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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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(Sea Biscuit, if you need a reference.) If you run from behind, sometimes a Badger will beat you.

Oddly enough, Illinois used a Penn to upset #24 Iowa.

Southeast Louisiana (2-7 Southland) surprised Central Arkansas (6-3), 7-64.

It was all Ostarello as #14 Purdue topped Indiana.

The Georgia program made it 850 wins, this one over Alabama.

Duke and Miami played a close first half, but the Hurricanes were MIA in the second half. Blue Devils win, 82-43.

Oooo, things are getting tight in the MAC: Akron takes down Bowling Green. Central Michigan is still rollin’. Ball State and Toledo are at 6-1.

Things are also tight in the Big Sky, with Eastern Washington taking down Montana State. That puts them both at 8-3 in the conference, looking up at Montana (9-2).

Delle Donne is healthy, and the #25 Blue Hens are 8-0 in the CAA.

Since its big win over Liberty, Presbyterian has struggled to handle the top conference competition. This time they’re handily beaten by Winthrop, 77-42.

You knew it was going to be an up and down year for Kim. Seems the down part is now – the Wolverines get taken down by the Gophers.

TAMU is winning in the SEC, but they’ve got ranked South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky in their future.

Ooops. Seattle U stumbled against San Jose State, 74-65.

Pacific is at 7-1 in the Big West. Just sayin’.

Coach Hatchell approaches 900 wins.

North Carolina women’s hoops coach Sylvia Hatchell is one victory away from 900 in her career. And guess which team she’ll face Sunday to try to hit that milestone? Think … darker blue. Pitchfork. The school that calls its smallish gym a “stadium.” The bad guys up the road.

You got it. On Sunday (ESPNU, 1 p.m. ET), North Carolina faces Duke at the Tar Heels’ Carmichael Arena with more at stake than just the perpetual grudge match between neighboring archrivals.

Coach Klinge gets 1,oooth win. No, that is not a typo: 1000.

Klinge’s record in 51 seasons: 1,000-239.

“More than anything, I’m proud of the percentage of games we’ve won in the long haul,” Klinge said. “A thousand wins, more than anything, means a lot of cold feet on the bottom of yellow buses through the years.”

Only 600 wins behind, sits Wendy Triplett, who picked up her 400th coaching victory

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Bobbie Kelsey, the new Wisconsin coach? Or the Cardinal and the Draft? Read about it at C&R’s blog.

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NAIA Division II

Davenport (MI) finished the regular season at 33-0, and kept themselves in the #1 slot. 1-loss Northwestern (IA) (That loss against guess who) sits in second followed by Morningside (IA).

The NAIA Division I final poll doesn’t come out until the 9th.

NCAA Division III

Not to be outdone in the undefeated race, Thomas More boast a gaudy 28-0 record, and sits atop the polls. Lurking are Amherst (26-1), Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2502) Babson College (also undefeated at 27-0) and University of Chicago. Hope College, a perennial top 5 team, dropped to the sixth slot, but I’m thinking that that’s just going to make’em cranky when they start tournament play.

Check out D3Hoops.com for a preview of the tourney. (And their picks)

This is where we pick a Cinderella team, a surprise team that ideally can win two games on someone else’s floor to advance to the Sweet 16. We’ll also pick a disappointment and a champion. We’ll pose a big question in each bracket that goes beyond which team will win a particular game. We’ll offer a first round toss up that could go either way. And we’ll toss out a marquee matchup that would provide fun story lines in later rounds.

As an added bonus, I’ll be at the Final Four in Bloomington while Pat’s in Salem. So when your team advances through the bracket and proves me wrong, you can tell me how wrong I was in person. That’s one more reason for you to look forward to the Final Four.

NCAA Division II

Gotta wonder what’s going on in women’s basketball ’cause, well, LOOK at who’s got the #1 slot: ANOTHER undefeated team: Clayton State University (GA) with a record of 28-0. They’re followed by Arkansas Tech and (quiet historian cheer) Delta State.

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Well, you’ve got to believe that this was Georgia Tech’s biggest win in the Joseph era: nipping #8 (and no longer undefeated) UNC 71-70. The Tar Heels has a 7-point lead with 1:40 left. Oops. That’s three straight at home for the Yellow Jackets, and just third victory in the last 17 meetings vs. UNC.

#10 Kentucky didn’t have much time to recover from their loss at Duke — and Arkansas may have given some “pushover no more” notice — as the Razorbacks knocked off the Wildcats.

Duke was in a Terp-fight with Maryland, but (as they seem to do in close games) clamped down and pulled away in the end for the 71-64 victory.

Michigan St. took care of business against Wisconsin, while the WHB Jinx did its work on Michigan v. Purdue. Virginia Tech was no match for Florida State, and Green Bay dispatched a stubborn Youngstown State.

I think it would be an act of kindness not to discuss the masacree that was the Tennessee/Alabama game, or the 30pt-answer Stanford gave to Tom’s question in the Mechelle chat.

tom: Pac 10 questions. What do you think of Niya Butts and the Arizona program? They seem to be winning solidly. As things stand, could they be the fifth Pac 10 team (behind Stanford, UCLA, USC and ASU) to get in? Cal is a bit of a question mark at this point, correct?

Mechelle Voepel: The Wildcats lost to Texas A&M in November but kept the game pretty close, which was a good sign. Another sign will be how they fare against Stanford tonight – not whether they win, which is unlikely, but how well they play. As for Cal, the vast majority of teams are still NCAA tournament “question marks” now, so they have plenty of time to make their case for a tournament bid. Will need to show more determination and fight than they did against Stanford over the weekend, which I’m sure Coach Boyle has been talking to the Bears about this week.

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From Mike Carmin at the Journal Online: Early upsets bad for Big Ten’s women’s basketball image

In the world of Big Ten women’s basketball, the universe is upside down.

Check the standings.Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin are 2-0. Those programs have a total of one conference championship. Meanwhile, Iowa, Purdue and Ohio State — winners of 29 league titles — are a combined 0-5.

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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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