Even though I was on vacation, I decided to head out to practice and cobble together a preview story before the team hit the road to take on the Los Angeles schools.
It was also the first day my daughter, Abby, accompanied me to a practice.
I never could have imagined just how impactful those few minutes would turn out to be for Abby, who was 5 years old at the time.
After conducting a couple interviews, I looked over to where I had told Abby to sit and wait for me.
But she wasn’t there.
I started to look around, a bit of panic beginning to form. As I turned to look across the court in the practice facility, that feeling of panic quickly melted and turned to one of pure joy.
There was Sydney Wiese, dribbling the ball at center court while Abby did her best to try and take it from her.
One reason why the UCLA women’s basketball team is 23-8 is because it has a solid offense that averages 73.9 points. But defense, and all that it entails, is probably more responsible.
The Bruins allow only 64 points. They out-rebound opponents by an average of 2.5. They harass teams into 17.5 turnovers per game while committing only 12.1, they average 10.2 steals to just 6.6 for their opponents and they average 5.0 blocks while giving up 2.7.
It’s tough to get teams to buy into doing all those little things, because they’re not as sexy as a 3-point basket or a sweet dribble-drive and dazzling finish.
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The mere mention of Geno Auriemma’s name elicited a playful cackle from women’s basketball legend Yolanda Griffith.
Sitting in the locker room inside Gampel Pavilion used by 16th-seeded Albany, the Great Danes’ first year assistant coach probably could have spent the next hour repeating some of the classic stories from the wise-cracking Auriemma from their time together helping the United States to the 2000 Olympic gold medal. Perhaps some of those stories could even be printed in the newspaper, but Griffith wasn’t quite ready to spill the beans.
“A lot of his stories he used to tell …,” Griffith said.
She was speeding toward an airport last month when, somewhere between Tuscaloosa and Atlanta, a patrol car’s lights flashed and an officer would end up giving her a speeding ticket for driving 20 mph over the limit.
But here’s the thing about Holly Rowe: she can’t slow down, not right now.
The ESPN broadcaster’s calendar is swamped, just the way she wants it.
Rowe, a University of Utah graduate who still calls Salt Lake City home, has covered gymnastics in Alabama, the 2017 College Football Playoff national championship game in Florida and basketball in Kansas over the past few months.
In between, Rowe fights.
She is in her second bout with melanoma cancer that spread throughout her body. She underwent surgery last February to remove cancerous tumors, malignant tumors and 29 lymph nodes. The treatment she receives every 21 days staves off the disease.