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Not really a surprise: Kelly Harper out at North Carolina State.

From the Tulsa World’s Guerin Emig: OU’s Aaryn Ellenberg thrives and succeeds quietly

Aaryn Ellenberg could be the Marshall Henderson of women’s college basketball.

The Oklahoma guard has such a blustery game. It’s all movement, agility and a school record book of 3-pointers, distance-defying torpedoes that often win big games, like the four she buried UCLA with in last week’s NCAA Tournament second-round upset, a result that propelled the Sooners into Sunday’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against fabled Tennessee.

She has a glitzy nickname, “Vegas,” a moniker OU coach Sherri Coale pinned on her around the time she arrived in Norman from Sin City three years ago. Henderson, the Ole Miss star who shoots off his mouth as often as his rapid-fire long-range jumpers, doesn’t even have that going for him.

Elliott Almond at the Mercury News writes: Cal women’s basketball team perseveres through tragedies

Second-seeded Cal has passed some agonizing tests to reach the Sweet 16 where it expects another big challenge Saturday night against Louisiana State. The Golden Bears (30-3) escaped the second round Monday with an 82-78 overtime victory against South Florida after squandering a 10-point lead with a minute left. They also endured four close victories in Pac-12 play.

The perseverance, however, isn’t surprising on a team with three members carrying burdens no one should have to bear. Gennifer Brandon, Eliza Pierre and Tierra Rogers have leaned on each throughout their careers while dealing with the grief of family members suffering violent deaths.

“They don’t just survive, they thrive,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said Friday before the team’s practice at Spokane Arena.

WDEL’s Sean Greene: Delle Donne hopes for WNBA and Olympic future

First, though, writes Kate Fagan: Delle Donne, Delaware face pressure – Kentucky’s defense will test the Blue Hens in their first Sweet 16 appearance

The Delaware Blue Hens don’t appear to be in danger of freezing under the spotlight.

In the minutes before their practice Friday, the players were busy fashioning a headband made out of pre-wrap for assistant coach Jeanine Radice. They were laughing, taking pictures and soaking it all in.

After all, this is Delaware’s first trip to the Sweet 16, and coach Tina Martin has encouraged her players to have fun. Martin even began her news conference by saying, “After I wake up from the dream I’m in …” As in, she can’t believe her little mid-major program — Martin is in her 17th season at Delaware — is making such big waves. “I’m not worried about them being uptight,” Martin said of her players. “If anything, they’re enjoying it and taking in everything they can.”

Charlie gives us Five things to look for in the Sweet 16

5. Which No. 6 seed has the best chance of pulling another upset? An unprecedented four 6-seeds are still playing (along with a No. 12 in Kansas). Oklahoma and LSU have recent tournament pedigree even if that doesn’t include any current players to look to. Nebraska was here in 2010 and that’s it. Delaware is in completely uncharted waters. None of that experience or lack of it probably matters here. It really comes down to matchups.

Nebraska, despite the dynamic duo of point guard Moore and versatile forward Jordan Hooper, might have a difficult time dealing with Duke’s depth and length, not to mention the relative proximity of Durham to Norfolk. Kentucky is even deeper than Duke, and the Wildcats’ athleticism greatly exceeds Delaware’s. The Blue Hens could have some problems dealing with the relentless Kentucky pressure.

Mechelle writes, Landers back in the Sweet 16

Georgia coach Andy Landers stood just outside his team’s locker room at the SEC tournament earlier this month, grinning broadly.

“Listen to them in there,” he said of his players after their quarterfinal victory. “They’re in there high-fiving, chirping, laughing. I still enjoy that so much.”

Landers is the dean of the SEC women’s hoops coaches now that Tennessee’s Pat Summitt has moved into an emeritus role. And he’s one of the longest-tenured, most experienced college basketball mentors, men’s or women’s, in the country.

Michelle writes, Gottlieb carves own path of success

Lindsay Gottlieb jokes that she is the “black sheep in her family.” Except that nobody brags this much about the “black sheep.”

In her father’s courtroom in New York, the court reporters, officers, clerks, they all knew about Judge Stephen Gottlieb’s daughter, the successful basketball coach.

In the hallways of New York University where Chris Gottlieb is a law professor, people always stop to ask how the Bears are doing.

Graham has the Norfolk Sweet 16 breakdown

Fagan has the Bridgeport Sweet 16 breakdown

Mechelle has the Oklahoma City Regional breakdown

Michelle has the Spokane Regional breakdown

And here are espnW’s Sweet 16 picks

John Klein at the Tulsa World says: Draft choice could help Tulsa Shock’s resurgence this season

It could be argued the WNBA Draft has never had three players in the same season capable of changing the fortunes of a franchise.

And, no franchise in recent history of the WNBA has needed a change of fortune more than the Shock.

“We’ve been trying to dig ourselves out of that hole,” said Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg. “We’ve been inching our way up.

Didja hear? WNBA and ESPN Broaden Partnership Through 2022 *if the league has a new logo, why does the article use the old one?*

Shelly DuBois of CNN Money explains Why ESPN thinks the WNBA is worth watching

Speaking of the W, Parker Leads UMMC to EuroLeague Crown

Oh, and Curtis Coach Barbara Farris taking some time off to serve as WNBA assistant

A nine-year WNBA veteran, Farris plans to return to Curtis by mid-October to resume her teaching and coaching responsibilities. The exact date of her return, however, depends on whether the Liberty makes the playoffs.

Farris directed Curtis to a second consecutive Class 2A state championship this year in her third season as coach of the Lady Patriots.

A little DII news: Watterson grad in Division II final

Almost a year ago, Daiva Gerbec sat on the end of the bench and watched Ashland lose in the Division II championship game.

Her season had ended before it could begin when her left Achilles tendon snapped during a running drill in the first workout of the preseason. Not being able to contribute during that 88-82 overtime loss to Shaw was difficult.

Dowling women to play for NCAA Div. II title

The magical ride for the Dowling women’s basketball team continues.

In their first trip to the NCAA Division II Women’s Elite Eight, the Golden Lions will play for their first national title tomorrow night after they powered their way to a 76-54 semifinal victory over Augustana (Ga.) Wednesday at Greehey Arena.

In future news: CU Buffs’ Lappe already looking ahead

Inside the office of Colorado women’s basketball coach Linda Lappe hangs a dry-erase board.

Just a few days after the 2012-13 season concluded, the players on the 2013-14 roster were already written on that board. In the world of college basketball, there is little time to waste. One season ends and it’s on to the next.

“It’s a process to be consistent,” Lappe said. “It starts right after the season.”

From the Daily Wildcat: Whyte looks back on Arizona women’s basketball career with no regrets

Four years go by fast. For women’s basketball senior Davellyn Whyte, it hasn’t quite set in that her career as a Wildcat is over following the team’s 66-48 loss to Utah in the Pac-12 tournament.

Arizona’s second all-time leading scorer, with 2,059 career points has had a bumpy four years. Being one of the greatest women’s basketball players in school history certainly hasn’t been easy, but she said she reflects on her time in Tucson with no regrets.

The WNIT is at the Elite Eight stage (always interesting to look at the early rounds, since it’s really the only time we get to compare “major” v. “mid-major” conferences). Saturday you’ll see:

Florida at JMU, 4 p.m. ET

Utah at Saint Mary’s, 5 p.m. ET

Illinois at Kansas State, 5 p.m. ET

Drexel at Auburn, 7 p.m. ET

The WBI ended for the Quakers, but Even in loss, Penn women’s basketball shows growth

Mike McLaughlin didn’t know much about losing.

That was the first line of a Daily Pennsylvanian article written on March 24, 2010, after the Quakers finished the season with a program-worst 2-26 record. They set the program record for losses in a single season. They nearly became the first Penn team to lose every single Ivy game, only escaping in the final weekend after a victory at Dartmouth.

“There are times I thought, ‘Am I doing everything within my ability to make them better?’ McLaughlin said in 2010 interview. “They needed a strong leader in adversity.”

Today that feels like a distant memory

In the “this is what scholarships are about” vein: Four Coconut Creek girls basketball players headed to college

For the sixth consecutive year, the Coconut Creek girls basketball is sending a player to college. This year, actually, the Cougars will send four players to the next level. 

Guard Shamari Josey, who averaged 9.3 points per game this season, has signed with St. Augustine in North Carolina, while guard Joelle Patterson, who averaged 6.6 points and and 4.5 assists per game, has signed with Johnson and Wales. Forward Jasmine Watson is headed to Southestern Community College in Iowa. 

Coconut Creek’s other signee was team leader Andrekia Thompson, a first-team All-County selection who averaged 12.3 points per game and reached the 1,000-point career mark, signed with Thomas University, an NAIA program in Georgia. 

In the “what were they thinking!” vein: Missouri high school girls basketball team drinks urine in water cooler prank pulled by rivals

In the “thank you for all your time” vein: St. Peter’s girls basketball coach steps down

Bill Tomsich thought about stepping down last year as the head girls basketball coach at St. Peter’s.

After making another run to the Final Four and being named Division IV Co-Coach of the Year in the state, the stage was set for a grand exit.

“I’m glad I stayed an additional year. I wasn’t ready emotionally to step down,” he said Tuesday afternoon after announcing publicly that he was resigning after 18 years in the program, spending the last nine as head coach.

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Westmont College, which took down Lee University (TN), 71-65, for their first national championship.

The Warriors were led by two-time NAIA player of the year, Tugce Canitez who posted her 17th double-double of the season with 25 points and 20 rebounds, earning the Tournament MVP honors.  Teammate Kelsey Sampson, a freshman, also posted 25 points, the duo accounting for the majority of Westmont’s scoring. 

“This is the best year of basketball of my life,” said Sampson after the win. “To be able to experience it with the most amazing players and amazing coaches is just an honor.”

At Full Court, Sharon Crowson says Farewell to the Foster era at Ohio State

Last year, the Buckeyes showed more cohesion but failed to nail either the regular-season or the conference tournament titles, and their postseason ended with an early exit in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

For much of the season, this year’s edition of the Buckeyes seemed to be going through the motions, leading arch-rival Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant to note that “they don’t always play hard.”

In Division II NCAA, they’ve reached the Elite Eight set to be played San Antonio on the 26th:

#6 Augustana (SD) will face #1 Clayton State (GA) at 1PM

#3 Dowling (NY) will face #1 Colorado Mesa at 3pm

#1 Nova Southeastern (FL) will face #1 Western Washington at 7PM

#1 Gannon (PA) will face #1 Ashland (OH) at 9:30PM

A little somethin’ somethin’ on the teams:

Ashland University women’s basketball looking for return trip to national title game and Land Of Hope And Dreams? Ashland Women’s Hoops Program Learns Faith Will Be Rewarded

With three minutes left in the first half of a game against the University of Findlay, Kari Daugherty of Ashland, the best rebounder in all of Division II women’s basketball — and one of the best scorers too — went up for the ball. At the same time, though, a Findlay player’s foot hit her knee. Nine players sprinted down the court, and within nine seconds, Findlay had scored on a layup and drawn a foul.

But nobody was watching. Just about every fan — all 1,072 of them at Kates Gymnasium — was watching the one player who didn’t sprint down the court.

Augustana’s postseason run providing redemption and Augie women are simply elite

A controversial ending led to a historic triumph for the Augustana women’s basketball team Monday night.

Emporia (Kan.) State was clinging to a one-point lead against the Vikings in the NCAA Division II Central Region championship game when Hornets guard Laura Patrick was whistled for a foul that appeared to be simultaneous with the sounding of the buzzer.

Clayton State Women’s hoops are “Picture Perfect”

 As tournament time approaches the Clayton State Womens Basketball team is gearing up for another run at the NCAA Division II Championship. 

The Lakers are a perfect 24-0 and ranked #2 in the nation.

March Mav-ness – Fans turn out in droves to support Mesa women’s basketball team and Can’t spell Colorado Mesa without the ‘D’ – Defensive focus has been key for Mavs all season

Dowling take down – Bentley Falcons fall in final :05

The Dana Center on the campus of Bentley University has historically been a graveyard for postseason opponents of the Falcons.

But last night, Dowling snapped the Bentley women’s basketball team’s 28-game home winning streak and handed the Falcons their first tournament loss at the Dana Center since 2001.

Former players show support for Gannon women in run to Elite Eight

Thirteen players are listed on the Gannon women’s basketball roster. But there might as well have been two dozen, including the alumni who attended the Division II Atlantic Regional at the Hammermill Center.

When the Lady Knights won their second regional in four seasons Monday night, completed by a hectic 50-47 win Monday over PSAC West rival California (Pa.), several cheering former players and coaches watched the 2012-13 winners cut down the nets. They hung around long after the game was over to celebrate the Maroon and Gold victory.

They all played for 11th-year coach Cleve Wright, who talked at length in the postgame news conference about their support.

Former South Broward standout Robinson starring for Nova Southeastern

When Nova Southeastern University women’s basketball coach LeAnn Freeland took over a program that needed reviving, she found a guard from South Broward High as her first signee.

Two years later, that player, Danielle Robinson, is a major reason the Sharks are the No. 1 seed and host of the NCAA Division II South Regional.

Western Washington reaches first Elite Eight since 2000

“It’s unreal,” Waltrip said of reaching the Elite Eight. “We’ve been working so hard for this our entire career, the whole year. … We’ve had a great season, and every win from here on out is icing on the cake. It’s a great feeling to know that we’re in the top eight in the country.”

The Final Four will play on the 27th. The Championship game is scheduled for March 29th, 8pm.

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