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Posts Tagged ‘women’s basketball’

On Monday, one of the biggest sports news networks, ESPN, proves the purpose and need for media outlets like becauseiplayedsports.com. The coverage of men and women’s sports are unevenly balanced.

 “Hoopalooza”, ESPN’s first annual College Hoops Tip- Off Marathon, kicks off today. It is 23 consecutive hours of college basketball coverage, 14 live games, and special college basketball related programs.

 According to http://www.espn.com  , the coverage will include a game played in five different United States time zones. There will be 14 different conferences and leagues playing. Sounds like any college basketball fans dream. Except if you’re a women’s college hoops fan.

ESPN, notes under a highlights list:

            -Nine live games on ESPN, including a women’s matchup.

Wow. One game. Although, I’m not sure why I would think there would even be one game, they did make it clear that “ the new initiative will highlight the beginning of the 2008-2009 men’s college basketball season.”

I’m not trying to knock ESPN, I am a men’s basketball fan and will more than likely tune into to watch a couple of the games. I am also not implying they don’t cover women’s basketball, in fact, they have a whole women’s basketball section of their website. However, my point is would this ever happen for women’s basketball? Could you imagine, 23 consecutive hours of women’s sports?

Not likely.

 

 

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Sunday night in Indianapolis the NCAA announced Nkolika “Nicky” Anosike 2008 Woman of the Year.  Anosike led the Lady Vols of Tennessee to back-to-back Women’s Basketball National Championships.  Being an avid watcher of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament and regular season play, I could not be happier with the NCAA’s decision!  Not only is Anosike a household name, at least in my house, but a woman with tremendous talent, who carries herself with such pride and confidence!

Anosike’s success spans across much more than the basketball court.  Anosike has many noteworthy achievements.  Her academic and athletic success combined is incomparable to most, and I do not think anyone will disagree on how deserving she is of this award.

Academic achievements: Graduated in May 2008 with a triple major in political science, legal studies and sociology. SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2005-08. ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American second-team, 2007-08. Boyd McWhorter Postgraduate Scholarship winner for Tennessee, 2008.

The recipe for determining the winner: “The annual Woman of the Year award recognizes outstanding female student-athletes who have excelled in academics, athletics, leadership and service. A committee composed of representatives from NCAA member schools and conferences selected the top 30 – 10 from each division – from 130 conference and independent nominees. From the 30 honorees, nine finalists – three from each division – were chosen.”

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics selected Anosike from nine finalists:

“1.  Susan Ackermann, Salisbury (lacrosse), Capital Athletic Conference
2.  Nkolika Anosike, Tennessee (basketball),Southeastern Conference
3.  Jennifer Artichuk, Delta State (swimming and diving), Independent
4.  Shanti Freitas, Smith (swimming and diving), New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference
5.  Arianna Lambie, Stanford (cross country, track and field), Pacific-10 Conference
6.  Samantha Mitchell, Mount Olive (volleyball, track and field), Conference Carolinas
7.  Lindsey Ozimek, Charlotte (soccer), Atlantic 10 Conference
8.  Sarah Schettle, Wisconsin-Oshkosh (track and field, cross country, swimming), Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
9.  Heather Walker, Georgian Court (volleyball, softball), Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference”

I think that this is an amazing award and a great way to showcase female athletes.  Only ONE winner of this award has been a Division III Athlete.  EVERY other winner competed at the Division I level.  Now, I understand Division I is the highest level of competition, thus you are going to find the most successful and talented women competing for Divisioin I.  HOWEVER, having been a: 4 year varsity athlete, 2 time NCAA All-American, team captain, 4 time All-Conference, and a 4 time NCAA qualifier, in Division III swimming, something is to be said for the Division III student-athlete.  Where is the recognition for non-scholarship athletes?  The athletes that compete simply for the love of the game.

The athlete that gets out of bed every morning at 5:30am for swim practice, goes to class all morning, comes back to the pool to swim again, and then hits the weightroom, just to go home, eat dinner, do some homework, and wake up to do it all again.  All the meanwhile, maintaining a 3.95, still finding time to volunteer for various activities and programs, not to mention being a darn talented swimmer!!  This swimmer I am referring to was one of the 30 finalists in attendance Sunday night, Michelle Coombs.  Coombs, a 2008 graduate of SUNY New Paltz, was the 2007 NCAA Division III National Champion for Women’s Swimming in the 100 freestyle, and the first female National Champion at SUNY New Paltz.  As an assistant coach at SUNY New Paltz, I had the pleasure of coaching Coombs for the 2007-2008 swim season!  Much like all of the candidates for Woman of the Year, Coombs excels in academics, athletics, and in the area of service and leadership.  Congratulations to Coombs and all of the other finalists on their amazing honor to be nominated.  Most importantly, congratulations to Anosike for winning the title of Woman of the Year, and best of luck as you all go forward in your lives and look to excel outside of your specific sports arenas.

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Kate Smith of Detroit Shock

Kate Smith of Detroit Shock

The Detroit Shock defeated the New York Liberty tonight, 75-73 in game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

According to the AP article, Deanna Nolan scored 21 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin put in 19 to help the Detroit Shock reach the WNBA finals for the third straight season.

This was definately an exciting game. The Shock were up by 20 in the first half, but had to fight of New York’s determination, as they got within two early in the fourth.

The deciding moment seemed to occur when Loree Moore missed a free throw and Alexis Hornbuckle answered with five quick points for the Shock.

The WNBA finals will match up the Detroit Shock and the San Antonio Stars on Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 PM on ESPN 2.

Here’s what the complete schedule will look like:

Game 1: DET at SAN, Oct. 1, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)
Game 2: DET at SAN, Oct. 3, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)
Game 3: SAN at DET, Oct. 5, 4:30 ET (ESPN2)
Game 4: SAN at DET, Oct. 6, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)
Game 5: DET at SAN, Oct. 9, 7:30 ET (ESPN2)

I’ll be covering this regularly. This will be a great matchup!

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Just a reminder to everyone: WNBA playoffs are today, taking place in Detroit. Tune in to ESPN2.

At 3pm EST, Detroit Shock plays NY Liberty for the East; right now, the Liberty are up 1-0.

At 5pm EST, the LA Sparks take on San Antonio Stars for the West; right now, the two teams are tied at 1-1.

These should be some pretty good games; I’ll be posting about them later. For more information, check out WNBA.com.

Have a great Sunday!

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If you’re in the New York area on Friday night, you should consider getting tickets to the New York Liberty – they’re selling them, cheap!

In case you aren’t aware, WNBA is right in the height of their playoffs. Friday’s game will be a great preview and might be your last change to see a game.

Semifinals start Sunday:
Eastern Conference Finals: New York Liberty vs. Detroit Shock (Sunday, 3PM on ESPN)
Western Conference Finals: LA Sparks vs. San Antonio Stars (Sunday, 5PM on ESPN)

But if you’re in the NY area and want to catch a good game, click the picture below and enter the code STRETCH.

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I came across this podcast on the WBCA Web site. Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli were at Nike Nationals in South Carolina this summer, one of biggest AAU recruiting event of the year. This is a great overall outline of what we’re looking at for women’s basketball on multiple talent levls.

They talk about the recruiting process, how AAU influences a girls’ ability to get into college and what a high-level AAU tournament is like. They also discussed the WNBA fight and USA’s preparation for the Olympics.

On the high school level, the topic of conversation was Brittney Griener, the AAU star I wrote about earlier. Other players mentioned were Destiny and Tamika Williams. They said you can go down the list from every team there and find a girl who is going to “play major basketball.”

As I mentioned earlier, Beth and Debbie also touched on other subjects such as the WNBA fight (it was the most publicity the league has ever gotten), and preparing for the Olympics (this podcast was recorded before the Olympics) and some highlights from college basketball (top paid coaches).

They also talked to Mark Lewis, the columnist for women’s basketball at ESPN.com’s Hoopgurlz. Mark discussed how attention is drawn to younger girls who might progress to be stop stars, and “hot spots” around the country (highlight on Texas).  Mark also provided some advice on what girls should be working on, including emphasis upon skill work.

Mark was right when he said we need to “give hats off” to Nike, who sponsors multiple tournaments and camps to work on girls’ skills. Their sponsorship is certainly important for the future of women’s basketball.

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14-year-old Jaime Nared is making headlines across the country. So far, she’s been on ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s Headline News and featured in Thursday’s New York Times as well as big time sports blogs like The Bleacher Report. Why? Because she’s breaking barriers.

Gender barriers… in basketball.

The NY Times calls her “12 going on Candace Parker.” At 6 foot 1″, Nared is catching attention for her participation on Team Concept boys’ team in Portland, Oregon.

All was cool until a game back in April, when she scored 30 points. Suddenly, Jaime got a call from her coach who informed her that she was banned from planning on the team.

Interesting coincidence.

Apparently, Team Concept played in a league called Hoop, a private gym that runs the league that Team Concept plays in. All of a sudden, after her performance scoring 30 points, the league cited a previously unenforced rule against mixed-gender play.

Timing seems a little bit too perfect, doesn’t it?

Only problem now is the GIRLS don’t want her playing with them, either. Poor kid.

Girls teams don’t want her playing because she KILLS. Apparently, the last time she played against girls her age, the final score was 90-7. Her coach equated her participation with girls her age like Shaq playing on a high school team.

By forcing Jaime to play against girls her own age, she’s not getting any better.

The NY Times even says, “Playing with boys is a standard part of girls’ basketball training. Often it’s where talented girls can find the game best suited to their skills.”

So it is going to take some pushing.

It’s not surprising to me that there’s a strong-willed mom behind this effort.

When Jaime’s mother, Reiko Williams, heard that her daughter had been kicked off the boys’ team, she says she felt she needed to act. “I have three daughters,” she told the NY Times. “The world is going to give them pink and dolls. My two older daughters, Jackie and Jaime, want to play basketball. I feel it’s my job as a parent to help them be the best they can be at what they choose to do.”

After the league cut Jaime from the boys’ team, Jaimie’s mom called the Portland media. Then, a trail of media coverage and support followed.

When I read the NY Times article on Jaime last week, I sent it around to some of my blogger friends. One asked me whether I think Jaime should be allowed to compete with older girls or if she should compete against boys her age.

My answer..

Playing with the boys got her on Good Morning America.

I say stick with the boys.

Best of luck, Jaime!

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