Lost in women’s basketball’s top program’s charted flights, packed houses, and coaches with million-dollar paychecks are some serious inequities still happening in the game. No. 4 Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer mentioned a movement to cut scholarships to balance athletic department budgets despite the constant injury report showing women’s basketball needs its reserves.
“Injuries, unfortunately, are a really big part of the season and our game,” said VanDerveer, who was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame last summer. She spoke via the Pac-12’s inaugural conference call where nearly every coach mentioned a significant injury suffered this year. “There’s some legislation viewing the possibility of cutting scholarships for women. That would be a really big mistake when I look at the numbers of injuries throughout the conference with all of these players. I hope we’re able to keep our 15 scholarships.”
The NCAA’s Resource Allocation Working Group, an offshoot of the summit conducted by NCAA president Mark Emmert last August, finalized a list of proposals. It will be evaluated by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors on Jan. 14 in Indianapolis at the governing body’s annual convention, where the proposals are expected to pass.
Women’s basketball scholarships would be cut from 15 to 13 and there wouldn’t be any more trips like the one Washington took to Scandinavia, although some of the expenses were offset by boosters.
This weekend, the inequity is being shown in Seattle University’s 2nd Annual Washington Delta Dental Holiday Hoops Tournament. Not to put a damper on a well-done tournament, but the SU men plays majority of its schedule at KeyArena and the women get about three matchups annually at the storied facility.
Redhawks coach Joan Bonvicini said she preferred her team play at the 1,000-seat Connolly Center for its intimate setting and because, frankly, SU averages about 400 people. That barely outnumbers the staff for a 9,686-seat configured KeyArena.
Still, shouldn’t the playing field in some way be equal? Especially to help recruiting on the women’s side as the school becomes NCAA-tournament eligible next season?
Guess the Holiday Hoops Tournament is a start.
SU (6-6) closes out 2011 play against St. Francis (5-5) at 3:15 on Thursday while Eastern Michigan (6-4) tips-off against Saint Louis (4-6) at 1 p.m. The Billikens are coached by former Washington assistant coach Shimmy Gray-Miller, who also was on Arizona’s bench when Bonvicini led the Wildcats.
Gray-Miller knows about filling up a large facility, doing so with the new Chaifetz Arena (10,600-seat capacity). The Bills had a 70 percent increase in attendance last season compared to 2007-08.
Meanwhile the remaining in-state schools have descended upon Oregon to begin respective conference play. Gonzaga (10-2) plays at Portland (7-7) at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Zags are in pursuit of a second consecutive undefeated West Coast Conference season and eighth overall WCC title.
Washington (8-2) takes its five-game win streak to Oregon State (9-2). Coach Kevin McGuff had undefeated seasons while guiding his former Xavier through the Atlantic-10 the past two years. Well, the Beavers defeated the Huskies at home last year and are itching to be the ones to snap UW’s new-found winning ways. In Eugene, Washington State (6-6) is at the new Mathew Knight Arena against host Oregon (8-4).
It’s a race for second place in the Pac-12 as Stanford (9-1) is clearly a favorite for a third consecutive undefeated season in league play. There are six new coaches and two new teams in the inaugural run of the Pac-12.
Here’s a look at my view of every team and a feature on Washington PG Jazmine Davis.
For the remaining Pac-12 games, click here.
Nationally, there’s been another upset. No. 6 Kentucky (11-2) lost 70-58 to Middle Tennessee on Wednesday. Icelyn Elie scored 23 points and Ebony Rowe added 21 with 12 rebounds for MTU (9-5).
On television, continue to click here for the latest games broadcasted in your area. The Arizona (11-1)-Arizona State (9-2) rivalry will air on ROOT Sports at 11 am (PST) on Saturday. But the ESPN networks won’t broadcast another game until NC State (8-3) at No. 12 Miami (10-2) on ESPNU on Jan. 5, 2012.