Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elite 8

You know you have a good tournament game when you one team is clearly losing, but you refuse to fast forward because you know the other team could make that big comeback. Watching Louisville/Maryland yesterday I just couldn't let go of the thought that Maryland just might shoot their way back into the game. They did not ever get there though...Louisville had an answer every time Maryland hit a big shot and Maryland just wasn't interested in defending Louisville for 40 minutes of game time.

I did not hang on long for the Iowa State/Stanford game, though, that one got away and I missed seeing Appel make school history.

Seniors to watch tonight will be Renee Montgomery for Connecticut, Briann January and Sybil Dosty for Arizona State in the first game. Lauren Lacy was a player we tracked this season but is not one I expect to get drafted. The second game features Courtney and Ashley Paris as well as Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton for Purdue. Ashley was on Coach Agler's watch list, but won't likely be around at number 12. Wisdom-Hylton is a skilled but undersized post in the mold of Camille Little, and I think there will be players that are better fits available at number 12.

Fate screams out for Connecticut and Oklahoma to advance...we will see if ASU can muster a challenge or if Purdue can compete with the strength of Oklahoma's posts and speed of its guards.

I was once again struck by the emotions in college basketball, I was equally impressed/moved by the sheer joy of Angel McCoughtry (Where are you Kara Lawson? President Obama! President Obama!) and the devestation of Marissa Coleman.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sweet 16 Part 1

OK, I "knew" that Louisville would be moving on. The 1-2 combo of probable #1 pick Angel McCoughtry on the wing with likely 2nd round pick Candyce Bingham in the post was going to beat the somewhat gimpy senior trio of Player, Morrow and Allison. Baylor put up some serious fight until around the 10 minute mark of the second half when their lack of depth began to fail them.

I still put McCoughtry as somewhere between Sheryl Swoopes and Swin Cash, but she is clearly a top pick in the draft. She does so much on both ends of the court and clearly possesses the desire that creates greatness. It will be hard for her to fall out of #1.

I really like even the injured Allison and assertive Player, though Morrow doesn't cross the line for me. I don't think either make the cut in a tightened roster year, though.

Next up for me on the DVR is Maryland. Just have to wait 5 more minutes for the kids to finish up on Kingdom Hearts.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Been a While

I have been doing a lot of numbers and very little writing here of late, so I thought I should catch up.

First, the Storm waived Kelly Santos with little fanfare. It is somewhat surprising to me to see a player with a non-guaranteed contract waived before camp unless it was decided she was not likely to make the roster and wanted to allow her a chance to find another opportunity.

Half of the Great Barrier Reef is signed with Suzy Batkovic returning to the Storm, now we just need her buddy to sign. Suzy showed offensive promise with the Storm and her olympic play makes me think she has grown in her time away from the W.

I saw Shavonte Zellous from Pitt play on Saturday in the NCAA tournament, and her physical gifts are remarkable, she reminds me of Betty Lennox with hops. You can catch her against Gonzaga tonight at BOA Arena at Hec-Ed Pavillion on the UW at 6pm or on ESPN2. Gonzaga, by the way looked great taking out #5 seeded Xavier, but the will be out-sized and have to contend with Zellous tonight. I don't think they can handle both those issues in one game.

Tennessee lost yesterday in the first round and failed to make the sweet 16 for the first time ever. The joy on the faces of #12 seeded Ball State team after their win, was truly invigorating, but I also saw the other side when Mandy Morales went to the bench as her team lost to Pitt on Saturday. Her anguish at a end of her college career was palpable.

There were a few upsets this weekend other than Tennessee and Xavier, #7 Notre Dame fell to #10 Minnesota, number 6 Texas fell to # 11 Mississippi State, and #7 Depaul fell to #10 San Diego State. I am looking forward to round 2.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Swin to have Back Surgery Today

via Pilight at rebkell...

Swin Cash has launched a new website with video blogging and she dropped a big exclusive in her first post sharing she will be having back surgery on March 9th and hopes to be healthy and contributing to a Storm championship this season.

We will have to wait for official Storm word on the recovery time expectations.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Weekend Basketball

I watched two games this weekend, Louisville vs. Pittsburgh and Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa.

The first game offered me a chance to see McCoughtry and Bingham again as well as my first look at Storm prospect Shavonte Zellous. McCoughtry was brilliant and Bingham played quite well, setting her career high on Senior Day. I like Zellous quite a bit, and she would be a nice option for the Storm if she is still on the board at number 12. Zellous has a lot of elevation to her jumper and she is a nice scorer off the dribble going to the basket. She is similar to Tanisha Wright with a leaner build and more length and athleticism. Wright is actually taller than Zellous but has a more compact build...Zellous has long arms and more "hops."

The second game was my first opportunity to observe Kristi Cirone in action. I like her game a lot. She has a sweet jumper and works very hard to keep her team involved. Earlier this season she set the all time Illinois State record for career assists and shortly into the second half of this game she set the record for career scoring. She is only 5'8" but seems taller, perhaps it is just part of the issue with college versus pro play...there are less tall players available to fill college rosters.

Also, this weekend, the injured Shalee Lehning from Kansas State was honored by having her jersey retired on Senior Day. She has set every record at the school and they celebrated her contributions to their program in a fitting style.

A side thought for me this season has been wondering what Baylor will look like next year. They will lose three key players in Morrow, Allison and Player, but they will add high school phenom Brittany Griner. Griner is 6'8", lean, athletic and can jump out of the gym. Like Sylvia Fowles, she has a physique you just don't find in the women's game and she backs it up with skill. I will be watching her growth over the next few years. It should be exciting as she plays against stiffer competition and continues to mature physically, and mentally. She is so young, it is scary to imagine how good she could become as she gets experience and really learns the game of basketball.