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Things you didn’t know about Bonita Spence, 51, longtime women’s basketball referee

Ms. Spence played at Monmouth and was the point guard on the school’s first Division I team in 1982. She set the school’s assist record that season, a mark that was matched a year later and still stands. Ms. Spence was a graduate assistant for the school a year later.

Ms. Spence also worked as a principal investigator in the New Jersey office of the public defender in Newark for more than 20 years.

More things you didn’t know, from Mel

After universal condemnation of the crew it was learned a few days later that Spence told the other two officials who were deciding anything but the error to look at the monitor and she was waved off the by the other two — who, by the way, continued to work deep into the NCAA tournament that season a month later.

Several days after that game the Guru was covering a non-descript contest in a lower mid-major conference and Bonita showed up as part of the crew and came over prior to the tip to give a friendly greeting.

The Guru, knowing she was at the big-time level of referees in terms of games and conferences worked, jokingly asked if her being in the arena was punishment.
Bonita just gave a certain body gesture amounting to don’t look at me, which appeared to give creedence to that report.

To this day when that game comes up in certain circles, no one has ever countered to say the report was false.

So that is what the Guru had in mind when he noted in Monday’s tweet that Bonita had integrity.

From Katie Meir’s staff at Miami: Staff found this fun clip of Bonita Spence enjoying life! A great loss for WBB

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The Cardinal and Huskies were preparing for their big showdown. (At least THIS big Card game is on tv! — tho barely – ESPNU.) Michelle writes: 

Two years ago at Maples Pavilion, on a chilly California night just before the turn of the New Year, the building vibrated.

 The Connecticut Huskies came west with a NCAA-record 90-game winning streak and the nation’s best player. 

By the time Stanford ended that streak, leading start to finish in a 71-59 victory, delirious fans roared, former Stanford players were rushing the court, Connecticut players looked a little stunned and a smiling Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer sensibly reminded everyone that it was only December.

Fast forward to 2012 and it’s still only December. But that doesn’t mean Maples won’t vibrate again.

From the Cardinal website: It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 As Stanford And Connecticut Face Off Saturday: Saturday’s meeting will be the 51st all-time meeting between the nation’s top two teams 

From the Husky website: No. 2 UConn Faces Top-Ranked Stanford on Saturday on ESPNU – Top two teams in the nation tip off at 4 p.m. on December 29 on ESPNU

The No. 2 Connecticut women’s basketball team is set to take on top-ranked Stanford on Saturday at 4 p.m. at a sold out Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif.  The top-two showdown will be televised on ESPNU with Dave O’Brien, Doris Burke and Rebecca Lobo on the call. The nation’s best will each put their undefeated records on the line as the Cardinal (11-0) and the Huskies (10-0) both have been perfect coming into Saturday’s game.

In case you were busy before the holidays, and missed this from Graham: Defense helps keep Cardinal No. 1

The week began with Baylor’s case for becoming the fourth school to win back-to-back national championships, and Brittney Griner, Odyssey Sims and the Lady Bears putting on a show in dismantling Tennessee.

It closed with Stanford showing why the road to No. 1 currently runs through the Bay Area.

Cardinal fans and Husky fans are discussing and analyzing and anticipating.

Speaking of anticipating: From Lady Swish, “Let’s the games begin (again)!

OK, folks, break’s over. Hope everyone had a happy holiday and got recharged for the second half of the season. Now let’s get back to work. Here’s a look at each team’s post-Christmas opener:

As the “new” season starts, the Register Guard has a Team-by-team 2013 Pac-12 women’s basketball preview and asks, “Is the league closing in on Stanford?”

The holiday break has opened some space for writers to go beyond “fifteen minutes after it ends” game stories.

From John Cannon at the Frederick News-Post Staff: India Dotson’s Smart head start – India Dotson was supposed to be one of the county’s top girls basketball players this season. Instead, she is already at Monmouth University, taking classes and playing hoops

Freshman India Dotson is the youngest player on the Monmouth University women’s basketball team.

Strange as it sounds, that fact helps explain why her college coach considers her to be so mature.

At 10-fer, Colorado is about to move in to Conference play, and the Buffs know Pac-12 play will be tough

From the New Haven Register’s Chris Hunn: Milford’s Casey Dulin excelling for Marist women’s basketball

For Milford’s Casey Dulin, there’s no place like home.

“She always seems to play well in Connecticut,” said Marist coach Brian Giorgis of his 5-foot-10 combo guard. “She seems to always have great games here. She always gets a lot of fans. It motivates her, it fires her up and she plays well.”

Folks at Duquesne are psyched: Women’s Basketball Receives Votes in Both PollsDukes get votes in AP and Coaches Polls

From the Jackson Free Press’ Torsheta Bowens: Mississippi Women’s Basketball Relies on Key Metro Area Graduates

From Cody Westerlund at the Ames Tribune:

In a season that’s already seen a worrisome injury to a top player (Chelsea Poppens), the emergence of a potential star (Hallie Christofferson) and the transfer of a rotation regular (Emiah Bingley) for Iowa State, Moody has rarely been in the headlines. Her performances have rarely been lost on her coach, though, with good reason: Moody is vitally important because she’s unique on this team.

The NBA has theirs. Now the Cal basketball chimes in. (h/t to Nate) The SF Gate also has this on Cal’s Talia Caldwell

As someone big on goals and plans, Cal basketball player Talia Caldwell knows exactly what she will be doing on a certain spring morning next year:

“I’ll be done May 23rd at 9 a.m.,” she said. “I’ll dance across the stage and get my degree and say ‘sayonara.’ “

It won’t be just any old undergraduate degree, either. After becoming the first Cal women’s basketball player ever admitted to the prestigious Haas School of Business, Caldwell will receive a B.A. in business administration. (Maybe the Lib could hire her?)

Speaking of Nate, more fun from Swish Appeal: Meme/GIF of the Year Candidates for 2012

It’s getting close to the end of the calendar year, since we are all heading to Christmas next Tuesday. Over the course of this year’s open threads and the like, there have been some comments with memes and GIF’s after a play or something to symbolize a theme of the season. So, here are some of the notable ones we saw throughout the year, and more specifically during the WNBA season.

The .com chimes in with their “Tomorrow’s Stars: Christmas Edition:”

The hype surrounding the 2013 WNBA Draft class – which includes three game-changing prospects in Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, all currently playing for their respective colleges – is at an all-time high as all three have the potential to immediately make a substantial impact on a franchise. Each week, WNBA.com will update you with what each of these players is doing for their respective schools as it’s never to early for WNBA fans to start following some of the future stars of this league.From espnW:

2012: The Year of the Woman, by espnW (feat. Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”) (Who was the comedienne who said, “What, we only get a year?”)

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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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News out of Indianapolis

Indianapolis (AF) – The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has announced changes to its bracketing procedures for national championship tournaments, which will take effect in 2012. According to committee chair Marilyn McNeil, athletic director at Monmouth University, the revised procedures “will refocus the tournament on women’s basketball’s roots.”

Under the new procedures, the tournament seeding process will be based closely on geographical considerations. To ensure this focus, teams selected for the tournament will be placed in regions based on their distances from regional sites and then will be ranked from 1 to 16 within each region. In most cases, this will mean that teams will be assigned to the closest regional sites, and to the subregionals based on their distance from the subregional sites.

For instance, according to Dr. McNeil, if the rules had applied to this year’s tournament, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma, Stetson and Utah would have been moved to the Dallas region, while Green Bay, Michigan State, Rutgers, West Virginia and Northern Iowa would have been moved out. This year’s subregional in Cincinnati would have included Bowling Green, Louisville, Notre Dame and Xavier.

“We’re always looking at ways to increase attendance at regional sites,” said Dr. McNeil.

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