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Hate starting the day with really unpleasant news: Maryland women’s assistant basketball charged with sexual abuse

Maryland women’s basketball assistant coach Bryce McKey has been charged with sexual abuse against a player he coached while serving as an assistant with the Xavier women’s basketball team.

McKey will be arraigned Friday morning in Kenton County (Ky.) District Court on a misdemeanor charge of sexual abuse in the third degree, which stems from a May 2 incident involving a Xavier women’s basketball player.

Maryland indefinitely suspended McKey on Thursday evening, according to a school spokesman.

It’s an ugly, ugly situation – the only good thing one can take away, at the moment, is the fact the young woman spoke up.

“A lot of young ladies probably don’t come forward. I was proud of [my daughter] for coming forward,” the accuser’s father said. “Hopefully by reporting them, that it will help protect other girls that are going around coaches and feeling safe and secure, and realize it’s not safe and secure.”

Perhaps things have gotten better since 2004.

Maybe.

Days after Norwood Teague resigned as athletic director at the University of Minnesota amid  allegations of sexually harassment, the Minnesota Star Tribune reported VCU paid former women’s basketball coach Beth Cunningham $125,000 to settle claims of discrimination under Teague’s watch. Teague served as VCU’s athletic director until 2012, the same year Beth Cunningham left the Rams.

“VCU paid athletic Beth Cunningham received $125,000 when she left VCU,” VCU spokesman Mike Porter confirmed. “There was an agreement reached between the university and Beth Cunningham. However, the nature of the agreement cannot be discussed due to the language of the agreement.”

Then there’s the Tar Heel Trouble: UNC-Chapel Hill reports new information to NCAA

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has notified the NCAA’s enforcement staff that, in the course of responding to the NCAA’s notice of allegations of May 20, 2015, it identified two new pieces of information potentially requiring further review. The University is fully cooperating with the NCAA and working within the NCAA’s processes to bring closure to the investigation as soon as possible.

First, while preparing for public release of a series of emails from the independent investigation conducted by Cadwalader, Wickersham and Taft, the University found additional examples of possible instances of improper academic assistance provided to a few former women’s basketball players, directly related to allegation number two in the May 20, 2015, notice of allegations.

Moving on.

Uncertainty builds for Marist with Jossart out for season

The Marist College women’s basketball team’s rocky offseason has hit another bump.

Incoming freshman point guard Jordyn Jossart underwent surgery on her right knee on Wednesday and is expected to miss the entire 2015-16 season, the school announced Thursday.

Jossart’s absence adds uncertainty to a program that has just five returning scholarship players on its roster and still, Marist coach Brian Giorgis said, doesn’t know if it will have starting center Tori Jarosz back for another season. The point guard position in particular is an unknown, with Jossart thought to be one of several candidates for the role.

Analysis: How will Iowa mesh together this season?

With three multi-year starters gone from last year’s team and eight underclassmen dotting its roster, Iowa is going to have a significantly different look this season.

Exactly how different? Longtime coach Lisa Bluder isn’t quite sure right now.

Cool! BTW girls basketball player Megan Jackson wins spot in Kevin Durant camp

If you were to become an NBA superstar, how would you use your money to impact the lives of young people in the community where you grew up?

Megan Jackson thought about the question. Then, the Booker T. Washington junior basketball player sat down and wrote an essay.

It turned out to be one of the winning efforts in the Kevin Durant ProCamp Essay Contest, organized by Oklahoma Toyota dealers.

More cool! Young women using basketball to help overcome divisions and forge new way of life in wake of 1990s Balkan war

 More than 100 young women playing in a Bosnia and Herzegovina basketball club are overcoming the ethnic divisions and conflict that plunged the Balkan region into war during the 1990s.

The Livno Girls Basketball Club, based in the town in southwest Bosnia and Herzegovina, competes throughout the region and in other European countries. Sterling Global Operations (SGO), an international stability operations company, is a club sponsor.

The entire region was for years embroiled in the fighting between rival military forces. Programs such as the Livno Girls Basketball Club are helping to forge a new way of life, and a better future, for girls and young women, said Mike Aramanda, SGO project manager for the company’s work in the region.

More cool! Basketball at breakneck pace a way of life on Navajo reservation

At 5:15 a.m., sunrise is only a thin pale highlight over red rock mesas in the east as Alicia Hale steps out of her house for her daily run. Even in June, the morning is so chilly at an altitude of almost 7,000 feet that she needs several layers to stay warm.

The Window Rock High School senior lines up next to her mother and younger sister in the dirt yard of their house in the capital of the Navajo Nation. They spread Navajo white corn powder on the ground in a quiet ceremony meant to offer thanks to the Creator for the blessings of life.

They exit the yard through a chain link gate and set out at an easy jog.

Also cool! Kymora Johnson And Her Cavs Are Going To Play A Game At Madison Square Garden – The Cavs weren’t allowed to play in their tournament for having a girl on their team. This will have to do instead. side note: Really impressed *insert sarcasm emoticon* with the many of the comments after this article on the “issue.” Quite revealing of some folks’ buttons.

LA’s optimism: Brian Agler, Sparks keep pushing toward playoffs

The Sparks started the season 3-14 and in last place in the West and still are one of the league’s lowest-scoring teams, averaging 72.8 points per game, which ranks 10th. But now, even at 7-16, Los Angeles is in fourth place in the West, a half-game ahead of San Antonio.

“It’s been tough,” Agler said earlier this week. “But we have a chance to get into the playoffs and we are playing better.”

Minnesota’s crossed fingers: Seimone Augustus could return to Lynx lineup soon

Speakin’ of tough: Storm GM, president Alisha Valavanis reflects on first year on job

Question: You’ve made a mark your first season, which has included a revamped ticket program, a new Storm app and quirky in-game features, such as the “Between Two Birds” segments with Sue Bird. How do you view the past year?

Answer: We went into this year really committed to the experience as we build on the court. We wanted engagement opportunities and to try to create relevance. It’s been exciting for me, because people see the vision and are buying in. They’re showing up to games and having a good time. We had three consecutive games where the building (KeyArena’s lower bowl) was full. It’s too early to really tell, but there are a lot of indicators that we’re trending in the right direction.

Things are gettin’ fun in the East: New York Liberty remain thorn in Chicago Sky’s side amid playoff hunt (get better quick, EDD!)

Last season’s WNBA Eastern Conference champions, the Chicago Sky, are in essentially a five-way race for the conference’s four playoff spots.

But the defending East champs seem to face their most serious competition for supremacy from the New York Liberty. The two sides have faced off twice in five days with the Liberty winning both games convincingly, including an 84-63 win on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.

What makes the Liberty and Sky such an intriguing matchup is they represent the polar extremes of the league. The Sky lead the league in offensive efficiency, with 104.8 points per 100 possessions. A primary reason for this is Elena Delle Donne, the versatile forward posting the third-best season in WNBA history so far, as measured by Player Efficiency Rating.

Speaking of the Sky: Chicago’s Elena Delle Donne hopes to break Seattle ‘curse’

Some think coffee when Seattle is mentioned. Elena Delle Donne has a different word association.

“It’s like the curse,” she said. 

Since being drafted by Chicago with the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, KeyArena is the one court in the league where Delle Donne has yet to play.

Speaking of the stubborn Sun: Chelsea Gray Shining for Connecticut Sun After Conquering Doubt and Injury

Chelsea Gray underwent a temporary crisis of faith. 

The confidence the affable 5 foot, 11 inch guard once played with as an elegant two-time All-American guard at Duke was as fractured as her right knee.

Suffering two debilitating season-ending knee injuries, as Gray did during her junior and senior years can do that. Even though she is a strong spiritual person, those unfortunate setbacks even forced Gray to have doubts.

She eventually conquered the distrust in herself believing something greater would come, despite two major knee surgeries in less than a year.

How about a little one-on-one?

Chicago Tribune talks with the fabulous Catch.

Q: This was the first Sports Humanitarian Award, meaning the selection committee had the entire athletic world to draw from. Yet they picked you. How did it feel?

A: It was amazing, even to get nominated. I was beside myself, just really ecstatic. I love working with kids. We’ve continued to grow and grow, and get better and better. Not once did I ever say “Hey, I might win this,” it was just cool to be recognized. When I got the phone call that I won, at first I was like “OK y’all, stop playing.”

Other athletes have their foundations, but they have people who run it for them, and it’s more of an appearance thing for them. From start to finish, I’m engaged and involved in every aspect of it. That’s something they were very impressed with.

SIKids talks with the fierce, yet friendly, Tina.

You got your first recruiting letter at age 12 from Stony Brook University. Did you receive more shortly after or not until you were a bit older?

More after — I actually framed that one. To be 12 years old and to receive a collegiate letter gave me a lot of confidence to keep playing the sport of basketball.

David pods with Kelsey Bone:

Last night, the Sun trailed by double figures before pouring it on in the second half to defeat the Tulsa, Shock 80-74. Alex Bentley led the Sun with 25 points, but the driving force in the second half push was the other All-Star on the Sun, center Kelsey Bone. She finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds.

The 6-4 center is a true low post, back-to-the-basket center, who patrols the paint on both ends of the court. The Sun disc jockey plays “Bad to the Bone” when appropriate, which is frequently, and the crowd roars. This is a year where the Sun was expected to contend for last place, not the playoffs, due to injuries and retirement. On a team loaded with youth, and short on vocal leaders, Bone is more than just another piece of the puzzle, she is a focal point both on and off the court for the team.

Elena goes solo here: Delle Donne writes about her sister, Lizzie.

We often read about stories of momentary greatness — a time when a human being persevered despite insurmountable odds. But what’s a moment of triumph for one person is a lifetime of perseverance for my sister, Lizzie.

Lizzie is my older sister — also the older sister to my brother Gene — but often times it feels like she’s my younger sister. She was born deaf and blind, with cerebral palsy and autism. She doesn’t speak. The only real interaction or communication I, or anyone, has with her is in person, with hand over hand sign language. She hugs. She smiles. She kisses.

Gone way too early: Former Virginia Tech basketball great Renee Dennis dies at 49

Former Virginia Tech women’s basketball standout Renee Dennis, whose No. 44 jersey hangs from the Cassell Coliseum rafters, has died at the age of 49.

Dennis died of ovarian cancer Aug. 4 at a nursing home in Trumbull, Connecticut, according to her mother, Mary Dennis. Virginia Tech announced her death Monday.

“I’m so saddened and shocked,” former Hokies coach Carol Alfano said in a phone interview upon learning the news. “That’s way, way too young.”

Dennis is the Virginia Tech women’s basketball program’s career scoring leader, having tallied 1,791 points from 1983-87.

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Oh, dem mid-majors…

As Graham says,

1. Xavier (10-2)

What to do with Xavier? Would any team on this list have fared better against Stanford than the Musketeers did in a 89-52 loss? Well, the game wasn’t at Maples, but Gonzaga, for one, had the Cardinal tied late in the second half, so maybe.

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Duquesne rallies and takes down #12 Ohio State, 71-67. Writes Jim Massie: Buckeyes’ slump deepens – Collapse in final five minutes leads to third loss in past four

There are different ways to be lost, ranging from a simple wrong turn to the sudden realization that the path in the pristine forest has led to an ocean of brambles with no exit in sight.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team felt like it had wandered into the deepest, darkest set of woods imaginable last night after blowing an eight-point lead in the final 5:04 of the game and dropping a 71-67 decision to Duquesne in Value City Arena.

#8 Stanford easily parries the #4 Musketeers and rolled to the win, 89-52.

Stanford had just trampled the nation’s No. 4 women’s basketball team in a blizzard of quick passes and three-point shots. It was altogether impressive, the way the Cardinal crushed Xavier on Tuesday.

Great. But what about UConn?

That was the prevailing sentiment in the wake of No. 9 Stanford’s 89-52 joyride at Maples Pavilion.

C & R was there:

R leans to me to be heard above the din and says, “This is a totally different team. This one is good.”

At the time, C and R were sitting with 4,493 fans who braved the misty rain (East coast readers are quoting the “We are a nation of wimps” mantra, but we almost went hydroplaning when we made that U-turn at Embarcadero and got our tennies wet walking back to our car, light rain is no laughing matter in Northern California, but I digress.) Anyhoo, C and R were sitting with all the Stanford fans that interrupted their Christmas vacation and played hooky from work to come out to a rare 1:00 PM game against Xavier, the game that C and R are billing as the revenge-of-the-double-missed-lay-up game from last year’s NCAA regional finals.

I wonder if the WHB curse was in effect: LSU upset #9 UCLA, 55-53.

“I think with this team, we pick and choose when we want to bring our intensity,” Caldwell said. “There are times when our full-court pressure looks good and is disruptive, because all five people are in sync. But there were many possessions in the second half when we didn’t have all five people in sync.”

The rest of the ranked teams held form. As a fan report shows, “The Streak” is bad for women’s basketball:

The U of P folks obviously went all out for this event, their first-ever Women’s basketball sellout. They gave out thousands of free t Shirts, had giveaways from In and Out Burgers and McDonald”s and some pizza place. Local radio celeb types, some dude who plays for the Raiders who grew up in Stockton, TWO mascots, the U of P Tiger and a lion mascot that I finally figured out was the Sacramento Kings mascot, Sac is about a half hour up I-5 from here. Anyhow they put on a pretty good show here for the occassion!

Other coverage:

Top-ranked lady (ack!) University of Connecticut Huskies roll past Pacific in front of sellout crowd

“It is great. We went to the mall the other day and people were excited. They said ‘You guys are playing Pacific right?’ They knew about it and knew what was going on,” Moore said. “It made me feel so happy that people are getting as excited about the game as we are. It is a beautiful thing, even all the way out here in California.”

Pacific vs UConn: UOP Gets Crushed In Front Of Sell-Out Crowd To #1 UConn Women’s Team

Despite lopsided score, visit by powerhouse UConn was great event

UOP vs. UConn women’s basketball game draws hundreds of fans

High school girls watched the nation’s number one team UConn Huskies, got a close look at Maya Moore — the best female basketball player in the United States — and were able to study the talented moves of college level athletes with their own teammates.

“You get to learn from them and see stuff you should work on as a team and as a player,” said Candisse Griffin, a Western Ranch High School JV basketball player.

“It means a lot to us to be here, because we haven’t seen a college game yet,” said Lindsey Booth, attending the game with her teammates from Tokay High School.

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Stanford University Trying To Find Themselves: Are They Ready For Xavier?

It’s possible that with forwards Nneka Ogwumike and Kayla Pedersen returning this season, people underestimated how much Appel and Gold-Onwude meant to the team last year, not to mention JJ Hones. While Gold-Onwude’s graduation has left a void on the defensive end, Appel’s role in facilitating offense from the high post was magnified by the Cardinal’s rocky start to the game during which USF played them even.

I’m intrigued to how Xavier responds to their loss at Duke.

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Out of Cincinnati: Xavier’s Amber Harris better than ever – XU star passed up WNBA for one more shot at NCAA Tournament

“She’s fantastic,” Walz told the Associated Press. “She’s unbelievable. Next to (Connecticut’s) Maya Moore, she’s the best player in the country.”

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poll (Xavier tops mid-major rankings), Graham gives us this piece on Green Bay’s guard: Celeste Hoewisch still beating the odds

Few players seem less fluent in the language of failure than Celeste Hoewisch, whose very basketball existence suggests that sheer stubborn will to succeed comes in packages as distinct from the norm as Brittney Griner’s size or Kayla Pedersen’s versatility.

Too small to play big-time basketball, at a school too small to make a name for herself on the national scene, Hoewisch will instead leave a pair of giant shoes to fill when her Green Bay career ends next spring.

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The Silent Majority Poll

A few weeks ago, we debuted our ranking of the top teams outside the BSC Conferences (ACC, Big Ten, SEC, Pac-10, Big East, Big 12). Now that the season’s started, we’re back for Round Two.

I also like their post-prediction, “Ummm, we can explain” lines.

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