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Saw the mom, birded through a (mini) blizzard, got to see my first King Eider, had my email hacked (so sorry, everyone! fingers crossed you’ve learned not to open goofy stuff like that), and oh, there was some basketball played.

In no apparent order:

Yada-yada-yada, Princeton wins and wins.

Lookee! Penn had a nice win over Harvard, 77-72, and followed it up with a win over Dartmouth.

Neither Arizona nor Arizona State are having much fun this season.

Cal’s having fun. So is Stanford. Too bad the PAC 12 regular season doesn’t end with a match up between these two.

I warned Navy that Army was stalking them, but did they listen? Noooooo.

As it should be, the Michigan/Michigan State rematch was much closer and decided by one point.

Rolling: Marist, Chattanooga, Quinnipiac, Boston U, Green Bay, Toledo, FGCU, Gonzaga, Seattle U, Albany, Charlotte (they’ve beaten Stetson, Davidson (Aleksandravicius  – wheee!), FGCU.. and don’t face Dayton in the regular season?), St. Joe’s (though it wasn’t easy), Delaware, San Diego State, Tennessee, Hampton, Texas Southern (they play Southern Feb 28th), Dayton (by the hair of their chinny chin chin), Baylor.

Baylor wears down turnover-prone UConn, UConn women’s basketball falls short against No. 1 Baylor 76-70, and from Mechelle: Griner gets best of Dolson, UConn

It wasn’t quite the mano-a-mano battle in a tight-spotlight focus that perhaps it could have been. Still, Baylor center Brittney Griner and her UConn counterpart, Stefanie Dolson, were quite an intriguing show Monday.

The No. 1-ranked team and defending NCAA champion solidified its standing as Baylor won 76-70 in the game that women’s basketball fans have been looking forward to all season. For the most part, it lived up to expectations.

Not so fast! Creighton took down Wichita State, NKU took down Stetson, Arkansas Little Rock took down Middle Tennessee State, New Mexico State took down Utah State in a Debbie Antonelli special: 106-94.

Hello. That’s Hawai’i winning again. It took overtime, but they beat Pacific, 74-71, to claim a share of top place in the Big West.

Hello, again: St. Francis (NY): winning.

I’m going to add #19 Florida State to the “which one is gonna show up” group of Iowa and Iowa State (what with #24 ISU losing to WVa and Iowa defeating #18 Purdue.). They defeat #14 North Carolina, 80-73.

In a battle of ugly, Clemson over Va. Tech.

It has to be asked: Is head coach Paul Westhead to blame for Oregon women’s basketball’s losing season?

Congrats to Angel, who set the Kansas assist mark during their win over #22 Oklahoma. From Mechelle:

We see these scripts so often, especially in women’s basketball, where the ACL regularly plays the role of dastardly villain. Senior guard Angel Goodrich has been through two ACL injuries at Kansas: one that pre-empted what would have been her freshman season, and another that cut short her actual rookie year.

Yet here she was Sunday playing in her 100th game for the Jayhawks, finishing with 10 assists — the exact number she needed to break the KU women’s career record. Goodrich now has 687 assists, surpassing Lisa Braddy, who was at KU from 1986-90.

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It was close, and then it wasn’t:

#7 Cal over Utah.

#8 Penn State over Ohio State.

#5 Kentucky over LSU.

#22 Florida State over Virginia Tech.

Texas Tech over TCU.

NC State over Georgia Tech.

UTEP over Houston.

Butler over VCU.

Delaware over Drexel.

Creighton over Bradley.

Washington over Oregon.

It was close, and stayed close:

#19 UCLA over Arizona State

#13 Louisville over St. John’s.

#11 North Carolina over Miami.

#18 South Carolina over Arkansas.

#15 Purdue over #25 Michigan State.

Seton Hall over Rutgers.

Wichita State over Evansville.

It was never close:

#4 Duke over Boston College

#15 Georgia over Florida.

#17 Dayton over Massachusetts.

#16 TAMU over Missouri

#10 Maryland over Clemson.

Duquesne over Fordham.

MTSU over Western Kentucky.

Fresno State over Colorado State.

It wasn’t close, and then it got close.

Virginia over Wake Forest.

It was so close, it became a loss.

Iowa over #23 Michigan.

Washington State over Oregon State.

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to feast on.

U-Arkansas Little Rock roared out to a huge lead, only to see Middle Tennessee State claw back. Suddenly ice cold, it looked like the Blue Raiders would win the Sun Belt Championship. But then Taylor Gault, the Sun Belt’s Freshman of the Year (and eventual tourney MVP), hit a ridiculous jump shot over three Middle Tennessee State defenders to send the game into OT. Then her teammate Taylor Ford slid in a layup with 11 seconds left, and a 71-70 win punched the Trojans’ ticket to the Dance. MTSU must wait.

No one was wearing home whites (can someone ‘splain that to me?), but it was obvious the 5,000+ fans in Sioux Falls were pulling for South Dakota State. It didn’t phase the underdog UM-Kansas City Kangaroos, who built a nice first half lead. But, then the game became an mirror image of the UALR/MTSU game, with the Jackrabbits bouncing back. The game went into overtime, but this time it was free throws by SDSU’s Jill Young that took the Jacks to their fourth straight Summit League championship — and a trip to the Dance.

UConn and Notre Dame went toe-to-toe for 40 minutes. Literally, at times. But it was the Huskies who prevailed behind Big East FOY (and Tourney MOP) Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ 19 points and a ferocious defense that held the high-scoring Irish in check. The result: The Big East Championship for UConn and the 800th win for Auriemma.

Oooo, perhaps there’s not a WHB jinx? I mention Texas State (17-13,8-8 Southland and they upset Sam Houston State (17-11, 12-4), 74-66. It’s the first time since 2003 that they’re going to the semis.

Whoa, this was unexpected: SLC Player of the Year Megan Herbert got a 16-19 double-double, but Nicholls State (16-14, 8-8 Southland) used 14 3’s to stun Central Arkansas (24-6, 14-2), 79-58.

Another upset: Coach Flowers earned the Big West COY award, but Cal Northridge still got taken out in the quarters by Long Beach State, 57-52.

That’s Jenny Palmateer’s Monmouth topping Quinnipiac, 69-66, to move in to the NEC finals. Lucky them, they get to face Sacred Heart.

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Nate says: 2012 WNBA Free Agency: Quality Contributors Still Available Among Remaining Restricted Free Agents

The Washington Mystics’ most significant move thus far this off-season was re-signing restricted free agent Crystal Langhorne, a two-time all-star and arguably the team’s most valuable player over the past two years.

However, the signing also leaves the team with a bit of a predicament in terms of what to do with their other free agent: Nicky Anosike.

Swish Appeal also has Alysha Clark’s Journal: On Tina Stewart, Playing Overseas, and WNBA Goals

Last year, 2010 WNBA draft pick Alysha Clark (Twitter: @Alysha_Clark) was kind enough to offer us first-hand insight of her experience in San Antonio Silver Stars training camp until she got released. Since then, Clark has continued her basketball career overseas and has provided occasional updates on her own blog Life In My Nikes. Today, Clark offers more about what she’s up to overseas, remembering an old friend from Middle Tennessee State University, and her continued transition from a college power forward to a pro small forward.

Over at Slam Online, it’s the Seattle Storm’s Brian Agler on Traveling Overseas: Why it’s necessary

Brian Agler, head coach and Director of Player Personnel of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, is widely considered to be one of the hardest working coaches in the women’s game. During the WNBA’s offseason from October through March, Agler makes it a priority of his to visit Storm players overseas in various countries. One of the most successful coaches in women’s basketball, Agler shares with us his reasons for making these trips and why they are so vital for the continuity of his club. – Ben Y

In Chicago (home of the UAA Champs, Chicago University Maroon’s women’s basketball team), Chicago Sky owner Michael Alter spoke to students in Stuart Hall last night on the challenges of owning and operating a WNBA franchise.

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from the New York Times: A Ballplayer. A Bookworm. A Killing.

They were two women from hard corners of Memphis who went to Central High School, one of the top performers in the city public school system. They were the first in their families to attend college, both going to Middle Tennessee State University on scholarships. Both were known for their focus, their love of family and their determination to make better lives for themselves.

***

On the evening of March 2, just before 7 p.m., an anonymous 911 call came in to the local police. Inside Apartment 321, officers found Stewart on the floor of her bedroom, dead from a stab wound. Madden was interviewed for more than an hour and a half by the police and finally admitted to the killing. She wrote down her final version in a two-page confession.

The families of the women have been devastated. Madden, who is out of jail on $100,000 bail, has claimed it was self defense, after Stewart started a fight. Serge F. Kovaleski of The New York Times interviewed family members, friends, coaches, teachers, law enforcement officials and lawyers. There are no good answers. Only a staggering dual loss, captured here in interview excerpts and a written confession that is at the center of the case: One success story from the streets of Memphis dead; another charged with first-degree murder and facing the possibility of life in prison.

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From Mechelle: A tough team going through tough times – Community will rally around MTSU, as program really matters to city of Murfreesboro

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Mel has some of the breakdowns.

You can also follow the various championships through the ESPN site. If you’re attending the games, feel free to email me articles and/or observations: NYwnbafan@yahoo.com

On a more somber note, MTSU deciding whether to play tourney. For more on the story:

Campus mourns loss of student
Stewart could light up a room

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