Coaches are likely to play coy at occasions, and never present all their playing cards. It is a part of being a competitor. However in terms of scheduling for the 2020-21 girls’s school basketball season, that is not going to work. Dozens of video games have already got been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. And lots of extra might be. With groups needing to play a minimum of 13 video games to qualify for the NCAA event, applications are going to have reschedule on the fly at occasions.
And if it means promoting for foes on social media, so be it. These are unprecedented occasions.
“All people’s going to have to come back to an understanding that there is not going to be any balanced schedule,” Louisville coach Jeff Walz stated. “If you’d like to have the ability to have a season … this scheduling goes to be chaotic. We have now a textual content group right here with about 20-something coaches inside a five- or six-hour radius of us. If video games get canceled, we’ll name one another.”
Fifth-ranked Louisville was alleged to play No. 3 UConn on Friday within the Jimmy V Ladies’s Basic. However the Huskies are in a 14-day “pause” to start the season due to a optimistic COVID-19 check inside their program. Louisville will now face No. 20 DePaul, a matchup that was introduced Monday, on Friday (6:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN App) at Mohegan Solar in Uncasville, Connecticut.
But it surely took a number of telephone calls and texts from Walz, who additionally had used Twitter — “TEAM NEEDED!” started one tweet — to hunt out opponents. (And it meant DePaul has to reschedule its sport towards Villanova that was to be performed Friday.)
“It has been a little bit discouraging at occasions the place you name folks, they’ve open dates, however they solely need to play a sure sort of crew,” Walz stated. “I am similar to, ‘Guys, we have to get out of that.’ If you wish to play video games, you bought to play whoever you’ll be able to.”
— Jeff Walz (@CoachJeffWalz) November 24, 2020
Walz, generally known as a savvy scout in making ready his crew, stated that coaches additionally must be keen to enter video games with far much less preparation than they’re accustomed to. He has advised his crew to be prepared for something.
“When we now have [time] to scout an opponent, we’re fairly darn good at placing the sport plan collectively,” he stated. “Now, you’ve got received to have the ability to guard rules and actions, as an alternative of making an attempt to cease a sure participant. I feel we may have that a lot change as this 12 months continues to go alongside.”
Mississippi State coach Nikki McCray-Penson, in her first season with the Bulldogs, echoed Walz. Her squad was scheduled to play within the Corridor of Fame Ladies’s Problem at Mohegan Solar this previous weekend, however that occasion was canceled after UConn pulled out. A Dec. 12 sport at Southern Miss additionally was canceled. McCray-Penson was in a position to schedule a sport with in-state college Jackson State for Sunday.
“All people in America’s going by means of it,” McCray-Penson stated. “You hope that groups which might be regionally shut can do it. It may be exhausting to journey; it’s important to take note of the prices when colleges should not producing the income they often do.
“And now with COVID-19, there’s that belief issue, too. You need to rely on somebody following protocols and being a disciplinarian with their crew in staying secure. And you then simply must be versatile and know regulate. The extra you try this as a head coach, the extra your crew goes to reply. One factor we discuss loads is that we do not know what tomorrow goes to carry, however we now have to roll with it.”
McCray-Penson, who performed at Tennessee for Pat Summitt, stated all of this reminds her of Summitt’s emphasis on relationship constructing and the have to be able to play anybody anyplace. Summitt was well-known for her fearlessness in scheduling.
“Pat was massive on primary fundamentals. She would say, ‘Simply get your crew to remain within the second. Do not complain; that is how issues are,'” McCray-Penson stated. “We’re very lucky to be on this state of affairs the place we’re in a position to play in any respect. It could not appear like what it often appears like, however that is OK. It is nonetheless about the way you compete.”
Group of the Week: Texas A&M Aggies
No. 12 Texas A&M could possibly be an intriguing crew this season, however the Aggies have an enormous query to reply.
“Who’s going to be the first level guard?” coach Gary Blair stated. “It may rely … each sport, it’ll be a unique problem.”
Chennedy Carter was one of many prime scorers within the nation final season, averaging 21.3 factors per sport for the Aggies earlier than she left for the WNBA after her junior 12 months. However Texas A&M would possibly miss her playmaking expertise much more than her scoring. And the Aggies may even miss a senior from final season: Shambria Washington was Texas A&M’s prime playmaker in 2019-20, with 153 assists; Carter was second with 80.
The Aggies received 93-91 at DePaul on Saturday, taking pictures 61.1% from the sphere. Guard Kayla Wells had 22 factors, and submit N’dea Jones, a fellow senior, scored 17. Future Pitts, a switch from Minnesota, senior Aaliyah Wilson and sophomore Jordan Nixon all added 12 factors, and all three guards are more likely to be constant scoring threats this season.
The ugly stat, although, was Texas A&M’s 10 assists to 27 turnovers.
“I feel we’ll get pressed for fairly some time,” Blair stated.
The Aggies ought to anticipate that from the Texas Longhorns, whom they face Sunday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App) in a Huge 12/SEC Problem sport in Austin, Texas.
Participant of the Week: Charli Collier, Texas Longhorns
After opening with victories towards SMU and North Texas, the Longhorns moved into the rankings Monday at No. 25. And submit participant Charli Collier, who to the irritation of Texas followers wasn’t on our ESPN preseason top-25 player list, had the splashiest season debut of anybody, with video games of 25 factors and 12 rebounds, and 44 factors and 16 rebounds.
The 6-foot-5 junior is 22-of-30 from the sphere and 23-of-24 from the foul line so far. Hey, lists are made to alter, proper?
Coach of the Week: Mike Carey, West Virginia Mountaineers
Stanford‘s Tara VanDerveer is three victories away from tying Tennessee’s Summitt at 1,098 for many wins in Division I girls’s basketball. UConn’s Geno Auriemma is seven victories from that mark. Proper now, it is exhausting to say who would possibly get there first.
Stanford has performed one sport, a 108-40 victory over Cal Poly, and now’s in a holding sample due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County, California, which might be scheduled to run by means of a minimum of Dec. 21. The Cardinal’s sport Monday towards San Diego was postponed, however no official announcement has been made about Stanford’s different six scheduled video games — 5 towards Pac-12 foes — by means of Dec. 21.
UConn, as talked about, hasn’t performed but due to the COVID-19 pause and will not be in motion once more till a minimum of Dec. 15.
So let’s look as an alternative at one other teaching milestone as West Virginia’s Mike Carey picked up his 700th profession victory within the Mountaineers’ 62-42 victory over LSU on Saturday in Las Vegas. Carey, who’s in his thirty third 12 months of faculty head teaching total, has 412 victories for West Virginia’s girls’s program, the place he has been since 2001. Earlier than that, he coached 13 seasons for the boys’s crew at Salem School in West Virginia, his alma mater.
Win of the Week
We’ll make it a tie: Ohio spoiled Niele Ivey’s debut as Notre Dame coach with an 86-85 victory Friday, though switch Dara Mabrey made her presence recognized with 34 factors, including to the Irish’s Mabrey household legacy. Sure, Notre Dame was with out three returning starters and two freshman submit gamers, however let’s give credit score to the Bobcats (2-0).
Then one other perennial energy was knocked off Saturday when then-No. 12 Maryland fell 81-72 to No. 24 Missouri State, as Brice Calip powered the Woman Bears with 26 factors. Sadly for Missouri State, there appeared to be a little bit hangover in a loss Sunday to Wake Forest, whereas Maryland bounced again by beating Arkansas.