Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dispatch from Down Under: CNU's Schweers notches first win in Australia, and psst, Happy Birthday, Mom!

LadySwish is thrilled to have former Christopher Newport University legend Chelsie Schweers blogging for us during her season in Australia. Schweers, who happens to be the leading scorer in Virginia women's basketball history, signed with the Toowoomba Mountaineers in April. Here is her third report from Down Under.

By the way, Chelsie would love to have folks follow her at Twitter @chelsieschweers

While I am loving Australia, kicking the season off with three losses was hard. It's a struggle when you are on the losing side and still looking for that first win. You can easily let yourself slide and start thinking negative BUT the great thing about the Lady Mountaineers is that no one takes that attitude. Everyone encourages each other and believes in the team. Because of that attitude and good team plays, we picked up our first win this past weekend against the Gold Coast. 

It was a great team win and a big win for us. Gold Coast is one of the four teams in our bracket that determines whether we make the playoffs or not. I posted a season high with 30 points and 7 assists against Gold Coast. We want to ride that game-winning high into this weekend when we take on Gladstone. It's a great feeling go get that first win, and we will use that momentum going into Saturday's game against Gladstone. Let's go Mountaineers!

I would like to give a very special shoutout to my #1 fan - Happy Birthday, Mom! You are the best! Love you lots!


30 points and 7 assists for Schweers against Gold Coast.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Strictly Division III: with Randolph Macon's Lindsey Sharman

We pride ourselves on trying to keep tabs of the 13 Division I women's basketball programs in the state, -- we do our best -- but there are other women's college ball storylines that rarely get followed. Today we do our part in changing that, adding a new feature that will allow us to take an occasional look at Division II and Division III programs and players from the Commonwealth.

We'll write the stories when we hear about them, but there's only two of us. So we're asking for a hand. If you're a player from one of those schools and would like to talk to us about some aspect of you and your team, we'd love to hear from you (drop us a line at 

We start with a terrific athlete and scholar in Randolph-Macon senior Lindsey Sharman, winner of the ODAC Sportsmanship Award for the 2012-13 season. Sharman was class president at Lynchburg's Brookville High her junior and senior years, was a U.S. Army scholar and was her school's Heisman winner. She lettered in basketball and volleyball and will be starting her senior season this fall at Randolph-Macon.

Sharman on the decision to play D-III.

Growing up on TV I'd watch UNC and other great players. I knew I wasn't 6-foot-8. You don't really know growing up that there is a Division III. In high school I started getting recruited by Division III schools, and I didn't know much about them. I knew I wanted a small school. I wasn't 100 percent sure I wanted to play basketball because I wasn't the star of my team, but it's been incredible. It's been such a great experience, going up against so many girls I knew because I played with them and against them in high school.

Deciding on Randolph-Macon

I knew I needed something small. I never saw myself at Tech or Radford or U.Va. ... I didn't know what I wanted. When you're 18 years old, you don't know what you'll want when you're 20 years old. I was bopping around, waiting. I went on recruiting trips and every time, I thought it didn't feel right. I remember crying to my mom after we would leave places and thinking, 'I don't like it.'

I would talk to my friends who went on to play college basketball, and would ask, 'How do you know? How do you know what the right school is?'  They were like, 'You'll get a feeling.' I was so sick of hearing that.

After leaving Randolph-Macon, everyone was so caring. They had a tradition of excellence I had in high school, and I knew I wanted that in a college. I remember leaving and saying, 'Mom, I have the feeling!'  I couldn't have chosen anything better and it fit me perfectly.

On the demands of D-III ball:

We start playing pickup the second week of classes, and we play all the way until the end of February. We're not here all summer, but we have one of the longest seasons at our school. During the week we lift. The other two days during the week we're supposed to be running and doing individual workouts. Even though we don't have the nicest weight room or a practice facility, we have the demands of a Division I. Our academics are really demanding. At Division I schools, they have tutors; we don't have that. It's up to us. We have study hall for anyone who has under a 2.5 and all freshmen. We have outlets on the bus and everybody brings their homework, especially if we're dealing with a five- or six-hour trip down to Guilford or something.

On the long road trips -- all made via bus. No flights: 

We try to do really long trips over the weekend. We'll leave Friday afternoon. Our longest trip is Emory & Henry, 5 1/2 hours away. We'll try to play them and Guilford on the same weekend. We'll get back at 2 in the morning and the coach yells at us, "Everyone, go to class in the morning!" We've never had a problem with it. Our classes our so small. You can tell if someone is missing, so you really can't miss.

On traveling to a road game and playing shortly after arriving at the gym:

We usually do that with all of our road games. In high school, you have the JV in front of you, so you always have the whole game to sit there and focus. In Division III, sometimes you're running late and traffic's backed up on 95 and we're literally changing and getting taped on the bus. It's a hard mindset to get in sometimes. It's hard to go from sleeping and watching movies to getting up and going to play a game.

The best of times at Macon:

My  freshman year we won ODACs. I haven't had children or been married, but that was one of the best moments of my life. Coming in from  high school, it was a totally different dynamic. I had a 4.0 in high school, then coming here I was almost academically ineligible my freshman year. It wasn't because I was out partying or anything. I didn't know the demands that Randolph-Macon had. I bit off more than I could chew freshman year, taking classes and playing basketball. Time management -- I didn't really have to do that in high school. My freshman year we won ODACs, and it was a whole new experience. It was like all that hard work paid off. I was in the gym every day shooting. We worked so hard in the offseason. We were all crying. I had never had happy tears before.

Ever think why am I doing this?

I was never hurt in high school. Since I've been in college, I've had tons of injuries, freak injuries (she suffered a broken nose and a stress fracture in her foot last season, wearing a boot during the day). Coming back from injuries, you have to get your playing time back. There's days when you want to lay down and take a nap instead of practice. After injuries, you practice so hard and you can't get back in the rotation. It's really hard, and I try to keep in mind I'm only playing for four years and there's life after basketball. It's hard when your parents travel for two hours to watch you play, and you play for three minutes, and there's freshmen starting over top of you.

I love my teammates to death, but it's really hard.

Your vision for your senior year:

This past season we've had one of our worst seasons under our coach (Carroll Lattaye, 30th season) and that's not a record you want to be part of at all. We've been playing really hard in the offseason and pickup looks really good. I want to have a good season. We don't have to win every game, but I want to know we've given our best after every game. ... An ODAC championship would be great to go out on, but I'll just take a great season.

After graduation?

I want to be a physician's assistant. I'm also looking at being a nurse practitioner. I love the idea of working in a hospital because it has that team dynamic to it. ... I want to do something in labor and delivery. I have an internship this summer at VCU in pediatrics.

Ever think about that final game at the end of this season?

I knew going into Division III there would be an end. As much as I know I'm going to a miss it, it's a stresser in your life. It's also a stress reliever but it adds a lot of stress. I wouldn't take back any of the lessons it's taught me, but the not getting a lot of gratification with it all the time, I don't know that I'll miss every dynamic of it. I'll definitely miss having a team and having coaches. I think it will be a happy, bittersweet kind of ending.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A chat with a former Richmond star and ex-ODU assistant about her new head coaching job

If you've never had an Ivy League team to cheer for, there's reason to put on your green for the Big Green of Dartmouth. Former University of Richmond point guard Belle Koclanes -- also an assistant to Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry -- has landed her first head coaching job at Dartmouth.

Koclanes replaces Chris Wielgus, at the helm of Dartmouth for the last 28 years and behind 17 Ivy titles, the last in 2009. The highly energetic Koclanes, who promises to buy some warm clothing (she owns neither boots nor a warm jacket) for her new Hanover, N.H., home, comes in after two years as an assistant at American University and three years with ODU. She's also an Ivy veteran; Koclanes was director of operations at Columbia in 2003-04 prior to being hired as an assistant to Pat Knapp at Penn.
We thank Belle for chatting with LadySwish.

From the nation's capitol to New Hampshire. Wow! Talk about the transition.

It's definitely a change, but a positive change. Hanover, New Hampshire is a small town, which I feel really excited about. The entire community reached out to me and is so warm and welcoming. Everyone is supportive of Dartmouth athletics. It really is a close knit community that I'm looking forward to being a part of. It's very different from Washington, D.C., from Philadelphia, Pa. I think the closest I came to it is down in Norfolk just because of the community support. Now, obviously, Norfolk is a lot bigger. ...

Spiders all-time assist leader
As for that New Hampshire rush hour ...

I was driving from Hanover to Manchester, which is the closest airport. I called my family when I was
flying back to D.C., and I'm looking in my rearview mirror and there's not a car in sight! It was just really a nice peaceful drive. I get in a plane, get to D.C., hop in a cab and it's bumper to bumper with the cabdriver hitting the brake every two minutes. I'm not going to miss that so much.

Talk about the philosophy you want to implement in your first head coaching job.

The first thing that has always been so important to me is creating the culture I envision. As an assistant, you definitely play a role in that, but only to a certain extent, because at the end of the day, it's the head coach's vision that you're on board with.

I want to create my own culture. It's not just my own; it's in accordance with the Dartmouth Athletic Department and also the players and the people I get to work with. Because every team, every player, every year is going to be different. There will always be fundamental values that are the same, but the culture itself is always going to be different because people make culture.

Really what I love about teaching and coaching is building relationships with people. That's what it's about for me. With that said, this is really exciting and I've been able to start building this culture. It started during the interview process when I got to meet them -- an hour with the team.

In that time, I talked to them about culture, and one of the first questions I asked them was, "What are your core values as a group?" There were 10 players in the room -- currently there's 13 -- and I had two phone in from Washington, D.C. where they have internships (the other is in Spain). They couldn't answer my question. Your core values are the oxygen of your program; that's what keeps the blood flowing. That's where we need to start.

If I'm going to be able to inspire you in any way, I need to know you as people. (Koclanes brought crayons and index cards into the interview and inspired players to create their personal "flags.") There's was a white board in the room and I asked, "Who's the artist in the group?" and they all pointed at one of our players who is from Serbia. So Misty gets up to the board, and I ask her to draw three doors for me and she draws three rectangles with little knobs. I joked with her, "Anybody could have done that. The reason I asked for an artist....."

So she got creative with each door. Above each door, I had her write culture, leadership and the third door was hoops. I told them these were three really important topics that I wanted to discuss with them, but I wanted it to be an open dialogue, and I let them pick where they wanted to begin. The first question was, "What is this culture all about?"

I'm glad they started there because that's where you have to start. That's where we got into a conversation about core values. I told them we're going to establish core values right off the bat: respect, attitude and preparation have always been at the core of my being.

A culture has to breathe -- that's core values. And a culture has to speak. So we talked about creating one language for each other, how we're all from different places and we all have different lingos. We talked about how important it is for a culture to build one common language. A culture also acts. We talked about how everything has to tie back to our core values.

I want them to make mistakes. It's the only way they're going to get better. Failure is awesome. We're going to get worse before we get better.

I talked about how a culture has to rest. I understand the academic rigor they're under. Five out of my 10 years coaching I was in the Ivy League, so I have an understanding of what it's like for student-athletes at a high academic level.

On being a team player and her Ivy League experience ....

 I come from a big family. I've always been on a team. That's all I know -- how to sacrifice for others and how to share. I never had my own room until I played professional basketball in Greece.

I've been blessed starting off with Pat Knapp at Penn. When he hired me in 2004, I didn't have any experience coaching. He really did take a chance on me. In the Ivy League, you only have two assistant coaches under you, so those hires are really important. He gave me an opportunity. He taught me all about managing and how to be fair in not only our team but among our staff. He was always trying to get better. Even at his age, he was still learning. He was constantly pushing me to grow in my skills. My first two years I coached the guards, but after a couple years of doing that, he came to me and said, "Belle, it's time for you to coach the post players."

On Wendy Larry and Allison Greene (1990 Dartmouth grad Greene was part of the Search Advisory Committee that picked Koclanes) 

Wendy was my next mentor. It's interesting how people come into your life. I say that about Coach Larry and Allison Greene. Because Allison Greene really played a role in Dartmouth. As a college player at Richmond in the CAA, Old Dominion was dominating. We would try to get close. The closest we came to them was my freshman year. We played them pretty tight. Wendy and Allison always, after every game against Old Dominion, always took an extra minute with me going through the line. Coach Larry always had inspiring words to say to me going through the line. She didn't have to do that. She didn't recruit me. I was a little bitty from New York. I was an opponent. But there was always this mutual respect of player-coach. That's so vivid in my memories.

When Wendy offered me the position, Bob Foley my college coach said, "Belle, you know when you got this job? You got this job when you were a college player. Wendy always respected you and how you carried yourself and how you competed. She remembered that."

I always felt connected to Coach Larry. Coming to Old Dominion, that was my favorite place to play -- the Field House, the environment, plus my older sister played soccer at Old Dominon. So I felt a bond to the place.

When Wendy hired me, that connection was still there. When Wendy called to talk with me about the position, my grandma was very sick. My grandma was my best friend growing up. She had cancer. When Wendy called, it was during my grandma's last days. The very first time she called for my very first official phone interview. It was a Saturday morning and I had driven from Philly to New York the night before to go see Grandma. Wendy and I were supposed to talk at 10 am. I got the call at 4 or 5 in the morning that Grandma had passed. I was with my family, and my whole family knew Wendy was going to call. The very first question Wendy asked was, "How's Grandma?" Of course. Because this is Coach Larry. I told her, and she was wonderful. We had such an incredible conversation that morning unrelated to basketball because Wendy always sees the bigger picture about life, and that's family and that's friends.

I didn't want to leave Old Dominion. I wanted to be with Coach until she retired. I was learning so much from her; she was learning from me. We were doing some phenomenal work as a staff.

From a basketball perspective, Wendy was at her best on the practice court. That was my favorite time. She was in her element teaching. ... I learned so much because I ran some practices at Old Dominion. I did a ton of coaching, and that's with a legend at the helm.

On replacing Wielgus, a fixture at Dartmouth

Being with Wendy when everything happened clearly taught me a lot. I was by Wendy's side when it all happened. It's a different situation here, and I don't know Chris half as well as I know Wendy. I remember talking to Chris after everything happened with Wendy. I have the utmost respect for her and what she's done. For me, coming into this role, it's an opportunity for me to be a part of that tradition. It's not about my coming in and taking over. I'm going to bring a new energy and a new culture and a change, but that's who I am.

I want to bring championships back to the Big Green. I want to be a part of that. It really is about adding to a culture. I have so much respect for Chris and the people and the players and the staffs who came before us.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Getting to know new W&M coach Ed Swanson

We know that Ed Swanson built Sacred Heart into a Northeast Conference power virtually from scratch, racked up more than 400 wins over 23 seasons and seems like a strong choice to get things turned around at William and Mary. But we wanted to know more. So, after a phone visit with Swanson and a chat with one of his former star players, Callan Taylor, here are 25 things to help get acquainted with the Tribe's new coach.

- Swanson's birthday was May 3 (He turned 47).

- His wife, Dr. Marion Swanson (a psychologist) also celebrated a birthday on May 3 (We didn't ask).

- Swanson accepted the William and Mary job on May 3.

- No doubt lots of other big things happened around the country on May 3, but we'll forgive the Swansons if they didn't notice.

- Coaches often encounter some awkward moments - and even some ill will - when they return to their old haunt after taking a different job. But Swanson said he's been blown away but how supportive and encouraging the Sacred Heart folks have been regarding his new adventure.

- It's yet another reason why he wants to make William and Mary a success. "I don't want to let anyone down," he said. "That's really motivating me."

- Naturally there will be a chair for Swanson on the William and Mary bench, but it doesn't sound as though he's really going to need it. "He's always moving up and down, stomping his feet, rubbing his hand through his hair....," Taylor said. "He rarely sits down."

- Come to think of it, Taylor didn't sit much either - the 2012 NEC Player of the Year scored more than 1,800 points for the Pioneers and is Sacred Heart's all-time leading rebounder. She spent the 2012-13 season playing professionally in Finland, a journey she artfully detailed in this personal blog.

- Swanson said his energetic style is by design. "I made a decision 23 years ago that I was going to coach every play," he said. "I think the players take a lead off their coach. So I bring a lot of energy, not just in games but on the practice court."

- Swanson expects similar intensity from his players. Must have said the word "effort" 10 times during our interview. Taylor said it, too, when asked what Swanson loves most in a player. "Hard work really goes a long way with him," she said.

- Clip 'n' save Swanson quote: "We might get beat every once in a while, but we're not going to lose because of effort."

- When he met with the players during the interview process, Swanson said he was struck by how motivated the group was about being at William and Mary. "When I asked why they chose William and Mary, they all perked up. Those kids love that school. There's a real hunger. They want to be part of William and Mary basketball."

- Before the players departed for the break, Swanson sent them off with the following advice: "When we get together again, be in the best possible shape you can be in."

- Actually, was that advice, or a warning?

- A Swanson pet peeve - negative facial expressions from his players when he's chewing them out, er, I mean correcting them in practice. "When he's talking to you, criticizing, even yelling at you - all coaches do that - he just hated facial expressions," Taylor said. "Some of the girls didn't even realize they were doing it. But he didn't like it. So if at all possible, when he's getting on you, keep a blank face and hold it in."

- This doesn't mean he's doesn't want to hear what his players have to say.

- In fact, he'll insist on it. "I tended to internalize everything, keep things to myself, and I could tell that bugged him a little bit because he really wanted to know what was on our minds. So I would say to the players if something's on your mind, don't be afraid to knock on his door, go in there and talk about it."

- But if Swanson delivers one of his vocal quirks, like pronouncing the "o" in sophomore, try not to giggle.

- Or make a facial expression.

Big Red
- Swanson's not afraid to have fun with this players, occasionally even at his own expense. Taylor remembers Swanson secretly dressing up as the school's mascot Big Red to the players and starring in a team promotional video. "Nobody knew until the end of the video when he took the head off," she said.

- So while we don't expect Swanson to be prancing around Zable Stadium like this:

- You never know.

- Finally, when we asked how someone so synonymous with one school will adjust to working at another, Swanson said he works best when he's nervous, uncomfortable.

- It wasn't the answer we were expecting from someone that's been at the same job for 23 years.

- So we pressed further. "I don't know if I have the best answer for you," he said. "Sometimes you just get something in the pit of your stomach that this is the right move for you. I'm sure there's going to be a time when I say, "What did I do?" But each day I get more and more excited."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dispatch from Down Under: CNU's Schweers on her first game and missing Mom

LadySwish is thrilled to have former Christopher Newport University legend Chelsie Schweers blogging for us during her season in Australia. Schweers, who happens to be the leading scorer in Virginia women's basketball history, signed with the Toowoomba Mountaineers in April. Here is her second report from Down Under.

I played my first regular-season game with the Toowoomba Mountaineers this past Friday against the Brisbane Capitals. We led for the majority of the game, but unfortunately we were not able to pull out the win. A few costly mistakes at the end of the game put us down by eight, and the Capitals took the win. 

Overall, it was a good first game for us, and we learned a lot. We are now shifting our focus to getting the win this Friday night against the Mackay Meteors. Mackay won the league last year, so we are expecting a tough game, but I am always up for a challenge! Let's go Mountaineers!

I'm just shy of my 24th birthday and in that time 

I have gone from playing basketball at Hickory High School in Chesapeake (Virginia) to playing for the Lady Captains at Christopher Newport University to playing basketball in Australia. I have been playing basketball since I was 7 years old, and from a very early age, my dream has been to play professional basketball. I didn't know at the time that meant I would have the opportunity to play overseas, first in Greece (2012) and now for the Toowoomba Mountaineers in the land Down Under. 

In all that time, my mother has been my biggest supporter. She has been to more of my games than anyone else and has spent a lot of time on the road and in the sky, either taking me to games and tournaments or following me to a game. This past Mother's Day is the first that I have not spent with my mother, and that is the down side to being so far away. Fortunately, technology has created a wide variety of communication options, and on Mother's Day, thanks to Skype, I was able to spend time with my mom. I hope you were able to do the same and I hope all the moms who have sacrificed so much for their sons or daughters had a GREAT Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

VCU lands point guard from Auburn

VCU has a new point guard, and her name is Chadarryl Clay (love that first name).

Clay spent her freshman year at Auburn -- part of a touted class ranked No. 30 in the country -- but Nell Fortner recruited that class before she stepped down from the Tiger program. Former Georgetown coach Terri Williams-Flournoy (Boo's sis) became coach last season.

Clay announced her decision on Twitter, noting Auburn wasn't a good fit.

Though Clay will have to sit out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules, the news is great for a VCU team whose incoming class is touted as tops in the Atlantic 10 and 38th best in the nation. Comprising that group are Briana Dubose (Bishop McNamara, 1st Team All-WCAC), Monnazjea Finney-Smith (Wilson High, Eastern District Offensive Player of the Year), Ashlee Mitchell (back-to-back Region Player of the Year from Tennessee High), Keira Robinson (South Carolina 2A Player of the Year) and Isis Thorpe (consecutive Berks County Player of the Year from Reading, Pa).

Clay's resume is also loaded with accolades, too. The 5-7 guard from Chattanooga, Tenn., was Division-II AA Miss Basketball her junior and senior years at Girls Preparatory School. Her No. 5 jersey is retired, as Clay led the school to consecutive state titles and was tournament MVP her senior year. ESPN hoopgurlz ranked her No. 77 coming out of high school, the 12th best guard in the nation.

At Auburn, Clay played 32 of 34 games, averaging 3.7 points and had 55 assists for the Tigers, WNIT quarterfinalists who finished 19-15. What also must thrill VCU coach Marlene Stollings: Clay won the scholar athlete award as a freshman. The pre-pharmacy major carried a 3.7 GPA.

We'll be excited to see Clay -- and the others -- in Rams uniforms!

Friday, May 10, 2013

10-second rule gets two thumbs up from coaches

JMU's Kenny Brooks 

The news that the NCAA is closing on finally adopting the 10-second backcourt rule brings to mind the words of the great LeBron James after clinching the 2012 NBA title:

"It's about damn time."

Suffice to say we approve of this message. Having said that, we're not sure that, after an initial adjustment period, this rule will impact the women's game significantly. If a team needs more than 10 seconds to get the ball past halfcourt, that team is probably losing by 30 under any set of rules.

But so much for what we think. Head coaches from around the state are also bullish on the new rule, although Hampton's David Six expressed surprise that the 10-second backcourt rule wasn't accompanied by an increase in the shot clock from 30 seconds to 35.

A sampling of their thoughts (and thanks, coaches, for weighing in):

"Absolutely for the rule. Been lobbying for it for years. Will speed up the game and not let teams hold the ball in the backcourt. The game was like soccer almost. Teams didn't have the panic of the 10-second rule when going against presses. No 10-second rule voided athleticism. So happy. We may press more." - Kenny Brooks, JMU

"I'll be interested to see if they change the shot clock; I would think they would go to that. But certainly for some of the great defensive teams it will be an advantage. We should have a more athletic team this season, so it will be interesting to see what happens when we extend our defense." - David Six, Hampton

Wait, Hampton is going to be more athletic this season?

"I strongly believe the 10-second backcourt rule is needed in our game. To be honest, I'm not sure why our game has been hesitant to implement the rule. This rule change can only improve the pace and flow of the game. At the same time, it will make for more exciting finishes because teams will not be able to hold the ball in the backcourt. It will help with game strategy, decision-making, and the entertainment value of our game. There are too many positives and I am happy to hear our game is moving in this direction." - Mike McGuire, Radford

"Yes, we are in favor. (The) 10-second rule will speed up the game, help with overall tempo. Rewards pressing teams. (A) good move for the growth of our game (from a fan perspective. It improves our product." - Marlene Stollings, VCU

As a defensive coach, I really take pride in ball pressure and turning our opponent over. It will fit our defensive scheme and allow us more possessions. I think fans will enjoy a quicker pace. - Karen Barefoot, Old Dominion

"I think it's a great idea. It should really enhance the women's game by increasing the speed of play and making full-court pressure defenses more viable. It shouldn't affect us at all since we like to play at a very fast pace anyway." - Bill Reinson, Longwood

I am for it. Adds another element to create possessions if you are a good defensive team. Very much a plus for a good defensive team. - Nyla Milleson, George Mason

"I am all for the 10-second rule. I believe it will reward good defensive teams." - Ed Swanson, William and Mary

We'd love to hear from the rest of the coaches around the state. Email us at and we'll add your response.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Down Under report from CNU's Chelsie Schweers, now a LadySwish blogger

LadySwish is thrilled to have former Christopher Newport University legend Chelsie Schweers blogging for us during her season in Australia. Schweers, who happens to be the leading scorer in Virginia women's basketball history, signed with the Toowoomba Mountaineers in April. Here is her first report from Down Under.

 Hey everybody! I got a lot of positive feedback from my blogs while I was playing basketball in Greece so I thought it would be fun to keep them going now that I am in Australia! I have been here just over two weeks and I am having a GREAT time.  When I first found out about an opportunity to play on a team in Australia, I was so excited! I have always wanted to visit Australia and to be given the opportunity to play basketball here is truly a blessing.  

Being on the other side of the world is definitely a new experience. We are 14 hours ahead of the East Coast in the United States, which has taken some getting used to when it comes to communicating back home. While there are so many things that are different, there are also many similarities. We drive on the other side of the road, the steering wheel is on the other side in the car, toilets flush the opposite direction, and although we all speak English, I have struggled with some of the Australian slang.  

The team I am playing for is called the Toowoomba Mountaineers.  We are located in a small town on top of a mountain in Southern Australia. The winter season is approaching and I’m expecting it to be pretty cold the next few months. Fortunately, we are only about an hour from the Gold Coast and Sun Coast, and it doesn't get too cold there, so definitely looking forward to making those trips. They have really nice beaches!

I have played in three scrimmage games since arriving and my team took the win in all three games! My first real game will be on Saturday, May 11 and I am very excited! The Toowoomba Basketball Association and the community have been extremely supportive. They go out of their way each and every day to make sure I am okay and having a great time – of course, how can you not have a great time in Australia!  My teammates are amazing, they are simply the best, and they make me feel so lucky to have landed this opportunity. The whole town has gone above and beyond to make me feel at home.  

I look forward to writing again soon! I appreciate all the love and support I am getting from everyone back home! Go Neers!


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sacred Heart's Swanson to William and Mary?

This much we know for sure - William and Mary has hired its next women's basketball coach. The school has called a press conference for Tuesday morning to introduce the new leader.

Via Twitter, Bret McCormick of All Star Girls Report served up this nugget on who the new coach will be:
Later Sunday, the Connecticut Post also reported that Swanson is heading to Williamsburg, citing "multiple university administrative sources with knowledge of the situation."

Swanson, 46, has amassed a 406-264 record at Sacred Heart, which is located in Fairfield, Conn and plays in the Northeast Conference (NEC). In 14 years in the NEC, Swanson's Pioneers never finished below third place in the regular season standings and captured three conference tournament titles, The most recent one came in 2012, capping a season in which Swanson bagged his fourth NEC Coach of the Year award. The Pioneers followed that up with a 22-11 record in 2012-13 and a spot in the WNIT.

If the Swanson's the guy, he will be tasked with stabilizing a program that posted single-digit victory totals in two of the last three seasons for former coach Debbie Taylor - and just 10 in the other campaign - and hasn't finished with a winning record since 2006-07. Swanson's seen worse, though - the team he inherited at Sacred Heart years ago was coming off a 4-21 season.