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On cue, the LIU moves to 4-5 in the NEC with a win over Fairleigh Dickinson, 65-62.

In their first meeting, Bucknell hosted Army and beat’em by 10. In the West Point rematch, the Black Knights pulled away in the fourth for a 5-point win. With both teams at 8-1 in the conference, there’s no margin for error in the race to the Patriot League title.

Okay, then. With their first victory in 11 tries against Stetson, Jacksonville moves to 6-0 in the A-Sun and is tied with Florida Gulf Coast in the A-Sun. Guess who the Dolphins get to play on the 4th…in Naples? And host on the 10th…in Jacksonville.

Looking to keep everyone in the Horizon honest, Northern Kentucky takes down the Penguins, 88-77. A little sting to the win: former YSU guard, Shar’Rae Davis who finished the half with a total of 12 points off the bench. She was one of three players who didn’t receive scholarship renewals in 2014,

*no jinx, no jinx* UNC Asheville is now 9-2 in the Big South.

*WHB talked cr@p about us. Let’s show her!* Rutgers starts ugly but finishes strong against Nebraska, earning a 66-55 win.

*continued jinx?* UT Rio Grande lost – but it was to WAC top dog, New Mexico State.

The Miners are still perfect in C-USA play (9-0), but after Marshall, Western Kentucky (8-1) (who lost to MTSU) looms, Feb. 6th. MTSU (7-2), which has had some “stuff” going on this year, lost to UTEP 84-73 earlier this season, but doesn’t get a rematch.

Fresno State (ummm… shout out to the Bee: ““I just feel like we know how to come back,” senior co-captain Toni Smith said in a phone interview after the game.) and Colorado State have unblemished Mountain West records – will that last until March 1st, when they get to face off against each other?

Squeak! Ohio moved to 9-0 in the MAC with a one-point win over Ball State, 68-67.

Hmmmm… the Bulldogs are struggling, yes, but I’m sure San Francisco is enjoying beating Gonzaga.

On a day when USF honored its 1996 Sweet 16 team, the 2015-16 San Francisco women’s basketball team made a place for themselves in program history as well. The Dons scored the first bucket of the game and never trailed to earn a big 71-52 win over the Bulldogs at War Memorial Gym at the Sobrato Center on Saturday afternoon.

The victory was their first win over the 11-time WCC defending champions since a West Coast Conference tournament win on March 2, 2006. The 19-point deficit is also the largest loss of the season for Gonzaga, who lost to Stanford 65-48 on Nov. 15 during non-conference action.

Gotta love in-state games: Bobcats knock off Lady Griz

A year ago this month, the Montana State women’s basketball team crumbled and lost its composure in a 62-48 loss to Montana that sent the Bobcats to 1-4 in conference, searching for answers.

A year later, it seems like the Bobcats of head coach Tricia Binford have all the right ones.

Ooooooooh, De-bbie: Eastern Kentucky over Morehead State, 100-93; Eastern Washington over Sacramento State, 100-83.

What to look for Sunday:

#12 Kentucky at Florida – will the Wildcats bounce back, or with the Gators camp.

St. John’s at #23 DePaul. The Blue Demons have been up and down… and the Red Storm has been knocking at the door of the polls.

UNC at NC State. A missing coach adds intrigue to the 101st edition of this in-state rivalry.

St. Louis at George Washington. The Billikens (7-1) are SO much better.… but the Colonials are undefeated (8-0) in conference….

Alabama at Tennessee. One would thing the Tide would be just what the doctor ordered for the Vols…. but remember, they gave TAMU a scare.

#13 Mississippi State at Arkansas. The Razorbacks have been snacking on ranked teams. How focused will the Bulldogs be after their big win over Tennessee?

#2 South Carolina at Texas A&M (ESPN2). It’s never fun to play against the 12th man.

It’s likely that #14 Louisville will stay hot against Wake Forest... so I can’t help but look ahead to Feb 7th when they face Notre Dame.

BTW, in Division II news:

McKendree University men’s basketball coach Harry Statham posted his 1,098th career victory Thursday night, matching Pat Summitt’s mark for the most at a four-year school.

Statham is in his 50th season at the Division II college. He guided the Bearcats past Wisconsin-Parkside 92-85 on the court named in his honor.

The 78-year-old Statham has a career record of 1,098-474. He can top Summitt’s record Saturday when McKendree hosts Lewis. (Didn’t)

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Asjha Jones to sit out WNBA season

*added* Danielle McCray may be out, too.

Speaking of open spots: I called it, just didn’t notice it while I was in Nebraska: A Penguin becomes a Bobcat (Bolden goes to Ohio)

Thanks to this Rebkell thread that updates coaching changes:

Filled 
1. Seton Hall – Anthony Bozzella (HC Iona)
2. Ohio – Bob Boldon (HC Youngstown State) 
3. Ole Miss – Matt Insell (AC Kentucky)
4. Columbia – Stephanie Glance (HC Illinois State) 
5. CS Fullerton – Daron Park (Former AC USC) 
6. Southern Illinois – Cindy Stein (Illinois Central College HC)
7. Towson – Niki Reid Geckeler (Howard HC)
8. UT-Pan American – Larry Tidwell (Lamar HC)

Open

1. UT-Arlington
2. Clemson
3. ETSU
4. Dartmouth
5. Jacksonville
6. Coastal Carolina
7. USC
8. Radford
9. South Alabama
10. Missouri State
11. Loyola (IL)
12. William & Mary
13. Ohio State
14. George Mason
15. St. Peter’s
16. Iona
17. NC State
18. UMBC
19. Incarnate Word
20. Youngstown State
21. Illinois State
22. Pittsburgh
23. Pepperdine
24. Howard
25. Miami (OH)
26. Lamar

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and it was an upset: CS Fullerton (5-13 Big West) took down Hawai’i, 66-51.

“I want to congratulate Cal State Fullerton,” first-year UH coach Laura Beeman said. “They played with unbelievable purpose tonight and came in with a great game plan.

Writes Joseph D’Hippolito of the Star Advertiser: Titans show resilience in the wake of tragedy. From the Daily Titan: Titans storm the Beach

The Cal State Fullerton women’s basketball team remained on track for a Cinderella story in the Big West Tournament after upsetting rival Long Beach State 54-48 in the first round on Tuesday.

The eighth-seeded Titans came into the game against 49ers with a record of 10-21, losers of three straight and without a conference tournament victory since defeating UC Irvine on March 10, 2010. CSULB entered with a 16-14 record, seeded fifth.

But an empty bench on the sidelines inspired the navy and orange—Monica Quan, the Titan assistant coach whose life was taken more than a month ago, is still missed by the team.

Bowling Green squeaked out of the 2nd round of the MAC tourney with a 55-53 win over Western Michigan.

Buffalo (12-19) surprised Miami (OH) (19-12) with a wicked strong second half.

Hampton still has its groove on, traipsing into the MEAC semis with a 63-28 win over Delaware State.

Southern’s late season struggles continued — which means they don’t leave the SWAC quarters and Arkasas Pine Bluff (and COY Nate Kilbert) does.

Quinnipiac got all it could handle from Mount St. Mary’s in the first, but used a second half comeback to move into the finals of the NEC. They’s face St. Francis (PA), who’ve really come on strong in the second half of the season.

The Penguins are in the semis! The Penguins are in the semis! Speaking of Youngstown: YSU’s Brown, Boldon earn Horizon honors

Three years ago — almost to the day — Youngstown State women’s basketball coach Cindy Martin abruptly resigned, leaving behind a team that had just gone 0-30, but also a promising freshman named Brandi Brown, who was 2,500 miles away from her home in Los Angeles and facing the world’s most obvious question.

“Did I think about leaving?” she said Monday. “Well, yeah, the thought crossed my mind.

“Things were definitely dim that first year.”

And, from Joe Scalzo:  Enjoy Boldon … while you still can

It costs about $40,000 a day to rent a Bugatti Veyron. It costs almost $3,500 a month to rent a Manhattan apartment. And it costs almost $98,000 a year to rent Bob Boldon as your women’s basketball coach.

Because that’s what Youngstown State is doing. Renting.

Three years ago, Boldon took over an 0-30 team that ranked 341st out of 345 teams in the country. The Penguins lost by an average of 26 points and suffered more blowouts than a $2 tire.

Now? YSU is 20-7, ranks second in the Horizon League, 60th in the country and first in slack-jawed observers. Brandi Brown deserves some of the credit for that. (OK, a LOT of the credit.) But Boldon does, too.

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Senior night was quite a doozy for several ranked teams:

Up/down/back/forth #24 Florida State squeaked by #9 Maryland, 72-71.

Michigan State took down the staggering #25 Boilermakers, 68-61.

The Hurricanes blew over the #5 Blue Devils, 69-65 (a first for Meier.)

Missouri upended #14 South Carolina, 65-58.

Mississippi State totally demolished #11Georgia, 50-38.

The Gophers pulled away from the #7 Nittany Lions, 89-81. (And looks like there’s a little somethin’ something happening: Norwood Teague didn’t have say in Pam Borton’s extension

Southern got some measure of revenge by giving Texas Southern their second SWAC loss, 55-53. (WHB Curse ON)

Loyola Mary surprised BYU, 68-55.

Cal Poly’s defense was ridiculous in the first half as they dominated UC Riverside, 94-59. (WHB Curse OFF)

Tough to be Weber State.

Good on’em: Cal State Fullerton has now won two in a row.

The Blue Hens win their third outright CAA title.

Youngstown State wins, and sits at 9-4 in the Horizon. (WHB/Graham Curse OFF)

They got a tussle from Texas State, but Seattle U prevailed in OT, 73-71. Which is fortunate, ’cause Utah State is breathing down their neck.

Similar tussle-filled game for Gonzaga (25-5) against Portland (10-18), but the ‘dogs won.

That’s 13 in a row for #4 Stanford.

Important win for Illinois State over Wichita State — makes the MVC nice and smooshed at the top.

#10 Kentucky thumped Ole Miss.

The Billikens did better, but it was still a Dayton win. The 49ers are lurking right behind’em.

Yes, that would be the “picked to finish fifth in the Conference Vols” atop the SEC. (Injuries lurk, though.)

Sam Houston wins, makin’ it wicked crowded at the top of the Southland. (WHB Curse OFF)

The Rockets are rollin’ in the MAC. I’m interested to see what happens when they face Ball State on the 6th. The Cardinals are reviving under coach Sallee.

Speaking of reviving, that would be IUPUI at 11-4 in the Summit.

Talk about rollin’: Florida Gulf is perched at 17-0 in the A-Sun.

With a tough win over Eastern Washington, Northern Colorado has moved to 14-4 in the Big Sky and stays hot on the heels of Montana.

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from Graham: Youngstown State returns to winning ways

In his short time as a head coach, Bob Boldon has already done something few of his peers would dare attempt.

And we’re not talking about keeping a straight face while selling the virtues of calling oneself a Cotton Blossom or Penguin.

With the regular season still winding to its conclusion, Youngstown State has safely clinched a winning season, its first since 1999-2000. That is an impressive enough achievement for a coach in his third season at the school and who was himself only three years out of college when the Penguins last had more wins than losses. But that alone is hardly unique. Plenty of coaches turn around programs that didn’t win many games.

Not so many turn around programs that didn’t win any games.

The Penguins were not fazed by the press: they won last night, 73 -69 over Cleveland State.

So did Fordham, btw, Graham… hint, hint.

So did Hawai’i, btw, Graham…hint, hint.

In the rematch of the big dogs, Albany came out on top again – and by the same margin: Danes 79, Terriers 70.

The MVC is shaping up to be quite the battle between the Blue Jays and the Shockers.

Interesting that Dayton got such a tussle from the Bonnies (could be Dayton’s youth). Might be an interesting end of the regular season. Did miss this, though: Local quartet part of No. 17 Flyers’ success

There was a time, not so long ago, when local recruits wouldn’t just quietly dismiss Dayton women’s basketball coach Jim Jabir — they’d all but tell him to get lost.

“When I first got here, kids literally wouldn’t talk to me, or would say quietly, ‘I’ve watched you play and I wouldn’t want to go there,” Jabir says.

But as the old sports saying goes, winning cures all. Nowadays Jabir, who’s brought a middling UD program into the national spotlight after three consecutive NCAA Tournament berths, rarely gets the bill collector treatment from the Dayton area’s best high school players.

Speaking of conference races: Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Championship Race Still Undecided

Jayda says Kristi Kingma, UW women’s basketball team on cusp of NCAA berth

Kristi Kingma’s big blue eyes widened even more.

She sat in the media room at Alaska Airlines Arena before the regular season, looking far ahead to the last four games of her women’s basketball college career. On the schedule sat perennial foes Stanford and California at home and tough Pac-12 newcomers Utah and Colorado on the road.

Kingma circled the games. Benchmarks, she thought.

Now on the eve of the crucial stretch, Kingma is no longer daunted.

Meanwhile, Looking to gain separation in Ivy League, Princeton to host Cornell and Columbia

Lady Swish is Breaking down NCAA/WNIT prospects

For some teams, it’s may only be the wildest of dreams of a magical March run. Still, as February winds down every one of Virginia’s 13 Division I teams still has something to play for.

From the Poughkeepsie Journal we learn that Marist is keeping their focus forward

It’s not just the fact his Red Foxes have gone unbeaten in league play that pleases Brian Giorgis, but it’s how they’ve done it.

On the way to its 14-0 record in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Marist College women’s basketball team has steadily progressed, the head coach said, routinely playing better against league opponents the second time around.

Also at the PJ, Mike Benischek reminds folks that Women’s basketball talent runs deeper than just Marist

It’s been almost 10 years since Marist College put the mid-Hudson Valley on the women’s basketball world’s map.

But, when is the last time you checked out the geography of the map?

The Red Foxes aren’t the only ones running around the neighborhood. There are Hawks flying overhead, and Blue Knights patrolling the streets. There are Brewers … brewing, I guess. They’re perfect for a college town.

And while I’m not here to say McCann Arena isn’t home to the biggest show in town, I will simply ask, do you know what other shows are playing?

Congrats to SMU coach Rhonda Rompola on her 400th career win

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No, not the band, and not the description of your post-Thanksgiving regrets…. Take a look at these scores:

Tennessee dropped 90 on Alcorn State.

San Diego dropped 91 on San Jose State.

Alabama dropped 97 on Southeastern Louisiana.

Kentucky dropped 100 on USC Upstate.

UNC dropped 101 on UNC-Asheville

Dayton dropped 105 on Eastern Illinois.

Alabama State dropped 105 on Oakwood.

The Tigers gave the UCLA Bruins a tussle. (How long before someone snatches Coach Banghart away?) Next up for Princeton? Rutgers, who barely escaped Davidson.

D’em Bears (Cal) are 6-0 as Brittany Boyd notched 14 assists. More importantly: BearShare: Tierra Rogers

 How do you measure someone’s strength? Her endurance?

For an athlete, is it how much weight she’s able to lift? Or how many laps she’s able to run?

What about mental and emotional fortitude? Is it in forcing a game-saving turnover or hitting the game-winning jumper?

For Cal’s Tierra Rogers, those used to be the metrics of her life.

D’em Penguins are 4-0. First time since ‘97.

More better for the Illini: 

One year after a San Juan Shootout appearance that included getting blown out by Green Bay and having Karisma Penn’s last-second shot rim out against Arizona State, the Illinois women’s basketball team headed back to the Caribbean for this year’s fall break. Only this time, Illinois was under new leadership.

Injuries aside, is the experiment over? Oregon is 0-5.

A little after the fact, but did you catch Debbie Antonelli’s sweet blog on the Stanford-Baylor game?

Okay — the Big East has gone from the “Big Least” to the “Big Beast” to the “Big Who The Heck Are THEY?” Yes, it’s a hot mess.

From ESPNw: All week long, espnW will take an in-depth look at some of the top mid-major storylines.

Graham has: Brian Giorgis right at home at Marist

It seems incongruous at first that one of the most successful giant slayers in women’s basketball has turned over much of his home to a celebration of some of the most venerated behemoths in sports.

A small city on the Hudson River, Poughkeepsie sits about 75 miles north of Manhattan and an equal distance south of Albany, the state capital. It’s also home to Marist College, but a visitor to Marist coach Brian Giorgis’ abode could be forgiven for thinking he had stumbled off course and ended up a little farther west in the state, in an annex of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. There is so much on the walls, on shelves and on most available surfaces that Giorgis jokes that the only thing absolving him of hoarder status is the level of organization he puts into his extensive collection of sports memorabilia, mostly baseball items.

Michelle has: Gonzaga has a new look this season

Two years have passed since Courtney Vandersloot wore a Gonzaga uniform and transformed Spokane into a women’s basketball destination. For the fans, at least. The talented recruits have been coming to eastern Washington for a while now.

“We had four WNBA draft picks come out of here the last three years; that’s second most of any team in the country,” Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves said. “But this might be the best freshman class I’ve ever had. I really like this team.”

By the way, “w,” — nice story, but get a copy editor: Ieshia Small celebates adoption

Over at Full Court, Clay writes: The “AP” in “AP poll” doesn’t stand for “Advanced Placement”

Well THAT’S annoying. The NCAA.com site has the TV broadcast schedule in an annoying pdf form. Luckily coach Nell gave us a “this week’s games” link.

Some good news from the WATN? files; Val Ackerman hired as strategic consultant for NCAA women’s basketball – Longtime hoops expert plans a white paper by spring

Val Ackerman, the founding president of the WNBA and the first woman to serve as president of USA Basketball, has been hired as a consultant to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current state of intercollegiate women’s basketball. Ackerman is expected to deliver a strategic “white paper” by this spring with her conclusions and recommendations about how best to position and manage the sport.

From Doug: NCAA Hires Ackerman to look at Women’s Basketball

“The purpose of having me involved is to bring outside perspective,” Ackerman said. “I’ve had the chance to see women’s basketball at the pro, international and college levels and can help them assess where women’s college basketball is today. What could stand to be changed or improved and what shouldn’t be messed with. Try to figure out how best to maintain the student-athlete experience.”

I wonder if she’ll read this article: How Maryland Went Broke — Inside the Athletic Department’s Decline.

Speaking of the W: Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Erin Phillips’ title fever pays off    

Erin Phillips is a world champion, an Olympian, a WNBL and now WNBA champion, and soon she will shake hands with President Obama at the White House.

The 27-year-old daughter of football icon Greg has been feted through the streets of Indianapolis, dealt with fan marriage proposals and baked items sent by ardent admirers in Indiana, home of the Hoosiers and the hotbed of American basketball.

But there’s one thing left she is desperate to do.

“I really want to meet Reggie Miller.”

Speaking of Aussies: Basketball star Lauren Jackson says 2012 has been the hardest of her playing career

Also: Sutton-Brown brings the world to kids

WNBA champion Tammy Sutton-Brown got to see the world outside her living room as a girl growing up in Ontario, Canada. A descendant of Jamaicans, she would sometimes travel back home to the island. Then there were always the memorable trips to Disney World in Florida.

Unfortunately, it’s not like that for all kids. After talking to children at a community-service event, Sutton-Brown realized how out of the ordinary traveling and, in some cases, knowledge about the world are for many kids.

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South Carolina took a huge lead in the first, and built on in it the second, stomping their way to a 79-48 win over North Carolina.

NC State took a good lead into the second, and held off a furious Vandy comeback and gave the Commodores their first loss of the season, 66-59.

In a back-and-forth game, a CLUTCH three-pointer by Carter capped a huge comeback by Texas A&M. The Aggies took down USC — but honestly, all eyes are on Jackie Gemelos, who went down with a knee injury.

The Red Foxes go down again and the Bonnies are 10-1.

The Penguins win again!

Fun, fun game between Kentucky and Notre Dame. Not much defense, lots of offensive fouls, some painful missed layups,  a key foul-out  (some extra curricular stuff) and Diggins didn’t disappoint. Result? The Irish come away with the 92-83 win.

With one bold decision to launch the basketball skyward and an afternoon otherwise spent protecting it like it had a Secret Service code name, Skylar Diggins made sure there was one fewer member of the undefeated club by the end of Sunday’s game between No. 3 Notre Dame and No. 7 Kentucky.

Just how hard she and the Fighting Irish had to fight to do so suggests the club of championship contenders extends to Lexington.

Don’t let the final score (65-61) fool ya — Baylor/UConn was just as fun. A back-and-forth battle, electric atmosphere, and a great showcase for Griner (and not a bad one for Hartley and Simms). Bears win, time to start the “will they go undefeated” chatter!

“You’re not just playing the current UConn team, you’re playing a very proud tradition,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said. “No matter how good we play, they’re not going to go away.

“I don’t want to keep using the phrase ‘I saw a team grow up’; I think we’re grown now. But we still have lots of things to do. It was the first time we’ve beaten Connecticut; we’ve played them three times now. I’ve never coached a team that’s done that.”

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the fit in nicely with the Fighting Camels, Stormy Petrels and the Banana Slugs… YSU responds to coach’s challenge

Some stuff on the games tonight in Jersey:

Tough schedule tests Tigers’ new defense

Rutgers women host Tennessee in a chance for Scarlet Knights to prove their worth

Freshman class shines at Rutgers

Hall of Fame coaches meet in key matchup

Tennessee’s Pat Summitt wages a battle that inspires Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer

Vivian Stringer always counts Pat Summitt as a friend

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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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