Parade Girls’ Basketball POY streak hits three for UConn

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Next October head coach Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies will begin their quest for a second consecutive (and ninth overall) national title.

On Saturday the program continued a streak of sorts, as signee Saniya Chong was named Girls’ Basketball Player of the Year by Parade Magazine. Chong, who hails from Ossining, N.Y., is the third Player of the Year in a row to sign with UConn.

Chong, who averaged 34.4 points per game and led her high school to its first-ever state title, beat out Rebekah Dahlman (Vanderbilt signee), Diamond Deshields (North Carolina), Kianna Holland (Duke), and Tori Jankoska (Michigan State) for the award.

North Carolina has three players on the Parade All-American Team, which can be seen below.

Name Pos. High School Ht. College
Lindsay Allen G St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 5-7 Notre Dame
Lakota Beatty G Anadarko (Okla.) 5-8 Oklahoma State
Lexie Brown G North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.) 5-8 Maryland
Dennisha Chambers G Louisiana New Tech (Plain Dealing, La.) 5-5 Grambling State
Saniya Chong G Ossining (N.Y.) 5-10 UConn
Alaina Coates C Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.) 6-5 South Carolina
Rebekah Dahlman G Braham (Minn.) 5-9 Vanderbilt
Nina Davis F Memphis Central (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-0 Baylor
Diamond DeShields G Norcross (Ga.) 6-2 North Carolina
Ally Disterhoft G West (Iowa City, Iowa) 6-0 Iowa
Makayla Epps G Marion County (Lebanon, Ky.) 5-9 Kentucky
Amanda Fioravanti F Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) 6-1 Virginia
Becca Greenwell G Owensboro Catholic (Ky.) 6-1 Duke
Ciara Gregory G Jeannette (Pa.) 5-7 Charlotte
Linnae Harper G Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 5-6 Kentucky
Breanna Hayden G James Madison (Dallas, Texas) 5-9 Baylor
Olivia Healy F Reading (Mass.) 5-10 Richmond
Ahlisha Henderson C Reseda (Los Angeles, Calif.) 6-3 Grambling State
Kianna Holland G Seneca (S.C.) 5-9 Duke
Jessica Jackson F Jacksonville (Ark.) 6-2 Arkansas
Tori Jankoska G Freeland (Mich.) 5-8 Michigan State
Kailee Johnson F Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.) 6-3 Stanford
Breyana Mason G Forest Park (Woodbridge, Va) 5-8 Virginia
Stephanie Mavunga C Brownsburg (Ind.) 6-3 North Carolina
Erica McCall F Ridgeview (Bakersfield, Calif.) 6-2 Stanford
Brandy Montgomery G Lincoln Park (Fort Pierce, Fla.) 5-11 Auburn
KiKi Patterson G Columbus (Miss.) 5-9 Mississippi State
Kelsey Plum G La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 5-9 Washington
Kaitlyn Pratt F McDonogh 35 (New Orleans, La.) 6-0 Arkansas-Little Rock
Bianca Quisenberry G Tecumseh (New Carlisle, Ohio) 5-8 Cincinnati
Taya Reimer F Hamilton Southeastern (Fishers, Ind.) 6-2 Notre Dame
Mercedes Russell C Springfield (Ore.) 6-6 Tennessee
Tyler Scaife G Hall (Little Rock, Ark.) 5-9 Rutgers
Ieshia Small F Florida High (Tallahassee, Fla.) 6-0 Baylor
Jazmine Spears F New Albany (Miss.) 5-11 Mississippi State
Malia Tate-DeFreitas G Steelton-Highspire (Steelton, Pa.) 5-8 Hampton
Shatori Walker-Kimbrough F Hopewell (Aliquippa, Pa.) 5-11 Maryland
Jessica Washington G Jenks (Tulsa. Okla.) 5-8 North Carolina
Ronni Williams F Atlantic (Port Orange, Fla.) 6-2 Florida
Faith Woodard F Freedom (Tampa, Fla.) 6-2 Georgetown

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.