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I was kind thinking that was what was going to happen. A tad disappointing, sure, for those who hoped for a better match. But damn, there was some beautiful basketball on display, wasn’t there? The game was worth that jab step-drive by by MoJeff.

From Graham:

“We weren’t settling,” Stewart said. “We were really attacking them. We knew that we could drive past some of their bigs. We got the shots that we wanted. And we knocked them down.”

And the biggest presence on the court was the player who ran that offense, the smallest player on a court of giants.

With the first half winding to a close, Huskies guard Moriah Jefferson dribbled at the top of the key, calm but balanced on the balls of her feet. In front of her stood South Carolina’s Tina Roy and, more distant, two tiers of Connecticut students in the stands of Gampel Pavilion. The rumble of voices started to build even before Jefferson completed the crossover that left her defender helpless. It crescendoed into a roar as she exploded to the basket and finished.

UConn Women Make A No. 1 Statement Against South Carolina, Courant

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis led the Huskies (23-1) with 23 points. She drained five more three-pointers. Breanna Stewart added 22. She had eight rebounds. And Morgan Tuck scored 17 points.

Still it was Moriah Jefferson, with 16 points, six assists and two steals, who brought the blowtorch on this cold and snowy night. With the exhilaration and creativity that has come to define her career, she slipped her tiny body into every seemingly inaccessible crevice South Carolina left open.

Auriemma Likes These Competitive Matchups, Courant

“People are afraid to play these games in February because what happens if we lose? They are afraid of the aftermath. I look forward to the aftermath. I am going to be a lot happier Tuesday morning than I was Monday night. … That’s what coaching is, to help your players understand the significance of everything. That’s how we treat it here.”

Photos: No. 1 South Carolina At No. 2 UConn Women, Courant
UConn women hand top-ranked South Carolina first loss, Register

“We had something to prove to ourselves more than anything to show that despite all the teams that we were playing and blowing out, people saying we didn’t have the competition,” said Mosqueda-Lewis, who had a game-high 23 points to go with four steals as UConn improved to 17-3 in No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchups. “We just wanted to show that we could stand up for and (rise) to the occasion.”

UConn women’s basketball up for this ‘challenge’, Boston Globe

Generally one play doesn’t summarize a game, yet it did Monday night at Gampel Pavilion when the UConn women’s basketball team apparently was supposed to be threatened by undefeated and top-ranked South Carolina.

With just over 11 minutes remaining and the No. 2 Huskies on a fast break, All-American Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis received a trailing pass from point guard Moriah Jefferson and found tiny point guard Tiffany Mitchell defending her.

Mosqueda-Lewis used her bulk, flicked Mitchell to the floor like a mosquito and then drained a 3-pointer.

Women’s showdown: No. 2 UConn humbles No. 1 South Carolina, Philadelphia Inquirer

The final score was 87-62. Afterward, answering the first question, Staley used the word “efficient” a couple of times to best describe UConn. 

“They think about who should shoot the ball and who should have the ball in their hands, and they’re patient enough to wait for it,” Staley said. “It makes basketball a beautiful thing to see.”

UConn Sends Message With a Rout of No. 1 South Carolina, NY Times

As the lead grew, South Carolina’s bigger players started to look winded. UConn’s, spurred on by an announced crowd of 10,167 that braved a New England snowstorm to watch the show, seemed to get fresher.

Stewart called it a statement game, a chance to show the rest of the country that the Huskies — who play in the lightly regarded, and sometimes derided, American Athletic Conference — can contend with the best teams that power leagues like the Gamecocks’ Southeastern Conference have to offer. Mosqueda-Lewis said plainly, “We’re as good as people think we are.”

UConn proves it is clear-cut No. 1 team in demolition of South Carolina, SI

“When you compare UConn to some other programs, they are sharp, efficient and there is no fat to what they do,” Staley said. “We have a 24-hour rule. We will be dejected for 24 hours and then we have to move on.”

Unbeaten no more: No. 2 UConn women’s team humbles No. 1 South Carolina, Sporting News
UConn women hand South Carolina its first loss of the season, CBS Sports
It’s UConn and everyone else – again, AggieSports.com, The Eagle

I thought South Carolina would give UConn a game, maybe even win. UConn was impressive, so impressive it was bad for the women’s game. It looks like another year where everyone is else playing for second. South Carolina seemingly had proven to be a worthy challenger. But, UConn won by 25 points, 25 points? Can anyone beat UConn?

1 Done: Huskies maul Gamecocks, The State

“We’re tied for first in our conference, and we don’t want to lose sight of being a really good basketball team,” Staley said. “That’s what we are.”

The loss stung, as it should have. It was their worst since 2011.

But there’s a lot of basketball to be played. Asked if they’d like to play UConn again, Staley and her players interrupted each other.

“Absolutely. Of course.”

Fans turn out for Gamecocks at Vista bar, The State
Video: A’ja Wilson quizzes Geno Auriemma, The State
Video: Mechelle & Michelle on the game, ESPN
Sapakoff: Gamecocks will benefit from Rivalry 101 lesson at UConn, Charleston Post and Courier

The only thing better than No. 1 vs. No. 2 pitting the established power with nine NCAA championships against new kids on the title contender block is a long, loud series.

Round Two is tentatively scheduled for the Final Four in Tampa.

A certain meeting will happen next season in Columbia.

“This is absolutely part of our journey,” Staley said. “In order to accomplish some milestones that we have this particular year, this is part of our journey. I think each and every time we need to learn a lesson.

“This isn’t a destination game for us. We have a lot of basketball left to play.”

There’s an interesting question for those with better basketball brains in their heads than mine: Is UConn in the American the next LaTech, or is UConn in the American the next UConn? The Huskies pretty much stomped all over their Big East opponents, minus a couple of hiccups (Rutgers, Villanova) and the Dearly Departed Diggins-led Irish. And, despite not playing against “challenging” competition, UConn still managed to rack up the Championships.

Fast-forward to last night: Connecticut beat the (current) best team in the SEC. How do folks think they would fare against South Carolina’s fellow conference-mates?

So, if no other conference poaches UConn, will the women’s basketball program continue to thrive? Or, as Jere’ posits, will the (sometime in the future) departure of Auriemma defeat the program (the way, perhaps, Mulkey’s departure signaled the “end” of the LaTech as a powerhouse program)?

In other news:

Ooops! Did Norfolk State take their eyes off the prize?

Nice to read: Large crowd signals continued resurgence of UMaine women’s basketball team

Fans of the University of Maine women’s basketball program have for several years been yearning for a team in which they can believe.

Finally, the Black Bears and their supporters are enjoying that winning feeling.

The most recent evidence supporting UMaine’s return to prominence was Sunday’s 63-45 victory over Hartford. It came in front of an announced crowd of 3,287 fans at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

“Oh my gosh. There was like 3,000-something. Wow!” UMaine junior Liz Wood said after she increased her career point total to 1,006 with an 11-point effort.

Deja vu in New Jersey: Tony Bozzella, Seton Hall bringing excitement back to Walsh Gymnasium

Equally nice to read: From Jeff Metcalfe, Present, future bright for ASU women’s basketball

“Charli (Turner Thorne) is doing a great job with her team,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I am very impressed with how well they are playing. They are playing with a lot more purpose than I remember them. I think that is a real credit to her and what she’s doing.”

Was wondering who’d be lucky enough to land this Aussie: LA Sparks sign Australian center Marianna Tolo

So you think you can shoot? Or write? From Swish Appeal: A call for new writers and photographers

With a h/t to Sue: Talking about men’s and women’s sports differently

Much of what we see in the plot is not terribly surprising. There are numerous gender specific words dominating the top spaces in the women’s articles and many of the middle positions for the men. It’s nonetheless interesting to consider that gender-specific terms are even more key for the women than for the men. In other words, for female-specific words like she there’s a greater difference between the articles about men’s and women’s basketball than there is for male-specific words like he. This seems to be caused by the fact that men’s basketball is an all men’s zone with not only the players but also the other major actors like the coaches, referees, commentators, etc. being male. Hence, words for women rarely show up. In contrast, many of the coaches and other actors in women’s basketball are men.

The presence of the word girls in the top 20 is also quite striking, especially since the corresponding boys does not appear in the men’s list. We might expect to see the use of the term girls applying to the players, and it does sometimes, usually used in quotations from coaches and the players themselves,

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As Auriemma approaches 900,

Sherri writes (lucky us):

In 2002, as witty fate would have it, Oklahoma played UConn for the national title. It couldn’t have been more surreal. The whole game is still like slow-drip molasses in my mind. We got them on an offensive counter, and I couldn’t help but smirk, then he got us on a flash and back cut as he grinned full-teethed while clapping and looking directly at me as I fumed. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in a loss — mainly because competing against him and his team made me and mine better than we ever could have been without the experience.

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’tweren’t easy last year, and it looks like it ain’t going to be easier this year. Amidst conflicting stories (Pat Summitt Says Tennessee Forced Her Out As Women’s Basketball Coach and Summitt says she wasn’t forced out at Tennessee), Holly tries to move forward (Lady Vols first official basketball practice up-tempo) and still honor the past: Pat Summitt at Lady Vols’ 1st practice.

Wonder if we’ll get a little Bobbitt-redux: Lady Vols juco transfer Jasmine Phillips out to prove she’s No. 1

Speaking of honoring the past: Statues unveiled of Pat Summitt, her UT Martin coach Nadine Gearin and former women’s AD Bettye Giles

’tis the season to be bronzed: Texas unveils statue to honor Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach Jody Conradt

Speaking of distractions: Auriemma seeks to dismiss security guard’s lawsuit

In Kentucky, Merlene is a bit cranky: Cal’s women’s clinic entertained fans, but didn’t help my hoops acumen

Then, the women watched a fashion show featuring the players in clothes bearing the UK logo. (I wonder: Do men who attend similar clinics get makeovers?)

On the West Coast, Cori Close and the Bruins try and build on last season: Women’s basketball holds first practice, stresses defense and discipline on the court

Interesting that this was “a first” for Oregon State: Women’s Basketball Hosts Successful Inaugural Tip-Off Dinner

Odd news at the high school level: Alston says he was fired over Chicken flap

Bishop Loughlin girls basketball coach Kasim Alston used the memory of Tayshana (Chicken) Murphy as the catalyst for the Lions’ run to a state Federation Class ‘A’ championship last March. Now, it seems that Alston’s request to have a one-day basketball event named in Murphy’s honor at the school was the cause for his dismissal on Sept.24.

better news: Basketball star Zabielski named to Ridgewood High School Hall of Fame

In the 1990’s, some of the best girls basketball in Bergen County was played, and Ridgewood High School was one of the premier programs of that era. Linda Zabielski was the player that set the bar and led the Ridgewood team that began what was a magical run for the Lady Maroons.

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Best opening night comment? Billy Bragg@billybragg

Anyone still doubting how good it was: Tory MP attacks Olympic opening ceremony as “leftie multi-cultural crap” http://labli.st/QpqZ0f

Worst non-comment? That tall, blond woman holding the Australian flag is one of the best basketball players in the world.”

Nuff said, let the Games (officially) begin!

First – no spoilers will be seen. But read up if you’re watching taped games: 2012 Olympic Women’s Basketball: Five Russian Players to Watch

From Fox: U.S. women’s basketball after more than gold

“They have the potential to be one of the best Olympic teams ever,” said Auriemma.

Great Britain coach Tom Maher has warned opponents – including his old Australian team who they meet on Saturday night – not to underestimate his rapidly improving squad, who go into the tournament with a fighting chance of qualifying from the pool stages.

It can be difficult to take much statistically from five exhibition games won by an average of 33.6 points per game.

Yet while Team USA was absolutely dominant for long stretches, they weren’t perfect either – there were still signs that they have yet to play their best basketball. So after five games, here are five questions – or early observations – that might be interesting to watch during the games.

From Bleacher Report: USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team 2012: 6 Reasons to Watch This Year’s Squad

From Philly.com: Auriemma keeping women focused on another basketball crown

The question with his team isn’t whether it is good, or even whether it is great. The question for Geno Auriemma is whether the U.S. women’s basketball team is too good.

Too good to be seriously challenged. Too good to make the Olympic tournament even remotely sporting.

“I don’t want to coach the underdog,” Auriemma said Thursday. “It’s like cards. I don’t want to win the seventh hand because I got lucky. I want to have four aces right from the start and kick everyone’s [butt].”

Hey, you can take the kid out of Norristown . . .

From Mike Bresnahan, Chicago’s “Tribune Olympic Bureau”: U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team has been dreamy too – Heading into London Olympics, it has won 4 gold medals in row, but is way behind men in public eye (Was this is why the WHB was denied a credential — too many people covering the women’s game?)

As the game v. Croatia starts, all I can think is, “These damn announcers better know the difference between Big Syl and Tina or I’m going to spit bullets!”

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  • Fans of Rick Riordan’s “Kane Chronicles” will be pleased to see that the Washington Monument is alive and well….
  • Birding list for the trip: Rock Dove/Pigeon, House Sparrow, Starling, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Osprey, Fish Crow, Goldfinch, Cardinal, Mocking Bird, Gulls, tons of Chimney Swifts.
  • How do you know someone rides the DC Metro? They have $10 worth of Sacagewea coins in their bag
  • Contrary to what you may have seen on ESPN’s Sports Center last night (ESPN Olympic page), the women’s team didn’t spend the morning eating bon bons while the men’s team was there with the troops? They were busy hosting a “Hoops for Girls” Basketball Clinic at the Armory
  • Going out to American University (power in the Patriot League) I start at George Washington (used to be power in the Colonial). Interesting perspective. Equally interesting is the walk to AU from the subway (does every subway stop end in a Whole Foods?): On the way I pass St. Ann’s, read about the Washington Immaculata, take a peek at the National Presbyterian Church, consider the buildings razed to put the NBC studios up, say “konichiwa” to the guards at the Japanese Embassy, and wave to the Homeland Security folks. Ah, D.C.
  • Is there anything more amusing than sitting outside at a coffee place and listening to the conversations walking by?

Now back to basketball: Just want to send a shout out to Oscar Dixon. Old school W fans will recall his thoughtful coverage of the league with fondness. Anyone who’s crossed his path, as I did during the Orlando all-star game, will know him as a generous man with a great smile. Great to see his face again. Now all we need is Mike Terry and Stick and Lena and Kelly to reappear and all will be well in the world.

USA Basketball is doing its job getting the word out: USA Basketball Women’s National Team Kicks Off Training Camp

From John Altavillia at the Hartford Courant (who you’ll want to track through the Olympics. Imagine watching six kids you covered in college go to the Olympics. “Pretty amazing,” as he said): Geno Auriemma, Maya Moore Put On Clinic As Part Of Olympic Training Weekend

The biggest surprise at practice was seeing who WASN’T practicing: Asjha Jones, who rolled her ankle during the last Sun game. Geno had some very complimentary things to say about Jones and her role on the Olympic team, in particular pointing to her MVP work in Europe last season. Watching the tail end of practice, I couldn’t help but notice how tall and skinny our posts are (“we’re not a very good rebounding team at the moment,” Auriemma told the team during practice. Later, adding to reporters, “we should be a really good offensive rebounding team). There’s no “Venus to the Hoop” on the court (take the time to read the book before the Games start. It’ll give you a wonderful, new perspective.). There’s no doubt Parker (Auriemma: “She could be as dominant as Lauren Jackson”), Fowles and Charles are talented athletes. But none have been to the Olympics, and it’s been a while since they’ve been in an NCAA-esque “one and done” situation.

Ditto with Jones, but, Auriemma said, “Asjha’s been around a long time. She’s seen things and done things that those kids can learn from. She accepts what ever role you give her and she plays it perfectly. You say, ‘Asjha, we need a stopper, we need you to go defend a 6’6″ kid,’ she’ll say, ‘I  gotcha coach.’ Because she’s strong enough and smart enough. ‘Asjha, we need some points.’ Well, she’s got a million different ways of scoring the basketball. ‘Asjha, we need three minutes from you tonight.’ ‘I got ya coach.’ ‘Asjah, we need 23 minutes from you tonight.’ ‘I gotcha coach.’ She’s a pro. She’s knows her job, she knows her responsibilities, and she does it every day. She’s a great role model for these kids.” Auriemma’s counting on her to be the senior leader, the “elder statesman on the team” with this young group.

On the short time to “input” stuff, Auriemma said: “I’ve always felt, like in the NCAA tournament, when you get to this level all the teams that you’re playing are pretty good, so you can’t just say, ‘All right, we’re going to press the hell out of them, steal it and dunk it.’ Well, if you could do that against them, they wouldn’t be here. If you think you’re going to trick’em — well, you’re playing against pros. That’s not going to happen. The way you win in the NCAA tournament and the way you win here, is you really have to execute in the half-court set. You have to get the shot you want, when you want it, by who you want it. That takes time. And we don’t have time. So we have to figure out, can we get enough transition baskets and can we, in the half-court set, get enough things done in a short period of time that we’re comfortable that whatever we need during the course of the game we have access to. I think rebounding is going to be huge. As the tournament wears on, there’s a lot of missed shots. We should have a great offensive rebounding team. Should. That’s going to be a huge point of emphasis for us – offensive and defensive rebounding. With the athletic ability that we have and the depth that we have, the more possessions we create for ourselves, that plays to our advantage. If we just make it a one possession, we shoot we run back, we shoot, we run back —  now I think we give the other team a chance to stay with us.”

A little from Sue Bird on the “transition” from rookie to senior leader: “When I think back to my early days playing with USA Basketball, those older players, Dawn, Lisa, Sheryl, Tina, they were great people to learn from. It wasn’t neccesarily what they said, it was how they carried themselves. How they prepared. They knew what to expect. For the younger players, we were just kind of wide-eyed. They did a great job of leading by example. Of course, they would say things — especially Dawn, being a point guard. Now that I’m one of the older players, I do hope that I have some knowledge, some experience with the Olympics that I can pass on, because some of these younger players… I’m going on my third Olympics, and for them it’s their first and they could eventually get to their third. And I hope by that time, they’ll be just as knowledgeable and experienced as I feel now. I hope I can play a small role in helping them go through that evolution.”

More Sue on “the first time” v. “the third time:” “It’s a little different. There’s always the expectation of winning a gold medal. And it really has nothing to do with the expectations of the the media, or outside expectations. It’s the expectations we put on ourselves. This time, it’s just knowing what it takes to get through the Olympics. Eight games in 16 days. It can wear on you. Knowing that we have to improve each game. And come the quarters, semi’s and finals — it’s one game. We’re now all in the WNBA, where we play three or five game series. Here, there’s no chance to mess up. You have to be on your game. There’s definitely a certain preparation in that. You have to be ready. So, when you’ve done it, you’ve experienced that and you’ve been to that place mentally, you know how to get back.”

From Jim Fuller of the New Haven Register, Jones expects to be back at practice tomorrow.

Doug “the fabulous” Feinberg (yes, I’m still hoping he needs an Olympic Lackey) is writing about the tall folks: Post Players Give Auriemma Options in the Middle. (Anything that has an AP byline is his) He also has Women Chase Gold Again

“We have an opportunity to have one of the greatest Olympic teams all-time given the combination of players we have with the depth, experience and youth,” coach Geno Auriemma said. “I have tremendous respect for every team we’re playing over there and by no means will this be easy at all. I’m focused on trying to make this team maximize the unbelievable potential they have.”

Someone who WAS playing (whoopee) and didn’t seem to miss a shot: Diana. From John: Diana Taurasi Says She’s Ready To Go On Olympics Team(and John unpicks some of the consequences of her decision to get healthy).

Mr. York is also in the house, under USAToday’s banner: Diana Taurasi says she healthy, ready for Olympics

Gene Wang is workin’ it at the WaPo: U.S. women’s basketball team faces outsize expectations

Two years ago, after the U.S. women’s basketball team throttled host Czech Republic in the title game of the FIBA world championships in Karlovy Vary, 6,000 Czech fans, including President Vaclav Klaus, celebrated at KV Arena.

Despite the 89-69 result, Geno Auriemma, the U.S. national team coach, recalled the Czech team was so pleased to have been within striking distance at halftime that the final outcome was all but an afterthought. At least the Czechs hadn’t met with a fate similar to, say, South Korea, which fell to the United States by 62 points, or Spain, a 106-70 loser.

Such is the reverence with which the rest of the world views the Americans’ supremacy in the sport, and it’s no wonder with an Olympic roster that includes six gold medalists from the 2008 Games; the reigning WNBA most valuable player, Tamika Catchings; the reigning WNBA rookie of the year, Maya Moore; and enough NCAA titles to overload even the most spacious trophy cases.

From Tom Shcad at the Washington Times: Auriemma, U.S. women’s hoops team ready to live up to expectations in London

The United States has dominated the international basketball scene since 1936, when the men’s team won its first of seven consecutive Olympic gold medals. It’s home to the Dream Team, the Redeem Team and a current squad poised to continue those sterling traditions.

But as of late, it’s been the American women who truly deserve the title of dynasty. The numbers speak for themselves: eight World Championships, four straight Olympic golds and 33 consecutive wins in Olympic play dating back to Aug. 7, 1992.

“We might be the most dominant team of any team since the Russian Red Army,” Auriemma said, referring to the Soviet men’s hockey side that won 18 World Championships from 1963 to 1990. “Every time we play, everybody thinks we’re supposed to win — and we’re supposed to win by a lot. And that’s a lot for these players to carry around, I know that. But at the same time, that’s what you sign up for: when you play USA Basketball, it’s pressure.”

Make sure you also check in with Full Court for some of Kelly Kline’s great photos, not to mention a little (legal) video on “Da hip hype.” And yes, that is Diana guarding a very big man. Like many top women’s teams, a local baller was tapped to round up a group of players to offer the women some (big) bodies to go up against in practice. It’s a tough gig, ’cause you have to do what they (read: the coaches) want you to do, not what you want to do. The crew will be back for more tomorrow (read, today). Said the ring-leader, his face lighting up, “It’s fun!”

Get the lowdown from WNBA.com: U.S. National Team Practice Report – July 14, 2012

Now it was time to do all of this against some defense, as the coaching staff call upon a group of male players to scrimmage with the women’s team. The first five players to take the floor for the U.S. were Sue Bird at the point, Taurasi at the shooting guard, Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker at the forwards and Sylvia Fowles at center.

Both teams rotated in players throughout the scrimmage, with the exception of Asjha Jones for the U.S. women, who sat out of the practice to get an extra day of rest for a nagging injury. She expects to suit up and participate in full on Sunday.

The men put up a good fight, hurt the women’s team on the boards at times, but overall it was the women’s team that led from start to finish. Auriemma would occasionally stop play to provide instruction, but overall seemed pleased with the execution and effort of his players.

Mike Peden is workin’ the WNBA/Olympic beat over at the Examiner: Olympic speculation morphs to jubilation for USA women

Moore is already a well-versed explorer, representing the United States when they won the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women, and relishes her upcoming trip to further demonstrate female fluency in athletics.

“To get a chance at 23 to represent my country at the Olympics is something I’m going to be smiling about for the rest of my life,” Moore said. “To have Seimone and Lindsay there makes me smile. To come back from injuries and different trials that Seimone did, it’s really fun and there’s going to be a comfort level with those two.”

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the Bluegrass state (teaching, not birding). *And honestly, I’m trying to ignore the horror that is the Lib at Connecticut.*

From Nate: 2012 WNBA Most Improved Player Watch: Five Players Who Have Had Early-Season Success

All reports out of Chicago are that the Sky were more than happy not to endure another thriller in beating the Seattle Storm on Wednesday evening.

Nevertheless, Sky guard Epiphanny Prince still found a way to demonstrate that she’s taken her game to a new level this season.

I’m sure you all know what Nate is referring to: Efficiency In The World Of Basketball As ‘Effective Damage Per Second’ In World Of Warcraft

More Nate: Thursday Links: Sylvia Fowles’ Injury Scare, Candace Parker Makes Impression In Connecticut. Parker sure as heck did. Cool to hear UConnLobo cheer for a triple-double from TennesseeParker, wasn’t it?

*Holy carp! Will you LOOK at that Lib/CT score?*

’cause you can never have too many cooks: Lawyers Weigh In On Lawsuit Facing Auriemmaand for those so inclined: Trying To Understand The Point Of Law On A Difficult Case

What follows is an amalgamation of opinion about what both sides of this case may likely be thinking and what’s likely to happen sooner or later.

The most important thing to remember is: Listen, anyone can sue anyone for anything. That is not the issue. The issue is, can they win?

Did you see this over at Mel’s blog: Introduction and Robin Roberts’ Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

*Gads. The Lib/CT game is, as we used to say in college, “So ugly it’s WUGLY.” Unless, of course, you’re a CT fan. Down 40 at the end of the third. It’s kinda like a car crash. I’m having a hard time turning away.*

Interesting coaching hires at Jackson State (Surina Dixon), Buffalo (Legette-Jack) and SIUE (Buscher). And I’m not sure I mean interesting in a good way.

Ouch: Wiggins Completes 2012-13 Class With Destini Price (A decommit from Fresno St).

*Just turn away from the screen, Helen. You don’t need to see this. Actually, LA and Indy fans aren’t having so much fun neither.*

The rules review crew’s been at work: Decals, sportsmanship changes – Officiating ‘guidelines’ approved for charge/block calls

*Sigh. Shouldn’t there be a mercy rule or sumthin’?*

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From Mechelle: Testing Team USA’s solid foundation – Player injuries, lawsuit against Auriemma could test Games’ overwhelming favorite

There will be a lot of immediate speculation by people about which side they believe. These situations can be precarious for journalists, frankly. There are times when we can prudently state opinions. But there are other times when we need to let the system take its course as we try to sort out what happened.

I can say in nearly two decades of working as a journalist with Auriemma, he has never been anything but professional. In fairness, I do not interact with him in any other capacity. No one has ever told me, on or off the record, about him mistreating them in any way.

By the same token, I have not ever spoken with Hardwick. Her allegations are very real, serious issues that women in the workforce still face in our society. Whether her case in particular actually has merit, though, must be adjudicated.

Rich Elliot of the Connecticut Post: Ex-players Culmo, Lobo rise to Geno’s defense

“Coaching and beyond, I’ve shared many cocktails with the guy and sitting around in bars all over the country just chatting,” Culmo said. “And it’s always just social, hanging out, talking to people, telling stories. And that’s what it is. I’ve never seen anything inappropriate.’

***

“Obviously, I don’t have any idea what did or didn’t happen,” said former UConn All-American Rebecca Lobo, who has known Auriemma for more than 20 years. “But I’ve only ever known him to be someone of utmost character. And I think the world of him. He’s always been of the highest character in every dealing that I’ve ever had with him or any dealing I’ve ever witnessed him having with somebody else.”

From John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant: Hardwick Dependable and Professional, But So Is Geno

Here’s the actual complaint (in pdf form): The Kelley Hardwick Suit Vs. Geno Auriemma, NBA, USA Basketball

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