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And, if you’re one of the folks running around in it, “Please be safe, please be safe, please be safe!” Or, perhaps a better warning: “Don’t be THAT idiot.”

For instance, those involved with the MSU/Maryland game which was postponed because of snowstorm

YEAH!!! Graham is writing about Kelsey!!! Minato is hoops’ best senior who won’t play professionally

That career continues when Army and Navy play in Madison Square Garden on Saturday. As the 10-year anniversaries of both Army’s first NCAA tournament appearance and former Army coach Maggie Dixon’s death at 28 years old approach this spring — two events inexorably bonded by the respective joy and sorrow they engendered and the brief time that separated them — what Minato has accomplished is a new chapter in the story.

What Dixon envisioned, Minato embodies.

The only team in the Patriot League to beat Army this season, Bucknell did so at home earlier this month only after enduring Minato’s 35 points on 16-of-26 shooting. After that game, the team’s second win in seven tries against Minato, Bucknell coach Aaron Roussell listened to people offer congratulations for a strategy as bold and daring as to allow Minato her shots and instead focus defensive attention on stopping her mortal teammates.

Jinx? Mechelle writes about Coach Vic Schaefer builds Bulldogs into national contender (and then, Barbee helps Georgia upset No. 10 Mississippi State 47-43)

When Schaefer got the Bulldogs job, the player who would turn out to score more points than any girl in Mississippi state high school history — 5,745 — was a prep sophomore: Victoria Vivians, a 6-foot-1 guard from Carthage.

“The first call I made was to her high school coach,” Schaefer said. “We worked our tails off in recruiting her because we knew the importance of keeping her here. Obviously, it’s been big for us. It’s a special time to have a kid like her on our basketball team.”

What the Bulldogs are still trying to establish this season, though, is that they are a consistently solid offensive team around Vivians too. In her second collegiate season, she is averaging a team-best 17.6 points per game for No. 10 Mississippi State.

Speaking of offense: Fast-Paced Offense Leads OSU Women’s Basketball Team Resurgence

SB: As Thomas said, you have played the four Final Four teams from last year. You lost to three of them. Is there a worry that you’re a good program but not an elite program at this point?

KM: Well. I’m at first I think you’ve got to play those teams to see where you are. And when I came here I knew we had a lot of work to to go to build the program and part of that wanted to be aggressive scheduling. And so you know, I like the fact that we kind of measured ourselves against the best we know where we have to to get better.

They got off to a fast start – and Cheryl takes note: 

Like many teams on the rise, Santa Clara continues to be a major work in progress, even during midseason. The Broncos have not had a winning season in seven years. They earned less than 12 wins in five of those years.

This season, the team added seven new players including junior forward Lori Parkinson, a transfer from Southern Utah and the team’s top rebounder, freshman guard Savanna Hanson who leads the Broncos in assists and made three-pointers, and senior forward Devin Hudson who led the team in scoring vs. Stanford.

“Honestly we’re just trying to get better every day, so we’re excited about the fact that we’re actually getting better as a ball club. We have seven new players, it has just taken a while to get everybody on the same page, but we’re excited about where we are.”

More reading: Tamika Catchings on a Lifetime of Hoops, and the Legacy She’ll Leave

When Tamika Catchings was a little girl, she was sitting with her dad and noticed the scar on his leg. So she asked him, “Well, what happened to you?”

Harvey Catchings, a former NBA player, told her that he walked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Jackson, Mississippi, as a young teenager. Harvey had grown up in that southern city, and here were his neighbors gathered by the thousands to march with King. He was injured when the large throng of marchers swelled and he passed a parked car that had a broken piece of chrome sticking out. His own father wasn’t far behind and helped him move to the sidewalk and clean the wound.

It was a day that forever made a mark, inside and out.

“That was one of the most incredible things I’ve ever experienced,” Harvey said.

Graham rights about Three new teams who entered mid-major rankings

Believe it or not, we are running out of mid-major rankings. Only two more check-ins remain before conference tournaments will end the subjective portion of the season and settle which teams will get a chance to play David, or occasionally under-seeded Goliath, in the NCAA tournament.

And we haven’t even had a chance yet to talk about Albany’s perennially underrated Shereesha Richards, St. Bonaventure again punching above its weight (or at least its enrollment) and the pipeline apparently linking Colorado State to basketball courts across Scandinavia.

There are so many stories left to tell as the final month of the regular season approaches.

By the way, Doug asked, “Where have the great mid-major teams gone?

Coach Aaron Johnston’s team’s only other losses came to then-No. 6 Maryland, by seven points, and Green Bay by one.

“The margin of error for mid-majors is so small,” Johnston said. “We played Maryland and Notre Dame close this year, beat DePaul who’s ranked and lose by one to Green Bay. Unfortunately one loss gets us out of people’s minds.”

LadySwish responded

Mid-major implies there’s a second tier of teams, an “everybody else” of women’s basketball lumped together outside of the Power 5 conference. They are the Power 5 because of football; nobody grouped them as such having to do with anything related to women’s basketball.

All the teams in the sport are playing the same sport, vying for the same trophy. But the NCAA committee and the media who vote in the poll rarely treat them as such.

Alabama, Wake Forest, Boston College, Pitt, Illinois — are these teams better than, say, South Dakota State, James Madison, Duquesne, George Washington, Green Bay, Florida Gulf Coast or Gonzaga?

More stuff: Washington’s Chantel Osahor makes her Husky women’s basketball teammates better

From Seton Hall to the WNBA

What are some of your most memorable experiences as an athletic trainer working in the WNBA?

Laura London: As a female athlete growing up in the ’90s, I remember when the WNBA was formed. Being able to work with the New York Liberty absolutely has been an all-around memorable experience. Walking out of the tunnel and stepping onto the court for my first time at Madison Square Garden, “The World’s Most Famous Arena,” was a wonderful moment as a sports fan. As a newly certified athletic trainer (ATC), being able to join an efficient and effective professional sports medicine team was a major milestone for me. Having that team be led by Laura Ramus, PT, ATC, a female athletic trainer and physical therapist, was an added bonus that has been career-shaping and inspirational.

Curt Miller Seeks to “Establish a Culture” with Young Connecticut Sun

Curt Miller may not have set out to be a pioneer, but when he accepted the job as the Connecticut Sun’s new head coach, that’s just what he became. By virtue of the move, Miller is now the first publicly gay man to be the head coach of an American professional sports team.

It’s just the latest step in an impressive coaching journey that has spanned 20-plus years in both the collegiate and professional ranks. In 13 years as a head coach at the collegiate level, Miller compiled a 290-124 record, won five MAC regular season and conference tournament championships with Bowling Green, and also lead the Falcons to the Sweet Sixteen in 2007. Last year he joined Brian Agler’s staff as an assistant coach out in Los Angeles with the Sparks. Now, after being hired in December, he’s the head coach of the Connecticut Sun.

Sky player Allie Quigley’s close call with Turkish bombing shows risks of playing overseas

Two blocks away was too close for Allie Quigley.

When a suicide bomber attacked Istanbul’s main tourist district last week, killing 10 Germans and wounding 15 others, the explosion rattled the Sky guard like nothing she had ever experienced.

Yah, they stopped that: IHSAA cancels seasons for Pike, Ben Davis varsity girls basketball teams after fight

Podcast: Dishin & Swishin 1/09/16 Podcast: Channeling John Wooden? Cori Close has UCLA climbing the polls

For the first podcast of the year, Dishin & Swishin looks out West where the Pac-12 currently has the best RPI of any conference in the country. This week’s polls rankings, with Stanford ( No. 9/13), Oregon State (No. 11/12), Arizona State (No. 14/14), UCLA (No. 15/21), and California (No. 21/RV), show the respect the conference is getting nationally.

One of the most interesting of those teams is UCLA, where Cori Close’s Bruins are 11-3. The three losses are a three-point loss to second-ranked South Carolina, an overtime loss to third-ranked Notre Dame, and a thrilling double overtime loss to California.

Reviewing…the situation…

Tough sledding for Cal in the Pac-12. Ditto for Colorado.

Hofstra and James Madison are 5-1 in the CAA

George Washington has moved to 7-0 in the A-10. Keep an eye on Jones’ shoulder….

It’s been a tough year. Wichita State got its first win in the MVC.

Makin’ Debbie happy: #7 Ohio State over Michigan, 97-93.

The SEC is South Carolina... and everyone else, as #9 Kentucky gets upset by Ole Miss.

Ragin’ Cajuns are 6-1 in the Sun Belt.

Yah, UTEP is diggin’ in the C-USA.

Hello, Teddy Bears! They take down Chattanooga and move to 4-0 in the Southern.  “The loss was the Mocs’ first in league play since January 2012 at Elon, snapping a 52-game conference win streak.”

Ruff! Albany is now 6-0 in the American East.

Strong start to stumbling in the ACC: Virginia Tech (2-3) and BC (1-4)… BTW, North Carolina (2-4) lost to Wake Forest (1-4). Speaking of which: Transfers leave ACC women’s basketball feeling growing pains

“We’re a young league right now,” Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. “When you look at this senior class, you’re not looking at a lot of WNBA draft picks in the senior class. When you look at the freshmen and sophomores, you’ve got loads of talent in the conference.”

The ACC arguably has been hit harder by transfers than any major conference.

Abilene Christian is still rolling through the Southland.

San Diego and BYU are lookin’ like the top dogs in the ever-interesting WCC. St. Mary’s one-point win over Gonzaga (3 Ls in a row) keeps everyone nice and tight.

The South Dakota teams are headed for a showdown – both are 5-1 in the Summit… as is Oral Roberts.

Hey! That snuck up on me: UT Rio Grand is 5-0 in the WAC. This didn’t sneak up on me: New Mexico State has the same conference record.

This could be fun: Eastern Washington (6-0) gives Montana State (6-1) their first loss in the Big Sky.

Don’t wanna jinx’em, but the Gauchos handed UC-Davis their first conference loss, and are now 4-1 in the Big West.

Games to keep you entertained if you’re snowbound:

Oklahoma v. Texas – how do these teams play the game after a “recovery win”?

ESPN 3: The Zips face the Chippewas at 1PM EST

FS1: Interesting test? Baylor v. Iowa, 1:30 EST

The Bonnies (6-2) v. the Dukes (7-1), 2PM EST

EPSN3: Horizon bragging rights: Green Bay v. Wright State, 2PM. (BTW: Congrats to Raider Kim Demmings, who set the all-time career scoring record in Horizon League women’s basketball history

Montana State visits the Vandals, 5PM EST.

The Battle of the Washingtons, 5PM EST.

UC Riverside v. UC Santa Barbara, 10PM EST.

SUNDAY

ESPN 3: The Battle of the Floridas – Miami v. Florida State, 1PM EST

SECN: Florida v. Missouri, 2PM EST

This one feels like it could be fun: Michigan v. Nebraska, 2pm EST.

ESPN3: It doesn’t have the usual national draw, but it’s always a fun rivalry: Duke v. UNC, 3PM EST.

Despite everything, the Heels were giving virtually everyone a tough game, and they came from behind to upset Syracuse. However, that was when they had McDaniel in the frontcourt. Even though she wasn’t close to being in shape, her sheer talent and size made a big difference for UNC. When she went down, the Heels lost by double digits to Miami (understandable) and Wake Forest (far less so — this was Wake’s first league win). Not only is McDaniel’s talent irreplaceable, it means the Heels have only six scholarship players available. Right now, they are desperate for any kind of wins.

It’s odd to set up this game with so little at stake in terms of national or even league ramifications for both teams. If Duke had lost to Clemson or Wake Forest prior to this game, it would have been the first time ever that the two teams met with losing league records. As it stands, this is the first time since 1993 that neither team has been ranked going into their rivalry showdown. That said, this game should be fiercely contested, though not necessarily a thing of beauty.

ESPN2: Will South Carolina give Mississippi State their first home loss? 5PM.

Indiana v. Northwestern. One team is trying to make its mark, the other team is trying to make up its mind. 5pm EST.

Stanford v. UCLA. This. Is. Not. Even. Streamed? 9PM EST.

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The 9th annual Maggie Dixon Classic (has it really been that long?) was another great event. First, and foremost, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves exactly who was Maggie was and the powerful impact she made in such a brief time.

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“In a house of leaders, she stood out.”

– Army Superintendent Lt. Gen. William J. Lennox Jr.

 

I became aware of Army women’s basketball after they played UConn on December 31st, 2005. Back then, the Huskies were broadcast on CPTV, and the broadcast team of Bob Picozzi and Megan Pattyson made a effort to speak to the opposition’s coaches about their program and share that with viewers. I was intrigued by what I heard and, in what became an ongoing effort to diversify my women’s basketball awareness, I started following the team. As they started winning, so did others.

From Ira Berkow: West Point Is Standing at Attention for Army Women’s Coach

Dixon, who credits her assistant Dave Magarity with easing the transition, was named Patriot League coach of the year. Now Army, seeded 15th, is preparing to face second-seeded Tennessee on Sunday in Norfolk, Va. On Friday, Jamie Dixon and Pittsburgh will face Kent State in the first round of the men’s N.C.A.A. tournament.

Part of the interview process at Army had Dixon meeting with the team. ”It was lunchtime, and they had just come in from formation, wearing their blue-and-gray uniforms, and a few of them had sabers dangling at their sides,” Dixon recalled recently. ”It was very impressive. Then one of the women proceeded to open her cellophane-wrapped sandwich with the saber. I was taken aback for a moment, but then she, and the others, laughed. I thought, ‘I just might like this place.’ ”

From Adrian Wojnarowski, March 17, 2006: Army coach is just like her team: tough when it counts

There were a lot of people thinking that, at 28 years old, she was looking for trouble. Deep down, she believed something else. Yes, she was sold on the possibilities of West Point. Mostly, she was sold on herself.

“I thought this was an opportunity of a lifetime, but people wondered, how are you going to recruit there?” Dixon says. “How will you do it? To me, this is an institution that just has so much to offer.”

Five months and 20 victories later, it’s strange how the perspective of coaching women’s basketball at the United States Military Academy changes as you’re sitting on the shoulders of the Long Gray Line, bobbing in the air at Christl Arena after the Patriot League Championship game, a scene unlike anything ever witnessed in West Point basketball.

Why did she take this job?

From the AP, I’m guessing Doug, April 6, 2006: Army enjoying newfound fame

Army’s women’s basketball team is becoming quite the craze as the huge underdogs prepare to meet Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Not only at West Point, where the players and coach Maggie Dixon were carried off the court by cadets after winning the Patriot League tournament to earn their first NCAA berth, but seemingly everywhere they go these days.

At a restaurant in Virginia on Friday night, fans yelled “Go Army” as the team shuffled in. Supporters honk, yell and wave from cars when they see the team outside.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” Megan Vrabel said Saturday. “Absolutely amazing.”

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And then, suddenly, horribly: Maggie Dixon, Army Women’s Basketball Coach, Is Dead at 28

From Adrian, April 17th: Dixon’s death cuts short a championship-caliber life

Maggie Dixon had been a storybook coach of the storybook season, hired from DePaul just days before the start of preseason practice, winning 20 games and making her brother and her the first siblings ever to make the NCAA Tournaments together as coaches. “This is such a great story,” she said that day in the hotel suite.

And without warning — without anything but the cruelest of fates — the Dixon family was back together on Thursday at the Westchester Medical Center where the most vicious of nightmares was unfolding. Maggie Dixon, 28, suffered an arrhythmia heart episode on Wednesday at West Point, leaving her in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.

Thursday night, she died at age 28.

Maggie’s death sent shockwaves of grief across the West Point campus and through the ranks of women’s basketball who’d so embraced her and the women she coached. But years later, her influence was still being felt as ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill chronicled in 2011: Maggie Dixon still revered for her impact – Five years after her death, the Army coach continues to touch peoples’ lives

Mallette, a captain on Maggie’s one-and-only team at Army, is married now and lives in Albany, N.Y., where she’s finishing up her first year of law school. She’s the only one from the 2005-06 squad not on active duty, long ago forced into a medical discharge. Her bad back allowed her one of the closest views to Coach Dixon, which is the only name they call her to this day. Coach Dixon saw how much Mallette loved the game, how much she was hurting. She let her play sparingly — enough to feel part of the team — and the rest of the time, Mallette sat beside her to watch and learn. They were all so young. Maggie was only six years older than Mallette, kind of like a big sister or a cool aunt.

“She’s somebody you meet for five minutes and feel like you have a best friend forever,” Mallette says. “She had that aura about her. You got drawn in, and you didn’t want to let go.”

This is a story about a woman who died too young, but still has been able to influence so many, even five years after her death. People like Mallette, who, despite her doubts, still picked up that phone and called the California area code to Dixon’s parents. Would they remember her? Would they approve of her request?

Read Merrill’s piece, and you’ll realize how extraordinary Maggie’s family is. Consider all they’ve done since their daughter/sister’s death: Maggie’s Legacy

Since then, Jamie, their sister Julie Dixon Silva and parents Marge and Jimmy Dixon established the Maggie Dixon Foundation, which works to promote women’s collegiate basketball and “to bring awareness to sudden cardiac arrest among young people, especially athletes.” The Foundation hosts the Maggie Dixon Classic, which began at West Point and is now conducted annually at Madison Square Garden. “We wanted it to be the premier women’s basketball event in the country, and it quickly became that,” says Jamie.

They also host the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair. “Once we established the Maggie Dixon Classic and had a venue, we quickly recognized we should create a heart health fair. We saw an opportunity to promote heart health (diet and exercise), heart screening and SCA awareness, including CPR-AED training.”

If you feel moved to do so, I invite you to donate in support of the Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

I can’t imagine their pain will ever go away, and yet every year they show up to an event that can only remind them of their loss. And every year they are gracious and generous to those they know and total strangers who reach out to them. I should know, because I had a chance to speak briefly with Maggie’s sister, Julie.

This year’s Classic not only honored Maggie’s legacy, but women’s basketball past – a game with a direct link to UConn’s head coach. From Doug, Maggie Dixon Classic honors history of women’s hoops at MSG

Geno Auriemma fondly remembers one of his first trips to Madison Square Garden when he was an assistant at Saint Joseph’s.

He was given $20 to take the train to New York from Philadelphia and scout Immaculata and Queens College. The two schools were the powers in women’s basketball at the time. Only a few years earlier, those two schools played in the first women’s game at MSG in 1975 in front of nearly 12,000 fans.

That game was part of a men’s-women’s doubleheader on Feb. 22. Most of the fans had left the building by the half of the men’s game between Fairfield and UMass having seen the thrilling 65-61 win by Immaculata.

As for the games played yesterday, UConn v. St. John’s was the “featured” matchup, but I very much enjoyed the Immaculata v. Queens College game. It reminded me that, Division I, II, III, NAIA, or Junior College, there are women who play college basketball with passion and skill.

Appropriately enough, the IU/QC game report from Queenie: Maggie Dixon Classic: Rowland powers Queens in historic rematch. No, there were no nuns with buckets, but here was a fabulous, joyous moment:
There will never be anything not awesome about dancing nuns in college sweatshirts.
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Lots of people there for both teams, and I loved it. There’s something subconsciously dissonant about nuns wearing college sweatshirts with their coifs, but it’s a good kind of dissonance. (After the second game, I saw some of them being taken on a tour of the Garden. Strangely adorable.)
At halftime of the game, the members of the Queens and Immaculata teams who played in first women’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden in 1975 were honored (Again, thank you Harvey, for the lovely article). It was incredibly moving to watch Olympian Gail Marquis (1976), Queens College coach Lucille Kyvallos, former WNBA presidency Donna Orender and their friends-teammates-supporters walk the red carpet and be celebrated.

If ever there was a link between the formative past of women’s college basketball and its fanciful present, it was when the teams from Connecticut and Immaculata came together Sunday between games of the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

Immaculata had just been defeated by Queens, 76-60, in a 40-years-later rematch between the teams that played the first women’s college game at the Garden in February 1975. Connecticut, the dominant team of its time and the holder of a record nine national championships, was about to run its record to 12-1 by handling stubborn St. John’s, 70-54.

*****

Stewart is especially long and elastic, an athletic wonder who has made an impression on Lucille Kyvallos, the coach of Queens in the 1975 Garden game, which Immaculata won.

At 82, Kyvallos flew in from Florida to reunite with several of her former players, who were introduced at halftime of the morning opener. She said she was avid viewer of the women’s game on television, especially of Connecticut and Stewart.

“She’s so long,” Kyvallos said. “She does things we couldn’t imagine women doing when I was coaching.”

More on the Husky/Red Storm game:
“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to play in the Martin Luther King game for it seems like the last 20 years and the Jimmy V Classic, too. Both are huge, very important. But this game is more personal for me because I knew Maggie and I know her family.”
The 9th annual Maggie Dixon Classic was full of complementing images and emotions: Young Division I athletes, on scholarships that came about because of Title IX, competing with the promise of professional careers as a possibility. Young Division II and III athletes competing because they love the game and understand the immeasurable benefits of being part of a team. Women, forty years their senior, watching the results of a future the only glimpsed when Patsy Mink, Edith Green, Birch Bayh and all of those who fought (and continue to fight) to pass and uphold the federal statute prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded schools.
But it will always be rooted in Maggie’s story. From Brian Koonz: When the message is bigger than the game, Post
There are moments in sports when the message, and very often the messenger, are bigger than the game.
 
Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden was one of those moments.
 
Except for No. 2 UConn’s predictable 70-54 victory over St. John’s in the Maggie Dixon Classic, this day was all about the unexpected.
 
Next year will be the 10th anniversary of Dixon’s death, a weeping, black armband for women’s college basketball. The game still mourns Dixon, the Army coach who climbed a stepladder at West Point and cut down a comet, all the way to the program’s first NCAA tournament berth.

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St. John’s v. Texas A&M.

UConn v. Cal.

As I have for the past zillion years, I’m going to put in an order for tickets (or at least start harassing my fabulous connection at the Garden) mid-August. We have, in the past, gotten FABULOUS seats, thankyouverymuch.

If you are interesting in being part of the horde, all you need to do is drop me an email at: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com

Include:
Your full name
Mailing Address
Number of tickets you’d like.

I’ll then start a tally and, when tix are finally available, I’ll send out one final “You sure? You want more? email.

Then I’ll purchase the whole kit-and-kaboodle, pick’em up at the Garden and mail’em out to you. When they arrive, send me a check.

The other option is we meet at the Garden and you had over cold, hard cash.

Let’s see if we can break 60 this year!

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While the rest of the ranked teams (UCLA-recovering nicely from that Cal-Northridge oops, TAMU, Tennessee, Maryland, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma State and Cal) were dispatching their overmatched opponents by various ridiculous margins, two “undefeated” and ranked teams were tested: Georgia by the mighty Illini (6-5) and #25 Arkansas by the fierce Coppin State (4-7). One escaped, the other didn’t. What up with your scheduling, Dawgs and Hogs? (And yah, there are no upsets in women’s basketball, just inaccurately ranked teams, right? Which explains what happened to #20 Texas at the hands of Iowa, right?)

Is the Stanford/UConn game on yet? (UConn’s Geno Auriemma, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer expect lots of offenseStanford-UConn: More Than A Fairy Tale,

While you’re waiting, check out Mel’s blog on early Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year candidates. (I’ll say, as a Lib fan of “a certain age and longevity, I’ve been following the Hilltoppers since Shea Mahoney. Flashback, much?)

Then wander over to Swish Appeal and check out The state of the WNBA: 2012 edition

Hmmm… maybe the third year’s the charm for Caldwell. Her LSU team goes down to FGCU.

Will Spidey make the Tourney? Bilney! They might!

How tough is it in Sooner-land? The volleyball players are coming to the rescue.

From at Amy Farnum the NCAA.com: Forging the path – Kansas star Goodrich looks to inspire other Native Americans

Kansas senior point guard Angel Goodrich may be known for her vision on the court in women’s basketball circles, but it is her perseverance that may be her greatest strength.

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(And yes, Debbie, we too hate exam schedule.) Coach Frese is on. Nice shout out to d’em Flyers!

Penn State’s sharpshooter Maggie Lucas blogs.

Charlie asks: Are the No. 1 seeds already set? and offers up his early Bracketology.

Graham has his weekly wrap up: Stallworth gives Wildcats a boost  and gives us BYU’s Steed as his Player of the Week.

BYU coach Jeff Judkins described Haley Steed (then Haley Hall) as one of the best high school players to come out of the state of Utah “for a long, long time,” an explosive guard who was quick with the ball and quick to the basket.

The numbers back up his memory; she remains among the top 10 all-time scorers in Utah prep history.

Rebecca has 5 Questions with Ms. Sims.

In October, Sherri Coale wrote

How good is it when the worst thing you can think of to say about your team is that sometimes they try too hard?

We’re in week two of our progression toward “real” practice. Week one was four days of intense defensive focus. This week is total commitment to offensive core concepts. Monday, we’ll let the horses run and see where we are.

And while I can’t really know exactly where that is, I do know it’s in a really good place.

Two months later, the the Oklahoma Daily is writing: Injuries threaten what kind of season the Sooners can have

Slam Online has: Women’s College Basketball Recap: Week 4 – Kentucky and Louisville face off in a nail-biter, and Odyssey Sims gets the better of Skylar Diggins.

Lots of interesting stuff over at Swish Appeal:

I had a great time at the Maggie Dixon Classic at the Garden (join us next time, wontcha?). Ray has Maggie Dixon Classic: Tempo-free numbers and notes.

Duke defense comes up big in win over St. John’s and Rutgers shoots down cold Louisiana Tech

Shifting into W mode: Who are the top prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft? – Our look at prospects for the 2013 WNBA Draft and a group of top players to watch.

With an “oiy” to the typo: Bill Laimbeer set to take the reigns of the New York Liberty

New York Liberty head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer is nothing if not outspoken and in an interview with Ryan Dunleavy at the Scarlett Scuttlebutt blog during this weekend’s Maggie Dixon Classic he was clear that he won’t necessarily be maintaining the status quo in NYC.

From James: Atlanta Dream head coach Fred Williams on the WNBA Draft, goals for 2013, and his nicknames and Which former WNBA players should have their numbers retired?

What’s up with Ticha? Enjoying life after Spalding

Clay at Full Court has: New WNBA rules and other meanderings and Remember: Recruiting (among other things) is different for girls

 

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As most of you know, it’s become an annual thing with me: get as many people as possible to join me at the Garden for the Maggie Dixon game.

We usually get a group rate ($40 each) and the seats have been super. I purchase the tickets, then mail’em out to you — and then you send along a check or hand me the big bucks at the game.

Details:
Sunday, December 9th. First game starts at 11am.
Louisiana Tech vs. Rutgers

Duke vs. St. John’s

If you want tickets, drop me a line at womenshoopsblog@gmail.com. I’m looking to put in an order this Friday.

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checking it twice.

Yup, it’s that time of year: planning for the Maggie Dixon Classic. Held at the Garden, this year’s double-header (11am, 1pm) features: La Tech (Spoon) v. Rutgers (CViv) and Duke (Coach P) and St. John’s (thenewguy).

I’m putting together a list of folks and will send out a “ya want?” email later on in the year. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with an awesome MSG person (oddly enough, not an oxymoron) who’s gotten us great seats at a generous group rate.

How it works: It’s an honor system. I collect a list of folks, and when it nears purchase time I send out a “confirming you do/don’t want tickets and how many?” email. When I get a total, I purchase a group of tickets. I then mail’em out (or hand deliver, in some cases) and you respond with a check or slip me some cash the day of.

If you’re interested in being part of the WHB Maggie Dixon Classic Horde (last year I think we numbered 53), drop me a note at Womenshoopsblog @ gmail.

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but that doesn’t mean stuff isn’t happening across the age groups.

I’m already planning my July trip down to DC to watch the USA play on the 16th (are you?), and obviously I’m making plans for the Maggie Dixon Classic Dec. 9th (ya wanna help push our group to over 50? Email me at womenshoopsblog (at) gmail.com) ’cause Spoon’s back in town:  Weatherspoon returns to Garden as coach of Louisiana Tech at Maggie Dixon Classic in December

In the land of the Olympics:

Nate writes: 2012 Olympics Significant To Tamika Catchings Because It Could Be Her Last Opportunity

Catchings happy to be playing again as US women’s basketball training camp opens

“It’s not ideal since other teams have been practicing for a lot longer, but it’s what we have,” said Bird, who will also be playing in her third Olympics. “Every time you put the USA jersey on it’s an honor. I’m lucky I have had the opportunity to represent my country. Growing up there was no WNBA to look forward to, for me my dream was always playing in the Olympics.”

U.S. women’s basketball team in Seattle for Olympic tuneup

“I don’t think I have ever been as stressed out or as nervous, anxious, scared to death as I was whenever you are coaching in a medal situation for USA basketball because the expectation level is, ‘Of course we are going to win,'” Auriemma said. “That’s good and bad. … That’s great because we are the United States of America and we are supposed to win. It’s bad because sometimes people don’t appreciate how hard it is to win.”

Whirlwind Time For Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore – WNBA Season Begins; Olympics On Horizon

From Jayda: Seattle a growing hotbed for women’s hoops

…to explain Seattle’s emergence as a center of women’s basketball, you have to go back, way back. Before the WNBA’s Storm and its passionate fans were born, before the Seattle Reign tipped its toe in the water of women’s pro hoops, before even the Washington Huskies women were outdrawing the men’s team at Edmundson Pavilion.

The story of how Seattle has become a hotbed for women’s hoops dates way back to pioneers like Cathy Benedetto and Joyce Walker, the women who showed the way. They made it possible for a couple of 13-year-olds emulating their hoops heroes in their hometown to believe it had always been that way.

The Cardinals have a new coach: Ball State University women’s coach Brady Sallee has lofty vision for program

“I remember watching the television when (Ball State) beat that team down south that wears orange (Tennessee),” said Sallee, invoking the style of Brady Hoke by refusing to acknowledge an arch-rival by name. “I’m excited to bring those opportunities and moments back to Ball State University.”

The Seawolves need a new coach: UAA women’s basketball coach says it was time to move on

Tim Moser, one of the most successful coaches in the history of UAA athletics, is leaving his job as the school’s women’s basketball coach, saying it’s time for something new.

Moser molded the Seawolves into a national powerhouse in his six seasons in Anchorage. He finished the most recent season with a 30-5 record and was one victory shy of making a third NCAA Division II Final Four appearance.

High Point needs a new coach: Wake Forest hires Jennifer Hoover as new women’s basketball coach

Jennifer Hoover, Wake Forest’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder, was hired as the Demon Deacons’ new women’s basketball coach on Wednesday.

Hoover, a long-time assistant who went 20-13 at High Point in her first try as a head coach this past season, was a three-time All-ACC honoree during her playing career at Wake Forest.

The Hoyas have a new coach: Georgetown introduces Keith Brown as women’s basketball coach

The Norse have a coach: NKU names new women’s coach
Former Michigan associate head coach Dawn Plitzuweit has been chosen to lead Northern Kentucky University’s women’s basketball program into Division I.

Toledo will have extra space next season: UT gets NCAA waiver – Women’s basketball team allowed to exceed scholarship numbers

Mikaala Shackelford has a new team: UWGB women’s basketball: Prized Minnesota recruit to leave after all

WNBA champion Lynx welcome back motherly leader (The next article in the hopper: As the NBA season opens, the 28-38 Trailblazers welcome back fatherly leader)

Taj McWilliams-Franklin led this bonding process like only a mother could. The 41-year-old, 6-foot-2 center with three daughters of her own has returned for another year with the Lynx. Her teammates couldn’t be happier to have the lanky lady they call “Mama Taj” back in the fold

Depth, Luck Major Part Of Repeat Hopes

Depth, camaraderie and health are the three main ingredients to a title defense. Look no further than the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks’ bench play during last year’s 2011 NBA Finals and its inability to replace JJ Barea and Tyson Chandler during this year’s first round playoff exit.

The Minnesota Lynx understand how important all three are to their goals this year, and they met two of those three objectives during the offseason by holding on to nine of their 11 team members from a year ago. And with coach Cheryl Reeve rolling out essentially three capable units during training camp, Minnesota has the depth to make another title run.

pilight has Three things the WNBA could do better

Now, most articles like this focus on things that cost money. Wouldn’t it be great to pay salaries competitive with those in Europe, have the players flown on chartered jets, and have massive advertising blitzes during the NCAA tournament, and so on. The WNBA doesn’t have tons of money, so today we’re going to focus on things they can do that cost nothing.

Speaking of “doing better”: What Can We Expect Kelley Cain To Contribute To The New York Liberty?

The New York Liberty announced via Twitter yesterday that first round draft pick Kelley Cain has arrived in training camp, which is perhaps the first step in calming the fears among some fans that they completely wasted a draft pick.

Surely we’ll learn more about what she offers the team as she spends more time in camp, but what might her numbers tell us about what she offers?

Well, not that much.

From a team who ought to do “real better”: Penicheiro has the right kind of mileage for Sky

Mix of veterans, youth encourages Silver Stars’ Hammon

If only basketball was played four-on-four: The Recker Crew – Mom knew best that hoops-playing quadruplets were destined for on-court success

Deidre Recker has been to every Ohio girls’ basketball state tournament since 1978. She’s proud of that fact, and mentions it often. She started bringing her children to those state tournament games when they were barely old enough to follow the action.

This is where you want to be, she’d tell them, and point to the court. This is where you’ve got to be.

Deidre stops, and she corrects herself. She hasn’t been to every state tournament since 1978. Once, in 1993, she had to watch the games on television instead.

Deidre was eight months pregnant that year. With quadruplets.

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High Point’s Jennifer Hoover named 2012 Spalding Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year

High Point University’s Jennifer Hoover is the 2012 recipient of the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year Award, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association announced tonight at the second annual WBCA Awards Show. This distinguished award honors a WBCA Division I head coach who has led their team to a successful season during their first year at the helm.

“One of the WBCA’s core values is to assist in the growth and development of young coaches,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “Jennifer Hoover has led her program to success during her rookie season, and we are proud to present Jennifer with the Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year award.”

“On behalf of the Spalding brand, I’d like to congratulate Coach Hoover on her outstanding accomplishments this season,” said Gary Barfield, vice president, Russell Brands, LLC, parent company of Spalding®. “We continue to be inspired by what this award stands for and the caliber of coaches it honors.”

Hoover became High Point University’s head coach in April 2011 and guided the program to a 20-13 overall record and 13-5 mark in Big South competition. The 2011-12 squad is only the second in the program’s history in Division I to surpass the 20-win mark.

During her first season at the helm, Hoover coached the Panthers to the Big South title game – their first appearance in the championship game since 2006. Following the team’s run in the conference tournament, Hoover and her team landed a spot in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament, marking the first time HPU has competed in a postseason tournament since 2007.

Prior to her arrival in High Point, Hoover gained coaching experience as an assistant coach at California. One of her most notable accomplishments while on the staff at Cal was her role in the signing of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class. Hoover also served on staffs at Memphis and Virginia, as well as several other institutions.

Hoover competed at Wake Forest University where she was a three-time All-ACC selection and school-record-setting center. After her collegiate campaign, Hoover played for the Solna IF Basketball Team in Sweden and on the 1993 Athletes in Action team that played on the USA Fall Exhibition Tour and Australian Spring Tour.

The Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, former Army head coach, whose success during her inaugural year at the Army helm was remarkable. The Black Knights won the Patriot League title in 2006 and Dixon was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading Army to the NCAA Tournament for the first time at the NCAA Division I level. Coach Dixon passed away on April 6, 2006, just a few weeks following their appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

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from Jayda: Washington coach Kevin McGuff debuts radio show

Playing an inherited schedule from former coach Tia Jackson that’s easier than he lined up in his days a Xavier, McGuff’s Huskies are 6-2 for the program’s best start since 2005. UW has an extended break after defeating Portland 61-49 on Friday, hosting Houston on Dec. 18 and Southern on Dec. 20 to conclude nonconference play.

On the East Coast, Mel has an interesting review of possible candidates for the Maggie Dixon Coach of the Year award. Rookie D-I Coaches Not Finding Life Easy As The Boss

Whoever wins the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Award this season is probably going to have to earn his or her stripes in conference competition.

By the Guru’s count among the musical chairs coaching changes in the offseason 21 have become Division I head coaches for the first time making them eligible though if the award were given today the selection committee might call the whole thing off for a year.

Just as good a time as any to reflect on past winners and their current state:

2006–07 Krista Kilburn-Steveskey at Hofstra: 26–8 — Currently 8-2

2007–08: Jeff Walz at Louisville: 26–10 — Currently 9-2

2008–09: Kelly Packard at Ball State: 26–9 — Currently 5-5

2009–10: Teresa Weatherspoon at Louisiana Tech: 23–9 — Currently 5-6

2010–11: Stephanie Glance at Illinois State: 24–10 — Currently 5-4

Also, odd fact of the review: three out of five of the MDRCOY winners work on teams that feature red birds….

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Yes, Baylor won (though they got more of a tussle than anyone expected) and Tennessee won, but the day offered so many other things. From Graham: Lady Vols follow Summitt’s example

Monday morning headline: Tennessee aces new test.

Tennessee has a heck of a role model when it comes to leadership under adversity.

During a timeout in the opening game of Sunday’s Maggie Dixon Classic between Baylor and St. John’s, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt made her way onto the court at Madison Square Garden to accept an award named for the late coach and given to members of the women’s basketball community fighting particularly courageous battles. Even in the midst of a game proving to be closer than most expected, the players and coaches of both teams broke their huddles, stood and applauded, one testament in a day full of them to just how universal is the support for the legendary coach of the Lady Vols as she battles early onset Alzheimer’s.

By comparison, playing 40 minutes of basketball without a freshman point guard is hard to file under the category of a hardship. On the other hand, the essence of Summitt’s battle — to some degree the essence of her career — is that you fight the battles in front of you, no questions asked and no excuses given.

From Harvey Araton at the Times: Summitt Still Inspires, Often in Silence

But even as Summitt assumed the familiar position she has held for 38 years — at the head of the Tennessee bench, arms folded, eyes darting — there was the inescapable feeling that so much has changed since Summitt, 59, revealed in August that she has early onset Alzheimer’s.

Standing tall in her trademark pantsuit, Summitt still barked commands to her players — “hands up, get back, box out.” But in the huddles, the coaching trenches, it was her assistants whose words rang loud.

From Richard at SI: All eyes on Summitt at Madison Square Garden

The sparse Madison Square Garden crowd, clearly punch drunk from an 11:00 a.m. tipoff, got its first glimpse of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt late in the second half of top-ranked Baylor’s win over St. John. This was the early game of the annual Maggie Dixon women’s basketball doubleheader, and when the Lady Vols coach arrived at center court during an extended time out, the crowd of 2,000 or so woke up and cheered.

From Swish Appeal, you have lots of stuff on the games from Ray and Queenie:

Tennessee Lady Vols Roll over DePaul Blue Demons in Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor 73, St. John’s 59 at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor Lady Bears Claim Hard-Fought Win At MSG

Tennessee Overpowers DePaul

Photos From The Maggie Dixon Classic: Baylor Lady Bears, DePaul Blue Demons & Tennessee Lady Vols

The Maggie Dixon Classic: A Tempo Free Look

 

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I have a friend who just bowed out because she’s ill – so, there are two $35 tickets (Section 11, Row 4 Seat 1&2) that she’s willing to release for $15 each – both for $35.

If you’re interested, drop me a line womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com. We can meet before the game under MSG’s Diamond Vision (I’m meeting someone at 10:30am).

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So, with these games on Sunday featuring Griner & Co. and coach Summitt and crew, don’t you have a sudden urge to come to New York on December 11th and join me and my crew of 50 women’s basketball fans to watch the Maggie Dixon Classic?

Tickets for the Maggie Dixon Classic start at $20.00 and go on sale Friday, October 7th at noon. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.thegarden.com.

The Dixon family and Madison Square Garden will honor Lady Vols’ head coach Pat Summitt with the Maggie Dixon Courage Award. Summitt recently announced that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Distributed annually, the award is presented to an individual who exhibits courage in the face of adversity and continue to exemplify Maggie’s mantra of never allowing adversity to get in the way of achieving a dream.

Of course you do!

I’ve got an extra pair ($35, Section 11) if you can handle the pressure of courtside and being part of the loudest section in the Garden. Just drop me a line: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com. (Oh, and if you go through Ticketmaster-esque site or the Garden, ignore the fact that the Baylor game isn’t mentioned or that the Classic isn’t a “featured” event.)

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We’ve known for a while that the teams had changed — and kinda knew who the were. Finally, confirmation: Summitt’s Lady Vols to play in Maggie Dixon Classic

The card:
Baylor v. St. John’s
Tennessee v. DePaul
Some where I saw the games listed for an 11am start.

NOTE:
Over the last few years I’ve corralled a huge group of random fans (45+ last year) to attend the Classic. I’ve been fortunate enough to snag great seats ($40-$45) and it would be my pleasure to help anyone interested in attending avoid Ticketscalper fees.
Just drop me a line (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and we’ll celebrate Maggie, Pat and all the good things women’s basketball has given us.

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a little buried with all the NCAA tourney news, so I‘m pulling it out to give it a fair shot.

Mallette, a captain on Maggie’s one-and-only team at Army, is married now and lives in Albany, N.Y., where she’s finishing up her first year of law school. She’s the only one from the 2005-06 squad not on active duty, long ago forced into a medical discharge. Her bad back allowed her one of the closest views to Coach Dixon, which is the only name they call her to this day. Coach Dixon saw how much Mallette loved the game, how much she was hurting. She let her play sparingly — enough to feel part of the team — and the rest of the time, Mallette sat beside her to watch and learn. They were all so young. Maggie was only six years older than Mallette, kind of like a big sister or a cool aunt.

“She’s somebody you meet for five minutes and feel like you have a best friend forever,” Mallette says. “She had that aura about her. You got drawn in, and you didn’t want to let go.”

This is a story about a woman who died too young, but still has been able to influence so many, even five years after her death. People like Mallette, who, despite her doubts, still picked up that phone and called the California area code to Dixon’s parents. Would they remember her? Would they approve of her request?

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Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award.

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Cal’s Tierra Rogers received the Maggie Dixon Courage Award

The award is presented annually to a recipient who, like Maggie Dixon, exemplifies the true meaning of the word courage, compassion and leadership.

Just weeks into her freshman season, Rogers collapsed during a routine pre-season practice and lay unconscious before the athletic trainers were able to revive her after she stopped breathing. Rogers was later diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD), a rare genetic disease that can cause dangerously abnormal heart rhythms. She quickly realized she wouldn’t be able to lace up her shoes anymore and her collegiate basketball career was over before she had played her first game.

Though her condition keeps her from playing the game, Rogers, now a sophomore, will not let it keep her from loving the game. She continues to be a part of Cal’s basketball team where she is a tri-captain and attends all of Cal’s home games and practices. Rogers’ voice can be heard from the bench, in the locker room, and during practice, guiding and leading her teammates from a distance.

She can also be heard speaking of the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AED) and knowing how to perform CPR. These things saved Rogers life, and she is hopeful they can continue to save others.

There is, of course, the backstory to all of this: the murder of Tierra’s father. You may recall Tom Friend’s article, “Honor Thy Father.”

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aka Nate Parham in Seattle: UConn’s Winning Streak: Gant, Romar Agree 88 Wins Is 88 Wins

You can count Los Angeles native, former UCLA men’s basketball assistant coach, and current Washington Huskies coach Lorenzo Romar among those who once considered UCLA’s streak of 88 consecutive wins from 1971-1974 unbreakable.

“I never thought anyone, men or women, would come close to tying that record,” said Romar, when asked about the #1 Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team beating the #10 Ohio State Buckeyes 80-51 yesterday in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden to tie UCLA’s record at 88 games. “So it’s pretty phenomenal that something like that happens.”

And it seems everyone has some kind of opinion about what UConn has accomplished, though not everyone has responded quite as positively as Romar.

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espnW cross-linked a blog with the wbb page!

Army coach Maggie Dixon was a class act in every way

When I walked into the gym at West Point the night of the NCAA selection show in 2006, I saw Maggie Dixon at work for the first time.

She was young, but more polished than most basketball coaches twice her 28 years. And when, later that night, her Army team watched that show surrounded by television cameras and members of the military community, she was totally calm when her opponent was announced as Tennessee.

I watched her face; she didn’t raise an eyebrow.

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From John Altavilla’s blog:

the Garden is apparently on the verge of a sellout for UConn’s game against Ohio State at the Maggie Dixon Classic. A UConn spokesman said Tuesday he’s been told only upper level seats were remaining for the Dixon double-header, which will also feature Rutgers vs. Texas A&M.

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A few years back, former Notre Dame player Danielle Green drew attention not because she was in the service, but because she was injured while serving.

Check out the two part “Catching up with Danille from 2008. Part 1 and Part 2. An article from 2009 caught up with her: Wounded Warrior Diaries: Life Lessons Shape Iraq War Veteran

“I looked over at my left leg and saw my uniform busted open,” she said. “The initial hit, when I first went down, I thought that I was about to die in Iraq, on the rooftop, in the sand, in Iraq. To me, that was the hardest moment — to think that at 27 years old, I was about to die.”

She said that at that moment she was “waiting to die.” As she continued to pray, she remembered, she gained strength and tried to use that energy to leave the rooftop for a safer area to assess her injuries. But she was unable to move, feeling trapped as she continued to hear the small-arms fire in the distance.

Though it seemed what like a lifetime of waiting, she said, comrades were treating her within five minutes of the attack. She later learned that her sergeants had gone up to the rooftop against the company commander’s orders to find her wedding rings.

The sudden rise and tragic death of Maggie Dixon brought attention to the powerful connection between the athletes at West Point. In 2009, Mechelle wrote about Oklahoma’s Caton Hill who followed her father and uncle into the army.

The stories are still there. From Missouri’s News-Leader: Kinga Kiss-Johnson: Getting her life back – Despite wartime injuries, former Lady Bear returns to sports.

Kinga Kiss-Johnson is used to standing above a crowd.

The former Missouri State women’s basketball player stands 6-foot-7, the tallest player in team history. She was the tallest service member in her U.S. Army company when she took the oath of citizenship to the United States in 2007.

And now, three years after suffering devastating neck, back and brain injuries in Afghanistan, she’s one of the tallest on her new basketball team, the Augusta (Ga.) Bulldogs of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, one of two sports she has picked up since her accident.

“It’s given me back my basketball life, a little piece of my life back,” Kiss-Johnson said.

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