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(inspired by this past season, and a brief twitter exchange with @ladyswish) Some names to jot down when you’re pondering your next women’s basketball coach – be it for next year, or in three years. And, as I read some of these bios, it simply reinforces the connection between point guards and coaching.

Katie Abrahamson-Henderson – Albany. She’s only been there for 5 years, and accomplished a ton! Four straight league titles, anyone?

Jody Adams – Wichita State. Coach Adams, now  in her 7th year, has transformed the program. When when she took over in 2008, the Shockers had recorded 11 wins in the previous seaon.  WSU just won their third MVC conference title in a row and, with a team so young, it’s hard not to imagine there’s not more success in their future.

Jennifer Azzi – San Francisco. The revival of the Dons has been well chronicled at the WHB. Don’t know if Azzi would be interested in attempting to “rebuild” another program. I’m sure her current gig has been exhausting. But, a program that’s settle and needs a spark? Maybe.

Cedric Baker  – Savannah State. It’s been a long 12 seasons, but they won their first MEAC title this year.

Courtney Banghart – Princeton. She’s young. She’s smart. She just went undefeated and has earned her program a ton of attention. Who knows if she wants to leave the Ivy, but wow, what potential.

Laura Beeman – Hawai’i – The Wahine was a hot mess. Now, after three year’s of Beeman, not so much.

Bob Boldon – Ohio. First the Penguins. Then the Bobcats. Bob is a builder.

Anthony Bozzella – Seton Hall. Wherever he goes – LIU, Iona, Seton Hall – he turns programs around.

Kenny Brooks – James Madison University. In his 13th year, all he does is coach teams that win. They just earned their fourth CAA title in six years.

Michelle Clark-Heard – Western Kentucky. The ‘toppers just won the C-USA conference title and this year marked the first time WKU has been ranked in 17 years.  Shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that, in her first year Clark-Heard helped WKU to a 13-win improvement over the 2011-12 season output. It was the largest in Sun Belt Conference history, as WKU turned a 9-21 mark into a 22-11 record.

Brittney Ezell  – East Tennessee State University. In only her second year at the program, ETSU was picked for a bottom finish in a conference preseason poll. Instead, the Lady Bucs finished second to UT-Chattanooga and scared the you-know-what out of Mocs in the So-Con tourney.

Tricia Fabrini – Quinnipiac. Since the Bobcats moved up into the Division I ranks, they’ve shown they belonged – be it in the NEC or the MAAC. It’s been a 20 year journey, but maybe she could be tempted by another position?

Donna Finnie – Houston Baptist – It’s way early in her career with HBU, but consider what the Scotland native has already accomplished:

As Donna Finnie begins her second year as head coach in 2014-15, the HBU women’s basketball program looks to soar to new heights after a record-breaking inaugural season in the Southland Conference. In Finnie’s first year at the helm of the program, the team made huge strides both on and off the court. The Huskies won 12 games, the most since HBU began the transition to NCAA Division I in 2007. The Huskies also boasted the highest RPI in program history (251); a significant improvement from the 2012-13 campaign. Offensively the team exploded to produce one of the most efficient scoring attacks in the nation.

On this year, from WHB: The Huskies (15-17) were the 8th seed in the Southland and yet made it to the finals.

Cindy Fisher – San Diego. In her 10 year tenure, Fisher has moved the Toreros into the “often win” column.

Megan Gebbia – American. In only her second year, Gebbia took her team to their first Patriot League Championship.

Kellie Jolly Harper – Missouri State. Seems to me Harper was the sacrificial “next coach” at North Carolina State. She handled a no-win situation with grace, but couldn’t move the program forward. She’s having better fortunes at Missouri State, where she’s revivng the profile of a program that sailed to the stratosphere behind Jackie Stiles.

Yvonne Sanchez – New Mexico. She’s rebuilt a program that fell rather precipitously after coach Flanagan retired. Her first few years were not particularly encouraging, but this year has been different – even after she had to dismiss the team’s captain and center. The Mountain West predicted UNM to finish ninth in the conference, after finishing in ninth place a year ago, but they made it to the conference finals. She has not gotten a contract extension (yet). Folks I spoke to while I was in Albuquerque said the admin wanted more butts in the seats.

Karl Smesko – Florida Gulf Coast. Since joining Division I, all the Eagles have done is terrorize the A-Sun.

Brooke and Scott Stoehr – Northwestern State. Hired in 2012 to revive the Demons’ program that had won just six games the year before, the Stoehrs have done just that. The Demons just won the conference tournament title and earned their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the school’s history.

Jonathan Tsipis – George Washington. – In 2012, Tsipis took over a program that had won 25 wins over three seasons. WHB’s has been tracking the return of the Colonials to the top-25 all season long.

Kevin McMillan – Tennessee Martin – Six years ago, McMillan inheirited a team that went 2-27. Now, the Skyhawks have repeatedly ruled the roost in the OVC.

Amy Williams – South Dakota. Not easy to win in the Summitt, with in-state rival ‘wabbits lurking, but she has.

Ryun Williams – Colorado State. Left South Dakota and, in three years, has turned around a Colorado State program that had a decade of poor results. The #1 seed in the Mountain West was upset in the conference tourney, but I expect they’ll be back.

I’m sure there are plenty of other folks out there, ready to move up, including assistants that I know nothing about…. So, who else would you put on this list? womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com.

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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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Scores.

Next!

First we have a “Big 6 v mid-major” story: Syracuse at JMU at 7 p.m. ET

Then we’ve got a “feel good story” v a “nobody’s noticed story“: San Diego at Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. ET

In a related story, congrats to NJCAA Champs Trinity Valley College, who won a battle between two undefeated teams.

How is it related? From the Hutchinson (KS) News: Court ceremony hits home for Trinity

The emotions were high for the Trinity Valley, Texas, women Saturday evening, especially for sophomore Keuna Flax and co-coach Kenya Landers.

Minutes before Trinity Valley embarked on its 69-55 win against Hutchinson Community College in the NJCAA national championship game at the Bicentennial Center, the basketball court was dedicated for Kurt Budke, a former Trinity Valley and Oklahoma State coach who was killed in a November plane crash.

More from the Salina Journal: Winning Tribute: Trinity Valley comes through on night Kurt Budke Court in named

Trinity Valley co-head coach Kenya Landers descended from the ladder and handed the scissors to Shelley Budke.

Budke climbed the ladder, snipped the last strand of net that had hung from the basketball goal at the west end of the Bicentennial Center, climbed down, placed the net around Landers and embraced her in a lengthy and emotional hug as they stood on the newly renamed Kurt Budke Court, dedicated to the memory of Shelley’s late husband.

Mission accomplished for Landers and her Trinity Valley women’s basketball team.

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but it’s okay ’cause I haven’t checked the scores.

How’d we do?

Next round:

Saturday, March 24
Syracuse at Toledo, 2 p.m. ET
Sunday, March 25
Colorado at Oklahoma State, 1:30 p.m. ET
Virginia at JMU, 2 p.m. ET
San Diego at Washington, 3 p.m. ET

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From the Tulsa World: OSU women’s coaches take on extra work in wake of tragedy

The Oklahoma State women’s basketball team has rebounded from tragedy to win 18 games and reach the Sweet Sixteen of the WNIT.

The Cowgirls, who host Missouri Valley Conference champion Missouri State at 7 p.m. Thursday, were shepherded to this point by Jim Littell, who was promoted from assistant coach to head coach after former head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna died in a Nov. 17 plane crash.

But the unsung heroes of OSU’s forge-ahead season have been members of Littell’s staff.

From CBS-Philly: Temple, Villanova Ready For WNIT Battles

Just two Division I teams in the city are still playing basketball.  Both the Temple and Villanova women’s squads are into the Sweet 16 of the WNIT with both look to advance tonight.

Temple will be home at McGonigle Hall to host Syracuse out of the Big East while Villanova is on the road tonight to run with Colorado out of the Pac 12.

From the Daily Toreador: Tech hopes to extend WNIT run, hosts San Diego

We’re just excited to be able to continue to play,” she said. “We’ve got a chance to go to an Elite Eight. There’s another Elite Eight about to happen and when you look across this tournament, there are very worthy NCAA Tournament teams, so, again, it’s just trying to turn it into the most positive experience we can. That’s what life’s about.”

From the Richmond Times: U.Va., VCU set for WNIT third-round games

University of Virginia women’s basketball coach Joanne Boyle doesn’t believe in the status quo. After 34 games and nearly five months, Boyle is still tweaking her club’s on-court personality.

U.Va., which will play host to Appalachian State tonight at 7 in the third round of the WNIT, has thrived throughout the season on an inside-oriented zone defense. But in Monday’s second-round victory over the University of Richmond, a dangerous perimeter-shooting team, Boyle’s Cavaliers played an uncharacteristic amount of man-to-man.

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WNIT results.

Third Round Schedule
Tuesday, March 20
Washington at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 22
Appalachian State at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
Syracuse at Temple, 7 p.m. ET
VCU at Toledo, 7 p.m. ET
San Diego at Texas Tech, 8 p.m. ET
Missouri State at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. ET
Villanova at Colorado, 9 p.m. ET
Friday, March 23
South Florida at JMU, 7 p.m. ET

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So how’d we do? Part 3

WNIT results.

 

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Check out the final results of the first round of the WNIT. BTW, congrats! “San Diego won its first postseason game in history, holding off Cal State Northridge 60-58 to advance to Round 2, where they will host Pacific at 7 p.m. ET Sunday.”

Second Round Picks
Saturday, March 17
Appalachian State at NC State, 5 p.m. ET
Harvard at Temple, 6 p.m. ET
Florida International at South Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Memphis at Missouri State, 8 p.m. ET
Saint Mary�s at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET

Sunday, March 18
Wake Forest at JMU, 2 p.m. ET
VCU at St. Joseph�s, 2 p.m. ET
Tulane at Texas Tech, 3 p.m. ET
Utah at Washington, 3 p.m. ET
Wichita State at Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. ET
Villanova at Illinois State, 3:05 p.m. ET
Pacific at San Diego, 7 p.m. ET

Monday, March 19
Syracuse at Drexel, 7 p.m. ET
Cincinnati at Toledo, 7 p.m. ET
Richmond at Virginia, 7 p.m. ET
Colorado at South Dakota, 8 p.m. ET

Next, in the better late than never world, check out the other basketball that’s going on:

The NCAA Division II brackets have hit the semis and three of the four #1 seeds are playing: Wayne State v, Bentley and Rollin v. Cinderella Lander, the #4 seed responsible for the missing #1 seed. The teams are playing in San Antonio (lucky devils) on March 21st.

The NCAA Division III brackets finish up on St. Patrick’s Day in Holland, Michigan. George Fox, who stopped the Amherst winning streak at 50, will fact off against  Illinois Wesleyan, who earned a shot at the title by virtue of their 67-53 win over St. Thomas.

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for the ranked teams:

#1Baylor dismissed #22 Kansas State by 35.

#2 Notre Dame tamed Villanova by 33.

#3 Connecticut schooled DePaul (but got a Doty knee scare) by 44.

#4 Stanford rolled over Washington by 18.

#11 Green Bay conquered Cleveland State by 22.

#13 Texas A&M survived Kansas by 11.

#25 Gonzaga escaped San Diego by 10.

The only team that was unwilling to run with the pack was #8 Rutgers (6 point margin.), who got a tussle from USF, but emerged a victorious.

Florida Gulf defeated Stetson by 4 and now sits at 9-0 in the A-Sun.

Sacred Heart’s win over CCSU puts them at 7-0 in the NEC.

I don’t want to distract from St. Joe’s win, but dang — Xavier’s now at 3-14.

San Diego State moved to 4-0 in the MWC.

Samford’s defeat of Davidson is keeping the Southern interesting. No rest for the weary — the Bulldogs face Appalachian State next — who took down the Mocs, 62-51.

Yup, the Cowgirls of McNeese State are at 5-0 in the Southland.

It was a squeaker, but the Rattlers escaped MD-E Shore and now FAMU is undefeated in the MEAC.

Those Shockers are still loss-less in the MVC.

Pirates over Spartans, Hampton to 7-0 in the MEAC.

The Bobcats roared back in the second half, and now Coach Binford’s got her Montana State team at 5-2 in the Big Sky.

Big win by Oregon State, as they took down USC in OT.

Eastern Illinois (5-0) is perched atop the OVC.

The Bonnies and the Blue Raiders and the Bengals are still undefeated in-conference.

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When you get a chance, make sure you scan Kim’s TV Schedule page. You never know what’s going to sneak on in your area. For instance, on the bill for this weekend (all in Central Time):

SATURDAY, JANUARY 8
Iowa State at Baylor……….11:00am……….Fox Sports Net
Ohio at Akron……….11:00am……….SportsTime Ohio/Comcast/Comcast SportsNet
Tampa at Lynn……….11:00am……….CBS College Sports
UConn at Notre Dame……….1:00……….CBS
Wyoming at New Mexico……….1:00……….CBS College Sports
Albany at Hartford……….2:00……….CTSN
Ohio State at Iowa……….3:00……….CBS
DePaul at St. John’s……….3:00……….Big East Network
Southern California at UCLA……….3:30……….Fox Sports Net
Southern Utah at UMKC……….4:00……….KSMO
Utah at San Diego State……….4:30……….The Mtn.
Texas Tech at Kansas……….7:00……….Metro Sports
Missouri State at Bradley……….7:05……….Ozarks CW
LA Tech at Hawaii……….9:00……….KFVE
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9
Minnesota at Wisconsin……….TBA……….Big Ten Network
Pitt at Louisville……….11:00am……….ESPNU
Ole Miss at Tennessee……….11:00am……….CSS
North Carolina at Boston College……….12:00……….Comcast SportsNet/Fox Sports Net/NESN
James Madison at Old Dominion……….1:00……..CSN+ (Check out Dawn Evans)
Georgia at Kentucky……….1:00……….ESPNU
Oklahoma State at Kansas State……….2:30……….Fox Sports Net
Arkansas at Mississippi State……….3:30……….Fox Sports Net
Tulane at UAB……….4:00……….ESPN2
UTEP at Marshall……….4:00……….CSS/CBS College Sports
James Madison at Old Dominion (tape delay)……….5:00……….Comcast Sports Net/The Comcast Channel PA
Dayton at Xavier……….6:00……….ESPNU
UAB at Central Florida……….6:00……….Bright House Sports Network

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