It's not often two women's basketball coaching greats take in a game together. But such was the case Sunday as longtime friends Billie Moore and Jody Conradt sat courtside at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion to take in the Bruins-Longhorns game.
Moore, a former UCLA coach and Conradt, a longtime former coach at Texas, have been friends for over 40 years. As they watched their former teams battle, they conducted a game-long conversation that was punctuated by timeout laughs and smiles. They also graciously indulged those who approached for handshakes or pictures.
For many years, the Pac-12 was somewhat predictable: Stanford at the top and others jockeying for the remaining positions, with only minimal changes every season. But with an influx of new coaches within the last four years, those dynamics have changed.
Over the last two seasons, especially, the shake up is evident. Stanford shared the regular-season conference title with Cal in 2012-2013, after which the Cardinal and the Bruins played for the tournament title. Last year upstarts USC and Oregon State battled in the championship game.
On a hot August day more than four years ago, Jason Flowers could see the work that lied ahead.
In his first player skill development sessions as Cal State Northridge head coach, Flowers reminded athletes to stand up straight, speed up, pay attention to detail, keep heads and eyes up and to raise their intensity level.
"They are starting to understand the amount of work it takes to be successful, not only on the court but anything they do in life," Flowers said that day. "We are....nowhere close to where we want to be or where we’ll end up."
The 2014-15 women’s college basketball season began Sunday afternoon at Xavier University’s Cintas Center, where Mount St. Joseph University defeated Hiram College 66-55 in front of 10,000 fans.
But the game was not the story – not even close.
The story was 19-year-old freshman Lauren Hill, playing her first college game. Hill scored four points and was 2-of-3 from the field.
But it just wasn’t a normal college basketball opener. It was something unique.
The Big Ten debut of Rutgers and Maryland this season isn't worrying the team's coaches. Instead, they see it as a homecoming, as both were there before with other teams.
"When you become a member of the Big Ten, you just don't leave," Scarlet Knight coach C. Vivian Stringer said about her 19-year absence. The last time she was in the conference, she helmed a reputable Iowa team and reached a Final Four in 1993.
ISTANBUL -- To the disappointment of a crowd of 7,000 highly partisan fans at Fenerbahçe Arena in Istanbul, Australia roared out to a 17-0 lead over the host country Turkey and never looked back, finishing with a 74-44 win to take the bronze medal at the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women on Sunday.
“I’m very proud of the way this team played together and fought,” said Australian guard Penny Taylor (Phoenix Mercury). “They put their bodies on the line and gave it everything they got.”
ISTANBUL -- When U.S. point guard Sue Bird (Seattle Storm) says that Australia has “an identity within themselves and they really play to it,” she was speaking not just as a four-time veteran of the World Championship, but as someone who has played with and against Australian players throughout her professional career in the WNBA and abroad. That identity -- of fierce, physical play mixed with tactical savvy and timely threes -- was on display last night as the Opals went toe-to-toe United States in the Women’s World Championship semi-finals at Fenerbahce Arena in Istanbul, Turkey.
ISTANBUL -- As the United States moves out of pool play unscathed (3-0) and prepares for their must-win matchup against France in Friday night's quarterfinal round of the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women, the memory of their exhibition loss against Les Bleues in Paris 11-days ago lingers.
“We didn’t play like we wanted to play,” said Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream). “We were sluggish, even a bit lazy.”
ANKARA, Turkey – Both Canada and France punched their tickets to the 2014 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Women quarterfinals Wednesday in Ankara, Turkey, as Canada defeated the Czech Republic, 91-71, and France blew past Brazil, 61-48. Meanwhile in Istanbul, both China and Serbia won berths in the quarters, but in far closer matches, with China edging past Belarus, 72-67, and Serbia knocking out Cuba, 86-79, in a game in which the lead flip-flopped right down to the final seconds.