Women's Hoops Blog: November 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, November 30, 2008

There are plenty of things I like about the W season that I just don't get from October to April, when this blog mostly covers women's college hoops: some of those things are people, and one of those people is Kevin Pelton, who covers the Storm in Storm season for the Storm's site and-- until this year-- wrote about the Sonics during the months when the NBA played.

Kevin is still blogging for the Storm in their offseason, but with the Sonics defunct, he seems to be using his statistical powers for good on the men's side: he's writing for Basketball Prospectus.

That's a site modeled on (and, I suspect, owned or part-owned by) Baseball Prospectus, the baseball-stats and baseball-writing site now known (in the non-baseball world) as the launching pad for political stats guy Nate Silver, of Five Thirty Eight Dot Com. Does Kevin feel like predicting elections too?
Via the ever-enthusiastic Basket Cases: the Maryland site now liveblogs at least some Terps games.
The Wall Street Journal celebrates Thanksgiving weekend with profiles of women who can dunk.

No, I don't know why this feature is timely any more than you do-- and if you do, let us know.
Notre Dame loses forward Devereaux Peters to an ACL.
Tina Charles vs. Courtney Paris, Sherri vs. Geno, and so on: what to expect from tonight's big game at Gampel (8:15pm Eastern, ESPN).
Via Mel Greenberg: Elena Delle Donne has now made it into the NCAA's postseason tournament by leading a team of potential champions... in volleyball.
WATN? heads up: just something to take note of: Suzie McConnel-Serio has taken her Duquesne Dukes to a 5-0 start.
"Do you feel good about where we are? Yes," she said. "But it's still early. This is all non-conference. We want to get to the top of our conference."
Erin Grant has her Masters in business, but has ended up in an unexpected place:
"I don't think I thought I would get into coaching, at least not this early," Grant said. "I always thought I would be working for like Nike, and getting all the apparel and stuff. Basically being on the business side of things but still having that connection to the game somehow."
The trend continues:

1) #6 Louisville was stunned by the Nevada Wolf Pack, 85-82. It's the school's first victory over a top-10 team, and you may recognize their first year coach, Jane Albright:
"This is why you coach," she said. "This is why they play. This is why they do all the hard things they've done. This is for all the people that worked really, really hard long before I got here ... the coaches, the players. This is for all those people."
2) Speaking of Albright's former team, down in St. Thomas, the Badgers took down #7 Baylor. The Bears led 58-53 with 2:43 left before Wisconsin rallied behind Alyssa Karel -- who scored 15 points, including a jumper with 7 seconds left -- scoring the game's final six points.

3) Playing in warm weather (and being from a warm weather state) seems to be a bit of a distraction if you're ranked. Down in the Bahamas, Florida knocked off Arizona State, 65-60.

The upset list almost got longer:

a) Oregon State gave the #2 Tar Heels something to think about as squeaked by, 78-82.

b) #10 Notre Dame got all they could handle from Michigan State, 78-72.

c) #15 Virginia escaped with a win over Marquette, 76-71.

d) Georgia Tech showed that, perhaps the UConn game wasn't a fluke, and chased #9 Texas all game, finally falling,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kris over at HRR may have sniffed out some news about a Houston sale.

Friday, November 28, 2008

At Full Court, Rob Clough begins a detail-packed, team-by-team ACC projection by saying that conference ain't what it was last year. Sounds right so far.

Clough also picks UVA to finish ahead of Carolina and Maryland (but behind Duke, his pick for ACC champs); he sees the Cavs' Wright as the ACC's POY.
Remember when Syracuse almost defeated UConn, ten months ago? For Huskies fans, it was "the game where Mel Thomas got hurt"; for many other spectators, it was the game that proved the Orange were a serious team.

Yesterday Syracuse lost to Alaska-Anchorage, who aren't even a Division I team.

Yes, it was a one-point loss, in Alaska. But the Orange can't blame the loss just on luck, and they'll want to look again at their guard play; UAA shot a respectable but unspectacular 7-23 from long range, and both teams had far more turnovers than assists.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Maybe this is what parity looks like: UVA beat Tennessee. Then Old Dominion beat UVA for the second time this calendar year.

And now Michigan State, one of last year's real disappointments, has absolutely pulverized Old Dominion. MSU controlled everything after halftime, and the Monarchs didn't even reach 50 points.

MSU improved to 6-0. Should we expect great things from the new-look Spartans? I loved watching the 2004-05 Final Four team, and I want the Big Ten to look better this year, so I'd love to say yes, but right now I have to say no: ODU have long looked a lot worse away from Norfolk than at home, and MSU needed overtime to beat Dartmouth.
Oklahoma canned Marist. Both Paris twins had double-doubles; OU held an insurmountable lead at the half.

Next up for the Sooners: UConn. It's a matchup with some history behind it.

Also at UConn: onetime Husky and current announcer Megan Pattyson Culmo had her baby. We hope to see and hear her again soon.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If you're in education and struggle with the question of quality, assessment, grades and graduation, then you might have pondered the unintended consequences of the NCAA putting more and more attention on student-athlete graduation rates.

USAToday does in their article, "College athletes studies guided toward 'major in eligibility'" (h/t shrrew)

His experience reflects how the NCAA's toughening of academic requirements for athletes has helped create an environment in which they are more likely to graduate than other students — but also more likely to be clustered in programs without the academic demands most students face.

Some athletes say they have pursued — or have been steered to — degree programs that helped keep them eligible for sports but didn't prepare them for post-sports careers. "A major in eligibility, with a minor in beating the system," says C. Keith Harrison, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida, where he is associate director of the Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sports.

Remember the post about K-State's Shalee Lehning? Mechelle has something to say about her, too.

I don’t know how the pro teams will evaluate Lehning. Different coaches/scouts see different things with players, and I’ve been surprised before upon hearing what some of them think. They are looking at it through a prism formed by what they’ve seen makes a successful player at the pro level. It doesn’t seem that “intangible” qualities are valued as much as they would be by a college coach.

Whether Lehning’s court sense, nose for the ball and gargantuan heart are given as much weight as her inconsistent perimeter shooting and the fact that K-State is perceived as being a stronger offensive than defensive program … we’ll have to see. As the cliche goes, it’s a business at the pro level, and there have been players who didn’t get a realistic shot when I really thought they would.

Lots of W players are in Israel, and you can follow them here.
From the WBCA:

Good afternoon!

Log on now to wbca.org to listen to this week's "Shootaround with Beth & Debbie" that features special guest Jennifer Rizzotti, head women's basketball coach at the University of Hartford. In order to access the show, press play on the media player located on the right-hand side of the homepage.The podcast will begin immediately following the Pink ZoneT public service announcement. In addition, you can download the podcast by simply clicking on the "Download" button.

Rutger's west coast tour opens Beth and Debbie's "Starting Five" followed by discussion on players who are stepping up this year, the SEC getting tougher, team's beneath the radar and upsets already in the top 10. Jennifer Rizzotii joins this week's show to discuss several topics, including Hartford's win over then-No. 5 Duke at the DePaul Invitational (Chicago).

Matt the Stat Guy gets mention this week with his interesting fact on players who were named Player of the Year both in junior college and Division I. Beth and Debbie close out the show, as they always do, with their "Thought from the Cocktail Napkin".

Please remember story ideas, questions and comments are always welcome at shootaround@wbca.org.

Next time you are on facebook, please take a look at the "Shootaround with Beth & Debbie" - WBCA National Women's Basketball Podcast group. We encourage everyone to join the group and participate in online discussions we will have throughout the year!

Cal's Lauren Greif blogs.
The colder weather of November has rolled in and teams across the country are now well into “game mode”—and this consists of scouting opponents, shorter practices and establishing game-day routines.

Game-day traditions are important because some of us—and this includes me — believe that winning and losing games can depend as much on how game-day rituals go as it does on how we play on the court. You know … how can I be expected to focus on the game if I don’t have my designated game-day spandex on?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drake guard Lindsay Whorton, who graduated earlier this year, has won a Rhodes scholarship. She also teaches American literature and works on an Indian reservation.

Whorton attracted attention last year when Drake made the NCAA tournament, losing in the first round to Tennessee: her Bulldogs made it there despite season-ending injuries to other starters, and she led them while keeping her grades at a 4.0.
Hays says by now the Cardinal know how to deal with season-ending injuries to starters. It's not a knowledge I'd wish on my worst (sports) enemy.

Project for grim-spirited stats gurus: do Stanford really have more season-ending injuries than comparable teams, over the last (say) ten years? If so, is there a reason? Or is it an outlier, with no explanation except for the laws of chance?
Congrats to the Fordham Rams who snapped a soul-sucking losing streak (0-35) on the 19th and added a second victory tonight, defeating NJIT 57-45.
A little more about the CSKA's withdrawing from Euroleague from BallinEurope.com. Currently unteamed: Becky Hammon, Katie Douglas, Janel McCarville, Ann Wauters and Edwige Lawson.
The Shock present "The Reeve Report."
Hey Shock Fans! I hope this report finds you doing well. I will be blogging periodically throughout the off-season to bring you updates on the Shock, provide you insight into the 2009 WNBA draft, and keep you apprised of goings on around the league.
Mini Mi (aka Leilani Mitchell) is in France.
The bad news is confirmed for JJ and the Cardinal.
Caroline Williams, media point person for USA Women's baskeball, is keeping up on the Euro-leagues! It's a kind of blog....
AfterEllen joins the parity party -- and we discover they read the WHB!
Last year I skipped Turkey with the mom to catch some seriously wonderful hoops down in St. Thomas.

This year Jayda is "vacationing" during the Paradise Jam and will be bloggin'.
Looks like Becky and crew will be looking for a new team: CSKA seems to have folded because of money issues....

Monday, November 24, 2008

The latest trend in athlete promo -- program-generated buzz. (geez, where have I heard THAT idea before?) Take, for example, K-State's snazzy site for their Wooden candidate, guard Shalee Lehning: www.shaleeelement.com.
"It's time to take the next step as our peers are doing and get the message out," said coach Deb Patterson, whose team will play host to Texas-San Antonio at 1 p.m. today. "Get a Web site, get the message out to media and fans and coaches across the country on a weekly basis. That Web page gives us an instant answer."

In the past, schools have tried promoting players by using media guides, press releases and notebooks. Now, it seems the campaigns are starting to take advantage of the Internet. Oklahoma State, for instance, launched a site in January for star guard Andrea Riley.
(h/t Stever)
New Mystics coach (jeez, how often has THAT been typed) Julie Plank chatted w/ fans at the .com.
No, we didn't miss the other upsets:

1) In what reads to have been a wicked ugly game (both teams shot under 35%) Michigan knocked off #12 Vanderbilt, 50-42. This is the Wolverines first defeat of a ranked opponent since Feb. 29, 2004.

If you recall, Michigan came within 3 of beating Texas A&M and Vandy was picked to win the SEC this year..... Hello, Mr. Borseth.

2) Florida stomped #21 Florida State (Florida's first win over a top 25 team since February 6, 2006).

3) #20 Auburn (now 4-0) went to overtime to beat #18 Ohio State.

By the way, unvictoried Creighton scored four less points than #24 Iowa State, or the Cyclones would have been added to the ever-growing list....

By the other way, is anyone paying attention to the Irish? Since when have they scored 100+ points in a game?
Also from Voepel: analysis on yesterday's squeaker, in which UNC got past OU in Norman... by one point. The back-and-forth, up-and-down game saw UNC score the first nine point after halftime, and OU score the next nine after that; the Heels' Breeland had a career high 31.
Voepel on what looks (so far; knock wood) like a big comeback for Kalana Greene.
The good news for Stanford fans: yesterday the Cardinal absolutely destroyed Rutgers in Maples.

The bad news, however, might be really bad: making her first start since coming back from an ACL tear, this year, J. J. Hones hurt the same knee where she tore her ACL her freshman year. (Thanks to reader MS for the correx.) While we don't know yet, it sounds like she's done for the year; "Unfortunately she's experienced that before," said coach TV.

Hones had six assists and made three of four three-point attempts in her limited time on the floor: the final score, frankly, makes Rutgers look like something other than a major conference team. But this sort of thing happens to the Scarlet Knightsabout once a year: they could still be formidable by the time the Big East season starts.
semi-OT: in that it's about the Holy Grail of so many Athletics Departments, and the pursuit of said Grail has a direct impact on other sports. And students.

From today's NYTimes: The Rutgers Mess.
Rutgers, the biggest and most important public university in New Jersey, has spent millions of dollars furthering its ambition to become a major football power that might otherwise have been devoted to academics. It has done so during a period of rising tuition and budgetary cutbacks in academic departments, and, worse, without any real oversight from the university’s president, Richard McCormick, and its Board of Governors.
Mr. McCormick, who long cheered on efforts to make Rutgers a football powerhouse, appointed the committee last summer after The Star-Ledger of Newark reported out-of-control spending at the university. A campaign to raise $30 million in private contributions for a $102 million expansion of the football stadium has fallen short of its goals, and the university has neither the cash nor the borrowing capacity to complete the job. To save money, the university has downgraded teams including tennis, swimming and fencing to intramural status.
Many readers know that, with the pressures on traditional media squeezing out most coverage of women's basketball, I'm a strong advocate of non-traditional, self-generated media. This will never replace trained professionals, but it does fill (and prove?) a need.

For instance, check out Oklahoma's basketball blog, full of video snippets with coaches and players.
Meet one of the members of the WHB's Maggie Dixon ROY candidates: Ball State's Kelly Packard.
"Obviously from a coaching standpoint, I have one reason that I coach, which is just simply that I love to be involved in the lives of women in sport. I feel like as I lead women in sport it’s something I enjoy -- the relationship-building part -- just as much as the basketball. That’s from a coaching side. Without as doubt, when I get up in the morning, I always think about what these girls have going on in their life, I am not thinking first and foremost about offensive rebounding versus technical plays. It is always about who they are as people.

Kelly Packard off the floor? There is nothing that I love more than my family; trying to parent two boys well and teaching them how to be gentlemen and trying to teach them how to be balanced people. That would be the coach off-the-court person."
A Missouri coach/area reflects on the grassroots growth of the women's game in Missouri. It's not clear if there's a tinge of bitterness or simply an honest assessment slightly tilted by a writer/editor. But it's nice that the assessment goes beyond "players are bigger, faster and more athletic." For example:
Steinmeyer used to joke that his offense included only two passes per trip down the court, and if there were more than that, the offending player sat on the bench. That’s because he wanted to eliminate turnovers.

“The best way to eliminate turnovers was to shoot, whether you were open or not,” Steinmeyer said.

But that has changed, as well as the level of point guard play.
It's getting clearer and clearer that retaliation against those who claim Title IX inequities is an unsuccessful silencing tactic. From the Title IX blog:
An Iowa state trial court jury awarded $287,000 in damages Friday to former Iowa State softball coach, Ruth Crowe. Crowe had challenged her termination as unlawful retaliation under Title IX, claiming she was fired for complaining to about inequitable compensation for most coaches in women's sports and about the university's failure to allocate comparable money for recruiting female athletes compared to male athletes.
A friend on the internet-o-sphere tosses out a couple more names for the Dixon ROY Watch:
Maybe Matt Corkery at American? They are 3-2, no notable wins, but the losses were to Minnesota and NC State, both decent teams, and neither results was a blowout.

Niya Butts at Arizona is 3-1, the only loss a one point game. Havenʼt beaten anyone of note, but upcoming game against Texas A&M should be a measure of the team.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Helen noticed it just after it happened, and now the print media have told the tale: in what seems to be the fifth of this weekend's absolutely startling upsets, Detroit-Mercy stayed ahead at the end of the game to defeat the University of Georgia.

It may be the first time a Horizon League team has defeated an SEC team this decade; if it's not, do let us know (especially if the winner wasn't Green Bay).

Games like this usually feature lights-out three-point shooting from the small-conference victor, but not this time: the underdogs beat the Dawgs by shooting better overall (47% to 37%) and clinched the win when Heather Hatter made both free throws in a final one-and-one.
Rutgers continues its West Coast tour and meets Stanford today at 1pm PT. The RU-Stanford game is being carried on live video by CSTV (CBS Sports All-Access) This is a pay service.

You can listen online via WRSU (Rutgers) and KZSU (Stanford) feeds.
The pre-season WNIT finals are set: Oklahoma (over Arizona State) v. North Carolina (over Xavier) at 3pm ET.

Too bad there's no TV. You can listen, though - $$ via CBS All-Access....

Wait! Checking the Oklahoma website looks like they're offering a free webcast! (looks like the Sooners understand Multimedia.)
It's the second biggest game of the weekend in Norman, Okla., and a preview of a possible NCAA Women's Final Four matchup as No. 2 Oklahoma (3-0) hosts No. 4 North Carolina (4-0) in the Preseason Women's NIT Championship Game Sunday at 2 p.m.

If you can't make it to the Lloyd Noble Center for the game, watch it live on SoonerSports.com by following the action via our free webcast on CBS College Sports All-Access.

The free webcast will be available shortly before the 2 p.m. Central tip-off.
Aw, the Ivy League teams. Ain't they cute with their no athletic scholarships. And their historic upsets. And their WNBA player.

And their defeating of North Carolina State.

Behind Junior Melissa Colborne's game high 19pts and senior Jamie "channeling Allison Feaster" Van Horne's five three-pointers, the Yale Bulldogs defeated the Wolfpack 65-61.

You might recognize the Yale coach: Chris Gobrecht.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Too early to write prescriptions for this spring's WNBA draft? Not if you're Sharon Crowson. Her Rx for the Lynx: trade a good guard for a post.
Instead of repeating myself, I'll simply ask: should I put Detroit Mercy's Autumn Rademacher on the Dixon ROY Watch list?

A little background on Rademacher from what, I'm sure, will be one of the busiest Sports Information office in the country tonight and tomorrow....
Rademacher is the third-leading scorer in [Detroit Mercy] Titans history with 1,686 career points. She returns to UDM after four years on the staff at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, which won four Horizon League regular-season championships and two post-season titles (2005 and 2007) during her tenure. Before joining the Phoenix, Rademacher spent seven years as an assistant coach at Western Michigan.
It would have been even more upsetting than last night's three actual upsets-- more upsetting, at least, for Tennessee fans: Chattanooga very nearly defeated the Lady Vols, but Vicki Baugh (just back from ACL surgery) sank a free throw to help UT stay ahead.

They needed it: the second half included a 19-1 Chattanooga run. “I’m looking at this and trying to figure out how we won this game,’’ Pat Summitt said. Chattanooga “didn’t quit. They certainly didn’t quit on the defensive end.”

As usual in these sorts of games, the underdogs shot well from long range: Mocs reserve Brandy Dewart canned four of six three point attempts.

Tennessee, on the other hand, made just over half their 30 free throws: the many foul calls probably helped the Mocs too, since games with lots of foul calls let everybody stop to catch their breath, reducing the late-game advantage that elite teams usually get from superior stamina.
Upset number three last night was an in-state rivalry game and a tournament rematch, with the same site, the same winners, and the same heroic guard: once again, Jazzmin Walters led Old Dominion over UVA in Norfolk.

This time the Monarchs didn't need overtime: Walters scored a career-high 24. Her Monarchs had some zebras on their side: ODU attempted forty free throws, UVA just 17.

And yes, that's the same UVA that spent Monday night defeating Tennessee; on the same night, ODU got demolished by Texas.

By the numbers, that makes last night's game quite a weird result, and yet I'm guessing neither ODU coach Wendy Larry, nor UVA coach Debbie Ryan, felt surprised.

"Old Dominion, coming off the loss, was very prepared today and was out to prove something," Ryan explained. "With my team it was a stark contrast from Monday night to tonight, and hard to explain, and yet being a veteran coach it is very explainable.”
Another big upset late last night, and by a big margin: California absolutely crushed Rutgers. The final score: 66-52-- and that reflects a late RU run; at one point a frustrated CVS yanked all her starters at once.

You can credit the Berkeley defense if you like: the Scarlet Knights spent six minutes without a point. RU fans are more likely-- fairly or unfairly-- to credit the referees: the Scarlet Knights got whistled for 26 fouls, as against the home team's nine.
It's likely the biggest regular-season win in the history of Hartford Hawks women's basketball, and it's too bad that it had to happen several hundred miles from home: coach Rizzotti and company shocked Duke in Chicago, in the first round of DePaul's November tournament.

If you've seen the Hawks in recent years, you know they play defense, and they like low-scoring games. The Dukies shot badly, while Hartford's Lisa Etienne shot 6-15: the underdogs underbirds managed late double-digit leads.

Then Duke started pressing, Waner hit a few shots, and the game came down to free throws in the last minute: Hartford sank enough of them to prevail, 53-51.

Exciting subplot: Hartford's MaryLynne Schaefer missed her first nine field goal attempts, then scored the last field goal and made three of four free throws. "They told me to keep shooting," Schaefer said.

Fun historical note: Etienne was one of the Penn State Three.
Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year Watch:
(A rookie coach is defined as a first year head coach in NCAA Division I)
Alabama -- Wendell Hudson (Stephany Smith) - 2-1
Ball State -- Kelly Packard (Tracy Roller) - 1-1
George Washington -- Mike Bozeman (Joe McKeown) - 2-1
North Dakota State -- Carolyn DeHoff (Amy Ruley) - 1-2
Ohio -- Semeka Randall (Sylvia Crawley) - 1-1
Temple -- Tonya Cardoza (Dawn Staley) - 1-1
UCLA -- Nikki Caldwell (Kathy Olivier) - 2-0
UC Santa Barbara -- Lindsay Gottlieb (Mark French) 1-1
Anyone have any other names we should be tracking?
ot: I'm sure the Storm/Sonic fans are, well... I can only imagine: After a 1-12, the Oklahoma City *Sonic* Thunder have fired head coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Of note: Former Merc head coach Paul Westhead was also "relieved of his duties."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Did I call it or what? From the Title IX blog:
NCAA President Seeks to Preempt Title IX Blame

NCAA President Myles Brand recently told USA Today that he expect that member institutions will cut athletic teams in the coming months due to financial pressures stemming from problems with the economy. He is encouraging member institutions not to cut teams and engage in a strategy of belt tightening in "highly visible sports" (read: football) instead. Additionally, he is encouraging them to be honest that "Any cuts at this point in sports are certainly going to be tied to financial pressures" and not blame them on Title IX.
21 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 steals.

That quadruple-double belongs to D-III Bard's Laitqua Williams.
Since then, on this isolated campus where being an athlete is usually the quickest road to obscurity, Williams said there had been an outpouring of support and congratulations. Even if, at times, that means having to explain to people precisely what a quadruple-double is — as she had to in front of her Tuesday morning literature class.

“At least once in a while all D-III athletes would like to experience the big crowds and all the crazy madness of Division I,” Williams said. “But because Division III doesn’t give scholarships, student-athletes go into it with the mind-set of going to get a degree.”
Thanks to the sixthwoman for reminding me I hadn't posted this.
Angel blogs.
Co's team v. Coop's team.
No - REALLY, has parity come to the women's game????
New York City Area TV Alert! Cablevision is carrying Rutgers/Cal tonight .... Game is on SNY or SNYHD at 11pm.
The WNIT is nearing its conclusion:

Here are updated results from today’s Preseason WNIT tournament games, as well as the upcoming schedule. Please visit the website at www.womensnit.com for brackets in various formats, as well as a gameday wrap-up.

Championship bracket
Round 2 Game
Wednesday, Nov. 19
Oklahoma 85, Middle Tennessee 64

Wednesday, Nov. 19
North Carolina 73, Xavier 67
Friday, Nov. 21
Arizona State at Oklahoma, 7 p.m. CT

Sunday, Nov. 23
North Carolina vs. ASU/Oklahoma winner, time/location TBD

Consolation bracket
Consolation Rounds 1-2

Host Site A
At Ball State
Friday, Nov. 21
Cleveland State vs. Illinois State, 5:30 p.m. ET
Robert Morris at Ball State, 8 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 22
TBA vs. TBA, 5:30 p.m. ET
TBA vs. Ball State, 8 p.m. ET

Host Site B
At Western Carolina
**NOTE the times are different each day**
Friday, Nov. 21
Liberty vs. UC Riverside, 5 p.m. ET
Lafayette at Western Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 22
TBA vs. Western Carolina, 7 p.m. ET
TBA vs. TBA, 9:30 p.m. ET
Consolation Round 3

Host Site C
Tulane at VCU, 7 p.m. ET Friday, Nov. 21

Host Site D
Indiana at Middle Tennessee, 7 p.m. CT Saturday, Nov. 22

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's great when NCAA.com gives players chance to strut their stuff off the court - I just wish they'd TELL us...

For instance, check out this blog entry from Stanford's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude:

Stanford Littles Pledge:
"I shall love my BIGS by giving them the ball"
Get The Ball INSIDE!"
This is the sign you would see upon entering the locker room of the Stanford Women's Basketball team. Actually there are many signs. They're posted on the doors of lockers that belong to "Littles." They're posted on the mirrors in the bathroom. There is no escaping the signs and there is no escaping the fact that at Stanford, the "Bigs" have their cake and eat it too. They do easy fun drills at practice, they get gear quicker and without hassle, and the plays are made for them. In Maples Pavilion, it's a Big's World and Littles and Middles are just squirrels trying to get a nut.

I was initially nervous to write this post, for fear that I might give some of our game plan away. However, after careful consideration, I decided that if you're an opposing coach, and you don't know we're going inside... you missed the boat. So...I'll continue.
The Shock have locked up Laimbeer for two more years.
Earlier this week, USA Today published a special report on sports and academics. Articles in the report included a look at the challenging balancing act of an academic adviser, a look at how athletes feel pressure in their selection of majors, and a look at a task force at the U of MN on academic support and performance for student athletes.

Two players on Purdue's roster are also making news in the classroom. Sophomore Sam Woods is going to redshirt this season because of the overlap in academics and athletics in her schedule. "The problem's not my grades," Woods said. "I don't have low grades, but with chemical engineering, I'm taking an organic class that's directly in the middle (of practice). It starts even after practice started. So its really complicated to make it to both and dedicate myself."

Woods' teammate Lauren Mioton is a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship and the John Wooden Citizenship Cup.
Those of you who read Helen's posts on Michael Sokolove's book, Warrior Girls may be interested in this blog from the Tucker Center for Research in Girls and Women in Sport.
Hays looks at Marist, whose record over the past few years has made the Red Foxes the best-- or maybe just the most beloved-- small-conference team in the country; their coach, Brian Giorgis, "is Poughkeepsie through and through."

Last year's season generated its own Marist women's hoops blog. I hope it returns.
USA Basketball is packing its bags and moving south -- from Colorado Springs to Glendale, Arizona.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Some W assistant coach news:

Carol Ross (yes, that Carol Ross) is joining the Atlanta Dream and Jim Petersen, who currently serves as the Minnesota Timberwolves' television analyst, will join the Lynx.
So a while back, much was made about the rubles some of the top W players could earn playing in Russia.

It was, of course, nice -- and hard not to compare to the salaries of the W. But anyone who read the stories and knew anything about business and budgets understood that the Russian pro leagues were more about ego than business.

Considering the current economy -- not to mention the current cost per barrel of oil -- ESPN might want to revisit the story. This rebkell translation/thread points to a potential weakness in that market.
Voepel looks ahead to the Paris twins' senior year, and back to last year's surprising tournament loss.

Iowa State's Bill Fennelly on the aftermath from that overtime game: "I talk to Sherri a lot, and I know she was … I don't want to say in a state of depression, but pretty darn close. The only thing I told her was, 'Don't let it get you too much, because you've got another shot at it.'"
From the WBCA:

Good afternoon!

Log on now to wbca.org to listen to the second season launch of "Shootaround with Beth & Debbie" that features special guest Pat Summitt. In order to access the show, press play on the media player located on the right-hand side of the homepage.The podcast will begin immediately following the Pink ZoneT public service announcement. In addition, you can download the podcast by simply clicking on the "Download" button.

This week's episode begins, as all do, with Beth and Debbie's "Starting Five," which includes topics such as the early losses for top five teams, newcomers making an impact and injury updates. The tandem then rolls into discussion on signing day and milestones to watch for this season. Reigning national champion head coach Pat Summitt joins the podcast and discusses, among other topics, the challenges of coaching seven newcomers.

To wrap things up, Beth and Debbie touch on their thoughts from the cocktail napkin.

Please remember story ideas, questions and comments are always welcome at shootaround@wbca.org.

Next time you are on facebook, please take a look at the "Shootaround with Beth & Debbie" - WBCA National Women's Basketball Podcast group. We encourage everyone to join the group and participate in online discussions we will have throughout the year!

Happy listening!

One of the reason I'm for officials being able to issue yellow and red flop-cards during a basketball: from the New York Times, In NBA, All-Star Acting is Part of Game.

To the crack of the bat, the cadence of the quarterback and the thwack of a tennis racket, add a new element to America’s sports soundtrack — the shrieks, cries and shouts of N.B.A. players as they try to put the ball in the basket.

In part, the emoting is designed to deceive, with players trying to persuade referees they were fouled in the act of shooting, even if they were not. It is hardly a new tactic, but it has become a more popular one and is now as much a sound of the game as the squeaking of sneakers

From Pat Griffin's blog:
More From Michigan City
I’ve devoted two posts to the Michigan City, Indiana youth baseball coaches who were suspended for using anti-gay slurs and encouraging boys on the team to taunt one teammate with them as well. The park board then overturned the suspensions by a 2-2 vote. I’m not sure how they decided a tie constituted a reversal of the decision but they did. Now, according to this article, the vote to overturn the suspensions is being questioned by the City Council and the park board’s decision is being reviewed. It looks like there is a possibility that the overturn with be overturned. This all seems like good news to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the Merc -- who seem to have their fans relationship sh*t together.

Hey Merc fans!

Wanted to get a head start on a Holiday program we’re about to release: it’s the 2nd Annual Gift of the Mercury Campaign. With our X-Factor’s help, we were able to raise over $18,000 to go towards tickets for underserved kids through the Mercury charities for the 2008 Gift of the Mercury Campaign. Thank you for everyone who helped us last season.

This year, our goal is even higher and would love if you were able to help! Check this out…

A $250 donation provides a ticket to each of the games plus a hot dog and soda at the game. As a thank you for your donation, you’ll receive an invitation to the 2009 Gift of the Mercury event on Wednesday, December 17th. The event will include silent auctions for many Mercury items… INCLUDING THE CAPPIE PATCH DOLL (mms://phxsuns.wmod.llnwd.net/a205/o2/merc_cappiedoll_080603.wmv)! For each dollar you donate, you’ll receive that amount back in Mercury Bucks at the event. You can use your Mercury Bucks to bid on items, and if you choose to bid higher than the amount of Mercury Bucks you have, you can pay by credit card which will also go towards tickets for the kids.

You’ll have the chance to mingle with Suns GM Steve Kerr, Mercury GM Ann Meyers Drysdale, Mercury Head Coach Corey Gaines and Mercury Assistant Coach & Legend Bridget Pettis.

Please let me know if you’re interested in helping us with the 2009 Gift of the Mercury and attending the event on the 17th. Every little bit helps! Hope to hear from you soon.
First Maryland, then Stanford, and now Tennessee: the Lady Vols lost at home to UVA, in a game decided by the last free throw.

Pat hadn't lost to the Cavaliers since 1990; it was just UT's nineteenth all-time loss at home. Tennessee fans will (and likely should) blame their team's youth.

For UVA the story was Monica Wright, who scored 35 and shot over 50%. Aisha Mohammed added 19; coach Debbie Ryan gave us one more reason to want to be more like her.
Over in Full Court's subscribers-only section, Sue Favor surveys foreign players on US college teams.

Noteworthy bits of her writeup:

(1) UTEP, where players from six nations (including the USA) turned a Conference USA also-ran into a striking success last year; and

(2) Oregon, with a long history of imports from Down Under-- and a coach who comes from the Canadian national team.

Monday, November 17, 2008

No really, has parity come to the women's game?
Stanford's not the only good team from last year that clearly lost its best player: LSU, sans Fowles, lost badly to Notre Dame on national TV.

Win or lose, LSU still looks like a slow-it-down, defense-first squad: both teams had far more turnovers than assists. ND's Ashley Barlow scored 19.
GT didn't pull off the upset, but Baylor sure did: playing in Waco, the Bears dismantled the Cardinal. Rachel Allison scored 25 points; her shots kept the first half even, and in the second the home team just pulled away.

Coach Mulkey's team remembered the lopsided beatdown they received in Maples Pavilion last year: they regarded this one as their revenge. "Last year broke our heart," said Allison. "We just played off emotion."

Stanford probably didn't deserve their number two ranking, having lost their best player, and their only really quick guard, to the pros: they certainly won't get to keep it now.

Fans in Waco can get excited about this year's team-- and it looks like they should-- but they're already excited about next year: Britney Griner's commitment to Baylor is now in ink. Griner is 6'7", and she dunks, and she's considered the top recruit this year.

Voepel and Hays now share an official ESPN blog: today Mechelle runs down the upsets, and the non-upsets, from this weekend's games.
UConn beat Georgia Tech at Gampel in the Huskies' season opener, but the number one team in the nation didn't exactly dominate: Tech, who aren't even expected to finish anywhere near the top of the ACC, tied the game up at halftime and came within three after 35 minutes of play.

UConn's superior athletes finally took over, but they had a heck of a scare-- scarier still, if you've watched lots of UConn games, because Tech play very much like Rutgers: swarming defense, lots of backcourt pressure, and a tough-to-watch, turnover-prone, clock-eating offense, featuring plenty of jacked-up last-second threes.

GT came so close because they sank those threes: the Yellow Jackets went 10-15 from long range, the home team just 4-19. "We were just ready," said GT's Alex Montgomery. Maybe that game will get GT ready to pull off some upsets in the ACC; maybe it will get UConn ready for the actual Scarlet Knights.

Also in Storrs, frosh reserve center Heather Buck will miss a few weeks, if not more: she may have mono.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Just so I can be the first to say it this season -- has parity come to the women's game?
A reminder WATN? coaches edition: Cindy Blodgett up at Maine, goes up against her former coach, Joanne McCallie.
Check the WNIT's site for scores, game reports and schedules. Up next:

Wednesday, November 19
Middle Tennessee at Oklahoma,8 p.m. ET

Wednesday, November 19
Xavier at North Carolina,7 p.m. ET
Friday, November 21
Arizona State vs. Oklahoma-MTSU winner, time TBD at site TBD

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking at corporate sponsorship, the New York Times asks, "As the Economy Worsens, Is There Money for Play?"
From the “Buick” emblazoned on Tiger Woods’s golf bag to the Chevrolet Camaro that Cole Hamels drove home last month for being named the most valuable player of the World Series, it is hard to be a sports fan without stumbling across some type of advertisement for General Motors. The company consistently ranks first among advertisers of televised sporting events, outspending other automakers by more than two to one.

But as G.M. faces a financial crisis that has executives pleading with Congress for a federal bailout, many are wondering how far the company’s troubles will extend into the sports industry, which is already struggling to attract advertisers and sponsors in a weakened economy.
Which segues nicely into a couple of ongoing gripes I dip in to every now and again. And again. The WNBA's stunning mismanagement of its online presence matched only by Liberty's stunning mismanagement of their subscriber base. Which should be of particular concern to the League, especially these days, but somehow ain't.

Latest example? I recently wrote about the fact that many Lib subscribers understood that the team would be evicted for one, if not two, seasons because of renovations to the Garden (the boys would stay, of course.). Given the choice between traveling to Long Island, New Jersey or Radio City Music Hall, many were wondering why on earth they should re-up.

And then, of course, their angst was magnified with the quality season the team produced. Do you commit your bucks even though you can't attend the games? Do you let go your 10 years if season tickets, just as the team is on the rise? And then, holy carp, have you been following the economy?

That's a lot of agita floating around in a subscribers tummy.

So, when renovations are put off, do you think Liberty subscribers are called with the news?

Of course not.

When season ticket re-up forms are sent out, does Blaze's letter say, "Hey, we're staying!"


When subscribers get an oversize postcard -- and therefore mailbox scrunched -- sayin' "Thanks for your support!" do they find any space on the poorly graphic'd card to say "We're not going anywhere?"


When a concerned season subscriber calls to express her concern, and suggests that the Liberty might want to be proactive about informing subscribers that the team ain't on the road all season, does the Lib rep comprehend her concern?

Nope! He counters with, "Of course we'll call people if the don't re-up. We don't just cut them off."

File under: Organization unclear on the concept of customer service. This is the Liberty, not the Knicks or Rangers -- there's not a waiting list to be a subscriber. You still need to actually manage them -- pretend you care if they re-up.

Sheesh. And they wonder why their base is shrinking. *she says as she re-ups*
WATN? coaches edition: Denise Taylor, part of that 1997 WNBA cadre of coaches, is now in her eighth season at Jackson State. Monday her team faces off against the Utes.
Maya Moore is ESPN.com's pre-season Player of the Year pick (is there a sillier title?) and Graham points you to some teams and players you might want to pay attention to. (or, for the English Majors/Winston Churchill fans out there - to whom you might want to pay attention.)
Duke nearly joined Maryland as an upset victim, but Chante Black said, "No thank you," and the Blue Devils (#8) defeated Oklahoma State (#15) 77-68.
Denver, New Orleans, Nashville, Tampa and Indianapolis will host the Final Fours from 2012 to 2016. Notes Mechelle:
Considering the NCAA's desire to continue to "grow the game" as part of the criteria for placement of the Women's Final Four -- not to mention that there is no lack of attractive destination cities in the West -- it's disappointing to see that area of the country essentially shut out from the event for nearly two decades.
Apparently, hosting the Final Four on the West Coast is a popular as hosting the WNBA All-Star game.
Some WNBA news: Starting date: June 6th, end Sept. 13.

Also, who wants Sales? Seems Nykesha's career with the Sun is done.
Well, this season certainly started out with a bang.

The Horned Frogs hosted the Terps -- and the result was turtle soup. (Soon to be no longer) #3 Maryland went down 80-68. For TCU, it was a huge victory to start coach Jeff Mittie's 10th season, matching the highest-ranked opponent the Lady Frogs have ever beaten. They defeated No. 3 Georgia four years ago.
“In the last 20 seconds, I was in shock,” TK LaFleur said. “I was like we've just beaten the No. 3 team in the nation.”
TCU jumped out to a 11-0 lead and never looked back. Observers at the game had nothing but praise for the emotion and aggression with which they played the games. They also pointed out that, while Nebraska transfer Lafleur will rightly get the lions share of attention . they give props to Helena Sverrisdottir.
"Put simply, ladies and gentleman, this Icelandic young lady is a baller!"
I foresee a t-shirt franchise....

Maryland is trying to build a team out of Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver and a ton of youngsters, but no one really impressed. Coleman led Maryland with 15 points (5-13), and freshman Lynetta Kizer had 12 points (3-12) and 15 rebounds. Toliver finished with 11 points (4-16). As a team they had 17 turnovers and six -- count'em SIX -- assists.

Said Toliver
I’m sure they’ve had this game circled for a while," Toliver said. "They came out extremely motivated. The frustration just kind of kept building as this thing kept getting worse and worse for us."
Don't forget to check out the DC Basketcases game reflections, which starts with this pearl of wisdom:
EXPERIENCE, What you get when you don't get what you wanted.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Miami Herald's Michele Kaufman says UConn might well win it all this year: Tennessee and LSU sure won't, but UNC, Louisville and, um, Marist just might. (Marist?)

UConn now has two players each from two high schools: one of those two schools is even in-state.

The Huskies have won close games in recent years by dominating the paint: Geno says now, at last, they have all the ball handlers they need.

One of those ball handlers, Maya Moore, may be the best player in the college game, even though she's just a sophomore. "Eight of 13 of us or whatever have been to the Final Four,” she says of this year's team. “We've been that close."
Boston-area readers might check out this talk on the Harvard campus on Monday: Donna Lopiano and Susan Ware on gender, biography, and Billie Jean King.
After Atalanta looks at recent discussions of concussions.
The ACC loses their top scorer, Va Tech's Brittany Cook, to an ACL.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Some articles on coaches: Jolette Law at Illinois talks about her new recruits.
"This class, I'm going to hold it dear to my heart because it's the first class that we had the opportunity to handpick and choose and watch the kids grow and see them for an entire year. I think this class ranks No. 1 in my book."
Cal's Joanne Boyle gets Q&A'd:
The program has risen so quickly since you’ve taken over the reins. Are you where you expected to be entering your fourth year here?

I don’t know if you ever know, coming in, what you’re capable of doing or what the team is capable of, until you’re in it. I was very hopeful, but I don’t know if I had expectations of, “By this year, we will be this.” I knew I had tons of potential here. The thing that I’m most happy about is that the kids have maximized their potential, have given me their most. But we’re not done; we’ve still got this season. We met to set our team goals and our mission statement—“who are we this year?” Last year, going from our second to our third year, we needed to be Road Warriors, to win road games and not split. We needed to take care of business in that way. This year, it’s that we need to finish big games. Being in games among top 10 teams in the country is great, but the expectation is to finish it, close it out. That’s the big theme this year.
Tia Jackson, post Husky exodus:
"I'm not foolish; I knew coming in that there were three that had expressed their interest in not wanting to be here," Jackson said of Redmon, McCormack and Bennett, who all left after completing the season. Nichols left early. "As much as I might think I'm a great person, I've hired great people on my staff and I think the team is awesome ... it's not going to change who I am. I'm not going to coddle and change my character and moral value, or belief in the system just because I'm trying to [say] 'Please don't leave.' The best thing that could have happened was that they did leave so that we could move forward."
Graham reviews Stanford post-Candice, Mechelle wonders if the Big Ten can restore it's reputation (so does the Minny StarTribune), Beth talks about the Terps and Coleman, Charlie breaks it down league-by-league and Hoopgurlz talks about high school recruits and where they're going.
Kevin has a nice breakdown of who signed with who yesterday on his girls basketball recruiting blog.
At BCC, new coach Sylvia Crawley settles in.

She is very new: she was a head coach for just two years before this one, both at Ohio University (in Athens, Ohio, not Ohio State in Columbus). On the other hand, she knows something about winning, and quite a lot about the ACC.

Also in Boston, Globe beat writer Monique Williams makes predictions about local DI teams and their conferences, from the ACC to the Ivy League.
Tennessee is young, but Pat doesn't care and Katie went back to visit Ohio State.
'cause there's nothin' like a well-written, block-knockin' off rant to start off the mornin'.... Not mine, but Ken's over at afteratalanta about (suprise!) misinformation about Title IX.

Take a deep, cleansing breath and read on!
The first line is in a response to this post: Finally someone has the courage to write an article on this subject. No doubt he will be criticized by the activists within a few hours.

He will be criticized by the activists because he fails miserably in his understanding of Title IX. (Also, it doesn't take much courage at all to be anti-woman in a patriarchal society and, in particular, a historically misogynist venue: sport.)The prongs measure only one of 13 different areas of compliance with Title IX. They address only the issue of participation opportunities. And, by the way, it was men who, in 1979, came up with the prong system, because it benefitted them at the time because a higher proportion of men attended colleges and universities.

Neither the prongs nor Title IX generally mandates equal funding. It asks for equitable funding, opportunities, and access. The law was designed to accomodate the fact that different sports cost different amounts (uniforms, travel, equipment, etc.). Additionally, perhaps the biggest misconception lies in the "equal number of sports" argument. It is not the number of sports--it is the total number of opportunities. Rosters differ significantly among sports. Even between baseball and softball, two allegedly similar sports; softball keeps a much smaller roster because it does not require carrying such a large pitching staff.

This leads to this activist's final point. If you want men's soccer and swimming/diving, hockey, etc.--cut football. The over 100 participation opportunities for men through football could easily field 4 men's teams. Also, the money you save from football's excesses could fund these teams--and then some. Because, with a few exceptions like Ohio State, football does not make money. Stop blaming Title IX--start looking at the facts.
Also at ESPN.com, Charlie Creme gives a league by league breakdown and Beth Mowins looks at Marissa Coleman's journey at Maryland.
Mechelle turns her focus to the Big 10 as the conference looks to restore its image and previous success.

The Star Tribune has its season preview for the Gophers and highlights the transformation of senior guard Emily Fox.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As the season approaches, and you find yourself looking for a comprehensive women's basketball television schedule, check out Kim's site. ('cause I KNOW you check out her Daily News page...daily.)

And don't forget:

The 2008-2009 women's collegiate basketball season will be tipped off in style as the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame teams up with State Farm, Intersport and ESPN to host the 2008 State Farm Tip-Off Classic on November 16. This year's Tip-Off Classic will feature Notre Dame against LSU at 2:30 p.m. (EST) and the University of Pittsburgh versus Texas A&M at 5 p.m. (EST). Both games will be played at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center at Louisiana State University and televised live on ESPN2.

"We are very excited to be in the State-Farm Tip-Off Classic, but even more excited to be hosting the event on our home floor," said Van Chancellor, LSU head coach and 2001 Women's Basketball Hall of Famer. "This is one of the premiere events of the season, and we are honored to be part of it."

LSU is committed to making the 2009 State Farm Tip-Off Classic a success. This year tickets for the Tip-Off Classic will only be $1. LSU and those involved with the Tip-Off Classic are very excited about this opportunity as it gives fans the chance to see some of the nation's best players, coaches and teams. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-800-960-8587 or by going to the LSU site.

Goody's back and asks "What's next for the WNBA?"
Coach Borseth warns Wolverines fans twice.

First he says they might lose some big nonconference games: Texas A&M and Vandy visit Ann Arbor before Thanksgiving, and they're top 25 teams. UM... isn't.

Second, he notes that UM doesn't have the one-on-one athletes to even begin to stop top-25 teams in open-court, unstructured play: the best opponents are "faster and quicker than we are, so we just have to use our entire group."

If you followed coach Borseth's Green Bay squads, you'll know that there, too, he used teamwork and set plays to construct a squad that won a lot of games, though they couldn't quite beat, for example, UConn.

You'll know, too, that he's been a pessimist for a while, and that his players at Green Bay didn't mind. If he can get the same attitude out of his Big Ten recruits, the Wolverines will be pretty good, pretty soon.
SI's college basketball preview is out on the stands today. Depending on where you live, you can get a copy with either Courtney Paris, Briann January, Rashanda McCants, Ashley Barlow, Shavonte Zellous or Maya Moore on the cover (pictured along with a player from their school's men's team).
The New York Times covers a local college team: Columbia. The Lions are reaping the benefits of Oregon State transfer Judie Lennox, who two years ago was on the PAC-10 all-freshman team.
But she missed her family back on the East Coast and wondered if she was missing out on a more rigorous academic experience. Beyond her goal of playing professionally one day, Lomax hoped to become a child psychologist, and Columbia was one of the programs that had recruited her. She eventually decided she could better meet her career goals elsewhere, even if her decision required a major adjustment on the basketball court.
The Times also posted a link to the AP's women's college basketball blog (?) previously seen as the oddly headlined yahoo-rivals.com link.
ESPN offers up the top five players at each position, then arm wrassles about who's the best point guard: Kristi or Renee.

Then Graham takes a gander at Rutgers' Prince and her posse of five frosh.
Only time will tell if the 4,700-square feet available on a standard basketball court can contain the five members of the class of 2012 at Rutgers.

But if their exploits in the significantly smaller square footage of assistant sports information director Stacey Brann's office two stories above the court at the Lewis Brown Athletic Center is any indication, opponents will have their hands full with this bunch for the next four years

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A little WATN? via Stever: Tonya Edwards.
The bad news? Rivals.com from Yahoo Sports has some headline issues. Witness the following
College basketball stars Renee Montgomery of Connecticut, Lauren Greif of California, Marissa Coleman of Maryland, Courtney Paris of Oklahoma, Angel McCoughtry of Louisville, Lindsay Wysdom-Hilton of Purdue, and Jareica Hughes of UTEP will provide periodi
I kid you not.

The good news? It looks like these player will be bloggin' during the season.
Jayda is back blogging -- and dang lucky we're not a multi-billion conglomerate or else the lawyers would be calling.

As it is, we tend to think any coverage of women's basketball is good coverage. That it's Jayda behind the 'board all but guarantees the quality.
StevenHW found this insightful interview with Sparks owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson in the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Graham surveys the SEC in "Commodores' commandment: overcome thy neighbor."

Mechelle peers at the Vols in "Lady Vols will have new look but same old determination" and focuses on Glory. That is, Glory Johnson.
Full Court's Clough runs down the best individual players in this year's ACC.
Washington State (the school, not the state of the union) has been a Pac-10 punching bag for a while. June Daugherty couldn't satisfy Seattle; this year her first recruits-- some highly rated-- start playing in Pullman. Is she the Cougars' savior?

Back in Seattle, coach Jackson, who replaced Daugherty, starts her second season too. Five players she inherited from Daugherty have now left her team; one ended up at UConn.
St. Petersburg Times continues its national coverage of women's basketball: Traditional powers remain strong in women's college basketball.

If you're wondering which teams will meet in the women's Final Four in St. Louis, a natural starting point would be the four who finished 2008 in Tampa, where Tennessee beat Stanford in the national championship game.

Women's basketball, you see, is an active recycler. For the past eight years, at least one Final Four team has made it back the next year, with two or more teams returning to the national semifinals five times in that span. The men, by comparison, went four years from 2003-06 with 16 different teams in the Final Four. (notes Helen: let's not forget the impact of the early jump to the NBA...)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

*#^$!!@ ACLs. This time it's New Mexico's Porche Torrance.
As the season nears, a plethora of stuff is appearing over at ESPN.com. The 2008 Women's Basketball Preview includes pieces by Mechelle having UConn flashbacks and expecting Moore.

There's also an 08-09 primer highlighting some of this season's major storylines. First up? Pat gets her 1000th win.
Every year some people think Oklahoma will get to the Final Four on the strength of the Paris twins' interior game, and every year their guard play comes up short.

Now Courtney and Ashley are seniors, and they're dedicated committed annoyed.
Geno calls Louisville's Angel McCoughtry the top pick in next year's draft. (He may be remembering the challenge her team gave his team last March.)

Around the U of L, McCoughtry's now a celeb; her counterpart on the men's side,Terrence Williams, likes her game too.

Last night Louisville played its first game in a new arena, beating a top Division II team easily despite McCoughtry's off night. "If we can improve defensively," says coach Jeff Walz, "we have a chance to be... pretty good."
Oklahoma and North Carolina headline the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament, which kicks off the women’s college basketball season Friday, Nov. 14.
From Fort Worth's Star-Telegram: As Tennessee rebuilds, UConn takes center stage.

Can a team that loses its entire starting five still be a national championship contender?

Probably only at Tennessee, where the two-time defending champion Lady Vols’ goal is the same — winning another title — despite a WNBA-raided roster that includes a senior, four sophomores, a redshirt freshman and six true freshmen.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

From Graham:
I'm not the biggest classical music fan in the world, but it seems to me that if you wanted to hear the best possible symphony, you wouldn't pick an orchestra composed entirely of cello players. So it always strikes me as a little strange to see All-America "teams" that don't pay any attention to positions or compatibility. All-America list, maybe. But team?

Here's the eight-player rotation I'd pick for a team to take on all comers (the substitutes must have played primarily off the bench last season)
An update on the Comets' future.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Mechelle blogs:
Women’s sports continue to grow in popularity, and there is a demand for serious written journalism about them. But the industry’s problems are leading to more cutbacks on things that are not “big-ticket.” At a time when technology and expanding interests should make newspaper sports departments’ coverage more diverse and comprehensive, it seems the opposite is true. They instead are making the spotlight bigger on fewer things.

While that doesn’t really answer the problems newspapers are facing, it’s a short-term fix that has, unfortunately, troubling long-term implications. Diversity in sports coverage tends to “gain” ground slowly and only with a lot of effort. However, it can “lose” ground very quickly.

Think of it like the difference between painstakingly climbing up a mountain … or having the rope severed and falling down it. There is definitely a worry about how many ropes are being severed – and how many of those people will attempt to climb the mountain again.
Graham crunches some past pre-season ESPN polls to see what wisdom they might -- or might not -- offer.
Coach Stringer, speaking in Princeton, had a lot to say about Obama's big win; Mel Greenberg's blog has every word she said.
Can Middle Tennessee still rule its conference now that Amber Holt has left the Blue Raiders for the Connecticut Sun? Maybe: meet new Blue Raider, and junior college transfer, Alysha Clark.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So following the W, NCAA and overseas bball ain't enough for ya? Check out some local high school games.

You can sound smart by reading Mindi Rice's article "Dynamic duo of Gray, Jemerigbe leads St. Mary's to No. 1 preseason ranking," memorizing the latest ESPN RISE FAB 50 national girls' basketball rankings and studying Clay's piece on Jemerigbe.

By the way, after carefully double-checking the spelling of Jemerigbe, I can now snarkily suggest that ESPN and their photo-captioners remember the difference between rains, reigns and reins.
The Title IX blog notes that Inside Higher Ed has an article on the NCAA's update to its biennial gender equity report:
...while the percentage of opportunities allocated to female athletes held steady, the percentage of money allocated to women's teams has dipped downward a bit. Among Division I schools, the average percentage of athletic department funds allocated to women's sports has gone from was 37% in 2003-04 to 34% in 2005-06. Average spending on both men's and women's sports has increased in absolute terms, but men's teams are receiving comparatively more than women. Which means that, even in these tough, budget-cutting times, schools are finding money to increase their athletic budgets overall. They are chosing, however, to allocate more of these new funds to men's teams than to women's.
Did we miss this basketball book: "Why She Plays," by Christine Baker. I think we did, but life's been a little fuzzy these last few days....
Tickets to the 2008 State Farm Tip-Off Classic are still available.

This year’s event will be hosted by LSU on November 16 and features No. 22 LSU against No. 14 Notre Dame at 2:30 p.m. (EST, ESPN2) and 10th-ranked Texas A&M versus No. 23 Pittsburgh at 5 p.m. (EST, ESPN2).

All tickets are $1 and can be purchased by calling 1-800-960-8587 or visiting www.lsusports.net.

If you can’t make it to Baton Rouge for the 16th Annual State Farm Tip-Off Classic, which is the longest early season women’s basketball event on ESPN, please remember to tune in as the 2008-09 women’s basketball season gets underway!
For more information, visit www.wbhof.com
Rumor (and Mel's blog) has it that the Mystics will name long, long, looooong time assistant Julie Plank as head coach.

Currently an assistant with the Lynx, Plank has worked with Indiana, USA Basketball, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Capital University (OH).
SUU coach Steve Hodson died Monday after an 8-year-battle against cancer.
Better news from the WBCA:

Beth and Debbie will return with Shootaround podcasts (SIGN UP FOR THEM!), the Pack the House Challenge is back, scroll down to remind yourself of the rule changes and points of emphasis, and don't forget to bookmark eofficials.com, the NCAA's officiating site.
From the WBCA site:
Vanguard University women's basketball player Therese Riedel was seriously injured during a team outing last week. Riedel is under hospital care undergoing treatment for a broken neck. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.
The WBCA has released the ESPN/USA Today Coachs' poll.

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, Oglethorpe (oh, bliss) University (GA) and Kean University take the top three spots in Division III. Washington University, host of this year's D-I Final Four, and DePauw, 2007 champeens, are 4 and 5.

In Division II,
the poll starts with last year's numero uno Northern Kentucky, perennial presence, California University of Pennsylvania, and Kansas' Washburn University. The Ravens of Franklin Pierce -- with two potentinal British Olympians on the team - and the Seawolves of Anchorage follow in the 4th and 5th spots.

The Division I poll
offers Connecticut, Stanford and Rutgers, North Carolina and Maryland.