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I don’t really pay the WNBA pre-season much mind since folks are still abroad and the games are full of names we won’t hear come opening night.

But, this totally stinks: Jeanette Pohlen to Miss 2014 WNBA Season with Torn Achilles Tendon

Hope springs eternal: Revamped Sun, Hoping to Put 2013 Behind, Prepare For Liberty Exhibition

Video: Beyond the Beat – Donovan and Chiney

Noise maker: Follow the leader: Lynx’s Moore becoming more vocal

Video: Old Friends, Together Again (Hartley/Dolson)

The Bun is back in the Land of the Sun and  Training Camp: The “Most Aggressive Thing”

Every team constantly works on their defense throughout the year.

The difference, however, is how they do so.

In Sandy Brondello’s system, working on defense begins with the absolute smallest of details. From the angle the players have their feet planted to how to properly work around pick-and-rolls from various locations on the floor, Brondello wants the Mercury to be aggressive (but smart) on the defensive end.

In Atlanta, it’s Shoni time!

Soon after the Atlanta Dream selected Shoni Schimmel with the No. 8 overall pick in the WNBA draft, coach

Michael Cooper had a conversation with his new guard.

“This is where you’re going to be ‘Showtime’ Schimmel,” Cooper said.

In college news, Kelly’s back! Purdue Women’s Basketball Adds Komara to Women’s Basketball Staff

Good news: UNC women’s basketball coach Hatchell completes treatment

History on display: Beaded dress from Fort Shaw Indian women’s basketball team unveiled at UM

The blue-beaded ceremonial dress has spent the past century in Beverly Braig’s home, reminding her of the woman who wore it during halftime fundraisers at the turn of the 20th century.

While Braig never met her basketball-playing grandmother, Emma Sansaver, her beaded dress has become something of a legend, remembering one of Montana’s greatest athletic achievements and moments of human triumph.

“She was on the world championship Indian women’s basketball team at Fort Shaw that played in the St. Louis World’s Fair,” Braig said. “My hope is that Emma’s dress will cause a conversation that will be a positive influence on Native students, especially women.

And, what! You’ve not read Full Court Quest. For shaaaaaame!

Clay Evans at the Daily Camera writes: What it’s like to be a gay athlete in Boulder

Read literally, some well-known passages in both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament condemn homosexuality (though the Gospel accounts ignore the issue entirely and, curiously, female homosexuality goes unmentioned.) And certainly, homosexuals have been persecuted throughout history (with exceptions; men and boys had sexual relationships in ancient Greece, for example).

But in proportion to other admonitions and calls to action — think, “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself” — the issue doesn’t seem have the scaffolding to bear the hefty political and religious weight it has assumed in America. That is, no doubt, partly a continuing conservative reaction against changes wrought in the libertine 1960s, and as any minority presses forward, opposition will always rise.

It’s difficult not to think about that larger picture when reading former CU women’s basketball player Kate Fagan’s fast-paced new memoir, “The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians.”

What? You’ve not read “The Reappearing Act: Coming Out as Gay on a College Basketball Team Led by Born-Again Christians.” Look deep into my disapproving eyes!

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THIS close.

And don’t even begin to lie to me and say that you thought Indy, down Katie AND Pohlen, had a chance in youknowwhat. And, even if you were a cock-eyed optimist, there ain’t no way you call the margin of victory. And yet, look what happened.

From the Indy Star, Bob Kravitz wrties: Magical effort has Fever oh so close to WNBA title

They lost Katie Douglas to a sprained ankle. They lost Douglas’ replacement, Jeanette Pohlen, to another injury in Game 2 in Minnesota. They found themselves in a WNBA Finals series against the defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx, a team that is deeper, younger, healthier and more athletic.

“How are you going to match up now without Douglas and Pohlen?’Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn was asked before Game 3 Friday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

She smiled and laughed.

“Pull a rabbit out of a hat,” she said.

All credit to Indy’s defense, guards stepping up, and Tamika’s top-to-bottom fierceness. Oh, and 18,000-plus Fever fans who were, as Lobo so aptly put it, taken out of the game because Minnesota played so miserably. Auriemma sent Rebecca a morning tweet: @RebeccaLobo surprised u werent up earlier since i heard u and Terry snoring during 3rd quarter last night

Forget jacket tossing — btw, On The Fly: Minnesota Lynx Coach Fined For Throwing Her Coat In Game 2 and, from Jayda: “That Bobby Knight, Lou Piniella, Cheryl Reeve montage of meltdowns was hilarious. Guys in a different bar&I debated same. Knight took prize” — they’re this close to tossing hats in the air.

Says the Star’s David Woods:

This was easy. Or E-Z. Or “E” and “Z” as Lin Dunn put it.

“E” is Erlana Larkins. She has re-introduced herself to the women’s basketball world.

“Z” is Shavonte Zellous. She left her mark on the Minnesota Lynx as the fictional Zorro did on the Spaniards.

They contributed to a dazzling night that had Brad Stevens and Eric Gordon — a couple of Indianapolis’ basketball celebrities — tweeting about it. The Fever crushed the Lynx 76-59 in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals on Friday, moving within one victory of their first championship.

Writes Michelle:

The look on Cheryl Reeve’s face at the third-quarter timeout expressed more than any flying jacket. It wasn’t passion. Not even anger, really, but unmistakable disgust.

There’s being beaten by an Indiana team having a great night. But being beaten like this?

From Mechelle: Zellous puts Fever on brink of title (yes, Z, Big East fans see — and have seen — you!)

The Indiana Fever had been away from home a long time. They left Oct. 9 after having survived Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals the night before. By the time they returned to Indiana’s capital city on Oct. 18, they had won the East title, lost Katie Douglas and Jeanette Pohlen to injuries, won Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, and lost Game 2.

So the 18,165 fans who filled Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Friday night really couldn’t know exactly what they’d see from their Fever. And they never would have expected what they got: A flat-out shellacking of the defending WNBA champions.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Plenty of time left on the clock. Anyone wanna lay odds on who wins Sunday?

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people pay more attention to your first game.

#8 Ohio State got silenced by #9 Florida, 70-65 (even though the Gators did try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.) Enjoy it while you can, Florida: Baylor is up next.

The bigger upset was #13 Marist taking down #4 Georgia, 76-70. Kudos to the Red Foxes for not folding after losing the lead late in the second half. Even more kudos to coach Giorgis for getting the win (his third 13 over 4) with a team many thought was vulnerable. Writes Graham: Brian Giorgis makes Marist magic happen

#6 Nebraska gave #11 Kansas the early 8-point lead and never could catch up. Jayhawk Angel Goodrich notched 20pts and 5 rebounds.

San Diego kept it close, but in the end, Nikki Caldwell and LSU earned a 64-56 win – mostly in part to the return of LaSondra Barrett.

There were some serious near misses for the higher ranked teams: Dem #14 Creighton Blue Jays gave #3 St. John’s all they could handle, and then some (even the ESPN headline writer thought they’d pulled off the upset: Creighton wins at buzzer  (Dated line Sunday, 7:40pm, EST). But no, it was a coast-to-coast layup by (who else) Jeanette Pohlen… I mean, Nadirah McKenith that rescued the Johnnies, 69-67.

#12 Fresno State shot poorly, and yet still had a chance to take down #5 Georgetown. The Hoyas pulled it out, 61-56, but you’ve got to wonder how far they can go without more Sugar.

A last second layup got #12 FGCU into overtime, but the #5 Bonnies regrouped and gutted out a 72-65 win.

Put it in the books: the first Tourney win for the #3 Delaware program, and the player people were waiting to see didn’t disappoint: 39pts, 11 rebounds against # 14 UALR. Oh, and she took some time to do some writing: Expect a large Delle Donne contingent.

Nice, solid effort by #8 Cal’s “newbies to the Tourney”, as they took down a stubborn #9 Iowa, 84-74. Writes Matt Fortuna: Brittany Boyd delivers for Bears

#10 Middle Tennessee didn’t have enough in the tank to deal with #7 Vanderbilt: ‘dores win, 60-46.

#4 Georgia Tech freshman Wallace left nothing to chance, and her Yellow Jackets stung #13 Sacred Heart, 76-50.

#6 Oklahoma enjoyed every inch of home court, tattooing Michigan, 88-67.

#4 Penn State outscored a stubborn #13 UTEP team in the second by 8 — and that was the margin of victory.

The #1s took similar paths: crush their opponents in the first half, cruise in the second half. Side note: Sims did not start and Kim says “She knows why.” Ummm, hello folks, it’s the TOURNAMENT. Keep yourselves together.

Duke didn’t need Williams (24 minutes, 4/10, 3rebounds) to defeat Samford 82-47, but I’m sure they will soon.

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Listen in:

In the women’s college game, there are so very few coaches with the programs, the resume, and the success of Coach Tara VanDerveer.   One of only five women’s coaches to win 800 games, she has won two national championships, a ridiculous amount of conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances galore, produced many All-Americans, Naismith winners, Wade Trophy winners, WNBA first round draft choices, and USA basketball participants.

As I can’t make it to Springfield this weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute on Dishin & Swishin to the woman that deserved this honor several years ago.  With the help of Aaron Juarez, Stanford SID extraordinaire, we put together one of the infamous Dishin & Swishin roundtables.  When Aaron and I put out the information on what we were doing, the response was amazing, as former players lined up to pay homage to a coach/mentor/friend that means so much to them all.

Participants are:

Jennifer Azzi
Angela Taylor
Kate Paye
Vanessa Nygaard
Candice Wiggins
Jayne Appel
Jeanette Pohlen
Melanie Murphy

http://www.hoopfeed.com/ content/2011/08/11/dishin- swishin-august-11-2011- podcast-3-part-2-a-tribute-to- tara-vanderveer/

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that the tourney is over *sigh*? ’cause their web page doesn’t reflect that…

Anyhoo, it’s WNBA draft time. Lib fans are still wondering whether Whiz is going to make any off-season moves (other than signing Spencer. Huh?)

Did have a Lib dream though. We were in the new arena which, for some reason, meant I had to lay down on the top of a partition to catch a glimpse of the court. (That seemed like a design flaw.) The good news was that Kayla Pederson was playing for us and on fiyah. The bad news was we were beating Sacramento. So, I’m wondering if I was transferring — you know, “Sacramento” is New York and we’re getting killed….

Clearly, it’s between seasons and draft time is nigh. Hope you’ve checked out Swish Appeal’s pre-draft analysis:

Kayla Pedersen & Jeanette Pohlen – “I Can’t Say Enough Positive Things About Them” (for an answer, perhaps, to my dream)

WNBA Draft 2011 Prospect Capsule: Elizabeth Cambage – “A Work in Progress, But She’s Definitely One Of The Most Exciting Prospects in Australian Women’s Basketball”

WNBA Draft 2011 Shooting Guard Prospect Rankings: Where Jeanette Pohlen Might Fit Best As A Pro

They’ve got a Consensus First Round Mock Draft list, too.

Compare and contrast with Draft Site’s mock draft and the WNBA’s Frank Della Femina’s try.

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is here.

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Point guards lead the way in Sweet 16

We may be living in the year of the quarterback, but March will always be the month of the point guard.

When the Sweet 16 gets under way on Saturday afternoon, some of the biggest stars on the court will be the smallest players on the court. From eight standout seniors looking to play at least one more game to four freshmen who appear ready to battle for bragging rights for years to come, the weekend’s most intriguing subplots may come from duels between players who do considerably more than merely bring the ball up the floor.

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That was the sound of Jeanette Pholen aka the Stanford Cardinal saying “No mas.

A great win for the Tara and crew, in front of a packed house and on national television, reminding everyone that it ain’t all about the UConn’s national blue. Lots of great writing on the game:

From John Reid: Pohlen’s Wiggins-esque performance puts kibosh on UConn streak

The final rebound fittingly ended up in Jeanette Pohlen’s hands. It had to be Pohlen, the senior guard who personally wrecked visiting UConn with a career-high 31 points, nine rebounds and six assists, playing all 40 minutes.

In one of the greatest women’s basketball games ever played at Maples Pavilion, the Cardinal defeated the Huskies 71-59 Thursday evening in front of 7,329 mostly red-clad fanatics. Stanford’s victory halted the Huskies’ record win streak at 90 games and the 6-foot terror, Pohlen, had an awful lot to do with it.

Really? The LA Times borrows CT’s John Altavilla? Really? Stanford ends Connecticut’s winning streak at 90

Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma has said that winning 90 consecutive games was exciting. But it wasn’t so enthralling that he ever believed the Huskies were invincible.

Once the streak got rolling Nov. 16, 2008, against Georgia Tech, it just kept going, taking on a life of its own, picking up steam, two national championships and two undefeated seasons on its way to Maples Pavilion.

From the San Fransisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick: 90 and done – Cardinal end Huskies’ record winning streak

Finally, after 90 games and more than 32 months of non-stop winning, top-ranked Connecticut lost Thursday night. Jeanette Pohlen scored 31 points as Stanford jumped ahead early and rolled merrily away to win 71-59 before a raucous capacity crowd at Maples Pavilion.
From Elliott Almond at the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Stanford ends Connecticut’s 90-game winning streak

Like the last time it lost — 82-73 in the NCAA semifinals in Tampa, Fla. — Connecticut seemed overwhelmed by coach Tara VanDerveer’s methodical triangle offense.

As a result, the Cardinal (9-2) won its 52nd in a row at home with senior guard Jeanette Pohlen getting a career-high 31 points and adding nine rebounds and six assists. It was Pohlen who looked like America’s best guard while Moore got frustrated by Stanford’s towering defense.

From Mechelle: Stanford snaps UConn’s win streak – Pohlen nets 31 points as Cardinal slow down game, dominate Huskies throughout

Stanford wasn’t really thinking all that much about the history, either its own against UConn or that of women’s basketball in general.

This was more about the chalkboard and video and practice and repetition, the stuff Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer so dearly loves. It was about facing a great program but knowing there were things to expose — and then actually doing that.

From C&R: Ding Dong, the Streak is Dead!

The first, the last, and UConn was everything in between. C and R are of course talking about the amazing UConn Huskies women’s basketball streak of consecutive wins and Stanford’s small part in it. Stanford was the last team to beat them in March 2008, and the first team to beat them since they got the all-time men’s or women’s streak record of 89, stopping them at 90.

This win was so great; let’s savor it minute by minute, shall we?

Mel says the Huskies were dooooomed:

In most situations over the years, the arrival of Connecticut in an opponent gym would somehow cause the other team that was a serious challenger to be unable to handle the extra distractions caused by increases of its home crowd and media attention.

The week long hype involving the 1-2 game at Duke during the Diana Taurasi era several years ago comes to mind as an example. That’s when Auriemma pushed the buttons of the enemy student fans during a teleconference mentioning how he was aware of many Blue Devils graduates these days working in restaurants while discussing a player who had chosen Duke over the Huskies for the sake of a better diploma.

Though an underdog in that particular matchup, UConn established a deep one-sided lead early in the contest that was enough to withstand Duke after the Blue Devils regained their footing down the stretch.

Stanford was not in danger of suffering a similar collapse under the weight of the so-called Connecticut circus for several reasons.

From Q at Swish Appeal: Stanford Beats UConn 71-59 To End Streak At 90: Crushing Xavier Was A Blueprint For Beating UConn

When we look back on Stanford’s 71-59 win tonight at Maples Pavilion that ended UConn’s streak at 90 wins, Xavier should probably be considered as an important part of the narrative.

And not necessarily for the reason presented by Xavier point guard Special Jennings on Twitter. (Ya gotta click to check out the tweet)

From Rob Gloster at Bloomberg: Connecticut’s 90-Game Winning Streak Ends With 71-59 Loss at Stanford

The longest winning run in major- college basketball history is over, and it ended just as a similar streak did four decades ago.

From the Stanford Daily: Stanford topples No. 1 UConn

From Andy Hutchins at SBNation: UConn’s Winning Streak Ends At 90 Games: What Did We Learn From Stanford’s Victory?

UConn’s streak came to an end last night: Stanford’s 71-59 win at Maples Pavilion halted the Huskies’ run at an NCAA record 90 consecutive wins.

But the really intriguing part of the women’s basketball season has just begun. UConn losing opens up the field, and there are a few titans waiting in the wings to make this year’s run toward an NCAA championship one of the most contentious in years. What did we learn last night?

Lisa Olson at Fanhouse (ignores facts with her headline): End of UConn’s Streak Restores Competition to Women’s Basketball

There were two minutes and change left in the life of a 90-game winning streak, and the best female player on these shores ducked her head, a move equivalent to waving a white flag. Maya Moore had been erratic all night, an obvious sign something was definitely amiss, but when she missed another jumper from the top of the key and let Chiney Ogwumike sneak by to score an easy, uncontested basket, it was a seismic, karmic shift.

Michelle Smith’s also writing at Fanhouse: Stanford Ends UConn Women’s Record 90-Game Winning Streak

Connecticut (12-1) lost its first game since April 6, 2008 to a Stanford team that was experienced, motivated and well-prepared for this matchup, the sixth between the two programs since December 2007.

“The streak was for them and what they did. We’re about Stanford and what we want to do,” said Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer. “We didn’t play a perfect game, but I thought we played very well.”

From (gasp!) the Boston Globe’s Damin Esper: UConn streak ends – Stanford never trails, ends Huskies’ run at 90 victories

Kelly Faris launched one more futile 3-point attempt, the basketball equivalent of spitting into the ocean. Of course, it drew iron — the 41st missed field goal on the night for Connecticut. Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen came down with the rebound, turned around, and hurled the basketball to the heavens.

From Jayda at Key Arena: Connecticut’s historic streak ends at 90 after loss to Stanford

From Lata Dar at Latest Sports Buzz: Stanford Beats Connecticut with Moore Missing on her Play Tactics

Relive the game with Yahoo’s Jeremy Stone’s game blog.

Surprising news from Bleacher Report’s Ross Benes: Geno Auriemma Fired after Loss to Stanford Breaks 90-Game Win Streak

NPR grabs the AP game article: UConn’s Win Streak Ends At 90 In Loss To Stanford

Stanford really does have UConn’s number.

Top-ranked Connecticut’s record 90-game winning streak in women’s basketball ended Thursday night when No. 9 Stanford outplayed the Huskies from the start in a 71-59 victory at Maples Pavilion — where the Cardinal have their own streak going.

SI has an alternate AP story:

Maya Moore and everybody around UConn realized how much this meant to Stanford after several near misses against the mighty Huskies – one in the Final Four, another that cost the Cardinal the 2010 NCAA title.

No. 1 Connecticut’s remarkable run is over, a 90-game winning streak stopped by an inspired Stanford squad determined to protect its own impressive mark: 52 straight home wins at Maples Pavilion.

From Tim Kawakami at the Mercury News: Stanford plays the bully in taking down UConn

They ended the Streak with elbows flying, minds racing, voices bellowing and hearts pounding.

They did it with their arena rocking and rolling, their grand opponent crumbling and a nation watching.

TWO from Jere’! (I must send him some sort of thank you bribe): Stanford Beats UConn to Halt Streak at 90

“I think disappointment is the right word, but not disappointment that we lost,” UConn Coach Geno Auriemma said. “There’s a sense of disappointment that we didn’t play well. There’s been other times we didn’t play well; it’s just that we haven’t faced anybody as good as Stanford was tonight.”

In Defeat, UConn Sees Chance to Forge a New Identity

“I think in some ways, he’s probably relieved,” Tara VanDerveer, Stanford’s coach with 802 career victories and two national titles of her own, said later. “They got the streak. That’s great. Maybe it gives them a chance to move on. It gives this team a chance to establish its own identity.”

From SportsNation: Cheat Sheet: Question No. 2 – Has Connecticut found its new rival in women’s basketball?

From Avinash Kunnath at SB Nation: Stanford Cardinal Women’s Basketball Ends UConn Huskies 90 Game Winning Streak (Some fun photos, too.)

Kelli Anderson (is back!) at Sports Illustrated: UConn still the favorite for national title, minus an aura of invincibility

It didn’t end the way Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma had hoped — “I would have loved for it to been 98-97 in triple overtime and both teams play great,” he said. But it didn’t end with a whimper, either. Connecticut never led in its 71-59 loss to Stanford, before a raucous sellout crowd in Palo Alto on Thursday night, but the Huskies’ reputation for never losing is such that Stanford’s Jeanette Pohlen wasn’t sure the game was in hand until “maybe the last 10 seconds.”
From Marcus Henry at Newsday: Stanford tops UConn women, stops streak

Before everyone starts popping the champagne corks, remember, it is only December. And Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, although pleased with the win, wasn’t ready to declare the season over.

“It’s not a national championship, but it’s something we’re very proud of,” said VanDerveer, who recently won her 800th career game.

From something ESPNish: Defense was focus for Stanford

From the Casino Gambling Web: Gamblers Finally Lose As Stanford’s Women’s Basketball Team Wins

From Alex Groberman at Opposing Views: Streak Ends at 90: UConn Women Lose to Stanford

The historical, record-breaking winning streak set by the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team is officially over.

It took Stanford one game to dismantle a streak that took a UConn squad two years, and 90 victories to build.

From his direct employer, the Hartford Courant‘s John Altavilla writes: Stanford Ends UConn Women’s Streak At 90

UConn coach Geno Auriemma has said winning 90 straight games was exciting; let’s face it, no one has ever seen anything like it and may never again. But it wasn’t so enthralling that he ever began to believe his Huskies were invincible.

And finally, from NPR’s “The Takeaway,” quickly becoming THE source for women’s basketball news *grin*: UConn Huskies’ Winning Streak Broken By Stanford

P.S.: I’m throwing this up, even though it’s a pregame article, simply because I don’t know that the Christian Science Monitor & Ross has covered the women’s game since, oh, the Clinton administration. From Ross Atkin: Will Stanford end UConn’s women’s basketball winning streak? Hmmmm.

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An invitation from the AP’s Stephen Hawkins to Meet some of NCAA’s lesser-known leading ladies

I might have added “somewhat” to the headline, but hey, I appreciate the pixels.

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