Women's Hoops Blog: February 2010

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, February 28, 2010

From Ed Hardin from North Carolina's News & Record: Women's basketball is a sport in transition

The sport of women’s basketball is changing before our eyes, and a lot of people involved in the game believe it’s about time.

Through the slow evolution of athletes and trends, the women’s game seems to have come to terms with its future by finally breaking from its past. When the ACC tournament begins here this week, we will see a sport in transition. And it will look nothing like the one we saw near the end of the last century.

Q asks: Working Smarter, Getting Better: How Far Could UCLA’s Defense Go in the Post-Season?

And, keeping with the "defensive" theme, Queenie writes: Signature Storm Defense Seals Senior Day Win (Cause, if you didn't notice, #18 St. John's -- most wins in 26 years)
It's so hard to describe the energy that was in the building today. We were determined that not only were we going to beat Villanova, we were going to send our seniors off right. I've never seen our team so hyped up for a game, both during warm-ups and during the game itself. They were ferocious, fearless, and merciless. If they can keep up this level of intensity, or at least this kind of pressure, into postseason play... I wouldn't want to be the team who faces us.

In addition to being Senior Day and PinkZone, this was Alumnae Day. Shoutout to Kia Wright, the great point guard from the last tournament run- and if that was Mercedes Dukes she was sitting with, then shoutout to the sparkplug from that same run. Also, shoutout to Recee Mitchell, who would have been in this senior class if she hadn't transferred before the season. The one piece this team is missing is an enforcer, and six-foot-one of broad-shouldered Texas bad-ass would have fit nicely into that slot in our post rotation. Watch out, SWAC.
Milton Kent (yes, that Milton Kent) at Fanhouse writes: Vivian Stringer: Overcoming Obstacles
From Mel, a story that looks at two programs seem to be moving in different directions: Temple Tops GW In A Different Setting This Season
From Jayda: Storm coach Brian Agler takes bets on Lauren Jackson

The Storm held its annual "Winter Warm-Up" on Saturday before the Washington-Washington State game for season-ticket holders who renewed. CEO Karen Bryant told the crowd the organization is at about an 85 percent renewal rate. About 150 attended the pregame event on one of UW's auxiliary practice courts.

Co-owners Lisa Brummel and Dawn Trudeau, Bryant, and coach Brian Agler comprised the panel taking questions from the crowd. And of course the annual "When-will-Lauren-Jackson-sign?" query popped up.

From Mechelle's blog: "How to play “your part”
Nyeshia Stevenson. Dominique Kelley. Cat Redmon.

OK, I just wanted to type those names, first things first. Because it seems every time this season, and even going back into last season, that I thought, “I need to write about these players rather than just in passing,” somehow I didn’t get to it.

One of their teammates would have a big game, or some different story line would emerge. And I’d say, “OK, next time.”

So after this past week, when juniors Kelley and Redmon got to experience winning a Big 12 championship with their Nebraska teammates and senior Stevenson had one of the best offensive games of her career in Oklahoma’s huge win at Texas, I thought, “Gotta do it NOW!”

Saturday, February 27, 2010

About d'em Ivies: The Princeton women's basketball team pounded Cornell, 96-59, last night to set the program record for wins in a season at 22.

The Ivy League leader also continued on its program-record 17-game win streak. They are 22-2 overall and 10-0 in the league.

The 96pts were the most the Tigers have scored since 2002. All 12 players saw a least 9 minutes of action.
I've been saying all year the strength of our team lies in our depth," head coach Courtney Banghart said. "Tonight was another example of a great team win."
Banghart is in only her third season with the Tigers and has flipped the program on its head. And, in WATN? moment: Milena Flores (Stanford/Sol) is an assistant coach with Princeton.
The Atlantic Sun gets a little clarity: FGCU still hopeful of WNIT bid after USC Upstate loss
All likely was not lost in Spartanburg, S.C.

Florida Gulf Coast University's 86-78 loss at USC Upstate on Thursday night likely scrapped the Eagles' plans of repeating as Atlantic Sun regular-season champions, and with it, one of two ways to get an automatic WNIT berth, the main goal since the Eagles won't be eligible for conference or NCAA tournament play until completing this season and one more of Division I transition.

There's an outside shot FGCU (22-6, 17-3 in A-Sun), which returned all five starters, still can win the title. If first-place East Tennessee State (19-8, 17-2) loses at Jacksonville (9-18, 8-11) at noon Saturday, FGCU gets the championship nod because the tiebreaker falls to how those teams fared against Jacksonville. The Eagles s
No WHB jinx here: Sycamores win!
The Northern Iowa women’s basketball team, having won its last four games by double figures, likely didn’t see this coming.

Indiana State used a home crowd of 10,200 and solid shooting from the field and free-throw line to top the Panthers 70-62 Friday at the Hulman Center.
Seven years ago today....

Friday, February 26, 2010

On a night when #6 Duke clinched the ACC regular season title with a stomping of #18 Virginia, their rivals down the street continued to fall.

#22 Georgia Tech took down North Carolina 64-57, sending the Tar Heels to their seventh loss in eight games.

An update: Since relieving coach Jim Wiedie of his coaching duties on 2/10, the Illinois State Sycamores have gone 3-1.
The Mercury sign Ashley Paris to a training camp contract.
Remember a while back when Pat suggested that the Vols were probably ranked too high?

Yah, right! Inside her head she must have been going, "Psych!"

Mechelle notes that, while Tennessee is busy ruining women's basketball (they just won their 15th consecutive regular season conference title), the Vols are not above letting some teams have a little hope:

Yes, Tennessee wrapped up the SEC title again, clinching the top seed in next week's conference tournament with an 81-65 victory over Kentucky on Thursday. The Orange Crush are once again the boss of the league, restoring order and all that. But …

Let's give a nod, also, to Kentucky. It's not easy being blue in Knoxville, facing a legendary program that has now won 15 regular-season titles.

Who on the outside was really expecting that the Wildcats would have so much on the inside this season? So much in the way of guts, heart and ambition? Pretty much no one was predicting any glory for the Wildcats. Kentucky was picked to finish next-to-last in the SEC. Instead, the Wildcats (11-4, 23-5) are going to finish next-to-first.
In the spirit of remembering that there are over 4,000 NCAA Division I basketball players, and most of them will do go pro in something other than sports...

It's gettin' down to conference championship time. What's happening in those "other" conferences?
In the Atlantic Sun, it looks to be down to East Tennessee State (17-2 in the conference) and Florida Gulf Coast (17-3).

Eastern Washington rests atop the Big Sky and boasts a nice in- and out-of-conference record: 17-9 (10-3). But it's never wise to sleep on the Montana Grizz.

Big South? Gardner Webb has a leg up on traditional leader, Liberty. But remember, #3 High Point beat Florida.

Big West has three teams in contention: UC-Davis (10-3), Cal Poly (10-4) and UC Riverside (10-4). Considering the budget trauma California and, as a result, all Cal schools are undergoing, you've got to give'em a "Keep up the good work!" shout-out.

The Colonial shouldn't be part of this group, as I'm sorta going for teams who haven't garnered a lot of attention from the national media -- or the WHB. But tough noogies. I'm putting this together and it's a snow day (as I can attest by the delightful sound of laughter outside my window as sledders make like lugers. Oh, to be young....)

Anyway, the Conference storyline has featured ODU's recovery from a brutal OOC record and they now rule the roost. But it looks like the conference tourney could be verrrrry interesting: ODU, James Madison, Virginia Commonwealrth, Drexel, Delaware (especially if EDD can stay out of potholes) and Hofstra are going to beat up on each other big time.

Tulane (under coach Lisa Stockton) is in the top spot of C-USA, but Memphis (under Melissa McFerrin - who lost a top recruit early to an ACL) is tapping on their heels. Both were featured in the 2/17 Shootaround podcast.

North Dakota rules the Great West, but New Jersey Institute of Technology is in second place. This is the conference that -- when it comes to geography -- redefines the meaning of "west."

The Horizon has been full of surprises this year -- not the least of which was Wisconsin Green-Bay tallying three in-conference losses. Add to that that they're tied with Butler for the top conference spot AND Detroit is only a game in the loss column behind.... More veerrrrrrry interesting stuff. (Oh, and the Penguins are still un-victoried.)

The Independents are... well... independent. Cal State Bakersfield finds itself the boss of this hodgepodge of teams.

At 22-2, Princeton rules the Ivy League. Undefeated in conference play, their only losses came to Rutgers and UCLA.

Marist is head-and-shoulders above everyone in the MAAC. How long do we think Giorgis will stay with the Foxes?

It's Bowling Green, as usual, in the Mid-American Conference (12-2). But Kent State is right behind them, and the Golden Flashes get a chance for some revenge/tie-breaker mayhem when play the Phoenix tomorrow. Both teams are riding win streaks. And they would do well to pay attention to MAC-West leader, Toledo, who's 11-3 in conference play.

North Carolina A&T survived the whammy Beth and Debbie put on them, and rule the MEAC with a 12-1 record.

The Redbirds of Illinois State have a 14-game win streak going. They're sittin' the Missouri Valley Conference catbird seat, with only one loss. That was to #2 Creighton, who they play on Thursday.

The Northeast Conference, unlike the Great West, is just that -- in the northeast and Robert Morris (16-1) towers above all the rest.

Eastern Illinois and Morehead State share the same overall record (20-9) but in the Ohio Valley Conference, EIU Panthers trump the MS Eagles.

McFerrin's former team, American, is tied with Lehigh for the Patriot League lead. They split the regular season match-up, so their final contest looms large for both teams.

The Southern Conference features perennial leader Chattanooga, though Samford (14-5/20-) and Appalachian State (14-5, 18-10) may have something to say about that.

There's a traffic jam in the Southland East and West between Central Arkansas, Stephen F. Austin, Lamar and Texas A&M-CC.

Surprise, surprise, Cynthia Cooper's Prairie View team is not #1 in the SWAC (maybe more of that Shootaround jinx?) -- it's Southern University followed by Arkansas A&M. But it's mighty crowded up there....

Speaking of crowded -- it's crowded at the Summit: Oral Roberts, Oakland, South Dakota State and the UMKC Kangaroos. Okay, it's not THAT crowded, but I wanted to type Kangaroos.

Is anyone surprised that Middle Tennessee is still the one to beat in the Sun Belt? But, pay attention to Arkansas Little-Rock, who's also 16-1 -- in the SU-West.
Oh, look! An email from the Liberty alerting me to yet another Swish Appeal article on New York!


"More than just the scoring": What Exactly Does Powell Bring to the Liberty?
"Jeez-well look: she's an all-star," said Blazejowski in an interview with Swish Appeal last Thursday. "Believe it or not, I've always called John Whisenant every year and it's a perennial conversation: ‘Alright, well, what can we do to get Powelly?' If you call him and talk to him he'll tell you that's true. So I've always liked her as a player."

So before looking ahead to moving Powell, perhaps it's worth considering what Powell brings to the Liberty. Although many people assume she's just a scorer, both Blazejowski and head coach Anne Donovan suggest she's more than that.
...and a follow-up to the "Cappie wants out of the desert and in to the Empire State" talk: A Potential Wrinkle to the Pondexter Rumor: Keeping Temeka Johnson?
Here is what we know about the New York Liberty: they struggled to score last summer, head coach Anne Donovan would like to play more transition offense this season, and by adding Nicole Powell they now have two wings who aren't necessarily big distributors.

Doesn't that sound like a perfect fit for Phoenix Mercury All-Star Cappie Pondexter?
Side note: Max knows how to shoot women's basketball. I really like the "Orsillio auditions for Olympic short track speed skating team." shot
With a h/t to Sue and her (great coverage of West Coast basketball) blog, They're Playing Basketball, this from ESPN: A Sprinting Start
Kayla Brewer physically is ready for the college game. But what is truly unique is that her game and physique are not the only qualities that put her ahead of her peers.

As a freshman in high school, Brewer enrolled in a running start program in which high school students also take classes at the college curriculum level. At the end of this current school year, technically her junior year of high school, she will have a high school diploma as well as an associates degree, equivalent to two years of college credits.

Last Monday the basketball star from Jacksonville, Fla., gave her verbal commitment to the University of South Carolina and became the 15th player in the ESPNU HoopGurlz Super 60 for the 2011 class to commit. But unlike the rest of the junior class, Brewer will begin college early, entering this coming fall.
The Rebkellians ponder coaches who (if the ADs care about women's basketball) should be on the hotseat. Amongst the top candidates:
Hudson at Alabama
McKinney at Clemson
Stein at Missouri
Mangina at Seton Hall
Stone at Wisconsin
Curry at Texas Tech
Jackson at Washington
Bozeman at George Washington
Andruzzi at Fordham
Borton at Minnesota
Could make for an interesting off-season, especially with some of the up-and-coming coaches making noise.
Okay - tell me that, at the beginning of the season, you thought we'd be contemplating an NCAA tournament without Rutgers, North Carolina and now, Maryland.

On Thursday night, Maryland received a major setback in its attempt to reach its seventh consecutive NCAA tournament with its 83-70 loss to Boston College at Conte Forum.

"We put pressure on ourselves because we knew we controlled our destiny if we go out and win this game," guard Lori Bjork said. "I think now we know we're going to have to get on a roll here."

*'cause how often do you get a chance to write something like this?*

Delle Donne-less Delaware Dig Deep.
Snow day in New York City -- so a quick look at the polls ('cause I'm peeved that I blew a trivia question asking who the #1 D-II team was.... Grrr).

NAIA Division II - GASP! Indiana Wesleyan has lost... FIVE games?
1. Hastings
2. Davenport
3. Northwestern
4. Black Hills
5. Cedarville

NAIA Division I
- GASP! Union has actually LOST a game!
1. Union
2. Saint-Xavier (IL)
3. Vanguard
4. Oklahoma Baptist
5. Campbellsville (KY)

NJCAA Division II:
1. Kirkwood
You may remember that head coach Kim Muhl recently earned his 600th win (against 112 loses). Wichked cool? He was honored with an endowed scholarship! And take a look at their alumni.
2. Owens
3. Johnson County
4. Illinois Central
5. Kankakee

NJCAA Division I: A mix of familiar and unfamiliar at the top. Best name: #8 State Fair Community College. Team to watch to see how they'll react to the loss of their coach: #11 Trinity Valley.
1. Jefferson College
2. Gulf Coast
3. Copiah-Lincoln
4. Midland College
5. Salt Lake

NCAA Division III: The Usual Suspects rule
1. Amherst
2. Kean
3. Illinois Wesleyan
4. Hope College
5. George Fox - nice to see them continue their success after their breakthrough.

NCAA Division II
: Gannon? Gannon! Who the heck is GANNON?
1. Gannon University (PA)
Cleve Wright is in his eighth season at Gannon and the Gannon women’s basketball program has been on the rise since his arrival. The Lady Knights were 12-14 during Wright’s first season in 2002-03, but rebounded with an 18-11 record in 2003-04 and a 19-11 mark the following season. The rise to the top was completed in 2006-07 with a 25-6 record, the program’s first Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) title, and a trip to the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The on-court excellence hit an apex last season. The Lady Knights finished 26-5 overall and 12-2 in the PSAC Western Division, tying the school record for victories and advancing to the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. In addition, the squad won four games against nationally-ranked opponents and was ranked 20th in the final USA Today ESPN Division II Top 25.
2. Franklin Pierce
3. University of Indianapolis
4. Fort Lewis College
5. Michigan Technological University

NCAA Division I: Yadda, yadda, yadda followed by "who the heck knows" and "they're SO over ranked!"

Of note:
Jen Rizzotti's Hartford Hawks made it into the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history.

From Jayda:

Not to discredit anyone in the WNBA, but Dan Hughes is the classiest guy in the league. I'm not saying this because he sports a cool Jimi Hendrix tie when San Antonio plays at KeyArena, it's because of the opportunities he endless tries to give his staff.

He dished out another on Thursday, stepping down as the Silver Stars' head coach to become their General Manager. Former Storm guard Sandy Brondello, his assistant the past five seasons, was named Hughes' replacement and Brondello's husband, Olaf Lange, will act as her associate head coach.

WHB note: I fell for Dan when he came to the Garden and made a serious run at Richie Adubato with his Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon tie. And then admitted that, while at Disney with his kids, he and his wife snuck out to catch a midnight Joan Jett concert. *thunk*

Maybe CViv should chat with Sylvia: Hatchell knows Tar Heels need a strong finish
Sylvia Hatchell doesn’t recognize the team wearing North Carolina jerseys this year.

The trapping defense that created so much havoc? Gone.

The high-scoring offense that fed off turnovers? Gone, too.

Instead, the coach with more than 800 career victories is tinkering with lineups and strategy to stop the Tar Heels’ monthlong slide that has jeopardized their NCAA tournament chances and has them unranked for the first time in more than eight years.

“I’ve got to keep pushing buttons until I find the right thing,” Hatchell said. “We can play really well at times, but I don’t have that defensive stopper out there. I don’t have that leader to get them together and say, ‘Look, get the ball here.’ We’ve got to keep working until it happens.”

Thursday, February 25, 2010

C Viv: "What I MEANT to say was..."
From the NYTimes' Dave Caldwell: 3-Point Artist Sees W.N.B.A. as Just Another Long Shot
Melissa Beyruti was so quiet when she first arrived at Kean University (#2 in the country) that her basketball coach, Michele Sharp, made her stop by her office just to see if Beyruti was doing all right. Sharp said the visits came to be known as “Melissa meetings.”

When asked if she was any more talkative as a fifth-year senior than as a freshman, Beyruti smiled politely and said, “A little bit.”

What Beyruti could do without any problems was shoot the ball accurately from long range. On Tuesday, three minutes into a 92-68 victory over Montclair State, Beyruti became the N.C.A.A. career leader in 3-point baskets.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

Oi! Oi! Oi!

Sandy Brondello is the new head coach of the Silver Stars. Dan's the GM.
Didja catch this: Millionaire coach Jim Justice boosts prep girls hoops team
One day last week, Jim Justice canceled practice for his Greenbrier East High School girls basketball team so the players could come to his home and bake cookies.
Justice has coached basketball "forever," he says. In 25 years, he's coached more than 1,000 games — from AAU teams to the Greenbrier East team, which he took over 10 years ago.

"There are three things I can do," he says. "I can make a business deal; I can shoot a shotgun; and I can coach a basketball team."
So... can you run the WNBA while you coach a franchise?
UConn senior night gets the AP's Doug Feinberg's attention as it means walk-on-to-scholly Jacquie Fernandes will start against #13 Georgetown.

Recently, the WBCA published an article on recruiting "ethics." Now this:
WBCA Implements Official Ethics Committee for Women’s Basketball

ATLANTA - The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced that an official committee on ethics has been formed. The WBCA Ethics Committee will assist in monitoring ethical standards, enforce appropriate action for any misconduct, and continue to positively influence and uphold ethics in women’s basketball.

“It is vital for the WBCA and our membership to be proactive as it relates to ethics in our sport,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “The addition of this committee is important to jumpstart ethical boundaries in our sport, but the hope is that these standards will infiltrate into better practices among all women’s basketball programs.”
The 2010 WBCA "So You Want to be a Coach" class is the biggest ever.

The So You Want To Be A Coach Program was designed to increase the amount of women in the coaching profession, with an emphasis on female minorities by providing a workshop based on educational and professional principles to help those interested in the field.
Stephen Litel has an Extended chat with Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve: Honest thoughts about hading into the draft...and into high expectations from fans and media.
SLAM: Again, at your press conference, you spoke of defense and rebounding. What do you see as the biggest challenge in implementing that more into the team?

Reeve: You know what? I don’t see challenges from the standpoint of implementation or even the players buying into it. Maybe that’s naïve, but it’s really not that hard. We’ll be very, very consistent in our coaching efforts, they’ll know exactly what they’re supposed to do and when, it’s simplified and it’s not like there is a dynamic plan that we’ll have to spend three weeks preparing for. It’s very, very basic defensive fundamentals and it’s just about being harder to play against on that side of the ball. The only time they’re going to see me get upset at practice is if we’re not defending and rebounding, so it’s not what you teach. It’s what you emphasize and that’s definitely going to be an emphasis through three weeks of training camp.

I’m a big believer in what you do in training camp defines who you are in the WNBA during the regular season. It absolutely does. I’ve been doing this for a long time. If you have a good training camp, it usually translates into a solid season. If you have a bad training camp, it’s going to be a rocky season and we saw that with the Shock in 2009. We had players all over the place, we had injuries and it was tumultuous.
It looks like a coaching change is happening in San Antonio. Tune in today at 1:00 CST to find out. (h/t dtsnms).
Stringer: 'We ain't going to the NIT' (RU lost to St. John's)
"People have asked me would we go to the NIT," the Hall of Fame coach said. "I don't know anything about the NIT and I guarantee you I won't be coaching a team that goes to the NIT. So if we don't go to the NCAA, we ain't going to the NIT. That's second in my opinion, and I never will accept and never have accepted it. So don't even ask me that question, ever.
You know what? That's just stupid and reflects a stunning level of ignorance -- not to mention disrespect for every team that's participated in the WNIT as well as all the WNIT organizers have done to grow the game. (If only she read the WBCA's magazine Coaching Women's Basketball.)

Doesn't anyone remember LaTech pulling that same bull? How's the basketball world treated them since?

The WNIT rocks -- both pre and post. (I was just thinking it's a great season for them to have a field of 64.) Teams benefit and grow (Witness last year's participants - and this year's ranked teams - West Virginia and St. John's). Seniors get to extend their season. Programs get to earn some money.

In last year’s Postseason WNIT, South Florida edged host Kansas 75-71 in front of a record crowd of 16,113 fans. It was the largest crowd in Big 12 Conference and Kansas history to watch a women’s college game.

Hon - it ain't about you, it's about your players.
Could it be that she just doesn't like orange?

Maya Moore had a season-high 38 points and a career-high 20 rebounds to help UConn beat Syracuse 87-66 for its 67th straight victory. (Last year she scored 40 against the Orange.)

The last UConn player to drop 30 and 20? Rebecca Lobo vs. Boston College in 1994.

Said Auriemma post-game:
“I said Maya was going to be horrible today,” Auriemma said. “She had a bad shootaround. She was acting like her typical dopey self like she always does. And then she missed the first couple shots and I said to the players on the bench, ‘You guys think I’m not that smart? I said that Maya was going to be out of it. See, I’m right.’ Thirty-eight points and 20 rebounds later ... They don’t listen to anything I say anymore. They think I’m crazy.
An update from my friend, the Nebraska Cornhusker (football) fan:
omg. What excitement! I listened on the interwebs. It was GREAT!!!
One fan at a time, y'all. One fan at a time.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Nancy Lieberman Award Finalist:
Alison Lacey, Iowa State
Nadirah McKenith, St. John's
Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State
Sam Quigley, DePaul
Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State
Danielle Robinson, Oklahoma
Jasmine Thomas, Duke
Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga
NY Liberty Off-Season Breakdown: "Who Can't Get Excited About a Second Year for Vaughn?"

Yah, I know it's a repeat, but, with all the "ink" Swish Appeal has given the Lib, don't ya think New York or the W would send out an email with a link??

Of COURSE not! That would be... you know... effective marketing and building a relationship with a media outlet!
An update:
The administration of Trinity Valley Community College is announcing that Coach Bill Damuth will no longer be the head coach of Lady Cardinals basketball. Assistant Coach Elena Lovato will serve as interim head coach through the rest of the 2009-2010 season.

Damuth was placed on indefinite suspension after being arrested during an altercation with an official at the Feb. 10 game at Blinn College. He was charged with resisting arrest.
From Michelle Smith at Fanhouse: St. John's Riding Youth Movement to Unprecedented Heights
This isn't the way it's normally done.
Teams that start compiling a list of "all-time" accomplishments are often experienced, senior-laden teams. They are teams that have been together for a few years and have put it all together for an unprecedented run.


And then consider what's happening at
St. John's, where the Red Storm have their second-highest ever ranking at No. 18 in the AP poll and their highest-ranking in the coaches' poll at No. 19.
An update from ken at AfterAtalanta on the Focus on Family banner ad fiasco:
But there have been plans for CBS (you remember--they're the station that aired the Super Bowl with the infamous FoF Tim Tebow ad) to air more FoF ads during March Madness. There is no word, according to Griffin's blog, about the status of these ads. So I emailed the marketing and publicity department at the NCAA and told them 1) good job taking down the ads (I didn't bother to mention the mistake they made in accepting them in the first place) and 2) please don't run them during the tournament next month.
You can do the same by emailing (pmr@ncaa.org) or calling (317-917-6762 )their public relations department.
From the APs Eric Olson (who clearly must read the blog for inspiration) Opponents closing gap against unbeaten Huskers
The third-ranked Cornhuskers have won their past five games by an average of 9.6 points. That’s impressive, but not nearly as convincing as the 24-point average margin between themselves and their first 20 opponents.

“Teams are going to be out to get us,” senior guard Yvonne Turner said Tuesday. “It makes it that much more fun to play when you know you have teams giving you their best shot vs. coming into a gym and knowing you’re going to blow a team out.”
Do you know what's.... cute? (Sorry, it's the only word that seems to fit)

When my friend, a third-generation Husker (football) fan, texts me asking, "Why isn't the game between undefeated Nebraska and Oklahoma on TV tonight."

Welcome to the world of big time women's basketball, says I.
The Podcast is Up: Beth and Debbie talk with Debbie and Beth (Ryan, Virginia and Dunkenberger, Virginia Tech), push for coaches to get involved with the Rules Committee, talk under the radar players in the Big 12, top scoring teams, #1s and #2s and wonder if the A-10, American East, Conf-USA might get multi-bids?
Big game tonight.

Writes Mechelle:
Well, aren't the Oklahoma Sooners lucky? Who doesn't like a "perfect" guest? And in the space of 10 days' time, the Sooners will have hosted two of them.

On Wednesday, Oklahoma faces the "other" unbeaten team in Division I women's basketball, Nebraska -- a visitor OU used to welcome to Norman every year.

From 1983-96, the old Big Eight rival schools played home-and-home every season, plus met twice in the league tournament.

Guess how that finished? Dead even.

There's free audio at huskers.com and, notes the Nebraska site:

The No. 3 Nebraska women's basketball game at No. 11 Oklahoma will be televised live in Omaha on Cox Cable Channel 122, the Nebraska Athletic Department announced on Tuesday afternoon.

The game between the 25-0 Huskers and 19-7 Sooners is being produced by the Sooner Sports Network and shared with both Cox Cable in Omaha, and in Lincoln on MyTV Time Warner Cable Channel 110. Charter Cable Channel 17 in Grand Island will also carry the game, along with other Charter Cable affiliates in greater Nebraska that offer MyTV. Using a digital tuner, you can receive MyTV over the air on Channel 10.2 in Lincoln and Channel 11.2 in Grand Island. The game is also scheduled to be carried on DirecTV Channel 25 in Nebraska.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

At Slam Online, Michelle Smith, Ben York and Q conduct a long and informative conversation about what the WNBA has accomplished-- and what it still needs. Q also has a belated addendum.
More from Q and Swish Appeal on the Liberty: Blazejowski On Liberty's 2009 Performance: "Underachieving and disappointing."
Swish Appeal has had the good fortune of speaking to three important members of the Liberty organization over the past two weeks: President and General Manager Carol Blazejowski, coach Anne Donovan, and newly added forward Nicole Powell. With so much more information for the Liberty than other teams, we will break the analysis of the Liberty into three parts. Today, we present the first: a review of the 2009 season based on conversations with Blazejowski and Donovan.
From Mel: St. Joseph's to honor 1984-85 squad
St. Joseph's is going down memory lane on Senior Day with a reception Sunday to honor the 25th anniversary of the 1984-85 team, the first from Hawk Hill to make the NCAA women's tournament.

A bye weekend for Ohio State in the Big Ten Conference is enabling Buckeyes coach Jim Foster and assistant coach Debbie Black to headline the reunion before St. Joseph's hosts Duquesne at Hagan Arena.

Foster coached the nationally ranked team that season, while Black was a freshman who became a feisty all-star point guard in the WNBA.

Suzie McConnell-Serio, a former Penn State all-American who was a rival of Black's in the Atlantic Ten, will also be in the house.

McConnell-Serio coaches Duquesne, and the game could determine which of the teams will receive one of the four byes in the conference tournament the following weekend in Upper Marlboro, Md.
In answer to Steve's question -- Hell, no!

And in a follow up, seems like there's been plenty of others who've expressed similar feelings. An update from the Change.org website:
UPDATE: Good news! The NCAA is feeling the pressure! As Pat Griffin writes, the NCAA has temporarily removed the ads from their site! But, they could reappear at any moment without an official statement from the NCAA. Keep the pressure going by signing our petition, and getting the NCAA to remove Focus on the Family ads once and for all.
From David Siegel, host of Dishin' and Swishin' on Women's Streaming Talk Radio: Tomorrow's show, at www.wstrradio.com on at 11 amEST and repeat at 7 pm EST is a special 90 minute episode featuring Chantelle Anderson.

Writes David:

Chantelle and I discussed in no particular order: Her career from youth through the pros; Playing in San Antonio for Dan Hughes; The end of her WNBA days in Atlanta; Her thoughts on the current WNBA and its future Favorite players to watch; Contraction, the players in the league and the salary cap; Her blog, twitter, ustream and speaking career; Empowerment, what it is and what it means to Chantelle; "The book;" Tiger Woods; Men vs. women on twitter, etc.; Sexuality in the game, including the Florida State website "controversy;" Advertising and marketing the W; Taking on the stereotypes and myths around women athletes.

As you would expect, Chantelle was her usual confident, outspoken self.
In a WATN? follow-up to the 2/3 Shootaround interview about Hope4Girls Africa, led by former Fordham Rams Mobolaji Akiode, we know where Yo will be:

In an effort of giving back and contribute to the development of basketball in the country, ex-international, Mobolaji Akiode has concluded arrangements to stage a basketball clinic/seminar next month in Lagos.

The clinic/seminar tagged Hope for Girls Basketball Classic will take centre stage from March 5-11 at the Rowe Park, Sports Centre, Yaba, where raw talents are expected to be discovered.

...as part of the programme, an All Stars Game will be played on March 3 with Yolanda Griffith, a WNBA player, who is a special guest, adding that during the clinic the young girls will be taught on skills building, hygiene and other rudiments of the game.
From Mechelle's blog: Let’s wrap it up: Playing catch-up
Traveling from Sooner country to Stanford country back to Sooner country in a 10-day span … throw in watching the Olympics … and what’s been lost in the shuffle? Me posting my poll voting. I know everybody’s just been hanging on by a thread waiting for that.

and Value judgment: How some sports are viewed

I’ve thought this for a long time. But whenever the Olympic spotlight is on, and I hear/read mocking of sports like figure skating, I think about it a lot. I’m not sure I’ll articulate any of this nearly as well as I want to, but here goes:

I don’t believe it’s a “coincidence” that the sports that seem to draw the most derision in the Winter/Summer Games are figure skating, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming – two of which are women-only events and all of which emphasize so-called stereotypical “feminine” qualities such as grace, flexibility and elegance.

And in last night's third contest between much-admired-but-somewhat-disappointing-this-year Southern teams, Baylor just barely beat Texas A&M.

Griner made the game-winning final layup, then interfered with the Aggies's last tying attempt; she finished with 22 and 21. "We can't compliment her enough," BU teammate Morgan Medlock said.

I watched Baylor get absolutely taken apart by Iowa State last weekend: Griner just sort of stood uselessly under the basket on the defensive end and watched it rain threes.

But TAMU just aren't that sort of team; they rely on their defense, and the big post assigned to Griner, Danielle Adams, fouled out with five minutes to go.
In last night's second contest between top Southern teams, Tennessee dropped 70 points on LSU, hardly an unprecedented achievement, but enough to beat a defensive minded team.

"Offensively, we did so many good things," said coach Summitt, whose team improved after an iffy first half. The Vols' Kelley Cain also set a new school record by blocking 12 shots.

Last month in Baton Rouge Tennessee beat LSU in a much lower-scoring game.
The Hoos couldn't quite beat the 'Noles in Charlottesville: FSU's Jacinta Monroe's final free throws let Florida State escape with a one-point win.

UVA star Monica Wright scored 23, but FSU's Courtney Ward topped her with a career-high 29: both sides had many more turnovers than assists.

The win keeps FSU in the ACC's number two slot, and might have UVA fans worried, given what's next.
Should the NCAA accept online ads from the very homophobic pressure group Focus on the Family?

Monday, February 22, 2010

That "Smack!" you heard was Clay Kallam's article being posted online.

The title? "Has the String(er) Been Played Out? Old school tactics aren’t working."
It happens. It happens to the best of them, and for a while, C. Vivian Stringer was one of the best women’s basketball coaches around.

But it’s happened before, and now it’s happened to her: The game has passed her by.
Chat with Graham: 4pm EST - still time to submit a question!
Q shows emotion on Senior Night at Seattle University. Jayda was moved too.
Florida State come to Charlottesville tonight, and the Hoos are ready: "All ten players are going to have to step up," said coach Ryan.

FSU are led by Jacinta Monroe, who helped her 'Noles crush Virginia Tech this weekend: Monroe has looked better in 2010 than she did throughout nonconference play. "She's really using all her tools right now," VT coach Dunkenberger agrees.

If UVA wins, they'll be tied with FSU for second place in the ACC. If FSU wins, they'll keep that number two spot. Since the top four teams in the ACC all avoid the first round of the conference tournament, you may not think there's a big consequence at stake here. But UVA have an upcoming game against Duke: it's mathematically possible for the Cavaliers to fall to fourth, or fifth, if they lose tonight and lose in Durham too.

Farther down in the standings, North Carolina lost once again to North Carolina State: the Wolfpack currently hold that fifth position, with Maryland and UNC-- the only two ACC teams ever to win NCAA championships-- at seventh and eighth.
It's Big Monday, and Graham writes: A lot on the line for Aggies, Lady Bears
Nebraska's dominance leaves the regular-season conference title all but done and dusted, but both Texas A&M and Baylor, particularly the former, are still within range of a top-four finish and the accompanying first-round bye in the Big 12 tournament. Beyond that event in Kansas City, both the Aggies and Lady Bears are playing for seeding in the NCAA tournament, hoping to land spots as one of the top 16 seeds in the bracket.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Swish Appeal's C&R file an eyewitness report from Senior Night at Stanford.
Yes, every so often Georgia loses a game that it really should win. And yes, the SEC is confusing this year. But losing to Florida? Trailing by double digits at halftime?

That's pretty weird, even in Gainesville. Coach Landers diagnosed poor rebounding: "You foul defensively when you don't have position," he said. "We put them on the free throw line way too much."

"To say this is a tremendous win is an understatement," said UF's coach Butler. Apparently the Gator seniors shone. But Florida still have very little chance for an at-large NCAA bid: they've lost to High Point, and to Florida A&M.

Should we expect more surprises in the conference tournament? I have no idea: I do note no other surprises down South today, and I see that for all the talk about a down year in Knoxville, Tennessee are still 24-2, and way ahead in SEC play. Is it possible for Pat Summitt to fly under the radar?
WATN? Robin Threatt-Elliott, former Wisconsin star and early Seattle Storm point guard, looks back on a life in and out of basketball.
Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis has more energy on a bad day than most other point guards have in a very good week, but she's only human; her team (like most of Jim Foster's squads) relies on its stars, and sometimes seems to have no plan B.

Prahalis had a rather uneven Sunday, and her Buckeyes lost at home in OT to Michigan State. Sam scored 17 but shot badly from the line; she also played every minute, as did Buckeye center Jantel Lavender. "I couldn't close it out," Prahalis said.

State, by contrast, gave all nine players at least fifteen minutes on court: it would have been hard to call anybody the star. "We are stacked with unselfish players," said MSU center DeHaan, who looked unselfish herself; she blocked shots, as always, but State's big first-half run came with DeHaan on the bench.

The upset keeps State in second place in the Big Ten; it also snaps OSU's home win streak, which had dated back two years.

UPDATE: Clay turns in slightly confusing comments on Prahalis as a potential pro.
BC's Carolyn Swords, and younger brother John, get a long, admiring profile in today's Globe.
Think about the following numbers: 29pts, 27pts, 26pts, 25pts, 14pts, 38pts, 31pts, 32pts, 27pts, 28pts, 27pts, 30pts, 16pts, 30pts, 22pts, 29pts, 30pts, 15pts, 14pts, 3pts-10minutes, 31pts, dnp, 20pts, 38pts.

Tonight, 28pts against ODU in a revenge-win.

This Dawn Evans kid from James Madison is having a ridiculously great season.
More from Mechelle: Celebrating senior night at Stanford
Let's face it, senior days/nights are not created equal. Not all women's basketball programs have a history that's successful. Or even if it is successful, it hasn't mattered enough to the school or community.

At Stanford, though, it does matter. The program, which has won two NCAA titles and been to the Final Four an additional six times, certainly has a history, and each incoming class is aware of the importance of living up to that.

*Jumps up on soap box*

So, what is it with ESPN studio announcers' recent obsession with the word "Ladies."

"Now on the lady's side" -- cut to UConn clips.

"We'll get to the lady's game" -- inset of Ohio St./Michigan State game.

Yah, yah, yah I'm overly sensitive and they don't mean nothin' by it and all that bullcarp.

Stuff it.

I'll get off my high friggin' overly sensitive to institutionalized sexism horse when the male announcers say, "We'll get to the gentlemen's game as soon as the double-overtime game between Virginia and North Carolina concludes."

And I won't hold my breath that ESPN's ombudsman will address the issue.

*Refuses to step off soap box*
Payin' attention to those "Surprise" teams.
1) Picked in the preseason poll to finish eight in the Big 12, Nebraska showed signs of... pressure? mental exhaustion? target-on-your-back syndrome? against lowly Colorado. The Buffs rained threes (15) but the Huskers put together a strong second-half run to emerge victorious, 89-73.

Playing in front of their fifth straight 10K+ crowd, Griffin had a pedestrian game: 25 Pts, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

Next up: Feb. 24th at Oklahoma. (On TV)

2) Picked in the preseason poll to finish 8th in the Big East, Georgetown is ranked #14 in the country -- their highest ranking ever. Even so, coach Terri Williams-Flournoy started her seniors against #3 Notre Dame -- which explains why her bench scored 54pts.

What explains the Irish's 76-66 loss is turnovers and a still-hobbled Lindsay Schrader.

And the fact that, after years of a "who-gives-a-flying-fark-about-women's-basketball" attitude from the Athletic Department higher-ups, the Hoyas are turning into a team to be reckoned with. Said coach (and BEast COY candidate) Williams-Flournoy:
It's not only a big game because it's a ranked opponent, because we've never beaten Notre Dame before. We're supposed to beat opponents who are supposed to be better than us."
Next (almost) up for Georgetown: UConn on THEIR senior night.

3) Picked in the preseason poll to finish 12th in the Big East, West Virginia is now ranked #8 in the country. They struggled early against South Florida that was missing two of their top scorers (suspended because of team rules violations), but pulled away for a 54-45 win. Coach ain't happy:
"We're just not playing well right now," Carey said. "We're going through a stretch here where we struggle to score, and we've got to get it fixed. It seems like we're just doing enough to win, and that's not good enough if you want to go far in the tournament, so we've got to get some things corrected."
Next up:11-14 Cincinnati
In the "Non-Surprise" ranks:
#1 UConn defeated Providence, 85-53.

#2 Stanford defeated Oregon State, 82-48, as Appel became only the third Cardinal to reach 2000pts and 1000rebs.

#6 Xavier overwhelmed UMass, 75-41, and is now 12-0 in the A-10.

#12 Iowa State took down Missouri, 55-42.

#22 Gonzaga took care of Pepperdine, 87-45, as NCAA assist leader Courtney Vandersloot added 9 assists and 23 points.
In the "Toss Up" team ranks:
#15 Texas A&M took down #14 Texas (missing Erika Arriaran) 58-44, sweeping the series this season and snapping a 6-game Longhorn winning streak. Did I mention it's harder and harder to find stuff on the ESPN site? Who else missed Mechelle's piece"Horns riding six-game win streak"

Yadda, yadda, yadda Riley scored 38pts (on 9-30 shooting). But five #19 Baylor players hit double figures, and the Bears wiped out #17 Oklahoma State, 69-80.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Michelle and Left Coast Hoops have some post-game video of JJ Hones talking about Stanford's efforts to ruin women's basketball.
A couple of encouraging money: Montana State athletics get gift
Montana State University's women's basketball program and the Bobcat Club are the beneficiaries of a $200,000 estate gift.
And from the WBCA
Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund® to Announce Sof Sole® Sponsorship

WHAT: Sof Sole®, an Implus Footcare brand family, will be officially announced as a sponsor of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®, in partnership with The V Foundation. Sof Sole will be presenting a ceremonial check for $50,000 to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund to recognize the new partnership.

WHERE: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill vs. North Carolina State University women's basketball game in Carmichael Auditorium.

WHEN: Sunday, February 21, 2010, 2:00 p.m. ET. The presentation will take place at half-time.

WHO: Sof Sole: Seth Richards, Chief Executive Officer, Sof Sole
Sof Sole: Todd Vore, President, Sof Sole
Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund: Marsha Sharp, Executive Director, Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund

WHY: Sof Sole is dedicated to the fight against women's cancers and will now serve as a sponsor to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Sof Sole is the newest sponsor of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Others include Founding Partners GlaxoSmithKline and Nike.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Finally, some news out of Liberty Land (and no, we haven't signed Tweety yet.)

From Swish Appeal: Liberty's Anne Donovan on Coaching Opportunities: "I've had some women that have stepped to the plate"
Interesting news out of the summer circuit:

In a move almost certain to be a lightning rod for debate in the already contentious world of club basketball, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) announced that it will implement broader resident requirements in any of its girls' basketball events that is certified by the NCAA for viewing by college coaches.

The temporary move, allowing its sanctioned teams to have an unlimited number of members outside the state or district boundaries, is a dramatic departure from longtime AAU rules. The AAU previously restricted teams to a maximum of three players from a bordering district. A team's district is defined by the coach's residence.
Mechelle worries that now it's the Cardinal who are *stealthily* ruining women's basketball: Stanford shines despite lack of spotlight - Cardinal have won 15 straight games since last seen on national stage in loss to UConn (not to mention their 43rd straight home win.)
Says Mel: Drexel's Marginean and Delaware's Delle Donne Spin Records To Remember
Sean McMann of the Poughkeepsie Journal explores the popularity of women's basketball at Marist. They are one of a handful of schools where the women outdraw the men.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This week, Debbie and Beth gave a shout out to non-Big Six conference players who were topping the NCAA numbers lists:
Judy Lomax, Columbia - leading rebounder
Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga - assist leader

Diana Delva, Hartford - shooting percentage (67%)

Elena Delle Donne, Delaware- on the cusp of being the scoring leader.
I'm guessing tonight's performance pushed EDD over that cusp: 54 points against James Madison. Game went to overtime, but the Blue Hens lost 88-83.
In the wake of the McD's All Americans being named, Glenn Nelson writes: All-American selections raise questions
Two high-school girls' basketball players were named to the 2010 McDonald's All-American team despite questions about whether either met the game's selection criteria. One of them, Laurin Mincy, of Newark, N.J., was eliminated from consideration in a final-ballot re-vote, according to several selection-committee members, but still was named to the East squad.
"Training Rules" the documentary that follows the story of Rene Portland's reign of homophobia at Penn State is now available on DVD. Here's a link: http://www.wolfevideo.com/products.asp?id=1520

Also, FREE discussion guide for download here: http://wolfevideo.com/trainingrules/TrainingRulesDiscGuide.pdf

For you NetFlix-aholics, it can also be in your mailbox.
If you've been listening to Debbie and Beth, you know that several of the NCAA tourney host sites are in deep doo-doo because it's very likely that the host team will not make the tourney.

Ouch. Major ouch attendance-wise.

Nice to see the WBCA making an effort to get people to the games. In what is clearly a regionalized email, they say:

As you probably know, one of the 2010 NCAA® Division I Women's Basketball First- and Second- Round sites is in your area. Please help pack out the arenas during the postseason by taking your team to the games, and also by inviting your fans and local community. We appreciate your continued support of women's basketball!

Site Information:Location: Petersen Events Center (Pittsburgh, PA); Host: University of PittsburghDate: Sunday, March 21 at Noon & 2:30 p.m. ET and Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m. ET
Website: Online Ticket Info

Ticket Information:
All-Session Adult: $32
All-Session Youth: $22
Single-Session Adult: $16
Single-Session Youth: $11
*For more information on ticket options please call 800/643-PITT.

In a six degrees of blog separation thang, Q sent me to Marie who responded to DeFord's comments which I had responded to earlier. Oh, that's a horrible sentence.

Anyhoo, Q took particular note of this part of Marie's commentary:
Team sports are usually contact sports, and that's the bigger issue, I think. Women in sports that involve varying degrees of contact -- from the individual sports of boxing and wrestling, to team sports such as basketball -- challenge traditional ideas about femininity. And that's why they don't get the media attention or public attention they might otherwise deserve.
Writes Q:

It's an interesting contrast to the attention given to physical play in women's basketball and the suggestion that increased physicality could in fact increase interest in the game.

Which brings us back to the question: is increasingly physical play good for women's basketball, especially if that poses a direct challenge to "traditional ideas about femininity?"

Interesting question -- but, I'd have to expand on the idea of "femininity" -- it's not just physical contact that seems to so upset people. It's also the implication of that contact: not only is a woman strong and self-reliant, but physical contact might lead to physical intimacy. (Which, of course, with all those sweaty, grunting, grinding bodies in basketball and football NEVER happens on the men's side. Just ask Teddy Roosevelt. ahem.)

And now I get to ask any volleyball historians a question -- does some of the "acceptability" of that sport related to the fact that there's a net between the women?
From the hardest working (paid) folks in women's professional basketlball --SlamOnline:

Corey Gaines is Exactly What the WNBA Needs -To the Mercury head coach, basketball is basketball.

Tamecka Dixon retires…after chatting with SLAMonline about her career. (Editors are laughing at implications of the headline)

WNBA Weekly Mailbag – 2/17/10: On net losses and a twist on the double standard.

Le’coe Willingham Talks About Leaving Phoenix - Says decision to sign with the Storm was ‘bittersweet.’

And I'll repeat: WNBA? You're KILLIN' ME with your incompetence and disconnect. Where are my news alert emails! Hello, where are the links to the college games featuring possible draft picks??

Truly, y'all are dumb as dirt.
The W's preseason schedule is out.
Final Four note: Don't forget to register for the 4Kay Run.
Michelle Smith takes note of Spoon's impact at LaTech: Teresa Weatherspoon Weathering the Rebuild at Louisiana Tech

You can't help but think that Teresa Weatherspoon sounds a little like a preacher when she talks about the Louisiana Tech women's basketball program.

She is preaching the gospel of Ruston, trying to spread a little good news about her team.Weatherspoon is in her first full year as a head coach. But she's been a Techster for more than 25 years and her sense of ownership is unmistakable.

Mechelle also says, "Staley leads new wave of coaches"

Staley is both "old-school" and "new wave." She was part of a generation of players that was still closely linked to and respectful of the strides that had been made by those athletes who came before them and established women's college basketball as we know it.

But the new-wave part is that she's one of a growing number of African-American women who are now college hoops head coaches. For many years, there were only two prominent women of color who led major programs in the sport: C. Vivian Stringer, who is still at Rutgers, and Marian Washington, who retired in 2004 after three decades at Kansas.

Speaking of Marian Washington, in honor of Black History month, the WBCA's reminding us of the important role many women have played in the survival and growth of women's basketball.

Got a little deja vu with their link to the article on the amazing Lucy Harris-Stewart.
Mechelle says, "Beyond Griner, Big 12 rookies are worth a look"
I just got a great giggle: Vote on the poll question on ESPN.com, "Will UConn go undefeated?", and check out the map.
You've got to love those random WNBA/NCAA women's basketball references that AREN'T denigrating. From Robert Seidman at TVByTheNumbers:
FOX has a streak of American Idol winning every single half hour versus its competition for six years. That’s better than the women’s UCONN basketball team and last night FOX had an easier time with NBC than UCONN had with Oklahoma on Monday night.
Actually, we know that Oklahoma gave UConn more of a fight than most. It was an entertaing (and VERY pink) game to watch. And reaffirmed my appreciation for the coaching job Coale's doing.

Couple of post-game quotes that caught my attention:
“We came out here 10 years ago as a favor to Sherri,” he said. “We were trying to accomplish two things, let Stacy (Hansmeyer) and Paige (Sauer) play where they grew up and show everybody in Norman what big-time basketball looks like. Now, we come out here and they show us what big-time basketball looks like. They’ve come a long ways. I’m happy for them.
"We had 10,713 people here,” Coale said, rattling off the attendance figure from that first time the Huskies came to town, which is forever fixed in her brain, "and at that time, they came to watch Connecticut.”

She paused.

"The difference now is they came to watch Oklahoma.
and finally, from a CT writer:
How often do you drive across a college campus and pass a football stadium which seats 82,112 fans to watch a team that has won seven national championships, then pass a 1,000-seat softball stadium built for a team that has been to five Women’s College World Series?

And then you get to the basketball arena where 11,000-plus fans are screaming for a team that made it to the Final Four last year. Cheering. Booing.

There was a sign on press row, by the way, that warned reporters there would be pyrotechnics used in the pregame introductions and that it might be a good idea to temporarily relocate.

Oh, my God. Sorry. But it was awesome.
Just a reminder that building a good-to-great program requires a lot of pieces coming together. At the heart? A quality coach who goes above and beyond even after the program has reached some sort of "peak." That's always been the the truth, no matter the size or Division of the program. A little Coale flashback:
Last year, Oklahoma ranked 4th in Division I attendance, averaging 10,437 fans a game. But, when Sherri Coale arrived in 1996, she inherited 200 a game. “It was a dual problem, in all honesty,” said Coale. “The product we had wasn’t very good and there wasn’t a lot of publicity regarding it. The very first thing that we did was to try and recruit great kids and get them to play really, really hard and be something that people on our campus could be really proud of.”

“Then I said ‘yes’ to every single speaking engagement. Rotary Club, Lions Club, seven o’clock in the morning, at the noon hour, dinner at the Chamber of Commerce. If they would give me the floor, I would talk. I just tried to get the word out that ‘this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re trying to build, this is our mission, this is our vision.’ Tried to sell people on that, get them excited about that and to maybe think about sharing ownership in that with us.”

It quickly became a grassroots effort. “People would say to the people they sat by at church, ‘Hey, have you been to an Oklahoma women’s basketball game? We went last week and we had the most fun! Why don’t you come with us?’ I meet so many young people who say, ‘I had never, ever watched a women’s basketball game in my life. We went and we’ve been season ticket holders ever since.’”

One of the first promotions was an “Elementary School Day.” The school that had the greatest percentage of attendees won a computer, earning the Sooners a loyal following of both students and principals. Seeking to involve women business and community leaders, 2003 saw the charter of the “Sooner Stilettos.” Its members “recognize the quality and the discipline and the work ethic that these players possess,” noted Coale, “and the ability to be part of a team. Which is, by the way, the number one sought-after skill in corporate America right now. They realize all that, and they want these kids [as post-college employees].

Not to mention their ability to relate because those professional women have fought and scratched and clawed on their own court to get where they are.”
And now there is one as Tamecka Dixon announces her retirement. That leaves only Tina Thompson left from the original group who played in the league since its inception.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This is not turning out to be the season San Diego State coach Burns expected, but she can take some pleasure in knowing her team routed No. 23 TCU, 84-61.
Yikes: JMU’s high-scoring Evans fighting kidney disease
James Madison point guard Dawn Evans has been nearly unstoppable on a basketball floor, playing much bigger than her 5-foot-7, 130-pound body would suggest she could.

She’s used the tag of “too small” as motivation to become one of the top scorers in the country. Now Evans needs that tenacious mindset even more as she battles her most imposing opponent: kidney disease.
The latest Shootaround podcast celebrates the "Power of Pink," dishes on some secret coach Yow files, names the USC All-time First Name Starting Five, and talks C-USA with Memphis coach Melissa McFerrin.
Maiga-Ba to the Lynx.
Ask, and you shall receive!!!

St. John's Posts Biggest Win in Program History: Upsets #4 Notre Dame 76-71


Mother Nature does not seem to approve of us having big games. There was yet more snow dumped on Queens right around the time people would start arriving. I was not amused, especially given the number of people whose snow I had to slog through to get there. But you don't want to hear about that. You want to hear about the biggest win in Red Storm history, right?
From the NY Times: As Girls Become Women, Sports Pay Dividends
Now, separate studies from two economists offer some answers, providing the strongest evidence yet that team sports can result in lifelong improvements to educational, work and health prospects. At a time when the first lady, Michelle Obama, has begun a nationwide campaign to improve schoolchildren’s health, the lessons from Title IX show that school-based fitness efforts can have lasting effects.
Programing note: I'm holding off on talking about #23/24 St. John's huge upset of (granted, Schrader-less) #3/4 Notre Dame in the hopes that Queenie will do a write up for Swish Appeal....
NPR's Frank DeForde asks: UConn Women's Team Excels; Will America Notice?

But notice something unique about this exceptional focus on women athletes?

All of them are in individual sports. Although more and more American schoolgirls grow up playing team games, those sports just don't attract commensurate attention at any level. With women's team sports, there is still a glass grandstand.

All the more amazing that right now, the women's basketball team at the University of Connecticut may well be the most overwhelming power ever to dominate any major sport. But to most media, the Huskies are but a stealth bomber.

I'm sure Frank knows that much of that is because, historically, women have been pushed into the "individual" sports. More money, of course, but clearly rooted in the fear of gathering too many women in one room. They might become a powerful unit and use that power to demand change.

Or they might turn into lesbians.

And if that's the fear, it makes me wonder why there's so much support of putting a bunch of boys in one room - on one team. I mean, have "those in fear" missed the homo-erotic implications of "tight ends," "man-to-man" defense, wrestling, the excessive "package adjustment" on diamonds, speedoos, and the lycra-clad boy-on-boy action of the WWF and Ultimate Fighting?

Hello! Get-a-clue patrol!

heh. heh.
PINK ZONE: Listen to David's interviews with Beth Bass, CEO of the WBCA Hall of Fame Coach and Executive Director of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund Marsha Sharp, and director of basketball operations at Adrian College Cindy Beaubien, who discovered her own breast cancer through The Pink Zone.

Dishin' and Swishin': The World of Women's Hoops will be on today at 11 am and 7 pm ET at http://www.wstrradio.com/