Women's Hoops Blog: November 2007

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Friday, November 30, 2007

Lauren and Sue and Betty will have a new coach next season -- be it in Seattle or Oklahoma City or wherever. Anne Donovan has resigned.
Out of TCU land, the Daily Skiff (the Daily Skiff?) writes about the increased numbers (and benefits) of transfer students:
The two programs have a combined 10 players - five on the women's team and five on the men's team - on scholarships this season that have either transferred from another Division I program or have come from a junior college.The combined number places TCU at second in the conference for the most scholarship players that did not come straight to TCU from high school. Wyoming leads the Mountain West Conference this season with 11 such players, seven from its men's program and four players from its women's program.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It Takes a Team, the education campaign for LGBT issues in sport is celebrating its third anniversary. Director Pat Griffin outlines some of their key accomplishments:
Disseminated education kits to: 700 NCAA member schools, 300 schools through the NCAA CHAMPS Life Skills curriculum for collegiate student-athletes and 640 individuals through Web site and phone inquiries

Successfully evaluated the It Takes A Team! education kit: College student-athletes' attitudes about lesbian, gay and bisexual teammates and coaches showed a significant positive change after viewing and discussing the It Takes A Team! video.

Collaborated with the Human Rights Campaign Coming Out project to organize a panel of gay and transgender former professional athletes - John Amaechi, Esera Tuaolo, Dave Kopay, Billy Bean, Terri O'Connell. The video of this event is posted on youtube.com.
If this is an issue that touches your heart (or your anger button), let it touch your wallet, too. ITAT is looking to raise money to support the distribution of education packages. You can donate here (use code DSITAT07).

Meanwhile, check out Pat's Blog, read about how the NCAA and Drexel try to tackle homophobia in sports, the discussion of the song Virginia sings after a touchdown ("We come from old Virginia, Where all is bright and gay." "NOT GAY!") or Swoopes' decision to come out.
It's ALIVE!!!!

Well, Paris' double-double streak is....
After an official review of the Oklahoma-Mississippi State women's basketball game played Friday, Nov. 23, both institutions have agreed to the correction of 36 indisputable scoring errors in the original statistics, announced OU head coach Sherri Coale Thursday.
Even with an email heads up, it took a little hunting to find Richard Deitsch's piece on "The Break-Up," aka Summitt's decision to cancel the Tennessee/UConn series.
The real losers in this unfortunate mess are the fans and players, especially the underclassmen. "Am I disappointed? Not really," says Tennessee senior forward Nicky Anosike. "Our schedule is stacked with great teams and I don't think we will be missing anything competition-wise if we don't play them. But I've also been pretty blessed to play them three times. I feel bad the freshman don't get a chance to experience that."
Deitsch knows if the Orange and National Blue meet up in this year's tournament, it would make for great TV. So does Geno... and I'm going to make you read the story to find out what he said about the possibility.

While hunting for the piece (bloody SI.com!), I discovered Tracy did some more power ranking write-ups noting
Several teams remain unbeaten through the early weeks of the season, but two have really separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Tennessee is beating opponents by an average of 27 points. Connecticut is winning by an even more impressive 40 points a game. That's not against an easy schedule, either.
.. and did we know Kelli had written about Essence Carson and C. Viv's first meeting with the guard after a summer basketball camp?
"I hear you play the piano," said Stringer. "So do I. When you come for your official visit next year, I'll play the first movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for you. If I miss one note, you don't have to consider coming to Rutgers. But if I play it perfectly, will you promise to be a Scarlet Knight?"

Carson remembers chuckling; Stringer remembers hearing a yes.
Maybe if every WHB reader clicks on the links SI.com will get the hint and not make finding their writer's work such a snipe hunt.
Where are they now? Milena Flores, the Stanford grad who played for the Sol, is now an assistant coach at Princeton.
It took two overtimes, but Washington University finally beat Kenyon college and earned coach Nancy Fahey her 500th career victory. She's the ninth D-III to reach this milestone, and her 853 winning percentage (500-860) is the fourth highest in NCAA's women's basketball history in all divisions. Fahey's teams have also won four NCAA championships in a row (1998-01).
"This really is just a statement to the many players that have played over the last 22 years, "Said coach Fahey. "It's more my thank you to them."
To suggest that Stanford has been hit by the injury bug these past few years would be an understatement -- they've been downright slammed, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Yesterday Melanie Murphy officially went down with an ACL, and injury that happened during the Cardinal win over ODU in St. Thomas.

Before she got injured, Murphy blogged for the Stanford Fast Break Club about why she wore number 0:
To me zero represents the athlete struggle. It represents the doubters, the haters, the non-believers. For everyone who thought I couldn’t hold my own in games, and that I wasn’t good enough. Every game I get into I need to prove myself. I’m no longer a star in high school, I’m a normal player, I’m a zero. My goal is to go from zero to hero, just like Gilbert Arenas did.
LSU visits Houston tonight, which means that Van returns to Cometland. "There's no question I miss Houston," says coach Chancellor, "but I don't want to come in here and look bad." (Is he going to throw candy?)

Another Houston-- Charde Houston-- seems to miss her starting role with UConn: she came off the bench for limited time in the Paradise Jam, which UConn won.

Geno seems to offer Charde backhanded praise: asked about her WNBA future, coach Auriemma says "She'd be great on a veteran team where she'd only have to play 15 minutes. She can do a lot for you." (Sounds about right.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The St. Joseph Hawks almost gave C. Viv a migraine and Rutgers a loss, but much pain was avoided and the Knights escaped with a 56-50 victory. Rutgers shot 33%, but dominated the boards.

No quite the warm-up they'd like before their game against Maryland on Monday, but maybe Essence Carson, who missed the game with a hip flexor/groin strain, will be back on the court by then.
6,000 Vandy fans (plus those who tuned in to the free webcast) saw the #23 Commodores upset #11 Duke, 68-55. It's Duke's first 2-game losing streak since 2000 and the 'dores first win over the Blue Devils since 1982.

Abby Waner played in her second game since her high ankle sprain, but got in to foul trouble and shot poorly. High scorer was Jasmine Thomas (12pts on 3/11 shooting) and Chante Black was an efficient 5-9 with 10 rebound. As a team Duke shot 38% (26% from 3 and 63% from the line.). Of even greater concern to Duke is the hand injury to Wanisha Smith, which kept her from the game.

Vandy also shot 38%, but were a blistering 50% from behind the arc and went to the foul line almost three times as often as Duke. They also took better care of the ball (14 TOs to 24) and did a nice job with assists -- 13 of 19 baskets. Jessica Mooney had a career high 16 points and Christina Wirth added 15.

"I think it's a great confidence builder," said coach Balcomb post game. "On the floor at the end of the game, we had juniors, sophomores and freshman and that's it. That's encouraging for any coach to see that kind of winning experience happen on your home court against a top-10 ranked team. It's really important for the program. The only other win we felt as good about here was LSU last year on senior night. This ranks right beside it as far as quality wins at home."
Watch the free webcast of tonight's Vandy-Duke game. (thanks Ripley)
Early polls are (for good reason) easily dismissed 'cause, well, they're early season poll. But, there's one name on this week's Division I poll that made me smile: Wyoming.

You may recall that the Cowgirls had quite the run during the post-season WNIT, winning the title in front of a school record 15,462 fans.

Of note in the Division II poll? Delta State, of Margaret Wade and Lusia Harris fame, sits in second position behind North Dakota State.

In Division III, Texas' Howard Payne University is followed by two Michigan teams: Calvin College and Hope College. New York University sits in the fourth spot. Perennial powerhouse Bowdoin dropped from 5th to 19th. But again, it's early in the season.

Nothing recent from NAIA D- 1 or D-2, but an interesting D-2 tidbit: Sterling College coach Lonnie Kruse won his 561st game, which means he passes former University of Kansas coach Marion Washington for all-time wins in state history.

You might want to check out the NJCAA pre-season poll. Division I, Division II and Division III. Hey, you'll never know if the next Sheryl Swoopes or Shannon Bobbitt is playing in your backyard.
The amazing double double streak from Courtney Paris may still be alive.

(Thanks Soonerville.)
Mas podding... poding? paw-ding? from Beth and Debbie over at the WBCA site. In this week's "Shootaround" the two remember the late Jim Valvano, chat with Pat Summitt, and highlight Meagan Cowher's big scoring night.
The new Atlanta franchise has named their head coach and GM .... Marynell Meadors. The coach most recently spent the last three seasons as an assistant for the Mystics and was the first head coach of the Charlotte Sting.

WNBA.com has an interview.
There was one surprising result from last night's action. James Madison extended the nation's longest home winning streak with a 80-55 win over George Washington. It was the first time since 1991 that JMU has defeated a top 25 oppponent.

Tamera Young led four Dukes in double figures with 20 points and 14 rebounds. JMU more than doubled GW's rebounding numbers.

George Washington played without two of its starting forwards, but coach Joe McKeown said that is no excuse. “We’re supposed to be a Top 20 team. We played without them Saturday and beat Western Kentucky, so we’re not going to dwell on that,” said McKeown.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

SI's Richard Deitsch writes about "Burning Questions: The low down on the biggest issues in women's hoops."

On a SI side-note: Selena Roberts has moved from the New York Times over to SI. Leonard Shapiro writes about Roberts' move in his column, "Sportswriters Leave Publications Behind," in which he notes a growing trend amongst print writers moving to television and the internet. Roberts is an exception to the current trend, but Shaprio wonders about her role there. "I had always heard from women who had worked at the magazine," writes Shapiro, "that the place was not exactly female friendly."
So maybe with the addition of Roberts -- surely she'll go in as the staff's second senior writer -- and perhaps more talented women to come, there's some hope for a little more gender equity in the SI ranks. Then again, this also is a magazine that, sadly, hardly covers any female sports in the first place, but does do a land-office business with its annual skin-deep swimsuit issue. So maybe Roberts will just be an exception, albeit a very welcome one, and that would be a great shame.
Sherri gave us a Thanksgiving present: a new blog entry! She talks about Oklahoma's early schedule and, as always, so much more.
It takes discipline to really remember. To remember enough that you do something, that is.Things of significance are so because they change our behavior. They heighten our senses. They awaken our bones. The most ordinary things look different afterword. We see how much they matter. What a travesty to lose the lesson by forgetting how it felt even if it was horrific. That's where the discipline comes in, because most of us would just rather not think about things that are hard to think about. We don't like feeling itchy on the inside.
A 3-2 year (so far) with Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Diana finds her long-lost luggage.
Two more games from this weekend-- Mondays leave us with much catching up:

A. Purdue lost every game at UVI: worse yet, FahKara Malone is still suffering from a concussion and a related neck injury. It's a lousy time to be a Boiler fan.

B. In a Final Four rematch, Rutgers once again beat LSU. Last time it was a thumping; this time, it was defense vs. defense, a one-possession win with a combined score of just 88 points. Ajavon stole from Fowles to seal the win: "I didn't see her coming," Big Syl said.

Something we didn't see coming, and something else RU fans should be happy to see: a big long piece on the game from the New York Times.

And something RU fans haven't seen in a game yet: Essence Carson can dunk. Coach Stringer (nowhere near an airport): "I want to see this great athlete explode."
1. It didn't feel like a blowout, play by play, but the final score is no lie: UConn squashed the Dukies to win the Paradise Jam with ease. Moore and Greene blocked shots, Moore and Thomas took charges, and a good time was had by all the Huskies-- and by their cluster of well-traveled fans.

2. Also at the University of the Virgin Islands, Stanford canned Temple to take the Jam's consolation prize. Wiggins scored 22 (but went 0-7 from downtown) as the Cardinal came back from far behind.

3. The Terps ran into trouble at UCLA, but managed another big comeback. Marissa Coleman said yesterday's match reminded her of the time her team won it all: "It was very similar to that, being down by double digits with 10 minutes left to go. I think it just shows the character of this team."

4. In yet another big comeback, Baylor rallied at home to beat Cal by double digits. Bears coach Boyle called the back end of that game "the worst half of basketball we've played all year"; Bears coach Mulkey says her winning team "jump started."

5. Ohio State fell to Auburn despite frosh Jasmine Jantel Lavender's big night. (Thanks to Paul for the correction.) Has any team in the Big Ten won a game of national interest yet this year?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It's a veritable avalanche of coverage by the Times... Jere writes about post-Chatman LSU.
Couple of player updates: Texas A&M freshman Tyra White is out for the season (ACL via Beth and Debbie podcast) and Cal's redshirt sophomore Alexis Gray-Lawson gets another year.
Voepel turns her eye on Arizona State, where off-court hardships may or may not have something to do with the tough team defense we see when the Sun Devils play.

Last night ASU just barely beat unranked Iowa in Cancun; former Gopher Lauren Lacey led the winners with 19.
Other games of note:

Maryland (missing coach Frese (twins) and Langhorne (ankle)) held on to beat the Gauchos 75-71.

Paris may have had her streak of double-doubles snapped at 64, but her sister Ashley (24pts) made sure Oklahoma came away with a victory over Mississippi State, 88-73.

Virginia upset Texas, FSU snuck by Florida, and West Virginia survived against American.
In the St. John's "side" of the Paradise Jam, unranked Wake Forest stunned #10 Texas A&M 53-46 behind Alex Tchangoue's key free throws in the last seconds of the game. The win marks WFU's highest ranked victory outside of the Demon Deacon home court in the program's 36-year history.

The Demon Deacons will face Wichita State today.
A few days ago, Graham Hays wrote about Duke "seeking an new identity." It's not been an easy task in St. Thomas, as they Blue Devils have battled against Purdue and Temple. Last night against the unranked Owls, the Blue Devils earned a stubborn, and yet somewhat out-of-sync 64-53 victory. Temple was able to tie the game at 38 early in the second, and came withing 4 with just under three left, but Duke was able to come away with the victory.

Carrem Gay had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Duke (5-0), and Chante Black added 13 points. Duke is still missing Abby Waner (high ankle sprain) thought she seems closer and closer to getting on the court.

Duke's Sunday opponent will be UConn, who started slowly against a scrappy and determined ODU team, but then blew the doors off and rolled to a 86-43 victory. Tina Charles led the Huskies with 15 points and seven rebounds, Renee Montgomery scored 12, Maya Moore posted 10 points and six assists, and Kalana Greene had 10 points and five rebounds.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Clay gives thanks.
There's a new high school hoops history book from "Tennessee's best sports historian."

It looks like a book of intense, but local, interest-- the title quotes future Lady Vol Alex Fuller: "You have to be an Eaglette to understand."
South Dakota State's 4-0 Jackrabbits-- just a few years away from Division II dominance-- visit George Washington tonight. An upset win there could put the Jacks into the top 25.

It would be an upset, though. Coach Johnston says the Colonials "have the same skill level of our team. They'll shoot the ball and handle the ball and do the things that we like to do... but on top of that they're athletic. I'm not talking about a little bit - they're athletic. It's a challenge for any team playing them just to get a shot off."
*pushing aside rum drink so she can see the screen*

In St. Thomas, #9 Duke defeated #22 Purdue in what must have been one of the least aesthetically pleasing games of the season. Purdue, long armed but point-guard weak, jumped out to an early lead, but the Blue Devils fought back and used their size and strength to push towards the 53-41 win. Jasmine Thomas was Duke's high scorer with 15. Chante Black had an impressive line, too: 11 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks.

#2 UConn leapt out in front of #4 Stanford and maintained the lead throughout. A close game at the half almost became a blow out, with the Huskies surging to a 26-point lead. But, Wiggins returned (despite having 4 fouls) and UConn lost focus, and the Cardinal made a serious run, quieting the very pro-UConn crowd.

Huskies came out 66-54 winners on the strength of their post play and a rookie. Tina Charles had a double-double and Brittany Hunter made the most of her minutes to help frustrate and exhaust Jane Appel. (Watch out, I'm going to say it!) Freshman-phenom Maya Moore was quiet in the first half, but exploded in the second, winding up with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

One final note -- sending out a "Welcome to top-Division 1 officiating!" shout out to Maj Forsberg, who crewed with vets Dee Kantner and Bonita Spence. Denmark's Forsberg is a former point guard for Hawa'ii and is what coaches have been wanting -- players who are willing to become officials. Perhaps, as a point guard, when she gets yelled at it'll just seem like a flashback to her playing days?

*closes computer screen and slathers on sunscreen*

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Talk about Thanksgiving blessings: The New York Times has gifted us with four - count'em FOUR -- pieces on women's basketball.

1) Michael Weinreb has a profile of Essence Carson
2) Frank Litsky writes about Renee Montgomery
3) Frank paragraphs "Teams to Watch"
4) Mr. Litsky also paragraphs some "Players to Watch"

I'm tempted to take credit for this veritable cornucopia of coverage but I shan't -- what with "pride goeth before the fall" and all that. I'd hate to think Sports Editor Tom Jolly was just toying with me.

But this is as good a day as any to remind women's basketball fans that if you want coverage of your team, you need to demand it. Kim has some hints on how here. And, while it's always fun to send off an outraged email, it never hurts to send one that says "Thank you" or "Well done."

For example, Frank's email is here and you can reach the Times' sports peeps at sports@nytimes.com.

Good wishes to you and yours on this day of thanks.
Tonight in the Bahamas: Virgin Islands: Purdue vs. Duke, and then UConn vs. Stanford.

Says the Huskies' Renee Montgomery: "People just want to see us play someone good. ... They may believe that UConn will be good this year, but they aren't going to believe it until we prove it."

Hays looks at the Blue Devils' regime change. Is Duke frosh Jas Thomas a Kristin Haynie in training?

UPDATE: don't believe the people who tell you these games (the Paradise Jam) won't be on TV; from what we can tell, the UConn components will show up where most UConn games do-- on CPTV.
Just in time for Thanksgiving, Sylvia Fowles gave LSU fans some stuffing: her Tigers crushed Louisiana-Lafayette, and Big Syl tallied 21 and 12, but the big news this week will be the two points she scored by going above the rim.

Fowles has been dunking in practice for a while; she's now the sixth NCAA player to do so in a game. “I think it’s because [coach] Starkey didn’t let me do it" in warmups, she said. "It's a ritual. I do it before every game... It feels good. I think I'll have some more."

UPDATE: you can watch the dunk here. Thanks, Chris!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Kris over at HRR notices a discrepancy in Yahoo! wbball v mbball coverage and jumps on the "what's up?" bandwagon.

Come on up, sir! There's plenty of room! (Of course, Kris and women's bball go waaaaaaaaaay back.)
So, it seems Comets CEO Andy Aweida resigned last week. WNBA consultant Bob McGahie is serving as interim CEO.

Perhaps someone with more juice than me will explain if this is good news or bad.
Graham Hays checks in on Duke and their new coach Joanne McCallie. They should get a better idea of how they are doing with games in the Paradise Jam tournament

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

One of the best things about the return of the college basketball is that it means Sherri Coale starts up her blog. A sad entry, though, to to launch the '07-08 season, as she honors Mary Jane Noble.
Mary Jane Noble is the name that appears on the side of our Women's Basketball Office Complex. She gave us $8.17 million to build our dream. She said simply when she wrote the check, "The women's side of the tunnel better not measure one square inch smaller than the men's side when you're finished. I'll be happy to measure it for you when you're through."

Mary Jane was always about right. She was about fair. She was the voice of simple reason in the midst of panic and high pitched screams. I always thought she was a woman ahead of her time.

It seems ridiculously inadequate to say that Coale has a gift for words, but I'll say it anyway. She can make you smile and ache with a simple turn of phrase, and she sees the world in a way that makes you want to borrow her eyes for a day. Consider her tribute to Ms. Noble:
There is this tree in north Norman that I love. It stands majestic, by itself, in the middle of a field. A tree line flanks it to the south but the area immediately around it is barren. No one tends to it. It just stands there alone and thrives. It's as if the brazen oak demands the space it grows in, and then some, just to be. And it screams of sureness and serenity and strength. I drove by it when I left the gym on Friday. In lots of ways it reminds me of Mary Jane. It asks nothing of you and you are better just for having driven past it.

There's an art to that. I think they call it Presence.

From Oregon via South Dakota, a look at apparel contracts and the money they raise save make.
It's official: Elena Delle Donne is headed for Storrs.
In other action over the weekend, Rutgers crushed George Washington. In Washington. In front of a lot of GW fans.

"I'm embarrassed," GW coach McKeown said. "Tonight was a kick in the stomach." His team scored only 42 points and shot just 22%.
Wondering what the answers were to those Vols trivia questions? Kim reveals all.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Deep within Adam's "European Vacation" blog comes an interesting tidbit: Chamique Holdsclaw's team, Lotos Gdynia (Polish), stunned European champions Spartak Moscow Region.
Kim Mulkey has published a memoir: "Won't Back Down: Teams, Dreams, and Family." Check out the ad.

Which prompts a writing question. Does the paper of record run headlines like "Pearl's Gentlemen target another title?" (Don't they wish...)
And the answer is "nyet."

Vermont blew out St. John's, 66-48. The Catamounts are a solid program with a passionate following... and some great names on their roster: Canadian Courtnay Pilypaitis (Vermont often draws players from up north) was two assists shy from the program's first triple-double.

Maryland, missing Crystal Langhorne (a sprained ankle has kept her out of four games) handled LSU with March-like ease and earned the preseason WNIT title.

Toliver shot 9-for-18 from the field yesterday and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after the game.

Lots of nice area coverage of the game, including Dick Patrick at USAToday.

Texas has a new coach, but that didn't help them against Tennessee. The Long Horns were stomped, 92-67.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

St. John's, which a few years ago took several huge steps towards returning to legitimacy, has stumbled recently due to injuries, absences and trouble breaking in to the NY/NJ/CT recruiting stream. Is the next step forward happening this season? The Red Storm upset NC State (24) 60-55, and they'll play for the championship of the U of Vermont TD Banknorth Classic today.

Louisville (22) was upset by Western Carolina (77-72), and Wisconsin's return to the rankings will be short-lived after losing to Marquette (who returns only one player from last year). The rest of the seeded teams won out.

Some interesting games on the schedule today: Cindy Blodgett's Black Bears (she won her first game as the new Maine coach) goes up against Holy Cross.

(1) Pat's team meets up with (21) Gail's team in Thompson-Boling (3pmEST) and the WNIT championship game between pits (3) Brenda against (4) Van (3pmEST).

So, what are the chances Van will start off his return to the college ranks with a championship?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Creme already has a projected tournament bracket!
Voepel reminisces with coach Goestenkors, whose former team sometimes beat Tennessee; coach G's new-look 'Horns face the Lady Vols Sunday on much-hyped TV.

In more Lady Vol news, the team is offering free college tuition to one lucky student who attends at least ten home games-- and no, that isn't really Pat's own blog.
More chatter about setting up the Atlanta team.
From Sydney, a prose ode to LJ.
Dave Zirin argues that the city of Seattle should buy the Storm and the Sonics outright. Why does he think the NBA would allow that?

Friday, November 16, 2007

The US National team finished up their college tour with a bang, defeating Stanford 97-62. The Cardinal kept it close early in the first, but the US team built up a 15 point at the half and cruised to victory.
“The college tour was really good for us,” said USA and Seattle Storm head coach Anne Donovan. “We had goals with every game and it wasn’t until this eighth game that everything came together, from the first minute to the 40th minute. Everybody played well in this last game against Stanford.

Six players scored in double figures, paced by Bird's 19.

Said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer:
"They played extremely well. They shot the ball well and played at a pace our team is not used to. We need to play at a better pace. I told the team everybody would play so they could play against the best players in the world."

For the Cardinal, Kayla Pedersen had 11 points and nine rebounds; Jayne Appel and Jillian Harmon, scored 10 points apiece. Candice Wiggins had seven points and three assists in 19 minutes.

Additional quotes here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

SI.com hides their women's basketball stuff again, but we are persistent here at WHB: Tracy Schultz lays out the power rankings and Richard Deitsch names his top 10.
You'll excuse UConn fans if they're feeling a tad giddy. After freshman Maya Moore put up 17pts against the National team, she earned a nod from Taurasi -- "She's the man."

In the first game of the season against Stony Brook, she notched a double-double (21pts/10rebs - 8 offensive) in 20 minutes, adding 4 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks for good measure.

Last night against Holy Cross she only played 19 minutes. But you'd have thought her stats covered an entire game: 31pts on 14/16 shooting, most because she ran the floor with a vengance. She also had 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 5 rebounds. Shown the stats before a post-game interview she shook her head. "Not enough rebounds."

UConn is off to St. Thomas for the Thanksgiving and the Paradise Jam (looks like you can watch the games online through WatchBTIHoops.com and maybe some Fox networks?) Other teams include Stanford, Duke, Purdue, Temple, ODU, Indiana, Texas A&M, Wake Forest and Witchita State.
The MN Daily reports that the NCAA has a new grant program for athletic programs and conferences for marketing women's basketball.
Are you ready for tonight's CP3 Jamboree?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The WBCA goes Pod. From the news release:

The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) launched the first national women’s basketball podcast, “Shootaround with Beth and Debbie,” Wednesday. Co-hosting the 30-minute weekly show is Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli, two of the most highly-respected opinions in the game.

Each week, new episodes of “Shootaround with Beth & Debbie” will be available Wednesday at Noon (ET) on wbca.org. This ground-breaking podcast provides in-depth coverage of women’s basketball on a national level in order to create awareness and grow the game of women’s basketball.

Designed much like a sports-talk radio show, “Shootaround with Beth & Debbie” will feature insightful commentary, news, interviews, trivia and much more. Listeners have the options of downloading the show to an mp3 player and simply clicking play to listen directly on wbca.org.

"I am excited to give hard core, passionate basketball fans like me a platform to talk hoops. This show will be informative, fun and edgy. Our goal is to help the game grow in interest and popularity," Antonelli said. "Mowins and I will have fun giving fans a weekly fix on the happenings inside the women's game."

Mowins jokingly adds, "And I look forward to being the consummate point guard by distributing the ball, directing traffic and controlling the microphones so Debbie doesn't talk too much."
Mowins and Antonelli cover over 100 women’s basketball games each year in various leagues across the nation. Your story ideas, questions and comments are welcome at shootaround@wbca.org.
The preseason WNIT is moving into it's championship semis. Notre Dame beat Western Kentucky (78-59) and Maryland stomped Delaware (91-43).

The Irish will visit the Terrapins Friday, Nov. 16, 7pmEST.

The other semi-final is tomorrow and features Michigan State at LSU, 7pmCT.
So, remember coach Bill Resler of Roosevelt High and "Heart of the Game?"

No longer coaching -- contract not renewed.

In a tale full of backstage machinations and closed door discussions, it's hard to tell what the real story is.

In his opinionated opinion, Seth Kolloen points out an intriguing twist. Current Roosevelt AD Mike Kelly was AD over at Chief Sealth when a recruiting scandal cost the girls' basketball program to be stripped of two state titles.
Don't let the final score fool ya (88-61).

And don't let the half time score fool ya (US 33 - 36 USC).

Yes, the US shot 49% for the game. And 69% in the second half.

But they shot 35% in the first... and except for a flurry near the end of the half which brought them even with the Trojans, they were shooting in the mid to upper 20's and down by 11. And when they DID tie it at 33, USC nailed a 3 with four seconds left to take the lead.

I'm not sure what we're learning about the National team during this tour. Clearly,the tour has multiple purposes: it raises the profile of USA basketball (and the W); it allows top tier NCAA teams to test themselves against some top, organized talent; it serves as a homecoming for some players; it gives other players the chance to play for the National team -- which is a huge honor; and it gives college players a taste of what WNBA talent looks like.

At the USC press conference, Donovan spoke about what her goals for the college tour were:

Our biggest goal is to develop more team chemistry. This is the first time we've had Lisa back in the mix in a year. We've been training quite a bit over the last year with a lot of commitment from our perimeter players in Diana, Sue, Seimone and Katie Smith. We've done some great training, but haven't necessarily had our veteran post players with us. We're putting the pieces together now, our inside game and our outside game. So our goal on this college tour was to continue to develop our chemistry. We have definitely done that.

It's been great to see the development of our perimeter players, our younger players who have stepped up into much bigger roles since Athens. In the period of the time that we lost Lisa and Yolanda (Griffith) we've gotten that development from our perimeter game.

I thought it was intriguing that Donovan said the USC team surprised them... does that call into question the scouting by the assistants? Who knows...

So, what is the committee learning? Maybe something about the individual players, but as a whole, it is clear this group can't take the first half seriously. Sluggish and unfocused ain't going to cut it.

I also wonder whether they can learn as much as they would like about players. Even though it's a preseason game for the college players, it ain't that for Donovan. She can't pull a Geno and sit a player because they didn't pull their weight -- risking a loss. If the US team lost, can you imagine the hullaballoo? Never mind that this isn't the "real" US team....

And yes, I know they're tired, what with the travel. It's been a ridiculous schedule. But the Olympics is game/off day/game/off day. Without the travel, granted, but with an enormous amount of pressure. Seems to me this college tour is a close to recreating that atmosphere are you can get without participating in a tournment.

So count me an itty-bit concerned.... Tina, please stay healthy. Catch, good recovery to you. Lindsay, hope you had a great wedding. Katie, how're the threes falling? Ms. Smith, I hope dentistry doesn't steal your heart TOO soon....

On the other hand, when you consider the performances of all the college teams, you've got to be excited for this season and the not so distant future of women's basketball. (I LOVE the fact that everyone is talking about the post players.)

Last, and certainly not least, up for the National team: Nov. 15, 7pm at Stanford (who will be missing forward Michelle Harrison because of a torn ACL).

By the way, if there's anyone out there who understands the pressure Donovan (and any National team coach) feels, it would be Tara. Give yourself an early holiday present and read the two books on the 1996 team: Tara's unfailingly honest "Shooting from the Outside," and richly informative and revealing, "Venus to the Hoop."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

USC meets up with the National team tonight at 10pmEST. You can view Gametracker or video (for a fee) here.
UC-Davis wins its first Division I game.
More reactions to the Stanford-Rutgers game from a well-informed Stanford fan and an appalled RU fan.
San Diego has their Shooting Stars, and Texas has their Texas Challenge.

Betty Keith was good enough as a high school player that a coach suggested she try out for the All-American Red Heads. Her dad nixed that dream, but 50 years later, guess what?
Keith, Snider and Pittman are the belles of senior women's basketball in San Antonio. They belong to the Texas Challenge, a women's senior basketball league that features a division for women 65 and older and one for women 85 and older. They regularly drive 100 miles to Burnet to practice. And in the off-season, they play several sports at the Jewish Community Center and attend Senior Olympic games.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Three more results I'm sorry I missed this morning:

1. Marist almost beat Ohio State again. Marscilla Packer's late trey stopped a big Red Fox comeback. How much would it have hurt OSU-- still a Top 25 team, even without Davenport-- had they lost to the Red Foxes twice in a row?

2. Remember South Dakota State, the DI newbie (still without a conference) who did well enough last year that coach Aaron Johnston said he would leave, and then decided not to leave, for Green Bay? Last night SDSU won in double overtime against UC-Riverside, who won their conference (the Big West) last year.

3. As for Green Bay, they won their opener too: new head coach Matt Bollant (who?) opened with a win over another team that made last year's tournament, defending MVC champions Drake.
Attention Lady Vols fans: head to Kim's site for excerpts from the forthcoming book about Pat's championship teams, and for a chance to win an advance copy of the book by answering (fairly serious) Tennessee trivia questions. (No, we're not planning to enter.)
Clay agrees with Helen. (And with us.)
*steps on soapbox*

A couple of words about Doris Burke's call of at the end of the Rutgers/Stanford game. Well, actually, four.

She was SO wrong.

In case you missed it, with .1 left Prince fouls Wiggins and the whistle blows. Said Burke, "I don't think you make that call then."

Excuse me?!?!?!

There's a lot to admire about Burke's work, but not this. It simply adds to fuel to the already irrational fire that surrounds (all) officiating. I'll be the first one to acknowledge that there are a lot of issues within officiating in women's basketball. BUT: A foul at the beginning of the game is a foul at the end of the game.

You can argue whether it was a CORRECT call (foul or not a foul) but you can't honestly expect an official to hold their whistle based on the amount of time left on the clock. Sheesh, they're accused of cheating and favoritism ...now you want this "flexibilty" to the game?

"But," you'll say, "I hate it when officials decide the game."


Prince decided the game by not stepping away from Wiggins. Granted, she's a sophomore, and it was a painful lesson (though pros make that mistake, too), but it was Prince who decided the game by committing the foul.

The officials did their job and blew the whistle.

And, by the way, if we're going to be truly accurate, it was Wiggins who decided the game. She was the one who sunk the fouls shots seal the victory. If Harding (and Vinatieri) have taught us anything it's that NOTHING is guaranteed

So, unless someone is going to create a policy that says, "All fouls are to be called EXCEPT in the last five seconds of the game..." or "In the last five seconds of the game, the offensive player gets the benefit of the doubt..." (which, of course, would make referees penalize defensive players for doing what they were taught -- for instance, slide into position to take a charge -- remember Wiggins in the NCAA tourney 2 years ago?) announcers need to stop with the "You don't make that call" stuff.

I'm sure it adds lots of drama and hype to the broadcast (just like the mics on the coaches do) but I don't know that it helps the game.

Seems to me a broadcaster's time is better spent knowing the rules (ahem, when was the last time they cracked the rule book? There have been some changes since they played), talking with officials, coaches and players about how those rules are interpreted and then helping the audience understand the "results" they see on the court.

Okay. Done now.

*steps off soapbox*
WNIT update:

Friday, Nov. 9
Maryland 76, Princeton 52
Western Kentucky 90, ETSU 73
Evansville 89, Marshall 77
TCU 74, Radford 63
Michigan State 65, IUPUI 35
Delaware 54, Delaware State 47
LSU 86, Samford 38
Notre Dame 98, Miami Ohio 50

Sunday, Nov. 11
Michigan State 73, Evansville 53
LSU 73, TCU 54

Tuesday has Delaware at Maryland (7 p.m. ET) and Western Kentucky at Notre Dame (7 p.m. ET).
Well, ouch. A little sympathy for the Texas A&M team. The National team made the best of their two day rest period and game out like gangbusters on defense. TAMU scored 26 points. Total.

The final was 75-24, with minutes spread around equally. Braxton showed her skill she seems unable to deliver consistently (8/12 and 18pts), including a three. ("Oh, man," said Taurasi. "When Kara took like nine steps and shot the 3-pointer we knew it was in the bag.") Swin seems to be regaining her form (5/7 in 19 minutes), Lisa was typical form and Augustus wss...well... on fire -- as she has been this entire tour.

The US out rebounded the Aggies 50-26 (though half of the 26 were offensive), limiting them to 17% shooting (no threes).

Next up for the National team: USC on the 13th.

Think Lisa will be hyped for her homecoming?
Nothing else among yesterday's top matchups drew the excitement, or the frustration, of RU-Stanford:

UNC ran right over Arizona State in Chapel Hill. Erlana Larkins had another double-double, though she says she wanted to get the ball more; ASU coach Turner-Thorne says her team "got tired," as most folks do against UNC-- their workout on Friday might have been an issue, too.

The Basket Cases traveled to see their Terps blow away Oklahoma, keeping Courtney Paris away from the hoop and shaming the Sooners' young guards. Voepel says we should keep our eyes on Coleman and Harper, who underachieved last year.

And Tennessee took a while to crush Chattanooga, trailing early but dominating late. Coach Summitt: "We don't schedule easy games." (Take that, coach Hatchell. And coach Frese.)
Just one day into the season and we've already got our first controversy over referees. With one-tenth of a second remaining in the Stanford-Rutgers matchup, and the score tied, Epiphanny Prince's arm made some contact with Candice Wiggins as Wiggins tried to bring the ball out of Stanford's backcourt: a foul was called, and Wiggins' free throws gave the visiting Cardinal the win.

Coach Stringer smells conspiracy: "It is what it is... It was ironic that it was the same opportunity that the girl from Duke had." (It looked like a foul to us, but what do we know?)

Before that last second, the game looked alternatingly exciting (because close), fascinating (because of the contrast in styles) and infuriating (because, well, that's Rutgers): the Scarlet Knights' superb press made it hard for Stanford to score, but the Cardinal's young posts Appel and Pederson kept grabbing the rebounds, the home team kept missing from outside, and both teams shot below 35% after the break.

Prince led all scorers, not that that's much consolation; Wiggins, stifled till late in the game, had 19, including a stunning desperation jump shot that brought Stanford back from behind.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

USA Today previews every conference in Division I.
In this year's first competitive game involving a nationally ranked team, Cal (Berkeley) needed a huge game from Ashley Walker, and a clutch trey from Alexis Gray-Lawson, to get by Fresno State.

"Fresno State is... learning a new system now and are working out the kinks," said Cal coach Boyle. "It obviously wreaked havoc on us. It wasn't until the last two minutes or minute of the game that we were able to pull it out."

Are Fresno State going to be that good? Maybe-- but Cal were also scrambling to figure out how to work without Devanei Hampton, whose inside presence will be gone for at least a month. "We didn't feel we had it," said Gray-Lawson, "until the buzzer went off."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Voepel catches up with the new-look Tar Heels. Can a first-year fill Latta's shoes?
Bad news: Cal (Berkeley) star Devanei Hampton needs knee surgery. Good news: with luck, she'll be back by the time Pac-10 play begins.
New coach Gaines says nothing surprising about the future of his WNBA championship team: "It's a running style. It won't change."

It will if Penny Taylor stays home to practice for the Olympics-- as the Australian national team coach likely wants, and as she probably will.
Rev up your Tivo, DVR or, for us old school folks, your VCR 'cause Sunday overs a virtual cornucopia of basketball viewing (ET):

2:00: Stony Brook at UConn, CPTV
2:30: Arizona State at North Carolina, ESPN
3:00: Chattanooga at Tennessee, Fox Sports Net
5:00: Maryland vs. Oklahoma, ESPN2
6:00: Duke at Denver, Fox Sports Net
8:00: Stanford at Rutgers, ESPN (time change!)

Also, the National team's at TaMU, 7pm EST, and it looks like there might be free audio/video.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Michigan State's Aisha Jefferson gone for the year.
Voepel visits Paris, and talks to Courtney's coach.

Coach Coale: "We have to fight not to be numb to things that are fabulous... What we have in front of us with Courtney is something none of us may ever see again."
Some nice work being done behind the camera during the ASU/USA game.
Wrong basket.
Okay, the National team is selling me on "skip the first, show up for the second" basketball. Playing Arizona State all but even (for them) in the first half, the US blew it up in the second, outscoring the Sun Devils 42-23 for the win.

Six team members scored in double figures, and Diana even got herself a techincal.

I was trying to inspire the team, get a spark,” said Taurasi, who had to sit out two games during the WNBA season after a run-in with referees. “I think we went on a 40-0 run after the technical. It was strictly for the team. I haven’t gotten one in awhile so … and you don’t get fined in college. It worked out well for everyone.”

Coach Charli Turne Thorne was not totally unhappy with her team's performance. First, there was youngster Lauren Lacey going all Kalana Green and blocking Lisa Leslie's shot early in the first half.
"If you look at the first five or six minutes and shut the DVD player off, that's who we are," Turner Thorne said. "That's how we have been practicing, executed well offensively and played together. And then all of a sudden, we thought it was going to be easy and played a lot of 1-on-1 basketball, which is very uncharacteristic of us.

Additional team quotes.

Next up, the US has a ridiculously long break two day before they drive-jog-fly the 1,000-plus miles to College Station and meet TaMU on Sunday.

I wonder if they're going to get rusty.
Harvey Araton of the New York Times is shocked -- SHOCKED at the coverage women's sports gets:
This year, the W.N.B.A. produced a far more compelling championship series than its big brother, but was virtually ignored. So was Lindsay Davenport after making a resounding comeback to women’s tennis after giving birth in June. Eight years after Mia and Brandi took America by storm, most major news organizations (including The New York Times) did not send a reporter to China to cover the recent Women’s World Cup; it was almost a nonevent until Solo became a victim of a semifinal benching and then a vixen who was critical of her coach and the woman who replaced her.
There's some interesting stuff in Harvey's piece on the "flavor" of the coverage women athletes -- though anyone who's actually been paying attention (hello, we're the Women's Sports Foundation) won't be surprised.

Okay, moment of reflection. I've been pounding on the Times for its deliberate lack of coverage and/or its disparity of coverage. Not to long ago, I suggested that if the Sports Editor (aka Tom "not so" Jolly) said "we're not covering women's sports," then there were writers at the senior level who had the ink-muscle to speak up and/or cover it themselves.

Conversations with writers have suggested that there is an active apathy within the Times' ranks -- a "why bother, people don't care" attitude. So it seems that a "atta boy" should be sent out to George and Harvey for using their columns (different beasts than "coverage") to tweak the subject.

And with the arrival of Maya Moore, maybe Jere avec accent will be inspired to advocate for gas money up to Storrs. (Jere! You won't be disappointed! Kara called her the "real deal." And SHE'S a TN alum!)

Women' basketball, and women's sports in general, is a niche sport. As such, businesses (aka: newspapers) don't anticipate coverage will create advertising revenue. And so, we fans face the "chicken and egg" syndrome. Or the "Field of Dreams syndrome:" "If you write it, they will read it... and, eventually, advertisers will purchase ad space next to it."

So, seems to me, if we're silent, we're ignored.

Call me an optimist. I think slow, steady (and occasionally snarky) tapping on the door will make a difference. It costs me nothing (and is rather fun). And heck, maybe people will use Kim's womensbasketballonline.com's "Contacting the Media" tips to join in!

Until then, there's always the highly lucrative blogging gig. "Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better" indeed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Rumor has it that the long-moribund print journal Women's Basketball Magazine will soon return-- with Clay, who runs Full Court, in charge.

And speaking of Full Court, Rob Clough's ACC Preview has Duke, UNC, and the Terps predictably on top (not necessarily in that order), Clemson no longer a doormat, and UVA returning to the Big Dance.
The Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament, featuring 16 college basketball teams, starts Friday.

Maryland, ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press preseason poll, and LSU, ranked No. 5, lead a field that will play a three-game guaranteed format for the first time in the 14-year history of the WNIT.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Who knew people were so interested in uniforms? I mean, REALLY... who knew?!?
Overlook Division II teams at your own risk.

The Huskies (Washington version) learned that lesson the hard way: Seattle Pacific, a Division II team with three starters back from a 20-9 team that won its conference title and reached the NCAA Division II tournament for an 11th straight year, stunned UW 75-67.
"It is a lesson learned," said first-year coach Tia Jackson. "It is a wake-up call for us. We definitely got knocked upside our head with a big brick, and it's time to open our eyes and see what is in front of us and get ready for it.

Don't be surprised if more Division I teams look to top Division II teams for preseason games. The Huskies (Connecticut version) played D-II champions Southern Connecticut last night. Though it was a blowout (new coach, two of their best players transfered, a third best player was injured) Auriemma mentioned he'd rather play against an organized team that can "run stuff" than a bunch of players tossed together for a a few games.

Of course, that "bunch of players" can be pretty good. A while back, John Feasel of Ohio Girls Basketball magazine spoke about the respect he has for the competitive drive of the players - some former All-Americans - on his Legends team, a preseson touring team.
"You can see the level of competition," he says. "It's intense. They want to win. It's not do or die, but they want to be competitive." He also enjoys the lessons games offer to those unschooled in the history of women's basketball. Ohio University's Dawn Heideman is one of his most committed players. Now a schoolteacher, she once led the nation in shooting percentage.

"A lot of the younger kids see a 35-year-old woman walk out on the floor and say, 'Oh, jeez, look at that old lady,'" Feasel says. "By the end of the game, after she scores 28 points on them, they're saying, 'Great game, Ms. Heideman. That was fantastic!'"
The National team continued its pattern of a slow first half during their visit to Baylor. Up only 1 at the half, Diana Taurasi scored 15 second-half points (21 points, 11 rebounds and six assists) and the US won 82-56.

“I give Baylor a ton of credit,” said USA coach Anne Donovan. “I thought Baylor came out really aggressive, and we didn’t come out so sharp, and they made us pay for that. But I thought we did a good job regrouping and coming out in the second half and really getting after it.”

Additional quotes.

Next up, Thursday at Arizona State. (Tack on another 1100 frequent flyer miles) The Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne just had her appendix removed, but she hopes to be on the sidelines for the game.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Corey Gaines will be introduced Wednesday as the new coach of the defending WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury. The team has scheduled a press conference to announce the replacement for Paul Westhead, now an assistant coach with the Seattle SuperSonics.
Think you know your Lady Vols trivia?

Well, answer five questions, and you might win "Seven: The National Championship Teams of the Tennessee Lady Vols" by Alan Ross before it goes on sale next month.

Contest is up on the front page of Womensbasketballonline.com. There are also a couple of excerpts from the book.
New head coach for the Mercury coming soon.

Monday, November 05, 2007

You've gotta believe that, after 3 games in 5 days and travelling some 1,200 land miles, the US National team must be feeling a little Suzanne Pleshette-ish (you young'uns who don't know what I'm talking about, check here).

Sunday afternoon found them facing the Tennessee Vols led, of course, by Candace Parker (22pts, mostly in the second half). But it was the freshmen (again) who made themselves known early on: Sydney Smallbone seemed unintimidated, and forward Angie Bjorklund dropped in 13 points

Not unlike the game up in Connecticut, the Lady Vols cut a 12-point deficit to only three points, 73-70, with four minutes left before a 10-2 USA team run put the game away, winning 83-72.

Leslie dominated the paint. scoring 18 points and pulling down 12 boards in 29 minutes. It should come as no surprise that Taurasi led all scorers in the contest with 28 points, notching rebounds, four assists and two steals.

"Taurasi just loves me," joked Coach Summitt with the radio announcers post-game. "And she feels the need to show me how much every time she plays here." Her bemusement at Taurasi's success at TBA -- recently renovated -- was echoed by the announcers during the game. "She always scores 30 here," said one. "We could do 20 million dollars of renovations and she'd STILL score 30."

Additional quotes and photos.

Next up? Baylor (a mere 938 miles way) on Tuesday. At least it's a night game (7pm).

Looks like there will be radio (92.2 FM - KLRK) and the Bears' site says there'll be a webcast (ww.BaylorBears.com) but my browser crashed when I tried to access it (and yes, I did add an extra w).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Live audio link for USA v. Lady Vols.
US vs. Tennessee, 3pm:

Live Stats: Here.

Live Audio here? Not sure if WUTK radio will broadcast the game.
Just over 9,000 showed up Friday at Gampel Pavillion to welcome back Swin Cash, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and see how UConn matched up against the USABasketball team. Fans also got their first look at the freshman every Division I coach had been drooling over: Maya Moore.

In 1995, the National team put a whuppin' on Connecticut -- 83-47. This time it was a little closer: 90-74. Down by 17 in the second half, a furious push got the Huskies within 4. And then Kara Lawson ("She was a UConn killer tonight, wasn't she," said Taurasi) nailed a jump shot, followed by Bird and a Taurasi three, and suddenly the lead for the US was 12 and the win was secured.

"They look really good," Taurasi said. "And for stretches there they played really well. They were really patient and sometimes playing against people that are older and bigger, you kind of rush things. But they were poised and real patient, which most college teams at this point in the season aren't ready for that. So they look mid-season right now."

The game started out well for the Huskies -- 5'10" Kalana Greene, who has surgically implanted pogo sticks for legs, blocked Lisa Leslie's first shot. Then sophomore center Tina Charles made a sweet scoop move around Lisa. The team harassed the US into 8 first half turnovers, 7 of which were steals, and ended the half down 13.

But they also missed all 8 free throws... and there were other lessons to be learned. Charles (who went 4-6 in the first) sat most of the second half after letting Leslie beat her down the court in transition.

Said point guard Renee Montgomery:
“It’s tough guarding any of them because every time you make a little mistake on defense, whether it’s your foot’s up too high or you take a glance to see where the ball’s at,” Montgomery said. “you turn around and they’re gone. It seems like they’re always watching for you to make a mistake. It was hard. It was a hard game mentally (Friday).”
Moore, who went 6-14 (9 rebs, 14 pts, 2 steals), assessed her Husky debut at "60-70%." Reflecting on how well the Maryland freshmen did, and knowing the talent of the Tennessee youngsters the US plays today, this could be a fun season.

Notes of no particular note:

Every member of the US team got huge welcoming cheers -- even Tennessee's Kara Lawson.

Speaking of Kara -- truly, did anyone anticipate her molding herself into the player she's become?

Write this down: This college tour will probably be the only time you'll ever see Lisa Leslie huff and puff. That being said, she's still all but unstoppable: 6-15, 7-9 free throws, 6 rebounds in 26 minutes. "My focus is kind of split with having my baby obviously, and not being 100 percent, because it's only been four months," she said. "But I keep seeing glimpses of what I'm going to be capable of doing and that keeps me hopeful of coming back."

Really, someone should do a "How does she do that" Discovery channel piece on Simone's shot. Said Crystal Robinson, "She's the only one I know who shoots the ball on her way down."

Diana wondered if Geno was taking fashion tips from Kayne West.

Check out some great additional quotes here and photo gallery here.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Matt Wurst reports from Thursday's USABBall practice:
In another half-court drill, Diana Taurasi nonchalantly hit four three-pointers in a row. One of the males turned to his fellow practice players in mock surprise and said, "Wow, the scouting report I read said to leave Taurasi open on the wing. It said she can't hit anything!"

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The WNIT Pre-Season Tourney is right around the corner, and features teams like Notre Dame, LSU, Maryland and Michigan State. Check out the brackets here. Games start next Friday.
Want to catch Friday night's UConn v. USA game (7pm)? Check out free audio at WHUS and WTIC. Or, sign up for a single game, a month of games, or a season of games via CPTV's streaming video.

No word on whether Diana was successful in her petition to USA Basketball (she wanted them to let her, Swin and Sue wear UConn jerseys when they play Tennessee: audio). USA v. Vols is on Sunday.
Carolyn Jenkins is the WNBA's new Director of Player Personnel.
TV commentators Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli will co-host the first national women's basketball podcast on the WBCA's site.
Lisa Leslie was back in action as Team USA beat the Terps. After the loss, Maryland's student-athletes sounded both competitive and overawed: "This is the most fun I've ever had playing in a basketball game," Kristi Tolliver enthused.

Playing without Langhorne, the 2006 college champs trailed by just two at the half. Lawson and Seimone combined for 33; Tolliver had 18.