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Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson Suspended 7 Games in Domestic Violence Case

In a statement, Laurel J. Richie, the president of the W.N.B.A., said: “The W.N.B.A. takes all acts of violence extremely seriously. It is our strong belief that violence has absolutely no place in society, in sports or in this league. As president, it is my responsibility to protect the league and uphold its values. Our athletes represent the W.N.B.A., and they all must abide by the league’s standards of conduct. In this case, Brittney and Glory failed to do so, and that is unacceptable.”

Richie said she had consulted with domestic violence experts, as well as Linda Fairstein, the former chief of sex crimes prosecution in Manhattan, and N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver.

I give this a thumbs up… perhaps they read the “current trends in sports” tea leaves, as well as Mechelle’s piece: WNBA must take stand on domestic violence

That doesn’t mean that Griner, who was on the 2014 world championship squad and was originally scheduled to be at this week’s camp, needs to be excessively punished by the WNBA or USA Basketball. It also doesn’t mean either has to act in haste, or make decisions in reaction to the recent struggles other organizations — such as the NFL with Ray Rice and U.S. Soccer with Hope Solo — have had in responding to the issue of domestic violence.

But this must be seen as a time to take a true leadership stand, to be proactive and not dwell for too long in the “gathering information” mode both the WNBA and USA Basketball have been in. There’s an important message to be sent: Women are not just victims of domestic violence, but also can be perpetrators. And in cases where the parties are of the same sex, we can’t be any less diligent about demanding accountability from those involved.

Moving forward, Mechelle discusses a topic that the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL think doesn’t apply to them, but most know better: Openness best way to approach relationships between ‘rivals’

At the end of the USA Basketball women’s training camp Wednesday, national team coach Geno Auriemma had one more brief lesson: giving Seimone Augustus a few tips on how to dance at her wedding.

Augustus, the Lynx standout and two-time Olympic gold medalist, is marrying longtime partner LaTaya Varner on Saturday. Augustus has been open about her relationship, and publicly advocated for same-sex marriage to be legalized in Minnesota, which happened in August 2013.

Now, forgive me for branching off from that sweet, joyful image to a topic that might seem unrelated. But the reason is to establish this overarching theme: the necessity of openness.

Stickin’ with the W, Mechelle’s on a roll (and on a podcast: Mechelle Voepel on the issues surrounding the WNBA seasonWhy the Isiah Thomas hire is worse than you think picks up on a very real fear:

Yet there’s a concern that makes all of this even more insidious, if that’s possible. Thomas also was made a partial owner of the Liberty, so he must be approved by the WNBA’s Board of Governors. And if that doesn’t happen, what if Dolan threatens to pull the plug on the Liberty? Sources I spoke to around the league have expressed concern about that.

This could turn into a kind of extortion. It appears the Liberty are a pawn in something that shouldn’t even involve them or the WNBA. That’s the “game” of getting Thomas officially back into the fold at MSG. Dolan might have decided that this is a sure-fire way to secure that: Use the Liberty as a bargaining chip.

WNBA players have far less leverage than NBA players but if a majority came out publicly & forcefully against Isiah Thomas, he’d be done.

Detroit Free Press: Isiah Thomas seeks ownership; criticism keeps coming

Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas has filed paperwork for partial ownership of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, two people familiar with the situation said.

Thomas needs approval from the league’s board of governors for his ownership application to go through. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made.

Again (!) from the NY Post: Isiah Thomas has no business running the Liberty

Thomas is the brand new president of the New York Liberty.

That’s right, sports fans. A team made up of tall women who play for the professional Women’s National Basketball Association is being run by a guy so crudely insensitive to ladies’ feelings, a federal jury in 2007 found that, as president, general manager and coach of the New York Knicks, he sexually harassed the basketball team’s top female executive. She testified at trial that Thomas called her a “bitch,’’ a “ho’’ and hurled the F-bomb at her — then told her that he loved her.

Miami Herald: Linda Robertson: WNBA must not allow Isiah Thomas into league

Hiring Isiah Thomas to be president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty has to be some kind of a joke, right?

That would be like hiring a chain smoker to teach a fitness class or Captain Ahab to head Save the Whales or Franz Kafka to lead a comedic improv troupe.

Just in case: With Isiah leading Liberty, WNBA players union to monitor MSG work environment

More W stuff:

We’re sad, but not surprised: Seattle’s Jackson will miss season for knee

We’re not surprised, but will A.J. show?: Lynx to be without McCarville, acquire A. Jones (Agent:  ‘McCarville wasn’t physically ready’ for another WNBA season)

Maybe: Taurasi: Mercury Still Contenders In Western Conference

The “Other” National Teams cut into W time: Zellous and Achonwa to Miss Time with Indiana Fever in 2015

Speaking of National Teams: Tolo chasing Olympic goal and Meriden’s Damika Martinez chasing Olympic berth with Puerto Rico national basketball team

Some NCAA stuff: NCAA hopes to make rules of college game more like WNBA

The committee came up with suggested changes this week that include playing four 10-minute quarters instead of two halves, advancing the ball to the frontcourt in the final minute of game after a timeout and shooting two free throws after the fifth foul of each quarter. Those rules are used in the WNBA.

“What a great step forward for our game,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “As the game becomes more global, each year it’s important that we start the process toward standardizing the rules. This is just the beginning of what I hope are many other changes to improve this great game.”

Hmmmm: Mass exodus occurs for EWU women’s basketball

If the Eastern Washington women’s basketball team had to play a game today, the Eagles could only suit up five players.

Following a 21-win season and EWU’s first postseason win, five players – including former Mead star and starting point guard Jade Redmon – have decided to leave the program. And, a sixth player has decided not to use her final year of eligibility.

In addition, Eastern lost a seventh player, 6-foot-4 junior forward Hanna Mack, who decided not to play prior to the beginning of last season.

The players who agreed to talk with The Spokesman-Review blamed coach Wendy Schuller for all or part of their reasons for leaving.

Following up:

Part 2: WSU Women’s Basketball Coach Jody Adams talks about abuse allegations

In her first interview since allegations of mental abuse surfaced, Wichita State Women’s Basketball Coach Jody Adams speaks exclusively to Susan Peters telling her she looks forward to “enhancing” her coaching style

“That’s when the tears come,” says Coach Adams, referring to reading the messages of support she has received from current and former players.

Adams admits she has shed a lot of tears the past few weeks, not only over not knowing if she would keep her job, but over what she calls hurtful allegations that were made very public.

“What’s been said is what’s been said. I can’t say I believe in it and how it’s happened. It’s been tough, ” says Adams.

Happier news: McConnell-Serio optimistic about Pitt women’s basketball future

A busy B: UConn Women’s Insider: Breanna Stewart Gives New Meaning To Busy

Stewart, the three-time national champion and two-time player of the year, is at home in Syracuse, N.Y., after spending four days in Las Vegas last week at USA Basketball’s senior national training camp.

On her way home, she stopped back in Storrs to take her biology final, proof positive that in UConn women’s basketball, the call to remain a student never strays too far from the desire to be an athlete.

But this respite will be short.

Speaking of busy, I’ve often said men are rarely asked how they balance work and family. Here’s one who resigned his job to focus on family: USC women’s basketball lost Taylor to married life in Georgia

It was a tough decision, but when Darius Taylor thought about what he’s been a part of building and what he was about to start constructing, it made it easy.

“It’s hard to start a marriage off separated,” South Carolina’s former assistant coach said on Saturday, a day after it was announced that he was resigning his post. “Those first couple of years are the ones that are really important, where you build your relationship and trust.

“My fiancee being at Georgia, we’ve been able to make it work. We saw each other almost once a week. I knew that there could be some changes to give her an opportunity, and it’s the right decision.”

A little WBB history: 40 YEARS OF AGGIE WOMEN’S ATHLETICS: Branch set Texas A&M women’s basketball on winning course

Lisa Branch went to Texas A&M because she loved playing basketball; being part of history was just an added bonus.

The 5-foot-4-inch Branch was the program’s first All-American, earning second-team United Press International honors in 1996. She left school as the Southwest Conference’s career leader in assists (795) and free throws (614). During her time, the little girl from DeSoto became the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,939 points), and had the most 3-pointers (165), assists and steals (309), but it was leadership at point guard that made her extra special.

Sad news from PA: Wilson girls basketball coach Dennis Fry gave everything to the people, program he loved

Dennis Fry, aided by a cane, arrived at the Via All-Star Basketball banquet, and Bob Frankenfield was floored.

Fry, Wilson Area High School’s girls basketball coach who was battling lung cancer, was on hand to support the Warriors’ senior all-star representative, Madison Quinn.

Frankenfield, Wilson’s boys coach, couldn’t believe Fry’s strength as he sat quietly with his wife, Cathy.

“No one would have blamed him for not coming, but the man came,” Frankenfield said. “I couldn’t believe his courage.”

Fry, 61, died Wednesday at his Nazareth home.

Sad news from NY: Calling hours Sunday for Randy Grassel

“Women’s basketball lost a great, great friend,” Thomas athletic director Scott Morrison said. “He was always very well-prepared, a student of the game. He knew everything about the other team. I can’t emphasize enough the passion he had for girls basketball.

Mr. Grassel started the Eastside program, his daughter Jen joked, just so she’d have a team to play on. He was former Penfield High standout Kayleigh Duda’s first coach. She was in fifth grade.

“He just really inspired me and made me understand how much fun (basketball) can be and how you needed to be a good teammate,” said Duda, 27, who invited Mr. Grassel to her wedding last year. “He made our entire team so all together.”

Thank you: Union girls basketball coach Jim Stacy calling it quits after 15 years

The 1977 Shawnee High School graduate guided the Redskins to seven appearances in the state tournament and a combined record of 253-132. Union was in the 6A semifinals as recently as 2012-13, and his 2007-08 team went 27-0 en route to the state title.

“It kind of felt like it was the right time to hang it up,” Stacy said. “My little one’s getting ready to be an eighth-grader and I wanted to be a little more of a dad. I’ve been everybody else’s dad, and now it’s time to give her a little more attention.”

Thank you: Santa Fe High girls basketball coach retires

As the 2014-15 school year winds down, the coaching merry-go-round is speeding up.

The past two days has seen a series of coaching changes, highlighted by the resignation of Elmer Chavez, who retired as the head girls basketball coach at Santa Fe High. Chavez, who spent six years with the program, turned the Demonettes from perhaps the worst program in the state — one that lost 41 out of 43 games from 2009-10 — into a state championship team in 2014. He leaves with a 103-67 record at the school, an impressive achievement considering the Demonettes were 1-23 in his first season.

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We’ve been watching this, but it’s lovely to see “mainstream” pick it up. From the West Coast,  Mike Guardabascio of the Press-Telegram writes about the work Long Beach State coach Jody Wynn has done with the 49ers.

Wynn, now in her sixth year as the 49ers’ head coach, grew up in Southern California — Brea — and was a successful swimmer in her youth.

The child of two college athletes — her mom golfed at UCLA and her dad played football at Occidental — Wynn loved to compete from an early age, enjoying the feel of lining up in the starting blocks at junior nationals and big-event swim meets.

“Being something other than your best was not acceptable,” Wynn says. “I was in the water every day before school, after school — I always really wanted to compete to be the best.”

Good news for the Gophers: Injured star Rachel Banham to return for one more season

Speaking of the Gophers, the Scarlet Knights are their next opponent, and they need to pay attention to Cynthia Hernandez, who fills 3-point void for Rutgers women’s basketball
The Rutgers women’s basketball team is no doubt thankful for all those hours Hernandez spent in the park as the first-year junior college transfer filled a longtime void in the offense last game by becoming the first player in almost four years to make as many as five 3s in a game. She did it without missing.
Her indefinite departure is the latest in a series of player losses for USC. Deanna Calhoun left the team last year, and in November, leading scorer Ariya Crook was dismissed for violating team rules. Shortly after that, guards Destine Gibbs and Chyanne Butler also left the team.
A win AND school record: Washington’s Jazmine Davis had 25pts in a win over Colorado and becomes leading scorer in program history at 2,047.

When McKeown took the job at Northwestern seven years ago, Wildcat fans hoped he would have an immediate impact.  They were disappointed.  His first few teams were better fundamentally on the court, but that did not translate to victories. He has recruited better than his predecessors, but transfers and injuries hurt his efforts.

The real turnaround began on Nov. 15, 2012, and it happened in an office and not on the court.  On that day, McKeown signed what will likely be ranked as the best recruiting class in Northwestern history.  The class included four players – three who have become monsters on the court:  Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary, and Christen Inman. After they walked on to campus and into the starting lineup, and the Wildcats haven’t been the same since. 

Dishin’ and Swishin’ returns to cover the start of The Jenny Boucek era in Seattle

Boucek was previously a head coach from 2007 through 2009 in Sacramento, and like the Monarchs, she is inheriting a team long on veterans, that needs to get younger quickly. In this case, however, her team holds the number one overall pick in the upcoming college draft; albeit a draft many do not consider particularly strong, with no clear cut top choice.

Other questions abound, beginning with the health and return of Jackson, and the future of unrestricted free agents Tanisha Wright and Noelle Quinn. There is no denying that this year’s Storm could look significantly different than last year’s team.

Mechelle added: Boucek will lead Storm into new era – Alisha Valavanis, team’s chief operating officer, also in her first year with Seattle

New Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek has watched players such as Sue Bird grow up as professionals in the sport of basketball. So have I … but I’ve also watched Boucek grow up, too. When asked earlier this week about moving from her assistant’s role with the Storm, replacing Brian Agler, she talked about her evolution as a student of the game.

“This is ironic — you would understand why, because you watched my playing career — but my specialty has become more offense than defense,” Boucek said.

Boucek started in the WNBA as an unpaid assistant for Nancy Darsch and the Washington Mystics in 1999. She’s spent her career coaching in the WNBA because, she said,  “It captured my heart.” After four years starting for Debbie Ryan’s Virginia Cavaliers, graduation in 1997 found her back on the court, this time wearing a Cleveland Rockers WNBA uniform.

“Just being part of the inaugural season and seeing the potential of this league to impact the country culturally really hit home with me as a young lady. Grown women were crying at our games,” remembered Boucek. “Little girls, who were wide-eyed, now have a different perception of themselves and their potential, their dreams and their opportunities, not just in sports. They see women getting opportunities that they only knew men to have.”

Tough news for the Connecticut Sun: Chiney Ogwumike undergoes the knife
After a 2014 season that often seemed like nothing more than a comedy of errors, the Connecticut Sun received even worse news for the 2015 campaign on Thursday when forward Chiney Ogwumike underwent microfracture knee surgery. Dr. Walter Lowe, the renowned orthopedic surgeon and team physician of the Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, and University of Texas Longhorns, performed the surgery.
Oh, about those games – I’m really looking forward to #9 Oregon State v. #12 Arizona State, aren’t you? Especially now that ESPN has realized the State of Oregon is a Hoops hotbed again

It is, Mandy Close admits, like the proverbial story about the catch of a lifetime, the one in which the fish grows bigger and the catch more legendary with each telling.

Not the details of the play, mind you. Those are right there in the official record, forever immune to embellishment. There really were nine seconds left when Oregon State’s Tiffany Ducker rebounded an Oregon miss and made an outlet pass to Close in the waning moments of the game on Jan. 25, 2006. And Close, her team behind by a point, really did drive the length of the court and, with two seconds remaining, hit a layup at the same time she was fouled.

She hit the free throw, and the Beavers really beat the Ducks 63-61.

What has changed in years of spinning the story — and the story still is spun when Close and former teammates get together — is the backdrop against which it took place. 

We continue to reap the benefits of the Knicks’ losses: School Returns to Dominance, Cranking Up Music and Offense  – Levelland Loboettes Have Regained Their Winning Ways in Texas

 A large sign greets visitors to this small, windswept city in West Texas. Planted on the side of State Highway 114, about 30 miles west of Lubbock, beyond the oil rigs that rise from fallow cotton fields, the sign has borne the brunt of harsh winters and searing summers.

“Welcome to Levelland,” it reads across the top, with twin basketballs framing the words. “Home of the Loboettes.

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The Irish are smiling: Notre Dame popular pick at ACC women’s basketball media day

Notre Dame didn’t lose a conference game in its first season in the ACC, and if prognosticators at the conference women’s basketball media day are right, there aren’t going to be many losses this time, either.

For the first time in about six seasons, Duke won’t be picked by many to play in the Final Four in women’s basketball.

And while veteran coach Joanne P. McCallie says she would rather be the ACC’s “top dog,” coaching a team that’s not under such pressure should be a lot of fun.

Duke had its annual preseason media day on Wednesday next to Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the most striking thing about it was the dearth of familiar faces.

When it comes to her team this year, four things stand out to Sylvia Hatchell.“We have leadership, we’ve got experience, we’ve got depth, and great chemistry,” the Hall of Fame coach told reporters Wednesday morning at ACC Women’s Basketball Media Day in Greensboro.

Three Pac-12 women’s basketball teams earned first-place votes in the preseason coaches’ poll, but despite some major changes upcoming, the Stanford Cardinal was voted the favorite for the 15th year in a row.
They won’t have to face 6’9″ Golden Bear: Savanna Trapp Out Indefinitely

Cynthia Cooper-Dyke’s players seem to have an unparalled work ethic. During 2014-15 Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Media Day on Wednesday, what the USC Trojans head coach said of forward Alexyz Vaioletama’s summer made you believe it.

“I was mad at Alexyz,” Cooper said, half-joking. “She worked too hard over the summer.”

 Never let it be said that Cynthia Cooper-Dyke doesn’t know how to make an entrance into a room.

USC’s women’s basketball coach is by nature a noisemaker.

She entered the interview room at the Pac-12 headquarters Wednesday prepared to talk to the media about her Women of Troy and their preparations to start a new season and build on last season’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2006.

But first, Cooper-Dyke had to take a selfie with senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama, trying to line up the media in the background for a group photo-bomb. At another point, she offered to sing a little something.

The other USC has huge expectations: South Carolina picked to repeat as Southeastern Conference women’s basketball champions

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley knows the work it took to reach the top of the Southeastern Conference. She understands it’ll be an even greater challenge for the defending SEC champs to stay there.

Gone are the days when everyone would pencil in Tennessee to dominate the SEC, win the league title and easily move on to the Final Four. While the Gamecocks were picked to repeat, Staley expects the defending champions to be challenged by a hungry, talented group of teams looking to finish on top.

Meh: Veteran Lady Vols shrug off No. 2 prediction

On a day promoting a big-picture view of women’s basketball, Isabelle Harrison set her sights on the finer details.

“We want to set goals for ourselves,” Tennessee’s senior center said. “We want to keep it small right now, little things that are going to add up in the end.”

Delle (Dunkin’) Donne might be gone, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Hens are down and out: Delaware Women’s Basketball Predicted to Finish Second in CAA.
They’ll have to get through the Dukes, though, if they want to get to the Dance, ’cause James Madison is Voted to Repeat as CAA Women’s Basketball Champions
Even without 6’9″ Craig, the Great Danes are still thought to be the top dog in the America East — but lookee at the #2 Seawolves!

In the Big West, CSUN is the Overwhelming Favorite For Women’s Hoops Crown

After sweeping last season’s regular season and Tournament titles, CSUN is the media favorite to take home the crown in the 2014-15 season. The Matadors gained 13 first place votes and 125 points overall for the first place nod. Hawai’i checked in behind the defending champions with 101 points and the remaining first place vote. Back-to-back Tournament finalist Cal Poly was third with 99 points, while UC Davis wrapped up the top half of the poll with 83 points for fourth place.

In the New Big East, DePaul is the top Demon.

So fun the first time, they’re looking to do it a second: North Dakota Picked First In Preseason Women’s Basketball Poll

North Dakota won its first Big Sky championship and earned its first berth in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament as a Division I school last season. The Green and White posted a 22-10 mark last season with a 15-5 record in the Big Sky. North Dakota earned the most points in both polls, pulling 115 points and seven first-place votes in the coaches’ poll while earning 147 points and eight-first place votes from the media. 

From the Green Wave: Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton: ‘We want the NCAA Tournament

Tulane women’s basketball coach Lisa Stockton said expectations are high for a team that has won 20 games or more in five consecutive seasons.

And expectations should be high, especially considering Stockton returns 11 of 13 letter winners from a season ago and 97.9 percent of the team’s points and 98.7 percent of the team’s rebounds.

For the Terps, it looks like the top in the 10: Maryland women’s basketball favored to win Big Ten, which is a bit of A homecoming for Brenda Frese

 …the Terrapins’ debut season in the Big Ten is a homecoming of sorts for Frese, 44, who grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“I know for me personally, being able to come back in the Big Ten, having grown up in Iowa and (knowing) the Big Ten Conference extremely well, having coached at Minnesota for a season, I can’t wait,” she said. “I can’t wait to be able to get back and play against the great competition.”

This is interesting, considering the hot water UNC is in (UNC report finds 18 years of academic fraud to keep athletes playing): Tying college coaches’ contracts to academic progress gets mixed reviews

A proposed policy that would require teams to reach academic benchmarks before their coaches and athletic directors can cash in on performance-based bonuses has drawn mixed reviews.

The University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents is expected to vote on the policy Friday during a meeting at Frostburg State. If passed, any new contracts signed by coaches and athletic directors at the system’s schools would include stipulations that require teams to meet a certain Academic Progress Rate for them to receive bonuses based on other incentive clauses in their contracts.

If you’ve followed the “your students do well or else you lose your job” policies in education, you’ll have read about the cheating scandals. So – does this push folks (should I put “Top 25 folks”?) to focus on academics or focus on finding a way around academics?

Is it too early to say “on the hot seat”? Badgers women’s basketball: Coach Bobbie Kelsey excited entering 4th season

Where others might see pressure, Bobbie Kelsey sees opportunity.

Kelsey, beginning her fourth season as the University of Wisconsin women’s basketball coach, is still in search of her first winning season and first postseason tournament bid.

And yah, it’s too early, but the rest of the b-ball world has already warmed his seat.. so Ex-ESPN analyst Dykes defends his hire at Arkansas

“I’ve never been a head coach, never pulled the trigger on the sidelines making the decisions with live ammo flying around us,” Dykes said. “But I’ve seen it, and I’ve been a teacher on the air. I’ve tried to teach the game of basketball. I think that’s why I rose up in the profession like I did as an analyst, because I think I was a pretty good communicator and teacher on my nightly broadcast.”

In Colorado, so far, so good:

Two weeks into preseason practice is far from a make-or-break point in any team’s season, but it does provide enough time for a coach to start getting a feel for her team. According to Colorado women’s basketball head coach Linda Lappe, what her team has showed thus far is encouraging.

What do you think?

“We get better every day and we’re progressing on a great path,” Lappe said after practice last Friday. “I’ve been really impressed by our freshmen and how they’ve been able to come in and learn the system, but also our veterans and how they’re leading.”

Oh, oh: Mosqueda-Lewis Working Hard To Prove Skeptics Wrong

…if the draft were held today it is likely the Seattle Storm, which owns the pick, would take her and team her with Sue Bird, the first overall pick of the 2002 draft. 

But there is work to be done. There are WNBA executives who doubt Mosqueda-Lewis has the speed and agility to get to the basket, to create her own shots and, more importantly, guard the swift perimeter players she will be assigned to at the next level.

“People tend to make a lot of general assumptions,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “I was probably the skinniest I’d ever been during my freshman year, but we didn’t win and I didn’t have my best season. 

Rebecca Lobo and Kevin Conners discuss the possibility of a 3-peat.

From Dishin & Swishin 10/23/14 Video & Podcast: Geno Auriemma on USA Basketball & coming back to UConn, Carol Callan on all things USA Basketball

NCAA regional tix are up for sale (PROMO CODE: NCAA ) Women’s Preliminary Round Tickets

What, too soon? What people are saying about some of the top 2015 WNBA Draft prospects

Shoni still doin’ the other thing she does so well:Local youth at Montana basketball clinic and  WNBA Shoni Schimmel visits Wagner School

It started in complete silence, and then slowly turned into a low rumble of anticipation and excitement. A highlight was being played on the big screen of the theater of Shoni Schimmel during one of her games as a professional Native American basketball player for the Atlanta Dream team.

Some say you should never meet your heroes because they never turn out to be who you think they are, but Schimmel has remained true to herself and to the people. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications at Louisville, but she doesn’t just communicate with the people she meets, she connects.

From Swish Appeal: Eurobits: Meesseman, Montgomery off to Russia

WNBA players aren’t the only ones who go abroad: WNBA Coach of the Year Sandy Brondello to coach UMMC Yekaterinburg

OOOOO, History Alert! The Lancaster High School girls’ basketball team, 1919-1920

Ummm…we’ll do better next time: Sporting goods stores vow to get women in the game

When 12-year-old McKenna Peterson opened her new Dick’s Sporting Goods basketball catalog recently, the basketball player and superfan was frustrated to find a glaring misstep: The only girl in the catalog’s pages wasn’t playing basketball — she was sitting in the stands.

So McKenna began to type the company a fiery letter, not just praising her favorite female “dunking machines” but also tearing into the annoying imbalance the boy-heavy mailer seemed to represent. “It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is,” she wrote, “without you guys excluding us from your catalog.”

McKenna’s letter didn’t just spark a public outcry and lead the corporate giant’s chief to apologize — it highlighted an unavoidable tension of the sporting goods industry: Girls and young women are one of its fastest-growing markets, and one of its most ignored.

Big shoes now empty: Girls basketball: Shabazz coach Vanessa Watson retires after 31 seasons

Vanessa Watson is truly going out on top.

After 720 career victories and six Tournament of Champions titles, including one in each of the last two seasons, Watson has retired from coaching girls basketball at Shabazz.

Watson finished her career with a 720-107 record, and she trailed only Pascack Valley’s Jeff Jasper 923 wins on the all-time list for New Jersey coaches. Watson led Shabazz to 10 state championships and six Tournament of Champions titles.

After 31 seasons on the bench at the Newark school, a combination of several things went into Watson’s decision to call 2013-14 her last season. 

It’s that amazing combination that can happen in sports: heart-breaking and heartwarming: Dying Mt. St. Joe’s player’s last game sells out

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I must believe the following are ESPN errors:

Marist over #20 Oklahoma, 76-69. How glad are the Foxes to have Casey Dulin back: 7 rebs, 7 assts, 17 points.

“Oh, my God! We’re so excited!” senior shooting guard Leanne Ockenden said after scoring 17 points to help the Red Foxes earn their first-ever triumph in Poughkeepsie against a top-25 team.

Rutgers over #16 Georgia, 61-58. Guess that’s what you get when you order up cupcakes for your OOC schedule.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was hoping her team would be ready for a top-25 challenge.

The Scarlet Knights answered with a thrilling 61-58 victory over No. 16 Georgia.

Kahleah Copper and Betnijah Laney each scored 18 points to help Rutgers hand Georgia its first loss of the season.

“We needed to have our confidence as this is a young group,” Stringer said. “This is a major game to find out how well we’re going to play at that level.”

#6 Stanford over #3 Tennessee, 76-70. TN was no match for Chiney.

Ogwumike was Tennessee’s biggest problem — she finished with 15 field goals and 11 offensive rebounds. The Lady Vols knew they had to stop her, but they couldn’t do it.

“She is the heart and soul of that team,” Warlick said. “She was just a force inside that we had trouble with all night. Rebounding is effort and positioning and knowing where the ball is coming off, and that’s what Chiney does. She’s just at the right place at the right time.”

But Ogwumike was hardly the only issue.

(Clearly, it was a good day to wear red.)

Some other teams almost became part of the error-fest:

#23 Syracuse over St. Joe’s – by 2. That’s four 20pt games in a row for the Orange’s Sykes.

#7 Louisville over #11 Colorado – by 7. And they needed every one of Shoni’s 30pts.

#13 Oklahoma State over Georgia Tech – by 8. Donohoe shines again.

#25 Gonzaga over Washington State by 8.

Holding the party line:

#14 UNC over High Point, 103-71, as coach Hatchell watched.

#19 Nebraska over South Dakota, 87-53.

#22 Iowa over Drake, 73-51.

#24 Florida State over Long Beach, 72-57.

In other games:

Great win for the Hampton program: they take down Kansas State 86-75 (2OT)

Kids, don’t do this to your coach: Penn spotted Drexel 19. Then came back to win the game by two.

USC did a little better, spotting Hawai’i 10, winning by 11.

Who dat? The Illinois Chicago Flames, dat’s who! They’re #1 in the Horizon, and just took down Wisconsin, 58-56, thanks to a Rachel Story game-winning three-pointer with twenty seconds remaining. It’s the sixth win over Wisconsin in program history and the first in 34 seasons.

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Welcome: Coop introduced at USC

Weclome? I kinda think Missouri State was thinking they’d catch a Kim Barnes Arico, snagging Milleson from DII Drury. Then they felt it hadn’t work out. Maybe she’ll have better luck at George Mason.

Wow: Beth Burns retires from San Diego State?

In a sudden, unexpected, even bizarre announcement, San Diego State women’s basketball coach Beth Burns retired Tuesday, just eight months after signing a five-year contract.

On a better note: Susan Dufrane to be honored by Indiana Basketball HOF

Susan Dufrane can trace girls basketball’s timeline to when there wasn’t a timeline, when fastbreaks were considered unladylike.

“It’s kind of funny when you look back at it,” Dufrane said of a version of girls basketball played back during her youth and maintained in some pockets of the country until the mid 1990s.

“It was called ‘basquette’. You had three girls on offense in the front court, and three girls on defense in the back court,” Dufrane said of a game that resembled a pair of 3-on-3 contests played on opposite sides yet sharing a single ball.

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Michael Cooper quits at USC

I wonder, if a few years go by and she can prove that she can recruit four-year players, if another Coop might be looking west…..

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“wearin’ o’ the pink,” but at least we don’t have women dressed as bumble bees, RuPaul rejects and… well, I’m not sure WHAT this is. Athletes as Skittles?

On to the important stuff:

It wasn’t easy, but the CU Buffs slipped past Oregon on road. CU has its longest conference win streak since an eight-game streak from Jan. 12-Feb. 6, 2002.

As for the Ducks, freshman Jillian Alleyne a bright spot for struggling Oregon

The 18-year-old has recorded a team-high 10 double-doubles this season, and is one of just 39 players in NCAA Division-I women’s basketball to be averaging a double-double (13.1 points per game, 12 rebounds per game). She is just 41 rebounds shy of the single-season rebounding record set by former Duck standout — and former Oregon coach — Bev Smith.

All this has led Ducks coach Paul Westhead to say that he thinks Alleyne could be the best player to ever come out of Oregon, a distinction usually given to Smith.

More on the West Cost teams: Cooper, Westhead struggle in Pac-12

From the NBA legacies that defined their careers, to the Los Angeles Lakers’ 1980 championship, to WNBA titles, to Pac-12 women’s basketball, Michael Cooper and Paul Westhead represent a bevy of basketball intersections.

And now one more.

Both find themselves occupying the same awkward space, the subject of disappointment and “evaluation” by their respective athletic directors, who have to be seriously contemplating whether either will still be head coach next season.

At Southern California, the Women of Troy are having the toughest season of Cooper’s four-year tenure.

From Ryan Dunleavy: Rutgers women’s basketball NCAA hopes precarious

When it snapped an ill-timed four-game losing streak Tuesday night by beating South Florida, the Rutgers women’s basketball team added a few believers to a following clinging to hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth. The nation’s leading expert on the subject isn’t part of the crowd, however.

Richard Kent asks: What is C. Vivian Stringer’s future at Rutgers?

Stringer’s team (15-12, 6-8 Big East) boasts 6 McDonald’s All-Americans, many more than no. 1 Baylor and no. 2 Notre Dame, yet they have fallen to 9-18 Seton Hall and 10-17 Boston College and lost by 16 to Princeton of the Ivy League.

Her mentor, John Chaney, former Temple coach says that she doesn’t have top talent and that some of her assistants should be fired. Former Stringer player at Iowa, Nadine Domond, now running HoopGurlz for ESPN called her talent good, but not at a UConn or Baylor level.

One of the top coaches in the game was not bashful in saying that if Geno Auriemma had Stringer’s talent, Rutgers would be a Final Four team and if Stringer had the UConn players, they would struggle in the Sweet 16.

There’s a lot of coaching on Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli’s podcast. They also interview Notre Dame players Skylar Diggins and Kayla McBride.

Another team hoping to be inside the bubble: UW women’s basketball team battling odds for NCAA ticket

In the past two weeks of a remarkable regular season, the Washington women’s basketball team played its worst game against Utah, lost consecutive road games and had three players suspended for its biggest game yet, Thursday’s matchup against No. 4 Stanford.

A finish with potential records and awards appears to be spiraling down faster than UW coach Kevin McGuff can put a plug in the drain.

Rob Clough at Full Court says: ACC scramble to the finish is critical for NCAA bids

As the ACC enters its final week, there’s not a lot of mystery regarding the top of the league. The only question left regarding Duke is whether or not they can run the table and finish 18-0. We’ll see how much motivation and emotion they can summon after beating Florida State and Maryland in the span of three days.  For the rest of the league, there’s still a good bit at stake, including jockeying for position in the ACC tournament and the potential for making statement wins to draw the eye of the NCAA selection committee.  I’ll also dole out my ACC awards. RPI information was culled from realtimerpi.com.

Also at FullCourt, Kelly writes: The last week will tell the tale in the SEC, Pac-12 and Big East

The final week of the NCAA regular season is kind of like the final episode of a reality show — a lot of drama is unfolding. Three major conferences (the Southeast, Big East and Pac-12) have yet to crown a regular season champion, which means the pressure will be on all through these final days.

Cal is close to sharing a title  in a tight PAC12 race.

They’ll will the Ivy regular season title, but Harvard made sure Princeton paid attention to the Crimson, giving the Tigers their first in-conference loss.

Yup: The Saint Bonaventure Bonnies: What a difference a year makes

In W news, as Bill rebuilds the Newark Shock, Mechelle says: Laimbeer puts personal touch on Lib – New York coach isn’t optimistic that Deanna Nolan will play this season

One thing you’d never call Bill Laimbeer is a sentimentalist. His Liberty team might have familiar faces from his days as Detroit’s coach. But that’s only because he thinks those players can help New York now. The past is past. He’s thinking of the future.

From Tulsa, Mike Brown has some words from the newest member of the Shock:

“I’m so excited to play in Tulsa,” Candice Wiggins said. “I want to thank the city of Minneapolis for all it’s given me. I want to thank the coaches, the players, the fans and people of Minnesota for their support. Tulsa is a warm place and I have always loved playing in the BOK Center. I’m excited be a part of this organization. I want to thank Tulsa for this golden opportunity for me to bring my talent to this righteous city.”

Nate says Tulsa scores in three team deal with Minnesota, New York

BTW: Sheeeeeee’s baaaaak: Mishicot High School graduate Wojta signs with WNBA’s Silver Stars

Need to keep up on the player movement? Go here.

And yes, it’s been One Nnek Of A Year

“The transitions have been quick and I’ve had to really get used to a different type of lifestyle so quickly,” Ogwumike said. “But it’s been so much fun going from playing my senior year, playing in the Final Four, then going straight to L.A. to play for the Sparks, then going straight from L.A. to Poland.

“It’s been quite a whirlwind.”

Did you know we’re Seven weeks away from WNBA history?

Mark your calendars: We’re exactly seven weeks out from the 2013 WNBA draft. For the first time in the league’s 17-year history, the draft will be carried live on prime time television (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

Speaking of history: Bingham coach Ramussen, one of the all-time winningest coaches in state history steps down.

Rand Rasmussen already knows his son won’t understand.

The Bingham girls’ basketball coach is 39 wins away from breaking the state’s all-time record for victories.That’s basically two seasons for the Miners.

Why retire? Why now?

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couple of unsuccessful pro-to-college coaches. Oregon’s Westhead is one. USC’s Cooper is another. Writes Clay at Full Court:

It’s not that Michael Cooper is the worst coach in the country – or even in the Pac-12 – but for the good of the game, he’s got to go. 

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The nigh on unreadable NCAA.com listing is here. Oh, wait, I found this “Week Listing“, but it doesn’t have the Connecticut game on SNY. At ESPN you can get a list of all the games, but not if they’re watchable via TV or streaming (unless it’s ESPN/Watch). Why is this so hard?

Speaking of TV and Connecticut: UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball Continues to Soar on SNY

On the heels of UConn’s victory over Georgetown, SNY, the official television home of the UConn Huskies Women’s basketball program, today announced that the game averaged an 8.52 household rating – the network’s highest rating of the season.  This ratings benchmark also signifies the highest household rating in nearly two years for the program in the Hartford-New Haven DMA (UConn-Syracuse, 9.1 household rating on 2-28-11).  In addition, the game ranked as the #1 program in its time period – beating all competitive sports programming airing in the market – including ESPN’s NBA Double Header.  UConn-Georgetown on SNY also topped all network prime time series last night in the Hartford-New Haven DMA – except ABC’s Modern Family (9.05 household rating)

Some basketball was played yesterday.

In a battle of the birds, the Blue Jays of Creighton took down coach Glance’s Redbirds of Illinois State and now stand at 3-0 in the MVC.

Arizona State got its first win of the PAC-12 season, as did Oregon State.

Washington State kept it close in the first, but UCLApulled away in the second for the 78-52 win.

Sue covered the USC win over UW.

Over at  WSC Radio Show, Brenda and Mechelle are Breaking down the top six women’s basketball conferences

The Dishin & Swishin 1/10/13 Podcast: Matthew Mitchell readies No. 6 Kentucky and “40 minutes of dread” for first ever matchup with Texas A&M

David also has Dishin & Swishin – Philly Style with Princeton head coach Courtney Barnhart (sic). The soon to be moving, I’m sure, coach is garnering a lot of attention: From the Daily Pennsylvanian: Behind Enemy Lines: Princeton’s Courtney Banghart

 In her six seasons as head coach for the Tigers, the program has undergone a complete reversal of fortune. In her first season, the team went 7-23 and won just four Ivy League games. However, in the past three seasons, the Tigers have gone 41-1 in the Ivy League and entered the national rankings, a first for an Ivy League women’s program. Before coming to Princeton, she was an assistant for four years at Dartmouth. She also played at Dartmouth from 1996 to 2000 and won two Ivy League titles.

From NJ.com: Princeton U. women’s basketball coach Banghart a natural leader

She vacations in Bermuda and Hawaii. She has traveled cross-country and heard the howls of wolves in Yellowstone. She has slept in tents in the Great Northwest, hitch-hiked through Alaska where she watched bears snatching salmon swimming upstream, kayaked on the Prince William Sound, and stayed in hostels in France, Switzerland and Amsterdam.

She loves to read, is hooked on the TV series “Dexter,” estimates she watches more than 700 men’s college basketball games a year, plays tennis, likes healthful yogurt that doesn’t necessarily taste good and rarely wakes to an alarm.

Courtney Banghart also is a pretty good coach.

Beth and Debbie have the ESPNW Basketball Podcast focuses on “the first years,” a pair of Big Ten head coaches, Indiana’s Curt Miller and Illinois’ Matt Bollant.

In W news: Lauren Jackson expected to make full recovery after surgery on injured hamstring and Former Boilermaker Katie Douglas recovering after ankle surgery

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Jacki on her toomany-th ACL

Video.

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Kara and Jacki: Two Missed Opportunities; Two Shakes of the Head – Two sad stories… but for markedly different reasons.

Women’s basketball doesn’t have enough superstars, and losing one like Gemelos to injury, and one like Braxton to stupidity, are both cruel blows. Both left a game that needs every ounce of star power it can muster with unfulfilled promise, and a sadness that can’t be erased with just a shake of the head.

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(just ask Miami).

One great thing this year was Toledo fans selling out the arena (7,020 is a Rockets and MAC record) and them all leaving happy.

Another great thing is the opening line to a game report for the semi-final game between USC and Illinois State: “Jacki Gemelos scored 15 points to lead USC.”

Toledo and USC meet in the finals this Saturday at 3pmEST (in Toledo) and will be broadcast on CBS College Sports Network.

Writes Nate at Swish Appeal:

Before haters – like Swish Appeal’s own Holly – relegate the Pac-10 to mid-major status, I would like to suggest that potentially owning the WNIT (in addition to making a Final Four appearance for the past four years) counts for something.

And yes, we’re gonna call two in a row dominant: since Wayland Baptist won the first nine titles, only the Big East (Marquette, 2008: South Florida, 2009) and Big Ten (Wisconsin, 2000; Ohio State, 2001) have claimed consecutive WNIT titles.

As described by Matt Sussman of SBN’s Hustle Belt, the USC Trojans have the opportunity to do just that against the Toledo Rockets for a conference that has widely been considered sub-par over the last few years.

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Third Round
Tuesday, March 22
Toledo 74, Alabama 59

Wednesday, March 23

Arkansas 78, Oral Roberts 59
Southern Cal 62, BYU 50

Up next:

Thursday, March 24
Boston College  at Virginia, 7 p.m. EST
Eastern Michigan at Syracuse, 7 p.m. EST
Florida at Charlotte, 7 p.m. EST
Duquesne at Illinois State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Colorado at Wyoming, 9 p.m. EST

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PINK OUT!!!

The WaPo writes that Lynetta Kizer is an energizing presence for the #11 Maryland women’s basketball team. Unfortunately, she couldn’t help the Terps avoid losing their second game in a row, this time to Virginia.

A full house at Michigan State (their first) went home happy as the #13 Spartans defeated Michigan, 69-56.

Fellow-state member Central Michigan snagged their fourth game in a row as they took down Kent State. Kaihla Szunko recorded her 16th double-double of the season.

The Ducks were gloomy, as USC skewered’em.

This is not a fun time to be a Hokie.

Oklahoma notched a win before they flew off to Storrs in anticipation of their Monday night game against #2 UConn (who also won).

Brittney… I mean, #1 Baylor stomped all over the Longhorns in anticipation of their Monday night game against the Aggies. Texas A&M got in the mood by stuffing the Jayhawks, 81-58.

With their win over Loyola (IL), #16 Green Bay remains undefeated in the Horizon.

Xavier’s stays undefeated in the A-10 with their win over Fordham.

Kris at was at the game as Houston surged to 11-0 in C-USA.

Hartford surprised Boston U, 66-59.

West Virginia continued to stumble as the Mountaineers lost to Louisville.

Congrats to Jantel Lavender, who overtook Buckeye great Katie Smith as the Ohio State’s scoring leader. I’m guessing the win over Purdue made her happier.

It wasn’t a waltz, but Stanford did take care of Washington, 62-52.

Ten points also was the difference as UCLA slipped by Oregon State.

Yah, it was another win, but who really thinks Pat’s happy with her #4 Vols?

#21 Miami’s on a roll and this time they rolled over UNC.

Duke took care of BC, Penn State survived Indiana (Lucas went 6-10 on 3’s), wobbly Kentucky squeaked by LSU, but #17 Georgetown couldn’t escape St. John’s.

Jayda has the story of a player who’s not in the game: Seattle U.’s Breanna Salley keeps playing, even if she can’t get on the court

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VanDerveer transcript heading into UCLA-USC weekend

This is the transcript from Tuesday’s conference call heading into the big weekend series against the L.A. schools. Thanks to Stanford athletics for providing it.

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of this college season is Jacki Gemelos. Playing. Baskeball.

Sue’s got the interview over at HoopFeed.

Speaking of USC, from Q: How “New” Additions Are Helping 10-3 USC Earn Increasing National Respect

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