What a (two) seasons it’s been for Marquette coach Carolyn Kieger. Last year picked to finish last in the conference, this year her team team toppled the Blue Demons to earn their first (new) Big East title and a trip to the NCAAs . (Nice SportsCenter moment by Natisha Hiedeman at the end of the first, too.). Like UConn, with their win over #17 DePaul the Golden Eagles are now 6-0 when playing a ranked foe.
“I think the thing I think of right now is our players are going to remember this for the rest of their lives and I am so happy for that,” an emotional Marquette head coach Carolyn Kieger said. She is the second youngest coach to win a BIG EAST Championship. “To do it at my alma mater in front of people that I love and care about really is a dream come true.”
“We could make a run in the WNIT, especially with how we’re playing right now,” said Ristovski, a senior forward from Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett. “We’re pretty confident, even though we lost (Tuesday). We still beat every team in the Horizon League this season.”
Talk about battles: Down 4 with 13 seconds left, IUPUI went went ahead, only to see Western Illinois’s Taylor Hanneman hit a three to send the game into overtime. The Leathernecks then pulled ahead of the Jaguars, ultimately securing a trip to the NCAA by winning their first Summit League tournament title since 1995. (Great reaction by the WIU men’s baseball team)
“We’ve had so much heartbreak here, not only this team but this program I think deserves a break,” WIU coach JD Gravina said. “At the same point, some crazy things happened for them to get the lead in regulation, a backboard 3, we miss free throws and whether you felt it was a fluky way to lose or a flukish way to win, sometimes fate favors the good at heart and that definitely doesn’t mean anything against IUPUI, they’re one of my favorite teams in the conference but, again, I can’t talk enough that this team deserves something good to happen.”
The Colorado State women’s basketball team has owned the Mountain West recently, winning the past four regular season titles.
But the Rams’ reign hasn’t always been dominant, especially this season.
Having one of the nation’s stingiest defenses helped cover up a lot of their deficiencies throughout the regular season, but not in Wednesday’s semifinals of the Mountain West tournament.
Fourth-seeded Boise State managed to catch fire offensively in the second half, leading to 65-61 upset over the top-seeded Rams at the Thomas & Mack Center.
This time around it was WMU’s Najee Smith who crushed CMU’s dreams with a long 3-pointer at the top of the key. The Broncos snapped a five-game losing streak to the Chippewas and advanced to take on the winner of No. 4 Northern Illinois and No. 5 Ohio in Friday’s semifinals.
“It’s tough to swallow,” said head coach Sue Guevara. “Last year was hard, last year was hard. This year is worse.”
Despite her team’s short comings down the stretch, Guevara said WMU played well when it mattered most and that was the difference.
“I give Western Michigan a lot of credit,” she said. “I thought the last five minutes of the game their defense was the difference and big players make big shots and Smith hit a big fat one.”
Also upset in the MAC, 14-4 Ball State by 10-8 Buffalo.
In the last 33 seconds of Wednesday’s game, UB junior point guard Stephanie Reid was sent to the line four different times.
Ball State brought the game within one possession twice in the last 15 seconds, but every time they scored, Buffalo put the ball back in Reid’s hands.
Reid responded by hitting seven of eight free throws down the stretch to put the game on ice.
And another (MEAC): Howard falls to North Carolina A&T .
“I’m extremely proud of my team and my hat goes off to coach Ty Grace and the Howard Lady Bison, who had a tremendous season,” said head coach Tarrell Robinson. “For us, it feels good to be back in familiar territory as far as being in the semifinals and these seniors want to make the most of it.”
“Our length got to them,” said Portland State coach Lynn Kennedy. “They started to scramble around. We match up pretty well with them as far as length. They were stopping short of going to the rim. We had to protect the rim, especially after our game with them last week. They would try to attack and get the ball to their post players.”
“I told the girls I knew we could win this game and they made it happen,” said Cathy Nixon, who’s in her 22nd year as UVU head coach. “Every season’s a journey and this one’s been a rocky one in a lot of ways. But these girls stuck together and knew they could win. Tonight I could not be more proud of them.”
A bucket with two seconds left from Idaho state University sends the UNC women’s basketball team home, ending their season and a chance to play in the NCAA tournament as they lose 60-59, in Reno.
ISU sophomore Saylair Grandon was able to maneuver through the top of the key, before pulling up and hitting the game-winning jumper.
“It was just a typical postseason game against two evenly matched teams. A lot of credit to Idaho State for coming into Reno with confidence and believing they can win here every year. We had the opportunities to stretch the lead out, but just couldn’t,” said head coach Kamie Ethridge.
Almost an upset in the A-SUN- in what’s becoming a nice little rivalry – FGCU escaped Jacksonville, 68-64.
“Overall, today is a really exciting day for our program,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “It’s great to get back to the championship game and have a chance to get back to the NCAA tournament if we can beat a very good team.”
In other news:
From Harvey Araton: UConn’s Tierney Lawlor: ‘Rudy’ With a Ponytail
When the fateful telephone call came in the fall of their daughter’s freshman year at Connecticut, their beloved alma mater, John and Eileen Lawlor heard three prideful, empowering words from the big campus in Storrs.
“I did it,” she told them.
Immediately they knew exactly what she had done.
Tierney Lawlor had made the team.
This ESPN article (The truth about juco women’s basketball, from players to coaches to pros)
The plaques glimmer across the walls in Rigby’s office at Troy. There is a framed newspaper clipping from 2011 when she guided her previous team, Pensacola State College, to the junior college nationals for the first time since 1985.
When Rigby looks, she sees more than wins.
She sees her former players, beaming and screaming, raising fists to the sky. Women whose ankles she taped, whose uniforms she washed, whose English papers she glanced over. Women she told day after day: You will become a college graduate. Women who eventually became four-year graduates. Division I players. Teachers. Pro ballers. Social workers. Coaches.
“There have been ups and downs, but they persisted,” said Rigby, who guided Troy to the NCAA tournament last season for the second time in school history and regularly recruits juco players. “A lot were first in their family to get a college degree.”
reminds me a bit of a piece I got to write for the WBCA back in the day (’07, Junior Colleges: Where Opportunities Knock)
Lin Laursen is pondering the opening to her Hall of Fame induction speech in Knoxville, and it goes something like this: “I’d like to thank my shoe sponsor, Payless…”
Curl knows whereof she speaks. “When you go in to a junior college as a coach, you learn very quickly that you’re going to drive the damn bus, you’re going to have five bucks a meal, you’re going to have a brown bag lunch on the way to the game,” said Curl. “You’re going to drive from Paris frickin’ Texas to Houston in six-and-a-half hours, get off a bus and play. Then drive back home that night and expect those kids to be in class the next day.”
“We’re paid to teach at this college,” said Laursen. “Coaching is a side stipend. But that’s why the coaches are here. Everybody always says, ‘Well, how many full rides do you have?’ No. We have money and I have to divide it up. I have to be an accountant and banker. That’s why we’re perpetually having fundraisers. Coaches come in and say, ‘What’s your per diem?’ I don’t even know what that means,” she deadpanned.
As for her players? “They get it all here – free tutoring. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday night they’re in study hall. They’ve already run this morning at 6am, and lifted. And I will see them on the floor at 3pm. And that’s the way it is.”
As a gangly girl, the 6-foot-2 basketball player was a self-proclaimed “tomboy,” although no one would call her that now.
“The word ‘tomboy’ had a different connotation then,” Christensen said. “It didn’t have the same stigma on it that it does now. It was empowering in a way.”
Now, “tomboy” is primarily a put-down, a term meant to discourage girls from playing sports and “acting like boys.”
Christensen is featured in “Tomboy,” a new hour-long documentary produced by Comcast SportsNet California. Through first-person interviews, “Tomboy” explores the obstacles young girls encounter in sports, including stereotypes, language issues and cultural disparities. Its title strikes through the word “tomboy” to emphasize an end to its use.
Flashback to a story I missed by Alissa Solomon (longtime fans will recall her coverage of the Liberty for the Village Voice): LETTER OF THE LAW: HOW UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN WOMEN GOT THEIR VARSITY JACKETS (A FEW DECADES LATE)
The package arrived toward the end of July, containing a weighty blue woolen garment: the jacket I’d earned in the fall of 1974, playing varsity field hockey at the University of Michigan. Its cool and creamy leather sleeves gave the box the faint aroma of a new car, and when I eagerly put it on—despite the 92-degree heat—I felt my middle-aged heart pound with pride beneath its big yellow block ‘M.’ As the ecstatic postings on a two-month-old Facebook group page for Michigan Early Women Letter Winners suggest, the hundreds of alumnae who received varsity jackets this summer, decades after meriting them, felt such hammerings in their own chests.
It was precisely those sleeves and that ‘M’ that had delayed delivery long beyond the days when I’d last whacked a ball downfield or needed my shins taped up. In the mid-70s, when Michigan established varsity women’s teams, the men then in charge of athletics pitched a fit over the idea that women should earn the same awards as male athletes. The storied football coach, Bo Schembechler, whined that women wearing the leather-sleeved blue letter jackets would “minimize the value of the ‘M’ in the eyes of not only our players but the public who place such a high value on it.”
Inspired by yesterday, some more reading/viewing on women’s sports: A Hero For Daisy:
The speech read by Chris Ernst to Joni Barnett during the Yale women’s demonstration on March 3, 1976 starts:
Mrs. Barnett: These are the bodies Yale is exploiting. We have come here today to make clear how unprotected we are, to show graphically what we are being exposed to. These are normal human bodies. On a day like today the rain freezes on our skin. Then we sit on a bus for half an hour as the ice melts into our sweats to meet the sweat that has soaked our clothes underneath.
BTW, then freshman Ginny Gilder was there that day. Now part of the Force 10 who owns the Seattle Storm, you can check out her book “Course Correction: A Story of Rowing and Resilience in the Wake of Title IX/”