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Conference play starts….

but rats: DePaul women’s basketball star Jessica January is scheduled to have surgery on Tuesday to repair a broken right index finger.

Welcome to Pac 12 ’16-’17, JR: The Trojans stomp all over #20 Colorado, 79-54. UConn transfer Sadie Edwards and Sr. Courtney Jaco combined for 30 and the Buffaloes shot 30%.

It was a tussle, but #13 Stanford escaped with a 64-57 win over #18 Arizona State.

Pluminator in action v. Ducks w/out Sabrina Ionescu (broken thumb) and Maite Cazorla (foot)? She jammed: Kelsey scores 44 as Washington Huskies down Ducks  , 99-77

Speaking of the Ducks: following in Jessica Moore’s footsteps, Oregon’s Ruthy Hebard turning heads in Lower 48

It’s much easier for Ruthy Hebard to get recognized for her skills now that she’s at Oregon.

The Ducks freshman forward grew up in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

Also, Migrating Duck: Freshman Jayde Woods leaves Oregon.

OSU women’s basketball: Cowgirls pull away late to win Big 12 opener

The “other” OSU  improves to 12-1 with win over Washington State, but questions remain

OSU may prove to be a major player on the national scene before the dust settles on the 2016-17 campaign, but the non-conference schedule proved little.

The Beavers have yet to play a ranked opponent and Marquette, which is the best team they have played so far, upset OSU on Nov. 22 in Corvallis.

Friday’s win didn’t come easy.

Missouri women’s basketball team faces personal challenge over holiday break

Robinson’s gunshot trauma is the latest in a string of issues the team has dealt with so far this season. Senior forward Jordan Frericks and junior forward Bri Porter both suffered season-ending ACL injuries in preseason.

Bri Porter’s younger sister, sophomore forward Cierra Porter, has been dealing with her own knee pain this year, while sophomore guard Sophie Cunningham has been dealing with a bulged disc in her back.

No longer undefeated – Buffalo falls to Harvard, 74-62. Again, Harvard in the Ivy this year.

“This win means so much to our team,” freshman forward Jeannie Boehm said. “It proves that all of our hard work has payed off. I think we’re super confident going into conference play now, and we all feel very ready and excited.”

So, is Marquette the new boss in the New Big East?

And Bucknell in the Patriot? Or is it Army?

How about Charlotte (9-3) in the C-USA? Or is it Western Kentucky (9-4)?

Fun (successful) experiment with the Seton Hall/St. John’s game. Pirates win.

Every victory is an improvement overt the early years: St. Peter’s over Niagara, 78-66.

Ho hum: Latest UConn women’s basketball winning streak carries a little less hoopla

WNBA

It got Alex Montgomery to the WNBA, it can work for her Steilacoom High players, too

Alex Montgomery didn’t need to reach the WNBA to teach some of these drills.

She told her players to line up across the baseline. It was for a drill she has performed thousands of times in her own playing career. 

“Everybody knows what a sprint is, right?” she asked. 

Their answers were inaudible. Montgomery cupped her hand around her ear and leaned the side of her head in their direction for a more understandable response. 

“Yes, coach,” they yelled.

Then she blew her whistle.

“I feel like because I am in the WNBA I am a role model,” Powers said. “For me, I had girls I looked up to when I was growing up. 
NBA players use the summer to develop their games. WNBA players are in a paradox of sorts. The WNBA itself is the best professional women’s league in the world, but they only play during the summer. During the winter and fall, most players go to Europe, Asia, or Australia to play where they work to expand their skill sets.
Earlier, we talked about the challenges of evaluating international talent. So now, let’s check up on how the players are doing as we head into 2017.
Elizabeth Williams wants to go to medical school. She followed the pre-medicine track at Duke, majoring in psychology and interning at the university’s hospital before her senior year. Her father is a doctor and her mother is a nurse.
But for Williams, the medical field will have to wait for now. The former Princess Anne star is playing her second year as a professional, suiting up for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream and a EuroLeague team, Nadezhda, that plays in the Russian city of Orenburg.
Give yourself a chance to reflect on all the goodness that was the W in 2016: 20 Moments of 2016

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This happens, sometimes, when an unranked team of seasoned seniors meets the #2 team in the country. NC State pummeled Notre Dame through through three quarters and withstood the Irish’s fourth quarter charge to earn a stunning upset, 70-62. That ended the Irish’s AAC win-streak at 35 – underscoring how ridiculous UConn’s streak is – this stuff happens

“This is something that they’ll cherish,” Wolfpack coach Wes Moore said. “All night long on ESPN, that (score) is going to be going across the ticker. I may just go home and sit in front of the TV for an hour and watch it: there it goes again, there it goes again.”

Speaking of upsets, how about this one: Pepperdine (3-8) over Gonzaga (9-3), 79-69. Did they suit up Milton-Jones? Nope, Allie Green.

Nice way to come home – get your jersey retired and watch your team handle its business. #15 Duke pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a 69-54 win over #17 Kentucky.

Bears-on-a-Roll: #21 Cal women’s basketball adds to perfect record with win over Arizona

Bear-on-a-Roll 2: #3 Baylor rolled over Kansas State by 30.

#7 Seminoles and #11 Hurricanes were close through the first half, then Florida State powered to a 15 point win.

The #25 Orange had a lovely lead in the first quarter, and then the wheels fell off. Badly. #8 Louisville by 15.

Git along, little froggie. #12 West Virginia dispatched TCU, 83-61.

Not much of an in-state rivalry as the Longhorns topped Texas Tech by 20.

Boomer Sooner, indeed. #24 Oklahoma unloaded on Kansas, 84-54.

Lots written, and well deserved, on a fab game in a GREAT atmosphere (missing the pithy DC Basketcases blog. Hope they were at the game)

WaPo, Jerry Brewer: Brenda Frese’s Terps have closed gap on Huskies, and they’re making a move

It still exists, that feeling the Connecticut women’s basketball team can lose. You felt it in faint and flickering moments Thursday night as Maryland activated a sellout Xfinity Center crowd, which responded with wild cheers at the end of a strangely competitive game.

NY Times, Howard Megdal: UConn Extends Streak to 87, Shrugging Off No. 4 Maryland

“I just think for us, we’re not afraid of the name on the jersey,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “And that’s three-fourths of the battle.”

The idea was more than just wishful thinking.

AP, David, not Doug: No. 1 UConn outlasts No. 4 Maryland

“When we needed a shot, we got one. When we needed a stop, we got one. When we needed a play, we got one. It came from different spots, and we needed every one of them.”

ESPN, Mechelle: Katie Lou Samuelson sparks UConn past Maryland to 87th straight win (is it too much, ESPN video folks, to look at a pronunciation guide before you narrate video? )

 Samuelson — known simply as “Lou” by the staff and her teammates — led the way Thursday. She had 23 points to lead five Huskies scoring in double figures.

This despite the fact that she wasn’t feeling well before the game. She was sick enough, in fact, that Auriemma wasn’t even sure she would play. Samuelson, however, said she never had any doubt.

“Once you start, adrenaline gets you through anything that’s going on,” she said, and that included vomiting during the contest. “There were moments I was a little tired. But our team was doing really great stuff, so that got me excited and hyped up.

Yahoo Sports/The Dagger, Henry Bushnell: UConn women’s basketball win streak reaches 87, and it isn’t ending anytime soon (So say the writers, but neither the coaches or players disrespect would their future opponents so) 

“I set the schedule up so that this wouldn’t happen,” Auriemma told ESPN’s Kara Lawson after the game. “And it’s happened. I’m flabbergasted.”

Business Today: Geno Auriemma tried to teach UConn a lesson — and it backfired because they won’t stop winning

Deadspin: UConn’s Women’s Basketball Still Hasn’t Lost A Game Since 2014

USA Today, Nina Mandell: UConn is three wins away from history and seem unstoppable

What makes this UConn team especially remarkable is its resiliency after it lost Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck, who went on to be the top three picks in the 2016 WNBA draft. Katie Lou Samuelson, the team’s leading scorer, was spotted throwing up in a trash can on the sidelines in the first half. She went 2-for-8 in the first half, including 1-for-6 from the 3, but came back in the second half and finished with 23 points.

“I just think she’s a relentless player,” Slocum said.

Hartford Courant: UConn Holds Off Tenacious Maryland, 87-81

 

Speaking of undefeated teams: Utah women’s basketball: Unbeaten Utes open Pac 12 play at UCLA, USC

Nobody can accuse the Utah women’s basketball team of easing into its Pac-12 schedule.

Coach Lynne Roberts and the Utes open conference play Friday night at 10th-ranked UCLA, just 36 hours before a Sunday afternoon battle against perennial power USC.

Utah is 11-0 for the first time since 2000-01. It has lost nine straight games to UCLA, however, and hasn’t yet faced a player like Jordin Canada, the Bruins’ All-American point guard and national Player of the Year candidate.

Courtney Jaco plays at USC and is Canada’s former high school teammate.

“You think you’re in front of her,” Jaco told ESPN, “but she’s so quick [and] so explosive, she’s gone in the next second.”

Also, Buffalo held off Fordham to remain perfect. Their in the same tourney as Harvard, now 10-1.

Oklahoma State continues to trot on the edges of the rankings – they defeat Iowa State, 71-59.

From Howard “whoopee I’m writing for the NY Times!” and Gabriella Levine, listen to their Year in Review.

Speaking of the Times, did Tom Jolly get fired? *goggles* NOPE, just not in charge of sports anymore. Which might explain the increased coverage of women’s basketbll, including this: Push the Ball! Box Out! Zone! Did You Get All That, Viewers?

Steve Scheer is a basketball junkie. He had often fantasized about eavesdropping on a coach’s huddle during timeouts. The short, edited snippets on some telecasts were hardly enough to satisfy his appetite for access.

Unlike most fans, though, Scheer was in a position to fulfill his wish. As a senior coordinating producer for college basketball at Fox Sports, and a 37-year sports television veteran, Scheer was better positioned than most to see his suggestion for an all-access, commercial-free, live basketball telecast become a reality.

On Friday, when St. John’s plays at Seton Hall in a Big East Conference women’s basketball game at 7 p.m. Eastern, both head coaches will wear microphones throughout a commercial-free telecast on Fox Sports 2. Viewers will be able to hear not only what is said inside the huddle, but also the live interactions and directions from the sidelines and the coaches’ talks inside the locker rooms at halftime.

UT-Arlington earned a win over Appalachia State. Check out DJ’s Sixmith’s piece on the Maverick’s Rebekah VanDijk, who didn’t start playing hoops until 7th grade.

Brenna Greene offers up the story of Nevada player who’s waited 2 yrs, 9 mos to play a conference game.

I kinda want this t-shirt: How America East is changing the conversation on LGBTQ inclusion in North Carolina

Earlier this month, the University of Maine became the third school in the NCAA America East conference to make a statement about playing in the state of North Carolina. On Dec. 3, when the Maine’s men’s basketball team faced off against Duke University, its players warmed up in America East T-shirts with the conference’s logo silhouetted in bright rainbow colors as a symbol of inclusion. The gesture, which won media attention from across the country, was the biggest move made to date by one of the conference’s nine schools over the state’s passing of House Bill 2. It was also the culmination of a four-year partnership between America East and You Can Play, a national non-profit organization that works to ensure the safety and inclusion of all in sports, specifically LGBTQ players, coaches and fans.

Library additions! ‘Dust Bowl Girls’ by Lydia Reeder is a classic of sports literature

In ‘Dust Bowl Girls,’ Lydia Reeder tells the heroic true story of Sam Babb (whose leg was severed as result of a brutal attack by his father during boyhood days) and the women he coached. Babb diverted from early plans to enter Christian ministry to become a life-long advocate of competitive women’s basketball.
Wearing a wooden prosthetic, he became one of the great coaches from the first half-century of organized women’s leagues in America. Sam’s sister was Lydia May Babb Thomas – Reeder’s grandmother.
Initially, Babb is the book’s star, but the focus soon shifts to the young women he gathered in Durant to begin challenging studies (classical education fused with passionate Christianity and practical support for women and their dreams).
For decades Oklahoma Presbyterian College was home to world-class education and, for a few seasons, the best women’s college basketball program in America. And, for two years running, the national champions. 

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Put on your cardigan and *All Sing*

“Won’t you be… my neighbor.” (I’m sure he’s never heard that) Mike Neighbors finds a home at Washington

The doors swing open and Mike Neighbors is standing at the entrance.

“Welcome,” he said in that unmistakable southern drawl. “Y’all come on in.”

It’s a bright, clear and cool afternoon – the last day of autumn – and the Washington women’s basketball coach guides a tour through his newly purchased Mercer Island house and explains why he finally feels at home in Seattle.

Since taking the job as a Huskies assistant in 2011, Neighbors rented a one-bedroom, one-bath 860-square feet condo in Bitterlake, Wash. that he cherished.

From Mark Wiedmer at the Times Free Press: Muffet McGraw is another Jim Foster success story

Back in 1980, when Muffet McGraw was an assistant women’s basketball coach to Jim Foster at St. Joseph’s University, they used to run a play called “high play.”

With a certain degree of pride, Foster noticed McGraw’s second-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish still running that play during their 79-58 win over Foster’s University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Mocs on Tuesday night.

What may have made him happiest — and it was perhaps the only time he was happy all night — was the result of that play.

Asked if the Irish scored on it, Foster softly replied, “No.”

Austin Statesman: Texas women counting on freshmen to grow up quickly in Big 12 play

“In the Big 12, we’ll have opponents that really value rebounding, and it’s tough,” [Aston] said. “It gets physical and it’s hard to get a rebound. Hopefully some of this mindset will carry over but we need to get more involved. Our guards have not been as involved in rebounding as they need to be.”

Games: 

Whoops-see-daisy! Last time this happened we were walking like an EgyptianUniversity of Memphis women upset Vanderbilt, 75-59

The University of Memphis women’s basketball team got 26 points and 13 rebounds from Cheyenne Creighton – both career-high totals – to power a 75-59 upset of Vanderbilt Wednesday at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

Told ya to pay attention to William & Mary: Junior Abby Rendle got the second triple-double in school history (also got the first), as the Tribe topped East Carolina, 82-72. I his fourth season, coach Ed Swanson has got it goin’ on, opening with the season with the best non-conference slate in school history.

Whoa – huge upset as Ohio (9-2) falls to North Carolina A&T (3-9), 63-57.

Illinois upsets Iowa, 70-65.

“I am really happy for our team,” head coach Matt Bollant said. “It is the first time since 2010 that we started with a win in the Big Ten, and to get it against an Iowa team that we have a lot of respect for is a great way to start.

UC Davis (9-3) topped UCF (10-3), 77-71.

Ugly, but Auburn will take the 53-41 win over Jacksonville.

A decorated locker.

Gas money from a friend.

Her parents in town to celebrate. 

A career-high 15 points.

All of these are things that Jessica Jones got for her 21st birthday on Wednesday.

See above for Virginia’s 56-30 win over UMBC.

See above for Xavier’s 54-51 win over Providence.

We see you, Indiana, and your 19 point win19 point win over Penn State.

Ton of interesting games today: 

#4 Turtles v. #1 Huskies, 6pm

Generally, there’s nothing people dislike much more than being taken for granted. Yet we’re about to do just that with the UConn women’s basketball team. Sorry, but …

The Huskies are 11-0, the winning streak they don’t want to think about is at 86 in a row, and they’re soon to face their last likely obstacle before a new benchmark is set.

But here they are, 11-0 through a formidable schedule that included powerful programs like Baylor and Notre Dame, while Maryland, which is at 12-0 under Coach Brenda Frese, has routed most opponents and won its most challenging nonconference game at Louisville.

Even that has not brought college stardom to Gillespie, which makes this meeting less about settling an old score with Auriemma that she says does not exist and more of an opportunity to remind the many people watching back home that she did not have to settle for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

#17 Wildcats v. #15 Blue Devils, 7pm

#8 Cardinal v. #25 Orange, 7pm

#7 Seminoles v. #11 Hurricanes, 7pm

# Irish v. Wolfpack (10-3), 7pm

#12 Mountaineers v Horned Frogs, 7:30pm

#16 Longhorns (6-4) v. Raiders (8-3), 8pm

#3 Bears v. Wildcats (10-2), 8pm

#21 Golden Bears v. Wildcats, 9pm

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The Miami Herald is staying on a story: The player has graduated. The coach is fired. The school and the lawsuit remain

Destini Feagin graduated from FIU with a degree in liberal studies in May.

The FIU women’s basketball coach, Feagin said, pursued her sexually throughout her senior season. Marlin Chinn was fired last March.

Still with FIU, however, is the civil lawsuit Feagin filed in U.S. District Court against the school for sexual discrimination under Title IX and common law battery.

“Destini hopes that the filing of this suit will prevent future female athletes from being sexually exploited and harassed, not only at FIU but at every academic institution in the nation,” said Elizabeth Parker, one of Feagin’s attorneys.

The Des Moines Register is breaking a story:

A former Drake University assistant women’s basketball coach was forced to resign from her job after head coach Jennie Baranczyk learned that she was gay, according to allegations made in a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of former assistant coach Courtney Graham claims that Baranczyk pressured her to quit approximately six months after the head coach learned that Graham was gay, violating Iowa’s anti-discrimination law. Graham’s lawsuit also claims that her sexual orientation and mental health became the focus of office gossip that was started by Baranczyk.

Well, at least there’s ONE team named Rutgers that’s kickin’ butt: Girls Basketball: No. 6 Rutgers Prep blasts defending ToC champs for statement win

As Big 12 women’s basketball (and everyone else) moves into league play, Kyle Fredrickson has Five Players to Watch

Brook Pryor wonders, “Can any Big 12 team stop Baylor?”

More Kyle: Five storylines facing the Cowgirls entering Big 12 play

Oklahoma State opened the season as if it is set on proving the skeptics wrong.

The Cowgirls, predicted in the preseason to finish ninth in Big 12, ran out to a 10-1 nonconference record with their only loss to Oregon State — which reached the Final Four last season — in the finals of the Play4Kay Shootout in Las Vegas. Here are five storylines to watch for OSU entering conference play:

From the Notre Dame Insider: McGraw varying Notre Dame starting lineup and rotation

Andrew Erickson at the Columbus Dispatch: OSU women’s basketball | Goals in place as Big Ten opens

The league race is a two-team battle.

Maryland or Ohio State will win the regular season championship. The Buckeyes and Terrapins are superior in talent and are several lengths ahead of the rest of the conference. Circle Feb. 20 as the date when the title will be decided when Maryland, the two-time defending champion, visits Columbus, Ohio.

Brent Wagner at the Lincoln Journal Star: 
On a few occasions in recent months Amy Williams has been welcomed back to the Big Ten Conference, which while polite, is not exactly accurate. She’s never been a part of the Big Ten Conference.
The first-year Nebraska women’s basketball coach was a player at Nebraska, but that was back when the Huskers were in the Big 8 Conference, and later the Big 12.
Mike Neighbors loves to crunch numbers.
Washington’s analytics-minded coach was impressed with what the Pac-12 Conference accomplished in the nonconference portion of the season. The teams went a combined 114-21 (.844), and the Pac-12 has seven teams ranked this week, including the No. 9 Huskies. That’s the most in conference history and doesn’t even include the three other Pac-12 teams that are sitting just outside the Top 25.
Moreover, the conference has an average RPI of 33.1 — more than 13 places better than the second-ranked Southeastern Conference.
“We don’t have a top-five team, but a whole bunch in the top 20,” Neighbors said. “That was the plan, make sure we have great depth so that every night in our league there’s a quality game.”

When you never make an error, there is no margin.

When Geno Auriemma looks over the schedule that his U. of Connecticut women play, he sees no resting place. The Huskies don’t talk about going .500 on the road. They don’t recognize “trap games.” Their whole lives are winning streaks.

“Our standard is an undefeated season,” Auriemma said the other day, calling as he changed planes on the way to Nebraska, and another win.

He laughed.

“That’s kind of ridiculous, isn’t it?”

Happened

Sydney Wiese hit her 300th three-pointer, and passed Pac-12 career mark set by Candice Wiggins. Oh, and the Beavers won.

Irish over Mocs by 21 as Allen gets a triple-double.

The Plum-inator is slacking. Only scored 21 in Washington’s romp over Washington State.

Gonna Happen

  • DePaul v Georgetown, 2pm
  • East Carolina v William & Mary,  7pm
  • Jacksonville v. Auburn, 7pm
  • Indiana v. Penn State, 7pm
  • Providence v. Friars, 7pm

Thursday‘s packed. Who ya got, Turtle or Husky? Coach Frese talks about it. And it’s a sellout!  From the Courant: Saniya Chong, UConn Women Face Another Challenge In No. 4 Maryland

Well done, Ariel Powers: Viewers and 7 Action News team members help make girl’s dream of meeting a WNBA player come true

She Drowned in Moonlight, Strangled by Her Own Bra

 

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Aaaaaaaaand we’re back (almost)

Doug and  company vote: UConn still unanimous No. 1 in AP women’s hoops poll

It’s been a wonderful few months for Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb.

She’s pregnant with her first child due next spring, her team is unbeaten through non-conference play and now the Bears are back in the Top 25. The Bears entered The Associated Press women’s basketball poll at No. 21 on Monday. UConn remained the top choice, as the unanimous No. 1.

“Definitely for me I think it’s nice, but I understand how these things go. A lot of it is perception,” Gottlieb said. “For these young women who handled losing last year and finished strong. They did nothing but bring this program back to where we can be. Hopefully it’s a motivating factor to keep doing what we are doing.” 

The Bears are 12-0 and off to the best start in school history. They open up Pac-12 play in Arizona on Thursday before facing No. 18 Arizona State on Sunday.

Hello, Harvey! UConn Women Say ‘Nah’ to Rebuilding Year

Brian Stewart told people so. For four historically triumphant years, he contended that the Connecticut women’s basketball team was greater than the sum of Coach Geno Auriemma’s prize recruits, a conga line of achievers that included Stewart’s daughter, a once-in-a-generation talent by the name of Breanna.

(Finally ranked) Cal’s Kristine Anigwe is espnW’s player of the week

Cal was off to the best start in program history entering last week’s Puerto Rico Classic. However, with a schedule strength that ranked in the bottom half of the country, no one was sure exactly what to make of the Bears’ 9-0 record or just how good they are this season.

They emphatically answered the question in their second game at the South Point Arena (the eight-team tournament was moved from San Juan to Las Vegas due to lingering fears of the Zika virus). And top scorer Kristine Anigwe provided the necessary emphasis. 

Remember when we mentioned Northern Iowa? Schonhardt’s comeback has been worth the wait

Thursday night, she turned back the clock with one of her best performances in nearly three years as a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds helped UNI (7-4) upset No. 24 Kansas State, 67-59.

“I’m so happy for our seniors,” UNI head coach Tanya Warren said afterward. “For the Hannah Schonhardts who came back for a fifth year after two knee surgeries and has a double-double. That stuff for me is priceless because I know the pain that she’s been through and I know the pain that she goes through on an everyday basis.”

The Crimson’s red hot: Harvard Women’s Basketball Stays Competitive as Ivy League Talent Grows

A coach doesn’t go 546-375 over 34 seasons by being lucky.

Especially when that coach competes in the Ivy League.

The Ivy is one of the top two academic leagues in D1 women’s basketball — along with the Patriot League — and Harvard head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith has done a masterful job with the Crimson despite the academic rigors and standards that hold Ivy schools to higher a standard.

From Corvalis: OSU women’s basketball: Beavers gaining momentum

Shredder! Jamming with Washington women’s basketball coach Mike Neighbors

Big Sky news: Montana State looks tough while Lady Griz have steep climb

Turn back the clock to Oct. 8, 2016.

It was the day before the Montana women’s basketball team lost Big Sky Conference preseason MVP Kayleigh Valley to a non-contact injury in practice. Even then — with Valley, senior post Alycia Sims and junior forward Mekayla Isaak heralded as returning starters — it was going to be hard for the Lady Griz to win the conference.

Now that Valley and Sims have been lost for the season with knee injuries, Montana’s climb toward a potential third league title in five years seems incredibly steep.

Optimism is good: Arizona Women’s Basketball off to a fantastic start to the season under Adia Barnes

From the Lincoln Journal Star: Ex-Husker Page surprised she’s first from program with Olympic medal (BTW, got a chance to listen to the Husker’s radio broadcast team, Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch and they pretty much rock. Great analysis and respect)

When Danielle Page made the Serbian national women’s basketball team, and Serbia qualified for the 2016 Olympics, Page became just the second Nebraska women’s basketball player to make an Olympic team.

Page’s former teammate, Chelsea Aubry, was a captain for the 2012 Canadian Olympic team.

Once at the Olympics, Page did one better, becoming the first former Husker women’s basketball player to win a medal when she helped her adopted country to its first-ever Olympic medal in women’s basketball, a bronze.

Crap: Former Mizzou women’s basketball player Juanita Robinson recovering after shooting

Okay!? FS2 will broadcast commercial-free women’s basketball

Speaking of which, wondering what’s on tap for today? Click here.

From Excelle: WATCH: The 10 best moments in women’s sports from 2016

Brava! Times Union Sports Figure of the Year: Shereesha Richards

Q: I remember talking to you during the whole (WNBA) draft process. Were you surprised you didn’t get drafted?

A: Not really. (Laughs.) Like I said before, in my mind, I always thought it was a 50-50 chance. If you got drafted, you got drafted. If you didn’t, well, you know, then it is what it is.

Q: You still believe you can play in the WNBA, don’t you?

A: I still think I can. It’s up to me to get better. Nothing is impossible.

I’m sure you’re wondering, what are The Five Best Arenas in D2 Basketball?

WNBA

Interesting: WNBA BECOMES FIRST PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE TO OFFER APP FOR PLAYER SAFETY OVERSEAS

Ever the optimist: Four reasons why Elena Delle Donne’s free agency news is a great present for Mystics fans

Nice: AP lists Nneka Ogwumike’s WNBA Finals game-winning shot in Top 10 plays of 2016

Aussie! Aussie! Taylor may have called time but is still in the loop

One of the game’s greatest Australian players and the finest product to come out of the Dandenong Basketball Association, Penny Taylor will be returning to Dandenong to be part of the WNBL Jayco Rangers 25 Year Anniversary celebrations on Saturday 14 January 2017.
The recently retired Taylor will be the headline act on this special occasion to mark a significant milestone of Rangers involvement in the elite Women’s National Basketball League with every past player, coach and sponsor being invited to be part of the day.

High School

Bears give back to girls’ basketball players across the world in Uganda

The first thing you notice is the smiles that take up the entire photograph, beaming, laughing expressions of the most perfect joy. The next thing is the uniforms, white with brown numerals and the letters which read, “BEARS.”

The team wearing the jerseys is the Javon Lady Phenoms from Arua, Uganda, an East African country which is one of the poorest in the world.

The donation of the jerseys came from the Stonington High School girls’ basketball team, nearly 7,000 miles away, facilitated by head coach Paulla Solar through one of her former players, Vianna McGugan, who is the president of an organization called “Teammates for Life.”

Congrats!  It’s an historic game for Buena after winning No. 1000

Yea, history! Utah has rich history of basketball as game celebrates 125 years Boo shortchanging the women’s game!

“Women’s basketball was offered at about the same time as men’s basketball in the state, but it wasn’t until 1982 that the modern-day NCAA women’s basketball tournament era began.”

That’s basically it. Guess they couldn’t be bothered with actual research. For instance a google search that would bring up Utah women’s basketball from early 1900’s and 1908 and and 1909 and 1910 and 1911 and 1912 and  1934… you get the idea. (BTW, Hi Nat and Debbie!)

Dave Zirin discusses why was 2016 the year of the “activist athlete“? Check out a discussion with Nick Kapetan.

Brave: First Somali interregional all-girls basketball tournament held despite warning

From the Undefeated’s Tim Bello: Pulse shooting’s youngest victim left teammates with a mission – Basketball team aims for third straight championship to honor Akyra Murray

After the captains met at midcourt, Morgan Kennedy, the lone senior on the girls basketball team at West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia, was sobbing. She gathered herself together during the pregame prayer before audibly losing it again, head shaking, lips quivering, during the national anthem.

Beautiful Murray-Bey, a sophomore forward, squeezed Kennedy’s shoulder. Zayda Wilson, a sophomore guard, bit her lip and reached for Kennedy’s hand. The Lady Burrs were hosting their first home game of the season last week, but the night’s emotions were over a former teammate who last played on this court more than six months ago.

In the early-morning hours of June 12, Akyra Murray, 18, was celebrating her graduation from West Catholic at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. She was the youngest of the 49 people killed that night in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.

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Coach Tanya Warren (last year’s  2016 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year) has been building a strong program at the University of Northern Iowa. Want proof? They just toppled newly ranked #24 Kansas, 67-59.

Dressed in ugly Christmas sweaters, fans of Northern Iowa’s women’s basketball team received a surprise gift Thursday night inside the McLeod Center. UNI turned a potential defensive mismatch into a strength while coming through with timely shooting on the perimeter en route to a 67-59 upset over No. 24 Kansas State in a rare test against a Top 25 opponent.

The win marks UNI’s first victory over a ranked team since defeating No. 24 Wichita State by nine points on Feb. 16, 2014. The program hadn’t defeated a Top 25 opponent in non-conference play since a 74-70 victory over No. 24 Illinois on Dec. 2, 2000.

The Plum-inator poured in 29 to drive #9 Washington to a 12 point win in Provo.

Ouch. Georgia loses to Samford (no disrespect intended to the other Bulldogs), 65-59.

“I’m really happy for our team in terms of where we are, where we’re going and what we’ve been through,” Morris said. “We’ve had some close ones and we’ve had some bad performances, but to put it all together like this for a quality win was really good for them.”

It’s not been a stellar season so far for Tulane, but a win over Auburn might help set the ship aright.

As we’ve been saying (and no, I have no idea why I feel the need to use the royal “we” ’cause it’s just me here)… JC Online Byrd, Tolen contributing to IUPUI’s success

As seniors, this is the last opportunity to elevate Parkinson’s program to another level. They believe the non-conference schedule has the Jaguars prepared for the upcoming Summit League race where South Dakota State looms as the favorite.

But Wednesday’s win proved IUPUI is ready to take the next step.

“The last couple of years, the game before break we all checked out and were ready to go home for Christmas,” Byrd said. “Big win, big win on the road. We came to play and we were prepared for them. I think that shows a lot.”

 

From another improving program: Alex Sharp: Set to make an impact at Wake Forest

Five years ago, Alex Sharp was like many other young people in Australia, playing a range of sports with no one focus. However one basketball disappointment at age 14 changed all that. Since then, the Wake Forest commit and #1 Australian recruit has made basketball the major part of her life. She has subsequently reaped the rewards for her dedication, playing for Australia in two under-age FIBA World Championships, and winning five straight Australian Junior Championships.

“I’ve always been a really active person and did a lot of sports up until when I was about 15 and knew that basketball was the game for me,” Sharp explained in speaking with The Pick and Roll.

More Aussies coming over to the States (Need a list, here ’tis!):

Spurning a number of offers from schools on the west coast, Dandenong Rangers WNBL squad member and Under 19 Oceania champion Chloe Bibby has verbally committed to high-flying Mississippi State and will be the only Australian woman playing in the entire state in 2017. 

New Haven Register: Chong’s return provides more depth for UConn women

Saniya Chong was feeling just about every symptom possible.

One recent elbow to the head wreaked havoc with the UConn senior guard’s equilibrium. Chong spared the media many of the gory details after Wednesday’s win over Nebraska, but it was not a pretty sight as Chong worked her way through concussion protocol to return to the court for the Huskies.

Chong didn’t start in the 84-41 victory, but only Kia Nurse and Katie Lou Samuelson played more than the 28 minutes Chong was on the court as the Huskies won their 86th straight game. She had eight points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in her return to the court.

As UConn breezes into break with win streak up to 86, perhaps you’re wondering, “Why haven’t they lost yet?” Jim Clark at WomensHoopsWorld offers Ten reasons

Sue’s Coach’s Chair features Tricia Binford from Montana State University

Your Montana State bio notes the academic success your student athletes have had and the community service they have performed. Why are those two things so important to you, and where did that emphasis come from?

The emphasis on academic success came from my upbringing as the daughter of educators. My dad was superintendent of a school district and my mom was a teacher, and going trough college was a big priority for me, and it was always very clear that higher education was a prestigious calling. I always grew up with the understanding that being disciplined in one area would create that habit in everything we do.

With community service, growing up in my church it was important to give back; that connection was really important. It’s important to me that student athletes understand that their purpose extends beyond the game.

From Graham: Kelsey Plum, Sydney Wiese ready to write more history for Washington, Oregon State

A few hundred miles south of Seattle, Oregon State’s Sydney Wiese knows the feeling. Sort of. If Plum struggles to get people to look past the points, Wiese struggles in their absence to draw due attention beyond the borders of Oregon or at least the Pac-12.

And as the conference season commences Dec. 27, Plum and Wiese are living the reality that making history doesn’t halt its momentum. A season removed from reaching the Final Four, the history that is yet to be written for two programs depends on what comes next. Different though they are in style, Plum and Wiese share that burden.

Stanford coach VanDerveer reflects on Oak Ridge’s own Jennifer Azzi

Philly.com: Dawn Staley recalls the persistent Dave O’Brien

Dawn Staley kept saying no.

In fact, Staley said, she had never given much thought to coaching before Temple athletic director Dave O’Brien reached out to her in 2000 through a mutual friend.

Speaking of Dawn and the Owls: Temple Rally Over Fairfiield Makes Cardoza and Staley Tied for Owls Winningest Coach

Over in 49er land, coach Cara Consuegra looks to continue the tradition Karen Aston started: The learning curve: At the conclusion of non-conference play, a look at the performance of the women’s basketball team

After the Niners dropped two games over Thanksgiving break they bounced back to the tune of five straight wins.

“We improved, our team took great coaching and criticism and we put that in action by winning our last five. It’s a great feat by our team, and we still know that we’re not there yet,” Consuegra said.

Yes, we’ve noticed: Under new basketball coach, Virginia Tech women off to undefeated start

Samantha Hill had been recruited by him to James Madison. Regan Magarity watched video of his Dukes’ teams.

So, when Kenny Brooks took over as Virginia Tech’s women’s basketball coach after last season, those players and the rest of the Hokies were ready to follow his lead.

“He was very successful at JMU,” said Magarity. “I think his style and his system definitely worked there. He’s such an unbelievable coach. We just wanted to bring his style to our play.”

Hello Howard, in the New York Times! Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell Got an Early Start on a Dash to Stardom

Women’s college basketball uses a 30-second shot clock. More often than not, by the time an Ohio State possession ticks down to 29, the junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, a 5-foot-8 flash of distilled hoop skills, will have crossed midcourt.

Reaching destinations fast is not anything new for Mitchell, one of the most highly regarded players in the country.

Her father, Mark, now an Ohio State assistant, remembered the moment he first understood Kelsey was on her way to remarkable achievements on the basketball court. He and his wife, Cheryl, have two sets of twins. The boys are four years older than the girls — Kelsey and her sister, Chelsea, now teammates at Ohio State.

Mel offers up his Top 10 WBB Moments in ACC History

Since there won’t be game coverage for a couple of days after Friday, the Guru will offer odds and ends beginning with this posting revealing his ballot on a panel to identify 10 at-large moments to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The conference will have a top 20 derived from the panel’s submission of 10 picks each from a major list of nominees submitted by each school.

Somewhere to be determined each school submitted its own major nominee.

Mike Siroky says the SEC is Ready for the Meat Grinder

The fun games are over.

By this time next week, the toughest conference in America, the Southeastern, will kick off on the first day of 2017.

Thus the run to April in Dallas at the Final Four is in focus. We have reserved seats there.

The battle to win 20 and gain an NCAA entry ticket – no Southeastern Conference team has ever won 20 and not been in, though Tennessee got a gift entry with 19 last season – is now hampered by the league season.

As mythology has it, if you can win 20 while playing in the SEC . . .

Tragedy for a program that’s already had more than its fair share: SUNY Geneseo women’s basketball player dies in crash

Classy: University of Richmond to induct Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis, who perished in balloon accident, into sports hall of fame

espnW Voices by Taja Wilson: How my grandmothers inspired me to love the game

Gymnastics helped me to lay the foundation for my eventual transition to basketball. I grew to be 6 feet tall by the age of 11, had a ridiculous wingspan and was “made” for the game. I often reflect on a conversation I had with my grandmothers prior to playing collegiate basketball, one that still sticks with me. These sprightly, 80-year-old women told me detailed stories about their adolescent hoop dreams. They recounted feelings of frustration while playing half-court basketball when they knew they had so much more to give. They described how they watched the men blissfully display their talents and abilities in a full-court setting.

My grandmothers simply could not wrap their minds around the idea that women were too weak to extend their game to a full 94 feet. While these forward-thinking women may not have been taking off from the free throw line, they still itched to dribble coast-to-coast and defy the odds.

New York Times: PAT SUMMITT – She made her statement about the power of women by relentlessly pursuing every victory.

Summitt’s genius stemmed from her ability to perform multiple jobs at once. She could track 10 players and the clock, recall an entire season’s worth of plays and see patterns evolving. She could watch tape, take notes, make recruiting calls, joke with reporters — media were always welcome; the real goal was promoting women’s sports — and console a player whose grandmother was sick. She could help Tyler, as a youngster, with his homework, do laundry, cook dinner, make recruiting calls (she was always making calls), churn homemade ice cream and shoo raccoons off the porch. She could also drive 120 miles per hour while applying mascara, steering with her knees or talking on the phone.

Her commitment to the Lady Vols was consuming. Summitt continued chatting up one prospect at her home in Pennsylvania well after she, Summitt, went into labor. She enlisted players’ parents as deputies. No, ma’am, you’re staying, she instructed them to tell their daughters when they called home after brutal practices, wanting to quit.

Around the Rim’s  got UCLA Cori Close. REALLY interesting discussion about how the coaches in the Pac-12 came together to grow the conference. Loved her discussion about her responsibility to prepare players for “when the ball goes flat.” Connects to this article: Women Are Missing In Sport Leadership, And It’s Time That Changed. 

My latest research, based on the Sydney Scoreboard Global Index for Women in Sport Leadership, shows that women chaired only 7 percent (5 of 70) of international sport federations in 2016 (see table below). This is the same as in 2012, so no positive change has been achieved in the past four years. Women occupied 19 percent (12 of 64) of chief executive positions in 2016, up from 8 percent in 2012.

So men hold a staggering 93 percent of chair or president roles and 81 percent of chief executive positions. This means the key leadership positions in global sport governance and management remain largely elusive for women.

Speaking of sports leadership, “Congrats, VJ!!” (Was assuming this was going to happen, but you never know) San Antonio Stars Name Vickie Johnson Head Coach. Let’s me share my favorite VJ story:

WB: Did you choose Louisiana Tech because it was one of the best programs, or because it was in Louisiana?

VJ: (Laughs) I never told anyone this…. I was playing with my brothers outside one day, and my mom called me in the house and she said, “VJ, there’re some girls on TV playing basketball.” I think [La Tech] was playing against Cheryl Miller. And I said, “You know what? You see the team in the blue with the stars? That’s the team I wanted to play for – with the stars.” ’Cause I wanted to be a star. (Laughs) That’s why I went to Louisiana Tech. The stars.

Video from SNY: Stefanie Dolson on coming out in the ESPN article. Think for a moment what it will mean to be an out woman in Trump’s Washington and just try to tell me sports aren’t political. Which raises the question, After a year of great victory and great unrest, will athletes continue to rise up in 2017?

In the final months of 2016, which saw the year transform from tumult into crippling clarity, an authoritarian image for an authoritarian time stood out as definitive: the spectacle of sports, particularly every Sunday in the NFL. The veneer of patriotism baked into the sport’s DNA created an appearance of unity and oneness designed to obscure cultural divisions and intimidate dissent.

The truth is that the year could not have been less clean, less unified. When the flags flew, black football players knelt. So did WNBA players, white and black, protesting American racial conditions as a team. So did Megan Rapinoe of the U.S. women’s soccer team, members of which fought their own governing body for improved working conditions and equal pay, for footing commensurate to their win totals.

From Kelsey Bone: The Boy

As I approach my 25th birthday, I realize that I have been blessed with the best brother ever!  He has watched my entire career unfold over the past 15 years the good, bad and ugly, the tears, the failures, and all of the successes.  He was at the gym in his car seat when I was running and doing Miken drills.  He traveled and watched every game that I have played from AAU to USA basketball to the WNBA.  One of my fondest memories was an AAU game in California when he was supposed to just be passing out water during a timeout.  Instead, he came into the huddle and yelled at me to REBOUND! He was five!

Time for some year-end review: 20 Moments of 2016 – May 15: Breanna Stewart’s WNBA Debut

More W from the .com: What They’re Saying: Elena Delle Donne’s Future

Upcoming games to keep an eye on:

Tuesday, 27th

  • #9 Washington v. Washington State. Their win/loss column is not great, but the Cougars are no pushover. 10pm

Wednesday, 28th

  • DePaul v. Georgetown, 2pm. ’cause why not?
  • UCF v. UC Davis, 7pm. Apologize in advance, Golden Knights, if the WHB Jinx comes into effect
  • East Carolina (9-3) v. William & Mary (9-1), 7pm I mean, look at that! W&M has NINE wins!
  • Jacksonville (9-3) v Auburn (9-4), 7pm Can the Dolphins continue their growth?
  • Indiana (10-2) v. Penn State (10-3), 7pm Quietly putting up winning records.
  • Minnesota (9-4) v. #12 Ohio State (10-4), 7pm. Both teams can score and are somewhat allergic to defense. Debbie Antonelli Alert!
  • Xavier (8-3) v. Providence (8-3), 7pm Matchup of rebuilding programs.

Thursday, December 29th

  • Buffalo v. Fordham, 12pm Undefeated v. Feisty.
  • UNC Asheville v Harvard, 2:30. The Crimson’s at 9-1, y’all.
  • #1 UConn v. #4 Maryland, 6pm. Something about a streak?
  • #18 Kentucky v #17 Duke, 7pm. The Blue Devils haven’t really played anyone since their surprise win over South Carolina, so this will be a nice measuring stick.
  • #19 Syracuse v. #8 Louisville, 7pm. How does the Orange bounce back from getting smoked?
  • #7 Florida State v. #11 Miami, 7pm. The Seminoles only loss was (Romero-lesss) to UConn. Miami’s loss was to #18 Kentucky in the first game of the season. Fun in-state battle setting up.
  • #2 Notre Dame v. NC State. The Wolfpack’s moved to 10-3, 8-0 at home. Good test.
  • #24 Kansas State v. #3 Baylor, 8pm. Will the Wildcats regroup and give the Bears a run for their money?
  • Oklahoma State v. Iowa State, 8pm. Would a win over the Cyclones earn the Cowgirls the respect of pollsters?
  • Cal v. Arizona, 9PM. The Bears are still waiting for the win that will get them ranked. Games against ASU and Oregon State follow.

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So, the last time Wyoming beat a ranked team”Do You Remember” was a top-10 song (no, I didn’t remember it either). Who’d they beat?  #22nd-ranked TCU. This time they beat (no longer) undefeated #15 Colorado, 82-75.

“They’re just tough,” Leonard said of the Cowgirls, who beat the Buffs for the second year in a row. “They work really hard and they capitalize on your mistakes.

Billikens win! No, it wasn’t over a ranked team, but it is a non-pushover SEC team: Missouri. Behind junior point guard Jackie Kemph, a Nancy Lieberman Award nominee, St. Louis exploded in the fourth to come away with a signature win for coach Stone’s program, 72-61.

I said there was something weird in College Point. TAMU smooshed #19 Syracuse, 105-84. At least the Orange’s uniforms are getting rave reviews.

#1 UConn over Nebraska by 43.

#6 South Carolina over Savannah State by 40. Check out Tim Nash’s piece on Dawn and the Gamecocks’ rise.

#7 Florida State over Mercer by 43.Check out this piece: FSU guard Romero lines up holiday plans

#8 Louisville’s strong fourth helped them survive Vanderbilt by 12.

#12 Ohio State over Winthrop by 40.

#13 West Virginia (team of the week) over Mount St. Mary‘s by 32.

#14 Stanford over George Washington by 19.

#17 Duke over Villanova by 18.

“I’m really proud of our team in terms of our defensive intensity and focus,” Duke head coach Joanne P. McCallie said. “It wasn’t like anyone lit it up in a crazy fashion tonight for us, but it was steady and it was smart. When you think about the NCAA tournament, that’s how you have to play—you have to play steady and smart.”

#18 Kentucky escaped Washington State by 2.

#20 Oklahoma over Portland State by 14, but it wasn’t as confidence invoking as you’d think.

#21 South Florida over UNLV by 35.

#21 Arizona State over Holy Cross by 30

#23 Virginia Tech over Radford by 19.

Buffalo’s still undefeated. Toledo looms.

After a 86-47 win over St. Bonaventure, UB women’s basketball remains defeated at 9-0 and set a new record for the best start in program history. 

“It’s huge for us. We work so hard every day to provide that and we really wanted to get it last year but that was upset. So to get it this year and be able to bring that to Buffalo, we’re just trying to bring something to this town and make this a destination,” junior guard Stephanie Reid said.

Lynne Roberts’ Utah’s still undefeated. They’ve got #10 UCLA on the 30th.

Yes, I’m a broken record. Remember when IUPUI was a hot mess? They just beat Purdue, 67-62.

As the team has had a habit of doing this season, the IUPUI women’s basketball team (9-3) made history Wednesday (Dec. 21), defeating Purdue (9-5) 67-62 in a furious second-half rally to drop the Boilermakers for the first time in program history.  Head Coach Austin Parkinson defeated his alma mater for the first time in four meetings, as the Jags continue to rewrite the history books.

“It was great to see our kids come out strong in the second half and give ourselves a chance to get back in the game,” Coach Parkinson said of his team’s effort.

Just ’cause it’s fun to say: Elon over Akron.

Even with all the cream puffs on their calendar, Arkansas had some close calls. This one wasn’t really close: Oral Roberts over the shorthanded Razorbacks, 70-60.

Wow – it has been a tough year, but North Dakota pulled it together and beat San Diego (who’ve lost senior Maya Hood to an ACL), 65-61.

 

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