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made the Notre Dame v. Oregon State game mighty interesting. It was a four-point game with 2:21 left, and then the #2 Irish pulled away for the victory.

Despite the best game of sophomore Ruth Hamblin’s career (12 points, eight rebounds and nine blocks) and 18 points from Weisner, the Beavers’ quest for their first win over a ranked team since 2003 continues.

OSU has been close before: The Beavers took Cal down to the wire last season — the Bears would go on to play in the Final Four — and earlier this year led Penn State for long stretches before falling 61-56.

“I don’t know that I’m a believer in morale victories, but I’m a believer in progress and steps forward and learning lessons,” Rueck said. “I don’t know how you measure it, but we grew up a lot today.”

Less rusty and rust-free:

#25 Oklahoma over Samford by 25.

#23 Cal over Lafayette by 17.

#18 Nebraska over Oral Roberts by 36.

#15 Penn State over Hartford by 14.

#14 Iowa State over William & Mary by 20.

#12 Colorado over Southern Utah by 16.

#11 Oklahoma State over TX-Pan American by 42.

#8 Maryland over Charleston by 52.

#7 Louisville over SMU by 20.

#6 Kentucky over Grambling State by 63.

#5 Tennessee over Lipscomb by 68.

#1 Connecticut over Cincinnati by 33.

In other games, Indiana took down Xavier to stay undefeated.

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With conference play just around the corner…

Jan. 27: Notre Dame at Maryland, ESPN2
Feb. 2: Notre Dame at Duke, ESPN 
Feb. 2: Stanford at Cal, ESPN2
Feb. 9: Louisville at UConn, ESPN 
Feb. 10: North Carolina at Duke, ESPN2
Feb. 16: Kentucky at Tennessee, ESPN 
Feb. 23: Duke at Notre Dame, ESPN

…it’s intriguing to reflect how the top teams fared in their pre-Christmas games.

After watching South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia fall, Mike at Mel’s blog is still bullish on the SEC: Best Conference Race Ever Looms Ahead

As 2013 closes, one thing is sure in women’s college basketball: The mighty Southeastern Conference will chew up some teams and reward others. So here’s our best guess preview.

We have said all along Kentucky is the best team here. One loss to a higher-ranked team does not discount that. In fact, it gives them something to work on.

But it is Tennessee who is the defending regular-season champ. That’s a
”Yeah, But” thing. Someone else wins, yeah, but it’s because Tennessee stumbled in this or that game.

Meanwhile, Doug writes: UConn women have looked nearly unbeatable

The women’s basketball season is almost two months old and one thing is clear, the UConn Huskies are by far the best team in the country.

While some already see a record ninth title for Connecticut as a foregone conclusion, the rest of the nation can take some solace that Brittney Griner and Baylor looked just as unbeatable last season. That’s until Louisville stunned the Lady Bears with one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.

Picking up on their earlier tweet exchange, Rebecca Lobo and Lin Dunn join David for a nice chat on “The UConn dilemma: Is dominance good for the game?”

From Logan Lowery at the Daily Journal: MSU women relishing their 12-1 start

Mississippi State is off to the second-best start in school history for women’s basketball.

After winning just 13 games during his initial season with the Bulldogs, Vic Schaefer has started his second year 12-1 before the Christmas break.

“We’re 12-1 at Christmas, that’s a great feeling and a great accomplishment for our group,” Schaefer said. “I’m excited for them.”

Learn a little about the 12-2 Missouri Tigers: Senior forward Kulas took circuitous route to MU

In a perfect world, Williams said it wouldn’t have taken Kulas three college stops to find the right destination. That said, Williams wouldn’t change her daughter’s journey if she could.

“She ended up where she needed to be. Finding a home at Mizzou has been a great, great thing for her,” Williams said. “Her journey has made her grow into a better person, a better ballplayer.

“The journey that she took, I’m not sure that’s how I would’ve wanted … but I feel like it did happen for a reason.”

Williams said her daughter’s year at Johnson County was “tremendous for her.” It proved to be a launch pad for Kulas’ basketball career.

How about that team in Indiana? Gerardot speaks to IU basketball success

 Today Tabitha Gerardot is, well, Brigitte, and not Indiana women’s basketball’s third-leading scorer. Tomorrow she could be Sophia or Carmela or Aisha.

It’s all about perspective, you see. It’s role playing with a linguistic purpose.

This matters to Gerardot, who is working on her masters in linguistics with visions of become an interpreter or a translator when the former Canterbury standout is done with helping the Hoosiers’ basketball resurrection.

Arizona is 3-7, so in honor of the holidays,  Zack Rosenblatt decided to put his own twist on “Festivus,” with a focus on the Wildcats and their season thus far.

Just replace the pole with a 10-foot basketball hoop (with “a great strength-to-weight ratio.”)

AIRING OF THE GRIEVANCES

What’s been disappointing, or overlooked, for the Wildcats this season.

Bad start: For the first time in Butts’ six years at the helm, Arizona won’t have a winning record through non-conference play. Before 2013, she’d won about 75 percent of non-conference games. Entering Sunday’s non-conference finale with Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the Wildcats are 3-7, which included a recent five-game skid.

Getting in to the holiday spirit, Mark Carmin offered Purdue women’s basketball 10 Stocking stuffers

Graham offers up “10 players who have risen to the occasion” and his mid-major musings: Gonzaga remains No. 1

‘Tis the season for end-of-year lists. And while the end of the basketball year technically comes not with a ball dropping in Times Square but confetti on a court in Nashville, starting a new calendar signals a shift of sorts in the start of conference play across much of the country. So to match the reflective spirit of the week, and before we get to the top 10, what would an all-mid-major team for the first half of the season look like?

Shereesha Richards, F, Albany: She put up 20 points and seven rebounds against Duke — in the first half. No wonder Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie said the 6-foot-1 forward was better than her league (and as a former America East coach, McCallie ought to know). Richards is averaging 22.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game. She is fifth in the nation in field goal percentage but has taken nearly 50 more shots than those ahead of her.

Injury note: Maryland women’s basketball: Forward A’lexus Harrison to redshirt

Encouraging news: Hatchell eyeing return

Sylvia Hatchell is fighting to get back to her North Carolina women’s basketball program as quickly as possible.

The recently inducted Naismith Hall of Fame coach has been away from sideline duties since October while receiving treatment for leukemia. She spent a month in the hospital for the first round of chemotherapy with more ahead as she holds out hope of getting back by conference tournament time.

“You don’t realize, especially after all this time, how much something means to you until you don’t have it,” Hatchell said in an interview with the Associated Press.

“It was like a tsunami hit me and all of a sudden it’s taken away. But that’s my motivation, to get back out there.”

Equally encouraging news:  “Coach Holly Warlick said that freshman guard Jannah Tucker, who will be enrolling for the spring semester, is expected to join the team when it reconvenes after Christmas break.”

WATN? Ashley Battle: 2 local girls basketball coaches share Connecticut connection

While watching UConn and Duke on national television, Quaker Valley junior Karen Pugh felt a bond with the top team in women’s basketball.

“Our offense is very similar (to UConn),” she said, “as far as transition and passing and finding the open shot.”

How does a Western Pennsylvania high school team share traits with the most dominant women’s program in college basketball?

It’s no coincidence.

Speaking of the W, from India: Swin against the tide

The 6’1” tall frame of Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) legend Swin Cash stands out from the group of U-16 basketball enthusiasts assembled at the St. Dominic Savio School’s court. The three-time WNBA champion’s role on the occasion is to serve as mentor for the students from 164 schools around Mumbai during what was the Reliance Foundation 3X3 Junior NBA Championship in the city. Yet as she spoke and advised the aspiring athletes, both boys and girls, she maintains that she was a tad biased towards the girls.

“You talk about the NBA, and all you think of are male athletes. So it’s good for them to see people like me to serve as role models,” she says, laughing.

Al Lee at Swish Appeal asks, What are the Big Three Rookies doing during their first offseason as pros?

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You kinda knew, but you sorta hoped, and then you saw: “Smoosh” as it was Another Big Game, Another Big Performance By The Huskies

From John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant: No. 1 UConn Women Dominate In 83-61 Win Over No. 2 Duke

You figured time might be on Duke’s side Tuesday. Maybe this would be the night the Blue Devils could put the past behind them and summon the resources to knock UConn off the mountaintop the Huskies have grazed upon for so long.

Yes, that would have made for a nice story.

But the reality was something quite different. Or should we say the same.

Folks had a hard time figuring out who UConn’s brightest star was. From the CT Post’s Rich Elliot: Stewart, No. 1 UConn trounce No. 2 Duke

STAR OF THE GAME: Mosqueda-Lewis made a career-high 7-of-11 3-pointers and scored 21 points.

From Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register: No. 1 UConn ‘Two’ much for Duke

Mosqueda-Lewis hit five 3-pointers in the second half, none bigger than the one after Duke had sliced the lead to 13 and right after she misfired for one of the rare times. When Breanna Stewart grabbed a tough rebound in traffic and the ball made it back to Mosqueda-Lewis, UConn senior guard Bria Hartley said to her teammates and coaches on the bench “she’s not missing two in a row.”

It’s likely Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie had some other words going through her mind at that point.

Elliot and Jeff Jacobs shared headline writers: UConn’s Mosqueda-Lewis returns with a splash and  KML Makes A Big Splash In Her Return

The second brace Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis tried?

“I don’t really feel it,” KML said after she hit a career-high seven three-pointers as UConn routed Duke 83-61 Tuesday night. “It’s better than that huge brace I had on before. It’s just like a sleeve.”

Who knew that the second black brace came equipped with a GPS device? Or maybe it was some crazy, high-tech thingamajig that only some ingenious Dukie could invent. Who knew that KML would be able to punch a few buttons and it would direct the basketball directly from her fingertips to the bottom of the basket? Or maybe the artist — the “artiste,” Geno Auriemma called her — just got into the beautiful shooter’s groove.

Kate Fagan over at ESPN offered a counter-point: Stefanie Dolson is heart of Huskies

Dolson isn’t the most talented player on the UConn roster. That title belongs to Stewart, who scored 24 points against Duke. Nor is Dolson the smoothest member of the squad. That would be junior forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who played for the first time in eight games and dropped 21 points on 7-for-11 shooting from beyond the 3-point line.

But Dolson is the most important player.

When UConn coach Geno Auriemma walked into the press room after the game, he looked at the stat sheet and said, “How many assists did Stefanie have? Six? There are some centers in the country who don’t get six assists in a full year.”

Nate agrees:

Stefanie Dolson might not be focal point of the highlights from UConn’s 83-61 win over Duke last night, but her presence in the game was undeniable.

Perfectly receiving the ball in the high post, turning and finding the open player. Beautifully stepping into a 3-point shot as the ball is rotated to her after a defensive breakdown. Setting the screen that frees up the player who ends up scoring.

Of course, playing without much fanfare is not new for Dolson

From the News & Observer’s Jacobs: No. 2 Duke women again fall short vs. No. 1 UConn

“I’m looking for a shift,” McCallie said earlier this year. “Something’s going to shift. Something’s going to go – boom! And you’ll know it when you see it. That will be the beauty of it.”

But the long-awaited shift did not come against UConn, which instead lowered the boom in a suspenseless 83-61 victory.

The game stayed close only through the first media timeout. Then the Huskies went on a 24-4 tear as Duke displayed almost breathless impatience, fumbling the ball, losing concentration, and employing what McCallie described as “horrible shot selection.” Afterward the coach said, “It’s very disappointing, because we didn’t fight throughout.”

From Rob Clough over Full Court (UConn 83, Duke 61: Same song, seventh verse) and at DWHoops: Different Season, Same Story Again

There were a few stats that truly defined UConn’s relatively easy win over Duke in the Jimmy V Classic. UConn had 25 assists on their 30 field goals, a testament to their extremely precise and unselfish passing. The second telling stat is their 20-4 edge in second chance points, which reflects how much they outhustled the Devils. When one combines skill, speed and hustle, it’s hard to defeat that team, especially if their jump-shooting is highly effective. What was a close game in the first five minutes of the game turned into a “tough shot” contest that UConn won going away over the next ten minutes, a span that coach Geno Auriemma described as when “we did nothing wrong”. Duke started taking contested jump shots, one-dribble jumpers, one-pass jumpers, etc. instead of at least trying to attack the basket.

Who knows what the future holds...for the Duke v. UConn series.

Other ranked teams did their fair share of Smooshing: Georgia, Tennessee, Louisville and LSU.

In other news… some GOOD news: Sylvia Hatchell doing ‘really good’ – UNC coach still hoping for possible return to sideline by season’s end

The first thing Sylvia Hatchell does is reassure you. Yes, she’s feeling OK. Better than that, in fact.

“I am doing really good right now,” Hatchell said, then adds with a chuckle, “My biggest problem is I get bored.”

Hatchell would love nothing more than to be at work with her North Carolina women’s basketball team, deep into her daily to-do list. Cancer has a way, though, of shoving itself to the top of that list and trying to force off everything else.

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No. 2 Duke hasn’t come close to No. 1 UConn, Register
No. 2 Duke Ready To Take Another Swing At No. 1 UConn, Courant
Capsule: No. 1 UConn Women Vs. No. 2 Duke, Courant
No. 1 UConn women’s game day: Tuesday at No. 2 Duke, Post
No. 1 UConn, expected to be at full strength, set for No. 2 Duke, Post
UConn women in No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdowns, Post

No. 2 Duke women set for No. 1 UConn challenge, News & Observer
No. 1 UConn, No. 2 Duke both look to stay unbeaten, Durham Herald Sun

Mechelle Voepel: Can Duke compete with UConn?, ESPN

There are some “big” games you anticipate with confidence … and others with trepidation. In women’s basketball, Connecticut vs. Duke — No. 1 vs. No. 2 Tuesday (ESPN2/WatchESPN, 7 p.m. ET) — is the latter.

For this one, we’re all a bunch of Fox Mulders saying, “I want to believe.” Yes, I’d bet even most UConn fans would like to see this be an exciting game between two 10-0 teams that sit atop the rankings.

Rebecca Lobo: X factors to keep an eye on – Fouls? Free throws? Offensive flow? These elements might impact showdown

The top two teams in the women’s game meet Tuesday night when top-ranked UConn heads to Durham, N.C., to play No. 2 Duke. The Huskies have beaten the Blue Devils six straight times with an average margin of victory of nearly 30 points. (Duke kept it close for a half last season, down only two points at the break, but UConn blew it open in the second half.)

Does Duke have the talent and experience to beat UConn? Yes, without a doubt. Will the Blue Devils finally be able to play a full 40 minutes in order to get the W? We’ll have to tune in to see (ESPN2/WatchESPN, 7 p.m. ET).

Here is what I’ll be keeping my eye on while watching the game.

Charlie Creme: The history behind 1-vs.-2 matchups – Blue Devils riding 24-game home winning streak into showdown

Just more than a month into the season, there is little to no debate over which are the two best women’s college basketball teams in the country. With possible apologies to those in Knoxville, South Bend and Lexington, Connecticut and Duke entered the season at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and neither team has done anything up this point to indicate any errors in that assessment.

The real question, as we embark on another 1-versus-2 matchup on Tuesday night (ESPN2/WatchESPN, 7 ET) in Durham, N.C., is whether the Blue Devils are right there with the Huskies as a true threat to the top spot … or merely closer to the rest of the pack that includes Tennessee, Notre Dame, Kentucky and a few others.

From espnW: Demanding Perfection – Top players for UConn describe what practice is like playing for coach Geno Auriemma.

From Doug: No. 2 Duke ready to meet No. 1 UConn

Today will mark the 52nd meeting between the top two teams in the poll, with the No. 1 team holding a 31-20 edge in the series. UConn has been in that game 17 times, including going 10-1 as the top-ranked team. Duke has played in this game six times, going 3-3. The two teams met once as the top two teams in the nation in 2003, with No. 2 UConn beating top-ranked Duke 77-65.

In other news:

As Rutgers women’s basketball continues to roll, No. 16 Georgia looms

Somewhat surprisingly, little has gone wrong thus far in the Rutgers women’s basketball team’s season.

After losing four of their top-six scorers from a year ago, the Scarlet Knights, who feature no seniors, have quietly blended youth into balanced offense. Four Knights — three underclassmen — are averaging double figures through 10 games. As a team, Rutgers is actually scoring 12 more points per contest (68.1) than last season (56.0).

Buckeyes try to shake out of slump

The Ohio State women’s basketball team gathered for a film session yesterday that served as a double feature without the box of popcorn.

The Buckeyes (7-6) had to watch the postmortem of their 64-49 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday and follow that with a look at Tennessee Martin (6-3), their opponent tonight at Value City Arena.

Coach Kevin McGuff entered the room knowing that his young, largely inexperienced team is at a crossroads.

From the .com: Sheryl Swoopes Embraces New Role as Head Coach at Loyola Chicago

It’s been two years, three months, and five days since Sheryl Swoopes last played a game of basketball, but I was still surprised when she said she didn’t miss playing.

“My passion for the game doesn’t come from playing anymore, my passion for the game now comes from watching and teaching, instructing and coaching and giving back,” Swoopes told WNBA.com over the phone from her new office in Chicago. She had just gotten off a post-practice conference call – one of her many new duties as the head coach of Loyola Chicago’s Women’s Basketball team.

Stinky news for Asjha Jones and the Sun: She’ll Miss WNBA Season

Meanwhile, the Lynx continue their Roster Review: Janel McCarville

 … coming into the season, though, McCarville hadn’t played in the WNBA since 2010. 

The center quickly answered any and all questions. As she got into shape during Training Camp, her knack for finding open teammates became obvious and it seemed like she was perfect for a team with offensive threats like Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore. Throughout the season, her role became extremely important for the Lynx and she averaged a career-high 2.9 assists per game while helping the Lynx win the 2013 title in her first season with the squad. 

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So, you’ve got to believe other teams are thinking “now’s the time” when it comes to beating UConn this year. Down two players, they also got their bigs in foul trouble — and yet the Terps couldn’t take advantage.

Let’s see how well Penn State fares.

George Washington surprised #10 Cal.

My fault: Iona beats Pacific.

Let’s see how this plays out across the rest of the season: St. Bonaventure defeated Green Bay, 68-62.

Nice early season win for St. Joseph’s over Wichita State.

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Baylor’s stomping of Grambling State (Sims), Louisville’s smothering of Loyola (Swoopes’ coaching debut) or UConn’s smooshing of Hartford (front court)…except Connecticut does meet up with Stanford on Monday… and, while the Cardinal (Ogwumike) did exit Boston with a victory over Boston College, I’m going to give a stink eye to their defense in the second half.

Not much to say about Notre Dame’s (Loyddismissal of UNC-Wilmington, other than it’s a great opportunity for the “other” players to get experience as they await the return of the injured.

So, Iona, I see we should keep an eye on you.

Debbie would have enjoyed the Ducks/Bakersfield game: 131-91.

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(and some of the coaches, too)

UConn Women’s Basketball Kicks Off BTS Tour of Champions

In Support of LGBTQ Inclusion

University of Connecticut women’s basketball went 35-4 during the 2012-2013 season, capturing its eighth NCAA Division I national championship title. As some of the most recognizable names and faces in the country, the Huskies understand the importance of using fame and notoriety to impact social change. UConn women’s basketball partners with Br{ache the Silence Campaign as the first team to kick off Tour of Champions, a national initiative to increase the visibility of positive role models by highlighting NCAA Division I women’s national champions who advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in women’s college sports.

UConn women’s basketball student-athletes, Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Brianna Banks used their own creative vision to share the importance of being not only the best in the game, but champions of respect and inclusion on and off the court.

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via Mel:

@womhoopsguru Sad to hear of passing of referee Bonita Spence. Always had great conversations and thinking of her the word integrity comes quickly.

from Geno: @genoauriemma 30m
Lost a good official today. Lost an even better person. Prayers for Bonita Spence and her family.

From College Spun: Women’s Basketball World Mourns Death Of Longtime Referee Bonita Spence

The women’s basketball world took a big hit on Monday with the death of longtime referee Bonita Spence. Spence worked in both the college and WNBA ranks and was one of the better officials in the game. She was also one of the most notable personalities among referees.

Spence used to officiate numerous UConn games at both Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center in Hartford. Each time, she was received with a drawn out cry of “Boooooniiiiiiitaaaa!!” from the student section, to which she always responded with a smile.

My heart goes out to her family — blood and black & white striped.

(Hope DWHoops doesn’t mind)

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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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Well, before everybody starts complaining about how UConn’s dominance is bad for the game (I’m doing a private countdown), let’s address the fact that, for some folks, we’re already at the “Is this as good as it gets” stage: Women’s college basketball plateaus

Back in 1995, when Connecticut won its first NCAA championship in women’s basketball, the sport seemed ready to explode.

The attention Rebecca Lobo, Jen Rizzotti and the rest of the Huskies received from the adoring media, especially in the New York City area, helped fuel a “Year of the Woman” campaign for the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and the birth of the WNBA a year later.

Title IX triumphs!

But as the confetti fell on UConn’s eighth title team Tuesday night in the New Orleans Arena, there was the general feeling that women’s basketball, both on and off the court has plateaued.

I’m always amused by folks who think women’s basketball will grow in an uninterrupted line upwards, or that somehow “social agendas” — read “empowering women,” “fighting sexism,” “fighting homophobia,” “advocating for equal opportunities” — are hindering the game’s growth. (Is there anything that DOESN’T have a “social agenda”?)

That’s why, while I love the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, it also frustrates the hell out of me. Why?  Because it lays out the history of women’s basketball as if it were a natural, fight-free progression. It was not. And is still not.

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: imagine if the small-minded, homophobic and sexist folks hadn’t won the battle to ban girls basketball in the mid ’20’s and 30’s. Consider what was happening at the turn of the century:

When Doctor Naismith joined the faculty of the University of Kansas in 1898 basketball was generally regarded in Kansas college circles as a woman’s sport. This could scarcely have been surprising to its inventor, for girls had begun playing it in the East when it was barely a month old. Coeds on Mount Oread experimented with it as early as 1896, the Kansas University Weekly reporting on November 21 that the girls had organized several teams and that the freshman and sophomore girls hoped to play a match game. There is no record of this contest, if it was played, but if the young women carried out their plan it probably was the first basketball game on a Kansas campus.

In 1897 their athletic facilities were enlarged. A space was reserved to be used as an athletic field for women and facilities were provided for an open-air basketball court. [2] The women of Baker University first played the game in the spring of 1897, when the contest between the Delta Delta Delta team and one picked from the other girls of the university was a feature of the first spring field day, according to The Baker Orange of May 19. Girls pioneered in basketball at Washburn College, Ottawa University and Emporia Normal, as well as at K.U. and Baker. TheWashburn Weekly Review announced on November 3, 1898, that “we may expect our young ladies to issue a challenge to some of the neighboring schools for a basketball game before long,” and reported a week later that they were learning the fine points of the new pastime at the Y.W.C.A. gymnasium in Topeka.

Heck, what might have happened if THIS sentiment had prevailed in the men’s game:

Veteran basketball men say that one factor that prevented basketball from becoming a major sport during the first decade of its existence as a Kansas college game was that men students regarded the game as effeminate.

Where would our game be if it had grown in lock-step with the men’s game? Yes, it probably would look different on the court — sort of how men’s gymnastics is different than women’s gymnastics — BUT off the court?:

  • Perhaps the fan bases would grow at an equal level (’cause, back in the day, they were huge for both girls and boys teams).
  • Perhaps coaches would have been equally paid and respected. For instance, maybe a reporter would be asking, “Would Coach Mike Krzyzewski have been successful coaching in the women’s game?”
  • Perhaps college athletic scholarships, offered to men as early as the 1870’s, would have also been offered women, as opposed to having to be legislated. ‘Cause, as we know, even legislation, most universities are still not in compliance.
  • Perhaps the homophobic bullying tossed at women’s basketball players would be called out/challenged directly by coaches, parents and the media and called out for the hate speech it is. Perhaps, then, Kim Mulkey would not feel the ned to play the ostrich, but be a leader amongst coaches who say “Enough is enough.”

I’m not offering the above “what ifs” as an excuse, but as an example of how things ain’t so simple and/or cut and dried when it comes to women’s athletics. Knowing history is essential to making progress.

So, I look forward to reading Val Ackerman’s “White Paper,” in which, she will present her findings on her “comprehensive assessment of the current state of intercollegiate women’s basketball” and present “her conclusions and recommendations about how best to position and manage the sport.”

  • Revenue generation
  • Marketing and television strategies
  • Image and branding
  • Youth/grass-roots tie-ins
  • Cost structures
  • Scheduling
  • Governance/management
  • Championships

The above points of focus center on topics one might call “hard skills” involving money, tactics and personnel, which is essential to developing strategic plans for growing the game. That is, IF the NCAA actually has the will (and personel) to take action. There have been earlier studies on improving all of the above — with grants given out by the NCAA in 2010 — but for some reason (yes, I can think of some) schools seemed unwilling to adopt identified “Best Practices.” And there was nothing the NCAA could do about making them because universities are independent beings. (Sound familiar, WNBA?)

I’m going to guess that Val’s paper will NOT address “political” issues such as university funding of sports or homophobia within and without the sports. That being said, there does seem to be a sea change happening (and a corresponding backlash – did you see this reaction to the firing of Rice?), primarily led by student-athletes.

Recall this from 2012: Athlete Ally: Hudson Taylor tackles homophobia

The gay jokes. The homophobic slurs, those comments uttered so habitually on the practice mats that no one stops to notice what they actually mean or whom they hurt. They stung Hudson Taylor.

Wear an equal rights sticker on your helmet during a match and we’ll have a hard time cheering for you, some of his Maryland teammates warned. Their words clawed at Taylor, tore at him the way their words tore at so many athletes never bold enough to speak out before. He wondered if by taking this stance he was actually hindering his cause, if his teammates were becoming more homophobic simply because he asked them not to be.

“Sometimes, 18- to 22-year-old young men don’t realize how much an impact their words have,” said Maryland wrestling coach Kerry McCoy. “Hudson brought that issue to the forefront for our team.”

Yes, I wish coaches would speak out more. But, I do understand the fear factor: did you see this from The Tucker Center?  Examining Online Intercollegiate Head Coaches’ Biographies: Reproducing or Challenging Heteronormativity and Heterosexism? Writes Pat Griffin:

Let’s look at the decision whether or not to include a description of one’s family in a professional bio through the lens of heterosexism.  For a heterosexual married coach or athletic administrator, this decision is relatively minor.  Being heterosexual and married with children is what is expected and accepted. Heterosexuals freely share this information in a million little ways every day: wearing a wedding ring, placing family photos on a desk in the office, having casual conversations with colleagues about family, bringing family to department social and sports events. Why wouldn’t she or he want to include this information in a bio? There is no real down side to providing information about a heterosexual spouse and children. To the contrary, in a sports world where many high school recruits and their parents, athletic directors or the general public still view non-heterosexuals in negative ways, this “evidence” of heterosexuality can be read as a big plus, whether intended as such or not: The coach is not gay! 
Through the same lens of heterosexism, the factors affecting the decision of lesbian, gay or bisexual coaches in same-sex relationships to include their family information in a professional bio are quite different from those of their heterosexual colleagues.  Their decision is a big deal in ways that it is not for heterosexual coaches.  Here is why – Lesbian, bisexual and gay coaches carefully consider this decision because it can open the coach to professional and personal risk in a world where heterosexism is the norm.  Only 16 states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. There are no federal laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Many coaches work in schools that do not even have institutional non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation or gender identity. As a consequence, most lesbian, bisexual and gay coaches have no legal protection against discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

So, maybe the tipping point will be led outside of the college arena. How can you not draw hope from this?

NHL, Players Union Launch Initiative To Battle Homophobia

The National Hockey League and its players union launched an initiative today that it hopes will stamp out homophobia from the game.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman tells our Newscast unit that the partnership with You Can Play is intended to send a message that everyone is welcome in the NHL as a player or a fan.

“This is really about celebrating diversity, whether or not it’s your national origin, the color of your skin or your sexual orientation, and making you feel comfortable that whoever you are you can have a place you can play,” Bettman said.

And while there is this (NFL More Homophobic Than Ever, Asking Prospects If They’re Gay and The NFL Sets the Standard for Homophobia) there is also this and this Donté Stallworth, Wide Receiver, Joins Group Fighting Homophobia In Sports

“I think it’s important for us as professional athletes not only to set the tone in our own respective fields, but also for the kids who are watching our programs or our sports,” he said. “If you isolate a child and teach them hate, hate, hate, that’s the way they’re going to grow up. … And unfortunately, that’s the environment that I grew up in. There was a lot of disrespect for gays. I unfortunately was a part of that. But as I got older, I became more ashamed of that and more open to rights for all.”

Yes, I see women’s basketball as being more than “just basketball.” I can enjoy the game for the game’s sake — niche sport or not. But I also enjoy the fact that it can have a bigger role: It can challenge our preconceived notions and push us to consider our conscious (and unconscious) biases about the “natural state” of the world around us. Why would anyone want to shy away from do that?

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Got to write my first player profile in a looooong time. It’s on St. John’s Shenneika Smith. She was a delight to speak with.

Shenneika Smith hopes to guide St. John’s back to NCAA

Coaching change notwithstanding, the program began the 2012-13 season with high hopes. The Red Storm had gained national attention the previous season when, courtesy of Smith’s last second three, that simultaneously snapped the University of Connecticut’s 99-game home court winning streak and gave the Huskies their first home loss against an unranked opponent in 19 years. Then came St. John’s first-ever Sweet 16 appearance. There was every expectation that Smith, who had been named to the 2012 All-Big East first team, along with fellow seniors Nadirah McKenith and Eugeneia McPherson, would continue to elevate the program. The fact that St. John’s was to host first round of 2013 NCAA tournament on their home court was going to be the cherry on the top of their college career.

Things didn’t go quite as planned.

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from Full Court:

Jim Clark: Notre Dame, UConn rule the Big East, and its last tournament as a major conference

I hate college football.

Greedy college presidents looking for football TV money have eviscerated the Big East, arguably the best basketball conference in the country over the last ten years. Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Miami wandered away in the last decade. Now the seven catholic institutions are seceding together. Rutgers is going to the Big 10 in 2014 (or sooner if they pay an exit fee), Louisville and Notre Dame are off to the ACC.

When “re-alignment” is over, UConn, Cincinnati and South Florida are all that will be left of the conference that has sent eight teams to the women’s NCAA Tournament the last two years. Nobody knows what that conference will be called. No one is quite sure what additional teams will be added and no one knows yet which conference will get the Big East automatic bid to the tournament. I’ll leave explanation of all the machinations still pending to the football writers.

Clay: NCAA seeds at stake in Big 12 tourney

It doesn’t matter to Baylor – but the Big 12 Tournament could make the path to the Sweet 16 a lot easier for teams that play well.

The Bears are going to be a top seed no matter what happens in their first-round game Friday against the winner of the Thursday’s Kansas State-Texas game. Even should one of the Big 12 bottomfeeders pull off an upset for the ages, it won’t affect Baylor’s chances of winning a national title at all – and it wouldn’t even help Kansas State or Texas unless the winner rode that momentum all the way to the conference title.

Paul Gackle at the SF Examiner says Cal, Stanford women’s basketball appear destined to meet this week in Pac-12 women’s tourney

James Kelley says, Arizona women’s basketball must dominate Pac-12 tournament to reach NCAA’s

Seattle’s Q13 has this story: Husky women’s basketball: Overcoming odds on and off court

The Husky women’s basketball team heads into the Pac-12 Conference Tournament after posting their best record since 2007.

And they’re ready, to say the least.

“I think it’s a real testament to the competitive character of our players that they didn’t accept that we had some limitations; therefore, couldn’t have success,” head coach Kevin McGuff said.

Marcus Fuller at the Pioneer Press wonders:  Gophers women’s basketball: Pam Borton’s secret deal a big deal for Big Ten tourney?

From the outside looking in, Pam Borton’s job status no longer appears tenuous, her team’s performance entering tournament season apparently no longer critical to the immediate future of Minnesota’s women’s basketball coach.

When Gophers athletics director Norwood Teague revealed last week that predecessor Joel Maturi had quietly given Borton a two-year contract extension last June, the women’s basketball coach no longer had to worry about a deal that would expire after next season. A new buyout clause was more university-friendly, but Borton needed a new deal to focus on rebuilding.

FC also has some player features.

Cal – Gennifer Brandon
Colorado – Chucky Jeffery
Maryland – Tianna Hawkins
Notre Dame – Natalie Achonwa
Penn State – Maggie Lucas

Time to revisit Vickie “Just Call Me Winner of the WBCA Mel Greenberg Award Media Award” Friedman’s look at the Mid-Majors:

We’re betting you’ve heard the name Elena Delle Donne.

But how about Naama Shafir, Jerica Coley or Victoria McGowan? You might not be as familiar with their credentials, but the Toledo offensive machine, the explosive Florida International guard and the Stetson floor general (who set an impressive Division I mark last season) have plenty of them.

Learn move below, along with info on several other monster resumes in a list we’ve compiled of this year’s best players from the non-BCS conferences.

Graham focuses on EDD: Elena shines in and out of spotlight – We rarely see Delle Donne play, but her story and game are as good as it gets

Most of the country didn’t experience Elena Delle Donne’s final regular-season home game.

There wasn’t a national television audience for the Colonial Athletic Association game between Delaware and Georgia State as there was when Skylar Diggins and Notre Dame played Connecticut on Monday night.

What transpired wasn’t likely to become part of any national conversation, as it did when Baylor’s Brittney Griner went for 50 points in her regular-season home finale the same night as the triple-overtime thriller in South Bend.

Basketball operates on a smaller scale in the second-smallest state.

Beth, Debbie and the Nell-ster discuss the upcoming NCAA tournament on their podcast.

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Big East Finals? Yes, please, thank you!

Meanwhile, there’s a lot of basketball being played, including BG going all “Simple Minds” on us as she drops 50 and a dunk. La-di-dah.

From Lynn Zinser at the Times: In Women’s Basketball, a Season of the Powerhouses

If there was ever a year when men’s and women’s college basketball were more different, well, it’s hard to remember it, and Monday summed it up in one nice little package. The women’s game is all about powerhouses, about Baylor’s Brittney Griner’s being one in and of herself, scoring 50 points and dunking on Kansas State; about Notre Dame elbowing Connecticut out of its usual spot atop the Big East hill; about UConn hyperventilating because it hasn’t won a national title in three whole years. Gasp.

Lots of experts chiming in on what’s going to happen over the next week and a half or so:

Mechelle on the SEC: Tennessee is No. 1 seed in SEC tourney

Tennessee’s seniors had their moment Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn., when the Lady Vols clinched the program’s 17th regular-season SEC title with a win over Texas A&M. Kentucky’s seniors had their moment Sunday, when they defeated Tennessee in front of a packed Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Ky.

So which seniors will be the ones celebrating next Sunday in Duluth, Ga., at the conclusion of the SEC tournament? Those from Tennessee, Kentucky, or another school?

Might that other school, asks Mechelle, be wearing purple? Red-hot LSU heads to SEC tourney

There are a great many things more strenuous for a soon-to-deliver pregnant woman than coaching at the SEC tournament. LSU’s Nikki Caldwell didn’t seem fazed by it last year as her team made it all the way to the championship game.

Still, a couple of us reporters — admittedly nonparents and so a bit squeamish about such things — kept nervously looking over at Caldwell back then in Nashville, Tenn., as if her little one might just suddenly appear on the sideline.

It turned out, though, that this baby knew exactly what she was doing. Justice Simone Fargas was born exactly a year ago — on March 6, 2012 — which was three weeks earlier than her projected arrival time.

Slightly hidden (thanks, ESPN.com) Cara Capuano notices It’s TOURNAMENT TIME for SEC Women’s Basketball!

“Anybody who loves basketball… loves this time of year.”  That, the opening comment from Georgia head coach Andy Landers to the media who participated on Monday in a conference call leading up to the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

Kelly at Full Court riffs on a similar theme: Race for SEC tournament title is wide open

One thing is clear heading into this year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament: There is no clear favorite. The conference has six teams ranked in the top 25 — No. 7 Kentucky, No. 9 Tennessee, No. 12 Georgia, No. 17 South Carolina, No. 13 Texas A&M and No. 22 LSU — and any one of these squads has a legitimate chance of winning the tourney.

Busy V also has: PSU out to end Big Ten tourney drought

Penn State ran into an emotional senior night last Thursday at Minnesota … and the Gophers handed the Big Ten leader just its second league loss.

Penn State was in a similar situation Sunday in the regular-season finale at Nebraska. It wasn’t just the seniors that the Huskers were bidding a fond farewell to (although they still have the Big Ten and NCAA tourneys to play, of course).

Sharon Crowson at Full Court asks, Can the Big Ten stick to the script in the conference tournament?

Usually, it’s hard to recap a season in less than a long article – but this year’s Big Ten conference play can be summed up in one word: Strange.

All right, maybe three words: Very, very strange.

Maggie Blogs: I bonded with my dad over love of game

At FullCourt, Rob offers up: ACC Tournament has contenders but Duke and Maryland on course for rematch

There are a lot of wild cards in this year’s ACC tournament. Sure, Duke dominated the regular season at 17-1 and finished three games ahead of the nearest competitor, but they did most of that with Chelsea Gray at the helm. Gray is now an unpaid but highly vociferous assistant coach, making it her personal mission to channel her energy and savvy into frosh Alexis Jones. Still, Duke has looked highly shaky at times, especially on the boards. Teams like UNC and Maryland feel like they have a real shot at knocking off Duke, while regular season underachievers Georgia Tech and NC State lurk as potential dark horse teams. For those latter two squads, winning the ACC tournament is the only way they’ll be playing in the NCAA tourney.

Michelle’s on the West Coast, and offers up this: Huskies hope for home turnaround – Washington holds Pac-12 tournament advantage at Seattle’s KeyArena

Washington coach Kevin McGuff insists his team didn’t circle these dates on the calendar, that they stayed focused on what was immediately in front of them, not way ahead on the horizon.

But that horizon is now what’s next, and Washington has a distinct opportunity to disrupt the balance of power in the Pac-12. Summoning the ability to take advantage of that opportunity is the trick.

The Pac-12 tournament is moving to Seattle’s KeyArena, home of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm and one of women’s basketball’s most dedicated fan bases, this weekend. The Huskies are hoping to take advantage of the hometown crowd.

Sue Favor at Full Court adds: Cal or Stanford? Rivals expected to decide season series in Pac-12 finals

The Pac-12 Tournament is in a brand new city this year, and for the first time in many seasons, there could be a new champion too.

Seattle, with its large women’s basketball fan base, will play host to the 12-year-old tournament March 7-10, and though Stanford has won nine of the previous 11 titles, unlike years past, the Cardinal are not necessarily the favorite this time.

Since conference play began, Stanford and Cal have spent most of it ranked side by side in national polls, as numbers five and six or six and seven. They split the regular-season series, and both teams are surging lately, with loaded benches. In the end, each team ended Pac-12 play Saturday at 17-1, which gives Cal a share of the title for the first time in program history.

The Buffs are eager to begin their postseason

Graham ponders the mid-majors and says, Gonzaga remains as consistent as ever

There were 60 teams from the six major conferences that did not advance as far as Gonzaga in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

There were 62 teams from those same conferences that averaged fewer fans per game than the Bulldogs drew to the Kennel, as the 6,000-capacity McCarthey Athletic Center is affectionately (at least to home fans) known.

We might be a long way from a mid-major No. 1 in women’s college basketball, but there is at least equal distance between many, maybe most, supposedly major programs and the dynasties that rule the rest of the country.

As a freshman newly arrived from Germany a season ago, Gonzaga’s Sunny Greinacher had a rather visceral reaction to one of the best atmospheres in women’s college basketball.

Time for the WBH “WhadoIknow” Conference Champeen Prediction/Thoughts:

America East: Yes, it is hard to beat a team three times in a season, but I think Albany could have. Since BU ain’t invited, it’s the Danes.

Atlantic 10: Play it safe, say Dayton. But the 49’ers have intrigued me all season….

ACC: It feels like Duke has regained its equilibrium. I’m not sure it’s going to help them in the NCAA tournament, but it feels like they’re ready for the ACC. Unless UNC can kick it up a notch or three.

Atlantic Sun: What, you think I’m going to bet against the Eagles? Don’t make me laugh.

Big 12: Baylor is 18-0 in the conference. The #2 Iowa State team is 12-6. ’nuff said.

Big East: So, will three be the charm? Dunno – but Hartley is the key. Gold wins out in the BEast – but don’t know if it’ll happen in the NCAAs.

Big Sky:…is just a hot mess. Common sense would say Montana, but Northern Colorado has this edge about them.

Big South: This was “everybody else’s year,” and then Liberty said, “I don’t think so!.”

Big Ten: Machine Gun Maggie rules, especially if Co can keep the rest of her team present. (Congrats, coach Yori)

Big West: Pacific should win, but Hawai’i has been coming on strong.

Colonial: There are several bubble teams pulling like heck for Delaware. James Madison has proven to be a serious threat, but a healthy EDD is quite a force of basketball.

Conference USA: Will SMU hold up under the pressure of being in the spotlight, or with coach Stockton reclaim her Conference?

Horizon: I know it’s the Phoenix’s to lose, so I’m pullin’ for the Penguins.

Ivy: Yup, it’s the Tigers.

MAAC: “Down” year, my azzz… Marist rules.

Mid-American: Toledo should rule easily, but I’m guessing next year, Ball State will be exacting some revenge.

MEAC: Hampton and their band will be in the Tournament.

Missouri Valley: I’m going for the Blue Jays. It’s a birding thing.

Mountain West: Beth Burns has San Diego State at 13-1 in the conference, but my gut says Fresno.

North East: There are a lot of letters between Quinnipiac and the rest of the teams.]

Ohio Valley: You’d have just as good a chance making the correct guess using research as trying ernie-meenie-mynee-moe. Which is how I chose Tennessee Tech.

Pacific-12: Stanford has lost Kokenis for the tournament. That might just throw them off their stride enough for Cal to win the title.

Patriot League: There’s no doubt it’s going to be either Army or Navy. I refuse to pick, and think both should win.

SEC: Tennessee has had an amazing season, but injuries are the constant theme. That’s why I’m saying Kentucky.

Southern: The Mocs are back on top.

Southland: If they can survive the WHB curse, they (Sam Houston) can win the championship.

SWAC: I didn’t bet against her when she played for Houston, and I won’t bet against her when she’s coaching Texas Southern.

Summit: As in the MAC, the Jackrabbits should win, but next year they better keep an eye on IUPUI.

Sun Belt: There have been some surprising stumbles, but Middle Tennessee has the experience Western Kentucky lacks.

West Coast: The boys are #1 and the women will win the WCC

Western: Don’t yell at me, Jayda, but I’m going with Utah State.

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From Graham: Irish duo make perfect team – Big Monday’s clash with UConn (ESPN2, 7 ET) will be Diggins’ final home game

Skylar Diggins’ mother recalled a letter from Ball State when her daughter was in fifth grade. Notre Dame offered a scholarship before Diggins scored a point, let alone won a title, at South Bend’s Washington High School.

Monday night has been a long time coming.

And some other stuff (thanks, Nan):

Share of Big East title at stake for UConn, CT Post
No. 3 UConn women’s game day: Monday at No. 2 Notre Dame, CT Post
ND vs. UConn: A look at last 6 games, CT Post
It Comes Down To This: UConn Vs. Notre Dame, Hartford Courant
Notre Dame Has Had UConn’s Number, Hartford Courant
No. 3 UConn at No. 2 Notre Dame, Hartford Courant
Big East title on the line as Huskies face off with rival Notre Dame, New Haven Register
No. 3 UConn at No. 2 Notre Dame, New Haven Register
UConn women are playing for a share of Big East title tonight, New London Day
Getting past Irish UConn’s goal, Waterbury Republican (subscription required to read entire article)
Colossal clash with Connecticut means nothing, everything, South Bend Tribune
For Her Encore, Diggins Hopes to Lead Notre Dame to Championship, NY Times

She is not shy to break into song, around her parents’ house, around her team, whenever she likes. She raps. She sings. Sometimes she writes her own lyrics — about life, basketball, success.

If she were to write a song now, all three would be in harmony. She could sing about her mother and stepfather, who raised her. About being the hometown kid who led Notre Dame to two national championship games, who has the second-ranked Fighting Irish in position to win it all, and who will face No. 3 Connecticut on Monday in the regular-season finale.

She could sing about her budding fame or her bright future in the W.N.B.A. Her nearly 300,000 Twitter followers would listen. Her family might have no choice.

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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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So, anyone think that UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is the stealthiest Player of the Year contender out there? Consider her stats and ignore the fact that she’s a sophomore. It’s got to be Griner, KLM, and then the Big O.

In other Big East news, ‘nova gave Notre Dame fits until the end, but the Irish prevailed. That makes win #700 for McGraw. Rebecca has 5 Questions with sharpshooter Kayla McBride

Speaking of 900, Respected coach Stringer approaches milestone as she nears contract year

Hampton keeps rollin’ in the MEAC.

The Mocs are rockin’ in the Southern.

The Q is still undefeated in the NEC.

Speaking of the NEC, the LIU Blackbirds surprised the heck outta St. Francis (PA), with New Zelander Whippy (what a great name!) going for 14 & 15. And, no, I’m not calling turnaround, but heck, St. Francis (NY) won again! This time in overtime.

Now sitting at 11-0 in the conference, the Eagles took down the Ospreys by 16 behind nice games from two more great names: Iamstrong (think about it for a minute) and Chatzigiakoumi (think about pronouncing that after a minute). BTW, their coach is paid more than the FGCU men’s coach is.

Michigan State took Michigan down a notch or three, 61-46.

I’m thinking Texas A& M is liking the SEC, what with six wins in a row and all that.

Maybe tomorrow’s game will be the 900th charm. From Mechelle: Hatchell savors spot on sideline – UNC coach on verge of becoming just third women’s coach to win 900 games

To reach a milestone like 900 victories, you really need to relish what you’re doing. How much does North Carolina women’s basketball coach Sylvia Hatchell — who goes for win No. 900 Thursday at Boston College — enjoy her job? We offer this: She actually loves running summer basketball camps.

Most college coaches do them each year, but some much more grudgingly than others. Hatchell, though, is always excited to see the campers, to watch even the least-skilled youngsters work on getting better, to experience the excitement that they still have about the game.

“She’s there when the kids show up, she’s eating in the cafeteria with them, she’s visible all the time,” said her husband, Sammy Hatchell, a fellow hoops coach. “We’ve been doing camps for over 30 years, and she still loves it.”

Helloooooo, Blue Jays! Graham has his mid-major poll: Near-perfect Nelson leads No. 4 Creighton

The perfect game is not an unfamiliar concept at Creighton, where the baseball team is a regular participant in the NCAA tournament and plays its home games at TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series.

But what Sarah Nelson did Saturday against Drake is about as close as a basketball player can come to the elegant efficiency of a baseball pitcher retiring 27 consecutive batters.

Nelson finished with 19 points, seven assists, seven rebounds, three blocks and a steal in 28 minutes in her team’s 98-71 victory. That’s good on its own, but she put up those totals while hitting 8-of-9 shots from the field, including her only 3-point attempt, and both of her attempts from the free throw line. She also didn’t commit a turnover.

There were more prolific weekend scoring lines, but that’s as close to all-around perfection as one player is likely to come this season. It also came from a player used to working without much margin for error.

West Coast Michelle offers up some Golden Bear news: Cal’s Brandon transforms her game

On the court, Gennifer Brandon is tenacious, energetic, aggressive, even willing to curse when the occasion calls for it.

But sitting in front of you in her coaches’ conference room before practice, Brandon radiates a gentle spirit. She smiles broadly, speaks quietly, is unfailingly polite, and the pink headband she’s wearing, well, it only reinforces the image of a sweet girl who becomes something else when she walks onto the floor.

It’s a fitting contrast for someone whose life has been and remains full of transformations.

Beth and Debbie talk to Cal’s Brittany Boyd and Layshia Clarendon about their chances of dethroning Stanford in the PAC 12.

Jayda asks: Poll: Which team has a better chance of making it to the NCAA tournament   and says, Washington’s run helping conference grab more respect

At Full Court, Sue Favor asks, Is the Pac-12 actually worthy of respect?

Also at Full Court, Bob Corwin talks youngsters: Paging the Prairie for Prospects

Over at Swish Appeal, the SBN Roundtable ponders: How might we compare Cal, Kentucky, Maryland, Penn State, and Tennessee? (I’m thinking it’s not to a summer day…)

Zack Ward has an interview: Despite injuries, Thomas sees improved Terp team

So does M Robinson: Interview: Dawn Staley on S. Carolina’s 19-3 start

About the W. The Good News is: WNBA unveils 2013 game schedule

The Bad News Is: No LJ.

Swish Appeal is all over it: Lauren Jackson to miss season, Ann Wauters Cut and they wonder How can Seattle get younger and still contend?

Lots of other stuff happening with teams (Flurry of transactions prompt WNBA to update free agent pool), which prompts James Bowman to ask: How do you replace Lindsey Harding?

The Wiz06 asks What should the Dream do in the offseason?

In New York City and have nothing to do this Friday at 6pm?

 
Director: Angela Gorsica Alford
Run Time: 73 minutes, Language: English
Screening: Friday, February 8, 6PM
Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, Held Auditorium

Adult Tickets Student Tickets

Inline image 1

Synopsis: Granny’s Got Game is a documentary film about a senior women’s basketball team in North Carolina. These seven fiercely competitive women in their seventies battle physical limitations and skepticism to keep doing what they love. The film follows them for a year as they compete for another National Senior Games championship. After two decades together, these women are more than a team…they are a family.

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No, I’m not talking about Baylor’s 17pt win over Oklahoma (or BG setting the all-time block record), or Notre Dame’s 45pt win over Providence (or Diggins’ 2000th point, joining Morgan, Gaither and Riley), or UConn’s 36 pt win over Cincinnati, or Oklahoma State’s 13pt win over Kansas, or Iowa State’s four point win over… well, actually, that was fun, in that they came back from 9 down in the first to beat West Virginia.

No, I’m talking about Stetson walking in to Naples and getting stomped by FGCU, 74-55. Yah, there’s bad blood between the programs, but don’t stir the pot if you can’t bring the needed ingredients, I say.

“It’s obviously a very big win for us,” said FGCU coach Karl Smesko, acknowledging Stetson as a top rival despite FGCU’s sizable advantage in the series. “Stetson’s not going to lose very many games in conference, so you’ve got to win your games at home against them.”

The Hatters will get a chance to even the score on February 23rd.

American squeezed by Army. They’re  joined by Navy atop the Patriot League, making the conference name seem quite appropriate.

It was all Enemkpali, as Texas got its first Big 12 win.

Ball State moved to 5-1 in the MAC, but at 6-0, Central Michigan may be the class of the league. We’ll see how they handle Bowling Green on the 3rd. Their rematch against Toledo (which they won, AT Toledo) is on the 24th. The Rockets had to do everything they could to escape MAC-winless NIU, 44-42.

In the Southern, Davidson powered past Elon in the second half, to move to 8-1 in conference play — .5 behind the Mocs, who defeated Appalachian State, 59-55. That rematch, the Wildcats lost at home the first game, will happen on Feb. 25th AT Chattanooga.

Green Bay dismissed Valpo, moving to 5-0 in the Horizon.

Quinnipiac held Fairleigh Dickinson to 13 in the second half, on their way to a 66-39 win. The Bobcats are now 7-0 in the NEC, and have their best start in program history.

After opening the season with three losses, and suffering their first conference loss, Seattle U recovered against Texas State and moved to 8-1 in the WAC. Utah State (7-2 in the Conference) is up next.

Nebraska-Omaha gave the Wabbits a wun for the munny, but South Dakota State held on for the 10pt win and the 7-1 Summit record.

St. Joe’s keeps up with Dayton, Duquesne and Fordham, and now  sits at 4-0 in the A-10.

‘Ware the Bengals: Idaho State took down conference top dog Montana State, 63-55. That made Montana, relieved 61-53 winners over winless Weber State, quite happy.

Albany is proving they’re the American East’s Big Dog.

Nice, nice win for San Francisco and coach Azzi: 65-56 over BYU, avenging their 80-58 loss in the WAC opener.

Coop’s Texas Southern keeps winning. This time, it was Alabama A&M on the losing end.

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before the second half of last night’s game, you might have heard this.

That was the sound of Indy girl Kelly Faris revving up to take over the game.

Consider what Rebecca Lobo wrote in her preview piece, Duke ready for big stage:

Chelsea Gray

I haven’t seen a better passer in the open floor than Duke’s Chelsea Gray. The junior point guard has superb vision and strength to make passes that others cannot. She already has more than 100 assists on the season, and many have come from no-look and highlight-reel passes. She has tallied two triple-doubles already this season and a 15-assist game (versus Clemson). If you haven’t seen her play, it’s worth tuning in to this game just to check out Gray.

Now consider what Graham wrote after witnessing Ms. Gray’s encounter with Ms. Faris: Faris delivers ‘one for the ages’: Huskies win with decisive second half, hand Duke its first loss of season

Faris finished with 18 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Duke point guard Chelsea Gray — who spent a good portion of the night the subject of closer attention from Faris than President Obama received from his Secret Service detail during the day’s inauguration events in Washington, D.C. — finished with two points on six shots, four turnovers and a look of incalculable frustration.

Indeed, the numbers didn’t tell the whole story. They never do with Faris.

The interesting game we saw unfold in the first half turned into a Faris clinic on defense, offense and intensity. The end result? A two-point game turned into a 30-point blowout.

Mel was there to witness (ONE “s” Mel, ONE “s”): Faris solidifies star status as No. 3 Huskies rout No. 4 Blue Devils

“There have been a lot of great players and legends play in this building wearing the Connecticut uniform,” continued Auriemma, whose seven NCAA titles is just one short of Tennessee coach emeritus Pat Summitt’s collection. “But I don’t know if anyone has ever represented themselves, their family, and the University of Connecticut the way Kelly did tonight.

“I know there’s a lot of players out there that are really good … there’s a lot of All-Americans but man oh man, that was one for the ages right there.”

From Clay, we get: Duke takes another dive against UConn

In an epic second-half collapse, previously unbeaten No. 4 Duke unraveled like a cheap shirt, leaving nothing behind but shattered egos and yet another hammering at the hands of the unforgiving Huskies.

Of course, UConn is No. 3 for a reason – well, actually many reasons, but one of them is depth. In this game, for example, the Husky bench outscored the Duke bench 23-9; and two of the Blue Devil starters combined for four points.

Rob chimes in from DWHoops with a Nutshell and Analysis.

Areas For Improvement: Above all else, communication. A season’s worth of being slow to close on shooters, blocking out smaller teams and relying on talent instead of teamwork came back to haunt Duke in this game. They were thoroughly outplayed and outcoached, as UConn made a number of adjustments going into the second half while Duke basically kept doing the same thing. Coach McCallie was never able to find a way to stop the bleeding during the run and get her team’s attention.

In Michigan, the Wolverines were game, but the Lions were gamer. Penn State wins, 59-49.

“It was a quality team and they just wore us out,” said Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico. “I guess that’s why they’re probably No. 8 and we’re probably No. 23 at this point because they had four more minutes than we did.”

Nice to see I didn’t manage to jinx Texas Southern — they easily handled Mississippi Valley State 58-47.

Stetson (school-record 11th consecutive victory) and FGCU were equally immune to the WHB jinx. (You can watch the Hatters/Eagles showdown at 7:05 Saturday, televised by Comcast Sports Southeast)  Ditto with Quinnipiac, which stifled St. Francis (PA) in the first half and then secured a 85-69 victory.

Obviously, by not mentioning them, I assured the Wichita State a 70-51 victory over Drake. The Shockers are now 5-0 in the MVC.

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D’em Penguins got stomped by d’em meanie Mountaineers. I mean, they’re PENGUINS!

Ouch: Baylor opens on 17-0 run, never looks back vs. Tennessee

More ouch: Andrea Hoover powers Dayton’s rout of Akron with 18

Speaking of beyond ouch — and doing what you can to ease that awful, horrible hurt: UConn creates Newtown fund

Women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma and wife Kathy contributed the first donation, offering $80,000. Scholarship money for surviving students will be available upon their acceptance to UConn, while funds for siblings and dependents are available immediately, depending on need.

“Over this past difficult weekend, Kathy and I gave much consideration to what we as a family could do that would have some significance for the future,” Auriemma said. “Because UConn is so important to us, we decided to establish a scholarship and encourage other UConn alumni and fans around the world to invest in the future of the Sandy Hook survivors.”

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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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and working, and birding and sitting in a bus up and down to Hartford to watch the Terps play UConn tough, some other stuff was happening.

Wowza, was Holly ticked or something? ’cause that was some beat down the Vols put on the upstart Tar Heels. (Loved the optimism and outrage, Cliff.) Kate Fagan is Behind the Scenes with Tennessee: Learning life as a Lady Vol

I think Penn State was ticked — at losing — and they took it out on Farleigh Dickinson.

My friend Jeff in Louisville took ten family members to the Kentucky game — not only was it ugly, but the Cardinals lost a squeaker.

Reality check: Syracuse put its unbeaten record up against Temple… and lost.

Reality check part deux: Northwestern put its unbeaten record up against DePaul… and lost.

Dayton didn’t let being ranked (#23) dissuade them from beating ASU.

Speaking of Arizona teams — Long Beach State took down the Wildcats.

Not having fun at Rutgers. First Princeton beat’em, then it was Boston College’s turn.

With their nice win against Cal, Graham says Duke, Jones pass first real test

It has been difficult to write much about Duke to this point in the season, mostly because it wasn’t clear until this week that the Blue Devils were actually through with their exhibition schedule. (Quick, pick the exhibition opponent: Shaw or Presbyterian?) Sunday’s game against No. 10 Cal was the team’s first against a ranked opponent and came on the heels of a reasonable, if unremarkable, road test at Michigan in the middle of last week.

So welcome to the season, Blue Devils.

D’em Penguins are no longer undefeated, but they did manage to move to 6-1 with their squeaker over IUPUI.

Yes, I did follow my impulse and hopped a bus up and back to Hartford – nothing like six hours on Greyhound to mess with your back. Stubborn (& undermanned) Terps did the Huskies a favor by playing hard-nosed, in your face defense. Next time you watch UConn (live), just keep your eyes on Kelly Faris. She’s a lesson on how to play the game of basketball.

Kelly Faris was at the center of the defensive efforts thwarting Maryland. If ever there was a player born to star in a game in which the points column seemed to matter less than rebounds, steals and stops, it is Faris The senior finished with eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists and eight steals, leading Auriemma to sarcastically note that there is a reason the Big East coaches who continually leave her off all-conference teams have the records they have, while his team, with Faris on the court as much as humanly possible, has the record it has during her time in uniform. She either scored or assisted on almost half of her team’s field goals.

Yes, Georgia is 10-0, but they got there by mauling the Teddy Bears. January 6th is when they face the Vols.

Make sure you’re home in time for tonight’s game: Green and Gold v. Gold and Green. Read up!

Notre Dame women’s basketball: Irish have tough challenge to stop Baylor’s inside-outside game

ND Women’s Basketball: No. 5 Notre Dame set to host rival No. 3 Baylor

Rematch with Bears to test Irish

Baylor back to full strength – Bears’ Sims expected to play Wednesday

Monardo: Significance of the matchup goes well beyond revenge

From Mechelle: Baylor favored in title-game rematch – Notre Dame still seeking identity as defending champs head to South Bend

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is a natural-born tweaker, someone who is always trying to figure out if even some slight adjustment might make a difference.

The past two seasons, though, didn’t allow for a lot of that with the Irish. Their starting lineup in 2010-11 and 2011-12 — seasons in which Notre Dame reached the national championship game — was pretty much always the same.

So far this season, though, after Notre Dame graduated three starters, McGraw has had more arranging and rearranging to do. The Irish are 5-0, but haven’t had the same starting lineup in any of those games.

Beth and Debbie are BACK!!! Check out the podcast.

Graham has an Outside the Lines on BG, EDD and SD

In the depths of a Texas summer, the heat and humidity set up shop well before dawn’s first light and linger like party guests long past dusk. A girl, clothes caked in dust and soaked by sweat, face red from some combination of exertion and sunlight, charges into her house for a glass of water. She stubbornly ignores her mother’s pleas to sit down and cool off for a few minutes, rushing back to whatever adventure awaits.

Another girl silently watches older kids play basketball. It’s cold outside, snow blanketing the ground in South Bend, Ind., a sacred place for college football but also the heart of basketball country. The court is in the recreation center her stepfather runs, but the girl, no more than 6 years old and until recently reluctant to leave her mom’s side, is in the background, observing, unnoticed.

In a suburban Delaware house, the basket is shorter and the court nothing more than a basement. A brother and sister play games of one-on-one with the intensity of a Final Four. The brother, three years older and a little too big, too strong for her, takes the lead. She throws a fit and storms away. He waits. He knows she will soon return to begin again.

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it’s hard not to read stuff into results.

Like maybe North Carolina’s got something goin’ on (even though they did almost blow a lead).

Like maybe other Tennessee teams have it in for the Vols this season. UT needs OT to escape MTSU.

Like d’em Flyers are FLYIN’!

Like you should be glad I wasn’t hired to write the headlines for the UCONN game, ’cause there were SO many possibilities: Colgate gets *fill in appropriate dental related verb* by Connecticut.

Like I’m not taking Kansas seriously until they play a team that is, or stands a chance of being, ranked (I see you, Cal Bears). Same goes for you, Oklahoma State.  And ditto to you, Georgia. Double ditto to you, South Florida, especially since you needed OT to defeat Clemson. And you’re not quite in the same category, Florida State, but you’re close. And Northwestern? Talk to me after you meet the already mentioned Cal Bears. And yes, I see you, 8-0 South Carolina, but I also see the Cardinal looming.

Like the Pacific Tigers got my attention ’cause they’re undefeated AND that includes a win over Fresno State. Of course, there are those Cardinal folk looming.

Like Turtles are faster than Huskers.

Like what a difference a year makes: A Della Donne-less Delaware takes down the Bonnies.

Like I never know if I can trust Michigan State — will we know more after they meet Dayton?

Like why couldn’t I have used my psychic abilities to pick the Powerball numbers instead of (sorta) picking Penn State getting upset by Miami.

Like, seriously, dudes and dudettes, how long will Banghart stay a Tiger? Princeton takes down Rutgers big, 71-55.

Like WHB readers are wicked cool, because they know who the Chippewas are, and are kinda stoked that they gave Notre Dame a game, and then some.

Like I sick and tired of reading the same old stuff: OU’s Maddie Manning out for season and Injury Sidelines Richmond’s Okoro For 2012-13 Season

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seem to be recovering from a slow start.

LSU got back to their winning ways, taking down formerly undefeated West Virginia.

At last: ASU gets their first win of the season.

Nothings slow about the Green Wave: Tulane runs their record to 4-0 with win over Bradley.

It was tight, but the Huskers managed to put away USC, 75-64.

Whoops! Iowa women lose to Florida International.

Cal’s undefeated.

Chattanooga didn’t let their win over Tennessee go to their head. They’re 4-0.

South Carolina has quietly moved to 6-0.

Penn State is 4-0, but it hasn’t been a confidence-inspiring 4-0.

Should we be paying attention to the 5-0 Orange? They just beat Virginia (who’d upset Vandy) and Georgia Tech.

I don’t know if the Lobos are back (they have Georgia up next) but the are 5-0. And boy, does North Texas miss Aston.

Tricia has her Montana State at 3-0, and boy, is Clemson a hot mess.

There’s a reason Auriemma enjoys early season tournaments — UConn often kicks butt. They’re doing it again in St. Thomas. First, it was Wake Forest. Then the Red Foxes of Marist. Tonight, they’ll go against Purdue. (On SNY)

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from St. Thomas – Paradise Jam.

Women’s Basketball Live Broadcast Schedule
Nov. 22 at 2:15PM –Hampton vs. South Carolina– ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 22 at 4:30PM –Florida Gulf Coast vs. DePaul- ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 22 at 7:00PM –Wake Forest vs. UConn- SNY (Stream outside U.S.)
Nov. 22 at 9:15PM –Marist vs. Purdue – ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 23 at 2:15PM –DePaul vs. Hampton – ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 23 at 4:30PM –South Carolina vs. FGCU – ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 23 at 7:00PM – Purdue vs. Wake Forest – ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 23 at 9:15PM – UConn vs. Marist –SNY (Stream outside U.S.)
Nov. 24 at 2:15PM–Hampton vs. Florida Gulf Coast – ParadiseJam.com andFacebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 24 at 4:30PM –DePaul vs. South Carolina– ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 24 at 7:00PM – Marist vs. Wake Forest- ParadiseJam.com and Facebook.com/ParadiseJam1
Nov. 24 at 9:15PM – Purdue vs. UConn – SNY (Stream outside U.S.)

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thank you for asking.

So, while I was away, what did we learn? Be careful what you schedule.

From Connie Yori: “I kept asking all week, ‘now, remind me why we scheduled this game?’”  ’cause dem Wabbits whipped dem Huskers.

From Geaux land: Tigers fall, 67-58, to Hampton Pirates.

Hawks sometimes eat Maryland Terrapins. And the DC BasketCases are NOT excited about the Big 10 talk.

From Sun Devil land: Miners can shoot free throws.

From the land of the Flyers: Isn’t it time to rank the Commodore-beating Dayton team?

From the Lloyd Noble Center: It can be fun playing Billikens: Sooners win 68-33.

From Blue Devil land: Routs are fun, seeing Elizabeth back on the court is more fun.

From Honolulu: Nothing like a little dunking to clear the Bears’ palate.

Look, Ma, no jinx! Youngstown State’s Penguins are 3-0, as is Penn State, Fordham, St. Francis (PA- Sorry, Zips, maybe a little jinx) and the Cavaliers. Interesting, the ’49ers moved to 3-0 with their win over FGCU. How much does VCU miss coach Beth? They’re 0-3, falling to the 3-0 Monarchs. The Teddy Bears are also 3-0, but they get Notre Dame next.

Hartford’s 4-0, ditto with the Mountaineers, Gonzaga and the Gophers. Hey, George Washington has won two games! (Was that mean, or encouraging?) Yah, it’s early, but New Hampshire’s off to a 2-0 start. UConn romps, Tennessee halts and Ohio St. continues.

BTW: Did anyone notice that the ESPN/Southwest-sponsored trivia questions during their ESPN3 broadcasts feature nothing related to women athletes?

Graham says: Baylor, Maryland shouldn’t panic

Stanford is the stock of the moment, and for good reason. The team that plays its home games so close to Silicon Valley went to Hawaii and ended Baylor’s winning streak at 42 games in a 71-69 decision for the Cardinal.

No Nneka Ogwumike? No problem. Behind another command performance from Chiney Ogwumike and the type of supporting efforts from players such as Taylor Greenfield and Mikaela Ruef that largely erase the question marks about Stanford before anyone has even brined their Thanksgiving turkey, the Cardinal made a case for New Orleans from Honolulu. By all means, buy Stanford for No. 2 or even No. 1.

But now is not the time to sell Baylor. Nor is it time to sell Maryland, not even a little.

What’s in a Watch List?

There are concerns about players across the ocean. From Michelle Smith: Americans caught in Israeli conflict

It’s 3 a.m. in a small city just outside of Tel Aviv and Alexis Gray-Lawson answers the phone.

“I’m up,” Gray-Lawson. “All the Americans are up.”

Just the night before, an air-raid siren — warning of a possible incoming bomb — woke up Gray-Lawson.

Concern for players locally, too: Minnesota girls basketball coach suspended for tweeting ‘Mean Girls’ quote to a student

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most teams are prepping for playoffs, ping pong balls and fan appreciation night, so call me when the regular season is over.

Perusing other news…

Well, ooops! Readers of this blog may remember Monroe College as the launching pad of a great story: Syracuse mom and grad Fantasia Goodwin. Less pleasant news to share this time:  they got themselves seriously sanctioned by NJCAA for messing with kids’ LOIs. Not cool.

Speaking of not cool: Michigan St. Players suspended.

Speaking of cool, the NY Times gives Beard some love: Two years removed from the WNBA, Alana Beard is embracing a new team and a new outlook.

Rebecca writes that The ACC move takes out trash talk, Graham writes that familiarity and frequency fueled the rivalry, while Mechelle knows that ND’s move has strengthened the ACC.

Guess the next question will be: who wants UCONN?

As for Vegas, I’ve seen all the sights: a tour of Red Rock Canyon, a sighting of a Western Grebe and a walk along the Hoover dam.

One thing I will say, their “cell tower dressed up as a reedeeally tall palm tree” is far more effective than the east coast’s “Look! A reeeeally tall, ugly fake evergreen!”

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“It’s Tree callin’.” (McClain Prepares For Naismith Induction) “Oh, and you better make room, ’cause there are a whole bunch of red-headed gals comin’ up behind me. They’re comin’ in from all over.”

New Mexico: Soybal to be inducted to Hall of Fame with All-American Red Heads

Utah: All American Red Head excited to be entering basketball Hall of Fame

Georgia: A ‘Red Headheads for hall of fame  (Click, if only for the photo!)

Minnesota: Braham grad headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Arkansas: Former Red Head Mason excited to see team in HOF

New Hampshire: Doucette to be inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Oklahoma: Famous Redhead named as inductee

Kentucky: Versailles woman heads to basketball hall of fame as part of All-American Red Heads

Missouri: Cairo sisters are HOF material with the Red Heads

Georgia: Naismith Hall of Fame Honor humbling for longtime Gwinnett educator

Minnesota: Sjoquist twins headed to basketball Hall of Fame

Missouri: Red Heads to Hall of Fame: Sarah’s Stories

Louisiana: All-American Red Heads, the first women’s basketball team to make the Hall of Fame

Colorado: Goodson takes pride in time with Red Heads – Longmont Times-Call

Connecticut: Tourtellotte star to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Cindy (Laliberte) Nelson knew she wanted to play basketball beyond her senior year at Tourtellotte High School, but this was 1974.

“I was going to go to UConn after high school, but women’s basketball wasn’t popular, I guess,” Nelson said.

The glory years of UConn had not begun yet and basketball scholarships were non-existent. The NCAA Division I championship was still eight years from becoming reality, and the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) was in its second year.

The only outlet for women to continue basketball was teams such as the All-American Red Heads.

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A memory of Summitt’s No. 8

Note: Today, April 18, coach Pat Summitt moved into a new role at Tennessee – as head coach emeritus. She finishes with 1,098 victories, 18 trips to the NCAA Final Four, and eight NCAA titles. Here is a story I wrote for ESPN.com in 2008 after Summitt’s last championship game.

TAMPA, Fla. _ Remember the old “Schoolhouse Rock” tune?

“Figure eight as double four,
Figure four as half of eight,
If you skate, you would be great
If you could make a figure eight.”

Tennessee’s Pat Summitt has made a figure eight now as a basketball coach, but she’s never “skated” a day in her life. That got reinforced from her earliest consciousness, by parents she called “the hardest-working people I’ve ever known.”

The apple, as they say, didn’t fall far from the tree. Summitt – whose program now has eight NCAA titles after its 64-48 victory over Stanford on Tuesday _ is a long way from the farm girl who wondered if she’d ever measure up to her father’s unyielding standards.

Six of one for Team USA

I will say that at some point, folks really do need to trust that the committee/USA Basketball wants to do everything possible to win gold in London, and that that’s the bottom line for them. Not catering to Auriemma’s alumni party, as the critics will call it. Furthermore, Auriemma himself wants to do everything possible to win gold. He doesn’t want the United State’s Olympic winning streak – which dates back to the 1992 bronze-medal game in Barcelona – to end on his watch.

And while you could dub Team USA “Team UConn” for the Olympics, you could also name it the No. 1 Collection: seven of the players have been the top pick in the WNBA draft: Bird (’02), Taurasi (’04),  Seimone Augustus (’06), Parker (’08), Angel McCoughtry (’09), Charles (’10) and Moore (’11).

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From James Kerley at Yahoo: Is Parity Losing Meaning in Women’s College Basketball?

Call an ambulance! Call a morgue! Somebody call Geno Auriemma!

Parity in women’s college basketball is officially dead.

Right?

That certainly seems to be the common feeling this year, as for the second time in women’s NCAA tournament history all no. 1 seeds have advanced to the Final Four.

“Women’s basketball has a serious parity problem.” Barry Tremmel writes for NewsOK.com

“Parity in the women’s world is a fantasy, as it relates from its top to its bottom.” John Altavilla had to say for the The Hartford Courant.

But let’s not forget, this is sports. This is the place where broad, sweeping judgments are to be made and reversed at the drop of a hat (probably literally at some point).

Last year Notre Dame shocked two programs that have combined to win 15 of all 26 NCAA Women’s Division I National Championships—Tennessee and UConn – before falling to Texas A&M, another surprise team, in the title game.

At long last, parity had arrived. Hallelujah.

Do check out the Yahoo/Rivals tournament page. James also has: Stanford women’s basketball team proud of program’s nerd legacy

Albert Einstein. Bill Gates. Urkel. The professor guy from “The Simpsons.” That guy in the cubicle behind you that watches “Dr. Who” all day long.

And the Stanford women’s basketball team.

Yep—that’s a whole bunch of nerds.

“Playing basketball at Stanford … you can’t really describe what it does to you. You just realize you’re a nerd,” Candice Wiggins, the former Stanford standout and current Minnesota Lynx rising star, told me.

“For whatever reason, it’s unique to Stanford.”

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Baylor will feed off Mulkey’s actions – On-court chemistry and leadership from players more important than ever

Mulkey is getting great care, and she will do everything she can to be on the sidelines against Stanford on Sunday in Denver and keep this from being any distraction for the Lady Bears. But the players are human, and one of them is Mulkey’s own daughter, Makenzie. Still, you can bet Mulkey will tell them very convincingly not to worry about her.

All teams tend to get their emotional compasses from their coaches. And in Baylor’s case, Mulkey provides a great deal of confidence. It radiates off her.

Plus, she’s the one who makes the strategic decisions. Some head coaches hand off elements of offense or defense to assistants, to the point of relying on them to be basically in charge of that. There’s nothing wrong with that system; for some programs, it works very well. But at Baylor, while Mulkey listens to her staff, she is always the one who makes the call.

If you missed Mechelle’s chat, check here for the transcript.

Graham Hays on Dailey and Geno: an incredible team – ‘Longest running odd couple in basketball’ has won seven NCAA titles

University of Connecticut associate coach Chris Dailey is either one of the longest-tenured assistant coaches in women’s college basketball or its most frequently rehired.

It kind of depends on how seriously you choose to take head coach Geno Auriemma when he talks about the person who, among many duties, works with the Huskies’ post players.

“With this group that we have right now, and our post players and who they are right now, she’s gotten fired at least once every practice, maybe twice every game and she won’t leave,” Auriemma quipped a day after he and Dailey advanced to their 13th Final Four together. “So I’m kind of thinking that she really likes these kids. I was trying like hell to get rid of her because I didn’t think our post players would ever amount to anything this year.”

Debbie and Beth have their Final Four Preview Podcast. They talk about the year in review, COY, and All-Americans.

Charlie has his UConn-Notre Dame breakdown and his Stanford-Baylor breakdown.

From Hoopfeed: Final Four coaches preview Denver – Coaches of the Final Four teams talked with the media yesterday about the upcoming weekend giving their opinions on everything from their expectations to how to handle the high altitude of Denver.

Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma

On the altitude
I don’t know what you can do about it. It’s not like there’s one team out there that’s waiting for us, and we’re visiting, and they have a huge advantage. I think all four teams are having to go through similar scenarios. But we’ve talked to our team doctor and he’s let us know how to best prepare for it. I suggested turning the oxygen off in the plane on the way over there for about an hour and get them used to sucking for breath, but he advised us not to do that. So I guess we’ll have to deal with it when we get there.

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