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and ponder Indy 2016.

How can any women’s basketball fan imagine attending the Final Four in Indianapolis if this ridiculous legislative apology for discrimination stands? Much of the analysis is looking at this from the men’s side of sports (of course), but it is all table setting for a year long debate.

From the New York Times: Sports Entities Begin to Digest Implications of Indiana Law

Most affected leagues and teams have either declined to comment or expressed muted concern.

But one influential agent went further, strongly suggesting that officials in professional and college sports reconsider their presence in the state in light of the law.

“I urge the Indiana Pacers, the N.C.A.A. and the professional sports leagues to not only condemn this blatantly unconstitutional legislation, but to take forceful action against it by re-evaluating their short- and long-term plans in the state,” Arn Tellem, the sports agent, said in an email. Tellem’s clients include the basketball stars Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis as well as Jason Collins, the first openly gay N.B.A. player.

And several basketball players who could find themselves playing for a national championship next week expressed, like Johnson, broader tolerance of people who are gay.

It was nice to see this from the Pacers/Fever:

The following joint statement was issued today by the NBA, WNBA, Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever in regard to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act recently signed into law in Indiana:

“The game of basketball is grounded in long established principles of inclusion and mutual respect. We will continue to ensure that all fans, players and employees feel welcome at all NBA and WNBA events in Indiana and elsewhere.”

Additionally, Pacers and Fever owner Herb Simon stated:

“The Indiana Pacers, Indiana Fever and Bankers Life Fieldhouse have the strongest possible commitment to inclusion and non-discrimination on any basis. Everyone is always welcome at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. That has always been the policy from the very beginning of the Simon family’s involvement and it always will be. ”

I appreciate the statement, but it needs to go further. Imagine, if you will, NCAA champion-WNBA Champion-FIBA Worlds Champion Brittney Griner’s Phoenix Mercury play NCAA champion-WNBA-Champion-Olympic Champion Tamkia Catching’s Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and, say, Wimbledon great Billie Jean King graces the arena with her presence. They all decide to go out for dinner afterward… and are refused service.

How can any right-minded American think that is at all okay? There needs to be a commitment to do everything in their power to overturn this idiocy – in Indiana AND Arkansas (’cause 19 states that have ‘religious freedom’ laws like Indiana’s that no one is boycotting)

Oh, and WBCA? Where is your voice? *crickets*

Kate Fagan writes: DEAR INDIANA, YOU NEED TO AMEND YOUR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM BILL

If you contend you’re more like Illinois and Connecticut (two other states with “religious freedom” bills) than you are like Alabama and Louisiana — prove it.

Turns out that 19 other states have some form of a “religious freedom” bill, including the aforementioned two: Connecticut and Illinois. That’s surprising, considering that nobody is calling for the NCAA or NFL to boycott holding events in Chicago or Hartford. But do you want to know one reason why? Because the potential discriminatory nature of the “religious freedom” bills in those states is counteracted by the statewide policies protecting LGBT people from discrimination.

These anti-discrimination policies are not county-by-county. They’re not just government employment protection. They are sweeping measures that include public and private employment, public expression and interactions while receiving goods and services.

You, Indiana, have no such sweeping anti-discrimination policy. (Neither does Alabama or Louisiana.)

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At least, this is what SHOULD be their reaction to this piece of homophobic, regressive, faith-twisting legislation: Indiana law allows biz to reject gays

And the follow up: WBCA supports NCAA’s decision to move tournament.

And the follow up: NCAA moves headquarters from Indianapolis.

Personally, I’ve attended every Final Four since 2000. I ain’t going to Indianapolis in 2016.

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Indiana is working on its best start since…. Archie, Flip and Marcus ruled the airwaves.

Despite the loss of the team’s top three scorers from last season, the Hoosiers have reloaded with seven freshmen and redshirt sophomore Kaila Hulls, who is donning cream and crimson for the first time in her career after transferring from Bowling Green.

Freshman guard Larryn Brooks leads IU in scoring at 19.5 points per game and she dropped 37 points against Virginia Tech on Dec. 4 in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Six of the Hoosiers’ top seven scorers are in their first season playing for IU. First-year players are responsible for 71.2 percent of the team’s scoring.

It’s great timing, ’cause IU is going to recognize 1972-1974 women’s basketball teams

“Becoming a varsity sport in 1971, our women’s basketball program compiled an incredible four-year record of 62-15, advanced to two Elite Eights and reached the 1973 Final Four,” IU Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass said in a release. “We are thrilled to give this amazing group of women the recognition they so richly deserve.”

Speaking of history, check this out from PA: Helen Myers and the dandy 1926-27 West York girls’ basketball team“Every member was a star. Helen Myers and Wilhelmina Bufflap at all times outplayed their guards. Anna Joseph and Kathryn Sheffer2in center held their own against all odds. Margaret Stauffer, Catherine Neiman, and Marguerite Strayer as guards put up such a mighty battle that West York outclassed its opponents with a total score of 622 points to 390.

Ohio State is working on defining itself: Defenses turn attention to Buckeyes’ Ameryst Alston

The OSU newbies wrote an exciting first chapter by shocking West Virginia 70-61 in Morgantown in the season opener behind a 29-point performance from Ameryst Alston.

The sophomore point guard would follow that with a 28-point outburst against Florida Atlantic in the second game, and word about Alston and the free-flowing, basket-attacking style of McGuff began to circulate.

As the storyline progressed, defenses started to place more roadblocks on the court for Alston, and points for the entire team became harder to find.

An injury provides an opportunity: Volleyball player’s first contributions highlight move to 10-0

Just days after the Iowa State volleyball team fell out of the NCAA tournament in early December, senior Tenisha Matlock was on the hunt for a pair of basketball shoes.

With the loss of sophomore forward Madison Baier for the season to a torn ACL, the 14th-ranked women’s basketball team was searching for a tall player to replace her.

Revved up: Princeton University women’s basketball tops an SEC opponent for first time (Looks like Alabama will get some help from Baylor: Hayden to transfer to Alabama)

In what Graham called “the game of the year” (so far) the Gaels downed the #24 Zags in overtime. Writes Michelle:

Ascribing the designation of “statement game” after a big victory can be a tricky business. What exactly is the statement? Are we limited to only one?

Because when Saint Mary’s closed out a 79-78 overtime win over Gonzaga at home Saturday afternoon, there were a few things to say about the 11-1 Gaels.

For starters, this team is for real. The best start in school history has now included wins over Washington, Alabama, USC and the No. 24-ranked Bulldogs, who have won nine consecutive West Coast Conference regular-season titles since 2004.

It doesn’t get easier for St. Mary’s. Up next: Portland, 12-0 San Diego and 11-1 BYU.

How “on fiyah” is Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas? She notched her  second triple-double in three games as the Terps whomped Wofford. 

Central Michigan put up a fight — and there was not a lot of defense played by either side — but #17 Purdue escaped with a 109-97 win.

#14 Iowa State cruised to a win over Holy Cross, but their tests are coming in January: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

From Chicago Now: Women’s Sports 2013: Five Great Moments for Women…and Chicago Chicago Sky Makes Playoffs

Speaking of the W: Albert Lee has several Reasons why the WNBA should not significantly spend more money in the immediate future

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With conference play just around the corner…

Jan. 27: Notre Dame at Maryland, ESPN2
Feb. 2: Notre Dame at Duke, ESPN 
Feb. 2: Stanford at Cal, ESPN2
Feb. 9: Louisville at UConn, ESPN 
Feb. 10: North Carolina at Duke, ESPN2
Feb. 16: Kentucky at Tennessee, ESPN 
Feb. 23: Duke at Notre Dame, ESPN

…it’s intriguing to reflect how the top teams fared in their pre-Christmas games.

After watching South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia fall, Mike at Mel’s blog is still bullish on the SEC: Best Conference Race Ever Looms Ahead

As 2013 closes, one thing is sure in women’s college basketball: The mighty Southeastern Conference will chew up some teams and reward others. So here’s our best guess preview.

We have said all along Kentucky is the best team here. One loss to a higher-ranked team does not discount that. In fact, it gives them something to work on.

But it is Tennessee who is the defending regular-season champ. That’s a
”Yeah, But” thing. Someone else wins, yeah, but it’s because Tennessee stumbled in this or that game.

Meanwhile, Doug writes: UConn women have looked nearly unbeatable

The women’s basketball season is almost two months old and one thing is clear, the UConn Huskies are by far the best team in the country.

While some already see a record ninth title for Connecticut as a foregone conclusion, the rest of the nation can take some solace that Brittney Griner and Baylor looked just as unbeatable last season. That’s until Louisville stunned the Lady Bears with one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.

Picking up on their earlier tweet exchange, Rebecca Lobo and Lin Dunn join David for a nice chat on “The UConn dilemma: Is dominance good for the game?”

From Logan Lowery at the Daily Journal: MSU women relishing their 12-1 start

Mississippi State is off to the second-best start in school history for women’s basketball.

After winning just 13 games during his initial season with the Bulldogs, Vic Schaefer has started his second year 12-1 before the Christmas break.

“We’re 12-1 at Christmas, that’s a great feeling and a great accomplishment for our group,” Schaefer said. “I’m excited for them.”

Learn a little about the 12-2 Missouri Tigers: Senior forward Kulas took circuitous route to MU

In a perfect world, Williams said it wouldn’t have taken Kulas three college stops to find the right destination. That said, Williams wouldn’t change her daughter’s journey if she could.

“She ended up where she needed to be. Finding a home at Mizzou has been a great, great thing for her,” Williams said. “Her journey has made her grow into a better person, a better ballplayer.

“The journey that she took, I’m not sure that’s how I would’ve wanted … but I feel like it did happen for a reason.”

Williams said her daughter’s year at Johnson County was “tremendous for her.” It proved to be a launch pad for Kulas’ basketball career.

How about that team in Indiana? Gerardot speaks to IU basketball success

 Today Tabitha Gerardot is, well, Brigitte, and not Indiana women’s basketball’s third-leading scorer. Tomorrow she could be Sophia or Carmela or Aisha.

It’s all about perspective, you see. It’s role playing with a linguistic purpose.

This matters to Gerardot, who is working on her masters in linguistics with visions of become an interpreter or a translator when the former Canterbury standout is done with helping the Hoosiers’ basketball resurrection.

Arizona is 3-7, so in honor of the holidays,  Zack Rosenblatt decided to put his own twist on “Festivus,” with a focus on the Wildcats and their season thus far.

Just replace the pole with a 10-foot basketball hoop (with “a great strength-to-weight ratio.”)

AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES

What’s been disappointing, or overlooked, for the Wildcats this season.

Bad start: For the first time in Butts’ six years at the helm, Arizona won’t have a winning record through non-conference play. Before 2013, she’d won about 75 percent of non-conference games. Entering Sunday’s non-conference finale with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Wildcats are 3-7, which included a recent five-game skid.

Getting in to the holiday spirit, Mark Carmin offered Purdue women’s basketball 10 Stocking stuffers

Graham offers up “10 players who have risen to the occasion” and his mid-major musings: Gonzaga remains No. 1

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists. And while the end of the basketball year technically comes not with a ball dropping in Times Square but confetti on a court in Nashville, starting a new calendar signals a shift of sorts in the start of conference play across much of the country. So to match the reflective spirit of the week, and before we get to the top 10, what would an all-mid-major team for the first half of the season look like?

Shereesha Richards, F, Albany: She put up 20 points and seven rebounds against Duke — in the first half. No wonder Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie said the 6-foot-1 forward was better than her league (and as a former America East coach, McCallie ought to know). Richards is averaging 22.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. She is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage but has taken nearly 50 more shots than those ahead of her.

Injury note: Maryland women’s basketball: Forward A’lexus Harrison to redshirt

Encouraging news: Hatchell eyeing return

Sylvia Hatchell is fighting to get back to her North Carolina women’s basketball program as quickly as possible.

The recently inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach has been away from sideline duties since October while receiving treatment for leukemia. She spent a month in the hospital for the first round of chemotherapy with more ahead as she holds out hope of getting back by conference tournament time.

“You don’t realize, especially after all this time, how much something means to you until you don’t have it,” Hatchell said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It was like a tsunami hit me and all of a sudden it’s taken away. But that’s my motivation, to get back out there.”

Equally encouraging news:  “Coach Holly Warlick said that freshman guard Jannah Tucker, who will be enrolling for the spring semester, is expected to join the team when it reconvenes after Christmas break.”

WATN? Ashley Battle: 2 local girls basketball coaches share Connecticut connection

While watching UConn and Duke on national television, Quaker Valley junior Karen Pugh felt a bond with the top team in women’s basketball.

“Our offense is very similar (to UConn),” she said, “as far as transition and passing and finding the open shot.”

How does a Western Pennsylvania high school team share traits with the most dominant women’s program in college basketball?

It’s no coincidence.

Speaking of the W, from India: Swin against the tide

The 6’1” tall frame of Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) legend Swin Cash stands out from the group of U-16 basketball enthusiasts assembled at the St. Dominic Savio School’s court. The three-time WNBA champion’s role on the occasion is to serve as mentor for the students from 164 schools around Mumbai during what was the Reliance Foundation 3X3 Junior NBA Championship in the city. Yet as she spoke and advised the aspiring athletes, both boys and girls, she maintains that she was a tad biased towards the girls.

“You talk about the NBA, and all you think of are male athletes. So it’s good for them to see people like me to serve as role models,” she says, laughing.

Al Lee at Swish Appeal asks, What are the Big Three Rookies doing during their first offseason as pros?

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after a week of travel, teaching and tummy upsetness.

So, are you intrigued that #6 Stanford didn’t easily put away the Longhorns?

What about how #5 Notre Dame handled Penn?

LaTech stayed even with LSU in the second — it was the first half that did them in. The Techsters are still 0-for.

Wow, Liberty is still 0-for, too.

Looks to be a long season in Arizona.

Marist finally got a win — and it was a nice one over Bowling Green.

UMass followed their incredibly surprising win over Rutgers (RU fans are not happy) with a takedown of Hartford.

Hmmm… Southern Miss took down the high flying’ FGCU Eagles.

Still perfect on the season: Wyoming, Missouri, Va Tech (via OT), SMU, BYU, San Diego, Baylor, Winthrop, Indiana, East Carolina, Colorado, Purdue, Maine (!), Tulane, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville (Walz is the winningest Card), Northwestern, Iowa State and Nebraska, Tennessee and Connecticut.

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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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Illinois hires Matt Bollant

Tough day for the mid-majors.

(Though I admit, there was a moment I thought I’d royally screwed up – successful mid-major coach goes to a university starting with an I.…)

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