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).

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Save Your Comets

I haven't much about the Houston Comets since August 8, when news became public the Comets are for sale. Slightly three weeks have passed and I haven't seen nor heard any organized plans by the Comets' fans to keep their favorite team in Houston.

Why not?

Have the fans simply given up hope?
Are the fans quietly forming plans which will be announced in the coming days?
Or, simply put are the different factions of Comets' fans too fractured to unite and put forth an effort to keep the four-time WNBA champs in Houston?

I'm not sure of the reasons for the deafening sounds of silence.

An organized effort similar to the "Save our Sonics and Storm" in Seattle, WA, could be effective.

I am not saying any organized attempts made by the Comets' fans would guarantee the team stays in Houston; but, I do believe some action should be taken.
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thanks, Coach Curl

HOUSTON, TX -- I just want to take a few moments to thank University of Houston women's head basketball coach Joe Curl for making good on a promise --

Coach Curl cooked / grilled for the KCOH 1430 AM staff this afternoon. If you've had the opportunity to taste some of Coach Curl's food, you know the man can really burn!

Back in June, I stopped by his office to see how he was feeling; then, after telling me he was doing well (after last year's double bypass surgery) we started talking hoops. During our talk, I asked him to stop by the station and bring his barbecue pit.

We agreed on August 28; and, as promised, today, Coach showed up -- with his pit; ribs; marinated pork roast; potatoes and green beans. Yum! (I think he grilled chicken, too, but the chicken was gone by the time I arrived at the station.)

In addition to feeding the staff and some other friends and guests, Coach Curl appeared on Sports Rap (http://www.kcohradio.com/) for about 30 minutes talking hoops and a little UH football (Coogs host Southern this Saturday, August 30, at 6 p.m.) with host Ralph Cooper.

Thanks again, Big Man. Your cooking skills made everyone happy and quite full.

Reminder: UH tips off the 2008 - 2009 women's college basketball season with an exhibition game versus the Houston Jaguars November 10 at 2p.m inside Hofheinz Pavilion.
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ags' Starks on Wade Watch List

COLLEGE STATION, TX -- Texas A&M’s Takia Starks (Spring Westfield HS, Houston, Texas) was named to the 2008-09 preseason watch list for the State Farm Wade Trophy Division I Player of the Year Award as announced Tuesday by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, on behalf of the Wade Coalition.

Two other players from the Big 12 Conference,
Oklahoma's Courtney Paris and Oklahoma State's Andrea Riley, were also named to the "Wade Watch" list.

Here's the
list of the 25 players named today. The 25-member list is made up of top Division I student-athletes who best embody the spirit of Lily Margaret Wade according to the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability.

Starks, 5'8" guard, has improved her game each of her first three seasons at Texas A&M. Last season, Starks averaged a team-and career-best 16.3 points per game and was tabbed Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Starks was also selected to the NCAA Oklahoma City Regional All-Tournament Team and Big 12 All-Tournament Team.

Starks has been named two-time All-Big 12 Conference First Team selection; and, Starks should definitely be named to the Big 12's Pre-season Team when its announced in the near future.
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Thursday, August 14, 2008

For Future Reference

Yesterday, the NCAA Women's Basketball Committee announced the eight cities chosen as finalists to host a future Women's Final Four for 2012 to 2016.

The city of Houston was not one of the eight finalists; but, Dallas, TX, and San Antonio, TX, were named as finalists.

Personally, I did believe the chances three cities from the same state would be chosen as finalists were slim; but, being a proud Houstonian, I was hoping H-town would make the final eight.

However, since Houston wasn't named a finalist, I tried to learn what Houston could do to improve the chances of being named a finalist for a future (the earliest would be 2017 -- wow, that's far away!) Women's Final Four.

Here's a bit of information I received from an NCAA representative:

Each committee member looked at the proposals and evaluated them based on relevant criteria, weighing each element’s importance to them and what is critical in a Women’s Final Four site.

Some of those criteria were:

Arena (quality and size).
Proximity of venue.
Hotel community.
Airport – ease of travel in and out.
Convention Center.
Successful hosting experience.
Proximity to downtown.

There you have it, Houston. Keep these criteria in mind in case you choose to bid for the Women's Final Four again. 
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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

No Houston

Am I being objective when I say I was disappointed to receive an email from the NCAA about this news:
"Houston's out of running for Women's Final Four"

If I'm not being objective, then allow me to be disappointed. Just for a bit.

Now, back to objectivity.

I've covered the Women's NCAA Tournament the last few years; but, while I've enjoyed traveling across the country to cover the event, I've always wanted the city of Houston to host it.

Of the eight cities named as finalists today, I've been to four of the cities (Tampa Bay, Indianapolis, San Antonio, and New Orleans) to cover the Championship.

I'd be very, very surprised if the NCAA decides not to return to Tampa and Indy. Tampa was a big success this year. The NCAA is based in Indianapolis and Indy hosted in 2005 and is hosting the event again in 2011; so, personally, I believe those two cities are locks to be chosen as hosts during 2012 through 2016.

San Antonio will host the event -- for the second time, first was in 2002 -- in 2010; so, clearly, SA and the NCAA have a good working relationship. Because of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans isn't the same city as it was when NOLA hosted the event in 1991 and 2004; but, it's still New Orleans.

Therefore, I could see the NCAA Championship Committee choosing those four cities for four of those five years which means Dallas, TX; Columbus, OH; Denver, CO; and Nashville, TN; could be "battling" for the one remaining year.

I wouldn't mind either one of those cities being chosen. The bottom line is I won't be staying "at home" to cover a Women's Final Four in the near future.

Oh well, the NCAA Men's Tournament Championship will be held in Houston in 2011. Of course, I hope to be in Indianapolis at that time.
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Saturday, August 09, 2008

WBCA Going Green

More and more people and businesses are "going green".

Thursday, August 7, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) approved a new plan to green the Association in an effort to support environmental activism.

WBCA goes green

Check out the
press release.
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Friday, August 08, 2008

Dear Comets fans

In case you didn't know: "The Houston Comets are for Sale".

A very loyal supporter of the Houston Comets and The HRR emailed this to me.

It's a letter from Hilton Koch.

Dear Comets fans and supporters,

As you may have heard, the WNBA, Mayor Bill White and I are working diligently to find a new owner or ownership group for the Houston Comets. I wanted to take this moment to express my sincere gratitude at having had the opportunity to be an integral part of this storied franchise and thank you for the continued support that has made the Comets such an integral part of the wonderful Houston community.

As a longtime Comets fan and season-ticket holder, I understand and appreciate the significance of this team to the city of Houston and the WNBA. Since the league's 1997 tip-off, the Comets have been core to the exponential growth of women's basketball. By winning the WNBA's first four titles, the team established itself as one of professional sports' great modern dynasties and became a point of civic pride for Houston.

The fact that the energy, passion and commitment of Houston's tremendous fan base no doubt ignited much of this success is something I was keenly aware of prior to purchasing the club. My tenure as owner has only served to enhance my longstanding admiration for the extraordinary atmosphere that takes over the stands at Comets games.

As we work to find an owner that will uphold the Comets' tradition and guide this organization to great heights once again, please be assured that absolutely nothing about the experience of attending Comets games will change. The team is in the midst of a winning season and will be back home after the Olympic break to deliver more thrilling basketball action. Your support to date has led to an 11-2 home record, the second best such mark in the WNBA. The players will be counting on your energy and passion to help them secure a playoff berth.

Thank you for all the support that you have given the Comets before and during my tenure. My experience owning this team has been a great thrill, and I will continue to sit alongside you in the stands and cheer on our team.

Hilton Koch
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Comets 4 Sale

HOUSTON, TX -- I saw this news on Houston's KTRK-ABC 13 about five minutes to seven pm tonight; and, I found an article posted on myfoxhouston.com:

"The Houston Comets are For Sale"

This news isn't a shock to everyone.

More than a few people who closely follow the WNBA and the Comets have speculated about the possible sale of the Comets almost since Hilton Koch became owner of the Comets on January 31, 2007.

The above article mentions "Apparently, Koch is no longer in control of the team."

Representatives from the WNBA have been in Houston working -- in some capacity -- within the Comets' organization since the start of 2008.

Sources have told me -- on more than one occasion -- two different groups in Dallas, TX, have looked into the possiblity of purchasing the Comets and re-locating the four-time WNBA champs to Dallas for the 2009 WNBA season.

Although, as one source told me, "Hilton is screwed. A guy in Dallas may buy the rights."

However, there is still a chance -- perhaps just a slim chance -- local (Houston area) groups may decide to purchase the Comets and keep them in Houston.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Blair Gets Contract Extension

Some new news from Aggieland in College Station:

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents recently approved a salary increase and contract extension for head women’s basketball coach Gary Blair through 2012.

Blair's new contract will now pay him $800,000 annually through May 31, 2012.

“It is such an honor to coach at Texas A&M and work with young people,” Blair said. “Thank you to Bill Byrne, our administration and the University System for allowing us to continue to compete at the highest level. Very few programs around the country have the full support of their University President, Board of Regents, Athletic Director and administration which makes A&M a very special place.”
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Friday, August 01, 2008

NCLR Files Suit Against SD Mesa

This hasn't received a lot of publicity; but, I received the press release July 24th; and, I'm FINALLY getting around to posting something about it. My bad.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) and the law firms of Boxer & Gerson, LLP and Stock Stephens, LLP filed a lawsuit today in state court in San Diego, California on behalf of Lorri Sulpizio, the former Head Coach of the women’s basketball team at San Diego Mesa College (Mesa), and Cathy Bass, the former Director of Basketball Operations at Mesa. The complaint alleges that, despite Sulpizio’s and Bass’s dedication and demonstrated track record of success leading the women’s basketball program at the community college, Mesa officials unlawfully fired both coaches at the end of the 2007 academic year after they spoke out about the unequal treatment of female athletes and women coaches and following publication in a local paper of an article identifying them as domestic partners.

More info is posted here.

Somehow I doubt this will receive as much media attention as the Stacy Johnson-Klein lawsuit against Fresno State. Gee, I wonder why?
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Val Joins SASS

HOUSTON, TX -- Former Rice Owls center Valeriya Berehzynska has signed a seven-day contract with the WNBA's San Antonio Silver Stars.

Check out this link.

"I'm very excited to get another opportunity to play in the WNBA," Berezhynska said. "I know what to expect this time around. San Antonio has a great team. I'll have to work extremely hard to be successful."

Val reports to the SASS' practice facility next week to for workouts.
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