There should be no confusion, simply watch the replay.
Watch Candace Parker grab a rebound, turn and put up a shot with the clock plummeting down to triple zeros. Watch that clock carefully. It goes really fast doesn't it? So how come it seems like an eternity before it goes from 0.02 to 0.00?
Rutgers was robbed. They should have become the first school to defeat two No. 1-ranked programs consecutively. They should own wins over the two most storied programs in the history of women's basketball.
Candace Parker is hurt. The All-American Player of the Year suffered an apparent knee injury - these things have been going around, haven't they? - in tonight's game against Mississippi State.
It wasn't a pretty sight when Parker grimaced, held her left leg in pain and hopped off the court with a trainer under each superstar arm with 3:09 left in a game the Lady Vols won 87-69 but played poorly throughout.
Huzzah! Huzzah! CSTV.com's January 28 edition of Jerry Palm's "Road To 64" bracket has been released.
If you have been paying attention and hanging on to every typed word this blog has spewed forth, then you very well know how much I remain anti-Big Ten. Only Ohio State deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament, and that is simply because the AP and the Coaches have been ranking them all season, I'm still not buying the Buckeye's cow.
So you can expect that when I focused my vision on Mr. Palm's Jan. 28 bracket, noticing that not only was OSU in the NCAAs according to Palm, but so were five other Big Ten schools, I was a little surprised. Six teams for the most powerless of the power conferences? More teams then the ACC, SEC and Pac-10?
It's like, which one of these things doesn't belong? Except, they do belong. But for different reasons.
While it still might be too early to accurately predict the Final Four that will take place in Tampa, Fla., on April 6, that doesn't mean we can't try.
And while teams like Connecticut, Tennessee, North Carolina and Maryland seem to be getting a lot of hype, there is another team that deserves respect, but will beat you in a very different way then those others.
No. 5 Rutgers is a national title contender. They are the defending runners-up and they aren't fast, they don't shoot great percentages, they don't have a go-to superstar. What do they have? They have the ability to turn those other teams mentioned into brick-laying, turnover machines.
Georgia Tech proved a lot Sunday for heading back to Atlanta with a loss on their record.
The Yellow Jackets may have dropped their game against No. 4 Maryland, but after taking the Terps to the brink of disaster that spanned two overtime periods and a GT lead with under 2 minutes remaining, Maryland's 99-95 win was still invigorating for the Buzz.
No. 1 Connecticut can not afford to lose any more leadership to injury.
First, the Huskies lose junior guard and contributor Kalana Greene for the season to a torn ACL, and now, the same injury has taken senior guard and the Huskies' best outside shooting threat Mel Thomas.
This one hurts, especially for Thomas as she is a senior and can no longer red shirt the season because UConn has played more than 30 percent of its games. Greene will be able to earn eligibility back for this season despite playing in eight contests.
Never before has a post in "She's On Fire" been as appropriate to its title.
Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley truly was on fire Saturday against Oklahoma. The 5-foot-5 sophomore guard from Dallas' Lincoln High School scored an incredible 45 points - 37 in the second half alone! - and literally could not be stopped during the Cowgirls beat down of the No. 6 team in the nation.
Because I don't think Georgia and Stanford will be wishing me good tidings anytime soon.
The last two teams I wrote about, glowing praise for the Cardinal in my December Review, and talking about Georgia like they were the next big thing in the SEC, brought nothing but pain and suffering for each team.
UCLA lost back-to-back games to Pepperdine and Idaho State - Pepperdine is 5-8 and they blew the Bruins out - and now, just over a month later, have the opportunity to beat back-to-back Top 10 teams when No. 10 Cal invades Westwood.
She's on Fire is back, and better than ever in my estimation.
Before taking a Holiday break, She's On Fire told you about the Central Arkansas team who lost consecutive games to the two major colleges in Oklahoma by 73 and 71 points, respectively.
I really hope that my ragging on the Sugar Bears futility didn't have anything to do with the team firing head coach Checola Seals-Horton, Monday, after Central Arkansas dropped two more games, at Toledo and at Miami (Fla.)
When sitting around with friends and family, women's basketball is not usually the preferred choice of television program.
Last night it was.
Saturday's epic overtime battle between No. 1 Tennessee and No. 5 Stanford was so good, so intense, that I personally know two people who never before watched women's basketball, but tuned in to see this one's incredible ending.
Anyone who paid really close attention to the women's basketball Top 25 scoreboard on Saturday may have come across the abbreviation of a school they were unfamiliar with.
No. 24 Wyoming played host to a school abbreviated TWU, and defeated them 75-60 in the Wyoming Shootout.
So who is TWU? Were the graphics people just being cute, calling UTEP by its former name Texas Western University? Nope, this was not the University that upset Kentucky to win the 1966 Men's Basketball National Championship.
Rutgers got a bit of unfortunate news before their Wednesday night contest against Princeton.
The Scarlet Knights defeated the Tigers, 53-48, without the services of senior Big East Defensive Player of the Year Essence Carson, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury and was donning crutches and a protective boot on her right foot.
Carson has been hindered by this injury almost all season, said coach C. Vivian Stringer after Carson shot 2-for-10 from the field and just didn't play well in a win over No. 11 Cal on Monday.
While grammatically that is the opposite of being true - for those who don't realize, "undefeated" has no "s" or "c" in the word anywhere - in women's college basketball, if you are still undefeated, chances are you play in the Southeastern Conference.
As of Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3:26 p.m. and 22 seconds (now 23...you get the point...) there are only 10 undefeated Division I teams remaining, and a whopping 40 percent of them come from the nation's best conference - and none of them are LSU, who has been to the last four Final Fours and has already lost twice this year.
No. 1 Tennessee (7-0), No. 7 Georgia (8-0), No. 14 Auburn (9-0) and unranked Arkansas (9-0) have all managed to stay unbeaten well into the season's second month.
The Associated Press and Coaches Polls have been released, meaning another week of musical chairs among the Top 10 and bottom portion of the Top 25.
With all the nation's elite squads beating up on each other in big preseason battles, and all the bottom-Top-25 teams proving they don't belong ranked at all, there has certainly been a lot of turnover in the early season.
As always, I have some bones to pick with the voters. And the Maryland Terrapins should too.
Our nation's first president suffered a major beat down Tuesday at the hands of the country's fourth Commander-in-Chief.
That's right, James Madison chopped down George Washington's cherry tree and punched him in his wooden teeth, in upset fashion, I might add.
I'm not talking about the No. 4 seed (presidential term) over the No. 1 seed, the upset I'm referring to is the No. 14 Colonials of GWU losing to the unranked Dukes of James Madison. All presidential puns aside.
Monday brings the release of the latest AP Top 25 poll, with the newest version's top three teams all identical to last week's with the Lady Vols still the unanimous No. 1 followed by UConn and Maryland.
The Terps survived a scare from UCLA in Los Angeles with From Downtown in the City of Angels for the matchup, while Connecticut showed why it enjoys its lofty rankings by destroying No. 11 Duke in the championship of the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
But the biggest story of the new Top 25, and perhaps the early season, is Auburn.
Brenda Frese has pulled another top 10 recruiting class and that comes as very good news for Maryland because after three years with virtually the same lineup, the Terps will look drastically different next year.
Two years ago, when Maryland won its first national title, they did so with junior Shay Doron, sophomores Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper and freshmen Marissa Coleman and Kristi Toliver leading the charge.
Fast forward to next season. Doron's been out of the picture and now the Terps are losing possible three-time All-American Langhorne and Final Four Most Outstanding Player Laura Harper, not to mention center Jade Perry and guards Sade Wiley-Gatewood and Ashleigh Newman.
Sunday is generally the day of rest, but on this Sunday in women's basketball, rest will be the last thing on the minds of the teams that take the court.
From Downtown will make three appearances on this Sunday, one in Knoxville, Tenn., to see the No. 1 Lady Vols, fresh off their dismantling of No. 9 Oklahoma, take on Gail Goestenkors and No. 21 Texas.
The other two matchups take place in the Maryland-Washington D.C. area, with No. 14 George Washington welcoming No. 6 Rutgers into their gym in D.C., and in College Park, the best matchup of the day pits No. 3 Maryland against No. 4 LSU in the Preseason WNIT Final.
As CSTV.com gets all hot and bothered over National Signing Day for men's basketball, She's On Fire would like to take a moment to focus on the ladies who will be signing on the dotted line on this Wednesday, Nov. 14.
UConn's Maya Moore, Duke's Jasmine and Krystal Thomas and Stanford's Kayla Pedersen have only played two collegiate games at the most and already we're talking about who they'll make room for in their sophomore seasons.
If you thought the first weekend of action in the 2007-08 season was good, you ain't seen nothing yet. With the WNIT heating up and the ESPNU Basketball Invitational down in Tampa on Thursday, the action is non-stop.
From Downtown will be heading down to the Sunshine State for the two-game invitational - not a tournament - that features No. 10 Duke at host South Florida in the first matchup and an amazing No. 1 vs. No. 9 neutral site battle between the Lady Vols of Tennessee and Courtney Paris and Oklahoma.
Last season the Florida Gators started 1-0, and then in their second game they lost, by 16 points, to Xavier. They would go on to finish the season 9-22 and have their coach Carolyn Peck fired.
The Amanda Butler Gators also have started 1-0, but there's a difference. Instead of an opener against a cupcake like North Florida - last year's opponent - Florida began 2007-08 against a very similar Xavier team and defeated the Musketeers by 11 points, 82-71, at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville, Fla.
Wow! Stanford was very impressive in their opening victory over Yale Friday.
The first ranked team to play, the No. 7 Cardinal destroyed the Bulldogs 100-44 in New Haven, Conn.
And they did all that while only getting eight points, three rebounds and an assist from Candice Wiggins in just 11 minutes of action. The Cardinal didn't need her, they are saving her for No. 3 Rutgers on Sunday.
The Chinese Women's National Team is currently three games into a six-game collegiate tour pitting them against some of the best college programs in the country.
Ranked No. 11 in the world in the FIBA international rankings - the U.S. is ranked No. 1 - China has some excellent talent on its roster. Only possessing four players under 6-feet, including 5-foot-8 guard Miao Lijie, who played for the WNBA's Sacremento Monarchs in 2005, China has a multitude of talent and has thus far been giving the schools they have faced problems.
The schedule is thus: New Mexico (Nov. 1: a 67-61 win), Texas A&M (Nov. 3: a 76-70 loss), North Carolina (Nov. 6: a 70-68 loss), Rutgers (Nov. 8), UTEP (Nov. 11) and Arizona State (Nov. 15).
It wasn't exactly the start of the season that Georgia Tech was hoping for when the Lady Jackets opened their exhibition season against Team Reebok's Premier Players.
Georgia Tech, a team that CSTV.com ranks No. 20 in its preseason Top 25, met the Reebok All-Stars on Nov. 4 in Atlanta and were down as much as 22 points with 12 minutes remaining before a furious comeback fell short and the Buzz dropped their first game of 2007-08, 80-79.
Michigan State was picked by CSTV.com and myself to win the Big Ten this season. CSTV.com and myself would like to make an amendment as some new information has come to light.
The Spartans were to be led by their 6-foot-9 center Allyssa DeHaan, but she can't do everything for MSU, and that is why junior forward Aisha Jefferson was going to be so important to the team this season.
Jefferson, however, will not be apart of Michigan State's plans this year after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during the first half of MSU's exhibition victory against Lake Superior State.
Saturday marked the release of the Associated Press Top 25. I definitely think the AP did a better job than the Coaches.
Although the AP ranks teams like Baylor and Ohio State (No. 15 and 16) too high, I love the fact that they included seven Big East teams in the ranking. The Big East will be an incredibly deep league this year and I think all of these teams have a shot at the Big Dance.
Of No. 2 UConn, No. 3 Rutgers, No. 18 West Virginia, No. 20 Pittsburgh, No. 21 Louisville, No. 24 Notre Dame and No. 25 DePaul, only DePaul did not make CSTV.com's Top 25. DePaul was listed as a team to watch.
The Big East coaches have chosen last year's Big East Player of the Year, Louisville's Angel McCoughtry, as preseason Big East Player of the Year.
And while the selection certainly doesn't bother me, my first reaction was, why McCoughtry?
The junior poured in 21.5 points and 10.3 boards per contest last year so she certainly deserves the honor, but the fact is, the Big East is loaded with talent who could lay claim to the end-of-season award.
Last season, Syracuse finished 9-20 overall and 3-13 in conference, including going only 2-10 at home, so how much media attention can they get?
That question is of course a rhetorical one, yet that is an excellent segue into the point of this blog post. The Orange had a lone bright spot on last year's dismal roster and that was freshman - and Rhetorical Studies major - Nicole Michael.
I've said numerous times that one of the biggest factors in Van Chancellor's decision to come back to college to coach the LSU Tigers in their effort to go to a fifth consecutive Final Four was that he'd have the opportunity to coach one of the more gifted athletes in the nation during her senior season.
For Chancellor, a Hall of Fame coach who has had success at both the college and pro levels, inheriting Sylvia Fowles at center in her senior season is like having a long-lost relative leave you are small fortune and then winning the lottery the next day.
If you need any further proof that Van is more than a little excited to coach up Big Syl next season, just take look-see at what he had to say during LSU's Media Day.
Florida - my alma mater - is definitely a school known for its athletes. The men's basketball team and the football team are coming off three total championships and the rest of the athletic programs are no slouches either.
Except for the women's basketball team. The Lady Gators have been disappointments for some time now, failing to improve when heralded coach Carolyn Peck was in charge and ultimately firing Peck in favor of Amanda Butler, who just finished her first media day with the Gators Wednesday.
In my opinion, Florida is on its way up, back to SEC respectability and in the market to finally achieve what the program set out to achieve nearly five years ago, winning - or at least competing - for an SEC title.
Media Days have officially begun, with Midnight Madness looming Friday, and that means that we get to discuss all the preseason favorites for each conference, preseason All-Conference performers and preseason conference Player of the Years.
It also means I get the chance to agree, or more than likely, disagree with the decisions of the coaches around the country.
And wouldn't you know it...The Big 12 came out with their choices for preseason All-Big 12 and it certainly poses more than a few question marks.
George Washington was our nation's first President, George Washington will win the Atlantic 10.
Both true statements.
The Colonials of GW are receiving national recognition in multiple preseason rankings as being a Top 15 team this season, making them one of the few top-ranked squads from a conference outside of the majors. And with a team that returns four starters, one of which is a dominating 6-foot-4 center and another already garnering Honorable Mention All-American status, it's easy to see why they are getting the early accolades.
The next time leading scorer Candace Parker and the United States Senior National Team step onto a basketball court together, Parker will be wearing completely different uniform colors.
On a team filled with WNBA superstars like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, it was the collegiate athlete Parker, who has yet to play a game in her junior season at Tennessee, that led the U.S. in scoring, steals, blocked shots and field goals, all while playing the 6th most amount of minutes on the team.
But when the U.S. and Parker meet again, Parker will be playing with her Lady Vols teammates in a college tour exhibition with the Senior National Team on Nov. 4 in Knoxville, Tenn.
OK, no this isn't the beginning of a bad joke, and the Hemingway I'm referring to is Georgia Tech freshman Iasia and not Ernest.
I am, however, referring to the real Round Mound of Rebound, Sir Charles himself.
That's because Iasia Hemingway, a five-star recruit ranked inside the top 20 by multiple publications, has been dubbed "mini Barkley" because he's her idol and she models her game after the ex-Philadelphia and Phoenix star.
It was less than a week ago that I wrote the Big East battle for third place would come down to Louisville and Notre Dame, but I'd like to add another team into that mix.
Agnus Berenato and her Pitt Panthers will be a very good team next season, and one the rest of the Big East will not be excited to see on the schedule.
The Panthers are receiving preseason Top 25 rankings by a few different publications across the country, and with the team returning six starters from last season, including 2005-06 Big East all-Big East performer Mallorie Winn - injured last year before playing a game - it shouldn't come as a shock that Pitt is garnering these accolades.
I'm sorry, but when Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are on the court for Team USA, I don't care how good Kevin Durant will be, he doesn't lead that team in scoring.
So when the women's version of Team USA, complete with the best WNBA players the country has to offer, defeated Australia 70-66 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut - of all places - it only makes sense that the current Tennessee Lady Vols star would take a back seat to more established players like former UConn star Sue Bird or WNBA stars Swin Cash and Tina Thompson.
Let's get one thing straight. Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Seimone Augustus are three of the greatest players in the history of women's basketball. Candace Parker will make you forget their names.
Georgia Tech coach MaChelle Joseph has the Yellow Jackets rolling along like - fittingly for the Ramblin' Wreck - an engineer on a locomotive.
Entering her fifth year at the helm of the Yellow Jacket program, and her fifth year as a head coach, Joseph has amassed a record of 62-56, including last season's NCAA Tournament opening-round game-winning 21-12 season that saw the Jackets fall to Purdue in the second round.
I realize that isn't much of lead, but if you are reading this sentence, that one did its job. And its purpose is to inform the reader that what I'm about to write should be taken very lightly and isn't in any way a realistic prediction of the future.
With that said, it was announced this week that an NCAA Division I panel has proposed a rule that would forbid schools from cutting athlete's scholarships for any injury or medical condition, including pregnancy.
The question I would like to pose is, will the lifting of the threat of taking away a scholarship, translate into a baby boom of sorts among female college athletes?
Oklahoma's Amanda Thompson is known as "The Waitress" on the streets of Chicago - her home town - because, as she says, "I am serving people."
After being an out-of-work waitress for the past five months due to rehabilitating her surgically reconstructed right shoulder, the Waitress is back and ready to proudly serve Norman and her Oklahoma teammates.
They say Yankee Stadium is a Cathedral. Rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy hopes it doubles as a Chapel.
On the east coast, the New York Yankees are the main event. On the west coast, USC is the toast of the town.
And right smack dab in the middle, in Kirkwood, Mo., of all places, the two teams hope to join together in holy matrimony.
No George Steinbrenner has not asked for Pete Carroll's hand in marriage, but the Yankees' 22-year-old pitcher Kennedy, a former Trojan, has asked USC women's basketball player, senior Allison Jaskowiak, to be his wife, and the wedding is scheduled for Oct. 6 at the Westborough Country Club.
There is a team out there with the firepower and talent to take out Maryland, beat back Connecticut and dismantle the national champion Tennessee Lady Vols.
Let me just clarify that this team is made of women and it will have the opportunity to showcase its talents against the likes of the top college teams across the country. I'm speaking, of course, about the USA Women's National Team.
The national team, made up of WNBA All-Stars like Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Swin Cash to name a few, will play an 8-game exhibition schedule against the country's top college programs beginning with Maryland in College Park on Oct. 31.
On the hardwood, Duke vs. UConn is enough to pack the house.
The Blue Devils and Huskies would be the featured matchup, the game of the week, regardless of whether it was men's or women's basketball.
On the gridiron, however, not so much. With Connecticut only becoming an FBS (Division I-A) team in 2000 and Duke ritualistically playing the worst football in the ACC each season, this matchup doesn't matter to too many folks outside of Storrs and Durham.
With that said, let's take a look at how some of the top women's basketball schools fared on the first weekend of college football.
It is entirely conceivable that 18 years from this March, Maryland, led by their two freshman sensations the Frese sisters, and coached by their mom Brenda, will play for a national championship.
That is because Maryland's Brenda Frese is pregnant. The Washington Post's Kathy Orton is reporting Frese is due to give birth to fraternal twins on March 11, which would be less than two weeks before the NCAA Tournament.
It has not yet been reported as to whether Frese will coach the team up to her due date, but this creates a small problem for the Terps, who will certainly be without Frese for at least a few games at the end of the season.
As for who will take over the Terps in Frese's absence, Maryland has almost an entirely new coaching staff because of the departures of Jeff Walz, Joanna Bernabei and Mark Pearson.
Maryland will have to choose between Erica Floyd, who has 13 years of assistant coaching experience and has been a member of the Maryland staff since 2002-03, Daron Park and Diane Richardson, who are both new to the staff.
If I had to guess, I would say look for Floyd, a former Ohio State standout, to get the task.
Playing with a bullseye on your back is no easy task, as Tennessee will learn next season.
Just ask Maryland, winners of the 2006 National Championship. The Terps played every game last season with their opponents sending their best and most pointed-tipped arrows straight for their backs. And although they wear shells, these Terps were not impenetrable.
After winning their first 18 games, the Terps went to Duke, then No. 3 in the nation, and fell to the Blue Devils for their first loss of the season. Maryland would hit a late season slump and would never recover finishing the year 28-6 and losing to Mississippi in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
No matter where you may stem from across the nation, it seems the directions to the women's basketball national championship always seems to be via Knoxville, Tenn.
From Knoxville, MapQuest says it's pretty much a straight shot down Interstate-75 South for close to 620 miles to get to Tampa, Fla., but the Lady Vols know it will take a lot more than that to get back to the Final Four.
And even though this year's schedule got more hype for who the Lady Vols omitted - UConn and Tennessee will not meet in their annual rivalry game this season - the slate is not one the Vols can take very lightly.
It hasn't been a smooth offseason for the Purdue Lady Boilermakers.
First they lose All-American Katie Gearlds to graduation. Then the injury bug hits their best remaining player Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, who tore her ACL and is out for the season.
And now, The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions has placed the West Lafayette school on two years probation and will take away two scholarships from the women's basketball program for violations.
Several years ago, basketball conference bigwigs got together and decided that two of the best conferences in men's college basketball, the ACC and the Big Ten, should have rivalry games each year to determine which was the better conference.
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge was born, and for the most part has been very successful on the men's side. So successful, in fact, that the women's portion of the two conferences decided to get together and copycat what the men established.
But while the ACC owns the Big Ten on the men's side, as far as the ladies are concerned, the Big Ten doesn't even deserve to carry the ACC's gym bag.
Do they dance the Hokey Pokey in Russia? They do now.
Former LSU coach Pokey Chatman, the most famous women's basketball coach to come out of the closet, will now be taking her knowledge of x's and o's behind the Iron Curtain.
Chatman resigned from her post as LSU's head coach in March, days before the Tigers would embark on their fourth consecutive run to the Final Four, amidst improper conduct allegations. It was later found out that Chatman had engaged in an improper relationships with one or more former players.
Confirmed last Thursday by Chatman to the Daily Reveille, the coach will leave the United States in search of greener - and colder - pastures in Russia.
And they'll be there for years to come as both the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) have announced that the State Farm Insurance Company has become the official sponsor of the top women's and men's college basketball players in the nation.
No longer will Eastman Kodak have their name precede "All-American" when referencing the women's All-American team. Beginning next year the correct terminology will be "State Farm Coaches' All-Americans."
The company that brought the world such inspirational based-on-a-true-story sports movies as Miracle, Remember the Titans and Invincible has done it again, this time in real life.
This year's ESPY Awards will recognize the tearjerker of a real-life story going on in Raleigh, N.C. with the N.C. State team and coach Kay Yow's personal crusade against cancer, while at the same time, still managing to lead - and inspire - her Wolfpack to greater heights than any thought possible.
Yow will become the first recipient of the Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance in honor of the late Jim Valvano and The V Foundation for Cancer Research, and I cannot think of a more appropriate award for anyone.
Women's basketball needed the extra attention, but this is ridiculous.
Rutgers women's basketball has been making regular trips to media headlines ever since their title-game loss to Tennessee in Cleveland at the Final Four, they just haven't been for very positive reasons.
First there was that whole Don Imus incident, and now, a former aide to coach C. Vivian Stringer has been sentenced to three years in prison for stealing from the coach.
Stringer has been quoted saying she wishes the team could get back to being just another talented women's basketball team, but the fact is, all this controversy and media inclusion guarantees to keep the Scarlet Knights in the media's eye all next season, something that both Stringer and Rutgers will definitely not complain about.
One of women's basketball's greats has decided to call it a career--a short career--as Chamique Holdsclaw of the Los Angeles Sparks announced her intent to retire Monday, just weeks into her ninth WNBA season.
The former Tennessee star, who is the Lady Vols career leader in points and rebounds--not for long if Candace Parker has her way--and who led Tennessee to three consecutive national titles, has been troubled the past few seasons.
The 6-foot-2 forward has struggled with the loss of her grandmother in 2002 and grandfather in 2004, fighting bouts of depression along the way.
You want further proof that Tennessee is the hub of women's college basketball?
As if winning seven national championships, having the winningest coach in any collegiate sport, boasting perhaps the greatest player in history on its current roster and having the Hall of Fame in their own backyard wasn't enough, that Hall of Fame just got some new members and they have Tennessee written all over them.
The Pac-10 conference has announced that the 2009 and 2010 women's basketball tournaments will be moved from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., to the Galen Center in Los Angeles where Pac-10 school Southern California plays their home games.
The decision to move springs from the tournaments inability to pack the house in the larger HP Pavilion and comes on the heels of the Big East also questioning whether a move to a smaller venue would fill the empty seats.
USC just announced that Allison Jaskowiak will be awarded a fifth year of eligibility by the NCAA. This extra year was granted as Jaskowiak only played six minutes during her freshman year -- 2003-04 season -- before leaving the team for 'medical reasons.'
While the medical reasons were not disclosed in the release, from an interview I conducted with Jaskowiak last Fall, here are her own words what her medical reason was:
"In high school I didn't have an eating disorder, but during my senior year I decided to run track and I think some of the symptoms started that summer," Jaskowiak said. "I lost a lot of weight naturally from running, but I wanted to keep it off as soon as I got to college. I became way too conscious about my weight. I was seriously bulimic for up to two months and lost about 15 pounds in that time."
Jaskowiak -- thank you for being brave, admitting to and taking care of your medical reason. Your story is an inspiration to the female student-athletes who suffer in silence and I can't wait to watch you pursue your love of playing for one more season.
More to come on this story later on during the summer.
That, of course, is in reference to the talk that the Big East is considering moving their women's basketball tournament from the 16,000-seat Hartford Civic Center to the smaller, comfier 10,000-seat arena in the Mohegan Sun Casino, also in Connecticut.
The Mohegan Sun Arena is the home court for the WNBA's Connecticut Sun and has hosted college basketball in the past, including a game between Central Connecticut and Massachusetts men last December.
This brings up the argument whether a college athletics event should be hosted in a Casino, to which UConn coach Geno Auriemma--who owns a restaurant in the Mohegan Sun--argued that the Mountain West Conference plays their tournament in Las Vegas.
There are thousands of reasons why a student-athlete might redshirt their season.
All student athletes get four years of eligibility that can be redshirted into a fifth year should the athlete either not play for a full year, or take a medical leave of absence from the team.
That rule goes for all student athletes, regardless of gender, so why has Myles Brand, the NCAA's President, called for the Committee on Women's Athletics (CWA) to convene to discuss the topic of what happens to a female student athlete when she must redshirt due to pregnancy?
Pregnant student athletes may need more recovery time than a normal injury because, on top of the nine months of pregnancy, there is the recovery time and the time spent mothering that is included in Maternity Leave at a regular business organization.
The CWA will review the relevant policies and rules during their upcoming July meeting in Charlotte, N.C.
The WBCA and the Associated Press is reporting that Washington State coach June Daugherty, hospitalized after suffering a cardiac arrest, will make a full recovery.
This is one of those opportunities to look past competition, look past basketball. Daugherty had recently been hired by Washington State after 11 seasons with Washington. Washington State got instantly better with the addition of Daugherty and everyone in Pullman will be hoping to see her on the sidelines next season.
Also, WBCA.org is giving out Daughtery's contact information where you may send your get well wishes.
Bohlder Gym Room 220
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1602
Sunday brought an end to the USA national team tryouts in Colorado Springs, Colo. and the result was three separate rosters jam packed with talent ready to go for the gold this summer, be it in Bratislava or Moscow for the World Championships or Rio de Janeiro for the Pan Am Games.
The three teams are the Under 19 team, the Under 21 team and the Pan Am Games team that consists of members of each.
The rosters have yet to be finalized, with each coach needing to trim two players or so to get the final tally.
Let's have a look at the newest members of the United States best hopes for gold medals this summer.
For anyone living on the west coast with easy access to Las Vegas who would like to visit New York City but can't find the time or money to make the cross country trip, the simple alternative would be to stay at Vegas' New York New York hotel and casino. A walk through the lobby and you are magically transported to Times Square, Central Park and the Empire State Building, with all replicas being exactly one-third the size of their originals.
Oddly enough, all the hotel guests and workers seemed much more agitated and in a hurry than at the other hotels and they all walked like maniacs.
Having just returned from a long weekend trip to fabulous Vegas, there are a few things that I missed these past few days--other than sleep and sobriety--around the sport of women's college basketball.
Illinois Hires Jolette Law As New Coach
Law, the former associate head coach at Rutgers, said at her press conference that not only will Illinois be the best conditioned team in the Big Ten, they will also win conference titles. And I believe with a soft Big Ten that Law might be able to get that job done.
For this reporter, the dream is gone. Candace is no longer on the market, her new fiance, Sheldon Williams of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks--formerly of Duke fame--has beaten me to the punch, asking for Parker's hand in marriage. And the 6-foot-5 Player of the Year and one of People Magazine's Most Beautiful People said yes.
And I died a little inside.
As I try to pick up the pieces, one has got to wonder if Parker couldn't do a little better for herself. Don't get me wrong, I am sure Sheldon Williams will make a wonderful husband and the driveway pick-up games, not to mention the super basketball offspring that will come from this union, will be sensational.
USA basketball has announced its Under-19 women's junior national team tryout list. This group of 37 athletes--none of which have escaped their teens--will attempt to make a roster of 12.
The list is comprised of 17 top collegiate players and 20 prep sensations, most of whom will be coming to a major college program near you next season.
Top college players like Stanford's center Jayne Appel, Michigan State's 6-foot-9 Allyssa DeHaan and LSU's Allison Hightower will try out against the likes of prep stars such as incoming Lady Vols Vicky Baugh, Angie Bjorklund, Kelley Cain and Sydney Smallbone.
That's right, the defending national champs could almost field a starting five out of the attending prep stars who will be eventually hooping it up for Pat Summitt.
After the decision was made to lengthen the distance of the three-point line from the basket in the men's college game, it was discussed whether or not the women needed to make the same adjustment.
The women declined, meaning that now courts across America will be littered with confusing parabolas with men's players being disappointed when their supposed three-pointer only counts as two and with the women wrongly pulling up prematurely.
Chaos and mayhem may--and probably won't--ensue.
Something tells me that when Duke's Abby Waner sets herself to fire from deep, she's not going to care what stripe lay below--and infront of--her feet. She'll swish bombs from anywhere on the court and so will the rest of the women's games top three-point specialists. Confusing lines and all.
The WNBA's Chicago Sky will be without one of their players when their exhibition season begins on Wednesday.
Former UAB player and current Sky Deanna Jackson's passport was confiscated while playing basketball in the an Israeli summer league when Jackson punched an opposing player in the parking lot after the championship game.
The two players, Ina Gourevitch, an Israeli guard playing for team Elitzur Ramle, who eventually won the championship game, got into a skirmish during the contest.
After the game, Jackson sought out Gourevitch in the parking lot and slugged her in the face, breaking her nose.
The Associated Press just published a story reporting that Mississippi coach Carol Ross is stepping down and will retire from coaching.
Ross spent four seasons at the helm of the Lady Rebels, building a winner with the help of seniors Armintie Price and Ashley Awkward.
In Ross' final season her team was solid. They cracked the Top 25 at one point and grinded out some big wins during the season. But then Ross and her seventh-seeded team did something in the NCAA tournament no one expected. They won. They spanked defending champ Maryland like the Terps used foul language at a family dinner.
And they won again. This time beating mighty Courtney Paris and Oklahoma, forcing the Sooners to go back to Norman with their tails between their legs.
Don Imus has never met Matee Ajavon. He has never spoken with Essence Carson. He has not seen the emotion and sadness of a team, minutes after they have fallen short in the national championship game. But he is now associated with Rutgers women’s basketball in a way that can never be erased.
When Imus and his producer Bernard McGuirk spoke their ignorant words about the Rutgers women's basketball team they casually shattered a season of accomplishment.
Instead of being lauded for all they accomplished this season, a Final Four, and a near national championship, the Scarlet Knights find themselves in the midst of a media whirlwind, are forced to share their uplifting story with a shameful one.
There is an unconfirmed rumor swirling around that Hall of Fame coach and current broadcaster Van Chancellor, former coach of Mississippi and the Houston Comets in the WNBA, is all set to take the Louisiana State coaching job once the season is over.
LSU's current coach Bob Starkey has no desire to continue as the team's head coach.
The fit for Chancellor would be a perfect one, with the 64-year-old coach getting the itch to return to the sidelines, coupled with the chance to coach one of the game's best in Sylvia Fowles for her senior season.
And with the Tigers making their fourth consecutive trip to the Final Four this season, they will need a big-name coach to take over the program.
The names don't get much bigger than Van Chancellor.
Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said today at her team's press conference that the SEC does their damage the old fashioned way, with good old defense.
However they do it, they are doing it right.
As LSU puts the finishing touches on their dominance of No. 1 UConn--even in the face of not having their coach the entire tournament due to inappropriate actions--in the Elite Eight, that leaves six remaining teams left in women's college basketball.
Half of those teams are from the SEC.
Ole Miss meets Tennessee Tuesday for another spot in the Final Four, so that guarantees that half of the Final Four will also be from the elite conference.
Impress your friends at your Women's Final Four party this year with this bit of trivia: The big red rock legendary women's basketball writer Mel Greenberg wears on ring finger is actually an NIT title ring. He was a manager on the 1969 Temple men's team that won the NIT. As he put it, it was "back when winning the NIT was fashionable."
For more proof on just how far women's college basketball has come from the days when if you weren't sporting a Connecticut or Tennessee jersey you weren't players on a national level, just look at the Missouri Valley Conference championship game.
The conference that brought you such men's sweethearts as Creighton, Southern Illinois, Bradley, Northern Iowa and Wichita State now takes an interesting turn in the women's game.
Southern Illinois was the No. 1 seed, Illinois State the No. 2. The Salukis were whipped in the second round, their first due to a bye, by the eventual title game participants who hold the No. 8 seed in the tournament, coming in with a 10-18 overall record.
Drake is now 13-18 and is one game away from gaining entry to their 10th NCAA Tournament. And their MVC opponent is even less NCAA experienced.
As the news circulates that LSU coach Pokey Chatman has resigned from her position at the Baton Rouge school, one has to wonder as to why a young, energetic coach still at the beginnings of what promises to be an excellent career would leave a team with as much promise as the Tigers.
Watching junior Sylvia Fowles' progression into a senior leader next year would be reason enough to stay with the program who recently upset mighty Tennessee in the SEC semifinals.
"I have notified the University today that I will step down as head coach of the women's basketball program in order to allow me to pursue other career opportunities." Chatman said at her press conference.
How many other opportunities out there could be better than coaching a team that has spent the large part of the last few years in the Top 10?
She's the best player on the best team in the country. Duke's Lindsey Harding is like rapidly aging fine wine, she gets better with each game she plays.
The senior point guard is a black hole on the defensive end, if she didn't score a single point, she'd still be Duke's most important player.
Shay Doron and Kristi Toliver know it. Candace Parker found out, too. Ivory Latta became so frustrated during her game against Harding that the usually very outspoken All-American was speechless. Harding has been doing that to the game's best players all year--her entire career.
You cannot script life, real life is far more imaginative than the human imagination could ever be.
When the N.C. State Wolfpack took the court against North Carolina Friday, they weren't expecting a victory. After all, UNC was ranked No. 2 and were favorites to return to the Final Four. State was just an above average ACC team.
The Pack had home court advantage, sure, but they had one other glaring advantage that runs much deeper than where the game is played.
I am wondering if Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley reads this blog...
In an earlier entry on the current situation in Gainesville with Gators coach Carolyn Peck, I wrote that Peck needed to turn things around rather quickly or she might be earning a one-way ticket out of Title Town.
With the Gators firmly entrenched in last place in the SEC at 0-11 in the coference and an equally terrible 6-20 season record, the Florida braintrust decided it didn't want to wait any longer to make some changes to its struggling women's basketball program.
Florida President Bernie Machen told trustees Monday, according to a Gainesville Sun report, that Peck will not be retained as coach of the Gators next season.
Peck will have the opportunity to finish out the season with the team if she so chooses.
A University of Florida press conference will be held later Monday to announce the changes.
Each month I study the goings on and results around women's college basketball and I compile my monthly college hoops report. The report always includes a section for listing the best five players from each position.
Courtney Paris was my hands down pick for the center position every month except the last, January, where I went with Duke's Alison Bales.
While Bales is an excellent choice at 6-foot-7 and the nation's leading shot blocker, Oklahoma's star shone very bright on Sunday.
So I may be a couch potato in New York instead of a roving reporter on the sidelines of Duke at Tennessee tonight, but thanks to this nationally televised game, I got to see what I consider to be the best thing ever in women's basketball -- this week, at least. Tennessee men's coach Bruce Pearl painted himself orange with a big silver V across his bare chest. Talk about supporting your school!
Here's hoping the game lives up to the pre-game, chest paint, Tennessee-enters-through-the-stands-for-the-first-time hype!
That's what a hurricane is, and that's what the Hurricanes are.
The University of Miami is well-known for superior athletics, but lately the school located in gorgeous Coral Gables, Fla., has been subjected to some down-right disastrous circumstances.
The football team, the team players being introduced during Monday Night Football routinely call, "The U," recently suffered through one of the worst seasons in recent memory going 6-6 in the regular season--they did manage to win their bowl game, the MPC Computers Bowl--and having their coach, Larry Coker, get fired.
The men's basketball team is having a similarly bad season, going 9-10 thus far, including 2-3 in the ACC.
But the team struggling in south Florida most of all? The women's basketball team.
Jerry Palm, CSTV.com's resident NCAA tournament bracket specialist, has officially released his first installment of the Road to the Final 64.
Your No. 1 seeds in the inaugural bracket are a shock I know: Maryland, Duke, North Carolina and Tennessee.
Although the ACC is widely regarded as the top women's conference, the Big East is the proud owner of the most placements in the bracket. Eight proud schools, UConn (2), Marquette (4), Louisville (5), Notre Dame (6), Pitt (7), USF (8), Rutgers (8) and DePaul (11) all have earned our early nod.
I should have known it from the moment I saw Duke spank Rutgers in New Jersey this fall. Now that Duke has cracked the Terps' shell, it is obvious that there are a couple of Blue Devils who want that national title as much, if not more than Monique Currie.
Mark Feb. 8th down on your calendar. That is a very big day in women's college hoops.
The newest AP poll will be coming out on Monday, and after No. 3 Duke lambasted the defending champs, No. 1 Maryland, I think they should leapfrog No. 2 North Carolina for their tremendous 81-62 effort at Cameron Indoor Saturday.
Let the Devils have their day, because if they truly belong at the No. 1 spot--and for now, I believe they do--than they will be able to put their money where their mouth is on that date that you've now circled on your daily inspirational thoughts calendar.
Because that is the day Duke makes the short trip up the Durham Expressway to that rival school in Chapel Hill.
Is Carolyn Peck just going to sit around and let Urban Meyer and Billy Donovan get all the glory in Gainesville?
The Florida Gators are national champions in Men's Basketball and Football, so to me, that just begs the obvious question, when are the Gators going to win a women's basketball championship.
And why not the Gators? They've won damn near everything else.
If you look at the spectrum of women's basketball it becomes very clear that teams with superior athletic programs most often are the best women's basketball programs.
Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Stanford, UCLA, Tennessee, Ohio State, Connecticut, etc. These are all teams that have solid athletics programs as a whole, and more importantly, top basketball programs.
Yankees, Red Sox. Lakers, Celtics. Michigan, Ohio State. Duke, Carolina.
When these teams go head to head the result is not just another game but an epic battle with implications and consequences far greater than your average event.
These games are special. They transcend their sport and instantly guarantee the price of admission. The players and coaches circle the date on their calendars. The fans know this is the most important game on the schedule, no matter where the teams rank.
In the sport of women's college basketball, the rivalry that rises above any other is--and probably always will be--Tennessee versus Connecticut.
Times they are a changing in women's college basketball.
Hear ye, hear ye, let it be known that on this day, January the 2nd of the year of the Pig, 2007, Middle Tennessee State is a Top 25 basketball team--well, in the ESPN/USA Today poll anyway.
MTSU has made the Top 25 for the first time since 1988 and they have deserved it. An early season win against Top 10 Georgia followed by a solid showing since has the Blue Raiders in their best position in years.
Entering their conference play, the 10-3 Raiders will look to continue their dream season all the way to an automatic or even at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
If Bobby Knight and Pat Summitt walk into a bar, who gets recognized first? No, the bar is not located anywhere near Knoxville.
No bar patrons were hurt during the making of this question.
Obviously the answer is Bobby Knight, as he may be the most recognizable collegiate coach in history. But, just two wins away from topping legend Dean Smith to become the winningest coach in Division I men's basketball history, it is the way Knight has done it that is most bothersome to me.
Everybody knows about Knight's troubles over his long 41-season career. Within that span, Pat Summitt has amassed some incredible numbers of her own and has never made waves or ever been accused of doing wrong by her players.
Growing up, my father would always tell me if I want to get better at something I have to practice against people who were better, bigger and stronger than myself. That way, you learn how to fend for yourself and are better equipped when playing against level competition.
The NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics are overlooking this key factor into the reasoning for why many women's college basketball teams use male practice players during their women's practices. The CWA wants to ban the use of these male practice players in all intercollegiate athletics and have a proposed ban in place.