Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interesting hoops day

WNBA:

Atlanta Dream guard Shalee Lehning is retiring, due to complications from knee surgery.

The Storm re-signed Allie Quigley, waived guard Alison Lacey and renounced the rights to guard Jessica Bibby and forward Katie Gearlds.

NCAA upsets:

#23 DePaul kicked the butts of #12 Louisville, 86-61.

#25 Kansas just got back in the top 25 today, to lose to Oklahoma in overtime, 74-68.

Powerade Fab 50 rankings, week eight

If the NCAA top 25 was as consistent as the Powerade Fab 50, there would be nothing to write about. The top ten:

1. Saint Mary's
2. Riverdale Baptist
3. McEachern
4. Bolingbrook
5. Riverdale
6. Windward
7. Nazareth
8. Cicero-North Syracuse
9. Clarksville
10. Hoover

USA Today/ESPN top 25

More ties, a lot of dropping, and Kansas is back on the list:

1. Baylor
2. Notre Dame
3. Connecticut
4. Stanford
5. Kentucky
6. Duke
7. Miami
8. Tennessee
9. Wisconsin-Green Bay
10. Maryland
11. Ohio State
12. Louisville
13. Delaware
14. Rutgers
15. Georgetown
16. Texas A&M
17. Purdue
18. Nebraska
19. Gonzaga
20. Georgia
21. Penn State
22. Georgia Tech
23. DePaul
24. North Carolina
25. Kansas

Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High School

The annual event is this Friday and Saturday at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, Calif. Friday schedule:

Rialto vs. Rosary, 4:30 p.m.

Orange Lutheran vs. Oaks Christian, 6 p.m.

Mater Dei vs. Windward, 9 p.m.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Class of 2013 Super 60; Briana Gilbreath

Mercedes Russell tops the list. Here's the top ten:

1. Mercedes Russell
2. Kaela Davis
3. Diamond DeShields
4. Tanya Reimer
5. Rebecca Greenwell
6. Linnae Harper
7. Kendall Cooper
8. Allisha Gray
9. Jannah Tucker
10. Tyler Scaife

No surprise tonight:

UConn defeated Duke, 61-45. It was the Blue Devils' lowest point total and lowest number of assists in a game this season.

Briana Gilbreath:

The USC senior guard injured her knee last Thursday in the Colorado game, and sat out Saturday's contest. Today she had the knee checked out and her ACL is NOT torn. She is day-to-day and isn't sure when she'll return to action.

*Big exhale*


WNBA player statuses

Core, reserved, restricted free agents, unrestricted free agents and trades are listed here. And it's an interesting list, to say the least.

Richard analyzes.

Nate shares ideas on what each team should do with their players.

Cal State Northridge 54, Cal State Bakersfield 52

Check out my story, "Big West leader Cal State Northridge survives Cal State Bakersfield," which recounts Saturday evening's exciting matchup.

The gym lighting didn't work too well for my camera, but here is a small gallery of game shots anyway.

I have the highest respect for both coaches Jason Flowers and Greg McCall, and am excited to see what they'll be doing with their teams over the next several years.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Checking in on the Pac-12

Oregon State won the battle of the Civil War with Oregon, taking the win yesterday, 67-60.

UCLA was a double winner, beating Utah Thursday and using an overtime today to overcome Colorado.

USC lost to both mountain schools, which means they have three consecutive losses. Trojan forward Briana Gilbreath was injured in Thursdays game and didn't play yesterday, missing the first game of her career. Her knee will be evaluated tomorrow.

Here are the current standings:

Team Conference Overall

Stanford 9-0 18-1
Arizona St. 6-3 15-5
California 6-3 15-6
USC 5-4 10-9
UCLA 5-4 10-10
Colorado 4-5 15-5
Oregon St. 4-5 13-7
Washington St. 4-5 10-11
Washington 3-6 11-8
Oregon 3-6 11-10
Utah 3-6 10-10
Arizona 2-7 13-8

I'm taking votes: who is this year's most improved player?

Rebekah Gardner of UCLA?

Regina Rogers of Washington?

Amanda Johnson of Oregon?

Gennifer Brandon of Cal?

Someone else?

Express yourself.

More parity

Upsets, because there are some just about every day in this new basketball world:

#18 Georgetown held #12 Rutgers to 36 points.

Minnesota took down #9 Ohio State.

Michigan State defeated #19 Penn State.

Near upsets:

#13 Texas A&M 66, Iowa State 64.

#25 North Carolina 75, Wake Forest 71.

Cool stuff from yesterday's action:

Cal at Stanford photo gallery.

Baylor stomped Kansas, and Brittney Griner is now second on the NCAA blocks list.

Lessons:

Charlotte senior forward Paige McCallum has been dismissed from the team. She had been suspended both this season and last.

Tomorrow:

#3 Connecticut visits #5 Duke.

Kara Lawson and Cindy Brunson preview.

Mechelle Voepel discusses three-pointer possibilities.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Friday night Juco action: Saddleback College 69, Santa Ana College 57

Friday night's game involved two teams that play in the Orange Empire Conference (OEC). The OEC has seven teams - six from Orange County and one from Riverside. Coming in, Santa Ana had an overall record of 5-15, and a 0-6 in conference. Saddleback was 15-4 overall, and 4-2 in conference.

Saddleback led from the onset with first half leads of as big as nine points. In the second half, Saddleback opened up a 21-point lead before Santa Ana hit some treys late in the game, to make it a 12-point win at the finish. Leading scorers for Santa Ana were Janelle Flores with 24 points and Berlin Ohanesian with 18. Saddleback was lead by Raven Gammage with 21 points and Shalae Edwards with 19 points. Edwards comes from Colleton County High School in South Carolina, where she she lettered in basketball for four straight years before graduating in 2010. While at CCHS, Edwards was a three-time all state selection and a two-time player of the year.

One girl who didn't score a lot of points last night, but impressed me with her hustle, rebounding and passes to help her teammates was Shala Kirkpatrick, a freshman from El Camino HS in Oceanside. In conference play Kirkpatrick averages 9.3 ppg and 10 rpg.

- IM in OC

Box score.

OEC info and stats.


#15 for Santa Ana, Berlin Ohanesian at the free throw line. She scored 18 points on the night.


#3 Raven Gammage hit five three-point baskets and was four for five from the free throw line for Saddleback.......last

Clutches

So many close games this fine Saturday.......

#20 Gonzaga 75, Saint Mary's 70

#4 Standord 74, Cal 71 (OT)

#23 Texas Tech 75, Texas 71

Bowling Green 77, Central Michigan 72 (OT)

Central Arkansas 71, McNeese State 70 (2 OT)


Cincinnati 55, Syracuse 54

Arizona State 57, Washington 53

IUPUI 68, Western Illinois 64 (OT)


.....just to name a few.

The Cal State Northridge-Cal State Bakersfield game I attended also went down to the wire. My game story will be posted soon.

Full scoreboard.

Tomorrow's big match ups feature #12 Rutgers at #18 Georgetown and #9 Tennessee at # 15 Georgia. Elena Delle Donne and Delaware take on James Madison.

Bonus:

Lady Vols rank their concerns, in top-10 fashion.

Big Saturday

One of today's 116 games is the "battle of the Bay," featuring surging Cal at #4 Stanford. The Bears were the last conference team to defeat the Cardinal, five years ago. Can they do it again?

In other Pac-12 action, Oregon's civil war will play out its first installment at Oregon State, who hosts the Ducks. Liz Brenner was playing volleyball for Oregon, and last month became a walk-on to the basketball team. She's a key factor for them now.

OSU coaches, meanwhile, have restored the good will of the program since being left with ashes two years ago. Today should be a heck of a battle.

Personally, I'll be checking out some Big West action today, as Cal State Bakersfield (coached by DeWanna Bonner and Erica McCall's dad) visits Cal State Northridge (headed by coach-on-the-rise Jason Flowers).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mid-season candidates for John R. Wooden Award

The list:

Alex Bentley, Penn State
Elena Delle Donne, Delaware
Skylar Diggins, Notre Dame
Shante Evans, Hofstra
Brittney Griner, Baylor*
Bria Hartley, Connecticut
Glory Johnson, Tennessee
Shenise Johnson, Miami
A’dia Mathies, Kentucky
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut
Natalie Novosel, Notre Dame
Chiney Ogwumike, Stanford
Nneka Ogwumike, Stanford*
Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State
Sugar Rodgers, Georgetown
Odyssey Sims, Baylor
Shekinna Stricklen, Tennessee
Alyssa Thomas, Maryland
Elizabeth Williams, Duke
Riquna Williams, Miami (FL)

Bowling Green State University Coach Curt Miller has mild stroke

Scary - and during a game:

The episode occurred late in the Falcons' 70-54 win over Eastern Michigan at the Stroh Center Sunday. Miller spoke with EMS workers at the game following the win, his 250th career victory at BG, and went home immediately following the contest. He rested at home Monday but was back with the team Tuesday, taking part in practice and then traveling with the Falcons to Ball State.

Uppers:

Cal's Brittany Boyd has skills that can't be taught.

Duke freshman Elizabeth Williams has grabbed the spotlight early.

USA Basketball has named Breanna Stewart its 2011 Female Athlete of the Year. The Cicero-North Syracuse High School star was a member of both the U19 World Championship Team and USA Pan American Games Team.

Lessons:

Three suspended Central Michigan University freshman ballers have apologized for their unspecified actions.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Trinity Valley still atop NJCAA poll

This week's junior college top 20 poll sees no change at the top, but plenty of shuffling - and a few new entries - further down on the list:

1 Trinity Valley Community College
2 Hutchinson Community College
3 Central Arizona College
4 Pensacola State College
5 Northwest Florida State College
6 Casper College
7 Gulf Coast State College
8 Seward County Community College
9 North Idaho College
10 Northern Oklahoma College-Enid
11 Arizona Western College
12 Shelton State Community College
13 Otero Junior College
14 Paris Junior College
15 Monroe Community College
16 Hill College
16 Independence Community College
18 Walters State Community College
19 Chipola College
20 New Mexico Junior College

To tweet or not to tweet?

North Carolina Coach Sylvia Hatchell banned twitter use for the Tar Heels. That distraction eliminated, the team has won two in a row.

I understand where Hatchell is coming from. I cringe at some of the things I see young people put on twitter.

Do you think athletes should be banned from twitter use? Vote.

Other stuff:

Dishin & Swishin talked to Lisa Leslie this week.

Tonight's upset (so far): Virginia Tech over #7 Maryland, 75-69.

There are other games in progress, and the final games of the night begin in 20 minutes, so there may be more later.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bit of everything

Kelsey Bone is embracing the challenges at Texas A&M.

In case you all haven't noticed, San Diego State is kicking booty this year.

UTEP guards Ryah Lacy and Chrishauna Parker are suspended from the team indefinitely for a violation of team rules.

Tonight's upset (because there's one every night this season): Kansas over #23 Texas Tech. Carolyn Davis lead the Jayhawks with 34 points.

Brace yourself: this Saturday there are 116 college games on tap.

The WNBA will celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day Feb. 1, with events across the USA.

High school ball mid-season check-in: who's hot and who's not

Class of 2013 check: Mercedes Russell continues to deliver. The Springfield, Ore. junior last night posted 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks in a game against a big rival, because her coach asked her to do so. At least two Division I coaches had traveled to witness the game in person. Russell has been taking unofficial visits to colleges since last year.

(This morning I tweeted, "everyone wants Mercedes," and a car dealer promptly followed me)

Other hot sophomores, juniors and seniors, as noted by ESPN.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In no particular order

Vice President Joe Biden was on hand Sunday for the Delaware-Drexel game. He met with Delaware players after the game and told them they're "the happening thing right now." (Awesome!)

Former Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan will be inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

Hard to believe it's the third anniversary of Coach Kay Yow's death. A flashback from Dishin & Swishin.

The Big South Conference is adding Longwood University.

Former Kentucky star Merlene Davis discusses her family's slave heritage in a new book.

In the wake of their thrashing of Tennessee last night, ESPN says the sky is the limit for the Notre Dame Irish.

Tonight's upset:

Oklahoma State over #13 Texas A&M.

And also, LSU barely escaped East Tennessee State, in overtime.

Mid-major top 25

Interesting list:

1. Green Bay (30) 17-0 774 1 Horizon
2. Delaware 16-1 739 2 Colonial Athletic
3. Florida Gulf Coast 17-2 697 3 Atlantic Sun
4. Gonzaga (1) 17-3 681 4 West Coast
5. Princeton 13-4 637 5 Ivy League
6. BYU 18-3 624 6 West Coast
7. Hampton 15-3 567 7 Mid-Eastern Athletic
8. Middle Tennessee 16-5 527 8 Sun Belt
9. Bowling Green 16-3 498 10 Mid-American
10. James Madison 14-4 472 9 Colonial Athletic
11. McNeese State 16-4 441 12 Southland
12. Appalachian State 14-3 399 13 Southern
13. Hofstra 14-4 384 11 Colonial Athletic
14. Northern Iowa 12-6 366 14 Missouri Valley
15. Sacred Heart 14-5 303 16 Northeast
16. Missouri State 11-6 271 15 Missouri State
17. Central Arkansas 14-4 242 17 Southland
18. Eastern Illinois 15-4 226 19 Ohio Valley
19. Chattanooga 13-6 166 18 Southern
20. Saint Mary's 15-6 165 20 West Coast
21. Toledo 11-7 151 21 Mid-American
22. Wichita State 13-5 147 23 Missouri Valley
23. Stetson 16-5 101 20 Atlantic Sun
24. Oral Roberts 13-7 87 24 Summit
25. Marist 13-6 86 NR Metro Atlantic

Agree? Disagree?

Powerade Fab 50 rankings: week seven

This week's rankings include some shake ups - most notably Nazareth dropping from two to seven. This follows last week's matchup with #3 Riverdale Baptist:

The No. 2 vs. No. 3 matchup on Saturday did not live up to its billing. Nazareth still is reeling emotionally over the death of coach Apache Paschall, and the Lady Kingsmen were playing for the first time since he was put to rest.

Understandable.

The top ten:

1. Saint Mary's
2. Riverdale Baptist
3. McEachern
4. Bolingbrook
5. Riverdale
6. Windward
7. Nazareth
8. Cicero-North Syracuse
9. Clarksville
10. Hoover

Enhanced role for Los Angeles Sparks majority investors

From the LA Sparks today:

Los Angeles Sparks Are Pleased To Announce Enhanced Role For Majority Investor Williams Group Holdings LLC

WGH Managing Partner Paula Madison to be CEO


Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks are pleased to announce that majority investor Williams Group Holdings LLC, (WGH), has increased its investment in the team and has taken a more active role in the day-to-day business.

WGH became an investor in September 2007, and has seen the team grow both on the court and in business over the past two years, prompting their decision to increase their involvement. As part of this transition, Carla Christofferson and Katherine Goodman will resign from the Board of Directors, but will retain their financial investment in the Sparks.

The enhanced role demonstrates WGH’s support of the Sparks and their business goals. This will allow the Sparks and WGH to utilize each of their assets to continue establishing a strong foundation with an emphasis on strategic growth. WGH Managing Partner Paula Madison will become the CEO of the Sparks.

“I am excited that Williams Group Holdings is able to have a more substantial role with the Sparks,” said Madison. “I am honored to serve as CEO and I look forward to working closely with the Sparks as we meet the challenges and successes of the future. I plan to continue to execute our strategies and help lead us into the next phase of the growth of our business.”

USA Today/ESPN poll says.......

Georgia Tech and North Carolina are back in this week's poll, and there's a three-way tie for ninth place. Gonzaga and Nebraska take big jumps:

1. Baylor
2. Notre Dame
3. Connecticut
4. Stanford
5. Duke
6. Kentucky
7. Maryland
8. Miami
9. (tie) Ohio State, Tennessee, Wisconsin-Green Bay
12. Rutgers
13. Texas A&M
14. Louisville
15. Georgia
16. Delaware
17. Purdue
18. Georgetown
19. Penn State
20. Gonzaga
21. Nebraska
22. DePaul
23. Texas Tech
24. Georgia Tech
25. North Carolina

Monday, January 23, 2012

Feels like a Monday

Not only did Notre Dame crush Tennessee, the Vols set a school record for fewest points scored in a game.

Yet another ACL tear, and this time it's Miami's Morgan Stroman. Is it just me, or are there more ACL tears this year than usual? It's painful to witness.

A couple bright spots:

The Minnesota Lynx have re-signed Taj McWilliams-Franklin, aka "Mama Taj." Terms of the deal for the 41-year-old forward were not disclosed.

Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve will be honored by the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association.

Olympics:

Assistant Coach Doug Bruno shares the same philosophies as head Coach Geno Auriemma.

Oregon State 65, USC 61

Game story.

Full photo gallery - check it out!


Jacki Gemelos watches USC vs. Oregon State

Game notes:

- Jacki Gemelos, who had surgery Jan. 17 to repair her torn left ACL, returned to Galen Center for Saturday's game to cheer on her teammates. She came in on crutches and sat beside the team bench. Gemelos went into the locker room with the Trojans both at halftime, and after the game.

- A lively crowd of 1,803 was on hand for the contest. The excuse that Los Angeles residents don't attend women's basketball games because there are too many things to do in the city is untrue in Troy. A big crowd almost always shows up for weekend games, and they are loud, too. Several kids wait outside after the game for players to come out and sign autographs.

- Lisa Leslie and several other former USC players were recognized at halftime. Leslie became like the Pied Piper as she walked around the arena, attracting groups of kids wherever she went. At one point she stopped to give Gemelos a hug. When she turned to leave, she found herself surrounded by children who had spied her, ran over and lined up to talk to her. Leslie took time out to sign autographs for them.

- Oregon State is a very well-coached team. Coach Scott Rueck has done an admirable job of schooling players in the fundamentals; they don't miss many buckets, wherever they are. The team's outside shooting is exceptional. Not many are looking to Oregon State for anything in the Pac-12 over the next few years, but they will be surprised. The Beavers are going to sneak up on everyone.

- It was unfortunate to see how upset USC players were after the game. Not only did they feel the win should have been a "give me," but they wanted to take the victory for Gemelos.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thinking ahead to the Olympics

Who will make the 2012 Olympic basketball team this year?

Both myself and my favorite Division I assistant coach and columnist agree that there will be a change of the guard this time. He says there are five locked positions: Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles, Seimone Augustus and Candace Parker. He also sees Brittney Griner making the squad.

Here is the list of probables:

Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx)
Alana Beard (Washington Mystics)
Sue Bird (Seattle Storm)
Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota Lynx)
Swin Cash (Chicago Sky)
Tamika Catchings (Indiana Fever)
Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun)
Shameka Christon (Chicago Sky)
Candice Dupree (Phoenix Mercury)
Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky)
Brittney Griner (Baylor University)
Lindsey Harding (Atlanta Dream)
Ebony Hoffman (Los Angeles Sparks)
Asjha Jones (Connecticut Sun)
Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun)
Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream)
Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun)
Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)
Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks)
Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty)
Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury),
Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky)
Kia Vaughn (New York Liberty)
Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx)
Candice Wiggins (Minnesota Lynx)

Whom should be chosen? Speak.

Where it stops, nobody knows

Elena Delle Donne made Sports Illustrated, and today she and her team took charge to put the hurt on Drexel.

Kentucky struggled to overcome Florida.

Upsets:

Iowa State beat #20 Texas Tech and snapped their five-game winning streak.

South Carolina continued their hot streak, upending #22 Vanderbilt in overtime.

Pac-12:

Cal defeated Washington State today, while Colorado barely bested Arizona. Here are the current conference standings:

Team Conference Overall

Stanford 8-0 17-1
California 6-2 15-5
USC 5-2 10-7
Arizona St. 4-3 13-5
Colorado 3-4 14-4
Washington St. 3-4 9-10
UCLA 3-4 8-10
Oregon St. 3-5 12-7
Oregon 3-5 11-9
Arizona 2-5 13-6
Washington 2-5 10-7
Utah 2-5 9-9

I'll be posting something on the OSU at USC game tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

109-game day

Where to start when there's 109 games in a day?

There were no upsets in the top 25, for once, but there were some notable milestones reached:

Wisconsin-Green Bay is 17-0.

Notre Dame is unbeaten in the Big East.

Baylor's home game winning streak is at 34.

Other hot starts belong to:

San Diego State, who is at 4-0 in the Mountain West Conference after grabbing their tenth consecutive win today.

Florida Gulf Coast University, who is at 9-0 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

American University, now 5-0 in the Patriot League.

Sacred Heart, 7-0 in the Northeast Conference.

Florida A&M, at 6-0 in the MEAC.

Wichita State, which is 7-0 in MVC play.

Idaho State, at 6-0 in the Big Sky Conference.

Middle Tennessee, 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference.

McNeese State is 5-0 in the Southland Conference.

Marist is 8-0 in MAAC.

Eastern Illinois is 5-0 in the OVC.

High Point is 6-0 in the Big South.

Let's give it up for the smaller schools.

And Cal State Northridge Coach Jason Flowers was one of my top mid-major coaches to watch last month. The Matadors are getting better at finishing games, and are tops in the Big West Conference at the moment. But they couldn't quite close out in double overtime today, losing to UC Santa Barbara.

It seems to be an intense day of play on both the women's and men's side of the basketball world. I went to the Oregon State at USC game today, which went to overtime. My story should be posted tomorrow morning on hoopfeed.com.

Friday, January 20, 2012

News for days

College news:

Tamika Catchings and the SEC support Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt during the conference's "we back Pat" week.

Jim Littell, who replaced Kurt Budke at Oklahoma State, has received a huge raise.

Kean University has removed Michele Sharp as basketball coach.

North Dakota Coach Gene Roebuck will retire after this season, which is his 25th.

I've said before that San Diego State point guard Chelsea Hopkins is the real deal. Check her out in this interview.

LSU starting point guard Destini Hughes is out for the season with torn knee ligaments and a torn meniscus.

Last night's games:

Tennessee beat LSU in an injury-prone game.

Tulane snapped a two-game losing streak by putting away Alabama-Birmingham.

Cal whooped Washington.

In USC's victory over Oregon, Trojan forwards Briana Gilbreath and Christina Marinacci each had a double-double.

Cal State Northridge edged Cal Poly, 79-77, in a game with a wild finish.

Wisconsin-Green Bay overcame Youngstown State and are now 16-0 - the best start in program history.

UConn's Tiffany Hays passed the 1,500-point mark in the Huskies' win over Cincinati.

San Diego's Dominique Connors also surpassed 1,500 points.

Olympics:

It's official: Marynell Meadors, Doug Bruno and Jennifer Gillom are the assistant coaches for this summer's Olympic Games.

Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli talk with Geno Auriemma and Tamika Catchings.

Jennifer Gillom will join an exclusive club of those who have been both a player and a coach at the Olympic Games.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

McDonald's All-American nominees announced

Hard to believe, but it's time to start preparing for this year's McDonald's All-American game. This year, it's in Chicago on March 28. Here is the list of nominees (girls begin on page eight).

McDonald's All-American website.

Buy tickets.

Mid-day hits

College:

Michelle Smith checks in with Arizona State's Charli Turner Thorne, who is on sabbatical this year.

Dishin & Swishin talks to South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley.

Every possession counts for St. Bonaventure.

High school:

Erica McCall - #16 in the class of 2013 - has posted triple-doubles in each of her last three games in Bakersfield, Calif. You go, girl.

WNBA season schedule released

The season will begin May 18 and end Sept. 23, with a one-month break in the middle to facilitate the Olympics.

Team-by-team schedule.

National TV schedule.

Bonus: yesterday's chat with 2011 MVP Tamika Catchings.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

This week's National Junior College Athletic Association poll

NJCAA rankings for this week....Northwest Florida State falls and Midland College enters:

1 Trinity Valley Community College 14 17-0 160 8 1
2 Hutchinson Community College 6 16-0 152 0 3
3 Central Arizona College 1 17-1 139 0 4
4 Pensacola State College 8 15-2 138 0 5
5 Northwest Florida State College 8 18-1 127 0 2
6 Casper College 9 14-1 121 0 6
7 Gulf Coast State College 8 15-2 111 0 7
8 Seward County Community College 6 15-2 101 0 8
9 Walters State Community College 7 14-1 93 0 9
10 North Idaho College 18 14-2 85 0 10
11 Northern Oklahoma College-Enid 2 13-2 72 0 11
12 Arizona Western College 1 16-2 70 0 12
13 Shelton State Community College 22 15-2 69 0 13
14 Independence Community College 6 13-2 57 0 15
15 Otero Junior College 9 17-0 48 0 17
16 Weatherford College 5 12-1 47 0 16
17 Paris Junior College 14 14-3 26 0 19
18 Chipola College 8 14-5 21 0 14
19 Midland College 5 15-4 10 0 NR
20 Middle Georgia College 17 11-1 9 0 18

Injuries, looking to tomorrow's games

College items:

Alabama's Ericka Russell has been granted a medical disqualification for previous knee injuries, ending the senior's college career.

Oklahoma has lost starting forward Joanna McFarland indefinitely. She had surgery Monday for a broken jaw.

The Washington schools are in Northern California for Pac-12 play. Washington State's loss record against Stanford dates back to 1983 - 52 games ago.

Texas A&M beat Missouri tonight, and gave Coach Gary Blair his 200th win.

#15 Louisville is unbeaten at home.

Missouri guard Bailey Gee uses music to fend off stress.

Vol news:

Tomorrow is the Tennessee-LSU showdown (and I know two UCLA fans who will be there). The Vols, reeling from injuries, will have to dig deep for a win.

Nikki Caldwell says she's committed to LSU and isn't looking to be Tennessee's next coach. She says associate head coach Holly Warlick has a resume that more closely matches Coach Pat Summitt's.

Olympics:

Sources say three assistant coaches for this summer's Olympic games have been named, and are Marynell Meadors, Doug Bruno and Jennifer Gillom. Interesting combination.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Some various

Each night the question grows louder in my mind: who will win this year's NCAA championship?? It's wide open.

NCAA news:

St. John's stays hot and upsets #8 Rutgers tonight, 62-57.

Not-so-surprising: South Florida downed #19 DePaul.

Oklahoma took down #22 Kansas State.

What did Notre Dame eat for breakfast? They beat Pitt 120-44. Utah Valley beat Walla Walla by almost the same margin: 104-46.

Ariel Massengale has broken Tennessee's freshman record for assists - and this after being out with an injury for two weeks.

Pro items:

The Mystics have hired Jennifer Gillom as assistant coach.

Tamika Catchings will chat tomorrow on SportsNation.

Powerade Fab 50 rankings, week six

There's a lot of change in this week's Powerade Fab 50, but not at the top:

1. Saint Mary's
2. Nazareth
3. Riverdale Baptist
4. McEachern
5. Bolingbrook
6. Riverdale
7. Windward
8. Cicero-North Syracuse
9. Clarksville
10. Hoover

West Coast woes

The super-cranial Division I assistant coach who penned the "Mid-Major coaches to watch for" column in December is back. This time he's tackling the gigantic subject of NCAA disparity in the West, and what he says should be done about it. As always, your input is appreciated.

The need for a dominant major (BCS) women’s basketball team in Southern California

Twenty years. That was the last time a school west of Lubbock, Texas has won a NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball championship. Twenty long years: That’s pre-iPod, pre-OJ Verdict and pre-Bill Clinton being President. And in over the double-decade drought since Stanford last cut the nets and a West coast team has worn the crown, women’s basketball has undergone some significant changes. However, the one constant is that there has been only one BCS program in the west in the national championship discussion every year.

So while there are a myriad of reasons why the title drought has occurred, rather than delve into the reasons why there hasn’t been a champion west of Texas in the last twenty years, let’s examine why can be an argument made that of importance of why a BCS-level championship program NEEDS to emerge in Southern California is just as important.

The Cardinal Conundrum

First things first, let’s state the obvious about elite level college basketball on the west coast - Stanford is good. In fact, check that: They’re REALLY good. And if you aren’t sure that they’re good, rewind the DVR to watch the show put on by Stanford when they easily dispatched Tennessee 97-80 earlier this year at Maples Pavilion. But what makes Stanford special is not only are they good this year, its that the Cardinal have been a model of consistency for the past two decades. Just consider a few accomplishments of JUST the past ten years for a moment:

Haven’t had a season with fewer than 20 wins (one of the benchmarks of BCS success)
Finished first in the Pac-10 regular season each year
Finished with 30 or more wins 6 times
At least one NCAA tournament win each year

There have been challengers who make an occasional two- to three-year run, but as sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in west, Stanford seems to always be there at the end making another Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight run. And armed with athletic administration committed to success, a Hall of Fame coach in Tara VanDerveer and tons of talent still flowing into Palo Alto, it also stands the reason that Stanford isn’t going anywhere.

Nice, So what’s the issue?

The problem isn’t that women on ‘The Farm’ are too good. The problem is that there hasn’t been a consistent BCS challenger on the west coast to act as a counterbalance - Specifically to draw more media and fan interest. Like Bird needed Magic, Batman needed the Joker and Coke needs Pepsi. Stanford needs a counterbalance out west, a true competitive rival.

Why Not Cal?

At first glance the Cal Bears could provide that rival. One could argue that the rivalry could be a situation similar to Duke-North Carolina in men’s basketball on Tobacco road. The hiring of former UCSB Head Coach Lindsay Gottlieb was a savvy hire by Cal’s AD Sandy Barbour. Gottlieb’s bright (former Ivy leaguer), understands the Pac-12 (was a former Cal Assistant) has already made waves on the recruiting trail (securing the services of top ten recruit Justine Hartman last year) and appears to be committed to being at California for the long haul.

But while Cal appears to be set up for long-term success and has a chance to battle Stanford for Bay Area supremacy, it’s not Los Angeles. And the sheer number of eyes and ears of media and potential fans in Los Angeles is what would move the proverbial meter in terms of coverage and viewers. And while one can look for Cal to rise in the near future, there is an inherent need for women’s basketball to be firmly entrenched in the nation’s second largest media market outside of New York. Southern California and women’s basketball needs a perennial Elite Eight women’s basketball program.

The Argument for Los Angeles: Media and Market

Though the most of the influential sportswriters in America reside in the eastern or central time zone, recently there been a subtle movement of more western attention. Online bloggers and social media have help turn attention westward. The company News Corp Digital Media Group (Fox Sports) is now a dominant fixture in sports broadcasting and are centered on the West Coast. Even ESPN has opened a studio in Los Angeles.

With this rise of media power, slowly the Pac-12 and its members are positioning themselves as major players in television and online distribution of its members content. Examine for a moment some of the moves that Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has made after taking over in 2009.

Expanded to add Utah and Colorado (Salt Lake City & Denver TV markets)
Negotiated a twelve-year deal with ESPN/Fox Sports for close to $2.7 billion for the length of the contract
Agreed to a long-term inter-conference scheduling collaborations with the Big 10

These are moves that are primarily initiated by football and increasing leverage with television contracts, however each of these moves have a significant effect on women’s basketball in terms of additional financial stability to fire or keep coaches in place and for scheduling should not be. But also relevant to the discussion of basketball are that the moves also create a tremendous window of opportunity for women’s college basketball in the west in terms of viewership – Which could be generated by a Bay Area-Greater Los Angeles-area rivalry among two BCS teams playing at an elite level.

An USC-Stanford or UCLA-Stanford rivalry immediately has the potential to register much like a Tennessee-UConn rivalry in the east. A rivalry with Stanford and either would provide two major things: Combatants with a tradition (which Stanford and both USC and UCLA have) and cache (BCS “Name” schools) in and two large media markets.

There would also be an added plus: recruiting.

Ratings means recruits are also watching

For years, recruits on the west coast saw Tennessee and UConn on television. In fact, they almost ONLY saw Tennessee and UConn on national television. And subsequently, seeing these two on national airwaves helped the schools become real and tangible viable options as destinations to play. Mega-prospects like Diana Taurasi and Sade Wiley-Gatewood, who have National High School player of the year credentials headed east.

Was television the only the only reason? Probably not. But the influence of seeing those only two eastern teams on national television does make a tremendous impact. Those far away schools suddenly seem less “foreign” and become more familiar to west coast recruits. And seeing the Lady Vols and the Huskies on television or highlights from a living room three time zones away, may allow prospects to think: “Maybe I ‘could’ go all the way there AND they win.”

In college athletics, recruiting, especially accumulating the 5-Star recruits, is the name of the game if a program is to be successful at a level to compete for national championships (For comparison UConn has three players in the Top 15 in the country in most recruiting rankings). And keeping California talent in California and is the first step to maintain elite level success for both UCLA and USC. The buzz of a hotly-contested rivalry with two state teams from different regions, that could win a national championship, just may help keep some of that Golden State talent at home to help get these programs over the hump and win the NCAA title.

Imagine what may of happen if Diana Taurasi had decided to stay “home” and of been a Bruin and played in Pauley Pavilion or decided to wear the Cardinal & Gold of USC. How would the history books been rewritten? What other recruits would she of attracted to either program? Could there of been a USC dynasty like the Cheryl Miller-Cynthia Cooper-McGee Twin era, but only this time in the digital 24 hour media age? Intriguing to think about, isn’t it?

Los Angeles: Who’s Got Next

Both the Women of Troy and Bruins have the financial resources, the access to recruits and the opportunity to make a dent in the Stanford dominance of the Pac-12. Both institutions haves hired coaches in the last few years who are committed to staying each school and building strong programs nationally. Each have made or in the process of making upgrades in facilities. Each has begun to creep higher in the national recruiting ratings. The only question is which program can make the final leap.

Which of the two LA programs can catch “The Big Red Machine” up north? Only time will tell. But for the potential boon it could be in terms of exposure for women’s basketball in the nation’s second largest media market and on the West coast, the hope and the need, is sooner rather than later.

ESPN/USA Today poll

Maryland and Texas A&M take tumbles this week; Kansas State enters; Delaware continues to rise:

1. Baylor
2. Notre Dame
3. Connecticut
4. Stanford
5. Duke
6. Kentucky
7. Maryland
8. Rutgers
9. Tennessee
10. Miami
11. Wisconsin-Green Bay
12. Ohio State
13. Texas A&M
14. Georgia
15. Louisville
16. Delaware
17. Georgetown
18. Purdue
19. DePaul
20. Texas Tech
21. Penn State
22. (tie Kansas State and Vanderbilt
24. Nebraska
25. Gonzaga

Tony Matson Memorial Classic

Orange Lutheran High School hosted the third Annual Tony Matson Classic yesterday. There were five girls games played and one boys game scheduled as the nightcap. All proceeds go to help the Matson family after the untimely death of the Orange Lutheran coach in 2009. Tony was extremely well-liked by his peers, his players and the Orange Lutheran community.

The game that appeared to be the most competitive turned out to be the closest game of the day: Brea Olinda vs Troy. Brea is coached this year by Kim Cram-Torres, who came from Villa Park High School. She replaced longtime coach Jeff Sink, who now coaches the Brea boys team. Troy is coached by Roger Anderson.

The one thing that is noticably different from past Brea teams is their size. Without Justine Hartman, Jeanir Olekumi, Amanda Arter and Amber Van Deudekom, the Ladycats not nearly as big as they were over the past four seasons. Brea still has three exceptional players in Anna Kim, Keitra Wallace and Taylor Spears, and all three played strong games yesterday.

Troy is led by Gabby Hanson, Shelby Dougherty, and Alicia Dimas. Hanson and Dougherty played well for Troy while Dimas was in foul trouble early in the game and only saw limited action. The game started out strong for Brea as they led 10-2 in the first quarter, Brea extended their lead to 24-12 in the second, and led 34-25 at halftime. At the end of three quarters Brea led 46-31, and it appeared not to be Troy's night. However, the fourth quarter saw Troy storm back to trail by two points at 53-51, with 27 seconds left on the clock. Troy had two or three chances to tie the game during that period, but couldn't get their shots to fall. Brea won 53-51.

The other games saw Rosary defeat Mayfair 50-39; Yorba Linda beat Santa Margarita 55-33; Mater Dei defeated Canyon of Anaheim 63-27, and both Jordan Adams and Nirra Fields played strong games. The final girls game saw host Orange Lutheran stomp the Santa Monica Vikings, 64-36. Orange Lutheran plays very good "team" game under current coach Tom Howard as they did under Tony Matson. They may not be the most talented team in the area, but every time I see them play, they always work the ball for the open player. Tony would be very proud of them.

There were several college coaches or assistants at the event, including coaches from UCLA, USC, UC Davis, Santa Clara, USD, and a couple of Juco coaches from Orange Coast College and Santa Ana College. There were also several high school coaches and players from teams not playing, which I thought showed great support for a good cause.

The box scores can be found on the OC Register web site: http://www.ocvarsity.com/sections/schedules/?sportID=3&gender=G

Make sure you click on January 16.

- IM in OC


Future college players: Jordan Adams (USC) waits to shoot free throws while Mater Dei teammate Nirra Fields (UCLA) and Canyon's Christina Salvatore (University of Idaho) await the shot.


Brea's Taylor Spears, at the foul line, Anna Kim behind the arc, and Keitra Wallace, on the left of the picture, all had strong games for the Ladycats. Troy's Gabby Hanson, #11 in white, also played well.


UCLA assistant coach Tony Newnan, in the blue and gold jacket, chats with Nirra Fields after the game.


Orange Lutheran's Abbey Goodsell, (#24) scored 18 points to lead all scorers in their rout of Santa Monica.


All pictures by IM in OC.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just a few things

Women's Sports Centrals podcast features Brenda VanLengen and Mechelle Voepel discussing the Big 12, SEC, ACC, and Big East.

Checking in with Yolanda Griffith, who is an assistant coach at Dartmouth.

That knee injury Tennessee forward Shekinna Stricklen sustained in yesterday's Vanderbilt game? It's a sprain. And she's day-to-day.

Kentucky tops the SEC at the moment.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Real life - not a movie

The Sacred Heart High girls basketball team in Los Angeles walks through the 'hood everyday to get to the gym for basketball practice; it's a facility they rent out with what money they have. Every day, they confront dangers along the way. Story.

Wow.

Martin Luther King weekend action

Sunday........

Upset: #25 Penn State over #23 Nebraska, 93-73.

#11 Miami barely survived Florida State, 60-57.

Florida beat LSU 62-58, snapping the Tigers' 10-game winning streak.

Please, not again: Tennessee defeated Vanderbilt, and Vol forward Shekinna Stricklen scared the crap out of her team when she clutched her knee and started screaming. It looks like it's just a knee strain, though.

Elena Delle Donne also sustained a leg injury in Delaware's victory over Northeastern.

Kentucky remains undefeated in SEC play after today's win over South Carolina.

Cal took Utah, making for a sweep of the Pac-12 mountain schools.

ESPN's Graham Hays has a (so far) weekend wrap up, which he calls "all hail the Big Ten."

Many smaller schools have games tomorrow, on the Martin Luther King holiday.

Club ball:

Exodus Coach Apache Paschall was laid to rest yesterday.

NCAA business:

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors wants a new stipend proposal, since the one to give athletes $2,000 a year was tabled.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

This parity thing is crazy

The new basketball: anyone can win at any time.

Upsets today:

Kansas State handed #14 Texas Tech its second consecutive loss.

Saint Mary's upset #22 Gonzaga in a close one.

Almosts:

#19 DePaul hung on to beat Pittsburgh.

Rutgers held off Louisville in overtime.

Other close ones:

Cal State Northridge rallied to take Pacific, 72-68, and end their eight-game home winning streak.

San Diego State defeated UNLV in overtime, 66-62.

UC Irvine squeaked past Cal Poly, 62-60.

Arizona overcame Oregon State, 58-56.

Arizona State snapped a three-game losing streak by eeking one out over Oregon, 53-49.

What was in the air today with all these close games?

USC 47, UCLA 43

Today's Southern California Pac-12 showdown was every bit the bloodbath battle fans expected it to be. The Trojans got off to an early lead and kept the lead at eight for a while, midway through the first half. The Bruins then went on an 8-0 run and tied things up at the 6:14 mark. They were up by four points before USC went on a run of their own, and took the lead back 26-25 at the half.

UCLA took the lead back to start the second period, pushing it to four again, 34-30. But the Trojans put up four points, and then the score remained knotted at 34 for seven minutes before USC was again able to score. The Bruins didn't put up a field goal for over nine minutes. Crucial free throws by Trojan forward Cassie Harberts in the game's final minutes sealed the win for her team.

Only two players scored in double figures: USC's Ashley Corral and UCLA's Rebekah Gardner. Box score.

Corral's eight assists pushed her past Cheryl Miller on the all-time assists list. She is an underrated player, to be sure.

The game was one of the best defensive battles I've seen in a while. Both teams kept each other out of the paint and forced outside shots, which no one was making in the second half, as USC shot 18.2 percent and UCLA, 24 percent. The game was also predictably physical, with much wrestling for the ball, hand-checking and numerous fouls.

Some game photos are blow, but the entire game album is HERE.

Both teams get props, as each are missing key players. USC guard Jacki Gemelos tore her left ACL in December, as did UCLA guard Antonye Nyingifa. Bruin guard Moriah Faulk also tore her ACL last Saturday in the Arizona State game.


Thea Lemberger contemplates getting past Briana Gilbreath in the second half.


Cassie Harberts' free throws in the final minute sealed the win for the Trojans.


Jacki Gemelos, at top, watches Coach Michael Cooper break down the game strategy before tipoff.

Jacki Gemelos injury is a rallying point for USC

The USC Trojans are finding a way to cope without Jacki Gemelos - it's because they're playing for her. In researching for this piece, I also found a star player who is doing a noble job of moving through the grieving process. USC coaches also care about Gemelos and the rest of the team a great deal.

It's common for teams who lose a key player to rally for a couple games before their performance declines. The fact that the Women of Troy made it through last week with two wins in Arizona, and a victory today at UCLA, says a lot about their drive and focus. They have lost only one game since losing Gemelos, who will have her fifth knee reconstruction surgery Tuesday.

The photo gallery with this piece on www.hoopfeed.com is from a recent practice. Below are some extra shots.


Jacki Gemelos throws up shots on the sidelines while her teammates practice.


Freshman Thaddesia Southall, who is sitting out this season with an ACL tear of her own, rebounds for Gemelos.


Gemelos works on her handles while her teammates scrimmage.


The Trojans run 17s.

Gaaaaaaaaaame daaaaaaaaaay!!!!

Pac-12:

A depleted UCLA Bruins squad hosts USC today at 2 p.m. PST. I'll be there like the Jackson Five. The Women of Troy are second place in the Pac-12 going into today's contest.

Have you noticed Washington State isn't sucking this year? So has the Kitsap Sun, scout.com and Jayda Evans. The Cougars are tied for second in the Pac-12 going into today's match ups.

The rising Oregon State Beavers are focusing on "winnable games."

In facing Oregon today, Arizona State is trying to snap a three-game losing streak.

Here's a headline for you: Colorado hopes to keep their composure against Stanford today.

Rivalry turns to unity:

Oklahoma and Oklahoma State created a bond after the November deaths of OSU coaches Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna that has lasted.

Miami projection:

ESPN analyst Debbie Antonelli projects that the Hurricaine's Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams will both go first round in this year's WNBA draft.

Rutgers:

Fans seem to be worried that Rutgers' incoming freshman class will unravel like the class of 2008. Coach C. Vivian Stringer shakes off the comparison.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Yesterday and tomorrow

Purdue's Brittany Rayburn put up a whopping 38 points last night in the Boilermakers' win over Minnesota, including an NCAA record 12 three-point shots.

Cal trailed Colorado by 12 last night before surging back to win by 13. A very impressive display.

UConn will play at Villanova tomorrow, and the very idea makes Huskies Coach Geno Auriemma ill.

Stanford will take on Colorado tomorrow, and you better believe the Cardinal will be prepared.

NCAA president Mark Emmert's contract has been extended.

Pro business:

Candace Parker talks about her favorite destinations, playing in Russia and traveling with kids.

Angel McCoughtry provides a sneak peek of her upcoming music video.

Ivory Latta will become a Parkinson's Disease ambassador.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

You know it's the heart of the season when......

Big NCAA games tonight:

You knew that #5 Maryland loss was coming, and #11 Miami pulled off the upset, handing the Terps their first defeat.

Clemson upset #21 North Carolina, ruining Tar Heels Coach Sylvia Hatchell's chance at a 600th win.

#8 Kentucky overcame #7 Tennessee by one point.

LSU came from behind to beat South Carolina by ten. Wonder why this write-up doesn't mention Gamecock Coach Dawn Staley being ejected from the contest.

College news:

ESPN's "hoops across America" series checks in on Old Dominion.

Pro items:

The Shock and Mercury exchanged point guards: Andrea Riley and Temeka Johnson. That trade makes absolutely no sense to me.

Dishin & Swishin talks to Gary Kloppenburg and Carol Ross about their new coaching gigs with the Shock and Sparks, respectively.

Right now I'm tracking all four Pac-12 games, so I gotta go...............

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More upset city

Two NCAA upsets tonight:

Oklahoma handed #14 Texas Tech their first loss.

Texas upset #10 Texas A&M.

Full scoreboard.

After tonight's Baylor-Oklahoma State game, players from both teams prayed together. This is a beautiful picture.

Pro news:

Coach Joe Ciampi is back - as assistant coach of the Atlanta Dream.

High school:

Seattle high school star Katie Collier's comeback from leukemia is an inspiration to many.

Pat Summitt:

Mickie DeMoss knew she had to come back to Tennessee five years ago.

Junior college rankings

I've been waiting and waiting for the National Junior College Athletic Association rankings to have a new poll (last one was Dec. 17). My wish has been granted:

1. Trinity Valley Community College
2. Northwest Florida State College
3. Hutchinson Community College
4. Central Arizona College
5. Pensacola State College
6. Casper College
7. Gulf Coast State College
8. Seward County Community College
9. Walters State Community College
10. North Idaho College
11. Northern Oklahoma College-Enid
12. Arizona Western College
13. Shelton State Community College
14. Chipola College
15. Independence Community College
16. Weatherford College
17. Otero Junior College
18. Middle Georgia College
19. Paris Junior College
20. Southwest Tennessee Community College

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Freshmen making a splash

You can see it in teams across the country, whether they're bigger schools or mid-majors: this year's freshmen class is making waves. ESPNW agrees. Their top five are:

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Connecticut
Elizabeth Williams of Duke
Ariel Massengale of Tennessee
Bria Smith of Louisville
Reshanda Gray of Cal (pictured below)

St. Johns and St. Bonaventure also get shout outs.


Cal freshman forward Reshanda Gray waits to check into last Saturday's game against Oregon. Gray leads the team in scoring and is third in rebounds.

_______________________________________________

ESPN recaps what fans have learned so far this season, and it's an interesting list. I am more intrigued by the "five things we already suspected" list:

3. It's a young woman's world out there: There are some notable exceptions -- Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Delaware's Elena Delle Donne, Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis and Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen among them. But senior stars are usually the rule in women's college basketball, not the exception. For whatever reason, and we don't have early entry to blame on this side of the college game, this season's senior class lacks oomph at the top of the sport. Senior stars such as Missouri State's Casey Garrison, VCU's Courtney Hurt, Eastern Michigan's Tavelyn James and Gonzaga's Katelan Redmon are wrapping up special careers out of the spotlight, but it looks like the players who have the most to say about what happens at the Final Four in Denver will be around for at least one more season. Of the teams in the first Top 25 of the calendar year 2012, only 10 were led in scoring by seniors.

And the "revision of conventional wisdom" list.....no player of the year, and the title is up for grabs. True that.

Finally, there is
trouble for Duke, as sophomore guard Chloe Wells will miss the remainder of the season due to a violation of university policy.

A quadruple-double, and other amazing performances

These last two weeks have seen an outburst of outstanding performances in high school ball.

Guard Liz Wood of Virginia had a quadruple-double in her team's thrashing of a rival high school Friday night. She recorded 19 points, 14 rebounds, 12 steals and 10 assists.

Another guard, New Jersey's Amanda Berntsen, set a school record at Chatham High School last Thursday. She has 1,492 points.

Ohio guard Kailee Howe reached the 1,000-point mark on Dec. 30.

Point guard Whitney Bunn of North Carolina eclipsed 1,000 points this past Friday.

Congratulations to these young ballers.

Powerade Fab 50, week five

No changes in the top 10 of the Powerade Fab 50 this week, but there are more changes further down on the list. Top ten:

1. Saint Marys
2. Nazareth
3. Riverdale Baptist
4. McEachern
5. Windward
6. Cicero-North Syracuse
7. Bolingbrook
8. Riverdale
9. Clarksville
10. Hoover

This week's USA Today/ESPN poll

Notre Dame, predictably, has swiped the number two spot this week. Among the rises and falls, previously-unranked Nebraska enters at the 23rd position:

1. Baylor
2. Notre Dame
3. Connecticut
4. Stanford
5. Maryland
6. Duke
7. Tennessee
8. Kentucky
9. Rutgers
10. Texas A&M
11. Miami
12. Wisconsin-Green Bay
13. Ohio State
14. Texas Tech
15. Louisville
16. Georgia
17. Georgetown
18. Delaware
19. DePaul
20. Purdue
21. North Carolina
22. Gonzaga
23. Nebraska
24. Vanderbilt
25. Penn State

Monday, January 9, 2012

Injuries, podcasts and standings

DePaul is going through it like never before. Keisha Hampton's season-ending injury means five key players are now out for the Blue Demons. Coach Doug Bruno hasn't seen anything like it before.

Podcast: Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli interview Maryland Coach Brenda Frese and Taylor Hill of Ohio State.

Pac-12 standings -

How quickly things change when conference play begins. Here's what it looks like today:

Team Conference Overall

Stanford - 4-0, 13-1
USC - 3-1, 8-6
Washington St. - 3-1, 9-7
Colorado - 2-1, 13-1
California - 2-2, 11-5
UCLA - 2-2, 7-8
Arizona - 1-2, 12-3
Arizona St. - 1-2, 10-4
Utah - 1-2, 8-6
Oregon St. - 1-3, 10-5
Washington - 1-3, 9-5
Oregon - 1-3, 9-7

The Saturday scoreboard saw Oregon State almost upset Stanford; USC beat Arizona to sweet both desert state schools; UCLA defeated ASU, leaving the Sun Devils swept; and Utah garnered their first Pac-12 victory by putting away Washington.

Stanford is struggling more than expected.

The WNBA on age difference in eligibility

Friday I published the player eligibility requirements for both the WNBA and NBA, as provided to me by the respective leagues. I had hoped to receive a response to a question I had about those stipulations before then, but I just obtained that answer this morning.

I asked, "Can you tell me why WNBA draftees are required to be 22 and NBA draftees are required to be 19?"

Of course there are exceptions that are laid out in the rules. But to be able to be drafted into the WNBA before age 22, an American player must have already graduated from college, or be about to graduate. (The only requirement for international players is that they are 20 years old).

The WNBA issued this answer statement to my question: "All of the WNBA's eligibility requirements were negotiated with the Players Union, and have been working well for the league, the players and our friends at the NCAA for 15 years. Players come into the WNBA with a great maturity and readiness as athletes and as young women."

What do you think about this? Why do you think males are allowed to be "less mature" to enter the NBA?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Hot hoops weekend

While I was in the Bay watching the Cal-Oregon game yesterday, #3 Notre Dame was upsetting #2 UConn, 74-67. The Irish have now become the Big East team to beat, ESPN says.

Earlier today, St. John's upset #12 Louisville 72-64. I was watching the first hour of the game as I packed up my stuff at the hotel, and I had a feeling the Red Storm would do it.

Elena Delle Donne put up a whopping 40 points in #20 Delaware's win over George Mason. She is ridiculous.

#5 Maryland needed an overtime to fend off #23 North Carolina. The Terps seem like they're about to have an upset.

Sadness: DePaul senior forward Keisha Hampton is out for the season with knee trouble.

Bonuses......

WNBA:

Carol Ross held her first press conference Friday. Check the audio.

International news:

Australian basketball star Rachel Jarry and a friend were assaulted by an armed gang, but are OK.

Cal 90, Oregon 67

Berkeley, Calif. - I checked out the Oregon at Cal game yesterday, making the trip to Haas Pavilion for the first time. I loved the intimacy of the arena and the caring of the fans. They know each player by name, and are very supportive.

After the Bears won, the entire team divided up at tables and signed autographs for long lines of fans - many of them children.

Story.

Box score.

My full album is HERE.


Oregon's Jasmine Holliday drives around Cal's Talia Caldwell in the second half.


Cal's Reshanda Gray tries to block the inbounds pass.


The coolest college fan giveaway ever: a team picture puzzle.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tidbits from the Arizona desert



Chandler's point guard, #3 Dezirae Ellis at 5-foot-1, can play against the bigs of St. Marys: #0 Chantel Osahor, at 6-foot-2, #13 Cortnee Walton at 6-foot-3, and #22 Courtney Ekmark at 6 feet.

___________________________________________________

The homey IM in OC is in Arizona right now, taking in the USC Pac-12 games and some high school action. Here is his report:

USC 60, ASU 48

USC did not make a basket in the final 5:45 of the game, but did make eight of 11 free throws to beat ASU by 12. The Sun Devils only hit two baskets in the last 8:50 of the game, and missed seven of their last 10 charity shots. ASU had no players with double-digit scoring, and no player made more than three field goals in the game. Kimberly Brandon had three field goals and two of those came in the last 8:50 of the game. She scored her team's last buckets.

ASU had big trouble with the USC press in the second half, as there was no Dymond Simon to help this year. Promise Amukamara ran into a blind screen set by Cassie Harberts of USC. Last season Simon ran into the same type of blind sceen, and missed several games with a concussion. You would think someone on the court or on ASU's bench would yell it out to their teammates. USC walk on Dominque Scott (Pasadena CC) made her first appearance for USC with 1:42 left in the first half.

Former Trojan Kari LaPlante (class of 2011) was at the game to root for her former teammates. LaPlante currently plays for Alexandria, in Romania and was home for the holiday break.

St. Marys 68 (Phoenix) vs. Chandler 62

St. Marys is the number one high school team in the nation, according to ESPN Rise. Tonight they faced off against Chandler High School, which is #5 in Arizona. Both teams have players going on to the next level. St. Marys has Shilpa Tummala, who verballed to Harvard in 2013. Also on St. Marys is a freshman guard Courtney Erkmark. She scored 27 points in the contest and has nearly all the skills that you would expect a high school senior to have. I believe she is the daughter of St. Marys coach Curtis Erkmark. Cortnee Walton (2013) is going to Louisville, and she also played a strong game.

Chandler has senior Simone Westbrook going to Arizona. Je Zhe Newton is highly-ranked, but didnt dress for some reason. Chandler also has an outstanding point guard in Dezirae Ellis; she hustles all over the place. She can go to the hoop, shoot the three and she can pass as well as anyone I have seen recently in the high school game. She had around 25 points tonight, and was the spark plug for the Chandler team all night. If she hasnt been signed by someone, she is a senior, she is a steal, She is only 5'1" but plays big for her size.

St. Marys pulled out the game 68-62, but not without a struggle. It was a tight game for the first half with St. Mary's leading 33-30 at the break. They were able to open up a 55-44 in the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, and then Chandler went on a 11-1 run to trail by one point 56-55 with 4.21 left in the game. St Marys went on a streak to make it 63-55, and the rest of the game was foul shots made by St. Marys to hold on for the win.

There is no shot clock in Arizona high school games. UCLA coach Cori Close was at the game scouting some of the players, and spoke to both coaches after the game.

On to Tuscon on Saturday for the USC vs. Arizona game

- IM in OC



UCLA Coach Cori Close talks with a parent after the game.



Chandler's gym is called the "House of Payne," and IM in OC didn't find out why that is.



St. Mary's players gather at center court after team handshakes....a hard-fought win.

All pictures by IM in OC.

WNBA vs. NBA draft eligibility

Fans have been speculating as to whether or not Baylor star Brittney Griner would forego her senior year to enter the 2012 WNBA draft in a few months. The question is, could she be eligible? I took the query to the offices of the WNBA and NBA, and below are the stipulations as they were sent to me.

It looks like Griner couldn't enter this year's draft, because she won't be 22 until October (unless she was a candidate for early graduation). If Griner were a male, however, it appears she'd only have to be 19 to be drafted.

WNBA DRAFT 2011 Eligibility

A player is eligible to be selected in the Draft at the earliest
occurrence of the following: A. She had (or will have) her 22nd
birthday during the calendar year in which the draft is held, and she
either has no remaining intercollegiate eligibility or renounces her
remaining intercollegiate eligibility by written notice to the WNBA at
least ten days prior to such draft. B. She has graduated from a
four-year college or university, or “is to graduate” from such college
or university during the three-month period following such draft and
she either has no remaining intercollegiate eligibility or renounces
her remaining intercollegiate eligibility by written notice to the
WNBA at least ten days prior to such draft. For the purpose of this
subsection B, “is to graduate” means that such player would graduate
from the college or university she is currently enrolled in if she
were to successfully complete the coursework she is enrolled in at the
time of such draft and such course load is commensurate with previous
course loads she has successfully completed. C. She attended a
four-year college or university, her original class in such college or
university has already been graduated or “is to graduate” during the
three-month period following such draft, and she either has no
remaining intercollegiate eligibility or renounces her remaining
intercollegiate eligibility by written notice to the WNBA at least ten
days prior to such draft. For the purpose of this subsection C, “is
to graduate” means that the majority of the students in such class
would graduate from such college or university upon successful
completion of the coursework the members of such class are enrolled in
at the time of such draft. D. She is an international player (meaning a
player who was born and resides outside of the United States) who has
had (or will have) her 20th birthday during the calendar year in which
the draft is held. E. The league will circulate a list of any otherwise
eligible players who renounce their remaining intercollegiate
eligibility on April 4. Please note that a player who: (i) is
competing in the NCAA tournament during the period that begins ten
days prior to the draft; (ii) has remaining intercollegiate
eligibility beyond the 2010-11 season; and (iii) is otherwise eligible
for the draft, may make herself eligible for the draft by renouncing
her remaining intercollegiate eligibility within the period beginning
at the conclusion of her final NCAA game and ending twenty-four hours
thereafter. If any such players still playing on April 4 renounce
their remaining intercollegiate eligibility, we will circulate a
second eligibility e-mail as soon as we receive written confirmation
of the renouncement.


NBA Draft Eligibility

section 1. Player Eligibility.
(a) No player may sign a Contract or play in the NBA unless he has been
eligible for
selection in at least one (1) NBA Draft. No player shall be eligible for
selection in more
than two (2) NBA Drafts.
(b) A player shall be eligible for selection in the first NBA Draft with
respect to which
he has satisfied all applicable requirements of Section 1(b)(i) below and
one of the
requirements of Section 1(b)(ii) below:
(i) The player (A) is or will be at least 19 years of age during the
calendar year in
which the Draft is held, and (B) with respect to a player who is not an
international
player (defined below), at least one (1) NBA Season has elapsed since the
player’s
graduation from high school (or, if the player did not graduate from high
school,
since the graduation of the class with which the player would have
graduated had he
graduated from high school); and
(ii)
(A) The player has graduated from a four-year college or university in the
United
States (or is to graduate in the calendar year in which the Draft is held)
and has no
remaining intercollegiate basketball eligibility; or
(B) The player is attending or previously attended a four-year college or
university in
the United States, his original class in such college or university has
graduated (or is
to graduate in the calendar year in which the Draft is held), and he has no
remaining
intercollegiate basketball eligibility; or
(C) The player has graduated from high school in the United States, did not
enroll in
a four-year college or university in the United States, and four calendar
years have
elapsed since such player’s high school graduation; or
(D) The player did not graduate from high school in the United States, and
four calendar years have elapsed since the graduation of the class with which the player
would have graduated had he graduated from high school; or
(E) The player has signed a player contract with a “professional basketball
team not
in the NBA” (defined below) that is located anywhere in the world, and has
rendered
services under such contract prior to the Draft; or
(F) The player has expressed his desire to be selected in the Draft in a
writing
received by the NBA at least sixty (60) days prior to such Draft (an “Early
Entry”
player); or
(G) If the player is an “international player” (defined below), and
notwithstanding anything
contained in subsections (A) through (F) above: 16 (1) The player is or
will be twenty-two (22) years of age during the calendar year of
the Draft; or (2) The player has signed a player contract with a
“professional basketball team not
in the NBA” (defined below) that is located in the United States, and has
rendered
services under such contract prior to the Draft; or
(3) The player has expressed his desire to be selected in the Draft in a
writing
received by the NBA at least sixty (60) days prior to such Draft (an “Early
Entry”
player).
(c) For purposes of this Article X, an “international player” is a player:
(i) who has
maintained a permanent residence outside of the United States for at least
the three
(3) years prior to the Draft, while participating in the game of basketball
as an amateur
or as a professional outside of the United States; (ii) who has never
previously enrolled
in a college or university in the United States; and (iii) who did not
complete high school
in the United States. section 6. application to “Early Entry” Players.
If a player who is eligible for the Draft pursuant to Section 1(b)(ii)(F)
or (b)(ii)(G)(3)
above (an “Early Entry” player) is selected in such Draft by a Team, the
following rules
apply: (a) Subject to Section 6(b) below, if the player does not thereafter
play intercollegiate basketball,
then the Team that drafted him shall, during the period from the date of
such
Draft to the date of the Draft in which the player would, absent his
becoming an Early
Entry player, first have been eligible to be selected, be the only Team
with which the
player may negotiate or sign a Player Contract, provided that such Team
makes a
Required Tender to the player each year by the date specified in Section 4
(a) above. For
purposes hereof, the Draft in which such player would, absent his becoming
an Early Entry
player, first have been eligible to be selected, will be deemed the
“Subsequent Draft” as to
that player, and the rules applicable to a player who has been drafted in a
Subsequent
Draft will apply. If the player, having been selected in a Draft for which
he was eligible as
an Early Entry player, has not signed a Player Contract with the Team that
drafted him in
such Draft following a Required Tender by that Team and is not drafted in
the Subsequent
Draft (as defined in the previous sentence), he shall become a Rookie Free
Agent.
(b) If the player does thereafter play intercollegiate basketball, then the
Team that
drafted him shall retain the exclusive NBA rights to negotiate with and
sign the player
for the period ending one (1) year from the date of the Draft in which the
player would,
absent his becoming an Early Entry player, first have been eligible to be
selected, provided that such Team makes a Required Tender to the player each year by the date
specified in Section 4(a) above. For purposes hereof, the Draft in which
such player
would, absent his becoming an Early Entry player, first have been eligible
to be selected,
will be deemed the “Initial Draft” as to that player. The next NBA Draft
shall be deemed
the “Subsequent Draft” as to that player, and the rules applicable to a
player who has
been drafted in a Subsequent Draft will apply.