March 20, 2007

Austin: Wrapping It Up From Texas

We've finished up from the Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, as Oklahoma and LSU have punched tickets to regional semifinals in Dayton and Fresno, respectively. Here's some parting thoughts, and awards, as we wrap things up here in the capital city of Texas.

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Austin: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

As always, when you travel somewhere, you find the good and the not so good in whatever locale you're in. Here's some of the good, the bad, and the ugly from our stay here in Austin.

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Austin: Relieved Starkey Gives Players Credit

The moment of truth came on a timeout. LSU was down 35-24 to West Virginia, and it seemed as if a huge upset was brewing in Austin. However, this was a veteran team, and Coach Bob Starkey didn't need to say much to get his team's focus back.

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March 19, 2007

Austin: LSU Survives WVU Scare

The Moutaineers put up a great fight this time around, but they started and finished their season the same way: losing to the Lady Tigers of Louisiana State. The Tigers are headed to Fresno, having escaped Austin with a narrow 49-43 win.

The real key of the game was when Chakhia Cole received her fourth foul. When that happened, Sylvia Fowles took control of the game, as WVU couldn't afford to foul inside. Having only seven points after 24 minutes of play, Fowles finished the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds, leading LSU in both statistical categories.

We'll have post-game coverage and final wrap-ups, as the second round of play here in Austin has just finished tonight at the Erwin Center.

Austin: Fowles Gives LSU Lead

LSU now holds a narrow 42-39 lead with 3:35 to go, and it's thanks mostly to the interior play of Sylvia Fowles, as well as the fourth foul called on WVU's Chakhia Cole. With Cole and Sanni each with four fouls, it's allowed Fowles to become a lot more aggressive inside, and she's taking complete advantage of it, as she's scored 12 points in the last 13 minutes of play.

Give West Virginia a lot of credit though. They're still playing fierce defense and trying hard to score inside on the Tigers. Given that WVU lost 64-25 to this same LSU team to start the season, it's pretty easy to say that the Mountaineers have drastically improved as the year progressed.

The Mountaineers are at the foul line as we resume play here at the Erwin Center.

Austin: Here Come the Tigers

Good teams always know how to find ways to come back when down, and LSU is no exception. The Tigers have roared back into this game on a 12-2 run, and now West Virginia holds a slim 37-36 lead with exactly seven minutes to go in the game.

The WVU band is furiously playing their fight song to huge applause from not only their fans, but from the remaining OU fans and the few Austin citizens who came to watch some good basketball tonight at the Erwin Center. This one has all the makings of a classic, and it's one exciting way to finish things off here in Austin!

Austin: HUGE Upset Alert in Austin

There are no double-digit seeds in the men's tournament that made it to the Sweet 16, but the women's tournament already has #13 Marist, and right now, #11 West Virginia is making a serious bid to join the Red Foxes. The Mountaineers have come out on fire this half, shooting 8-13 from the field, and led by Ashley Powell's nine points, it's WVU leading LSU 35-24 with 12:16 to go.

LSU is unable to do anything right at the moment. They've committed five turnovers in the first seven minutes of the half, and are shooting a dismal 1-7 from the field. Fowles has been held to just seven points, as even the departure of Sanni has not helped her cause tonight. This is truly Bob Starkey's biggest test as a head coach.

Is West Virginia California Dreaming? We'll find out in the next twelve minutes of action.

Austin: Cindy's Loving Her Coonskin Cap

So Cinderella's been strutting around Austin in glass slippers and a coonskin cap (a true Texas fashion statement), and it's been helping out West Virginia. The Mountaineers, who scored just 25 points the last time they played LSU, already have more than that this time around, and lead the shocked LSU Tigers 28-23 with 15:19 to go in the game.

The small crowd of WVU fans are going wild, and the dancers have managed to find a dance to the slow hymn "Simple Gifts"...those ladies are something else.

The LSU fans, who are definitely the majority tonight, are stunned right now. However, there is hope for the Lady Tigers, as Olaynika Sanni just picked up her fourth foul for West Virginia. Maybe this is what Sylvia Fowles needs to officially claim ownership of the paint.

For now though, Mike the Tiger is offering a trade of Mardi Gras beads for Cindy's coonskin cap, and Cindy's not biting just yet.

Austin: Halftime Sports Talk

How could we go through a trip to Austin without talking to everyone that's part of the action? With the sound of the halftime buzzer, it was time to venture into the stands to talk to some of the handful of fans in the Erwin Center to talk about the game and the host site.

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Austin: Slugfest Half Ends, LSU with a Narrow Lead

In what might have been one of the ugliest first halves in the 2007 NCAA Women's Tournament, LSU heads into halftime clinging to a 21-18 lead over West Virginia, who ran off the court in jubiliation, knowing that this time, they have a chance to pull off a huge upset.

LSU is shooting 9-25 for the half, while WVU is shooting 8-21 right now. However, the Mountaineers have done much better on the boards, outrebounding the Tigers 15-14.

KEY STAT OF THE HALF: Turnovers. WVU committed 10 of them in the first half, and that's the reason they're down right now to the Lady Tigers.

Bob Starkey's got a tough one this time in his second game as head coach. A ticket to Fresno awaits the winner, and we'll be here for second half coverage from Austin!

Austin: WVU Hanging In There

Of the two games tonight, I figured the first game would be the tighter one, but so far I've been proven wrong tonight. West Virginia's played tough inside against LSU (they're tied in rebounds right now with 12), and they aren't letting LSU pull away from them just yet. The Tigers hold a 16-11 lead with 6:24 to go in the first half, thanks to Sylvia Fowles. LSU's 6-6 center has seven points so far, and the Mountaineers haven't been able to contain her. However, they've contained LSU's perimeter attack, as the Tigers have only hit one of six from behind the arc.

Meanwhile, in the shocker of all shockers, LSU's band is playing Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger". I know....does that not leave your jaw dropped?

Austin: LSU-WVU Just Underway

We've opened things off in the second and final game of Austin's second round matchups, and right now LSU holds a narrow 5-2 lead over West Virginia, mostly due to horrific shooting. LSU is shooting 25 percent (2-8), while WVU is shooting just 14.3 percent (1-7) from the field.

These two teams met to open off their seasons this year, and it was a display of Tiger defensive dominance, as they cruised past the Mountaineers 64-25 in Baton Rouge. Could the same thing happen tonight? It's not out of the question, given that West Virginia's shooting badly and that LSU held its last opponent, UNC-Asheville, to just 39 points in a blowout win.

Austin: Sooners Playing Their Best in Win

The theme was clear in the OU press conference tonight: Oklahoma is playing their best basketball right now, and everyone did their part in the 78-47 blowout of Marquette.

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Austin: Dayton, Prepare for the Sooner Invasion

There's going to be an influx of crimson in Dayton, Ohio, as the Sooner Schooner, now known as the Wagon of Pain, delivered a crushing blow to Marquette's season with a 78-47 rout.

Olajuwon scored four quick points late, but Hammond and Winchester came up short. Nevertheless, everyone played, and 12 of 14 Sooners scored in what was another showcase of just how good this Oklahoma team really is.

We'll have more from Austin, as post-game press conferences are getting set up, and LSU and West Virginia get set to tangle in the second and final game of second round action here in Austin.

Austin: Can All the Sooners Score?

Sherri Coale's called the dogs off, and with 4:34 to go, Krista Sanchez (from Springdale, neck of the woods) has hit two free throws to give OU a 70-37 lead. Sanchez is the 11th Sooner to score in the game, and the Sooners just need points from Abi Olajuwon (yes, her dad is NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon), from guard Karolyn Winchester and from guard Rose Hammond to ensure that everyone in white jerseys have scored in tonight's game.

The OU fans are relishing this moment, as right now tickets to Dayton, Ohio have never been hotter. Six years ago, OU was a struggling basketball program. What a job Sherri Coale and her staff have done in Norman.

Austin: Sooner Fans, Book Tickets Now

Oklahoma has a commanding 60-32 lead with 6:38 to go, and Marquette's band is playing their fight song now as a final tribute of sorts to the season the Golden Eagles had.

The drama has been taken out of this one, and the LSU fans are starting to file in, while the Marquette fans are sadly lingering around, saying nothing but an occasional insult towards the referee (MU has 10 fouls this half to OU's 4).

And now it's official. With 6:34 to go, Courtney Paris has recorded her 60th double-double, as she rebounded her own miss, got the basket, drew the foul, and hit the free throw. Paris has 19 points in the game for Oklahoma.

Austin: Can Anyone Beat Oklahoma??

The Sooners have made this game into another blowout, as they've pushed their lead to 49-25 with 12:04 to go in the game, outscoring the Golden Eagles 20-6 so far this half, much to the delight of the four sections in the Erwin Center that are donned in crimson and cream.

Marquette is shooting just 17 percent right now from the field (6-35). That's not going to beat anyone, much less one of the best teams in the nation. The Sooners were clearly underrated as a #3 seed. They've got size, speed, and great shooters all over the court. They have the nation's most dominating presence in Courtney Paris, and they have a tight, cohesive unit that believes in each other completely. If a team has a weakness, the Sooners exploit it and just keep rollling.

Who's going to stop OU? If anyone can, they have to have the total package. They've got to have tall, speedy guards to shut down Plumley and Rush, and combine it with impressive size to contain the Paris twins. They've got to be shooting well, and they've got to hope the Sooners are having an off night on the floor.

Otherwise, Oklahoma's going to be one very tough opponent to beat for anyone.

Austin: Sooner Schooner Pulling Away from MU

This one is beginning to get out of hand, as once again, Courtney Paris has decided to take the game into her own hands. Paris has seven points in the half, and the Sooners are totally dominating both the interior and the perimeter now, as they've pushed their lead to 40-22 with 14:46 to go in the game.

This is the sixth time I've seen the OU women live, and the story remains the same. Paris just decides when she wants to take over a game, and when she does, OU never looks back.

The Paris line (going for double-double #60): 15 points, 8 rebounds, 1 steal

Meanwhile, just gotten word from my friend Jayna, who works for the Texas ath. dept. and has been tireless in helping us out here in Austin, that the six senior citizens rooting for Marquette are all from San Antonio, where they cheer regularly for the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars. They came up to Austin and adopted two teams, those being Marquette and LSU, and have been dancing for them ever since. Now those are great sports fans!

Austin: One Sooner Minute Makes Huge Difference

For 19 minutes in the first half, it was a great battle between Oklahoma and Marquette, as neither team could really gain control of the game. However, all Oklahoma needed was one Sooner minute, and they got it, outscoring Marquette 8-1 in the last 1:18 of play to take a 29-19 lead into the half.

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Austin: OU Finding New Options

Twice Marquette has cut the Sooner lead to a point, only to have OU answer with its first two 3-pointers of the day, brought to you courtesy of Erin Higgins and Leah Rush. Meanwhile, Jenna Plumley still hasn't hit a field goal in this game. MU's got speed to counter her, and height to stop her, and OU's sufferiing a little because of it.

The Paris line (as she goes for double-double #60 in a row): 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal.

The Marquette fans are shaking and dancing....they may be a smaller group, but they definitely have more rhythm than the Sooner fans. Gotta love the group of six senior citizen Golden Eagle fans who have been partying like it's 1959 since this game has started.

OU's up 22-18 with 1:20 to go.

Austin: Problem and Solution

Oklahoma 16, Marquette 12 - 8:01 1st half


Problem - Rush and Plumley, the stars from the previous two games for the Sooners, are a combined 0-5 from the floor, and have two points, thanks to free throws by Plumley.

Solution - Give it to Chelsi Welch a lot more. She's 2-6 from the floor, but she's the only one besides Courtney Paris that's making shots regularly.


Problem - Not only is there no inside game (just one FG made from inside the arc), the Golden Eagles have seven turnovers in 12 minutes of play.

Solution - Let Ellis bring the ball upcourt each time, and MOVE around a lot more! The MU screens aren't working right now, so improvise, keep running, and find ways to get open inside. That, or get Ashley Paris in foul trouble so she sits next to Courtney, and if you can't score inside then, well, you weren't meant to win.

They just announced UGA was beating Iowa State 32-7. Are you kidding me??? Is Lyndsey Medders hurt or something? Georgia's a good team, but Iowa State's better than that score reads.

Austin: Marquette Holding Their Own

Marquette is tied with OU after the second media timeout. The Eagles have hung tough, thanks to 3-point shooting by Krystal Ellis and Christina Quaye. OU has still not hit a 3-point shot, something that's a little surprising to the fans here, as the Sooners have been a red-hot shooting team from behind the arc.

OU's got other troubles besides their 3-point drought. Courtney Paris just picked up her second foul, which means the Golden Eagles might have a chance to work the ball inside some more and establish their presence in the paint. The OU fans have been howling about the referees, who have called six fouls on the Sooners already.

We've got 11:41 to go in the first half, with the game tied 10-10.

Austin: Defense Gives OU Early Lead

It hasn't been pretty, that's for sure!

OU's defensive play has really clamped down on Marquette, and the Sooners have the early 6-3 lead with 15:55 to go in the first half. Courtney Paris has four quick points, along with a steal, and Marquette has two turnovers, while shooting just 1-5 from the field.

MU has tried to shut down Paris, but so far she's beating them to the punch. That's great news for the Sooners, as the rest of the team is shooting 0-4 right now. I do have to give props to Jenna Plumley though for going to the hole to draw a foul, given that she's a half foot shorter than anyone else on the court.

The Sooner fans have been vocal so far, as have the MU fans, but the arena is still mostly empty, which really is kinda sad. People of Austin, where ARE you???

Austin: Welcome Back for the Second Round

We welcome you back to the Frank Erwin in the center of Austin, Texas for tonight's second round showdowns in the NCAA Tournament. We'll dish out tickets to Dayton and Fresno tonight, and we'll start with a highly anticipated matchup, as Sherri Coale's Oklahoma Sooners take on Terri Mitchell's Marquette Golden Eagles.

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March 18, 2007

Austin: First Round Wrap-Up

Four games, two blowouts and one upset later, we've concluded the first round here in Austin's Erwin Center. Monday should provide some great excitment, as Oklahoma takes on Marquette, and West Virginia looks to avenge an earlier loss to LSU.

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Austin: Starkey Pleased With First Game

After the game, LSU Coach Bob Starkey said that he wasn't any more nervous in his first game as acting head coach than he was as an assistant coach for the Tigers.

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Austin: Under 40 Again: LSU Rolls over UNCA

For the seventh time this season, the LSU Tigers have held an opponent to under 40 points, as they have little trouble in eliminating the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs, 77-39.

It was a rout from the get-go, as LSU showed that they are a very tough basketball team that shouldn't ever be taken lightly or underestimated.

We'll have more from Austin, including Bob Starkey's first post-game conference as head coach. He walks out a winner tonight, as LSU will have a rematch with West Virginia on Monday night.

Austin: Under 40 Again: LSU Rolls over UNCA

For the seventh time this season, the LSU Tigers have held an opponent to under 40 points, as they have little trouble in eliminating the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs, 77-39.

It was a rout from the get-go, as LSU showed that they are a very tough basketball team that shouldn't ever be taken lightly or underestimated.

We'll have more from Austin, including Bob Starkey's first post-game conference as head coach. He walks out a winner tonight, as LSU will have a rematch with West Virginia on Monday night.

Austin: One Question Remains

With the score 70-28 in favor of LSU, there's really only one question left in my opinion.

Can UNC-A get over the 40-point mark this game?

This season, LSU has held opponents under 40 points six times. Three of those times, the Tigers held their opponents to under 30 points in a game. Now THAT is defense!

Who were the three opponents to not score 30 points on LSU?

McNeese State (28 points), Alabama (27 points), and LSU's next opponent, West Virginia (25 points).

I think Bob Starkey and the Lady Tigers like where they're sitting right now.

March 17, 2007

Austin: LSU Defense Clamping Down

LSU's offense was dominant in the first half, and now their defense is the showcase for the second half. UNC-Asheville didn't score until 15:20 to go in the game, they've committed 21 turnovers at this point of the game, and they've been held to five points in the first 8:14 of this half. Meanwhile, LSU's offense hasn't slowed down one bit, scoring at will, and the Lady Tigers lead 60-24 with 11:46 to go, in what will be the first win for acting head coach Bob Starkey.

Just got word from Texas officials that OU-Marquette will be the first game of the Monday session, starting at 6 pm Central time. LSU and West Virginia will tipoff 30 minutes after the conclusion of the Sooners and Golden Eagles.

Austin: LSU Surviving and Thriving

The LSU band is playing the 1979 classic "I Will Survive", and there's no doubt that this program is going to make it with no problem under Bob Starkey's leadership. They've come out with the same intensity as the first half, and now have pushed their lead to 43-19 with 18:26 to go in the game.

The Tiger faithful have reason to cheer, not only for the success of their team, but for the fact that something good is happening with their program. With Chatman's controversy, the disappointing season in men's hoops, the expected departure of Big Baby, and their baseball team not performing up to par, this rout has been much needed medicine for LSU fans.

Austin: LSU Routing Bulldogs at Half

The upset train stops with West Virginia tonight in Austin.

LSU has never trailed, while playing almost flawless basketball in jumping out to a 39-19 lead on a very hapless UNC-Asheville squad. The Bulldogs have tried everything: full-court press, 2-3 zone, man-to-man, and nothing is working. The superior talent of LSU has come out in a big way for Bob Starkey's debut.

Meanwhile, it's time to get a an approved NCAA cup of course. No beverage can enter the arena without being in a cup labeled with the NCAA logo. Crazy? I think so, but hey, it's their tournament, so I'm not going to complain.

More to come from Austin, as LSU is letting the good times roll tonight.

Austin: Tigers Pulling Away

This game comes down to the simple basics. The bigger, stronger, faster, more talented team is having their way on the court, and that's the third-seeded LSU Lady Tigers. Quianna Chaney has 12 points already, and LSU is outrebounding, outblocking, and outhustling UNC-Asheville, taking a comfortable 34-16 lead with 3:57 to go in the first half.

Still watching Bob Starkey on the bench. He's pretty calm, given his team is in total command of the game. However, he's watching his players carefully on the court, and jumping only to yell at the referees. The Tiger bench, however, is on their feet at every whistle, shouting support to their teammates. No doubt what's happened over the past two weeks has brought this team closer together.

Austin: Eye on Starkey

Bob Starkey had said before that the transition of a new head coach had gone smoothly, mostly because the players like and respect their acting head coach. Watching Starkey's reactions on the bench, it's obvious that the transition for him has been fairly smooth as well.

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Austin: Tigers Jump Out Fast

So far, so good for the LSU Lady Tigers.

Quianna Chaney started things off with two 3-pointers, and LSU has come out with a lot of energy, taking a quick 11-5 lead at the first media timeout.

The crowd is much bigger than the last game, with a lot of purple and gold in the seats tonight. It's so predominantly in favor of LSU that you really feel sorry for UNC-Asheville. Their band has only seven members, and they brought 12 cheerleaders with them. That's about it for the #14 seed tonight fan-wise.

Austin: The Starkey Era Begins

The last time we saw LSU, they were playing for the SEC Tournament title. Pokey Chatman was the coach, and things couldn't have been looking better for the Lady Tigers.

Then Vandy upset them. Chatman resigned under controversy. And things looked very shaky in Tigerland.

Tonight, Bob Starkey and his Lady Tigers attempt to find stability, as #3 LSU takes on #14 UNC-Asheville.

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Austin: WVU Happy To Survive

Mike Carey didn't look thrilled about his team's upset of Xavier. Rather, he looked relieved, as if he'd just run a double marathon and still was able to move around with no trouble.

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Austin: X Marks The Upset: West Virginia Advances

Xavier never got into a groove all game, and West Virginia, thanks to aggressive defense and 17 second half points from Olayinka Sanni, stuns the Musketeers with a 65-52 win, sending the 11th seeded Mountaineers into the second round to face the winner of LSU and UNC-Asheville.

KEY TO THE GAME: Midway through the first half, WVU made a commitment to attack the glass and beat Xavier to rebounds. The Mountaineers went from being outrebounded 14-6 to outrebounding Xavier 38-30 on the boards.

More to come from Austin, as we'll get reaction to the first upset of the night, and what so far has been the biggest upset of the NCAA Women's Tournament.

Austin: Upset Alert - WVU In Control

Xavier has so far been completely unable to make a comeback run, and WVU is smelling what would be the biggest upset so far in the NCAA Women's Tournament. We've got 8:43 to go and the Mountaineers have a commanding 47-31 lead.

Xavier looks sluggish out on the court right now, and their fans have become almost nonexistant, while the WVU band is cheering like wild, sending echoes throughout a fairly empty Erwin Center. The LSU fans who are filing in are enjoying this upset, and licking their chops. LSU throttled the Moutaineers 64-25 in their season opener, and would love nothing more than seeing West Virginia again on Monday night.

NOTE: West Virginia's Band is playing "Simple Pleasures" right now, a very slow hymnal that is VERY different from most any band ever plays during a sporting event. Cool stuff from the WVU band.

Austin: First Half Cold, Second Half Sanni

Ok, so the pun is a little's all I've got to work with!

Chakhia Cole has been quiet this half, but Olayinka Sanni has scored all six points this half for the Mountaineers, and WVU has upped their lead to 37-22 at the first media timeout of the second half.

What puzzles me is that Xavier seems content to play halfcourt offense. When you're down 15, and you're shooting just 7-30 for the game, why not try to speed this up? If I was coaching XU, I'd have them going to a full-court press and see if the Musketeers could pick up some easy transition baskets to get them charged back into the game.

But that's just what I think, and I'm on the other side of the court.

We've got 15:35 to go as West Virginia has the ball, trying to extend their lead.

Austin: WVU Rolls to Halftime Lead

We might have our first upset tonight in the making in Austin.

#11 West Virginia started burning the nets to close the first half, while Xavier continued its shooting woes, and the result is a 13-point Mountaineer lead at the half, 31-18.

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Austin: Mountaineers Making First Run

The first serious run of the game for either team has gone WVU's way, as a 10-4 run over the last five minutes has given the Moutaineers their biggest lead at 26-18. One key factor has been a new sense of aggressive play by West Virginia in the paint. Where Xavier once was outrebounding WVU 14-6, WVU now is outrebounding Xavier 18-17 for the game.

The WVU fans are starting to make a little noise behind me on press row (all six of them), while their cheerleaders and mascot have taken the floor. In the spirit of fair journalism, we trashed the XU mascot, so now we'll give the Mountaineer the same respect (or lack of). We know he's supposed to be a rugged guy with a coonskin cap and a gun...but this guy looks TOO authentic. He looks like a guy on I-35 yesterday that was trying to hitchhike....needless to say, no one would pick this guy up on the road. Great cheerleaders and band though from WVU.

It's 28-18 now in favor of West Virginia, as we've gone under 1:30 to go in the first half.

Austin: Key Stat Early On - Turnovers

Both teams right now are shooting very poorly (Xavier is 3-13 and WVU is 5-19), and the Musketeers are dominating the boards, outrebounding the Moutaineers 14-9. However, it's West Virgina who has the early lead. How is that?

West Virginia: 3
Xavier: 7

The XU turnovers are leading to transition baskets and extra chances for West Virginia, and right now, that's the difference in the game.

It's 14-11 Mountaineers with 8:19 to go.

Austin: Cold Arena, Cold Start

Right now, this arena just got cold. When the teeth are chattering, that's just too cold!

The shooting has been just as cold, as Xavier is currently shooting 1-7 from the field, and West Virginia is shooting 1-8. Xavier's owning the boards 9-3 early, but they hold only a 4-3 lead with 15:34 to play.

The question of the day is what the heck is up with Xavier's mascot. Their nickname is the Musketeers, yet their mascot looks something like the Cookie Monster swallowing Mr. Peanut...or something like that. It's one big blue blob, that's for sure! Has to go down as one of the oddest-looking mascots in college sports.

Xavier has the ball as we resume play here in Austin.

Austin: Let The Evening Begin - W. Virginia - Xavier

Welcome back to the Erwin Center in the heart of Austin, Texas for tonight's session of the first round of the 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Our first game features sixth-seed Xavier and eleventh-seeded West Virginia, which is set to begin in about 10 minutes.

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Austin: Let The Evening Begin - W. Virginia - Xavier

Welcome back to the Erwin Center in the heart of Austin, Texas for tonight's session of the first round of the 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Our first game features sixth-seed Xavier and eleventh-seeded West Virginia, which is set to begin in about 10 minutes.

Continue reading "Austin: Let The Evening Begin - W. Virginia - Xavier" »

Austin: The Slaughter Ends

Mercifully, the game is finally over.

Marquette took off on a 30-7 run to start the game and never looked back, totally dominating Louisiana-Lafayette in an 87-58 rout. The Golden Eagles will advance to meet the Oklahoma Sooners on Monday night in Austin.

The Marquette crowd is still cheering, led mostly by a group of five older fans who are sitting right next to the band. As the fight song is played, they jump up and GET DOWN, dancing like there is no tomorrow. How good do they dance? Well, let's just say these five have no shame whatsoever.

We're halfway through the first day here in Austin....and there's a lot more to come as we continue the first round of the 2007 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Austin: Standing O for Jones

Yolanda Jones has finished her career for the Ragin Cajuns, as she has fouled out of the game with 10:36 to go. Unless La.-Lafayette produces a miraculous comeback, her career ends here in Austin, as she received a long standing ovation from the small band of Cajun faithful.

Meanwhile, when you bring up Cajuns, you bring up gumbo, and now everyone on press row is hoping gumbo gets served during the session breaks in the hospitality room (myself included, of course!)

It's 62-39 Marquette, as the Eagles are just trying to run the clock down and wrap this one up.

Austin: Marquette Could be Trouble for OU

While Oklahoma struggled against a fiesty team from SE Missouri, Marquette is in total cruise control against Louisiana-Lafayette. Terri Mitchell has finally called off the dogs, putting in four benchwarmers with 15:14 to go in the game and the Golden Eagles up 54-27.

Continue reading "Austin: Marquette Could be Trouble for OU" »

Austin: How Ugly Is This?

This game has gotten so ugly....How Ugly Is It?

It's so ugly that the majority of press row is watching the Xavier-Ohio State men's game right now. I've got the Baton Rouge Advocate, Daily Oklahoman, and a hoarde of volunteers here watching the game on the small TV in press row, and I gotta admit, i'm glancing a little at it myself.

Ellis has 11 points at halftime, and MU is up 44-20 at halftime on Lafayette in what can only be described as a complete and utter mismatch. UL(L) is shooting just 8 of 33 from the field. They're being outrebounded by 9 (26-17), and have had the ball stolen five times by Marquette. ULL is even shooting less than 50% at the free throw stripe (3-8).

Where's the high school mercy rule when you need it?

Austin: Marquette Making This UGLY

Bring out the paper sacks and cover your children's eyes, because this is becoming a bloodbath! Marquette is in total control, leading La-Lafayette 30-7 with 7:59 to go in the first half, much to the delight of the small band of gold and blue in the section directly across from me.

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Austin: Marquette and UL(L) are underway

We've just started the second game, and Marquette has jumped out early on the Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana-Lafayette. The Cajuns go by UL instead of ULL, which of course brings us to today's "The More Sports Trivia You Know" moment (insert educational music here).

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Austin: OU Press Conference

The talk of the OU-SEMO game was centered on three things. One was Courtney Paris recording her 59th straight double-double (I was right...13 points, 11 boards), one was SEMO playing a competitive, tight game, and one was the outstanding play of OU point guard Jenna Plumley.

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Austin: OU finishes off pesky SEMO

It wasn't how Sherri Coale and company planned it, but in March Madness, a win is a a win.

Led by the simply unconscious shooting of Jenna Plumley and Leah Rush, #3 Oklahoma managed to escape a very inspired performance by the SE Missouri State RedHawks, winning 74-60 and advancing to the second round.

More to come from Austin, as we still have three games to go. However, this one is in the books, and the Sooner Nation can take a deep breath, followed by thanking their stars for Plumley, who's become one outstanding point guard for the Sooners.

Courtney Paris, according to my stats here, has picked up double-double #59 in a row. I've got her down for 13 points and 11 rebounds, but that's not official yet. We'll verify that after the OU press conference.

Once again, Sooners by 14, as they advance to Monday night's second round game

Austin: Both Teams Impressing

OU leads SEMO 60-53 with 6:18 to go in the game, and so far, both teams have been impressive in different ways today, as team ball has been the emphasis of the action.

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Austin: Sooners Pulling Away

Sherri Coale lit a fire under her Sooners, and they've come out strong this half. Jenna Plumley is driving straight to the hoop, blowing past SEMO defenders, and OU is shutting down the SEMO offense, building a 48-38 lead with 14:58 to go.

The OU fans are revved up, sensing this could be the early knockout blow they've been waiting for.

Meanwhile, our abnoxious senior citizen friend from SEMO has been quiet for most of this half, except for a 30-second rant about Lyles being fouled inside and that Courtney Paris "should have 35 fouls called on her". 35?

Anyways, all Sooners right now...can SEMO come back?

Austin: SEMO Cuts Lead to 3 at Half

The SEMO fans are on their feet and cheering wildly, as their RedHawks have proven not to be the pushover that OU (and myself) thought they would be. It's 37-34 at the half, and the OU crowd seems to be a little quiet and very surprised.

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Austin: Sooners Wake Up, Take Lead

With Courtney Paris on the bench, OU has awakened in a BIG way.

The Sooners have ripped off a 20-5 run, sparking the overwhelming Sooner majority in the stands and giving OU its first lead of the game, 34-27, as we now have 3:30 to go.

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Austin: The Trouble With Paris

SEMO has REALLY done a great job on Courtney Paris early on. They've double teamed her most of the game, even triple-teaming her at times, and they're causing a lot of problems in the interior. Paris just hit a lay-up though, and Ishee called timeout to discuss how to prevent that from repeating.

It's worked so far, SEMO answered with a lay-up by Ashleyu Lovelady, then stole the ball from Paris when the ball was fed to her in the paint.

Fantastic game plan so far from the RedHawks, who lead Oklahoma 22-14 with 10:43 to go in the first half.

As for the SEMO they going crazy right now behind me. They are singing, chanting, dancing...this is THE GAME for them, and so far, their girls have shown no fear against the heavily favored Sooners.

Austin: Nervous Energy Working for SEMO

The Sooner fans, who I'd say number around 2,500, are stunned, as SEMO has reeled off an 8-0 run in the last 1:20 to take an 11-6 lead on the Sooners.

Stat of the game: Rebounds... SEMO 4, OU 3

SEMO's 3/4 from 3-point range...Coale is screaming at her team to guard the perimeter.

Also, I can see why Lachelle Lyles is as good a rebounder as she is. She's 6-2, but VERY fast. She circled around Courtney Paris and grabbed a rebound before Paris could turn around. Impressive stuff early from #25.

Austin: Relaxed vs. Tense

We've got about 10 minutes to go, and the two sides couldn't be any more different. OU is super loose and relaxed, as if this is nothing new to them, while SEMO is very tense and nervous....let's see if that energy will help or hurt them in the start.

Sherri Coale and John Ishee just shook hands at midcourt to the cheers of everyone there. No doubt there is respect between the two coaches... Coale for transforming OU in six years, and Ishee for an amazing job in his first year as a head coach.

In the "totally useless stat" category... OU is 7-1 in games I've covered (4-0 WBB, 1-1 MBB, 1-0 FB), while SEMO is 0-1 (lost 63-7 to Arkansas in football).

The alma maters are being played right now (nice touch I think), as we're nearing time to go here in Austin.

Austin: The First Round Begins

We are LIVE from the Lone Star Room here at the Erwin Center in downtown Austin, Texas, as the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketbal Tournament begins here in 45 minutes. It's a sea of Sooner red outside, as Oklahoma and SE Missouri State open things off for us.

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March 14, 2007

Austin: Shootouts in the Heart of Texas

The brackets are set, and some of the more intriguing matchups of the tournament are taking place this weekend at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. It's win or go home for eight teams; four of which hope to head to Dayton, while the other four want to be California dreamin' in Fresno.

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