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Notre Dame survived a post-big win let down, but it took overtime.

Connecticut failed to lose two games in a row for the zillionth time, but there was some serious butterfingers involved.

In the battle of the Reds, Rutgers gave Louisville a scare, but the Cardinals pulled away in OT.

The Longhorns started the year strong, but Big 12 competition is proving to be another matter. Newcomer to the Conference West Virginia wrangled them good, 53-49.

Seton Hall still doesn’t care their coach is leaving for the W. They take down the Bearcats, 64-56.

Stanford thought about it… and then said, no, we don’t want California to win.

The Buffs got back on track against Utah. The Cowgirls did, too.

Speaking of big cats, the Tigers aren’t going away: Rookie quintet making early contributions

Every season, there are always uncertainties about how the freshmen on a team will adjust to college-level play and the extent to which they will be able to contribute. For the five freshmen on the women’s basketball team, however, these questions have hardly been an issue. Despite the presence of a talented senior class, the freshmen quintet, consisting of guards Amanda Berntsen, Michelle Miller and Annie Tarakchian along with forwards Alex Wheatley and Taylor Williams, has received considerable playing time and provided an offensive boost in scoring and rebounding for the Tigers. The Class of 2016 has combined to score nearly a quarter of the Tigers’ total points so far this season, with each member averaging at least five minutes per game.

A full-strength Baylor continues their demolition of the opposition. This time, Iowa State.

Hmmm… UTEP looks to be strong again this year. We have to wait until Feb 7th for their game against Tulane.

Keeping an eye on Cal-Northridge and Fresno State — both still undefeated in conference play.

Nice check in from the “local paper” on Iowa’s freshman: Ex-Mainstreeter great acclimates to being a Hawkeye

No, it wasn’t the dreaded three letters: Stokes relieved injury not worse

Given the alternative, Ohio State women’s basketball team co-captain Amber Stokes didn’t complain yesterday about needing a pair of crutches to reach the practice gym in Value City Arena.

The fifth-year senior suffered a sprained left knee near the end of the first half on Sunday in a 79-73 loss to Illinois. The possibility that she had suffered a season-ending ligament tear crossed her mind.

Jim Massie at the Dispatch writes about Ohio State’s 0-2 Conference record: Buckeyes’ slow start must end with stops

Tough times for the Catamounts: Overwhelmed by the first-place women’s basketball team in the America East Conference, the University of Vermont suffered a 58-30 defeat to Boston University.

Still tough times for the Black Bears: Hartford hands University of Maine women’s basketball team 11th straight loss

Looks like Williams-Flournoy got outta the Big East when the going was good. Writes Mechelle: Coach Flo has plan for Auburn

Terri Williams-Flournoy had been here in Missouri before, but this was the first time in her new role as Auburn coach. In her 12-year apprenticeship as an assistant, she spent two seasons at Missouri State.

Williams-Flournoy — known as Coach Flo by her Tigers — has paid her dues in the profession she was practically born into. Part of a basketball family in Virginia that includes brother Boo Williams — he’s one of that state’s most influential youth hoops gurus — Williams-Flournoy climbed the coaching ladder with a purpose and a plan.

And now, she’s in her first season in what is a new era for the SEC. Pat Summitt is in an emeritus role at Tennessee, but not head coach of the Lady Vols for the first time since 1973.

Have you noticed? FSU women’s basketball quietly excelling – With recent winning ways, Seminoles may soon cast shadow on other sports

The women’s basketball team has silently tip-toed to a 12-2 record and have placed themselves among the game’s most elite programs. The Seminoles are No. 5 in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.3 points per game and their field goal percentage of 49 percent only trails Baylor and Connecticut, two perennial National Title contenders.

The .com says that Angel McCoughtry wants you to trust and believe.

Speaking of Angel, from Mechelle’s chat:

kevin (macon ga): Angel McCoughtry said on wnba.com that she had “nothing to do with the coaching change”. Should we believe her?

Mechelle Voepel: Maybe that means she actually wasn’t the one to call Marynell Meadors to tell her she was fired? :) Of course she had something to do with it. But, anyway, it’s water under the bridge now. Fred Williams is the Dream’s coach, and Angel will be back as his star player. These things happen in pro sports … look at the NBA and coach firings and players saying, “Oh, I had nothing to do with it!” Meadors, I believe, would still like to return in some capacity to the league, but if not, she’s had a long career in the sport with a lot of accomplishments. I feel bad for her that things ended in Atlanta as they did, though. She deserved better. Now Angel and Fred will have a revamped East – at least in terms of the new coaching hires – to deal with.

Congrats are in order: U.S. Men’s, Women’s Olympic Teams Honored By USA Basketball and Taurasi Is Named USA Basketball’s Top Female Athlete (sorry anti-tank-Merc fans)

Oops! WNBA’s Maya Moore’s Olympic Ring Stolen, Sold to Gold Buying Store and Phew! Man charged with selling ring stolen from WNBA player Maya Moore

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In the Sun Belt, for instance, the Owls got plucked by the Jaguars, 66-57.

Those Philly Owls pulled away in the second half for a 10-point win over the Hawks.

The Terriers topped the Catamounts, and moved to 9-0 in the America East.

Squeak! That was the Danes escaping the Retrievers by 2pts.

The Wildcats and the Hawks are now both 5-5 in conference play.

Bowlin’ is rollin’: 9-0 in the MAC.

Keeping pace, it’s EIU at 9-0 in the OVC and San Diego State at 7-0 in the MWC.

It was tight in the A-10 match-up between the Dukes and Bonnies, but St. Bonanventure prevailed and moved to 8-0 in the conference. (Worthy of a mention in Mechelle’s chat, today)

With their loss to Kansas State, Texas in now 13-8 (3-6). (Also earned them a mention in MV’s chat.)

Ooooo, a game Beth and Debbie would have enjoyed: SF Austin fell to Texas State, 95-87.

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for the Stanford/Cal and Gonzaga/St. Mary’s games — didn’t dare call the winners, but they were sure very, very, interesting.

Some really good games in other arenas, as top teams in conferences met or (in one case) as struggling teams came up big against conference top dogs.

Iowa stopped #17 Purdue’s 11-game win streak while Hayes’ second 30+ game helped UConn continue their 97-game home court winning streak.

I’m still paying attention to New Hampshire, who defeated UMBC, 75-68.

One year ago, head coach Maureen Magarity (Marist grad and daughter of Army’s Dave) and her staff started a new chapter in the history of the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball program. Despite being picked last by the league coaches, the Wildcats bested preseason poll predictions and raced toward a trip to the conference tournament. This season, with Magarity back at the helm for her second campaign, the Blue and White will look to take the next step and not only return to postseason play but make a run for the America East Conference Championship.

Still undefeated in conference play: St. Bonaventure, San Diego State, Green Bay, High Point, Notre Dame, American, Eastern Illinois, Idaho State, FGCU, Baylor, Fresno State and Bowling Green (who got all it could handle from Eastern Michigan.)

It took double-overtime, but the Sugar Bears (aka Central Arkansas) took took down McNeese State, 71-70, and now both are at 6-1 in the Southland.

It only took one overtime, but it was enough for Coppin State to give Hampton their first loss in the MEAC, 69-66. (BTW, the Pirates will be on ESPNU Monday, Jan 30th at 4:30pmEST)

Important win for Eastern Washington in the Big Sky as the Eagles (7-2) dominated Montana State, 66-52.

Arizona State moved to 6-3 in the Pac-12 as they squeaked by Washington, 57-53.

You can’t make this stuff up: The Fighting Camels over the Blue Hose, 53-44.

Oklahoma made sure Missouri was still miserable in the Big 12.

Oregon State beat Oregon, 67-60. Wonder how the Ducks are feeling about the Paul Westhead hire these days?

Duquesne isn’t enjoying A-10 play much: their loss to St. Joeseph’s sent them to 3-3.

Considering what a mess the Cincinnati program was when Elliot took over (heck, they didn’t know the difference between reins and reigns!), I’m calling their 55-54 win over Syracuse important.

Hartford surprised Albany, 65-57.

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#3 Baylor, #6 Xavier and #19 Georgetown got wins (though the Hoyas struggled a tad). But the Blue Demons got eaten up at the YUM Center by Louisville. The Cardinals have knocked off five ranked teams this season.

DePaul had company in the upset department: Colorado used 24 points from Brittany Spears to snap an 8-game losing streak against #15 Oklahoma, 73-68.

Over at Fanhouse, Milton Kent looks ahead to the tourney No. 1s.

With roughly three weeks remaining before the field for this year’s NCAA tournament is unveiled, it’s a pretty safe bet that, barring some catastrophe, one part of the women’s basketball committee’s work is largely done, even before the nine members get to Indianapolis.

That is to say, that we pretty much already know who the four No.1 seeds are, and can pretty safely assign them to their regions.

As for the other teams still in the “discussion:”

Toledo escaped with a one-point win over Eastern Michigan to go to 13-1 in the MAC West. Central Michigan (West) and Kent State (East) both got wins to take them to 10-4 in the conference.

It’s interesting at the top in the America East, especially since Binghamton beat BU. Now both teams sit at 11-4 in the conference. UMBC rules the roost, though, at 13-3. Oh, and don’t look now, but Hartford’s lurking at 10-4.

It’weren’t easy, but the Owls beat the Hawks to stay perfect in the A-10. On the horizon looms the clash with the Musketeers. (Feb. 27th, ESPNU, 4pm EST)

Navy’s defeat of American runs the Midshipmen’s record to 9-4 in the Patriot League. They’ve got a shot at the regular season conference title on Saturday.

With their 81-57 win over Air Force, Wyoming looks to run up on TCU and BYUs heels in the Mountain West. By the way, congrats to Dale Ann Meeker, who’s having her Powell High School jersey retired:

The first female athlete to receive a basketball scholarship at the University of Wyoming, Meeker played for the Pokes from 1975-1979. During her senior season, her team earned the Intermountain Conference championship, finishing with a school-record 25 wins and seven losses. That season would stand as the best in school history until surpassed by the 2006-2007 NIT team.

In high school, Meeker was part of the first-ever girls’ basketball team at Powell High School as a freshman. As a junior, she brought home a mythical state title — mythical because Wyoming did not hold an official state championship tournament for girls — while serving as the team captain. One year later, she repeated the feat, again as team captain.


 

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Friday:

#3 Duke stays undefeated after their 87-70 win over #15 FSU.

#25 Miami won their 16th straight as they took out Clemson, 77-48.

#4 Stanford dismissed Washington, 80-51.

The #11 Tar Heels are trying to give coach Hatchell heartburn, all but blowing a 24pt. lead, but escaping with  a 83-76 win over North Carolina State.

Saturday: The stompers and the stompees pretty much held serve.

#1 Baylor over Oklahoma St., by 31.

#2 UConn over Louisville, by 23 (but they made it interesting when Moore’s Abs of Steel knock Hayes out of the game 45 seconds in).

ESPN viewers saw #6 Vols dispatch Vandy, by 12. (Check out Summitt by the numbers and an interview with coach Summitt.)

The #5 Aggies over Missouri, by 45.

The #9 Bruins over Oregon, by 30.

The #12 Irish over Pittsburgh, by 32.

Temporarily #22 St. John’s over Seton Hall by 10.

#18 Green Bay over Illinois-Chicago, by 9.

#7 West Virginia over Syracuse, by 9.

Squeak! Georgetown escaped Providence, 49-45.

Obviously, Colorado didn’t get the memo: they took advantage of overtime to upset #16 Iowa State, 66-60.

Other games I noticed:

Duquense got a nice win over the Flyers.

FGCU is still undefeated.

American looks to be the class of the Patriot League, but Navy seems to be making noise.

North Dakota may not have a great record, but they have state-v.-state braggin’ rights as they took down South Dakota.

I have no idea why Maine is sticking with Blodgett.

Maybe this is the year BU returns to being a player in the America East. (That’s win #200 for coach Greenberg.)

What does Texas Tech at 16-1 (3-0 in the Big 12) mean?

Remember when George Washington was a team you noticed?

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Beth Burns Signs Five-Year Extension at San Diego State.

This past year, she led the Aztecs to new heights, as the team advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time since the field was expanded to 64 teams. SDSU notched victories over a pair of top 25 foes in No. 10 West Virginia and No. 17 Texas on the Longhorns’ home floor. The 11th-seeded Aztecs were the lowest seed to advance to the Round of 16 in 2010 and lowest overall since 2007.

In the, “Bears are patient and optimistic, but should they be?” category: Cindy Blodgett’s contract extended

The Black Bears are 20-69 under Blodgett, and finished 8-21 and 4-12 in the America East Conference in 2009-2010.

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In her fourth and final year of her contract, Steve Solloway of the Maine Telegram writes Blodgett still working for a next step

Cindy Blodgett was in town Friday for a Portland Rotary luncheon. Before the University of Maine women’s basketball coach took the microphone to talk and answer questions, I was able to pitch mine.

What was her reaction to Kayla Burchill’s decision to commit to Vermont, joining Nicole Taylor? Two high-profile schoolgirl players, one from Deering, the other from York, are leaving their home state to play for an America East rival.

Blodgett flashed a smile instead of a glare. Why don’t I talk to the girls who have committed to play at Maine, she asked. Why don’t I ask Rebecca Knight (McAuley star) or the other recruits why they were so passionate in choosing Maine?

Point made.

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