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, May 29, 2007

Comets - SASS blog

I'm probably not going to blog during the game; but, here are a few tidbits:

Mistie Williams broke her right middle finger in yesterday's practice. I spoke with her about 20 minutes ago; and, she told me she broke at the beginning of practice yesterday. She's hoping to be day to day; but, the pain was too much for a splint to be placed on it right now.

Also, apparently, Jayda Evans from the Seattle Times was correct. The newest Comet is here. I saw her eating in the lounge. If you don't know who I'm referring to, she played at UConn and was the last cut by the Seattle Storm...


After the Game
Karleen after 82 to 71 loss to SASS
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Monday, May 28, 2007

Comets and CyFair Classic

As another example of new Comets's owner Hilton Koch's promise to connect with the Houston community, the Houston Comets have partnered to become one of the major sponsors of the upcoming adidas CyFair Classic and future events. Mr. Cedric LaFleur, owner and director of CyFair Texans basketball told me, "This is a major announcement for girls grassroots basketball in Houston."

The CyFair Classic takes place
July 6 - 8 at area CyFair schools. At last count, 77 girls' AAU basketball teams from across the city of Houston, the state of Texas, and a few cities outside of Texas had signed up to participate. Hundreds of college coaches are expected to attend the event to observe some of the top high school basketball talent in the entire country!

As part of the partnership, an exhibition girls' AAU basketball game will be held Friday, July 6, at Toyota Center before the Comets take on the Seattle Storm at 7:30 pm that evening. Toyota Center will host a "tip-off" to the CyFair Classic at noon on July 6.

One very respected college head coach recently told me the CyFair Classic will be "the place to be July 6 through 8".

More details and information will be added later here at TheHRR.


Comets on FSN Houston

Here are the six Houston Comets games which are scheduled to be shown on FSN Houston:
Game times listed are Central Daylight Saving Time.

Saturday, June 2, versus the Detroit Shock -- 7:30pm.
Saturday, June 30, versus the Phoenix Mercury -- 7:30pm.
Thursday, July 12, versus the Minnesota Lynx -- 11:00am.
Sunday, July 29, at the Chicago Sky -- 5:00pm.
Tuesday, August 14, at the Detroit Shock -- 6:30pm.
Sunday, August 19, at the Los Angeles Sparks -- 8:30pm.
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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Adaora and Nicole

This past Thursday, May 24, high school players Adaora Elonu (Alief Elsik) and Nicole Morris (Cy-Fair) appeared on Sports Rap (www.kcohradio.com). They were guests on the show to discuss the upcoming 2007 Cy-Fair Classic (July 6 - 8) as well as themselves of course. Both young ladies are members of the Class of 2008.

Mr. Cedrick LaFleur (Cy-Fair Texans) and Ms. Phyllis Dallas (head coach of the Houstonians, City of Houston Parks and Rec Dept.) also appeared on the show.

Adaora is ranked the 6th or 7th best forward (small) in the nation by a couple of scouting services.

Among the numerous things discussed, Adaora told us she's 6'2 (not the 6'0 or 5'11.5 some sites have listed for her). She is a straight A student at Elsik; and, in addition to hoops, she also plays volleyball and participates in track. Adaora said she has not narrowed her list of colleges / universities down at all; however, she did say "no" when she was asked if the University of Houston and Rice University were among her choices. Adaora plays for the Houstonians AAU basketball team.

Nicole Morris, 5'5", spoke first on Sports Rap; and, she mentioned she's an 'A' and 'B' student at Cy-Fair. Nicole said she's getting ready to take the SAT test on June 2. She mentioned she's narrowed her list of universities to include TCU; SMU; and Tulane. Nicole is ranked 66th in the nation.


Both young ladies were informed on the show by Cedrick LaFleur they were chosen to participate in the Top Ten All-American Camp which consists of 160 of the top girls high school players (juniors and seniors) in the country. The camp takes place in Atlanta (actually Suwanee), GA, July 15.
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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Memorial Day Classic

I'll be at Autry Court this weekend to check out some girls' AAU basketball.

The
Memorial Day Classic starts tomorrow night and lasts thru Sunday, May 27.

Here's the
bracket info (in .pdf).

I'm sure other classics / tournaments are upcoming this summer; so, please email me (KGardner@TheHRR.com) and let me know about them. If my schedule allows it, I'd like to attend as many of them as possible.
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Comets Crazies Tryouts

Though he will not coach in Toyota Center this season (at least not as head coach of the Houston Rockets), Jeff Van Gundy's presence will exist through the building for at least this summer during the Houston Comets' WNBA season.

The Houston Comets will offer its loudest, craziest and most die-hard fans the chance to win season tickets during special tryouts for the Comets Crazies. The tryouts will be a part of a Tip-Off Party to be held on the concourse outside Toyota Center prior to Houston's May 29 home opener against the San Antonio Silver Stars.

The Houston Comets plan to unite 50 of its most passionate fans as Comets Crazies to serve as the energy core for Comets basketball. Fans will have to show their Comets pride through cheers, chants and all-around rowdiness throughout all of Houston's 2007 season. The ideal candidate should be willing to do anything and everything necessary to prove themselves as the most excited and expressive fans in the WNBA.

The tryouts will take place in front of the Toyota Center near the corner of LaBranch and Polk Streets. Contestants must arrive for tryouts no later than 5:45 p.m. Each contestant will have 20 seconds to convince a panel of judges – by showing unparalleled enthusiasm for the Houston Comets – that they deserve season tickets for the 2007 season.

The panel of judges will include Houston Comets owner Hilton Koch, Head of RED ROWDIES, Chrislord Templonuevo, as well as other local celebrities.

Thirty-five crazy, maniacal fanatics have already been chosen for the Comets Crazies. All serious Comets fans are invited to audition to become one of the final 15 whose dedication to the team will earn them the reward of Houston Comets season tickets.


In order to liven the atmosphere during the Rockets' home games during the 2006 - 2007 season, Van Gundy purchased 50 season-tickets for the rowdiest Rockets' fans known as the Rockets' Red Rowdies. With the energy and enthusiasm from those 50 fans, the Toyota Center transformed from what, at times in the past, felt and sounded like a public library into a loud, raucous almost college-like atmosphere.

While Comets' fans typically don't need help making noise during Comets' games, there's nothing wrong with more excitement during the basketball games.
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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Comets blow 22 point lead

Saturday night, the Houston Comets began the "Karleen Thompson Era" with a game the first-year head coach may remember for quite a while. The Comets led the Seattle Storm 60 to 38 with fifteen minutes left in the ball game -- five minutes left in the third quarter and 10 minutes in the fourth; however, Seattle outscored Houston 44 to 9 (that's right, 44 to 9!) to defeat the Comets 82 to 69.

Comets' rookie guard Ashley Shields led the Comets with 19 points; however, Shields (or, for that matter, the rest of the team) could not stop Seattle's scoring on slaught during those fifteen minutes.


I listened to the game on the radio; and, I was disappointed in Houston's inability to get the ball in the paint and / or get to the free throw line during the Storm's monumental scoring run.

While it's only one game and one very disappointing loss, Houston's point guard problems have now cost them one win and counting.
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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Ags - UH Softball

Updated May 20: The Aggies won Saturday night to face UH Sunday afternoon. Since the tournament is double-elimination, the Aggies had to defeat the Cougars twice Sunday in order to advance to the NCAA Super Regionals. A&M did just that. The Aggies defeated UH 13 to 2 (10-run rule enforced) in the first game and followed that victory with a 5-0 shutout in the final game of the Regional tournament.


Yep, the title is right. This post is not about basketball. It's about softball. The Houston Cougars and the Texas A&M Aggies in regional action of the 2007 NCAA Softball Championship. Both teams won yesterday; so, this game is the winners bracket side of the double-elimination regional.

I won't type specific play-by-play; but, I'm here supporting Houston and checking out some softball plus mingling with the Aggies and Big 12 people.

Networking never hurt.

Top of the first inning...

Katie Bush led off for UH with a single to left field. Bush is called out at 2b after a sac bunt try by SS Amanda Grote.

C Elaina Nordstrom struck out for out number 2.

Aggies' pitcher Amanda Scarborough fans 3b Christa Railey to end the top of the first leaving Grote on first.

Ags up to bat in the bottom of the first...

Ags' lead-off hitter Sharonda McDonald (from Dobie HS) slaps a single to left-center and stole second.

Jamie Hinshaw flies out to LF.

Laura Durham with the put-out.

Megan Gibson grounds out to second base.

Two outs. McDonald advances to third.

Amanda Scarborough walks on 5 pitches.

Runners on first and third.

Angel Shamblin pulls the string on Jami Lobpries for a swinging strike three. Three outs. Ags leave 2 runners.

0-0 at end of the first inning.

Haley Valis leads off with a bloop over second which is dropped by the SS; but, it's ruled a single. Valis advances to second a wild pitch.


Laura Durham up-to-bat. Durham battles and battles...and draws a walk. Runners on first and second...

Laurie Wagner up-to-bat. Wagner puts up her sac bunt try and 3b Jamie Hinshaw catches the pop up.

1 out.

P Angel Shamblin up-to-bat. Angel flies out to center.

2 outs.

Courtney Splittler up-to-bat.

Splittler fans. UH leaves 2 on base.b

3 outs.

Ags up-to-bat.

Alex Reynolds leads off for the Ags. Reynolds grounds to short. Grote throws Reynolds out at first.

1 out.

Joy Davis up-to-bat.

Davis fans on 3 pitches.

2 outs.

Macie Morrow up next.

Morrow lobs one to right field. UH's Courtney Splittler dives; but, misses the ball. Morrow ends on second base with a double.

Lisa Gorzycki up-to-bat.

Gorzycki battles and ground to second. Three outs. 1 LOB.

0-0.

Coogs up-to-bat.

Katie Bush leads off for UH.

Bush slaps a shot up the middle and beats the throw to first.

Grote up-to-bat. Grote grounds to the pitcher. Throw to first is dropped by the second baseman, Joy Davis. Runners on the corners.

No outs.

Elaina Nordstrom up-to-bat. Nordstron smacks a shot to short; bobbled; Bush scores; Nordstrom beats the throw.

1-0, UH.

Raley bunts the runners over to second and third.

1 out.

Haley Valis up-to-bat.

Grote scores on a wild pitch. Nordstrom advances to third.

2-0, UH.

Valis draws a walk. Runners on first and third.

Laura Durham up-to-bat.

Durham called out on strikes.

Two outs.

#19 Laurie Wagner up-to-bat.

Valis steals second. Nordstrom stays at third. Wagner dribbles a shot up the first base line. Out at first.

2 LOB.

UH leads 2-0.

Ags up-to-bat in the bottom of the third.
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Monday, May 14, 2007

Sun 78, Comets 71

The fans who attended Monday night's competition (I'm still unsure if it were a scrimmage or an actual game) between the Houston Comets and the Connecticut Sun were treated to some exciting basketball mixed in with some bad spurts by both teams. Connecticut defeated the Comets 78 to 71. Tonight's match-up wraps up the preseason for the Comets while the Sun travel to San Antonio for a Tuesday preseason finale versus the Silver Stars.

Michelle Snow scored the first points of the game with a turnaround shot and a free throw. After tying the game at 6, Houston finished the first quarter with a 13 to 8 run to lead 19 to 14 at the end of 10 minutes. Free agent signee forward Hamchetou Maiga-Ba led the Comets with six points in the first quarter.

Houston's offense went ice cold in the second quarter. Connectict cranked up the defense and the offense followed right a long. The Sun outscored the Comets 22 to 6 in the second period and took a 36 to 25 lead into halftime. Sun forward Asjha Jones scored 10 points on a variety of moves (pull-up jump shots; turnarounds; etc.) in the period.

Sancho Lyttle started the third quarter with a lay-up and Snow followed up with a turnaround jumper to pull the Comets within seven points (36 to 29). Then, the Sun took advantage of a porous Comets' defense over and over throughout the rest of the third period. Connecticut drained 8 of 10 three-point shots in the quarter as guards Jamie Carey and Lindsay Whalen each nailed three shots from behind the arc. Connecticut's final seven made shots of the third quarter were all three-point baskets. The Sun led by as many as 20 points (62 to 42) during the quarter and led 62 to 44 at the end of the third stanza.

Sheryl Swoopes made two free throws to start the scoring in the fourth period. Sun rookie guard Cori Chambers sandwiched two made three-pointers around a putback lay-up by Comets' center Yelena Leuchanka to give Connecticut a 68 to 48 lead with about 7:40 left in the ball game. Leuchanka and Mistie Williams combined for six straight points during a 7-0 Comets' run to trim Houston's deficit to 13 points (68 to 55) before Chambers and Whalen stopped the run with a jump shot and a lay-up. Leuchanka and Williams scored back-to-back baskets to make the score 72 to 59 Connecticut before the Sun doused the rally with a pull-up jumper by Jamie Carey and a lay-up by center Laura Summerton with 2:22 left in the game.

Williams scored a lay-up and rookie guard Dee Davis scored eight straight points to close out the scoring.


Notes:
During halftime, Comets owner Hilton Koch mentioned to the fans, about 2,000 season ticket holders (down from a high of 7,000 at Compaq Center) have been purchased for the 2007 Comets' season. Koch encouraged the fans to "bring a friend" to the home games this season with a goal to double the number of season-tickets sold for the 2008 season.

These stats may not be correct:
Lindsay Whalen led the Sun with 15 points; followed by 14 each from Asjha Jones and Jamie Carey. Whalen made 3 threes; Carey made four threes. Katie Douglas and Corei Chambers each added 8 points.

Maiga-Ba scored 10 points. Ashley Shields scored 9 (perhaps 13; because, for some reason, I wrote down a number 30 scoring four points for the Comets. The Comets don't have a #30.) Davis, Lyttle, Leuchanka and Williams each scored 8 points.

After the game, I interviewed Sun head coach Mike Thibault. One of the things we discussed were his thoughts on the Comets team. He said, "I think, first of all, they're going to have one of the best front lines in the Western Conference. To be blunt, the question marks are at guard. 'Whose going to be the point guard?' 'Whose going to run the team?'

"With Tina, Sheryl, and Michelle, Sancho, Mistie and those guys, I think the front line is pretty solid; but, they don't have any decisions made probably yet on the backcourt; and, unfortunately, you need to solidify that in order to have a chance to win the conference. I think that's their biggest priority right now."

I asked Comets Coach Karleen Thompson about the backcourt situation and she told me, "Well, we're young; and, they've been thrown into the fire. They don't have the opportunity to get acclimated to the professional level. I'm excited about the response that I've gotten from them; being able to sustain all the pressure that they've been under; and to come out and perform the way they have been. I mean we have to things to work on as do a lot of people. We're young; but, we have some great young talent; so, that's always a plus -- to be able to add to our nucleus that's already been here."
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Comets at Delmar

Monday, May 14, could be a very interesting day for the Houston Comets. The team will play the Connecticut Sun in a preseason game (some people describe it as a scrimmage) at Delmar Fieldhouse which is near Northwest Mall. The game will be the first chance for many Comets' season-ticket holders to see their favorite team in action thus far in 2007. Notice, I wrote "season-ticket holders". That phrase is what could make Monday's game very interesting.

The Comets' organization notified their season-ticket holders of Monday's game and invited them to attend the game as well as encourage them to "bring a friend" with them to the game. However, personally, I believe the team should invite Comets fans, period, to the game. The more people who get a chance to see the team the better. People who are currently not season-ticket holders have contacted me and / or called into Sports Rap (KCOH 1430 AM) very upset with the decision by the organization to place restrictions on who can attend the game.

Currently, the team and the organization are in a transitional period; so, many decisions (on and off the court) are being kept close to the vest. While I understand the logic behind the secrecy, I hope the team doesn't lose the fans who are being kept in the dark. Some fans don't read the Internet message boards; so, other than the recent articles from the Houston Chronicle, those fans are really anxious to see the Comets in action on the basketball court. (By the way, the passion the fans are showing on the message boards is almost palpable. They are very excited for the WNBA season to get started.)

The Comets regular season starts on May 19 with a road game versus the Seattle Storm; but, the Comets do not play a regular season home game until May 29.

Delmar Fieldhouse has a seating capacity of about 5,000; so, I want to see if fans pack the place to get a glimpse of the new faces on the squad such as first round draft pick Ashley Shields and free agent forward Tot Byears. Fans want to see Sheryl Swoopes, Michelle Snow, new head coach Karleen Thompson; the rest of the team and the new coaching staff, too. I'm curious to see how many people arrive at Delmar Monday night. I want to see if the team (re: security) turns fans away who show up but are not season-ticket holders or holders of mini-ticket packages. A positive response and reaction by the team and the organization (or for argument's sake, a negative response) could have a big impact on the number of fans who attend the games in the regular season.

The doors open at 6pm. Tip-off is set for 7pm.
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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Comets on FSN

This is old news for the HRR members of "Area 26"...


Not much information has been learned regarding any Comets games on FSN Houston; however, while at a recent Rockets' game, I spoke with Joel Blank, Director of Broadcasting, and he told me games will, once again, be shown on FSN Houston. He didn't mention any specifics such as announcers, number of games (I assume the usual six); or the date of the first tv game.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Comets Open Practice or Scrimmage on 5-14-07

Hilton Koch has informed me that the fans have an open invitation to see the Comets open practice/scrimmage on Monday, 5-14-07, at Delmar Fieldhouse!

signed: Owlfan/Coopsback/CB :-DDD ;-)
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Monday, May 07, 2007

Video of Media Day

Kudos to Jenny Dial and the Chronicle for showing video of today's Houston Comets' Media Day.

The clip shows interviews with coach / GM Karleen Thompson, and guards Dee Davis, Erin Grant, and Ashley Shields.

Take a look:
chron video clip: "Meet the Comets".

A few additional notes: Jenny Dial has not been named the Comets' beat writer (yet) by the Houston Chronicle; but, William H. Stickney, Jr. has retired.

Also, as the HRR subscribers already know, I didn't attend today's Media Day because I was at work at a temp job.
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Thursday, May 03, 2007

More From Hilton

Hilton answered the questions some posters had asked. He also wanted us to pass on that he knows they have made some mistakes but if anyone has concerns or any problems regarding the Comets to please come and talk to them and see if they can make it right.


Questions:

1. SORF: Great interview CB. I like the Comets Crazies idea. The Rockets Red Rowdies have made the Rockets games more fun this year than previous years. I have questions for Hilton. Will there be a place to buy Comets' gear at the Toyota Center? Will it be in the Rockets Shop? When will our season tickets be sent out?
He said there should be Comets gear in the Rockets Shop, but if not, there would still be Comets gear available at the games for purchase. (He did mention they are already receiving boxes of merchandise.) He is looking into a team retail shop too. The tickets, he mentioned this was something also done on the fly but he said that was about right when I mentioned someone had said a ticket rep said in about two weeks. He was pleased with your comment about the Comet Crazies.

2. eyevolley4:
a) Does he have any positions or opinions he can share on the CBA which will be revisited in the offseason? I totally understand if that can't be discussed, but I am interested.
He has been too busy just trying to get the Comets running to look into the CBA right now. He has been to one Board of Governor's meeting only so far.

b) What does he feel his role will be in bringing the Comets their 5th Championship?
He is taking the major role in leading the charge. He is living/breathing the Houston Comets. He feels he is fulfilling a social obligation as well as all of us are by supporting the Comets. He is leading by example.

c) Is there any organization or example he is trying to learn from or model is building his version of the Comets? Does he have any plans on things he is going to do differently or out of the box in order to generate excitement behind the club? And just tell him good luck and thank you.
No. He says he really knew nothing about this when he took it on but has been hands on and it will be easier (next year). He definitely likes to think out of the box. He wants the organization to be comprised of exceptional people, extraordinary people, do what they say can't be done and outwork. He seemed very touched at the thank you and good luck from you eyevolley4 and said he appreciated it.

d) You know, I live in St. Louis, but my team is the Comets. I am a fan and have been since 1998. I doubt I will ever get to purchase season tickets in the manner I would like to, but I would hope that as a long time supporter, I would be considered relevant by Comets management.
He said you are absolutely relevant and hopes you come down for a game sometime! We told him you were planning on that.

e) And ask him who his favorite player is!!!
Hilton very diplomatically said he does not have a favorite player. ;-)

3. dtsnms: My question to him would be what took them so long in getting it done, and why did they take her from CT? I wanted her here! ( signing Byears)

(ode88 said "The demand for her wasn't enough to get her anymore than the vet minimum with no guaranties.")
He wasn't real familiar with Byears yet, and so the question would be one for Karleen.

4. NK: Wonder why he didn't mention Bentonville? Wal-Mart has the money, they are building the arena and they are going to have a team. I think that's a safe bet.
He mentioned the cities that he is hearing about. He had no idea about Bentonville as this is a league thing.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Comets search for NRG Team Members

The Houston NRG team is hosting auditions for new energetic members that will perform at the Houston Comets games this 2007 Season.

Registration begins at 12p.m. noon this Saturday, May 5, at the 24 Hour Fitness off the Gulf Freeway, and is open to male and female dancers of all backgrounds at least 18 years of age.

No formal training is required, but candidates need to bring a current photo or headshot, a photo I.D. and a $10 registration fee. Every participant will receive a free 2 week pass to 24 Hour Fitness, courtesy of 24 Hour Fitness.
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