Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tennessee-related news

Pat Summitt can add "Girl Scout" to her long resume:

Candace Parker is having a great pregnancy:

Follow Nikki Caldwell and Holly Warlick's motorcycle ride for breast cancer awareness on Twitter:

Girl Scouts honor Warlick as a "woman of achievement":

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Lauren Jackson: you're a jerk

Probable one-hit wonders the New Boyz are likely to see that song be their current hit "You're a Jerk." Though it's thin on lyrics it's large on beat and hook, and I like the tune.

But this past week, when I hear it I think of Australian Lauren Jackson at some point during the chorus. That's because the 6-foot-5 center continues to string fans along, even 19 days before WNBA camp begins, as to what team she'll sign with.

Back in January Jackson, who has played all eight of her WNBA seasons with the Seattle Storm, announced that she was unsure whether or not she'd play for the league this summer. With the big money she's been getting in Russia this winter, and the fact that her home country WNBL will move to a summer schedule in a few years, Jackson didn't know if she was interested in American pro ball anymore.

In March, Jackson told an Australian radio station that she would indeed play in the WNBA this summer, and was looking at both the Storm and the Phoenix Mercury. There were people like myself, who are big on loyalty, who didn't understand how she would even consider another team. There were others who said Jackson is entitled to make the right business decisions for herself (which is correct) and screw loyalty.

Regardless of how one feels about that old-fashioned sentiment loyalty, Jackson needs to get off her butt right now and pick a team. It's not fair to fans of either the Storm or the Mercury to keep them wondering this close to the beginning of the season - especially Storm fans. She owes the big-hearted fans of that team some closure and a "thank you" if she leaves, at the very very least.

Yes, players are agents and yes, they shuffle from team to team. But that doesn't stop fans from getting incredibly attached to their favorites. And Jackson has been the cornerstone of the Storm franchise for almost a decade.

She came to the team in 2001, barely 20, skinny and still slightly awkward. She hadn't turned into Lauren Jackson yet. But Storm fans stuck with her, cheered her, lavished praise and adoration on her, and watched her grow up before their eyes. Time and time again after a game, Jackson would take the mic and thank "the best fans in the WNBA" for their screaming, which makes Key Arena in Seattle a dreaded place to play for any opponent. Point guard Sue Bird and Jackson are the faces of the Storm.

If this is no longer to be the case, Storm fans deserve more time to start taking it in and figuring out what their team's identity will be now, after all this time. And Jackson owes them that instead of causing them anxiety because she's choosing to play the star.

Lauren Jackson, you're a big-time international player, but that doesn't give you license to treat your fans like crap. Be a woman, step up and choose a team. Now.

Don't be a jerk.

Anne Donovan joins the Liberty

NEW YORK -- Anne Donovan is back in the WNBA.

After leading the U.S. women to a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, Donovan has been hired as an assistant coach with the New York Liberty.

Donovan was 112-100 as a WNBA head coach with Charlotte and Seattle. She stepped down as the Storm's coach and director of player personnel after the 2007 season. Donovan was 93-77 in five seasons with the Storm, leading them to the league championship in 2004.

"I am thrilled to have somebody of Anne's caliber join our staff. She has shown success over the years as a player, as a coach," Liberty president and general manager Carol Blazejowski said in a conference call Tuesday. "She is someone who can teach, someone who knows how to win, can motivate folks to play at their optimal level."



Is head Coach Patty Coyle headed out the door after this season? It happened with Lin Dunn at Indiana, and she sucks. Donovan isn't that bad.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

LA City Section almost "in the 21st Century" with Saturday practices

City Section on verge of approving Saturday practices

The City Section is considering a proposal to allow Saturday practices, something long overdue. The Southern Section has allowed Saturday practices for years.

A vote could come in June at the City Interscholastic Athletic Committee if several concerns are addressed. Some coaches have complained that teams would be put at a disadvantage because of transportation issues. But allowing practices on Saturday would let the City Section enter the 21st Century.

Football teams show up on Saturdays to go over video. Cross-country and track athletes are always running on Saturdays.

-- Eric Sondheimer


Collison all-star game

Still waiting on the lame rags around Los Angeles to provide a game report and a box score from yesterday's girl's all-star game at El Camino Community College. Of course the LA Times has only the boy's game, and the LA Sentinel is a weekly, so they don't have anything yet. But I heard city got routed by 50 (!!)

Given the Southern Section roster, I suppose that wouldn't be out of the question:

Cooper confirms he's talking to USC

No surprises:,0,7806800.story?track=rss

You gotta love co-owner Carla Christofferson's bluntness....she's a lawyer, ya know:

Upon Cooper's hiring in 2007, Sparks' co-owner Carla Christofferson told The Times he had a one-year contract that included an option for two more seasons. Cooper has said the contract includes an opt-out clause. Cooper walked away from an interview before being asked those details. But Christofferson told The Times earlier this month, "There's not anything that will allow him out during the season."

So everyone on the Trojan team is happy except, allegedly, the recruits? Interesting.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sparks: bumped and screwed

Sparks fans got an email yesterday notifying us of dates changes for two games: the July 17 home game was rescheduled to Aug. 19, and the Aug. 9 game was moved to Aug. 10. Apparently the first date was changed because promoters are anticipating Beyonce will sell out her July 13 concert and need a second date. The second game was bumped for the boy group the Jonas Brothers.

The change means that the Sparks will only have ONE home game the month of July, and that fans won't get to see the team for an entire month. The team will have four home games for June and July, and 10 in August:

Though the schedule hasn't been this imbalanced ever, in my memory, the rescheduling has happened before. In 2006 the Sparks' PLAYOFF game was moved to Anaheim so they could have some circus at Staples Center. The rationale is that the concert/other events make more money, so they have to reschedule the event (Sparks game) that makes less. People jump on that one because money always wins, but I question the scheduling.

If you look at the Staples Center schedule, it's pretty wide open:

Why don't they hold their ground, and if an act wants to schedule on a date that the WNBA already has, make the act move? It would only be a day off from what they wanted.

Of course, I already know the answer: people don't want to stand up for women's basketball. In some circles it's still cool to trash female ballers, and especially the WNBA.

I'm trying to look on the bright side: I can go on trips in July, and Candace Parker will be even stronger on the court in August than she would be earlier.

But it's still wrong to bump a team like that.

Chamique Holdsclaw speaks

Amazing piece by writer Maria M. Cornelius on former Lady Vol and new Atlanta Dream centerpiece player Chamique Holdsclaw, whose return to the game is highly anticipated:

Critical part:

Holdsclaw took a leave of absence from the Mystics in July of 2004 and was immediately the target of rumors as to why she had left the team. She made few public remarks, tried to slip away from the public’s scrutiny and sunk into a deep depression that had been building over time.

“At first I was embarrassed,” Holdsclaw said. “When I left the team, now that I look back, I wish I had been upfront about what happened, just came out and said it, but I was embarrassed and I kind of just retreated. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t OK because us athletes we’re so strong and we can handle anything, you know? It’s something people can’t see.

“The criticism and the things that you hear that was probably the hardest part for me. I’m from New York so I’ve heard a lot of trash talking and people criticizing folks – that’s just the way I grew up – but when you’re going through something so sensitive and so personal it really hit me to hear people say, ‘Oh my God, she’s bipolar, she’s this and she’s that.’ In some instances these were people who had never met me. People were just judging and being judgmental. That was really tough for me.”

Holdsclaw later openly talked about her clinical depression in media interviews. She spoke about it as a public service and made a video with medical writer Jeanne Blake for Words Can Work, an online resource guide for adults and children dealing with depression and other medical issues. An excerpt of Holdsclaw’s video can be viewed at: Words Can Work. Summitt also made an appearance on Holdsclaw’s behalf.

I remember that time, and subsequent times after that, where those on rebkell and other message boards publicly speculated - and ridiculed - Holdsclaw for her depression. I don't know why clinical depression was so misunderstood in the first place, and I'm glad it's become so much less stigmatized than it was 20 years ago when anti-depressants became widely available. But people still make light of the condition and make fun of it. More education clearly needs to take place, and stories like Cornelius' can help.

Other great things about this piece: the anecdotes about Pat Summitt and Niya Butts. I love to hear what's on players' minds.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Warlick, Caldwell hitting the road again to fight breast cancer

Infamous D1 coaches Holly Warlick (Tennessee) and Nikki Caldwell (UCLA) again join forces next weekend on a 1500-mile ride to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer and research:


What a great way to take some time off after the season.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Great news from HD Woodson High School in DC

Jeniece Johnson and Bernisha Pinkett found a new home after decommitting to North Carolina State University - they are Kentucky Wildcats:

"I am so proud of the girls! Hard work pays off and anything is possible through faith!!!" Coach Frank Oliver told me.

Oliver is also proud of his point guard, Ronika Ransford, who is mentioned in this story from the ESPNhoopgurlz site:

Last fall I interviewed Oliver and some of his players via telephone. Oliver had enough enthusiasm in his voice to go all the way across the country to me in Los Angeles, and back again. I could see why his players love him.

Though the team was dealt a setback when Johnson was ruled ineligible to play a fifth year, and didn't finish as many thought they would, the team continues to produce solid players. Since Oliver works at the middle school that feeds into Woodson, I'm confident this tradition will continue.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Bout time: Holdsclaw signs with the Atlanta Dream

She's baaaaaack:

So the torture for one WNBA team's fans is over. Now if Lauren Jackson would just stop letting the Seattle Storm fans twist in the wind.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Confirmed: Monique Oliver decommits from USC

Texas or Maryland, huh? With schools like that courting, why would she "stay local" ?

Happy birthday, Candace Parker

CP is 23 today, April 19. I happen to remember the night of the day she was born, as I ran my lifetime PR in the 10k. Her mother said CP was born with her eyes open, looking around. Interesting.

A few weeks ago, CP took a moment to do something she didn't need to do at all: she found my kid in the crowd and waved goodbye to her. (We had seen CP before the game we were all at). I've always been one to watch what people do rather than necessarily listening to what they say, and CP's actions spoke volumes that night. Candace Parker is a caring person, and she's pretty damned nice, too.

Happy birthday, Candace. I will see you on the court in June.



Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jody Wynn wastes no time getting to work

Long Beach State's new head coach at the HAX today for a basketball tournament, along with a bunch of other NCAA coaches. It's lookin season, baby.

Some great women's basketball links on this page

Pat Summitt, Brittney Griner, Mariah Chandler, ACC's finest, St. Michael's Academy - OOO! But one of the coolest things when clicking on each story page is the page-turning sound effect when hitting the "next" arrow. Dig:

Parade names 2009 All-America High School Girls Basketball team

First Team (Name, School, City, Height)

Brittney Griner Nimitz Houston, Tex. 6'8"

Skylar Diggins Washington South Bend, Ind. 5'10"

Kelsey Bone Dulles Sugar Land, Tex. 6'5"

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Mater Dei Santa Ana, Calif. 6'0"

Tayler Hill South Minneapolis, Minn. 5'11"

Markel Walker Schenley Pittsburgh, Pa. 6'1"

Cokie Reed Midway Waco, Tex. 6'4"

Joslyn Tinkle Big Sky Missoula, Mont. 6'3"

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt Williams Alexandria, Va. 5'11"

Kelly Faris Heritage Christian Indianapolis, Ind. 5'11"

Second Team

Jasmine Hassell Wilson Central Lebanon, Tenn. 6'3"

Destiny Williams Benton Harbor Benton Harbor, Mich. 6'2"

Chiney Ogwumike Cy-Fair Cypress, Tex. 6'3"

Monique Oliver Poly Long Beach, Calif. 6'3"

Taber Spani Metro Academy Olathe, Kan. 6'1"

China Crosby Manhattan Center New York, N.Y. 5'7"

Tierra Rogers Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep San Francisco, Calif. 5'11"

Waltia Rolle Westbury Christian Houston, Tex. 6'6"

Bria Hartley North Babylon North Babylon, N.Y. 5'10"

Stephanie Holzer Cardinal O'Hara Springfield, Pa. 6'4"

Third Team

Samarie Walker Chaminade Julienne Dayton, Ohio 6'1"

Sam Ostarello Stanley County Fort Pierre, S.D. 6'2"

Morgan Stroman Lower Richland Hopkins, S.C. 6'2"

Morgan Tuck Bolingbrook Bolingbrook, Ill. 6'2"

Mikaela Ruef Beavercreek Beavercreek, Ohio 6'2"

Chelsea Gray St. Mary's Stockton, Calif. 5'10"

Lindsey Moore Kentwood Covington, Wash. 5'10"

Ieasia Walker O'Connell Copiague Copiague, N.Y. 5'7"

Shanay Washington Del Valle Del Valle, Tex. 6'0"

Alexandria Bentley Ben Davis Indianapolis, Ind. 5'7"

Fourth Team

Anne Marie Armstrong Wesleyan Norcross, Ga. 6'3"

Mariah Chandler Southwest Atlanta Christian Atlanta, Ga. 6'1"

Lauren Avant Lausanne Collegiate Memphis, Tenn. 5'9"

Laurin Mincy University Newark, N.J. 6'0"

DeNesha Stallworth Pinole Valley Pinole, Calif. 6'3"

Sugar Rodgers King's Fork Suffolk, Va. 5'10"

Bianca Lutley American Heritage Plantation, Fla. 5'11"

Layshia Clarendon Cajon San Bernardino, Calif. 5'9"

Jennifer O'Neill St. Michael Academy New York, N.Y. 5'6"

Amber Henson Sickles Tampa, Fla. 6'4"

The only minor surprise was that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei in Santa Ana, CA was named first team. Not surprising because of her skill, but that it was recognized. This young sophomore has an extremely bright future in the game.

Link, which includes a video of Brittney Griner:

USC recruit Monique Oliver granted a release?

I first heard about this Thursday, but now there's a short story in the Long Beach Post about the All-American from Long Beach Poly:

Then there are these posts from the USChoops message board, making allegations about former Coach Mark Trakh's supposed disappointment in Oliver's performance at the McDonald's All-American game April 1:

(I doubt that even if Trakh hadn't liked her play during the game that he would have said anything to a stranger about it, much less wanted to rescind her scholarship because of it).

Of course speculation is that there will be an "exodus" of commits now that Trakh is gone and with the rumored possibility of Michael Cooper taking the job. But a source within the Long Beach Poly community, where Oliver hails from, told me yesterday that the 6-foot-3 center didn't have the grades to be accepted into USC.

For now, I'm waiting for an announcement as to whether Oliver is gone or not.

More transfers: Oklahoma

Will the hemmorhaging of players from colleges never cease? Now it's two Sooner bench players:

Like the Maryland transfers, I don't get it. These young women had to know what they were coming in behind with Marissa Coleman/Kristi Tolliver and Courtney/Ashley Paris. And now that all of the above are gone, they still want to leave?

I'd love to ask one of these players some questions, but the website of the schools won't even put up the info yet.

I don't know what the huge increase in transfers, especially this year, means. Is it because kids realize they don't have to be "stuck" at a school they don't like? Are they not giving it enough of a chance/are weak-minded? Or are they just not choosing carefully in the first place?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Confirmed: Jollie Harper at NC State

As expected, Kellie Jollie Harper was introduced as the new head coach of the "Wolfpack" today at a news conference. Here's a video of the whole event:

In going out of their way to seek who they see as a high-quality replacement, it seems that NC State officials really want to see this program succeed.

Arizona starting over

The Wildcats have added a few new players, via Jucos:

But the bad news is that there are only five other players on the roster, as a fourth freshman left the basketball team this week:

Kinda takes "rebuilding" to a whole other level.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

USC and NC State: about-to-be's (!!)

My reliable source within USC tells me that former Laker and current Sparks Coach Michael Cooper will indeed be named the head women's basketball coach at the University sometime within the next few days. And within the week after that announcement, he will supposedly have his staff in place. Cooper will reportedly continue to coach the Sparks this summer while his staff takes care of recruiting and other duties for the Trojans.

To say this has come out of left field would be an understatment. Crazy is a better word. I'd love to know how Cooper went from wanting to coach in the NBA to the Sparks to women's college hoops. And in taking this position, will Cooper give up his job coaching the Sparks? We will see.

In the meantime, North Carolina State fans will find out who their new head coach is tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. PDT:

Rumor has it that it's former Lady Vol (1995-1999) Kellie Jolly Harper, who has coached at Western Carolina University since 2004.

Some fans have worried that NC State officials' decision not to promote longtime assistant Stephanie Glance to the position will alienate the core fan base. Others maintain that not automatically hiring Glance, which would have been the "easy way out," shows that the athletic department is finally serious about the women's game.

Either way, the Wolfpack has already lost two recruits - Jeniece Johnson and Bernisha Pinckett, who rescinded their verbal committment to NC State and instead have opted to go to Kentucky. Both players, from Woodson High School in Washington DC, cited the decision not to hire Glance as their impetus for reopening their recruiting search:


This should be an interesting week in college hoops, to say the least.

It's official: Brooklyn Pope transfers to Baylor

The second freshman from Rutgers transfers to Baylor - a team that gets more and more talent-loaded by the day:

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Betty Lennox to the Sparks!!

Fresh from Sparks HQ, via email:


LOS ANGELES – All-Star guard and 2000 WNBA Rookie of the Year Betty Lennox has signed with the Los Angeles Sparks it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lennox was selected in the first round, (sixth overall), by the Minnesota Lynx in the 2000 WNBA draft. Her nine-year WNBA career includes stints with the Lynx, Miami Sol, Cleveland Rockers, Seattle Storm and Atlanta Dream. In 2004, after being selected by Seattle in the dispersal draft, she led the Storm to the WNBA Championship and was named the WNBA Finals MVP.

"Betty is a dynamic guard, both offensively and defensively, who brings instant toughness to our backcourt" said Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. "Her championship experience will definitely help us in our quest to win the title in 2009."

After being selected in the expansion draft by the Atlanta Dream in February 2008, Lennox started 33 of 34 games and averaged 17.5 ppg for the season before being waived. For her career, she is averaging 12.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 2.1 apg in 202 career starts.

"I have to first thank God for this opportunity. This is a dream come true for me," said Lennox. "I'm happy and more than excited to be part of the Sparks organization."

In two years at Louisiana Tech, Lennox played in 67 games and averaged 13.7 ppg and 5.0 rpg. In her senior campaign, she was selected the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year, named to the Associated Press All-America Third Team, the USA Basketball Writers Association All-America First Team and the Women's Basketball News Service All-America First Team. Lennox played at Trinity Valley Community College (Athens, Texas) in 1996-97 and led the team to the Junior College National Championship as Trinity Valley posted a 34-2 record.

The Los Angeles Sparks tip-off the WNBA season on June 6th at the STAPLES Center against the Defending Champion Detroit Shock at 11:30 am. For more information on season or group tickets logon to or call 877-44-SPARKS.

I didn't think I could get anymore excited about the LA Sparks this year. All my favorite players are now on the same team! Unbelievable.

And unsurprisingly, the Sparks just waived Murriel Page.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The cost of the card and postage? $3.50. The value of the return card? Priceless.

Back in February I sent a card to Coach Pat Summitt congratulating her on her 1000th win. Tonight I got home from work and found a card from The University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Office in my mailbox. On the back flap it reads, "National Champions * 87 * 89 * 91 * 96 * 97 * 98 * 07 * 08. It was addressed to me personally, and the note to me inside was in the same writing - Coach Summitt's.

Among other things, she said she appreciated me acknowledging "our" 1000th win, referring to her coaching staff. Very gracious of her, but there's only one person behind every one of those many, many wins, and that's her.

I'd heard Coach Summitt writes thank you notes, but I'd never been the recipient of one before. My being floored that she'd take the time to write back to a fan is eclipsed only by the card itself, which is now one of my favorite possessions.

My spring season is made.

So Cooper might go to USC after all?

The USC saga, part 56, continues:

Sparks Coach Michael Cooper is having discussions with USC about becoming the Trojans' women's basketball coach, Sparks co-owner Carla Christofferson confirmed today.


Christofferson wouldn't discuss details of Cooper's contract, saying only, "There's not anything that will allow him out during the season."

And the lines are pretty wide for reading here:

"Kathy and I are into honesty and dealing with things up front," she said, referring to co-owner Kathy Goodman. "We like to know things before finding out things from all of you guys, no offense."


In the meantime, a reliable source reports that Mark Trakh is interviewing with the University of Hawaii.

I couldn't make stuff up that is this good.

Hawaii coach files lawsuit

Jim Bolla, fired last week as head coach of the University of Hawai'i-Manoa women's basketball team, today filed a wrongful-termination lawsuit against the school......

The lawsuit claims Bolla was fired in retaliation for complaining about discrimination against female athletes by the school.

Story link:

This guy's got a helluva lotta nerve.

Now two Iowa State players are leaving

Ames, Ia. – Iowa State freshmen Ashley Arlen and Alexis Yackley have decided to transfer, women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly announced today.

“Ashley and Alexis have decided to leave Iowa State,” Fennelly said in a news release. “They want to find another level of program where they can possibly obtain more playing time. I thank them for their contributions to our Elite Eight team and wish them the best in the future.”

Story link:

I can't remember a time when more players have transferred than this season.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Player(s) leaving Maryland

University of Maryland sophomore forward Drey Mingo left the school Friday:

Now message board rumors are that sophomore guard Marah Strickland is about to do the same thing:

There are sure a lot of shakeups going on since the national championship game last week.

Cassie Harberts rescinds verbal committment to USC

Four days after USC Coach Mark Trakh was ousted, the fallout has begun: junior standout Cassie Harberts of San Clemente, CA has rescinded the verbal committment she made to the university just a few weeks ago. She said she will begin her college search anew:

"We hoped he was going to stay," Dorothy Harberts said, "and when we found out it was very upsetting."

A reliable source told me that Tuesday's meeting between the five-year coach and at least two Trojan athletic directors turned into a shouting match. The ADs reportedly told Trakh they wanted nothing less than a national championship from him, and they were willing to give him a one-year contract in which to accomplish that. Trakh turned it down.

Regardless of varying opinions on whether or not Trakh is an effective coach, who could reasonably expect anyone to deliver a national championship in just one year? Who do the USC athletic directors have in mind for a replacement? And how does Christina Marinacci and other recruits feel who have already signed on the dotted line?

What a mess.

Sparks tales, Sun tales

Three days after the draft, the stories are beginning to pour out about the college players selected by various teams. I think of it as an encore - a chance to finish coloring in the picture that is these young women's lives.

Being a big sap at heart, I love this story about Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton:,6_1_NA12_HYLTON_S1.article


At that time, Tony outweighed Lindsay by 50 to 75 pounds. He would use that to his advantage. Lindsay would get frustrated and want to quit, complaining that it wasn't fair.

"I would always tell her, 'Well, you've got to understand that when you get to college you're going to have people who are bigger than me, and they're not going to back off of you just because it seems unfair,'" Tony said.

Frankly, I didn't know much about W-H during college, but this gives me a good idea of what's coming the Sparks' way this summer:

Throughout her entire career, Lindsay has been known for her strong, quiet demeanor. She would often refer to herself as the "Silent Killer" for the many little things she does throughout a game.

Her impact is evident in Purdue's record book. She ended her career as the school's all-time leader in blocked shots and rebounding. She finished third in steals, eighth in scoring and 17th in assists.

Still, she drew some criticism from analysts who thought she should play more selfishly, to take control of games when they thought the Boilermakers needed her the most.

"She stayed true to her own character," Tony said. "She's truly an unselfish player. For her to break records at Purdue is just proof that she has the confidence to be herself in all circumstances."

Love it.

On the other side of the country, there's this about Sun acquisitions Chante Black and Lyndra Littles:

“You dream of this as a child, so to come out and be known to be one of the top (picks) in this group, it is a great recognition,” Black said. “I was 10 or 11 when the WNBA came out, and I always wanted to be like Lisa Leslie. When I arrived at college, you figure out you can hang in there with some of the best players who can go on and play in the WNBA. They are telling me, ‘You should aim for that.’ I said, ‘I am going to go for that.’”

Black overcame a 2006 knee injury to emerge into one of the ACC’s best post players in her final two seasons. Working through adversity is nothing new. She attended three high schools as a freshman because of transportation issues and went through her entire senior season at Duke without seeing her mother, Mazie, who is an English teacher in Saudi Arabia. Mazie was by her daughter’s side when her name was called Thursday.

“Nothing has come easy for me. I just love working hard and become better in different areas,” Black said. “It has not always been easy, just being a single parent’s child, being put on certain teams, you don’t have all those luxuries of playing on every team and developing. I had to learn how to do the little things.”


Saturday, April 11, 2009

South Carolina recruit in trouble

Savannah-Chatham police say the 5-foot-8 guard and McDonald’s All-America Game nominee was shopping in Macy’s young men’s department Friday when a loss prevention officer spotted her switching price tags with a pair of shorts she already purchased.

Willis walked into another department of the store with the goods and allegedly told a cashier another employee forgot to remove a security tag, a police report stated.

Willis left the store and officers gave chase. She ran into two security guards and smashed through a glass door before being nabbed by a metro police officer, according to the police report.

Story link:

Pop quiz

1. The Atlanta Dream's chemistry will be …
A) Fine, because No. 1 pick Angel McCoughtry of Louisville will blend in well in a second-year franchise that has a lot of new faces.
B) Dependent on the mood everyone's in from day to day.
C) No more combustible than, say, a tank of gasoline next to a fire.

2. The Chicago Sky wanted a point guard, and …
A) Made the right choice with Maryland's Kristi Toliver over UConn's Renee Montgomery.
B) Could have gone either way and it would have worked.
C) Asked, "What's the opposite of what the Mystics would do?" … but then did the opposite of that.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Catching up with Coach Summitt and the Lady Vols

Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt won two awards this week: the WNBA's Inspiring Coach Award and the Russell Athletic/Women's Basketball Coaches Association Victory Club Award. Congrats, Coach Summitt.


While in St. Louis, I'd heard what a tough time former Lady Vol Kara Lawson, and former Vol assistant Carolyn Peck, had broadcasting after Tennessee's first-round loss March 22. Here's a piece that elaborates on that:

To wit:

Former guard and assistant coach Nikki Caldwell, now the coach at UCLA, spoke of the loss as if it were a transgression.

"It's like an unspoken rule, you don't lose like that,'' she said. "You don't lose that early."

After the stunning finish, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said that she heard from several former players. She characterized their mood as "angry."

Former guard Alexis Hornbuckle described her reaction to Tennessee's NCAA tournament loss as ranging from initial disbelief to wanting to throw her computer across the room after verifying the result via the Internet in Turkey, where she had been playing.

Wanting to huck the computer gets the point across well. No wonder Lex came to visit a couple weeks ago.

Three freshmen leave the University of Arizona


The Arizona Wildcats women's basketball team announced that freshmen Amani Butler, Jhakia McDonald and Malia Nahinu have left the program. Coach Niya Butts said it was a mutual decision.
"Any time you spend a year with someone, it's going to be tough," she said. "We got to know the players. They got to know Tucson and the university. It's always difficult in that respect, but it's in the best interest of both parties."


USA Today final "super 25" high school basketball rankings

1. Ben Davis, Indianapolis, IN (30-0)
2. Kentwood, Covington, WA (28-1)
3. Brea Olinda, Brea, CA (33-2)
4. Washington, South Bend, IN (26-1)
5. Bolingbrook, IL (25-4)
6. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA (32-1)
7. St. Michael Academy, New York, NY (25-3)
8. Fayetteville, AK (32-0)
9. Westbury Christian, Houston, TX (42-1)
10. Whitney Young, Chicago, IL (33-2)
11. Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, MD (26-3)
12. Heritage Christian, Indianapolis, IN (26-1)
13. St. Mary's, Stockton, CA (31-3)
14. Murry Bergtraum, New York, NY (24-2)
15. Summit, Arlington, TX (34-4)
16. Cardinal O'Hara, Springfield, PA (27-3)
17. Nimitz, Houston, TX (37-2)
18. Archbishop Carroll, Radnor, PA (30-1)
19. Dulles, Sugar Land, TX (36-3)
20. Mount Notre Dame, Cincinati, OH (27-1)
21. St. John Vianney, Holmdel, NJ (31-2)
22. Redan, Stone Mountain, GA (27-0)
23. Long Beach Poly, Long Beach, CA (32-3)
24. Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco, CA (28-2)
25. Shabazz, Newark, NJ (29-2)

This was published Wednesday morning, in time for me to contemplate it while waiting for my plane back to LA. Overall, a solid list:

More on the draft


Cooper admitted that GM Toler might only be getting warmed up in terms of personnel moves--that’s what she does--and Toler herself went out of her way in making it clear that the WNBA season was a long way off and that the Sparks lineup could change dramatically by the time the team takes the floor in June.

Toler revealed at length a player acquisition philosophy that went beyond just this year’s draft. If you can’t get what you want in terms of filling a particular need, she in essence said, you pick for talent: what other teams are likely to need. Then you prepare to make deals.

The big deal that Toler is looking to make this time is for 2004 WNBA Finals MVP Betty Lennox and she’s confident in the Sparks chances of bringing Betty-Ball to the Staples Center. “We’re in the Betty Lennox sweepstakes and she’s said we’re at the top of her list. I think you’re going to see something happen there in the next few days.”

Story link:

And here's a perspective check - and a great one, too:

Maybe the best moment of the draft on Thursday came when Rebecca Lobo, a league pioneer, interviewed Marissa Coleman, who was the second pick overall. Coleman said she grew up “idolizing Diana Taurasi.”

Taurasi, 26, really isn't that old. But she's been around long enough for today's rookies to “idolize.” That would never have happened had the WNBA folded. Or had never been born.

Maybe to some people, that's insignificant. But if you're a young female athlete with some hopes and dreams, it only means everything.

Story link:

Finally, here's a great Q and A with Courtney Paris:

What is your message to Monarchs fans?

"I'm so excited to be back in California. I'm so excited to play for Monarchs fans. You should know I'm 100 percent committed to getting my body ready, getting my mind ready and I'm excited to help the Monarchs win! Hopefully, I can make an impact on the team."

You'll be fine, sweetie.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

From NC State and Oklahoma

North Carolina State isn't offering Stephanie Glance the head coaching job:

During a phone call with WRAL Thursday night, Kay Yow's brother, Ronnie Yow, called the decision not to hire Glance "disturbing."

"They've pulled the rug out from under that program... it's an insane thing to do," he said.

The brother of N.C. State's legendary coach stressed that it was always Kay Yow's intention to turn her program over to Glance. "I feel like I need to defend my sister," he said providing WRAL with a copy of a letter written by Kay Yow two years ago.

Story link:

I'm not into game playing or politics, so I don't know if they're just going through the proper channels before hiring Glance, or if they really don't want to respect Yow's wishes. But it seems like Glance is the logical fit for the job.

In the meantime, Courtney Paris may not be able to give money back to Oklahoma, but she's going to start a community fund. Stubborn young woman:

WNBA draft day


1 Atlanta Dream | Angel McCoughtry | Louisville 4-30
2 Washington Mystics | Marissa Coleman | Maryland 10-24
3 Chicago Sky | Kristi Toliver | Maryland 12-22
4 Minnesota Lynx | Renee Montgomery | Connecticut 16-18
5 Phoenix Mercury | DeWanna Bonner | Auburn 16-18
6 Indiana Fever | Briann January | Arizona State 17-7
7 Sacramento Monarchs | Courtney Paris | Oklahoma 18-16
8 New York Liberty | Kia Vaughn | Rutgers 19-15
9 Minnesota Lynx | Quanitra Hollingsworth | VCU 16-18
10 Connecticut Sun | Chante Black | Duke 21-13
11 Detroit Shock | Shavonte Zellous | Pittsburgh 22-12
12 Seattle Storm | Ashley Walker | California 22-12
13 Los Angeles Sparks | Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton | Purdue 20-14


14 San Antonio Silver Stars | Megan Frazee | Liberty 24-10
15 Minnesota Lynx | Rashanda McCants | North Carolina 16-18
16 Chicago Sky | Danielle Gant | Texas A&M 12-22
17 Connecticut Sun | Lyndra Littles | Virginia 21-13
18 Detroit | Britany Miller | Florida State 22-12
19 Indiana Fever | Christina Wirth | Vanderbilt 17-7
20 Sacramento Monarchs | Whitney Boddie | Auburn 18-16
21 New York Liberty | Abby Waner | Duke 19-15
22 Los Angeles Sparks | Ashley Paris | Oklahoma 20-14
23 Washington Mystics | Camille LeNoir | USC 10-24
24 Washington Mystics | Jelena Milovanovic | MKB Euroleasing 10-24
25 Atlanta Dream | Shalee Lehning | Kansas State 4-30
26 San Antonio Silver Stars | Sonja Petrovic | Belgrade, Serbia 24-10


27 Atlanta Dream | Jessica Morrow | Baylor 4-30
28 Washington Mystics | Josephine Owino | Union (Tenn.) 10-24
29 Chicago Sky | Jennifer Risper | Baylor 12-22
30 Minnesota Lynx | Emily Fox | Minnesota 16-18
31 Phoenix Mercury | Sha Brooks | Florida 16-18
32 Indiana Fever | Danielle Campbell | Purdue 17-7
33 Sacramento Monarchs | Morgan Warburton | Utah 18-16
34 Phoenix Mercury | Jessica Adair | George Washington 16-18
35 Los Angeles Sparks | Britney Jordan | Texas A&M-Commerce 20-14
36 Connecticut Sun | Alba Torrens | Real Club Celta Indepo 21-13
37 Detroit Shock | Tanae Davis-Cain | Florida State 22-12
38 Seattle Storm | Mara Freshour | Florida State 22-12
39 San Antonio Silver Stars | Candyce Bingham | Lousville 24-10

I'm always surprised at the order, but there's no accounting for the needs of particular teams. We fans can say what we want, praise and grumble, but in the end it's the decisions of respective teams. Courtney Paris at seven was the biggest surprise for me, and I am not alone.

Not selected:

Takia Starks, Texas A&M (what?)
Devanei Hampton, Cal
Jillian Harmon, Stanford

I'm really surprised at Takia Starks not being chosen.

I'm thrilled for Camille LeNoir and Candyse Bingham - very hard-working players with skills. I also can't completely dislike the Storm now, since they selected Ashley Walker. I wished Ashley luck Saturday, and I will continue to do so for her up there. The Storm sure didn't work out for her assistant coach at Cal. And I'm happy for Coach Greg McCall, because his daughter DeWanna isn't that far away in Phoenix.

I was at the Sparks draft party today, and everyone was very pleased with the selections of the powers that be. True that Wisdom-Hylton and Walker are forwards and we need guards, but I guess they're counting on that with Marta Fernandez. My guess is they're going to keep Shannon Bobbitt as the PG, and use Fernandez as the two. Or if rumors on rebkell are correct, they'll sign Betty Lennox within the next week, and there will be our 2. If that's the case, the Lindsay and Ashley picks are brilliant, because we need forwards.

Personally, I was very happy for one, because Wisdom-Hylton and Candace Parker already know each other well from their high school days in Illinois. And Ashley Paris is a good player and an even better person. I was one of those that yelled "woo!" when we got her at 22. As for Britney Jordan, I admit I don't know much about her. But I'm willing to learn.

I predict Murriel Page, Raffaela Masciadri, Kiesha Brown and Jessica Moore have seen their last days in purple and gold uniforms.

Bottom line: we appear to be loaded! I like that.

Candace did her appearance at the party and made the rounds. It was very personable.


Coach Michael Cooper told the crowd that staff had done their homework on prospective picks extensively this year, including obtaining their medical histories. I guess it paid off.

The finals, or finally

I was at the games on a credential that precludes me from posting some of my photos here. So imagine the Louisville Cardinals all holding hands during the anthem Tuesday. That's a good picture. Imagine Angel McCoughtry pointing to the right at a spot on the floor, for a teammate, during playing action. Imagine all the confetti falling from the ceiling at the end of the game.

Here are some things that I can post:

Candyse Bingham's shoes are so fly they're sick.

The Louisville fans had enough spirit for the entire arena. They stood for much of both games.

Championship game night: somebody got their hair did.

Louisville is hyped in the huddle. And to their credit, they did a good job against a powerful team like Connecticut.

The arch is pretty. The view from the top is great. And the people of St. Louis are some of the nicest and friendliest I've met in a while. Thanks, everyone.

Celebrities everywhere

Terps Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman were on hand at the WBCA game to accept an award.

Lengendary point guard and South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley sat front row to watch recruit Kelsey Bone.

If you look carefully, you can see Pat Summitt in this crowd.

Prolific writer Maria M. Cornelius interviews the messiah of basketball at halftime.

Coach Summitt went to talk to recruit Taber Spani's family after Maria's interview.

Sunday evening's semifinals: Carolyn Peck, Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Pat Summitt watch the action during the Louisville-Oklahoma game. (Coach Summitt was interviewed at halftime....wish I knew what she'd said).

Monday: legendary point guard and newly-named Louisiana Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon is hobnobbin and networkin at the Hyatt.

Spoon said she was looking for some players. Good for her.

WBCA high school game

The game was Saturday at Washington University in St. Louis. Many people, including myself, went to the Scottrade Center to see the college team open practices, then quickly hopped a shuttle to go see the high school game.

It was a star-studded event, both on the court and in the audience (I'll get to the audience part in a separate post in a little bit). And it was a good game. Here's a nice summary of what happened:

Story link:

Unfortunately, Brittney Griner didn't dunk in the game. But she brought the crowd of almost 3000 to silence during pre-game warmups. Each team lined up at their respective baskets - the blue team to do layup drills. But Griner used her turn to dunk the ball, five or six times in a row.

She doesn't seem to exert much effort in the dunk, and why should she? Griner is 6-foot-8 with an 86-inch wingspan. She doesn't have to get far off the ground to do the damn thing.

Her first dunk went "CLUNK!" with the unmistakable sound of a rim being contacted. The crowd, which had been chatting, fell quiet.


The cameras were out and people were staring and whispering.


It was really something. And I tried to take photos of the spectacle, but they turned out blurry.

One thing that was interesting was that Griner wasn't nearly as aggressive as I'd imagined her to be. Maybe she wasn't used to playing against that caliber of player before, but for the first part of the game, she seemed out of sorts. And at the rim, Griner has a soft touch. Not exactly what I was expecting. But she'll do just fine in college playing with Mariah Chandler, who was also her teammate on the blue squad.

Both teams warm up at their baskets. Brittney Griner (middle) walks up the court.

During play.

Griner comes forward to accept an award....

....and standing next to an average-height person, her height makes a statement.

Skylar Diggins, Layshia Clarendon, Griner, Kelsey Bone and Joslyn Tinkle all wait for the ref to get his ish together so Griner can shoot a free throw.

Yolanda Griffith (in white) was the honorary co-captain for the blue team.

Tina Thompson (far right in white) was the honorary co-captain for the white team.

St. Louis weather

Monday morning, 9 a.m., downtown St. Louis: snow! It was pretty durn cold that day and Tuesday, wind chill and everything. The locals had warned us Saturday that it can go from 65 to 30 in a day, and that's exactly what it did from Sunday to Monday. Brrrr! It's nice to be home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Pictures: the venue

Sunday, from below: the rafters are adorned with banners representing every championship team since the tournament began.

Sunday, from above: Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck get ready to hit the airwaves.

Hawaii coach fired

To no one's surprise, Hawaii Coach Jim Bolla's status moved from suspended to fired today. He had been suspended since February for allegedly kicking a player.

Story link:

Good riddance. I can't believe he's appealing.

Oklahoma doesn't plan on making Courtney Paris pay up

Thank god for the voice of reason:

"It's even more meaningful when someone who committed herself for four years to help her teammates become better, making that kind of symbolic gesture," Castiglione said. "But having said that, I don't know of anyone who has had any expectation whatsoever that we would accept the monetary aspect of that gesture."

Story link:

There is actually a debate on the rebkell board about whether or not fans should make donations toward this end. To say they miss the point would be a grave understatement. Fortunately, the folks at Oklahoma know what's up.

This is a good place to add my National Championship Paris sighting news:

Last night as halftime wound to a close, there were suddenly two tall figures making their way past the press tables and into the tunnel to leave: the Paris twins. The Oklahoma fans, looking sad, had been sitting next to the tunnel as they were on Sunday, and suddenly they started shrieking. Little ones and big ones crowded down towards the bottom to get autographs, and the Paris' kindly obliged. Ashely seemed particularly happy to be surrounded by fans.

I'm going to miss seeing them as Sooners. Hopefully they'll both be in the WNBA after tomorrow, though.

Jody Wynn in at Long Beach State, Mark Trakh out at USC

Not 15 minutes after I posted yesterday (which was also the last time I was online), I got word that USC assistant coach Jody Wynn was named the new head coach at Long Beach State University. Great news for her, and congrats.

At last night's National Championship game, I learned that USC really doesn't know what it wants to do with the women's basketball program right now. That disturbed me.

Tonight I learned that Coach Mark Trakh resigned today after a meeting with Trojan Athletic Director Mike Garrett:

"I came to the decision that it was the right time and the best thing for both me and USC to step away," said Trakh. "I loved my time at USC and I'll always be a fan and supporter of the program. I am forever indebted to Mike Garrett for giving me the opportunity to coach at USC. I wish our players the best of luck in the future. The team will be loaded next year and I won't be surprised to see them in the Final Four."

Said USC athletic director Mike Garrett: "We sincerely appreciate the contributions Mark made to the USC women's basketball program. He gave everything he had to our program. He had some memorable moments and big victories, he recruited well and produced some talented players. He goes out a winner in our eyes. I know he'll continue to be successful at his next stop."

Story link:

"Forever indebted" and "goes out a winner in our eyes" isn't the usual language you hear in situations like this. What the hell happened? And what's going to happen to the USC women's program now?????

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday practice notes

On Saturday, they had team open practices for the public. I missed the Oklahoma practice, which was first. But Louisville had the second practice, and it was spirited, to say the least. There was lots of yelling at each other to hype one another up. I remember at one point Angel McCoughtry pausing at the back of a layup line screaming, "LET'S GO!"

At the end of their practice, Coach Jeff Walz and a ball boy stood on either side of the basket while players took turns dribbling to the rim....and when they got there, Walz and the boy lifted them up so they could dunk the ball. Most went in, and the crowd was loving it.

The Connecticut practice was all business. In fact, Geno Auriemma didn't pay much attention to it at all. He stood at the press table almost the entire time talking to Rebecca Lobo, Doris Burke and Beth Mowins. The Stanford practice was equally business-like, but I didn't stay for the entire time because I had to get on the bus to get to the WBCA high school All-American game. I will post a full game report on that later.

Sunday game notes: Louisville stood for the anthem and held hands. After the singing, both teams jogged to meet each other, in two long lines, and shake hands at mid-court. I don't know if that's a Final Four tradition, but I thought it was really cool.

There's talk around town of a Cardinals ass whuppin tonight. It might happen, but I hope the young upstarts find one more burst of energy against seemingly unbeatable UConn. If Louisville has to lose, make it a good game.

Gotta go get ready........

Monday, April 6, 2009

More celebrity sightings

It's colder than hell here, but I did meet Teresa Weatherspoon today. She's really nice, and is (not surprisingly) on the recruiting trail.

I also just saw Lin Dunn kicking it in the lounge area of this same hotel. At one point she put her feet up on the table and was texting someone.

There are so many tall people walking around this fine city right now that it makes me laugh. For a basketball fan, this is Hollywood.

Brooklyn Pope rumored to be transfering to Baylor

The news is a few days old, and I haven't had online access. But it's unbelievable that a second freshman is leaving the Rutgers program. What's up in Jersey?


Dateline St. Louis

OK, here are some extras so far.............

- Every living structure seems to be made of brick here. Tornado protection, no doubt, but very different than what I'm used to. Also, I haven't seen any Hispanic or Asian people since I've been here, which is strange for me.

- On the shuttle to the open practices Saturday, I met DeWanna Bonner's dad, aka one of assistants at Cal State Bakersfield. Coach Greg McCall is not only extremely tall, but amazingly cool. Of course he'd love it if DeWanna got drafted closer to home.....

- Everyone is so friendly here! It's shocking.

- Saw Joanne Boyle at the open practices. She said she was going for Stanford to keep it in the Pac-10. Uh oh....

- Underneath the basketball court is a sheet of ice, as the Scottrade Center is where the city's hockey team plays. There is a game Friday night, in fact. This is a very sports-minded town. Cardinals opening day is today, and people are wearing Rams gear nowhere near the season.

- Last night's games were completely opposite of what I thought they would be. Louisville couldn't be stopped in the second half, and Stanford played the worst I've seen them play in a long, long time.

Angel McCoughtry had a big block at just under 12 minutes to go in the second half, and she screamed and beat her chest. I thought it was kind of funny, but some of the OK fans, who she did that right in front of, were pissed.

I'm still trying to figure McCoughtry out. She seems cocky, but then again not. I don't know.

- The other day at the high school game, I met Dawn Staley and said hi to Pat Summitt again. I was also waiting for the restroom and Sylvia Hatchell popped out of the stall I was going into. Can't wait to post pics and tell the full story in a couple days.

- I've talked to some UConn fans, and the ones I've met are nice. I'm at the Hyatt right now and just saw Geno (four feet in front of me). Too bad I don't care.

- Today we awoke to snow! I took pictures of it, but it stopped now. Currently it's just butt cold.

More later, there are people waiting for this computer..............

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Having a great time in St. Louis

I'm at the official Final Four media hotel, and they don't have free Internet service, so this will be brief.

An amazing time so far. Caught the open practices yesterday, and then the WBCA high school all-star game featuring Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins. That game was hoppin with famous coaches and famous college and pro players. I look forward to posting the stories and the photos I've taken. And I'm learning the system here as I go.

Tonight, of course, are the two semi-finals. Again, I think the real championship will be between Stanford and UConn, but I'm looking forward to seeing McCoughtry and Paris go at it in the other semi.

The weather is pretty here, but it's supposed to be 22 tonight! Yikes.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Name your Los Angeles All-City girls basketball team

Quite often I find that the readers of this blog are at least as, if not more knowledgeable than some calling themselves experts in the world of basketball. So it's with this in mind that I'm extending an invitation.

As I mentioned in some reply comments earlier, I'm livid at the CIF's choices for All-City team that were announced this morning. They left out some people and made questionable choices on both teams. I'm so disgusted that I'm not even going to post the link to the list right now.

I'd like to first see who others think should be on the All-City first and second teams. Give me a list of 15 players on each team, and add their stats to back up your choice. I want to see who you pick, and then I'll compare it to the lame list that was posted earlier.

I'm very curious as to who readers will pick, so don't be shy.

West beats East in McDonald's All-American game

This is the only time you'll ever see me write the name "McDonald's" :

Wednesday nights girls' game at the BankUnited Center might not find its way to the top of anyone's favorite list (considering both teams shot less than 33 percent). But at least the finish -- which saw the East rally from a seven-point deficit with a little more than a minute to play before falling to the West 69-68 -- was on par with the rest of the thrilling week.

The East's hopes ultimately came to an end, though, when Connecticut-bound guard Kelly Faris missed the last of her three free throw attempts with one second left.

Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame), who keyed the East's rally, led all scorers with 18 points. She shared co-MVP honors with guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (North Carolina), who was the only player to record a double-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals.

''This is a team of All-Americans, it was definitely fit to be a great game,'' said Diggins, a 5-9 star from South Bend, Ind., who also won Monday night's girls' three-point contest. ``Everyone of us has heart and nobody wanted to give in. It turned into an amazing game the last few minutes.''

Story link:

Too bad Texas standout Brittney Griner wasn't there. But she'll be at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association all-star game this Saturday in St. Louis. For those planning to be in town for the Final Four, check it out - tickets are cheap:

Michael Cooper's hometown newspaper says it isn't true

Sources said Sparks team officials contacted Cooper late Wednesday night and he denied any connection to the USC job.

Story link:

Can you imagine what would have happened if he'd gone behind the Sparks' backs to take that job? Eeeeesh.

In the meantime, USC hasn't said anything to Mark Trakh about his future at the school, according to sources. This isn't making the school look real good.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

All-County (Orange) team announced

No surprises:

Christina Marinacci, Foothill
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Mater Dei
Jonae Ervin, Brea Olinda
Justine Hartman, Brea Olinda
Melissa Zornig, Santa Margarita

Story link:

LA-area daily names disgraced coach the "coach of the year"

So the coach of a major LA-area girls basketball program is busted in December for recruiting one, and possibly three, girls to his team. They forfeit all 14 games they'd played until then, and one girl is moved to JV. The coach's team, Inglewood, is runner-up in their division, and the Torrance Daily Breeze names Tony Scott coach of the year.

What do you think about this decision?

Story link:

Does this make Mark Trakh's job safe? Or is Michael Cooper going to take it?

USC men's Coach Tim Floyd is apparently about to be hired at Arizona:

Tim Floyd will be named basketball coach at Arizona, Mark Asher of Sports 620 KTAR, ESPN's radio affiliate in Phoenix, is reporting according to multiple sources.

Floyd is meeting tonight with Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood to work out the final details of the deal and an announcement is expected Thursday, according to sources.

Story link:

The Kansas City Star has it too:

A reader theorizes that this will keep women's Coach Mark Trakh employed at USC for at least the next year, as a search for a new men's coach will take priority. (Trakh has come under fire this year for another disappointing season, and his expired contract still hasn't been renewed as of yet).

I thought the reader might be right until I caught this:

USC is expected to announce today that Sparks coach Michael Cooper will replace Mark Trakh as women's basketball coach, according to sources.......

Sparks owner Kathy Goodman was stunned when asked if she'd heard about Cooper and said she is expecting him back on the bench next season.

"Michael Cooper committed to coach us this season. He's under contract, and we're looking forward to winning a championship," she said.

Story link:

Such drama! I have no idea what is about to happen.

Shekinna Stricklen named USBWA Freshman of the Year

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named Tennessee freshman cager Shekinna Stricklen its national Freshman of the Year on Wednesday. Stricklen becomes the first Lady Vol to earn the prestigious honor from the USBWA.

Stricklen started in all 32 games she played in as a rookie and led the Lady Vols with 13.3 ppg, 3.0 apg and was second on the team with 5.9 rpg this season. Stricklen, along with classmate Glory Johnson, became the 11th and 12th Lady Vols to start their first career game in the Orange and White.

"I am very excited and honored to have been named the Freshman of the Year," said Stricklen. "I want to thank my teammates and coaches for pushing me every day to be the best I could be. Without them, I could not have achieved such an incredible award.

"I am extremely blessed to be able to play basketball at Tennessee, as it has always been my dream," commented Stricklen. "There are so many great players in women's collegiate hoops that this is truly a special honor."

Story link:

Congrats, Kinna! Knowing your heart and work ethic, though, I'm not surprised by this.

Teresa Weatherspoon to be named Louisiana Tech coach Thursday

The Ruston Daily Leader is kinda taking a chance on this one, but I'm sure they're right:

The interim label will be officially gone on Thursday for Teresa Weatherspoon.

Louisiana Tech University announced this morning that a press conference is set for noon Thursday at the Guthrie Jarrell Room of the Charles Wyly Athletic Center involving the women’s basketball program.

“It’s regarding Lady Techsters’ basketball and it is open to the public and that’s all we can say right now,” Media Relations Director and Assistant Athletic Director Malcolm Butler told the Ruston Daily Leader this morning.

But sources close to the program have revealed that the press conference will unveil Weatherspoon as the head coach after having served in an interim basis since mid-February.

Story link:

Who else could it be? A preliminary congrats to Spoon.

Kelsey Bone to South Carolina!!

It's being reported that Kelsey Bone has chosen South Carolina and Dawn Staley as the place to have her collegiate basketball career. The news must be really fresh, because I can't find any links - including on South Carolina's site.

Very exciting for Staley! The future of her program is bright.

Betty Lennox vs. the Russian

I vowed I'd never link to rebkell in this space, but I can't find any other info on this incident online, and the pictures in the thread are too good:

Betty, I love you and all, but aren't you a little old for fighting?