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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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Inclusive candidates for Borton’s replacement

 

 

The news wasn’t even an hour old before a local daily newspaper posted on their website a list of possible candidates to succeed Pam Borton as Minnesota women’s basketball coach. Not one, however, of the eight current head coaches and six assistant coaches suggested for the position was of color. The Gophers probably hadn’t gotten back in town after last Thursday’s loss at South Dakota State before Minnesota AD Norwood Teague simply inserted the final date on Borton’s “Dear Jane” dismissal letter — the same type letter that former coach Tubby Smith received last year. Every time I saw Teague at a Gopher game during the season, he looked like he was just counting days, hours and minutes before he could zap her out. The former coach had been on shaky ground since last season. Continue Reading →

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Dallas here we come!

It’s all set — the NCAA Men’s Final Four in North Texas this weekend features the best that college basketball has to offer. The Final Four is one of the most anticipated events of the year in college basketball. The East, South, Midwest and West region champions are headed to Arlington, Texas. All four teams, champions of their respective regions — No.1 Florida, Wisconsin, Connecticut and pre-season No.1 Kentucky — have won four in a row in the tournament to reach the Final Four, and all four teams believe they can win it. Let’s break down the finalists. Continue Reading →

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March madness continues

 

 

The National Invitational Tournament (NIT) has a rich storied history dating back to pre-World War II days. The Women’s NIT since 1998 has tradition as well — just not as long as the men’s. However, present-day hoops fans and snobbish media types give both the Rodney Dangerfield treatment:

No respect for either of them. While there are those who only see one tournament, and while the men’s NCAA annually gets marathon King Kong coverage and barely Timberbell-like coverage on the women’s side, this reporter gives four-fold attention to the two bigger tournaments, as well as the NIT and WNIT. Both men and women Gopher squads this week are in their respective NIT sweet 16 — the men play Southern Mississippi Tuesday at Williams Arena, and the women go to South Dakota State on Thursday. Continue Reading →

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NCAA shot still pending for Gophers women (updated)

 

INDIANAPOLIS — The waiting game is now underway. Minnesota (20-12) is .500 (1-1) thus far this post season. The women’s basketball team will know this Monday whether or not their proverbial “body of work” has earned them their first NCAA at-large berth since 2009. Nearly everyone who the MSR talked to here in Indianapolis last week thinks they have:

“I think Minnesota deserves to be in the NCAA Tournament,” says Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, whose league tourney champion Huskers twice defeated the Gophers this season, including a 13-point win in the Big Ten quarterfinals March 7. “With the strength of our league and their RPI (38), I think they need to be in the NCAA Tournament.”

The Gophers are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a first-round overtime win after being down 16 points in the second half over Wisconsin. Continue Reading →

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Can a high-tech thermostat save money and energy?

By Roddy Scheer 

and Doug Moss

Contributing Writers

 

 

Spending $200 or more to replace that older, still functioning thermostat with a new whiz-bang “smart” variety might seem like a waste of money, but it can be one of the best small investments a homeowner can make, given the potential for energy and cost savings down the line. The coolest of the bunch of new smart thermostats, the Nest, was created by former Apple employees who had been instrumental in designing the original iPod and iPhone years earlier. This simple looking round thermostat is reminiscent of old-school thermostats that one would manually adjust by turning the temperature dial. But the auto-awake feature that turns on the bright blue digital display when someone walks nearby gives the Nest away as an ultra-modern piece of high-tech gadgetry. The Nest’s software “learns” the habits in a given space by logging when inhabitants tend to be home and awake and noting when they tend to turn up or down the heat — and then sets a heating/cooling schedule accordingly. Continue Reading →

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Coaches, teammates help Texas native adjust to North Country

 

 

 

 

 

 
Spotlight on the Gophers 100

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman Gopher basketball guard Stabresa McDaniel

 

Stabresa McDaniel is used to getting “the most attention” as one of six siblings in her family. “I actually like being the youngest,” she admits. “My older siblings say I’m spoiled — I get away with a lot of things.”

Leaving both the Lone Star State and her family hasn’t been as hard as one might expect for the youngest McDaniel. Continue Reading →

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Large gaps in Black-White grad rates persist among college football bowl teams

Our own U of M remains among the worst
 
There are 34 NCAA-sanctioned college football bowls — a total of 70 schools, including Minnesota, who earlier this month accepted their second consecutive Texas Bowl invitation. All but two of the 34 bowls are corporately named, including five restaurants, two credit cards, two auto parts stores, two by the same U.S-based television brand, one hotel, one cruise line, one junk-food company, one insurance company, one mortgage company, one on-line tax-preparation software company and one athletic apparel company. Only a pear tree-bound partridge is missing. Meanwhile, what sports fanatics and their cosigning media lackeys don’t endlessly talk about is the poor academic records of most of the teams examined by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) in the University of Central

Florida’s annual academic progress report on the bowl-bound teams.

“The substantial gap between White and African-American football student-athletes remained large for the 70 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) eligible schools,” wrote TIDES Director Richard Lapchick in his December 9 “Keeping Score When It Counts” report. This includes our state’s only FBS school, the University of Minnesota, which is consistently among college football’s worst in graduating Black players. Continue Reading →

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One Black coach, a few Black players reach NCAA women’s volleyball playoffs

 

 

 

Each of the four teams that played in the NCAA first- and second-round volleyball matches hosted last weekend by the University of Minnesota had at least one player of color: Cheyanne James (Radford), Alexis Austin (Colorado), Victoria Hurtt and Erin Taylor (Iowa State), and two Puerto Rico-born players: Iowa State’s Neira Ortiz Ruiz and the Gophers’ Daly Santana. James was second on her squad in kills — one of a school-record five players receiving all-conference honors. Hurtt thrice led Iowa State with 20-plus kills. Colorado Coach Liz Kritza called the sophomore Austin “team-oriented.”

While seeing a low single-digit number of players of color at a volleyball match, even a post-season match, wasn’t that surprising, discovering that one of the schools was coached by a Black female was a surprise, especially since, unlike the other three schools, her photo was not included in her school’s pre-game notes. Marci Jenkins last weekend completed her sixth season at Radford (Va.) University, which won the Big South conference this year. Continue Reading →

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Spotlight on the Gophers 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. Beginning this week and throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshmen soccer players Simone Kolander and Rashida Beal

Soccer is an always-in-motion game, demanding tip-top conditioning from its players.  But it is also a low-scoring game. It wasn’t a “Rainy Night in Georgia” but rather a cold, rainy Friday night in October at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium, the home of the Gophers’ women soccer team, better known as “the Robbie” on Minnesota’s St. Paul Campus. Continue Reading →

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