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so I guess that means #1 Stanford didn’t go down to #4 Georgia, 61-59.

Chiney did everything she was supposed-expected to, but the rest of her teammates couldn’t make shots. It also hurt that Greenfield went to the bench with a sprained finger, but honestly, the loss wasn’t a HUGE surprise:

Somehow the shock of seeing Stanford’s run of five straight trips to the Final Four come to a premature end, didn’t carry the same sting.

Along with the sense of disappointment came perspective for what the top-seeded Cardinal accomplished.

“I think the reason that I’m not going ballistic right now is like we’re 33-3,” Stanford star Chiney Ogwumike said. “That was a huge achievement for our program.”

Still, it’s surprising that for the first time since 2007, Stanford won’t be playing for a spot in the Final Four.

That’s because Andy’s team did what it needed to do to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time since 2004.

“The senior class … this is our fourth NCAA tournament, and we have been to three Sweet 16s,” guard Jasmine James said. “So to finally make the next step and go to the Elite Eight and now to be going into another game to try to compete to go to the Final Four is definitely back to where Georgia basketball needs to be – trying to compete for a national champion

Smith also offered up some quick analysis of the game.

From Full Court: Jasmine James guides Bulldogs to upset of No. 1 seed Stanford

With her team clinging to a two-point lead with just 23 seconds to play, Georgia senior point guard Jasmine James headed to the foul line for two crucial free throws. Well, almost.

James cast a look to her left, toward the first rows of the stands, mere feet beyond the sideline.

There sat her parents — Greg and Janine — who’d flown almost six hours and endured a lengthy layover to watch their daughter in the regional semifinal against No. 1-seeded Stanford.

They will face the Cal Bears, who find themselves in their first Elite 8 after defeating the upstart Tigers.

The sum of LSU coach Nikki Caldwell’s fears about the Golden Bears came true in the game’s final 20 minutes. And as quick as you could say “transition basket,” the Lady Tigers’ season was over.

“We really tried to establish an inside attack and put the ball inside quite a bit,” Caldwell said. “I thought (Cal guard Brittany) Boyd really took it upon herself to push the tempo, which really got their transition game going. And that gave them some easier looks.”

Writes Elliott Almond:

This time Cal made its free throws, and the Golden Bears are headed into uncharted territory.

Second-seeded Cal broke open a close game in the final six minutes Saturday night in a 73-63 victory over Louisiana State to reach its first Elite Eight in school history in front of a crowd of 6,146 at Spokane Arena.

That Bay Area showdown local women’s basketball fans wanted? Not happening.

The Bears (31-3) will face Georgia on Monday after the Lady Bulldogs upset top-seeded Stanford in the other regional semifinal.

“We’re kind of in awe of this whole thing,” coach Lindsay Gottlieb said. “We were us in the second half. I’m excited more people are seeing what I already know.”

Michelle Smith adds:

As Georgia celebrated its 61-59 upset of top-seeded Stanford, the chant began from the corner with the Georgia pep band.

“S-E-C, S-E-C.” Pretty soon, the LSU band, seated in the opposite corner of the gym, joined in.

But Cal spoiled the sing-a-long.

The Bears, willing to play as aggressively and as physically as any team in the SEC, completed the power shift in the Pac-12 on Saturday by defeating LSU 73-63 in the Spokane Regional nightcap, punching their ticket to their first Elite Eight.

So while Stanford, the team that has always stood in line in front of Cal, takes an early flight home Sunday morning, the Bears play on. How’s that for a changing of the guard?

I’m not quite buying the implications of the phrase “changing of the guard,” but the Pac12 sure has gotten more interesting.

Michelle offered up some instant analysis of the Stanford-Georiga game and the Cal-LSU game.

BTW, if you can get behind the pay wall, you  can read Ann Killion’s lovely piece:  Why Lindsay Gottlieb has Cal women’s hoops in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen Elite Eight 

Elena Delle Donne was magnificent against the Wildcats, and Martin’s adjustments in the second half — daring to go man-to-man, urging her players to crash the boards — almost got her Hens an enormous upset. But Delaware could quite get out of the hole they dug. Writes the News Journal’s Kevin Tresolini:

Down 14 at halftime Saturday, Delaware drew considerable confidence from what had become its not-so-secret weapon in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament – the second-half comeback.

Delaware had rallied from seven down at halftime against West Virginia and eight behind after 20 minutes against North Carolina at the Carpenter Center to win in the first two rounds.

“We wanted to go down with a fight if we were going to go down,” Elena Delle Donne said. “Even at half, we didn’t think we were going down.”

The Hens played better defense in the second half, but writes Fagan:

The pace was, in fact, brutal. Delaware was expending so much energy just getting the ball up the floor and getting a shot off without a turnover that little was left for other crucial things like closing out on outside shooters and boxing out on defense. Because of this, each time the Blue Hens pulled within striking distance — like late in the second half when they cut Kentucky’s lead to two — the Wildcats would fly down court and force a foul or whip the ball around and get an open look. Then they would set up their full-court press and make things difficult for Delaware, often forcing a turnover. (The Blue Hens turned over the ball 19 times.)

The key was that, when the rest of the Hens began to rise to the occasion, so did Kentucky’s “no-names.”  Especially Kastine Evans who nailed a killer 3-pointer with 2:21 remaining to all but seal the game.

“Kastine has no fear,” said Mathies. “She hustles on every play. We ran a play and the play is designed for anyone that gets open. She got open off the stagger screen and she made it. That shows how confident she is in herself and we’re glad she took the three and made it.”

Added coach Mitchell

“We’re extremely excited to win. We beat a very good team in Delaware. I’m so proud of our team, of finding a way to advance to the next round.”

Kentucky will face a familiar foe, and they think they might finally have enough to get past UConn

They will face Connecticut because, while Dolson gamely & gimpily fought to play 26 minutes and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scared the you-know-what outta UConn fans by going down with what looked to be an ankle injury (no, that wasn’t responsible for her going 1-6 from 3, her shot was off and rushed. “I guess it would have been worse if they were all air balls, said an honest KML), it was the freshmen (Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck combined for 35 points and one turnover) who stepped up to guide the Huskies to a 76-50 win over Maryland:
Jefferson, Stewart and Tuck did not consider themselves to be freshmen. They considered themselves as impact players. Their intentions were to come in and play a definitive role on a team with national championship aspirations.For months their plan did not completely come together. No matter how relentless UConn assistant coach Shea Ralph was with Jefferson or no matter how relentless associate head coach Chris Dailey and assistant coach Marisa Moseley were with Stewart and Tuck, there were questions whether they were getting through, whether the players were making any progress.

As it turns out, it was all a part of the process.

While the frosh finally “showed up”, UConn’s defense has been a consistent. Said coach Frese:

“I said the other day Connecticut can make really good teams look really bad, and that was on full display today. Obviously we really struggled against their defense. They made it very difficult. They were quicker to loose balls. I thought they were aggressive with their rebounding, but just disappointed overall in how we played.”

It’s likely the Huskies will have to lean heavily on their youngsters if they want to defeat Kentucky. That might be okay. Writes Mike DiMauro: Watch ‘Stewie’ and you see Elena

It was either fitting, or ironic, that two games ended with two standing ovations for two such similar players. Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart. Except that maybe – probably, even – nobody in women’s basketball has them occupying the same airspace.

Delle Donne’s college career ended Saturday at Webster Bank Arena in the Sweet 16, succumbing to Kentucky and Kastine Evans’ killer three late in the game. When it ended, a UConn crowd gave Delle Donne a standing ovation, prompting a tweet from Elena after the game saluting UConn’s “classy fans.”

Stewart’s college career, meanwhile, accelerated into the passing lane a few hours later, helping the Huskies reach the Elite Eight for the eighth straight season. “Stewie,” as her teammates call her, was magnificent: 17 points, eight rebounds, a 3-pointer and four blocks.

From Mechelle: Win or lose, it really has all worked out

Let’s face it: Not many kids have the chance to play for UConn, which has won seven NCAA titles. Fewer still get that opportunity, then decide to walk away from it. Which Walker did, after appearing in 17 games for the Huskies in the 2010-11 season before transferring to Kentucky, and Delle Donne did after leaving Storrs before ever playing for them. 

But it has all worked out for Delle Donne, for Walker, for UConn and for women’s college hoops.

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Not really a surprise: Kelly Harper out at North Carolina State.

From the Tulsa World’s Guerin Emig: OU’s Aaryn Ellenberg thrives and succeeds quietly

Aaryn Ellenberg could be the Marshall Henderson of women’s college basketball.

The Oklahoma guard has such a blustery game. It’s all movement, agility and a school record book of 3-pointers, distance-defying torpedoes that often win big games, like the four she buried UCLA with in last week’s NCAA Tournament second-round upset, a result that propelled the Sooners into Sunday’s Sweet Sixteen matchup against fabled Tennessee.

She has a glitzy nickname, “Vegas,” a moniker OU coach Sherri Coale pinned on her around the time she arrived in Norman from Sin City three years ago. Henderson, the Ole Miss star who shoots off his mouth as often as his rapid-fire long-range jumpers, doesn’t even have that going for him.

Elliott Almond at the Mercury News writes: Cal women’s basketball team perseveres through tragedies

Second-seeded Cal has passed some agonizing tests to reach the Sweet 16 where it expects another big challenge Saturday night against Louisiana State. The Golden Bears (30-3) escaped the second round Monday with an 82-78 overtime victory against South Florida after squandering a 10-point lead with a minute left. They also endured four close victories in Pac-12 play.

The perseverance, however, isn’t surprising on a team with three members carrying burdens no one should have to bear. Gennifer Brandon, Eliza Pierre and Tierra Rogers have leaned on each throughout their careers while dealing with the grief of family members suffering violent deaths.

“They don’t just survive, they thrive,” Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said Friday before the team’s practice at Spokane Arena.

WDEL’s Sean Greene: Delle Donne hopes for WNBA and Olympic future

First, though, writes Kate Fagan: Delle Donne, Delaware face pressure – Kentucky’s defense will test the Blue Hens in their first Sweet 16 appearance

The Delaware Blue Hens don’t appear to be in danger of freezing under the spotlight.

In the minutes before their practice Friday, the players were busy fashioning a headband made out of pre-wrap for assistant coach Jeanine Radice. They were laughing, taking pictures and soaking it all in.

After all, this is Delaware’s first trip to the Sweet 16, and coach Tina Martin has encouraged her players to have fun. Martin even began her news conference by saying, “After I wake up from the dream I’m in …” As in, she can’t believe her little mid-major program — Martin is in her 17th season at Delaware — is making such big waves. “I’m not worried about them being uptight,” Martin said of her players. “If anything, they’re enjoying it and taking in everything they can.”

Charlie gives us Five things to look for in the Sweet 16

5. Which No. 6 seed has the best chance of pulling another upset? An unprecedented four 6-seeds are still playing (along with a No. 12 in Kansas). Oklahoma and LSU have recent tournament pedigree even if that doesn’t include any current players to look to. Nebraska was here in 2010 and that’s it. Delaware is in completely uncharted waters. None of that experience or lack of it probably matters here. It really comes down to matchups.

Nebraska, despite the dynamic duo of point guard Moore and versatile forward Jordan Hooper, might have a difficult time dealing with Duke’s depth and length, not to mention the relative proximity of Durham to Norfolk. Kentucky is even deeper than Duke, and the Wildcats’ athleticism greatly exceeds Delaware’s. The Blue Hens could have some problems dealing with the relentless Kentucky pressure.

Mechelle writes, Landers back in the Sweet 16

Georgia coach Andy Landers stood just outside his team’s locker room at the SEC tournament earlier this month, grinning broadly.

“Listen to them in there,” he said of his players after their quarterfinal victory. “They’re in there high-fiving, chirping, laughing. I still enjoy that so much.”

Landers is the dean of the SEC women’s hoops coaches now that Tennessee’s Pat Summitt has moved into an emeritus role. And he’s one of the longest-tenured, most experienced college basketball mentors, men’s or women’s, in the country.

Michelle writes, Gottlieb carves own path of success

Lindsay Gottlieb jokes that she is the “black sheep in her family.” Except that nobody brags this much about the “black sheep.”

In her father’s courtroom in New York, the court reporters, officers, clerks, they all knew about Judge Stephen Gottlieb’s daughter, the successful basketball coach.

In the hallways of New York University where Chris Gottlieb is a law professor, people always stop to ask how the Bears are doing.

Graham has the Norfolk Sweet 16 breakdown

Fagan has the Bridgeport Sweet 16 breakdown

Mechelle has the Oklahoma City Regional breakdown

Michelle has the Spokane Regional breakdown

And here are espnW’s Sweet 16 picks

John Klein at the Tulsa World says: Draft choice could help Tulsa Shock’s resurgence this season

It could be argued the WNBA Draft has never had three players in the same season capable of changing the fortunes of a franchise.

And, no franchise in recent history of the WNBA has needed a change of fortune more than the Shock.

“We’ve been trying to dig ourselves out of that hole,” said Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg. “We’ve been inching our way up.

Didja hear? WNBA and ESPN Broaden Partnership Through 2022 *if the league has a new logo, why does the article use the old one?*

Shelly DuBois of CNN Money explains Why ESPN thinks the WNBA is worth watching

Speaking of the W, Parker Leads UMMC to EuroLeague Crown

Oh, and Curtis Coach Barbara Farris taking some time off to serve as WNBA assistant

A nine-year WNBA veteran, Farris plans to return to Curtis by mid-October to resume her teaching and coaching responsibilities. The exact date of her return, however, depends on whether the Liberty makes the playoffs.

Farris directed Curtis to a second consecutive Class 2A state championship this year in her third season as coach of the Lady Patriots.

A little DII news: Watterson grad in Division II final

Almost a year ago, Daiva Gerbec sat on the end of the bench and watched Ashland lose in the Division II championship game.

Her season had ended before it could begin when her left Achilles tendon snapped during a running drill in the first workout of the preseason. Not being able to contribute during that 88-82 overtime loss to Shaw was difficult.

Dowling women to play for NCAA Div. II title

The magical ride for the Dowling women’s basketball team continues.

In their first trip to the NCAA Division II Women’s Elite Eight, the Golden Lions will play for their first national title tomorrow night after they powered their way to a 76-54 semifinal victory over Augustana (Ga.) Wednesday at Greehey Arena.

In future news: CU Buffs’ Lappe already looking ahead

Inside the office of Colorado women’s basketball coach Linda Lappe hangs a dry-erase board.

Just a few days after the 2012-13 season concluded, the players on the 2013-14 roster were already written on that board. In the world of college basketball, there is little time to waste. One season ends and it’s on to the next.

“It’s a process to be consistent,” Lappe said. “It starts right after the season.”

From the Daily Wildcat: Whyte looks back on Arizona women’s basketball career with no regrets

Four years go by fast. For women’s basketball senior Davellyn Whyte, it hasn’t quite set in that her career as a Wildcat is over following the team’s 66-48 loss to Utah in the Pac-12 tournament.

Arizona’s second all-time leading scorer, with 2,059 career points has had a bumpy four years. Being one of the greatest women’s basketball players in school history certainly hasn’t been easy, but she said she reflects on her time in Tucson with no regrets.

The WNIT is at the Elite Eight stage (always interesting to look at the early rounds, since it’s really the only time we get to compare “major” v. “mid-major” conferences). Saturday you’ll see:

Florida at JMU, 4 p.m. ET

Utah at Saint Mary’s, 5 p.m. ET

Illinois at Kansas State, 5 p.m. ET

Drexel at Auburn, 7 p.m. ET

The WBI ended for the Quakers, but Even in loss, Penn women’s basketball shows growth

Mike McLaughlin didn’t know much about losing.

That was the first line of a Daily Pennsylvanian article written on March 24, 2010, after the Quakers finished the season with a program-worst 2-26 record. They set the program record for losses in a single season. They nearly became the first Penn team to lose every single Ivy game, only escaping in the final weekend after a victory at Dartmouth.

“There are times I thought, ‘Am I doing everything within my ability to make them better?’ McLaughlin said in 2010 interview. “They needed a strong leader in adversity.”

Today that feels like a distant memory

In the “this is what scholarships are about” vein: Four Coconut Creek girls basketball players headed to college

For the sixth consecutive year, the Coconut Creek girls basketball is sending a player to college. This year, actually, the Cougars will send four players to the next level. 

Guard Shamari Josey, who averaged 9.3 points per game this season, has signed with St. Augustine in North Carolina, while guard Joelle Patterson, who averaged 6.6 points and and 4.5 assists per game, has signed with Johnson and Wales. Forward Jasmine Watson is headed to Southestern Community College in Iowa. 

Coconut Creek’s other signee was team leader Andrekia Thompson, a first-team All-County selection who averaged 12.3 points per game and reached the 1,000-point career mark, signed with Thomas University, an NAIA program in Georgia. 

In the “what were they thinking!” vein: Missouri high school girls basketball team drinks urine in water cooler prank pulled by rivals

In the “thank you for all your time” vein: St. Peter’s girls basketball coach steps down

Bill Tomsich thought about stepping down last year as the head girls basketball coach at St. Peter’s.

After making another run to the Final Four and being named Division IV Co-Coach of the Year in the state, the stage was set for a grand exit.

“I’m glad I stayed an additional year. I wasn’t ready emotionally to step down,” he said Tuesday afternoon after announcing publicly that he was resigning after 18 years in the program, spending the last nine as head coach.

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Prairie Chicken

Sharp Tailed Grouse

Now I get to read about the other kind of hens.

From Graham: Blue Hens head to first Sweet 16

All right, how much do you really love the game?

That’s the question Elena Delle Donne told her dad she thought some higher power had posed when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease during her second season playing basketball at the University of Delaware.

She was the high school star who became even more famous for walking away from the game than she had been as a 6-foot-5 kid doing things on a basketball court nobody had ever seen someone her size do before.

She was the lost soul who found what she was looking for in the touch of a sister and the embrace of a community. And who found her way back to a game she once swore she would never again play.

From the AP: No regrets for Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne

Whenever Delaware’s NCAA Tournament run ends, Elena Delle Donne will look back on her college career with no regrets.

“Honestly, I think the happy ending has already occurred,” Blue Hens coach Tina Martin said. “The happy ending is that Elena is happy.”

Delaware will now face the Wildcats and the AP’s Garry Graves says Kentucky ready for matchup with Delaware star

“She’s only a part of what they do because they have team chemistry,” Mitchell said of Delle Donne. “You make a big mistake if you put it solely on one player. She’s very important obviously to what they want to do because she’s so talented, but we’ll be really trying to make this more about our team and how we do what we do well. I think that’ll be very important to make our tempo a factor, our defensive pressure a factor.”

Yes, Michigan women’s basketball season ends in blowout 73-40 loss to Stanford, which allows Michelle to offers: Stanford shoots into Sweet 16 – Cardinal’s Tinkle is lights out with career-high five 3-pointers

When Joslyn Tinkle sat in front of the microphone after the game and said “I deserved that game,” it was not a statement of conceit or ego.

It was the result of a bug in her ear by a sage head coach, who had a bit of an epiphany on Monday when she realized that her players might be experiencing more pressure than pleasure.

Looking to the future, Elliott Almond at the Mercury News writes: Stanford anticipates physical matchup with Georgia

The Bulldogs are led by Jasmine Hassell, a 6-foot-2 All-SEC forward, and Jasmine James, a 5-9 senior guard. Georgia has the kind of balanced team that has been difficult on the Cardinal (33-2).

Bring it on, Stanford players said Wednesday.

“I like games that might not be called closely,” said guard Sara James, whose lockdown defense helped the Cardinal defeat Michigan on Tuesday night. “I like to be physical.

Their fellow conference-mates had a tough time against the stubborn Bulls, but the California Golden Bears are heading into Sweet 16

The Cal women’s basketball team nearly imploded against a physical and battle-tested South Florida squad in the NCAA tournament’s round of 32, but regained its composure just in time.

After a nightmarish finish to regulation, the Bears needed overtime before they could finally celebrate an 82-78 win at United Spirit Arena on Monday that advances Cal to the Sweet 16 for just the second time in school history.

Stephanie Hammon chronicles Cal’s Reshanda Gray’s journey from South Central Los Angeles to Sweet 16

Reshanda Gray, the energetic 6-foot-3 forward on Cal’s Sweet Sixteen women’s basketball team, continues to live a Cinderella story.

If she hadn’t discovered basketball in middle school, Gray isn’t sure where life in South Central Los Angeles would have taken her. She’s pretty sure her path wouldn’t have included college.

Their win means the Bears will face the Tigers. Trey Illes at the TImes Picayune thinks the LSU women’s basketball team had magnificent victory against Penn State

Call them LSU’s Magnificent Seven. Lady Tigers senior guards Adrienne Webb and Bianca Lutley played the lead roles in sixth-seeded LSU’s 71-66 NCAA women’s basketball tournament victory against third-seeded Penn State on Tuesday night in LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

Webb scored 29 points on 10 of 16 shooting, including three free throws in the final 21.8 seconds. Lutley, playing with four fouls, gave the Tigers the lead for good with 40.8 seconds with a bucket.

The Tigers hope for junior point guard Jeanne Kenney’s return but prep without her

From Kate Fagan: Kentucky’s Mathies guts it out

On Monday afternoon, Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell decided to answer a question that wasn’t even directed at him.

The query had been for guard A’dia Mathies, wondering if she was at all concerned after failing to score a basket in Kentucky’s first-round win against Navy. Mathies responded in her usual quiet manner, saying something about not letting one game define her. Then Mitchell leaned into his microphone and said, “I have no doubt that A’dia Mathies will play an outstanding game on Tuesday.”

At Swish Appeal, Queenie has Mathies carries Kentucky to Sweet Sixteen

Kentucky already knows one part of their future: Assistant Matt Insell is the new Ole Miss coach.

From Charlie: Defense leads the way for UConn – Huskies advance to 20th straight Sweet 16, where Maryland awaits

Saturday was about executing the offense and making shots. UConn’s second-round 77-44 victory over Vanderbilt on Monday had a different catalyst: defense.

The Huskies’ ability to win games by different means is the primary reason they’ve been at or near the top of women’s college basketball for six years. Call it dominance by versatility.

The offense wasn’t necessarily lousy Monday, but it wasn’t exactly clicking early. Yet 11 minutes into the game, the Huskies had forced nine turnovers and turned them into 15 points for a 23-13 lead. It didn’t matter that other than Stefanie Dolson, UConn’s passing was shaky. It didn’t matter that some of those 15-footers that fell in Saturday’s 68-point win over Idaho weren’t finding the bottom of the net against the Commodores for much of the first half. The Huskies’ defense was in control.

The UConn players give ESPN their best ‘Geno’ impressions.

UConn will face Maryland ’cause  the Terrapins’ Thomas was tough on Michigan State. From Gene Wang at the Washington Post: 

“I think it speaks volumes to Alyssa when the bigger the game, the bigger the stage and the moment, just how she rises to the occasion,” Maryland Coach Brenda Frese said. “I’ve said this before: The most competitive player I’ve ever coached. You see her will our team into her mind-set, and you continue to see that time and time again.”

Mark Cardillo says there’s Something About Maryland

Brenda Frese and her Maryland team — a team that lost three players to ACL injuries — is upbeat and isn’t happy to be merely a stepping stone to another UConn victory. Last season in the Sweet Sixteen, Maryland defeated then defending champion Texas A&M.

The schools met on Dec. 3 in Hartford, with the Huskies winning 63-48. Maryland players said they learn a lot from that experience and won’t be intimidated on Saturday

A cross-post, Nate points us to Jordan Esco

…this Oklahoma team has suffered more than maybe any other Sherri Coale team in her tenure and yet here they are, coming back to play in Oklahoma City and in the Sweet Sixteen. The magnitude of that and what this team has accomplished this year really cannot be emphasized enough…I don’t really care whether or not you’re aware they were so desperate for bodies, just to be able to go 5-on-5 in practices, that they had to borrow two players from the volleyball team.

At a certain point, it’s not really about that. At a certain point, it’s about recognizing the accomplishment and giving it the respect it/they deserve.

From the Oklahoma Daily: Women’s basketball looking strong for NCAA Elite Eight.

From the Oklahoman, Stephanie Kuzydym writes: Pat Summitt shaped Sherri Coale, Sooner players

Eyes grow wide, smiles spread and words like “legend” and “model” flow freely.

Tennessee head coach emeritus Pat Summitt shaped Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale and her players such as Whitney Hand, Jasmine Hartman and Joanna McFarland years ago.

On Sunday, Oklahoma will face Tennessee for the first time since a loss in Knoxville in January 2010. This Sweet 16 meeting will be the first time the Sooners will play the Vols without the legendary Summitt at the helm. After 38 years in charge, Summitt is in her first year as Tennessee’s head coach emeritus. She announced August 2011 that she was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

“I don’t know if there are any words,” Coale said of what Summitt did for women’s college basketball. “No one will ever rival what Pat Summitt’s done.”

Speaking of Tennessee, Dan Fleser says Lady Vols must deal with ‘head of the snake’ against Sooners.

And, deservedly so, Warlick finalist for rookie coaching award. After defeating Creighton, Tennessee is not in unfamiliar territory in Oklahoma City regional. The will want more on defense, though.

Down the hall from where Warlick spoke, the Lady Vols weren’t so impressed. They sat in harsher judgement on the stools in their locker room. The consensus opinion was that they shouldn’t be satisfied.

“Not at all; Not at all,” freshman Jasmine Jones said. “We made several mistakes on defense, but we were able to stay in the game. We have to be more consistent on our defense.”

Nate offers up: Louisville coach Jeff Walz proud of his team for overcoming adversity to make Sweet 16

The Louisville Cardinals are yet another team that sustained a few injuries this season in the Oklahoma City region and coach Jeff Walz credited his team for overcoming those after their 76-63 win over the Purdue Boilermakers to advance to the Sweet 16, as described by Mike Rutherford of SB Nation’s Louisville site Card Chronicle.

Lucky Cards get to face Baylor. Kevin Sherrington explains Why Baylor’s dominance is a good thing for women’s basketball. (How can THAT be?)

The AP’s Stephen Hawkins says Baylor is having fun while pursuing 2nd straight women’s title

Brittney Griner stopped at the edge of the podium, pulled out her iPhone and made a goofy face.

Before taking a self-portrait in front of the NCAA tournament backdrop after her final home game for Baylor, when she became the first woman with three dunks in a game, the 6-foot-8 Griner had teammates Brooklyn Pope and Odyssey Sims join her with silly grins of their own.

When coach Kim Mulkey turned and saw what was going on behind her, she started laughing.

Curt Rallo aat the SBT says Sustaining success a big challenge for Notre Dame

After Notre Dame captured the NCAAwomen’s basketball national title in 2001, the Irish reached the Sweet 16 four times in nine seasons, and did not reach the Elite Eight in that stretch.

That changed in 2011, when the Irish stormed to the national championship game. In 2012, the Irish returned to the title game.

This season, the Irish are a No. 1 seed, have beaten Connecticut seven of the last eight meetings, have beaten Tennessee three times in a row and swept the Big East regular season and tournament titles.

The difference is obvious — and simple.

The Fighting Irish will face up start Kansas who, says Curt, owe a lot to their defense.

According to Henrickson, Engelman, Davis and Goodrich have fueled a surge by the Jayhawks’ program. Prior to last season’s NCAA Tournament appearance, the Jayhawks had not earned an NCAA berth since 2000.

“All three of those kids have given a lot to the program,” Henrickson said. “They’ve changed the face of the program. They will leave the program in a lot better hands then when they got here, which is why they came here.

Taking down Texas A&M, at home, was a pretty impressive accomplishment for the Cornhuskers. Gotta love coach Blair’s graciousness in defeat:

“Sorry we were a little short tonight on how we played the game,” Blair said. “I know we could do better, but I don’t know if Nebraska could play any better than they did. They were magnificent.”

Not only are Native Nebraskans all over NCAA Division I hoops, the Huskers’ win was enough for an Iowan to commit sacrilege: Like Nebraska? Even an Iowan can come around

I’m a Hawkeye.

And Hawkeyes don’t like Cornhuskers. And Iowans don’t like Nebraskans, in a moderate Midwest sort of way. It’s not like we would attack Cornhuskers, but we might be prompted to say, “Hawkeyes rule, Cornhuskers drool!” in a confrontation outside the football stadium.

If Nebraska defeats Duke, coach Yori will get a nice bonus.

New Jersey is proud that Peddie School grad Peters has led Duke women into the Sweet 16

Growing up with two older brothers, chances are you’re going to get pushed around a bit. Especially in sports.

While Haley Peters’ basketball skills have improved every year since her days at The Peddie School, what hasn’t changed is her will to win.

Yes, the Duke women are eyeing 1st Final Four since 2006. Sam Mckewon says Duke is expecting a stress test from Nebraska’s offense

Defense is what has her concerned as Duke prepares to play Nebraska, which scored 73 and 74 points in its first two NCAA tourney games. NU has a “terrific” and “durable” point guard in Lindsey Moore, McCallie said, and forwards Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady “can pop 3s quicker than you can say ‘boo.’”

The Huskers’ ability to spread the floor, draw defenders out of the paint and get layups at the basket is the “big challenge” to defend, McCallie said.

“They run a great motion offense,” said McCallie, who’s led her team to three straight Elite Eight berths. “They screen well and they’ll go back door on you.”

Did you catch the espnW blogs?

Michelle Smith writes Five observations (and one tweet) from Tuesday

The field has been pared to 16 teams, and we are a lot wiser than we were when the brackets came out. Here’s what we know now.

• 1. Brittney Griner recognizes a big moment when she sees it: Was it because former President George W. Bush and his wife were in the house? Or was she trying to give the home crowd at the Ferrell Center something to remember? Let’s go with the latter and say Griner’s three dunks in Baylor’s otherwise typically dominant win over Florida State was just the 6-foot-8 superstar making herself a little memory.

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Well, the NCAA has, too:

Denver (AF) – The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee today announced new rules governing the transfers between Division I women’s basketball programs, taking effect immediately. According to the committee, these changes are intended to improve the level of parity in college women’s basketball.

“We just looked at the results and knew we had to do something,” said Greg Christopher, chair of the committee. “It wasn’t just having all those one seeds in the Final Four, or even all of those 1-2 matchups in the Elite 8, but the scores in those games were almost embarrassing.”

According to Christopher, under the new rules, student athletes who wish to “transfer down” will be subject to liberalized rules intended to foster player movement. Student athletes who wish to “transfer up” will be required to meet current requirements and, in some cases, will be prohibited from transferring at all.

The new rules provide that a student who wishes to transfer from a team that reached the Elite 8 in the preceding national championship tournament may transfer to any team that did not finish in the Elite 8 and begin to play immediately. The same rule will apply to a student who played for a team that won at least one game in the tournament and wishes to transfer to a team that did not win any games in the tournament.

“We were inspired by what Tina Martin has done at Delaware,” explained Carolayne Henry of the Mountain West Conference, who is the incoming chair of the committee. “We saw how she used transfers to take her team from being an also ran in a mediocre conference to a top ten ranking. Not everybody can have an Elena Della Donne fall into their laps, but even a few players like Raven Ferguson could help out a lot of teams. Look what Kevin McGuff did with Dee Dee Jernigan, at least until the end of that game.” (more)

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back on the women’s basketball beat. (How many of you own A Celebration : Commemorating the Birth of a League?)

From USA Today: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware making history

Just before Delaware’s final home game of the season, women’s basketball coach Tina Martin checked a message on her cellphone.

“Hi Tina. This is Joe Biden from Air Force 2 …”

“He said that he wished he could come but he had something on his schedule. Imagine that?” Martin said, smiling.

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Graham and Mechelle are debating player, coach and freshman of the year, plus the All-Americans

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The USBWA has an interesting list.

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Next Goal for the Blue Hens: Undefeated Conference Season

A win against William and Mary on Wednesday would mark an undefeated season in conference play for the Blue Hens. This perfect season would be the first in 10 years for any Colonial Athletic Association team.

“We started something really special, and now it’s time to finish it,” said Coach Tina Martin. “For these kids, for my players, this is a dream come true.”

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(and therefore the second time in NCAA history) that the top four seeds make it to the Final Four?

Andy Gardnier at USA might think so: Led by Baylor, Big Four rule this season

As the women’s basketball season heads into its stretch drive toward the NCAA tournament, this year’s balance of power has become clearly defined. There are Baylor, Notre Dame, Connecticut and Stanford — and then everyone else.

And did you catch this podcast from Hoopfeed?  Dishin & Swishin February 2, 2012 Podcast: A few things you may not know (but should) about this year’s college basketball season

  • Guests are Delaware head coach Tina Martin, Nebraska stars Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, Florida Gulf Coast head coach Karl Smesko, and Saint Bonaventure head coach Jim Crowley.

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considering the mess (on SO many levels) he inherited, I’m naming Scott Rueck Pac-10 Coach of the Year.

Women’s basketball blows 20-point lead, falls to Oregon State – Despite leading 36-16 at the half, Ducks are now 3-11 in conference play

Oregon State women’s basketball head coach Scott Rueck doesn’t like to convey excess emotion at the end of games.

But following the Beavers’ upset victory over Oregon in the Civil War on Saturday, how couldn’t he?

Earlysia Marchbanks clutched the ball in her hands. The buzzer sounded, the red lights flashed, and the Oregon State Beavers, now 9-16 overall (2-12 Pacific-10 Conference) rushed to center court in a show of joy. They had emerged from a 20-point halftime deficit to win, 61-59, and energize 3,130 fans, the majority of them Beaver believers.

In a game between two teams struggling against different forms of adversity, a last-second shot by Ohio State’s Brittany Johnson secured the Buckyeye’s 2-pt win over Purdue.

“She took her time, she got her feet set and she hit the shot,” said Lavender, who felt the shot was good as soon as it left Johnson’s hands. “I just saw the way she shot it. She stepped into it like she normally does. I had the utmost confidence in her.”

Johnson, however, seemingly had come from nowhere over the final 20 minutes to help the Buckeyes (17-9, 8-6 Big Ten) rise from what looked like a tough loss.

One Ogwumike was enough (say C&R) as #3 Stanford took care of business against #9 UCLA, 67-53. Writes Graham:

Like a lot of big events that take place in the shadow of Hollywood, Sunday’s game between No. 3 Stanford and No. 9 UCLA arrived with ample talk as to what one of the famous invitees would wear. And while they weren’t the work of Versace or Vera Wang, the warm-up pants, shirt and protective boot sported by Cardinal All-American Nnemkadi Ogwumike threatened to overshadow the show that followed.

But there’s a reason Stanford has more staying power than the latest movie or music icon, a reason the Cardinal have won 19 of 24 Pac-10 regular-season championships. And a reason they appear headed for championship No. 20 after beating the second-place Bruins 67-53 in Pauley Pavilion.

It was a back-and-forth game, but it was #13 Florida State who got the win over #17 Maryland. Is the ACC title going to the Seminoles?

The America East might come down to a tiebreaker or a dogfight: With their win over Hartford, the UMBC Retrievers are now 12-3 in conference while the BU Terriers’ victory over Stony Brook puts them at 11-3.

The dogfight continues in the CAA. No style points were given to UNC-Wilmington’s win over Northeastern, but they’re now 12-3. So’s ODU, who got a 2-pt win over Hofstra. James Madison escaped the Blue Hens (writes Mel – On Delaware’s day to Think Pink for breast cancer awareness, coach Tina Martin was internally seeing red over her Blue Hens’ inability to think at all at the finish.), and now is 14-1 in-conference.

The Blue Raider is dead, long live the Trojans? That might be the chant, as AR-Little Rock moved to 12-1 in the Sun Belt after defeating Middle Tennessee State 69-61.

Michigan State clinched a share of the Big 10 title, their first since 2005.

Houston claimed the C-USA regular season title with their 77-61 win over UTEP. (Todd Buchanan is the only first-year head coach in the country whose team is currently undefeated in conference play.)

Speaking of firsts, that was Kentucky’s first win at Vandy in 25 years.

Reaping the benefits of their red-shirt senior-laden team, #11 DePaul rolled over an inconsistent #18 Georgetown. (Nice to hear Kayte Christensen doing a fine job with the color commentary.)

#7 Duke (by 50) and #6 Xavier (by 26) got comfortable wins.

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