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A little history from Michelle: Oral history: Harvard stuns Stanford – A look back at the 1998 NCAA tournament, the only time a 16-seed toppled a No. 1

A week before the NCAA tournament opener, Stanford was positioned as one of the best teams in the country, after three straight trips to the Final Four. Seven days later, the Cardinal became the first and only No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16, with a 71-67 defeat against Harvard. As with all great sports upsets, there is an intriguing backstory only the people involved can tell. We consulted our colleagues at FiveThirtyEight for some statistical context. Then we spoke with nine prominent people involved in the game and asked them to set the scene in an oral history of that game — starting with a devastating moment at the end of Stanford’s Pac-10 finale against Oregon State.

Vanessa Nygaard, former Stanford forward and longtime WNBA, college and high school coach: “We were ahead comfortably, but then Oregon State started closing the gap, and I went back in.”

Beth Goode, former Stanford sports information director and current senior women’s administrator: “Vanessa’s injury happened right in front of me. It was one of those unmistakable things when she went down. You knew it wasn’t good.”

Tara VanDerveer, Stanford coach, one of five coaches in NCAA women’s history with 900-plus wins: “The doctor at Oregon State said it was not an ACL, and we would have it looked at when we got back on Sunday, which was selection day.”

From Kate, a little history that’s a tad more modern: The swagger Of UConn – A look at how the Huskies’ dominance came to be — but it’s not for everybody

During last year’s college basketball season, Rebecca Lobo watched in person a number of Connecticut’s practices.

And during one of these afternoons, the former UConn star and current ESPN analyst noticed something strikingly familiar: coach Geno Auriemma running ragged one of the team’s best players.

Lobo also instantly recognized the drill: one-on-one from the wing, the emphasis on defense. The players form a line at each wing. First player in line is the defender; next one has the ball. If the defender gets a stop, she rotates to the back of the opposite line; if she gives up a bucket, she immediately runs to the opposite wing to try again — against a fresh offensive player.

The thing about this drill: Each repetition is exhausting. So if you don’t get a stop within the first two attempts, the likelihood of ever getting one plummets. After successive reps against fresh teammates? Might as well wave the white flag.

Except, of course, a white flag doesn’t exist at UConn.

From Mechelle: Massengale steps up at Tennessee – Senior guard and fellow Chicagoan Nia Moore look to make big impact in tourney

Mechelle’s been busy! Wilson right at home with Gamecocks

The fact that A’ja Wilson didn’t have to look far to find her college destination didn’t mean that she didn’t look hard. She explored different options, and waited until last April to announce her decision.

And when the hometown kid said she was staying with the hometown school, the rest of the country could almost hear the cheers of happiness mixed with relief coming from Columbia, South Carolina.

Some things are meant to be. Like Wilson playing for the Gamecocks. She’s from Hopkins, South Carolina, just outside the state capital city, and went to Heathwood Hall in Columbia. As she prepares for her first NCAA tournament for South Carolina, the No. 1 seed in the Greensboro Regional, Wilson knows she’s right where she’s supposed to be.

How about some other youngsters? TOP FRESHMEN READY TO MAKE NCAA TOURNAMENT DEBUT

How about some previews?

Albany Regional breakdown – UConn

Three observations

1. What an interesting road it’s been for Seton Hall senior guard Daisha Simmons. She struggled first to obtain a release from Alabama, and then to get a waiver to play this season at Seton Hall. But it worked out, as the Pirates are back in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995. Simmons is averaging 16.9 points, plus has 131 assists and a team-high 80 steals.

Greensboro Regional breakdown – South Carolina

Three observations

1. It has been a big season for Ohio, which is the No. 14 seed and faces No. 3 Arizona State in the first round.

Oklahoma City Regional breakdown – Notre Dame

Three observations

1. It’s time for the annual Sherri Coale appreciation salute. She took over at Oklahoma for the 1996-97 season, which was also the first year of the Big 12. At that point, the Sooners had made just two NCAA tournament appearances, and the school had infamously shut down the program for roughly a week in 1990 before sanity prevailed.

Spokane Regional breakdown – Maryland

Three observations

1. Kudos to New Mexico State coach Mark Trakh, who has the Aggies in the NCAA field for the first time since 1988. Trakh, in his fourth season in Las Cruces, also has taken Pepperdine and Southern Cal to the Big Dance. His Aggies, the Western Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament champion, are the No. 16 seed and take on No. 1 Maryland in the opening round.

Michelle says: Savor all 63 games — not just final

We’ve arrived, a little earlier than in previous years, at the start of the NCAA tournament. And while many people might want to jump straight to the ending — one they think they can already write — we refuse to do that.

We are going to soak in the process of reducing a field of 64 teams down to one champion over the course of three weeks.

Because whether conventional wisdom suggests this in an exercise in inevitability, that Connecticut will be cutting down nets like last year, and the year before that, there are still 63 other teams determined to make sure they’re hoisting the championship trophy in Tampa.

Before the first games tip off (ESPN2/WatchESPN, noon ET Friday), let’s take a moment to appreciate the journey. We have plenty of time to focus on the end result, let’s not miss all the great stuff in the middle.

From Cheryl Coward: Cal refocused after the Pac-12 tourney, ready to help showcase women’s basketball in the Bay area as an NCAA early round host

Nearby: OSU women’s basketball: Beavers refocus after Pac-12 tourney loss

Scott Rueck doesn’t ever like, nor does he typically believe a team needs, to lose a game.

But Oregon State’s fifth-year women’s basketball coach was OK with his team’s loss to Colorado in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament two weekends ago for one simple reason — it wasn’t the NCAA tournament.

In order to win a tournament, Rueck says, a team has to be hungry enough and know exactly what it is playing for because every other team will bring its best performance.

It’s about doing everything you do as well as you possibly can, he says.

Also nearby: From Marcus Thompson II: Stanford needs Thompson’s ‘A’ game in NCAAs

They say it takes great guards to make noise in the NCAA tournament. That gives hope to Stanford, coming off as uninspiring a season as it has had in years.

Guard Amber Orrange, a battled tested senior who’s as smooth as they come, is a rock on which coach Tara VanDerveer can rely. If Lili Thompson can take her game to another level for the postseason, that gives the Cardinal an advantage to milk.

The recruiting standard has been set high by new coach Marlene Stollings and her staff at Minnesota.

The one-player class of senior forward Shae Kelley has flourished.

The first and only player Stollings signed since taking over the Gophers, Kelley has entered the NCAA Tournament with the fifth-best scoring average in the Big Ten at 17.5 points per game. She’s seventh in the conference with 9.4 rebounds per game. Her leadership was relied on even more after the loss of star guard Rachel Banham to a season-ending injury.

Pat Eaton-Rob from notices that “other” team from Connecticut:

Quinnipiac has quietly put together a 31-3 season, joining UConn and Notre Dame as the only teams in the tournament with more than 30 wins. They swept through an undefeated Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular season in just their second year in the league and then dethroned 9-time conference champion Marist, 72-61, in the conference title game.

The Bobcats are 104-29 since the 2011-12 season, with the second-highest winning percentage (.782) of all New England Division I schools during that span. They trail only UConn (.933).

Tim May at the Columbus Dispatch notices that “other” team from Ohio:

As Kiyanna Black recalled, coach Bob Boldon had a grand plan for Ohio University women’s basketball when he was named the 10th coach in school history two years ago.

“When he first got here, his first words were ‘MAC championships,’” said Black, a junior from Africentric. “And I’m just sitting there looking at him, ‘We’ve got to win a few games, first.’

“At first it felt so far away. But we just kept working and kept grinding, and believing in him and his staff. And we’re here.”

Speaking of coaches: Sue Semrau still building legacy at Florida State

And more coaches: Seton Hall’s Tony Bozzella set to enjoy father-daughter dance at NCAA Tournament

And more coaches: From Sue Favor: New Mexico State, coach Mark Trakh moving on up

New Mexico State has vaulted back on to the national basketball stage this spring, in a big way.

They won the Western Athletic Conference Championship earlier this month, for the first time in program history, after going 13-1 in league play and 22-7 overall. That put them into the NCAA Tournament, after a 27-year absence.

And MORE coaches: A first for American, and its coach

 To many Easterners, Iowa is a “flyover state.” Count Megan Gebbia among them.

“My initial reaction (after the NCAA women’s basketball selections were made Monday) was, ‘Wow, Iowa, I’ve never been there,’” said Gebbia, second-year coach at American University.

She’ll be here sometime today, when the Eagles arrive for preparations for their NCAA debut.

Hey! It’s time for the Mascot Bracket!

Don’t wanna read? Then take a listen to Dishin’ and Swishin’s NCAA Tourney Roundtable featuring Doug Feinberg, LaChina Robinson, Debbie Antonelli and Lin Dunn

Don’t wanna listen? How about dance?

In non-tourney news:

Ouch: Three players leave Vanderbilt women’s basketball team

Vanderbilt women’s basketball has announced its third departing player in the past week following the program’s first losing season in 16 years.

Freshman guard Paris Kea will transfer, per a Vanderbilt news release. Last week, the program lost freshman twin sisters Audrey-Ann and Khalèann Caron-Goudreau, who will also transfer.

Echo ouch: Brooks to leave Indiana University, third to depart program in last 3 days

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Why, look who’s writing about the New York Liberty! Can Laimbeer lift the Liberty?

After the 2012 season, when the New York Liberty finished with a 15-18 record and exited the playoffs in the first round, many fans were disenchanted with management, uninspired by the product on the court and dreading the idea of spending one more summer “in exile” in Newark, New Jersey, awaiting the completion of final renovations on Madison Square Garden.

Then, in October, a ripple of excitement spread through the fan base: It was announced Bill Laimbeer would return to the WNBA as the Liberty’s new head coach and general manager. Laimbeer brought with him an oversized personality, a keen basketball brain and, most importantly, a history of almost instant success. In 2002, he took over an awful Detroit Shock team midseason and transformed it into a championship winner the next year. He followed that up with two more league titles in 2006 and 2008. What might he do with a team that went 15-19 in 2012?

Other folks have been really busy at Full Court. Sharon Crowson says It’s time for Chicago to meet expectations

Stereotypes can be useful because they are frequently accurate. They can provide a useful picture of a situation — but it’s vital to remember that “frequently” is very different than “invariably”.

That distinction is important to remember as the Chicago Sky enter their eighth season. They have yet to make the playoffs and the stereotype of non-playoff teams is that they lack talent — but nothing could be further from the truth.

(Speaking of Chicago, Delle Donne making Chicago homeElena Delle Donne Makes Impressive Debut for WNBA’s Chicago Sky and Sky’s Delle Donne wastes no time)

Kelly Kline says the Upgraded Shock are thinking playoffs

Despite being stood up by Liz Cambage for the second year in a row (they made up), the Tulsa Shock are optimistic about 2013. Thanks to adding significant talent through the draft and offseason trades, the Tulsa season is shaping up to be the team’s best since it arrived in Oklahoma.

“We feel like we have more firepower, bigger guards, better shooting and we have a chance to be a better defensive team,” says coach Gary Kloppenburg. “We basically have a new team.”

Will Indy pick up waived Adair now that Davenport is hurt?

Congrats: Connecticut Sun guard Kara Lawson wins WNBA Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award

Congrats! (Vrooom, vrooom!) WNBA Champion Indiana Fever named Grand Marshal for 2013 IPL 500 Festival Parade

The APs Kareem Copeland writes: Fever prep for WNBA title defense

The defending champion Indiana Fever feel like they are under the radar all over again heading into the WNBA season.

The team brings back 10 players from the 2012 roster and will be trying to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.

They have exactly been the talk of the league so far.

Almost congrats: Brittney Griner, WNBA Phoenix Mercury Player, Nominated For 2013 BET Award and Out WNBA Star Brittney Griner Tells Youth at GLAAD Awards ‘Don’t Hide It. Be Who You Are.’

Speaking of BG, some Baylor message board fans may be turning their back on her, but W fans ain’t: Brittney Griner’s arrival sees 19 percent increase in sales of WNBA merchandise

(BTW, did you catch this Baylor news: WBB coach Damion McKinney resigns and assistant Rehka Patterson also resigns).

Odeen says Diana Taurasi is glad to share Phoenix Mercury stage with Brittney Griner

The spotlight was hers and hers alone.

Was.

It shined on Mercury star Diana Taurasi for years, nearly a decade just in the WNBA. But now comes Brittney Griner, the Mercury’s new No. 1 overall pick — a 6-foot-8 phenom whose personality is just as big as her new teammate’s.

Asked to compare her spotlight to Griner’s, Taurasi didn’t miss a beat.

“It’s a lot taller.”

Ever the optimist: Gemelos still aims for WNBA career with Minnesota Lynx, coming back from 5th repair of ACL

Mechelle says Maya Moore as motivated as ever

The WNBA season hasn’t even begun, but it has already been a championship kind of year for Minnesota’s Maya Moore.

Playing in China for the first time, she led her team to a title there. Then in April, she watched her alma mater, Connecticut, win its eighth NCAA women’s basketball crown.

“Obviously the alums feel a part of it, but that was their journey, their struggle, their learning, their growing, their competing,” Moore said of the 2012-13 Huskies. “It wasn’t an easy season; there were ups and downs. But to see it come together in those two games of the Final Four, it just made me so proud.”

It’s a reminder, of course, that how you finish means everything in sports. And last season, that’s what Moore’s Lynx didn’t do well. After having the best regular-season record for the second season in a row, Minnesota wasn’t able to successfully defend its WNBA title.

From the Yakima Herald: Storm’s Clark not taking anything for granted

Many already have Alysha Clark as a lock to make the final Storm roster for 2013.

Clark, a 5-foot-10 forward, crinkles her face at the idea.

Sure, she was part of the 2012 roster. She even played a key role when injuries and the WNBA’s break for the Olympics pulled teammates out of the lineup.

However, it didn’t land her a guaranteed contract.

An act of faith: Former WNBA player Tully Bevilaqua commits to her partner

Former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua and her life partner, Lindsay Bevilaqua, are raising two children in Indianapolis and own a gym together in the city.

So when the two, who have been together for 4 1/2 years, decided to get married, they opted for a ceremony in Indianapolis rather than going to a state that recognizes gay marriage.

But in Minneapolis: Augustus looking forward to Minnesota wedding

It looks like Seimone Augustus could get her Minnesota wedding after all.

The Minnesota Lynx star has been planning to marry fiancee LaTaya Varner, but she wasn’t sure she would be able to do it in her adopted home state because gay marriage was not legal. That could change by as early as next week.

The Minnesota House passed a measure to legalize gay marriage on Thursday and there is optimism among supporters that it will pass the Senate and be signed into a law by Tuesday.

”It’s just exciting thing to see so many people support it,” Augustus told reporters on Friday, her first day of training camp with the Lynx after returning from playing in Russia during the offseason.

From Michelle Smith: Mercury ready to rebound

“Last year was the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever been through as a player,” said point guard Samantha Prahalis, a rookie for the Mercury last season. “Losing that much, it was tough. People would say to me, ‘Yeah, but you get to play a lot,’ and I would say, ‘No, I want to win.’

 “I was excited to get drafted to come here and play with Diana and Penny and play for titles.”

Just a couple of months later, the clouds parted. Oh, did they ever.

M&M ponder Which team will win the East?

Did you catch this? WNBA Player Puts on Astonishing Shooting Show

Hello there, lady bolter: Alabama introduces new women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry. Here’s her goal: Alabama AD Bill Battle wants women’s basketball to outgrow Foster Auditorium

WATN? Windward’s Vanessa Nygaard will help coach U16 national team. She’s joined by LaDreda Akins (Haines City H.S., Haines City, Fla./Florida’s Finest AAU), Terri Bamford (LaJolla Country Day, La Jolla, Calif./Waves AAU),and Kimberly Davis-Powell (Essence Girls Basketball AAU, Tallahassee, Fla.)

Speaking of USA Basketball: 2013 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team Trials Set To Begin With 33 Collegians — Ten USA Basketball Gold Medalists Return To Vie For Roster Spots

WATN? Semeka Randall named new Alabama A&M women’s basketball coach

WATN? Eastern Illinois hires former WNBA player Debbie Black as new head coach

Another new hire: Billi Godsey takes Iona’s reins

We still don’t know why the position became vacant, but it’s no longer open: San Diego State Hires Stacie Terry

It can be tough to play friends: ND v. Penn State – McGraw challenged by draw

Of all the teams in the Big Ten, there was one team that Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw didn’t want to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference-Big Ten Conference Challenge — Penn State.

That’s because Coquese Washington, who played for McGraw at Notre Dame and was an assistant coach for the Irish for eight seasons, is the head coach at Penn State.

“Of course, we would never schedule a game against Penn State, because I try not to play my friends,” McGraw said.

Yes, Women’s College Basketball is adopting a rule long overdue…

Speaking of rules that were overdue….here was someone who said “No” to banning girls basketball: E. Wayne Cooley, pioneer of Iowa girls sports, dead at age 90

E. Wayne Cooley, a girls’ sports pioneer who left long-lasting marks on the the state of Iowa, died Saturday of natural causes at age 90.

He ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls, from 1954 until his retirement in 2002, overseeing generations of athletes. Under his guidance, the Union expanded from three sports — basketball, golf and tennis — to nine programs.

Flashback to 2007: Hall of fame: Cooley led the cheers

Troy Dannen, current executive director of the IGHSAU, said Cooley has the greatest business mind he’s ever known.

“He’s the epitome of the promoter,” Dannen said. “He always came up with different ways to get people into the building. It was always about more than basketball at the basketball tournament.”

Sports Illustrated came to Iowa after Title IX passed in 1972 to do a story about the effect on the state. The article concluded the change barely caused a ripple, Cooley said.

“We were 15 to 17 years ahead of Title IX,” Cooley said of what he considers his top accomplishment. “I was very proud of that. The girls had everything.”

Generations of Iowans, Branstad remember Girls Union chief Cooley

Cooley was recalled as a musician who once sat in with Harry James’ big band orchestra as it toured Iowa, an avid fan of Winston Churchill and an astute investor eager to put a hot stock tip to work.

“When Dr. Cooley came into a room, things happened,” said Craig Ihnen, executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association, in a eulogy.

The service was attended by former all-state six-on-six basketball players like Lisa Brinkmeyer and Jan Jensen, Drake coaches Jennie Baranczyk (basketball) and Natasha Kaiser (track) and Northern Iowa director of athletics Troy Dannen. Dozens of longtime coaches and officials paid their respects.

Branstad hails Cooley as a visionary

Gov. Terry Branstad called E. Wayne Cooley a visionary who helped elevate Iowa girls’ basketball to a national phenomenon – some thing that touched Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds directly as a forward for Interstate 35 High School during the heyday of six-on-six era.

During his weekly news conference Monday, Branstad paid tribute to Cooley as a pioneer of Iowa girls’ sports. Cooley, who died last Saturday at the age of 90, ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union — the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls — from 1954 until his retirement in 2002.

“E. Wayne Cooley was a visionary leader for girls’ athletics,” said Branstad. “He made it phenomenally successful.

“He was a great marketer and promoter,” the governor added. “He’s going to be greatly missed. He has a really wonderful legacy that he leaves in terms of girls’ athletics.”

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Listen in:

In the women’s college game, there are so very few coaches with the programs, the resume, and the success of Coach Tara VanDerveer.   One of only five women’s coaches to win 800 games, she has won two national championships, a ridiculous amount of conference championships, NCAA tournament appearances galore, produced many All-Americans, Naismith winners, Wade Trophy winners, WNBA first round draft choices, and USA basketball participants.

As I can’t make it to Springfield this weekend, I thought it would be a good idea to pay tribute on Dishin & Swishin to the woman that deserved this honor several years ago.  With the help of Aaron Juarez, Stanford SID extraordinaire, we put together one of the infamous Dishin & Swishin roundtables.  When Aaron and I put out the information on what we were doing, the response was amazing, as former players lined up to pay homage to a coach/mentor/friend that means so much to them all.

Participants are:

Jennifer Azzi
Angela Taylor
Kate Paye
Vanessa Nygaard
Candice Wiggins
Jayne Appel
Jeanette Pohlen
Melanie Murphy

http://www.hoopfeed.com/ content/2011/08/11/dishin- swishin-august-11-2011- podcast-3-part-2-a-tribute-to- tara-vanderveer/

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