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Don’t go to OT.

Hill scores career-high 24, Mystics beat Sun 84-76 in OT

The Lib got there two different ways – let the Sparks back in and came back against the Dream. End result? Two losses. Oops.

Inside The W with Michelle Smith

This is why Tina Charles came to New York. She wanted to come to her hometown team and be a part of building the Liberty franchise into one of the league’s elite teams.

The Liberty are 2-2 with both losses coming in overtime, but are still looking poised to build on the success of 2015, when they posted the best record in franchise history and the best regular-season record in the WNBA.

Charles said the Sparks loss, a game in which the Liberty led by eight with 1:16 to go in regulation, leaves “a bad taste.”

Yah, sure, you’re telling me that you thought the Storm would give the Lynx their biggest challenge of the season (so far). (Or that the Merc would be 0-fer) If you don’t have the June 21st Minnesota/LA match up circled, I have no idea what will get you revved in the world of basketball.

Speaking of Seattle:

Go behind-the-scenes of Breanna Stewart’s WNBA debut in a new documentary series

Seattle Times: Storm’s Breanna Stewart is learning from tough early losses in WNBA

Speaking of the Sparks, from Fastbreak’s WNBA Weekly Rundown: Sparks shining early (And stompin’ the Sky)

Nneka Ogwumike is ‘glue’ for Los Angeles Sparks

A year ago right about this same time, we checked in with Ogwumike and she was very optimistic about the Sparks’ potential, despite forward Candace Parker sitting out the first part of the season. But then Ogwumike suffered a sprained ankle in an exhibition game in late May. (The season started in June then, with no major international competition to have to fit in like this year with the Olympics.)

And very little went right for L.A. for nearly two months. 

San Antonio: Moriah Jefferson quickly becoming a shining ‘Star’

Hello, Washington: Jamie Weisner added to the roster.

Some people hate the jerseys, some people love’em. Me, I’m glad the Wings are off to such a great start – and that a sold out crowd got to see a home win. Great job getting the word out in the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area.

Tara Sullivan: WNBA passing the test of time

The first postgame locker room in WNBA history looked like something out of a M*A*S*H episode, exhausted bodies dropping wherever they could. Such was the price of an emotional (participating in the historic debut of a brand new basketball league) and physical (actually playing in the 60-minute game) toll. Players from the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks were worn out.

“Right now, I’m emotionally spent,” Liberty center Rebecca Lobo told me that California day in June 1997. “We had so much emotion running through us for this game. We were wound tight and wanted to explode.”

Stefanie Dolson says decision to come out was ‘mainly to be a role model for the younger girls’

Today, the former UConn star and WNBA All-Star player will come out publicly in print that she is a lesbian athlete. Although it has been out on the web for almost two weeks on ESPN.com, the ESPN The Magazine article about Dolson hits newsstands today. 

“I don’t really see it as an announcement,” Dolson said prior to the Mystics’ game with the Connecticut Sun on Saturday. “It was mainly just to get out that the WNBA, as a league, is supportive of who we are as women. That’s why our fans are so great. They support us, too. I’m just glad that I’m happy.”

Former WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton shares three takeaways from her film ‘Mighty Ruthie’

Former WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton’s film, “Mighty Ruthie,” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network. It highlights the Olympic medalist’s life as a college basketball player at Auburn in the 1980s, as she worked hard to prove her talent and eventually became a star athlete.

A few years later, Bolton led the United States women’s basketball team to the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Los Angeles. Throughout her successful career, Bolton kept a secret from her family and teammates: Her then-husband was physically abusing her.

Two days after “Mighty Ruthie” was screened at her alma mater by her former teammates and their coaches, espnW interviewed Bolton. Her older sister, Mae Ola, also a star athlete at Auburn, was present for the conversation. Bolton spoke candidly about the film, but she was adamant about not wanting viewers to pity her.

NCAA

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night…well, not until the end of the WNBA season. No real surprise, as Vandy made it official and named Stefanie White their new head coach. They sure got lucky, timing-wise… I think (ponders how early the process might have started). White will be joined by Carolyn Peck as associate head coach.

The SEC is setting up quite the Indiana/Purdue reunion, an Lin Dunn couldn’t stay off the sidelines. She joins Matthew Mitchell on the sidelines as a. Here’s hoping she can help right whatever’s wrong with that ship (on and off the court).

Hello: Williams-Jeter Added to Penn State Women’s Basketball Staff

Speaking of Connecticut grads: Hartley, Dolson know what awaits next year’s UConn team. It will help that they got another transfer addition (who won’t have to change her clothing color scheme much) Kentucky’s Batouly Camara Joins UConn; Will Sit Out A Season

Bye: Stasha Carey transfers to Rutgers women’s basketball, leaves Pitt

Congrats:

Michele Schmidt, assistant sports information director at South Dakota State University, won the 2016 Fred Stabley Sr. Writing Contest’s coach/administrator/historical category for the College Sports Information Directors of America’s District 7.

Schmidt’s article was on the 1986-87 women’s basketball team making the program’s first trip to Alaska. The Jackrabbits spent Thanksgiving visiting the North Pole, the Alaskan pipeline and a glacier. To read the story, visit http://www.gojacks.com/news/2015/11/26/210534488.aspx?path=wbball.

USA Basketball

You may recall Lubbock Christian as the team who got stomped by UConn in the preseason, made a video about it, and then went on to go undefeated and claim the DII championship. That may explain why LCU’s coach Steve Gomez got an offer to coach for USA Basketball. He’ll get to hang with the fabulous Nancy Fahey (Washington University), the only coach to win five Division III national championships, Washington University who he may have met at the Final Four festivities,  and Pam Crawford from League City Clear Springs High School.

International: Lauren Jackson to the rescue for Melbourne Boomers

AAU: Basketball Rebels Bounce Back After Founder’s Death

The MRC Rebels Girls Basketball Club was founded in 1988 by Oscar Jimenez, who saw a lack of basketball opportunities for San Francisco girls and sought the City’s help to fill the gap. The program received City funding early on, though Jimenez paid for some expenses out of his own pocket. When Jimenez died suddenly in 2010 at the age of 57, many of his youthful club members lost a mentor and father-figure. Slowly, with the help of new talent, the club has successfully rebounded. 

“It’s unique because of its legacy and affordability,” said assistant coach, Mark Reppert. “We have girls coming up from South City largely due to the legacy created by Oscar. The team is made up of girls from an array of backgrounds and cultures, which I think is rare for San Francisco these days. This diversity represents what the Mission is at its heart.”

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(Just a little shout out to my co-workers and some of the fabulous teachers I’ve worked with this year.)

That groan of relief is every single team enjoying the approach of All Star Weekend (though the All Stars themselves will not be gettin’ a ton of rest.). LA is looking forward to the return of Parker, Minny is looking forward to…no more injuries. Tulsa is (not so much) looking forward to packing their bags for Texas. Unfortunately for my friends in Arkansas, I have to agree with Mechelle: Hard To Argue With Relocating Shock From Tulsa To Dallas.

The Liberty ended on a high note, finishing their west coast trip on a win streak. While a 12-5 record is lovely to look at, I’m not quite ready to drink the koolaid (and this headline makes my stomach turn). “Why so cynical, Helen?”

Well, yes, they’ve won five in a row for the first time since 2010, and they have a bench, and there’s excitement in the Garden, and winning means coverage – a rarity here in the Big Apple. But.. yes, they beat the “surprising” Mercury, but they barely beat the undermanned Storm and Sparks. That being said, this is a season where everyone is down a player (or two. or three) and so everything is up for grabs. I’m really looking forward to the Libs’ two games against Chicago (Away August 7, Home August 11th), ’cause yeah, Elena Delle Donne takes game to even higher level. USA takes notice, too! (though I’m having some issues with the headline (Maybe I’m just feelin’ cranky? See below). Gives me an opportunity to post this:

College: 

Idiots: Multiple IPFW women’s basketball players cited for alcohol possession.

At least they weren’t driving. This past season, Eastern Michigan’s incredible resiliency after the death of teammate Shannise Heady in a car crash earned national attention. What seems to have stayed local was the reason for the crash: Heady was speeding. And drunk. Drunk after celebrating a victory with her teammates.

Kentucky’s Epps was in a car.

I’m waiting for colleges to really take underage drinking seriously and driving-while-drunk doubly serious. Yah, yah, yah, everyone does it. So what?

So people get killed. A scholarship, whatever the form, is a privilege. You damage your university, your team, yourself or, worse, someone else….you make the call.

International/USA Basketball: The U-19 Quarters are on tap Friday via Youtube

Spain vs Belgium
Russia vs France
China vs Australia
USA vs Canada

BTW, congrats to Kia Nurse (and Canada) who beat Moriah Jefferson and Breanna Stewart (and the US) for PanAm Gold.

“She was unbelievable,” Stewart said of Nurse. “That’s what she does, she attacks. And whether it was the 3-point shots or driving for the basket, that’s what she does, and that’s what she does at UConn. She put Canada on her back tonight and led them to this win.

“From start to finish, she was scoring, and we didn’t have an answer for her.”

The Canadian women’s basketball program has made HUGE strides these past few years. And I imagine UConn’s early practices will be full of trash talking, eh?

Speaking of trash talk: Interesting… 

Even though North Carolina likely won’t respond to the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations for another few weeks, one of the school’s former women’s basketball players fears she knows what’s coming.

 Meghan Austin expects the Tar Heels athletic department to sacrifice its tradition-rich women’s basketball program in hopes of avoiding serious punishment for its two biggest revenue producers, football and men’s basketball. 

Austin, a 2008 North Carolina graduate currently coaching at Montreat College, penned an editorial for the Raleigh News & Observer on Monday accusing the Tar Heels athletic department of already showing signs of making its women’s basketball program “the scapegoat.” Austin noted that men’s coach Roy Williams got a contract extension earlier this summer but women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell has thus far not received the same show of support.

Speaking of another program that’s got worries: Experts: UI women’s basketball allegations unusual in scope

Two leading sports diversity experts say racism can be found across women’s college basketball, but not to the extent alleged in a federal lawsuitfiled earlier this month by seven former Illini.

“It’s something I haven’t seen before,” Richard Lapchick told The News-Gazette. “It’s pretty stunning.”

And a little post kerfuffle fallout: South High’s Ericka Mattingly withdraws women’s basketball commitment from Wichita State

On the flip side, here’s some leadership by Khadija J Head: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE AND COLLEGE COACHING

MY EXPERIENCE

I remember when I was hired at Pittsburgh. Coach Berenato asked me if I was coming by myself or was my partner coming with me.

I was floored.

But because I hadn’t told Coach Berenato that I was gay. It was the first time a Coach cared about me as a person and my happiness. It was an amazing feeling…one I hope everyone gets a chance to experience.

You know what I always hated. Using the phrase…oh, that’s “my FRIEND”. Really what in the hell is that?

We have all used that verbiage to describe our partners in order to avoid awkward conversations. That’s borderline disrespectful and grounds for breaking up lol.
Yet, they stay by our sides and endure “the FRIEND” zone because you are a college coach. It’s unspoken law (career suicide) that you do not openly admit that you are in fact NOT just “FRIENDS”.

Well, the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, says Love is Love.

So I say again, now this is interesting or should I say this will be interesting. How many college coaches’ bios will change in August now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States.

Oooooo, this ought to be a fun weekend! AP Source: Sherri Coale to Enter Women’s Basketball Hall. Great crew joining her (Missouri State guard Jackie Stiles, Olympic gold medalist Natalie Williams, longtime official June Courteau, Texas girls high school coach Joe Lombard and the late AAU girls basketball official Bill Tipps. The 1996 U.S. women’s basketball Olympic team will receive the Hall’s trailblazer award.) but I would walk to Knoxville just for the opportunity to hear what Sherri writes.

Thank you (N.J.): Attridge retired having played a large role in girls athletics

Kevin Attridge, who this school year ended 43 yeas of coaching four different girls sports at Mater Dei Prep when he retired as outdoor track and field coach, remembers his early years of coaching when gender equity and Title IX first came into practice in the early 1970s.

“It was seeing the kids adapt to change. That was the cool part of coaching,” Attridge, 68, said.

Attridge said he decided to retire from outdoor track and field in December, the last of the four sports where he built his coaching legacy. A year earlier, he decided to stop coaching indoor track and field after reviving the program in 2000. He stopped coaching cross-country three years ago and also ended a 27-year run of success in girls basketball in 1999 with a 485-187 record.

WATN? Los Gatos, Saratoga: Former WNBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist Bolton visits Golden State Warriors camp

Speaking of where are they now, did you catch John Altavilla’s tweet: Geno also says participation in this year’s Maggie Dixon Classic looking doubtful because no opponent has been found.

*Cue sound of chickens clucking* Hey, coaches, this is the MAGGIE DIXON Classic. It honors an amazing woman had has become a huge event at Madison Square Garden, ushering in the return of college women’s basketball. Who’s going to show some spine and step up?

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we remember those who will not join us.

Vic Dorr Jr. from the. Richmond Times-Dispatch: University of Richmond women’s basketball team moves forward with heartache as constant companion

The pain they felt when it happened — shock, anguish, suffocating grief — was largely visceral. Temporary remedies were abundant: tears, hugs, the snug harbor offered by family and friends.

The pain they feel today is to a great extent cerebral. There are few, if any, effective remedies.

Lauren Sage Reinlie at the Daily News: Spirit lives on: Community gathers to remember beloved basketball coach

With hundreds of people gathered in the auditorium, Coach Patrick Harrington’s voice rang out again.

In a video playing on a large screen, the man stood on the sidelines of the basketball court, talking about his players and how he wanted to give them a chance to know what great opportunities they have to grow and change their lives.

From South Bend: Expectations still high for youthful Irish women’s basketball team

It’s been a few years since Muffet McGraw first put a whistle around her neck and stepped on a court in a dimly-lit gymnasium not far from the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia, to begin her first practice as a basketball coach.

And while it’s true Archbishop Carroll High School is a far cry from the bright lights of the University of Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion and college basketball’s biggest stage at the NCAA Final Four, don’t think for one second that the Fighting Irish Hall of Fame head coach isn’t excited about the start of another season.

Nice turn around in Austin: Women’s Basketball picked as preseason favorite to win the Big 12

From Spokane: Gonzaga women’s basketball rookie coach Lisa Fortier ushers in new era

The Gonzaga women’s basketball team opened practice Tuesday with a new head coach for the first time in 14 years and without a clear picture of the guard rotation for at least three years.

Out of Columbia: For USC women’s basketball, a national championship is the only goal

It was only the first day of practice, but the members of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team were already thinking of the ultimate goal.

“Our goal is definitely nothing short of a national championship,” said senior forward Aleighsa Welch, a Goose Creek native. “I think we have to put that in our minds and keep repeating to ourselves that we don’t want to settle for anything less than that. So that’s the main goal. That’s what we know we can accomplish this year. But it all starts right here.”

From their competition down the road: Lady Vols say they’re heeding Warlick’s message

Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale says the Lady Vols are listening more closely to coach Holly Warlick this season.

 The Lady Vols are hoping that extra attention helps them earn the Final Four bid that has eluded them since their 2008 national championship season. Tennessee opened practice Monday with most of the nucleus back from a team that went 29-6 and reached a regional semifinal last season.

From Notre Dame: Irish Women’s Basketball Tips Off 2014-15 Preseason,

It’s been a few years since Muffet McGraw first put a whistle around her neck and stepped on a court in a dimly-lit gymnasium not far from the Main Line in suburban Philadelphia, to begin her first practice as a basketball coach. And while it’s true Archbishop Carroll High School is a far cry from the bright lights of the University of Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion and college basketball’s biggest stage at the NCAA Final Four, don’t think for one second that the Fighting Irish Hall of Fame head coach isn’t excited about the start of another season.

From Jim Fuller at the Citizen Register: UConn’s Moriah Jefferson has chance to step into leadership role

The casual onlooker may wonder how the UConn women’s basketball team plans to replace the production of graduated All-Americans Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley.

While it will be no easy task replacing what Dolson and Hartley brought on the court, the bigger issue facing the two-time defending national champions could be who fills the rather sizeable hole in the leadership department.

Big things are expected from seniors Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes, but the reality is that they are more of the lead-by-example types. Certainly reigning national player of the year Breanna Stewart will be a leader just based on her incredible skill set and list of accomplishments. But junior point guard Moriah Jefferson could be the most likely candidate to become the Huskies’ unquestioned leader.

UConn’s Dailey thankful for World Championship experience

Two days ago Geno Auriemma and Chris Dailey were in Istanbul, Turkey as the United States team, featuring five current or former UConn players, won the FIBA World Championship for Women.

After a long day of travel, the UConn head coach and associate head coach were back on campus and back at work. Auriemma looked absolutely spent and considering how he graciously gave me more than 15 minutes of his time when I was up at UConn for a football press conference before diving head long into his national team responsibilities, I resisted the temptation to corner him for an interview. However, when Dailey walked by me earlier today, I was able to spend a couple of minutes with her so she could reflect on her time as an advance scout for the gold-medal winning U.S. team.

Lady Raiders search for Rowe’s replacement

It’s been only a week of practice for the MTSU women’s basketball team, so it’s no surprise coach Rick Insell has more of his own questions than he has answers.

At this point, the 10th-year coach is simply emphasizing “repetition, repetition, repetition.”

“We gotta keep doing what we’re doing right here in practice,” he said. “Make them work harder.”

He added, “We’re not too bad. I’m not happy with where we’re at, but I don’t need to be happy right now. I need to be happy, in January.

“We’ll get there.”

Out of Lincoln: NU women’s basketball notebook: Huskers begin to try to replace Hooper

“Right now the elephant — the big things — are a little scary,” Yori said Wednesday. “Can we score on a consistent basis, and can we get defensive rebounds? Those are scary, because you think, who did we lose? We lost one of the best scorers of all time in the history of this program, and one of the best defensive rebounders of all time. Those are big things. Those are areas right now where we’re not very good.”

From Oregon: OSU women’s basketball: Beavers focused as practice begins

Over the first three days of practice, there was a focus unlike anything previously seen for Scott Rueck’s Oregon State women’s basketball program.

It makes sense as the Beavers return a plethora of talent that contributed immensely to one of the best seasons in program history.

Tough news for the Buckeyes: Ohio State women’s basketball: Makayla Waterman out indefinitely, facing knee surgery

Similar bad news in Colorado: CU women’s basketball: Buffs kick off practices without Roberson

Throughout the offseason, Arielle Roberson felt as healthy as ever and went through workouts determined to lead the Colorado women’s basketball to a great season.

On Tuesday afternoon, she sat in the Coors Events Center seats with crutches nearby as she watched her teammates go through their first official practice of the 2014-15 campaign.

“It just really sucks,” the junior forward said.

Cappie’s off to Australia: WNBA star signed to replace import Monica Wright, who is also injured

The loss of star recruit Elizabeth Cambage to a season-ending Achilles tendon injury and the failure of import Monica Wright to recover from what was seemingly minor knee surgery forced Dandenong to send out an SOS less than two weeks before the start of the 2014/15 WNBL season.

And it was answered on Thursday by WNBA superstar Cappie Pondexter, who signed a one-year deal to join the Rangers. The 31-year-old American guard is expected to be in uniform for the season-opener on October 18.

From Jonothan Lintner at USA Today: Native American community recognizes Shoni Schimmel

Shoni Schimmel often recognizes her Native American following, signing autographs and taking pictures after games with those who travel to see the University of Louisville graduate who grew up on an Umatilla reservation in Oregon.

This week, it was Schimmel who was recognized for her prominence as a 2014 Native American “40 under 40” award recipient.

From  at The Wrap:  WNBA Star Brittney Griner Talks About Becoming First Openly Gay Athlete Endorsed by Nike

Suivez-la Swoopes: Sheryl Swoopes’ son commits to Texas Tech

From Stephanie Kowalsky at the starsnews.com, timely but tough news: Ruthie Bolton: Ex-WNBA Star Victim of Domestic Violence; “It’s a Very Lonely Place to Be”

Breaking down in tears in front of a packed room, Bolton admitted in public for the first time that her ex-husband was abusive and that she used to live every day in fear of what he may do to her.

“I was living in an abusive marriage,” Bolton said, according to ESPN. “I could do whatever I wanted on the basketball court, I could defend an opponent, or hit a big shot, but I couldn’t get a grasp on my personal life.”

Out of Chicago: She didn’t play a minute, but Jersey City college student a star for WNBA team

“I was just scared to talk to people,” said Ortega, 21, who was born in Hoboken, but lived all her life in Jersey City with her family. “I thought my thoughts were either stupid or weren’t worth saying, so I just kept most of it to myself.”

Fast-forward to her final year at Centenary College in Hackettstown, and Ortega is the president of its Sports Management Association, is a mentor to freshmen students, and most of all, had finished a summer internship with the WNBA team Chicago Sky, where she was ranked No. 1 out of 8 interns in sales.

From Fast Company: Will the Future of Sports Reporting Include Sports Reporters? 

Dano first approached the men’s major leagues, but didn’t get anywhere. “There was interest, but the bigger leagues are a bit more cautious and guarded with how they adopt things,” he says. So he decided to focus on the WNBA, a league that could benefit more from the publicity. “The WNBA was really receptive,” says Dano. “Once we broke that ice, that validated things. We had one good partner, and they talked to their colleagues in the other leagues.” There are now about 40 WNBA players using the service, the most from any league. “Just about every player idea that we’ve gone to SportsBlog with, they’ve accepted and helped out with,” says WNBA Players Association director of operations, Pam Wheeler.

Out of the NCAA: June Courteau named coordinator of women’s basketball officiating

June Courteau has been named the NCAA’s national coordinator of women’s basketball officiating, bringing more than 45 years of officiating experience to the position.

“I have had the unique opportunity to work closely and learn from the last three national coordinators and am thrilled to be provided this great opportunity,” said Courteau. “Maintaining the momentum created by Anucha Browne at the national office on both the rules and officiating fronts is job one. The stakeholders in our game, including the rules committee, coaches, coordinators of officials and the officials themselves must continue to be heard and have buy-in towards these decisions. We continue to strive for a free flowing and up-tempo game.”

WATN? Lafayette women’s basketball staff adds Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, former U.S. Olympic coach

“Passion, charisma, expertise and integrity are just a few adjectives describing coach Grentz,” Leopards head coach Dianne Nolan said in a news release. “I am very excited for our players, staff and the Lafayette community to interact with coach Grentz, as she shares her wealth of knowledge and experience.”

BTW: NBA Announces Major 9-Year TV Deal With ESPN, ABC, TNT: WNBA And NBA D-League Get New Contracts

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Central Michigan de-feathered the Falcons, and the Chippewas move into the MAC semi-finals. They’ll get to face top-seed Toledo, who are sponsoring a road trip: UT to Sponsor Free Student Bus Trip to MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament. In the other bracket, it’ll be the Zips against Ball State.

C-USA is upset city: SMU fell to Knights on a roll: UCF took down the Mustangs, 70-66. Tulsa took down Tulane. UTEP over UAB. ESU was not upset.

Huge upset in the MVC first round: Evansville (7-11 MVC) taken down by Southern Illinois (1-17 MVC) in OT, 83-74.

Mechelle and Michelle discuss which teams helped their stock rise and which teams fell during their conference tournaments.

Hey, ESPN folks! Can I make a suggestion? Put the latest Beth & Debbie podcast on the espnW front page. Sheesh!

Dishin’ and Swishin’ talks bracketology with Charlie.

Creme discusses the birth of bracketology, how he goes about preparing his prognostications, and answers questions that many of you have been wondering about.

Stanford or Duke as a number one, an explanation of “procedural bumps” and bubble ins and outs, mid-majors versus BCS conference selections, building credibility, RPI and previous success impact on seeding and more.

Graham talks Blue Hens: Delaware’s other comeback story – After years of back problems, senior point guard Kayla Miller is at top of her game

The incredulousness in the voice of the Drexel play-by-play announcer grew with each shot that slipped through the net in a January game against Delaware. And not for the reason that might first come to mind with the Blue Hens.

 Elena Delle Donne splitting two defenders and leaning into an 18-footer or drifting backward on the baseline for an unstoppable turnaround elicited only resigned appreciation from the broadcast. People in the Colonial Athletic Association have seen enough of those shots over the past four seasons to last them a lifetime. Opponents just hope to keep her highlights to a minimum, as Drexel mostly did on a day when the All-American scored 24 points.

What left the voice calling the game incredulous were three 3-pointers by Kayla Miller, each field goal coming when her team either trailed or held a lead small enough that it could have been erased by the Dragons in a single possession. This was not, in a performance in which she also finished with seven assists and one turnover in 39 minutes, the Miller that Drexel previously encountered.

Michelle Smith talks Seattle U: Redhawks reach new heights

Since Joan Bonvicini last led a team onto the floor for an NCAA tournament game nine years ago, the coach has experienced pain and frustration, re-evaluation and rebirth.

But all she feels right now, in this moment, is excitement.

“These kids, they respond and they trust me and each other,” Bonvicini said.

Seattle University opened the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Las Veags on Wednesday night as the regular-season champion, playing for its first conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Mechelle also reflects on BG, SD & EDD: Changing the game early on (and ever since)

Like most folks who follow women’s basketball, I’d seen YouTube videos of Brittney Griner as a high school player dunking. But the first in-person view came at Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena in November 2009, where “the kid” gave a good indication that the hype was worth it.

She scored 15 points in Baylor’s 74-65 loss. There were no dunks, but Griner’s impact was felt immediately. 

“Have you ever watched a game where Pat Summitt played only two possessions of man-to-man defense?” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said after that nationally televised contest. “People ask, ‘Is Brittney Griner going to change the game of women’s basketball?’ Well, you saw it change today. Did you ever think you’d see the day Tennessee would zone somebody like that?”

Mechelle chatted:

Chase (Maine): With all the recent trades, acquisitions, and signings in the WNBA, I have to admit that I am excited about the Tulsa Shock and their prospects for a more competitive 2013 season. Do you believe that Nicole Powell and Candice Wiggins can go back to their play of seasons past and be a tandem of go-to scorers that the Shock so desperately need? Or is consistency going to be a problem? Both players are quite streaky, so that is my main concern. How does the almost certain addition of Skylar Diggins help bolster this team? I can imagine she and Wiggins will be a nightmare for opposing guards on the defensive end!

Mechelle Voepel: Especially with the news that Sue Bird is not playing this summer, there is more reason for Tulsa to be excited. Right now, it’s hard to expect much from the Storm. Now, we could be surprised, but there are teams like the Storm and SASS that have injury woes going into this season. They are not as strong as they could be. And that does potentially leave some daylight for Tulsa. It’s unfortunate for the league and for those franchises that star players are hurt. But sometimes other teams’ bad luck becomes a previously struggling team’s opening.

Maggie Lucas blogs: We’re looking forward to March Madness

At Full Court:

Lady Vol Taber Spani talks homeschool basketball and recruiting

Bubble Wrap 2013: Final wrap

Sue says: Stanford wins Pac 12, but looks vulnerable heading to NCAAs

Things went pretty much according to script in the Pac 12 Tournament except for one major casting change: instead of Stanford and Cal duking it out for the championship, it was the Cardinal and UCLA.

It was one of the best title games in years.

Clay says: It’s time to give Baylor some love

Haters gonna hate.

They’re going to hate Brittney Griner, just like they hated Wilt Chamberlain, just like they hated Shaquille O’Neal, just like they hated all the great post players.

They’re going to hate Baylor, for its athletes and its attitude, for winning three straight Big 12 titles, for going 127-16 in the Griner years.

They’re going to hate Kim Mulkey, for screaming at her assistant coaches when her players screw up, for screaming at the officials when she’s up 35, for wearing some of the weirdest outfits ever to grace a basketball sideline.

Haters, sadly, are going to hate.

Mike says: The SEC Seven Owns NCAA Selection Monday

In W news, Ruthie and Ticha mean Ailene Voisin is back talking women’s basketball: Former Monarchs rally for support of WNBA team returning to Sacramento

Finally, a little reflection on officiating.

If you follow the gentlemen, you know there was some excitement at the end of the Charlotte/Richmond game. Some fouls, some technicals, and suddenly the 49ers move on. Coaches (as in the losing one) are upset wondering about officials “deciding the game.” Officials are discussing the calls (You don’t have that choice if you follow the rules. Once the ball goes through the hoop, it is dead and you cannot call a personal foul for contact during a dead ball period. It was too much to ignore so it had to be a T.).

My two cents:

1) Listen to the Caterpillar, Alice: “Keep your temper.”

2) If you don’t want officials to “decide” a game, simply take them off the court in the last two minutes. ’cause isn’t that what folks want? Ignore the rules, “let it go,” “you don’t make that call in the last minute,” etc. Shall we agree that, in the last two minutes, anything goes? ’cause, if we do that, no one will be upset with the results, right?

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Seimone Augustus Talks Same-Sex Marriage on ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’

If only men’s and women’s baskeball coaches would step up and match her courage.

The Blue Raiders do a little Q&A with Alysha Clark: Catching up with WNBA player and former All-American

WATN? Carla McGhee. Working with the Wolf Pack.

Speaking of Olympians: Hot Italian hosts Ruthie Bolton book-signing this Saturday

The Star Tribune is counting down the best Twin Cities personnel moves. Guess which one is #6.
From K.C. Johnson at the LA Times: U.S. women’s basketball wants to preserve record
“We know we have a standard to uphold, and [we want to] honor the past Olympians and be role models for the future ones,” Candace Parker said. “We want to continue to play the way we were brought up in the USA basketball system. “I know that I have not won the four golds. For people to say this is our streak, no. This is USA Basketball’s streak. We’re just trying not to be the people that end that streak. I want a second gold medal. There are people that want a third. And some are looking for their first. So all of us are fighting for something in our own way.”
Yes, tweets Doug, that was Ohno hanging with the team.
From the Age: Jackson oblivious to historic feat while clash with US looms

From the Sporting News: London 2012 basketball: U.S. women face Australia, a familiar foe, a round earlier than usual

Matt Moore at CBS Sports writes: Basketball: Team USA makes its bid to begin discussions about greatest ever

Over at Forbes: U.S. Women’s Basketball Shoots for the Gold

The Bleacher Report (now owned by the incompetents who incompetently run wnba.com) writes: USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team: Amazing Size and Speed Will Bring US Gold

Hmmm… I’m detecting a theme. From the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz: Bob Kravitz: The real Dream Team in these Olympics are the U.S. women

“This was a great game,” said Catchings, who is averaging 19 minutes a game, 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds in this tournament. She had a typical line Tuesday: Nine points, six rebounds, two assists and four steals in just over 20 minutes. “But we can play better than that.”

Speaking for every other women’s team that remains on the world stage: Gulp.

Debbie and Beth are doing some casting of the pod: Here they speak with Tina Charles.  Here they have Catch and Maya.

When NBC writers write stuff like this (U.S. women deserve more hype), I wonder what they say to their bosses.

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(Hey, it’s Friday — we all need a bad pun or two) I’m sure you read Doug’s preview:US women’s hoops team faces Czech Republic next

The rematch of the 2010 Worlds Championship will not be on NBC, but MSNBC.

Oh, dear, what on EARTH have Jo and company started? Women’s basketball catching fire with British fans (Hopefully there are not jerseys to be purchased)

While the venue, like most others in the London Games, has had its share of empty seats, it would be tough to tell from noise the crowd generates. Each session in the 12,000-seat arena is averaging just over 8,500 fans.

“It’s been awesome to see every single game, the energy, not just that the place is filled, but there is a great appreciation for women’s basketball,” said U.S. assistant coach Doug Bruno, who has seen the crowds while scouting the Americans’ future opponents. “The crowd is really into it. Growing this game is a process we’re working on back home, it’s not a quick process but it’s something everyone needs to work on.”

On the “local” level – a counter voice to Clay: Olympic gold could bring fans to WNBA

For basketball junkies, these Olympics provide an even greater opportunity: the chance to see international players compete in an accessible and clearly broadcast form. The Lynx currently own the draft rights to Rachel Jarry of Australia, Nika Baric of Slovenia and Damiris Dantas of Brazil, and these games are the best chance for fans to get a taste of what might be to come in the Lynx’s future.

A little WATN? with Ruthie Bolton: Writin’ books:Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist shares her ‘Ride of a Lifetime’

Speakin’ of reading: You can find the words of longtime WHB contributor Stephen Burt here – We Can Be Heroes: Poetry at the Olympics

What do these Olympic women — and the women’s side more generally — add to such accounts of poems and hoops? We might say they put poetry back on the ground: they remind us that the kind of effort that makes poems memorable, and makes elite games winnable, involves something that by its nature has to be shared. For poets it’s language, a set of expectations, a history of forms, a context of usage; for women’s hoops it’s the basketball itself, as well as the game plan, on offense and defense, and boards. People who watch the men but not the women like to talk about dunks, individual shows of strength; the woman best known for dunking, Brittney Griner, is the best U.S. player not in London, and women’s hoops — with or without Griner, even at its highest levels — generally takes place on the ground. The women’s game, more than the men’s, is a game about teamwork, shared defense, picks and thread-the-needle assists; it’s about making the right number of passes, moving the ball inside, and perhaps back out.

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Congrats to new moms

Ruthie Bolton and Beth Cunningham.

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