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keeps the skeptics at bay.

On Wednesday, #12 Nebraska stepped up, taking down the still Williams-less #9 Blue Devils, 60-54. Since coming to my attention, it seems that Coach Yori gets the most out of a bunch of players who are high quality, but not necessarily highly ranked.

Did ya notice that Akron and Ohio are undefeated? No? Was it because you got distracted by the fact that Clemson only managed 28 total points against Middle Tennessee?

You SHOULDA been distracted by Cal’s Brittany Boyd who notched her second triple-double in three games during the Debbie Antonelli Special – Cal 107, Sacramento 94.

St. John’s got defensive in the second half, limiting Xavier to 17 points and powering themselves to a 6-0 record, 65-42.

Yes, it’s a nice  espnW feature on Tyler Summitt, but LaTech is still a work in progress: LSU 73, LaTech 59.

Man, it’s tough being a Catamount fan since Courtnay and May left.

Wow, talk about a conference upside down cake: In the SWAC, Texas Southern is 1-6, Southern is 1-4 and  and Mississippi Valley State is 0-6.

Remember that team that put a scare into Stanford? #4 Texas didn’t even let them think about any word starting with a “u”: Longhorns over New Mexico, 86-37.

#2 Notre Dame made quick turtle soup out of #15 Maryland. No word on Brianna Turner’s shoulder, though.

On Thursday, the #25 Razorbacks forgot to ‘ware the Wabbit, and South Dakota State fwapped’em in OT, 80-75.

#18 Rutgers had every chance to upset #6 UNC but couldn’t close the deal, losing in two overtimes,

Georgia Tech almost upset #16 Michigan State, 79-73 (in OT, of course).

Squeak! That was Lehigh (7-0) escaping from St. Joesph’s (2-5), 73-71.

Northwestern is still undefeated.

On Friday, no ranked teams played, but we can still call Hampton over Penn an upset.

Saturday has some upset opportunities:

#2 Notre Dame v. #3 Connecticut. In anticipation, Graham offers: The secret behind UConn-ND rivalry

If disliking Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma made a rivalry matter, there would be a great many more meaningful rivalries in women’s college basketball. That meaningful, in this era, is mostly defined by the ability to beat his teams explains their scarcity.

And it explains why the state of what has been the best rivalry in recent years turns not on anything the coaches say before it is renewed Saturday afternoon in South Bend, or anything we say about the two of them before No. 2 Notre Dame hosts No. 3 Connecticut (ESPN/WatchESPN, 3:15 p.m. ET), but what the scoreboard says with 10 minutes remaining.

That’s what the rivalry has been. That’s what it has to be if it’s going to continue to matter.

Charlie weighs in: UConn-Notre Dame Rivalry Burning Bright.

Rich Elliot counters: Time apparently has healed McGraw’s animosity toward Auriemma

Additional prep for the game:

Five Things To Know About Notre Dame, Courant
Capsule: No. 3 UConn Women at No. 2 Notre Dame, Courant
UConn seniors Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Kiah Stokes ready for redemption against Notre Dame, Register
No. 3 UConn meets No. 2 Notre Dame in title rematch, Daily Campus
Rivals set to collide, Notre Dame Observer
Game’s Greatest Rivalry Resumes: UConn Women At Notre Dame, Courant
Notre Dame women’s basketball set for bout with old rival UConn, ND Insider
Irish and Huskies meet in women’s hoops showdown, Doug @AP

Yah, Sacramento State is only 1-5, but they’ve been scoring like it’s going out of style (their love of the three is FGCU-esque). What will happen when they encounter #17 Oregon State (6-0).

Another games to keep an eye on:

Tulane (6-1) v. AR-Little Rock (5-0).

Green Bay (5-2) v. Western Michigan (4-1).

Northern Colorado (5-1) v. South Dakota State (5-2).

Florida Gulf Coast (5-2) v. Southern Miss (6-1).

East Carolina (6-2) v Ohio (6-0). Remember the job Bob Boldon did at Youngstown State? He seems to be doing similar work with the Bobcats.

From Dishin & Swishin, the 12/04/14 Podcast: With five Sweet Sixteen visits in seven years, Louisville Jeff Walz will settle for nothing less than a championship

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Nice story from Lauren Kirschman: When Beaver Falls won a women’s basketball national championship

Joy Jeter still remembers sitting on a bus to Boston in 1987, reading and then passing along positive sayings as the University of New Haven women’s basketball team made its way to the NCAA Division II national championship game.

The Chargers needed the extra boost of confidence. They were the underdogs, after all. Cal-Poly Pomona was the two-time defending national champion. New Haven, on the other hand, had just earned the program’s first NCAA Tournament win that season.

Speaking of history and legacy: Storm’s Karen Bryant, first executive of women’s basketball in Seattle, starts a new life

Karen Bryant pulls a poster out of a half-full box. It’s an 18-year-old Seattle Reign ad promoting the defunct American Basketball League.

IT’S ABOUT COMMITMENT.

IT’S ABOUT RESPECT.

IT’S ABOUT REWRITING HISTORY.

IT’S ABOUT !&+%*! TIME.

She laughs at the audacity. She finds another ad.

On October 27th, God will look down from the heavens and see women playing professional basketball.

There are so many boxes, so many memories. Cards from Seattle Children’s Hospital patients. Letters from dads who took their daughters to a WNBA game for the first time. Thank-you notes from women proud to watch other women live their dreams on a basketball court.

WATN? WNBA old timers will remember this name: Albright announces the addition of Rousseau to coaching staff

Speaking of assistants: Ex-Michigan State women’s basketball star Lindsay Bowen coaching now

Bowen, who is entering her second season as an assistant at Florida International, would like to duplicate the success she had in East Lansing when she helped the Spartans win a Big Ten title and reach the 2005 national championship game.

“I would love to put a program on the map or take them to a national championship or win championships,” Bowen said. “That’s what I dreamed about when I was a little girl and it came true in the playing days, so hopefully it comes true in the coaching days, too.”

Nice to know she’s still playing: Polish club Basket ROW Rybnik has announced the signing of American power forward Drey Mingo.

Fox News’ Shepard Smith is cool: (‘CAUSE HE CHALLENGED RACHEL MADDOW!!!)

Wilkes University President is cool.

The Lady Devils are cool:

Fort Hays State is cool.

High schools are coolNFA girls’ basketball is Chillin’ 4 Charity

But some high schools are NOT: Inglewood Girls Basketball Coach Says School Raided Account

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for for the season to continue:

Clay says: Not much controversy in the brackets — Let’s play the games

Baylor, A&M, Prairie View headed to women’s Big Dance, KHOU, Houston

Graduating women’s basketball players reflect on their time at Cal, Daily Cal
Feet on the Ground: Layshia Clarendon’s unselfish attitude, Daily Cal

Cal Poly women’s basketball team to play Penn State in NCAA tourney opener, San Luis Obispo

CU Buffs women’s basketball team earns No. 5 seed in NCAA Tournament, Denver Post
Matt Sparkman writes: Buffaloes Earn A Five Seed, Face Kansas Saturday

Injured wrist won’t stop Carra’s final hurrah for sixth-seeded Delaware, Times-Tribune

Alexis Jones will lead Duke women’s basketball to New Orleans,and
Elizabeth Williams is the centerpiece of Duke women’s basketball, Duke Chronicle
Duke women’s basketball NCAA tournament preview, The Blue Zone

Fresno State to face Cal in NCAA Women’s Tournament, Fresno Bee

Vandal women draw UConn in opener, Idaho Statesman

Resiliency of MSU women rewarded with No. 5 seed in NCAA tourney, Detroit Free Press

Michigan women’s basketball full of cheers after learning of their No. 8 seeding, Detroit Free Press

Lady Griz no strangers to NCAA experience, Missoulian

Huskers receive tough tournament draw, Omaha.com
Nebraska, Creighton nab NCAA Tourney bids, Omaha.com

Notre Dame women’s basketball: No favors from NCAA, Sopth Bend Tribune

Penn State women’s basketball: Lady Lions seeded third, bound for Baton Rouge, Centre Daily

Princeton women get date with Florida State, Baylor awaits winner, NJ.com

Purdue women’s basketball team draws No. 4 seed, faces Liberty in Louisville, Purdue Exponent

Quinnipiac Women To Open With Maryland, Courant
Long wait is over for Quinnipiac, New Haven Register
Quinnipiac Bobcats eager to step onto the big stage against Maryland, New Haven Register

Syracuse women’s basketball seeks history, first NCAA Tournament win against Creighton, Syracuse.com

No. 2 seed Lady Vols open with Oral Roberts; Baylor is No. 1 seed, GoVolsXtra
Chattanooga’s season-opening upset of Lady Vols turned out good for both teams, GoVolsXtra

Aggie women to face Wichita State in NCAA opener, Aggie Sports

UConn women, in Bridgeport Regional, opens vs. Idaho, Post
UConn’s opponent: About Idaho, Post
UConn Women To Open Against Idaho, Courant
A Look At UConn’s Competition, Courant
Huskies to play host to Idaho in NCAA tournament, Register
Breaking down Idaho, UConn’s first round opponent, Register
Idaho has tough draw: UConn, Idaho Spokesman Review
The Idaho women’s basketball team takes a 16th seed in NCAA Tourney, KREM
UConn looms again for Kentucky, Courier Journal
Huskies look for redemption in NCAA tournament, Sports Illustrated

Wichita State women to meet Texas A&M in NCAA Tournament, Kansas.com

ESPN, MV: Bracket has familiar feeling

ESPN, GH: Irish face tough road to Final Four – Notre Dame could face host Iowa, South Carolina and Duke to get to New Orleans

ESPN, CC: Geography a big theme of the bracket

ESPN, KF: Not an easy start for CU, Delaware

ESPN, MS: Stanford, Cal: Elite company – Pac-12 and Bay Area rivals gain top two seeds in Spokane Regional

ESPN, Who Dey Pick: Breaking down the bracket

ESPN, Who You Pick: NCAAW: 2013 tournament

ESPN, Chat wrap: Selection Monday

Kelly Whiteside asks: Can anybody stop Baylor women’s basketball?

2013 Women’s Final Four could have familiar teams playing in New Orleans, New Orleans Time Picyune

Swish Appeal’s staff predicts Final Four & upsets

Queenie has some details: Maryland, ACC at-largeUConn, Big East at-largeNorth Carolina, ACC at-largeKentucky, SEC at-large

Nate wonders: Should conference rivals be placed in same region?

He also says: 2013 NCAA brackets: Surprises & first impressions

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than the dang NCAA tourney:

On the “Rolled’em” side it was:

…Baylor winning its third straight B12 Title by stomping all over Iowa State in the first half (Actually, Griner did most of the stomping) and cruising through the second half to a 75-47 win. BG shot 14-17, showing, says Mechelle, that Baylor’s ready for the Big Dance

Of course, the worst thing that could have happened to Iowa State was Oklahoma State giving Baylor a scare in the Big 12 women’s tournament semifinals.

In these past two seasons of dominance in their league, the Lady Bears just haven’t faced many challenges. That can sometimes cause motivation problems, even for very talented teams.

But this is a mature, senior-led group that understands Baylor is seeking a place in the pantheon of “greatest teams in women’s college history.” So being the defending NCAA champion and running through the league undefeated for a second year in a row hasn’t led to much lackadaisical, passionless play by Baylor.

…Marist winning its eighth straight MAAC title by tromping over the Gaels, 72-48. Writes Sean T. McMann of the Poughkeepsie Journal: Selflessness a source of pride with Marist

Throughout the course of a season, the Marist College women’s basketball team lends its support to local causes like the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation and the Friend of Jaclyn organization.

Monday, the Red Foxes helped each other out.

Marist’s first 17 field goals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament title game came off an assist — that spanned from the opening tip until 7:34 into the second half — and the Red Foxes earned an assist on 24 of their 26 buckets in the game.

On the, “Dang, I wish I could have been there!” side:

It was a fun game to watch (thank you, U), though when I tuned in my mystical WHB powers sent both teams on scoring drought. Ooops! In the end, Middle Tennessee overcame their nemesis, Arkansas-Little Rock, 53-48. (Great crowd!)

“It feels a lot better to know you’re going to watch and you’re name’s going to get called, without a doubt,” Middle Tennessee guard Kortni Jones said. “Last year, we were on pins and needles.”… This year, we know our name will pop up.”

It’s too easy to forget that many of the players on this Blue Raiders team suffered the loss of teammate Tina Stewart.

The 1 v 2 match up between Davidson and Chattanooga lived up to it’s billing:

Kayla Christopher had one bit of advice for her Chattanooga teammates coming out of the huddle in the final frantic seconds — crash the boards.The Lady Mocs had 21 offensive rebounds, but none bigger than Christopher’s putback with 8.2 seconds remaining that lifted Chattanooga to a 64-63 victory over Davidson in the Southern Conference championship Monday.”I’ve been dreaming about this day for a month now and imagining what it would be like,” Christopher said. “For it to actually come true is just awesome.”

It was the Mocs’s ninth conference championship in 13 years under Wes Moore.

San Diego hung tough, but in the end, Gonzaga, and a key player, made sure their NCAA destiny was in their own hands:

Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves expected to play the West Coast Conference championship game without Taelor Karr after the senior guard hurt her back in the semifinals.

After testing it out during warm-ups, Karr announced to her coach that she was ready to go, giving the Bulldogs just the lift they needed to make another trip to the NCAA tournament.Fighting through pain and a rough start, Karr had 14 points, six assists and five rebounds to help lift Gonzaga to a 62-50 win over San Diego in the WCC final Monday, earning the Bulldogs an NCAA berth for the fifth straight season.

The Summit was an all-South Dakota event: To get to the finals, the Jackrabbits easily dispatched the Mastodons (No, I’m not kidding) and the Coyotes came back from a halftime deficit to defeat the IUPUI Jaguars, 82-72. This was South Dakota’s first ever finals. It was a close fought game, with the newcomers holding the lead for most of the game. But, in front of record crowd of 6,153, the Jackrabbits prevailed,

Still TBD: From Gene Wang at WaPo:Navy women’s basketball advances to Patriot League tournament final

The second-seeded Navy women’s basketball team kept its bid to win a third consecutive Patriot League tournament title intact by blunting a second-half rally and nearly getting a triple-double from Alix Membreno to complete a 60-48 semifinal victory over Bucknell in front of 579 at Alumni Hall on Monday night.

They’ll go up against Holy Cross, where coach Gibbons did a nice job righting the ship after a tough start to the season.

Michigan State’s Senior Jasmine Thomas is capping ‘unbelievable’ final year

Jasmine Thomas shrugged it off after learning she earned all-tournament honors Sunday.

The pain and frustration from a 62-47 loss to Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament championship game was still fresh on the Michigan State senior guard’s mind.

But without Thomas, the Spartan women’s basketball team wouldn’t have reached the championship game for the second time ever. And without her, there’s no telling where MSU would be right now.

In Nebraska, Sam McKewon writes about the Long Wait

Now the Nebraska women’s basketball team gets to sit tight, get healthy and try to keep some semblance of on-court chemistry. For almost two weeks.

The Huskers bowed out of the Big Ten Tournament Saturday in their 77-64 loss to Purdue. Though football kept me in Lincoln, I watched both the rout over Iowa and the loss to the Boilermakers, and neither result particularly surprised me. The margins did. But not the results.

Okay, this is just disappointing: Suspension of 19 Jackson Community College women’s basketball players, assistant coach after bench-clearing fight is just, league official says

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…’cause Temple stunned Charlotte, 48-47. The Owls (14-17), are in the semi’s of the A10 and will face Fordham (and Marah Strickland.). Let’s say that again: Fordham is in the semis. It’s time for a review of McManus’ piece on Fordham coach Gaitley

 It’s been a long time since Fordham had a women’s basketball team to be proud of. Anne O’Connell remembers. She was on the school’s last team that really stood out, reaching the postseason all four years when she played as Anne Gregory. She was grabbing her 2,000th career rebound in her final game when she fouled out on an over-the-back call. She made the AIAW record books with 1,999, and waited for the wins to return to Rose Hill gymnasium again.

It was a long wait.

“They’ve honored my team enough,” said O’Connell, who graduated in 1980. “And I love what they’ve done for our team over the years, but they need a new team to honor.”

On the other side of their bracket, Dayton will face off against St. Joe’s who, equal records aside, easily dispatched Duquesne.

In the Big South, the finals feature Liberty, of course, against upstart Longwood.

Longwood women’s basketball coach Bill Reinson quipped that because his team hasn’t won many games the last few years, his players have grown comfortable playing from behind.

And sure enough, when Radford rallied to take a lead late in the teams’ Big South tournament semifinals clash Saturday,the Lancers kept their composure and reclaimed control of the game down the stretch for a 54-51 win inside The HTC Center.

The top four seeds are through to the semi’s in the Southern: Chattanooga v. Appalachian State and Davidson v. Elon.

Ping-ity-ping ping: Tennessee Tech is feeling like they might be on the outside, especially since Tennessee Martin did it againthis time in OT.

It was going to end.

Trailing by a point with 10 seconds left in the OVC championship game, the UT Martin women’s basketball team was fouling desperately. Control of the game had slipped and was fading fast.

Only it didn’t end. Tennessee Tech made its first free throw but missed the second, and the one thing opponents cannot give these Skyhawks is an extra opportunity.

The Sky Hawks gets the OVC’s automatic bid with their 87-80 win, and Tech will have to wait the Committee’s decision.

More pinging: Top-seed Florida Gulf Coast raced to an impressive lead over Stetson behind a career game by Joyce Iamstrong ( pts). But, defense, timely & gusty offense, and closing the game on an 11-2 run added up to the Hatters stunning the Eagles. Great job by coach Lynn Bria, who led her team to a program record 24 wins this season.

Stetson fully embraced the underdog role in ruining FGCU’s bid at a repeat NCAA tournament appearance. The Hatters knew everyone picked them to lose their sixth straight to FGCU, but that only fueled them more.

“I remember telling (teammate Victoria McGowan) after the second time we lost to them (this season) that maybe it’s a sign,” Stetson senior Shanasa Sanders said. “We were saving our best for last. The third time’s the charm. We stuck together today and got the win.”

That’s the fourth straight trip to the dance for Princeton. Will another New Jersey team come knocking on Banghart’s door?

Dynasty.

There’s just no other way to put it.

Turning it on in the second half, the Princeton University women’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive Ivy League championship tonight, turning back Brown
80-51.

The title was its 11th and fifth in the past eight seasons.

And more pinging: Purdue, via Mingo, shut down Hooper and the #21 Huskers. The Boilermakers are in the Big 10 finals and face Michigan State, who stifled, and then stunned, #8 Penn State, 54-46. Writes Graham: Both teams have a will and a way

Letters of welcome from schoolchildren line the hallway outside the locker rooms at the Sears Centre Arena, each Big Ten team in town for the conference tournament allotted a dozen or so such missives.

One letter to Purdue offered these words of encouragement.

“I really hope you win,” the handwritten message began. “Even if you don’t win, at least you know you tried. You’ll probably win if you try.”

Score one for the optimism of innocents.

Check out how this impacts the Bracketology.

Western Kentucky comes back from a 12pt deficit and has moved in to the semis of the Sun Belt. They are joined by FIU, AR-Little Rock and MTSU.

Gonzaga rolled over BYU, and now will face San Diego in the WCC finals. Their victory over St. Mary’s gave Toreros coach Cindy Fisher her 200th win.

Lucky Iona — the prize for taking down Sienna: they move into the MAAC finals and face Marist. The last time these two teams met, the Red Foxes won by 23.

In the SEC, writes Mechelle:  Texas A&M knocks off top seed – Aggies’ defense and rebounding spoil Spani’s career day, ends Lady Vols’ run

Tennessee had the No. 1 seed, acquired with gutsy play throughout its injury-plagued SEC season. They Lady Vols had the crowd support, with their contingent of orange-clad fans dwarfing the maroon group for Texas A&M. And they had Taber Spani having a career game, as she was trying to help Tennessee continue on the path to a fourth consecutive SEC tournament title.

What Tennessee didn’t have enough of, though, were two things that have long been a staple of the Orange Crush: defense and rebounding. The deficit in those areas cost the Lady Vols a chance at another title.

Nice photos from Kelly at Full Court. She also adds “SEC’s fresh faces raise the bar on defense (part 2)” which, somewhat prescient, has Graves (29 minutes, 4pts) and Walker (40 minutes, 18pts) at the top.

The first half of the Georigia-Kentucky game was beyond ugly. It got no better for the Bulldogs, but improved a tad for the Wildcats, so they’re in the SEC finals.

For the first time since 2003, the champion of the SEC women’s basketball tournament will come from someplace other than the state of Tennessee. And it took Gary Blair’s second win over Tennessee in his long career as a head coach to ensure it.

The fourth-seeded Aggies started Saturday’s semifinals with a 66-62 victory over No. 1 seed Tennessee. Then second-seeded Kentucky beat No. 3 seed Georgia 60-38. That sets up a championship matchup Sunday (ESPN2/WatchESPN, 6 p.m. ET) between a program that hasn’t won this title since 1982 — Kentucky beat Tennessee that year in the final — and one that has never been SEC tourney champ.

In the ACC, Thomas couldn’t save the Terps from losing a 14pt lead. And, writes Fagan, UNC’s Latifah Coleman answers the call

When North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell sent backup guard Latifah Coleman to the scorer’s table with 6 minutes, 16 seconds left in Saturday’s game against Maryland, she did so with one bit of advice: “Be a leader.”

The 5-foot-9 sophomore entered the ACC tournament semifinal with a season average of 3.4 points per game. She had played only a couple of minutes in Friday’s quarterfinal win over Boston College. And in the first half on Saturday, Coleman had gone 0 for 1 from the floor with two turnovers in just seven minutes. So it’s not unreasonable to think that when Hatchell told Coleman to “be a leader” and sent the young guard into the biggest game of her life, the coach was hoping only for a few minutes of mistake-free ball — and maybe some really good defense.

Duke got by Florida State, so it will be a dark blue/light blue tussle for the Championship.

So much for Pac-12 prognosticators. #14 UCLA raced to a early lead, and #8 Cal never had a chance to get back in the game: Bruins over Bears. Writes Michelle:

No one has been a bigger cheerleader for the power of the Pac-12 Conference this season than UCLA coach Cori Close.

She has preached the gospel wherever she has gone, talked up her conference mates in front of plenty of microphones and cajoled people to see the world the way that she does.

But sometimes words aren’t quite enough. So on Saturday night in KeyArena, the Bruins took action.

Stanford’s win over Colorado was no cakewalk, neither.

“It had the intensity of a (NCAA) tournament game,” Chiney Ogwumike said after her 25-point, 19-rebound performance. But she sank just 9-of-24 field goal attempts.

Seems they’re enjoying playing in Seattle:

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is in the Emerald City this week, observing the new setting for his postseason women’s basketball tournament. He likes what he sees.

“This is certainly a big step forward,” Scott said.

After a dismal few years in Los Angeles, where tournament attendance lagged from its previous home in San Jose, Calif., things are picking up.

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From New Hampshire: Londonderry girls basketball coach Fagula earns 600th win

“It doesn’t feel like 31 years, it really doesn’t,” sais Fagula. “But around Christmas time when I’m getting cards from people I coached in the 70’s and 80’s who already have kids in high school or beyond, that’s when I start to realize I’ve been around for a long time.”

Mechelle chats and gives the Rams some love:

Blake Whitney (Washington, D.C.): Fordham was 0-29 in 2008. This year, under Stephanie Gaitley, the Rams are 18-7 and 8-2 in a pretty competitive (at least at the top) Atlantic 10. Fordham has been at the very, very, very bottom of the A10 in both men’s and women’s hoops ever since joining the league. How impressive is this turnaround?

Mechelle Voepel  (2:43 PM): It’s fantastic, because it’s very hard to recruit after a program has hit that kind of rock-bottom. You’ve got to get kids who believe in a quick but real rebuilding process. Gaitley has been able to do that.

Debbie and Beth pod where they recap the Baylor-UConn game. Plus, they’re joined by Duke’s Haley Peters.

Michelle writes: ASU regroups after coach’s absence – One of Pac-12’s most consistent programs is 4-11 in conference play 

Taking a season away from the game didn’t diminish Charli Turner Thorne’s competitive drive. It was meant to reinvigorate it, to recharge the fire that Turner Thorne was afraid was starting to flicker after 20-something years of the coaching grind.

So when she checks the Pac-12 standings and sees her program — which has finished no worse than fifth place in the past decade — sitting at 4-11 and tied for 10th place, it hurts.

A recent seven-game losing streak, the program’s longest since 1996-97, burns, as any baptism by fire would.

Graham talks Flyers and Hens in his mid-major poll, where five of the top ten teams are undefeated in conference play. Creighton is in the tenth spot with their 10-3 record in the MVC.

David’s Dishin & Swishin and Looking at the “Student” part of “Student-Athlete” with UConn’s Heather Buck & Duke’s Haley Peters

Tully is keeping busy: Bevilaqua takes workouts old-school at Gym41

In Cali, Chiney fesses up: It’s hard to say: I’m becoming a California girl

In Ohio, the Buckeyes know where they stand

The marathon metaphor, so popular from the beginning to the middle of most sports seasons, has reached the point for the Ohio State and Minnesota women’s basketball teams where the kick to the finish is all that matters.

In Colorado, Terry Frei notices, CU Buffs shining this season in women’s basketball too

The upswing in men’s college basketball fortunes within the state has captured the attention of Coloradans, and generated party atmospheres among the students in the stands in Boulder and Fort Collins.

Another hoops renaissance in the state has been lesser noticed.

In Michigan, an Unremarkable vibe part of extraordinary feat for MSU’s women’s basketball program

Asking a coach for contemplation during the throes of a season rarely produces any perspective analysis.

But what MSU women’s basketball has become is worthy of pause.

Before 2003-04, the Spartans had produced only four 20-win seasons since the program’s inception in the early 1970s.

A big game — on a warm weekend, against a rival or ranked foe — might draw 1,000 fans, if MSU was lucky.

Now, 5,000 fans and 20 wins is the baseline. Even for a cold night and trying season such as this, one that began with three season-ending injuries and two nine-game suspensions.

In St. Louis, OU coach receives Most Courageous Award

Oakland University women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis was named the winner of the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award, presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association on Thursday. A victim of childhood sexual abuse, Francis has achieved a successful coaching career and now serves as an advocate for sexual abuse victims in addition to coaching.

In New Jersey, Megan Bowen’s impact on Princeton women’s basketball will be felt for years to come

After the 6-foot-3 Bowen committed to Princeton early in her senior year at Northampton, she kept track of the Tigers and watched some of their games in person. Bowen saw promise, though the Tigers’€™ 14-14 record and losses to Lehigh and Lafayette (after squandering a 16-point lead) may have indicated otherwise.

“€œThey had had a couple of tough seasons and the team that was there my senior year in high school had some really tough losses,”€ Bowen said. “€œI knew a little bit about the background of the other three (incoming freshmen) and I had seen Niveen’€™s (Rasheed) accomplishments, but I couldn’™t have pictured this. Coach (Courtney) Banghart has done a great job building the program and each year we’ve been getting better.”

In Arizona, WNBA president Laurel Richie talks Mercury, No. 1 pick

In Iowa, they do it old school: Posting Up with Granny Basketball

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Welcome to the SEC, Missouri. #10 Georgia wins, 77-46.

Welcome to the SEC, TAMU. The Aggies pummeled Alabama, 91-52.

The Hilltoppers continue winning, as their 78-69 win over AR-Little Rock puts them at 5-0 in the Sun Belt.

Michigan State’s win over Minnesota puts them at 13-1. We’ll learn more about them when they meet their next opponent, #9 Penn State. The Lions defeated Northwestern, 73-69.

Kim has her Michigan team at 12-2. Iowa next.

Iowa takes down Ohio State, 77-71.

Presbyterian moved to 3-0 in the Big South with their (first time ever) win over Liberty, 51-49.

Not a good day to be a team from Mississippi: LSU took down Ole Miss, Vandy stomped all over Mississippi State.

Creighton opened conference play with a 81-60 win over Southern Illinois.

A strong second half pushed #3 Duke to a win over NC State, 67-57.

Zone in the second half pushed #12 Tennessee to a comfortable win over #18 South Carolina, 73-53.

Georgia Tech gave them a run for their money, but #19 Florida State emerged victorious, 85-78.

Florida tried, but #6 Kentucky prevailed, 76-69.

Auburn (they’re making some noise) takes down #23 Arkansas, 50-47.

#15 North Carolina held on for the win against #8 Maryland, 60-57.

With a hat tip to Doug Feinberg: the AP’s Pat Graham writes: Off to 11-0 start, CU steadily gaining recognition

Off to an 11-0 start, the Buffaloes are definitely a cheerful and chipper bunch these days. Only, it’s now time to turn serious as No. 20 Colorado hosts fourth-ranked Stanford on Friday night in the Pac-12 Conference opener.

Or is it?

The reason for the Buffaloes’ success on the court may be as simple as this: They just don’t take themselves too seriously.

Others are, of course. Or at least beginning to, anyway.

The writers are getting ready for the Notre Dame/UConn game on Saturday, 4pm EST on CBS:

Debbie and Beth are back with their podcast: They preview the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 as well as the UConn-Notre Dame game. Plus, they’re joined by Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell.

NCAA.com: Connecticut and Notre Dame meet again

Michelle: Breanna Stewart exceeding the hype

Compliments from Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma come neither easily nor frequently.

So when he said recently that freshman forward Breanna Stewart “has the opportunity to be a good as anyone we’ve ever brought here,” it was high praise indeed.

When you are the top recruit in the country and choose to join Auriemma’s program in Storrs, hype inevitably follows.

Rebecca Lobo: One of top rivalries resumes Saturday – Top-ranked and unbeaten UConn hosts No. 5 Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion

Connecticut versus Notre Dame has become one of my favorite rivalry games in women’s college basketball over the past few years. The contests have been close and there is always something at stake. And when you add the players’ and coaches’ distaste for one another, the game becomes even juicier. Here are some of the matchups within the game that will be worth watching:

Graham: Freshman Loyd ahead of schedule

When Jewell Loyd was in junior high, she worked out with her older brother on the basketball court. He wasn’t trying to get her ready for the eighth grade team, he told her. He was preparing her for varsity.

The instruction continued when she made it to Niles West High School in the Chicago area, by which time Jarryd Loyd had already played four seaons for Valparaiso University and embarked on a career in professional basketball that eventually took him to Poland, New Zealand and more than a few map points between them.

Now the older brother was readying her for college.

Notre Dame: #5 Irish Open BIG EAST Play At #1 Connecticut Saturday

Notre Dame: Healthy Mabrey adds to Irish options

Michaela Mabrey climbed up the steps to the stage of the basketball auditorium at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion, and eased herself into a chair, a bag of ice wrapped around her right ankle.

“I’m completely healthy,” Mabrey insisted. “The ankle is just a little sore after games.”

UConn: Kiah Stokes getting closer to returning

UConn: Auriemma, Hartley Discuss Benching At Oregon

UConn: Geno Auriemma(isms) From Friday’s Press Briefing

UConn: Notre Dame Has Had UConn’s Number In Recent Big Games

From the West Coast, Jayda has: Huskies’ Kristi Kingma glad to be back on court for Washington

In WNBA news, Mechelle writes about Donovan’s return to WNBA with Sun

Coach Anne Donovan is headed back to the WNBA, taking over at Connecticut in an Eastern Conference that will have both a new and old look to it in 2013. It’s intriguing — especially because right up until the WNBA Finals started this past October, the Western Conference really seemed to have the East trumped.

At that point, no currently existing East team had won a WNBA title. The championship teams from each of the three previous seasons — Phoenix in 2009, Seattle in 2010 and Minnesota in 2011 — were from the West. The 2013 No. 1 draft pick was headed to the West, as Phoenix won the Brittney Griner sweepstakes in the lottery held after the regular season.

The East was pretty clearly the league’s second banana. But then …

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