Tuesday, March 31, 2015

UConn's dominance is a drag

Columnist John Smallwood is right on the money with this piece: Dominant UConn is taking all the excitement out of women's basketball

It's always risky to make a foregone conclusion of a sporting event before the title game is played, much less the semifinals, but UConn winning its record 10th title is about as solid a lock as you will ever get.....

Still, being great does not necessarily mean being interesting, and, through no fault of their own, the greatness of the Huskies has made NCAA women's basketball unappealing.

Unless you are an alumnus or fan of Connecticut, you will need to watch only the first 25 minutes or so of next Tuesday's NCAA title game.

By then, the Huskies probably already will have beaten whomever they are playing to a pulp. Or at least gotten close.

At that point, the only question left will be whether the eventual loser stays within 15 points.

For the men's Final Four, Kentucky might come in as the undefeated favorite, but everyone knows the Wildcats can be taken out by any of the other three participants - Wisconsin, Duke or Michigan State.

No one will be stunned if Kentucky does not win the NCAA title.

It is just the opposite for the women.

We have had some of the greatest competition in basketball this past season, and so far in the NCAA Tournament, in the history of women's hoops - except for games UConn played in. Fans know they will probably win the title yet again next week.

I respect what UConn coaches and players have built. I have nothing against any of them. But they've made the Tournament a let-down. Their domination has become boring and passe, except to Husky fans.

I wonder, like Smallwood, what is being done to develop the game and bring up more players? It doesn't seem like much, at the moment.

Around the way

Tournament news:

Once a doormat, South Carolina is one step from the final game. Coach Dawn Staley has taken her team on an unorthodox route to success.

Gamecock senior Aleighsa Welch blogs.

Maryland's secret? Versatility. Lexie Brown and her teammates are savoring their Final Four berth.

Non-Tournament news:

Six players are transferring from Illinois State.

Former Indiana guard Taylor Agler has landed at Texas Tech.

USA Basketball:

Pan-American team coaches are Iowa's Lisa Bluder, Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky, and Scott Rueck of Oregon State.

WNBA news:

A little something I heard about last Friday: the Sparks have named former Indiana coach Curt Miller assistant coach.

AP All-American teams

Associated Press All-Americans:

First team

Jewell Loyd
Breanna Stewart
Tiffany Mitchell
Nina Davis
Amanda Zahui B.

Second team

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Brittany Boyd
Moriah Jefferson
Elizabeth Williams
Kelsey Mitchell

Third team:

Samantha Logic
Reshanda Gray
Lexie Brown
A'ja Wilson
Jillian Alleyne
Ruth Hamblin

Monday, March 30, 2015

Final Four is set

Dayton presented Connecticut a great battle, including leading by one at halftime and scoring more points on them in the first period than any team since 2008. But the Huskies stepped on the gas in the second half and won, 91-70. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis hit 7 three-point shots, which put her at 393 for her career - a new NCAA record.

Maryland came on strong in the final few minutes to top Tennessee, 58-48.

For only the third time in the 34-year history of the Tournament, all number-one seeds advanced to the Final Four. It happened before in 1989 and 2012.

South Carolina and Notre Dame will face off next Sunday, while Maryland faces Connecticut.

Who will win?

Non-Tournament news:

Baylor is expected to be bigger and better next year.

Liz Stratman is leaving Indiana - the fourth player to depart after coach Teri Moren's first year.

The NCAA has granted Fresno State guard Alex Furr a sixth year of eligibility, for next year. She sustained several injuries.

Retiring Georgia coach Andy Landers still has some country in him.

Tulane recruit Taylor Emery is openly gay.

John R. Wooden Award All-Americans:

Nina Davis, Baylor
Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Connecticut
Breanna Stewart, Connecticut

Link to release.

McDonald's All-American game:

....is Wednesday.

Tennessee seniors have Pat Summitt in mind

In case you were wondering why Tennessee's comeback Saturday night was so emotional, this explains it:

SPOKANE — They are her last recruits, the last players legendary coach Pat Summitt looked in the eye and told, “You’re the future of Tennessee.” But before point guard Ariel Massengale, forward Cierra Burdick, and center Isabelle Harrison started their freshmen seasons in 2011, Summitt announced she was diagnosed with early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.

Immediately the players’ thoughts shifted to playing for Summitt. As freshmen they vowed to win their original coach another championship. Four years later, they’re faced with the last opportunity to do so.

More Tournament news:

The goal of the Final Four is within reach for the Lady Vols.

Dayton reminds UConn coach Geno Auriemma of earlier Husky teams on the rise.

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw appreciates her team's run more than ever.


These are the seniors the WNBA has their eyes on.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The rest of the basketball world......

Non-Tournament news:

Iowa's four seniors are leaving a legacy.

Despite their loss yesterday, the future is bright for Texas.

Tiffany Lewis and Shelbie Davenport are leaving Clemson.

Colorado coach Linda Lappe sees light at the end of the tunnel.

Women still make pennies on the dollar in college coaching.

Division II:

Cal Baptist's historic run to the national championship has reset the bar for the program.

WNIT quarterfinal results:

West Virginia 75, Villanova 70 OT
Michigan 69, Southern Miss 60
Temple 69, Middle Tennessee 57
UCLA 82, Saint Mary's 66

West Virginia will host Temple and Michigan will host UCLA in Wednesday's semifinals.

Two Final Four tickets punched

South Carolina used a last-minute run to surge past Florida State, 80-74, and win the Greensboro regional.

Tiffany Mitchell's super finish lifted the team.

Hundreds of fans welcomed the Gamecocks back to Columbia, S.C.

Notre Dame also used a late-game run to beat Baylor, 77-68.

More Tournament news:

Shatori Walker-Kimbrough's "swag" has kept Maryland rolling in the Tournament.

The Terps are gearing to face Tennessee.

Dayton looks a lot like a team UConn has seen before.

Olivia Gaines is a behind-the-scenes leader for South Carolina.

Practice makes pretty play for Irish guard Jewell Loyd.

Why Oklahoma City could host a Final Four someday.

Lady Vol senior Isabelle Harrison is still leading, despite her ACL injury.

Tennessee's win last night was a familiar comeback. The Lady Vols simply seized the moment.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Last four tickets to Elite 8 punched....along with thousands of defibrillators

If you were like me, it took some time to recover from watching Tennessee's defeat of Gonzaga in overtime, 73-69:

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - For more than 33 minutes, Gonzaga did more than answer every challenge presented by Tennessee.

The underdogs were running the storied Lady Vols out of the gym, on the cusp of pulling off an upset that would be regarded as one of the best in NCAA Tournament history even if it came with the tinge of having somewhat of a homecourt advantage.

And then it was gone for No. 11 seed Gonzaga. The second-seeded Lady Vols turned up the pressure and the Bulldogs wilted in the closing minutes, losing 73-69 in overtime, bringing to an end their NCAA tourney run.

The Lady Vols won it on free throws - 21 0f 22 overall, and 10 in overtime. They didn't score one field goal in the extra period:

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Tennessee was having trouble sinking field goals but fortunately the free throws kept dropping and dropping.

The Lady Vols made all 10 of their shots from the line in overtime -- and missed all five field goal attempts -- to beat Gonzaga 73-69 on Saturday to advance to the Spokane Regional final of the NCAA tournament.

Tennessee shot only 32 percent from the floor for the game, but made 21 of 22 free throws to come back from a 17-point, second-half deficit for the win.

Kara Lawson's analysis.

Before that we had an upset, as Dayton topped Louisville, 82-66.

We had an unsurprising win, as Maryland downed Duke, 65-55.

And Connecticut routed Texas, 105-54.

Tomorrow's schedule:

South Carolina vs. Florida State, noon Pacific time, ESPN.

Baylor vs. Notre Dame, 5:30 p.m. Pacific time, ESPN.

Monday's schedule:

Dayton vs. Connecticut, 4 p.m. Pacific, ESPN.

Maryland vs. Tennessee, 6 p.m. Pacific, ESPN.

More Tournament news:

What it's like to play for Dawn Staley.

Division II:

California University of Pennsylvania ended an emotional season, which included the death of a teammate, won the Division II Championship last night. They took down Cal Baptist, 86-69.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Outside the Tournament

Player news:

Princeton's Blake Dietrick will forego lacrosse for a chance to be drafted into the WNBA.

Team news:

Louisiana Tech and new coach Tyler Summitt grew this year.

Coaching news:

Central Michigan has signed coach Sue Guevara to a new five-year contract.

New Mexico coach Yvonne Sanchez has signed a four-year contract extension.

East Tennessee State has extended coach Brittney Ezell's contract by four years.


Sunday, March 29

Villanova at West Virginia, 2 p.m. ET
Michigan at Southern Miss, 3 p.m. ET
Temple at Middle Tennessee, 5 p.m. ET
Saint Mary's at UCLA, 5 p.m. ET

Michigan is playing with renewed passion.

Pac 12 all-academic teams:

First Team Yr. GPA Major

Quinn Dornstauder, ASU SO 3.85 Biochemistry
Alli Gloyd, ARIZ RS SR 4.00 Educational Leadership
Ruth Hamblin, OSU JR 3.86 Mechanical Engineering
Kelsey Moos, ASU SO 3.87 Communication
Taryn Wicijowski, UTAH SR 3.98 Biology and Psychology

Second Team Yr. GPA Major

Elisha Davis, ASU JR 3.76 Communication/Social Work
Kari Korver, UCLA SO 3.68 Communications
Lexy Kresl, COLO SR 3.56 Integrative Physiology
Samantha Siegner, OSU JR 3.75 Digital Communication Arts
Sydney Wiese, OSU SO 3.80 Digital Communication Arts


On to the Elite 8

The Greensboro regional is poppin:

An intense, back-and-forth game between South Carolina and North Carolina ended up in a 67-65 win for the Gamecocks, after a Tiffany Mitchell layup with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Then Florida State survived Arizona State, 66-65, after the Sun Devils couldn't get off a shot in the final seconds.

In Oklahoma City, things weren't quite as tense:

Baylor cruised by Iowa, 81-66.

Notre Dame routed Stanford, 81-60.

All four games went as I expected.

Tomorrow's schedule:

Texas vs. Connecticut

Dayton vs. Louisville

Duke vs. Maryland

Gonzaga vs. Tennessee

I predict Connecticut, Louisville, Maryland and Tennessee.

Another fine day in front of the television set.

More Tournament news......

Player news:

Louisville guard Bria Smith finally gets to play in front of her grandparents.

What's born in Texas should stay in Texas, aka UConn guard Moriah Jefferson.

Team news:

Increased scoring from Andraya Carter and Jordan Reynolds could serve Tennessee well.

The twin towers of Texas will challenge UConn. The Longhorns have returned to the spotlight, but the Huskies cast a big shadow.

Coaching news:

First-year head coach Lisa Fortier has put her stamp on Gonzaga.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wade Trophy finalists

The 12 Wade Trophy finalists:

Brittany Boyd California

Nina Davis Baylor

Reshanda Gray California

Dearica Hamby Wake Forest

Brittany Hrynko DePaul

Jewell Loyd Notre Dame

Tiffany Mitchell South Carolina

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Connecticut

Breanna Stewart Connecticut

Courtney Williams South Florida

Elizabeth Williams Duke

Amanda Zahui B. Minnesota

The night before round three

OK, enough of the break - let's get back to the Tournament.

Tomorrow's schedule:

7 PM (4) North Carolina vs. (1) South Carolina
7:30 PM (3) Iowa vs. (2) Baylor
9:30 PM (3) Arizona St vs. (2) Florida St
10 PM (4) Stanford vs. (1) Notre Dame

Saturday's schedule:

12 PM (5) Texas vs. (1) Connecticut
2 PM (7) Dayton vs. (3) Louisville
4:30 PM (4) Duke vs. (1) Maryland
6:30 PM (11) Gonzaga vs. (2) Tennessee

Player news:

Baylor's Niya Johnson and Iowa's Samantha Logic pass first and ask questions later.

Logic puts it all on the line for the Hawkeyes.

Q&A with Stanford point guard Amber Orrange.

Freshman forward Myisha Hines-Allen leads the way for Louisville.

Duke's Rebecca Greenwell blogs.

Team news:

Maryland works on their mental game as well as their physical game.

The Terps are fun to watch (I fully agree).

Gonzaga is comfortable and confident in the underdog role.

The Lady Vols are preparing in Spokane.

Florida State is ready for their test against Arizona State.

The Sun Devils will focus on rebounding against the Seminoles.

The battle of the Carolinas is bigger than one game.

Unselfish play is the key to the Gamecocks' success.

The Tar Heels lost a couple stars, but they still like to run.

Iowa is ready for a race track paced game.

Baylor and coach Kim Mulkey are as confident as ever entering the Sweet 16.

Notre Dame enters the Sweet 16 with smiles.

Stanford is in a rare underdog position.

Coaching news:

Profiling Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.

Sylvia Hatchell and Dawn Staley continue to battle for talent in the state of South Carolina.

Tara VanDerveer and Muffet McGraw face off tomorrow.

Non-tournament news:

Princeton is building a legacy. Coach Courtney Banghart has been named to Fortune Magazine's list of the world's 50 greatest leaders.

Pitt is excited for the future.

New Mexico has reasons to be hopeful.

Lafayette coach Dianne Nolan is retiring.

Oregon State season review by the numbers.

Minnesota broke records under first-year coach Marlene Stollings.

Minta Spears and Courtney Vaccher are leaving Texas Tech.

Kenisha Bell, Tia Elbert and Hannah Grim will transfer from Marquette.

Jenny DeGraaf is leaving Penn State.

Tonight's WNIT results:

Villanova 63, St. John's 55
Temple 80, NC State 79 OT
Michigan 65, Missouri 55
West Virginia 60, Duquesne 39
Middle Tennessee 82, Ole Miss 70
UCLA 74, Northern Colorado 60
Saint Mary's 77, Sacramento St 69

Oklahoma storms cause travel delays

Notre Dame's flight was diverted due to tornadoes and storms in Oklahoma.

Player news:

Notre Dame junior Michaela Mabrey has gone from role player to key role. And freshman Brianna Turner has exceeded expectations on offense.

Nina Davis' unique style has Baylor gunning for the title.

Team news:

South Caroline is set to take the next step in the Tournament.

Coaching news:

Duke assistant coach Al Brown is sidelined due to a spinal fluid leak.

Coach Kim Mulkey's intense style has brought success to Baylor.

The WNIT pits father and son coaches against each other for the second time this season.


What's up with the Indiana basketball program?....asks one columnist. So much for turning lemons into lemonade.

Division II:

Unranked Cal Baptist ended Limestone's winning streak in last night's semifinal to reach the title game.

They'll play California, who downed Emporia State in the other semifinal.

Division III:

Thomas More beat George Fox, 83-63, on Saturday to take the national championship.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Attendance for NCAA Tournament up so far

For the NCAA Tournament first and second rounds, attendance is up:

Steps taken by the NCAA to address the ongoing attendance concern at the women's NCAA Tournament are working, at least in some places.

Buoyed by two moves in particular -- to once again have top teams host first and second-round games and scheduling more weekend games -- overall attendance was up. Average attendance for those 48 games was 4,709 fans, nearly 1,000 more than last season and the most since 2008.

Still, it could have been better......

Some arenas where host teams usually have robust fan support had more empty seats than usual, a problem coaches say was created in part by the starting times.

Duke played its two games at noon on Friday and noon on Sunday. The Blue Devils drew 2,000 fans less for each game than they did the rest of the season.

The Blue Devils weren't alone.

UConn and Stanford also had sparse crowds. The Cardinal had an afternoon game on Monday which drew the lowest home attendance of the season with an announced crowd of 2,532 -- more than a thousand fans below the season average of 3,693.

Sweet 16:

ESPN's Graham Hays previews each region.

South Carolina enters the Sweet 16 with a chip on their shoulder.

Baylor will return to the scene of the 2013 Louisville mugging, hoping for a better outcome.

Player news:

Louisville trusts in "clutch" Jude Schimmel.

Stabresa McDaniel and Tory Jacobs and leaving Minnesota.

Coaching news:

Alcorn State has declined to renew the contract of coach Tonya Edwards.

Dennis Wolff will return as Virginia Tech's coach.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, wired.

Team news:

Lady Vol NCAA diaries, round two.

WNIT results from today:

West Virginia 57, Hampton 39
Duquesne 48, Richmond 47

WNBA news:

The latest transactions:

March 24, 2015

Team Player Transaction

Los Angeles Temeka Johnson Contract Signed
Phoenix Shameka Christon Contract Signed
Chicago Cappie Pondexter Contract Extension Signed

March 19, 2015

Team Player Transaction

Atlanta Jasmine Thomas Contract Signed

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bishop statement; player and coaching movement

Azia Bishop:

The suspended Kentucky senior issued a statement the day after the Wildcats lost in the second round:

“I had an amazing four years at the University of Kentucky. My season did not end the way I wanted it to, as I was suspended for Sunday’s game due to a curfew violation. I had a lapse in focus and it’s a decision I will regret for the rest of my life. However, it’s a lesson learned, and I respect Coach Mitchell’s decision. This will only better me as a person in the future and shape me to become a woman of substance and who Coach Mitchell has taught me to be.

“I would like to thank the Big Blue Nation for all of their support and love that they have shown me over the last four years. I love everyone associated with the Big Blue Nation and the University of Kentucky, and I want to thank you all.”

Player news:

Tori Jarosz won't pursue a sixth year of eligibility at Marist.

Coaching news:

Jimmy Dykes is more committed than ever as Arkansas' coach.

Coach Ty Margenthaler has resigned at Southeast Missouri.

North Florida is not renewing 23-year coach Mary Tappmeyer's contract.

Today's WNIT results:

Michigan 74, Toledo 58
Sacramento St 84, Eastern Washington 49
Saint Mary's 83, Fresno State 64

Almost-upsets set stage for Sweet 16

I told-ya-so Department:

North Carolina needed a jumper from Jamie Cherry at the buzzer to beat Ohio State, 86-84.

Arizona State rallied from 16 down to top Arkansas-Little Rock, 57-54.

Maryland's dominance ends Princeton's unbeaten season:

Terps 85, Tigers 70. This is may be one game where I don't feel bad for the losers. You just can't be down on yourselves if you're Princeton. And Maryland is freaking awesome.


Connecticut 91, Rutgers 55.

Florida State 65, FGCU 47.

More results:

Tennessee downed Pitt, 77-67.

Stanford handled Oklahoma, 86-76.

Louisville defeated South Florida, 60-52.

So the regional brackets are set.


Connecticut vs. Texas

Louisville vs. Dayton


South Carolina vs. North Carolina (oh, the irony)

Arizona State vs. Florida State


Maryland vs. Duke

Gonzaga vs. Tennessee

Oklahoma City:

Notre Dame vs. Stanford

Iowa vs. Baylor

We take a three-day recovery timeout, and the Madness begins again Friday.

I don't know about you, but I do need a timeout. I've watched a looooot of basketball the last four days.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Second round, day 2: more upsets?

The three upsets that went down today were mind-blowing. The potential for some of the same thing happening tomorrow is very good.

Biggest upset potentials:

No. 3 Arizona State vs. No. 11 Arkansas-Little Rock

The Sun Devils are functioning as one, as they have all season, and the Trojans have vaulted to another level. The game could go either way, as UALR is clearly underrated.

No. 4 North Carolina vs. No. 5 Ohio State

A seemingly fated match up, as both teams lost much coming into the year, but have achieved beyond expectations. The Buckeyes could upset on the force of their sheer determination, which has been great.

No. 4 Stanford vs. No. 5 Oklahoma

Both teams have been shaky, like riding a roller coaster. The winner will depend upon which team - of each team - shows up to play.

Other games:

No. 2 Florida State vs. No. 7 FGCU

Prediction: Seminoles. They are just too good, and could make it to the Final Four.

No. 2 Tennessee vs. No. 10 Pitt

Prediction: Tennessee. The Panthers have come a long way this season, but the Lady Vols are the better team.

No. 1 Maryland vs. No. 8 Princeton

Prediction: Terps. They are insanely good, and may make it back to the Final Four.

No. 1 Connecticut vs. No. 8 Rutgers

Prediction: UConn. No further comments necessary.

No. 3 Louisville vs. No. 6 South Florida

Prediction: Louisville, but barely. I almost put this one in the "possible upset" section.

Suspension; rebranding impetus exposed

Kentucky, who lost today, was without senior forward Azia Bishop, who coach Matthew Mitchell suspended for the game for missing curfew.


Nike made the branding recommendation to Tennessee to change the Lady Vol name.

What’s the injury status for Kahleah Copper, Syessence Davis and Rachel Hollivay of Rutgers?

Today's WNIT results:

Temple 61, Penn 56
St. John's 77, Fordham 63
Villanova 71, Old Dominion 66
Southern Miss 77, TCU 73 OT
Missouri 67, Kansas State 48
Middle Tennessee 70, Arkansas State 60
NC State 69, ECU 65
UCLA 63, San Diego 58
Eastern Michigan 69, Tulsa 59
Ole Miss 63, Georgia Tech 48
Northern Colorado 59, South Dakota 58

The Madness continues in the second round

If you would have told me in November that these three upsets would occur in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, I would have looked at you funny:

Dayton ousted Kentucky, 99-94.

Gonzaga knocked off Oregon State, 76-64.

Texas took out Cal, 73-70.

What an amazing three days of the Tournament so far.

Other results:

Duke downed Mississippi State, 64-56.

Iowa rolled past Miami, 88-70.

Baylor thrashed Arkansas, 73-44.

South Carolina throttled Syracuse, 97-68.

Notre Dame beat DePaul, 79-67.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Conclusion of round one brings more upsets

In the past, teams that lost in the first round were OK teams. This year, the teams who have lost in the first round are some great teams. Further, some teams that have survived have had some very close calls.

Signs of the growth of the game.

Spokane sub-regionals:

Princeton topped Green Bay, 80-70, to go 31-0. President Obama was in the audience to watch his niece play for the Tigers.

Maryland surged past New Mexico State, 75-57. The Aggies made it a close game into the second half, exceeding the expectations of many.

Pitt upset Chattanooga, 51-40.

Tennessee outlasted Boise State, 72-61.

Greensboro sub-regionals:

Arkansas-Little Rock upended Texas A&M, 69-60.

Arizona State dominated Ohio, 74-55.

North Carolina held off Liberty, 71-65.

Ohio State put away James Madison, 90-80.

FGCU ousted Oklahoma State, 75-67.

Florida State dismantled Alabama State, 91-49.

Albany sub-regionals:

Rutgers beat Seton Hall, 79-66.

Connecticut stomped St. Francis Brooklyn, 89-33.

South Florida stopped LSU, 73-64.

Louisville routed BYU, 86-53.

Oklahoma City sub-regional:

Stanford overcame CSUN, 73-60, with a second-half surge.

Oklahoma throttled Quinnipiac, 111-84.

Tomorrow's schedule.

More Tournament news:

Notre Dame seniors Madison Cable, Whitney Holloway and Markisha Wright have another shot. In the meantime, freshman Kathryn Westbeld isn't a rookie anymore.

Tennessee: NCAA diaries 2.

Iowa is eyeing the Sweet 16.

Even more news:

Minnesota's new foundation is strong, coach Marlene Stollings says.

Friday, March 20, 2015

But wait, there's more (for first round, day two)

Tournament news:

Florida State has a very real shot at the Final Four.

Playing the Lady Vols is more than just a game for Boise State.

Chattanooga coach Jim Foster and Pitt coach Suzie McConnell-Serio, whose teams face off tomorrow, have a history.

UConn's early-season loss to Stanford was a wake-up call for senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.

Is there another Cinderella run at hand for BYU?

Maryland aims to avoid history tomorrow.

Princeton has something to prove.

South Carolina senior Aleighsa Welch blogs.

Arizona State's Katie Hempen blogs.

Coaching changes:

Coach Karen Middleton will not return to Western Carolina.

Coach Gail Striegler will not return to Long Island University.

Delaware State won't renew the contract of coach Tamika Louis.


Today's results.....

Toledo 72, Wright State 64
Villanova 71, Maine 60
Richmond 67, Stetson 66
Tulsa 78, Missouri State 72
Eastern Michigan 80, Drake 70
Saint Mary’s 92, Hawaii 88 OT

Wild first round of the first round

Many upsets and several close calls on day one of the NCAA Tournament.

Oklahoma City Regional

11 Miami bounced 6 Washington, 86-80.

3 Iowa held off 14 American, 75-67.

The 'Canes and Hawkeyes will face off Sunday.

9 DePaul rallied to upset 8 Minnesota, 79-72.

1 Notre Dame routed 16 Montana, 77-43.

The Blue Demons take on the Irish Sunday.

10 Arkansas knocked off 7 Northwestern, 57-55.

2 Baylor took care of Northwestern State, 77-36.

The Razorbacks and Bears go at it Sunday.

Spokane regional

4 Duke staved off 13 Albany, 54-52.

5 Mississippi State topped 12 Tulane, 57-47.

The Blue Devils and the Bulldogs play in two days.

11 Gonzaga took down 6 George Washington, 82-69.

3 Oregon State handled 14 South Dakota State, 74-62.

The Bulldogs and Beavers face off next.

Albany regional:

7 Dayton beat 10 Iowa State, 78-66.

2 Kentucky breezed past Tennessee State, 97-52.

The Flyers take on the 'Cats Sunday.

5 Texas edged 12 Western Kentucky, 66-64.

4 California put away 13 Wichita State, 78-66.

The Longhorns and Bears play Sunday.

Greensboro regional:

8 Syracuse slipped by 9 Nebraska, 72-69.

1 South Carolina trounced 16 Savannah State, 81-48.

The Orange and the Gamecocks go at it in two days.


So much excitement! Can't wait to do it again tomorrow.

Naismith Award: four finalists

The four finalists for the Naismith Award have been narrowed down:

Jewell Loyd, Notre Dame

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina

Breanna Stewart, Connecticut

Amanda Zahui B., Minnesota

We're underway!

If you're not there, or you're unable to watch games online, you can track them here and here.

Tournament bits:

Can anyone stop Connecticut?

There's plenty at stake for Stanford in their first-round opener tomorrow.

The Gonzaga-George Washington game promises to entertain.

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell surprised his team with a postseason reward.

Six players to watch in the Tournament.

Player news:

Cal's Reshanda Gray isn't your average Cinderella.

Imani Tate has stepped up her game for Albany.

Nebraska's Emily Cady and Hallie Sample have been friends and starters from the beginning.

Jennifer O'Neill is known for her offense, but Kentucky thrives on her defense.

Oklahoma's Sharane Campbell-Olds is leading the charge.

Coaching news:

Coach Scott Rueck's roots are paying off for Oregon State.

Wayne and Elle Tinkle are getting an unexpected reunion in Corvallis.


Yesterday's results, today's games

Thursday, March 19

Old Dominion 69, Virginia 62
St. John’s 64, Army 56
Fordham 70, Central Connecticut State 67
Penn 65, Hofstra 58
Temple 67, Marist 54
NC State 73, ETSU 58
West Virginia 84, Buffalo 61
Hampton 45, Drexel 42
Duquesne 72, Youngstown State 54
Georgia Tech 69, Elon 47
Middle Tennessee 69, Ball State 58
Southern Miss 79, Texas Southern 69
TCU 85, Stephen F. Austin 80
Kansas State 86, Akron 68
Missouri 69, Northern Iowa 61
South Dakota 68, Creighton 58
San Diego 63, Long Beach State 56
Northern Colorado 53, Colorado State 48
UCLA 70, CSU Bakersfield 54
Sacramento State 87, Pacific 79
Fresno State 79, San Francisco 73

Friday, March 20

Wright State at Toledo, 7 p.m.
Maine at Villanova, 7 p.m.
Richmond at Stetson, 7 p.m.
Tulsa at Missouri State, 8 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at Drake, 8:05 p.m.
Hawaii at St. Mary’s, 9 p.m.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Revving up for first round

First-round match ups:

Washington's back court will challenge Miami.

Opponents Syracuse and Nebraska have had similar paths to success.

American wants to slow Iowa's offense in their tournament debut.

DePaul is eager for their match up with Minnesota.

Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly and Dayton coach Jim Jabir are good friends.

Tulane is ready to face a familiar foe - Mississippi State - in a new place.

Player news:

Duke's Elizabeth Williams readies for her last NCAA tourney.

South Carolina fashion forward A'ja Wilson hopes to add a ring to her jewelry box.

Rachel Theriot is helping freshman Natalie Romeo grow up on the hardwood at Nebraska.

Team news:

South Dakota State enters the tournament with confidence.

Baylor is in their usual role, hosting the first and second rounds.

Coaching news:

Penn State has extended coach Coquese Washington's contract through 2018-2019.

High school news:

Mater Dei's Katie Lou Samuelson is Gatorade's player of the year. This season Samuelson is averaging 30.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game.

'Twas the day before the Tournament started


Notre Dame tops a region filled with dangerous foes.

Kentucky hosting the Tournament this weekend will add to the history of Memorial Coliseum.

Player news:

Tennessee's Jordan Reynolds is ready to make history. In the meantime, Pat Summitt's seniors are eying a deep run.

South Florida's Courtney Williams and Alisia Jenkins are driven to succeed.

Arkansas' Jhasmin Bowen and Calli Berna are getting a nice send-off.

Rachel Banham is out but not absent for the Gophers.

Team news:

New Mexico State and coach Mark Trakh are moving on up.

The Lady Vols seek production inside and out.

Coaching news:

Tennessee State's Larry Joe Inman and Mark Trakh of New Mexico State are the ninth and tenth coaches to take three programs to the Tournament.

Coach Vivian Stringer slams Rutgers basketball facilities.

WNBA news:

Fever legend Tamika Catchings talks about post-retirement plans.

WNIT day one results; day two schedule

Among the winners in yesterday's WNIT first-day were:

Round One
Wednesday, March 18
(all times EST)

Michigan 72, Cleveland State 50
East Carolina 74, Radford 52
Ole Miss 80, UT Martin 70
Arkansas State 61, Western Michigan 49
Eastern Washington 67, Washington State 65

Today's schedule:

Virginia at Old Dominion, 7 p.m.
Army at St. John’s. 7 p.m.
Central Connecticut State at Fordham, 7 p.m.
Hofstra at Penn, 7 p.m.
Temple at Marist, 7 p.m.
NC State at ETSU, 7 p.m.
Buffalo at West Virginia, 7 p.m.
Hampton at Drexel, 7 p.m.
Duquesne at Youngtown State, 7:05 p.m.
Elon at Georgia Tech, 7:05 p.m.
Ball State at Middle Tennessee, 8 p.m.
Texas Southern at Southern Miss, 8 p.m.
Stephen F. Austin at TCU, 8 p.m.
Akron at Kansas State, 8 p.m.
Missouri at Northern Iowa, 8 p.m.
Creighton at South Dakota, 8 p.m.
Long Beach State at San Diego, 9 p.m.
Northern Colorado at Colorado State, 9 p.m.
CSU Bakersfield at UCLA, 10 p.m.
Sacramento State at Pacific, 10 p.m.
San Francisco at Fresno State, 10 p.m.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Pre-Tournament prep continues

Player news:

From a homesick freshman to a stepped-up senior, Tennessee's Ariel Massengale is ready for the Tournament.

Keneisha Atwater has lead FGCU back to the Dance.

Alaina Coates provides a spark off the bench for South Carolina.

Ohio State's Ameryst Alston has added leadership to her resume.

Northwestern's Maggie Lyon blogs about being selected for the Tournament.

Amber Henson will return for a fifth season at Duke in 2015-2016.

Team news:

Cal State Northridge: You should be dancing (too). (I would like to see Maryland and CSUN have a dance off)

Cal: NCAA practice 1, with Mikayla Cowling.

South Florida is getting ready for the Tournament.

This is American's first trip to the Dance.

Tulane is buoyed by balance.

Coaching news:

Former hoops great Cheryl Miller has found her niche coaching Langston in the NAIA Tournament.

The defining moment of DePaul coach Doug Bruno lead to a 13-year NCAA run.

Naismith Trophy finalists for coach of the year are: Dawn Staley, Geno Auriemma, Dawn Staley and Sue Semrau.

WNBA transactions update:

March 18, 2015

Team Player Transaction

Chicago Courtney Clements Contract Signed
Los Angeles Jantel Lavender Contract Signed

Tournament primer 1

NCAA Tournament:

Here's what could happen in the Tournament.

Corvallis sub-regional primer.

Why the Selection Committee was unimpressed with Princeton's undefeated record.

Can Notre Dame overtake UConn?

Seton Hall coach Tony Bozzella is set to enjoy a father-daughter dance at the Tournament.

Player news:

Living up to the hype: South Carolina's A'ja Wilson has been as good as advertised.

Shae Kelley is making the most out of her one year at Minnesota.

Stanford will need Lili Thompson's A-game in the NCAA Tournament.

Undersized Alexa Hart and Shayla Cooper have come up big for Ohio State.

Jenna Frush has found her role, and happiness at Duke.

Team news:

Unbeaten Princeton is undeterred by their No. 8 seed.

Oregon State has refocused after their early Pac 12 Tournament loss.

Guard play is the key to Texas A&M's success.

A three-headed post tandem off the bench anchors Arizona State.

Even in the Big Ten, Rutgers can't avoid UConn.

Stanford is adapting for success.

Quinnipiac is making a mark in the shadow of UConn.

Coaching news:

Sue Semrau is still building a legacy at Florida State.

Coach Bob Boldon's plan drives Ohio's success.

Coach Kevin Borseth has taken Green Bay dancing again.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Your chances of winning the championship are.....

Click the link and see your favorite team's chances of progressing through the Tournament, and winning the national title.

Fascinating stuff.

Plot twists and turns

Player news:

Tennessee seniors Cierra Burdick and Ariel Massengale are the last of the Pat Summitt recruits.

For a pawn in a disputed transfer, Daisha Simmons' move to Seton Hall was a winner.

Mississippi State's Victoria Vivians is healthy entering the NCAA Tournament.

Blake Dietrick drives undefeated Princeton.

Nina Davis and Niya Johnson are another top-ranked duo for Baylor.

March Madness is UConn forward Breanna Stewart's favorite time of the year (me too).

Arielle Roberson will graduate from Colorado and not return for her senior season.

Freshman Paris Kea is leaving Vanderbilt.

Team news:

Nebraska's senior class stuck together and made history with four consecutive Tournament bids. Coach Connie Yori is proud.

Last night's selection show created memories for Notre Dame.

Stanford's success this season has been a pleasant surprise.

Florida is feeling the pain of not being selected.

Michigan wants to close out the season on a positive note in the WNIT.

The cost of the Tournament for Rutgers is $102,500, and counting.

President Obama's picks:

The President has a vested interest in Princeton.

WNBA news:

The Storm waived veteran Temeka Johnson.

Selection Monday reactions

ESPNW put together a top 11 of team reactions to their seeding, their match up, or being selected.

My favorite has to be Maryland, who is known for lots of fun locker room antics. When announced as a No. 1 seed, a few players began "body rolling." ESPN played this video at the very end of last night's Selection Show, and I just stood there laughing.

I'm mystified by Louisville's reaction, though.

About that life

Player news:

Jewell Loyd's toughness and leadership have earned the Notre Dame junior her all-star stripes.

Iowa guard Samantha Logic is ending her college career in style.

Team news:

The pressures of being undefeated? Princeton is ready for the test.

For the Hawkeyes, it's site, seed and deliver.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma says the Huskies are no lock for a three-peat.

Coaching news:

Rice coach Greg Williams is retiring.

Pro news:

Diana Taurasi is focused on playing in Russia, where the money is.

The WNBA dream of Iona College's Damika Martinez is one step closer to being a reality.

Catching up on WNBA transactions:

March 13, 2015

Team Player Transaction

Tulsa Vicki Baugh Contract Signed
San Antonio Danielle Adams Contract Signed
Washington Kia Vaughn Contract Extension Signed

Mo'Ne Davis:

....has her own sneaker line, which aims to eradicate child poverty.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Other things that happened today besides selections

Coaching news:

Andy Landers - the only women's basketball coach Georgia has ever had - is hanging it up after 36 seasons.

UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey isn't a typical assistant coach.

Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings wants the Gophers to be Tournament regulars.

Detroit has fired coach Autumn Rademacher.

Team news:

Notre Dame hopes to follow a familiar path to a different ending.

Michigan State has decided to skip the postseason.

Player news:

California University of Pennsylvania's Shanice Clark died in January from a blood disease, the coroner has ruled. Originally it was thought she had inhaled chewing gum.

Pro news:

Australia could be without both Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor at next year's Olympic Games.

Shock guard Skylar Diggins is staying home - for now.

WNIT bracket

The WNIT bracket is out, and at this moment, WNIT is trending on twitter.

Some of your favorite teams that did not make the NCAA Tournament will be playing:

Sacramento State
Cal State Bakersfield
San Francisco
Long Beach State
St. Mary's
Kansas State
Eastern Michigan
Southern Miss
Colorado State
Georgia Tech
Ole Miss
West Virginia
St. John's
Old Dominion

.....just to name a few.

2015 NCAA Tournament bracket analysis

The bracket is out, and the first and second-round regionals locations are announced.

Now that the dust has settled.......

The number one seeds are Connecticut, Maryland, Notre Dame and South Carolina, which isn't at all surprising. Other seedings are more difficult to discern. Considering the ratings percentage indexes of all of the chosen teams, below, their Tournament seeds don't always make sense.

Notre Dame (ACC) 1
Tennessee (SEC) 2
South Carolina (SEC) 3
Baylor (BIG12) 4
Connecticut (AMER) 5
Maryland (BIG10) 6
Louisville (ACC) 7
Kentucky (SEC) 8
Iowa (BIG10) 9
Florida State (ACC) 10
George Washington (A-10) 11
Duke (ACC) 12
Princeton (IVY) 13
Dayton (A-10) 14
North Carolina (ACC) 15
Stanford (PAC12) 16
Florida Gulf Coast (A-SUN) 17
Oregon State (PAC12) 18
Arizona State (PAC12) 19
Texas (BIG12) 20
Chattanooga (SOCON) 21
Green Bay (HL) 22
Oklahoma (BIG12) 23
Quinnipiac (MAAC) 24
California (PAC12) 25
James Madison (CAA) 26
South Florida (AMER) 27
Western Kentucky (C-USA) 28
Ohio State (BIG10) 29
Mississippi State (SEC) 30
Washington (PAC12) 31
Northwestern (BIG10) 32
Arkansas-Little Rock (SBC) 33
Nebraska 34
Syracuse (ACC) 35
Texas A&M (SEC) 36
Wichita State (VALLEY) 37
DePaul (BIGEAST) 38
Pittsburgh (ACC) 39
Seton Hall (BIGEAST) 40
Arkansas (SEC) 41
Rutgers (BIG10) 42
Gonzaga (WCC) 43
Minnesota (BIG10) 44
Oklahoma State (BIG12) 45
Duquesne (A-10) 46
Arkansas State (SBC) 47
American (PATRIOT) 48
South Dakota State (SUMM) 49
Tulane (AMER) 50
Pennsylvania (IVY) 51
Ohio (MAC) 52
Brigham Young (WCC) 53
Iowa State (BIG12) 54
Louisiana State (SEC) 55
Georgia (SEC) 56
Stetson (A-SUN) 57
Fresno State (MWC) 58
Vanderbilt (SEC) 59
San Diego (WCC) 60
Saint Mary's (WCC) 61
Miami (Fla.) (ACC) 62
Kansas State (BIG12) 63
East Carolina (AMER) 64
Texas Christian (BIG12) 65
Michigan (BIG10) 66
Pacific (WCC) 67
Washington State (PAC12) 68
Middle Tennessee (C-USA) 69
Fordham (A-10) 70
Liberty (BSOUTH) 71
Villanova (BIGEAST) 72
Cal State Northridge (BWC) 73

Numerous hoops fans are decrying 30-0 Princeton's No. 8 seed, saying they should have got at least a fourth seed. I am equally baffled the other way, wondering how Kentucky could have got a 2, Iowa a 3 and Washington a 6 seed.

I wonder how Tulane, Miami and LSU made it into the bracket. Wright State was snubbed.

Other thoughts:

Five teams in the Pac 12 make it! Eight ACC teams make it!

Mid-majors on the rise!

The 8 vs. 9-seed games are usually the most contentious. I am especially intrigued by the No. 8 Minnesota vs. No. 9 DePaul match up.

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 12 James Madison should be a good game, because OSU is seeded a bit high, and JMU, too low.

Other intriguing games: No. 7 Chattanooga vs. No. 10 Pitt; No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 11 UALR; and No. 7 Northwestern vs. No. 10 Arkansas.

Let's get this thing started.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Crown 'em: more champs

C-USA Championship:

Western held on to beat Southern Miss, 60-57.

Big West Championship:

Cal State Northridge downed Hawaii, 67-60, for their second consecutive title.

MAC Championship:

Ohio stopped Eastern Michigan, 60-44.

WAC Championship:

New Mexico State routed UT Pan American, 70-52, for their first conference title.

Sun Belt Championship:

Arkansas-Little Rock outdid Arkansas State, 78-72.

SWAC Championship:

Alabama State dominated Southern, 73-55.

MEAC Championship:

Savannah State kicked MD-E Shore, 65-47.

Tomorrow's final championships/automatic Tournament bids will see these matchups:

FGCU vs. Northern Kentucky, Atlantic Sun.

James Madison vs. Hofstra, CAA.

Green Bay vs. Wright State, Horizon.

Missouri State vs. Wichita State, MVC.

Northwestern State vs. Houston Baptist, Southland.

Robert Morris vs. St. Francis BRK, Northeast.

More news:

TCU awaits nervously, as I'm sure numerous teams are.

Perfect Princeton is ready to dance.

The case for ASU's Charli Turner Thorne as coach of the year.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Two more crowned, nine on deck tomorrow


Albany defeated Hartford, 84-75, to claim the American East Championship.

Boise State upended New Mexico, 66-60, to win the Mountain West Championship.

Numerous semis today, and many of them close games.......

Big West semifinals:

Cal State Northridge downed UC Davis, 61-47, and Hawaii took care of Fullerton, 73-64. The Championship game is tomorrow.

C-USA semifinals:

Western Kentucky survived Old Dominion, 61-59, and Southern Miss put away Middle Tennessee, 65-53.

MAC semifinals:

Eastern Michigan topped Ball State, 75-65, and Ohio beat Buffalo, 63-55.

MEAC semifinals:

MD-E Shore edged Norfolk State in overtime, 69-64, and Savannah State overcame North Carolina A&T, 62-59.

WAC semifinals:

New Mexico State pulled one out over Seattle U in overtime, 79-75, and UT Pan American ran past Cal State Bakersfield, 76-70.

SWAC semifinals:

Alabama State slipped by Jackson State, 62-60, and Southern routed PV A&M, 64-40.

Big Sky semifiuals:

Northern Colorado squeaked by Sacramento State in overtime, 81-79, and Montana outlasted Eastern Washington, 55-51.

Sun Belt semifinals:

Arkansas State edged LA-Lafayette, 63-61, and Arkansas-Little Rock crushed Texas State, 87-44.

Horizon League semifinals:

Green Bay beat Youngstown State, 63-54, and Wright State defeated Cleveland State, 99-87.

All scores.

How does the NCAA Selection Committee create the bracket?

It's a five-step process.

Here's a look at who's on the Committee.

Player news:

Baylor's Nina Davis is always in the right place to get the ball.

Freshman Haley Bodnar is transferring from Purdue.

Team news:

Northwestern State's bus broke down today on the way to their Southland Conference game, but they still won.

Princeton enters the NCAA Tournament as an unusual sort of undefeated team.

Attrition is taking a toll at Indiana.

The best

ESPNW's player of the year is Notre Dame's Jewell Loyd, and freshman of the year is Buckeye Kelsey Mitchell. Coach of the year is Florida State's Sue Semrau.

ESPNW All-Americans.

Nancy Lieberman Award finalists:

Moriah Jefferson - UConn
Lindsay Allen - Notre Dame
Kelsey Mitchell - Ohio St.
Niya Johnson - Baylor
Samantha Logic - Iowa

WNBA news:

Former Indiana coach Curt Miller is a candidate for Sparks assistant coach.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A pause in tournament berthing

Today's results:

Middle Tennessee, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion and Southern Miss advance in the C-USA quarterfinals.

North Carolina A&T and Norfolk State advanced in the MEAC quarterfinals.

Eastern Michigan and Buffalo advanced in the third round of the MAC Tournament.

All scores.

Player news:

Leading scorer Larryn Brooks is leaving Indiana.

South Carolina's Tina Roy energizes teammates and fans on the court and at the mic.

West Virginia's Lanay Montgomery has overcome the odds.

A day in the life of Texas freshmen Ariel Atkins and Brooke McCarty.

Q&A with Iowa's Nicole Smith.

Team news:

Florida State is looking for packed stands in the NCAA Tournament.

Coaching news:

North Texas has fired coach Mike Petersen.

Rumor has it that Florida coach Amanda Butler will not retain assistant coaches David Lowery and Angela Crosby.


Mid-major teams could be poised for a breakthrough in this year's NCAA Tournament.

Lady Vols:

The Lady Vols legacy is threatened by lawsuits, and a name change.

WNBA and pro ball news:

The Fever acquired Shenise Johnson and a 2015 second-round draft pick from the San Antonio Stars, in exchange for the Fever's 2015 first- and third-round draft picks.

Brittney Griner supports teammate Diana Taurasi's decision to sit out the 2015 WNBA season.

Nneka Ogwumike, Epiphanny Prince and Seimone Augustus are just a few of the league's players who are balling it up in Europe.

High school news:

Katie Lou Samuelson is the Naismith Trophy high school player of the year.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The beat of tournament play goes on

Tournament upset:

In the Big West, Cal State Fullerton toppled Cal Poly, 55-48.

Another upset may be brewing, as UC Davis currently leads Long Beach State by 16, midway through the first half.

Almost upset:

Southern edged Mississippi Valley State, 62-57, in the SWAC tournament.

NCAA Berth:

FGCU routed Jacksonville, 62-42, in the A-Sun tourney, and secure an NCAA berth.

Strong showings:

Sacramento State dominated Montana State, 78-62, in the Big Sky tourney.

Louisiana Tech downed Florida Atlantic, 84-74, in C-USA play.

Cal State Bakersfield trounced Chicago State, 77-53, in the Wac tournament.

Green Bay took care of Milwaukee, 74-62, in Horizon League play.

All scores.

Player news:

Kamra King leaves a legacy of being one of UTSA's best.

Team news:

Middle Tennessee is ready to test their new identity, beginning tomorrow in the Conference USA Tournament.

Coaching news:

Oregon's late-season progress showed the foundation laid by new coach Kelly Graves. (Eugene resident Duck fans I know agree)

Binghamton laid the foundation for first-year coach Linda Cimino's rebuild.

Pro news:

Storm coach Jenny Boucek's new assistant coaches are Rob Fodor and Ryan Webb.