poll.

Speaking of teams flying under the radar, how about them National (and Junkanoo) Champions? They’ll be in the spotlight right quick as they prepare to face #13 Purdue and then #2 UConn.

Nate is Looking Back At Weekend Tournaments & A Few Upsets

And yes, I’ve noticed that one of the Mittens is 7-0.


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from the Tennessee/Baylor game tape for Baylor’s next opponents (though, it will help if Griner has another off first-half and if your guards actually hit a shot or two). A great game plan by Tennessee, but they fell just a little bit short.

The Lady Vols took numerous shots against No. 1 Baylor — 82 to be exact. They pulled the trigger from all points on the floor. Several times, they bunched several attempts into a single possession. They even channeled their inner Don Quixote, going right at Brittney Griner and shooting over the 6-foot-8 All-American.

They did just about everything but make enough shots. The Lady Vols’ 29.3 percent field goal accuracy (24 for 82), coupled with a huge rebounding effort, gave them a glimpse of their ambitious objective.

Yah, it’s the first time the Vols have lost two in a while since… well, since Flo Rida was… Low, but wasn’t it nice to see Baugh kick butt?

With LSU losing again (granted, to #19 Ohio State), I’m wondering who the challengers will be in the SEC. Will Florida make some noise? Is Vandy going to surprise folks?

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From Viet Nguyen at the Bear Insider, a little BearShare featuring freshman Reshanda Gray:

But it was not just about being poor, right? You were surrounded by crime and violence.

Where we lived at was where one of the most violent gangs… A lot of stuff happened. At that time, I saw someone get shot in front of our apartment. My mom moved us to the back. We had to move to the back because they’d shoot, and bullets would fly in front, so my mom asked if we could move to the back of the apartment, so that nothing would happen to us. My mom would tell us not to walk by ourselves, and when the streetlights come on, you gotta be in the house. That was the rule, like streetlights or sunset, you’d better be running home. That was an everyday thing until I got to high school, when I had no choice but to come home late after basketball practice. But if I came home late after basketball practice, I had to make sure to get a ride home and not just catch the bus or walk home.

So in this environment, where so many others do join gangs and repeat the cycle, what made your path different?

What made my path different is that the people I did look up to that were in gangs and violence, I saw the outcome–that you could go to jail or you’d be put six feet under. I don’t like neither one of them, so I’m just going to change it while I still can and try to be a better person and do something with my life. Even as a kid, I decided I didn’t want to live this way. In middle school, that’s how I met my godparents, Missy [Blackshire] and Tyrone [Dinneen], through the after-school program called LA After-School All-Stars. So that was like my second home. If I wasn’t at home or if I wasn’t at school, I would stay there until six or seven, and then I’d get rides home from there.

Cal also got to hum, “How do you like me now,” as they took down #22 Virginia — and their former coach, Joanne Boyle. Boyle was cool with it:

“Now that the game’s over, yeah, I’m happy and proud for them,” said Boyle, who was Cal’s head coach from 2005 through last season and coached and/or recruited all but one of the current Golden Bears before leaving to take the Virginia job in April. “They played well, and I wish them nothing but the best.”

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about the one that got away courtesy of a furious Notre Dame comeback capped off by a buzz-beating (?) shot by Natalie Novosel.

Sugar sighting as #21 Georgetown took down #10 Georgia for the first time in program history.

Speaking of program wins, #800 for #4 TAMU was against Iowa, 74-58.

#13 Rutgers squeezed out a win over Arizona, 59-52.

It was an even squeezier win for #22 Texas over an intriguing Cal team, 61-6o.

Vandy enjoyed Thanksgiving at home and got a win to boot — 78-66 over #12 Oklahoma.

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In anticipation of the Vols/Bears game today, Beth and Debbie talk with coach Kim Mulkey.

Dave Scheiber has Putting the VOL in volume

At one end of cacophonous Thompson-Boling Arena, the University of Tennessee pep band is pumping out a brassy, pedal-to-the-metal rendition of “Rocky Top” that has whipped 12,000-plus Lady Vols fans into a familiar frenzy.

But the high-decibel bluegrass classic and unofficial UT fight song has nothing on the Meanie Heads — not on this rainy Tuesday night in Knoxville, or on any night.

As always, sisters Raubyn and Donna Branton are at the opposite end of the building, rocking the top off.

The game is on ESPN @ 2pmEST.

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but perhaps the most significant was the one in Stillwater, where the women’s team took to the court for the first time since the death of head coach Budke and assistant coach Serna.

From ESPN’s Brandon Chatmon: Cowgirls return to court with a win

On Saturday, the Cowgirls wore patches on their uniforms of the number “4” that featured the initials of each crash victim and the date of the accident stiched onto the number. Coppin State players wore orange T-shirts emblazoned with the number “4” during their pregame warmups.

“Today was much deeper than the basketball part of it,” OSU interim coach Jim Littell said of the Cowgirls’ 59-35 victory over Coppin State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. “We had a chance to pay honor today.

Writes Jessica at Swish Appeal: Oklahoma State 59, Coppin State 35 – “The healing process, I believe, started today.”

After the last buzzer sounded and the tradition of singing the alma mater at midcourt was finished, another round of applause was given, another moment of celebration was had – and this one all the more personal. In something I have never in my life seen before, the entire team, players and staff alike, went directly up in the stands to the Budke family and gave hugs to Kurt’s wife, three children and parents.

“It really meant a lot to all the girls,” Lindsey Keller said of the moment in the stands after the game. “It was for him (Budke) and Coach Serna and we just want to honor them and show our respect. We love them.”

Gina Mizell at News Ok writes: Reflecting on the Oklahoma State women’s basketball tragedy

I’ve learned a lot about the school that I cover during the past week. I’ve learned what made Budke and Serna special people, and hearing others talk about them made me wish I had gotten to know them. But I’ve learned more about the Oklahoma State people. I’ve seen what a tight-knit, passionate group it is all throughout football season, but this tragedy has really shown how supportive and loyal Cowboys and Cowgirls are to their school and each other. That is what’s going to get the OSU faithful through yet another extremely difficult time.

Jenni Carlson Cowgirls honor their coaches in first game since plane crash

Moments before the start of a basketball game that was about so much more than a basketball game, the big screen at Gallagher-Iba Arena flashed to the home bench.

There were smiles. There were laughs.

There was joy.

From Jimmie Trammel at the Tulsa World: Cowgirls play emotional first game since coaches’ fatal plane crash

During a postgame press conference, OSU president Burns Hargis’ voice cracked when he acknowledged the Budkes’ presence at the game.

“The week they have had would devastate any of us,” Hargis said. “And for them to come out and support these girls was, I think, wonderful.”

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From Mechelle: Connie Yori still on the mend – Nebraska coach still recovering from complications from knee surgery

“I was really sick. I was out of it,” she said. “I could not function. I could not do my job. I tried to stay in touch with our coaches, and they’d come and see me. But I just said, ‘You guys have to do it. I can’t do anything.’

“Our coaches were great. And our administration, from [athletic director] Tom Osborne on down. Tom came to the hospital to see me three times. I couldn’t believe it, with all he has to do. It shows how good of a person he is. I missed five weeks, and now I go to rehab every morning for four and a half hours. Everybody’s been very supportive.”

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with a good chat with Mechelle:

Cardinal (NYC): Caldwell might have the baby bounce but Boyle got the Orange bounce with UVA upset over Tenn. Was that a surprise?

Mechelle Voepel: Sure, especially with how good Tennessee had looked in pretty much all aspects of their victory against Miami last Tuesday. The Vols didn’t rebound great in the first half against the ‘Canes, but they did everything else well. And then against the Cavs, they struggled without Vicki Baugh’s presence inside, and the young guard play was really not up to par. But … Virginia has a lot of upper-class experience and sometimes teams really ride that boost from a new coaching staff and outlook. I used to live in Virginia and the Cavs’ difficulties against Tennessee are things I watched in person going back to the Staley days. It was interesting that the first “breakthough” for Joanne Boyle came so early and came against that particular team. The keys, though, will be whether the Cavs can sustain that and if they can compete consistently in ACC play.

Speaking of baby bounces, I’m guessin’ more than a growing munchkin is upsetting Nikki’s tummy — LSU has no offense and loses again.

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from Mechelle: Return to court will help healing process – Program must find way to persevere without two of its most important figures

There was no happier time for Oklahoma State women’s basketball than the January 2008 night this building was filled to capacity for the “Bedlam” game with Oklahoma, when the Cowgirls ended a 17-game losing streak to the Sooners in a season that would lead to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance.

And there was no sadder time than Monday: a gray, early-winter afternoon when the Oklahoma landscape looked bleak and bland, robbed of most of the green that can make this part of the country lovely in springtime and summer.

It was the kind of day that reminds us why basketball means so much, how it’s a respite from the cold and dark, how wonderful it can feel to walk into a warm, brightly lit gymnasium to the sights, sounds and smells of basketball.

Budke and Serna dearly loved that, and in reviving Oklahoma State women’s basketball after it had gone so far downhill, they were not just helping their own program. They were boosting the sport in general, creating another place where women’s hoops mattered, where there could be real, sustained excitement about the team’s accomplishments.

There are no seniors on this year’s Cowgirls’ squad. So much promise. So much to look forward to. Now, the Cowgirls have to persevere without two of the most important people they expected to have in their college lives.

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A slew of stuff from Ok. News:

OSU memorial: Kurt Budke was a basketball coach, life mentor, father figure

“This is how much of a family man Coach Budke is,” Clardy said, “it was Father’s Day when he asked me to commit. My dad wasn’t with me, my mom was, and when he asked, ‘Will you commit to us?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ I almost fell out of my chair.

“And he said, ‘No, no, no, you’re going to go home and talk to your dad, then you call me and let me know.’ That was him, it was about family first.

The coach came up with the early morning workout regimen for Clardy, which usually included nothing more than basic drills and running but did wonders for Clardy’s confidence.

“You can just get so down when things aren’t going right,” Clardy said. “But she pulled me out of the deepest hole.

“She devoted her time to me, and I think that’s so rare to find in college basketball people. If I said, ‘Coach Serna, 5 doesn’t work for me. Does 3 work?’ She would have been here at 3.”

A photo gallery from the memorial service.

From the Tulsa World: They pay tribute to Budke and Serna’s dedication, kindness

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said Budke wasn’t just a good man. He was a great man.

“A lot of us overuse that (‘great’) word in coaching,” Blair said. “But when you recognize a man for his family values and how he treats kids and how he treats other coaches, that’s greatness.”

Dave Sittler: Budke’s lessons live on for players

“Coming out of high school, I was the MVP and a state champion in Texas and thought I was going to come in here and be a stud,” Clardy said. “Little did I know that God’s plans for me were way different, and Coach Budke’s plans for me were way different.

“I’ll forever be grateful that I wasn’t a stud. Coach Budke changed my life when I wasn’t a superstar and helped me see things in a new light.”

From the Oklahoma State Scout Board: Budke Had A Profound Impact On Clardy

And that coaching position at SHS was just another example of how Budke impacted Clardy’s life.

“When I graduated I was like, ‘What am I going to do? I need my basketball fix,’ so coach Budke and coach (Jim) Littell got my in the position to coach at Stillwater High School with coach (Carl) Treat this year and all of last year … They know how much I love basketball and wanted to be around it so they helped make another one of my dreams come true.”

And those dreams that were realized by Clardy and the rest of the current and former Cowgirl players make the loss of their coach all the more painful.

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So, with these games on Sunday featuring Griner & Co. and coach Summitt and crew, don’t you have a sudden urge to come to New York on December 11th and join me and my crew of 50 women’s basketball fans to watch the Maggie Dixon Classic?

Tickets for the Maggie Dixon Classic start at $20.00 and go on sale Friday, October 7th at noon. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.thegarden.com.

The Dixon family and Madison Square Garden will honor Lady Vols’ head coach Pat Summitt with the Maggie Dixon Courage Award. Summitt recently announced that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Distributed annually, the award is presented to an individual who exhibits courage in the face of adversity and continue to exemplify Maggie’s mantra of never allowing adversity to get in the way of achieving a dream.

Of course you do!

I’ve got an extra pair ($35, Section 11) if you can handle the pressure of courtside and being part of the loudest section in the Garden. Just drop me a line: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com. (Oh, and if you go through Ticketmaster-esque site or the Garden, ignore the fact that the Baylor game isn’t mentioned or that the Classic isn’t a “featured” event.)

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You’ve got to believe that mid-way through the first half of the UConn/Stanford game that thought was running through Tara Vanderveer’s head — and just about anyone else watching — as #23 in white exploded on to the national stage and led the Huskies to a win. Wrote Jeff Jacobs:

I just had to look over behind press row. Had to make sure Maya Moore was there. Had to make sure Maya really was doing her job, shadowing Rebecca Lobo with ESPN on this night.

Had to make sure there were two of them. Had to make sure this wasn’t the greatest tricks of all the tricks Geno Auriemma has pulled off at Storrs. Had to make sure Geno hadn’t cloned Maya or something like that. Had to make sure there really were a Maya Moore and a Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Graham echoes Jacobs’ thoughts: UConn’s No. 23 rises to occasion again – Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis channels a little Maya Moore-like magic

If legends can still spread by word of mouth in an age of Twitter, nearly 14,000 acolytes headed into the Hartford night with a new one to tell.

In the first game Maya Moore played against Stanford as a freshman, she came off Geno Auriemma’s bench and scored 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting to lead Connecticut to a victory early in the 2007-08 season. In the first game Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis played against Stanford as a freshman, she matched Moore point for point, with the person who used to wear No. 23 in attendance.

The difference is Mosqueda-Lewis did it in the first half. She finished with 25 points in Connecticut’s 68-58 win.

It wasn’t a pretty game offensively, but it was a great measuring sticks for both these teams. Seniors Nneka proved she could play with fouls and Tiffany proved she could stink it up on the offensive end and yet still snag 13 rebounds. Both teams had youngsters make some noise. Both teams will learn, both coaches will coach’em up. Gotta believe both teams have a good shot at Denver.

Jere’ of the Times was there: UConn Shows Resolve, if Not Star Power

It was like a November heavyweight fight,” Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I thought it was extremely physical. Those are games you usually see in March.”

The Cardinal halted UConn’s 90-game winning streak in December. Should these two teams meet again in the N.C.A.A. tournament, it could be that Stanford (3-1) will prevail with its depth and eight players who are 6-2 or taller, including the pogo-sticking Ogwumike sisters, Nnemkadi and Chiney.

Our friends (in sort of a virtual, we’ve never met or talked, and yet clearly I believe I’d have a really good time sharing a beverage or three with them while talking basketball and life kind of friend way.) C&R chime in: Stanford UConn Gone All Wrong

What a frustrating game. Frustrating for Stanford, frustration with officials and frustration for C and R who couldn’t WATCH the game. Frustration for C’s spell checker that hates those fragmented and run on sentences. Let’s recap our experience and the game, if you are not too bummed out already.
  • First, C sets DVD to record ESPNU. Then drives to work.
  • R calls and says we don’t get ESPNU on our crappy cable plan.
  • C says she wouldn’t be able to set the DVR to record if we don’t get the channel, because a day without C and R arguing is a day without sunshine, which it was this morning.

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REMEMBERING TO GET IT TO GRINER helped Baylor take care of Notre Dame, 94-81. I guess it’s true when they say defense is usually behind the offense (sorry about the Monday morning quarterbacking, Graham).

Meanwhile, Coach Boyle got the ACC’s attention as Virginia stunned the Lady Vols in overtime, 69-64.

But first, about the emotion shown in Charlottesville, Va., after the unranked Cavaliers’ 69-64 overtime victory against No. 3 Tennessee. We’re not even to Thanksgiving, so college basketball results at this time of the season are — even when they’re very surprising — mostly very faded by March. Losses now aren’t necessarily supposed to hurt a great deal, nor cause all that much euphoria, either.

But for a youngster such as Tennessee freshman guard Ariel Massengale, this is the first big college disappointment and she naturally is going to take that pretty hard. A lot has been put on her shoulders because of her talent, and like most blue-chip freshmen, she’s not used to falling short. She was 1-of-6 from the field Sunday for just two points. And while she had seven assists, she also had seven turnovers.

Dan writes: Blame game: Lady Vols look inward after road loss

“It finally caught up with us,” Stricklen said. “We’ve been a team coming out depending on the second half. What we’re doing in the second half, we have to do in the first half. We have to really bring the energy from the start. We have to go to the boards. We have to bring our defense from the start.”

Tennessee has a week to prepare for Baylor on the 27th. I’m penning January 2nd in my calendar: that’s when Virginia meets up with Duke.

(And yes, I now have two sleek gentlemen fuzzballs to keep my “older than she looks” fuzzball company. Thank you for asking.)

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… I have two cats that I need to go and adopt, SO: Tonight, ESPNU – Stanford v. UConn, 7:30PM EST.

Graham writes the Ball back in Caroline Doty’s hands – Junior guard’s return crucial for UConn in its first season without Maya Moore

It’s going to take some time for this team to learn how to win, at least at the level it expects and in the kind of settings in which it’s used to doing so. Looking to someone who plays with such contempt for losing is a good place to start.

and Geno Auriemma and Connecticut a perfect fit.

Tough news for the Cardinal:  Stanford freshman Green out for hoops season with injury 

And look who’s moved to ESPN: Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli preview Stanford-UConn and discuss what to expect from this season with Kara Lawson.

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Game time?

So try this:

Waco, Texas – 2:00 pm ET
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: ESPN Central Texas

http://www.und.com/allaccess/?media=277662 (free – but I don’t know if the game will be on.)


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with an impressive display by Della Donne and the Blue Hens.

The Green Wave took down the Geaux Tigers.

The Sooners enjoyed a helping Hand.

Georgetown won, but still seem Sugar-free.

Kizer is back, and helped the Terps to a win.

Yup, Louisville still has that injury bug.

Don’t let the “Stanford-UConn on Monday” hype distract you from the hard to find on tv match up in the WNIT finals between Baylor and Notre Dame. Graham says this 1-2 showdown to be defensive battle.

It’s a game with star power and style to spare, both on the sideline from Kim Mulkey and Muffet McGraw, and on the court, where Baylor center Brittney Griner, the consensus national preseason player of the year, and Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins might be the two most recognizable names in the college game at the moment.

We can’t know if it’s a preview of any game in April, but it doesn’t need to be. Pitting those individual stars against two defensive riddles is as compelling as November can get.

If the folks at CBS Sports Network wanted a game to remind women’s basketball fans that the channel still exists, they couldn’t have asked for a better one.

Unless, of course, you’re a fan who doesn’t get CBSSN. Sigh.

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From Marie’s blog

some news of interest:

A discussion with sports journalists about recent events that have become national news at Penn State will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 29, in Schwab Auditorium as the latest installment of an ongoing series conducted by the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.

“A Conversation About Covering Controversy” — featuring Mark Viera of The New York Times, Christine Brennan of USA Today and others — will address the efforts, role and work of journalists when covering controversy in general, and the situation at Penn State in particular.

Malcolm Moran, the Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and director of the Curley Center, will moderate the session.

The session is free and open to the public but tickets are required. Tickets will be distributed Monday, Nov. 28, to Penn State students and, if any remain, Tuesday, Nov. 29, to Penn State faculty/staff and the general public.

Tickets will be available as follows at four locations on or near the University Park campus:

— 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Eisenhower Auditorium;

— 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Penn State Downtown Theatre on Allen Street in State College;

— 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Bryce Jordan Center; and

— 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the HUB-Robeson Center.

In addition, the event will be streamed live at http://comm.psu.edu/sports online.

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George Schroeder at Sports Illustrated: Oklahoma State community far too familiar with unfathomable tragedy

Budke, 50, was extremely popular. In his seventh season in Stillwater, he had elevated the program, taking the Cowgirls to three NCAA tournament appearances, including a Sweet 16. Serna, 36, had been on his staff for seven years. Hargis described Budke and Serna as “incredible mentors.”

“He loved this place,” said associate head coach Jim Littell, who will assume duties as interim coach. It’s a common sentiment in a tight-knit community, where ties run deep — and where wounds are still healing from the 2001 crash.

“The tragedy at Oklahoma State, which has known its share of tragedy in the past, leaves you with a helpless feeling,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “My heart goes out to the families of Kurt and Miranda and everyone associated with the basketball program and university. The women’s college basketball community just lost two family members and all of us are feeling the effects. There won’t be a day that goes by this season that we won’t think about them in one form or another.”

He really cared about his players,” she said. “God was first, family was second and basketball was third. He had his priorities in line. I will always be grateful to him for the opportunities that he gave me. There are a lot of girls that feel the same way. He just gave us an opportunity to have an amazing experience and to learn so much not only about basketball, but about life.”

Byford said Serna was one of the most kindhearted women that she’d ever met in her life.

“She would do anything for any of us players,” Byford said. “She would bend over backward for you. She just loved life. She brought so much energy every day to practice.

Waters said Martin, who was recruited by Serna and developed a close relationship with both coaches, was reeling from the news.”The hardest thing is the closeness, because Coach Serna genuinely cared about Brittney and her family,” Waters said. “Miranda was like a sister to her, and she always stayed in touch with her parents, her grandma, everyone. And obviously Coach Budke was another reason she wanted to go to Oklahoma State. It goes way beyond basketball for the family.”

Flags will be lowered to half-staff Monday in Oklahoma in honor of the two Oklahoma State women’s basketball coaches, Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna, and the former state senator and his wife killed Thursday in a plane crash.Meanwhile, Oklahoma grieves. The state “is a close-knit community,” said Alex Weintz, communications director with Gov. Mary Fallin’s office. “It’s a difficult time I’m sure for the team and the school and the entire state. … When something like this happens, everyone is affected.”

If you’re a women’s basketball fan, you know how much Budke has meant to revitalizing the Cowgirls’ program. If you don’t follow the sport, this terrible news probably caught your eye because of the eerie connection to the January 2001 accident that caused so much grief and is memorialized at Gallagher-Iba Arena in a haunting tribute to the Oklahoma State 10.

You might not know much, if anything, about Budke, but he’s a guy you would have liked a lot. You could shoot the bull with him about all sports because he followed everything. You could jokingly fib about your last round of golf, or brag about your kids. You would know you were talking to someone who appreciated everything he had because he had worked so hard for it.

“Not many people in Division I have been at places where they were the coach, the counselor, the bus driver and swept the floors,” he would say. “All those experiences I look back on, and am thankful I went through them.”

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Kay Yow Cancer Fund Awards $1 Million Grant for Ovarian Cancer Research – The Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation, awards its second $1M grant to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

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Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna die in crash

Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna have died in a plane crash along with two others, 10 months after the school commemorated the 10th anniversary of a crash that killed 10 men associated with the men’s program.

The plane went down Thursday night in Perry County, Ark., also killing the pilot — 82-year-old former Oklahoma state Sen. Olin Branstetter — and his wife, Paula. There were no survivors.


Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt: “The University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball family is shocked and deeply saddened at the tragic loss of Oklahoma State head coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and the other victims of the plane crash.I’ve known Kurt for many years and enjoyed watching his success all along the way. He was a great guy and a wonderful family man. He had such a great passion for teaching and coaching the game of women’s basketball. Obviously, Miranda was a highly-respected assistant coach and had a promising career ahead of her. It is just so terribly sad that we had to lose them. Tennessee will be keeping Oklahoma State, the family and friends of Kurt and Miranda in our thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to them.”

WBCA CEO Beth Bass: “The entire women’s basketball coaching community is stunned and deeply saddened by the news from Stillwater this morning. Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna were our colleagues and friends. I’ve known Kurt since he was at Trinity Valley Community College. I just can’t believe it.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Oklahoma State University; the Oklahoma State athletic program; the Cowgirls coaches, players and staff; and the family and friends of Kurt, Miranda and the other individuals who died in this tragic accident.”

UConn coach Geno Auriemma: “This just hits you right between the eyes. I had gotten to know him in junior college. He had done a great great job in junior college. The whole time at Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State I don’t think there isn’t any coach in the country that doesn’t know Kurt. … When I heard it my first reaction was how are the players? How are they going to handle that? It’s the equivalent of losing a parent when you talk about the amount of time you are with them. I had a former player lose both parents in a private plane accident. Its undescribeable. Who cares about the basketball but its about the relationship and Kurt and Miranda’s families. Conference realignment and stuff happening on college campuses but all of a sudden it numbs you.”

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From Mechelle: Normal in Knoxville? Even better – Tennessee, Texas A&M win top-10 clashes; both improve to 2-0

Meant to reference this before: Congrats to Coach Summitt on receiving the Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award. The criteria:

The Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award is presented to an individual who demonstrates courageous action in overcoming adversity to excel in sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of courage, perseverance, grace, and strength in sport achievement.

Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias’ spirit and zest for life, as well as her courage, strength, and achievement, are the qualities for which this award is named. The Babe’s fight to overcome life-threatening cancer and return to the winner’s circle has withstood the test of time.

Happy Nikki, unhappy Sugar. What’s up with Ms. Rogers? (And we’re not going to mention the… scoring? Ick!)

Coach Kenny Brooks got his 200th win (and it took double-OT). How long will he stay at JMU?

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The Murder of Tayshana Murphy Sometimes poetic justice is not justice at all

Taylonn attends the game, dressed in all black. His shirt is a picture of a dribbling Tayshana with the words “Ball in Peace.” Kimani Young, Sharette’s widower and the memorial’s organizer, summons Taylonn to midcourt at halftime.

“Chicken would have been playing today with her peers and her friends, but unfortunately she’s not here today,” Young begins. The tears well in Taylonn’s eyes before Young ends, and he walks off the court with a framed jersey in one hand, while embracing Young with the other.

Shannon Bobbitt watches from the second row in the corner of the stands with her father. She wanted to pay her respects to Chicken’s family and offer her condolences. She will soon depart to play in Turkey and continue her basketball journey.

This is the gift and curse of the projects. They can lift you up or snuff you out. Chicken could have been another Shannon, who returned one day to give back, run clinics, sign autographs, and be a role model. Shannon could have been Chicken just as easily.

“She had a lot to live for,” Grezinsky says. “That’s what the real tragedy is. She could have given back to the community like Shannon Bobbitt. She comes back every year and puts on a clinic during the All-Star break, and I asked her, ‘Are you getting paid for this?’ And she said, ‘No, I want to give back to the community.’ Tayshana was the same type of kid. She had a community sense about her. She was somebody who could have given back and been someone for other kids to look up to.”

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Madison Williams to Miss the Remainder of the 2011-12 Season — Redshirt freshman tore her left ACL in Tuesday game vs. IPFW

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Natalie Williams: coaching.

Madinah Slaise: US Air Force.

Stacey Thomas: Refereeing. *but she has a real job, too*

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“Hey Green Bay…

…where’s ur WNBA title?”

heh. heh. heh.

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but anything’s possible:

@sagesteele Sage Steele
Important distinction re #coachK – he’s new D1 MEN’S wins leader. Pat Summit=most wins ALL-TIME, men’s AND women’s college hoops w 1071!!

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Today’s drinking game….

a shot of your favorite beverage every time they call coach K “the winningest coach in Division I basketball history.”

Then toast Pat Summitt, “the winningest coach in Division I basketball history.

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The bloom is kinda off the rose of the #6 A&M and #9 Cardinals match-up this afternoon: Louisville will be missing Monique Reid, Tia Gibbs and Shoni Schimmel, who is serving the second game of her suspension  because of playing in a non-sanctioned 3on-3 tournament this summer.

Later, #3 Tennessee will face #7 Miami. The Miami Herald writes:

“This is a huge event for women’s basketball, a very big deal,” said UM coach Katie Meier, the co-National Coach of the Year last season. “And with Tennessee as the opponent, it’s an even bigger deal. We are in the ACC, have been in NCAA tournament, have played in big games. But to start the season with this celebration of these two programs on national television is really special.”

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Caldwell her first win as a Tiger.

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