Sunday, from below: the rafters are adorned with banners representing every championship team since the tournament began.
Sunday, from above: Trey Wingo, Kara Lawson and Carolyn Peck get ready to hit the airwaves.
To no one’s surprise, Hawaii Coach Jim Bolla’s status moved from suspended to fired today. He had been suspended since February for allegedly kicking a player.
Story link: http://www.starbulletin.com/sports/sportsnews/20090408_bolla_out_as_coach_of_wahine_hoops.html
Good riddance. I can’t believe he’s appealing.
Thank god for the voice of reason:
“It’s even more meaningful when someone who committed herself for four years to help her teammates become better, making that kind of symbolic gesture,” Castiglione said. “But having said that, I don’t know of anyone who has had any expectation whatsoever that we would accept the monetary aspect of that gesture.”
Story link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/ncaatourney09/news/story?id=4050875
There is actually a debate on the rebkell board about whether or not fans should make donations toward this end. To say they miss the point would be a grave understatement. Fortunately, the folks at Oklahoma know what’s up.
This is a good place to add my National Championship Paris sighting news:
Last night as halftime wound to a close, there were suddenly two tall figures making their way past the press tables and into the tunnel to leave: the Paris twins. The Oklahoma fans, looking sad, had been sitting next to the tunnel as they were on Sunday, and suddenly they started shrieking. Little ones and big ones crowded down towards the bottom to get autographs, and the Paris’ kindly obliged. Ashely seemed particularly happy to be surrounded by fans.
I’m going to miss seeing them as Sooners. Hopefully they’ll both be in the WNBA after tomorrow, though.
Not 15 minutes after I posted yesterday (which was also the last time I was online), I got word that USC assistant coach Jody Wynn was named the new head coach at Long Beach State University. Great news for her, and congrats.
At last night’s National Championship game, I learned that USC really doesn’t know what it wants to do with the women’s basketball program right now. That disturbed me.
Tonight I learned that Coach Mark Trakh resigned today after a meeting with Trojan Athletic Director Mike Garrett:
“I came to the decision that it was the right time and the best thing for both me and USC to step away,” said Trakh. “I loved my time at USC and I’ll always be a fan and supporter of the program. I am forever indebted to Mike Garrett for giving me the opportunity to coach at USC. I wish our players the best of luck in the future. The team will be loaded next year and I won’t be surprised to see them in the Final Four.”
Said USC athletic director Mike Garrett: “We sincerely appreciate the contributions Mark made to the USC women’s basketball program. He gave everything he had to our program. He had some memorable moments and big victories, he recruited well and produced some talented players. He goes out a winner in our eyes. I know he’ll continue to be successful at his next stop.”
Story link: http://usctrojans.cstv.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/040809aaa.html
“Forever indebted” and “goes out a winner in our eyes” isn’t the usual language you hear in situations like this. What the hell happened? And what’s going to happen to the USC women’s program now?????
On Saturday, they had team open practices for the public. I missed the Oklahoma practice, which was first. But Louisville had the second practice, and it was spirited, to say the least. There was lots of yelling at each other to hype one another up. I remember at one point Angel McCoughtry pausing at the back of a layup line screaming, “LET’S GO!”
At the end of their practice, Coach Jeff Walz and a ball boy stood on either side of the basket while players took turns dribbling to the rim….and when they got there, Walz and the boy lifted them up so they could dunk the ball. Most went in, and the crowd was loving it.
The Connecticut practice was all business. In fact, Geno Auriemma didn’t pay much attention to it at all. He stood at the press table almost the entire time talking to Rebecca Lobo, Doris Burke and Beth Mowins. The Stanford practice was equally business-like, but I didn’t stay for the entire time because I had to get on the bus to get to the WBCA high school All-American game. I will post a full game report on that later.
Sunday game notes: Louisville stood for the anthem and held hands. After the singing, both teams jogged to meet each other, in two long lines, and shake hands at mid-court. I don’t know if that’s a Final Four tradition, but I thought it was really cool.
There’s talk around town of a Cardinals ass whuppin tonight. It might happen, but I hope the young upstarts find one more burst of energy against seemingly unbeatable UConn. If Louisville has to lose, make it a good game.
Gotta go get ready……..
It’s colder than hell here, but I did meet Teresa Weatherspoon today. She’s really nice, and is (not surprisingly) on the recruiting trail.
I also just saw Lin Dunn kicking it in the lounge area of this same hotel. At one point she put her feet up on the table and was texting someone.
There are so many tall people walking around this fine city right now that it makes me laugh. For a basketball fan, this is Hollywood.
The news is a few days old, and I haven’t had online access. But it’s unbelievable that a second freshman is leaving the Rutgers program. What’s up in Jersey?
OK, here are some extras so far………….
– Every living structure seems to be made of brick here. Tornado protection, no doubt, but very different than what I’m used to. Also, I haven’t seen any Hispanic or Asian people since I’ve been here, which is strange for me.
– On the shuttle to the open practices Saturday, I met DeWanna Bonner’s dad, aka one of assistants at Cal State Bakersfield. Coach Greg McCall is not only extremely tall, but amazingly cool. Of course he’d love it if DeWanna got drafted closer to home…..
– Everyone is so friendly here! It’s shocking.
– Saw Joanne Boyle at the open practices. She said she was going for Stanford to keep it in the Pac-10. Uh oh….
– Underneath the basketball court is a sheet of ice, as the Scottrade Center is where the city’s hockey team plays. There is a game Friday night, in fact. This is a very sports-minded town. Cardinals opening day is today, and people are wearing Rams gear nowhere near the season.
– Last night’s games were completely opposite of what I thought they would be. Louisville couldn’t be stopped in the second half, and Stanford played the worst I’ve seen them play in a long, long time.
Angel McCoughtry had a big block at just under 12 minutes to go in the second half, and she screamed and beat her chest. I thought it was kind of funny, but some of the OK fans, who she did that right in front of, were pissed.
I’m still trying to figure McCoughtry out. She seems cocky, but then again not. I don’t know.
– The other day at the high school game, I met Dawn Staley and said hi to Pat Summitt again. I was also waiting for the restroom and Sylvia Hatchell popped out of the stall I was going into. Can’t wait to post pics and tell the full story in a couple days.
– I’ve talked to some UConn fans, and the ones I’ve met are nice. I’m at the Hyatt right now and just saw Geno (four feet in front of me). Too bad I don’t care.
– Today we awoke to snow! I took pictures of it, but it stopped now. Currently it’s just butt cold.
More later, there are people waiting for this computer…………..
I’m at the official Final Four media hotel, and they don’t have free Internet service, so this will be brief.
An amazing time so far. Caught the open practices yesterday, and then the WBCA high school all-star game featuring Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins. That game was hoppin with famous coaches and famous college and pro players. I look forward to posting the stories and the photos I’ve taken. And I’m learning the system here as I go.
Tonight, of course, are the two semi-finals. Again, I think the real championship will be between Stanford and UConn, but I’m looking forward to seeing McCoughtry and Paris go at it in the other semi.
The weather is pretty here, but it’s supposed to be 22 tonight! Yikes.
Quite often I find that the readers of this blog are at least as, if not more knowledgeable than some calling themselves experts in the world of basketball. So it’s with this in mind that I’m extending an invitation.
As I mentioned in some reply comments earlier, I’m livid at the CIF’s choices for All-City team that were announced this morning. They left out some people and made questionable choices on both teams. I’m so disgusted that I’m not even going to post the link to the list right now.
I’d like to first see who others think should be on the All-City first and second teams. Give me a list of 15 players on each team, and add their stats to back up your choice. I want to see who you pick, and then I’ll compare it to the lame list that was posted earlier.
I’m very curious as to who readers will pick, so don’t be shy.