Feeds:
Posts

Archive for January, 2015

*all sing*

It was twenty years ago today
Carol Callan taught the band to play
They’ve been going in and out of style
But they’re guaranteed to raise a smile
So may I introduce to you
The act you’ve known for all these years …
The force behind many, many golden medals!

(Thanks, Caroline)

callan_carol_basketball_coach

 

From USA Basketball:
On Feb. 1, 1995, Carol Callan began her stint as director of the now-historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team. That team barnstormed the country and the world, earning a 52-0 exhibition record and a perfect 8-0 mark at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Lynn Barry retired following the ’96 Games and Carol took over as head of the USA Basketball women’s program.

6abcfece89fe756afa83de5be983ff7f

It’s been a pretty incredible ride for USA Basketball women’s teams since then.power-group2

She has criss-crossed the globe with current and future Hall of Fame players and coaches, always acting as a steady and smooth sea upon which so many teams have sailed to gold. The USA Basketball women under her leadership have become the gold standard in international women’s basketball. There are too many teams and too many games to recap, so let’s just take a look at the top-tier.

oly_g_teamusa_leslie_580

Since the inception of the 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team program, the USA National Team, in addition to a record five-straight Olympic gold medals, has captured four FIBA World Championship gold medals, one FIBA World Championship bronze medal and one FIBA Americas Championship gold medal, while compiling a stunning 86-1 record for a .989 winning percentage in those events. Further, USA National Teams in exhibition contests since 1995 boast of a 186-15 record (.925 winning percentage).

a078de4852b6

 

Give a tip of the hat today to Carol Callan. If you’ve been impacted by her at any point — as a player, coach, fan, member of the media, whatever — take a moment today to drop her a line at ccallan@usabasketball.com.

You can also tweet your congrats:

@usabasketball #CarolTurns20
USA v Australia
It’s a glamorous life she lives….
laundry
I have crossed paths with Carol off-and-on over the years, and I can’t imagine a better hand on the tiller.

carol-callan-geno-uconn-0402

More on Carol:

From Coloradan Magazine: Living within Winning Circles

Carol continues her ties to CU as a volunteer announcer on AM radio, doing color commentary. What began with announcing four games for CU’s KAIR has evolved to commentating on all home games with KBOL and home and away games for AM 760.

“I’ve been around the women’s team longer than anyone, and I’m a bit of an historian,” Carol reflects on her more than 30 years of providing color commentary. “I tell a story about what people want to know, what they’re interested in.”

From BoCoPreps: Women’s basketball: Callan relishes role with USA Basketball – CU radio personality, former Fairview AD is director of women’s national team program

“It’s been great,” Callan said of her job. “I’ve seen the world, I’ve seen (U.S. star) Diana Taurasi come in as a high school kid and she’s now a young woman. I’ve been around Teresa Edwards. She’s a five-time Olympian; I was with her for three.

“It’s just absolutely a dream job.”

From SNY: 5 questions with USA Basketball’s Carol Callan

The Official Bio from USA Basketball:

CAROL CALLAN
Women’s National Team Director 
After overseeing all facets of the historic 1995-96 USA Basketball Women’s National Team that posted a perfect 52-0 record and assisting with the 1996 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team that reclaimed the gold medal with an 8-0 record, Carol Callan assumed duties as Women’s National Team Director (then referred to as Assistant Executive Director for Women’s Programs) in October 1996. As Women’s National Team Director, Callan is responsible for all USA Basketball women’s team programs, including competitions, trials, training camps, and serves as a liaison to women’s competition committees.

A primary architect for the historic, first-time National Team program, Callan was responsible for team logistics, travel, and scheduling of games and training. Since its inception in 1995, the highly successful Women’s National Team program has posted an 80-1 slate in major international competitions winning five-straight Olympic gold medals and three of four FIBA World Championships. Between 2008-2013, USA 5×5 women’s squads have compiled a 96-2 record in FIBA and FIBA Americas official competitions, claiming nothing but gold during that time in each Olympic, FIBA World Championship, FIBA U17 and U19 World Championships, and FIBA Americas U16 and U18 Championships.

Callan is a member of several USA Basketball selection committees – the National Team Steering Committee (chair), the National Team Player Selection Committee and the Developmental National Team Committee (non–voting chair). She serves on the FIBA and FIBA Americas Women’s Commissions, the WBCA Board of Directors and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Directors.

Prior to taking the reins of the National Team program, Callan was involved with USA Basketball for almost seven years as a volunteer committee member. She served on USA Basketball’s Executive Committee as secretary from 1992 to 1995, and from 1989 to 1995 was a member of the Women’s Player Selection Committee, and served as chair from 1992-1995. Additionally, Callan was a member of the Women’s Programs Committee from 1992 to 1995.

Callan came to USA Basketball after spending 10 years (1986-1995) as director of athletics /activities and two years as an assistant principal (1993-1995) for Fairview High School in Boulder, Colo. Earning two master’s degrees from the University of Colorado, Callan holds a master’s in business administration and a master of science in physical education. She earned a bachelor of arts degree from William Woods College (Mo.) in 1975, graduating magna cum laude in mathematics and physical education.

Callan and her husband, David, reside in Colorado Springs, and have two sons, Greg and Tom.

profile_carol_callan_2012

Read Full Post »

St. Louis v. Dayton. ’cause I like to say, “Billikens!

Green Bay v. UIC. ’cause the Phoenix are facing the Horizon’s POY front-runnerRuvanna Campbell.

The fifth oldest of seven siblings currently between the ages of 18 and 26, Campbell at one point lived with them and 11 other people at the housing project home of her great aunt and legal guardian, Mary Eason.

The Near West Side native, who said she never officially graduated from eighth grade, said she will be the first person in her family to earn a college degree — in criminal law and justice — when she finishes at UIC.

In the meantime, Campbell hopes to lead UIC to its first-ever NCAA tournament and become the Flames‘ first WNBA draft pick — both distinct possibilities.

FGCU v. Northern Kentucky. ’cause the Eagles are lookin’ for some revenge.

Princeton v. Dartmouth. ’cause the Tigers are still undefeated and Courtney is facing her alma mater.

Oregon State v. USC, Cal v. Washington, Stanford v. Washington State. ’cause the Pac-12 is the most interesting conference in Division I basketball.

UC Davis v. UC Santa Barbara. ’cause no team should go through the season without a win.

Colorado State v. Fresno State. ’cause if the Bulldogs win, I’m wondering if there’s a chance they can break into the top 25 this season.

San Diego v. San Francisco. ’cause it’s interesting to watch the slow process of a program’s revival.

Montana v. Sacramento State. ’cause the Hornets are high scoring and make Debbie Antonelli happy. And they just got upset by Montana State, so they may be cranky.

Marist v. Iona. ’cause who doesn’t love a fierce, inter-conference rivalry?

New Mexico State v. UT Pan American. ’cause, hello, it means first place in the WAC.

Liberty v. High Point.’cause it’s a fierce, inter-conference game with first place in the Big South at stake. (The Flames stomped out the Panthers in their first match-up.)

George Washington v. George Mason. ’cause, unlike Fresno State, I think the Colonials have a better resume and more wins should get them some attention from the voters.

Ohio v. Central Michigan. ’cause even though the Bobcats look to be the team to beat in the MAC, one shouldn’t overlook a team with Crystal Bradford on it.

Read Full Post »

It’s the Billikens again! This time Sadie Stipanovich hit the game-winning jumper with five seconds to play to give them a win over Saint Joseph’s, 52-51.

It’s the Peahens again! This time over Niagara, 65-58, for the second win of their season. In their previous matchup, Niagara routed Saint Peter’s by 33 points.

Yes, in-state battles are awesome: Arkansas State (9-2 in the Sun Belt) gives Arkansas-Little Rock their first Sun Belt loss (9-1), 70-69.

It took double overtime, but #14 Texas gave #24 Oklahoma their first Big 12 loss, 84-81.

Tough battle by shorthanded #10 Kentucky (though Goss is back), but two key end-of-game blocks helped the #6 Vols prevail in Lexington, 73-72.

A game of back-and-forth runs, momentum swings, floor burns and all-out effort came down to the final possession.

Down 73-72, UK got the ball back with 46 seconds left after Jelleah Sidney blocked Cierra Burdick’s shot.

Before a roaring Memorial Coliseum crowd of 7,407, the Wildcats were one field goal from their fourth victory over Tennessee in the past six games.

What the Cats found instead was stomach-churning frustration.

Their efficiency from the floor helped the Terps, who entered the contest with the fourth-best field-goal percentage in the country, shoot 54.3 percent in the first half before finishing the game shooting 52.5 percent.

“One of our biggest jobs to do was to run them off the court,” Walker-Kimbrough said.

The Debbie Antonelli Special (#1) comes courtesy of Wright State v. Oakland: It was the Raiders over the Golden Grizzlies, 108-89. Nice story out of Oakland:

A basketball player who averages 21 points per game as a junior and 19.1 as a senior, along with showing an ability to rebound, block shots and steal, is likely to end up on an NCAA Division I roster somewhere.

And that is exactly what happened for Troy Athens graduate Sinclair Russell, who is currently in her redshirt sophomore season with Oakland University

DAS (#2) was #20 Iowa over Northwestern, 102-99. Melissa Dixon hit 9-10 on three’s as the Hawkeyes made a B10 record 19 during the game.

“You’re going to hear me ro-oar!” In a game that featured sister v. sister, Maine mauled New Hampshire, 87-56. Albany is up next, Feb 1st.

FGCU is flyin’ through the A-Sun, but the Eagles remember last year’s game against Northern Kentucky:

Since becoming eligible for the Atlantic Sun tournament, the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team is 59-1 against conference teams in the regular season.

The one loss came last year at Northern Kentucky. And it was ugly.

With a 63-43 loss, FGCU suffered its worst A-Sun defeat and tied for the fewest points scored in a game in program history. 

It’s looking like the fight for C-USA top spot will be between Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. Going to have to wait until Feb. 21st for that game, though.

Auburn stays winless in the SEC, going down to Arkansas, 52-47.

Speaking of the SEC, Nell Fortner offers her top five by position.

Well, oops! Down goes Long Beach State for a second time, this time of courtesy of the Wahine, 72-64.

Kansas State stole Oklahoma State’s fan belt. They defeat the Cowgirls, 52-51, in OT.

Colorado State is now 7-1 in the Mountain West. Next up: Fresno State (8-0 in the conference).

Coming up, Todd McMahon writes: Road challenges await UW-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team had its hands full with Ruvanna Campbell three times last season.

Horizon League-leading UWGB is bracing for its first encounter this season with Illinois-Chicago’s imposing 6-foot-3 junior forward.

“She’s in a league of her own in the conference,” Phoenix sophomore Mehryn Kraker said.

From Palo Alto: Stanford women’s basketball tops busy home weekend slate

Orrange and Samuelson are close to milestones. Orrange needs three assists to become the seventh player in Stanford history to reach 500. 

Samuelson is five 3-pointers shy of matching Nicole Powell (201) for sixth on the Cardinal’s all-time list.

Stanford faces the top three scorers in the conference this weekend and four of the top eight. Washington State’s Lia Galdeira (19.6) and Tia Presley (18.9) are second and third.

From ESPN’s MC Barrett: Geno Auriemma: By the numbers – UConn coach nears 900th career win; milestone could come as early as Tuesday. Mechelle adds: 10 defining moments – UConn coach, in his 30th season, is on verge of 900th career victory

My goodness: Girls basketball coach returns to team after losing arm

Well ouch: Buchholz girls basketball team forfeits 2014-15 season

Two years after winning the school’s first state basketball title, the Buchholz girls basketball team has forfeited its 2014-15 season.

Bobcats athletic director Jay Godwin asked for and got permission from the Florida High School Athletic Association on Monday to do so, three days after finding out the team had been using an ineligible player the entire season.

and then Buchholz fires girls basketball coach after forfeited season

Buchholz High School principal Vince Perez met Friday morning with the girls basketball team and coach Rebecca Williams. By the end of the meeting, he told the team they had to go in a different direction.

That meant, Williams, a Buchholz alum, is no longer the coach after eight years.

Mechelle writes about Drake sophomore Lizzy Wendell.

Kids in really large families sometimes look for ways to build their individual identities. But rarely do they look to the laundry room to establish such a distinction.

But Drake sophomore forward Lizzy Wendell, one of the nation’s top scorers this season, was once as a teenager the voluntary head laundry washer for her family, which includes her parents and eight siblings.

“She took over the laundry for about eight months,” said her father, Mike Wendell. “We have a washer and dryer upstairs and downstairs. She just wanted to do it; she’s pretty organized.”

Lizzy explained it this way: “My oldest sister, when she came back home from college, started paying me to do her laundry for her. And I said, ‘Oh, this is easy,’ and I did it for everyone for a while.”

Eventually, “Busy Lizzy,” as her family calls her, decided to give up the chore.

“But we all liked it while it lasted,” Mike said, grinning. “That’s a lot of laundry.”

Nowadays, Wendell focuses on taking opposing defenses to the cleaners. Her 22.6 points per game leads the Missouri Valley Conference and is tied for eighth in Division I.

Good to hear: Craft says young players hungry to get better

The skinned knee is a rite of passage for the young. Finding a bandage and the will to return to the playground tag game is the best way to address the pain.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team took a tumble midway through the second half Sunday at Purdue, falling behind the Boilermakers by 12 points before rising to win a 79-71 overtime decision.

“I think us really pushing through that was a big step for our team,” junior guard Cait Craft said. “In the past, we haven’t been able to do that. We just came together, had each other’s back and pushed through it.”

Check out Swish Appeal’s mid-season COY candidates.

In W news:

John Altavilla is Catching Up With Kelly Faris

Storm trade 2 players to Sun for No. 3 pick in WNBA draft

The Seattle Storm are continuing their rebuilding project.

The Storm traded Camille Little and Shekinna Stricklen to the Connecticut Sun on Wednesday for the third and 15th picks in the upcoming WNBA draft and Renee Montgomery. The Storm already have the No. 1 pick.

“As we get into the draft and look at the players coming out, we’re excited about having 1 and 3,” Seattle Storm president and general manager Alisha Valavanis said. “For us a key objective is to add youth to the roster, and this gives us an opportunity through the draft.”

Pat Friday grades the trade.

More on an Aussie: Abby Bishop shoulders Canberra’s final hopes, but don’t compare her to Lauren Jackson

Catch is in India: Journey on a difficult terrain

Finally, Emotional Eastern Michigan women’s basketball team starts healing process by playing first game since tragedy  and from Graham: ‘I want everybody to know who Shannise was’ Eastern Michigan’s 21-year-old junior forward died Sunday in a car accident

The first time Bud Schimmelpfenneg, a longtime Eastern Michigan fan and booster, met one of the new additions to the women’s basketball team he reached out to shake her hand.

Shannise Heady wanted none of it.

“Oh no, I’m not shaking hands,” he recalled her telling him. “I’m a hugger.”

There weren’t any handshakes after the final buzzer brought an end to Wednesday’s game between Eastern Michigan and Western Michigan, either. Just as players, coaches and staff from both teams locked arms for a moment of silence before the game and remained that way through the national anthem, jerseys alternating in a semi-circle that stretched almost all the way around the court, they eschewed handshakes for hugs when it was over. It wasn’t a normal night. It won’t be normal for Eastern Michigan for a long time. For these players, maybe ever.

Read Full Post »

Congrats to coach Jim Foster, who’s coached his fourth team into the top 25.

#22 Georgia suffered two losses against #5 Tennessee –  first  leading scorer Shacobia Barbee, then the game.

Tennessee went more than eight minutes without scoring to start the second half Sunday afternoon.

The Lady Vols shot poorly from the floor (34 percent) and committed 18 turnovers.

But they did make free 20 of 21 free throws. Their uncanny performance from the foul line saved a 59-51 SEC women’s basketball victory before a crowd of 13,428 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

#17 Florida State dispatched Wake Forest, 110-80.

Sue Semrau almost always has a good basketball team. That’s nothing new.

But what the Florida State head coach has this year is something entirely different. What she has this year is a team that is quite capable of winning the ACC. What she has this year is a team that is capable of reaching the Final Four.

Simply put: What she has this year is the most talented team in school history.

Again, bad Big Ten Mojo for Northwestern, as they fall to Penn State, 76-75.

The Sycamores have lost their groove in the MVC, falling to Northern Iowa, 57-56. That puts the Panthers at 6-1 in their conference – but they host conference leader Wichita State next.

So, it’s looking like #7 Maryland may toddle through the Big 10 unscathed. Rutgers, #15 Nebraska and  Iowa look to pose the biggest threat.

Along with Jones, sophomore Lexie Brown added 21 points and fellow sophomore Shatori Walker-Kimbrough finished with 18 points. The seventh-ranked Terrapins 11-game winning streak began after losing at then second ranked Notre Dame on Dec. 3.”We thrive off energy, feeding off of each other and celebrating each other,” Brown said. “That’s when we’re at our best, when our bench is energized and coach B is energized and everyone is pumped up. Obviously today we didn’t show (energy). It definitely wasn’t the best that we’ve played, but top to bottom we had a lot of great moments throughout the team.”

OT in D.C. produced a Debbie Antonelli Special: Seton Hall over Georgetown, 99-85.

No OT needed for this DAS: North Dakota over Eastern Washington, 96-82.

Double-OT gives us a third DAS: Eastern Kentucky over Tennessee Tech, 97-93. EKU features sophomore guard Michaela Hunter,  named the National Mid-Major Women’s Basketball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

Don’t blame me, blame Mike Guardabascio (twice: You Should Be Watching Long Beach State Women’s BasketballLong Beach falls to CS Northridge, 67-52.

The CSUN Matadors defeated the current first place Big West team, California State University, Long Beach, 67-52 Saturday night, delivering the first conference defeat to the 49ers this season.

The Matadors battled Long Beach for the lead throughout the two halfs before getting a sufficient lead cushion late in the game and sending the 49ers home with their first loss in two months.

Interesting sequence of games coming up for Maine in the America East: they’ll face the Wildcats (6-1/conf w/ 3-time Rookie of the Week Carlie Pogue) and the Great Danes (7-0/conf. and a rematch of the Bears’ conference opener loss).

George Washington is still rolling through the A-10 (We see you, Jonquel). I’m sure they’re eyeing the Dayton game (Feb. 8th) and the Fordham game (Feb. 22nd).

But, hold on… the Rams lost to the Billikens? Huge win for St. Louis, coming back from 10 down in the first. And congrats to freshman guard Jackie Kemph, who was named the Atlantic 10 Conference women’s basketball Rookie of the Week

Akron escapes the fire of the Chippewas, 74-72, and now leaps into the pan of Ohio.

A poor second half did in Missouri against #14 Kentucky, 83-69.

Iowa State’s Nikki Moody seems to enjoy slaying Texas, bad ankle or no. The Longhorns Texas lost for the fourth time in five games as Lang couldn’t replace all that the Texans have lost with leading scorer and rebounder Nneka Enemkpali going down to the dreaded ACL.

It took overtime, but #15 Duke upset #12 North Carolina behind Williams’ 33. Is it just me, or did anyone else more from Williams day in and day out?

Not so fast there, you – Army gave American U their first Patriot League loss, 68-60, behind League Player of the Week Kelsey Minato. (Wow. In her freshman year, the Californian was the first in Patriot League history to be voted Player and Rookie of the Year.) Rematch on Feb. 21st.

They may not have impressive out-of-conference records, but once they get into SWAC play, it’s all about Texas Southern and Southern.

Don’t want to put the hex on’em, but New Mexico State is now 5-0 in the WAC.

So the dumping of Beth Burns… how’s that workin’ for ya, San Diego State?

Minnesota didn’t get the win against Rutgers, but 36 points from Amanda Zahui B. gets people’s attention.

Zahui B. grew up playing soccer and tennis, singing in the choir and taking theater lessons. She even learned what her mother called “circus acts,’’ such as juggling. “It was nothing for her to pick up something new, and be good at it,’’ her mother said.

She was taller than most of the boys in her class. She began playing basketball when she was 10. By 13, Sweden had added her to its 16-and-under national team and her father was bringing a drum to her games, becoming a one-man pep band.

“I remember when I was younger, people would say, ‘Wow, you are taller than all of the boys,’ ’’ Zahui B. said. “But I’ve never been insecure about my height. My parents always taught me to walk with my back straight.

“When it came to basketball, pretty much my parents begged me to play. They said, ‘We know this coach, go to practice,’ and I stuck. Every practice, I had two or three coaches working with me. It took me two or three weeks to figure out you could only take two steps on a layup.’’

Yes, Green Bay, the Horizon seems to be yours for the taking.

In the “marquee” matchup of ranked teams, the Beavers’ size and on-court execution made the difference:

No. 9 Oregon State proved that they are the team to beat in the Pac-12, defeating the No 13 ASU women’s basketball team 68-57.

“For some reason we were really struggling to play together today on offense,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We were just… not outwardly focused.”

OSU’s long defenders forced ASU to change its offensive flow.

Snap! goes the Toppers 14-game win streak. It was a heartbreaker, with free throws and a waved off basket, as UTSA comes back to take down #24 Western Kentucky, 64-63. It was the program’s first win in history over a ranked opponent.

Who stole the wheels off Oklahoma State’s wagon? TCU carried off their carburetor, 71-62.

That’s 11-straight for Fresno State.

Practices have gotten a little shorter for the Fresno State women’s basketball team.

That doesn’t mean they’ve gotten easier. If anything, practices have gotten more intense for the winners of 10 in a row and off to a perfect start in Mountain West play.

“We’ve got to replicate the game and replicate the scout and make sure that we are going against it at an even higher level than we’ll see in the game,” coach Jaime White said.

In a battle for second place in the WCC, it was BYU over San Diego, 54-50.

“I am really happy we got the win tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This game reminded me so much of Saint Mary’s where we had a good lead the first half and played really well defensively but came out a little flat and stood around. I think Xojian’s [Harry] 3-pointer that she hit was a big basket for us to kind of take the lid off the basket and loosen us up.”

Countdown watch: In NAIA D1 news, Vanguard’s Russ Davis is 9 wins away from 500.

With another runaway win against Cincinnati, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis moved into 10th all time in Connecticut scoring. UConn’s Geno Auriemma is on his way to 900 wins.

Bracketology, anyone? Charlie says No. 4 seeds are toughest to identify – One seed line means more in 2015 as tourney shifts back to top 16 teams hosting

As discussed in this space a week ago, the No. 1 seeds in women’s college basketball remain unclear after South Carolina and Connecticut. Notre Dame seems to be gaining a stronger hold, but Baylor replaced Tennessee on the top line in the past seven days.

Despite the change, the same teams remain in the conversation for a top seed: Baylor, Tennessee, Maryland and Oregon State (thanks to its huge win at Arizona State this weekend).

In fact, choosing the top three seeds in each region this week was relatively easy. Though their order was tough to distinguish, teams 1-12 were fairly evident.

However, the picture got a whole lot murkier after that.

In W news, John Klein asks: If wins start coming for Shock, will fans follow?

Entertaining is great. Certainly, the Shock has done everything it can to promote its players and the WNBA in Tulsa. Diggins and Sims are among the best female basketball players on the planet.

Still, to really gauge the impact of the WNBA in Tulsa it will take more than scoring a lot of points (the Shock was second in the league last year).

What the Shock needs most to give Tulsa a chance to really appreciate women’s basketball is victories.

You know, you gotta love when the classics are quoted as part of girls basketball coverage. From Cory Olsen at MiLive:

When victorian-era poet Lord Alfred Tennyson said “Trust me not at all, or all in all,” it’s doubtful he had girls basketball in mind — the game was invented just one year before he died in 1891.

Yet that principle of trust is being instilled into the Wayland girls basketball team by head coach Marty Howard and judging by their double-overtime win over visiting Catholic Central Friday night, they’re taking to it very well.

On the flip side, this sounds unpleasant. From San Francisco: Controversy mars girls tournament

A great day of basketball at the Corner Bakery Showdown in Lafayette took a turn when Berkeley’s girls basketball coach Cheryl Draper took her team off the court with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in a game in a loss to Miramonte-Orinda, claiming she and her players heard racial slurs. 

Miramonte led 68-50 at the time, and a second technical foul in a span of a minute — three in all were called against Berkeley — was called against Berkeley point guard Jaimoni Welch-Coleman (20 points) when Draper called timeout and had her players leave the court.

Finally: Just awful news from Michigan: 2 EMU students, including women’s basketball player, killed in overnight Ypsilanti Township crash

Eastern Michigan University has identified two students as the individuals killed in a head-on crash overnight in Ypsilanti Township

Shannise Heady, 21, from Hazel Crest, Ill., and Jordan Hopkins, 23, of Dexter were killed in a crash shortly before 1 a.m. Jan. 25 on Hewitt Road near Midvale, the university said in a press release.

Read Full Post »

We’ve been watching this, but it’s lovely to see “mainstream” pick it up. From the West Coast,  Mike Guardabascio of the Press-Telegram writes about the work Long Beach State coach Jody Wynn has done with the 49ers.

Wynn, now in her sixth year as the 49ers’ head coach, grew up in Southern California — Brea — and was a successful swimmer in her youth.

The child of two college athletes — her mom golfed at UCLA and her dad played football at Occidental — Wynn loved to compete from an early age, enjoying the feel of lining up in the starting blocks at junior nationals and big-event swim meets.

“Being something other than your best was not acceptable,” Wynn says. “I was in the water every day before school, after school — I always really wanted to compete to be the best.”

Good news for the Gophers: Injured star Rachel Banham to return for one more season

Speaking of the Gophers, the Scarlet Knights are their next opponent, and they need to pay attention to Cynthia Hernandez, who fills 3-point void for Rutgers women’s basketball
The Rutgers women’s basketball team is no doubt thankful for all those hours Hernandez spent in the park as the first-year junior college transfer filled a longtime void in the offense last game by becoming the first player in almost four years to make as many as five 3s in a game. She did it without missing.
Her indefinite departure is the latest in a series of player losses for USC. Deanna Calhoun left the team last year, and in November, leading scorer Ariya Crook was dismissed for violating team rules. Shortly after that, guards Destine Gibbs and Chyanne Butler also left the team.
A win AND school record: Washington’s Jazmine Davis had 25pts in a win over Colorado and becomes leading scorer in program history at 2,047.

When McKeown took the job at Northwestern seven years ago, Wildcat fans hoped he would have an immediate impact.  They were disappointed.  His first few teams were better fundamentally on the court, but that did not translate to victories. He has recruited better than his predecessors, but transfers and injuries hurt his efforts.

The real turnaround began on Nov. 15, 2012, and it happened in an office and not on the court.  On that day, McKeown signed what will likely be ranked as the best recruiting class in Northwestern history.  The class included four players – three who have become monsters on the court:  Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary, and Christen Inman. After they walked on to campus and into the starting lineup, and the Wildcats haven’t been the same since. 

Dishin’ and Swishin’ returns to cover the start of The Jenny Boucek era in Seattle

Boucek was previously a head coach from 2007 through 2009 in Sacramento, and like the Monarchs, she is inheriting a team long on veterans, that needs to get younger quickly. In this case, however, her team holds the number one overall pick in the upcoming college draft; albeit a draft many do not consider particularly strong, with no clear cut top choice.

Other questions abound, beginning with the health and return of Jackson, and the future of unrestricted free agents Tanisha Wright and Noelle Quinn. There is no denying that this year’s Storm could look significantly different than last year’s team.

Mechelle added: Boucek will lead Storm into new era – Alisha Valavanis, team’s chief operating officer, also in her first year with Seattle

New Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek has watched players such as Sue Bird grow up as professionals in the sport of basketball. So have I … but I’ve also watched Boucek grow up, too. When asked earlier this week about moving from her assistant’s role with the Storm, replacing Brian Agler, she talked about her evolution as a student of the game.

“This is ironic — you would understand why, because you watched my playing career — but my specialty has become more offense than defense,” Boucek said.

Boucek started in the WNBA as an unpaid assistant for Nancy Darsch and the Washington Mystics in 1999. She’s spent her career coaching in the WNBA because, she said,  “It captured my heart.” After four years starting for Debbie Ryan’s Virginia Cavaliers, graduation in 1997 found her back on the court, this time wearing a Cleveland Rockers WNBA uniform.

“Just being part of the inaugural season and seeing the potential of this league to impact the country culturally really hit home with me as a young lady. Grown women were crying at our games,” remembered Boucek. “Little girls, who were wide-eyed, now have a different perception of themselves and their potential, their dreams and their opportunities, not just in sports. They see women getting opportunities that they only knew men to have.”

Tough news for the Connecticut Sun: Chiney Ogwumike undergoes the knife
After a 2014 season that often seemed like nothing more than a comedy of errors, the Connecticut Sun received even worse news for the 2015 campaign on Thursday when forward Chiney Ogwumike underwent microfracture knee surgery. Dr. Walter Lowe, the renowned orthopedic surgeon and team physician of the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, and University of Texas Longhorns, performed the surgery.
Oh, about those games – I’m really looking forward to #9 Oregon State v. #12 Arizona State, aren’t you? Especially now that ESPN has realized the State of Oregon is a Hoops hotbed again

It is, Mandy Close admits, like the proverbial story about the catch of a lifetime, the one in which the fish grows bigger and the catch more legendary with each telling.

Not the details of the play, mind you. Those are right there in the official record, forever immune to embellishment. There really were nine seconds left when Oregon State’s Tiffany Ducker rebounded an Oregon miss and made an outlet pass to Close in the waning moments of the game on Jan. 25, 2006. And Close, her team behind by a point, really did drive the length of the court and, with two seconds remaining, hit a layup at the same time she was fouled.

She hit the free throw, and the Beavers really beat the Ducks 63-61.

What has changed in years of spinning the story — and the story still is spun when Close and former teammates get together — is the backdrop against which it took place. 

We continue to reap the benefits of the Knicks’ losses: School Returns to Dominance, Cranking Up Music and Offense  – Levelland Loboettes Have Regained Their Winning Ways in Texas

 A large sign greets visitors to this small, windswept city in West Texas. Planted on the side of State Highway 114, about 30 miles west of Lubbock, beyond the oil rigs that rise from fallow cotton fields, the sign has borne the brunt of harsh winters and searing summers.

“Welcome to Levelland,” it reads across the top, with twin basketballs framing the words. “Home of the Loboettes.

Read Full Post »

More proof that the “There are no upsets in women’s basketball” narrative is wicked false….

In a *notreallyastunningupset* #14 Florida State got a big lead on #4 Louisville, and then held on for a 5-point win.

The real stunner was Boston College over #15 Duke, 60-56. The Eagles are 9-10 on the season and 1-5 in the ACC.

Duke once again failed to gain its first road win of the year, and the previously 0-5 in the ACC Eagles represented one of Duke’s best chances to do so. The Eagles confidently executed their game plan, played to their strengths, minimized their weaknesses and got contributions across the board from their entire roster. Duke adjusted slowly to BC’s strategies, committed sloppy turnovers, missed easy shots and gave a struggling opponent just enough daylight to dig out a big win. The Devils will need to rethink strategies and hope that they can get Oderah Chidom back from injury before they play UNC in Chapel Hill.

#22 Georgia over #10 Texas A&M in a barn burner, 54-51.

Purdue took down #21 Minnesota in OT, 90-88.

Tussles:

Pittsburgh gave #23 Syracuse a run for their money, but the Orange prevailed 68-60.

#12 North Carolina had to come back to secure a win against NC State, 67-63.

Michigan kept it close, but #20 Iowa prevailed in the end, 76-70.

Squeak!

#18 Mississippi State escaped in-state rival Ole Miss, 64-62.

#24 Western Kentucky topped UTEP, 80-74.

Green Bay over Cleveland State, 65-61

Its head-to-head dominance notwithstanding, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team faced an opponent Thursday night that doesn’t make winning come easy.

“Cleveland State plays us tough every time we play them, whether it’s here or there,” said UWGB coach Kevin Borseth, taking a sigh of relief after another close call.

Takin’ care of business:

#7 Maryland over Michigan State, 85-56.

#5 Tennessee over LSU, 75-58. Ballard scored 15, but the Vols shot over 55%.

Nebraska over Wisconsin, 89-72.

#6 Notre Dame over Georgia Tech, 89-76.

Play a clunker and still win by a baker’s dozen.

That’s the mark of a good basketball team.

The Notre Dame women’s 89-76 win over Georgia Tech Thursday night was the start of a six-game stretch in which the Irish will have to challenge themselves, to likely make up for what they won’t see from their opponent.

Quinnipiac over Marist, 73-55.

James Madison over William & Mary, 92-50.

It was kinda ugly, but Gonzaga moved to 8-0 in the WCC with a 10-point win over Saint Mary’s.

Reversal of fortunes: Vermont goes down to Maine, 74-46. The Catamounts are now 0-6 in the American East – the Black Bears are 5-1. Has Stephen King noticed yet?

Arkansas Little-Rock – the folks who beat LSU and lost to Tulane – are now 8-0 in the Sun Belt.

The Kennesaw State Owls started strong, but the A-Sun is tough sailing. They go down to Stetson, 75-64. And yes, the Eagles are still 4-0 in-conference and guess who they face next: Da Owls.

Phew: Penn State got its first conference win, 79-75 over Indiana.

The Debbie Antonelli special comes to us via double overtime: McNeese State over Incarnate Word, 104-101.

Just plain stupidAlabama and Auburn women’s basketball players brawl

Read Full Post »

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

Welcome to Stanford’s world. And it’s not just one thing, but several somethings: #13 ASU went into Maples Pavilion, jumped out to a 17-point first half lead, and then held on for dear life, escaping with a three-point victory. How huge is this for the Sun Devils? (And no, we WHB folks are NOT surprised..)

The Sun Devils (17-1, 6-0 Pac-12) snapped a 16-game losing streak in the rivalry and won at Maples Pavilion for only the second time spanning 33 chances in program history and first since March 3, 1984. Coach Charli Turner Thorne, in her 18th year leading ASU, had never beaten the Cardinal at Stanford — where she played her college ball under Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer.

Guess that leave that CTT took in 2011 really revived her.

It doesn’t get any easier for the #11 Cardinal: The still have to play the Washingtons again (though at home), face ASU in Arizona…. and #9 Oregon State is looming Feb. 26th at OSU.

The Beavers will move on undefeated in Pac-12 play by virtue of their hard-fought victory, 75-67, over Washington.

Sure, Jewell Loyd scored 34 points, but that’s what she does. If I were Holly, I’d be worried that, as a team, #6 Notre Dame shot a sizzling 58.2% on their way to an 11pt victory over #5 Tennessee.

The new Associated Press Top 25 released Monday suggested neither Notre Dame nor Tennessee will be in attendance when the Final Four convenes in Tampa.

If there are four teams that can play better basketball than the sixth-ranked Fighting Irish and fifth-ranked Lady Vols played Monday in South Bend in front of a national television audience, especially for a stretch of scintillating can-you-top-this shot-making in the first half, college basketball is in for a heck of a show in April.

But if Jewell Loyd isn’t part of that show, it will be our loss.

#3 Baylor carved up the #8 Longhorns in Waco, 75-58. Yes, Ariel Atkins is back, but #8 Texas seems to have lost some of its mojo. The fact Nneka Enemkpali left the game with a knee injury has got to make everyone’s gut clench.

UPDATED: Texas forward Enemkpali lost for season with torn ACL

In other weekend scores:

Speaking of lost mojo – Northwestern has stumbled badly, losing three of their last four.

West Virginia righted their ship – at least for one game – and took down #21 Oklahoma State, 61-49. The Cowgirls seem to have thrown a shoe.

Sic’em Sooners: Down go the Horned Frogs and the Cowgirls. Texas Tech is next, followed by Texas. Sherri and company seem to be on their way to rescuing a seemingly lost season.

Many people, some at least, when things are going very well, begin to look for when, where and how everything might fall apart. And things are going very well for coach Sherri Coale’s Oklahoma women’s basketball team.

Yet, even with today’s 3:30 p.m. tip coming up against Bedlam rival Oklahoma State, the Sooners appear not at all wrapped up in what might go wrong, nor how they might be affected if something were to go wrong.

Heck, yes, the MAC is going to be a dogfight: Ohio, Central Michigan, Akron and Ball State are pounding on everyone… and each other.

American is busy putting distance between themselves and the rest of the Patriot League.

Keep an eye on this one in the West Coast Conference: Gonzaga (6-0) at St. Mary’s (5-1), January 22nd.

Middle Tennessee State rolled La Tech, but you’ve got to be looking ahead to their rematch against Southern Miss. And then there’s that game v. #24 Western Kentucky

Not only have the Lady Toppers won 13 games in a row, the last 11 games by have come by double digits, all by at least 14 points.

WKU’s 13-game winning streak is tied for the sixth longest streak in the nation entering Sunday’s games. Western will look for its first 14-game or better streak since the 2002-03 season when it returns to the court on Thursday. WKU has just four streaks in program history of 14 consecutive wins or better. The school record is a 21-game streak during the 1990-91 season. The Toppers’ 13 straight wins are tied for the eighth longest streak in Conference USA history.

Fresno State is enjoying it’s status atop the Mountain West. But, they just escaped Wyoming…  and face Colorado State in a couple of weeks.

Nice win for Sacramento State. They score under 80 points, yet give Eastern Washington their first in-conference loss, and move into the top spot in the Big Sky.

Ouchos Gouchos. How far Santa Barbara has fallen. They stay winless on the year as Long Beach stomps all over them, 81-44.

Illinois State is also winless and, unlucky Redbirds, they get to go up against Wichita State next.

Marist dispatched Sienna. Quinnipiac dumped the Jaspers. Thursday, they get to go against each other. 

# 16 Duke handled the Hurricanes, 68-53, behind Williams’ double-double. Miami doesn’t have a lot of time to recover from the loss (of Laura Quevedo): they face Louisville on the 25th.

In a good news, bad news day: Seton Hall overwhelmed Depaul, 107-87. The Pirates then announced they’d dimissed Bra’Shey Ali from the team for multiple violations of team rules. The leading rebounder for the Hall, Ali had similar issues at Kentucky.

Fordham and George Washington are still the cream of the A-10.

No, they’re not setting the basketball world on fire, but I am noticing Rhode Island is a LOT better than they have been in the past few years.

This is an “upset” to the uninformed: Down-two-Kentucky falls to Up-one-LSU, 84-79.

#23 Minnesota was pushed by Indiana, but escaped with a 65-61 win.

It was an ugly offensive game, 32.7% v. 32.8%, but #22 Iowa will take the 2-point win over Michigan State.

#1 South Carolina is marching through the SEC. Next up, #10 Texas A&M.

Not only did Florida get tattooed by the Gamecocks, they then had to dismiss guard Antoinette Bannister after she was charged with credit card theft and fraud.

And more on Kim: Through foundation, Kim Perrot’s spirit is felt on MLK Day

While the nation celebrated the life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King this weekend, Loretta Perrot Hunter had another strong person who changed lives on her mind.

The sister of the late University of Louisiana at Lafayette women’s basketball great and former Houston Comets star Kim Perrot had tears of joy all weekend long as Kim’s jersey was retired by the Ragin’ Cajuns Saturday.

Read Full Post »

Team’s Mission: Beat the Boys (and Maybe Make Them Cry): Central Illinois Xpress Emerge as Unlikely Force in Fifth-Grade League

“We’d walk in, and all the boys would be like, ‘We’re playing girls?’ ” said Anne Rupnik, a point guard. “Then we’d beat them. Some of them cried.”

The players go by nicknames like Koko, Beans and Flash. They try to color-coordinate their socks. And they have gone about the hard business of winning basketball games — as the only team of girls in the league — with the cool, calculated approach of tax auditors.

“I don’t think the other teams expected us to be as tough as we were,” forward Kortnee Walton, 11, said, “and fast and strong and aggressive.

Read Full Post »

How about Notre Dame-shocker Miami at #16 Duke? Tough news for the Hurricanes, though, as they learned starter Laura Quevedo has returned home to Spain.

This could be UConn’s biggest in-conference challenge: Hosting USF.

Epps scored 20 to help #10 Kentucky to a victory in their first game after losing Thompson. Now they go into the Pete Maravich center and face an LSU team boosted by the return of Ballard.

#11 Texas A&M has had a wiggly season and Ole Miss has had a growing season. What will happen when they meet?

Monday gives us #21 Oklahoma State trying to recover from being stuffed by West Virginia. They go up against Oklahoma, who’s basking in their upset of Texas.

Who doesn’t love a good in-state rivalry? #4 Texas v. #3 Baylor.

The top of the PAC 12 is a feisty bunch (witness Washington State pushing #9 Oregon State). Wonder what we’ll find out about #14 Arizona State when they face #13 Stanford.

ESPN gives us a chance to watch Turner v. Harrison (otherwise know as #7 Notre Dame v. #6 Tennessee) at 7PM EST.

Did the arrival of a new year reveal what Notre Dame is not? Or what it is not yet?

If the second Thursday of the calendar year inspired doubts as to the former, Brianna Turner swatted at least some of them away on the third Thursday.

After a week lived out of character, defeat on the court entangled with drama and a potential departure off it, the Fighting Irish played the roles in which we have grown accustomed to seeing them Thursday night. On the road against a quality opponent that played with passion if not always precision, No. 7 Notre Dame beat No. 12 North Carolina 89-79. Down by double digits early, up by double digits in the middle and in a one-possession game late, the defending ACC champions avoided a second conference loss.

With a renewal of its rivalry against Tennessee awaiting on Big Monday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET), Notre Dame perhaps also lowered eyebrows across the country that had been raised by its travails.

Read Full Post »

but a bunch of other folks sure as heck did: Tennessee vs. Connecticut 20-year Anniversary

From Mechelle: One game grew into a phenomenon – First UConn-Tennessee meeting was touchstone for one of greatest rivalries

The series lasted for 22 games, including four matchups for the NCAA title (all won by UConn) and two others in the national semifinals (split by the teams). Former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt called a halt to the regular-season series after the 2007 season, and the programs have yet to meet again in the NCAA tournament.

Loyalists on both sides — and the rest of us who just watched and chronicled the spectacle — haven’t completely stopped talking about UConn-Tennessee ever since.

Now, though, rather than exhaustively exploring the entire series — which stands at UConn 13, Tennessee 9 — or the tangled, endlessly debated intrigue of why it ended, let’s look instead at what isn’t in dispute: How important to women’s basketball it was that the rivalry started.

From Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register: Jen Rizzotti reflects on UConn’s historic win over Tennessee

“It has become pretty apparent since that game how important it was with the rivalry with UConn and Tennessee,” said Rizzotti, now in her 16th season as the head coach at Hartford. “But it’s also the attention that is being given to women’s basketball because of that game, the tradition of having a great women’s basketball game on Martin Luther King Day. I think we all get it now. But leading up to that game, it was just a chance for us, with a little chip on our shoulder, to show we were better than maybe they thought we were. We were good enough to compete at that level and beat a team like Tennessee.”

It’s a lesson Texas is learning. First they lose to ISU, and then they get stomped by the “what’s going on with them?” Sooners. Suddenly, the Longhorns are 2-2 in the Big 12 and Oklahoma is a 4-0. Yes, Baylor looks like the class of the 12, but keep on eye on Pebley’s Horned Frogs (Oklahoma’s next opponent.).

And THIS is why I couldn’t jump in whole hog with the Mississippi State folks: The #15 Bulldogs lose their first game to Vanderbilt, and then follow that with a double-overtime loss to “Oiy, we were having a season to forget until the indefinitely suspended Danielle Ballard returned” LSU, 71-69.

#3 Baylor looked at giant-slayer Iowa State and went, “Meh.”

Oklahoma State’s Liz Donohoe hit 1,500.

Liberty’s undefeated in the Big South and High Point only has one conference loss... to the Flames. Rematch on  January 31st.

Yah, I know Texas Tech is 12-4, but we know what tends to happen when you pad your stats with cupcakes… Next up is #4 Texas.

#4 Louisville is 16-1, but their play (and their schedule, so far) doesn’t fill me with confidence. Does it you?

The MAC hosted the Debbie Antonelli Special: Akron and Toledo went at it tooth and nail, with the Zips winning 102-101.

I said Lehigh would have to go through American … and they didn’t. AU is now 5-0 in the Patriot and the Mountain Hawks are 2-2.

Just sayin’ – it should NOT take you an overtime to reach a 44-42 conclusion. Nor should a regular game end 41-38.

They aren’t what they have been, but the Great Danes still atop the American East (and coach Abrahamsson-Henderson earned her 200th victory). AND they’ve already beaten their competition, the NH Wildcats. Rematch on Feb. 4th.

So Conference USA looks to be having an interesting year. Perennial power Middle Tennessee fell (again) (at home) to Southern Miss in OT (77-75)  and Western Kentucky is 4-0 within the conference. Mark your calendars: the Toppers face USM on Jan 31st and MTSU on Feb. 21st. BTW, next up for the Blue Raiders? Summitt’s Techsters.

The first-year Lousiana Tech women’s basketball coach was born here. He went to high school here. He went to college here. He even married his high school sweetheart, who – to no one’s surprise – is from Tennessee.

So when the 24-year-old takes the court Saturday as a head coach for the first time in the same state where he grew up and that his mother – former University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt – racked up more than 1,000 wins and eight national championships in, he should feel right at home.

Both Fordham and George Washington are undefeated within the A-10. They don’t meet until Feb. 21st, but the Rams shouldn’t overlook their next opponent, VCU (3-1 in-conference.). BTW, congrats to Kimberly Beck and nice of WaPo to notice the Colonials: Jonquel Jones has GW women’s basketball team plotting return to NCAA tournament

Jonquel Jones returned to the Washington area because she wanted to play college basketball in a winning environment. In her first full season since transferring to George Washington, she is helping restore one.

Freshman in Name Only Brianna Turner’s 29 points and 18 rebounds powered #7 Notre Dame over #12 UNC, 89-79. A better showing for the Tar Heels in the wake of McDaniel’s season-ending injury.

Pittsburgh wasn’t able to build on its stunning of UNC and fell to #2o Florida State, 58-43.

BOOM, Ole Miss takes down #18 Georgia, 55-52.

Yes, #23 Minnesota is a lovely surprise this year – especially after losing Banham. And yes, I still think Ohio State is going to be scary next year.

The Blue Hens surprised Hofstra, handing the Pride their first in-conference loss, 64-53.

Man, the WCC looks like it’s going to be fun.

Long Beach State is having a season to remember. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when the 49ers meet Cal State Fullerton on Jan. 31st.

The Gazette’s Mike Hlas notes: Iowa women’s basketball team wins, entertains – Hawkeyes are 40-12 since start of last season

This isn’t exactly a news bulletin, but Lisa Bluder is getting it done at Iowa.

Bluder has been the Hawkeyes’ women’s basketball coach for 15 years, and her teams of the last two seasons have been as good as any she’s had at Iowa. They may be her best.

Yikes: 74-year-old man accused of stalking UCF women’s basketball coach

Hmmmmm: Calif. HS girls basketball coach suspended after 161-2 victory

Congrats: Kingsway girls basketball coach Karyn Pickard has Dragons on track after 300th win

BTW: A note from AP’s Doug on the Arizona/ASU “error:” It was fixed once it was noticed — and it wasn’t a “not knowing the difference” mistake.  The voter actually had Arizona State in their poll originally, but there was a cut and paste error.

Read Full Post »

After their nice piece on Kansas powerhouse Emporia State, boom, they drop to #3 in the DII polls after a one-point loss against Central Missouri. It’s especially painful ’cause they were outscored 9-1 in the closing minutes of the game.

Lewis University (Ill) moves into first, Pittsburg State University (Kan) second. The Pitt State Gorillas. How can you not cheer for a team like that!?!?!

Granted, it’s been a while since I’ve had an opportunity to indulge in some DII scanning (ain’t doing laundry grand!), but it’s interesting to see that all but two teams have one loss.

BTW, here’s a story that might explain the sudden surge of women’s basketball coverage from the Gray Lady:

Before last Tuesday night, I had never heard the name Scott Cacciola. 

Twenty-four hours later, I’m not certain that I could have been any more excited at the notion of meeting him. Cacciola is in his second year of covering the New York Knicks basketball franchise for the New York Times.

Due to the Knicks’ dismal start (OK, with a 5-35 record at the moment and having won only once in their past 26 games, perhaps atrocious would be more appropriate), the NYT sports editors decided to have mercy on their beat writer and send him around the country to view winning basketball. They fielded hundreds of suggestions from readers and, through a collaboration of sorts, are picking each trip one game at a time.

So, for the next couple of months, he’s become a modern sports version of “On the Road” with Charles Kuralt.

And he started with the nation’s top-ranked program in NCAA Division II.

Lose, Knicks, lose! (Can you tell I moved from Boston to NYC?)

In the DIII poll, last year’s champeens, Farleigh Dickinson U – Florham (N.J) are going strong at 13-0. Wonder if their governor knows they exist? Perennial top-position teams lurk below: Thomas More College (KY) (love their headline, “Tomas Uses Big Second Half Run to Veto Presidents.” And forcing 43 turnovers against Thief college? Love it.), Amherst College, Washington University – St. Louis and University of St. Thomas, (MN). Lots and lots of familiar names fill out the ranks.

The Jeffs better be careful, though… the NY Times just wrote about them, though this time it’s Jere’, so maybe they’re safe: At Amherst, Division III Team With No. 1 Ambition

Read Full Post »

Ignore us at your peril….

said Iowa State as it took down #3 Texas, 59-57.

Never underestimate the power of Hilton magic, Bill Fennelly’s motivational skills, and … Taylor Swift?

OK, maybe the latter didn’t have much to do with it, but it still fit into the narrative of Iowa State’s 59-57 upset of previously unbeaten and third-ranked Texas on Saturday.

“It was the best feeling,” said Cyclones senior guard Nikki Moody, who had the assist on teammate Seanna Johnson’s game-winning layup with 19 seconds left. “I can’t even describe it.”

said TCU as it took down #16 Oklahoma State, 70-66.

said Loyola (MD) as it took down Lehigh, 64-52.

said Florida State as it smothered #13 Duke, 74-58. 

Duke fell to Florida State 74-58 in a game that was close for a half only because of hot Blue Devil shooting in the first 15 minutes. FSU outrebounded Duke 38-28 resulting in a 15-5 advantage in second chance points. Duke’s 25 turnovers led to 23 points for the Noles. And, the combination led to FSU taking 17 more shots than the Blue Devils, a deadly combination when Duke went ice cold from the floor

said Vanderbilt as it schooled #14 Mississippi State, 78-62.

It wasn’t easy, but we won:

#5 Baylor over West Virginia, 66-62.

Chattanooga over Furman, 47-40.

George Washington over Richmond, 77-67.

#1 South Carolina over #10 Kentucky... the Wildcats showed HUGE heart, considering they were undermanned and then lost another player to an awful injury.

Navy over Army, 53-50.

Seton Hall over Providence, 68-67.

Quinnipiac over Niagara, 71-68.

#9 Texas A&M over LSU, 55-48.

#8 Louisville over Wake Forest, 79-68.

#20 Georgia over Auburn, 57-52.

Debbie Antonelli special: Michigan over Ohio State, 100-94 in OT.

Coming back to Earth probably should always include a parachute.

A soaring Ohio State women’s basketball team entered a Big Ten matchup against Michigan yesterday afternoon with top-25 possibilities swirling around the program.

All that the Buckeyes (11-6, 3-2) needed was a fourth straight conference win. Instead, they took a precipitous fall in a 100-94 overtime loss to the Wolverines (11-5, 3-2).

Denver over North Dakota State, 75-73.

IUPUI over South Dakota State, 68-67.

Tennessee over Arkansas, 60-51.

#12 Maryland over #23 Minnesota, 77-73. Amazing dueling threes at the end of that game...

#19 Nebraska over Illinois, 58-53.

#15 Stanford over Washington State, 86-76 in OT.

Washington over Cal, 79-77.

Yah, we’re good:
#22 Princeton over Penn, 83-54.
#18 ASU over Arizona, 71-54.
Green Bay over Youngstown State, 66-43.
#11 Oregon State over Oregon, 77-48.

Didn’t let the “we’re ranked!” hoopla distract us: Western Kentucky over ODU, 76-60.

Hmmmm:
More badness for Penn State.

Ouch, tough in-conference start for Bowling Green.

Equally tough time for Michigan State in their conference.

‘Ware the Bears? Maine over Hartford, 68-57.

Read Full Post »

especially:

#10 Kentucky at #1 South Carolina – though having Goss on the court would be more fun)

Virginia at #21 Syracuse – a chance for the Orange to get their first ACC win or the Cavaliers to prove that this season means they’re on the road up. BTW, this stinks: Syracuse women’s basketball player Brittney Sykes out for season with ACL injury

#13 Duke at Florida State – could be a statement game for the Seminoles against a shaky Blue Devil team.

#12 Maryland at #23 Minnesota – so, who exactly IS this Gopher team?

#19 Nebraska at Illinois – careful, careful, careful, Big Red…

Georgia Tech at #8 North Carolina – can the Tar Heels regroup or does the Ramblin’ Wreck take advantage?

#15 Stanford at Washington State – yes, the Cougars aren’t quite the threat the Huskies were, but the Cardinal can’t take anything for granted this season.

Today’s games I’m keeping an eye on:

Phoenix v. Penguins.

Tigers v. Quakers.

Hatters v. Eagles.

West Coast Tigers v. Gaels.

A little West Coast news: Fresno State women’s basketball quite all right under new coach Jaime White

During her four years on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, Alex Sheedy has played for three different coaches.

Without any prompting, the senior forward majoring in mass communication and journalism will tell you which ranks atop her list.

It’s the one who has the current Bulldogs off to an 11-3 start and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference: first-year coach Jaime White.

Oregon State Beavers women’s basketball notes and nuggets: Home sweet home — finally

Friday’s Civil War matchup will be Oregon State’s first appearance inside Gill Coliseum since Dec. 6.

For some perspective, that’s the same week former football coach Mike Riley left for Nebraska. 

Mid-west(ish): CU women’s basketball: Jamee Swan reaching potential in new role

Jamee Swan is able to laugh about the emotional swings of Jamee Swan now because she seems to be getting them under control and it’s showing up in the box score for the Colorado women’s basketball team. 

It hasn’t quite translated to Swan leading her team to more victories in the Pac-12 Conference, but she’s evolving for sure midway through her junior season. Swan has led the Buffs in scoring in four straight games, despite recently going from starter to the first player coach Linda Lappe brings off the bench.

Gophers women’s basketball: Unbeaten in Rachel Banham’s absence

A prominent objective for the Gophers women’s basketball team heading into this season was to crack the Associated Press top 25 for the first time since 2006. It seemed like an attainable goal, even though Minnesota hadn’t been nationally ranked in nearly 10 years. 

Then Rachel Banham tore her ACL, and it appeared, at least briefly, that all hope was lost. Banham was the preseason Big Ten Conference player of the year and all-important to the Gophers.

New Mexico: Team leader Chirrisse Bryce Owens has her own pace on, off court

Head coach Yvonne Sanchez said Owens has shown tremendous growth in each of her the three years in the program.

“She used to be so serious when she first got here,” Sanchez said. “She can be really light-hearted but can also be intense.”

Sanchez said Owens has outgrown the constant role of being a stickler and has blossomed into the easygoing leader the team needs.

From Jeff Metcalfe: Elisha Davis emerges as floor leader for No. 18 ASU women

“Lili can be misunderstood if you don’t really know her,” Turner Thorne said. “She wants to do her best and do things right every time and her biggest weakness is when she doesn’t, she gets frustrated with herself. I think in the back of her mind she wondered, do I belong here? Can I really play at Arizona State? Am I good enough?”

The answers we now know to those questions are yes, yes and yes.

Ouch! Broken-teeth incident lands Tulsa’s Ashley Hughes label of ‘toughest player in women’s basketball’

From the East Coast: While the Governor goes off to cheer for the Cowboys, New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham’s women’s basketball team is on a 45-game roll

When it comes to winning streaks, the longer they go on, the harder they are to keep up. You get a target on your back the better you are, and when you dominate the competition, everybody wants to be the David to you Goliath.

If that’s truly the case, then when it comes to the Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham Devils, that target might be seen from space. The Devils are definitely a super-sized Goliath, having won 45 games in a row, including the 2014 DIV III Women’s Basketball Championship which capped off a 33-0 season.

Not sure what’s gotten into the NY Times, but they’re still noticing women’s basketball. This time it’s a familiar name in DII basketball: They Don’t Rebuild. They Replace. Emporia State Lady Hornets Keep Winning Despite Turnover

The Lady Hornets of Emporia State, 130 miles from home, had gone scoreless in their first two possessions against Missouri Western on Thursday night when the freshman point guard Addie Lackey cradled the basketball near midcourt and turned to her coach, Jory Collins, for instruction.

“Motion!” Collins yelled. “Let’s go!”

Three words were all it took for Lackey to ignite the offense, sending the ball from one pair of hands to the next until Merissa Quick made a short jumper. It was the type of precise possession that has become brutally familiar to opponents not only this season, but also for much of the past two decades.

At Princeton, a Student of Sports Leadership Successfully Applies Her Research: Courtney Banghart Has Led Tigers to 16-0 Record

As a women’s basketball assistant at Dartmouth in 2007, Courtney Banghart juggled her coaching duties with requirements for a master’s degree in writing and leadership development. For her final project, she conducted in-person interviews with accomplished coaches, including the North Carolina women’s soccer coach, Anson Dorrance, and the Connecticut women’s basketball coach, Geno Auriemma.

That May, days after completing and defending her 100-page oral history on sports leadership, Banghart, then 29, was hired as Princeton’s coach. She is now a rising star in a profession she never thought she would pursue when she was a neuroscience major and two-time first-team all-Ivy League guard as an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

Some Maggie Dixon follow up by Ray at Swish Appeal: Gail Marquis reflects on first women’s game at MSG and A historic classic at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Battling through Adversity as ACC Play Begins

One game from an extended holiday break, things were running smoothly for second year head coach Wes Moore and his NC State women’s basketball program. Despite losing 50.4 combined points per game (67.1 percent of the total offense) due to the graduation of its most recent senior class, which included WNBA Draft picks Markeisha Gatling and Kody Burke, the team was 8-3, in the midst of a three-game winning streak, and had only suffered losses to teams inside the top 49 of the RPI. 

One fast break changed a lot on December 19 against Davidson. While driving up the court, senior captain and guard Krystal “KB” Barrett stopped short to pump fake a trailing defender, suffering a non-contact injury to her right knee in the process.

Congrats! LSU’s Temeka Johnson announced as SEC Legend

 Schaefer has Miss. State on the rise

This was Vic Schaefer, coach of the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, talking late Sunday afternoon:

“We set offensive basketball back at least 20 years today.”

“We’re just not very good on the offensive end of the floor. We are not executing. We keep turning the ball over. Offensively, we are awful.”

“It’s my job to fix it and I’m not doing a very good job right now.”

Enough. Now then, you should know Schaefer’s Bulldogs, ranked No. 17 at the time, had just defeated Missouri 53-47, on the road, erasing a nine-point second-half deficit, to go to 17-0 on the season. That continued the best start and longest winning streak in school history.

From Swish Appeal, some WNBA news: Three questions on how Brian Agler will make his impact on the Los Angeles Sparks and The New York Liberty’s rehiring of Bill Laimbeer is questionable at best

Speaking of the Liberty: Cappie Pondexter Joins Athlete Ally

Q: You attended the Athlete Ally Action Awards in New York City and accepted the award given to the WNBA, which was honored for its LGBT Pride initiative. What was your takeaway from that night, meeting so many athletes and fans–both LGBT and straight–who all have such a commitment to making sports a welcoming place?

A: That night gave me a sense of peace knowing that Athlete Ally’s commitment to bridging the gap of equality in sports has grown tremendously. It is empowering to see the organization’s continued support for the LGBT community.

Congrats! Moore Honored As 2014 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

Penny Taylor urges Canberra Capital Stephanie Talbot to take WNBA plunge

Talbot is averaging 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game in her first season with the Capitals. 

She was taken at pick 33 by the Mercury in last year’s WNBA draft, but is yet to decide whether to head to the US when the next season begins in June. 

The 20-year-old’s high basketball IQ, speed, athletic frame and passing ability have impressed many astute judges, including Taylor. 

Please: Kim Perott Basketball Court proposal presented to LCG Council

The Martin Luther King Center on Cora Street in Lafayette would be considered by many an ideal place to remember Kim Perrot.  This basketball court is where Perrot’s dreams played out. Loretta Perrot is Kim’s big sister.  “I believe in my she had a mission from God.  He allowed her to be without any pain and suffering.  When the cancer overcame her she just went through it. She was a true soldier.”

From West Virginia: Flying Eagles introducing girls basketball hall of fame

Staples and Brown, the inside and outside threats from several top Woodrow teams in the mid-1980s, will be inducted into the hall. They’ll each receive a plaque, and their jerseys will be hung from the ceiling at the Woodrow gym. A special hall of fame banner will also be showcased.

Chick-fil-A at the Beckley Galleria will sponsor the girls hall. Owner Richard Jarrell has been a key booster of the team since he returned to Beckley several years ago. He’s helped get it scoreboards and better facilities, and he’s glad to be part of the new hall.

“I started going to the girls games because I was friends with (former coach) Bernie Bostick, and I loved watching the girls play,” he said. “This is past due. When they said they would do a hall of fame and were looking for a sponsor, I said, ‘I’m in!’”

Food for thought from Leland Gordon: Coaches share thoughts on 161-2 high school girls basketball game

Of all the blowouts we’ve seen here at MaxPreps, we don’t think we’ve seen one as big as 161-2.

That was the final score Monday between the girls basketball teams from Arroyo Valley (San Bernardino, Calif.) and Bloomington (Calif.), and as expected, it elicited conversation about how winning coaches are supposed to handle games where things are possibly getting out of hand.

Check out A High School Girls’ Basketball Miracle in Minnesota

We know Long Beach (college) is having a great year, but the high school entered 2015 on a sour note. Luckily,  the community came together to help:

After Christmas, the Poly girls went to Florida for a tournament. After landing in South Florida, they stopped to grab a bite to eat before making the estimated 90-minute drive to Naples. 

While they were inside the restaurant one of the team’s rental vans was broken into. Equipment and personal items were stolen. 
A Poly parent, who was making the trip a day later, was able to bring some extra uniforms so that the players who had theirs stolen would be able to play in the tournament. 

Then, enter Long Beach. 

Read Full Post »

The story: “There’s no parity in women’s basketball.”

The truth:

Illinois over #17 Iowa, 73-61.

Pittsburgh over #5 North Carolina, 84-59.

Miami over #4 Notre Dame, 78-63.

I’m trying to decide which upset is most surprising.

Yes, Notre Dame was on the road, but lordy, they were down 20 at the half to a team whose “best” win of the season to date was… heck, it’ s hard to point to a “good” Miami win – they’ve lost to MTU, ASU and Tulane.

“You never like to lose, but we’re just so darn young sometimes that we needed maybe a kick in the pants to kind of say we need to come out ready,” said Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw. “I don’t know mentally what they were thinking before the game but we were uncharacteristically bad in the first half. Credit their defense, that really set us back on our heels.”

That being said, one has to consider the impact (and back story) of the news that starting sophomore forward Taya Reimer, who did not travel with the team to Miami, is considering her future at the university.

Even without Xylina McDaniel, North Carolina’s loss to Pittsburgh makes me shake my head. It’s not just that it’s Pitt. (Blog followers know that they struggled early this season, losing to Duquesne, James Madison and Princeton, but they played #7 Louisville tough.) It’s the score. This wasn’t a close game.

Michigan was a big win for the Pitt women. 

Ohio State was a big win, too. 

Neither of those earlier victories — nor very many wins in the history of the program, for that matter — compare to Thursday’s 84-59 victory over No. 8 North Carolina at Petersen Events Center

The win was Pitt’s first against a ranked opponent in almost four years and was their third over a top-10 opponent. 

No, we haven’t been talking about Iowa a lot, but we have mentioned Illinois more than a few times, so perhaps you weren’t too surprised by the news that the Hawkeyes got taken down by Matt Bollant’s Illini.

Illinois finished the game on a 26-8 run and held No. 17 Iowa to only three field goals over the final 10 minutes of the game as the Fighting Illini pulled away for a 73-61 win at State Farm Center on Thursday. It marked the Orange and Blue’s second win over a ranked opponent this season and Illinois held Iowa to its second-lowest point total of the season. Illinois improves to 11-4 on the campaign, its best start in seven years, and 2-1 in Big Ten play.

Let’s start a new story: There’s no parity in men’s college basketball.

So, speaking of close games, I see that Duke escaped Syracuse by two. Is there something askew with the ACC traditional powers? (And, soon, ‘Cuse, sooon you’ve got to come out of these close losses with a win!)

Okay, I’m paying attention: MSU women make another piece of history

Stat stuffers don’t care how their lines in the final boxscore look. 

After all, if players who fill numerous columns with crooked numbers are doing their jobs, their team’s total in bold at the bottom of the page is going to be bigger than the opponent’s.

Dominique Dillingham’s numbers Thursday were far from the biggest on the final statistics for the No. 14 Mississippi State women’s basketball team’s 72-57 victory against Arkansas. But none of the 3,556 in attendance at Humphrey Coliseum would deny Dillingham had perhaps the biggest impact in helping MSU push its season-opening winning streak to 18. In the process, MSU made another piece of history in opening Southeastern Conference play 3-0 for the first time. 

Hey! Look who’s ranked! Western Kentucky! First time since the 1997-98 season.

‘‘It’s an awesome day for our program,’’ WKU coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. ‘‘It gives me chills when you say that we’re ranked. It’s a great day for everyone that’s ever tied their shoe here or had to do with WKU in the past.’’

Anyone think that Ohio State is going to be scary good next year?

Yup, that’s #18 Arizona State winning, matching the program’s best start.

The Debbie Antonelli includes, of course, Sacramento State. This time they came out on top, 93-86.

In-conference play is killing San Francisco’s mojo.

It’s kinda feeling like, this year, the A-10 is George Washington’s to lose.

I’m not going to declare the Patriot League Lehigh’s until after they face American. Twice.

The Tigers roar in Graham’s mid-majors poll (and sit in the 22nd spot in the AP poll)

Courtney Banghart developed a standard response when asked about the outlook for her Princeton team this season, the first season the Tigers began coming off anything other than an NCAA tournament appearance since the fall of 2009, when every member of the current roster was in high school or even middle school.

It was a likable group of people, really likable. But she wasn’t sure they knew how hard it is to win.

“I just didn’t know if they actually had enough edge,” Banghart said. “If they hated losing — which is different, whether you hate losing more than you like winning, or you like winning more than you hate losing. I didn’t know if they were able to make the shift. Was this team really going to hate to lose and come with that edge?”

They must really hate losing. Because they can’t stop winning.

Steve Megargee of the AP give “the other majors” some love:

The first half of the women’s basketball season produced plenty of memorable moments for mid-major programs.

Chattanooga beat Tennessee and Stanford for its first two wins over top-10 opponents in school history. Princeton is ranked 22nd and Western Kentucky is 25th. Green Bay (11-3) was in the Top 25 earlier this season.

“I think it’s great for the game, for women’s basketball,” Western Kentucky coach Michelle Clark-Heard said. “That’s what we want to have the opportunity to do, to just continue to keep working and building, so … we don’t have to be in a position where we have to win our conference (tournament) to get to the NCAA.”

Michelle writes about those “other” Huskies, and their peach of a player, Plum: Plum paces Washington to 12-2 start – Huskies set to take on No. 15 Stanford on Friday, Cal on Sunday

As a freshman last season, Kelsey Plum confesses, she sometimes felt “dumb,” even if the stat sheet didn’t show it.

“At least in terms of making plays,” the University of Washington sophomore guard said. “I guessed a lot.”

Plum seems to have found the right answers pretty quickly. The nation’s second-leading scorer at 25.0 points a game, Plum is setting the tone for a Huskies team that is about to embark on its most defining weekend in a decade.

“We are finding a quiet confidence,” said Washington second-year coach Mike Neighbors.

He saw it in the days before his team played then-No. 5 Texas A&M before the turn of the new year. Washington won that game 70-49, one of the most unexpected results of the young season.

In W news, Mechelle addresses the “You’re fired!” “You’re hired!”

There are certain sports franchises — and players and coaches, for that matter — who do weird things that at first make you say, “You’re kidding. Seriously, they did that?” But then you say, “Oh, wait a minute. This is (fill in the name) that we’re talking about.”

The New York Liberty are such a franchise. But the re-hiring of Bill Laimbeer as coach less than three months after he was fired by the organization is head-scratching even by Liberty standards.

Oh, wait a minute. Not really. This is the Liberty we’re talking about.

Let me make haste to say, though, I actually don’t think this is a bad decision at all. It’s correcting a bad decision, which was firing Laimbeer back in October without a really strong idea of whom the franchise could get to replace him.

More Liberty news: 7 ON YOUR SIDE: HOOPS PRIZE WINNER NEEDS ASSIST

A little history: Former Wayland Baptist Flying Queen Cherri Rapp has been named for induction into the Panhandle Sports Hall of Fame.

Rapp played for the Flying Queens from 1968-72 under coach Harley Redin, winning two AAU championships along with third- and fourth-place finishes as those teams combined for a 107-13 win-loss record.
 
A three-time NWIT and AAU All-American, Rapp scored 1,348 points to rank third at the time on the Flying Queens’ career scoring list; today, she’s 14th.
 
She was a member of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team that competed in the 1976 Montreal Games. She played in the Pan American Games in 1971 (Brazil) and 1975 (Colombia), serving as captain of the team that won the 1975 gold medal, and also played in the World Games in 1971 (Brazil) and 1975 (Mexico).

Read Full Post »

Saturday Night Live - Season 1

 

New York Liberty rename Bill Laimbeer head coach.

Read Full Post »

The NY Times pays attention: Years of Repetition Help Sharpshooter Equal a Record – Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of UConn Took Aim at Record for 3-Pointers

As Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis took aim at one of the most significant scoring records in women’s basketball at Connecticut, perhaps the most meaningful assist had nothing to do with any teammate.

Mosqueda-Lewis, a senior forward, hit three 3-pointers in a 98-60 win over Tulsa at the XL Center in Hartford on Wednesday night to match Diana Taurasi’s team career record of 318. In a recent interview, Mosqueda-Lewis recalled her stepfather’s devotion as they laid the foundation for her success, shot by twisting shot.

“Repetition is what works for me,” she said, “constantly getting shots up.”

Read Full Post »

The 9th annual Maggie Dixon Classic (has it really been that long?) was another great event. First, and foremost, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves exactly who was Maggie was and the powerful impact she made in such a brief time.

08dixon_span

“In a house of leaders, she stood out.”

– Army Superintendent Lt. Gen. William J. Lennox Jr.

 

I became aware of Army women’s basketball after they played UConn on December 31st, 2005. Back then, the Huskies were broadcast on CPTV, and the broadcast team of Bob Picozzi and Megan Pattyson made a effort to speak to the opposition’s coaches about their program and share that with viewers. I was intrigued by what I heard and, in what became an ongoing effort to diversify my women’s basketball awareness, I started following the team. As they started winning, so did others.

From Ira Berkow: West Point Is Standing at Attention for Army Women’s Coach

Dixon, who credits her assistant Dave Magarity with easing the transition, was named Patriot League coach of the year. Now Army, seeded 15th, is preparing to face second-seeded Tennessee on Sunday in Norfolk, Va. On Friday, Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh will face Kent State in the first round of the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament.

Part of the interview process at Army had Dixon meeting with the team. ”It was lunchtime, and they had just come in from formation, wearing their blue-and-gray uniforms, and a few of them had sabers dangling at their sides,” Dixon recalled recently. ”It was very impressive. Then one of the women proceeded to open her cellophane-wrapped sandwich with the saber. I was taken aback for a moment, but then she, and the others, laughed. I thought, ‘I just might like this place.’ ”

From Adrian Wojnarowski, March 17, 2006: Army coach is just like her team: tough when it counts

There were a lot of people thinking that, at 28 years old, she was looking for trouble. Deep down, she believed something else. Yes, she was sold on the possibilities of West Point. Mostly, she was sold on herself.

“I thought this was an opportunity of a lifetime, but people wondered, how are you going to recruit there?” Dixon says. “How will you do it? To me, this is an institution that just has so much to offer.”

Five months and 20 victories later, it’s strange how the perspective of coaching women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy changes as you’re sitting on the shoulders of the Long Gray Line, bobbing in the air at Christl Arena after the Patriot League Championship game, a scene unlike anything ever witnessed in West Point basketball.

Why did she take this job?

From the AP, I’m guessing Doug, April 6, 2006: Army enjoying newfound fame

Army’s women’s basketball team is becoming quite the craze as the huge underdogs prepare to meet Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Not only at West Point, where the players and coach Maggie Dixon were carried off the court by cadets after winning the Patriot League tournament to earn their first NCAA berth, but seemingly everywhere they go these days.

At a restaurant in Virginia on Friday night, fans yelled “Go Army” as the team shuffled in. Supporters honk, yell and wave from cars when they see the team outside.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Megan Vrabel said Saturday. “Absolutely amazing.”

dixon.583.1
And then, suddenly, horribly: Maggie Dixon, Army Women’s Basketball Coach, Is Dead at 28

From Adrian, April 17th: Dixon’s death cuts short a championship-caliber life

Maggie Dixon had been a storybook coach of the storybook season, hired from DePaul just days before the start of preseason practice, winning 20 games and making her brother and her the first siblings ever to make the NCAA Tournaments together as coaches. “This is such a great story,” she said that day in the hotel suite.

And without warning — without anything but the cruelest of fates — the Dixon family was back together on Thursday at the Westchester Medical Center where the most vicious of nightmares was unfolding. Maggie Dixon, 28, suffered an arrhythmia heart episode on Wednesday at West Point, leaving her in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Thursday night, she died at age 28.

Maggie’s death sent shockwaves of grief across the West Point campus and through the ranks of women’s basketball who’d so embraced her and the women she coached. But years later, her influence was still being felt as ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill chronicled in 2011: Maggie Dixon still revered for her impact – Five years after her death, the Army coach continues to touch peoples’ lives

Mallette, a captain on Maggie’s one-and-only team at Army, is married now and lives in Albany, N.Y., where she’s finishing up her first year of law school. She’s the only one from the 2005-06 squad not on active duty, long ago forced into a medical discharge. Her bad back allowed her one of the closest views to Coach Dixon, which is the only name they call her to this day. Coach Dixon saw how much Mallette loved the game, how much she was hurting. She let her play sparingly — enough to feel part of the team — and the rest of the time, Mallette sat beside her to watch and learn. They were all so young. Maggie was only six years older than Mallette, kind of like a big sister or a cool aunt.

“She’s somebody you meet for five minutes and feel like you have a best friend forever,” Mallette says. “She had that aura about her. You got drawn in, and you didn’t want to let go.”

This is a story about a woman who died too young, but still has been able to influence so many, even five years after her death. People like Mallette, who, despite her doubts, still picked up that phone and called the California area code to Dixon’s parents. Would they remember her? Would they approve of her request?

Read Merrill’s piece, and you’ll realize how extraordinary Maggie’s family is. Consider all they’ve done since their daughter/sister’s death: Maggie’s Legacy

Since then, Jamie, their sister Julie Dixon Silva and parents Marge and Jimmy Dixon established the Maggie Dixon Foundation, which works to promote women’s collegiate basketball and “to bring awareness to sudden cardiac arrest among young people, especially athletes.” The Foundation hosts the Maggie Dixon Classic, which began at West Point and is now conducted annually at Madison Square Garden. “We wanted it to be the premier women’s basketball event in the country, and it quickly became that,” says Jamie.

They also host the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair. “Once we established the Maggie Dixon Classic and had a venue, we quickly recognized we should create a heart health fair. We saw an opportunity to promote heart health (diet and exercise), heart screening and SCA awareness, including CPR-AED training.”

If you feel moved to do so, I invite you to donate in support of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

I can’t imagine their pain will ever go away, and yet every year they show up to an event that can only remind them of their loss. And every year they are gracious and generous to those they know and total strangers who reach out to them. I should know, because I had a chance to speak briefly with Maggie’s sister, Julie.

This year’s Classic not only honored Maggie’s legacy, but women’s basketball past – a game with a direct link to UConn’s head coach. From Doug, Maggie Dixon Classic honors history of women’s hoops at MSG

Geno Auriemma fondly remembers one of his first trips to Madison Square Garden when he was an assistant at Saint Joseph’s.

He was given $20 to take the train to New York from Philadelphia and scout Immaculata and Queens College. The two schools were the powers in women’s basketball at the time. Only a few years earlier, those two schools played in the first women’s game at MSG in 1975 in front of nearly 12,000 fans.

That game was part of a men’s-women’s doubleheader on Feb. 22. Most of the fans had left the building by the half of the men’s game between Fairfield and UMass having seen the thrilling 65-61 win by Immaculata.

As for the games played yesterday, UConn v. St. John’s was the “featured” matchup, but I very much enjoyed the Immaculata v. Queens College game. It reminded me that, Division I, II, III, NAIA, or Junior College, there are women who play college basketball with passion and skill.

Appropriately enough, the IU/QC game report from Queenie: Maggie Dixon Classic: Rowland powers Queens in historic rematch. No, there were no nuns with buckets, but here was a fabulous, joyous moment:
There will never be anything not awesome about dancing nuns in college sweatshirts.
***
Lots of people there for both teams, and I loved it. There’s something subconsciously dissonant about nuns wearing college sweatshirts with their coifs, but it’s a good kind of dissonance. (After the second game, I saw some of them being taken on a tour of the Garden. Strangely adorable.)
At halftime of the game, the members of the Queens and Immaculata teams who played in first women’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden in 1975 were honored (Again, thank you Harvey, for the lovely article). It was incredibly moving to watch Olympian Gail Marquis (1976), Queens College coach Lucille Kyvallos, former WNBA presidency Donna Orender and their friends-teammates-supporters walk the red carpet and be celebrated.

If ever there was a link between the formative past of women’s college basketball and its fanciful present, it was when the teams from Connecticut and Immaculata came together Sunday between games of the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Immaculata had just been defeated by Queens, 76-60, in a 40-years-later rematch between the teams that played the first women’s college game at the Garden in February 1975. Connecticut, the dominant team of its time and the holder of a record nine national championships, was about to run its record to 12-1 by handling stubborn St. John’s, 70-54.

*****

Stewart is especially long and elastic, an athletic wonder who has made an impression on Lucille Kyvallos, the coach of Queens in the 1975 Garden game, which Immaculata won.

At 82, Kyvallos flew in from Florida to reunite with several of her former players, who were introduced at halftime of the morning opener. She said she was avid viewer of the women’s game on television, especially of Connecticut and Stewart.

“She’s so long,” Kyvallos said. “She does things we couldn’t imagine women doing when I was coaching.”

More on the Husky/Red Storm game:
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to play in the Martin Luther King game for it seems like the last 20 years and the Jimmy V Classic, too. Both are huge, very important. But this game is more personal for me because I knew Maggie and I know her family.”
The 9th annual Maggie Dixon Classic was full of complementing images and emotions: Young Division I athletes, on scholarships that came about because of Title IX, competing with the promise of professional careers as a possibility. Young Division II and III athletes competing because they love the game and understand the immeasurable benefits of being part of a team. Women, forty years their senior, watching the results of a future the only glimpsed when Patsy Mink, Edith Green, Birch Bayh and all of those who fought (and continue to fight) to pass and uphold the federal statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools.
But it will always be rooted in Maggie’s story. From Brian Koonz: When the message is bigger than the game, Post
There are moments in sports when the message, and very often the messenger, are bigger than the game.
 
Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden was one of those moments.
 
Except for No. 2 UConn’s predictable 70-54 victory over St. John’s in the Maggie Dixon Classic, this day was all about the unexpected.
 
Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Dixon’s death, a weeping, black armband for women’s college basketball. The game still mourns Dixon, the Army coach who climbed a stepladder at West Point and cut down a comet, all the way to the program’s first NCAA tournament berth.

Read Full Post »

thank you for the article.”

A First at the Garden Earns an Encore – Queens and Immaculata Played in First Women’s Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden in 1975

The game is a distant but shining beacon, its significance magnified across four decades of growth. But the first women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden was initially just a showdown between fierce rivals, producing a winner, a loser and acute memories of how the result came about.

That was the whole point of the clash between Queens College and little Immaculata of Pennsylvania on Feb. 22, 1975: to demonstrate that women were ready — overdue, in fact — to compete anytime, anywhere, including on the country’s biggest basketball stage.

It turned out that people would even pay to watch.

It’s 2015 and tickets are still available. Are you in?

Maggie Dixon Classic
Presented by Advance Auto Parts 

Sunday, January 4 | 10:30 AM

Save 25% on Tickets!

This Sunday, the defending National Champion UConn Huskies will square off against the St. John’s Red Storm in the Maggie Dixon Classic, presented by Advance Auto Parts.

In the first game, Queens College takes on Immaculata University, commemorating the first women’s game at The Garden 40 years ago between these two teams.

Also, don’t miss the Heart Health Fair! Fans who take part in our “Game Plan for Healthy Living” will receive a free gift.

Use code LIBERTY to save 25% On Tickets!

Read Full Post »

Around the games:

The Tennessee-Missouri game was tight. And then it got feisty. The Vols prevailed, but you’ve gotta wonder what kind of suspensions might be in their future.

An Old Big East matchup produces an upset: St. John’s vs. Seton Hall: Red Storm stands firm against #24 Pirates.

One team cracked under the pressure. It wasn’t the team I was expecting. One phenomenal backcourt got into foul trouble and was never quite the same. It wasn’t the backcourt I was expecting.

OT produces another upset. Villanova (6-7) takes down prohibitive New Big East favorite, #25 DePaul, 79-76. Why? The Blue Demons went ice cold at the end of the game and in OT, but they also shot 4-19 on threes and the Wildcats shot 7-13.

#17 Mississippi State held serve against #19 Georgia, 64-56. The Bulldogs are still undefeated, and the locals are noticing: While MSU men’s hoops struggle, women’s team surges

Two programs under third-year coaches host big-name opponents today at Humphrey Coliseum.

The similarities end there. They are two programs heading in opposite directions.

Mississippi State’s men’s basketball squad is 1-5 in its last six games. Meanwhile, the women’s team, led by coach Vic Schaefer, is 15-0, marking the best start and longest winning streak in school history.

Yup, Florida State is legit. Notre Dame turned a one-point halftime deficit (and a 9-point second half deficit) into a six-point win.

Losing senior Aleighsa Welch to a neck sprain (she’s okay) didn’t derail South Carolina’s dismantling of Auburn, 77-58.

Around the Conferences:

Penn Quakers: Women’s Basketball Eyes Big 5 Title vs Temple

 Penn will start 2015 with possibly the biggest Big 5 matchup in school history. The Quakers can clinch a share of their first-ever Big 5 title with a win over Temple at The Palestra on Monday night. The Red and Blue haven’t beaten the Owls at home in more than 15 years, but snapped a nine-game losing streak in the series last season at McGonigle Hall. Tip off is set for 7 p.m., and the game can be seen on the Ivy League Digital Network.

Pac-12 women’s basketball primer: Is Stanford still the favorite?

Scott Rueck isn’t sure if the Pac-12 is the most competitive conference in women’s basketball. 

But the Oregon State coach believes his league belongs in the discussion.

OSU women’s basketball: Beavers ready for competitive Pac-12 campaign

There’s no doubt the No. 13 Oregon State women’s basketball team is prepared for the upcoming rigors of a Pac-12 schedule that features numerous deep and talented teams.

So are several other teams thanks to some solid nonconference battles against ranked teams.

The conference showed well over the first part of the season with three Pac-12 teams knocking off top-6 opponents.

‘We’re playing to win the conference’: UMaine women’s basketball opens America East slate against Albany

There was a time not too long ago that facing the University at Albany might have been a daunting prospect for the University of Maine women’s basketball team.

And while the Black Bears have the utmost respect for the three-time defending America East champions, they are beginning to feel as though they’re very much in the same league as the Great Danes.

Well, carp:

Bowling Green State University women’s basketball student-athletes  Erica Donovan Lauren Webb  are expected to miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season due to injury, head coach  Jennifer Roos has announced. Both Donovan, a redshirt junior, and Webb, a freshman, were injured during the Falcons’ win at Illinois State University on Dec. 19.

Additionally, redshirt freshman  Leah Bolton will apply for a medical retirement with the NCAA due to recurring injuries, ending her BGSU playing career.

That’s one, by one: St. Peter’s over Rider, 50-49.

Also in the MAAC, looks like it might be a dog fight between Quinnipiac, Marist and… Canisius?

FGCU had to come back strong in the second half to defeat Harvard, 68-58. BTW, the Eagles will pick up Georgia transfer Sydnei McCaskill.

Clemson has not been good for a long, long time. But under first-year coach Audra Smith, they did come back from 11 down to take down Virginia Tech in OT. Keep an eye on the Tigers’ senior Nikki Dixon.

Well, well, well. The Cornell Bears stun the Penguins, 75-63.

Whoops! Looks like the WHB curse is in effect: Wichita St. over Indiana State, 63-52, as Alex Harden tied a WSU record with 11 (!) steals.

Worth a read and look: Sarah Kadazi from CBS Sports offers a lovely piece as she follows up with the Richmond Spiders: Healing in the Game:

The story begins here, where the glaring overhead lights bounce off the giant red spider down at center court. The Richmond Spiders women’s basketball team trots out, a mélange of braids, ponytails and curls bobbing in unison in front of 7,200 empty seats. It’s a late-October preseason practice at the Robins Center arena, and this is where the healing happens.

Here, a scolding about a missed defensive assignment is a reminder of the right now, a fixture in the normal. Five months ago, this tight-knit family’s fabric was torn, when two of its core members — associate head coach Ginny Doyle and director of basketball operations Natalie Lewis — embarked on a hot-air balloon ride and never came home. The wounds are fresh. The upcoming basketball season is long. Every second spent on the court is an act of resilience.

Around the country: Babcock McGraw: Top women’s sports stories

6. Magic moment: In January, shock waves hit the WNBA when the Los Angeles Sparks laid off their front office staff and suspended operations. A marquee cornerstone of the league, the Sparks had lost $12 million since 2007, including $1.4 million in 2013.

In February, Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Mark Walter partnered to buy the Sparks, saving the franchise, from relocation or contraction.

From Nate: The Best of Swish Appeal: The top 10 most popular women’s basketball stories of 2014

Most popular story overall: Becky Hammon makes her NBA coaching debut (Albert Lee)

 Most popular NCAA story: Daisha Simmons’ roommate Brittany Jack sharing her own experience at Alabama (Mike Robinson/Brittany Jack)

Atlanta Dream team executives eyes stake in Hawks

Two of Atlanta’s top business leaders and their wives — Kelly Loeffler and Jeffrey Sprecher, CEO of the Intercontinental Exchange Inc.; and Mary and John Brock, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. — are exploring an ownership stake in the Atlanta Hawks.

Their main interest, however, is the Atlanta Dream — the local WNBA team — which is owned by Kelly Loeffler and Mary Brock.

From Swish Appeal: WNBA collective bargaining agreement posted at player website

Time-off bonus: These bonuses are granted to players who decide to spend some amount of time playing overseas which is less than or equal to 90 days.  (And remember, zero days is less than 90 days.)  This bonus is $50,000 for players and can be split among more than one players.  Teams can decide to increase or decrease these bonuses in subsequent seasons, but by no more than two percent of the time off bonus for the first year ($1,000).  They can also decide how many days they wish to limit the players receiving the bonus in spending time playing overseas – and that limit can be set at zero.

League minimums and salary caps:  With the 12 player rosters, league minimums and salary caps get a little hairy.

Finally: I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Muffet McGraw, but never on this topic: Not My Job: Coach Muffet McGraw Gets Quizzed On Tuffets

Read Full Post »

whose mom passed this December. Was about to drop her a line, when I find this on the ESPN website: Thanks, Mom, for all you did for me – Dorothy Voepel remembered as funny, lovably curmudgeon-like sports fan

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny might feel his ears burning a little less this baseball season. Then again, maybe not. My mother’s baseball viewing — and critiquing — habits actually might not change.

The upcoming season will be very different for me, though. As every hour of every day has been since Dec. 10, when my mom, Dorothy Voepel, died at age 92.

She was more independent and stubborn than any other person I’ve encountered. That’s part of why it still remains so difficult for me to grasp she’s gone. I always thought that even with Death, she’d win the argument.

 

Read Full Post »

their scholastic-athletic scandal, but I’m not so sure. Not only that, but this article in Chronicle of Higher Education suggests that other schools should be under scrutiny. The issue is, of course, by whom, since the NCAA is so hamstrung/unwilling.

CONFESSIONS OF A FIXER – How one former coach perpetuated a cheating scheme that benefited hundreds of college athletes

In the wake of revelations about widespread academic impropriety at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, colleges are facing increased scrutiny over academic violations. Cheating and deception, including cases previously unreported, lurk throughout college sports. Last spring a former assistant basketball coach in the Southeastern Conference attempted to pass online test answers to a former colleague, according to a director of academic support with knowledge of the situation. A coach in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference told The Chronicle how he had helped players trick webcams set up to monitor their online exams. And a former Division I assistant described how he had spent years handing players the answers to online tests.

As for Mr. White, he says he is largely out of the business. But several months ago, he got a call from a high-profile basketball coach. A player needed nine credits in one week. Could he help?

Read Full Post »

but a nice end for some teams.

Interested in these two games today:

Tough stretch for San Francisco. They let St. Mary’s slip through their fingers, 68-66. Today, the go up against San Diego (10-1) followed by BYU and then Gonzaga (who just stomped San Diego).

It’s a good news, good news/bad news day for Rutgers: coach Tasha Pointer just had a baby girl, and junior Briyona Canty’s knee is only bruised. She won’t be on the court when the #16 Knightss go up against the feisty Buckeyes.

Friday games:

#11 Kentucky v. Alabama (11-4)

#19 Georgia v. #17 Mississippi State. Which team blinks?

#23 Seton Hall (13-1) v. St. John’s (13-1).

#7 Louisville v. Georgia Tech. They Yellow Jackets have some interesting/close losses.

I’ve been muttering about Florida teams for a while now. Florida State (13-1) could shut me up with a good showing at #4 Notre Dame. The Seminoles lone loss is against Washington – who just obliterated #5 Texas A&M.

Indiana State (10-1) v. Wichita State (9-3) on ESPN3 ought to be fun. The Sycamores seem to enjoy playing away (they’re 6-0 on the road, including a 2OT win against St. John’s) and the Shockers enjoy defending home court (they’re  7-0 at Koch arena).

Coming off a bad home loss to Missouri State, 57-52, it will be interesting to see how Mizzou handles a visit to TBA.

After two back-to-back losses (#3 Texas and unranked Washington), TAMU was mean to Green. Now they host Vanderbilt, who’s been having a bit of a hot mess season. The Aggies defend their home court ferociously, so this could get ugly.

Saturday games.

Yah, I know their schedule isn’t impressive… but still, when you consider how far they’d fallen, I consider Maine’s 8-4 record a positive accomplishment. They go up against Albany, who lost to Northeastern, who the Black Bears beat by 9. Nice way to take the programs temperature.

Who wouldn’t want to watch 10-1 Oklahoma State (#18) go up against 11-1 Baylor (#8)? Nina Davis v. Liz Donohoe!

Then there’s the “Ain’t the PAC 12 interesting this season” game between #22 Arizona State (11-1) and the (soon-to-be-ranked?) Washington Huskies (11-1).

And how about the #12 Huskers hosting the #14 Terps? Nebraska has had two “Oiy” losses (Alabama (!) and Minnesota (where they lost a lead)). Maryland’s two losses were against Washington State and Notre Dame.

BTW, the Penguins gave the Zips their first lost of the season, 75-62. Next up for Youngstown State: Cornell, but it’s the Jan 10th game against Green Bay that I’m looking forward to.

Read Full Post »