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1 MAAC ATTACK! Some folks were/are wondering where Quinnipiac is. (And SOME folks are wondering how to pronounce it.) But longtime readers have followed the growth of the program these last few years know the MAAC is no longer the Marist Red Foxes. The Bobcats (and the Rider Broncs) are solid programs. But, even knowing that, I’m betting most of us didn’t have the #12 Q over smokin’ hot #5 Marquette. I’m wondering if experience came into play… BUT, whatever happen in the minds and bodies of the players, the end result was Quinnipiac’s first NCAA tournament win in school history, 68-65.

“When we won the MAAC championship close to two weeks ago, I told my young ladies to enjoy the moment, because you never know,” said 22nd-year coach Tricia Fabbri. “We worked very hard to win that title. But I also said, don’t be satisfied. We weren’t finished yet. And then today we came down here to win a game and advance into Monday. It’s a goal that we started last year when we left for summer and we continued just to move forward with our mission. And here we are getting ready to play in the field of 32 come Monday night.”

So, what a story #9 Purdue is. Honestly, I had them pegged for toast earlier this season. Now they win their first tournament game, upsetting #8 Green Bay, 74-62.

Think about all the things you can do in six minutes and 57 seconds.

You can run a mile at a leisurely pace. You can microwave a Hot Pocket and eat it, too. You can listen to the vast majority of “Stairway to Heaven.”

Or, if you’re the Purdue women’s basketball team, you can defend. And defend. And hit a few shots, but mostly defend.

Heartbreaking/Heart stopping: #10 Oregon upsets #7 Temple, 71-70, courtesy of a last second shot by Ruthy Hebard, who then contested and Fitzgerald’s really last second shot. Warned ya Oregon was gonna be good.

Oregon’s three double-figure scorers — Hebard, Ionescu and McGwire — were all freshmen, and they combined to take 45 of the Ducks’ 67 shots. “I don’t think we consider ourselves freshmen anymore,” said Ionescu, the Pac-12’s freshman of the year. “We have to step up to the level of competition.”

I’m not sure I’m surprised. With something to prove, #9 Cal scored just enough to beat #8 LSU, 55-52, and put the Pac12 at 7-0.

Coach Lindsay Gottlieb’s baby boy might not wait until his due date in May to be born if there are many more heart-racing finishes like this for California.

“More games like this, he could come any day,” Gottlieb said after the Golden Bears held on for [the] win

Wake ups

Former USC/Pepperdine-now-New Mexico State coach Mark Trakh is familiar with Stanford. He’s also had great success with the Aggie program. His team proved that the #15s should not be taken for granted. They led the Cardinal into the fourth, but they couldn’t hold on. Stanford emerged victorious, 72-64.

USC’s search committee has got to have their eye on coach Jody Wynn at Long Beach State. Yet another program that has been on the WHB radar these last couple of years, they sure got #2 Oregon State’s attention as the Beavers escaped with a one-point win over the #15 49ers, 56-55.

the 49ers, who have three players on their roster from the state of Oregon, were not intimidated playing a Pac-12 power on its home floor. Long Beach State had the right personnel to give OSU problems – an athletic team that presses full court.

Had the last shot gone down, it would have been a disappointing end for OSU senior guards Sydney Wiese and Gabby Hanson, and senior forward Kolbie Orum, who have been part of March Madness every year in their college careers.

“No matter when this team ends their season, it’s hard to do better than what they’ve done,” OSU coach Scott Rueck said. “I don’t think they’re going to be defined by this tournament.”

Talk about attention getters? Yet another program that’s been in the (WHB) news: #13 Belmont. They matched #4 Kentucky basket for basket in the first half, but fell 3 points short in the second. Wildcats escape Bruins, 73-70.

While libraries the world over might prove that history is indeed written by those who win, their stories are often worth telling only because of those who lose.

So let’s give the first words of this history not to No. 4 seed Kentucky or No. 5 Ohio State, the two teams that won NCAA tournament first-round games Friday in Memorial Coliseum. Let’s start instead with No. 13 Belmont’s Darby Maggard, a sophomore generously listed at 5-foot-4 who had the ball in her hands with a chance to tie the score against Kentucky in the final seconds of regulation.

#12 Western Kentucky kept within arms length of #5 Ohio State, but could never quite grab the Buckeye’s jersey. Hilltoppers fell, 70-63.

I wouldn’t say #11 South Florida was mis-seeded – they’ve had too weird a season to get an accurate bead on them. BUT, they can be feisty as heck, as #6 Missouri found out. Tigers survive on Sierra Michaelis’s put back, 66-64.

Gotta love those – in-state matchups… and what’s a tourney without a little officiating controversy? Miami withstood Florida Gulf’s second half barrage of three’s to advance with a 62-60 win. Was that shoulder/clear out by Hayes a charge or a flop? But wait – I thought you said you wanted the PLAYERS to decide the game….

#12 Penn just straight up ran out of gas in the fourth, or they would have sent #5 Texas A&M packing. Instead, the Aggies roar back with (a record) 28 in the final frame to dispatch the Ivy League upstart, 63-61.

“That’s the biggest comeback I’ve ever been a part of,” said Aggies veteran coach Gary Blair. “The game is never over at A&M until we decide it’s over.”

Walkovers: No disrespect to the competition, but they were sorely overmatched:

#1 Baylor over Texas Southern, 89.

#2 Duke over #15 Hampton, 63 (but waiting on  sophomore point guard Kyra Lambert’s injury).

#1 UConn over #16 Albany, 61.

#2 Mississippi State over #15 Troy, 41.

#3 Maryland over #14 Bucknell, 42.

#1 South Carolina over #16 UNC Asheville, 50.

#1 Notre Dame over #16 Robert Morris, 30.

#3 Texas over #14 Central Arkansas, 28.

#3 Washington over #14 Montana State, 28.

#4 UCLA over #13 Boise State, 27.

#7 Creighton over #10 Toledo, 27.

#7 DePaul over Northern Illinois, 21.

#8 Syracuse over #9 Iowa State, 20.

#4 Louisville over #13 Chattanooga, 20.

#3 Florida State over #14 Western Illinois, 19.

#6 NC State over #11 Auburn, 14.

More like don’t trip, take a breath and step-over…

No surprise, it wasn’t a breeze for #6 West Virginia, as coach Smith has built a program to watch out for. Mountaineers pull away from #11 Elon, 13.

#7 Kansas State over #10 Drake, 13.

#6 Oklahoma over #11 Gonzaga13.

#8 Arizona State had #9 Michigan State right where they wanted them, then let them score 26 in the fourth. Still won by 12.

#5 Tennessee over #12 Dayton, 9.

Tasty Treats on Tap Sunday:

#5 Ohio State v. #4 Kentucky, 12:05, ESPN2
Linnae Harper all business in facing her former team
Ohio State Preparing For Second Round Matchup Against Kentucky
Fourth-Seeded Kentucky Faces Fifth-Seeded Ohio State Sunday
Ohio State’s Harper braces for challenge of facing former Kentucky teammates
Kentucky, Ohio St. to test mettle to gain Sweet 16 berth (Mar 17, 2017)
Kentucky and Ohio State prepare for first-time NCAA matchup

#6 West Virginia v. #3 Maryland, 2:35, ESPN2
Maryland women’s basketball is at same spot as last year’s NCAA tournament disappointment
#3 Maryland Hosts WVU in NCAA Second Round
Stopping Brionna Jones the challenge Maryland throws at West Virginia in NCAA second round
Maryland women’s basketball vs. West Virginia preview

#7 DePaul v. #2 Mississippi State, 2:35 ESPN2
Mississippi State looks to maintain edge against DePaul
MSU looks for second straight Sweet 16 berth today
Mississippi St hosts upset-minded DePaul in NCAA 2nd round
DePaul Faces Big Challenge on Sunday
LocaJac

#6 NC State v #3 Texas, 2:40, ESPN2
Texas women’s basketball faces No. 6-seeded North Carolina State
Road-tested Wolfpack eyeing upset over host Texas

#8 Arizona State v. #1 South Carolina, 7:05, ESPN
Sun Devils pose problems in paint for Gamecocks
South Carolina, Arizona St. aren’t same women’s teams as before NCAAs
ASU women’s basketball hopes to handle environment vs. South Carolina

#6 Missouri v. #3 Florida State, 7:10, ESPN2
Missouri women seeking another milestone vs. Florida State
Florida State, Missouri square off in next round

#9 Purdue v. #1 Notre Dame, 9:05, ESPN
Purdue’s Harris earns teammates trust
Purdue Women’s Basketball: Boilers NCAA second round tipoff set
Time to resume Purdue-Notre Dame series
WBB Ready to Face No. 2 Notre Dame
Irish Host Pajama Party at Purcell Pavilion vs. Purdue
Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw miffed over late tipoff time
Scouting Purdue women at Notre Dame

#7 Creighton v. #2 Oregon State, 9:10, ESPN2
Scouting report: Creighton women vs. Oregon State 

Some Writing:

In the NY Times: Jere’ is back! UConn Women Enter Tourney With 107 Consecutive Wins, But … and so is Howard Forget the Seeding. Maryland Feels It Can Beat Anybody, Including UConn.

From the Players Tribune: Holly Warlick, The Voice in My Head

The coaching dynamic between us — head coach and assistant — wasn’t all that different from the dynamic between us when I was a player and she was my coach. As a player, Pat pushed me a harder than others because she knew I could take it. She would give me the hardest defensive assignments, or yell at me a little louder than she would at everybody else. When I became her assistant, she kept challenging me. Our basketball philosophy was the same — how could it not be? But she knew when, how and just how far to push to me.

She called me Warlick. I called her Summitt.

Eventually, through all the time we spent together, especially traveling to road games or going on recruiting trips, that dynamic shifted to something more like friendship. Everyone knows about Pat’s icy stare and tough persona, but she was also a loving matriarch with a quick wit. She was someone you always wanted to be around because you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth or happen next.

Like, say, accidentally ending up in a strip club.

From Howard, for VICE: WHICH TEAMS GOT JOBBED BY THE WOMEN’S NCAA TOURNAMENT SELECTION COMMITTEE

The NCAA revealed its women’s bracket, one day after the men’s slate drew relatively muted criticism (well, unless you are Jim Boeheim, and judging by your lack of whining and deep hatred of Greensboro, North Carolina, you probably aren’t). The same cannot be said for the women’s draw. Many teams have legitimate gripes within the NCAA’s own rules. Others were left to wonder exactly why they played the regular season at all. No one likes this bracket very much.

So: who got the worst of it?

More Howard, who has Locked On Women’s Basketball Episode 38: Bracket Spectacular with Gabriella Levine

We discuss the outrage of Maryland’s seeding, the strength of Bridgeport, what to make of Tennessee, how underseeded DePaul is, why Marquette is intriguing and much more! We make picks, we go out on limbs.

Detroit: Michigan women’s basketball snubbed?

From Richard at SI: The question that will decide the women’s NCAA tournament: Can anyone beat UConn?

Which teams are best positioned to pull off the upset? Start with Notre Dame, who has appeared in four of the last six national finals, including two in which it lost to UConn (2014 and 2015). Coach Muffet McGraw has a tremendous inside-outside attack with junior forward Brianna Turner, senior point guard Lindsay Allen and an emerging third star in sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale. Allen is also a senior point guard, which is a huge advantage in the Tournament. The Irish have not lost since Jan. 16 and have faced quality competition over the last four weeks (wins over Syracuse, Florida State, Louisville and Duke). Notre Dame fell 72-61 to UConn at South Bend on Dec. 7 but the game was tied at 34 at halftime. The Irish will avoid UConn until the final but Stanford, Texas and Kentucky (in Lexington) will be tricky games.

The Daily Item: ‘Unprecedented’ moment for Bucknell hoops programs

NCAA Tournament committee puts Syracuse women’s basketball in eye of UConn storm

Injury update: Alaina Coates’ injury a blow to top-seeded South Carolina

One of the saddest things in college sports is when seniors get hurt and can’t play in their last competition for their schools. That’s happened to South Carolina center Alaina Coates.

The Gamecocks announced Tuesday that Coates is ruled out from competing in the NCAA tournament because of an ankle injury.

You’ve seen the pictures, now read the story: Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb gets engaged, then team gets into tourney

From Doug: There is low-ceiling for mid majors in women’s tournament

”We really were hoping for a neutral-court game and that’s what we got against Marquette,” Fabbri said. ”We had to play at Maryland a few years ago and that’s a really tough thing to ask any team do, beating a top school on their home floor.”

For mid-major programs, the Sweet 16 seems to be the cap lately for NCAA success, despite at least one team advancing to the second weekend in six of the past seven seasons. Over the past decade, only three mid-major teams have broken through to the regional final of the NCAAs – Xavier, Gonzaga and Dayton – and none have reached a Final Four since Jackie Stiles led SW Missouri State in 2001.

It might be tough to see either list grow this year.

Another opening: University of Illinois women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant fired

Luckily, they’ll get to exorcise some of them on the court and some of them in the WNIT.

If you want to read about the committee’s process, chair Terry Gawlik answered questions in Indianapolis. (Thanks, ASAP):

Q. Just talk for a second on the last couple of teams that got in, I know it’s not one team or two teams you guys decide on it’s usually four or so. But seems like Michigan and Virginia were the two that got snubbed most than anyone else. Talk about the last two teams that got in.

TERRY GAWLIK: Certainly I can talk about that. We had obviously the last four that went in were in alphabetical order, Auburn, California, Purdue and UNI.

And the First Four out were George Washington, Michigan, South Dakota State and Virginia. In particular, you asked about Michigan. They had an overall 22-9 record, were 11-6 in conference. I think what set with the committee, in Michigan’s case, they only had limited wins in the left column. They had no top-50 — sorry, they didn’t have any wins in the left column. No top-50 wins at all. So no top 25, no top-50 wins, and their strength of schedule was 101.

They also had a bad loss to Xavier. At the time their RPI was 207, and they lost four out of the last five games. And as you know they lost to Michigan State in the Big Ten quarterfinals.

Folks who are shaking their heads…

Charlie: Puzzling decisions sprinkled throughout women’s NCAA tournament bracket

Some observations from the 2017 women’s NCAA tournament bracket:

Regular-season performance in conference play didn’t matter

The seeding of a number of teams indicates that this committee didn’t take regular-season conference performance into consideration much at all. And that is a bad message. Conference record is supposed to matter. It’s a posted criterion.

Mechelle: Finding some flaws in this year’s women’s NCAA tournament bracket

I come here not to bury the NCAA women’s selection committee, nor to praise it. More to say, “This 2017 bracket has some flaws.”

It seemed kind of a step backward after a good run of brackets that appeared to add up, if you will, for the past few years. There was a time when that wasn’t the case. Looking back to the early to mid-2000s, there sometimes were more questions about the committee’s decisions than there were good answers.

To its credit, the NCAA really worked on this, meeting with journalists who covered the sport in 2007 to talk frankly about what both sides were seeing as problems and how to try to solve them. Then the mock-bracket opportunities with both coaches and media, which started in 2008, helped clarify the process. There is no doubt the NCAA has improved its women’s basketball brackets in the past decade.

However, this 2017 bracket has just enough head-scratchers to puzzle you. Part of this, we understand, is that the women’s committee faces one big issue that the men’s committee doesn’t really worry about: attendance.

Staley believes Gamecocks deserve more respect

On the flip side:

UNI earns first at-large NCAA Tournament bid

A tense moment inside the Northern Iowa film room quickly turned into jubilation Monday night.

March Madness: Cal women get surprise

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb announced her engagement Monday on Twitter to long-time partner Patrick Martin.

Later in the day, all she could talk about was the Golden Bears’ surprising ninth seed in the Oklahoma City region of the NCAA tournament.

“I’m trying to just keep it all together,” Gottlieb said Monday night.

From Doug: UConn, Irish, South Carolina, Baylor top seeds in women’s NCAAs

“I worry sometimes about being at home. I worry about the distractions that kids have,” Auriemma said. “When you are on the road you can just huddle everybody up and you can eliminate a lot of distractions. Sometimes the officials get funny against the home team in the NCAA Tournament.” 

While the Huskies won’t have to leave the state until potentially heading to Dallas for the national semifinals, the other No. 1 seeds aren’t as lucky. South Carolina is the top seed in Stockton, California. The Gamecocks are headed out of the Eastern time zone for the third time in four seasons. The Gamecocks’ lone trip to the Final Four came when they played a regional in Greensboro in 2015.

Expert picks: Breaking down the bracket

Hardest region

Oklahoma City: Baylor won’t have to travel far. Mississippi State was at one point this season considered a No. 1 seed. Washington has the nation’s best player in Kelsey Plum. Louisville has beaten Baylor in a regional before. And Tennessee has beaten two of the four No. 1 seeds this year. — Creme

Oklahoma City: From Mississippi State’s defense to Kelsey Plum’s singular talent to DePaul’s pace to the Siren-like one-game potential of Louisville and Tennessee, Baylor’s quadrant of the bracket is a maze of unique challenges. — Hays

Lexington: The top of this region looks much like it did last year, when it was also in Lexington, and No. 1 Notre Dame didn’t make it out then. Standing in the way this year for the Irish might be regional host Kentucky, and then possibly Texas or Stanford; the Cardinal ousted the Irish a year ago. — Voepel

For the Win has 5 important takeaways from the NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket

4. Maryland got hosed.

The committee clearly wasn’t impressed with the Big Ten Conference in women’s basketball, either — Michigan not making the field is stunning — but the 30-2 Terrapins’ No. 3 seed is particularly stunning. One of their losses came in a close, memorable one to UConn, and the other was at Ohio State, the conference’s only other high-level team. The Terps didn’t have many great wins (No. 4 seed Louisville stands tallest), but their résumé was much less blemished than several No. 2 seeds.

FiveThirtyEight notes: UConn Is Facing Its Toughest Tournament In Years

The women’s NCAA tournament bracket is out, and the Connecticut Huskies have a 52 percent chance to capture their 12th national championship and seventh undefeated season under coach Geno Auriemma, according to our March Madness predictions.

You can check out their game-by-game predictions if you’d like some help filling out your brackets.

Graham offers Five burning questions off the women’s NCAA tournament bracket

1. How long will the tournament’s other headliner be around?

With apologies to Baylor, Notre Dame and South Carolina, No. 1 seeds all, there are two main acts in women’s basketball at the moment. One is Connecticut and its pursuit of a fifth consecutive national title, 113 consecutive wins and perhaps some viticulture awards for Geno Auriemma.

The other is whether someone who has already scored more points than any player in college basketball history can score sufficiently more points to again borrow some of the Final Four spotlight from those other Huskies. It would be one final way for Washington’s Kelsey Plum to get the best of Jackie Stiles.

Moving to the matchups…Mechelle: UConn is once again the heavy favorite — but what obstacles might await?

So, as we asked at the start, what could lead to UConn losing? The Huskies virtually never beat themselves, so it’s going to take an opponent having a very, very good game.

The Huskies could face an annoyed Syracuse team in the second round; the Orange can’t be happy with their No. 8 seed or their placement. Last year, these teams met in the national championship game, won 82-51 by UConn.

Still, the odds of the Huskies losing at home are pretty close to zero. So we move to the Bridgeport Regional, and this is where it could get interesting. Maybe.

USA Today offers up 2017 NCAA women’s tournament: Oklahoma City region capsules

 

In preparation: March without the madness: Maryland women’s basketball looks to strike a balance

On the last Thursday before their most important stretch of the season, the Maryland women’s basketball team held a brief practice and then scattered across the country. Guard Kristen Confroy visited her brother and his two kids in Nashville. Scoring star Shatori Walker-Kimbrough went to see her family in Pittsburgh. Destiny Slocum headed home to Idaho. Head coach Brenda Frese went on a weekend getaway with her husband to Miami, where they drank red wine, read books and walked along the beach.

This is the time for a frenetic overdose of basketball, not the time for wine and beaches, right? Why not stay in College Park and clean up some defensive principles?

“All you can do is grind your kids more,” Frese said by way of explanation. 

Dan says Hi, Flyers: Lady Vols get No. 5 seed, date with Dayton and John Adams: Lady Vols have proved they can’t overlook a No. 12 seed

Tennessee’s wins mattered more than its losses. How else can you interpret its No. 5 seeding in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament?

Again, if your team missed the NCAA, check out the WNIT.

Clock watching….

Gives me time for D3 HOOPS!!!  Get more in the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast where Howard Megdal is joined by D3Hoops.com Atlantic columnist Sarah Sommer to talk about the D-III Final Four, which plays out this coming weekend: Tufts, Amherst, Christopher Newport and St. Thomas.

Vote now to decide best HandClap Hoopla

FYI – if you’re cool (AND wanna show folks care about NCAAWBB) Sign up for the 2017 Women’s Tournament Challenge now:

Mechelle: There’s more to women’s NCAA tournament than UConn…Just like there’s more the the NCAA than the top 10….

From the Gazette Times: Pivec gives Beavers a spark

“Mik learns so fast,” junior center Marie Gulich said. “She’s not just a talent, she’s a fast learner and soaks everything in. Even when (the coaches) talk to the post players she looks and listens and she learns all positions.

“I like how she puts it all together. It’s hard as a freshman sometimes to put it all together and she’s able to. It’s obviously amazing and you can see what she’s doing on the court for us.”

Gulich is especially happy with the effort Pivec puts forth on the glass.

“She doesn’t fear contact or anything and that’s super important as a rebounder,” Gulich said. “She’s super athletic, she can hold people off, she can jump.

From the Super Syracuse Coverers at Syracuse.com: 12 years after last cancer treatment, Syracuse women’s basketball player readies for NCAAs

The pediatric surgeon put one hand on Abby Grant’s shoulder and told her to wait outside.

The paper he held in his other hand contained an analysis of the lump he removed from the back of her head of few days earlier. But Abby, only 8, wasn’t allowed to hear.

So the doctor addressed her parents for more than an hour as Abby sat alone in the waiting room.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” the surgeon said to Abby’s parents Dale and Joanie. “She has cancer.”

“Is she going to die?” Joanie asked.

“I don’t know,” the doctor said. He wasn’t an oncologist.

Silver Anniversary Award recipient Susan Robinson Fruchtl earned an exercise & sports science degree from PSU

80+ LGBTQ Organizations Join HRC and Athlete Ally in Urging NCAA to Reaffirm Commitment to Inclusion

The letter, addressed to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors, comes as the organization is deliberating about where to hold future championship tournaments and major events. HRC, Athlete Ally and organizations including the ACLU, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Black Justice Coalition and Campus Pride, are calling on the NCAA to continue to prioritize localities or states with inclusive non-discrimination laws and avoid those that explicitly discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

“The NCAA has stood strongly behind their commitment to building inclusive events, and we ask that they reaffirm that promise,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “With anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in dozens of states across this country, athletes, fans and workers must know that the NCAA will continue to have their backs and avoid locations where the safety and wellbeing of any person is put at risk.”

FIBA: When Trooper met Staley

As she walked from the far end of the arena where the locker rooms were, Staley sized up the lean, dark-haired guy rolling around, putting up shot after shot from distance. Atlanta would be the second of four Paralympic teams for Trooper Johnson, then 32, a certified gym rat who had dedicated himself to the game after an accident during his freshman year in college left him paralyzed.

She was about to find out how much.

After a brief introduction, the camera man asked them to just shoot around for a bit. The ball was tossed to Staley who casually dribbled towards Johnson who immediately hand-checked the former two-time player of the year at the University of Virginia.

Ugly? Daron Park exits Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball amid allegations of misconduct

Eight former players talked to the Daily Titan in recent days detailing allegations, including threats to take away scholarships and verbal abuse.

Saturday, the athletic department announced that Park was “stepping down” from the team and that the two sides “mutually decided to part ways.”

One of Park’s former players said phrasing his departure as “stepping down” was letting him off too easy. 

“I think it’s a huge cop out,” said former CSUF women’s basketball player Jessica Palmer. “It’s all, excuse my language, but bulls***.”

Over at Excelle, Sue’s got her WNBA Mock Draft Monday, version 1.0 (And wherever the draft is held, it won’t be at the Mohegan Sun… ESPN studios, anyone?)

So you think you can coach? Hoopfeed has a list of openings. *sigh* I remember when the WBCA (and ESPN) would do this, too.

So you think you can write? Sports in American History: Call for Submissions: Title IX at 45 Blog Series

In 2012, celebrations of Title IX’s 40th anniversary included cultural analyses of how the law impacted women’s sport. Prominently, ESPN produced a Nine for IX series (in the vein of their 30 for 30 documentary series) that explored the advances and challenges faced by women athletes, coaches, and journalists. This blog series aims to continue these conversations about the impact Title IX has had on girls’ and women’s sport, physical education, and exercise.

The editors of this blog series seek submissions for posts that examine a wide variety of topics regarding Title IX. Submissions may include, but are not limited to, posts that look at specific athletes or teams directly affected by Title IX, the challenges still facing women and girls in sport, the legal implications of Title IX, controversies that have arisen in the 45 years since the law’s implementation, and how differing impacts of Title IX work together (e.g., sexual harassment and sport).

Full post submissions should be 1,500-3,000 words, written for a general audience, and include hyperlinked and/or endnote citations. Posts will be reviewed by guest editor Colleen English and the Sport in American History editorial team. For full considerations, please submit posts by May 26, 2017. Questions and submissions should be emailed to SportinAmericanHistory@gmail.com.

Aaaaand that’s a wrap!

Last, but not late, to the Dance – and there was plenty of drama:

Holy Free Throws, Batwoman! Just check out this opening paragraph from the AP:

Bronaza Fitzgerald, a 47 percent free-throw shooter who had missed her other four attempts, made two from the line with five seconds left, giving UNC Asheville a 49-48 victory over top-seeded Radford on Sunday for a second straight Big South Tournament championship and trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Bucknell is back: It took overtime, but the Bison are going to the Dance for the first time since 2008 courtesy of a 79-71 win over Navy.

“Right now I think it’s all about enjoying this,” Bucknell head coach Aaron Roussell said. “We’ve worked so hard for this. I am very much indebted to the three seniors. They committed to a program that was 5-25 and they came here because they wanted to win. From day one they have made an impact on this program. A lot of players came through here before this that helped build this, too. They should feel like they are a big part of this, too.”

Coaching: Down 1 with 14 left, gets the block. UNI calls a timeout, draws up a play. Ellie Herzberg hits a clutch 3 to give the Panthers a 2-point lead with 5 seconds left. Drake time out. Draw up a play. Caitlin Ingle hits a game-tying 2 with one second left. OT. Then it was “Ingle Time” as the Bulldogs pulled away, sealing their bid to the NCAA with a 74-69 win.

Ingle led a group of four Bulldogs in double figures, an effort which included 15 points from Becca Hittner, 13 from Wendell and a double-double from Jonas.

The Missouri Valley’s career assists leader dished out seven of them Sunday and grabbed three rebounds.

“We talk all the time about what Lizzy and Caitlin do for our team. Everybody saw it today,’’ Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “Caitlin does[n’t] care if she has five points and 11 assists or if she scores like she did today. That’s senior leadership. They willed us to this win over a great UNI team that deserves to be in the NCAA tourney. We both deserve to hear our name called (tonight).’

Stephen F. Austin was no match for Central Arkansas, as the Bears cruised to a 60-35 win.

“They’ve worked hard all year and never lost sight of the goal,” said Central Arkansas head coach Sandra Rushing, the 2017 Southland Conference Coach of the Year. “To do it back-to-back says a lot about this group of young ladies. We beat a very good basketball team in SFA, and I have a lot of respect for the job that they do there. The second one was harder. A lot harder. You win the first one, and people are hungry. You wonder if your players are still going to have that hunger in their gut – and they did.”

Bryant tried to come back in the fourth, but Robert Morris had built too much of a lead. The Colonials move on to the Tourney behind Anna Niki Stamolamprou. The guard from Greece was MVP.

“It was our last game at the Sewall Center,” said Stamolamprou, the tournament MVP who added nine rebounds and five assists and chucked the ball to the rafters at the final buzzer. “We couldn’t let (the lead) go.” 

Sewall Center, home to men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball since 1985, will be razed this summer and replaced by the $50 million UPMC Events Center.Howard believes the facility will increase the school’s profile. 

“Winning also does that,” he said. “You need the facility, and you need the people who have the heart and soul.”

FGCU had to comeback against Stetson to get back to the NCAA’s for the fourth time in six years. Interestingly enough, it was not threes but rebounds that got the Eagles the 77-71 victory.

The FGCU women’s basketball program has won 404 games in its 15 years of existence. None sweeter than this.

Bigger? Yeah, maybe a couple. But to fully grasp the significance and richness of this, you have to go back a year. For it was in this game on their home floor, that the seemingly invincible Eagles lost and did not go to the NCAA Tournament. The best team in school history had fallen short and nine seniors walked out the door.

There were more scholarships available than unavailable 11 months ago as this premier program was suddenly very vulnerable.

Heck, just getting to the conference title game was fairly remarkable.

In the first Ivy league tournament, it was Penn grabbing an early lead and holding on for the 57-48 win. Next up: the Big Dance.

Penn coach Mike McLaughlin had a front-row seat for almost every minute of the five Ivy League tournament games that preceded the women’s final. He watched a weekend full of tight finishes, big shots and ample drama. 

When his team’s turn came Sunday evening, there was almost none of that.

Troy held off upstart UL Lafayette 78-64 to repeat as Sun Belt champs and earn a spot in the Dance.

“I feel like we wore (Louisiana-Lafayette) down, but their hearts wouldn’t let them stop,” said Troy coach Chanda Rigby, a former Loranger High School coach. “We identified what we needed to do last year, and rebounding was it.”

As we prep for Made It In Monday…and wonder about these Five Questions Charlie has….

WHWorld: Six Pac-12 teams expected to make NCAA field

Detroit Free Press: Despite late slide, Michigan women’s basketball should make NCAAs

For the first time in three years, Kim Barnes Arico and her team should be able to enjoy the NCAA tournament selection show.

Even though the Wolverines lost four of their final five games, they enter Monday’s announcement (7 p.m., ESPN) confident they’ll be in the field.

Where they land is less certain.

Orange County Register:  UCLA women’s basketball team prepares for Selection Monday

espnW: McCallie mother and daughter are both headed to the NCAA tournament

More on Debbie: A female analyst on men’s NCAA hoops doesn’t need to be the angle

If timing is everything, Antonelli has waited things out right under the bosses’ noses. With CBS for this event recently as a sideline reporter, and working for years on women’s games for CBS Sports Net, she should have been on the network’s radar long ago. She’s thankful the call has come now, because it’s not something she’s been lobbying for.

“You know, I don’t even have an agent, and I never have had one,” said Antonelli, who started three seasons at North Carolina State under coach Kay Yow and graduated with a double major in business management and economics. A masters in sports administration came at Ohio University, where she met her husband-to-be, Frank, and she then began a career in marketing. That led to her pitching a package of Ohio State women’s games to a local TV station that included her as the game analyst.

Tough news for a program on the rise: Marshall women’s basketball coach Matt Daniel resigns

Bye: Cal State Fullerton: Daron Park steps down as head coach

From Blue Star: Accelerating the women’s basketball coaching carousel

A couple of things that are interesting about what’s taken place thus far: First of all, this is a lot of jobs coming open so quickly. Last year there were 53 changes in Division I, surpassing the 40+ openings in two of the previous three seasons.

More importantly, none of the coaches leaving thus far has taken another coaching job. The lateral or upward head coaching moves figure to come later, when power conference jobs are filled, likely sparking another round of openings.

 

Funny what happens when you get serious about something: BSU women’s athletics embracing culture, producing historic year of championship success

The basketball team upset top-seeded Colorado State en route to its second Mountain West title and NCAA Tournament trip in three years. Senior Brooke Pahukoa became the second player in league history to be named tournament MVP more than once.

The same day, the 10th-ranked gymnastics team defeated No. 8 Denver and is on track to make its first team trip to the NCAA Championships in program history.

The Mountain West champion swimming and diving team is sending four athletes and five relay teams to NCAAs this week.

The volleyball team won the Mountain West last fall and went to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history.

And it doesn’t end there. 

You’re going to the Big Show!

For the first time in program history, Texas Southern win the SWAC title, upsetting Grambling, 77-66. Lucky them, they’re now going to the NCAA’s and, says Charlie, likely facing UConn. They don’t care!

After years of close calls, the Texas Southern women’s basketball team is finally going to the NCAA Tournament.

Joyce Kennerson had 29 points to lead the second-seeded Tigers to a 70-66 win over top seed Grambling State in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game on Saturday at Toyota Center.

“They’ve done something special,” TSU coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry said after the Tigers clinched the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. “These ladies have had a few firsts this year and I’m excited to be a part of their first opportunity.”

Another first: Coach Charlotte Smith has completed the rebirth of the Phoenix program and is taking them to their first NCAA tournament. Elon did it the right way, going through the perennial CAA champs James Madison, 78-60.

“I’m hardly ever at a loss for words, but I’m still pinching myself because it still has not quite sank in yet,” Elon coach Charlotte Smith said. “I’m so extremely proud of this team and the efforts that we put forth in every single game in this tournament.”

It’s the culmination of Smith’s six years of program-building, highlighting the current senior class as the group that led Elon over the top. For the former national title-winning player at North Carolina, getting her team to taste success at this level has been driving her.

Make it two WNBAers-as-head-coaches in the NCAAs: For the second time in program history Montana State is going to the Dance. Their first time? When coach Tricia Binford was playing at Boise State – 1993. They took down a feisty Idaho State team, 62-56.

“When you talk about tournament time, it’s when your experience and your seniors need to carry your team and they did that today,” Binford said moments after guiding her team to a program-record 25th victory.

Ferris and Nordgaard did more than carry their team to a single victory. They reestablished the benchmark for program success. They shook off a heart-breaking loss to the Bengals on the same court here a year prior. They helped shepherd a young roster burgeoning with talent and came through time and again when the Bobcats needed them most.

Boom, there go the Rockets. Toledo upset their way through the MAC tourney, then used a strong fourth quarter to dominate Northern Illinois in the finals, 82-71.

Toledo won its first MAC Tournament title since it defeated Kent State in overtime in 2001. It was the Rockets’ first appearance in the title game since 2010.

“It’s been far too long,” said Toledo coach Tricia Cullop.

Tournament MVP Mikaela Boyd led the Rockets with 27 points. She had 14 rebounds, one block and two steals.

‘ware the Pirates. They upset Bethune-Cookman, who’d dominated the MEAC all season, 52-49.52-49. Hampton is now dancing, and so are all the folks lucky enough to hear their band.

“I thought the defense was sensational the whole game,” Six added. “That’s what won the championship for us.”

It was “unlikely. Improbable,” he added. “We’ve got three starters sitting on the sideline, and then Lupoe gets hurt. And we still find a way.”

Now, the quest is to find a way to win their first NCAA tournament game – something not done in eight tries.

Alllllllmost. The Gauchos did everything they could to take down Long Beach State, but Madison Montgomery’s clutch three late in the fourth made sure the 49ers moved on to the NCAA tournament.

The 49ers went from a 19-point second-half lead to trailing by a basket with under two minutes left, but the 49ers made huge plays down the stretch and then saw a potential game-winning shot from the Gauchos miss as Long Beach State claimed the championship and a spot in its first NCAA Tournament since 1992 with a 56-55 victory.

The celebration left 49ers head coach Jody Wynn completely overcome with emotion.

“This is why I came to Long Beach State,” she said. “I wanted to bring back a championship to the Beach.” 

Coach Trakh and New Mexico continued their dominance of the WAC, keeping Seattle at arms length throughout the game.

New Mexico State led 33-18 at halftime but was aware of the danger of becoming complacent.

“We do probabilities, what’s the percentage that we’re going to win this game, and it was about 75 percent,” Aggies coach Mark Trakh said. “And I said, weren’t the Atlanta Falcons 99.9 percent going to win that Super Bowl game? And they lost it. So it doesn’t always work.”

New Mexico State punched a ticket to the NCAA Tournament after winning its school-record 17th consecutive game. The Aggies will be looking for their first NCAA Tournament victory. “They’ve done an amazing job. I told them this was their legacy,” Trakh said. “They’re going to remember this forever. They’re going to come back and see those banners in the gym.”

Who’s left! If you forgot to “spring forward,” you’ve missed the start of the last day of qualifying.

Patriot: Bucknell v. Navy, CBSSN – now!

Southland: Central Arkansas v. Stephen F. Austin, CBSSN – 1pm.

Northeast: Bryant v. Robert Morris, ESPNU – 2pm.

A-Sun: Oooo…green and white rivalry! Florida Gulf Coast v. Stetson, ESPN3 – 3pm.

Missouri Valley: Under pressure! #20 Drake v. Northern Iowa, ESPN3 – 3pm.

Ivy: Deja vu all over again: Princeton v. Penn, ESPNU – 4pm.

Big South: Radford v. upset minded UNC Asheville, ESPN3 – 4pm.

Sun Belt: Courtesy of their upset of top-seed Arkansas-Little Rock, it’ll be UL Lafayette v Troy.

Well, yes: Drake women’s basketball deserves better

Corvallis Times: Putting together tournament field one big puzzle

Having the No. 1 conference based on the RPI has been a source of pride for the Pac-12 women’s basketball coaches this year.

Most of the conference coaches have bought in to trying to schedule better nonconference opponents in an effort to increase the conference’s standings around the conference.

And while that has been the case, that won’t necessarily mean conference teams on the bubble will have a better chance of getting into the field of 64 when the brackets are announced beginning at 4 p.m. Monday.

My Dayton: ‘Nerve-wracking’ wait almost over Dayton women’s basketball team

UConn Women’s Insider: Experts Take An Early Look At The Bracket

Whichever team lands in Stockton will face an adjustment if it prevails and returns to Dallas for the Final Four.

“If you go to Stockton, you go out and you get acclimated to that time zone and you play,” ESPN analyst and former Georgia coach Andy Landers said on the teleconference. “That’s a challenge, but that’s not as great a challenge as returning back and preparing for, let’s say a Final Four when you advance to that point. … The time zone presents a challenge.”

.com: By the Numbers: Can Anyone Slow Down Washington’s Kelsey Plum

OSU women’s basketball: Beavers get a much-needed short break

Open: Smith dismissed as ISU women’s basketball coach

Val Ackerman on The rise of women’s sports

Dawn Staley will coach the USA Basketball Senior team.

Mechelle: Dawn Staley was destined to take over U.S. senior team — but it’s a barrier-breaking hire, too

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.”

Philly.com: Dawn Staley ‘honored’ to take USA Olympic women’s basketball reins

“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.”

NBA Olympics: Dawn Staley believes Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird will try for 2020 Olympics

Read. These. Two. Books: Shooting from the Outside and Venus to the Hoop.

Speaking of barrier (re)breaking, Juliet Macur at the NY Times: Another Woman at the March Madness Mike? That Only Took 2 Decades

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.com: It’s been a ‘rocky year’ as Syracuse women’s basketball prospect adapts to college game

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

ESPN Award Time! Green Bay’s Mehryn Kraker, Drake’s Jennie Jennie Baranczyk earn espnW honors

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.

Trio of Huskies headline espnW All-America first team

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.

No surprise: Washington senior Kelsey Plum is espnW’s national player of the year

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.

Also: Bracketology braces for 16 bids over the weekend

Want some insight on the committee’s process? What is a team sheet? Inside the March Madness selection tool

And more: 10 Questions With Women’s Basketball Committee Member Mary Ellen Gillespie

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!

Speaking of bids… They’re baaaaaaaaack! Albany over Maine, 66-50.

“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.”

Also dancing, Boise State, courtesy of a 66-53 win over Fresno State.

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.”

*Semi* Upset: Southern Mississippi roared back in the fourth to knock off Middle Tennessee State, 59-54.
Upset: UNC-Asheville hasn’t had the headline-making season they had last year, but the did overcome the Fightin’ Camels of Campbell, 64-55, to move into the semis of the Big South.
Very much an upset: UC Santa Barbara exploded in the second half to take down UC Davis, 73-59.

Gotta run a professional development in the morning, but you should check out these Saturday Games:

MAC Finals: Toledo v. Northern Illinois, 11am, CBSSN

MEAC Finals: Bethune-Cookman v. Hampton, 3pm, ESPN3.

SWAC Finals: Grambling v. Texas Southern, 3pm, ESPN3.

Big Sky Finals: Montana State v. Idaho State, 3:05pm, ESPN

C-USA Finals: Western Kentucky v. Southern Mississippi, 5:30pm, CBSSN.

WAC Finals: New Mexico State v. Seattle, 6:00pm, ESPN3.

Big West Finals: Long Beach State v. UC Santa Barbara, 7pm. Why is this not on TV?

CAA Finals: Elon, looking very, very strong v. JMU, which fought back to defeat Drexel. 7pm. Why is this not on TV?

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