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Archive for December, 2017

Take your eye off the ball,

and someone will steal it from ya…and the Horizon just got more interesting.

Perhaps a little “just got a big win” played into it, but don’t take away from Northern Kentucky’s accomplishment, as they upset #19 Green Bay, 62-54. It was the first victory for the Norse over a ranked opponent since transitioning to Division I in 2012.

This got my attention: UCF stomped Temple, 76-46.

Ditto: Pepperdine topping San Diego, 66-62. The Waves start the WCC season 2-0 for the first time since 2012, making coach DeLisha Milton-Jones the only Pepperdine coach to win both her season-opener and WCC-opener in her first season.

Down the way, San Diego State stormed back in the fourth, but Utah State held on for the 62-58 (I’m calling it an) upset.

Mercer not messing around, as they dismantle Charlotte, 90-74. And why, ESPN sad-excuse-for-a-scoreboard, is their Conference not identified?

Belmont had to rally in the fourth to overtake Tennessee-Martin, 65-63.

Hmmmm…. Weber State over Idaho State, 76-70. Interesting news for the Big Sky. Check this video on point guard Jaiamoni Welch-Coleman.

Doink! Cross Ball State off the undefeated list as Central Michigan gets a big win in their MAC opener. 69-65.

Note the growth: Norfolk State cruises past Longwood

Sunday: 2017 goes out with a Bang!

Upset-sy-Daisy: Miami made sure #14 Duke’s year ended on a sour note, 51-48.

Tennessee did the same for Kentucky, 69-43. Two programs going in different directions his season.

Texas A&M tried to do the same for #4 South Carolina, but Wilson (again) said, “No. You. Don’t.

Nittany Lions gave it all they had, but the Terps squeaked out the 69-65 win.

It wasn’t pretty (especially that first quarter by NC State), but #3 Louisville will take the 55-47 win. With its 16th consecutive victory,  the Cardinals tied the 2013-14 team for the longest winning streak in program history.

#8 Texas looked at undefeated #9 West Virginia and said, “have a loss on us.”

#11 UCLA got their groove back…with a vengeance. They beat #20 Cal by 36.

#23 Iowa takes down #21 Michigan, 82-71, behind Gustafson’s 14th double-double.

Look at Virginia, not being sure what kind of team they want to be, beating Syracuse, 68-63.68-63.

Soooooo, about this Ionescu kid….With her eighth career triple-double, Ionescu passes Suzie McConnell and Louella Tomlinson. She is only a sophomore. The did it on 125+ games. It’s taken her 89. Oh, and Oregon won, 94-83. And got coach Graves his 500th win.

All right folks, start sending positive thoughts out to these teams starting 2018 winless: Detroit Mercy, Air Force, Mississippi Valley State, Chicago State and Iona.

In other news

Forbes: Stephen Curry Would Hate To Be Paid Like Women In Professional Basketball

Also, not to pick at old news, but I’d still love to know the story behind Jen leaving San Francisco and Sheryl leaving Chicago-Loyola (especially now that Swoopes is back at work)

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Stanford: Hold my beer.

Ah, nothing like getting some healthy players back into your lineup. Brittany McPhee returned and scored 12 of her 26 points in the fourth to lead the Cardinal over #11 UCLA, 76-65. With the win, Stanford avoided its first three-game home losing streak since 1985-86, VanDerveer’s first year on The Farm.

UCLA head coach Cori Close gave praise to her counterpart for the unfavorable outcome:

“Tara [VanDerveer] deserves the credit, and Stanford deserves the credit. They played with more focus. They executed their game plan better than we executed ours. They were the tougher team tonight, and they played with more focus and passion.”

Told ya: 9-16, 5-9 from 3, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, 25 pts. Ducks over Cougars, 89-56.

Congrats! Coach Charli Thorne wins her 450th game.

Congrats! Coach Joanne P. McCallie wins her 600th game.

Congrats! Coach Blair wins his 750th.

7 in a row for #20 Cal.

Told ya: FGCU over SDSU, 87-78.

Still no word: A key Gamecock will miss USC’s conference opener as her eligibility remains uncertain

Benjamin Hochman, St. Louis-Post Dispatch: Juggling basketball, law school is quite a feat

Even Wonder Woman wonders how she does it.

Lauren Aldridge is the starting point guard for Mizzou’s women’s basketball team.

Lauren Aldridge is a first-year student at Mizzou’s law school.

It’s mind-boggling to think she has the energy to do both of these, considering people push themselves to unfathomable limits to succeed at just one of them. But there’s a superhuman in Columbia, practicing on the court and for court, while showing young people that when someone says “follow your dreams,” it really can be plural.

MSR (aka Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder) Online: Plenty of good storylines filled our sports columns in 2017

2017 was not a bucket list sports year, but in so many ways it wasn’t any less memorable for that reason. Both “Another View” and “Sports Odds and Ends,” the two columns I am responsible for filing each week, once again stayed true to our overall mission to avoid game stories in favor of other sports-related news and information.

Our first “View” of 2017 featured Rachel Banham as only the second Black female basketball player at Minnesota to have her jersey put in the Williams Arena rafters. “That’s something I can tell my kids,” she told us.

A Dime Back: Some Not-Awful Moments in 2017

Awful Announcing: Debbie Antonelli thrilled, humbled to be tabbed for NCAA Tournament analysis

“I tried to stay on the road, because I was so excited to think that I was in that conversation.”

Listen up! Becoming a Pro Sports Executive – Work in Sports Podcast (gotta scroll down, but…)

Attitude and enthusiasm are the final barrier to entry into the sports world. It’s sports people!

You need to be enthusiastic and excited – or as this weeks guest Amber Cox Vice President of the Connecticut Sun and the New England Black Wolves says – you have to have sparkle.

This interview with Amber is awesome – she is a no BS sports executive, having been CMO of the MLS’s Houston Dynamo, Associate Commissioner of Women’s Basketball in the Big East Conference and President and COO of the Phoenix Mercury, but she is also extremely charismatic, excitable, enthusiastic and passionate.

Case in point: SportsChanel8: Time To Give Debbie Her Due

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso,
I fell in love with a Gibsonville girl
When she arrived the athletics were floundering
She turned the department into a pearl…..

As NC State’s football team prepares to face (and, likely, beat) Arizona State in the Sun Bowl, it might be a good time to take a minute and fully appreciate the job Debbie Yow has done in her time as NC State’s Athletics Director.

From  @NCAAResearch: Many former NCAA women’s basketball players also compete as professionals outside the USA. Top destinations: Germany, Turkey, Spain, Australia, Israel.

Listen up! If you haven’t had a chance to check out Burn It All Down yet, a great place to start is their year-in-review podcast.

This week, the gang talks about our favorite sports stories from this year, we share three of our favorite segments that we recorded in 2017, and then we cap it off with each of us choosing our own favorite Burn Pile from the first 33 episodes of this podcasting adventure. To help support the podcast, please consider becoming a patron: https://www.patreon.com/burnitalldown

Just want to bring this back from Breanna Stewart:

I’ll never forgive him.

But I’m not ashamed.

Every time I tell someone, I feel a little more unburdened. I wish it was as simple as saying that it’s just something that happened to me. Part of it is just that simple — it literally is something that happened. But I don’t know why it happened. I don’t know why this happens. Or why sexual abuse keepshappening.

I do know that I’m doing something completely outside of myself by writing this. In fact, this is one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done and will ever do. But I was recently reading McKayla Maroney’s personal account of sexual abuse — one of many powerful stories the #metoo campaign has inspired — and I felt … less alone.

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Don’t say I didn’t warn ya: Mercer takes down North Carolina, 97-86. Bears overcome 15-point deficit to win by 11. Huge game by senior Kahlia Lawrence: career-highs in points (39), rebounds (13) and 3s (6-9). Their first win over the Tar Heels, puts Susie Gardner‘s team 12-2 for the first time since 1979-80.

No longer undefeated: Creighton coach Flanery earns his 300th victory AND the program’s first win over a ranked team: Blue Jays over #18 Villanova, 69-54.

Soooo close to an important win for coach Joseph’s program… but Asia Durr wasn’t going to let Georgia Tech upset her Cardinals. #3 Louisville wins, 74-71.

Georgia Tech relied on Francesca Pan, the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year, for 10 points in the opening quarter, but it wasn’t long before Louisville’s own star guard took over.

Durr poured in 20 points in the second quarter to single-handedly lift the Cards out of an early hole. By halftime, she accounted for 27 of Louisville’s 46 points. The junior finished with four 3-pointers and was 15 of 25 from the field. 

It was a battle, but a strong fourth helped #19 Green Bay fight off Wright State, 58-51.

Good battle between the Irish and the Orange as Notre Dame pulled away in the fourth to seal the 87-72 win.

A tale of two halves: Kentucky was up 32-20. The Blue Raiders got it together, roared out of the gate in the 3rd. Their effort continued through the fourth to earn a 62-57 win.

Rick Insell spent almost the entirety of the first half of Thursday night’s game with his hands on his hips, pacing and yelling more than anyone should have to during the placid week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

But by the end of the third quarter, the MTSU coach was applauding his Lady Raiders. By the end of the fourth, he could finally breathe: Somehow, MTSU pulled off a 62-57 comeback win against Kentucky at Murphy Center.

It was MTSU’s first win over Kentucky since 2011. 

The Horned Frogs gave the Mountaineers everything they could handle. #9 West Virginia had to stage a mini-comeback to secure the 87-82 win over TCU.

Pardee, plagued by early foul trouble, scored 15 of her 17 points in the final period when West Virginia outscored the Frogs 34-26.

“We’re just really short-handed because of injuries,” Carey said. “I’m really proud of the girls. They really sucked it up and did a good job there at the end.

Nebraska surged in the fourth to make is a more respectable score, but the Buckeyes were never really threatened. (Surprisingly?) Defense helps Ohio State overcome foul trouble in win over Nebraska

Hello, Katelynn Flaherty! A school record 10 3-pointers powered #21 Michigan to a 20-point win over Penn State.

So, Rutgers was back to being Rutgers in their win over Purdue. But, that didn’t stop NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy from writing: Meet surging Rutgers women’s basketball team: 13-2 start, 8-game win streak and a revenge tour

Somewhere between dashing through the snow in sleighs and forgetting old acquaintance, i.e. the holiday season, mid-major basketball goes through metamorphosis. Teams that during the season’s opening months chased Goliath around the country in search of signature wins now encounter familiar faces hoping to test their own slingshots in conference play. December’s plucky underdogs are January’s merciless despots.

Which teams have the biggest targets on their backs? Glad you asked. Let’s get to the rankings.

Need some New Year’s Resolutions? Michelle’s here to help!

The calendar is about to turn to 2018, putting us just a handful of months away from tip-off of the 22nd WNBA season. While many players are overseas, it’s far from a quiet time for the teams who are preparing in earnest for summer.

Since it is time to begin anew in the new year, it seemed only appropriate to take some educated guesses as to what resolutions each of the WNBA teams will be writing for 2018.

Minnesota. The defending champions have stability on lockdown after securing head coach Cheryl Reeve with a multi-year contract extension this week while giving her general manager duties, as well. Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles aren’t going anywhere, either. It’s tough to imagine that Rebekkah Brunson (an unrestricted free agent) would want to be anywhere else at this point in her career. Minnesota’s resolution for 2018 has to be grooming the franchise’s next great point guard.

Las Vegas Weekly: On a comeback of its own, the WNBA is a great fit for Mandalay Bay

WATN? Former WNBA Jennifer Gillom star returns to coach Xavier Prep basketball team

Interesting games on tap… Honestly, it’s kinda a “Meh” Friday.

  • Never miss a chance to see Sabrina play: #10 Oregon v. Washington State, 6pm.
  • Oooooo! Wabbits v. Eagles: South Dakota State v. Florida Gulf Coast, 7:30pm.
  • Never miss a chance to see Jordin play: #11 UCLA v. Stanford, 8:30pm.
  • Trakh has another chance to take the measure of the PAC-12: USC v #20 California, 9pm.

Saturday

  • Dartmouth v. Albany, 2pm
  • Central Michigan v. unbeaten Ball State, 2pm
  • Whoa – Iona is STILL winless? They face Niagara, 3pm.

Sunday

  • This could get ugly: #7 Tennessee v. Kentucky, 12pm.
  • How’s Duke handling injuries? Blue Devils v. Hurricanes, 12:30pm.
  • Don’t expect an upset, but it’s worth noting Wake Forest’s improvement these last few years. They face the Irish at 1pm.
  • #22 Texas A&M travels to face #4 South Carolina, 2pm.
  • ’cause in-state rivalries rule! #11 UCLA v. #20 California, 2pm.
  • Their records are similar, but I’m expecting Georgia Tech to not have a loss-letdown as they face Clemson (10-3). But, think about that – Clemson has 10 wins!
  • #3 Louisville gets to shake off their close win – not. They face NC State, 2:30pm.
  • Good Big 10 battle: #21 Michigan v. #23 Iowa, 4pm.
  • Another good battle: Michigan State (11-3) v Rutgers (13-2), 4pm.
  • ’cause the Pac-12 is always interesting: USC v. Stanford, 4pm.
  • Good measure of #9 West Virginia’s mettle. They travel to Austin and put their undefeated record to the test against #8 Texas, 4:30pm.
  • Hope this one is fun: #5 Mississippi State (14-0) v. Georgia (12-1), 6pm.

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Fire up the popcorn!

Games to keep an eye on.

Yes, UNC got Sylvia her 1000th win, but their schedule has been…doughy. Dunno if the 11-2 Mercer Bears can put a scare into ’em, but we shall see. 2pm.

Both teams are unranked, and both sit at 11-2. NC State v. Virginia Tech ought to be fun. 2:30pm.

More often than not, the Horizon belongs to Green Bay. An opening conference game against Wright State will see if that supremacy will be challenged this season. 4:30pm

My COY candidate McGraw has her team at 11-1. Considering the injuries, that’s pretty amazing. #2 Irish host the 12-1 Syracuse Orange. 7pm.

The #3 Cardinal have been soaring while the Ramblin’ Wreck has been chugging along. Louisville (14-0) will see what an 11-2 record means for Georgia Tech, as Asia Durr leads Louisville on, off the court.7pm.

On tiny little cat feet, West Virginia has crept to 12-0. Can TCU (9-2) put a dent in that record? 7pm.

Mike Carey will need just one look at the TCU women’s basketball team to see something his Mountaineers are not.

“They’re very deep,” Carey said.

If Kentucky wants to break their losing streak, they sure picked a tough test: MTSU, IN Murfreesboro. 7:30pm. (btw: streamed through GoBlueRaiders.com)

Nebraska is surprising me. Dunno if they can surprise #12 Ohio State, but they are the hosts. 8pm.

At this time a year ago, the Nebraska women’s basketball team was heading into Big Ten play with a 4-8 record. Hannah Whitish, then a freshman, was just working her way into the starting lineup.

By the end of the year, the Huskers had only won three more games, but it was a valuable opportunity for Whitish, who started 17 games the rest of the way. She finished the year averaging nine points, 2.5 rebounds and almost three assists per game.

A year later, Nebraska enters Big Ten play with a 9-4 record, and Whitish, a sophomore from Barneveld, Wisconsin, has played a lot more college basketball.

Stuff to read  as you wait for the games to start:

Howard at the Summit: Some WNBA thoughts on Jordin Canada

Last season, Canada was just a junior, unlike those Peterson or Fitzgerald. So where has her game gone so far this year?

That’s right: she’s gotten even better. Entering Pac-12 play, Canada’s assist percentage is at 36.9 percent. But that’s happened within the context of her mistakes falling even further. Her 11.5 turnover percentage isn’t just down from last year, it is the lowest among any of the top 125 players in the country in assist percentage.

Spokesman.com: At Gonzaga, Emma Moon guides student-athletes toward their highest potential

The student-athletes at Gonzaga University are a self-driven bunch, or they wouldn’t be there in the first place.

But what happens when the cheering stops and the only voice they hear is full of self-doubt?

Sometimes, they turn that voice to the support of others.

Intercollegiate athletics is 1 percent glory and 99 percent guts, and that intestinal fortitude is tested every day, in season and out. Student-athletes must juggle books and balls and boyfriends, and hope nothing drops.

However, even self-starters need a reboot from time to time. That’s where Emma Moon steps in.

After tough upbringing, Louisville’s Sam Fuehring plays with unapologetic emotion

She was told to take only the important things, so Sam Fuehring crammed a few trash bags full of clothes and grabbed her stuffed bear, Sammy. 

She sobbed as her five cats were taken away in an animal control vehicle after she and her family were thrown out of the home Fuehring lived in for the first 12 years of her life. 

It was the second time Fuehring had been evicted, and it wouldn’t be the last. 

WNBA Diehards give us a list of free agents.

Need to kill some time? Scroll through the .com’s Top Plays of 2017.

Flashing back to hanging with Doris and her kids pre-Liberty games. She’s good people. For Doris Burke, Having Game Is All That Matters

Late last month, Doris Burke was sitting in her living room watching Ben Simmons miss a dozen free throws in the fourth quarter. Every time the Wizards intentionally fouled the Sixers rookie, sending him to the stripe for another adventure, Burke winced: “I’m dying for the guy and going, I’ve been there, buddy.”

In the early 1980s she was Doris Sable, point guard for the Manasquan Warriors and one of the top players in southern New Jersey. Great handle, great mind for the game, not-so-great shot. Opponents didn’t employ the Deck-a-Doris or the Disable-a-Sable, but her performance at the line was erratic, to say the least. (The Asbury Park Press noted in the opening sentence of one game story, “The first [free throw] that Doris Sable took was a sky ball,” which, apparently, was early ’80s Jersey Shore speak for air ball.) Burke hasn’t shaken the reputation; a few Christmases back, her ESPN colleague and longtime friend Jeff Van Gundy told her, on-air, that she was “the only white point guard who can’t shoot the ball.”

Jokes aside, the fact that Burke can relate to Simmons is what has allowed her to become, this season, the first woman to be a network analyst for NBA games.

Swin gettin’ a lot of love: Swin Cash’s Humble Beginnings Have Helped Make Her A Champion In Life

Easiest decision ever: Lynx Sign Head Coach Cheryl Reeve to Multi-Year Contract Extension (and GM-ship?)

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Aaaaand we’re back!

Welllll… almost. Until then:

Well done! Western Illinois’ Emily Clemens named espnW player of the week

At the very least, Western Illinois can forevermore call itself the Harvard of the Summit League. The folks in the admissions office in Macomb, Illinois, can thank Emily Clemens for that.

Pac 12

Michelle Smith feature: Team-by-team preview as Conference play begins

We have arrived at the start of the Pac-12 season.

After an impressive non-conference in which all but two teams posted winning records and eight teams collected at least nine victories, the time for head-to-head competition in the nation’s toughest conference has come.

Here is a team-by-team look at the Pac-12:

Pac-12 Women’s Basketball begins league play this week

Washington State: Pac-12 Play Begins for Women’s Basketball at No. 10/10 Oregon Friday

Register-Guard: Oregon Ducks, UCLA Bruins have emerged as Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball favorites

Building the Dam: Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Pre-Conference Power Rankings and Early Superlatives

NCAA.com: Women’s basketball: Stanford’s 17 year-run in AP women’s hoops poll ends and Stanford women’s basketball gets unwanted Christmas surprise

Big 10

Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Central

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State women’s basketball | Work with brother helped Stephanie Mavunga raise her game

Mechelle: Nancy Fahey has risen to the top level and is out to help Illinois to do the same

Illinois’ Nancy Fahey was used to seeing some of the bigger names in women’s basketball coaching while she was watching television. Now that she’s coaching against them — such as Maryland’s Brenda Frese in the teams’ Big Ten opener Thursday — Fahey jokes, “I almost feel like I should go ask them for an autograph.”

Or maybe it should be the other way around. Fahey, after all, is in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and has won more national championships (five) than anyone in the Big Ten. Those came during her 31 years at Division III Washington University in St. Louis, where she was 737-133.

Fahey, who turned 59 in November, is in her first season in Division I. She was hired in March to replace Matt Bollant, and her task is a tall one: try to make Illinois a competitive program again.

ACC:

No. 3 Louisville Opens ACC Play at Georgia Tech on Thursday

Big East

Anonymous Eagle: 2017-18 Marquette Women’s Basketball: A Mid-Season Overview as Marquette Women’s Basketball Hangs In The Associated Press Polling With One 25th Place Vote

We know they’re feisty. Got a chance to really show it: Creighton Looks to Upend #18 Villanova on Thursday

Big 12

Ames tribune: Women’s Basketball: Wise inspires confidence as Cyclones turn to Big 12 play

Iowa State Daily: Kristin Scott: The new age center

Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly has seen the game change over the course of his coaching career.

As Fennelly said before, everybody wants to be like the Golden State Warriors. Every player wants to shoot threes instead of taking it to the bucket or play position-less basketball. And no position has been affected the most than the center spot.

It hasn’t taken long for the most decorated high school basketball player to ever come out of Salem to establish herself at the highest level of women’s college basketball. Evina Westbrook, a 6-foot freshman from South Salem High School, is the starting point guard for nationally-ranked Tennessee.

I’m betting coaches are following this process quite carefully: Gamecocks file waiver to NCAA on behalf of Te’a Cooper

Als, from the Post and Courier: • NEWSMAKER OF THE YEAR • Dawn Staley’s drive to succeed had its beginnings in a tough, proud Philadelphia neighborhood

There was a basketball court in the shadow of the apartment towers that loomed over her childhood, but it was where the older kids played. The little kids had to get creative.

So Dawn Staley and her brothers cut the bottom out of a crate to use as a makeshift rim, found a piece of plywood to fashion as a backboard, and nailed it all to an electrical pole down the street from the row house where they lived.

Many years later she would use a ladder to ascend to another rim, this one orange and affixed to an official glass backboard, where she would clip the net after leading South Carolina to its first national championship in women’s basketball.

WAC

Bakersfield Californian: CSUB women’s basketball’s scoring woes aren’t due to its new offense

SWAC

Sue with a Coach’s Chair: Freddie Murray, Grambling State University

Freddie Murray is in his third season at Grambling State University, after arriving in 2015 to serve as an assistant coach to Nadine Domond. When Domond left the program the following year, Murray was named interim head coach. The Tigers’ 10-game Southwestern Athletic Conference winning streak that season helped them win a share of the regular season title, and propelled them into the tournament Championship game for the first time in 17 years. Last spring Murray was named permanent head coach.

Ivy

Sue with another Coach’s Chair: Courtney Banghart, Princeton University

You’ve also been a bit unorthodox in that you’ve coached at the DI level only in Ivy League schools. Take us into the Ivy League athletics world. How is it different from the non-Ivy League experience? How is it the same?

The Ivy League is the same competitive, DI high-level ball that we all know. I feel like I’m coaching in a high-major program in a mid-major environment. We’re at the highest academic level in the world, in a mid-major environment. We’re non-scholarship with an academic curriculum where you have to show your academic merit in order to be admitted. I get to recruit the whole country instead of a region. You get the best of the best.

In other news

Swish Appeal offers up Jaw-dropping developments in women’s basketball

Hartford Courant: UConn Notebook: Swin Cash Adjusts To Life Off The Court

From WKYT: Former UK women’s basketball player gets a second chance at life

She’d fallen a long way from her days at UK: team captain of the 1981-82 Lady Kats… as the women’s basketball team was known back then. Prison humbled her, and she vowed to help the “least of these”…addicts in recovery, the homeless, and people getting out of prison.

Fogle says, “The difficulties I went thru, serving out a 10-year prison sentence, I get to give back freely. What God has truly given to me…”

She’s is making up for lost time at warp speed. “The least of the least of these, those with crimes that will not allow them housing, nor employment, so a program called Destined 4 Destiny, for men and now for women.”

Tallahassee.com: Miracle fan: John Pride doesn’t miss an FSU women’s basketball home game despite stroke

There isn’t much that can stop John Pride from attending a Florida State’s women’s basketball team home game. There’s sentimental value there. His first date with Alesia, his wife of eight years, was at a women’s basketball game when the team was still playing in Tully Gymnasium.

Sending out good thoughts: Melanie Balcomb resigns from Texas Tech coaching staff

“At this time,” Balcomb said in a statement, “I need to focus on dealing with a family medical issue that won’t allow me to commit my full energies to coaching. I’d like to thank Texas Tech for the opportunity to be a Lady Raider and wish them success as they enter league play.”

Add on: McCallie Adds Jim Corrigan as Special Assistant

WNBA

Congrats: Outsports Female Athlete of the Year: Seimone Augustus

Also congrats: Star Tribune Sportsperson of the Year: Cheryl Reeve

Welcome: Atlanta Dream Round Out Coaching Staff with Darius Taylor

.com: Senior Watch: Season of Giving

Over the next month we will take a look at specific positions here at the Senior Watch. In the spirit of the holiday, we begin with a look at some of the top playmakers at the point guard position. These seven players are some of the best at gifting their teammates buckets on a nightly basis

International

Dawn Staley looking forward to next step in Team USA selection

Paul offers up his 10 Top Moments of 2017

It is always hard to reflect on every year which is always packed with so many memorable moments, but here are my own top 10 that struck me most.

That night in Udine was special as a mediocre tournament ended with a game for the ages – an All-Time classic in fact. Russia won the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 86-82 against USA who had been gunning for a seventh straight crown. MVP Maria Vadeeva was just phenomenal – as was Raisa Musina.

WATN? From Bleacher Report: ‘YOU CAN BE A PIONEER’

Officially, [Becky] Bonner is the Magic’s director of player development and quality control—tasked with everything from player appearances and facilities upgrades to scouting and player evaluation. Unofficially, she’s training to become a general manager—perhaps the first female GM in league history.

On this night, Bonner is shepherding Magic players through Walmart. Tomorrow, she’ll be filing reports on a batch of draft prospects, then watching the Magic-Clippers game from the executive suite, alongside Magic president Jeff Weltman and GM John Hammond.

High School

SOL Continental Exception in HS Basketball Gender Equity Issue: The SOL Continental Conference – with five women coaches – is an exception to the rule in District One where only 29 percent are female coaches.

When you open the binder, and look right in the inside pocket you learn about some of what’s important to her. Potash is after all, a basketball nut, someone who says things like, “Can we agree that Pat Summitt’s last book was her best?” and gushes about Brenda Frese of Maryland and Gregg Popovich. Because of this, inside the binder is an article about the Spurs head coach and another a mentor sent her from her first game coaching at the varsity level.

Her favorite quotes from these articles are highlighted. Potash likes highlighting. Towards the bottom is one from a Sports Illustrated article, something Becky Hammon, former WNBA star and current assistant under Popovich, said. Potash looks at it all the time.

“Character is genderless. Leadership is genderless. If you’re a great leader, you’re a great leader. Patience, service, the ability to listen—either you have it or you don’t.”

Hammon’s right. Those traits are not exclusive to one biological sex.

But what if only one constitutes the majority representation on the sideline? What message is being sent about those characteristics, then?

BTW, if you’ve got a few extra dollars you’d like to use to support coverage of women’s sports, consider send it here: Burn It All Down is creating the feminist sports podcast you need

 

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the night….*all sing* Oh, what a night!

The bus pulled up to 25th and Diamond streets and the defending NCAA women’s basketball champions all piled out. The South Carolina Gamecocks arrived Wednesday straight from practice over at Temple, where they’ll play Thursday night. Their coach, Dawn Staley, got too busy hugging people on the sidewalk, starting with her older brother, to notice the plastic wrapping over the street sign at the corner.

That team bus, coincidently, had the words Champion Coach on its side.

Staley, who has Made in North Philly as the screensaver on her phone, had grown up two blocks over. This was her recreation center, now named for the late legend Hank Gathers, who had told some leery neighborhood regulars more than three decades ago how they had to let this little girl Dawn play ball with them.

From Doug: Dawn Staley has Philadelphia homecoming to remember

The women’s basketball coach at South Carolina returned to Philadelphia this week with her defending NCAA champion Gamecocks to play Temple. It wasn’t her first time back in the city where she grew up since winning the national title in April. But this was a special trip for the Hall of Famer. She was going to her old stomping grounds, where she honed her skills as a player, to donate a replica NCAA championship trophy to the Hank Gathers Recreation Center.

Her hometown had a surprise for one of its favorites, too. The city proclaimed Wednesday Dawn Staley Day and renamed a street right where she grew up as Dawn Staley Lane.

“You don’t dream of streets being named after you,” Staley said after her fourth-ranked team routed Temple 87-60 on Thursday night. “You dream about gold medals, winning national championships. That stuff hits you like a body blow you’re not prepared for when it comes from people who genuinely care for you. It makes it truly special.”

Swish Appeal: Candice Dupree’s powerful words about South Carolina’s Dawn Staley

Unbeaten Tennessee wins at Stanford, drops Cardinal to .500

No one who has watched this rivalry over most of the past three decades would have mistaken this game for the heavyweight battles of years past. Neither program is in that vaunted place at this moment in time.

But for the first time since most of the current Tennessee players were in elementary school, the Lady Vols walked out of Maples Pavilion with a win.

It was immediately apparent how much the Stanford women’s basketball team missed its star senior guard Brittany McPhee. She scored 15 of the Cardinal’s first 26 points and finished with a season-high 27.

It wasn’t enough to save No. 18 Stanford from losing to No. 7 Tennessee, 83-71, on Thursday, sending the Cardinal (6-6) into the Pac-12 Conference with its worst start after 12 games opening the 1998-99 season 4-8, when it finished 18-12 and got beat in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

*all sing* The first loss is the deepest… #5 Mississippi State did the honors, as the stopped the Orange, 76-65.

#9 West Virginia stayed undefeated, but they got a good tussle from Morehead State, 66-56.

“(It was a) sloppy game,” coach Mike Carey said. “I’m just glad this nonconference is over. I’m glad to start playing Big 12 games. We need to move forward.”
It was also a tussle for #13 Florida State, who had to fighthad to fight a stubborn Creighton to earn a 92-82 win.

#10 Oregon exploded in the first quarter or 34, then pulled away to secure a confident victory over #19 Texas A&M, 84-62.

Good win for Michigan State as the upset #22 South Florida, 83-73.

#24 Cal’s victory meant it’s a four-loss streak for Kentucky (first time in 15yrs).

Delaware: Enabosi sets school record with eighth straight double-double as Blue Hens lash Loyola

More than four hours before tip-off, Nicole Enabosi had the Carpenter Center basketball court to herself as she stood in front of one basket and practiced her shooting early Friday morning.

“Practice makes perfect so that’s what I’m trying to do,” she said later.

When afternoon came, Enabosi was easy to single out again.

Cranky after their loss to Wright State, Belmont punishes Vanderbilt, 111-74. (The last time the Belmont women beat Vanderbilt was in 1981.)

Upset: Norfolk State went to OT to defeat William & Mary, 80-74.

Kayla Roberts’ perfect overtime Thursday night helped the Norfolk State women win their fourth in a row and guaranteed the Spartans at least a .500 record in nonconference play for the first time since the 2010-11 season.
Wicked ugly, but a win is a win from Powell and Grand Canyon.

Good win for Quinnipiac over Central Michigan, 84-70.

Still undefeated: Ball State withstands a fourth quarter surged from Western Kentucky to move to 11-0.

Stubborn Northern Iowa isn’t having a great season so far, but they did beat Kantate, 72-71.

Woof! In the battle of very similar-looking mascots, Gonzaga mauled Western Illinois (perhaps a little upset hangover?), 80-65. You think I’m kidding? Look! Cousins!

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Upcoming games I have my eye on: Oh, right. We’ve hit that serious lull…sigh.

WNBA

Overseas: Fowles, Griner Continuing Dominance

Thank you for your leadership: Minnesota Lynx coach and VP come out publicly as married couple

Sweet! Spurs’ Hammon named candidate for Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018

Note to reporters: Umm…. any word on who’s buying the Lib? (Hello, Rosie? Beyonce? Leslie?)

News:

US Army: Love for basketball leads Soldiers to All-Army Women’s Basketball team

The air in the gym is thick and the only sounds are the air conditioning vents blowing from the ceiling, shining down like outsized opaque crystal balls.

Suddenly, the echoes of basketballs bouncing off the wood floor rumble through the bleachers. Whoosh, goes a ball through the net.

The All-Army Women’s Basketball Team has come to play.

Congrats! JMU putting 1981-82 basketball team into its athletics hall of fame

Oh, Canada! Huskies star guard Nurse says ‘hometown game’ was a complete surprise

From Lois (And thank you, Amsterdam Times, for consistently giving space to women’s basketball): Hofstra performs valiantly in the face of injuries

It has been a rough opening to the 2017-18 season for Hofstra University women’s basketball. The Pride has been beset by injuries—at times only suiting up seven people for a game—and finals break couldn’t come fast enough for coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey.

Listen Up! Around the Rim:

 LaChina Robinson celebrates the 1,000 win milestones of UConn’s Geno & UNC’s Sylvia Hatchell by chatting with Coach Hatchell herself, plus we hear from the coaches’ former players: Sue Bird, Swin Cash, Ivory Latta, and Sylvia Crawley.

Speaking of “Listen Up!” Congrats: The is one of our staff faves for 2017! “A feminist podcast that’s a must-listen for anyone who likes sports and politics,” notes

Oh, Duck: Oregon will contest allegations by NCAA against men’s and women’s basketball, track and field programs (upon reading the article, doesn’t to seem to be a huge mess for wbb.)

Nice piece on Mel by Mike Jensen: Mel Greenberg is still the women’s hoops guru after almost 50 years in journalism

There he was, the Guru, as he doesn’t mind being called, across from Temple’s bench at McGonigle Hall, usual spot, rumply presence as ordinary as a pregame layup line. This was early on a Sunday afternoon. For this man, early might mean late. What time was it for him?

“Still yesterday,” said a man now into his fifth decade of covering women’s college basketball.

From the Atlantic: The #MeToo movement comes to sports, a reckoning long overdue

A year ago this month seven of us sat around a table and raised our glasses. We were a formidable lot — two sports columnists, a sports editor, a sports writer, a preeminent baseball reporter, a former sports executive, a legendary sports journalist who now advises teams — and we had plenty to toast.

We toasted fond memories of remarkable games we had covered, athletes we admired, the Olympics where we met, that World Series we’d never forget. And, above all, we toasted the survivors. We toasted our kick-ass selves.

There’s a famous line every female inevitably learns when she enters the world of sports: Check your dignity at the door. From a young age girls are told to not make trouble, and if those girls yearn for a career in sports they might as well write that adage on the back of their hand.

Really? Chris Brown’s Movie About Women’s Basketball Is Already Facing Backlash

On December 19, Variety reported that Nick Cannon would be directing, writing, producing, and starring in She Ball, a movie about women’s street basketball. The official plot, according to Variety, reads: “She Ball follows the love of the game through the struggles of Avery Watts, played by Cannon, who enlists the baddest women’s streetball league in the city to help him save the embattled Inglewood Community Center, which he manages, all while trying to raise his seven-year-old daughter.” So yes, it appears that a film about women that should, in theory, star women, is somehow being re-centered to focus on a man. But that isn’t the only red flag that has been raised.

 

REALLY? Brawl at Women’s Basketball Game

I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying: Women’s Basketball Team Surprises Manager With Special Gift

A loss: Urbana mourns loss of veteran girls basketball coach Bill Moss

He also helped groom former Urbana standouts Beth Ostendorf, Jannon Roland and most recently Trischa Lacy. Roland starred on the two state title teams, was the D-II player of the year and also was the Big Ten player of the year at Purdue University. She played in the WNBA.

“Bill was an innovator and pioneer in this sport,” said Jim Dabbelt of the Dabbelt Report, which focuses mostly on area girls basketball.

“Back when AAU was in the early stages, he ran the Urbana AAU program and it was the standard-setter for girls AAU in Ohio. They made several trips to the nationals and that was back when the nationals really meant something.”

It’s that time of year: From Mechelle: Top 10 moments in women’s basketball in 2017

With 2018 just around the corner, what were the biggest stories in women’s basketball this year?

These 10 moments moved the needle in 2017, both in the college game and the WNBA.

Whaddayamean you didn’t get your favorite wbball fan a gift! Check out the WHB library to find the perfect book for them.

Have a lovely holiday, all. Hug the ones you love, cheer the teams you support, and click through the links you see…

 

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The Shortest Day

by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!
*all shout*
WELCOME YULE!

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