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at least four or five times: “‘Ware the Wabbits!”

#16 DePaul learned the hard way. It’s the 4th-straight year the Jackrabbits have defeated a Top 25 team.

Have you noticed Oklahoma State is undefeated?  Looking forward to their 12/20 matchup with USF.

Have you noticed #12 Northwestern is undefeated? (Blame Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah) Looking forward to their 12/19 matchup with DePaul.

Have you noticed Oregon is undefeated? (Blame senior Liz Brenner) Looking forward to their 1/2 match up with UCLA.

Southern Miss couldn’t defeat the “other” in-state rival – Mississippi State wins, 78-65.

So, Tennessee visited Maples and it was. not. pretty. Stanford’s balanced attack overwhelms uninspired Lady Vols

 It was a game that was, in many ways, a shell of its former shelf [sic?].

Not just because, for the first time in the 33-year history of the annual matchup, neither Stanford nor Tennessee was ranked in the top 10.

Not because Maples Pavilion, which is historically full to the rafters and rocking when the Lady Vols come to town, was a little more than half full and sufficiently enthusiastic.

But because neither the 14th-ranked Lady Vols nor the 15th-ranked Cardinal look like obvious contenders to be in Indianapolis in April.

The two most storied programs in the history of the game, the standard-bearers in their respective conferences, are looking up at long line of teams with more talent, more potential right now.

Both still have to prove they belong in that line.

Penguins win!

Okay – so New Mexico, which seemed to have taken a half-a-step back this season, toasted Rachel Banham and Minnesota, 72-53. At the Barn. Nice homecoming for Benilde-St. Margaret’s star Khadijah Shumpert.

In other news:

Congrats Connecticut Sun.

Namaste, Ms. January: Briann January promotes basketball in Delhi

Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Erin: Opal and WNBA player Erin Phillips agrees to become Port Adelaide’s first female player

Hello Lady Swish on ESPN! Path of a pioneer: Old Dominion is fourth program to win 1,000 games

The Old Dominion women’s basketball history book is its own “War and Peace,” a thick chronicle about a program that was a pioneer for all of women’s sports. Many of the significant characters — Nancy Lieberman, Marianne Stanley, Anne Donovan and Ticha Penicheiro — still resonate and influence sports in 2015.

Several chapters document a glorious time, recalling national championship victories over coaches such as Pat Summitt, Leon Barmore and Andy Landers. And the plot thickens with the program’s resurgence in 1997, when the southeastern Virginia university — highly regarded for its business, engineering and distance learning programs — reached the Final Four alongside Tennessee and modern-day stalwarts Stanford and Notre Dame.

With Old Dominion’s 83-64 victory at Howard on Tuesday, the team and coach Karen Barefoot added another chapter: The Lady Monarchs became the fourth Division I program to amass 1,000 victories, joining Tennessee, Louisiana Tech and James Madison.

No, really, #ByeGilbert. (I will say it’s funny how some folks recognize how misogynist Arenas’ bile was don’t see how racist that Washington NFL team’s nickname is.)

Florida es mi otra casa, says Leticia Romero

Through basketball, Leticia traveled across the world and into the world of college basketball. However, coming to the United States meant more than a change of scenery or a change of culture—it meant a change to the way she played basketball.

“When I first came, it shocked me the way they played because it’s very physical. We don’t use the contact as much and they play really fast,” Romero said. “I was the type of point guard that came from Europe and our game was running the play and being poised. It took me some time to adjust to be able to run the floor.”

Speaking of Florida: UCF’s Aliyah Gregory gives back in honor of late aunt

Aliyah Gregory was riding the bus home from high school in Tampa when she heard the news. Three hundred miles away in Jacksonville, the day before Gregory’s 15th birthday, her aunt, Nicole Bush, was killed in a domestic violence incident.

“It changed my whole life,” Gregory said. “No longer having someone in your life that you are used to having there. It’s been a big adjustment.”

FiveThirtyEight Podcast: Will UConn’s Dominance Of Women’s Basketball End Anytime Soon?

Speaking of UConn: On the Road Again: UConn Freshman De’Janae Boykin Transferring; Hadn’t Played Because Of Injury

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From the Daily Tar Heel: 

“It was about how she would be viewed. How would a potential employer view her?” Tuggle said. “Would the employer look at her skill set? Or would they automatically sort of disqualify her in their minds because she played basketball at Carolina?”

The program that benefits from UNC’s huge missteps: South Carolina. No wonder Dawn’s staying put.

Speaking of transfers: Terps women’s basketball confident, despite Lexie Brown’s departure

While the NCAA tries to figure out what it can and can’t do (or will and won’t do) about the Heel’s pit of twisted rules, others at the Buckeye Battle Cry are pondering the changing rules on court. The folks who actually have to make the calls are taking, too.

New Mexico wised up: Sanchez’s 4-year deal is official

About those lawsuits… Illini Chancellor confident in AD

“Yeah,” Wise said fairly emphatically. “I mean, I do not want to rush to judgment. I want to wait until all the investigations are done.”

From the Daily Californian: Brittany Boyd, Reshanda Gray face challenges adapting to new roles in WNBA

From Arizona:Leilani Mitchell shooting her way to success as Mercury’s new point guard

From ESPN: How Connecticut Has Landed In A Surprising Spot — Atop The East

Anne Donovan could have played the disrespect card. She could have used the preseason predictions that had her Connecticut Sun team finishing last in the Eastern Conference as a source of motivation for her team, something that would have stoked the players’ competitive pride.

But the truth is, she can’t really blame people for what they thought.

Coach Donovan can also be heard on the Dishin’ and Swishin’ podcast.

From D.C.: The Conversation: Mystics’ Kara Lawson on being home, broadcasting and the WNBA

Amazing (and thanks, Doug): 5 torn ACLs later, Jacki Gemelos finally makes WNBA roster

The Sky had brought her in as a free agent to training camp before she was the final cut. General manager and coach Pokey Chatman knew she wanted Gemelos in a Chicago uniform and when guard Allie Quigley left to play for Hungary in the Eurobasket tournament this week, a spot opened up on the roster.

“I had tears of joy, tears of every emotion that I felt,” Gemelos said about signing her first WNBA contract. “Even when I was putting on the uniform in my first scrimmage, I was tearing up inside. Wearing that jersey and being so close. It was tough when they cut me, but now I’ll be able to play in my first real WNBA game. It’s going to be hard to keep it together.”

Gemelos will get her first chance Friday in Atlanta.

WATN? Ex-WNBA Standout Andrea Stinson Takes Next Coaching Step at National Tryout

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say it.”

Might be the new WHB tagline. Ah, well – sorry Skylar and Anne.

And just to keep everyone honest — how friggin’ resilient are Chicago (hello, Jamierra Faulkner!) (over LA) and Indiana (over Atlanta IN Atlanta)? (and how disappointing is LA?)

Yea! Penny!

Ouch! Seimone!

Bell Fuller at Full Court sets up your weekend: WNBA Big Games, Big News: Fireworks on tap in two July 4 weekend matchups

Along with the Fourth of the July holiday will come some top-flight action in the WNBA this week. Here are two of the games to add to your “must-watch” list; unfortunately, neither game is scheduled to be televised outside the local markets, but both will be available via the WNBA’s Live Access.

In other news:

Women’s Basketball Committee seeks cost savings for championship

The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee is exploring ways to reduce championship expenses while continuing to protect the student-athlete experience.

Yup, it’s official: OSU women’s basketball: Khadidja Toure transfers to East Carolina and Duke women’s basketball point guard Jones to transfer

This will be a fun something to attend before flying out to Istanbul: Team USA To Face Canada At Webster Bank Arena Sept. 15

Speaking of USA Basketball, the U17’s have been kicking butt:

Games are being streamed through YouTube.

The WBCA has a new boss: Danielle Donehew Leaving AAC To Take Over WBCA and a new “status.”

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Here in Omaha at a conference and the folks I’m sharing my lovely student housing with are from there. I got it — with a syllable missing, granted —  but the folks I was speaking with were impressed nonetheless. See, women’s basketball is a multi-purpose tool!

*ooooo! Sun shower in Omaha!*

Prepping for my presentation tomorrow with my two friends….

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But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to wonder if Skylar is bucking for MVP.

If Catch is going to come back.

If Chicago is doomed without the Donne.

If Anne Donovan is bucking for COY  — tonight notwithstanding. Or this news: Danielle McCray has undergone a surgery to repair a torn ligament in her thumb.

If the Dream are going to become a reality or go “poof!”

If Phoenix can continue their rebirth and truly challenge Minnesota (we see you Penny Taylor).

In other news:

Not good news for coach Curry: Alabama women’s basketball’s top returning scorer granted release.

Good news from a former Maine Bear: Blodgett named BU women’s basketball assistant coach

Speaking of Nebraska (Lincoln, though): NU Women’s Basketball Returns To Devaney Center For One Game

The Nebraska women’s basketball team plans to honor its first NCAA Tournament team when the Huskers return to the Bob Devaney Sports Center to take on Utah on Sunday, Nov. 23.

The game, which was announced by Nebraska on June 25, will mark the Huskers’ first game at the Devaney Center since moving into their new home at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the start of the 2013-14 season.

And yes, that was Gary Harris, Son of WNBA Great Joy Holmes-Harris, who was Drafted 19th Overall in the 2014 NBA Draft

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gotten some relief, and others may be feeling toastier.

New York’s in trouble. It doesn’t matter if the score a lot of points or a few points. They’re not winning. Even more troubling? The Sun’s success might mean they get a Lottery Pick for the Charles trade. #MightComeBackToBiteYou. Oh, and adios Toni?

The Dream is in a groove and lovin’ it. (Now, if only the AJC would notice.)

The 2014 WNBA season is now in its second quarter and the Atlanta Dream is showing itself to be a legitimate contender.  But to be more specific here, that’s for the WNBA Championship, not just Eastern Conference banner. 

Indy and D.C are…surviving –  I KNOW coach Dunn and folks want Catch back, but I also know they want CATCH back. Respect their patience.

By the Great Lakes, Chicago folks are falling like flies, and it’s killin’ their mojo, but not their Pride. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough.

Is the Sun rising? Coach Donovan Knows It Takes All Kinds To Make Sun Mesh

In the West:

L.A. was making everyone wonder, que pasa? Then they met Tulsa and earned a no-longer-take-them-for-granted win.

The Lynx were rolling, but shorthanded still. Then they encountered the high-low we all expected Griner-Taurasi to be. Looks like the Merc are bringing the heat.

Seattle is making folks earn every win against ’em…. but, I’m guessing Bird would rather win than pile up stats. They do have a new COO, though: Alisha Valavanis will be leaving her post as the University of California, Berkeley’s Assistant Athletics Director of Development for Annual Giving and Alumni Relations

It’s amazing what Danielle Adams can do – unless, of course, you remember what she did in the NCAA Championship game. Doesn’t mean I don’t worry about her knees….

Some great games on today — and it’s WNBA PRIDE TIME!

 

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Shock @ Sky.

Dream @ Liberty.

Stars @ Sparks.

Fever @ Lynx.

Mystics @ Storm.

Just a thought about Mechelle’s piece The WNBA’s Pride predicament. It’s amazing what happens to my heart when I read the players tweeting their support of WNBA Pride. For those of us who have journeyed with the players, fans, coaches and owners within the league, we know what a seismic moment this is. We’ve been frustrated, logical, realistic, impatient, hurt, embarrassed and sensitive to others. And yet, here we are: WNBA PRIDE.

This year, the league is acknowledging that fan base with a first-ever multi-media campaign: WNBA Pride, Presented by COVERGIRL. Nine teams are hosting a pride-themed game including the Chicago Sky, whose match up against the Shock on ESPN2 Sunday will be the first nationally-televised such game in professional sports.

Wicks, who came out before her retirement in 2002 when a reporter asked her if she was a lesbian, called the WNBA’s pride campaign “fantastic.”

“There have always been gay and lesbian fans at WNBA games,” she said. “It’s nice for fans of the community to be recoginzed for their support.”

For some reason, I’m flashing back on Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway show (1985) where a character said, “Love isn’t smilin’ at people with your face and squintin’ at them with your heart.”

Here’s hoping that, wherever you draw your personal code of morals, ethics and/or intra and inter-personal behaviors from, you can agree with this: judge people by the “content of their character.”

In other news: More games to watch in you’re in Toronto: Welcome to the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States all remain undefeated after two days of play at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont.

AND they’re putting up big numbers. The games are streamed.

Speaking of international play… The lil bits (aka, the U17 team) was in a dogfight with the Canadian team… end then they zoomed away in the fourth.

The medium bits (aka the U18 team) will reassemble at the USOTC for training camp July 25-August 5. You can watch them play for FREE in Colorado Springs, August 6-10.

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Congrats to Jeff House, a good guy: Kentucky women hire WNBA assistant to replace Insell

Lady Swish has some other coaching stuff: Getting to know new George Mason coach Nyla Milleson and McGuire takes over at Radford

The Connecticut Sun open training camp Monday, so coach Anne Donovan has had a lot of time to think about what she will tell her team. In the end, though, she tries not to outthink herself.

“The night before camp, there likely will be a lot of thought [about what to say]. But my general feeling is, the best thing I can do is just be myself,” Donovan said. “It has worked for me with a bunch of other teams and a lot of different players. All I know how to do is be myself. That will be my message.”

Katie Douglas is testing her injured ankle in Russia before her 13th WNBA season

Need some more WATN? Here ya go! St. Bernard hires ex-UCLA star Michelle Greco

I’m not sure I get the point of this article from Henry Abbott: Jason Collins is not Brittney Griner as he tries to explain “why Jason Collins’ coming out made bigger waves than Brittney Griner’s.” He missed a big point… Just read some of the comments.

And, on a side note, how many tweets of support did Griner get from WBCA and WNBA coaches?

BTW, this from Jayda: National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Launched

From Mel: Guru Adds to Hall of Fame Collection: Summer League Countdown to Launch

Since the tease at the end of the previous post was written,and for those not connected on twitter @womhoopsguru, facebook or LinkedIn, the Guru was cleared to go public to say that on Oct. 19, though he was never enrolled at the university, he will become a honorary Catholic woman when he becomes part of the second induction class of the Immaculata Athletics Hall of Fame.

The letter cited support of the university and pioneering coverage of women’s basketball.

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At espnW (Hey, I gotta ask, do boys suffer from “stress sweat”?): Clarendon leaves leadership legacy – Cal’s success raises stock of WNBA draft hopeful

Layshia Clarendon watched intently as an inexperienced teammate dribbled the ball off her foot and out of bounds.

Sensing her frustration, Clarendon retrieved the orange and white basketball, offered an encouraging pat on the back and applauded loudly. The next time through, her teammate didn’t bobble even a single dribble.

This didn’t happen to one of Clarendon’s California teammates at this year’s Final Four in New Orleans, but rather to a young girl, no older than 4, at the WNBA’s annual pre-draft fitness day youth clinic Sunday at ESPN’s KidsCenter.

Two radically different venues, but with the same comfortable leader.

A little video preview of the draft with Swin. And, of course, there has to be a preview of the Best of the Rest.

A little W stuff:

From Ned at The Day: Donovan makes her transition to the Sun

On the West Coast, Jayda notes: Seattle Storm enters training camp with major roster issues

A couple of piece from the Courier Journal: Program-defining upset for Louisville women’s basketball: They’ll always have Baylor and What will Louisville women’s basketball team do for an encore? Outgrow Cinderella’s slipper

On paper it looks like a team that could make another Final Four trip.

“I’m really excited about that, but I’ve got to make sure my players understand that we just went on a pretty special run,” Walz said. “And if you’re going to sit here and think the same thing is going to happen without going back to work and getting better individually, it’s not going to happen.

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we find that CViv is cranky: Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer blasts her critics as she nears 900 career victories

Stringer, who has an 898-326 career mark over 41-plus seasons, vigorously defended her program this afternoon, sprinkling in several expletives. She said the only opinion she listens to is that of athletic director Tim Pernetti.

“I could (not) care less about any of those people,” Stringer said of her critics. “The only thing that matters to me is Tim Pernetti. He needs to be who he is supposed to be and step up and declare who you are, and that’s it. I don’t care about anybody else. ”

There’s also a little Cviv flashback from the Des Moines Register: Another View: 1993 tested the rule on ‘no crying in journalism’

For athletes and sports fans, the seasons of glory tend to stay in your mind forever. Championships clinched, big games won and the chance to breathe some rarified air are what anyone who loves sports wants to experience.

In Iowa, 1993 was a year with plenty of that rarified air, and I’ve been thinking about that year — specifically the 1992-93 basketball season — a lot lately. Yet in my mind, I don’t remember it as a season of glory. It was a season of grief.

Another coach who is feeling the heat: Utes blow out Oregon

Another coach who is feeling the heat: No. 4 Stanford women’s basketball team routs Arizona 73-43

A coach that’s bringing the heat: No. 6 Cal women’s basketball takes down hapless Arizona State

With the way the Cal women’s basketball team has been playing, Arizona State would’ve needed more than a deal with the devil to win.

The Bears soundly defeated the Sun Devils, 66-53, in Haas Pavilion Friday night to cement their eighth consecutive win.

Coach G tweets: Lindsay Gottlieb ‏@CalCoachG Talia Caldwell is 1st Cal WBB player in Haas school of biz. She’s now 1st Haas student, male or female, to have 1,000pts. We are very proud.

From Greg Alan Edwards: UK Hoops, TV, and The Real World: A Mini Rant

As most of you know, we have been doing live blogs, in-game and post-game coverage of the UK Hoops Squad all season and back into last year. We have made a conscious effort to improve the coverage, do more insight work on the players, and to make Women’s Hoops a priority here at A Sea Of Blue.

On Tuesday, WKYM did a segment with Coach Mitchell about the fact that the UK women have been filling Memorial Coliseum in game after game as the team as climbed in national prominence. So what happens when the season hits it’s peak and the drive to the finish kicks in? We lose the TV coverage.

Speaking of TV, Mechelle previews: Terps’ season still full of potential – Game will help decide ACC — and which center is the best in the league

I was sitting courtside at the XL Center in Hartford in early December waiting for Maryland to take the floor for shootaround when something caught my eye. Looking like the Imperial Walker from the “Star Wars” movies, four very long crutches emerged from the locker room tunnel and clank-clanked their way to the court. Attached to the crutches was Maryland’s starting backcourt — Brene Moseley and Laurin Mincy — both lost for the season with torn ACLs. Behind them was another be-crutched ACL casualty, 6-foot-7 Essence Townsend. And attached to all of those crutches, I thought, was Maryland’s chance at an ACC title and run to the Final Four.

Speaking of the surprising Terps, Graham offers up: Little gets between Hawkins, rebound – When discussing nation’s top seniors, Maryland forward must be in the mix

The job Tianna Hawkins hopes to land when she is done with basketball is considerably more consequential than one in which success and failure are separated by points on a scoreboard. If her career plan comes to pass, her future team will be that of a presidential protective detail with the United States Secret Service, the federal law enforcement agency with which the University of Maryland criminology major interned two summers ago.

The skills that set her apart in one endeavor seem far removed from those she might need in the other, a smooth jump shot from the elbow or nose for the ball presumably not the first thing the Secret Service looks for on a résumé. 

Then again, nothing much gets between one of college basketball’s best offensive rebounders and her current inanimate protectee — not the thicket of bodies in the paint, not fatigue. Not anything.

Speaking of injuries: No. 11 Louisville thrives despite rash of injuries

Few teams can afford to lose one key player without damaging chemistry or competitiveness.

Louisville is down four and yet is two games better than this point last season minus two regulars. The No. 11 Cardinals (19-4, 7-2 Big East Conference) enter Saturday’s home game against Pittsburgh aiming to extend their five-game winning streak before traveling to No. 2 Notre Dame on Monday night.

Stuff on the W: Beth and Debbie discuss the latest WNBA news, get ready for a Big Monday doubleheader and talk to Connecticut Sun head coach Ann Donovan.

From Nate: What the Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn signings mean for the Seattle Storm

For years now, the Seattle Storm have tried to find someone to serve as an alternate distributor when Sue Bird is injured or needing to rest.

Yesterday’s signings of Temeka Johnson and Noelle Quinn are this season’s attempt to fill that role of distributor whenever Bird is off the floor.

From thewiz06: Washington Mystics Offseason: A roundtable with three fellow Mystics fans on what they would like to see for 2013

thewiz also looks at the Lib: How will Bill Laimbeer make his mark on the team?

M Robinson has an Interview with former USC guard Jacki Gemelos about pursuing her WNBA dream with the Minnesota Lynx

The .com has Five Games to Watch in 2013

The Messenger is back, and he’s Helping Americans Understand Overseas Leagues

Whenever I speak of our Indiana Fever players playing overseas — whether in China, Australia, Israel, Turkey, Russia or elsewhere in Europe — I frequently sense that the conversations lead to more questions than actual answers. Certainly the cultures and languages are often different; and certainly there are rules that are different and in many leagues, there are limitations on the number of foreigners or Americans that can play; and salaries, sponsors and attendance all vary greatly. Those discrepancies vary from league-to-league and from country-to-country.

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Sorry, Brittney, ODU’s Donovan is the one to beat out

SportsCenter is full of highlights of the feat, and the media keep repeating it, so it must be true, right? Baylor’s Brittney Griner is the NCAA leader in blocked shots with 665. Who she’d best to get it? Louella Tomlinson of St. Mary’s in California finished her career in 2011 with 663.

If you wonder why Anne Donovan’s 801 career blocked shots aren’t even a footnote in this conversation, it’s because the Old Dominion superstar played two of her years in the AIAW, and we’re not counting two years of her phenomenal shot-blocking statistics. Apparently, basketball statistics didn’t exist before the NCAA, a condescending attitude given Donovan and her Lady Monarch teammates Nancy Lieberman and Inge Nissen are regarded as some of the best to play this game.

 

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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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Welcome to the SEC, Missouri. #10 Georgia wins, 77-46.

Welcome to the SEC, TAMU. The Aggies pummeled Alabama, 91-52.

The Hilltoppers continue winning, as their 78-69 win over AR-Little Rock puts them at 5-0 in the Sun Belt.

Michigan State’s win over Minnesota puts them at 13-1. We’ll learn more about them when they meet their next opponent, #9 Penn State. The Lions defeated Northwestern, 73-69.

Kim has her Michigan team at 12-2. Iowa next.

Iowa takes down Ohio State, 77-71.

Presbyterian moved to 3-0 in the Big South with their (first time ever) win over Liberty, 51-49.

Not a good day to be a team from Mississippi: LSU took down Ole Miss, Vandy stomped all over Mississippi State.

Creighton opened conference play with a 81-60 win over Southern Illinois.

A strong second half pushed #3 Duke to a win over NC State, 67-57.

Zone in the second half pushed #12 Tennessee to a comfortable win over #18 South Carolina, 73-53.

Georgia Tech gave them a run for their money, but #19 Florida State emerged victorious, 85-78.

Florida tried, but #6 Kentucky prevailed, 76-69.

Auburn (they’re making some noise) takes down #23 Arkansas, 50-47.

#15 North Carolina held on for the win against #8 Maryland, 60-57.

With a hat tip to Doug Feinberg: the AP’s Pat Graham writes: Off to 11-0 start, CU steadily gaining recognition

Off to an 11-0 start, the Buffaloes are definitely a cheerful and chipper bunch these days. Only, it’s now time to turn serious as No. 20 Colorado hosts fourth-ranked Stanford on Friday night in the Pac-12 Conference opener.

Or is it?

The reason for the Buffaloes’ success on the court may be as simple as this: They just don’t take themselves too seriously.

Others are, of course. Or at least beginning to, anyway.

The writers are getting ready for the Notre Dame/UConn game on Saturday, 4pm EST on CBS:

Debbie and Beth are back with their podcast: They preview the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 as well as the UConn-Notre Dame game. Plus, they’re joined by Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell.

NCAA.com: Connecticut and Notre Dame meet again

Michelle: Breanna Stewart exceeding the hype

Compliments from Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma come neither easily nor frequently.

So when he said recently that freshman forward Breanna Stewart “has the opportunity to be a good as anyone we’ve ever brought here,” it was high praise indeed.

When you are the top recruit in the country and choose to join Auriemma’s program in Storrs, hype inevitably follows.

Rebecca Lobo: One of top rivalries resumes Saturday – Top-ranked and unbeaten UConn hosts No. 5 Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion

Connecticut versus Notre Dame has become one of my favorite rivalry games in women’s college basketball over the past few years. The contests have been close and there is always something at stake. And when you add the players’ and coaches’ distaste for one another, the game becomes even juicier. Here are some of the matchups within the game that will be worth watching:

Graham: Freshman Loyd ahead of schedule

When Jewell Loyd was in junior high, she worked out with her older brother on the basketball court. He wasn’t trying to get her ready for the eighth grade team, he told her. He was preparing her for varsity.

The instruction continued when she made it to Niles West High School in the Chicago area, by which time Jarryd Loyd had already played four seaons for Valparaiso University and embarked on a career in professional basketball that eventually took him to Poland, New Zealand and more than a few map points between them.

Now the older brother was readying her for college.

Notre Dame: #5 Irish Open BIG EAST Play At #1 Connecticut Saturday

Notre Dame: Healthy Mabrey adds to Irish options

Michaela Mabrey climbed up the steps to the stage of the basketball auditorium at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion, and eased herself into a chair, a bag of ice wrapped around her right ankle.

“I’m completely healthy,” Mabrey insisted. “The ankle is just a little sore after games.”

UConn: Kiah Stokes getting closer to returning

UConn: Auriemma, Hartley Discuss Benching At Oregon

UConn: Geno Auriemma(isms) From Friday’s Press Briefing

UConn: Notre Dame Has Had UConn’s Number In Recent Big Games

From the West Coast, Jayda has: Huskies’ Kristi Kingma glad to be back on court for Washington

In WNBA news, Mechelle writes about Donovan’s return to WNBA with Sun

Coach Anne Donovan is headed back to the WNBA, taking over at Connecticut in an Eastern Conference that will have both a new and old look to it in 2013. It’s intriguing — especially because right up until the WNBA Finals started this past October, the Western Conference really seemed to have the East trumped.

At that point, no currently existing East team had won a WNBA title. The championship teams from each of the three previous seasons — Phoenix in 2009, Seattle in 2010 and Minnesota in 2011 — were from the West. The 2013 No. 1 draft pick was headed to the West, as Phoenix won the Brittney Griner sweepstakes in the lottery held after the regular season.

The East was pretty clearly the league’s second banana. But then …

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Sheeee’s Baaaaack!

(never really understood why she went to Seton Hall) Anne Donovan To Coach Connecticut Sun

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and somewhat disappointing to witness, since I trekked out to Newark in the hope of a real game, not a one-sided blowout. Lib 80-zillion, Merc not-nearly-as-much. Oh, and surprise: another Phoenix player was injured.

The highlight of the game was watching Diana and Cappie chat post-game with their USA Basketball/WNBA coach, Anne Donovan. Said coach of the 2008 gold medal team, “I miss that group.”

On an interesting “behind the scenes” note: President of Madison Square Garden Sports Leaving Post.

O’Neil’s departure comes just as the Knicks are facing a new challenge for fans and corporate dollars in their home market, with the Nets moving to Brooklyn this fall. The need for a strong, creative voice on the business side has perhaps never been greater.

Scott was the gentleman with whom I had a long conversation a year and a half ago about why, after joining up in 1998, I was no longer a NY Liberty season subscriber. He tried to convince me that better times were coming for subscribers — that he was re-vamping from the inside out. I wasn’t convinced then (not sure I’m convinced now), but it’s hard to see his departure as a good thing for the Lib (a team not mentioned in the article).

In Atlanta, looks like Angel is on a bit of a mission after the ruckus: Lindsey Harding, Angel McCoughtry lead Dream past Fever.

Paul Neilsen writes a somewhat overwrought defense of Angel: McCoughtry no angel but public assassination is over the top

A little on Sophia from the Carribbean Journal: From St Vincent to the WNBA

A little somethin’ from Nneka: Life on the Road as a WNBA Star

From Jayda: Aussie to Aussie: Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson speaks with Tulsa’s Liz Cambage

From Michelle: DeWanna Bonner’s game blossoms

From Nate: 2012 WNBA Most Improved Player Rankings: How Much Better Has Kristi Toliver Been This Season?

And yes, I watched as the Sparks faded in the second half against Minnesota. Amelia knows why: Fans give the Lynx an edge – Seats fill fast, and Target Center has become one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play.

Speaking of which, Mechelle chatted today:

Sofia (Durham, NC): SASS has lost 3 straight. LA’s lost 3 straight, too. Which team’s fans should be more concerned? I say LA’s fans should be more concerned because I think SASS has looked ‘better’ in their losses. But I may be over-impressed by that great OT game against the Lynx. What do you think?

Mechelle Voepel: I tend to agree with you that the Sparks fans might be more concerned now. Not specifically because LA has lost three in a row, but because Candace Parker hasn’t seemed a dominating force since she returned from the Olympic break. Some games, her numbers have been “OK,” but not others. Furthermore, she doesn’t look as engaged as she needs to for the rest of the Sparks to build off of her. It seems like the Sparks’ defense is not sharp, and the offense is tilting a little too much to the perimeter, especially for a team with the weapons inside that the Sparks have. Maybe LA will finish the last two games of this road swing stronger and then play well as they finish the regular season at home. But there are reasons now for Sparks fans to be a little worried, I think.

The finals are set at the Paralympics:

A little revenge: Australia edge US to make basketball finals

British women’s basketball team lose to Germany

In other Olympic news:

Bruno’s Olympic Trilogy—Part Two: Memorable Moments Off the Court – DePaul Coach Will Always Remember Emotional Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and Part Three—Personal Reflections

In college news:

From Swish Appeal: NCAA Women’s Basketball Attendance: Winners and Losers for 2012

From Marquette: Five Big East newcomers will present different challenges on women’s side

From Missouri: Q&A with Robin Pingeton and The Rest Of The Story: Pingeton Q&A

From Champaign: Bollant’s up for challenge

From El Paso: Women’s basketball heads into challenging schedule

While there has been a lot of talk about the men’s basketball team – and for good reason, given the talented incoming class and the challenging schedule assembled by coach Tim Floyd – fans should also start getting excited about the women’s basketball campaign.

Head coach Keitha Adams has done a tremendous job of building the program into a consistent winner. UTEP boasts the best winning percentage of all league schools since joining Conference USA seven years ago, has the third-most victories among Division I programs in the state of Texas over the past six years, and has won a trio of C-USA crowns, the 2007-08 regular season and 2012 C-USA regular season and tournament.

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Pat Summitt’s career remembered by C. Vivian Stringer and Anne Donovan

“For such a long time, Pat Summitt has been the gatekeeper for women’s basketball,” said Rutgers coach C.Vivian Stringer, a longtime friend of Summit’s. Her contributions to the game go far beyond the 1,098 victories and eight National Championships. It’s about impact she has had on every Lady Vol that has come through that program to the countless others across the globe whose lives she has touched – those are things that make Pat special. She represents a pillar of strength and a source of inspiration for all of us.

“This news saddens me because I have personally shared so many conversations with her as it relates to everything from basketball to family life. I feel like a piece of me has left the game and there is no bigger loss to women’s basketball. Although the world will miss seeing her on the sidelines, I know Pat will continue to be a rock for the Tennessee program in her new role.”

**

“Pat Summitt has been the most significant coach in the women’s game to date,” Donovan said today. “In addition to her unparalleled success in coaching, Pat’s legacy is now about her courage, strength and class in one of life’s biggest challenges. Our game is losing a legendary teacher, mentor and role model. Even though she may not be on the bench, Pat’s impact will continue to be felt in the thousands of women and men whose lives she has touched, mine included. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to play for and work under the best, Pat Summitt.”

From Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN: Tennessee’s Summitt changed game

You can make the argument — without apology or hesitation — that Pat Summitt is the greatest college basketball coach of our time. At the very least, she’s in the starting five.

And it’s not because she won more games than any other Division I coach from A (Geno Auriemma) to K (Mike Krzyzewski) to W (John Wooden). Or that she has the same number of national championships as Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp combined. Or that in the 31 years there’s been an NCAA women’s basketball tournament, her team has been in it every year — and won eight times.

Greatness isn’t measured simply by victories. It is measured by the depth and width of a coach’s impact on the sport itself, on the players, on the university they represent. Find me another basketball coach who transformed and legitimized her sport more than Summitt. Find me another basketball coach whose legacy exceeds hers. I can wait.

Graham: Summitt is face of Title IX generation

Everything and nothing changed Wednesday in Knoxville, Tenn.

News that Pat Summitt is stepping aside as head coach at the University of Tennessee to accept the role of head coach emeritus, leaving control of the women’s basketball program to longtime assistant Holly Warlick, comes as little surprise precisely because it is the inverse of the shocking news that came almost a year ago, when Summitt informed the world she had been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Nobody saw the former coming. Sadly, everybody saw this coming.

Dick Vitale: Pat Summitt leaves incredible legacy

I was sorry to hear that Pat Summitt was retiring as Tennessee women’s basketball head coach.

My friends, she was the best of the best in college basketball, men’s or women’s. In fact, she was one of the greatest coaches of any sport.

Check out the games on ESPN classic: ESPN’s Coverage Plans Surrounding Summitt

And for some needed smiles, check out the hair and clothes “through the ages.”

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didn’t pass Carolyn’s “one eye test.” They got themselves blown out by Texas A&M as Danielle Adams went off for 30 and 13. Writes Brent Zwemerman at the San Antonio Express-News:

Following yet another Danielle Adams basket — this time from beyond the 3-point line in the second half — Adams turned to play defense, and allowed herself a few skips of delight near midcourt en route to another Texas A&M prance past a Big 12 opponent.

The rest of the ranked teams held form as it was Marquette over Providence, Notre Dame over West Virginia and UConn (ugly) over Seton Hall.

A note about the Seton Hall team. Last year they scored 24 points against UConn. Total. This year they put up 59. What a difference a coach makes? From Anne Donovan:

“I think most of the girls came and watched the New York Liberty [who she coached last season], so their hunger has really helped me. Who I have been able to coach, what my background has been with the Olympics and the WNBA, they are hungry to get whatever they can from me. That has helped me from the credibility standpoint. I have coached a long time so there have been a lot of different situations and different rosters and trying to bring out the best in the rosters that I have had and that has helped me throughout my career.”

Phew! That was the sound of Bowling Green (11-3 in the MAC) escaping with a 2pt win over Akron as Lauren Prochaska hit a 3-pointer from the left corner with 0.2 seconds to go in the game.

Tennessee Tech is now 14-3 in the Ohio Valley conference.

I’m not sure Elaine Elliott would have enjoyed coaching this season: The Utes fell to TCU, 71-60, and are now 6-8 in the Mountain West.

I can understand why the Huskers might be cranky this season, but 76-34 over Missouri? Ouch.

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from Jayda: Injuries, returns and extensions

The WNBA is keeping itself in the news this offseason and not all in a good way.

(Hey! What ever happened to any press is good press???)

And from the .com:

Q&A with the Seattle Storm’s Camille Little

Crystal Langhorne Discusses Russia

And a little ex-W news:

Queen of the Court: Ridgewood’s Anne Donovan and her solid gold basketball career

McConnell-Serio has lifted Duquesne women out of the doldrums

Pittsburgh’s Pat Coyle Takes Liberty From The WNBA


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Back to School for a Basketball Coach

Before accepting the Seton Hall job in March, Ms. Donovan had spent the past 12 years coaching professionally and for USA Basketball. Already a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame based on her international and collegiate playing careers, she has won an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA championship as a head coach—an accomplishment to which only one other person can lay claim. But in returning to coach at the collegiate level for the first time since 1998, she is attempting to make a midcareer transition that her counterparts in men’s basketball generally find to be tricky at best and impossible at worst.

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(and no, I’m not talking about Kim’s jacket!) Seton Hall women down Temple, 72-59 for first win under new head coach Anne Donovan

“We really needed this,” Donovan said. “And they needed it. Just for that reward for the work. You can only ask kids to keep working hard at something that’s extremely challenging without a reward. There’s got to be a reward to keep them with it.”

*and a shout out to both Donovan and the Star-Ledger’s Brendan Prunty for making the article happen via a phone interview

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Jessica Breland returns to Tar Heels’ lineup (in rout of Ospreys)

At times, Jessica Breland looked like her old self by confidently knocking down a turnaround jumper or pulling down one-handed rebounds in traffic. There were also reminders that North Carolina’s fifth-year senior will need some time to get all the way back after missing last season.

Still, with her Hodgkin’s lymphoma in remission, being out on the court again for a real game was a big step.

I’m thinking Foster is thinking, “One down, three to go.” From Mel: Temple women fall to Ohio State, 84-75.

Though one important player was missing from the roster of No. 7 Ohio State, another was trouble enough for the Temple women’s basketball team in the season opener for both Friday night at the Liacouras Center.

In Louisville, the Lady Vols improved to 34-3 in season openers under Pat Summitt (I’m sure it’s stunning, but the new Cardinals arena is called the KFC Yum! Center. Sounds like a playhouse for Hello, Kitty!) (And really, if we can’t let this crap go, investigate or have a friggin’ confab and figure out how to address it. Time to move on, folks!)

Nice win for UCLA on the road against a (young) San Diego State team.

Welcome back to the NCAA, Anne Donovan. Her Hall lose to an always solid Florida Gulf team.

Only real “surprise” is Gonzaga going down to USC. The Seattle Times had 5 things you should be watching about the Bulldogs, Jayda said they are not satisfied with last year’s Sweet 16, but the Trojans were not impressed.

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grumbling about whether or not coaching for USA Basketball gave programs a recruiting advantage. Long time USA BBall coaches were not impressed:

Anne Donovan, who has been involved in USA Basketball since 1983, first as a player and most recently an assistant coach for the Gold medal winning team in Athens, seemed almost stunned at the possibility. “I understand and recognize why they’d be concerned but – and forgive me, but I’ve been so entrenched in USA Basketball for more than half my life – that organization is not run with that intent. You’ve got all these all-stars who want to play, all who have been starters, and now you’re the coach that doesn’t think they’re a starter? You’re going to make five friends – your five starters. And you better win a medal, because that also affects their career.

From Glenn, an article that may more accurately reflect the impact of playing for the red, white and blue: USA Basketball affecting recruiting

During a break in the action at Nike Nationals this past summer, three USA Basketball teammates were spotted hanging out in the lobby of the athletic complex in North Augusta, S.C.

“Scheming?” they were asked.

“That’s what everyone says,” one of the trio, Elizabeth Williams, replied.

And the scheme most envision is a group of elite-level prospects committing to the same program. That, however, has become part of a truism in recruiting, at least in the women’s game: The more high-school girls’ basketball players talk about going to the same school, the less chance of it happening. Inevitably they do what’s in their best interest, split up, but stay friendly competitors.

Maybe this is the year that finally changes.

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Seton Hall women’s basketball coach Anne Donovan shaken after off-campus shooting, injuring F Nicosia Henry

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Dat Guru

Liberty Burns Fever As East Race Gets Tighter

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and Clay Kallam: Peeking Over the Women’s Basketball Horizon; USA Basketball, WNBA Playoffs and Gonzaga on the come up

Yes, it’s pretty safe to say that Tulsa and L.A. are lottery bound, though the latest in a series of Minnesota injuries (Candice Wiggins this time) may cause the Lynx to sink to fifth.

That seems unlikely, though, as Nolan Richardson, as expected, is clueless in Oklahoma, and Jennifer Gillom, as some feared, can’t seem to get the Sparks all pointed in the same direction.

In the East, Anne Donovan, as expected, has done little to inspire New York fans who have been turned off by years of mismanagement by James Dolan and Carol Blazejowski – so the Liberty will need a late-season hot streak to get in to postseason. Steve Key, also a target for disgruntled fans, hasn’t done much with the Sky, though the absence of Shameka Christon hasn’t helped. Like New York, Chicago will need to catch a fire to avoid a place in the Maya Moore sweepstakes.

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