McGuff was asked about Mitchell, who was held to single digits in scoring for the first time this season.
“She didn’t have a good game,” McGuff said. “She’s a spectacular player, one of the very best in college basketball and tonight wasn’t her night. But no one is going to work harder. No one will be in the gym more than she will. She’s going to make sure having an off night doesn’t happen again this year. I can assure you of that.”
They’re not yet to the Conference tourney, but Drake did manage to rack up the first undefeated MVC regular season.
Off to the side, coach Jennie Baranczyk was in a good mood. This team has always had big goals, she said, but after Saturday, she felt the need to take a moment and recognize the biggest one to date.
“Today’s a day for celebration,” Baranczyk said. “It’s awesome.”
A-10 tough. Shout out to a Dayton coaching crew that regrouped through sudden changes and injuries and got the Flyers past a strong St. Louis team and into the the Conference Finals. They’ll face the Dukes, who upset St. Joe’s, 78-63 at 12pm on ESPNU.
Speaking of moving on in the conference tourney – in her first year Coach Abe has UCF on the American semis. The Knights took down Tulane (yes, the team that pushed UConn.) 61-57. Lucky them – they get the Huskies next.
The Belmont University women’s basketball team (27-5) emphatically punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for a second-straight season, defeating Eastern Kentucky, 94-64, Saturday afternoon in the 2017 Ohio Valley Conference Tournament Championship.
It was a near mirror image of the Bruins’ record-setting 95-63 victory over the Colonels one year ago.
Fun games today:
The aforementioned Dayton v. Duquesne game. 12pm ESPNU.
Dukes Make Back-to-Back Appearances in Championship Final with Win Over SJU (BTW, cool: Duquesne to Make Major Investment in Basketball Program)
The Flyers Head To Their Fifth A-10 Tournament Final
The Southern Conference final features an old hand v. a relative newcomer: Chattanooga and Mercer. Both sport 12-2 conference records, but the Mocs beat the Bears by double digits during the regular season. 1pmESPN3.
Daniel Shirley: Chattanooga again standing in Mercer’s way of NCAA berth
“Like I’ve been saying all year, it just shows how we’ve evolved and grown as a program, how Coach has elevated this program to new heights, and it’s a really good testament to her,” Lawrence said of the program’s second straight championship appearance. “Obviously just the experience of being there last year will help us this year. We’ve gone over a lot of things that we didn’t do well, that we did do well. We’ve been watching a lot of film. We’re going to do some stuff (Saturday) in practice, and it will really help us out with the game plan going into (Sunday).”
#11 Duke v #3 Notre Dame battle for the ACC title, 1pmESPN2. Clearly coach McCallie has gotten something right this season. Will it hold? The Irish held off the Blue Devils by 4 IN South Bend. Vicki (hi!!!) says Duke must find way to solve Notre Dame to return to top of ACC
Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie lauds her players for being very much in the moment, but they are also conscious of this program’s legacy in the ACC and what another conference title would represent.
“We walk around our locker-room hallways and all you see is history — the pictures hanging up and the title banners,” said sophomore guard Kyra Lambert. “People came before us and we’re just trying to fill those shoes and put up another banner.”
Time for little regular-season revenge (who’re the refs? <g>) Mississippi State go up against South Carolina (minus Coates. Fingers crossed she’ll be back for the Tourney) for the SEC title. 3pm ESPN
Mississippi State playing for first SEC Tournament title
MSU notebook: Depth proves calling card for No. 6 Bulldogs
Keys to Repeat as SEC Tournament Champions
A’ja Wilson looks to lead South Carolina to third straight SEC title
Can the Mountaineers keep their groove going against the #12 Longhorns in the Big 12 semis? FS1 5pm.
See above, but substitute Purdue and #4 Maryland and make it the Big 10 finals. 7pm ESPN2.
Nine championships – the most of any conference program. A majority of those titles were expected. Others developed when the Boilermakers were underdogs.
Granted, Purdue hasn’t won a championship – it has to take down fourth-ranked and second-seeded Maryland in Sunday’s title game – but Saturday featured one of those scrapbook moments for the program.
Tonya Cardoza has her Temple Owls in to the semis of the American. They’ll face the conundrum that is USF at 7:30pm on ESPNU.
So we meet again…. Oregon State will battle Stanford for the Pac-12 title at 9pm on ESPN2.
2017 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament championship preview: Stanford vs. Oregon State
Top-seeded Oregon State reaches final of Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament
No. 10 Stanford women’s basketball marches on to final
Top-two seeds play for Pac-12 women’s basketball tournament title
Off the court:
Bye: Cooper-Dyke resigns as USC basketball coach. Coop has hopped from program to program, finally landing at her alma mater. Unlike Aston at Texas, she’s not been able to build roots. I called her a “script doctor” – someone who inherits a bit of a mess, makes some tweaks, sees some immediate improvement… but she can’t create her own script. Here’s hoping she takes some time to reflect and then, maybe, returns to college coaching with more stamina and vision. She’s been too important to the game to NOT have her around.
Bye: Dykes steps down as Arkansas women’s coach. Welp, that turned out the way folks thought, even when they were saying, “Give him a chance.” That being said, I wouldn’t want to scare Athletic Directors away from taking risks. Sometimes they DO turn out (witness Kim Arico Barnes at St. John’s. Everyone poo-pooed her ’cause she came out of Division 2 Adelphi, thinking the admin was disrespecting women’s basketball… the rest is history.) So, the questions for Arkansas, which has been in a freefall since the Collen era: what’s you’re commitment to your women’s program?
Don’t buy the cry: Tearful Mulkey ‘sorry’ for word choice in rant