Region Roundball Review

September, 1999
News & Updates
      



Welcome to the news area of the Region Roundball Review. This page will be updated as information becomes available. 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.

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. Thanks. 

September, 1999
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News thru Monday, September 27

     
Well, we'll start with the most obvious -- (drum roll please...) the NEW & IMPROVED Region Roundball Review!  Just a few notes about some of the improved, and some of the new, features.  (If you don't want to read through this whole thing -- it's long -- there IS some news at the end of this news post for today if you just want to go straight there.)

 

First off, PLEASE, PLEASE let us know if you are encountering any problems with any of the links or features with the changes.  When a site goes through an overhaul like this, there is always a chance for bad links or missing graphics, etc.  Also, different browsers do weird things from platform to platform, so please keep us informed of any intolerable format problems so we can accommodate all of you.  Now for the good news and the bad news.  First the bad.

 

WHAT'S NOT IMPROVED:  The load-up time of the initial page and navigation bar.   (You noticed, huh?)  This is a problem we've tried to curtail with fewer or optimized graphics on our home page, but with some of the new Java scripts running behind the navigation bar, it just takes longer.  Sorry, but we think the new format is worth the wait.  Load-up time at 28.8 should be about 40 seconds.

   

WHAT'S IMPROVED:  We reorganized the navigation bar to be more comprehensive and better organized so that you will be able to easily find the RRR features you're looking for.  We also included a Quick Menu on the navigation bar of the most-visited features of the RRR -- a way to get in a quick browse during your business day or between classes.  If you think we're missing an important quick link, let us know and we'll consider adding it on.  We've prepared several areas for the 1999-2000 season, including Scores & Recaps (ready for the first games of the season that begin in November), the Scores & Recaps Reporting Board (where correspondents and fans can post immediate game results), the Sectional Fan Polls (now ready for preseason voting), and the High School Team Links directory (which is now categorized and linked by alphabet).  As for our Top 20 Seniors, Players to Watch, Top 12 Region & State Teams, and Best Upcoming Games & Events, we'll be updating those over a period of the next few weeks as we get closer to the season.  We are hoping to release our Top 20 Seniors and Top 12 Teams on October 5 (if all goes well).

 

WHAT'S NEW:  We've been working really hard the past few weeks to put together a few new features that we hope you'll enjoy.  Some are up and running, while others will make their way out into cyberspace after we've put the finishing touches on them.  First, we said he'd join us -- and he has -- Randy Beckett's Fifth Quarter Press is now at the RRR.   Randy is still working on his web pages and features, but you can go there to get familiar with the format.  Next, you may have noticed that we added a new Message Board about a week or so ago.  We've had a few discussions going on there, but not nearly enough, so give it a try.  (Maybe you can leave us a word or two there about our new site format.)  At the suggestion of a good friend, we will be having some kind of contest to name the new Message Board sometime down the line.  His suggestion was as follows:

 

 "SHUDDUP - NO YOU SHUDDUP - SLAM DUNK - IN YOUR FACE - RIM ROCKIN' - LANE SLASHIN' - OUTRAGEOUS REGION ROUNDBALL REVIEW OPINIONATED - HYPHENATED - OFTEN IMITATED, BUT NEVER DUPLICATED - LET'S GET IT ON, BUBBA - OPINION BOARD!!!!!" 

 

Now, I really like that name, but it's kind of hard to fit all on one link...  Anyway, we'll let you know when the contest begins.  The rest of the new "stuff" is mostly interactive.  In the Huddle is one we've already told you about previously in our news, but our Meet the Team directory of players who will be participating in that feature has been started and, we hope, will grow as we get closer to the season.  The results of our first Huddle discussion will be appearing the week of October 11.  Hot Topics is a chance for the rest of us who aren't players (although players are welcome to post their opinions there, too) to vent our positions on hot topics of the day.  Our first topic, about summer team camps, is ready for you to post your two cents about.   Every 2-3 weeks, we'll be putting out RRR exclusive player interviews in our Featured Players area.  The first interview (Erin Sampsel of Valparaiso) is in the process of being completed and should be posted sometime within the next couple of weeks.  We've added a quick way to find Teams by Class and Sectional for the entire state (just follow the directions there), and we will be posting NWI Rosters as they become available through the media.  We've moved our RRR Website Search to an area of its own, and we're currently working on a list of links that will take you to the College Player Profiles of former Indiana high school players currently playing the game in college.  That should be ready soon.  Finally, we've created an Archive section for the 1998-99 season and old RRR features for those of you who are doing research or just want to reminisce.

 

Well, folks, that's it for now.  As you can see, we've been busy.  Hope you enjoy the new and improved RRR!


According to a recent IHSAA press release, discussion about the state tournament format for both girls and boys was tabled again until the next scheduled meeting of the IHSAA Board of Directors.  What is uncertain at this point is the dates and locations of regionals, which will be taking place midway during the week between the sectional weekend final and the following weekend semi-state.  Either a Tuesday or Wednesday mid-week format is under consideration.


Also, the IHSAA is taking under consideration for further study changes to the Participation Rule, which deals with summer team camps.  Changes under consideration are as follows:

  1. The coach may offer instruction and work directly with a maximum of two athletes at a time during open facilities.

  2. The coach may communicate with participants and offer correction during an open facility setting. This is not intended to resemble a practice situation and may not include drills or stopping play to give instruction.

  3. During school sponsored camps, three contests may be played between Indiana schools during the school’s established camp week. No tournaments will be conducted, no admission charged and no awards given for such contests.

  4. Continue the moratorium week.

  5. Delete from the Open Facility Program (Rules 15-2.6 & 15-3.6) that a coach may not play with or against the students.

These changes will be taken up for discussion at the Area Principals' Meetings around the state this fall.  The most intriguing change would be the inter-school competition during the summer.  Although this would require some coordination on the part of participating schools, it would certainly be more interesting for players to pick up some games against other teams instead of just playing against each other for the whole week.  Summer camps were held for the first time ever in 1999 under the new Participation Rule, with many teams taking advantage of the opportunity, although not without controversy by those who oppose the idea.  This subject is the topic for discussion in our new Hot Topics feature.


The Blue Star Midwest Shootout was held at Ball State yesterday in Muncie.  This was one of the last opportunities for senior players to "show their stuff" before the early signing period, which is from November 10-17.


For those of you who are interested, the complete listing of players that attended the Nike camp in Indianapolis last month is now available at the Top Recruits website.  Players from Indiana who attended were juniors Shyra Ely of Ben Davis and Shalicia Hurns of Broad Ripple.


The WNBA Indianapolis franchise (still unnamed), is just 500 season tickets away from meeting its league-mandated goal of 5,500 tickets by October 15.  Included in season ticket holders is David Letterman's mom, Dorothy Mengering.


News thru Tuesday, September 21

 

Although we have been unable get official confirmation from Ball State, we have heard from several very reliable sources that Mt. Vernon's Johna Goff recently made a verbal commitment to play for the Cardinals next season. Goff, a 5'6 dynamo guard, is the centerpiece of the Lady Marauders squad, which is looking to get back the sectional championship trophy this season after falling to English-less Rushville in the first round of the 1998-99 tournament.  Goff will be showcased this December when Mt. Vernon meets 1A Rising Sun in the second girls game of the Hall of Fame Classic in the historical New Castle Fieldhouse.


According to Beth DelaVina of Fast Break, former Perry Meridian frosh Charliss Ridley (5'11 F), now a senior at Wheaton-Warrenville South in Illinois, has narrowed her three final choices to Indiana, Missouri and Northwestern.  Ridley, a former teammate of Purdue's Katie Douglas at Perry, was once thought a serious prospect to join her former running mate on the Boilermaker roster next season. 


Speaking of the Purdue junior, Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian) was  named a pre-season First Team All-American by the Women's Basketball News Service (WBNS), which is comprised of the United States Basketball Writers Association, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association and the Metro Conference Sports Writers Association.  The Boilermakers will have to gain respect this year, as they did not even break the Top 25 pre-season poll by the WBNS.  Douglas is also appearing on the front of a slick, new media mailer for 1999-2000 tickets for the Lady Boilers.  Very nice.  You can read about Douglas's preseason honor and upcoming season at the official Purdue Women's Basketball website.


News thru Sunday, September 19

     

As you may have read earlier at the Hoosierland Report, senior point guard Julie Goad (5'7) of 3A Twin Lakes, recently made a verbal commitment to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.  An article about Goad appears in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, giving details about Goad's reasons for selecting FAU.  Twin Lakes is expected to have a good outing this season, with a number of returning varsity starters and supporting players back for the 1999-2000 campaign.  Last season the Indians made it as far as the Merrillville Regional, where they lost a hard-fought game to Andrean.  This season, Twin Lakes will have an even tougher go to make it to the semi-state with the reorganization of 3A teams in the tournament.  Although Andrean would not be in the picture until the semi-state for the Indians, they must get through always-strong West Lafayette, featuring junior post standout Ebba Gebisa (6'3 F/C) to get out of their sectional and, if they can do that, they will most likely meet 3A sleeper Plymouth at the regional.  


Speaking of West Lafayette's Gebisa, sister Lello Gebisa was mentioned recently in an on-line chat session with head coach Gail Goestenkors appearing on GoDuke.com, the official web site of Duke University Athletics.  Gebisa was referred to as a  "6'7 sleeper that... one day will become an excellent player." (She must have grown over the summer!)  Duke appeared in the Final Four and was defeated by Purdue in the NCAA championship game in March.  Duke loses six seniors to graduation, which will give younger players an opportunity to play in 1999-2000 season.


The Women's Basketball News Service has named Colorado State's Elizabeth English from Rushville a fourth team pre-season All-Freshman selection.  English, who suffered an ACL injury right before the 1998-99 tournament season and had a somewhat controversial high school career, was passed over for a number of post-season honors, including the 1999 Indiana All-Star team.  English has moved on, however, and may have the last laugh.  She is expected to successfully fill the high-tops of Colorado State's recently graduated point guard star, Becky Hammon, as the Rams' number one recruiting choice for that position.  Colorado State is  ranked No. 23 in the Women's Basketball News Service pre-season poll.  You can view English's Colorado State player profile here.


Rochester and Notre Dame graduate, Sheila McMillen, was recently named an assistant coach at Western Michigan University.  McMillen was the Notre Dame MVP in 1999 and served as a team captain during the 1998-99 season.  McMillen is expected to bring her experience of playing in four NCAA tournaments and the 19997 Final Four to help spark a building WMU program. As stated in the Rochester Sentinel, McMillen set several school records during her collegiate career, including career three-point baskets (249) and number of three-pointers in a season (98).  An All-Big East Second Team selection in 1999, she owns the Big East Conference record for most treys in a game (8) and ranked fourth in the nation in three-pointers per game during the 1998-99 season. Western Michigan finished 19-10 overall, 11-5 in the Mid-American Conference last year and open the 1999-2000 season at Illinois November 15 in the first round of the Preseason National Invitational Tournament.


As you may have noticed over the past few weeks, there have been some minor changes here and there on the Region Roundball Review website as we head into the 1999-2000 season.  There are larger changes happening behind the scenes that have not yet been posted, but the minor changes you've been seeing are all working into the big plan.  Your site survey responses have been insightful and helpful, and although some of the requests made are nearly impossible to achieve (either due to lack of time or lack of web know-how), we did take a few ideas to build upon.  It was great hearing from visitors all the way from the east coast to the west coast who are interested in Indiana high school girls basketball, as well as the many Indiana high school coaches who took the time to fill out our survey.  Everyone's input can only make this site better.  So if you haven't already, please take the time now to fill out the RRR site survey.

 

At the end of this month, we will be putting up our new-look version of the RRR with some better navigation features and other new content features making their debut.  We are hoping to expand our coverage with additional original material, including player interviews, together with some new interactive features in the coming weeks.  Also, many of you who are looking for additional state-wide coverage will be happy to know that Randy Beckett of Fifth Quarter is finalizing the material that will appear on his new area on our site.

 

One feature we are putting together now is "In the Huddle", where we will go to the players for their viewpoints on a variety of topics.  Questions will be e-mailed to the players about every 2-3 weeks, and we'll gather their input to compile into a web page on each topic.  If you are an Indiana high school player that would like to be "In the Huddle," please fill out the submission form on our home page.  Also as part of that feature, we will be putting together a directory of the players who are part of the Huddle team, with photos and a short description of each player.  If you are not a player but might know one who would be interested, please pass on the invitation for us.  For more info about "In the Huddle", click here.  Those of you who have already submitted your names, you will be hearing from us soon.

 

We would ask everyone to take a look at our new message board format, which you can reach through the "Message Boards" link (8th link down) on the navigation bar to the left.  Feel free to try it out.  We think you'll like the quick and easy format there that lists all the replies to an original message on the same page so you don't have to wade through a ton of links to finish out reading an entire thread.  Let us know what you think by leaving a message on our new board there.

 

Finally, you may have noticed that our site search capabilities have not been working the past week or so.  We apologize, but will have that repaired when we move to our new format in a couple of weeks.  In the meantime, continue to enjoy the remaining features at the RRR.


 

News thru Monday, September 13

  

Just a couple of notes on a few players around the state:

  

At a recent golf tournament in LaPorte, Portage's Natalie Yudt, a 6'1 G/F for the Indians, was not bothered at all by a "fan following" on the course and kept cool enough to walk away with a team best 88 for her Indians golf team.  Ball State assistant coach Tracy Roller, who is high on Yudt for the Lady Cardinals lineup in Muncie, tagged along from hole to hole to support and keep an eye on her recruit during the event.  According to an article in the Post-Tribune today, Yudt is being recruited by a number of D1 schools, including Ball State, Butler, Miami (Ohio) and Toledo.  Yudt averaged 12.9 ppg with an admirable field goal percentage of 60.1% last season, and was a member of the Indiana Jr. All Star Team over the summer.


According to the Ft. Wayne News Sentinel, junior Emily Loomis (left) of 1999 2A state champion Ft. Wayne Luers, is also getting a lot of D1 college attention -- but not from the basketball recruiters, although she should.  The 6'1 center averaged 11.4 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season as a sophomore when the Knights powered an unrelentless path to the 2A finals in Market Square Arena. Loomis was the second highest leading scorer for Luers last season, just 0.6 ppg behind Luers sparkplug Rachel King .  With a vertical reach of 10'2, the competitive multi-sport athlete can nearly dunk a basketball, and that vertical reach is what classifies her as one of the best young volleyball players in the country. No doubt a number of Luers opponents will be feeling the effects of that vertical leap off the boards come basketball season.


Ft. Wayne Snider's Jasmine Fullove, a 6'0 sophomore center for the 4A state finalist Panthers, is currently mending during the volleyball season (which many consider her first sport) with a herniated disk.  Although Snider's volleyball coach states that Fullove is expected to be back in the volleyball lineup soon, she was recently seen at a Snider game gingerly moving about in pre-game warmups.  If this sensitive injury continues to aggravate Fullove into the basketball season, the impact may be felt in a big way by her hoops team.  The Panthers will be looking for the sophomore to play a bigger role in the 1999-2000 Snider campaign with the loss of several key post players to graduation, including 5'11 Brooke Minnear and 5'11 Lakia Jones (now at St. Louis).


Some players don't reach their full potential until they mature in college, and that can definitely be said about former Highland 6'2 forward standout Jennifer Kaczka.  The Wichita State University returning sophomore was the big surprise for head coach Darryl Smith last season.  Then a freshman, Kaczka tallied 8 double-doubles during the season, and was named to the all-tournament team at the Fresno State Tournament and to the Valley Conference All-Freshman Team.  She has already made her mark in the WSU Shockers record book with an all-time best single season field goal percentage of .647.  You can read the 1999-2000 Season Outlook for the Shockers on the WSU women's basketball website, as well as Kaczka's player profile


Just for fun, we've added a voting poll on our home page for the preseason.  Right now the poll is about NWI 4A teams to beat, but we will change it to a different question every few weeks or so.  You can only vote in the poll once for each question.  (If you try to vote more than once, right above the poll results it will state that someone with your exact IP address has already voted in the poll.)  If you select "Other" on your ballot, submit your vote and then you can state which team you had in mind for "Other" on the results page.  You can also submit any comments if you want to say something about a team (or the poll itself) using the "comments" box.  Hope you enjoy this feature.


    

News thru Saturday, September 11

        

The 1999-2000 NCAA "contact period" began on Thursday, September 9, and as a result, we are seeing some news about verbal commitments from a number of seniors:

    

The Evansville Courier & Press is announcing that Decatur Central basketball and softball standout, Mary Blessing (5'8 PG), has made a verbal commitment to play basketball at the University of Evansville.  Blessing, who averaged 14.4 points, 4.5 assists and 4.7 steals last season, will join a Lady Aces squad that is returning a complete starting lineup from last season's 19-11 NCAA tournament qualifying team.  Blessing also made unofficial visits to Ball State, Valparaiso and Toledo, but Evansville came out as her top choice.  Blessing will complement a number of former Indiana high school players on the Lady Aces roster for 1999-2000, including junior Andi Speer (Jennings County), sophomore Latasha Austin (Perry Meridian), sophomore Tami Masterson (Plainfield), junior Emilie Hester (Evansville Central), sophomore Monica Ingram (Ben Davis), and sophomore Lisa Eckart (Center Grove).

     

In a Terre Haute Tribune Star preseason article about the Indiana State University basketball teams, head coach Cheryl Reeves revealed that ISU has received a verbal commitment from Anderson Highland senior Lindsay Galbraith.  Galbraith, a 5'11 point guard, averaged 12 points, 9 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game as a junior last season.  Galbraith joins former Indiana high school players Shana Sparks (Connersville), Shameka Robinson (Gary Lew Wallace), April Kirby (Mt. Vernon), Cristalle Shelton (East Chicago), Abbe Brauman (Brownsburg), and Kim Allen (Rossville) on the ISU roster. 

    

Finally, in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, it was announced that Lafayette Harrison's Cara Smith (6'1) has made a verbal commitment to play volleyball at Penn State.  A multi-sport standout, Smith averages double figures in the paint for the Raiders in basketball, where she has started since she was a freshman. 


The 1999-2000 NCAA Division I Recruiting Calendar for women's basketball has been posted on the NCAA Guide website.  We've incorporated that calendar into our College Bound area at the Region Roundball Review.  The  current contact period ends September 29. The early season evaluation period (when college staff members may visit a prospect's high school) is from October 8 through February 29.  However, from November 8-11 there will be a 4-day dead period immediately prior to the November 10-17 early National Letter of Intent signing period.

    

As a reminder, underclass players must take the SAT or ACT by the end of their junior year in order to be eligible to make an official visit or sign a national letter of intent during their senior year.  Testing dates are as follows:

    

SAT 1999-00  ACT 1999-00
October 9, 1999  September 25, 1999
November 6, 1999  October 23, 1999
December 4, 1999  December 11, 1999
January 22, 2000  February 12, 2000
April 8, 2000  April 1, 2000
May 6, 2000  June 10, 2000
June 3, 2000  
 Locations, times, and reservations to take the tests can be obtained through your high school counselor's office.

    


Penn State head coach Rene Portland will be looking for big things from 1997 Miss Basketball Lisa Shepherd (Richmond) during the upcoming Lady Lions season.  Shepherd, who was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick and averaged 14.1 ppg last season as the Big Ten 3-point shooting leader, will play a big part in Penn State's bid for a top finish in the conference.  According to Portland, "Lisa was showing some great leadership -- taking on the role of being a starter as well as a scorer -- and made an incredibly conscious effort to help us on the defensive end.  I think Lisa's ready to become one of the prime-time players in this league."  You can view Shepherd's player profile on the Penn State women's basketball website. 


Former Indiana high school player Ruth Riley (North Miami/Notre Dame) has been named as a Top Ten Preseason Naismith candidate.  Katie Douglas (Perry Meridian/Purdue) was named a candidate as well, in the Best of the Rest category.   The Naismith award honors outstanding college basketball players in the United States and is in its 32nd year.  Stephanie McCarty was runner-up to last season's winner, Chamique Holdsclaw.  And while we're on the subject, according to an NCAA press release, Stephanie McCarty has been named one of ten finalists for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.  (Holdsclaw is not a candidate.)  As we announced in our last news update, the award winner will be named on October 24 in Indianapolis.


Janine Moore, a former East Chicago High School standout and senior captain of the 1998-99 Evansville University Lady Aces basketball team, has been appointed as an assistant coach at Loyola University.  Moore, who has a degree in sports administration, will be expected to help with recruiting responsibilities for a rebuilding women's basketball program at Loyola .


And finally, a warning to you folks in Plymouth.  According to the South Bend Tribune, a giant snake, which is thought to be a 10-12 foot python, is hiding out in your city.  Stowed away in the basement of an unwitting Plymouth resident's basement, the snake has been slithering out to hunt for food of the small pet variety, as evidenced by a witness who caught a view of the snake's last meal in progress.  The python probably won't scare off this season's Plymouth Rockies who, despite graduating seven seniors, are expected to have a very good season in 1999-2000.  Bolstered by a number of move-ups from a very strong JV team last season, Plymouth might be the sleeper team in 3A and could possibly contend with Twin Lakes to advance from post-season regional play.  (I knew I could work girls basketball in here somehow so I could bring you this must-read, skin-crawling story!)


News thru Tuesday, September 7


Cathy Herring of Hammond Morton is still undecided on her choice of college sport, let alone choice of college, but her preference seems to be leaning toward a spiker's future.  The 5'7 senior is considered a Division I prospect both in basketball and volleyball, as evidenced by the offers she is receiving.  The talented player is debating whether to choose just one sport at the Division I level, or possibly play both at the Division II level.  Herring writes about her choices in a "Recruiting Diary" for the Post-Tribune.  Herring points to the fact that some Division I schools are baiting her with the implied opportunity to play both sports at that level, yet others have been very honest and pointed out that maintaining the pace and intensity to do both at Division I would be nearly impossible, especially on top of the academic requirements.   Herring's diary entry is insightful from a recruit's point of view, and might be helpful to those of you out there playing the recruiting game.  Herring will be making diary entries every three weeks during the volleyball season for the Post-Tribune.


There was an interesting commentary recently in the Post-Tribune by one of the editors of that paper with regard to attendance at high school sporting events.  As those of us who frequent the high school gyms, fields and other sporting arenas around the state understand, fan support for high schools teams has been eroding for a number of decades now.  Many of us make this comparison to the crowds we remember from our high school days (way back when, mind you) when weekend basketball or football games were the social event of the week for the entire student body.  This is no longer true, especially where parents and community members are concerned.  The result has been the loss of a sense of student body and community backing for school events in general.  The article, "High school students shouldn't see those empty seats," is a good read and food for thought.


For those of you who have been suggesting more southern coverage on our site, I would offer up an extremely satisfying alternative by visiting the outstanding website of Ed Robinson, author of Southern Indiana High School Basketball.  Ed's gotten the jump on all of us with some very good pre-season team reviews.  And if you're plugged in for RealAudio, you can listen to the audio comments of a number of players from Clark County on his Girls Basketball Preview, including Division I prospects Abby Scharlow and Maria Rickards of New Albany, Kirsti Holloway of New Washington, Sara Nord of Jeffersonville, and a host of others.  Ed will be continuing to update  his site with the latest girls basketball news from the south throughout the season.


Of special note for coaches around the state, a fall coaches clinic will take place late Friday and early Saturday, September 17-18, in the Athletics-Recreation Center at Valparaiso University.  The clinic will feature lectures by a number of Division I women's head coaches, including Kathi Bennett (Evansville), Jerry Finkbeiner (Oral Roberts), Cheryl Reeve (Indiana State), and Keith Freemand (Valparaiso), as well as Valpo University men's head coach Homer Drew and Valparaiso High School girls coach Greg Kirby.  For more information, call 219-464-5784.


Following along on the recruiting track, an insightful article recently appeared in The Times about a recent graduate's "marketing" efforts to obtain an athletic scholarship.  Although this young lady's story is based out of  her experiences with volleyball, the concepts apply no matter what sport you're looking to play in college.  This article gives some very specific ideas on what it takes to get noticed by the college coaches, as well as some sensible advice.  Again, helpful reading for those of you on the scholarship hunt. 


An interesting article about the effects of Purdue's national championship on recruiting efforts in the Big Ten appears on Mr. Hoops Boiler Basketball Recruiting website.  The article, written by guest writer Steve Valiant, points out that since Purdue brought Big Ten women's basketball into the national spotlight, a number of top players have made commitments to Big Ten schools.  As more and more players get used to the idea of the Big Ten as a national showcase for women's basketball, the dominance of schools like Tennessee and UConn may begin to slide as more and more players look outside of the Big Two to play in front of large crowds and on television.  That trend may be helped along this upcoming season with national TV coverage of a good number of 1999-2000 Big Ten women's games.  The Big Ten recently released its upcoming television schedule, which includes 25 games, with FOX Sports Channel covering 19 of them.  (Good news for the RRR household, which cannot convince the local cable company to offer ESPN2.)


Speaking of national powers Tennessee and Connecticut, those of you anticipating the April McDivitt-Kennitra Johnson match-ups will be pleased to know that the two meetings of these Indiana players and national rivals will be broadcast on national TV in January and February.  CBS will be carrying the January 8 game from Tennessee at 4:00 pm (EST) and ESPN will be carrying the February 2 game at 7:00 pm (EST).  According to Pat Summitt, McDivitt, one of four freshmen playing for the Lady Vols, will be facing some tough competition in the early going.  "Our four freshmen are going to receive a baptism under fire… the USA Team, La Tech and back-to-back road games on the West Coast. It will be a great way to introduce them to the strongest competitive environment of women's college basketball." For you die-hard McDivitt fans in Connersville and around the state, you can view and print out the entire Tennessee Lady Vols schedule here.


Martinsville senior Leigh Ann Hardin, a "retired" member of  the two-time state champion high school girls team in 1997 and 1998, will be heading to Duke University on a golf scholarship.  Hardin decided to forego basketball last season to concentrate on her golf game, and apparently it's paid off with a full ride to Duke.  According to the Star News, Hardin was considering several Indiana schools, including Purdue, Indiana and Notre Dame, but was impressed by the academic program at Duke and felt most comfortable with the current members of the women's golf team there, whom she played with during her competitions on the national amateur circuit.  


On a final note, yet another award has been bestowed upon Indiana's daughter, Stephanie McCarty.  She has been named as the Indiana nominee for the NCAA Women of the Year Award.  The winner will be announced in Indianapolis on October 24 at the 1999 NCAA Woman of the Year Awards Dinner.  The NCAA press release regarding the award, names each state nominee with a small accompanying biography.


News thru Sunday, August 29

The LaPorte School Board recently disregarded the recommendation of a search committee by hiring an established teacher from within the LaPorte system as their new head girls varsity coach.  Articles in the Michigan City News-Dispatch and South Bend Tribune report that Greg Samuelson, a former JV coach in 1993 and 1994, was hired over the recommendation committee's selection of Rodger Kirkpatrick, who was an assistant girls varsity coach at Penn last year.  The decision has been a bitter pill to swallow for the LaPorte administration, as well as for some players and their parents, who were unhappy with the decision.  An  editorial by the LaPorte Herald-Argus outlines the issues of the Board's decision.  Now that the decision has been made, however, hopefully both players and parents will give their new coach an opportunity to prove himself, or it could be a long season for the Lady Slicers.


Like other basketball players around the state, Marion 5'11 junior forward Kristin Marcuccilli is a multi-sport athlete playing a fall sport before the upcoming basketball season.  What makes Marcuccilli's situation unique is that she is playing goal kicker for her high school football team.  According to the Indianapolis Star, the former soccer player and academic No. 1 Marion junior decided to help out her school's football team this fall, which has been struggling to find a consistent kicker since as long ago as last season.  Had she not been planning to have shoulder surgery early last fall before the basketball season, Marcuccilli would have joined the football team last year. Marcuccilli's Marion Lady Giants basketball team finished out the 1998-99 basketball season with a 51-39 loss to Huntington North in the sectional championship final. 
The abilities of Broad Ripple's Shalicia Hurns are discussed in a recent Black & Gold article about Purdue's recruiting efforts with regard to the Class of 2000.  Hurns, a 6'2 guard/forward, is on the Lady Boilermakers' short list of desired recruits, along with six other uncommitted players from around the nation.  A recruiting analyst from the Women's Basketball News Service gives his take on Hurns, as well as the other five recruits and the two players who have already committed to Purdue.  Hurns and two of the other listed recruits are expected to make an official visit to Purdue on October 15, Mackey Magic Night, the first official women's basketball practice for the 1999-2000 season.
According to the Connersville News-Examiner, April McDivitt spent her last two weeks before leaving for college practicing at the gym in preparation for her new playing assignment with national power Tennessee.  McDivitt will join the thousands of other freshmen students around the country moving onto campus for the first time this fall.  She will be rooming with fellow freshman University of Tennessee basketball recruit Kara Lawson.  Both will be expected to make immediate contributions for the Lady Vols when the season begins.  The highly anticipated McDivitt-Kennitra Johnson clash will be a double-take this upcoming college season, as Tennessee and Connecticut are scheduled to play each other twice in 2000 -- once on January 8 in Tennessee, and again on February 2 in Connecticut.  According to Tennessee Coach Pat Summit, "When you look at national match-ups, I don't think there's one that has more interest than Tennessee and Connecticut.  Playing twice is great for our programs and great for the women's game."
As reported by Pat McKee of the Indianapolis Star, former Southport standout Kelli Ely (5'8 G) has transferred from the University of Central Florida to IUPUI.  Ely will have two years of basketball eligibility remaining beginning in the fall of 2000, after sitting out the upcoming season as required by NCAA transfer rules.  Ely started 29 of 30 games for the Knights in 1998-99, and averaged 8.0 points per game while logging the second highest total of minutes played on the roster.  Although a reason for the transfer was not given, there was a change in head coaches at UCF over the summer.  You can view Ely's profile page on the UCF women's basketball website.  Ely will be leaving behind Indiana native UCF teammate Leslie Deaton of Martinsville, who played for the 20-10 Knights as a freshman last season.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Purdue's 1999-2000 Lady Boilermakers team will be honoring the memory of their recently deceased teammate, Tiffany Young, by wearing patches on their uniform shorts and shooting shirts embroidered with the letters "TY", and also by leaving an open chair on the bench and in the locker room throughout the upcoming season.  The decision to honor Young in the manner chosen was a joint one by the Lady Boilermaker coaching staff and players. 
Just five short months ago, Stephanie McCarty and Ukari Figgs were united in their efforts to win the NCAA championship trophy for Purdue. Ironically, the two may be facing each other from opposite sides of the court to compete for another major national championship early next month if both the Charlotte Sting and the Los Angeles Sparks win their conference finals to move on to the WNBA championship series. Right now, both clubs are in a good position to advance, with initial wins in a 3-game series over their conference final opponents. The other interesting aspect is that either McCarty or Figgs could end up accomplishing a feat that maybe no other basketball player has ever achieved -- two major national championships in a single year. Neither player has been seeing much court time lately, however, and how much either may contribute to the outcome is questionable. Right now, McCarty is on the injured list (although we've not been able to find any info on the nature of that injury) and Figgs lost her spot in the starting lineup and player rotation when she suffered a severe sprain. Her replacement, Gordana Grubin, brought some good chemistry to the floor that the Sparks coaching staff is unwilling to tinker with this late in the season.
  You can view the player profiles for McCarty and Figgs on their respective WNBA team websites. Of interest is the apparent "shrinking" of McCarty, who is now listed at 5'9 after standing 5'11 at Purdue for four years. Also at the WNBA playoffs website, Figgs is answering e-mail questions from fans around the country.  When asked about the possibility of playing for the new Indy franchise, Figgs replied, "I loved playing in Indiana -- the fans were so great to me. I'd love to play in front of those people again, but I'm not in control over my destiny, so we'll see what happens." Stay tuned.
Speaking of the new Indy franchise, Indianapolis announced Friday that it is only 1,000 season tickets short of meeting a league mandate. The women's basketball league is requiring that each of the newly named franchises must have deposits for 5,500 season tickets by Oct. 15. The teams are scheduled to begin play next year when the league begins its fourth season. The franchise, which is still unnamed, also announced that single game ticket prices will range from $5 to $85, with the average ticket price at about $13. You can get complete details about the latest Indy franchise news in the Indianapolis Star.

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