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).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

UH Snaps 5-game Skid

The Houston Lady Cougars came from behind and defeated East Carolina 72 to 69 in front of 459 fans at Hofheinz Pavilion. Houston's win ended a five-game losing streak and also clinched a top four spot in the Conference USA which guarantees a first-round bye for Houston in next week's C-USA Tournament.

"We certainly wanted to win the league," said UH interim head coach Danny Hughes. "But, one of our goals was to get a first-round bye to give us that days rest. We've got the players to run the table and win the tournament. We've just got to play well."

Houston (15-14, 9-6) struggled the first four plus minutes of the game and trailed ECU 15 to 1 before UH senior Whitney James made Houston's first field goal of the game with a jump shot.

UH began to click on offense and clamp down on defense and took a 26 to 25 lead after a made three-point shot by senior guard Twiggy McIntyre. Houston's Tye Jackson followed with another made three to put UH ahead 29 to 25 with 3:49 left in the first half.

East Carolina (13-15, 7-8) scored eight straight points before Houston's Ryan Bradley sank two free throws to cap off the first half scoring.

Houston trailed 33 to 31 at halftime.

"We made some costly, costly turnovers," McIntyre said after the game. "We put ourselves in a situation we shouldn't have been in; but, we were able to pull out the win."

The start of the second half was a seesaw battle for the first seven minutes and eight seconds; then, Houston outscored ECU 9 to 3 and took a 57 to 50 lead with 7:28 remaining in the ball game.

ECU tied the game at 59. Then, ECU took a two point lead on two made free throws by LaCoya Terry.

Tye Jackson converted a four-point play to give UH a 63 to 61 lead with four minutes remaining. McIntyre swished a three to put Houston ahead 66 to 61 with 3:02 on the clock. Houston's offense went cold; and, ECU scored six straight points to go ahead 67 to 66 with 1:25 in the game.

With 59 seconds remaining, Courtney Taylor split two free throws to knot the game at 67.

ECU senior Jasmine Young drove baseline; attempted a lay-up which was deflected by Houston's Cobilyn Hill; the ball bounced off the glass and swished through the net to give ECU a 69 to 67 lead with 48 seconds on the clock.

After a time-out, Tye Jackson banged in a three-point shot to give Houston a 70 to 69 lead with 28 seconds remaining.

"Somehow, we didn't get into the play," said Jackson. "I don't even know what happened. I took the shot; and, I made it."

"Tye is a special player and special players make special plays," said McIntyre.

Terry missed a go-ahead attempt and McIntyre swished two free-throws for the final points of the game.

"The kids responded well," added Hughes. "And, Tye made a big shot for us tonight."

UH will honor its five seniors (Tye Jackson, Whitney James, Twiggy McIntyre, Ryan Meyers, and Alana Obaze) in a pre-game ceremony Saturday afternoon as the Lady Cougars host Marshall at Hofheinz Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 1 pm.
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Friday, February 15, 2008

3 Texans Chosen to play in WBCA HS All-America Game

The Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced today the nation's top 20 girls' basketball players selected to participate in the 17th annual WBCA High School All-America Game.

Three players from the state of Texas were selected:

Whitney Hand from Liberty Christian High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Whitney signed with the University of Oklahoma.

Brooklyn Pope from Dunbar High School in Fort Worth, Texas. Brooklyn signed with Rutgers University.

Nneka Ogwumike from Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Texas. Nneka signed with Stanford University.

Congratulations to everyone!
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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Swoopes: "It is what it is"

Earlier today, Sheryl Swoopes participated in an online chat with WNBA guard Katie Smith.

Here's a link to entire chat:

Here are a few specifics:

Rich, London: Both of you are unrestricted free agents right now. Are we going to be seeing either of you on new teams this season?

Katie Smith: (3:34 PM ET ) Nope. Not me.

Sheryl Swoopes: (3:34 PM ET ) It is what it is.

Katie Smith: (3:35 PM ET ) Only if she comes to Detroit.

Nikki - Stafford, VA: Hi Sheryl and Katie, Sheryl I was wondering first how is your back doing. Will you definitely be playing this season? Also do you want to or plan to stay in Houston? Look forward to the great season. Nikki

Sheryl Swoopes: (3:36 PM ET ) My back is doing ... let me think of a word... spectacular-omous. Wondermaculous. It feels great. Better than it has in about three years. Nothing is guaranteed, but my goal and plan is to play this season.

Swoopes wrapped up the chat with this:
Sheryl Swoopes: (3:55 PM ET ) See ya somewhere! Thanks again for everyone's questions and be ready for the WNBA in 2008!

Comets fans, feel free to intrepret Swoopes' comments as you wish.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Alison, Brittany, and Courtney Earn Honors

Alison Lacey (Iowa State) and Courtney Paris (Oklahoma) were named Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Players of the Week while Brittany Spears (Colorado) was chosen Rookie of the Week by a media voting panel for games of Feb. 5-11.

Big 12 Players of the Week

Alison Lacey, Iowa State, G, 6-0, So, Canberra, Australia.
Lacey averaged 23 points, six rebounds, and five assists in Iowa State's wins over Texas Tech and Missouri.

Courtney Paris, Oklahoma, C, 6-4, Jr, Piedmont, Calif.
Paris averaged 27.5 points and 15.5 rebounds as she led the Sooners past Missouri (64-57) and Colorado (82-66) last week.

Big 12 Rookie of the Week

Brittany Spears, Colorado, F, 6-1, Fr, Pasadena, Calif.
Spears averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and two blocks against Nebraska and Oklahoma.
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Helgeson's Earns C-USA Honor

After a pair of Conference USA wins, Stephanie Helgeson of Southern Miss has been named C-USA's Women's Basketball Player of the Week. Helgeson took UAB for a career-best 26 points in the upset victory, after guiding the Lady Eagles to a 20-point win over Memphis. She averaged 19.5 points and 7.0 rebounds pre game, while shooting an impressive 62.5 percent from the field and 81.8 percent from the free throw line.

2007 - 2008 C-USA Basketball Players of the Week

Feb. 11 -- Stephanie Helgeson, Southern Miss.
Feb. 4 --- Tye Jackson, Houston.
Jan. 28 -- LaRissa Williams, Tulsa.
Jan. 21 -- Twiggy McIntyre, Houston.
Jan. 14 -- Diamond Rogers, UAB, and Jareica Hughes, UTEP.
Jan. 7 --- Twiggy McIntyre, Houston.
Dec. 30 -- Kizzy Hart, Marshall.
Dec. 24 -- Crystal McFadden, UAB.
Dec. 17 -- Casey Baker, Marshall.
Dec. 10 -- LaToya Terry, East Carolina & Pauline Love, Southern Miss.
Dec. 3 --- Delisha Wills, SMU.
Nov. 26 -- Janielle Dodds, SMU.
Nov. 20 -- Maudess Fulton, Rice & Crystal McFadden, UAB.
Nov. 12 -- Valeriya Berezhynska, Rice.
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Sunday, February 10, 2008

"Think Pink" Week

Life is full of twists, turns, and surprises. I had planned to write about the "Think Pink" Week before it began; but, my laptop monitor had other ideas. Thursday evening, the monitor went dim; and, I couldn't see a thing on the computer screen. My plans to write had been postponed. Fortunately, a friend of mine was able to solve the computer problem; and, now I'm writing once again.

February 8, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced that over 900 participants have committed to the 2008 "Think Pink" initiative.

The "Think Pink" initiative is a global, unified effort for the WBCA's nation of coaches to assist in raising breast cancer awareness on the court, across campuses, in communities and beyond. The week set aside for this year's initiative is February 8 - 17.

"The WBCA is very excited to promote an initiative that touches all levels of our membership and unifies them for such a great cause," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "It has been remarkable to watch the support of this initiative grow from 120 teams last year to over 900 teams from a variety for sports for 2008. With the help of each of our members, the women's basketball community and beyond can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer."

Despite two mastectomies years apart, my grandmother, the strongest woman I've ever known, died of breast cancer a few years ago. I got involved in covering women's hoops to honor my Granny. She always told me "To be the best I can be at whatever I choose." (I remember being a smartass kid and responding back to her "Even if it means robbing a bank?" Granny didn't miss a beat and replied, "Even robbing a bank. Don't get caught and never, ever do it again."

I don't know if I've covered women's basketball to the best of my ability; but, February 9, was filled with women's basketball for me.

Saturday morning, I drove to College Station, TX, to cover the Texas A&M game (11 a.m. tip) against nemesis Texas in the Aggies BTHO (Beat the Hell Outta) Breast Cancer. The Aggies played their best first half of basketball all season and led 39 to 22 at halftime; however, the Longhorns played much better in the second half and pulled as close as four points (59 to 55). But, the Aggies came through down the stretch and won the game 66 to 57.

"In the first half, we played as well as we could," said Aggies head coach Gary Blair. "In the second half, I said, ‘let’s just win the first five minutes.’ We came out and played so sluggish, but Texas was doing the same thing. Somebody was going to wake up and want to win this ballgame along the way and Texas did. We made enough plays down the stretch and Aqua (Franklin) made a lot of good decisions."

After that game, I drove back to Houston and headed to Hofheinz Pavilion to catch the second half of the Houston Lady Cougars game against SMU (2 p.m. tip) .

The game was Houston's "Think Pink" game; and, a lot of fans attended the game. The referees used pink whistles in the game and the Lady Cougars wore pink t-shirts over their jerseys. Unfortunately, UH simply didn't play well in the game. When I arrived at Hofheinz, SMU led 60 to 33 late in the second half; and Houston's starters were seated on the bench. I walked to the courtside area; sat down; and looked at some of the stats. The Lady Cougars trailed SMU 43 to 20 at halftime.

Simply put, SMU played well and Houston did not.

"Give SMU credit, they came in here and hit shots," interim head coach Danny Hughes said. "We struggled in the first half to create any sort of consistency offensively and that hurt us. Sometimes, a loss can be a good thing. It helps you re-focus your efforts and continue to get better as a team."

SMU won the game 74 to 51. The loss ended Houston's eight-game winning streak.

After the Houston game, I stayed at Hofheinz for the Rice - Tulsa game (5 p.m. tip) . (Rice's home court is being renovated; and, since Houston Baptist University's Sharp Gym -- the Owls temporary home this season -- was being used by HBU for their own basketball games, Hofheinz was chosen to host the Owls game against the Golden Hurricane.)

Rice ended a five-game losing skid with a 69 to 59 victory over Tulsa. The Owls, wearing pink shoe laces, played well during the game; however, there were stretches during the ball game which caused me to wonder if the Owls would find a way to lose once again.

Rice freshman post Morgan Mayse scored a career-high 18 points to help Rice win the game.

"I’m very proud of the team for fighting through some things in a game that seesawed back and forth," Owls head coach Greg Williams said. “The team has been working hard and we haven’t hung our heads. Tulsa plays a very good match-up zone. Morgan and Emery (Carter) stepped up on the interior and played physical in the second half with Valeriya (Berezhynska) being in foul trouble."

Three women's hoops games in seven plus hours. Each game involved with the WBCA's "Think Pink" Initiative.

I hope Granny is proud.
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Thursday, February 07, 2008

UH vs. Tulsa

Thursday night at Hofheinz Pavilion the Houston Lady Cougars (13-9, 7-1) host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (9-12, 5-3). Tip is set for 7pm.

Houston carries a seven-game winning streak into the ball game. UH is alone in second-place while Tulsa has lost three of its past five games but picked up a split last weekend, knocking off Tulane but falling to league-leading UTEP. Tulsa is tied with SMU in fourth place in Conference USA.

Danny Hughes, interim-head coach for UH, previewed the match-up.

"It will be a great test. Tulsa has done a great job in the conference season so far. They're very big big across the front line. They're going to play a lot of zone; so, the game will come down to us hitting shots and being able to execute our sets. I think if we can find that rhythm like we've had on the road here at Hofheinz -- where we've not really started games well. But, over the last three ball games (all road wins), our basketball team has really come ready to play. We've jumped on people and held leads -- at Rice, at Memphis -- they never led. At UAB, we jumped out on them; they made a run; but, they're a great basketball team. The same thing has to happen against Tulsa. We have to be ready. We have to hit some shots. And, then pressure them defensively."

During UH's seven-game winning streak, different players have played well.

"Everyone of the players has done a great job during this streak," Hughes added. "I think they're starting to get a feel for each other and how to make the right passes."
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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Tye's Triple-Double

This past Sunday afternoon, Tye Jackson, senior guard for the University of Houston Lady Cougars, posted the fourth triple-double in Conference USA and school history in an 80 to 76 overtime road win over UAB.

Jackson scored 11 points; grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds; and dished out 12 assists.

The last UH player to tally a triple-double was Stacy Johnson against Ball State on Dec. 29, 1994. The other two players to net the honor were Arlene Brown (02/27/90) and Michelle Harris (12/04/93).

Ironically, Jackson didn't sense she was close to a triple-double.

"No. I was 1 for 16 from the field; and most of the shots (missed) were lay-ups. I didn't know I was close. I was just trying to find the open player. I know that once I penetrate the defenses collapse; so somebody is open. I just dished out."

Jackson loves to pass the basketball; so, picking up 12 assists didn't surprise me. The shocker to me was the 16 rebounds!

In fact, I joked with her, "How did you get all of those rebounds? Did they kind of fall into your hands?"

She answered, "No, I kind of crashed the boards a little bit. I knew UAB liked to get a lot of offensive rebounds; so, I blocked out and tried to get the ball before they could try to get another offensive rebound."

Pretty impressive considering Jackson wears a custom-made knee brace on her left knee which limits her mobility.

Being the fourth player to accomplish a triple-double in league and school history "feels good". But, Jackson added, "I have to keep playing like that every time. Keep playing hard; rebounding; and getting assists. I'm happy. I didn't even know about it until Monday. It's a good accomplishment; but, we have to keep winning; and, I'm going to do what I have to do to help us win."
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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Griffin and Boogaard Earn Big 12 Honors

I forgot to post this news yesterday:

Kelsey Griffin (Nebraska) was named Phillips 66 Big 12 Women's Basketball Player of the Week while Krysten Boogaard (Kansas) was chosen Rookie of the Week by a media voting panel for games of Jan. 29-Feb. 3.

Griffin was honored for the fifth time in her career while Boogaard was recognized for the first time.

Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week
Kelsey Griffin, Nebraska F, 6-2, Jr, Eagle River, Alaska.
Griffin averaged 21 points and 10 rebounds in Nebraska's games with No. 18 Kansas State and on the road at Missouri last week.

Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week
Krysten Boogaard, Kansas, F, 6-5, Fr, Tulsa, Okla.
For the week, Boogaard made 12-of-17 shots from the field on her way to a 15.5 points per game average. She also averaged 10.0 boards and 3.5 blocks during the two games.
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WNBA info

I got in touch with a contact in the WNBA league office to confirm where the 2008 college seniors draft will be held as well as find out when the league will post the list of free agents on wnba.com.

Here's the answer I was given:

We will issue a release on the WNBA Draft in the next 2 weeks. It will be alongside the Final Four again, but we are still finalizing details about where and when. Free Agents will be listed on wnba.com soon....

We are working thru the Atlanta (expansion) Draft first and then teams can designate core players, etc. Look for the list also within the next two weeks in similar format as years past.
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Monday, February 04, 2008

UH's Jackson Earns C-USA Honor

After recording the fourth triple double in Conference USA women's basketball history, Houston's Tye Jackson has been named this week's C-USA Women's Basketball Player of the Week. Halfway through the league schedule, she has the Cougars in second-place in the C-USA standings at 7-1.

2007 - 2008 C-USA Basketball Players of the Week

Feb. 4 --- Tye Jackson, Houston.
Jan. 28 -- LaRissa Williams, Tulsa.
Jan. 21 -- Twiggy McIntyre, Houston.
Jan. 14 -- Diamond Rogers, UAB, and Jareica Hughes, UTEP.
Jan. 7 --- Twiggy McIntyre, Houston.
Dec. 30 -- Kizzy Hart, Marshall.
Dec. 24 -- Crystal McFadden, UAB.
Dec. 17 -- Casey Baker, Marshall.
Dec. 10 -- LaToya Terry, East Carolina & Pauline Love, Southern Miss.
Dec. 3 --- Delisha Wills, SMU.
Nov. 26 -- Janielle Dodds, SMU.
Nov. 20 -- Maudess Fulton, Rice & Crystal McFadden, UAB.
Nov. 12 -- Valeriya Berezhynska, Rice.
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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sooners at Texas

UPDATED: 8:57 PM, February 3:
Oklahoma defeated Texas 74 to 58. (A few of my post-game questions are included in the post-game quotes.)

Oklahoma (15-4, 5-2) shot 62.1% (18 for 29) in the first half; but, led by only nine points (42 to 33) at the half due to five three point baskets by the Longhorns (15-7, 3-5). Courtney Paris scored 14 points in the half while Ashley Paris scored eight. Amanda Thompson dished out five assists. Courtney also blocked seven shots.

In the second half, the Longhorns tied the game at 48 thanks to a 15 to 6 run in a span of five minutes and 28 seconds. Junior Ashley Lindsey scored 10 of those 15 points. Lindsey took advantage of her height and length to score over and around Courtney Paris.

Sooners' guard Jenna Plumley broke the tie by swishing a three-point shot to put the Sooners ahead 51 to 48. Courtney Paris drained a jump shot to give OU a five point lead; however, Lindsey and freshman Kathleen Nash each scored a basket to pull the Longhorns within one point (53 to 52).

After a lay-up by Ashley Paris, Longhorns guard Carla Cortijo hit a jumper to make the score 55 to 52 Sooners.

The Longhorns did not score a single point during the next eight minutes and 8 seconds.

While the Longhorns' struggled on offense, Oklahoma carved up the Longhorns' defense by scoring eight straight lay-ups. That's right, eight straight lay-ups.

OU's lay-up drill ended when Nyeshia Stevenson swished a three-point shot to give the Sooners a 74 to 54 lead with 2:53 left in the game.

Posted at 12:35pm:
I'm in Austin right now getting ready for the Oklahoma Sooners - Texas Longhorns match-up. Tip is set for 1 pm. The game will be shown on ESPNU.

OU (14-4, 4-2) looks for their fourth straight win while Texas (15-6, 3-4) tries to bounce back from their 61-60 loss at Baylor on Wednesday, January 30.

A few high school players are expected to attend the game including
Kelsey Bone of Sugarland Dulles HS. Kelsey is ranked number 1 nationally by HoopGurlz.com.

Also, Hakeem Olajuwon is expected to attend today's game. His daughter,
Abi, plays for the Sooners.
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Friday, February 01, 2008

CBA Tidbits

Thanks to the Comets for providing this information:

Qualifying offers and core designations have to go out between the Atlanta Expansion Draft (Feb. 6) and Feb 11.

Teams and players can negotiate (but not sign) from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18.

Teams and players can sign contracts and offer sheets beginning on Feb 19.
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