From the Daily Emerald: Oregon’s Jillian Alleyne grew from childhood experiences to become conference standout
In high school, Jillian Alleyne collected apartment listings, rent guides and PennySaver coupons. Her mission was to help her single mother Pamela Williamson find a stable place to live, so she hunted for them during lunch breaks at school. She circled affordable apartments and even called some rental agents. After school, she would report back to her mom, who was working three jobs, from sunrise until late at night.
Old enough to understand what an eviction notice meant, Alleyne, now a standout forward for the Oregon women’s basketball team, took it upon herself to help — while also juggling basketball, volleyball and school.
“I knew what my mom was going through,” Alleyne said. “She just always said to stay faithful, keep our heads up and know that God is going to bless us with something.”
At Oregon last year, she was an all-Pac-12 selection and led the conference in rebounds with 15.2 a game. Now entering her senior season, Alleyne has taken a journey unique among her teammates.
Following two straight Final Four appearances and an unbeaten romp through the Big Ten, the Maryland women’s basketball team has loftier accomplishments in mind this season.
”We want to get to that national championship,” said junior guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough. ”That’s always the ultimate goal.”
The potential is there.
Out-of-Towner’s: International trio assimilates into young Wyoming team
When Tijana Raca, Riikka Kujala and Marta Gomez first arrived in Laramie, all they had was each other.
Each traveled thousands of miles to Wyoming with a goal of playing collegiate basketball in the United States. They didn’t know each other very well, but their similar cultures helped ease the transition.
From Mechelle: How UConn senior Breanna Stewart makes it all look so easy
Stewart exhibits no sense of self-importance, and yet a firm sense of self-confidence that is not off-putting. She’s like the Broadway star who knows just how to modulate her voice to reach the entire theater without ever sounding like she’s attempting to steal the show.
“What I want people to think when they see me as a player is someone who is hungry to get better, and also is humble,” said Stewart, espnW’s preseason player of the year. “I know what I’m good at; I have a lot of confidence in myself on the court. But I don’t want to make it seem like I’m being arrogant or overly cocky, because that’s just not who I am.”
Moriah Jefferson isn’t going to be the best player on the Connecticut roster. That much has been true since the day she showed up on campus in the same class as Breanna Stewart, the next in a line of transformational talents such as Tamika Catchings, Candace Parker, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne, who all moved the sport forward. But Jefferson was the best player on the court in Tampa in the national championship game a season ago. Stewart acknowledged as much after she was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player, her lobbying effort not a display of false humility but the opinion of a basketball player who knew how well Jefferson performed.
The other Huskies: Kelsey Plum is recharged and ready to lead UW women’s basketball team
Kelsey Plum needed to leave it all behind and get out of Seattle.
Last August, she had to get away from the responsibility of being the face of Washington women’s basketball team if just for a little while.So she went home to sunny San Diego and surrounded herself with the people who knew her before she became a basketball sensation.She retreated to her old room, which seemed frozen in time. She slept in her old bed and found comfort in the loving embraces of her mom and older sister.It had been so long since they were together like this as a family. Three years, to be exact.
The joint is jumpin’: MU women’s basketball’s Pingeton, Doty discuss campus unrest, football boycott
“I know there’s been a lot of things going on on our campus over the last couple days, and some of you guys might have questions about that,” Pingeton said. “Today Gary Pinkel and Mack Rhoades held a press conference. I’m sure a lot of you guys where there, and I just stand behind their comments. They’re the spokespeople for our athletic department.
“I think you’re in a position where you’re trying to build on last year’s momentum, and keep your team hungry,” said reigning A-10 Coach of the Year Jonathan Tsipis. “I think I have a very competitive group, and obviously, having two players on the preseason first team, we are really trying to continue to build on the consistency that has so long made George Washington women’s basketball one of the best programs in the nation.
Who’s that? U of L women count on fast-adjusting freshmen
“We’re going to start off with some really tough games right out of the chute.” Walz said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how these freshmen respond.”
Not that Walz doubts them. He expects anywhere from four to six of his players to average in double figures, and that the entire lot of first-year players – guards Asia Durr, Bianna Jones and Taja Cole, as well as forward Sam Fuerhring and post Erin DeGrate – will see the floor.
Baylor and everyone else?
OU was picked third in the preseason Big 12 coaches poll, barely behind Texas and not too far from perennial favorite Baylor. “We feel like we can compete for the league championship,” Coale said. To do so will mean overcoming the Lady Bears, ranked No. 5 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll.
Schaefer inherited the team when it finished 14-16 and had one player over 6-foot-3 after the 2011-12 season. His first recruiting class added 6-foot-5 center Chinwe Okorie and 6-1 power forward Breanna Richardson. Last year, he added Ketara Chapel in the post, and 6-7 Teaira McCowan will debut for the Bulldogs this season.
“You can’t be physical, to me, if you don’t have the frames to be physical,” Schaefer said. “Right now, when we get off the bus I think we look like an SEC team. That’s a big piece to the puzzle.”
Victoria Vivians brought it all together.
Well, poop: Lauren Jackson will make a call on her career in February. But until then, Jackson shooting to make an impact off-court
AUSTRALIAN basketball great Lauren Jackson has spoken of the challenges and opportunities facing regional sportsmen and women.
The Opals champion and three-time Women’s National Basketball Association MVP was the keynote speaker on day one of the Sport in Regional Australia Conference in Bendigo.
The conference, convened by La Trobe University, is designed to offer a 360 degree view of Australian sport in a regional setting.
Speaking of Jackson and Seattle…The Liberty’s Tanisha Wright is finding fulfillment in the WNBA.
I grew up playing a game called “33.”
The rules are like this: there are none. It’s every man for himself. One person against however many people are on the court. You got 12 people who want to play? It’s you versus 11 defenders. You have to find a way to score. If you score, you take it again. You miss, and you have to find a way to get the ball back in your hands. No rules. No mercy.
The first person to score 33 points, wins. And the only way to win is to body and battle.
I was just a kid, born in Brooklyn, but living in the projects outside of Pittsburgh. “33” might has well have been a metaphor for my life. Me and the other kids — mostly guys — spent hours playing that game. It was, at its best, improv; no rules meant the game could play out on simple choice and grit. There were no fouls unless you got mugged.