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A First at the Garden Earns an Encore – Queens and Immaculata Played in First Women’s Basketball Game at Madison Square Garden in 1975

The game is a distant but shining beacon, its significance magnified across four decades of growth. But the first women’s college basketball game at Madison Square Garden was initially just a showdown between fierce rivals, producing a winner, a loser and acute memories of how the result came about.

That was the whole point of the clash between Queens College and little Immaculata of Pennsylvania on Feb. 22, 1975: to demonstrate that women were ready — overdue, in fact — to compete anytime, anywhere, including on the country’s biggest basketball stage.

It turned out that people would even pay to watch.

It’s 2015 and tickets are still available. Are you in?

Maggie Dixon Classic
Presented by Advance Auto Parts 

Sunday, January 4 | 10:30 AM

Save 25% on Tickets!

This Sunday, the defending National Champion UConn Huskies will square off against the St. John’s Red Storm in the Maggie Dixon Classic, presented by Advance Auto Parts.

In the first game, Queens College takes on Immaculata University, commemorating the first women’s game at The Garden 40 years ago between these two teams.

Also, don’t miss the Heart Health Fair! Fans who take part in our “Game Plan for Healthy Living” will receive a free gift.

Use code LIBERTY to save 25% On Tickets!

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do you?

Maggie Dixon Classic, January 4th, Madison Square Garden. Look for me and 175 other folks in Section 11!

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at the Garden, Sunday Jan. 4th, 2015. Looking forward to hanging out with some serious women’s basketball fans (and, hopefully, some unserious ones, too!). There’s still time to join in on the fun! Just email me your request at: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com.

How does this thing work? Click here to read all about it.

Oh, and a heads up: my Summer of Conferences finishes up in Washington, D.C. (again, the schedulers fail me) and then I’m off for a real, live, SCUBA diving vacation. Don’t know what the wireless will be like, so if I’m quiet it’s because I’m underwater, indulging in a rum-laced-beverage, or can’t find a Starbucks….

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Many longtime readers know that, ever since the Garden has hosted the Maggie Dixon Classic, I’ve done what I can to recruit folks to attend.

Great cause AND we all get to support the continued presence of women’s basketball at the Garden.

Here’s how I do that:

I offer to purchase tickets for folks (we get to be a block, and you avoid TicketScalper surcharges). It’s on the honor system. The steps:

I put out an initial “Who want’s tickets” call and ask that folks email me with Name, # of Tickets and Mailing Address.

When you put in a request, I confirm that request after I drop it into my magical excel sheet. (Yah, the list has gotten so long, I needed to learn excel!)

I put out a “last call” email and send out a “Please confirm” email before I put in the order.

Meanwhile, I talk to my contact at the Garden. In the past, she has been able to get us great seats (like an entire section at center court) at a group rate. ($40ish, IIRC?). When the tickets are available for purchase and printing, I snag ’em from the Garden, then I mail them out to folks.

You can’t ask for a specific seat, but I do take some requests — and when possible I try and group folks. I “seat” on a first come first row seated bases.

I usually put in the order mid-September. When I get the tickets depends on when the Garden puts them in the system. I pick ’em up and then mail them out.

When people get the tix, folks either send me a check or give me cash at the game (which is pretty hysterical. I feel like an over-priced valet.)

I do the “when they get the tix, send me money” because I want to set folks at ease about this being a scam. It ain’t. This will be the.. fourth? Fifth? year we’ve done this. BUT, tix sometimes get lost in the mail and that can get awkward. (I do try and keep track of who gets what, just in case). Some folks send money before they get the tix, some send money after the game. It makes no matter.

Finally – even if you have to “drop” a person out of, say, a 3 person request, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a taker or two — I keep a wait list.

SO – if you want to join the Women’s Hoops Blog Horde at the Maggie Dixon Classic on Jan. 4th, 2015 (UConn v. St. John’s, other game TBA – usually starting at 11am), drop me a line.

womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com. Include:

Name
Address
Number of Tickets

Hope to see you there!

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does the basketball. And yes, I know I’m a little over an hour away from Colorado Springs and the U18 team practice… but it’s just. not. going. to. happen.

So, whadImiss? (Thanks, Richard)

Gasp! The New York Times noticed the New York Liberty: A Rookie as Feisty as She Is Steady

Carson said that despite Cruz’s size, her speed and on-court relentlessness made for a seamless transition to the league. At 5 feet 9 inches and 155 pounds, Cruz is smaller than other W.N.B.A. guards. But her willingness to draw contact during drives to the basket and her flashy ball-handling have made her a fan favorite, and she often draws some of the largest cheers during pregame introductions, along with Pondexter, a six-time All-Star, and Tina Charles, who grew up in Queens.

On Aug. 8, in part because of Cruz’s rising popularity, the Liberty will hold their first Noche Latina game, which will celebrate Hispanic culture. Her parents will be in New York for the event.

“I didn’t expect it at all, but I appreciate it,” Cruz said of the adulation. “They make me feel like I’m home.”

Gasp! The New York Times noticed the Phoenix Mercury!  A Two-Handed Push Elevates Phoenix Mercury to No. 1

“We didn’t win a championship, and we didn’t lose one tonight,” said Brondello, a former point guard and two-time Olympic silver medalist for Australia who is in her first season with the Mercury. “It’s more about, O.K., let’s learn from it and move on to the next game. That’s been our mentality through this whole streak.”

Taurasi, however, summed up the night’s frustration and physicality in her inimitable style. Both teams complained about the officiating, leading to three technical fouls, the last two on Brondello and Taurasi in the final minute. So what did the Mercury learn from this game?

“We’ve got to get better at football,” Taurasi said. “We will. If we’ve got to put our helmets on, that’s what we’re going to do from here on out.”

Surprise! About that Phx/Minny matchup: Rebounding leads Lynx past Mercury

In a game with such a wealth of riches, talent-wise, it might seem downright boring to focus on something as fundamental as rebounding.

Yet if you wanted to point to one thing that decided the heavyweight bout Thursday between the two best teams in the WNBA, you gotta go with the glass. Maya Moore and her Lynx outrebounded Diana Taurasi and her Mercury by a handy margin in front of a jazzed-up Minnesota crowd of 9,513.

From Nate:

While the Phoenix Mercury were storming through the WNBA, the Minnesota Lynx were quietly keeping themselves within striking distance without their full complement of talent.

And in tonight’s nationally televised game on NBA TV, the Lynx showed just how dangerous they can be at full strength by ending the Mercury’s league-high 16-game winning streak with a 75-67 win in Minneapolis. Neither team played particularly well, but in a significant regular season game that got increasingly physical throughout the starters that had been missing for so long loomed large for the Lynx.

From the Bright Side of the Sun: Phoenix Mercury: The war rages with the Lynx, the streak is over, and the season is just getting started

Awesome! (And not really WNBA related, BUT) NBA ref Violet Palmer to marry longtime partner

Equally awesome! Delle Donne savors return to court

Guzzling Pedialyte on the Chicago Sky bench, there was very little that could have sapped the childlike joy from Elena Delle Donne on Thursday night.

“It was amazing,” Delle Donne said after scoring 10 points in 11 minutes in her first game back in a month, an 87-74 Chicago victory over New York that keeps the Sky a half-game behind the Liberty for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. “Even when [coach Pokey Chatman] had her little freak-out at one point, it was great. It’s just awesome to be back with the team, competing, being back out on the floor and I’m just enjoying every second of it.”

Nerd City at Work! Chiney Ogwumike records 12th double-double as Sun hold off Stars

Optimism! Shock looks at rebuilt WNBA contenders as assurance in own direction

As the season nears its end and the playoff push continues, the Tulsa Shock appears to have the perfect combination of short-sightedness and perspective.

Finally! (we know) Tulsa Shock’s Riquna Williams to undergo season-ending knee surgery

From Mirin Fader at SlamOnline: Dream Big – Rookie PG Shoni Schimmel has brought Showtime to the WNBA. But her transition hasn’t been easy.

“There are big things in store for Shoni’s future. Everyone can see that,” Thompson continues. “But that would probably be the one thing that I think that Shoni is really taking the time to get better at.”

Schimmel is specifically working on her one-on-one defense. She wants to be able to contain the elite players in the league, not just be able to break them down with a single crossover and get to the basket.

Every day she works on her agility, using ladders to develop more quickness to help with sliding laterally so she can better stay in front of whoever she’s guarding.

This isn’t the first time Schimmel has had to make adjustments.

From Advocate.com: ESPN Short Lifesize: Brittney Griner Highlights Income Disparity for WNBA Stars

In other news:

Tough news for the Quakers: Stephanie Cheney decides to leave Penn women’s basketball

On November 14, Penn women’s basketball will begin the road to its Ivy League title defense. However, that title defense will have to come without one of the team’s young developing forwards.

Rising sophomore Stephanie Cheney, who played in 22 games for the Quakers last season, has left the program, leaving the team without a piece in the post that coach Mike McLaughlin could have utilized.

Roots! Women’s Basketball Adds Clare Berenato to The Coaching Staff

“Clare comes from great basketball bloodlines,” said Gaitley.  “Her mom, Agnus was the head coach at Pitt and her aunt [Bernadette McGlade] is our A-10 Commissioner.  She has great knowledge of the game and is a terrific people person.  We are excited to welcome her to the Fordham family.”

This explains it! I’ve already gotten two inquiries about the Maggie Dixon Classic (for those who don’t know, I’ve been gathering a group of folks to attend. Started with 25. Last year we had 140.) UConn women’s basketball will play St. John’s in Maggie Dixon Classic

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St. John’s v. Texas A&M.

UConn v. Cal.

As I have for the past zillion years, I’m going to put in an order for tickets (or at least start harassing my fabulous connection at the Garden) mid-August. We have, in the past, gotten FABULOUS seats, thankyouverymuch.

If you are interesting in being part of the horde, all you need to do is drop me an email at: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com

Include:
Your full name
Mailing Address
Number of tickets you’d like.

I’ll then start a tally and, when tix are finally available, I’ll send out one final “You sure? You want more? email.

Then I’ll purchase the whole kit-and-kaboodle, pick’em up at the Garden and mail’em out to you. When they arrive, send me a check.

The other option is we meet at the Garden and you had over cold, hard cash.

Let’s see if we can break 60 this year!

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Pretty good, if you’re a SUNY-New Palz fan

The crowd’s chant began with a minute to play and reached a crescendo at 5:43 p.m. Saturday in the Hawk Center when the SUNY New Paltz women’s basketball team started celebrating.

The chant was “SUNYAC champions.”

New Paltz won its first-ever State University of New York Athletic Conference championship, defeating Geneseo 64-53.

With the title comes an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. The brackets will be announced 2:30 p.m. Monday on NCAA.com.

Ditto if you’re a fan of Hope: Women’s basketball loses to Hope in final seconds of MIAA tourney finals

Hope women’s basketball team came out on top of a closely fought game Saturday afternoon, winning the MIAA tournament championship game 62-59, and gaining an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III tournament.

Super ditto if you’re a Red Hawks fan: At 25-0, Montclair State women’s basketball a surprise juggernaut

For a few rare and ultimately fleeting seconds, the Montclair State University women’s basketball team is actually losing, but the school’s most famous hoops alumna is anything but worried.

“The game is young,” Carol Blazejowski says from her movie theater-style box seat, situated in the top row of the modest bleachers at MSU’s Panzer Athletic Center. It’s a sentence said casually, confidently, the way you might describe the arrival of a train running a minute or two behind schedule.

Pretty good if you are a Tigers fan: Princeton University women’s basketball conquers 33rd straight Ivy League foe, a Buffs fan: Arielle Roberson leads CU Buffs to victory – Colorado struggles on offense, but wins sixth in row, or a fan of Marist, FGCU, Charlotte (Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!, Green Bay, Albany, Dayton, Toledo, Gonzaga, BU, Texas Southern (First SWAC title in school history. Hey, Graham! Hint! Hint!), Chattanooga, Pacific (Program record for wins), San Diego State, Baylor, UConn, Notre Dame (Triple Double Diggins) and Stanford (CO sets school rebounding record: 24).

Duke fans know their chances for a Final Four were dealt a significant blow when Gray went down. The Blue Devils didn’t miss a beat, though, taking down Florida State and Maryland in comfortable fashion.

St. John’s still on a roll.

Staying in New York: Fordham got a great win over St. Joe’s. Had to take the Hawks to OT to earn their 10th A-10 win and their first 20-win season in 19 years.

A little agita on the sidelines for Tennessee coaches (win), Kentucky coaches (loss), Quinnipiac (win – NEC Champeens), Syracuse (loss – to that feisty USF team), Cal (win) and Southern (loss- giving Alcorn State their 2nd SWAC win), Delaware (win, by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin) and TAMU (lossVandy’s Clark for 30.).

More Bracketology means a road game for Notre Dame?

Let’s get right to addressing the glaring issue in this week’s projected bracket: Notre Dame, a No. 1 seed, potentially would have to play LSU in the second round in Baton Rouge, La.

The pairing obviously is not an ideal situation. However, it’s also not unprecedented. And while the committee (and I) will try to avoid such a scenario, sometimes it just can’t be helped.

The problem started with the addition of St. John’s to the field. That brought the total number of host schools in the tournament to 15. In other words, all but one sub-regional (Columbus, Ohio) will include a host school. That’s great for potential tournament attendance. It’s also a bracketing nightmare.

Nice find from FOB Sue: Miss Basketball’s son carves out his own stellar career

For a while, the chants rang out from the home student section earlier this winter at Concord’s McCuen Gym every time Memorial’s Markese McGuire touched the basketball.

“Your mom’s better! … Your mom’s better!”

There’s any number of ways the chants could’ve been taken.

If the history-appreciating fans meant that McGuire’s mom is better than their own moms — actually an about-face on what all loyal sons once claimed on the playground — well, yeah, that’s a fairly safe bet.

After all, Kim (Barrier) McGuire is still the only Indiana Mr. or Miss Basketball that Elkhart County has ever produced.

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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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checking it twice.

Yup, it’s that time of year: planning for the Maggie Dixon Classic. Held at the Garden, this year’s double-header (11am, 1pm) features: La Tech (Spoon) v. Rutgers (CViv) and Duke (Coach P) and St. John’s (thenewguy).

I’m putting together a list of folks and will send out a “ya want?” email later on in the year. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with an awesome MSG person (oddly enough, not an oxymoron) who’s gotten us great seats at a generous group rate.

How it works: It’s an honor system. I collect a list of folks, and when it nears purchase time I send out a “confirming you do/don’t want tickets and how many?” email. When I get a total, I purchase a group of tickets. I then mail’em out (or hand deliver, in some cases) and you respond with a check or slip me some cash the day of.

If you’re interested in being part of the WHB Maggie Dixon Classic Horde (last year I think we numbered 53), drop me a note at Womenshoopsblog @ gmail.

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Since ESPN doesn’t have a “Player Tranfers” page, Rebkell does.

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35-10 in 35 minutes, leading her Bears to the 83-68 victory.

But N.O. matched Griner’s output and then some (39/10 in 39min) — basically slinging the Trees onto her back and carrying them past a very game South Carolina team, 76-60.Writes Michelle: Stanford senior caps big day of women’s hoops with equally impressive performance

On a night when the spotlight was supposed to belong to Duke’s Chelsea Gray and her three rows of supporters who made the 75-mile trip from Stockton, Stanford’s Nneka Ogwumike took it away.

On a day when Brittney Griner dunked and led Baylor into the Elite Eight, Ogwumike took a little of that limelight, too.

And on a night when Stanford was more uncomfortable than it has been in weeks, Ogwumike simply took over.

Wonder how her legs will feel when she goes up against Duke — who simply obliterated St. John’s, 74-47, and got to distribute the minutes nicely.

Tennessee bumbled about a bit before they got their act together in the second half. Even though they came away with the 84-73 win, if they start like that against Baylor, the game could get out of hand right quick. From Mechelle: Underclassmen lead Tennessee – Lady Vols win for first time this season after trailing at halftime

More Mechelle: Baylor, Tennessee to meet again – Lady Bears beat Lady Vols 76-67 in Knoxville, Tenn., last Nov. 27

“We had heard and read where, I guess in the Big 12 we don’t get pressed like that very often, and that they have guards as good as Sims in the ACC. And that motivates you. We handled their great pressure defense.”

Uh … if that didn’t read as sardonic as it actually sounded, rest assured it was Mulkey’s way of saying she really didn’t care much for the pregame suggestion that Georgia Tech’s defense would disrupt the Lady Bears. Not much gets past Mulkey — actually, make that nothing gets past her — and she tends to be particularly motivated by slights, either real or perceived.

Mechelle also has her Des Moines Elite Eight breakdown

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“Big Red.”

Meanwhile, when McNeese State, UConn, St. John’s and others are Preparing to face a Shot Swatter, they use other props.

From the Times: St. John’s No Longer Has to Dream of California

Da’Shena Stevens, a Connecticut snowbird, gazed lovingly at a long row of palm trees in front of the Save Mart Center here. Shenneika Smith, a daughter of Brooklyn, adored the sunny skies over her head and the lack of earthquakes going on under her feet.

As for Kim Barnes Arico, their coach at St. John’s, she put down the game film, made for the nearest In-N-Out burger joint and wolfed down a cheeseburger and fries.

“And a strawberry milkshake,” Barnes Arico said with a smile.

Excuse the St. John’s players for acting as if they haven’t been here before. Because they haven’t.

From Rich Elliot at the Connecticut News: Auriemma Happy With Penn State Deal, Fond Of Washington

I thought when she got the job, I thought it was a great, great hire by Penn State,’’ Auriemma said. “And they’ve done a phenomenal job since she’s been there. And I’ve been on a bunch of committees with her, including the board of directors of the WBCA, and she’s one of the most impressive young people that I’ve come across in a long, long time. She’s kind of got a whole lot of things in place. Notre Dame, an assistant there. Law school grad. Trying to run a family. It’s just a lot. And doing it at a place like Penn State where you’re in the Big 10 and it’s not just any school. I’ve got to tell you … I’m really, really impressed with the job that she’s done. There may not be five other coaches in her age group that are better than she is.’’

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Over at HoopFeed: Dishin & Swishin February 23, 2012 Podcast

Today’s podcast features St. John’s women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico and a mini-roundtable with Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press and Wendy Parker of Basketball Times.

There’s also a Dishin & Swishin Special: Pokey Chatman from Russia on the signing of Ticha Penicheiro

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Huge, huge, HUGE win for a St. John’s team that is finally healthy.

They go in to Storrs on Senior Night, with a 99-game home winning streak on the line, take UConn’s best shot early, then nail shot after shot, keeping their cool, flustering the Huskies until… tada! It looks like UConn’s going to squeeze out the 2pt win courtesy of their defense BUT, St John’s has the ball in their hands and, with 8 seconds left, Shenneika Smith nails the three-pointer: Red Storm 57, UConn 56. (Anyone remember a certain Aussie named Jessica Foley did something similar?)

What a delightful shot (there was?) of the St. John’s kids on the front page of ESPN. Doesn’t it seems like we’ve seen a lot of shots like that this season? How cool!

The Penguins of Youngstown tried to pull of a similar upset of Green Bay — had’em down 5 with about a minute left in the game…. then poof! It was tied. And then it was overtime, and then it was an opportunity missed. This time it was Ritchie to the Rescue.

Baylor, too, suffered from the Feb. blahs and Texas Tech almost took advantage. Didn’t manage to complete the deal, but you gotta believe all those fans in Waco were reaching for the Tums as BG struggled (yes, she got a double-double, but was 5-14), Simms too. Fortunately, there was enough Destiny to go around. Bears 56, Raiders 51, Baylor Big 12 champeens.

In a match up initials, SIUE (10-4, OVC) took down EIU (12-2), 59-54.

Bowling Green has clinched a share of the Division and, yes, coach Curt is back.

Middle Tennessee State, 14-0 (Sun Belt). (Oh, and don’t mess with coach Insell.)

Wow — was there something in the air tonight? Liberty (12-2, Big South) can’t escape Winthrop (8-5), and goes down in Flames: 71-69.

Yes, clearly there was: BU earned its first conference loss against Albany, 48-41. (I know that Boston stinks at supporting women’s sports — but, jeez, you think the Globe or Herald would notice the team.)

Dang, did I jinx’em? San Diego goes down to BYU, 64-50.

Yup, I jinxed’em: La Tech got hammered by Hawai’i, 61-49.

It’s just all bad deep in the heart of Texas: Longhorns lose to Kansas State by 20. Is Gail’s seat so hot that she has to get out of the pan and find a different fire?

Wowza — West Virginia had no-mentum, as DePaul exploded for 53 in the second (and to rally from 14 down) to snare the win, 77-63. Looking at their records (not RPI and such), this match up is a perfect example of how hard it is to figure out the rankings. The Mountaineers have a huge win (ND) and a record of 19-7 (9-4) while the Blue Demons are 20-7 (8-5). And guess who’s ranked #20?

That’s Toledo at 11-2 in the MAAC. Again, this is without their best player.

Stanford enjoyed making soup out of the Ducks, 81-46, clinching their “first” Pac-12 title. N.O. had a double-double in 23 minutes. C.O was one rebound away from having one in 27 minutes. Must be discouraging for coach Paul — earlier in the season, Oregon, at Maples, kept it within 23.

Cal got a fight from Oregon State, but prevailed 75-68. So, what’s Rueck’s rank in the Pac-12 COY race? And when do Cal and Stanford play again?

In the Summit, Oral Roberts (12-4) had to go to overtime to take down the Mastodons (5-10). Congrats to junior Kevi Luper, who became ORU’s career scoring leader (2193+) and steal(er?) (374 and counting).

American U took care of business against the Black Knights of Army, and now are 12-0 in the Patriot League. And League champeens. (Why are they a League and not a Conference?)

Not to be outdone, St. Bonaventure ran their conference record to 12-0 with their 18-pt win over Xavier.

FGCU is hitting their stride: they took down the Hatters 79-56, and now are 16-0 in the A-Sun. (And conference champeens.)

Great game in the MEAC (though not one Debbie and Beth would be cheering about): Howard (12-2) over Coppin State (10-3), 50-49.

Another good game: Davidson (15-2, Southern) took down Appalachian State (15-2), 61-54.

That sigh of relief was Missouri getting their first win in the Big 12. (And it may mean no NCAA tourney for Kansas.)

Wonder how much coach Donovan is enjoying non-WNBA life: Her Seton Hall team is now 0-13 in the Big East.

Once upon a time in 2010, IUPUI was a hot mess. So, I’m just pointing out that, with their win over South Dakota (18-7, 9-6), second year coach Austin Parkinson has them at 7-8 in the Summit.

Speaking of hot messes that are no longer hot messes: Fresno State took care of business against Utah State, and the Bulldogs are still undefeated in the WAC.

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St. John’s McKenith Out With (sprained) Knee Injury

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No. 1 Baylor’s 6-foot-8 Griner presents challenge

St. John’s assistant coaches held up a broom in practice last week trying to simulate Baylor’s 6-foot-8 star Brittney Griner and her ability to block shots.

It didn’t come close to the real thing.

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the Lib are collaborating with St. John’s.

If you email thomas.berman10@stjohns.edu or call 718-990-6502 you can get tickets that include a Meet & Greet with Teresa Weatherspoon after the double-header on Dec. 17: 1 PM St. John’s v. Prairie View (wouldn’t it have been fun if Coop still coached them?) and 3PM LaTech v. American.

And no, we haven’t heard anything about *edit fix. thx tara* Nadirah McKenith’s (not Eugeneia McPherson) knee injury.

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Yes, Baylor won (though they got more of a tussle than anyone expected) and Tennessee won, but the day offered so many other things. From Graham: Lady Vols follow Summitt’s example

Monday morning headline: Tennessee aces new test.

Tennessee has a heck of a role model when it comes to leadership under adversity.

During a timeout in the opening game of Sunday’s Maggie Dixon Classic between Baylor and St. John’s, Tennessee coach Pat Summitt made her way onto the court at Madison Square Garden to accept an award named for the late coach and given to members of the women’s basketball community fighting particularly courageous battles. Even in the midst of a game proving to be closer than most expected, the players and coaches of both teams broke their huddles, stood and applauded, one testament in a day full of them to just how universal is the support for the legendary coach of the Lady Vols as she battles early onset Alzheimer’s.

By comparison, playing 40 minutes of basketball without a freshman point guard is hard to file under the category of a hardship. On the other hand, the essence of Summitt’s battle — to some degree the essence of her career — is that you fight the battles in front of you, no questions asked and no excuses given.

From Harvey Araton at the Times: Summitt Still Inspires, Often in Silence

But even as Summitt assumed the familiar position she has held for 38 years — at the head of the Tennessee bench, arms folded, eyes darting — there was the inescapable feeling that so much has changed since Summitt, 59, revealed in August that she has early onset Alzheimer’s.

Standing tall in her trademark pantsuit, Summitt still barked commands to her players — “hands up, get back, box out.” But in the huddles, the coaching trenches, it was her assistants whose words rang loud.

From Richard at SI: All eyes on Summitt at Madison Square Garden

The sparse Madison Square Garden crowd, clearly punch drunk from an 11:00 a.m. tipoff, got its first glimpse of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt late in the second half of top-ranked Baylor’s win over St. John. This was the early game of the annual Maggie Dixon women’s basketball doubleheader, and when the Lady Vols coach arrived at center court during an extended time out, the crowd of 2,000 or so woke up and cheered.

From Swish Appeal, you have lots of stuff on the games from Ray and Queenie:

Tennessee Lady Vols Roll over DePaul Blue Demons in Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor 73, St. John’s 59 at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Baylor Lady Bears Claim Hard-Fought Win At MSG

Tennessee Overpowers DePaul

Photos From The Maggie Dixon Classic: Baylor Lady Bears, DePaul Blue Demons & Tennessee Lady Vols

The Maggie Dixon Classic: A Tempo Free Look

 

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So, with these games on Sunday featuring Griner & Co. and coach Summitt and crew, don’t you have a sudden urge to come to New York on December 11th and join me and my crew of 50 women’s basketball fans to watch the Maggie Dixon Classic?

Tickets for the Maggie Dixon Classic start at $20.00 and go on sale Friday, October 7th at noon. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.thegarden.com.

The Dixon family and Madison Square Garden will honor Lady Vols’ head coach Pat Summitt with the Maggie Dixon Courage Award. Summitt recently announced that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia. Distributed annually, the award is presented to an individual who exhibits courage in the face of adversity and continue to exemplify Maggie’s mantra of never allowing adversity to get in the way of achieving a dream.

Of course you do!

I’ve got an extra pair ($35, Section 11) if you can handle the pressure of courtside and being part of the loudest section in the Garden. Just drop me a line: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com. (Oh, and if you go through Ticketmaster-esque site or the Garden, ignore the fact that the Baylor game isn’t mentioned or that the Classic isn’t a “featured” event.)

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of basketball. Tonight’s crew is going to have to pull out the stop to match’em. Mechelle sizes up the games.

Every team except Green Bay that will be playing in the second round of the women’s NCAA tournament Tuesday night has previously been to the Sweet 16. Even though for some of them, it has been a long time.

That includes No. 3 seed Miami, which faces sixth-seeded Oklahoma on Tuesday for a trip to the Dayton Regional semifinals.

About last night:

The Stomp:

#1 Stanford was pushed in the first, but pulled away in the second behind their sister act to take down the #9 Red Storm, 75-49. Writes Michelle Smith:

Connecticut. Tennessee. Duke. Texas. DePaul. Gonzaga. UCLA. Xavier. Rutgers.

All have been to Maples Pavilion in the last four years. None of them have won.

Now add St. John’s to that list.

The Stanford seniors bade farewell to their beloved home court Monday night in impressive style, as the top-seeded Cardinal overcame an early eight-point deficit to blow past ninth-seeded Red Storm, 75-49.

So it’s time for the final tally: 63-0. Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen walked off the floor for the last time in their careers never having experienced the disappointment of a home-court loss.

The Semi-Stomp:

#2 Notre Dame took a lead into the half and maintained it through the second half to defeat the #10 Owls, 77-64.

Notre Dame had the impressive NCAA tourney resume.With a dominating inside game Monday night, the Fighting Irish just padded it some more.Their 77-64 victory over Temple advanced the Irish to the regional semifinals for the ninth time, and second in a row.It wasn’t exactly easy as Temple refused to quit, pulling within five points early in the second half and within nine late thanks to a defense that forced 19 turnovers. But when they needed a play, the Irish got it.

Almost a stumble:

It’s not as if #1 Tennessee was totally out of sorts as much as it was that #8 Marquette simply would not stop. Writes Mechelle:

…for a while, it looked like the Golden Eagles just might be able to pull what would have been one of the bigger upsets ever in the women’s NCAA tournament. Not because Marquette isn’t a strong team; the Golden Eagles proved they were. But because Tennessee has been impossible to beat at home in Thompson-Boling Arena in NCAA tournament games.

That record remained intact, but not until after the Orange Nation probably needed to munch on a Tums or two.

It was a tale of halves: the first one went to #6 Penn State, the second to #3 DePaul, as the Blue Demons survived, 75-73. PA native Keisha Hampton’s free throws were the difference. Writes Graham:

The NCAA tournament isn’t sentimental. It’s thrilling precisely because it’s ruthless, an unfeeling entity that exists not to reward the valiant or the deserving but simply the team that scores more points.

If you want a happy ending, you have to go out and write it yourself. And DePaul junior Keisha Hampton wrote one for her seniors Monday night.

#2 Duke was down, then up, then survived as Marist gave’em all they could handle, even after losing their best player to an ankle injury. From DWHoops.com:

Incredibly, Marist’s resolve hardened even further when their star guard Erica Allenspach when down with an injury and did not return. The Red Foxes pushed the lead to 11 on a couple of occasions and still led by 6 late in the game, but Chelsea “The Closer” Gray led the late charge, along with key baskets from Jasmine & Krystal Thomas. The mantra from the players after the game was simply “Survive and advance”. Duke played poorly for much of the game but their experience, toughness and resolve allowed them to ultimately prevail.

#5 Georgia Tech had a slim halftime lead over #4 Ohio State, but Lavender said, “Nope.” (Um, AP editor? How do you let someone get away with a sentence like this: “MaChelle Joseph said when Lavender got untracked, the game shifted.”

“She is the best post player in the country, and one of the top three players,” Joseph said. “She was aggressive in the second half. In the first half, she was a little passive, setting picks outside away from the basket. But then they started getting the ball to her on the block.”

The Trip Ups

#5 North Carolina was up on #4 Kentucky by 10 at the half and won by 12. I don’t know that I’m surprise the Wildcats fell, but I’m slightly surprised it was the Tar Heels who took’em down.

“We just haven’t had a game like that that our team just wouldn’t go to the boards,” Mitchell said. “We just got caught standing in the middle. So we wouldn’t go rebound, jogging back, it was a real uncharacteristic game for us. That’s why I’m so disappointed I could not get the team motivated to play North Carolina.”I thought it was a very pathetic performance in transition. When you let North Carolina get out and go 3-on-1 and you’re just jogging back; lights out, you’re done. It was one of the most disappointing performances I’ve ever seen from our team here at Kentucky.”

The Bruins were up by three over the Bulldogs, but Standish and Vandersloot put down the hammer and pushed #11 Gonzaga to a 89-75 win over #3 UCLA. (Vandersloot became the first player in Division I history — men or women — to record 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in her career.) Write Mechelle:

…no one can argue that Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves has built a terrific program in Spokane, and Vandersloot has been the centerpiece. The senior guard was sensational Monday: 29 points, 17 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals. During the game, she scored the 2,000th point of her career. Are you watching, WNBA scouts?

And it’s not too often that a player could score 30 points and be overshadowed by her teammate, but Gonzaga’s Kayla Standish was. Not that she minded.

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which may explain why Notre Dame got blown out and Baylor got blown over.

In retrospect, we should have been paying more attention to the game at Texas Tech. #1 Baylor hadn’t been playing particularly elegantly and Texas Tech had been rumbling. But really, who expected that yesterday Kristy Curry would get the biggest victory of her tenure with the Red Raiders?

“I don’t think we ever had a doubt that we couldn’t do it from the beginning,” Tech sophomore guard Casey Morris said. “We know we can beat Texas A&M, we know we can beat Baylor, and we know we can beat anybody.

Wrote Mechelle: Pumped up Texas Tech upsets Baylor

…perhaps it’s really not very surprising that Tech’s still-simmering emotions helped result in a big upset.

Texas Tech bottled up Baylor’s offense, while coach Kim Mulkey’s team seemed to have bottled up much of its passion. Which actually was understandable, even if it might have cost Baylor on this particular day.

They got the New York Time’s attention:

The Lady Raiders wore pink jerseys and the arena was blanketed in the color as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. The outside of the arena was blanketed by circulars that spoke to the venom that those involved with the conference rivalry also hoped to see eradicated.

For the first time this season, there were signs posted at every entrance encouraging fans to be loud and “get crazy,” but reminding them that profanity, racist or sexist comments, running onto the court and throwing anything onto the court were grounds for removal from the arena.

At Baylor’s request, there were four state troopers — twice the usual number — behind the visiting bench. Dan Burns, the associate director of the arena, said, “We want to ensure the safety of our guests.”

Meanwhile, #2 UConn spotted Notre Dame a 7-point lead and then took over behind their freshmen Bria Hartley (29pts/5 assts) and Stefanie Dolson (15pts) and rolled to a 19-pt win.

There was some upsey daisys in the Big East: Rutgers stomped #21 Marquette by 21 and Syracuse defeated #22 St. John’s by 11.

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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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Don’t tell that to #2 UConn and #13 Notre Dame, who put on a helluva a show yesterday. In a back and forth and back and forth game in a packed Joyce Center, it was Indiana native Kelly Faris who gave UConn the 79-76 victory, with Husky freshman Dolson sealing the victory with free throws.

“I just think sometimes it gets lost that this isn’t the team that won 78 in a row,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “This is a team that’s won 14 games. So they took a big step forward today by winning a game on the road where I think Notre Dame, I would bet you, outplayed us in just about every category — more points in the paint, more points in transition, more bench points, more offensive rebounds. Notre Dame outplayed us in every area today, and the last four minutes of the game, we won the game. That’s kind of how basketball goes sometimes.”

It took double overtime, but unranked Marquette took down #15 Georgetown, 75-73.

Missouri came back from 12 down in the final minutes of regulation to send it into OT and then upset No. 22 Texas 85-80.

#16 DePaul defeated #18 St. John’s handily, 69-54. (If Queenie was there she’ll write about it here.)

#21 Iowa sent #20 Ohio St. to their fourth loss in six game, 89-76.

Led by a very strong backcourt performance, Iowa prevailed 89-76 in front of 9,865 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Not all of them spent the entire game booing Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis — she’s not very popular in these parts after last season’s Big Ten tournament title game — but the junior guard certainly got an earful all afternoon.

#1 Baylor handled their new ranking, earning a 70-58 win over #17 Iowa State (even with BG had a little foul trouble).

Green Bay was in a tussle with Cleveland St., but emerged victorious, 64-55.

Of course, there was some stomping going on.

#4 Stanford by…holy kamole…47 over a team that shall remain nameless.

#12 UCLA by 19 over USC.

#19 Oklahoma by 20 over Nebraska.

#6 West Virginia by 28 over Cincinnati.

#7 Texas A&M by 29 over Colorado.

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