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Paco de Lucia

And from one of my favorite albums ever:

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The biggest surprise: What happened in the Ivy?

I leave, and Harvard looks poised to take the crown…. I come back, and Courtney (with lots of help from red-hot Blake Dietrick) is working on a 7-game win streak and now has the Tigers on top. And the Quakers are lurking (after suffering a “what the heck!” loss to Dartmouth)!

Kudos to Penn head coach Mike McLaughlin, who’s in his fifth season at Division I. You may recall, McLaughlin came over from the very successful program at Holy Family. How good in he? From his bio:  “The fastest coach in the history of women’s college basketball to reach 400 victories.”

The Danes still rule the America East, but Magarity’s UNH team continues to improve. Albany will meet the Wildcats tomorrow.

Take your eye off the A-10 for a moment, and boom, someone else is in charge. This week, it’s Dayton. The tourney ought to be great, what with six teams clustered together hoping to regain the upper hand.

It’s Hatters v. Eagles in the Atlantic Sun.

Not quite a power shift in the Big South, but both Winthrop and High Point (14-4) are ahead of Liberty (13-5), even with the Flames win over the Eagles.

So, maybe Lady Swish was NOT kidding and this is James Madison’s best team. They’re running away with the CAA. Even better, you can Meet the woman who’s going to make Dawn Evans healthy again

Erika Evans laughs when asked the question.

Did you ever think you’d be donating a kidney to someone?

“It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list,” she says.

Evans’ recipient is another Evans — that would be James Madison’s Dawn Evans, her first cousin. Dawn, suffering from focal segmental glomerular sclerosis since December 2009, will receive the new kidney in Nashville in the next two to three weeks. Evans learned her kidney condition had deteriorated when she returned home to Clarksville, Tenn., over Christmas from Arras, France, where she had been playing basketball.

Key game coming up for the Wright State Raiders on Thursday. They’re in 1st place in the Horizon League and host the team that shares the same in-conference record, Green Bay.

Equally important game looming for MAAC-leading Iona on the 2nd, when they face Marist. But, they’ll have to get through Quinnipiac first. Obviously, the Gaels will lean heavily on Damika Martinez, their Nancy Lieberman Award finalist.

Gonna be a great finish/conference tournament in the Mid-American. Bowling Green and Central Michigan sit atop the East & West with similar in-confrence records (they split the regular season games.) The Chippewas have earned a share of  program’s first-ever regular season Mid-American Conference West Division title.

MTSU’s Raiders have done just that to their new C-USA teams. They’re ranked #23, and they look to have a clear path to the conference title.

Deja vu, as always, with Hampton as the top dog in the MEAC. What’s surprising is to see how far Howard has fallen…. and that it’s North Carolina A&T (and their defense) who hopes to challenge the Pirates. They face each other in the last game of the regular season.

The Skyhawks rule the roost in the Ohio Valley (West AND East).

Navy is surging in the Patriot League — even with a loss to Armythanks to their seniors.

“It really is amazing when you think about it. No one could ever have expected this group of women to do what they have done,” Pemper said of her first full recruiting class. “I think the fact they fit together so well position-wise has been a big aspect of it. They each have their own niche. There’s no doubt the sum of the whole is greater than the individual parts.”

Navy’s five seniors, who collectively have played 14,903 minutes and 560 games during their careers, will be honored prior to Saturday afternoon’s final regular season home game against Holy Cross. It will be an emotional ceremony as always, but particularly because of what this class has meant to Navy women’s basketball.

It’s the Mocs coiled atop the Southern and a battle of the Southern’s (Texas and SU) in the SWAC. Of course, Southern has other issues it’s dealing with.

Their loss to BYU means Gonzaga can’t rest easy as the top dogs in the WCC.

Wow – N.J.I.T is the Last of the Independents. Kinda lonely.

Smokin’ Musket is cranky: West Virginia Women’s Basketball, Lacking the Respect They Deserve.

Crappy news out of NC State: Myisha Goodwin-Coleman and Lakeesa Daniel gone to ACLs.

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I’m baaaaaaack!

And ready to catch up. (DABNABBIT, Alexis)

Until I do, here’s a little “How I spent last week” from my fellow diver, Canadian Todd:

Ray in the Grass

Ray in the Grass

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“Where ya goin’? Barcelona?”

No.

I’m going to….

See you in a week!

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what’s next? Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis out 3 to 6

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Will Indiana side with Putin?

Committee approves HJR-3 with 8-4 vote, sending resolution to Indiana Senate

Former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua attended the hearing with her wife and two small children.

“We’re hoping that (they’re) going to stand on the right side of history and vote no on HJR-3,” said an emotional Bevilaqua. “We are a family. Same love. We just want to protect our family.”

Monday, supporters of the controversial resolution told committee members they’d rather have HJR3 defeated than have it put on the ballot without the second sentence.

“We would rather see the single sentence defeated than placed on the ballot,” said Curt Smith of the Indiana Family Institute.

But Tully Bevilaqua’s wife Lindsay said, if it were to pass, they might decide to leave Indiana.

“We’d hate to go,” she said. “But it’s something families like ours will have to consider if this does go through.”

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In the Southern, Chattanooga has returned to it traditional conference dominance.

Speaking of Southern, they’re atop the SWAC, but Texas Southern is lurking. Their first matchup went to OT and was a 2pt win for the Jaguars. Southern will host T.S. for their final conference game of the season. The Jags will have a chance to avenge their only in-confernce loss (Alcorn State) March 1st.

Hampton rules the MEAC and, though Coppin State put up a better fight the second time around, it doesn’t appear that anyone will threaten the Pirates. That being said, never underestimate the power of a rivalry (Hello, Howard?).

Yes, it’s slow climb to relevancy, and it is the NEC, but St. Francis (NY) took down traditional powerhouse St. Francis (PA), 90-76, to equal the program’s record for victories. The NEC leaders are the Robert Morris Colonials (which SF/NY took to double-overtime) with a multi-national team: Greece, France, Italy, Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo are all represented on their roster.

The race to the finish in the MAC’s going to be fun: Central Michigan is 11-0 and Bowling Green is 10-1. The Chippewas gave the Falcons their only loss (at CMU, in OT, 82-79). They meet again Feb 19th.

Ditto with the MAAC. Iona is 13-1 (Rider!!?? – in OT) and Marist is 13-2 (losses to Iona and, rather surprisingly, Fairfield). They’ll close out conference play against each other on March 2nd.

How much is the ACC enjoying the addition of Notre Dame? The Irish are making mincemeat of their opponents and are perched confidently atop the conference. Coach McGraw’s win against Syracuse tied her with North Carolina State Kay Yow for 11th place in career wins (737-258).

Vroom! That’s the sound of James Madison racing to the top of the CAA. Don’t know that anyone else can put up with the Dukes.

Zap! That’s the sound of the Wichita State Shockers (11-0) taking control of the MVC. The Sycamores are in second place (still wonder what happened at Indiana State way back when) at 7-3.

The Danes rule the America East, but hello! Congrats to coach Magarity, who’s got New Hampshire in second.

I’m not sayin’ nuthin’ about the A10, ’cause it’s a hot mess: Flyers, Bonnies, Rams, Dukes…. sort it out folks!

Ditto with the Horizon!

Who knows what’s true in the Atlantic Sun. It’s the Hatters and the Eagles both with one conference loss, but Stetson’s was courtesy of FGCU (72-56). The Eagles lost to Northern Kentucky (8-3), 63-43.

The Eagles of Winthrop (12-3) are having a nice season, the result being they’re perched at #1 in the Big South.  They’ll meet High Point (11-3) again Feb. 27th, where the Panthers will try and exact some measure of revenge for their earlier 79-72  loss.

Typical C-USA, even with newcomer MTSU: It’s the Blue Raiders, East Carolina, UTEP and Tulane beating each other up.

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As a doornail dead.

#17 UNC over #3 Duke by 11 IN Durham. From Mechelle:

This turned out just like we figured it would, right? A young North Carolina team came into historic and intimidating Cameron Indoor Stadium on a three-game losing streak, got rattled by an older, more experienced Duke squad and had to learn another tough lesson. Sorry, kiddos, better luck next time. 

Oh, wait.

Yeah, that’s what you’d think was supposed to happen Monday night in another renewal of the “Battle of the Blues.” But, in fact, it’s not what took place at all.

And yes, remember when unranked Miami took town these same UNC Tar Heels (after Syracuse took them down) 83-80?

Unranked Florida over #15 Kentucky, 86-80.

#19 Texas A&M over #16 LSU, 72-67.

13-10  and unranked Washington gave #3 Stanford their first Pac-12 loss, 87-82.

“That’s the most nervous I’ve ever been in my life,” said Washington freshman Kelsey Plum, who fouled out of the game with 1:39 left after scoring a game-high 23 points.

“I was grabbing people’s knees and elbows and biting towels,” Plum continued of the final minute. “But we had a type of silent confidence that we earned that game and we were not going to give it away in the last minute.”

Unranked, and badly stumbling, Arizona stomped all over #11 Arizona State, 68-49. In their previous meeting, ASU humiliated Arizona, 60-36.

Unranked Iowa took town #9 Penn State, 73-70.

Unranked Michigan State defeated #19 can’t-figure-them-out-Purdue-and-they-lost-Houser, 89-73.

Unranked Southern Miss upset #21 Middle Tennessee State, 68-56.

Almost! NC State escaped unranked VaTech by one point — in overtime, of course.

#22 Nebraska escaped (via a steal) Wisconsin, also by one point, and also in overtime.

#12 Oklahoma State escaped Kansas by 2.

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Stormy Monday…

Lauren Jackson undergoes surgery

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WBCA consultant and longtime CEO Betty Jaynes dies at 68

Betty Faith (Jump Shot) Jaynes, who for 38 years was a leading figure nationally in the sport of women’s basketball and the first executive director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), died today. She was 68.

Jaynes died at St. Mary’s Hospice House in Athens, Ga., after a brief illness.

Jaynes was named the WBCA’s first executive director in September 1981. Her title was changed to CEO in September 1996. Under Jaynes’ leadership the WBCA established itself as a leading resource, voice and advocate for coaches of women’s basketball, growing from 212 members in its initial year of existence to more than 3,000 at the time of her retirement as CEO in November 2001. Jaynes also was a staunch advocate for and defender of Title IX.

“We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Betty Jaynes,” said Florida State head coach and WBCA President Sue Semrau. “She built the WBCA from the ground up. She helped give coaches of women’s basketball a voice and successfully fought for those of us in this profession to be treated equitably. Each of us who coaches women’s basketball owes Betty a huge debt of gratitude.”

 

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Love, Germany

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Great news. From Mechelle:

Hearing that the Sparks are staying in Los Angeles and have big-time ownership had to have come as a huge relief to WNBA fans, especially those who’ve backed the purple and gold for any of the past 17 years.

Now the good news needs to be followed by good moves. And good vibes — the kind that have to be re-established with the Sparks’ faithful. For the past month, the franchise’s fans have been worrying and waiting, not sure of anything that was happening with the team.

But with word that the Sparks have been purchased by a group headed by Mark Walter, who is Guggenheim Partners CEO, and Lakers legend Magic Johnson, the WNBA couldn’t be making a more welcomed announcement.

Shout out of happiness to the best LA fan ever – Marie. Can’t wait to shout “BEAT LA!” in the Garden next summer.

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Dabnabbit!

From Purdue: Redshirt senior KK Houser suffers ACL tear

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and again, I don’t blame the pollsters, I simply think it underscores how much talent is spread across multiple teams. As someone who is not on the inside, I wonder if it’s a year when certain coaches are being exposed  – both in a good and bad way.

It the last few days #21 Nebraska went down to Northwestern (a team that seems to always be a threat, but hasn’t gotten over the hump to be a consistent power).

#12 Baylor (not Sims)  took down #8 Oklahoma State (was highest ranking ever for the Cowgirls) in OT, of course, 69-66.

#18 North Carolina State over #8 Maryland, 72-63, the Terps third straight loss.

Georgia (!) over #13 Kentucky (who was missing Bernisha Pinkett), 58-56, which has Mitchell “fighting the worry bug.

After being down by 18, it was Syracuse over #6 North Carolina, 78-73.

Missouri (‘s bench) over #16 Vanderbilt, 59-54.

And yes I noticed the escapees:

#2 Notre Dame-Lloyd over #8 Maryland, 87-83.

#10 South Carolina over #16 Vanderbilt, 61-57 (live-by-the-three-die-by-the-three).

#14 Arizona State over Colorado, 68-66.

#11 Oklahoma State over TCU, 49-48.

#12 Penn State over #19 Purdue, 75-72.

#10 Tennessee over Arkansas, 70-60.

#3 Duke over Miami, 76-75.

#4 Stanford over a very stubborn #21 Cal, 70-64. (And watch out, ’cause yes, Harberts has USC surpassing expectations)

#15 Arizona State over Oregon State, 64-62.

#5 Louisville (where life is Schimmel-iscious) over (ambitions) Rutgers, 80-71.

In other games of interest:

Iona over the MAAC.

JMU over the CAA.

Hampton over the MEAC.

Wichita State over the MVC.

UT Martin over the OVC.

With at least seven weeks left in her college basketball career, Heather Butler is working to get the UT Martin women’s basketball team back into the NCAA tournament.

Meanwhile, the senior guard from Medina broke an individual record Saturday that had stood since before she was born.

Butler is now the all-time leading scorer in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Albany over the America East because 1) Shereesha Richards: Albany soph shoots lights out of America East and

The University at Albany women’s basketball coaching staff has tried to get senior Tammy Phillip to shoot the ball, but it’s a hard sell for the 5-foot-11 guard who spent a lot of her time growing up in the British Virgin Islands as a track athlete specializing in, among other things, the long jump and high jump.

Today, she uses perfectly timed leaps to come away with an eye-popping number of rebounds. And that’s on a team that includes 6-foot-9 center Megan Craig and forward Shereesha Richards, who leads the America East in rebounds this season.

Navy over the Patriot and…cool! Dowling becomes first Navy women’s basketball player to have jersey retired

Becky Dowling Calder made history by becoming the first female pilot to graduate from the United States Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, an elite program commonly known as Top Gun. The 1998 Naval Academy graduate went on to fly F/A-18 Hornet jets with distinction.

***
“I’m extremely humbled to be the first player in program history to have my jersey retired. I’m proud, but what makes me most happy is knowing that I won’t be the last,” she said. “There are so many women who are just as deserving and it makes me feel good that what happened today will lead to others receiving the same honor.”

The Penguins over the Horizon.

Central Arkansas over the Southland.

FGCU over the A-Sun.

Central Michigan over the MAC.

South Dakota State over the Summit.

New Hampshire is now 5-1 in the America East.

Arizona is now 0-9 in the Pac-12. This seat is hot! hot! hot!

George Mason is 0-8 in the A10.

Nice win for St. Louis over St. Joseph’s, 69-65.

Important win for St. Mary’s over BYU in the very entertaining WCC. With San Diego losing to Pacific, it does seem that #22 Gonzaga is the conference’s top dog.

Huge win for High Point‘ over Liberty – and it was in DOUBLE OT.

It wasn’t a matter of if High Point University women’s coach DeUnna Hendrix thought a trio of freshmen would mesh together and become a key piece of the puzzle for the Panthers this season.

As far as the when, she didn’t expect it to come quite as early as a unit of guard Kaylah Keys, wing Teddy Vincent and center DeAnneisha Jackson have helped HPU win eight of its past 10 games, improve to 13-8 and climb into first place in the Big South at 9-3 with Thursday’s double-overtime win at perennial power Liberty.

Clemson and Georgia Tech added to our OT list as it was the Tigers over the Yellow Jackets by 1.

In anticipation: Sunday, ESPN2 @ 2pm: #2 Notre Dame at #3 Duke

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