Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Page 730

Now two Iowa State players are leaving

Ames, Ia. – Iowa State freshmen Ashley Arlen and Alexis Yackley have decided to transfer, women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly announced today.

“Ashley and Alexis have decided to leave Iowa State,” Fennelly said in a news release. “They want to find another level of program where they can possibly obtain more playing time. I thank them for their contributions to our Elite Eight team and wish them the best in the future.”

Story link: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090413/SPORTS020605/90413035/1094/SPORTS

I can’t remember a time when more players have transferred than this season.

Player(s) leaving Maryland

University of Maryland sophomore forward Drey Mingo left the school Friday:


Now message board rumors are that sophomore guard Marah Strickland is about to do the same thing:


There are sure a lot of shakeups going on since the national championship game last week.

Cassie Harberts rescinds verbal committment to USC

Four days after USC Coach Mark Trakh was ousted, the fallout has begun: junior standout Cassie Harberts of San Clemente, CA has rescinded the verbal committment she made to the university just a few weeks ago. She said she will begin her college search anew:


“We hoped he was going to stay,” Dorothy Harberts said, “and when we found out it was very upsetting.”

A reliable source told me that Tuesday’s meeting between the five-year coach and at least two Trojan athletic directors turned into a shouting match. The ADs reportedly told Trakh they wanted nothing less than a national championship from him, and they were willing to give him a one-year contract in which to accomplish that. Trakh turned it down.

Regardless of varying opinions on whether or not Trakh is an effective coach, who could reasonably expect anyone to deliver a national championship in just one year? Who do the USC athletic directors have in mind for a replacement? And how does Christina Marinacci and other recruits feel who have already signed on the dotted line?

What a mess.

Sparks tales, Sun tales

Three days after the draft, the stories are beginning to pour out about the college players selected by various teams. I think of it as an encore – a chance to finish coloring in the picture that is these young women’s lives.

Being a big sap at heart, I love this story about Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton: http://www.suburbanchicagonews.com/napervillesun/news/1522809,6_1_NA12_HYLTON_S1.article


At that time, Tony outweighed Lindsay by 50 to 75 pounds. He would use that to his advantage. Lindsay would get frustrated and want to quit, complaining that it wasn’t fair.

“I would always tell her, ‘Well, you’ve got to understand that when you get to college you’re going to have people who are bigger than me, and they’re not going to back off of you just because it seems unfair,'” Tony said.

Frankly, I didn’t know much about W-H during college, but this gives me a good idea of what’s coming the Sparks’ way this summer:

Throughout her entire career, Lindsay has been known for her strong, quiet demeanor. She would often refer to herself as the “Silent Killer” for the many little things she does throughout a game.

Her impact is evident in Purdue’s record book. She ended her career as the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots and rebounding. She finished third in steals, eighth in scoring and 17th in assists.

Still, she drew some criticism from analysts who thought she should play more selfishly, to take control of games when they thought the Boilermakers needed her the most.

“She stayed true to her own character,” Tony said. “She’s truly an unselfish player. For her to break records at Purdue is just proof that she has the confidence to be herself in all circumstances.”

Love it.

On the other side of the country, there’s this about Sun acquisitions Chante Black and Lyndra Littles:


“You dream of this as a child, so to come out and be known to be one of the top (picks) in this group, it is a great recognition,” Black said. “I was 10 or 11 when the WNBA came out, and I always wanted to be like Lisa Leslie. When I arrived at college, you figure out you can hang in there with some of the best players who can go on and play in the WNBA. They are telling me, ‘You should aim for that.’ I said, ‘I am going to go for that.’”

Black overcame a 2006 knee injury to emerge into one of the ACC’s best post players in her final two seasons. Working through adversity is nothing new. She attended three high schools as a freshman because of transportation issues and went through her entire senior season at Duke without seeing her mother, Mazie, who is an English teacher in Saudi Arabia. Mazie was by her daughter’s side when her name was called Thursday.

“Nothing has come easy for me. I just love working hard and become better in different areas,” Black said. “It has not always been easy, just being a single parent’s child, being put on certain teams, you don’t have all those luxuries of playing on every team and developing. I had to learn how to do the little things.”


South Carolina recruit in trouble

Savannah-Chatham police say the 5-foot-8 guard and McDonald’s All-America Game nominee was shopping in Macy’s young men’s department Friday when a loss prevention officer spotted her switching price tags with a pair of shorts she already purchased.

Willis walked into another department of the store with the goods and allegedly told a cashier another employee forgot to remove a security tag, a police report stated.

Willis left the store and officers gave chase. She ran into two security guards and smashed through a glass door before being nabbed by a metro police officer, according to the police report.

Story link: http://www.thestate.com/gogamecocks/story/743673.html

Pop quiz

1. The Atlanta Dream’s chemistry will be …
A) Fine, because No. 1 pick Angel McCoughtry of Louisville will blend in well in a second-year franchise that has a lot of new faces.
B) Dependent on the mood everyone’s in from day to day.
C) No more combustible than, say, a tank of gasoline next to a fire.

2. The Chicago Sky wanted a point guard, and …
A) Made the right choice with Maryland’s Kristi Toliver over UConn’s Renee Montgomery.
B) Could have gone either way and it would have worked.
C) Asked, “What’s the opposite of what the Mystics would do?” … but then did the opposite of that.

Link: http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/columns/story?columnist=voepel_mechelle&id=4060385

Catching up with Coach Summitt and the Lady Vols

Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt won two awards this week: the WNBA’s Inspiring Coach Award and the Russell Athletic/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Victory Club Award. Congrats, Coach Summitt.

Link: http://patsummitt.blogspot.com/

While in St. Louis, I’d heard what a tough time former Lady Vol Kara Lawson, and former Vol assistant Carolyn Peck, had broadcasting after Tennessee’s first-round loss March 22. Here’s a piece that elaborates on that:


To wit:

Former guard and assistant coach Nikki Caldwell, now the coach at UCLA, spoke of the loss as if it were a transgression.

“It’s like an unspoken rule, you don’t lose like that,” she said. “You don’t lose that early.”

After the stunning finish, Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt said that she heard from several former players. She characterized their mood as “angry.”

Former guard Alexis Hornbuckle described her reaction to Tennessee’s NCAA tournament loss as ranging from initial disbelief to wanting to throw her computer across the room after verifying the result via the Internet in Turkey, where she had been playing.

Wanting to huck the computer gets the point across well. No wonder Lex came to visit a couple weeks ago.

Three freshmen leave the University of Arizona


The Arizona Wildcats women’s basketball team announced that freshmen Amani Butler, Jhakia McDonald and Malia Nahinu have left the program. Coach Niya Butts said it was a mutual decision.
“Any time you spend a year with someone, it’s going to be tough,” she said. “We got to know the players. They got to know Tucson and the university. It’s always difficult in that respect, but it’s in the best interest of both parties.”

Link: http://www.azstarnet.com/sports/288181

USA Today final “super 25” high school basketball rankings

1. Ben Davis, Indianapolis, IN (30-0)
2. Kentwood, Covington, WA (28-1)
3. Brea Olinda, Brea, CA (33-2)
4. Washington, South Bend, IN (26-1)
5. Bolingbrook, IL (25-4)
6. Mater Dei, Santa Ana, CA (32-1)
7. St. Michael Academy, New York, NY (25-3)
8. Fayetteville, AK (32-0)
9. Westbury Christian, Houston, TX (42-1)
10. Whitney Young, Chicago, IL (33-2)
11. Riverdale Baptist School, Upper Marlboro, MD (26-3)
12. Heritage Christian, Indianapolis, IN (26-1)
13. St. Mary’s, Stockton, CA (31-3)
14. Murry Bergtraum, New York, NY (24-2)
15. Summit, Arlington, TX (34-4)
16. Cardinal O’Hara, Springfield, PA (27-3)
17. Nimitz, Houston, TX (37-2)
18. Archbishop Carroll, Radnor, PA (30-1)
19. Dulles, Sugar Land, TX (36-3)
20. Mount Notre Dame, Cincinati, OH (27-1)
21. St. John Vianney, Holmdel, NJ (31-2)
22. Redan, Stone Mountain, GA (27-0)
23. Long Beach Poly, Long Beach, CA (32-3)
24. Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Francisco, CA (28-2)
25. Shabazz, Newark, NJ (29-2)

This was published Wednesday morning, in time for me to contemplate it while waiting for my plane back to LA. Overall, a solid list:


More on the draft


Cooper admitted that GM Toler might only be getting warmed up in terms of personnel moves–that’s what she does–and Toler herself went out of her way in making it clear that the WNBA season was a long way off and that the Sparks lineup could change dramatically by the time the team takes the floor in June.

Toler revealed at length a player acquisition philosophy that went beyond just this year’s draft. If you can’t get what you want in terms of filling a particular need, she in essence said, you pick for talent: what other teams are likely to need. Then you prepare to make deals.

The big deal that Toler is looking to make this time is for 2004 WNBA Finals MVP Betty Lennox and she’s confident in the Sparks chances of bringing Betty-Ball to the Staples Center. “We’re in the Betty Lennox sweepstakes and she’s said we’re at the top of her list. I think you’re going to see something happen there in the next few days.”

Story link: http://www.spmsportspage.com/published/spmarticles/sparks-get-what-they-want.shtml

And here’s a perspective check – and a great one, too:

Maybe the best moment of the draft on Thursday came when Rebecca Lobo, a league pioneer, interviewed Marissa Coleman, who was the second pick overall. Coleman said she grew up “idolizing Diana Taurasi.”

Taurasi, 26, really isn’t that old. But she’s been around long enough for today’s rookies to “idolize.” That would never have happened had the WNBA folded. Or had never been born.

Maybe to some people, that’s insignificant. But if you’re a young female athlete with some hopes and dreams, it only means everything.

Story link: http://www.theday.com/re.aspx?re=b0fc7377-f3c2-4642-997f-b9d68735afa7

Finally, here’s a great Q and A with Courtney Paris:

What is your message to Monarchs fans?

“I’m so excited to be back in California. I’m so excited to play for Monarchs fans. You should know I’m 100 percent committed to getting my body ready, getting my mind ready and I’m excited to help the Monarchs win! Hopefully, I can make an impact on the team.”

You’ll be fine, sweetie.

Link: http://www.wnba.com/monarchs/features/Straight_from_Paris.html

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Upset city


Opening day is Friday

AP top 25 poll, week one