Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Ladyswish Twitter rankings

Which coaches/teams are getting it done on Twitter? Here's our tweet-by-tweet rundown on how things grade out:


Kenny Brooks, JMU - @CoachBrooksJMU
Provides informative, occasionally humorous updates...Stinging commentary from the 2010 CAA Awards Banquet was Twitter gold...Isn't afraid to give glimpses of himself as a husband and father in addition to coach...Gets extra credit for periodically retweeting our stuff (You da man, Coach!). Grade: A-

Classic Brooks tweet: "It's Comedy Central up in here!"

Karen Barefoot, Old Dominion - @BarefootODU
Probably not the best device for the effervescent Barefoot, as it's hard to contain her boundless enthusiasm in 140 characters...Infrequent updates, although we'll cut her some slack since she was hired, what, 15 minutes ago?...Not sure she's hit her Twitter stride yet, but shows immense promise. Grade: B- (but with a bullet)

Classic Barefoot tweet (note the liberal use of the exclamation points): "Day 5 on the recruiting trail - in Orlando, Fla.! 5am workout + Grande coffee xtra cream + hoops all day!! Love this game!!

Joanne Boyle, Virginia - @UVACoachBoyle
Positive, if somewhat corporate, approach...A master of the retweet about the success of other Virginia programs...Wouldn't mind a bit more info about her own team...Frequently comments on the oppressive summer heat (not quite like Berkeley, right?)...An occasional personal observation or note, no matter how benign, would be welcome. Grade: C+

Classic Boyle tweet: "Sure is a hot one here today...Great day to get lots of work done in the office!"


LIBERTY - @LibertyU_WBball
Terrific updates on a range of topics provided by multiple coaches. Rival programs: follow these guys - and take notes. Grade: A

RICHMOND -@richmondwbb
Head coach Michael Shafer chimes in occasionally. Site also notable for its incredibly frequent and detailed updates during Spiders games (thanks, Rachel). Almost makes you feel as though you're at the Robins Center. Grade: Offseason: C+ In-season: B+ In-game: A+

Meat-and-potatoes, just-the-facts style, not surprising since the account is run by the sports info folks. But hey, it achieves what it sets out to achieve. Grade: C

VCU - @vcuwbb
Last tweet was May 10 (Hope you're enjoying the summer, guys!). Posted solid updates during the 2010-11 season. Grade: C+

Multiple coaches, including head Highlander Tajama Ngongba, weigh in on an account bristling with energetic tweets. Feels like they're really having fun with this. Grade: A

JMU - @JamesMadisonWBB
Part of a veritable Twitter assault by the tweet-friendly Dukes, who also serve up lively accounts by assistants Lindsay Smith (@CoachSmithJMU), Jen Brown (@CoachBrownJMU) and Sean O'Regan (@CoachOJMU). Grade: A


Meg Barber, William and Mary - @CoachMegBarber
Still developing her Twitter flow although we like what we've read so far. But someone needs to do a better job of spreading word this account exists (31 followers?). Grade: B-

Chantelle Anderson, Virginia Tech - @misschantelle
Ms. Personality, the Skylar Diggins of this state's women's basketball Twitter universe. This account is so interesting we're already calling her The Great Chantelle - and she hasn't even coached a game at Tech yet. Grade: A+

Greg Pulliam, George Mason - @CoachPMason
Jana Ashley, George Mason - @GMUCoachAshley
Holding it down for the ever-improving Patriots. Also provide cover for head coach Jeri Porter, who apparently isn't down with tweeting (C'mon, Coach, get in the game!). Grades: B

Darren Guensch, VCU - @VCUCoachG
Master of the motivational phrase, and anyone that can quote God and Kanye with equal aplomb is cool with us. Grade: A-

Brian Davis, Hampton - @CoachDavisHU
A welcome link to the mighty Lady Pirates. Grade: B

Edwards twins leave UVa. for East Carolina

Britny and Whitny Edwards, daughters of ex-East Carolina and NBA star Blue Edwards, have transferred from Virginia to East Carolina and will apparently be eligible to play in the 2011-12 season.

From the East Carolina release:

The twins join ECU after playing for the University of Virginia. Both will be immediately eligible to compete for the Pirates after graduating from the Charlottesville-based institution in just three years. Whitny has one year of eligibility remaining while Britny owns two seasons due to redshirting the 2010-11 campaign.

"Britny and Whitny come to us from a family that is very familiar with ECU and the pride we take in our athletic teams," East Carolina coach Heather Macy said. "These two are not only talented basketball players, but student-athletes with character, passion and drive. We love their experience level as they will bring maturity to our team."

Whitny Edwards averaged 6.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 35 games (9 starts) for the Cavaliers last season. Britny appeared in 43 games over her first two seasons for Virginia.

Blue Edwards finished sixth in the nation in scoring (26.7 ppg) for East Carolina in 1988-89 and is a member of the school's athletics hall of fame. He was a first-round draft pick by the NBA's Utah Jazz in 1989.

The addition of the Edwards twins adds to an interesting roster of transfers assembled at ECU. The team also includes guard Kyani White, who transferred from Virginia Tech after her freshman season, and Kristine Mial, who started out at James Madison before transferring to - and lighting it up at - Frederick Community College.

In other Virginia news, Bethany Dannelly, the Cavaliers assistant director of operations and video coordinator last season, is now an assistant coach at Colby College.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ticha and Dawn: Simply the best

ODU's Ticha Penicheiro and Virginia's Dawn Staley were voted two of the WNBA's top 15 players of all time, a list that was announced at halftime of Saturday's All-Star game.

Each of the 10 players selected to the All-Decade Team in 2006 made this current list, including Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Cynthia Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Lisa Leslie, Katie Smith, Staley, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson. The newcomers include honorable mentions from that team, Penicheiro, Diana Taurasi and Teresa Weatherspoon, as well as Becky Hammon and Cappie Pondexter.

RELATED: Penicheiro "humbled" by Top 15 honor

ODU's Nissen, Virginia's Staley get the call from the Hall

Inge Nissen
South Carolina coach and Virginia graduate Dawn Staley and former Old Dominion great Inge Nissen are among the class of 2012 slated for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Nissen has spent the last 22 years coaching at Florida International.

Dawn Staley
Staley, a three-time Kodak All-American and two-time ACC and national player of the year, is the only ACC women's player to score more than 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, 700 assists and 400 steals. She led the Cavaliers to three consecutive NCAA Final Fours (1990, 1991, 1992). Her post-college career included three Olympic gold medals and five appearances on the WNBA ALl-Star team.

Nissen helped lead ODU to AIAW championships in 1979 and 1980. She amassed 2,647 points and 1,459 rebounds in her college career. Nissen finished her career at the school's all-time leader in points (2,647) and rebounds (1,459) -- marks that rank her second in the ODU record books today. Her single-game career high of 28 rebounds remains an ODU records as does her 148 free throws made in a single season.

Other members of the class of 2012 are Robin Roberts, Nancy Fahey, Pam McGee and Nikki McCray.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Familiar face returns to ODU as Director of Operations

Old Dominion's new director of basketball operations is an old director of operations.

Sarah Teachey, who served as ODU's first director of basketball operations during the 2005-06 season, and most recently served as the director of marketing with Fresno State athletics where she led the marketing and promotions charge for the Bulldogs 19 Division I sports for three years.

Teachey will work under new Lady Monarch coach Karen Barefoot, who was an assistant at ODU when Teachey held the director of ops position.

Barefoot has also hired assistants Amaka Agugua and Adrienne Goodson with one assistant job still open.

Local Hall of Fame honors for Wendy

Not too long ago Wendy Larry was inducted into her high school Hall of Fame in New Jersey.

Now the former Old Dominion coach, who won her 600th game last season, is part of the fourth class inducted into the Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame. Larry joins Lady Monarch field hockey coach Beth Anders, former Norfolk State athletic director Dick Price, now deceased, Pro Football Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson, former Admirals owner Blake Cullen and ex-NFL great Roger Brown.

The Hampton Roads Sports Hall of Fame is housed in the lobby of Harbor Park in Norfolk. The honorees will be recognized at a banquet at Scope on Oct. 18.

We applaud Wendy for an honor that is long overdue.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

UVa's Imovbioh, Nigeria to skip U19 Worlds

We were really looking forward to seeing Virginia incoming freshman Sarah Imovbioh and her promising Nigerian team compete in the FIBA U19 World Championships set to begin Thursday in Chile. Unfortunately, Nigeria never showed up at the site - apparently due to a lack of finances - so the event with go on with 15 teams instead of 16.

The United States team, featuring former Princess Anne High star and soon-to-be Duke Blue Devil Elizabeth Williams, will open pool play Thursday against Japan. Click here for a preview.

RELATED: Nigeria's light fails to shine

Virginia gets verbal from elite point guard

Virginia's Joanne Boyle Era is off to a rousing start on the recruiting front. ESPN reports that 5-9 point guard Faith Randolph from Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.), the No. 27 player in ESPN's Top 100 for the Class of 2012, has verbally committed to the Cavaliers.

Randolph joins 5-8 guard Raeshaun Gaffney of Fairfield Senior (Ohio) in Virginia's 2012 class so far. Gaffney committed to the Debbie Ryan-led Cavaliers, then re-affirmed her commitment after meeting with the new staff.

Here's how ESPN's Glenn Nelson evaluated Randolph in April after the Blue Chip Center Court Challenge at VCU: "It's difficult not to fall in love with Randolph as both a player and prospect. She is a lightning-fast, shifty point guard who appears somewhat more diminutive than her listed 5-9, but is cut and powerful, able to take and dish a lick. Off the dribble, she doesn't just rely on mesmerizing defenders with a rapid succession of dribble moves -- hers are quick and to the point -- but is among the best in her class at incorporating head and shoulder feints. If her defender retreats, Randolph will just keep claiming space until she gets to the rim; she is also just as likely to leave that defender in her dust. Her jump shot gets truer as the stakes grow. Her most likeable trait is her competitiveness, her willingness and ability to put her team on her back, generate shots with her defense and make or create them." 

Check out our 2012 verbal commitments page for pledges from all the state's Division I colleges.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Portland State coach Murrell out there on her own

Sherri Murrell, Rena Shuman and twins Rylan and Halle
Are we dating ourselves if we bring up Irena Cara's song from "Fame," "Out Here on My Own"?

That's what jumps to mind when we read the interesting story from the Oregonian on Portland State coach Sherri Murrell (rhymes with squirrel), the only publicly gay coach in Division I women's basketball. We assumed there were a lot of others because, well, there are a lot of others. But apparently, Murrell stands alone.

Coming out clearly hasn't hampered Murrell's ability to compete. The Vikings have gone 83-46 in her five seasons and reached the NCAA Tournament in 2010. Last season, Murrell earned Co-Big Sky Coach of the Year honors.

"There are a lot of coaches out there that want to do this," said Murrell, raising twins with her partner Rena Shuman. "But they're just so afraid. I think I can kind of help say, 'Hey, I'm successful. It has not affected my program whatsoever.' "

We look forward to the day when this kind of news isn't news anymore and are hopeful it will come sooner rather than later.

Shanel Harrison gone from Virginia Tech

Citing a violation of team rules, Virginia Tech senior Shanel Harrison has been dismissed from the team, head coach Dennis Wolff announced Tuesday.

A 6-0 guard from Washington, Harrison led the Hokies in scoring (12.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg) in 2010-11. She also made the all-tournament teams at the Caribbean Challenge and the Hilton Garden Hokie Classic, was an ACC Player of the Week and dropped a career-high 27 points on Boston College. Our favorite memory of Harrison last season was her draining a 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds remaining to force overtime against William and Mary. The Hokies went on to win the game; Harrison finished with a then-career-high 25 points.

“We wish Shanel the best as she pursues other opportunities, “ Wolff said in a release that also indicated the school would have no further comment.  

Harrison is the second Tech player with eligibility remaining that will no longer be part of the program. In April, freshman Kyani White transferred to East Carolina; White's father cited concerns over Wolff's coaching style. 

Virginia: Thanksgiving in Hawaii

Virginia will spend Thanksgiving in Honolulu participating in the University of Hawaii's Rainbow Wahine Showdown, an event that also features California, new Cavaliers coach Joanne Boyle's former team.

The tournament actually begins the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, and continues through Nov. 27. We don't know the entire field - last year's event featured eight teams, with each team playing three games. What we do know is that, according to the just-released Texas schedule, the Cavaliers will take on the Longhorns on Nov. 26.

Virginia's other opponents remain a mystery at this point, but we have to believe Cal won't be one of them. I mean, there's no way Boyle would sign off on playing her old team so there?

Off-topic - This week's Sports Illustrated cover

Monday, July 18, 2011

Defense never rests for VCU-bound McRae

Someone forgot to tell incoming VCU freshman Aprill McRae you're not supposed to worry about defense in an all-star game.

Or maybe they did tell her, and McRae simply refused to listen. For it seems there's only one way the 6-3 center from Raleigh's Southeast High knows how to play - even in an event where players would typically prefer to just  run, gun and have fun.

With starters McRae and Richmond-bound Amber Battle helping to lead the way, the East all-stars put the clamps on the West counterparts, holding them without a field goal over the final 4:31 en route to a 66-58 victory at the North Carolina Coaches Association all-star girls basketball game Monday at the Greensboro Coliseum.

McRae made no apologies for the defense-first approach.

"You're not going to walk away from a game saying you didn't play hard defense,'' McRae told the Raleigh News & Observer. "(Southeast High) Coach (Nicole) Meyers won't have any of that. Defense is in our game. It's been drilled in us since freshman year."

That sound OK to you, Beth Cunningham?

Although it clearly wasn't her focus, McRae also contributed seven points. Battle, a 6-3 forward, added three points, four rebounds and two blocks, one of which drove the shooter to the floor.

Sounds like these two are ready for college.

JMU, Radford pick up 2012 verbal commitments

Thanks to the magic of  Twitter - thanks, @MatthewStoss and @NorfolkXpress14 - we learned of two 2012 verbal commitments over the weekend. Robert E. Lee's highly touted point guard Angela Mickens has decided to attend James Madison and Princess Anne High point guard Aisha Foy has agreed to join Radford.

Mickens, who is ranked No. 68 among 2012 players by ESPN, will represent the second player in as many years from the Worldwide Leader's Top 100 to choose JMU. Seton Keough forward Achiri Ade, who will be a Dukes freshman this fall, is No. 82 in ESPN's Class of 2011.

Mickens' decision was hardly a stretch given that, as the Staunton News-Leader points out, her brother Terrell and three cousins will also be playing sports at JMU. Still, Mickens clearly had options, so credit the JMU staff for not taking anything for granted and closing the deal.

"JMU has always made me feel welcome since my freshman year," Mickens said. "The academics are good, which is always the most important thing, and I love Coach (Kenny) Brooks, the coaching staff and the girls. I just love the program."

The early commitment also puts another JMU recruiter in the field - Mickens herself. Top players tend to want to play with each other - call it the AAU culture -  and if JMU is good enough for Mickens, other elite players might find the program worth checking out, too.

Foy led Wilson in scoring (12.5 ppg) as a sophomore before transferring to perennial power Princess Anne. A preseason injury limited her playing time, but she still played a role in the Cavaliers' 31-1 season and Group AAA state title run.

This marks the second straight year Radford has gotten a guard from the reigning Group AAA state champions. Breshara Gordon signed with Radford after helping Lake Taylor claim the 2010 Group AAA crown.

Check out our 2012 verbal commitments page for pledges from all the state's Division I colleges.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lieberman moves to D-League team front office

We already knew Nancy Lieberman wasn't going to be coaching Old Dominion next season. Now it looks as though, at least in the short term, she won't be coaching at all.  Lieberman, who made national headlines - and the playoffs - as the first woman to coach a men's team in the NBA Developmental League, will move from the sideline to the front office for the D-League's Texas Legends. Lieberman said she wanted to spend more time with her son T.J. Cline, a senior in high school.

"I have one son and he has one senior year," Lieberman said. "It's not to say I'll never coach again, because T.J. goes to college in a year, but I felt like this was the right thing to do right now. I don't want to have any regrets as a mom. I want him to look up and see me in the stands."

This is one of the main reasons we felt fairly sure Lieberman wasn't going to wind up as Old Dominion's coach. The timing just wasn't right. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

ODU gets verbal from 1st team all-state guard

UPDATE (July 28) - ESPN raves about new ODU recruit at AAU Nike Nationals

For weeks now, we've been hearing a lot about the recruiting prowess of new Old Dominion coach Karen Barefoot. But it's one thing to hear it from a 49-year-old man like ODU athletics director Wood Selig. It's quite another to hear it from a teenage young lady with game.

Now we've heard it from both. On Friday, the Daily Press reported that Warwick High hotshot LaQuanda Younger has verbally committed to the Lady Monarchs for the 2012-13 season, in large part because of the full-court recruiting press Barefoot applied before the new coach had even settled into her office.

"She actually called me the first day she was here, even before she had her press conference," Younger said. "That was really special. It made me feel really good, like she really wants me. One thing I really like about her is she gets right to the point. She said she wants me to be her scorer. I first met her at a camp at Elon my 9th grade year. I remember she told me then, 'I want you.' She knows what she wants and she knows how to get it."

A Group AAA first-team All-State pick (AP), Younger led the Peninsula District in scoring (20.2), lit up Heritage for 45 points and dropped 40 on Hampton in the district tournament semifinals. She will enter her senior season at Warwick with 1,440 career points.

Younger is the first recruit to publicly declare intentions to join the Lady Monarchs. Can't wait to see who Barefoot reels in next....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Elizabeth Williams preps for world championships

With the U19 World Championships set to being in less than a week in Chile, USA Basketball delivers an interesting interview with soon-to-be Duke star Elizabeth Williams, the consensus high school All-American from Princess Anne High who discusses her skills in juggling, with the trombone and, uh, and....

Oh, yeah. With a basketball. Williams will be blogging on her South America adventure throughout the tournament via the Duke women's basketball website. Click here for the first installment.

The U.S. will begin preliminary round action on Thursday (July 21) against Japan. Nigeria, which features Virginia-bound Sarah Imovbioh, will also be in action Thursday and will take on Australia.

ODU: The Becca Allison update

A roller-coaster tournament for Old Dominion's Becca Allison and Great Britain cruised upward Wednesday - barely - when the team qualified for the final eight in the U20 European A Division Championships in Novi Sad, Serbia.

Allison, who sat out two of her team's first four games and went 0-for-12 from the field in the other two, scored 8 points to help GB stun powerful France 62-50 on Tuesday. But the following day, Great Britain dropped a 70-66 decision to previously winless Netherlands. Allison scored 6 points in the defeat.

The loss left Great Britain needing Italy to defeat Latvia to advance from the qualifying round to the quarterfinals. Italy prevailed 70-61, boosting GB into the final eight of the A Division for the first time. The Brits will take on Russia in Friday's quarterfinals.

Allison is averaging 4.5 points, 2 assists and 1.8 rebounds in the tournament.

Ex-Kentucky Miss Basketball transfers to UVa.

Sarah Beth Barnette, a 6-2 forward who in some respects would seem to be the last person to transfer from Kentucky, is doing just that and is heading for Virginia.

For Barnette, leaving Kentucky is essentially leaving home. The 2010 Kentucky Miss Basketball, was born in Lexington, Kent., the city in which the university. Her parents both went to Kentucky. And she describes herself as a lifelong Wildcats fan who was so sure she wanted to play for UK she verbally committed to the school as a high school sophomore.

But after a freshman season in which Barnette played sparingly, often out of position - in the post as opposed to on the perimeter - and while battling a shoulder injury, well, Charlottesville, here she comes.

"Virginia was everything I've been looking for," Barnette told "It's a beautiful school, a beautiful campus. ... I love the coaching staff there, especially Coach (Joanne) Boyle."

So what happened at Kentucky? That Barnette averaged just 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds per game as a Wildcats freshman may be part of it. But her high school coach at Lexington Christian Academy, Jason Seamands, suggested that it may have been simply a case of struggling to adjust to a big state university after attending a small, Christian private school.

We remember Barnette burying a pair of first-half three-pointers for the Wildcats during their 66-62 overtime victory over Hampton during the NCAA tournament. We were rooting against Barnette that time, but we look forward to watching her knock 'em down for the Cavaliers in the years to come.

Barnette must sit out the 2011-12 season but will have three years of eligibility beginning with the 2012-13 campaign.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Catching up with the Lady Monarch youth at the Norfolk summer league

Tiffany Minor, Brittany Campbell, Shakeva Richards

Caught the summer league at Maury High School yet? (If not, next game is 2:30 on Saturday.) We took a peek last weekend, and that allowed us to catch up with some of the younger Lady Monarchs: freshman Tiffany Minor, sophomore Brittany Campbell and sophomore Shakeva Richards. Here's some tidbits from our conversation with them:

Brittany: I'm healthy. I'm excited. I think it's going to be a good year for us. A lot of opportunity for everybody. I think everybody has a new attitude this year. I've lost some weight, so I can get up and down the floor better.

Brittany on what her new diet doesn't include:  Fried foods.

Brittany on last season: Last year was difficult. There was talk about me redshirting, and then I couldn't because I played in a few games. Right after that I got hurt. It was a rollercoaster ride last year. I've had two stress fractures before, but when I came off them, I could play. In high school I was a dependent player, so I would try to hurry up and come back and play.

Do you miss Indy (her hometown)? I miss my family and friends.

Like Norfolk? The weather is different than home. Wintertime is freezing cold at home. Summer time it doesn't get that hot. Now I'm burning up. I like the area. It's pretty and nice people.

Favorite Colt: Peyton. But he's not my favorite athlete. Dwyane Wade is my favorite athlete.

Shakeva: LeBron is my favorite player.

Tiffany: I used to like LeBron.

Shakeva on last year: It was OK. I wanted to play more. I wanted to win more. I played passively. I'm going to be more aggressive this year.

Shakeva on her 3-point shot: I had it, but I never took it. I'm going to start taking it this year.

Shakeva on fun: Shopping, shopping, shopping. Clothes, shoes, makeup. We'll shop anywhere. Any mall, any place.

On shoes: (Brittany) and me wear the same size (11 or 12), so we share.

Bet you didn't know about Shakeva: I used to be in drama. (That's not surprising, says Brittany.) I was in plays. A lot of plays. No Shakespeare. Mystery plays, scary stuff and comedies. I love being on stage and just doing improv.

I will sing. I don't know if people want to hear it.

Bet you didn't know about Brittany: I was on the swim team in middle school, elementary school. I used to do ballet. I played soccer. I played volleyball. I was a cheerleader.

Bet you didn't know about Tiffany: I'm not as quiet as I seem.

Shakeva on KB (new coach Karen Barefoot): She's brought a lot of energy. I felt like that's what we were lacking on the bench last year.


Brittany: I recently changed to exercise science. I want to do rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Shakeva: I'm doing education. I want to be a middle school teacher and a coach. And maybe one day be a principal.

During the offseason .....

Shakeva: I want to work on my ballhandling. I want to make my shot consistent. And get stronger.

Brittany: I want to continue to get stronger. Rebounding, rebounding. You can never have enough rebounding. And finishing strong in the post. That's definitely what we need this year.

Tiffany: I need to get stronger and be more vocal and get more confident.

Why will this team do well?

Shakeva: We all have positive attitudes and everybody is going to work hard. We're going to be good. Come watch us play and support us.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Get in the game with MI Express

You got game? If so, check out MI Express.

Women interested in trying out should come to the Virginia Beach Field House, 2157 Landstown Road in Virginia Beach on Saturday, July 23 between 2:30 and 3 p.m. That's the time to register with tryouts set for 3 until 5 p.m.

In the past the team of former college players has played has played the Russian Junior National Traveling Squad, Old Dominion, Hampton, Norfolk State, William and Mary, George Mason, James Madison, Longwood, Delaware, American and Pitt, to name a few.

For more info, contact coach Johnny Horton at

Saturday, July 9, 2011

VCU's Q rockin' the Big Apple

The New York Liberty showed some love to former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth, who is contributing some solid reserve minutes for her new team. Big ups to Rams assistant coach Darren Guensch for spreading the link via Twitter.

Of particular interest was the following passage:

She finished high school at the age of 15 and was off to go play for the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams. As a young woman on a college campus, it was overwhelming for Hollingsworth, until she received some advice from one of her coaches. 

“My post coach told me ‘when you step out there, I want you to think of yourself as a woman amongst girls, no matter how old you are,’” Hollingsworth said. “With your presence, you should go out there and have that mentality each and every day. I carried that mentality through college.”

Hmmm.... Wasn't new Old Dominion assistant Amaka Agugua coaching VCU post players back then? Hey Mox, was Q talking about you?

Hollingsworth, who was traded to New York after two seasons with the Minnesota Lynx, is averaging 13 minutes a game and shooting 55 percent from the field for the surging Liberty, winners of four of their last five games.

Friday, July 8, 2011

ODU's Allison ailing at U20 championships

An undisclosed injury - at least no one's disclosed it to us - appears to be hampering Old Dominion's Becca Allison at the U20 European Championships this week in Novi Sad, Serbia.

The Edinburgh Evening News mentioned Allison's injury during its brief report on Great Britain's "desperately disappointing" 39-38 loss to Slovakia in Thursday's tournament opener. Allison logged just 14 minutes in the contest and missed all five of her shots from the field. Allison has sat out her team's two games since - Friday's  71-64 victory over Latvia and Saturday's 81-31 loss to powerful Spain. 

Who's who at the VHSCA All-Star Game

What: VHSCA All-Star Game
When: 6 p.m. Monday, July 11
Where: Christopher Newport University
Complete rosters (Courtesy of the Daily Press)


Taylor Huber, 5-8 G, Patrick Henry - Three-point shooting ace who averaged 21.6 ppg and leaves as her school's all-time leading scorer (1,680 points). The Colonial District player of the year and a first-team All-Central Region selection. College: Utah Valley

Ka'lia Johnson, 5-9 G, Thomas Dale - averaged 24.3 points, 11.4 rebounds and 8.7 assists. Recorded 13 double-doubles and seven triple-doubles. A first-team all-state pick and the Central Region player of the year. School's all-time leading scorer (2,075 points). College: Duke

Andrea Paphites, 5-9 G/F, Princess Anne - Averaged 6.3 ppg on a loaded Cavaliers team that captured the Group AAA state title for the second time in three years. College: USC Aiken

Ashle' Freeman, 5-6 G, Henrico - A first-team All-Capital District and second-team All-Central Region pick. College: Virginia Union.

Candace Brown, 5-8 G, Hampton - A first-team All-Peninsula District pick. College: Hampton. "A powerfully-built, athletic guard with the ability to slash to the basket, finish in traffic and absorb contact. An excellent defender who has the ability to shut down offensive players," Hampton University coach David Six said.

Taylor Jenkins, 5-11 G/F, Page County. A first-team All-Region B selection and a Group A honorable mention all-state pick (VHSCA).

Dionna Scott, 5-10 G/F, Freedom - School's all-time leader in points (1,752), assists (211) and steals (282); helped the Eagles win two VHSL state titles. College - Winston-Salem State

Jasmine Deloatch, 5-11 F/C, Sussex Central - Led the Tigers to their first-ever Group A Division 1 state title game, where she had a game-high 25 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to J.I. Burton.

Kiera Gaines, 5-10 G/F, West Point - A first team Group A all state pick and the state Division I player of the year (VHSCA). Averaged 18.7 ppg and led her team to the Group A state quarterfinals. College: Campbell

Jazmon Gwathmey, 6-2 F, Liberty - 6-2 G Liberty (Va): 2010-11 Virginia High School League Group  A Division 4 Player of the Year after leading Liberty to the state title; Averaged 20.3 ppg, 7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 3.5 spg and 1.7 bpg in the state tournament and scored 26 points and had eight rebounds in the state final; Liberty finished the season 22-5. College: James Madison

Jamara Malone, 5-11 C, Brunswick - A second-team Group AA all-state pick (AP) who averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds a game. Also placed fourth in the Group AA state triple jump event.

Quineshia Leonard, 6-3 F/C, Hampton. - Transferred from Portsmouth's Wilson High for her senior year and averaged 13.7 points for the Crabbers. A second-team All-Peninsula District pick. College: Norfolk State


Sarah Williams, 5-4 G, Patrick Henry - Averaged 19.1 ppg and finished her career with a school-record 1,508 points. Made the Group AAA all-state second team (AP).

Erica Estes, 5-6 G, Turner Ashby. Averaged 12.6 points in helping Turner Ashby advance to the Group AA Division 4 state semifinals. Also an outstanding second baseman in softball. College: James Madison (not on basketball scholarship).

Brianna Mitchell, 5-7 G, Spotswood - A first-team All-Region III pick and second-team Group AA all-state (VHSCA). Also ran the anchor leg of the winning 4x100 relay team at the Group AA state meet.

Raiven Patterson, 5-7 G, Pulaski County - River Ridge District and Region IV Player of the Year who led Pulaski County in points, rebounds, steals and assists. College: Eastern Mennonite

Katie Joe Lester, 5-8 G, Twin Valley - Averaged 24.6 points and 10.4 rebounds  last season and scored 2,112 points in her career. Also won the 2010 Group A state high jump title, earned first-team all-region honors in volleyball and ranked No. 1 in her class academically. College: University of Virginia-Wise

Daquaa Scott, 5-8 F, Robert E. Lee - A second-team Group AA all-state selection (AP) who led Lee to the Division 3 state title game. Also a two-time state track and field champion in the discus and shot put. College: James Madison (track and field scholarship)

Rachel Artrip, 5-11 G/F, Honaker - The Black Diamond District Player of the Year and a first-team All-Region D selection. Also a first-team All-Region D pick in volleyball. College: Concord University

Zora Stephenson, 5-11 F, Oakton - Three-point shooting ace and an all-district and all-region performer who ended her career second in school history in points behind only ex-Duke star Jasmine Thomas. College: Elon

Kylene Culler, 5-10 F, Patrick County. Scored more than 1,400 points and led PC to three state tournament appearances. Is also an outstanding softball player and will attempt to play both at Ferrum.

TiChina Mitchell, 5-9 G/F, Forest Park - Latest in a line of Forest Park stars (Danni Jackson, Monica Wright) who set a school record with 46 points in a win over Hylton. College: College of Central Florida

Maryah Sydnor, 6-1 G/F, Radford - Averaged 26.1 points and 12 rebounds in powering Radford to the Group A Division 2 state title. Set a tournament record by scoring 100 points and draining 36 free throws in the three state playoff games. College: Appalachian State

Destiny Betts, 6-2 F/C, Halifax - The Western Valley District Co-MVP and a first-team All-Northwest Region pick who averaged 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds last season. College: Virginia Union

Note: Although the players listed above are scheduled to appear, some all-stars have skipped the event for various reasons (injury, college summer school, etc.) in previous years.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

VCU picks up 2012 verbal commitment

The trickle of 2012 commitments continues last weekend when Jenice Winter, a 5-10 forward from South Shore High in New York, pledged verbal allegiance to VCU.  The Rams no doubt like Winter because she's an athletic workaholic who has gotten significantly better every year. We like Winter because she loves journalism and dreams of being a sportswriter. Note to Jenice - Unfortunately, there are only about 12 sportswriting jobs left in America. So by all means follow your dreams, but you may want to consider a minor in something like healthcare systems or computer programming, just in case.

Now we're not going to pretend to be recruiting analysts and break down Winters' game - heck, we've never even seen her play. But one way we gauge the quality of a recruit is to look at who else wanted her. According to the New York Post, Winter also had offers from Seton Hall (sorry, Anne Donovan), Delaware (oops, Tina Martin), Wagner and Manhattan. Fairly decent company, we'd say. Any recruiting win over a Big East school has to qualify as a good catch.

Then again, high school resumes are nice but the most important factor in whether Winter will be an collegiate impact player will be how well she develops once she arrives in Richmond. VCU coach Beth Cunningham has an excellent track record in this regard, so while it appears as though the Rams made a good decision, we think Winter did, too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

UVa.'s Shine teachs, learns, grows in Vietnam

Don't know if Chelsea Shine ever complained about the food at the John Paul Jones dining facility, but if she did, we doubt she'll have any more beef with cafeteria chow.

Three weeks of taking meals in Vietnam will have that effect.

"Our motto was, 'Eat first, ask questions later,'" said Shine, one of 62 athletes to take part in the global initiative Coach for College. "I didn't mind the food at all, but the portions were pretty small. We had white rice with every meal, and they called me Miss Soy Sauce because I doused everything … to give it some flavor."

At least we know Shine won't report to workouts overweight. Besides, Shine told the Daily Press that struggling through meals - not to mention rugged living conditions, a mysterious intestinal ailment, the language barrier and - horrors! - shaky Internet connections - were small prices to pay for the rewarding and enlightening experience of exposing the Vietnemese children to the joy of sports and the power of education.

"I feel like I grew up a lot in my ability to relate to people and communicate with them in different ways," Shine said. "It was real humbling experience, to say the least, to see people living off of basically nothing and still being happy...It was an exhausting three weeks. But it was so rewarding and so worth it."

Bet Shine can't wait to tell her Cavaliers teammates all about it, perhaps during a team meal. Hey, Simone, pass the soy sauce.

Radford beefs up post with late addition

Had enough Radford news lately? We haven't, either. So here's the latest from the Highlander Hotline - the addition of 6-2 forward La-She' Walker from Greenbrier East High in West Virginia for the 2011-12 season.

Now we're not sure how Walker, or any incoming freshman for that matter, will fare at the Division I level. But we are sure of this much - this kid is a fast healer. Last July, Walker had ACL surgery. By December, she was back on the court. And in March, she was helping her team to West Virginia's Class AAA state tournament where she had 16 points and 9 rebounds in the state quarterfinals.

“Shay was cleared to play in December, and she wasn’t as good,” Greenbrier East coach Jim Justice said of Walker, who despite the injury was still an honorable mention all-state pick. “But she’s steadily gotten better every game. I promise you some college will be mighty glad to have her.”

The Highlanders will gladly take any help Walker can provide, particularly on the glass. Radford ranked eighth in the nine-team Big South in rebound margin, and the Highlanders' leading returning rebounder (Victoria Hamilton) averaged just 3.7 boards per game.

Walker completes a six-player incoming class for the Highlanders. Other Radford newcomers are junior college forward Tiana Cannon and soon-to-be freshmen Aisha Holmes, Jordynn Gaymon, Kiera McIvor and Ayana Avery. Radford also signed forward Dominique Powell in the early signing period, but Powell is not listed on the Highlanders' 2011-12 roster.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Radford adds familiar assistant

Katarina Williams
Lots of news with assistant coaches and directors of operations these days. The latest? Radford's Katarina Williams, the team's Director of Operations last year, has been promoted to assistant coach under Tajama Abraham Ngongba.

Freshly graduated Jennifer Conrad will be Radford's new Director of Operations. Conrad was team manager last season. Fun fact about Conrad: her late father, Revis Conrad, was head coach of the Kecoughtan High boys basketball team from 1983-99, where he mentored Ngongba's brothers.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

UVa.'s Imovbioh stars for Nigerian U-19 team

Soon-to-be Virginia freshman Sarah Imovbioh's dual-threat talents helped Nigeria's U-19 team to a 3-1 record and a third-place finish at the Reze Basket International tournament last week in France. Imovbioh, a Parade All-American who averaged 29 points and 22 rebounds at St. Anne's-Belfield last season, posted three double-doubles in the four games and averaged 13.3 points and a team-high 9.8 rebounds per contest. She capped her efforts with a game-high 19-point, 10-rebound performance during a 67-57 win over Russia in the third-place game.

Nigeria was also led by guard Promise Amukamara, another Parade All-American and an Arizona State signee who averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game. By the way, Amukamara's brother, Prince, was a star defensive back at Nebraska who in April was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the New York Giants. And Promise's other siblings are named Princess, Peace, Precious and Passionate.

Next up for Nigeria is the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women July 21-31 in Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas, Chile. Nigeria will play out of Group C in the 16-team tournament and will face Australia, Chile and France in pool play.

The United States U19 team, which includes former Princess Anne High star and Duke-bound Elizabeth Williams, is slotted in Group B and will take on Japan, Russia and Argentina in preliminary games.