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The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

November 20, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Gonzaga, Seattle U set for holiday tournaments; WNBA moves and other hoop notes

SummittChamp.jpgGonzaga (4-0) is in the midst of playing five games in seven days. Before you empathize, consider the Zags continue that stretch Tuesday in Puerto Vallarta.

GU is in Mexico for the 2012 Hardwood Tournament of Hope. It opens with a matchup against Missouri State (1-1) at 6:30 pm (PST) on Tuesday. The Zags lost 85-66 to the Bears in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament’s second-round in 2005.

“It’s awesome to get out and get in the sun,” GU junior G Haiden Palmer told The Spokesman-Review prior to leaving. Palmer, a native Californian, has never been to Mexico. “We’re playing some great teams down there, too, so we’re trying to handle business.”

Currently off to its best start since 2008, Gonzaga could play No. 7 Louisville (3-0) on Wednesday if both advance. The schools faced each other in the 2011 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, the Zags winning 76-69 to advance to its first-ever Elite Eight.

The other teams in the tournament are Oregon State (2-1), UC Santa Barbara (1-2), Mississippi State (2-1) and Winthrop (1-1). All games will be played at the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center. Click here for the official bracket.

HOSTING TURKEY: Seattle University is hosting its third annual Washington Dental Service Thanksgiving Tournament. And there aren’t any teams from Ohio in the bracket, so SU may find a way to win.

The Redhawks (0-3) lost their previous two Thanksgiving Tournament championship games to Bowling Green (2010) and Akron (2011). SU was down by one point at the half against Akron before losing 85-74.

Seattle U opens against Portland (1-3) on Friday at 8pm at Connolly Center. The Redhawks have a three-game win streak against the Pilots. SU beat PU 69-55 in December 2011 at home.

Boston College (2-2) and Sacred Heart (1-2) play in the opening game on Friday at 6 pm. Saturday’s consolation game is at 6 pm while the championship is slated for 8 pm. SU has never played BCU or SHU in its program history.

ROAD DAWGS: Washington (2-1) departed early Tuesday for its game at Wisconsin (2-1) on Wednesday. The Huskies are 2-1 all-time against the Badgers, last winning 81-69 at home in 2002.

RANK ‘EM: The national polls are out and Stanford (4-0) is on top of both for the first time since March 2005. The Cards secured the spot after snapping Baylor’s 42-game win streak with a 71-69 victory in Hawaii.

Three Pac-12 teams are ranked with No. 12 California (2-0) staying put and UCLA (2-0) jumping in at No. 19 after upsetting then-No. 11 Oklahoma (2-1). That’s a first for the conference since November 2011. The last time the Pac-12 had teams ranked at the end of the regular-season was 2008.

My AP entry is below.

1 Stanford (5-0)
2 Baylor (4-1)
3 Duke (2-0)
4 Connecticut (2-0)
5 Penn State (3-0)
6 Kentucky (2-1)
7 Notre Dame (2-0)
8 Maryland (2-1)
9 Louisville (3-0)
10 Georgia (4-0)
11 California (2-0)
12 Kansas (3-0)
13 Ohio State (2-1)
14 North Carolina (4-0)
15 Oklahoma (2-1)
16 Vanderbilt (3-1)
17 Tennessee (3-1)
18 Texas (2-0)
19 Purdue (2-0)
20 Nebraska (3-1)
21 Delaware (1-2)
22 Georgetown (3-1)
23 Georgia Tech (2-1)
24 UCLA (2-0)
25 Gonzaga (4-0)

TV ALERT: No. 19 UCLA hosts No. 5 Notre Dame at noon (PST) Friday on the Pac-12 Network.

BAD TIMING: There’s a petition to name the NCAA-Division I championship trophy after legendary coach Pat Summitt. I think it’s a great movement but not as a campaign to raise awareness for those struggling with early onset Alzheimer’s like Summitt.

I’m thinking more to the future of women’s basketball and comparing the movement to what the name Vince Lombardi does as an attachment to the Super Bowl trophy. The Summitt trophy, or however it’s coined, could help retain the history of the sport.

Summitt is one of the beginning faces of the women’s game and of those, the most successful. Her tale links you through volunteer coaching, Title IX, the Olympics, discrimination (Don Imus), television deals, million-dollar contracts and wins. In fact, the most wins in college hoops — male or female.

Like Lombardi and the ‘ol days of NFL football, these stories/people would never be forgotten and can be reminisced at the appropriate time — the NCAA Final Four weekend.

Only when the movement was widely announced, one of Tennessee’s biggest stars, WNBA All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw, was arrested for allegedly attacking her former girlfriend Jennifer Lacy. Lacy played for the Tulsa Shock last season.

Neither are hurt. Holdsclaw has been released on $100,000 bond and could face jail time for aggravated assault. Details are still being uncovered in the case.

Holdsclaw’s actions shifted the focus, but many don’t believe the NCAA would consider the petition. Megan Netland spearheaded the idea and has collected 15,000 signatures online as of Tuesday afternoon. There’s no magic number of signatures needed, but Netland will present a list to the NCAA at the end of the college regular-season in hopes the 2013 trophy bares the new name.

Netland is a site manager for BDC Management in Minneapolis and longtime Minnesota Lynx fan.

AWARD WINNER: Former Garfield HS legend Joyce Walker was awarded the University of Phoenix Alumni Community Service Award for her participation and dedication to her community. Walker is a former Harlem Globe Trotter who now spends her time teaching life skills to underprivileged children in her community through the game of basketball.

WNBA ROUNDUP: Storm F Tina Thompson packed her bags for Korea last week. Thompson said in a Twitter exchange that she returned to overseas play after a short absence because of the lucrative contract and lack of airline travel in the league.

A 16-year WNBA vet, Thompson took her son with her and plans to return to America in March.

Thompson suffered from a knee injury toward the end of the Storm season and was uncertain how it would heal. She’s still noncommittal about returning for a 17th WNBA season, according to reports. Thompson does have a year remaining with the Storm, however.

Meanwhile the Connecticut Sun fired longtime coach Mike Thibault. He was widely successful, compiling a 181-125 record since 2003. Thibault is a two-time WNBA Coach of the Year and won the Eastern Conference championship twice.

But with all of the roster overhauls, talent and youth his teams had over the years, none won a WNBA championship. That’s the sole point in pro sports, which was stated as a reason for the change in coaching direction.

A search to fill the position has begun. No word on whether Storm assistant coach Jenny Boucek is a candidate. She was a head coach for the defunct Sacramento Monarchs from 2006-07, compiling a 40-41 record.

*PHOTO CREDIT: Legendary coach Pat Summitt waves a net after winning a title by The Associated Press

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