Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the year stuff part II, and more

Fanhouse has a list of milestones for the year. Most of them aren't milestones in the true sense of the word, but all are notable.

The second session of Nike TOC just wrapped up.

Abi Olajuwon lead Oklahoma to victory last night. Funny, as I was just watching her former high school team, Marlborough, get blown out last night at the Beverly Hills/Harvard-Westlake tournament. They've never been the same since she left.

UConn Coach Geno Auriemma told his team that beating Florida State 78-59 is too close. (You can't see me rolling my eyes right now, can you?)

And a couple of Seattle-related notes: Loyola reached triple-digits in beating Seattle University last night, in a game I wish I could have attended. And the extremely fair Seattle Times writes a story today on a Washington Husky player. Is the UW ever going to get it together?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stricklen is saved, but Rutgers isn't

Lady Vols fans thought sophomore forward Shekinna Stricklen had torn her ACL during tonight's game when she went down clutching her knee. But thankfully, she is fine.

In the meantime, I can hear the screams of Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer after her Scarlet Knights lost to George Washington University tonight, 45-43. I'm guessing by the low score that it was an ugly game.

Tonight's LA-area tourney results

Larry Doyle Orange County Championship

Villa Park 61, Santa Margarita 50

The anticipation of an exciting game brought many fans and players who played earlier in the day back to Marina High School for tonight's championship game. Villa Park and Santa Margarita had last played each other in the February 2009 Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei High School, where VP saw a three-point lead at halftime that day turn into a three-point loss, 69-66. Melissa Zornig for SM scored 30 of her game high 33 points in the second half.

Tonight's game started off strong for SM, as they stormed out to a 11-4 lead early in the first quarter. However, VP was able to turn up the tempo and get their own run of 11-2, and closed out the first quarter with a 15-13 lead.

The second quarter started similarly to the first quarter for SM, as they outscored VP 10-3 to take a 23-18 lead, and held a 29-22 lead with about a minute and a half left in the second quarter. That's when VP moved into another gear. They closed out the quarter on a 6-2 run to trail at the half 31-28.

The tempo and pace went into an even higher gear in the third quarter, and SM had no answers. VP outscored SM 18-4 in the third quarter to take a 46-35 lead after three periods. VP increased the lead to 56-41 about halfway thru the final stanza, and SM couldnt make a comeback.

MVP for the tournament was University of San Diego recruit Nicole Ballesteros, who had 19 points in the championship game. However, the most outstanding player of the night was VP's Shomari McCorkle, who had 18 points and 12 rebounds. She also put on a tremendous show, shutting down SM star player Meliisa Zornig by holding her to four points in the first half and 14 points for the entire game. Most of the points Zornig scored tonight were in the fourth quarter, and after VP had built up its lead of 15 points. This was the second straight game that McCorkle was assigned the task of guarding the star scorer. In the semifinals on Tuesday night against San Clemente, she held USC recruit Cassie Harberts to 16 points and only four field goals.

McCorkle is supposedly a Westmount College of Santa Barbara recruit and it looks like Westmount got a very good player for the 2010 season. Madison McKenney, a UC Bakersfield 2010 recruit led SM tonite with 23 points - 17 of those coming in the first half.

The third-place game was won by San Clemente, 62-48 over Sonora HS of La Habra.

- IM in OC

Beverly Hills/Harvard-Westlake Tournament

Harvard-Westlake 70, Inglewood 66

The game started off evenly, with both teams taking it to the basket at will. But HW stepped up the defense and built a five-point lead, which they kept through about three fourths of the second quarter, when they went on a run. They lead 43-31 at the half, which was also helped by the fact that they made 14-17 free throws, and capitalized on Inglewood turnovers.

HW grew the lead by as much as 16 points before Inglewood woke up mid-way through the third quarter and went on a 20-4 run, tying the game at 55 slightly into the fourth quarter. HW went up by six points again a few minutes later, and Inglewood could never catch all the way up.

In the other semifinal, Alemany beat El Camino, and I'm sorry I don't have a score.

Tomorrow night's championship game - Harvard-Westlake vs. Alemany - will be 7:30 p.m. at Harvard-Westlake High School. The third-place game, featuring Inglewood and El Camino, will be 7:30 p.m. at Beverly Hills High School.

WNBA players on twitter

Right now the WNBA seems like the vaguest idea. But someone's compiled a list of all the pro players on twitter. Dig:

I'm still trying to figure out what Shannon Bobbitt meant last night when she said it was "brick outside." Anyone have an idea? It might be an east coast thing.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

LA- area high school holiday tournament finals on tap

Finals of the Larry Doyle Orange County Championships are 8 p.m. Wednesday at Marina High School in Huntington Beach. It will be a rematch of two teams that met last year at the Nike Extravaganza, as 10-1 Santa Margarita faces Villa Park, who are 9-3.

SM beat Sonara in one semifinal, 46-32. I thought this was a a sloppily-played game, as SM had numerout times to open a bigger lead but didn't, and Sonora had numerous times to make a 10-point defecit disappear and couldnt finish the job.

The other semifinal saw Villa Park beat San Clemente, 54-47. SC was down after three quarters, 45-28, but stormed back to trail by three points with 25 seconds left. But two times to the foul line for VP (they were in the double bonus) made it a seven-point win for VP, 54-47.

The third place game at 6:30 p.m. will be Sonora versus San Clemente. Consolation round games start at 9 a.m.

- IM in OC

Tonight's quarterfinals at the Beverly Hills/Harvard-Westlake Tournament were:

Harvard-Westlake 55, Norco 53 Final
El Camino 47, Beverly Hills 43 Final
Alemany 55, LACES 50 Final
Inglewood 72, Marymount 27 Final

Tomorrow night's semifinals will see El Camino versus Alemany at 6 p.m. and Inglewood versus Harvard-Westlake at 7:30 p.m. The winner of each game will play for the tournament championship on Thursday.

In the Gahr High School Tournament, it'll be Antelope Valley versus Compton Centennial for the championship tomorrow night. Here are today's results and tomorrow's schedule:

Mayfair 46 St. Matthias 42
Westminster 56 Santee 38
Gahr 57 San Pedro 30
Redondo 59 Garfield 46
Valley Christian 61 L.A. Jordan 49
Southeast 59 Norwalk 25
Compton Centennial 60 L.B. Jordan 57
Antelope Valley 68 L.B. Millikan 58 2OT

Wednesdays schedule
12pm Santee vs St. Matthias
12pm Mayfair vs Westminster
1:30pm Norwalk vs San Pedro
1:30pm Garfield vs L.A. Jordan
3pm Southeast vs Gahr
4:30pm Valley Christian vs Redondo
6pm L.B. Jordan vs L.B. Millikan
7:30pm Antelope Valley vs Compton Centennial

Players to watch from TOC

Says ESPN. And look at all those California players on the list.

I love where I live.

Monday, December 28, 2009

LA City Section is weak

There, I said it.

Once upon a time, the LA City Section teams were on top of the world. Now it looks like that balance of power has shifted to the Southern Section, which for those of you who don't know, is basically the swath of schools that lie to the West, South and East of Los Angeles.

Look at this latest list of the top 25 City Section teams:

1 View Park (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum Small
2 Taft (Woodland Hills, CA) West Valley 1
3 Narbonne (Harbor City, CA) Marine 1
4 LACES (Los Angeles, CA) Western Small
5 Carson (CA) Marine 1
6 Washington (Los Angeles, CA) Marine 1
7 El Camino Real (Woodland Hills, CA) West Valley 2
8 Granada Hills (CA) West Valley 2
9 Monroe (North Hills, CA) Valley Mission 3
10 Huntington Park (CA) Eastern 3
11 Palisades (Pacific Palisades, CA) Western 1
12 Fairfax (Los Angeles, CA) Western 2
13 South East (South Gate, CA) Eastern 2
14 Crenshaw (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum 1
15 Gardena (CA) Marine 1
16 West Adams (Los Angeles, CA) Central 2
17 Garfield (Los Angeles, CA) Eastern 3
18 Wilson (Los Angeles, CA) Northern 1
19 Chatsworth (CA) West Valley 1
20 Birmingham (Van Nuys, CA) West Valley 3
21 Roosevelt (Los Angeles, CA) Eastern 2
22 Dorsey (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum 1
23 Sylmar (CA) Valley Mission 3
24 Huntington Park College-Ready Academy (Huntington Park, CA) Freeway Small
25 Banning (Wilmington, CA) Marine 2

Taft, Chatsworth, Garfield, Roosevelt and Gardena are weak (just to name a few), Southeast and Narbonne are still upstarts, Washington Prep is having a difficult year and is on a losing streak, and the fact that Banning even made this list makes my jaw drop slightly.

It's kinda sad.

Separating the drivens from the wannabes

The weekend before last, I walked into the Umpqua Community College gym in Roseburg, OR to check out the Crossover Tournament. The assistant coach for one of the teams - Blue Mountain Community College - looked very familiar. I got a program and was then able to put the name with the face: Daviyonne Weathersby, who graduated from Cal State Fullerton last spring.

I went to Fullerton last December to check out their game against Vanderbilt, and had been struck by and impressed with Weathersby's energetic play. So what was a young ex-Division I player doing helping coach a team in remote Pendleton, OR? I asked her the next day.

Weathersby said she really wanted to get into coaching, and as graduation approached, she had sent out resumes to schools across the country.

"No one would give me a chance, because they said I didn't have any experience," Weathersby said. She nodded toward head Coach Christy Martin.

"She gave me a chance."

Weathersby said she coaches the guards. The team is pretty promising, too, and they took third place in the tournament.

I really respect Weathersby for her courage. Many say they want to coach, but far fewer are willing to make personal sacrifices to make their dreams come true. Going from the LA area to an extremely small town in Eastern Oregon had to be a huge adjustment, but Weathersby seems upbeat and happy. She's an example for us all.

Gwan, girl.

Daviyonne Weathersby says a quick word to one of the Blue Mountain guards before an inbound play.

Weathersby and the woman who hired her, Coach Christy Martin.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Harvard Westlake-Beverly Hills Winter Invitational first day scores

From yesterday:

At Harvard Westlake:

Oak Park 54 SV Poly 20
Alemany 71 Burroughs 40
Valencia 63 Marlborough 49
West Ranch 65 Newbury Park 60
Crescenta Valley 49 Monroe 44
Chatsworth 58 Saugus 33
Harvard Westlake 65 Oxnard 25
Vista Del Lago 44 Venice 39

At Beverly Hills:

Culver City 63 Sylmar 36
Marymount 55 Hawthorne 40
St Paul 48 Morningside 40
LACES 51 Channel Islands 24
Inglewood 63 Bellflower 36
Norco 52 Notre Dame Academy 46
El Camino 54 St Monica 40
Beverly Hills 74 Brentwood 45

Second rounds tomorrow at both schools.

End of the year stuff

Candace Parker is among the Chicago Tribune's nominations for player of the decade.

Teresa Weatherspoon will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

Seimone Augustus is the Times-Picayune's Female College Athlete of the Decade.

And on a non-end-of-the-year note, Oregon Coach Paul Westhead recently allowed a local TV station to mic him up.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Basketball jones

Remember that Dave Chappelle skit where he played "Tyrone the Crack Addict"? That's how I started to feel last night. It's been six days since I've been to a game, and I only watched part of the Stanford-UConn matchup on Wednesday. I feel like scratchin' my neck.

Fortunately, there is news to keep us all focused:

The Eugene Register-Guard has its annual, well-written Pac-10 preview.

Many interesting tidbits in this piece that begins with a bit about Notre Dame.

And Michelle Snow took time out this past week to visit her old high school team. Anyone else find it interesting that the initials of Snow's high school alma mater match those of her famous collegiate coach?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gemelos, Gilbreath hanging on to play for USC

Thoughtful and lengthy column by Mechelle Voepel on two players who have sustained a combined eight ACL injuries over the last few years. A testimony to perseverance, to be sure.

Basketball dads

Govolsextra has a new story up about how freshman Kamiko Williams feels pulled between listening to her dad and listening to her coach, Pat Summitt, for basketball advice.

This story makes me want to cuss.

To begin with, Hall of Fame Coach Summitt has been at the Tennessee helm 36 years, has eight National Championships under her belt, and has sent more players into the WNBA than any other collegiate coach. It's safe to say she knows what she's doing, as it is with Tara VanDerveer, Geno Auriemma and any other coach who's been around since before the current crop of collegiate players were born. I can't imagine even questioning any of those coaches.

I don't know Williams' dad, but I feel confident in guessing that his resume doesn't come anywhere close to Summitt's. Further, the University of Tennessee is paying for Kamiko Williams' tuition, room and board. The Lady Vols take a private plane to away games, and their needs are met at every turn. They are essentially Williams' employer, so she better do what Summitt says. The fact that Summitt didn't point this out to her is quite laudable.

This story also calls to attention the frequent problem with player dads. And yes, I say only dads because it's they who seem to have a need to pass on their "knowledge" to their daughters, and I've yet to see a meddling basketball player mother.

Once upon a time dads believed in coaches and didn't try to interfere with the coaching process. But somewhere along the way in a society that doesn't have any heroes anymore and increasingly tends to discredit experience and authority, some fathers began to have the idea that they know just as much, if not more than the coach.

In some cases, this might indeed be true. I worked with a young (high school level) coach a few years ago who didn't know how to teach the game at all, and still doesn't. But in the majority of cases, coaches were hired for a reason. Families need to respect that.

The most common thing is for high school player dads to yell things from the stands. Some are excessively negative; some tell the coach what to do, especially if she's a female; and in the worst cases, parents will yell instructions to their daughter that contradict those of the coach.

The only thing more irritating than this was a case last year at a playoff game. The wife of one of the coaches was sitting about eight rows up, and she started making cutting remarks - quite loudly - about her husband's players. How would you like to hear that when you're 16 years old? I wanted to turn around and sock her.

High school parents, know this: just because you coached your daughter when she was six and showed her a few things in the driveway here and there doesn't make you an expert. Watching Lakers games doesn't mean you know more than the coach of your daughter's team. If you have a serious issue - and that doesn't mean you're upset that your kid isn't in the game all 32 minutes - then take it to the school athletic director. Don't put your daughter in the middle like Williams, where she feels torn between listening to you and hearing her coach. That's not fair to the kid because remember: she's just a kid.

If you're one of these dads, put yourself on time out.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

UConn beats Stanford

The game was on while I was at the gym, and what a let down. I'm no Stanford fan, but I'd rather see anyone win than the right coast Huskies.

ESPN finally checks in on the TOC final: Happy Holi-Dei. Great pictures.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Formerly homeless WNBA star helps girl

What an incredible story. I have new and profound appreciation for Charde Houston.

Mater Dei prevails in Arizona

The Monarchs beat St. Mary's in the Nike TOC championship tonight, 66-60. ESPN is being very slow to put something up, which isn't cool. I want a box score.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cali showdown at Nike TOC tomorrow

It'll be St. Mary's (Stockton, CA) vs. Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) in the finals of the top bracket at Nike TOC tomorrow. To get there, Mater Dei defeated Long Beach Poly 56-50, and St. Mary's beat Brea Olinda, 67-66.

Another interesting matchup tomorrow in the consolation bracket will be Brea vs. Poly.

LA City Section team rankings?

Someone on is posting the latest "computer poll" rankings, but doesn't say what website the alleged list came from. Here it is:

LA City Section

Rank School League Division
1 View Park (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum 5
2 Narbonne (Harbor City, CA) Marine 1
3 Taft (Woodland Hills, CA) West Valley 1
4 Carson (CA) Marine 1
5 Granada Hills (CA) West Valley 2
6 El Camino Real (Woodland Hills, CA) West Valley 2
7 LACES (Los Angeles, CA) Western 5
8 Washington (Los Angeles, CA) Marine 1
9 Huntington Park (CA) Eastern 3
10 Palisades (Pacific Palisades, CA) Western 1
11 Fairfax (Los Angeles, CA) Western 2
12 Monroe (North Hills, CA) Valley Mission 3
13 South East (South Gate, CA) Eastern 2
14 West Adams (Los Angeles, CA) Central 2
15 Wilson (Los Angeles, CA) Northern 1
16 Birmingham (Van Nuys, CA) West Valley 3
17 Garfield (Los Angeles, CA) Eastern 3
18 Crenshaw (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum 1
19 Roosevelt (Los Angeles, CA) Eastern 2
20 Gardena (CA) Marine 1
21 Sylmar (CA) Valley Mission 3
22 Chatsworth (CA) West Valley 1
23 Huntington Park College-Ready Academy (Huntington Park, CA) Freeway 5
24 Banning (Wilmington, CA) Marine 2
25 Dorsey (Los Angeles, CA) Coliseum 1

Even though this list is unauthorized, it's fun to contemplate how the teams are shaking out. Questions:

1. Is Narbonne back to its former prowess?
2. Will Carson ever stop being the bridesmaid?
3. Will Huntington Park and Southeast put the long-forgotten Eastern League on the map again?
4. Is Fairfax really that bad this year?
5. I thought Gardena sucked. ?

UCLA, Cal win today

UCLA beat St. Mary's today, 83-58. Junior guard Darxia Morris lead the charge with 20 points.

Hoopism reporter Daniel Uribe was at the game and said Friday's lackluster performance against Texas Tech appeared to be a bad game for the Bruins, as they played aggressively and with cohesion today. He said he has been impressed lately with the way sophomore Rebekah Gardner has been stepping up.

Cal prevailed this evening over Long Beach State, 80-71, lead by freshman guard Layshia Clarendon's 21 points (reppin San Bernardino!).

Uribe was also at that game, and said that despite the win, Cal isn't looking sharp. They remind me of last year's Tennessee squad with its bevy of freshman, and Uribe can't disagree. On the other hand, he said the 49ers have improved since the Dec. 3 game he saw. Coach Jody Wynn also seems to be a "never say die" leader, coaching and shouting encouragement from the sidelines until the final buzzer.

Celebrity sightings: Bruin alumni Lisa Willis was at the UCLA game, and current Bruins Erica Tukiainen and Jasmine Dixon were at the Cal-LBS game.


Both teams are in transition right now with new coaches.

USC won the Women of Troy Classic yesterday.

UCLA plays St. Mary's in a noon game today. Coach Nikki Caldwell just twittered:

"We take on a very talented St. Mary's team today @ noon. I challenged the team to STAND for something. Make your mind up and quit straddling the line. That's the beginning to developing our identity. Its about representing something bigger than yourself!!!!"

I hope that in two years, both teams are blowing up the Pac-10. I'm tired of Stanford.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Does punishment do the trick?

Rutgers is going to have a practice in about one and a half hours.

Wondering: do readers think these punishment practices do any good? Just curious.

Michelle Snow is blogging

Check it out.

Cal at Long Beach State tomorrow night

It should be a good game. And if the Bears win, it'll be Coach Joanne Boyle's 100th career victory.

Nike TOC continues tomorrow

Ah, what I would have loved to see Long Beach Poly beat Christ the King yesterday. And how fun it would be to see Brea Olinda take on St. Mary's of Stockton tomorrow.

Schedule and results.

Mindi Rice recaps day two.

I'm very grateful to live in California, by the way. There is so much talent to watch.

Umpqua Community College Crossover Tournament

Roseburg, OR - The Umpqua Community College women fell today in the title game of their own tournament, 77-83 to Walla Walla, of Washington state.

The host Riverhawks got off to a strong start, but the Warriors made a small run to take a five-point lead several minutes into the first half. They were able to capitalize on Umpqua's bad shooting day and missed free throws to keep the small lead.

Umpqua began the second half with a seven-point run to go ahead, but Walla Walla charged back with a run of their own. They kept the lead at 2-5 through most of the rest of the half, as whenever the Riverhawks surged, the Warriors clamped down. The largest lead was 77-69 with about two minutes to play.

Sophomore forward Nnamaka Anyanwu lead Umpqua and all scorers with 32 points. Sophomore guard Mykiea Russell added 11 points.

Sophomore guard Kati Isham put up 30 points for Walla Walla, while sophomore forward Nancy Johnson added 17.

Anyanwu, who transferred this year from Cal State Fullerton, has been putting up big points for Umpqua this season so far. Riverhawks Coach Dave Stricklin said she might go back to a Division I school next year.

Umpqua, which is loaded with Californians this season, saw its local paper feature my favorite one today. Yesterday's semifinal games were fun to watch.

I arrived too late to see Shoreline Community College (Seattle) play. But a glance at the program reveals that their coach is none other than former Houston Comets Assistant Alisa Scott, aka Sheryl Swoopes' partner. I didn't know Scott was back in coaching.

I had an interesting conversation with the assistant of another team that was there, but that will wait until next week when I can add some pictures with it.

UCLA has a walk-on

What? Yep, it's true. Northern California basketball sensation Jackie Shepard actualized the spiritual principals that are always discussed in books: she started by saying "I'm going to UCLA," and it happened. Cool stuff.

Mater Dei forward Alexyz Vaioletama out for the season

National powerhouse Mater Dei has lost star forward Alexyz Vaioletama for the season, according to Coach Kevin Kiernan in the second paragraph of this story.

This doesn't seem to be effecting Mater Dei much, which is loaded with talent. Nor might it hurt Vaioletama a lot, as she's already ranked and her reputation as a player established. But I feel badly for her, because I know how much she misses playing. Hope she heals quickly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the third weekend in December, so it must be time for......

Tennessee vs. Stanford.

And Inside Women's Basketball has a nice retrospective on the dunk.

Lady Vols get their names (back on the) back

Pat Summitt is returning player's names to their jerseys for the first time in years, says USA Today.

Color me wow.

Voepel talks with Michael Cooper

"But it was an immediate clicking."

Mechelle Voepel's lengthy piece today says the former LA Sparks coach has made a "seamless transition" to college coaching. His last two summers for the WNBA team, Cooper was criticized by fans for his stoicism on the sidelines, and for often sitting on the bench for long periods with his face in his hands. I guess that's not an issue at USC:

Cooper can indeed seem somewhat "mellow" when it comes to his bench demeanor. Not all the time, of course, but his general mode when coaching in the professional ranks was to do most of his talking in practices. He wanted his teams to be prepared enough that come game time, they were executing and not still trying to figure out what he wanted.

But with the move to college, he knew he'd need to make some sideline-demeanor adjustments.

"It's still pretty much the same, although here I'm a little more animated because I want to show them encouragement," Cooper said during the team's recent trip to Durham, N.C. "In the WNBA and other professional levels, I would sit back a little more because the players know the information. You don't want to muddy up the water by being up a lot yelling at them.

It'll still be a few more weeks before I can go see the Trojans, but I'm looking forward to it.

Basketball knows no holidays

Nike TOC starts today.

After the Christian holiday, there are two major tournaments for LA-area residents. There's the Larry Doyle Orange County Championships, at Edison and Marina High Schools in Huntington Beach.

There is the Harvard-Westlake/Beverly Hills Tournament, played at both high schools:

Harvard Westlake vs Oxnard at HW 7:30 pm
Monroe vs Crescenta Valley at HW 6 pm
Norco vs Notre Dame Academy at BH 4:30 pm
Oak Park vs SV Poly at HW 10:30 am
Chatsworth vs Saugus at HW 4:30 pm
Marymount vs Hawthorne at BH 9 am
Marlborough vs Valencia at HW 12 pm
Bellflower vs Inglewood at BH 3 pm


Beverly Hills vs Brentwood at BH 7:30 pm
Newbury Park vs West Ranch at HW 1:30 pm
St Paul vs Morningside at BH 12 pm
El Camino vs St Monica at BH 6 pm
Alemany vs Burroughs at HW 9 am
Culver City vs Sylmar at BH 10:30 am
LACES vs Channel Islands at BH 1:30 pm
Venice vs Vista Del Lago at HW 3 pm

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Brittney Griner pulls off triple double

34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 blocks.

Holy crap.

"More Than a Game"

I love this story about Samarie Walker.

This is the best part:

Before the start of the game, Walker looks up to the stands and raises an eyebrow. Her intended target, her father, returns the gesture. Just like that, it's on.

She's baaaaaack!

On Dec. 8, 2009, Long Beach's own Jasmine Dixon left the Rutgers basketball program. On Dec. 15, 2009, she put up 19 points and pulled down 10 boards for UCLA.

Not bad for a debut.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Question for lll the LA-area high school hoop heads

The LA Times brand new rankings: right on or way off?

1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA) 2A
2 Poly (Long Beach, CA) 1AA
3 Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, CA) 4AA
4 Santiago (Corona, CA) 1AA
5 Brea Olinda (Brea, CA) 2AA
6 Diamond Ranch (Pomona, CA) 2A
7 Troy (Fullerton, CA) 1AA
8 Santa Margarita (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA) 3A
9 Inglewood (CA) 3AA
10 Ventura (CA) 2AA
11 Etiwanda (CA) 1AA
12 Bishop Amat (La Puente, CA) 3AA
13 Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, CA) 4AA
14 Woodbridge (Irvine, CA) 2A
15 Villa Park (CA) 2AA
16 Summit (Fontana, CA) 1A
17 St. Joseph (Santa Maria, CA) 4A
18 Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, CA) 4A
19 Bellarmine-Jefferson (Burbank, CA) 4A
20 Laguna Hills (CA) 2A
21 Colony (Ontario, CA) 1AA
22 Edison (Huntington Beach, CA) 2AA
23 Santa Monica (CA) 1A
24 Great Oak (Temecula, CA) 1AA
25 Royal (Simi Valley, CA) 2AA
26 Lynwood (CA) 1AA
27 Agoura (CA) 3AA
28 Bonita (La Verne, CA) 3A
29 San Clemente (CA) 1AA
30 Jordan (Long Beach, CA) 1AA
31 Rosary (Fullerton, CA) 4AA
32 Centennial (Corona, CA) 1A
33 Crescenta Valley (La Crescenta, CA) 1A
34 Chaparral (Temecula, CA) 1A
35 Centennial (Compton, CA) 4AA
36 Palos Verdes (Palos Verdes Estates, CA) 3A
37 Rialto (CA) 1AA
38 Buena (Ventura, CA) 3AA
39 Mira Costa (Manhattan Beach, CA) 1A
40 Canyon (Anaheim, CA) 2A
41 Serra (Gardena, CA) 5AA
42 Cajon (San Bernardino, CA) 1AA
43 St. Anthony (Long Beach, CA) 5A
44 Ayala (Chino Hills, CA) 1A
45 Chino Hills (CA) 1A
46 Arlington (Riverside, CA) 3AA
47 Beverly Hills (CA) 2A
48 South (Torrance, CA) 2A
49 El Dorado (Placentia, CA) 2AA
50 Redlands East Valley (Redlands, CA) 1A

(There's not a day that goes by that I'm not grateful to live in an area so filthy rich with teams - and so many of them good ones)

WNBA dispersal draft results

The dispersal draft was today.

Why did the Liberty take Powell when they could have had Brunson?

Harper's happy.

I suppose the four teams who passed think they can get someone better. We shall see.

More on new Sparks Coach Jennifer Gillom.

Grandmama is the new Sparks coach

Fresh from the MVP hot wire:


LOS ANGELES – Hall of Famer Jennifer Gillom has been named head coach of the Los Angeles Sparks as announced today by Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

"Jennifer is a great person who I believe will be an exceptional coach in the WNBA," said Toler. "Her experience as a player and as a coach will prove to be beneficial in her future success here. I believe that she will be able to lead our team into the next era of championship Sparks basketball."

After serving as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx in 2008, Gillom took over as interim head coach of the Lynx in 2009. Earlier this year, she was elected into the illustrious Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and, in September, was named an assistant coach for the 2010 USA Basketball Women's World Championship Team.

"I am extremely excited to return to the city of Los Angeles and begin this new journey as head coach of the Sparks," said Gillom. "This is a storied franchise with a championship caliber team. I look forward to being part of the future success and am eager to continue building the Sparks legacy."

Gillom began her coaching career with the girls' basketball team at Xavier College Preparatory, a private school in Phoenix, Arizona where she has compiled a 130-25 record after five seasons.

One of the first players signed by the WNBA, she played seven seasons in the league, including six with the Phoenix Mercury, where she led them to three playoff berths (1997, 1998, 2000), which included a trip to the 1998 WNBA Finals. After playing her final season with the Sparks, Gillom retired from the WNBA with career averages of 13.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Her best season in the WNBA was 1998, when she closed out the season with career-high averages of 20.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Gillom received the WNBA's 2002 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, was selected to the 1999 All-Star team and was named to the 1997 All-WNBA first team and 1998 All-WNBA second team. In 1985 she was named USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. She also collected a total of six gold medals, including the gold at the 1988 Olympics and one silver medal as a member of USA Basketball.

The WNBA legend and Abbeville, Mississippi native becomes the eighth head coach in Los Angeles Sparks franchise history.

Tickets for the Sparks 2010 season are on sale now. For more information visit or call 1-877-44-SPARKS.

Not sure how I feel about this yet.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tennessee bests Rutgers in Classic game (and stuff)

Nice stories by both ESPN and on the Tennessee win.

Stanford remains undefeated.

Baylor beat Boston College, and ESPN is calling freshman Brittney Griner a "phenom." Wow.

And we might have to start thinking about Nebraska as a basketball school now.

Maggie Dixon classic today; beating up male cheerleaders

Pat Summitt and C. Vivian Stringer and their teams will match up today at the Maggie Dixon Classic. Summitt complimented Rutgers' offense, but Stringer wasn't buying it.

And in a bizzare incident Friday, two Missouri players have been suspended after allegedly assaulting a male cheerleader for the school. What?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today's tournament championship games

From IM in OC:

The South Coast Championship went to Santa Margarita, 51-44 over Woodbridge.

The game was close for nearly the first three quarters, and was tied at 35 with two minutes left to go in the third. Then SM went on a 7-0 run to end the period. Woodbridge then seemed to go ice cold, scoring only one basket and two free throws until 4:45 left in the fourth quarter. There was some trading of baskets after that, but the closest Woodbridge got was down 49-44 with less than a minute left.

Melissa Zorning finished with 16 points and was named Tournament MVP, which she deserved. Her games vs Edison and SC were the best two games I have seen her play over the past three-plus years.

In the third place game, Villa Park beat San Clemente 57-43. Nicole Ballestero and Brianna Salvatorre each had 15 points for the winners. Cassie Harberts had 27 points for SC.

Harberts was the high scorer for the tournament with 114 points, the second most points in the 16th year of the tournament.

The new face that impressed me was Woodbridges #3, Samantha Doucette. She played JV ball last year, and has looked great in all of the games I have seen her. She scored 22 points in the championship game.

Redondo Union Battle of the Beach final results:

Inglewood 46, Santa Monica 37

Third Place
Bishop Montgomery 64, St. Anthony 49

Silver Bracket

First Place
South Torrance 53, Redondo 50

Third Place
Serra 42, LB Millikan 33

Bronze Bracket

First Place
Palos Verdes 51, Peninsula 43

Third Place
Vista Del Lago 41, AB Miller 38

Tournament MVP was Inglewood's Hazel Ramirez, for her dominant offensive performance over the week. Rounding out the All-Tournament team was Janelle Ross and Deajanae Scurry of Inglewood, and Kristina Johnson and Sabrina Norton of Santa Monica.

Those in attendence were puzzling over Santa Monica Coach Marty Verdugo's decision to play star senior point guard Thea Lemberger for only about the first two minutes of the game. She didn't sustain any injuries or otherwise appear to have reason not to play. Very strange.

The two teams will match up again in regular league play on January 15.

In Hawaii, Long Beach Poly took the Iolani Classic Tournament in three easy steps, according to

First round: Mid Pacific (HI) vs Long Beach Poly 76-58 (W)

2nd round : # 25 Southridge (OR) vs Long Beach Poly 62-43 (W)

Championship : Long Beach Poly (Calif.) 69, #2 St. Michael Academy 47

Is junior college reffing always this bad?

So I went to Pasadena City College today to check out a junior college game between Santa Monica College and San Bernardino Valley College. The two refs for the game were some of the worst I've ever seen. They made WNBA refs look intelligent, if that gives you any idea.

They let one team pretty much beat up the other team all game long, and the calls they did make were outrageously bogus. You wondered what game they were watching. Then in the last two minutes of the second half, they called foul after foul after foul. It was literally about six minutes real per 20 seconds off the game clock.

All that tension boiled over, and there was almost an altercation on the court during the last game minute.

I talked to some of the parents of one team. They said that in a recent tournament in Ventura, they had two refs who called only traveling all game long.

Is junior college reffing always this bad? JC's deserve good officials too.

He was the worst. Just stinky booty bad.

She wasn't a helluva lot better.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Battle of the Beach finals set after tonight's semifinals

Semifinal results of the Redondo Union High School girls basketball tournament yesterday and today have resulted in tomorrow's schedule:

Bronze Bracket
12:00 Vista Del Lago vs. AB Miller (3rd place, Bronze)
01:30 Palos Verdes vs. Peninsula (1st place, Bronze)

Silver Bracket
3:00 LB Millikan vs Serra (3rd place, Silver)
4:30 South Torrance vs Redondo (1st place, Silver)

Gold Bracket
6:00 St. Anthony vs Bishop Montgomery (3rd place, Gold)
7:30 Inglewood vs Santa Monica (Championship)

Inglewood beat St. Anthony's in tonight's first semifinal game, 51-47. The Sentinels lead comfortably all game long when the Saints made a run with about three minutes to go, but Inglewood held them off. Senior point guard Hazel Ramirez had 19 points, and junior center Deajanae Scurry put up 12 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

Pictures from the second semi - Santa Monica (dark uniforms) vs. Bishop Montgomery, are below. It was a fast-paced and exciting game for the first two quarters, and I think SM lead by two at the half. I left at that point, and somehow the score ended up being 63-44, SM. Perhaps they benefited from a halftime butt-chewing.

Strength on tap

I saw this a few days ago but didn't have time to read it until today: Melissa Jones runs the show at Baylor. I've been saying that since the season started.

I like this part the best, because it shows that 1. you can't have everything and 2. you can make the most of what you do have - and succeed mightily, too:

"I think that's something that I kind of turn to with what my bothers have taught me," Jones said. "Just because of the fact that I'm not as quick as other players. I'm not going to be able to jump as high as everybody. So if I can just get in there and be physical and give myself a couple of those opportunities, that's what I'm going to go for."

North of Waco, Saint Louis University Coach Shimmy Gray has a new blog. Today, she discusses why she thinks hard-working athletes shouldn't be ashamed to shed tears over a loss. It's a point well-taken, and one I agree with. I'm not a yeller type of coach myself, but many of those who are disdain, and even ridicule tears. Whatever. If everyone would just tend to their own business, worry about their own tears and their own rebounds, the world would be a better place.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

For some, it's so far, so wow

I saw the latest issue of ESPN Rise Magazine at school today, as it always hits high schools several weeks before the issue is posted on the Internet. In the girl's basketball section they've named a first, second and third team for California, and a list of other players to watch. I thought it was time to check in on some of those players to see how they're doing two weeks into the season.

Stanford-bound Sara James of Oak Ridge is averaging 34 points per game.

San Clemente's Cassie Harberts is putting up an average 32 points in a game.

Washington Prep junior Reshanda Gray is averaging 22.6 points per game.

Holy crap!

I couldn't check on Mater Dei's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis because the school hasn't logged any stats into (Shame on coaches who don't do that).

If anyone has a player in any state who is throwing down ridiculous numbers, tell me about her. I really want to know.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Catching up again

Interesting Pac-10 scores this past Sunday. Oregon crushed Long Beach State (!). My, my, my.

The Sacramento Monarchs dispersal draft will be this Monday. New York could make out like bandits.

On a related note, WNBA President Donna Orrender is hinting that the Bay Area will get a team next year.

And they've got a women's basketball blog in Spokane, Washington, believe it or not. I don't know what stuns more more: that, or Washington State University Coach June Daugherty being quoted as saying, "dad gummed." C'mon now. Do they really talk like that in Pullman?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Minnesota Lynx name Cheryl Reeve as head coach

The former Shock assistant coach is employed again. And it makes you wonder: since Jennifer Gillom wasn't retained as head coach, where will she work now? Maybe for the Sparks?


More California tournaments in December

Nike has a Tournament of Champions, and now so does Santa Barbara. Gold bracket is here and green division is here.

After the christmas holiday, for those who celebrate it, there's the West Coast Jamboree in Northern California. Tasty.

South Coast tourney quarterfinals are set

Here's the low down from my man IM in OC:

Some good matches are in place for Tuesday and Wednesday in OC at the South Coast Holiday Classic.

San Clemente will play Foothill High School in a rematch of last years Championship game, which Foothill won 46-32. San Clemente won its first-round match Monday night over Elsinore High School, 77-36. SC was led by USC signee Cassie Harberts, with 25 points. Junior Lauren Pluimer(younger sister of former UCLA star Lindsay Pluimer) had 15 points, and freshman Brogan Griffin added 14 points in her first high school game.

In Monday's other match up, Foothill High School beat Aliso Niguel High School, 72-46. Foothill was led by the hot shooting of Paulina Solis, who scored 22 points. Sophomore Molly Gruebel added nine points for Foothill. Irvine High School beat Torrance High School, 50-44. Irvine was led by Kristen Liddle, who had 24 points.

The quarter finals will be played both Tuesday and Wednesday at University High School and Woodbridge High School
Besides the FH v SC game, on Tuesday, the other matchups are Villa Park High School vs Laguna Hills High School. Villa Park is led by Brianna Salvatorre, a UC Davis commit and Nicole Ballesteros, who will be playing for USD next year. Laguna Hills is led by Lauren Engeln - a UConn signee - and Celia Marfone, an improving sophomore. Irvine High School will face Woodbridge High School. Woodbridge won its first-round game on Saturday.

The final quarterfinal game will be on Wednesday night with Edison High School facing off against Santa Margarita High School. Edison is led by junior standout Bonnie Samuelson, who had 27 points in her first round game, and her younger sister Karlie Samuelson, who added 15 points in her debut. Santa Margarita is led by UC Santa Barbara commit Melissa Zornig, who scored 22 points in her first-round game.

The semifinals will be Friday night at University High School at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The final games will all be played at Concordia University, in Irvine. The championship game is set for a 7:30pm tipoff.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nike Tournament of Champions bracket is out


Like candy at christmas.

More on the prospective Sparks coach

So how does the Seattle Times seem to know more about the LA Sparks coach search than the LA Times? Because the LA Times sucks.

Marianne Stanley, Rick Mahorn, Jenny Boucek or Jennifer Gillom......who do you think would be the best fit for the Sparks? It's an interesting menu from which to choose.


The term "attitude" is thrown around a lot to characterize so-called problem kids. You know - the ones who react to correction and criticism with hostility, those who emit anger and frustration during games, those who yell at their teammates and/or talk back to coaches, and those who shut down, glower and quit during games, sometimes taking the rest of the team with them.

But what does "attitude" really mean? What's behind it? It seems that too many coaches and parents are much quicker to give up on a girl than figure out the answers to those questions and help her.

So-called attitude can result from several conditions. The girls who react defensively when given correction or criticism almost always have low self-esteem and/or low self-confidence. They don't want to hear what they're doing wrong, because they make the leap that any lack of skills they might have means something is wrong with them. (This shouldn't be held against them, as there are a hell of a lot of defensive adults walking around this world, and kids are young with less coping skills). These poor self-esteem girls cope the only way they know how: by rejecting the advice and heaping scorn upon whomever tried to give it.

Frustration comes as a girl gets upset when she messes up and/or the game isn't going her way. We've all been there - stymied at various points. Or maybe they were raised to always expect negative outcomes. Either way, they get easily frustrated. "Attitude" girls stay focused on what didn't go right instead of regrouping and figuring out another way to get what they want. They let frustration take them out of their game, and "messing up" becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Players who yell at their teammates (which is tied to frustration) not only have poor impulse control, but they're probably trying to externalize some of the blame they feel themselves if things aren't going well. This is also tied to "inability to take criticism because there might be something wrong with me."

Athletes who shut down and just stop playing are the hardest to deal with and understand, because it's literally like talking to a wall. They don't answer questions, they can't or won't explain themselves; they just stop. It's a defeatest state of mind that's rooted in the fear of failure and/or rejection. In other words, "If we're going to lose this game, I'm not even going to try. Then at least it's not my fault." In reality, it's often players like that who cause the entire team to sink because the other girls feed off the energy of the defeatist.

Essentially, what looks so scary and bad ass - attitude - is really weakness in disguise. Like in "The Wizard of Oz," if you pull back the curtain that hides the frightening monster, you see a person who's cowering and doesn't believe in herself.

Coaches and parents must have compassion with these young people and be the adult. While they shouldn't put up with crap, they should try to help an athlete overcome her faulty belief systems instead of giving up on her or thinking "that's just the way she is."

It should be explained to girls with low self-esteem that criticism isn't to be taken personally; that everyone needs to work on something; and that criticism isn't a reflection of their person. This will have to be explained more than once - sometimes much more. Self-esteem exercises for such athletes include: having the girl make a list of her strengths and weaknesses and going over it with her, giving praise for and possibly adding to her strengths list; regular positive reinforcement and praise, (only) when appropriate; telling her how she could be even better at some of the things she's good at.

Ask the easily-frustrated kids to write down their thought process as they become frustrated. Tell them to re-focus when something doesn't go their way from what just went wrong to what they can do now to get the outcome they want. Tell them to never, ever give up.

Those who yell at teammates on the court during games should be taken out immediately, in my opinion. Not necessarily for punishment, but because when team members criticize one another, that's the quickest way to lose team morale. The yellers should be asked to name what they're doing wrong on court, and if they can't, they should be told. It should be pointed out that everyone makes mistakes, and it isn't the job of the athlete to point that out - it's the coach's responsibility. The player should be given another chance, and if she yells again, she should be taken out of the game and the explanation cycle repeated until she gets it.

The maxim that one should never, ever, ever give up needs to be imparted to the players who shut down - especially when they do so at the first hint of trouble. Coaches will also have to cheerlead them on and boost them up in some cases; remind them of their skills - almost jump start them. If players continue to glower on court and/or at teammates and coaches, I support keeping them out of the game until they get it together, but only with an explanation that their attitude is detrimental to the team, and it's nothing personal. Consequences can and should be administered in a positive way.

Bottom line: Coaches and parents can't be fooled by any "attitude" a player shows, and they should never give up on a girl. Adults need to identify the true problem and show athletes how to cope with it. This will lead to a more productive basketball career and a happier life.

Saturday night LA-area tourney and game wrap-up

Long Beach Poly defeated Inglewood in the championship game of the Inglewood Holiday Tip-off Classic last night, 65-44. The LA Times high school reporter that I mentioned a few days ago didn't give the name of the tournament, and she misspelled the name of one of Inglewood's top players, Deajanae Scurry. Great job. (That was severe sarcasm, in case you missed it).

In the meantime, a few records were shattered at the Valencia High Five Classic Tournament.

Many of my favorite LA-area teams lost last night.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Baylor, Rutgers win

Baylor beat Louisiana Tech today, 77-67. No real surprise there, but I bet when 'Spoon has a few more years under her belt, that game will be an annual thing like Tennessee-UConn used to be. Oh, and Brittney Griner put in 22 points. Story here.

In the East, Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer called her team's win over Princeton "a joke." Except she doesn't plan to right her team's ship until after they play Tennessee Thursday. I would try to fix it before then, personally. Because the Vols are tearin' it up.

Brea Olinda falls short in Ladycat Classic semis; Redondo tourney

Brea Olinda lost a nail-biter game last night to Oak Ridge in their own tournament. A rally back from a 20-point deficit wasn't quite enough, as the team from El Dorado Hills defeated the state champs 66-64. The loss snapped a year-old, 31-game losing streak, according to

As tournaments throughout the area, state and country wrap up tonight, another fresh batch begins Monday, like the Redondo Union High School "Battle At the Beach" tournament. Here's the schedule:

Redondo Union High School
631 Vincent Park
Redondo Beach
(gym entrance and parking is off of Diamond)


Redondo Union
Vista Del Lago
Bishop Montgomery

A.B. Miller
South Torrance

Santa Monica
Palos Verdes

St. Anthony
Long Beach Millikan


3:30 St. Anthony vs. Peninsula
5:00 Santa Monica vs. Palos Verdes
6:30 Redondo vs. Vista Del Lago
8:00 Inglewood vs. A.B. Miller

3:30 Serra vs. Santa Monica
5:00 Millikan vs. St. Anthony
6:30 South Torrance vs. Inglewood
8:00 Bishop Montgomery vs. Vista Del Lago

3:30 Millikan vs. Peninsula
5:00 Palos Verdes vs. Serra
6:30 Redondo vs. Bishop Montgomery
8:00 A.B. Miller vs. South Torrance

1st place team from each pool advances to Gold Bracket
2nd place team from each pool advances to Silver Bracket
3rd place team from each pool advances to Bronze Bracket


Bronze Bracket
Game 1: 6:00 TBA vs. TBA
Game 2: 7:30 TBA vs. TBA


Silver Bracket
Game 1: 3:30 TBA vs. TBA
Game 2: 5:00 TBA vs. TBA

Gold Bracket
Game 3: 6:30 TBA vs. TBA
Game 4: 8:00 TBA vs. TBA


Bronze Bracket
12:00 3rd Place game
01:30 1st Place game

Silver Bracket
03:00 3rd Place game
04:30 1st Place game

Gold Bracket
6:00 3rd Place game
7:30 Championship Game

Friday, December 4, 2009

Baylor's Mulkey vs. Louisiana Tech

Gotta love the ending quote from this story:

Mulkey has a 243-67 record with the Lady Bears, her head coaching success coming in Waco instead of at Louisiana Tech.

"People continue to talk about it, but that's so old," Mulkey said. "I want to win, and I want to look good (Saturday). And that's the same approach I take to all the games."

It should be a great game.

Inglewood Holiday Tip-off Classic final set

Long Beach Poly and Inglewood will play for the championship of the Inglewood Holiday Tip-off Classic tomorrow night, after each team won their semifinal game this evening.

Defending state champions Poly pounded Beverly Hills, 72-38, in the first game. (Hills lost one of their top players this fall to an ACL tear.) The second game, between Inglewood and Bishop Montgomery, was a butt-clencher.

Inglewood dominated the first few minutes of the game, slashing to the basket at will, and they build a lead. But Bishop roared back and, with strong defense, caught up. They lead by three going into the half.

Bishop began the third quarter on a nine-point run, but Inglewood suddenly put the pedal to the medal on defense and went on an 11-0 run of their own. They never looked back. Bishop attempted two comebacks in the fourth quarter, but they never got closer than five points. "The 'Wood" hung on to win, 62-54. Story is here.

UCLA Center Moniquee Alexander was in the house, as was former LA Spark Lisa Leslie, her husband and daughter.

Today's tournament scores and tomorrow's schedule:


Crenshaw 61 St Marys 39
Peninsula 48 Westchester 40
St Bernards 36 King Drew 31
Morningside 73 Venice 57

Consolation Semi Finals:

Monroe 47 Southeast 38
Culver CIty 51 Marlborough 50

Winners Bracket:

South Torrance 47 Redondo 27
Long Beach Jordan 53 Sierra Canyon 43
Serra 75 Washington 60
Bell Jeff 63 Blair 51
Taft 66 Huntington Park 32
Mira Costa 48 Chatsworth 31

Semi Finals:

LB Poly 72 Beverly Hills 38
Inglewood 62 Bishop Montgomery 54

Saturdays Schedule:

At Inglewood HS

9am Redondo vs Sierra Canyon
1030 Marlborough vs Southeast
12pm South Torrance vs Long Beach Jordan
130pm Washington vs Blair
3pm Serra vs Bell-Jeff
430pm Culver City vs Monroe (Consolation Championship)
6pm Taft vs Bishop Montgomery
730pm Inglewood vs LB Poly

At Morningside

1030am SV Poly vs University
12pm St Marys vs Westchester
130pm King Drew vs Venice
3pm St Bernards vs Morningside
430pm Crenshaw vs Peninsula
6pm Beverly Hills vs Mira Costa
730pm Huntington Park vs Chatsworth

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Around the NCAA..............

UCLA almost got Kansas tonight, dammit. At least they out-rebounded them and out-assisted them.

The Rutgers' daily newspaper is being awfully harsh on freshman Monique Oliver. "Regresses"? It's been one game, for god sakes. Give the kid a chance.

In Vols news, Pat Summitt chilled with the Rockettes. Good thoughts go out to assistant coach Daedra Charles-Furlow, who is facing an unspecified medical problem.

The University of Washington daily has an interesting Pac-10 predictions list.

And this just in: USC beat Long Beach State a few moments ago.

Long Beach Poly-Gardena Serra game gets ugly

A game between Long Beach Poly and Gardena Serra last night resulted in severe injuries to two Serra players. Bria Richardson suffered a concussion, and Taylor Mack might have torn an ACL, according to this poorly-written piece by the LA Times. (The writer penned an ignorant column about the WNBA in September, 2008 that the LA Times caught a lot of flack for, so of course they would hire the young person as their high school reporter after laying off the long-time writer....probably to save money).

The game was at St. Mary's High School in Inglewood, as part of the Inglewood Classic Tournament. According to posters on a Southern California high school hoops message board, there was a "bench-clearing brawl" in the second half.

Whatever the case, all those coaches are right: girls play harder than boys. May young Richardson and Mack get well quickly.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Long Beach State player Whitney Fields dismissed

Coach Jody Wynn has released last year's leading scorer for a violation of team rules. Wow!

Extra: In the OC, Mater Dei won their season opener tonight, beating Chaparrel High School, 103-15. Ouch!

Spark-related items

There's a rumor that Fred Williams is the main candidate for the Los Angeles Sparks coaching job. That would be a good choice.

From the "awww!" files: Candace Parker takes Lailaa to her first Tennessee game. Pretty freakin cute.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The what? The good and the bad

From the "what the hell?" department: Marion Jones is attempting a comeback as a pro basketball player. The New York Times also had a story about it, but referred to the San Antonio Silver Stars as the Silver Streaks in an earlier online edition. Now it appears they've fixed that.

This guy kicks ass for girls basketball.

Oklahoma sophomore shooting guard Whitney Hand is out for the season after tearing her ACL in last Friday's game against San Diego State. It makes me so sad, as I love her game and her heart. Get well quick, Whitney.

Tennessee sophomore center Kelley Cain will sit out for a few with a concussion. That sucks.

And Lisa Leslie is going to have a second child. I wonder when.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Justine Hartman out for the year

Brea Olinda junior center Justine Hartman will sit out this basketball season after tearing her ACL earlier this month, Coach Jeff Sink said. The loss leaves the defending state champions, ranked sixth in the country by ESPN, with a hole in the middle of the floor.

"It's a huge loss for us, but we'll be allright," Sink said.

Hartman played on the USA Basketball U16 team this summer, which won a gold medal. She is ranked seventh on ESPN's Super 60 list for the class of 2011.

Baylor 87, Lamar 65

I hate to sound like a broken record, but this piece includes some very interesting quotes:

“You just don’t have an answer for Griner,” Lamar coach Larry Tidwell said of Baylor’s post. “And if you do, you don’t have an answer for Melissa Jones. And I think Melissa Jones is one of the very best basketball players in the whole country.”

Lamar had no answer for Griner on either end. She repeatedly reached over smaller opponents to grab offensive rebounds and anchored Baylor’s defense by tying her career high for blocked shots.

“That kid is phenomenal,” Tidwell said. “We took it in there and she would send it right back. It’s sort of like Lew Alcindor before he became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar....”

I agree about Melissa Jones.

Meanwhile, the ESPN/USA Today top five remains the same:

1. Connecticut
2. Stanford
3. Ohio State
4. North Carolina
5. Tennessee

It's already a very interesting season.

Orange County (and beyond) tournament brackets

Brea Olinda 30th Annual Ladycat Classic 2009

Monday, Nov. 30, 2009:

2:45 p.m. - Canyon Springs vs. Keppel
4:30 p.m. - Narbonne vs. Bishop Alemany
6:15 p.m. - Brea Olinda vs. JSerra Catholic
8 p.m. - Santa Monica vs. Riverside Poly

Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009:

2:45 p.m. - Riverside Poly vs. Summit
4:30 p.m. - Brea Olinda vs. Fairfax
6:15 p.m. - Hanford vs. Canyon Springs
8 p.m. - Oak Ridge vs. Bishop Alemany

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009:

2:45 p.m. - Santa Monica vs. Summit
4:30 p.m. - Oak Ridge vs. Narbonne
6:15 p.m. - Hanford vs. Keppel
8 p.m. - JSerra Catholic vs. Fairfax

Bracket play begins Thursday, Dec. 3, with the championship Saturday, Dec. 5.

Here are some other tourney brackets:

The La Jolla Country Day Sweet 16 Tournament starts Wednesday in La Jolla, CA.

The South Coast Holiday Classic in Irvine, CA begins Saturday.

The Troy Varsity Girls Hoops Showcase starts Monday, Dec. 7 in Fullerton, CA.

The 2009 Girls Varsity Christmas Classic at Magnolia High School begins Dec. 14, in Anaheim, CA.

The Garden Grove Varsity Tournament starts Dec. 26 in Garden Grove, CA.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It's time for high school tournaments

Next week is the week of tournaments in the Los Angeles area. Here's the first-day schedule for the Inglewood Classic, which begins Monday:

Monday Nov 30, at St. Marys Academy HS

3:00pm Redondo vs King Drew
4:30pm Serra vs St.Mary
6:00pm Taft vs Marlborough

Monday Nov 30, at St. Bernard HS

3:00pm Beverly Hills vs Sun Valley Poly
4:30pm South Torrance vs St. Bernard
6:00pm Huntington Park vs Culver City
7:30pm Crenshaw vs Wasington Prep

Monday Nov 30, at Morningside HS

3:00pm Mira Costa vs Morningside
4:30pm Bishop Montgomery vs SouthEast
6:00pm LB Jordan vs Peninsula
7:30pm BellJeff vs University

Monday Nov 30, at Inglewood HS

3:00pm Westchester vs Blair
4:30pm Venice vs Sierra Canyon
6:00pm Chatsworth vs Monroe

Inglewood and Long Beach Poly 1st round bye.

Second and third rounds are played Tuesday and Wednesday, and the tournament takes a break Thursday. Games resume Friday, with the championship Saturday.

Brea Olinda's Ladycat Classic is next week, also. As soon as Brea Coach Jeff Sink posts or sends me a schedule, I'll run it.

Coaches: feel free to send me your holiday tournament schedule, no matter where you are in the U.S., and I'll post it.

Freshmen taking over?

Everybody's talking about the class of 2011, but there are three in the class of 2009 who are looking pretty scary right now.

Baylor freshman Brittney Griner continued her rampage of consistency today against Louisiana-Lafayette, putting up 14 points and pulling down 14 boards in a mere 19 minutes in the Bears win, 89-42. It was a career best in rebounds for Griner as she lead her team.

In the Tennessee-UCLA matchup, it was Vol frosh Taber Spani who heated up to give her team the juice to close out the win. She lead the Vols in scoring with 16points.

On the other side of the court it was Bruin frosh Markel Walker who lead her team - something she's been doing a lot lately - with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

Griner's performances have been somewhat surprising, because freshmen almost always experience the "small fish in a big pond" syndrome when they first get to college - even when they can dunk the ball. Spani has risen from the middle to top of the pack in the 2009 class that I saw play at the Women's College Basketball Association high school all-star game in St. Louis last April. Tennessee fans say her maturity is unusual for her age, and that she seems to have been bred for college hoops.

Walker is perhaps the biggest surprise of the bunch. She was on the white team in the WBCA game, was ranked fourth by ESPN, but still flew under the radar. She wasn't as well-known as, say, Skylar Diggins or Kelsey Bone. But she not only made the starting line-up of a D I team, she's one of its leading scorers.

Big ups to these three. I can't wait to see what each of them do next.

In Pac-10 news, USC beat another ranked opponent today, besting #22 Mississippi State 64-60. Wisconsin squeaks one out over Oregon, 58-57. And Oregon State tonight won the Northern Arizona University Classic.

Hoopgurlz' Glenn Nelson doesn't like to be called thin-skinned

Glenn Nelson began a thread a few days ago asking readers whether or not to continue the Hoopgurlz forums.

On the second page, one poster, "mygirlcanflatoutball," dares to speak up and say that she/he feels like Nelson's management of the board has "limited posting to a certain extent." In case Nelson deletes the thread entirely, I'll go ahead and post the discussion:

Originally Posted by glenn
I think I've made a bigger push than others to keep the hate off the boards. Do you think people have confused that effort and now are afraid to post? Even if we assume that we have a registration issue, we do have more than 8,000 registered users, which would make us one of the largest sports communities, especially on female sports, on the Web.

mygirlcanflatoutball: I do think it is possible that your management of the forums has limited posting to an extent. You have made it clear it's your world; one can assimilate to your processes and mindset or choose to not participate. If not they will be banned for lack of compliance.

The forums make good reading even if many of us choose not to post on a regular basis. I come here as much for the forum as for the national correspondent based coverage. I think they are a vital part of your offering. It’d be a shame to see them go away.


glenn: Well, yes, mygirlcanflatoutball is correct in the sense that if you disagree with my policy of not slamming teenaged girls, I have no tolerance. I make no apologies for that. That has nothing to do with people choosing not to post information or having constructive discussion.


Originally Posted by glenn
Well, yes, mygirlcanflatoutball is correct in the sense that if you disagree with my policy of not slamming teenaged girls, I have no tolerance. I make no apologies for that. That has nothing to do with people choosing not to post information or having constructive discussion.

mygirlcanflatoutball: Your response to my post serves as an excellent example of what I was talking about as politely as possible in my previous post. Glenn I do not know you personally, but you sure give the appearance of having fairly thin skin and being a bit prickly to boot. I have always found that a little unsettling

You jump in aggressively if there is even a whiff of something you do not like. That trait gives me pause when I consider posting, in fact I was torn as to post or not post my opinion on this issue, not wanting to be attacked or dismissed by you. I’ll go back to reading the posts and staying silent for the most part. I really do like my local area forum and enjoy skimming the national one as well. I think they represent the great tradition of Hoopgurlz before it got bigger and perhaps even better.


Originally Posted by mygirlcanflatoutball
Your response to my post serves as an excellent example of what I was talking about as politely as possible in my previous post. Glenn I do not know you personally, but you sure give the appearance of having fairly thin skin and being a bit prickly to boot. I have always found that a little unsettling

You jump in aggressively if there is even a whiff of something you do not like. That trait gives me pause when I consider posting, in fact I was torn as to post or not post my opinion on this issue, not wanting to be attacked or dismissed by you. I’ll go back to reading the posts and staying silent for the most part. I really do like my local area forum and enjoy skimming the national one as well. I think they represent the great tradition of Hoopgurlz before it got bigger and perhaps even better.

scribe: You've stated that so very eloquently, mygirlcanflatoutball. Thank you very much.

The reasons you've stated are the reasons why I don't post here - I just lurk. You feel that if you don't conform to the "accepted" viewpoints here, whatever that is, that you'll be banned.


glenn: mygirlcanflatoutball, scribe: I don't get it. I didn't slam anyone. I'm a writer, so I'm pretty clear in my posts. Do I get penalized for that trait? Meanwhile, you guys use pretty charged words to aim at me, and you address me by name while you remain anonymous. I guess I'm at a loss as to how you would feel the equation is tilted against you.

Most people have -- and probably will -- say the forums should be continued, but there are many people who seem overly sensitive and then project that sensitivity onto me. And that, quite frankly, ruins the forum experience for me.

The only "accepted" viewpoint here is that you do not slam teenaged girls who either read or used to read these forums. They are in a critical stage of developing identity and ego and it's just not right. If you don't agree, then, yes, do not post.


scribe went on to post something to this effect Friday morning:

mygirlcanflatoutball said it about as politely as possible. If you feel like she used "charged words," then you do seem like you're thin-skinned.

That post is now gone, and scribe has now been banned, as you can see from the fact that her/his name is no longer bolded and the number of posts she/he had is no longer listed.

Does anyone else see the irony in someone being called over-sensitive banning someone from a message board for saying he appears to be over-sensitive?

Nelson wouldn't last long on the rebkell board.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Brittany Spears and Whitney Houston play basketball

The New York Times calls attention to the fact that two of the University of Colorado starters have celebrity names in a story that ran yesterday. It's a story worth noting, as I can attest to the oddity of hearing a basketball emcee call out a singer's name. I watched Brittany Spears play all summer long.

The junior forward was home in Pasadena and played for the Fastbreak team in the Say No Classic League - the same team, coincidentally, that included my favorite point guard, that was coached by a friend of mine, and that won the league championship title.

Spears has a silky shot, and was one of the top scorers for Fastbreak. I thoroughlly enjoyed watching her play. But I remember the first time the announcer said her name after she made a dazzling bucket. I questioned my coach friend later, in disbelief.

"Is her name really Brittany Spears?" I asked.

One morning he had to give her a ride.

"I had to pick up Brittany Spears in Pasadena," he told me.

But I didn't realize she had a teammate named Whitney Houston. You gotta love it.

In other news......

Thin-bench USC got its first win over a ranked opponent today, beating #14 Texas 61-54 at the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

After Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw notched 500 wins last night, UConn Coach Geno Auriemma got his 700th tonight.

UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell is banning her family from wearing orange for tomorrow's game against Tennessee.

And Oregon is unbeaten, and last night almost broke the school record for scoring. Should I scream yet?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nikki Caldwell goes back to Knox Vegas, and Pat Summitt

I so wish I could be there Saturday for the UCLA @ Tennessee game - the first time Bruin Coach Nikki Caldwell plays her former boss' team. But plane tickets, even back in September, were $500 freakin dollars.

This story sums things up well:

She has brought her Tennessee ties with her to L.A. Her assistants, Tasha Butts and Tony Perotti are both Tennessee natives and worked in the Tennessee program. And she has brought more than a little of Summitt, too. Caldwell is cool and controlled, confident and persuasive. She has more than a few of the legendary coach's personality traits.

Caldwell said Summitt taught her to be on top of her game, as a coach, in every setting.

"Whether it's a fundraiser or speaking to donors, speaking to fans or getting the team prepared to play," Caldwell said. "She always talked a lot about not taking possessions off. You can't take them off as a coach either. You are always, always on."


Summitt knew Caldwell would be a good fit for UCLA. She pushed her for the job – an endorsement that's hard to beat.

"I've felt all along that she was head coach material," Summitt said. "Watching her work in our practices and just seeing her toughness; a lot of people think she is the next Pat Summitt as far as what she demands. She demands a lot. I always say 'you don't get what you expect, you get what you demand,' and I think Nikki Caldwell understands that."

I hope my UCLA season ticket holder friends keep their promise and take pictures and bring me stuff.

Edit Friday morning to add:

Tennessee Assistant Coach Holly Warlick and Caldwell are trash talking this A.M. on twitter. Warlick wrote to Caldwell, "I hope you are ready for tomorrow!" To which Caldwell responded: "I am always ready for you, Warlick. Are you?"


Maybe I'm glad I'm not there after all. I would be torn in my allegiances.

Things I'm grateful for in basketball

1. High school coaches who (must) ride the bus with the team, take kids home, buy them food, handle jersey and shoe sizes for ordering, organize fundraisers, yell and scream, give love, provide band-aids and pre-wrap, and a bunch of other things.

2. Junior college coaches who have to drive the van to tournaments. And a bunch of other things.

3. D I coaches who twitter. It shows they love their team.

4. WNBA owners who throw MVP parties for season ticket holders, who don't let their general managers make idiot moves, and who don't close up shop out of the blue.

5. D II and D III coaches. They are underappreciated.

6. The sound of squeaking shoes and referee whistles when you walk into a tournament. Best sound in the world.

7. The fact that female basketball players, for the most part, get along just fine - if they don't outright love each other - regardless of sexual orientation. You can't say the same for male basketball players.

8. Title IX.

9. Seeing more women's college games on TV.

10. The increasing respect for the women's game. We've come a long way since Kim Mulkey, with the braid, was playing with Louisiana Tech in the first NCAA championship game in 1982 (I remember that well).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New York Liberty players update

While fans continue to bemoan Liberty Vice President and General Manager Carol Blazejowski's horrendous trade decisions (why is she still allowed to work there, anyway?), the players themselves are doing what they're supposed to do. It's been Liberty vs. Liberty in overseas play, of late.

I would think that should make for some intense games.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What a newsy kinda day

Brittney Griner finally got that first dunk off her back in tonight's defeat of Jacksonville State. The video shows it to be a nice solid slam, complete with the "clunk" of the rim. Love it.

Tennessee's active roster drops to 11 players with today's announcement that freshman Faith Dupree will sit out the season with a back problem.

The Minnesota Lynx' Seimone Augustus, who tore her ACL last June, is roaring back.

And what a fascinating piece by ESPN, interviewing a number of NCAA coaches about the 2010 recruits they just signed. ESPN pointedly leaves out Tennessee and Connecticut, interestingly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Fourth USC player out with an ACL tear

It's true: Michelle Jenkins tore her ACL last week during the USC-Gonzaga game. Check it out at the bottom left of this page.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Another ACL tear at USC?

First there was USC recruit Thaddesia Southall's injury.

Then sophomore Michelle Jenkins sustained a knee injury in last week's game. Rumor has it that it's another ACL tear.

I'm speechless.

Griner is the truth

Over the summer there was discussion about whether or not incoming Baylor freshman and dunking sensation Brittney Griner would be overwhelmed in college, and relegated to the "small fish in a big pond" level once she got there.

Guess not.

She just finished the win over Cal with 15 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, two assists and one steal. Not bad for a freshman. She's come out stronger than a lot of people expected; well, people who didn't know her.

I'm sure she will have not-so-hot games - who doesn't. But I have a good feeling about this kid. I think she's going to be very consistent. The way she's started is a very good sign.

A big thumbs down to Cal fans today, though. In the play-by-play announcer's words, they were excited when it looked like she would dunk, but then booed her after she missed it. What kind of attitude is that?

Keep throwing it down, Griner.

A lil Pac-10, a lil Big 12, a big lil dunker

UCLA kicked the butts of Utah last night, 69-33. It looks like the Bruins continue their balanced scoring attack, but the low number of rebounds concerns me.

Big game coming up in a few hours in Cal, as the Bears take on the Bears of Baylor. Raaahh! Very cute pic of Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey with freshman Brittney Griner here.

Yes, Arizona State is overrated.

And all those people who freak out and trip when women dunk are out of luck. Here's a (grainy) video of an eighth-grader who can stuff it. You can't stop it, so just enjoy it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The importance of team meetings

In 2003 I completed a Master's Thesis based on a survey of the Women's National Basketball League of Australia. I found that women are significantly more effected by the moods and feelings of their teammates than their male counterparts. They were also more effected by the moods and feelings of their coaches than males. My findings corroborated those of earlier studies.

Women's coaches don't need to be told about my second finding. They already know they can't yell at girls or women the way coaches of boys and men do at them, or they wouldn't have a team left.

Yet, often players and coaches don't realize the importance of female team members - at the very least - coming to an agreement and at best, having love for each other. They don't understand that good communication, getting along and being on the same page can literally make the difference between a winning and a losing season for a female team.

Bottom line: Girls and women need to talk it out. Build relationships.

No joke.

In the midst of completing my Thesis, I was working with a high school girl's basketball team that was going through a tumultuous season. There was tension, frustration, misconceptions between players - you name it. I sent them to dinner at this spaghetti place - by themselves - for a team meeting. Several hours, one good discussion and a few tears later, things were worked out and they were back to getting along well. They went on to place third in state.

I've seen and worked with teams that really needed a team meeting but wouldn't have one. When you see players yelling at each other on the court, that's not a good sign, and a coach that lets it happen should be reprimanded.

But I know of a team who had a meeting today, and it went well. Their issues weren't gigantic, but they were stress fractures that, if not rectified, would eventually turn into a full break.

Two team members said, in the midst of it all, that they were "having for real communication." But the good signs were afterwards when all emerged from the restaurant and stood in a circle for several minutes in the parking lot, laughing together. Successssss.

Venerated Los Angeles point guard Mykiea Russell, currently a sophomore at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, knows a little something about team meetings. She has called two this fall since players and several team newcomers arrived at school. She explains the reasons team meetings are important, and what such meetings do for players individually and as a whole, better than I could:

Mykiea: Team meetings are extremely important for good team chemistry. Good team chemistry leads to a successful team. Meetings can be confrontational, and they allow the team to communicate and express their emotions.

Females tend to take a situation and perceive it a certain way, make assumptions, and then are effected personally. Basically, things begin as misunderstandings and can turn into conflicts. Teams can become out of sync because individual perception varies with experience and goal orientation. Team meetings help people express their feelings and actual intentions and clarify what someone "thought" happened or "thought" she meant this or said that.

I insisted on having our first team meeting to basically inform the newcomers (everyone!) on what to expect at practices. I even put extras on it just so there were no dreadful surprises. It went well because it was informative. and I did all the talking and answering questions.

The second meeting was not so nice. We'd been beating up on each other for two weeks and there was a ton of tension and issues on and off the court. Sooo it was time for another team meeting.

A team is like a family, and I don't know a family that doesn't have issues at times. The meeting was pretty bad, but it did the job. Everyone let out how they felt, good or bad, nice or mean. When there were no more secrets, and by evaluating how people felt straight up, we had to re-evaluate our goals and figure out what we needed to fix for us to be a championship team.

A month later, a week before our first tournament, we were all friends and loved each other to death. We still have our moments where we argue and can't stand each other (just like sisters), but without a doubt, we have each other's backs and are willing to sacrifice our bodies on the court for one another.

Good teams play with each other, while great teams play "for" each other! Team meetings facilitate good chemistry, and in this case, a great team in the making.


Mykiea Russell playing in the Nike Say No League this past summer, in Los Angeles. How did this kid get to be so smart?


If you're a high school coach, you may need to call the team meeting. If you're a college player, the task might be yours. But if it needs to happen, the sooner the better.

Does your team need to have a team meeting and work things out?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Two interesting but unrelated tidbits

Are the Louisville Cardinals rebuilding or reloading?

"Jeff Walz is one of the best coaches in the country," Hartford coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. "I think that their team is going to be a lot harder to beat at the end of the year than they are now. And I think that Louisville is going to be a team that's in the top echelon of women's basketball for a long time if he's there."

I agree.

And it looks like the Eastern conferences got the best of the class of 2010, according to ESPN.

UCLA 98, Hawaii 52

Coach Nikki Caldell said it herself: it was a balanced scoring attack with five players in double figures. And an interesting five players they were.

Erica Tukiainen began the first six minutes of the game with four silky three-pointers. She ended 6-8 for those shots.

Starters Doreena Campbell and Nina Earl were having off-nights, so Christina Nzekwe and Rebekah Gardner put in 11 and 15 points, respectively.

Freshman Markel Walker played more minutes than anyone, and had a double-double to show for it with 12 points and 12 boards. This kid is going to be big! Our section is really impressed.

I would get excited with 52.5 percent shooting if Hawaii weren't so bad. They really didn't have any defense to speak of. Hopefully the Bruins will find more of a challenge tomorrow night, when they play Utah at San Diego State.

Hawaii on offense in the first half.

The Bruins coaching staff sometimes takes so long deciding what to say at a timeout that they pretty much run out of timeout. But they still kick booty.

Freshman point guard Mariah Williams sets up the play.

Coach Nikki Caldwell at a timeout when she gets to say stuff for a while.

The injured Antonye Nyngifa would get up after a big bucket and walk down the line of her sitting teammates and high-five them. This is right at the end of one of those.