Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Page 823

Does this make Mark Trakh’s job safe? Or is Michael Cooper going to take it?

USC men’s Coach Tim Floyd is apparently about to be hired at Arizona:

Tim Floyd will be named basketball coach at Arizona, Mark Asher of Sports 620 KTAR, ESPN’s radio affiliate in Phoenix, is reporting according to multiple sources.

Floyd is meeting tonight with Arizona athletic director Jim Livengood to work out the final details of the deal and an announcement is expected Thursday, according to sources.

Story link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=4035206

The Kansas City Star has it too:

http://www.kansascity.com/472/story/1119782.html

A reader theorizes that this will keep women’s Coach Mark Trakh employed at USC for at least the next year, as a search for a new men’s coach will take priority. (Trakh has come under fire this year for another disappointing season, and his expired contract still hasn’t been renewed as of yet).

I thought the reader might be right until I caught this:

USC is expected to announce today that Sparks coach Michael Cooper will replace Mark Trakh as women’s basketball coach, according to sources…….

Sparks owner Kathy Goodman was stunned when asked if she’d heard about Cooper and said she is expecting him back on the bench next season.

“Michael Cooper committed to coach us this season. He’s under contract, and we’re looking forward to winning a championship,” she said.

Story link: http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_12051057

Such drama! I have no idea what is about to happen.

Shekinna Stricklen named USBWA Freshman of the Year

The U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) named Tennessee freshman cager Shekinna Stricklen its national Freshman of the Year on Wednesday. Stricklen becomes the first Lady Vol to earn the prestigious honor from the USBWA.

Stricklen started in all 32 games she played in as a rookie and led the Lady Vols with 13.3 ppg, 3.0 apg and was second on the team with 5.9 rpg this season. Stricklen, along with classmate Glory Johnson, became the 11th and 12th Lady Vols to start their first career game in the Orange and White.

“I am very excited and honored to have been named the Freshman of the Year,” said Stricklen. “I want to thank my teammates and coaches for pushing me every day to be the best I could be. Without them, I could not have achieved such an incredible award.

“I am extremely blessed to be able to play basketball at Tennessee, as it has always been my dream,” commented Stricklen. “There are so many great players in women’s collegiate hoops that this is truly a special honor.”

Story link: http://www.utladyvols.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/040109aad.html

Congrats, Kinna! Knowing your heart and work ethic, though, I’m not surprised by this.

Teresa Weatherspoon to be named Louisiana Tech coach Thursday

The Ruston Daily Leader is kinda taking a chance on this one, but I’m sure they’re right:

The interim label will be officially gone on Thursday for Teresa Weatherspoon.

Louisiana Tech University announced this morning that a press conference is set for noon Thursday at the Guthrie Jarrell Room of the Charles Wyly Athletic Center involving the women’s basketball program.

“It’s regarding Lady Techsters’ basketball and it is open to the public and that’s all we can say right now,” Media Relations Director and Assistant Athletic Director Malcolm Butler told the Ruston Daily Leader this morning.

But sources close to the program have revealed that the press conference will unveil Weatherspoon as the head coach after having served in an interim basis since mid-February.

Story link: http://www.rustonleader.com/sports.php?id=5112

Who else could it be? A preliminary congrats to Spoon.

Kelsey Bone to South Carolina!!

It’s being reported that Kelsey Bone has chosen South Carolina and Dawn Staley as the place to have her collegiate basketball career. The news must be really fresh, because I can’t find any links – including on South Carolina’s site.

Very exciting for Staley! The future of her program is bright.

Betty Lennox vs. the Russian

I vowed I’d never link to rebkell in this space, but I can’t find any other info on this incident online, and the pictures in the thread are too good:

http://www.boards.rebkell.net/viewtopic.php?t=47851

Betty, I love you and all, but aren’t you a little old for fighting?

Final Four is set

No surprises tonight, unless it was what a great game Purdue made it. They really did have a chance to take it until about 50 seconds. I appreciate that kind of grit.

Story link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/recap?gameId=294000046

But again, I wish UConn (tonight’s other winner) and Stanford weren’t playing each other. That, to me, is the national championship game this year.

More on Maryland’s loss last night – photos and links from the “basketcases”:

http://dcbasketcases.blogspot.com/2009/03/great-run-terps-had-quite-run-this.html

National championships are sure hard to come by. Not too many people have rings to wear after all is said and done.

Kelsey Bone moves up her announcement to tomorrow

Just pick a school, already:

http://www.illinihq.com/news/women_basketball/2009/03/30/bone_moves_up_announcement

Although, you have to wonder why this item is in the Illinois newspaper………

And then there were six (half of Final Four decided)

Though I was one of many who thought Maryland overrated this season, I don’t think I’m alone in saying Louisville came out of nowhere this year to win tonight. I wouldn’t have thought “Final Four” and Louisville to be in the same sentence at the end of March, but they were really gritty tonight. They wanted the win, which is more than it looked like Maryland wanted. I’m not going to speculate, but Louisville’s hunger for victory was palpable tonight.

ESPN story link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/recap?gameId=294000030

I was laughing at the way Louisville was starting to jump up and down………until Marissa Coleman stepped to the FT line with tears in her eyes. When she came out of the game she walked into Coach Brenda Frese’s arms and wouldn’t leave them. Just inconsolable on the bench. It was sad.

Then Card Angel McCoughtry started yelling into the camera to Kara Lawson, about how she’d see her in St. Louis (Lawson had picked the Terps to win). McCoughtry also said she was ready for Obama before getting off camera. Some people thought it was in poor taste, but I’m willing to give the kid the benefit of the doubt. We all do and say wack stuff when we’re excited.

This piece in today’s Baltimore Sun provides some insight into McCoughtry’s personality:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/basketball/womens/bal-sp.mccoughtry30mar30,0,1749103.story

In Angel, Roi and his wife, Sharon, had a capricious child, one who didn’t like the word “no” and often brought her mother to tears.

“I’m sort of a quiet, laid-back person, and I thought I’d have a quiet, laid-back child,” Sharon said. “But she was just the opposite. If I told her, ‘Let’s do this,’ she’d do the opposite. Now that I realize, she had all that energy for a reason; it just had to be channeled into something.”

Basketball became the perfect outlet. Growing up in Baltimore’s Northwood neighborhood, there was always a game nearby for a teenage McCoughtry. It usually meant playing against boys, though older, quicker and tougher.

And here’s another testament to hard work:

Once on campus, she kept working on her game and kept improving. As a sophomore, McCoughtry was named Big East Player of the Year.

“I joke with her that I’m not sure how many friends she has,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz said. “She’s always in the gym.”

I’d like to take a moment to thank all the young men all over the country who had no problem playing with McCoughtry, Dawn Staley, and countless other women who went on to great things in the sport they love because of it.

On the other side of the NCAA tourney, and the country, Jayne Appel is taking over where Candice Wiggins left off last year. Forty-six points is pretty amazing.

ESPN story link: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/recap?gameId=294000015

Appel story link: http://www.mercurynews.com/sportsheadlines/ci_12026703?nclick_check=1

“She’s a 10 out of 10,” teammate Jillian Harmon said, describing Appel’s mental toughness. “You can count on her. She’s going to do whatever it takes.”

Tenacity and toughness are great things.

But all this leaves me a little uncertain. Have I mentioned I’m going to the Final Four? First time, and it’s more than a little ironic that my team got knocked out in the first round. Even more ironic when I consider that the likely matchup on one side of the semi-finals – Stanford and Connecticut – will probably be the true championship game. Because let’s face it, ladies and gentlemen, those are the top two teams in the country right now. Not taking away anything from Oklahoma (who will also probably win tomorrow, alongside the Huskies), but Stanford and Connecticut have been kicking butt and taking names this post-season. The only way either/one of them will lose in the next week or so is to each other.

Faced with that, I’m prepared for this year’s championship game to be a bit of a letdown (unless some wild upset takes place). I just hope it’s not like the 2005 game, when Baylor kicked the butts of Michigan State.

On the bright side, I’m not emotionally invested in any team right now, so I can just enjoy myself in St. Louis.

Tomorrow:

Connecticut vs. ASU, 4 PDT/7 EDT

Purdue vs. Oklahmoa, 6/9

I was close

For someone who doesn’t do predictions, I was only one point off on both night games.

Connecticut 77
Cal 53

Arizona State 84
Texas A&M 69

Purdue 67
Rutgers 61

Oklahoma 70
Pittsburgh 59

Cal looked really good for a little while in the first half, but Conn’s defense smothers. I like Cal’s progression, though, and hope to see Boyle cutting down nets sometime in the next few years.

I’m surprised by Arizona State’s win, frankly. Nothing personal against them, but I didn’t think they had it in them.

I’m impressed with the way C. Vivian Stringer and Rutgers didn’t give up this season and fought back after a lot of adversity. They have it their all today.

Oklahoma, well, what can you say (They were up by almost 30 at one point in the second half tonight). They and Stanford and UConn are the three best right now, if you ask me. I wonder which two are going to make it. Whichever the case, it won’t come easy.

UConn-Cal story: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/recap?gameId=294000053

ASU-A&M story: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncw/recap?gameId=294000060

Tomorrow:

Louisville vs. Maryland, 4 PDT/7 EDT

Iowa State vs. Stanford, 6/9

Alexis Hornbuckle comes back

The illustrious M.M. Cornelius – the scout.com reporter who is at pretty much every Tennessee practice – got some great photos the other day when Alexis Hornbuckle came to visit. She posted them on “The Summitt” message board and called them, “the hug collection.” As someone who loves warm fuzzies, I dig each and every Lex pic. Dig:

http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=7&f=1373&t=4146699

Thanks, MMC, for being the eyes and ears of Volfanatics and taking us where we wish we could be.

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