March 27, 2007

Dayton All-Regional Team

I was asked before the game to vote on who would make the All-Regional team in Dayton.

Everyone I voted for made the team. And I was unsure who to go with for my fifth.

The team:

Courtney Paris, Oklahoma
Ashley Awkward, Ole Miss
Armintie Price, Ole Miss
Shannon Bobbitt, Tennessee
Candace Parker, Tennessee--Tournament MVP

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Miss-Tenn: Tennessee Final Four Bound

With 3:46 left in the game and the scored 91-60 Tennessee, UT's Alexis Hornbuckle came back to the bench and said, "I want to break 100."

They missed it by that much. And the final score was 98-62. This game was never close.

Armintie Price has been the MVP of this region in my opinion. For all Candace Parker is the best player in women's hoops, Price has been sensational in this tournament.

Price scored 30 points today, basically carrying any chance Ole Miss had squarely on her shoulders. She finishes the tournament scoring 110 points in four games, a ridiculous total for the senior.

She will be a high draft pick at the WNBA draft.

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Miss-Tenn: No Second Half Comebacks

Tennessee is Final Four bound.

There will be no comebacks in Dayton tonight. The hits just keep on coming for the Lady Vols, who now lead 73-36 with 12:31 to go in the game.

CSTV.com's Hoops Odyssey has joined me courtside and as expected all the talk has been over Candace Parker.

Parker has taken a seat on the bench with 10:48 to go in the game and it looks like she shant be returning. Her final line: 24 points, 14 boards, 10-of-14 shooting and at least five blocked shots.

Let me reiterate...Those numbers are over 30 minutes!

And she would have scored more, had the Vols fed her the ball more often.

Miss-Tenn: The Tiger Woods of Women's Basketball

Unfortunately for the Rebels of Ole Miss, it looks like the road will end here.

And this is not how they wanted to go down.

With 4:15 left in the first half, this one has gotten out of hand. The score is 44-20, and out of that 20 points for Ole Miss, Armintie Price has 15. Ashley Awkward has four.

Price is doing everything she can do to keep her team in the game, her teammates just aren't helping her.

Candace Parker is on another planet. She has 14 points for the Vols, but has at least four blocks and nine rebounds as well.

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Miss-Tenn: Marist All Over Again

Very much like in their game against Marist, Tennessee has jumped out of the gates and completely taken the Rebels out of their game.

Tennessee is just a step faster and a touch more refined right now.

With about 10 minutes to go in the half, the score is 28-12.

It's a very physical game and the refs are letting them play for the most part. Tennessee has been pulling and tugging on Ole Miss jerseys to no reprieve from the refs for the Rebels.

And then there is the small matter of Candace Parker.

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Miss-Tenn: Tennessee vs. Armintie

With 15:11 to play in the first half, the score is 18-8 Tennessee.

Armintie Price has eight points, tallying all of the Rebels' output thus far.

Price has been great, but the Ole Miss defense that looked so solid against Oklahoma and Maryland has been outdone by excellent Tennessee ball movement in the early going.

Miss-Tenn: And She Lays It In

Candace Parker just stole the ball at the top of the key and sailed to the other end of the court by herself.

Dunk right?

Nope. Parker just easily layed the ball in.

After about three minutes of action, Tennessee looks ready for the press. They got two early three pointers by Shannon Bobbit and lead the Rebels, 14-6.

Armintie Price has scored six points for Ole Miss.

Miss-Tenn: Walk In The Park-er?

Or will it another Awkward game for Ole Miss?

These teams know each other.

Tennessee plans on running with Ole Miss. They want to beat the Rebels at their own game. Ole Miss just wants to create havoc for the Lady Vols, and not allow Candace Parker to find her game.

I'm telling you right now. If Ole Miss plays with the intensity I saw against Oklahoma--and the obvious intensity they played against Maryland--Tennessee will not have what it takes to defeat the Rebels.

Yes, you heard it here. If Ole Miss plays the same game they played against the Sooners, you will have a No. 7 seed in the Final Four.

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March 25, 2007

Seven Seed Elite For Ole Miss

Oklahoma's All-American center Courtney Paris put up 31 points. It wasn't enough to beat Mississippi.

The Rebels' Armintie Price, easily the best player in Dayton today, also dropped 31 points and along with Ashley Awkward's 25 and the amazing defense that Ole Miss played on the Big 12 champs for 40 minutes, earned every part of their 90-82 win today.

Only Tennessee, a familiar foe out of the SEC, stands in Carol Ross' way of taking her 7-seeded Rebels to the Final Four.

Something tells me this Oklahoma team will be back next year. With Courtney Paris, you will always be a top team, and they some superb players returning next season.

Okla-Ole Miss: As The OU Fans Exit...

Mississippi has increased their lead to 80-68 and the Oklahoma fans are starting to head for their cars.

With 2:30 to go in this Sweet 16 game, it looks like we are going to have a 7-seed crash the Elite Eight and it will be a battle of SEC schools.

My mouth waters at the thought of Armintie Price and Candace Parker going head to head, two of the best all-around women in the game.

We still have some time here, but I said that if Ole Miss were to win than Price would need to drop 30 points. The senior who never stops running and has at least five steals on the day has 30 points. And Ashley Awkward has come up huge on the free throw line and has 21 points herself.

Okla-Ole Miss: Punch For Punch

This game is tightening up with Oklahoma finally accepting my advice and forcing the ball down low into Courtney Paris' hands.

The sophomore has responded, now with 22 points, and is bringing the Sooners back into this game.

Of course, after every major Oklahoma play, there is an Armintie Price gem not far behind, as the senior has shown incredible resolve and refuses to let her team lose this lead.

She still leads all scorers, now with 26 points, and the score is 65-62 Ole Miss.

And don't forget about Ashley Awkward, who has come on and now has 17 points for Ole Miss. She has hit a couple big outside shots in the past few minutes with the Sooners focusing on Price.

Okla-Ole Miss: Put Me Back In

Ole Miss coach Carol Ross put Armintie Price on the bench for a short rest.

Oklahoma scored one basket and the senior yelled, "coach, put me back in."

Ole Miss has led by as much as 13 points and with 10:49 to go it's 61-51. And Price just came back into the game and has 24 points to lead all scorers.

Again it was the three-pointer, and not Paris, that is saving Oklahoma from an even worse margin. This time it was senior guard Erin Higgins who nailed a three pointer with Mississippi leading by its largest margin.

Okla-Ole Miss: Get Paris the Ball

If Ole Miss hopes to win this game they need to continue to play the defense they have been playing all game and Armintie Price is most likely going to have to score 30 points. She already has 20 with 16 minutes left to play.

For Oklahoma, the key will be smashing the ball inside with Courtney Paris. Ole Miss is keeping this a very up-tempo pace and in doing so is taking the slower Paris--having visible problems getting up and down the court at such speeds--out of the game as best they can.

The All-American has scored 16 points, but the Rebels knew she'd score. They are just trying to limit the damage and right now, leading 46-42, are doing an excellent job.

Okla-Ole Miss: Rebel Yell

After 20 minutes of high flying action, enough cannot be said of Mississippi's team defense.

Ashley Awkward, Armintie Price, Alliesha Easley and Shantell Black are everywhere, getting their hands on every single ball. They pull back, flip a switch, and then they hit another gear.

The Rebels might as well be nicknamed the thiefs, as they've stolen the ball 11 times en route to forcing 15 first-half turnovers for Oklahoma.

When the Sooners can get the ball inside to Courtney Paris, they are usually able to score, but the Rebels have been denying her the ball with gusto.

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Okla-Ole Miss: Doing It All

Armintie Price is doing so much for Ole Miss, she is exhausting herself.

After each possession the senior bends over to catch her breath, but with the ball in play she has been sensational.

Between Price and Awkward, Oklahoma is having major problems keeping the ball, as the Ole Miss guards seem to get their hands on everything and seem to always be in the right passing lane, ready to erupt on the ball for an easy lay up.

Courtney Paris has been her solid self inside for Oklahoma, but right now Ole Miss' defense is just too much for the Sooners.

This is one of the fastest defenses I've ever seen and Oklahoma is attempting to play an up-tempo game, playing right into the Rebels' hands.

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Okla-Ole Miss: So Awkward

Ole Miss jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead, only to let Oklahoma come all the way back and take a lead of their own.

That is when Armintie Price took over.

Price came up with a few steals to go with nine of the 16 points Ole Miss has scored.

Ole Miss sparkplug Ashley Awkward, another excellent defender, has also been disrupting the Oklahoma passing lanes and has four points for the Rebels as they lead the Sooners, 18-11, with 11:54 left in the first half.

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Okla-Ole Miss: Will the Price Be Right?

Everyone knows about Oklahoma sophomore All-American Courtney Paris--the other CP3 in the Dayton Regional.

Not everyone has heard of Ole Miss senior guard Armintie Price. After the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year dominated former champ Maryland, people need to take notice of Price's game. She will make an excellent WNBA player and will be the difference maker for Ole Miss in today's game.

Courtney Paris will get her double double, that is a given, it is how Ole Miss defends the rest of the Sooner players that will determine the outcome of this game.

Almost all the Cinderella stories are gone from the tournament. FSU lost, so did Bowling Green and Marist, now the Rebels are the lowest remaining seed as they look to gain a place in tomorrow's regional final against Tennessee.

Marist-Tenn: Lady Vols Elite

There were times this afternoon when it almost looked like Tennessee was toying with its small-town opponent.

Like a dog pawing at its prey, waiting to see if there will be any movement before he ultimately devours it whole, so did Tennessee wait to see if Marist would make a run.

They did not and were devoured by the Lady Vols, 65-46.

It's not that Marist played bad, no, judging by their early-season games against Maryland and Duke this is what we should have expected from this game.

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Marist-Tenn: Confidence

Candace Parker has spent the past few minutes resting on the bench.

Tennessee only increased its lead. With 10 minutes left in the game the score is 61-35.

Rachele Fitz and Meg Dahlman are playing well for the Red Foxes but it just cannot match the athleticism of Tennesee, who has just hit three consecutive three pointers.

As each ball goes effortlessly through the hoop, a quick glance at the smile on the face of Pat Summitt will tell you she is content with her team's performance and that she is enjoying ending the Red Foxes' journey.

Marist-Tenn: She's Human

Well, no, she hasn't missed a shot yet...but Candace Parker did just commit a turnover.

Marist is opening the second half on a 6-2 run with Rachele Fitz scoring two inside baskets and Meg Dahlman scoring her 10th point as well.

The score is 44-27 after about two minutes of the second.

My seat on press row is located just behind the Tennessee bench where I will have the privelege of listening to one of the greatest coaches in any sport conduct the symphony of basketball on her players.

Pat Summitt is larger than life on that sideline. You can just see the respect she deserves illuminating all about her person.

Parker just hit her eighth consecutive basket at close range. She now has 16 points to lead all scorers.

Marist-Tenn: Halftime

The weather outside in Dayton is gorgeous. Inside the University of Dayton arena it isn't very pretty.

Cinderella Marist looks like they hit a wall and she's wearing a No. 3 Volunteer jersey that says Parker on the back.

CP3--also Courtney Paris' nickname, by the way--has 14 points, five boards and is shooting a perfect 7-of-7. Sidney Spencer adds 11 and junior guard Alexix Hornbuckle has six rebounds and the Lady Vols are leading 13-seeded Marist 42-21.

Meg Dahlman is leading the way for the Red Foxes with eight points and four rebounds.

Ugly Homecomming

Meg Dahlman has eight points for Marist, but Marist only has 14 total.

The Red Foxes have four players on their roster from the state of Ohio.

Freshman sensation Rachele Fritz is from Seven Hills, Ohio, freshman Lynzee Johnson is from Xenia, junior Courtney Kolesar is from Concord and junior Sarah Smrdel is from Mentor. And next year the Foxes have recruited two more native Ohionians.

Right now the homecomming party is being ruined by the dominance of the Lady Vols, however. As with 4:25 left in the first half, Tennessee leads 32-14.

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Marist-Tenn: Hot Start

For the Lady Vols...

Sidney Spencer has come out of the gates firing for Tennessee. She has seven early points on 3-of-5 shooting.

Tennessee looks very comfortable out there in their game plan. Right now points are coming easy for the Vols and they are confusing and pushing Marist's players around the court.

Candace Parker just took an inside feed and simply turned and put the ball in the hoop over two Marist defenders.

They are getting open shots, they are hitting them and the Vols lead 17-5 after nine minutes.

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Marist-Tenn: Late Start

Plane delays, traffic accidents, oh my!

While it was my own plane that was delayed, it was not my vehicle in the traffic accident.

In even better news, I managed to not miss a single minute of action.

And now, after about three minutes of action, the early score is Tennessee 8, Marist 5.

After spending some time with 13-seeded Marist, you just get the feeling they will at least keep this game competitive throughout.

In fact, their bench players stand and throw their arms in the air with every attempted shot, they are that excited and amped to be here. And why not? They have absolutely nothing to lose against a bigger, stronger and faster No. 1 Tennessee.

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