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In anticipation of Tuesday

Mechelle writes: Loss is perfect primer for Aggies – Falling to Purdue on Sunday will remind Texas A&M what it must avoid against UConn

Some might think the bloom is off the rose a bit for Tuesday’s UConn-Texas A&M game because the Aggies suffered their first loss of the season Sunday, 60-51 at Purdue. But that defeat just might have been what Texas A&M needed to be more prepared for what it’ll face in Connecticut.

Chat with The Gary at 3pmEST.

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Texas A&M – NY Times: College Teams Relying On Deception Undermine Gender Equity; Byrne Responds

The New York Times published a story on Tuesday questioning our compliance with Title IX and specifically referenced our national champion women’s basketball team and the male A&M students who practice with the team.

We are very proud of our Title IX compliance at Texas A&M and feel that we are leaders nationally in this area. In fact, every year we have a third party fully evaluate our Title IX compliance. Such an evaluation is not mandated.

Unfortunately, facts can get in the way of accurately reporting a story, especially when looking at an easy target like the recent national champion of women’s basketball. Misconceptions and misinformation grows on itself. The New York Times writes things and other media regurgitate the information how they see fit.

Here are the facts.

Title IX essentially gives female student-athletes the same opportunities as male student-athletes. In order to comply with Title IX, one of the tests is the proportion of male vs. female students enrolled at the institution as compared to the proportion of athletic opportunities offered.

Title IX regulations require that an institution NOT count male practice players.

Meanwhile, the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) requires male practice players to be reported as participants on any women’s team they practice with. In 2009-10, we had male practice players associated with women’s basketball, women’s tennis, and volleyball.

The EADA is a different calculation than that used for compliance with Title IX regulations. The bottom line is we are dealing with two separate laws with two separate definitions of a participant. The fact is we reported accurate numbers in each case, and we are compliant with both.

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1) Texas A&M Raises Most Money for Kay Yow Cancer Fund

2) Texas A&M Will Play UConn In Jimmy V Classic

3) Women’s Basketball Recognized at the State Capitol Tuesday

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I guess if you’ve not been watching women’s basketball this season, you might use that word to describe the Notre Dame win over Connecticut, but I wasn’t particularly surprised. Four times WAS the time for the Irish as their growth as a unit over the second half of the season paid huge dividends. UConn, on the other hand, finally fell victim to the reality that was their six-person team: fouls and a player going MIA.

That being said, there was a moment there when you could see Maya pick up on the Husky puppies, throw’em in a knapsack, toss’em over the shoulder and start up Mt. Everest with a determined look in her eye. She simply couldn’t overcome the ferocity and passion of those wearin’ the green.

Now stunning IS what I’d call the Texas A&M win — emotionally stunning, though, more than “how on earth did they do that?” stunning. Watching the Sidneys and company give up 6-8″ inches on the Standford trees, it was stunning that they could out-Georgetown Georgetown’s defensive style and hassle Stanford into 22 TOs (when was the last time you saw 4 charges called and a five second call?). It was a hard, physical game, and people will talk about “tourney play” and how Conference play does or does not prepare you for it. They’ll also talk about that 50-50 call on the dive for the ball. But it was Chiney who was on the bench, it was her teammates who didn’t get back on defense after her sister willed her way to the basket that gave Stanford the lead, and it was somewhat inexplicable end of the game play beautifully defended that ultimately made the difference.

No, ESPN may not like the match up. BUT, that probably means they haven’t been paying attention to the game. Big 12 country is roused. Midwest country is roused. I’m expecting good ratings and a filled house.

Now, for the games.

If you want to hear it from the horse’s mouth, check out the words of the players and coaches during the post-game conferences.

If you want to hear the professionals’ interpretations of the words and game, check out these articles:

Stanford

Indy Star: Stanford alum Rice had her own plan
San Francisco Chronicle: Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer gets help at half
USA Today/Brennan: Title drought continues for Stanford, coach VanDerveer

It’s a statistic that brings a spring chill to Palo Alto. When Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer last won a national title, UConn had none.

In one frantic final minute in the first game of the 2011 NCAA Women’s Final Four, all that frustration played out not in years but seconds, with a frenetic back-and-forth that ended with a rugged underdog, Texas A&M, upsetting No. 1 seed Stanford 63-62.

“My team worked as hard as they could,” a chagrined VanDerveer said after it was over. “You know, we just — we had it. And then we just really needed one more stop.”

Mercury News: Texas A&M stuns Stanford women
San Francisco Chronicle: Texas A&M stuns Stanford in nip-and-tuck affair

Texas A&M

Indy Star: Texas A&M gets last shot on Stanford
Indy Star: Texas A&M’s Tyra White sprints into the final
USAToday: Texas A&M ‘D’ dismisses Stanford in Final Four

The Cardinal had won 27 in a row and were the only team to beat Connecticut this season. But it could not handle the harassment delivered by the Aggies’ Sydneys, backcourt teammates Sydney Colson and Sydney Carter.

“We’re a team that doesn’t give up; we’re never out of a game,” Carter said. “We make sure we’re doing the right thing at the right time.”

Houston Chronicle: A&M women edge Stanford to reach NCAA title game
Houston Chronicle: These Texas Aggies represent everything that’s wonderful about sports, and they’re one game from a national championship

UCONN

The Day: Has this been Geno’s best coaching job?
The Day: End of an era in Indy
The Day: Thank you, Maya, for much more than two national championships

“When I think of Maya Moore,” he said, “I’ll think about the greatest player in the history of the Big East, maybe the best student-athlete in the history of college basketball. I’m not going to let it be defined by what happened tonight.”

And one last thing for Maya Moore: Thank you.

SportsPage Magazine: Mayan Dynasty Ends as UConn, Stanford are Ousted from Tourney
CT Post: Notre Dame upsets UConn in semifinals
Greenwich Time: UConn women’s basketball notebook
USA Today/Brennan: Mighty UConn beatable after all
USA Today: UConn’s tournament streak halts in Indy
Hartford Courant: Notre Dame Ends UConn’s Bid For Third Straight National Title

Notre Dame

South Bend Tribune: Irish dethrone Connecticut
The Observer: Sky high

When sophomore point guard Skylar Diggins sank consecutive free throws with 28 seconds left to give the Irish a nine-point lead, fantasy became reality and hope became result in a 72-63 Notre Dame victory over Connecticut in the national semifinals.

The team’s emotional leader scored a career-high 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting and turned the second half into a complete team comeback in one of the greatest victories in program history.

“I thought Skylar was just amazing, simply amazing today,” Irish coach Muffet McGraw said

South Bend Tribune: Some Final Four fun: Auriemma and McGraw entertain
South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame fearless in big moment
South Bend Tribune: Irish get their one shining moment

Miscellaneous:

Daily News: Maya Moore, UConn women’s basketball upset at Final Four as Notre Dame pulls out 72-63 victory

New York Times/Jere’: Stanford Has Win in Hand, Until It Doesn’t

On basketball recruiting trips from Texas A&M’s campus, Coach Gary Blair frequently drove past the high school in suburban Houston where the Ogwumike sisters honed bounteous athletic and academic skills that would take them to Stanford.

“We recruited them hard,” Blair said. “Lost fair and square.”

On later trips past Cypress-Fairbanks High, Blair convinced himself that Texas A&M’s recruiting cupboard was hardly bare, saying, “Hey, but we’re winning with the kids that chose us.”

Also from the Times/Jere’: Notre Dame Keeps Cool and Topples UConn

Given that the teams were so familiar with each other, Moore predicted that determination would prevail over tactics. “It really does come down to who has the bigger will to win,” she said.

That will belonged most urgently to Diggins, a 5-foot-9 sophomore who grew up near the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind. Kelly Faris is UConn’s top defender, but she could not prevent Diggins from scoring in any way that she wanted, from anywhere on the court.

Christian Science Monitor: Notre Dame, Texas A&M surprise at NCAA women’s Final Four

SBNation: Texas A&M, Notre Dame Win Stunners

SBNation: Notre Dame, UConn Players React To Huge Upset

Boston Globe: Parity coming to fore – Favorites no longer just holding court

Washington Post: Notre Dame knocks off Connecticut to reach national championship game

The Notre Dame women’s basketball team drew exactly the adversary it wanted in the Final Four. Call the Fighting Irish stubborn or just plain silly, but that opponent was none other than powerhouse Connecticut, which had upended Notre Dame three straight times this season and 12 in row overall.

New York Times/Harvey Araton: Upsets Attest to Vitality in Women’s Game

Sports Illustrated/Ann Killion: Texas A&M hands Stanford yet another Final Four disappointment

If women’s basketball wanted new blood, it’s got it now.

Indianapolis turned into Upset City on Sunday night.

Notre Dame knocked off mighty UConn. But the real party-crasher is Texas A&M, a school that didn’t even admit women just half a century ago and has never been to the Final Four until this week. Now it will play for the women’s national championship on Tuesday night, in the 30th anniversary of the NCAA title game.

Sports Illustrated/Richard Deitsch: Diggins, ND outduel Moore, UConn

“In the first half you could see that there was going to be a problem guarding her the whole game,” said UConn coach Geno Auriemma. “But we did a pretty decent job on everybody else. In the second half, we allowed her to get everybody else involved, and then it was not just having to guard Skylar, but it’s the plays that she made for other people. That’s what great players do. They take control of a situation, and she did. “

AP/Doug Feinberg: Notre Dame Upsets UConn 72-63, Heads to Title Game

First Tennessee, now Connecticut — Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame are running over the women’s basketball elite.

From the Insomniacs in Indy -aka the ESPN folks

Graham: Diggins puts on show for Indy crowd

“She does watch a lot, a lot of film because she needs to see what we’re talking about all the time,” Ivey said of Diggins. “And she’s like a sponge of it, so she likes to watch a lot of film.”

But in the days before Sunday’s semifinal against Big East rival Connecticut, Diggins passed on a final round of film study for an opponent already burned into her memory after three previous meetings this season.

As Ivey recalled, “She was just like, ‘Yeah, I’m good, Coach. I’m good.'”

Talk about an understatement. But people will be watching the film of what followed for years to come.

Graham: Lack of depth catches up with UConn

Mechelle: UConn’s Moore leaves incredible legacy

Mechelle: Stanford falls short in semifinals

Mechelle: Inexperienced Aggies clip Cardinal

When Tyra White was a sophomore at Hickman Mills High in Kansas City, Mo., Kansas State really thought it might get her to come play for the Wildcats. But that didn’t work out. LSU eventually won the recruiting battle.

Then Pokey Chatman left/was fired at LSU in March 2007, and White eventually reopened her recruitment. Several schools went after her again. Texas A&M won this time. Then just 4 minutes into the Aggies’ season opener in November 2007, White tore her right ACL.

So it’s been a long trip for White to get to this point: an appearance in the NCAA title game. But that’s where the Aggies are, thanks to the game-winning basket by White in a gut-churner of a national semifinal. The Aggies beat a No. 1 seed for the second game in a row, this time Stanford, 63-62 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

Charlie: Rapid Reaction: Notre Dame-UConn

Charlie, Graham and Mechelle: Depth makes difference in Irish win

Did you follow the Live Play-by-Play?

Mechelle: Second really is best in Indy: Notre Dame vs. Texas A&M marks just second title game without a No. 1 seed

For those who tune in to women’s basketball only occasionally, Sunday’s semifinals results and the impending championship-game matchup might be quite a shock.

But to those who follow the sport, the idea that No. 2 seeds Notre Dame and Texas A&M are meeting for the NCAA title (ESPN, 8:30 p.m. ET Tuesday) is not so very weird. Even if Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said she was pretty sure “nobody in America” had picked an Irish-Aggies final.

Well, surely, somebody did. After all, the Irish have won a title before — albeit 10 years ago — and they have a history of playing well in the NCAA tournament. And Texas A&M, while in its first Final Four, has been knocking on the door for the last few years. Plus, both have been in the top 10 in the rankings, or near it, for a lot of this season.

Lots of good video:

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How Cal, Miami Went In Opposite Directions After 2010 WNIT Finals ‘Learning Experience’

SBN Links: K-State “Owns” TAMU, The First Women’s College Basketball Team & Why Cal Fans Can Root For Stanford

Oklahoma Women Sweep Bedlam: Sherri Coale sends seniors Robinson, Roethlisberger & Willis out in style

OK, if Pat has “The Stare” and Geno has “The Hair Smooth,” can we say Sherri has the “Flat Hands Clap”?

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this might have been you at about the 3-minutes left mark in the second half of the Baylor/TAMU game:

“Are you freakin’ kidding me? I yelled at the television. (And yes, I did really say freakin’ because it’s Sunday. This has nothing to do with the lord but with the fact that the new school week starts tomorrow and I need to clean up my potty mouth before entering a classroom. )
And what did I get to see instead? Another game? Another nail biter? No, my friends, the Celtics pre-game show. A pre-scheduled 30 minute show for a game CSN wasn’t even airing.”

Yup. They cut away. And you missed it. And have you sent a “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!?!” email to your local provider? I hope so, or it’ll keep on happening.

As to the game. It kinda felt like a tight, back and forth mess. Great crowd (well, duh, it’s the Big 12). And, when it came to the end (that some of you didn’t see), I must say I thought it was over when Danielle Adams fouled out with one of the dopier fouls I’ve ever seen. But, credit the Aggies, they found a way to claw close.

And then the Odyssey spoke and the game was Baylor’s. (Can we say Frosh of the Year award is leaning heavily towards her?) Said A&M coach Gary Blair:

“That’s the difference,” Texas A&M coach Gary Blair said of Sims. “I don’t think there’s a freshman point guard in the country better than her. She’s got the ability to control in mid-air and bump into you and push off and be physical. Most freshman don’t know how to use that arm.”

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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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That just about  sums up Graham’s Monday.

Check out the archive of his chat and his post-Duke v. Texas A&M work:

Karima Christmas comes through

It was the kind of game you tend to get in the early days of December. It was also the kind of game you need to win if you want to be on the court in the early days of April.

All of the normal arena musical standards play during breaks in the action at Cameron Indoor Stadium, top-40 songs from some year, if not necessarily this one, carefully constructed around smoothed out edges, catchy hooks and consistent beats. A better soundtrack for No. 5 Duke and No. 7 Texas A&M would have been built on discordant sounds, the whine of feedback or the atonal mysteries of some avant-garde composition.

Aggies need Sydney Colson on the court

Sydney Colson played anything but the perfect game Monday night against No. 5 Duke, and there’s no denying Texas A&M suffered without its starting senior point guard on the court for much of the second half because of foul trouble.

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