Women's Hoops Blog: November 2006

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, November 30, 2006

New Storm'n'Sonics owner Clayton Bennett hires architects to plan a new arena... somewhere near Seattle.

Bennett: "I hope it demonstrates where we are in this deal. We expect to get it done.... But the Sonics cannot survive in KeyArena."
The Diana calls September's world championship bronze-medal game "a good lesson.. The crowds were anti-American. It was real hostile."
S.I. writer Mark Beech's nomination for Sportsman of the Year: Maggie Dixon. (thanks to PUMatty)
Rene blames the Lions' recent struggles on point guard Brianne O'Rourke.

The buck stops... uh... over there.
Full Court's weekly fan polls are worth reading, in part for the dissensus from better-known polls, in part for Clay's commentary.

On LSU: "So how were the Tigers going to score when Seimone graduated? It doesn't matter, because they've only given up more than 52 points once." On Stanford: "If you believe in results, there's no way this team can be ranked."

That list's going to change after tonight's big UConn-Purdue matchup (ESPN2, 7pm Eastern), the first real challenge this year's Huskies have seen.

Geno says if Houston, Thomas and Montgomery are "playing well... their confidence is going to rub off on everybody else.

"I think for us to be good enough to beat a top 10 team, those three probably all have to score in double figures."
Green Bay very nearly upset DePaul, taking a last-minute lead after trailing by fifteen. The famously intense Green Bay crowd went nuts.

But DePaul's Caprice Smith knew it wasn't over: with less than a second to go, her field goal after a dribble drive gave the Blue Demons the win, 71-70. Smith finished with 22.

Green Bay coach Borseth: "Close is not good enough." His Phoenix drop to .500 after losing their first two games.
After three losses in two weeks, Stanford got introspective yesterday, but easily beat Santa Clara. Newlin had sixteen boards.

Coach TV likes frosh Jayne Appel, fears Wiggins is forcing things, and misses "the three-point threats we've had in the past... We are going to have to put the puzzle together in a different way."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wiley-Gatewood's first game with Maryland, she says, will be Dec. 21.
While this week's USA Today/ESPN Division I poll saw no change at the top, a loss to University of Rochester dropped D-III's top team, the University of Scranton, all the way down to 5th. Hope College (Mich) is now #1, followed by the University of Southern Maine and Bowdoin College (Maine).

Lots of shake ups in the Division II poll. Emporia State University (Kan) took the top spot from Grand Valley State University (Mich), who is now 3rd. Washburn University (Kan) leapt up from sixth to second.
Voepel on new Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek.
In top 25 action, Tennessee rolled over La Tech, 71-50. The Lady Vols led 42-15 at halftime and never looked back.

UConn beat up on Boston U 84-51, in a tune-up before Thursday's showdown with Purdue. Five players scored in double figures for the Huskies.

Also, Texas A&M downed Arizona 64-44 at home. Takia Starks and Morenike Atunrase combined for 38 points for the Aggies, who were ranked in the top 10 this week for the first time in school history.
What's up with Penn State? With eight players returning from last year's roster, most expected them to be an improved team. Last night they lost to St. Francis (PA) of the NEC, 74-69 (a team they beat by 46 last season). After starting the season 4-0, the Lady Lions have lost their last four games.

Former starters Brianne O'Rourke and Kamela Gissendanner came off the bench last night. They played significant minutes, but struggled from the floor going a combined 3-16. Amanda Brown once again led the way for PSU with 22 points, but said her team is struggling everywhere.

Christie Ayers paced a balanced Red Flash attack with 16 points. Coach Jill Poe said the win is a big step for her program, their first over a Big 10 team. “I have yet to be able to slay that ACC or SEC team, but tonight is a big step for our program in the right direction.”
Elsewhere in the bad loss department, Virginia Tech fell to William & Mary. By 23. At home.

"It's a huge deal," said Tribe forward Dani Kell. "It's the biggest deal thus far this season. It's the biggest deal since I've been here. It might be the biggest deal for Tribe basketball (ever). I mean, we just beat an ACC team."

"That is quite possibly the worst display of basketball I've ever seen," Tech coach Dunkenberger said. "I am embarrassed for our team ... We need to make some changes."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Courtney Paris has picked up where she left off last season for the Sooners. But other players like her sister Ashley and seniors Chelsi Welch, Erin Higgins and Leah Rush are making it difficult for opposing teams to focus only on stopping Courtney.

In Courtney's latest blog, she answers questions from the fans.
The Connecticut Sun had one of their off-season media luncheons yesterday. Thibault reported that he expects Taj back and the team would core her and Katie Douglas.

As for changes to next year's roster, Thibault wants his team to get "bigger, faster and stronger."

The Lynx had a nice gathering for season ticket holders last week before the Thanksgiving holiday. Updates were given on Vanessa Hayden and the players who are overseas. Of course everyone wanted to know about the coaching situation, but they still do not have a definite date (or name) for an announcement.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Chrissy Givens had 26, but MTSU was no match for the Vols. The Blue Raiders couldn't handle Tennessee's size and defensive intensity.

"Tennessee is outstanding," said MTSU coach Rick Insell. "We played hard, we didn't quit, but they just happen to be six inches taller than us at every position."

A reader recently wrote in about Insell's history:
Just wondering if you – and your readers -- are aware that Rick Insell was the coach of the legendary Shelbyville basketball dynasty in Tennessee up until he was hired by MTSU in 2005. (In fact, his name surfaced as a replacement for Jim Foster when he left Vanderbilt to go to Ohio State, but the idea of hiring a high school coach was too much for VU.) Anyway, Shelbyville was seen as being a pipeline for sending great players to Tennessee.
Alex Fuller is the fifth Vol to come out of Shelbyville. Her time under Insell gave her a little edge yesterday. "He ran the same plays as in high school," she said. "I was trying to call the plays out for them to let them know what was going on."
Stanford suffered its third loss of the season at the hands of Georgia. For the Cardinal, Wiggins and Smith combined for 43 points, but the rest of the starters had only 4 among them.

"I'm tired of hearing that it's early in the season," coach TV said. "I feel like we should be playing better at this point."

Georgia, which has let some big games slip away in the last few years, is developing a new sense of confidence. The Dawgs are now 5-0, even without Humphrey.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Steve will read poems from Shot Clocks (and other poems unrelated to basketball) Monday night in New York City here.
Over at Full Court Press, Clay engages in his self-admitted "fools exercise:" making up FCP's high school preseason top-25 list. Scrolling through the teams, you'll spot the names of some of the top recruits (some committed, others not) to keep an eye on.

Speaking of high school sports, the SportsProf writes about the increasing number of transfers. Written in reponse to a USA Today article about teens transfering in search of the right program, a year ago the Prof wrote about "Redshirting Your Own Kids" -- that is, keeping them back a year to support the growth not just of their academics, but their physical size and maturity. Hmmm....

While transfering in the women's game has become more noticable at the college level, it's certainly has occured at the high school level, too. Someting else to keep an eye on.

Don't know much about the high school basketball? You might want to take a look at this piece on the changes in the coaching world or this piece on the tensions between high school coaches and AAU coaches.
As the Division I women's basketball committee has fiddled with the structure of the NCAA Tournament, fans have developed a love/hate relationship with "pre-determined sites." They try to balance "increasing attendance" with giving a lower seed an "unfair advantage" because they get the home court. Mechelle Voepel takes a look at the impact on attendance and suggests that it ain't good:
....the most recent move to the eight-pod system for the early rounds has caused a decline. In 2005, the first year of that system, the average was 5,650 -- down more than 1,000 from 2004, when the tournament was at 16 predetermined sites.
Wondering what the NCAA is doing to help programs increase their regular season attendance? They have developed specific branding and promotional materials available to all teams. Check out their most recent "Best Practices (pdf)" offering.
A while back, we noticed Outsports had a news item about the NCAA teaming up with the National Center for Lesbian Rights to address the issue of "negative recruiting" -- coaches using the tactic of homophobia to deter recruits from attending a rival school.

The NCAA's Leilana McKindra writes about the panel of 30 or so coaches, administrators and student-athletes who joined representatives from the NCLR for the first National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Think Tank. Said McKindra:
Though think-tank participants acknowledged that references to negative recruiting already appear in codes of ethics and other policies at several schools, conferences and other organizations, the practice remains popular because of its effectiveness and the lack of serious repercussions.

While enforcement is a challenge, think-tank participants pointed to the most recent version of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association code of ethics as a best-practice approach. The WBCA code presents a specific process for addressing complaints about the conduct of its members and a range of penalties that includes being ineligible for a position on the WBCA board for up to five years, being prohibited from purchasing Women’s Final Four tickets, and even suspension of membership.
Josh, over at his NCAA blog, mentioned the meeting, calling it "a significant step for intercollegiate athletics and higher education."
Saturday turned out to be a good day for blowouts: Duke, LSU, Maryland, and Ohio State all destroyed teams you'd expect them to destroy.

In a much more interesting contest, in Nashville, Vandy defeated Cal (Berkeley) convincingly with a balanced attack: four Commodores in double figures (including ex-UConn center Liz Sherwood), and Berkeley's Devanei Hampton held to four points. sprained her ankle after six minutes and did not return to the court. (Thanks to reader and Cal fan Melanie L for the clarification; no thanks to the AP report for leaving out this potentially serious injury to a Cal-Berkeley star.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Also last night, Texas A&M came from behind to beat West Virginia.

A&M's Atunrase scored 18 but shot just 6-16. She's been the Aggies' focus for a while now; should we see her as a draft pick in '08?
Last night Rutgers hammered Penn State, and Arizona State edged Western Kentucky, in the Virgin Islands' Paradise Jam.

Now Arizona State will not play Rutgers, or anyone else, in the tourney final: one of ASU player Aubree Johnson's relatives passed away while in St. Thomas to see her play, and the organizers understandably cancelled the game.
Delaware beat Kentucky by sixteen on a neutral court. UK center Sarah Elliott had a fine night, scoring 26, but Blue Hens guard Tyresa Smith had an even better one, shooting 10-16 from the field, 8-11 from the line.

It was Delaware's first-ever win over a ranked opponent, the second big surprise of that sort this week.
Gonzaga nailed UCLA in Honolulu. Michelle Elliott scored 20 as the underdogs stopped a late run; the usually fast-paced Bruins had just 19 in the first half, and Noelle Quinn got held to no field goals and just one point.

Two years ago the Zags went undefeated until the last game of their conference tournament, then lost in a rain of threes to Santa Clara and got left out of the NCAA field, apparently because their nonconference schedule consisted of creampuffs.

Coach Kelly Graves won't make that mistake this year: Gonzaga has already beaten Utah; in the next few weeks they'll play North Carolina, Purdue and Arizona State.
Parker dunked again as the Lady Vols canned Stanford in Tennessee.

The folks in orange completely shut down Smith and Newlin, who combined to shoot three for ten (and no free throws); Stanford frosh Jayne Appel, though, racked up 23 to Parker's 25. The home team pulled away after the break.

The Cardinal haven't beaten Tennessee in the last ten years. Voepel says the game proved Stanford good and Tennessee better, and proved that Parker "is completely in charge."

Stanford's coach TV: "We could stop the losing streak if we didn't want to schedule them... We played them tough. But we didn't play them as tough as we wanted to."

Thursday, November 23, 2006

In exhibition play overseas, UConn defeated Italy's top professional team. Tina Charles and Charde Houston earned double-doubles.

The Huskies have already visited Geno's hometown; they return to America next week.
From K-State's Claire Coggins via Stever, video of a rather remarkable shot.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A short slate of pre-Thanksgiving games produced one noteable upset: Finishing their longest road trip since the early 80's, Hofstra traveled to Lansing and upended #17 Michigan State 57-53. It was Hofstra's first-ever victory over a ranked team in the history of the women's program.

The best part? After scoreboard watching through the first half, being able to listen online (for free) to Hofstra radio call the second half. A nice change, considering most online broadcasts of women's game are now fee-based. Yes, the service costs, but couldn't they be more creative about how they charge? I'm not interested in following only one team -- so how 'bout a fee for access to x-number of games?
NC State coach Kay Yow, first diagnosed with breast cancer in '87, takes time off to battle a recurrence.

Yow has done much to raise funds for cancer research.
Stanford recovered from last week's unpleasant surprise by taking out Mizzou at Maples. Wiggins scored 21, Smith and Newlin 14 each. Next up for the Cardinal (ulp!): Tennessee.
Thanksgiving travel can kick hoops blogging to the curb, or at least delay it for several hours-- but a couple of Tuesday's games deserve mention.

Last year Boston College kicked number-one seed Ohio State out of the tournament. Last night BC nearly repeated the upset, coming back from 17 behind as BC's Kindyll Dorsey seven of twelve three-point attempts.

Instead, the rematch went to double overtime; Star Allen gave the Buckeyes the lead with a minute to play, and OSU held on. Eagles center Ress scored 23; OSU center (and likely top WNBA draft pick) Davenport fouled out.

And in Waco, Baylor rallied to beat LSU-- a mild upset, to judge by their rankings (#15 and #9, respectively) but maybe not a surprise: Sylvia Fowles got four fouls in 17 minutes. The Bears' Bernice Mosby scored 21.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Over at the WomensBasketballOnline site, Kim has been adding some original content as a supplement to her daily gathering of every women's basketball article published online (Daily News). Beyond the Hardwood is the result of sending out emails and seeing who's on the ball enough to reply. Some neat stuff has appeared, from Pros, College players and, intriguingly, college staff.

Wondering what a team manager, assistant athletic trainer or an assistant athletic trainers does? Check out their "Day in the Life" submissions from the Dayton Flyers. Lots of the Flyer players submitted, as well as a couple from Hofstra (which recently gave Baylor all it could handle).

The extensive response from the Flyers intrigued me -- any program that is heads-up enough to do whatever it takes to get the word out about their team gets my attention. From their site, it was interesting to note that their new head coach is Jim Jabir (the women's team first male head coach), known to Big East fans for his unremarkable tenure at Providence College. Appointed in 2003, his bio notes that
The Flyers have been one of the most improved teams in the nation under the direction of Jabir. UD had the fourth best single-season turnaround in the nation in the 2004-05 season with an improvement of nine wins over the previous campaign. Jabir and Dayton continued the trend in 2005-06 with an improvement of five more wins, giving UD the second best improvement over a two-year span in the nation.
A side note? Two years ago, Providence's coach Susan Yow was replaced by Phil Seymore, who'd been an assistant for the Providence men's team for several years. There was, predictably much kvetching and about a school who seemed not to care about their women's team hiring a coach with no women's basketball experience. Providence has been profoundly horrible these last few years, the 2004-05 season's 1-27 record being a low point.

Luckily, as with those who were worried when St. John's hired Kim Barnes Arico, (a Division II coach? Oh, brother!!), it looks like Big East fans may have to eat their words. In his first season the team finished 8-19. So far this season Providence is 4-0. Yes, it's an out-of-conference schedule. But the last time the Friars opened their season 4-0? 1990.

In a season where the Big East's upper echelon looks to be thin, it's nice to see the lower ranks moving up.
Virginia recently lost its top two reserves, Takisha Granberry and Denesha Kenion. Both left the team and the school for unknown non-basketball reasons.

Last night the Cavs lost to Liberty. Flames forward Megan Frazee had 37 points, including 31 in the second half.

"We held her to six points in the first half, then she scored 31 in the second, which is ridiculous," coach Debbie Ryan said. "Nobody should score 31 points in a half."

Megan's two sisters Molly and Mariah are also on the Liberty squad. They are triplets.
Tiffany Jackson is playing like an NBA player in a contract year. Last night she recorded her fourth straight double-double as the Horns beat Sam Houston. For the season, she's averaging 21 and 11.

Texas is now 4-1, though it hasn't yet beaten a good team. The real tests will come in mid-December, when the Horns face Duke and Tennessee on consecutive weekends.
Perennial Horizon powerhouse UWGB is off to a bit of a rocky start. They lost their opener to K-State, and last night, they fell to Marquette.

"We hit a lull that killed us," Phoenix coach Kevin Borseth said. "Everywhere we went, they had someone standing there, and we were just kind of going into spots. We really didn't have any rhythm, and that was what hurt."

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mechelle Voepel (along with many others) has complained bitterly each of the last several years about the Selection Committee, its picks, site selection, and so on.

(For my part, I've never really agreed with her on these issues.)

After last year's debates, Mechelle decided to do something more proactive. She set up a media conference with members of the Selection Committee. They discussed the pod system, the S-curve, and other ins and outs of the bracket. Mechelle's must-read report is here.

(In a related piece, she notes a troubling trend in early-round attendance.)

What's the bottom line?

I don't know. The Committee operates in a second-best world. Selecting a bracket is a tough job to begin with, and it's harder on the women's side, where everything is complicated by attendance, home court, and "Our Girls Syndrome."

I'm not entirely sure how the system should change (if at all). But I am sure that the time to discuss it is now, not March. Kudos again to Voepel for great work.
David Stern doesn't like black people. Or at least black men.

(Ladies of the WNBA take note – don't get too uppity.)
Middle Tennessee came to town this weekend, giving Minnesota fans and Lynx scouts a chance to check out senior guard Chrissy Givens.

Givens looks like a legit first-round pick. She's tall for a guard. She's got long arms and good ups. She's not Latta-Wiggins fast, but she's still fast, and she's got a great first step.

If there's anything to complain about, it's that she's not a great outside shooter. Her shooting percentages (pdf) last year were 44% FG, 34% 3P, and 71% FT. Her form is a little weird, and from outside, her release is slow. But she's still able to score a ton with a nice slash and pull-up game.

Yesterday, she had 25 points, 7 boards, and 7 assists as the Blue Raiders easily beat the Gophers. On Saturday, she had 23, 13, and 6 in a romp over Maine.

It will be fun to watch her and MTSU make some noise this year. (And she sounds like a good kid to boot.)
Ohio State had no trouble with USC. The Trojans have slipped to 1-2; they may fall out of the rankings.

Brandie Hoskins, who ruptured her achilles in the NCAAs last year, showed that she is back in fine form. "It was a lot of work," she said. "It was a lot mentally to get myself in the mind-set that I was coming back this year. Physically, it was like rehab every day. It was small steps. But they all added up. It was all worth it because I knew how bad I wanted to play basketball."

Brandie had 17 points and 7 assists. Davenport had 26.
Purdue steamed past Baylor to win Baylor's own tournament the preseason WNIT. The visitors led by 14 at the half, but the host Bears cut the deficit to four.

Then Baylor's Jess Morrow got T'd up for illegal contact with Erin Lawless's arm, "the crowd got a little upset at the refs and it took them out of the game a little bit," as Purdue's Katie Gearlds explained it.

Purdue then rebuilt a double-digit lead. Wisdom-Hylton tallied 23, Gearlds 21. The Boilermakers have played, and won, fifth game in less than two weeks: they return to the hardwood on the 24th.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

No surprises last night: all the ranked teams won, all the top-ranked ones by huge margins.

George Washington--- ranked, but not top-ranked-- edged out TCU; the win gives the Colonials a shot at Maryland today.

The Terps themselves disposed of Arizona, coach Frese's alma mater, though UA guard Joy Hollingsworth scored 22.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

If you haven't heard from me, it's because I've been curled up in the fetal position and muttering, "Why, gods of sport, why have you forsaken this city?" Bad enough this past Liberty season and the lottery disappointment that followed it, but not even college teams are safe from the wrath of the gods, goddesses, and asexual deities of sport.

I chronicled at Rebkell's the decimation of the team that left them with five healthy bodies to play the second half against a deep, physical, and BIG Iona team (that seems to be getting all the injured teams this year). It isn't getting much better. Per the St. John's game notes (in PDF format, be warned), two players are sitting out the season, Lisa Claxton with a bad knee and Kelly McManmon because of the... ah, confounded... NCAA transfer requirements. Two more are coming off surgery, Monique McLean on her "miniscus" (I'm assuming they mean meniscus here) and Recee Mitchell on her shoulder. Victoria Hodges has a broken foot, and she'll need season-ending surgery. Oh, and Kia Wright, while she's slated to play tomorrow, is coming off a sprained ankle.

All in all, not a good day to read that All-Big East senior forward Angela Clark is leaving the team for personal reasons.

Which means that I'm counting, at MOST, eight bodies to go the entire season, and that's assuming Kia Wright is fine, and that McLean and Mitchell both recover from surgery in time to play effectively this season, and that nothing else goes wrong in the next four months.

Hey, Minnesotans! How about we combine our teams? Between all the injuries in New York and the defections and injuries in Minnesota, we might have a complete roster between us, and now that I think of it, the Golden Storm has a ring to it...

Friday, November 17, 2006

BYU upset Stanford earlier this week. But the Cougars were no match for Baylor. The Bears crushed BYU in last night's Preseason WNIT semi.

“Coach was telling us that if we go by their tempo, it’s going to be a slow game and they’re going to lull us to sleep,” said point guard Angela Tisdale. “So we were trying to keep it up tempo and run every time we got the ball. We kept pushing it and getting to the free-throw line and making our shots.”

Bernice Mosby, who transferred from Florida, had 28 and 8. "A lot of people take basketball for granted," she said. "Every day I try to play my hardest like it's my last. You never know if it could be your last game."
Led by Parker's 22, the Vols beat UCLA in Knoxville.

"We competed for 32, and that’s just not enough in Knoxville," said Coach Olivier.

In bad news for basketball fans and bloggers, the Knoxville News Sentinel has decided to put more of its reporting behind its subscription wall. Today's game report can't be viewed for free. Nor can Maria's Scout.com report.

Luckily, the Tennessean is still available, and still doing great work.
Speaking of behind the wall... Stanford's entire message board is now available only to subscribers. I hope this is not a trend, but if it is, it will just mean more traffic for the free boards of the world.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

ESPN has a new columnist: Jamele Hill. The Empire is hoping she can save Page 2 from its own embarrassing irrelevance. Toward that end, it is paying her several hundred thousand dollars. Not bad work if you can get it...

First column here, deadspin review here.

Speaking of Page 2... I got an email this week from someone asking me to leave Stacey Pressman alone. The emailer said that I was wrong to criticize Stacey, that Stacey is wonderful, and that I should try to attain Stacey's standards of excellence and courage.

It took me awhile to figure out what she was talking about. Who is Stacey Pressman, and what had I done to her? The name rang a bell... but I couldn't quite place it... Was she a coach or player we'd criticized? The WNBA's director of officiating? Maryland's recruiting coordinator? Pam Borton's personnel director? Geno's cat?

Then it all came back to me. Several years ago, I wrote this post responding to a Page 2 column trashing the WNBA. The column was written by one Stacey Pressman, then a writer at Page 2.

Why did someone bother writing me about this now, three years later? Probably has something to do with this. Because Google owns Blogger, blogs get good Google rankings.

It's a shame, but let's let bygones be bygones. Stacey, if you're out there, please come home. All is forgiven.
At the Title IX blog, Erin wonders whether the new Congress will do anything about the 2005 Clarification allowing surveys for Title IX compliance. (My guess: no.)

Erin also presents some more data on football profits (or lack thereof) and Title IX compliance.
Maybe it would be different if we saw them in person, but I just can't get excited about all these early-season blowouts.

In what was likely last night's most exciting game, the Hawkeyes had to work to get past Indiana State. Skouby sank 11 of 13 free throws; Stacy Schlapkohl-- who missed almost all of last season after tearing her ACL in December-- dropped 24 on ISU's Sycamores.

Speaking of Iowa-- and of Wisconsin and Penn State and the Buckeyes-- Sharon Crowson's Big Ten predictions are up at her cool Big Ten site; these predictions differ considerably from Sharon's Big Ten preview at Full Court, maybe because they got posted at different times. Is Iowa going to finish fifth, or third?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Marquette squashed just-barely-ranked Washington in Milwaukee. Krystal Ellis scored 24 as the Golden Eagles stopped a late comeback.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Jenny Boucek, recently rumored as the leading contender for the Sky job, will coach the Monarchs next year.

Meanwhile, in Minnesota, the Lynx owner keeps telling his boys in the press that Zierden has been hired... but for some reason, the Lynx can't announce it.
If you caught the two "winningest coaches" posts you'll immediately spot the inaccuracies in the following MSNBC.com article (well, the bold might help):
It was win No. 871 for [Bobby] Knight, who is five shy of tying Adolph Rupp for second place on the career list. He needs nine more victories to surpass Dean Smith for the most victories in Division I history.
Probably because Knight is approaching Smith's total, it's an error echoed in Ross Atkin's "We're Just Fans" November 8th blog entry.
Basketball coach Bob Knight enters his sixth season at Texas Tech on Saturday and his 40th overall in countdown mode. With just 11 more victories, he'll go into the record books with 880, surpassing the only two major-college coaches who have more: Dean Smith, who retired with 879 in 1997, and the late Adolph Rupp, with 876.
The error in both stories? The oft-missed qualifier. It is a men's basketball record. Tennessee's Pat Summitt who, as far as I can tell, coaches at the Division I level and at a "major-college" has 913 wins and counting.

Just to be clear, there was a ton of press trumpeting Summitt as the leader in both women's and men's college basketball when she broke Smith's mark. And this kind of mistake has happened before. When Rick Pitino led his third school to the Final Four, the press repeatedly call him the first coach to do so in NCAA history. Wrong. That honor goes to C. Vivian Stringer.

Feel free to help correct the errors: email Ross or MSNBC.com at Sports@MSNBC.com.
Big props to Mel Greenberg on his induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Mel is already working on his acceptance speech.

Other inductees: Andy Landers, Pam (Kelly) Flowers, Daedra Charles-Furlow, Bridgette Gordon, and my neighbor Andrea Lloyd Curry.
Helen has written a great piece for the WBCA newsletter about the perils of MySpace and Facebook.

How should coaches and schools respond to this new phenomenon? Notre Dame SID and women's hoops rockstar Chris Masters strikes the right cord.
We tell kids, 'Don't put up anything you don't want your folks to see. Certainly, we're not going to restrict you from expressing yourself and being very independent - we encourage that kind of independence. That's something that makes a good team and a good program... [But] remember, you're not only representing your family, you're not only representing your home town, but you're representing the University of Notre Dame, and that's a tremendous responsibility. You basically signed a contract when you signed those scholarship papers and you're agreeing to carry yourself as a role model in this community.
LSU doubled up Howard. Fowles had 18 and 14 despite playing less than half the game.

In the process, she scored her 1000th point. “She is such a tremendous athlete around the basket,” Howard coach Cathy Parson said. “I thought she did a great job. She has great hands. Everything that came to her she finished. It was very difficult to contain her because once she got the ball, there was no answer for her.”
New Mexico ought to fall out of the polls next week: last night the Lobos lost again at the Tempe tournament, this time to unranked Nebraska. Cornhusker Kelsey Griffin scored 17, sharpshooter Keira Hardy 16.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Another upset in the Preseason WNIT. After being up 50-39 with just under six minutes at home, Stanford lost to BYU 55-53. This sets up third round games on Wednesday (NC State at Purdue) and Thursday (BYU at Baylor).
A little basketball history: Documents recently uncovered in James Naismith's grandaughter's basement prove basketball's origin is firmly rooted in the childhood game called..."Duck on a Rock."

Which, of course, explains the origin of the phrase "she handles the rock." And, perhaps, suggests that writers should say "Candace Parker ducked during her last game."

What, you say you love this history stuff and want more? Go here!
Several articles serve as companions to Andy Katz's lovely piece on Maggie Dixon and the double-header (The Maggie Dixon Classic) held this weekend in her honor. There were, of course, the games. First, Maggie's brother Jamie coached his Pittsburgh Panther teams to a victory over over Western Michigan, and later Jim Foster's Ohio State Buckeyes defeated Army rather handily, but, says Beth Mowins, the score doesn't tell the whole story.

"The Black Knights played hard and hustled the whole way," writes Mowins. "They never gave up. And in the end, they played the way Maggie Dixon would have wanted."

Between the two games, the Patriot League Championship and Coach of the Year banners were raised. The team, as well as the Dixon family, were presented with Patriot League Championship rings.

Newsday's Joe Gergen reminds us of the impact Dixon had, thoughts echoed by Columbus Dispatch's Jim Massie.
Last week voters in Seattle and in Sacramento voted against public funding for basketball teams.

Seattle approved a measure that bans all civic subsidies for professional sports unless certain conditions are met: it applies to the city, not to the state, which means that the Storm and the Sonics could still end up in Bellevue, Wash. The county and the state might try to help.

Voters in Sacto canned a measure that would have funded a new downtown arena: some say the Las Vegas-based team owners wanted the measure to lose. Sacto State policy prof Robert Waste: "If they were trying to sabotage [the arena plan] from Day 1, I don’t think they’d have done anything differently.”

SI's Ian Thomsen ponders where the Kings and the Monarchs could move.
Arizona State took out New Mexico in Tempe. The Sun Devils started the second half with a run, and winning by double digits; nobody on either side scored above 14.
I guess coach Pokey's new-look, post-Augustus teams want to focus on defense: yesterday LSU held West Virginia (a Big East team, remember) to 25.
Georgia took out Rutgers despite the Scarlet Knights' effective press.

With Tasha Humphrey serving her six-game suspension, Georgia picked up 18 from frosh guard Ashley Houts. "She's going to be that way each time you see her for the next four years," says UGA coach Landers.

For Rutgers, coach Stringer blamed the loss on youth: her team has no seniors. Scarlet Knights Vaughn and Carson scored 16, much-touted frosh Epiphany Prince 14. Ajavon is still recovering from surgery.
Indiana surprised ranked Kentucky. New Hoosier coach Felicia Leggette-Jack generated the kind of low-scoring slog you might remember from Kathi Bennett's teams, and it worked: Indy held UK to nineteen second half points; UK center Sarah Elliott shot just one for eleven.

The Hoosiers nevertheless had to come from behind. Frosh Jamie Braun led them, scoring 18: Braun's two late treys put the Hoosiers ahead. "I just hit the first one and was feeling it, so I took a chance," she said. "I just saw the rim."
Candace Parker dunked again as Tennessee rolled over Chattanooga.

Lady Vol fans compare Parker to Catchings and Holdsclaw; coach Summitt says she's gonna be the best ever. (And not just because she can dunk.)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Andy Katz reports from the Maggie Dixon Classic.
Full Court chats with UConn's Renee Montgomery.

Why did the speedy point guard choose UConn? "When we have a recruit here, we don’t try to put on a show for them, or try to show off for them. We just act like we do on a normal basis... [Geno] is always going to be there for me. You can’t ask anything more than that in a coach."
No big upsets last night, but a few noteworthy matches, all of them outside the top 25...

Iowa beat Southwest Missouri State. Hawkeye guard Kristi (not Crystal) Smith tallied 20; center Skouby had 15.

And in a matchup of promising midmajors, Western Kentucky beat La Tech decisively. Hilltopper star Crystal Kelly had 21. "We couldn't shoot tonight," said La Tech coach Chris Long.

Dear athletic departments at midmajors: please make your box scores available, and as web pages, not just as pdfs. (We try not to link to pdfs, because they can get cumbersome for unsuspecting readers to load.)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another upset: Virginia Tech lost their home opener. To Radford, by three possessions.

With last year's best Hokies--- Chriss, Mason and Gardin-- all gone, coach Dunkenberger has lots of work to do. (Thanks to KatV.)
Via Stever: Marin County's newspaper profiles Stanford's Brooke Smith, with a focus on Brooke the Hook's pro future.

Arizona coach Joanne Bonvincini: "that year off [after transferring from Duke to Stanford] really helped her mature. I'm sure she'll get drafted and drafted high."
Keep an eye on Murfreesboro this season: last night Middle Tennessee nearly defeated the national-champion Terps before an MTSU-record 10K crowd.

Chrissy Givens, who usually leads the Blue Raiders in scoring, talllied just 14 points in 40 minutes, but transfer Amber Holt had 28. MTSU led with two minutes to go, but missed late shots that could have tied it.

Was the close match a fluke? Maybe not: the Sun Belt Conference team knocked off major-conference teams in the NCAAs in '04 and '05, and threw a scare at Utah in '06.

MTSU's '06-07 nonconference schedule also includes Georgia, Tennessee, ODU, and (ulp!) Minnesota.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Speaking of Purdue: the Boilers got an easy win last night in what appears to be the year's first non-exhibition DI NCAA game. Katie Gearlds tallied 24 in the WNIT opener.

Also in the WNIT: Stanford crushed SoCal's Loyola Marymount, NC State crushed High Point, and Iona upset St. John's in Queens. The Red Storm lost by ten after leading by five at the half; worse yet, Kia Wright got hurt. Rebecca explains. SJU has ten days to recover before their next game, against West Point.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

What program is on their fifth coach in a decade, but has still made it to the NCAA tournament each year in this period? Purdue, of course. Voepel talks to seniors Katie Gearlds and Erin Lawless, as well as new head coach Sharon Versyp in one of the new installments to ESPN's season preview.

Elsewhere, Voepel has also figured out what the curse has been for the Stanford Cardinal team that has been eliminated in the last three Elite Eights...Interstate 35.

League breakdowns for the major conferences are provided by Nancy Lieberman.

And Beth Mowins take a ride on the 'L' train in North Carolina.
What do WNBA stars do to relax? Lots and lots of casual sex.

OK... that's not true. What they actually do is shop and watch TV.

I just wasted 90 seconds of my life.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Not just violations, but a cover-up: By obtaining documents though Kansas's Open Records Act, Voepel reveals that Patterson lied about some of her NCAA violations.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Over at ESPN.com, their experts look at some of the storylines that might play out this season in "20 Questions for 2006-07."

Also, Mike Waters writes about the Army women moving forward after an offseason attending memorials for coach Maggie Dixon.
During a tribute luncheon for Dawn Staley, it was announced the WNBA is creating an award in honor of the recently retired point guard -- just not the one she envisioned.

"When I won the three-point-shooting contest at the All-Star Game last summer, I thought they'd name that competition after me, " joked Staley. Instead, players will be awarded the Dawn Staley Community Service Award.
A few folks have written in to ask what I think about JMU and the latest Title IX debate. To be honest, I'm frustrated as always. The level of debate — from both sides — is not much better than your average campaign ad.

When JMU and the anti-Title IX folks say, "This is all Title IX's fault," they are lying.

How do I know? Because in addition to cutting seven men's teams, JMU cut three women's teams. Cutting women's teams could not have been motivated by Title IX — in fact, that works against the very proportionality that JMU was trying to achieve. Because it cut three women's teams, it had to cut more men's teams than it otherwise would have. Clearly, Title IX was only part of the issue at JMU.

But when the pro-Title IX folks say, "This has nothing to do with Title IX," they are lying too.

JMU's student population is 60% women. Prior to the cuts, its varsity athletics were only 50% women. To achieve proportionality, something had to change. (Put aside for a moment the other two prongs.) There are only a few options:

1. Add more women's teams.

2. Cut the rosters of some big men's teams (namely football).

3. Cut some men's teams altogether.

Pro-Title IX advocates are quick to suggest #1. But adding teams costs money. Schools have limited resources. It's easy to say, "why don't you just go out and raise the money," but it's not that easy to do.

Imagine yourself as a university president. If someone gave you a check for $5 million, would you: (a) add scholarships for low-income students, (b) hire more profs to cut class size, (c) replace aging facilities, or (d) add some more women's sports?

Option (d) isn't always the best option. Putting money toward Title IX compliance means taking money from other worthy goals.

Advocates point to #2: "So just cut the football roster in half."

The problem is that at many schools, football produces the income that funds all other sports, men's and women's. If you cripple your football program, you hurt the entire athletic department. Cutting football can actually cost you money. (But see Erin's counterargument.) That money has to be made up elsewhere. Which isn't easy — see above.

The bottom line is this: In a world of limited resources, Title IX sometimes does force schools to cut men's teams. That sucks. It doesn't happen as much as the anti-Title IX folks say it does, but it happens.

We Title IX supporters need to be honest about that fact. Maybe this is simply the price of equality. But maybe we should also try to find ways to spread the cost.

(P.S. — if you want to read a rare piece of honest commentary in the media on the issue, see here.)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Just because some people who blog can't tell the difference between Monday and Tuesday is no reason you shouldn't clear your palate of all the politcal season's sturm und drang by watching the Sooners play their final exhibition game online. Tuesday. 7pm CST. Free. Hey, at least I got the time right.
WNBA.com is looking for new fan bloggers. Details here.
The experts at SI.com — Kelli Anderson, Richard Deitsch and Tracy Schultz — have put together their season preview.

They name Cinderellas, flops, players to watch, and coaches on the hot seat.

Candace is currently on the front page of SI.com's college hoops page. (It would be nice if they would have a real front page for women's hoops, rather than whatever this is.)
In Title IX news: On November 3, Title IX experts Donna Lopiano, CEO of the Women's Sports Foundation, and Marcia Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women's Law Center, Olympic softball player Jennie Finch, and James Madison University gymnast Allison Truglio, held an audio press conference to discuss JMU's recent decision to cut 10 athletic teams. The remarks countered claims that Title IX is the reason JMU eliminated seven men's and three women's teams.

Said Lopiano in her opening remarks:
[JMU] should have looked at what other schools have done to keep broad athletic programs. 72% of the schools that have incresed opportunities for women did so without cutting any of their men's teams. A large program appears not to have been a priority for JMU. If it were a priority, the first choice always is to fundraise to increase opportunities for the under represented gender, they -- just as they did when they raised money for a new $10 million athletic performance center in 2005 which included extensive upgrades to the football facility.

And if it's worth going out to get $10 million then it seems that opportunities for female athletes and saving men's teams should be worth an effort to go out and get 10 million too.
To read a transcript of the conference, go here. To read the NWCL's fact sheet debunking JMU's claims, go here.
Mechelle Voepel ponders the challenges ahead as Maryland attempts not to "defend" their National Championship, but "repeat." While just about every poll in the nation has the Terps as #1, ESPN's Charlie Creme puts North Carolina atop his very early NCAA tournament field projections. Creme chatted about his selections this afternoon.
Oklahoma's final exhibition game against Missouri Western State (D-II) will be streamed live (and free) tonight 7pm, CST.

In more streaming news, Connecticut Public Television returns "Hoop Streams" for its third season: live streaming of most UConn games (not the ones on ESPN/2/U or CSTV). You can purchase by game, month or season.

Last season CSTV streamed some games on a "per game" basis, though it's not clear if they'll do that again this year. They do have a very successful gametracker.
Decision Tuesday will impact the Storm and Monarchs, even though The New York Sun's Evan Weiner doesn't mention them when he writes about the ramifications of tomorrow's votes:
Election day has become as important to sports leagues and associations as championship events. It has become a referendum on sports projects even though politicians now try to keep stadium and arena initiatives off the ballot because getting the public to agree on raising taxes for sports facilities is a tough sell.
There's been some posturing from Congress about the tax-exempt status of the NCAA, especially with the high salaries of men's basketball and football coaches. At the the NCAA's blog, "Mondays With Myles" features NCAA President Brand discussing the issue.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Coach Coale blogs from Norman about author Anna Quindlen, Ashley Battle blogs from Spain andTasha Butts and Monique Currie blog from Israel.

In some other European news, the UConn team travels to Italy over the Thanksgiving break, travelling to Sorrento and Rome to play a pair of exhibition games against teams from the Italian league. Apparently two vacationing UConn alumnae will meet up with the team and serve as *snrtle snrtle* chaperones *snrtle*: Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Watch out, Italia!
Lindsay Whalen is leaving her job with the Gophers to go make some real money working for the Russian mafia UMMC Ekaterinburg. She will replace Nikki Teasley, who is leaving the team for personal reasons.
Mercedes Mayer of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram covers the TCU and Big 12 women as well as being the national women's college basketball writer for the paper. Luckily, she also finds time to read this blog and could fill in the missing names in our "winningest coaches" entry. Says Mercedes:
One of our local coaches, Leta Andrews, from Granbury, Texas (just southwest of Fort Worth) became the winningest high school girls coach in the country last season on December 10. She now has 1,228 wins and is still going strong in now her 45th year as a head coach at Granbury High.
Mercedes was also able to help on the other top girls basketball coaches:

1,217 wins, Jim Smiddy, Tennessee, 1948-93
(historical note: Smiddy coached at Charlston High School before taking over the Bradley Central High School Bearettes and was a member of the inaugural class of the 1999 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame)

1,152 wins, Bertha Teague, Oklahoma, 1928-70
(historical note: Teague coached in an era when a concerted effort was made to ban high school basketball competition. Teague's Byng High School teams won eight state crowns and amassed a record of 1,152-115. Also part of the WBHOF inaugural class, Teague was one of the first three women inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame)

Final note of interest from Mercedes: Andrews is still active, and each win brings her closer to the all-time winningest coaches, girls or boys. The two coaches ahead of her are:

Robert Hughes, 1333 wins, 1959-2005, Texas, Fort Worth High School
Morgan Wootten, 1274 wins, 1957-2002, Maryland, DeMatha Catholic High School

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Former pro baller Angie Paccione reaches statistical tie in her once-ignored bid for Congress.
Wonder how you get to become the winningest active coach in NAIA? Simple, laughs Midland Lutheran College coach Joanne Bracker: "Longevity."

It's a formula that works across the Divisions. Bentley's Barbara Stevens is the winningest (by victories) active coach in Division II. Stevens, recently inducted into the Bridgewater State College Hall of Fame, started coaching in 1977 at Clark University.

It shoud come as no surprise that Pat Summitt at Tennessee in the winningest coach at the Division I level. Heck, she's the winningest coach in all college basketball. Think about: she started at Tennessee as a 22-year old in 1974. Now she holds nearly every NCAA tournament record for a women's coach.

At the Division III level, St. John Fisher's coach Phil Kahler has 731 victories, the most by a D-3 coach. He has coached for 33 years, and established St. John Fisher as the all-time winningest basketball program, and himself as the winningest active coach at the Division III level. Coach Kahler is currently recovering from a recent heart attack, so send some good wishes out to him and his team.

Not sure who rules at the JUCO level -- anyone out there know?

As for high school, I know that as of April 2005, the legendary Dorothy Caters of Chicago's John Marshall Metro High School became the 13th coach in US History to win 800 games and was fourth on the alltime winningest coaches in the country. Google failed me on finding the names of the other three coaches.

Friday, November 03, 2006

NBA action got under way this week, complete with the new WNBA ball. The world has not come to an end.

Mark Cuban sent the new ball to some physicists for comparative testing. Results here. Bottom line: the new ball bounces lower and more erratically, it's stickier when dry, and more slippery when wet.

Dwayne Wade believes that it's easier to make bank shots with the new ball, because where leather occasionally slipped and skidded, the composite grips more consistently. On opening night, Wade took a shot from the wing just inside the three-point line. And banked it. On purpose.

(I've always wondered: Why don't players, especially players with poor shooting touch, shoot more banks? Watch Timmy and learn.)

Also on the mens' side, the NBA has redesigned its website.

Will the WNBA follow suit? I hope so. NBA.com is less cluttered and easier to get around. It has 3 consistent columns rather than 2-then-3-then-4-or-5. The tabbed yesterday-today scorecard is exactly what I've always wanted (I just didn't know it till now).
As of today, it is now officially part of American cultural literacy, so if you haven't seen it yet, watch it now. And this and this.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

As Kilzer reported last week, Karleen Thompson has turned down the Chicago job. Perhaps she's hoping that Van is getting ready to hang it up?

A second candidate has also turned down the job. Jenny Boucek, who interviewed in Chicago earlier this week, might now be the leading contender.

Meanwhile, the Lynx are planning to announce the Zierden hiring sometime between now and May. It's a fine line between "letting the suspense build" and "sapping all of my excitement."
Title IX is under scrutiny again as the College Sports Council and students from James Madison University are meeting with the Dept of Education and holding a rally in hope of changing the law. The rally is expected to be the largest Title IX protest in history.

The Women's Sports Foundation and National Women's Law Center are having a teleconference today regarding the issue and other options JMU had instead of eliminating 10 varsity teams. Double-A Zone conducted a live chat with Dr. Mary Jo Kane yesterday over JMU's decision.
The versatile and talented post players from Courtney Paris to Brooke Smith to Crystal Langhorne are profiled by Dick Patrick in USA Today.
In other action last night, Michigan took advantage of having 6-6 freshman Krista Phillips in a close 64-62 win over Athletes in Action.

Sophomore Lindsey Nyenhuis looks to be recovered from last season's injury as she connected on 6 three point attempts as Iowa rolled 88-55 over Northern State.

UWGB had no problem with the Wisconsin AAU All-Stars in a 94-59 victory. Reigning conference player of the year Nicole Soulis only played 8 minutes, but sophomore Rachel Porath hit 8 of 9 from the field and finished with 18 points.

Sylvia Fowles and a balanced offensive attack helped LSU cruise to a 90-47 win over NAIA Loyola. But Coach Chatman wants her team more disciplined in their defensive attack.

The Huskies of UW forced 32 turnovers and cruised to a 111-57 over the University of Regina."We were able to wear them down, and that's exciting," coach June Daugherty said. "That's part of what we're about, getting our defense aggressive, getting after it on the glass and get running."
Courtney Paris and her Sooner team opened play last night with a 88-56 exhibition win over Lady Truck, a team made up of former college players coached by Houston Comets assistant Kevin Cook. All 14 players for the Sooners scored at least one point. While Sherri Coale had her entire starting line-up back from last season, she also has a talented group of freshman to work with. “One thing that has impressed me with this group of freshmen is their collective confidence,” Coale said.

In Charlottesville, the Virginia Cavaliers put on a show in their new arena with a 102-67 win over Team Concept, another group of former college players. Minneapolis native and L.A. Spark Tamara Moore led Team Concept with 23 points, but it was not enough as Siedah Williams led five players in double figures and added 13 rebounds, while Sharnee Zoll dished out 12 assists. Zoll said playing in new arena makes you feel like a star.

In a new promotion this year, season ticket holders in Minnesota are given identification tags that will grant them access to post game events with the team and a chance to win prizes. With only three players returning from last year's team with game experience, it's good the team still has last names on the back of the jerseys, or the fans may have wanted the players to have the tags.

The one and only senior, Kelly Roysland, led the Gophers past D-II Winona State last night in a 86-48 victory. Roysland scored 18 points, while Emily Fox wowed the crowd with her spins to the basket and no look passes. Fox was also the team leader in rebounding and assists. Fox and Roysland were joined by Brittany McCoy in the backcourt and the freshman enjoyed being in a three guard line-up. "This is the type of game that I love to play," she said. "I love having the ability to just run the floor." While post players Zoe Harper and Ashley Ellis-Milan overcame early foul trouble to have solid games, the guards know they are going to have to help out with rebounding. As Roysland explained, "we're going to need to average three, four, five rebounds a game, if not more, if we want to get out and run."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

NCAA exhibition games start tonight; we could link to season preview articles for individual teams all day.

Here's a useful preview for Wisconsin-Green Bay, whom everybody expects to dominate the Horizon League once more. The Phoenix are deep this year, and leading scorer Nicole Soulis says they're ready: "What is unique is that we had all 15 girls here the entire summer. Playing, practicing, it was great."

Another midmajor squad with high expectations: George Washington. With Dupree gone from Temple, Kimberly Beck and Sarah-Jo Lawrence returning to GW, the Colonials could steamroll the A-Ten. Beck: "We’re picking up where we left off."