Posts Tagged ‘women’s college basketball’

College basketball season starts officially tonight, so no better time to share with you my thoughts on the women’s game (Yes, I like it). I’ve written the national preview for the Sporting News the last three years, and while some of the content is already outdated (it was written in June), the overwhelming majority still holds true.

During the process, many coaches shared their take on players and teams, and not just theirs. That goes into the equation for Top 25 and All-America selections.

Rather than typing everything in again, I’m just going to post a link so you can see the great job the Sporting News does in presenting my words. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig. I kid. I’ve also added a poll so you can vote for who you think will win the national championship.


2010-11 Sporting News

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Why bother? Just end the season now.

Wednesday’s matchup between No. 1 UConn and No. 2 Stanford in Hartford was supposed to be Act I to this season’s national championship. A rematch from the past two Final Fours, which the teams split.

This was supposed to be the next step in the development of the next big rivalry in the sport. Instead, it sucked the air out of the season, depriving everyone of whatever drama that March might have in store.

Even a UConn-Tennessee meeting would lose its luster upon the opening tip-off. Remember, the Cardinal did to the Lady Vols last weekend what the Huskies did to them Wednesday in their 80-68 drubbing.

Any talk of this being of the same ilk as UConn-Tennessee is on hold for a few more years.

Even before the game, members of UConn’s 1999-2000 national championship team, which was honored at halftime, questioned whether the expectations may be too big.

“I think it is great that there are other rivalries,” said Husky legend Sue Bird. “There’s a lot to be made of the UConn-Tennessee rivalry. It’s one of those that may never get matched. That’s just the way it was.”

There was so much riding on this game.

Putting these teams together on Christmas Eve eve prompted a national television broadcast on ESPN2 despite not having a primetime slot because of the 5:30 p.m. start.

Halfway through, the folks in Bristol had to love what they were seeing: Stanford up by two and both teams playing as the other’s equal, exchanging blows and even runs that gave false impressions of control.

The XL Center was packed — all 16,294 seats filled — a first since UConn battled, you guessed it, Tennessee on Jan. 6, 2007.

Clearly, this was a big deal to the sport and its broadcast partner.

Stanford was universally considered the field’s greatest chance at grounding UConn (10-0), which has now won 49 straight games. The last team to beat the Huskies? The Cardinal (9-1) in the Final Four two years ago. Stanford even held a winning record against UConn entering Wednesday’s game.

That’s a lifetime ago, unlike UConn’s 34-10 run to start the second half.

“They’re head and shoulders above us, and they play just at a different pace than anybody,” Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer said.

UConn-Stanford was to have a ripple effect through not just the college game, but the pros, too.

Maya Moore, UConn’s National Player of the Year, may have been the marquee name, but there were two others who were drawing the most attention.

Moore’s teammate, Tina Charles, and Stanford’s Jayne Appel, are viewed as the top two players available in April’s WNBA Draft. How each performed could influence who is taken by Minnesota with the first overall pick. The Connecticut Sun have the second selection.

It looks like Charles will be joining former teammates Renee Montgomery and Charde Houston in a UConn spin-off, Huskies North

She distinguished herself as the head of the class, finishing with 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 12 rebounds in what Huskies coach Geno Auriemma called “one of her best games” at UConn.

Appel’s line: 12 points, six assists and four rebounds. However, she was invisible, scoring five of her points after UConn was up by 20 points.

“I feel like she’s probably the one post player I know everything about; what she likes to do, she likes to shoot more with her left hand going to the middle,” Charles said. “Probably every little key thing about her game just (from) the fact that I’ve been playing against her since I was 12. I think it’s vice versa.”

Charles and the rest of the Huskies did exactly what you’d expect from UConn in a Nos. 1 vs. 2 matchup: They won. UConn has played 13 such games and are 11-2 and 8-1 when in the top spot.

“Our staff does a good job of telling them, ‘What’s the big deal?’” Auriemma said. “‘You’re at Connecticut. Are you surprised that No. 1 is playing No. 2?’” I said this to the guys (Tuesday), ‘Everybody runs for cover when it’s going to snow 10 inches. This is Connecticut. What do you think is going to happen in the winter time?’ ”

Stanford found out first hand that snow would have been the better option.

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