Women's Hoops Blog: January 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rutgers will host UConn next Tuesday, Feb. 5th at 7pm. And all 14 people who get CSTV can watch the game on television.

In anticipation of the match-up, Graham writes about Epiphanny Prince.
Most of what you learn about Prince comes from secondhand stories. Coach C. Vivian Stringer described her as the person who will stand in a doorway coming up with jokes to avoid coming in a room. She's the person who sits quietly while Carson, a music major, plays the piano and Matee Ajavon sings when the team gathers at the coach's house. But Prince is also the one who counts Jay-Z as an acquaintance and who inspired Connecticut sophomore Kaili McLaren's family to bring food for their daughter's arch rival when Rutgers visited McLaren's hometown of Washington D.C., for a game this season.
Duke's student newspaper, The Chronicle, responds to Pat Summitt:

Quite frankly, women's college basketball needs attractive matchups and rivalries since the quality of play doesn't go more than two or three teams deep in each conference. There's no reason why UConn, Tennessee, Duke, UNC, Maryland, Rutgers, Baylor and LSU shouldn't all play one another in the regular season. Would you really end the Duke-Tennessee rivalry, and cast women's basketball's regular season deeper into irrelevance, because of some playful taunting that doesn't even border on hateful? Especially when your players don't even seem to mind?

The Crazies did the right thing by not changing what makes Cameron Cameron and stood up to you last night. But for the good of women's basketball, let's hope you were bluffing.

Last second, game-winning threes are fabulous. Unless, of course, you're on the wrong end of one.

In front of 6,115, a regular season-record for a UW women's contest, Utah ended the Cowgirl's 12-game winning streak on the strength of Morgan Warburton's 3-pointer with three seconds remaining.
"You have to give Utah credit because they made one more play," fifth-year UW coach Joe Legerski said. "I think in ballgames of this caliber, you can go back through and there maybe several plays you could have grabbed an extra rebound, maybe made an extra shot. But when it comes right down to it, it went to the right person, and Warburton answered it."

Down two, #6 Baylor's Angela Tisdale nailed a three with 19 seconds left to put the Bears up one over #25 Texas.
The Longhorns had one final possession, which Baylor defended perfectly, clogging the passing lanes underneath the basket. Texas freshman forward Kat Nash pulled up for a jumper from the free-throw line, but Baylor center Danielle Wilson swatted the shot. Brittainey Raven tried in vain to control the loose ball, but it bounced off her foot and out of bounds.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Michelle Smith ranks the toughest conferences, with and without math:
For all the talk about how, on any given night, the Pac-10 can be a tough conference - and most of that talk comes from Pac-10 coaches - in truth, there is tougher basketball being played in other major conferences around the country.The Pac-10 ranks No. 6 in conference RPI (by collegerpi.com and RPIratings.com), the lowest ranking among the major conferences. The consensus conference RPI rankings are 1) Big 12, 2) Big East, 3) ACC, 4) SEC, 5) Big Ten and 6) Pac-10.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Kelly Mazzante is one of the athletes profiled in an article on money management and niche sport athletes.

The Super Bowl celebrates extravagance. Nearly everyone in shoulder pads this week leads a pampered lifestyle, and that's fine. They've earned it. But it's easy to get the wrong impression of pro athletes. Not all have it made. Many, like Harvey of the Arizona Rattlers, are just hoping to make enough to buy a house some day.

At this level, such a vision requires faith, patience and hard work. Kelly Mazzante, a Mercury guard, just finished her fourth WNBA season. Like nearly every female player, she plays basketball almost year-round.

Beware the Orange! When #22 Syracuse defeated #24 DePaul, it was the the first Top 25 team in the program's history to beat another ranked team. (Hey, if the boys don't have to use gender qualifiers, we shouldn't either, right?)
Listen in to Deb and Beth's pod.
This week, Beth and Debbie's "Starting Five" talks about Georgia, Baylor and the ACC's top three, along with who should be going into the Hall of Fame and veteran officials. Joining the duo on the show is Texas Head Coach Gail Goestenkors, who talks about her transition from Duke to Texas, her team, and more. Following the interview with Coach G, Beth and Debbie discuss the idea of having a conference RPI and finish up with thoughts from the cocktail napkin.
Dick Patrick checks in on one of the hottest teams in the country, Kansas State, and Iowa's Johanna Solverson.
West Virginia upended Rutgers in Morgantown with a huge late run. WVU's biggest win in years (they've never defeated a team this highly ranked) came with starting center Olayinka Sanni in foul trouble and heralded guard Meg Bulger unable to play (painful knee).

In their absence, LaQuita Owens-- who had been cold for the first half-- shot the lights out: 23 points, and four of nine from downtown. WVU's student paper gives credit, too, to the unheralded Sparkle Davis, who replaced Bulger in the starting lineup.

WVU were ranked twelfth before last night's surprise; Clay, who broke down the polls yesterday, saw the upset as a possibility, since the Mountaineers have so far lost only to Tennessee, UConn and (hmmm) Indiana.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Huge! Enormous! Significant!

Not words to be used when describing this year's rule changes in the W.

Now, if they made some of the changes I dream about...
  • Add the one-and-one
  • Eliminate the possession arrow in the last two minutes of the game -- held ball equals jump ball.
  • 5 fouls or go to 48 minutes - pick one
  • Liberty get their choice of an Aussie

...I'd be more than willing to use those words.
Mechelle is relieved the new CBA is done.

And in the subscriber section at Full Court, Clay says Donna has delivered again.
Yet another example of a Junior College player making the best of a second chance: Middle Tennessee State's Amber Holt.

Holt leads the nation in scoring (27.1 pts a game), set the new school single-game record with 44, and has scored 570 points — 198 shy of Chrissy Givens' single-season record of 768.
"I think she'll be a first-round pick in the WNBA draft — maybe even in the first 10 picks," [head coach Rick] Insell said. "I think when they go down the line and look at what Amber Holt can do — she can play the two, three and four — if you're putting a team together or you've already got a good team, she's the type of player who can rebound, run the floor and knock down the 3. Then she can take a guard one-on-one and break her down.

"Tennessee puts (Nicky) Anosike and (Candace) Parker on her, and she gets 28 points. Maryland put (Crystal) Langhorne and (Laura) Harper on her and she gets a double-double. You look at the people she's gone against and her basketball IQ is amazing.
Side note: Off the court, Holt has got to be one of the shyest, most self-effacing players ever. I was impressed the writer got as many quotes out of her as he did.
NJCAA Top 25 Division I Poll: If your team is looking for an immediate fix, they may be looking at these teams:

Gulf Coast Community College
Central Arizona College
University of Arkansas-Fort Smith
College of Southern Idaho
Southwest Tennessee Community College

NAIA rankings won't be out until tomorrow,

Things are just getting squish-dier at the top of the NCAA D-III poll.

Hope College and Howard Payne sit one and two, both boasting 17-0 records. Mary Washington and Wisconsin-Whitewater share third (one loss each), followed by Thomas More (17-0) and Simpson College and Kean University. (both 17-1). The New York Times and WHB combined to knock NYU from 9th to 23rd. Ooops.

Delta State is still rockin' at the #1 position in Division II. They, along with #2 Seattle Pacific are undefeated, while the Dakotas share the third and fourth spot.

I'm quietly amused that New Hampshire's Franklin Pierce clocks in at #25. I remember dropping of stage lighting to their theater during my summer stock days in Peterborough. Way to represent the Granite State.

As for D-I, the color pattern goes National Blue, Volunteer Orange, Tar Heel Blue, Scarlet Red and Terrapin Red.
It's time for a new episode of As the Big Ten Turns: in our last installment, Penn State was... well, remember when PSU beat Duke? It seems so long ago: Coquese Washington's team are now under .500 in conference play after the Buckeyes bulldozed the Lions in Columbus. OSU frosh center Lavender ruled the paint with 22 and 9.

OSU needed the win after last week's surprising loss in Minnesota, when Gopher post Leslie Knight found her groove. The Gophs went on to even more shocking success on Sunday at home against Michigan State, holding the Spartans to 33% shooting and preserving a double-digit lead; nearly 10K maroon-and-gold fans watched the win in the Barn, the first time the Gophs have swept State since 1994.

"It's harder to win the Big Ten than it is getting into the NCAA tournament," coach Borton said afterwards, which-- in a conference that usually sends at least three teams to the Big Dance (though perhaps fewer this year)-- is certainly true.

The pair of wins for the U. made Gopher guard Emmy Fox-- one of very few Big Ten upperclassmen with WNBA potential-- a first time Big Eleven Ten player of the week. Gopher fans' expectations-- and, often, their opinions of coach Borton-- have been declining since 2004: should those expectations rise again?

That game left State also under .500 in conference--and, for the first time in donkey's years, left them below the over-.500 Michigan, who have really climbed out of the basement this season. The 12-7 Wolverines have beaten an SEC team, an ACC team, and a Pac-10 team that later defeated Stanford, and they haven't lost a home game yet.

Most of these games we could have seen (but did not see-- we don't spend all our time watching hoops) on the new Big Ten network, which looks better all the time. Not only does it show games in HDTV; it also produces features on WCBB players who don't make national headlines. For example, this feature on OSU three-point threat Marscilla Packer.
Correction: we said last week that you couldn't hear the public radio program "Only a Game" in the Twin Cities.

In fact you can hear it each Saturday... as long as you're willing to wake up at 6am.
Cat Kraayeveld says hello from Belgium.
Duke ruled the first half but couldn't keep Tennessee off the glass in the second. With 22 seconds to play, CP3 broke a tie with a picture-perfect layup, and Pat Summitt's team improved to 18-1-- the first time she's beaten Duke since 2004, and the first home loss in Cameron since '06.

Both teams played fast; both teams looked frustrated at times. "The basketball gods said 'No, not tonight,'" coach P concluded. "Not if you're going to rebound like that."

Voepel says while we were all watching Parker (as usual), Tennessee's rookie guards, Angie Bjorklund and Vicki Baugh, made the difference. "It was a fun environment," Bjorklund said of the famously Crazy Duke floor.

Also of concern for the Blue Devils: an elite team should be able to make their free throws. The home team shot 7-12 from the line; the visitors, 17-22.

Monday, January 28, 2008

How are polls like "Whose Line it it Anyway?"

The points don't matter.

But, beknighted has some interesting observations about the totals in this week's AP poll, so go take a looksee.
Speaking of must-see-tv, over 10,000 saw #11 Oklahoma defeated #14 Georgia 65-57. Yes, Courtney got her double-double, but the real fire came from Amanda Thompson. She tied her career-high with 18 points and had two blocks (one serious highlight reel material) that had her teammates jumping around like big ole goofballs.
"She's just that type of person. She's going to make those plays that just lift our spirits or do something crazy," Paris said. "I'm going to be pretty embarrassed about it when I look back on that, but she's a good player and she works hard."

Speaking of fans, the Big 12 rocks the house like no other conference. Check out this article on the Oklahoma/Oklahoma State fans: "Two rabid crowds show state's love of women's hoops."
If you're ever looking back for the day when the women's basketball phenomenon in Oklahoma truly took hold, the day when we knew this sport had ascended past just one successful program or one bitter rivalry, you might settle on Sunday.

On a pristine January afternoon, high temperature 67, as good a winter's day as we're likely to see, 14,283 fans marched into two coliseums to watch women play basketball.
Charlie Creme has a new Bracketology (and yes, UConn would go to Greensboro) and says "All games are not equal."
A number of things have been firmly established now that the season is well past the midway point. Connecticut and Tennessee are really good. The Big 12 is must-see TV. The Big Ten is like prime-time television with the writers on strike (oh wait, we know what that's like, too). And a one-handed Erlana Larkins is still better than most posts with two good mitts.
Mechelle puts together a little somethin'-somethin' on the (#2) TN v. (#10) Duke game tonight (7pmEST). As she accurately notes, now that Pat has "threatened" the Duke admin and the Cameron Crazies, "the question is how much can Duke's players do to bother Tennessee?"
Interesting moment during the Notre Dame/UConn game on ESPN last night.

Looking at the games left on UConn's schedule -- including LSU and two, if not three, against #4 Rutgers -- you could sense Carolyn Peck thought the Huskies might run the table. **hears UConn fans making sacrifices to the mojo gods**

Said Peck (in a poorly paraphrased statement), "Tennessee won't have the chance to regain the top seeding since the regular season game between UConn & TN has been cancelled. And that top seed will likely go to Greensboro -- where TN would love to go."

Dems da breaks, huh?

Speaking of the game itself, the Huskies used a variety of weapons to silence the sold out (11,418) crowd in South Bend. First, Maya Moore scored the first 15pts, going 4-4 from behind the arc (she added a foul shot for a four-point-play.) ND coach Muffet McGraw instantly adjusted her defense, and Moore went scoreless for the rest of the game.

So Tina Charles stepped up and had a monster game (22/8). Later, it was Renee Montgomery who, having sat most of the first half with two fouls, waited until the 12 minute mark to score the first of her 12 points. None were more timely than the pull-up three that stiffled any hope of a Notre Dame run, and powered UConn to an 81-64 win over the #16 Irish.

The glue throughout, though, was Ketia Swanier, who notched 11 assists, five rebounds, and four steals in 32 minutes of play.
From Mel:

The Philadelphia Sports Writers Association will honor Immaculata College's three-time national women's basketball champions of the 1970s at tonight's annual awards banquet in Cherry Hill.

Immaculata won titles from 1972 to '74 in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. The AIAW predated the arrival of the NCAA women's tournament in 1981-82.

Apparently Theresa Grentz, the star center of the Mighty Macs, will speak tonight on behalf of her former teammates. THAT would be worth the price of admission.
So, maybe there is a WHB curse?

First, we mention NYU's McEntee, and then, in the battle of the red and blue palate, Chicago's Maroons come in to Coles gym and upset the #9 NYU Violets.

Small comfort that McEntee led all scorers with 25 points to go along with 14 rebounds. Her team had the lead, but Chicago fought back with a strong half, out shooting and out rebounding NYU, and came away with the 72-68 win.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

It's official - the W and the players have a new 6-year-CBA.
Pam Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Women's National Basketball Players Association, said the new CBA — the third for the 11-year-old league — positively impacts every group of WNBA players. "Some deals players have to wait five years to feel the impact of the negotiations, the impact of this agreement will be felt immediately," Wheeler said.

There will be a two-tier salary cap system. There will be a guaranteed 3% annual increase in the "hard" cap, with owners able to spend an average of an additional 4% under the "flex" cap.
Slow-it-down-and-then-shoot-threes Villanova almost upset defense-first, clog-it-up, press-a-lot Rutgers. Eeeeeepiphany Prince scored 19 and sank three of six trey tries: her Scarlet Knights have now won twelve in a row.

Coach Stringer on 'Nova: "They can only shoot threes.... We can execute and get ourselves free for a shot, but we can also break you down." But she had more flattering comments too: "Villanova is very smart and they read defenses very well. [Coach Peretta] doesn’t let you make a mistake."
The other Cowgirls in the poll (#19) keep on winning. 18-1 and 6-0 in the Mountain West, Wyoming defeated Colorado State 68-55.
"CSU always wants to beat us. It's the Border War, and they always bring their 'A' game against us," Wyoming star forward Hanna Zavecz said. "That's probably one of our toughest wins all year."
Chaos in Chapel Hill: in a game full of excitement but without much rhythm, the Tar Heels led early, fell behind late, then forced two overtimes to beat Maryland after two Terps fouled out.

The UNC home crowd looked great-- enthused, and full of students (way more so than, say, in Latta's frosh year), with a sprinkling of bussed-in Maryland fans. For the home team, Larkins looked magnificent, delivering 18 boards, 25 points, and 11 of her fourteen free-throw attempts; she got just what she didn't get at UConn-- help from the taller folks and shot-blockers around her.

For Maryland, Tolliver looked great, but also got tired: she and Coleman played 50 minutes apiece. In Brenda's pregnancy-related absence, coach Park seemed less than eager to use his timeouts, and really wary of his bench: would the outcome have differed, once overtime began, if more than seven Terps had seen the floor?

UPDATE: Voepel turns in not one but two stories on how the Tar Heels feel. Also, the BasketCases remind us that Brenda didn't use her bench much more than coach Park does-- though the timeoutlessness last night was his call, not hers.
Stanford opened a can up on Cal in Maples, as the much anticipated Pac-10 matchup turned out to be no contest: the Cardinal led 32-16 at the break.

Wiggins was Wiggins, but Appel was fine too. "If a coach ever wants to teach a young center how to handle a double team," says the SF Chronicle's Gwen Knapp, "a videotape from this game will do the job."
We didn't listen to the public-radio program Only a Game until we moved from Minnesota to Boston: it comes out of Boston's WBUR, and it doesn't seem to show up on the Twin Cities dial.

Now, however, we love it. Yesterday (Saturday) the show ran two separate WCBB features--- one with Bay Area journalist Michelle Smith breaking down this week's top 25, the other an interview with Coach Mulkey; the OaG website reviewed coach Mulkey's book too.

You can hear the hourlong show, or just the Smith interview, via this link right here.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Maryville University rolls on against the Battlin' Beavers. USA Today has noticed the Saints and their conference win streak nearing Emmanuel College's DIII record.
Illinois State has been drawing some attention this season. Last night, they took on MVC rival, and traditional conference powerhouse, (Southwest) Missouri State. Springfield, Missouri, appreciates a quality women's game and had just that...for the first half.

After exchanging runs, both teams went into the intermission with 40 points. However, the Lady Bears could not keep up with the Red Birds and were outscored 19-55 in the last 20 minutes.

Reigning MVC Player of the Year, Kristi Cirone had a solid 19 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals. The player of the game was ISU's Maggie Krick, who tied a school record with 7 three-pointers.

Tahnee Balerio led Missouri State with 17 points and 5 assists, despite spending time in the locker room after rolling her ankle in the second half.

Illinois State should be able to handle the Shockers at Wichita State tomorrow. With only one loss (a tough game against DePaul), the Red Birds should also be able to handle themselves in the Top 25.
Going into the January 24th matchup against St. Paul's College, Elizabeth City State University's Celeste Trahan had scored 1,953 points and grabbed 1,428 boards. That put the All-American center just 47 points and 72 rebounds away from becoming the first women's player in Division II history to score 2,000 points and snag 1,500 rebounds.

Though ECSU lost, the California native tallied her 77th career double-double with 30 points and 16 rebounds. 17 and 56 to go with 10 regular season games to go.
Philly's Mel Greenberg brings us blogging on Drexel's 9-game winning streak. Picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic League (dominated by ODU and Wendy Larry since basketball was invented), the Dragons play has put them in a three-way tie for first place.

In only her fourth year at the helm Denise Dillon, whose basketball roots reach to Villanova both as a player and coach, is sparking talk of a second CAA Coach of the Year title.

Oh, and look at that! Looks like Mel took in the Cabrini-Notre Dame game at the Garden.

How nice for him.
On January 14, R. Vivian Acosta, Ph.D. and Linda Jean Carpenter, Ph.D., J.D. published their ongoing study, "Women in Intercollegiate Sport: A Longitudinal, National Study , Thirty-One Year Update." Says the introduction:
Among many other things, the 2008 data show the highest ever participation by women in our nation's intercollegiate athletics programs. On the other hand, the data also continue to show a depressed representation of women as head coaches both of women's teams and of men's teams.

Among the administrative ranks however, more females (both as a percentage and as an absolute number) serve as athletics directors than at any time since the mid 1970s.
You can download a PDF of the full report here. Some key highlights:

  • Highest ever number of women’s teams: 9101 teams, 8.65 per school.
  • 42.8% of women’s teams are coached by a female head coach. (v 90% in 1972)
  • 21.3% of athletics directors are females. This represents a significant increase from 18.6% in 2006. (v. 90% in 1972)

In the Commentary section, they note the impact of female administrators on the presence of female coaching (which harkens back to Dr. Brand's called attention to the lack of women and minorities in head coaching and athletic director positions.)
In Division I programs with no female administrator at any level, 30.6% of the coaches of women's teams are females compared to 43.9% in program with a male AD but also having at least one female serving as an assistant or associate AD. The percentage of female coaches increases even more when the AD is a female (50% female coaches of women's teams in Division I).

Friday, January 25, 2008

Women's basketball's newest best friend, the Gray Lady, offers fans another little nugget of goodness. This time they focus on NYU player Jessica McEntee. (NYU sits at #9 in the national D-III poll)
As a freshman, McEntee appeared in 25 games as a reserve despite having mononucleosis. In her sophomore season, she broke her nose and was forced to wear a bulky mask while playing.

Yet McEntee, a versatile 5-foot-11 forward, led the Violets to their first Final Four since 1997, when they won their only national championship. She was a unanimous second-team all-American selection by Women’s DIII News and d3hoops.com; was one of 10 players honored by Kodak/WBCA; and was voted the University Athletic Association Player of the Year.
So THAT'S where she went!

The New York Times has an article on Cathy Andruzzi and tough times at Fordham University. People might remember Druzz from the 1973 Queens College team, her early college coaching and ABL years, the 2000 Final Four or her brief stay as an assistant at Rutgers and Seton Hall.
But now Andruzzi is attempting to sell recruits on a program that has not had a winning season since 1995, one that has lost 20 games in a season five times since 1999-2000. She brought in eight new players this season — five freshmen and three junior college transfers — and most of them were thrust directly into the fray.
Need more on tomorrow's Cal-Stanford match-up? Check out Michelle Smith's article "Reaching New Heights at Cal."
"You can tell they've turned the corner," Fox Sports analyst Mary Murphy said. "Cal is not happy just to be included in the party. They are not satisfied with being a good team. They want to be making great things happen."
You say you want more? How about Andrew Kim's "Cal Aims to Knock Cardinal From Grace," which also offers a Cal podcast.

Cardinal fan? Read "Stanford women loaded for Bear in Pac-10 showdown."
The Cardinal (6-2, 16-3) will not recover from a third conference loss as the Bears (8-0, 17-2) already have finished off its two toughest Pac-10 road trips and swept both of them. Stanford was swept once, in Los Angeles at the beginning of January. Stanford needs to think sweep, one game at a time, the rest of the way or that eighth straight Pac-10 title goes merrily down the stream.
San Jose's Mercury News has something, too, in the article "Stanford's Pac-10 title defense in jeopardy."
"I wouldn't count Stanford out of anything," said Bonvicini, whose Arizona Wildcats lost to both teams last weekend. "That's not to discount that Cal can win. Obviously, this one Saturday is a big one for both Stanford and Cal. But we have a lot of basketball to be played, both at home and on the road, and the road for some has been unkind."
SI.com steps up and offers -- wait, no, it's an AP article -- "Cal leads Pac-10 standings but trails Stanford in pedigree."
When California faces Stanford in what's being billed on both campuses as the biggest women's college basketball game ever between the Bay Area rivals, there will be a reversal of roles.
Looks to be on Fox Sports Net at 5pmEST.
A little something from the Baltimore Sun in anticipation of Saturday's North Carolina-Maryland battle:
Because the teams will meet only once in the regular season, the winner not only will own the tiebreaker should there be a deadlock, but have the cushion of being able to lose a game in the second half of the conference schedule without necessarily ceding first place. Today's winner also might claim a leg up in the race for a top seed in the NCAA tournament among a pool of teams that includes top-ranked Connecticut, No. 2 Tennessee, both of which have beaten North Carolina, and No. 5 Rutgers, which gave Maryland its lone loss.
Look for the game on FSN, 1pmEST
So, imagine you're a Cameron Crazy and, what with Monday's sold out Duke-Tennessee game on the horizon, you're getting a head start painting yourself blue and practicing chanting, "Bounce... bounce... bounce... PASS!"...and then your equally blue roomie shows you this tidbit:
Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt hopes that Duke’s “Cameron Crazies” waving plastic shopping bags and chanting “Wal-Mart” at Lady Vols guard Alexis Hornbuckle are things of the past.

If not, then the series between the two schools might be.
So, how do you think you might react?
Things that I, as a decade-long subscriber, don't expect the New York Liberty to keep me apprised of: what's believed to be the first game in Madison Square Garden between two Division III women's teams.

On Wednesday, Philadelphia's Cabrini Cavaliers defeated Maryland's College of Notre Dame behind Junior Kayleen Smith's 21 points. A close game at the half (26-24), Cabrini used a 38-0 run to put the game away. Says the AP report in USAToday (thank you!):
Cabrini traveled to New York on Tuesday night and took in some city sights. "We walked around Times Square last night and made pretend we were famous for a minute," Cabrini coach Bobbi Morgan said.

The two teams were given the full Garden treatment to the delight of the very few fans, friends, family and school officials who were allowed to step on the court at halftime and shoot baskets.
No, I don't want to know about these kinds of things, happening right around the corner from my office. I'd rather hear about a pre-sale for Cold Play.

Really. I mean it.

You know, sometimes "coverage" comes about because there a reporter who simply loves the women's game and a coach who's more that willing to give of her time.

Exhibit One: Kris Gardner over at the Houston Roundball Review has been doing weekly interviews with Oklahoma's Sherri Coale. Check out his podcasts here.

You notice I haven't said anything about the fact that Sherri owes us a blog entry. Or two.
Other games of note:

The #14 Cowgirls got thrown by the Longhorns, ending Oklahoma State's 8-game wining streak.

Meanwhile Nebraska continues to make some noise. Their defense forced #21 Texas A&M into 30 turnovers, and the Huskers walked away with the win, 73-60. That is, by the way, the Aggies fourth loss in the last five games.
There's BIG NEWS (CBA awaiting signature?) and it seems the expansion draft will be Feb. 8th.
Title IX expert Nancy Hogshead-Makar knew what she was talking about when she said:
"In the past," noted Hogshead-Makar, "when women complained about pay or how their female athletes were being treated, they were really close to being fired. Whereas now they have this call for agitation against retaliation, so actually they have more job protection if they complain than if they don't."
Just look over at the Title IX blog, They've found another retaliation case (Robin Potera-Haskins v. Montana State University) adding to a growing list. Notes Erin,
...it helps illustrate the trend of Title IX retaliation cases we have seen in the wake of Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the 2005 Supreme Court decision affirming that Title IX also protects coaches (and others) who complain about inequitable treatment of women's sports. Potera-Haskins is another member of the "team" of female coaches and athletic department administrators who have brought retaliation cases against their colleges or universities -- a list that includes Eve Atkinson (Lafayette College - A.D.), Lindy Vivas (Fresno - Volleyball), Karen Moe Humphreys (Asst. AD and Cal Berkley- Swimming), Diane Milutinovich (Fresno State Athletic Admin.), Stacy Johnson-Klein (Fresno State - Basketball), Laura Wartluft (Feather River College, CA, staff member), Terri Patraw (University of Nevada-Reno - Soccer), Deena Deardurff Schmidt, (San Diego State - Diving and Swimming), and Jaye Flood (Florida Gulf Coast University - Volleyball).
Getting back to Olympian Hogshead-Makar, I highly recommend reading her 2002 letter to 60 Minutes in response to their piece on Title IX. Her opening salvo:
Dear Cathy Olian, Bob Simon and "60 Minutes,"

Your one-sided segment on Title IX merits a gold medal for shoddy journalism. It not only misled your viewers by incorrectly stating the law in this area, but by also blatantly excluding obvious and important counter-arguments and data—which I gave you in droves in my two-hour on-camera interview, numerous phone conversations with your producers and supporting documentation—refuting the shallow claims of the wrestlers and their coach that Title IX is "quota" law that hurts men's sports. Your report card from this professor: "F" for inaccurate news reporting that cavalierly ignored the facts.
If you've been paying attention, you've probably noticed that the SEC is having (for it) a down year. While there were some early rumblings, the usual suspects are floating to the top of the conference standings.

#9 LSU easily shut down once-upon-a-time undefeated #22 Auburn (now 13-6/1-3 SEC) 79-59.

#14 Georgia blew out Florida, 82-55, while #2 Tennessee rolled over Arkansas 98-55. (Some interesting discussion about Bjorklund's last three-fest with the game well in hand...)

#23 Georgia Tech didn't have what it took to handle #10 Duke, and lost 73-47.
Graham Hays follows in Debbie and Beth's pod-steps and writes about Cal coach Boyle, the rise of the Bears and what happened when the Gail-to-Texas-Boyle-back-to-Duke rumors swirled.
"It was really interesting, because we didn't hear the rumors yet," Walker said. "She called every one of us and said 'You might hear that people have been asking if I want the job.' I don't think it really clicked to any of us that she would be the one they would go after. I mean, obviously we knew in the back of our minds that she would be the one, but none of us was like, 'Oh, she's going to leave us.' "
A little flashback Friday:

Took a peek at the Division II polls and was irrationally thrilled to see undefeated Delta State as numero uno. What can I say, I have a soft spot for the school of Margaret Wade and Lucy Harris. 'sides, that's what happens when North Dakota loses its first game of the season and drops to fourth. Concordia (MN) and Seattle Pacific (WA) come in at two and three, and have yet to lose.

Things are still tight over in Division III. The top ten teams have either no losses or one. Looks like WHB's streak-breaking rep (sorry Indiana Wesleyan) didn't work on Howard Payne. They've move up a spot to #2.

Union is establishing itself as the team to beat in NAIA Division I. They're the lone undefeated team in the poll.

College of the Ozarks (Mo.) and Northwestern (Iowa) held onto No. 1 and 2 in the NAIA Division II poll.
Yet another ACL: Texas A&M has lost 5-foot-8 senior reserve LaToya Gulley for the season.
After the latest installment of As the Big Ten Turns last night, first place Ohio State finds 5 teams nipping at their heels in a tie for second place.

Wisconsin secured their much needed second conference win of the season with a dominating 79-52 victory over Penn State. The Badgers had four players in double figures and only turned the ball over five times. The Lady Lions struggled from the floor, shooting 34%.

Michigan State used a game winning shot by Alyssa DeHaan, balanced scoring and the return of Mia Johnson to the starting line-up to down Illinois 65-62 on the road. Johnson, who is coming off an ACL injury from the off-season, scored a season high 20 for the Spartans.

Michigan continued its turnaround this season by defeating Indiana 67-59. It was their fifth conference win on the season and 8th straight home win (their best home start in school history). Carly Benson led four players in double figures with 22 points.

Iowa may be the hottest team in the league as they won their third straight game, this time taking down Purdue 69-53. Kristi Smith led all scorers with 19 and Megan Skouby added 17 off the bench for the Hawkeyes.

The performance of the night in the league belongs to Minnesota's Leslie Knight who led the Gophers to a 79-70 win over Ohio State. Knight scored a career high 33 in a feat described by her coach as unbelievable. "It was a great win for our team and one we needed right now for the standings," said Gophers coach Pam Borton. While the Gophers need to win on Sunday against Michigan State to keep the momentum going, they are starting to get the attention of the local columnists again.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So you're not an early riser.

Or you are, but for some reason the first thing you do after you open your eyes is NOT check out WHB. (tsk. tsk.)

In either case, if you're banging your head against the wall cause you missed Brenda and Crew on the early show, never fear, they're online already. Check it out here.
Thanks to thesixthwoman, we've stumbled onto more words on women's basketball tucked within the maze that is SI.com. Columnist (and some might say, "an icon in the world of progressive sports") Dave Zirin writes from "The Edge of Sports," and his piece is entitled, "What we're missing: The Rutgers women are a story in perseverance."

He wonders about the cone of silence around the game as a whole.
But the resurrection of the men, doesn't sufficiently answer why the women's game lacks heat. The answer lies in the coverage, and the priorities of the sports media. Despite the exponential rise in players and participants, the sports media is still stubbornly male. While Imus at least took time to denigrate the Rutgers women, most sports radio folks barely mentioned their Cinderella ascent to the Final Four. In other words, silence, not derision, is the number one obstacle women's sports face. The maddening part about it is that women's hoop nation has proven that it has an audience and a viable market.
Geez, first I get all snarky about the NYTimes and their lack of coverage, and suddenly they start producing pieces on women's basketball.

Bored, I (and others) start poking at SI.com, and suddenly Dave speaks up. What is a mouthy broad to think about all that? "I am woman, hear me roar?!?!"

By the way, feel free to write Dave at siwriters@simail.com. Need a few hints on what to say? Check out Kim's "Media Tips."

'Cause if you're reading this, "YOU are fans, and YOU can roar."

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Early riser? Look for coach Brenda on CBS Thursday morning. The Basket Cases will be watching too.
Some more local love -- this time from Queens, NY. The Courier writes about 5'4" (yeah, right!) Christ the King grad Lorin Dixon. The UConn freshman was thrust into the starting line-up when Mel Thomas went down.
When Auriemma told her of the lineup change last Thursday, January 24, Dixon admittedly stopped breathing for a few moments.

“It was very hard to believe,” she said. “I was like, ‘Is he talking to me or is there another Lorin in the room?’ It’s a lot to take in. It was overwhelming.”
Cool news out of Seattle: Storm season-ticket renewals since the purchase have already exceeded the entire total for the previous year.
Apparently, that Mr. Ray Ratto has decided to write a piece about women' s basketball is big news to those "in the know" in the Bay. So welcome to the big time, R.R., and thanks for previewing the Stanford/Cal match-up on Saturday.
The two programs are now as close as the map says they are - Cal is 17-2 (8-0 in conference), Stanford 16-3 (6-2), ranked aside each other (Stanford seventh, Cal eighth) in the most significant rankings, and almost as close in the RPI (Stanford fifth, Cal 13th in a field of 341). They are a West Coast equivalent to the Oklahoma -Oklahoma State and Duke-North Carolina hyper- rivalries.

Thus Saturday's game between the two sides at Maples Pavilion offers a chance for both the Fightin' Boyles and the Snarlin' VanDerveers to consolidate their newfound equality on the floor with a packed house of fully invested fans. A great game is therefore mandatory. Some nasty post-game controversy would be even better.
Also over at ESPN.com, Mechelle writes about Kristi Toliver:
It seemed as fanciful as the notion of Peter Pan losing his shadow. How could Kristi Toliver's mojo have gone missing?
Voepel also wrote about one of Charlie's surprises, the revival of the Dayton Flyers, and acknowledges her streak-breaking power. After some very cool back story, she writes:
Which brings us to the Flyers' current season, where they were riding a 16-game winning streak entering Saturday's game at Duquesne.

In the "it figures" category, I wrote about the Flyers, filed the piece … and they promptly lost to Duquesne. It was "upset day" in the Atlantic-10, as George Washington was upended by Temple.

Anyway, even though Dayton's streak is over, it's worth taking a look at how it began and what's going with women's hoops in the Wright brothers' hometown.
Mr. Creme give you a chance to catch up on some of the "Biggest surprises of 2007-08:"
In this Ricky Bobby world that we live in ("If you ain't first, you're last"), being the champion is seemingly all that matters. The casual or non-fan assumes that either Tennessee or UConn wins the title every year and disregards the mere mention of any other women's program. While that line of thinking is a credit to those for-the-ages programs, it obscures everything else that is wonderful with the game today.
The Atlanta Journal writes about their favorite daughter, Maya Moore, as she makes the transition from Georgia to Connecticut. Lovely tone to the piece:
The two-time national player of the year at Collins Hill is all New England's now. A new Mayan culture is springing up around the 6-foot bundle of smooth. Granted, these people up here sure do talk funny, and they live part time in a meat locker, but they also take their women's basketball seriously. It is a terrific place to build a legend, conveniently close to the myth-makers of New York City.
No, I mean it -- check out Debbie and Beth's pod. This week:
Beth and Debbie begin this week's show, as they always do, with their "Starting Five" that features a great discussion on ACL injuries. For the bulk of the show the two spend time with Maryland Head Coach, and expecting mother of twins, Brenda Frese. Beth and Debbie, then, wrap up the show doing "Pick and Roll" with fan e-mails and finish with thoughts from the cocktail napkin.
"Dang!," you'll say, "That was great! Can't believe I missed the previous shows!" Never fear, says the WBCA!

If any of you would like to access previous shows, our podcast archive page is now up and running. Each episode is listed by date and includes an image and bullet points to help describe what the show was about.
Should Pilight take credit for the Atlanta team name?
Also from USA Today's Patrick, enthusiasm for a very pregnant Coach Brenda... and a headline with zeugma.
Getting coverage for women's sports -- specifically women's basketball -- takes work. It's not just about proving to the media that fans care, which they can then translate to advertisers as "fans will spend money." You've got to convince the media itself (as Marie Hardin notes).

One down, zillions to go. Writes Steve Cameron in his column, "These aren't the same girls I remember:"
If you'd told me -- back in those first few years I worked in the newspaper biz -- that I'd be out on a rainy night covering girls hoops because it really mattered, well...

I'd have laughed.

In fact, girls didn't even play organized sports in high school when I started -- or if they did, it wasn't considered important enough that you'd actually print a score in the sports section.

Even when Title IX was written into law and equal opportunities were mandated for female athletes, most of us simply yawned.
Dick Patrick over at USA Today takes (well-deserved) notice of Pittsburgh's Shavonte Zellous. Zellous was the Big East's most improved player last season, averaging 19.1 ppg. This year, she's averaging 29.8 in four Big East games. Where'd she come from?
In May 2003, Agnus Berenato was the new coach at Pittsburgh looking for prospects and Shavonte Zellous was a basketball player/track star in Orlando without any Division I offers.

"We took her," said Berenato, previously the coach at Georgia Tech. "That was because we were so bad that we needed anything."
Ron says Atlanta be Dreamin'.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dang, but SI.com is good at hiding their stuff on women's basketball. They wouldn't do that on purpose, now, would they?

Dumb luck takes me to a piece by Kelli Anderson on Wyoming's Hanna Zavecz. (I have a soft spot for Wyoming, because of their fabulous WNIT run last season.)
"I believe Hanna will go down as the best player in Wyoming history," says fifth-year coach Joe Legerski, who signed Zavecz, his first international player, without ever having seen her play, even on videotape. (He brought her over on the recommendation of a club coach in Australia.) "She's a tremendous offensive player and has a great understanding of the game."
Anderson writes about the influx of Aussies (including Patty Mills of St. Mary's) in a second piece:
Ever since Andrew Bogut, a 7-footer out of Melbourne, was named college basketball's 2005 national player of the year as a sophomore at Utah and went No. 1 in that June's NBA draft, America, of all places, has become the destination of choice for many of Australia's best young hoops talents.
Still waiting for the Liberty to get their (healthy) Aussie....sigh.

Tracy Schultz has a couple of pieces on the site, too. Her weekly power rankings and an article on mighty-mite Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley.
Tagging along with dad as he coached his AAU team, Andrea Riley was just a toddler when she first stepped onto a basketball court. Twenty years later, his words still stick with her.

"He told me, 'I know you want to play, but you're a little small,'" Riley said. "I've worked hard because I don't want to be the person that's too small to play. I didn't want to be the player that everyone pushed out because I was too small."
In case no one's noticed, after beating Louisville 70-57, Rutgers has a 10-game winning streak.

The Knight's 15-2 start marks the best start for head coach C. Vivian Stringer during her tenure at Rutgers., but Stringer is looking for more from individual players and more from her team.
Hays on the UConn/UNC game:
"It was frantic, flawed, flustered and fun. It was fantastic."
Also, the NYTimes was one of the game's 100 credentialed media. It's already dropped off the main page, what with Tom Brady walking in Greenwich Village in a boot, but Thomas Kaplan did write up a post-game report.
Sometimes it's a gimmick -- sometimes it's not.

You'll recall Kristin Green, the third ever signing of a female player in the ABA. Well in only her second game, the UC Irvine grad went off for 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting.

Great news for her -- not so much for her team, the Orange County Gladiators. Green caught the eye of Michael Cooper, and will be leaving the team to prepare for the L.A. Sparks training camp in April.
Can it be an inspiring upset when the number one team in the country wins at home, on TV, before a packed house?

Sure it can-- and it was certainly a surprise: with two starters lost for the year and Brittany Hunter still unavailable, the Huskies faced the prospect of exhaustion against the athletic Tar Heels, who had beaten them three times in a row.

UNC executed perfectly at the start, scoring the first eight and controlling the glass; it felt like 2005. At halftime the visitors led by eleven.

But halftime changed everything. Montgomery-- who lit up the scoreboard with 26-- kept her focus, while UNC's guards lost theirs. Tina Charles-- outmuscled early by Larkins-- took charge; UConn's game plan-- above all, keep Larkins from shooting-- began to pay off.

Above all, Charde Houston responded: her second half included the best basketball of her career so far. "Having Mel [Thomas], with her leg [elevated], yelling [encouragement] at me," Charde recalled, "that really touched my heart."

When you're tacitly expected to win everything every year, the biggest shocks are usually the letdowns (or, worse yet, the injuries). This time, though, the fans in Gampel (and the fans, and the haters, on ESPN) saw UConn win a game many people expected they'd lose. Some fans call it the Huskies' finest hour ever, which might be a stretch. But it was sure fun to watch-- except for those among us in Tar Heel blue.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Clay grits his teeth and thinks hard about ACL tears.
A while back, there were some rumblings in the D-III world about restructuring the Division. Membership was increasing, and there was a growing feeling that some basic philosophical divisions were emerging. More rumblings from the NCAA convention:
Several delegates forcefully argued during last Monday's discussion concluding the NCAA Convention that restructuring is too severe a step for dealing with membership growth and its byproducts -- some because they think the problems driving the discussion are exaggerated, and others because they object to the notion that schools wanting to continue honoring traditional Division III ideals may have to move into a new division to do so.

But others were equally adamant that the current problems are real. A couple of the record 122 presidents who registered to attend this year's Convention pointed to close votes on proposals that morning as yet more evidence -- in addition to data on membership voting trends and demographics presented by the working group -- that there is a widening gap between two different philosophies of conducting intercollegiate athletics.
Don't think that discussions about the underlying mission of sports in education is the exclusive purview of Division III. It spills into arguments about paying student-athletes, the rationale behind scheduling a 12th college football game, and whether elite high school athletes should simply be siphoned off into club teams, free from academic and high school association restrictions.

What do you think is behind the "and most of them will go on to something else," ads or the news that the NCAA is forming a presidential task force on the issues of commercialism and student-athlete welfare?

That's something executive director Amy Perko (audio from the Convention) and the Knight Commission have been actively tracking since their groundbreaking report in 1991.
A game you'd wished you'd seen: Georgia Tech took Maryland to double-overtime.

You'll recall the Brenda Frese post-championship book, "Overtime is Our Time." It was again, as #4 Maryland escaped with a 99-94 victory. It's their eighth straight overtime game victory dating to the 2004-05 season. Notes Mechelle Voepel:
"Phew!" would be the word for the weekend for the Terps and their fans. The team was pushed twice, and Maryland had plenty of opportunities to lose.
Note to Terrapin opponents: the Yellow Jackets pressed'em all game, forcing 26 turnovers. They're also an undersized and physical team, which explains the foul disparity (34-12) and why four of their five starters fouled out.

By the way, the ever classy, and truly wonderful player, Vicky Bullett was at the game to honor Crystal Langhorne, who broke Bullett's Maryland scoring record.
The Tampa Bay Tribune is already starting to fuel local Final Four buzz. Check out Katherine Smith's projections, comments on knees and updates on the tourney plans.
After reading about Debbie Antonelli, I got curious about her pod-casting partner Beth Mowins.

A four-year letterwinner and two-year captain of the Lafayette women's basketball team, in 2005 Mowins was inducted into the Lafayette College Hall of Fame. She still ranks among Lafayette's top players, setting the single-season (220) and career (715) assists records. She ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list, with 1,159 points as a guard. Mowins also led the Leopards to the 1986-87 East Coast Conference championship.

As outlined in 2005 article from WomensSportsNet, "From Backyard to Broadcast Booth," Mowins has slowly worked her way up through the broadcasting ranks. It should come as no surprise that she graduated from Syracuse's Newhouse School of Communication (as do so many of ESPN's announcers...now you know why the Orange gets so much abuse in their commercials). "One of her biggest hopes," says the article, "is that women’s sports will continue to gain a bigger viewing audience.
“My wish, and TV ratings bear me out,” says Mowins, “a lot more women play now, have kids who play, but don’t watch women’s sports on TV. If more women would watch women’s sports on TV it would urge [TV] executives to put more on.”
By the way, if you haven't yet, do check out Debbie and Beth's podcast. (The latest one, by the way, has a great interview with Cal coach Joanne Boyle.) It runs about 30 minutes and is as close as D-1 women's basketball gets to a national radio show.
The Blue Devils retired Lindsey Harding's jersey, and then retired the Wolfpack with ease.

Joy Cheek's trey led a big rally; "Everyone likes a three, especially from a post player," coach P said. Her big lead let her give nine players significant time.

Harding became the second woman to see her jersey rise in Cameron Indoor Stadium, after Alana Beard. "It just speaks volumes," Beard said.
Stanford had a crappy first half but recovered to win in Tempe; Appel and Pederson looked fine, combining for 18 and 16, and Wiggins showed up in force by the end.

Arizona State likes to run, and defends with great energy; not for the first time, they looked good early on, but seemed to wear themselves out. "We can get away with some teams playing 30 minutes or so," concluded coach Turner Thorne, "but with Stanford you have to play 40."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I know less than nothing about economics so, every now and then, I peek in to the Sports Economist blog.

Now that the Storm are safe by Sound, it's intriguing to note how the Sonics are arguing for the team's release from Washington. Note the peeps over at the site:
"The financial issue is simple, and the city's analysts agree, [say the Sonics' attorneys] there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle's many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave," the Sonics said in the court brief.

...Rodney Fort, a professor of sports management at the University of Michigan, who has criticized the economic-impact claims made by pro-sports teams, called the Sonics' latest argument "the best chuckle" he's had in a long time.
Gosh, I can see why Oklahoma City (or whoever) would be tempted to invite a NBA team to their city.
The News & Observer writes about Debbie Antonelli and her activism in the fight against breast cancer. Antonelli, notes writer Rachel Carter, is one of the few in the broadcasting world working full-time on women's basketball.
1) So much for sunshine and love out in California. USC squeezed out at 64-56 win over UCLA, but not after four players were ejected for leaving the bench after a near brawl developed along the sideline.

2) The city of Brotherly Love was no such thing to the visiting George Washington Colonials. Temple, which has seriously stumbled since leaving St. Thomas back in November, upset #13 GW, 68-66, behind freshman Lindsay Kimmel's 15 points.
"Temple's record is a little deceiving in that they went out like us and played a national schedule," said George Washington coach Joe McKeown, a graduate of Father Judge High School. "But unfortunately, a game like this probably puts them back on track."
3) The residents of the Nutmeg State watched with intense interest as the third remaking of their UConn Huskies stepped onto the floor against Cincinnati. With starters Mel Thomas, Kalana Green and Brittany Hunter (knee flare up) out, freshman Lorin Dixon made her first start as point guard, and Renee Montgomery shifted to the two spot.

Dixon played 35 minutes, finishing with 7 assists, 3 tunrnovers and 4points. Montgomery responded with a career high 27 points (7-10 on 3ptrs), and Maya Moore added 21 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists and UConn romped to a 86-49 victory.

Doubtless tomorrow will be a harder test - #3 UNC - but it was a relief to have one game out of the way. "I think [the win] did a lot for everyone's psyche," Montgomery said. "Everyone can exhale now. We're going to be OK."

Side note: Thomas did attend the game, one day after her surgery. She was welcomed by a loud standing ovation as she stood by the team bench on crutches.
"I don't think she knew how to react," Auriemma said. "It was almost like 'did I come to the wrong spot' or 'what's this all about?' And I think she realized, 'I'm in the right spot and everybody's letting me know I'm in the right spot.' And I wanted her to know, 'You're in the right spot. This is where you should be.'"
Texas A&M, frankly, looked better as a team, but the Cowgirls' Andrea Riley didn't care: she led Oklahoma State to a comeback win in a tough game that made the intense 5'5" Dallas native look as exciting as any player in the land.

Riley's 29 points and five treys included two from way outside the arc: one of the two was the game-winner, launched with under seven seconds to go.

Also learned from watching the televised matchup: A&M's A'Quonesia Franklin is called "Aqua"; OSU's Megan Byford is quite good under the hoop (she reminded me slightly of Kelli Roehrig); and OSU remains undefeated in conference play.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Shira Springer at the Boston Globe looks at women executives in the (male) sports world.
An analysis of staff directories from the 122 franchises comprising Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, National Football League, and National Hockey League revealed 10.8 percent of vice president positions or higher were filled by females. Subtract the women in non-revenue-producing departments (media/community relations, special events, human resources, and legal), which typically do not make decisions affecting the team, and the number plummets to 6.2 percent. Women like Ng and Yankees vice president and assistant general manager Jean Afterman, and Phoenix Suns vice president Ann Meyers Drysdale fill only 2.1 percent of team management positions. By comparison, women occupy 16.4 percent of corporate officer positions - vice president or higher - in Fortune 500 companies.
Out of Warrensburg, MO, the story of six female athletes who accused the school's softball and girl's basketball coach of sexual misconduct.
They've been hit with insults to their faces and on Facebook and MySpace pages. Their parents' jobs have been threatened. And the involvement of their attorney, who also happens to be the wife of the University Central Missouri's president, has sparked a backlash that includes efforts to oust the college leader.

"They tell us we're tearing apart the community. They've told us to leave town, (that) we don't love this place," said the parent of one of the girls, a police officer and lifelong resident of the town, a one hour drive east of Kansas City.
The Storm will be missing Lauren Jackson for 5 games this season as she prepares for the Olympics.
Over at the Coaching Better Basketball blog, they write:
I like watching women's basketball because as a coach, you really can see how an offensive scheme works. In men's basketball, it's usually athleticism first, scheme second. I watched the first half of the Marshall game against Tulsa. I really liked the offensive execution of Marshall. They are very structured and you can tell they prepare for games very well. This is just one of their set plays that they ran from a box formation. They also like to use a double-stack and 1-4 high sets. Watch the video and read my thoughts below.
Life without Mel Thomas start today, when UConn faces Cinncinnatti at noon Eastern. Geno reflects on the mischance.

Frosh Dixon will start today. Geno sounds optimistic: "All she needs to do is catch the inbounds pass, drive it up the foul line and pass it to someone with the same shirt on, then go stand in the corner and not mess things up."
The Terps took a while to get going in Virginia, but won decisively anyway.

Frosh Marah Strickland played every minute and scored 19; coach Brenda was told not to travel (expect her twins soon); assistant coach Park led the team.
Connecticut may hold its high school tourney at Mohegan Sun.
Shay Doron, at home for the winter: "Playing in Israel feels equally as professional as playing in the United States... I eat and sleep basketball."

As you might expect, she gets more court time with Ramat Hasharon than she did with the Libs: "It's fun for me to play WNBA players," she adds, "and know that I can guard them."
Following up on an earlier local story, SI catches up with Ann Strother in Colorado.
The Atlanta WNBA franchise gradually coalesces: expect a name (probably "Dream") soon.

"It's amazing how much we've gotten done," says prez Bill Bolen, "and it's amazing how much we have left to get done."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some quick hits from last night's games:

Tennessee's slow start offensively didn't stop them from clamping down on defense. The Vols defeated Kentucky 68-40.

UNC ran all over a BC team that has really, really struggled since joining the ACC. Final score: 87-59. Honestly, aren't you looking forward to the night UNC freshman Cetera DeGraffenreid goes off for 45 and the announcers have to say her name over and over an over again?

Stanford beat Arizona (89-64) and California took over the top spot in the PAC-10 with a thirteen point victory over Arizona State.

Ohio State came back to squeeze out a victory over Illinois 43-42. 43-42?!?!

#20 ODU continued its dominance over Virginia Commonwealth, rolling to its 86-86 win. #11 Georgia, though, is having all sorts of problems. They lost to Vanderbilt, 67-59.
Heart sick.

More injury news: Iowa State center Nicky Wieben is gone for the season with an ACL tear.

And no, we're not imagining it. There's been a sudden rash of knee injuries. By an unofficial count, at least SEVEN D-1 teams that have lost at least two players to knee-related injury.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

No, I'm not using the Title IX blog as a crutch.... But dagnabbit, they're the one who caught the news that Division III coaches have decided to put some limits on the use of male practice players.

I highly recommend reading their entry, particularly as it highlight the role of the student's voice in the process. While the use of male practice remains unregulated at the D-I and II level, a friend spoke to me about players she knew within those Divisions who were -- well, not afraid, exactly, but loathe to speak up for fear of garnering the wrath of their coaches and/or teammates.
"In this story you'll see only on FOX 4, the man tells FOX 4 why he believes the NBA stole his dream."

No kidding.

Out of Kansas City comes the story of Lightning Mitchell, who founded the WBA the '91 (I thought it was 1993) - '95. He says the W was his idea and is filing a $500 federal lawsuit because he never got any credit.

Over at the Association for Professional Basketball Research's History of Women's Professional Basketball, Robert Bradley and friends have compiled a nice list of women's professional leagues. Their notes on the league's history add a delightful twist to the story:
[Played three seasons before suspending operations with plans to play as a 12-team league in 1997, disbanded before 1997 season]

A summer league formed n 1992, the WBA played a 15-game schedule and games were broadcast on Liberty Sports of Dallas. When FOX purchased Liberty Sports they disbanded the WBA.
Hmmm... not sure Lightning is grumpy with the right people.

On an end-note, there's a NY Times piece from 1995 talks about some women's pro leagues on the horizon:
In fact, Lobo is in the middle of a quiet but intense tug-of-war between three emerging leagues: the Women's Basketball Association, the American Basketball Association and the Women's Major Basketball League.

Nancy Lieberman, the Hall of Famer, represents the W.B.A.; Steve Hams, the A.B.A.'s principal founder, signed 9 of the 11 national team members to conditional contracts. Lobo and her agent are being heavily courted but have not committed.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Voepel covers the Oklahoma State Cowgirls' big win, and the long road dusty path that got them there.
It's official: UConn loses its second starter to an ACL tear. Senior Mel Thomas is gone for the season.