Women's Hoops Blog: December 2007

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, December 31, 2007

The New York Times writes about C. Vivian Stringer as one of the five individuals who made an impact on the world of sports in 2007.
An end-of-year reminder: we now know the complete WNBA schedule for 2008. The opening day TV game is L.A. at Phoenix (thus both putting the champions on the air and telling the nation that Lisa Leslie is back); the Atlanta Thingumbobs open at Connecticut (thus showing Atlanta how a well-run franchise looks); and the whole megillah will again take a month off for the Olympics.

Most of the folks we'll be watching next summer are currently overseas. Armintie Price has just learned she's heading to Israel; Chas Melvin and Tan Smith are are not, since their former team, Ramla, has realized it can't meet their salaries. Instead, Ramla will pick up Camille Little, with another American TBA.
New Jersey papers show more love for the high-intensity Scarlet Knights. Cappie sat courtside to watch her old team's easy win: RU held Temple to 34 points.
1. North Carolina won easily, but the Heels' best player hurt her hand. Erlana Larkins may or may not miss a couple of games with an oblique fracture to a left metatarsal. "She'll be OK, she's tough," coach Hatchell confirmed.

2. Old Dominion has now beaten two SEC teams in a row. Last week's victim was Kentucky; Sunday's was Vandy.

"They're as good as they were on film," said Vanderbilt coach Balcomb. "They have a hunger and an attitude we need to learn from."

ODU's coach Larry credits the win to her team's fast transitions, which prevented the bigger 'Dores (especially Liz Sherwood) from controlling anything. Liz scored a game-high 16, but the Monarchs owned the boards, 40 to 29.

3. At least the Big Ten is going to be unpredictable: Michigan State, who lost to Hartford last week, downed Ohio State in Lansing.

MSU "just played harder," said OSU's coach Foster. "They had lost three of four, and they got some pride." Alyssa DeHaan couldn't be stopped; she scored 18, OSU's Lavender just 12.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Florida State gave the Bulldogs a scare, but Georgia managed to pull out a win in overtime and stay in the ranks of the undefeated. The Seminoles were within 70 seconds of their first victory over Georgia, but a key three by Ashley Houts and a last possession basket by Tasha Humphrey (22pts) forced the OT.

UConn brought their stifling -- and I mean STIFLING -- defense to bear on Jen Rizzotti's Hartford team and earned a 70-24 victory. The Huskies held the Hawks to 17 points in the first and 7 in the second on 13% shooting.

Freshman Maya Moore, having moved into the starting line-up after Kalana Green's season ending surgery, has been told Auriemma to shoot more. Taking his directive to heart, scored 21pts on 9-of-12 shooting, adding 7 rebounds and a couple of steals just for good measure.

The St. Joseph Hawks had a bit more success, upsetting #15 Auburn 71-69 and handing the Tigers their second loss of the season. A furious comeback (Auburn was down 29-41 at the half) fell short. DeWanna Bonner (30pts) Alli and Smalley each hit 3-pointers to pull Auburn within 71-69 with 15.8 seconds to go. The game unfolded in a way that ages coaches prematurely.
The Tigers stayed alive when Timisha Gomez and Amy Wold each missed the front end of a 1-and-1 free throw opportunity. Smalley had a chance to tie the game, but bounced the ball off her foot and out of bounds with 2 seconds left. When Wold couldn't inbound the ball, she was whistled for a five-second violation, giving the Tigers one final chance. Hobbs misfired on a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Hawks celebrated at midcourt.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Mechelle gives new Illinois coach Jolette Law some well deserved ink. Law, a longtime assistant for C. Vivian Stringer, has the Illini off to a 93 start.
"I loved the East Coast, but it didn't feel as intimate, if you will. I can adjust to my surroundings, but I really am more of a smaller-town person. I had a great stay in New Jersey, but I never really felt like it was 'home.' It was a place where I worked and knew a lot of people, but I wasn't at home. Now, I feel like I am."
And then there were three (Connecticut, Georgia and Arkansas): Depaul's undefeated season ended at the hands of Texas, 91-81 at the Maggie Dixon Surf 'N Slam Classic.

LSU didn't adjust particularly well to the loss of Sylvia Fowles, and Middle Tennessee State's Amber Holt had a field day, scoring 41 points as the Blue Raiders beat the Lady Tigers 67-56.

The Cardinal secured coach VanDerveer's 700th win with a victory over Washington State, 105-47.

Friday, December 28, 2007

LSU will be without the services of Big Syl for 2-4 weeks.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Charles Hallman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder provides some of the best coverage of women's basketball in the state. He focused the last month on what he calls a rare breed, black female college basketball coaches.

His interviews include Minnesota assistant Marisa Mosely, Indiana's Felicia Legette-Jack, and new head coaches Jolette Law at Illinois and Penn State's Coquese Washington.
Not much of a surprise, but very tough for Arizona State: Orsillo is out for the season.

Iowa State's Toccara Ross is also out with a torn ACL.
Over at the dot.com they ask, "Have you seen Izzy?"
Clay chats about this week's poll-- and takes the chance to celebrate a big win for West Coast ball.

Overrated (says he): Texas A&M and Arizona State. Teams that will look better a month from now: Duke and Texas. Oh, and did anyone mention that the Big Ten isn't very good this year? (No, we're not very happy about it either.)
Taj gets a welcome in Israel.
Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson, who is closing in on the school scoring record, gets lots of love in profiles from Madison, Duluth and Superior.
The Sacramento Bee's Debbie Arrington talks to former Monarch Cindy Blodgett, who returned to the University of Maine as a head coach this season.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

For Seimone's fans, a Christmas present in words and pictures.
Via Jordan: Crooked Timber rips the apparent sexism at the NYC NBA store.

Monday, December 24, 2007

More from Seattle on the search for a new coach: the Storm want to have the new hire in place by mid-January.

COO Karen Bryant says she wants one hire for coach and GM, and that she's looking for someone with previous WNBA experience: Marianne Stanley, however-- contrary to rumor-- is not on the organization's list.

From the same piece, more-- did they bury the lede? did we?-- on the Storm's future: according to Bryant, when owner Clay Bennett asks the NBA to let him move the Sonics, he won't ask to move the Storm.

Bryant: "what he has said is when he files for relocation with the NBA, it’s not going to include the Storm and that in the meantime he is pursuing alternate outcomes for the Storm.

“So I think the jump that a lot of people have made – and not unreasonably so – is that he is entertaining the idea of potentially keeping the franchise in Seattle with local ownership. But he has not said that officially nor am I aware of that. I know there are some folks here who are interested and that they have made contact with him.”

There's more on new arena plans this morning too: such plans could keep both teams where they are.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

We missed this one this morning-- we're sorry we missed it, especially since it makes the much-disparaged Big Ten look better: Indiana surprised the ranked Mountaineers in Bloomington. Hoosiers Jamie Braun and Amber Jackson, who barely left the floor while the clock was running, combined for 33.

IU had lost its last four, while WVU had won its previous seven. "This is a program changer," Hoosiers coach Leggett-Jack said.
Hays with a twofer: three unheralded teams to watch, including still-unbeaten Arkansas; one Drexel baller who survived lymphoma.
Voepel loved the Stanford-Tennessee game, too: she also remembers the last time she saw the Cardinal defeat the folks in orange.
In last night's other big game, the Hartford Hawks upset Michigan State. Jen Rizzotti calls the come-from-behind victory Hartford's best-ever win.

Bench player Erica Beverly preserved the win with a pair of late free throws; Hartford's Hood led everybody with 19.

State fans wonder... Alyssa DeHaan is really tall, but are her Spartans really all that good?

MSU will likely fall out of next week's polls; will Hartford climb in? They would, if not for their bad road loss to UMass. But Nutmeg State fans should like next week's rankings anyway: Stanford's big win makes UConn the near-certain number one.
Was last night's late-night show the game of the year? Tennessee controlled the first half, and seemed on its way to a blowout; the Cardinal looked physically overmatched.

But Wiggins lit up, coach TV's defensive plan turned solid, her role players got themselves to the line, and the home team spent most of the second half holding a small lead in front of a sold-out crowd.

In fact, they held that lead through the final seconds of regulation, when Wiggins-an 89% free throw shooter-- missed both, Parker sank a swift field goal, and Stanford PG Gold-Onwude ran out of time. Result: five more minutes of basketball.

"The overtime game, I blame that totally on myself," Wiggins said afterwards. Comparison: Duke's well-known chokes. Was Stanford headed to that place?

Answer: nope. Gold-Onwude sank two three-pointers, Wiggins got her head back in the game, and the Cardinal's team play overcame UT's superior physicality for Stanford's biggest reg-season win this decade. The Cardinal, who schedule Tennessee regularly, haven't beaten Pat Summitt's team in eleven years.

It's fun to relive closing seconds (or painful, if your team lost), but the game-long story involved turnovers, defensive game plans, and rebounds: Candace P outscored Candice W, 25 to 22, but Appel and Pederson combined for 22 boards.

Lots of the folks in Maples were there to see Parker. But coach TV has earned the right to say it: "Tonight Candice is spelled with an i."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

National high school powers battle through a tournament in Arizona, now down, or up, to its championship game.
Emmy Fox led her Gophers-- and they did look like her Gophers-- over Iowa State, delighting most of Williams Arena, though not the Cyclones fans who made the trip north.

Fox scored 20 points (in 40 minutes); Leslie Knight shot 7-10 and scored 19. Paul has more numbers. The Gophers had pretty good defense. We like the Big Ten Network-- but we miss the Barn.
Coach Stringer's forthcoming memoir describes her struggle with cancer, but the Star-Ledger's reporter sounds disappointed that she doesn't say more about Imusgate. Good to know they've got their priorities clear...
Cal demolished Kansas in Berkeley. The Jayhawks had lost just one game before last night.

"It was a team win," said coach Boyle. "We got everybody in." Sadly, there's nobody watching the Cal box score; rumor has it that Gray-Lawson scored 25.
UConn crushed San Diego State despite 28 turnovers. The game was a homecoming for Charde Houston, but she didn't start and played just fifteen minutes.

Instead, Geno started Maya Moore. Asked why, he came up with a classic: ""Once I cross the Rubicon, I'm on my way to Rome and there is no one who is going to stop me. Hail Caesar." That is: the Maya Moore era has begun.

Friday, December 21, 2007

CSTV's Lippman: I want my UConn-Tennessee game! (So do we-- but we'll all have to wait till March.)

Also at CSTV, one way to read stats.Much more on the subject (from a men's-side perspective), along with a Wikipedia mention for Pelton, here.
You'd expect the Sooners to beat Central Arkansas--- but you might not expect them to score 121 points.

"I'm pleased because it was clean," said coach Coale, " because games like this can get ugly."
Hays watched GW land its biggest victory so far this year, over Texas A&M in overtime.

GW's student paper says guard Sarah-Jo Lawrence had the game of her life. Her three tied things up with seconds to go, but the scoreboard at first, mistakenly, showed a two-- so the Aggies' point guard spent the last few seconds trying not to get fouled, rather than attempting a shot. "She thought we were up by one. And hell, I did too for a minute when I looked at the scoreboard," said A&M coach Blair. "But we're supposed to overcome that."

Lawrence scored a career-high 29, making up for the absence of Jessica Adair (concussion), and for coach McKeown's stripped-down rotation-- all five starters got 40+ minutes apiece. "I was in the zone all night," Lawrence said.

Shouldn't the Washington Post have sent a reporter down the street to watch the nationally-ranked Colonials win?
The Terps had to work to win at James Madison: the Dukes (who had won their last thirty at home) led by thirteen in the second half, but coach Brenda's squad controlled the final minutes.

Kristi Tolliver grew up in Harrisonburg, and the local media went nuts over her: the Basket Cases round up the stories.

Tolliver didn't exactly go nuts last night, though: she shot poorly (but dished well), while Harper and Coleman combined for 43.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Voepel watches her alma mater lose to Illinois.
At ESPN, Voepel files a profile of coach Frese (in case you didn't know: she's expecting twins); Creme tells us what he'll look for in this weekend's games.
No major upsets last night: in the most noted game, Tennessee surprised no one by defeating UCLA at Pauley.

"I was not at my best, but we came out with a win," Candace Parker said. She led everyone with 17; her team led by one at the break but then pulled away, outrebounding the Bruins by double digits.

On the sidelines or in the stands: several thousand people, including half the Sparks, who will use their top draft pick for CP should she choose to turn pro this year.

Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman: "I've been thinking about that since the moment [her team won] the lottery. No, I've been thinking about it since the moment I saw Candace play, even before I owned the team."
Will Marianne Stanley become the next coach for the Storm?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pat Summitt gives a long interview to Orange County sportwriter Jim Alexander, later picked up without attribution, which is a no-no, by whoever runs the Pat Summitt Blog.

While Lady Vols fans wait to buy the new book about Pat's championship teams, UConn supporters wonder whether the book's title is anything more than coincidence.

Also of interest, from the same author: a whole book about the rivalry, which may have seen its last reg-season game.
Helen refuses to break down this week's DI poll, so Clay breaks it down for you.

Who's missing? Clay says: the fierce, and undefeated, Razorbacks, whose best wins are Clemson and Mizzou. If you want to see who else they've beaten, here's who.
We've seen our first Harvard game now, and we had fun: so did the Crimson, throttling Holy Cross in a surprisingly lopsided game. The home team controlled the boards behind solid rebounding from Adrian Budischak and Liz Tindal, and shot 8 for 19 from outside.

Almost all the games we saw in Minnesota took place either in huge spaces or in tiny gyms: Lavietes reminds us of the Sports Pavilion, where our Gophers played the last time they weren't very good-- but Lavietes is even smaller, and brings you closer to the teams.

That's an advantage-- you might even call it intimacy. The disadvantages include the lack of chairback seats (so that fans with back trouble have no recourse) and the old-school scoreboard-- the only way to keep track of player stats, or even of whole-game stats such as rebounds, in real time is to tally them yourself. Yes, the guys play there too. And yes, we'll be back.
A little off-topic, but here's some thoughts for how to spend your time this Spring/Summer (when you're not attending WNBA games as a season ticket holder):

The U.S. Women’s Softball Team, one of the most successful U.S. teams in Olympic history, will look to continue their world domination when they take to the field in Beijing. The 2008 Women’s National Team will make 42 stops across the country competing in over 60 games. The team will compete against NCAA Division I opponents, Regional All-Star teams as well as International Competition. More information on the Tour can be found here: Bound 4 Beijing Tour
Heard the "12 Days of Christmas" one too many times? This'll clear your palate.

And, if you need another palate cleanser, check out this classic series of 12 Day thank you letters.
In a lovely, main-stream-media follow up to Helen’s post from Friday, Star-Tribune (the newspaper of the Twin-Cities…) columnist Jim Souhan devotes his column to the resurgence of Macalester College Women’s basketball under some highly committed players and coach Ellen Thompson. Macalester recently beat the University of St. Thomas 74-68 – this is quite an accomplishment as the Tommies are an MIAC and DIII national powerhouse.

Go Scots!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm going to ignore the DI polls until something interesting happens...

Looking at DII, the top four teams are a combined 37-0. I LOVE the fact that U of Alaska-Anchorage sits at #4.

In DIII, the top five teams are a combined 39-0.

Atop the NAIA Division I you'll find two well-known powers: Union University and Vanguard.

A name that will sound familiar to followers of the WNBA and NCAA D-I basketball sits at #6: The Master's College. They boast Erin Buescher as a grad.

I'd send you to read a story by Amanda Branam over at The Signal, "Built to Last" about The Master's College women's basketball head coach Ken Sugarman, but their website seems to be having a hissy fit.

NAIA Division II top vote getter is the 10-0 College of the Ozarks.

Intriguingly enough last year's top team Indiana Wesleyan, who defeated the College of Ozarks to earn the championship, sits in the 9th spot, also with a 10-0 record. December 7 saw Wesleyan break Southwestern Oklahoma’s (1983-84) NAIA record with their 48th consecutive victory.
UConn confirms: Kalana Greene tore a ligament last night, needs surgery, and can petition for a medical redshirt (giving her one more year of eligibility) if she wants one, since she almost certainly won't return to the court this year.

Geno talks with Jeff Jacobs about what the injury means. (Short answer: it's a bummer. But we knew that.)
Dateline Bradley, Arkansas, 1936: the Bradley Senior Girls basketball team. Mr. Hudson was the coach and Ms. Wingfield was the chaperone.

The team has a nice little history. Notes the host: “County Champs 1934,” “District Champs 1935,” “County Champs 1936,” and County Champs 1935.”
The .com is "Shooting the Breeze" with Marynell Meadors, "On the Road" With Becky Hammon and going from the "Motor City to the Peach State" with Akilah Washington, an Account Executive for WNBA-Hotlanta.
We've been ignoring some good games played, and even televised, over the past couple days because none of the results surprised us we've been neglectful busy. But no more:

1. Michigan State soared ahead of the Sooners at halftime, but OU cleaned the glass, and won the game. DeHaan blocked plenty of shots in the early going, but found herself muscled out of position late.

The Sooners pulled off the comeback despite foul trouble for Courtney and an absymal performance from the line. Coach Coale: "We feel very fortunate to get out of [Lansing] with a win."

2. Also on TV: Stanford crushed Baylor. Wiggins had 21 points by halftime, 35 when the carnage came to an end. Are the Cardinal that good? Or are Baylor that bad on the road?

3. Ohio State had no problem beating the West Coast Huskies. Packer and Lavender combined for 32. "It felt good to make a couple of shots," said Packer, who shot poorly earlier this year.

4. UConn more than doubled up the score on a hapless, injured South Carolina: Charles tallied 23, and Swanier a career-high 15.

A perfect night in Gampel? Far from it: Kalana Greene hurt her knee and may be done for the year. Geno stayed in the locker room with Greene for several minutes after halftime: "They had a pretty good idea that there's some ligament damage," he said. "You're looking at the possibility of [her] season being over." She could take a medical redshirt if that's the case.

5. DePaul are still undefeated... but look who they've played. Beating Florida State isn't something to shrug about, but we'll know more once the Blue Demons face Texas and Tennessee.
'cause we need a little Christmas, right this very minute...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another shout out to the New York Times: this time they look at high school basketball will a long piece by Karen Crouse on Sequoyah High in Oklahoma and Kansas bound Angel Goodrich.
If not for basketball, Angel Goodrich and her school, Sequoyah High, would be as easy to overlook as the dusty farming towns that freckle northeast Oklahoma. Goodrich, a shy sliver of a guard, is the face of the Lady Indians, who are the three-time defending state champions in their classification and a rising force on the national scene.

They opened the season ranked in the top 10 in Sports Illustrated’s national poll. And this week they will participate in the Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. Sequoyah is the first all-Indian school to receive one of the coveted invitations.
Longtime readers of this blog may recall other entries on Native American teams and players, and know they have a long and storied history in women's basketball.

Perhaps the most famous Native American team was from the Fort Shaw Indian Boarding School in Montana. In 1904, they traveled to play at Worlds Fair in St. Louis where the "all-Indian women's basketball team from the Fort Shaw Government Industrial Indian School won the World Championship."

On a more contemporary note, Larry Colton's Counting Coup is about Montana's Hardin High Lady Bulldogs and the doucumentary Rocks with Wings looks at New Mexico's Lady Chieftains. Last October, Lya Wodraska and Phil Miller of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote a powerful 3-part series on Whitehorse High School's basketball team and their star player, Derica Dickson.

Oklahoma's Jenna Plumley has ties to the Comanche, Otoe, Pawnee and Pueblo tribes, and is rare among Division I athletes. Research shows that only 0.3 percent of all NCAA student-athletes are Native American women.
The Lib are launching a player blog....

You know that they need to do next? Send out a "heads up" email every time it's updated....
So, what does become of a dream deferred?

Anyone who knows anything about women's basketball understands how profoundly important the Olympics are to the players. Until the ABL and WNBA made their appearance (and stuck around), being on the National team was not only the highest honor an American player could seek, but it provided them with an opportunity to remind friends, family and the rest of the United States that, yes, women do play basketball after college.

In that light, one can only imagine how the members of the 1980 team felt when President Jimmy Carter ordered a boycott of the Olympics after the Soviet Union, the host country, invaded Afghanistan.

In 2005, Christine Brennan wrote a piece for USA Today titled, "25 years later, Olympic boycott gnaws at athletes:"
You've probably never heard of [swimmer] Craig Beardsley. How could you have? As he says, "1980 was one of those aberrations in time that we just happened to get stuck in." He didn't go to the Olympics, never won the gold medal that certainly could have been his, never reaped the benefits that could have been coming to a U.S. swimmer winning a big race behind the Iron Curtain. He says there is no way to know if he would have won an Olympic gold medal in Moscow on July 20, 1980, the day his race was held, but we do know that on July 30, 1980, he set the world record at the U.S. nationals, swimming a second and a half faster than Sergei Fesenko of the Soviet Union, who won the Olympic gold medal in Moscow.

Why the flashback? Well, today's news brought the following release from the US Olympic Committee:
Twenty-seven years after Congress authorized President Jimmy Carter to present a congressional medal to the 461 athletes of the 1980 United States Olympic Team, the medal has now been confirmed as being the highest civilian honor that can be bestowed by Congress. Until this recent designation, the medals awarded to the 1980 Olympic Team have been denied full recognition due to a technicality in production.

Amongt those who will receive the Congressional Gold Medal:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Much has changed for Dee Dee Jernigan in the last two years, the most significant being the loss of her mother to cancer.

Hillary Smith writes about Jernigan's journey from Purdue to Rutgers to Xavier via Wabash Valley College.
"I had a problem setting goals. I just recently learned -- like 2006 when my mother passed -- I just started setting goals," Jernigan said. "That's probably why I didn't want to go (to professional basketball). But then I started setting goals and that will take me a step closer to my goals. So I have to go through the WNBA to get closer to my goal, so, yeah, I want to go."

Before her mother's death, the WNBA was something Jernigan avoided talking about. Now it's a step to the ultimate ambition: Being wealthy enough to take care of her family.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

From Columbus, a long look at Ohio State frosh Jantel Lavender.
Mr. Creme opens up his mailbag and tells Big East fans (amongst others) to take a chill pill when looking at his bracketology.
The Badgers had to work hard to beat South Dakota State: Jolene shot badly, but Janese Banks compensated by scoring 20. "It was a grind," said coach Stone.

Will Wisconsin look better in conference play this year? Their wins against regional foes (SDSU, UWGB, etc.) may not say. One unexpected benefit from the Big Ten TV Network: the Big Ten site looks better than before.
Planning to stay in on Sunday? Expecting a blizzard? There are several promising games on TV, starting with Oklahoma-Michigan State, and concluding with Ohio State at the West Coast Huskies, who could reestablish themselves with an upset at home.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Division III Macalester plays in the MIAC -- the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. I know this because I got to watch the Scots play last year when I was visiting my fellow blog-heads in Minneapolis. Steve actually taught there, before he downgraded to Harvard, which is why I found myself in the gym, bellowing like a fool as the team was stomped by the more athletic team from Gustavus Adolphus College (eventual league runner-ups).

Talked to G.A. fans (lots of family), spoke afterward to the the Mac's coach, Ellen Thompson and enjoyed myself throughly (not sure the refs did, though. It was a very small gym...).

So it was with delight that I read a story today on the team's resurgence. Not sure it'll match Oklahoma-meets-Sherri tale, but it does have certain Sooner-ish echoes.
In January of the 2004-2005 season the main question about women's basketball was whether or not the team would exist the following year. However, three years after low turnout and injury forced the Scots to cancel their season, Mac is playing some excellent basketball, raising a new, entirely different question: 'can this team make the playoffs?'
Thanks to Pilight who points us to the GeorgiaTrend and their lengthy profile of Georgia coach Andy Landers.

Tracing Landers' journey from Roane State Junior College to Athens, Georgia, the article notes that "over 28 years as head coach, Andy Landers has firmly established Lady Bulldog basketball as an elite program, with a No. 4 ranking in the all-time Associated Press women’s basketball poll and a 96 percent graduation rate."

But perhaps more impressive is what the great Teresa Edwards has to say:
“Every job offer that comes across my plate, every harebrained scheme I’ve ever tried, he knows about it,” says Edwards, who just completed her first season as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA. “His door has always been open, to all of his players, and somehow we don’t get jealous.

“It’s because he has this unique ability to love us for who we are – he doesn’t treat everyone the same because we’re not all the same. I never hesitate to dial his number. And he’s great about laying it out there. Man, he tells it like he sees it. [Former UGA All-American] Katrina McClain and me sometimes debate if we want to hear what he really has to say or not.”
So it's that time of year again and you're looking for the perfect gift for that basketball nut friend of yours (or you want to treat yourself). Permit me to offer some suggestions:

New in stores:
"Seven" has arrived in my mailbox, but I haven't had the time to peruse it (work is so bloody inconvenient). Obviously, it's about Pat Summitt and her seven National Championships.

Richard Kent, who put together the fine "Anatomy of a Season" about the 2001-2 campaign, has a new book, subtly titled, " Lady Vols vs. UConn: The Greatest Rivalry in Women's Basketball."

Don't forget Kim Mulkey's book, "Won't Back Down."

Classics that are bound to please:

"Same River Twice," is a funny and revealing behind the scenes look at the 2000-01 UConn season. Hopefully they've corrected the typos, but even if they haven't, the book is worth the Sveta and her parents story....

You can't go wrong with "In These Girls Hope is a Muscle." So much more than the story of a Massachusetts high school basketball team (with a point guard named Jamila Wideman), it is a beautifully written tale of young girls learning to be tough and a town that learns to support them with an enormous passion.

I'll admit that I resisted reading Sara Corbett's delightful "Venus to the Hoop" for the longest time because I thought, "Why on earth would she write about the 1996 Olympic team and focus on Venus Lacey?" Foolish me. Sara followed the US team from start to finish, and it makes a great story. For anyone who wants to know about one of the most important teams of "modern" women's basketball, this is a must read.

More books on college ball, high school, pros/Olympics, history, young adult, parallel issues and related topics, fiction, skill-building and coaching, or (for the non-readers) DVDs and music can be found on Kim's "Books" page over at womensbasketballonline.

As noted by Steve, if you shop at Amazon and click through Kim's site, she gets a few pennies to slightly underwrite the money and time she puts in to maintaining the fabulous beast that is her site.

By the way, a heartfelt thank you to all who responded to Steve's post and supported wbballonline. It is very cool to be part of a community that will put its money where its mouth is. (Now go buy season tickets for a nearby college team! ). Says Kim at her site:
I first want to say thank you to those of you who kindly made a donation or made an extra effort to click on the Google ad links or simply sent some kind words my way. However, I want to make it clear that this website is not in danger of being shut down. I don't want anyone donating over a false impression. This website doesn't cost an arm and a leg to maintain, however money is tight for me personally, not to mention the amount of time spent on this website. 2008 will be the website's 9th year of existence. God Bless.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Last Sunday, Angel McCoughtry notched a triple-double (21pts, 11 rebounds, 10 steals) against Xavier. Today, Mechelle writes about last year's Big East Player of the Year and her new coach, former Maryland assistant Jeff Walz.
Louisville forward Angel McCoughtry is majoring in communications, with a minor in African-American theater. She took an acting class and found she had natural talent. Of course, she has a few other skills, to say the least, in basketball. And acting can come in handy on the court, she jokes.

"You know, like when you try to take a charge," she said, chuckling.
It's "Get out your calendars" time: the .com has posted the 2008 schedule and identifies "10 Games You Can't Miss."
Last year Joe Frager led the Southern Connecticut State Owls to 34 wins and the Division II National Championship. This year, he's head coach at Fairfield University and his team already has a signature win: the Stags beat Boston College, 59-54.

In a game I think I'm pretty glad I didn't have to to watch Rutgers squeaked by Princeton (!) 54-48. No Carson in the box, and for the third straight game Stringer kept most of the starters on the bench for the beginning of the game.
"The starters know they're not playing 40 minutes," she said. "So they get a chance to see what's going on. If the other group can impress me longer, we'll just keep it going for as long as we can. The only problem is, it takes (the regulars) a little longer to get their legs warmed up and get in the flow."
Another barnburner saw Jen Rizzotti's Hartford Hawks nip the Marist Red Foxes. Despite the score (49-32), Mr. Hays has some words of warning:
To get any farther from spring than Poughkeepsie in December you need sled dogs -- or at the very least, directions to Lake Placid. But nights like Wednesday are exactly when the seeds are sown for the surprises that bloom in March.

Just as when Montana and Wyoming squared off in Laramie, Wyo., or Wisconsin-Green Bay and Illinois State battled in Normal, Ill., in November games, Hartford and Marist didn't have a national spotlight shining on them when they met Wednesday night in Poughkeepsie. And after watching Hartford defend its way to a 49-32 win that snapped Marist's 26-game home winning streak, that's a shame for any unsuspecting team unlucky enough to draw the Hawks in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Graham sends out some love to Penn State coach Coquese Washington:
"I want us to be one of the nation's elite programs," Washington said. "And we certainly were there at one time and I think we can get back there. … And I want us to be a program that is proud of having overcome the adversity, the controversy that we experienced the last couple of years. There's no shame in that.

"There's no shame in having to deal with issues and coming out of that. And that's what we talk to our players about, that life is not about how easy it is; life is about how you respond to challenges, how you respond when things don't go your way, how you respond when things are tough."
The Comets are moving for the 2008 season. No - not out of Houston, but to Reliant Arena (capacity 5,800).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

More Pod from Debbie and Beth!

This week, the two join you from Debbie's boat on Charleston Harbor with their opinion on who has the best depth in the country, answer some listener e-mails, hear from Matt the Stat Guy and chat with Oklahoma Head Coach and WBCA President Sherri Coale.
Lin Dunn returns as a head coach -- she'll be taking over the Indiana Fever.
The Comets say they haven't tried to trade for Harding, but Harding really wishes that they would.

"Nothing against Minnesota," the #1 draft pick tells the Houston paper. "I love it here and I love my team, but I grew up with season tickets to the Comets and watching them made me realize I wanted to be a basketball player. Obviously, I have strong feelings about wanting to play at home again."

Watch Sue's board for Minnesota reactions.
In a rivalry match on Big Ten TV (we didn't see it), the Badgers crushed the Phoenix. Jolene scored 20 and shot 50%; all five UW starters hit double figures.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Seems I not the only one the SI.com website crank-ifies. In his blog, "Eye on Sports Media,"Chris Byrne comments on the technology of SI vs ESPN.com:
When it comes to women's college basketball, Sports Illustrated's web site seems to fall into the dark ages. You have no customization options and no ability to drill down by conference or Top-25. You get a list you have to scroll up and down to get the scores you need.
You know, what with the Times gettin' all hip and with it in their coverage of women's basketball, I was worried I'd lost my target for snarkiness.... perhaps SI.com can replace the Grey Lady? Watch out Steel Blue!
No really, what has gotten in to the NY Times? It's great!! Another piece on women's baskeball, this time on the fantabulous Kay Yow. Writes Viv B. of last year's tournament run:

It would have been a fitting cap to Yow’s Hall of Fame career, except that she had no intention of seeing it end. She did not retire. Yow’s treatment was successful enough to allow her to go off chemotherapy for five months. She regained her strength, and her taste for Southern cooking, which had disappeared during treatments. Yow even went back on the road over the summer to recruit players.

“She’s very low key, laid-back personality, reserved, quiet,” the
associate head coach Stephanie Glance said. “She is one driven woman. And it’s funny, I think people sometimes underestimate that.”

Wisconsin plays Green Bay tonight. Badgers coach Stone says her team ought to play better defense (so what else is new?) and notes that UWGB rebounds badly but shoots treys well (so what else is new?). "We have got to bring our lunch pail," coach Stone adds.
DiMauro rips the NCAA for keeping Kay Yow off-camera and off-court during last week's Jimmy V game.
Lindsey Harding's agent says she's trying to get the Lynx to trade her to Houston. In return, Minnesota would get either Lyttle or Snow, plus a first-round draft pick.
Rutgers beat the Golden Bears in New Jersey in another low-scoring thriller: neither team broke 60.

Kia Vaughn pulled down a double-double despite feeling so ill that she required IV fluids before the game. "She chose to make a difference," coach Stringer said.

In other medical news from the Scarlet Knights, Essence Carson's foot hurts. A lot. So much so, in fact, that she'll take the next couple weeks off. "She is not herself," her coach explains, and she won't be till that foot heals.
We couldn't quite do what we do if Kim's Women's Basketball Online site didn't do what she does: in particular, she collects and indexes daily news about the sport.

Today she points out that the site costs her money (and time) to run: we'd hate it if she gave up, especially since Kim also hosts the awesome Helen Wheelock archive. If you, too, use Kim's site to get your news, or your info as to what games are on TV, consider thanking her by donating a couple of bucks through her PayPal button-- or just click through the ad links on her site, which will have the effect of throwing some pennies her way.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Creme agrees: at the moment, the Big Ten blows-- this one game notwithstanding.
Wyoming, who lost to Colorado unexpectedly last week, yesterday got past the Hawkeyes in Iowa. The home team took a late lead, ran out of gas with three minutes left, fell behind, and then chose not to foul for 24 crucial seconds near the end.

"Everything was in our hands and we gave it back," coach Bluder complained. Kristi Smith, usually the Hawks' best outside shooter, had an atrocious outing (3-13); the Cowgirls' Podziemska, by contrast, went 4-8 from downtown.
Yes, we know things at the Garden are a bit of a circus at the moment, but Loree Moore is taking it to a whole 'nother level. She's serving as guest ringmaster this Sunday for the Big Apple Circus.
Stephanie White has been named women's basketball studio analyst for the Big Ten network.
Ex-coach Resler watched from the stands as Roosevelt upset Kentwood., 53-48.
Colorado, who haven't been much good for years, surprised Vanderbilt; down by 20, the Commodores rallied, but time ran out. "We just didn't attack their press," coach Balcomb said.

Bianca Smith came off the bench to lead the Buffaloes, who won, incredibly, despite scoring no field goals for the last seven minutes of the game.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yesterday's games between Duke/Pittsburgh and Army/Rutgers was the first women's doubleheader in the Garden in 26 years Why read game reports of the Maggie Dixon Classic when you can read Queenie's fabulous account of the day. Plenty of "color commentary," so to speak:
Terrapins, we need to have a talk about the use of germ warfare in out-of-conference play. I'm *sure* it's just a coincidence that after we play the Maryland Ptomaines, Kia comes up with two awful games and spends part of the second half barfing into an empty Gatorade cooler. Yes, the joys of sitting in the endcourt and having no one shielding the bench. Come on, guys, we share your team colors, can't you cut us a little slack? At least if you're going to use germ warfare, take advantage of it yourselves, don't hand it off to another team to take advantage of!
That being said, Duke did squeeze out a win over Pittsburgh with a last second basket, 51-49. The Panthers had their opportunities to come away with a victory, but the ball simply would not fall. It hurt. Really hurt, said coach Berenato.
"We've just worked so hard so when you come so close to beating a top team, especially one with the prestige and the tradition of a Duke, you have to take it, you have to seize that moment and we didn't seize that moment today.

"And that is why there is extreme disappointment. We had busloads of people come here and people fly in here for this and, four years ago we didn't even charge for our games. So our disappointment was about this whole package, not losing a game. We have had a lot of people who have had faith in us, who have supported us and we feel like we disappointed them. Some things hurt you more in life than others and this hurts."
That being said, you get the feeling that Duke's season is going to be full of games like this -- some they're going to win, some they ain't.

The second part of the double-header featured Army v. Rutgers. Kudos to the Times for having a real reporter at the game. Bill Finley duly notes that CViv was might displeased with her team (her five starters sat through the first 10 minutes of the game) but Rutgers did manage to defeat Army 59-42.

To say the Black Knights were outsized by those in Scarlet would be a significant understatement. Honestly, when I caught a glimpse of two of the Army players as the teams lined up for the halftime ceremony, I thought, "How cool! They've included some local fourth graders in the proceedings!"

To be fair, both players are listed as short and shorter than short.

Army's height was further reduced when their leading scorer, senior Cara Enright, went down with an injury early in the first half. Enright is now the second leading scorer in Army history and spoke about playing in the Classic at the Garden:
"It's an amazing feeling to be here," said Enright. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. It's great to have this experience. It's almost like Maggie is giving this to us."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Mechelle sees 19 million and goes, "SAY WHAT!"
Thursday, the jury's unanimous verdict came in after an eight-week trial and four hours of deliberation: Johnson-Klein was awarded $19.1 million. The Fresno Bee has had the unenviable and laborious task of chronicling this mess, and I'd urge you to go to the newspaper's Web site and read its archived coverage. George Hostetter was the Bee's primary reporter for the Johnson-Klein trial and wrote fact-filled stories that also conveyed the undeniable sense of how soap-opera absurd some days of testimony were.

Even just a few stories will leave you with the feeling that "choosing sides" between Johnson-Klein and the school was akin to trying to untangle an unsavory knot of "which adults behaved badly more often."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Voepel takes a look at Cal (Berkeley) standouts Gray-Lawson, Hampton, Walker and Rama N'diaye.
Serious penalties for serious rules violations at Southeast Missouri State: the NCAA says all 79 wins and the '06 Big Dance appearance during the reign of ex-coach B. J. Smith must leave the record books.

The school, as you might expect, doesn't like the ruling. "We will exhaust all appeals," SEMO prez Ken Dobbins declares.
Via v.y., news of a recently homeless Minneapolis high schooler who's become a hoops star.
Wondering how to play basketball in a football dome? Syracuse knows: Penn State, who visited Orange territory last night, apparently has yet to learn. "We shot the ball very poorly," said coach Washington, whose team faces 5-1 Georgetown next.
Rutgers played the game their way, but the Blue Devils came away with the victory. It was a rematch of last year's Sweet Sixteen game-- but this time the Dukie at the line, Carrem Gay, made the free throws that sealed the win.

"When we needed to rebound, quite frankly, we didn't," coach Stringer concluded. Instead, coach Stringer freaked out when a calll went against her team in the closing seconds: the resulting technical foul against her gave Duke four free throws in a row.

The game might conceivably have been fun to watch, what with all those steals, but the box score makes it look like water torture: 19-17 at the half. 28% shooting (Rutgers). 1-16 three-point shooting (Duke). 38 turnovers combined, and a final combined score well under 100.

The Duke win will also sow confusion for poll-watchers: coach McCallie's new team had lost three in a row, but has now beaten the team that just beat Maryland. Next week's number three spot will be anyone's guess.
I've been trying to follow the Fresno State/Stacy Johnson-Klein sexual discrimination lawsuit in which she alleged she was fired because she advocated for women's rights. (Thank you Title IX blog for helping). But I'm not ashamed to admit that it all got so twisted and deep, I finally decided to let it go and simply wait for the verdict.

Here it is: Johnson-Klein was awarded $19.1 million. (Apparently S J-K offered to settle for $950,000 but Fresno wouldn't go above $550,000. Ooops.)

Thursday's verdict was the second judgment
against Fresno State in a sexual discrimination lawsuit this year. In July, a jury awarded former volleyball coach Lindy Vivas $5.85 million -- which a judge later reduced to $4.52 million -- in a lawsuit claiming she was fired because of her advocacy for gender equity and her perceived sexual orientation.

Fresno State will, of course, appeal and perhaps Ted will weigh in on the legal complexities of the Johnson-Klein case, but both cases echo something Nancy Hogshead-Makar said about Title IX suits:
"In the past," noted Nancy Hogshead-Makar, associate professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and recipient of Duke University's one and only swimming scholarship (1978), "when women complained about pay or how their female athletes were being treated, they were really close to being fired. Whereas now they have this call for agitation against retaliation, so actually they have more job protection if they complain than if they don't."
Something's in the water. Newsday writes about athletes returning to their sport after pregnancy, and now the Washington Post has an extensive piece about Brenda Frese and the steps she's taking this season as she coaches while pregnant with twins.
Of course many women must learn to juggle childbirth and workplace, but coaching high-level college basketball -- an increasingly competitive, high-profile, lucrative sport -- is unusually demanding, physically and psychologically. And the coaches interviewed for this story agree that someone who does it successfully is a rare bird.
Disappointingly enough, it looks like there's a new form of negative recruiting:
There are downsides. Rival coaches, Frese says, are using her pregnancy to persuade potential players to avoid coming to play for the Terps. "Some people try to spin it as 'How long will she be out?' That's a terrible thing. We're talking about two miracles of life here, not about a basketball game. It's irritating."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

McCarville blogs!
Bob Corwin has another tribute to the important longtime women's and girls' basketball writer Joe Smith, who passed away earlier this week; ESPN picks up the memorial piece from Glenn Nelson, which Helen blogged when it appeared over there.
All right, youse guys -- fess up! Who's been spiking the the NYTimes' watercooler. There's yet ANOTHER article on women's basketball. Perhaps someone should check if anti-coverage Tom Jolly has been podded.

This time Viv Bernstein checks in with Duke and new coach McCallie.

McCallie understood the expectations when she took the job. But she brought a record of success with her, having led Michigan State to the championship game in 2005 before the Spartans fell to Baylor. Still, her style of play is different from Goestenkors’s, and the players are still trying to learn the defense McCallie’s teams have been known for.

“It’s been an adjustment,” guard Abby Waner said. “We’ve faced adversity, but then again, what team doesn’t? Every season, there’s always a change.”

Duke will play Rutgers tonight, 7pmET. No TV/streaming, but I will say I listened to the Maryland/RU play-by-play on RU's radio and throughly enjoyed myself. You can also check out WCTC.com.
UConn blew away UVA: as predicted, it was a big game for big senior Brittany Hunter, whose fourteen points gave her a new UConn high.

Also big: Mel Thomas, who joined the 1K point club despite a poor shooting night.

Coach Ryan, after her Cavs got clobbered:"I've seen everyone play and I don't think anybody is where they are now at this moment. They are ahead of the country right now and I don't know why they aren't number one."
They're very happy about Brianne O'Rourke-- as they should be-- in Happy Valley. "She's our leader," coach Washington says.

PSU travels to Syracuse tonight, where they'll find out how it feels to play a basketball game in a football dome.

(Correction for Penn State sportswriter Andrew Wible, who is otherwise doing a neat job: Portland's offenses were just as guard oriented as Coquese Washington's look to be-- that was one reason her posts kept transferring, though there were other good reasons why people left, too.)
Georgetown's student paper notes that the Big East school hoses its women's team.

When UConn visits Georgetown, UConn's media people note it too:the last time the Huskies played the Hoyas, the women had trouble getting the men off the court (they were practicing) in order to warm up before the women's game.

It all seems very Eighties. What other major-conference schools with winning men's teams treat their women's hoops squad that way?
Winning at Fresno State last night: Loyola Marymount, whose student newspaper takes a long look today at athletic scholarships in general, and (in particular) at women's hoops scholarships in the WCC.
Closing arguments pack a Fresno courtroom in the Stacy Johnson-Klein case.

Whatever you think of the adults involved, you have to feel bad for the Bulldogs, who have yet to win a game this year.
Last night also included two early celebrations of Groundhog Day:

1. Notre Dame needed overtime to get past Bowling Green-- again.

This time, Charel Allen sank a jump shot with just a second left. Nine players ended up in double figures, five for ND and four for BGSU, including 20 from skinny, smart guard Kate Achter.

"They showed unbelievable effort" said BGSU's coach Miller, who probably thought this would be a rebuilding year.

2. Maryland had unexpected trouble defeating Middle Tennessee-- again. This time the Terps had excuses: coach Brenda wasn't on the bench, and everybody on the team felt ill.

Toliver, who keyed the win, felt so ill she skipped the press conference afterwards. "She's the best point guard in the country," said MTSU coach Insell.
Illinois tied things up late, but Oklahoma pulled away on the strength of repeated steals from lightning-fast first-year Danielle Robinson.

Courtney Paris had the usual; for the Illini, post Jenna Smith and guard Chelsea Gordon combined for 31. "Courtney is just very big and very strong," Smith noted. "She's the toughest person I have ever played against."

UPDATE: OU vs UIUC was the first game we watched on the new Big Ten Network, to which a big thumbs up: clean, uncluttered graphics, intelligent annnouncers who aren't distracted any more than they have to be by matters off-court (yes, they have to push football a bit, but look where they were), and... it's available in HD.
A belated celebration for an undaunted and undefeated team: the 1957 Augsburg Augiettes.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Clay breaks down the latest D-I poll: he thinks Old Dominion deserves a spot, and notes two more impressive (more impressive than Oklahoma State, that is) unbeaten teams.
The small cadre of writers that consider themselves "women's basketball writers" have lost a member of the clan. Writes Glenn Nelson over at Hoopgurlz.com:

For decades, Joe Smith has been as much a part of the female basketball landscape as ponytails and held balls. Yet it took his passing on Tuesday, at the age of 65, for many to take note of the impact Smith had on the sport he'd grown to love so much.

As Vincent Cannizarro, who coached at Christ the King in Middle Village, N.Y., from 1980 to 1999, said, "People will tell you that Joe was a bigger-than-life character who many people admired and respected. The women's game has lost a champion today."

UConn are at home in Hartford tonight against Geno's onetime mentor Debbie Ryan of UVA: Ryan, who has battled cancer for a very long time, and who has coached such greats as Dawn Staley, finally becomes a Hall of Famer this season.

Also in the Nutmeg State, the Courant looks at UConn's fifth-year senior Brittany Hunter: "She's one of the few kids on our team," says Geno-- perhaps trying to motivate teammates-- "that actually goes after a rebound."

She does have that knee issue, though. Trainer Rosemary Ragle "has been monitoring Brittany's practice time, making sure that she isn't putting too much extra wear and tear on the knee," says assistant coach Elliott, "so when game time comes she's ready."
Some mild surprises last night:

1. Last year's A-Ten champion, Xavier, surprised NC State in Raleigh. Amber Harris, once bound for Purdue, tallied 19 for XU's Musketeers; NCSU's Whittington had 26 but didn't have much help. "I was putting 'em in," said Whittington, "But we still need other people to score."

2. James Madison are no longer undefeated, having lost decisively at Falwell Liberty U. The high-scoring game saw two players score 20 apiece, and three with double-doubles.

The Dukes, who knocked off GW two weeks ago, remain undefeated at home-- but the Terps are coming to town, and they're not in a good mood.

3. Speaking of undefeated teams-- did you know that Oklahoma State still hasn't lost? The Cowgirls are 8-0 after canning Wichita State... but they don't play a single major-conference opponent, unless you count TCU, till their Big XII season starts.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Newsday looks at the (lessening) impact of pregnancy on an athlete's career.
Nearly six months and hours upon hours in the gym later, most of the shock of new motherhood has worn off. Leslie, fresh off a tour with the U.S. Senior National team, said last week that she feels great and is planning on resuming her career with the Los Angeles Sparks this season - bringing Lauren, whom she is nursing, on the road with her.

That makes the 6-5, 170-pound Leslie, 35, just the latest in a growing number of worldclass female athletes who are choosing to become mothers in the middle of their careers - and are attempting to do so without taking a prolonged break from their sport.
Poll time.
Division III: Bowdoin has dropped out of the polls completely. Wow. Michigan's Hope Collge comes in at the top spot, followed by Howard Payne (TX), Messiah College (PA), Mary Washington (VA) and New York University.

Best name in the poll: #25 Oglethorpe University (GA).

Division II: The top five are unchanged: North Dakota, Delta State, Washburn, UC San Diego and UAlaska-Anchorage. Indiana University Of Pennsylvania jumped from 10th to 6th and gives me the chance to ask, "What up with the names, PA?" 'Cause there's also a California University of Pennsylvania.

How do I know this? Because I watched back in 2004 when their very good women's basketball team won the D-II championship. I believe I was coming down from a D-I tournament game and was looking for the UCLA/Minnesota game. I walked away thinking -- they may be shorter and smaller that D-I, but dang, their basketball skills rock!

Speaking of D-I: No surprise, the SEC's Tennessee sits atop the rankings. Two Big East teams follow (UConn and Rutgers), with the ACC (UNC) and the PAC-10 (Stanford) rounding out the top five.

Terrapins still rule over the Tigers and Bulldogs. The Golden Bears (12) are within a paw swipe of the Lady Bears (10).

The Commodores rode the wave of their win up a spot to 17, the Mountaineers are climbing, but the Colonials are going a tad retro, dropping to 21st. It look like the Fighting Irish are making a name for themselves at the 20th spot and the Cowgirls hitched themselves up a spot or tw0 (22).

The Blue Demons (17) are on the heels of the Blue Devils (16), but the Sun Devils (19) seem to be fading.

And that's what happens when you blog with a fever. Count your lucky stars NAIA and NJCAA haven't updated their rankings....

And, in case you're wondering, Oglethorpe's are the Stormy Petrels. Before you laugh, know this: ESPN's David Lloyd named the Stormy Petrel as one of the most memorable college mascot names of all time, second only to the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz.

So there. You learn something new every day, but no one said it had to be useful.
Help name the Atlanta franchise by voting here.
Brian McCormick wants to start a movement to save recess.
Rutgers came back late to beat the Terps in New Jersey behind Ephipanny Prince's 22.

The startling comeback took place while Kia Vaughn sat with foul trouble, and proved that RU could make Maryland play Rutgers' way: scrappy, intense on defense, and without the smooth passing the Terps demonstrate when they're good.

Langhorne set a Maryland record for boards: "I wish it could have happened in another game," she said.

UPDATE: Hays at ESPN has more. Both coaches agree that the Scarlet Knights "wanted a low-scoring game" (Brenda); Rutgers "can take most [teams] 10, 15, 20, 25 points off their average" (CVS).

Pop quiz: Rutgers' recent successes are (a) good for the game as a whole, because CVS is a very good role model; (b) good for the game as a whole, because (as with UConn's rise in the 1990s) it's good to have another national contender close to the USA's biggest media market; (c) bad for the game as a whole, because the defense-first strategies, exhausting scrambles, and low-scoring outcomes that CVS favors make the game less entertaining, minute by minute, especially for casual fans; (d) good for the game as a whole, because defense is good for you. Justify your answers in writing, please: they're due sometime before coach Stringer's book.

Monday, December 03, 2007

SI.com's Caitlin Moscatello writes about Chamique Holdsclaw's retirement from the W and decision to play abroad.
The decision to leave the WNBA and resurface in Europe is not new -- Holdsclaw did the same thing in 2004 after falling into deep depression following the loss of her grandmother, June. But this time it's not related to depression, says Holdsclaw. This time, it's about spending time with her family and getting away from the grind of the WNBA.

"Family means a lot to me," says Holdsclaw. "It's more important than a sport."

Seems playing in Russia is not fun for everyone. Armintie Price is back from Siberia. Really!
The biggest reason was that our team organization was having a number of legal and financial problems. The team president was arrested for embezzlement and is currently being investigated, which made the organization financially unstable and unable to pay the players.
If you talk to some of the veterans of the W, I'm sure you'll find Price's story is not a new one.
Don't get ESPN2? Listen to tonight's RU v Maryland game on WCTC 1450AM or WRSU FM 88.7.
Via Paul, the L.A. Times asks why the number of women coaches in colleges keeps going down.
In another close game on national TV, Tennessee just barely got past the Tar Heels despite Carolina's late run.

CP3 and Hornbuckle combined for 45, Larkins and McCants for 41. "This game tonight was a national championship game," said coach Hatchell of the '07 semifinals rematch. Could be-- but Geno and Brenda, among others, might have something to say first.
Tickets are still available for the Maggie Dixon Classic this Saturday at Madison Square Garden. The noon double-header features Rutgers, Duke, Pittsburgh and Army. As always, you can get tickets through Ticketscapler. I went to the Garden's box office and avoided the $10 PER TICKET "inconvenience" charge.

Must say that waiting in line for almost an hour as people negotiated with the B.O. almost made me reconsider the hefty fee. ("Really, you have nothing over here," asked the hopeful Cirque de Soleil fan.... "You bet their sweet bippy they do!" I was tempted to shout, "It's just the computer doesn't want to sit there! Accept it and MOVE ON!") I entertained myself by trying to translated the Spanish being spoken behind me (from Barcelona) and seeing how many times the Classic was flashed up on the "Upcoming Events" boards by the box office windows.

I counted three times -- and they couldn't be bothered to identify the four teams (one of them local) playing. Sigh. Anyways -- if you want tickets -- drop me a line. I'll only charge you a minor inconvenience fee.