Women's Hoops Blog: December 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, December 31, 2009

In the battle of the Feisty Mittens, #24 Michigan State defeated Michigan 86-71 to earn its first conference win.

#16 Vandy gave #3 Notre Dame all it could handle, but the Irish were able to hold of for the 74-69 win.

#9 Duke took advantage of its many trips to the free throw line and took down the feisty Owls of Temple, 70-62. Appropriately enough, Karima Christmas ended 2009 with career highs: 23 points and 14 rebounds.

In a milestone alert game, the Buckeyes got Jim Foster his #700 win against Joe McKeown's Northwestern Wildcats, 86-60.
Stanford extracted themselves from their "trap" game against Fresno State with a 68-46 win.

Of concern for the Cardinal and their fans, JJ Hones did not play. Via Left Coast Hoops: "According to Stanford sports information director Aaron Juarez, Hones sustained a minor knee injury against Connecticut and has been experiencing swelling in her surgically repaired knee. She was held out of the game against the Bulldogs and may be available for Saturday’s home game against the Bears."

Speaking of concerned fans -- what is a Rutgers fan to think? The Knights lost to a truly bad George Washington team (they'd lost 8 in a row. Boy, to they miss their old coach or what!) 45-43. (45-43!!!) Guess that 4am practice CViv called didn't help much.
Still makin' plans for New Year's? Stiles to be at YMCA New Year's Eve party

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From Mechelle: Neuvirth helps carry Creighton
Creighton senior Megan Neuvirth has done so much right in her life, she can almost seem like a made-up character. Sort of a female version of the perfect half of the Highlights magazine cartoon duo Goofus and Gallant.

"Oh, you know, she's just a normal kid," her mom, Jodi, said. But then she acknowledged, "I never had to motivate her. She's positive and excited about every challenge she takes. She's always been that way."
In case you're thinking, "It's Wednesday, where the heck is Beth and Debbie's Shootaround podcast!" -- remember they're taking the holiday week off.

Great time to catch up on the archives, if you'd like (and remember, you can download the podcast through iTunes.)
Q is busy doing a Pac-10 Conference Preview: Distinguishing Non-Conference Activity from Achievement

Oh, and nice photos, Max Simbron!
Milestone alert: The Van-wagon goes for #500. Oh, oh -- it's against Xavier.
More from busy Mr. Hays as he catches up with Dartmouth grad Schram who's playing pro in Iceland
Less than a year removed from her final game in a Dartmouth uniform, a first-round loss against Maryland in the NCAA tournament, Schram is playing professionally for a basketball team in the Icelandic town of Hvergerdoi, a short distance east of the island nation's capital Reykjavik.

I first caught up with Schram for a story on the eve of her senior year at Dartmouth, as she wrapped up an internship with a noted doctor in New York. An overachiever in everything but ego, the genial Arkansas native -- high school valedictorian, senior class president, etc. -- managed to hold down a pre-med major in the Ivy League while simultaneously carving out a place for herself in the school's basketball record books as a shooter with unlimited range and a rebounder of more import than her frame should have allowed.
Two games of note from last night:

1) In a game of wanna-be ranked teams, junior Tonya Young led Vermont to a 74-65 victory over Dayton. Young scored a career-high 25 points, including 5-5 on three-pointers. Writes Graham:
Young pulling a Jimmy Chitwood in a homecoming game is a good story, especially considering she missed the first three games of the season with a back injury and only found her way back into the starting lineup in the team's last game before Tuesday. But for a team trying to put together an NCAA tournament at-large profile on the strength of road wins against Boston College, NC State, Providence and now this victory against Dayton, it's more than just a good moment.

2) Duquesne (10-4) upset #18 Pittsburgh (10-2), 72-63. The Panthers had won the previous four meetings and also had a 13-game home winning streak snapped.
"Obviously, this is a real big win for us and our program and our players," Duquesne coach Suzie McConnell-Serio said. "I saw a difference in our players after coming back from Christmas break. They came back with an extra bounce in their step and an energy."
Following Bob's lead *wink, wink* Graham takes note of the "other" freshmen:
Kelsey Bone, Skylar Diggins, Elena Delle Donne and Brittney Griner. In alphabetical order, the four first-year players who entered this season as the headliners of a star-studded influx of new talent. And to date, each of the four has more than lived up the billing. They aren't alone. Heralded or otherwise, freshmen are making contributions across the country, including those below who are turning out to be just what their teams needed (for bookkeeping purposes, only true freshmen are included below; all stats are through games as of Sunday).
Good news for the Irish - and it was not that they won: Forward Devereaux Peters played in her first game since suffering a left knee injury on Nov. 23, 2008. Peters, who underwent two surgeries to repair the torn ACL, checked in at 13:26 of the first half.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Forget Taber or Brittney or Skyler. Bob Corwin at Fullcourt suggests you're missing the "Best Player in the Women's College Basketball Class of 2013 You've Never Heard of...Yet."
Got the mid-holiday blues? I bet you can't resist THIS!
From Michelle at Fanhouse: Has UConn Already Written the Ending?

In her article, this important gem:

The Cal women's basketball program has done an annual fundraiser called "We Assist, You Assist" to benefit a variety of charitable causes. It has run the gamut from benefiting Hurricane Katrina victims, to a local soup kitchen/homeless shelter, to an orphanage in Africa.

This season, Cal's cause is a very personal one. The funds raised will go to the UCSF Foundation in honor of freshman guard Tierra Rogers, who was treated at UCSF after being diagnosed with a heart ailment that has ended her basketball career.

Fans can make contributions based on the number of assists the Bears dish out all season. Cal head coach Joanne Boyle will match funds up to $10,000. More information can be found at calbears.com.
UConn had a real fight in the first half, when Florida State just wanted it more. Frustrated by the lack of rebounding, Geno at one point sent his team out with five guards (if Maya Moore is a guard).

But the game in Tallahassee ended the way these things usually do: Tina Charles looked unstoppable after the break, ending up with 24 and 9. "It's exactly what we needed," Moore said.
The Badgers, who haven't looked good for ages, won big in Madison over ranked Michigan State. The nimble, amazingly named guard Rae Lin D'Alie led her team, though Alyssa Karel led all scorers with 21.

State fall to 0-2 in conference, and continue their perplexing habit of winning games they should lose, and losing games they "should" win: before this season, would anyone predict that the same team could lose to Dayton, then turn around and defeat UNC?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Let's Wrap it Up: Dec 28th, says Mechelle:

Not a lot of game action to talk about in the past week other than the Huskies’ second-half runaway from Stanford. Interesting thing about that is peoples’ different takes on what it means.

Some folks are pointing out that UConn looked “human” in the first half, and that is what opponents should focus on. I say that’s fine, because opponents have to focus on something hopeful. But not to go all coach-cliche here, however … what’s that irritating thing coaches always say about games lasting 40 minutes?

Last April, Mechelle wrote about NC State's decision to select Kellie Harper to take over after Coach Yow's death.
So Harper will leave her job at Western Carolina and move across the state. In an ESPN.com column after the official announcement, I will write more about Harper and the challenges she faces. Suffice to say, it seems likely she will deal with backlash from some N.C. State alums and fans who feel Glance deserved at least a couple of years to show what she could do with the job if it was actually hers.
Now, she writes, Harper quickly finds a home at NC State
Understandably, it was hard for many of those who'd played for Yow (or for both Yow and Glance) to see another point of view. To do so felt irreverent to a figure so revered. However, to outsiders, it was more obvious that a change -- while unavoidably painful -- was needed. And that's what NC State's brain trust decided to do.

"I feel this staff brought in a great energy," Wolfpack sophomore Emili Tasler said. "They made this transition a lot easier than it could have been.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Graham takes a look at the games ahead.
The presents have all been unwrapped, the food mostly consumed and the holiday decorations -- well, depending on your neighbors, those might stay up through conference tournaments. But now that Stanford and Connecticut have gone their separate ways and the holiday basketball break is over, how does the week ahead look?
From Joe Perez at Sports Charcuterie, a Q&A with Sue Bird when she was in CT for the Stanford/UConn game

Q: How do big regular season games like this one figure in the realm of a season?

A: I think it’s no secret that a lot of the games you play at Connecticut you win by a lot; that’s the nature of the beast. Those big midseason matchups are huge. Some of us were talking about it. You lose a game in the WNBA and it’s on to the next game. You lose a game overseas, your still upset, but there’s the next one. In college, you were devastated and distraught for days, weeks; you knew it in practice, you heard about it. There’s a lot of build up for the game, but if you lost, it was huge.

Are you keepin' up? Delle Donne scores 39 to tie record
Freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne tied Delaware's school record with 39 points to help the Blue Hens beat Buffalo 85-72 on Tuesday night.

Delle Donne was 15-for-23 from the field, including hitting four 3-pointers. She added nine rebounds and four assists for the Blue Hens (7-3), who have won five straight. Tesia Harris added 23 points for Delaware, hitting all six of her 3-point attempts.

Mechelle on Jacki and Stefanie

It's best if you can at least develop a little sense of gallows humor when fate keeps handing you the same putrid sandwich to gag down and digest.

So when Southern California players Jacki Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath are asked about the specifics of their eight combined ACL surgeries, they smile and put the questioner at ease.

In this case, the devil is not in the details. Rather, it's in the inexplicable weakness in otherwise strong human bodies. Talking about it doesn't make it any worse. It's something they just deal with every day.

Nicole Powell: The Bee's Female Athlete of the Year

Looking for snow this winter? Check Florida:

Michelle Snow knows what's important.

That's why the Pensacola High graduate and WNBA star made a point Wednesday to stop by the gym at her alma mater and help support the team that is one of the best in the state.

"It's a big deal," said Snow, who graduated from PHS in 1998 and went on to play for Tennessee. "I say that because when I was coming up, I met Michael Jordan and some of the biggest, best athletes in the world. And that they took the time to meet me and to say hello -- just spending two or three minutes getting to know me -- it matters. It made a big difference for me, and I understand now that I'm in a position to do the exact same thing."

A little Penn State flashback:
Slim, trim and looking as young as ever, Andrea Garner appeared very able to slip on the old No. 40 jersey and travel back in time 10 years to when she was helping Penn State to an historic women’s basketball season.
Wait -- does JMac wear #11 for the Nuggets?
Out of West Virginia: Renee Montgomery is the 2009 Gazette Sportsperson of the Year
From Jeff Kolpack at The Forum: NDSU keeps eye on Title IX

The sex discrimination case at North Dakota State that was settled in the late 1990s is out of sight. But gender equity will never be out of mind, athletics administrators say.

“It’s the right thing to do,” athletic director Gene Taylor said

It wasn’t always right.

While the Utes are not having the kind of season they're used to, but Wade Jewkes of the Deseret News notes, Wicijowkski thriving on the court:
It's not unusual for a young athlete to play multiple sports until a coach, a parent or perhaps even the athlete himself decides to concentrate on one sport. But hockey and basketball are not two sports that an individual normally competes in.

In fact, around here, it is unheard of.

But Taryn Wicijowski is not from around here. As the starting center for the University of Utah's women's basketball team, she hails from Canada.

Catching up with Wildcat Koehn

Laurie Koehn is a lot of things, but patience isn’t high on her list of qualities.

Koehn, you see, is a doer and not a wait-a-rounder. But today, she waits for a very special call from any Santa from the WNBA ranks, or any European Santa, who has a numbered uniform and is willing to give her an opportunity to live her passion.

That’s to play basketball. “I still love to play enough that I’ll go to another planet if I have to,” said Koehn prior to a recent K-State basketball practice. “Right now I’m trying to stay in shape by working out and just waiting for something to open up overseas. It’s getting pretty late; it’s pretty much in the hands of my agent.”

A little West Coast video: Giggle with the Cardinal and check out Paul Ball in Oregon.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

We did, in fact, make it to Hartford last night: Nathan loved the UConn pep band (thanks to sousaphonists Josh, Chrissy and Andy, and to clarinet-player Melissa, for greeting him after the game).

Almost everybody else in the XL Center loved the second-half performance from the home team; UConn turned a two-point halftime deficit into a very big win.

Moore and Charles combined for 43 and 21, and almost all their rebounds came after the break: with steals, breakaways, and open-look jump shots made good, the second-half Huskies made Stanford look rather fatigued. The Huskies are "head and shoulders above anybody," coach VanDerveer said.

Q explains how they did it: the short answer is "more pressure on Stanford's guards"; the long, and fascinating, answer involves some math.

Voepel compares this one-vs-two matchup to last season's lopsided win against UNC. "How powerful the Huskies are can be obscured," Voepel says, "because they so rarely play teams that bring out the best in them."

But this game didn't look lopsided until about 28 minutes had elapsed: I kept thinking instead of UConn's come-from-behind win, two years ago, against UNC. (Yes, that was the year UConn lost to Stanford.)

Hays explains how Tina outplayed Jayne Appel last night; Geno called it Tina's best game ever.

Coach TV points out that Jayne's still not wholly recovered from offseason surgery. Appel and Charles both give classy quotes: "She's the one opponent I know every little thing about," says Tina, "because I've been playing against her since we were 12 years old."

Barring big surprises and dreadful happenstance, last night may have settled the number one overall seed come March. Creme points out that unlike in years past, overall top seed cannot keep UConn close to home: the predetermined early-round sites for this year's Big Dance have nothing in New England, nor in New York.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

CRob is movin' up: Murray State Athletic Director Mark Hamilton announced the school has reached an agreement to make former Southeastern Oklahoma State and WNBA star Crystal Robinson its next women's head coach.
From Mechelle's Blog: Let's wrap it up: Dec. 21

You know the feeling when it’s just four days before that one holiday where, sometimes, you buy stuff for people or send cards … and yet you have not really done any of that?

Oh, no, I don’t know that feeling, either. Ha-ha. Nope, not me. My motto is, “Always think at least two months ahead.”

Well, that is my motto starting today, actually, which means I should have any gifts purchased and cards sent no later than Feb. 25. That way I can just add in another major holiday like Presidents Day, too.

Anyway, let’s hope the Stanford Cardinal contingent has its act together more than I do – which is a safe bet – and has already done any present-purchasing/card sending that needs to be done.
Some follow-up on Charde and the Bardwell kids:

Charde Houston knows all about the kindness of strangers. When the star forward of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx was 12, financial troubles forced her family out of their home in San Diego, Calif., and into a car where they would live.

Houston would go on to star on the basketball team of the University of Connecticut, but not without help. While her mother remained homeless, a revolving cast of coaches and friends stepped in over the years to provide rides to basketball practice, encouragement and even a bed to sleep in at night.

When Houston read about the plight of Aiyanna Bardwell, 11, a basketball player with dreams of playing in the WNBA, she decided to reach out.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

ot: 'cause honestly, who can resist the Hallelujah Chorus? Sung by mute monks.

Unless it's sung by the Roches.
The W has released the 2010 regular season schedules.

Tulsa begins its history with the WNBA when the Oklahoma Whatevers play the Lynx on May 15.

You can find all the dates for all the games within the WNBA site, but there's nothing to that effect on the main page.
Ben over at SlamOnline puts his two bits in on who he thinks is the "Decade's Best: Women's Player."
Michelle Smith was also soakin' up the sun in Las Vegas. Now that she's back, she's got her Best of the West Power Rankings.
Yah, some of the mid-majors have been knocked around a bit, but they're still going strong in Graham's Mid-Major Top 10.
While Deb and Beth were talkin' about a Las Vegas Final Four, Charlie Creme was walking the walk -- and attending the "Duel in the Desert."

Two days. Four quality teams. One court.

The Las Vegas Holiday Hoops, which featured Arizona State, Baylor, Gonzaga and Texas A&M, had the look of an NCAA tournament regional (in fact, the Sun Devils and Aggies were half of a regional last season in Trenton, N.J.). And if the field didn't resemble an NCAA tournament weekend, it certainly didn't look like a normal December four-team event.

The teams didn't play like it was December, either.

When asked if this group of teams reminded her of an NCAA regional, Baylor coach Kim Mulkey was quick and emphatic: "Oh my gosh, yes."

Mechelle takes note Nebraska Cornhusker Kelsey Griffin:
It was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote about a season on the sidelines for Nebraska forward Kelsey Griffin. In her first three years with the Huskers, she'd dealt with mononucleosis; an additional breathing problem that was never quite figured out; a cracked rib and cartilage damage that forced her to play for a while in a quarterback-like flak jacket; and her father, Jim, battling cancer.

Then in August 2008, before what was to be her senior season, she came down on a teammate's foot during a pickup game. That caused a severe sprain, but for the next couple of months, she kept trying to come back. The pain, though, never went away. She had surgery last December and missed the season. The Huskers went 15-16 without her.

So are you ready for the happy ending?
A Euro-League wrap up from "PaulBall:" A Great 2009 is in the Books
EuroLeague Women signed off the calendar year with a real flourish and in perfect style as an array of majestic individual performances and sparkling team displays lit up Round 8 of the Qualifying Round. In one of the most enjoyable weeks of action to date, the competition further whetted the appetite for what we can expect to be served up in 2010. In fact top of my Christmas wish list is that we get more of the same next year and I can smile knowing that there is probably no need to send my note to Santa Claus. For one thing is absolutely certain, this tournament is only going to get even better as the big guns prepare to play each other in sudden death while if the level of play in Round 8 is anything to go by, we are in for a treat.

Devastating Diana

When it comes to licking our lips in anticipation of the second half of the season then what better place to start than with arguably the best player in the world? You see, I have written a couple of times about my concern that Spartak Vidnoje Coach Pokey Chatman has had to play the irrepressible Diana Taurasi a few too many minutes. But what happens? They both make a point as the WNBA MVP plays just 19 minutes against Fenerbahce but still breezes to 20 points. It really made me chuckle and hats off to Spartak who continue to look invincible after another dominant and classy [win?] would testify.
ESPN's A-team get ready for Wednesday night: Voepel praises Tiffany Hayes, a Florida prep standout who's adjusted to Storrs's lousy weather; Graham Hays praises psychology major Kayla Pedersen, whose size and versatility baffle opponents.

You know what would be cool? An annual UConn-Stanford series. Heck, tomorrow night might count as year three.
Sports Illustrated lists four WNBA players in their Top 20 Female Athletes of the Decade list.

UConn's Auriemma is the first college coach on their Top 10 Coaches/Managers of the Decade list.
After fourteen years, the Women's Sports Foundation will end their program against homophobia, It Takes a Team. Pat Griffin, who directed ITaT, plans to keep on blogging. We'll keep on reading.

Ten minutes ago I thought the WSF had already scrubbed It Takes a Team from their website, since their internal search engine returned a goose egg: but it looks like you can't search for anything on that site. Maybe they need to hire a web person. (And if they're canning ITaT because they concluded that it didn't work, they should say so; if it's for budget reasons, they might say that too.)

Monday, December 21, 2009

It really, truly stuns me that the WNBA is so incompetent when it comes to using the most basic tool of the internet: EMAIL ALERTS!

I mean, I sign up for them on yahoo and such to keep up on women's bball, but there is SO much stuff out there that's not caught by those search engines. A little help, folks!

How hard is it to collect emails of fans and then send "WNBA In the News" alerts? 'cause then, maybe I wouldn't have to follow a Rebkell post about a Cappie Hair Style poll to discover that Annie Myers was profiled by a "UCLA publication."

From the Q & A: Growing Up
Bruins In The Real World: Growing up in a family with 11 children must have been quite the experience. Be honest now, who was the best athlete among the Meyers’ siblings, and why?

Ann Meyers Drysdale: My sister Patty, the oldest of the 11, was probably the best athlete in the family. If you think David and I were competitive, she was C-O-M-P-E-TA-T-I-V-E. She played EVERYTHING and was AWESOME. We played AAU basketball together, she was an unbelievable volleyball player and she was also a very good softball player, competing professionally in the 1970s.
About those AAU days...
Playing in AAU and competing in tournaments in the 70’s was a bare bones experience. “I got a uniform. Period,” said Blazejowski. “We never got mileage. We never got lunch. You played all day. Then you’d drive home, and then if you had a game in the morning, you get in the car and go right back out there. I believe they were double elimination,” said Blazejowski of the Pennsylvania tournament. “You were playing, players were sitting, resting, getting a hamburger, coming back and playing again. It was just like, ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’ (The classic movie about marathon dancing during the Great Depression.)

While the ‘77 tourney was in their backyard, the Californians had a to meet serious expenses if they wanted to go to Pennsylvania and defend their title in ‘78. “A lot of us had to go round to different business people we know and say, “Hey, can you donate $100 for a trip that’s going to cost us a total of $5000 for the hotel, plane fare, rental car and food?’ Which was a huge amount of money.” The team slept two to four to a room and crammed themselves into rental cars, which got the attention of the local constabulary. “Patty got stopped because we had like three people in the trunk,” recalled Meyers, grinning at the memory.
So, it was a tough weekend for (some) undefeateds.

1) Most notably, #2 Stanford rather handily defeated #3 Tennessee, 67-52.

2) #25 James Madison met the #8 Blue Devils and it was Duke who emerged victorious., 79-65.

3) An undermanned Blue Demon team may have lost their best player to an ACL, but they still have a Quigley (17pts). Depaul enjoyed the Las Vegas neutral court and took down #6 Florida State, 75-60. (It was DePaul coach Bruno's 700th game)

4) (Then) #18 Nebraska stomped all over (then) #9 LSU, 77-63.

5) Add tonight's #20 Michigan State's 67-59 victory over the Bonnies (whose furious comeback fell short), and the ranks of the undefeated have slimmed down mightily. By my count 7 are left (which is probably wrong, and certainly will change post the UConn-Stanford match-up this Wed.)
#1 UConn
#2 Stanford
#3 Notre Dame
#9 Georgia
#14 Nebraska (best start in team history)
#22 UW-Green Bay (best start in team history)
(on edit. Told ya!)
UConn isn't happy to see empty seats at home games: "I think we all should be worried about it," says Geno.

Fans say that's what you get when you jack up the prices, especially since all games are televised. But the Huskies-- so far, compared to previous seasons-- seem to have fewer viewers on CPTV.
Karen Crouse over at the New York Times writes about Cal's Tierra Rogers: A Basketball Career Is Suddenly Stopped and a Teammate Is Embraced

Joanne Boyle, the Bears’ fifth-year coach, was in Los Angeles on a recruiting visit when Rogers phoned her in tears and babbled about needing a defibrillator implanted in her chest and possibly being done with basketball. Boyle, who met Rogers when she began attending California games with her father, Terrell, in high school, cut short her trip and flew home.

She was with Rogers’s grandmother Ethel May Martin and mother, Dalonna Rogers, when a grim-faced doctor told Rogers she would have to give up competitive sports. It was another sorrowful note in what has been, for Rogers, a two-year dirge.

Onetime WHB contributor and sometime game-notes-of-doom provider Queenie has been writing up a storm for Swish Appeal: she was "one happy, hoarse Johnnie" when the St. John's Red Storm beat Virginia Tech.
Plenty of games last weekend, and a few surprises with consequences for March:

1. Stanford did a number on Tennessee, beating Pat Summitt's squad by double digits in points, in rebounds, and in assists. On paper, it was the number two team in the country against number three; in fact, the game didn't even look close.

"I think we can play better," coach TV said. Next up: UConn, in a one-versus-two matchup the whole country Jessie and I would travel a long way to see.

2. Former Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Kevin Borseth did lots of good things with the Phoenix in nine years up there, and I still have high hopes for him at Michigan, but UWGB are doing just fine, thanks without him.

The Horizon League team improved to 10 and 0 with a convincing win over Marquette. UWGB has long relied on multiple three-point threats: this time, the offense came from Heather Golden, who sank 4-6 from downtown, 8-12 overall.

UWGB climb to #22/#23 in this week's polls, one of two non-BCS teams found there.

3. Nebraska surprised Van Chancellor and LSU: Kelsey Griffin ruled the court, with 30 and 14.

Nebraskans are starting to notice the Alaska-bred Griffin (when I've seen her, in previous years, she's looked strong, but slow). "We have some pretty good players around her," a pleased coach Yori said.

4. Iona hung with UConn for about five minutes, but the Huskies predictably crushed the Gaels after that. Maya Moore scored 20 against her overmatched opponents; "She better get 40 on Wednesday," Geno said.

5. Pitt needed overtime to beat Austin Peay. What the heck?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Need some last minute holiday shopping ideas for your favorite basketball nut? Here ya go!

Heart of the Game - DVD
The Heart of the Game captures the passion and energy of a Seattle high school girls' basketball team, the eccentricity of their unorthodox coach, and the incredible true story of one player's fight to play the game she loves.
Director Ward Serrill followed the Roosevelt Roughriders girls' basketball team for six tumultuous seasons capturing the drama and exhilaration of youth and the inspiration of a passionate coach whose lessons of self-esteem, confidence and compassion go far beyond the court . . .
Running Down A Dream - DVD
What is it like to be the best? What does it take to get to the top? Now you can witness the process as it takes place. This documentary film offers the first in-depth look at the college recruiting process of the nation’s best point guard in women’s basketball.

But this is much more than a “dedicated athlete’s story.” Nicole Kaczmarski is a beautiful and fun-loving teenager with a dedicated father and a passion for the game. Her talent on the court was apparent at an early age and when she was invited to play on the high school varsity team as a twelve year old! This created a bitter division between her divorced parents as her mother did not want her to play. The adventures that follow are enlightening to any family involved with a talented youngster.

She was named to every All-American team in the country. The bond between father and daughter grew stronger. But Kaz missed her mom and the two made amends. She moved back into her mother’s house at age 16.

Finally, Kaz’s senior year of high school arrives. It is time to choose a college. The best universities in the country want her. Kaz and her father are divided on the criteria of how to select a college and a widening rift develops in their relationship. How will this conflict be resolved?

This high pressure odyssey has a bittersweet ending as Kaz decides to follow her own dreams.
Training Rules - DVD
From Academy-Award nominated director Dee Mosbacher and Academy-Award winning cinematographer Fawn Yacker comes one of the biggest award-winners on the 2009 LGBT film festival circuit: TRAINING RULES.

Women's basketball coach Rene Portland had three training rules during her 26 years at Pennsylvania State University: no drinking, no drugs and no lesbians.

TRAINING RULES examines how a wealthy athletic department, enabled by the silence of a complacent university, allowed talented athletes who were thought to be gay, to be dismissed from their college team. The film follows the lawsuit filed in 2006 against Portland and Penn State by student athlete Jennifer Harris. This high profile case ignited the world of women’s collegiate sports. It inspired the discussions so sorely needed to end discrimination based on sexual orientation that pervades all organized sport.

Powerfully narrated by international swimming great Diana Nyad (National Public Radio), TRAINING RULES is a riveting must-see film.
Sweet Turnaround J - Book
“It was going to be the best year of my life. This year we’d go to State and win it all. That’s all I thought about. In March, I was going to be cutting down the net and holding a trophy in the air.”

Sixteen-year-old All-State, Janey Holmes is devastated, her dream shattered. Her old school suddenly closes over the summer and she finds herself at a new school, on a basketball team that hasn’t won a game in over three years.

As the Riverside Ravens climb from a hopeless start to challenge the best teams in the District, Janey learns what happens when her passion for the game and loyalty to her team is threatened by her explosive temper and the free-fall desires of first love.
Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School (1904) Basketball Champions of the World - Book
How ten girls shattered prevailing perceptions toward Indian peoples and women athletes, one game at a time.

Most fans of women’s basketball would be startled to learn that girls’ teams were making their mark more than a century ago—and that none was more prominent thana team from an isolated Indian boarding school in Montana. Playing like “lambent flames” across the polished floors of dance halls, armories, and gymnasiums, the girls from Fort Shaw stormed the state to emerge as Montana’s first basketball champions.Taking their game to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, these young women introduced an international audience to the fledgling game and returned home with a trophy declaring them champions.
Just for Fun: The Story of AAU Women's Basketball - Book
This is the first book on the little known story about the early beginnings of women's organized basketball in the U.S. Prior to Title IX, women's basketball was a minor sport. It was played by rural country girls for companies such as Cook's Goldblume Beer and Sunoco and small colleges such as Iowa Wesleyan and Wayland Baptist as part of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU). But during the two generations of the mid-twentieth century, women's basketball improved and became more popular throughout the country. AAU All-Star teams dominated women's international basketball until the emergence of subsidized national teams in the 1960s. This is the history of these gifted women, their coaches, and their teams-their records, motivations, and personal stories. The book is illustrated with many period photographs.
Shattering the Glass: The Dazzling History of Women's Basketball from the Turn of the Century to the Present - Book
Over the past decade, women's basketball has exploded onto the national sports scene. WNBA and NCAA television ratings have sky-rocketed; movies, magazines, and clothing lines showcase female players. But as the authors of Shattering the Glass show, women's basketball has a much longer history, reaching back over a century of struggle, liberation, and gutsy play.

Shattering the Glass offers a sweeping chronicle of women's basketball in the United States, from its invention in the late nineteenth century to its dominant position in sports today. Offering vivid portraits of forgotten heroes and contemporary stars, it also provides a broader perspective on the history of the sport, exploring its relationship to changing ideas of womanhood, efforts to expand women's economic and political rights, and definitions of sexual equality.

Based on original interviews with players, coaches, administrators, broadcasters, and extensively illustrated, Shattering the Glass provides a moving, gritty view of the game on and off the court, and an empowering story of the generations of women who have shaped women's basketball.

Friday, December 18, 2009

From Mechelle: Unbeaten Georgia prepares for Virginia
You can always count on Georgia's Andy Landers to come up with the colorful description -- it's kind of a requirement for Southern coaches -- and here's how he assesses this season's team.

His upper-class players -- seniors Ashley Houts and Angel Robinson and junior Porsha Phillips -- are handling the bulk of responsibility for how Georgia plays.

"They are pulling the wagon," Landers said. "But the freshmen aren't just riding. They give us a shove every now and then -- and they're pretty consistent with their push. And at times, they've even sent us sailing."
With the "Griner Dunk Watch" on, Inside Women's Basketball takes a look at the history of le dunk feminine in "Above the Rim."
Teaser over at Swish Appeal:

Ann Meyers Drysdale in an exclusive Swish Appeal interview said the Phoenix Mercury are 90% sure they won't be able to return the same roster that won the 2009 WNBA championship due to a significant drop in the WNBA salary cap for the 2010 season.

Free agents include Cappie Pondexter, Penny Taylor, Temeka Johnson and Le'Coe Willingham.

Walk-ons have a special place in a fan's heart and now, notes Sue Favor over at FullCourt, there's one in California.

UCLA season ticket holders arriving for the Bruins’ exhibition home opener November 9 saw the two freshmen they’d heard about in Markel Walker and Mariah Williams. But there was another new player on the bench with the team.

“Who’s that?” many fans asked each other.

They didn’t truly find out until 10 days later when, as the Bruins were in the process of crushing Hawaii, Coach Nikki Caldwell sent in Jackie Shepard late the game. Fans may not have known quite who she was yet, but they cheered wildly when she successfully put up a floater.

Shepard had made her debut. As such, she’s the first walk-on to the team that anyone can remember, spokesman Steve Rourke said.

With the schedule up, Brian Martin at the .com has 10 Games You Can't Miss in 2010.
First reference Charlie's early Bracketology (and why isn't it in Charlie's archive?!?!) and then consider if this note from Kris at Houston Roundball Review tickles your fancy:
All-Session Tickets for the 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Kansas City Regional will be specially priced for 48 hours from 10 a.m. CST on Thursday, December 17, until 10 a.m. CST on Saturday, December 19. The price of the tickets during these 48 hours will be $30, almost a 40 percent discount off the regular price.

To purchase tickets, click on the following link: http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/m6hdhm. The special code is STOCKINSTUFFER. Tickets purchased will be mailed in February. The Kansas City Regional will be held Sunday and Tuesday, March 28 and 30, 2010, at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. Game times will be at 6:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. CST on March 28 and at 8:00 p.m. CST on March 30. The winner of the Kansas City Regional advances to the Women’s Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
Mechelle previews the Stanford/Tennessee game: Rivals ready for the next chapter Stanford trails 21-5 in all-time series, but matchup has often produced great games (The game is on Fox Sports Net at 1:30p central on Saturday.)

Credit Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer with not trying to turn the Cardinal's 21-year series against Tennessee into something it hasn't really been.

"We haven't held up our end of the bargain in terms of a rivalry," she said, referring to Tennessee's 21-5 advantage. "But I think we have had good games with them."

Yes, that's true. But Stanford has had a Vanderbilt-esque experience against Tennessee, sometimes seeing victories snatched away in the final seconds, sometimes playing well only in one half, sometimes having the game slowly but torturously wrested away. And sometimes getting clobbered.
Dawn Evans is getting a lot of attention. First from Beth and Debbie who are wondering about her Wade Watch status, and now from Graham: Evans a constant statement-maker
Kidney disorder won't slow down James Madison's Evans

Dawn Evans has a knack for making statements with a basketball in her hand, the court a bully pulpit from which she silences doubters and awes onlookers. She'll do the same thing Friday, but she won't need the ball or even a running clock. Evans will make a statement just by stepping on the court for No. 24 James Madison when it plays seventh-ranked Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Nearly two weeks after she tied her own school record with 38 points in James Madison's upset win at Virginia, ranked No. 14 at the time, Evans leads her Dukes into Durham, N.C. But another showdown with an ACC foe was hardly her biggest concern in the intervening days
I had to double check the date, 'cause, well... I had to double check the date since this is, as a friend has noted, the winner of the 2009 Poorest Researched (and edited) Paragraph in Sports Reporting award.

From the article, ALL IN THE GAME: Keep that Bah-Humbug attitude away from me by Jim Butler / Chronicle contributor
It looks like anothe ho-hum final four year for Pat Head Summitt as she continues to lead her Lady Vols to win after win. It won't be too long before she has to face UConn and Diana Taurasi in tournament play. The Lady Huskie junior continues to play well for Gino Auriemma as he seeks yet another title.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Catching up with Ben York at Slam (yikes there's a lot!):
Flight of the Monarchs: It’s not pretty.

A Simple Question: Why? An open call to those who oppose the WNBA.

Missing the Point - The WNBA doesn’t need to justify itself with a woman in the NBA

The Definition of Class - Swin Cash embodies excellence and resilience.

Bringing a Championship Mentality - New Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve looks to enhance offense, discipline defense.

On WNBA Progress - Offering a different point of view.

40 Minutes of Hell… in the WNBA - Coach Nolan Richardson brings organized chaos to the women’s game.

And there's even a little Clay!
Women’s Pac-10 Matters - The future of women’s college hoops resides in the West.

The Draft? A Light Breeze - No Monarchs will be difference-makers.

SI.com offers thts decade's highlights and lowlights of women's basketball.
Mechelle is hangin' with Coop2:
Of course, the Southern California players didn't know for sure what to expect. They'd gone to Los Angeles Sparks games and watched on television. But they still had to wait to actually have Michael Cooper around before they really knew what it would be like having him as a head coach.

"He's a funny guy, but he gets his point across," USC guard Ashley Corral said. "He and I are very good at talking about what needs to get done team-wise and what I need to get done individually. It wasn't hard to acclimate to it like I thought it would be."
WATN? Dana Wynne: coaching high school.
This week's Shootaround had Debbie and Beth praising St. Mary's College's triple-double machine, Loulla Tomlinson.

Q picks up the drumbeat with his piece: "Striving for Perfection": Thomas Expecting More from WCC November Player of the Month Louella Tomlinson
I think they may have changed the ESPN.com page 'cause... well, 'cause I can actually FIND things!

From Graham: No reason for Ohio State to worry

True, they will go another season without a road win against a ranked nonconference team after losing to Duke earlier this season (the last such road victory came in 2006 at Oklahoma). And true, they played nine of their first 11 games in Columbus, continuing a baffling tradition that runs counter to pretty much everything recent history suggests programs need to do -- especially for a team in a conference that, over the last decade, hasn't consistently provided the best competition in the country.

But if those are the constants, Ohio State's early production is the variable. The Buckeyes entered play against Wright State ranked second in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (it was 1.34 after Tuesday's game). That's the program's best mark since the 2005-06 season. But what's different from even that team, which went 29-3 but lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament, is everything else the Buckeyes are doing on offense.


Lib beat press - release 2010 schedule.
Via Mark Hyman, an introduction to Kelly Anderson, who coaches high school boys' hoops in Ulen, Minnesota.

Anderson: "When I first got up here, one student said basketball was 'a man’s game.' So I played him one-on-one, even though I was five or six months pregnant at the time. Let’s just say it hasn’t been a problem since."
One down -- 9 more to go (so Deb will be right).

In Baylor's win last night, Brittney Griner had Baylor's first triple-double.
He's baaaaaaack!

Charlie Creme's got some bracketology going and some 'splaining of bracketology.
Get out your calendars:
WNBA plans to release the 2010 schedule by the end of the week. The season will start May 15. The Finals will run no later than Sept. 20.
Ack. Free agency discussions pushed back.
As shyguy says, "Hell has finally frozen over!" (And just in time for holiday shopping!)

We've got fatheads.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The latest Beth & Debbie Shootaround podcast is up. Sweet interview with Spoon and DePaul's Doug Bruno.

You can read some of what you'll hear in the 1/2hour show at the Companion Blog.
From Mechelle's blog, some history: Something to believe in?

One of my nephews once brought up the Loch Ness Monster, a topic that delighted me … but forced me to admit that as desperately as I’d like to believe it’s real, I don’t actually think it is.

“Oh, no, it’s real,” he said solemnly. “I saw it on Yahoo, and Yahoo knows almost everything.”

OK, well, who am I to doubt the all-knowing Yahoo?

Now, it’s not like we don’t see things that are wrong on the Internet every day (or maybe every hour), but this one just kind of made me chuckle tonight in reminiscing. It was on one of the Missouri message boards where they were discussing the whole fight/suspension thing involving two Tiger women’s hoops players.

Graham writes about 10-0 St. Bonaventure's rebirth:
The calendar said it was two weeks before Christmas, but even Bob Cratchit had more reason to be festive than St. Bonaventure coach Jim Crowley.

It was Dec. 10, 2006, and Crowley stewed over an embarrassing loss at home the day before, a 71-46 setback, to put it kindly, against Bowling Green. The rout dropped the Bonnies to 4-5 on the season and epitomized a program stuck on a long-term road to nowhere.
**Will you look at that -- some SID must have read my complaints! The schedule AND the record on one, easy to read page!**

Mechelle writes about Jasmine Thomas' growth:

"She's always been willing to communicate and take charge," McCallie said. "She learned so much from Year 1, and that carried to Year 2. Now she's benefiting already from experiences in Year 3."

McCallie looks back to last season's 81-79 overtime victory against North Carolina, on March 1 in Durham, as a recognizable turning point for Thomas. She had eight of her 19 points in the extra period.

Mo. players won’t be charged in cheerleader fight.
OK, it's not just Stanford: Arizona State has a serious nonconference schedule too-- Texas A&M up next, and Baylor after that.
DiMauro gets hot and bothered because UConn no longer has sellout crowds: why not?

"I'm going to get in trouble for this... but... UConn fans, who are generally whiter than most country club members, preferred the days when Sue, Shea, Svet, Jen, Rebecca, Diana and Kara were vanquishing the heathens.

"This doesn't say they didn't love Asjha, Nykesha and Renee. Just not as much."

Also worth noting: Rebecca was from New England; Keesh and Kara Wolters came from Connecticut. None of today's UConn starters have in-state roots, though two reserves do. Seems to me Geno gets the best players he can-- and last time we saw a UConn game on TV, there were empty seats, but the arena felt energetic and packed.
Voepel watched Stanford crush Duke last night, and now she's got a column on Stanford's prowess. "I think this is one of [Stanford's] best teams ever," says Pat Summitt.

It's also one of the nation's toughest nonconference schedules: Duke, then Tennessee, and then UConn on Wednesday, in a game coach Thibault is sure to see. If the Lynx pick Appel, should the Sun pick Charles? Or vice versa?

But neither of these college teams is just about seniors. Last night at Maples, Pederson and Ogwumike combined for 40 and 16.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trying to find tonight's Stanford/Duke game on t.v.?

Sorry, no go. BUT, a little birdie suggested you try this:
According to the Stanford site you can sign up for the All-Access pass and watch the game there: http://all-access.cbssports.com/player.html?code=stan&media=134345

Use the code: FREEMONTH09 in all caps and you can get it free.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Speaking of polls, no, I'm not ignoring Mechelle. At her blog, she writes: Let’s wrap it up
Want to start a Monday feature here on the blog: Looking at the past week, and also including my Associated Press ballot to attract ridicule.
Quick scan of the polls:

1. Gulf Coast Community College
2. Salt Lake Community College
3. Jefferson College (MO)

The shifting NAIA Division II
1. Davenport (MI)
2. Hastings (NE)
3. Northwestern (IA)

NAIA Division I
1. Union University (TN)
2. Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)
3. St. Xavier University (IL)

1. Hope College (MI)
2. Illinois Wesleyan University
3. Amherst College (MA)

1. Michigan Technological University
2. Franklin Pierce University (NH)
3. Delta State University (MS)

1. UConn
2. Stanford
3. Tennessee
Wherever I look, there be Graham: Carlee steps up in Hand's absence
When one door closes, perhaps another opens, as fortune cookies and greeting cards are wont to tell us. But the laws of physics are considerably clearer in demanding a single door must be closed before it can open.

When the lock clicked in Whitney Hand's room the night after the Oklahoma sophomore suffered a knee injury in a game against San Diego State in the Virgin Islands, her season was over, even if tests wouldn't confirm a torn ACL until days later. Yet Hand wasn't alone in the room, and when the hinges moved again the next morning, a new opportunity awaited Carlee Roethlisberger.
From Swish Appeal: Women's Sports Round Table on Marion Jones: "If she can perform, why not give her a shot?"
"Come on Marion, are you freaking serious?"

That reaction on yesterday’s Women’s Sports Roundtable online radio show is pretty much representative of the public reaction to the news that former track and field star Marion Jones is working out with a San Antonio Silver Stars staff member in an attempt to make a run at the WNBA.
Side note: Q - be honest. How long did you have to look to find that shot of Nancy Lieberman? You devil, you!
Headline: Another Feisty Mitten Muffles Musketeers!

Translation: Michigan (like Michigan State) upsets 12/8 Xavier, 72-71.

With Hartford defeating Northeastern (68-63 in OT) and South Dakota State stomping Middle Tennessee State and Temple staying torrid, you've got to expect Graham's Mid-Major Top 10 to shift.

(Hey, Graham? How come you and Mechelle aren't listed on ESPN.com's blog page? Where's Carol Stiff when I need her? Oh, on YouTube and (not) on Twitter!)

Didja see that Northwestern (7-2) beat K-State?

And yes, I noticed Ohio State just squeezed by Mississippi, 79-77.

And ditto with the fact that Kentucky, James Madison and Syracuse are strolling on the "still undefeated" side of aisle. (Cupcake alert!)

Oh, for a fun read, check out Queenie's account of her Red Storm stomping Rhode Island.
A nice 77-73 win by Penn State over #15 (and undefeated) Pittsburgh was somewhat undermined by the always direct Agnus Berenato's post-game comments.
Berenato and her team likely won't get a chance to play here again after Penn State decided to "defer" the series for a year. After the game, she made it abundantly clear it wasn't by Pitt's choice.

"I don't think so," Berenato said when asked if the series will resume. "Penn State didn't want to play us next year. They didn't want to come to our place next year. ... I'm not into that deferring stuff. You honor your contracts and you come back and forth.

"Sometimes when you want to get a dress on sale and you pass it up, then you go back to get it, it's gone.

Woebegones to the aggressor, and I'm not waiting on anyone."
Makes you wonder who's doing the scheduling.
So far the 10-0 Huskers (#23) have managed to avoid the Shootaround curse. Let's see what happens when Nebraska tries to extend their best start to a season in school history.
At the Maggie Dixon Classic, the results weren't unexpected -- though the games, and final scores, were closer than one might have thought.

Tennessee used Shekinna Stricklen's 19 points to out score Rutgers. The final was 68-54, but RU was within a point in the second half before pfffffttttt.... all the air escaped.

#6 Baylor defeated BC, 68-55. Griner got 25 and a dink.

Graham was at the game and did not come to visit (though I'm SURE he heard me). Sigh. Instead, he was working or some such thing, putting together a couple of pieces:

Following in Maggie's footsteps: Like Dixon before her, Boston College coach Crawley carries on legacy
The stage directions seemed to call for anonymity. Stand inside arguably the world's most famous basketball arena, and share the sideline with two Hall of Fame coaches and another who owns one of the two national titles since 2002 not claimed by Geno Auriemma or Pat Summitt and coaches freshman phenomenon Brittney Griner.

But at 6 feet, 6 inches, it's not easy for Sylvia Crawley to do anonymous. Dressed in brilliantly white pants and a matching vest Sunday in Madison Square Garden, Boston College's second-year coach didn't even try. And while Crawley's team lost to No. 6 Baylor 68-55, her role in the Maggie Dixon Classic was in some ways as symbolically prominent as those played by legendary peers like Summitt, C. Vivian Stringer and Kim Mulkey.

And Griner not only rookie making impact for Baylor
Playing 25 minutes off the bench, Baylor freshman Jordan Madden chipped in nine points, two rebounds, three steals and a blocked shot.

In one sequence in the first half, she drained a spot-up 3-pointer off a feed from Griner on the block, missed a back screen on the defensive end that allowed Carolyn Swords to score an easy bucket and then scored at the other end on the ensuing offensive possession. It's trial and error; you give a little playing as many freshmen as Mulkey does, with Griner, Madden, Shanay Washington and Kimetria Hayden earning minutes.

But you may also get a lot.
Some of "points of interest" during the game:

  • Lib players Loree Moore (TN connection), Kym Hampton (gotta be there, connection) and Sue Wicks (RU connection) were in the house. Helen: "Looking pretty good for a former player." Sue: (with a smile) "I not a former anything. I'm a current coach."

  • Lib coach Anne Donovan was there...and got a nice hand. And, I know it was the angle of the camera and the distortion of the screen, but her hands looked HUGE! Tried to get her to cough up the Lib pick, but she resisted. (And I must say, she's got a really, really soft leather jacket.)

  • Blaze was interviewed and didn't get booed. Who says New Yorkers aren't polite.

  • There was the obligatory fan "ref outrage." But I take pleasure in having made Dee Kantner giggle. And I'm sending a "shout out" to RU/Lib fan extraordinaire who has stopped being "part of the problem" and working to being "part of the solution." Brave soul is reffing high school ball. Yikes!

  • Props to the RU fans who represented, the orange fans who dressed to impress and the two women from Baylor I met who joined a group of 70 or so who traveled from Waco. They were off to Tavern on the Green post-game. Which I thought was bankrupt. Sure hope they didn't get scammed. Didn't manage to buttonhole any BC fans.

  • I miss jump balls. And the college game needs a 10-second backcourt violation.

  • Fans were treated to classic CViv (Hip cocked, head back, "Really?") and Pat (Announcer: "Time out TN." Fans: "Ooooh, oooh, don't look at her *TN player who screwed up*! Whatever you do, avoid the STARE of DEATH!"

  • It was really wonderful having a basketball event my fellow Liberty-subscriber friends could reunite for. Gives us a little fix until the season starts. (Other W teams take note.)

  • Everyone should make and effort to, at least once in their basketball fandom life, get seats as close to courtside as possible. If only to hear a BC player say, "D-up, damn it!" *shocked, I tell you. I'm shocked!* And to get a real feel for how physical this game is. And how many hands there seem to be. There are times I have no idea how anyone manages to pass the ball to anyone.

  • Glad Graham mentioned Crawley's retro Saturday Night/John Travolta duds. We were positing that she was going out clubbing afterwards with the handsome gent on the TN bench wearing (I swear to you) a black velvet suit. Sweet!

  • Can anyone watch the "Maggie/cadets rush the floor and toss her on their shoulders" video and not get weepy? It made me weep before her life took such a tragic turn. So I appreciate that, every year the Classic has happened, all those involved have put together simple, moving, and classy presentations honoring coach Dixon. Thank you for that.

  • Until next year!
Yah, it's sometimes used as a punchline, but there is a reason the word "allegedly" is used in news reports.

Some details are emerging about the Missouri player arrests:
The players told officers that after their 49-point home win over Texas-Pan American, they celebrated at a bar and then an after-hours party at an apartment. They said things got ugly at about 2 a.m., when Missouri cheerleader Justin Short got into a fight with his female roommate.

According to police, Hanneman and Johnson said Short physically restrained his roommate before they intervened. Johnson admitted pushing Short and Hanneman admitted “slapping and punching” the cheerleader, police said. The unnamed female roommate gave investigators a similar account.
Rebkell takes stock...

...and tries to decipher CViv's comments on the Monarchs folding.
The Sparks take Jen.
The Lib take Powell.
OK. TOTALLY off topic - but I'm blaming Women's Sports Blog. Well, not totally (OT, not blame), because Michelle Smith is mentioned.... But you must. click. the. link.
Michelle Smith Wins The Internets

First, for the best headline yet about the embarrassing FSU basketball website, "All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go," and second for working Twilight into the lede. I am the first to admit that the books are made of crack, but I'm also a grownup who understands the difference between a real relationship and an abusive one, and can stop every so often and have an 'oh my God, I cannot believe the message of this book' session with my roommate. If you set out on purpose to make a series that was damaging to teenage girls, you couldn't do better than Stephanie Meyer. Here, read the lolcat version instead.
To be clear, yes, of course, click the WSB and Michelle's Fanhouse links. But it's Monday, for goodness sake. You MUST click on the lolcat review of the Twilight series.

Even if you haven't read the books or seen the movies. (And I haven't. Me, I'll take Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night, thankyouvery much)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hartford sports writer Bob Phillips has some words on the death of the Monarchs: he thinks all WNBA teams should be more like the Sun.

"The WNBA's fanbase is intensely loyal," Phillips writes, "it just isn't gargantuan... all WNBA teams—future and existing franchises [should] play in smaller arenas that can generate healthy crowds, but not bring down a franchise with unnecessary operating expenses."

Empty seats in the Palace of Auburn Hills-- or the Target Center-- sure look bad on TV. But how much do WNBA teams pay for their space when an NBA partner co-owns, or holds rights to play in, or has its office space, in the arena? How much does a non-NBA-partner team save by moving to a smaller, or a less famous, arena? (Which business model would you rather pursue: the Mystics, or the Sky?)
TCU wasn't the only underdog (or under-frog, or under-lion) to beat a highly regarded team Saturday: in Happy Valley, Penn State took down Pitt, giving the Panthers their first loss this year.

PSU's 2000 Final Four team was in the house as Meredith Monroe's last-second shot sealed the four-point win. "I was like, 'Wouldn't this be neat if I made it?'" she said.

Penn State's student paper has more, though it's understandably focused on PSU volleyball.

If you've followed this sport for more than, oh, three years, you might remember when Penn State was hard to beat, and Pitt an easy win, at least for major-conference teams.
Bang! There goes another undefeated. And in rather spectacular fashion. TCU roared back from a 14pt second half deficit, survived missed free throws and took advantage of timely foul-management to win a nailbiter over Texas A&M, 56-54.

Said TCU Head Coach Jeff Mittie of his team’s effort down the stretch
“It was a great finish. I thought that we made a lot of plays down the stretch and I think that was huge for us. We knew this was going to be a really hard-fought game. I think Texas A&M is way ahead of where they were last year offensively, averaging close to 90 points a game. I thought our defense did some really good things."
Writes Mechelle, Tough schedule pays off: TCU upsets Aggies
TCU coach Jeff Mittie doesn't mince words about what a program like his must do to make sure it gets a spot in the NCAA tournament.
You've got to pay to read the rest. Makes you wonder, if you DID pay would ESPN The Magazine continue to do a worse job covering women's basketball than SI?
With the news that two top Missouri players have been suspended after being arrested for allegedly assaulting a male cheerleader, Mechelle writes: Not a great time to be the Tigers
At this point, I don’t know any other details about the Missouri incident. We haven’t heard the players’ side of the story, and it’s unfair to make any kind of judgment until we do.

If Johnson and Hanneman are in serious trouble and miss the rest of the season, what a terrible ending that would be for two players – both from Missouri high schools - who have put a lot into the program.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The AP give the Maggie Dixon double header some attention and CViv tells Pat to... well... fuggedaboutit. Or maybe it's "Don't worry, be happy."
Her most-telling response came after being told that her close friend and longtime rival, Tennessee coach Pat Summit, had complimented Rutgers’ defense earlier this week.

Stringer clearly did not share the take on her players’ efforts.

“If you get a chance to talk to her (Summit) just tell her that Vivian asked you to find one single defense –man or zone – that any one of them can remember,” Stringer said. “ Tell her that you’ve been looking at the scores and you noticed that we’re No. 14 in the Big East – and that’s pathetic – on scoring defense. So the Scarlet Knights teams of old, she will see a different team. We can’t score and we don’t play defense. Tell her not to worry about it.
Tracking the Division I undefeated teams: There are 14 left.
Congrats to Doris Burke.
The Boston Globe takes a long, admiring look at Sheila McKenna, the 69-year-old star of her senior league team.

McKenna's team just swept a three-game tournament. “When I’m shooting, I feel like I’m 18," she said. “When I’m going for a loose ball... I feel 69. But I love it."
Delaware beat Navy in front of a nice crowd.

But if anyone wants a hint of what EDD made the move from UConn National Blue to Blue Hen blue should scan down the pictures.

A thousand words, my friends. A thousand words.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Maryland's student paper examines the Terps' amazing loss to Towson: the two schools play regularly (Towson's just down the road), and the Tigers hadn't beaten the Terps in 24 years.

How big an upset was it? At the moment, Towson's double-digit victory over Maryland is the splash page at the Towson athletics website, which also celebrates record attendance of 2,243.

How bad were the Terps (now 8-2)? They shot 34% from the field and 44% from the line.

But that's the Washington-area side of the story. What you really want to read is the Baltimore coverage, which gets it right: "It's a monumental moment," said TU coach Matthews. "We just happened to catch them on a night that was kind of magical." TU's Shanae Baker-Brice scored 25.
Graham on the Commodores: Vanderbilt waits for rally
Juries and coaches. Two things that waiting for is always a bad sign.

It's never good when minutes tick away after a game and there's no sign a team will ever emerge from the locker room. And it's really not good when the team on the receiving end of a dressing-down loud enough to carry through walls and doors and long enough to fade again into background noise just won the game.
From Mechelle's (free) blog: Down memory lane at U.Va.

There are things you’ve done so many times that you don’t think you could possibly forget how – until you do indeed forget.

Such as knowing when to get off on Interstate 64 in Charlottesville to go to a Virginia basketball game. From 1991-96, I went to see the Cavaliers at their old arena, University Hall, dozens and dozens of times.

Yet when I went back Tuesday to see U.Va. – which now plays in the palatial John Paul Jones Arena across the street from U-Hall --I somehow couldn’t remember the right exit.

That, however, is about the only thing to fade from my memory concerning that period in regard to coach Debbie Ryan’s program. It started with players such as Dawn Staley, Tammi Reiss and the Burge twins and ended with a team led by Wendy Palmer and Jenny Boucek.

Random flashback moment.