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The PAC 12 is the most interesting power conference (ya, the B12 is kinda fun, and the SEC sure was — before all of those devastating injuries.)

Arizona State stakes a claim to “we’re better than the competition we’ve plowed through on our way to a #10 ranking” by taking down #12 Stanford, 53-52. It wasn’t a particularly elegant game, but it did give the Sun Devils their first sweep of the Cardinal since 1984.

“Beating Stanford is just such a mental hurdle for our team,” Moos said. “When you can finally overcome beating Stanford, that’s when you know your team has reached mental toughness.”

Washington, who’s been on the edge of upsetting folks, did it against #7 Oregon State, 76-67.

“It’ll hit us tomorrow how big of a deal it was,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. “Right now it’s just good we bounced back from a tough two-game road swing.”

The Beavers were down a player, Gabby Hanson.

“Gabby’s our best perimeter defender and if you had to miss one game in the conference, this was not the one I would choose,” Rueck said. “Washington’s strength is their perimeter so we certainly missed her. I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight. We competed, it just wasn’t our night.”

Speaking of upsets, Cornell does it again: Penn loses first game at Palestra in over a year

Penn (11-7, 2-2 Ivy) struggled once again on offense, and Cornell (13-6, 4-1 Ivy) took great care of the ball to keep the Quakers from making up for it defensively. Penn turned it over 14 times and was only able to force the visitors into five miscues. 

“It just goes to show you how much they had control of this game,” coach Mike McLaughlin said of Cornell’s ball control. “We have to cause a little more havoc on defense. We gave up too many shots at the basket, there were too many breakdowns – mental breakdowns.”

Next up for Cornell: undefeated Princeton.

Minus their leading scorer (ankle), #19 Nebraska couldn’t overcome #21 Rutgers. It was old school Scarlet Knights, winning ugly, 46-43. While it won’t win any style points, it was the 177th win in the B1G Ten for coach C. Vivian Stringer, making her the winningest in the conference.

“I was shocked when they talked about it,” Stringer said after the game. “I didn’t even know anything about that…I was just trying to get through this game.”

Finally got that “mini-signature win, though it was also pretty style-free:” #25 Syracuse over #13 North Carolina, 61-56.

The two teams combined to go 13-for-55 from the 3-point line and Syracuse pulled out the win after only shooting 27 percent from the field.

Shhh… that’s New Mexico State at 7-0 in the WAC. There’s a familiar name coaching the Aggies: Mark Trakh is in his fourth year.

Okay, it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it’s nice the getting back into the rankings didn’t freak the Colonials out: George Washington wins 52-35 over Davidson. Didja see the article in the Times about the University?

OUCH: Wright State stomped all over the Penguins, 92-55 to earn a little revenge. Nice news on senior Courtney Boyd:

Boyd has faced tragedy, injuries and adversity over the last few years at Wright State. On Thursday, she showed signs of a comeback. 

WOWZA: It took three overtimes, but we got a Debbie Antonelli Special: New Orleans with the upset over McNeese State, 90-86. When the two teams played each other on the 31st, the Cowgirls won 82-58.

“We made a few adjustments in practice and many people did not understand the first time why we played zone. When we played McNeese the first time we forgot our rotations. We were ready tonight. Their words coming were We can and we will,” said Coach Keeshawn Davenport.

Well, lookee here: like the Pac-12, C-USA has got some competition at the top. Southern Miss takes down Middle Tennessee State in OT, 70-65.

Southern Miss enjoys the underdog label.

Especially against MTSU. The Lady Eagles knocked off the Lady Raiders for the second time this season — and the third time since MTSU joined Conference USA last season — with a 70-65 overtime win Thursday at Reed Green Coliseum.

For the third time in three weeks, Southern Miss’ women’s basketball team beat the league’s first-place team, sandwiching a win over Western Kentucky with the victories over MTSU.

Western Kentucky will face the Blue Raiders on the 21st. After that, it’s a race to the Conference Championship.

The West Coast Conference is still a three way battle between Gonzaga, BYU (win #300 for coach Judkins) and St. Mary’s… with San Diego knocking on the door. Gonzaga faces all three in the last three weeks of the regular season. St. Mary’s next faces feisty Pacific and their equally feisty point guard.

Think she’s too short, isn’t quick enough or can’t shoot.

Kristina Johnson would like nothing more than prove you wrong.

Though often the shortest player on the court, the 5-foot-5 senior point guard has contributed to the Pacific basketball team in ways that sometimes can’t be measured. Johnson brings controled fury and a team-first attitude to the Tigers, who host Saint Mary’s in an important West Coast Conference game at 2 p.m. today at Spanos Center.

See – there is no WBH curse! William & Mary (4-6, CAA) takes Drexel (8-2) into overtime… and comes away with the win, 72-68.

For the second straight game the William and Mary women’s basketball team prevailed in a double-overtime, dropping Drexel 72-68 in two extra sessions in Philadelphia on Friday night. Senior Jazmen Boone led five Tribe players in double-figures with a game-high 16 points. With the win, the Tribe, which won its fourth straight game, moved its record to 11-11, 5-6 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while the Dragons fall to 14-8, 8-3 in league action.

Wait. Maybe there is… the Salukis (5-5, Missouri Valley) take down Drake,  81-76. (They lost to the Bulldogs 81-66 in their previous matchup.)

 It was scene that hasn’t been witnessed at the SIU Arena for a long time — especially where women’s basketball is involved.

Dyana Pierre picked up teammate Rishonda Napier and carried her off the floor (Great photo -WHB) after the Salukis upset Drake 81-76. Napier scored 30 points as the Saluki women handed the Bulldogs their first conference loss of the year.

The victory was the twelfth of the year for the Salukis. SIU won just five games last year.

High Point stumbled against Presbyterian, 78-59, and are now three games behind Liberty in the Big South.

Upcoming games of interest:

SIUE women’s basketball at UT Martin. The Cougars, who earned their 9th straight, are 9-1 in the Ohio Valley. The Skyhawks are 10-0 in the OVC. A win today would make a program record conference start.

Rivalry rematch: FGCU v. Stetson.

The Atlantic Sun Conference believes its two flagship women’s basketball programs – FGCU and Stetson – have their best chance to make the NCAA tournament in the same season for the first time ever.

Both teams, of course, would much prefer to be the automatic qualifier.

In-state rivalry: Western Michigan v. Central Michigan.

Youth has not been a major characteristic of the Central Michigan University women’s basketball team in recent seasons.

Many of the teams that have played in the maroon and gold have featured a class of seniors blazing a trail for the freshmen to follow in the seasons to come. 

For this season’s freshmen, it is a different story.

Service rivalry: Army v. Navy.

Sunday games of interest:

A-10 rivals: Dayton v. #24 George Washington.

In-state rivalry: #20 Texas v. #3 Baylor.

In-state rivalry: Miami v. #9 FSU.

Wednesday marks the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 29th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and Florida State has several reasons to celebrate.

The last two years have seen an unprecedented run of success for FSU’s women’s programs. That includes a national championship for soccer, a best-ever regular season for volleyball, a Women’s College World Series appearance for softball and a current Top-10 ranking for basketball.

CAA rivals: Drexel v. James Madison. Coach Kenny Brooks just won his 300th.

America East old v. new: Hartford v. Maine.

Maine is currently riding its longest winning streak since it strung together 13-straight during the 2004-05 campaign. The Black Bears are coming off their biggest win of the year as they defeated the current #1 team in the conference, UAlbany, by a score of 52-44 back on Feb. 1. UAlbany, who leads the league in scoring (67.4 ppg) were held to its lowest total of the year in the loss to Maine. The win snapped a 10-game losing skid against the Great Danes dating back to 2010. 

SEC rivals: #17 Mississippi State v. #14 Texas A&M.

Big 10 rivals: #5 Maryland v. #19 Nebraska.

Though she’s 13 years retired, Maryland women’s basketball players call her “Coach.” At 70, Chris Weller still attends the games and even some workouts of the team she ran for 27 years.

Once, last year, she addressed the Terps after practice.

“I wanted them to know about the legacy we’ve followed,” said Brenda Frese, her successor.

The players got an earful.

She’s back: Versyp reinstates Moore

Foreign Flashback: Abrosimova Brought Magic To Storrs

Now back in Moscow, busier than ever, Svetlana Abrosimova remains a social media maven. She checks in with the world as often as time allows.

So it did not surprise her to learn that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the precocious three-point shooter from California, was about to knock her off the list of UConn’s Top 10 career scorers. She’d been reading about it and knew it was coming. .

And for those who remember the unique relationship Abrosimova still shares with Geno Auriemma, hearing that her congratulations to Mosqueda-Lewis was accompanied with a customary dig at her former UConn coach does not surprise.

“I could have scored a lot more if coach Auriemma didn’t make me play defense all the time,” Abrosimova tweeted.

Dueling Delphi’s: From Harvey Araton at the NY Times: Diana Taurasi Can Rest Easy, but W.N.B.A. Can’t

Taurasi’s decision was also an unavoidable commentary on the state of the professional game in the United States, just now short of two decades old, not far removed from its developmental cradle. The growth of the W.N.B.A. notwithstanding, its long-term forecast remains partly cloudy and it may never provide a lucrative, full-time living for its talent.

From Patricia Babcock McGraw: Taurasi’s decision to skip season isn’t a WNBA death sentence

When push comes to shove for aging WNBA stars, their overseas careers might get the push, and the WNBA might get the shove.

Doomsayers are predicting, well, doom for the WNBA, a mass exodus of its stars. Especially now that Taurasi has officially opened this can of worms.

But here’s what the WNBA has going for it: Loyalty. History. Location.

In other W news:

Delle Donne feeling good after “crazy” 2014 season

At Wednesday’s launch of their 10th anniversary celebrations, Elena Delle Donne showed why she’s been made the face of the Sky franchise. She was outgoing in her interactions with the 150 or so girls there for a sports expo, mingled easily with media and dignitaries and spoke strongly about the Sky’s present, future and what the franchise means for the Chicago sports landscape.

It was clear that the offseason has been good for Delle Donne after a 2014 season that was memorable for a lot of negative reasons.

Nothing like stoking an inter-city rivalry: 

Shavonte Zellous signed with Turkish basketball team Fenerbahce on Friday.

Zellous played last season for rival Galatasary, leading that team to the championship in both the domestic and Euroleague. She has been embroiled in a salary dispute for the past few months with that club.

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Immaculata, Queens College to play

Madison Square Garden will honor the first women’s basketball game played at the arena 40 years ago with a rematch between Queens College and Immaculata as part of the Maggie Dixon Classic on Jan. 4.

Immaculata won the inaugural game 65-61 in front of 12,000 fans on Feb. 22, 1975.

“It was a defining moment for women’s basketball and for women in general,” said former WNBA president Donna Orender, who played for Queens College. “I can still hear Helen Reddy singing ‘I am woman hear me roar’ the crowd was screaming and tears rolled down my cheeks on the layup line. I was a freshman and so proud matching up against the more preeminent guard in the country — Marianne Crawford Stanley. It is so important we celebrate our heritage and history.”

Check out this program from the March, 1973 AIAW National Championship pitting Cathy Rush v. Lucille Kyvallos. Some teams just have a coach, some have a coahce and manager, and SOME have a coach, manager and…. chaperone!

From Newday, 2004″  – ‘We were pioneers’

A women’s college basketball team regularly packing gyms,getting media coverage and making trips to Madison Square Garden. If you’re thinking of the women’s teams from the universities of Connecticut or Tennessee – who are in the Final Four tonight in New Orleans – you’re wrong.

The school was Queens College, and the years were 1968- 1980. During this period, the Lady Knights ruled New York and became the first women’s team from the city to compete in a national tournament. They were ranked in the top 10 nationwide from 1972-1978 – finishing second in 1973 – and in 1975 became the first women’s team to play at the Garden.

FYI, considering the USA WNT is doin’ the FIBA thing: Kyvallos was U.S. team’s head coach at the 1977 World University Games and Rush coached the 1975 USA Basketball Pan American team.

Speakin’ of the FIBA thing – I got my visa and so do DT and Candice. They weren’t much help against the Aussies but, luckily, other folks stepped up.

From (I’m guessing) Doug: 

Candace Parker is out. So is Sylvia Fowles. Brittney Griner is questionable. And now Elena Delle Donne is a no-go.

With a series of injuries to several post players on the U.S. women’s national basketball team, the heavily favored Americans have suddenly been cut down to size as they prepare for the world championship that begin Sept. 27 in Istanbul.

It’s a new challenge for USA Basketball. Veteran post play has long been a strong suit, from Anne Donovan to Yolanda Griffith and Lisa Leslie.

Might be some bad news for Liz and the Opals.

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has got me thinking about Taj Mahal:

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Sylvia Fowles: 8-20
Epiphanny Prince: 3-11
Allie Quigley: 4-15
Elena Delle Donne: 10 minutes

Add a little double-double from Diana Taurasi, and the Merc say

31587

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Nice piece in the NY Times by William Rhoden on the Rose Classic, an under-19 girls basketball tournament now in it’s eight year.

What is striking is the number of fathers who have been involved with their daughters.

Rich Santiago has two daughters, ages 24 and 12, who play basketball. His older daughter, now a coach at Bloomfield College in New Jersey, was a scholarship athlete at the University of Texas at El Paso but never competed in the Rose Classic.

Santiago said the evolution from the time his older daughter began playing and the increasingly competitive climate that the Rose Classic symbolizes has been incredible. “The skill sets are so much higher at a real early age,” he said. “My youngest daughter is so much better than my oldest daughter was when she was 12. You can find training in fundamentals and skills at a real early age — you didn’t have that before.”

Wasserman adds to their W portfolio:

Lindsay Kagawa Colas, Wasserman vice president, action sports and Olympics, will represent Delle Donne, a guard/forward on the Chicago Sky. Delle Donne previously was represented by her brother, Gene Delle Donne.

With the signing, Colas now represents 14 WNBA players, including Brittney GrinerMaya MooreDiana Taurasi and Sue Bird.

Delle Donna has endorsement deals with Nike, DuPont and nutritional supplement company Genesis Today. Colas, who represents basketball players both for playing contract work and marketing deals, said she plans on working to expand Delle Donne’s portfolio of corporate partnerships.

You might remember Kagawa (Colas) from her Stanford volleyball days. In 2008, the Bleecher Report’s Darren Heitner wrote about Kagawa his Agent Spotlight after she made the Contra Costa Times’ Marcus Thompson II drool while writing his piece, Sports agent no devil but wears Prada. Swish Appeal noticed Kagawa (Colas) in December, 2012: WNBA players and their agents: Who represents WNBA players? In April of this year, she was named to Sports Business Journal’s list of women “making their names.”

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Have you done your homework?

From Full Court

Clay: Team plus talent will win the West

Teams are more than talent.

Sure, a supremely talented group of players can overwhelm a roster with significantly lesser ability, but when two talented groups go head-to-head, “team” becomes more important.

In the competitive Western Conference, there are three very talented rosters, but only one has the balance that comes when ability matches position, when options are many and holes are few. That roster belongs to Minnesota, which is why the preview begins with …

The Sparks are set to catch fire

Seattle must weather an injury storm

WNBA Preview: Is there a beast in the East?

Ever since Dick Vitale high-volumed his way onto a TV screen, American sports fans have listened to a host of commentators talk about coaches as if they were players. “Rick Pitino sure shut down Trey Burke in this one,” an announcer will intone, as if Pitino were out on the court personally shadowing Burke.

In truth, of course, Pitino could have had the greatest strategy in the world, but if his players didn’t have the talent to execute it, it wouldn’t matter. Or, to put it another way, coaching IQ directly correlates with player talent.

Sun shake it up — but did they really need to?

The Dream might miss the point

And this cool little review: Once upon a jersey: The evolution of sponsorship in the WNBA

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”

In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, names were everything.If that play was a basketball game, and one team was the Montagues and the other the Capulets, the name splashed on the jersey would be an honor for the players to display and each fan to behold. The names of the teams (families) in this game would represent a bitter rivalry between sworn enemies, and would contribute to a competitive matchup.

The only difference here is that, unlike in the play, this basketball game would not end with the key players dying by suicide. (And I for one would like to keep it that way.)

From ESPN

Michelle says: Pondexter among MVP candidates

Mechelle writes: Defending champ back for more

On May 31, the Indiana Fever will unveil their WNBA championship banner and receive their rings. There were some times over the winter months when Fever president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf checked the WNBA website and once again had a feeling of amazement that these things were going to happen.

“I’d see, ‘Get your Fever 2012 WNBA championship gear here.’ And I’d think, ‘Wow, that’s us,'” Krauskopf said. “Then you start reflecting on the journey it is to get there — all the years, tweaking the roster, everything the team went through. When we started the playoffs badly against Atlanta, when Katie [Douglas] went down in Connecticut. That whole journey makes it more special.”

It’s a lengthy path that, for Krauskopf, reaches way back to 1999, when she was named chief operating officer of the expansion Fever.

Michelle asks: Is Harding L.A.’s missing piece?

Speaking of missing, Michelle knows the Storm will have new look in 2013

“We’ve played a lot of games since I’ve been here without Lauren,” Storm coach Brian Agler said, referring to the fact that Jackson hasn’t played a full season for the Storm since 2010 because of injuries and the 2012 Olympic break. “Not that we enjoy it, but we have a good feel for how that is … We haven’t played many games without Sue.”

Mechelle knows Mike T is Ready to resurrect the Mystics

She also is aware that the Plot thickens as 2013 season nears

Last week, women’s basketball Twitter queen Skylar Diggins sent out a short, perfectly apt tweet. It was in response to a big surprise with her new team, the Tulsa Shock, but it could apply to the entire WNBA season, which officially starts this week.

 “The plot thickens …” was @SkyDigg4’s comment. And indeed, there are a lot of storylines to follow, many of which could — and probably will — impact who we see in October battling for the WNBA championship.

With their

WEST BREAKDOWNS

and

EAST BREAKDOWNS

it’s Prediction Time! Which team will win the East? and Which team will win the West? and the crew offers their 2013 WNBA season predictions

The AP Mystery Writer says Strong offseason, filled with major moves, raises the WNBA bar for the Tulsa Shock

Are the pieces finally falling in place for the Tulsa Shock?

Time will tell, but if the preseason prognostications of the league’s general managers are any indication, Tulsa finally looks like a playoff contender. A survey found the Shock as the WNBA’s most improved team.

The AP’s John Marshall wonders: Is this the beginning of The Brittney Griner Era?

AP Mystery Writer deux is in Texas and offers this: Steady and sure, Silver Stars — one of the WNBA’s most consistent clubs — slide into new year

AP Mystery Writer trois is covering Chicago: Sky is the limit for Chicago, Delle Donne as WNBA team hopes to turn tide in 2013

APMW4 is California Dreaming: Candace Parker resumes chase for her 1st WNBA title with LA Sparks

Candace Parker is ready to resume her pursuit of the only major title to elude the basketball star in her career.

She wants a WNBA championship to add to her two Olympic gold medals and two NCAA championships at Tennessee. She even won a title with her Russian pro team during the offseason.

Parker thought the Los Angeles Sparks had the makings of a title team last year, but they came up short, getting swept in the Western Conference finals by Minnesota.

APMW5 is at the Casino: Connecticut Sun eyeing WNBA title with new head coach

Mike Thibault led Connecticut to two WNBA Finals in his decade as the team’s head coach, but never won a championship.

That will be Anne Donovan’s charge this season.

Connecticut fired Thibault and replaced him with the Hall of Fame standout in the offseason. The move came despite a year in which the Sun posted an East-best 25-9 record before losing to Indiana in the conference championship series.

“Usually, when you’re taking over a team, you’re restructuring, you’re tearing it down, you’re building it up again,” said Donovan, who won a WNBA title as coach of Seattle in 2004, beating the Sun in the finals. “That’s certainly not the case here in Connecticut.

Randy Hill at Fox Sports South is wondering: Griner will be huge, but can she make WNBA big?

The arrival of Griner and two other gifted rookies – Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne – has been offered in carefully rendered comparison to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird lifting the NBA profile in 1980.

That’s not excessive pressure, is it?

“I just learn to go with it,” Griner said of handling expectations. “I really haven’t had a problem with that.”

Sports Illustrated offers up this AP article: After finals loss, Minnesota Lynx hope for title finish in 2013

Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve would find herself walking through the aisles at her grocery store this offseason when she would be recognized by a fan.

The ensuing conversation would occasionally catch her off guard. Often times instead of congratulations being extended for leading her team to a second straight WNBA finals, the most common question she got was, “What happened?”

After steamrolling through the regular season at 27-7 in pursuit of their second straight championship, the Lynx lost to Indiana in the finals. For a franchise that for years was a league doormat, the newfound expectations have been eye-opening.

From Scott Gleason at USA Today: WNBA hopes Brittney Griner, new logo are slam dunks

Change is coming to the WNBA.

That message is being emphatically emphasized in the upcoming season with a new logo featuring a player rising to the rim for a dunk.

Fittingly this summer, the 12-team league welcomes a rim-rising star who’s already generated an unmatched buzz before stepping out on the court for an official game.

Lois Elfman writes this for the Amsterdam Times: WNBA veterans joining coaching ranks with the Liberty women basketball team

This will be a New York Liberty season like no other, with All-WNBA First Team guard Cappie Pondexter playing alongside fellow WNBA champions Cheryl Ford and Katie Smith, as well as talented rookies Kelsey Bone and Toni Young.

The coaching staff is also unlike any the Liberty has had before. All four assistant coaches played for the Liberty at some point in their WNBA playing careers—Barbara Farris, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Whitmore.

Now that the rosters are set, check out who’s in and who’s out.

Jayda writes: TV Alert: With rosters finalized, here’s where to watch the Storm and other WNBA teams

John Altavilla writes: Sun Goal This Season: Tighten Things

Keep up with the Fever with Kevin Messenger’s blog.

Over at Mel’s blog, it’s Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Making The WNBA Season Opener Rosters

L’Alien is Back (and redesigned)! Priming for Opening Night in the WNBA: New Rules, a New Line, and Prediction Time

So What’s New?

Well if you’ve ended up here, you’re probably well aware of the ultra-hyped new rookie class that’s entering the league. They’re obviously new. We’ve also had coaching changes in New York, Connecticut and Washington since the end of last season. But you can read all about that and the various roster changes in the individual previews. What has the WNBA altered for 2013 on a more basic level?

Finally, a little audio: WomenSportsCentral – Link Brenda and Mechelle’s WNBA preview starts at 13:05 minute.

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From NCAA.com: Delle Donne back to superstar form –  Standout thriving for Blue Hens after taking leave of absence

In a six-week ordeal, doctors finally determined she had Lyme’s Disease, but she had lost eight pounds and was weakened by the illness.

“It was very trying,” Martin said. “We were all sitting on pins and needles wondering what was wrong with her.”

Delle Donne returned for the final third of the season, leading the Blue Hens to a run to the finals of the CAA Tournament and a berth in the Women’s NIT.

But it was this spring when she was training to play with the Team USA squad participating in the summer’s World University Games when Martin knew that Delle Donne was developing into the player that every college coach had dreamed about four years prior.

“I knew the way she was training last spring, I said, ‘watch out world,'” Martin said.

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From Mel: Delle Donne Heads Back To Active Duty At Delaware

And from Kevin Tresolini at Delaware Online:

Delle Donne said she has had “every test in the book” to determine the cause of the fatigue and muscle and joint pain she has been experiencing for almost two months that has caused her to miss 11 of Delaware’s 18 games. She has shown improvement from the anti-biotics she began taking recently for Lyme Disease, said Dr. Andrew Reisman, UD assistant AD for sports medicine, and sometimes-hard-to-diagnose Lyme is now viewed as the likely cause of her symptoms.

“I probably won’t be 100 percent this season,” Delle Donne said. “It’s just something I’ll have to deal with, though it kills me that I can’t play at 100 percent. I’m just going to give all I can and try and finish out the season.”

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