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Road-warrior Florida escaped James Madison, 85-80.

[Freshman] Moss scored a game-high 27 points as Florida survived another close contest, topping James Madison 85-80 in the Elite Eight of the WNIT in the JMU Convocation Center on Saturday.

“Sydney has played her best basketball in these past four ballgames,” coach Amanda Butler said. “That’s what great players do. … You see great players raise their level of play.”

They’ll travel again to face Drexel, which took down Auburn, 56-43.

In the other semi, it will be Kansas State, which defeated Illinois, 66-48. Said Head Coach Deb Patterson:

“That was a real exciting win for our team and our program against a very dangerous and high quality Illinois basketball team. They brought a lot of different components to the floor, and we felt like every possession up the floor you were having to be very intelligent. On the offensive end of the floor, they are a very talented team to run offense against. They are very good at what they do. I am extremely pleased with our overall effort, quite frankly on both ends of the floor. We competed very well. It felt good to put a total game together as a basketball team, at a time where anything else would not have got you to this place.”

They’ll face Utah, which escaped St. Mary’s, 58-55.

“We played an incredibly gritty game today, completely different than the last game we played,” Utah head coach Anthony Levrets said. “We shot the basketball incredibly well early in the game and then defended unbelievably well down the stretch to finish it out. I couldn’t be prouder and happier for our kids.”

The semis will be played Wednesday, April 2. The finals are scheduled for Saturday, April 6, 3pm EST.

Congrats to the Detroit Mercy Titans, which won the WBI — and their first women’s basketball post-season title — by virtue of their win over McNeese State.

Calihan Hall was electric for the championship game. The Titans faced the McNeeseState Cowgirls. McNeese State had a down year compared to where they had been the last two seasons (consecutive conference championships and NCAA tournament bids).

The first half of the game was highly competitive. McNeese State stayed close with the Titans and went on a run midway through the first half to take the lead. By the end of the half, the Cowgirls held a two-point lead.

The Titans came out hot in the second half and went on a huge 10-2 run, which changed the entire dynamics of the game. The Titans would not let up and their constant effort led to their first championship, winning 73-62.

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like Annie Meyers?

That means she (and the other 100%-ers) id’d the one upset of the day/night: Gonzaga v. RU in Spokane. (Is the seat getting warm in New Jersey?)

The results of the rest of the games, ESPN-link-free:

As anticipated, Texas was one and done.

Dawn had no trouble with James and the Eagles.

No reason Navy shouldn’t be proud of their effort against Maryland.

Close, but not quite for Princeton against K-State. Tweet of the night from Coach B: And our #32 takes a mid-term on the way back to Princeton. Tough day. http://yfrog.com/esf17pnj

It Fresno, Purdue was singing “It’s rainin’ threes!

Louisville kept Michigan State at a safe distance throughout the game.

Stanford (by 22) and UConn (by 36) move on.

A tale of two halves for Dayton, as Arkansas pulled away in the second.

There was a moment when the “other” Tennessee was led “that” Tennessee, but then the Vols said “enough.”

If Kentucky fans weren’t already concerned about their team, the fact that they “escaped” McNeese State, a 15-seed, should start them worrying.

Nice battle between DePaul and BYU, but Ms. Martin & Co. made sure the Blue Devils advanced.

Texas A&M kept the Great Danes at bay.

Even down a star, Miami had little trouble with the Bengals.

Green Bay ripped through the Cyclones.

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(What, are you crazy?) but, did I not mention Central Michigan was on a (freshmen) roll?

They take down Bowling Green, setting up an all-Michigan MAC final (first time for CMU since 1991) when they go up against Eastern Michigan, who took down Toledo, 59-57. This means you can catch a glimpse of Tavelyn James, a 5-foot-7 guard for the Eagles (and winner of the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award).

I’m thinking coach Cullop sticks around for the return of Shafir — but I wonder what happens after graduation. As for Bowling Green’s chance at the Dance? Lemme just say you couldn’t pay me enough to be on this year’s Selection Committee.

Oh, this could get ugly. The Mountain West finals pit San Diego State (24-6, 12-2) against New Mexico (11-19, 2-11), the first No. 7 seed to advance to the title game.

The #2 teams in the Southland went up against each others, and it was last year’s “darlings”, the McNeese State Cowgirls, earning their second strating invite to the Dance with their 60-56 win over Stephen F. Austin.

Cynthia Cooper’s old team, and Toyelle Wilson’s 2nd-year team, Prairie View A&M (16-15, 11-7 SWAC) upset Mississippi Valley State, 58-55, to earn a trip to the SWAC finals. They’ll face Alcorn State, who sorta upset Grambling State, 67-41.

Baylor is on a tear. Griner is, too. Loved this tweet from Mechelle: “Watching guards, especially, try to drive on Griner is like watching the unfortunate contestants on “Wipeout:” You know they’re doomed.” And this one after BG broke Andrea Riley’s  scoring record: “Griner new Big 12 tourney single-game scoring record with 45. She’s exited game. Rumor: Andrea Riley seeks game of HORSE, no dunks. :)”  In the Big 12 finals, the  Bears get to go up against a familiar, soon to be former, foe: Texas A&M. (With or without Tyra White.)

Oh, and here’s a little local commentary on Texas: Longhorns’ loss to Texas Tech dims future for team, coach.

You know, even if you took away EDD’s 21 points, they would have beaten Old Dominion. Not sure the Blue Hens would have survived without her 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks.

The Pac 12 semis got all Big East-ish, with Stanford surviving Arizona State and Cal eventually pulling away from Washington State.

Whoops. Tulane washed away Memphis’ home court advantage, and now it’s the Green Wave sweeping in to the C-USA finals against UTEP, who buried the UAB Blazers.

Debbie and Beth would have liked this game: UNC Wilmington 94, Hofstra 87. Seahawks play the Hens next.

Long Beach (7-9, Big West) is getting upset-happy: this time they took down Cal Poly (12-4), 51-48. And lookee who they get to face! Gauchos, we have missed ye: UCSB (8-8). They’ve split the season games: 46-34 and 47-35. That’s what happens when the top five teams in the Big West tournament go flop.

My apologies to Utah State — I promise I’ll never mention you again. The Aggies (11-3, WAC) got upset by La Tech, 73-69. And boy, were they upset! Postgame handshakes turn to punches. (Was Debbie Black in the house?) Spoon’s crew will face Fresno State, who chewed right through the Vandals.

As expected, the MEAC finals will be a battle of the H’s: Hampton v. Howard.

Lucky Detroit gets to go up against Green Bay IN Green Bay in the Horizon finals.

Equally fun? Northern Colorado (11-5) taking on the the Idaho State Bengals (15-2) on THEIR home court in the Big Sky finals.

Patriot League finals are tomorrow: Navy v. Holy Cross playing for the right to face UConn (according to Charlie).

Check in with Charlie’s latest bracketology.

Oh, and I have another question for ESPN. Why, when I check out the Men’s Scores during Conference Championship Time, does the board default to “All,” but on the women’s side it defaults to “Top 25?”

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Happened to a few fer-0s.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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for the Stanford/Cal and Gonzaga/St. Mary’s games — didn’t dare call the winners, but they were sure very, very, interesting.

Some really good games in other arenas, as top teams in conferences met or (in one case) as struggling teams came up big against conference top dogs.

Iowa stopped #17 Purdue’s 11-game win streak while Hayes’ second 30+ game helped UConn continue their 97-game home court winning streak.

I’m still paying attention to New Hampshire, who defeated UMBC, 75-68.

One year ago, head coach Maureen Magarity (Marist grad and daughter of Army’s Dave) and her staff started a new chapter in the history of the University of New Hampshire women’s basketball program. Despite being picked last by the league coaches, the Wildcats bested preseason poll predictions and raced toward a trip to the conference tournament. This season, with Magarity back at the helm for her second campaign, the Blue and White will look to take the next step and not only return to postseason play but make a run for the America East Conference Championship.

Still undefeated in conference play: St. Bonaventure, San Diego State, Green Bay, High Point, Notre Dame, American, Eastern Illinois, Idaho State, FGCU, Baylor, Fresno State and Bowling Green (who got all it could handle from Eastern Michigan.)

It took double-overtime, but the Sugar Bears (aka Central Arkansas) took took down McNeese State, 71-70, and now both are at 6-1 in the Southland.

It only took one overtime, but it was enough for Coppin State to give Hampton their first loss in the MEAC, 69-66. (BTW, the Pirates will be on ESPNU Monday, Jan 30th at 4:30pmEST)

Important win for Eastern Washington in the Big Sky as the Eagles (7-2) dominated Montana State, 66-52.

Arizona State moved to 6-3 in the Pac-12 as they squeaked by Washington, 57-53.

You can’t make this stuff up: The Fighting Camels over the Blue Hose, 53-44.

Oklahoma made sure Missouri was still miserable in the Big 12.

Oregon State beat Oregon, 67-60. Wonder how the Ducks are feeling about the Paul Westhead hire these days?

Duquesne isn’t enjoying A-10 play much: their loss to St. Joeseph’s sent them to 3-3.

Considering what a mess the Cincinnati program was when Elliot took over (heck, they didn’t know the difference between reins and reigns!), I’m calling their 55-54 win over Syracuse important.

Hartford surprised Albany, 65-57.

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for the ranked teams:

#1Baylor dismissed #22 Kansas State by 35.

#2 Notre Dame tamed Villanova by 33.

#3 Connecticut schooled DePaul (but got a Doty knee scare) by 44.

#4 Stanford rolled over Washington by 18.

#11 Green Bay conquered Cleveland State by 22.

#13 Texas A&M survived Kansas by 11.

#25 Gonzaga escaped San Diego by 10.

The only team that was unwilling to run with the pack was #8 Rutgers (6 point margin.), who got a tussle from USF, but emerged a victorious.

Florida Gulf defeated Stetson by 4 and now sits at 9-0 in the A-Sun.

Sacred Heart’s win over CCSU puts them at 7-0 in the NEC.

I don’t want to distract from St. Joe’s win, but dang — Xavier’s now at 3-14.

San Diego State moved to 4-0 in the MWC.

Samford’s defeat of Davidson is keeping the Southern interesting. No rest for the weary — the Bulldogs face Appalachian State next — who took down the Mocs, 62-51.

Yup, the Cowgirls of McNeese State are at 5-0 in the Southland.

It was a squeaker, but the Rattlers escaped MD-E Shore and now FAMU is undefeated in the MEAC.

Those Shockers are still loss-less in the MVC.

Pirates over Spartans, Hampton to 7-0 in the MEAC.

The Bobcats roared back in the second half, and now Coach Binford’s got her Montana State team at 5-2 in the Big Sky.

Big win by Oregon State, as they took down USC in OT.

Eastern Illinois (5-0) is perched atop the OVC.

The Bonnies and the Blue Raiders and the Bengals are still undefeated in-conference.

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for the WNIT Pre-Season Bracket!

Top 10 teams Baylor, Notre Dame, and UCLA headline the field that features nine teams that played in the postseason last year. The Preseason WNIT field includes Akron, Chattanooga, Detroit, Drexel, ETSU, Hartford, Howard, Indiana State, Long Island, Manhattan, McNeese State, Tennessee Tech, and UAB.

Click here for the first-round schedule.

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since Houston lost and McNesse State won, the WHB curse was neutralized. (Yes, I’m using my escape goat.)

It’s the Cowgirls first trip to the NCAAs, and there’s a great story behind it:

Twin sisters Ashlyn and Caitlyn Baggett led McNeese State to the Southland Conference tournament championship and its first NCAA tournament berth on Friday night.

As they celebrated the 71-50 victory over Central Arkansas, the pair reflected on a time not too long ago when it looked as though they might never suit up for the Cowgirls again. After both had successful freshman seasons in 2009, they decided to leave the team and soon began dealing with health problems that threatened their athletic careers.

A year away from the court got them healthy and happy, and they combined for 38 points in the championship game.

Meanwhile, Houston ran into a Green Wave that has recently seemed to regain its footing. Their 70-60 upset of the #22 Cougars puts Tulane in the finals against UCF, who are riding a 10-game win streak.

No surprise, it’s UCLA v. Stanford in the Pac-10 finals, and Baylor v. Texas A&M in the Big 12.

Green Bay continues their run, and Graham continues his coverage.

Bowling Green moved past Central Michigan, 80-72, to move into the MAC finals. #1 seed Toledo got surprised by Eastern Michigan, and so it’s the Eagles, not the Rockets who’ll face the Falcons.

Prairie View A&M has recovered from their coach’s move last season, and are in the SWAC finals. Their former coach has taken her new team, UNC- Wilmington, into the CAA semis.

LaTech’s 1000th program win moves Spoon’s team into the WAC finals. Writes Mechelle: Life is grand for Lady Techsters

When sleeved jerseys were still the norm, box scores were run off on mimeograph machines and most “big” universities cared little for their women’s basketball programs, Louisiana Tech was winning games.

The sleeves are gone (even holdout Tech finally abandoned them), Twitter sends messages worldwide in a blink and there is significantly more money/effort now put into supporting the sport by most Division I schools.

And Louisiana Tech … is still winning games.

Friday, in fact, the Lady Techsters claimed their 1,000th victory, a milestone only Tennessee has reached among Division I programs.

“It means a lot to me because of them,” Tech coach Teresa Weatherspoon, one of the school’s playing legends, said of the current players. “I’m proud of where they’ve come from.”

Check out the finals on ESPNU today at 1pmPT.

Yup, I was right – you DON’T want to meet Delaware in the CAA tourney. The Fighting Blue Hens took down ODU, 72-55. EDD: 31pts, 10rebs, 4 blocks.

Okay, did my flashback make the Sycamore cranky? Indiana State (8/10 in the MVC) upset Stephanie Glance’s Illinois State Redbirds (12-6) 80-51 in the quarters.

Whoops! The Utes (7-9/MWC) used an exciting buzzer-beating shot to upset BYU, 50-49, so the Mountain West finals will feature Utah and soon to be Big East member, TCU.

It will be Portland State and Montana in the Big Sky finals.

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the Cal folks were very happy with their team’s upset of Arizona State.

Okay, Arkansas is playing SIU Edwardsville (11-19, 1-12 away) why?

The Wolf Pack took down the Vandals. Sigh.

Ouch. The Salukis finish the year 2-28, 0-18 in the MVC.

Don’t make my horn-tooting look foolish, Houston, with your squeak-bys.

Who the heck from the Pac-10 deserves to be in the NCAAs?

I don’t think I’ve typed their name: McNeese State. How is that possible? They’re 15-1 in the Soutland and took down TX-San Antonio to advance to the conference finals.

Oh, and Mechelle’s been coverin’ the heck outta the Big 12 tourney amd Graham’s been mighty busy with “mid-majors,” especially the Phoenix.

ESPN.com’s Graham Hays is tracking every move of the Green Bay Phoenix on Thursday and Friday as they navigate through the Horizon League tournament in search of an automatic NCAA tournament bid. Through constant blog entries and photos, Hays will chronicle what takes place in between practice sessions and games, and who the personalities are behind the players we merely see on the court. Check back throughout the next two days for more updates.

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