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On cue, the LIU moves to 4-5 in the NEC with a win over Fairleigh Dickinson, 65-62.

In their first meeting, Bucknell hosted Army and beat’em by 10. In the West Point rematch, the Black Knights pulled away in the fourth for a 5-point win. With both teams at 8-1 in the conference, there’s no margin for error in the race to the Patriot League title.

Okay, then. With their first victory in 11 tries against Stetson, Jacksonville moves to 6-0 in the A-Sun and is tied with Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun. Guess who the Dolphins get to play on the 4th…in Naples? And host on the 10th…in Jacksonville.

Looking to keep everyone in the Horizon honest, Northern Kentucky takes down the Penguins, 88-77. A little sting to the win: former YSU guard, Shar’Rae Davis who finished the half with a total of 12 points off the bench. She was one of three players who didn’t receive scholarship renewals in 2014,

*no jinx, no jinx* UNC Asheville is now 9-2 in the Big South.

*WHB talked cr@p about us. Let’s show her!* Rutgers starts ugly but finishes strong against Nebraska, earning a 66-55 win.

*continued jinx?* UT Rio Grande lost – but it was to WAC top dog, New Mexico State.

The Miners are still perfect in C-USA play (9-0), but after Marshall, Western Kentucky (8-1) (who lost to MTSU) looms, Feb. 6th. MTSU (7-2), which has had some “stuff” going on this year, lost to UTEP 84-73 earlier this season, but doesn’t get a rematch.

Fresno State (ummm… shout out to the Bee: ““I just feel like we know how to come back,” senior co-captain Toni Smith said in a phone interview after the game.) and Colorado State have unblemished Mountain West records – will that last until March 1st, when they get to face off against each other?

Squeak! Ohio moved to 9-0 in the MAC with a one-point win over Ball State, 68-67.

Hmmmm… the Bulldogs are struggling, yes, but I’m sure San Francisco is enjoying beating Gonzaga.

On a day when USF honored its 1996 Sweet 16 team, the 2015-16 San Francisco women’s basketball team made a place for themselves in program history as well. The Dons scored the first bucket of the game and never trailed to earn a big 71-52 win over the Bulldogs at War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center on Saturday afternoon.

The victory was their first win over the 11-time WCC defending champions since a West Coast Conference tournament win on March 2, 2006. The 19-point deficit is also the largest loss of the season for Gonzaga, who lost to Stanford 65-48 on Nov. 15 during non-conference action.

Gotta love in-state games: Bobcats knock off Lady Griz

A year ago this month, the Montana State women’s basketball team crumbled and lost its composure in a 62-48 loss to Montana that sent the Bobcats to 1-4 in conference, searching for answers.

A year later, it seems like the Bobcats of head coach Tricia Binford have all the right ones.

Ooooooooh, De-bbie: Eastern Kentucky over Morehead State, 100-93; Eastern Washington over Sacramento State, 100-83.

What to look for Sunday:

#12 Kentucky at Florida – will the Wildcats bounce back, or with the Gators camp.

St. John’s at #23 DePaul. The Blue Demons have been up and down… and the Red Storm has been knocking at the door of the polls.

UNC at NC State. A missing coach adds intrigue to the 101st edition of this in-state rivalry.

St. Louis at George Washington. The Billikens (7-1) are SO much better.… but the Colonials are undefeated (8-0) in conference….

Alabama at Tennessee. One would thing the Tide would be just what the doctor ordered for the Vols…. but remember, they gave TAMU a scare.

#13 Mississippi State at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been snacking on ranked teams. How focused will the Bulldogs be after their big win over Tennessee?

#2 South Carolina at Texas A&M (ESPN2). It’s never fun to play against the 12th man.

It’s likely that #14 Louisville will stay hot against Wake Forest... so I can’t help but look ahead to Feb 7th when they face Notre Dame.

BTW, in Division II news:

McKendree University men’s basketball coach Harry Statham posted his 1,098th career victory Thursday night, matching Pat Summitt’s mark for the most at a four-year school.

Statham is in his 50th season at the Division II college. He guided the Bearcats past Wisconsin-Parkside 92-85 on the court named in his honor.

The 78-year-old Statham has a career record of 1,098-474. He can top Summitt’s record Saturday when McKendree hosts Lewis. (Didn’t)

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in California: “Berkeley’s girls basketball coach Cheryl Draper took her team off the court with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in a game in a loss to Miramonte-Orinda, claiming she and her players heard racial slurs.”

And now we have this in Pennsylvania: Smear campaign against nation’s top girls basketball team – Philly’s Neumann-Goretti – traced to rival coach (nice job by write Joseph Santoliquito)

It attempted to discredit the NG program, alleging that the African players on the Saints, here legally, are older than their actual age and are in the United States illegally. Contents of the email were posted on comment forums of media websites (since removed) alleging institutional misconduct, and stating that the “FBI” is looking into the matter.

What PhillyVoice has uncovered is that the email Aston received was not just from anyone. It emanated from an email address that is registered to the name and home address of another Philadelphia Catholic League coach, Archbishop Wood girls basketball coach John Gallagher, who through an attorney neither confirms nor denies sending the email to Aston “and others.”

Additionally, Archbishop Wood has known about this — and has taken no action to date. 

And this from Maine: Witnesses: Calais girls basketball teammates exchanged obscenities, one pushed coach during game

An altercation between two Calais High School girls basketball players during a recent game is believed to have sparked a controversy that prompted the superintendent of schools to tender his resignation, after the school board reduced his disciplinary action against the players.

On the flip side: From the Deseret News: Copper Hills reaping the rewards of years of building program

“To be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” said Morley, who spent nine years coaching boys basketball, as well as football. “There was no tradition, no anything. They basically handed me a bunch of deflated balls and old uniforms and said, ‘Hey, turn the program around.’ I knew there would be work, but to be honest, I didn’t quite know how much.” Morley quickly diagnosed a number of issues. First, he was new to girls basketball so he wasn’t even sure if his experience would translate.

Yes, you can call Kansas State over #20 Texas an upset, but a bigger upset was Oakland (10-11, 4-4) over Green Bay (17-4, 7-1)), 70-67. And it was on the Phoenix’s home court.

By ending UWGB’s season-high winning streak of eight games, Oakland became the first team to knock off the Phoenix in Horizon play at the midway point of the league schedule. What’s more, the feisty Grizzlies handed UWGB (17-4 overall, 7-1 conference) its first home loss.

“I’d be lying to you if I said it wasn’t a little bit of a surprise,” said an elated Jeff Tungate, Oakland’s second-year coach. “But, we’ve had a really good week of practice, and our players have been really determined. I knew we were going to play well coming in. I just didn’t know, is ‘playing well’ going to be enough? Thankfully tonight, it was.”

You may recall that Tungate inherited a program that was a hot mess.

Another big upset: San Jose State (10-11, 4-6 MW) stunned Fresno State (17-4, 9-1), 56-51.

I’m have a funny feeling this group of Mountaineers maybe driving coach Carey bonkers. They take down TCU, 76-71.

Ouch. Albany took out its frustration on New Hampshire, 74-48.

It’s not quite Monday, but it’s never too early to start throwing down gauntlets: Editorial: Greatness awaits USC women’s basketball team

 AS WE WATCHED the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team evolve under the leadership of coach Dawn Staley over the past few years, it was evident that it was on a trajectory toward elite status.

We believe it has crossed that threshold this season, having spent 11 straight weeks at the top of the national rankings. A showdown with No. 2 Connecticut on the road presents a grand opportunity for the Gamecocks to step into rarified air and send a message that not only can it run with the big programs, it can defeat them.

Last season, Kansas State enticed fans to attend a women’s basketball game by offering free bacon.

This season, Georgetown is one-upping those Wildcats with something even better: free kale.

Congrats: Brittany Boyd breaks Cal women’s basketball all-time assist record

Congrats, (but I think the Harvard English professors might want to chat with the headline writer): Fagbenle Reaches Century Mark in Women’s Basketball’s Loss to Penn

Though the Harvard women’s basketball team may have been on the losing end of a back and forth contest against Penn (11-6, 2-1 Ivy) Saturday evening at Lavietes Pavilion, the game was one for the record books.

As the first half came to a close, senior forward Temi Fagbenle sunk a free throw to become the 19th player in Crimson history to score 1,000 points. Fagbenle was Harvard’s leading scorer in the game, earning 19 points to bring her career total to 1,010.

Intersting: Pepperdine Students to Protest Alleged Discrimination Against Lesbian Basketball Players – The women claim their coach told them, ‘Lesbianism isn’t tolerated here.’ 

Some great stuff by Sue on Diana’s decision to sit out the WNBA season:

A Washington Post columnist says Diana Taurasi’s decision to sit out this year’s WNBA season for $1.5 million to play for her Russian team next winter is “a sobering message for the WNBA.”

Nope. It’s business as usual.

It’s a sad situation for Taurasi, the WNBA’s highest-paid player at just less than $107,000 a year, and a problem for the WNBA.

No, this is a sad situation, as is any player who is so worn down after year-round playing that they look tired in WNBA press conferences. And there are lots of those. Taurasi is taking advantage of her skills and her popularity and accepting a great offer that will take care of her financially when she’s older. She’s doing it on her terms, her way. As my source who first told me this news Friday night said, taking the money was “a no-brainer” for Taurasi.

It’s curious that Russian teams will pay big bucks to American players, but U.S. teams will not.

Again, no. I wrote about the differences between U.S. and European/Asian salaries in 2012:

Women’s professional basketball in Europe and Asia is directly effected by the worldwide recession because teams there are sponsored by businesses and governments. When faced with keeping their enterprises alive, companies cut the extras, like their team sponsorships. Ditto, governments. And as up to 100 percent of a team’s budget can come from sponsors, some franchises are forced to fold……

Nice piece on the NCAA’s Champion Magazine on FGCU’s Kaneisha Atwater:

Ninety-eight percent of teen moms do not graduate college before they turn 30. Kaneisha, though, is on the cusp of being counted among the other 2 percent. She is on pace to receive a degree in criminal justice from Florida Gulf Coast University in May 2016, thanks to a basketball scholarship.

For decades, a birth often marked the death of a college career. News reports told stories of scholarships that weren’t renewed, of free paths to a degree blockaded, of pregnant athletes whose fear of losing their place on a team steered them to abortions. Those accounts spurred culture change: In 2008, Division I adopted legislation preventing athletes from losing their scholarships for medical reasons the year they became pregnant. Seven years later, schools like Florida Gulf Coast are willing to make accommodations so athletes like Kaneisha can juggle diapers and textbooks and basketballs.

Having a flashback to Yolanda Griffith’s experience at Palm Beach Community College under coach Sally Smith.

The door she opened led her to one of the top programs and coaches in the country, Iowa and C. Vivian Stringer. But, not long after enrolling, Griffith discovered she was pregnant. With the father uninterested in raising a child, she left school and returned to Chicago where her family banded around her. The birth of her daughter, Candace, in May of 1989 found Griffith unsure what the future held for her. Realizing she wanted to continue to play basketball, a game plan was laid out: go to a Junior College, graduate, then finish out her career at a four-year college. The first thought was to stay local, but a good friend knew the head coach at Palm Beach Community College, Sally Smith. Interestingly enough, Smith, who had been the first black All-American on the legendary Nashville Business College team, herself had had a daughter when she was 18. “He said,” recalled Griffith, “’This is the best place for you as far as the facilities, getting education, and helping single parents.’”

Wait, isn’t this a recruiting violation for UConn-Notre Dame-Louisville? Mo’ne Davis, Charles, Diggins, Schimmel to Play in Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

 

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Congrats to coach Jim Foster, who’s coached his fourth team into the top 25.

#22 Georgia suffered two losses against #5 Tennessee –  first  leading scorer Shacobia Barbee, then the game.

Tennessee went more than eight minutes without scoring to start the second half Sunday afternoon.

The Lady Vols shot poorly from the floor (34 percent) and committed 18 turnovers.

But they did make free 20 of 21 free throws. Their uncanny performance from the foul line saved a 59-51 SEC women’s basketball victory before a crowd of 13,428 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

#17 Florida State dispatched Wake Forest, 110-80.

Sue Semrau almost always has a good basketball team. That’s nothing new.

But what the Florida State head coach has this year is something entirely different. What she has this year is a team that is quite capable of winning the ACC. What she has this year is a team that is capable of reaching the Final Four.

Simply put: What she has this year is the most talented team in school history.

Again, bad Big Ten Mojo for Northwestern, as they fall to Penn State, 76-75.

The Sycamores have lost their groove in the MVC, falling to Northern Iowa, 57-56. That puts the Panthers at 6-1 in their conference – but they host conference leader Wichita State next.

So, it’s looking like #7 Maryland may toddle through the Big 10 unscathed. Rutgers, #15 Nebraska and  Iowa look to pose the biggest threat.

Along with Jones, sophomore Lexie Brown added 21 points and fellow sophomore Shatori Walker-Kimbrough finished with 18 points. The seventh-ranked Terrapins 11-game winning streak began after losing at then second ranked Notre Dame on Dec. 3.”We thrive off energy, feeding off of each other and celebrating each other,” Brown said. “That’s when we’re at our best, when our bench is energized and coach B is energized and everyone is pumped up. Obviously today we didn’t show (energy). It definitely wasn’t the best that we’ve played, but top to bottom we had a lot of great moments throughout the team.”

OT in D.C. produced a Debbie Antonelli Special: Seton Hall over Georgetown, 99-85.

No OT needed for this DAS: North Dakota over Eastern Washington, 96-82.

Double-OT gives us a third DAS: Eastern Kentucky over Tennessee Tech, 97-93. EKU features sophomore guard Michaela Hunter,  named the National Mid-Major Women’s Basketball Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

Don’t blame me, blame Mike Guardabascio (twice: You Should Be Watching Long Beach State Women’s BasketballLong Beach falls to CS Northridge, 67-52.

The CSUN Matadors defeated the current first place Big West team, California State University, Long Beach, 67-52 Saturday night, delivering the first conference defeat to the 49ers this season.

The Matadors battled Long Beach for the lead throughout the two halfs before getting a sufficient lead cushion late in the game and sending the 49ers home with their first loss in two months.

Interesting sequence of games coming up for Maine in the America East: they’ll face the Wildcats (6-1/conf w/ 3-time Rookie of the Week Carlie Pogue) and the Great Danes (7-0/conf. and a rematch of the Bears’ conference opener loss).

George Washington is still rolling through the A-10 (We see you, Jonquel). I’m sure they’re eyeing the Dayton game (Feb. 8th) and the Fordham game (Feb. 22nd).

But, hold on… the Rams lost to the Billikens? Huge win for St. Louis, coming back from 10 down in the first. And congrats to freshman guard Jackie Kemph, who was named the Atlantic 10 Conference women’s basketball Rookie of the Week

Akron escapes the fire of the Chippewas, 74-72, and now leaps into the pan of Ohio.

A poor second half did in Missouri against #14 Kentucky, 83-69.

Iowa State’s Nikki Moody seems to enjoy slaying Texas, bad ankle or no. The Longhorns Texas lost for the fourth time in five games as Lang couldn’t replace all that the Texans have lost with leading scorer and rebounder Nneka Enemkpali going down to the dreaded ACL.

It took overtime, but #15 Duke upset #12 North Carolina behind Williams’ 33. Is it just me, or did anyone else more from Williams day in and day out?

Not so fast there, you – Army gave American U their first Patriot League loss, 68-60, behind League Player of the Week Kelsey Minato. (Wow. In her freshman year, the Californian was the first in Patriot League history to be voted Player and Rookie of the Year.) Rematch on Feb. 21st.

They may not have impressive out-of-conference records, but once they get into SWAC play, it’s all about Texas Southern and Southern.

Don’t want to put the hex on’em, but New Mexico State is now 5-0 in the WAC.

So the dumping of Beth Burns… how’s that workin’ for ya, San Diego State?

Minnesota didn’t get the win against Rutgers, but 36 points from Amanda Zahui B. gets people’s attention.

Zahui B. grew up playing soccer and tennis, singing in the choir and taking theater lessons. She even learned what her mother called “circus acts,’’ such as juggling. “It was nothing for her to pick up something new, and be good at it,’’ her mother said.

She was taller than most of the boys in her class. She began playing basketball when she was 10. By 13, Sweden had added her to its 16-and-under national team and her father was bringing a drum to her games, becoming a one-man pep band.

“I remember when I was younger, people would say, ‘Wow, you are taller than all of the boys,’ ’’ Zahui B. said. “But I’ve never been insecure about my height. My parents always taught me to walk with my back straight.

“When it came to basketball, pretty much my parents begged me to play. They said, ‘We know this coach, go to practice,’ and I stuck. Every practice, I had two or three coaches working with me. It took me two or three weeks to figure out you could only take two steps on a layup.’’

Yes, Green Bay, the Horizon seems to be yours for the taking.

In the “marquee” matchup of ranked teams, the Beavers’ size and on-court execution made the difference:

No. 9 Oregon State proved that they are the team to beat in the Pac-12, defeating the No 13 ASU women’s basketball team 68-57.

“For some reason we were really struggling to play together today on offense,” ASU head coach Charli Turner Thorne said. “We were just… not outwardly focused.”

OSU’s long defenders forced ASU to change its offensive flow.

Snap! goes the Toppers 14-game win streak. It was a heartbreaker, with free throws and a waved off basket, as UTSA comes back to take down #24 Western Kentucky, 64-63. It was the program’s first win in history over a ranked opponent.

Who stole the wheels off Oklahoma State’s wagon? TCU carried off their carburetor, 71-62.

That’s 11-straight for Fresno State.

Practices have gotten a little shorter for the Fresno State women’s basketball team.

That doesn’t mean they’ve gotten easier. If anything, practices have gotten more intense for the winners of 10 in a row and off to a perfect start in Mountain West play.

“We’ve got to replicate the game and replicate the scout and make sure that we are going against it at an even higher level than we’ll see in the game,” coach Jaime White said.

In a battle for second place in the WCC, it was BYU over San Diego, 54-50.

“I am really happy we got the win tonight,” BYU head coach Jeff Judkins said. “This game reminded me so much of Saint Mary’s where we had a good lead the first half and played really well defensively but came out a little flat and stood around. I think Xojian’s [Harry] 3-pointer that she hit was a big basket for us to kind of take the lid off the basket and loosen us up.”

Countdown watch: In NAIA D1 news, Vanguard’s Russ Davis is 9 wins away from 500.

With another runaway win against Cincinnati, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis moved into 10th all time in Connecticut scoring. UConn’s Geno Auriemma is on his way to 900 wins.

Bracketology, anyone? Charlie says No. 4 seeds are toughest to identify – One seed line means more in 2015 as tourney shifts back to top 16 teams hosting

As discussed in this space a week ago, the No. 1 seeds in women’s college basketball remain unclear after South Carolina and Connecticut. Notre Dame seems to be gaining a stronger hold, but Baylor replaced Tennessee on the top line in the past seven days.

Despite the change, the same teams remain in the conversation for a top seed: Baylor, Tennessee, Maryland and Oregon State (thanks to its huge win at Arizona State this weekend).

In fact, choosing the top three seeds in each region this week was relatively easy. Though their order was tough to distinguish, teams 1-12 were fairly evident.

However, the picture got a whole lot murkier after that.

In W news, John Klein asks: If wins start coming for Shock, will fans follow?

Entertaining is great. Certainly, the Shock has done everything it can to promote its players and the WNBA in Tulsa. Diggins and Sims are among the best female basketball players on the planet.

Still, to really gauge the impact of the WNBA in Tulsa it will take more than scoring a lot of points (the Shock was second in the league last year).

What the Shock needs most to give Tulsa a chance to really appreciate women’s basketball is victories.

You know, you gotta love when the classics are quoted as part of girls basketball coverage. From Cory Olsen at MiLive:

When victorian-era poet Lord Alfred Tennyson said “Trust me not at all, or all in all,” it’s doubtful he had girls basketball in mind — the game was invented just one year before he died in 1891.

Yet that principle of trust is being instilled into the Wayland girls basketball team by head coach Marty Howard and judging by their double-overtime win over visiting Catholic Central Friday night, they’re taking to it very well.

On the flip side, this sounds unpleasant. From San Francisco: Controversy mars girls tournament

A great day of basketball at the Corner Bakery Showdown in Lafayette took a turn when Berkeley’s girls basketball coach Cheryl Draper took her team off the court with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in a game in a loss to Miramonte-Orinda, claiming she and her players heard racial slurs. 

Miramonte led 68-50 at the time, and a second technical foul in a span of a minute — three in all were called against Berkeley — was called against Berkeley point guard Jaimoni Welch-Coleman (20 points) when Draper called timeout and had her players leave the court.

Finally: Just awful news from Michigan: 2 EMU students, including women’s basketball player, killed in overnight Ypsilanti Township crash

Eastern Michigan University has identified two students as the individuals killed in a head-on crash overnight in Ypsilanti Township

Shannise Heady, 21, from Hazel Crest, Ill., and Jordan Hopkins, 23, of Dexter were killed in a crash shortly before 1 a.m. Jan. 25 on Hewitt Road near Midvale, the university said in a press release.

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especially:

#10 Kentucky at #1 South Carolina – though having Goss on the court would be more fun)

Virginia at #21 Syracuse – a chance for the Orange to get their first ACC win or the Cavaliers to prove that this season means they’re on the road up. BTW, this stinks: Syracuse women’s basketball player Brittney Sykes out for season with ACL injury

#13 Duke at Florida State – could be a statement game for the Seminoles against a shaky Blue Devil team.

#12 Maryland at #23 Minnesota – so, who exactly IS this Gopher team?

#19 Nebraska at Illinois – careful, careful, careful, Big Red…

Georgia Tech at #8 North Carolina – can the Tar Heels regroup or does the Ramblin’ Wreck take advantage?

#15 Stanford at Washington State – yes, the Cougars aren’t quite the threat the Huskies were, but the Cardinal can’t take anything for granted this season.

Today’s games I’m keeping an eye on:

Phoenix v. Penguins.

Tigers v. Quakers.

Hatters v. Eagles.

West Coast Tigers v. Gaels.

A little West Coast news: Fresno State women’s basketball quite all right under new coach Jaime White

During her four years on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, Alex Sheedy has played for three different coaches.

Without any prompting, the senior forward majoring in mass communication and journalism will tell you which ranks atop her list.

It’s the one who has the current Bulldogs off to an 11-3 start and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference: first-year coach Jaime White.

Oregon State Beavers women’s basketball notes and nuggets: Home sweet home — finally

Friday’s Civil War matchup will be Oregon State’s first appearance inside Gill Coliseum since Dec. 6.

For some perspective, that’s the same week former football coach Mike Riley left for Nebraska. 

Mid-west(ish): CU women’s basketball: Jamee Swan reaching potential in new role

Jamee Swan is able to laugh about the emotional swings of Jamee Swan now because she seems to be getting them under control and it’s showing up in the box score for the Colorado women’s basketball team. 

It hasn’t quite translated to Swan leading her team to more victories in the Pac-12 Conference, but she’s evolving for sure midway through her junior season. Swan has led the Buffs in scoring in four straight games, despite recently going from starter to the first player coach Linda Lappe brings off the bench.

Gophers women’s basketball: Unbeaten in Rachel Banham’s absence

A prominent objective for the Gophers women’s basketball team heading into this season was to crack the Associated Press top 25 for the first time since 2006. It seemed like an attainable goal, even though Minnesota hadn’t been nationally ranked in nearly 10 years. 

Then Rachel Banham tore her ACL, and it appeared, at least briefly, that all hope was lost. Banham was the preseason Big Ten Conference player of the year and all-important to the Gophers.

New Mexico: Team leader Chirrisse Bryce Owens has her own pace on, off court

Head coach Yvonne Sanchez said Owens has shown tremendous growth in each of her the three years in the program.

“She used to be so serious when she first got here,” Sanchez said. “She can be really light-hearted but can also be intense.”

Sanchez said Owens has outgrown the constant role of being a stickler and has blossomed into the easygoing leader the team needs.

From Jeff Metcalfe: Elisha Davis emerges as floor leader for No. 18 ASU women

“Lili can be misunderstood if you don’t really know her,” Turner Thorne said. “She wants to do her best and do things right every time and her biggest weakness is when she doesn’t, she gets frustrated with herself. I think in the back of her mind she wondered, do I belong here? Can I really play at Arizona State? Am I good enough?”

The answers we now know to those questions are yes, yes and yes.

Ouch! Broken-teeth incident lands Tulsa’s Ashley Hughes label of ‘toughest player in women’s basketball’

From the East Coast: While the Governor goes off to cheer for the Cowboys, New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham’s women’s basketball team is on a 45-game roll

When it comes to winning streaks, the longer they go on, the harder they are to keep up. You get a target on your back the better you are, and when you dominate the competition, everybody wants to be the David to you Goliath.

If that’s truly the case, then when it comes to the Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham Devils, that target might be seen from space. The Devils are definitely a super-sized Goliath, having won 45 games in a row, including the 2014 DIV III Women’s Basketball Championship which capped off a 33-0 season.

Not sure what’s gotten into the NY Times, but they’re still noticing women’s basketball. This time it’s a familiar name in DII basketball: They Don’t Rebuild. They Replace. Emporia State Lady Hornets Keep Winning Despite Turnover

The Lady Hornets of Emporia State, 130 miles from home, had gone scoreless in their first two possessions against Missouri Western on Thursday night when the freshman point guard Addie Lackey cradled the basketball near midcourt and turned to her coach, Jory Collins, for instruction.

“Motion!” Collins yelled. “Let’s go!”

Three words were all it took for Lackey to ignite the offense, sending the ball from one pair of hands to the next until Merissa Quick made a short jumper. It was the type of precise possession that has become brutally familiar to opponents not only this season, but also for much of the past two decades.

At Princeton, a Student of Sports Leadership Successfully Applies Her Research: Courtney Banghart Has Led Tigers to 16-0 Record

As a women’s basketball assistant at Dartmouth in 2007, Courtney Banghart juggled her coaching duties with requirements for a master’s degree in writing and leadership development. For her final project, she conducted in-person interviews with accomplished coaches, including the North Carolina women’s soccer coach, Anson Dorrance, and the Connecticut women’s basketball coach, Geno Auriemma.

That May, days after completing and defending her 100-page oral history on sports leadership, Banghart, then 29, was hired as Princeton’s coach. She is now a rising star in a profession she never thought she would pursue when she was a neuroscience major and two-time first-team all-Ivy League guard as an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

Some Maggie Dixon follow up by Ray at Swish Appeal: Gail Marquis reflects on first women’s game at MSG and A historic classic at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Battling through Adversity as ACC Play Begins

One game from an extended holiday break, things were running smoothly for second year head coach Wes Moore and his NC State women’s basketball program. Despite losing 50.4 combined points per game (67.1 percent of the total offense) due to the graduation of its most recent senior class, which included WNBA Draft picks Markeisha Gatling and Kody Burke, the team was 8-3, in the midst of a three-game winning streak, and had only suffered losses to teams inside the top 49 of the RPI. 

One fast break changed a lot on December 19 against Davidson. While driving up the court, senior captain and guard Krystal “KB” Barrett stopped short to pump fake a trailing defender, suffering a non-contact injury to her right knee in the process.

Congrats! LSU’s Temeka Johnson announced as SEC Legend

 Schaefer has Miss. State on the rise

This was Vic Schaefer, coach of the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, talking late Sunday afternoon:

“We set offensive basketball back at least 20 years today.”

“We’re just not very good on the offensive end of the floor. We are not executing. We keep turning the ball over. Offensively, we are awful.”

“It’s my job to fix it and I’m not doing a very good job right now.”

Enough. Now then, you should know Schaefer’s Bulldogs, ranked No. 17 at the time, had just defeated Missouri 53-47, on the road, erasing a nine-point second-half deficit, to go to 17-0 on the season. That continued the best start and longest winning streak in school history.

From Swish Appeal, some WNBA news: Three questions on how Brian Agler will make his impact on the Los Angeles Sparks and The New York Liberty’s rehiring of Bill Laimbeer is questionable at best

Speaking of the Liberty: Cappie Pondexter Joins Athlete Ally

Q: You attended the Athlete Ally Action Awards in New York City and accepted the award given to the WNBA, which was honored for its LGBT Pride initiative. What was your takeaway from that night, meeting so many athletes and fans–both LGBT and straight–who all have such a commitment to making sports a welcoming place?

A: That night gave me a sense of peace knowing that Athlete Ally’s commitment to bridging the gap of equality in sports has grown tremendously. It is empowering to see the organization’s continued support for the LGBT community.

Congrats! Moore Honored As 2014 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

Penny Taylor urges Canberra Capital Stephanie Talbot to take WNBA plunge

Talbot is averaging 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game in her first season with the Capitals. 

She was taken at pick 33 by the Mercury in last year’s WNBA draft, but is yet to decide whether to head to the US when the next season begins in June. 

The 20-year-old’s high basketball IQ, speed, athletic frame and passing ability have impressed many astute judges, including Taylor. 

Please: Kim Perott Basketball Court proposal presented to LCG Council

The Martin Luther King Center on Cora Street in Lafayette would be considered by many an ideal place to remember Kim Perrot.  This basketball court is where Perrot’s dreams played out. Loretta Perrot is Kim’s big sister.  “I believe in my she had a mission from God.  He allowed her to be without any pain and suffering.  When the cancer overcame her she just went through it. She was a true soldier.”

From West Virginia: Flying Eagles introducing girls basketball hall of fame

Staples and Brown, the inside and outside threats from several top Woodrow teams in the mid-1980s, will be inducted into the hall. They’ll each receive a plaque, and their jerseys will be hung from the ceiling at the Woodrow gym. A special hall of fame banner will also be showcased.

Chick-fil-A at the Beckley Galleria will sponsor the girls hall. Owner Richard Jarrell has been a key booster of the team since he returned to Beckley several years ago. He’s helped get it scoreboards and better facilities, and he’s glad to be part of the new hall.

“I started going to the girls games because I was friends with (former coach) Bernie Bostick, and I loved watching the girls play,” he said. “This is past due. When they said they would do a hall of fame and were looking for a sponsor, I said, ‘I’m in!’”

Food for thought from Leland Gordon: Coaches share thoughts on 161-2 high school girls basketball game

Of all the blowouts we’ve seen here at MaxPreps, we don’t think we’ve seen one as big as 161-2.

That was the final score Monday between the girls basketball teams from Arroyo Valley (San Bernardino, Calif.) and Bloomington (Calif.), and as expected, it elicited conversation about how winning coaches are supposed to handle games where things are possibly getting out of hand.

Check out A High School Girls’ Basketball Miracle in Minnesota

We know Long Beach (college) is having a great year, but the high school entered 2015 on a sour note. Luckily,  the community came together to help:

After Christmas, the Poly girls went to Florida for a tournament. After landing in South Florida, they stopped to grab a bite to eat before making the estimated 90-minute drive to Naples. 

While they were inside the restaurant one of the team’s rental vans was broken into. Equipment and personal items were stolen. 
A Poly parent, who was making the trip a day later, was able to bring some extra uniforms so that the players who had theirs stolen would be able to play in the tournament. 

Then, enter Long Beach. 

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and what a great trip. The landing, though, was a tad tough, what with having to jump deep back into work. What is it about taking a break seems to make work want to take it out on you…

So, about that championship game. Yah, it was a while ago, and ya, the final score says comfortable blowout, but it was a fun game, with Notre Dame showing a lot of heart (after a lot of nerves). I sure hope the ridiculousness between the two coaches/programs fades like so many family blowups.

Some of the good news: ratings.

Now, for those who are moaning, “oh, here we go again, UConn is “bad” for women’s basketball,” I simply say: don’t ignore what happened with the REST of the teams this past season. Lots of parity. Lots of young coaches. Next step: demand excellence from them. Raise expectations. Identify best practices. Stop complacency. Push for Title IX compliance. And hope for a little bit of luck and courage in the recruiting wars.

Case in point: From Mechelle –  A’JaWilson decision a big win for Staley – Nation’s top prospect averaged 35 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks as senior

....even though South Carolina was regarded as the favorite to land Wilson — a 6-foot-5 forward from the Gamecocks’ own backyard in Columbia, S.C. — the fact that she really did stay put is a big victory for coach Dawn Staley’s program.

It matters from a national perspective, as does the fact that UCLA has signed what’s considered the top-ranked recruiting class for 2014. The Bruins are also underdogs in women’s hoops that fans of the sport in general will root for to provide more diversity at the elite level of Division I.

I keep using terms like “fans of women’s basketball in general,” which might sound nebulous. But after so many years of following the sport, I think I have a pretty good handle on who they are.

Intriguing case in point: Diamond DeShields’ decision to transfer from North Carolina. Clearly, the actually reasons behind her move is still to be revealed, but it’s hard not to speculate (homesickness? looming NCAA sanctions?). Mechelle reflects on her interviews with Deshields this past season.

Remember when the news broke in May 2012 that four blue-chip juniors all decided to commit to North Carolina’s women’s basketball team?

Diamond DeShields was the point person in bringing them together, and it appeared to be a lottery-jackpot day for the Tar Heels. DeShields, Allisha Gray, Stephanie Mavunga and Jessica Washington — ranked third, eighth, 15th and 17th, respectively, in their 2013 recruiting class — were all headed to Chapel Hill, N.C.

What could go wrong?

Well, it might have crossed your mind that day — it did mine — that when a group of teens makes long-range plans to do something complicated together, it might go awry. Not being ageist; it’s just that kids are kids. We’ve all been there.

Good news for Purdue: Hamby, Bays on the mend.

Interesting news for a CSU team that had a resurgent season: Four women’s basketball players are transferring

I was saddened to hear the news of coach Joe Curl’s passing. Most within the basketball world knew of his health struggles. They forced him to step away from his position as Houston Cougars’ coach. He came into national prominence during the 2003-04 season, where he and three-time C-USA Player of the Year, Chandi Jones, led  the Cougars to the second round in the NCAA tourney and earned AP National Coach of the Year honors. I remember him smiling as he picked up the award, almost embarrassed at being surrounded by press and the “elite” of basketball — Alana Beard was the AP’s NPOY. 

I was not surprised by Terri Mitchell’s dismissal from Marquette — she never quite seemed to be able to break through within the recruiting ranks.  I wonder if she’ll thrive better on different soil. We shall see if the Anonymous Eagles’ impression (Marquette has decided that being middle of the road in team sports is no longer acceptable.) is correct.

The Bulldogs didn’t look far to find their new coach, appointing longtime assistant Lisa Fortier as Gonzaga’s next leader. She’s going to have to find some new assistants, though.  I don’t know about you, but if Kelly Graves can do in Oregon what Scott Rueck has done at Oregon State, the west coast will be wicked fun to watch. (Interesting that associate head coach Mark Campbell left the Beavers to join the Ducks.)

Congrats to Natasha Adair, who’s moved from the College of Charleston back to Georgetown. Here’s hoping she can grow a program that seems to have lost the ground that Terri Williams-Flournoy seemed to have gained. Does the athletic department triply give a hoot about women’s basketball?

I remember Maren Walseth from the first Final Four I attended (2000 in Philly). She’s now the head coach at North Dakota State University. Interesting tidbit: Walseth’s sister, Annika, played for NDSU during the 2007-08 season.    

Nice to see Yolanda Moore move up the ranks. She’s now head coach at  Southeastern Louisiana University. “Moore spent the 2013-14 season as the head coach at LSU Eunice. Taking over a program that had won 17 games combined in the previous two seasons, Moore led the Lady Bengals to a 26-3 overall record and the program’s first-ever Miss-Lou Conference championship.”

Keep Fresno State on your “watch list,” as they plucked Jaime White from Northern Colorado.

More on the “WTF list:: Women’s basketball player appeals K-State transfer denial

 Leticia Romero has known she wanted to transfer for several weeks, but she will have to wait a little longer to find out if Kansas State will grant her a release from its women’s basketball program.

Romero, a rising freshman from Las Palmas, Spain, decided she wanted to leave K-State after the Wildcats fired Deb Patterson, the coach she signed on to play for, but the athletic department denied her initial transfer request. On Wednesday afternoon, she took her case to an appeals committee led by K-State Vice President of Student Life Pat Bosco. As of Wednesday night, the committee had not informed Romero of its decision.

Fashion Week in Illinois: Illini women’s basketball first in country with new jerseys

In WNBA news, Nate ranks has his 2014 Draft recap: The big winners and great value drafts (Spoiler alert: Connecticut, New York and Seattle do well).

Don’t miss Swish Appeal’s other musings:

Take a listen to Dishin & Swishin’s 04/17/14 Podcast: Anne Donovan & Fred Williams discuss Connecticut and Tulsa’s draft picks and offseason moves

Have you read Griner’s book “In My Skin” yet? Did you read Kate Fagan’s piece on Griner: Held Up n Customs: Live in China Gave Brittney More Than She Bargained For. 

THE NUMBER OF moving obstacles at a busy intersection in China can feel paralyzing for a pedestrian. None of the cars, mopeds or bikes appears to be following the traffic laws, which makes stepping off the curb a game of chance, like real-life Frogger.

And Brittney Griner is about to step off the curb.

“I’ve been hit once,” she says, seemingly unfazed at a busy corner in Zhejiang. “A moped ran into me from behind, but it wasn’t going that fast. It was my fault. I was trying to avoid traffic.”

Wait … what? Trying to avoid traffic is bad? “Totally wrong here,” Griner says. “You can’t stop walking. If you’re in motion, they’ll flow around you. It’s when you stop, when you freeze, that it becomes dangerous.”

Brittney Griner talks about her experience in China to ESPN’s Kate Fagan

In other news, Pokey is optimistic surgery won’t stop Fowles (as in, back mid-season?)

Welcome to Chicago, Markeisha Gatling. And be careful!

It’s been tough sledding for Chicago Sky centers lately.

Gatling, a 6-foot-5 rookie center out of North Carolina State, was selected by the Sky Monday with the 10th pick in the WNBA Draft.

What seemed at the time to be a rather nondescript addition, compared to last year’s blockbuster selection of superstar forward and eventual rookie of the year Elena Delle Donne, could now be a key piece to the puzzle for the Sky, which opens its season on May 16 with a home game against the Indiana Fever.

Gatling could be counted on heavily. And right away.

As a counter to the seemingly never ending “Will the W fail” articles: For The WNBA, Jersey Sponsorships Signal Corporate And Community Support

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If they want a chance to go dancing, they have to win:

CAA: No surprise James Madison is in the Finals, but their opponent is (somewhat surprising): the Blue Hens.

Discussing UD’s youth, Martin said, “This team has come so far this season. We’re so young and I’m so proud of these kids as they’ve grown so much in the past few months. Nobody thought Delaware would be sitting in this position right now. We’ve climbed the mountain all year long of people not believing in us and now we have a job to finish.”

Southland: Northwestern State (Lady) Demons v. the Stephen F. Austin Ladyjacks. (Sounds like a CW show) The teams split the regular season, each winning at home by double digits.

Horizon: #1 Green Bay will face off against #2 Wright State.

NEC: Upstart Robert Morris and their star from Greece, Artemis Spanou, will try and overcome St. Francis (PA), who’ve had a less than .500 season, but made the finals after an epic triple-overtime win over Sacred Heart and a tight win over Mount St. Mary’s. Thank goodness there are a couple of days between games.

MVC: The Shockers have righted their ship —  if they sail by 5th seed Drake their season will continue. But don’t take the Bulldogs lightly – they rallied to take down top-seed Indiana State.

A-SUN: This seems to be the game of the day. 26-6, 16-2) Stetson faces off against (25-7, 17-1) FGCU.  Will the Eagles fans show?

As for those Dancers:

Ball State couldn’t sustain the magic, nor stop 5th years senior Rachel Tecca (30-12). So, after 40 years, it’s the Zips who earns their first MAC trip to the NCAAs.

“This group of seniors is very, very special,” said Kest, in her eighth season at the school. “They believed in us when we recruited them. It’s not easy to come into a program that has had some losing seasons and to take a chance on us. It’s easy to go to a school that already has been successful and already has fans.”

The Zips tied the program record for single-season victories, which was set in 2012-2013.

Prairie View A&M DID sustain the magic, upsetting SWAC #2 seed, Texas Southern, earning their fourth consecutive championship title and sending a 14-17 team onto the dance floor. 

Washington added 20 points in the winning effort, which capped a season-long turnaround after the Lady Panthers lost their first 11 games under first-year coach Dawn Brown.

“I just let them know that you can’t let Texas Southern take this moment from you,” Brown said she told her team. “Since 2011, this is what Prairie View A&M University does. You see our best basketball in March.”

The third time was almost the charm for Coppin State, but Hampton prevailed in the MEAC championship game — by three points.

“When I woke up this morning,” Hamilton said, “I said to myself, I had to be a point guard today. We needed everybody in order to win. I actually wanted to play a part in the championship.”

Hamilton’s fingerprints were all over the title game, with a game-high 20 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a couple of blocks.

“She was overdue,” HU coach David Six said. “Nikki’s a big-time player — first-team all-conference. She’s been in these situations before. I’m glad she’s on my team and she was able to make some clutch shots for us.”

Sun Belt: A lot has happened to the Hilltopper program since they sent Shea Mahoney to the New York Liberty – and some of it not good. Different story yesterday as Western Kentucky came back from 14 down against Arkansas State to earn a berth to the NCAA tournament. And the video of the coaches celebrating is worth a thousand words.

Middle Tennessee State left no doubt as to who rules the C-USA, rolling over Southern Mississippi. 84-55.

“I feel like Middle Tennessee is one of the top 20 programs in the country,” Blue Raiders coach Rick Insell said. “We’re not the best program in the country, but we’re in the top 20, and we’re there every year.

“We’re real proud of what our program stands for. The basketball gurus know about Middle Tennessee, and they know that Middle Tennessee is a tough, tough team.”

Patriot: Army entered the NCAA tournament on the shoulders of Kelsey Minato, who scored 31 points to lead the Black Knights over a resilient Holy Cross, 68-58.

 “We had the great equalizer,” Magarity said of his sophomore guard. “She’s an incredible player and as special a player as I’ve ever coached in my 32 years as a head coach.

Mountain West: Fresno State knocked off top seed Colorado State, 77-68, and earned its fourth consecutive conference championship.

“I think (tournament experience) does help a lot, especially when teams go on runs,” Farley said. “If you’re not experienced, you can get really frazzled in that type of situation. Us being more experienced, we learned to accept the runs and not freak out, if that makes sense. It definitely did help us today.”

Big West: It’s been 23 years, and this is only the second time the Cal State Northridge team has gone dancing, this time by virtue of their 15-point win over Cal Poly.

“Every day is a championship day for us,” Matadors coach Jason Flowers said. “The intensity never drops off, whether it’s a shootaround or weights or conditioning. These young women have prepared for this moment for the past two or three years. I was interested to see how they would respond to being on the big stage. They woke up this morning in great spirits, they were really relaxed and I just stayed out of their way and they worked their tails off.”

North Dakota left no doubt as to who was going to earn the Big Sky bid to the NCAA, handily beating Robin Selvig’s Montana, 72-55.

The win was historic for UND (22-9). The Green and White will play in the Big Dance for the first time in program history.

“Credit Montana, a very well-coached team that battled,” North Dakota coach Travis Brewster said. “But it’s an exciting experience for these players to get a chance to play in the NCAA tournament and to do it in front of our fans was awesome. It’s a pretty unique honor and takes a special group.”

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all that’s left is to prepare for the second guessing of the committee. Until then, argue with Charlie.

Amongst those who are in, but awaiting word on where they are going:

Four, count’em FOUR overtimes. I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  In the end, Prairie View A&M had the legs and the points to secure the victory over Mississippi Valley State. That’s the third SWAC title in a row for coach Wilson’s Panthers.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t even know how many overtimes we played,” Prairie View A&M coach Toyelle Wilson said. “I credit our girls; relentless. They said they could go five more (overtimes).”

Hampton did what it’s been doing all season. Rollin’ over opponents. That’s four straight conference tournament championships for the Pirates.

Cal Poly did what it’s never done: Punch their ticket to the Big Dance. And they did it in style, upsetting top-seed Pacific, 63-49.

Cal Poly overcame the loss of star forward Kayla Griffin on Saturday to upset top-seeded Pacific, 63-49, in the Big West Conference women’s basketball tournament final at Honda Center.

The win earned the second-seeded Mustangs their first trip to the NCAA tournament.

Griffin tore knee ligaments early in the second half, but Cal Poly was able to maintain the 11-point lead it built in the first half. Griffin had four points in her 24 minutes.

“We wouldn’t be in this position without Kayla, there’s no question,” Cal Poly Coach Faith Mimnaugh said. “I hated that she couldn’t be on the court at the end of the game.”

That’s the way to make an impression: Change coaches, join the Southland, win the Conference Championship. Sam Houston couldn’t make up the five point first half difference, and so Oral Roberts has a ticket to ride. Obviously, the Bearkats are disappointed, but consider this: the program hasn’t  had a winning season since 1996 before going 17-14 last year.

Central Michigan proved that finishing strong in the regular season can pay dividends in the conference tournament. They carried their momentum through the tournament and earned their first trip to the Dance since 1984. (Lordy, I was a year out of college and “When Doves Cry” was the #1 song). You’ll recall the heartbreak last year.

“I wanted to put 1.5 seconds on T-shirts,” coach Sue Guevara said. “This was the goal. To get to this tournament and win because it was such a heartbreaking loss last year.”

I’ve got to believe that for Guevara, it was both heartbreaking and galling, considered the post-tourney revelations.

Speaking of 1984, 1985 was the last time Idaho went to the tourney. (I know you’re wondering: Wham, “Careless Whisper.”) They’re going back by virtue of their win over Seattle U.

“Survive and advance has certainly been our motto in this tournament and we did it all the way till the end, and it’s a great feeling,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “I’m so happy for my players and I’m so happy for my staff. I feel that I have the greatest staff in America and our players have just worked their tails off to get to this moment and it’s fantastic, it’s a great feeling.”

Montana grabbed a lead over Northern Colorado, and the Bears couldn’t recover. Grizz go Danzin. From Bill Speltz:

After 35 years of coaching the same team, you figure a guy is bound to develop some hard bark on his personality.

Not Montana women’s basketball skipper Robin Selvig. His heart was so filled with happiness Saturday he couldn’t help shedding a few tears after the Lady Griz beat Northern Colorado 56-43 for the Big Sky Conference tournament championship.

His emotional postgame news conference prompted the senior sitting to his left, UM standout forward Katie Baker, to get a little misty herself. Then the Lady Griz beat writer in the front row, who thinks the world of Selvig and doesn’t care who knows it, started getting a little teary-eyed.

Navy left no doubt about who rules the Patriot League: 72-53 winners over Holy Cross, the senior-free Midshipmen have won three consecutive conference championships. How long will Pemper stay in Annapolis?

I’ve been told I need to look at the end of this game to check out a game-changing technical. That aside, sounds like it was a rockin’ environment in upstate New York as Hartford refused to roll over for the Great Danes. A back-and-forth game, it was tied at 52, and then Albany reeled off 9-straight points to secure the win and an NCAA berth.

UCF’s magical run in the C-USA conference tournament ended at the hands of Tulsa, who was making a nice run of their own. 

Tulsa coach Matilda Mossman sounded as stunned as anyone when she let the realization dawn that a season that began 0-5 was going to culminate with the school’s second berth in the NCAA tournament.

“I’m just so excited, a chill went through my body when I said we’re going to the tournament,” said the second-year coach after Tulsa defeated Central Florida 75-66 in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament Saturday. “We’ve been talking about it, but now it’s real.”

Writes Joel Klein at the Tulsa World:

Tulsa’s Taleya Mayberry, one of the best players in school history, took over the tournament and is taking the Golden Hurricane to the NCAA Tournament.

“She was great for us and she had to be for us to win,” said Mossman.

Mayberry, fantastic for four days, was at her best in a 75-66 victory over UCF in the Conference USA Women’s Basketball Tournament final on Saturday night at the BOK Center.

Mayberry scored 25 points in the final and averaged 25 in the four games.

The Sooners tweet: OU Women’s Hoops ‏@Congrats to our friends @TUWBasketball on their C-USA title! For 1st time, all 4 D1 teams in Oklahoma playing in NCAA Tourney.

San Diego State was on a roll, but clearly Wiggins didn’t leave the Fresno State cupboard bare.

The Aztecs had their 17-game winning streak snapped as they fell behind by 22 points and couldn’t come all the way back in a 76-70 loss to Fresno State in the championship game of the Mountain West Conference tournament on Saturday.

“We picked a bad time to have a bad time,” San Diego State coach Beth Burns said. “I think Fresno State had an awful lot to do with that.

The result: Dawgs go Dawncin’.

Doug Feinberg didn’t get his wish granted by Quinnipiac (another game coming down to the final shot). Instead, the Bobcats blew away St. Francis (PA) to get their first invite to the NCAA Tournament.

‘‘We are kind of waking people up a little bit,’’ said forward Brittany McQuain, a junior from Independence, Mo., who acknowledges she had never heard of Quinnipiac before an assistant coach came to recruit her. ‘‘It’s good to be a part of this, and great that people are starting to recognize who we are.’’

The Blue Hens are doing their own version Chicken Dance, as Delaware escaped a stubborn Drexel, 59-56. Great for fans and the team that they’re hosting the first two rounds. Says Graham:

Elena Delle Donne scored the final points in her final Colonial Athletic Association game.

But the coach who ended up face down on the court doing water angels Sunday afternoon had a point of her own about Delaware.

Delaware is more than a one-woman team, as coach Tina Martin preached all weekend. It is more than the greatest player the program will ever have. And the one woman who proved it Sunday was Trumae Lucas, whose drive to the basket and two subsequent free throws in the final minute gave the Blue Hens their final lead in a 59-56 win against Drexel that nearly went the other way.

There really was no doubt, even with a stunningly ugly opening to the second half, Green Bay managed to rout Loyola (IL), 54-38 and earn their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.

Kevin Borseth’s goal when he returned to coach UWGB this season was to not screw up the success he helped build before he left for Michigan and continued when Matt Bollant roamed the sideline here for five years.

He didn’t.

Their regular season game went to overtime. Their rematch in the A-10 finals came down to the last possession: Fordham with the ball, a chance to shoot for the win, but an offensive foul ended the game. St. Joseph’s goes to their first NCAA tournament in 12 years.

One the game: Four thousand plus came to the game — primarily Fordham fans. Had a lovely pre-game chat with the mom of their point guard and, as always, enjoyed WFUV’s play-by-play folks. College kids who are serious about the product, their professionalism… and the future of their team. “Coach is very excited by her incoming class.”

It was wonderful having some women’s hoops happening in NYC during conference tournament time. Very much enjoyed my Barclay experience. Staff was helpful, friendly and on point. Lighting focused ON the court, not the arena (like The Rock does in NJ). Seems to me, if the gentlemen continue to use the Garden for the NIT, there’s no reason Brooklyn shouldn’t look to host the women’s Final Four.

About that waiting game:

From the Naples News: ‘Deserving’ FGCU hoping against hope for NCAA at-large bid

It’s a strange feeling for Karl Smesko, being unable to control his team’s destiny.

Smesko has orchestrated the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team’s rapid rise in Division I the past six seasons. He’s turned the Eagles into a dominant lower-major program, yet he’s done all he can do for his team this season.

From Louisiana, Lady Tigers eye NCAA berth

Around the LSU women’s basketball program, it’s become known as the Tim Tebow speech.

Her team reeling after back-to-back losses in early February dropped the Lady Tigers to 13-10 and out of any reasonable hope of making the NCAA tournament, Jeanne Kenney gathered the Lady Tigers around her in the locker room after their heartbreaking 64-62 loss to Tennessee and told them they couldn’t let seniors Bianca Lutley and Adrienne Webb go out on such a low note.

From the Washington Post: Maryland, Navy women’s basketball await NCAA tournament seedings

Meanwhile, the Army women are turning their focus to the WNIT

From Jerry Brewer: Seattle U women fall short of NCAA bid, but hope to refuel for WNIT

Sylvia Shephard walked to the Seattle University bench and bent over as her tears began. Her coach, Joan Bonvicini, patted her on the back, whispered that she was proud of her and tried to minimize the pain.

There was no relief, however.

In college basketball, nothing hurts like March.

She knows she’s going, but Purdue’s Mingo knows how to pay it forward

School? Yikes, we still have school? Marist begins preparation for NCAA tournament

After a week of midterms, Emma O’Connor and Kristina Danella walked through the doors at McCann Arena Friday morning ready to get back to work.

“We were like, ‘We feel like we haven’t been here forever,’ ” said Danella, a fifth-year senior forward on the Marist College women’s basketball team.

From Brian Howard at the Daily Camera: CU Buffs’ Chucky Jeffery closing out storied career

Chucky Jeffery looks at the waiter.

“Can I have the …”

“Teriyaki chicken, no vegetables,” the waiter said, smiling as he finishes the sentence.

“Yes, absolutely!” Jeffery replied with a laugh.

She’s clearly been here before.

While Jeffery’s dinner choice may lack originality, very little else about Colorado’s senior point guard is that predictable.

This is, after all, a girl who grew up preferring to participate in football and karate to basketball and dance classes. She’s a student who admits, “I’m not big on school,” yet has the desire to pursue a graduate degree. And, she’s a player who was once a challenge to coach, but looks forward to coaching in the future.

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and still generating surprises.

The entire C-USA tourney has been a surprise (or hot mess, depending on your view): The championship game will feature the #6 seed (Tulsa) v. the #8 seed (UCF). UCF, straight of their upset of top-seed SMU, continued their hot play by taking down UTEP, 89-77. Tulsa used a stubborn defense to hold off #2 seed East Carolina, 72-59.

The MAC finals will feature a surprise team: Central Michigan earned a (fair) shot at the title by holding off top-seed Toledo. Tough for fans of Naama who’d hoped she’d get a chance at the Dance. The Chippewas will go up against Akron’s Zips, who defeated Ball State.

The Southland finals will feature top-seed Oral Roberts against #2-seed Sam Houston (who seem to have survived their brief bout with the WHB curse.)

No surprise, Hampton has rolled into the MEAC finals. No surprise, their opponent will be Howard.

Big Sky Finals: Montana v. Northern Colorado.

In the Big West, Cal State Fullerton couldn’t overcome top-seed Pacific (though it took a last-second three to do it). In the finals, the Tigers will go against Cal Poly (another team that seems to have survived the WHB curse).

The Vandals ruined my WAC brack(et). The finals feature Idaho and Seattle U.

D’em Penguins didn’t make it into the Horizon finals. Instead, it will be Loyola (IL) taking on Green Bay.

Revenge of the former team? #4 Prairie View upset Coop’s new team, Texas Southern, 58-62. That mean’s they’re in the SWAC finals against Mississippi Valley State.

San Diego State rolled over New Mexico, which means they’ll face Fresno State, which just escaped Wyoming, in the MWC finals.

It’s Delaware v. Hofstra and Drexel v. James Madison in today’s CAA semis.

The MVC has held serve through their semis: #1 Wichita State v. #4 Northern Iowa and #2 Creighton v. #3 Illinois State.

When Holy Cross takes on Navy, the Middies will be looking to three-peat as Patriot League champs

The biggest surprise of the day would probably be up Albany, if somehow Hartford could take down conference big dog, the Great Danes.

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(or the heavy favorite).

Just ask Louisville, which got a taste of why USF gave Notre Dame fits: down the Cardinals, 73-62.

Just ask Oklahoma State, which got stunned by previously Big 12 winless TCU, 64-63.

Just ask Purdue, which saw Indiana made excellent use of a time out with 12 seconds to go and get the winning basket as time expired. Hoosiers 62, Boilermakers 61.

Just ask Army, which may have been reveling in their win over Navy a bit. They got upended by Colgate’s (2-9, Patriot) strong second half, 60- 56. Navy returns to first place in the conference.

Just ask Fresno State, who couldn’t control the Wolf Pack (2-9, MW) in the second half, nor find the basket, and as a consequence lost 60-54.

Teams that didn’t have any issues: Penn State (12-1, Big 10),  Toledo Rockets (11-1, MAC), Hampton (12-0 MEAC), Charlotte (10-1, A10), Davidson (14-2 Southern, though it took overtime and they face the Mocs on the 25th), Quinnipiac (14-0 NEC and getting some press), St. Joe’s (10-1, A10), Central Michigan (10-2 MAC) and San Diego State, 11-1, MWC).

It’s not been the “season to build on” Magarity may have hoped for, but that didn’t prevent New Hampshire from knocking off Hartford.

Behind Smith’s 24/9, St. John’s is still making a run at the NCAA tournament.

Finally: Ohio got its first MAC win.

Ouch: Pittsburgh is still winless in the Big East.

Surprise win for Texas — they handle Kansas in a game Debbie would have liked, 93-83.

Some team news:

Their recent weekend of success may have something to do with this: Second-year spark ignites Penn women’s basketball – Resurgent Quakers have received significant efforts from a quintet of sophomore stars

Health news: CU Buffs’ Lexy Kresl remains day-to-day

It’s been a while since we’ve spoken about the impact of walk-ons: Ex-Memorial star Draper eager to aid Fresno State

From Bill Rabinowitz at the Columbus Dispatch: Coach, player develop bond at school for deaf

Coaching a college basketball team that loses 15 straight games can be discouraging.

The same applies for a senior whose playing time evaporates as a result.

That’s why Saturday’s season finale for the Gallaudet University women’s basketball team was so special for central Ohio natives Amy Bachtel and Stephanie Stevens.

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that looked at mid-season COY candidates in the Big 6, I used my “waiting for the dryer to finish up” time to put together a list for some of the other conference candidates. Feedback welcome:

Ivy: Courtney Banghart/Princeton — I am surprised no ones has snatched her up.

American East: Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, Albany/Kelly Greenberg, Boston University.ln the three years KAH has been there, the Danes have established something, outpacing Hartford. Ditto with BU — lordy, has Greenberg REALLY been their nine years? It’s a dogfight.

A-10: Dayton’s Jim Jabir gets all the attention, and rightly so, but at Fordham, Stephanie Gaitley has more victories this season than the Rams have complied in a decade of games (or so it seems). I was skeered for her when she left Monmouth, but she seems to thrive when challenged.

Horizon: Youngstown State/Bob Boldon. The Penguins have been the laughingstock of the league for years, and not just because of their tuxedos. Have you ever tried to play basketball in a tuxedo? They’re still no Green Bay, but they’re much improved under this second year coach.

MAC: Central Michigan/Sue Guevara seems to have found her home at Central Michigan, and she’s done a great job (especially now that the shady dealings at EMU have been exposed).

NEC: Quinnipiac/Longtime coach Tricia Fabbri has the Bobcats on their longest winning streak in program history.

Mountain West: Fresno State/Raegan Pebely: The Bulldogs lost their coach lost their coach (and we know how THAT turned out), replaced late, and are still nipping at last year’s surprise, San Diego State. Shouldn’t actually be a surprise, Pebely has earned COY honors before.

Southern: Wes Moore and Chattanooga have reestablished the “natural” order, but under Charlotte Smith (yes, THAT Charlotte Smith) Elon has surprised the heck outta folks.

SWAC: Cynthia Cooper returned to the SWAC and has made an immediate impact on Texas Southern. Last year they won a total of 2 conference games. This year, they’re second in the Conference (with the only overall winning record — which ain’t sayin’ much, but it is a winning record.)

Sun Belt: Western Kentucky/Michelle Clark-Heard. Mel’s already mentioned this coach as a Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year. (Though, considering the record of honorees post-award, you might wanna miss being tapped.)

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Notre Dame survived a post-big win let down, but it took overtime.

Connecticut failed to lose two games in a row for the zillionth time, but there was some serious butterfingers involved.

In the battle of the Reds, Rutgers gave Louisville a scare, but the Cardinals pulled away in OT.

The Longhorns started the year strong, but Big 12 competition is proving to be another matter. Newcomer to the Conference West Virginia wrangled them good, 53-49.

Seton Hall still doesn’t care their coach is leaving for the W. They take down the Bearcats, 64-56.

Stanford thought about it… and then said, no, we don’t want California to win.

The Buffs got back on track against Utah. The Cowgirls did, too.

Speaking of big cats, the Tigers aren’t going away: Rookie quintet making early contributions

Every season, there are always uncertainties about how the freshmen on a team will adjust to college-level play and the extent to which they will be able to contribute. For the five freshmen on the women’s basketball team, however, these questions have hardly been an issue. Despite the presence of a talented senior class, the freshmen quintet, consisting of guards Amanda Berntsen, Michelle Miller and Annie Tarakchian along with forwards Alex Wheatley and Taylor Williams, has received considerable playing time and provided an offensive boost in scoring and rebounding for the Tigers. The Class of 2016 has combined to score nearly a quarter of the Tigers’ total points so far this season, with each member averaging at least five minutes per game.

A full-strength Baylor continues their demolition of the opposition. This time, Iowa State.

Hmmm… UTEP looks to be strong again this year. We have to wait until Feb 7th for their game against Tulane.

Keeping an eye on Cal-Northridge and Fresno State — both still undefeated in conference play.

Nice check in from the “local paper” on Iowa’s freshman: Ex-Mainstreeter great acclimates to being a Hawkeye

No, it wasn’t the dreaded three letters: Stokes relieved injury not worse

Given the alternative, Ohio State women’s basketball team co-captain Amber Stokes didn’t complain yesterday about needing a pair of crutches to reach the practice gym in Value City Arena.

The fifth-year senior suffered a sprained left knee near the end of the first half on Sunday in a 79-73 loss to Illinois. The possibility that she had suffered a season-ending ligament tear crossed her mind.

Jim Massie at the Dispatch writes about Ohio State’s 0-2 Conference record: Buckeyes’ slow start must end with stops

Tough times for the Catamounts: Overwhelmed by the first-place women’s basketball team in the America East Conference, the University of Vermont suffered a 58-30 defeat to Boston University.

Still tough times for the Black Bears: Hartford hands University of Maine women’s basketball team 11th straight loss

Looks like Williams-Flournoy got outta the Big East when the going was good. Writes Mechelle: Coach Flo has plan for Auburn

Terri Williams-Flournoy had been here in Missouri before, but this was the first time in her new role as Auburn coach. In her 12-year apprenticeship as an assistant, she spent two seasons at Missouri State.

Williams-Flournoy — known as Coach Flo by her Tigers — has paid her dues in the profession she was practically born into. Part of a basketball family in Virginia that includes brother Boo Williams — he’s one of that state’s most influential youth hoops gurus — Williams-Flournoy climbed the coaching ladder with a purpose and a plan.

And now, she’s in her first season in what is a new era for the SEC. Pat Summitt is in an emeritus role at Tennessee, but not head coach of the Lady Vols for the first time since 1973.

Have you noticed? FSU women’s basketball quietly excelling – With recent winning ways, Seminoles may soon cast shadow on other sports

The women’s basketball team has silently tip-toed to a 12-2 record and have placed themselves among the game’s most elite programs. The Seminoles are No. 5 in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.3 points per game and their field goal percentage of 49 percent only trails Baylor and Connecticut, two perennial National Title contenders.

The .com says that Angel McCoughtry wants you to trust and believe.

Speaking of Angel, from Mechelle’s chat:

kevin (macon ga): Angel McCoughtry said on wnba.com that she had “nothing to do with the coaching change”. Should we believe her?

Mechelle Voepel: Maybe that means she actually wasn’t the one to call Marynell Meadors to tell her she was fired? :) Of course she had something to do with it. But, anyway, it’s water under the bridge now. Fred Williams is the Dream’s coach, and Angel will be back as his star player. These things happen in pro sports … look at the NBA and coach firings and players saying, “Oh, I had nothing to do with it!” Meadors, I believe, would still like to return in some capacity to the league, but if not, she’s had a long career in the sport with a lot of accomplishments. I feel bad for her that things ended in Atlanta as they did, though. She deserved better. Now Angel and Fred will have a revamped East – at least in terms of the new coaching hires – to deal with.

Congrats are in order: U.S. Men’s, Women’s Olympic Teams Honored By USA Basketball and Taurasi Is Named USA Basketball’s Top Female Athlete (sorry anti-tank-Merc fans)

Oops! WNBA’s Maya Moore’s Olympic Ring Stolen, Sold to Gold Buying Store and Phew! Man charged with selling ring stolen from WNBA player Maya Moore

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it’s hard not to read stuff into results.

Like maybe North Carolina’s got something goin’ on (even though they did almost blow a lead).

Like maybe other Tennessee teams have it in for the Vols this season. UT needs OT to escape MTSU.

Like d’em Flyers are FLYIN’!

Like you should be glad I wasn’t hired to write the headlines for the UCONN game, ’cause there were SO many possibilities: Colgate gets *fill in appropriate dental related verb* by Connecticut.

Like I’m not taking Kansas seriously until they play a team that is, or stands a chance of being, ranked (I see you, Cal Bears). Same goes for you, Oklahoma State.  And ditto to you, Georgia. Double ditto to you, South Florida, especially since you needed OT to defeat Clemson. And you’re not quite in the same category, Florida State, but you’re close. And Northwestern? Talk to me after you meet the already mentioned Cal Bears. And yes, I see you, 8-0 South Carolina, but I also see the Cardinal looming.

Like the Pacific Tigers got my attention ’cause they’re undefeated AND that includes a win over Fresno State. Of course, there are those Cardinal folk looming.

Like Turtles are faster than Huskers.

Like what a difference a year makes: A Della Donne-less Delaware takes down the Bonnies.

Like I never know if I can trust Michigan State — will we know more after they meet Dayton?

Like why couldn’t I have used my psychic abilities to pick the Powerball numbers instead of (sorta) picking Penn State getting upset by Miami.

Like, seriously, dudes and dudettes, how long will Banghart stay a Tiger? Princeton takes down Rutgers big, 71-55.

Like WHB readers are wicked cool, because they know who the Chippewas are, and are kinda stoked that they gave Notre Dame a game, and then some.

Like I sick and tired of reading the same old stuff: OU’s Maddie Manning out for season and Injury Sidelines Richmond’s Okoro For 2012-13 Season

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Iowa’s Kathryn Reynolds out with torn ACL

Riddle me this: Departing trio thins roster of U-Tennessee Martin women’s hoops program

The Bulldogs have a new boss: Pebley Takes Over Fresno St. Women’s Basketball

No pressure: With five starters back, Baylor women can shoot for 80-0

Mechelle follows up on her blog post about Aston’s hiring at Texas. (Did you see her blog on the Big 12?)

Karen Aston recalls piling into a car with some of her college teammates in Arkansas and driving to Ruston, La., to see what greatness in women’s basketball looked like in the 1980s. Southern California and Cheryl Miller were playing at Louisiana Tech.

An “epiphany” is how Aston describes it now. Watching Miller — one of the best athletes to have played the sport, regardless of era — was one thing. But capturing Aston’s attention even more was the atmosphere at Louisiana Tech’s Thomas Assembly Center: The way that women’s hoops seemed to really matter to the university and the community.

Nate’s been busy: 2012 WNBA Draft Prospects: A Statistical List Of 50+ NCAA Seniors

Mom and I are busy, too, lookin’ at this beauty (Red Legged Honeycreeper).

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sent two teams to the Dance.

In what could easily be dubbed an “instant classic,” Eastern Michigan kept trying to put away Central Michigan, but they would not stay gone. It came down to a missed free throw and a last second layup, and EMU wins the MAC. Heartbreak, obviously, for the Chippewas, but yikes — look at all the players they get back next year. Bowling Green’s gotta be hearing footsteps.

In the battle of the H’s, Howard couldn’t get over the hump that is Hampton. Again, a hard-fought game decided by a last second layup sends the Pirates to their third straight MEAC championship.

It’s not that I forgot about them (though I kinda did): Congrats to North Dakota, which proved the third time is the charm by finally winning the Big West Conference title. They’ll play in the WBI, and the Big Sky next year.

Look, up in the air! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a Fresno State threeeee! A tournament record 15, to be precise. There wasn’t a lot of fight in LaTech, and the Bulldogs roared to the WAC title, 89-61.

In a battle of the unexpected finalists, the Midshipmen of Navy fitted themselves with dancing shoes courtesy of a 57-49 win over Holy Cross (their first win over the Crusaders in seven tries).

It was a dogfight in the Am.East Finals, but eventually the Great Danes of Albany overcame the Retrievers of UMB, 69-61,  earning their first trip to the NCAA tournament.

The victory, of course, means UAlbany women’s basketball has arrived as a bona fide Division I program, and that’s great for the school.

But just as important, there was excitement for women’s basketball Saturday night, and it’s been a long time since you could say that around here. That’s great for the sport.

Alcorn State had the lead at the half, but they could hold on against Prairie View. The 63-50 win gives Toyelle Wilson’s Panthers their second consecutive Southwestern Conference tournament championship.

It wasn’t particularly elegant, but Mountain West COY Beth Burns will take it: San Diego State takes down New Mexico and wins the conference championship, 57-43.

It wasn’t particularly pretty, but never underestimate the power of your home court: Idaho State took the Big Sky final with a 49-46 win over Northern Colorado.

Here’s a game Debbie and Beth would have liked: Down 11 with 5:30 left, CS Bakersfield fought back until Lauren Carter’s three pointer with just over a minute left gave them the lead over Seattle University. They held on and secured a 89-87 win – and, oddly enough, completes their worst season ever.

Long Beach didn’t have one last upset in them, and so it’s the UCSB Gauchos who win the Big West Championship and get the chance to dance in the Tournament.

UTEP won the program’s first C-USA title, but it wasn’t easy. They were down 12 with 15 minutes to go in the second, but rallied back to take the 69-65 win. Tulane is going to kick themselves all the way home: The missed 10 of 25 free throws.

The Battle of the Bays, redux, wasn’t all wet, but it was pretty damp. The Nerd City Kids made sure the Cal Bears didn’t get any ideas, and Stanford won its “first” Pac-12 Championship. Writes Michelle:

Less than a minute into Saturday’s Pac-12 championship game against Cal at Staples Center, Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike took an elbow to the face.

She bent over at the waist under the basket in obvious pain.

Nneka Ogwumike went straight to her younger sister, lifted her face in her hands, wiped her tears and gave her a talk. She got Chiney straightened out and headed to the bench before the trainer could even get there.

Maybe it’s not a stretch to say that Nneka Ogwumike really does do everything for Stanford.

Baylor said fare-the-well to Texas A&M with a mauling, 73-50, and it wasn’t all Big BG. Writes Mechelle:

Wherever it’s played in the future, though, it’s hard to imagine there will be a more dominant performance in the title game than the one Baylor had Saturday. The No. 1 seed, after an 18-0 regular-season record in Big 12 play, won its three league tournament games by an average of 22.7 points. The Bears’ 23-point margin of victory over Texas A&M was the largest in a Big 12 title game, surpassing Oklahoma’s 19-point win over Texas in 2004.

Superstar Griner — the Big 12 Player of the Year and favorite for that honor nationally, too — had season lows in points (11) and rebounds (three) in her 26 minutes Saturday. But it didn’t even matter.

Check out Charlie’s latest bracketology and see what you think about the College Sports Madness bracket.

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Even, maybe, quietly, some of the Iowa State fans who’d made the trek to Stillwater?

Down by 4 at the end of the first, the Cowgirls rode freshman Liz Donohoe’s 27pts and 7 rebounds, and team defense, to snare the 71-63 win.

POP! That was Fresno State’s fer-0 disappearing: the Bulldogs (23-5, 11-1 WAC) go down to San Jose State (11-16, 6-6). It’s been nine years since that has happened.

And the jinx continues: CS Northridge (10-5, Big West) ran into Cal Poly (11-3) and it was the Mustangs who came out on top. Big.

Senior night, and Buffalo (9-20, 4-11, MAC) surprised Ohio (13-16, 6-9), 61-56.

NOT the kind of triple-double you want to notch: Iasia Hemingway had 20 points, 15 rebounds, and 10 turnovers in the Syracuse/Georgetown game.

You get a sense that both Louisville and DePaul are in the punch-drunk stage of the season, they’ve had so many injuries that they’re battling through. Meeting at the YUM Center inspired senior Becky “Big Shot” Burke, and she helped lead Cardinals to a 75-62 win.

Missouri is on a roll: They get their second Big 12 win (12-15, 2-14) over Kansas State (bound for the tourney), 61-56.

Bowling Green (13-2, MAC) kept their balance against Miami (OH) (10-5), 64-55.

Novosel exploded for 32pts, and Notre Dame needed every single one of them against the feisty Bulls of South Florida.

Big East win #1 for Seton Hall.

Texas Tech implodes in the first half and TAMU enjoys every second of it.

I just like typing this: CHSO Buccaneers over the CCAR Chanticleers, 70-55.

New Hampshire went to OT to get their 9th Am. East win, 59-52.

More OT: Dayton over Duquesne, 74-69.

More OT: FIU over South Alabama, 58-55.

More OT: SIUE over Moorehead State, 72-70.

Ummm, did Texas read Mechelle’s piece? They exploded in the second half, taking down Oklahoma 87-62.

Tennessee-Martin easily dispatched Jacksonville, and the Skyhawks are now 15-1 in the OVC.

Nice win for an improving program, Sacramento State, as they defeat the Portland Vikings, 84-82.

Princeton was the favorite in the Ivy, and they’ve met the challenge every since game. With their win, their First in the Nation (into the Tourney). If the brackets hold, it’s NJ v. NJ with the Tigers set to meet the Scarlet Knights.

Whoa, Wright State. They go off for 100 points, and earn their 12 win in the Horizon.

Beth Mowins would be proud: Lafayette scared the youknowwhat out of American, but the Eagles escaped with a 58-54 win.

Post celebration let down? San Diego State (11-2) got surprised by Colorado (9-4, MWC), 68-65.

More surprises: SE Louisiana (6-8, Southland) takes down the Central Arkansas Bears (12-2), 58-53.

Hampton (13-1, MEAC) survives the Rattlers (12-2), 46-43, and Howard (14-2) kept pace by smooshing Delaware State, 67-52. The victory gives the Lady Bison the most wins in a season since 1997-98 when they went 23-7.

In the battle of the Montanas, it was the Griz over the Bobcats.

In the battle of the Oregons, it was the Beavers over the Ducks, 68-53.

Gonzaga claimed the WCC regular season crown by taking down challenger BYU with enthusiasm, and in front of a sold out crowd,  77-60.

I didn’t jinx’em, but I seemed to have inspired the Portland Pilots to put up a fight: San Diego wins, 51-46. With the win, the Toreros tie a program record with 21 overall wins, and set a program record with 12 WCC wins.

Okay, I’m keeping an eye on perennial doormat, St. Francis (NY) (3-14 NEC) because they just defeated Farleigh Dickinson (8-9), 62-47.

Win #700 for Tara featured the Ogwumike’s teaming up for 31 and 19rebs. Orrange had 12 on 5-8 shooting.

The Southern championship is going to be fun: Chattanooga (15-4) took down Davidson (16-3), 55-48.

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Mechelle says the race is wide open.

So what does the Academy Awards show have to do with the coach of the year race in women’s basketball? Nothing, really. It’s just that the Oscars are Sunday, and I enjoy making these forced links to one of the few areas of pop culture in which I still attempt to stay current.

Perhaps I should connect a coaching award to the Best Director nominees. But there are only five of those, and I have six coach nominees. Plus, some of my forced links are just to movie titles, not actually to what the movie was about. I really couldn’t cheat that same way with using the names of the directors.

So here we go, by alphabetical order, with the Best Picture candidate the nominee represents (if only in my own mind). Then at the end, the Oscar winner … er, my pick right now for coach of the year.

I love her “others deserving mention.”

Names I’d add to the ODM list: Rick Insell (MSTU),  Niki Reid Geckeler (Howard) and Adrian Wiggins (Fresno State).

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attention from Graham for their long, steady evolution into an A-Sun power: FGCU eyes first NCAA tournament – Eagles a 3-point launching, turnover-forcing group just on the outskirts of the Top 25

For a guy who hasn’t gone anywhere, Karl Smesko has come a long way.

As a result, Florida Gulf Coast is going places.

A decade ago, Smesko was the coach of what he thought would be an NAIA program, one that had yet to play its first game. He worked out of a makeshift office in a trailer he shared with other members of the fledgling athletic department. His first individual workouts took place on the asphalt of an outdoor court, constructing a team even as the school in Fort Myers, Fla., constructed a building in which it could play.

Yet his team won by 17 points the first time it took the court. The next night, it won by 46 points. It lost just once that first season, rolling to a 30-1 record against the likes of Indiana Tech, Cardinal Stritch University and Flagler College.

Like a lot of coaches winning in the most distant reaches of college basketball, Smesko moved on to bigger and better things. Unlike almost any of his peers, he didn’t actually move to do so, save for relocating to a better office.

Longtime readers of the WHB are familiar with the Eagles’ story, but it’s great to have them get wider exposure. Focusing on the non-big six conferences is an essential part of building the game from the bottom, middle and top.  I’m looking forward to ESPN’s stories of program redemption (Fresno State, 10-0 WAC), program (re?) emergence (Boston University, 13-1, Am. East), program building (UTEP, 13-0 C-USA), and program fortitude (Middle Tennessee 14-0, Sun Belt).

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Huge, huge, HUGE win for a St. John’s team that is finally healthy.

They go in to Storrs on Senior Night, with a 99-game home winning streak on the line, take UConn’s best shot early, then nail shot after shot, keeping their cool, flustering the Huskies until… tada! It looks like UConn’s going to squeeze out the 2pt win courtesy of their defense BUT, St John’s has the ball in their hands and, with 8 seconds left, Shenneika Smith nails the three-pointer: Red Storm 57, UConn 56. (Anyone remember a certain Aussie named Jessica Foley did something similar?)

What a delightful shot (there was?) of the St. John’s kids on the front page of ESPN. Doesn’t it seems like we’ve seen a lot of shots like that this season? How cool!

The Penguins of Youngstown tried to pull of a similar upset of Green Bay — had’em down 5 with about a minute left in the game…. then poof! It was tied. And then it was overtime, and then it was an opportunity missed. This time it was Ritchie to the Rescue.

Baylor, too, suffered from the Feb. blahs and Texas Tech almost took advantage. Didn’t manage to complete the deal, but you gotta believe all those fans in Waco were reaching for the Tums as BG struggled (yes, she got a double-double, but was 5-14), Simms too. Fortunately, there was enough Destiny to go around. Bears 56, Raiders 51, Baylor Big 12 champeens.

In a match up initials, SIUE (10-4, OVC) took down EIU (12-2), 59-54.

Bowling Green has clinched a share of the Division and, yes, coach Curt is back.

Middle Tennessee State, 14-0 (Sun Belt). (Oh, and don’t mess with coach Insell.)

Wow — was there something in the air tonight? Liberty (12-2, Big South) can’t escape Winthrop (8-5), and goes down in Flames: 71-69.

Yes, clearly there was: BU earned its first conference loss against Albany, 48-41. (I know that Boston stinks at supporting women’s sports — but, jeez, you think the Globe or Herald would notice the team.)

Dang, did I jinx’em? San Diego goes down to BYU, 64-50.

Yup, I jinxed’em: La Tech got hammered by Hawai’i, 61-49.

It’s just all bad deep in the heart of Texas: Longhorns lose to Kansas State by 20. Is Gail’s seat so hot that she has to get out of the pan and find a different fire?

Wowza — West Virginia had no-mentum, as DePaul exploded for 53 in the second (and to rally from 14 down) to snare the win, 77-63. Looking at their records (not RPI and such), this match up is a perfect example of how hard it is to figure out the rankings. The Mountaineers have a huge win (ND) and a record of 19-7 (9-4) while the Blue Demons are 20-7 (8-5). And guess who’s ranked #20?

That’s Toledo at 11-2 in the MAAC. Again, this is without their best player.

Stanford enjoyed making soup out of the Ducks, 81-46, clinching their “first” Pac-12 title. N.O. had a double-double in 23 minutes. C.O was one rebound away from having one in 27 minutes. Must be discouraging for coach Paul — earlier in the season, Oregon, at Maples, kept it within 23.

Cal got a fight from Oregon State, but prevailed 75-68. So, what’s Rueck’s rank in the Pac-12 COY race? And when do Cal and Stanford play again?

In the Summit, Oral Roberts (12-4) had to go to overtime to take down the Mastodons (5-10). Congrats to junior Kevi Luper, who became ORU’s career scoring leader (2193+) and steal(er?) (374 and counting).

American U took care of business against the Black Knights of Army, and now are 12-0 in the Patriot League. And League champeens. (Why are they a League and not a Conference?)

Not to be outdone, St. Bonaventure ran their conference record to 12-0 with their 18-pt win over Xavier.

FGCU is hitting their stride: they took down the Hatters 79-56, and now are 16-0 in the A-Sun. (And conference champeens.)

Great game in the MEAC (though not one Debbie and Beth would be cheering about): Howard (12-2) over Coppin State (10-3), 50-49.

Another good game: Davidson (15-2, Southern) took down Appalachian State (15-2), 61-54.

That sigh of relief was Missouri getting their first win in the Big 12. (And it may mean no NCAA tourney for Kansas.)

Wonder how much coach Donovan is enjoying non-WNBA life: Her Seton Hall team is now 0-13 in the Big East.

Once upon a time in 2010, IUPUI was a hot mess. So, I’m just pointing out that, with their win over South Dakota (18-7, 9-6), second year coach Austin Parkinson has them at 7-8 in the Summit.

Speaking of hot messes that are no longer hot messes: Fresno State took care of business against Utah State, and the Bulldogs are still undefeated in the WAC.

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team a fighting chance — but a 28 point lead at the half? That’s generous, even for a Wildcat team battling the post-beatdown blues.

In fact, it proved too dang generous, and Alabama, the worst team (and THAT’s a whole ‘nother issue) in the SEC held on for the win, putting itself in contention for the “Upset of the Year” award. And can someone please explain to me the concepts behind Kentucky’s defense? ‘bama shot 70% in the first. (Wonder if Graham wants to revisit his article from Feb 5th: Kentucky loses but has no reason to panic?)

It’s not quite as “sexy,” but I’m also putting Jen Azzi’s San Francisco team up for the “UoY” award as they took down #23 BYU. Yah, we mentioned their nice win a while back, the it’s exciting to see the Dons do more than just threaten to change their ways.

Nebraska suffered its own post-loss discombobulation, letting Northwestern (13-12, 3-9 Big 10) stick close all game. And then watched as the Wildcats ran away with the win.

A tip of the hat to the Pride as they played Delaware:

The Pride wore pink warm-up shirts that said “Crush Clare’s Cancer”. The school had to get a waiver to wear them since Droesch is a high school coach in New York. Droesch talked to the team before the game.

“It was really emotional,” Pride coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey said.

Looks like it was a fun game out in Hempstead, but in the end, Hofstra was overwhelmed by the Donne (42 points, 12rebs – now at 2000pts for her Delaware career ). Yah, yah, yah, I understand all the naysayers, but come on, do you REALLY want your team to meet the Blue Hens in the tournament?

I’m going to bet Tennessee fans (and coaches) are shaking their heads at the Vols’ Jekyll and Hyde like performances. There was little fire and less offense in their 57-41 win over Mississippi State.

Yawn. Another double-double for Wojta. Yawn.

Whoa! The Thundering Herd of Marshall (14-11, 5-7 surprised Memphis (19-6, 9-3), 65-54.

After a rough start, the Techsters are trying to make a run in the WAC.

Okay, the Eagles are on a roll: the take down Clemson (2-11, ACC) for their second conference win.

Well, it wasn’t exactly 28 points, but the Hawkeyes were down 14 at the half and managed to come back for the 1pt win over Michigan.

Erf: the Wildcats put a hurt on Washington State, 90-51.

UTEP is still digging its way through the C-USA schedule and now are 12-0 in conference play. In a similar vein, Fresno State is mauling the WAC competition and they’re 9-0 in the conference. (Why aren’t these teams ranked, especially in a year where the “bottom” 24 are such a hot mess?)

Yesterday’s “game Debbie and Beth would have loved”? Wright State 91, Detroit 82. Haven’t I mentioned that Wright State has stunk? Here’s a little on their second-year coach, Mike Bradbury:

Mike Bradbury was named as the sixth Raider women’s basketball coach at Wright State on April 21, 2010 and he hasn’t stopped.

Last year was a year of firsts for the WSU women’s basketball program as it played in its first post-season tournament as a division I school when it hosted two round of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. The team also recorded the most wins in division I with a 20-13 record. Three Raiders received Horizon League honors–LaShawna Thomas first team, Molly Fox second team and Shaunda Sandifer Newcomer Team.

Don’t ignore what the Toreros are up to in the WCC: 19-6, 10-3. (Check out their blog.)

The Cal Bears moved to 19-7, 10-4 with their 83-71 win over the Ducks. Who’s impressed with the job Lindsay Gottlieb has done in taking over?

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Happened to a few fer-0s.

Key parts have been missing for both teams (coach and star player), but in a game of almost equal and opposite halves, it was Toledo who topped Bowling Green, sending the Phoenix to their first MAC conference loss.

Good match up in the MEAC between Florida A&M (10-1) and Howard (10-2). The Bison emerged victorious, sending the Rattlers to their first conference loss, 68-61.

Here the game Debbie and Beth would have loved: Eastern Illinois (11-1) v. Tennessee-Martin (11-1). Skyhawks had a big lead in the first, Panthers roar back, then Skyhawks explode for 16 in OT to hand EIU their first loss in the OVC, 94-86.

Dayton was thiiiiiiiiis close to the upset, but #25 St. Bonaventure, and Megan Van Tatenhove, didn’t let entering the top 25 distract them, and got the win, 56-55. (Aren’t pre-season polls interesting?)

Boston University easily dismissed Stony Brook, and the Terriers are now 12-0 in the America East. (Might be nice to see a story on’em…hint, hint)

FGCU’s record in the A-Sun is still pristine (and the regular season title is clinched), as is Fresno State’s in the WAC.

After their 20-pt. win over Holy Cross, American U is 10-0 in the Patriot. (Another team that might be worth a story — tracing the transition from McFerrin, who built the program, to now 4th year coach Matt Corkery)

Princeton (84-56) carved up the Crimson, 84-56, making them odds on favorites in the Ivy. From coach B: Three 1,000 point scorers in one season – proud is an understatement.

There was no surprising Baylor this time, thankyouverymuch. A sold out house listened, then watched the Bears crush the Aggies, 71-48. (Blair gets a lot of chuckles: “Sometimes the key to beating Baylor is the key itself. Lock Griner in the bathroom, don’t let her out” ) I am wondering, though, if there’s some kind of message hidden in Griner’s 40 minutes and Sims’ 38.

Looks like the Camels were spitting mad and took it out on Big South Big(ish) Dog High Point, 89-68.

Bombs away! 18 three pointers? That must have been some YUM fun! (Unless, of course, you were a Syracuse fan.)

Yah, it took two OTs, but Liberty is now 10-1 in the Big South.

‘Ware the Sugar Bears of Central Arkansas! They hog tied McNeese State 64-53, and are now 10-1 in the Southland.

Can you get a double double-double? #9 Green Bay need every single one of Wojita’s 30 points, 20 rebounds, 8 steals and 5 assists and 4 blocks (They’re still tallying the total number of programs, hot dogs and sodas she sold.) to escape the much improved Wright State, 64-59.

No, Vermont is not the team of Pilypaitis and Kotsopoulos, but you still gotta pay attention to them and their history. Which is why it’s important to note that New Hampshire beat them, 58-48. Another great story in the Am. East.

The Mountaineers have climbed to 14-1 in the Southern.

The Jackrabbits hopped over the Kangaroos, 79-73, and now South Dakota State sits at 12-1 in the Summit. It would have been fun to hear the play-by-play folks handle the names of the top scorers from both teams: Sunnarborg and Nezianya.

San Diego State had to come back from a couple down to secure the 77-64 win over UNLV and move to 8-1 in the MWC.

Am I right in remembering that San Diego has been a tad fodder-esque over the years? Not so much this year: they’re 9-3 in the WCC.

At 9-1 in the A-10, the Owls are now quietly stalking the Bonnies.

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at about half time, most of the numbered world was rather askew. Injuries and unfocused play seemed the norm, and tight games or deficits were everywhere.

But, come the second half, balance was restored and all moved forward as expected for Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, Miami and Penn State. (Gotta wonder, though, how bad Glory’s injury is — no fun for TN as they prepare for Notre Dame)

Not many issues for Gonzaga, Stanford, UConn, Ohio State, Delaware, Purdue  and Green Bay.

Vandy didn’t get the memo, though. They started slowly against Arkansas and never recovered, as the Razorbacks got their first win against the Commodores since 2006.

UNC took out its frustrations on (who else) Va Tech and Hatchell got her 600th as a Tar Heel.

Hmmmm, South Carolina isn’t building on their past record — they lost to Auburn, 53-49.

BU is now 6-0 in the America East. (Hello, Graham? Mechelle? Michelle? Some attention please?) Plenty of games still to play, but keep your eye on the Feb 18th home game against Albany.

Oooooo, that was close: In a match up between the top teams in the MAC, it was Bowling Green that escaped still unscathed. They were 61-58 winners over Miami (OH).

Bwahahahaaa, take that! In the “former WNBA-players-now-coaches” rematch, Cynthia Cooper’s UNC-Willmington got their revenge as they eked out a 57-56 win over Beth Cunningham’s VCU.

Bang! There’s now a dent in the Pride’s CAA record: James Madison took them down, 81-63.

Remember when Michigan State was ranked? They’re really shaky this year — Minnesota defeated them 71-65. Rumor has it the Gophers have a nice young point guard.

The Shockers are now 6-0 in the MVC. I guess this means I’m going to have to research the history of their nickname, huh?

Don’t mess with NAIA D-II, #5 Concordia (NEB). They defeated Nebraska Omaha, 68-60.

It’s early, but with their win over Utah State, Fresno State in now 2-0 in the WAC.

USC moved to 5-1 in the Pac-12, taking down the Ducks, 92-73.

Don’t know that Spoon is having much fun this season: the Techsters lost to Hawaii. No disrespect intended, but Hawaii!

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That would have been the sound of Duke’s Elizabeth Williams blocking her way to a triple-double and an ACC record. Oh, and Duke won, too.

Meanwhile, over at the Comcast center, Maryland fans were treated to a show of heart and Georgia Tech went away broken-hearted.

UNLV pulled its own comeback, topping Fresno State 73-71.

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We mentioned Missouri’s 7-1 record. The Missourian writes: Pregame routines keep Missouri women’s basketball team focused

Graham takes note of another Missouri team: Living up to legendary comparisons – Compare her to Jackie Stiles, but don’t underestimate Casey Garrison’s all-around game

There is plenty to be said, much of it pertaining to everything but scoring records. As Garrison points out, her game is completely different than that of the program’s most famous alum. Listed at 6 feet, Garrison leads the Bears in rebounds and assists this season in addition to points. She will likely leave the school second in points, but she could depart second in assists and in or near the top five in rebounds, steals and blocks.

About that team that took down Oklahoma: Ki-Ki Moore makes immediate impact for Fresno State women’s basketball team

The questions about Ki-Ki Moore never stopped last season while she worked out with the Fresno State women’s basketball team after transferring from Washington State.

It she the real deal? Will she make an immediate impact? Can she join the long line of great Bulldogs guards Chantella Perera, Mirenda Swearengin, Tierre Wilson and Jaleesa Ross?

Out of Wisconsin: Slow start to Bobby Kelsey era

The Wisconsin women’s basketball team (4-7 overall) is in the midst of a 12-day break, and based on its last few performances, it appears the time off comes at the perfect time for the Badgers.

Out of Boston: Chantell Alford, Terriers take down Eagles

Podcasting: Dishin & Swishin December 15, 2011 Podcast: Nneka & Chiney Ogwumike & Ros Gold-Onwude…on hoops, the Pink Room, and their Nigerian heritage

YouTubing: The Pink Room, Season 1, Episode 2: Breaking down UConn’s defense, ranked teams countdown No. 10 to No. 6 and more

From Lady Swish: Holiday Shopping Guide: Take me out to the movies

From Hoops Across America, more Graham: Northern State’s the only game in town

Aberdeen’s Northern State University led Division II in women’s basketball attendance during the 2010-11 season, just as it did each of the three seasons before that as part of a run of seven consecutive seasons in the top 10. The Wolves averaged 2,399 fans per game a season ago, making them one of only two Division II teams to top 2,000; it’s a mark that also would have been good enough to rank them ahead of more than 250 Division I programs, including the likes of California, Florida and Georgetown.

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post-game between Fresno State and La Tech.

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