Staley has never talked a great deal about being a trailblazer, even though she is. It’s certainly not that she’s unaware, but she has usually wanted to focus more on being judged on her merits, which is understandable. Her many credentials are manifest, and they’re why she got this job. But it’s still an important and inspiring milestone that hopefully serves to keep dismantling barriers that never should have existed.
She now will have to balance being head coach of two entities, as Auriemma has done the past eight years, but she has plenty of practice multitasking.
The State: Staley ready to lead the Red, White and Blue
Staley learned of her appointment last week when she received a call while scouting a game at the SEC women’s basketball tournament in Greenville.
“I was elated, but calm,” she said. “I didn’t want to bring any attention to it, but I was shocked. It was a surreal moment. Even though you put your name in the hat, you never know what’s going to happen. Needless to say, I didn’t continue to scout that particular game. Thank God for assistant coaches because they were paying attention to the game.”
“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be head coach of our U.S. national team,” Staley said at the USA Basketball press conference Friday afternoon. “It means a great deal to me to represent my country, to wear the red white and blue.”
Growing up in Philadelphia, Staley, who was a high school star at Dobbins, didn’t initially dream she would reach this position with USA Basketball. Through hard work, dedication, and perseverance to her craft, her role in the organization blossomed.
“I didn’t see this moment ever happening because I just wanted to be a part of one Olympic Games,” Staley said. “And through dreams arise other dreams.”
When Debbie Antonelli got the phone call from CBS Sports a month ago, asking her if she was interested in working this year’s N.C.A.A. men’s basketball tournament as an on-air analyst, she said, “Yes, of course.” How could she not be?
After 29 years as a sideline reporter and analyst at hundreds of games, after thousands of miles traveling and thousands of hours studying teams and plays and players, Antonelli, 52, was being asked — finally — to be a leading voice at what she considers basketball’s Super Bowl.
Her husband, Frank, congratulated her. Her three sons were excited, too.
“My sons said a few ‘wows’ and ‘Ooh, I hope you get this team and that team,’” Antonelli said Wednesday in a phone call from the car-pool line at her youngest sons’ high school. “But my coolness factor lasted about three minutes.”
Syracuse women’s basketball freshman guard Desiree Elmore isn’t used to asking for assistance when it comes to issues involving the sport.
And why would she be? Elmore was a five-star recruit coming out of high school in Hartford, a jewel of head coach Quentin Hillsman’s recruiting class.
“It’s always been hard for me to ask for help. I’ve always been very independent,” she said.
But Elmore has picked up many important lessons as a new student of the college game this year. One of them came by necessity: when things aren’t going your way, you better start reaching out for some guidance.
Walk-on getting more love: UConn’s former walk-on Lawlor shooting for her fourth title
When she first took the court to play in the Green Bay women’s basketball summer pick-up games, Mehryn Kraker thought she had made a mistake. She thought maybe she wasn’t cut out for this.
These people were out of their minds.
Five years later, the espnW mid-major player of the year is the embodiment of a particular brand of obsession that has produced at least a share of 19 consecutive conference titles.
UConn had a big three last season. Although the names have changed, the Huskies have a big three again this season. And none of them are seniors. That’s scary for everyone else.
Washington‘s Kelsey Plum became the leading scorer in NCAA-era women’s basketball this season, breaking Jackie Stiles’ 16-year-old record. That alone would be qualification for her to be named our espnW national player of the year.
But let’s be frank: For the first time in a few years, this award wasn’t a foregone conclusion before the season started. That was pretty much the case the last three years as Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart was the best player on the best team.
Good news for the Ducks: UConn’s Geno Auriemma is espnW’s coach of the year, while Oregon’s Ionescu named top freshman
A year ago at this time, it was unknown where Sabrina Ionescu would be going to college. In fact, it wasn’t until June 2016 that the multifaceted 5-foot-10 guard announced she would play for Oregon.
Ionescu, who is from Walnut Creek, California, took her time — and then some — reaching that conclusion, wanting to be absolutely sure of her choice. On court, her decision-making is more of the lightening-fast variety, which contributed to an astonishing four triple-doubles in her rookie season.
Want some insight on the committee’s process? What is a team sheet? Inside the March Madness selection tool
The biggest challenge is the pressure to get it right. I have a sign at my desk that I look at every day, and it says, “For the good of the game, let’s get it right.” So preparation is key. And that brings on the second biggest challenge, and that is time. On top of regular committee meetings and calls, I need to make time to watch games, time to gather intel on teams through conference liaisons, time to digest information from coaches on regional calls, time to analyze the additional data that is available to us. The volume of information available is incredible and very helpful to us in getting it right. Last year was my first year on the committee, and it is overwhelming just trying to organize yourself, manage time, etc. That’s probably why it’s a five-year commitment — it takes one whole year just to figure it all out!
“It was night-and-day the first and second quarter,” said Albany coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee. “There was no panic in our game.
“(Maine) came out of the gate hard and had nothing to lose. We played tight, with everything to lose. Nerves calmed down and we played lock-down defense … we started to play more like us.”
The Broncos have won 10 in a row and a program-record 25 games. Pahukoa was named the tournament MVP while fellow senior Yaiza Rodriguez was named an all-tournament selection.
“She is someone that I’ve talked about a lot that has competitive greatness,” Boise State head coach Gordy Presnell said. “She has the ability to be great when you have to be great. And that’s Brooke Pahukoa.”
Gotta run a professional development in the morning, but you should check out these Saturday Games:
C-USA Finals: Western Kentucky v. Southern Mississippi, 5:30pm, CBSSN.
Wondering what’s Mike’s team doing while they’re waiting?
WNBA: Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Mercury Name Penny Taylor Director of Player Development and Performance – Phoenix Mercury