ESPN’s Charlie Creme is the preeminent “bracketologist” for women’s basketball. Creme reviews and analyzes teams, conferences, trends, schedules, precedents, historical placements, injuries and a myriad of other factors. He projects who will be the 64 teams selected for the women’s NCAA tournament including seedings and selection committee placement.
There is so much that goes into both the actual selection process by the committee and Creme’s process of projection. On today’s Dishin & Swishin, Creme returns to the podcast to look at the intricacies involved with these year’s bracket, including who could be the four top seeds, and why they will be placed in the specific regions he projects.
Other topics include conference tournaments and their effects on bubble ins and outs, mid-majors versus BCS conference selections, RPI and success against highly ranked teams impact on seeding and more.
It is great to be able to give Creme more than two minutes at halftime of a game or 140 characters on twitter to explain his process!
Enjoy the podcast!
The Roundtable is back!
It is a pleasure to bring back the Dishin & Swishin roundtable for your listening pleasure this week, with a look at the first half of the NCAA women’s basketball season.
The participants on this roundtable, hosted by David Siegel are:
On the heels of the No. 1 Connecticut’s victory over No. 7 Baylor, the roundtable had a lot to talk about!
Topics covered this week include:
All of this and more, on this week’s Dishin & Swishin, the roundtable looks at the NCAA season.
Enjoy the podcast!
No. 1 Connecticut (18-0) came to Waco and snapped No. 7 Baylor’s 69-game home win streak with a 66-55 victory in front of a season record crowd of 9,145. It was the first loss in the Ferrell Center for senior guards Odyssey Sims and Makenzie Robertson.
Sims carried the offensive load for Baylor (14-2) and did not get much help from the rest of her team until late in the first half. Makenzie Robertson and Nina Davis helped to keep the Lady Bears within 10 but UConn’ size and rebounding was too much for Baylor. Nevertheless, the Lady Bears kept it close and ended the half trailing the Huskies 36-27. While Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley helped UConn maintain a lead during the first stanza, they ended the period with three fouls each.
Breanna Stewart led UConn with 12 points and seven rebounds after the first half. Texas native Moriah Jefferson added 10 and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had eight. For Baylor, Sims paced the Lady Bears with 15 points and Robertson had seven.
Baylor started the second half on a 15-9 run to get within three, 45-42 at 14:28. They outscored UConn for much of that period, nipping at the heels of the Huskies, staying within striking distance, narrowing the lead to one, 50-49 at 10:54 after a three point shot by Odyssey Sims. Baylor’s young players Nina Davis, Kristina Higgins, Niya Johnson and Imani Wright helped Sims with some offensive production as well. Baylor was within three at 3:51, 56-53.
Stewart finished with a team-high 18 points plus 11 rebounds. Hartley followed with 17. Jefferson had a nice stat line with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. Dolson was the fourth Husky in double figures with 10 points and seven rebounds.
Sims, finished below her season average of 31.1 points per game, with 20 points and four assists. Freshman Davis had 11 points plus 17 rebounds. Robertson contributed 10 points and five rebounds.
UConn returns to the East Coast to face Rutgers on the road Sunday, January 19. They return to Texas on February 4 to face American Athletic Conference member Southern Methodist.
Baylor heads to Kansas to play the Jayhawks on the same day the Huskies face the Scarlet Knights.
UConn vs Baylor
1/13/14 6 p.m. at Ferrell Center – Waco, Texas
|Score by Periods||1st||2nd||Total|
|UConn||36||30||66||Record: (18-0 #1/1)|
|Baylor||27||28||55||Record: (14-2 #7/7)|
|Officials: Dee Kantner, Jesse Dickerson, Maj Forsberg
Technical fouls: UConn-None. Baylor-None.
On the social media service Twitter ESPN commentator Rebecca Lobo and Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn discussed and debated the perpetual success of teams like UConn and Tennessee, and whether that is good for women’s college basketball. UConn coach Geno Auriemma has for years said that it is incumbent on the “other teams” to bring their programs up to the level of the Huskies and the Lady Vols, not legislate their programs down.
In Lexington, Kentucky, the Wildcats are striving to do just what Auriemma suggested. A historic men’s program at Kentucky helped to establish a surging women’s program under seven-year head coach Matthew Mitchell. After two years of mediocrity and a 33-32 start, Mitchell’s teams have embraced his “forty minutes of dread” up-tempo system on both ends of the court. The results have been spectacular. Kentucky has won at least 25 games each of the last four seasons, earned tournament berths each year. They made it to the Elite Eight in three of the last four seasons. Yet prior to junior Jennifer O’Neill’s arrival on campus, the team did not have a McDonald’s All-American in its history.
Coach Mitchell returns to the Dishin & Swishin podcast this week, on the heels of their second consecutive upset victory in the Battle of the Bluegrass, coming from behind to defeat in state rival Louisville, 69-64, then ranked No. 3/4 in the polls, this past Sunday. However, this was not the first difficult out-of-conference game on the Kentucky schedule this season, nor is it the last.
While most top programs play a few out-of-conference games against other top programs, there are few that are willing to take on the top mid-major programs, and even fewer are willing to go on the road to face them. Those schools do not generate the same interest as “the big names,” can be tough games, especially when you consider that it is “an event” on the smaller school’s campus. Yet already this season Kentucky has gone to Poughkeepsie, New York and taken on Marist, and Mufreesboro, Tennessee to play Middle Tennessee State. On top of those games, Central Michigan played in Lexington, and Kentucky will travel to play the Chippewas on CMU’s home court next year.
Still on Kentucky’s schedule in calendar year 2013 are second-ranked Duke, DePaul in Chicago, and this Friday they have a big road “event” game, when they will join the men’s team in a double-header against ninth-ranked Baylor, at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys. This has the potential to be a great game in a great setting, with two tough, aggressive, talented programs facing off. Kentucky looks to continue an 18-game regular season winning streak against non-conference opponents, while Baylor wants to eliminate questions about their post-Griner team in the wake of an easy non-conference schedule. The game will be televised on ESPN3 at 6:30 p.m. CT/7:30 p.m. ET.
Mitchell discusses his 2013-14 Wildcats, led by the talented senior front line of DeNesha Stallworth and Samarie Walker plus the outstanding shooting of Kastine Evans. Other topics include:
Always entertaining and outspoken, Mitchell is one of the favorite guests of Dishin & Swishin.
Enjoy the podcast!
Happy Halloween everyone! This is my first Halloween without having a child in the house, so to capture that magic feeling of Halloween I have a special treat for you today!
Rebecca Lobo and Stephanie White each have an NCAA championship on their resume and have used their knowledge and experience to become two of the very best commentators and analysts of women’s basketball.
Lobo is first on today’s podcast. She joins Kara Lawson this season as an in-studio analyst for ESPN’s women’s basketball coverage. From Halloween costumes to preseason top five picks, the interview is wide-ranging and includes teams to watch this season and their keys to success. Rule changes, conference alignment, and the 2013-14 UConn Huskies in a historical context are also covered.
White is on next, and the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports Indiana and ESPN analyst gives her thoughts on many of the top players in the country; the biggest adjustments teams and players need to make to adhere to the new rules and breaks down the Big Ten conference as well.
No tricks here, just treats! Have a safe and happy Halloween, and enjoy the podcast!
The Big 12 Conference has announced its Preseason All-Big 12 Team as well as honors for preseason player, newcomer and freshman of the year for the 2013-14 women’s basketball season. The awards are chosen by head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.
Baylor’s Odyssey Sims was named Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year after earning unanimous All-America honors last season. She is a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was the league’s Freshman of the Year in 2011. The senior point guard averaged 12.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in the Lady Bears’ run to the Sweet 16 in 2012-13. She finished second in the nation with a 2.67 assist-turnover ratio.
Oklahoma State junior transfer Marisha Wallace was selected Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. The NOC-Enid product averaged 17.6 points and 7.1 rebounds during her sophomore season. She was a second team all-conference pick and helped her squad to its second-straight Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference title.
Big 12 Preseason Freshman of the Year honors were awarded to Baylor’s Ieshia Small. This marks the second-consecutive season and third in the last four in which the Lady Bears have captured preseason recognition for both player and freshman of the year. The guard from Miami, Fla., was a 2013 McDonald’s All-American and Florida’s Gatorade Player of the Year. She was ranked by recruiting services as No. 3 nationally in her position and No. 19 overall. Small averaged 25.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 5.0 steals as a high school senior.
Joining Sims on the Preseason All-Big 12 Team were Hallie Christofferson (Iowa State), Aaryn Ellenberg (Oklahoma), Imani McGee-Stafford (Texas) and Asya Bussie (West Virginia). Christofferson and Ellenberg were All-Big 12 selections a year ago while McGee-Stafford was an Honorable Mention pick. Bussie missed the season due to a knee injury.
The Big 12 Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll will be announced on October 9.
(coaches not allowed to vote for own players)
Preseason Player of the Year
Odyssey Sims, Baylor, G, 5-8, Sr., Irving, Texas/MacArthur
Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Marisha Wallace, Oklahoma State, C, 6-2, Jr., Midwest City, Okla./Midwest City/Northern Oklahoma College – Enid
Preseason Freshman of the Year
Ieshia Small, Baylor, G, 6-0, Fr., Miami, Fla./Florida High School
PRESEASON ALL-BIG 12 TEAM
|Odyssey Sims||Baylor||G||5-8||Sr-3L||12.9||2.6||Irving, Texas
|Hallie Christofferson||Iowa State||F||6-3||Sr-3L||15.6||6.7||Hamlin, Iowa
|Aaryn Ellenberg||Oklahoma||G||5-7||Sr-3L||18.7||3.3||Las Vegas, Nev.
|Imani McGee-Stafford||Texas||C||6-7||So-1L||11.1||9.4||Los Angeles, Calif.
|Asya Bussie||West Virginia||C||6-4||Sr-3L||12.1||6.6||Randallstown, Md.
Honorable Mention (listed alphabetically by school)
Alexis Prince (Baylor), Tiffany Bias (Oklahoma State), Liz Donohoe (Oklahoma State), Zahna Medley (TCU), Nneka Enemkpali (Texas), Christal Caldwell (West Virginia)
August 30, 2013 — “Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view. The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people.”
What happens when a WNBA player posts a tweet about a hot button topic while attending a protest on another controversial issue? San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young found out yesterday. The fan favorite since her college days helping lead Baylor to its first national championship in 2005 took on two topics in one tweet. She followed up her first tweet with photo evidence of her stances. Young is not playing this season due to a torn ACL she suffered while playing overseas in China. However, she attends home games, interacts with fans and is active in the San Antonio community with charity work and her AAU girl’s basketball team, Sophia Young Elite.
While one can argue that adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to San Antonio city’s nondiscrimination code is related to state matrimony laws and gay marriage, legally the distinct issues have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, Young tweeted that she was against gay marriage while attending a protest at the city council opposing adding LGBT protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
The sign she held, which has the words “vote no” printed on it, is actually the topic of the council debate held last night on modifying the ordinance, not about gay marriage. As in every other state in the union, marriage is a state matter, not a municipal one.
The reactions from fans came fast and furious on a day the nation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington, an event organized by an African American gay man, Bayard Rustin, a close advisor to Martin Luther King Jr.
First, the facts about Texas:
The issue before the city council is in the headlines for many reasons. Just last week, San Antonio City Councilwoman Elisa Chan, went on an anti-gay tirade unaware that her words were being recorded. Her statements created a storm of controversy that effectively derailed her ambitions to run for mayor.
When it comes to the WNBA, Young has lesbian teammates. They are not completely out or vocal but it is not secret information. Tully Bevilaqua, a former Silver Stars player, posted on her Facebook fan page that she “just lost all respect for a former teammate” in reference to Young’s tweets. She also wrote that she stands up “for my family and equality and fair treatment for all human beings.” Bevilaqua married her partner earlier this year.
According to game attendees, the leaders of Young’s fan section at the AT&T center include a lesbian couple. Just this year, former Baylor star Brittney Griner came out and went on a highly publicized media junket revealing her wishes to help LGBT youngsters who are the victims of bullying.
There are few other openly gay WNBA players who are in same-sex relationships and married or planning to get married. Some of them may be facing issues of their own with civil liberties and human rights soon when they suit up to play in Russia in the upcoming EuroLeague season. In June Russian president Vladimir Putin signed a law that outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” As a result, the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics is now facing scrutiny from multiple corners of the world. Plus, the anti-gay law is contrary to provisions against discrimination in the Olympic Charter.
The NBA added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy as part of its collective bargaining agreement in late 2011. The WNBA Players Association is set to begin renegotiating its CBA at the end of the season.
But back to San Antonio. While Young took to Twitter to voice her views, San Antonio Silver Stars fan Anel Flores, who was interviewed earlier this year by Katie Couric about LGBT equal rights, took the floor during the city council debate yesterday evening and delivered this speech:
Thank you Mr. Mayor and thank you Councilperson Bernal and all council members who support the Non-Discrimination Ordinance
When I was in college dog sh-t was smeared on my car and the word “dyke” was written on my windows. My dorm was broken into and the words, “you are going to hell,” was written on my mirror.
My second year teaching, I was told I couldn’t take my students to competition because I was a lesbian and I needed a male teacher escort.
In my fifth year teaching, I was working late after school and I heard the football coach yell to his team, “come on faggots! Run!” The following year, the coaches thought it was okay to talk about the female teachers with me like they were sexual objects, and I was just one of the boys. I am not.
In my eighth year teaching a transgender girl, who was my student, was forced behind closed doors to shave her head by a male administrator, “if she really thought she was a man!” I never saw her again after being expelled.
My tenth year teaching one of my gay students, who I reported many times for being bullied at the bus stop and in front of the school library committed suicide.
Three years ago my daughter was not allowed to do a speech in school about her lesbian mother’s fight for the legalization of gay marriage.
Today when I walked up holding my fiancé’s hand I was told I was going to hell, again.
And, as I sit here today many of our council members have discriminated against me, my family and my community with hateful, ignorant, arrogant words.
My name is Anel Flores. I am a business owner, a published author, a tax payer, a consumer, an artist, an activist, a neighborhood association member, a chamber member and I am also a lesbian mother together with mi prometida, Erika Casasola.
Our 14-year-old daughter attends a San Antonio public school, dances professionally, sold the most Girl Scout cookies last year in all of her school, and plans to be a large animal veterinarian when she grows up.
Our oldest daughter, graduated earlier this year at the top of her class with more that 1000 service hours, interned with Women’s Global Connection at UIW, just started at Southwestern University, joined the Latina sorority and is pre-med.
I am here to correct all of you who said that my family is immoral and “disgusting.” Ms. Chan, I am also here to remind you that all religion is rooted in love.
And I am here to remind you that voting yes can save lives of silenced, bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender children and children of LGBT families.
Vote yes on the Non-Discrimination Ordinance and protect your neighbor.
Baylor women’s basketball will play two exhibition contests and 11 of 12 non-conference games in the Ferrell Center this upcoming season.
“With nine underclassmen on our 13-player roster, I believe we have compiled a good schedule, one that will challenge our team but also allow them to mold into a cohesive unit before we begin Big 12 play,” said head coach Kim Mulkey.
The Lady Bears will play exhibition contests against Palm Beach Atlantic (Oct. 30) and Oklahoma City University (Nov. 5) before opening regular-season play.
Baylor will open its non-conference slate with seven straight home games. BU’s season opener is Sat., Nov. 9 vs. Grambling followed by a Thu., Nov. 14 game vs. Nicholls State and a Mon., Nov. 18 contest vs. Rice. On Nov. 21, 22 & 23, the Lady Bears will host a Basketball Travelers four-team event which will include Northwestern State, Savannah State and UTSA. BU hosts San Jose State on Tue., Dec. 3 to end its seven-game homestand.
The Lady Bears will make their lone non-conference road trip when they face Kentucky in Arlington, Texas, on Fri., Dec. 6. The contest will be a doubleheader with Kentucky and Baylor’s men’s teams at Cowboys Stadium.
The final four games on Baylor’s non-conference schedule include: Houston Baptist (Sun., Dec. 15), Mississippi (Wed., Dec. 18), McNeese State (Sat., Dec. 28) and defending national champion Connecticut on Mon., Jan. 13.
From the NCAA:
A public reprimand and penalties, including a one-game tournament suspension, have been issued for Baylor University women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey for a violation of tournament policy during the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.
Specifically, Mulkey made disparaging comments about the officials during the postgame press conference following Baylor’s regional semifinal loss to Louisville on March 31 at the Oklahoma City Regional. The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee noted this is the second misconduct act by Mulkey during the past three championships and believes a more stringent penalty is appropriate to prevent these actions from continuing. She also received a public reprimand for comments to the media following the 2011 championship.
Mulkey’s misconduct led the committee to issue her a one-game NCAA postseason championship suspension as well as the withholding of Baylor’s team championship per diem during the regional round of play. The suspension shall apply to the next NCAA postseason opportunity that Mulkey will have as a coach, regardless of what institution she represents.
“The committee unanimously felt that the behavior of Coach Mulkey was unacceptable and has no place in the women’s basketball championship,” said Carolayne Henry, chair of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate commissioner and senior woman administrator at the Mountain West Conference.
Baylor women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey announces the addition of two new assistant coaches to her staff, Toyelle Wilson and Sytia Messer.
“I am excited to welcome Toyelle and Sytia to our staff and thrilled to be able to hire two individuals with head coaching experience. They will be valuable and welcome additions to the Lady Bear program,” said Mulkey. “I have admired Toyelle’s leadership and coaching while she’s been at Prairie View A&M and I have always kept up with Sytia, I recruited her out or high school.”
Wilson comes to Baylor after leading the Prairie View A&M Panthers to three straight SWAC Tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearances. Wilson compiled a 55-43 record In her three seasons as the program’s head coach. Prior to accepting the head coach position, Wilson was the Panthers’ top assistant for four years, she also spend three seasons as an assistant coach at Robert Morris University.
Wilson was recently one of 30 coaches across the nation that participated in the Center for Coaching Excellence (CCE) by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The CCE is an elite program for select basketball coaches and is designed to provide college women’s basketball coaches with the professional skills and personal ethics training necessary to be exceptional leaders.
A native of Camden, N.J., Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Manhattan College in 2003 and was a four-year letter winner for the women’s basketball team. She was a team captain and earned Defensive Player of the Year honors while leading the squad to an NCAA Tournament berth and a Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship.
After three years as a head coach at Tennessee Tech and serving two stints at Georgia Tech, Messer begins her career at Baylor. She was associate head coach at Georgia Tech last season and served as an assistant coach for the Yellow Jackets from 2004-09. In between stints on the Atlanta campus, she compiled a 54-41 record as the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles’ head coach. Messer was named the 2010-11 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year after the Golden Eagles won the 2011 OVC regular season. Messer also has coached at Memphis and Arkansas State.
The Waldo, Ark., native was a standout player for the Arkansas Razorbacks where she finished her career ranked in the top 10 in points scored (7th, 1,370) and rebounds (10th, 603). Messer was named the 1998 NCAA Tournament West Regional MVP when the Razorbacks made their run to the Women’s Final Four and led Arkansas to the 1999 WNIT championship.
Wilson and Messer will begin on July 1 and replace Damion McKinney and Rekha Patterson.
While former Baylor star center Brittney Griner’s “official” coming out made the rounds in the media last week, hailed as groundbreaking in some quarters and ho-hum in others, Emily Nkosi (née Niemann), a star on Baylor’s 2005 national championship team and a member of that year’s Final Four All-tournament squad, paid rapt attention from afar.
Griner, the No. 1 pick of the 2013 WNBA draft has become a household name in the sports world, augmented by a whirlwind media tour stretching from coast to coast. Her road to coming out may seem breezy. But Griner’s path was paved by the pain of countless lesbian, gay, transgender and questioning students at Baylor who lived and continue to live in silence or came out, like Nkosi, only to face hostility and shaming from familiar and unexpected places. Nkosi, who lives with her partner and son in Western Massachusetts, took some time out this weekend to complete a Q&A for Hoopfeed. She hopes to connect with Griner at some point especially since the new Phoenix Mercury star has indicated she hopes her coming out will help “the young generation” be more comfortable with being open about who they are if they are LGBTQ.
Q: What are you up to these days and what are you feelings towards Baylor now?
A: These days my partner Ashley and I are enjoying the gift of our sweet baby Galileo who is 19 months old. He is quite a character and we are loving parenthood. I am a web designer and content manager, which I also sincerely enjoy. I think about Baylor and my time there often, sometimes with pride because I had a lot be proud of in my two years there. Other times with sadness for the loss of that community I had invested so much in, once I decided to pursue a relationship with Ashley it crumbled and I still feel that loss. There is a lot to love about Baylor. The reasons behind why it all crumbled for me are complex. But, in short I look back on it and feel sad about how it all ended.
Q: What does it mean for you that Brittney feels comfortable enough to come out, even if it is at the end of her college career?
A: End of college career or not, coming out is a courageous act for any person anywhere. There are still many countries where gay people still face the death penalty. Here in the states gay teens are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers. Given those realities, what Brittney and anyone who comes out has done is amazingly brave. I am proud of her, happy for her and appreciate what she has done.
Q: What do you think of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” atmosphere that seems to be at Baylor with gay student-athletes?
A: I think first of all we should widen the scope and look at the whole student body. Student-athletes have unique challenges and are on a stage that makes this more personal to the masses but all Baylor students have to face inherent homophobia that exists in a place where being who you are is against school policy. Period. The “don’t ask, don’t tell” mindset insinuates that your sexuality and relationships you have within that orientation need be hidden. We hide secrets, insecurities and dirt laundry because we are afraid what people would think if they saw those things. Clumping your sexuality into a “needs to be hidden” category made me feel like something was wrong with me and that I was inherently bad. That is not a healthy place for any person to be. Even though Brittney seems to be feeling great, I don’t think it is stretch to think that there are many students for whom this hiding is having a significant negative toll on. And I worry about them even though I do not know them.
Q: Do you have any thoughts about Ken Starr being the president of Baylor since he defended Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court while Brittney has a NOH8 logo on her Twitter profile pic?
A: The option of being neutral on LGBTQ equity is less and less common or even available. Ken Starr’s position is not unique, the majority of the country still doesn’t support equity for LGBTQ people. That impacts us all. It impacts that third grader who wears Brittney’s jersey today as she tries to build her own world view. It impacts the graduating senior heading to begin their college career knowing they are gay and scared to death about it. And it impacts the young person who just found the partner they want to spend life with, having to think about if they can get married or not, wondering if they’ll be able to legally adopt should they want to, and trying to decide where to live that people won’t hassle them or worse. All these things matter and have a ripple affect that one could ever measure.
Q: Do you see things at Baylor changing anytime in the near future for LGBTQ students?
A: I am hoping I can be a part of that actually. And I know it is possible.
From the Los Angeles Athletic Club:
The John R. Wooden Award winner for women, the preeminent collegiate basketball player of the year award, was announced today by The Los Angeles Athletic Club, and awarded to Baylor’s Brittney Griner for the second year in a row. Selected by hundreds of women’s college basketball media members from throughout the country, the winner and All American team are made up of the five student-athletes who received the most votes, with voters ranking the players from 1 to 5. The 37th Annual Wooden Award Gala presented by Wendy’s, honoring the men’s and women’s Wooden All American Teams, is taking place this evening at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
Griner and all of the men’s and women’s All Americans have proven to their universities that they are making progress toward graduation and are maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA, an important component of the Award insisted upon by Coach Wooden. In addition to the academic aspect, the Wooden Award is unique among college postseason awards because voters could consider performance during the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Griner is a three-time Wooden All American who has been one of the dominant players in women’s basketball at both ends of the floor throughout her career. As a senior, she averaged 23.8 points, No. 3 in the nation, and 4.14 blocked shots (No. 2 nationally). She finished her career the No. 2 all-time scorer in NCAA Division I. She is the first player to amass 2,000 points and 500 blocked shots, and is the NCAA all-time leading shot blocker with 748 blocks. Griner declined to attend this year’s ceremony, with her agent citing an obligation to the WNBA in Hartford, Conn.
Griner is the fourth two-time Wooden Award winner, joining Seimone Augustus (LSU), Maya Moore (Connecticut), and Candace Parker (Tennessee). With 1,230 points, Griner finished ahead of Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins (1,144), Delaware’s Elena Delle Donne (989), Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike (800), and Baylor teammate Odyssey Sims (380). Of the five All Americans, only Diggins advanced her team to the Final Four.
Yesterday during a media teleconference with Final Four coaches, Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma addressed comments recently made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban about drafting Baylor’s star center Brittney Griner. Cuban said he would consider drafting the 6-8 phenom in the second round of the NBA draft. Auriemma’s take:
Well, obviously Mark Cuban’s a genius, because he’s been able to parlay some great ideas into billion-dollar industries, and he’s done a great job as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and he’s won an NBA championship. And he’s done a lot for basketball.
His genius would take a huge hit if he drafted Brittney Griner. And if Brittney Griner tries to make an NBA team, I think it would be a public relations thing. I think it would be a sham.
The fact that a woman could actually play right now in the NBA and compete successfully against the level of play that they have is absolutely ludicrous.
With a barrage of three-point shots, Louisville (27-8) defeated Baylor (34-2), 82-81, taking down the defending national champions and overall top seed in the NCAA tournament. Even though she fouled out with about four minutes left in the game, Shoni Schimmel finished with 22 points. Shooting a blistering 7-of-9 from three-point land, Antonita Slaughter contributed 21 points plus six rebounds. Bria Smith had 13 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Overall, the Cardinals were 64 percent from the three-point line (16-of-25). They tied the NCAA record for treys in a tournament game.
“It’s just a remarkable night by a remarkable group of young women,” said Louisville head coach Jeff Walz. “We put a game plan together as a coaching staff, which we always do every night we go out and play. I’ve been telling them the entire year, if we can just get 40 minutes out of everybody, not playing great, just playing good, we could be special.”
Louisville shut down Baylor star center, senior Brittney Griner for much of the game. In the last contest of her collegiate career she finished with 14 points plus 10 rebounds. Junior point guard Odyssey Sims led Baylor with 29 points, seven rebounds, five assists and six steals.
Coach Walz talked about his strategy for the game.
“Antonita Slaughter defensively is where she stepped up tonight,” said Walz. “She played 40 minutes for us and just did a great job on Brittney Griner. I told our kids in the locker room before the game, We got to turn this thing into a street ballgame. You got to drive, kick for threes, try to make it fun. There was no pressure on us.”
Griner finished her Baylor time with several NCAA Division I records and numerous Big 12 records. Her NCAA DI accolades:
The Cardinals face Tennessee on Tuesday. The Lady Vols defeated Oklahoma 74-59 earlier in the day.
Q. Can you talk about their zone, that they were double? and triple?teaming Brittney.
Mulkey: You want to attack dribble?penetration, but you also have to hit some 10? and 12?foot jumpers early in the game. I thought other than them shooting lights out on the offensive end, I thought we were patient with what they were doing defensively. Guys, you just had an opportunity to beat a team that made 16 threes and Griner got 10 touches, and you go up 1 with nine seconds to go, that’s pretty remarkable. You’re supposed to get blown out if you get 16 threes, and we didn’t get blown out.
Q. How critical was it not to have a timeout there at the end? What specifically should have happened?
Mulkey: They’ve been taught what to do there. I think they were in such shock that it was a foul called, and I’ll be glad to answer any referee question you want to ask me, because I don’t mind getting fined, so ask me. Now is the time to ask me, okay?
But we didn’t do what they’ve been taught to do. We’re supposed to throw it. You’ve seen us do it many times, throw it to halfcourt for Griner, then let the two guards cross and look for a good shot.
I don’t know really other than maybe they were in a state of shock that a foul was called there. I don’t know.
Q. Can you comment on the officiating in this game.
Mulkey: I thought the game started out way too physical, way too physical. I thought that all three of them, if they go past this round of officiating, it will be sad for the game.
I thought the two critical calls at the end of the game were really bad. Jordan Madden drives in the paint. We already have the missed shot. She calls an offensive foul on Madden right there. Well, why so late? Odyssey Sims had the rebound in her hand.
Then I don’t know about that at the end. It was on the opposite end. I’d have to go see it. You saw it. What did y’all think? Was it a foul? Did anybody here think it was a foul? Honestly, tell me.
Q. I thought it was a foul.
Mulkey: Okay. All I can tell you is the one in front of me, the charge was critical, it was critical. I thought it got personal with both teams. When you allow it to be that physical, you have taunting. I thought Schimmel went and got in Griner’s face and all they did was warn her. When Odyssey and Schimmel got into it right there, it became a technical and a technical. What’s the difference?
It got out of hand and it got personal with players, and you don’t like to see that.
Q. It seemed to get out of hand, like you said. Both coaches were jumping around. Were you concerned that your players were going to keep their composure when coaches and everyone were sort of going crazy on the sidelines?
Mulkey: When you’re down 19, then up 1 with nine seconds to go, do you think they kept their composure? We were down 19 and we went up with nine seconds to go? Did they keep their composure?
Q. I was talking about the last possession when the foul was called, were you concerned people were going to make the right decision?
Mulkey: The girl drove by Griner, your All?American post player. I’m not ever concerned about Brittney making a bad decision. You said it was a foul. I’ll have to go back and see it. I don’t think the referee raised his hand that it was a foul. I thought he was raising his hand that it was going the other direction. I thought he was just going to say it was our ball. I don’t know.
I am proud of the fact that the kids fought hard because they could have quit on you really, and they didn’t. Compliment and credit Louisville. If Louisville can hit 16 threes a game, good Lord, they’ll win a national championship.
Q. Did you feel those threes they hit, were they open shots? Did they maybe surprise you with how deep they were shooting them?
Mulkey: Well, the post player that Griner is guarding, she hits a couple. That’s when you know it’s going to be a long day. I’m not sure she’s taken a whole lot of threes all year.
That was their game plan, to shoot a lot of threes, and they made a lot of them. We would cut the lead, they would hit another three late in the shot clock.
Of the 16, I’m not quite sure how many of them were open because of our poor defense, where they penetrated, kicked out, we helped off. But you got to make shots. They weren’t coming in the paint, were they? And they made ‘em.
Q. There early in the second half, you cut it to 5. Then they hit seven threes. They made the big lead. Did that make it the toughest to come back on?
Mulkey: Every three that they hit when we would cut the lead made it that much tougher. You keep thinking through the course of the game that they’re going to start missing some. But they never did. Then I just thought that our full court pressure allowed us to make plays and got us back in it.
Tough way to lose. It’s hard to lose when it’s your last game, but it’s even harder the way that game ended. Makes it a little tougher.
Q. Did you express your opinion to the officials as the game was going along? Were you very vocal about that?
Mulkey: Yes, yes.
Q. You’ve had other physical games since you’ve had Brittney. Did you think more was allowed in this game?
Mulkey: Yes, yes.
Q. You hate to see players, not just Brittney, go out after all they’ve accomplished fighting back tears. How do you as a coach help your team put this in perspective so they’re not remembering this one loss but all they have accomplished?
Mulkey: Well, you don’t do it tonight. There’s nothing I can say to them tonight that’s going to make them feel good. You just try to help them get their composure and you protect them like a mother hen.
As I told them in the locker room, I’ll take every hit you want to write, about we choked, Baylor or bust, epic disappointment. Put it right here on these shoulders. Don’t you point one finger on those kids, you put it right on me.
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz
Q. Coach Mulkey said the officials allowed more stuff to go on, more physical play, than any game since she’s had Brittney Griner. Did you feel it was an unusually physical game? If so, did you think it benefited your team as opposed to Baylor?
Walz: I mean, understand, our goal was to stand in front of her, have one behind her. It’s just really hard to comment on that. I really didn’t think it was really all that exciting to watch as an official. I’m not sure what sometimes they were watching.
The fifth foul on Shoni, I’m still trying to figure out what took place there.
You know, we turned and boxed her out. We stood in front of her. We did a really nice job. I told Antonita, Go under her elbows, go under her elbows. We tried to stay as vertical as we could without putting bodies on her.
I mean, you know, it’s a game where if you let Brittney catch you wherever she wants to, she’s going to score. She’s the best player I’ve coached against and tried to game plan against.
When shots went up, we turned and boxed her out. When she got the ball, I told them straight up, do not ever bat down on the ball because I didn’t want her to get to the free?throw line.
At one point in time, I mean, we’re up 20, and it’s 8?0 on fouls. We were driving at times and kicking, we still couldn’t get one called. I promise you, we were trying to box out every time.
There’s no question, there were a lot of fouls called against us. I was just thankful on that last drive when Monique Reid went in for the layup, it was a late whistle, but I was glad he caught it because she got clobbered.
Q. There was a team technical called.
Walz: That was on me. I was outside the coaching box. I’ve learned, I’m better off if I wear a sport coat because I can step out and rip that off and go halfway on the floor and you won’t get a technical. If you sit on the scorer’s table three feet outside the box, you’re going to get one.
Even though my kid fouled out. My whole thing was, Damn, she fouled out. I sat on the score table thinking, Who are they going to put in? They run across the floor and give me a T. I haven’t worn a sport coat all season, so I think I might wear three of them on Tuesday night. It’s like that commercial, when you travel, I can run out, take one off, run back out, take a second one off, it’s okay (laughter).
I don’t know. I mean, our kids still found a way to persevere. Despite me getting a T, they found a way to grind it out at the end.
Q. Without giving away too many secrets, what exactly was it? Was it a box?and?one?
Walz: We came out in what we call (indiscernible) one. It’s like a 1?3 zone. I didn’t want to get too set up in the box where we gave the wings anything they wanted. We had Antonita stay in the front if the ball was on the one side of the floor. The whole goal was to jab out, come back, jab out, come back.
I just didn’t believe, deep down I kept telling my players every timeout, if they make 10 to 15 threes, they’re going to beat us. I don’t think they can make enough threes to beat us, but I know Brittney can make three? and four?footers all night long.
Odyssey does a good job she went 3?9 and hit some big ones. Jordan Madden goes 2?3. At the end of the night they’re 6?17. And then we only allowed Brittney 10 shots, she goes 4?10.
Defensively we did everything we wanted to do. It got to a point when Sara is hitting a step?back three in the corner, I don’t know what to do. I mean, from my side, it’s not like I drew that up, all right? We start to make some shots. I told our kids, The pressure is on them. I didn’t want to try to slow the ball up. You can drive and kick. If you’re open, shoot it. If there’s any question, bring the ball back out.
So defensively that’s what we did. We switched a few possessions of going man to zone for a few passes, then jumped into man, trying to get them a little bit confused.
Overall I have to give all the credit to our players. I tell everybody all year long, I’ve not made a shot or gotten a rebound all year. So we can put the game plan together, but it’s all about the kids.
Q. So much about the defense on Brittney Griner. What about the offense? You took her out of the lane. Even on the last play she was out so far, was not able to get back. Talk about your offense.
Walz: Well, that’s kind of what we talked about, to be honest with you. This is what we have to do to guard ‘em. I told our kids, If we don’t score 70 points, we don’t have a chance to win. Our whole goal was to try to get to 70.
I don’t think anybody had scored over 70 on ‘em this entire year. I’m 90 percent sure nobody has scored 80 on ‘em. I told our kids, We got to keep scoring. If they score, fine, we’re going to come down and score.
I mean, I was all excited because we started the game. I’m sure y’all saw. I put Bria Smith on the offensive end. With the first possession of the game, it was five on four them. If we don’t foul, they’re going to score. We’re taking the ball and throwing it the length of the floor for a layup.
Bria was wide open, standing back on the three?point line. It took me two days of practice to get her to stand. She wanted to come down and guard. Unfortunately, we got called for a foul so we weren’t able to execute it.
Our goal was to score, score and score. I told our kids, If we have to take 40 to 50 threes, we will. I don’t know if we could go out there right now 5?0 and go 16 of 25. But we did it in the biggest game of the year for us. Now we’re going to hopefully keep our momentum going and see what we can do on Tuesday.
Q. Did you keep your composure in this game?
Walz: I was mild compared to what I usually am. Oh, yeah, my kids know how I am. I’m fighting for them. So if I think some calls aren’t going our way, I’m not just going to sit there and take it.
I stood up for our players. I mean, I’ll have to watch Bria Smith’s charge there for her fifth foul. With all the contact going on on both hands, how do you make that call? Shoni Schimmel’s fifth foul on the drive, I’m dumbfounded. Kids are getting knocked down and bringing it across with body contact, it’s not called. That’s fine, but I’m not just going to sit there and take it.
They warned me a few times. Because I was three feet out of my box, sitting on the scorer’s table, they gave me a technical foul.
That’s how I coach, my kids know it.
Q. Outside of this arena, what your men’s team did today was the biggest story in sports. Did you guys know about everything that happened there?
Walz: You know what, we were all sitting in our locker room cheering on our men, and we saw it. It’s probably the most devastating injury in sports that I’ve seen. I was watching I’m not sure what it is when Joe Theismann got his leg broken. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.
I told our kids before the game, I said, You know what, it’s a basketball game. Even for us tonight, I mean, I’m not sure where this stands on victories in women’s college basketball, but I’ll have to say it’s kind of high up there.
At the end of the day, it’s a basketball game. Both teams come out here and compete and give it everything you have. We’re watching our men play, and Kevin has an injury that obviously he’s out for the year. Who knows how bad it is. I just told them, I said, Go out there and give it everything you’ve got. But at the end of the day it’s a basketball game.
We all said a prayer for him before we went out. I just have to give a lot of credit to Coach Pitino, the players, because to be there and see something like that happen, ’cause I saw the expression of the players on the floor and the players on the bench, where it was right in front of them, to be able to bounce back from that and get your mind refocused and win an elite game to go to the Final Four against Duke, not like they’re playing a bad team, I think it says a lot about what Coach Pitino has done with his team, the type of players they have.
I know we were really, really excited to hear that they had won and moved on.
WACO, Texas – Brittney Griner made sure to leave a lasting impression in her Ferrell Center finale in front of a crowd of 9, 652 Tuesday night in Waco during round two of the NCAA tournament. The 6-8 senior wasted no time getting fans hyped with a one-handed dunk in the first half, the first of three slams during the game. The Baylor faithful leapt to their feet and included former President George W. Bush and his wife Laura next to university president Kenneth Starr.
Baylor (34-1), the number one team in the nation, defeated No. 8-seed Florida State 85-47 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth straight year.
“I don’t take it for granted,” said Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey of reaching the round of 16 again. “They’re hard to come by. I remember the very first Sweet 16 we ever went to at Baylor. It was in Albuquerque when we won and Jessika Stratton and Dionne Brown and those guys were on the team. And the joy. I think sometimes we can lose that joy if we’re not careful. Because when you get there, some people take it for granted or they’re stressed to maintain something”
The Lady Bears face Louisville (26-8) in Oklahoma City on Sunday.
FSU had their hands full from the start as Baylor raced to an 11-0 lead. Baylor’s defense effectively shut the Seminoles out of any offensive production from the beginning of the game.
“Our defense was special,’ said Mulkey. “Florida State scores a lot of points. If you look at their stats, they’re averaging 76 points per game and I challenged our girls; your defense needs to be better than their offense. I know that sounds simple but you really need to say, ‘You know what, we’re not letting you score 76 points.’ And I just thought the defense the entire game was special.”
Forward Brooklyn Pope indicated that the team’s concentration from the tip was a major factor.
“I just thought that we were really focused at the beginning of the game, knowing the impact,” said Pope. “It was just exciting to play a team that we haven’t seen all year and a team that we’ve never played. It was just really exciting to prove the point that we are in the Big 12 and this is how we play in the Big 12, so imagine if we were in the ACC.”
Griner’s first dunk came at 4:05 in the first half, increasing Baylor’s lead to 43-18. At the half the Lady Bears’ rout was 51-20. The next two dunks came within two minutes of each less than eight minutes before the end of the game. Her incentive to complete three came from the program’s radio play-by-play analyst Rick May.
“Before our game, Rick, the radio guy told me to get three dunks, and it’s crazy because I got three dunks,” said Griner. “I need him to tell me that before every game.”
The jams energized her teammates.
“It’s always exciting to see when Britney dunks,” said point guard Odyssey Sims. “We always get excited. We wish she could keep dunking, but unfortunately her season is coming to an end. But, like I said, it’s exciting and everyone gets pumped. She’s just phenomenal.”
Forward Brooklyn Pope joked that Griner could have made four if it were not for an errant pass.
“Well, she could have had four, but I was stronger than I thought and I overthrew it,” said Pope. “BG knew I wanted to pass it, but by the time I looked down and dribbled and looked up and threw it, she was further down than I thought.”
Griner finished with 33 points, 22 rebounds plus four blocks. Pope added 12 points plus six rebounds, Sims had 11 points and Kimetria Hayden contributed 10 points plus five rebounds.
Leonor Rodriguez led FSU with 11 points. No other FSU players was in double figures.
Former President George W. Bush and wife Laura sat behind the Baylor bench Tuesday night as Lady Bear star center Brittney Griner along with Kimetria Hayden, Jordan Madden, Destiny Williams and Brooklyn Pope played their last game at the Ferrell Center. It was the second game of the NCAA tournament and #1-seed Baylor hosted #8-seed Florida State.
Throughout their successful tenures as head coaches Baylor’s Kim Mulkey and Florida State’s Sue Semrau have never faced each other on the court. While both seem very familiar with each other’s body of work, they do not know what is like to go head-to-head in competition. That will change tonight when FSU faces Baylor in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Below are some comments the coaches made about each other and their respective programs during their press conferences yesterday.
On increasing size and athleticism of FSU:
“I think when I look at Florida State, I don’t look at a big 6’5, 6’4 post player. I look at athletes more than I do just this huge, big body in there. I think they have a big enough body in there but I look at athletes that crash the boards. I look at two shooters on the wings that come off on ball screens. I look at two point guards that play together more than most teams. You usually substitute but they have many situations where both those guards are in the game together.”
On what it’s going to take to beat Baylor:
“It’s about how hard we play. The kids are really coming together at this point because of a lot of hard work in the off-season and during the season. It’s fun to see them go out and play hard.”
On facing Odyssey Sims:
“We play a kid at Duke that was Odyssey’s teammate, Alexis Jones. They remind me so much of each other. It’s uncanny how similar the two of them are. I think Odyssey’s a little bit more powerful, and obviously more experienced and more savvy. She’s very, very special.”
On how to defend against Baylor:
“They have great pressure. It starts with Odyssey and their wings. We used to have a kid back there that was 6’6″ and it covers a lot of sins. You’ve got kids that drive by and then it’s, “Hey, welcome to the paint.” So we have some things we like to do and we’ll make a few adjustments. The best thing about our team is that we’re versatile. We don’t have to play with a traditional style. I don’t think that would be extremely effective against Baylor.”
WACO, Texas – With a resounding dunk at 15:58 in the second half on the way to leading her team to an 82-40 win over Prairie View A&M (17-15), Baylor center Brittney Griner acquired fans on the opposing team. After indicating that her team specifically did not want Griner to dunk on them, PVAM sophomore guard Jeanette Jackson admitted they became admirers post slam along with the crowd of 9,540.
“It was a surprise for us that she came out and dunked on us,” said Jackson. “That is what we did not want to have happen, but it was amazing. We got star struck.”
The dunk came after a pass from point guard Odyssey Sims who thought she misfired.
“Well, I don’t think that she knew I saw her because she was wide open,” said Sims. “but I didn’t think she was going to catch it because I threw it kind of low – I overthrew it, but I didn’t think she was going to dunk it. It surprised me. It’s always great to see when she dunks.”
Griner’s slam was a one-handed jam after she stepped back to the basket after rescuing the ball from going out of bounds. It the 15th of her career and third in NCAA tournament play.
Griner finished with 33 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks. She also set the Big 12 record for the most career free throws at 778 surpassing former Oklahoma State player Andrea Riley (776).
While Baylor (33-1) dominated much of the game, Prairie View did stay within striking distance early in the contest.
“For the first couple of minutes we were running with them and the gym was quiet,” said senior guard Latia Williams. “It was silent, no fans were cheering or anything. We started believing in ourselves even more and started to run a little bit. We just didn’t execute like we thought we could.”
Baylor’s lead swelled to more than 10 after a layup by Odyssey Sims at 7:20 in the first stanza. At the half the Lady Bears led 82-40. Baylor head coach Mulkey criticized her team’s first half defense.
“I thought our defense was better in the second half,” said Mulkey. “I thought it was much better after Brittney dunked it. I just thought it energized the whole arena. I challenged a couple of them in the locker room at halftime. It’s been two weeks since we’ve played and I just thought we had some more to give. Then I thought they came out in the second half and did some things better on the defensive end of the floor.”
The Lady Panthers failed to get the free throw line and consequently ended the game without shooting one free throw.
“I don’t know that I’ve ever been a part of a game where the other team didn’t shoot a free throw,” said Mulkey. Baylor was 20-of-29 from the free throw line.
Prairie View’s third straight trip to the tournament under head coach Toyelle Wilson ended in the same way as their previous trips. Each time they entered as a 16-seed facing a top seed.
They lost to Baylor in the first round two years ago in a 66-30 rout. Last year they faced Connecticut and lost 83-47.
However, Mulkey praised Prairie View coach Toyelle Wilson for earning a place in the tournament in straight years.
“If she didn’t get a pay raise she needs to find another job,” said Mulkey of Wilson. “She’s been to the tournament three straight times.”
“Baylor was just a lot bigger than us,” said Wilson about the game. “They played like the number one overall seed in the tournament.”
There are few out there that have the background to discuss women’s basketball like Rebecca Lobo.
In her playing days, Lobo probably could have been governor of Connecticut, the way she monopolized the attention of the state. She has Olympic gold in her resume, and was one of the originals chosen to begin playing in the WNBA. Injuries shortened her playing career, but Lobo has put the work and dedication that forged her playing success into broadcasting, becoming one of ESPN’s very best analysts. All of the latter success comes while raising a family, and becoming a coach vital to the success of her daughter’s youth league team.
So it only seems natural that Rebecca Lobo should be the second participant in the new Dishin & Swishin Q&A sessions.
Rebecca, thank you for participating in this Q & A, especially considering how busy you are with the tournament. Starting with a look at some of the stars people will see in the tournament. What, in your opinion, is the difference between Brittney Griner and other players her size we have seen?
Her athletic ability sets her apart. We’ve never seen an athlete like her in a 6’8″ frame. She is also highly skilled, but her athletic ability is what separates her from every other big girl.
Setting Griner aside, who is the most important player in the tournament for their team’s success?
Elena Delle Donne (Delaware), Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford) and Alyssa Thomas (Maryland) are vitally important for their teams.
Pure speculation, but do you think all of the attention on Delle Donne, and the success Delaware has had, has brought more focus on mid-majors for future years of recruiting, or do you anticipate a return to pre-Delle Donne days?
I anticipate a return to pre Delle Donne days. We actually talked to (Delaware coach) Tina Martin about this. She has gotten a lot of big name players on campus but said that those kids almost always end up going with teams in BCS conferences.
Breanna Stewart came in with ridiculously high expectations placed on her, including Geno’s comments about her potential to be one of UConn’s best ever. This is still an 18 year-old kid. In some ways, with all the expectations and coverage of the Huskies, etc. was she almost doomed to “fail” i.e. not meet those expectations this season? Would you have handled anything differently?
No, not doomed to fail and I wouldn’t have handled things differently. She’ll still be the player of the year by the time she is a senior. This is part of the process for her. Tina Charles wouldn’t have been a national champion, Player of the Year, rookie/Player of the Year in the WNBA, if not for what she went through at UConn. That man (coach A) knows what he’s doing.
Most WNBA ready: Griner, Skylar Diggins or Delle Donne? Why?
Griner. She’ll still be the biggest, strongest, and most athletic player at her position when she’s in the WNBA.
Brittney Griner should be unanimous player of the year, is Notre Dame’s Muffet McGraw coach of the year?
Yes, but I would give serious consideration to Holly Warlick (Tennessee) for coach of the year too.
Which lower seed is the most underrated or overlooked college team in the tourney?
Albany. They’ve won 19 straight games. We’ll see what happens today vs. North Carolina, but this is an Albany team that played Texas A&M close for 28 minutes last year in College Station. Could prove a big challenge as a 14-seed.
You were part of the real growth time of the Big East, thoughts on its demise?
Of course it is disappointing to see what has happened to the once-great Big East basketball conference. But I understand the changing landscape of college sports. I am eager to see what will happen to Uconn women’s basketball in the near future. Will they help their new league become elite? If so, how long will it take?
WNBA has made a defensive three seconds rule adjustment with Griner coming in to the league. Thoughts? Also, most important rule changes the NCAA and/or WNBA game needs to make to grow?
The NCAA game needs the 10-second back court rule. I can’t fathom why they don’t have it. It would speed up the game and encourage more teams to press — which would hopefully increase scoring. I’m excited about the new rules in the WNBA. The extended three-point line and three-second defensive rule should open up the floor and encourage more scoring and freer play.
The Phoenix Mercury approach to luring male fans has gotten a lot of attention (giving away a ticket to any male that has not seen a game). I love it, I think it’s great. What do you think?
It can’t hurt. It’s not like they are taking a ticket away from a paying person to give a free ticket to a guy. Instead, they are filling an otherwise empty seat. I think it’s a great idea — and a fresh idea.
How do you balance being a mother to multiple kids and a national broadcasting career?
I limit my number of events. I only do women’s college basketball and WNBA… which is about 45 events a year. If I did more games or had to keep track of multiple sports (like Doris Burke), it would be too difficult. My family does, and will always come first but I am very committed to doing my work well. To be able to do both, I have to keep my number of games a year at a certain level.
Would you ever consider coaching at the college or pro level?
No. It would take far too much time away from my family. I do love coaching my 2nd and 3rd-grade team though. I will continue to coach my kids’ basketball teams , as long as they want me to!
No. 1 Baylor and No. 16 Prairie View A&M last met on March 29, 2011, in Waco in first round action of the NCAA tournament, with the same seeding. Baylor routed the Panthers 66-30 led by Brittney Griner and Brooklyn Pope’s 17 points each and Kimetria Hayden’s 12 points.
Prairie View coach Toyelle Wilson is looking forward to a different outcome today when they face Baylor in another first round game.
“I know Baylor is going to come out with some intense defense,” said Wilson. “Deny the wings because what are you going to do, back door right into Brittney Griner? They’re going to be overly aggressive. I know (Kim) Mulkey is going to have them playing from the beginning like it could be their last. And you know Brittney is going to be playing at a high level because it could be her last game. She has things to prove.”
Wilson expressed displeasure at the seeding and facing Baylor again in the first round.
“I don’t think we deserve the number one overall seed. Last year we played UConn and we were down 13 at half time. Today UConn wins by 65. I guess they don’t want us to play UConn two years in a row, that’s what the NCAA doesn’t want to happen. We played Baylor my first year as head coach. It’s kind of the same hotel, same protocol, hopefully not the same result. It’s a good experience for the girls. I’m excited. I think this group of girls is different than two years ago. But I’m going to tell you this right now, Odyssey Sims had five points two years ago, Melissa Jones, I remember, only had three points, and to think that they couldn’t score when we were double and triple teaming Brittney Griner, that’s not going to happen this year. They can score. It’s more than Brittney Griner. Brooklyn Pope is a beast. She snags rebounds, she’s athletic, she’s quick. I mean Hayden, Madden, their bench could probably start at another Big 12 school. I don’t (just focus on) Brittney Griner, I’ve scouted all of them because they all can play and they’re all high, elite players.”
Spring is here! I know this not from looking out of my window at the snow-covered ground, but by knowing that the NCAA women’s tournament kicks off this weekend.
That means, as annual as a groundhog, it is time for the Dishin & Swishin roundtable preview of the tournament. Each year we convene a panel of some of the best and the brightest from the print, television and Internet markets for an hour (or so) discussion of what makes the tournament great.
The panel this year is as strong as we have ever had:
There is no doubt that this group can help you look smarter to your friends and colleagues with words of wisdom and insightful analysis on the tournament and more.
School is in session! Let the roundtable teach you some history, geography, (team) chemistry, and even some mathematics.
A small sampling of topics covered include:
So log in to your favorite tournament projection game site, turn up those speakers, and get ready to win your bracket with the aid of the roundtable.
Enjoy the podcast and the first weekend of games!
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