Saturday, April 30, 2011

April winds down


Katie Smith rejoins Brian Agler.

The guru is wide awake in Seattle for Smith-Agler reunion II.

The Tulsa Shock released this list of players earlier today who were invited to training camp. But check out the top right corner - the Shock tweeted it too: UCLA's Darxia Morris is also one of the invitees.

Domineque Shorb is still trying to realize her WNBA dream.


No longer the interim head coach, Greg McCall (Erica McCall and DeWanna Bonner's dad) is Cal State Bakersfield's head coach. Congrats, Greg - very happy for you.

Hall of Fame coach Theresa Grentz took the discussion to a whole 'other level at a coaching symposium last night.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Punishment; more shuffling

Cal Poly Pomona may face NCAA sanctions for "impermissible contact with prospective student-athletes, impermissible tryouts and open gyms, impermissible use of student managers and impermissible benefits, in addition to institutional findings involving the maintenance of squad lists, notification of athletic grant-in-aid and the timeliness of reporting alleged violations" in women's basketball, among other violations.

More coach and player shuffling:

Louisville loses a third, as Nikki Burton leaves the team.

(Which college team has lost the most players due to transfers? I'd love to know).

Former LSU assistant Joni Crenshaw has joined the Georgia staff.


The LA Sparks update fans on player seasons abroad. Most significantly, Delisha Milton-Jones and Candace Parker both lead their teams to national championships. Parker was named Russian League Player of the Year.

Club ball:

ESPN has a nice slide show honoring the opening of the season.

Mystics, Fever, Storm trade up

In a three-way trade earlier today, the Washington Mystics took Jasmine Thomas from Seattle; the Storm got Katie Smith and Jacinta Monroe from the Mystics; Indiana got Erin Phillips from Seattle.

The Fever's take.

The Storm's view.

Interesting trade.

Training camp begins May 15.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spotlight on Tamika Catchings

Tamika Catchings' story of overcoming her hearing impairment to become one of the best pro ballers in the WNBA has been told before, but it never gets old. In addition to her perseverance, I also admire her character and giving nature; many do as well.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei High School leads USA Today's all-USA high school basketball team.

Like the LA Sparks, the Tulsa Shock will hold open tryouts.

Grim-looking report card

The 2010-11 Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report Card includes these grim facts:

The report shows the vast majority of people holding key positions on the major newspapers and media Web sites in the United States and Canada are white and male. The following report findings demonstrate that:
 97 percent of the sports editors were white.
 85 percent of the assistant sports editors were white.
 86 percent of the columnists were white.
 86 percent of the reporters were white.
 90 percent of the copy editors/designers were white.
 94 percent of the sports editors were men.
 90 percent of the assistant sports editors were men.
 90 percent of the columnists were men.
 89 percent of the reporters were men.
 84 percent of the copy editors/designers were men.

And check the tables beginning on page 16 for more statistics.


UMMC beats Spartak for Russian championship

UMMC, aka the team of Cappie Pondexter, Candace Parker and Deanna Nolan beat Spartak, aka the team of Sue Bird, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Epiphany Prince and Noelle Quinn, 75-70. This is UMMC's second consecutive Russian championship.

Box score:

SPARTAK V MR (Coach: Chatman, Pokey)
Field Goals Rebounds Fouls Blocks
# Name min 2pm-a 3pm-a ftm-a off def tot ast cm rv st fv ag to pts rnk
10 Bird, Sue 36 4-6 2-3 2-2 0 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 3 16 12
12 Osipova, Irina 35 6-10 0-0 1-1 3 8 11 2 2 1 0 2 0 4 13 19
40 McWilliams-Franklin, Taj 33 6-9 1-2 6-7 1 5 6 1 3 6 0 1 0 4 21 23
4 Prince, Epiphanny 33 4-6 0-3 6-6 0 2 2 2 4 3 1 0 0 2 14 11
8 Korstine, Ilona 18 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 2 4
45 Quinn, Noelle 18 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 3
6 Petrovic, Sonja 13 2-6 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 4 -1
9 Milovanovic, Jelena 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 2
7 Vieru, Natalia 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
14 Grishaeva, Nadezhda DNP - Coach's Decision
33 Sokolovskaya, Irina DNP - Coach's Decision
11 Ruzanova, Ekaterina DNP - Coach's Decision

Total 23-42 3-9 15-16 6 23 29 10 15 16 3 3 0 16 70 0

UMMC (Coach: Vetra, Gundars)
Field Goals Rebounds Fouls Blocks
# Name min 2pm-a 3pm-a ftm-a off def tot ast cm rv st fv ag to pts rnk
9 Dumerc, Celine 34 1-2 3-5 3-4 0 0 0 7 3 5 3 0 0 1 14 21
23 Pondexter, Cappie 31 7-7 0-2 1-1 0 2 2 2 2 3 0 0 0 2 15 16
11 Stepanova, Maria 31 5-9 0-0 1-3 4 7 11 2 2 2 0 2 0 1 11 19
7 Gruda, Sandrine 21 1-7 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 3 0 1 1 0 1 2 -4
4 Arteshina, Olga 12 0-3 0-1 0-0 2 1 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 -2
14 Nolan, Deanna 33 6-13 0-0 1-1 2 3 5 2 1 1 2 0 0 0 13 15
13 Parker, Candace 26 10-17 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 3 3 4 2 0 0 1 20 21
25 Abrosimova, Svetlana 7 0-0 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 -1
12 Bibrzycka, Agnieszka DNP - Coach's Decision
10 Vidmer, Tatiana DNP - Coach's Decision

Total 30-58 3-9 6-9 9 18 27 16 16 15 9 3 0 7 75 0

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lauren Jackson to sit out; Laurel Richie downplays; interesting college news

Australian superstar Lauren Jackson will sit out the first half of the 2012 WNBA season to prepare for the Olympics.

More on new WNBA president Laurel Richie:

Apparently I wasn't the only one incredulous at finding out Richie has never been to a WNBA game. In an interview, both she and NBA president David Stern downplayed that fact, and pointed to her marketing expertise as the most important factor in her hiring.

ESPN also doesn't seem to think it matters, and puts the blame for Richie's "not being approached" to buy tickets on the league itself.

A chance encouter with Storm CEO Karen Bryant two months ago lead to Richie's interest in the position, which she now calls her "dream job."


College news:

Texas A&M are not only national champions, they are also national winners for breast cancer. The Aggies raised $61,000 from their "Pink Zone" game this season - more than any other college. Awesome.

WNIT winners Toledo made money off their participation in the event.

Jalie Mitchell is jumping ship, from being an assistant to Cynthia Cooper-Dyke at UNCW to working for Karen Aston at North Texas. Wow!

High school/recruits:

ESPN has more evaluations from viewing weekend, including the Boo Williams tourney, the Blue Chip Preseason Challenge, and the Deep South - tip sheet one and tip sheet two.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Some "wow" stuff


Uh, what??!! New WNBA president Laurel Richie has never been to a freakin game.

Remaining free agents of interest:

Cheryl Ford
Chamique Holdsclaw
Tiffany Jackson
Jennifer Lacy
Ivora Latta
Betty Lennox
Nicole Oldhe
Katie Smith
Christi Thomas



Lindsay Gottlieb is ecstatic in her return to Cal.

Charlotte's new coach is Cara Consuegra.

University of Washington Coach Kevin McGuff is getting his staff assembled.

Gavin Petersen is Hawaii's new assistant.

Super dope bonus:

One picture, two lives: Cathy Clarke, Cait McMahan united in art and recovery. What a story.

Brittney Griner, Courtney Vandersloot added to USA Basketball training camp roster

What an honor:

Twenty-two members of the 2009-12 USA Basketball Women’s National Team, including all 12 who aided the USA to the 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medal, will attend the USA National Team’s May 10-12 training camp in Las Vegas, Nev., USA Basketball today announced. Additionally, Baylor University sophomore Brittney Griner and the Chicago Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot have accepted invitations to participate in the camp in the hopes of being added to the USA National Team pool.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A few goodies

Love this: there's a new hoops documentary out, and the subject is Louisville freshman point guard Shoni Schimmel. "Off the Rez," AKA the Umatilla, Oregon Indian Reservation, is where Schimmel learned her attack-style of play. I need to see this one.

More coaching shifts:

Charlotte has chosen a new coach and will announce the selection tomorrow.

Amy Champion has stepped down as University of New Orleans coach. Assistant coach Keeshawn Carter is interim head coach.

Assistant coach Greg McCall (Erica's dad) will serve as interim head coach at Cal State Bakersfield in the wake of Tim La Kose leaving for San Jose State.

Sad news:

Iowa sophomore Hannah Draxten has had to end her playing career due to chronic back problems.

Lindsay Gottlieb is the new Cal coach

Joanne Boyle's former assistant is hired away from UC Santa Barbara to replace her.

Seems like a winner.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

From 60 to zero

April always starts out like a hurricaine or a drag race, with the last two or three rounds of the NCAA tournament. It trickles down to a very slow haul, as the WNBA prepares to launch, high school club ball teams are practicing more than they're playing in games, and the Euroleague season is wrapping up.

There's not much going on right now, and that's a good thing. Not only does it give players and fans a needed mental break, but it makes the heart grow fonder. LA Sparks forward Delisha Milton-Jones helped bring home a championship to her Czech team this weekend. Earlier this morning she tweeted that she didn't know what to do with all of her spare time now, that she was lost. It's the same thing high school and college players have been going through for weeks now.

But not to despair. In only a few weeks it'll be time for the WNBA's 15th season, and all the youngstas will be ballin' in high-profile tournaments.

In the meantime, there are a few quick items:

Candice Wiggins remembers when the WNBA started.

Former Stanford assistant Bobbie Kelsey is bringing a winning mindset to her new head coaching gig at Wisconsin.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday pro and college items

Pro tip:

New WNBA president Laurel Richie will have to play catch-up in her new job.

Candace Parker talks about getting inspiration after her injury from former Olympic gymnast Dominique Dawes. She also interviewed with Fitness Magazine, about confidence.

Delisha Milton-Jones' second blog for Slamonline addresses gratitude and giving back.

More new/continuing college coaches:

Yvonne Sanchez - longtime assistant at New Mexico - is now the head coach. Her colleagues in coaching seem to strongly approve this hire.

Austin Parkinson will continue as head coach for the formerly troubled IUPUI program.

Pam DeCosta, who was let go at San Jose State in March, will be an assistant at Oklahoma.

Former Texas great and pro Edwina Brown returns to her alma mater as strength and conditioning coach.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pondering big bucks and womens coaches, part 2

Wendy Parker contemplates the discrepancies between what women's basketball coaches are - more and more - making versus the revenue the sport pulls in.

Do the athletic directors have any plans to market women's hoops? It's a great question:

Perhaps the growing expenditures will prompt some ADs to get serious about maximizing their investment. At future hiring press conferences, I’d like to see them also outline how their departments plan to market and promote the program, offer ticket packages targeted beyond the sport’s fan base of seniors and younger families and get the community more interested in women’s basketball.

Some people I’ve spoken with who are involved in the business and marketing side of the women’s game doubt that separate media deals for women’s basketball, at the school, conference and national levels, will ever come to pass. The women’s NCAA tourney package that includes other non-revenue sports (and that expires after next season) probably cannot stand on its own.

So the pattern of “insane jack” being paid to major conferences in new football TV deals will have to become even more insane. And even if attendance grows, revenue for women’s basketball will be paltry because tickets remain at bargain prices. That Caldwell billboard also advertises season ticket packages ranging from $50 to $125.

I've got some interesting messages from coaches on this issue, so there's more to come..............

So much goin' on

More new NCAA coaching hires:

Xavier hires Amy Waugh.

UIC has named Regina Miller head coach.

San Diego State has chosen Tammi Reiss as assistant coach.

Lindsey Wilson is Eastern New Mexico's new coach.

USA Basketball:

Iowa State's Bill Fennelly will coach the Women's World University Games Team this August in China. Suzie McConnell-Serio and Terri Williams-Flournoy will assist.

Four coaches will assist Geno Auriemma at USA Women's National Training Camp next month in Las Vegas: Marynell Meadors, Corey Gains, Jennifer Gillom and Doug Bruno. Interesting crew.


Nebraska will travel to Europe in August to play four games.

Cal players recently had some fun doing community service.

Club ball and recruitment:

ESPN has more on last weekend's Deep South Classic and the Boo Williams tournament.

Other WNBA happenings

The Chicago Sky has traded Jia Perkins to San Antonio for Michelle Snow.

Current transactions.

The Silver Stars interviewed their top draft pick, national champ Danielle Adams. They also talked with Danielle Robinson.

The LA Sparks will hold open tryouts April 30-May 1.

The Euro squads of Sparks teammates Candace Parker and Noelle Quinn's will have a showdown this Sunday, among other updates on their players abroad.

The WNBA has its new President: Laurel Richie

She's Lauren J. Richie, and she's a marketing veteran. She comes from Girl Scouts USA, where she's been the chief marketing officer and senior vice president for three years. More on Richie from hoopfeed. And from Sports Illustrated.

Florida State's Cori Close to coach UCLA

ESPN is reporting that UCLA is set to name Cori Close as UCLA's new coach within a half hour.

Close has been associate head coach at Florida State for the past seven years. She is characterized as "one of the best offensive minds in the country."

Before that, she was a longtime assistant at UC Santa Barbara.

Close, who was inducted into the UCSB Hall of Fame six years ago, will return to her native California.

In a 2009 interview, Close talked about leadership.\

This seems like a solid hire. Close has a tremendous wealth of experience, and she's strongest in offense, where the Bruins have focused so much on defense under former coach Nikki Caldwell. I'm guardedly optimistic.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A little club ball, a little WNBA

That's all that's going on this time of year........

ESPN was at the Deep South Classic this past weekend, and they have this great write up.

Recent WNBA transactions:

April 18
The Phoenix Mercury added Brittany Spears to the team's roster
The Seattle Storm added Breanna Salley and Courtney Ward to the team's roster
The New York Liberty added Ewelina Kobryn to the team's roster
The Connecticut Sun added Stephanie Murphy to the team's roster

New coaching hires

Saginaw Valley State has hired Jamie Pewinski.

Zaenare Antoine has been named Texas State's new coach.

Remember Wendy Palmer? She's UNC Greensboro's coach now.

San Jose State has hired Tim La Kose.

Player transfers:

Only one athlete bagging out this week so far: Oklahoma's Kodi Morrison.

USA Basketball invites 35 to try out for U16 team

Whoa, check this freakin LIST, and so many newbies:

Accepting invitations to trials from the Class of 2013 are 17 athletes, including: Alaina Coates (Dutch Fork H.S./Irmo, S.C.); Kendall Cooper (St. Anthony H.S./Carson, Calif.); Davis; DeShields; Makayla Epps (Marion County H.S./Lebanon, Ky.); Allisha Gray (Washington County H.S./Sandersville, Ga.); Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owensboro, Ky.); Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.); Jessica Jackson (Jacksonville H.S./Jacksonville, Ark.); Stephanie Mavunga (Brownsburg H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.); Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.); Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.); Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.); Karlie Samuelson (Edison H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.); Jannah Tucker (New Town H.S./Randallstown, Md.); Sydney Umeri (The Lovett School/Acworth, Ga.); and Kendall Waters (Bishop O’Dowd H.S./San Ramon, Calif.).

Representing the Class of 2014 among invited trials participants will be 18 players, including: Recee’ Caldwell (Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S./San Antonio, Texas); Sierra Calhoun (Christ the King Regional H.S./Brooklyn, N.Y.); McKenzie Calvert (Byron P. Steele II H.S./Schertz, Texas); Jordin Canada (Windward School/Los Angeles, Calif.); LaJahna Drummer (St. Bernard H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Courtney Ekmark (Saint Mary’s Catholic H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.); Mackenzie Engram (Hillgrove H.S./Powder Springs, Ga.); Gabrielle Green (Saint Mary’s College H.S./Oakland, Calif.); Taryn Griffey (Dr. Phillips H.S./Windermere, Fla.); Erin Mathias (Fox Chapel Area H.S./Pittsburgh, Pa.); Kelsey Mitchell (Princeton H.S./Cincinnati, Ohio); Jaime Nared (Westview H.S./Portland, Ore.); Alyssa Rice (Reynoldsburg H.S./Reynoldsburg, Ohio); Chastity Taylor (St. Anthony’s H.S./Islandia, N.Y.); Brianna Turner (Westbury Christian School/Pearland, Texas); Mikayla Venson (Yorktown H.S./Arlington, Va.); Makayla Waterman (Kettering Fairmont H.S./Dayton, Ohio); and Jatarie White (Providence Day School/Charlotte, N.C.).

Not at all surprised that Mercedes Russell and Erica McCall made the list, but I'm not the type to say "I told you so."

Chris Hansen of ESPN has the list too.

Cool slideshow/interview with U18 Diamond DeShields.

The U19s have a new website.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Skygate, Sparks fate

Somebody posted nude photos of a woman on twitter Friday night, claiming it was Skylar Diggins. Not true.

Los Angeles Sparks:

A veteran and a newcomer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A bit of "first viewing weekend" news

DFW beat the Philadelphia Belles to take the Boo Williams Invitational. They said it was one for Coach Marques Jackson, who died suddenly last year.

ESPN was also at the Blue Chip Basketball Center Court Challenge, also in Virginia, where the Central Jersey Hawks beat the Fairfax Vogues.

Would love to get more links to more tournaments, so if anyone has some, post them here.

Club ball update and then some

Breanna Stewart and her Philly Belles routed the Boo Williams 16U team today in the latter's tournament at Hampton, Virginia.

Not finding any newspaper print on the Deep South Classic, but all the brackets have been updated.

The tweets that I've seen around the country indicate NCAA coaches have had a busy and productive weekend. Notable: UCLA director of operations Pam Walker is on the recruiting trail this weekend, in the absence of a coaching staff. She has been with the Bruins for 22 years.

Speaking of coaching: Kim Hairston will be one of Joanne Boyle's assistants at Virginia. Does this mean Charmin Smith won't be moving to the East coast?

Coaching transfers = different issues

Knowing how I feel about the rise in student athlete transfers, I have been asked what I think about the increased incidences - particulary this year - of coaches changing schools. It seems to be epidemic, to be sure. Maybe these things go in cycles, because athlete transfers seem to be a little down this year while coaching changes are up. But they are two different animals that warrant independent consideration.

Let's use the case of UCLA-turned-LSU coach Nikki Caldwell. From what I hear, LSU actively sought her and then gave her an offer that was impossible to refuse: a $900,000 salary. Similarly, Xavier-turned-UW coach Kevin McGuff is now also making almost a half million, which is more than he made in Ohio. And therein lies the difference between athlete and coach transfers: it's all about the money.

Athletes are taken care of when they transfer. When they get to their new school and have to sit out for a year, their expenses are covered. Whether they figured out they made the wrong college decision, or are wimping out due to "homesickness," they don't have to pay. With coaches and the schools that court them, it's the battle of the big bucks.

The age of loyalty, honor and tradition is gone, wherever you look. People get laid off after 24 years of service, and coaches make recruits swoon and then leave them at the first sign of more green at another school. It's everyone for themselves; that's just the way it is. Especially in this current great depression that we're in, no one can blame someone for accepting a large amount of cash when its offered. In a way, it's uplifting to see that women's basketball now commands that much attention and money.

But it's sad for old school folks like me. There aren't too many Pat Summitts, Tara VanDerveers, Geno Auriemmas, Muffet McGraws or Gary Blairs anymore. Now, one minute someone is talking about "the Green Bay way" and the next they're rah-rahing their new school. And people wonder why society is so apathetic, uninspired and leaderless now.

Let me add this: schools who lose a coach have an obligation to release recruits from their letters of intent. Most do. But three years ago the University of Washington refused to do so when firing June Daugherty to get Tia Jackson - a reprehensible action. I would burn a UW flag if I ever got my hands on one. Kids sign up to work with a particular coach, and if that coach isn't there at the time of the "final sale," those kids need to be free to choose another.

Emotionally, I'm still pissed at Nikki Caldwell's decision. When I see her enthusiastic tweets about her new team or a picture of her on a Louisiana billboard, it turns my stomach. But rationally, I understand why she did what she did, and I can't blame her. Give me some more time and I won't give a #@%$ anymore.

Maybe one day we can get to a point where salaries are synced up to keep a coach somewhere for a while. The kids - who are the ones who suffer in these coaching changes - deserve that.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Have some fun

This column makes numerous great points, but the two issues this LA Times writer is tackling should have been separated.

Yes, the state of high school basketball in Southern California (and many other places) is corrupted. Yes, coaches are trying to hustle and recruit - often without even looking in their own backyards first. Yes, it's getting to be like college recruiting in some places. But that's another column and another topic for some other day. This columnist makes some good points about how the fun is being sucked out of sports for some youth. I caught two instances of that this past week.

An assistant to the girls basketball team and the boys basketball coach at a school I know well were each telling an athlete that competing in track is a waste of their time. Both kids - especially the girl - are doing very well on the track team this spring, and they're having a great time doing it. The girl might be setting herself up to eventually get a dual track and basketball scholarship, if she keeps working. But the coaches both told the kids that "True hoopers would be in the gym 24/7. You're wasting your time doing track."

Pretty damned sad, isn't it? I wish more young ballers would "waste time." Right now kids go immediately from their high school season to club ball season. Sometimes their high school coach also has them in a spring, summer and/or a fall league, and they're pressured to play to keep their spots. The only time off these kids have is in August, and even then sometimes that's interrupted by a tournament here and there. That's why you have kids complaining of complete bodily pain at ages 16 and 17, and saying "they're so tired" of playing. Elena Delle Donne, who dropped out of UConn and took a hiatus from the game for a time, is representative of many young basketball players who don't take time out until either they're forced to do so by injury, or they're about to go nuts.

If there's one thing I love more than basketball, it's balance. It ain't that serious. If a kid wants to do track, or any other sport, then a coach needs to shut the $#@& up and let them do their thing. Track, especially, will help build endurance that every baller needs. Have you ever heard a basketball player say they love to run? Probably not, unless they're on the track team.

The days of the three-sport athlete are gone. There's money in the game now, and the stakes are higher. But kids should be able to participate in two sports if they want to. Not only does it give them a physical break from the same types of repetitive motion, it gives them a mental break. In our culture today, so many of us - young and old - have forgotten how to have fun. Let the kids have fun. Don't insist they do one sport for 11 months of the year. Save all that serious stuff for when they get older, and don't rush it.

Instead of telling young people stupid stuff, more coaches should be focusing on their own game and doing these things:

Seven things successful coaches do

I don't see nearly enough of that going on at the high school level.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Maxpreps California all-state basketball team

Overall First Team

G, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 6-0, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 1AA, CIF Division 1AA MVP, Orange County Register All-County MVP, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, 22.1 ppg, 6.1 reb.

G, Brittany Boyd, Berkeley, 5-6, Sr.
San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro Team, Contra Costa Times All-East Bay MVP, 15.7 ppg.

C, Justine Hartman, Brea Olinda (Brea), 6-2, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 3AA, Orange County Register All-County Team, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, 11.4 ppg.

F, Bonnie Samuelson, Edison (Huntington Beach), 6-3, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 1A, CIF Division 1A MVP, Orange County Register All-County Team, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, 24.5 ppg.

F, Reshanda Gray, Washington (Los Angeles), 6-3, Sr.
Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, Los Angeles City Section MVP, 19.2 ppg, 17.1 reb.

Second Team

G, Hannah Huffman, Carondelet (Concord), 5-9, Jr.
San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro Team, Contra Costa Times All-East Bay Team, 16.5 ppg, 6.6 reb.

G, Jordan Adams, Mater Dei (Santa Ana), 6-1, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 3AA, Orange County Register All-County Team, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, 10.2 ppg, 5.6 reb, 7 assists.

C, Alyson Beebe, St. Joseph (Santa Maria), 6-3, Jr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 3AA, CIF Division 3AA MVP, 20.7 ppg, 12.2 rebs.

F, Hailie Eackles, Pinewood (Los Altos Hills), 5-9, Sr.
San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro MVP, San Jose Mercury News MVP, 23.5 ppg, 8 rebounds.

F, Sheila Boykin, Long Beach Poly, 6-2, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 1AA, Los Angeles Times All-Area Team, 10 ppg, 8.3 reb.

Third Team

G, Janae' Sharpe, Rialto, 5-6, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 2AA, CIF Division 2AA MVP, Riverside Press Enterprise All-Area, MVP, 24.6 ppg.

G, Keani Albanez, Buena (Ventura), 5-10, Sr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 2AA, Ventura County Star All-Area MVP, 21.7 ppg.

C, Imani Stafford, Windward (Los Angeles), 6-7, Jr.
All-CIF Southern Section Team Division 4AA, CIF Division 4AA MVP.

F, Chairese Culberson, Berkeley, 6-1, Sr.
San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro Team, Contra Costa Times All-East Bay Team, 14 ppg, 15 rebs.

F, Saidah Allen, Piedmont, 5-11, Sr.
San Francisco Chronicle All-Metro Team, Contra Costa Times All-East Bay Team, 22.3 ppg, 19.3 reb.


A spot more news

Coaching news:

San Diego State University assistant Jualeah Woods has been promoted to associate head coach, with Beth Burns.

New Virginia Tech Coach Dennis Wolff has assembled his coaching staff.

New LSU Coach Nikki Caldwell is featured in a billboard campaign in Baton Rouge.

Maxpreps' California coach of the year is Tom Gonsalves of St. Mary's.

Club ball:

ESPN highlights a few players to watch this season. They need to dig deeper than that.

More transfers:

Daisha Simmons and Briana Hutchen leave Rutgers.

Kansas State loses three.

Jeff Sink to coach Brea Olinda boys

The longtime girls coach, who abruptly resigned earlier this week, is the new boys coach.

What? And why?

Departures and dismissals

Rachel Story and Polly Harrington are leaving Louisville.

Georgia Coach Andy Landers has dismissed Ronika Ransford and put Arieal Johnson on indefinite suspension for academic violations.

Long Beach State's leading scorer, Brandi Henton, has quit the team.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

First viewing period of the new year

Tomorrow tips off college recruiting season once again. The eyes of most coaches will be on the class of 2012, but a few will pickup some unsigned 2011 seniors or junior college players.

Here's a list of all the NCAA-certified events this weekend, AKA where all the coaches will be.

Two of the most well-attended, that have the best competition, are the Deep South Classic in Raleigh, N.C. and the Boo Williams Nike Invitational in Hampton, Virginia.

Moriah Jefferson is ready for 2011-2012.

I'm happy to say:

1. Here we go again.

2. It's on like Donkey Kong.

NCAA women are getting more love news:

The Texas A&M champs are putting the whole school on the map.

USC has a new fan entourage now. They're called the Galen Groupies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tweener seasons, catch up

New coaches:

Wisconsin's new coach is none other than longtime Stanford assistant Bobbie Kelsey.

North Texas has hired Karen Aston as head coach.

Chantelle Anderson is now an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.

Recruiting and club ball news:

Bria Smith, who decommitted from Virginia after Debbie Ryan's departure, will take more visits in coming weeks.

While I was scouting the California prospects this past weekend, ESPN's Chris Hansen was in Texas at the Cy-Fair tourney. So was Keil Moore. Two stood out: Tyler Scaife and Recee' Caldwell.


Watch new Minnesota Lynx draftees Maya Moore and Amber Harris at yesterday's press conference.

Liz Cambage made it to Tulsa.

New York's Jessica Breland talks about battling cancer. Much respect.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Brea Olinda coach Jeff Sink resigns

I'm truly bummed: after 17 years at the helm for the Ladycats, Jeff Sink is stepping down as coach. The avid outdoors enthusiast, who is only the second girls coach the school has had, after Mark Trakh, wants to try a new channel on the TV of life. Can't say I blame him, but I'm sure going to miss him.

WNBA post-draft action

Here's all that's gone on since yesterday's draft:

April 11
Minnesota traded draft rights of Jessica Breland to New York for the draft rights to Angel Robinson and New York’s own second round pick in 2012

Phoenix traded the draft rights of Tahnee Robinson to Connecticut for Connecticut’s third round pick in 2012

New York traded Kalana Greene to Connecticut for the draft rights of Sydney Colson

Washington Mystics traded Lindsey Harding and a 2012 second round draft pick to the Atlanta Dream in exchange for Ta’Shia Phillips, Kelly Miller and a 2012 first round draft pick

The Minnesota Lynx traded Felecia Chester to the Atlanta Dream for Rachel Jarry and a 2012 second round draft pick.

Here's an informative list of free agents of all types, reserves, trades and recent signees.

UCLA end of the season banquet

The event took place on the UCLA campus (which is so beautiful I wish I lived there). After diners went through the buffet line and were seated, Nikki Caldwell took the mic.

She began by thanking the supporting cast, such as the team managers, doctors and the scouting team - a group of young men who always sat near me. I didn't know they were on scouting duty.

Caldwell pointed out how most of the Bruins were on the honor roll and didn't miss classes or tutoring appointments. It's because of this that respect for the program has grown in the school community, she said.

The outgoing coach then called each group up by class, starting with this year's freshmen: Corinne Costa, Thea Lemberger and Rhema Gardner. She told them to continue to grow, because now they'd be the role models for next year's incoming frosh.

Sophomores Markel Walker, Mariah Williams, Antonye Nyingifa and Jackie Shepard were next. Caldwell had a short comment about each of them, and then told them that time is short, and to make the most of it.

"Don't wait until you're seniors, because you've got two more shots at this," she said.

Juniors Rebekah Gardner and Jasmine Dixon were next. Caldwell didn't have any words of wisdom for them - just a lot of praise.

The seniors - Nina Earl, Darxia Morris, Christina Nzekwe and Doreena Campbell - were especially honored. Caldwell talked about how Nzekwe ran with her teammates in practices even when she didn't have to do so. And about how she'd give Morris the clipboard occasionally during timeouts and tell her to talk to her team, and she did, with great results.

"Your growth in this program has left a mark that will never be erased," she said. "You have branded this program."

A bit later on, she and her three assistant coaches presented the seniors and others with awards. Earl got the persistence award and Nzekwe collected the investment award. Campbell won the Bruin award, and both her and Morris received basketballs for reaching the 1,000-point scoring mark. Dixon and Morris shared the co-MVP award. Apparently they have been homies off the court as well.

All four seniors were interviewed briefly for some humorous moments.

The evening ended with a well-edited highlight video of the season, which began on an exciting note with November's win over Notre Dame. It became more sad at the end - especially when Campbell commented that her college career had gone by fast. And fortunately, that was the only sad part of an evening that could have been a real downer. To the credit of Caldwell and her staff, who are probably leaving town for Louisiana this week, they kept the evening all about the young people, as it should have been.

I interviewed some other season ticket holders about how they felt about Caldwell's departure.

One couple said they were "devastated" when they found out that weekend.

"We thought she was going to build a dynasty," one said sadly.

One half of another couple said she felt like she'd been "kicked in the gut" on hearing the news. (This is the couple who went to every UCLA game this season, home and away.) But she said LSU had gone after Caldwell specifically, and the salary they offered her was unbeatable.

"I could be mad if she left us for $400,000, but $900?" she said. "And a chance to go back to the South where she's from? Ultimately, I have to be reasonable."

The general consensus last night among other fans seemed to be much the same.

We'll see what happens next with this program.

For the last time, Nikki Caldwell addresses the UCLA team and Bruin fans.

Honoring the seniors, from left to right: Nina Earl, Darxia Morris, Christina Nzekwe and Doreena Campbell.

Caldwell's flattery makes them smile.

Caldwell hugs Nzekwe and Campbell.

Dave Marcus interviews Morris and Earl.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Draft day

Draft board:


Pick Team Record

1 Minnesota Lynx | Maya Moore | Connecticut 13-21
2 Tulsa Shock | Elizabeth Cambage | Australia 6-28
3 Chicago Sky | Courtney Vandersloot | Gonzaga 14-20
4 Minnesota Lynx | Amber Harris | Xavier 17-17
5 Los Angeles Sparks | Jantel Lavender | Ohio St. 13-21
6 San Antonio Silver Stars | Danielle Robinson | Oklahoma 14-20
7 Tulsa Shock | Kayla Pedersen | Stanford 15-19
8 Atlanta Dream | Ta'Shia Phillips (Traded to Washington) | Xavier 19-15
9 Indiana Fever | Jeanette Pohlen | Stanford 21-13
10 New York Liberty | Alex Montgomery | Georgia Tech 22-12
11 Washington Mystics | Victoria Dunlap | Kentucky 22-12
12 Seattle Storm | Jasmine Thomas | Duke 28-6


Pick Team Record

13 Minnesota Lynx | Jessica Breland (traded to New York) | North Carolina 6-28
14 Minnesota Lynx | Felicia Chester | Depaul 13-21
15 Chicago Sky | Carolyn Swords | Boston College 14-20
16 Connecticut Sun | Sydney Colson (traded to New York) | Texas A&M 17-17
17 Chicago Sky | Angie Bjorklund | Tennessee 13-21
18 Atlanta Dream | Rachel Jarry | Australia 14-20
19 Phoenix Mercury | Brittany Spears | Colorado 15-19
20 San Antonio Silver Stars | Danielle Adams | Texas A&M 19-15
21 Tulsa Shock | Italee Lucas | North Carolina 21-13
22 New York Liberty | Angel Robinson (traded to Minnesota) | Marquette 22-12
23 Washington Mystics | Karima Christmas | Duke 22-12
24 Seattle Storm | Ify Ibekwe | Arizona 28-6


Pick Team Record

25 Tulsa Shock | Chastity Reed | Arkansas-Little Rock 6-28
26 Minnesota Lynx | Kachine Alexander | Iowa 13-21
27 Chicago Sky | Amy Jaeschke | Northwestern 14-20
28 Connecticut Sun | Adrienne Johnson | Louisiana Tech 17-17
29 Los Angeles Sparks | Elina Babkina | Latvia 13-21
30 San Antonio Silver Stars | Porsha Phillips | Georgia 14-20
31 Phoenix Mercury | Tahnee Robinson (traded to Connecticut) | Nevada 15-19
32 Atlanta Dream | Kelsey Bolte | Iowa State 19-15
33 Indiana Fever | Jori Davis | Indiana 21-13
34 New York Liberty | Mekia Valentine | UC Santa Barbara 22-12
35 Washington Mystics | Sarah Krnjic | Serbia 22-12
36 Seattle Storm | Krystal Thomas | Duke 28-6

Not a lot of copy right now......everyone is still mulling team draft grades, the strengths of the picks, and other issues. But we do have some analysis:

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel breaks it down team by team, and finds that most of today's choices make sense.

A few who didn't make the draft.

Minnesota looks freakin loaded. But then again, how many times have we said that before?

I'm still analyzing the entire draft. I've had a long day that ended with the UCLA banquet (more later), so I haven't had time to sit down and think about it yet. But on the surface, it really does make sense. I don't see any big shocks like I usually do.

What do you think of today's draft?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cal recruits making their decisions

Erika Johnson doesn't know yet if she wants to stay or go. Reshanda Gray is staying. No word from Brittany Boyd.

There's also been nothing from any of the UCLA recruits, who are in the same boat. Does that mean they're all staying? Are they waiting to see who the school will get for a replacement coach?

How about Xavier and Green Bay recruits, whose coaches also deserted them?

All of these schools are at a severe disadvantage this weekend - the first viewing period of the 2011-12 signing year - because they have no coaching staff to attend tournaments.

I do have thoughts on all the coaching changes, but they will wait until after tomorrow night.

WNBA draft preview

Hoopfeed has an EXCELLENT breakdown of tomorrow's WNBA draft, including which team gets what pick. Check it.

My favorite ESPN writer, Chris Hansen, has a good mock draft list for the top 20:

Maya Moore
Liz Cambage
Amber Harris
Jantel Lavender
Kayla Pedersen
Courtney Vandersloot
Ta'Shia Phillips
Danielle Robinson
Jasmine Thomas
Dawn Evans
Amy Jaeschke
Danielle Adams
Angie Bjorklund
Victoria Dunlap
Jessica Breland
Jeannette Pohlen
Alex Montgomery
Carolyn Swords
Angel Robinson
Italee Lucas

The thing I always look forward to on draft day is the unexpected trades, either before or after the event begins - which tomorrow is 12 p.m. PDT/3 p.m. EDT.

Alex Montgomery mulls the draft.

Courtney Vandersloot's stock may go up by the time picks are made.

Cali Classic 2011

This weekend marks the official start of club ball/AAU season, with tournaments taking place around the country. As I was preparing to leave for the Cali Classic 2011 at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Calif., there was an explosion on twitter of high school seniors and college players remembering their club ball days. The seniors seem to miss it already and wish they were still playing, and a common lament from the college players was that they wish they could still play three games a day.


The first game I saw when I got to this talent-stacked tournament was Cal Storm Taurasi vs. Salesian Force Elite. Notable contributors from Nike-sponsored CST were Keitra Wallace of Brea Olinda, Briana Roberson of Troy, Oderah Chidom of state championship Bishop O'Dowd in Oakland, and Kendall Cooper of St. Anthony's. Salesian Force, a newer club team that has a crew of much bigger girls than last year, hung close with CST for a long time before the big girls broke out for the rout. LA City Section Narbonne High School Coach Vickie Sanders is helping coach Salesian Force now, as several of her players are on the team. (I would post their roster, but Salesian's website hasn't been updated).

The next game was Cal Sparks Gold vs. OC Elite Goodsell. As in the previous game, OC Elite hung with CSG for a little bit before Gold put down the hammer late in the first half and ran away with it.

Like the players, I too am getting used to not seeing some of the faces I've grown used to watching play for CSG the last several years: Reshanda Gray, DeAjanae Scurry, Ariya Crook-Williams, and Janitah Iamaleava, to name a few. It is really an adjustment for me.

But the new squad is scary good.

Kari Korver is the lone returnee from last year's FILA Nationals Champions CSG squad. As a junior this year, the three-point specialist averaged 25.3 points per game, and put up seven treys in one contest. Yesterday she was mostly running the two, and using her trademark disruptive defense. She will be a big part of the squad this year.

Several players have moved up from other Cal Sparks teams to join Gold this year, and they made an immediate impact last night. Courtney Jaco of Windward High School moves up the court with lightening speed and has a sweet three-shot. She is just finishing her sophomore year. Mercedes Jefflo of Centennial has an aggressive game, and likes to drive to the basket. Paris Baird of Windward and Keyla Morgan of Long Beach Poly were also impressive on what is the youngest CSG team in years.

But besides Korver, the star of this year's team will likely be Erica McCall of Bakersfield's Ridgeview High School. The young McCall - a sophomore - averaged 19.8 points per game, 16 rebounds and 8.4 blocks. She comes from great sports and basketball lineage: her father Greg is assistant coach at Cal State Bakersfield, and her mother was a track star back in the day. Erica's sister is DeWanna Bonner of the Phoenix Mercury. Last summer Erica joined CSG just in time for FILA Nationals, and she was a big contributor in helping the team take the tournament title (see below photo).

It was immediately obvious yesterday that her game has improved quite a bit since last summer. In addition to going for every rebound as she did at FILA, Erica has excellent court vision. Time and time again she would run to the perfect spot where a teammate would find her waiting at the most opportune time, and she'd score. Erica also runs the floor on every single possession, and is very fast for a tall kid. Someone (maybe her mother) has clearly taught her to run, because you don't usually see that kind of hip extension from a basketball player. She makes great use of her long legs, and gets up the court faster than some guards.

Erica McCall and Mercedes Russell of Springfield, Ore. are probably the best sophomores on the West Coast. And if they're this good now, it's scary to think how good they'll be next year, and the year after.

(I wish I could post the pics I took last night, but my camera memory card is flipping out......)

After that game, I wandered over to check out the last part of the West Coast Premier Black vs. Cal Storm Elite 17U game. The Storm tried, but WCPB wasn't ranked first in Cali last year for nothing. Of course Mater Dei's Jordan Adams showed out, but 6-foot-6 Candice Agee of Silverado High School in Victorville was catching the eyes of fans. She has verballed to Penn State. WCPB's entire roster is loaded, so look for them to be a force again this summer.

I watched another game after that, and then my eyes started to drift south, so it was time to go. But it's nice to be back in club season. And like some local players mentioned yesterday on twitter, Mater Dei does feel like a second home. I know every store around there.......


Erica McCall leaps for a rebound in last summer's FILA Nationals semifinal game. She helped Cal Sparks Gold go on to win the title the next day.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Two days before the draft, WNBA heating up

The Lynx traded Nicky Anosike to the Mystics today.

Alana Beard is ready to return this year after the injury last summer that put her out for the season.

The Mystics and Lindsay Harding can't come to an agreement.

The Storm has added former Duke player Bridgette Mitchell.

The league has Brittney Spears in mind.

College bonus:

Maya Moore won her second Wooden Award.

Texas A&M Coach Gary Blair "has a flair for reaching young people on their level." I knew I liked that guy.

It's official: Joanne Boyle to Virginia

The ACC announced earlier today that Joanne Boyle is leaving Cal to coach at Virginia.

Leftcoasthoops recounts the highs and the lows of her tenure with the Bears.

Very sad.

In other coaching movement:

The candidate list for the Green Bay coaching job has changed.

Wisconsin officials are leaving "no stone unturned" in their search for a new leader.

Jackson State Coach Denise Taylor has been suspended for "undisclosed allegations."

Johnna Pointer has resigned as Colorado's assistant coach.

I look forward to when this all settles down. It's too much.

Friday, April 8, 2011

One basketball life to live

More coaching stuff:

Only a few months after resigning his assistant coach job at San Diego State to attend to personal matters, former USC coach Mark Trakh is a head coach again. He's taken the open job at New Mexico State.

Ladyswish says ODU Coach Wendy Larry is being dissed by the school's athletic director.

One fan contemplates the possibility of losing Cal Coach Joanne Boyle.

Euro news:

This morning Spartak shocked UMMC Ekaterinburg to reach the final of the EuroLeague Women's Final Four. Both teams include numerous WNBA players, such as Noelle Quinn and Sue Bird for Spartak and Candace Parker for UMMC.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

That Texas glow

Viewership for the tournament and the championship game was up this year.

All but one coach voted Texas A&M number one in the final ESPN/USA Today poll.

Parity comes in twos.

Five things we learned from this year's dance.

Hmmm, maybe I should relocate: women outhoop men in Texas.

WNBA news

The Washington Mystics have joined the sponsored WNBA teams: it's Inova Health System.

Australian star Liz Cambage has agreed to play for Tulsa after all.

Courtney Vandersloot has been invited to the WNBA draft.

Maya Moore's got an agent.

The LA Sparks have unveiled their new uniforms.

Adidas has redesigned WNBA uniforms to be faster-drying and 30 percent lighter.

Transfer roll call

Longtime readers know how I feel about this bullstuff:

Daisha Simmons is leaving Rutgers.

Kate Oliver is saying goodbye to Marist.

Kari Daugherty is out of Dayton.

Kellie McCann-Smith says "deuces" to Nebraska.

On the upside, Bria Smith - who de-committed from Virginia when Debbie Ryan announced her retirement - is considering Tennessee. The Vols do have an opening after the departure of Lauren Avant.

More coaching carousel: Karen Aston leaves Charlotte.

It's club ball season!!

I don't have to jones for hoops for too long: there's an all-star lineup of 64 teams at the Cali Classic 2011 this Saturday at Mater Dei High School.

Elite Division schedule.

Open Division schedule.

High School 15U Division schedule.

Joanne Boyle named Virginia coach

Cal Coach Joanne Boyle stated the other night that she "is not the Virginia coach." But she is now, according to CBS19:

The University of Virginia has its next women's basketball coach.

CBS19 has confirmed that Joanne Boyle, who spent the last six years as the head coach at California, will head east and take the vacant Cavalier coaching job.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cain, Avant not returning to Vols

Tennessee has another opening this month, due to this announcement:

Tennessee coach Pat Summitt has announced that freshman guard Lauren Avant will not return to play for the Lady Vols next season.

The Avant announcement came a day after redshirt junior center Kelley Cain said that she would forgo her final season of eligibility because of her history of injuries. Summitt said that wasn't expecting any more attrition. But Avant, who also dealt with a multitude of injuries, came to her on Tuesday and said that she wanted to transfer to a smaller school.

I'm not surprised at either case - but for very different reasons.

Following up on the big night

Cheryl from hoopfeed has got it goin on here.

ESPN comes through with its regular barrage of copy, including videos of "MOP" Danielle Adams.

Christine Brennan of USA Today calls TAMU Coach Gary Blair "the greatest feminist" of the tournament. So I wasn't the only one touched at the sight of a bunch of young African-American women tearfully hugging their older Euro-American coaches, after one had got down on his knees in the final seconds of the game. The true meaning of "Glory Road," indeed.

Too Tall in the news again

ESPN's done a video story on Reshanda "Too Tall" Gray of Washington Prep High School in Los Angeles. Good stuff.....I remember when they were filming this, following her around with a camera.

If you know how much palpable anger, hopelessness and despair lies in certain areas of South Central Los Angeles, you understand why Gray's achievement is so significant. There aren't many like her - much less, achieving kids who are so dang nice.

I don't want you to think all Seattle folks are so naive as Glenn Nelson, however. I taught high school for several years in a neighborhood near Prep, where the crime rate is even worse, and nothing like the incident he describes ever happened to me. That's because I lock everything up with kryptonite and don't turn my back for a nanosecond. I'd recommend people do that wherever they are - even Beverly Hills.

Division I coaching vacancies

Lots of these, unfortunately:

A Change At The Top

School Former Coach New Coach

Fordham - Cathy Andruzzi, Stephanie Gaitley
High Point - Tooey Loy
UIC - Lisa Ryckbosch
LSU - Van Chancellor, Nikki Caldwell
Maine - Cindy Blodgett
Monmouth - Stephanie Gaitley
New Mexico - Don Flanagan
New Mexico State - Darin Spence
UNC-Greensboro - - Lynne Agee
North Texas - Shanice Stephens
San Jose State - Pam DeCosta
Southeast Missouri - State John Ishee
Stony Brook - Michele Cherry
Tulsa - Charlene Thomas-Swinson, Matilda Mossman
UCLA - Nikki Caldwell
Utah - Elaine Elliott, Anthony Levrets
Virginia - - - Debbie Ryan
Virginia Tech - Beth Dunkenberger, Dennis Wolff
Washington - Tia Jackson, Kevin McGuff
Western Illinois - Leslie Crane
Winthrop - Bud Childers
Wisconsin - Lisa Stone
Xavier - Kevin McGuff

Wow, we need more quality coaches.

LA-area high school all-star teams

The LA Times has its all-area teams picked, and there aren't any surprises on the list:

Ariya Crook-Williams, Long Beach Poly, 5-7, Sr. — Averaged 11.7 points in helping the Jackrabbits reach the Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinals.

Reshanda Gray, L.A. Washington, 6-3, Sr. — Averaged 19.2 points and 17.1 rebounds to lead her team to the state playoffs and earn a scholarship to California.

Justine Hartman, Brea Olinda, 6-2, Sr. — The UCLA-bound center averaged 11.4 points to help the Ladycats reach the Division I regional semifinals.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-0, Sr. — The Gatorade national player of the year averaged 22.0 points and 6.1 rebounds. She has a scholarship to Connecticut.

Bonnie Samuelson, Huntington Beach Edison, 6-3, Sr. — Averaged 24.5 points to lead her team to the Southern Section Division 1A championship. She is headed to Stanford.

Alexyz Vaioletama, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-1, Sr. — Powerful player averaged 10.7 points and 7.4 rebounds. She will play for USC.

Alexis Perry, Brea Olinda, 5-6, Sr. — Quick and smart playmaker was a tenacious defender who averaged 10 points a game.

Jordan Adams, Santa Ana Mater Dei, 6-1, Jr. — Long, quick, strong, smooth and versatile, she averaged 10.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 7.0 assists.

Sheila Boykin, Long Beach Poly, 6-2, Sr. — UCLA signee averaged 10 points and 8.3 rebounds.

Moriah Faulk, Santa Monica, 5-11, Sr. — Averaged 13.7 points and had a big game as the Vikings upset Long Beach Poly in a Southern Section Division 1AA quarterfinal. Also headed to UCLA.

Coach of the year: Kevin Kiernan, Santa Ana Mater Dei.

They named Mosqueda-Lewis player of the year.

The Daily Breeze has a much more comprehensive list of both Southern Section and City teams.

Serra's Bria Richardson is player of the year and Serra coach McKinsey Hadley takes coaching honors.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Joanne Boyle says she's not leaving Cal

There's a rumor going around that Joanne Boyle is taking the Virginia job. Not so, says Boyle.

Stay tuned.

Texas A&M 76, Notre Dame 70

For the last two-plus weeks, at the conclusion of games there is an explosion of copy on ESPN - one from Voepel, one from Creme, another from Hays. So it's interesting that things are relatively quiet there - so far - on the western front. There's just this game story, this analysis that credits the Aggies win to Danielle Adams and Tyra White, and this piece on the "X" factors of the game: defense and stepping up for A&M.

There will be plenty of game analysis in coming days. What is sticking in my mind right now is all the extra stuff. The TAMU assistant coach getting on his knees in the final 15 seconds; the fan or parent sitting there, head bowed, hands trembling; the looks on the faces of the Aggies as they came off the court and hugged their coaches and each other. It really meant something to them to win this. A&M had never been to a Final Four in their lives, much less took the whole thing. The championship was not expected, as it is at UConn and Tennessee. They've never had the opportunity to take it for granted, or be upset at "only" reaching the Elite Eight or Final Four. And the deep appreciation on their faces is something I haven't seen in a team in a while. It was refreshing.

As for the Irish? Fear the leprachaun. The only thing more scary than Skylar Diggins is the fact that she's only a sophomore. Don't worry, Digg - you'll be back.

On the evolvement of the sports fan tip, "women's final four" has been trending on twitter tonight; Lil Wayne gave Diggins another shout out, and Chris Brown tweeted his love; Snoop Dogg tweeted love to both Notre Dame and A&M. And a lot of people stopped to watch the game with me at the gym tonight - men and women.

Finally, I'd like to ask why some people thought A&M were the under dogs. I haven't understood it for two days. It seems like only three people picked the Aggies to win: Danielle Adams, Cheryl of hoopfeed and myself. I can't speak for them, but what struck me about TAMU besides defense was depth. They have a lot of weapons, and they proved it tonight.

Cheryl is still toiling away, but look for her usual great stuff to be posted here pretty soon.

Congrats Aggies, congrats Irish. That was the best national championship game I've seen in a long while.

Monday, April 4, 2011

More on Caldwell

Nikki Caldwell was introduced as LSU's new coach at a press conference today. She's feeling confident.

Caldwell is steeped in the SEC.

Just moments ago on twitter, two of Caldwell's assistants - Tasha Butts and Tony Perotti - confirmed they'd be joining their boss in Louisiana. Third assistant Stacie Terry re-tweeted Butts' statement, but has made none of her own.

Bonus: ESPN's wonderful WBCA game tip sheet.

I'm taking a timeout from stories taking all the various angles on tomorrow's championship, because they seem to be exhausted. One happy note, however: clips of last nights games and Skylar Diggins' interview after hers were all over ESPN all day today.

The day after

Hoopfeed has not been sleeping in Indianapolis, therefore tons of great stories and videos here.

Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this morning - a rough one for her and her team after last night's loss. Basketball legend Teresa Edwards was also inducted.

Mechelle Voepel discusses Stanford's woes.

ESPN staff is giving the edge to ND in tomorrow's final.

This morning, Lil Wayne claimed Skylar Diggins as his wife. I think we're beginning to arrive.......

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The University of Washington hires Kevin McGuff from Xavier

There's one less problem for the UW Huskies, as they've hired Kevin McGuff from Xavier as their new basketball coach. I don't know why he was looking for a job in the first place, as Xavier's program is very successful. Maybe he likes rebuilding?

The championship matchup no one expected: Texas A&M vs. Notre Dame

Fans were looking past tonight's games and putting Stanford and UConn in the championship game for a rematch of last year. I was even doing it. But the "underdogs" had different ideas.

Texas A&M used some of the best defense I've seen in years, and a phenomenal final 30 seconds, to upend Stanford 63-62.

In the second game, Notre Dame's Skylar Diggins was a force of nature, putting up 28 points and leading the charge for the Irish to upset UConn 72-63.

Personally, I was speechless after the first game, and shocked after the second. Who knew?

But many folks tonight (including Lisa Leslie) are saying this might be a changing of the guard of sorts. Maybe they're right.

When is the last time there have been no number one seeds in a final? Has anyone ever beaten both Tennessee and UConn in the tournament? Is that green her "Incredible Hulk" look, because Skylar Diggins has grown by leaps and bounds as a player this year. How did each underdog team have the composure to stick with it, not get rattled and finish strong?

Tuesday's final should be intense. If both teams play with the urgency and desire to win that they did tonight, expect a very physical contest.

It's FUN to have two fresh blood teams in the big game. It's something new.

Charlie Creme has a rapid reaction to Texas A&M-Stanford.

The Aggies inexperience trumped the Cardinal's weaith of experience.

Creme also has a rapid reaction to Notre Dame-UConn.

Depth made a difference in the win for the Irish.

Big ups to seniors Kayla Pedersen and Jeannette Pohlen of Stanford and Maya Moore of Connecticut for their brilliant college careers. You will be missed.

WBCA game wrap-up

Eleven ties and 15 lead changes in this game - would have loved to see that:

INDIANAPOLIS -Smyrna (Clayton, Del.) High School's Betnijah Laney, one of the nation's top high school seniors who has yet to declare where she will play collegiately, scored 21 points to lead the White Team to an 83-73 victory over the Red Team in the 2011 WBCA High School All-America Game presented by Nike, played today at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The hotly contested, but friendly 20th annual contest, which features the 20 members of the WBCA High School All-America Team, is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four®. This marked the second year the game was played on the Women's Final Four court.

I went to this game in 2009, before it was on the Final Four court. Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins were playing, and afterwards I was one of the media in the press room asking them questions. Two years later, they are giants on their teams and are playing for the title. Who knows what players this year will be in the same position in coming seasons?

More coaching upheaval

Just a week out from Green Bay Coach Matt Bollant emphatically telling his players to show Baylor "the Green Bay way" in the Sweet Sixteen, it looks like he may be finding another way himself: he's interviewing at other schools.

Xavier's Kevin McGuff is also interviewing.

UCLA says they gave Nikki Caldwell "a very attractive multi-year offer," but she turned them down anyway. Plenty of other Division I jobs are open.

One coach who is staying put is Gonzaga's Kelly Graves, who signed a 10-year contract last week. Bless his heart.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Four more Final Four stories (hey, that rhymes)

Who will win? Four great arguments.

Skylar Diggins and the Irish are ret ta go.

Little-known Texas A&M traditions.

The teams are ready to stop talking and start playing.

Heck yeah, me too - let's get this started already.

Extra: I hear that the "white" team won at the WBCA All-American game today, but of course there's no story or box score to be found on the web. The minute there is, though, I will be posting. There is this video.

WNIT photos and recap

Thanks, IM in OC, for the pictures illustrating the intense atmosphere at the WNIT championship game today. Bless the hearts of the USC Trojans for staying competitive in an environment like that. And that picture of Kari LaPlante breaks my heart.

There's NOTHING to hang your head at in playing a championship game, ladies! Be proud of yourselves, because I sure am.

Melissa Ward(on left) from the 82 championship team and Courthey Robinson(t-shirt) former Trojan team manager were at the game to support the Trojans. Ward is now a commercial airline pilot.

Toledo fans circle the court and the players enter through them before the start.

Play goes on, under the far basket, while people watch the game from the restaurant above the arena.

Fans swarmed the court after the victory as the USC Women of Troy went back to their bench.

One last huddle for the USC WOT after the game ended.

Coach Michael Cooper and Briana Gilbreath hug Kari LaPlante after her college career ended today.


It was a tremendous atmosphere to be at for a college women's basketball game. I arrived 90 minutes prior to tipoff to find tailgaters in the parking lot, like it was a fall football game.

The Toledo crowd was dressed in gold, and was very supportive. There were 7300+ in attendance, and only about 15 Trojan, fans and parents there to root for the Women of Troy.

The game was competitive, and both sides left everything on the floor. Naama Shafir - #4 for Toledo - played the game of her career, scoring 40 points. Even though the Trojans lost, it was worth the trip and the experience.

After the game about a dozen Toledo fans came up to us in the stands and thanked us for coming and supporting our team. As we walked out almost every fan wished us and the players a safe trip back. I wish the So Cal teams had the support that the Toledo Rocket fans gave to their team.

- IM in OC

Me too! - Sue

Three-way tie for AP Coach of the Year

It's never happened before, but we have a three-way tie for the honor this year: Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer, Connecticut Coach Geno Auriemma and Miami Coach Katie Meier.

Nikki Caldwell to LSU

I got the word about 2:30 Pacific time today from one of my best sources that Nikki Caldwell had accepted the Virginia job. Looking at my twitter feed, I wasn't the only one who heard this, as info began to leak about 5 p.m. PDT. But no, it's Louisiana State University that's stealing the brilliant coach away. The story burst about 50 minutes ago.

Though they don't yet say what her salary will be in Tigerville, you would assume it's going to be much more than it was at UCLA. It's been said that the Bruins "have a long history of underpaying coaches." Don't know if that's true, but the whole thing is sad. The air is filled with "coulda been"s, as in what she could have done with the program if she'd kept going.

Caldwell didn't return my voicemail this afternoon, but I still have one more question: will there still be a team banquet in nine days?

I'm also accepting nominations for a new college team to follow. I might take pro nominations too.

Following up

Here's the WBCA All-American basketball team:

Danielle Adams, Texas A&M University
Skylar Diggins, University of Notre Dame
Brittney Griner, Baylor University
Amber Harris, Xavier University
Shenise Johnson, University of Miami
Jantel Lavender, Ohio State University
Maya Moore, University of Connecticut
Nneka Ogwumike, Stanford University
Shekinna Stricklen, University of Tennessee
Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga University

And check out the list of honorable mentions.

Hoopfeed is doing a great job going to every event today. This will keep you on top of everything.

In the WNIT, Toledo won the 'ship, beating USC 76-68 in front of 7,301 fans.

When the WBCA high school All-America game finishes up, I'll have something on that too.


In-between time news

Maya Moore just won the Wade Trophy for the third time in a row - the first player ever to do that. Still waiting for a complete listing of the entire team, as right now the only updates are from twitter. Can't wait to hear about it.

In the meantime.......

The Final Four teams are somewhat a reflection of their coaches.

Three of the four teams there have experienced point guards, which is no surprise.

WNIT final is today:

USC's defense will pose a problem for Toldeo in the 3 p.m. matchup.

The LA Times also chose to acknowledge the game (what a shock).

Friday, April 1, 2011

Final Four getting going, high school turns to club ball

Everyone's arriving in Indianapolis........

On the lighter side: former Stanford Cardinal Roslyn Gold-Onwude breaks down the tournament fashion bracket. (Nikki Caldwell was robbed)

Present Cardinal freshman Chiney Ogwumike is enjoying her year. She was a mere 15 days old when Stanford won its last championship.

Apparently, behind all that on-court iciness, Maya Moore has a great sense of humor, among other attributes:

"She's very private, she's very closed, and her personality comes out on the court and when she is with her teammates off the court," Auriemma said. "But most other times she's Maya Moore -- she's running for president."......

Her mother, Kathryn, said the world sees only the public version of Moore. Her daughter also plays the drums. And she's got a knack for being in front of the camera, ever since she played a wayward child in a church movie.

"What you guys see is not half of who she is, not half," Kathryn Moore said. "She's got an amazing sense of humor, and she loves to have fun. So when I see her on interviews, I'm like, 'OK, she's very composed.' Once you get to know her one-on-one, you see another side of her. Her teammates talk about that."

Let the games begin.

The WBCA High School All-American game is tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. PDT/4:30 p.m. EDT.

Another collegiate item:

Gonzaga's Courtney Vandersloot has won the Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the nation's top NCAA Division I point guard.

A little more on the McDonald's All-American game:

In breaking the tournament record for scoring, Elizabeth Williams was named MVP.

If I could find a freakin box score, I would have known that Reshanda Gray, interviewed in this space yesterday, was the team-high rebounder for the West.

Club ball season is in full effect:

High school season is over and club ball season is on like Donkey Kong. ESPN has an Ohio tip sheet and one for Georgia, or Gerja, as Medea would say.

Next weekend will be a major club ball tournament at Mater Dei High School in Anaheim. The following weekend is the first official recruiting weekend of the new season for college coaches. Teams I know will be headed to the Deep South Classic in North Carolina.

Cool high school bonus:

Ruth Lovelace coaches both the girls and boys varsity basketball teams at Bedford-Stuyvesant High School.