Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fast and furious

Tournament news:

Oregon State, Syracuse and Washington are ready for their first Final Four.

Can Oregon State toppled UConn?

The Washington Huskies head into the Final Four, and make history.

Even in high school, Washington's stars showed they had "it."

Washington's Kelli Kingma is headed to the Final Four with her dream school.

The Syracuse athletic director's second choice turned out to be the perfect coach for the Orange.

Syracuse center Briana Day says bigger foes won't push her around. Teammate Alexis Peterson brims with confidence.

UConn is in a constant fight to prove they are legitimate, coach Geno Auriemma says.

UConn walk-ons are living the dream.

LaChina Robinson and Chiney Ogwumike's latest podcast.

ESPN predicts a Syracuse-UConn title game.

Tournament gallery so far.

UConn's singular feat reveals a double standard.

Non-Tournament news:

New Wisconsin coach Jonathan Tsipis wants to keep the state's best players at home. Tsipis is off to a fast start.

Sophomore Jatarie White will transfer from South Carolina.

Texas coach Karen Aston celebrates the season and sets even bigger goals for the future.

Despite a Sweet 16 loss, it was a strong year for Notre Dame.

TCU made strides in coach Raegan Pebley's second season, and there are more stars on the way.

Q&A with new Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks. He raved about Tech's recruiting potential.

After surgery, Nebraska's Rachel Theriot is eyeing the pros.

WNBA and other pro news:

The Sparks have signed Essence Carson.

Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen podcast.

Elena Delle Donne is looking for change.

Lauren Jackson says low pay in women's basketball forces women to over-extend themselves to get by.

Sheryl Swoopes has been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Chamique Holdsclaw is hitting game winning shots on and off the court.

How about UConn vs. WNBA teams in exhibitions?....says Nykesha Sales.


Florida Gulf Coast downed Michigan, 71-62, in semifinal number two.

FGCU and South Dakota face off for the Championship at 3 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, at South Dakota.

McDonald's All-American game:

Last night the West rallied to beat the East, 97-88.

Sabrina Ionescu was unmatched, as she set a game scoring record.

Final Four coaches press conferences

Transcripts from yesterday:

Geno Auriemma

Quentin Hillsman

Scott Rueck

Mike Neighbors

Wednesday, March 30, 2016


There's only one thing I'm more sick of right now than hearing people say "just catch up" to Connecticut: Central and Eastern time zone dwellers saying they've not seen West coast teams play because the games are on too late for them.

They use this excuse to justify their ignorance about teams and players from Colorado on westward, including two of our Final Four teams. I saw supposedly knowledgeable people on twitter over the weekend saying they'd never seen Washington's Kelsey Plum play - one of the best ballers in the country - or Oregon State, who have been ranked in the top 10 all season long.

Today I also heard reporters asking West coast coaches questions that have already been answered in many a story this season. Why not pay attention instead?

I don't buy the late excuse. There's thing thing called recording the game that's been going on for a long time. There is video all over the Internet of players and teams, even on youtube. I have a friend in Spain who watches every Pac-12 game from halfway around the world, and people who live 1500 miles from me saying they can't get the channel.

I maintain that if you're a true fan of the sport, you'll be informed. You'll at least find some video somewhere to watch, and you'll read some stories. Hell, I link them all right here. And I keep up with all the East coast and Southern teams just fine.

There's no excuse for ignoring the toughest RPI conference in the country. I'm going to need you all to JUST CATCH UP.

Thank you, Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson ended speculation today by announcing her retirement.

She played for 12 years with the Seattle Storm.

Career photo gallery.

The baby face pictures really get to me, because that's how I remember Lauren most fondly, even though she's had a grownup face for many years now.

I was living in Seattle when the Storm first came to town. Their first season in 2000 saw more losses than wins, and they won the draft lottery because of it. There was a lot of talk about this young Australian sensation named Lauren Jackson. She was the player of the future, and the Storm wasted no time in selecting her with their first pick in 2001.

When she arrived, fans were a bit surprised. This skinny, awkward youngster is going to take this team to new heights?

But she did, slowly but surely.

Jackson wasn't bad at all that first season. She'd sail up to the basket, scoring easily. She wasn't fully developed as a player yet, but her explosive potential was evident. She hadn't dyed her hair at that point; her short brownish strands would just be stuck to her head with sweat by the end of every game.

The next year, 2002, the Storm again had the first pick, and they drafted the player who would become Jackson's running mate: Sue Bird. They both seemed to make each other better. Jackson started blossoming into a world class athlete. The Storm made the playoffs. Australians would make the trip every summer to cheer on one of the nation's biggest sports heroes, and entertained Storm fans a lot in the process with their antics and accents. WNBA basketball life in Seattle was good.

Fast forward to great: Oct. 12, 2004. I don't have to look up the date, as it's in my heart. After getting to the final playoff round, and after a crazy finals series, the Storm beat the Sun for the title, at Key Arena. Jackson had a grownup face now, and a head full of bleach blonde hair. As the marquee kept flashing "WNBA CHAMPIONS", confetti rained down and Jackson ran around the court, shoes off, sipping champagne from the bottle.

Jackson was the kind of player whom fans would be too busy watching and enjoying to notice that she'd already put up 22 points. She'd sneak up on you like that; she made it look easy. A true natural.

Her rivalry with Sparks center Lisa Leslie was legendary. It began at the Sydney Olympics when Jackson caught a piece of Leslie's hair by accident during play; Leslie claimed it was intentional. Fans at Staples Center would boo Jackson when the Storm came to town, and Key Arena fans had a special vitriolic hatred for Leslie when she and her team showed up there. It was so much fun.

Jackson is still sixth all-time in career points, despite playing in only 317 games. Can you imagine if she'd been able to have a full career? It's a staggering thought.

She had always played with some pain, as she seemed prone to injury. Over the years, it kept getting worse and worse. The Storm won another chip in 2010, and Jackson played her last full season the following year. She had sat out the last several with injuries or impending surgeries.

Jackson's retirement announcement today was something we all knew was coming, but it's no less sad. We never got to have a "goodbye" game, a farewell send off, or give her the tribute she so deserves.

Thank you, Lauren Jackson, for all you did for the sport. We love you, will never forget you, and you will be missed.

Just another night before the Final Four

Final Four teams:

Washington is soaking up the spotlight.

OSU fans turned out in droves yesterday to welcome the team home.

Oregon State players bought into coach Scott Rueck's vision.

Washington and Oregon State's run is a big boost for Pac-12 basketball.

The turning point for Syracuse this year was a loss.

Final Four players:

UConn's Saniya Chong has found a role model in a former rival.

Four knee surgeries later, Washington's Talia Walton is unfazed by doubts.

Final Four coaches:

It's all men coaching in the Final Four for the first time.

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman is just the second African-American coach to lead a women's team to that round.

UConn coach Geno Auriemma says Hillsman brought the program life. He has to build on the team's Final Four success.

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck doesn't do David and Goliath speeches.

West is best:

West coast basketball is more than just Stanford.

Non-Tournament news:

Jonathan Tsipis is Wisconsin's new basketball coach.

Mike Bradbury is New Mexico's new coach.

Kenny Brooks says the timing is right to take the head coach job at Virginia Tech.

Gatorade POY Erin Boley is planning for success at Notre Dame, and beyond.

Vanderbilt assistant Kim Rosamond is Tennessee Tech's new head coach.

Agnus Berenato is Kennesaw State's new head coach.

Lauren Hill's headstone is finally complete.

WNIT semifinal:

South Dakota routed Oregon, 88-54.

WNBA news:

Riquna Williams has torn her Achilles tendon and will miss the season. She was recently acquired by the Los Angeles Sparks in a trade.

Today's transactions:

Team Player Transaction

Minnesota Keisha Hampton Contract Signed
Minnesota Courtney Clements Contract Signed

Uncommon poise: Chantel Osahor leads Washington to new heights

Check out my dope feature on Washington's Chantel Osahor.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

More coaching news dominating the news

Coach news:

Georgia's Joni Taylor has been named the 2016 Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year.

Joan Bonvicini has resigned as Seattle University's coach.

Colorado players are excited about new coach JR Payne's personal touch.

Is Arizona close to hiring a new coach?

Bill Cleary is Colgate's new head coach.

Vanderbilt coach Melanie Balcomb is being evaluated.

Wisconsin will introduce their new head coach Thursday afternoon.

Megan Griffith is the new coach at Columbia University.

Tournament story lines:

Kelsey Plum on her late-game scoring binges.

Oregon State's storybook season will run into power house Connecticut.

Great Texas-UConn pictures with this piece.

Could the Washington Huskies beat the UConn Huskies?

The UConn freshmen showed off their toughness in the Tournament.

Team news:

UCLA reflects on their season after their Sweet 16 loss.

The present is painful but the future is bright for Notre Dame.

Offseason questions loom for Louisville.

Player news:

Ivana Jakubcova is transferring from Kentucky.

Josie Buckingham and Danielle Garven are leaving Minnesota.

Kansas' top scorer, Lauren Aldridge, has transferred to Missouri.

WNIT semifinals start tomorrow:

Wednesday, March 30
Oregon at South Dakota, 8 p.m. ET
Thursday, March 31
​Michigan at Florida Gulf Coast, 8 p.m. ET

WNBA news:

A day in the life of Dallas guard Odyssey Sims.

Stars guard Danielle Robinson underwent successful Achilles surgery last week.

Pat Summitt:

...on the fight of her life.

My WNBA mock draft for round one, volume II, via SLAM

Check it out.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Unprecedented Final Four

UConn beat Texas, 86-65, to win the Bridgeport regional and advance to the Final Four for an unprecedented ninth time.

The Huskies used defense to do the job.

And then......

Oregon State held off Baylor, 60-57, to win the Dallas regional and punch their Final Four ticket.

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey witnessed Oregon State's family atmosphere.

This Final Four is the first that two Pac-12 teams have appeared.

It's the first time that three newcomers have been to the Final Four since 1993.

I asked on twitter tonight: so NOW you know about the Pac-12?

All the East coasters say West coast games are on too late for them to watch, as an explanation as to why they haven't seen the Pac-12. I guess that gives us an advantage in knowledge and scouting over here on the left coast. But I have a question: have you all heard of recording games? That really works - try it sometime.

More on Syracuse:

Once upon a time, coach Quentin Hillsman contemplated quitting after the Orange lost their first game of the season.

Cornelia Fondren said she "was just in attack mode."

Syracuse will make ESPN scramble, Tennessee coach Holly Warlick says.

More on Washington:

The Huskies' unlikely run continues.

Kelli Kingma contributed to Washington's improbable run to the Final Four.

More on South Carolina:

Coach Dawn Staley wants the Gamecocks to remember their Tournament loss.

WNIT quarterfinals:

Major wins!

Oregon 71, UTEP 67

Michigan 77, Temple 76

FGCU 61, Hofstra 46

John Wooden Award All-Americans named

From John Wooden Award HQ:

Rachel Banham, Minnesota
Nina Davis, Baylor
Moriah Jefferson, Connecticut
Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State
Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
Kelsey Plum, Washington
Breanna Stewart, Connecticut
Morgan Tuck, Connecticut
Brianna Turner, Notre Dame
A'ja Wilson, South Carolina

Let the coaching shuffle begin

Coaching movement:

Kenny Brooks is leaving James Madison University to take the helm at Virginia Tech. Wow.

JR Payne jumps from Santa Clara to Colorado. Wow again.

And for the third shocker of the day, Jonathan Tsipis has resigned at George Washington, and is expected to take the head post at Wisconsin.

Also in coach news:

More on Prairie View A&M's firing of coach Dawn Brown.

NCAA news:

The NCAA has a women's sports problem, one publication says.

Chiney Ogwumike says there is more parity in women's college hoops.

Will there finally be parity after this UConn run?

AP All America team:

This year's team includes Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Kelsey Mitchell, Rachel Banham and A'ja Wilson.

Team news:

The future is bright for Florida State. Coach Sue Semrau is looking for a tougher team next year.

Player news:

Iowa transfer Tagyn Larson has landed at South Dakota State.

The oversimplified notion of "just get better"

UConn's dominance doesn't mean that other programs are bad.

WNBA unveils new team uniform colors for 20th season

Check it out.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

What's up outside the tourney

Team news:

The Gamecocks have the ability to rebound from a disappointing season.

Though Ohio State's Sweet 16 loss hurt, they are seeing progress.

Coach news:

Georgia's transition from coach Andy Landers to coach Joni Taylor has been a success.

Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings talks about recruiting and the future of the program.

UCF's coaching search is honing in on established programs.


The tournament is in the quarterfinals stage, with one game tonight.....

South Dakota 68, Western Kentucky 54

Tomorrow's schedule features:

Hofstra at Florida Gulf Coast, 7 p.m. ET
Temple at Michigan, 7 p.m. ET
​Oregon at UTEP, 9 p.m. ET

WNBA news:

Revealed - the journey of WNBA players.

Auriemma blasts UConn critic

Today some Boston Globe columnist tweeted that UConn is "killing the women's game" with their dominance, and that he wouldn't watch. Huskies coach Geno Auriemma had a choice response:

"When Tiger [Woods] was winning every major, nobody said he was bad for golf," Auriemma said. "Actually he did a lot for golf. He made everybody have to be a better golfer. And they did. And now there's a lot more great golfers because of Tiger."....

"We don't appreciate people for how good they are and what a good job they do -- we always have to compare it to something," Auriemma said. "It's only in women's basketball. It's the only sport where that happens. The only sport. Day in, day out, year in, year out, we're faced with those questions and those comparisons."

Breanna Stewart had some great things to say, too:

"People say that women's basketball is boring to watch, but when we're playing at such a high level and because we're beating everyone else, then they don't want to watch it either. So I don't know what they want us to do about it."

Yep. Can't win.

Washington, Syracuse bust into the Final Four

What a day in basketball.

Two teams who have never been to the Final Four before punched their tickets: the University of Washington, and Syracuse University. Who would have thought? From what I was reading online last night, only 15 brackets in ESPN's Tournament challenge had correctly predicted the Elite 8. I'm assuming there is no one left now.

The longshot Washington Huskies made the improbable happen with a Final Four berth, by knocking out Stanford, 85-76.

It was Chantel Osahor driving the Huskies. She had 24 points and 18 rebounds today and was named the regional's most outstanding player.

Osahor uses set-shot threes.

Game points.

They return to campus tonight.


Then Syracuse beat Tennessee, 89-67, behind 29 points from Alexis Peterson, who cried tears of joy at the final buzzer.

They rode a fearless spirit into the Final Four.

Game points.


Tomorrow's games feature:

Connecticut vs. Texas

Oregon State vs. Baylor

Beavers-Bears is especially intriguing. You have two complete teams in every position, with very different styles of play. Both teams are cohesive, skilled and high-energy. Either team could win.

..........Oregon State-Baylor preview.

Hope and courage have helped Oregon State reach new heights.

Baylor is aiming to complete its Final Four mission.

Past losses have fueled the Bears to another Elite 8 appearance.

Baylor isn't done yet.

..........Texas-UConn preview.

Katie Lou Samuelson is coming into her own for UConn.

Texas assistant coach George Washington and UConn point guard Moriah Jefferson go way back.

The Tournament:

One motto is fitting many teams in the Tournament this year.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Non-Tournament news

Team news:

Arizona State will reset with the tenth-ranked recruiting class.

In the post-Rachel Banham era, Minnesota will seek more balanced scoring.

Missouri coach Robin Pingeton expects her team to build off of this past breakthrough season.

Player news:

Anna Strickland overcame tragedy to leave a legacy at Houston Baptist.

Elite 8, take two: no surprises


UConn dominated Mississippi State in record fashion, 98-38.

The score was 61-12 at halftime.

Morgan Tuck is peaking at just the right time for the Huskies.


Texas came from behind to defeat UCLA, 72-64.

Imani Boyette finally had a decent stat line for the Longhorns: 18 points and 10 rebounds.

How Texas did it.


Baylor is in their third straight Elite 8 after routing Florida State, 78-58. Nina Davis had 30 points for the winners.

How the Bears did it.


Oregon State is in its first Elite 8 after a 83-71 win over DePaul.

Jamie Weisner had a career-high 38 points, to go along with 10 rebounds, for the Beavers. She did not look human to me, playing this game.

Tomorrow's schedule features:

Washington vs. Stanford at 10 a.m. Pacific

Tennessee vs. Syracuse at 12:30 p.m. Pacific

Which brings us story lines.....

Tennessee and Syracuse are peaking at the right time.

The Lady Vols and Orange match up is improbable.

Syracuse has a score to settle with Tennessee.

Both the Vols and 'Cuse are zoned in on a Final Four.

Familiarity breeds respect between Washington and Stanford.

Chantel Osahor's quirky play is key for Washington.

Huskies coach Mike Neighbors has a cruel history against Stanford in the Elite 8.

Much is on the line for Stanford.

And looking way ahead to Monday.....

Oregon State is out to make more history against Baylor.

Oregon State finds the balance between being competitive and having fun.

2017 Final Four logo:


Friday, March 25, 2016

Tomorrow's Sweet 16, day two

On the heels of a night of upsets, we have the other half of the Sweet 16 tomorrow:

Mississippi State vs. Connecticut

UCLA vs. Texas

Florida State vs. Baylor

DePaul vs. Oregon State

I will say:

Connecticut (they are too good)

Don't know (too close to call)

Baylor (they are too good)

Oregon State (they are too good)

Team news:

Baylor's early loss prepared them as they try to get back to the title game. They have a motto to motivate.

UConn-Mississippi State point guard match up features plenty of speed.

The Bulldogs are well aware of the Huskies' strengths, and vow to be ready.

UCLA coach Cori Close told her team they'd better be ready to battle against Texas.

DePaul looks to reach unknown territory.

Player news:

True grit: how Oregon State's Jamie Weisner developed her relentless work ethic and playing style.

Baylor's freshmen are enjoying the ride.

Napheesa Collier is delivering in a larger role for UConn.

Coach news:

WBCA assistant coaches of the year are.....

• NCAA Division I – Niele Ivey, University of Notre Dame
• NCAA Division II – Jessie Ivey, University of West Florida
• NCAA Division III – Rob Slopek, Stevenson University
• NAIA – Beck Flanagan, Loyola University (New Orleans)
• Junior/Community College – Nakia DeBlanc, Daytona State College
• High School – Daniel Michalak, Platt High School (Meriden, Connecticut)

Virginia Tech is interviewing James Madison coach Kenny Brooks.

Vermont coach Lori Gear McBride has been relieved of duties.

UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey has helped the team establish their greatness.


The Lady Toppers prevailed in overtime.....

Western Kentucky 78, Saint Louis 76 (OT)

WNBA news:

Q&A with Liberty guard Epiphanny Prince.

Shocking night of hoops

I've never seen four major upsets in one night in the NCAA Tournament. Not to mention that two of those take downs were of No. 1 seeds.

I'm still in shock hours later. Let's recap:


Seventh-seeded Washington upended third-seeded Kentucky, 85-72.

Wildcat coach Matthew Mitchell said the Huskies are "definitely capable of going to the Final Four."


No. 4 Syracuse toppled No. 1 South Carolina, 80-72.

The Gamecocks didn't have an answer as to how they never "woke up."


Seventh-seeded Tennessee knocked off third-seeded Ohio State, 78-62.


Mercedes Russell lead the Lady Vols with a career-high 25 points and 15 rebounds.


No. 4 Stanford took down No. 1 Notre Dame, 90-84.

Erica McCall had a career-high 27 points to lead the Cardinal.

My reactions:

I wasn't too surprised at Washington's win, especially considering how strong they started. Once they kept the lead for the entirety of the first quarter, I knew they had it. They have been building their chemistry all year, and coach Mike Neighbors said to me after the game they played at UCLA that their goals were bigger this year. That last season they thought it all ended on Selection Monday, and they had learned their lesson.

Syracuse's upset of South Carolina did stun me. I don't think anyone expected that. And it looks like, from the linked story above, that even the Gamecocks aren't sure yet what happened. I really did see them in the Final Four again this year.

No shocker on the Lady Vol win. Not only have they come together and all stepped up in this Tournament, but Ohio State took another injury hit earlier this week with the loss of Cait Craft.

Finally, I can't even say I'm that surprised at Notre Dame's loss. To me, they've been overrated all year long. I just didn't expect Stanford, which has struggled this season, to be the ones to do the deed.

So.....what happens tomorrow?

I think I'll begin with a defibrilator.

Last-minute bits before play begins


Washington primer.

Toughness is the name of the game for the Wildcats.

Kentucky won't rely on their home court advantage.

Makayla Epps' roots in Kentucky run deep.

Notre Dame-Stanford

Don't call it a rematch.

Game preview (from Notre Dame).

Numbers tell the story of Notre Dame's hoops journey.

South Carolina-Syracuse

Alexis Peterson found the right fit at Syracuse.

Tennessee-Ohio State

The Lady Vols have more than a snowball's chance.

Florida State

The Seminoles have plenty of fans rooting for them to make the Final Four.


The Bruins aim for consistency heading into the Sweet 16.

Coach news:

Amy Beggin is interim head coach for New Mexico.


Last night's results and today's game......

Thursday, March 24

Temple 75, Ohio 61
South Dakota 51, Northern Iowa 50
UTEP 79, TCU 71

Friday, March 25

Western Kentucky at Saint Louis, 8 p.m. ET

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Wade Trophy finalists named

Wade Trophy finalists are:

Rachel Banham Minnesota Senior Guard
Alaina Coates South Carolina Junior Center
Nina Davis Baylor Junior Forward
Myisha Hines-Allen Louisville Sophomore Forward
Moriah Jefferson Connecticut Senior Guard
Brittney Martin Oklahoma State Senior Guard
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio State Sophomore Guard
Tiffany Mitchell South Carolina Senior Guard
Kelsey Plum Washington Junior Guard
Breanna Stewart Connecticut Senior Forward
Morgan Tuck Connecticut Senior Forward
Brianna Turner Notre Dame Sophomore Forward
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough Maryland Junior Guard
Courtney Williams South Florida Senior Guard
A’ja Wilson South Carolina Sophomore Forward

The Sweet 16 awaits

Sweet 16 play begins tomorrow!!

Schedule is:

Syracuse-South Carolina


both at 1 p.m. Pacific/4 p.m. Eastern


Stanford-Notre Dame

Tennessee-Ohio State

both at 3 p.m. Pacific/6 p.m. Eastern

Tournament news:

Freshmen are making an impact for the first-seeded teams.

The Pac-12 is living up to its billing in the NCAA Tournament.

Yesterday word was that Tournament viewership was down. Now it's supposedly up. Who knows what's really going on.

But South Carolina leads in attendance, by far.

To begin the NCAA Tournament, 24 schools had both their women's and men's teams in the bracket. Now only two remain: Notre Dame and Syracuse.

Tennessee-Ohio State

Tennessee presents a familiar measuring stick for Ohio State.

Five reasons the Lady Vols can beat the Buckeyes.

Diamond DeShields and Mercedes Russell are forming a lethal duo for Tennessee.

Tennessee has to find a way to slow down Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell.

Buckeye senior guard Cait Craft broke her hand in practice Tuesday and is out for the Tournament. Her injury is forcing her team to adjust.

South Carolina-Syracuse

Unflappable South Carolina will feel the heat of the Syracuse press.

The Orange is all business amid the storm in Sioux Falls, while the Gamecocks are enjoying snowball fights.

Through the eyes of South Carolina's thoughtful leader, senior guard Asia Dozier.

Syracuse is writing their own story, but what end awaits?


Washington is making themselves at home in the Tournament.

Kentucky will have its hands full with Washington's Kelsey Plum. Makayla Epps says nothing will keep her from playing.

Mathilde Gilling will be a game time decision for the Huskies tomorrow.

Will the big blue nation come through for the Wildcats?

Notre Dame-Stanford

Notre Dame presents a major obstacle for Stanford in the Sweet 16.

Mississippi State

Mississippi State wants the proper mindset in round three.

Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor says Mississippi State was disrespected with the fifth seed.

Florida State

Florida State is looking to make good on the President's pick.

Team news:

From cupcakes to dance-offs, Texas embraces their off-court closeness.

Montana State is setting their sights on higher goals.

Changes are on the horizon for Harvard basketball.

Player news:

Breanna Stewart and Moriah Jefferson are compiling eye-popping statistics for UConn.

Three players put the "MD" in Maryland.

Wagner's leading scorer, Jasmine Nwajei, is transferring.

Sophomore guards Funda Nakkasoglu and Baylee Peck are leaving Utah State.

Player/coach news:

Texas senior Imani Boyette and assistant coach Tina Thompson have helped each other blossom this season.

How Kelsey Plum and Mike Neighbors of Washington formed the perfect player-coach pairing.

Coach news:

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman and assistant coach Tammi Reiss have plenty of style.

Q&A with South Carolina coach Dawn Staley.

Staley credits Hillsman for "staying the course."

Concordia Irvine coach Trish Stafford-Odom has resigned to pursue coaching opportunities at the Division I level.

WNBA news:

Former WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon explains how Spurs coach Greg Popovich "leaned in" for her.

High school news:

A Baltimore team won a state title but is losing their school.

Pat Summitt:

The Tennessee legend is staying at an upscale retirement resort.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Candace Parker on Capital One Cup, turning 30, 2016 and the game of life

My Q&A with Los Angeles Sparks All-Star forward Candace Parker.

Awesome handshakes

If you think you have the coolest coach, think again.

Whitman College assistant coach Stephen Garnett has an awesome handshake for all 15 members of the team.

Could you remember all of that?


I'm dyin' ovah heah.

Up to date

Tournament news:

Around the Rim podcast, featuring my three faves, LaChina Robinson, Chiney Ogwumike and Christy Winters Scott.

I will talk about the Sweet 16 on 640 WXSM tomorrow morning, at 6:45 a.m. Pacific/9:45 a.m. Eastern. Just click the link for streaming.

Attendance is down slightly at the Tournament so far.

Team news:

Former Irish guard Jewell Loyd talks about Notre Dame.

Analyzing why Nebraska's disappointing season happened, and what might change.

Appalachain State experiences growing pains.

Player news:

Sophomore A'ja Wilson is right on track at South Carolina.

UConn's Kia Nurse is healing her offensive woes with simplicity.

Ameryst Alston is back in the nick of time for Ohio State.

Police chief's daughter Brandi Fowler has found Syracuse a dream come true.

Injuries serve as life lessons for Rutgers senior Briyona Canty.

Whitney Jennings is transferring from Iowa.

Freshman guard Taja Cole is leaving Louisville.

Coach news:

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma is the 2016 United States Marine Corps/WBCA NCAA Division I National Coach of the Year.

Vivian Stringer will be back at Rutgers next year.

Oregon State is "aggressively pursuing" a contract extension for coach Scott Rueck.

Matt Bollant will return as Illinois' coach next year.

Wagner has dismissed coach Lisa Cermignano.

WNIT results:

Florida Gulf Coast 73, Tulane 61
Oregon 73, Utah 63

WNBA news:

Awesome video tributes to Tamika Catchings from various pros, past and present, and other VIPs.

Skylar Diggins talks recovery from injury and the move to Dallas.

High school news:

Notre Dame commit Erin Boley is the Gatorade POY.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

There is always more

Team news:

To upset South Carolina, Syracuse needs to cut them down to size.

Notre Dame is ready to take the next step and win a title. Indiana gave the Irish plenty to think about.

Even in a down year, Stanford is back in the Sweet 16.

Washington's limited depth will be tested in the Sweet 16 against Kentucky.

There was nothing fair about Michigan State's Tournament experience.

Looking back on a season of disappointment for Northwestern.

Hopeful Florida ended their season on a down note.

Attendance is allowing FGCU to play their WNIT games at home.

Optimism abounds for Oklahoma next year.

Long Beach State has a shot at winning the Big West title next season.

Player news:

South Florida's senior class raised the bar for the program.

Minnesota's Rachel Banham has been selected to participate in a three-point contest.

South Carolina forward A'ja Wilson has got next.

Kentucky: Makayla Epps shoulder injury update.

Ohio State welcomes Ameryst Alston's return.

The end hasn't really sunk in yet for Maryland's seniors.

Channon Fluker brought a big game and a bigger heart to CSUN this season.

Nicole Enabosi brings potential back to Delaware.

Jess Walter will transfer from Indiana.

Keely Froling has left SMU.

Coach news:

Prairie View A&M coach Dawn Brown has been fired over a Title IX rule violation.

Iona has signed coach Billi Godsey to a five-year contract extension.

Valparaiso coach Tracey Dorow has inked a contract extension through 2017-2018.

WNIT round three has begun:

Here are the first results....

Michigan 78, San Diego 51
Hofstra 65, Virginia 57


MidAmerica Nazarene are the new national champions.

The slow down

Conference news:

The Pac-12 has a record four teams in the Sweet 16

Team news:

Check out my UCLA-USF game story with the dope photos.

Michigan State will be able to host the Tournament next year.

Player news:

UConn seniors Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck said goodbye to Gampel Pavilion last night.

Coach news:

Virginia Tech has fired coach Dennis Wolff.

WNBA news:

Candice Wiggins is retiring.

Tamika Catchings was honored today with a legacy lunch.

Obama beat:

A Sports Illustrated writer explains how basketball shaped President Obama.

Monday, March 21, 2016

The rest of the story

Team news:

After a record season, the future is bright for Colorado State.

What's next for Louisville?

North Texas will receive the Division I award for most-improved field goal shooting.

Lady Vol fans, there are some great photos from yesterday here and here.

Ohio State is finding a way through the Tournament.

Road-savvy DePaul is having another sweet March.

Maryland has now experienced the wrong side of March Madness.

Purdue looks to build on their progress.

Player news:

Bria Holmes reached the 2,000-point mark in West Virginia's season-ending loss last night.

Last night was an unhappy end to Minnesota guard Rachel Banham's career.

Duquesne's Erin Waskowiak is a true inspiration.

Madison Cable is the reliable veteran of the Notre Dame family.

Coach news:

Awesome SLAM feature on coach Dawn Staley.

There aren't too many of the game's best who are able to then become great coaches, but Staley is an exception. And a great one at that.

Oregon State coach Scott Rueck is a calming influence, and head of the Beaver family.

Is George Washington coach Jonathan Tsipis a top candidate for the Wisconsin job?

Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer promises a different culture for next year.

The trial for former Maryland assistant coach Brian McKey has been postponed.

WNBA and International news:

A welcome message from new WNBA President Lisa Borders, whose first day was today.

Tamika Catchings' fast break into giving.

Lauren Jackson's readiness for the Olympics is still unknown.

In the meantime, Australia's Olympic team camp is loaded with talent.

More stunners on the way to that big 16

In the biggest upset of the night - and one of the biggest of the Tournament - Washington took down Maryland, 74-65.

(Maryland is numb after their early exit)

It's the Huskies first trip to the Sweet 16 since 2001.

UCLA held off South Florida, 72-67. More on that later, of course.

It's the Bruins' first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1999.

Stanford escaped South Dakota State, 66-65.

Florida State routed, and technically upset, Texas A&M, 74-56.

More results/punched tickets:

Texas 73, Missouri 55.

Notre Dame 87, Indiana 70.

Kentucky 79, Oklahoma 58.

Connecticut 97, Duquesne 51.

There are FOUR Pac-12 teams in the Sweet 16. Just sayin.

The SEC ain't doing too bad, either.

Over in the WNIT, some Pac-12 teams are also finding success. Here are today's results:

Florida Gulf Coast 67, Wake Forest 48
Tulane 64, Georgia Tech 61
Saint Louis 59, Ball State 57
Western Kentucky 64, UT Martin 57
Utah 92, Gonzaga 77
Oregon 84, Fresno State 59
UTEP 74, Arkansas State 68

The Madness continues.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sweet 16, part II

South Carolina trounced Kansas State, 73-47, to punch their Sweet 16 ticket. Tiffany Mitchell led the way with 20 points, and sophomore forward A'ja Wilson passed the 1,000-point mark in the win.

Baylor whooped Auburn, 84-52, to advance to their eighth straight Sweet 16. Nina Davis was the Bears' top scorer with 30 points.

Oregon State routed St. Bonaventure, 69-40, to move on.

Tennessee played their most aggressive game of the season and upset Arizona State, 75-64, to advance. Diamond DeShields led the Lady Vols with 24 points.

Tomorrow's schedule:

Indiana vs. Notre Dame

Washington vs. Maryland

Oklahoma vs. Kentucky

Florida State vs. Texas A&M

Duquesne vs. Connecticut

Missouri vs. Texas

South Florida vs. UCLA

South Dakota State vs. Stanford

FSU-TAMU and USF-UCLA are both way too close to call, and could be blood baths.

Punch those Sweet 16 tickets

Sweet 16 bound so far:

Ohio State downed West Virginia, 88-81. Kelsey Mitchell's 45 points are the most scored in an first or second round, and fourth in any round.

DePaul upset Louisville, 73-72.

Mississippi State outlasted and upended Michigan State, 74-72.

Syracuse routed Albany, 76-59.

Team news:

Kentucky would be sunk without their three freshmen.

Florida had a comeback season despite a deflating end.

Player news:

Kelsey Mitchell is rewriting the Ohio State record books.

BYU's Lexi Rydalch will be remembered fondly, despite yesterday's loss.

Coach news:

Q&A with former Minnesota coach Pam Borton.

Catching up on Tournament coverage

As you may guess, I've been mighty busy the last several days covering round 1 of the NCAA Tournament: writing stories, editing stories, managing photos, editing photos. Catching you up now, as South Carolina-Kansas State plays right next to me:

South Florida escapes Colorado State to go to second round.

UCLA overpowers Hawaii in first round meeting.

Storrs regional day 1 recap: UConn, Duquesne roll.

Coyotes shoot down Gophers in WNIT; Temple, Ohio, Virginia also win.

It's all here on

Favor notes:

- Lots of credit to Hawaii. They kept coming at UCLA and coming at them and never gave up. The Bruins are just bigger, with more weapons. I appreciate the Wahine's spirit, and am not at all surprised at what coach Laura Beeman is doing there.

- UCLA is loaded. When one player is having an off night, two other step up. Monday's match up against South Florida should be brutal.

- South Florida is fascinating. You have Courtney Williams, who is so silky that it's jaw-dropping. You have Alisia Jenkins, who screamed once when she didn't make a shot, and it reminded me of the intensity of her coach, Jose Fernandez. Then you have the blue collar work ethic of Shalethia Stringfield, who just works and works and works. And then you also have this team's sense of humor, which you sometimes see on the court, when the game is tight and on the line. The Bulls are a complex team. I couldn't take my eyes off them.

- Colorado State is incredible. I am a coach Ryun Williams fan after this year, and especially helping to interview him. Not only a great, fundamentals and discipline-based coach, but a caring and compassionate person. Go on, coach.

- I'm sad to see Rachel Banham's college career end. She is a hell of a player.

Naismith Trophy finalists named

Naismith Trophy finalists are:

Tiffany Mitchell, South Carolina
A'ja Wilson, South Carolina
Breanna Stewart, UConn
Moriah Jefferson, UConn

Side bars

Team news:

Ohio State gambled and won without their second-best player, but will she suit up Sunday?

Player news:

Courtney Williams is perhaps the most outstanding female athlete in South Florida history. After what I saw her do tonight, I wouldn't doubt it.

It's all about Auburn for Katie Frerking in the NCAA Tournament.

Coach news:

Colorado State coach Ryun Williams is always recruiting.

NCAA Tournament news:

Indianapolis native Shyra Ely-Gash is the Tournament ambassador.

Today's WNIT results:

Michigan 95, Bucknell 72
Hofstra 82, Villanova 74
​San Diego 59, IUPUI 48
Northern Iowa 64, Drake 58
TCU 85, Eastern Michigan 81

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Big-time day two


Duquesne 97, Seton Hall 76

South Dakota State 74, Miami 71. That's another #12 over a #5 seed.

Missouri 78, BYU 69

Indiana 62, Georgia 58

All those #8 seeds, gone.


South Florida 48, Colorado State 45. More on that in a bit.

Story of the day:

Before today's game, Texas A&M indefinitely suspended second-leading scorer Courtney Williams and reserve guard Shlonte Allen. The Aggies still beat Missouri State, 74-65.

Solid wins:

Maryland 74, Iona 58

UCLA 66, Hawaii 50

Florida State 72, Middle Tennessee 55

Oklahoma 61, Purdue 45

Washington 65, Penn 53

Lopsided wins:

Connecticut 101, Robert Morris 45

Notre Dame 95, North Carolina A&T 61

Texas 86, Alabama State 42

Kentucky 85, UNC Asheville 31

Stanford 85, San Francisco 58

Tomorrow's schedule:

West Virginia vs. Ohio State

Albany vs. Syracuse

DePaul vs. Louisville

Michigan State vs. Mississippi State

Kansas State vs. South Carolina

Auburn vs. Baylor

St. Bonaventure vs. Oregon State

Tennessee vs. Arizona State

Friday, March 18, 2016

Day 1 NCAA Tournament: SEC recap

Nice recap and photos of today's SEC NCAA Tournament first-round action.

Going to rounds one and two in Los Angeles, part one

Bridgeport regional rounds 1 and 2 preview, Los Angeles pod.

Always more news to go with scores

Team news:

Notre Dame, Baylor, South Carolina and Maryland are the only teams that have a chance of beating UConn, one site says.

It's the last chance for a turnaround for the Lady Vols.

Maryland hopes a deep bench fuels a deep run in the Tournament.

Oklahoma's size will test young Purdue tomorrow.

Florida State hopes not to be too rusty after their long layoff.

Kentucky is ready to play their best basketball of the season.

UConn's role players are key as they begin the Tournament against Robert Morris.

Player news:

Kentucky's Evelyn Akhator is a positive force for the team, after a life of hardship.

BYU's Kylie Madea will be missed when the season is over.

Through the eyes of South Carolina point guard Khadijah Sessions.

Sophomore Monique Billings has provided the spark for UCLA's turnaround season.

Robert Morris and UConn players have fond recollections of competing together.

Alabama State's Durriya Shields-Sampson is a mother, wife and student-athlete.

Coach news:

New Mexico coach Yvonne Sanchez has been fired.

Tara VanDerveer and her former star Jennifer Azzi face off on the NCAA stage tomorrow.

WNIT results for today:

Kinda shocked at a couple of these results.....

Quinnipiac 90, Maine 44
Temple 74, Drexel 66
FGCU 78, Bethune-Cookman 51
Utah 95, Montana State 61

Whoa to the Quinnipiac and Utah whoopings.

Even the WNIT is crazy this year.

WNBA news:

Injury wasn't enough to stop Isabelle Harrison.

Overseas life: Dearica Hamby.

Some big upsets on day one of round one


Albany edged Florida, 61-59. (The score was actually 61-58, due to an NCAA scoring error)

Kansas State downed George Washington, 56-51.

St. Bonaventure vaulted past Oklahoma State, 65-54.

Auburn toppled St. John's, 68-57.

Close ones:

Tennessee held off Green Bay, 59-53.

Mississippi State overcame Chattanooga, 60-50.

Surprising blowouts:

Syracuse 73, Army 56. The Orange whooped them from buzzer to buzzer. I wasn't expecting that kind of domination of a good team.

DePaul 97, James Madison 67. See above statements.

Unsurprising scores:

South Carolina 77, Jacksonville 41

Baylor 89, Idaho 59

Oregon State 73, Troy 31

Louisville 87, Central Arkansas 60

Ohio State 88, Buffalo 69

Arizona State 74, New Mexico State 52

Michigan State 74, Belmont 60

West Virginia 74, Princeton 65

Tomorrow's schedule is intense. Will we see a day similar to today?

I'm going to guess that the hardest-fought games will be Duquesne-Seton Hall, Penn-Washington, Missouri-BYU and Indiana-Georgia.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Today's WNIT results

Many great teams saw defeat in the first round of the WNIT today:

UPUI 63, Central Michigan 55
Bucknell 74, Akron 70
Ohio 76, Marshall 68
Virginia Tech 68, Elon 59
Villanova 67, Liberty 51
Hofstra 75, Harvard 50
Rutgers 57, Georgetown 55
Virginia 52, VCU 50
Georgia Tech 73, Mercer 56
Wake Forest 72, Charlotte 69
TCU 97, UTRGV 73
Arkansas State 68, Southern 45
Drake 95, Sacred Heart 59
Northern Iowa 64, Nebraska 62
Ball State 77, Iowa 72
Saint Louis 70, Little Rock 69 ​
UT Martin 79, Memphis 73
Western Kentucky 89, Dayton 72
San Diego 69, Northwestern 65
Gonzaga 88, UC Riverside 54
Oregon 84, Long Beach State 76
UTEP 66, Abilene Christian 62
Eastern Michigan 74, St. Mary’s 73

Box scores.

Wow to the Abilene Christian, Iowa, Nebraska and Northwestern losses, in particular.

And check out Oregon's win.

Tomorrow's schedule features some big names:

Maine at Quinnipiac, 7 p.m. ET
Temple at Drexel, 7 p.m. ET
Bethune-Cookman at FGCU, 7:05 p.m. ET
Montana State at Utah, 9 p.m. ET
Santa Clara at Fresno State, 10 p.m. ET

Another sign of parity is how many truly wonderful teams are playing in the WNIT this year.

WBI results for today.