Very interesting piece on the “growth spurt” in women’s basketball by the Associated Press. Post players aren’t just pulling down rebounds anymore – they’re scoring:
A look at rosters from the six major conferences—Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, ACC and Pacific-10—from the mid-1990s shows that the number of 6-3 or taller players has nearly doubled in some cases.
And their roles have grown along with their stature.
What Leslie started, 6-4 Candace Parker took to another level as a do-it-all forward/guard/center at Tennessee, knocking down 3-pointers, dunking off the dribble.
Now there is Brittany Griner, Baylor’s towering 6-8 freshman, who has gained YouTube fame with her dunks and blocks. Stanford’s 6-4 Kayla Pedersen leads one of the tournament’s top contenders in scoring and rebounding, but has also drilled 49 3-pointers in 31 games and is second on the team with 86 assists.
This year’s Lady Vols features 12 players 5-10 or taller, topping out with 6-6 center Kelley Cain.
“Just the mobility of the post players throughout the country, it’s amazing to me, compared to let’s say 10 years ago,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt says. “Being out recruiting and seeing some of these young players, there’s some post players out there that could step in and play at the college level.”
“I definitely think that we’ve become more involved,” Murphy says. “We’re being looked to as scorers instead of just people to grab the boards and put the ball back in the hole.”
Griner has followed in the footsteps of players like Tennessee’s Parker and Sylvia Fowles of LSU—who both brought another dimension to the post position with their tremendous athleticism and basketball skills.
Griner was second nationally in blocked shots (6.0 per game) and led the nation with three triple-doubles. Griner joined Parker as the only women’s players to dunk more than once in a game during a 99-18 rout of Texas State. She also has a major impact on the other end.
“She stops shots. She alters shots,” Mulkey says. “And she plays above the rim. I’ve been doing this since I was 14 years old. I’ve played with some of the greatest players to ever play this game. But I can honestly say she’s the first one I’ve ever been around that you can say plays above the rim.”
Tall girls take note: develop your game to the fullest. You won’t make it to the higher levels of basketball if you don’t.
Teresa Weatherspoon taking Louisiana Tech back into the NCAA Tournament might not seem like such a big deal until the program’s history is considered:
By many standards the fall has not been a big one, after all the Lady Techsters have only missed three NCAAs. But when you have been to 25 straight and won three national titles, including two NCAA titles and the final AIAW, three years is a long time.
The Lady Techsters only lost 14 games in the four years Weatherspoon played for them (1984-88), when she started all but one game. They went to the Final Four twice and won the championship in 1988.
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.
Last year Nebraska was unknown. This year they’ve gone to the Big Dance, and they’re “Cinderella With Credentials.” I like that, and I hope they do well.
Baltimore City Community College was prepared to take the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II title this year. Instead, they mysteriously dropped out of the tournament as the school was being investigated. Alleged infractions have occured, but they haven’t forfeited any games. What the hell’s going on?
WNIT results so far, with a few more games being played right now (go Oregon!):
Wednesday, March 17
Purdue 56, Eastern Michigan 50
Old Dominion 63, American 55
Kansas 82, Prairie View A&M 70
Illinois State 57, Butler 54
New Mexico 66, SMU 51
Arizona State 84, New Mexico State 61
Cal 74, UC Davis 69 OT
Thursday, March 18
Providence 64, Boston University 58
Charlotte 74, Gardner-Webb 60
North Carolina A&T 73, Wake Forest 49
Florida 61, South Florida 54
Miami 70, Florida Gulf Coast 57
St. Bonaventure 76, Robert Morris 50
Syracuse 87, Harvard 68
Richmond 67, Delaware 49
VCU 74, Saint Joseph’s 63
Hofstra 76, Penn State 68
Northwestern 79, Duquesne 72
Texas Tech 80, Houston 77
Samford 66, Mississippi 65