Houston Roundball Review: Women's Hoops

This is The Houston Roundball Review's (www.TheHRR.com) blog to discuss women's basketball. The HRR began in 1994 and has been media credentialed to cover college and pro hoops since 1997. Member of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Aggies Edge Cowgirls by One on Gant's Free Throw

Texas A&M won a thrilling ball game Tuesday night at Reed Arena 64 to 63 over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls. Sophomore guard / forward Danielle Gant hit the first of two free throws with 0.3 seconds left on the clock to give the Ags the hard fourght victory in front of 7,191 raucous fans.

Oklahoma State (15-6, 3-5) led Texas A&M (16-4, 6-2) 46 to 36 with 9:36 left in the second half when the Aggies' defense began making stops which helped trigger the Aggies' offense.

Takia Starks and LaToya Micheaux helped bring A&M back in the game with a three-point shot and two free throws. Micheaux, surprisingly, continued making free throws in the second half as the Aggies tied the game at 50 with 6:10 left on the game clock.

Micheaux added four more points during a 7 to 2 stretch to push the Aggies' lead to five (57 to 52) with 3:01 remaining. However, OSU's Rashidat Sadiq swished a three pointer to trim the lead to two with 2:33 remaining.

Neither team scored for nearly two minutes until A&M's Aquonesia Franklin hit a pull-up three-point shot with just 53 seconds remaining.

Sadiq answered with another three-pointer just five seconds later.

Patrice Reado converted a putback with 19 seconds later only to see Sadiq drain another three to make the score 62-61, A&M with 14 seconds left.

Gant split two free throws with 11 seconds left; and, after the Cowgirls committed a turnover; Texas A&M turned the ball over on the inbounds which led to a fastbreak lay-up by OSU's Danielle Green which tied the game at 63 with just 3.6 seconds on the clock.

Without calling time-out Franklin received the inbounds pass from Gant; raced up the court; missed a layup; however, Gant followed up the shot and was fouled with just 0.3 seconds left in the game.

The referees went to replays to make sure how much time was on the clock; but, despite the delay, Gant calmly sank the first free throw. Then, she missed the second shot on purpose preserving the win for A&M.

Sadiq led all scorers with 23 points while Gant led the Aggies with 16 points as well as a game-high 15 rebounds.

The Cowgirls shot 46.9% (23 for 49) from the field for the game while the Aggies shot 32.8% (21 for 64).
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Press Conference to Announce Sale of Comets to Hilton Koch

I'm in College Station, inside Reed Arena, getting ready to watch Texas A&M play Oklahoma State at 7pm; however, this was in my email box:

For press members, local civic leaders, and invited guests there will be a press conference in the Media Center at 12:15pm which will be aired on NBA TV and broadcast live to the LaBranch entrance lobby of Toyota Center, where a special ceremony will be held from 1pm to 2pm.

The Houston Rockets and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) cordially invite you to a press conference and special ceremony announcing the sale of the Comets to Hilton Koch of Hilton Furniture and Mattress Company. The events will be held at Toyota Center on Wednesday January 30, 2007.

This special ceremony will be a chance for Hilton to express his spirit for buying the team and “fire the crowd up” with his unique ability to motivate and inspire. Comets Superstar Sheryl Swoopes, Comets legend Cynthia Cooper, our loveable mascot, Haley, and members of the Comet's Team NRG dance squad will be on hand to meet and greet Comet faithful.

The Dean James Band will provide entertainment along with Comets’ Public Address Announcer Dana Jackson and the entire Comets family.

This will be a chance to buy exciting season ticket packages for the historic 11th season of the WNBA.

Parking will be available at the Toyota Center garage on LaBranch and Leeland.
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Sky After Canty

I first posted this on Saturday, January 27, in the HRR "Tip-ins" section. The "Tip-ins" are availabe to HRR subscribers. Subscribers receive "inside info" first.

new subscribers: $19.95 for first year.
renewals: $14.95 a year.

The HRR has learned the Chicago Sky is planning to pursue Houston Comets' guard Dominique Canty once the WNBA's free agent signing period begins on Thursday, February 1. Canty, an unrestricted free agent, was born in Chicago; and, she played high school basketball there at Whitney M. Young High School.

If the Sky offers Canty a max contract ($90,000 plus and / or a multi-year contract), the Comets may lose Canty without receiving any compensation in return for Canty.

Canty has been with the Comets since the 2003 WNBA season.
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Monday, January 29, 2007

Houston's Tye Jackson and Rice's Lauren Neaves are named this week's players of the week.

Now, as someone who covers both of these young ladies and their respective teams on a regular basis, this news makes me proud:

Jan. 29, 2007
For the first time this year, Conference USA has named co-players of the week for women's basketball. Houston's Tye Jackson and Rice's Lauren Neaves both had solid performances in a pair of wins last week.

Tye Jackson, Houston 5-10, Junior, Guard, Houston, TexasJackson, who played two complete games, registered back-to-back double-doubles and grabbed a career-best 12 rebounds against Tulsa. The Houston native averaged 22.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 3.0 steals per game for the week. Against SMU, the Cougars set C-USA single-game records for most rebounds (68) and most offensive rebounds (36).

Lauren Neaves, Rice 6-2, Senior, Forward, Cooper City, Fla. Neaves led the Owls with two double-double performances. She averaged 15.5 points, 14.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocked shots per game, while shooting 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from the field and 76.5 percent (13-of-17) from the free throw line. Against SMU, she registered 17 points and 15 boards in 25 minutes of play. With Neaves' 14 points and 13 rebounds against Tulsa, she joined the 1,500-point club and moved to No. 2 on the school's all-time rebounding chart (male or female). Defensively, Neaves helped shut down preseason C-USA player of the year Jillian Robbins, who was held to her second lowest total of the year of eight points and seven rebounds.

Rice and UH continue their homestands this Thursday, February 1, and this Saturday, February 3, versus Tulane and UTEP respecitvely.
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Aggies fifth Women's hoops luncheon scheduled for January 30

Join the nationally-ranked Aggies for Local Heroes Night against OSU and Beat The Hell Outta Breast Cancer Night versus KU. All uniformed personnel may show their badge for free admission to the Oklahoma State game. Tickets are available for the Kansas game for $10 with $8 of the ticket sale benefiting the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Future women’s basketball luncheons are scheduled throughout the 2006-07 season on Feb. 15 and Feb. 27.

This year’s luncheons are held on the third floor of Reed Arena in Room 301 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Cost is $10 (cash or checks only) per person and will include a meal, video highlights of games, guest speakers, player interviews and commentary by Coach Gary Blair. Parking for the event will be available in front of Reed Arena or in the West Campus Parking Garage.

For more information or RSVP, please contact the Texas A&M women’s basketball office at: (979) 845-0565 or
sshanks@athletics.tamu.edu.

TEXAS A&M WOMEN’S BASKETBALL LUNCHEONS SCHEDULE
Tuesday, Jan. 30
Thursday, Feb. 15
Tuesday, Feb. 27
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Big 12 Women’s Basketball Draws Three Crowds Over 10,000 on January 27

Now, this is impressive...

Three Big 12 women’s basketball games had over 10,000 fans in attendance on Saturday, Jan. 27. This is the second time in the last three seasons the league has posted crowds of over 10,000 on the same day at three different sites.

On Jan. 27, 2007, the Texas at Texas Tech game registered 12,365 fans while Texas A&M at Oklahoma had 11,486 in attendance and Kansas State and Iowa State played in front of 10,877 in Ames.

This feat also happened on Feb. 26, 2005, as 13,535 patrons watched Oklahoma State play at Texas Tech, 11,473 were in attendance at the Texas A&M at Iowa State contest and 11,254 attended the Kansas at Kansas State game.

The Big 12 has led the nation in attendance the last seven years and currently has a cumulative attendance of 661,986 through 136 games in 2006-07.
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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Aggies win over OU on Saturday

I didn't take time to write about Texas A&M's win over Oklahoma (at Oklahoma, no less) yesterday; so, I'll do so now.

Texas A&M beat the Sooners 54 to 52. OU's loss ended a string of 26 consecutive wins in the Big 12; but, streaks aside, the game was very physical and OU didn't handle the physical play well one bit.

The Sooners committed 28 turnovers in the game and shot a season low 32.7% from the field. They looked frustrated by the Aggies "in your shirt" defense throughout the game.

Sooners' fans (11,486 attended the game which is spectacular!) booed at the refs for much of the game for what they perceived were non-calls; but, my simple question is this: How can a team with Courtney Paris on the squad not be used to contact by the opposition?

Like it or not, women's basketball is physical. The game is more physical now than it was in the recent past. If the Sooners want to reach the Final Four this year, they're going to have to change their mindset and get used to the physical play. Act instead of react.
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Saturday, January 27, 2007

How many free agents...

As many fans of the WNBA know, the collective bargaining agreement is set to expire after the 2007 WNBA season which means the league and the players' association will have to negotiate and reach an accord; ratify; and sign a new collective bargaining agreement

Since many things such as free agency; salary cap; and "core" players will be on the proverbial table for discussion, the chances for changes in these key issues are quite possible.

Let's assume the current "hard" salary cap is changed to a "soft" cap which will allow a few exemptions for teams to exceed the salary cap. If a huge change to the new bargaining agreement such as a "soft" cap is in place, I wonder how many current free agents (unrestricted and restricted) will sign multi-year contracts when the free agent signing period begins on Thursday, February 1, 2007.

Think about this, if a player signs a two or three-year deal next month, that player risks the possibility of not earning more money next year under a new collective bargaining agreement. Bottom line, I'm curious to see how many free agents will take the security of signing a multi-year contract now instead of potentially signing a bigger contract next year.
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Friday, January 26, 2007

Comets set pre-season game versus Liberty

The Houston Roundball Review has learned the Houston Comets have reached an agreement with the New York Liberty to play a pre-season game Saturday, May 12, at 2pm (CDT), at Madison Square Garden.
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Comets Press Conference set for January 31

The Houston Roundball Review has learned the Houston Comets will hold a press conference Wednesday, January 31, at Toyota Center to make a major announcement.

The announcement is expected to be Mr. Hilton Koch is purchasing the Houston Comets from Mr. Leslie Alexander, current owner of the Houston Rockets and the Houston Comets.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 12:15 p.m.

More details will be forthcoming later.
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Monday, January 22, 2007

Duke Beats Tennessee by Four

I enjoyed tonight's Duke - Tennessee game. Duke defeated Tennessee 74 to 70 before a huge crowd of 18,559 screaming fans in Tennessee's Thompson-Boling Arena.

Of course, the start of the game wasn't too promising of a tight finish. When I got home (from the raido station), Duke led 16 to 0. Then, the Blue Devils went ahead 19 to 0 before the Lady Vols finally got on the scoreboard.

I was more worried about the game losing its tv audience than I was Tennessee making a run to narrow Duke's lead.

Duke's Abby Waner was sensational in the first half. She scored 21 points in the first half including 5 for 5 on three point shots; and, some of those shots were D E E P. Abby finished the game with 24 points.

Duke's senior point guard Lindsey Harding was sensational. After the Lady Vols finally tied the game at 58, Harding guided Duke to five straight points to keep Tennessee at arm's length as well as keep the Blue Devils steady and confident. Harding finished the game with 21 points; seven assists; and two steals.

Guard Wanisha Smith played steady throughout the game and added 15 points in just 26 minutes.

Tennessee's Candace Parker played all 40 minutes and finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds; however, Parker missed six of her seven free throw attempts which proved costly for the Lady Vols. As a team, the Lady Vols shot a sorry 8 for 17 from the foul line.

Alexis Hornbuckle added 19 points and nine rebounds while Sidney Spencer added 13 points; however, Spencer made just three of her 13 field goal attempts.

The game was enjoyable to watch and well played, too. I don't see why both teams cannot advance to Cleveland for the 2007 Women's Final Four.

I'm planning to be in Cleveland to cover it.
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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tick, tock, Comets

Time continues ticking by and no announcement from the Houston Comets about the sale of the team to Hilton Koch.

Supposed dates regarding the announcement have come and gone and nothing has been announced.

January 19 was the latest date for a press conference. Nope.

I'll toss out two more dates:
January 24 and January 31.

Something needs to be done quickly because WNBA teams can begin signing free agents on February 1.

Is there any wonder I spend a lot of my time covering men's and women's college hoops and the Houston Rockets?
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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Aggies versus Colorado

Since the Aggies - Colorado game was pushed back to today (instead of Wednesday night), I decided to drive up here to check out the game.

It's halftime right now and A&M is leading 34 to 25.

I'm waiting to receive the stats; but, the Aggies have missed a lot of shots which has helped keeped Colorado in the ball game.

I'm hoping CU's Bianca Smith (Bellaire HS) product gets more minutes in the second half.

Takia Starks had an excellent first half for the Aggies.

Considering the game was re-scheduled for today and then the starting time changed, there's a good crowd here -- about 2,000 or so.

It's the Big 12, baby!
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Monday, January 08, 2007

Comets Select Leuchanka in WNBA Dispersal Draft

The Houston Comets selected center Yelena Leuchanka with the 8th pick in the 2007 WNBA Dispersal Draft.

Ironically, Leuchanka's best WNBA game happened against the Comets in a 2006 preseason game. Leuchanka played 39 minutes; scored 22 points (9 for 15 from the field, 1 for 1 from three, 3 for 4 fts) and pulled down seven rebounds.

Leuchanka, 23, born in Belarus, (6'5, 195, West Virginia '06) has battled knee problems much of her young basketball career. (She tore the ACL in her right knee in the 2003 - 2004 season; she tore the ACL in her left knee in the 2004 - 2005 season at West Virginia.)

Leuchanka averaged 7.5 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting .565 from the floor in 42 career games at West Virginia.

She averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds at Seminole Junior College in 2001 - 2002 and 18.0 points and 11.8 rebounds per game at Wabash Valley Junior College in 2002 - 2003.

Leuchanka averaged 3 ppg and 1.2 rpg in just four games for the Charlotte Sting in the 2006 WNBA regular season.
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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Texas - Purdue from Austin

Good first half from Austin between Texas and Purdue. The Horns lead 38 to 32. Purdue started the game just 1 for 7 from the field; but, they made 12 of their next 15 shots.

UT's Erika Arriaran scored 11 points in the opening half including two impressive pull - up three point shots while going to her left.

Purdue's Katie Gearlds likes going to her left and pulling up, too.

I just finished interviewing San Antonio Silver Stars head coach Dan Hughes. I'll post the interview when I get back to H-town.

Back to the game...
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Friday, January 05, 2007

Comets: Get it Done

Well, since the horse has bolted the barn (wow, can you tell I was born in Texas?) regarding Reggie Dixon being named the next head coach of the Houston Comets, I have a few thoughts to add.

First, finalize the sale of the team to Hilton Koch. Reggie Dixon is not the coach of the Comets until the deal is completed and Hilton becomes the owner.

Second, I don't care about being first in reporting news. It's not a big deal to me. I know it's important to tv, radio, and newspaper people to be the first to go with "breaking news"; but, that's not me. If it were so important to me to be first, I would have reported the interest in Reggie as head coach a month ago when I first heard about it.

Third, I want the Comets to stay in Houston. Period. If Hilton Koch's owning the Comets accomplishes that, I'm satisfied. I don't want to see the Comets leave Houston for another city; but, if the Comets were to leave Houston in 2008 (or in 2048), my life will continue.

Fourth, while many Comets' fans don't know Reggie Dixon from Adam, if (when) he becomes the head coach, give him a chance to succeed (or fail). Reggie has numerous contacts in the basketball world who've offered to help him succeed; so, just give him a chance at the job.

Lastly, all of these changes regarding the Comets may work out fantastic; but, they also may fail miserably. I'll give credit if its due; but, I'll also criticize if it's warranted.

Just get the deal done already...
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