Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween humor

Early this morning, UCLA Assistant Coach Tasha Butts twittered about the humor of the young Bruins:

We have a hilarious Team! Some of them came dressed as our coaching staff today! LOL!Mo/Nik. Atonye/Me. Mariah/Tony. Erica/Stacie. Rex/Pam.

I hope they post pictures soon.

The reverse situation occured up at Cal, where coaches dressed as four of the freshmen. This picture made me roll.

Finally, Candace Parker and Shelden Williams dressed their daughter up as a whoopee cushion. Williams tweeted that it was because she's always passing gas, and she will hate them later in life. But what a cutie!

Happy Halloween.

Lady Vols practice photos

It's unfortunate that the general public can't read Maria M. Cornelius' stories without paying, as requires readers to sign up. But sometimes we get lucky when she posts pictures on "The Summitt" message board, and fortunately, that happened this week. Love the pictures of Amber Gray; how gratifying to hear of her miraculous recovery. It's also nice to see that grad Nicky Anosike is still there.

What have the Lady Vols got under the hood? Hoopism will see soon.

Edit to add this piece that tries to answer one of my questions.

Friday, October 30, 2009

2010 high school top 100

I don't trust Hoopgurlz, but this is an interesting list.

I heard a rumor about number 26 today, but we'll see if it's true before I say anything.

AP names it's pre-season top 25

The Associated Press named its college top 25 pre-season picks today. Here is the list of teams, followed by the number of points they got:

1. Connecticut 1,000
2. Stanford 951
3. Ohio State 862
4. Notre Dame 799
5. North Carolina 798
6. Duke 772
7. Baylor 744
8. Tennessee 676
9. LSU 600
10. Michigan State 521
11. Xavier 492
12. Texas 487
13. Oklahoma 444
14. Virginia 394
15. Florida State 385
16. Arizona State 317
17. DePaul 301
18. California 294
19. Georgia Tech 262
20. Kansas 241
21. Georgia 201
22. Vanderbilt 165
23. Louisville 156
24. Middle Tennessee 143
25. Rutgers 138

North Carolina, Duke, Baylor, Tennessee and LSU seem a bit too highly-rated, as does Arizona State. What do others think?

Cool Louisville story here.

Interesting Rutgers story here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great advice from a former collegiate player

Former Arizona Wildcat correctly states that success is in the details.

This tip is key for me:

Run back on defense. One of the easiest ways a coach can tell if you have a case of laziness is by the way you run back on defense. Are you walking, jogging or sprinting your butt back? Please don't be the player who walks back on defense as your player scores a fast-break layup. Embarrassing.

I hate it when a player is all the way down the court watching her teammates under the basket interrupting the play or getting the board. OOO! Pet peeve.

Atlanta Dream gets new owner

Congrats to all the Dream fans on your new owner. And thanks, Kathy Betty, for stepping up to buy a great franchise.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some Pac-10 news

These team predictions are some bull stuff. Washington State won't be seventh and Oregon won't be eighth. But I love the all Pac-10 team, because it's great to see UCLA guard Doreena Campbell finally get some recognition for the hard-working and intelligent player that she is. Go on with your bad self, DC.

In the meantime, USC quietly signed Inga Orekhova. But word is she'll have to sit out a year after being released from Northwestern. Hoopism correspondent Daniel Uribe summed it up best a short time ago: "Now, why does USC get all this talent? And when are they finally going to do something with it?"

Great questions.

The Stanford Cardinal attended point guard camp.

Countdown to UCLA exhibition: 12 days.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pac-10 preview: Washington State University

Prior to the commencement of the 2009-2010 college basketball season, Hoopism will profile various NCAA teams. Today, the fourth installment of the Pac-10 previews: the Washington State Cougars.

by Daniel Uribe

Washington State is looking to make a sharp move up in the Pac-10, and behind two strong recruiting classes, is looking to move away from being the perennial cellar dweller in the conference.

Head coach June Daugherty had a strong reputation as a recruiter prior to her arrival and in only her second year, was able to bring in a class that made an impact more than doubling their wins from the previous season going 11-19 -- their best overall record since the 2000-01 season -- and 4-14 in the Pac-10. Despite the optimism, the Cougars have to overcome a reputation as the perennial underachievers of the conference, as well as a lack of experience as they lose valuable leadership and have gotten younger despite the wealth of talent that has come to Pullman

The Cougars lost sharpshooter Katie Appleton and leading rebounders Heather Molzen and Ebony Coates to graduation. But they return the three players that helped take them to the next level; wings April Cook and Jazmine Perkins as well as forward Rosie Tarnowski.

Cook averaged 14 points per game, fifth in the Pac-10, and Perkins averaged 13.8 points, and 2.1 steals, which was second in the conference. Add to that the solid all-around game of Tarnowski (7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 apg). Other returning sophomores include Danielle Lenoir (4.2 ppg, 2 rpg) and forward Lexie Petterson (1.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg).

Also expected to make an immediate impact is redshirt junior forward Katie Madison who is a transfer from Idaho and led the WAC in scoring during the 2007-08 season. Also returning is junior guard/forward Katie Calderwood.

The crop of newcomers is what has the team and it's supporters excited. These freshmen are expected to contribute immediately much like their predecessors. The group is led by by Kiki Moore, a point guard out of Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep in San Francisco. The 5'8" Moore led her high school to a California Division III state championship and was rated in the top 60 of ESPN's rankings. Joining her will be redshirt freshman Katie Grad from Auburn-Riverside H.S. in Washington, and Ireti Amojo from Germany. Grad was selected 2007-08 Washington Player of the Year and with Amojo -- who was an exchange student at the time -- led their high school to a state championship.

Also joining the crop of new players are 6'5" center Carly Noyes out of Moses Lake, WA. Razz Muir, a 6'4" forward from Australia is expected to join the team either at the end of December or next season. The date of her arrival may play somewhat of a role as the the Cougars will be thin at the post because 6'8" sophomore center Jessica Oestriecher underwent knee surgery in the off-season and will redshirt.

Washington State will open it's season at home versus UC Davis on Nov. 15.

(Daniel Uribe is a Los Angeles native, former reporter and Pac-10 expert).

Monday, October 26, 2009

A lil bit of college news

The rumors are true: University of Oregon Coach Paul Westhead is teaching his team the fast break system. He's also enjoying life in a "true college town."

I completely agree with this blogger's Pac-10 season predictions.

And two Colorado players suffered minor injuries in a weekend car accident. Hope they get better soon.

Sparks having a Halloween costume contest

I keep forgetting to post this cool notice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Where are the athletic trainers?

Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I've been amazed by the lack of athletic trainers at high school basketball games here - boys or girls. I don't understand it, and maybe someone can explain it to me.

Within the Seattle School District, where I used to work, an athletic trainer from a local hospital is assigned to each high school. Wherever and whenever that school's team has a game, there's the trainer.

No such luck in the Los Angeles Unified School District and surrounding public school districts. During games, there's not a trainer in sight. When a girl goes down with an injury, the coaches usually just stroll on to the court - sometimes after several seconds. And if it's a male coach, he just stands and stares. Maybe they don't know what to do, or don't want to get their pants dirty kneeling down, but an assistant coach and a parent are usually the ones to come to the player's aid and help her off the court.

Even if there's not a game injury, players could really use a trainer. They are forever hitting up assistants for tape, pre-wrap, ice, icy hot and a bunch of other things. What gives?

School districts aren't rich, of course, but they should be able to be more creative. With the tremendous amount of colleges and junior colleges in the LA area, why don't districts use athletic trainer interns? How about starting a parent-community volunteer program to provide trainer supplies?

The second-biggest city in the country, and people can't even care for their athletic kids unless they go to a private school or live in a well-off area. What a disappointment.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beverly Hills Fall League, final day

Canyon 36, Inglewood 31

Reigning state champs Inglewood were without the services of five players today, but still kept it close with up-and-comers Canyon. Neither team lead by more than two until the last few minutes of the second half, when Canyon turned it on and capitalized on some Inglewood turnovers.

Impressive players were Canyon's Brooke Lemar and Inglewood's Janelle Ross. Lamar is headed to Southeastern Illinois and Ross, to Dartmouth for both academics and ball.

Players scramble for the ball in the first half. Canyon is in white and Inglewood, in green.

Canyon's Brooke Lemar was impressive at the point today. She just verballed to Southeastern Illinos this week.

The Sentinels' Marcy Hill inbounds the ball in the second half.

#33 Janelle Ross takes one for the team and draws the foul.

Valencia 47, Chatsworth 45

Chatsworth has lost a lot of talent the last two years - much of it named Gennifer and Kimberly Brandon - and it showed today. The Chancellors trailed Valencia by as many as 16 points to start the second half, but they turned it around and made a run mid-way through. They tied the score at 45 with under a minute to play, but Valencia scored. Senior shooting guard Monica Jackson had a chance to tie the game again with 12 seconds to play, but missed the bucket.

Valencia's PG brings it up the court in the first half.

Chatsworth senior guard Monica Jackson (orange socks on the left) is one of a few bright spots left for her team in the wake of some graduations. It's a long way until February playoffs, though.

Second half play.

Faifax 45, Marlborough 40

Who the heck were the girls suited up for Fairfax today? It said "Lady Lions" on their dark uniforms, but I didn't recognize one of them, after knowing the faces of last year's team pretty well by mid-season. I need to talk to their coach and see what's up.

This was a great game all the way through. It was taking place at the same time as Valencia-Chatsworth, so I was walking from gym to gym (right next to each other). Very very physical and very competitive, as the teams matched up well. The score would tie, one team would go up by two or three, and then the other would score and it would be tied again. With about five minutes to go, Faifax turned on the gas and made a mini-run to go up by six. They held on to their lead for the last few minutes for the win.

You know when male coaches tell parents that the girls play much harder than the boys? Michael Cooper said it last year.

Well, this game was a good representation of that.

Scrappin, fighting on and being tough. Fun game.

Mater Dei teams take it to the top

The current issue of ESPN Rise Magazine was delivered to high schools two weeks ago. But now everyone else can enjoy the great piece featuring the Mater Dei High School girls basketball team, as it's been posted online.

Pac-10 preview: Oregon State University

Prior to the commencement of the 2009-2010 college basketball season, Hoopism will profile various NCAA teams. Today, the third installment of the Pac-10 previews: the Oregon State Beavers.

by Daniel Uribe

Coming off their best season since the 1994-95 campaign, the Oregon State women's basketball team is at a crossroads as they attempt to create a winning legacy and not move backwards in their progression towards the top of the standings in the Pac-10. But it will be difficult as the Beavers look to rebuild a team that has lost many of the players that got them there.

Led by fifth-year coach LaVonda Wagner, Oregon State emerged last year as a team to be reckoned with with a fourth-place conference finish, their best placing in 13 years. But the season will also begin without the experience that helped bring this team to that point. Graduating last May were senior leaders Brittney Davis, Mercedes Fox-Griffin and Tiffany Ducker. The team also lost Alex Mitchell -- a powerhouse in the paint who led the conference in field goal percentage for a large part of the season -- who transferred to North Carolina Central.

The team, despite losing a huge amount of experienced players, is determined to continue to grow and win and will be led by last year's second leading scorer, Talisa Rhea, a junior guard out of Alaska who averaged 13.5 ppg and was third in the conference last season in three-point field goals made. She is on track this season to break the school record for three-pointers made in a career.

Rhea will need serious help the offensive end as the Beaver's lost four of their five leading scorers from last season and players will have to emerge if they are to have the success they want. Expected to step up and provide some help on the offensive end will be two sophomores who displayed strong games during their freshmen campaigns, forward Kirsten Tilleman, and guard Brittany Kennedy. Tilleman is a 6'1" forward who averaged 3.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg and has starting experience. Kennedy, a 5'7" guard averaged 3.4 ppg and 2.2 rpg. Stacey Nichols, a 6'1" senior forward and part-time starter last year, will be expected to provide valuable leadership despite only averaging six minutes of playing time per game last season.

Also returning will be Anita Burdick, a senior forward who is expected to pick up much of the slack on rebounding and senior guard Julie Futch.

The Beavers will have a large contingent of newcomers this year and among them include freshmen Tayler Champion, a 6'1" guard/forward from Inglewood, CA; two-time Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year Kate Lanz, a 5'10 point guard; 6'2" forward Amaya Gastaminza, from Pamplona Spain who has played for her country's U-16, U-18 and U-19 teams; 5'8 guard Haiden Palmer from Moreno Valley, CA; and 6'1" forward Angela Misa from Oceanside CA.

Also new to the team are JC transfers Eisha Sheppard, a 5'5" guard out of San Bernardino Valley College in California; and El Sara Greer, a 6'2" forward from Kirkwood Community College in Iowa.

Oregon State will open its season at home versus Cal Poly on Nov. 13.

(Daniel Uribe is a Los Angeles native, former reporter and Pac-10 expert).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The rich get richer

Cal lands Lindsay Sherbert.

College ball in full effect!

Big East ball, from top to bottom. Gallery is here.

Maybe Baylor's Brittney Griner never shows up for big events because there's way too much pressure. Check this:

"She's going to change the game more than any other player – more than Lisa Leslie, more than Candace Parker – because she plays above the rim," Texas coach Gail Goestenkors said. "That's something no other player has ever done."

This isn't much help either.

In the meantime, Tennessee has reported a secondary violation in the wake of the Sept. 23 recruiting visit of Meighan Simmons. Pat Summitt says pre-season polls rank the Lady Vols too high. Georgia Coach Andy Landers laughed at her.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pac-10 preview: the University of Washington

Prior to the commencement of the 2009-2010 college basketball season, Hoopism will profile various NCAA teams. Today, the second installment of the Pac-10 previews: the Washington Huskies.

by Daniel Uribe

More than any other team in the Pac-10, Washington and it's coach, Tia Jackson, have the most to prove this season after last year's last-place conference finish, but perhaps, they are more prepared than ever to take on the challenge.

After two year period where Jackson endured massive defections followed by a year plagued with injuries and lack of experience, the Huskies finally seem ready to fulfill the promise that is expected of them by the third-year coach. However, the pressure is on as new Athletic Director Scott Woodward has made it clear that nothing less than a post-season berth is what is expected of all teams at Washington. And the task will not be made any easier as the Huskies are coming off the worst Pac-10 season in school history, with a 3-15 record and an 8-22 overall record.

Experience was a big factor in the Huskies tumble in the conference rankings. After losing four players from the previous year's squad, Jackson had seven newcomers come on board. The team was also plagued with injuries. Sophomores Mackensie Argens and Liz Lay have recovered from knee injuries. Senior guard Christina Rozier is coming off knee surgery in the offseason. Guards Sarah Morton and Kristi Kingma also suffered from nagging ankle injuries. The team however, is one year older and much healthier and is optimistic about a stronger season.

Experience will begin with the return of four starters led by all-conference selection, senior guard Sami Whitcomb who led the team in scoring with 12.8 ppg as well as leading the conference in steals averaging more than 2 per game. Whitcomb will be joined be fellow returning starters junior forward/center Laura McLellan (8.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg), sophomore Kingma (8.2 ppg) and senior Christina Rozier (5 ppg, 3.4 rpg). Washington also returns seven letterwinners losing only forward Heidi McNeill to graduation.

Offense will be a key if the Huskies are to make a sharp rise in the standings. The team was ninth in the Pac-10 in field goal percentage (36.5). A potential improvement may come from a more ressurgent post-game led by the addition of UCLA transfer Regina Rogers, who showed flashes of brilliance during her freshman campaign, as well as a healthy Lay (3.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg), a sophomore forward whose playing time was limited due to injury but has the potential to be a power in the paint. Joining them in will be McLellan and Argens (4.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg), and sophomore forward Mollie Williams (2.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg).

Other returning players include junior guard Sarah Morton (2.1 ppg, 2.0 apg), sophomore guard Charmaine Barlow (1.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg), senior guard Sara Mosiman (3.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg), and senior forward Lydia Young (2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg)

Newcomers include guard Amanda Johnson from Manhattan Beach, California and Jeneva Anderson, a forward from Spokane Washington. Johnson, from Mira Costa H.S., averaged 16.7 ppg, 3.3 apg, and 3.7 rpg her senior season. Anderson led her Lewis & Clark H.S. team to a perfect 29-0 record her junior year en route to the Washington state championship.

The Washington Huskies will open the season versus at Portland State on Nov. 14.

(Daniel Uribe is a Los Angeles native, former reporter and Pac-10 expert).

Lynwood League, night 8

The Run and Gun League's schedule has been changed, and the new one isn't posted online yet, so I'm going piecemeal. Tonight I showed up for the Long Beach Poly-Lynwood re-match to find out Lynwood was playing Long Beach Jordan first, and then Poly. So I rolled with it, as I was with some of my favorite kids in the world.

Before those two games, Brea Olinda beat Narbonne by 30 points.

Lynwood guard Kejuana Gardner prepares to pass from the right corner during their game with Long Beach Jordan (white uniforms).

Long Beach Jordan scores in the second half. Lynwood won, 45-36.

The game between Poly and Lynwood was very very physical, as usual...... is obvious here. The ref was very busy during this game. Poly, who lost in the last meeting of the two teams, outmatched the Knights this time, winning by 20 points.

Ariyah Crook-Williams of Long Beach Poly - you're a force of nature. Where are you considering going to college?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Three out of four charges against Diana Taurasi dismissed

Most of the Phoenix Mercury stars DUI problems have gone away. And for those who are crying that she got celebrity treatment, it's typical to reduce the charges and/or sentence for a first offense, no matter who you are. We're lucky to live in the U.S.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Big pick ups for UConn Huskies

Bria Hartley and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis have committed to the University of Connecticut. Hartley is a highly-touted senior guard from New York, while California's Mosqueda-Lewis is only a junior this year.

Shock move to Tulsa, and what's up with the Dream?

The Detroit Shock will now be the Tulsa Shock. Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson will be their first coach next summer. Pretty weird, huh?

Pet has some excellent analysis on why the organization failed. Motor City Sports has a more wistful take on the matter.

In the meantime, it appears the Atlanta Dream might be for sale. They aren't selling season tickets to their regulars for next summer - how scary is that? I hope they won't keep fans in suspense long.

Bonus: Sparks General Manager Penny Toler is not saying anything about the organization's search for a coach.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Call for amazing players

An interesting discussion on the Prep-Mira Costa post has inspired me to make a request of Hoopism readers. If anyone has a high school player in mind whom they think isn't getting the attention she deserves, drop me a line at: and tell me about her. I may come out and see her play if she's in Southern California; at the very least, I'll write about her if she is indeed amazing. Posted videos would be helpful, as would other information, such as where she played club ball if at all, how long she's been playing, etc.

I do not want to see great players fall through the cracks, for any reason. So hit me up.

If you love basketball, you gotta love all of it

You don't hear much from them anymore, because the WNBA is now over 12 years old. But they were the first group of fans that really annoyed me: the ones who had never watched women's basketball in their lives but had suddenly "discovered" the game and were devoted WNBA fans. Yet, they didn't watch college ball. Acted like they didn't even know it existed. And they would probably never even consider catching a high school game. The only game, according to them, was the pro game.

The "college only" fans are irritating, too. They only care about a player once she gets there, and don't think anything about what she'll do after she leaves. Courtney Paris herself admitted last May that she hadn't paid much attention to the league even as she was about to get drafted. That was pretty strange, but it exemplifies the attitudes of those who live in the college bubble.

The fans who only watch high school ball are the most easily forgiven, because that's such a pure level for the sport. Entire communities turn out for girls and boys games because those are "their" kids, and they have personal ties and emotional investment. Even when high school girls are ignorant about some of the legends of the game and current college stars, I can sort of forgive them, because being a teenager in today's world is no freakin joke.

But it's time for women's hoops fans to evolve and expand. I don't expect people to be like me and be willing to go to any game, any level at any free moment. But I do expect women's hoops fans to have more general knowledge and quit being so exclusive.

If you aren't into a certain level of play, at least know what's going on there. You don't have to watch it, but know who the main players are. For example, if you're a college person, keep track of who the good high school players are and who your team is looking at. Watch to see where your graduates get drafted in the WNBA. If you're a W fan, know who is going to be available for you at the end of a season. If you're a high school fan, pay attention to the colleges that might want your daughter, or that you want her to attend. Take her to some WNBA games and get her inspired.

Don't engage in basketball ignorance, fans. Be informed and know what's up in your favorite game, from top to bottom. It takes all of the parts to make a whole.

Meighan Simmons chooses Lady Vols

Good move. Choosing Tennessee for basketball is the sports equivalent of picking Harvard.

In the meantime for this year, GoVolsExtra names five things to watch.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Washington Prep 44, Mira Costa 38 (and a celebrity sighting)

The reigning Marine League Washington Prep Lady Generals were in the spotlight today because I'd checked out their competition three days ago, and deemed it stiff. I wanted to see what Prep is bringing to the table this season, because they've had some major personnel changes.

Besides losing two key seniors to graduation, the Generals also saw two of their starters - Kejuana Gardner and Tayllor Gipson - move and transfer to other schools. The team of familiar and new faces played at St. Bernerd's High School against the Mira Costa Mustangs who, like Prep, made it to the state playoffs last year and has also lost some key players coming into this season.

Neither team was as fast as they've been in the past, but both battled, and it was a good matchup both size- and skill-wise. The score was neck and neck until less than two minutes to go, when Prep junior center Reshanda "Too Tall" Gray made two key free throws, and then a basket a few seconds later. The Generals rebounded Mira Costa's final failed shot attempt and held the ball to win.

Gray was a beast today. I mean, she's been a force in the paint for a good year now, and frequently has monster games. But today she was ridiculous. Maybe it was because Lisa Leslie and her daughter showed up to watch a relative play for the Mustangs - I don't know. But Gray was jumping in to grab every loose ball, dribbling up the court, fighting for rebounds like her life depended on it, and calling for the ball. At one point she said loudly to a teammate in the corner, "GIMMIE THE BALL!" And in the midst of all of that, she smiled a lot because she was having a great time.

She's really taking her new role as the team leader seriously. I hope she's planning on playing like that all the time, because I could get used to it.

Prep Senior guard Kiana Furlow brings the ball to the top of the key for the Generals (blue uniforms).

Prep Junior center Reshanda "Too Tall" Gray calls for the ball, as she did several times today.

Guess who showed up to see a relative play for Mira Costa? Recently retired Lisa Leslie and daughter Lauren.

Lauren enjoyed some snacks before falling asleep on her mother's chest during the game.

Too Tall put one in at the end of the second half, but the Mustangs lead by one as time expired.

Junior guard Cheyenne Bonham took turns with.......

Furlow at the point.

More season opener stuff

The Irish are ready to go - I mean, Skylar Diggins' team.

Gail Goestenkors speaks at Texas media day.

Freshmen permeate the Baylor roster.

Arkansas got taller this year, but California's Darshae Burnside didn't make the team yet.

Tennessee Lady Vol preview. (Amber Gray was at the first practice today!)

UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell twittered that the team decided their slogan this year is, "go hard or go home." That works for me. There's also this from one small LA-area daily.

And unless they changed the tradition this year, Midnight Madness (practice) is going on right now at USC and Pepperdine.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pac-10 preview: the University of Oregon

Prior to the commencement of the 2009-2010 college basketball season, Hoopism will profile various NCAA teams. Today, the first installment of the Pac-10 previews: the Oregon Ducks.

by Daniel Uribe

The biggest questions and easily the biggest mystery of what is to come for the Pac-10 this season will come from the Oregon Ducks and it's new Head Coach Paul Westhead.

Coming off a season where the Ducks went 9-21 and 5-13 in the Pac-10 finishing seventh, Oregon Athletic Director Mike Bellotti dismissed Bev Smith and decided to go with the wild card that is Westhead. The former Phoenix Mercury head coach is coming off a stint as an assistant to the Seattle Supersonics under coach P.J. Carlesimo before being let go.

Westhead, as many people know, can easily be described as the king of the fast break, having taking that offensive system and successfully incorporated it at the college as well as professional level, most recently, with the Mercury who won the WNBA title in 2007. However, defense has never been a strong suit of Westhead's teams which have always opted to try to outscore the other team rather than place too much emphasis on defense. The questions that will come up this season are – how long will it take Westhead to incorporate his run-and-gun style on a team that was so used to strong defensive schemes and set offenses -- and, will his system net results for Oregon and result in a subsequent return to the top of the Pac-10 standings? One thing we do know for sure, the Pac-10 coaches will be challenged in trying to stop the new offensive system that Westhead will put in place.

To help the new head coach, is major long-range firepower in the forms of returning starters, seniors Taylor Lilley and Micaela Cocks. Both Cocks and Lilley are within range of overtaking the all-time record for three-pointers made in a season. New Zealand Olympian Cocks led the Ducks in scoring last season with 13.5 ppg following by Lilley with 10 ppg. Lilley is coming off a season where she missed eight games due to shin injuries as well as a concussion and underwent off-season knee surgery. She hopes to return to the form which led her to all-conference honors in her sophomore season.

Oregon does not lose much in terms of experience with the return sophomore starters Amanda Johnson at forward and Jasmin Holliday, a combo guard/forward. Johnson led the team in both rebounding (5.4 rpg) and steals (1.4 spg) and averaged 7.9 ppg. Holliday averaged 5.3 ppg. However, they lose experience in the post after starting center Ellie Manou opted not to return to Oregon and remain in her native Australia.

Overall, Oregon retains a lot of experience with nine returning players and one redshirt. Also returning for the Ducks include junior forward/centers Nicole Canepa (5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg) Ellyce Ironmonger (2.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg); guard/forwards Victoria Kenyon, a junior, (2.3 ppg, 1.4 rpg), senior Lindsey Saffold (3.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and junior Tatianna Thomas (2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg) as well as redshirt sophomore guard Nia Jackson.

Newcomers include freshman walk-on Laura Stanulis, a 5’9” guard out of Portland; freshman Aliyah Green, a 5’11” guard-forward also from Portland; JC standouts Kristi Fallin, a 5’10” guard from Umpqua Community College, and Candyce Flynn, a 5’6” guard from Rend Lake College.

Oregon will open it’s non-conference schedule on Nov. 16 at home versus Eastern Washington.

Video from U of O media day here.

(Daniel Uribe is a Los Angeles native, former reporter and Pac-10 expert).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

WNBA teams moving?

Since a group in Tulsa formally applied for a WNBA team, rumors abound as to who that team will be. The Detroit Free-Press speculates it's the Shock. But since the Executive Vice President of the Atlanta Dream just took an NCAA job, some fans are worried that their team might go.

First official day of college practices!!

For the first time in over six months, NCAA ball is back in business.

Unsurprisingly, Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt twittered this morning that she didn't sleep much last night for being excited to get on the floor with her team. Plenty of others are pumped up too, given today's media coverage.

Oregon is looking for fast breaks.

Washington State thinks this year's team could be the best ever.

Maryland has had a makeover.

Georgia players are living under high expectations.

Nicky Anosike showed up at the Vols practice.

Oregon State is a mix of fresh faces and veterans.

And a grip of other stories are on hoopfeed, which is always on top of things.

Here we go! Best time of the year: college and high school season.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Lynwood League, night 6

Wow but the City Section's Marine League is going to be such good watchin' this winter. Tonight Carson and Narbonne - both up-and-coming teams that are part of that league - battled it out hard for 50 minutes, scrapping, gunning and twisting before Narbonne eeked it out by a literal last-second bucket.

The teams were neck and neck throughout the first half, trading two-point leads and seeing more ties than the law should allow. It reminded me of the Dec. 12, 2008 Washington Prep-Taft game that I blogged about here, in that no plays were being run most of the time. Whenever the defense of whichever team wrenched away the rebound, whatever player got it would then go thundering up the court, her teammates right with her, for the fast break. And wow, were the girls from both teams fast. They've all obviously been doing their speed training. Not to mention the speed of the spin moves and pivots. I had to fan myself a couple times.

In the second half Narbonne went on a mini-run, and thanks to a couple of three-shots from junior Tailer Butler, they found themselves up by six with less than nine minutes to go. But the Colts clawed back, and the last six minutes of the game was a neck and neck affair again. Tied at 40, the Gauchos inbounded the ball on their end with two seconds to go, and sophomore guard Nailah Long let a shot fly from the left corner. It swished through at the sound of the buzzer. 43-40! What a great game.

The Marine League is a conference that runs roughly from the 110 and 105 freeways down south along the 110 to the water. From the mid-90s, when James Anderson took over, to 2008, Narbonne dominated the league. No one even came close to challenging Narbonne's dominance until 2008, when Washington Prep beat them in a regular season game on Feb. 6. 'Bonne had to share the league title for the first time in 12 years. Since Anderson had already been let go by the school the year before, the 2008 group marked the end of an era of "his girls," and last year Narbonne struggled for many of their wins as the new coach sought to rebuild the program.

In the meantime, Carson has been growing stronger every year under the leadership of Coach W. Marcel Sanders. I can't help but root for them at times, because it seems they're always the bridesmaids and never the brides. I think their time is coming, though. Their hunger on the court was palpable tonight, seen in the narrowed eyes of the sprinting girls on the floor.

Also challenging for the league title this year will be Prep, who went undefeated in league last year to take it. They've lost two key players coming into this year, and some are projecting they'll be weak. But that's what critics said after their 2008 season, when they graduated eight seniors, and they still went to the first round of state playoffs last year as they had the year before.

So we'll see, and it should be fun. I'm excited that there's finally a City Section league that isn't dominated by one team. Let the runnin' and gunnin' begin.

The Carson player on the far right (dark uniforms) is about the get the rebound.

Junior Center Janitha Iamaleava (the blurred one on the left) had the ball in the first half. In fact, I gave up after a while because the players were all moving too fast to capture a good image.

In the second half, Narbonne stepped it up about a half a step above Carson for a bit, and went on a mini-run.

Lynwood Coach Ellis Barfield (dark Adidas outfit) and one of his assistant coaches attempt to clean up the baby oiled floor this evening. Apparently one of the players on a team (the court behind me) spilled it, and when they couldn't successfully clean it up within 10 minutes, league director Art Jackson cancelled the rest of the game.

Dawn Staley, Michael Cooper, Women's Sports Foundation awards

Both the Dallas Morning News and the University of South Carolina have had stories about how second-year Coach Dawn Staley expects a better year this season. I would sure hope so, with Kelsey Bone, for one. But they have to escape the injury bug, of course.

The Daily Trojan wrote a piece on Michael Cooper's press conference yesterday, postulating he could be the missing piece to the women's basketball program there. Hmmm.

SportsPageMagazine has a nice photo gallery of the Women's Sports Foundation awards, held last week. Pat Summitt was recognized for her 1000 wins last February.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

UCLA lands a post

Corrine Costa, a post from Discovery Bay, committed yesterday. She was ranked 84th.

Michael Cooper holds first USC press conference

Whoa! Not used to seeing the man in rust and yellow.

Funny because last night at the Lynwood league, I was standing there talking to a coach about Cooper's new job. Coach said, "The pro and college games are SOOOO different! I wonder if Cooper knows that?"

Apparently not:

On the difference between coaching WNBA and coaching college:

"It's not going to be that great (of a difference). It's basketball, and coaching is coaching no matter what level. I've coached at many levels even going back to coaching my son when he was 6 and 7 years old. The talent level is not as high as you would have in the WNBA, but the level of wanting to learn, that's the level I'm going to enjoy coaching here."

I'm definitely going to have to catch some Trojan games this season besides the times they play UCLA.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bev Smith theory

Last Spring when the University of Oregon fired Bev Smith as head basketball coach, readers here commented that they were not surprised, as it had been alleged for years that the native Canadian was a racist. I hadn't heard this, so I was surprised.

I asked my former junior high school teacher about it. I've known Jane for 30 years, and she's an amazing person, teacher and an upstanding and intelligent person. She's also been a U of O season ticket holder for the last decade. So if anyone would know what's the drillio, it would be her.

Jane asked around, and she thought about it for a long time. So long, in fact, that we just finally discussed it this past weekend. She said she'd ascertained that Smith wasn't a racist, but that her actions could easily be interpreted as such.

Some of the players who have come to the U of O over the years cut their teeth on pickup ball. Learned and played the game in their neighborhoods from friends, siblings, cousins, etc. Jane said that Mac Court crowds LOVED players like that, and would stand up and make noise when they did their thing. But Smith, she explained, was from the school of regimented play, where ballers just straight-out played the game, sans flair. She didn't want the Ducks to do anything but play the game.

"Instead of accommodating individual styles, she wanted all the players to fit a certain mold," Jane said. "She just wanted them to play regimented, white girl ball."


So that's Jane's take on it. I wonder what others think.

Are there coaches out there like that? How should coaches coach the game?

First college top 25 list that I've seen

Courtesy of SportsPageMagazine.

What do you all think of the predictions? On or off?

University of Washington coach put on blast

Here's one I missed: Tia Jackson being lambasted by a group of so-called Socialists. The piece also includes this quote from Clay Kallam.


Sounds like a lot of badness in Seattle.

Lynwood League, night 5

It's hard to pick which game to watch some nights, and tonight was just such an instance.

I picked Lynwood vs. JSerra, which turned out to be a good game. The Lynwood Knights got off to a slow start against an understaffed (several players were sick) JSerra Lions squad. Knights Coach Ellis Barfield indicated his disgust early in the first half when he substituted in all five bench players, and left the starters on the bench for a while. At halftime, the team ran 17s. JSerra, in the meantime, didn't look like they were missing anyone as they hustled for rebounds and sank shots.

The second half saw Lynwood make a comeback, and the teams were neck and neck most of the remainder of the game. A crucial Knights shot with less than 30 seconds to go put them up 45-43, and on JSerra's next possession, the Knights stole the ball and held it for the final seconds.

I turned around to see the last five seconds of the Long Beach Poly-Gahr game. Poly bested Gahr 45-43. Pretty strange, huh?

JSerra (red uniforms) boxes out Lynwood, but the Knights' shot falls anyway.

Lynwood Coach Ellis Barfield didn't like the way his team was performing, so he had them running 17s at halftime.

JSerra misses a shot towards the end of the game.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Indiana gets homecoming welcome from fans

Unfortunately there's no pictures in this story, but I hear from an Indianapolis friend who was there that the Fever were a little down, but basically allright. Pictures in this thread.

I like this part of the story:

PHOENIX -- The Indiana Fever began with a question: Will there be a next year?
They ended with another question: Will there be a championship next year?

*crossing fingers*

USA Basketball wins Invitational title in Russia

Woot! The game just ended, so not much is available here yet. But a W is a W.....

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Tyler Summitt fixin' to follow in his mother's foot steps

Cute baby pictures, but the baby is grown up now. And Tyler Summitt wants to coach.

Look out, world.

USA Basketball claims second win

79-65 over Euroleasing Sopron. Booyah.

Tierra Rogers = strength

Nice piece on SF Gate about the young Cal former guard. Is Rogers really that strong, or has she not had time to fully process the whole ordeal and it's consequences yet? Probably a bit of both.

Phoenix wins

ESPN story.

NBA Fanhouse story.

Rutgers story.

In recent years, such as 2008, we've had an exciting WNBA season culminate in a boring finals series. This year we had a lackluster season end with an exciting finals. Maybe someday we can get both in the same year.


Friday, October 9, 2009

WNBA "Social Media Awards," USA Basketball wins

HoopFeed gives out its first Social Media Awards, with the best fans going to Phoenix and LA. I think they might have to change that now in light of the Indiana turnout, but Mercury-Sparks is definitely the most heated rivalry for now. Seattle gets most intellectual fans (no surprise there), and Candace Parker and Shelden Williams have second-best back-and-forth (no surprise there, either). Fun stuff.

USA Basketball won this morning, 100-81. Candace Parker re-injured her left shoulder and left the game for good halfway through, but there's nothing in the online story about that besides what happened. Several hours ago, though, Parker tweeted that she was chilling and going to bed, so I hope that means the Miracle Recovery Woman is OK.

Angel McCoughtry scored 17 points! Maybe that'll shut up the ROY haters for a minute.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Check out the Cal freshmen

On the right side of the Cal page, below the video/picture of Gennifer Brandon, click on the link that says "Meeting the Freshmen." Good times, good times. Can't wait to see them play.

USA basketball game one Friday, aka in a few hours

Candice Wiggins just tweeted that she's having game day breakfast, so team USA is up and about. They play ZVVZ USK Praha in about seven hours and 10 minutes from now.

Go USA!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lynwood League, night 4

Great game tonight between two longtime rivals whose coaches are friends: Lynwood and Long Beach Poly.

Poly always brings three teams to the league, but mixes varsity and JV players liberally. So opponents never play the same Poly team twice. Lynwood, according to Coach Ellis Barfield, is traditionally a "speed team." So the Knights and Jackrabbits match up well.

It was a fast and physical game, and Lynwood lead by 2-4 points for most of both halves. At the end of the second half Poly came within one, and then tied the score at 38 with less than a minute to play. Lynwood missed a shot, as did Poly, but then the Knights hit to put them up by 2. Poly failed to make a layup with two seconds to go, and the final score was 40-38.

I'll probably have to do profiles of each of these teams before the season starts.

A Poly player gets the rebound in the second half.

Lynwood's Tyonna Outland (#4) pounds the ball around the top of the key.

If I just ignore it, it's like it didn't happen, right?

I wish.


Sparks news

Players reflect on the season.

And VP/General Manager Penny Toler will be honored tomorrow as a "Woman in Action."

So far, here's who's going where overseas:

DeLisha Milton-Jones:
Ros Casadores - Spain

Candace Parker:
Ekaterinburg - Russia

Noelle Quinn:
Ramla - Israel

Kristi Harrower:
Bendigo - Australia

Shannon Bobbitt:
Botas - Turkey

Vanessa Hayden:
Beijing, China

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton:
Esperides - Greece

Pre-game notes

Briann January has been the top rookie of the post-season, says ESPN.

And the dot-com contemplates the curse of the MVP. I hope it's true.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Grown women stuff

The USA Basketball team has geared up for Russia for days. Candice Wiggins has tweeted that the food at the hotel is "much doper than I expected." Candace Parker's tweet commented on the long flight and 10-hour time difference. They've got a practice in a few hours...............

Chantelle Anderson has retired. I wish her the best of luck in what I hope will be her writing career.

Committments, and California is a gold mine

California forward Cassie Harberts has canceled visits to UConn and Oklahoma to choose Arizona State University. I don't get it, but good luck to her.

San Antonio guard Meighan Simmons has narrowed her choices to Tennessee and LSU. (Gee, what would I pick....)

West Virginia Forward Whitney Bays has verballed to Maryland, and boy, can they use it right now.

Lookit how many of the nation's top high school prospects are from Cali. Specifically, they're from Orange County. Wonder what that means?

ESPN also gives us an updated tip sheet today that features some of my favorite players in Reshanda Gray and Justine Hartman.

Shout out to all the ballers who also do volleyball

"You're only in high school once," a girl's basketball coach said to me recently as he settled in to watch her play for the school's volleyball team - her side gig.

Numerous good basketball players also like to hit the white ball during the fall season, where they can still put all that jump training to work. They know they'll have to give it up in their senior year, so they have fun doing it while they can.

One of those kids is Reshanda "Too Tall" Gray, a junior (basketball) center at Washington Prep High School. I caught one of Prep's volleyball games last week, and Too Tall was ballin' just as much as she does with the orange ball. Her at-the-net blocks were almost as hot as her kills: when she jumps up in the air, her feet go out in a Jordan-like splay. Gwan, girl.

Reshanda "Too Tall" Gray, right, is ready for the serve.

She does a killer (pun intended) job at the net, too.

(This post inspired by the anonymous comment on the MTW Tourney entry.)

Monday, October 5, 2009

WNBA finals stories

Mercury is left reeling after loss.

January is having an October to remember, says the Indy Star.

Fever fans tweeted their way to the arena.

Hard work pays off for Ebony Hoffman.

Go Indiana!!

Lynwood League, night 3

Tonight I went to check out the Narbonne vs. JSerra matchup. Narbonne is still rebuilding after the end of the Coach James Anderson era in 2007-2008, with all new players. JSerra, of San Juan Capistrano in South Orange County, is an up-and-comer team at a five-year-old school.

It was a fun game to watch. Both teams are in good condition and were racing up and down the court. Each team also had stellar defense. What put JSerra on top for the win was that they are better at finishing. Narbonne still needs to work on shooting and free throws. If they fixed those two things, they'd be a deep state playoff team again.

I met another reader of this blog in a JSerra fan, and again, it was a pleasure. He made an interesting comment that "we can't get games like this" in Orange Country. I asked him what he meant and he said LA teams are more athletic and quick than OC teams. I asked why again and he said kids out there tend to spend more time on their homework than basketball practice, whereas city kids tend to "play all night." He also said the people sitting courtside wasn't heard of in OC either, because fans sit in the stands and bitch at the coaches.

Very interesting.

Narbonne Junior Tailer Butler, #3 in white, swings the ball while JSerra clamps down on defense.

Narbonne's Jamesha Chapman, #20, puts up a shot.

Tailer Butler is extremely talented and insanely athletic, and is One To Watch for the class of 2011.

Long Beach Poly, in green, was Narbonne's next opponent on their back-to-back game schedule.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Donna Orender to stay with WNBA

That's cool and all, but was she ever going to leave in the first place? Congratulations, I guess.

Indiana survives the refs, wins game 3

Wow! So much to say about that game! I'll begin with the negatives.

The calls in the last three minutes of the game were particularly awful. Not giving Tamkia Catchings the timeout when she called it, yet giving the Mercury a timeout in an almost identical situation seconds later was messed up. Letting Diana Taurasi get away with punching Catchings earlier in the game was unforgivable. Why in the hell has June Courteau been allowed to continue her horrible brand of reffing in the WNBA for all these years? League officials should truly be ashamed of themselves. Currently league officiating is just "bad." A decade ago it was "reprehensible." Changes shouldn't take that long.

These two message boards rarely post or agree on much, but there is a "June Courteau" thread on each one tonight. Link on "The Summitt." Link on rebkell.

Second gripe: Diana Taurasi is allowed to get away with far, far too much.

On to the ups, which far outweighed June and the horror crew.

18,000 on hand for the game!! LA's own Ebony Hoffman ballin' it up! Exciting game! And Catchings with a double-double. This is one of the most exciting series in a long while.

Check out this box score.

Indiana has a chance to be a brand new WNBA champion Wednesday. I hope they make the most of it. I want to see Catchings, Tully Bevilaqua and Jessica Moore, in particular, get a ring.

MTW tournament, day 1

Good competition on day one. Results are here.

Players that impressed me were:

The Irvine Sol's Shayla Batson, a senior at Mater Dei, who had a very good first-round game against Inglewood.

Point guard Hazel Ramirez of Inglewood, who had a great game against the Sol. She is headed to Loyola next fall.

Ariyah Crook-Williams of Poly, for her game against Cal Sparks 2011.

Kari Korver of Sparks 2011 - a bright young talent who was on the Sparks Black team this past summer. Only a sophomore, Korver has tremendous energy on the floor and has a penchant for making long 3s.

Kejuana Gardner of Sparks 2010, who kept her team in it against the Hollywood FL Eagles, and was also doing a bit of everything in the Sparks' game against the Sol.

Cal Sparks 2010 (blue uniforms) beat the Hollywood, FL Eagles 42-40 in an exciting game where the Sparks scored the final bucket in the last 10 seconds. It was a big win for the Sparks, as the Eagles are highly-rated.

Defending state 3A champs the Inglewood Sentinels warm up in preparation for their game against the Irvine Sol.

Center Deajanae Scurry (#4) is at the top of the key for a moment.......

......but is in her rightful place a few seconds later to put it in. The Sol won, 62-55.

Sparks 2010 and Eagles players scramble for the ball.

In the evening session, Cal Sparks 2011 (dark blue uniforms) and Long Beach Poly went head-to-head. Poly won, 49-39.

Across the big gym at the same time, Inglewood (dark green) dispensed of Mile High Magic, 47-37.

Kari Korver of Cal Sparks 2011 and Cal Sparks Gold.

Hazel Ramirez of Inglewood.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mater Dei star is a trainer for now

At today's Michael T White Fall Finish Tournament at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, there was a bit of role reversal going on. Alexyz Vaioletama, junior forward for the school, wasn't playing with her Irvine Sol club team; she was helping wrap knees and cheering her teammates on from the bench. Word has it that Vaioletama, who helped the USA Basketball U16 team win a gold medal this summer, is sitting out to let a stress fracture heal.

This afternoon I also saw Monarch Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis stroll through the gym during play. I swear she had a USC sweatshirt on, but it was navy blue. Hmmmm.

More tomorrow.

Maryland player dismissed because of academics

What unusual and sad circumstances when a player is dismissed because her grades aren't up to par; The Washington Post reports that Dee Liles has left the team.

Couldn't the school have been alert to this a long time ago and provided tutoring and other assistance? I wonder why not.

Friday, October 2, 2009

So much news this week

The USA Basketball pictures and interviews keep rolling in. In the meantime, Assistant Coach Jennifer Gillom is apparently not letting Geno override the ship.

In Indianapolis today, a huge crowd of fans showed up at the airport to welcome the Indiana Fever home from Phoenix, where they defeated the Mercury last night. Apparently, tickets to game three on Sunday are selling fast.

When I interviewed the Sparks' Betty Lennox back in June for a story I was doing, she mentioned she would be inducted into the Trinity Valley Community College Hall of Fame in the fall. Well, it's fall, and the ceremony is Saturday. Congrats, Betty.

Finally, Lady Vol Amber Gray will return to Knoxville and the University of Tennessee in two weeks after undergoing brain surgery in July. Gray said she welcomes the second chance to play, and in light of the end of Tierra Rogers' career, those words have new weight.

The end of Tierra Rogers' hoops career is a shock

It wasn't that long ago that Cal freshman Tierra Rogers' father was stabbed to death at halftime of a game at her high school - Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco - in the middle of her junior season. The young player flirted briefly with giving up the game, and then rallied to finish the season. She was awarded with a scholarship to Cal, and was one of the heralded super seven freshman this fall. (2008 ESPN story on Rogers here)

But yesterday Rogers had surgery to implant a defibrilator in her heart after being diagnosed with a rare heart condition. Today she was released from the hospital, and her basketball career is over. I'm still in shock.

Cal Berkeley and the basketball coaches are in full support of Rogers. Coach Joanne Boyle says the University will honor Rogers' scholarship though she can't play anymore. Extremely honorable of them, but what a blow for an 18-year-old to see a second tragedy take away the thing that got her through the first tragedy of her life? I can't even imagine.

Fans can hit Rogers up on twitter at trogers1. Cards and letters may be mailed to Rogers in care of the UC Berkeley Athletics Office:

Haas Pavilion #4422
Berkeley, CA 94720-4422

The team says it's figuring out what role Rogers will fill for them now. I hope it's an excellent one.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indiana evens the series

Tamika Catchings had told ESPN she "let her team down" Tuesday night, but she fixed that this evening with 19 points, an amazing 11 assists, and a victory. Excellent.

Next game Sunday.

To no one's surprise, Angel McCoughtry was named Rookie of the Year today, and her coach, Marynell Meadors, was named Coach of the Year. Congratulations, ladies.

In other W news, Candace Parker had the top-selling jersey for the second consecutive year, and Vanessa Hayden fancies herself as a gangsta.