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may recognize this name: Freed-Hardeman University in Henderson, Tenn. (Check here if you want to know about the resurrection of their women’s basketball program.)

It’s very cool to be able to say Meribeth Boehler of Freed-Hardeman have been named the NAIA D-I Player of the Year.

Boehler, who is from Ramer, Tenn., and attended McNairy Central High School, leads the seventh-ranked Lady Lions in scoring with a 23.3 point-per-game average, which ranks second nationally among all NAIA Division I players. She also leads the Lady Lions in rebounding (9.8 rpg.) and blocked shots (45), and is second on the team in assists (75) and steals (51).

NAIA Coach of the Year honors went to Earl Woudstra, who just coached his Northwestern College Red Raiders to a second-straight NAIA Division II national championship.

With Woudstra at the helm, Northwestern has won more than 30 games five times and amassed 20 or more wins 11 times. In 2007-08, the year of Woudstra’s second championship, Northwestern won a school-record 35 games — a mark equaled by this season’s team, which finished its championship season at 35-1. Woudstra also led the Red Raiders to the national championship in 2001 with a 32-4 record and guided his team to a runner-up finish in 2000 with a 27-6 record. His 2006 and 2009 squads reached the national semifinals, and he guided his team to the quarterfinals in 2002.

A 1978 Northwestern alum, Woudstra also serves as the assistant athletic director and professor of kinesiology. In addition, Woudstra serves on the Orange City City Council, a position he has held since 1999.

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Graham’s got the Bracket’s five burning questions

Mechelle talks about the Conference Redux: League foes could meet for fourth time – Baylor-Texas A&M, Stanford-UCLA have already played three times this season (Add Notre Dame and UConn to that list, MV)

They’re chatting about the bracket selection process with Doc McNeil, eh?

Wanna vote on it? Go here.

Michelle Smith at espnW writes:

The conclusion isn’t so foregone, now is it?

Connecticut hasn’t won every game this season. The Huskies aren’t invincible or unbeaten, and the 2011 NCAA women’s basketball tournament doesn’t look like an exercise in inevitability.

Let’s not get crazy, however. It might not be wise to immediately write Connecticut’s name in pen at the end of your bracket, but this isn’t exactly shaping up to be a wide-open tournament.

The top seeds are formidable and experienced. They are No. 1 for very good reasons. Connecticut, Stanford, Baylor and Tennessee have a combined record of 123-7 this season.

She also has a piece for Inside Women’s Basketball: The Cardinal Rule

More details on the Fearsome Foursome’s Final Four picks. (Though only three talk)

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wherever they are.

It’s what “serious” fans do.

IIRC, about 11 million’s men’s brackets were filled out (on ESPN?) to 250,000 women’s brackets.

And you wonder why advertisers don’t flock to the games and support ESPN’s coverage.

So, fill them out!

Here’s the yahoo brackets.

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The NJCAA’s Top 26 (I like that!) sees 27-0 Pensacola State College at the top. Vincennes is #2, and the ever present Trinity Valley sits in third.

NAIA Division II: Davenport (MI), Northwestern (IA) and Morningside (IA).

NAIA Division I: (Drum roll please!) Union (TN) *gasp*, Oklahoma City and college name of the day Azusa Pacific (CA)

NCAA Division III: (Deja vu all over again?) Thomas More (KY), Hope College (MI), Amherst (MA).

NCAA Division II: Clayton State (GA) earns the top spot with their 26-0 record, followed by Lander (NC) and Fort Lewis (CO).

NCAA Division I: Yadda, yadda and yadda… Oh, LOOK! It’s HOUSTON coming in at the 25th spot!

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(which ain’t really news). The NCAA Division I poll is out.

Of more interest, Charlie’s latest bracket and his explanation. Some might argue that Rutgers should replace Syracuse. Charlie says:

Syracuse (IN): The Orange picked up two huge victories, one at St. John’s in the past week, to match Texas Tech and play their way into the bracket. Plenty of holes exist in Syracuse’s case for inclusion, but no one in the mix has two road victories the quality of Marquette and St. John’s.

From Graham’s chat:

kevin (macon ga): How much of a headache will Syracuse be for the committee? Two top 25 wins and no bad losses is usually a lock, but the Orange are 9th in the BEast and had a very weak non-con schedule.

Graham Hays: Unless they do something strange against Cincinnati and Providence down the stretch, I don’t know that they’ll be one of the teams giving the committee the biggest headaches. You hate to see a program rewarded for that kind of scheduling, but at the same time, they did what they needed to do in getting wins against St. John’s, Marquette and Louisville, in addition to the Ohio State win that is looking better now than it did a week or two ago.

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It’s Graham, fresh off the soccer NCAA Division I Championships, today at 4pmEST.

Good to see he’s recovered enough to offer up a “Weekend Wrap”: No sugarcoating for Sugar Rodgers

A blanket of snow outside kept the crowd inside Joel Coliseum to a bare minimum for Saturday’s game between No. 13 Georgetown and host Wake Forest, but the library quiet just made it that much easier to hear a voice that could have been heard had the place filled to Tim Duncan-era capacity.

“Sugar, you’ve got to …”

Play basketball Mad Libs for the rest of the sentiment: defend, rebound, hustle. Pretty much any admonition you can think of, Georgetown assistant Keith Brown tacked it on to the end of a bellow directed squarely at Sugar Rodgers, the reigning Big East rookie of the year. And this was on a night when Rodgers led all scorers with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting in a 64-49 win to help the Hoyas improve to 7-1.

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budget issues or the desire to face organized competition vs. the scattershot ensembles of preseason teams), but I’m loving the fact that Division I teams are playing top Division II and NAIA Division I teams. What a great opportunity for some of the best players (within their Division) to meet their counterpoints in NCAA Division I. And play in front of great crowds (and show their skills). And have their program earn a little money.

Case in point, UConn played Franklin Pierce College (Division II finalist).

Second case in point: Tennessee played Union (NAIA D-I champeens.) Nice bit of press on the game. An example: Union takes loss in exhibition at Tennessee

Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt has more than 1,000 wins entering her 36th season, but her Lady Volunteers weren’t the only team she was paying attention to Sunday during an 86-53 exhibition win against Union at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Summitt admitted that she “caught herself watching” the Lady Bulldogs’ teamwork.

“They are so well coached and so disciplined, and I give them an enormous amount of credit on how they played,” Summitt said. “I’m glad we had this game.

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A different kind of Top 25

Don’t get us wrong, we love that CollegeInsider.com is introducing a women’s basketball Top-25 mid-major poll, and it’s nice to see two of this state’s coaches, Liberty’s Carey Green and Longwood’s Kristin Caruso, as part of the 31-member voting panel.

But can we lose the term “mid-major”? Enough of this splitting the Division I baby. A D-I school is a D-I school, period. And schools that aren’t in the Big Six conference fraternity should stop allowing themselves to be defined as something less. You know, there are many, many more schools outside of the BCS conferences than there are within them. They just don’t make nearly as much noise. Perhaps instead of mid-majors, they should call themselves the “Silent Majority”….

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From the NCAA: Division I women’s basketball tournament expansion an issue for discussion

“We need to do the right thing for the right reasons.”

– Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president of Division I women’s basketball

While that statement could apply to a number of issues in women’s basketball, the 11-year chief executive of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship is talking about the possibility of expanding the 29-year-old tournament bracket.

And while there may be any number of issues in the game that are at least as important, perhaps none evokes more opinions about what is “right for the right reasons” than tinkering with the tournament.

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Thirty-eight years after Congress passed Title IX, women fill fewer roster spots and earn fewer athletic scholarship dollars than men both locally and nationwide.

At the five Division I schools in the area — the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State, West Virginia, Duquesne and Robert Morris universities — 46.9 percent of all undergraduate students in 2008-09 were women, but just 41.2 percent of all athletes were women, according to Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act filings. At each school, women accounted for a smaller percentage of athletes than they do undergraduate students.

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With a h/t to FOB Julia, and as a nice companion piece to news that Debbie Yow was moving over to NC State (as one of only  28 female athletic directors at the Division I level) , from the Orlando Sentinel: Women see slow progress for athletic director jobs

There are only eight more Division I female athletic directors today than there were in 1996. Only five are on the FBS level. Only three head BCS programs — that is an all-time high.

Compare that to minority men. In 2009, there were 22 more minority men serving as Division I athletic directors compared to 1996. Today, there are 11 minority men who serve as FBS athletic directors. Five are at BCS schools.

FYI, check out this article from 2006 for more background info: Challenges confronting female intercollegiate athletic directors of NCAA member institutions by division and this one from 2004: 27 Year Study Shows Progression of Women in College Athletics

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Come tourney time, everyone seems to have an opinion about why this site should or shouldn’t be hosting and why that site is a far better option for the growth and/or image of women’s basketball.

Well, now’s the time to talk to your nearby AD and convince them to make the leap and put in a bid!

“We encourage all Division I member institutions and conferences to take advantage of this opportunity to serve as host for the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship in 2012,” said Jane Meyer, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate director of athletics at Iowa. “Whether you have had a past history or are a potential first-time host, the committee is looking for basketball communities that will support the championship and enable it to maintain a strong position.”

The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee began the bid process by e-mailing each Division I institution and conference earlier this month describing the process and corresponding deadlines.

Interested parties must submit a Declaration of Intent to Bid form by July 23. The form is not a “commitment” to bid but an indication that the institution or conference may have an interest in bidding.

Someone who has followed the history of the selection process can confirm this (WNBAfan @ yahoo.com) but I believe the NCAA has shortened the “lead time” in the decision making process — meaning, programs are only trying to project two years into the future, not, say, five. That’s got to make the prospect of making a bid more enticing.

Wanna know more about what it means to host? Ask those who have.

By the way, for all the dire predictions and lack of host teams being in the tournament, I believe attendance was UP.

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