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Helen’s been SCUBA diving in St. Thomas with the great folks at Blue Island Divers… and this morning she used an underwater camera for the first time!Pretty!

More pretty!

More pretty!

Sweet!

Sweet!

Don't tell mom.....

Don’t tell mom…..

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ot: Cesaria Evora

She will be missed, but her music lives on.

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WATN? Sue Donohoe

Doin’ an important job:  Donohoe named Kay Yow Cancer Fund Executive Director

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On Sexism and Women’s Basketball

Ben asks: When will it end?

Case in point: A writer by the name of Dave Begel penned an article for OnMilwaukee.com today with the title, “Women’s basketball has evolved, but not for the better.

Compared to other articles bashing the WNBA, Begel’s title is relatively kind. But the entire article might be the single most misogynistic piece on the WNBA that I’ve ever read.

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Jezebel on racism

Racist Girls Basketball Team Explains They’re Totally Not Racist

This week every player on Kenmore East High School’s girls basketball team is serving a two day suspension for performing a pre-game chant that included the N-word. The team’s only black player says she asked her teammates to stop doing the cheer, but they explained it was just a joke and they aren’t racist. Considering that members of the Kentucky church that banned interracial couples also insisted they weren’t biased, it seems this needs to be said: If you do things that demean people due to their ethnicity, you are a racist.

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Totally off topic, but by request…

Mama Symphony: I don’t know what happened. I was up late blogging, fell asleep and when I woke up, there were these boys in the house.

The Boys: How YOU doin’?
Legato… or is it Scherzo…I am such a bad mom…auditions for catsinsink.com.

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my guests, who traveled from Texas, Tennessee, Western Mass, Maine, New Jersey and Connecticut to join the locals at the Garden today. There were 50+ of us — if you’re interested in joining us next year, keep an eye on the blog and help support a great cause.

Also spotted in the stands: Brian Agler, Nancy Darsch, Kara Lawson, Rebecca Lobo, Angel McCoughtry (reported), Sue Wicks, Kym Hampton, the WBCA’s Beth Bass, former Seton Hall coach Phyllis Mangina, Robin Roberts.

Both Baylor and Tennessee fans did themselves proud.

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In anticipation of Tuesday

Mechelle writes: Loss is perfect primer for Aggies – Falling to Purdue on Sunday will remind Texas A&M what it must avoid against UConn

Some might think the bloom is off the rose a bit for Tuesday’s UConn-Texas A&M game because the Aggies suffered their first loss of the season Sunday, 60-51 at Purdue. But that defeat just might have been what Texas A&M needed to be more prepared for what it’ll face in Connecticut.

Chat with The Gary at 3pmEST.

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Ooops

Duke suspends starting G Shay Selby indefinitely for violating team rules

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about the one that got away courtesy of a furious Notre Dame comeback capped off by a buzz-beating (?) shot by Natalie Novosel.

Sugar sighting as #21 Georgetown took down #10 Georgia for the first time in program history.

Speaking of program wins, #800 for #4 TAMU was against Iowa, 74-58.

#13 Rutgers squeezed out a win over Arizona, 59-52.

It was an even squeezier win for #22 Texas over an intriguing Cal team, 61-6o.

Vandy enjoyed Thanksgiving at home and got a win to boot — 78-66 over #12 Oklahoma.

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but perhaps the most significant was the one in Stillwater, where the women’s team took to the court for the first time since the death of head coach Budke and assistant coach Serna.

From ESPN’s Brandon Chatmon: Cowgirls return to court with a win

On Saturday, the Cowgirls wore patches on their uniforms of the number “4” that featured the initials of each crash victim and the date of the accident stiched onto the number. Coppin State players wore orange T-shirts emblazoned with the number “4” during their pregame warmups.

“Today was much deeper than the basketball part of it,” OSU interim coach Jim Littell said of the Cowgirls’ 59-35 victory over Coppin State at Gallagher-Iba Arena. “We had a chance to pay honor today.

Writes Jessica at Swish Appeal: Oklahoma State 59, Coppin State 35 – “The healing process, I believe, started today.”

After the last buzzer sounded and the tradition of singing the alma mater at midcourt was finished, another round of applause was given, another moment of celebration was had – and this one all the more personal. In something I have never in my life seen before, the entire team, players and staff alike, went directly up in the stands to the Budke family and gave hugs to Kurt’s wife, three children and parents.

“It really meant a lot to all the girls,” Lindsey Keller said of the moment in the stands after the game. “It was for him (Budke) and Coach Serna and we just want to honor them and show our respect. We love them.”

Gina Mizell at News Ok writes: Reflecting on the Oklahoma State women’s basketball tragedy

I’ve learned a lot about the school that I cover during the past week. I’ve learned what made Budke and Serna special people, and hearing others talk about them made me wish I had gotten to know them. But I’ve learned more about the Oklahoma State people. I’ve seen what a tight-knit, passionate group it is all throughout football season, but this tragedy has really shown how supportive and loyal Cowboys and Cowgirls are to their school and each other. That is what’s going to get the OSU faithful through yet another extremely difficult time.

Jenni Carlson Cowgirls honor their coaches in first game since plane crash

Moments before the start of a basketball game that was about so much more than a basketball game, the big screen at Gallagher-Iba Arena flashed to the home bench.

There were smiles. There were laughs.

There was joy.

From Jimmie Trammel at the Tulsa World: Cowgirls play emotional first game since coaches’ fatal plane crash

During a postgame press conference, OSU president Burns Hargis’ voice cracked when he acknowledged the Budkes’ presence at the game.

“The week they have had would devastate any of us,” Hargis said. “And for them to come out and support these girls was, I think, wonderful.”

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You’ve got to believe that mid-way through the first half of the UConn/Stanford game that thought was running through Tara Vanderveer’s head — and just about anyone else watching — as #23 in white exploded on to the national stage and led the Huskies to a win. Wrote Jeff Jacobs:

I just had to look over behind press row. Had to make sure Maya Moore was there. Had to make sure Maya really was doing her job, shadowing Rebecca Lobo with ESPN on this night.

Had to make sure there were two of them. Had to make sure this wasn’t the greatest tricks of all the tricks Geno Auriemma has pulled off at Storrs. Had to make sure Geno hadn’t cloned Maya or something like that. Had to make sure there really were a Maya Moore and a Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Graham echoes Jacobs’ thoughts: UConn’s No. 23 rises to occasion again – Freshman Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis channels a little Maya Moore-like magic

If legends can still spread by word of mouth in an age of Twitter, nearly 14,000 acolytes headed into the Hartford night with a new one to tell.

In the first game Maya Moore played against Stanford as a freshman, she came off Geno Auriemma’s bench and scored 19 points on 8-of-17 shooting to lead Connecticut to a victory early in the 2007-08 season. In the first game Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis played against Stanford as a freshman, she matched Moore point for point, with the person who used to wear No. 23 in attendance.

The difference is Mosqueda-Lewis did it in the first half. She finished with 25 points in Connecticut’s 68-58 win.

It wasn’t a pretty game offensively, but it was a great measuring sticks for both these teams. Seniors Nneka proved she could play with fouls and Tiffany proved she could stink it up on the offensive end and yet still snag 13 rebounds. Both teams had youngsters make some noise. Both teams will learn, both coaches will coach’em up. Gotta believe both teams have a good shot at Denver.

Jere’ of the Times was there: UConn Shows Resolve, if Not Star Power

It was like a November heavyweight fight,” Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I thought it was extremely physical. Those are games you usually see in March.”

The Cardinal halted UConn’s 90-game winning streak in December. Should these two teams meet again in the N.C.A.A. tournament, it could be that Stanford (3-1) will prevail with its depth and eight players who are 6-2 or taller, including the pogo-sticking Ogwumike sisters, Nnemkadi and Chiney.

Our friends (in sort of a virtual, we’ve never met or talked, and yet clearly I believe I’d have a really good time sharing a beverage or three with them while talking basketball and life kind of friend way.) C&R chime in: Stanford UConn Gone All Wrong

What a frustrating game. Frustrating for Stanford, frustration with officials and frustration for C and R who couldn’t WATCH the game. Frustration for C’s spell checker that hates those fragmented and run on sentences. Let’s recap our experience and the game, if you are not too bummed out already.
  • First, C sets DVD to record ESPNU. Then drives to work.
  • R calls and says we don’t get ESPNU on our crappy cable plan.
  • C says she wouldn’t be able to set the DVR to record if we don’t get the channel, because a day without C and R arguing is a day without sunshine, which it was this morning.

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PSU again deficient in leadership – In its dealings with Rene Portland, administration also failed to be proactive, vigilant

I don’t want to pile on Penn State, knowing the majority of people there and the alums are totally aghast at the current disaster. Nor do I want to equate what happened with the women’s basketball program under Portland to what apparently happened with the football program. As reprehensible as many found the things that Portland did and said in regard to lesbian (or perceived lesbian) student-athletes, what Sandusky is alleged to have done is in its own isolated dungeon of horrific crime.

But the situations are linked in this way: The leadership at Penn State was lacking, and many of the same key people — such as Curley and Spanier — were involved.

***

To me, the almost casual way Penn State handled its defense and support of Portland throughout her career signaled that the school didn’t take any allegations against her very seriously. What I wrote in October 2006 reflected the frustration many outside observers had about the school’s attitude regarding complaints about Portland: It took a quarter-century of people not speaking out, or looking the other way, or rationalizing that led to Portland having complete belief in her dictatorial power.

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Poll time!

Check out the AP.

Doug says, “First time ever in history of ap poll that there are no schools outside #bcs in top 25.” Also first #1 start for Baylor is school history.

No surprise, Doug also has a story on Sue’s resignation.

“Her commitment to openness ‘de-mystified’ many NCAA processes and helped administrators, coaches and media alike gain a greater understanding of the NCAA’s policies and procedures,” Women’s Basketball Coaches Association CEO Beth Bass said in a statement.

“Her positive impact on the entire culture of women’s basketball — from USA Basketball, to playing rules, to mock bracketing, to the WBCA — is immeasurable.”

Some big changes from the NCAA Board of Directors.

On Thursday, the Division I Board of Directors approved a package of sweeping reforms that gives conferences the option of adding more money to scholarship offers, schools the opportunity to award scholarships for multiple years, imposes tougher academic standards on recruits and changes the summer basketball recruiting model.

I like the multi-year schollys. Intrigued to see how non-BCS programs will handle the “possible” extra money. Gwen Knapp at the Chronicle suggests: College football’s rich just got richer

Even at some of the BCS schools, little guys may end up losing. Does this cycle sound familiar? School A hires one football coach at an exorbitant sum, fires him with time left on his contract, brings in another pricey coach and pays them both simultaneously. The school suddenly sees an Olympic-sized pool of red ink and decides to cut the men’s swim team, plus tennis and wrestling. Critics blame Title IX because the women’s teams don’t get whacked, as well.

All of this happened at Arizona State a few years ago. The wrestling and swim teams were ultimately saved by private donors, much like the programs targeted at Cal this year, but the vulnerability of men’s non-revenue sports shows no signs of abating.

Nice to hear Pat Summitt working hard, feeling well

“I see her as Coach. I don’t see her any different than that,” said Caldwell, part of one Tennessee national championship as a player and two as an assistant. “I see her as somebody who is still hungry as a teacher for the game, someone who still loves the game, someone who is still passionate about preparing her team for greatness.

Don’t forget to follow the “All Access” Stanford at espnW.

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you’ll know it sports a big ole St. Louis Cardinals sticker.

I’m guessin’ Mechelle and her ‘puter are wicked happy puppies right now.

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OT: Honestly,

do they think changing the voice of the “Congratulations, you’ve won!” pop-up banner advertisement is going to finally tempt me to click?

“This is not a joke!” my arse.

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I see this tweet:

#DeltaZeta supports National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (#NCAAW), October 16-22.

and think, hmmm… seems to me college students are already far too aware of alcohol….

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Counting the days till tip off?

Looks like College Sports Madness may be, with their Top 44 team preview.

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Movies and women’s basketball?

Keep an eye out for the Mighty Macs film.

Also, filmmaker Melissa Johnson, who was on the 1998 Harvard team that beat #1 Stanford in the NCAAs, is making a documentary about Emily Tay, who played at Harvard a few years back. The project needs cash, so there’s a Kickstarter for the film: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/8112195/no-look-pass. This film will be showing in NYC at New York’s Documentary Festival Nov 5th & 7th.

Semi-related, because many of you who read this blog know I’m also a birder: Watch: First Trailer for ‘The Big Year’ Starring Wilson, Martin & Black

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Join Swish Appeal’s

game thread or visit ESPN’s (Mechelle is there: “Erika de Souza does kind of a LeBron-like think with chalk before the game. I’m sitting nearby and diligently covered up my laptop from chalkdust. :))

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We know what happened…

Minnesota stalked into the Land of the Sun (and Bun) and torched the Mercury, 103-82.

But the “experience” argument — even perpetuated by this writer in making the dreaded preseries prediction— turned out to be just plain wrong.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin has been in this league 12 years. The 40-year-old post, the league’s oldest player, won a title in Detroit in 2008.

Lindsay Whalen played in Finals series in Connecticut in 2004 and 2005.

Rebekkah Brunson won a title in Sacramento in 2005.

Maya Moore won three NCAA titles in Connecticut. (sic: Actually, it was 2)

How much more experience did we all want from this veteran, collected group of players, who merely managed to continue what they have done all season?

The Lynx have so may damn weapons, they remind me more and more of the 2002 UConn team — all about the same height, all with the potential to kick your ass, and all smart enough to listen to Mama Taj.

Some happy Lynx-lettes greeted the team when they arrived home.

Who will they face? Minny will wait to see what happens on Tuesday as Indy, and the rest of the WNBA world, keeps an ear out for news of Catch’s health. Game three went to Atlanta because they used one Brazilian to make up for the loss of another.

It’s not as though we haven’t seen Iziane Castro Marques have huge games before. After all, she was an All-Star last season, averaging nearly 17 points per game. But she hasn’t really been that kind of dominant player this year.

If she hadn’t done it Sunday, Atlanta’s 2011 season most likely would have been over. Instead, the Dream took Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, 94-77, sending the series back to Indianapolis for a deciding third game Tuesday (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET).

Mechelle wonders: Who will step up in Game 3? With or without Tamika Catchings, Fever need someone to complement Katie Douglas

But if Catchings doesn’t play, the Fever will need another huge game by Douglas — she had 25 points Sunday and is averaging 20.4 in the five games of this postseason — and more offense from at least a couple of others. The only Fever player besides Douglas who scored in double figures Sunday was reserve center Jessica Davenport with 12.

If Catchings is sidelined, the odds definitely shift in favor of Atlanta, which is seeking its second consecutive appearance in the WNBA Finals.

Richard offers up his recaps of the games: Small ball comes up big for Dream; Lynx class shines through

The game will probably be remembered for Catchings’s injury, but long before that Atlanta had put in a hell of a performance. Castro Marques finished 13-22 from the floor for 30 points, a career playoff high and her best performance of the season by so far it’s untrue. McCoughtry had easily her best game of this year’s playoffs, shooting 11-23 for 26 points. She was nowhere near as effective in the second half, but the rhythm of the game had already been set. She got off to such a fast start, and Indiana spent so much time and attention working out how to cover her, that other parts of their game fell apart. Each of the other Dream starters ended the game with 10 points, as balance once again helped Atlanta over the line, even in a game where two wings exploded offensively and one starter was on a different continent. The question for Atlanta is whether they can replicate this. Those outside jumpers haven’t been falling for McCoughtry lately, and she still only shot six free throws in this game. If the shots from outside start bouncing out again, and Castro Marques goes back to her regular season form, does this team simply revert back to what we saw in Game 1?

Over at Forbes, Alana Glass writes about the league’s new owners: Mary Brock And Kelly Loeffler: Running The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream

“I think our community has been amazing; starting from the top from Mayor Kasim Reed who came to our first game and lowered our conference championship banner in Philips Arena, to the head of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and all of the sponsors and fans. Sponsorships are up and ticket sales are up. The metrics are telling us, in addition to the anecdotal evidence that we are moving in the right direction. We know that we have more work to do so. We are not resting on any of that.”

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MVP speculation is…

FUN. We’ll know today, which is making people try and logic out the winner.

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of the week that found this blog: “towel on shoulder woman”

Ah, Wendy Larry, we’ll miss seeing you this season…

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ot: I’m just going to say

biking up over the Queensboro Bridge into a 15mph headwind is… brisk. And slow.

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I love the Ref’s Forum

’cause, well, they love the job. From the thread What are some of your favorite sayings/philosophies toward officiating??

You are where you were until you get where you’re going. (player location)
Must have something in and nothing out. (returning inbounds)
Last to touch, first to touch. (backcourt)
Fumble, dribble, fumble. (legal)
Dribble, fumble, dribble (illegal)
Must sit a tick, don’t have to play a tick. (substitution)
There’s a difference between being tripped, and tripping. (foul, no foul)
Over the back isn’t, on the back is. (no foul, foul)
Accidental isn’t always incidental. (contact)
Redirect, impede, displace, dislodge (illegal post play)
Rhythm, speed, balance, quickness (hand-checking foul)
Pass, shoot, start a dribble, or request a timeout. (player with ball on floor)
White, black, beige or school color. (headbands, wristbands, sleeves)
When in doubt, don’t be. (call it only if you’re sure)
When the ball is dead, we must be alive. (timeout mechanics)
Prevent if we can, enforce if we must. (three seconds)
Answer questions, not statements. (communication with coaches)
Bounce when you can, hand when you must. (throw-in)
Don’t be a ball watcher. (officiate your primary)
Move to improve. (court coverage)
Anticipate the play, not the call. (be patient)

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Now we know

why Pondexter was MIA in Las Vegas:

Last spring, Pondexter posted some controversial comments on Twitter about the tragic Japanese earthquake and tsunami: “What if God was tired of the way they treated their own people in there own country! Idk guys he makes no mistakes.”

She later tweeted: “u just never knw! They did pearl harbor so u can’t expect anything less.”

Many viewed her tweets as insensitive. She was the subject of unflattering columns in the New York sports pages and called in by the New York Liberty to discuss the matter.

Pondexter apologized for her comments and was not suspended by the WNBA or the Liberty. But she was forced to sit out the USA Basketball national team camp in Las Vegas in May as a consequence. She is expected to return to Team USA in the fall and to be a contender for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team.

I’m not sure “insensitive” was the word most people used in reaction to Cappie’s (edited by espnW). It was “racist.”

Personally, I’d rather people find racist remarks “disturbing”, wouldn’t you?

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Too damn young

Heralded Girls Basketball Star Is Shot to Death in Manhattan

Tayshana Murphy, 18, was on the basketball team at Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers in Manhattan, where she had just begun her senior year. She was ranked on an ESPN Web site as the nation’s 16th-best point guard in her class.

From Glen at Hoopgurlz: NYC grieves loss of Tayshana Murphy

After Hurricane Irene pounded New York City two weeks ago, Ed Grezinsky, the longtime coach of Murry Bergtraum High School’s powerhouse girls’ basketball program, received a text from a somewhat unexpected source.

It was from Tayshana Murphy, someone who had yet to play a game for him, but to whom Grezinsky felt as close as others who’d played four years at Bergtraum. She wanted to know how he’d weathered the storm.

Hardened by 21 highly successful years of molding inner-city kids into champions, Grezinsky sometimes can be described as gruff and distant. But Murphy had broken through. She’d melted his heart.

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Too young

Florida A&M player Shannon Washington fatally stabbed

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So, are back spasms

this year’s plantar fasciitis?

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Jere’ on the Shock

Leaving Detroit for Tulsa, the Shock Lost Their Way

Once, it seemed an intriguing idea for prefab success, dismantling a three-time W.N.B.A. championship team in Detroit and relocating it brick by brick to this regional hotbed for women’s basketball.

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