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Welcome: Former Mercury exec Parry joins WNBA as COO

.com: Face of the Franchise: How Number One Picks Have Defined WNBA History

Fox: Storm analyst Elise Woodward breaks down WNBA Draft on “Q It Up Sports”

.com: Déjà Vu In Seattle: 14 Years Later, Storm Poised for Another Rapid Rebuild

Countdown to WNBA Draft 2016: Rachel Banham

St. John’s: Grant and Handford Gear Up for WNBA Draft

BulletsForever: 2016 WNBA Draft Preview Part 1: The Mystics’ current needs heading to Draft Day

Sue at SlamOnline: WNBA Draft Index, Vol. 3

UConn’s Big Three Seniors Looking Ahead To WNBA Draft

Howard Megdal: WNBA Mock Draft 10.0: Pencils down

The posturing is over. The scouting, the evaluating, the pre-draft meetings and workouts—all the information is in front of the 12 teams who will gather Thursday night at Mohegan Sun Arena and pick the next 36 potential players in the WNBA.

Notice potential—there’s no guarantee that draft picks can make their teams, with a source at one WNBA team expressing skepticism that even a first-round pick could make that team’s roster.

However, this deep draft offers an array of players with virtually every skill imaginable. So much comes down to fit, to small gradations of difference. And the moment it’s all over, the fun starts—figuring out how and the way 36 new players integrate with their new teams.

College

Syracuse.com: Being Breanna’s parents: Skittles, Santa, shoes and the basketball journey of a lifetime

The two-day respite between the NCAA Regional and Final Four offers a fleeting moment to breathe. There is, however, no rest. Heather and Brian Stewart squeeze in a couple of days of work at Upstate University Hospital jobs, then returned to their home in North Syracuse for a blur of errands. That is, until basketball breaks out.

On a spectacular early evening when temperatures climb into the 70s, Conor Stewart is working on a two-handed reverse jam on the basketball goal in his family driveway. The goal is lowered several feet to allow Conor access above the rim. The opportunity is too alluring for Brian, who finishes a job sweeping the garage and is soon dunking way with his 14-year-old son. Heather asks if anyone needs her alley-oop feeds from the front porch. The family moment is filled with joy and routine, all worked into the window of March Madness.

The next day, the Stewarts are off to Indianapolis for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

Siroky’s Musings: A Return to the Women’s Final Four After a Long Absence

For the first time in a long while I took a trip by myself.

When the women’s NCAA basketball tournament started 35 seasons ago, I was one of 37 accredited media. 

Two of my best friends were also there as broadcasters, I had a photographer and knew three other national writers. That’s seven of the 37. It was a small group then.

I thought of many of them, the departed and the living, coaches, players and media I had shared a time with. 

There are not a lot of us left. In fact, there are but two media.

You may remember that the Seawolves had some “issues” a while back. Now? A shift in culture: Coach McCarthy transforms women’s basketball program

At 38-3, the UAA women’s basketball team just completed their best season in school history, and were arguably the greatest team Seawolf Athletics has ever assembled. From placing as the runner-up in the national championship game, to shattering 32 school records, to breaking five NCAA Division II records (including the 38 wins), the Seawolves had what one might call a dream season.

However, the team was living more of a nightmare just four years ago, when the program was slammed with several sanctions by the NCAA.

Hartford Courant: With Big 3 Gone, What Are The UConn Women Left With Next Season?

“With these three leaving, the rest of the players coming back are in for a rude awakening. But you can’t disregard what the impact [this season] has on the players coming back. And it will last for a while. But then obviously it will [fade] and they’ll have to earn it like these other guys.

“But we don’t have anybody in the program right now that’s a Stewie or a Tuck or Moriah coming back. So it’s going to be really, really one of the more difficult adjustments that we’ve had in the time that I’ve been here. But it’s OK. I’m kind of looking forward to it. I really am. There’s a lot of new stories to be written by our group.”

Here’s a look at what the Huskies might look like next season:

Courant: Program Foundation Geno And CD Laid At UConn In 1985 Is Holding Up Just Fine

Kerith Burke, SNY: A behind the scenes look at UConn’s fourth straight NCAA championship

Forbes: 3 Ways to Convert Losses Into Wins From A ‘Defeated’ Basketball Coach

Buff Zone: CU women’s basketball: Buffs buy in to Payne’s positive message

Whenever Kennedy Leonard encounters one of her new basketball coaches — and that’s been happening a lot lately — she’s asked how her family is doing, or how she’s doing in school.

“You can tell she really cares about us — all of them do,” said Leonard, who recently completed her freshman season with the Colorado women’s basketball team. “It’s a different kind of feel, a positive feel.”

NC State: Moore looks to take team to next level

Chris Crowder: Wolverines’ WNIT streak ends next year

After four seasons at the helm, Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico has made the NCAA Tournament only once — her first season when she took over the head coaching job in the 2012-13 season. However, over the past three seasons, the Wolverines have failed to make the Big Dance, instead settling for the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.

Now in Barnes Arico’s fifth season, she’ll finally have a team consisting solely of players she has recruited. And in the 2016-17 season, Barnes Arico will have the right pieces to lead Michigan back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013.

Hello: Justice named head women’s coach at Prairie View A&M

Bye: UWGB junior Latesha Buck granted release

Well, carp: Players’ Departures Bring Swoopes’ Demeanor Into Question

Betting Runner’s SportsChat asked me a few questions and I typed the answers.

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From Dishin’ and Swishin’

Throughout the NCAA women’s basketball season, Dishin & Swishin kept you up to date mostly through conversations with coaches and journalists. The reason for this is that at DNS, we respect how busy the schedules of the student-athletes can be and have tried not to disturb their routine. Now, you have all been so patient, it is time to get fired up for postseason play with a special two part, two-day podcast, featuring ten of the absolute best players in the nation, five today and five tomorrow.

Today, not a bad first five:

Brittney Griner, Baylor
Chelsea Gray, Duke
A’dia Mathies, Kentucky
Nneka Ogwumike, Stanford
Julie Wojta, Green Bay

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Huge, huge, HUGE win for a St. John’s team that is finally healthy.

They go in to Storrs on Senior Night, with a 99-game home winning streak on the line, take UConn’s best shot early, then nail shot after shot, keeping their cool, flustering the Huskies until… tada! It looks like UConn’s going to squeeze out the 2pt win courtesy of their defense BUT, St John’s has the ball in their hands and, with 8 seconds left, Shenneika Smith nails the three-pointer: Red Storm 57, UConn 56. (Anyone remember a certain Aussie named Jessica Foley did something similar?)

What a delightful shot (there was?) of the St. John’s kids on the front page of ESPN. Doesn’t it seems like we’ve seen a lot of shots like that this season? How cool!

The Penguins of Youngstown tried to pull of a similar upset of Green Bay — had’em down 5 with about a minute left in the game…. then poof! It was tied. And then it was overtime, and then it was an opportunity missed. This time it was Ritchie to the Rescue.

Baylor, too, suffered from the Feb. blahs and Texas Tech almost took advantage. Didn’t manage to complete the deal, but you gotta believe all those fans in Waco were reaching for the Tums as BG struggled (yes, she got a double-double, but was 5-14), Simms too. Fortunately, there was enough Destiny to go around. Bears 56, Raiders 51, Baylor Big 12 champeens.

In a match up initials, SIUE (10-4, OVC) took down EIU (12-2), 59-54.

Bowling Green has clinched a share of the Division and, yes, coach Curt is back.

Middle Tennessee State, 14-0 (Sun Belt). (Oh, and don’t mess with coach Insell.)

Wow — was there something in the air tonight? Liberty (12-2, Big South) can’t escape Winthrop (8-5), and goes down in Flames: 71-69.

Yes, clearly there was: BU earned its first conference loss against Albany, 48-41. (I know that Boston stinks at supporting women’s sports — but, jeez, you think the Globe or Herald would notice the team.)

Dang, did I jinx’em? San Diego goes down to BYU, 64-50.

Yup, I jinxed’em: La Tech got hammered by Hawai’i, 61-49.

It’s just all bad deep in the heart of Texas: Longhorns lose to Kansas State by 20. Is Gail’s seat so hot that she has to get out of the pan and find a different fire?

Wowza — West Virginia had no-mentum, as DePaul exploded for 53 in the second (and to rally from 14 down) to snare the win, 77-63. Looking at their records (not RPI and such), this match up is a perfect example of how hard it is to figure out the rankings. The Mountaineers have a huge win (ND) and a record of 19-7 (9-4) while the Blue Demons are 20-7 (8-5). And guess who’s ranked #20?

That’s Toledo at 11-2 in the MAAC. Again, this is without their best player.

Stanford enjoyed making soup out of the Ducks, 81-46, clinching their “first” Pac-12 title. N.O. had a double-double in 23 minutes. C.O was one rebound away from having one in 27 minutes. Must be discouraging for coach Paul — earlier in the season, Oregon, at Maples, kept it within 23.

Cal got a fight from Oregon State, but prevailed 75-68. So, what’s Rueck’s rank in the Pac-12 COY race? And when do Cal and Stanford play again?

In the Summit, Oral Roberts (12-4) had to go to overtime to take down the Mastodons (5-10). Congrats to junior Kevi Luper, who became ORU’s career scoring leader (2193+) and steal(er?) (374 and counting).

American U took care of business against the Black Knights of Army, and now are 12-0 in the Patriot League. And League champeens. (Why are they a League and not a Conference?)

Not to be outdone, St. Bonaventure ran their conference record to 12-0 with their 18-pt win over Xavier.

FGCU is hitting their stride: they took down the Hatters 79-56, and now are 16-0 in the A-Sun. (And conference champeens.)

Great game in the MEAC (though not one Debbie and Beth would be cheering about): Howard (12-2) over Coppin State (10-3), 50-49.

Another good game: Davidson (15-2, Southern) took down Appalachian State (15-2), 61-54.

That sigh of relief was Missouri getting their first win in the Big 12. (And it may mean no NCAA tourney for Kansas.)

Wonder how much coach Donovan is enjoying non-WNBA life: Her Seton Hall team is now 0-13 in the Big East.

Once upon a time in 2010, IUPUI was a hot mess. So, I’m just pointing out that, with their win over South Dakota (18-7, 9-6), second year coach Austin Parkinson has them at 7-8 in the Summit.

Speaking of hot messes that are no longer hot messes: Fresno State took care of business against Utah State, and the Bulldogs are still undefeated in the WAC.

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WNBA’s Tulsa Shock retain Kathy McConnell-Miller as assistant coach

Lynx re-sign and trade Hornbuckle to Phoenix for draft pick

Stringer calls RU’s passion into question. Disconcerting, since Rutgers has to face UConn tonight. Without Rushdan.

Marist women could make history Saturday

Green Bay’s Lukan strives to be all-around player

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a blah game. Duke’s offense was inept, UConn’s defense was impressive, and their offense was... well… inelegant. Writes Rob at DWHoops:

Moral victories are no victories at all, but for the first time in a long time Duke made UConn sweat a little before losing 61-45. The bottom line is that UConn once again turned Duke into a one-on-one jump-shooting team (leading to Duke shooting just 25% and dishing out only 8 assists). But this time Duke never gave up on the defensive end. Duke forced 21 UConn turnovers (13 in the second half) and hung close on the boards (-6 for the game), but the Devils rushed their shots and never recovered from a twelve minute field goal drought in the second half.

Perhaps the biggest story was not the heralded match up between Williams and Lewis, but the emergence of that “other” freshman, Kiah Stokes.

In other news:

Hampton returned to its winning ways, tattooing Morgan State by 14. Lucky Joanne Gerstner got to “Hoop Across America” with the Pirates as they get amped.

Howard kept pace by downing South Carolina State by 24. (In her fourth year there, coach Niki Reid Geckeler has done a nice turnaround job.) Coppin State kept pace, too, but it was by squeaking by Norfolk State, 61-58.

Appalachian State’s win over Western Carolina moved the Mountaineers to 10-1 in the Southern. The Mocs are lurking at 10-2, while Davidson sits at 9-2 behind the strong play of Aleksandravicius.

High Point is still undefeated in the Big South, but Liberty is right behind them at 7-1.

Yup, EIU is still undefeated in the OVC.

Looks like the Jackrabbits are running away with the Summit, and the Pioneers are dominating the NEC.

The NY Times invites the Cheeseheads to pay attention to that “other” team in Wisconsin: Flourishing Without Packers as a Shadow

Thirty-four white-and-green banners hang in the rafters of the sparkling Kress Events Center, the home of the Wisconsin-Green Bay women’s basketball team, whose run of 13 consecutive Horizon League regular-season championships stands as the longest active streak of its kind in the country. Twelve banners represent N.C.A.A. tournament appearances. The midmajor Phoenix earned the most recent of those last March while reaching the Round of 16 for the first time.

And this season’s team, off to a program-best 19-0 start — the only undefeated team in Division I besides top-ranked Baylor — may add more.

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to an in-state rival: UW women’s basketball: UW-Green Bay’s Bollant says his program ‘way better’ than the Badgers

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More on Flanagan’s retirement.

Seems LSU’s Nikki is ready to take on the Vols and the LSU Reveille is expecting an overhaul. Check out Maria’s extensive piece on Caldwell.

New Washington coach McGuff gets some coverage. Jayda offers:Getting to know new Washington coach Kevin McGuff

Don’t ignore the fact that Green Bay’s Bollant is still pondering.

Expect more pressure on coaches to win (hope this doesn’t mean it’ll be okay to lie and cheat): Salaries dramatically rise for top women’s basketball coaches

During the 2006-07 school year, Tennessee and Connecticut made money on women’s basketball, according to reports the schools file annually with the NCAA. In 2009-10, Tennessee lost about $715,000 on the sport and Connecticut lost about $725,000. Oklahoma lost about $1.1 million on the sport in 2006-07 and more than $1.6 million in 2009-10.

Head coaching compensation is not the only expense that has increased for these schools, and all three generated more revenue from women’s basketball in 2009-10 than they did in 2006-07.

Beth Bass, chief executive officer of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, says there are financial pressures throughout higher education. “Everybody’s looking at everything,” she says. “We have to figure out how to be smarter with our business models.”

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to the previous night’s drama. But yesterday did feature a significant upset as well as a couple other tasty surprises. Says our pal Doug Feinberg of AP: Two rounds done; women’s tourney full of intrigue:

The Stomps:

#1 UConn wasn’t working to earn style points, just survival points. Their defense stymied the #9 Boilermakers and Connecticut notched the win, 64-40. Writes Mechelle:

…next up is fifth-seeded Georgetown in the Philadelphia Regional semifinals. And there’s a possibility that the Huskies could also face a Big East team in the regional final (No. 3 DePaul) and the national semifinals (Dayton No. 2 Notre Dame).

UConn has not lost to a Big East foe since Feb. 5, 2007, when the Huskies fell 73-71 at Rutgers. The Huskies’ record in league play since 2005-06 is 93-3.

#7 Rutgers didn’t have the horses to keep up with Texas A&M’s Danielle Adams, and the Aggies moved on rather effortlessly, 70-48.

#9 West Virginia didn’t have the horses, or the ladders, to keep up with Baylor’s Brittney Griner and the Bears won 82-68. Writes Mechelle:

Players who are disappointed in an aspect of their performance frequently say that it will fuel them to improve. Frankly, it doesn’t always happen. But in the case of Brittney Griner and free-throw shooting, it has.

The Trip Ups:

# 6 Oklahoma raced out to a lead, then resisted the urge to fold in the face of a Hurricane comeback, surviving to knock off #3 Miami 88-83.

#3 Florida had the lead at the half, but #6 Georgia clawed their way to escape with the 61-50 upset.

Graham gets to keep on following them ’cause #5 Green Bay won their 25th straight. They also earned their first trip to the Sweet 16 by taking down #4 Michigan State, 65-56. Writes Graham:

The slippers fit for Green Bay, but they aren’t made of glass. And there is no midnight curfew on this party.

As Green Bay prepared last week to leave for Wichita, Kan., and the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, senior Kayla Tetschlag and junior Hannah Quilling distributed some unconventional wardrobe accessories to teammates who otherwise spend a lot of time clothed in the not-quite-emerald hue that makes their city famous. For the trip to Kansas, players donned ruby slippers like those worn in “The Wizard of Oz” by Dorothy, perhaps that state’s most famous fictional resident. Only it turns out there is a slightly different takeaway to this telling of the classic adventure.

Home is nice, but it will be there in another week or two. For this team, there’s no place like the Sweet 16.

The Stomp Trip Ups:

#5 Georgetown was all over #4 Maryland from all over. The Terps didn’t hear Kara’s advice (Umm, maybe guard #14?) and Sugar Rodgers’ 34pts powered the Hoyas to a 79-57 rout. A little ESPN Quick Dish:

When Georgetown’s Sugar Rodgers, already 5-of-6 from the 3-point line at the time, saw the shot clock about to expire late in the first half of Tuesday’s game against Maryland and tossed up a one-handed push shot that arced high in the air and banked in off the glass, she just shrugged her shoulders, put her hands out wide and retreated to the defensive end. Sometimes it’s just your night.

And the Hoyas couldn’t have picked a better one on which to live up to their coach’s inner shooter.

It was worse than the final score suggests. #2 Xavier had the lead and then went ice-cold as #7 Louisville got red hot (As did Schimmel) and took down the Musketeers, 85-75. Says Graham:

As good as Xavier was throughout the careers of Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips (not to mention oft-overlooked point guard Special Jennings), it had a way of courting disaster in the postseason.

And considering what Louisville freshman Shoni Schimmel can do with even a sliver of daylight, you can’t open the door of opportunity when she’s wearing the other uniform.

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From Mechelle: Tennessee ready to tip off tourney – Lady Vols help open the games at 11 a.m. ET Saturday (ESPN2/ESPN3.com)

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt got a laugh as ESPN dug up old photos of her playing days at Tennessee-Martin in the 1970s to use during the NCAA tournament selection show. The Skyhawks are in the NCAA field for the first time this year, and their most famous women’s basketball alum is very happy for them.

She doesn’t have to be concerned with making their stay a very short one; UT-Martin is the No. 15 seed in the Philadelphia Regional and faces No. 2 seed Duke in the first round.

Mechelle’s Spokane preview is up.

This year’s NCAA tournament No. 1 seeds established themselves well before Selection Monday. In fact, if you’d been asked to predict them just days after last season’s Final Four, you likely would have come up with this quartet.

Some might have thought UConn would struggle a bit more than the Huskies have in their one-loss season. But certainly no one is surprised that the Huskies, Baylor, Tennessee and Stanford are the top four teams in the NCAA tournament. Although …

Graham has Players to watch

Five who could catch lighting in a bottle

Seedings suggest these players won’t be around for more than one game, but each could make that game one to remember or even prolong her team’s stay.

Also from Graham: Vandersloot stands strong for Zags: Point guard needs 44 points to become first D-I player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists

For all of her statistical milestones, national accolades and basketball skills, Courtney Vandersloot’s greatest strength as a point guard remains nothing more complicated than her ability to make everyone around her that much better.

But after piloting Gonzaga to the first Sweet 16 appearance in program history last season, she reflected on the postseason run and realized there was one player on the court whose limitations she felt might hold the team back at a time of year when championships are decided. So it was that the best point guard in the country decided there was one more player she could make better.

And even MORE Graham: Green Bay’s season to remember – Phoenix join UConn, Tennessee as teams to enter NCAA tourney with at least 32 wins

It’s the morning of the Horizon League championship game, and the staff and players who comprise one of the most successful programs in women’s basketball are gathered around waffles and eggs at a local restaurant, their blank (and insufficiently caffeinated) expressions serving as placeholders for the emotions the day will bring. It’s quiet enough, in fact, to hear the background music, and Green Bay associate coach Mike Divilbiss perks up when Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” starts to play.

Across from him, junior starter Julie Wojta is unimpressed, or more precisely, unaware of Morrison. Divilbiss tries to give her a hint, offering up “Brown Eyed Girl” as the clue that will unlock the mystery identity.

“Yeah, that doesn’t help,” Wojta responds.

Scott Powers has Long road for DePaul’s Naughton nears end

Deirdre Naughton was laying poolside when her cell phone rang on a Friday in early August. It was the NCAA calling to tell her she had been granted a sixth year of eligibility to play for DePaul women’s basketball team.
Naughton immediately sprung to her feet and jumped around in celebration.

The catch was she couldn’t tell any of her teammates until it was finalized on Monday. Naughton promised she would keep her mouth shut for the weekend.

Not long after she hung up, she called her teammate and close friend Sam Quigley.

“I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but she told me on Friday,” Quigley said, laughing. “I remember her calling me, and I was screaming hysterically. I was probably more excited than she was.”

Skyler Diggins writes: Communication key to handling NCAA hype

Life is all about growth. When you experience things, sometimes you may make mistakes or do some things well, or both. Regardless, there will be an outcome. Whether that outcome is negative or positive, you will have an opportunity to reflect. Take note of the positive things or things that you did well. Then reflect on your mistakes. If you learn from these mistakes and do not make the same ones, you have grown.

I had to learn this in my freshman year of college.

Over at espnW, Angelique Chengelis writes Samford’s stock on the rise

Mike Morris knows the routine.

He calls a recruit and identifies himself as the head coach at Samford, and occasionally there’s a pause.

“They get all excited when they think it’s Stanford,” Morris said, laughing. “I kid around and I’ve said I always wanted to ask [Stanford coach] Tara VanDerveer, ‘Do y’all get that, are you Stanford or Samford?’ just to see if I get a grin out of that.”

Also at espnW, Jane McManus writes: Marist’s Brian Giorgis has the winning formula

Basketball was his first sport. He played as a youth. But after getting a glimpse of his 7-foot counselors at Willis Reed’s basketball camp, Giorgis realized the limits inherent in his 5-foot-9 frame. He decided to coach, but after a difficult season with the baseball team, Giorgis decided he didn’t want to coach boys again. He realized his style just fit better with his girls’ teams.“It wasn’t about style points and who looked better,” Giorgis said. “It was about what they could do to win games.”

Mark Simon does a little research: Stefanie Pemper’s Navy seeks upset  – Mids coach was on Harvard staff when the Crimson knocked off No. 1 Stanford in 1998

Before coming to Navy, Pemper was the coach at Division III Bowdoin College, a liberal arts school in small-town Brunswick, Maine. There she developed a coaching style that emphasized there was more to basketball than what took place on the court. She has brought that to Navy, as well.

At Bowdoin, practices opened with the players talking about the classes they’d been in that day. When the team took an undefeated record into the Division III Final four in 2004, it left campus early so it could spend a day in Colonial Williamsburg on its way to the championship site.

At halftime of one game at Bowdoin, the players got engrossed in conversation and lost track of time and came out of the locker room 30 seconds before the second half was to start. Undaunted, the team suffocated its opponent into 25 percent shooting and won easily.

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simply plays better when they’re unranked.

Last night, the #23 Buckeyes lost a lead, and then the game, to Michigan. Michigan had never beaten Ohio State twice in a season and the Wolverines had not won in Columbus since Jan. 21, 2001.

In the ACC, #15 Florida State won a barn burner and #22 Miami survived North Carolina State.

Green Bay stayed perfect in the Horizon League after winning a dog fight with Butler. The Ducks were no match for Stanford, and UCLA put away Arizona State.

Friend Pseudonymity has the “who can figure what’s going on here?” SEC wrap up:

Dawn Staley got her first win against a ranked team at South Carolina by upsetting Georgia behind Newton’s 5 of 5 from the 3 pt. line.

#6 Tennessee overcame a first half deficit to rout Mississippi State behind Johnson’s standout performance.

Kentucky grabs the lead in the final minutes to beat Ole Miss.

Arkansas beats LSU in low-scoring game.

Florida beats Alabama to stop the bleeding at four.

Wednesday saw much of the same ole same ole amongst the ranked teams: #3 Duke smooshed Clemson, #2 UConn survived Rutgers, #2o Iowa State handled Nebraska and #5 Texas A&M v #12 Oklahoma was an Adams/Robinson duel where DRob won the battle, but DAd won the war.

#25 Texas Tech was not so fortunate against Texas, as the Longhorns got a nice win.

BU is now 8-0 in the Am. East. Ditto with Middle Tenn St. And Bowling Green’s home win streak didn’t survive its encounter with the Rockets. From Swish Appeal: Toledo’s “Steel Curtain” defense ends Bowling Green’s 23-game home winning streak

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From Graham on Heather Golden, who’s been forced to finish her career on the bench because of injury: The best 3 minutes of Green Bay’s season

If it wasn’t the kind of effort the coaching staff wanted to see out of its nationally ranked team in January, it certainly wasn’t the vantage point Golden wanted to have for her final season.

But when it would be easy to be bitter about so many lost minutes, Golden instead cherishes the three she found earlier this season — minutes that proved no less meaningful as a farewell than as the beginning of a comeback. And as her hair-tussling on an otherwise forgettable night seemed to suggest, there are worse places to be, even in the most frustrating of moments, than around Dr. James Naismith’s creation.

Also from Graham, his mid-major poll: Top two teams remain the same, which you can compare with the CollegeInsider Mid-Major Top 25 ranking.

Lady Swish says:

We bow our heads to Hampton, shake our heads about Norfolk State and offer this heads up about Radford: These guys are pretty good!

From the NCAA blog, John Infante asks: What Would Paying Student-Athletes Look Like?

Holy three-ball! FGCU took 55… yes FIFTY FIVE of them. Oh, yah. They also won.

Word has it that over 8000 tickets sold for Sunday’s Civil War and women’s MKA opener.

Q has: How Washington’s Defense Frustrated A ‘Lackadaisical & Unfocused’ Cal Team

Mark your calendar for the post-season WNIT.

There’s a job opening at Stonybrook.

Charlie’s got his latest Bracketology and says an Emphasis on road wins is the key

In a season in which winning away from home has proved to be especially difficult — Stanford lost by 22 at DePaul and then the Blue Demons, just five days later, lost by 13 at Arizona State, a team that the Cardinal would then beat by 47 at home — scoring some occasional success on the road will prove to be a difference maker in seeding or even inclusion in the NCAA tournament. This isn’t groundbreaking news, for sure. The tournament committee has used road/neutral records as one of its chief criterion for years. And why not? There is no better measuring stick for a team’s abilities come March because, at least after the first two rounds, that’s exactly what the tournament is. And for most, the opening rounds are, at best, neutral site games.

The AP says, Meighan Simmons key for Lady Vols

Tennessee point guard Meighan Simmons likes to play fast. Even coach Pat Summitt, who loves to push tempo, has had to warn “Speedy” to slow down.

“There will be times where I can’t even slow myself down,” Simmons said. “There will be times, I admit, where I do jack up shots. I’m rushing into it because I just want to get a feel of the ball and where the basket is. I know after a while, once I get into the flow of the game, I just let the game come to me.”

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Don’t tell that to #2 UConn and #13 Notre Dame, who put on a helluva a show yesterday. In a back and forth and back and forth game in a packed Joyce Center, it was Indiana native Kelly Faris who gave UConn the 79-76 victory, with Husky freshman Dolson sealing the victory with free throws.

“I just think sometimes it gets lost that this isn’t the team that won 78 in a row,” Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. “This is a team that’s won 14 games. So they took a big step forward today by winning a game on the road where I think Notre Dame, I would bet you, outplayed us in just about every category — more points in the paint, more points in transition, more bench points, more offensive rebounds. Notre Dame outplayed us in every area today, and the last four minutes of the game, we won the game. That’s kind of how basketball goes sometimes.”

It took double overtime, but unranked Marquette took down #15 Georgetown, 75-73.

Missouri came back from 12 down in the final minutes of regulation to send it into OT and then upset No. 22 Texas 85-80.

#16 DePaul defeated #18 St. John’s handily, 69-54. (If Queenie was there she’ll write about it here.)

#21 Iowa sent #20 Ohio St. to their fourth loss in six game, 89-76.

Led by a very strong backcourt performance, Iowa prevailed 89-76 in front of 9,865 fans at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Not all of them spent the entire game booing Ohio State’s Samantha Prahalis — she’s not very popular in these parts after last season’s Big Ten tournament title game — but the junior guard certainly got an earful all afternoon.

#1 Baylor handled their new ranking, earning a 70-58 win over #17 Iowa State (even with BG had a little foul trouble).

Green Bay was in a tussle with Cleveland St., but emerged victorious, 64-55.

Of course, there was some stomping going on.

#4 Stanford by…holy kamole…47 over a team that shall remain nameless.

#12 UCLA by 19 over USC.

#19 Oklahoma by 20 over Nebraska.

#6 West Virginia by 28 over Cincinnati.

#7 Texas A&M by 29 over Colorado.

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A Thump! (Georgia-Southern Miss)

A Thump! (Baylor-Notre Dame)

A Thumpity, Thump! (Oklahoma- Sam Houston St)

A Thumpity, Thump! (Green Bay-North Dakota)

A Thumpity, Thump, Thump! (Tennessee-Lamar)

A Squeak! (Georgetown-Richmond)

A Thumpset! (Michigan St-Florida St)

And another Thumpset (Bowling Green-Vanderbilt)

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With Graham today. Ooops! Check out the transcript:

Howard (PA): You’ve always been good at highlighting players from Mid-Majors that often don’t make the radar screens of the media. Who do you like this season in that category?
Graham Hays: Pavlov’s dogs have nothing on me when you mention mid-majors. Thanks for putting it on a tee, Howard. Courtney Vandersloot tops the list for me, but she’s probably firmly on the radar at this point (as is Amber Harris, depending on your definition of Xavier as a mid-major). Lesser known names I would happily pay to watch include Missouri State’s Casey Garrison, Wisconsin Green Bay’s trio of Kayla Tetschlag, Celeste Hoewisch and Julie Wojta, Toledo point guard Naama Shafir, Bowling Green’s Lauren Prochaska, Marist’s Erica Allenspach and Corielle Yarde. Wyoming’s Aubrey Vandiver. I could go on all afternoon.

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