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“There are no upsets in women’s basketball” are simply out-of-touch neanderthals.

’cause lookee what Graham said! Not only did he name the Penguins the “Team of the week,” he noted it was “a weekend in which nine ranked teams lost to opponents that were either ranked lower or unranked.”

And honestly, looking at some of the records of those unranked teams only makes the upsets even more stunning.

Kansas State took down #13 Iowa State by 6 (making one ponder the Cyclones’ pre-conference schedule.)

Not to be outdone by their in-state rival, Kansas became a Bear-toppler as Baylor left Texas for the first time this season and not only lost back-to-back for the first time since 2010, but they also lost their nation-leading road win streak and their 44 or is it 53-game conference win streak. That earned Kansas’ Gardner is player of week honors. Wrote Mechelle:

Mulkey knew her young players were perhaps too buoyed by their performance against UConn and not ready for potential adversity on the road in the Big 12. She said she saw the “deer in the headlights” look from several of them Sunday.

Baylor senior guard Odyssey Sims had 31 points, but it took her a school-record 37 shot attempts to get that. She made 13 shots from the field and 3 of 5 free throws. Combined with her 4-of-25 night against UConn, Sims has shot 27.4 percent (17-of-62) in her last two games.

#24 Vandy stayed red-hot with its 9-point win over #14 LSU.

“Vanderbilt did a nice job of getting the right players the right shots at the right times,” head coachNikki Caldwell said. “They didn’t force anything, they played within their gameplan and they did a good job of sharing the basketball. We have to be more discipline in our halfcourt defense and not miss assignments. We just weren’t aware and alert, that hurt us. We have to be more serious about our defensive effort.”

Miami’s Saunders went toe-to-toe with #20 NC State’s Gatling, and the Hurricanes earned the upset by 9.

Saunders joked that the rim has never looked that big for her in her career.

“It was pretty huge,” Saunders said. “I was really feeling it, and it was a great feeling. My teammates found me in great places, all of my guards have great vision, and I was just happy they were able to find me and I was able to knock it down.”

Flip-the-coin-and-see-which-team-you-get #22 Purdue eked out the upset over #18 Nebraska by 2. This has sure become a fun B10 rivalry.

In the “almost” vein –

#10 Kentucky escaped Auburn (11-7, 2-3), 73-71… and the Tigers had a chance in the final seconds.

“Besides the fact that we blew it, I don’t know what to really say,” Tigers head coach Terri Williams-Flournoy said. “The opportunity was there, we played hard, sometimes we just didn’t do everything that we needed to do like rebounding the basketball on the defensive end.”

#3 Duke showed it IS missing Gray, but leaned on Liston to escape Virginia Tech, 74-70.

Meanwhile:

“Remember when Geno said, “`I have Diana Taurasi and you don’t’?” Stringer said. “That’s what he means. Breanna’s the No. 1 player in the country, right? She’s the best player in the nation. It doesn’t mean they can’t be beaten but it’s Connecticut and everybody else.”

Said Auriemma of the (almost) “end of an era”:

“It was one of the better games we’ve played here in a very long time,” Auriemma said of the ease with which his team went about its business. “But it didn’t even feel like we were at Rutgers. I don’t know what’s going on. The last two games – maybe the fans are feeling sorry for me now that I am getting older. When I was younger they didn’t treat me like that.”

In other games –

Get mojo back? Check! San Diego handled BYU, 60-45.

Keep improving? Check! St. Francis (NY) wins.

Continue to challenge for the Horizon? Check! Penguins ruuuuule!

Let go of the Horizon? Not so fast! Green Bay took down Cleveland State, 90-72.

Run away with the Big Sky? Not so fast (Pt. 2)! North Dakota stumbles against Montana State, 76-65.

Clear leader in the A-10? Not so fast! Dayton over Fordham, 73-64 and St. Joe’s over La Salle.

An itty bit of revenge? Yup! Drexel over Delaware. Dragons and JMU are 3-0 in the CAA.

Oregon continues to score a lot and lose a lot. And USC is now the first team ever to score 100 points at the Galen Center AND 6-1 in the Pac-12.

Adding to the OT list:

Charlie tries to make sense of the wins and loses in his new Bracketology. (Though I probably would have procrastinated until AFTER tonight’s Tennessee/ND game.)

And, on this MLK day, I invite you to read Kate Fagan’s piece.

Nobody wakes up one morning and understands the experiences of everyone who is “other.The goal is to keep our minds open and be willing to listen — to realize that even when we think we get it, sometimes something happens that makes it clear we have so much more to learn.

And in those moments, the only wrong move is digging in your heels.

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Welcome to the SEC, Missouri. #10 Georgia wins, 77-46.

Welcome to the SEC, TAMU. The Aggies pummeled Alabama, 91-52.

The Hilltoppers continue winning, as their 78-69 win over AR-Little Rock puts them at 5-0 in the Sun Belt.

Michigan State’s win over Minnesota puts them at 13-1. We’ll learn more about them when they meet their next opponent, #9 Penn State. The Lions defeated Northwestern, 73-69.

Kim has her Michigan team at 12-2. Iowa next.

Iowa takes down Ohio State, 77-71.

Presbyterian moved to 3-0 in the Big South with their (first time ever) win over Liberty, 51-49.

Not a good day to be a team from Mississippi: LSU took down Ole Miss, Vandy stomped all over Mississippi State.

Creighton opened conference play with a 81-60 win over Southern Illinois.

A strong second half pushed #3 Duke to a win over NC State, 67-57.

Zone in the second half pushed #12 Tennessee to a comfortable win over #18 South Carolina, 73-53.

Georgia Tech gave them a run for their money, but #19 Florida State emerged victorious, 85-78.

Florida tried, but #6 Kentucky prevailed, 76-69.

Auburn (they’re making some noise) takes down #23 Arkansas, 50-47.

#15 North Carolina held on for the win against #8 Maryland, 60-57.

With a hat tip to Doug Feinberg: the AP’s Pat Graham writes: Off to 11-0 start, CU steadily gaining recognition

Off to an 11-0 start, the Buffaloes are definitely a cheerful and chipper bunch these days. Only, it’s now time to turn serious as No. 20 Colorado hosts fourth-ranked Stanford on Friday night in the Pac-12 Conference opener.

Or is it?

The reason for the Buffaloes’ success on the court may be as simple as this: They just don’t take themselves too seriously.

Others are, of course. Or at least beginning to, anyway.

The writers are getting ready for the Notre Dame/UConn game on Saturday, 4pm EST on CBS:

Debbie and Beth are back with their podcast: They preview the SEC, ACC and Pac 12 as well as the UConn-Notre Dame game. Plus, they’re joined by Oklahoma State coach Jim Littell.

NCAA.com: Connecticut and Notre Dame meet again

Michelle: Breanna Stewart exceeding the hype

Compliments from Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma come neither easily nor frequently.

So when he said recently that freshman forward Breanna Stewart “has the opportunity to be a good as anyone we’ve ever brought here,” it was high praise indeed.

When you are the top recruit in the country and choose to join Auriemma’s program in Storrs, hype inevitably follows.

Rebecca Lobo: One of top rivalries resumes Saturday – Top-ranked and unbeaten UConn hosts No. 5 Notre Dame at Gampel Pavilion

Connecticut versus Notre Dame has become one of my favorite rivalry games in women’s college basketball over the past few years. The contests have been close and there is always something at stake. And when you add the players’ and coaches’ distaste for one another, the game becomes even juicier. Here are some of the matchups within the game that will be worth watching:

Graham: Freshman Loyd ahead of schedule

When Jewell Loyd was in junior high, she worked out with her older brother on the basketball court. He wasn’t trying to get her ready for the eighth grade team, he told her. He was preparing her for varsity.

The instruction continued when she made it to Niles West High School in the Chicago area, by which time Jarryd Loyd had already played four seaons for Valparaiso University and embarked on a career in professional basketball that eventually took him to Poland, New Zealand and more than a few map points between them.

Now the older brother was readying her for college.

Notre Dame: #5 Irish Open BIG EAST Play At #1 Connecticut Saturday

Notre Dame: Healthy Mabrey adds to Irish options

Michaela Mabrey climbed up the steps to the stage of the basketball auditorium at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion, and eased herself into a chair, a bag of ice wrapped around her right ankle.

“I’m completely healthy,” Mabrey insisted. “The ankle is just a little sore after games.”

UConn: Kiah Stokes getting closer to returning

UConn: Auriemma, Hartley Discuss Benching At Oregon

UConn: Geno Auriemma(isms) From Friday’s Press Briefing

UConn: Notre Dame Has Had UConn’s Number In Recent Big Games

From the West Coast, Jayda has: Huskies’ Kristi Kingma glad to be back on court for Washington

In WNBA news, Mechelle writes about Donovan’s return to WNBA with Sun

Coach Anne Donovan is headed back to the WNBA, taking over at Connecticut in an Eastern Conference that will have both a new and old look to it in 2013. It’s intriguing — especially because right up until the WNBA Finals started this past October, the Western Conference really seemed to have the East trumped.

At that point, no currently existing East team had won a WNBA title. The championship teams from each of the three previous seasons — Phoenix in 2009, Seattle in 2010 and Minnesota in 2011 — were from the West. The 2013 No. 1 draft pick was headed to the West, as Phoenix won the Brittney Griner sweepstakes in the lottery held after the regular season.

The East was pretty clearly the league’s second banana. But then …

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Check out these shooting percentages: 7-43 (.163) and 17-62 (.274)

Good news for Portland from Walter Villa:

Last month, the University of Portland women’s basketball coaches received an early Christmas present, and it came, fittingly enough, from very near the North Pole.

Hannah Mattson, a 5-foot-10 senior combo guard from West Valley (Fairbanks, Alaska), signed with the Pilots, who were thrilled to get the state’s reigning Gatorade Player of the Year.

Learn a little bit more about Baylor signee Nina Davis and UConn signee Saniya Chong

Pressure is the enemy of many an athlete. Somehow, it is not an enemy of Chong’s. Pressure has turned the high school senior into a national superstar. Pressure got her a full ride to the most prestigious college basketball program in the country. At the biggest moment, in front of the most eyes, the quiet girl is simply better.

Geno Auriemma didn’t recruit the 5-foot-9 guard to UConn because of this quality. He recruited her because she handles the ball and hits 3s and flies up the court like she’s trying to catch the last bus. But when UConn finds itself in a tight NCAA tournament game with four minutes left and the ball in her hands, he’ll be happy her brain works the way it does.

Quadruple-double anyone? How about a Crazy girls basketball buzzer beater

And how about d’em Flyin’ Flyers?

From the files of the strange but true, no team has learned more from a loss this season than one of only 11 teams that remain unbeaten.

Dayton opened practice this fall without the seven seniors who made up more than half of last season’s roster, a group that included four multiyear starters and key components of three consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament. In their place came seven freshmen, as well as six returning players with just 35 career starts among them (all but 10 of which belonged to one player, sophomore Andrea Hoover). Flyers coach Jim Jabir hoped the returnees would take ownership of the program, hoped the freshmen would live up to the reputations that made the class one of the highest rated outside BCS conferences. But hope in October is a long way from certainty in November.

The Ducks get cooked. Again.

Ex-Georgetown head coach gets her 150th victory: George Washington women’s basketball falls to Terri Williams-Flournoy, Auburn

Speaking of milestones: Penn State Women’s Basketball: Coquese Washington Earns 100th Victory in 60-41 Win at Virginia Tech

So, an undefeated Buffalo walks on to the court and meets a 9-1 Cardinal… wonder what will happen.

It can be a slooooooow process: Azzi rebuilding San Francisco

Everyone who knows Azzi as a leader and motivator thought she had a decent shot at turning around a moribund Dons program falling further behind the pace set in the West Coast Conference by Gonzaga. But reconstructing a basketball program takes time. It takes energy. Patience. And most of all, as Azzi has discovered, the ability to identify talent and then recruit it.

“We are not even close to there yet,” Azzi said Tuesday. “Would I like it to be sooner? Sure. But I don’t think anyone expected it to happen overnight.”

A nice WATN? New role, same competitive drive – Jackie Stiles is in her first season as an assistant at Loyola Marymount in L.A.

Once the girl from Claflin, always the girl from Claflin.

And once infatuated by basketball, always infatuated by basketball.

A decade after she played her last competitive game in the WNBA, Stiles is in her first season as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, her first coaching job. The star of the second Missouri State team to reach the Final Four (the school dropped “Southwest” from its name in 2005), Stiles now works for Elliott, a standout on the first Missouri State team to reach the national semifinals in 1992.

Ouch: UNT Notebook: Godbolt dismissed from women’s basketball team

Mike Carmin writes: Purdue women’s basketball: 5 things we’ve learned, 5 things we don’t know

Oklahoma women’s basketball: Whitney Hand is ‘OK’ with the end of college career- Hand, who suffered a second career knee injury, has done a lot of processing since the injury a week ago. “It is what it is, and I’ve done what I’ve done.”

WNBA players are now entering a “Flop-Free Zone.”

With a h/t to Friend of the Blog Anonymous: Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve down at St Olaf College in Northfield, MN for a lecture on women and sports. It was a great event.  She offered some candid observations about the WNBA, the future of the league, lowering the hoops, female coaches in the NBA: .The Penalty Box: Reeve hits Northfield and some audio-multimedia.

 

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Georgetown’s loss is Auburn’s gain: Terri Williams-Flournoy Named Women’s Basketball Coach

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Bill Fennelly Named Head Coach of 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team

A three-time gold medal winner as a USA assistant coach, USA Basketball today announced that Iowa State University’s Bill Fennelly will return to the USA sideline as head coach of the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team. Serving as assistant coaches will be Suzie McConnell-Serio (Duquesne University) and Terri Williams-Flournoy (Georgetown University).

The trio will look to defend the USA’s 2009 gold medal at the 2011 World University Games women’s basketball competition August 14-21 in Shenzhen, China.

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