Women's Hoops Blog: March 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More from the WBCA: The WBCA Pink Zone initiative for 2009 was February 13 – 22, and the numbers are still being recorded. So far we have tallied over $1,000,000 and over 1,500 participants.
Vandy's Jennifer Risper was named as the WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year.
Risper, a guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., was recently named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and to the SEC All-Tournament Team, after averaging 11.7 points, 7.7 rebounds during the tournament. This 5-foot-9 guard was also awarded Second Team All-SEC honors for the second straight year after grabbing 2.3 steals per contest, second highest in the SEC. Risper currently stands eighth all-time in career steals at Vanderbilt with 221, including 81 this season, which is the most in the league this year.

In Vanderbilt’s second-round NCAA Tournament game versus Kansas State, Risper turned in a career-high 27 points, which included netting 9-of-12 from the field and a near-perfect 9-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Risper has started 85 consecutive games for the No. 13-ranked Commodores, who recently lost a heart-breaker on Saturday to fourth-seeded Maryland, 74-78. It was Vanderbilt’s 14th appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Granted a little late to the party, but at least she showed up. Lynn Zinser of the NYTimes writes:
If parity showed up at your tournament, would you recognize it? It is a mysterious thing. Someone announces its arrival at almost every party and yet, we never really know if it was there until it is gone. Or someone announces it’s gone. Or something like that.
Karen writes about the first two Final Four teams:
The first two Elite Eight contests couldn’t have been more different.

In No. 3 Louisville’s monstrous 77-60 upset of No. 1 Maryland, Angel McCoughtry had another other-worldly performance, but she had plenty of help from unlikely sources -- particularly the winged point guard Deseree Byrd and a high-flying bench.

On the other hand, No. 2 Stanford seemingly needed only one player – 6-foot-4 center Jayne Appel – to take down No. 4 Iowa State. On the way to a school-record 46 points, Appel had more points than all of Iowa State’s players combined until well into the second half of the 73-54 win. She nearly out-rebounded the undersized Cyclones by herself
AP All-America First Team

Whether or not she delivers a national championship, Courtney Paris will leave Oklahoma with quite a legacy: the only four-time All-American in women's college basketball.

"I'm truly honored to be the first," said Paris, who already holds 18 NCAA records. "I'm sure that will happen with Maya Moore in the next couple of years."

The sensational sophomore Moore is on pace to join the Oklahoma center in two years after making The Associated Press' All-America team for the second consecutive season Tuesday. She was joined by UConn teammate Renee Montgomery, marking the first time since 2000 that two players from the same school made the first team.

Whoo, hoooooooo!!!!! This is great news from the WBCA:
The 2009 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) High School All-America Game presented by Nike will be televised on ESPNU, the 24-hour college sports network. This is the first time since 2002 that the game will be televised.

“The WBCA High School All-America Game gives the nation a chance to view the next generation of potential women’s basketball superstars,” said WBCA President Sherri Coale. “The vision of ESPN has been a catalyst for the last decade’s remarkable growth of women’s basketball, and this programming addition reflects yet again their continued commitment to our great game.”

The 2009 WBCA High School All-America Game presented by Nike will be held on Saturday, April 4, 2009, at Washington University’s Field House in St. Louis, Mo., at 4:30 p.m. CT. The game will be aired on Sunday, April 5, at 5:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

“ESPN is pleased to once again broadcast the longest running women’s basketball high school all-America game on ESPNU,” said Carol Stiff, ESPN Sr. Director, Programming and Acquisitions. “The WBCA’s tradition of showcasing the best prep talent in women’s basketball is a tradition we are proud to support.
Turns out the President of the United States filled out a women's bracket after all, though it's not clear whether he made his picks before or after such august institutions as USA Today and Beacon Broadside called on him to do so.

We do know his choice for the national title: it's UConn.
It's been a pretty good weekend for the Pac-10: Cal to the Sweet Sixteen (even if UConn did crush them), Arizona State to the Elite Eight (where UConn awaits), and now Stanford will return to the Final Four.

Formidable Cardinal center Jayne Appel set records as she cut through Iowa State's "defense" more or less like a steakknife through ice cream: she scored 46, the highest tournament tally since Sheryl Swoopes almost 20 years ago.

Iowa State's single coverage on Appel baffled some observers: coach Fennelly-- not a dumb guy-- probably chose that route because last time these teams met, the Cardinal won easily by sinking lots of threes. (Apparently coach TV was expecting Fennelly to try single coverage: Appel said she knew just what to do.)

The Cyclones' own three-point attack, meanwhile, failed them: Iowa State's student paper has the whole story. "We didn't get a whole lot of open looks," said Heather Ezell.

UConn sure won't look past the Sun Devils, who face the Huskies tonight.

Some fans, though, are already debating what would happen in a rematch of last year's national semifinal game. (My uninformed take: Appel is both stronger, and more consistent, than Charles, but UConn's guards are better and faster than Stanford's: if Stanford can't guard the perimeter, UConn wins-- if they can, then a small difference in free throws made or whistles blown could decide the as-yet-hypothetical game.)
It was a great night for Louisville: the Cardinals got to their first-ever final four by defeating Maryland handily.

McCoughtry, who played 40 minutes, and scored 21 (not unusual for her); three of her teammates reached double figures as well. Voepel talks to Angel, and to coach Jeff Walz, who was an assistant on Maryland's 2006 championship team.

It was the second straight unexpected exit for the Terps, and the last college game ever for Coleman and Toliver; the disappointed, but still grateful, Basket Cases have a full menu of links.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Jere' on the Boilermakers: Purdue Women Regain Balance After a Season Full of Stumbles
Every time she leaves a game, Purdue guard Jodi Howell rides a stationary bike to keep her aching, surgically repaired knees limber.

In a broader sense, the Boilermakers (25-10) have been pedaling up a steep incline against injury, loss of composure and national indifference to reach the final of the Oklahoma City Regional. A victory over Oklahoma (31-4) on Tuesday would make Purdue only the sixth women’s team seeded sixth or lower to reach the Final Four.
Mechelle writes:
March Madness (which leaks over to April) is always presented as this thrill ride of possibility, a grand adventure only the most fortunate get to take part in, an athletic festival.

I suppose it is all that … until the men’s and women’s tournaments actually start, and it just becomes almost like this demonic game of musical chairs. Where being in the right place at the right time - i.e. in front on the scoreboard when the game clock expires - is often a matter of chance. And every round, somebody you think still belongs has to go.

If you are a writer covering the entire tournament and not just one specific team - which has been the case for me for ESPN.com since 1996 - then you never cover a “victory.” Every game you watch and write about, you are experiencing both sides because you listen to and ask questions of the winners and the ones who didn’t win.

Karen blogs: 16 surprises out of the Women’s NCAA Sweet 16
This story is a couple of weeks old, but Kat Lyons is suing Marist College. In the lawsuit, Lyons is claiming she was unfairly suspended from the college in January after she disclosed she was suffering from psychological problems.

Lyons began her career at Maryland before transferring to Marist.

(h/t bludev03)
It's amazing how much influence we at the Women's Hoops Blog have! From the WBCA:

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has selected Ball State’s Kelly Packard as the recipient of the 2009 Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award. This distinguished award honors a WBCA Division I head coach who has lead their team to a successful season during their first year at the helm.

“We would like to honor Kelly Packard with this year’s Maggie Dixon award as she has elevated Ball State University to new levels in just her first year,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “We had a terrific pool of first-year head coaches, but Kelly Packard stood out above the rest, and we wish her much success at Ball State in the future.”

Packard became the first coach in Ball State’s women basketball history to win 26 games in a rookie season. She led the Cardinals to their best ever overall and home records, 26-9 and 14-1, respectively. Ball State also had its best Mid-America Conference showing, turning in a 14-2 ledger. Packard coached senior guard Porchia Green to MAC First Team All-MAC and Defensive Player of the Year honors.

In just her first season, Packard guided Ball State to its third straight Mid-American Conference West Division title, its first MAC Tournament title and first NCAA Tournament berth. The Cardinals went on to earn the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament first round victory when it topped defending national champions, the University of Tennessee, 71-55. With the win, Ball State captured its 12th straight victory and tied the school record for the longest win streak in program history.
Some thoughts on the rather limited subset of Sweet Sixteen games about which I have any thoughts:

1. ISU vs MSU: ISU's three-point barrage can beat almost anyone on a good night, though it means they can lose to anyone when the threes fail-- Saturday night they hit (MSU's late defensive lapses let them hit) just enough threes to win.

If the last few plays (Ezell's and Lacey's treys) showed as much, they also demonstrated the same point I found in this terrific long article about Houston NBA role player Sean Battier:shot blocks are missed blessings.

Alyssa DeHaan, best-known as a shot blocker,is still a lot taller than she is strong. Saturday she surely had a great game, both in scoring and in blocking shots, but blocked shots are of limited value unless your team can prevent the offensive rebound. Lacey's game-winner shot came after an uncredited DeHaan block; DeHaan's fellow Spartans couldn't corral the ball.

2. UConn vs Cal: that looked close for a while there, didn't it? But the outcome was what everybody expected. Berkeley students react to their Bears' nice try.

Tiffany Hayes showed up-- not for the first time, and not a complete surprise, though her new records (as Altavilla points out) are something special. Not only did she hit important threes, she showed good judgment about when to shoot threes, and when to take time and wait for a look inside.

The Berkeley squad, as you might expect (and as Jessie predicted), just got tired. Very, very tired. Which means (as the folks on the teevee pointed out) that Arizona State may have a chance: the Sun Devils give significant minutes to nine or so players each game. (Hays connects ASU's unusual rotation to Danielle Orsillo's spirit of selflessness.) The Sun Devils won't run UConn ragged, but UConn may not be able to do the reverse. Are we going to see the Huskies slow the game down?

3. Purdue vs Rutgers: FahKara Malone used to be rough to watch-- a player with great foot speed and fine one-on-one skills who often couldn't control her temper or find her teammates.

As of right now, she's a delight to watch, with skills, foot speed and court vision too: her midrange jumper with the shot clock nearly at zero sealed up that tough game. I like Purdue's teamwork-- but I'm finding it hard to see how the Boilers can beat Oklahoma if the Sooners' guards stay in sync.

4. All the lower seeds playing close to home, or at home, that upset teams playing very far from home (Rutgers, San Diego State, MIchigan State, and arguably Gonzaga) have now been cleared out of the field-- while a higher seed that won on a lower seed's home court (Arizona State, who walloped Georgia in the first round) is still around.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Female Somalis learn basketball in girls-only gym
Nearly every day, Somali boys and young men gather at the Brian Coyle Center in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood to shoot hoops in the gym.

But there are times when the boys are locked out — and the gym is set aside just for the girls.

In a single-sex environment, the high school students and young women can learn basketball, cut loose a little, and they don't need to wear scarves and long skirts for religious modesty.

Round 4/Quarterfinal games
Sunday, March 29
South Florida 80, St. Bonaventure 66
Illinois State 66, Indiana 55
Boston College 65, Georgetown 56

Monday, March 30
Kansas at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET

Semifinal games
Wednesday, April 1
South Florida at Boston College, 7 p.m. ET
Illinois State vs. Kansas-New Mexico winner, SITE/Time TBA
Somewhat hidden on the ESPN page:

Mechelle: Coleman carries Terps past Vandy
Louisville coach Jeff Walz couldn't quite help himself. He coached Marissa Coleman while he was an assistant at Maryland. And as he watched Coleman battle Vanderbilt on Saturday, he kept whispering advice to her from his temporary spot on press row. Not, however, that she needed the help even if she could have heard it. It's sometimes said there are players who simply won't let their teams lose. On Saturday, Coleman was exactly that kind of player.
From Graham: In helping others, Orsillo helps self, ASU
By the time Danielle Orsillo graduated from Las Plumas High School in Oroville, Calif., about an hour north of Sacramento, only Cheryl Miller and Charde Houston had scored more points in the history of California high school girls basketball. Only Miller, one of the sport's all-time icons, averaged more points per game during her prep career than Orsillo's 30.5 average, which includes a 36.7-point average in her final season.

So it might not be surprising to discover that early in her collegiate career, Orsillo was at a bit of a loss.
And see how right Graham was about the Trenton games: East meets West in diverse Trenton

Other stuff from Mechelle: Sooners ready for sweet experience
A year ago, the truest women's hoops fans and most dutifully civic-minded citizens of greater Oklahoma City trudged into the Ford Center for games they didn't really want to watch.

Such is the peril of having a regional site in the backyard of a team favored to get there. If it doesn't happen, the locals might skip the games. Not just because they aren't as interested in them, but also because they're kind of painful to watch.
Also, Ted Miller (Ted Miller? Welcome!!!): Appel answers call for Cardinal

And more from Ted: Treys (what else?) lift ISU to Elite Eight
"Missed it by *that* much," blogs Mechelle:
There’s something we see in every sport, but never so achingly often as each year in the NCAA tournament. To lose stinks, sure. To lose a close game stinks worse.

But nothing stinks more than to lose after giving up a decent-sized lead.

To get blown out is no fragrant affair, either, but the emotions are usually muted then. Getting beat soundly tells you something worse about your team than losing 69-68, as Michigan State did to Iowa State on Saturday. Getting your tail kicked leaves you with less to feel proud about than falling 78-74, as Vanderbilt did to Maryland. But …
Continuing that "parity" discussion, here's a look at yesterday's games:
Blowouts/seeds hold (16 points or more):
#2 Stanford v #3 Ohio St. - 18 point differential

Within 15/seeds hold:

Close games/seeds hold (10 points or less):
#1 Maryland v #4 Vanderbilt - 4 point differential
#4 Iowa State v #9 Michigan State - 1 point differential

Upsets/Close games (10 points or less)

Upsets (within 15 points)

Blowouts/upsets (16 points or more)
#3 Louisville v. #2 Baylor - 17 point differential

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Healthy Hand has Sooners clicking again, says Jeff Latzke (anyone else flash on the Alberta Hunter classic?).
From the Plain Dealer: Comfort zone: Often inscrutable, Buckeyes coach Jim Foster warming up to a favorite team
The Register-Guard says: Westhead hire’s so crazy, it might work
From the NYTimes' "The Quad" blog: The SEC’s Final Hope
The Southeastern Conference has placed at least one team in the N.C.A.A. women’s Final Four in 18 of the past 20 years, including the last seven seasons in a row.

But that streak could end this year. Although seven SEC teams made the tournament, only No. 4 seed Vanderbilt reached the Round of 16.
And: Baylor’s Trying Season
After all that has happened to the Baylor women’s basketball team during this tragic, trying season, it would have been easy for the Lady Bears to buckle and bow out of the N.C.A.A. tournament.

How much can one team absorb and keep winning? More than you could imagine.
Flashback to when Tara was a Buckeye.
The running stands out to Kristen Watt -- the running, and the moon-walking.

Recalling her days as a player under former Ohio State women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer, Watt can still recite the brutal conditioning regimen VanDerveer put her charges through:

"We did pyramids," said Watt, now an analyst on OSU radio broadcasts. "Ten 50s (50-yard dashes), 10 100s, 10 200s and 10 400s. The rules were different back then; there were no limits."

The payoff, Watt said, was that "we never finished a game more tired than the other team. Never."
Vandy/Maryland preview.
Louisville/Baylor preview (and Kim's feeling better).
From Mechelle: Same venue, new story lines in Raleigh: Baylor, Louisville, Maryland and Vanderbilt all seek dates in Elite Eight
The last time I was in North Carolina's capital city for the NCAA tournament was two years ago, in March 2007.

I've been back here several times since, most recently in January at the funeral service for NC State coach Kay Yow. But returning to the RBC Center, which was a host site for the NCAA first and second rounds in 2007, reminds me of how much can happen in so relatively short a period as 24 months, and how that plays into the regional games we'll see here in 2009.

Saturday, No. 2 seed Baylor meets No. 3 Louisville (ESPN, noon ET), followed by No. 1 Maryland versus No. 4 Vanderbilt (ESPN, 2:30 p.m. ET). Two years ago, all four of those programs lost in the NCAA tournament's second round.
From the Daily Vidette (the Daily Vidette?) at Illinois State: Hey guys, where is the love? Women's tournament just as impressive
From Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger: Rutgers needs to improve its promotion and marketing of the women's basketball team
The Rutgers women's basketball team will play in its fifth straight Sweet 16 this weekend, the second-longest streak in the nation. So why is it marketed like a high school team?
Angel offers some Perspective.

Friday, March 27, 2009

All hail the new Division II champions! Minnesota State Mankato-- the no. 4 seed-- has defeated fourteenth-ranked Franklin Pierce in San Antonio. Both teams shot over 50% from the field in a back-and-forth game.

It's brand-new news, so we don't have many links yet: we may try to get you some cool quotes when they arrive. It's 2:45am here in the United Kingdom, where they don't exactly televise games-- but we didn't want to pass up the fresh news: and yes, I'll be in America in time to watch at least part of the DI Sweet Sixteen.

For now, and before I leave England, here's more about Johannah Leedham, the Franklin Pierce star who comes from a town near Liverpool, and who played alongside her sister at Franklin Pierce: you might (or might not) see Leedham again on the home team in the London Olympics in 2012.
John Feinstein on Jamie and Maggie Dixon.

Also, if you have HBO you can see more about the story of the Dixon siblings on this month's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
NPR talks Sweet Sixteen with USA Today columnist Christine Brennan.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

h/t to bullsky, who basically says, Yo, the Donna! THIS is how you make a commercial!

See Extraordinary: Abby Wambach

See Extraordinary - Shannon Boxx
It's a new Shootaround!
  • Sweet Sixteen Preview
  • Tara goes toe-to-toe with Debbie
  • Big 10 Busts Loose
From Nicole Jacobsen, Editor in Chief at the SMU Daily Campus: Not just an average pick-up basketball game
In what I can only think to call a game of complete idiocy, ten men from The Ticket squared off against nine select members of the Lake Highlands women's basketball team last night in Moody Coliseum. Whether it was a bunch of testosterone-inflated egos, a silly bet made over one too many beers or just men wanting to prove they are more dominant in sports is beyond me, but whatever the reason, the game was a sorry excuse to show off a lack of athletic ability on behalf of the men.
And from Chris Dell, Sports Editor at SMU: Nice try, radio guys
Talk is cheap.

That's why the hosts at Dallas' sports talk radio station The Ticket deserve some credit for challenging a group of girls from the Lake Highlands High School girls basketball team to a friendly game Wednesday in front of about 4,000 curious fans at Moody Coliseum.

However, Team Ticket's performance validated what many people knew already: Middle-age men don't belong on the same court as teenagers, not even teenage girls.
WNBA.com asks Renne Brown to break down the top draft prospects.
While Brown said she sees the potential for this class to produce a number of WNBA stars, the onus will be on the players to put in the work in order to make it happen. Below Brown gives us her thoughts on 18 of this year's top prospects; she breaks down their games, gives us her opinion on what the players do well and what they will need to improve in order to play at the next level, and even draws a few comparisons to current WNBA stars among the prospects.
From Stu out at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Fortunes soar for women's coaches
A $23,000 salary provided a frugal starting point for Joanne P. McCallie's coaching career as a graduate student at Auburn University in 1988.

So, she was thrilled when the University of Maine offered $49,000 to coach its women's basketball team in 1992 at a time when the sport was still looking for mainstream acceptance.

But the big payoff came in 2007.

Weeks after McCallie agreed to a $500,000 contract extension at Michigan State, Duke lured her away with an offer that made her one of the 10 highest-paid coaches in women's college basketball, with a package estimated to be worth at least $750,000.
Mechelle looks at the Sweet Sixteen field and gives a little preview and ESPN.com goes interactive, asking fanst to Rank'em.
A belated congrats (lordy, do I hate having to work in March) to NAIA Division National Champions Union University.

You may remember this team from last year -- their campus was wiped out by a tornado. While they were upset in the semis in 2008, they were not to be denied this year. It was an all-Tennessee final, as the #1-seed Lady Bulldogs went up against another #1 seed, Lambuth University. Two-time NAIA Player of the Year Josephine Owino led Union with 27 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, and the Bulldogs never trailed as they earned a 73-63 win.

With its victory, Union earned a small measure of revenge over Lambuth, which won the 2007 national title after posting a 66-64 win over Union in the semifinals.
"Every year, the further I get along, it's more and more about the kids," Union coach Mark Campbell said. "We had a lot of talent this year and I felt like it was [my] responsibility to get them to this point. It's nice to be able to enjoy them. They've been enjoyable all year long."
Attendance for the Tuesday night championship game was 4,512, bringing the tournament’s final attendance total to 22,206 (Wednesday 3,776; Thursday 3,415; Friday 4,323; Saturday 2,965; Monday 3,215).
The Division II final is set:

In this corner, introducing, from the Granite State, the fiercesome Ravens of Franklin Pierce!

No. 14-ranked Franklin Pierce held No. 24-ranked Delta State to just 24.1-percent shooting in the second half to claim a 58-39 victory in the semis and move into the championship game for the first time in program history.

As this blog has mentioned before, whoever is going to be the British Olympic coach better pay attention: Junior All-American and Great Britain international Johannah Leedham was the lone Franklin Pierce player in double-figures with a game-high 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the field, including 3-of-9 from three-point range, and converting 3-of-4 free-throws. She also added a season-high matching six assists, four rebounds and two steals.
"We are elated to be in the National Championship on Friday," said Franklin Pierce head coach Mark Swasey, the Russell Athletic/WBCA East Region Coach of the Year. "I think to get here this week, we have had to put together two different kinds of performances. (Last night) we had to outscore California and then tonight we had to defend well against Delta State."
In the other corner, introducing, from the "Show Me State," the Mavericks of Minnesota State-Mankato!

The No. 4-ranked Mavericks defeated the No. 2-rated Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves 83-60 to move into the finals.
UAA's vaunted defense finally ran into an unstoppable offense -- unstoppable in this game, at least. Mankato's 83 points were the most scored against UAA all season, and its 63 percent shooting marked the first time this season a team shot better than 50 percent against the Seawolves. Only two other opponents scored 70 or more all season against the Seawolves, the nation's defensive leaders who came into the game allowing less than 50 points per game.
The win brings MSU’s record to 31-2,

“We worked hard all year and talked about the possibility of playing in the championship game, and here we are” interim head coach Pam Gohl said. Gohl, who joined the Minnesota State women's basketball staff two seasons ago as an assistant coach, replaced Lori Fish, MSU's women's basketball head coach the last four years, who was hired to lead the St. Cloud State women's basketball program.

The game will be in San Antonio, and broadcast this Friday, March 27 on ESPN2, 8pmEST.
It's from last week, but it's always fun to read about Gary Blair (and, to be honest, the 1970's flashback photo attached to the article will make your link-click worthwhile):
Turn onto Gary Blair's street on a March Wednesday, and his home is easy to find.

It's the one with the bare curb.

"See, everybody has their trash can out except me," says Texas A&M's women's basketball coach, looking around his neighborhood. "I haven't been home long enough to fill mine up."

Every March since 1975 has wreaked some degree of madness in the 63-year-old Dallas native's life, usually the good kind.
Gasp! "Is parity slipping into women's basketball?"
Goodbye Tennessee. So long Duke. See you next time North Carolina.

Thirty-two games into the NCAA women's basketball tournament and three of the powerhouses have already been bounced. Throw-in LSU, which had made the previous five Final Fours and it would be easy to see a transformation under way.

"I just think it points toward the parity in women's basketball with so many different teams doing so well. I think it's a good sign in some ways for basketball that they aren't in the Sweet 16," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer, whose team advanced to the Berkeley Regional semifinals. "But there is more talent spread around. I think it's exciting. You're looking at the future of women's basketball. Of course, as long as Stanford's in there, I like it."
Pwoud of our Wabbits:
Students say women's sports are finally getting their due because of the success of the Jackrabbit team.

"If you would have asked me three years ago, when I came here that women's basketball would be the big sport, I maybe wouldn't have agreed. But it definitely gives relevance a lot to women's basketball and I think that's really cool around here," junior David Bierman said.

Students are wearing their loyalty on their sleeves by snatching up anything with a Jackrabbit logo.

"They like t-shirts and sweatshirts, hoods, hoods are big, yeah," university bookstore clerk Marilyn Hesby said.
Local girl (and WHBMDRCOY) makes good.
In a season of firsts, Tri-Valley graduate Kelly (Spaulding) Packard guided the Ball State women's basketball team into history.

Even a 71-57 loss to Iowa State Tuesday night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament couldn't put a damper on the accomplishments.

Kelly Spaulding graduated from Tri-Valley in 1986 after starring for the Lady Scotties in basketball and track. She then went on to Anderson, Ind., where she was a four-time all-conference basketball selection and left as the school's all-time leading scorer (1,275) and rebounder (723). She was named Outstanding Female Athlete in 1990 and was inducted into the Anderson Hall of Fame in 2002.
More attendance talk:
Even with attendance down, the NCAA has reason to be happy with the expansion back to 16 sites in the women’s tournament. It’s still a work in progress though, and there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out. Just ask the top seeded coaches who lost on their opponents’ home court.

“I think for the most part our first-round sites have created that championship atmosphere that we wanted and we have to consider the economic times we’re in,” said Sue Donohoe, who is the NCAAs vice president for Division I women’s basketball. “We’re pleased right now.”

The NCAA women’s committee decided to switch back to 16 predetermined sites for this season’s tournament after going with only eight sites the previous few years. The first two rounds drew an average of 4,100 people, down from last season’s 5,800. The average was the second-lowest mark since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1994.
Arizona State lowest seed alive:
Arizona State is one of the final 16 teams playing in the NCAA tournament despite being without its leading scorer. But Sun Devils coach Charli Turner Thorne said it'll be about defense in Sunday's game against Texas A&M in the regional semifinal at Trenton, N.J.

"It's not going to be about flow, that's for sure," Turner Thorne said Wednesday. "I think a lot of basketball in March is not about flow. It's not pretty, because you don't get this far without being a great defensive team."
Attendance talk: Basketball fans stayed home in 2009
The good news is that college basketball fans in Tennessee had lots of room to stretch out and plenty of seats to choose from.

That's because regular-season attendance fell this year for eight of 12 prominent college basketball programs in the region, a trend that mirrored declines in the 12 top-drawing conferences in the country.
Temeka Johnson has joined the Mercury via a trade. The Sparks get the Mercury's 2010 first round pick (not their pick in this year's draft as previously posted).
It looks like the Ducks have hired former Mercury head coach Paul Westhead as their new coach.
So, the shoe has almost dropped. We now know it'll either be a forest green shoe or a flaming red shoe.

Round 3
Thursday, March 26
Indiana at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. ET
Boston College at St. John’s, 7 p.m. ET
Mississippi at South Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Richmond at Georgetown, 7:30 p.m. ET
Arkansas at Kansas, 8 p.m. ET
St. Bonaventure at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET
Marquette at Illinois State, 8 p.m. ET
Friday, March 27
Oregon State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET


CBS College Sports Network will broadcast the Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) live on Saturday, April 4 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The game
will be broadcast nationally and played at the home site of one of the two WNIT
Championship teams.

“It’s exciting to partner with CBS College Sports for the WNIT championship,” WNIT executive director Brent Amick said. “The championship has a great history of tremendous crowds and atmosphere, and we are pleased to capture that on a nationally televised basis.”

Last year’s WNIT championship showcased Marquette at Michigan State. In the tournament’s 11 years, the title game has averaged nearly 11,000 fans in attendance each year. Past champions include Auburn, Kansas State, Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The Postseason WNIT features a 48-team field. The tournament offers 31 teams automatic berths – one per conference – and then selects 17 at-large teams. The WNIT began March 18 and culminates April 4. All games, including the final, are hosted by participating schools.

For more information about the WNIT, visit the website at www.womensnit.com

For more information about CBS College Sports Network and to get specific channel information, go to http://www.cbssports.com/cbscollegesports/subscribe

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Arriving in St. Louis a tad early? Here's something to do Friday night:
WHAT: Special announcement regarding live Werner Ladder presents "Shootaround with Beth & DebbieT."

WHEN: Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:30 p.m. CT

WHERE: Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront, Regency C

Geno Auriemma, University of Connecticut head coach and No. 1 overall seed in tournament
Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee head coach and defending national champion
Sherri Coale, University of Oklahoma head coach and WBCA President
Brenda Frese, University of Maryland head coach
Muffet McGraw, University of Notre Dame head coach
Tara VanDerveer, Stanford University head coach

Please join Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli for a special episode of Shootaround as they broadcast live from the WBCA National Convention in conjunction with the NCAA Women's Final Four! The one-hour show is sponsored by Werner Ladder, the Official Ladder of NCAA Basketball, and will feature Beth and Debbie's "Starting Five," auctions, a fashion show, giveaways and much more. It is a free event and is open to the public. You don't want to miss this dynamic duo live in action!
Karen at Newsday's been busy: She writes on the Rutgers with and the Duke loss.
More on State's jumbo upset of Duke, from Sharon Crowson at Full Court and Voepel at ESPN.

Coach McCallie on the game's locale: "I'm sure it helped in some way, but the reality is, we didn't play very well. We played very poorly and if a team plays poorly, you have to give credit to the other team for doing some better things."

Voepel explains the unfairness of it all: "How does this make any sense in terms of integrity of the bracket? It doesn't... But for now, the women's game is stuck with it." (And we'll be stuck with it till first- and second-round games on neutral sites can fill enough seats-- as we saw in '07 and '08, at the moment, they simply can't.)

Also via Voepel, Mike Holtzclaw's top ten things coach Summitt is doing with all that free time.
To parity or not to parity, that be the question.

Blowouts/seeds hold (16pts or more):

#2 Texas A&M v #10 Minnesota - 31 point differential
#1 Connecticut v #8 Florida - 28 point differential
#1 Oklahoma v #9 Georgia Tech - 19 point differential

Within 15/seeds hold:
#1 Maryland v #9 Utah - 15 point differential
#4 Iowa St. v #12 Ball St. - 14 point differential

Close games/seeds hold (10pts or less):
#2 Baylor v # South Dakota St. - 1 point differential (Wespect the Wabbit)
#3 Louisville v #6 LSU - 10 point differential

Upsets/Close games (1o pts or less)

Upsets (within 15)
#9 Michigan State v #1 Duke- 14 point differential

Blowouts/upsets (16 points or more)
In what was by far last night's closest game, Big XII champs Baylor barely escaped South Dakota State: Kelli Griffin's last-second drive and layup sent the Bears to the Sweet Sixteen.

Soph PG Griffin "is doing exactly what you hope she'd do," said coach Mulkey. "She's growing and maturing and... not turning the ball over." And winning close games.

Coach Mulkey came back from a brief hospitalization (she seems to be fine now) to coach that game, thus returning her own onetime coach and boss Leon Barmore to his remarkable assistant-coach job.

Both SDSU's (Jacks and Aztecs) have now been eliminated: Stanford used its inside game (not just Appel and Pederson, but also Ogwumike) to crush San Diego State.

The Sweet Sixteen will thus consist entirely-- is it really the first time ever?-- of teams from BCS schools. It will also upend all those predictions from the Parker-and-Larkins era about how the SEC and the ACC would take over the world: this year's third-round games will include three teams from the much-maligned Pac-10, three from the Big Ten, and just one apiece from the SEC and ACC.
This year's second-round DI games had a couple of neat rematches, or grudge matches, from years past:

1. Monday night Purdue upset North Carolina after a big four-point play from frosh Brittany Rayburn, who shone despite her taped ankle.

"At the end of the game I was telling our seniors that this is for them," she said. "We're going to play our butts off for them." Rayburn, from outside, and Wisdom-Hylton, from inside, finished with 18 points apiece; the Boilers won decisively, though they went into halftime with a tie.

The win (as Purdue's student newspaper points out) echoes the 1999 Boilermakers, who beat the Tar Heels on their way to a national title: it also reverses the outcomes Purdue fans recall from 2007, when their team lost to UNC in the Elite Eight, and also from 2006.

2. Remember the exciting, and heartbreaking (for Utes fans) Elite Eight game from 2006, where Maryland, playing with stomach flu, nearly lost to Shona Thorburn and Utah?

The Terps had an easier time with the Utes last night: Coleman and Tolliver played their last home game in College Park-- emotions ran high, but the outcome was hardly in doubt. Utah's Whipple scored 24, but the home team led by 16 at the half.

Coleman and Tolliver Toliver talk to the Washington Post about the past four years. "To be honest... we were overconfident when we came in," Coleman says. "Kristi and I just thought we could win all our games... And then when we won a national title our first year, it almost gave us a false sense of how easy it is. We really had to work to get back where we were."

3. The Terps won that '06 title when they upset Duke in a great comeback that required overtime. Last night Duke got upset again, and in a way that might hurt Duke fans just as much: coach McCallie's new team got canned by her old team, a nine seed, on her old team's home floor.

You might say that the location made the seeding a joke, and you can say that the emotions must have helped State (apparently McCallie got lots of boos). But when you see the numbers (no Duke field goal for the last seven-plus minutes; Duke's largest margin of defeat in tournament history; a 16-2 game-ending run) you have to say congratulations to Suzy Merchant's team.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

While #2 Auburn was getting blown out by #7 Rutgers (on RU's home court), Kara Lawson (who has become, hands down, the best women's basketball analyst on TV) basically said: "If you're a 1 or 2 seed you should be able to win on the road."

Mechelle's not so sanguine:
Auburn’s season “back on top” is over, and Monday night the Tigers found out where 30 victories and and an SEC regular-season championship will get you: an elimination game on the home court of a team that lost nine more games than you did (coming into the NCAA tournament) and was seeded five spots lower that you.

Such is the nature of the women’s tournament that we still have to live with. The bracket is compromised from the start because of pre-determined sites. Schools do not earn home-court advantage because of their results in a year. They don’t “earn” home-court advantage at all. They buy it.
Speakin' of Wabbits: Tough enough: Former youth wrestler Cornemann set physical tone for Jackrabbits.
Kim expects to be back on the sidelines as the Bears go Wabbit hunting.
Courtney offers her Perspective.
Your coach, a Hall of Famer, the winningest women's basketball coach in community college history, retires. What do you do?

Go through the season undefeated and win a national title.

That's what Central Arizona accomplished with their upset of top seeded Jefferson College, 78-71. The team earn the program's 4th Division I Junior College championship.
Jere' writes about Courtney's promise: Putting a Price on Title Run
"So," you're wondering, "how's that parity discussion going, Helen?"

Blowouts/seeds hold (16pts or more):
Stanford v. San Diego St. - 28 point differential
Calfornia v Virginia - 26 point differential

Within 15/seeds hold:
#4 Vanderbilt v. #5 Kansas St. - 13 point differential

Close games/seeds hold (10pts or less):
#4 Pittsburgh v #12 Gonzaga - 5 point differential
#3 Ohio St. v. #11 Mississippi State - 6 point differential

Upsets (10pts or less):
#6 Arizona St. v. #3 Florida St. - 5 point differential

Upsets (within 15)
#6 Purdue v. #3 N. Carolina - 15 point differential

Blowouts/upsets (16 points or more)
#7 Rutgers v. #2 Auburn - 28 point differential

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tara will be relieved to know that, as far as Mechelle is concerned, the monkey is off her back: Ball St.'s upset is tourney's biggest ever.
I'm sorry, but really? Trudi Lacey? Really???
From Newsdays' Final Score: Guest blogger Karen Bailis on the ouster of defending champion Tennessee from the NCAA women's tournament.

Round 2 Games
Monday, March 23
Boston College 68, Boston University 53
Marquette 58, Butler 49
Arkansas 61, Oklahoma State 60, OT
Kansas 79, Creighton 64
Tuesday, March 24
LA Tech at Illinois State, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 25
Nebraska at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET

Round 3

Thursday, March 26
Indiana at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. ET
Boston College at St. John’s, 7 p.m. ET
Mississippi at South Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Richmond at Georgetown, 7:30 p.m. ET
Arkansas at Kansas, 8 p.m. ET
St. Bonaventure at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. ET
Marquette vs. Illinois State-La Tech winner, 8 p.m. ET, Site TBD
Lenoir-Rhyne’s Todd Starkey wins the Division II National Coach of the Year award
In his fourth season at Lenoir-Rhyne, Starkey led his 2008-09 squad to a 27-5 record, improving on his 15-13 ledger from the previous season. This season’s ledger is the second-highest win total in school history. The Bears also saw their highest ranking of No.16 in the USA Today ESPN Division II Top 25 Coaches’ Poll.
Katie Cezat from Hillsdale College has been named the State Farm/WBCA Division II Player of the Year
Cezat, a 6-foot senior, led NCAA Division II in rebounds (521), rebounding average (16.8 rpg), blocks (100), blocking average (3.2 bpg) and field goals made (333), while she ranked second in points (908), scoring average (29.3) and free throws made (237) this season. She leads the GLIAC and her Hillsdale team in all above categories.

The Plymouth, Mich., native has grabbed 521 rebounds this season, which is the second-most ever in Division II history. In addition, her 908 points this season is tied for the fourth-most ever in a season on the DII record books. In 2008-09, she set the DII record for most double-doubles (28), and is second in the books with 18 consecutive double-double’s. Her 29.8 points a game and 16.8 rebounds per contest are both the seventh-highest averages in a season in DII history.
WBCA/Farm announced the 2009 Division II State Farm Coaches’ All-America Basketball Team.
Emily Brister - West Texas A&M Univ.
Katie Cezat - Hillsdale College
Ida Edwards - Emporia State Univ.
Amanda Grappe - Arkansas Tech Univ.
Jahzinga Tracey - Indiana Univ. of Pa.
Rebecca Kielpinski - Univ. of Alaska Anchorage
Johannah Leedham - Franklin Pierce Univ.
Jessie Slack - Northern Kentucky Univ.
Phebe Smith - Columbus State Univ.
Brooque Williams - California Univ. of Pa.
Dave Caldwell writes in anticipation of one of tonight's game: With Auburn Ahead, Rutgers Resists Urge to Reflect
Jere' has been busy! Prairie View’s Coach Gives Hope to a Heavy Underdog
Now in her fourth season at Prairie View, located 40 miles northwest of Houston, Cooper-Dyke has endured a highly publicized slate of N.C.A.A. rules violations, along with the financial and recruiting struggles that historically black colleges like Prairie View face in remaining competitive in big-time athletics.

But she has also brought success to an athletic department best known for a football team that lost 80 consecutive games in the 1990s — an N.C.A.A. record for futility. The women’s basketball team had not had a winning season until Cooper-Dyke arrived. Now the university has a team that Prairie View’s renowned marching band can be proud of, even if Oklahoma was too strong in Sunday’s 76-47 victory.
So the game everyone is talking about is, of course, Ball State's upset of Tennessee. (2nd most emailed story at the NYTimes) Writes Jere in A Shocking First for the Tennessee Women
It is difficult to overstate how unprecedented and unexpected the Lady Vols’ defeat was. This is a program that has won eight national titles and is the only university to have made the field every year since the N.C.A.A. began sponsoring a women’s tournament in 1982.
And notes Mechelle: Day 2: The bell tolls for Tennessee … at least for now
Tennessee never dropped out of my Top 25 poll this season, and I had the Orange Crush moving on to the Sweet 16 in my bracket (which I reluctantly fill out every year).

But now Tennessee is out of the tournament after the first round - a sentence I never thought I would type. Not even this season.
The for/against parity discussion continues:

Blowouts/seeds hold (16pts or more):
#1 Duke v Austin Peay - 41 point differential
#1 Connecticut v Vermont - 39 point differential
#1 Maryland v Dartmouth - 39 point differential
#2 Texas A&M v #13 Evansville - 35 point differential
#7 South Dakota State v TCU - 35 point differential
#4 Iowas State v #13 Eastern Tennessee State - 32 point differential
#1 Oklahoma v #16 Prairie View - 29 point differential
#3 Louisville v #14 Liberty - 20 point differential

Within 15/seeds hold:
#8 Florida v #9 Temple - 13 point differential

Close games/seeds hold (10pts or less):
#6 LSU v #11 UW Green Bay - 1o point differential
#2 Baylor v UT - San Antonio - 6 point differential (OT)

Upsets (10pts or less):
#10 Minnesota v #7 Notre Dame - 8 point differential
#9 Michigan State v #8 Middle Tennessee State - 1 point differential

Upsets (within 15)
#9 Georgia Tech v #8 Iowa - 14 point differential

Blowouts/upsets (16 points or more)
#9 Utah v. #8 Villanova - 30 point differential
#12 Ball State v #5 Tennessee - 16 point differential

Just to add a little spice to the stew, I'll point you to this article in the Times:
Round of 16 Is Heavy on Favorites, Low on Charm

When Cinderella Skips the Ball
Surprise!! Pete and Lynn ain't talking about the women's tourney...
Did I mention Kelly Packard was my Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You know the phrase "Fear the Turtle."

You may want to learn, "Beware the Wabbit." (copyright WHB 2009)
A couple of articles out of Pasadena:

Women's Basketball is PCC's Model Program
Just before the women's basketball team began its regional playoff run, I encountered Lancer Head Coach Joe Peron outside the campus café. He half-jokingly commented on the Courier's coverage of the team, which had been limited over winter intersession.

"Man, we need at least a half-page [in this week's paper]. We're the most successful program on this campus in the past 20 years and we don't even get covered by our school paper," Peron said.

I was skeptical at first, as PCC has been one of the most successful athletic community colleges in the state in the past. But upon the team's first state championship victory Sunday, I realized he was absolutely right.
Smith Retires After Storybook Season Ending
There was a noticeable change in the atmosphere Tuesday morning. A tall man in a Bruce Lee T-shirt walked around the W Building with a huge smile on his face. In his arms was a state championship trophy, cradled like a newborn child, and a gold medal around his neck.

That man was Greg Smith, the assistant head coach for the women's basketball team, who has decided to retire after 33 years of coaching.
Out of Ithaca (pun slightly intended): Conference shines light on sexuality in sports - Former athlete, journalist speak about slowly changing culture
Hundreds of people convened at Ithaca College this week for some frank discussions about sex and sports, but it wasn't of the typical locker room banter variety.

In fact, as they would learn, it wasn't the type of discussion that would ever be held in most locker rooms, where "don't ask, don't tell" is often the unspoken rule - at the Sport, Sexuality and Culture Conference, academics were out in the open in their explorations of homosexuality, bisexuality, transgenderism and masochism.
See? THEY get it!

Volunteer spirit keeps NAIA news flowing

One aspect of the tournament that the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics wants to go flawlessly is media coverage. That is where Joe Reinsch and Steven Aldridge come in.
NPR's Only A Game interviews former Husky Mel Thomas
Kinda scary - Coach Mulkey is in the hospital, and it's uncertain if she'll coach Tuesday evening.
More on day one's upsets: Voepel isn't surprised; at Full Court, Matthew Zemek appears to be in Seattle. Jayda certainly is: she watched the twelfth-seeded Zags baffle Xavier for the Spokane-based school's first-ever NCAA tournament win.

The AP leads with the Zags, too. The WCC underdog won every category except boards, and led for both halves: Xavier didn't know who or what to defend.

Of last night's three big upsets, two (XU and the Longhorns) involved teams that had faded in February: XU came into the A-Ten tournament as its top seed, but lost in the quarterfinals.

And two of those same three involved top seeds from Eastern or Central time zones (XU and DePaul) shipped to the West Coast to play lower seeds on those lower seeds' home floors. Expect some complaints-- but don't listen to them, unless you've got a better, and a realistic, idea of how to play the games without empty arenas (everything I saw yesterday had fans in seats).

And do listen to people (Helen included) who have been praising the Aztecs of San Diego State, where Beth Burns' high-energy squad outran seventh-seeded DePaul, sank more threes than the visitors, and came away with the win.

Burns was the MWC coach of the year, and she has a great backstory too: a coach who led SDSU to success in the 1990s, she left for Ohio State, didn't do so well there, and has now returned to general acclaim.

Mechelle also points out that UVA were in a similar situation against Marist, though the Hoos' second-half adjustments and their superior stamina let the top seed win, and that Arizona State, beating Georgia in Georgia without Dymond Simon, pulled off a de facto upset of their own.
Off to catch a couple of the early games, so decided to spend some time doing a quick review of the argument for/against parity:

Blowouts/seeds hold (16pts or more):
#2 Auburn v. #15 Lehigh - 46 point differential
#2 Stanford v #15 UCSB - 35 point differential
#4 Vandy v. #13 W. Carolina - 29 point differential
#4 Pittsburgh v #13 Montana - 29 point differential
#5 K State v Drexel - 24 point differential
#4 Cal v. Fresno St. - 23 point differential

Within 15/seeds hold:
#6 Az St. v Gerogia - 11 point differential
#3 Florida St. v #14 NC A&T - 12 point differential
#6 Purdue v #11 Charlotte - 13 point differential
#3 Ohio St. v #14 - 14 point differential

Close games/seeds hold (10pts less):
#3 UNC v. #14 UCF - 5 point differential
#7 Rutgers v #10 Va Com - 6 point differential
#5 Virginia v #12 Marist - 7 point differential

#11 Miss St. v. #6 Texas - 8 point differential
#10 San Diego St. v #7 DePaul - 6 point differential
#12 Gonzaga v #5 Xavier - 15 point differential
Ashley gets interviewed and Amanda out...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Yes, even though we do get cranky always feeling the need to defend or explain the women's game, sharing the amazing story of its growth never gets old.

From Mark Zeigler and San Diego:
Six-on-six basketball is an archaic version of the game played almost exclusively by women. Three people stay on one half of the court and play offense while their three teammates stay on the opposite half and play defense, the idea being that it isn't appropriate for women to go full court. Something about sweating too much.

Now consider this:
As recently as 16 years ago, Iowa girls were still playing six-on-six basketball in high school, as opposed to the traditional five-on-five. Fourteen years ago, they were still playing it in Oklahoma.

It's against this backdrop that women's basketball bounces along today, a sport that hasn't completely captivated the American mainstream yet has severely dented ages-old stereotypes in a relatively short time. A sport caught somewhere between how far it has come and how far it has to go.
Undefeated and still Champeeeeens.... George Fox!

Well, first time champeens, but champeens nonetheless.

Fueled by a bunch of youngsters, the Bruins (of Oregon) hadn’t advanced past the round of 16 before this season. But it was the old folks who led the way. Oregon natives senior Kristen Shielee (17 pts/7 rebs) and Junior Elise Kuenzi (14 points) set the pace, while freshman Sage Indendi added 13 to help propel the team to a 60-53 victory.
“I was really proud of our team for coming out and playing with the poise that they have all year,” George Fox coach Scott Rueck said. “The lights, obviously were a little brighter today, and you couldn’t tell, the way we played most of the game.”
Picked to finish fifth in the Northwest Conference in a preseason poll, the Bruins (32-0) became the sixth team in Division III women’s history to go through a season undefeated, and the first West Coast team to win the NCAA tournament since it began in 1982.
More bad news for coach Jackson at Washington: Freshman Nicole Romeo left for her native Australia following the women's basketball team's disappointing 8-22 season, stating she would not return.
Graham: Mountain Hawks find meaning in 15 vs. 2
It's not the inevitability of winnowing down a bracket to a single champion -- or even the rumored invincibility of the field's favorite -- that makes the opening weekend of this or any NCAA tournament such a spectacle.

It's the weight of not just the probable but of the possible hanging in the air
Is it just me, or do I hear the Black Eyed Peas in the background?
Thanks to Marie for reminding me of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association championship. This blog was written about wheelchair basketball competition before, but it is hard, as Marie points out, to keep track of the games because the media attention is so slight.

Of course, I would suggest that the teams bellow at their school SIDs to help get the word out. Not to mention the NWBA itself. Squeak, oh wheeled ones, squeak, and some of us will gladly pay attention.

Anyhoo, congrats go out to Alabama, who earned their first National Championship, defeating perennial powerhouse Illinois. Find out more about the Alabama program here and the Illini program here.

Note to NWBA - provide LINKS! Some of the teams have hard to find web pages.
Perspective from Lauren Greif.
Scott Rueck Selected is the RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA National NCAA Division III Coach of the Year
Rueck has 19 years of coaching experience, 13 of which have been spent coaching the George Fox University Bruins. During his tenure at George Fox, his teams have made eight post-season playoff appearances, six NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and this year earned a trip to the NCAA Division III Final Four®. The Bruins are slated to play The College of New Jersey on March 20, in Holland, Mich.

Rueck has been named Northwest Conference Coach of the Year five times and last season he was honored as the NCAA Division III West Region Coach of the Year by d3hoops.com. Off the court, Rueck has served as the West Region representative for the USA Today ESPN Division III Top 25 Coaches’ Poll. He also has been running the Bruin Basketball Academy for over nine years and is in his fourth year as site director of the NRC Camps held at George Fox. When he isn’t coaching he can be found teaching health and development classes for the school.
The College of New Jersey’s Hillary Klimowicz has been named the State Farm/WBCA National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III Player of the Year.
Klimowicz, a 6-foot-3 center, was recently named the New Jersey Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second straight season, while also garnering First Team All-NJAC honors for the third consecutive year. The Scotch Plains, N.J., native leads the NJAC in scoring (20.1 ppg) and rebounding (10.8 rpg) and is the national leader in field-goal percentage, connecting on 69 percent of her shots (213-for-313). In addition, the senior is second in the nation in blocks, swatting 4.2 per contest.

Also adding to her honors this season, Klimowicz was named to the CoSIDA ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America All-District II Second Team and is a finalist for the Jostens Trophy. She was named the NJAC Player of the Week on seven occasions this season, ECAC Metro Player of the Week three times and part of d3hoops.com Team of the Week twice. Earlier this season she established TCNJ’s single-game scoring record with a 35-point performance in a victory over William Paterson.

In her career at TCNJ, she has accumulated 1,369 points and 811 rebounds, which both rank second all-time in program history. Klimowicz has played in just 81 games at TCNJ as she transferred from St. Joseph’s University after the 2007 season. Overall in her career, she has 1,644 points and 1,037 rebounds.

Klimowicz has led her TCNJ team to a record-breaking 27-4 record this season (11-2 NJAC)
The members of the 2009 NCAA Division III State Farm Coaches’ All-America Basketball Team are:
Leigh Ann Burke - DeSales Univ. - Sr.
Jaclyn Daigneault - Amherst College - Soph.
Hillary Klimowicz - The College of New Jersey - Sr.
Katie Kulavic - Oglethorpe Univ. - Sr.
Jessica McEntee - New York Univ. - Sr.
Ashley McFetridge - Eastern Connecticut St. Univ. - Sr.
Megan Scheele - Edgewood College - Sr.
Claire Sheehan - Illinois Wesleyan Univ. - Sr.
Carrie Snikkers - Hope College - Soph.
Keli Ward - York College - Sr.
The D-III title game will be all about Da Bears.

Washington University (host institution of the D-I Final Four) defeated Amherst 65-49. The Bears (26-4), which won four consecutive national championships from 1998-2001, advanced to the championship game for the seventh time, the most of any Division III school. Wash U. last reached the title game in 2007, losing to DePauw (Ind.)
“They really took us out of our game. We didn’t play like we have been playing or are capable of,” Amherst coach GP Gromacki said. “But give credit to Wash U. They had a great game plan, and we just couldn’t get it going.”
WU's opponent will be the George Fox Bruins, who overwhelmed the College of New Jersey with 14 3-pointers, and emerged with the 67-52 win. 10 of the 14 Bruins players are freshmen, and this is the program's first Final.
“Once again, this young, young team didn’t play young,” George Fox coach Scott Rueck said. “They came out and competed from the beginning, like basketball players. Age didn’t matter. It was another opportunity to go out and take on a challenge, and they met it.”
Today's 1pm Championhip game will be telecast on CBS College Sports and the audio broadcast can be heard on the Internet at D3hoops.com.
Friday, March 20
St. John’s 83, Harvard 60
James Madison 61, American 59
Georgetown 73, Winthrop 45
Murray State 67, Arkansas-Little Rock 65
Saturday, March 21
UT Arlington at Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. ET
UC Riverside at Creighton, 8 p.m. ET

Round 2 Games

Saturday, March 21
West Virginia at St. Bonaventure, 1 p.m. ET
Florida Gulf Coast at South Florida, 7 p.m. ET
Portland State at Oregon State, 10 p.m. ET
Sunday, March 22
Syracuse at Bowling Green, 2 p.m. ET
Dayton at Indiana, 2 p.m. ET
Kentucky at Wisconsin, 2 p.m. ET
St. John’s at Hartford, 4 p.m. ET
James Madison at Richmond, 4 p.m. ET
Georgetown at Wake Forest, 5 p.m. ET
Arkansas-Little Rock vs. Mississippi, time, site TBD
Monday, March 23
Boston University at Boston College, 7 p.m. ET
Butler at Marquette, 8 p.m. ET
UT Arlington-Oklahoma State winner at Arkansas, 8 p.m. ET
UC Riverside-Creighton winner at Kansas, 8 p.m. ET
Tuesday, March 24
LA Tech at Illinois State, 8 p.m. ET
Wednesday, March 25
Nebraska at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET
Players continue to offer some perspective:



Friday, March 20, 2009

Voepel chats! Scroll down for her kind words about SDSU. Not that SDSU; this SDSU. They're both in the tourney, you know.

SDSU (Jacks, not Aztecs) are a potential Cinderella (she says), but so are the Lady Vols. As for the most likely second-round upset, she has what we have: Auburn might have difficulties getting away from Rutgers on Rutgers' home floor.
SI remembers there's such a thing as women's basketball and allows Kelli Anderson to do a nice piece on Louisville's Angel McCoughtry.
LOUISVILLE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR Tom Jurich hasn't decided yet where he'll put the statue of Angel McCoughtry, the Cardinals' 6'1" senior All-America forward. Should it go outside the new 22,000-seat Downtown Arena, due to open in November 2010? Or somewhere on campus? Perhaps a prominent spot among the array of facilities at the Cardinal Park sports complex? As he ponders this, Jurich sits in Freedom Hall, calling out greetings as a parade of wealthy and well-connected locals file into his suite to eat, drink and hobnob before the Cardinals women paste Pittsburgh 75--51 on Senior Day. "I want to make sure Angel is properly remembered around here as an icon, as a true pioneer," he says.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer no longer exists as a printed newspaper (though they'll keep going online). Pelton says goodbye with a roundup of Storm-related P-I highlights.

Also from Pelton: why nobody really knows when Lauren Jackson might come back.
Haven't picked your brackets yet? How about a version where you choose the winners by the strength of...their mascots.
A couple from the NYTimes:

Red Foxes Confidence Comes From Fitz's Experience

The women from the Marist basketball team know they should not fast-break toward a night on the town without checking with Rachele Fitz, their junior power forward and fashion coach. She is woven into the fabric of this program and college in so many ways.
An essay from Melissa Johnson: First Step in Becoming a Winner: Act Like One
On March 14, 1998, I sat in a dark hotel room with both hands over my mouth to prevent my yelps from waking my teammate in the next bed.
A 6-foot-4 sophomore center at North Carolina, I was transfixed by the N.C.A.A. tournament game lighting up before me, a game that would persuade me to give up my full scholarship, million-dollar locker room, teammates who could dunk and fancy Nike luggage.

Sixteenth-seeded Harvard, a bunch of basketball nobodies, was battling top-ranked Stanford at raucous Maples Pavilion — and winning.
USA Today's Patrick describes UConn's so-called (but they don't like the moniker) Big Three. Maya Moore: "We don't want to be separate from the team."

Tonya Cardoza-- former UConn assistant, now head coach at Temple-- goes on the record about how the players click: Moore "showed them with her work ethic that you can work extremely hard and still have fun doing it." Cardoza's Owls could meet UConn in the second round.
Coach Mulkey gets excited.
Lots of teams would be delighted to get a five seed and to play one state away from home. Not Tennessee: they've never been seeded this low. Pat has her Volunteers watching HBO's documentary about the 1996-97 Tennessee team, who won a national title and finished the year 32-4. despite a ten-loss season (thanks to Phil for the quick correction).

Does coach Summitt need a pick-me-up? She might: ""I could sit here at the house and drive myself nuts about how are we going to respond and who's going to show up,'' she says.
Via Rebecca Lobo's Twitter feed, which Jessie has just convinced me to follow: Wall Street Journal reporter Reed Albergotti has discovered and put online video footage of the first dunk in the women's college game.

Who dunked? WVU's Georgeann Wells, in 1984. Nobody did it again until 1994. But Wells' daughter Maddison, now thirteen, says she intends to dunk by sophomore year... of high school.
Purdue fans educate themselves about first-round opponents and A-Ten champions Charlotte.
The Basket Cases, who will be watching Maryland when things get underway, don't know much about basketball at Dartmouth.

Neither do we, really, but what we do know we are not likely to forget. Basket Cases, meet Sara. And remember Angie Soriaga. It could happen again.
Duke's student newspaper looks at Duke's upcoming matchup: coach McCallie's Blue Devils will most likely play her old team, and on her old team's home court too.

Duke hasn't played for two weeks; how to compensate? "You can't be scrimmaging like crazy during the season, because there are simply too many games," says coach McCallie. "We can go back to it now, which we have."

She also talked to the AP about the East Lansing deja vu:"I don't know if that's some drama by the committee," she says. "We finally have an opponent, and that's our one concern."

The Dukies could also meet their old coach, Gail Goestenkors, if her new team can upset both Ohio State and Stanford-- in an arena that Stanford knows pretty well.