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but I’m a little worried about the Lib’s tall folks.

Tina looks fantabulous, but where is Kiah? Sugar is already making a bid for the “Most Improved” as Old Big Easters will recognize the form they’re seeing on the court (and, do you remember her Player’s Tribune piece?). Intrigued to see how our elder guards contribute – really want an announcer to get the chance to say Z-to-Z for the nice give-and go. The Dallas visitors say Skylar is day-to-day, but even without her, the Wings are proving that they’re not going to be a pushover this year. Looking forward to see what happens for the newly-transfered franchise. Home wins, I hope.

Swish Appeal: ‘Pinch of Sugar’ goes a long way in Liberty victory

Queenie:

Dallas really misses Skylar Diggins. They really don’t have a consistent second option without her. Without her, Plenette Pierson and Odyssey Sims were both forcing the issue a lot, especially in the first half. Diggins tried to give it a go in warm-ups, but that knee is still braced, and she was walking very gingerly. She would have been at maybe quarter speed if she’d had to play, and I don’t think she was very happy about it; when she came out of the tunnel, she was with the trainer and there was a virtual thundercloud over her head. (It also really doesn’t help their rotation.)

On the West Coast, Los Angeles picked up where it left off last year… as did, unfortunately,  Seattle. Behind Parker’s 34, the Sparks easily handled the Storm. L.A. Times … dabnabbit! You use the AP report!!?!?! And oh, snap, the Sparks aren’t in your header or your dropdown menu. So. Not. Cool. At least Mechelle wrote somethin’

There were five No. 1 picks on the floor at Staples Center on Sunday, all of whom could tell you their own stories of what it means to them to be in that club.

When the game was over, 2008’s top pick — the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker — had the biggest day and her team got exactly the start it wanted: a dominant, 96-66 victory over the Seattle Storm.

There actually were some positives for the Storm, particularly regarding two of their No. 1 picks who look to be the foundation of a bright future: 2016 top pick Breanna Stewart, in her pro debut, had 23 points, while 2015 top pick Jewell Loyd, last season’s rookie of the year, had 20.

Swish Appeal: Candace Parker’s Sparkling performace engulfs Storm

Sue: Parker, Stewart both shine in Sparks dominating opening win

Hoopfeed: Candace Parker spoils debut of Breanna Stewart with 34-point explosion as Sparks beat Storm 96-66

The local paper hasn’t stopped paying attention: Breanna Stewart makes WNBA debut, experiences something new: Losing

Did you catch this from Stewie? Day One, Again.

Downtime? I have none. Just the way I like it.

Last week I was in Seattle trying to figure out if I could pull off the trip back to Connecticut for graduation. My new teammates asking, “What time do you have to be there?” Meanwhile I’m thinking, What if I get there and they forget to call my name? But being able to graduate in person from an institution like UConn, in front of a community that gave you so much, is an opportunity you can’t pass up. I made it, and squeezed in a visit to the White House with my UConn teammates; it was worth it.

Swin back in?

From Mike DiMauro at the Day: Motto for new-look Sun: Humble, but hungry

Kelsey Bone, center for the Connecticut Sun and never a candidate to mince words, offers the following overview of the 2016 season:

“We gotta make the damn playoffs,” she said, alluding to a locale that has eluded the franchise since (gulp) 2012.

Diana Taurasi learned a lot by watching her Phoenix Mercury teammates, at least when she wasn’t yelling at her monitor.

“I turned into that fan. ‘Why aren’t we rebounding? Why aren’t we executing down the stretch?,’ ” she told Excelle Sports Saturday at shootaround, prior to the Mercury’s season-opener 95-76 loss to the Minnesota Lynx.

Watching was the only thing Taurasi could do following her choice to skip the 2015 season, a move that reverberated fiercely within the WNBA community; Taurasi had won her third championship with Phoenix and her second Finals MVP award the year before.

On Saturday night, Taurasi could call herself a player again, competing against the Minnesota Lynx at Target Center, a venue where fans generally love to hate anything that has to do with purple and orange, especially the player wearing the No. 3 jersey. In Minnesota’s lean years,

If you haven’t purchased ESPN the Magazine, might recommend you get out and do so. WNBA oral history: Moving the ball forward

DAVID STERN WALKED down the hallway of the NBA offices in Manhattan and paused as he approached Val Ackerman’s office.

The then-NBA commissioner poked his head in the doorway.

“This would be a summer league, right?” Stern asked.

“Yeah,” Ackerman recalls saying, “that’s the plan.”

THE WNBA WASN’T launched by one landmark meeting. Rather, it evolved from a series of brainstorms, serendipitous circumstances and casual conversations: It was the right people working together at the right time. The NBA had reached a zenith of popularity and marketability in the early 1990s thanks to megastars such as Michael Jordan and collaborations with other organizations, such as USA Basketball. All of that delivered the Dream Team for the 1992 Olympics.

 Great job by Delle Donne (and, I’m assuming, a little assist from the Sky PR folks) – she’s been all.over.Chicago.In Chicago Magazine: The New Superstar in Town

In the glittering heart of Gotham, at a swank TriBeCa gala fit for a tuxedoed Bruce Wayne, a newly minted superhero soars toward an unseen basketball hoop, a flaring silk of blond hair trailing like a cape.

A few feet away, in heels and a form-hugging gown, a very tall blond woman who more than passingly resembles the leaping figure mulls the Marvel poster like a patron at a gallery, examining the main image of the subject cradling a basketball like a deity palming a planet, her hair swept back like Athena.

A small grin, then a full-on smile blossoms as she reads the character’s name.

“I hadn’t seen this,” she says to a friend. “Pretty cool, huh? Full-Court Goddess. I’ll take that.”

Speaking of which, fingers crossed: Sky’s Elena Delle Donne practices, expected to play Wednesday

About friggin’ time. From Excelle: WNBA.com dramatically expands stat, historical video offerings

This doesn’t suck: ESPN posts highest WNBA overnight rating for a regular-season game since 2011

A little college:  

With rumors circling about an extension, On the Banks writes: C. Vivian Stringer’s Impact Upon Women’s Basketball is Legendary

From the Sentinel: Next recruiting class crucial to Lady Vols’ future

Bye: Nebraska sharpshooter Natalie Romeo to transfer to UW women’s basketball team

Romeo leaves Nebraska after the abrupt resignation last month of Huskers coach Connie Yori over allegations that the coach mistreated players. Romeo has denied those claims.

“It was pretty difficult there,” she said. “I just think it’s the best thing for me to move on.”

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Congrats: Lori Blade going into Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame

In 22 seasons, 14 at Edwardsville and eight at Carrollton, Blade has a career coaching record of 624-83. She won her 600th career game with a 51-22 victory over Belleville West on Dec. 10.

In the 14 seasons at EHS, Blade has helped the Tigers to 13 regional titles, 11 sectional titles and seven straight Southwestern Conference championships. Edwardsville has played in the super-sectional round 11 of the last 13 years.

Thanks: Slater helped push growth of girls basketball

Even in retirement, basketball is never far away from Larry Slater.

He can watch his daughters Jeanice and Terrie coach the sport he grew up loving. He can see his granddaughters play the game that changed his life.

It’s a long way from the days when Slater was trying to find a way to get girls involved in the recreation basketball program in Hartselle.

 

Cool: Main Line Girls Basketball Association’s Tigers meet former Mighty Mac Judy Martelli

NCAA

You stay put: UTC Hoops: Jim Foster Receives Contract Extension

Welcome back: Jamie Carey returns to Women’s Basketball as familiar teacher, leader

Louisville: Walz Reviews Women’s Basketball Season

Kentucky: Q&A: Barnhart discusses issues within women’s basketball program

Why are so many leaving the Kentucky women’s basketball program?

Black Bear coaching pipeline returns? UMaine women’s basketball associate head coach to take Presbyterian job

Bye? Badgers women’s basketball: 2016 recruit from Milwaukee changes her mind

Bye: Fowler leaves ISU women’s basketball

Wowza: Duke star Azurá Stevens transferring to UConn

Tada! South Dakota introduces Plitzuweit as new women’s basketball coach

Hello: Todd Starkey named Kent State women’s basketball coach

Hello: Seattle University hires Suzy Barcomb as women’s basketball coach

Nebraska: Basketball has always been a way of life for Amy Williams

Utah women’s basketball: Surprise first year under Roberts builds Utes’ ambition

Arizona women’s basketball head coach Adia Barnes steps into rebuilding stage

So, about those stories that UNCWB is being set up as the fall guy….

New UNC Allegations Focus on Women’s Basketball
New UNC Notice of Allegations focuses on women’s basketball – USA TODAY
How UNC men’s basketball, football could avoid punishment from NCAA – CBSSports.com
Five questions (and answers) about UNC’s amended notice of allegations – Greensboro News & Record

WNBA – hard to believe preseason starts TOMORROW!

Don’t have a team? Spend less $2o bucks and get one! (I’m looking at you, every single coach of a player who got drafted or you think should have been drafted. We all know coach McGraw’s signed up.)

WNBA League Pass (Formerly LiveAccess) is now available for $16.99. Use the code ‘WNBA20’ for a $2 discount. Free trial is May 14-17.

New WNBA president Lisa Borders wants to fill seats with fans as passionate as she is

First call might be to Jerian Grant: “Get With the Program” Why I Watch Women’s Basketball

But worse than all of that, the respect isn’t always there. Coming from such a close relationship with the women’s team in college, I wasn’t used to hearing people put down the women’s game.

You see the disrespect in how people dismiss women’s basketball as “boring.”

You see it in your Instagram feeds and Twitter mentions, where comments about women’s basketball players get really ugly.

The stereotypes, the put-downs, the jokes. We’ve all heard them.

This culture of disrespect fuels the perception that the WNBA game is somehow inferior to the NBA game.

After four years of sharing friendships, memories and the same court with the women’s team at Notre Dame, to hear those stereotypes and see that culture was upsetting.

Newsday: Liberty optimistic it can continue its recent success

Q&A with Dallas Wings General Manager Greg Bibb

WNBA: FGCU’s Knight soaking up Sparks training camp

Former Gophers star Rachel Banham gets ‘green light’ in first WNBA camp

Storm guard Jewell Loyd intends to play without fear in her 2nd WNBA season

Jude Schimmel gets her shot in WNBA camp

Imani Boyette Follows in Mother’s Footsteps, Finds Perfect Fit in Chicago

Chicago Sky Tamera Young uses basketball to empower youth

Chiney Ogwmike pleased to be back with Connecticut Sun

New Sun Coach Curt Miller Ready To Get Going – His Way

Oregon Women’s Basketball: Jillian Alleyne and Kelly Graves talk WNBA Draft

Nice: WNBA’s Connecticut Sun Reaches Agreement with Fox 61 and WCCT to Televise Seven Games

Rookie Breanna Stewart embraces pressure to elevate Storm

Moriah Jefferson’s New Coach Very Confident In UConn Star’s Abilities

Newest Spark Talia Walton Is Out To Prove Her Doubters Wrong

Seven things to expect in the Fever’s upcoming season

Tamika: The Last “First” Day

As I laid in bed this morning I couldn’t go back to sleep. This is officially my final “First Day” of training camp. It’s crazy to think of the emotions that swirled through my head the first time I watched a WNBA game, to the that night I got drafted, then the first time I set foot in Indianapolis, the first time that I got announced on the court after sitting out the first year… the first time I scored, the first time I won an award… just so many firsts and even more memories.

Flashback: WNBA player recall Prince’s invite to Paisley Park and The story behind Prince’s private party for Minnesota’s WNBA team

WNBA Star Chamique Holdsclaw: From A Virtuoso On The Court To A Champion For Mental Health

USA Basketball

Auriemma likes experienced U.S. Olympic roster

BTW, if you think only women’s sports writers are the only one subjected to #morethanmean, you might want to have a chat with fans and players…

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Kinda feel like the rain outside is symbolic of what’s been happening to our game in the last few days….

Mechelle weighs in: Tyler Summitt’s fall crushing to Louisiana Tech and Tennessee

The school saw bringing him on board despite his inexperience as a calculated risk. Louisiana Tech was willing to roll the dice on that.

Every time I interviewed him over the years — starting when he was still in high school — about his potential future in coaching, I came away impressed, too, with his passion for the sport and how polite and well-spoken he was. I’d bet most journalists had a very favorable impression of him.

But the biggest key to coaching is managing people, and that’s something Summitt apparently wasn’t prepared for.

USA Today adds: Tyler Summitt’s favoritism divided Louisiana Tech team, say parents

I’d say “congrats” to South Dakota’s Amy Williams for being named the new head coach at Nebraska (agree with Mechelle), but one still wonders what exactly went on behind the scenes.

On the heels of that, we have this from Swish Appeal: Duke launches investigation into possible player mistreatment

And this: Illinois reaches a settlement with former women’s basketball student-athletes

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reached a proposed agreement with former women’s basketball student-athletes who had filed a lawsuit against the university. The students alleged racial discrimination and mistreatment that included verbal and emotional abuse from coaches. Associate coach Mike Divilbis left the program in May 2015 but head coach Mike Bollant remains at Illinois.

Yikes!

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The PAC 12 is the most interesting power conference (ya, the B12 is kinda fun, and the SEC sure was — before all of those devastating injuries.)

Arizona State stakes a claim to “we’re better than the competition we’ve plowed through on our way to a #10 ranking” by taking down #12 Stanford, 53-52. It wasn’t a particularly elegant game, but it did give the Sun Devils their first sweep of the Cardinal since 1984.

“Beating Stanford is just such a mental hurdle for our team,” Moos said. “When you can finally overcome beating Stanford, that’s when you know your team has reached mental toughness.”

Washington, who’s been on the edge of upsetting folks, did it against #7 Oregon State, 76-67.

“It’ll hit us tomorrow how big of a deal it was,” Washington coach Mike Neighbors said. “Right now it’s just good we bounced back from a tough two-game road swing.”

The Beavers were down a player, Gabby Hanson.

“Gabby’s our best perimeter defender and if you had to miss one game in the conference, this was not the one I would choose,” Rueck said. “Washington’s strength is their perimeter so we certainly missed her. I thought we played with a lot of heart tonight. We competed, it just wasn’t our night.”

Speaking of upsets, Cornell does it again: Penn loses first game at Palestra in over a year

Penn (11-7, 2-2 Ivy) struggled once again on offense, and Cornell (13-6, 4-1 Ivy) took great care of the ball to keep the Quakers from making up for it defensively. Penn turned it over 14 times and was only able to force the visitors into five miscues. 

“It just goes to show you how much they had control of this game,” coach Mike McLaughlin said of Cornell’s ball control. “We have to cause a little more havoc on defense. We gave up too many shots at the basket, there were too many breakdowns – mental breakdowns.”

Next up for Cornell: undefeated Princeton.

Minus their leading scorer (ankle), #19 Nebraska couldn’t overcome #21 Rutgers. It was old school Scarlet Knights, winning ugly, 46-43. While it won’t win any style points, it was the 177th win in the B1G Ten for coach C. Vivian Stringer, making her the winningest in the conference.

“I was shocked when they talked about it,” Stringer said after the game. “I didn’t even know anything about that…I was just trying to get through this game.”

Finally got that “mini-signature win, though it was also pretty style-free:” #25 Syracuse over #13 North Carolina, 61-56.

The two teams combined to go 13-for-55 from the 3-point line and Syracuse pulled out the win after only shooting 27 percent from the field.

Shhh… that’s New Mexico State at 7-0 in the WAC. There’s a familiar name coaching the Aggies: Mark Trakh is in his fourth year.

Okay, it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it’s nice the getting back into the rankings didn’t freak the Colonials out: George Washington wins 52-35 over Davidson. Didja see the article in the Times about the University?

OUCH: Wright State stomped all over the Penguins, 92-55 to earn a little revenge. Nice news on senior Courtney Boyd:

Boyd has faced tragedy, injuries and adversity over the last few years at Wright State. On Thursday, she showed signs of a comeback. 

WOWZA: It took three overtimes, but we got a Debbie Antonelli Special: New Orleans with the upset over McNeese State, 90-86. When the two teams played each other on the 31st, the Cowgirls won 82-58.

“We made a few adjustments in practice and many people did not understand the first time why we played zone. When we played McNeese the first time we forgot our rotations. We were ready tonight. Their words coming were We can and we will,” said Coach Keeshawn Davenport.

Well, lookee here: like the Pac-12, C-USA has got some competition at the top. Southern Miss takes down Middle Tennessee State in OT, 70-65.

Southern Miss enjoys the underdog label.

Especially against MTSU. The Lady Eagles knocked off the Lady Raiders for the second time this season — and the third time since MTSU joined Conference USA last season — with a 70-65 overtime win Thursday at Reed Green Coliseum.

For the third time in three weeks, Southern Miss’ women’s basketball team beat the league’s first-place team, sandwiching a win over Western Kentucky with the victories over MTSU.

Western Kentucky will face the Blue Raiders on the 21st. After that, it’s a race to the Conference Championship.

The West Coast Conference is still a three way battle between Gonzaga, BYU (win #300 for coach Judkins) and St. Mary’s… with San Diego knocking on the door. Gonzaga faces all three in the last three weeks of the regular season. St. Mary’s next faces feisty Pacific and their equally feisty point guard.

Think she’s too short, isn’t quick enough or can’t shoot.

Kristina Johnson would like nothing more than prove you wrong.

Though often the shortest player on the court, the 5-foot-5 senior point guard has contributed to the Pacific basketball team in ways that sometimes can’t be measured. Johnson brings controled fury and a team-first attitude to the Tigers, who host Saint Mary’s in an important West Coast Conference game at 2 p.m. today at Spanos Center.

See – there is no WBH curse! William & Mary (4-6, CAA) takes Drexel (8-2) into overtime… and comes away with the win, 72-68.

For the second straight game the William and Mary women’s basketball team prevailed in a double-overtime, dropping Drexel 72-68 in two extra sessions in Philadelphia on Friday night. Senior Jazmen Boone led five Tribe players in double-figures with a game-high 16 points. With the win, the Tribe, which won its fourth straight game, moved its record to 11-11, 5-6 in Colonial Athletic Association play, while the Dragons fall to 14-8, 8-3 in league action.

Wait. Maybe there is… the Salukis (5-5, Missouri Valley) take down Drake,  81-76. (They lost to the Bulldogs 81-66 in their previous matchup.)

 It was scene that hasn’t been witnessed at the SIU Arena for a long time — especially where women’s basketball is involved.

Dyana Pierre picked up teammate Rishonda Napier and carried her off the floor (Great photo -WHB) after the Salukis upset Drake 81-76. Napier scored 30 points as the Saluki women handed the Bulldogs their first conference loss of the year.

The victory was the twelfth of the year for the Salukis. SIU won just five games last year.

High Point stumbled against Presbyterian, 78-59, and are now three games behind Liberty in the Big South.

Upcoming games of interest:

SIUE women’s basketball at UT Martin. The Cougars, who earned their 9th straight, are 9-1 in the Ohio Valley. The Skyhawks are 10-0 in the OVC. A win today would make a program record conference start.

Rivalry rematch: FGCU v. Stetson.

The Atlantic Sun Conference believes its two flagship women’s basketball programs – FGCU and Stetson – have their best chance to make the NCAA tournament in the same season for the first time ever.

Both teams, of course, would much prefer to be the automatic qualifier.

In-state rivalry: Western Michigan v. Central Michigan.

Youth has not been a major characteristic of the Central Michigan University women’s basketball team in recent seasons.

Many of the teams that have played in the maroon and gold have featured a class of seniors blazing a trail for the freshmen to follow in the seasons to come. 

For this season’s freshmen, it is a different story.

Service rivalry: Army v. Navy.

Sunday games of interest:

A-10 rivals: Dayton v. #24 George Washington.

In-state rivalry: #20 Texas v. #3 Baylor.

In-state rivalry: Miami v. #9 FSU.

Wednesday marks the Women’s Sports Foundation’s 29th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and Florida State has several reasons to celebrate.

The last two years have seen an unprecedented run of success for FSU’s women’s programs. That includes a national championship for soccer, a best-ever regular season for volleyball, a Women’s College World Series appearance for softball and a current Top-10 ranking for basketball.

CAA rivals: Drexel v. James Madison. Coach Kenny Brooks just won his 300th.

America East old v. new: Hartford v. Maine.

Maine is currently riding its longest winning streak since it strung together 13-straight during the 2004-05 campaign. The Black Bears are coming off their biggest win of the year as they defeated the current #1 team in the conference, UAlbany, by a score of 52-44 back on Feb. 1. UAlbany, who leads the league in scoring (67.4 ppg) were held to its lowest total of the year in the loss to Maine. The win snapped a 10-game losing skid against the Great Danes dating back to 2010. 

SEC rivals: #17 Mississippi State v. #14 Texas A&M.

Big 10 rivals: #5 Maryland v. #19 Nebraska.

Though she’s 13 years retired, Maryland women’s basketball players call her “Coach.” At 70, Chris Weller still attends the games and even some workouts of the team she ran for 27 years.

Once, last year, she addressed the Terps after practice.

“I wanted them to know about the legacy we’ve followed,” said Brenda Frese, her successor.

The players got an earful.

She’s back: Versyp reinstates Moore

Foreign Flashback: Abrosimova Brought Magic To Storrs

Now back in Moscow, busier than ever, Svetlana Abrosimova remains a social media maven. She checks in with the world as often as time allows.

So it did not surprise her to learn that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the precocious three-point shooter from California, was about to knock her off the list of UConn’s Top 10 career scorers. She’d been reading about it and knew it was coming. .

And for those who remember the unique relationship Abrosimova still shares with Geno Auriemma, hearing that her congratulations to Mosqueda-Lewis was accompanied with a customary dig at her former UConn coach does not surprise.

“I could have scored a lot more if coach Auriemma didn’t make me play defense all the time,” Abrosimova tweeted.

Dueling Delphi’s: From Harvey Araton at the NY Times: Diana Taurasi Can Rest Easy, but W.N.B.A. Can’t

Taurasi’s decision was also an unavoidable commentary on the state of the professional game in the United States, just now short of two decades old, not far removed from its developmental cradle. The growth of the W.N.B.A. notwithstanding, its long-term forecast remains partly cloudy and it may never provide a lucrative, full-time living for its talent.

From Patricia Babcock McGraw: Taurasi’s decision to skip season isn’t a WNBA death sentence

When push comes to shove for aging WNBA stars, their overseas careers might get the push, and the WNBA might get the shove.

Doomsayers are predicting, well, doom for the WNBA, a mass exodus of its stars. Especially now that Taurasi has officially opened this can of worms.

But here’s what the WNBA has going for it: Loyalty. History. Location.

In other W news:

Delle Donne feeling good after “crazy” 2014 season

At Wednesday’s launch of their 10th anniversary celebrations, Elena Delle Donne showed why she’s been made the face of the Sky franchise. She was outgoing in her interactions with the 150 or so girls there for a sports expo, mingled easily with media and dignitaries and spoke strongly about the Sky’s present, future and what the franchise means for the Chicago sports landscape.

It was clear that the offseason has been good for Delle Donne after a 2014 season that was memorable for a lot of negative reasons.

Nothing like stoking an inter-city rivalry: 

Shavonte Zellous signed with Turkish basketball team Fenerbahce on Friday.

Zellous played last season for rival Galatasary, leading that team to the championship in both the domestic and Euroleague. She has been embroiled in a salary dispute for the past few months with that club.

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…and 27.5% shooting won. However you slice it, I’m glad I didn’t purchase a ticket for the  #11 Tennessee v. #  17 Rutgers game. To add insult to injury, the Knight’s will have to wait for the doctor’s report on Betnijah Laney’s thumb to see what’s up.

So, what does the fact that the Mercer Bears beat Alabama tell us?

Debbie Antonelli Special: Sacramento State 99, USC 101. One of these days, the Hornets are going to win one of these shootouts.

Ouch 1) Kentucky’s Goss has a broken thumb.

Ouch 2) Missouri women’s basketball team loses forward Kayla McDowell to ACL injury

So long:

Sadie Edwards Leaving UConn Women’s Team

Freshman  Kaylee Page leaves Nebraska.

Freshman Brielle Blaire will leave Virginia Tech.

Dishin & Swishin 12/11/14 Podcast: Looking at the first part of the college basketball season with Debbie Antonelli & Brenda VanLengen

From Graham:  Major finds lead way for Green Bay – Phoenix score fifth win against a team from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten or Pac-12

Separated by a little more than 100 miles, after all, the two schools form the points connecting the hypotenuse of a right triangle that has the population center of Milwaukee as its 90 degree angle. One of those points has Big Ten money. The other has the smallest athletic budget in the Horizon League.

How often did his program and the University of Wisconsin go head-to-head on recruits?

“I don’t know that we’re really in that arena for the most part,” Borseth eventually allowed. “We lose a lot of kids to bigger schools, not just Wisconsin but other schools equally, as well.”

And yet the Phoenix rarely lose to those teams on the court. Especially against the Badgers.

Upcoming game of interest:

Nice matinee matchup of undefeateds: #16 Oregon State v. #6 UNC.

Speaking of undefeated: Northwestern Zipped Past Gonzaga, 62-43

The Wildcats, at 8-0, are off to their best start since the 1995-96 season when the squad opened with nine victories.

From Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw: “Stand for something you believe in.”

From Michelle Smith: ‘I wanted to see what it meant to protest’ – All-America candidate Brittany Boyd, coach Charmin Smith join Berkeley protests

They pulled out masking tape and a black permanent marker and began to write names on the strips they pulled from the roll.

The players on the Cal women’s basketball team woke up Saturday morning in Long Beach to the news that back in Berkeley, three cardboard cutouts of African-Americans in nooses had been hanged in effigy on the Cal campus.

While campus officials worked to determine both who was behind the act and their intent, the players gathered after their shootaround. The team’s plan was to wear black shirts with the phrase “I Can’t Breathe” Sunday at home before a game against Louisville. But the Bears felt compelled to act immediately.

Forwarded by Sue, a FOB: Goshen basketball player Olivia Love copes with tragedy with help from family

Kimberly Love and her two youngest children — Kristian and Kiana — died in a 2007 fire, leaving Kimberly’s mother Rita Mickles to raise grandchildren, including Goshen basketball player Olivia Love.

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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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Yes, I’ll admit it — I woke up, had a cup of coffee, and “Basketball Jones!” popped into my head.

Nate has 2014 his NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Sweet 16 predictions: DePaul, North Carolina, Texas A&M are teams to watch

While I previewed the Sweet 16 by looking at a few of the top WNBA prospects still playing, I threw out a few questions to other bloggers around SB Nation who cover women’s basketball. Today we begin with a set of questions I asked the writers who have been covering the tournament for Swish Appeal.

From Mechelle: Storylines abound in Sweet 16 – Regional semifinals tip off on ESPN at noon ET Saturday in the Notre Dame region

Graham is Previewing a very Sweet 16

Welcome to the tournament within the tournament, the roped-off section of the postseason club that is the Sweet 16.

Getting to the tournament in the first place is a big deal. Just as it’s not easy to get to base camp on Mount Everest, it’s not easy to get to the starting line of the NCAA tournament. And once there, it only gets more difficult with each step.

Reaching the second week, when the basketball summit really starts to come clearly into view, is a big deal.

Look at the math.

Wondering who the experts pick? Click here.

Lincoln Bracket: Mechelle’s got the Lincoln Regional breakdown

Yup. Hosting is a crap shoot – just ask Nebraska (or Chattanooga). They’re not playing, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to bring it. Connie Yori went all Jody Conradt on us.

In 1985, when the Longhorns were hosting the Final Four, they were huge favorites. But, they were upset (even though that doesn’t happen in women’s basketball) on the way to the Championship. Down, but not out, Jody put all her efforts into getting folks out to the games — and notched the first F4 sell out.

Now it’s the Huskers’ turn: For good of NU, Yori hopes UConn draws big crowds and Why Connie Yori Wants NU Fans to Pack PBA

“Because UConn doesn’t play in the Midwest very often, so it’s an opportunity of a lifetime to see perhaps the best women’s program of all time,” Yori said before adding: “This UConn team also might be one of the best, if not the best, college women’s team of all-time. They’re phenomenal. Nebraska fans wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity like this when they can see one of the greatest teams of all time playing in their own backyard. You don’t have to go to the Final Four in Nashville. All you have to do is buy a ticket and head straight down to the Haymarket.”

So… About those games:

Huskies v. Cougars

Game day: No. 1 seed UConn women vs. No. 12 BYU,
BYU women at a glance
BYU looks to N.C. State men’s championship team for motivation vs. UConn
Cougars, 6-7 Jennifer Hamson Defy Odds Advancing To Meet Huskies
Cinderella story inspires Bailey, BYU

There are players who have to search the nation and scour the Internet to find the inspiration needed to lead their teams to improbable March Madness upsets.

Brigham Young junior forward Morgan Bailey did not have any such issues.

As luck would have it, her uncle is Thurl Bailey, one of the stars of a North Carolina State team which recorded perhaps the most improbable national championship run in college basketball history. While Thurl Bailey was not part of the Brigham Young traveling party to Lincoln for Saturday’s regional semifinals, he did reach out to his beloved niece.

Will BYU, Hamson block Huskies’ path?
Mike DiMauro: BYU’s approach against UConn women … on any given night
BYU women’s basketball team enjoying sudden attention in Sweet 16
Cougars embracing, relishing underdog role vs. top seed UConn

NCAA would change sked for BYU and BYU will attend Sunday press conferences, but not play or practice

Stewie is coming of age

She came bounding out of practice Friday, down the tunnel and through the curtain at Pinnacle Bank Arena. This is Stewie. Happy. Giddy. Dare we even suggest innocent?

This is Stewie. The same kid who exited the court for the final time this season at Gampel Pavilion earlier this week alongside Stefanie Dolson, saluting the crowd with the royal wave, the Queen of England in Nikes, the slight hand twist accompanied by the 50,000-watt smile.

This is Stewie.

Could this be the same kid her coach was yelling at earlier this season for being stubborn? Stubborn. Stewie? C’mon. This is Ms. Sunny Disposition. Stubborn?

Steven M. Sipple: Auriemma proves a master at his calling, Lincoln Journal Star

Oh, he retains plenty of fire. But he doesn’t allow a subpar game, or a subpar half, to send him off the rails like he might have done when he took over a foundering UConn program in 1985.

“You tend to view things more big-picture as opposed to reacting to what’s going on in front of you right now,” he said. “I think that helps the players, too, if you’re kind of like, ‘We’ll be all right. …'”

He also noted the importance of celebrating great plays and great games, but moving forward quickly.

Never too high, never too low.

He paused for a few seconds.

“That’s just the long way of saying I’m too old to give a damn about what’s going on, and I have no control over it,” he said with a chuckle.

Slideshow: Pursuit of Perfection, ESPN

Aggies v Blue Demons:

Texas A&M women prepare for DePaul sharpshooters

Texas A&M’s Gary Blair sounded more like a carnival barker than coach as he discussed his team’s matchup with DePaul on Saturday in the NCAA women’s regional semifinals.

“Our game against DePaul will be one of the most entertaining games you’ve ever seen,” Blair said, adding that it would be like a “ping-pong match.”

Aggies back in ‘flow,’ strive for Elite Eight

Texas A&M women’s basketball team feeling elite going into Sweet 16 matchup against DePaul

Texas A&M women’s basketball team learning from watching other teams

DePaul women’s basketball playing their ‘best ball of the season’ going into Sweet Sixteen

Going into their first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2011, DePaul women’s basketball continues to feed off of the momentum from their upset win against Duke while preparing to play Texas A&M.

“The win (over Duke) was huge for our program…definitely a momentum-builder,” sophomore Chanise Jenkins said. “It gives us tons of confidence going into the next game.”

Senior Jasmine Penny said the win meant a lot to her. With no plans to play after graduation, Penny has no idea when she will play her final game as a Blue Demon.

“It seems like we’re always the underdog and it was so amazing to see us come out and fight the way we did,” Penny said.

DePaul women ride fast-paced offense into Sweet 16 – Doug Bruno’s run-and-gun style carries risk but has high reward

Bruno’s Blue Demons not just a run-and-gun team

With Rogowski’s shooting, DePaul aiming high

‘(Texas A&M) is a business trip’ said Coach Doug Bruno of DePaul women’s basketball

DePaul and Texas A&M Tangle on Saturday in the Sweet 16

CESSNA: With UConn at this regional, second place not so bad

It’s un-American to strive to be second best, but when the 64-team bracket for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament was unveiled, it was a given Connecticut would advance to the Final Flour from the Lincoln Regional.
The only thing left to settle was who would be second. It’s not a defeatist outlook — it’s reality.

Notre Dame Regional breakdown

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw can’t stand the idea of having regionals at home sites. It doesn’t make for a truly fair tournament, she says. She’s right.

But the way the Irish have played this season, the fact that Notre Dame is hosting a regional is hardly the reason they are favored to go to the Women’s Final Four again. Rather, it’s that this Irish team — despite the loss of Skylar Diggins — is an undefeated powerhouse no matter where it is playing.

Admittedly, so is that other former Big East giant on the other side of the bracket. While UConn travels to Lincoln, Neb., for what appears a not-very-challenging regional, Notre Dame is home, where the Irish have lost just two games over the past three seasons.

Irish v. Cowgirls:

Irish’s McGraw: Notre Dame has unfair advantage or  is it that Notre Dame enjoys “comfort zone” of home court advantage in NCAA tournament. Either way, Berry Tramel is grumpy about it.

Players know their roles for unbeaten Notre Dame women’s basketball team

Irish won’t settle; want to improve

Notre Dame excited to play Oklahoma State at home

Martin leads Cowgirls into Sweet 16

Oklahoma State’s Brittney Martin and her teammates are in the NCAA Sweet 16 but will have to face No. 1 seed Notre Dame on the Irish’s home court. Pretty tough assignment for the No. 5 seed, right?

Sure. But, hey, Martin is a pretty tough kid. She was only about a month into her first college basketball season when she got a tooth knocked out.

She dove for a loose ball against Stephen F. Austin in early December 2012. One of the SFA players lost her balance and fell on Martin, whose face went into the floor.

“The initial hit was not painful; it kind of felt like if you bend a piece of licorice, maybe,” Martin said. “Then I felt my mouth, and my teeth were in my hand. So …”

Martin then smiled and pointed to her mouth.

Expect Tiffany Bias back in Cowgirls’ lineup vs. Notre Dame – OSU arrived in Stillwater about 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. By 8, Bias was in the training room getting treatment on an injured ankle.

Cowgirls have something to lose against Notre Dame

Bears v. Wildcats:

Five things to know about Baylor vs. Kentucky

Kentucky, Baylor set for rematch of 4-OT thriller

The last time Baylor and Kentucky met, they played one of the most exciting games in the history of women’s basketball.

Neither coach expects another four-overtime thriller today in the Sweet 16. Still, both are looking forward to another entertaining matchup with a berth in the regional finals on the line.

Kentucky, Baylor women on edge for rematch of December’s ‘instant classic’

Kentucky’s Goss’ quest for perfection paying off

Kentucky not sure it can slow Baylor scoring machine Sims

Homer’s The Odyssey was an epic adventure filled with twists and turns.

So is any attempt to guard Baylor’s Odyssey.

In the epic adventure that was Kentucky’s four-overtime victory over the Bears in December, the Cats threw four different defenders at Odyssey Sims.

Kentucky could have used about six more. In the losing effort, Baylor’s senior guard scored 47 points.

Another sweet season for Sims and Baylor women

Odyssey Sims and Baylor are having another sweet season.

The Lady Bears have made it to the third round of the NCAA women’s tournament for the sixth year in a row. But there are still surely plenty of people surprised to see them back in the Sweet 16 this year.

Baylor women’s basketball team tops list of No. 1s

Looking ahead?

Graham has the Louisville Regional breakdown

Michelle Smith has the Stanford Regional breakdown South Carolina is the top seed, but will Stanford rediscover its Maples magic?

She adds: Ruef used to juggling multiple roles – Stanford senior has started 33 of 34 games and worked as an engineering intern

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Not outrageously so, but there was another slate of good’uns!

Considering their injury situation, that the Battle of the Blues went the Demons’ way wasn’t so surprising, was it. #7 DePaul over #2 Duke, 74-65. Graham’s Instant Analysis as DePaul puts on the pressure.

Exactly one year to the day after DePaul limped out of Cameron Indoor Stadium battered, bruised and beaten in a first-round game against Oklahoma State that almost no one outside of Stillwater has reason to remember, the Blue Demons had a hop in their step as they prepared to head home — if only briefly this time. The Sweet 16 awaits, after all.

It was second-seeded Duke that limped away, a team already shorthanded left with heavy legs and tired tears.

As for the #4 Huskers’ loss to the #12 Cougars, ask the Lincoln Region. Sue weighs in over at Full Court: BYU upsets Nebraska, 80-76, to advance to Sweet 16 in Lincoln Regional

In pulling off their second upset in three days, the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2002, and become just the third 12th-seeded team in NCAA history to pull off the feat. Ironically, they head to the Lincoln, Neb. regional.

Considering what happened to the Cowgirls program two-plus years ago, who could be upset at their upset: #5 Oklahoma State over #4 Purdue, 73-66.


Games that were surprisingly tight (at least in the first half)

#1 Notre Dame v. #9 Arizona State, 84-67.

#2 Baylor v. #7 Cal. Bears over the Golden Bears, 75-56.

#1 Tennessee v. #8 St. John’s. Vols over Storm, 67-51.

Game that was surprisingly tight, considering the opposition was missing their best player)
#3 Kentucky v. #6 Syracuse. Wildcats eventually overcame the gritty Orange, 64-59.

Games that weren’t in question

#10 Florida State v. #2 Ogwumike... I mean Stanford. From Mechelle: Stanford all business-like in win

You’re not ever going to see a lot of drama from Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. You know this, of course. She’s the technician, the professor, the perfect mentor for “Nerd Nation.”

Monday, the Cardinal played just her kind of game: Start with a plan, make some smart adjustments, execute well, win comfortably, walk out into the snow celebrating …

Wait a minute … snow? How often do the Cardinal run into that, especially in March? But spring is a capricious thing here in Iowa, and sure enough some flaky stuff was falling as the Cardinal contingent headed out of Hilton Coliseum and home to a Sweet 16 in their own Maples Pavilion.

From Charlie: Five observations from Monday’s games

• 3. Home not-so-sweet home: Every year, so much talk is invested in the top seeds playing on the home courts of teams with worse seeds. Nothing in the women’s tournament creates more angst. Then, every year it has little impact on the tournament. This March, it’s having even less influence. In fact, it has actually worked the other way. The higher seeds are losing games in their own gyms. On Monday, No. 2 seed Duke lost in Durham to seventh-seeded DePaul, and No. 4 seed Purdue fell to fifth-seeded Oklahoma State in Mackey Arena. In the first round, No. 10 seed Florida State beat seventh-seeded Iowa State in Ames. The motivation of playing a Sweet 16 game at home didn’t help Nebraska at all in the Huskers’ loss to BYU.

To this point in 2014, the home court has changed nothing. Upsets can happen anywhere.

 

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ESPN has your region breakdown:

Mechelle has 10 first-round storylines to follow

The women’s version of March Madness tips off at 11 a.m. ET Saturday at 16 sites around the country, with early rounds concluding Monday and Tuesday. Here are 10 things to look for/ponder/debate during the opening steps of the Big Dance:

1. Leagues of legends?

 Who said this: “I think we have the toughest conference in the country. We beat each other up. On any given night, anybody can win. You have to bring your A-game.”

Answer: Almost every coach, although some do add the qualifier “one of the toughest conferences” because they know that saying the toughest is over the top.

UConn’s Geno Auriemma of the new American (“We have no real geographic link, but we’re all in the United States!”) Athletic Conference isn’t going to say this about that amalgamation of orphans, castoffs, left-behinds and biding-their-times. But he doesn’t need to. He can just say, We got Breanna, and you don’t. (Hmmm … rings a bell, doesn’t it?)

So which league really was the toughest to play in this season? Hah, as if there could be a consensus on that. But the conferences that received the most NCAA bids were the SEC and ACC, with eight each. We’ll see how many live on to the Sweet 16.

She’s also thinking the Vols have jelled at the right time.

The NCAA selection committee has gone away from making the previous 10 games of a team’s season such a huge priority in regard to tournament selection/placement. That used to be something that was consistently brought up as being very important. Now, supposedly, it’s just another factor to consider, but the whole “body of work” thing is bigger.

Still, this season, it seems clear that Tennessee’s No. 1 seed was secured by the Lady Vols winning the SEC tournament. And if you are going to focus on the “last 10,” that stretch looks quite good for the Lady Vols.

Yes, I’m sure the Lady Vols are eager to end their Final Four drought (even without Massengale for the first two games), but did you know that they’re putting a 52-game streak on line vs Northwestern State?

It’s a daydream savored by anyone who ever spent so much as an afternoon with a basketball in the driveway. The imaginary clock ticks down and the phantom crowd is on its feet. The game is on the line, the ball is in your hands.

It is your chance to be the hero. You survey the options — and pass the ball to an open teammate for the game-winning assist.

Wait, what?

Interesting: Duke’s depleted lineup, turnover problems give Winthrop hope

And in the “Who would?” department: Duke coach unhappy team in same region with UConn

DePaul women’s head coach Doug Bruno wasn’t nearly as excited as his players after winning the Big East tournament.  Bruno, who is in his 28th year as DePaul’s head coach, said he coaches solely for the NCAA tournament.

The LSU Reveille sounds the call:

LSU does not have another chance to get back on track.

The Lady Tigers have no more media sessions to talk about what they can do to get out of their slump. The only thing left to do is act on their words.

“It’s a time for my team to actually make history or make something happen,” said freshman guard Raigyne Moncrief. “Hopefully we can just pull together and get wins.”

The Bulldog Blitz unpicks Fresno State’s strategy: 

Within minutes of learning who they would play in the Women’s NCAA Tournament, a few Fresno State players anxiously searched their cellphones for statistics and video clips of the Nebraska basketball team.

The Bulldogs received a more detailed breakdown of the Cornhuskers the following day after the coaching staff assembled a video scouting report — with two agendas in mind:

For each clip that coach Raegan Pebley showed of Nebraska excelling, she also showed one of the 13th-ranked Cornhuskers getting exposed. 

No worries: Husker Laudermill is ready to spark Nebraska. Oh, and have you Met the Nebraska women’s basketball starting five

While the Cal women begin tournament in shadow of last season’s team, they are feeling confident as they enter NCAA Tournament play against the Fordham Rams, when we’ll see if the Boyd-Rooney Matchup deserved to be The Talk of Friday’s Media Day

As Akron women’s basketball rides dynamic duo into Mackey Arena to face Purdue, the Boilermakers defense might be the key in NCAA tourney

If the UTC women want better tourney results, they’re going to have to prepare for Syracuse’s zone defense. And 10 other things.

Florida State will look to stop ISU’s Christofferson from extending career at Hilton

Sure, Taylor Greenfield might be the only Stanford player happy about traveling 1,800 miles to the middle of Iowa to open the NCAA women’s basketball tournament, but the Coyotes have no issue with trying to make her and her teammates cranky.

Oh, yeah, USC, Northridge women are living the dream – but Trojans will face St. John’s

As the long wait is finished and Baylor prepares to play the NCAA opener without suspended Mulkey, the Hilltoppers are up to the challenge.

“We’re excited,” WKU sophomore guard Micah Jones said. “They’ve had a lot of success over the past few years, and that’s what we’re trying to get back to with our program. It’s a great opportunity for us to come here and play Baylor.”

Brandon Gurney from the Deseret news says the Cougars feel good about their matchup with the Wolfpack

We match up well and their team is very similar to ours,” observed BYU coach Jeff Judkins. “The way they play and how they do it (is similar).”

The starkest similarity involves the starting centers. BYU features 6-foot-7 senior Jen Hamson while North Carolina presents 6-foot-5 senior Markeisha Gatling. Both players lead their teams from the post, and Judkins believes whoever wins that specific matchup will go a long way in determining the outcome.

News from the WNIT:

Ducks dominate Pacific Tigers 90-63 in WNIT opener

Rutgers women’s basketball defeats Delaware in WNIT

If the Rutgers women’s basketball team is trying to use the WNIT as a platform to show it was worthy of receiving a NCAA Tournament berth, it will have to wait until at least the second round to begin proving its case.

Women’s Basketball Pulls Out Last-Second WNIT Victory

With seven seconds left on the clock and Harvard up by two, Iona guard Aleesha Powell drove to the basket for a hard layup, drawing the foul on captain Christine Clark and making the basket for the three-point play. Powell, an 84.9 percent free-throw shooter, completed the and-one.

One-point Gaels lead, 6.7 seconds on the clock.

But Clark was not about to let her season—and Harvard career—end with that.

Other games:

Colorado 78, TCU 71
Montana 90, Washington State 78
Minnesota 62, Green Bay 60
Villanova 74, Quinnipiac 55
George Washington 86, East Carolina 68

Michigan 86, Stony Brook 48
Duquesne 62, Mount St. Mary’s 52
St. Bonaventure 81, Charlotte 62
South Florida 56, North Carolina A&T 50
Saint Mary’s 75, CSU Bakersfield 68
UTEP 74, Arkansas State 64
Washington 67, Hawaii 50

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after a week of travel, teaching and tummy upsetness.

So, are you intrigued that #6 Stanford didn’t easily put away the Longhorns?

What about how #5 Notre Dame handled Penn?

LaTech stayed even with LSU in the second — it was the first half that did them in. The Techsters are still 0-for.

Wow, Liberty is still 0-for, too.

Looks to be a long season in Arizona.

Marist finally got a win — and it was a nice one over Bowling Green.

UMass followed their incredibly surprising win over Rutgers (RU fans are not happy) with a takedown of Hartford.

Hmmm… Southern Miss took down the high flying’ FGCU Eagles.

Still perfect on the season: Wyoming, Missouri, Va Tech (via OT), SMU, BYU, San Diego, Baylor, Winthrop, Indiana, East Carolina, Colorado, Purdue, Maine (!), Tulane, Oklahoma State, UTEP, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville (Walz is the winningest Card), Northwestern, Iowa State and Nebraska, Tennessee and Connecticut.

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McGraw is dealing with some bad injuries.

A different kind of injury: Two Georgia women’s basketball players suspended three games

From Arizona: New wrinkle to camp: etiquette class (wonder if the men’s team gets it, too)

From Oregon: What does Scott have? Youth.

Out of Nebraska: Is this a first? NU women now the target of the Big Ten

Out of Wisconsin: Don’t get mad, get even: Badgers women’s basketball: UW coach Bobbie Kelsey irked by Badgers’ snub

This has got to have been awkward: Burns returns to SDSU for Hall induction

From Florida: Yes you can play: FGCU’s Kaneisha Atwater granted eligibility by NCAA

From Oklahoma: Ellenberg leads experienced No. 11 Oklahoma

From Utah: Michelle Plouffe emerging from a long shadow — could surpass fellow Canadian Kim Smith as the best player in Utah history  but her team is dealing with injuries.

From Illinois: Women’s basketball looking to address concerns in exhibition game

From Indiana: Purdue Lineup not set in stone

From HoopFeed: Rebecca Lobo and Stephanie White discuss the upcoming NCAA women’s basketball season

Full Court has a couple of previews:

2013-14 ACC women’s basketball preview: Notre Dame will challenge Duke and Maryland for title

2013-14 PAC 12 women’s basketball preview: Cardinal picked to win conference; others threaten

Been waiting for this: Ex-women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis sues Oakland U.

Time for some good news: Doctors Offer Optimistic Update For Coach Hatchell

More good news: Sutton-Brown to Enter Rutgers Athletics Hall of Fame

WATN? Fredonia State names Hill-MacDonald as interim head coach

WATN? 2: Figgs Accepts Engineering Position At Toyota

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You know I was being sarcastic, right?

’cause if you didn’t watch the late game last night: SPOILER ALERT!!!

Might I suggest you stop reading, find yourself a couple of hours, and go watch the game?

For those of us who did watch the game: Holy Carp, no?

Some random thoughts on the game before I link to those who know a whole heckuvalot more than I do:

  • Officiating: They let Louisville get away with murder at the beginning of the game. Thought it was amusing that Jeff was all het up about his players getting called for so many fouls. They deserved every one of them — and once they DID get called, the game settled down a bit.
  • I don’t remember a TEAM shooting so friggin’ lights out from three — yes, a player. But the whole team?
  • I don’t mind jawin’ on the court. Talk is talk, but Shoni could have gotten a T for in the face action she pulled on Griner. (Couldn’t tell if she got a warning. She should have.) Loved Griner look to the ref: “Really, ref? I need to put up with this $ht?”
  • Shoni’s jawin’ earned her a T/foul. And then she fouled out with that foolish left arm. That coulda cost her team big time.
  • Geno called himself a dumba$$ after the Maryland for getting T’d up. It cost his team 4 points. But that was at the half, with UConn up. Jeff cost his team four points with is T at 2 minutes. Perhaps it wasn’t a charge, but he needs to be smarter.
  • Perhaps there wasn’t a charge on the other end, neither, but how on earth does Kim not get a T for pulling a Cheryl Reeve?
  • For long time Big East fans who know how hard injuries have cut into a promising career, it was painful to watch Monique miss the front end of that of that one-and-one. (Great call by Kim to foul). But, it set up her game winning FTs beautifully. (Great call by Jeff not to call a timeout — and what happened to Baylor’s D that Griner wasn’t back in the paint?)

Wowza. What a game. And thanks, Kevin, for showing the players some love.

From the experts:

From ESPN.com’s “news services” (though a ton of the AP report is included) Louisville dashes Baylor’s repeat hopes with shocking upset

Mechelle offers some Instant Analysis.

All things considered, you might call it the biggest upset in women’s NCAA tournament history. Or at least very high on the list. Louisville, the No. 5 seed, took down defending champion Baylor 82-81 in the Sweet 16 after an other-worldly performance from behind the arc. And after surviving a frantic, riveting Baylor comeback.

The Louisville women shocked the world and, in this case, it is not hyperbole. The Cardinals made 16 of 25 3-point shots. Every coach has been asked how to best defeat Baylor, and all have said the same thing: Hit from the perimeter. Louisville did. Wow, did the Cardinals do that.

She follows it up with Game’s biggest upset stuns Baylor – Fifth-seeded Louisville knocks off defending NCAA champ to advance to Elite Eight

In the Baylor locker room, point guard Odyssey Sims, crying, clung to former Bears men’s player Perry Jones III. He’s now with the NBA’s Thunder, so the Chesapeake Energy Arena is his home. But it felt like probably the worst place in the entire world to Sims.

Finally, Sims broke away from Jones and sat disconsolately at her locker. Next to her came the sound of wracking sobs from senior teammate Kimetria “Nae-Nae” Hayden. A Baylor official, trying to comfort both distraught players said, “Take a deep breath. Just breathe.”

Breathing was hard for everyone — players, coaches, media, and fans alike — in the closing minutes of this insane, unpredictable, dramatic, thrill-ride of a basketball game.

John Adams at GoVolsXtra notes: Baylor not the only ones ‘stunned’ by upset

Dean Lockwood could have been speaking for the entire Baylor team Sunday evening.

“I’m stunned,” the Tennessee assistant coach said seconds after Louisville defeated No. 1 Baylor in the Sweet 16 round of the Oklahoma City regional at Chesapeake Energy Arena.”

“I’m just trying to process what I’ve just seen,” he added.

Nate at Swish Appeal talks about The perfect storm that helped Louisville upset Brittney Griner & the Baylor Lady Bears

What those two games had in common with the Louisville Cardinals‘ win today is that both of those teams got hot from the 3-point line to help them score over Baylor’s formidable defense. That part of the strategy to beat Baylor has been obvious for some time now, as written in the preview of the game today. The problem is that those other two teams – arguably inferior to Louisville’s team – just couldn’t sustain the hot shooting that included well-above average individual shooting performances.

Part of what went right for Louisville is that their shots just kept falling.

To that point, Mark C. Moore of SB Nation’s Baylor site Our Daily Bears made the point after the game that claims of Louisville employing a “masterful gameplan” were overstated and to some extent, when you look back at how some other non-elite teams have played Baylor, that’s very true: even if you argue that Louisville won the game for a number of reasons, 64% 3-point shooting by a 31% shooting team – yes, more than twice their season success rate – was a major, major reason that they were able to hang on for a one point win.

Clay at Full Court says, Cardinals stun the Bears – Louisville was just better

Baylor didn’t have a bad game.

The Bears scored 81 points against Louisville Sunday, shooting respectably from the field and the line. They controlled the boards. They forced 20 turnovers. They mounted an amazing comeback, worthy of any champion.

And they even got lucky. Jeff Walz drew an incredibly dumb technical foul with 2:01 left and his team up six. The Cardinals turned the ball over with 15 seconds left to set up two more clutch Odyssey Sims’ throws.

And yet … and yet.

Fagan offers up the Five biggest NCAA tourney upsets.

Check out the post-game comments from Kim, Odyssey and Brittney. You can go here for Jeff, Antonita and Shoni.

As her college career ends, Hays gives us Griner’s most memorable moments

Oh, right… there were other games.

Okay, first, I have to ask: Who forgot to take the highlighter out of their shorts before all the Notre Dame uniforms were washed? *Oh, come on! You know you were thinking the same thing!*

That aside, the Irish made quick work of the Jayhawks behind Diggins’ impressive leadership. Says Graham:

 Key player: Who else? A day before the game against Kansas, Diggins talked about trusting her instincts when it comes to the line any point guard must tread between setting up others and looking for her own shot. So it was only fitting that she put those instincts on display taking over a game in which she became Notre Dame’s all-time leading scorer. The scoring established, she picked up assists on three of the team’s first six field goals in the second half and put up seven of her nine assists after halftime.

Al Lesar at the SBT writes: ‘Sky’ just following orders

Curt notes: Diggins gets a record in Irish rout

“… Skylar owned the day,” McGraw said. “I thought she was great from start to finish, both ends of the floor.”

Curt says: Crowd enjoys Loyd’s specialty

Notre Dame freshman Jewell Loyd wowed the crowd at Old Dominion University’s Ted Constant Convocation Center Sunday with three brilliant alley-oops in which she soared out of a sprint, caught a pass while airborne and connected off the glass for a layup.

“Make or miss, they’re definitely momentum plays,” point guard Skylar Diggins said of Loyd’s alley-oops during the 93-63 rout of Kansas that put the Irish in the Elite Eight. “You get the crowd going. When she got fouled, it was like, ‘Ooohhhh. When she made it, the crowd was
‘Ooohhhh’ and ‘Ahhhhhh.’

Next up for Notre Dame: Duke, which had to battle to shake a stubborn Nebraska team (really tough to watch Hooper get hurt).

When a high-scoring team like Duke lays an egg offensively, it usually spells trouble for its tournament chances. But the second-seeded Blue Devils outlasted sixth-seeded Nebraska 53-45 Sunday, relying on stout defense and their stronger interior presence—including seven blocks from Elizabeth Williams—to advance.

From HuskerExtra: Bittersweet: Cold-shooting Huskers dropped by Duke

Two women’s-sized basketballs will fit through a hoop.

Not even one would fit enough times for Nebraska to back up a strong defensive effort against Duke on Sunday in the NCAA Tournament.

The No. 24 Huskers (25-9) hit just 30 percent of their shots, and only 3 of 24 three-pointers, in a 53-45 loss to fifth-ranked Duke in the NCAA round of 16 at the Constant Convocation Center.

There was still some consolation in playing Duke so close.

From Rob Clough: Duke Knocks Off Nebraska, 53-45

Once again, it’s survive and advance for Duke. In a game where the Devils shot just 32%, their aggressive defense held the Nebraska Cornhuskers to just 30%. Husker star Jordan Hooper was just 3-14 from the floor before she rolled her ankle late in the game, while star point guard Lindsay Moore shot only 5-18. Nebraska simply didn’t have the players to generate enough offense in other ways. In some respects, Duke got a berth into the Elite Eight the moment that Nebraska upset Texas A&M, because the Aggies would have matched up much better with Duke than the small and slow Huskers. Whenever Nebraska had a modicum of success in this game, it came because of a Duke turnover or a jumpshot that landed. Considering that Duke only coughed up the ball 9 times and the Huskers were a collective 3-24 from beyond the arc, much of their success was short-lived.

Graham offers some Instant Analysis.

Key player: Alexis Jones. It wasn’t the maestro’s command that Notre Dame point guard Skylar Diggins displayed in the day’s first game, but Jones more than held up her end of the bargain in a regional loaded with some of the best point guards in the nation, including her injured teammate Chelsea Gray. Jones finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists. The freshman also had seven turnovers, but if her job was to manage the team on the floor, she succeeded.

It was close, for a while, but eventually Tennessee ran away from the short (and more during the game)-handed Sooners.

From Guerin Emig at the Tulsa World: OU women fall to Tennessee in NCAA women’s tourney

Oklahoma’s feel-good season ended this afternoon when the Sooners were knocked from the NCAA Tournament by deeper, more athletic and just better Tennessee 74-59.

Dan Fleser says, Lady Vols feeling at home in regional, advance to play Louisville

First, Tennessee took the pro-Oklahoma crowd out of the game.

Then, the Lady Vols ushered the Sooners out of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

John Adams adds, Kamiko Williams’ value increases as UT advances

Tennessee’s advance to the Elite Eight was distinguished by a changing of the guards Sunday afternoon at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Senior guard Kamiko Williams, not SEC co-player of the year Meighan Simmons, is starting to look like the Lady Vols’ most valuable player.

It was as obvious as hit-and-miss in a 74-59 victory over Oklahoma in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament.

Mechelle offers some Instant Analysis.

Ever since they saw the NCAA tournament bracket, Tennessee fans have been stewing about being in the same region of the draw as Baylor for the third time in the past four seasons.

After the No. 2 seed Lady Vols’ 74-59 regional semifinal victory over No. 6 seed Oklahoma on Sunday, the Final Four is just a step away. But it could be a very large step. If Baylor beats Louisville in the second semifinal here, once again the Lady Bears will stand in the way of Tennessee’s 19th Final Four appearance.

That’s probably especially galling to the Orange crew because even after Tennessee won the SEC regular-season title, the Lady Vols still got stuck with the defending champion and the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Post game for Oklahoma here. Post game for Tennessee here.

Read Full Post »

Prairie Chicken

Sharp Tailed Grouse

Now I get to read about the other kind of hens.

From Graham: Blue Hens head to first Sweet 16

All right, how much do you really love the game?

That’s the question Elena Delle Donne told her dad she thought some higher power had posed when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease during her second season playing basketball at the University of Delaware.

She was the high school star who became even more famous for walking away from the game than she had been as a 6-foot-5 kid doing things on a basketball court nobody had ever seen someone her size do before.

She was the lost soul who found what she was looking for in the touch of a sister and the embrace of a community. And who found her way back to a game she once swore she would never again play.

From the AP: No regrets for Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne

Whenever Delaware’s NCAA Tournament run ends, Elena Delle Donne will look back on her college career with no regrets.

“Honestly, I think the happy ending has already occurred,” Blue Hens coach Tina Martin said. “The happy ending is that Elena is happy.”

Delaware will now face the Wildcats and the AP’s Garry Graves says Kentucky ready for matchup with Delaware star

“She’s only a part of what they do because they have team chemistry,” Mitchell said of Delle Donne. “You make a big mistake if you put it solely on one player. She’s very important obviously to what they want to do because she’s so talented, but we’ll be really trying to make this more about our team and how we do what we do well. I think that’ll be very important to make our tempo a factor, our defensive pressure a factor.”

Yes, Michigan women’s basketball season ends in blowout 73-40 loss to Stanford, which allows Michelle to offers: Stanford shoots into Sweet 16 – Cardinal’s Tinkle is lights out with career-high five 3-pointers

When Joslyn Tinkle sat in front of the microphone after the game and said “I deserved that game,” it was not a statement of conceit or ego.

It was the result of a bug in her ear by a sage head coach, who had a bit of an epiphany on Monday when she realized that her players might be experiencing more pressure than pleasure.

Looking to the future, Elliott Almond at the Mercury News writes: Stanford anticipates physical matchup with Georgia

The Bulldogs are led by Jasmine Hassell, a 6-foot-2 All-SEC forward, and Jasmine James, a 5-9 senior guard. Georgia has the kind of balanced team that has been difficult on the Cardinal (33-2).

Bring it on, Stanford players said Wednesday.

“I like games that might not be called closely,” said guard Sara James, whose lockdown defense helped the Cardinal defeat Michigan on Tuesday night. “I like to be physical.

Their fellow conference-mates had a tough time against the stubborn Bulls, but the California Golden Bears are heading into Sweet 16

The Cal women’s basketball team nearly imploded against a physical and battle-tested South Florida squad in the NCAA tournament’s round of 32, but regained its composure just in time.

After a nightmarish finish to regulation, the Bears needed overtime before they could finally celebrate an 82-78 win at United Spirit Arena on Monday that advances Cal to the Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history.

Stephanie Hammon chronicles Cal’s Reshanda Gray’s journey from South Central Los Angeles to Sweet 16

Reshanda Gray, the energetic 6-foot-3 forward on Cal’s Sweet Sixteen women’s basketball team, continues to live a Cinderella story.

If she hadn’t discovered basketball in middle school, Gray isn’t sure where life in South Central Los Angeles would have taken her. She’s pretty sure her path wouldn’t have included college.

Their win means the Bears will face the Tigers. Trey Illes at the TImes Picayune thinks the LSU women’s basketball team had magnificent victory against Penn State

Call them LSU’s Magnificent Seven. Lady Tigers senior guards Adrienne Webb and Bianca Lutley played the lead roles in sixth-seeded LSU’s 71-66 NCAA women’s basketball tournament victory against third-seeded Penn State on Tuesday night in LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Webb scored 29 points on 10 of 16 shooting, including three free throws in the final 21.8 seconds. Lutley, playing with four fouls, gave the Tigers the lead for good with 40.8 seconds with a bucket.

The Tigers hope for junior point guard Jeanne Kenney’s return but prep without her

From Kate Fagan: Kentucky’s Mathies guts it out

On Monday afternoon, Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell decided to answer a question that wasn’t even directed at him.

The query had been for guard A’dia Mathies, wondering if she was at all concerned after failing to score a basket in Kentucky’s first-round win against Navy. Mathies responded in her usual quiet manner, saying something about not letting one game define her. Then Mitchell leaned into his microphone and said, “I have no doubt that A’dia Mathies will play an outstanding game on Tuesday.”

At Swish Appeal, Queenie has Mathies carries Kentucky to Sweet Sixteen

Kentucky already knows one part of their future: Assistant Matt Insell is the new Ole Miss coach.

From Charlie: Defense leads the way for UConn – Huskies advance to 20th straight Sweet 16, where Maryland awaits

Saturday was about executing the offense and making shots. UConn’s second-round 77-44 victory over Vanderbilt on Monday had a different catalyst: defense.

The Huskies’ ability to win games by different means is the primary reason they’ve been at or near the top of women’s college basketball for six years. Call it dominance by versatility.

The offense wasn’t necessarily lousy Monday, but it wasn’t exactly clicking early. Yet 11 minutes into the game, the Huskies had forced nine turnovers and turned them into 15 points for a 23-13 lead. It didn’t matter that other than Stefanie Dolson, UConn’s passing was shaky. It didn’t matter that some of those 15-footers that fell in Saturday’s 68-point win over Idaho weren’t finding the bottom of the net against the Commodores for much of the first half. The Huskies’ defense was in control.

The UConn players give ESPN their best ‘Geno’ impressions.

UConn will face Maryland ’cause  the Terrapins’ Thomas was tough on Michigan State. From Gene Wang at the Washington Post: 

“I think it speaks volumes to Alyssa when the bigger the game, the bigger the stage and the moment, just how she rises to the occasion,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “I’ve said this before: The most competitive player I’ve ever coached. You see her will our team into her mind-set, and you continue to see that time and time again.”

Mark Cardillo says there’s Something About Maryland

Brenda Frese and her Maryland team — a team that lost three players to ACL injuries — is upbeat and isn’t happy to be merely a stepping stone to another UConn victory. Last season in the Sweet Sixteen, Maryland defeated then defending champion Texas A&M.

The schools met on Dec. 3 in Hartford, with the Huskies winning 63-48. Maryland players said they learn a lot from that experience and won’t be intimidated on Saturday

A cross-post, Nate points us to Jordan Esco

…this Oklahoma team has suffered more than maybe any other Sherri Coale team in her tenure and yet here they are, coming back to play in Oklahoma City and in the Sweet Sixteen. The magnitude of that and what this team has accomplished this year really cannot be emphasized enough…I don’t really care whether or not you’re aware they were so desperate for bodies, just to be able to go 5-on-5 in practices, that they had to borrow two players from the volleyball team.

At a certain point, it’s not really about that. At a certain point, it’s about recognizing the accomplishment and giving it the respect it/they deserve.

From the Oklahoma Daily: Women’s basketball looking strong for NCAA Elite Eight.

From the Oklahoman, Stephanie Kuzydym writes: Pat Summitt shaped Sherri Coale, Sooner players

Eyes grow wide, smiles spread and words like “legend” and “model” flow freely.

Tennessee head coach emeritus Pat Summitt shaped Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale and her players such as Whitney Hand, Jasmine Hartman and Joanna McFarland years ago.

On Sunday, Oklahoma will face Tennessee for the first time since a loss in Knoxville in January 2010. This Sweet 16 meeting will be the first time the Sooners will play the Vols without the legendary Summitt at the helm. After 38 years in charge, Summitt is in her first year as Tennessee’s head coach emeritus. She announced August 2011 that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

“I don’t know if there are any words,” Coale said of what Summitt did for women’s college basketball. “No one will ever rival what Pat Summitt’s done.”

Speaking of Tennessee, Dan Fleser says Lady Vols must deal with ‘head of the snake’ against Sooners.

And, deservedly so, Warlick finalist for rookie coaching award. After defeating Creighton, Tennessee is not in unfamiliar territory in Oklahoma City regional. The will want more on defense, though.

Down the hall from where Warlick spoke, the Lady Vols weren’t so impressed. They sat in harsher judgement on the stools in their locker room. The consensus opinion was that they shouldn’t be satisfied.

“Not at all; Not at all,” freshman Jasmine Jones said. “We made several mistakes on defense, but we were able to stay in the game. We have to be more consistent on our defense.”

Nate offers up: Louisville coach Jeff Walz proud of his team for overcoming adversity to make Sweet 16

The Louisville Cardinals are yet another team that sustained a few injuries this season in the Oklahoma City region and coach Jeff Walz credited his team for overcoming those after their 76-63 win over the Purdue Boilermakers to advance to the Sweet 16, as described by Mike Rutherford of SB Nation’s Louisville site Card Chronicle.

Lucky Cards get to face Baylor. Kevin Sherrington explains Why Baylor’s dominance is a good thing for women’s basketball. (How can THAT be?)

The AP’s Stephen Hawkins says Baylor is having fun while pursuing 2nd straight women’s title

Brittney Griner stopped at the edge of the podium, pulled out her iPhone and made a goofy face.

Before taking a self-portrait in front of the NCAA tournament backdrop after her final home game for Baylor, when she became the first woman with three dunks in a game, the 6-foot-8 Griner had teammates Brooklyn Pope and Odyssey Sims join her with silly grins of their own.

When coach Kim Mulkey turned and saw what was going on behind her, she started laughing.

Curt Rallo aat the SBT says Sustaining success a big challenge for Notre Dame

After Notre Dame captured the NCAAwomen’s basketball national title in 2001, the Irish reached the Sweet 16 four times in nine seasons, and did not reach the Elite Eight in that stretch.

That changed in 2011, when the Irish stormed to the national championship game. In 2012, the Irish returned to the title game.

This season, the Irish are a No. 1 seed, have beaten Connecticut seven of the last eight meetings, have beaten Tennessee three times in a row and swept the Big East regular season and tournament titles.

The difference is obvious — and simple.

The Fighting Irish will face up start Kansas who, says Curt, owe a lot to their defense.

According to Henrickson, Engelman, Davis and Goodrich have fueled a surge by the Jayhawks’ program. Prior to last season’s NCAA Tournament appearance, the Jayhawks had not earned an NCAA berth since 2000.

“All three of those kids have given a lot to the program,” Henrickson said. “They’ve changed the face of the program. They will leave the program in a lot better hands then when they got here, which is why they came here.

Taking down Texas A&M, at home, was a pretty impressive accomplishment for the Cornhuskers. Gotta love coach Blair’s graciousness in defeat:

“Sorry we were a little short tonight on how we played the game,” Blair said. “I know we could do better, but I don’t know if Nebraska could play any better than they did. They were magnificent.”

Not only are Native Nebraskans all over NCAA Division I hoops, the Huskers’ win was enough for an Iowan to commit sacrilege: Like Nebraska? Even an Iowan can come around

I’m a Hawkeye.

And Hawkeyes don’t like Cornhuskers. And Iowans don’t like Nebraskans, in a moderate Midwest sort of way. It’s not like we would attack Cornhuskers, but we might be prompted to say, “Hawkeyes rule, Cornhuskers drool!” in a confrontation outside the football stadium.

If Nebraska defeats Duke, coach Yori will get a nice bonus.

New Jersey is proud that Peddie School grad Peters has led Duke women into the Sweet 16

Growing up with two older brothers, chances are you’re going to get pushed around a bit. Especially in sports.

While Haley Peters’ basketball skills have improved every year since her days at The Peddie School, what hasn’t changed is her will to win.

Yes, the Duke women are eyeing 1st Final Four since 2006. Sam Mckewon says Duke is expecting a stress test from Nebraska’s offense

Defense is what has her concerned as Duke prepares to play Nebraska, which scored 73 and 74 points in its first two NCAA tourney games. NU has a “terrific” and “durable” point guard in Lindsey Moore, McCallie said, and forwards Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady “can pop 3s quicker than you can say ‘boo.’”

The Huskers’ ability to spread the floor, draw defenders out of the paint and get layups at the basket is the “big challenge” to defend, McCallie said.

“They run a great motion offense,” said McCallie, who’s led her team to three straight Elite Eight berths. “They screen well and they’ll go back door on you.”

Did you catch the espnW blogs?

Michelle Smith writes Five observations (and one tweet) from Tuesday

The field has been pared to 16 teams, and we are a lot wiser than we were when the brackets came out. Here’s what we know now.

• 1. Brittney Griner recognizes a big moment when she sees it: Was it because former President George W. Bush and his wife were in the house? Or was she trying to give the home crowd at the Ferrell Center something to remember? Let’s go with the latter and say Griner’s three dunks in Baylor’s otherwise typically dominant win over Florida State was just the 6-foot-8 superstar making herself a little memory.

Read Full Post »

I’m birding in Nebraska with the mom (saw Redhead, Canvasback and Wigeon today), BUT….

How cool is it that I’m in Omaha, birding in the home of the Creighton Blue Jays — who took down the Orange of Syracuse in the first upset of the day.

Credit Kansas over the Buffs and USF  over Texas Tech were the other two upsets du jour.

Also credit teams who showed up and strutted a tad before they fell:

St. Joe’s v. Vanderbilt.

Central Michigan v. Oklahoma.

Gonzaga v. Iowa State.

Montana v. Georgia.

Fresno St. v. California.

Quinnipiac v. Maryland.

Chattanooga v. Nebraska (it would have been awkward to be in Neb. and have the Huskers lose. Would bring the WHB curse to a whole new level.)

And, maybe it’s just me, but I think that it’s cool that Oral Roberts can stay within 20 of Tennessee, ditto with South Dakota State and South Carolina, more ditto with the Hatters and UCLA. And it was closer than between Marist and Michigan State.

And then, of course, there were the full out blow outs….

UConn v. Idaho.

Aggies v. Shockers.

Some fun stuff to read as you await the next round (and I await my 5:45am wake up call to sound):

Bauer is unsung hero of Navy women’s basketball team

If our Navy women’s basketball team was a band, Kara Pollinger would be our drummer.

Jade Geif would be the lead singer, Alix Membreno lead guitar, ML Morrison on tambourine charming the crowd, and Audrey Bauer would be the talented musician playing any instrument a song needed — saxophone, fiddle, bass.”

That comment, contained in an NCAA Tournament diary entry written this week by head coach Stefanie Pemper, perfectly describes what Audrey Bauer brings to the Navy women’s basketball team.

Yes, after the fact, but…: Faced with Final Four expectations, Cal women’s basketball kicks off NCAA tournament against Fresno State

This ought to feel familiar: Michigan women’s basketball set to take on Villanova in NCAA Tournament first round

Yes, it’s the WBI, and yes, it’s the Quakers, BUT, it IS their first post-season win!

We know this: Baylor’s Griner can do more than dunk

From ESPN’s The Magazine – Elena Bergeron: Laying down her road – Baylor center Brittney Griner’s game is going to get even better

From Mechelle: Baylor seeks repeat as NCAA champ

As coach of the last team to beat Baylor in the NCAA tournament, Texas A&M’s Gary Blair rates as the closest thing to an expert on that particular topic.

He talks about the need to score from the perimeter, to come up with some kind of effective zone defense … and then one other thing. A benefit that the Aggies had in facing Baylor that most teams don’t: familiarity. In a little more than a year — the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons — Baylor and Texas A&M met six times. Baylor won the first five of those games.

“And we won the one that counted most,” Blair said.

Lots of stuff at Full Court:

Hard work by Plaisance pays off for LSU Tigers

Under seeded Hampton, led by David Six, could surprise Duke

Kayla McBride – Irish have grown a lot this year

Final Four picks by Full Court experts

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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

Read Full Post »

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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people pay more attention to your first game.

#8 Ohio State got silenced by #9 Florida, 70-65 (even though the Gators did try to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.) Enjoy it while you can, Florida: Baylor is up next.

The bigger upset was #13 Marist taking down #4 Georgia, 76-70. Kudos to the Red Foxes for not folding after losing the lead late in the second half. Even more kudos to coach Giorgis for getting the win (his third 13 over 4) with a team many thought was vulnerable. Writes Graham: Brian Giorgis makes Marist magic happen

#6 Nebraska gave #11 Kansas the early 8-point lead and never could catch up. Jayhawk Angel Goodrich notched 20pts and 5 rebounds.

San Diego kept it close, but in the end, Nikki Caldwell and LSU earned a 64-56 win – mostly in part to the return of LaSondra Barrett.

There were some serious near misses for the higher ranked teams: Dem #14 Creighton Blue Jays gave #3 St. John’s all they could handle, and then some (even the ESPN headline writer thought they’d pulled off the upset: Creighton wins at buzzer  (Dated line Sunday, 7:40pm, EST). But no, it was a coast-to-coast layup by (who else) Jeanette Pohlen… I mean, Nadirah McKenith that rescued the Johnnies, 69-67.

#12 Fresno State shot poorly, and yet still had a chance to take down #5 Georgetown. The Hoyas pulled it out, 61-56, but you’ve got to wonder how far they can go without more Sugar.

A last second layup got #12 FGCU into overtime, but the #5 Bonnies regrouped and gutted out a 72-65 win.

Put it in the books: the first Tourney win for the #3 Delaware program, and the player people were waiting to see didn’t disappoint: 39pts, 11 rebounds against # 14 UALR. Oh, and she took some time to do some writing: Expect a large Delle Donne contingent.

Nice, solid effort by #8 Cal’s “newbies to the Tourney”, as they took down a stubborn #9 Iowa, 84-74. Writes Matt Fortuna: Brittany Boyd delivers for Bears

#10 Middle Tennessee didn’t have enough in the tank to deal with #7 Vanderbilt: ‘dores win, 60-46.

#4 Georgia Tech freshman Wallace left nothing to chance, and her Yellow Jackets stung #13 Sacred Heart, 76-50.

#6 Oklahoma enjoyed every inch of home court, tattooing Michigan, 88-67.

#4 Penn State outscored a stubborn #13 UTEP team in the second by 8 — and that was the margin of victory.

The #1s took similar paths: crush their opponents in the first half, cruise in the second half. Side note: Sims did not start and Kim says “She knows why.” Ummm, hello folks, it’s the TOURNAMENT. Keep yourselves together.

Duke didn’t need Williams (24 minutes, 4/10, 3rebounds) to defeat Samford 82-47, but I’m sure they will soon.

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When looking at the 1/16s and 2/15s, it’s amazing to see how many regular season conference winners aren’t involved. Random first round games I’m looking forward to:

Georgetown v. Fresno State: Can’t wait to see the Bulldog on Bulldog battle. The Cali-dogs have been more consistent than the Eastcoast-dogs, and they’re seriously threatening from beyond the three-point line.

Nebraska v. Kansas: Nebraska’s been up and down. I’ll be intrigued to see which Husker team shows up a Kansas team that hasn’t been to the Tourney since 2000.

Delaware v. UALR: Who doesn’t want to watch a first round match-up that doesn’t feature a member of the “Big 6” conferences? CAA v. Sun Belt. Let’s go!

BYU-DePaul: Coach Bruno has done a great job cobbling together a team out of spare parts. BYU is trying help out its new conference.

Tennessee-Tennessee-Martin: Coach Summitt goes up against her high scoring alma mater.

Cal-Iowa: It’s an important game for a program that wants to show that Stanford ain’t it for the Pac-12.

St. Bonaventure-FGCU: Two “Cinderella” stories. Again, two non-6ers clashing. How will the Bonnies handle the Eagles’ flurry of threes?

Georgia-Marist – This isn’t coach Giorgis’ best team, but they’re also going up a rather confusing Georgia team. Interesting match-up.

Louisville-Michigan StateTwo teams with talent but confusing results. They’ve both fought hard to get to the Tournament.

West Virginia-Texas: Considering how much I picked on Texas, they’ll probably make a run at the Final Four.

South Carolina-Eastern Michigan: EMU’s point guard Tavelyn James played for USA Basketball, the first MAC player to be selected.  How will legendary USA point guard Dawn Staley plan against her?

Green Bay-Iowa State: Watching the selection show last night, my non-follower of wbball friend (who’s gotten vaguely interested now that the Huskers are makin’ noise) said: “Wait, 30-1 and they get a 7-seed?!?!” This’ll be Green Bay’s chance to show folks they were underrated.

LSU-San Diego State: Shhhh! There’s a baby in the house! (I feel a drinking game coming on!) Because of her time at UCLA, Caldwell is  familiar with Beth Burns’ team and their feisty guards.

Princeton-Kansas State: Tigers first AP ranking followed by the highest seed in the Tourney? My grandpa would have been proud. Take down a Big 6 team? Wow.

Queenie has her own unique take on the First Round Dance Cards.

At Swish Appeal, 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Links: Reactions From Around SB Nation

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other conferences got into the upset act:

Ohio State fell in rather spectacular fashion to the up and down and up Huskers.

Taking their cue from Nebraska, Purdue got an early lead on Penn State, and then, cue Rayburn heroics, they hang on to earn the upset, 68-66.

LSU found a ton of offense to go with their defense, and Kentucky was flummoxed. Writes Mechelle: LSU makes all the right adjustments in SEC

LSU coach Nikki Caldwell has certainly had an interesting first season in Baton Rouge, La. And the most exciting stuff hasn’t even happened yet.

On March 24, Caldwell is due to deliver her first child … although she wouldn’t mind if the little one showed up before that. But not too soon, considering her team is still playing in the SEC tournament.

Oral Roberts (20-10, 14-4, Summit) got overwhelmed in the first half by Western Illinois (12-18, 7-11) and didn’t have enough in the second half to prevent the upset: 83-71.

The Gonzaga-BYU finals is set, but the Bulldogs had to work to get through St. Mary’s (83-78) while the Cougars handled the Toreros, 64-46.

So I guess we can officially call Baylor a “second half team.” When you have Griner score over half your total 77, it ain’t so bad a title. Neither is 31-0.

They’re dancin’! (Part 1): Tennessee-Martin let Tennessee Tech hang around for the first half, then let their 2nd-in-the-nation scoring kick in. Skyhawks 82 (Butler for 35pts), Golden Eagles 65,

They’re dancin‘! (For the very first time): FGCU had no trouble topping the Hatters, 67-39. McCowan went for 17 and 8 in the loss.

Dunno if it’s enough to save her job, but Cowles’ Western Kentucky (9-20, 5-11 Sun Belt) team upset LA-Monroe (9-21, 7-9) to advance. Lucky them, they get to play MTSU.

Beth and Debbie would have loved this first round MAC tourney game: Akron over Buffalo, 96-82.

In what might be the final nail in the Packard coffin, Central Michigan stomped all over Ball State, 86-62.

How long will the Westhead experiment at Oregon go on? The Ducks (15-15, 7-11) fall to Utah (15-14, 8-10).

A scheduling lesson in the battle of the Arizonas: the Sun Devils win, 70-63, Of the Wildcats 16 losses, 15 have come in the Pac-12.

Monmouth’s new coach has guided the Hawks into the semi’s of the Northeast tourney.

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Could be emotional: Senior Day at Tennessee. (ESPNU, 3:30EST)

Could be a massacree: Duke v. UNC (3pmESPN2/3)

Could be a trap: Minnesota v. Penn State and Georgia v. LSU (5pm, ESPN2/3)

Could have implications: South Carolina v. Arkansas (3pm, ESPN3)

Could be a chance to rebound: Nebraska v. Ohio State.

Could be perfect: UTEP v. Rice.

Could be a spoiler: MSTU v. WKU (2pmEST, ESPN3).

Could be the start of a Colorado team making the tourney: Denver v. North Texas.

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If you were, once again, scoreboard watching, I’m sure there was a moment when you went, “Whaaaaaa? Is someone messin’ with the ESPN numbers?”

Well, they sure were — ‘cept it was the players on the other teams. Six, count’em, six ranked teams got upset. Some by a bit, some by a ton. Awesome for the game.

Undefeated no more: #9 Green Bay got schooled by the other Mitten, Detroit. At home (the ESPN front page picture contrasting the players and the GB fans is, as they say, worth a thousand words).

WHBlog readers had this game penciled in their calendars: #18 Gonzaga v. BYU in the WCC. Well, it wasn’t much of a game as the Cougars ran roughshod over the Bulldogs, 70-40. Man, the conference tournament ought to be fun!

And how about Arkansas, knocking off #24 South Carolina. By 21. Perhaps the Gamecocks were a little cocky?

In her chat, Mechelle wondered about the Vols emotional state and how much they had in the tank. Well, they had enough to pull even with Vandy in the second half, but then ran outta gas. Glory fouls out, Comodores win pulling away, 93-79.

There had been some talk of #10 Ohio State being leery of going in to Champaign to face Illinois, but it felt more like “don’t look past an opponent, ’cause the Purdue game is coming up” talk (and the Buckeyes had beaten the Illini by 12 two weeks ago). But who thought Illinois, down twelve, would squeak out the 1-pt victory courtesy of an Alexis Burke layup with two seconds left?

The other other Mitten (no, not Central Michigan) went into Lincoln and made first-half life absolutely miserable for the Cornhuskers, holding them to 12 points. Michigan did manage to hold on through Nebraska’s second half surge and come away with the 63-52 win.

Chelsea Gray made sure Duke didn’t become the seventh ranked to fall as Boston College got all feisty at the Forum.

In an off night (27 pts, 15 rebounds, 2 ast, 3 blks), EDD made sure Delaware stayed undefeated in the CAA.

In the CAA under-card, James Madison (9-3) and Drexel (7-5) went to overtime, and it was the Dukes over the Dragons.

In the other CAA under-card, VCU (7-5) took down Hofstra (8-4), 76-60. Man, get your tickets now – that’s going to be a fierce conference tourney.

UTEP still rules all in the C-USA. (There are some off-court distractions, though.)

In a battle of bears, the Golden took down the Bruin.

Has anyone noticed that Eastern Washington is now 10-2 in the Big Sky, quietly leap frogging the Montanas?

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(and therefore the second time in NCAA history) that the top four seeds make it to the Final Four?

Andy Gardnier at USA might think so: Led by Baylor, Big Four rule this season

As the women’s basketball season heads into its stretch drive toward the NCAA tournament, this year’s balance of power has become clearly defined. There are Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford — and then everyone else.

And did you catch this podcast from Hoopfeed?  Dishin & Swishin February 2, 2012 Podcast: A few things you may not know (but should) about this year’s college basketball season

  • Guests are Delaware head coach Tina Martin, Nebraska stars Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, Florida Gulf Coast head coach Karl Smesko, and Saint Bonaventure head coach Jim Crowley.

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but it was so fine, they played triple overtime.

The West Lafayette fans got a show from Nebraska’s Hooper (27pts) and Moore (26pts) and watched their own Boilermakers keep coming back. But, in the end, the victory went to the Cornhuskers, as did a share of the B-10 top spot.

Staying with the theme o’ the day, Georgia Tech needed overtime to escape North Carolina, 75-68.

In the “imitation is the finest complement” vein, Iowa roared back to take Wisconsin to OT, and then earned the win, 85-79.

In the, “we took Stanford to OT, but lost. Let’s see if we can take let the Wildcats take us to OT and win” vein, Cal succeeds.

In the, “yes, the Pac-12 enjoys OTs, ’cause it gives the fans heart palpitations,’ vein, Washington exploded for 45 in the second to tie up the game, but fell to UCLA in, you guessed it, OT, 79-73.

In the, “Yah, you may be undefeated in conference play, you Bengals you, but we Bobcats are cute and fuzzy and will take. You. Down. In OT!” vein, it was Montana State giving Idaho State their first Big Sky loss. (Bussey’s school record 41pts helped.)

It was close, but no overtime for the UNC-W folks, as EDD used her 29 pts and 14 rebounds 4 assists and 3 blocks to ensure a Blue Hen victory in North Carolina, 62-53.

It was oh, so close but Middle Tennessee squeezed out a 2-point win over Aston’s North Texas team, 70-68.

I’m sure the Terps were happy to play Boston College, but they were happier to have Thomas back.

Penguins win!

Eagles beat Ospreys.

You know, Wright State used to be really awful, but I notice they’re 8-2 in the Horizon.

Whoops! Memphis (6-2 C-USA) lost to Southern Miss, 62-54. The Tigers beat the Eagles by 41 last time they played.

Mini whoops! The Blue Jays (6-4 MVC) take down the Shockers (8-2), 61-59.

Another mini-whoops! BYU (8-2, WCC) got hammered by the Waves (6-4), 49-61.

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Debbie and Beth are joined by Miami’s Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams. Plus, they discuss the highest paid coaches in Division I.

Graham writes: Huskers make big debut in Big Ten

Nebraska makes itself at home in Big Ten. Coaches love to caution after early wins that conference play is a long road, but the Big Ten’s newest team isn’t likely to need the reminder.

Nebraska’s first three nonconference road trips of the season took it to Flagstaff, Ariz., Tallahassee, Fla., and Atlanta, all of which are roughly the same distance from Lincoln as State College, Pa., where the Cornhuskers opened their first season of Big Ten competition Friday night with a 71-63 win against No. 17 Penn State.

Welcome to the Big Ten. Don’t forget to pack an extra magazine or two for those flights.

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From Mechelle: Connie Yori still on the mend – Nebraska coach still recovering from complications from knee surgery

“I was really sick. I was out of it,” she said. “I could not function. I could not do my job. I tried to stay in touch with our coaches, and they’d come and see me. But I just said, ‘You guys have to do it. I can’t do anything.’

“Our coaches were great. And our administration, from [athletic director] Tom Osborne on down. Tom came to the hospital to see me three times. I couldn’t believe it, with all he has to do. It shows how good of a person he is. I missed five weeks, and now I go to rehab every morning for four and a half hours. Everybody’s been very supportive.”

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This time it’s Rutgers: Daisha Simmons requests transfer from women’s basketball team and Nebraska (2nd player): Kellie McCann-Smith leaving NU women’s hoops team

Might be some coaches transferring, too: ODU balks at extension for women’s basketball coach Larry and the tweets are flying: SID Melissa Dudek says Boyle is not going, sources tell Jayda she is for a $1million gig and channel 7 says she’s a Cavalier.

Kristy Curry ain’t goin’ nowhere: Terms of Curry’s new contract released

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Unranked Denver took down #23 Vanderbilt, 70-65.

Equally unranked Louisville took down #9 Kentucky, 78-52.

Being unranked didn’t stop Indiana from defeating#19 Nebraska, 67-61.

Georgia Tech earned state bragging rights by crushing #22 Georgia, 69-53.

#25 Michigan State ran all over Texas, 71-57.

Finally, while Florida’s not ranked, it’s hard not to call their 56-50 defeat by Brown — yes, BROWN UNIVERSITY– an upset.

And that’s a nice win for Co and Penn State over Texas Tech.

Meanwhile Connecticut (with Moore becoming their all-time scoring leader), Baylor, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Xavier (who got all they could handle from the Bearcats), UCLA, Ohio State, Iowa State and Iowa took care of business.

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All eyes on Baylor, Brittney Griner – Big 12 coaches vote Lady Bears as near-unanimous preseason league favorite

Wednesday at the Sprint Center in downtown was the 15th Big 12 women’s basketball media day — but the final one for what we’ve known since 1996 as the Jumbo Dozen.

Next year, Nebraska “moves” east to the Big Ten (12) and Colorado “moves” west to the Pac-10 (12). Then the Big 12 (10) will implement a true round-robin schedule, which most of the coaches seem to think will be just as well.

“I think it will bring our league closer together,” Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said. “We can all be on the same page. I think it will eliminate some of the walls that have built up. It won’t be the North versus the South.”

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