Women's Hoops Blog: January 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Seattle waives Swoopes: so says the dot-com. Is she retiring?
The Basket Cases drove to Charlottesville to see the Terps play UVA last night, and they didn't like what they saw. Maryland led at the break, but Virginia came roaring back for an important ACC win.

One key was defense; another was Kristen London, a senior who barely played until injuries created a vacancy among Ryan's reserves. London finished with 5 boards, 5 assists, and a late trey that preserved the Cavs' comfortable lead.

“If Debbie wants me to fill up the water coolers, I will do that,” London told reporters before the game. “Whatever job that she wants to give me, I am going to handle it... I just feel like it is a time that has been long coming.”
Rebkellians think about the Phoenix-Lynx recent Lynx trades. So do other Minnesota fans.

I'm with the emerging consensus: Phoenix got rooked. All told, it's the best set of trades Minnesota has made in a while-- and I say this as someone who tried to believe in the upside for Hayden (maybe the changed environment will help).

Kelly Miller is not only a tough backcourt player who seems to help her teammates improve: she's also a native of Rochester, Minnesota, just like her twin sister Coco. Coach Z says Lynx fans might see Coco on their team too: "You never rule out anything," he told hometown reporters. "But it won't happen this weekend. I'm going home to get some rest."
At Full Court, advice for high school players now in the middle of the recruitment process (wherever the "middle" falls these days).

Says writer Kenny Kallina: "While the dream of hitting the game-winning shot for Tennessee is in the back of everyone’s mind, going to a school where you can contribute, fit in, and be valued is something much more important, especially when you are going to spend four years of your life at that school."

Well, maybe not everyone. The Courant's Don Amore reminisces with Geno, who will, today, coach his 800th UConn game.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mechelle is talkin' football -- but watch out for the zinger at the end.
Mechelle blogs: Even on verge of milestone, Summitt not content.

Charlie kinda piles on: Milestone aside, Lady Vols are underperforming.

The .com breaks it down year-by-year and identifies some major milestones.
And more there is. The Lynx also dealt Lindsey Harding to the Washington Mystics, along with their 2010 second round pick.

In return, the Lynx acquired the ninth and fifteenth picks in this year's draft.
The Minnesota Lynx are busy today.

They acquired Christi Thomas from the Sparks, for Vanessa Hayden-Johnson. And they are bringing in a Minnesota native. Kelly Miller is coming home, along with LaToya Pringle. The Mercury get Nicole Ohlde.

Stay tuned. There may be more coming.
The North Carolina State team returned to the court last night and while they didn't leave with a win, their mere presence seems victory enough.
Fun times last night!
1) Mechelle looks wicked smart (or has great timing) as #20 Florida State roared back in the last few seconds of regulation to tie the game, and then surged to victory over #4 Duke, 82-75.

2) Georgia seems to be enjoying conference play -- and they sure enjoyed taking down undefeated #4 Auburn, 67-58. This is Georgia's first win over a top 5 team since beating No. 2 Texas on Nov. 21, 2004.

3) The moanin' and groanin' and you heard coming out of Bristol, CT last night were the ESPN executives watching Mississippi extend their lead over Tennessee to 9 points with 4:10 left. Their gnashing of teeth turned to hysterical cheering when Angie Bjorklund nailed a game winning/game ending three to give Coach Summitt victory #999. Let loose the Hype Hounds!!!

5) #22 Vandy needed overtime to defeat Arkansas.

6) #10 North Carolina righted the ship (though there were some shaky moments) and beat Wake Forest 77-66.

7) #16 Florida made quick work of Kentucky, coasting to a 74-59 win.

8) #5 Cal stomped UCLA -- but more importantly, seem to have Hampton returning to form.

9) #14 Ohio State squeezed by Michigan.

10) #8 Stanford made quick work of USC, pulling away for an 81-53 win.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What? You haven't checked out the latest podcast from Beth and Debbie? Debbie's sister nigh on steals the show.
Mechelle says, "Hey, ACC, check out dem 'noles."
North Carolina senior guard Alex Miller, after collaborating with her family and the Tar Heel sports medicine staff, has decided to end her playing career effective immediately.
As a women's basketball history nut, it is so encouraging to cross paths with people who feel the same way.

That's what happened when I hopped on the NY/Hartford bus on Tuesday to attend the opening of the Connecticut Historical Society's exhibit, "She Shoots! She Scores! Women's Basketball in Connecticut."

The impetus for the program was a presentation by John Molina, who many know for his enthusiastic research on the All American Red Heads. Six years later, lots and lots of hard work and research by the CHS's staff, and voila -- this delightful, thorough, and rich exhibit. I need to make a return visit because I spent most of my time there talking with the guests -- many of whom were represented in some manner within the exhibit.

I truly enjoyed speaking with Gail Marks, an All American Red Head I'd actually met previously. She volunteered her sports massage (IIRC) services during a Jennifer Rizzotti fundraising basketball game (lot of great WNBAers show up) a few years ago. She and I struck up a conversation while standing in the vom. I don't know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that she remembered me.

Equally humbling was my time with Florence Price. She played on a black "industrial team" -- a team sponsored by a company. Her team played against white teams back in the the 40's and 50's and encountered more than their fair share of racist comments. Seems like Florence's coach took the same attitude the great Lusia Harris did -- don't say anything, just give them what for on the court. (By the way, kudos to LeBron James for honoring Lucy.)

I know that every state has similar stories that are waiting to be discovered and told. Which is why I'm thrilled to find another example of historical preservation and exploration happening in the Sunshine State: Many past presidents of the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women will gather in Southwest Florida from Feb. 11-14.

If you don't know what the AIAW is (tsk! tsk!), it was
the first organization to run women's collegiate championships after Title IX - the federal law mandating equal opportunities for male and female athletes - went into effect in 1972. The AIAW ran 41 championships in 19 sports while it existed from 1972-82.

Why the AIAW and not the NCAA?
Our original goal was to be part of the NCAA. We had tried, but when women first approached (former NCAA president) Walter Byars about starting athletics, he told them flat-out that the NCAA is a men's organization and never will have women's programs."
How far has the NCAA come?
An NCAA official will videotape a panel discussion among the presidents at 11 a.m. Feb. 12 at Florida Gulf Coast University's VIP Lounge at Alico Arena.
Which means I don't have to miss a deadline and pretend to be sick and hop a plane to Florida. (Though, don't think I'm not tempted.)

Even better news for women's basketball: Joan Hult, a former college athletics administrator who worked for the passage of Title IX, is working on a book about the history of the AIAW. Fellow history nuts will recognize Hult's name from the book, "A Century of Women's Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four," a fabulous collection of essential papers and articles on the game.

Cannot wait!
From the AP's Aaron Beard: Wolfpack coming to grips with Yow’s death.

Kay Yow sometimes said that basketball offered an escape from her long fight against cancer.

Now Yow is gone, and the players and coaches she left behind at North Carolina State don’t know if they can find a similar solace in the sport they love.

“We have no idea, do we?” interim coach Stephanie Glance said Tuesday as she put her arms around senior Shayla Fields and sophomore Tia Bell. “We’re going to sort of walk through this, moment by moment and day by day, as best we can as a group of people who find ourselves in a very difficult situation.

"Atencion! Atencion!" as they sing in "In the Heights," but for a happier reason.

Nikki Caldwell's arrival at UCLA has generated some good basketball and, just as significant, a fair amount of ink/pixels. Case in point, Michelle Smith in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

The Bruins are sporting an unmistakable Tennessee vibe, relying on athleticism to play pressure defense, run an up-tempo offense and dominate the glass. UCLA is the leading rebounding team in the Pac-10 at 44.1 rebounds per game.

"There are a lot of similarities," Caldwell acknowledged. "One of the things we are trying to do is know what our identity is. Every time we step on the floor, we want to establish that identity. We're a rebounding team when all is said and done."

Speaking of milestones, I believe someone is nearing a pretty big one. (Oh, you can just hear the ESPN suits jumping up and down in anticipation of "Big Monday," can't ya?)

Sally Jenkins, who has oft chronicled Coach Summitt's accomplishments, weighs in:

To fully appreciate Pat Summitt's achievements, you have to stand in her kitchen on the day of a big game and watch her sweat over the stove like a fry cook. A large space with two ovens opens into a living room continuously packed with family, friends, old sorority sisters, former players, neighbors' children and what seems like a herd of galloping Labradors.

On the stove top dishes simmer, because after the game Summitt will feed this mob, as well as any semi-orphans, foreign travelers and itinerant golden retrievers who stop by. On occasion, she has even fed the opposing team. Between stirring, Summitt dodges into the pantry and kicks the dryer shut.

You wonder if John Wooden ever did laundry on game day.

Congrats to St. Norbert College coach Connie Tilley who earned her 500th win.

At 56 years old and in her 32nd season — a span in which SNC has won 12 conference championships and gone to eight NCAA Division III tournaments, most recently last season — Tilley said she has no idea if she'll be around long enough to hit the next round number.

"Every year, I'll reevaluate," said Tilley, who has lost exactly half as many games (250) as she's won. "I love what I'm doing right now. I think I'll know. And maybe it will be this year, maybe it will be next year, maybe it will be in five years — who knows? I don't know. But as long as I can have the energy and I have the passion for it and I can keep that going, I'm going to keep going.

Funeral arrangements have been made for Coach Yow:
A public viewing will be held Friday, January 30, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. ET with the funeral to follow at 3:00 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary, N.C. The burial will take place Saturday, January 31, at 10:00 a.m. at the Gibsonville Cemetery in Gibsonville, N.C.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to:

Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
and mailed to:
WBCA, attention Megan Smith
4646 Lawrenceville Hwy.
Lilburn, GA 30047

Phone: 919-380-9505 (Toll free 1-800-4JimmyV)

Online: https://www.jimmyv.org/support-us/donate-now.html


Cary Alliance Church
4108 Ten Ten Road
Apex, NC 27539
(919) 467-9331

This is as good a time as any to remind people that the WBCA Pink Zone games are coming the Feb 13-22. In 2008, over 1,200 teams and organizations participated, reaching over 830,000 fans and raising over $930,000 for breast cancer awareness and research.

You can click here see if your team is participating and you can click here to purchase items to support the cause.
A couple of days ago, after Auburn continued their undefeated season with a victory over Tennessee and Oklahoma defeated Texas, Mechelle asked "Will the real No. 2 please stand up?

Don't know that last night's #3 Baylor v #2 Oklahoma game helped her get closer to the answer. But it did inspire her to wax loquacious about the plethora of low scoring games.
Actually, let's be non-partisan and blame Barack Obama for the fact that this 2008-09 hoops campaign appears more and more to be "The Season That Offense Forgot." I don't really think he's responsible, though. At this point, I'm not sure just whom to pin it on. Look, Rutgers isn't playing in all these games.

Wednesday's yuckiest Top 25 score was No. 21 Xavier's 42-41 win against St. Joseph's. Xavier also has the distinction of being part of the worst-looking score on Saturday -- a 69-29 victory over Rhode Island. (runner-up was UConn 65, Cincinnati 34).
As for last night's 2/3 match-up, I can only assume the presence of George and Laura Bush rattled both teams 'cause lordy, it's been a long time since I've seen so many missed bunnies and ugly clangers and air balls. Much moaning and groaning was heard but, what's cool is that even a low scoring game can turn into a heart-stopper.

It came down to the wire, with Oklahoma's Whitney Hand hitting a clutch three (her first points of the game) with 1.08 left and put the Sooners up three. Baylor's Jessica Morrow iced a three to tie. Courtney then slithered in a two, putting the ball back in Morrow's hands. A rushed shot was missed, then Danielle Robinson nailed a 1-and-one (how MUCH do I love this rule), and the game moved into Oklahoma's win column, 56-51 (even though the ESPN.com AP headline gives the victory to Oklahoma State).
There's a long history of basketball players also playing softball -- just ask Annie Meyers about the Lionettes from Orange, California.

Or, ask former Louisville point guard Patrika Barlow.
Taking advantage of the NCAA rule that gives student-athletes five years of eligibility, although only four in any one sport, Barlow is now a candidate for the starting job in right field for the softball team while she pursues a master's degree in social work.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Silver Stars talk about Coach Yow and put out a video of Coach Yow's visit during a SASS/LA game.
Cranky that the Baylor/Oklahoma game isn't available in your area? Check out the Baylor website for a free webcast.
What the 'kellians knew a while ago is now official: W rosters are down to 11. The good news?
The league's salary cap will stay the same ($803,000) this season. So the savings will essentially provide teams an extra $70,000 to use to enhance the top of their rosters.
The Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford has a new exhibit I hope to see in the next year.

She Shoots . . . She Scores! Women’s Basketball in Connecticut opened last night and runs through January 2, 2010.
Pat loses her patience.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another day, another lopsided victory for the Huskies, in a game most folks thought might be close. Last week the opponent was number two North Carolina.

This week it was Louisville, whose leading scorer, Angel McCoughtry, might well be the first pick in this year's draft. Louisville are known for their hustling, scrambling defense: coach Walz's team scrambled early, to good effect, forcing turnovers and leading 32-31.

After that: thump. UConn dominated. The game was over with ten minutes still to play. UConn frosh Tiffany Hayes had a breakout night: 23 points, 6-10 from three-point land. "I was going to make the kid shoot," said coach Walz, "and she did."

Any worries for Husky fans? Just one, as usual: depth. Hayes had the only bench points: Hayes and McLaren, as usual, were the only reserves who saw minutes while the outcome was still in doubt. But UConn are still in a place other teams would love to be.
Karen Bailis writes about Coach Yow:
For about two years, the wallpaper on my laptop has been two red and black Nike high tops inscribed with a pink bow and the name Coach Yow on the ankle straps; the words THE GOOD FIGHT float above the shoes.

Those words don’t even begin to tell the story of North Carolina State Coach Kay Yow, who died Saturday after an epic battle with cancer that she ultimately lost but from which all of us came out winners. Yow fought for more than 20 years, as that insidious enemy breast cancer kept returning. She fought for herself and for others, raising money and raising hopes against a disease that saps both.
Rebecca Lobo's Massachusetts state record falls to guard Bilqis Abdul-Qadir of Springfield. She'll attend Memphis this fall.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nels Hawkinson is a name many coaches will know, but will be familar to fans only because of what he organizes. Paradise Jam, for instance.

He wrote of his memories of Kay Yow.

Who’s Your Hero???

Looking back twenty- four years ago I recall attending my very first Women’s Final Four. I was a women’s Division 2/NAIA coach at Seattle Pacific University. The event was not what it is today, being more intimate with fewer folks at the convention.

Like many of us at our first Final Four, I was just trying to soak up as much of the excitement as possible. The highlight of that trip was attending an FCA small get together and seeing some of the “successful” coaches I had heard so much about. That was the night I first met Coach Kay Yow. She sought me out and inquired as to who I was and welcomed me and we visited. I could not believe she was talking to me. Then out of the blue, she asked me to close our time in prayer. I will never forget how scared and nervous I was. So nervous, I needed to pray about what I had to pray about.

Over the years, we’ve shared meals, cliff diving on a Greek island, the beaches of St Thomas, Final Fours, and ACC basketball games. Kay was always about others, when it could have been so easy to just be about herself.

I have some great coaching friends that I admire, however Coach Yow has always been my one true “Hero”. Now she is gone and I miss her already. We all do. Those angels must be having quite a party this week.
More Mechelle: Kay would love it if we laugh a bit, too.
As a journalist, one of my favorite funny memories of Yow was when she coached despite a case of laryngitis, which plagued her more than once in her career. Throughout the game, Yow would feverishly write things on her dry-erase board and show it to her team or her coaching staff.

Afterward, Yow came to the press conference along with assistant Stephanie Glance. It was hilarious. We’d ask Yow a question like, “Were you pleased with your defense?” Yow would nod vigorously, and Glance would say, “Coach Yow was pleased with the defense.”
Kelli Anderson, Sports Illustrated:
She'll be remembered by many for the support and encouragement she gave them, all of which came back to her in spades during her three battles with breast cancer. I'll remember her for her friendliness and her infectious energy, and for how she thought about the welfare of her players and her sport. Before I left Raleigh on that whirlwind road trip, Yow thanked me for the attention we were giving her team and women's basketball. She even gave me a parting gift, a pair of black Wolfpack practice shorts. The shorts are long gone, but I'll never forget the gesture.
From Dick Patrick of USAToday:
There were moments of silence at men's and women's basketball games throughout the country. A makeshift memorial of flowers and posters appeared at the North Carolina State campus. Coaches wore upside-down pink ribbons.
Yet the most poignant tribute to Kay Yow, the North Carolina State women's basketball coach who died Saturday morning at 66 after fighting breast cancer for two decades, occurred Saturday night in Queens, N.Y., where her sister Susan Yow coached Belmont Abbey against Queens College, coached by one of Yow's greatest players, Trudi Lacey.

Before the Division II game, the coaches hugged at midcourt, Lacey breaking down in tears. "I told her Kay would want us both to be coaching tonight," said Susan Yow, whose team overcame an 18-point deficit for a 64-62 win.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In the LA Times, Sparks owner Kathy Goodman writes an appreciation of Coach Yow:
I met Coach Yow once. She came to a Sparks game during our 2007 season - the first season we owned the team. I saw her sitting behind our bench and hesitated about talking to her. We were not playing our best basketball that day and we were getting killed on the court. I finally summoned up the courage and approached her. I introduced myself and told her I wished she had come when we were playing better. She smiled at me and said, "You have a good young team here. Don’t worry. They’ll be fine. I just like watching basketball." It seemed so simple.

I would say Coach Yow would be missed, but the legacy she has left us is so expansive, so pervasive, she will always be a part of women’s basketball.
In today's New York Times, the lead sports feature looks at Pat Summitt-- or rather, at Pat's proteges: one of them probably coaches for a school near you. "I didn't always like her when I was playing for her," says Michelle Marciniak, "but I'm very grateful now."

Tennessee papers ran similar stories on Summitt's so-called "coaching tree" last month: her upcoming 1,000-victory mark makes her army of former players-- who, all told, have changed the game immeasurably-- news again.

Lady Vol fans discuss. We, and they, might also contact the Times to thank the editors for their attention-- and to let them know we're reading.
Big day in the Big East yesterday, with two upsets and one extreme result:

1. Villanova's infamous go-slow style gave the Wildcats an upset win over Notre Dame. "We knew we could not win unless it was low-scoring," said coach Peretta. The box score doesn't make it look all that slow-- more like good defense, with a lot of missed shots.

2. DePaul took out Rutgers in Chicago with a last-minute trey from China Threatt. The game had fewer possessions than Villanova's, or at least a lot fewer shot attempts: for RU, Brittany Ray tallied 20, but Kia Vaughn scored nothing at all.

3. UConn administered a ridiculous beatdown in Cincinnati: the home team trailed 39-7 at the half. The showing (though not the win) might have surprised UConn fans who remembered the teams' tough match from two years ago.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

"If a person really has a grateful heart, the door can open wide for so many good things to come your way."
Kay Yow, 1942-2009
Programming Alert: Currently on ESPN Classic: They're showing a replay of the 1998 Sweet 16 game between NC State and ODU. Next it will be the 1998 Elite 8 game in which NC State beats UConn to advance to their first Final Four.

From ESPN - an article and video/audio with Coach Summitt.

Reaction to the death of NC State women’s coach Kay Yow.

"Few coaches won more, none won more gracefully," by Jim Litke, AP Sports Columnist.
Kay Yow was around at the start of the debate. It’s just one measure of how influential she was to women’s sports that three decades later, even at the moment of her passing at age 66, Yow’s insistence that how you win was as important as whether you win never seemed more relevant.

She was two years out of graduate school and just beginning to carve out a career as women’s basketball coach and athletics coordinator at tiny Elon College in North Carolina when the groundbreaking piece of legislation known as Title IX was passed in 1972. But to pioneers like Yow, just as important as the promise of equal opportunity was the sense of responsibility women owed one another in developing a game of their own.
From the USOC
"The U.S. Olympic Committee is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Coach Kay Yow.

Coach Yow was an icon whose contributions transcend the sport of basketball. She was a teacher who led with uncommon strength and courage. Her success with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team is but one chapter in a remarkable career.

We extend our condolences to Coach Yow's family members, as well as the many players and coaches for whom Coach Yow was not only a positive influence, but an inspiration throughout her career."
Lovely words from Mechelle: Yow's considerable efforts will live on.

The loss of Yow, who went the distance in a knock-down, drag-out war with cancer before passing away Saturday at age 66, leaves not just NC State but also women's athletics with a permanent void.

Who else was this successful at this high a level while always being universally liked? Who else inspired only admiration and never ire in her foes? Even her fiercest adversary -- Cancer, with the capital C -- would have expressed boundless admiration, were it an entity that could speak.
Video: Kay Yow Segment On Pride, Passion and Power

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
Women’s Basketball Loses Inspirational Leader and Friend,
N.C. State’s Kay Yow

After facing three bouts with breast cancer, North Carolina State head women’s basketball coach Kay Yow passes away

ATLANTA -The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, announce the heartbreaking loss of North Carolina State head women’s basketball coach Kay Yow. Yow passed away this morning after facing three bouts with breast cancer.

“Coach Kay Yow had a remarkable career in the sport of women's basketball,” said Oklahoma Head Coach and WBCA President Sherri Coale. “Her resume and associated accolades reveal her professional excellence, but her legacy will be the remarkable impact she had on all with whom she came in contact. In sickness and in health she was a bastion of courage and kindness. Her zest for life and her determination to make a difference in this world have galvanized our profession while inspiring millions.”

“Words cannot even begin to express the impact that Coach Yow had on me personally and on this Association,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “I have known her for 32 years, and she is by far one of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to get to know. Her legacy and impact will continue to live on even in her passing through her Foundation leading us toward a cure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family. This is a very sad day for all of us.”

“What a sad day for all of us with the loss of such a dear coach, friend and mentor, Kay Yow,” said Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund President Marsha Sharp. “It is humbling to serve as the President of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, and to have the opportunity to uphold her legacy of faith, integrity, inspiration and leadership through the Fund. I am positive that she would want us all to unite and find a way to continue the battle that she fought for years. We WILL find a cure for cancer.”

Yow is a past president and founding member of the WBCA, and served as a leader and a galvanizing voice for the Association. She was an Olympic Gold Medal head coach in 1988, NCAA® Elite Eight® and Women’s Final Four® coach in 1998, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2000, as well as a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2002. Yow won the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance at the 2007 ESPY Awards. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987.

In December 2007, Yow established the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation as a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.

“I am honored to have a Fund established in partnership with The V Foundation that bears the name of Kay Yow,” said Nick Valvano, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation for Cancer Research. “Her courage, faith and legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those she helped to inspire throughout her coaching career and battle with cancer.”

Yow, 66, had been supported by her family and her staff in the last several days and was even able to visit with her entire team at WakeMed Cary Hospital earlier this week.

In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund at www.JimmyV.org, by calling 1-800-4JimmyV, or by mailing checks to the WBCA with attention Megan Smith at 4646 Lawrenceville Hwy. Lilburn, GA 30047. All donations are tax deductible. Visiting and funeral arrangements will be posted on www.wbca.org as soon as they are available.

To share your thoughts and prayers with the family or memories of Yow, click here.

About the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund is a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.

About The V Foundation
The V Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer. The Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer. The V Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising and philanthropy.
Heartbreaking news: Coach Kay Yow has died.
Via NPR (!), a high school girls' score in Dallas makes national news: Covenant defeated Dallas Academy 100-0. The winning school has since sought to forfeit the game.

As elite girls' teams keeps getting better, the debate about blowouts and mercy rules has picked up steam-- but the Dallas story may not have much to do with years-long trends and elite talent levels: Dallas Academy serves kids who have struggled elsewhere, and their hoops team rarely wins a game.
A month ago it looked like this year's East Coast surprise might be Virginia. Now it looks like Florida State: the 'Noles upset the Cavaliers last night in a match that went right down to the wire-- three FSU starters fouled out, and UVA cut a 13-point gap right down to one, but the visitors hung on.

"We didn't let the crowd, the fouls, and everything that was going against us... get to us," said FSU's Jacinta Monroe. Lyttles and Wright together scored most of UVA's points: no FSU player matched their numbers, but all five Seminole starters hit double digits.

FSU's very respectable schedule has wins over Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia Tech (but earlier losses to Valparaiso and Washington): they're undefeated in the ACC so far-- but Thursday the 'Noles play Duke.

Friday, January 23, 2009

From the NYTimes: Candace Parker is Balancing Career and Family.
“Here she is, front and center, and people are discussing the timing of her reproductive life,” Orender said Friday in a telephone interview. “That’s a very public discussion that hasn’t happened before. I do think that’s a good thing for women who go through these issues often in silence or alone.”

She added, “Candace can be a very usable symbol of how you can have a family and a career.”

(so, I'm wondering, is there a 22-year old male we could swap out in this story to be the symbol for men that they can have a career and a family?)
Hays notes that Louisville is having another good year: at the moment they're 19 and 1, with victories over Hartford and Rutgers.

His column promotes this Monday's TV game, against mighty UConn: it's Louisville's next game, but it isn't (contra Hays) UConn's-- that would be Cincinnati, this Saturday (7pm, CPTV).

Hartford's sportswriters seem more interested in Caroline Doty's surgery, which took place, successfully, yesterday.

Said Shea Ralph, now a UConn assistant: "I was there with [Doty] this morning. I made her a care package, gave her a hug. There's really nothing to say, at this point. We just talked a lot about what a great shooter she's going to be when she comes back."
Seems the mid-majors aren't immune neither: Marist go boom.

The Fairfield Stags took them to overtime and earned a 73-64 win.

If you're wondering who the heck are those Stag people, you might recall the name of their coach: Joe Frager.

He's in his second year, after taking over for the legendary Dianne Nolan (who's now an assistant at Yale under Gobrecht - who knew!). Frager earned national recognition (at least, in the Women's Hoops Blog) when his Southern Connecticut State University team won the 2007 Division II championship.
Just so you know, I will not comment on the LSU/Mississippi State game, and you can't make me.
FYI, ESPNU is scheduled to broadcast the TN/undefeatedAuburn game -- 3pmEST on Sunday (though it's not currently listed in my TV listings).

Pat is on win #998. After Auburn, it's Mississippi 1/29 (also on ESPNU).

Then it's Oklahoma and Big Monday, 2/2 on ESPN2.

Just a helpful hint, Vols: don't eat anything ESPN sends you on Sunday.... I'm just sayin'...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Great story of a looooong journey: Division II's Britney Jordan is the NCAA's leading scorer. That would be in ALL Divisions.

The Texas A&M-Commerce player has also been in Sports Illustrated and there's talk of her being a WNBA prospect.
Raise your hand if you saw this coming: the Tar Heels lost tonight to Georgia Tech after a second-half collapse. UNC led big soon after the break, but they let the Ramblin' Wreck shoot nearly 50% for the second half, including a string of three-pointers. Coach Hatchell's team has now lost two in a row.

If you're raising your hand, you probably saw GT give UConn a pretty hard time back in November; or maybe you saw GT nearly beat Texas.

Or maybe you're psychic. In any case, the Ramblin' Wreck bears watching. GT has also defeated Michigan State; they lost to Boston College in OT, but beat UGA, who just tonight defeated Vanderbilt, who just last week beat Tennessee.
Also from the Title IX blog, a link to a Sally Jenkins article that has a wish list for the new president.
Number 8 on her list of requests is equal pay in women's sports. She takes the case of Tennessee basketball as a prime example of inequality in sports:

Volunteers men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl is in only his fourth season at Tennessee and never has been past the Sweet 16, yet he makes more than twice what Summitt makes -- an average of $2.3 million a year, plus a retention bonus of $1.5 million. Summitt is in her 35th season at Tennessee and has won eight national championships, graduated 100 percent of her players who have completed their eligibility and is closing in on 1,000 career victories.
From the Title IX blog: Breaking news!
Reversing the First Circuit, the Supreme Court held today in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee that an available remedy for sex discrimination under Title IX does not preclude a plaintiff from seeking to remedy that sex discrimination by suing also (or instead) under 42 U.S.C 1983, the private right of action for constitutional violations.

I had to double check, in case I was hallucinating earlier, but it is still true that today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous, pro-plaintiff decision and that it was authored by one of its most conservative Justices. Going forward, courts will not be able to quickly dismiss constitutional claims addressing sex discrimination in educational settings by simply invoking the manta of preemption.
Looks like Tina won't be retiring.

"Yea!" say the fans of great, great basketball players.

"Oh, oh," say the fans of all the other non-Tina teams.
In honor of their new status as a #1 seed in Charlie's Bracketology, #4/5 Baylor took advantage of a last second basket-and-one to come away with a 64-61 victory over #7/9 Texas A&M.

"Anytime you can go on the road and steal one, it's a good feeling," coach Mulkey said.
The Aztecs are coming! The Aztecs are coming! (Pt. 2)

Not satisfied with taking down the Longhorns in December, San Diego State skewered the Lobos (#23), winning 57-52.

You want firsts? First victory at New Mexico in nearly 14 years (and New Mexico's first loss at home this season).
"(The win) means a lot for this team," Aztec head coach Beth Burns said. "For our team, we've taken care of (the games) we're supposed to have taken care of, but to take the next step, we have to beat the New Mexicos, the Utahs, the TCUs and the BYUs when we get to league (play). This was just a huge, huge confidence booster. There aren't too many places in basketball that are more fun to win at than The Pit."
The New York Liberty have become quite active with their emails. Perhaps they read the blog?

Anyhoo -- just got the following fun news:

With Hollywood in the midst of the awards season and the “mother” of them all, the Oscars, on the horizon next month, NYLiberty.com is rolling out its own red carpet to hold a rather stunning awards ceremony. That’s right, we’re going Hollywood, but leaving it up to our loyal fanbase to vote on Oscar categories as they translate to the basketball world. The same way people tune into awards shows to see their favorite actors and actresses do their magic, is very much like the loads of fans who file into The World’s Most Famous Arena every summer to see the Liberty dominate on the court.

There will be six categories for you to cast your vote in. From now leading up to the actual Oscars, we’ll be pulling the trigger to start the voting on every category for the second annual Golden Maddies. The first category is already live and ready to go – click here to get started.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sun sign Turner, Gardin, Page to contracts.
Kay Yow is continuing her cancer treatments in a hospital. School spokesman Mark Kimmel said the Hall of Fame coach has been in the hospital since last week. She had been resting at home, but her oncologist, Dr. Mark Graham, advised her to enter the hospital for care.

This may be a good time to donate to the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund.
From the WBCA:
The State Farm Wade Trophy Committee elected to add five additional student-athletes to the 2008-2009 State Farm Wade Watch List. Rachel Allison (Baylor), Kristi Cirone (Illinois State), Shalee Lehning (Kansas State), Deirdre Naughton (DePaul) and indsay Wisdom-Hylton (Purdue) become part of the 30-player pool, which ncludes 25 selected during the preseason.
Not to diminish the quality of the add-ons -- and before people get their knickers into a twist about who and how and why -- consider a Debbie Antonelli comment from "Shootaround:" Being on the Wade Watch List allows announcers to promote the sponsor, State Farm, every time they call a game they're playing. Which is what sponsors want and is why they sponsor stuff.
Bales is out of Atlanta and off to Phoenix.
The student newspaper at Texas A&M considers siblings Adaora and Chinemelu Elonu, now mainstays for pretty good A&M teams.

Adaora and the rest of the Aggies face Baylor tonight: the student newspaper in Waco interviews Baylor standout Jhasmin Player, who says that she's "a far, far tougher player" (pun intended) after last year's season-ending injury.
Lyndra Littles is back on the court for Virginia.
“I played in practice the whole preseason so it wasn’t like I was gone … I just wasn’t able to play in those 40-minute games,” Littles said. “It is my last year and the past four years I have always been putting on this jersey and we get so close, and this year is our year to really do some damage in this league and on the national level.
People ask, "Where's the next generation of officials coming from?" Coaches say they want players to become refs, but you know THAT ain't gonna happen unless certain things change.

Intriguingly enough, maybe it's a family business: Brandon Enterline follows dad's steps.
Everybody always asks Brandon how Bryan is doing, but they are also starting to recognize that Brandon is a pretty good referee with his own whistle.

“He has a knack for communicating with the players, the coaches and the other officials, and that's one of the true qualities of a great official,” said Dave Venderly, supervisor of officials for three area college conferences. “I'd say he's a rising star and coming up in five or six years, we'll see him on the television a lot on the Division I level.”
What's interesting is that, while they don't mention how little he's making (can range from $25 for a high school game to $200 - travel sometimes included), they do lay out his schedule.
Last summer, Brandon used his vacation time from Fort Wayne Metals to attend the Big Ten and the Big East officiating camps. Now he works four or five high school and college games a week, about 50 games in a season, driving all over the Tri-State area.
Just think, six years of this life, and he might move up to Division I - $500-1200 (for the SEC/Big East type Conference). Sweet, no?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jim Clark gives (what he says is) the real story behind that weird postgame encounter on Saturday: he more or less takes Geno's side.

If you haven't heard, Syracuse player Nicole Michael appeared to trip Geno during the handshake line after UConn's lopsided victory: Geno got angry, and 'cuse coach Hillsman did nothing. The Big East now says it will take no disciplinary action.

For an anti-Geno perspective on the same flippin' incident, click here.(Or ignore it and move on to the next game.)
Also in North Carolina, a much closer game that got a bit less attention: Duke needed overtime to beat N. C. State. It was State's second overtime loss in two games, and the Blue Devils' fourteenth consecutive win.

Chante Black scored 17, all after halftime; the Wolfpack lost guard Sharnise Beal to a head injury during the first half.

NCSU still have no wins in the ACC, despite having played two of the nation's top ten teams even for 40 minutes apiece.

Interim coach Stephanie Glance is proud of her team's efforts, despite the results: ""To battle like we battled and be short-handed once again.... and have to play people out of position -- we were actually playing post players out on the perimeter -- it's just such a credit to this team.

"The one thing we were going to do," Glance continued, "is represent Coach Yow's fight. And to me, we could not have represented that in any greater way than we did today."
On this day of widespread celebration (even of hoops-related celebration) UConn fans have something else to celebrate. The Huskies didn't just beat North Carolina, in North Carolina: they took apart the Tar Heels, piece by piece, for a surprisingly one-sided, thirty-point win.

UConn out-rebounded UNC by a ton. Both teams showed foot speed and tried to pack the paint, but the Huskies made the right passes, ran a coordinated half-court offense, and turned opponents' turnovers into fast break points: the home team did none of the three.

UConn accomplished the demolition job despite losing Caroline Doty for the season, and despite subpar shooting from Maya Moore. One big contributor: 5'4" Lorin Dixon, who could keep up with Carolina's fast guards.

"They came into our house and showed us how to play basketball," coach Hatchell declared. "I don't know how much better they can get."

Voepel agrees: is a title inevitable? Geno says no: he recalls a history of injuries and warns against counting chickens, even while he lauds his first-rate team.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Houston Comets organization appears to have sought (or at least accepted) season ticket renewals during fall and winter '09. Now that the Comets are no more, the fans who renewed deserve refunds-- which, apparently, haven't arrived.
Via sixthwoman: Erin Thorn, proud Mormon.
Lots more from the ESPN Women's Basketball Blog: Hays shines the spotlight on the Cal-Stanford game.

Could California and Stanford have possibly renewed their Bay Area rivalry in a worse time slot? Opposite the Steelers and Ravens, immediately after another top-10 showdown in the Big 12 between Oklahoma and Texas A&M and the night before No. 1 Connecticut plays No. 2 North Carolina in a battle of unbeatens. Ouch.

I guess it could have been worse; the two Pac-10 powers could have scheduled it for the middle of Barack Obama's inaugural address Tuesday afternoon.

He also reflects on the future road for Doty and the Huskies

When I suffered a torn ACL in my left knee a few years ago, a friend joked that I was taking my love of women's basketball a little too far. It was the kind of gallows humor you need to hear at a time like that, and hopefully someone close to Caroline Doty is making her chuckle today, perhaps touting the chance to temporarily escape Geno Auriemma's line of fire at practice.

Mechelle writes about Staley and Summitt

When South Carolina coach Dawn Staley looked around at the 16,000-plus fans who were in Thompson-Boling Arena on Sunday, she didn't reflect back so much on what used to be. Instead, she thought about what might be some day.

I've been struck by how many "firsts" there have been during this season of upsets -- first time out of the top rankings, first victory over a ranked team, first victory on opponents home court, first victory in lots and lots of tries.

Florida's victory over Georgia
falls in that category.The Gators (17-2, 3-1 SEC) picked up their first win against the Bulldogs (11-7, 1-2) since 2004.
Missy Traversi graduated from Maine, had a tryout with the Sky, and played abroad. She's now coaching high school in Massachusetts. Interesting to read about her transition:
Intensity and Traversi have never been strangers, but now it has to be channeled and expressed differently than in the past - and as a young coach, Traversi knows she has much to learn. That she would throw herself into it with the same intensity as when she played, and with the same sense of accountability, should come as no surprise.

"I'm learning something new every day," she said. "I've grown immensely in the last couple of years in terms of seeing the game at both ends of the court, especially in regard to post play. As a point guard, I often spent too much time focusing on the guard play as opposed to the post, and I've really done a good job of educating myself in post defense, and just watching the game and watching film, and going to clinics."
I'm not calling them "upsets" per se, just hard fought games between closely-matched teams.

Jacinta Monroe had 15 points, 10 rebounds, and a school record nine blocks to help Florida State extend its winning streak to seven games with a 59-49 victory over #25 Georgia Tech.

Alexis Gray-Lawson scored 37 points of Cal's 57 points, including a key late game drive and two free throws, to help lift No. 11/9 Cal over 57-54 victory over 9/7 Stanford.
“I was crying about this time last year. I felt like this was kind of a rerun of last year,” Gray-Lawson said of that 60-58 loss in February when her team was ranked eighth and Stanford at No. 7. “With a minute left, I knew the ball had to be in my hands. I went to the basket and happened to make it.”
Great crowd -- over 10,000 in the Berkeley arena:
“It was as loud as I’ve ever heard it over here,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “It was a great crowd. People were into it. It was a great game. It’s very exciting. We love playing over here. I wish it was this way in every arena in the Pac-10. It was awesome.”
Anyone catch the women's basketball history reference at the end of the game? Sweet!
Kash Alexander sophomore guard recorded Iowa's first triple-double in nine years when she totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in the Hawkeyes' 74-46 women's basketball victory against Northwestern.
You could talk quite a while about the differences between the Connecticut and North Carolina women's basketball programs, which meet Monday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET) as unbeatens in a No. 1 versus No. 2 showdown.

It's the North against the South. It's dark blue versus light blue. It's a program that is extraordinarily popular facing one that is extraordinarily underappreciated.

Could the coaches be any more opposite?
the 'kellians are still coming up with creative advertising ideas for the W.

The latest entry from pilight gave me the giggles.... They're filming an "Expect Great" ad with Lisa Leslie, and she stops mid-sentence:
LESLIE: “This ad doesn’t make any sense. We should accentuate the positive about the WNBA instead of dwelling on this negativity.”

DIRECTOR: “What do you mean? This is the script the league approved.”

LESLIE: “I mean we should concentrate on what’s great about the WNBA. Show people the great teamwork. [cut to a clip of Leslie receiving a pass in the post for an easy layup] Show them great defense. [cut to a clip of Leslie blocking a shot]. Show us as great role models. [cut to a clip of Leslie doing Read to Achieve or some other community event] Show our passion for the game. [cut to Leslie kissing the WNBA championship trophy after one of the Sparks’ finals wins] And sure, show dunks. [cut to Leslie’s dunk, then return to her in the studio] That’s what people want, not this backhanded guilt trip stuff.”

DIRECTOR: “Shouldn’t we include some highlights of other players?”

LESLIE: [appearing somewhat flummoxed by the question] “Why would you want to do that?”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

UNC/UConn is previewed by the AP, which says both teams will be missing starters: Doty (ACL) and McFarland (ankle).

Not to be outdone, the ESPN researchers get busy:
Connecticut and North Carolina meet Monday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET) in the 40th matchup between the No. 1 and 2 teams in The Associated Press Top 25. The No. 1 teams have won 22 of the 40 contests but have lost four of the last five.
Shannon Bobbitt, move over: here comes 4'6" Tiffara Steward:
"My first reaction when I saw her, I didn't think she could play," teammate Michelle Conte said. "But she is so small, it is hard to play defense on her. As a bigger person, to bend down like that is more difficult."

Steward enjoys that advantage. "They say, 'She's short, I got her.' But after a few times up the court, it's: 'She's quick. I can't keep up with her.'"
Graham wonders whether depth will be an issue for UConn and says, "Oh, by the way, did you notice Moore notched 40 while shooting 10-14 from behind the arc?"
Kay Yow Segment On Pride, Passion and Power

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
Alas, as expected, Doty is done for the year: she tore her ACL against Syracuse Saturday. It's the same ACL she tore last year playing soccer.

In the course of one game, high-level women's basketball still seems to me the most exciting spectator event in the world. In the course of a season, it can feel more like a demolition derby-- and that's just for the fans: those of us who never played high-level hoops ourselves can never know how much worse it feels for a player, especially if it's happened to her before.

The last time a UConn starter tore her ACL, Clay had these discouraging words.
Reading the article on Kevin Pittsnogle made my mind go in a lot of different directions. The all-American who led West Virginia to the 2006 regional semifinals and was not drafted and is now a teacher earning $25,000.

It made me wonder about priorities. About how some complain about WNBA rookie salaries. About what might happened if teachers were revered like sports figures. Can't you just see it?

The channel is ESPN - Educators Supporting Progress Nationwide.

During broadcasts of debating competitions, the ticker runs by with breaking news of the accomplishments of a fourth grade class, stories on trips taken to the local museum,and on the race for POY honors -- Principal of the Year.

During the ESPYs, the "Sixth Man/Woman" award goes to the best substitute. The crowd rises to its feet for the "Comeback Class of the Year" after they hear their inspiring story of acheivement in the face of adversity.

The Math Teacher of the Year is Jay Leno's guest, the paparazzi follows the up and coming vice-principals as their contract status is in flux, and the "1st Year of Teaching" card of Richard P. Feynman sells for triple figures on ebay.

"So you want to be an early childhood teacher" is a program that strives to break sterotypes and barriers to men working in pre-school, the hits on education blogs rise, and philosophy fans complain about the lack of coverage.

Just imaginging....

Now, where's that NYTimes article on the UNC/UConn game and what time do the football games start?
Some more coaching articles -- all with an orange theme.

L.A. life agrees with Caldwell

"I went straight from the podium to a meeting with my team," Caldwell said. "I told them that I was their new head coach and that they were my focus right then and there. I think it was an easy transition for them because I made them my number one priority.
Winning Down Pat
Nearly 1,000 times, the Lady Vols have charged onto the basketball court and emerged victorious—a rare achievement.

Maybe the UT teams could have gained that level of success without Pat Summitt. But so enormous is the reputation of this Tennessee homegirl and so fierce her dedication to Lady Vol basketball that it’s virtually impossible to distinguish between the team, the coach, and the overall program. Though she points out she’s never scored a basket for the Lady Vols, Summitt is unmistakably the heart of the matter.
A dribble down memory lane for Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray
When Dawn Staley visits Thompson-Boling Arena today for the first time as South Carolina’s coach, she will be flanked by a pair of assistant coaches who are as much a part of the Tennessee tradition as Rocky Top and orange uniforms.
Carla McGhee and Nikki McCray are members of Tennessee’s Hall of Fame who missed each other in Knoxville by a year. Both were teammates with Staley on the U.S. squad during the 1996 Olympics and have reunited a dozen years later in Columbia, where they hope to put a dent in the Lady Vols’ SEC supremacy.
Stringer ready to be cheerleader
The Hall of Fame coach of the No. 23 Rutgers women's basketball team is known for spending most games sitting down, rising only to complain, criticize and basically express intolerance to imperfection.

During Wednesday's 60-51 victory at Villanova, she essentially spent the entire game on her feet. But instead of displaying frustration and disapproval, more times than not she was encouraging, clapping, instructing and generally, well, being positive.

Who knew?
Well, Stringer WAS a cheerleader in high school. Why?
“I wanted to play,” said Stringer. “I would have played the rest of my life.”

But in the mid-60’s, organized basketball for girls in her hometown of Edenborn, Pa did not exist. Instead, girls were expected to be cheerleaders. “You were a second-class citizen,” recalled Stringer. “Not that you weren’t able to [play basketball]. You weren’t allowed to. I remember this one grandmother telling her daughter that girls would have knots in their legs if they played. That’s a shame, because it made you ashamed to play.”
News out of the NCAA: President Myles Brand has pancreatic cancer. "He said "the long-term prognosis is not good."

Our thoughts go out to him and his family.
Eventful afternoon in Hartford: on the one hand, UConn absolutely crushed Syracuse, scoring 107 points; Maya Moore scored her thousandth point on the way. Moore shot 10-14 in three-pointers: she and her team set all sorts of new UConn records.

On the other hand, or knee, frosh three-point ace Caroline Doty went down with a non-contact injury to the same knee she tore up last year. Initial word is "knee sprain," which tells us nothing: we could know later today.

Result: on a day when UConn fans wanted to celebrate their team's best player's moment in the sun, everyone's worried instead, and feeling bad for Caroline. "The highs and the lows," said Moore. "That's like life, you know."

And on the third hand, or leg, or foot, Geno got into some sort of confrontation with Syracuse at the end of the game: he wasn't happy with the 'Cuse's physical play, and seemed to trip over Orangewoman Nicole Michael's foot. "Whatever they were trying to do," he said afterwards, "it didn't work."

This Monday night comes the Big Showdown with the Tar Heels: Voepel, despite the icy cold, can't wait. Hays asks whether UConn's bench can step up.

In the meantime, there's quite a showdown in Voepel country Big Twelveland: at 4pm Eastern, Texas A&M play Oklahoma on TV. Oklahoma hasn't looked great against top teams this year-- but the game is in Norman, so who knows?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

"Together Again: Kim Mulkey, Leon Barmore rejoin forces to guide Baylor team."
At a practice the previous week, Barmore asked Mulkey if he could give some vocal input into what the players were doing on the court.

"If you ask me one more time, 'if you can say something,' you might as well go back to Ruston," Mulkey told Barmore.
Over at the Title IX highlights an NCAA study examining the gender gap in college coaching.
The popular assumption is that women are not interested in head coaching positions because the job is not family friendly. This assumption did find some support in the coaches responses. While most coaches reported favorably on their work-life balance, about a third of coaches surveyed (32%) disagreed that they have work-life balance. Similarly, 35% of coaches ranked family commitments as the most common reason why women don't go in to coaching. While these percentages are substantial, however, they are comparable to the percentage of coaches who reported dissatisfaction with other job factors like salary (33%) and gender equality within the athletic department (38%).
Why don't they do stuff like this more often?

ESPN Classics is showing the 1995 NCAA championship game between Tennessee and Connecticut -- 12pm EST today.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Congrats to Coach Landers, who earned his 800th coaching victory last night, as the Bulldogs made short work of Savannah State.
"[Landers] has probably played every male role that he could possibly play in a young female's life," said former Georgia great and five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards. "He's gone from being a father figure to a hell of a great coach, to like a brother to me throughout my lifetime."
Speaking of milestones, coach Brian Morehouse of Division III perenial powerhouse Hope College is on the verge of one: his 300th win. This milestone could come in just his 13th season and 358th gam.
Clearly, something has gotten into the water of the NYTimes sports desk. Another piece on a college women's basketball team?

No More Surprises as Marist Assumes a Higher Profile

As the star guard on the Marist College women’s basketball team, Julianne Viani hears it from her friends around campus. She hears it from fans in the grocery store.

“We want the Final Four,” they tell her. Or, “Elite Eight.”

The Red Foxes have created this climate with some major accomplishments for a midmajor team. Marist is not just another name anymore on the sport’s landscape.

This Sunday, January 18, at 3:00 p.m. ET, CBS will air the 2009 Pride, Passion and Power show.

The segment will feature N.C. State Head Coach Kay Yow and many other coaches and players as they talk about Coach Yow's life, her faith, her legacy and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation, which is the WBCA's official charity of choice.
Some kid called Lobo reflects on her high school scoring record (2,710pts) that seems to be on the verge of being broken.
"I remember that I was relieved that the record was broken because I didn't want to have to talk about it or think about it anymore," Lobo said. "I remember fans of our team getting mad at me when I passed the ball in games because they wanted me to get the record. When I finally got it, I felt like I could just play the way I wanted - share the ball when I wanted - without having people getting frustrated with me."
Mechelle is in North Carolina, waitin' on some game, and it's friggin' cold.
From the Title IX blog, things that make you go, "Just how stupid do you think we are?"
In response to a student complaint filed with OCR over the summer (which we blogged about here), Lake Oswego High School (Oregon) has agreed to make its deluxe video screening room accessible to girls' teams. Previously, the room -- outfitted with a flat screen TV and comfy couches -- was mainly used by the football team. School officials claim that they "have never said that one group can not access this room" but since the room could only be reached through the boys' locker room, such protests seem hollow.
Aditi is back!

She catches up with Lib/Rutgers player Essence Carson. Love this little gem:
But the former Rutgers star and Paterson native isn’t sure the car she’ll get in Italy will match up with the one her Latvian team gave her.

"They’ll probably give me a stick. I’ll probably need to get a ride everywhere. I really don’t know how to drive manual," she said. Then, a mite forlornly, she muttered, "It’s the whole stalling thing."
Ah, kids these days! (h/t pilight)
Some magazine called "Sports Illustrated" writes about women's basketball (what a concept!): "Bullish Bears: Cal is ready for a run at its first Pac-10 championship - if it can end its streak of futility against Bay Area rival Stanford."
A FEW YEARS ago, Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour began receiving e-mails—from Stanford fans, of all people—thanking her for resurrecting the Cal women's basketball program, which had gone 13 seasons without a winning record before finally breaking the string in 2005--06. But now that the Bears are ranked No. 11 in the AP poll and are again a threat to break Stanford's eight-year Pac-10 title streak? Barbour laughs and says, "I haven't had one of those e-mails in a while."
After a demoralizing and poor showing their last time out, many might have had doubts about Minnesota taking down Ohio State on the road last night. The Gophers went in with a 0-23 record against the Buckeyes in Columbus.

But tough defense, a 7-12 performance from behind the arc, and a big rebounding advantage helped the Gophers finally beat the Bucks 59-56. It was the first loss in Big 10 play for OSU.

Jantel Lavender led all scorers with 20 points, but did most of her damage from the free throw line, rather than in the paint. Samantha Prahalis also did a great job of getting to the line and finished with 16 points, but had a costly turnover near the end of the game. OSU finished 20-22 from the line for the game, while Minnesota only went 4-6. But that was about the only area that the Bucks dominated.

The Gophers were led by Ashley Ellis-Milan, who had 17 points, and worked with Zoe Harper and the rest of her team on limiting Lavender and Star Allen on the inside. Emily Fox still struggled some with her shot, but ran the point much of the night, hit some key baskets late in the game and dished out a game high seven assists. Katie Ohm went 5-7 from behind the arc and helped Minnesota get off to a solid start on the offensive end. Kiara Buford continued to be a spark off the bench on both ends of the floor. And "Without a doubt, I think they outworked us on the glass," OSU coach Jim Foster said.
Be sure to check out tomorrow's Women's Sports Talk Show. Goody is interviewing Cheryl Ford and Mel Thomas will be on to talk about her book.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michelle Smith writes:
No conference team should ever lose to another by 77 points.

The Pac-10 hoped it would get a lift from Stanford's appearance in the national title game, a chance for a little national respect for a conference that's always lacking.
Interesting that "always lacking" can be read two ways.
Pleasant Dreams goes all trivial:
Name the five players in the WNBA (without looking at basketball reference) who have scored over 1000 free throws in a career. We'll give you some hints:

1. MBA and MVP
2. Three Gold Medals
3. ABL Player
4. Lipstick
5. Three Silver Medals
From Mel's Blog on Rutgers' escape and Temple's rout:
“You had trouble finding something to yell (at halftime) about to the players,” Cardoza said with a smile after the game. “Today was an unbelievable day for us. I’m shocked at how well we performed. It’s something we talked about – playing 40 minutes of good basketball.”
Charlie says!
Grab the Pepto. The first full week of the new year was chock full of upsets, and if it's any indication of what to expect in 2009, then hold on. This won't be a predictable ride.
Beth Mowins writes a wonderfully descriptive opening couple of paragraphs for her piece on Xavier and Ta'Shia Phillips.
Shannon Owens of the Orlando Sentinel does a lovely job with the piece, Lake Howell's Jenny Curovic says battle with ovarian cancer only made her stronger.

Two years ago, Jenny was fighting for her life. Now the 17-year-old takes pleasure in the little things, like winning a basketball game. She will be on the active roster for Lake Howell's varsity team — ranked No. 1 in the Sentinel Super 16 — when it hosts Daytona Beach Seabreeze tonight.

"I think it happened to make me a stronger person," she said.

WATN? goes all tangental with the youngest of the Wyckoff family.

The five children older than Whitney range in ages from 20 to 28, with Brooke — a seven-year WNBA veteran and member of the Lakota Athletic Hall of Fame — the oldest.

"I have a basketball family," Whitney said. "Almost everybody in my family has played basketball. It's definitely something we all are really into. It's been a big influence. It's one of the main parts of our family."

While Whitney's earliest basketball memories are of watching Brooke play at Florida State, she was in the gym even before then with Mike and her mother Blair.

Just stumbled across Dee Kanter's last blog entry on the .com. She breaks (broke) down the thinking behind block/charge calls, travels and loose ball fouls.

First of all, it must be determined whether the defender gets her torso or body in a "squared-up" or perpendicular position to her opponent. Then, the refs have to see if the defender beats her opponent to the spot on the floor to where the offensive player is moving. Got it? These are the two considerations in the equation with dribble plays on the court. Oh, and if the defender and offensive player arrive at that spot or point of contact at the same time, it's a block. The defender did not BEAT the dribbler to the spot. Sounds easy enough.

On plays to the basket, the defender not only has to get her torso perpendicular and beat her opponent to the spot, but she must do this prior to the offensive player starting her upward shooting motion. Let's go over this once again: perpendicular torso; beat to spot; prior to upward shooting motion… all at an incredibly fast pace.

Some Junior College news:

Out of North Dakota, "UTTC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: Miller in the middle," about Tami Miller, who is the only white player on an American Indian team.

Out of Maryland, "Finding athletes an ongoing challenge for community colleges."

Todaro said the Maryland JUCO Conference, the athletic governing body for the state's junior college system, has found a downward trend in female athletic participation in all sports.

"It's not just a women's basketball problem and it's not just at Prince George's Community College," said Todaro, who serves as treasurer for the Maryland JUCO Conference. "I think females are a little more responsible, in terms of not looking to make careers of athletics. Many of them choose to just work. If we can make them realize that they can come to community college and get a great education, and I think if the county can realize what a wonderful [academic] institution that PGCC is, that the student-athletes coming out of high school would come and do both — work jobs and play sports."

There's a slight irony here -- and I believe I'm repeating myself, but it bears repeating.

Those who advocate for women's participation in sport point to the impressive graduation rates of female athletes and the success those women have in the business world because of their participation in athletics.

The reasons are as diverse as the athletes themselves: It teaches them teamwork, discipline, how to win AND lose, how to be a leader. It gives them a support community, direct attention from a coach, an outlet, and someplace (public) to succeed at outside of the classroom. It can be a carrot as the "stick" of attendance and homework is wielded, etc. etc.

The retention rate at Junior Colleges, to put it bluntly, sucks. (12% is the latest number I've heard in NYC)

Again, there are a variety of reasons: students are poorly prepared, struggle to balance family and academic needs, or have to chose between the possibility furthering their education (and economic opportunities) and the reality of needing to pay their rent next month.

And, as the applications to colleges -- especially community colleges -- soars, the support services to aid these "non-traditional" students is dropping. Sport is one of those services.

While recent players (Shanon Bobbitt and Fantasia Goodwin) have put a spotlight on Junior Colleges, there are plenty of examples of those they have supported in the past. Just ask Sheryl Swoopes, Yolanda Griffith, Betty Lennox, Elaine Powel, Amanda Lassiter, Sharon Bobbitt, Sancho Lytle, Bridget Pettis, or Bernadette Mattox:

Coming out of Tennessee’s Loudon High School in 1977, grades were most certainly not the issue for Bernadette Locke-Mattox. “My GPA was great,” said Locke-Mattox, currently an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. The problem was she wanted to move to the next level of basketball, but her high school team still played three-on-three. “I wanted to get better at five-on-five, and it was a great opportunity to go to junior college and learn that system.” She played for two years at Roane State under coach Andy Landers and, when she graduated in 1979, followed him as he moved to coach at Georgia.

Once there, she became the first Georgia player to earn All-American and Academic All-American honors. “There’s a lot of great things going on at the Junior College level,” reflected Locke-Mattox. “You have a lot of great players who are leading and having very successful lives – not just on the basketball side, but in their careers.”

In 1989, there was no doubt in Bridget Pettis’ mind that she was one of the top players in the country. “My goal was to play Division I basketball with the best in the world,” said Pettis. Recruited by Marian Washington to play for Kansas, her grades weren’t good enough for admission. “Growing up in my situation, I had so many distractions,” recalled Pettis. “I was young at the time, and not really focused on school.” Attending Central Arizona meant she still could hold on to her dream.

“The doors weren’t closed, I just needed to focus. That word echoed throughout my whole JUCO career. Even though you have the talent and you have this skill and all these things that are given to you, it still takes an amount of focus to achieve those things. This experience was there to teach me how to center in and focus.”