Monday, December 31, 2007
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.
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
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
"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."
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
Thursday, December 27, 2007
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.
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.)
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
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
IU had lost its last four, while WVU had won its previous seven. "This is a program changer," Hoosiers coach Leggett-Jack said.
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.
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
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.
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
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?
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
"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."
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
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.
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.
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
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
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.
Geno talks with Jeff Jacobs about what the injury means. (Short answer: it's a bummer. But we knew that.)
The team has a nice little history. Notes the host: “County Champs 1934,” “District Champs 1935,” “County Champs 1936,” and County Champs 1935.”
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.
Monday, December 17, 2007
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.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.
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.
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.
You know that they need to do next? Send out a "heads up" email every time it's updated....
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:
- Carol Blazejowski, Montclair State Col.
- Denise Curry, UCLA
- Anne Donovan, Old Dominion
- Tara Heiss, Maryland
- Kris Kirchner, Maryland
- Debra Miller, Boston Univ.
- Cindy Noble, Tennessee
- LaTaunya Pollard, Long Beach State
- Jill Rankin, Tennessee
- Rosie Walker, Stephen F. Austin State
- Holly Warlick, Tennessee
- Lynette Woodard, Kansas
HEAD COACH: Sue Gunter, Stephen F. Austin State University
ASSISTANT COACH: Pat Head, University of Tennessee
MANAGER: Betty Jo Graber, Weathersford College (TX)
Sunday, December 16, 2007
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
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.
Friday, December 14, 2007
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?'
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.”
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!
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
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.
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.
"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."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
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.
"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.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
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!
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.”
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.
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
"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.
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
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.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.
"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."
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
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
The school, as you might expect, doesn't like the ruling. "We will exhaust all appeals," SEMO prez Ken Dobbins declares.
"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.
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."
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
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.
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."
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.)
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?
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.
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.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
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."
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.