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).

Saturday, March 31, 2007

WBCA HS All-America Game

It's halftime of the 2007 WBCA High School All-America Game at Cleveland State University's Woodling Gym.

The White Team leads the Red Team 54 to 47.

Each team features the future stars of women's college basketball and, in some cases, stars of the WNBA.

Here's the list of participants:
Red Team
#3 Lorin Dixon, 5'4, Christ the King HS (NY), UConn.
#13, Karima Christmas, 6'0, Dobie HS (Houston, TX), Duke.
#14, Kayla Pederson, 6'4, Red Mountain HS (Mesa, AZ) Stanford.
#15, Jasmine Thomas, 5'9, Oakton HS (Vienna, VA) Duke.
#20, Stefanie Gilbreath, 6'0, Cinco Ranch HS (Katy, TX) USC.
#21, Erica Morrow, 5'9, Murry Bergtraum HS (NY, NY) Syracuse.
#23, Jeanette Pohlen, 5'11, Brea-Olinda HS (Brea, CA) Stanford.
#32 Maya Moore, 6'1, Collins Hill (Suwanee, GA) Connecticut.
#34, Krystal Thomas, 6'5, The First Academy (Orlando, FL) Duke.
#53, Ta'Shia Phillips, 6'6, Brebeuf Jesuit HS (Indianapolis, IN) Undecided.

White Team
#12 Angie Bjorklund, 6'0, University HS (Spokane, WA) Tennessee.
#22 Victoria Baugh, 6'4, Sacramaento HS (Sacramento, CA) Tennessee.
#23 Cetera DeGraffenreid, 5'4, Smoky Mountain HS (Slyva, NC) North Carolina.
#25 Marah Strickland, 5'11, Towson Catholic HS (Towson, MD) Maryland.
#31 Kelsey Bolte, 6'1, Battle Creek - Ida Grove HS (Ida Grove, IA) Iowa State.
#33 Drey Mingo, 6'2, Marist HS (Atlanta, GA) Maryland.
#34 Iasia Hemingway, 5'11, Malcolm X Shabazz HS (Newark, NJ) Georgia Tech.
#42 Jantel Lavender, 6'4, Cleveland Catholic Central (Cleveland, OH) Ohio State.
#50 Italee Lucas, 5'9, Centennial HS (Las Vegas, NV) North Carolina.
#52 Kelley Cain, 6'6, St. Pius X Catholic (Atlanta, GA). Tennessee.

Maya Moore and Lorin Dixon each scored eight points for the Red Team in the first half while Jantel Lavender's 10 points led the White Team.

Maya Moore's athleticism is very, very impressive.

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2007 Women's Final Four - Cleveland (Day 2 Continued)

I just attended the 2007 AP Coach and AP Player of the Year Awards Presentation.

The winners are:
AP Coach of the Year - Gail Goestenkors (Duke)
AP Player of the Year - Courtney Paris (Oklahoma)

Coach G winning the award was somewhat of a given since Duke went 29-0 during the regular season and one of her players (Lindsey Harding) is winning almost every player award given out this year. This is also what makes the choice for player of the year a little surprising. Paris has had a very good year (as should be expected), but when one player is at the top of almost every list, it can be somewhat of a surprise when they don't win player of the year. But I guess today is a day of surprises. First Candace Parker wins the State Farm Wade Trophy and now Courtney Paris wins the AP Player of the Year award.

During her acceptance speech, Coach G stated she felt Kay Yow (NC State) was more deserving of the award because of what she and her team have gone through this season. I agree to an extent. Coach Yow has been through a lot this past year, and you can't say it didn't have an affect on her team. For Coach Yow to come back this season and coach NC State to the Sweet 16 is remarkable, not just for her but also for her players.

During Paris's acceptance speech, she thanked her coaching staff (especially "lifecoach" Sherri Coale?) and also Lindsey Harding for having someone (player) to look up to, admire and respect. Courtney did not believe she was going to win, so she told her family not to attend the presentation. (Courtney - FYI. If you are invited to an awards presentation, you just might be getting an award).

Here are a few quotes from Coach G on Coach Yow:

"She (Yow) has been truly an inspiration to me and to my team..."

"The way that Kay has gone through this year, the grace she has shown, the fight, the ability to enjoy the journey, I think that is what I take away from this. I have learned to appreciate every moment you have. Every player you have and each day that you have."

On the Texas coaching vacancy:

"I'm taking it one day at a time. I'm still in the process."

"It's (the process) been pretty stressful. They're (Duke and Texas) both unbelievable institutions, great academics, athletics as well...It's about the people."

"I would like to make the decision as soon as possible, just for peace of mind and peace of heart."

"Texas is a job that I'd always thought was one of the best jobs in the country. So that was very appealing."

Coach G did mention the support by Duke and the fans was incredible and that she loved Duke and all the fans, friends and team. I think she did a good job of straddling the fence, using present and past verbs to describe the process and her feelings for Duke and Texas. She did make a statement about not looking in the past, but to look to the future (something she has learned based on what Coach Yow has gone through this past year). Is Duke the past and Texas the future? We shall see.
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2007 Women's Final Four - Cleveland (Day 2)

Today, I started the day at the ESPN Briefing. This was the usual song and dance ESPN has been putting on for the last few years. The only good thing out of it was the free food and t-shirt.

After this was over, I proceeded over to the Kodak/WBCA All-American Team Press Conference.

Here is the list of recipients:
Jessica Davenport------The Ohio State University
Sylvia Fowles------Louisiana State University
Lindsey Harding------Duke University
Crystal Langhorne------University of Maryland
Ivory Latta------University of North Carolina
Angel McCoughtry------University of Louisville
Courtney Paris------University of Oklahoma
Candace Parker------University of Tennessee
Armintie Price------University of Mississippi
Candice Wiggins------Stanford University

It was also announced that State Farm will become the title sponsor for the All-American team beginning with the 2007-2008 season. Kodak has been the title sponsor of this award for the last 33 years. The new name of the team will be "The State Farm Coaches' All American Team." State Farm is the current title sponsor for the Wade Trophy and Players of the Year awards.

The 2007 State Farm Wade Trophy winner is: 6'-4" guard/forward/center from Naperville, Illinois, Candace Parker - University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

I expected the winner to be Lindsey Harding (Duke), but maybe she lost it by Duke not being in the Final Four. While watching the first two weeks of tournament play, Candace appears that she has taken the Lady Vols team on her shoulders and declared they will win or lose based on her performance. Maybe this swayed the voters to her side (not that Tennessee hasn't played good all year).

One last note, I saw the University of Texas Lady Longhorns coach at the All-American and Wade Trophy presentation. (And I don't mean Jody Conradt)

Keep viewing my daily blogs to get a first hand view of behind the scenes action of the Final Four by a true fan of women's basketball.
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2007 Women's Final Four - Cleveland (Day 1)

Day One in Cleveland is complete, and my biggest complaint is the construction everywhere in Downtown Cleveland. There is a BIG, and I mean BIG PROBLEM when it takes you almost 2 hours to get from the airport to the hotel. The bus drivers where lost and had no clue where to go. Because of this waste of time, I wasn't able to attend the first session of the WNBA Draft Combine. I know the first session for last year's combine wasn't very good (and I heard this year wasn't much different), but that doesn't mean it was okay to miss it. The second session was decent. After the second session of the combine was over, the night was completed with a couple of beers in the media hospitality suite. Those beers where definitely needed.
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My Take: The HRR's 2007 PreDraft Combine Interviews

Thanks, Kris, for the very good 3-30-07 interviews of Coach Karleen Thompson and several draft prospects, including local university Rice's Lauren Neaves, local product from Tulsa University, Jillian Robbins, and C-USA's Carmen Guzman of Alabama-Birmingham ! Here is my take from each interview:

Coach Karleen Thompson - Great questions, Karleen's voice comes across real well and poised, good answers except we didn't lose alot when we lost the Tameka Dixon from last year IMO, Canty yes. This sounds like she might keep the picks though she did say there is a possibility of trading, and she seemed more certain of keeping #14 IMO, just a guess. I hope we keep them. She said Lauren Neaves has been consistent and did good but that we need perimeter players. Coach, Janeth Arcain is an All-Star perimeter player that plays three positions and is 100% Comet. {wink}

Lauren Neaves - Great to hear from our local player from Rice, Lauren Neaves! {smile} I hope she is going after those rebounds and blocks with a passion, same on the offensive side in the paint, gotta want it. Maybe showing a mid range shot too would help. Lauren is one of the players that has very good skills already and "wants to be good", good work ethics and discipline - the part in quotes is what Kara Lawson said she likes in a player here. You have the skill and the IQ, Lauren, showcase it! {smile} Lauren to me is like a shadow of Tina Thompson and/or will be a bigger, stronger, not quite as fast (but nicer heh) Erin Buescher. JMO.

Jillian Robbins - Hmmm, sounds like she had a tough time on the offensive end. I know Samantha Stovall of Rice defended her well, and Sam is a defensive 3 that is somewhat slight. But that was just one game and I've learned that means something but not that much. {biggrin} Best of luck to Jillian, a 3 that can post up a smaller 3?

Carmen Guzman - Oooh, nice discovery, Kris! She made me smile, I really like this pg - "I can lead" speaks volumes to me. I also saw her a couple of times in person this season as well as on tv in the C-USA tournament, and she is a true point guard that impressed me very much.

Bernice Mosby - This young lady sounds like she knows what she wants and where she is going! Very poised and self-assured. Coach Dan Hughes has all good things to say about her in this Q&A session. This is one of the most informative interviews of a coach regarding the draft process that I've read in all these years. Kudos to Coach Hughes, and thanks!

Great job, Kris! Please blog, blog, blog and interview, interview, interview. Congrats on making it to 2007 Final Four!!!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

WNBA Announces list of Draft Camp Invitees

Here's the list of invitees for the 2007 WNBA Pre-Draft Camp:

Alexis, Meredith (James Madison)
Awkward, Ashley (Mississippi)
Bales, Alison (Duke)
Brown, Amanda (Penn State)
Chambers, Cori (Georgia)
Davenport, Jessica (Ohio State)
Davie, Adrianne (Arkansas State)
Davis, Deanna “Dee” (Vanderbilt)
Diawara, Nare (Virginia Tech)
Dickson, Jessica (South Florida)
Dill, Alisha (Coastal Carolina)
Doron, Shay (Maryland)
Gearlds, Katie (Purdue)
Givens, Chrissy (Middle Tennessee)
Goring, Gillian (N.C. State)
Guzman, Carmen (Alabama-Birmingham)
Hairston, Kamesha (Temple)
Harding, Lindsey (Duke)
Hardy, Kiera (Nebraska)
Hicks, Cameo (Washignton)
Higgs, Stephanie (Georgia Tech)
Jackson, Tiffany (Texas)
Jones, Yolanda (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Latta, Ivory (North Carolina)
Little, Camille (North Carolina)
Lucas-Perry, Victoria (Michigan State)
Lyles, Lachelle (Southeast Missouri State)
Medders, Lyndsey (Iowa State)
Moore, Carrie (Western Michigan)
Mosby, Bernice (Baylor)
Murphy, Eshaya (USC)
Neaves, Lauren (Rice)
Newlin, Kristin (Stanford)
Quaye, Christina (Marquette)
Quinn, Noelle (UCLA)
Price, Armintie (Mississippi)
Raymond, Stephanie (Northern Illinois)
Ress, Kathrin (Boston College)
Riddle, Eetisha (Missouri)
Robbins, Jillian (Tulsa)
Rush, Leah (Oklahoma)
Sims, Rudy (Arkansas State)
Smith, Brooke (Stanford)
Smith, Tyresa (Delaware)
Spencer, Sidney (Tennessee)
Taylor, Renee (Miami)
Thomas, Carla (Vanderbilt)
Vogel, Megan (South Dakota State)
Wallace, Terra (Texas-Arlington)
Wells, Antoinette (Wichita State)
Westerberg, Emily (Arizona State)

The camp takes place March 30 and 31 in Cleveland, OH, on the campus of Cleveland State University.
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Owls' Neaves Invited to WNBA Draft Combine

The Houston Roundball Review has learned Lauren Neaves, senior forward / post, for the Rice Owls has been invited to participate in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)'s 2007 pre-draft combine. The draft combine will take place this weekend March 30 and 31 in Cleveland, OH.

Fifty college seniors are invited to participate in the combine as an opportunity to showcase their skills and talents in front of WNBA coaches and personnel. The WNBA's Draft will take place Wednesday, April 4.

Neaves, 6'2, is the top rebounder (man or woman) in the history of Rice University basketball. She also finished her college career as the Owls' women's basketball leader in blocked shots. Neaves helped lead the Owls to four consecutive post-season tournaments during her collegiate career.

Neaves has received numerous honors and accolades throughout her college career.

Rice University's sports media department is expected to announce an official press release later today.
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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Game 2 North Carolina and George Washington

Here we go: #1 seed UNC versus #5 seed George Washington.

First basket is scored by Erlana Larkins, UNC leads 2-0.

GW misses.

Tar Heels turn the ball over. GW'S #32 Sarah-Jo Lawrence is called for an offensive foul.

Pressure defense by the Colonials. UNC inbounds. Latta passes to Larkins. GW's #20 Kenan Cole tips a pass out of bounds. UNC in bounds to nobody. Rashanda McCants calls a 30-second timeout. 18:42 on the clock.
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Regional Semi: Georgia vs. Purdue

Here in Dallas, TX, getting ready for the regional semi-final match-up between #3 seed Georgia and #2 seed Purdue.

First things first (once again), there are plenty of good seats available in Reunion Arena. Trust me.

While none of the four participating teams are Texas teams, this sparse crowd is still disappointing which shows that women's college basketball still has major room to improve in attracting "Jack and Jill Fan" to come to the games.

This site really misses not having Texas A&M here.

The game should be competitive. I hope.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Live from Austin: First Round OU vs. Marquette

First things first: the National Anthem.

Oklahoma Head Coach Sherri Coale:
(On the keys to the game versus Marquette):
"We have to take of the basketball. I think that's the key in this game obviously. And their size. I think Jenna (Plumley) may look like a fish out of water out there running around inside. They playe extremely hard games and they do a lot of really good things. They're a really fine basketball team. I don't know if it will be so much about individual match-ups. I don't know if it will be senior forward (Christina) Quaye against Courtney (Paris) or what the match-up will be because of the way they defend and the way we defend, too. In terms of the battle of Marquette versus Oklahoma, I think taking of the basketball and rebounding the basketball are the two key that we have to do."

Marquette Head Coach Terri Mitchell
(On defending both the perimeter and Courtney Paris):
"You just have to do both. If you stay inside, they're going to shoot it through the roof. And if you over commit to the outside...If you want to win you have to do both, but you have to move with every pass. If you stay stuck, the ball is passed and we're still in the same position we're going to be in trouble. But if five people move when the ball is in the air, we'll be in much better position to do both."

Starters --
Danielle Kamm
Jasmine McCollough
Krystal Ellis
Efueko Osagie-Landry
Christiana Quaye

Amanda Thompson
Leah Rush
Courtney Paris
Erin Higgins
Jenna Plumley

While it's not quite "Sooner Nation South", the crowd is decidedly majority Sooner fans.

Let's start the game...OU wins the opening tip.
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Live from Austin: First Round OU vs. Marquette

First things first: the National Anthem.
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

Live from Austin: First Round LSU vs. UNC-Asheville

Last game of a long day...#3 seed vs. #14 UNC-Asheville.

We won't be here long because we're heading back home. Nothing personal against either of these two teams.

Thankfully, there's a good, vocal crowd here right now.

And, we're off...

shot clock violation on the Bulldogs.

3-pointer from LSU's #15 Quianna Chaney, to give the Tigers the early lead, 3-0.

Jessica Monroe puts the Bulldogs on the board with a pull-up jumper.

3-2, LSU.

3-pointer from Chaney again.

6-2, LSU.

3 - pointer from UNCA's #10 Amanda Elder.

6-5, LSU.

Big Syl with the put back. 8-5, LSU. 16:55 left in the opening half.

Block by Big Syl. Bulldogs kepp possession.

Big Syl with the rebound. Tigers bring the ball up the floor.

3 pointer from LSU's Tay-Tay LeBlanc as the shot clock expires. 11-5, LSU.

Media Time-out with the Tigers leading the Bulldogs. 15:12 remaining in the first half.
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Live from Austin: First Round Xavier vs. West Virginia

Since I was unable to solve my laptop's computer problems for the Marquette vs. Louisiana-Lafayette game, I didn't blog for that one. However, I'm using another laptop; and, I'm ready for the night session. First up: sixth-seed Xavier (26-7) versus eleventh-seed West Virginia (20-10).

Needless to say, the crowd is sparse for this match-up. While I'm not surprised by the small attendance, it is disappointing to see. The NCAA needs to come up with a fair solution to maximize the attendance at the host sites because I can count the number of people in attendance and be done in less than two minutes. Trust me.

Thank goodness the bands and cheerleaders for both teams are here.

2-0, Xavier on a basket by Amber Harris.

16:54 left in the first half.

Free throw by Amber Harris, 3-0. Second throw is good, too. 4-0, Xavier.

Three-pointer from LaQuita Owens for WVU. 4-3, Xavier. 16:26 left.

Tie up. Xavier's ball.

Media Timeout. 15:34 left in the half.
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Live from Austin: First Round OU vs. SEMO

Let's start dribblin'...

Oklahoma vs. Southeast Missouri State.

SEMO up 3-0.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Comets Announce Additions to Staff and Team

The Houston Comets finally released official statements regarding the new members of the coaching staff and player development as well as two free agent signings. I mentioned the word "finally" because the news regarding the staff were made public by Fox 26 Sports about two weeks ago while the free agent signings of LaTasha Butts and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba were known for about one week.

I'm not here to throw stones at the Comets' organization because I want the team to generate as much publicity as possible; however, I did contact the WNBA's media departement recently and inquired about the lack of press releases coming from the Comets.

I'm glad to see the Comets getting "the word out"; and, letting people know what is happening with the team and the staff.

Comets Announce Staff Changes

Tasha Butts and Maiga-Ba join the Comets
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12 Finalists for Wade Trophy Announced Today

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association announced the 12 finalists in contention for The State Farm Wade Trophy.

This list of players is very, very impressive.

“These 12 student-athletes are each deserving of The State Farm Wade Trophy, considering their dedication to the institution, coach and teammates as a leader both on and off of the court,” said WBCA CEO, Beth Bass. “Any of these student-athletes would capture the essence of Lily Margaret Wade and would be deserving of this year’s award.”

WBCA Releases Finalists for The 2007 State Farm Wade Trophy
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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Congrats to Cooper and Prairie View

In case you haven't seen or heard, the Prairie View A&M Lady Panthers defeated the Jackson State Lady Tigers, 68 to 62, in Birmingham, Alabama, to win the 2007 Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. Winning the SWAC Tourney title, qualifies Prairie View A&M for the 2007 Women's NCAA Tournament Championship.

Prairie View advances to Women's "Big Dance" for the first time EVER!!!

The Panthers are coached by Cynthia Cooper, women's basketball icon. Cooper is only in her second season as head coach of the PV program.

A few years ago, Cooper and I sat baseline (at one of the media tables) at the Houston Rockets' home games discussing everything under the sun; and, one of the things I asked her was if she would consider coaching on the collegiate level. She asked me which school(s) I had in mine. The first school I mentioned was Texas Southern University. She told me she would be interested in the job. Long story short, TSU turned Coop down.

Next, I asked Coop if she'd consider coaching at Prairie View. She wanted to know if the people at PV were serious about women's basketball and winning. I told her "yes". She said, "If they're interested in talking with me, let them know I'm interested."

The two sides talked; negotiated; and Coop was hired as the head coach.

Two years later, Coop has guided Prairie View to a 19 and 13 overall record; a tie for the SWAC regular season title; a SWAC Tournament title; and a trip to the "Big Dance".

Wouldn't it be something if Prairie View's first round game was in Austin, TX, on March 17?

Congratulations to Coach Cooper, her players, the PV alums, students, and the program!
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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Harding among WBCA Awards Recipients

I received this email from the WBCA earlier Wednesday; but, with the start of the Big 12 Women's Tournament; LSU's Pokey Chatman surprising everyone with her resignation; and, my detour away from hoops to watch some softball between the University of Houston and the Texas A&M Aggies, I didn't post it sooner.

The WBCA congratulates the 2007 WBCA Award recipients. The recipients include Lindsey Harding (Duke), Theresa Grentz (Illinois), Hillary Hansen (UC-San Diego), Karen Thies (Nebraska-Omaha), Christina Gaard (Luther), Carol Sprague (Pittsburgh), Brenda Byrd and Kim Edmondson (Arkansas-Monticello). These well-deserving individuals will be formally presented their award at the WBCA Awards Luncheon presented by State Farm and Jostens at the 2007 WBCA National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

List of press releases discussing each award recipient.
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This post is not meant to be arrogant or cocky; but, as I approach my birthday, I thought about the number of women's basketball people (coaches, players, etc.) I've been able to schedule to appear on KCOH 1430 AM (www.kcohradio.com) Sports Rap. Plus, if I don't toot my own horn, why should anyone else toot it for me?

I want to thank Mr. Ralph Cooper, Sports Rap's host, for providing me the opportunity to stay in Houston sports radio as well as allowing me to schedule these guests.

Monday, March 5, Cynthia Cooper, Prairie View A&M's head coach appeared on the show. Yesterday, Todd Buchanan, head coach of Houston Baptist University's women's basketball team appeared on the show. Both of them have appeared on the show before; but, here are the names of the other women's basketball people -- not just players (I can remember off the top of my head) who've been guests:

Sheryl Swoopes; Tina Thompson; Michelle Snow; Dominique Canty; Karleen Thompson; Van Chancellor; Kevin Cook; Mfon Udoka; Chandi Jones; Sancho Lyttle; Kiemona Harris, center for the Houston Lady Cougars; Joe Curl, women's head coach at the University of Houston; Claude Cummings, head coach of women's hoops at TSU; Denise Taylor; head coach at Jackson State University; Shane Brown, former head coach at HBU; Cristy McKinney, former head women's coach at Rice, now head coach at Clemson; Shanice Stephens, currently an assistant coach at Clemson; Val Ackerman, former WNBA President; Donna Orender, current WNBA President; Marie Ferdinand, guard for the San Antonio Silver Stars; Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, Cy-Fair High School; LaToya Micheaux, Texas A&M, Bianca Smith, University of Colorado; Jasmin Moore, Houston Baptist University; members of the Houston Elite White 17U AAU Team; Kim Lawson, Johnetta Hayes, Starla James, and Lindsey Maynard (former Rice Owls players).

I'm sure I missed a few; but, that's merely because I'm getting old and forgetful not because I didn't appreciate them as guests.

Once again, KCOH has been approved to cover the Women's Final Four and this is a very special achievement to me because, in general, less than five radio stations throughout the country apply for and receive Women's Final Four press credentials regardless of the teams participating in the event. KCOH may not be the biggest station in Houston; but, the station gets the job done. The same applies for The Houston Roundball Review.
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Big 12 Championship Schedule Announced

Big 12 Women’s Basketball Championship
March 6-8 & 10
Oklahoma City, Okla. ~ Cox Convention Center

Tuesday, March 6
Game 1: No. 8 Colorado vs. No. 9 Texas Tech [Cox Cable], 12:00 p.m.
Game 2: No. 5 Iowa State vs. No. 12 Kansas State [Cox Cable], 2:30 p.m.
Game 3: No. 7 Texas vs. No. 10 Missouri [Cox Cable], 6:00 p.m.
Game 4: No. 6 Oklahoma State vs. No. 11 Kansas [Cox Cable], 8:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 7
Game 5: No. 1 Texas A&M vs. Game 1 winner [FSN], 12:00 p.m.
Game 6: No. 4 Nebraska vs. Game 2 winner [FSN], 2:30 p.m.
Game 7: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. Game 3 winner [FSN], 6:00 p.m.
Game 8: No. 3 Baylor vs. Game 4 winner [FSN], 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 8
Game 9: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner [FSN], 6:00 p.m.
Game 10: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 winner [FSN], 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 10
Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner [FSN], 6:00 p.m.

All times listed as CST.
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Owls' Neaves says it's all or nothing"

Being named to the Conference USA First Team for 2007 is a nice honor; however, Lauren Neaves, Rice Owls senior post, has other plans -- Rice's winning the 2007 C-USA Tournament.

"It was good that managed to get a bye in the Tournament," said Neaves. "Considering we have such a small number (only nine healthy players) to play right now, so, every day of rest helps. I think we had a really good practice. Everyone is focused. I think we're all really encouraged by how much we beat UTEP by the last time we played them. (Rice defeated UTEP 84 to 31 on February 1.) I think we're starting the conference tournament off with a lot confidence which is good. I hope we continue what we've done in practice in terms of execution and focus."

During that blowout win UTEP was without star freshman point guard Jareica Hughes; however, Neaves said, "We almost beat them (UTEP won 65-52 on January 5) when I didn't play in the first game (in UTEP)."

In order for Rice to win the C-USA Tournament, Neaves believes "Everyone is going to have show up to play on this team. As you know, with our team, sometimes we have two or three having a good game and the rest not so good. It's really important for everybody to show up at their full potential, at 100%, ready to play. I think we have, by far, the most talent; but, whether or not we utilize is all at once is, I think, the key for us."

Despite playing with a broken nose (her fourth, by the way), Neaves summed up her feelings saying, "I feel excited. This is my last year (Neaves is a fifth-year senior); so, it's all or nothing."
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HRR's ballot for C-USA Awards

The HRR was one of the media to vote for the Conference USA women's basketball awards. The ballots were due last Friday, February 23, and C-USA has announced the winners throughout this week.

Here's a look at how I voted...

Player of the Year: Carmen Guzman, UAB.
Defensive Player of the Year: Jillian Robbins, Tulsa.
Sixth Player of the Year: Meagan Samis, Marshall.
Newcomer of the Year: Meg Withrow, Marshall.
Freshman of the Year: Jareica Hughes, UTEP.
Coach of the Year: Lisa Stockton, Tulane.

All-Conference Teams:
First Team
Lauren Neaves, Rice.
Carmen Guzman, UAB.
Jillian Robbins, Tulsa.
Tye Jackson, Houston.
Janielle Dodds, Tulsa.

Second Team
Cherie Mills, East Carolina.
Jami Montagnino, Tulane.
Kendra Reed, Southern Miss.
D'Aundra Henry, Tulane.
Diamond Rogers, UAB.

Third Team
Modupe Ishola, Marshall.
Kadie Riverin, Rice.
Jareica Hughes, UTEP.
Amber Eugene, Southern Miss.
Ashley Langford, Tulane.

All-Defensive Team
Jillian Robbins, Tulsa.
Lauren Neaves, Rice.
Samantha Stovall, Rice.
D'Aundra Henry, Tulane.
Diamond Rogers, UAB.

All-Freshman Team
Jareica Hughes, UTEP.
Timika Williams, UTEP.
Fatiha Salaam, UAB.
Kristin Thomas, UCF.
Delisha Willis, SMU.

2007 C-USA Women's Basketball Top Honors

2007 C-USA All-Defensive and All-Freshman Teams Announced
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Lady Coogs Upset Marshall in First Round of C-USA Tourney

I'll admit it. I'm surprised at today's win by the Lady Cougars:

Tye Jackson (Houston, Texas/Westfield HS/Purdue) set a Conference USA Championship record with her 43 points as she led the University of Houston women’s basketball team to an opening round win over Marshall, 71-58, Thursday at the Reynolds Center.

The Cougars (9-18) had a 24-6 run out of halftime that helped propel them to the win, only their second ever in first round play. It was also UH’s first win over Marshall (15-15) in three tries. Jackson’s 43 ties UH’s school record, set by Pat Luckey on Jan. 13, 1996 in a win over Rice. It is also the third-best single-game mark all-time in C-USA. She was 11-25 from the field, 3-7 from behind the arc and 18-23 from the free-throw line. Both her free throws made and attempted tied the all-time league records and are school and championship records.

Sunshine Misa-Uli (Honolulu, Hawai’i/Farrington HS/Barton County CC) hit a layup eight seconds into the second half to start Houston’s run. It lasted just under nine minutes and the Cougars were up 17, 47-30, with 11:40 to go.

The Herd chipped away at the lead, using several quick runs to pull it down to eight, 56-48, with 6:17 to go. Two possessions later, Whitney James (Edmond, Okla./Edmond Memorial HS/North Oklahoma College) sank a pair of free throws, giving UH a double-digit lead it would not relinquish. The Cougars hit 10 of 14 free throws in the game’s final 4:30 to seal the victory.

James had her fourth-career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Misa-Uli finished with 10 points and five boards.UH tallied 21 points off of 19 Marshall turnovers while making just 12 turnovers themselves, the second-lowest number in championship history.

Houston got off to a fast start, moving to an 8-2 lead in the first four minutes of the game. The Herd were held scoreless during that span, but were back in, pulling to within two moments later. UH again had the lead at six, 12-6, with 10:44 remaining. A 6-0 Marshall run in the next ninety seconds knotted things up at 12 with 9:17 to go.

From there, UH would fail to convert on 11 of 13 possessions, missing seven field goals with four turnovers putting the Cougars in a 22-17 hole with 2:53 left on the clock. UH’s three points in that seven-plus minute span came at the free-throw line.

Jackson paced a solo 8-2 run in the final 2:30 of the half, pulling the Cougars to within one, 24-23, at the break.

Modupe Ishola led the Herd with 12 points. Meg Withrow was the only other double-digit scorer, finishing with 11.

The Cougars move on to face No. 1 Tulane Friday at 1 p.m. CST. The Green Wave won both previous meetings over Houston this season.
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