Thursday, March 31, 2011

McDonald's All-American game: one player's perspective

Reshanda Gray of Washington Prep High School in Los Angeles was one of the players for the West in yesterday's McDonald's All-American high school game. The event capped off a big year for the Cal signee, who won a gold medal last June playing for USA Basketball's U17 team.

"Too Tall" had reported having a lot of fun in the days leading up to the game, so I talked with her about her experience after she returned today.

SF: What activities did you participate in for the four days leading up to the game?

RG: We went to Ronald McDonald House the first day and spent time with the kids. They ranged in age from 1-10, and we did arts and crafts with them, played video games and decorated sugar cookies. We also autographed balls for them. It was a lot of fun.

On Monday we had the Jamfest. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Mater Dei) won the three-point shooting contest. Ariya Crook-Williams (Long Beach Poly) won the skills challenge, which was a sequence of dribble patterns, layups and different types of passes.

SF: What was it like playing in the game, in front of 19,000 people?

RG: I'd never played in front of that many people before, and at first I was a little nervous. But then I just went out there and did what I could do.

SF: I can't find a box score - how did you do?

RG: Five points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

SF: Were the East and West teams separated, or were you together?

RG: We hung out with each other outside of practices. They assigned roommates from the same team, so all the West players roomed together.

SF: Whom did you share a room with?

RG: (UCLA signee) Justine Hartman. We kinda bonded.

SF: How many practices did you have leading up to the game?

RG: Just one a day, not two.

SF: What celebrities did you get to meet?

RG: Alonzo Mourning, Larry Bird and Doc Rivers.

SF: What was the best part of the experience for you?

RG: The whole trip was a great experience for me. I got to meet other players from the East coast, I got to do something I loved, and we helped kids. We did it all.

Reshanda Gray and former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning.

ESPN's game story.

Hoopfeed story.

Final Four stuff, coaching news

The lead of this fine Stanford story on their seniors says it all:

Four straight Final Fours. Who does that?


Tara the Terrible.

At Texas A&M, it's been a long journey to the 'Four.

Coaching non-hires:

Texas Tech's Kristy Curry has dropped her bid for the LSU job.

Kelly Graves has spurned the University of Washington's interest to stay at Gonzaga.

Outsted Cindy Blodgett feels betrayed by the University of Maine.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Different angles on the NCAA tournament

The Final Four won't be what most predicted, but it will still be riveting.

Well, actually 3,751 people did predict the four teams that made it.

The four teams are very different.

ESPNW has five storylines to watch out for this coming weekend.

UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell breaks down Stanford's strategies and how they can beat Texas A&M.

I knew it: attendance for the tourmanent is up 65 percent so far.

From last year's FF: Xavier's Dee Dee Jernigan laments her missed layups in last year's Elite Eight loss to Stanford. (Ouch!)

Update at 9:48 p.m.: the Cardinal - not UConn - are ESPN unanimous picks for a win Sunday.


Dawn Staley confirms she's not going for the Virginia job.

Former Maine Coach Cindy Blodgett has hired a lawyer.

Look at the LA Sparks team list so far. So Betty Lennox hasn't decided if she's coming back yet, huh?

McDonald's All-American game: East 78, West 66

The news is pretty paltry right now. But Duke signee Elizabeth Williams was the leading scorer of the game, for the East, with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

I need a longer, more complete story with a box score. ASAP.

USC and Toldeo to face off for WNIT title

In tonight's semifinals:

Toledo beat (on) Charlotte 83-60 - and in front of a sold-out crowd, too.

In the meantime, USC crushed Illinois state 63-36.

The two teams will battle for the title Saturday in Toledo.

Wooden Award team announced

Here they are:

Maya Moore
Brittney Griner
Jeannette Pohlen
Nnemkadi Ogwumike
Courtney Vandersloot

What an honor. Congrats to all.

Cal's leading scorer leaving

DeNesha Stallworth is leaving Cal before she even has a place to land.

"She has a signed release and we're communicating with some schools and setting up some visits," Chris Stallworth said. "It wasn't a bad break, it just wasn't a good fit."

Stallworth, a 6-foot-3 forward from Richmond, Calif., is planning visits with Florida, Fresno State and Kansas, but is also looking into other options, according to her father.

Stallworth led Cal in scoring this season at 13.3 points per game and helped the team reach the WNIT for the second straight season.

Hey hey hey, it's mid-day

It's finally warm in Southern California right now, after a loooooong winter, so I'm hyped.

So are the McDonald's All-Americans: the girls play at 6:30 p.m. CST on ESPNU.

La Jolla Country Day (San Diego) Coach Terri Bamford is the Russell Athletic Regional High School Coach of the Year. She will coach the WNCA high school all-star game this weekend.

Australian star baller Liz Cambage is demanding to be in the WNBA, but refuses to go to Tulsa. You gotta love that NBA attitude.

Kye Allums - the George Washington transgender player - had his season cut short after sustaining multiple concussions.

Hoopfeed has a great write-up on last night's Baylor-Texas A&M game.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More coach firing drama

The University of Maine has removed Coach Cindy Blodgett, "effective immediately." She was their star player 13 years ago, and had been coaching there for the last four seasons.

Sounds like Oregon and Bev Smith a couple years ago, only with much more harsh language.

Bonus: do athletes think faster? Yepthat'sbeenmyexperiencebothpersonallyandinobservation.

Day 8 (deja vu)

Tonight seemed to be the opposite of last night's fourth round, with the blowout up first and the surprise upset second.

UConn just dismantled Duke from top to bottom. I knew the Huskies would win, but I didn't guess the score would be 75-40. Maya Moore's 3000th point was the icing on the cake for UConn.

Like last night's takedown, Texas A&M's upset of Baylor surprised me a bit. (It always surprises me when a team actually does what they're capable of doing). But after eight losses to the Bears, the ninth time was the charm for the Aggies, and in the biggest arena - over 11,000 fans. Like Notre Dame did to Tennessee last night, A&M lead Baylor the entire game.

So now we have Notre Dame set to play UConn on Sunday and Stanford to face Texas A&M, and again, I feel like I'm in "Groundhog Day." In the Pac-10 tournament a few weeks ago, Cal upset Arizona State to advance to the semifinal, and Arizona upended USC on the other side of the bracket. The Bears and Cats each earned the privilege of playing the conference top dogs, UCLA and Stanford.

And both teams got their butts kicked.

So here's what I'm wondering: will Stanford and UConn make their opponents look like high school teams, or will we really have a game or two? Of course I'm hoping for the latter. This has been one of the wildest tournaments in years.....and I love it.

Amazing Brittney Griner photo from tonight, courtesy of hoopfeed.

Baylor's Kim Mulkey explains why she likes to coach.

Nice piece on the Ogwumikes.

AP All-American team, and other major awards

This year's team is Maya Moore, Jantel Lavender, Jeannette Pohlen, Danielle Adams and Brittney Griner.

The second team is Danielle Robinson of Oklahoma, Amber Harris of Xavier, Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga, Nnemkadi Ogwumike of Stanford and Jasmine Thomas of Duke.

The third team is Tennessee's Shekinna Stricklen, Miami's Shenise Johnson, Kentucky's Victoria Dunlap, Xavier's Ta'Shia Phillips and Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins.

The preseason All-America team was Moore, Griner, Lavender, Ogwumike and Robinson.

Griner was named 2011 WNCA National Defensive Player of the Year.

Illinois State Coach Stephanie Glance is the 2011 Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year.

Final Powerade Fab 50 rankings

The final weekend of the season finalized a season that finished with the number one it started with - Mater Dei:

Rank School (City, State) Record Prev

1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)* 34-1 1
2 Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.)* 29-2 2
3 Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)* 31-1 3
4 Spring Valley (Spring Valley, S.C.)* 29-0 4
5 Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.)* 31-2 5
6 Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.)* 36-2 6
7 St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.)* 29-2 7
8 Westbury Christian (Houston, Texas)* 39-1 8
9 Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.)* 25-1 9
10 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 30-5 10
11 Shabazz (Newark, N.J.)* 34-1 6
12 Polytechnic (Long Beach, Calif.)* 25-3 12
13 Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) 29-2 13
14 St. John's (D.C.)* 33-2 14
15 MacArthur (Irving, Texas)* 35-2 15
16 Nazareth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.)* 29-3 18
17 St. Mary's (Phoenix Ariz.)* 26-2 16
18 Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)* 26-4 17
19 Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio)* 27-0 19
20 Wesleyan (Norcross, Ga.)* 31-2 20
21 North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)* 28-1 21
22 Inkster (Inkster, Mich.)* 27-2 22
23 Goose Creek (Goose Creek, S.C.)* 28-3 23
24 Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)* 25-3 24
25 Trenton Catholic (Hamilton, N.J.)* 31-4 25
26 Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)* 29-3 26
27 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)* 34-2 27
28 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)* 31-7 28
29 Monarch (Louisville, Colo.)* 22-4 29
30 Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)* 27-1 30
31 Hoover (Hoover, Ala.)* 33-4 31
32 Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.)* 36-1 32
33 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)* 23-1 33
34 Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.)* 29-2 34
35 Butler (Matthews, N.C.)* 30-1 35
36 Hollywood Christian (Hollywood, Fla.) 31-1 36
37 Canyon (Canyon, Texas)* 35-0 37
38 Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.)* 36-3 38
39 Heights (Wichita, Kan.)* 22-0 39
40 Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)* 29-9 40
41 Fayetteville (Fayetteville, Ark.)* 30-2 41
42 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.)* 23-1 42
43 Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) 25-0 43
44 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.) 31-2 44
45 Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.)* 26-4 45
46 Cypress Falls (Houston, Texas)* 34-2 46
47 Georgetown (Georgetown, Texas)* 35-4 47
48 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)* 29-5 48
49 St. John Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.)* 26-4 50
50 Nicolet (Glendale, Wis.)* 26-2 NR

Regional rankings.

Dawn Staley won't leave, Nikki Caldwell may not stay

Holy crap: Dawn Staley isn't likely to leave South Carolina to coach at alma mater Virginia. But UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell interviewed there for the job yesterday.

Caldwell will chat live on ESPN at 1 p.m. PDT/4 p.m. EDT.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Other dailies

Congratulations to Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer, who is the Russell Athletic/WBCA National NCAA Division I Coach of the Year. And that was before tonight's Elite Eight win.

In the wake of Cappiegate, Angel McCoughtry might be the latest player in trouble for her twitter tweets.

Nazareth Regional beat Murry Bergtraum Saturday for the New York Federation Class AA Championship. So high school basketball season is a wrap. *tear*

Here's how some successful women transitioned from being student athletes to their careers.

Day 7

The big story of the day is Notre Dame's domination of Tennessee in game one of the Elite Eight today. ESPN is saying Skylar Diggins was the key for the Irish.

In the next game it was all Stanford. They took out Gonzaga in a rout that put them in the Final Four for the fourth consecutive year (say that five times fast). For the Cardinal it was Nnemkadi and Chiney Ogwumike who spurred the win.

Through my pain this evening, I found some happiness and some hope.

One of my favorite routines throughout the years is to watch the NCAA tournament at the gym. I'll watch a game, go work out some, come back and watch another game or a half or part, go work out more, etc.

It's usually only men who stop to see what's on the television when they see it's a game. And years ago, once they saw it was a women's game, they'd say "oh" and walk away. But that doesn't happen very much anymore.

This weekend I had some men and teen boys stop and watch with me for a while. Tonight the same thing happened, plus some of my friends sympathized when I told them my team was losing.

"Aw, I hate that," Ryan said. "When the Lakers get behind...." he made a face.

Ironically, one of my greatest moments of pain was softened by a man on the elliptical trainer in front of me, just below the TV showing Tennessee-Notre Dame. Skylar Diggins hit a big three shot to put the Irish up by eight, and he whooped and applauded. He continued to applaud and exude enthusiasm as they grew their run, burying the Vols. What could have been a moment of total misery for me was tinted with the bright lens of hope. It's no longer an oddity to be watching women's basketball.

Another upside: both games tonight were on ESPN. Not ESPN 12, online only, or broadcast in the middle of the night. Live, on ESPN.

It's getting better.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Close games

The morning started out with a furious rally by UConn to avoid an upset and eek out a victory over Georgetown, 68-63.

Then we had Duke having to hold off two DePaul rallies to beat them 70-63.

Baylor had to work their butts off to overcome an incredibly-polished Green Bay team, 86-76. Brittney Griner had 40 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks, but it was the blocks that impressed. I can't imagine what it must feel like to have someone that tall slap down your shot. And Odyssey Sims sure doesn't play like a freshman. She has the decision-making skills of someone much older.

One of the very few blowouts of a great tourney this year was Texas A&M's pounding of Georgia today. Not much to say about 79-38 except ouch.

I'm loving that teams - especially the #1 seeds - have had to work hard this year. It's made the tournament really fun to watch.

Graham Hays, Mechelle Voepel and Charlie Creme break down tomorrow's Elite Eight matchups.

USC advances to WNIT semifinal

USC beat Colorado 87-70 today in the WNIT quarterfinals on the Buffs home court. Trojan guard Ashley Corral put up a career-high 32 points in the win, including a career-high seven three-point shots.

The entire team also set a program record for treys, hitting 77 percent of them. Now there's a good case for playing in the WNIT. Use every opportunity to get better.

On the other side of the bracket, Illinos State defeated Arkansas 60-49 to advance. ISU and USC play Wednesday night, with the winner to go to the championship game April 2.

Toledo and Charlotte will face off in the other semifinal.

USC and Colorado warm up. The arena has 40 rows from top to bottom. And who do we see in the stands? Lady Vol fans. We're everywhere.

A mural at the top of the arena.

USC players look to coaches for clarification.

SC players box out Colorado on the free throw.

When you score 32 points, as Ashley Corral did, you get interviewed on the post game show.

- photos by IM in OC

Sheryl Swoopes isn't done yet

Reports that the basketball legend would play this summer for the Tulsa Shock began leaking a few hours ago. Now Sheryl Swoopes - and on her 40th birthday, no less - has confirmed it herself.

Hey, she may get that retirement ceremony after all.

McDonald's All-American game coming up Wednesday

Most all players arrived in Chicago yesterday to begin appearances and practices for the upcoming McDonald's All-American game Wednesday, March 30. Hopefully some of the PR photos and tidbits will begin leaking out today, and throughout the next few days.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

California high school state championships

Mater Dei beat Berkeley to take the Division I title, which seems to make them national champions of sorts, as they've been ranked first all season.

In Division II, it was St. Mary's over Rialto for their seventh state title.

Santa Maria St. Joseph defeated Bishop O'Dowd for the Division III crown.

Winward overcame Albany St. Mary's for the Division IV championship.

Los Altos Hills Pinewood took the Division V title with a victory over Playa del Rey St. Bernard.

And at least one California Interscholastic Federation commissioner thinks the open division in state basketball should end:

And Pete Saco, commissioner of the Sac-Joaquin Section, told the Sacramento Bee that he endorses a plan to add an open division to the existing state tournament, putting all the top private and public schools in a division to fight it out.

Today's goodies

Such great words of wisdom from Sky Digg on balancing school and playing.

Debbie Ryan coached her last game for Virginia tonight, after 34 years. The Cavs lost in the WNIT quarterfinals. Hoopfeed wrapped it up.

Some of Pat Summitt's more brave players did impressions of her in this video.

Another great video....of Baylor's Brittney Griner.

Stanford escapes into the Elite Eight

That was a close one: Stanford hung in and held off North Carolina, 72-65. With all due respect to Baylor and my beloved Tennessee, if the Cardinal had lost, you might as well hand the trophy to Connecticut. Now Stanford has the chance to beat them again this year. But first, Gonzaga on Monday.

Let's go.

On the other side of the bracket, Tennessee rose up to beat Ohio State 85-75.....after a halftime butt-chewing by Coach Pat Summitt:

"It was about an 8½," she said, rating her halftime speech on a scale where 10 is when the paint peels off the walls. "I wasn't real happy. But that's what you have to do at times. You go into the locker room and get a feel. One thing about this team, they do respond. Sometimes I think they kind of like to hear the coaches going off.".......

(Freshman Meighan) Simmons grinned as she said, "Coach went off on us in the locker room."

Notre Dame beat on Oklahoma, 78-53. They'll face Tennessee Moonday.


Gonzaga advanced to its first Elite Eight tonight, with a 76-69 win over Louisville. As #11, the Zags are the lowest seed in tournament history to reach the quarterfinals.

Courtney Vandersloot had another outstanding game, putting up 29 points and dishing seven assists, which brought her to 358 for the season. That broke the old NCAA single-season assist record.

Louisville post Monique Reid was injured stretching for the game, which might be one of the reasons the Cardinals had to play catch-up in the second half. Suddenly they remembered how to play defense, and they effectively went to work on Vandersloot, limiting her scoring. Louisville also switched to man defense - something they should have done much earlier.

Vandersloot is a force to be reckoned with, to be sure. She will go high in the WNBA draft in a few weeks. But Cardinal freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel also impressed the heck out of me. That behind the back dribble for the layup in the second half gave me heart palpitations. She also talks to her teammates like she's a junior or a senior - like Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm talks to her team: like a true point guard. I am now officially a Schimmel fan.

Louisville had the game at the end. But their sudden lapse in defense, beginning at the 2:13 second half mark, cost them the contest. Why, if behind by only five, would they suddenly stop pressing Gonzaga and let Vandersloot walk the ball up the court, eating precious seconds off the clock? I was disgusted.

I've always thought that all the outcries about teams having home court advantage was just an excuse on behalf of the losing team, but now I've changed my mind. There's no way in hell any team should be allowed to host the NCAA tournament. Especially a lower seed.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Twas the night before the Sweet Sixteen.....

Look at all these tasty match ups tomorrow.

The more things change, the more we wait to see whether they stay the same for Tennessee. Now that's a lead.

This year's super frosh are the key to the success of the tournament's top seeds.

Baylor guard Melissa Jones has regained the vision in her right eye, and can only see visions of the NCAA title.

Mechelle Voepel has video interviews from the Spokane regional.

Versatility is the calling card of Stanford forward Kayla Pedersen.

Other cool stuff:

Updated WNIT bracket.

Championships begin with recruiting, as is evidenced by the 2011 class signing rankings. (Love the mirror-image Maya Moore photos taken four years apart.............)

Jayne Appel is doing some NASA workouts.

The hiring of Dennis Wolff at Virginia Tech has created understandable skepticism.

Stack shows us how to calculate our daily fueling needs.

More fun stuff!

Stanford players can rap! They've got bounce, and some damned good dance skills, too.

I think this video just made my day.

Fun stuff

Courtesy of IM in OC:

My goodness but "Machine Gun" Maggie Lucas of Penn State has some trick shots.

Melissa Johnson discusses being tall off the court.

I will have to see this movie, "No Look Pass."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

State Farm Wade Trophy finalists named

Who to pick?

Player Name Institution Year Position

Danielle Adams Texas A&M University Sr. F-C
Victoria Dunlap University of Kentucky Sr. F
Brittney Griner Baylor University So. C
Amber Harris Xavier University Sr. F
Jantel Lavender Ohio State University Sr. C
Maya Moore University Of Connecticut Sr. F
Nnemkadi (Nneka) Ogwumike Stanford University Jr. C
Kayla Pedersen Stanford University Sr. F
Jeanette Pohlen Stanford University Sr. G
Danielle Robinson University of Oklahoma Sr. G
Shekinna Stricklen University of Tennessee Jr. F
Courtney Vandersloot Gonzaga University Sr. G

Starting to itch for more NCAA tournament games

NCAA tournament:

Mechelle Voepel and Graham Hays have generously broken down every upcoming game of the Sweet 16.

Team bonding makes Stanford a title contender. the post-game interview at the semifinals of the Pac-10 tournament, Nneka Ogwumike said, "this year the team is special because we're very close."

Ohio State Coach Jim Foster and Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt go way back: Foster used to coach at Vanderbilt.

Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins digs being a role model.


After last night's WNIT game, don't look for a Florida-Florida Gulf Coast rematch anytime soon.

Recap of Wednesday's action, plus tonight's scores:

Syracuse 72, Eastern Michigan 63
Virginia 53, Boston College 48
Charlotte 81, Florida 77, OT
Illinois State 79, Duquesne 66
Colorado 70, Wyoming 58

And so Virginia Coach Debbie Ryan survives to see another game as her tenure winds down.

High school/college:

All those coaching changes aren't going down well with some. Bria Smith has been released from her national letter of intent with Virginia.

Junior Kristen Gaffney will reopen her recruitment in the wake of Beth Dunkenberger's resignation at Virginia Tech.


Legend Vickie Johnson will be an assistant for the Silver Stars.

Sad case continues:

The case of former Middle Tennessee State guard Tina Stewart's stabbing death will be heard by a grand jury.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Things to read on tourament timeout

Congratulations to Azusa Pacific of Southern California - NAIA Division I champions. They defeated two-time and defending champs Union, of Tennessee.

Two rounds of NCAA Division I done, and the tourney is full of intrigue.

Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer preaches the joy of victory.

For UCLA, this year's second-round loss feels much different than last year's.

Can Southwest Florida turn into a hoops hotbed?

UConn Coach Geno Auriemma is disappointed in attendance for rounds one and two, and will ask the school not to bid on hosting the tournament again.

Baylor is taking a business approach to kicking butt in the tournament this year.

Coaching items:

UW's Kristi Kingma, whose own former coach is part of the story, talks about the coaching carousel that goes on this time of year. I feel for her with all the changes she's been through.

Speaking of coaching changes, winning Northwestern Oklahoma State University Coach Milburn Barton is retiring.

Utah Coach Elaine Elliott is also retiring.

The hiring of Dennis Wolff as Virginia Tech's new coach is creating skepticism. It's because he's never coached women in his life, has been the director of men's basketball operations of late, and wasn't even considering the women's job. Hmmmm. That does not sound like a winning choice to me.

Pat Summitt's got some basketball camps coming up.

ASU Coach Charli Turner Thorne reflects on the meaning of hard work, as well as change.

Finalists announced for WBCA DI All-American team

The list, and it's a good one:

Name Institution Year Pos. Height

Danielle Adams Texas A&M University Sr. F-C 6-1
Kachine Alexander University of Iowa Sr. G 5-9
LaSondra Barrett Louisiana State University Jr. F 6-2
Kelsey Bolte Iowa State University Sr. G 6-1
Cierra Bravard Florida State University Jr. F 6-4
Skylar Diggins University of Notre Dame So. G 5-9
Victoria Dunlap University of Kentucky Sr. F 6-2
Dawn Evans James Madison University Sr. G 5-7
Brittney Griner Baylor University So. C 6-8
Keisha Hampton DePaul University Jr. F 6-2
Amber Harris Xavier University RS-Sr. F 6-5
Tiffany Hayes University of Connecticut Jr. G 5-10
Celeste Hoewisch University of Wisconsin, Green Bay Sr. G 5-7
Adrienne Johnson Louisiana Tech University Sr. F 6-1
Glory Johnson University of Tennessee Jr. F 6-3
Shenise Johnson University of Miami Jr. G 5-11
Kalisha Keane Michigan State University Sr. F 6-1
Jantel Lavender Ohio State University Sr. C 6-4
Alex Montgomery Georgia Institute of Technology Sr. G-F 6-1
Maya Moore University of Connecticut Sr. F 6-0
Natalie Novosel University of Notre Dame Jr. G 5-11
Nneka Ogwumike Stanford University Jr. C 6-2
Kayla Pedersen Stanford University Sr. F 6-4
Devereaux Peters University of Notre Dame Sr. F 6-2
Porsha Phillips University of Georgia Sr. F 6-2
Ta'Shia Phillips Xavier University Sr. C 6-6
Jeanette Pohlen Stanford University Sr. G 6-0
Lauren Prochaska Bowling Green State University Sr. G 5-11
Samantha Quigley DePaul University Sr. G 5-5
Elizabeth Repella West Virginia University Sr. G 5-11
Angel Robinson Marquette University Sr. G 5-8
Danielle Robinson University of Oklahoma Sr. G 5-9
Sugar Rodgers Georgetown University So. G 5-11
Odyssey Sims Baylor University Fr. G 5-9
Shekinna Stricklen University of Tennessee Jr. F 6-2
Carolyn Swords Boston College Sr. C 6-6
Jasmine Thomas Duke University Sr. G 5-9
Courtney Vandersloot Gonzaga University Sr. G 5-8
Tyra White Texas A&M University Jr. G 6-0
Riquna Williams University of Miami Jr. G 5-6

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

WNIT, Juco

Tonight's WNIT results and upcoming games:

Third Round

Tuesday, March 22
Toledo 74, Alabama 59

Wednesday, March 23
Arkansas at Oral Roberts, 8 p.m. EST
Southern Cal at BYU, 9 p.m. EST

Thursday, March 24
Boston College at Virginia, 7 p.m. EST
Eastern Michigan at Syracuse, 7 p.m. EST
Florida at Charlotte, 7 p.m. EST
Duquesne at Illinois State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Colorado at Wyoming, 9 p.m. EST

Sunday, March 27
Eastern Michigan-Syracuse winner at Toledo, 2 p.m. EST

It looks like USC is quietly the only Southern California representative in a playoff right now. Good for them.

The revised NJCAA page showing the Division I All-Tournament team, coach of the year, and championship game box score and stats:

Coach of the Tournament

Tournament MVP

All-Tournament Team

Congrats to all.

Powerade Fab 50 - week 16

Ohio and New Jersey had their state championships this past weekend, and Ohio saw a big shakeup. The only two states left are New York and California, this weekend.

Powerade Fab 50, week 16:

Rank School (City, State) Record Prev
1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 33-1 1
2 Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.)* 29-2 2
3 Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)* 31-1 3
4 Spring Valley (Spring Valley, S.C.)* 29-0 4
5 Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.)* 31-2 5
6 Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) 36-2 7
7 St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 28-2 8
8 Westbury Christian (Houston, Texas)* 39-1 9
9 Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.)* 25-1 10
10 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 28-5 11
11 Shabazz (Newark, N.J.)* 34-1 6
12 Polytechnic (Long Beach, Calif.)* 25-3 13
13 Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) 29-2 12
14 St. John's (D.C.)* 33-2 14
15 MacArthur (Irving, Texas)* 35-2 15
16 St. Mary's (Phoenix Ariz.)* 26-2 16
17 Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)* 26-4 17
18 Nazareth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 28-3 18
19 Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio)* 27-0 26
20 Wesleyan (Norcross, Ga.)* 31-2 19
21 North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)* 28-1 20
22 Inkster (Inkster, Mich.)* 27-2 34
23 Goose Creek (Goose Creek, S.C.)* 28-3 22
24 Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)* 25-3 23
25 Trenton Catholic (Hamilton, N.J.)* 31-4 NR
26 Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)* 29-3 24
27 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)* 34-2 25
28 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)* 31-7 28
29 Monarch (Louisville, Colo.)* 22-4 29
30 Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)* 27-1 30
31 Hoover (Hoover, Ala.)* 33-4 31
32 Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.)* 36-1 32
33 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)* 23-1 33
34 Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.) 29-1 43
35 Butler (Matthews, N.C.)* 30-1 35
36 Hollywood Christian (Hollywood, Fla.)* 31-1 36
37 Canyon (Canyon, Texas)* 35-0 38
38 Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.)* 36-3 39
39 Heights (Wichita, Kan.)* 22-0 40
40 Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)* 29-9 41
41 Fayetteville (Fayetteville, Ark.)* 30-2 42
42 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) 23-1 27
43 Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) 25-0 NR
44 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)* 31-2 44
45 Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.)* 26-4 45
46 Cypress Falls (Houston, Texas)* 34-2 47
47 Georgetown (Georgetown, Texas)* 35-4 48
48 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)* 29-5 49
49 Cicero-North Syracuse (Syracuse, N.Y.) 22-2 NR
50 St. John Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.) 26-4 37

Regional rankings.

Day 4 (more upsets)

The stunna of the night is Louisville's up-ending of Xavier, 85-75. Cardinal freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel "showed" out and deposited 33 points in the basket for her team. Apparently she was worth the wait for Coach Jeff Walz.

Like our UCLA Bruins, this was the second year Xavier has exited in the second round.

Oklahoma squeaking it out over Miami isn't as surprising as Georgetown's thrashing of Maryland.

Georgia upset Florida State in a very close one.

The dream season continues for Green Bay.

Texas A&M's victory over Rutgers turned into a butt-whoopin.

Other items:

What an amazing accomplishment: this year's seniors at Stanford have never lost at home. The use of the word "legacy" is appropriate here.

Virginia Tech has hired Dennis Wolff as its new coach.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Other NCAA fodder

For Tennessee, when Angie Bjorklund recovered from her injury, the team got better.

They're preparing to face each other again, but Xavier Coach Kevin McGuff and Louisville Coach Jeff Walz are homies.

WNIT scores for the day.

Coaching changes:

The University of Tulsa is expected to hire Norman High School coach Matilda Mossman as its new coach.

Another one bites the dust: Lisa Stone of Wisconsin.

In today's Internet age, sports teams are increasingly in the news business.

Day 3

So many of the early second-round games today were close.

Marquette put up a good fight before succumbing to Tennessee.

Marist had Duke on the ropes for a while before the Blue Devils pulled it out.

DePaul squeaked it out over Penn State.

Ohio State won a close, physical game against Georgia Tech.

Basketball fans are screaming "parity, parity" on twitter. Maybe they're right.

Moments ago, North Carolina upset Kentucky 86-74 (no story as of this moment).

But right now I'm upset because Gonzaga just up-ended UCLA. Of course I congratulate Zag point guard Courtney Vandersloot for her 2000th point and 1000th assist. But that's all I have to say besides congratulations, Bruins. You had a hell of a season, and you made me proud to be a fan.

Tonight's most intriguing match up: UCLA vs. Gonzaga

Dynamic and powerful coach 1 vs. dynamic and powerful coach 2.

The two teams have almost identical records.

UCLA will be on Gonzaga's court, and the game is sold out.

A sellout crowd of 6,000 passionate Bulldogs fans is expected to pack "The Kennel" to root for the nation's highest-scoring team. The 11th-seeded Bulldogs' only loss at home came against second-ranked Stanford, the top-seeded team in the regional.

"The crowd is important and we do feed off it," Gonzaga Coach Kelly Graves said.

Gonzaga fans were deafening Saturday during the Bulldogs' first-round victory over Iowa. Few stuck around to see UCLA struggle against Montana, seats emptying quickly as fans presumably headed out to watch the Gonzaga men's team play BYU on television.

They will be back in full force to see whether the Bruins can slow down a team that averages 86 points a game.

Caldwell and her players downplayed the crowd's potential impact. The Bruins' only loss on the road this season was at Stanford.

"We've been in a lot of hostile environments, such as Notre Dame and Stanford, where we've had 11 fans and they had thousands," UCLA forward Jasmine Dixon said.

John Stockton says Gonzaga point guard Courtney Vandersloot is "a female Wayne Gretzky."

Here's how the teams match up statistically.

It's speed and scoring versus deliberate and defense.

UCLA is at a definite disadvantage in Spokane, but I think they can do it if they stay focused.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 2

Here's the one that surprised me today: Rutgers over Louisiana Tech, 76-51. A good friend of mine was in Ruston for the game and she said, "Tech had no rebounding and Rutgers would get it and fast break. Plus no one on Tech could make a shot fall."

Oklahoma almost blew it.

Green Bay's magical season continues, and their winning streak is now at 21.

Louisville appears to be back, ladies and gentlemen: they beat Vanderbilt handily.

Talk about a drought: Miami has earned its first tournament victory since 1993.

Heavy hearts: Georgia beat a greieving Middle Tennessee State team.

Oh, and #1 seeds UConn and Baylor crushed their respective opponents. No surprise there.

Full scoreboard.

Bracket with tomorrow's round two game times.

High school teams that are lacking can only go so far

As I'm currently awash in some of the pain that is March Madness, I finally have a moment to discuss something I've been thinking about all winter: high school basketball team cover-ups.

There are numerous high school teams that get away with winning, and having a winning record, solely on their athleticism. Their fundamentals are lacking. Most commonly, they can't finish a layup or box out effectively, and the forwards/posts aren't aggressive enough on the boards. But these athletic teams can get up the court faster than opponents, and they out-muscle them with defense (once they've finally woken up from what usually is a slow start). After watching several such games by the end of January, my question was: if you win but win ugly (aka sloppy, fundamental-less ball where you've merely outrun your opponent), is this something of which to be proud?

No. But plenty of teams (and their coaches) practice this type of ball and then get a skewed vision of themselves as a good team. Winning - especially at the high school level - doesn't necessarily make you a good team. If you're in a weak league, as many high school teams are, then it's easy to have a good record. Ditto if you're a college team in a weak conference and/or with a schedule that is lacking in quality opponents. Yet, winning is equated with "good," and fans automatically assume the coach is good too.

I can't tell you how many high school teams I've seen in Southern California who are getting by on athleticism and are benefitting from being in a weak league, yet who are not fundamentally sound. They appear, at least to me, to win by accident. If I were a coach and my team had 30 turnovers because they can't make basic, good passes, but they won anyway because the other team was JV-level, I wouldn't feel good about that. But plenty of players ignore those facts, and so do those who coach them. They think they're the bomb, and they're not.

The great high school ball equalizer is the playoffs. A team can get by all season long, but the playoffs separate the sound from the "barely makin' it" teams. The athleticism-only teams eventually lose to the skilled teams, and it's usually fairly early on in the playoffs.

The theories abound as to why so many young people lack fundamental basketball skills these days. Some say it's the influence of club ball and its emphasis on playing many games in short periods of time. Others say it's the excessive attention paid to flashy players like Kobe Bryant, and the de-emphasis on the basics of good basketball. There is also the fact that we live in an instant-gratification culture, and a lot of kids don't have the patience to learn how to run a few laps, much less take 500 shots a day on the court. It's probably a combination of those things, and more.

There is a reason why Brea Olinda, Mater Dei and Long Beach Poly were ranked first, second and third in the nation this entire year: all three programs boast fundamentally sound players. These squads are fun to watch, and watching their games is a guarantee of good quality basketball.

It's too bad there aren't more high school teams like them.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

California state finals are set

Mater Dei defeated Canyon Springs in the Southern regional Division I final, and Berkeley beat Concord Carondelet in the Northern final.

In Division IV, Windward and Imani Stafford will advance to the state final for SoCal.

Rialto beat Buena with a buzzer shot for the Division II title. But there is controversy.

St. Bernerds upset Santa Clara in Division V.

Santa Maria St. Joseph will play Bishop O'Dowd in the Division III final.

Complete scores and championship schedule:


Regional finals, Saturday


Division I: Mater Dei 59, Canyon Springs 44

Division II: Rialto 44, Buena 42

Division III: Santa Maria St. Joseph 54, Serra 45

Division IV: Windward 68, La Jolla Country Day 58

Division V: St. Bernard 60, Santa Clara 45


Regional finals, Saturday


Division I: Berkeley 68, Concord Carondelet 57

Division II: Stockton St. Mary's 56, Loomis Del Oro 48

Division III: Oakland Bishop O'Dowd 57, Sacramento 46

Division IV: Albany St. Mary's 70, Modesto Christian 42

Division V: Los Altos Hills Pinewood 41, Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame 36

State championships, March 25-26 at Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento (formerly Arco Arena)

Friday, March 25

Division V Girls: St. Bernard vs. Los Altos Hills Pinewood, 3:30 p.m.

Division II Girls: Rialto vs. Stockton St. Mary's, 6 p.m.

Saturday, March 26

Division IV Girls: Windward vs. Albany St. Mary's, 9:30 a.m.

Division III Girls: Santa Maria St. Joseph vs. Oakland Bishop O'Dowd, 1 p.m.

Division I Girls: Mater Dei vs. Berkeley, 6 p.m.

Seventeen out of 20 teams in the state finals are private schools. That makes me feel like cussing.

North Idaho 90, Trinity Valley 81

North Idaho surged in the second half to beat favorite Trinity Valley for the National Junior College Athletic Association Division I championship tonight. All game scores from this week's tournament are here.

TVCC's Shakayla Caples lead all scorers with 23, and teammate Kejuana Gardner added 18. For NI, Kama Griffits put up 22 points and was tournament MVP. All three made the all-tournament team along with Camille Reynolds of NI and Uju Ugoka and Anelina Dennison of Grayson.

All season long, undefeated Pensacola was ranked first, while Trinity Valley was second and then fell to third in February. North Idaho was ranked fifteenth in the final poll going into the playoffs, and were fifth-seeded in the tournament. In Friday's semifinal, they handed Pensacola their first loss of the season.


NCAA Division II bracket.

DII news.

DIII highlights.

Round two of the WNIT is on like Donkey Kong.

Day 1

I got up so excited this morning. Finally, the first day of the NCAA DI tournament.

Here's the bracket after today's match ups.

I had wondered why Marist was seeded tenth and Iowa State was seventh, and the Red Foxes proved me right by winning, 74-64. Hey, you don't get to 30-2 easily.

Gonzaga also "upset" Iowa, 92-86. Courtney Vandersloot was a beast for the Zags, putting up a career-high 34 points. Not to mention that the game was exciting.

And speaking of heart-stoppers, I sure enjoyed that Marquette-Texas game. For whatever reason, I wasn't at all surprised to see Tatiyiana McMorris pull out that last-second three for the Golden Eagles to pull out the 68-65 victory. I love Coach G, but I just don't get it. Three years, three first-round exits.

St. John's pulled off the upset, outlasting Texas Tech for the 55-50 win.

Kentucky had to battle to stave off Hampton, 66-62.

Notre Dame also had to kick it up a few notches to beat Utah, 67-54.

One of the other games I watched today was UCLA-Montana. The Bruins played sloppily, but they managed to pull it off, 55-47.

Predictably, Stanford kicked the butts of UC Davis, 86-59. But ESPNW still insists UC Davis was the story of the day.

Mechelle Voepel has a day one wrap up.

And here's a little about what goes into planning for the NCAA tournament.

Tomorrow's most intriguing match ups: Houston and West Virginia; Georgia and Middle Tennessee State; Louisiana Tech and Rutgers.

Friday, March 18, 2011

California regionals tomorrow

Here's the schedule for the Southern California regional finals, tomorrow at USC's Galen Center:

Division III Girls: #1 Serra vs. #3 Santa Maria St. Joseph, 10 a.m.
Division II Girls: #1 Rialto vs. #2 Buena, 2 p.m.
Division I Girls: #1 Mater Dei vs. #3 Canyon Springs, 6 p.m.

The Division I game will be streamed live on

The winners of these games will play the winners of the Northern California regionals in the state championship next weekend.

First round stories

St. John's and Texas Tech face off in tomorrow's first round, and their paths to the big dance have been similar.

Red Storm Coach Kim Barnes Arico has two coaching jobs.

The Raiders' Jordan Barncastle is struggling since being punched by Baylor's Brittney Griner last year.

Baylor is hosting the first and second rounds, and tickets are moving very fast.

The Texas website boldly proclaims that their team is "embracing the start of something new."

DePaul is tired of first-round exits.

Ohio State's Samantha Prahalis has the fun back in her game.

Georgia Tech doesn't like their homecourt disadvantage.

The new and improved Tennessee Vols are ret. But they've got to stay focused.

Defense is the theme for Duke.

Iowa State is preparing for the nation's best defense in Marist.

Courtney Vandersloot is putting her Gonzaga teammates on her back.

NCAA extras:

LSU needs a new coach and a new direction.

Oklahoma State's Toni Young broke her arm in a two-handed dunk attempt.


St. Joseph's win has made two sisters enemies.

High school:

Former basketball superstar Natalie Williams has taken a high school coaching job near her former Utah Starzz stomping grounds.

Trinity Valley, North Idaho to face off for NJCAA Division I championship tomorrow

Salina, Kansas - In tonight's first semifinal game at the National Junior College Athletic Association national championship tournament, it was Trinity Valley over Northern Oklahoma, 86-73. Here's what was posted on the NJCAA national tournament's Facebook page:

Top Scorers for Trinity Valley - SkaKayla Caples with 24, Brittney Dukes with 18, and Jasmine Scott and Kejuana Gardner with 10 each
Top Scorers for Northern OK - Deeva Vaugn with 18, Ashley Briegge with 17, Katie Beebe with 14 and Kaylyn Pulley with 11

Moments ago in the other semifinal, North Idaho upset #1 Pensacola, who had been undefeated, 90-75.

Trinity Valley had been ranked second behind Pensacola all season long, and almost a month ago fell to third after their third loss. But #2 Vincennes lost yesterday in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

So Trinity Valley and North Idaho will face off for the championship tomorrow at 7 p.m. Central time. It will be broadcast live at

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ups and downs of the day


Tennessee-Martin is flying high, and with four starting freshmen.

It's already a season to remember for Green Bay.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis was named the Gatorade National Girls Basketball Player of the Year. The Mater Dei High School senior is the first Californian to win the award since Lisa Leslie 21 years ago. Foxsportsnet had a piece on how Leslie presented Mosqueda-Lewis' award today.

UCLA has its eyes on beating Montana Saturday.

Maya Moore is closing in on milestones. The AP spent a day with her.


North Texas has fired Coach Shanice Stephens after only three years.

The guru says the real March Madness is all the coach firings that go down this month. He may be right.

The truth comes out: Van Chancellor's resignation wasn't voluntary.

USA Basketball:

Last year's gold medal-winning U18 coaches will be back this summer to coach the U19s.

Tennessee frosh Meighan Simmons will probably be invited to camp.

NCAA previews, WNIT results

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel breaks down the Dallas regional.

The Spokane regional.

Graham Hays has the Philadelphia regional.

Charlie Creme's got the Dayton regional.

ESPN also has a tournament challenge, if you're into that kind of thing.

Today at the WNIT.....and games still being played right now.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WBCA/State Farm NAIA All-America team

Congrats to these fine athletes:

Name Institution Year Pos. Height

Whitney Ballinger Campbellsville University Sr. C 6-3
Kallie Benike Davenport University Sr. F 5-8
Meribeth Boehler Freed-Hardeman University Sr. F-C 6-2
Brittney Carter Faulkner University So. C 6-3
Sarah Chan Union University Sr. C 6-4
Jessilyn Conicelli Biola University Sr. F 6-0
Donica Cosby Oklahoma City University Sr. G 5-8
Becca Hurley Northwestern College Sr. G 5-9
Jasmine Stohr Lewis-Clark State College Jr. G 6-0
Marisa Stotler Southern Polytechnic State University Sr. F 6-1

But at least one player was left off the list, so I'm not happy.

More coaching vacancies, and coach-related items

It's that time of year.....when coaches are let go or resign. Here's the latest today, besides Van Chancellor:

Pamela Bass has resigned at Colgate.

Western Illinois won't renew the contract of Leslie Crane.

Other coach news:

Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly likes his sons so much, he hired them.

Yet another well-deserved piece on Teresa Weatherspoon, and how she's got Louisiana Tech ramped up again.

Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer is taking the decline of her program personally.

If you think UNCW Coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke is excited about her team's WNIT bid, you're right.

The Associated Press named Pat Summitt as SEC coach of the year, and Vol freshman Meighan Simmons as newcomer of the year.

Miami Coach Katie Meier has proven that there's a method to her madness.

Fans thought Paul Westhead's Oregon Ducks would take off this season, but instead they stumbled.

Ridiculous or not? A ninth-grader has already committed, to North Carolina.

Pac 12 reveals new logo

The Pac-10 will become the Pac-12 in July, and here comes the new logo.

A colorful presentation is available via this here video.

LSU Coach Van Chancellor resigns

The veteran coach has stepped down as head of the basketball program, seemingly in protest because his team did not make the NCAA Tournament:

LSU press release.

While I've always been a Van fan, I'm not sure if I agree that the way to protest an NCAA committee decision is to resign.

Elizabeth Williams named Morgan Wootten player of the year

The Virginia prep star has claimed the honor:

Elizabeth Williams, who has led Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.) to a No. 3 ranking in the Powerade Fab 50 for girls basketball, was named Morgan Wootten Player of the Year.

The other finalists included Cierra Burdick of Butler High School (Mathews, N.C.), Ariel Massengale of Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.).

A Duke signee, Williams helped Princess Anne to a 31-1 record and Virginia AAA state championship. Her team's only loss, to No. 10 Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.), occurred when Williams was sidelined for nine games with a left-knee injury.

Williams became only the second player to win the Wootten Award who was not ranked the No. 1 prospect in her class by ESPN HoopGurlz. The 6-foot-3 post is No. 2, as was the 2009 honoree, Kelsey Bone.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Powerade Fab 50 - week 15

As more state champions are crowned, the list enters a more finalized phase:

Rank School (City, State) Record Prev

1 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 32-1 1
2 Bolingbrook (Bolingbrook, Ill.)* 29-2 4
3 Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.)* 31-1 5
4 Spring Valley (Spring Valley, S.C.)* 29-0 9
5 Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.)* 31-2 3
6 Shabazz (Newark, N.J.)* 34-0 8
7 Potter's House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) 36-2 2
8 St. Mary's (Stockton, Calif.) 27-2 6
9 Westbury Christian (Houston, Texas)* 39-1 10
10 Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.)* 25-1 12
11 Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 28-5 7
12 Neptune (Neptune, N.J.) 28-1 15
13 Polytechnic (Long Beach, Calif.)* 25-3 13
14 St. John's (D.C.)* 33-2 16
15 MacArthur (Irving, Texas)* 35-2 14
16 St. Mary's (Phoenix Ariz.)* 26-2 17
17 Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.)* 26-4 18
18 Nazareth Regional (Brooklyn, N.Y.) 28-3 21
19 Wesleyan (Norcross, Ga.)* 31-2 20
20 North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.)* 28-1 19
21 Start (Toledo, Ohio) 20-2 22
22 Goose Creek (Goose Creek, S.C.)* 28-3 23
23 Highlands Ranch (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)* 25-3 24
24 Norcross (Norcross, Ga.)* 29-3 30
25 Riverdale (Murfreesboro, Tenn.)* 34-2 11
26 Twinsburg (Twinsburg, Ohio) 25-0 25
27 Detroit Country Day (Beverly Hills, Mich.) 23-0 26
28 Bob Jones (Madison, Ala.)* 31-7 27
29 Monarch (Louisville, Colo.)* 22-4 28
30 Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.)* 27-1 NR
31 Hoover (Hoover, Ala.)* 33-4 31
32 Montini Catholic (Lombard, Ill.)* 36-1 32
33 Ben Davis (Indianapolis, Ind.)* 23-1 33
34 Inkster (Inkster, Mich.) 24-2 34
35 Butler (Matthews, N.C.)* 30-1 35
36 Hollywood Christian (Hollywood, Fla.)* 31-1 37
37 St. John Vianney (Holmdel, N.J.) 25-3 40
38 Canyon (Canyon, Texas)* 35-0 41
39 Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.)* 36-3 43
40 Heights (Wichita, Kan.)* 22-0 45
41 Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.)* 29-9 NR
42 Fayetteville (Fayetteville, Ark.)* 30-2 NR
43 Berkeley (Berkeley, Calif.) 28-1 46
44 Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.)* 31-2 47
45 Incarnate Word (St. Louis, Mo.)* 26-4 NR
46 Canyon Springs (Moreno Valley, Calif.) 31-3 NR
47 Cypress Falls (Houston, Texas)* 34-2 48
48 Georgetown (Georgetown, Texas)* 35-4 NR
49 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)* 29-5 44
50 Clarksville (Clarksville, Tenn.) 32-4 29

Continued strands in the Madness

Well, the President has filled out his bracket, and there are no surprises. He picks Baylor, Tennessee, UConn and Stanford for the Final Four.

The guru muses about the (real) bracket.

The NCAA selection committee has given Middle Tennessee State a chance to play for its slain teammate.

The Associated Press has named Kentucky senior Victoria Dunlap its SEC player of the year.

Limited vision isn't slowing down Melissa Jones of Baylor.

Yet another well-deserved story about UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell.

Do we really need another study to point out this obvious fact: women's NCAA teams outdo men in the classroom.

High school hoops:

A good strength and conditioning program is crucial for high school athletes. The top coaches know this.

Great piece: some coaches and parents have the wrong point of emphasis in girls basketball.

Year after year, we see it escalating: Parents screaming at coaches, coaches screaming at players, everyone screaming at the referees -- and, it seems, each other. I've taken to plugging into my iPod when I photograph games on the baseline, the better to block out the increasing volume and violence, and preserve the fantasy of a sugar-and-spice haven.

Interesting. And I understand where he's coming from very, very well. Some of the adults involved have completely forgotten that it's supposed to be fun for the kids. It's sad.

WNIT bracket set

Some of your favorite teams, who didn't make the NCAA tournament:

Wednesday, March 16
Delaware at Toledo, 7 p.m. EST
Loyola-Maryland at Old Dominion, 7 p.m. EST
Liberty at Charlotte, 7 p.m. EST
Appalachian State at South Carolina, 7 p.m. EST
Butler at Wisconsin, 8 p.m. EST
Wichita State at Kansas, 8 p.m. EST
Pepperdine at Oklahoma State, 8 p.m. EST
Portland State at Wyoming, 9 p.m. EST
Thursday, March 17
Lehigh at St. Bonaventure, 7 p.m. EST
Monmouth at Syracuse, 7 p.m. EST
Michigan at Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m. EST
UNC Wilmington at Richmond, 7 p.m. EST
Boston College at Yale, 7 p.m. EST
VCU at St. Joseph's, 7 p.m. EST
Morgan State at Virginia, 7 p.m. EST
Kent State at Duquesne, 7 p.m. EST
Arizona at Utah State, 7:30 p.m. EST
Oral Roberts at TCU, 7:30 p.m. EST
Lamar at Arkansas, 8 p.m. EST
Southern at Tulane, 8 p.m. EST
Creighton at Northwestern, 8 p.m. EST
Auburn at Tennessee Tech, 8 p.m. EST
Central Michigan at Illinois State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Rice at Missouri State, 8:05 p.m. EST
Alabama at Memphis, 8:05 p.m. EST
UC Riverside at Colorado, 9 p.m. EST
Denver at BYU, 9 p.m. EST
UC Santa Barbara at Southern Cal, 10 p.m. EST
Nevada at St. Mary's CA, 10 p.m. EST
California at Cal Poly, 10:05 p.m. EST
Friday, March 18
UMBC at Florida, 7 p.m. EST
Drexel at FGCU, 7:05 p.m. EST

Here are the 64 teams in the tournament:

31 Automatic Berths with team record
Appalachian State (25-6), Southern
Arizona (21-10), Pac 10
Boston College (18-12), ACC
Butler (20-13), Horizon
BYU (23-8), MWC
Cal Poly SLO (18-12), Big West
Denver (19-11), Sun Belt
Duquesne (22-8), Atlantic 10
Florida Gulf Coast (27-3), Atlantic Sun
Illinois State (20-10), Missouri Valley
Kansas (20-12), Big 12
Lamar (25-7), Southland
Lehigh (21-10), Patriot
Liberty (22-10), Big South
Loyola-Maryland (20-12), MAAC
Michigan (17-12), Big 10
Monmouth NJ (23-9), Northeast
Morgan State (17-14), MEAC
Old Dominion (20-10), Colonial
Oral Roberts (21-10), Summit
Portland State (20-11), Big Sky
Rice (18-13), Conference USA
South Carolina (17-14), SEC
Southern (20-11), SWAC
St. Mary’s CA (19-12), West Coast
Syracuse (22-9), Big East
Tennessee Tech (23-7), Ohio Valley
Toledo (23-8), MAC
UMBC (20-11), American East
Utah State (17-14), WAC
Yale (14-14), Ivy League

33 At-large Berths with team record
Alabama (16-14), SEC
Arkansas (19-11), SEC
Auburn (15-15, SEC
Central Michigan (20-10), MAC
California (17-15), Pac 10
Charlotte (23-9), Atlantic 10
Colorado (15-15), Big 12
Creighton (18-12), Missouri Valley
Delaware (20-13), Colonial
Drexel (19-11), Colonial
Eastern Michigan (22-12), MAC
Florida (18-14), SEC
Kent State (20-9), MAC
Memphis (21-11), Conference USA
Missouri State (23-10), Missouri Valley
Nevada (21-10), WAC
Northwestern (18-13), Big 10
Oklahoma State (16-14), Big 12
Pepperdine (18-11), West Coast
Richmond (18-11), Atlantic 10
Southern Cal (19-12), Pac 10
St. Bonaventure (20-11), Atlantic 10
St. Joseph’s PA (19-11), Atlantic 10
TCU (22-10), Mountain West
Tulane (22-10), Conference USA
UC Riverside (19-12), Big West
UC Santa Barbara (19-11), Big West
UNC Wilmington (23-8), Colonial
VCU (19-11), Colonial
Virginia (16-15), ACC
Wichita State (17-14), Missouri Valley
Wisconsin (15-14), Big 10
Wyoming (22-8), Mountain West

PDF version.

LSU was stunned not to be in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998.

USC turned down the invite last year, but accepted this time.

JC/CC State Farm Coaches' All-America Team

Congratulations to these fine Junior/Community College players for making the All-America Team, as recognized by the WBCA:

Name Institution Year Pos. Height

Sha’Kayla Caples Trinity Valley CC (Athens, Texas) So. G 5-10
Kyra Crosby Gulf Coast CC (Panama City, Fla.) So. F 6-1
Teshia Griswold Seminole State College (Seminole, Okla.) So. G 5-8
Haley Holmstead Salt Lake CC (Salt Lake City, Utah) So. G 5-8
Jasmine McGhee Vincennes University (Vincennes, Ind.) So. F 5-11
Jessica Merritt Pensacola State College (Pensacola, Fla.) So. G 5-8
Meghan Perkins Pensacola State College (Pensacola, Fla.) So. G 6-0
Micaela Pickens Cypress College (Cypress, Calif.) So. G 5-8
Jasmine Shaw Chipola College (Marianna, Fla.) So. G 5-8
Uju Ugoka Grayson County College (Denison, Texas) Fr. F 6-2

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wooden Award finalists announced

The list:

Name Ht. Class Pos. University Conference

Danielle Adams 6-1 Sr. F/C Texas A&M Big 12
Skylar Diggins 5-9 So. G Notre Dame Big East
Victoria Dunlap 6-1 Sr. F Kentucky SEC
Dawn Evans* 5-7 Sr. G James Madison CAA
Brittney Griner 6-8 So. C Baylor Big 12
Amber Harris* 6-5 Sr. F Xavier Atlantic 10
Amy Jaeschke 6-5 Sr. C Northwestern Big Ten
Shenise Johnson 5-11 Jr. G Miami ACC
Kalisha Keane 6-1 Sr. F Michigan State Big Ten
Jantel Lavender* 6-4 Sr. C Ohio State Big Ten
Maya Moore* 6-0 Sr. F Connecticut Big East
Nnemkadi Ogwumike* 6-2 Jr. F Stanford Pac-10
Kayla Pedersen* 6-4 Jr. F Stanford Pac-10
Ta’Shia Phillips* 6-6 Jr. C Xavier Atlantic 10
Jeanette Pohlen 6-0 Sr. G Stanford Pac-10
Danielle Robinson* 5-9 Sr. G Oklahoma Big 12
Sugar Rodgers 5-5 So. G Georgetown Big East
Shekinna Stricklen 6-2 Jr. G/F Tennessee SEC
Jasmine Thomas* 5-9 Sr. G Duke ACC
Courtney Vandersloot* 5-8 Sr. G Gonzaga West Coast

A lot of repeat nominees, as indicated by the asterisk. Ballots will be accepted for the next two weeks before the winner is named.

Coaching changes:

Beth Dunkenberger has resigned as Virginia Tech's coach after seven years.

Debbie Ryan, who is stepping down as Virginia's coach after 34 years, is calling her tenure there the best years of her life.

Cappie Pondexter of the New York Liberty has apologized for her comments on twitter the other day that implied Japan deserved Friday's tsumani there.

March Madness: game on!

Ladies and gentlemen, the BRACKET.

The number one seeds played out the way most expected: Tennessee, UConn, Baylor and Stanford.

Several thoughts come to my mind......

1. Stanford and Xavier in the same bracket again? Really?

2. Baylor and Texas A&M in the same bracket? Really?

3. Why are UCLA and Stanford in the same bracket?

4. I'm glad Middle Tennessee State was picked.

5. I don't know why Arizona State was chosen.

6. I don't agree with the Texas selection.

7. #10 Marist has a WAY better record than their opponent, #7 Iowa State. Interesting seedings.

8. I don't know which will be the most intriguing first-round matchup: Fresno State vs. North Carolina, Texas Tech vs. St. John's, or Rutgers vs. Louisiana Tech (the being interesting by virtue of the fact that both teams are back in the tournament again after several years).

ESPNW thinks the top seeds should dominate the tournament.

Two out of three of ESPN's main writers feel the same way.

I had formulated my list of questions before I read this: four from ESPN further break it down here, which is interesting. They all agree with me on Texas and Arizona State. They agree with each other on "biggest surprise."

Wish Saturday would get here a lil faster.

Washington coach Tia Jackson fired

Not surprising, given her coaching record for the Huskies. What's a surprise is that the UW actually had the guts to do this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Selection Monday coming right up

The NCAA tournament brackets will be unveiled tomorrow at 4 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. EDT. Can't wait! Check either ESPN or ESPN3.

More tournament wrap-ups:

Hampton defeated Howard to take the MEAC title.

Utah used an overtime to beat TCU for the Mountain West Conference championship.

In the Great West Conference, it was Chicago State over North Dakota for the auto bid.

Prairie View had to rally to beat Southern for the SWAC crown.

UC Davis held off Cal Poly to take the Big West title.

Green Bay captured the Horizon League championship.

Montana squeaked out a victory over Portland State in the Big Sky Conference.

It was James Madison over Delaware for the CAA title.

Gardner-Webb won the Big South tournament, defeating Liberty.

Northern Iowa dominated Missouri State to become MVC champs.

In the Big 12, Baylor Coach Kim Mulkey says Destiny Williams was the key to their success in taking the title.


In the department of extreme lameness, Southern University announced it would not accept a WNIT bid due to financial struggles. Look at the reaction on the face of senior guard Hannah Kador in the picture. What a sad situation for her and the other seniors on the team. If it were the men's team, I bet the school would miraculously find some money for the trip.

ESPNW catches up with Louisiana Tech Coach Teresa Weatherspoon.

Strange situation in the National Christian Schools Athletic Association championship game yesterday in Pennsylvania: both teams were disqualified.

UCLA gives Stanford a run for their money in Pac-10 tournament

Here is my story, complete with slideshow.

ESPN also correctly surmises that UCLA is a contender, but not quite yet a champion.

And I'm glad they put up this video from the post-game press conference, where Coach Nikki Caldwell talks affectionately about Doreena Campbell and Darxia Morris. They in turn talk about life working for their coach. It was touching.

I was leaving Staples Center as the men's game was about to begin, and Chiney Ogwumike was just in front of me with some other Stanfordites. They were headed across the street, presumably to get food. She had on her "Pac-10 Champions" hat, and the net was hanging around her neck. Ogwumike was talking excitedly to her friends, and as they walked down the sidewalk in the opposite direction, hardly any hoop fans seemed to notice she was wearing a net. She and Toni Kokenis don't play like freshmen.

Stanford is looking very good right now. If anyone is going to be able to dethrone UConn, it's them.

I've got to give props to UCLA - they're the real deal, Holyfield. Doreena Campbell said it in the interview above: Caldwell has them believing they can do anything. That's what separates the good coaches from the great ones, is the ability to motivate as well as teach.

Fun day.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mater Dei 59, Narbonne 38

Mater Dei's Jordan Adams didn't suit up tonight - she dislocated her shoulder in Thursday playoff action.

Narbonne at a timeout.

Mater Dei overcame a tough Narbonne squad in the Division I state regional semifinals tonight, on their home court.

Looking at the game on paper, it should have been no contest. Mater Dei is ranked first in the nation, and Narbonne was unranked. However, this game was a lot closer than the final score indicates.

Narbonne, playing its third game Orange County road game this week, played the Monarchs as well as anyone could expect. In fact, the Gauchos led 10-8 after the first quarter, tied the game 24-24 at the half, and were trailing 36-40 after three periods. Then Mater Dei finally turned on the jets midway through the fourth and outscored Narbonne 30-6 the rest of the way for the lopsided victory.

The Monarchs played without two of their starters - junior Alexas Williamson, out with an appendectomy, and junior point guard Jordan Adams, out with a seperated shoulder. Their statuses for next weekend's regional final is unknown.

With those two out, Mater Dei needed outstanding efforts from the rest of the team, and they got one from senior forward Alexyz Vaioletama. She had 25 points and well over 10 rebounds for a double-double. She also had several blocked shots. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who had only two points in the first half, finished with 14 for the night, and Kiki Alofaituli had 11.

Narbonne was led by senior guard Tailer Butler, who had 11, and senior Atoe Jackson, who had 14 points. Just a note on Jackson: this is the second time I have seen her play this week, and for a girl who is listed at 5-foot-9, she plays as tough as can be - and mainly in the paint.

Mater Dei will play Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley in next week's regional finals, at USC's Galen Center.

- IM in OC

Narbonne Coach Victoria Sanders yells instructions to her team.

Mater Dei players gather when a Narbonne player is injured.