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Archive for February, 2013

We knew this was coming…

but it doesn’t make me any less sad: Holdsclaw indicted for shooting incident with girlfriend

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couple of unsuccessful pro-to-college coaches. Oregon’s Westhead is one. USC’s Cooper is another. Writes Clay at Full Court:

It’s not that Michael Cooper is the worst coach in the country – or even in the Pac-12 – but for the good of the game, he’s got to go. 

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all involved, including the Maine Black Bears, seem okay: Coach bus goes off the highway in Georgetown, college students and driver are injured 

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C Viv finally gets her 900th win courtesy of the USF Bulls. (Really, coach, you didn’t realize it?) Writes Mechelle

Sometimes it will surprise her young charges when Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer casually drops a pop-culture reference into conversation. Beyonce this or Ne-Yo that. It’s actually not calculated on her part, but rather stuff she has picked up.

“I think that in order to continue to relate well to young people, you need to be current,” Stringer said. “And developing those relationships — that’s not draining to me. While the job itself can be stressful, I’m always rejuvenated by working with young people.”

After Rutgers snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday, Stringer picked up her 900th victory as the Scarlett Knights beat South Florida. It was a historical win for the Rutgers program and for Stringer, putting her in the 900-win group of women’s coaches, joining Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and Sylvia Hatchell.

Speaking of legends: With the most recent Pat Summitt book hitting the stands, Mechelle says, UConn-Tennessee rivalry missed

In the end, barriers between Auriemma and Summitt went up, and the programs’ scintillating on-court rivalry was the casualty.

Deep down, though, you sensed they always knew they had pushed each other to greater heights. You wondered what it might take to bring just enough of a thaw for them to really talk again.

However … the sport went on without the UConn-Tennessee game, with the women’s hoops calendar finding other big clashes to take its place. UConn-Stanford, UConn-Notre Dame and UConn-Baylor, for example, have all gotten larger spotlights. And that has helped the growth of game, too.

Do we miss UConn-Tennessee? We miss what it was at its best: two coaching legends matching wits, some of the best players in NCAA women’s history facing off, and backed up by legitimately large fan bases who bring the best (and worst) of college sports fanaticism.

A side note on the excerpt from the book that was published in Sports Illustrated. It revisits the reason Summitt ended the series: recruiting.

“I didn’t itemize my complaints publicly then, and I’m not going to now,” she wrote. “I went through the appropriate channels and that’s how it will stay. I made my concerns known to UConn through our athletic director, Joan Cronan, and the Southeastern Conference. UConn responded that they saw nothing wrong with what they were doing. I made my concerns known again. Same response.

Anyone who follows women’s basketball recruiting knows the published facts behind this: A complaint was filed with the NCAA by the SEC (on behalf of Tennessee) and UConn was found to have committed “secondary” violations. Clearly, Summitt’s issues are not with the secondary violation, since

as defined in Bylaw 19.02.2.1, a secondary violations one that provides only a limited recruiting or competitive
advantage and is isolated or inadvertent in nature. If the Committee on Infractions determines that repeated secondary
violations have occurred and that the institution is not taking appropriate action to prevent such violations, a penalty
appropriate for a major violation may be imposed.

Tennessee, for instance just recently self-reported secondary violations.

So, what I don’t understand is why coach Summitt won’t itemize her complaints. If she had UConn dead to rights on violations, we can only hope the NCAA would kick their butt (witness the UConn men’s program.). But they didn’t. If there are behavior issues, call ’em out. Break the culture of silence. Without doing that all we have is more of the same “you know what you did” v. “why don’t you say what I did.”

Blick.

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Simply awesome

Take a look/listen:High school basketball player passes ball to mentally challenged player on the other team

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I dunno, you tell me: The team she left last year is now 3-22 (2-12 in conference).

The team she joined last year is now 18-9 overall (15-1 in conference).

Bet Debbie wishes she’d been at this game: St. Francis (PA) 100, Fairleigh Dickinson 89. Threeeeeee-alert!

Okay, that was not impressive, St. Francis (NY). You should. not. lose. to. Wagner. (Especially when you’re up 18.) We now expect more from you — get used to it. Oh, and congrats for making the NEC tournament for the first time since 2008.

I’m not sayin’ nothin’ ’cause I don’t wanna jinx ’em, but anyone else noticed that Delaware State has been doing a lot less losing recently? They sure gave Hampton a game.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ those (Quinnipiac) Bobcats keep on rollin’! Quinnipiac’s 25 overall wins and 16 conference wins match the most in program history.

Speakin’ of rollin’: It was sorta close, and then, suddenly, it wasn’t even close: the Baylor Bears win their 25th in a row.

“We tried to stick to our game plan, but Brittney got a couple catches,” Campbell said. “I think that’s the difference. “She caught the ball and shot it. You can’t do much when the ball is in her hands.”

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It’s about friggin’ time: Former Mystics coach Plank joins Dream staff

Like a fine wine… lordy: WNBA Liberty re-sign Essence Carson, sign Katie Smith

Cheers, mate! WNBA’s Sun signs British Olympian Leedham

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There are thousands of student-athletes who “go pro in something other than sports” and understand that the phrase in not just some punchline used on Draft Day. Take a moment to read Mike DiMauro’s piece on Heather Buck,

It was Heather Buck’s moment first, walking to midcourt with parents David and Mayada, with the most maternal and paternal fans in sports showering the Buck family with a love so rarely felt in sports amid all the cynical guy talk that pollutes the games we watch.

How fitting, indeed, the words of Rascal Flatts to summarize the vocation that defined Buck’s college career as much as basketball:

Help somebody every chance you get.

Heather Buck will graduate from UConn with a nursing degree. She will help somebody every chance she gets. A job at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford awaits if she wants it.

To recap: Heather Buck spent five years on women’s basketball Broadway, got a 4.0 in the classroom, leaves with a job waiting for her and didn’t have to spend a dime.

All of which sort of makes the hovering lament over Buck’s lack of playing time about the dumbest thing every uttered in the history of anything ever uttered.

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Pretty good, if you’re a SUNY-New Palz fan

The crowd’s chant began with a minute to play and reached a crescendo at 5:43 p.m. Saturday in the Hawk Center when the SUNY New Paltz women’s basketball team started celebrating.

The chant was “SUNYAC champions.”

New Paltz won its first-ever State University of New York Athletic Conference championship, defeating Geneseo 64-53.

With the title comes an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The brackets will be announced 2:30 p.m. Monday on NCAA.com.

Ditto if you’re a fan of Hope: Women’s basketball loses to Hope in final seconds of MIAA tourney finals

Hope women’s basketball team came out on top of a closely fought game Saturday afternoon, winning the MIAA tournament championship game 62-59, and gaining an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III tournament.

Super ditto if you’re a Red Hawks fan: At 25-0, Montclair State women’s basketball a surprise juggernaut

For a few rare and ultimately fleeting seconds, the Montclair State University women’s basketball team is actually losing, but the school’s most famous hoops alumna is anything but worried.

“The game is young,” Carol Blazejowski says from her movie theater-style box seat, situated in the top row of the modest bleachers at MSU’s Panzer Athletic Center. It’s a sentence said casually, confidently, the way you might describe the arrival of a train running a minute or two behind schedule.

Pretty good if you are a Tigers fan: Princeton University women’s basketball conquers 33rd straight Ivy League foe, a Buffs fan: Arielle Roberson leads CU Buffs to victory – Colorado struggles on offense, but wins sixth in row, or a fan of Marist, FGCU, Charlotte (Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!, Green Bay, Albany, Dayton, Toledo, Gonzaga, BU, Texas Southern (First SWAC title in school history. Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!), Chattanooga, Pacific (Program record for wins), San Diego State, Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame (Triple Double Diggins) and Stanford (CO sets school rebounding record: 24).

Duke fans know their chances for a Final Four were dealt a significant blow when Gray went down. The Blue Devils didn’t miss a beat, though, taking down Florida State and Maryland in comfortable fashion.

St. John’s still on a roll.

Staying in New York: Fordham got a great win over St. Joe’s. Had to take the Hawks to OT to earn their 10th A-10 win and their first 20-win season in 19 years.

A little agita on the sidelines for Tennessee coaches (win), Kentucky coaches (loss), Quinnipiac (win – NEC Champeens), Syracuse (loss – to that feisty USF team), Cal (win) and Southern (loss- giving Alcorn State their 2nd SWAC win), Delaware (win, by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin) and TAMU (lossVandy’s Clark for 30.).

More Bracketology means a road game for Notre Dame?

Let’s get right to addressing the glaring issue in this week’s projected bracket: Notre Dame, a No. 1 seed, potentially would have to play LSU in the second round in Baton Rouge, La.

The pairing obviously is not an ideal situation. However, it’s also not unprecedented. And while the committee (and I) will try to avoid such a scenario, sometimes it just can’t be helped.

The problem started with the addition of St. John’s to the field. That brought the total number of host schools in the tournament to 15. In other words, all but one sub-regional (Columbus, Ohio) will include a host school. That’s great for potential tournament attendance. It’s also a bracketing nightmare.

Nice find from FOB Sue: Miss Basketball’s son carves out his own stellar career

For a while, the chants rang out from the home student section earlier this winter at Concord’s McCuen Gym every time Memorial’s Markese McGuire touched the basketball.

“Your mom’s better! … Your mom’s better!”

There’s any number of ways the chants could’ve been taken.

If the history-appreciating fans meant that McGuire’s mom is better than their own moms — actually an about-face on what all loyal sons once claimed on the playground — well, yeah, that’s a fairly safe bet.

After all, Kim (Barrier) McGuire is still the only Indiana Mr. or Miss Basketball that Elkhart County has ever produced.

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from Graham: Youngstown State returns to winning ways

In his short time as a head coach, Bob Boldon has already done something few of his peers would dare attempt.

And we’re not talking about keeping a straight face while selling the virtues of calling oneself a Cotton Blossom or Penguin.

With the regular season still winding to its conclusion, Youngstown State has safely clinched a winning season, its first since 1999-2000. That is an impressive enough achievement for a coach in his third season at the school and who was himself only three years out of college when the Penguins last had more wins than losses. But that alone is hardly unique. Plenty of coaches turn around programs that didn’t win many games.

Not so many turn around programs that didn’t win any games.

The Penguins were not fazed by the press: they won last night, 73 -69 over Cleveland State.

So did Fordham, btw, Graham… hint, hint.

So did Hawai’i, btw, Graham…hint, hint.

In the rematch of the big dogs, Albany came out on top again – and by the same margin: Danes 79, Terriers 70.

The MVC is shaping up to be quite the battle between the Blue Jays and the Shockers.

Interesting that Dayton got such a tussle from the Bonnies (could be Dayton’s youth). Might be an interesting end of the regular season. Did miss this, though: Local quartet part of No. 17 Flyers’ success

There was a time, not so long ago, when local recruits wouldn’t just quietly dismiss Dayton women’s basketball coach Jim Jabir — they’d all but tell him to get lost.

“When I first got here, kids literally wouldn’t talk to me, or would say quietly, ‘I’ve watched you play and I wouldn’t want to go there,” Jabir says.

But as the old sports saying goes, winning cures all. Nowadays Jabir, who’s brought a middling UD program into the national spotlight after three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, rarely gets the bill collector treatment from the Dayton area’s best high school players.

Speaking of conference races: Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Championship Race Still Undecided

Jayda says Kristi Kingma, UW women’s basketball team on cusp of NCAA berth

Kristi Kingma’s big blue eyes widened even more.

She sat in the media room at Alaska Airlines Arena before the regular season, looking far ahead to the last four games of her women’s basketball college career. On the schedule sat perennial foes Stanford and California at home and tough Pac-12 newcomers Utah and Colorado on the road.

Kingma circled the games. Benchmarks, she thought.

Now on the eve of the crucial stretch, Kingma is no longer daunted.

Meanwhile, Looking to gain separation in Ivy League, Princeton to host Cornell and Columbia

Lady Swish is Breaking down NCAA/WNIT prospects

For some teams, it’s may only be the wildest of dreams of a magical March run. Still, as February winds down every one of Virginia’s 13 Division I teams still has something to play for.

From the Poughkeepsie Journal we learn that Marist is keeping their focus forward

It’s not just the fact his Red Foxes have gone unbeaten in league play that pleases Brian Giorgis, but it’s how they’ve done it.

On the way to its 14-0 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Marist College women’s basketball team has steadily progressed, the head coach said, routinely playing better against league opponents the second time around.

Also at the PJ, Mike Benischek reminds folks that Women’s basketball talent runs deeper than just Marist

It’s been almost 10 years since Marist College put the mid-Hudson Valley on the women’s basketball world’s map.

But, when is the last time you checked out the geography of the map?

The Red Foxes aren’t the only ones running around the neighborhood. There are Hawks flying overhead, and Blue Knights patrolling the streets. There are Brewers … brewing, I guess. They’re perfect for a college town.

And while I’m not here to say McCann Arena isn’t home to the biggest show in town, I will simply ask, do you know what other shows are playing?

Congrats to SMU coach Rhonda Rompola on her 400th career win

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From New Hampshire: Londonderry girls basketball coach Fagula earns 600th win

“It doesn’t feel like 31 years, it really doesn’t,” sais Fagula. “But around Christmas time when I’m getting cards from people I coached in the 70’s and 80’s who already have kids in high school or beyond, that’s when I start to realize I’ve been around for a long time.”

Mechelle chats and gives the Rams some love:

Blake Whitney (Washington, D.C.): Fordham was 0-29 in 2008. This year, under Stephanie Gaitley, the Rams are 18-7 and 8-2 in a pretty competitive (at least at the top) Atlantic 10. Fordham has been at the very, very, very bottom of the A10 in both men’s and women’s hoops ever since joining the league. How impressive is this turnaround?

Mechelle Voepel  (2:43 PM): It’s fantastic, because it’s very hard to recruit after a program has hit that kind of rock-bottom. You’ve got to get kids who believe in a quick but real rebuilding process. Gaitley has been able to do that.

Debbie and Beth pod where they recap the Baylor-UConn game. Plus, they’re joined by Duke’s Haley Peters.

Michelle writes: ASU regroups after coach’s absence – One of Pac-12’s most consistent programs is 4-11 in conference play 

Taking a season away from the game didn’t diminish Charli Turner Thorne’s competitive drive. It was meant to reinvigorate it, to recharge the fire that Turner Thorne was afraid was starting to flicker after 20-something years of the coaching grind.

So when she checks the Pac-12 standings and sees her program — which has finished no worse than fifth place in the past decade — sitting at 4-11 and tied for 10th place, it hurts.

A recent seven-game losing streak, the program’s longest since 1996-97, burns, as any baptism by fire would.

Graham talks Flyers and Hens in his mid-major poll, where five of the top ten teams are undefeated in conference play. Creighton is in the tenth spot with their 10-3 record in the MVC.

David’s Dishin & Swishin and Looking at the “Student” part of “Student-Athlete” with UConn’s Heather Buck & Duke’s Haley Peters

Tully is keeping busy: Bevilaqua takes workouts old-school at Gym41

In Cali, Chiney fesses up: It’s hard to say: I’m becoming a California girl

In Ohio, the Buckeyes know where they stand

The marathon metaphor, so popular from the beginning to the middle of most sports seasons, has reached the point for the Ohio State and Minnesota women’s basketball teams where the kick to the finish is all that matters.

In Colorado, Terry Frei notices, CU Buffs shining this season in women’s basketball too

The upswing in men’s college basketball fortunes within the state has captured the attention of Coloradans, and generated party atmospheres among the students in the stands in Boulder and Fort Collins.

Another hoops renaissance in the state has been lesser noticed.

In Michigan, an Unremarkable vibe part of extraordinary feat for MSU’s women’s basketball program

Asking a coach for contemplation during the throes of a season rarely produces any perspective analysis.

But what MSU women’s basketball has become is worthy of pause.

Before 2003-04, the Spartans had produced only four 20-win seasons since the program’s inception in the early 1970s.

A big game — on a warm weekend, against a rival or ranked foe — might draw 1,000 fans, if MSU was lucky.

Now, 5,000 fans and 20 wins is the baseline. Even for a cold night and trying season such as this, one that began with three season-ending injuries and two nine-game suspensions.

In St. Louis, OU coach receives Most Courageous Award

Oakland University women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis was named the winner of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association on Thursday. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, Francis has achieved a successful coaching career and now serves as an advocate for sexual abuse victims in addition to coaching.

In New Jersey, Megan Bowen’s impact on Princeton women’s basketball will be felt for years to come

After the 6-foot-3 Bowen committed to Princeton early in her senior year at Northampton, she kept track of the Tigers and watched some of their games in person. Bowen saw promise, though the Tigers’€™ 14-14 record and losses to Lehigh and Lafayette (after squandering a 16-point lead) may have indicated otherwise.

“€œThey had had a couple of tough seasons and the team that was there my senior year in high school had some really tough losses,”€ Bowen said. “€œI knew a little bit about the background of the other three (incoming freshmen) and I had seen Niveen’€™s (Rasheed) accomplishments, but I couldn’™t have pictured this. Coach (Courtney) Banghart has done a great job building the program and each year we’ve been getting better.”

In Arizona, WNBA president Laurel Richie talks Mercury, No. 1 pick

In Iowa, they do it old school: Posting Up with Granny Basketball

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A little photo viewing

from the amazing Audubon Magazine: 100 best photos.Image

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writes Lady Swish: 

Our plan was to visit Sara Jones on Friday afternoon.

We didn’t make it, sadly, because she didn’t make it. The Old Dominion volunteer assistant coach to Karen Barefoot died on Friday morning at her Norfolk home. She had been under hospice care due to a metastatic cancer that weakened her body but could never mess with her spirit.

LadySwish is lucky. We talked to Sara at length after the Lady Monarchs fell to Pitt on Jan. 2. She made us laugh, smile, cry a bit, but mostly reflect on her tenacious ability and attitude to beat odds most of us never imagine facing.  Our conversation was interrupted often — by children wanting to share a story, by adults wishing her well, by Lady Monarch fans giving hugs, kisses and gifts. She talked to  everyone easily. She winked and laughed and had a special affinity for little girls, who no doubt reminded her of her precious 5-year-old niece, Landon.

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From Awful Announcing: CBS SPORTS NETWORK ANNOUNCER TRIES TO HELP TERRIBLE GAME

 

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From Steve Wulf at espnw: 

This could be just any high school girls’ basketball game. The players stretch as rapper Macklemore plays over the loudspeakers. Students and family members settle into the wooden pullout bleachers for the 5:15 tipoff. Championship banners at both ends of the Hawks’ Nest remind everyone of the school’s proud athletic heritage, although the coach of the 2012 Connecticut Class LL champions is still worried. “We haven’t been practicing well,” said Jeremy O’Connell. “They’re good. This might get ugly.”

The only hint that this Jan. 22 game is unique comes when the Panthers from Pomperaug High in nearby Southbury go over to the Nighthawks to present them with white warm-up shirts similar to the ones they’re wearing. On the front, both sets of shirts have a now-familiar town seal attached to a blue-trimmed black ribbon. The backs are different, though. The Panthers’ shirts read: YOU’RE NOT ALONE. The Nighthawks’ read: NEWTOWN STRONG.

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(or the heavy favorite).

Just ask Louisville, which got a taste of why USF gave Notre Dame fits: down the Cardinals, 73-62.

Just ask Oklahoma State, which got stunned by previously Big 12 winless TCU, 64-63.

Just ask Purdue, which saw Indiana made excellent use of a time out with 12 seconds to go and get the winning basket as time expired. Hoosiers 62, Boilermakers 61.

Just ask Army, which may have been reveling in their win over Navy a bit. They got upended by Colgate’s (2-9, Patriot) strong second half, 60- 56. Navy returns to first place in the conference.

Just ask Fresno State, who couldn’t control the Wolf Pack (2-9, MW) in the second half, nor find the basket, and as a consequence lost 60-54.

Teams that didn’t have any issues: Penn State (12-1, Big 10),  Toledo Rockets (11-1, MAC), Hampton (12-0 MEAC), Charlotte (10-1, A10), Davidson (14-2 Southern, though it took overtime and they face the Mocs on the 25th), Quinnipiac (14-0 NEC and getting some press), St. Joe’s (10-1, A10), Central Michigan (10-2 MAC) and San Diego State, 11-1, MWC).

It’s not been the “season to build on” Magarity may have hoped for, but that didn’t prevent New Hampshire from knocking off Hartford.

Behind Smith’s 24/9, St. John’s is still making a run at the NCAA tournament.

Finally: Ohio got its first MAC win.

Ouch: Pittsburgh is still winless in the Big East.

Surprise win for Texas — they handle Kansas in a game Debbie would have liked, 93-83.

Some team news:

Their recent weekend of success may have something to do with this: Second-year spark ignites Penn women’s basketball – Resurgent Quakers have received significant efforts from a quintet of sophomore stars

Health news: CU Buffs’ Lexy Kresl remains day-to-day

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken about the impact of walk-ons: Ex-Memorial star Draper eager to aid Fresno State

From Bill Rabinowitz at the Columbus Dispatch: Coach, player develop bond at school for deaf

Coaching a college basketball team that loses 15 straight games can be discouraging.

The same applies for a senior whose playing time evaporates as a result.

That’s why Saturday’s season finale for the Gallaudet University women’s basketball team was so special for central Ohio natives Amy Bachtel and Stephanie Stevens.

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From Mechelle, Charlie and Graham and Michelle: How does Gray’s injury affect Duke? (which includes some pondering “Outside of the nation’s top-four ranked teams, who has the best chance to get to the Final Four?”)

M&M&M are Picking Award Winners

Charlie has some bracketology: Boy, are Notre Dame and UConn going to be sick of each other.

From Curt: All about ‘next game’ for Diggins

Skylar Diggins pulled up a stool and sat down after Sunday’s 87-49 rout of Marquette, white towel wrapped around her neck.

Diggins had just become the first Notre Dame women’s basketball player to have 2,000 points, 500 assists and 500 rebounds in her career.

“I had no idea,” Diggins said when asked about the achievement. “I guess it looks good, when I leave here, when I’m old and gray. It’s just all about the next game. I’m trying to do what I have to do for our team to win.”

From the Husker Blog: ‘The Rex Burkhead of Women’s Basketball’

Before we begin, please understand today’s N-Sider is a history lesson, a geography challenge and a supreme compliment all rolled into one. This blog ties two well respected Husker walk-ons – offensive lineman Brodrick Nickens and basketball guard Mike Peltz with Jordan Hooper, one of the hottest Division I women’s basketball players in the country.

Sheryl Swoopes talks career, life after the WNBA, LGBT thoughts

From Dave D’Alessandro at the Star-Ledger: Former Bad Boy Bill Laimbeer does plenty of good for WNBA

We were sitting upstairs in a coffee shop two blocks east of the Garden, where nobody gave any notice to the man who might be the most influential coach and GM in the history of this 16-year-old women’s league. His first lap around the WNBA was in Detroit, where he took over a last-place team in 2002 and turned the Shock into a champion in eight months. Two more titles followed, before he left the league in 2009.

Now he’s back with the Liberty, who will start their final season in Newark in May because of renovations at MSG. If you follow the league at all, you know it needs him badly. First, this market needs a big personality to stimulate interest in a league whose attendance has cratered. Second, the Liberty have been consistently mediocre since Richie Adubato left nearly a decade ago, and need Laimbeer’s extraordinary eye for talent.

As a follow-up, Nate asks, “Who are the top mid-major prospects in the 2013 WNBA Draft? “

Obviously the top mid-major prospect in the 2013 WNBA draft is Delaware Blue Hens forward Elena Delle Donne.

But what about the rest of the players among the ranks of the mid-majors? Who else might have a shot at contributing to a WNBA team?

As usual, there are quite a few mid-major players putting up gaudy numbers as distributors, rebounders and scorers that might draw the attention of WNBA GM’s. Yet as discussed last week, mid-major programs haven’t yielded very many WNBA contributors over the past few years – it’s not impossible, but the threshold for being considered a productive WNBA prospect has proven to be extremely high. Almost to the point of having an unblemished college record for most mid-major prospects.

It’s about friggin’ time: From ESPN: Nine for IX: About Women. By Women. For Us All.

AIRING JULY 2-AUG. 27 ON ESPN

Pat Summitt’s life as it has never been told before. Venus Williams lobbying for pay equality. Female athletes balancing the double standard of being the best on the field and the sexiest off of it. These are just a few stories from ESPN Films and espnW’s documentary series, Nine for IX.

MORE ON NINE FOR IX

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Saw the mom, birded through a (mini) blizzard, got to see my first King Eider, had my email hacked (so sorry, everyone! fingers crossed you’ve learned not to open goofy stuff like that), and oh, there was some basketball played.

In no apparent order:

Yada-yada-yada, Princeton wins and wins.

Lookee! Penn had a nice win over Harvard, 77-72, and followed it up with a win over Dartmouth.

Neither Arizona nor Arizona State are having much fun this season.

Cal’s having fun. So is Stanford. Too bad the PAC 12 regular season doesn’t end with a match up between these two.

I warned Navy that Army was stalking them, but did they listen? Noooooo.

As it should be, the Michigan/Michigan State rematch was much closer and decided by one point.

Rolling: Marist, Chattanooga, Quinnipiac, Boston U, Green Bay, Toledo, FGCU, Gonzaga, Seattle U, Albany, Charlotte (they’ve beaten Stetson, Davidson (Aleksandravicius  – wheee!), FGCU.. and don’t face Dayton in the regular season?), St. Joe’s (though it wasn’t easy), Delaware, San Diego State, Tennessee, Hampton, Texas Southern (they play Southern Feb 28th), Dayton (by the hair of their chinny chin chin), Baylor.

Baylor wears down turnover-prone UConn, UConn women’s basketball falls short against No. 1 Baylor 76-70, and from Mechelle: Griner gets best of Dolson, UConn

It wasn’t quite the mano-a-mano battle in a tight-spotlight focus that perhaps it could have been. Still, Baylor center Brittney Griner and her UConn counterpart, Stefanie Dolson, were quite an intriguing show Monday.

The No. 1-ranked team and defending NCAA champion solidified its standing as Baylor won 76-70 in the game that women’s basketball fans have been looking forward to all season. For the most part, it lived up to expectations.

Not so fast! Creighton took down Wichita State, NKU took down Stetson, Arkansas Little Rock took down Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State took down Utah State in a Debbie Antonelli special: 106-94.

Hello. That’s Hawai’i winning again. It took overtime, but they beat Pacific, 74-71, to claim a share of top place in the Big West.

Hello, again: St. Francis (NY): winning.

I’m going to add #19 Florida State to the “which one is gonna show up” group of Iowa and Iowa State (what with #24 ISU losing to WVa and Iowa defeating #18 Purdue.). They defeat #14 North Carolina, 80-73.

In a battle of ugly, Clemson over Va. Tech.

It has to be asked: Is head coach Paul Westhead to blame for Oregon women’s basketball’s losing season?

Congrats to Angel, who set the Kansas assist mark during their win over #22 Oklahoma. From Mechelle:

We see these scripts so often, especially in women’s basketball, where the ACL regularly plays the role of dastardly villain. Senior guard Angel Goodrich has been through two ACL injuries at Kansas: one that pre-empted what would have been her freshman season, and another that cut short her actual rookie year.

Yet here she was Sunday playing in her 100th game for the Jayhawks, finishing with 10 assists — the exact number she needed to break the KU women’s career record. Goodrich now has 687 assists, surpassing Lisa Braddy, who was at KU from 1986-90.

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Better than an a ACL

but Gray is still done for the season.

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Duke’s Gray is hurt… and it sounds like she’s out for the rest of the regular season.

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(thank you Graham!), so it’s cool when Nate pays attention: Making sense of mid-major WNBA draft prospects’ statistics: How can we project success?

So, our list of consensus 2013 WNBA Draft prospects should’ve been posted months ago, probably in October some time.

But, among other things in life, I got obsessed with sidetracked by the challenge of figuring out what to do with mid-major statistics, due in part to two players that our statistical indicators might have overvalued last season, based on the outcomes: VCU’s Courtney Hurt and Wisconsin – Green Bay’s Julie Wojta.

Hurt’s challenge to make the WNBA as an undersized forward have already been documented here, but to summarize offensive rebounding percentage transfers from NCAA D-I basketball better than any statistic and she was so dominant at VCU that it seemed as though she could find a way to contribute to a WNBA roster. Alas, she was drafted by the Indiana Fever in the third round of the 2012 draft and failed to last past the first week of training camp.

Oofta: Looks like coaches now how to prepare for Sam Houston the second time around. Oral Roberts took advantage and stomped all over them, 90-40.

I take this as a good sign: mom and I are going birding this weekend and, while we won’t see any penguins, we might see some puffins. The sign? Youngstown State wins again, and is now 7-3 in the Horizon. And yes, I know Green Bay is still undefeated.

Yes, I will say IUPUI has a ways to go, but they’re on the road to recovery. Got themselves a huge win over the Jackrabbits, 70-67. They’d beaten South Dakota State for the first time in program history back in January.

Maybe a hot seat is inspiring? Kellie’s Wolfpack took down #19 Florida State, 76-69.

Yah, they were down, but Liberty has re-established itself as the team to beat in the Big South.

This time the “I” stood for “consistent,” and #24 Iowa State swept the season series with #22 Oklahoma, 72-68.

It ain’t easy being a Cavalier. Virginia got beaten by Boston College courtesy of 21pts (7 3-pts) from senior Kerri Shields.

Hawkins took her frustration out on hapless Clemson.

Penn State needed every on of Maggie’s 21pts. #8 Lions defeat Iowa, 81-69.

Pretty huge win for Marshall, as the Thundering herd got their C-USA victory over perennial powerhouse UTEP.

It’s kind of game that gives coaches and fans heartburn: Dawn’s team had a nice sized lead on Kentucky, then Mitchell’s team clawed back and escaped with the win.

Wichita State recovered nicely from the shock they got from Bradley. They move to 11-1 in the MVC.

Northern Colorado kept pace with Montana in the Big Sky. It’s been a tough three weeks for Tricia’s Montana State.

Texas A&M says, “We’re enjoying the SEC, thankyouverymuch.” With their win over Florida, they move in to a tie for first place. Their co-leader? The Vols, who they meet in the last game of the regular season. Which is why you may want to read  Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Wide Open SEC Race Thunders Into The Home Stretch

Gonzaga is showing the WCC who’s the boss and get a little payback.

Seattle U’s making noise, and Jayda’s listening.

Utah State kept atop the WAC with what looked to have been a fun game: 2OTs, 31 pts from a Denver freshman, and a last second three  by Deven Christensen (now the Aggies’ all-time leading scorer) gives them the 92-89 win.

Griner is tall. Donovan is tall. Let’s talk about that, says John Altavilla:

Do you ever put yourself in Brittney Griner’s place, remember what it was like when you were her age?

“When I look at Brittney, I often think of what my life was like when I was her age. What I think is how comfortable she looks in her skin. That was not me when I was her age, certainly not when I was 18 or 19. I finally embraced my height when I was 20, but off the court I was a very shy and introverted kid. Brittney is not like that. She appears to be so very outgoing. You can see the shyness is some respects, but in general she appears very comfortable with who she is. I admire that about her.”

Oh, apparently the gentlemen are playing an exhibition game: A look at the four WNBA stars participating in the NBA’s All-Star Weekend (considering there will be no defense, methinks Maya will kick butt).

Speaking of the WNBA, and interesting study: ACL surgery may not shorten WNBA career

Still doesn’t mean we don’t need some serious, women-specific research on the injury. Consider Bob Corwin’s piece at Full Court: Carolyn Davis battles back from a devastating injury

Sad news from Lady Swish: ODU volunteer assistant Sara Jones passes away

Old Dominion volunteer assistant coach Sara Jones lost her heroic battle with cancer Friday at 7:57 a.m. She was 40 years old.

Jones had overcome multiple bouts with the disease and become an inspirational presence at practices and games the past two seasons for Lady Monarchs coach and long-time friend Karen Barefoot, who described Jones as “her hero.”

Old Dominion will release a full story with quotes from Barefoot later today. LadySwish will share some thoughts as well. On Sunday at 2 p.m., the Lady Monarchs will host Northeastern in the 11th annual Hoops for the Cure game to raise cancer awareness.

I mutter a lot about homophobia, bias and sexism on the blog. Kate Fagan adds to the conversation: Recent events expose sexism in sports culture

I’ve been thinking about that interaction a lot lately, my memory triggered by a slew of recent events that expose, to varying degrees, the unrelenting sexism that exists in our sports culture. Sometimes it’s blatant; more often than not it’s subtle, a never-ending reassertion of power intended to keep men in control and women on guard.

Consider the words of Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who was ejected from a game on Feb. 5 for telling a referee to stop “acting like a f—ing female.”

It’s hard to say what’s more disconcerting: the casual contempt in Cousins’ words or the fact that most writers chose to ignore it, focusing instead on his use of the F-bomb (that is, his cursing) and his reputation for questionable on-court behavior, which has led to 11 technical fouls this season.

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Sylvia hits it and CViv nears it (though DePaul said, “not on our watch.“). From Mechelle: Stringer on verge of 900th win – Rutgers’ women’s coach will become fourth to reach accomplishment

Rutgers got victory No. 899 for Stringer on Saturday against Cincinnati, moving the team to 14-8 overall and 5-4 in the Big East. It has been a frustrating season at times for the Scarlet Knights, who are trying to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

Stringer, in her 42nd year as a head coach, has been through countless highs and lows during successful runs at Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers. It’s a career marked by professional triumphs and personal tragedies, plus a few controversies — some of which, such as the 2007 Don Imus mess, were completely out of Stringer’s control.

Others, though, she has contributed to herself. Such as when her frustration boiled over Friday as she was questioned by Newark Star-Ledger columnist Dave D’Alessandro about her team’s difficulties, which follow three consecutive early-round exits from the NCAA tournament.

From Doug Feinberg: 900-win club will welcome a few new members soon

Sylvia Hatchell just got there. It’s only a matter of time before her friend C. Vivian Stringer joins her. But there won’t be many more coaches entering the 900-win club. Women’s basketball is getting more competitive, and the pressure of the job is growing, too.

There was a time when women’s basketball was an afterthought to athletic departments. Head coaches were hired right out of college and success on the court wasn’t necessarily as important as Title IX compliance. Now that’s not the case, and more money is at stake.

(Apologies for the crowded layout, but I seem to be in formatting hell at the moment)
Just sayin’: St. Francis (NY) wins again.
BTW, how did I miss that St. Francis (PA)’s coach had moved to Providence?  ‘Splains stuff.
Nice to see Fordham get a bounce back win.
St. John’s continues to fight to make their case for being inside the tourney bracket bubble.
Ooofta: American goes down hard to unheralded Lehigh. Looks like Navy is sailing away with the Patriot League, though Army is nipping on their heels.
A snow postponement only put off the inevitable: Quinnipiac moves to 11-0 in the NEC.
Speaking of inevitable: Princeton learns from Ivy blowouts
A sweet battle in the A-10 was settled in OT: St. Josephs 69, Duquesne 68. But folks better pay attention to Charlotte who, under second year coach Cara Consuerga, have recovered nicely from Aston departing for North Texas/Texas. They’re now 8-1 in the conference.
They had to come back from a 13-pt deficit, but Western Kentucky is still moving forward. They sit at 10-4 in the Sunbelt.
We’ve seen the pink, so we know what time it is: Play 4Kay: Feb. 17-18

Play 4Kay, formerly known as the WBCA Pink Zone and February Frenzy, will showcase an event-high 24 teams across ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, including eight regionalized games in high definition within two telecast windows Sunday and a Big Monday doubleheader. In all, 12 ranked teams and 18 State Farm Wade Trophy hopefuls, including Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, will take part in Play 4Kay games. Some of the featured contests include No. 4 Stanford at No. 15 UCLA, No. 9 Kentucky at No. 11 Texas A&M and top-ranked Baylor at No. 3 Connecticut.

Throughout the games, ESPN also will encourage fans to contribute to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund at Play4Kay.org.

We don’t want to get all “Steel Magnolias” on you here, but you can probably imagine this. Your best friend has recently found out she has cancer. You’re both reeling. But you’re also the fiercely optimistic “let’s figure out what to do next” kind of people.

Oklahoma women’s basketball assistant coach Jan Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April. After an initial meeting with a surgeon, her boss, best pal and former college teammate — Sooners coach Sherri Coale — came by her house.

“Our conversation for about two-and-a-half hours would shift between going through these pamphlets with diagrams of what’s going on in your body and trying to understand all the medical lingo,” Coale said, “while there was some Tom Hanks movie on in the background.

“And a couple of times, we’d look up and say, ‘That was a great line,’ and she rewound it, and we’d watch a scene and laugh until we were crying. Then go back to this medical jargon. For us, it was just our friendship as usual … with this curveball thrown in.”

Amused that the dateline says “Notre Dame, Indiana”: Former Women’s Basketball Players Reunite At Pink Zone Game

As the clock ticked down on an eventual 64-42 victory for the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team over Cincinnati, a very special group of onlookers got to soak in the growth of the program that they, themselves, had helped get its roots. All told, 27 former club players, coaches and members of the first women’s basketball varsity basketball team of 1977 made the return trek to campus to take in the festivities.

For a group that pioneered the game at the University, it was quite a sight to behold being back at the Joyce Center, but one that they knew could be expected once the growth of the sport was fully realized.

“You have to start somewhere,” said former Irish women’s club player Judy King. “When I was in grade school we were told that playing basketball wasn’t lady like. When I started playing in high school we played 6-man basketball. I was the first player at my high school to “rove” a complete game. No one had ever considered that possibility. It took Notre Dame a while to figure out what committing to co-education involved. I figured once they committed to scholarships and top notch coaching the program would excel. The fan base the team enjoys now is topping on the cake!”

About that Big Monday game — here’s a preview: Baylor vs. UConn. And another.

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From the NY Times: Faried Shows Support for L.G.B.T. Community

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried became the first N.B.A. player to join Athlete Ally, an organization aimed at combating homophobia in sports.

Faried, 23, was raised by a lesbian couple in Newark.

“I have two moms and I love them both very much,” Faried, who played collegiately at Morehead State in Kentucky, said in a statement from Athlete Ally. “I respect, honor and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the L.G.B.T. community – whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans – to feel welcome in the N.B.A. and in all of our communities.”

This follows on another column celebrating allies: Super Bowl Writer On Saying Thanks To Brendon Ayanbadejo

Just then, before Suggs spoke to us, I looked off to the right to see a big bruiser of a man pulling on his haberdashery at a locker beneath the numeral “51.” Six years of living overseas had blurred my player-recognition skills and jumbled my recall of jersey numbers, so I had brought along a lineup card. I fished it from my pocket and found the “51.”

Oh.

Oh . . .

There stood Brendon Ayanbadejo, age 36, born in Chicago to an American mother and Nigerian father, educated at UCLA, three Pro Bowls as a noble special-teams sort, a man whom I had never met but for whom I held a vast gratitude. In a giddy locker room in which the great Ed Reed waltzed around singing Eddie Money’s “Two Tickets To Paradise,” I momentarily had misplaced Ayanbadejo’s face. In fact, in the urgency of the game, I had not thought of him all weekend. Yet here was a man I had never expected to exist in all my life, a heterosexual football powerhouse who had spoken up voluntarily and beautifully and repeatedly for g-g-g-gay people.

When will it happen in the women’s basketball coaching ranks? WBCA, I’m looking at your leadership and asking you to speak up. From Pat Griffin: Straight Women Allies in Sport: Rare Sightings of An Important Species

The problem is that straight women allies in sport are invisible and they offer their support privately.  By confining their support to private conversations within their teams or one on one to coaching colleagues, straight women athlete and coach allies fall victim to the same old homophobia and fear of association with lesbians that has plagued women’s sports since Senda Berenson organized the first women’s basketball game at Smith College in 1893.   Don’t get me wrong, private allies are better than no allies.  But we need public allies who speak out consistently and boldly if we are to change the culture of fear and secrecy that persists in women’s sport.  To most effective challenge heterosexism and homophobia in women’s sports, straight women allies must be willing to speak out publicly.

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didn’t get T’d up earlier in the game for her on-the-court wanderings? (I thought that had been a point of emphasis.) When she finally did earn a double T, WaPo thinks the damage was significant: Maryland women’s basketball falls to Duke, 71-56, after Coach Brenda Frese is ejected.

Mechelle seems to echo their headline:

Then Monday, Gray took command against Maryland, not just offensively but as the spark plug of a defensive effort that made things really hard for the Terps. Alyssa Thomas and Tianna Hawkins were a combined 7-of-30 from the field, totaling 20 points. The Terps had 24 turnovers.

Yet despite Maryland’s struggles, the Terps were down just 57-50 with 4 minutes, 3 seconds left. It was still a winnable game for Maryland, which was pretty remarkable all things considered.

But then Thomas missed a shot, Gray got a layup, and Frese lost her cool. Actually she seemed on the verge of that all night. Two technicals during a TV timeout sent Frese to the locker room and Gray to the foul line.

It wasn’t a particularly elegant game — unless you were Chelsea Gray — as the Blue Devil press harassed the Terps into a ton of TOs and some poor decision-making on offense.

“Just a great, physical game – an excellent game to help prepare us for the NCAA tournament and the way those games go,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said.

“So that was important to us – to be physical and play against a physical team.”

The Notre Dame-Louisville was a little more elegant — if you were a member of the Fightin’ Irish. Says Al Lesar: Notre Dame women’s basketball: Message: Get out of ND’s way

Every defensive stop. Every drive and bucket. Every spot-up 3-pointer.

With every Notre Dame possession, the gap between women’s college basketball’s elite and the rest of the pretenders got wider.

The “haves” (Baylor, Notre Dame and Connecticut) really have it. The “have-nots” don’t have a clue.

Louisville came into Purcell Pavilion Monday night ranked No. 10 in the country. The Cardinals left as another overwhelmed victim of the second-ranked Irish after Notre Dame administered a 93-64 spanking.

CARDINAL COUPLE columnist Sandy Walker provides today’s report on the game in South Bend last night.

In other games of interest, yes, Texas Southern kept on winning, but was a squeaker against (5-20) Grambling State, 59-58. Southern couldn’t keep up, getting SWAC’d by Mississippi Valley State, 61-57.

In the Southern, Chattanooga put some distance between themselves and Davidson as they earned a win over UNC Greensboro and the Wildcats got surprised by the College of Charleston, 74-71.

Hampton continued to roll in the MEAC.

Yes, Florida Gulf has the right to say the A-Sun is “Mine, ALL MINE,” but Stetson is determined to make keep it interesting.

An important Big 10 win for Nebraska, on the road against Iowa.  Perhaps it’s because the Unofficial mascot, Basketball Head, brings support to NU women’s basketball. (Is it just me, or do the I’s in Iowa/Iowa St. stand for inconsistent?)

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From Doug Feinberg at the AP: Fordham women turning heads in Atlantic 10

It was only a few years ago when Fordham was the laughing stock of women’s basketball, setting a record for futility.

Now second-year coach Stephanie Gaitley has the Rams near the top of the Atlantic 10.

“I thought about that the other day and I don’t want us to enjoy it too early,” Gaitley said after a 68-57 loss to No. 18 Dayton on Sunday night. “There’s so much left to do. The second we let it seep in is the second we’ll lose the next challenge.”

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From Charlie.

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Irvine shooting victims shared a love of basketball

Four days before her death, Monica Quan had news for her team. Quan, an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton, held up her hand to show off an engagement ring. The players screamed and huddled around her for a closer look, head coach Marcia Foster recalled.

Quan was as happy as her basketball players, and later said she wished she had recorded the moment. She loved to have pictures taken with her friends. She wanted a big wedding, and her fiance, Keith Lawrence, a public safety officer at USC, was trying to work extra hours to make it possible.

Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team remembers tough, warm ‘Coach Mo’

After the game, Titan head coach Marcia Foster and several teammates spoke to reporters  about Quan’s legacy. Foster said even though Cal State Fullerton dropped a 64-45 decision, the Titans played their hearts out for the woman they affectionately called “Coach Mo.”   

“It’s hard for us to get out on the floor,” Foster said. “A part of our family was missing. We can’t begin to tell you what it feels like to function without a part of your family here.” 

Cal-State Fullerton honors slain basketball coach

As much as the Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team tried to return to normalcy Saturday, its first game since the killings of assistant coach Monica Quan and her fiancée, Keith Lawrence, was almost too much to take.

“It was hard, it was really hard,” junior guard Alex Thomas said after a 64-45 loss to UC Riverside. “Harder than I expected it to be. There’s just a lot of emotions that come into it — not being able to look down the line and see her standing up there with us. I know at least for me, it was really difficult … it was hard not having her with us.”

Tribute held for slain Cal State Fullerton womens basketball coach

Monica Quan remembered by her basketball family

Foster knew Quan while she was still a college basketball player and recommended her as an assistant coach to her friend Roy Dow, head coach for Cal Lutheran’s Women’s basketball team. Quan coached there before coming to Cal State Fullerton last year.

She spoke highly of Quan’s work ethic as an assistant coach.

“When I had an opening, I wanted her because I knew she was a professional,” Foster said. “I didn’t realize everything I was getting in Monica Quan. I didn’t realize the depth of the person I was getting from someone so young.

Cal State Fullerton summons strength to move on days after coach’s killing

She was a four-year varsity standout at Walnut High, where friends recall her devoting almost all her waking hours to perfecting her shot. They also recall her father, Randal, and mother, Sylvia, not only being at every game, but at so many of their daughter’s practices. Randal, the first Chinese-American captain in LAPD history, encouraged Monica to defy expectations, to crush limitations.

“I’ve had one goal: to be on a WNBA team,” she wrote in her 2002 high school yearbook. “I’ve always dreamed of playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.”

She set school records for most three-pointers during a season (59) and a game (seven), earned a slew of all-area honors and a basketball scholarship to Cal State Long Beach before transferring to play at Concordia University in Irvine in 2005. There she met Lawrence, a neon-wearing guard for the men’s team who for a while didn’t cut his hair so he’d look taller than his listed 5-10. He dreamed of a fulltime career in law enforcement.

Fullerton women return following tragic week

The Titans are still reeling. This loss on the court was their fourth in a row, and their loss off the court coupled with the growing national attention to the tragedy has felt somewhat overwhelming to a team that just wants to heal.

The healing really hasn’t started yet, and the Titans know it will take time.

“It’s like somebody told me earlier today, each day will be a better crappy day than the one before,” Foster said. “I don’t think anyone feels like they’re healing right now. We’re just showing up.”

Titans’ grief works overtime

“She was very focused on the little details,” said Alex Thomas, the guard from Mater Dei. “We didn’t take care of the little things the way that we should have. So she wouldn’t have been very happy about that.

“But I think she would have been proud of the effort, the way we came out and tried to stay focused.”

In reality no one knew how difficult it was for the Titans to gather their bodies while their emotions were on the floor, in shards.

Moorpark College retires Keith Lawrence’s jersey before game: Jersey is first retired by program

Keith Lawrence’s words were scrawled out on the white board before the game:

“Don’t take the game for granted. You never know which one will be your last.”

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*fingers crossed it’s not “Blowout Monday Time”

From Zach Ward at Swish Appeal: ACC’s best square off in much-anticipated showdown

The wait is nearly over.

No. 7 Maryland (19-3, 10-1 ACC) and No. 5/4 Duke (21-1, 11-0 ACC), the top two teams in ACC women’s basketball both by ranking and conference record, will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in Durham.

The past two seasons Maryland and Duke have split, with both teams winning on their home floors.

The teams figure to do the same again this year unless one of them can step up on the road. The Terps are a perfect 11-0 at home, but are definitely more vulnerable when they travel away from the friendly confines of College Park.

Did you miss Rebecca’s preview? Terps’ season still full of potential – Game will help decide ACC — and which center is the best in the league

Duke, Maryland’s opponent, was well-acquainted with injuries earlier in the season but is healthy now. If you wrote off Duke after the beatdown at UConn a month ago, you need to give the Blue Devils another look. They are a much-improved team since that 79-49 Jan. 21 loss. 

What has changed? The Blue Devils have inserted Chloe Wells into the starting lineup and she has been solid on offense (shooting 56 percent on 3-pointers) and a spark on defense. The move also allowed coach Joanne P. McCallie the luxury of bringing the country’s third-most-accurate 3-point shooter (46-for-96, 48 percent shooting), Tricia Liston, off the bench. The Blue Devils are still working to become a team that plays well for an entire 40 minutes instead of just 20, but they are getting closer each game.

Here’s what I’ll be looking for in this insideoutside and upside down Big Monday matchup:

Rob at DWHoops has his preview:

The Skinny:

This is the ACC game of the year, part 2. The ramifications are simple: if Duke wins, they will have a death grip on the league standings. If Maryland wins, they will tie Duke at the top of the ACC and get the rematch at home, giving them a tremendous lift down the stretch. The Terps are a makeshift team that are riding superstar forward Alyssa Thomas hard; she’s the reason why this six-woman team keeps winning. She can play so many positions on the floor that if a player gets in foul trouble, the Terps can simply sub in frosh Malina Howard (7 ppg, 4 rpg) and shift Thomas to the frontcourt or backcourt. Thomas’ line is as follows: 17 ppg, 10 rpg, 5 apg, 2 spg. She’s second in the ACC in scoring and leads it in rebounding.

Sam Wiseman at the Herald Sun says, Duke women look to rebound vs. Term

Gene Wang over at the WaPo chimes in: Chloe Pavlech boosts Maryland women’s basketball with clutch play

“I think they call that a show pony,” Pavlech said somewhat mischievously when asked about her knack for playing her best against the highest-caliber opponents.

That remark got Thomas laughing so much that the normally placid junior all-American forward had to bow her head in order to regain her composure and finish answering questions from reporters. Soon enough Frese and Hawkins also were smiling broadly, much like the rest of the team often does when Pavlech provides witty observations that keep the atmosphere light.

Happy to know the DC Basketcases are back in town, having taken what looks to have been a glorious trip to see penguins, petrels and albatrosses. (Can’t believe they didn’t take me!)

The Louisville/ND game isn’t getting a ton of prep press (Beth and Debbie did podcast on it.) I’m betting beat writers are terrified they’ll try and copy the men’s 5OT game….

At the SBT, Curt points out that Braker’s offense is a bonus point

The Journal-Courier pieces together this: Louisville women’s basketball will meet No. 2 Notre Dame tonight

The University of Louisville women’s basketball team, coming off a 78-45 whipping of Pittsburgh on Saturday, will be expecting a much bigger challenge tonight.

In Graham’s week in review, he notes that Michigan and LSU got much-needed wins

We might be in the midst of the shortest month, but February has a knack for setting up long summers.

There is always another game and another opportunity at this point in the season, which is one reason why it can feel a little like these weeks are the equivalent of running in wet sand. The real drama of the postseason is visible on the horizon, but still far enough away that staring at it can mean running smack into what’s more immediately proximal. Immediacy is still hard to find.

On the other hand, if there is no such thing as a must-win game in early February, there are wins that make it considerably more likely a team will have a chance to play some real must-win games a month or so from now.

And for Michigan and LSU, Sunday was the biggest day of the season.

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Not an easy year for Semeka Randall’s Ohio team: they’re 0-10 in the MAC.

On the flip side, it’s the Great Danes of Albany at 11-0 in the Am. East. BU is trying to keep pace (10-1). Of course, it’s more about pride than the conference tournament, since they won’t be invited. Why? They’re moving to the Patriot League next year.

Speaking of the Patriot League: The Leopards made it a game, but Navy prevailed in OT, 60-42. Coaching at any Service Academy ain’t easy, but coach Pemper has done a nice job since arriving in -08.

FGCU (12-0 A-Sun) is still soaring. This time, their victim was USC Upstate, 72-49. Interesting commentary by David Moulton: Time for the A-Sun to set in FGCU athletics history

Six years ago, the Atlantic Sun conference was FGCU‘s savior. They were there when no one wanted the university.

FGCU has done well by the A-Sun and vice versa.

For example, just this year FGCU had the best volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams in the conference with both soccer squads winning titles and earning NCAA berths. Both basketball teams are in first place with the women having not lost an A-Sun game in two years. The softball team is the defending conference champion and both the softball and baseball teams are pre-season favorites this year. Throw on top of that a Top 50 swimming/diving program and Florida Gulf Coast University is arguably the best athletic program in the A-Sun.

Which would be great if the Atlantic Sun conference wasn’t dying.

The Fightin’ Camels of Campbell (8-5) are trying to keep the Big South close by taking down conference top dog Winthrop (9-3), 84-69.

Cynthia’s Texas Southern is still winning. They now stand at 10-1 in the SWAC. Clearly, the runaway COY in the conference. They’ll face Southern, their best competition, on the 28th. The Jaguars (10-2) got surprised by Arkansas Little Rock (4-8), 59-50.

It was all Chambers for K-State (34,12,4), but she couldn’t overcome Iowa State’ Poppens and Christofferson.

That’s why sometimes a dunk is not just two points: it gets your teammates up and motivated: Baylor wipes the floor with Texas, 75-48. (Speaking of Baylor: Baylor women’s basketball transfer Destiny Brown enrolls at University of Delaware.)

Fresno State had a chance to claim the top spot in the Mountain West, but San Diego State  said, “No thank you, that spot is still ours.

Davidson (11-1) kept pace with Chattanooga (13-1) in the Southern by taking down Appalachian State, 56-49. The Mocs dismissed Elon, 63-40.

Again, it’s a long journey to recovery, but IUPUI is now 7-3 in the Summit. Of course, they have to face the Jackrabbits next, who may be looking for revenge. SDSU thumped Oakland, 83-48.

And again, I’m just sayin’: St. Francis (NY) wins again.

I’m sorry “I saw you,” Sam Houston: the Bearkats go down to their Southland conference challengers, 52-48.

It took OT, and 26pts from Smith, but St. John’s is still clinging to the NCAA tourney bubble — which is nice, since they’re a host.

Northern Colorado is on a roll, with back-to-back wins over the Montanas. They’re now a half game out of the top spot in the Big Sky.

Green Bay continues to be the class of the Horizon, dispatching Milwaukee, 64-49.

Couple of huge upsets: Bradley, (10-12, 4-7 in the MV) shocked Wichita State (16-7, 10-1). In fact, it wasn’t even close: the Braves by 20. #2 and #3 in the conference met, and the Redbirds of Illinois State took it to Creighton in the second half, capturing the 66-60 win.

Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2 Sun Belt) may have overlooked Troy (5-18, 2-12). IN Murfreesboro, the Trojans took the Blue Raiders to OT, and didn’t fade. MTSU goes down, 74-70.

It took 3OTs, but Arkansas finally got the win over Alabama, 91-80.

In the battle of the Tu’s, Tulsa used a strong second half to send the Green Wave to a loss.

The two top dogs met in the MAC (West & East), and Toledo topped Ball State, 68-64, but only after blowing a 20pt lead. The Cardinals will have a change for revenge on last day of conference play, March 6 @ Toledo.

Whyte did everything she could to keep Arizona in the game (26, 7, 8) but she couldn’t stop Cal from getting their 9th win in a row.

Charlotte gave St. Joe’s their first conference loss, and now there are four one-loss teams lurking behind Dayton. Actually, three, ’cause Dayton beat Fordham. But, unlike previous years, it wasn’t a cakewalk.

After the Lions roared away from Michigan State, the Big 10 is a bunch of teams looking up at Penn State – Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois.

Fittingly, Delle Donne breaks Dawn Evans’ CAA scoring record against JMU. I’m sure she’s happier that Delaware got the win, 71-64. Oh, and the Hens’ pre-game trick shot was pretty cool, too.

In a battle of two teams who may have coaches feeling the heat, NC State raced away from Clemson, 79-45.

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we find that CViv is cranky: Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer blasts her critics as she nears 900 career victories

Stringer, who has an 898-326 career mark over 41-plus seasons, vigorously defended her program this afternoon, sprinkling in several expletives. She said the only opinion she listens to is that of athletic director Tim Pernetti.

“I could (not) care less about any of those people,” Stringer said of her critics. “The only thing that matters to me is Tim Pernetti. He needs to be who he is supposed to be and step up and declare who you are, and that’s it. I don’t care about anybody else. ”

There’s also a little Cviv flashback from the Des Moines Register: Another View: 1993 tested the rule on ‘no crying in journalism’

For athletes and sports fans, the seasons of glory tend to stay in your mind forever. Championships clinched, big games won and the chance to breathe some rarified air are what anyone who loves sports wants to experience.

In Iowa, 1993 was a year with plenty of that rarified air, and I’ve been thinking about that year — specifically the 1992-93 basketball season — a lot lately. Yet in my mind, I don’t remember it as a season of glory. It was a season of grief.

Another coach who is feeling the heat: Utes blow out Oregon

Another coach who is feeling the heat: No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team routs Arizona 73-43

A coach that’s bringing the heat: No. 6 Cal women’s basketball takes down hapless Arizona State

With the way the Cal women’s basketball team has been playing, Arizona State would’ve needed more than a deal with the devil to win.

The Bears soundly defeated the Sun Devils, 66-53, in Haas Pavilion Friday night to cement their eighth consecutive win.

Coach G tweets: Lindsay Gottlieb ‏@CalCoachG Talia Caldwell is 1st Cal WBB player in Haas school of biz. She’s now 1st Haas student, male or female, to have 1,000pts. We are very proud.

From Greg Alan Edwards: UK Hoops, TV, and The Real World: A Mini Rant

As most of you know, we have been doing live blogs, in-game and post-game coverage of the UK Hoops Squad all season and back into last year. We have made a conscious effort to improve the coverage, do more insight work on the players, and to make Women’s Hoops a priority here at A Sea Of Blue.

On Tuesday, WKYM did a segment with Coach Mitchell about the fact that the UK women have been filling Memorial Coliseum in game after game as the team as climbed in national prominence. So what happens when the season hits it’s peak and the drive to the finish kicks in? We lose the TV coverage.

Speaking of TV, Mechelle previews: Terps’ season still full of potential – Game will help decide ACC — and which center is the best in the league

I was sitting courtside at the XL Center in Hartford in early December waiting for Maryland to take the floor for shootaround when something caught my eye. Looking like the Imperial Walker from the “Star Wars” movies, four very long crutches emerged from the locker room tunnel and clank-clanked their way to the court. Attached to the crutches was Maryland’s starting backcourt — Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy — both lost for the season with torn ACLs. Behind them was another be-crutched ACL casualty, 6-foot-7 Essence Townsend. And attached to all of those crutches, I thought, was Maryland’s chance at an ACC title and run to the Final Four.

Speaking of the surprising Terps, Graham offers up: Little gets between Hawkins, rebound – When discussing nation’s top seniors, Maryland forward must be in the mix

The job Tianna Hawkins hopes to land when she is done with basketball is considerably more consequential than one in which success and failure are separated by points on a scoreboard. If her career plan comes to pass, her future team will be that of a presidential protective detail with the United States Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency with which the University of Maryland criminology major interned two summers ago.

The skills that set her apart in one endeavor seem far removed from those she might need in the other, a smooth jump shot from the elbow or nose for the ball presumably not the first thing the Secret Service looks for on a résumé. 

Then again, nothing much gets between one of college basketball’s best offensive rebounders and her current inanimate protectee — not the thicket of bodies in the paint, not fatigue. Not anything.

Speaking of injuries: No. 11 Louisville thrives despite rash of injuries

Few teams can afford to lose one key player without damaging chemistry or competitiveness.

Louisville is down four and yet is two games better than this point last season minus two regulars. The No. 11 Cardinals (19-4, 7-2 Big East Conference) enter Saturday’s home game against Pittsburgh aiming to extend their five-game winning streak before traveling to No. 2 Notre Dame on Monday night.

Stuff on the W: Beth and Debbie discuss the latest WNBA news, get ready for a Big Monday doubleheader and talk to Connecticut Sun head coach Ann Donovan.

From Nate: What the Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn signings mean for the Seattle Storm

For years now, the Seattle Storm have tried to find someone to serve as an alternate distributor when Sue Bird is injured or needing to rest.

Yesterday’s signings of Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn are this season’s attempt to fill that role of distributor whenever Bird is off the floor.

From thewiz06: Washington Mystics Offseason: A roundtable with three fellow Mystics fans on what they would like to see for 2013

thewiz also looks at the Lib: How will Bill Laimbeer make his mark on the team?

M Robinson has an Interview with former USC guard Jacki Gemelos about pursuing her WNBA dream with the Minnesota Lynx

The .com has Five Games to Watch in 2013

The Messenger is back, and he’s Helping Americans Understand Overseas Leagues

Whenever I speak of our Indiana Fever players playing overseas — whether in China, Australia, Israel, Turkey, Russia or elsewhere in Europe — I frequently sense that the conversations lead to more questions than actual answers. Certainly the cultures and languages are often different; and certainly there are rules that are different and in many leagues, there are limitations on the number of foreigners or Americans that can play; and salaries, sponsors and attendance all vary greatly. Those discrepancies vary from league-to-league and from country-to-country.

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