Women's Hoops Blog: February 2006

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Rules pointer...

Last night with 19.4 seconds left (and a 45-42 score), Rutgers was trying to inbound on the baseline after Charde dribbled the ball off her leg out of bounds. Under UConn's pressure, RU was struggling to inbound. Another RU player ran out of bounds on the other side of the baseline, apparently to receive a pass. The trail ref (Bill Titus) was standing there, thought the runner was trying to call a timeout, and mistakenly blew a whistle.

Mark Jones said (and Doris agreed) that Rutgers could have thrown a cross-baseline pass and then inbounded from there. That was incorrect. You can do that sort of pass after a basket, but not from a designated-spot throw-in spot following a turnover. See Rule 7-5.

Moreover, it appears that the Rutgers player committed a violation under Rule 9-5. It states (italics added):
Art. 2. No player other than the thrower-in shall:

a. Perform the throw-in or be out of bounds after a designated- spot throw-in begins.
So the ball should have gone to UConn. Refs explain here, and wonder whether the Big East will issue a press release this week.
Confused about who CP3 is? ESPN.com helps explain it.
Duke's Alison Bales posts another blog entry on the Double-A Zone.
Rutgers beat UConn to secure the Big East title.

If you love pressure defense, bad passing, and lots of turnovers, then you were in heaven last night. If you enjoy watching basketball players put the ball through the hoop, then you'd have been better off elsewhere.

The numbers are stunning. UConn scored 12 points in the second half. Rutgers won by 6 despite shooting 26% from the floor. The teams combined for 34 turnovers and 16 assists. There was not a single field goal by either team in the final 6:45, and UConn scored exactly one point in the last 11:41.

Said Geno: "We're not that good offensively." Jeff Jacobs, less diplomatic, calls UConn's game "spectacularly bad." UConn's occasional tendency for epic chokery was on full display.

"It was ugly," coach Stringer said. "I really don't care as long as we won by one point. The score could've been 10-9."

Cappie was the bright spot. She didn't shoot well, but she got to the line, she made buckets when needed, and she almost single-handedly erased the big first-half deficit. "I have confidence in myself," she said. "It is my job when that shock clock reaches below 10 to make something happen."

And with another title in hand, Rutgers is ready to move forward with confidence, into the postseason and beyond. "I think this is definitely something that's monumental in that it sets a foundation for Rutgers women's basketball in the future," Mariota Theodoris said. "And people will look back on this season as a beginning of just, I guess, I know I'm not speaking too hasty when I say the beginning of a dynasty."
After playing in L.A. since the inaugural season, Tamecka Dixon has reportedly signed with Houston.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Miki Turner writes that there are more than 100 WNBA players currently playing overseas this offseason. She talked with Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes about their experiences.

Also, Kristen Mann reports in the latest entry of the Lynx blog that she is heading over to Hungary and Poland later this week to tour with the U.S. National Team. Nicole Ohlde and Katie Smith are also expected join her on the tour. Kristen was also in Minnesota over the weekend.

The common theme: Californians Leslie and Mann do not like the cold weather.

Edit: USA Basketball has released more information on the players and schedule.
GW won the A-Ten by defeating Charlotte in DC. The tight game included ten lead changes; the 49ers sank more treys, but the home team pulled down more boards.

GW now has seven straight 20-win seasons under coach McKeown, who described the game: "We kept switching defenses, but Charlotte kept making shots, and kept running at us. It was a tough game to get control of. You have to give Charlotte credit. They were in first place going into today, they've won 20 games. They're going to be a handful in the tournament too."

Charlotte and GW have identical records-- GW gets first seed by winning the teams' only (in fact, their first-ever) meeting. The teams have somewhat different nonconference schedules, which won't be lost on the NCAA committee-- GW beat Purdue and Villanova: the 49ers have no wins against big-conference teams-- though their losses to Florida and Old Dominion look more forgivable now than ever.

Speaking of Old Dominion, the Monarchs haven't lost since January 2; their seven losses (all nonconference) include Duke, Rutgers, Tennessee, Vandy, and North Carolina, whom they took to overtime. Last night they beat William and Mary 85-33. Perhaps they deserve to be ranked?
Minnesota was able to send their six seniors off in almost perfect fashion with a 71-33 rout of Northwestern. All six seniors played and nearly the whole team scored in a game highlighted by a three point play by Christina Collison.

Collison, the mother hen of the Gophers, scored her first points of the season on a nice baseline drive to the basket and a free throw that brought the 10,273 fans in attendance to their feet. She played 15 minutes in the game, after playing 17 minutes total in five other games this season.

Collison, Shannon Schonrock, and Shannon Bolden played for the Gophers for all four years, while Hannah Garry is a former walk-on and Katie Alsdurf and April Calhoun transferred into the program. "It's been a pleasure to coach these seniors and learn from them," coach Pam Borton said. "It was exciting to see them go out in front of 10,000 people."

Collison, Schonrock and Bolden were Brenda (Oldfield) Frese's only recruiting class and helped turn around a program that won only one conference game the season before they committed. Northwestern coach Beth Combs said she uses Minnesota as an example every day with her team for how a program can change.
There were two big almost-upsets in the Big Ten yesterday, but only almost.

Last week Wisconsin knocked off Minnesota. Yesterday the Badgers were poised to repeat the feat behind 26 from Jolene Anderson, but Purdue wiggled away in the last minute. "Darn it, it was right there," said coach Lisa Stone.

Many expected the Badgers to have a breakout season, but it never materialized. Still, the last two games are cause for hope. And as Stone said: "We’re not done yet. We have some damage to do in the Big Ten tournament."

Out in the Happy Valley, Penn State built a big early lead over Ohio State. But the Buckeyes chipped away layup by layup. With two seconds left, OSU took the lead and the win on a Marscilla Packer jumper.

A few dozen students protested coach Portland before and during the game. Several hundred fans responded by holding up signs reading "We Believe In Rene." The signs had been distributed by Portland supporters prior to the game. Rene called the show of support unexpected.

After the game, Rene bristled when reporters questioned her about the controversy. "Can we just talk about basketball? You guys have tried for six god-damn months [to get a comment on the controversy.] I want to talk about basketball."

The Lions finished 6-10 in the Big ten and earned the 8 seed for the conference tournament. They'll meet Wisconsin in the first round on Thursday.
Courney Paris recorded her 21st straight double-double on ESPN yesterday afternoon as the Sooners spanked Nebraska.

The sold-out crowd said goodbye to Beky Preston and the senior class. “I don't know what I'm going to do next year,” said a tearful Paris. “I've only known Beky for six months, but there’s not one person I trust more than her. Our seniors have meant so much to me.”

The 15-0 Sooners have the Big 12 title in hand, and with a win in Lubbock on Wednesday, they can complete a perfect conference season. “They’re very, very difficult to guard,” NU Coach Connie Yori said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this team in the Final Four.”
For the second time in history and for the first time in 22 years, Tennessee lost to an unranked team at home, as Florida won 95-93 in an overtime thriller.

The Lady Vols shot better from the floor, had a huge rebounding edge and led 34-30 at halftime. But their defense, their inability to take care of the ball and missed free throws cost them the game. The Gators stole the ball 20 times and the Lady Vols gave up the ball 28 times, which resulted in 30 points for Florida. Tennessee also went 17-27 from the line, compared to 25-32 for Florida.

Summitt: "I thought they had another valuable lesson handed to them on defense and handling the ball. Those two things killed us."

The Gators took the lead early in the second half and did not trail again until overtime. But the Lady Vols stayed in the game late in the second half with a 10-2 run and Shanna Zolman hit a 3 with 8.4 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Tennessee seemed to have the momentum in the overtime as Candace Parker scored five straight points to give the Lady Vols an 87-84 lead. Brittany Davis responded with a three pointer to tie the game and hit a free throw on the next possession to give her team the lead for good.

Davis scored a career high 29 points, including 6 in overtime. UF's four seniors combined to score 70 of its 95 points. UT's two seniors each scored 22 points and Zolman added a career high 10 assists, along with 7 turnovers. But it was a freshman from each team that also stood out on this Senior Day.

Parker scored a career high 34 points and added 15 rebounds and five blocks for Tennessee while Sha Brooks tied her career high with 25 points, including big free throws in overtime.

Carolyn Peck on Brooks: "I call her 'Little Girl,' '' who's from Jackson, Tenn., and wasn't recruited by UT. "She doesn't like it. She definitely doesn't play like it."

This is the second huge SEC win for Florida this season, after upsetting LSU a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

UConn thumped Marquette on Senior Night. Turner, Strother, Wolff and Crockett started together for the first and last time; the fifth starter, Montgomery, led all scorers with 15.

The tears flowed, but the emotional high-- or low-- will come Monday, when UConn concludes the reg-season at Rutgers. Turner: "I'm not into extra motivation or anything like that. Bottom line, we need to go down there and win."

Mel Thomas did not play: she sprained her ankle on Wednesday, and likely won't return till the Big East tournament.

Marquette played hard. Geno: "It wasn't an easy game. You never felt like we were running away from them. We're starting to get more contributions from more people. We scored 74 points without Mel [Thomas]. That's pretty good. I think our best basketball is still ahead of us."
Though she's a likely WNBA first-round pick, Miami mega-scorer Tamara James isn't looking past her college career: she wants to lead her team to the Big Dance. Last week they came very close to beating Duke.

The 'Canes are just 5-8 in the tough ACC; today marks their last home game. James: "If we lose this game, our chances for the NCAA Tournament are probably out." Their opponent is ACC doormat Georgia Tech.
Baylor took care of K-State, though the Wildcats came within four with a minute to go.

Sophia Young already holds the Big XII rebound record; last night's 33 points and 13 boards brought her close to the conference's all-time scoring title, now held by Kendra Wecker.
In a televised battle for number one in the ACC and (probably) in the country, North Carolina ran Duke into the ground.

UNC didn't shoot well, turned the ball over 23 times, and hit almost no threes, but who cares? Duke shot worse, and took fewer shots; the Tar Heels had 20 offensive rebounds, never trailed, and led by double digits for most of the second half.

The Tar Heels had struggled with rebounds lately, but yesterday Atkinson and Larkins owned the glass; Duke's only real comeback came when Atkinson briefly left to check for injury (she's fine). Atkinson: "Last night, I was dreaming about rebounding, so I just went in every chance I got."

Duke looked slow and confused. Mo Currie: "I guess it is something about Carolina that makes us go out there and not play our game. They made us make bad decisions and they killed us on the boards."

Carolina columnist Adam Lucas says journalists need a new word for the Tar Heels' talents: "athletic" isn't enough. (Will "potential national champions" do?)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

NC State ruined BC's Senior Night by taking down the Eagles 82-71. Monica Pope led the Wolfpack with 19 off the bench.

"Obviously, I'm disappointed because you want to go out on a real positive note on Senior Night," coach Cathy Inglese said.

BC is now 6-7 in the ACC. In order to get the fifth seed for the conference tournament, they'll have to beat FSU tomorrow. Would a 6-8 conference record leave them on the bubble? In the RPI-inflated ACC, probably not.
Finally, a (mild) upset: Temple lost to GW, on senior night, in overtime, after the Colonials pulled off a dramatic late comeback.

The game must have hurt to watch, and not just because the home team went down: GW-- who won, remember-- shot 33% for the game, and had just 14 at the half. Sarah Jo Lawrence led all scorers with 21.

GW face Charlotte (who won again last night) Sunday: the winner lands the A-Ten title. Despite their reputation, Temple now risk third place in their own conference.

With two wins over Temple and an early-season triumph over Purdue, do the Colonials have an at-large bid locked up? Not quite: they did lose to Xavier, UMass, and Richmond-- but I wouldn't wager against them.

Charlotte, however, will probably need to win the A-Ten tournament: they have lots of wins, but none over quality teams, lost to Temple, and haven't faced GW yet.

Friday, February 24, 2006

In need of bigs, the Liberty sign Kelly Schumacher.

The 6'5" Canadian had spent her entire pro career with Indiana; before that, she blocked nine shots for UConn in the 2000 NCAA title game.
LSU clinched a share of the SEC title by beating up on 'Bama last night.

Augustus and Fowles, the best one-two punch in college basketball, combined for 60 points. “They’re just a phenomenal duo," said Tide coach Stephanie Smith.

The Tigers can secure the title outright be beating Mississippi State in their last conference game Sunday.
The Dallas Morning News is reporting that Texas Tech coach Marsha Sharp will retire at the end of the season. The school will hold a press conference this afternoon to give further details.
Minnesota clinched an opening round bye in next weekend's Big 10 tournament and ended a four game losing streak with a hard fought 65-58 win over Indiana.

Jamie Broback scored 20 points, including the 1000th point of her career, and grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out six assists to lead the Gophers. Shannon Schonrock played good defense on reigning Big Ten POW Cyndi Valentin, taking her out of the game and holding her to 9 points.

Freshman Nikki Smith scored a career high 18 points for the Hoosiers and Jenny DeMuth scored five key points late in the second half to bring a 16 point Gopher lead down to five with 1:46 left in the game.

April Calhoun answered with perhaps the biggest basket of the night, a twisting lay-up that put the Gophers back up by seven with just over 43 seconds left.

Calhoun on the win: “I think tonight’s game was a test for all of us. We had gone through a four game losing streak, and we knew we had to find our identity as a team if we were going to go into the post-season the way we wanted to."

Indiana will face Iowa on Sunday in a game that will decide the 5th seed in the conference. Minnesota faces Northwestern, and if they win will get the third seed by virtue of a tie breaker over Michigan State.
Ohio State secured a Big Ten title, besting Purdue in the paint and at the line.

OSU scored no field goals during the final six minutes, but sank 14 freebies over that stretch; Purdue had just six for the game. OSU's Brandie Hoskins: ""We practice that all the time, hitting free throws at crunch time."

Purdue wins big games when Aya Traore shows up: last night she played 36 minutes but shot 4-for-13, scoring no points after the break. Gearlds and Wisdom-Hylton couldn't carry their team. Gearlds: "I needed to start being more aggressive earlier; I waited too long."
Stanford scored 100 in Maples. Washington had no chance. Wiggins scored 29, making 7 of 10 attempted treys despite stomach illness that kept her from Wednesday's practice.

The outcome clinches the Cardinal at least a share of the Pac-10 title; UW, USC, and UCLA fall into a three-way tie for third.

Can they stay there? The L.A. schools play the (bad) Oregons this weekend; UW instead visit Cal-Berkeley, whose puzzling home record includes wins over ASU, UCLA and USC, but losses to Arizona and Oregon State.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

There were no upsets in top 25 play last night. No one even came close, unless you count Texas A&M's solid win over Texas in College Station. Atunrase scored 27. (Last year that result would have been a huge upset-- not now.)

Outside the top 25, Stony Brook upset Hartford, handing the Hawks their first loss in America East play.

At least one method for up-to-date RPI gives the Seawolves an astonishing RPI of 20 and a strength of schedule way up there at seven. But with losses to Brown, Maryland-Baltimore County, and Boston U. (not Boston College), the Seawolves won't be seeing an at-large bid, even if they did beat Temple.

Hartford, on the other hand, might land an at-large bid, but they likely won't need one: the America East tourney, for the fifth straight year, gives the Hawks home court in every game.
We miss Voepel's hoops writing, but she hasn't been idle: she's in Turin (whoops: Torino) covering the Olympics. Today she profiles skate star Sasha Cohen, again. As always with Voepel, it's worth reading just for the writing, even if you don't give a lick about skates.
USA Today has another fine piece on Courtney Paris.

Coach Coale on her star freshman: "She has an uncanny mix of humility and confidence, and it's woven just perfectly. She always thinks she's going to win."

The Sooners need two more wins over Nebraska and Texas Tech to complete an undefeated Big XII season. Sunday's game against Nebraska is on ESPN2.
More signings in the WNBA:

Dawn Staley has re-signed with Houston for one year. And Wendy Palmer-Daniel is headed to Seattle.
Clay says just nine teams have championship potential: Duke, UNC, LSU, Maryland, UConn, Rutgers, Tennessee, Ohio State, and Oklahoma.

The common thread: guard play, or lack of same. "Consider how many elite teams need only a point guard to elevate themselves above the pack — and then think about getting your daughter to work on her behind-the-back dribble and no-look passes."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

From the daughters of former NBA stars files:

Bill Cartwright's daughter, Kristin, is a freshman at Northwestern and has worked her way into the starting line-up while taking calls from Vince Carter.

Wildcat coach Beth Combs agrees with Carter's advice. “She’s probably the only kid you have to get mad at because she’s not shooting the ball,” Combs said.

Syracuse's Keri Laimbeer is not thought of like her dad in many ways, but they both hate to lose. And while her team is 9-15 overall, she is enjoying her first year. "I'm not frustrated at all," said Laimbeer, "I have a lot to learn, a lot of work to put in. I just want to keep getting better."
USA Today profiles Georgia's Tasha Humphrey, who first caught Andy Lander's eye as a eighth grader at one of his camps. He quickly moved her to the court with the high school seniors.

Her team finishes off the regular conference schedule with games with Arkansas and Auburn.
Next year Lauren Jackson will skip the WNBL and play in Korea instead. What does Korea have that the Australian league doesn't? A shorter season and more money.

"My longevity - I certainly question that after my injury this year ... so it's time for me to go and get stable financially," she said.
Kansas State stayed close with Oklahoma for most of the game, but came up short in a 78-64 contest that was tighter than the final score indicates.

The Sooners started out the game with a bang, building a 18-4 lead. But KSU followed that with a 35-18 run of their own and held a 39-36 lead at halftime.

The second half started similar to the first half with the Sooners scoring 7 points in the first 92 seconds in a 14-2 run that gave them a 50-41 lead. Once again the Wildcats answered and tied the game at 50. The score remained close and the teams had their last tie at 60-60 with just over six minutes left in the game.

Marlies Gipson's basket with just under four minutes left brought the score to 67-64, but it would be the final points for the Wildcats. ``I missed some layups, we didn't crash the offensive boards and the shots just wouldn't fall,'' said Gipson.

KSU used a variety of players on Courtney Paris and did force her to miss more shots than she usually does. But the freshman sensation still finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds. This was her 25th double-double of the season.

Three other Sooners also finished in double figures and OU got to the line 29 times in the game, compared to 15 for KSU.

Coach Patterson said, “The difference for us is that we didn’t finish shots.”

Coach Coale talked about an ability of her team to turn it up another level as the game is on the line. "This team has a switch that they can flip to bury people pretty quickly."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Claire Coggins entered Kansas State two seasons ago when they had players like Nicole Ohlde, Laurie Koehn, Kendra Wecker and Megan Mahoney. She was able to blend in as a role player and follow their lead.

This season, Coggins has been put in the leadership role with a young team that is trying to sustain the recent success the program has built. The result has been an up and down season for both Coggins and her team.

Coggins: "It's hard, but it's been a good hard."

The Wildcats face a tough test in the final week of their conference schedule. Tonight, they face conference leader Oklahoma. They close out the week against defending champion Baylor. A win against either team may help KSU return to the NCAA tournament this year.

Coggins expects her team to make it but says they need to play with a sense of urgency. Tonight's game is on Fox Sports Net.
After a few quiet days in the free agency world, we have some news. Tot and Shaq are heading to D.C. Latasha "Tot" Byears and Shaquala "Shaq" Williams were added to the Mystics training camp roster.

Both have been playing in the Turkish Basketball league and were recently named to an All-Star International team.
Rebkellers discover the magic of MySpace (Friendster is so '03), wonder which profiles of their favorite women's ballers are real, debate the ethics of making public info more public.
First-year Colorado coach Kathy McConnell-Miller leads a hectic-- but rewarding-- life.

CU junior Susie Powers says she's "impressed": her new coach is "trying to manage recruiting, our team, rebuilding a program, getting to know the area and get her family settled in the midst of a move to her new house."

McConnell-Miller's sister Suzie, who played in the W and now coaches the Lynx: "I look at the both of us and in order for us to have the best of both worlds, where we have our families and we have a career, we have to have a great support system — a terrific husband who supports you first and foremost, and helps take care of the kids."

McConnell-Miller: "Coaching is the easy part."
CSTV.com updates their rankings of teams outside of the major conferences. Old Dominion of the CAA tops the list, which includes four teams from the MWC.

Also, Debbie Antonelli posts her latest column where she lists her picks for the Kodak All-American team and says Courtney Paris is on pace to surpass Jackie Stiles's NCAA scoring record. Noticeably absent from her Kodak list are Stanford's Candice Wiggins and Ohio State's Jessica Davenport. Both were Kodak picks last year.

One player from the MWC confererence who is a potential sleeper pick in the upcoming WNBA draft is BYU's Ambrosia Anderson. SI's Tracy Schultz recently profiled the senior.

Schultz also reports that four of the eight schools who will host first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games are in danger of not getting in. Arizona, Colorado, Penn State and Rider need to win their conference tournaments to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.
Boston College met new ACC conference foe North Carolina for the first time ever and did a great job of scoring ... when they did not turn the ball over. Unfortunately for the Eagles, their 25 turnovers against the Tar Heels' trapping defense overshadowed the fact they shot 50% from the floor and North Carolina won the game, 69-62. That and the fact that Ivory Latta plays for the Tar Heels.

Latta scored 23 points and had 9 of UNC's 18 steals. And she showed she is not intimidated by bigger players at least a couple of times during the game. Jack Daly of the Herald Sun describes one of the plays where the 5-6 Latta was posted up by 6-4 Laura Macchia. Latta came up with the ball and quickly went to the other end of the court to score. This gave the Tar Heels a 12 point lead and kept them in control of the game.

UNC has one game left in the regular season - hosting Duke on Saturday, in a game that may decide the ACC regular season champion and the number one seed in the conference tournament. But the Tar Heels expect a tough practice after being outrebounded by the Eagles. It was the seventh time in the last 10 games that has happened.

"We didn't rebound again like I wanted us to," said coach Sylvia Hatchell. "And that's the only area of our game I feel like we have to really step up there if we want to be a championship team."
When Ohio State met Michigan State last month, the Spartans kept it close; Davenport had to win the game at the buzzer, and the Spartans-- though they lost-- looked like a match for anyone in the Midwest.

Last night? Not so much. In Columbus, the Buckeyes bulldozed MSU on national TV, reducing the visitors to true futility: no more than seven points from any player, and just 15 for the whole second half.

The beat-down came from all sides; MSU's inability to do anything against Davenport in the interior opened up space for OSU's guards, exhausting and disorienting the Spartans' usually tenacious zone.

MSU coach McCallie: "I'd like to give credit to Ohio State. They outplayed us, outfought us, outhustled us, outcoached us-- out-everythinged us."

OSU has not lost since January 6 at Purdue: their rematch with the Boilers comes next.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Sherri Coale writes about the text messages she receives after games like last weekend's win over Baylor and the future writing career of Courtney Paris in her latest diary entry for ESPN.com
Monique Currie's school record 43 points helped Duke hold off a scrappy Miami team in a 99-93 double overtime thriller.

The game was the second for the 'Canes in less than 48 hours and there was a decided height disadvantage in the middle. But Miami continued to stay in the game, and fought back from a 68-61 deficit in the final 1:33 to tie the game.

The last three points in regulation for Miami came from Tamara James at the free throw line. She was fouled by Wanisha Smith as she attempted a three point shot. James hit all three shots and sent the game to the first overtime.

Miami had a chance to win in the first overtime as they recovered the ball from a Lindsey Harding turnover. But Chante Black blocked Renee Taylor's shot as time expired.

Currie took over in the second overtime, scoring 15 points, including a 3-pointer that put Duke up for good at 83-80. She also went 10-10 from the line during the last minute and a half to secure the win. "I think at times that my team looks to me to put the ball in the basket,'' Currie said.

James led Miami with a team high 32 points, but it was the fourth loss in a row for the 'Canes. "When we have the ball with 10 seconds left and playing at home, you have to win the game,'' said Miami coach Katie Meier. ``That was our opportunity. We attacked the basket and we were aggressive with it. It just didn't work out for us.''
There were two somewhat unexpected, though not totally surprising, results in the Big 10 yesterday.

Former Boiler and first year Indiana coach Sharon Versyp had a successful return visit to Mackey Arena in the Hoosier's 63-61 overtime win. While this snapped Purdue's six game win streak against Indiana, the games have been closely contested. This was the third straight time the rivals went to overtime to decide the outcome.

While Katie Gearlds had a career high 32 points, Cyndi Valentin hit a three pointer with five seconds left in regulation to tie the game and hit the game winning free throws in overtime.

Even though the Boilers had a run of 17-2 during the game and led by eight points at one point in the second half, they struggled against Indiana's zone defense. "I would have to say we were being passive," said Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton. "We didn't start being more aggressive until late. By then, maybe it was too late."

The foul on Valentin at the end of the overtime that sent her to the line was also critical. Coach Kristy Curry takes the blame for the loss. "I told the kids, 'Let's understand that coaches win close games,' " Curry said. "I should have done a better job down the stretch -- getting us to be more aggressive, getting us to get shots to go down. . . . We were too passive." Curry called the last foul "a poor decision, but it shouldn't have come down to that."

Over in Madison, Wisconsin took advantage of foul trouble to Jamie Broback and Natasha Williams to climb back from a 14 point deficit in the first half and handed the Gophers their fourth consecutive loss, in a 67-61 win before a season high crowd of 14,697. It was the first career win over the Gophers for the Badger seniors and the program's first win over a AP Top 25 team since Lisa Stone took over as coach.

Gopher Coach Borton inserted Kelly Roysland in the starting line up in place of April Calhoun, in hopes of helping the team over their recent slump. It appeared to work early as they built an 8-0 lead and hit shots inside and out. Broback scored nine points straight in less than three minutes in the first half, but also picked up two fouls that sent her to the bench.

The Badgers used a 12-0 run while Broback was on the bench to close the half and trailed 29-27. The second half remained close, but the Gophers maintained the lead until the 8:29 mark when the Badgers took their first lead. Both Broback and Williams were on the bench for extended minutes with four fouls as Wisconsin took control and led 59-54 on a pair of driving lay-ups by Jolene Anderson.

The Gophers responded and tied the game at 61, with 1:20 remaining on a Broback lay-up, but failed to score the rest of the game. The Badgers scored 40 points in the second half, led by 18 from Janese Banks. Danielle Ward added 10 points, including a critical finish on a high-low pass from Jordan Wilson in the final minute of the game.

Stone summed it up, “We’re playing good basketball right now. What confidence, composure, and great chemistry do for you is immeasurable."
If someone mentions the Colonial Athletic Association, the first team that typically comes to mind is Old Dominion. But Hofstra is hoping to change that. With their most wins since the 1983-84 season, the Pride are on a five game winning streak, and have tied a school record with their ninth road win of the season.

They are currently tied for second in the conference after a 64-57 win over Northeastern on Sunday. Vanessa Gidden scored a career high 26 points for the Pride in the victory. A win on Friday against Towson would match the program's longest winning streak.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Stanford dispatched Arizona in Tucson, but the Wildcats stuck around for a while: overmatched in the paint, the home team attempted 29 treys.

It was an emotional senior night for the 'Cats. Arizona retired the jersey of Shawntinice Polk, the dominating center who passed away suddenly before this season began.

Stanford coach VanDerveer: "It's been an impossible situation for that team all year, but we knew that, this being their last game on this floor, they were going to come out and give us all we could handle. And they did."
Oklahoma clinched the Big XII title by beating up Texas A&M. The Sooners have now won 11 in a row.

Guard Leah Rush: "I don't think we're taking for granted that we won the Big 12. It's a great conference and we're proud of that. But at the same time, we're not done. We want to finish it right."

Aggies coach Gary Blair tried out an untested big lineup to contain Courtney Paris; his team kept it close for a while.

Blair: "I enjoyed what we were doing until the 14-2 run at the end... I’m disappointed in how we finished the game. It’s not that we lost to Baylor and Oklahoma this week; we lost to two top 10 teams. I think they have an equal chance to get to the final four if they get the right draw.”
Wyoming followed up their win over New Mexico by beating BYU in Provo.

The game was a nailbiter; Australia's Hannah Zavecz capped a 20-point effort by making one of two free throws to give the Cowgirls a one-point win.

For BYU, Anderson and Dani Kubik had 19 and 21, but nobody else did much. Kubik: "We just need to start playing as a team--with the confidence we had at the beginning of the season. I know we can do it."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

USA Basketball is now assembling the national team for the World Championships this fall in Brazil. What will they do for point guards?

Among the '04 Olympians, Staley is coming back as a coach, Shannon Johnson is near the end of her career, and Diana Taurasi does better as a shooting guard.

That leaves Sue Bird. The team will need somebody else, at least as a backup-- but Lindsay Whalen can't participate in tryouts, because she's still recovering from ankle surgery, and won't be 100% till sometime in May.

Joe Smith writes today in Full Court (subscription required) that America needs Lindsay anyway:

"Sue Bird is an excellent basketball player and a fine point guard, but she is not Lindsay Whalen. The fact that Whalen is the better point guard in the WNBA has been proven, but the difference in the international game would even be greater.... Lindsay Whalen must be on the national team for World Championships and the Olympics."
Going into last night's contest at Southwest Missouri State, the Indiana State Sycamores had won 18 in a row.

The Sycamores got slammed. Missouri State led 41-18 at the half. The Bears sank 24 free throws to Indy State's 7, while Sarah Klaasen snagged a double-double.

Despite Missouri State's gaudy history, the Bears remain below .500 in Missouri Valley Conference play this year. Last night's shocker was the first hint that somebody other than Indy State might win the conference tournament.

Bears senior Kari Koch's sticky defense kept star guard Boeglin to just four points. Koch: "This is definitely going to shock some people. Maybe it will put a little fear in them."
North Carolina hosed Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Latta scored 26.

The Hokies played hard, outrebounding UNC, but the Tar Heels ran them into the ground anyway; UNC twice built their lead to twenty.

Tech have a road game coming up in less than 48 hours; fortunately for them, it's against Georgia Tech.

With a sub-.500 conference record in the nation's best conference, Tech could be the ultimate headache for the selection committee... again: last year they got the very last at-large bid.

One difference: their best nonconference wins this year are the same as their best nonconference wins last year-- Texas Tech and Liberty-- but both opponents look worse this year than last. Another: last year they beat Maryland in late February. This year they have one more ranked opponent... Duke.
Pelton and Maxwell examine VJ's move to San Antonio, DeForge's migration to Indy, and other recent personnel moves in the W.

Pelton thinks DeForge is "due to bounce back next year": "When a player drops off like DeForge did last year from 3-point range (38.7% to 32.6%), the odds are good she'll go the other direction the next season. DeForge also won't have to worry as much about handling the basketball." (Both Indy and Phoenix still need legit starting posts.)

Maxwell on the Liberty blowout: "54% of the team's points, 65% of its rebounds and 50% of its assists from a year ago are gone. That's a lot of production to replace."

Friday, February 17, 2006

Blogging is dead. Get out now.
Maryland started fast and never let up in a 86-59 rout of Boston College. When the two teams met in January, it took overtime for the Terps to win. That was never close to happening last night as Maryland opened an 11-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game and led 42-23 by halftime.

Coach Frese called it her team's most complete game. Four players, led by Shay Doron's 22 points, were in double figures and Terps outrebounded the Eagles 48-30. The Eagles fell to 6-5 in the ACC and fifth place in the standings. Coach Cathy Inglese said her team never got into a rhythm and sees the improved confidence of the Terps since they defeated the Tar Heels last week.
Clay forwards the amazing and sad story of Lusia Harris. Just go read it.

At the pay portion of the Full Court site, correspondent Christopher Thomspon recently described how easy it is for teams and conferences to manipulate the RPI.
The widely held belief is that the RPI rewards teams with tough schedules, but in fact the RPI favors teams in conferences that play the weakest schedules (or to be more accurate, teams in conferences that play teams from the weakest conferences). The RPI also disadvantages teams in conferences that play more conference games, at least among highly rated conferences. Finally teams are aided if their are several other (weaker) conferences in their geographic area.
For related criticisms, see here, here, and here.
Some recent rumors had Betty Lennox signing elsewhere. Matt Wurst reported last night, however, that she appears to be headed back to the Storm. No official word yet.

Wurst and the WNBA crew are down in Houston for this weekend's NBA All-Star festivities. Taking cute photos and whatnot...

Yesterday NBA commish David Stern gave an interview to the Chron's women's hoops reporter, W.H. Stickney. Stern expressed his continued strong support for the W.
I used to get annoyed in the first year when people said, 'Well, it will be one year.' And then they said it would be two years, three years.

And then people would come in and say, 'How much longer are you going to subsidize the league?' I said, 'You don't ask that of the NBA, which is losing money. You don't ask it of Major League Baseball, which is losing money. You don't ask it of the NHL, which is losing money.' But for a lousy couple of bucks that are keeping us from breaking even, and we wll next year break even in the WNBA, the question gets asked.
In the Big 10 last night, Lindsay Bowen became the Spartans all-time leading scorer and hit the go ahead basket as Michigan State held on for a 73-71 win over Iowa. The Hawkeyes posted a season high 10 three pointers, but Wendy Ausdemore missed a last second attempt at the buzzer that would have given Iowa a regular season sweep of MSU.

Bowen now has 1,670 points and Shimek is third with 1,654. "We really want this to continue," Coach P. said. "We want Lindsay to set the record and then Liz to break it and then Lindsay to reset the record and continue down this path until the end of the season.

In West Layfayette, Purdue and Michigan were tied at 27 at the half. But the Boilers came on strong in the second half and cruised to a 75-50 win as four players scored in double figures.

But the inconsistent play is a concern for Boilers coach Kristy Curry. "I needed to kick, scream and yell a little bit tonight. If that's what it takes, that's how I'll be," she said. "If I need to get in both ears and their noggin and make them understand it's not about who we're playing, it's about who we are and how we need to be."

Ohio State stayed even with Purdue in the Big 10 lead, with an impressive offensive display in a 76-55 win over Minnesota. While Natasha Williams did a nice job on limiting leading scorer Jessica Davenport, the conference's best three point shooter put on a clinic. Marscilla Packer hit on 8 of 10 three point attempts and finished with a career high 32 points.

The Buckeyes shot an incredible 81.8% from the field in the second half and 26 of their 32 made baskets were assisted. The Gophers hit only 2 of 18 three point attempts. Coach Borton is continuing to look for another guard who defend on the perimeter. Sophomore Brittney Davis started and played the entire second half. More changes may be on the way on Sunday in Madison.

Minnesota's next opponent ended a nine game losing streak to the not W-NIT bound Lady Lions as Wisconsin won 66-56. Badger coach Lisa Stone said her team is starting to play really well and "this is what we have been waiting for all year." Five players scored in double figures for the Badgers, led by Jolene Anderson's double-double.
Tennessee trailed by as many as 14 points in the second half, but their recovery from playing without Alexis Hornbuckle started with about 10 minutes left in the game and the Lady Vols rallied to beat Georgia 58-55.

Candace Parker sprained her ankle in the first half, but came back to lead Tennessee with 19 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, including the go ahead basket with 17 seconds left. Shanna Zolman added 18 points for the Lady Vols and was confident they would pull out the victory. As she put it, "the thought never crossed our mind that we were going to lose."

For the first time in Pat Summitt's career, her team used a 3-2 zone defense for the entire game. The plan was to use it to limit Tasha Humphrey offensively. It worked. The sophomore was held to half of her usual scoring and finished 2-12 from the floor and 10 points.

Sherril Baker led Georgia with 17 points and 5 steals. But the Bulldogs were not able to get a shot off in the closing seconds, something that troubles Coach Landers. "In the two timeouts we talked about who was going to get the ball, and do you think the right person got the ball?" asked a dejected Landers, referring to the Lady Bulldogs' last possession.

Summitt was pleased with her team's increasing poise and confidence throughout the game. "This team showed so much character in the second half,’’ Summitt said. "They needed to. We needed this win to show what’s in us. We grew up within the game.’’
Florida's Sarah Lowe may not have slept much last night, but at least she has a good reason. She hit two free throws with 3.2 seconds left in overtime to give the Gators a 79-78 victory over LSU. This was the first loss in SEC play for the Tigers this season and ended their 24 game regular season conference win streak.

LSU led 61-53 with just under six minutes left in regulation, but Florida ended the game on a 12-2 run to tie the score at the end of regulation.

Seimone Augustus scored a career high 35 points, including 13-19 from the floor and 8-8 from the line. Sylvia Fowles added 23 points, 16 rebounds, blocked five shots and had five steals. But the rest of the Tigers combined for only 20 points and hit only 9 of 28 attempts. The Gators were effective with their box and one on Augustus in limiting her scoring in the last part of regulation.

The Tigers' usual offensive spark outside their superstars is Scholanda Hoston. But she missed the last 31 minutes of the game with an injured ankle. Fowles injured her right knee and while she was able to return to the game, she was limited in her mobility.

Freshman Sha Brooks led the Gators with a career-high 25 points hitting 4-of-7 from the three-point range. Dalila Eshe scored 22 points, including 8 in overtime and Lowe finished with 17 points.

“It was a tremendous game,” head coach Carolyn Peck said. “Our whole team wanted it, and our underclassmen especially wanted it for our seniors. I asked them to use the emotion in a positive way and it was just an amazing win for us.”

Pokey Chatman credits both the offensive rhythm established by the Gators and their defense that forced 22 Tiger turnovers. “I thought early on Florida established an offensive rhythm that we could never quite counter,’’ Chatman said. “And we, on the other hand, never got into an offensive rhythm and I credit their defense.’’
Arizona State closed within a half a game of Stanford's lead in the Pac-10 with a 62-59 home win.

Freshman point guard Briann January scored six of her team's final eight points, including four free throws in the last 30 seconds of the game to lead the Sun Devils.

Candice Wiggins had a game high 28 points for the Cardinal and hit a 3 pointer to get her team within 60-59 with 15.7 seconds to go. But attempts by Wiggins and freshman Rosalyn Gold-Onwude to tie the game before the buzzer did not go down.

Both teams shot under 40% for the game from the floor, but the Sun Devils hit 16 of 17 from the line, while the Cardinal only made 10 of 19 free throws. "You're not going to win close games if you can't go to the line and knock down free throws," said Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer. "To me, that was one of the big differences in the game."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

BGP recently blasted Penn State for arguing in its legal brief that its antidiscrimination policy was merely an "aspirational sentiment." Some Penn State students are similarly upset. "They are calling [the nondiscrimination policy] a mere provisional policy that employees can chose whether or not to adhere [to]," Allies President Ed Rowe said yesterday.

I think these criticisms might be missing some of the nuance regarding the various procedures and remedies that might be available. So let's unpack it and consider the layers of possible protection (or lack thereof).
(1) The antidiscrimination policy is merely aspirational. Someone who violates it will not face any punishment.

(2) The policy is an internal school policy. Violations will be punished according to the school's own system of administrative procedures and remedies.

(3) The policy, in at least some circumstances, becomes part of a binding legal contract between students and Penn State. A violation of the policy is therefore also a breach of contract under state contract law.

(4) The policy and the resulting contract create a liberty or property interest possessed by students. A violation of the policy might therefore also constitute a due process violation under federal constitutional law.
Harris's complaint takes the legal position that both (3) and (4) are true.

The relationship between these tiers can be legally tricky. What's important to note, though, is that the "aspirational sentiment" language is only in Portland's brief. Penn State argues that (4) is not true, and it also seems to argue briefly (and weakly) that (3) might not be true.

At bottom, however, Penn State never denies (2). Penn State might ultimately argue that the antidiscimination policy can't be enforced in court, but that is entirely different from arguing that it won't be enforced at all. Nothing in Penn State's argument suggests that employees can violate the policy at will.

You can read Penn State's brief here, and Portland's here (both PDF files).
Check out ESPN2 tonight (8 ET) for a SEC showdown between two teams who have much different active rosters now than they did in the preseason.

Tennessee will be playing without a true point guard after S'ade Wiley-Gatewood transferred in December and Alexis Hornbuckle broke her wrist last weekend. Shanna Zolman is expected to start at the point, but Pat Summitt will use several different line-ups. Also of concern for the Lady Vols is their diminished rebounding that currently ranks last in the program's history.

On the other side, Georgia has quick guards that may cause headaches for Tennessee. Plus, while they lost a few post players at the start of the season, they do have Tasha Humphrey, who Beth Mowins calls a "big game hunter."

Humphrey will miss going up against Hornbuckle. "It's an odd situation,'' she said. "One of the most enjoyable things on the court is competing against your friends. No matter how much you love them and care about them, you want to have the upper hand. "
Coco Miller won't be in a Lynx uniform this summer as the Mystics have matched Minnesota's offer.

Roger Griffith responds on the Lynx blog.
Full Court's weekly fan poll now out (in the free portion of the site); as always, it comes with Clay's commentary.

For example: "three Mountain West teams between 18 and 22, and all well-deserved. That's why the MWC has a higher RPI than the Big 10."
Alabama coach Stephany Smith met with the two players she recently dismissed to clarify the reasons she had for excusing them from the team.

Neither player seemed to find much validity for the reasons given. "There's been so many other confrontations that she's had with other players, and they have not been punished the way we have," co-captain Krystle Johnson said "For her to give these bogus reasons, they don't warrant a dismissal at all."

Johnson does not have any more elgibility to play in another program and Marverly Nettles has transferred once before so will have to play at the Division II or III level, if she wants to continue to play next year. Both players are still currently listed on the team's roster.

Last time out, Alabama ended a 23 game losing streak in SEC road games and this season's seven game losing streak with a last second shot in a 61-59 victory over Mississippi State last weekend and next face Tennessee.
Ten teams remain undefeated in their own conferences. Sternvogel lists them.

The small conference team of the week is apparently Bowling Green. Yesterday's win puts them at 21-2, though look who they beat.

Over in the America East, Hartford (20-2) needed overtime to defeat Maryland-Baltimore County in a frustrating, defense-first game. The Hawks shot just 4-for-26 in the second half, but controlled the extra minutes. UMBC had won six in a row before last night.
Oklahoma beat down Texas by preserving a second-half lead. The Sooners remain undefeated in the Big XII.

Courtney Paris (20 boards, 10-for-12 shooting): "We're really good right now. But we have a chance to be really great."
Could New Mexico be a bubble team? Last night they lost at Wyoming. The Cowgirls held Dionne Marsh to 2-for-14 shooting; Wyoming's Jodi Bolerjack (whose twin also plays for Wyoming) sank four treys.

The Lobos' best win, Minnesota, looks less impressive than it did a week ago. Barring any more upsets, the Lobos should still make the Big Dance, but the end of the Mountain West season could get interesting... especially since the Lobos' regular season ends in Albuquerque, in a rematch against league leader BYU.
Texas A&M surprised a lot of people this year, climbing into second place in the Big XII, entering the top 25, and beating respectable, if not stellar, opponents.

Last night Baylor flattened them. A&M star Atunrase scored 17, and the Aggies held Sophia Young to 16 (low for her), but the game became a rout in the first half. The defending national champs won by 25.

A school-record A&M crowd absorbed the loss. Coach Blair got ejected. He says he deserved the first T, but not the second, adding: "I was proud of our crowd. I'm just sorry we were not as good as our crowd... We're pretty realistic about who we are and what we need to do to get better."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

ESPN.com's Melanie Jackson updates us on the interim assistant for Nell Fortner's Auburn Tigers. His name is Mark Simons and his wife is the coach of a pretty good team in the ACC.

Simons came on board in January when assistant Carla McGhee had to take a medical leave of absence. While being apart has not been easy for the couple, Coach G. remarked "I can hear the joy in his voice again. He has missed it desperately. It's his passion, his love."
New Zealand national team star Donna Loffhagen has told NZ radio that she might play in the WNBA... for Cleveland. Hope she brings a time machine.
In lighter news, the Stanford Band's Cardinal Tree mascot has been suspended for drinking. Her replacement takes over on March 4.

The now-former mascot reassures fans: “The Tree’s going to be just as awesome as it ever was. Nothing fundamental’s going to change. The Tree will be the Tree forever and ever.”
Minnesota got humiliated last week. Twice. Today, Coach Borton tries to explain why her guards had trouble bringing the ball up the floor: "You never expect that from veteran guards. You rely on your experience back there."

(Ceal Barry, by contrast, announcing on Sunday, remarked: "Minnesota's ballhandling has been very deliberate and Purdue are too quick for them. I thought Minnesota moved the ball best with Emily Fox in the lineup." Yes, that is a verbatim quote.)

Tomorrow the Gophs face Ohio State. Shannon Bolden: "I think it's a good game to come back with. Being at home, against a good team, to prove we're still a contender."

Broback, who hurt her elbow Sunday, may not play. Coach Borton: "Nothing was broken. Her arm got twisted a little bit when a player fell on her hand."
The Boston Globe gives some love to the Final Four. All three games are sold out, though there is (as always) a secondary market, and VIP packages remain available; as always, visitors can watch practice on the days before the games for free.
Rutgers overcame Cappie Pondexter's flu, Villanova's hot shooting in the first half and the overall stress of playing Harry Perretta' s methodical team to secure a 62-56 victory.

Pondexter's streak of double digit scoring ended at 28 games as she finished with 9 points on 2-9 shooting. Matee Ajavon, Essence Carson, and Kia Vaughn helped lead the Knights. Ajavon had 14 points and 6 assists and Carson added 13 points. The two took care of much of the scoring in the second half when Rutgers took control of the game.

Vaughn helped with her scoring and rebounding, but also with her overall presence. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer started a smaller line up and saw her team down 23-14 with 6:28 left in the half. They fought back to trail 25-23 by half-time. When Vaughn entered the line up in the second half, things began to change. Rutgers scored on nine straight possessions after her entrance, and on 11-of-12 overall, the Knights came away with points when Vaughn was on the floor.

Rutgers led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Wildcats cut into the deficit in the final minutes. Villanova was led by Jackie Adamshick's 14 points and Kate Dessart Mager's 12 points and 8 rebounds. And Stringer hopes this is the only meeting of the year between the two teams.

"It's just our luck: We'll draw them in the Big East tournament," Stringer said. "And the one team I don't want to see is Villanova and my buddy Harry Perretta because they make you work so hard against them."
Yesterday I characterized Penn State's recent legal filing in Harris v. Portland as being both technical and relatively calm and considered. Some Penn State students do not agree.

"I believe these court documents represent hate speech to the extent that they undermine policies in place to protect queer students and other members of the university community," said Ed Rowe, president of Penn State Allies.
The women's curling team lost again.

What powerhouse did we fall to this time? Japan.


My Olympic spirit has left the building.
Out with the old, in with the "youth, length and athleticism": the Liberty have signed Ashley Battle and Iciss Tillis.

Blaze explains: "This group has been a wonderful roster, they've gotten me to a bunch of playoffs and finals. But it's time to make some adjustments."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Over on ESPN.com, the selection and seeding process for the NCAA tournament is explained by Nancy Lieberman.
Tracy Schultz of SI.com writes about Texas A&M coach Gary Blair and the Aggies turnaround. Blair did the same thing at Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas, but Schultz says his work at A&M is even more impressive because he did not have a previous winning tradition to revitalize.

At 8-3 in the Big XII, the Aggies are currently a game ahead of defending national champion Baylor. The two teams meet tomorrow night in College Station and A&M visits conference leader Oklahoma on Saturday. A win against either team would help solidify A&M as a team on the rise.

Win or lose on Wednesday, the future is bright for the Aggies. They start two freshman and three sophomores and have a strong recruiting class coming in next year.
In December I described the basics of Jen Harris's federal lawsuit against Rene Portland and Penn State. Last week the defendants filed the briefs supporting their motions to dismiss. As promised, here is an overview of what those briefs argue.

The legal arguments are fairly described as "technical," but that description has no pejorative meaning here. At this point, technical legal arguments are all that can be presented. Right now, the defendants cannot submit any evidence or factual information to deny Harris's claims — they'll have an opportunity to do that later.

It's important to note that the defendants are not asking the court to dismiss the suit entirely. Rather, they are only seeking to have certain claims and certain remedies discarded.

For example, Penn State does not argue that the court should dismiss Harris's race discrimination claim under Title VI or her sex discrimination claim under Title IX. (It does, however, argue that she is not entitled to injunctive relief or punitive damages for those claims.) Nor does PSU make any attack on Harris's claim that by failing to enforce its own discrimination policy, the university violated its scholarship agreement with Harris.

Portland, for her part, makes a broader attack on the claims against her. But she too leaves some untouched. For example, Portland does not argue that the Section 1981 race discrimination claim against her should be dismissed.

In short, even if the district court were to grant these motions in their entirety, the lawsuit would still go forward — it would just be trimmed down.

Without seeing NCLR's response, and without doing quite a bit of research, it's difficult to predict how much of the case will get thrown out. My initial sense is that the defendants have some good arguments and some not-so-good arguments. For example, their argument that Harris lacks standing to pursue injunctive relief (as opposed to monetary damages) seems plausible. On the other hand, Portland's argument that Harris's "gender stereotyping" claim should be thrown out because it's really about "perceived orientation" seems less plausible, especially at this stage in the proceedings.

So I think it's reasonable to expect that these motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

Finally, I note that there is a major difference in tone between Penn State's filing and Rene's filing. Penn State's brief reads more like a calm and considered legal analysis. By contrast, Portland's brief reads more like a political screed.

Portland characterizes Harris's complaint as a "blunderbuss pleading" that "grossly overreaches" and aims to "create new social policy." She claims that much of the suit is simply "designed to advance a non-party organization's political agenda." She says that the "real purpose" of the suit is to "elevate perceived sexual orientation to a fundamental substantive due process right."

She argues that "university coaches should be able to exert a measure of control over their teams without a federal court looking over their shoulder and second-guessing team-related decisions and statements."

Those types of statements — and the difference between Portland's tenor and Penn State's — might give some us indication of how this case will be fought.
Houston has re-signed Michelle Snow.
Jack Daly at the Herald Sun describes Coach G's worst nightmare:
In a close game late in the season, an indispensable member of the Duke team dives for a loose ball at the same time as an opponent. The players collide and the Blue Devils player — say point guard Lindsey Harding — starts writhing on the court, clutching her shoulder while screaming in obvious pain.
It happened last night in Cameron. Harding went out when Duke had a slim two-point lead. But the Devils buckled down, played solid without their point guard, and took the big game over Maryland.

"I think it actually got us going a little bit," Mo Currie said. "We knew that everybody had to do a little more since we were without our point guard."

Currie had one of the best games of her college career. Time and time again, she slashed through Terp defenders and took the ball straight to the rim. She finished with 31 points.

Maryland freshman Marissa Coleman was disconsolate after getting schooled by Mo. "It just makes me sick that I had that horrible of a defensive effort," she said.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Deadspin's Will Leitch, writing at Slate, says Michelle Kwan is a gigantic choker.
Terrible news: Alexis Hornbuckle is out for the season with a broken wrist.

Injuries suck.
DePaul crushed Notre Dame behind 26 points from Allie Quigley.

“It was really just ugly at the end,” coach McGraw said. “We were just, just anemic on offense. We just can’t score. We can’t score in the post. When you go down and miss layup after layup after layup, it affects you mentally.”

McGraw also criticized DePaul for running up the score. Coach Bruno responded: "I'm not going to start a war of words in the newspapers with Muffet."

The Irish are in danger of missing the tournament. They are 10th in the Big East. They have an RPI around 40, and an even lower Sagarin rating.

As the Irish have suffered, so has Megan Duffy's WNBA draft stock. Her numbers are still decent, but where she was once projected to go in the 5-7 range, most draft boards now have her falling to the late first round or worse.

UPDATE: from Chris Masters, women's basketball SID at Notre Dame:
From everything I've heard from speaking with multiple WNBA scouts and WNBA media experts who have visited our games, Megan is a very solid upper to mid-first round pick and our team's performance has done nothing to affect her status. If anything, her play (offense, defense, work ethic, leadership, attitude) in spite of the problems we've had seems to have impressed the scouts even more ... she's in the midst of a run of eight consecutive double-digit scoring games (and 19 of 23 this year), is ranked in the top 10 in the BIG EAST in five different categories (including the point guard essentials of assists, assist/turnover ratio and scoring), and almost single-handedly has brought us back to contention in several games this year (most notably Tennessee, Marquette, the first DePaul game, South Florida and Villanova).

It's just that Megan is truly a special player (best basketball IQ, savvy and work ethic of anyone I've ever worked with) ... and I'd hate to see her accomplishments diminished because our team is having a subpar year.