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Wisconsin hung with Gonzaga through the first, and then the Bulldogs ran away with the win.

Speakin’ of dogs, the Danes are still undefeated.

Wow – BU has not had a fun first year in the Patriot League.

Why don’t people listen when I say “‘Ware the Wabbits”? In the first half, the Lions got kicked but good by South Dakota State. Penn State then got their rabbit’s foot working and it looked like they were going to recover from a 20pt. deficit to escape with a win. But no, the Jackrabbits pull a huge win upset out of their hat.

Yes, I see you, undefeated Indiana — but Iowa looms on January 2nd.

Eastern Michigan goes up against Big Blue — and earns its first loss of the season, 89-75.

Graham puts the spotlight on some deserving teams and coaches: WCC offers some of nation’s best basketball

What college soccer fans have known for years looks increasingly a fact of life in basketball. Teams that treat the West Coast Conference as a little guy put themselves at risk of a big surprise. 

Gonzaga’s win at Wisconsin on Tuesday night finished a Midwestern sweep that began with a win at Ohio State and cemented the Bulldogs as the team atop the rankings. But this isn’t just about the WCC’s flagship program, the one with three Sweet 16 appearances and a regional final since coach Kelly Graves arrived. Four teams from the conference appear in this week’s rankings, teams with a combined 33-2 overall record and 9-1 record against major conferences this season. 

What used to be the six power conferences, including the old Big East, were the only leagues a season ago that ranked ahead of the WCC in RPI. Two seasons ago, the WCC ranked eighth among all conferences. That is in contrast to the previous decade, when the league finished better than 12th on just two occasions. Credit the arrival of a proven program like BYU with some of the improvement, but it’s also about growth from programs like Saint Mary’s and San Diego, which advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT two seasons ago, finished second in the league for the second season in a row last season and now finds a home in the mid-major rankings for the first time.

Let’s get this hype started: Duke v. UConn, December 17th.

John Altavilla – Duke-UConn: It’s More Than A Game and Another 1 vs. 2 Just A Week Away For UConn

Mechelle & Michelle: Top Teams Face Off

Ouch: Kentucky’s Stallworth sidelined after knee surgery

Good news: Maryland’s Frese celebrates son’s success in beating leukemia

So, just how happy are the Sun? 

Asked how he was doing after his Liberty ended up fourth in the WNBA draft lottery Tuesday, New York coach/general manager Bill Laimbeer joked, “Oh, I’m just destroyed and heartbroken.”

He was totally kidding, of course. Last year, with the “3 to See” lottery, coming in fourth left Mystics’ president/managing partner Sheila Johnson visibly stricken and disappointed.

But this year, while No. 1 is coveted as always — Connecticut has the top selection, followed by Tulsa, San Antonio, and New York — the talent available for the top four picks is not perceived to have a precipitous fall-off between selections.

Speaking of the W: Michael Cooper interview, Part II: The Atlanta Dream’s offseason, the 2014 WNBA Draft, and Pat Riley’s influence

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Sylvia hits it and CViv nears it (though DePaul said, “not on our watch.“). From Mechelle: Stringer on verge of 900th win – Rutgers’ women’s coach will become fourth to reach accomplishment

Rutgers got victory No. 899 for Stringer on Saturday against Cincinnati, moving the team to 14-8 overall and 5-4 in the Big East. It has been a frustrating season at times for the Scarlet Knights, who are trying to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.

Stringer, in her 42nd year as a head coach, has been through countless highs and lows during successful runs at Cheyney State, Iowa and Rutgers. It’s a career marked by professional triumphs and personal tragedies, plus a few controversies — some of which, such as the 2007 Don Imus mess, were completely out of Stringer’s control.

Others, though, she has contributed to herself. Such as when her frustration boiled over Friday as she was questioned by Newark Star-Ledger columnist Dave D’Alessandro about her team’s difficulties, which follow three consecutive early-round exits from the NCAA tournament.

From Doug Feinberg: 900-win club will welcome a few new members soon

Sylvia Hatchell just got there. It’s only a matter of time before her friend C. Vivian Stringer joins her. But there won’t be many more coaches entering the 900-win club. Women’s basketball is getting more competitive, and the pressure of the job is growing, too.

There was a time when women’s basketball was an afterthought to athletic departments. Head coaches were hired right out of college and success on the court wasn’t necessarily as important as Title IX compliance. Now that’s not the case, and more money is at stake.

(Apologies for the crowded layout, but I seem to be in formatting hell at the moment)
Just sayin’: St. Francis (NY) wins again.
BTW, how did I miss that St. Francis (PA)’s coach had moved to Providence?  ‘Splains stuff.
Nice to see Fordham get a bounce back win.
St. John’s continues to fight to make their case for being inside the tourney bracket bubble.
Ooofta: American goes down hard to unheralded Lehigh. Looks like Navy is sailing away with the Patriot League, though Army is nipping on their heels.
A snow postponement only put off the inevitable: Quinnipiac moves to 11-0 in the NEC.
Speaking of inevitable: Princeton learns from Ivy blowouts
A sweet battle in the A-10 was settled in OT: St. Josephs 69, Duquesne 68. But folks better pay attention to Charlotte who, under second year coach Cara Consuerga, have recovered nicely from Aston departing for North Texas/Texas. They’re now 8-1 in the conference.
They had to come back from a 13-pt deficit, but Western Kentucky is still moving forward. They sit at 10-4 in the Sunbelt.
We’ve seen the pink, so we know what time it is: Play 4Kay: Feb. 17-18

Play 4Kay, formerly known as the WBCA Pink Zone and February Frenzy, will showcase an event-high 24 teams across ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and WatchESPN, including eight regionalized games in high definition within two telecast windows Sunday and a Big Monday doubleheader. In all, 12 ranked teams and 18 State Farm Wade Trophy hopefuls, including Baylor’s Brittney Griner and Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins, will take part in Play 4Kay games. Some of the featured contests include No. 4 Stanford at No. 15 UCLA, No. 9 Kentucky at No. 11 Texas A&M and top-ranked Baylor at No. 3 Connecticut.

Throughout the games, ESPN also will encourage fans to contribute to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund at Play4Kay.org.

We don’t want to get all “Steel Magnolias” on you here, but you can probably imagine this. Your best friend has recently found out she has cancer. You’re both reeling. But you’re also the fiercely optimistic “let’s figure out what to do next” kind of people.

Oklahoma women’s basketball assistant coach Jan Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer this past April. After an initial meeting with a surgeon, her boss, best pal and former college teammate — Sooners coach Sherri Coale — came by her house.

“Our conversation for about two-and-a-half hours would shift between going through these pamphlets with diagrams of what’s going on in your body and trying to understand all the medical lingo,” Coale said, “while there was some Tom Hanks movie on in the background.

“And a couple of times, we’d look up and say, ‘That was a great line,’ and she rewound it, and we’d watch a scene and laugh until we were crying. Then go back to this medical jargon. For us, it was just our friendship as usual … with this curveball thrown in.”

Amused that the dateline says “Notre Dame, Indiana”: Former Women’s Basketball Players Reunite At Pink Zone Game

As the clock ticked down on an eventual 64-42 victory for the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball team over Cincinnati, a very special group of onlookers got to soak in the growth of the program that they, themselves, had helped get its roots. All told, 27 former club players, coaches and members of the first women’s basketball varsity basketball team of 1977 made the return trek to campus to take in the festivities.

For a group that pioneered the game at the University, it was quite a sight to behold being back at the Joyce Center, but one that they knew could be expected once the growth of the sport was fully realized.

“You have to start somewhere,” said former Irish women’s club player Judy King. “When I was in grade school we were told that playing basketball wasn’t lady like. When I started playing in high school we played 6-man basketball. I was the first player at my high school to “rove” a complete game. No one had ever considered that possibility. It took Notre Dame a while to figure out what committing to co-education involved. I figured once they committed to scholarships and top notch coaching the program would excel. The fan base the team enjoys now is topping on the cake!”

About that Big Monday game — here’s a preview: Baylor vs. UConn. And another.

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Not an easy year for Semeka Randall’s Ohio team: they’re 0-10 in the MAC.

On the flip side, it’s the Great Danes of Albany at 11-0 in the Am. East. BU is trying to keep pace (10-1). Of course, it’s more about pride than the conference tournament, since they won’t be invited. Why? They’re moving to the Patriot League next year.

Speaking of the Patriot League: The Leopards made it a game, but Navy prevailed in OT, 60-42. Coaching at any Service Academy ain’t easy, but coach Pemper has done a nice job since arriving in -08.

FGCU (12-0 A-Sun) is still soaring. This time, their victim was USC Upstate, 72-49. Interesting commentary by David Moulton: Time for the A-Sun to set in FGCU athletics history

Six years ago, the Atlantic Sun conference was FGCU‘s savior. They were there when no one wanted the university.

FGCU has done well by the A-Sun and vice versa.

For example, just this year FGCU had the best volleyball, men’s soccer and women’s soccer teams in the conference with both soccer squads winning titles and earning NCAA berths. Both basketball teams are in first place with the women having not lost an A-Sun game in two years. The softball team is the defending conference champion and both the softball and baseball teams are pre-season favorites this year. Throw on top of that a Top 50 swimming/diving program and Florida Gulf Coast University is arguably the best athletic program in the A-Sun.

Which would be great if the Atlantic Sun conference wasn’t dying.

The Fightin’ Camels of Campbell (8-5) are trying to keep the Big South close by taking down conference top dog Winthrop (9-3), 84-69.

Cynthia’s Texas Southern is still winning. They now stand at 10-1 in the SWAC. Clearly, the runaway COY in the conference. They’ll face Southern, their best competition, on the 28th. The Jaguars (10-2) got surprised by Arkansas Little Rock (4-8), 59-50.

It was all Chambers for K-State (34,12,4), but she couldn’t overcome Iowa State’ Poppens and Christofferson.

That’s why sometimes a dunk is not just two points: it gets your teammates up and motivated: Baylor wipes the floor with Texas, 75-48. (Speaking of Baylor: Baylor women’s basketball transfer Destiny Brown enrolls at University of Delaware.)

Fresno State had a chance to claim the top spot in the Mountain West, but San Diego State  said, “No thank you, that spot is still ours.

Davidson (11-1) kept pace with Chattanooga (13-1) in the Southern by taking down Appalachian State, 56-49. The Mocs dismissed Elon, 63-40.

Again, it’s a long journey to recovery, but IUPUI is now 7-3 in the Summit. Of course, they have to face the Jackrabbits next, who may be looking for revenge. SDSU thumped Oakland, 83-48.

And again, I’m just sayin’: St. Francis (NY) wins again.

I’m sorry “I saw you,” Sam Houston: the Bearkats go down to their Southland conference challengers, 52-48.

It took OT, and 26pts from Smith, but St. John’s is still clinging to the NCAA tourney bubble — which is nice, since they’re a host.

Northern Colorado is on a roll, with back-to-back wins over the Montanas. They’re now a half game out of the top spot in the Big Sky.

Green Bay continues to be the class of the Horizon, dispatching Milwaukee, 64-49.

Couple of huge upsets: Bradley, (10-12, 4-7 in the MV) shocked Wichita State (16-7, 10-1). In fact, it wasn’t even close: the Braves by 20. #2 and #3 in the conference met, and the Redbirds of Illinois State took it to Creighton in the second half, capturing the 66-60 win.

Middle Tennessee (18-6, 13-2 Sun Belt) may have overlooked Troy (5-18, 2-12). IN Murfreesboro, the Trojans took the Blue Raiders to OT, and didn’t fade. MTSU goes down, 74-70.

It took 3OTs, but Arkansas finally got the win over Alabama, 91-80.

In the battle of the Tu’s, Tulsa used a strong second half to send the Green Wave to a loss.

The two top dogs met in the MAC (West & East), and Toledo topped Ball State, 68-64, but only after blowing a 20pt lead. The Cardinals will have a change for revenge on last day of conference play, March 6 @ Toledo.

Whyte did everything she could to keep Arizona in the game (26, 7, 8) but she couldn’t stop Cal from getting their 9th win in a row.

Charlotte gave St. Joe’s their first conference loss, and now there are four one-loss teams lurking behind Dayton. Actually, three, ’cause Dayton beat Fordham. But, unlike previous years, it wasn’t a cakewalk.

After the Lions roared away from Michigan State, the Big 10 is a bunch of teams looking up at Penn State – Purdue, Nebraska, Michigan and Illinois.

Fittingly, Delle Donne breaks Dawn Evans’ CAA scoring record against JMU. I’m sure she’s happier that Delaware got the win, 71-64. Oh, and the Hens’ pre-game trick shot was pretty cool, too.

In a battle of two teams who may have coaches feeling the heat, NC State raced away from Clemson, 79-45.

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No, I’m not talking about Baylor’s 17pt win over Oklahoma (or BG setting the all-time block record), or Notre Dame’s 45pt win over Providence (or Diggins’ 2000th point, joining Morgan, Gaither and Riley), or UConn’s 36 pt win over Cincinnati, or Oklahoma State’s 13pt win over Kansas, or Iowa State’s four point win over… well, actually, that was fun, in that they came back from 9 down in the first to beat West Virginia.

No, I’m talking about Stetson walking in to Naples and getting stomped by FGCU, 74-55. Yah, there’s bad blood between the programs, but don’t stir the pot if you can’t bring the needed ingredients, I say.

“It’s obviously a very big win for us,” said FGCU coach Karl Smesko, acknowledging Stetson as a top rival despite FGCU’s sizable advantage in the series. “Stetson’s not going to lose very many games in conference, so you’ve got to win your games at home against them.”

The Hatters will get a chance to even the score on February 23rd.

American squeezed by Army. They’re  joined by Navy atop the Patriot League, making the conference name seem quite appropriate.

It was all Enemkpali, as Texas got its first Big 12 win.

Ball State moved to 5-1 in the MAC, but at 6-0, Central Michigan may be the class of the league. We’ll see how they handle Bowling Green on the 3rd. Their rematch against Toledo (which they won, AT Toledo) is on the 24th. The Rockets had to do everything they could to escape MAC-winless NIU, 44-42.

In the Southern, Davidson powered past Elon in the second half, to move to 8-1 in conference play — .5 behind the Mocs, who defeated Appalachian State, 59-55. That rematch, the Wildcats lost at home the first game, will happen on Feb. 25th AT Chattanooga.

Green Bay dismissed Valpo, moving to 5-0 in the Horizon.

Quinnipiac held Fairleigh Dickinson to 13 in the second half, on their way to a 66-39 win. The Bobcats are now 7-0 in the NEC, and have their best start in program history.

After opening the season with three losses, and suffering their first conference loss, Seattle U recovered against Texas State and moved to 8-1 in the WAC. Utah State (7-2 in the Conference) is up next.

Nebraska-Omaha gave the Wabbits a wun for the munny, but South Dakota State held on for the 10pt win and the 7-1 Summit record.

St. Joe’s keeps up with Dayton, Duquesne and Fordham, and now  sits at 4-0 in the A-10.

‘Ware the Bengals: Idaho State took down conference top dog Montana State, 63-55. That made Montana, relieved 61-53 winners over winless Weber State, quite happy.

Albany is proving they’re the American East’s Big Dog.

Nice, nice win for San Francisco and coach Azzi: 65-56 over BYU, avenging their 80-58 loss in the WAC opener.

Coop’s Texas Southern keeps winning. This time, it was Alabama A&M on the losing end.

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Syracuse WBB: Halfcourt Shot by Brittney Sykes Sinks St. John’s, 60-57 (video)

Mas Dunks, asked Debbie. Griner replies, Okay. Oh, and Baylor won.

Oklahoma State’s been having an up down up down season. This time the “down” was courtesy of Kansas State. The Wildcats are banding together after injuries.

Yup, the new coach has made a difference: St. Louis over Richmond.

The road up in New Hampshire has hit some roadblocks. Hartford over Hampshire.

The two top dogs in the Am. East met: The Danes’ slightly better first half was the key to their win over the Terriers.

Central Michigan moved to 5-0 in the MAC as they rolled over Ohio.

With their win over Colgate, Army is now 4-0 in the Patriot League. Navy did the Black Knights a favor by swabbing the floor with American U, 61-42.

Well, perhaps it’s not the WHB curse, but the Debbie Antonelli curse. She mentions ‘nova on the podcast, then “Voila!”, down they go. To Providence. Providence!

I’m thinking, yah, it IS Debbie’s curse, because lookee here: Fordham won again and is 4-0 in the A-10. They’ll travel to Pennsylvania to meet fellow undefeated Conference-mate Duquesne on the 27th.

Texas was down 46-12 at the half on their way to a 76-38 thumping by Kansas.

The Hilltoppers got tripped up by South Alabama, 56-46. They face their top – soon to be leaving the – Conference competition Middle Tennessee next.

Is there something in the air this season? Women’s basketball sets 3-point record in win

Lady Swish has a little somethin’ somethin’ on a surprising conference: Lookee, who’s in first place in the Big South! A chat with Longwood’s Chelsea Coward

One team sits atop the Big South — and no, it’s not Liberty for a change, and neither is it surprising Presbyterian. Instead, atop the league sits upstart Longwood, sporting a gaudy 6-1 mark in conference – every other Big South team has at least two losses – and a 9-9 record overall. We say upstart not because the Lancers are full of underclassmen — seniors Chelsea Coward (16 ppg, 9 rpg) and Crystal Smith (16.9 ppg) lead this experienced bunch — but this is the first year Longwood is in a conference.

Delle Donne, healthy or not, makes the difference. So says Graham, as Unranked Delaware still tops mid-major poll

From Mel’s blog: Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Still Reaching for the Summit. Speaking of the SEC: Williams-Flournoy ready for her first game against Alabama, while the Lady Vols are not dwelling on past with Vanderbilt. 

Wondering who might “Got Next?” Check out Full Court’s list: 2013 McDonald’s All-American nominees announced.

Speaking of “Who’s Got Next,” Clay also offered up: The wheels are still turning in the WNBA

As the college season grinds into conference play, WNBA general managers, coaches and fans think about upgrading their rosters – and thus are contemplating the draft, free agents and possible trades.

The draft, as has been exhaustively discussed, starts with Brittney Griner (luckily she’s from Texas so the summer heat in Phoenix won’t be that hard to adjust to), moves on to Elena Delle Donne (as long as the Lyme disease is under control, she’s Chicago-bound) and pretty much finishes with Skylar Diggins (some star power lands in Tulsa).

There is more, though, and there will be surprise emergences over the next few years.

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That was the sound of that zero in the loss column disappearing.

Manhattan (12-11, 6-5 MAAC) surprised the heck out of Marist, using defense to exact a 48-44 win.

Looks like the Horned Frogs (12-11, 5-3 MWC) did an equally fine job of surprising the Aztecs, using a second half surge to pull the 58-39 upset.

I’m guessing the biggest surprise was in the SEC as LSU stunned Kentucky, 61-51. (Graham says “Don’t panic, Wildcats!”)

So, moving into the week of February 6th, the following teams are fer-0’s, so to speak, in their conferences:

America East: Boston University: 17-6 (10-0)
A-10: St. Bonaventure: 22-2 (9-0)
ACC: Duke: 18-3 (9-0)
Atlantic Sun: FGCU: 21-2 (13-0)
Big 12: Baylor: 23-0 (10-0)
Big East: Notre Dame: 23-1 (10-0)
Colonial: Delaware: 20-1 (11-0)
Conference USA: UTEP: 20-2 (9-0)
Horizon League: Green Bay: 20-0 (10-0)
Ivy League: Princeton: 15-4 (5-0)
Mid-American: Bowling Green: 20-3 (10-0)
MEAC: Florida A&M: 16-5 (9-0)
Ohio Valley: Eastern Illinois: 19-4 (10-0)
Pac-12: Stanford: 20-1 (11-0)
Patriot League: American: 16-6 (8-0)
Sun Belt: Middle Tennessee: 19-5 (11-0)
WAC: Fresno State: 19-4 (7-0)

On the 0-for side, we have:

A-10: Rhode Island: 1-22 (0-8)
ACC: Boston College: 5-18 (0-10)
Big 12: Missouri: 10-10 (0-9)
Big East: Pittsburgh: 8-15 (0-10) and Seton Hall: 7-17 (0-10)
Big Sky: Weber State: 2-21 (0-10)
Big 10: Indiana: 5-19 (0-11)
Conference USA: East Carolina: 6-15 (0-8)
Great West: Houston Baptist: 1-19 (0-4)
Ivy League: Columbia: 2-17 (0-5)
MEAC: North Carolina Central 2-20 (0-9)
Mountain West: Air Force: 5-18 (0-8)
Patriot League: Bucknell: 2-21 (0-8)
SEC: Alabama: 10-13 (0-9)
SWAC: Arkansas-Pine Bluff: 0-21 (0-10)
Sun Belt (W): Louisiana-Lafayette: 5-18 (0-11)

FWIW, I did a quick check of the men’s side:

fer-0’s: Long Beach State, Utah Valley, Harvard, Murray State, Bucknell, Kentucky, Texas-Arlington, Mississippi Valley State, St. Mary’s (9)

0-fers: San Jose State, Santa Clara, Navy, Tennessee-Martin, Boise State, South Carolina State, Dartmouth, Loyola (IL), UC Davis, Texas Tech, Kennesaw State, Binghamton (0-23, 0-11) (12)

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Some great games yesterday mean wicked tough decisions for the Committee (check out Charlie’s latest brackets) and heartbreak for bubble and near-bubble teams. (And I’m thinking the WNIT won’t be disappointed at their choices.)

It’s been a pretty horrible season by Jen Rizzotti standards (16-15 overall), but her team pulled together a superb tourney run. They beat Boston University, 65-53, in front of a raucous Boston crowd to steal a bid to the NCAAs.

Their 18-16 record made Utah the obvious underdogs against the Horned Frogs (22-10), but that didn’t phase freshman Michelle Plouffe. She scored 8 of her 24 points in OT, and the Utes grabbed the Mountain West championship and an automatic bid.

The Midshipmen are dancing, courtesy of their comeback against American. What a win for the home crowd to witness: they were down 12 at the half and won by 7 to earn their first Patriot League championship.

“Obviously all the girls on the team have been dreaming of this since they were little, from kindergarten all the way up to this moment,” Geif said. “To walk up the ladder and cut down the net was the greatest feeling, just knowing we had all done it together. It was really incredible.”

It’s (pretty) certain LaTech is dancing, but they’re getting in because of their record, not because they won the WAC title. That honor goes to Fresno State, who used a buzzer-beater to avoid (yet another) OT and snag a 78-76 win and punch their dance card.

It wasn’t quite a buzzer-beater, but Robin Jones’ first basket of the game was enough to help Prairie View take down Southern, 48-44 and claim the SWAC title.

Bowling Green’s day went as expected (though it may have been a little tighter than fans would have liked) and they won their 2nd straight MAC championship (and the auto bid) with a 51-46 win over Eastern Michigan.

Their in-conference record (10-6) would suggest that UC Davis’ 66-49 victory over Cal Poly to win the Big West championship was an upset, but their out-of-conference record (24-8) suggests otherwise. Either way, the results mean they are going to the NCAAs and coach Sandy Simpson has to wait a little longer his to start his retirement.

Hope MEAC champs Hampton will bring their fabulous band with them when the play in the NCAA tourney. They earned the right after easily handling Howard, 61-42.

Congrats to Chicago State who grabbed the lead and held on for a 74-66 win over North Dakota. The Great West championship is theirs.

Tulane battled, but they couldn’t keep up with Joi William’s UCF Knights. Central Florida’s 85-73 win means they’re the C-USA champs and on their way to the Big Dance.

Doesn’t it feel like a lot of the conference championship games have featured teams playing each other for the third time? Stanford survived UCLA, Baylor survived Texas A&M, but Portland State was not so lucky. Montana defeated the Vikings 62-58 to clinch the Big West championship and their third trip to the NCAAs in the last four years.

The TBAs are playing tomorrow (DON’T FORGET TO SPRING FORWARD!!):

Horizon: ESPNU has the Butler v. Green Bay game at 1pmEST.

NEC: You’ll find the St. Francis (PA) v. Monmouth game on the U at 3pm. (D’ya think the chair of the D-1 committee might be watching?)

MVC: Is TV-free, but features Northern Iowa against Missouri State.

CAA: The Elena v. Dawn match up is on ESPN3 at 1pmEST. Delle Donne’s offense (29pts) and defense (7 blocks, 10 rebs), helped power Delaware to a 62-47 win over UNC-Wilmington. Meanwhile, James Madison was down by 5 at the half, but roared back to drop VCU by 10. (Dawn dropped 20.)

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From Patricia Babcock McGraw: DePaul set to make the state proud

The prospects for the state of Illinois in the NCAA Tournament are slim.

Illinois will likely be the only representative on the men’s side. And DePaul will likely be flying solo on the women’s side.

It’s a sad commentary, no doubt, but here’s a silver lining: For women’s basketball fans in this state, the only game in town is a really, really good one.

From Gene Wang: Navy, American meet for Patriot League women’s title

For the first time, either Navy or American will be playing in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. That much is certain when Saturday’s Patriot League tournament title game concludes at Alumni Hall, where the Midshipmen earned the right to host as the No. 1 seed.

What’s less clear is how players from the winning side will react considering the unprecedented reward at stake for both programs. It’s not as if either side has experience handling the leap from the local to national stage. Will there be simply jubilation? Validation? Relief?

From Cheryl Coward: Baylor’s point guard phenom Odyssey Sims impressed all year, has no first-time Big 12 tournament jitters

While college coaches and fans in Texas knew about the phenom from suburban Dallas, the rest of the nation began to take notice of the freshman’s ferocious defense and prolific offense all the while running the floor like someone older than her years.

“She doesn’t play like a freshman to me,” said teammate Destiny Williams about Sims after the team’s semifinal defeat of Kansas State in the Big 12 tournament. “She plays like an upperclassman.”

Mel writes: Delle Donne And Delaware Derail ODU in CAAs

The pieces all came together for seventh-seeded Delaware Friday night in posting an historical 72-55 upset of second-seeded Old Dominion in a Colonial Athletic Association women’s basketball game at the Show Place Arena.

The victory by the Blue Hens (19-12) means Old Dominion (20-10) will miss the semifinals for the first time in a 20-year run and the triumph also snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Lady Monarchs, who beat Delaware twice this season.

A little something from Michael Stainbrook on Semeka Randall: Ohio coach adopts famous mentor’s strategies

The WNIT bracket will be announced Monday, and FGSU is getting ready.

Likely FGCU first- or second-round foes are the only other Sunshine State possibilities: Florida (18-14), which was ousted from the Southeastern Conference tournament,with a 92-75 loss against fourth-ranked Tennessee last Friday, and Central Florida (21-10) if the Knights don’t win their second Conference USA tourney in the last three years. UCF will play Tulane on Saturday in the C-USA finals. Thus far, Smesko and his staff have about a dozen tapes on teams, including the Gators and Knights. By Monday, they’ll have “50 or 60.”

Oh, and ESPN is set to air the entire women’s tourney.

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STUDENT-athlete?

Yup!

Moore Named Capital One Academic All-American of the Year – Moore is a Three-Time Academic All-American

Her teammates:

Senior forward Erin Anthony of U.S. Military Academy and senior guard Liz Repella of West Virginia were named to the first team for the second straight season. Junior Amanda Johnson of Oregon, a second team pick last year, joins senior Kathleen Barry of Columbia to complete the Capital One Academic All-America® Women’s Basketball University Division first team.

A Civil Engineering major with a 3.79 G.P.A., Anthony is a Rhodes Scholar candidate and a finalist for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. A three-time All-Patriot League selection, she has been named as the Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice. The only Patriot League player to be averaging in double figures in scoring (14.9) and rebounding (10.8), she serves as Tau Beta Pi president. A native of Allentown, Pa., she stands 28th in her class and she is a Battalion Executive Officer.

An Exercise Physiology major with a 3.94 G.P.A., Repella was named first team All-BIG EAST as a junior and earned second team honors as a sophomore. The ninth-leading scorer in West Virginia history with more than 1,500 points, she was the Most Valuable Player at the Paradise Jam earlier this season. A pre-season All-BIG EAST pick the last two years, the 5-11 guard is a co-captain for the #19 Mountaineers, who are 21-7 on the year. A native of Steubenville, Ohio, she averages 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.

An All-Pacific-10 Conference honorable mention pick last year, Johnson is a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Child & Family Health Services with a 3.97 G.P.A.  A second team Academic All-America® selection last year, she is a junior athletically and is averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for Oregon. The Ducks’ second-leading scorer, she leads the team in rebounding. A native of Santa Rosa, Cal., she has already earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology, graduating Summa Cum Laude. A member of the Pac-10 All-Freshman team, she was the winner of the Doyle Higdon Memorial Trophy, presented to an Oregon sophomore who excels in athletics, scholarship and citizenship.

The top scorer and rebounder at Columbia, Barry is averaging 10.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for the Lions. A senior with a triple major in Economics, Mathematics and Spanish, she has a 3.99 G.P.A. An honorable mention All-Ivy League selection last year, the Valley Center, Cal. native ranks among the Lions’ top 20 all-time scoring and rebounding leaders. She has been named to the Academic All-Ivy team twice.

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#3 Baylor, #6 Xavier and #19 Georgetown got wins (though the Hoyas struggled a tad). But the Blue Demons got eaten up at the YUM Center by Louisville. The Cardinals have knocked off five ranked teams this season.

DePaul had company in the upset department: Colorado used 24 points from Brittany Spears to snap an 8-game losing streak against #15 Oklahoma, 73-68.

Over at Fanhouse, Milton Kent looks ahead to the tourney No. 1s.

With roughly three weeks remaining before the field for this year’s NCAA tournament is unveiled, it’s a pretty safe bet that, barring some catastrophe, one part of the women’s basketball committee’s work is largely done, even before the nine members get to Indianapolis.

That is to say, that we pretty much already know who the four No.1 seeds are, and can pretty safely assign them to their regions.

As for the other teams still in the “discussion:”

Toledo escaped with a one-point win over Eastern Michigan to go to 13-1 in the MAC West. Central Michigan (West) and Kent State (East) both got wins to take them to 10-4 in the conference.

It’s interesting at the top in the America East, especially since Binghamton beat BU. Now both teams sit at 11-4 in the conference. UMBC rules the roost, though, at 13-3. Oh, and don’t look now, but Hartford’s lurking at 10-4.

It’weren’t easy, but the Owls beat the Hawks to stay perfect in the A-10. On the horizon looms the clash with the Musketeers. (Feb. 27th, ESPNU, 4pm EST)

Navy’s defeat of American runs the Midshipmen’s record to 9-4 in the Patriot League. They’ve got a shot at the regular season conference title on Saturday.

With their 81-57 win over Air Force, Wyoming looks to run up on TCU and BYUs heels in the Mountain West. By the way, congrats to Dale Ann Meeker, who’s having her Powell High School jersey retired:

The first female athlete to receive a basketball scholarship at the University of Wyoming, Meeker played for the Pokes from 1975-1979. During her senior season, her team earned the Intermountain Conference championship, finishing with a school-record 25 wins and seven losses. That season would stand as the best in school history until surpassed by the 2006-2007 NIT team.

In high school, Meeker was part of the first-ever girls’ basketball team at Powell High School as a freshman. As a junior, she brought home a mythical state title — mythical because Wyoming did not hold an official state championship tournament for girls — while serving as the team captain. One year later, she repeated the feat, again as team captain.


 

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lot of running and clubbing and cruising and romping and mauling and ripping and whipping and season high-ing.

DCBC watched the Tiger Taming and C&R tracked the Cardinal.

Some escaped, in spite of a serious case of fumble fingers (28 TOs!). Some escaped in OT.

Some proved they were Monty Python fans (“I’m not dead yet!”)

As for “other” teams:

Coach Stockon’s Green Wave ran their C-USA record to 4-0 with a 30-pt victory over Marshall. (Did anyone catch Tulane on TV last week? FUN team to watch!)

Wonder if they need to watch out for Houston, who’s also 4-0.

She’s baaaaaak! Drey Mingo goes double-double on Northwestern, securing a (101st for Versyp) Purdue win.

A big win for Penn State (83-62) puts them at 4-1 in the Big 10 (and yes, it’s weird that Illinois’ Penn had a double-double) (And yes, Lucas snapped Mazzante’s record of freshman threes.)

Swish! Drexel uses a last-second three to topple William & Mary 59-58.

Are the Lady Bears (Mo) becoming relevant again? They’re 5-1 in the MVC.

Don’t look now, but Army is 3-0 in Patriot League play (and have won five straight).

Marist rules the MAAC. So what’s new?

Middle Tennessee still rules the Sun Belt — but it was close against Arkansas State.

Old Dominion over Delaware. That’s #599 for Wendy Larry. (Oh, and the ODU SID peeps do a great job keeping up with their alums. Check out Former Lady Monarch’s Pen is as Mighty as Her Jump Shot and Nancy Lieberman’s Historic Debut.)

Coach Boyle is at a loss, and so are her Cal Bears.

Didja catch Coop’s UNC-Wilmington team squeeze out a win over Hofstra? (They’re now 4-1 in the CAA.)

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Friday:

#3 Duke stays undefeated after their 87-70 win over #15 FSU.

#25 Miami won their 16th straight as they took out Clemson, 77-48.

#4 Stanford dismissed Washington, 80-51.

The #11 Tar Heels are trying to give coach Hatchell heartburn, all but blowing a 24pt. lead, but escaping with  a 83-76 win over North Carolina State.

Saturday: The stompers and the stompees pretty much held serve.

#1 Baylor over Oklahoma St., by 31.

#2 UConn over Louisville, by 23 (but they made it interesting when Moore’s Abs of Steel knock Hayes out of the game 45 seconds in).

ESPN viewers saw #6 Vols dispatch Vandy, by 12. (Check out Summitt by the numbers and an interview with coach Summitt.)

The #5 Aggies over Missouri, by 45.

The #9 Bruins over Oregon, by 30.

The #12 Irish over Pittsburgh, by 32.

Temporarily #22 St. John’s over Seton Hall by 10.

#18 Green Bay over Illinois-Chicago, by 9.

#7 West Virginia over Syracuse, by 9.

Squeak! Georgetown escaped Providence, 49-45.

Obviously, Colorado didn’t get the memo: they took advantage of overtime to upset #16 Iowa State, 66-60.

Other games I noticed:

Duquense got a nice win over the Flyers.

FGCU is still undefeated.

American looks to be the class of the Patriot League, but Navy seems to be making noise.

North Dakota may not have a great record, but they have state-v.-state braggin’ rights as they took down South Dakota.

I have no idea why Maine is sticking with Blodgett.

Maybe this is the year BU returns to being a player in the America East. (That’s win #200 for coach Greenberg.)

What does Texas Tech at 16-1 (3-0 in the Big 12) mean?

Remember when George Washington was a team you noticed?

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