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Archive for December, 2011

for a better year: great college season, fabulous Final Four, enjoyable W season with an exciting playoff run, good futures being built in USA Basketball and an (almost) wide open 2011-12 season win many intriguing players to follow.

The off the court heartbreak of the last four months of the year, though, dominates my memories of 2011: Pat, Kurt and Miranda and Tayshana.

For a retrospective, Brenda and Mechelle give us WSC Radio Show: December 30, 2011: Year in review and opening week of conference play

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Mel’s got some stuff on the game: Another Delaware Game-Changing Moment Awaits At Maryland

Since the season got under way back in early November the Delaware women’s basketball team has been akin to someone heading off the beach to do a little body surfing in uncharted waters.

Several times out the Blue Hens have looked at a wave unlike most they had ever seen and after successfully navigating across the crest an even bigger one would lie ahead.

With junior Elena Delle Donne healthy and happy, Delaware (10-0) is getting a rush from playing in an environment and setting challenges that not too long ago existed in another galaxy from where the Blue Hens dwell.

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from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Seimone Augustus (and I wanna know the story behind the second photograph in the slide show…)

Augustus, 27, committed herself to becoming an outstanding defensive player last season, adding a new dimension to her game. She lost 30 pounds. She stepped forth as a more assertive leader, taking charge in the Finals as she averaged 22 points per game — including an epic 36-point performance in Game 2, when she carried her team to a come-from-behind victory that deflated rival Atlanta.

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, who took over in 2010, entered last season eager to see what a healthy Augustus could do. After challenging Augustus to seriously consider the legacy she wanted to create, Reeve witnessed the flowering of a player determined to discover how great she could be.

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Holdsclaw surprises Summitt with gift – Delivers letters of 60-plus former players

Holdsclaw, a four-time Lady Vols All-American from 1995-99, presented Summitt with a collection of letters written by former players and managers detailing their relationship with Summitt and her influence on their lives.

“I know my relationship with Coach Summitt through the death of my grandmother and me going through my ups and downs,” said Holdsclaw, who has dealt with depression. “What I realized from these letters is coach has helped these players through some of the most difficult times of their lives. When I’m reading them, I’m thinking, ‘Wow she’s had an impact on their lives.'”

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ot: Fess up….

…was this you the evening of December 24th?

 

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#6 Kentucky dropped by Murfreesboro and slipped on some Ice(lyn Elie).

The Wildcats’ “40 minutes of dread” pulled them close to the Blue Raiders, but then Middle Tennessee pulled away (shooting 46%) to pull off the 70-58 upset.

“We’ve learned from previous games, and I feel like we knew we could’ve beat Penn State,” Blue Raiders guard Kortni Jones said. “We felt like we could’ve beat Arkansas. You look back at those films, it kind of makes your heart ache a little bit. We could’ve been in the Top 25 rankings. Tonight Ebony made a statement we’ve given away too many. Tonight, we’re going to have take this one home.”

The other games involving ranked teams went as anticipated: ugly stompings by the Cardinals, Terps, Irish (with a little WATN? Lancers first-year assistant coach Lindsay Schrader), Blue Hens, Longhorns, Bulldogs, Hurricanes and Vols.

The Drexel/South Carolina game was far more interesting, with the Gamecocks squeaking out a four-point win.

Five points separated NC State from Florida Gulf — Wolfpack holds off a second half surge by the Eagles and wins, 69-64.

Speaking of squeaking – that was Arizona State with a 2-pt win over UTEP.

Yah, the Wildcats (note to self: do not blog at 2am. H/T to S.H. in AZ) are 11-1 with their 4-pt win over UNLV, but here comes the conference play.

Some games I’m interested in today:

Princeton/Hofstra 4pm EST

Tulane/Hampton8pm CT

Delaware/Maryland7pm EST

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D.C. (at least to WHB readers), where Gaullaudet makes its point loud and clear

Sustaining success at Gallaudet would seem be a difficult task, as the pool of deaf athletes skilled enough to play intercollegiate basketball is finite when compared with the hearing.

“I often get two different types of players,” Stern said. “I have some players who, like me, have said from when they were young that they want to come to Gallaudet, and I have other types of players who have never heard of Gallaudet or feel nervous about coming to Gallaudet.

“My selling point for those players … I try to explain that Gallaudet is a very special place not because you discover your deaf identity. You come actually and you finally become not deaf.”

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features “area” teams: St. Bonaventure, Princeton and Hofstra.

With wins against St. John’s and Marist, Hofstra at least has control of the Hudson River (and that’s not even counting a victory against Manhattan’s Kansas State). Shante Evans came up big in the mid-major battle against the Red Foxes on Dec. 22, going for 29 points and 18 rebounds — 13 of them on the offensive glass. With a star in Evans, a steady senior point guard in Candice Bellocchio, a scoring threat in Katelyn Loper and an X factor in Nicole Capurso, who has scored 20 twice this season despite 29.5 percent shooting, the Pride bear watching.

Note to SIDs and/or webmasters: please make it easy to figure out what town/state your team is in.

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did a better job getting the word out about the Shootaround podcast than ESPN does.

STILL not listed under basketball in their “pod platform.”

Still hard (if not impossible?) to find any archives.

Do they want to kill it?

Graham? Michelle? Mechelle? Help!

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for women to have a career in college athletic departments (though, clearly there’s a job opening for a headline copy editor at the Pittsburgh Trib)

In 2005, at age 49, Arizona State University hired Love as vice president for athletics, the highest-ranking job in the department. Six years later she is one of just five women to occupy the top athletics administrative position at a Division I-A school.

Some believe the lack of women serving as athletic directors is about to change, with qualified women rising up the ranks. Others believe it would have changed already if not for qualified women — and men — who are happy occupying the No. 2 spot and who have no desire to take on the far more public role of athletic director.

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a pause to ponder who to watch in (or out) of your neighborhood:

America East: Hartford sits atop the standings, but watch out for BU. And, might we have to learn New Hampshire’s mascot?

The Musketeers no longer rule the A-10. Perhaps Dayton will fly to the top, but at the moment it’s the Bonnies and Dukes who have the upper hand. Don’t ignore the Spiders…

It’s the Terps at 11-0 who are looking down at the rest of the ACC. Will the Tar Heels be able to right the ship during conference play? And while I don’t want to be too cavalier about the Cavalier’s 10-2 record, though their January 2nd game against Duke may give us a truer assessment of their mettle.

This is fun to type: The Hatters top the A-Sun. My gut says they won’t rule the FGCU Eagles.  Makes the NCST/FGCU game tomorrow worth keeping an eye on.

Yah, Mechelle says the Big 12 always offers an upset — but I’m not betting against Baylor running the table. Are the Red Raiders riding under the radar?

The Big East currently holds six ranked teams… but fess up, aren’t you really focusing on the two Irish/Huskies tilts? (Jan 7th and Feb 27th.)

Bloggin’ coach Tricia Binford…

Since I have been asked the question daily why we have two weeks between our North Dakota and Illinois games I thought I could just tell you all on my blog.

Scheduling preseason games is one of the most challenging tasks we have here at Montana State. That’s why I gave the task to Amy!

Scheduling away games is easy as EVERYONE wants a home game. Home games, however for a remote, and winterland tropicana, NOT SO EASY. If I was a California school I would be jumping at our offer to come play us. How many times do your players get to make snow angels or have a snowball fight.

…has her Montana State Bobcats (no, I’m NOT calling them the Lady ‘cats) high in the Big Sky. Of course, the sturdy Vikings of Portland State (though they’ve stumbled out of the gate a bit) are lurking.

Okay. Maybe typing this makes me happier: The Chanticleers rank above the Fighting Camels in the Big South (formerly the land where Liberty ruled). Oh, and since I know you’re wondering what, exactly, is a Chanticleer (no, it’s not these guys), click here to find out. Scanning the list, methinks the Big South has the best collection of nicknames….

Speaking of interesting collections, how about the handful of teams sitting at the top of the Big Ten? Yah, 13-0 Ohio State, but followed by Nebraska? Michigan? Northwestern (ouch)?

The Big West is a bit of a hot mess, to be honest. I can’t imagine working with the UC budgets is helping any of the programs thrive.

The big story out of the Colonial is Delaware, of course, but don’t sleep on the Hofstra Pride. They host the noteworthy Princeton Tigers at the Mack 4pm, Jan 29th. Hmmm… pondering a road trip.

C-USA is under construction next year, what with the realignment roundabout, but it looks like the Miners, Green Wave, Blazers and Tigers will go out with a bang.

There are only four teams listed amongst the Independents, and it looks like Nebraska-Omaha (aka, UNOs) and Joan Bonavicini’s Seattle U will fight for the top spot.

The Great West covers a lot of territory (New Jersey to Texas to North Dakota to Utah to Illinois) but not quite sure their talent level is that expansive.

I’m not saying that the 10-0 (and #10) Phoenix of Green Bay won’t rule the Horizon League, but c’mon! The Penguins are 6-4! (Call it the Ornithological Bias.) (Dang, 6-5.)

The Ivy League title seems destined to go to the Tigers, but are the Quakers shakin‘?

The Fairfield Stags of the MAAC stand at 7-3 (of course, they play UConn next. Oops.) followed by the Rider Broncs. The Red Foxes are at 5-5, but they might bite.

The MAC has been ruled by Bowling Green — they currently have the same record as the Miami (OH). Will coach Fantanarosa‘s Red Hawks topple coach Miller’s Falcons?

Looks like Hampton will pirate their way through the MEAC, but Bison are always unpredictable (check out the coach cam!).

In the Missouri Valley it’s the Bradley Braves (who lost to the Hatters), but I wonder if Missouri State and Northern Iowa will surge ahead of them once conference games come in to play.

The Mountain West is another conference in flux, but right now all eyes are on Kathy Olivier’s (ooo – did we catch this watn? Nikki Blue is assisting.) UNLV Rebels.

Usually I expect to see St. Francis (PA) Red Flash dominating the Northeast. Not this year — it’s Sacred Heart (CT). Interesting: the Pioneers play the Bonnies Jan 3nd.

Let’s let the Ohio Valley quietly sort itself out in conference play, shall we?

Yah, this will last: Pac-12 rankings have Colorado (11-0) in the top spot, followed by Arizona (who face UNLV tomorrow). Stanford clings to the #3 spot.

It’s all smushed up in the Patriot League, though American holds the #1 spot.

Yup, time for conference play in the SEC: You’ve got #6 Kentucky, #25 Vanderbilt, Arkansas, #17 Georgia and South Carolina. At 7-3, #7 Tennessee finds itself in 10th place.

Conference play is well underway in the Southern, but the top four teams (Furman, Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Davidson) have yet to play each other.

The Southland East (McNeese State) and West (Stephen F. Austin) are familiar. Looks like Central Arkansas might be the biggest threat to the Cowgirls.

As for the SWAC, please see Ohio Valley.

For the moment, I’ll say that for the Summit, see the SWAC. But it’s hard not to have a soft spot for the Jackrabbits.

Middle Tennessee is not the powerhouse it has been, but looks like they’ll still rule the Sun Belt (East). It will be interesting to see if Aston’s Mean Green North Texas team can challenge Denver.

In the West Coast Conference, Gonzaga’s gotten the (well deserved) press, but check out new-to-the conference BYU and its 11-2 record.

Last but not least, it looks like Spoon’s Techsters will have to hop to it to catch Fresno State.

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From NCAA.com: Delle Donne back to superstar form –  Standout thriving for Blue Hens after taking leave of absence

In a six-week ordeal, doctors finally determined she had Lyme’s Disease, but she had lost eight pounds and was weakened by the illness.

“It was very trying,” Martin said. “We were all sitting on pins and needles wondering what was wrong with her.”

Delle Donne returned for the final third of the season, leading the Blue Hens to a run to the finals of the CAA Tournament and a berth in the Women’s NIT.

But it was this spring when she was training to play with the Team USA squad participating in the summer’s World University Games when Martin knew that Delle Donne was developing into the player that every college coach had dreamed about four years prior.

“I knew the way she was training last spring, I said, ‘watch out world,'” Martin said.

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A little holiday cheer from

our witty friend BeKnighted:

As I said on Friday, there are no games today. But I found myself pondering what kinds of games I’d want to see if there were games on Christmas Day. So here are some results from possible games, at least in the sense that all of these schools exist. Some of them are pretty unlikely, to say the least.

Big East

St. John’s Red Storm 63 Tulane Green Wave 48 – the stands for this game were very festive*

*This game is the most likely of the bunch, but they’ve never played, at least according to the St. John’s media guide.

Other RU opponents

Shepherd College 68 Fordham Rams 63 – Shepherd has lots of practice keeping rams in check

Other ranked teams

See below (click the link for more fun)

Also

Santa Clara 75 Frostburg State 71 – new cheer at Santa Clara: “Ho ho ho”
Bethlehem College & Seminary 81 Nazareth College 74 – an ancient rivalry
Bowdoin Polar Bears 73 Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks 67 – Bowdoin had too much size for Fairbanks
King’s College Monarchs 56 Campbell Fighting Camels 52 – road game for both teams
Meredith Angels 89 Oklahoma City University Stars 58 – Angels were flying down the court
Findlay Oilers 67 Liberty Flames 48 – part of an unusual 8-game series

And a special feature: 12 Days of Christmas Tournament, Round One

Kenyon Lords 76 Hamline Pipers 66 – Lords are incredible on the boards
Kent State Golden Flashes 83 Centenary Ladies 49 – Kent State ran rings around the Ladies
#19 Delaware Blue Hens 72 Gainesville State College Geese 64 – Delaware paced by Collette LaCroix and several other new recruits from France

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join Debbie and Beth for a women’s basketball roundtable.

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Top Flight Flyer

From Graham: Raterman running down titles, records – Senior likely to become Dayton’s third-leading career scorer, but is still after A-10 title

Legacies are commonly measured by championships and records. To be sure, Raterman chases both as her final season enters its final months. The ups and downs of its nonconference schedule notwithstanding, Dayton retains the potential of a team picked as preseason co-favorites in the Atlantic 10, a conference championship it has never claimed. And Raterman remains on pace to finish as the school’s third-leading career scorer, first among those in three decades of NCAA play, while making similar charges up the charts in rebounds and 3-pointers.

But for all the wins created and numbers compiled, and all those still to come, a loss better explains why Dayton is a different program because of her.

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From HoopGurlz: Girls’ Basketball Stories of the Year

Both tragedy and triumph resonated through the girls’ basketball world in 2011. Here are 10 stories we’ll remember well beyond the New Year.

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Working hard.

Ryan has been in all-but-perpetual motion since the end of the 2011 season. She is working with U.Va.’s Couric Cancer Center in a development/fundraising capacity. She has lobbied on Capitol Hill for increased awareness of and funding for pancreatic cancer. She toiled in the summer and fall as a consultant with the Seattle Storm of the WNBA and as an assistant coach with USA Basketball’s women’s Pan-Am Games team.

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From Graham: Local, international talent lead Dukes

McConnell-Serio is quick to credit players she inherited for embracing a new philosophy, particularly former guard Kristi Little, but signing Gensler as part of her first class was the move that truly began shaping the program. Not even the coach envisioned Gensler growing into the Atlantic 10’s leading scorer, a distinction she held until recently this season, but the prep player of the year in Pittsburgh as a senior represented both the talent and temperament the program wanted to keep close to home.

“Our goal is to keep the top players here,” McConnell-Serio said. “Selling that family and friends can see them play and they can be the name in Pittsburgh that people read about in our papers. Become the face of the program. I want our players to be the face of the program.”

From the AP: Diggins a star, on and off the court – Irish point guard understands, accepts ‘greater expectations’

When Skylar Diggins was younger, stepfather Maurice Scott used to tell her about Michael Jordan’s famous “Be Like Mike” commercial. One day, he’d joke, she’d have her own ad like that.

“I want to be like Sky. Sky’s the limit,” Scott said, recalling his suggested tag lines. “We’d laugh about it.”

Funny thing is, he wasn’t too far off.

From espnW: All Access Stanford has the team helping out and hanging out

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And again, it’s not an ACL (which I guess is a good thing?): Stanford women’s basketball team loses freshman starter Jasmine Camp for season with foot injury

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Penn was a respectable team under Kelly Greenberg (who’s moved over to BU and is doing good things this season), but the Quakers fell off the map after she left. They’re making their mark again under former Holy Family coach Mike McLaughlin. Latest accomplishment? OT win over Drexel.

Richmond is making some noise: they’re now at 10-2, as a second half surge earned them a 69-56 win over Hartford.

The Wolverines are now 11-2, the program’s best start.

The Bonnies are now 11-1.

The Green Wave is 9-2.

In a battle of M-Tigers, Missouri’s win over Memphis brings the team up to 9-1.

With their win over the Red Foxes, the Pride sits at 9-2. Next up, the Tigers (Princeton, that is).

Oklahoma State is 7-0 — I’m glad they’ve played their first six at home. From Mechelle’s chat:

Sometimes the demands of the season are a good way for people to deal with their grief. I remember Baylor’s Morghan Medlock, whose mother was murdered during the season a few years ago, said people kept asking her how she could play despite going through that. And she said that playing was what *got* her through it; the thing she dreaded was when the season was over. Jim Littell has been named head coach at Oklahoma State now – the interim is off his title – and he’s been very much a stabilizing factor for the Cowgirls. I think that for some of them, though, they may find that there is still a grieving period to go through – when they won’t have the season to occupy their minds.

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With the $2000

on hold (“the number of schools seeking an override had reached 125 — the necessary number to suspend the rule until it can be reconsidered”), I thought I’d direct you to Christine Brennan’s commentary: Unfair NCAA plan belongs on scrapheap

The last thing college athletic departments need at the moment, in the midst of the most scandal-ridden time in college sports history, is to be told they should spend more money on athletics, specifically their big-time stars in football and men’s basketball. Not only is this asking for trouble, there’s another problem that few realize: Most athletic departments don’t have the money.

There are 331 Division I schools, yet in the 2009-10 school year, only 22 of them had athletics departments whose generated revenue was more than their total expenses, according to a USA TODAY analysis. Yes, just 22 out of 331 turned a profit. Almost everyone thinks that football pays for itself and brings in enough money for every other athletic program too. At 22 schools, all in Bowl Championship Series conferences, that’s the case. At 309, it’s not.

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Yet another, “DABNABBIT!”

And this time it’s not an ACL: Louisville’s Monique Reid Out For the Season

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle’s looking to answer your questions today at 2pm.

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#1 Stomp, stomp, #2 stomp (just ignore the first half), #8 stomp, #16 stomp, #18 stomp, #24 squeak, … whoa!

What does #22 Georgetown’s stomping of #7 Miami tell us about either team? It’s personal?

“We worked hard on and off the court because we had the exams,” Rodgers said. “We had to be focused this week. . . . I felt like they can’t beat us at home because they already beat us at their place [last season]. That was the big thing for me personally.”

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Bonnies freshman finds spirit of season- Tatiana Wilson stands strong despite family home burning down, death of father figure

There are people looking out for her and her family, beyond just the players and coaches in her immediate basketball family at St. Bonaventure. The athletic department worked with the University Ministry and organized an assistance drive for the Wilson family. Within a few days of news of the fire, more than two thousand dollars had been donated, along with dozens of boxes of clothes, school supplies and other items for Wilson’s siblings. More donations were collected when the men’s basketball team played NC State in Rochester, N.Y. on Dec. 20.

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Local sports talk host sorry for anti-gay remarks

In other news:

Jacki Gemelos determined to recover – A fourth torn ACL isn’t enough to discourage the basketball phenom’s ambitions

From The File by Shaun Assael: Diana Taurasi defense documents

From SlamOnline, as somewhat detail free piece: A League of Their Own – The WUBA is writing a new chapter for women’s basketball. (Anyone remember the NWBL?)

From espnW: The year that ’twas

Twas the night before Christmas and at Casa de Spain,
Sarah was up late, racking her brain.
She sat with her laptop, a snack and a beer.
And thought back on a truly remarkable year.

WATN? Kayte Christensen: Tweetin’ on the sideline.

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I mean, really 42 and 17?

Nneka outscored about nine teams who played last night. And there were a handful of others that just barely beat her. Yikes!

Writes Michelle Smith: Player of year? Ogwumike could be good fit

If Baylor’s Brittney Griner is the household name, Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins is the queen of Twitter and Connecticut’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is the hot, new, young thing, where does Nneka Ogwumike fit in?

She might be the best player in the country.

Yes, there was a game (Stanford won, by the way), but there was another plot line: From Ann Killion at Sports Illustrated: Stanford pays tribute to Summitt on this uncharted farewell tour

When Summitt strode out on the floor a few minutes before tipoff she was greeted by the sold-out Maples Pavilion crowd with a prolonged loving standing ovation. It was a far cry from the wary, boo-tinged “Evil Empire”-type introductions she used to receive. Stanford fans waved red “We Back Pat” towels. A taped message of support from VanDerveer — who had to take five emotional tries to get it right — aired on the scoreboard. The Stanford coaches came to the Volunteers bench for an affectionate greeting and photo opportunity.

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The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper.

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

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tough news for a young freshman: Tatiana Wilson perseveres even after family’s home burns down

Also some news to ease the loss: Assistance Program Established For Tatiana Wilson & Family

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how about a game thread?

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