Women's Hoops Blog: January 2010

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sittin' at #10 in the polls (and having survived the Shootaround Curse), Xavier is poised for... well, writes Graham:
Blessed with one of the the best collections of post players in the country in Amber Harris, Ta'Shia Phillips and April Phillips, what kind of chance does No. 10 Xavier have of becoming the first team from outside the six BCS conferences to reach the Final Four since Missouri State (then Southwest Missouri State) in 2001?

With freshman Katie Rutan launching balls from everywhere this side of the Ohio River, it's safe to say the Musketeers have an outside shot of getting to San Antonio.
They're probably going to change, but work keeps on interfering so I thought I'd reflect back on the polls before the new set comes out.

In the Junior College ranks some familiar names, but some new ones, too.

Division I

1. Gulf Coast Community College (Fl)
2. Jefferson College (MO)
3. Pensacola Junior College (FL)
4. Copiah-Lincoln Community College (MS)
5. Central Arizona College (AZ)
Division II
1.Schoolcraft College (MI) (21-0)
2, Kirkwood Community College (IA) (Coach Muhl got win #600)
3, Kankakee Community College (IL)
4, Owens Community College (OH)
5, Johnson County Community College (KS)
Division III
1, Madison Area Technical College (WI)
2, Onondaga Community College (NY)
3, Brookdale Community College (NJ)
4, Mohawk Valley Community College (NY)
5, Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MN) (Krystal Queen with a triple-double 22 pts, 10 assists and 11 rebounds.)
NAIA Division I

1. Union University (TN)
2. Point Loma Nazarene University (CA) (Coach Westphal earns win #250)
3. Saint Xavier University (IL)
4. Vanguard University (CA)
5. Oklahoma Baptist University

NAIA Division II
1. Davenport (MI)
2. Hastings (NE)
3. Cedarville (OH)
4. Briar Cliff (IA)
5. Northwestern (IA)
NCAA Division III
1. Illinois Wesleyan University (IL)
2. Amherst College (MA) (Program record, 19-0)
3. Kean University (N.J.)
T4. Hope College (Mich.)
T4. Washington University (Mo.)
NCAA Division II
1. Franklin Pierce University (NH)
2. University of Indianapolis (IN)
3. Gannon University (PA)
4. Michigan Technological University
5. Emporia State University (KS)
In NCAA Division I, it's always fun to compare and contrast the AP/USA Today and ESPN/Coaches polls.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Milestone alert: Maine West coach Derril Kipp wins 700th game
No doubt Maine West coach Derril Kipp has witnessed more exciting games than Friday night's turnover-marred, distraction-filled, 43-30 Central Suburban North home win over Glenbrook North.

But when you've spent nearly three decades coaching, basketball beauty comes in many different forms.
USA Basketball changed their site a while back (hate it) and lost some of their history pages (HATE it). Nice to see them add some historical content (h/t Steve).
Before there were T and Tree, Lisa and Dawn, Dee and Sue, there were a host of pioneers who laid the groundwork for USA Basketball in international hoops. Alberta Cox,Joan Crawford, Katherine Washington, Nera White - names few outside of the die-hard women’s basketball world would know (ahem. you mean WHB readers?). These women, along with their teammates, helped the U.S. collect the first two FIBA World Championship gold medals in history.

FIBA, which debuted the men’s World Championship in Buenos Aires in 1950, in 1952 decided to hold a women’s Worlds beginning in 1953. In the United States the AAU had been holding national championships since 1929, but the U.S. had never competed in an event such as this and was unsure as to where the national team would rate against the best in the world. The Pan American Games didn’t include women’s basketball until 1955, the Olympics until 1976, the U.S. was untested outside the country.
A few days ago, an AP article outlined the lack of "forward movement" in the Texas program after the big Gail Duke/Texas, Joanne Mich State/Duke, Christie Purdue/Texas Tech dance.

Today, Mechelle takes a gander at what's happened at Texas Tech: Low times in Lubbock

The first time I went to a women’s basketball game at Texas Tech, I took a cab from the hotel. The cabbie was listening to the pregame show on the radio and, of course, knew exactly when tipoff was. Didn’t everybody in Lubbock know that?

For a long, long time, opposing teams felt about visiting Texas Tech the way you might feel about visiting a faulty nuclear power plant.

“Um, really? We have to go in there? We HAVE to? Uggggghhhh.”

Because playing at Texas Tech was brutal for opponents. The crowd – at Lubbock Municipal Coliseum and then United Spirit Arena – was huge and loud and energetic. The fans created one of the best atmospheres in the country for women’s basketball. They were an enormous part of the reason that recruits wanted to come to Texas Tech.

Negative recruiting: What does it look like these days?
The first time senior center Tina Charles heard chatter that people were using here perceived strained relationship with Geno Auriemma against the UConn Hall of Fame women's basketball coach, she could hardly believe her ears.

Sure, Charles did not like being replaced as a starter by classmate Kaili McLaren in the 2008 NCAA tournament but she was stunned that those outside the program believe there's any friction between her and Auriemma.

"I think it is ridiculous," Charles said. "I know they did that with (UConn incoming freshman) Bria Hartley, they would say that Tina doesn't like it here. I had a talk with Bria Hartley to tell her that I love it here."
Is it just me *don't answer a rhetorical question y'all* or does anyone else think that a girls basketball coach who sinks a blind-folded half court shot should go to...well... the girls Final Four, not the boys?
Happier news out of the land of Rutgers:
Those who choose to chase their dreams sleep the least.

Brittany Ray knows that sleeplessness better than many. She is the captain of a Rutgers team coached by C. Vivian Stringer (no stranger to early practices that tend to run habitually late) and a biological sciences major with designs on medical school. So Ray knows the sting of an alarm that is set long after late-night comedians leave the airwaves and that starts ringing before the morning shows begin.

She is a basketball player. She wants to be a doctor. The two need not be mutually exclusive, but it's difficult for them to be anything but mutually monopolistic in vying for her attention.

Friday, January 29, 2010

From Mel: Delaware's Delle Donne On The Mend

Delaware redshirt-freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne recovered sensation in her right arm and hand and shot at Friday's light practice but did not participate in contact drills, coach Tina Martin said.

The Blue Hens coach reported Delle Donne is likely to play in Sunday's major Colonial Athletic Association clash at Drexel at noon at the 2,500-seat Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Drexel officials reported 1,200 had already been sold in advance, largest ever for a women's game at the school.

Heard the rumor the Merc are going to play in Korea?

Go to Swish Appeal for the scoop!
From Parrish Afford: Behind Ladner, Ole Miss in thick of SEC race
There’s a lot of tradition in the Ole Miss women’s basketball program, just about all of it built by former coach Van Chancellor.

The program struggled when Chancellor left for a successful run in the WNBA and ultimately with the US Olympic team.

When one of Chancellor’s players, Carol Ross, was hired to replace Ron Aldy, the word was “Wow.”

Ross had been a successful coach at Florida with ranked teams and multiple NCAA tournament trips.

When Ross left after four years, following an Elite Eight run in 2007, Renee Ladner was hired, and the word was, well “maybe.”
I need to ask my high school English teacher how come sports writers can get away with one sentence paragraphs and I couldn't.....
Remember when the Yankees ruined baseball with all that winning?

Remember when the Packers and the Steelers and the Patriots destroyed NFL football? (Or worse, remember all the lack of interest there was when the Pats threatened a perfect season? Or the Colts?)

Remember how awful UCLA was for men's college basketball?

And surely, you stopped watching hockey because of the dang Canadians. Or did you wait until the Penguins?

And I'm not even going to start on how hurtful Martina and Pete and Venus and Serena and Roger have been to tennis -- but you've got to agree that their excellence and dominance ruined their sport.


Well, then let me pull your attention closer to the subject at hand.

Remember when the Mighty Macs ruined women's college basketball by winning three championships in a row?

And how Delta State continued ruining it by winning another three in a row? (What were they thinking!)

And how Jody Conradt started women's basketball on a death spin by going undefeated?

And how the last breath was squished out of women's basketball when Pat Summitt's teams won three in a row AND went undefeated? (Really, what total disregard for the welfare of the sport!)

The game is dooooooomed, I tell ya, dooooooooomed. How do I know?

Just read this article from Sports Illustrated.

As easy as it is to appreciate forward Maya Moore's ultrasmooth all-around play or the low-post power of center Tina Charles, watching UConn turn every game into instant garbage time becomes, if not boring, at least awfully repetitive. Even the Huskies' own supporters, among the most passionate in the country, are starting to let their attention drift. Home attendance hit a 10-year low last season and has fallen off slightly more this year. And if the blowouts are less than compelling theater to the Connecticut faithful, how do you think more casual fans feel? Let's face it, there is still the perception in some quarters that women don't play the game at a high level, and we're not just talking about jumping ability. It does little to change that view when UConn is making even supposedly elite clubs look as if they were just plucked from P.E. class.

That's why the best team in the game is, at the moment, the worst thing for the game. At this point in the evolution of the sport, shouldn't the pool of talent be deep enough to keep one program from getting so far ahead of the pack? (It's scary to consider that Elena Delle Donne, the nation's top high school player two years ago, left the Huskies to enroll at Delaware, where she was averaging 25.3 points at week's end.) Wasn't the women's game supposed to stop spinning around the UConn-Tennessee axis now that D-I schools are committing more resources to their programs than they did a decade ago? Yet instead of having something approaching parity, the gap between the best and the rest "is wider than I ever remember," says former Texas coach Jody Conradt.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Not such happy news out of Seattle: Beamer basketball coach in fight of her life

Less than three weeks ago, Heather Sugg's focus was only winning girls basketball games as coach at Beamer High School of Federal Way. Now she is in the fight of her life as she battles an inoperable brain tumor.

From Gregg Lerner/The Star Ledger: A milestone alert that also connects to the Pink Zone initiative.
When I think of Kathy Snyder, words like character, resilience, class and example instantly come to mind.

Over 31 years at the helm of Southern Regional, Snyder has embodied the meaning of coach with with her passion for teaching and a grace that has been nothing short of exemplary.

Tonight, at Toms River East, Snyder will seek her 500th win when Southern (11-5) meets the host Raiders (4-9).

For me, it warms my heart that Kathy is taking aim at such a magnificent milestone. For it was only a few years ago, I wrote the following piece on her battle against breast cancer:
The NYTimes channels the AP: Auriemma’s W.N.B.A. Problem
Coach Geno Auriemma, whose women’s national basketball team is made up primarily of W.N.B.A. players, said the league’s summer season put the national team at a big disadvantage in preparing for this fall’s world championships in the Czech Republic.

The W.N.B.A. schedule allows few training opportunities before the competition, which begins Sept. 23. Auriemma said he hoped to have a few days in the spring — before the W.N.B.A. season — and a few days in early September with players whose teams are not in the playoffs.

I'm sorry Times/AP, but DUH! Anne Donovan had the same issue.


Q is putting his WNBA All-Star team together and checkin' it twice.
WNBA President Donna Orender described the 2010 WNBA All-Star game as an All-Star game with a "twist" and as someone who normally regards these games as farcical, it’s a welcome twist.

From Team USA and UConn coach Geno Auriemma’s perspective, the game will be the best challenge for Team USA. For the rest of us, it’s an occasion to do something rare: pick a challenger for one arguably the best women’s basketball team in the world.

So what group of players – 5 non-Team USA players from each conference – could we as fans select to best challenge a specially engineered juggernaut?
The latest Beth and Debbie podcast is up.

Amongst other things, they speak with Mary Struckhoff, coordinator of NCAA officials, about the focus on traveling calls (aka "the spin move).

You can scan the Companion Blog for highlights, but it's really worth the listen.
From the WBCA:
The State Farm Wade Trophy Committee elected to add seven additional student-athletes to the 2009-2010 State Farm Wade Watch list. James Madison’s Dawn Evans, Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin, Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogumike, Notre Dame’s Lindsay Schrader, University of Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen, Ole Miss’ Bianca Thomas and Duke’s Jasmine Thomas are all added to the existing 25 player pool selected during the preseason.

The committee added the list of seven student-athletes to the State Farm Wade Watch based on each player’s successful on-court performances this season.
Melissa Jones returned from injury and helped lead Baylor to a win over Texas A&M. In related news, Mechelle profiles A&M junior Danielle Adams.

Elsewhere in the Big 12, Iowa State downed Oklahoma as Anna Prins scored 15 and turned 19. Nebraska scored their first ever win in Lubbock in big fashion as they won 89-47 and moved to 18-0 on the season.

In the Big East, Marquette ended Georgetown's 16 game winning streak with a 52-45 victory behind 20 points from Angel Robinson.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The New York Times spotlights the work that Kim Barnes Arico is doing at St. John's. Also on the staff is former Notre Dame standout Megan Duffy.
The Lincoln Journal Star talks to Nebraska coach Connie Yori and looks at the Huskers being the hunted.
Brittney Griner makes the front page of thje print edition of USA Today with this profile.
You can watch Seimone's jersey retirement ceremony here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mel says: It's Gotten Wild In The Colonial Athletic Association

It was a wild night Thursday in the Colonial Athletic Association as incumbents all held firm or rallied at the finish.

Here in Philadelphia, George Mason pushed reigning Drexel all night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center but the reigning conference champions rode Gabriela Marginean’s 26 points to a 59-51 win over the Patriots (8-9, 1-5 CAA).

Incidentally, on Sunday in the win over Delaware, Marginean passed Michael Anderson to become Drexel’s all-time men’s and women’s scorer.

A couple of Graham blog entries worth perusing: Rushdan one of game's most exciting players
If you go by the literature of the game, point guards are supposed to be generals on the floor, commanders of a basketball battlefield as they bark out orders, direct teammates into position to attack and keep order in retreat.

They lead from the back -- or in their case, the backcourt.

Khadijah Rushdan tries; she really does. But perhaps channeling the likes of William Wallace or George Patton, Rutgers' point guard seems to operate under the philosophy that the best way to lead is to get there first and leave only when the job is done. What more often than not transpires as a result is a big reason why, as the smoke (and in some cases, mirrors) clears on the nonconference season, Rutgers once again occupies advantageous territory in the Big East standings.

Sophomore goes the extra Yarde for Marist
Score 30 points in a game one time and you had a night to remember. Do it twice within the span of a month and you're someone everyone else should remember.

Still miles away from the name recognition afforded prolific scorers such as Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley, Kansas' Danielle McCray, James Madison's Dawn Evans or Middle Tennessee's Alysha Clark, Marist sophomore Corielle Yarde has been quietly piling up points all the same. It started with a career-high 28 points in a 71-69 loss against Oklahoma State in the Bahamas over Thanksgiving, eclipsing her previous high of 15 points last season.

Some more W news:
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) announced today that Christine Godleski has been named Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Godleski will manage the day-to-day operations of the WNBA, where she will oversee the execution of league events and strategic planning initiatives. She will also support league and team revenue-generating opportunities.
Make your mid-summer plans:
Preparation for the World Championships in September in Czech Republic means Seattle is knocked out of the running for a WNBA All-Star game, again. Hartford Courant reporter/blogger John Altavilla posted earlier today that the WNBA and USA Basketball will play another All-Star game against each other, this time at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Also from Swish Appeal, Queenie made a road trip: Hen-Pecked: Delle Donne Leads Delaware Over Hofstra

Delaware, and Delle Donne, were definitely worth the price of admission. But more importantly, so was Hofstra. They've got some promising youngsters. (whb note: you'll remember that coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey won the first Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year award)

Getting lost on the Hofstra campus is not recommended. It stretches across both sides of Hempstead Turnpike, which is a difficult road to cross, to put it mildly. Nothing says adrenaline rush like some guy turning across two lanes and honking at you as you run across the street while you have the light. That wasn't even the worst traffic disaster at that corner, but we'll get to that in its proper place.

Hofstra has the only mid-major arena I've ever seen with luxury boxes. They haven't used them in either of the games I've been at, but that doesn't mean that at some point they won't come into use. I also like how Hofstra uses the complementary colors for their banners- they're not separated by gender, but by NCAA tournament versus conference tournament.

But then, the Pride are very big on, well, pride, across both men's and women's sports. The structure of the arena is a bit confusing, though; it's not easy to get to a seat on the far side of the arena, the souvenir stands are on one level while the concession stands are on another, and all gods help you if you want to buy a program.

Some will argue that salary caps are for budget balancing. Others will argue it means one team can't horde players (Unless you're the Yankees and you pay a tsk tsk fee every year).

From Swish Appeal:
When Swish Appeal spoke with Phoenix Mercury General Manager Ann Meyers-Drysdale in December she indicated that the team would be hard pressed to return it's entire 2009 championship roster due to financial constraints resulting from a $52,000 reduction in this year's salary cap.

We have since learned from league and team sources that the Mercury situation may be worse than originally reported.
In advance of the Rutgers/UConn game tonight, a tough, tough read from Andy McCullough at the Star-Ledger: Transfers, dashed hopes mar promise of most heralded recruiting class in Rutgers women's history

Lee predicted four consecutive Final Four appearances. Speed hoped for a quartet of national titles. Pope thought they would win championships. Since then, Dixon (UCLA) and Pope (Baylor) have transferred to schools closer to home. And Lee, Speed and Sykes shuffle in and out of the starting lineup for the Scarlet Knights (12-7, 4-1 Big East), who travel to take on No. 1 Connecticut (19-0, 6-0) Tuesday night.

The shimmering promise of 2007 has faded, the bold predictions have ceased and the concept of a Female Fab Five has imploded.

It has been an up and down season for Purdue, but last night they pulled off their biggest win as they downed Ohio State 63-61 at Mackey.

Freshmen K.K. Houser, Ashley Wilson and Sam Ostarello combined for 40 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and two steals and helped their team overcome a 16-0 deficit at the start of the game.

Coach Versyp was naturally pleased. "I wanted it for them. I wanted it for this team. We're this close. They're good kids, they work so hard. When you have this type of win for the program and this type of win for these kids, that's what it was about."

The two stars for the Buckeyes (Lavender and Prahalis) went a combined 9 for 31 from the floor. Prahalis had a wide open lay up to force the game into overtime, but did not convert. "I'd say in the last two games we missed a lot of layups," OSU coach Jim Foster said. "I mean point-blank shots, and you're not going to be a real good team if you continue to do that."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Forget those Feisty Mittens -- how about those Miss-es? Mechelle says, "Let’s wrap it up: SEC grind-it-out style"

Didn’t you see this coming? Georgia defeats Tennessee on Thursday, which is always a big deal but … if you’ve followed the SEC even for a little while, you sensed trouble for the Dogs coming up. They had Mississippi up next, on Sunday, with the Rebs having won four in four and seven of their last eight.

So what happened? Ole Miss (whb question: isn't that an oxymoron?) edged Georgia 66-65, and instead of consolidating the win over Tennessee, Georgia now has to go on the road against Mississippi State (whb note: Which beat Vanderbilt) and Auburn coming off a disappointing loss.

This is life in the SEC, though. And even if people see the league is “down” because it doesn’t have some of the star-studded Final Four contenders of past years, it’s still chock-full of athletes and difficult matchups/trips.
NBC affiliate KHAS asks Is it too late to jump on NE Women's basketball bandwagon?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Keepin' up with the non-swearin' Coop: Prairie View women run SWAC win streak to 22 straight
From Mechelle: A year later, Pink Zone still picking up steam

On Jan. 24, 2009, you might have woken up and seen the news of something you sadly expected but also hoped wouldn't happen. NC State coach Kay Yow passed away at age 66 after a fight with cancer that stretched more than two decades and inspired millions.

"I cannot believe it's been a year," said broadcaster Debbie Antonelli, who played for Yow at NC State and is on the board of directors for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.

"As far as the fund, the message is still the same. Please give your time, your talent, your treasures. Anything you give goes to research. And because of that, you are making a difference in helping find a cure. That's the legacy she wanted to have."

WATN? Jamie Carey:
Jamie Carey is not the type of coach that pegs all her team's hopes on her senior class.

The former WNBA player, now coach for the third-ranked Legacy, has been around the game too long and has watched too many youngster fill big roles on the court. While she might not see seniors as the end-all be-all, Carey is not blind to what they have meant to what is turning out to be the Lightning's dream season.

The center-guard combo of Carli Moreland and Quincey Noonan has turned Legacy's opponents inside-out and has made the Lightning the last undefeated program in Class 5A.

"They're quite a tandem," Carey said. "What they've done so far is a tribute to them stepping up in their roles as seniors -- they've proved to be the cornerstones."

It's not a WATN? for Nat Williams, but she is quoted in an article out of Utah: Points well taken: Girls' offense is up - State's teams lighting up scoreboards more than ever.
"Grease is the word."

Or, maybe, "Huskers" is the word.

From Mechelle:
If you're looking for overnight success stories, look elsewhere. Get rich quick? Forget it. Coming from out of nowhere? Nope, not here.

Nebraska is one of two undefeated teams left in Division I women's basketball -- the other one is located somewhere in the Northeast -- and the story here is basically good old-fashioned perseverance. Might sound dull, but right now it doesn't feel that way.

Especially not on Saturday, when the Huskers beat Kansas State 71-56 in front of the largest crowd (13,303) ever to attend a women's hoops game at the Devaney Center.

"That was awesome," said senior Kelsey Griffin. "The feeling out there was amazing."

UConn's obliteration of Villanova gave Mike Jensen from the Inquirer to check up on a Germantown Academy grad.
The basketball was in the air, up for grabs. University of Connecticut sophomore point guard Caroline Doty wanted it, fought for it.
That was halftime yesterday at Villanova's Pavilion. A UConn manager was throwing balls out for warm-ups. Doty - a UConn starter from the first game of her freshman year - wanted the first one. She was smiling, but she wanted it.

"That's her," said her coach, Geno Auriemma. "She's a throwback to the way things used to be."
Speaking of Philly kids, gotta love this line from Gardler:
They did cheer for Gardler when the senior forward was introduced for the first start of her career. Gardler, the daughter of Auriemma's high school coach at nearby Bishop Kenrick, started over Tiffany Hayes.

Gardler scored six points and was moved by the tribute. She said about 120 fans came to watch her final game in the area. They probably weren't the ones who told Gardler in high school she would never make it at UConn.

"That's typical of this area. That's just growing up here," Auriemma said. "If you're not any good, they tell you you're no good. If you're really good, they tell you you're no good. It's just growing up in Philly."
I'm a little late with the news, but Courtnay Pilypaitis recorded her third career triple-double as Vermont upended Albany, 92-47.
The Stanford Magazine profiles Tara VanDerveer:

Her father told her that Stanford was a coach's graveyard. Her friends reminded her that she already had a terrific job, where her success had been quick and durable. But when the time for a decision arrived, Tara VanDerveer gambled on her vision of what Stanford women's basketball could become.

"In retrospect," she says, "it was a little crazy."

(Makes me wonder what drinks with the dad's of Tara, Pat and Geno would sound like?)
There will be a team named the Shock this season as Tulsa picks their name and colors.

Tulsa World's John Klein talks to coach and GM Nolan Richardson on the team's draft strategy.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Also from Q: bad attendance at Oregon State provokes thoughts about WCBB promotions in general.

Did you know that the NCAA has a competitive grant designed specifically to increase (to test ways to increase) WCBB attendance?
Q asks: does the NCAA understand that bloggers can be journalists? If so, why has it been hard for Swish Appeal writers to get media credentials at some schools? And if not, when will the rest of those schools learn?
Yikes! Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman collapsed while his team played Louisville. "I just felt a little woozy and then I went down," he recalled.

Now he's back in Syracuse, and he says he's OK. Assistant Rick Moody (not that one) took over the coaching, and Orangewoman Erica Morrow took over the game, scoring 23 points and canning 5 treys as her team defeated the Cardinals.
Baylor lost again, this time at Mizzou: Griner finished with 14 and 6, the Tigers' Jessra Johnson with 19 and 5.

The Bears and the Tigers are now near the bottom of their conference standings-- not where the fans in Waco expected to be.
Green Bay had better win the Horizon League tournament: unbeaten last week, the Phoenix tonight lost their second game in a row at UIC. The Flames' Jasmine Bailey finished with 24 and 14; her team shot over 52%.

UIC hasn't beaten a ranked opponent for at least eight years-- and UWGB won't be ranked after tonight. Nobody got hurt, or not seriously: they just haven't been playing very well.

Flames coach Lisa Ryckbosch: "If you would have asked me a week ago if [UWGB] were capable of losing two games in a row, I would have said no. I would have said I wouldn’t be surprised if somebody beats them. But two in a row? Boy, I just expected them to be ready to kill somebody."
From "Frequent Driver Miles" Mechelle: Let's wrap it up: Late, late edition.

Series of semi-rambling thoughts after a trip up and down part of the East Coast …

In Connecticut, the media that covers UConn’s women admits they are “jaded.” That’s their word, not mine. They watch the Huskies all the time. And now for the second consecutive season, they are witnessing one blowout after another. The two latest, of course, being Saturday’s 70-46 demolishing of Notre Dame followed by Monday’s 81-48 clubbing of Duke.

Thus, understandably, they tend to think all the rest of women’s basketball is once again just not very good. And I have admit, I feel lucky I’m not them.

Because I’m not jaded about the rest of the sport, nor am I tired of watching how good UConn is. That’s partly because I don’t watch the Huskies all the time.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Speaking of high school coaches: Milestone alert from Seacoastonline.com:

Rick Clark first started coaching the York High School girls basketball team in 1977.

Clark has led the Wildcats to two Class B state championships (1992, 1994) in 33 years, while guiding the Wildcats to additional state championship appearances in 1986 and 2009.

He was elected to the New England Basketball Hall of Fame last year, and was also named the Maine Coach of the Year and the Russell Athletic/WBCA New England Coach of the Year last after last season's 21-1 season which ended with a 54-42 loss to Waterville in the Class B state championship game at the Cumberland County Civic Center.

When Clark walks into Butler Gymnasium for tonight's Western Maine Class B clash against rival Wells, he will do so with 399 career wins, leaving him one win shy of becoming the 12th coach in Maine high school basketball history to win at least 400 games.

One of my favorite high school coach quotes comes from Ron Moyer, who coached Jamila Wideman in Amherst, Massachusetts:
“I tell people coaching is a get-quick-rich scheme. It’s just not a very good one.”
The following is not about Moyer, but it does serve as a nice addendum. From WBUR in Boston, this commentary: The Richest Girls Basketball Coach In The World
Over the past few weeks, numbers of coaches making lots of money at one university have moved on to make more money at other universities or in the professional ranks. For some reason, the annual shuffling of high-profile coaches has commentator Bill Littlefield thinking of a low-profile coach who was also something of a magician.
Nice move by Notre Dame:
The University of Notre Dame plans to donate the gate receipts and the net concession revenue from its men's and women's basketball games this weekend to benefit Haiti relief efforts.

University spokesman John Heisler said the school hopes to raise more than $100,000 from the two games. The men's game against DePaul is 2 p.m. Saturday and the fourth-ranked women's game against No. 16 West Virginia is 1 p.m. Sunday. Both games are expected to sell out.

A few years ago there was quite the game of musical coaching chairs in women's college basketball. The AP takes a gander at one program since the music stopped:
Texas has experienced big wins and puzzling losses. Winning streaks and losing streaks.

What the Texas women's basketball program hasn't done yet under third-year coach Gail Goestenkors is threaten to win the Big 12, something many Longhorn fans expected by now.

Texas (13-5, 2-2, No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) is coming off a much-needed win over Oklahoma State (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP). But Goestenkors is 17-19 in her first 36 regular season league games, the same mark as predecessor Jody Conradt in her final 36 Big 12 contests.

Even Goestenkors says she expected a faster, more consistent turnaround when she left the powerhouse she built at Duke and signed a $1 million-a-year contract at Texas in 2007.

Nebraska gets some love from Charlie's brackets and Beth and Debbie's podcast.
Mechelle checks in after a rare Georgia win over #3 Tennessee.
Georgia has gotten to do something more often than any other program, and yet it still hasn't happened very often. That "something" is celebrate a win over Tennessee, which Georgia did for the 15th time Thursday after a 53-50 victory. It was a beautiful sight to many of the 7,728 fans -- except those in orange -- at Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum.
Do winning and playing an exciting brand of basketball attract more fans? Nebraska and Oregon are trying to find that out.
And then there were two.

Loyola hands UW-Green Bay their first loss of the season.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jenny's back and Brian's got her!

I like Jenny. She belongs in the W:
Boucek started in the WNBA as an unpaid assistant for Nancy Darsch and the Washington Mystics in 1999. She’s spent her career coaching in the WNBA because, she said, “It captured my heart.” After four years starting for Debbie Ryan’s Virginia Cavaliers, graduation in 1997 found her back on the court, this time wearing a Cleveland Rockers WNBA uniform.

“Just being part of the inaugural season and seeing the potential of this league to impact the country culturally really hit home with me as a young lady. Grown women were crying at our games,” remembered Boucek. “Little girls, who were wide-eyed, now have a different perception of themselves and their potential, their dreams and their opportunities, not just in sports. They see women getting opportunities that they only knew men to have.”
Pac-10 tells Cooper, "Tsk, tsk."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Lots of great west coast baskeball stuff at Swish Appeal. In the latest, Q asks: Is Stanford Just Bored?

Something interesting happened in the AP rankings besides the University of Tennessee rising to #3 after Notre Dame got pummeled by UConn: Stanford got 960 votes, the most they’ve gotten this season since before their loss to UConn.

Perhaps that makes sense because voters felt compelled to give Stanford a few of Notre Dame’s votes after their demoralizing loss to UConn.

Yet ironically, the talk out of Palo Alto after Stanford's 66-51 win over the University of Washington was all about how they're playing "uninspired" basketball. One comment in particular from forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike stands out as particularly alarming:

And yes, Graham has noticed that the now 18-1 Mountaineers have slowly crept up in the polls.
There were plenty of questions about the state of West Virginia's basketball team when this season began. More questions than potential answers, judging by the fact that the coaches in the Big East picked the Mountaineers to finish ninth this season, exactly where they finished 2008-09.

Coaches can't vote for their own teams in the preseason poll, but even Mountaineers boss Mike Carey, although comfortable with some answers, had questions.
Graham has his top 10 mid-majors, and the top (mythical) bird is the Phoenix
1. Green Bay (16-0, 5-0 Horizon): Saturday's 74-53 win at in-state rival Wisconsin-Milwaukee marked the 15th time in 16 games this season that Green Bay won by double digits. That includes 18-point and 25-point wins in recent weeks against Cleveland State and Detroit, respectively, the two teams currently occupying second and third in the conference. Good teams get lines like this from role players like Hannah Quilling against Milwaukee: 0-for-4, 0 points, 6 assists, 7 steals.
A little deja vu for ya: Don't forget you can hear coach Bollant chat about his team with Debbie and Beth on Shootaround.
In anticipation of the match up between the young Lady Dawgs and the slightly older Lady Vols, Mechelle writes
Fourteen years have since passed, and a lot has changed about women's basketball … but not so much is different with Tennessee and Georgia. Yes, Tennessee has picked up five more NCAA titles (counting '96) and Georgia is still hoping to get one. But the head coaches are still the same, and Thursday night (ESPN360.com, 7 ET), Pat Summitt and Andy Landers will match wits and talented players once again.

"I don't think about it today or getting ready for games," Summitt acknowledged of Tennessee's series with Georgia. "But we have a long history of tough battles, and not just during the regular season. We've met many times on the big stage, and I think it's been a great rivalry. And they're going to obviously have a great crowd."
Don't forget, you can hear coach Landers chat about his team with Debbie and Beth on Shootaround.
After USC beat UCLA 70-63 at the Galen Center, coach Michael Cooper said:

"My opening statement is (bleep) UCLA."

"Ooops! Sorry," says Coop now.
Nebraska's Yvonne Turner gets the attention of the AP's Eric Olson: Turner’s improved touch on 3s keys No. 7 Nebraska
Fallout from the idiotic pre-game dust-up between Georgetown and Louisville.
SlamOnline gives us WNBA Free Agency, Part Deux.

Also at Slam, Clay offers up the WNBA's Most Underrated WNBA Player
There's no doubt Syracuse earned its ranking by feasting on cupcakes. The Big East teams have proven less palatable: Providence took down the Orange, 71-69.
Milestone alert: Muffet gets 600th win.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Charlie has his latest bracketology up and wonders: Does the country have a UConn complex?
Sure, Connecticut is scary good. In fact, it's hard to remember the last time team sports saw such dominance. But have we gotten to the point that other teams are actually scared? Intimidation is one thing, but much of the rest of the country spent last week playing as if it was trying to avoid the NCAA tournament -- perhaps because that would mean a potential meeting with the Huskies machine even for those smart enough not to schedule Geno Auriemma's juggernaut.

All sarcasm aside, it was a rough week for contenders.
BU said "Welcome into the top-25, Vermont" with a slap upside the head: Freshmen Chantell Alford and Caitlynn Moran combined for 48 points to help rally the Terriers from a 16-point deficit to win their 25th straight regular-season conference game, 73-64.
The #7 Blue Devils hosted UConn last night and said Rebecca Lobo on Twitter:
I'm impressed by Duke. They are playing hard and attacking. Showing a lot more heart than many of UConn's opponents.
And they still lost by 33.

Kalana Greene slashed and jump shot her way to 18 points and UConn rediscovered their three-point range, shooting 52%.

Noted Duke coach McCallie post-game: "I'm grateful for the experience and disappointed in the outcome."

Mechelle writes about Caroline Doty's visit to the Triangle.
There was that "I'm really here" moment for UConn's Caroline Doty before Monday's 81-48 victory over Duke.

When the Huskies ran out onto the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium, she thought about all that had happened since UConn's Big Monday game here on Tobacco Road a year ago.

"Just hearing everybody boo -- I had a big smile on my face," Doty said. "I thought, 'This is unbelievable; it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life.' And just stuff like when you're inbounding the ball and [the Cameron Crazies] are shaking their hands.

"You see pictures of it in 'Sports Illustrated' when you're growing up. But to be a part of it, to experience it … man, I was smiling."

Mel informs us of a game of note at the Garden later this week - Immaculata vs. Cabrini.

It will mark the first time the Mighty Macs will play there since their 1975 match-up against Queens College (which was the first women's game at the famed arena).
With #33 being honored at L.S.U.'s game on Sunday, The Advocate's Scott Hotard reflects on the impact Seimone Augustus has had on the program.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh, just wait until the NCAA's "Don't bet on it" peeps get a load of this article from USAToday's Mike Lopresti: UConn basketball women playing? Then bet on a victory
Pssst. Hey buddy. Want a sure thing?

It's …well, maybe you're cynical. You don't buy the sure-thing scenario. Even the Yankees don't win it all every season, and they have enough money to buy Wyoming. You probably need some convincing first.

You probably need to hear about a team that is more reliable than the tide tables.

This team has won 57 games in a row. One more than Joe DiMaggio's batting streak

You probably need a team that just doesn't win, it flattens landscape.
A milestone heads up from Jayda: Gonzaga senior Heather Bowman has become the WCC's all-time leading scorer (1,956 points) surpassing Martha Sheldon's mark of 1,953 set from 1987-92 at the University of Portland.
There was some serious game-tracker watching last night as the topsy turvy season continued.

** steps up on soap box ** Is anyone else tired of people calling this a "down" season in women's basketball? Why can't there be some recognition that there's more talent on the court, patrolling the court, and going to a far more diverse group of programs? **

Okay, so -- yesterday:
1) I have fond memories of Coquese Washington during her New York Liberty/W days, so I'm glad to be able to cheer for her and her efforts to restore honor to the Penn State women's basketball program. They took a big step in defeating #23 (with an anchor) Michigan State, 68-60. That's four straight for the Lions (no pun intended.).

2) #13 Oklahoma surprised #8 Texas A&M ending the Aggies' 7 game win streak and treating the Sooner "white out" crowd to a 74-65 win.
"You're either going to get attacked or you can attack," Coale said. "It's one way or the other, so we really wanted to go at them. They got us on our heels just a little bit, around the 12-minute mark of the second half, but we came right back swinging and that was the difference."
3) Mississippi took down #15 LSU, 80-71, behind Bianca Thomas' 42 - yah, you read that right: 42 points on 50% shooting. (Hope Beth and Debbie were paying attention.)

4) NC State gave Florida State all they could handle, but Cierra Bravard hit a layup with 11 seconds left and added a free throw and the Seminoles escaped with the 74-71 win.

5) #4 Tennessee defeated #22 Vanderbilt, 64-57, but coach ain't happy:
"Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased we found a way to win, but our coaching staff doesn't want to be living on the edge the rest of this season," she said. "We want to separate ourselves from the rest of the pack."
Ohio State, Georgia and North Carolina all won. Have we noticed that the West Virginia team is poking around at #13? Their victory over Pittsburgh made it 15 wins in a row.
Some high school basketball from Melissa Rohlin at the LA Times:
The top girls' basketball teams in Southern California, nationally ranked Santa Ana Mater Dei and Brea Olinda, typically try to avoid each other unless they are forced to meet in the playoffs.

The unexpected death of Orange Lutheran coach Tony Matson last spring changed that.
I'm sure you've been listening to the Shootaround podcasts 'cause you're just that on top of things (or, you're automatically downloading them from iTunes.)

I'm catching up on two weeks during which Debbie and Beth spoke with Coach Matt Bollant from Wisconsin - Green Bay and Coach Andy Landers from Georgia.

You can check out the Shootaround "Companion Blog" to get a quick scan of what you'll hear.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nebraska are for real: the Cornhuskers just beat Baylor by nine. In Waco.

Everyone talks about big post Kelsey Griffin, but this time the win came in a hail of treys. "We didn't come into the game with a plan of shooting a lot of three-pointers, but they were there for us," said UN's Yvonne Turner. It's a strategy Brittney Griner Baylor probably sees an awful lot.

Nebraska appear to be one of just three remaining undefeated Division I teams: the others are, of course, UConn and Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Voepel has been watching Delle Donne.
Clay has a lot of thoughts on the Whalen/Montgomery trade.
Checking in with the Pac-10 for last night's notable and yet unsurprising results:

1. Stanford won another one at Maples, but the Cardinal faithful could worry: Pohlen's hurt, and the number one team in the time zone should probably have kept Washington from coming close. Ogunwike finished with 20 and 13.

2. When you hire Paul Westhead you might, or might not, get champions, but you'll definitely ring up some high scoring games. Oregon's Ducks outdid themselves on Saturday, setting what appears to be a record for the highest combined scores ever in Pac-10 play: they also lost to Arizona in Tucson, 119-112.
Seems like there were a lot of close games (none of them involving UConn) last night, but surely the closest big game came in Texas, where the Longhorns required two overtimes to give Texas Tech their first home loss since last year.

The Red Raiders came back late in the second period, but the Longhorns kept their heads at the end. "Everybody else thought the game was over," said coach G, "but we believe in ourselves." By refusing to foul at the end of the first OT, Texas came up with a steal and a quick basket to keep things going forward.

It sounds like coach Curry handled the postgame well, not bringing any players out for the media: "These kids fought and they competed and they laid their hearts on the line today," she said. "So we're not going to put them in a position to talk about ifs and buts and candy and nuts."
Is Illinois center Jenna Smith seriously hurt?

UIUC, who lost in Columbus Thursday night, will face Wisconsin today.
Elsewhere around the Big East, some minor upsets:

1. South Florida got past Syracuse in Tampa. The Orange kept it close despite a star in foul trouble: "When you get Nicole Michael off the floor for a long period of time," said 'Cuse coach Hillsman, "you're not going to win."

2. Georgetown are now nationally ranked despite having lived in the Big East cellar for years. Louisville are not nationally ranked even though they made it all the way to the national championship game last season. Yesterday the two teams got into a fight, a literal fight, during pregame warmups.

"It's a Big East game. Emotions are high," said GU coach Williams-Fluornoy, whose team prevailed in a close and ugly game: GU shot just 30% from the field, and the teams combined for 52 fouls.
We made it to Gampel last night-- in Gampel there are no bad seats, by the way-- and for the first twelve minutes UConn did everything right: the Huskies fed the post, destroyed Notre Dame's offense, and ran up a lead of 24-4.

The rest of the game didn't look quite that lopsided, but it didn't matter by that point: ND are no longer undefeated, and UConn have another big win. Check out the disparity in assists. (I had the sense that when the Huskies visit South Bend, things could be a bit closer.)

Voepel says Tina Charles is already the national player of the year. Geno says something more surprising, for him: "She's playing as well right now as any kid I've had at Connecticut."

The nationally televised game also served as host for ESPN's Game Day show. Muffet McGraw was dismayed: "I hope the electricity was out in the homes of our recruits," she said.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

SlamOnline weighs in on the W's free agency.
Now that the official 2010 WNBA free agent list is out, it is time to take a detailed look at which players and teams could make the most impact in the offseason. Something to keep in mind while reading this — no deals can be finalized or signed until February 1.

We, at SLAMonline, want to know where you think these players are going to go. Let your voice be heard. I’ll offer my opinion of where I think a few players could end up and what type of player(s) teams will go after, but we want to hear your opinion as well.
The game between the undefeateds -- Notre Dame and UConn -- is gettin' some ESPN buzz. GameDay show to debut at UConn.

ESPN is planning to debut a women's basketball version of its College GameDay program in January before a game between Notre Dame and Connecticut.

The network announced on Tuesday that the program will originate from Gampel Pavilion on the UConn campus in Storrs on Saturday, Jan. 16.

In 2005, UConn hosted the first men's basketball GameDay broadcast before a game between the Huskies and Pittsburgh.

Mechelle will be up in Connecticut and writes,

UConn coach Geno Auriemma estimated that the viewers who tune in for Saturday night's game (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET) between the No. 1 Huskies and No. 3 Notre Dame will be split. He said half would be rooting for UConn to be upset and half would be pulling for the team to maintain its 55-game winning streak.
There was a brief pause from us reporters. Then someone said, "Um, really? Isn't it more like …"
"OK, 90-10," Auriemma said. "I was trying to be nice. Ninety percent of the people want us to lose, and 10 percent want us to win."

From Kevin Armstrong at the New York Times, a fine piece on two rivals: The Fire and the Focus of the Ivy League.
Kathy Delaney-Smith, the coach of the Harvard women’s basketball team, learned that she had breast cancer in December 1999, but she did not go public with the news until a month later. After a victory over Dartmouth, she let the news slip in a postgame interview.

“I thought I was going to be so strong and do it on my own,” Delaney-Smith said, “but questions kept coming up about why I shook hands with my left.”

Support poured in from other coaches. One card, in particular, stood out. It came from Chris Wielgus, Delaney-Smith’s archrival at Dartmouth. Delaney-Smith had been a synchronized swimmer in college. To blend her past and present in a get-well message, Wielgus, a former basketball player, dressed up in a shark hat, bathing suit and garland scarf and attempted ballet poses in the pool for a photo.

“I just told her I wish I had the same start as she had,” Wielgus said, sitting in her office one day last week. “And I prayed I wouldn’t drown lifting my leg.”

Delaney-Smith responded: “Get a life, Chris. Horrible form.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

As Jayda catches up on the W's intriguing free agency issues, we learn that "fan/media meddling led to the trade of PG Lindsay Whalen."

Well, crap! How come all the fan and blogger-as-media meddling hasn't gotten Blaze fired yet?

I've got to talk to my peeps in Connecticut right quick.
A crowd of 2,364 watched the Blue Hens give their head coach agita as Delaware escaped with their third straight down-to-the-wire win.

Delle Donne didn't have the game winner this time, but she did manage 29 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals.

Drexel is up next.
So, yeah, there were some interesting games last night. I'm guessing the hair pulling and pepto chugging was pretty high along the coaches benches.
1) Undefeated no more. #6 Georgia went into Nashville and got stomped by short-(broken)-handed Vanderbilt (#22), 66-44.

2) #4 Tennessee went up against Amanda Butler's 9-7 Gators and needed a last second bucket from Bjorklund to secure the win. Of concern for the Vols - another injury to Cain. Though this time a leg, not a head.

3) If I recall correctly, last year North Carolina (#11) did some serious stumbling post UConn stomping. Their 79-64 loss makes you wonder if it'll be deja vu all over again.

4) Meier's Hurricanes almost gave the Duke alum a bittersweet victory, but Jasmine Thomas' double-double kept Miami at bay and the Blue Devils escaped Coral Gables with a 69-62 win.

5) Illinois had a run that made the game interesting, but #5 Ohio State rode Samantha Prahalis' 24pts to a 73-61 victory.

6) One of the Feisty Mittens is looking a little unraveled as Michigan State lost to Wisconsin, 48-45. That's the Spartans' fourth loss in a row.

7) Intent on destroying all things Husky related (yah, I know they're the Cougars, but they share a name with those West Coast Huskies), #2 Stanford demolished Washington State, 80-43.

Less happy news for the Cardinal? J.J. Hones sat the game out with a sore left knee and they lost Jeanette Pohlen to a right ankle injury early in the second half.

8) By the way, on Wednesday, a season high 7,718 watched Baylor take their revenge on the state of Oklahoma by beating the Sooners 57-47. Griner only blocked 11 shots.
Sunday 9AM Eastern on ESPN, Griner on Outside the Lines.

Mechelle gets a preview: Easy to forget Griner's a freshman
The AP has more on the surprising Nebraska Cornhuskers and Kelsey Griffin.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

On Jan 11, Chris Hansen at Hoopgurlz wrote about how a current NCAA proposal could cap club recruiting
Club teams wanting to play in NCAA-certified viewing events will need to watch their rosters more carefully if proposal 2009-94 is adopted at the NCAA annual legislative meetings this week. No more than three players from outside the team's home state would be allowed on club teams and those players must reside in an adjoining state, according to the proposal.

The NCAA will vote this week on three proposals that will impact grassroots basketball, but only one, 2009-94, will impact girls' grassroots basketball.
Hansen has a follow up: Will NCAA proposals set precedents? An overview of key legislation under review and its potential effects

Williams said the adjacent-state rule, adopted by the NCAA for the boys in 2003, changed things "a little," but for the most part the good teams were still good, with or without the rule, because there are more impact players to go around in the boys' game.

If implemented this week on the girls' side, many expect a bigger impact, with more teams having only one or two good players and fewer having a concentration of elite athletes. Some say the new rule will water down the summer circuit while others believe the geographic boundaries are a natural part of youth sports.

Talk to any high school coach with a recruitable athlete about AAU/club/summer ball, and you'll probably get a lot of love/hate tales about undue influence, wonderful opportunities, over-stated possibilities and pro-active/honest support. Simply put, it ain't a simple conversation.

So, it's with interest that I point out a side note that I know only a little about -- a Final Four ago (I believe), some AAU/club/summer organizers were very concerned about a new project that, some said, was a way to "clean up" (boys) summer ball: iHoops -- "the official youth basketball initiative of the NCAA and NBA."

One of the burning questions that remain regarding iHoops is, what is their real goal? Hart believes their goal is transparent saying, "They are a FOR-PROFIT company and they have to be profitable after three years. Doesn't sound like they are there to clean things up. It's hard to be about the kids and for-profit at the same time."

Looks like iHoops is moving forward and making friends: On Jan 11th, SalmOnline published an official release: iHoops Announces Partnership with the AAU

As part of the partnership, AAU will play a prominent role in promoting the iHoops coach education program and will encourage its member basketball coaches to participate in the online education program through www.iHoops.com. The partnership also includes cross-promotional opportunities through each organization’s websites and opportunities for exposure at select AAU basketball events.

“We’re pleased that the AAU has chosen to work with us to develop educational and basketball programming for iHoops.com,” iHoops CEO Kevin Weiberg said. “The AAU Board of Directors is very serious about improving the quality of non-scholastic basketball and in showing leadership in making a positive difference for coaches and student-athletes.”

For those interested in the ins and outs, pros and cons of the recruiting game, this could really impact the landscape....or not.

From the Independent Collegian: In case you haven’t heard
Well, it’s time to put you on notice. The Toledo women’s basketball team is off to their best start in 11 years and is on pace to go down as one of the finest teams in program history.

In just her second season with the Rockets, UT Head Coach Tricia Cullop has completely changed the landscape of the program. Toledo was picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference West Division in last year’s preseason poll after finishing the 2007-08 season with a 14-16 (5-10 MAC) record. Cullop sculpted the Rockets into a legitimate league contender last year, guiding the team to the third-best record at 18-13 (11-5 MAC) and earning MAC Co-Coach of the Year honors in her first season at the helm. With nine players returning, including all five starters, the Rockets were tabbed to finish first in the West in this year’s poll.
Another milestone:
With her 300th victory safely in the record books, San Diego State women’s basketball coach Beth Burns collected her most veteran players. She threw out names of former Aztecs — Falisha and Lakeysha Wright, Christina Murguia, Michelle Suman — and talked about how those players weren’t recruited to success as much as a vision of conference championships and NCAA Tournament bids.

“Those older guys had to believe and trust we were going to do something,” Burns said.

That “something” was turn SDSU from a program struggling for wins into a Top 25 team. And 18 years later, the Aztecs look as if they are poised to do that again.
From the AP's Doug Feinberg (who really does a great job covering women's basketball)
The Loyola Greyhounds have had an empty seat on their bench since late November, waiting for the return of assistant coach Alisha Mosley.

The 31-year-old coach, who has been an assistant for the women’s basketball team the past five seasons, has been hospitalized for more than six weeks, much of it in a medically induced coma after doctors found she had double pneumonia.
Well, crap -- the WNBA is "following me" on twitter.

Guess that means I should post something.

Like, maybe a link to my "WNBA rants"!

heh. heh. heh.
Saturday's battle between the undefeateds -- UConn and Notre Dame -- brings this article from Graham: Barlow spearheads Irish balance: Six players average at least 7.9 ppg for Irish
When it comes to basketball, Notre Dame is in Indiana the same way Vatican City is in Italy. Luckily for Notre Dame, Ashley Barlow has dual citizenship.
Just in time for the Hurricane's matchup against #Duke, Mechelle writes about Miami coach Katie Meier (and Chicago native & Duke alum):

Meier lists the many advantages of Miami. There's the obvious: typically beautiful weather. Although she also is used to reassuring recruits about potential bad weather.

"They'll say, 'I don't want to be in a hurricane,' and I'll say, 'Neither do I. So if one comes, we'll be nowhere near here,'" Meier said. "Between coaching in New Orleans and here, I'm used to that question.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How much attention are you paying to Nebraska? Still undefeated, they knocked off one Texas team and meet up with a second this Sunday.
They’re off to their best start and on their longest win streak in program history, and their No. 11 rating is their highest ever.

“We know we’re not going to win every game,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said, “but at the same time, we’re going to try to win every game.”
And another milestone:
All the players on the Waukon High School girls' basketball team peeled off their jerseys and revealed special T-shirts just seconds after they beat MFL MarMac 48-38 on Saturday at the U.S. Cellular Center.

They came prepared for coach Gene Klinge's big moment.

"939 Wins," the homemade shirts proclaimed on the front. "Congrats Coach!" it said on the back.

Klinge, 72, became the winningest coach in the history of Iowa girls' basketball with the 939th victory of his 48-year career, snapping the old mark of 938 that he'd shared with the late Bob Mullen.
Catching up on a milestone:

Not only did the Louisiana College Lady Cats (7-1, 5-1 in American Southwest Conference play), down their second top 25 team of the year and defeat Howard Payne in ASC play for the first time in school history, they also helped coach Janice Joseph Richard log her 300th career victory as a head coach.

A victory that might have seemed miles and lifetimes away when, a few years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, a disease she fought while continuing to coach through last year.

WATN? Jody Runge, former University of Oregon coach.
Shalee's got a new gig:
The former Wildcat point guard has accepted a coaching position on Deb Patterson's staff, K-State announced Wednesday. She will continue to play for the Atlanta Dream of the WNBA in addition to her coaching duties.
The Betty talks with Ben at Slam Online.
In a world where professional athletes are known for having gaudy homes, flashy cars and countless material possessions, Betty Lennox has broken the mold.

This off-season, Lennox is interning at Habitat for Humanity in Kansas City for the second time

ESPN Los Angeles is "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper."
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPNLosAngeles.com has USC Trojans women's basketball coach, and former Laker, Michael Cooper stopping by to chat about the 2009-10 season.

Coop gets more press via Michelle Smith at Fanhouse: Michael Cooper Makes Right Turn at USC (which reads like a familiar, if updated?, article)
From Graham on scheduling: Not according to schedule: Time for BCS schools to schedule tough nonconference road games vs. mid-majors
The Big East has some models of admirable scheduling -- Walz went to Hartford and Dayton this season. Georgetown played at Missouri State and James Madison. DePaul played at Green Bay and at Illinois State. But the conference is also home to examples of what's wrong. To earn its 14-1 record and its place in the Top 25, Syracuse played one road nonconference game, two at a neutral site over Thanksgiving and 10 at home. Give Cuse some latitude for catching Old Dominion in a down season, but as of Jan. 12, only one of those 13 opponents -- Butler -- had a winning record.

And if the Orange are an extreme example, within the conference and nationally, they aren't out there on their own. Too many programs in the "big six" -- the so-called BCS conferences -- aren't willing to go on the road and both challenge themselves and give the sport a chance to grow. Maybe that's an easy thing to say in talking about someone else's job, and a new contract that might depend on having wins to show off. But I have yet to meet anyone who cares about women's basketball -- coaching it or covering it -- who lists job security as one of the sport's primary perks.
While I totally understand Graham's wishes, I'd suggest that the people he's met may say that job security is one of the sport's primary perks, but it is a nice (though not universal) goal. There are several coaches who say other teams won't play them because they fear a loss (though, if the number of upsets in the past couple of years is any indication, a "guaranteed" win is no longer a guarantee.)

Things have changed, for instance, at San Diego State University. Noted Beth Burns in The Scheduling Puzzle: Juggling Square Pegs, Round Holes and Dollars Signs
When she returned to SDSU and the Mountain West in 2005, “I could have filled my schedule in 15 minutes because we stunk,” said Burns with a laugh.
Their success (and location) has thrown a bit of spanner into the works. Add program economics and logistics into the mix and the up and down years of programs (mid and major) and it all gets to be a very interesting dance.
Mechelle checks in about the Lynx/Sun trade: Can Whalen lead Lynx back to playoffs? 'Coming home' trade finally brings Whalen back to her native state (heads up, MV - the twitter-link is wrong)
There were those in Minnesota who thought the Lynx should have secured the rights to Whalen in 2004 no matter the cost. Some were willing to trade away the Mary Tyler Moore statue, a cherished old Fran Tarkenton jersey, a complete set of 1991 Twins baseball cards and even several of the 10,000 lakes -- plus the entire Lynx starting five, of course -- to the Sun for Whalen.

Despite the high cost of such a deal, the Lynx considered pulling the trigger while the Sun's Mike Thibault grinned like Snidely Whiplash … but apparently, it's harder to move lakes than you might think, plus it turned out the wise-cracking Rhoda was more popular than Mary in the Northeast anyway. Alas, "our Lindsay" became "their Lindsay" and relocated to a casino.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

In other WNBA news:

Slam Online catches up with Nicole Powell

Marianne Stanley returns to D.C. as an assistant.

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton has stepped in as an assistant coach at Purdue.

Tulsa hired Steve Swetoha as president.

Jayda has some updates on the Storm.
Okay - I'm back. And I did see this and this and THIS! (no, not my camera)

Now I need to get the James Taylor song out of my head.... except it was NOT hot.

I did notice that all the basketball excitement awaited my return (and no, as a Liberty fan I am NOT bitter).
1) #2 Stanford held off UCLA, 65-61 (free throws are a GOOD thing).
2) Auburn roared back to take #11 LSU to overtime - and then the Tigers defeated the Lady Tigers, 64-62.
3) #15 Oklahoma used Andrea Riley's 30 points to squeeze by Kansas, 70-68.
4) Monica Wright broke Dawn Staley's scoring record, but she couldn't stop the Terps for upsetting #23 Virginia, 62-61.
And congrats to coach Terri Williams-Flournoy, who's got her 13-2 Georgetown team back in the rankings for the first time since 1993.