Women's Hoops Blog: November 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, November 30, 2009

From Graham: A day in the life of the underdog - Hofstra opens pregame preparations, locker room as it readies for UConn
Compete with Connecticut for 40 minutes. It's a mission all but impossible for most women's college basketball teams against a juggernaut that is beating opponents by an average of 46 points this season.

But it wasn't the familiar theme song of the hit action movie franchise or its television predecessor that haunted Hofstra assistant coach Faisal Khan and director of basketball operations Michael Gibson in the early-morning hours before their team's game against the top-ranked, unbeaten and seemingly invincible defending champs. Instead, it was the sounds of "The Jeffersons," George and Weezie's upbeat theme song blaring from Hofstra senior Jess Fuller's cell phone, which had been collected along with those of the entire roster the previous night by the coaching staff in hopes of ensuring rest for the players.
G-D ACL takes Oklahoma's Hand for the season.
Speaking of games to notice: Sacramento State over Washington? This is the Hornets' first Div. I-era victory over a Pac-10 foe, since joining the DI ranks in 1991.

How much fun is Tia Jackson not having?

Clay wonders if it's the biggest upset of the century.
Did anyone else notice the UNC/Charleston Southern score?

I'm not willing to read too much into the #4 team only beating CHSO by 9pts... but it does give one pause.
Look who's on the cover (for the moment) of the New York Times: Marion Jones Aims for a Comeback, in Basketball
Mechelle visits familiar ground:

One of the things about living so long in Big 12 territory is that no matter what happens, I can always say, "Well, that doesn't really surprise me."

The qualifier is pretty important here. For instance, I was surprised when Iowa State lost to Drake a week ago, but not really surprised. See, I'm not saying I can regularly predict with any fantastic accuracy everything that's going to occur. Just that when it does, I always understand it -- even when it doesn't necessarily make sense.

That's because when you've followed the programs for so long and seen them in person so much, you just have a feel for the entire spectrum of what they're capable of -- the good and the bad.

On their pre-Thanksgiving show, Deb and Beth spoke with Dayton's Jim Jabir.

How prescient of them! Today, Dayton finds themselves in the AP Top 25 for the first time in school history.
''That's awesome,'' Jabir said. ''Seven years ago we won three games. Any coach pours their heart and soul into their program and to gain that kind of recognition for our school is special. My 12-year-old son Jackson would check every day where we were in the rankings. Now he'll see us there.''
Tennessee's Kelly Cain seems snakebit: She's out for the GW game because of a concussion. To my count, that makes 4 -- 2 in the last three months.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

From Sunday's New York Times: when high schools around Philly disrespect girls' sports, Robert Landau sues, or threatens to sue. It seems to have helped.
The Girl Effect.

Check it out.
Coming soon from Harper, "The Mystery of the Mal-doofs and the Missing Monarchs Banner."
The mystery is, no one seems to know who did it. Bee columnist Ailene Voisin on Friday approached Colleen Maloof and asked why the banners are missing.

"I have no idea what happened," the visibly miffed matriarch told Voisin. "Why would anyone do something so stupid? I asked Gavin (Maloof) to talk to Geoff (Petrie) and find out what happened, but Geoff didn't know anything about it, either.

"But I don't care who made the decision; those banners are going back up. This is ridiculous."
As Queenie puts it:
The only acceptable reason for those banners to be missing is because Ticha Penicheiro, Ruthie Bolton, and Yolanda Griffith sneaked into the arena in the middle of the night and claimed them by right of "we earned these, they're ours, piss off".
More catching up:

Mechelle: Versatile Pedersen fills many roles for Stanford

One of Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer's assistants told her she took do-it-all junior Kayla Pedersen for granted.

"And I said, 'No, I don't,'" VanDerveer said during a teleconference Wednesday looking ahead to the No. 2 Cardinal's games against Utah (Friday) and Gonzaga (Sunday). "We really appreciate what she does. But in some ways, she is a facilitator. She makes everyone look good around her."

Graham at the UConn Rizzotti v UConn Cardoza matchup (aka Temple v. Hartford): Hartford's Silvia shines in return from injury
With just more than four minutes left on the clock in the first half of Saturday's game against Temple, Hartford's Mary Silvia pulled up on the wing in transition, caught a pass from Daphne Elliott and, and in one smooth motion, drained a 3-pointer that left her one short of the team lead this season.

Not bad for someone whose first minutes this season had come about 14 minutes before that field goal, her fifth of the first half from behind the arc. Not bad for someone who suffered a broken wrist in her shooting hand a month ago. Not bad for someone who practiced for the first time since getting her cast off four days before the game.

See, this is what happens when Matt-the-Stat-guy speaks of triple-doubles. Players, like Duke's Jasmine Thomas, get ideas!
Red & White for Life, NC States Alumni Association blog, is tracking coach Kellie Harper.

As part of our ongoing series “A Coach’s First Season,” NC State magazine joined the Wolfpack for their bus ride up to Norfolk and back. The latest installment includes

  • a complete, almost hour-by-hour breakdown of the trip here with several photos above and a few highlights (with one item in particular that will stir up the Wolfpack faithful);
  • notes and highlights from the game against ODU interspersed with quotes;
  • a short interview with Bonae Holston, who talks about playing before a hometown crowd;
  • an interview with junior forward Tia Bell, who has come off the bench in the past two games to score in double figures and power crucial runs;
  • an interview with freshman guard Marissa Kastanek, who has scored in double digits in four of the Wolfpack’s five games this season and who talks about her first away game; and
  • an interview with Coach Harper, who talks about the ODU game and what she’s taking away from her first road game.
Speaking of Deb and Beth -- looks like their prognostications about the Paradise Jam games have been right on point.

Looks like there were lots of fun games. Running down the scores/game recaps, the thing that pops out: USC upsetting two ranked teams. (And the OTHER USC beating a ranked team). And Rutgers beating USC.

Check out the tweets on the games.
Looks like Memphis' Britanny Carter wants to get Deb, Beth and Matt-the-Stat-guy's attention: She dropped 49 on Sacramento State.
At her blog, Mechelle reflects on the "classy" way the Maloofs handled the end of the Monarchs, the role of independent owners and looks back to a time when there were two women's pro leagues.
The ABL launched first, in the fall of 1996. The WNBA came the following summer, and we had the classic Wal-Mart vs. small chain competition. For the relatively brief period both leagues were in operation at the same time, there were those folks involved who kept insisting utterly inane things such as it was great for women’s hoops players to have two options.

Over at her blog, Temeka Johnson points to an article about her and the Hope Foundation (and also pulls a no-no by cutting and pasting the entire article, thereby cutting out clicks to the Times-Picayune)
Arizona Central catches up with ex-Merc, Phoenix resident and Lynx coach Jennifer Gillom:

Question: What is the biggest difference between coaching pro athletes and high school athletes?

Answer: "You don't have to teach as much (with the pros). With high school, you have to really start from the basics, teach them step by step. In the pros, they are pretty advanced. The main thing you're dealing with is the psychological side."

More milestones:

Coach Muffet McGraw at Notre Dame notched win #500.
I go back all the way to the beginning and think about all the players who have come through here and just been great people, and been important people in my life,” McGraw said. “All of my assistant coaches … there are just so many people. Niele Ivey, who is here with me as an assistant coach ... Ruth Riley. You go back to Beth Morgan and Katryna Gaither and back further to Karen Robinson … so many players over the years who have made such an impact on our program and really have built it to where it is.”
Fellow Big East coach Geno Auriemma grabbed number 700. Writes Graham
Satchel Paige once cautioned against looking back, lest it confirm something is gaining on you. The career of Geno Auriemma, a character with both the personality and athletic feats to hold his own in a sentence with Paige, offers a rebuttal.

Sometimes they aren't gaining on you. Sometimes they aren't even close.

With Friday's 91-46 win against Hofstra, Connecticut's 47th in a row, Auriemma became the 11th coach in Division I history to amass 700 career victories. If it feels like just yesterday that he wrapped up No. 500 (April 6, 2003, against Texas) or No. 600 (Dec. 31, 2006, against Sacred Heart), it's because, at least in coaching time, it was.

From "Slam and Freaknick's Euroleague Adventures" - Introducing: Russian Mercury with Cappie Pondexter.
Congrats to UConn's Tina Charles, named USA Basketball's Female Athlete of the Year.
Stay classy, Maloofs:
WNBA fans attending games at Arco Arena will notice something different in the rafters. The banners honoring the 2005 WNBA championship team and retired jerseys of Ruthie Bolton and former general manager Jerry Reynolds are no longer there.
WATN? Nicole Levandusky
Nicole Levandusky wears her fanciest jewelry (i.e. her WNBA championship ring) only for special occasions. And preseason practice at Notre Dame Academy doesn't qualify.
So, which one, folks? Tulsa Shock, Tulsa Fire or Tulsa Tempo.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happiest of Thanksgivings to all.

Thought for the Day: Leave nothing kind unsaid.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Graham has Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot in his sights:
"It kind of found me," Vandersloot said of the position. "It was almost just natural. Even when I was a little kid and we'd usually switch positions because little kids don't really know, I would always just want to play point guard. Even when I'm not really supposed to be the point guard, I would always just wait for the ball and my coach would have to tell me, 'You're not the point guard.'"
He also takes A look ahead -- and a few reasons to be thankful and notes that the 'After Cirone' era off to good start for Redbirds

Mechelle takes a peek at the 7th dunk and talks some Blue Raiders
Middle Tennessee star Alysha Clark came down with the H1N1 virus at the end of the summer. Her roommate and teammate, Chelsia Lymon, deftly avoided it.

"We had the masks, and I was Lysol-ing everything down," Lymon said, chuckling. "I didn't kick her out the apartment, but I kept her in her room. With all her shoes."

Clark, who led Division I in scoring last season (27.5 ppg), has a fondness for footwear. OK, an obsession. Lymon is one of those people who's so mirthful that you spend much of any conversation with her cracking up. Clark's colossal shoe collection is just one of many topics Lymon can riff about.

From Ben York, Slam Online's "WNBA All-The-Timer:" The Return of Seimone Augustus - The Lynx star is ready to bounce back with a vengeance after season-ending injury
From the Arizona Republic: 5 Things Arizonans are NOT grateful for* . . . *But should be
2. Mercury
We all share in the thrill and glory of local champions. Arizonans can be grateful for a high-powered, crowd-pleasing team that just won the WNBA crown for the second time in the past three seasons. The Mercury's running offense excites fans and stuns opponents. Star player Diana Taurasi's antics and enthusiasm keep the energy high. What a pity the team couldn't fill seats in the final games. Especially when the entertainment included the sparkling hip-hop Phoenix Mercury Dance Squad, the most overlooked cheer team in the state.
Well "Yippee!" and "Dabnabbit!"

Sherri Coale is back writing again (Yippee!) and no one bothered to tell me (Dabnabbit!). It just means I get to do some catch up reading over the holidays.

From her latest piece: The Write Space and Time: Nov. 23 Putting it back together.
Basketball is cumulative. And good basketball is dependent upon the soul being sticky enough to keep collecting . Players have to want to keep adding to the whole and they have to be able to. Accumulating is a layered skill. Until players can do certain things well enough to see what happens next, what happens next doesn't exist. Once it does exist, a whole new set of possibilities present themselves. The mental extrapolation can be mind boggling. And yet, that's the very simple recipe for how you, slowly but surely, get good.
Interesting post by Erin Whiteside over at the Sports, Media and Society Blog: Re-framing Title IX.
In order for opinions on Title IX to change in a way that benefits women’s sports along with “minor” men’s sports, advocates must go beyond simply arguing for gender equality. Suggesting only that women and men deserve equal money does not challenge fundamentally patriarchal ideology that undermines the logic of Title IX. Rather, we must speak about Title IX and sports in ways that disrupt troubling taken-for-granted notions of sports, like the unquestioned supremacy of football in our culture or the idea that boys and men are naturally suited for sports.
Whoa - UC-Santa Barbara is 0-4?
#11 LSU moves into Thanksgiving Day with a 5-0 record, but the Tulane Green Wave did Barb Farris and Grace Daley proud: they took the Tigers to overtime before succumbing, 73-65.
There's just no safe place for a Division I teams these days -- Cincinatti went West and North to the 2009 Great Alaska Shootout and Division II University of Alaska-Anchorage took'em down, 49-48.

WHB readers could have warned the Bearcats about those Seawolves.....
News10 Exclusive: Ticha Penicheiro on Monarchs Shutdown
Dang! Debbie and Beth came up with a headline I missed: "Flying High in Dayton."

It's part of their latest podcast.

Check out their Companion Blog to see what else they're covering.
Well, shirtails (as my mother used to say). From Michelle:
The injuries continue to mount at USC. Sophomore forward Michelle Jenkins was diagnosed earlier this week with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the remainder of the season. Jenkins was injured on Friday night in the Women of Troy’s loss at Gonzaga.
From Kristi Swartz at the AJC: WNBA owner says Dream can make money
Kathy Betty won’t talk about what she found when digging through the financials of the Atlanta Dream before she decided to buy the WNBA team from businessman Ron Terwilliger last month. But she’s convinced a professional women’s sports team can make money over time. She also knows what her so-called “worst nightmare” is, should ticket sales, sponsorships and other business deals not go through.
Looking at yesterday:

1) Well, phew. The dunk-watch is over. Oh, and #8 Baylor defeated winless Jacksonville State 104-45.

2) #20 Pittsburgh got all it could handle from winless St. Francis (PA), but pulled it together to getCoach Beranato her 400th win.

3) Coach Joe's sure gotten the Big 10's attention: Northwestern beat #21 DePaul for the first time in 10 years. It's also their first win over a ranked team since January 23, 2005 when the Wildcats upset then-No. 22 Penn State.

Oh, and have you caught Amy Jaeschke's blog? It's worth a look.

After home games Coach McKeown always invites a few fans to come into the locker room to be a part of the post-game speech. It's fun because we get to meet some of our fans and they get to experience what happens in our locker room. This time we had the Renihan family, some of our most loyal fans, including their parents Todd and Renae, and three daughters Mackenzie, Madison and Morgan. Usually Coach McKeown engages the younger kids by making them introduce themselves and then asking them a few questions.

Well this time after a few questions he very bravely asked a few girls, "Do you girls think I yell a lot?" They all shyly nodded their heads and responded, "Yes." He followed up with another light-hearted question, "Who do you think I yell at the most?"

One of the girls confidently responded, "AMY!"

I swear if that girl hadn't been on the other side of the locker room, I would have picked her up and given her a huge hug right then and there!

Readers of the WHB know about this player.

But it's cool when others pay attention: Leedham dominates Division II

Former Cheshire Academy standout Johannah Leedham enters her senior year at Franklin Pierce College having already won a National Player of the Year honor as a sophomore and led her team to the national championship game as a junior.The 5-foot-11 swingman from Ellesmere Port, England is a prolific scorer who entered this season with 2,135 points, 638 rebounds, 323 assists and 316 steals.

“She has been a dominant player at this level,” Franklin Pierce coach Steve Hancock said. “I certainly think her desire to win and her work habits are impeccable. She just has this intangible intensity that every single drill we do in practice is like the national championship to her.”
From the Sacramento Bee's Ailene Voisin: Monarchs' demise leaves bitterness, memories

While awaiting word about a possible Monarchs relocation to the Bay Area, the hangover lingers. No more WNBA in Sacramento. I hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. I even grudgingly grasp the rationale – the slumping economy and the Kings having sucked the life out of the local franchise – and I still hate it.

For those who remember life before Title IX, who were booted out of gyms to make way for the boys, who were ridiculed for preferring sports to more conventional female activities, some things you don't forget.

The year (1997) the Monarchs arrived.

The night (Sept. 20, 2005) the Monarchs won the championship.

The characters, the subplots, the people who brought their stories and women's professional basketball to life in Arco Arena. Ruthie Bolton. Yolanda
Ticha Penicheiro. Kara Lawson. Nicole Powell. Gentlemanly Sonny Allen and his weave. Maura McHugh and her colorful wardrobe. John Whisenant and his sublime sideline demeanor. The tears in Jerry Reynolds' eyes during the championship celebration; the sight, too, of an envious Mike Bibby watching, smiling, soaking it all in.

From ABC 13 Action News in Las Vegas:

In an event dubbed "Battle of the Sexes", ESPN 1100 radio host Paul Howard lost his one-on-one basketball game with former WNBA player Sequoia Holmes.

Holmes scored the game's first eight points and eventually won, 21-11. Howard says he exercises regularly and played pick-up basketball games over the past week, but he seemed exhausted after a few points.

For nearly two weeks during his radio shows, Howard gently criticized the WNBA's talent level and claimed he could compete with their top talent. Howard only played high school hockey and baseball.

Imagine what Parker or Taurasi or Catch would have done to him.

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's official - Tennessee frosh Faith Dupree is out for the season.
Graham's got the new mid-major top-10 rankings.

Mechelle takes a look-SEC at the conference's undefeateds.
As always, lots of interesting stuff over on Swish Appeal.

Euroleague: Week 4 (November 18-19) Games and Upcoming Schedule - Fadeoutin

UConn's Solid Start With Two Guard Front: What's the Verdict After Three Games? - Scotter

The Sacramento Screwjob - Petrel

First Thoughts on a WNBA Relocation to Oakland from a Bay Area Native (A headline I intially read as "First thoughts on a WNBA relocatoin to Oakland Naive) - Q
Michelle's Left Coast Hoops gives us, appropriately enough, The Best of the West Power Rankings.
Helen, the resident women's basketball historian, may have uncovered this before. But the Minneapolis Star Tribune reveals that Amelia Earhart played basketball for St. Paul Central during the 1913-14 season.

On a side note, it is nice to see the article mention Dorothy McIntyre's book - Daughters of the Game.
Congrats to Beth Burns' Aztecs: They've broken back into the AP's Top 25 for the first time in 14 years.


Now they get to play #5 Notre Dame and #20 Oklahoma.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Games that make you go hmmmm.....

1) Notre Dame won, after forcing Iona into 33 turnovers.

2) Georgetown took down #23 Purdue (which seems to be in a bit of a disorganized mess).

3) #22 Georgia used a late 15-pt run to defeat Rutgers by a very Rutgers-like score, 49-48. Of concern: Angel Robinson left the game on a spine board and Rutgers' Khadijah Rushdan left with a knee.

4) Guard Alexis Rack dropped 43 as Mississippi State stomped #20 Maryland, 84-55.

5) The dunk-watch is at 3 games. Meanwhile, in a meeting of cubs, the young #9 Baylor Bears took down the young Cal Bears (#11. Or #17.) handily, 69-49.

6) Drake roared back to upset #24 Iowa State, 78-75.
It's must have been Matt the Stat-guy's inspiration: Marquette's Angel Robinson's earns the program's first triple-double.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Something to lighten the mood: From Ben York at Slam

The W Lists: ‘09 Milestones - The five most significant achievements of the 2009 WNBA season.


Why I Love the WNBA - Real talk
What an insider's look at this year's Tennessee team? Check out the "They're Playing Basketball" blog for the Q&A with scout.com reporter Maria M. Cornelius.
Mechelle says: Pick up the Monarchs’ pieces and move on
"Fear the Flyers."

"No Longer Under the Radar."

"Flyers Land Win."

Sorry, just anticipating the headlines being generated in response to Dayton's 56-53 victory over #23 Purdue.

In other upset news, the Musketeers are living up to some of the experts' predictions: #14 Xavier took down #7 ASU, 59-46.

In almost upset news, the Horned Frogs gave the Sooners all they could handle. But #20 Oklahoma prevailed, 74-70.
From Jayda:
Imagine being Sacramento Monarchs forward Rebekkah Brunson (pictured right by WNBA). You log onto the computer today, sign into Twitter and see what your friends are tweeting about. One is that your WNBA team has folded.

"Girl I found out looking at ur tweet.. im floored right now.. mann," Brunson (@twin1532) told former Monarchs center Chantelle Anderson via the social networking site at 11:34 this morning.

From ESPN.com:

Graham on the Rebuilding or Reloading Louisville Cardinals and ASU's New Look Makes the Most of Second Chances.

Mechelle on the Mort or Moving Monarchs.
Some games of interest over that last couple of days.

1) Notre Dame got all it could handle from a (now) shorthanded Michigan State. It took Barlow's free throws to snag the win, 68-67.

2) Don't look now, but Providence, perennial-but-trying-to-end-their-role-as Big East basement resident, upset Hartford (which recently upset #19 Louisville), 66-59. The Friars are now 3-0.

3) Clemson took Dawn Staley's South Carolina team to double-overtime and won. In a losing effort, freshman Kelsey "yah, I know BG and EDD are gettin' all the attention, but Deb and Beth show me some love!" Bone had 32 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals and one block in 41 minutes.

We'll learn more about the Tigers after their next game (Kennesaw State). They're heading to Storrs, CT for the WBCA Classic where they'll face Hofstra, Richmond, and UConn in the three-day tournament.
A big, huge shout out to "Friend of the Blog" author Peggy V. Beck.

Her book, "Sweet Turnaround J" has been published by "Friend of the Blog" publisher Bedazzled Ink. (Here's a review and you may recall Steve mentioning he was reading it.) From the flyleaf:
Sweet Turnaround J is sixteen-year old Janey Holmes’s account of her sophomore basketball season. An all-state player, Janey Holmes is devastated, her dream shattered, when her old high school suddenly closes over the summer and she finds herself at a new school, on a basketball team that hasn’t won a game in over three years. As the Riverside Ravens climb from a hopeless start to challenge the best teams in the district, Janey learns what happens when her passion for the game and loyalty to her team is threatened by her explosive temper and the free-fall desires of first love
Well, Peggy's been interviewed by yet ANOTHER "Friend of the Blog," Pat Griffin, Director of It Takes a Team!
PG: How did you decide to write a young adult novel about a high school lesbian basketball player?
PVB: The project began as my “what might have been” fantasy. As a kid I played every sport, ran track, and swam, but basketball was my passion. Unfortunately this was at a time when there were very few high schools with organized sports for girls, including my own. Being gay was not even on peoples’ radar screens. So I wanted to write about a girl, who like myself, was a basketball fanatic and who was also dealing with other issues that ultimately had an impact on her game and her dreams.

When I actually began writing the book it quickly became Janey Holmes’s story, not mine. Also, during the early phases of researching the novel I had watched high school girl basketball players trying to come to terms with their feelings towards other girls as well as kids’ and adults’ prejudices about being gay. I identified with these girls and wanted to turn their struggles into a dramatic sports novel. In the novel the players deal with abusive and over-zealous parents, jealousies over boys, homework anxiety—and face the unique problems of young lesbians.
There won't be Monarchs in Sacramento next year, but they might still be playing somewhere in the Golden State: the league has been feeding rumors of a WNBA team in Oakland, maybe as early as 2010.

If Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cowan decides to sell his team to Oracle zillionaire Larry Ellison, and/or to George Lucas (yes, the George Lucas), the Bay Area will have new NBA owners who can easily afford the likely annual losses for a WNBA team, and who might be interested in acquiring one. (And if not, then probably not.)
Maggie Dixon.

It's a story worth telling. And retelling. And retelling.

The Maggie Dixon Story: An Inspiring Legacy
With the first Maggie Dixon Classic at DePaul tipping off at 5:30 p.m. Friday in McGrath Arena, we take a look back at the Maggie Dixon story---one that comes straight from the heart.
"The magic she worked at Army is the same magic she worked on every person in her life," said Hays-Fort. "She made the cadets want to attend women's basketball games. She was such a leader of young people. She was trying to change the environment there."

That moment came just six months later when Army edged Holy Cross 69-68 to win the Patriot League Conference Tournament and secure the Academy's' first appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Several hundred cadets, led by the football players, stormed the Christl Arena court and carried Dixon off---a memorable scene telecast to a national audience on ESPN's "SportsCenter."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Rebkellians vent and mourn.

And wonder about a team and league that let players discover they no longer have a team via press releases and twitter.

Damn, you've got to love professionalism, dontcha?
Holy crap: The Monarchs fold.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bad news for Michigan State: Courtney Schiffauer will miss the remainder of the season after tearing her ACL.
From Ben York at Slam: "Heart, Personified - Tamika Catchings captures the essence of the WNBA.
From Hoopfeed.com: Tragic loss for a young player in San Antonio, South Texas Hoyas spearhead support
While the nation’s top women’s basketball teams prepare for a showcase at San Antonio’s AT&T Center, a young player in the city is coping with the loss of her biggest fan.

Saturday morning, the mother of an 11 year-old player for the South Texas Hoyas, an AAU girl’s basketball team in San Antonio, died in a fatal domestic violence incident.
Charde Houston is looking to help:
As you know, I have been organizing a fundraising drive to to raise $3,288.00 for a family in San Antonio who's mother died in a domestic violence incident.

There are two children that have lost their mother, an 11 year old, who plays AAU girl's basketball and her 8 year old brother. The coach of the Hoyas, Theresa Nunn, and one her colleagues are seeking help from the community to provide shelter and funds. If you can donate $2, that would help! Please feel free to donate more.
I may have missed it during ESPN's double-header, but if it wasn't mentioned, I wished it had been....
From Yaniv Orgad at Haaretz.com, Basketball / Sister act moves from Oklahoma to Israel
A few moments after Courtney Paris sealed Maccabi Ashdod's 84-82 win in the Winner Cup final from the free throw line, her twin sister Ashley felt her throat choke up. Ashley explains that it was weird enough playing against Courtney, since that had never happened before, but watching her twin celebrate taking "her cup" was just too much.
The Naismith "Watch List" has been announced.
Good news for the educators amongst us sports fans:

Division I graduation rates reach all-time highs
According to the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate data, 79 percent of Division I freshmen student-athletes who entered college in 2002 earned their degrees, matching last year’s rate. The average Graduation Success Rate for the last four graduating classes is 79 percent, one percentage point higher than last year.

DII graduation rates continue impressive pace

Division II’s latest Academic Success Rate results show that graduation rates for Division II student-athletes continue to significantly exceed those of the general student body.

Student-athletes in the entering class of 2002 posted a six-year graduation rate of 71 percent as calculated by the Academic Success Rate, far above the 55 percent using the federal graduation-rate methodology that does not take transfers or nonscholarship athletes into account.

Tough news for Walz's Cardinals: Byrd's out.
Morris Phillips of East Bay Express does a really nice piece on Cal coach Joanne Boyle: A Coach's Job Begins Off the Court : Coach Joanne Boyle has built the Cal women's basketball program by treating team members as people as well as players.
It was Boyle's big break — if only she could find common ground with a close-knit and probably skeptical group of players. But the situation was difficult, Barbour said. "She recognized the dynamic right away," the athletic director recalled, "and then she did all the right things."

Lindsay Gottlieb, Boyle's top assistant at Richmond and also for her first three years at Cal, remembers a rougher transition. "That first year was unlike anything else we had experienced," Gottlieb said. "Those players looked at us like aliens from another planet. But Joanne worked day after day to gain their trust."

Boyle stood by a simple pitch, and made it stick in her daily interactions with the team: "I know how to do this. We can do it together."
Beth and Debbie's latest once a week, half-hour podcast is up and their guest is Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.

Check out the podcast and/or take a peek at the "Companion Blog", which'll tell you what in the current podcast as well as outline what you've missed on previous ones.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A little Pre-Season WNIT update:

Semifinal games
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Oklahoma State 70, New Mexico 56
Thursday, Nov. 19
West Virginia at Ohio State, 7 p.m. ET

Sunday, Nov. 22
Oklahoma State vs. West Virginia-Ohio State winner, site/time TBA

Consolation Rounds 1&2
Friday, Nov. 20
North Carolina A&T vs. Chicago State at Towson, 5 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois vs. UTEP at Arkansas-Little Rock, 6 p.m. ET
Winthrop at Towson, 7:30 p.m. ET
Northern Colorado at Arkansas-Little Rock, 8:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, Nov. 21
NCA&T-Chicago State loser vs. Towson-Winthrop loser at Towson, 5 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois-UTEP loser vs. UALR-Northern Colorado loser at UALR, 5:30 p.m. ET
NCA&T-Chicago State winner vs. Towson-Winthrop winner at Towson, 7:30 p.m. ET
Eastern Illinois-UTEP winner vs. UALR-Northern Colorado winner at UALR, 8 p.m. ET

Consolation Round 3 games
Saturday, Nov. 21
Bowling Green at Marist, 1 p.m. ET
Florida Gulf Coast at Georgia Tech, 2 p.m. ET
ESPN's got some follow-up to yesterday's Texas double-header and a Connecticut upset.

Mechelle: Routs remind us of the way we were: Does women's hoops need UConn-Tennessee? No, but matchup is greatly missed.
Perhaps there are folks who could look at the doubleheader held here in what will be the 2010 Final Four city and not think, "Wow, they had the wrong matchups." Not sure who those people are, though.

But, alas, there was no other way to do it. Not with these four teams. Texas and Texas Tech will face off once the Big 12 season arrives. And UConn and Tennessee will …

Well, we all know that story, huh? They won't meet unless it happens in the NCAA tournament. And judging by the way both played Tuesday, that meeting most likely would be at the Alamodome in April.

More Mechelle: Tennessee (2-0) tops another Big 12 foe

Well, right now it certainly appears that Tennessee would be the Big 12 favorite … were the school not in the SEC, of course.

Pat Summitt's crew has faced two Jumbo Dozen schools to open the season, Baylor and Texas Tech, and dispatched of both. Two more Big 12 teams -- Texas and Oklahoma -- are on the schedule for Tennessee. Not sure it looks good for either the Longhorns or the Sooners; both those games are at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Graham got a look at the Louisville/Hartford game:

Jeff Walz will take Louisville anywhere to play any team any time. As he said at a practice Thursday night, fresh off the plane in the midst of a season-opening road trip, if you're going to try and win on the road at places like Marquette during Big East play, it doesn't make sense to duck the Daytons and Hartfords of the world beforehand.

Still, I wonder if he might soon consider tearing the Connecticut page out of his atlas.

And Mechelle adds a little somethin'-somethin' from her blog.

Not a good night in San Antonio for the Lone Star State teams. I wrote about the UConn-Tennessee now-phantom rivalry for ESPN.com, a topic that will no doubt irritate some folks.

I’ve written about a million stories that don’t involve UConn or Tennessee over the last 13 seasons for ESPN.com … but some people still insist I don’t write about anything except the Huskies and the Vols. All I can say to that is it’s not my doing that those two programs have combined to win 14 NCAA titles in the last 22 years.

You write a lot about who wins a lot – and they’ve both won a lot.

That said, what about the Raiders, who fell 91-53 to Tennessee, and the Longhorns, who lost 83-58 to UConn? Both programs looked overmatched by their respective opponents.

Congrats to coach Doug Bruno.

DePaul figured out a way to repay Doug Bruno for the last 24 years as one of the top women's basketball coaches in the country and an inspirational mentor to several hundred players.

Athletics Director Jeanne Lenti Ponsetto carefully orchestrated a Kodak moment that left even the normally loquacious Bruno virtually speechless.

At the end of the annual Doug Bruno Challenge Dinner fundraiser Monday night at the Cubby Bear, Ponsetto announced that next season, the floor at McGrath Arena will be formally named Doug Bruno Court.

Bruno stared straight ahead, then used a blue cloth napkin to stem the tide of emotion streaming down his cheeks.

"He was so shocked," said his wife, Patty Bruno. "First came the tears, then his body started quivering. Nobody said anything about the surprise, and nobody slipped up.

You can hear various coaches sighing, "Dang, but I miss those dang seniors."

1) Hartford upset #19 Louisville, 62-50.
2) #11 Cal squuuuuueaked by St. Mary's, 68-65.
3) #10 Florida St. barely took down in-state rival Florida, 66-62.
4) Temple defeated Auburn, 66-52.

On the flip side, many teams took care of business.

1) #25 Pittsburgh over North Florida, 61-35.
2) #9 Baylor over Tennessee Tech (2 blocks away from a triple-double, but no dunks), 100-55.
3) #5 Tennessee over Texas Tech, 91-53.
4) #3 Ohio State over UAB (Lavender for 30), 88-55.
5) #1 Connecticut over Texas, 83-58.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The WBCA's podcast, Shootaround with Beth and Debbie, now has a "companion blog." Looks like a slightly detailed recap of the show.

Check it (and the show, which you can download from iTunes if you'd like) out.
The Chicago Sky have a catchy new advert spot on YouTube.
Keep an eye out on your local PBS station for Playing for the World: The 1904 Fort Shaw Indian Girls’ Basketball Team.
In 1902, a unique combination of Native women came together at a boarding school in Montana. They used the new sport of basketball to help them adjust to a rapidly changing world. Their travels and experiences led them to places they never imagined. Ultimately, these women played for something much larger than themselves.
If the story sounds familiar, you may recall Full Court Press was recently published covering the same story, and the both authors were interviewed for the Montana-based project.
Over a 10-year period, authors Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith dug deeply into tribal, state and federal records, period newspapers and journals and personal papers and family records, supplied by descendents of the team, their classmates and the Fort Shaw faculty and staff. Their remarkable sleuthing has shaped a book that’s both thorough and engaging.
Lots of press on tonights double header: TN v. Texas Tech, UConn v. Texas

Big 12 teams trying to elite status enjoyed by Tennessee, UConn, RedRaiders.com
Lady Vols Minus Brewer, Williams At Texas Tech, The Chattanoogan
Lady Vols take on Texas Tech, Maryville Daily Times
Lady Vols leave pair in Knoxville, GoVolsXtra
Tennessee to take on Texas Tech, InsideTennessee.com (subscription)
Texas Tech's Roberson is home on the road, San Antonio Express
Game day: No. 10 Texas vs No. 1 UConn, Post
Return trip to Texas the goal for UConn women, Courant
Preview: UConn women vs Texas, Courant
Auriemma, UConn welcome early test, Register
Doty, Hayes sharing duties at point guard, Day
Texas will provide UConn with some tougher competition tonight, Republican
Huskies get Final Four venue preview, Daily Campus
Brash Auriemma favored to win it all, San Antonio Express
Horns hope UConn matchup will be must-watch TV, Austin American Statesman
Texas-UConn preview, American Statesman
Texas renews series against top-ranked Connecticut, UT The Daily Texan
From the WBCA:

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) So You Want To Be A Coach Program is a program designed to increase the amount of minorities in the coaching profession, by providing a workshop based on educational and professional principles to help those interested in the field. Following its seventh year, the program has reached 330 student-athletes who have aspirations to go into the coaching profession.

The WBCA has tracked 170 of the 330 former student-athletes who have completed the program. Of those 170 former student-athletes, 121 of them have landed coaching positions, showing that 71% of those who go through the program continue on in the profession. Click here to see where the participants are now coaching.

"The WBCA strives to ensure the future of women's basketball by offering opportunities to student-athletes who are interested in the coaching profession," said WBCA chief executive officer Beth Bass. "Each of the participants in the So You Want To Be A Coach program have the potential to be the next leaders of our sport. It is vital that we all continue to mentor and support these young, aspiring coaches."

The WBCA will host the eighth annual So You Want To Be A Coach program, a two-and-a-half day workshop, at the 2010 WBCA National Convention on April 2 - 4 in San Antonio, Texas. For qualification, the potential candidate must have exhausted her final year of basketball eligibility at a four-year institution or have graduated within the past year. In addition, the candidate's head coach has to nominate them and must be an active WBCA member. Each participant is selected based on their academics, contributions to women's basketball on and off the court, professional resume and a written recommendation from their head coach.

This program is made possible through the NCAA Matching Grants for the Advancement of Minority Women Coaches. For more information on the So You Want To Be A Coach program, click here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A WHB shout out to Midland College (TX) head coach Ron Jones who recently notched his 400th win.

His record record stands at 402-100.

Not bad. Not bad 'tall.
So, I've been keeping track of the WBCA's Coaching Changes to see if I can cull some candidates for the race to the second annual WHB-MD-RCOY (That would be the WHB Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award, Ball State's Kelly Packard being the first honoree).

Hmmm.... shall we just give it to Michael Cooper (who earned his first college victory over Fresno State.)?

Wait, is he eligible? Dang, the conundrum set up by the criteria for the WBCA MDRCOY award may run into the snag I anticipated: a reaaaaally limited field of candidates.
Criteria (In Priority Order)
1. Must be a current Division I head coach in his/her rookie season
2. Qualification/Advancement in NCAA Tournament or NIT
3. Qualification/Advancement in conference tournament
4. Success in conference during the regular season
5. Team success during the regular season
6. Team improvement from previous season
7. Regular season conference record
8. Awards/Honors
Tennessee and UConn are playing tomorrow in the Alamo Do... I mean the AT&T Center and Mechelle's going to be there.
Having Tennessee and UConn in the same place without having them meet on the court is like inviting two people who can't stand each other to a dinner party and forcing them to pretend the other isn't there.

Great fun, isn't it?

Some fabulous, fabulous history from North Carolina's News & Observer
At 92, Vivian Sansom recalls when women played basketball on a half-court. They couldn't dribble more than twice at a time. Nobody dunked. Nobody got on television.

It was a different world in 1940, when she coached her first squad. When she took a teaching job at N.C. College for Negroes - now N.C. Central University - the president asked her why a woman would want to work at all. Once hired, if she needed so much as a basketball, she had to ask the president to fetch it out of a locked closet.

But tonight, Sansom will sit down front at a Shaw University tournament named in her honor, watching women who play on scholarships and dream of a spot in the WNBA. Here, the hoop dreams reach across five decades, and the inspiration comes from a great-grandmother who played golf into her late 80s.

What is it about being on a ranked team and partial/full game suspensions? First it was Ohio State, then Texas, now it's Tennessee: No Brewer or Williams in San Antonio.
Mechelle writes about the Griner vs. Ten... I mean, the Baylor/Tennessee game.

Mulkey knew the stars probably were not aligned for Griner to come away with a victory in her first college game, seeing as it was at Thompson-Boling Arena on the court named after Tennessee coach Pat Summitt, who, to the surprise of many, got this bee in her bonnet: begin the game with a zone defense … and mostly keep it.

"That's the first time ever, in 36 years, that we started in a zone and played it throughout the game," Summitt said. "How about that?" Pretty stunning. Some folks might have shaken their heads and rubbed their eyes to be sure their vision was clear. However, it's just a rumor that one older Tennessee fan, after watching that many minutes of orange zone, was heard exclaiming, "Good Lord, you can take me now, because at last I've seen it all!"

(Speaking of "Good Lord!" can someone take away the t.v. announcers and their All-American/Hall of Fame Annointing Oil? Sheesh, B.G. is JUST a freshman!)

Graham checked in on the Cardinal/Scarlet matchup and says "Nice guards, Stanford," and "Keep your head up, Rutgers!"
'Cause it's much easier to give the writing assignment to someone else (Oklahoma upset by Georgia, Duke upset - nay stomped - by Texas A&M, Baylor upset by Tennessee, Dayton gives Louisville all it can handle), Graham asks: What does weekend of upsets really mean?
Despite a weekend full of upsets, I'd say we know exactly what we knew Friday morning. Namely, Connecticut is in a league of its own, Stanford is pretty darn good and anyone who assures you they know what's going on after that is delusional.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The WNIT's chugging along, and there are some good matchups in the not too distant future:

Second round games
Sunday, Nov. 15
Ohio State 91, Bowling Green 72
Oklahoma State 70, Georgia Tech 64
New Mexico 80, Florida Gulf Coast 64

Monday, Nov. 16
Marist at West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET

Semifinal games
Wednesday, Nov. 18
Oklahoma State at New Mexico, 9 p.m. ET

Thursday, Nov. 19
Marist-West Virginia winner at Ohio State, 7 p.m. ET

Consolation Round 3 games
Bowling Green vs. Marist-West Virginia loser, site/date TBA
Florida Gulf Coast at Georgia Tech, date/time TBA
As the hype-lights follow Brittney Griner, Kevin Tresolini of Delaware online tracks the return of another women's basketball prodigy.
Elena DelleDonne has truly come full circle.

She has taken her roundabout route, through personal strife and rumination, with the brief and pleasant detour across the volleyball court, and arrived back where she always belonged.

Now, a basketball season beckons and the woman who was once the most sought after college recruit in her sport is absolutely delighted to be a part of it.
As I've said before, it's wonderful that DelleDonne the person has found her way back to DelleDonne the player of the game of basketball. Some may wonder how much she can grow as a player in the CAA, but Ticha did okay.

And, if you'll remember, Erin Buescher (Perperoglou) had a nice little WNBA career after she transferred from UCSB to NAIA's The Master's College.

Whatever her future, I can't imagine anyone begrudging DellaDonne her joy. (Actually, I can, but that's just so very sad for them.)

If you get the chance, catch a Blue Hens game. They start with 7 road games (ouch).
As 5pmEST nears, Mechelle writes
Four years ago, a question went around about the Big 12 concerning Oklahoma freshman Courtney Paris. How in the world was anybody going to stop her?

Sure, Paris took some criticism about her fitness as her career progressed. But the bottom line is that she still finished with more points than anyone in Big 12 history and more rebounds (and double-doubles) than anyone in Division I history.

Which brings us to the player who'll make her official college debut Sunday on a stage that for women's basketball is akin to what the Grand Old Opry is for country music.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Graham had such a good time at the South Dakota State/Gonzaga game that he wrote more.
Hmmm... so maybe I shouldn't be whispering.

Forget those D-II teams. Ignore those NAIA teams. It's those dang Ivies you've got to watch out for! (Were you not paying attention a year ago?)

So discovered the Boston Eagles as they were stunned by their Cambridge rivals, Harvard, 82-81.

Speaking of the Eagles, Fairfield made sure Cathy Inglese's return to the sidelines was an unpleasant one: the Stags stomped Rhode Island 74-48.

Illinois State made sure UCLA Bears started the season off on the wrong foot, 61-55.

And, while the Harper era started out rather nicely for the Wolfpack, they had a close encounter with a Catamount and did not emerge unscathed: Vermont defeated NC State, 52-47.

By the way, Courtnay "no you didn't just Honorable Mention me" Pilypaitis added 15 points, four rebounds and five steals and, in the previous game, was one rebound shy of her third career triple-double in Friday's game (21 pts, 9 reb, 10 asst). Oh, and fellow Canadian May Kotsopoulos was no slouch neither, earning MVP honors at the Sheraton Raleigh Wolfpack Invitational.
So, don't ask me how I know, but there's going to be an illustrated coffee-table companion to SuperFreakonomics. And it's going to include a small section on the WNBA and male/female coaches.
Mechelle apologizes to Coach Merchant for making her cranky this AM:
Mel Jackson, my editor at ESPN.com, cheerfully pointed out the season is only a day old, yet “Vojo” has already struck once. Friday morning, she posted my story on Michigan State and the Spartans’ hopes to build on the success of last season.

Friday evening, in its season-opener, No. 10 Michigan State lost 77-74 at Dayton.
While coach Merchant may be a tad cranky this AM, several other coaches may be shaking their heads or wiping their brow:

1) Temple roared back from 16 to defeat Illinois. (As a friend pointed out, a mini Geno v. CViv game)

2) The Jackrabbits had to pull themselves out of a hat to get a win in overtime over Gonzaga, and Graham was there:
From the old main street free of national chains to the farmland that frames its borders, Brookings has the friendly, casual feel of a city comfortable with its place in the middle of nowhere. Yet it was anywhere but the middle of nowhere in the basketball world Friday night, playing host to a game that threw down a challenge to the rest of the nation.
3) Xavier tempted Michael Cooper with his first win as a women's college basketball coach, but then swiped it away in overtime.

4) With Raven missing the first half because she overslept and missed a class, UT San Antonio tried to make the Texas opener a nightmare. The Longhorns woke up, though, and escaped with an 11pt win.
WNIT update:
First round games - Friday’s results
Ohio State 91, Eastern Illinois 68
West Virginia 79, Towson 42
Florida Gulf Coast 66, UTEP 54
Oklahoma State 67, Arkansas-Little Rock 58
Georgia Tech 63, Winthrop 30
Bowling Green 76, Chicago State 41
Marist 80, North Carolina A&T 64
New Mexico 81, Northern Colorado 59

Second round games - Sunday, Nov. 15
Bowling Green at Ohio State, 2 p.m. ET
Georgia Tech at Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. ET
Florida Gulf Coast at New Mexico, 4 p.m. ET

Monday, Nov. 16
Marist at West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mechelle is doing Much musing on the idea of self-promotion
It used to be something that seemed, well … kind of gauche. Or at least it was to me and most other writers I knew. We’d never say, “Oh, by the way, did you read that story I wrote?”

We’d roll our eyes at those writers who might have done that. Self-promotion was almost seen as a character flaw. We were writers, not salespeople. Hey, the story was published. If it was good enough and people were interested, they would find it. Maybe somebody who liked it would pass it on – by word of mouth or, as technology advanced, by e-mail or message boards. That was OK … but we weren’t going to beat our own drums.

Wow, how stupid were we?

Discussion with self overheard by self...
"Is it too early to say it?"

"Yes, it's too early."

"Are you sure?"


"Maybe if I whisper?"

"It's too. damn. early."

"Has parity come to the women's game?"


The Dayton Flyers upset #10 Michigan State, 77-74.

Welcome to the 2009-2010 season!
Coach one of the best point guards ever and watch her carry the flag for the US Olympic team?

Beat pancreatic cancer?

Join six other active coaches with 700 wins and becomes the 12th to ever to accomplish the feat?

Congrats, Coach Ryan.
What? You missed the latest Deb and Beth Shootaround podcast?
UConn's All-Time Starting Five
Opening Weekend Preview
Sports team of the Year?

Check it out!
A few years ago I had a conversation with Drexel coach Denise Dillon about the importance of the WNIT (which starts today!), and I've been following the Dragons ever since. What a ride it's been: Women's basketball chosen to repeat
In their wildest dreams, none of the players on the Drexel women's basketball team would ever have imagined a season as marvelous as the one they enjoyed in 2008-09.

The Dragons won a program-record 24 games, the first-ever Colonial Athletic Association title in any sport in University history and advanced to their first-ever NCAA Tournament in program history.

Ultimately, Drexel fell 68-44 in the first round to Kansas State. But coming off a historic campaign, the Dragons have high hopes in 2009-10.
Some were laying bets that she'd figure a way to squash it -- but the article's reappeared....

Clay Kallam asks: Did Blaze Burn the Liberty? And the WNBA suffers as a result.
The two most important franchises in the WNBA are the Los Angeles Sparks and the New York Liberty – not necessarily in that order.

And while the Sparks are a competent, if not superior, franchise, the Liberty are unlikely to get back on track until James Dolan sells the team. Yes, Dolan’s poor leadership is more of a problem than Carol Blazejowski’s inability to evaluate talent, because any owner would have fired Blazejowski long ago, if only to appease an alienated and dwindling fanbase.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Interesting move from the horde that covers UConn: seems like most of the beat writers are now hosting weekly chats (transcripts can be found in their blogs.)
From Slam's busy Ben York (Who we thank for all his work, 'cause, since we don't play a long season, it's important to keep the W on people's radar)
Charde Houston: On breaking records, personal improvement and the future.

Kelly Mazzante: The fan-favorite talks about the Mercury and WNBA.
Spartak is playing (and winning) again.
Thinking outside the box (and, perhaps, with an eye to economics) the Big 12 and Big Ten announced the formation of an annual women’s basketball challenge
The series will feature a home-and-home format over the initial two-year agreement. Each of the Big 12's teams will play in both years of the Challenge, while one Big Ten team, Wisconsin, will play two Challenge games each year.

"We are looking forward to our challenge with the Big Ten Conference," said Dru Hancock, Big 12 senior associate commissioner. "This provides a unique scheduling opportunity for our women's basketball programs against quality opponents. It will also feature exciting matchups for fans to follow over the next two seasons."
Debbie Ryan aims for #700.
Need to kill some time before the season starts?

Check out YouTube for Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird: Best Friends, Better Rivals
Congrats to Coach Dunn:
One of the most successful women's basketball coaches in the United States, Indiana Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn has been named as one of 11 inductees into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Dunn will be enshrined during induction ceremonies on February 19, 2010, at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville.
With the Griner dunk hysteria, Jonathan Abrams from the Times writes: For Some N.B.A. Players, There’s No Such Thing as a Slam Dunk
Jason Kapono doesn’t dunk. That fact would be unremarkable were it not for his occupation and his height.

Kapono plays for the Philadelphia 76ers and is 6 feet 8 inches. He is in his seventh N.B.A. season, but the only dunks he has thrown down in all that time have come during practice.

Not all tall athletes are created equal. Kapono began the season with 1,182 field goals in his career, nary a jam among them. In comparison, the athletic 6-7 rookie DeMar DeRozan notched his first dunk in just his second N.B.A. game with the Toronto Raptors.
From Mechelle's blog: On the dotted line

Ah, the first day of the fall signing period …

Look, there’s nothing wrong at all with getting excited about the potential newcomers to your program if you’re a fan. But I have to admit I’ve never been that jazzed about signing day … I guess because I’m not a fan. But also because it’s all speculation.

Not that it isn’t based on something substantive. Recruiting web sites evaluate players and talk to coaches. But how they really make a decision between, say, who’s 17 and who’s 22 … I don’t know. You can be pretty sure if a lot of big schools are after somebody, she’s probably quite good. They don’t usually miss.

But it seems to me that sometimes people get worked up about recruits the way they do about a new gadget. It’s exciting because it’s new and holds all this promise … but then they figure out it takes some work to get it running.

More on Captain Caton Hill from Mechelle:

Someone asked her at one point if, after everything she'd done -- playing Division I basketball, joining the Army, going to medical school -- there was anything that intimidated her.

"You know," she said, "war is intimidating. Um … nothing else comes to mind."

A classic Caton answer. I still envision her on court in her Sooners uniform, blonde hair pulled back in that messy bun, with a facial expression that could alternately be fiercely determined or wryly amused.
You might want to compare and contrast Dick Patrick's take on the 2010 top recruits vs ESPN's Joe Montes' thoughts.

ESPN's Chris Hansen thinks Duke fans have a lot to cheer about.
From Selena Roberts at SI.com: Burning To Play Again - What seems obvious now -- missing Lizzie was a case of homesickness -- was at first mistaken for basketball overload. Otherwise Elena would be loony for leaving UConn.
Don't spy from the tunnel or peek from the mezzanine. Sure, she could stay and watch a scene tantamount to Streep doing community theater, but Delaware coach Tina Martin resisted. Around nine o'clock on a night last January, long after the unranked Blue Hens had sweated out another basketball practice, Martin walked across a darkened gym and flicked the lights on for a freshman education major, Elena Delle Donne -- once the most celebrated player in high school hoops, the 6' 5" It Girl of Connecticut's 2008 recruiting class. "I left her alone," recalls Martin. "I went home. As much as I was thinking that I hope she is enjoying herself, I didn't think she needed me hiding in the background. She was sorting through so many emotions."
Looks like Jayda and Q (at Swish Appeal) will be quite busy covering West Coast teams. Add in Michelle and it may be that teams won't be able to complain about the media's East Coast bias!

The latest from Q: What makes small venues "perfect" for women’s college basketball?
As I sat down at Seattle University’s women’s basketball exhibition opener vs. Northwest University last Tuesday, Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans commented that it had been a while since she had been to a game in such a small gym and tweeted:

At final stop of day--SeattleU's exhibition opener vs. Northwest University. I take back KeyArena statement. Connolly perfect setting
The AP's Aaron Beard on Carolina: No. 5 Tar Heels going young, but still aim to run

Carolina run? Who'da thunk!
Graham lays out Players to watch as 2009-10 unfolds:
Spanish native Leonor Rodriguez, Seminoles
Erica Beverly, Hartford
Alexis Gray-Lawson, California
Ify Ibekwe, Arizona
Melissa Jones, Baylor
Gabriela Marginean, Drexel
From Mechelle: Post-Paris twin era under way at OU - Sooners will shift to guard-oriented, fast-paced attack

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The peeps over at ESPN lay out their top five in the five (or faux, for those who like to avoid numbering) positions.

Mechelle talks about the headaches they all got getting to the top: Welcome to our yearly struggle

Know what would be cool? If they had a little stat tracker for the 25 so fans could follow them throughout the season.....
After Marie's site posted the following information
Researchers at Bowling Green State University, the University of Memphis and the University of Iowa presented results of a study during the annual NASSS conference today suggesting that adolescent girls involved in sports are generally attracted to images of sportswomen that are athletically oriented -- not those that emphasize traditional femininity.
I wonder what researchers would make of this Texas A&M photo or the new Seminoles site. Jayda's thoughts? Women's hoops media guides and web sites getting sexier
What FSU has blatantly done is sexualized basketball. Sure, it may draw recruits -- what young woman wouldn't want to be part of a glamorous photo shoot? And I have to give FSU props, the site is cool, fresh and innovative.

But what are they selling?