Region Roundball Review
September, 2001
News & Updates
    
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Welcome to the news area of the Region Roundball Review. This page will be updated as information becomes available. If you have any news about girls basketball in the Region or around the State, please e-mail us with your information and we will include it here. Please note that not all links shown here will stay active indefinitely. Many links are to daily on-line publications that change or remove links from their sites on a daily basis. For your convenience, you can use the calendar at the right to access news for a particular day.

September, 2001
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9/8 -  NCAA Quiet Period ends
9/9 -   NCAA Contact Period begins (home visits may begin)
9/11 -   Registration deadline for October 13 SAT
9/29 -   NCAA Contact Period ends (extended to 10/3/01)

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News thru Thursday, September 27

          


Cathedral's Jessica Wright takes it in for two at the 3A state championship last March.  Wright has committed to Illinois.  (Photo by the RRR)

Three more Indiana seniors have finalized their college plans.
   

Jessica Wright of two-time 3A state champion Indianapolis Cathedral has committed to Illinois.  The 6'0 guard/forward made it official this week, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.  Wright averaged 11.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.3 steals last season and was the third leading scorer for the Fighting Irish as a junior.  Wright, ranked a national Top 50 player by SchoolSports.com, is the third 2002 recruit for head coach Theresa Grentz, who endured some controversy in her program recently with the departure of leading scorer and Big Ten MVP candidate Allison Curtin to the University of Tulsa, the second player to leave last season's 17-16 team.   Wright will face teammate Sharika Webb and Purdue when the Illini face off with the Boilermakers over the next four years in the Big Ten.
   
Whiteland senior Megan Liffick, who is set to break the Johnson County scoring record this season, has committed to Evansville University.  The 5'11 guard averaged 22.9 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game as a junior.  She has started and scored in double figures in every varsity game throughout her high school career.  Liffick will join Evansville commits Courtney Veach and Jessica Stewart, both seniors at  Rockville, on the Aces roster next season.
   
Decatur Central senior Dana Collins has committed to first year head coach Tracy Roller of Ball State.  Collins, a 5'5 point guard, was an integral part of the Hawk lineup which garnered a No. 10 state ranking by Sagarin last season against some of the toughest competition in the state.  Collins, who is known for her feisty and heads-up play, also considered Bowling Green and the University of Denver, among others, as college choices.


Some news that could affect the recruiting process for seniors:  According to the WBCA website, the NCAA has granted a blanket waiver to the contact period for all Division I Women's Basketball programs in light of the tragic events that occurred on September 11, 2001. The additional extension will begin Sunday, September 30 and end on Wednesday, October 3, 2001.


Folks, we are getting ever so close to the start of the practice season (18 days as of today), and it will be just weeks before all of the preseason magazines and team previews on the web are ready for digesting.  E. T. Pearl's Basketball Corner has gotten a jump on the season by posting some of the boys and girls schedules for 2001-02.  According to Earl, about half of the On the Corner teams and about a third of the In the Neighborhood teams have complete schedules listed.  Check it out.


I took us awhile, but we just found some photos on Ed Robinson's Southern Indiana High School Basketball website from the Junior-Senior Indiana All-Star games this summer.  (Scroll down to news of 7/23/01.)  Lots of photos there, including shots of the Region's Jenny DeMuth (Indiana/Highland), Alex Webster (Crown Point) and Lauren Bechtold (Hebron).



Triton's Ashli Senff (left) plays keep away at the 1A state finals last season.  Senff will be the focus of the Trojan defense next season.  (Photo by the RRR)

Triton junior Ashley Senff is profiled in the South Bend Tribune for her positive impact on a number of Trojan teams during her high school career, including two straight 1A girls basketball championship titles.  Senff is currently leading her school's volleyball efforts with a No. 8 ranking in 2A.  Triton moved up in class this season and will raise the level of competition in a 2A basketball sectional lineup that already includes Bremen, Glenn, Jimtown, LaVille and North Judson.  Senff (16.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg) will play an even bigger role for the Trojans this season, as Triton loses a solid senior core (38 ppg)  from last season, which included post standout Elizabeth Salyer (Glen Oaks CC) and seven others.


Gary Roosevelt coach Lawrence Robertson submitted his resignation last week, leaving the Panthers without a coach just several weeks before the practice season begins.  The search is on for a coach with hopes of filling the position soon.
   
Knox coach Blaine Conley has resigned as head coach of the Redskins.  A recommendation for a replacement has been submitted to the School Board for approval, however, no official announcement has been made yet as to who that replacement is.
   
West Washington
has named its new girls basketball coach.  According to the Seymour Tribune, 1987 Seymour grad Brad Gossett is the new girls coach for the Mustangs.  Gossett has served as a varsity assistant coach at Seymour for the past three years.
   
A new teacher at Waldron, John Hall, has been named the new varsity girls coach there.  Hall replaces former head coach Jennifer Robinson.
   
According to the Corydon Democrat, Crawford County has hired Hal Pearson as its new varsity head coach.  Pearson, who comes from North Harrison after a five-year frosh and JV coaching stint, is a Crawford County alum.  He replaces three-year coach Larry Eastridge.


Region fans will be interested to know that former Lake Central standout Leslie Rossa (Butler - basketball/softball) will be an assistant coach for the Indians and head coach Tom Megyesi this season.  Rossa was a member of the legendary Lake Central team that made two consecutive trips to the Final Four in the mid-nineties, bringing home the hardware on the first go-round during a blinding snow storm in 1994.  In 1995,  East Chicago (Monica Maxwell, Tennille Adams, Cristalle Shelton, Janine Moore) and Lake Central (Rossa, Kristina Divjak, Kelly Komara, Jessica Mitchuson) were ranked No. 1 and No. 3 in the state, respectively.  The two played each other in a regular season game that drew 7,100 fans to EC in the dead of winter.  LC lost that game, propelling the Cardinals to a No. 1 national ranking by USA Today, but the Indians got their revenge in the end by outlasting EC in a hard-fought regional final.  For those of you who would like to relive a blast from the past, we've dug up a few articles from "the game" in that legendary 1995 regional:
   
Today's girls regional at Gary will end an era - The Times
Words don't do this one justice - The Times
Lake Central wins THE game - The Times


Former Wheeler coach Dennis Spoor, who left the Bearcats program one year ago for family reasons, has stepped back onto the coaching sidelines, this time at the college level.  According to The Times, Spoor will be the new head coach for the Indiana University Northwest RedHawks.  Spoor will take over after the departure of Randy Nissen, who led the NAIA program for two years.  The team's first tryout session will be on Sunday from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the new IUN Savannah Center.


The Notre Dame women's website is featuring the Irish season preview for the 2001-02 season.  Everyone will be watching to see if the Irish will still be near the top of the heap with the loss of senior post Ruth Riley (North Miami) and point Niele Ivey (Indiana Fever).


We've discovered another women's college message board to add to our College Message Board Directory (found on our Message Board Navigator).  The ESPN Women's College Basketball Message Board seems like a pretty active site, with lots of college cyberspace scuttlebutt.  Be warned that this board runs the gamut in topics, sometimes outside of the real of women's college basketball.  Also, remember to believe about half of what you read on these boards!


The Franklin County Daily Journal continues with the discussion of summer participation due to the new IHSAA rules.  Comments from coaches and athletic directors at Center Grove, Whiteland and Franklin are included.


Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star reports that Indianapolis Fever guard Stephanie McCarty (Purdue/Seeger) recently had surgery to clear cartilage in her right knee and tighten ligaments in her left ankle.  McKee also reports that McCarty will be an assistant coach at Lafayette Jeff this season.  The Bronchos will be looking to fill the graduation gaps left by the Division I services of forward Julie Shirley (Evansville) and point guard Nikki Perkins (Cleveland State); however returning junior Liz Honegger (5'11 F) will continue to provide firepower down low for Jeff this season.


Miami Sol's Ruth Riley (Notre Dame/North Miami) recently made a visit to a Granger elementary school.  The visit was described in the South Bend Tribune.


News thru Thursday, September 20

          

After last week's unforgettable events, I've had a bit of a hard time getting jump-started on news for the RRR these past few days.  After being glued to the television as events unfolded on CNN for nearly five days straight, high school basketball and just about everything else that is part of everyday life seem so trivial and unimportant.  But thinking that in some small way I'd be contributing to the cause of getting our country back up off the canvas by continuing on with "normal" activity, there were the constant reminders.  Every time I started scanning the Internet for the latest girls and women's basketball news, I kept getting sidetracked by coverage of the terrorist attacks.  Every sports site, message board and online newspaper is filled with stories and thoughts about last week's events and what is to come as a result.  This tragedy has been so far-reaching in a first-person context.  You would be amazed at the number of Indiana papers that make reference to former community members who are still missing in the World Trade Center rubble.  From Warsaw to Tell City, the four separate acts of hatred on September 11 are extremely palpable, right in our own backyards.
   
But what makes this country and humankind around the world so incredible is that those four acts of evil have spawned millions upon millions of acts of goodness.  (To see for yourself how great the outpouring of emotional support has been around the world, be sure to visit the "Thank You" pictorial that I found linked at the UConn women's basketball message board.  It will lift your spirits!)  There is no question that our country is staggering to get back on its feet, but to a person, we are a strong people and will recover.  
   
Every young lady who plays the game in Indiana will be forever changed by what happened last week, just like the rest of us.  Never before in human history has such a large number of people witnessed world-changing events as they took place.  The grainy black & white footage of the Pearl Harbor attack simply cannot evoke the same kind of horror we all felt as we watched the WTC tumble to the ground in living color.  One can only imagine the impact this will have on our daughters' generation at such an impressionable age.  I don't think that our young ladies of the game, or any of us, will ever listen to the Star Spangled Banner in the same way again as games begin around the state this season.
  
With that said, thanks for reading through my personal comments on these world events.  I didn't really think we could continue on at the RRR without acknowledging what is going on outside the limited focus of our efforts here at the RRR.  However, we also bring you a few items that are sports-related with regard to last week's events:
   
Hatred finds new meaning in sports and life - Elkhart Truth
Possibility of war hits too close to home - Indianapolis Star editorial
Rebecca Lobo:  My world was forever changed... - WNBA Diaries


With the recruiting period in full swing, many college coaches were caught in the air on the way to home visits all around the country.  Due to the ban on air traffic for several days and the difficulties many coaches encountered in rescheduling visits, the NCAA is considering extending the women's recruiting period past the September 29 deadline.  According to USA Today, a decision on this issue will be announced by the NCAA within a few days.


Notre Dame's Muffet McGraw was returned to the terminal before getting off the ground last Tuesday on the way to a home visit in California.  Attempting to get from the Boston area to Los Angeles, McGraw narrowly missed being one of the many who perished on September 11.  According to the South Bend Tribune, McGraw was originally booked to be on United Flight 175, one of the two jets that crashed into the World Trade Center.  A week earlier, however, her assistant coach had convinced her to change flights so that she could leave out of Providence, RI, which is a less busy airport.  McGraw is no doubt counting her blessings.  You can read about some of the difficulties encountered by other coaches caught on the road during the terror crisis in the San Francisco Chronicle.


Because of the terrorist attacks and impact on flight schedules nationally, the 114th AAU National Convention scheduled for next week in Fort Lauderdale, FL, has been cancelled.  Obviously, some decisions that would impact girls basketball on a national level now will be delayed until a later meeting of the Girls Basketball National Executive Committee. The AAU Executive Committee (for all sports) voted 24-9 on Wednesday to cancel the convention.  You can read the news release regarding this on the National AAU website.


Now, on to some of our usual coverage:
   
SchoolSports.com recently named its Top 50 Class of 2002 girls basketball prospects.    Three Indiana seniors made the listing, including Wawasee guard Shanna Zolman at No. 4, Connersville shooting forward Missy Taylor at No. 32, and Cathedral forward Jessica Wright at No. 45.  Zolman has committed to Tennessee, while Taylor and Wright are currently uncommitted.  However, Taylor is very close to making a decision, as explained in Boiler Station.  She has narrowed her choices to Purdue and Indiana.


Capri Small, a regular columnist at the Mr. Hoops Purdue Recruiting website, was at the Spiece Showcase of Stars exposure event last weekend in Ft. Wayne.  Capri gives a wrap up of some of the talent there, with small capsules about Katie Gearlds of Beech Grove, Shanna Zolman of Wawasee, Miranda Green of Pike, Lindsey Smith of Lake Central, Arin Knox of Ft. Wayne Concordia, Ellen Hamilton of Greenfield Central, Emily Parkman of Peru, Jenny Wisser of Marion, Brittany Dildine of Harrison, Leah Enterline of Heritage, Amanda Ponsot of Ft. Wayne (Carroll), Raina Haire of East Chicago Central, Kaitlin Vogner of Cathedral, Leslie Jones of Lawrence Central, and Kelly Snider of Hamilton Southeastern.  The complete list of players in attendance can be found at Nick Ray's Hoosierland Report, one of the sponsors of the event.  Ray's companion event, the Top Dog Showcase, is scheduled for this weekend in Indianapolis.  Again, visit the Hoosierland Report for complete information and a list of attendees.


The Hoosier Girls Basketball Report Fall Showcase on September 29 will have an appearance by Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever from 2:00-5:00 p.m.  Players may get an autographed photo of themselves and Tamika on site for $10.00.  All proceeds will benefit the Christy Adamson Memorial Fund to benefit local youth.  Christy was a player for HGBR's Bryan Alexander during his term as an assistant at IUPUI, where Christy played.  She was tragically killed in an automobile accident this summer in Clearwater, Florida.  Over 50 college coaches are confirmed to attend the HGBR Fall Showcase and even more are expected.  There are still spots available in both sessions.  Session #1, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is almost full.  Session #2 is from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.  For more information, contact Bryan Alexander by phone at 317-387-0723 or by email at hoosiergbr@yahoo.com.


We recently reported that Clarksville coach Butch Troutman stepped down as the varsity girls coach due to health reasons.  Now, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the Generals have a new coach in Troy Mitchell, who was chosen over two other candidates for the job.  Mitchell comes from Robinson, Illinois, where he was a JV coach for seven seasons.



Senior Jamie Gutowski of Andrean, who is on a comeback from a summer ACL injury, is one of three NWI players named to the Indiana High School Basketball Guide Tremendous Twenty-Six.  (Photo by the RRR)

According to the North Vernon Plain Dealer, Jenny Pfeiffer of Jennings County was recently named to the Indiana High School Basketball Guide (IHSBG) Tremendous Twenty-Six. The IHSBG began this honor last year, naming 13 girls and 13 boys basketball players of high distinction from all around the state.  This year's T26 will be honored at a banquet at the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on September 30.  The complete list of players has not yet been released, however we can tell you that Region seniors Alex Webster of Crown Point, Jamie Gutowski of Andrean and Lauren Bechtold of Hebron will be members of this season's T26, and will all appear on the cover of this season's IHSBG, set for distribution in late October or early November.  The IHSBG, which will include coverage on every team in the state, can be ordered in advance from High School Sports Publications on their website at www.hssp.cc, or by phone at 1-800-969-0097 (ext. 10).


In case you haven't noticed, there are only 25 days until the first day of Indiana high school girls basketball practice!!!  Woohoo!


According to Fans Only, Notre Dame frosh Jacqueline Batteast (South Bend Washington) was named a pre-season First Team Freshman All-American by the Women's Basketball News Service.  Batteast was an Indiana All-Star and came in third in Miss Basketball voting last season.


The Women's Basketball Coaches Association has named the Academic Top 25 for five collegiate divisions.  Leading the pack in Division I is Wisconsin-Green Bay, where Portage alum Natalie Yudt contributed to a 3.481 team GPA as a member of the Phoenix.   In Division II, Lincoln Memorial took the top spot, where Jenny Childs and Stacey Childs of Eastern (Hancock) pitched in on an amazing 3.620 team GPA.  Two Indiana college teams received academic accolades from the WBCA include Valparaiso University (3.212 GPA) at No. 25 in Division I, and Huntington College (3.222 GPA) at No. 25 in the NAIA Division.


The WBCA is giving daily previews to college programs around the country in their "Countdown to Tipoff" feature.  Recently profiled was St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, which includes on its roster NWI standouts Erin Sampsel (Valparaiso), Karin Morrisroe (Morgan Township) and Courtney Rosenbaum (Valparaiso).


New NCAA tournament format has been formally approved and the changes will take effect beginning with the tournament in 2003.  The new scheduling format will make it possible for all 64 first-round games to be televised.


USA Today recently ran an interesting feature about youth sports in America and the effect it is having on kids.  A good read. 


Notice to high school coaches:  We are in the process of creating and updating our Players to Watch lists for freshmen through senior players.  If you would like to nominate one of your players for our lists, please drop us a note at regionroundball@home.com.  Please include your player's name, height and stats, along with your school name.  Thanks!


News thru Tuesday, September 11

          

Very sad news out of Wheeler.  Senior wing Heather Norvell lost her life in an automobile accident late last month.  The 17-year-old was a passenger in a car driven by a classmate who also sustained critical injuries when the car she was driving went out of control passing through standing water in a roadway, striking a tree.  According to The Times, Norvell sustained traumatic head injuries in the crash and could not be saved.  Both driver and passenger were not wearing seat belts.  Our condolences to Heather's family, teammates, classmates and community. 


Highland senior Jennifer Cieslak will most likely miss a good portion of the basketball season in her final year of high school ball.  The 5'9 guard suffered an ACL injury during warmups of her first volleyball game last month.  Cieslak played a support backcourt role last season, but with the graduation of guards Corrie Kaczmarek and Jenny DeMuth, would have seen considerably much more floor time her senior year.  As a junior, she played in all 25 Highland games, averaging 4.0 points per game.


Late news on this one, but news to most of us nonetheless.  Lake Station athletic director Kevin Johnson stepped down from his duties in July to take on the head coaching position for the girls Eagle basketball program.  According to The Times, Johnson will attempt to rebuild a program that has been losing participation by female athletes at Lake Station over the past few years.  The Eagles finished 1-20 last season with only seven players on the roster and no JV squad.
   
Franklin County six-year coach Jon Hancher has been replaced by former boys coach Tom Schinbien.  Schinbien is also a history teacher at Franklin County.  Hancher left the Wildcats program with a record of 85-41, including a highly successful 24-1 campaign last season.

Ft. Wayne South Side has hired former Indiana Tech assistant coach Eric Vaughn to steer the Archers this upcoming season.  Vaughn replaces Donna McCarty, who left South Side to be the new coach at Greenfield-Central.  Vaughn inherits a squad that went 10-11 as a member of the competitive Summit Athletic Conference.


We're guessing that Whiting senior Jamie Menczyk won't be worrying too much about physical play in the paint this season.  But her defenders should take note.  According to The Times, the 5'8 starting forward is playing on the line for the Oiler's football team this fall.  


Hammond Gavit will be hosting its annual coaches clinic.  Here are the details:
   
What:  Gavit High School Coaches Clinic
Where: Hammond Gavit, 1670 175 St., Hammond, IN 46324
When: 10.06.01
Time: 9:00am - 3:00pm
Contact: Coach Sheridan at 219.989.7325 or email us at judhall7@juno.com
Cost: $25.00 pre-registered (9.25.01)
          $30.00 at the door
Lunch: Provided in clinic tuition, door prizes given away,
each pre-registered coach will receive a free clinic t-shirt. 
Speakers:
Marty Johnson,  East Noble,  "ENHS Man Offense"
Dean Foster,  Penn, "Do Things Right"
Dan Gunn, NorthWood, "Triangle and Two Defense"
Tom Johnson, Crown Point, "Bulldog Transition Basketball"
Chris Benedict, Columbia City, "CCHS Man & Zone Offense"


Shanna Zolman of Wawasee is profiled in this month's GBall Magazine.


Are all of you seniors out there feeling pretty confused about the pressures of the recruiting process right now?  California Preps has some solid advice in narrowing down your choices.


For those of you who follow college women's basketball coaching, there are two very interesting opinion articles online from Hype Hoops.  One is an evaluation of how guards fare in Pat Summit's program at Tennessee, with mentions of both April McDivitt (Connersville) and Shanna Zolman (Wawasee).  The second is a nice piece about Muffet McGraw and Notre Dame.
   
Inside game is OUT and so too are the Lady Vols - Hype Hoops
McGraw, Irish program complete perfect circle
- Hype Hoops


Ball State is a program on the rise, and the Cardinals will get the opportunity to test just how far they've come this season when they face national power Connecticut on November 30.   Although Ball State's schedule has not yet been released, the UConn women's website shows that the Cardinals will travel to Storrs to play the Huskies at rowdy Gampel Pavilion.  You can view a Ball State season preview at the BSU women's website.


Former West Lafayette standout and 1998 3A State Championship team member Hannah Anderson (5'10 F) will walk on at Purdue this season.  According to Boilerstation, Anderson was a team manager for the Boilermakers last season during her freshman year of college.


What a difference a year makes... not to mention a national championship.  After just 2,700 season tickets were sold by the Notre Dame athletic office for women's basketball last season, so far season ticket sales have reached 6,124, according to Fans Only.   Reserved general public season tickets are still available at the ND athletic office at $35.00 each.


Ft. Wayne Memorial Coliseum is stepping into contention for the Big Ten women's tournament for 2003 and 2005.  According to the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette,  the Indiana Sports Corporation is supporting Ft. Wayne's bids, indicating a statewide willingness to cooperate between several Indiana venues to bring  top events to the Hoosier State. 


According to GBall Magazine, the WNBA has created the Jr. WNBA as a national support system for recreational youth basketball leagues across the country. Beginning in the fall, the Jr. WNBA, together with Gatorade and Nike, will provide support programs at no cost to qualified recreational youth basketball leagues serving girls 5 to 14 years of age.  Leagues nationwide will be given the opportunity to apply for membership for the 2001-2002 fall/winter season. Applications for membership are now being accepted only from league administrators for the coming season. Administrators can request an application by calling 1-866-JRHOOPS, or e-mailing jrhoops@nba.com.


A couple of website notes.  You may have noticed that the RRR message board has been encountering some problems the past few days.  I'm not certain why the problems began; however, after a fix of sorts, a slight inconvenience may be that new messages and added-to messages will be appearing nearer the bottom of the message board instead of the top.  This will stay this way until the board purges itself of old messages, which will fall off as more new messages are posted.  So feel free to add a new discussion thread to help the cause. 
 
Also, as I'm sure you've noticed, updates have been far and few between as of late, and we apologize.  Our daughter has been and will be making official visits and taking home visits through the middle of October.  Because of these important distractions, the RRR has fallen to the wayside.  Players and parents who have been or who are now going through this process understand how hectic this time can be.  Things should be back to normal soon.  (At least we hope they will!)



 

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