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It’s Graham’s fault. Bowling Green hands Dayton their first loss of the season (so much for ESPN analyst predictions, huh, Carolyn and Kara?)

#20 Texas turned it over a ton, and got upset by the feisty Chippewas of Central Michigan. Nice win for coach Guevara. Up next: tough Toledo.

Charlie’s got his latest Bracketology up and asks: Which mid-majors are bubbling over?

…here is a look at five teams for whom the door is still open to the at-large room and a few more that were close to getting inside before that same door slammed in their face. The margin for error is always small, but these are the teams to watch the rest of the season, the ones that really help shape the bubble come March.

Graham chips in with his Weekly Wrap Up: With Diggins on bench, Irish deliver

Diggins is a singular personality when she’s on the court. She’s also the point guard, so it doesn’t just feel like things run through her — they do run through her. Yet when she was out, it felt like the center of gravity for the Fighting Irish eventually settled in the post. Whether she took the shot, or even touched the ball, Achonwa was the player your eyes went to on offense. She finished the game with 15 points and 17 rebounds, even if she joked that she padded the latter number by having to follow too many of her own misses.

Lady Swish explains Why Skylar Diggins can’t set Notre Dame records

From Mel’s blog: Siroky’s SEC Report: Trends Not Changing in the SEC — Even With New Coaches and Two Additional Teams

As the new era dawns in Southeastern Conference women’s basketball, what we know so far this season is the top tier of teams are nationally competitive and the returning regular-season champ leads them all.

Scrambling the lineup for 2012-13 is the absence of the retired Tennessee icon, Pat Summitt, and the addition of two more teams.

At Full Court, Rob offers up The ACC recipe for success, team by team

Heading into conference play and a new year, every team in the ACC needs to make a few resolutions if they hope to achieve success. Some teams don’t have much work to do in terms of making a dramatic resolution, while others need to make drastic changes. In order of my current predictions, here’s what each team needs to do in order to become the best it can be.

Also at Full Court, a voice from the past, Jim Clark, writes: The big three in the Big East — plus some stars

Though the big news in the Big East is about the apparent collapse/contraction of the league, there’s still a lot to talk about when it comes to women’s basketball — so those who want more info on the conference changes can go here. In this article, though, we’ll focus on the three teams and the top players that will make this Big East season, with this Big East alignment, worth watching.

Nate takes Notes: Cal women off to best start in program history with win over George Washington

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See you February 18th.

Sincerely, UConn

Connecticut walked in to Maples and stomped all over the Cardinal. After an opening few minutes that tempted us with the possibility of an interesting game between the #1 and #2 in the country, UConn’s defense (In particular, Stef Dolson on Chiney– take note, Adams & Courtney) simply shut Stanford down.

The beauty of the Stanford women’s offense is rhythm and preparation. When it works it looks as in sync as the San Antonio Spurs and the Radio City Rockettes. On those days, the Cardinal could be sponsored by Arthur Murray Dance Studios.

When it doesn’t work, when Tara VanDerveer’s team does not connect, does not adjust much on the fly, the result can be as ugly as it is repetitive. And on this Saturday, when UConn executed its defensive game plan as well as Geno Auriemma could ever remember and when Stefanie Dolson demonstrated that to arrive in Storrs means to leave as a smarter, fitter, more determined athlete, the results can be epic.

Writes Michelle:

 As showdowns go, Saturday’s Connecticut-Stanford game at Maples Pavilion was a failure. As a fact-finding mission, it was illuminating.

Geno Auriemma now knows that for as much offensive talent as he has assembled, that for as many nights as his team dances around triple digits, he can lean on defense to win some big games. And he can lean on Stefanie Dolson as hard as he ever has.

He also surely understands, after a shocking 61-35 shellacking of No. 1 Stanford — ending the Cardinal’s 82-game home winning streak and handing Tara VanDerveer the worst home loss of her 26-year tenure on The Farm — that his team is a legitimate challenger, perhaps even the favorite over Baylor, to win the national championship in April.

It wasn’t a particularly elegant offensive display by the Huskies, but it was beautifully balanced, with the home state kid, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis returning to make a statement, in spite of partaking of an IV.

“At halftime we talked about getting her the ball,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “She’s been sick since she left Connecticut, she was in the hospital, she was getting IVs, I don’t know if it was the flu or whatever she (had), but I thought in the second half she really responded.

“That just goes to show you how much she changed in one year, how many more things she can do now than she could last year.”

Other ranked teams were also involved in routs: Baylor over  SE Louisiana, Maryland over Hartford, Notre Dame over Hartford, South Carolina over Western Carolina (how much more attention should we be paying to S.C.?). Oklahoma over Cal-Northridge, and Colorado over New Mexico.

BTW, I see you, Toledo.

In other news, Illinois’ defeat of previously unbeaten Georgia gets them some attention: Matt Bollant out to turn around Illini

…when Illinois offered Bollant the coaching job in Champaign after last season, he felt he couldn’t turn it down. At the moment, Green Bay is a better basketball program than Illinois. It wins more games, plays better basketball and draws more fans. But like many coaches who move from successful mid-majors to middling majors — Indiana’s Curt Miller, Texas’ Karen Aston also among the most recent class — Bollant made his move based on a calculation about the future. No matter how close to perfection Green Bay comes on the court, it is rarely, if ever, going to beat majors off the court.

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While the rest of the ranked teams (UCLA-recovering nicely from that Cal-Northridge oops, TAMU, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Cal) were dispatching their overmatched opponents by various ridiculous margins, two “undefeated” and ranked teams were tested: Georgia by the mighty Illini (6-5) and #25 Arkansas by the fierce Coppin State (4-7). One escaped, the other didn’t. What up with your scheduling, Dawgs and Hogs? (And yah, there are no upsets in women’s basketball, just inaccurately ranked teams, right? Which explains what happened to #20 Texas at the hands of Iowa, right?)

Is the Stanford/UConn game on yet? (UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer expect lots of offenseStanford-UConn: More Than A Fairy Tale,

While you’re waiting, check out Mel’s blog on early Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year candidates. (I’ll say, as a Lib fan of “a certain age and longevity, I’ve been following the Hilltoppers since Shea Mahoney. Flashback, much?)

Then wander over to Swish Appeal and check out The state of the WNBA: 2012 edition

Hmmm… maybe the third year’s the charm for Caldwell. Her LSU team goes down to FGCU.

Will Spidey make the Tourney? Bilney! They might!

How tough is it in Sooner-land? The volleyball players are coming to the rescue.

From at Amy Farnum the NCAA.com: Forging the path – Kansas star Goodrich looks to inspire other Native Americans

Kansas senior point guard Angel Goodrich may be known for her vision on the court in women’s basketball circles, but it is her perseverance that may be her greatest strength.

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The Cardinal and Huskies were preparing for their big showdown. (At least THIS big Card game is on tv! — tho barely – ESPNU.) Michelle writes: 

Two years ago at Maples Pavilion, on a chilly California night just before the turn of the New Year, the building vibrated.

 The Connecticut Huskies came west with a NCAA-record 90-game winning streak and the nation’s best player. 

By the time Stanford ended that streak, leading start to finish in a 71-59 victory, delirious fans roared, former Stanford players were rushing the court, Connecticut players looked a little stunned and a smiling Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer sensibly reminded everyone that it was only December.

Fast forward to 2012 and it’s still only December. But that doesn’t mean Maples won’t vibrate again.

From the Cardinal website: It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 As Stanford And Connecticut Face Off Saturday: Saturday’s meeting will be the 51st all-time meeting between the nation’s top two teams 

From the Husky website: No. 2 UConn Faces Top-Ranked Stanford on Saturday on ESPNU – Top two teams in the nation tip off at 4 p.m. on December 29 on ESPNU

The No. 2 Connecticut women’s basketball team is set to take on top-ranked Stanford on Saturday at 4 p.m. at a sold out Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.  The top-two showdown will be televised on ESPNU with Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo on the call. The nation’s best will each put their undefeated records on the line as the Cardinal (11-0) and the Huskies (10-0) both have been perfect coming into Saturday’s game.

In case you were busy before the holidays, and missed this from Graham: Defense helps keep Cardinal No. 1

The week began with Baylor’s case for becoming the fourth school to win back-to-back national championships, and Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims and the Lady Bears putting on a show in dismantling Tennessee.

It closed with Stanford showing why the road to No. 1 currently runs through the Bay Area.

Cardinal fans and Husky fans are discussing and analyzing and anticipating.

Speaking of anticipating: From Lady Swish, “Let’s the games begin (again)!

OK, folks, break’s over. Hope everyone had a happy holiday and got recharged for the second half of the season. Now let’s get back to work. Here’s a look at each team’s post-Christmas opener:

As the “new” season starts, the Register Guard has a Team-by-team 2013 Pac-12 women’s basketball preview and asks, “Is the league closing in on Stanford?”

The holiday break has opened some space for writers to go beyond “fifteen minutes after it ends” game stories.

From John Cannon at the Frederick News-Post Staff: India Dotson’s Smart head start – India Dotson was supposed to be one of the county’s top girls basketball players this season. Instead, she is already at Monmouth University, taking classes and playing hoops

Freshman India Dotson is the youngest player on the Monmouth University women’s basketball team.

Strange as it sounds, that fact helps explain why her college coach considers her to be so mature.

At 10-fer, Colorado is about to move in to Conference play, and the Buffs know Pac-12 play will be tough

From the New Haven Register’s Chris Hunn: Milford’s Casey Dulin excelling for Marist women’s basketball

For Milford’s Casey Dulin, there’s no place like home.

“She always seems to play well in Connecticut,” said Marist coach Brian Giorgis of his 5-foot-10 combo guard. “She seems to always have great games here. She always gets a lot of fans. It motivates her, it fires her up and she plays well.”

Folks at Duquesne are psyched: Women’s Basketball Receives Votes in Both PollsDukes get votes in AP and Coaches Polls

From the Jackson Free Press’ Torsheta Bowens: Mississippi Women’s Basketball Relies on Key Metro Area Graduates

From Cody Westerlund at the Ames Tribune:

In a season that’s already seen a worrisome injury to a top player (Chelsea Poppens), the emergence of a potential star (Hallie Christofferson) and the transfer of a rotation regular (Emiah Bingley) for Iowa State, Moody has rarely been in the headlines. Her performances have rarely been lost on her coach, though, with good reason: Moody is vitally important because she’s unique on this team.

The NBA has theirs. Now the Cal basketball chimes in. (h/t to Nate) The SF Gate also has this on Cal’s Talia Caldwell

As someone big on goals and plans, Cal basketball player Talia Caldwell knows exactly what she will be doing on a certain spring morning next year:

“I’ll be done May 23rd at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I’ll dance across the stage and get my degree and say ‘sayonara.’ “

It won’t be just any old undergraduate degree, either. After becoming the first Cal women’s basketball player ever admitted to the prestigious Haas School of Business, Caldwell will receive a B.A. in business administration. (Maybe the Lib could hire her?)

Speaking of Nate, more fun from Swish Appeal: Meme/GIF of the Year Candidates for 2012

It’s getting close to the end of the calendar year, since we are all heading to Christmas next Tuesday. Over the course of this year’s open threads and the like, there have been some comments with memes and GIF’s after a play or something to symbolize a theme of the season. So, here are some of the notable ones we saw throughout the year, and more specifically during the WNBA season.

The .com chimes in with their “Tomorrow’s Stars: Christmas Edition:”

The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. Each week, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it’s never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.From espnW:

2012: The Year of the Woman, by espnW (feat. Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”) (Who was the comedienne who said, “What, we only get a year?”)

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While you were shopping,

Hofstra was getting a nice win over Northwestern.

Green Bay was the winner of an ugly game over Wisconsin.

In the battle of the George’s, Washington won.

Yes, there are injuries (seems there always are), but St. John’s seems to be missing Kim greatly. And, we should be learning how to spell Quinnipiac.

Dayton is still undefeated.

Detroit beat Madonna U. I just had to type that: “Madonna U.

Duke is still undefeated.

Nice day for the Oklahoma State program:  Brittney Martin recorded the first triple-double in Cowgirls history and the team moved to 9-0.

Stanford is still undefeated, as miserable shooting (and too much Chiney) doomed the Vols.

In the battle of the Greens, the Waves took down the Mean.

UConn is still undefeated, as freshman Stewart made the media happy by breaking Maya Moore’s “scoring through 10 games as a freshman” record.

Colorado is still undefeated.

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Helen (Hell on) Wheels,” well, for obvious reasons…. So, of COURSE I’m going to enjoy Nell on Wheels.

Catch up with the coach Nell Fortner as she rolls in to Knoxville today. Her GAME DAY show will be 2:30-3:15 ET at the Thompson-Boling Arena Dining. Why? Cause it’s the clash of Red & Orange! 4:00 Lady Vols vs. the Cardinal.

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December 21st, the Shortest Day

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.
Welcome Yule!

(all repeat) Welcome Yule!

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Donate.

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D’em Penguins got stomped by d’em meanie Mountaineers. I mean, they’re PENGUINS!

Ouch: Baylor opens on 17-0 run, never looks back vs. Tennessee

More ouch: Andrea Hoover powers Dayton’s rout of Akron with 18

Speaking of beyond ouch — and doing what you can to ease that awful, horrible hurt: UConn creates Newtown fund

Women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and wife Kathy contributed the first donation, offering $80,000. Scholarship money for surviving students will be available upon their acceptance to UConn, while funds for siblings and dependents are available immediately, depending on need.

“Over this past difficult weekend, Kathy and I gave much consideration to what we as a family could do that would have some significance for the future,” Auriemma said. “Because UConn is so important to us, we decided to establish a scholarship and encourage other UConn alumni and fans around the world to invest in the future of the Sandy Hook survivors.”

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writes: 

This seemed the most breathtakingly obvious move that Washington could have made. On Nov. 20, after the Connecticut Sun announced they were parting ways with Thibault, my first question when I talked to him was, “How are you doing?” Followed by, “Have the Mystics called yet?”

This took no great insight; everybody who follows the WNBA had to think of Thibault as the top choice for the Mystics. But because they are the Mystics, you just couldn’t be sure.

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for the Spartans: Michigan State women’s basketball team loses Branndais Agee to injury

Great news for the Buffaloes: CU Buffs upset No. 8 Louisville

There are so many big wins in the history of Colorado women’s basketball that it’s difficult to say where Friday’s 70-66 victory against No. 8 Louisville ranks.

There’s no question, however, where this CU team believes it ranks as a team. In the Top 25.

 

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Check out these shooting percentages: 7-43 (.163) and 17-62 (.274)

Good news for Portland from Walter Villa:

Last month, the University of Portland women’s basketball coaches received an early Christmas present, and it came, fittingly enough, from very near the North Pole.

Hannah Mattson, a 5-foot-10 senior combo guard from West Valley (Fairbanks, Alaska), signed with the Pilots, who were thrilled to get the state’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year.

Learn a little bit more about Baylor signee Nina Davis and UConn signee Saniya Chong

Pressure is the enemy of many an athlete. Somehow, it is not an enemy of Chong’s. Pressure has turned the high school senior into a national superstar. Pressure got her a full ride to the most prestigious college basketball program in the country. At the biggest moment, in front of the most eyes, the quiet girl is simply better.

Geno Auriemma didn’t recruit the 5-foot-9 guard to UConn because of this quality. He recruited her because she handles the ball and hits 3s and flies up the court like she’s trying to catch the last bus. But when UConn finds itself in a tight NCAA tournament game with four minutes left and the ball in her hands, he’ll be happy her brain works the way it does.

Quadruple-double anyone? How about a Crazy girls basketball buzzer beater

And how about d’em Flyin’ Flyers?

From the files of the strange but true, no team has learned more from a loss this season than one of only 11 teams that remain unbeaten.

Dayton opened practice this fall without the seven seniors who made up more than half of last season’s roster, a group that included four multiyear starters and key components of three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. In their place came seven freshmen, as well as six returning players with just 35 career starts among them (all but 10 of which belonged to one player, sophomore Andrea Hoover). Flyers coach Jim Jabir hoped the returnees would take ownership of the program, hoped the freshmen would live up to the reputations that made the class one of the highest rated outside BCS conferences. But hope in October is a long way from certainty in November.

The Ducks get cooked. Again.

Ex-Georgetown head coach gets her 150th victory: George Washington women’s basketball falls to Terri Williams-Flournoy, Auburn

Speaking of milestones: Penn State Women’s Basketball: Coquese Washington Earns 100th Victory in 60-41 Win at Virginia Tech

So, an undefeated Buffalo walks on to the court and meets a 9-1 Cardinal… wonder what will happen.

It can be a slooooooow process: Azzi rebuilding San Francisco

Everyone who knows Azzi as a leader and motivator thought she had a decent shot at turning around a moribund Dons program falling further behind the pace set in the West Coast Conference by Gonzaga. But reconstructing a basketball program takes time. It takes energy. Patience. And most of all, as Azzi has discovered, the ability to identify talent and then recruit it.

“We are not even close to there yet,” Azzi said Tuesday. “Would I like it to be sooner? Sure. But I don’t think anyone expected it to happen overnight.”

A nice WATN? New role, same competitive drive – Jackie Stiles is in her first season as an assistant at Loyola Marymount in L.A.

Once the girl from Claflin, always the girl from Claflin.

And once infatuated by basketball, always infatuated by basketball.

A decade after she played her last competitive game in the WNBA, Stiles is in her first season as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, her first coaching job. The star of the second Missouri State team to reach the Final Four (the school dropped “Southwest” from its name in 2005), Stiles now works for Elliott, a standout on the first Missouri State team to reach the national semifinals in 1992.

Ouch: UNT Notebook: Godbolt dismissed from women’s basketball team

Mike Carmin writes: Purdue women’s basketball: 5 things we’ve learned, 5 things we don’t know

Oklahoma women’s basketball: Whitney Hand is ‘OK’ with the end of college career- Hand, who suffered a second career knee injury, has done a lot of processing since the injury a week ago. “It is what it is, and I’ve done what I’ve done.”

WNBA players are now entering a “Flop-Free Zone.”

With a h/t to Friend of the Blog Anonymous: Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve down at St Olaf College in Northfield, MN for a lecture on women and sports. It was a great event.  She offered some candid observations about the WNBA, the future of the league, lowering the hoops, female coaches in the NBA: .The Penalty Box: Reeve hits Northfield and some audio-multimedia.

 

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(And yes, Debbie, we too hate exam schedule.) Coach Frese is on. Nice shout out to d’em Flyers!

Penn State’s sharpshooter Maggie Lucas blogs.

Charlie asks: Are the No. 1 seeds already set? and offers up his early Bracketology.

Graham has his weekly wrap up: Stallworth gives Wildcats a boost  and gives us BYU’s Steed as his Player of the Week.

BYU coach Jeff Judkins described Haley Steed (then Haley Hall) as one of the best high school players to come out of the state of Utah “for a long, long time,” an explosive guard who was quick with the ball and quick to the basket.

The numbers back up his memory; she remains among the top 10 all-time scorers in Utah prep history.

Rebecca has 5 Questions with Ms. Sims.

In October, Sherri Coale wrote

How good is it when the worst thing you can think of to say about your team is that sometimes they try too hard?

We’re in week two of our progression toward “real” practice. Week one was four days of intense defensive focus. This week is total commitment to offensive core concepts. Monday, we’ll let the horses run and see where we are.

And while I can’t really know exactly where that is, I do know it’s in a really good place.

Two months later, the the Oklahoma Daily is writing: Injuries threaten what kind of season the Sooners can have

Slam Online has: Women’s College Basketball Recap: Week 4 – Kentucky and Louisville face off in a nail-biter, and Odyssey Sims gets the better of Skylar Diggins.

Lots of interesting stuff over at Swish Appeal:

I had a great time at the Maggie Dixon Classic at the Garden (join us next time, wontcha?). Ray has Maggie Dixon Classic: Tempo-free numbers and notes.

Duke defense comes up big in win over St. John’s and Rutgers shoots down cold Louisiana Tech

Shifting into W mode: Who are the top prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft? – Our look at prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft and a group of top players to watch.

With an “oiy” to the typo: Bill Laimbeer set to take the reigns of the New York Liberty

New York Liberty head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer is nothing if not outspoken and in an interview with Ryan Dunleavy at the Scarlett Scuttlebutt blog during this weekend’s Maggie Dixon Classic he was clear that he won’t necessarily be maintaining the status quo in NYC.

From James: Atlanta Dream head coach Fred Williams on the WNBA Draft, goals for 2013, and his nicknames and Which former WNBA players should have their numbers retired?

What’s up with Ticha? Enjoying life after Spalding

Clay at Full Court has: New WNBA rules and other meanderings and Remember: Recruiting (among other things) is different for girls

 

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UConn rides Faris defense past PSU

We’ll learn this weekend whether the time has arrived for the Heisman Trophy to go to a player who spends time exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. This week already demonstrated why a player who does much of her work on defense ought to be in the conversation for some of college basketball’s individual honors.

And why a team with its share of imperfections this early in the season therefore remains perfect in the standings.

On the game: Mosqueda-Lewis helps UConn hold off Penn St. (interesting when a 15pt margin merits a “hold off). About the game: Refs leave a mark: Foul-plagued game ‘unfortunate’ occurrence and Officials Ruined What Could Have Been A Spectacular Game

The Terps skewered the Cavaliers. Say the BasketCases:

Three Freshmen, a Walk-on, and a Transfer Walk Into a Bar …

The bartender asks them, “How did you stay so cool tonight when the rest of your team fouled out?” They answered, “No problem . . . we were surrounded by fans.”

Georgia Tech was no match for Elizabeth Williams… I mean, Duke.

Friend-of-the-Blog Sue requested – and gets – a shout out to Ball State for taking down Detroit in OT.

My friends in Fayetteville are pleased: Arkansas hands No. 17 Kansas first loss of season

Temple can’t make up its mind who it wants to be this season — the Owl gave Kent State their first victory of the season.

First Hand, then the Cougars’ leading scorer: BYU women’s basketball loses Eaton for the season. Totally sucks.

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Whitney Hand

ACL tear.

&#*&@($(@!!@U&$&&@@!(!)@()()#)_!)_!

‘Nuff said.

 

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Lots of good reads from the always interesting Title IX blog: Study Uses Athletic Participation to Judge Women’s “Predisposition” to Sport

The study, titled A Sex Difference in the Predisposition for Physical Competition: Males Play Sports Much More Than Females Even in the Contemporary U.S., acknowledges that girls and women’s participation in intercollegiate and interscholastic high school sports is relatively high — 42 and 43% respectively.  Yet, the authors are concerned that these participation rates may “underestimate the actual sex difference in sports participation.”  So, they report on three sources of data other than intercollegiate/interscholastic competition to demonstrate an athletic participation gap between male and female subjects.  First, the authors analyzed responses submitted to the American Time Use Survey, which finds female respondents of various ages engaging in 24% of total sports participation and 20% of team sports participation.  Second, the authors engaged in “systematic observations of sports and exercise at 41 public parks in four states” and observed females accounting for only 19% of individual sport participation and 10% of team sports participation.  Finally, they found that female college students accounted for only 26% of students registering for intramural sports. 

 As I told the reporter from Inside Higher Ed who wrote an article about study, I don’t find these findings surprising at all, given the historical and continuing discrimination and exclusion of women from sports, as well as cultural constraints on women’s participation. What I do take issue with is the apparent suggestion that these reported participation rates are somehow more accurate of women’s true predisposition to sports than their participation rates in intercollegiate and interscholastic contexts.  What worries me about this study is the implication that Title IX is somehow artificially inflating women’s interest in athletics. To me, the fact that the gender gap is wider in sports contexts outside the scope of Title IX (in parks, for example, and other non-scholastic contexts measured by the ATUS) is actually an argument that Title IX is working, and, if anything, should be extended to those other contexts.  If there was a law as effective as Title IX has been in breaking down barriers and promoting women’s opportunities that applied to these other recreational contexts as well, who’s to say we would not see interest and participation rising there as well? 
The latest round of conference shifting creates many angles for discussion.  One question that a business school colleague posed is, why even have conferences anymore?  That’s a very good question.  For the top shelf conferences who have or are moving above 12 teams, the infrequency of play across conference divisions (or, single game scheduling in basketball) diminishes the common schedule aspect that has historically defined a conference.   It resembles some aspects of the conference and divisional splits in the NFL.  Even with diminished play between many teams, the conference/division setup provides some structure to the scheduling process.  Probably more importantly, it improves the bargaining power of the members in TV and bowl rights negotiations versus attempting to bargain as independents (unless you are Notre Dame).
Alas, no progress comes easily or without steps backward even as we move forward. As I celebrate the growth of what I call an LGBT sports equality movement, I have had a nagging concern that has blossomed now into a full blown red flag of frustration.  It is this: Concern about homophobia in women’s sports has somehow taken a seat on the bench as all the starters in this game focus on men’s sports.  Now, don’t get me wrong, the silence about gay men in sport has been deafening for far too long and I am thrilled that barriers for gay men coming out in sport seem to crumbling at all levels. I love hearing about gay high school and college male athletes coming out. I love it that the Toronto Blue Jays recently suspended Yunel Escobar for painting an anti-gay message in his face black and that his salary for the three days (around $80,000) will be given to two organizations fighting for LGBT inclusion in sport.  It’s great that Escobar met with Patrick Burke of You Can Play and openly gay soccer player David Fasto. I am thankful for straight male athlete allies like Hudson Taylor, Patrick Burke, Ben Cohen and all of the male professional athletes who are speaking out.  It is all long overdue and absolutely necessary to change men’s sports culture.
 
 
The problem for me is that somehow with all of the attention focused on men’s sports, homophobia in women’s sports is in danger of being treated as either a non-issue or a less important issue.  I’ve noticed for some time that media coverage of “gays in sports” has focused almost entirely on men’s sports.  Women’s sports, if mentioned at all, are dismissed in the first couple of paragraphs. The final straw for me was an article on NPR.org this week which was a thoughtful piece generally about homophobia in (men’s) sports with quotes from male athletes. The writers had this to say about homophobia in women’s sports:“Today, (Billie Jean) King is also an advocate for gay rights, but for most of her career, she stayed in the closet. Now, it’s not uncommon for a female pro athlete to come out.”  
 
That’s it. Homophobia in women’s sports? It used to be a problem. No problem, today though.  Women’s sports are full of lesbians, don’t you know?

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Paul Gackle at the SF Examiner writes: Women’s basketball deserves more media exposure

Before I sat down to watch the 49ers-Rams game on Sunday, I scrolled down to the Pac-12 Network to record the Cal-Duke women’s basketball game. The network prides itself on covering everything from soccer, to volleyball, to wrestling; surely they’d televise this compelling matchup between two Top 10 teams.

No luck.

This was particularly frustrating because it was the second time in less than three weeks that I’ve gone out of my way to watch college women’s basketball and I was stood up both times.

Would be nice if everyone who read the blog today would click through and leave a comment.

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and call attention to your players. (Of course, how people react may depend on who you are)

Baylor Head Coach Kim Mulkey

On Skylar Diggins having a poor game… “It is early in the season. I was a point guard and I have always been very critical of point guards. Odyssey Sims is the best point guard in the country. And you can put that in your notes. What does she have to do to get that kind of recognition? She has played Skylar four times and has won every ball game. She has won a national championship. Odyssey didn’t have one of her better games either, but she never stopped being tough on the floor. She never stops guarding people.”

Basically, I think the ND game proved that Sims must be on the court for Baylor, ’cause even a rusty, out-sorts-Sims can get the job done.

In a 73-61 victory over Notre Dame on Wednesday, Sims missed her first five shots, and her passes weren’t as crisp as we’re used to. At one point, she airmailed a ball in the general direction of center Brittney Griner, a target whom Sims rarely misses. Especially not by a mile.

But, hey, even outstanding players need a little time to get their mojo back when they’ve been sidelined. By the time the game was over, Sims had 16 points and six assists (with, admittedly, seven turnovers). And defensively, she had helped thoroughly frustrate her Irish counterpart, Skylar Diggins.

From the Waco Trib: Lady Bears thwart No. 5 Irish, 73-61, in NCAA final rematch

From Curt at the South Bend Trib: Notre Dame women’s basketball: Too tall of a task for ND

From Al Lesar at the SBT: Bad timing for one of those days

Also, from Grantland: Such Great Heights – Maya Moore has already made her mark on the WNBA. That means the next question for the league is, what will Brittney Griner bring?

Maya Moore was late. She ducked into the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first preseason game at the Target Center this October just after tip-off, the brim of her black hat pulled low and her 54-year-old mother in tow. It didn’t take long for the crowd to notice.

Within minutes, an injured Kevin Love had abandoned the Timberwolves bench in favor of a front-row seat along the baseline next to Moore and her mother. At halftime, a line of fans snaked through the aisle; Moore smiled and shook hands and posed for anyone willing to wait.

In other games:

The Blue Jays stopped Hooper and the Huskers.

The Bulldogs almost blew a 25-pt. lead, but managed to escape with the win over USC.

The battle of the Coloradoeans ended up with one team at 7-0: Buffs Women Roll Rams, Remain Unbeaten

Good news for UConn and their new TV gig: UConn women’s basketball TV ratings up on SNY. Tonight they’ll be broadcasting the Connecticut/Penn State game at 7pm EST.

It’s a tough season for FGCU: They go down hard to South Florida (which is now 7-0).

In WNBA news:

You stay put: Lynx Sign Head Coach Cheryl Reeve To Multi-Year Contract Extension

You also stay put: Atlanta Dream Signs Head Coach and GM Fred Williams to New Deal

From the .com: Around the World: Five Things To Know

More leadership from the players: Report urges more positive LGBT stories in Black media

Adair adds that LGBT people of color are more accepted among people of her under-30 age group: “I think with our generation, it is a lot more liberal — ‘Be who you are; be free and be happy,’”says Adair.

“I’ve found that as well,” says Harris.

Religion continues to be a big influence in the Black community regarding LGBT issues. “African Americans stand out as the most religiously committed racial or ethnic group in the nation,” says the study.

“A lot of African American communities are more on the religious side dealing with homosexuality,” concurs Adair. “My mother is very religious — she’s more open now because I have been out for so long. But initially, she thought it was about sports, drugs, sex, and that was it for all lesbians.

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Always remember to

Take Five.

Thanks for all the great music, Dave. (And Paul)

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and working, and birding and sitting in a bus up and down to Hartford to watch the Terps play UConn tough, some other stuff was happening.

Wowza, was Holly ticked or something? ’cause that was some beat down the Vols put on the upstart Tar Heels. (Loved the optimism and outrage, Cliff.) Kate Fagan is Behind the Scenes with Tennessee: Learning life as a Lady Vol

I think Penn State was ticked — at losing — and they took it out on Farleigh Dickinson.

My friend Jeff in Louisville took ten family members to the Kentucky game — not only was it ugly, but the Cardinals lost a squeaker.

Reality check: Syracuse put its unbeaten record up against Temple… and lost.

Reality check part deux: Northwestern put its unbeaten record up against DePaul… and lost.

Dayton didn’t let being ranked (#23) dissuade them from beating ASU.

Speaking of Arizona teams — Long Beach State took down the Wildcats.

Not having fun at Rutgers. First Princeton beat’em, then it was Boston College’s turn.

With their nice win against Cal, Graham says Duke, Jones pass first real test

It has been difficult to write much about Duke to this point in the season, mostly because it wasn’t clear until this week that the Blue Devils were actually through with their exhibition schedule. (Quick, pick the exhibition opponent: Shaw or Presbyterian?) Sunday’s game against No. 10 Cal was the team’s first against a ranked opponent and came on the heels of a reasonable, if unremarkable, road test at Michigan in the middle of last week.

So welcome to the season, Blue Devils.

D’em Penguins are no longer undefeated, but they did manage to move to 6-1 with their squeaker over IUPUI.

Yes, I did follow my impulse and hopped a bus up and back to Hartford – nothing like six hours on Greyhound to mess with your back. Stubborn (& undermanned) Terps did the Huskies a favor by playing hard-nosed, in your face defense. Next time you watch UConn (live), just keep your eyes on Kelly Faris. She’s a lesson on how to play the game of basketball.

Kelly Faris was at the center of the defensive efforts thwarting Maryland. If ever there was a player born to star in a game in which the points column seemed to matter less than rebounds, steals and stops, it is Faris The senior finished with eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists and eight steals, leading Auriemma to sarcastically note that there is a reason the Big East coaches who continually leave her off all-conference teams have the records they have, while his team, with Faris on the court as much as humanly possible, has the record it has during her time in uniform. She either scored or assisted on almost half of her team’s field goals.

Yes, Georgia is 10-0, but they got there by mauling the Teddy Bears. January 6th is when they face the Vols.

Make sure you’re home in time for tonight’s game: Green and Gold v. Gold and Green. Read up!

Notre Dame women’s basketball: Irish have tough challenge to stop Baylor’s inside-outside game

ND Women’s Basketball: No. 5 Notre Dame set to host rival No. 3 Baylor

Rematch with Bears to test Irish

Baylor back to full strength – Bears’ Sims expected to play Wednesday

Monardo: Significance of the matchup goes well beyond revenge

From Mechelle: Baylor favored in title-game rematch – Notre Dame still seeking identity as defending champs head to South Bend

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is a natural-born tweaker, someone who is always trying to figure out if even some slight adjustment might make a difference.

The past two seasons, though, didn’t allow for a lot of that with the Irish. Their starting lineup in 2010-11 and 2011-12 — seasons in which Notre Dame reached the national championship game — was pretty much always the same.

So far this season, though, after Notre Dame graduated three starters, McGraw has had more arranging and rearranging to do. The Irish are 5-0, but haven’t had the same starting lineup in any of those games.

Beth and Debbie are BACK!!! Check out the podcast.

Graham has an Outside the Lines on BG, EDD and SD

In the depths of a Texas summer, the heat and humidity set up shop well before dawn’s first light and linger like party guests long past dusk. A girl, clothes caked in dust and soaked by sweat, face red from some combination of exertion and sunlight, charges into her house for a glass of water. She stubbornly ignores her mother’s pleas to sit down and cool off for a few minutes, rushing back to whatever adventure awaits.

Another girl silently watches older kids play basketball. It’s cold outside, snow blanketing the ground in South Bend, Ind., a sacred place for college football but also the heart of basketball country. The court is in the recreation center her stepfather runs, but the girl, no more than 6 years old and until recently reluctant to leave her mom’s side, is in the background, observing, unnoticed.

In a suburban Delaware house, the basket is shorter and the court nothing more than a basement. A brother and sister play games of one-on-one with the intensity of a Final Four. The brother, three years older and a little too big, too strong for her, takes the lead. She throws a fit and storms away. He waits. He knows she will soon return to begin again.

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