3/10 – The Streak, the Bubble, Who’s In and Who’s Out

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) What have you learned in last week in your travels?

Debbie:

I learned that Gary Blair passes out better, high quality candy than Van.

Speaking of Van, got my picture in the Van Wagon.

Highest scoring team w/out the three pointer? Gonzaga. Baylor. UConn third.

Danielle Robinson knows three Ws of point guard. Who to get when to deliver and where.

Amy Waugh, Xavier – made a major faux pax at championship game, never wear a skirt with a Championship on line

2) The Streak – first 10 minutes of Sports Center. Incredible how they’re doing it and how carrying themselves.

Debbie: Talk of lack of buzz ’cause it’s their record and the way they’re doing it.

Beth: I was there. Broke out the leather. Geno called me Muffet McGraw.

North Carolina, Rutgers, Utah – are they in?
Not unless Utah wins tourney — TCU in if they don’t win.

Carolina – bad loss, beat BC, USC, Princeton – lost to all teams that gave that would have given them a chance.

2) Favorites are winning conferences

A-10 getting 2 more after Xavier? Temple, Dayton.

American East – Hartford, Vermont both in? Hard with Hartford major injury to be considered.

Colonial – watching with more interest than ever cause two of best players in college players – Evans Delle Donne. And ODU has won regular season again after rough start. Don’t know if  James Madison has a good enough resume.

5) Will Power Conference POYs be State Farm Coaches All Americans?

Debbie: Maybe not out of the SEC with Victoria Dunlap? Bjorklund and Kelley Cain bypass?

Jostens “Diamond in the Rough” Sarah Miles, West Virgina. Shooting guard, most improved. This year as point guard, defensive player of the years.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” Maya Moore and Jantel Lavender join 2000pt club.

Discussion: Who’s in, who’s out from the Power Conferences?

ACC: Duke won tourney,  NC State, Florida State, Virginia, Georgia Tech. Proud of Wolf Pack and staff. Got to play the blind resume game (ignore the school name.) Wake Forest makes it interesting

Big East: UConn, ND, Georgetown, St Johns, West Virginia. Not sure about Rutgers. DePaul might.

Big 10: Ohio St. and Michigan State.  Wisconsin and Iowa St – compare RPI and total wins on Wisconsin side, but Iowa swept Wisconsin. Both in or out.

Big 12: Seven in. Top 5 seeds.

Pac-10: Stanford, UCLA – add Southern Cal. Cal might.

SEC: Tennessee, Kentucky, Vandy, Georgia, LSU. Mississippi St. on bubble. Here’s where we need an in-conference RPI.

If Fresno State loses conference tourney, do they deserve bid over Rutgers?

Beth: Was that a tinge of sympathy for a smaller league?
Debbie: Only if I can remind you Lehigh winning Patriot league.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) First video podcast, Tuesday March 16th. One hour to chew bracket apart.

2) 30 win club this year is exclusive: UConn, TN, Ohio State. Will Nebraska add in?

3) Matt the Stat Guy: When the power conferences play each other in the Tourney, SEC, ACC, Big East, Pac 10, Big 10.. The Big 12 worst record in the last five years v. other conference teams. And we talk a lot about how they’re competitive against each other.

4) 12 added to USA Basketball pool for National team. Will have to pick 12 from 20. Thoughts? Geno criteria: tough and scorers.

5) Reading Beth Bass and Betty Jaynes “The Butterfly Experience: Healthy Transitions in Athletic Hirings.” The book details 10 high-profile, successful transitions in the collegiate sports arena, including the transition of Betty’s passing of the torch to Beth.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.

3/3/10 – Bubble Trouble, Princeton coach Courtney Banghart visits

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) Big news from Tobacco Road rivalry

Debbie: And on the plane — Charlotte Smith (UNC) and Sam Williams (Duke) recruiting — ended up being seated in the same row. Oh, for a camera.

Duke v. Carolina game — had a great prank. Someone stole Jasmine Thomas’ blue jersey, so Duke had to wear black. Fantastic that they think that much of her, want Duke to lose so much. Perfect — they’re the villains. Game was the battle of the black and blues. Physical, mean and tough. Puts Carolina on the bubble. Duke will be a 2-seed.

2) Out west, Cal, Arizona State hosting — will their records be enough?

Debbie: Do you think hosting ranks in RPI? Great turn around for Cal. USC has some good wins. Arizona State, not sure they’re deserving this year.

3) Big 10 jumble?

Debbie: Ohio St. in, Michigan State. Wisconsin, Iowa? Interesting. Mid-majors are going to need to win league to get in.

Beth: Best arguments in a while re: Do you go with a team that’s around .500 in Power Conference or the gaudy 23, 24 win record of a mid-major.

Debbie: Big 12′s a problem, too. 7 teams in might get in and all top five seeds– not supposed to meet conference members until you reach the regionals. Might be one or two B12 matchups

4) Are we in detention because of our rules comments re: spin-dribble travel?

Debbie: We have an official disclaimer, so we can say strong stuff. Composition of rules committee. We love our game, we want to take a look at stuff — hop step not called.

5) First coaching vacancy: Cindy Stein out at Missouri

Debbie: A friend of us and game. Disappointed. Hope Missouri puts money into it. Least amount of resources and salary for coach. In Big 12, better step up.

Shootaround guests: Princeton coach Courtney Banghart.

B/D: Gives us a thumbnail of your 18-game winning streak.

CB: I had to double check how many in a row we had. I coach smart kids but it doesn’t mean I’m smart so I can only count to one. That’s how we’ve played the season, one game at a time.

B/D: Only thing I know about the Ivy League is Judie Lomax and her rebounding exploits. Tell me about the League.

CB: Non-scholarship. Only League without a post-season conference, makes every weekend a playoff weekend. We play Friday/Saturday, every team twice.

It’s been a two- horse race between Dartmouth and Harvard. We’re just thrilled that we’re knocking on the door. We’ve got a group of talented freshman that are doing a lot for us and leadership from the senior class.

B/D: What comes to mind when I think Ivy League and basketball: Courtney was kind enough to share some swag with me (my son sometimes wears a Princeton shirt). Last year I had Dartmouth as a 15-seed and did the entire game without an academic reference. So tell us how challenging your schedule is, your best players on team and why we should be considering them for the State Farm All-American team.

CB: Play back-to-back, so we played Cornell, then get on a bus and travel four hours get in at 3am and the next night play Columbia.

We play a challenging schedule. Lost by 10 at UCLA, 10 to Rutgers. 22, 23 wins by double figures.

Lots of energy from Northern California  freshman Niveen Rasheed, leading in points, rebs, assists steals. One of the premier players in the League. Exciting to watch, intense energy. Big part of program’s success. Four players in double figures: two freshmen, sophomore and junior.

I think you should bring your crew, do a live Ivy League game, get Princeton grad Michelle Obama out there.

B/D: I can see that. We call you “Ivy.” Entertaining coach on the sidelines.

CB: Proud to say not gotten a technical.

B/D: Really? Even I’ve gotten one.

CB: I have enough trouble keeping track of eight underclassmen, telling them the rules of the game. I can’t pay attention to the referees.

B/D: I got one coaching my son’s summer league! You don’t have post-season tourney. What do you think about Power Leagues having them and impacting teams getting at-large bid?

CB: Depends where you are. Where we’re sitting right now, of course we don’t want a post-season tourney ’cause it allows one game game to impact the journey you’ve made over an entire year. However, if we weren’t in the top spot, we’d be rooting really hard for a tournament. Obviously there’s a bias towards to top conferences, and perhaps rightly so for the top-half of those conferences. Doesn’t leave a lot of room for the mid-majors, but as I said, hard for me to pay much more attention than beyond my own team.

B/D: Mowins claims that the Ivy League is comparable to a Patriot League school. Your take?

CB: I trust that you’re not talking about it academically, and I’m sure your not talking about it athletically, so I guessing you mean your talking about the old, historic buildings… I’m just kidding. These are real student-athletes.

B/D: Going to ignore the fact that you stomped on my Lafayette Leopards earlier this year, focus on the fact that, though defensive numbers are good, you put up 90 points on Cornell. How’d you do that?

CB: We basically felt like we wanted to push the pace. They love stopping people, allows us to get out and run. It was one of those nights.

B/D: People generally prefer offensive-minded people v. defensive-minded, which is probably why we like you so much. You also follow Pac-10/Big 10. Break one down for us.

CB: How about Left Coast? Lot of respect for Stanford, assistant (Milena Flores) played there. One headed monster. But UCLA up and coming. They have size/speed. Cal – why count them out? Work in progress. I see why you like ACC and Big 12, but how about some love for the others?

B/D: I’ll admit I’m a Power Conference snob, but if you’re looking at Pac-10, how many get in?

CB: Isn’t that you’re job? That’s hard. I say take two Ivies. Two Pac-10, two Ivies.

B/D: I’d get behind that. You said they’re all the same – well the buildings are the same.

CB: They’re all p historic, have alums that care a lot, and have basketball players that have a good brain on their shoulders.

B/D: Harvard and Princeton it is.

CB: You’re giving Harvard the nod? I like it. We’ve got three games to play, and one of them is Harvard.

B/D: Telling everyone to follow Princeton. Other non-Power Conference  teams to watch out for – Arkansas- Little Rock, 19 in a row. Hartford, 18 in a row, Gonzaga and Fresno St. 16.

CB: Are you putting all of them in?

B/D: They might win their leagues. Arkansas/Middle Tennessee State might be best showdown in post season if comes down to NCAA bid. Debbie Where Power Conference teams like Wisconsin, Iowa, Southern Cal, Az. State all hoping they win.

CB: Thanks for giving Ivy some love. We have tremendous student-athletes.

Jostens “Diamonds in the Rough:” Maya Moore for her academics. Chance to be a Rhodes Scholar – ESPN Mag Academic All American of the Year.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” Tina Charles – number 1 in UConn rebounds/points.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) Compare Griner’s freshman year to Anne Donovan and Lisa Leslie — they’re comparable.

2) Elena Della Donne – leading scorer in Division I, never lead by a rookie.

3) DePaul’s Sam Quigley captain of my all-tough team.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.

2/24 – The “Under the Radar” Big 12 team, a visit with coaches Debbie Ryan and Beth Dunkenberger

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) The scoring snafu at Texas v. Texas A&M game.

Debbie: Correctable error — error at scorer’s table over team fouls made officials think it was a 1-and-1. Wasn’t. When they fixed it, took two points off board for Texas, and because of where the stoppage happened, TAMU kept ball. TAMU’s scorer error — rule needs to be adjusted.

Some of Power League coaches need to step up and decide how game should be called.

Beth: Officials would like to be on Rules Committee too.

2) Your Big 12 “Under the radar team.”

Debbie: Cory Montgomery, Nebraska
Kelsey Bolte, Iowa State
Ashleigh Fontenette, Texas
Jordan Murphree, Texas Tech
Abi Olajuwon, Oklahoma
Sidney Carter, Texas A&M

3) Top 10 scoring teams in country – no surprise UConn, Stanford, Nebraska. How about Gonzaga, Middle State Tennessee.

Debbie: Teams that can spread it out, go off the bounce, three-point shooting and score in paint, make you guard side to side — all those teams you mentioned I love on offensive end,  I look for that to be the difference NCAA tournament, because the game shrinks. Scoring will be the difference — officials will crack down on defense.

4) Looking at the #1s and #2s, how far have Irish fallen. UConn, Stanford, Nebraska… who’s on your top line?

Debbie: Never had Notre Dame. I’ve had TN. ND might not be the second best team in Big East. They have some limitations. No quality win on resume for a while. Good solid, team.

West Virginia is one of my 2-seed: Sarah Miles tremendous, Liz Repella and freshman Bussie, giving them inside presence. They defend. Coach Carey does a great job. Add Duke, Ohio State, and maybe Xavier (no quality win in a long time). Maybe Big 12 team?

5) What about multi-bid leagues outside of power conferences. A-10? C-USA, Mountain West, America East?

Debbie: The first three have been multi bid leagues. America East? Depends on Big 10 – might give up a couple of bids. Ditto with Pac-10.

Jostens “Diamonds in the Rough:” Michigan State Brittney Thomas hit game tying bucket, clutch OT free throws in their upset of  Ohio State. Don’t sleep on Michigan State!

Shootaround guests: Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and Virginia Tech coach Beth Dunkenberger.

B/D: Beth and Debbie want their own show — maybe they should audition for Beth and Debbie? Maybe you want to ask us a question, Coach D?

BD: Sure. Do you have any coaching experience?

B/D: I’ve coached my son’s summer league team – won’t tell you my record, but I have gotten a T. Not my fault. Beth – undefeated in summer league teams. Debbie – you mean the Nike high school games that I ref?

DR: When did you meet? Why work together?

B/D: I think it was “streaking the lawn” at Virginia? Or game at Penn State. Question for coach Ryan – do you keep track of all your campers?

DR: Not all of them, but we one on the phone with us – Beth Dunkenberger, a star former camper.

BD: Question for coach Ryan – your favorite camp story?

DR: You probably

BD: UVA camp we advertised Madonna was coming. She had to bow out — but we had a great substitute: MaDebbie.

DR: They dressed me up.

BD: Probably my best recruiting talk was getting Debbie Ryan to put on my mini-skirt and my bikini top. Camp went crazy.

DR: It was pretty good act — I sang “Like a Virgin.”

B/D: If only we had YouTube.

DR: Thank goodness we didn’t! I don’t think we even had computers.

B/D: Debbie – Monica Wright said to me, “You played, right? I’m going to YouTube you.” YouTube me? There’s no such thing!

BD: When you played was it six-on-six and did you wear skirts.

B/D: Beth – I just missed out. It was short shorts, tube socks with big stripes. Debbie – I just call it the “before pony tail” time. Coach Ryan – who is the best non-stat starter in NC State history?

DR: That would be you.

B/D: Didn’t Coach Yow tell you that?

DR: Don’t recall, but I know you’ve told me a number of times. (laughs)

B/D: What could you two compete in?

BD: I think we could lip sync.

B/D: Talk about Monica Wright.

DR: Monnie’s a player that only comes around once in a life time. She’s like a Dawn Staley, Wendy Palmer. What I love about Monica is that she’s the total package – not just a basketball player, a leader, tremendous person. If you were to paint a picture of a baskeball player, you’d paint Monica Wright.

BD: I have nothing but respect for her. And she’s gotten better. You don’t always see that with talent like that – some kids quit working. She just keeps getting better and batter.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” Elena Della Donne & Dawn Evans. In the Delaware v. James Madison, EDD scored 54 pts and Evans 38.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) Stanford Cardinal getting it done. Congrats to Jayne Appel: 2000 pts, 1000 rebs.

2) 10th consecutive Pac-10 championship for Cardinal, 6th for Ohio State. Xavier and Nebraska close to clinching first.

3) WBCA’s “So You Want to be a Coach” kicking off

4) Hopefully Debbie and Beth will stick to coaching, not want our jobs because we can’t do theirs.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.

2/17: Pretty in Pink, C-USA coach Melissa McFerrin visits, and University of Southern California’s Starting Five

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) Fantastic Hoops 4 Hope at Reynolds Arena. The Power of Pink – helped NC State win over Miami.

Debbie: Lots of former players attending, unveiling a new banner in honor of Coach Yow.

Debbie: Got some super-secret coach Yow files, Seems coach Yow kept every card, note, letter of intent, transcripts, recruiting letters, Xmas cards, photos of my kids, and resumes… including the paper with Debbie’s “I will be on time to weight training” sentences.

Please support the Fund.

2) Congrats to Ohio State, champions of the Big-10 conference.

Debbie: Six consecutive. Earliest ever been clinched. Shocking. Thought Big 10 was going to be more competitive. Look out during NCAA selection time.

3) How many bids are going to be open now, with Big 10/Pac-10 weakness.

Debbie: Surprised if they get a combined 8. It’s going to create some philosophical decisions. How many teams in the power leagues get in — there should be an in-Conference RPI.

4) Southern Cal Starting Five

Debbie: So easy, do you need last names?

Cynthia…..Cooper
Cheryl.…..Miller
Lisa……..Leslie
Tina…….Thompson
Pam……..McGee

5) Talk about your brush with celebrity: Danica Patrick a couple of hours after her crash at Daytona.

Debbie: My dork meter continues to rise. Sitting in the Skybox in Atlanta, tiny lady rounds corner. I say, Danica. I stood up and tower over her and say, “Wow, you’re tiny.” (Security!)

There may be a push-up off tween Danica and Ashley Houts. Stay tuned.

Shootaround guests: Memphis coach Melissa McFerrin

B/D: Talk about the growth of Conference-USA. 2, 3 Tournament bids?

MM: We hope so. Memphis/Tulane tied atop conference, strong defensive teams. Great year. East Carolina great offensive team, SMU and Houston.

B/D: You’ve been in WNBA, offensive game plan helped Minnesota to the Final Four. Please don’t tell me you’re spending your time on defense.

MM: Honestly, most people think I’m offensive coach, but in my heart, defensive. Don’t have a lot of scorers, so this year may be being more creative offensively than ever to get the right shots. Brittany Carter our only natural scorer.

B/D: You’ve rebuilt program at American. Doing same at Memphis. How’s your progress?

MM: If you’d asked at beginning of year, I’d have said if we’re not competing to be in top four, I’ll be disappointed. Might have been a stretch. But, wanted to challenge and show confidence. Rebuilding challenging and rewarding – especially to kids who didn’t know success.

We’ve done it untraditionally — assembled a roster from all walks of life – abroad, transfer, JUCO. Simply went out and found talent willing to be part of a team. Whole is better than our parts. Centered around our defensive intensity.

B/D: Make a case for why C-USA should be a two-bid league

MM: We have teams who’ve been aggressive in scheduling and some good out-of-conference wins. We didn’t schedule as Tulane and East Carolina – two best all-around teams. Need to look at them for bids if they don’t win conference title.

B/D: Best part about living in Memphis? Been on Beale Street?

MM: I have, but no leg-shaking involved. I love that Memphis is so crazy about basketball. Really enjoying life in Memphis.

B/D: You’re playing Tulane — keys to win?

MM: They’re a triangle offense team, important to have a great game plan to defend low post. When Brett Benzio goes out, they tend to go to some different offenses and spread the floor. We’re going to have to be on our defensive game plan — steals, rebounding leading to getting out in transition. Good at that, not very good in half-court set.

Jostens “Diamonds in the Rough:” Arkansas Little Rock has won 15 in a row and shaping up to be quite a battle with Middle Tennessee State both with only one loss. Key players: Chastity Reed and Alysha Clarke

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” St. Mary’s Louella Tomlinson, NCAA shot blocking leader. Griner, though will pass her and challenge Anne Donovan’s record.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) What’s the long-term concern in South Bend with the Lindsay Schrader?
She’s tough, but it’s going to be day-to-day. McGraw has an eye to the future.

2) Impressed with Kristy Curry? Had to suspend Kiera Mallard, leading scorer.

Seniors Jordan Murphree and Ashlee Roberson will gut it out. They’ve gone 2-1 since.

3) Coach McFerrin reminds us that Memphis’ Brittany Carter – highest scoring game in nation, at 5’9″ playing around the rim. Had to warn staff that if she hangs on the rim, might get T’d up.

4) Referee asked me why no referees on Rule Committee?

’cause not a member of an NCAA institution.

4) Kudos to Monica Wright – 6th 30+ game. 3rd all time in ACC history behind Alana Beard and Barbara Kennedy. She carries the load every night. One of our more favorite players to talk to.

5) Teams on the bubble: North Carolina, Rutgers, Cal, Kansas, Purdue, LSU.

A tremendous list of potential knockouts. Lucky to play in leagues with ranked teams they can knock off. NC – five losses in a row?

Look out for LSU – Allison Hightower w/ 5 consecutive games of 28+

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.2/17

2/10 – Kentucky’s Matthew Mitchell & Ole Miss’ Renee Ladner visits, a little “West Coast Bias,” and Conference POY surprises

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) North Carolina – really struggling.

Debbie: Have lost three in a row. Lack of heart? Mike Petersen at Wake Forest done a great job – might reach 20 wins.

2) Stanford celebrating 1990 championship team and celebrating pounding the Pac-10. 11-0, 21pt a game margin of victory.

Debbie: Might UCLA be the only other Pac-10 team in the NCAA? Maybe only one? NCAA hosting issue – Stanford, Cal, Washington State.

3) ACL good news/bad news: Jacki Gemelos. Kansas loses second starter.

Debbie: Glad to see Jacki back. Sadness for Danielle. Could we please figure out what and why?

4) Surprises in the conference Player of the Year awards? McCray out. Great season for Nebraska’s Griffin. Lavender the only preseason pick/current front runner

Debbie: Agree.

ACC: Monica Wright/Jasmine Thomas. Shenise Johnson at Miami?
Big East:
Tina Charles or Maya Moore.
Pac-10:
Nnemkadi Ogwumike front runner, or Kayla Pederson
SEC:
Kentucky Victoria Dunlap, Ole Miss Bianca Thomas, Tennessee Shekinna Striklen or Kelley Cain

Segue: Auriemma’s ties auctioned off for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

5) Poll Question: What will be best February Frenzy game?

Please support the Fund.

Jostens “Diamonds in the Rough:” NC State student body — raising funds to create a garden in honor of coach Yow.

Shootaround guests: Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell and Ole Miss’ Renee Ladner

B/D: What’s been biggest difference this season.

MM: Players worked hard in off-season. That’s on them, not me. Victoria Dunlap hit the gym. Amber Smith, much better year. A’dia Mathies a difference maker.

B/D: Talk about the triple overtime victory vs. LSU.

RL: Epic battle tween two teams with backs to wall. Neither would quit. I felt very fortunate.

B/D: Talk about Bianca Thomas.

RL: Put our basketball team on back. Been leading scorer in our conference. Felt a little disrespected at beginning of season. Diversified her game.

B/D: Picked to finish 11th in league. Now #2 – much of that on Victoria.

MM: A lot like Bianca. Has expanded her game. Come into her own. Very good defensive player. We’d be a very different basketball team without her.

B/D: Give us a hint on what’s happening on your coach’s show?

MM: Can’t give too much away – uptempo guitar and more delicious recipies from Jenna.

B/D: I’m willing to taste test! Rene, tell us about Eddie.

RL: I couldn’t make it without him. He cooks, cleans and helps me coach via osmosis.

MM: I’ll vouch for Eddie – my waistline suffered at Florida.

B/D: Talk about the SEC race.

MM: Really tight and wide open.

RL: Couldn’t agree more. Any night you play, you could lose.

B/D: Scheduling philosophy. Last not getting in tourney last year.

MM: Last year’s schedule geared to a senior laden team. This year figuring out what kind of team we were. Need to schedule challenges, but also time to figure out our identity.

B/D: Championship will go through Knoxville.

ML: You try and take care of home court and try not to let last game be deciding factor.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” Senior Jayne Appel, Stanford. New rebounding record for Cardinal. AND got ejected.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) Triple/Doubles: Brittney Griner and Katherine Graham, LSU. Points: Monica Wright, 34pts. Dueling 30pt games from Andrea Riley and Danielle Robinson during Bedlam.

2) Shout out to players outside Power-6 conferences: Elena Delle Donne, Delaware might be NCAA scoring leader. Judy Lomax, Columbia,  leading rebounder. Courtney Vandersloot, Gonzaga assist leader. Diana Delva, Hartford – shooting percentage: 67%.

3) Congrats to Jen Rizzotti – six consecutive seasons with 20+ wins. One of 9 remaining conference undefeateds: Nebraska, UConn, Stanford, Fresno State, Xavier, North Carolina A&T, Gonzaga, Princeton.

4) Xavier a top-3 seed? Maybe a 2? Everyone keeps losing. SEC, ACC, Big-12 only conferences with a race.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.

2/3 – Pink Zone, Hoops4Girls Africa, Tennessee and UConn Radio Voices Visit

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) The Pink ZoneWBCA/Kay Yow Cancer Fund – Feb 12-21st Already starting!

Debbie: Miraculous run. I’m going to celebrate with all the people who’ve survived and all the efforts we’re making.

2) Tina Charles, UConn: Add Maya Moore = two best, statistically, ever at UConn. Leading scorer, rebound and UConn’s 71? On the same night in Big East tournament.?

Debbie: And she didn’t really start playing the way Geno wanted until mid-last season. Incredible feat.

3) Head scratchers: Georgia, Ohio State, Baylor and Texas A&M – losses.

Debbie: Conference play exposes you. Mississippi State’s Alexis Rack incredible performance v. Georgia. It’s fixable. Ohio State – on Lavender and Prahalis.

4) WNBA: All – Star game July 10th vs USA National Team

Debbie: Love it!

Hint: Doesn’t USA Basketball need an official podcast team?

5) Crossing paths with Ukari Figgs, Purdue assistant coach and thinking about Stephanie White: Poll Question: Favorite backcourt of all time?

Shootaround Special Guest: Hope4Girls Africa, led by former Fordham Rams Mobolaji Akiode.

B/D: How did you start?

MA: Wanted to use sports to give back to my country. Started when I played for Nigerian national team in 2004. Just saw so few opportunities at the collegiate and high school level. Now happening.

B/D: Biggest challenge?

MA: As an NGO – funding. And getting people to believe in Nigeria.

B/D: We know coaches rally – what do you need?

MA: Biggest issues is equipment. Please donate! Come visit and train, look at talent, maybe even recruit. Help our coaches.

B/D: Describe what the experience is like for girls?

MA: Helping them experience all the intangibles of sports. Recently, took 65 girls from across the country — they rarely meet each other. Had seminars on life skills, team building, education, healthy choices. Great experiences for them and participating coaches.

B/D: Joanne Boyle, Cal took her team last year, said it was life changing. How do you get involved?

MA: First step, talk to me – share ideas, how you want to help. My goal is to learn, too. Program in August — ’cause issue is when are coaches available. We just want to make this program as effective as possible.

Website: Hope 4 Girls Nigeria.

Jostens “Diamonds in the Rough:”  The Kentucky Wildcats (but for how long unnoticed?)

Shootaround guests Part Deux: Radio Whiparound: Bob Joyce, UConn/WTIC.com and Mickey Dearstone from Tennessee/AM 990.

B/D: Most impressive about UConn?

BJ: The way they go about their business. There mission is to get better ever day and reach San Antonio.

B/D: What’s it like inside program?

BJ: Quiet confidence. Not arrogant. Blue collar, hard hat lunch pail kinda team. High tempo practices. Well prepared.

B/D: Is it fair to say TN’s back?

MD: Seemed so, then hit a funk three weeks ago. Intensity more from the coaching staff than players. Big gap between TN and UConn. UConn doesn’t want to just beat you — they want to kill you. That’s the mindset that Pat trying to get – not sure they’ll get that attitude.

B/D: On floor tactic changes? Or effort issues?

MD: Have gotten to know each other. Have to learn to take care of basketball. Shekinna Stricklen is playing out of position. Others have stepped up – Glory and Kelley. This team feeds off other players – one has good, other has good game. One has bad, other has bad game. Need guard consistency

B/D: Give us a Big East snap shot.

BJ: Looking forward to Notre Dame/UConn in Southbend. Then Georgetown, West Virginia and maybe Syracuse. St. John’s making some noise. Maybe 6 NCAA?

B/D: Surprised you about UConn?

BJ: Doty, Dixon, Hayes guard improvement post Montgomery exit. Improvement of Kalana Greene.

B/D: Does Knoxville feel a destiny/Final Four UConn v TN?

MD: Not yet. Gotten the turnover bug. You give the middle NCAA seeds the opportunities, they’re going to beat you (see Ball State last year). Have the capability. Must play better. ’cause you can’t give UConn second-chance shots or you’re going to get drilled.

B/D: Other teams you’d like UConn play.

BJ: Baylor’s coming up next season. This year – any team that has toughness and willing to smack UConn in the mouth. Remember, defense is the base of this team. And with rules/points of emphasis, they do a really good job of moving their feet on defense.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:”  Big 12 Match ups – who will rise? Texas v Oklahoma and Nebraska v. Oklahoma State.

Debbie: Great crowd at Oklahoma and they’ve got the best guard. Nebraska – they are really rolling. If you can contain Riley – keep her to 20….

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) Best start in Big 12 history – Nebraska.

2) Texas big win over Baylor, West Virginia off to a great start, Georgetown ended 16 game winning streak (nice win for Marquette). Rutgers – really, really struggling.

Didja know that Tasha Pointer and CViv share same shoe size?

3) New intern: Shayla Scott from Pittsburgh.

4) Debbie has the french toast casserole recipe. If anyone wants it, ask Debbie. And if it’s your birthday, tell Debbie so she’ll play her trumpet for you.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@ wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.

1/27/10 Remembering Kay, Official Words, No Jinx

The podcast is up and here’s some of what you’ll hear:

Starting Five: Beth tosses five questions at Debbie

1) Us? Jinx?

Debbie: Georgia, Green Bay are on the show and lose. Nebraska the anti-jinx.

2) What are the impressive non-basketball things we’ve seen in our travels?

  1. Getting from East Lansing to Detroit to catch a flight in an hour.
  2. The crowd at Nebraska (13,303). (Check out Poll question about Nebraska – who’s the first to beat them: Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, Nobody, UConn)
  3. Beth: Shout out to Agnus Berenato (Pittsburgh) brought swag on the road to “bribe” announcers.
  4. Debbie: I’ve booted male officials out of dressing room so I could dress.
  5. Debbie: 23 plows in a row on the runway in Chicago

3) Early NCAA Tourney Talk: First & Second- round: Cal & Stanford both hosting/playing games on same day. Why? Also, half of hosts might miss the tournament.

Debbie: Pittsburgh, Louisville, Washington, Arizona State, Minnesota, Cal, Old Dominion. This is going to impact ticket sales.

4) The revolving door Final Four. Just when you have a bead, you get upsets in top 10.

Debbie: In my poll – Nebraska jumps to 3 from 7. Tourney in Kansas City would help them to the Final Four.

5) One year anniversary of passing of coach Yow. Raised 1.7 million.

Debbie: Celebrating what we’ve all done. In honor of Kay Yow, present:

NC State All-Time Starting Five

Genia Beasley
Linda Page – one of the best scorers no one ever saw (like Monica Wright)
Trina Trice
Chasity Melvin
Andrea Stinson

Non-Stat Starter List
Debbie Antonelli
Kristen Gillespie (assistant at Illinois Chicago – scouted win v Green Bay)
Jenny Palmateer
Monica Pope
Rachel Stockdale

Matt the Stat Guy: Youngstown State – the opposite of undefeated, so pull for the Penguins to get a win.

Shootaround guest: Mary Struckhoff, coordinator of NCAA women’s basketball officiating.

B/D: How do you feel season is progressing?

MS: We’re getting there. Move needle, increase consistency and make folks accountable.

B/D: Hot topic: Travel and spin

MS: Background: Each year, Rules Committee chooses several points of emphasis. Last couple of years traveling one of them. We have found via video study, spin move in particular, the tendency of players is to travel (not all are). Spin move:

1) Stops dribble, one foot down.
2) That becomes pivot foot.
3) She spins on the other one
4) Then puts the first (pivot) foot down again
5) Equals a travel.

Tried in trainings with officials and coaches to say, it’s a travel – not because the rule has changed, but because it’s a travel. We’re going to try and get our officials better at calling (video). I’ve seen players make adjustments. Similar to education we did years ago w/ hands on the dribble (hot stove touch).

Still not perfect – but better than have been. Making progress, but progress can be painful.

B/D: We’re concerned it will change once we get to the NCAA.

MS: Not our goal, and I hear that from coaches. Perception is we tell officials: “Everything you’ve done all season, forget that.” Opposite is true. We say, “Stick to what got you here.”

B/D: What about who’s on Rules Committee? More power leagues?

MS: It is D1, 2, 3 represented, so get variance. But, all their discussions center around the good of the game at every level. We all want to grow the game. But, give the Committee some kudos for often thankless work — they’re volunteers and take job seriously. And we’d love for some high profile coaches to sit.

B/D: Mowins on the Rules Committee?

MS: Member institution or conference.

B/D: How about we have a Shootaround with Beth and Debbie Rules Seminar and you host it.

MS: And I get to quiz you? Sure!

B/D: Bunch of broadcasters and you can educate us and we can educate.

B/D: We should warn her that the title of the seminar would be “Protecting the Offensive Player.”

MS: We talk a lot about protecting the shooter at clinics. Rules are all about balance between offense and defense. We want more offense in the game and that’s where a lot of the rule changes come from.

Werner Ladder “Rising above the Rest:” Alexis Grey-Lawson:  47pts. New Cal record.

Jostens “Diamond in the Rough:” Prairie View Lady Panthers: 22-game SWAC winning streak under coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke.

Notes from the Cocktail Napkin:

1) Sherri Coale, Oklahoma: win #300. Quentin Hillsman, Syracuse: Doing okay after collapsing on sidelines. Michael Cooper, USC, reprimanded for &$%#.

2) Triple-double: Danielle Adams, Texas A&M. Bianca Thomas, Mississippi, 42pts. Monica Wright, Virginia 39pts . Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Stanford 30pts.

3) Consider Baylor next year: Griner, Brooklyn Pope, Destiny Williams, Odyssey Sims, Melissa Jones. Quickness!

4) UConn’s at 58 straight. 71? In Big East tournament.

5) Congrats to Seimone Augustus. Jersey retired, waived waiting period.

Final Rules Thought: Coaches are surveyed about rules. Majority rules. If they want changes, it’s up to the coaches to get involved.

Comments? Questions: Shootaround@wbca.org

Also, if you’d like to be part of the Shootaround “So You Want to be a Sports Journalist” intern program, drop them a line: Shootaround@wbca.org

Don’t forget: The podcast is up.