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Just ask Jeff Walz.

He offered Tuesday to email or call the boss of anyone who wanted to come to the game but couldn’t because of work. He’s already had 100 or so fans take him up on that, including someone in the mayor’s office.

”Whoever sends me a note on Twitter or on Facebook – if they give me their boss’ email – I’m writing them a note asking if they can make the ballgame,” Walz said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Check out Aneela’s “Top 25 Players To Watch in NCAA Tournament

Washington: ‘Sharp’ Huskies Head To NCAA Tournament

The Huskies are sharp, because they share a common goal and have rallied around each other. They are in sync. They are focused.

“The difference between last year and this year, last year we were happy to be there,” junior Kelsey Plum said. “It was a cool accomplishment after having not been in the NCAA tournament for a long time.

“We were just so excited about the whole thing, we lost focus in the game. This year, we’re not just happy to be here. We’re trying to do something with it.

Connecticut: Stewart, Tuck and Jefferson looking to make history

UConn coach Geno Auriemma jokes that when the trio now known as ”The Big Three” first arrived on campus, he wasn’t sure they should play as freshmen either.

Stewart, he said, had unbelievable talent, but was often lackadaisical, because things were too easy for her. Jefferson, he said, had no grasp of running an offense. Her idea of playing point guard, he said, was to run at full speed until she ran into something.

Tuck was the best of the three in practice, but that didn’t always translate to games.

Little by little, he said, they began to gel.

Connecticut: Former Huskies break down UConn’s winning ways

Utah: Jeff Judkins keeps Cougars steadily successful

As BYU’s women’s basketball players, assistant coaches and supporters reacted excitedly when the Cougars received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament last Monday, head coach Jeff Judkins stared stoically at the large screen, realizing the task that lies ahead.

It was almost LaVell Edwards-like, which is fitting, because Judkins is having the kind of success that the legendary football coach had in Provo in the 1980s and ’90s, albeit in a sport mostly out of the national spotlight.

“He doesn’t get the credit he deserves,” BYU guard Makenzi Pulsipher said. “He’s such a good, nice person, but he’s also a really, really good coach.”

California: Jordin Canada leads UCLA back to the Big Dance

During a recent practice at UCLA, one of the Bruins players commented out loud about point guard Jordin Canada, “She’s our all-conference player, let’s just get it to her.”

And Canada cringed.

“Her shoulders went in, and she looked uncomfortable,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “She didn’t like it. But at the same time, when the lights brighten, she’s at her best.”

California: USF coach Azzi welcomes chance to return to Stanford for NCAAs

Jennifer Azzi’s expression — an ear-to-ear grin — didn’t change when she saw that her USF team was matched against her alma mater Stanford, during Monday’s NCAA selection show.

Azzi knows how these things work — Azzi against her mentor Tara VanDerveer is the kind of story line selection committees love. She knows how often basketball can bring one full circle — such as when the Tennessee kid won a national championship with Stanford back home in Knoxville in 1990. 

“These things happen,” she said.

Florida: NCAA women’s bracket has distinct Florida flavor

It has been a season of firsts for women’s college basketball teams Florida, and the roll will continue in the NCAA Tournament.

When the field of 64 was announced on Monday, it marked the first time that five teams from the Sunshine State were selected.

Georgia: Georgia back in tournament under 1st-year coach

New York: Syracuse women’s basketball team a victim of bad timing

What’s the old cliche, if they didn’t have bad luck, they’d have no luck at all?

The Syracuse University women’s basketball team is living proof of that. The Orange have had their best regular season in program history. Syracuse went to the ACC championship game and received a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, again, its best ever.

The high seed means the Orange are rewarded with one — possibly two — home games for the first two rounds of the tournament. And when does the NCAA Tournament committee (with help from ESPN) have Syracuse playing.

Friday at 2:30 p.m. Right after the Syracuse men’s game. A weekday afternoon when the majority of local people are working or in school.

New York: With Two Bids, Iona Savors ‘Incredible Accomplishment’

For Cluess and Godsey, that made last Monday twice as sweet. They understand better than most the challenges midmajor programs face in facilities, recruiting and financing when competing against major conferences for players as well as victories.

“It’s so hard for one team to make it, let alone two, especially in a conference our size,” Cluess said.

Missouri: The three steps the women’s basketball team is taking in preparation for the big dance.

This time last season, the Missouri women’s basketball team was sitting around coach Robin Pingeton’s house, eyes glued to the television during Selection Monday. They were on the outside looking in. 

While watching other teams celebrate their success, the overall mindset of the team was, “That’s going to be us next year,” according to senior Morgan Stock.

New Jersey: PU Women’s Hoops Sees Silver Lining in Penn Defeat, Becoming 1st Ivy Team to Earn At-Large Bid to NCAAs

North Carolina: Coaches of Asheville men, women share special bond

Seconds after the UNC Asheville women beat Liberty on Sunday at Kimmel Arena to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament, some of the first people on the floor to celebrate with the women were members of the Bulldogs’ men’s team.

It was a scene that didn’t surprise those close to the program.

There is a closeness between the teams and it begins with the coaches.

Brenda Mock Kirkpatrick and Nick McDevitt can’t help but run into each other several times a day because their offices are separated by a conference room, which they share along with a printer.

They wouldn’t want it any other way. McDevitt is a fan of Kirkpatrick and her staff and Kirkpatrick feels the same way about the men’s coaches.

Tennessee/Michigan: Belmont, Michigan State coaches are friends, now NCAA foes

“Suzy and I got to be good friends back then,” said Newbauer, who was an assistant at Georgia at the time. “My sister almost went to Michigan State and instead went to Indiana, so I’ve known Suzy since my first year in women’s basketball. I’ve just been really good friends with her since then. We were texting each other about, ‘Wouldn’t that be great if we wound up in the same place?’ But I didn’t think we would be playing them.”

Wanna listen while you work? LaChina Robinson and Chiney Ogwumike break down the Sioux Falls Region of the women’s NCAA Tournament with special guest L.A. Sparks F Candace Parker. 2) They then break down the Bridgeport Region of the women’s NCAA Tournament with special guest Indiana Fever G Briann January.

As a self-identified Conference Generalist, I take great pleasure in tracking programs raising their profiles. Marshall was one such story: A Different `Long Season’ for Daniel’s Herd

Marshall makes its first trip to the Women’s NIT with a visit to longtime rival Ohio on Thursday night, and riding on the bus with the Herd as it heads up the road this evening is an attitude that has carried Coach Matt Daniel’s team all season.

It’s not where you start; it’s where you finish.

When Marshall opened the 2015-16 season back on Nov. 13 with an out-of-breath, 104-101 triumph at Morehead State, eight of the 12 healthy players on Daniel’s roster were in their first game in a Herd uniform. Six were freshmen … and Marshall had been picked to finish 10th in the 14-team Conference USA race by Daniel’s sideline peers.

Four months later, the Herd (21-11) has more wins than all but one team (24-5 in 1986-87) in the Herd women’s hoops history dating to 1969-70. Marshall has only its third postseason bid in its major college era, which dates to 1981-82. And while finishing tied for sixth in the C-USA standings, the Herd won a school-best 11 C-USA games (regular season and tournament) in its 11 years in the league.

So were the Jacksonville Dolphins: Mentee vs. Mentor

It happens at the start of every athletic competition. Typically after the national anthem and player introductions, and often overlooked as one of the unwritten rules of the game. It’s the coaches’ handshake, a brief meeting a midcourt that will have a deeper meaning for Yolett McPhee-McCuin Friday.

When the head coach of the Jacksonville University women’s basketball team shakes the hand of Dawn Staley, she will see more than the opposition, she’ll also see a mentor and a friend.

“Dawn Staley is someone that I mirror my program after,” said McCuin. “Not every step but definitely the how and the why. How to build a program and why we do what we do?

And: Though not a surprise, first NCAA bid reason for Duquesne women’s basketball team to celebrate

“I don’t think any of us were expecting this in the beginning of the season, so the fact that we’re even here is so exciting,” senior Emilie Gronas said. “From the preseason, we could feel this was a different team with a lot of new faces. A lot of people didn’t expect us to do as great as we did.” 

But after playing in other postseason tournaments in each of the last seven seasons, Duquesne didn’t have any preseason intentions of receiving another WNIT bid.

The Dukes broke record after record this year, setting program highs for wins (27) and conference wins (13) while earning a share of the Atlantic-10 regular-season title. Now, all of those accolades come second to achieving an ultimate goal.

Damn: A Website Went Offline And Took Most Of Women’s College Basketball Analytics With It

If you’re filling out your bracket for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament and want some statistical background to the broader forecasts, you have a slew of options. Start at Sports-Reference.com: powerful search tools; team rankings for anything from pace to point differentials adjusted for strength of schedule; and player pages with stats such as usage percentage, win shares and Box Plus/Minus. Ken Pomeroy’s site offers more detailed and adjusted team rankings and a wide array of individual player metrics. For $100 a year, Shot Analytics delivers detailed spatial analysis of shot selection, including weighted shot charts.

If you’re looking for similar information to help you fill out an NCAA women’s basketball tournament bracket, you’re out of luck.

Thank you: Tonya Mirts ends 21-year tenure as Hickman girls basketball head coach

Mirts, who played college basketball for Missouri, appreciated the challenge of not being able to recruit players for high school basketball, instead developing the young women in her district.

“You get what you get and you try to make a masterpiece out of it year in and year out,” she said.

Thank you: Wanda Watkins steps down as Campbell women’s basketball coach after 35 seasons

In addition to her coaching achievements, Watkins holds a special place in Campbell athletics history. She was the school’s first female athletic scholarship recipient after graduating from nearby South Johnston High School in 1975. She was a member of that school’s 1974 North Carolina state championship team.

She served as team captain of the Lady Camels basketball team as a senior and captained the softball team for three years. Despite suffering an injury in her final season, Watkins was named MVP of the 1978-79 team and selected as Campbell’s Outstanding Female Athlete.

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DANCE!!!”

h/t do AP’s Doug Feinberg (and to his colleague Will Graves for doing the leg work and tabulating – ’cause this has been a GOOD trend this tourney): Duquesne, Buffalo Among First-Timers in NCAA Women’s Tourney

In a flash, anxiety became joy. Belief morphed into reality. The slow steady rise from obscurity to respectability validated in an instant. The free T-shirts that read “Duquesne’s Going Dancing” transformed from wishful thinking to truth in advertising.

Welcome to the madness, Dukes. You too, Central Arkansas, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Iona. The NCAA women’s basketball tournament isn’t just for the blue bloods anymore.

All five programs will make their NCAA debuts this weekend after earning their first-ever tournament berths, a watershed moment for schools who have spent the last three decades relegated to watching the madness play out on TV without them.

Speaking of Blue Bloods: Duke women’s basketball not in NCAA Tournament for 1st time in 21 years

Joseph Zucker at Bleacher Report has NCAA Women’s Basketball Bracket 2016: Results, Seeds, Reaction and Analysis

Jay Drew at the Salt Lake Tribune: No. 7 seed BYU draws Missouri in NCAA Tournament

Missouri (21-9) is making its first trip to the tournament in 10 years, while BYU (26-6) is in March Madness for the third straight year and fourth time in five seasons. The Tigers lost their final two regular season games before falling 47-45 to Auburn in the SEC Tournament on March 3.

“I am happy [with the seeding],” said BYU coach Jeff Judkins. “I think we got what we deserved. I think if we had won the [WCC] tournament, we would have been a little bit higher, but I feel really good about playing Missouri. I have seen them play a little bit and it will be a good matchup for us.”

Adrian Szkola from Lo(wer) Hud(son): Iona draws Maryland in NCAA tournament

In the days leading up to Selection Monday, Iona women’s basketball head coach Billi Godsley made it a point to not pay any attention to the bracket predictions.

Seeing how her players reacted to when Kentucky’s opponent was revealed on ESPN’s selection show, it’s pretty obvious they didn’t do the same.

ESPN’s Charlie Creme had projected Kentucky to face off against Iona in his last bracketology update.  Iona’s players let out an “oohh” when it was revealed that No. 3 Kentucky would play No. 14 UNC-Asheville at Lexington, Kentucky.

Ken Klimek from the Notre Dame Insider: Notre Dame women get a pleasant geographical surprise

“It’s exciting to go to Lexington, but we have to focus on the first two games and do our job on those,” Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. “We have to be all business and I am sure the seniors will take care of that. Being a No. 1 seed takes a lot of work. This team makes it look easy, but they put in a lot of work all season. So does the staff.”

Mitch Blomert from the Waco Tribune: 

All year long, the Baylor women have worn green bracelets with the inscription of a message that has carried them this season: “eight is not enough,” referring to the team’s back-to-back Elite Eight exits in the 2014 and ’15 NCAA tournaments.

The Lady Bears are back in the big dance, and the path to their goal of a Final Four appearance has been paved. Now they just have to stay alive to get there.

Dave Cloninger at The State: Gamecocks earn third straight No. 1 seed

It hasn’t been a great two days for South Carolina basketball and the NCAA Tournament selection committees.

A day after the Gamecocks’ men’s team was snubbed by the tournament, USC’s women’s team was placed in the Sioux Falls Regional. While the Gamecocks earned their third straight No. 1 seed and open the NCAA Tournament at home, they would have to play the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds in South Dakota, should they advance.

“It’s pretty surprising, but at the same time, we’re not on the committee. We weren’t in a room, so we don’t know what was behind it,” USC coach Dawn Staley said. “But we got to do our job. Our job is to open up on Friday night and take care of our business.”

Richard Deitsch and Lindsay Schnell from Sports Illustrated ask  Can South Carolina escape Sioux Falls? and  Can No. 1 Baylor survive Dallas region? and say NCAA women’s tournament: UConn is the team to beat again

Evan McCullers from The Plainsman: Women’s basketball makes NCAA Tournament field

A year after winning only three SEC games, the Auburn women’s basketball team is going to play on the sport’s biggest stage for the first time since 2009.

NEC: Robert Morris

“Playing UConn defines the word challenge. In the history of all sports, one could really give a good argument that UConn women’s basketball team is the most dominant ever in the history of sports,” said RMU head coach Sal Buscaglia. “You’re not talking about one or two titles, you’re talking about 10 national titles.
 
“We’re really happy for the opportunity and the challenge. This is an exciting moment in these young women’s lives no matter what happens in the game. We’re just going to take this one possession at a time, prepare the same way we always do, but obviously this is a major David vs. Goliath scenario. I know our players will give everything they have on that court. It’s about the process and the journey and going to play Connecticut is something they’ll be able to tell their kids and grandkids that they did.”

More on Morris: Colonials relish opportunity to play undefeated UConn

Sean Star from the Reporter Herald: Colorado State women’s basketball headed West for NCAA Tournament

Finally, the Rams got to sit back, relax and enjoy everything they’ve accomplished all season.

Because up until now, they’ve been too busy keeping their heads down and focused on the next task.

Not this time.

This time the Colorado State women’s basketball team soaked it all in during its NCAA Tournament selection show watch party on Monday.

Michael Epps from the Detroit News : Spartans women’s NCAA vision comes to fruition

Michigan State women’s basketball coach Suzy Merchant had her team watch the selection show together last year and see their team not make the NCAA Tournament.

A chip on their shoulder? That’s an understatement.

“I was on the team last year, and I know how disappointing it was to watch a selection show and know that we weren’t going to come up,” junior guard Tori Jankoska said. “Coach Merchant told us that this wasn’t to punish us, but to show us where we should be and we need to see ourselves next year.”

Jonathan Lintner from the Courier-Journal: Some drama with U of L women’s NCAA draw

“I would have loved it for our fans,” Walz said of the regional assignment in a phone interview after the selection, “but we have to win the first two games first. I’m not really big on getting ahead of myself. We have to come out and get ready to play the 2:30 game Friday. Hopefully a lot of businesses downtown can just do a half day of work and let their employees come to the game.

“It’s one of those things we knew could happen. I completely understand. If the committee wanted to put Kentucky in Lexington, it makes sense. Unfortunately for our fans, it’s not as easy of a drive — or a flight — trying to get to Dallas.

Lindsay Kramaer from Syracuse.com: Syracuse women’s basketball planning NCAA Tournament trip well beyond Carrier Dome

“Obviously, it’s good to be home,” said Orange coach Quentin Hillsman, who is taking his team to its fourth straight NCAA party. “That’s all we wanted to do is have our opportunity to play home. We didn’t really care who it was. We just wanted to have a home game and be able to play in the Dome in front of our fans. We’re just excited that we’re not packing our bags and going in the road.”

If Syracuse wins two games it will gladly break out the luggage. Success in the Dome means advancement to the Sweet 16 in Sioux Falls, S.D., and a possible showdown against No. 1 seed South Carolina. Syracuse has never reached the Sweet 16.

Joey Knight from the Tampa Bay Times : USF women happy about seed, puzzled by placement in NCAA Tournament

From Dan Wolken over at USA Today: South Carolina’s Dawn Staley emerging as new face of women’s basketball

It is just past 10 a.m. the morning after another big victory, but things are not going well for one of the greatest women’s basketball players of all time. Dawn Staley’s regular pickup game with a collection of managers, graduate assistants and South Carolina compliance officials has suddenly become less friendly than just a few minutes earlier when she was gathering everyone for a group selfie and joyfully screaming to hype herself up.

Nobody is running harder at both ends of the floor than Staley, the fireball point guard for three Olympic gold medal teams, three Final Four teams at Virginia and six WNBA All-Star games. But at 45, she relies less these days on her quickness and passing than making sure the background music in the gym is right.

“We need Beyonce!” she yells as a manager goes scurrying to his iPod with Staley’s team suddenly behind 15-6.

Find USAToday’s tournament coverage here.

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We could have had it aaaaaaaaaallllll…” But a great win by (and for) Duquesne, 56-52.

April Robinson’s three-pointer with 22.3 seconds remaining sent the third-seeded Duquesne Dukes into their first-ever Atlantic 10 Women’s Basketball Championship with a 56-52 victory over second-seeded Saint Louis in a hard-fought second semifinal Saturday afternoon at the Richmond Coliseum.

“On a day where we didn’t shoot the ball well, we played against a very good team and found a way to win,” said Duquesne head coach Dan Burt. “There were so many unheralded performances by our group. Now, we get to play a team that beat us earlier, and to me has a top five draft pick. What greater challenge could you have this time of year?”

Got my Orange CrushSyracuse upset Louisville, 80-75.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’! Get them doggies rollin‘!” UConn chomped on the Pirates.

It’s a Great Day for the Irish” Notre Dame swept over Miami

Some day the bear will eat you” Baylor made mincemeat of Texas Tech.

Turtle! That’s a tortoise!Maryland topped the Wildcats, 83-62.

So overpowering has top-seeded Maryland been lately that Northwestern’s Joe McKeown, the coach of the Terrapins’ opponent in Saturday’s Big Ten women’s basketball tournament semifinals, conceded he may have to resort to a special defense called “HTM” simply to have a chance.

“You know what HTM means?” McKeown said. “Hope They Miss.”

Oh, Ca-na-daaaa!Jordin (and Kari) rescues the Bruins from the Bears in OT. Check out coverage by Hoopism’s Joe Veyera.

For almost three quarters, the Cal Golden Bears looked poised to pull a third straight tournament upset.

But foul trouble for Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Kristine Anigwe, and the fatigue of a third game in as many days would prove to be too much to overcome in the closing minute, in a 73-67 UCLA victory in overtime.

And though Cal head coach Lindsay Gottlieb said the best feeling is the celebration that comes with a win, there’s something valuable about the heartbreak of a defeat.

One of these days the boot are going to walk all over you” South Carolina made mincemeat of Kentucky’s defense, winning by 30.

I’ve got the power!” – Aerial Powers’ 31 points helped make the third game between the Spartans and the Buckeyes “no contest.”

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river” Texas overwhelmed Kansas.

We are the champions!” Congrats to Belmont:

The Bruins (24-8) have plenty to celebrate with their first tournament title since 2007 when they took the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament championship for their lone NCAA appearance until now. The same team that lost six straight earlier this season, including the first two OVC games, now has won 16 of 17 and six straight as they wait to hear where they will play next.

“It’s kind of an indescribable feeling …,” McCabe said. “We get to go to the NCAAs, we get to go dancing. It’s just an incredible feeling and to know that your hard work has paid off is really rewarding and exciting to think about the challenge that we have on our hands next.”

Even with Green Bay’s dominance, the Horizon continues to intrigue: The Phoenix were upset by Oakland, Cleveland StateCleveland State beats Northern Kentucky,

Refocus time: This time upstart UT Rio Grande got the job done against New Mexico State, handing the Aggies their first WAC loss of the season, 66-55.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Vaqueros women’s basketball team clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Tournament by knocking off the WAC Champion New Mexico State University Aggies, who had previously been undefeated in WAC play, 66-55 on Saturday at the Pan American Center.
 
This is the highest conference tournament seed in program history.

About The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley was created by the Texas Legislature on Dec. 7, 2012, in a historic move that combined the resources and assets of UTPA and UTB, and, for the first time, made it possible for residents of the Rio Grande Valley to benefit from the Permanent University Fund. The institution will also be home to a School of Medicine and will transform Texas and the nation by becoming a leader in student success, teaching, research and healthcare. UTRGV enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine will open in 2016.

UC Riverside closes out the regular season undefeated in conference play – and with a nice moment of sportsmanship:

Their first meeting was a lopsided affair won by UCR, 90-43, but that didn’t stop the two programs from showing a touch a class in their last regular season game of 2016.

In the opening tip-off senior Annelise Ito was on the floor for the first since time her tearing her acl four weeks ago. She was joined by Rejane Verin, and seniors Brittany Crain, Akilah Martin and Tahvia Morrison in the starting lineup.

Verin was allowed to control the tip out of bounds so that Ito could substituted out of the game to cheers from an appreciative crowd.

The Big South tourney will be interesting, as Presbyterian upsets Liberty and Longwood upsets Gardner-Webb.

What’s up today:

A10 Final: Dukes v. Colonials – 12pm CBSSN

America East Semis: Stony Brook v. Maine – 2pm; Albany v. Binghamton – 4:30. BTW Binghamton is hosting.

The last time the Bearcats won a conference tournament game senior guard Kim Albrecht was still in her senior year of high school.

Albrecht scored a team-high 18 points on 7 of 14 shooting (2 of 6 on 3-pointers) to earn the fifth-seeded Binghamton University women’s basketball team a spot in the America East Conference semifinals with a 49-41 win over the fourth seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the quarterfinals in the Events Center on Saturday night.

“No one on this team has won a playoff game,” Albrecht said. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world. This is what we’ve worked towards all year. There’s really nothing better, and it means everything to this team. To be picked ninth and finished tied for the third and win a playoff game when we’re the lower seed. It’s just huge.”

About the Black Bears: Senior standout embraces role as face of UMaine women’s basketball

Liz Wood arrived at the University of Maine as part of an unprecedented, nine-member freshman class on the women’s basketball team.

In the last four years, that talented and diverse group has helped transform the Black Bears into an America East championship contender.

It is Wood who has been the unquestioned leader during the resurgence by coach Richard Barron’s team, which takes a 24-7 record into the America East quarterfinal against New Hampshire at noon Saturday at the Events Center in Vestal, New York.

American Semis: Tulane v. UConn – 4:30 ESPNU, Temple v. South Florida – 6:30 ESPNU

The Temple women’s basketball team has seen other squads in the Owls’ athletic department family  do wondrous things in the American Athletic Conference  since the school year on North Broad Street in Philadelphia got under way last fall.
The footballers gained national attention, won The American East Division and went to a bowl game after falling short of one with a little more prestige in the conference title game.
Fran Dunphy’s men’s hoopsters ended up claiming the top seed in this coming week’s tourney after the women’s is completed on Monday night.
So maybe it was time for Tonya Cardoza’s women’s hoopsters  to put their claim on some notoriety in conference competition, especially with a nice prize attached to the effort.
ACC Final: Orange v. Irish – 12:30 ESPN

“We can beat anyone,” promised junior center Briana Day, celebrating her team’s relentless refusal to wilt despite losing a 12-point lead to the Cardinals, whose only previous loss this calendar year came to Notre Dame, 66-61 on Feb. 7.

The Fighting Irish will look to cement their place as the second-best team in the land — behind three-time defending NCAA champion UConn — while, win or lose Sunday, Syracuse probably will be hosting first- and second-round games of the NCAA tournament in the Carrier Dome.

Vicki: 

While the ACC tournament semifinals were played without a team from North Carolina for the first time Saturday, here’s what hasn’t changed.

Notre Dame, the conference empress since joining a league dominated by Tobacco Road schools three years ago, extended its reign to 56-1 in the ACC by eliminating fourth-seeded Miami 78-67 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Headier still, the victory puts the Irish in the 30-win-and-likely-more column for the sixth consecutive season; the last time the Irish failed to reach those heights was 2009-10 when they won 29 games.

Big 10 Final: Michigan State v. Maryland 7pm ESPN

Big 12 Semis: Oklahoma v. Baylor; West Virginia v. Texas – 5:00

Ivy: For all the marbles, it’s Penn v. Princeton – 5:30 @ Princeton

MAAC semis: Monmouth v. Quinnipiac – 11am ESPN3; Marist v. Iona 1:30 (audio)

PAC 12 Final: UCLA v. Oregon State – 9pm

Michelle (is back! hi!): Oregon State-UCLA title game proof of Pac-12’s new power

These are indeed heady new days in Pac-12 women’s basketball. The tournament championship will be played Sunday at Key Arena and for only the second time in 14 years, Stanford won’t be taking the floor.

In fact, on Saturday night, the Cardinal were already at home, braving the rain in the Bay Area rather than an opposing defense in the semifinals. And that has never happened.

After nearly two decades of having Tara VanDerveer’s team serving as the standard-bearer, the name brand for an entire coast, the Pac-12’s rebranding has become complete over four days in Seattle.

SEC Final: Mississippi State v. South Carolina – 2:30 ESPN

Mechelle: South Carolina hitting stride as it reaches SEC final

Mississippi State slowed the Tennessee train at the SEC women’s basketball tournament, but a bigger locomotive is still coming down the tracks.

Top-seeded South Carolina, looking downright scary Saturday, will take on No. 3 seed Mississippi State for the championship and accompanying NCAA automatic bid Sunday (ESPN, 2:30 p.m. ET). The Bulldogs will be underdogs, but they kind of relish that. It’s just the program’s second trip to the SEC final — the other was in 2000 — and it’s a milestone for them to get this far again.

Southern Conference Finals: Chattanooga v.Mercer – 1pm ESPN3. About those Bears:

If Mercer can get it done against Chattanooga, it will make history. The Bears have never reached the NCAA Tournament as a Division I program, although Mercer did have some strong seasons in the AIAW back in the 1970s and early 1980s, and it reached the NCAA Division II Final Four in the 1984-85 season.

“Mercer has a great history, AIAW when Sybil Blaylock played,” said [head coach Susie] Gardner, who led Austin Peay to the NCAA Tournament in the 2000-01, 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. “Back in the day before the NCAA, they were one of the top teams in the country. I’m just glad that we’ve been able to do it. I’m happy for the players. I’ve done a few things as a coach and a player, but these guys, they’ve worked so hard that I’m just happy that they get to experience the joy that they feel right now and how happy that locker room is.”

You’re out (Kelsey).

Myth No. 1: Arizona’s women’s basketball team can’t attract fleas.

On Senior Day, 2004, Arizona drew 5,003 to watch the Wildcats beat Oregon. In the previous month, the Wildcats drew crowds of 4,350, 4,111 and 3,507. They would go on to win the Pac-10 co-championship.

Myth No. 2: Arizona’s women’s basketball team has never won a game that meant anything.

On Jan. 12, 1998, the No. 9 Wildcats broke Stanford’s 48-game Pac-10 winning streak when Reshea Bristol swished a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Cardinal had won 22 consecutive games against Arizona.

The crowd of 3,010 rushed the court at McKale Center. UA coach Joan Bonvicini did a full-on dive onto the pile of celebrating bodies at midcourt.

BTW, cranky about ESPN’s “new and improved” game stats? Try this site: Stat Broadcast 

Oops! WHB curse: KCK Community College women’s basketball team knocks out No. 1 Johnson County

The Kansas City Kansas Community College women’s basketball team dethroned the defending national champions Thursday.

The Blue Devils beat previously undefeated Johnson County 63-56 in the NJCAA Division II, Region VI title game at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan. Kansas City Kansas, 29-3, lost two of its three regular-season games against the Cavaliers, 31-1, the No. 1-ranked team from wire-to-wire this season.

This is the 20th anniversary of all 5-on-5 girls basketball championships in our state. In 1995, Oklahoma crowned its last 6-on-6 champion, the last state in the union to have tournaments for the three-players-per-side, no-crossing-midcourt game.

Ask players now about playing that way, and they look like their heads might explode.

“I dunno how they did it,” said Mendell, Lamer’s backcourt trap partner.

WATN? Basketball veterans: Teamwork mirrors life

Life on a team is exhilarating.

For three Sioux Falls women who made basketball a big part of their lives, there are few things that compare with playing the sport in college or professionally. The highs, the lows, the emotions are all intense when shared with others working toward the same goals of improving skills and winning games, they say.

“It’s hard to replicate. Basketball is a unique experience,” says Amy Mickelson Brecht, who played for a championship Brookings High School team and went on to earn a starting position her junior and senior years at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she graduated in 1990. “There’s a lot of emotional ups and downs … a lot of rewards.”

Time on a team leaves a lifelong impression, says Olympia Scott, a retired WNBA player and Stanford University standout who lives in Sioux Falls with her husband and three children.

“It’s really shaped who I am,” Scott says. “You have the opportunity to get tremendous results from your hard work.”

 

 

 

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by folks who used to play against each other in the W.

At Pitt, they’ve chosen Suzie McConnell-Serio.

At Loyola, they’ve chosen Sheryl Swoopes.

Kellie didn’t have to wait long: Missouri State hires Kellie Harper as new women’s basketball coach

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It was close, and then it wasn’t:

#7 Cal over Utah.

#8 Penn State over Ohio State.

#5 Kentucky over LSU.

#22 Florida State over Virginia Tech.

Texas Tech over TCU.

NC State over Georgia Tech.

UTEP over Houston.

Butler over VCU.

Delaware over Drexel.

Creighton over Bradley.

Washington over Oregon.

It was close, and stayed close:

#19 UCLA over Arizona State

#13 Louisville over St. John’s.

#11 North Carolina over Miami.

#18 South Carolina over Arkansas.

#15 Purdue over #25 Michigan State.

Seton Hall over Rutgers.

Wichita State over Evansville.

It was never close:

#4 Duke over Boston College

#15 Georgia over Florida.

#17 Dayton over Massachusetts.

#16 TAMU over Missouri

#10 Maryland over Clemson.

Duquesne over Fordham.

MTSU over Western Kentucky.

Fresno State over Colorado State.

It wasn’t close, and then it got close.

Virginia over Wake Forest.

It was so close, it became a loss.

Iowa over #23 Michigan.

Washington State over Oregon State.

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Syracuse WBB: Halfcourt Shot by Brittney Sykes Sinks St. John’s, 60-57 (video)

Mas Dunks, asked Debbie. Griner replies, Okay. Oh, and Baylor won.

Oklahoma State’s been having an up down up down season. This time the “down” was courtesy of Kansas State. The Wildcats are banding together after injuries.

Yup, the new coach has made a difference: St. Louis over Richmond.

The road up in New Hampshire has hit some roadblocks. Hartford over Hampshire.

The two top dogs in the Am. East met: The Danes’ slightly better first half was the key to their win over the Terriers.

Central Michigan moved to 5-0 in the MAC as they rolled over Ohio.

With their win over Colgate, Army is now 4-0 in the Patriot League. Navy did the Black Knights a favor by swabbing the floor with American U, 61-42.

Well, perhaps it’s not the WHB curse, but the Debbie Antonelli curse. She mentions ‘nova on the podcast, then “Voila!”, down they go. To Providence. Providence!

I’m thinking, yah, it IS Debbie’s curse, because lookee here: Fordham won again and is 4-0 in the A-10. They’ll travel to Pennsylvania to meet fellow undefeated Conference-mate Duquesne on the 27th.

Texas was down 46-12 at the half on their way to a 76-38 thumping by Kansas.

The Hilltoppers got tripped up by South Alabama, 56-46. They face their top – soon to be leaving the – Conference competition Middle Tennessee next.

Is there something in the air this season? Women’s basketball sets 3-point record in win

Lady Swish has a little somethin’ somethin’ on a surprising conference: Lookee, who’s in first place in the Big South! A chat with Longwood’s Chelsea Coward

One team sits atop the Big South — and no, it’s not Liberty for a change, and neither is it surprising Presbyterian. Instead, atop the league sits upstart Longwood, sporting a gaudy 6-1 mark in conference – every other Big South team has at least two losses – and a 9-9 record overall. We say upstart not because the Lancers are full of underclassmen — seniors Chelsea Coward (16 ppg, 9 rpg) and Crystal Smith (16.9 ppg) lead this experienced bunch — but this is the first year Longwood is in a conference.

Delle Donne, healthy or not, makes the difference. So says Graham, as Unranked Delaware still tops mid-major poll

From Mel’s blog: Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Still Reaching for the Summit. Speaking of the SEC: Williams-Flournoy ready for her first game against Alabama, while the Lady Vols are not dwelling on past with Vanderbilt. 

Wondering who might “Got Next?” Check out Full Court’s list: 2013 McDonald’s All-American nominees announced.

Speaking of “Who’s Got Next,” Clay also offered up: The wheels are still turning in the WNBA

As the college season grinds into conference play, WNBA general managers, coaches and fans think about upgrading their rosters – and thus are contemplating the draft, free agents and possible trades.

The draft, as has been exhaustively discussed, starts with Brittney Griner (luckily she’s from Texas so the summer heat in Phoenix won’t be that hard to adjust to), moves on to Elena Delle Donne (as long as the Lyme disease is under control, she’s Chicago-bound) and pretty much finishes with Skylar Diggins (some star power lands in Tulsa).

There is more, though, and there will be surprise emergences over the next few years.

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…we get a women’s basketball double-header on non-cable TV again.

… we get TWO grand games on national TV.

…we get a competitive game between two top-ranked teams.

It was a good day to be a women’s basketball fan (not if you were a UConn fan, though).

The undercard was a fun game between #14 Purdue and #25 Nebraska – two teams that seem to enjoy overtimes.

In the overcard, #5 Notre Dame stormed in to a sold out Gampel and made the #1 Huskies blink. How much, I repeat, how much are we all looking forward to the rematch in South Bend? And how much are we going to miss this NolongerBig East rivalry?

Speaking of the NoLongerBig East, Quigley-less DePaul took it to #11 Louisville and held on for the upset, 86-80.

Speaking of the UsedToBePartOfBig East, West Virginia is not having a great time in the Big 12 — but they did put a scare in to Kansas.

The Hatters moved to 3-0 in the A-Sun.

Presbyterian didn’t let their win over Liberty go to their head —  well, maybe a little bit: They were down 40-19 at the half. But, they move to 4-0 in the Big South with their win over the Fightin’ Camels.

Texas couldn’t take advantage of their rebounding edge, and the Sooners escaped Austin with a win.

Hmmmm… St. Francis (NY) has been epically bad, and yet they defeated perennial NEC favorite Sacred Heart, 56-47.

The other St. Francis (PA) took care of their NEC opener with a win over Bryant, 81-76.

Let’s agree not to discuss the BU/Hartford game, okay?

Dickson went off, as did her fellow Memphis Tigers, and they won 109-68 over Wright State.

Duquesne stumbled at home, as Miami (OH) roared back in the second to take the game. How would you like to be the announcers with these two names: Olowinski (Redhawks) and Agunbiade (Dukes).

The Mocs of Chattanooga are now 3-0 in the Southern.

Coach is leaving you for the WNBA? Makes no nevermind. Seton Hall defeats Pittsburgh, 69-56.

Remember when we used to pay attention to Xavier? Kinda sad.

Remember the Bonnies? It’s been a tough season. They go down to Green Bay, 61-42.

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The Cardinal and Huskies were preparing for their big showdown. (At least THIS big Card game is on tv! — tho barely – ESPNU.) Michelle writes: 

Two years ago at Maples Pavilion, on a chilly California night just before the turn of the New Year, the building vibrated.

 The Connecticut Huskies came west with a NCAA-record 90-game winning streak and the nation’s best player. 

By the time Stanford ended that streak, leading start to finish in a 71-59 victory, delirious fans roared, former Stanford players were rushing the court, Connecticut players looked a little stunned and a smiling Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer sensibly reminded everyone that it was only December.

Fast forward to 2012 and it’s still only December. But that doesn’t mean Maples won’t vibrate again.

From the Cardinal website: It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 As Stanford And Connecticut Face Off Saturday: Saturday’s meeting will be the 51st all-time meeting between the nation’s top two teams 

From the Husky website: No. 2 UConn Faces Top-Ranked Stanford on Saturday on ESPNU – Top two teams in the nation tip off at 4 p.m. on December 29 on ESPNU

The No. 2 Connecticut women’s basketball team is set to take on top-ranked Stanford on Saturday at 4 p.m. at a sold out Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.  The top-two showdown will be televised on ESPNU with Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo on the call. The nation’s best will each put their undefeated records on the line as the Cardinal (11-0) and the Huskies (10-0) both have been perfect coming into Saturday’s game.

In case you were busy before the holidays, and missed this from Graham: Defense helps keep Cardinal No. 1

The week began with Baylor’s case for becoming the fourth school to win back-to-back national championships, and Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims and the Lady Bears putting on a show in dismantling Tennessee.

It closed with Stanford showing why the road to No. 1 currently runs through the Bay Area.

Cardinal fans and Husky fans are discussing and analyzing and anticipating.

Speaking of anticipating: From Lady Swish, “Let’s the games begin (again)!

OK, folks, break’s over. Hope everyone had a happy holiday and got recharged for the second half of the season. Now let’s get back to work. Here’s a look at each team’s post-Christmas opener:

As the “new” season starts, the Register Guard has a Team-by-team 2013 Pac-12 women’s basketball preview and asks, “Is the league closing in on Stanford?”

The holiday break has opened some space for writers to go beyond “fifteen minutes after it ends” game stories.

From John Cannon at the Frederick News-Post Staff: India Dotson’s Smart head start – India Dotson was supposed to be one of the county’s top girls basketball players this season. Instead, she is already at Monmouth University, taking classes and playing hoops

Freshman India Dotson is the youngest player on the Monmouth University women’s basketball team.

Strange as it sounds, that fact helps explain why her college coach considers her to be so mature.

At 10-fer, Colorado is about to move in to Conference play, and the Buffs know Pac-12 play will be tough

From the New Haven Register’s Chris Hunn: Milford’s Casey Dulin excelling for Marist women’s basketball

For Milford’s Casey Dulin, there’s no place like home.

“She always seems to play well in Connecticut,” said Marist coach Brian Giorgis of his 5-foot-10 combo guard. “She seems to always have great games here. She always gets a lot of fans. It motivates her, it fires her up and she plays well.”

Folks at Duquesne are psyched: Women’s Basketball Receives Votes in Both PollsDukes get votes in AP and Coaches Polls

From the Jackson Free Press’ Torsheta Bowens: Mississippi Women’s Basketball Relies on Key Metro Area Graduates

From Cody Westerlund at the Ames Tribune:

In a season that’s already seen a worrisome injury to a top player (Chelsea Poppens), the emergence of a potential star (Hallie Christofferson) and the transfer of a rotation regular (Emiah Bingley) for Iowa State, Moody has rarely been in the headlines. Her performances have rarely been lost on her coach, though, with good reason: Moody is vitally important because she’s unique on this team.

The NBA has theirs. Now the Cal basketball chimes in. (h/t to Nate) The SF Gate also has this on Cal’s Talia Caldwell

As someone big on goals and plans, Cal basketball player Talia Caldwell knows exactly what she will be doing on a certain spring morning next year:

“I’ll be done May 23rd at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I’ll dance across the stage and get my degree and say ‘sayonara.’ “

It won’t be just any old undergraduate degree, either. After becoming the first Cal women’s basketball player ever admitted to the prestigious Haas School of Business, Caldwell will receive a B.A. in business administration. (Maybe the Lib could hire her?)

Speaking of Nate, more fun from Swish Appeal: Meme/GIF of the Year Candidates for 2012

It’s getting close to the end of the calendar year, since we are all heading to Christmas next Tuesday. Over the course of this year’s open threads and the like, there have been some comments with memes and GIF’s after a play or something to symbolize a theme of the season. So, here are some of the notable ones we saw throughout the year, and more specifically during the WNBA season.

The .com chimes in with their “Tomorrow’s Stars: Christmas Edition:”

The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. Each week, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it’s never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.From espnW:

2012: The Year of the Woman, by espnW (feat. Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”) (Who was the comedienne who said, “What, we only get a year?”)

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amid all the hullaballoo in Indy….

Say, what? This was not the season the Dukes were expecting, but then this happens: St. Louis’ Jenna Mueller hit’s a jumper with 1.1 seconds left, and boom, the Billikens (I kid you not) take down Duquesne. This puts St. Louis at 8-15 (2-8) and the Dukes at 15-8 (3-5).

Another last second lay-up, and the Pride took one on the nose from the Monarchs. ODU traveled to Hempstead and, behind Mairi Buchan’s career high 20pts, beat Hofstra 81-79. Jackie Cook scored with 2.7 left to secure the win.

It was a tight one in the battle of the mittens: Michigan State 65, Michigan 63. Poole hit the winning basket with four seconds left.

UTEP squeaked out a win over Rice, 45-41, preserving their undefeated conference record.

Sweet story about the power of people to make a difference in a young person’s life: Oregon State women’s basketball: Anna Marchbanks rises from the ashes

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From Graham: Local, international talent lead Dukes

McConnell-Serio is quick to credit players she inherited for embracing a new philosophy, particularly former guard Kristi Little, but signing Gensler as part of her first class was the move that truly began shaping the program. Not even the coach envisioned Gensler growing into the Atlantic 10’s leading scorer, a distinction she held until recently this season, but the prep player of the year in Pittsburgh as a senior represented both the talent and temperament the program wanted to keep close to home.

“Our goal is to keep the top players here,” McConnell-Serio said. “Selling that family and friends can see them play and they can be the name in Pittsburgh that people read about in our papers. Become the face of the program. I want our players to be the face of the program.”

From the AP: Diggins a star, on and off the court – Irish point guard understands, accepts ‘greater expectations’

When Skylar Diggins was younger, stepfather Maurice Scott used to tell her about Michael Jordan’s famous “Be Like Mike” commercial. One day, he’d joke, she’d have her own ad like that.

“I want to be like Sky. Sky’s the limit,” Scott said, recalling his suggested tag lines. “We’d laugh about it.”

Funny thing is, he wasn’t too far off.

From espnW: All Access Stanford has the team helping out and hanging out

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Bill Fennelly Named Head Coach of 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team

A three-time gold medal winner as a USA assistant coach, USA Basketball today announced that Iowa State University’s Bill Fennelly will return to the USA sideline as head coach of the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. Serving as assistant coaches will be Suzie McConnell-Serio (Duquesne University) and Terri Williams-Flournoy (Georgetown University).

The trio will look to defend the USA’s 2009 gold medal at the 2011 World University Games women’s basketball competition August 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

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are getting some attention from Phil Axelrod of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: At home on The Bluff  – Upper St. Clair’s Gensler a cornerstone of blooming Duquesne program

“I never promise anybody playing time,” McConnell-Serio said of recruiting. “What we talk about is an opportunity, a chance to be part of something we were going to build at Duquesne. We told her she could be part of something new, something that would be a challenge. She is a very big part of what we’re doing at Duquesne.

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