Penn State women’s basketball team the top seed in tourney



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Penn State will be the top overall seed in this week’s Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament in Indianapolis. The four-day conference tournament starts Thursday.

It is the school’s sixth Big Ten regular season title and its first since 2003-04. It also is the first under Coquese Washington. “Last year we surprised people,” the fifth-year head coach said of the Lady Lions’ runners-up finish in the 2011 tourney. “We snuck up on some people.”

This season, however, the team was expected to do well — Penn State is second in the Big Ten in scoring (75.8 ppg), and leads the league with a plus-15.3 scoring margin: “We’re not going to surprise people with how we play, with our style of [play and] with our talent level,” noted Washington before the season.

In 17 tournament championships, the top seed has won five, including two of the last three.

As Penn State most likely will get a NCAA bid soon, Minnesota, the eighth seed, must win out to guarantee them a post-season shot. This is a tall order indeed, considering the Gophers (6-10, 14-16 overall) would have to win all four tourney games, beginning with Thursday’s game against No. 9 Wisconsin — the winner plays Penn State on Friday, who defeated U-M Sunday, and including the Big Ten finals next Sunday, March 4, to assured them a slot.


USA women’s Olympic team nearly set

The 21 finalists recently named for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team include four Minnesota Lynx players: Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen. With the exception of Baylor center Brittney Griner, the 21 remaining players are all in the WNBA.

“I’m anxious to get the team down to 12,” which is the final roster for the London Summer Olympics held July 28 — August 12, says USA Coach Geno Auriemma.

All player selections are done by the USA Basketball Women’s Team Player Selection Committee — Hall of Famer Teresa Edwards and WNBA Basketball Operations and Player Relations Chief Renee Brown are on the five-person committee.

“I want players that have won championships whether it be in college, whether it be overseas, the WNBA, World Championships, Olympics… I want players that are used to winning, know what it takes to win and are prepared to do whatever it takes,” surmises Auriemma.


Diversity tracking

The Black Coaches & Administrators (BCA) announced last week that a Men’s Basketball Hiring Report Card will be released this fall.

It will look at the current trends relevant to search processes and hiring practices at NCAA Division I schools, as well as hires for the 2012 hiring cycle, which will start soon, says a BCA press release.

The report card, in collaboration with Indiana University School of Journalism and the National Sports Journalism Center, will join the BCA’s hiring report cards for college football and women’s basketball.


Diversity tracking 2

The 2012 Achieving Coaching Excellence (ACE) Program will be held June 7-10 in Indianapolis.

The NCAA and the BCA are partners in the ACE program, which is designed to provide a professional development opportunity for current college men’s and women’s college basketball coaches of color, to prepare them for future head coaching opportunities.


I wonder…

If Jim Tressel was Black, would he have gotten a newly created, $200,000-a-year job at University of Akron?

Tressel, who was forced to resign last spring as Ohio State football coach for lying to NCAA investigators in a cash-for-tattoos scandal involving several of his players, and put the school on probation as a result, is banned from college coaching for five years. But now he gets to work with Akron’s students, alumni and community organizations, the school announced earlier in February.


Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to