Women’s basketball

Geno Auriemma

UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma wins No. 900 as No. 2 Huskies top Cincinnati

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source: AP

UConn women’s coach Geno Auriemma earned his 900th career win on Tuesday night as the No. 2 Huskies picked up a 96-36 win over Cincinnati.

The American Athletic Conference win gives UConn a 21-1 record on the 2014-15 season and they’re 11-0 in conference play as Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Gabby Williams each finished with a team-high 16 points.

A member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, Auriemma becomes the eighth head coach in women’s college basketball history to reach the 900-win mark and only the third coach among that group to do it at one school. The 60-year-old Auriemma also needed the fewest amount of games to reach 900 wins of any coach in NCAA history.

The nine-time national-title winning head coach of UConn, Auriemma is now 900-134 during his astounding run with the Huskies. Since taking over the UConn women’s program before the 1985-86 season, Auriemma has led the Huskies to four undefeated seasons, 15 Final Four appearances and once led the program to a NCAA Division I basketball record 90-game win streak. The program has also achieved 19 seasons of 30 or more wins and won 20 conference regular season titles during Auriemma’s tenure.

Individual players have also thrived at UConn under Auriemma as a Huskie has been named the Naismith College Player of the Year eight times and 12 players have made multiple All-America teams.

Besides his work at UConn, Auriemma has also been successful in international basketball. He’s won two Olympic gold medals (2000, 2012) and two gold medals at the FIBA World Championships (2010, 2014) coaching USA Basketball’s senior women’s national team.

Former Tennessee women’s head coach, and Auriemma rival, Pat Summit still has the most Division I wins of any basketball coach as she registered 1,098 career wins before retiring after the 2011-12 season.

No. 6 Stanford snaps No. 1 UConn women’s 47-game win streak with overtime win

Geno Auriemma

After finishing 40-0 and winning a national championship last season, the UConn women’s basketball program won’t be unbeaten in 2014-15. The No. 1 Huskies fell in an overtime thriller on Monday night, dropping an 88-86 contest on the road against No. 6 Stanford.

Women’s basketball doesn’t usually draw this kind of national attention during the early portion of the season, but during the Tip-Off Marathon, the girls stole the show in the first few hours as UConn, the two-time defending national champions, had its 47-game win streak snapped with the loss. Stanford also ended UConn’s record-breaking, 90-game winning streak with a 71-59 home win late in December 2010.

Trailing 87-84 with 20 seconds remaining, UConn guard Saniya Chong (20 points) made a driving lay-up to cut the Cardinal lead to one with 2.6 seconds left. After Stanford guard Karlie Samuelson split a pair of free throws, UConn never got a shot off on the ensuing inbounds play.

Stanford guard Lili Thompson paced the Cardinal with 24 points in the win as Stanford became the first team to beat the UConn women since Notre Dame beat the Huskies for the Big East Conference Tournament title on March, 12, 2013.

Since that loss to Notre Dame, Geno Auriemma’s team captured two national championships and last season’s 40-0 record was the fifth perfect season for the Huskies during Auriemma’s storied career with the program.

UConn junior forward Breanna Stewart, the reigning national player of the year, finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Former player suing Holy Cross women’s head coach Bill Gibbons for abuse

Holy Cross Athletics

With the number of days between now and the start of games in college basketball, coaches and players across the country are working in order to make sure they’re well-prepared for the 2013-14 campaign. Practices, film study, weights and other essential activities occupy much of their time, with many wanting to simply focus on the task at hand.

Dealing with a lawsuit is an entirely different matter for a head coach and his/her program.

That’s what current Holy Cross women’s basketball head coach Bill Gibbons has on his plate, as a former player has filed a lawsuit alleging that the coach verbally, physically and emotionally abused members of the program during her two seasons at the Patriot League school. 20-year old Ashley Cooper, who now attends New York University, filed the suit in Manhattan alleging not only the abuse, but that the school ignored the allegations according to ABC News.

Gibbons’ “actions constitute the worst type of bullying because not only is defendant Gibbons her coach and supervisor, but also he is someone she is supposed to respect,” according to the lawsuit. Cooper was reduced to “fear of physical pain,” the filing states.

Cooper alleges that Gibbons also “struck another female player on the back” during a March 2013 Patriot League Tournament game against Lehigh. “Following the Lehigh incident, the player’s father verbally complained to” the athletic director, but the athletic director did nothing, Cooper alleges.

At one point, Gibbons — who would act in an “outrageous manner in his yelling, ranting, screaming and hysterics” — struck Cooper so hard he left a hand print that didn’t go away immediately, according to court papers.

In 29 seasons at the school Gibbons has amassed a record of 533 wins and 315 losses, making him the winningest coach in the history of the program. The school, which has brought in outside attorneys to review the allegations, issued the following statement to ABC News:

“The physical, mental and emotional well-being of our students is our highest priority at Holy Cross. We just received the lawsuit and are in the process of reviewing it. Ms. Cooper had brought her concern to the college and we investigated at that time. The lawsuit we received today includes a series of new allegations and we will now bring in outside counsel to review them.”

According to the roster on the school’s athletic website Gibbons is currently on leave. This is the second instance this month of a school being forced to deal with its’ women’s basketball coach being hit with allegations of abusive behavior. Georgetown head coach Keith Brown stepped down on October 10 after being placed on administrative leave due to allegations of “unprofessional conduct and inappropriate language” by some of his players.

In situations like these there’s always to short-term concerns regarding the well-being of the players and the team’s preparations for the upcoming season. But there’s also the long-term concern of the direction of the program, and how a coaching staff could possibly sell the program to recruits in light of these alleged actions.

How Holy Cross handles this lawsuit will impact the women’s basketball program well beyond the 2013-14 season.

A-10 turns to Richmond Coliseum for women’s hoops tourney

photo courtesy Atlantic 10 Conference
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For years, the annual choice to hold the Colonial Athletic Association’s men’s basketball tournament at Richmond Coliseum came under fire from fans of schools outside the borders of Virginia, who felt the location essentially gave teams like VCU, Old Dominion and George Mason a home court advantage.

Anecdotal evidence would seem to have borne that argument out: UNCW is the only team from outside the state borders to win a CAA title since 2000, and James Madison’s auto-bid last year was the first to come from outside the Mason/ODU/VCU triumvirate since 2005.

Of course, that’s largely because none of those three schools will play in the CAA in the future. With the Virginia-based heart of the CAA cut out by realignment, the league tournament has moved to Baltimore, leaving the concrete starship of Richmond Coliseum sadly empty in March.

Then again, the A-10 seems to like the idea of finding a permanent home for the league’s women’s tournament, which has been played at several venues over the past several seasons. The new deal aims to keep the A-10’s women’s teams in Richmond for three years, and possibly beyond. The league’s press release gave a little history behind the move:

When the championship tips off in Richmond, it will mark just the third time in its 32-year history that it will take place at a neutral site. Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., played host in 2011, while Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md., served as host in 2010. The Atlantic 10 is one of only eight conferences (out of 31 league) where the women’s basketball championship will be played at a neutral site, separate from the men’s championship.

I can hear the bitter laughter coming from old-school CAA partisans even now. “Neutral” was only uttered with a wry twist during the CAA’s reign in Richmond, as VCU players and fans didn’t even really have to find parking to make the trek to the Coliseum. In the A-10, that distinction will belong to the Rams and the Richmond Spiders. And Mason will be there, too. Still, the Coliseum provides a nice downtown location and plenty of seating for fans who choose to make the trek.

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.

Ten-second count may finally be coming to women’s college basketball

NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament - Final Four - Championship
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Much of the attention being paid to the rules changes recommended for college basketball has been focused on the recommendations made by the men’s basketball rules committee.

But the women’s basketball rules committee also met Thursday, and among their recommendations is a rule that would have a major impact on the women’s game. The recommendation: adding the ten-second backcourt rule.

There’s been no such rule in women’s basketball since the NCAA began sponsoring a championship in the sport in the 1981-82 season (before that it was the AIAW that did so), with teams having the full 30-second shot clock to get the ball over half court if needed.

There was a five-second closely guarded rule for players in the backcourt due to the absence of a ten-count, and that rule would be eliminated should the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approve the proposed changes on June 18.

“Given feedback from stakeholders through the years, this is the right time to approve the rule,” said Barbara Burke, Women’s Basketball Rules Committee chair and director of athletics at Eastern Illinois. “Overall, we discussed pace of play, creating scoring opportunities and flow of the game.

“Adding the 10-second backcourt rule adds another element of strategy, and this rule fits into the concepts of growing the game.”

Frankly it’s beyond time that the women’s game added the ten-second backcourt rule, and it’s an issue that is more important (and influential) than the argument as to whether or not baskets should be lowered.

If approved the addition of the ten-second rule would (in theory) help increase the pace of the game, something that lowering the rims wouldn’t necessarily do.

In addition to the backcourt rule, the women’s committee has recommended that a secondary defender be allowed to draw a charge within the restricted area in situations where the offensive player begins her move inside of the lower defensive box area.

There could also be a change in the way media timeouts are handled, as a team timeout taken within 30 seconds of a scheduled media timeout (with the exception of the under-16 second half media stoppage) would become that media timeout. The goal of that change would be to avoid multiple timeouts within a short timespan, thus improving the flow of the game.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.