Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Pro future on hoizon for JMU's Evans, Richmond's Shells

There's lots of basketball to be played between now and then, but looking ahead to April 2011, one website predicts James Madison's Dawn Evans to be a first-round WNBA pick. According to, the 5-7 point guard will be selected No. 8 overall, going to to the Minnesota Lynx.

Evans, a rising senior guard, last season averaged 24.6 points and 4.6 assists a game.  She was among the candidates for the three major national player of the year awards -- the Wade Trophy, Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy.

She has set numerous school records, including single-game points (38), career 30-point games (17), season points (761), season free throws (177) and season three-pointers (112).

The lone other player from a state school represented in the mock draft: Richmond's Brittani Shells, slated to go in the third round, 28th overall, to Phoenix.Shells led the Atlantic 10 in scoring last year and started all 33 games. correctly predicted 27 of the 36 players selected in the 2010 WNBA draft.  Five of those predictions were exact matches with players and round selected. Nine of 12 first-round picks were predicted correctly. Check out the complete mock draft.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hampton at JMU - This ought to be fun

Not sure how the two schools feel about it, but since we love it when in-state rivals butt heads, we're pretty jazzed about the Lady Pirates visiting the Dukes in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT on Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. Both teams won conference tournament titles and advanced to the NCAAs. And both feature loads of key returners from the 2009-10 squads along with some interesting newcomers. Of course, JMU is especially tough at home. But otherwise, this sounds like a fair fight to us.

For what it's worth - and when you think about it, stats like this aren't really worth much - the Dukes lead the overall series 2-0 after beating HU on the road 68-50 in 2005 and winning at JMU 54-46 in 2006.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rayna DuBose still supplying the inspiration

When Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson needed a motivational speaker for her basketball camp, she called on the remarkable Rayna DuBose, the former Virginia Tech player whose playing career - but not her spirit - was cut short by meningococcal meningitis.

Virginia Tech gets NCAA grant to boost attendance

If the Hokies can improve their on-court fortunes a bit, the NCAA grant they received to "increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women's basketball" could wind up looking like money well spent. Tech fans have proven they'll stampede Cassell Coliseum in support of this team - the Hokies averaged 5,221 per game in 1998-99 - but not necessarily to see a team that finishes tied for 10th in the ACC - the average was at 2,381 for last season's 15-15 bunch. So while additional funding is always nice, the most important factor in boosting Tech's attendance most likely will remain what happens following tip-off.

The list of 12 schools to receive these grants - 88 applied - was somewhat surprising. I mean, Stanford needs NCAA funding for more exposure? Florida? And Kansas State ranked 25th out of 332 teams in attendance last season. Do those guys really need the extra help? The NCAA apparently thinks so. So remember, folks, if there's a grant or scholarship offer floating around that you think you even remotely qualify for, go ahead and apply. The worse thing that can happen is they'll tell you no. But sometimes, even though you seemingly don't need it nearly as much as others, the answer comes back yes.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

JMU's Crowell, ex-PA star Harris transfer to UMBC

University of Maryland-Baltimore County has picked up two familiar names: juniors Brittany Crowell and Raven Harris. Crowell, a 5-9 guard, will transfer in from James Madison and Princess Anne High School (Virginia Beach) graduate Harris will transfer in from American University. Both will sit out the 2010-11 season due to NCAA transfer rules and have two years of eligibility remaining.

Crowell, who played in 31 games as a freshman and started twice, only scored seven points last season and did not play after Jan. 3. Her career highlight: 14 points in 24 minutes in JMU's 104-63 victory over UMBC on Dec. 8, 2008.

Harris started 24 games for the Eagles last season, including the final 18, and led the Patriots in assists (104) and steals (78). In high school, she helped Princess Anne to the 2004 Group AAA state title and the No. 9 national ranking by USA Today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I like the WNBA. You don't. So what?

I like women's basketball. You don't. That doesn't make you bad and me great. That means we have different tastes. Certainly no one finds it strange if I like bananas and you prefer apples.

Why do I bring this up? Read Jeff Pearlman's piece, "Why the WNBA Isn't -- and Never Will Be -- a Popular League." It's a tired piece of writing, singing a familiar refrain. Diana isn't Kobe. Candace isn't LeBron. Ratings are bad. Conversation at the water cooler is nil.

Like the last word of the story reads, "Yawn."

I'm not here to praise the merits of the league. It has some pluses and some problems, lots of them, that should be addressed.  Just the same, though, women's basketball faithful tend to get extremely defensive and downright hostile when folks poke fun at their sport. Here's the crux, though. Nobody is looking for the WNBA to be the NBA. It's not, can't be, will never be, shouldn't even try to be. That doesn't make the WNBA bad or frankly, inferior. It makes it a different product appealing to a different audience. The audience isn't as big, but why should it be? Diana isn't Kobe, but guess what? Kobe isn't Diana, either. Nothing wrong with that.

I'll take the spaghetti and you take the ravioli and we'll both be happy. Why can't it work that way?

Instead too many folks who aren't fans feel the need to put down the people who are. The simple fact is it's OK to like the NBA and the WNBA. It's OK to like the NBA and not the WNBA. And yes, it's OK to like the WNBA and not the NBA.

The WNBA won't be the NBA, but that's OK. I like it. You don't. That's OK, too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two from Virginia headed to West Virginia

Best buddies Linda Stepney and Crystal Leary, both from Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk, are going to be college teammates. The two juniors have made verbal commitments to West Virginia.

The 5-5 Stepney, who led Lake Taylor (30-1) to the Group AAA state championship last winter, impressed coaches at the Nike Invitational in April in Hampton, showing off the quick hands that have rated her among the top high school juniors in the nation. Stepney was an all-state selection and MVP of the state tournament and the 6-1 Leary was second-team all state.

West Virginia compiled a 29-6 mark last season, the best in school history with five of the losses coming to Top five teams. The Mountaineers, a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, lost to San Diego State in the second round.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Seen our Facebook page? Neither have we

Who says we're not into social networking? After all, it only took us several weeks to create a Ladyswish Facebook page, and about five months to actually post content to it.

But we finally got it rolling - pink basketball and all - and man, it was sweet. Lots of content from this site, and a few Facebook-only nuggets, too. Even picked up a few fans.

We were proud. So proud that, on Monday morning, I DELETED THE ENTIRE PAGE.

It was an accident, I assure you. See, I was trying to get rid of this other site, but I got a little confused and clicked this button and...poof! No more Ladyswish.

Naturally, I felt pretty stupid. But a disaster? Not even close. I mean, Tom Izzo leaving Michigan State to coach the Cleveland Cavaliers? That would be a disaster. But this was a pretty easy fix - we've simply re-created the page.

For those of you who were kind enough to become fans of our original creation, we'd be thrilled if you would go back and re-fan (new coinage) the Ladyswish page. As for those of you that hadn't gotten around to it yet, please check us out. We promise to keep the women's college basketball content coming.

And I promise to keep my mouse off any delete keys.

"The Bible coming to life" - Let the games begin

Liberty wins 71-12? Who knew there were other Big South teams in this Israel tournament?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Little used Hampton guard transfers

Hampton loses 5-9 rising sophomore Jasmine Williams-Hayes to Division II Francis Marion. Williams-Hayes played just six minutes last season.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010