The women’s NCAA Tournament starts Friday. In an article for Excelle Sports, I look at the top players to watch.
The 1996 women’s Olympic basketball team didn’t lose a single game during its year-long tour, which culminated in a gold medal at the Summer Games in Atlanta. But its lasting legacy is the WNBA, which launched largely because of the success of the ’96 team. For a story published in Excelle Sports, I interviewed some of the team’s players and coaches, as well as other key figures, for their recollections of that incredible team.
Last season, I profiled UConn’s Breanna Stewart for the website Sports On Earth, culling insights from her parents, teammates, and coaches from all levels, including Geno Auriemma. On Tuesday, Apr. 8, Stewart was named the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as the Huskies won their third straight national championship. She is the first woman to win the award three times and will have a shot at a fourth next season.
Breanna Stewart is only a sophomore but she’s already been named MVP of the Final Four and claimed five gold medals for USA basketball. Can she be the best women’s basketball player of all time? A story I wrote for Sports On Earth attempts to answer that question.
After covering a UConn game in which Stewart’s coach, Hall of Famer Geno Auriemma, said she was unlike any other player he’d coached, I talked to her teammates, parents, high school coaches, and USA basketball coaches to get a better idea of her potential. Their praise for Stewart’s basketball abilities was matched only by their glowing reviews of her as a person.
For those who don’t follow me on the Twitters or regularly check the Freelance page on the site, I wanted to update you on some of my writing. I continue to profile a Rising Star for CBS Local each week. My last two featured players are Iona’s A.J. English and Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff.
I wrote about the most entertaining broadcast duo in college basketball, ESPN’s Dave Pasch and Bill Walton, for the Arizona Daily Star. If you can’t get your hands on today’s Star, it is available online. My phone conversation with Walton is not something I will soon forget.
Lastly, about a month ago I wrote about Bria Hartley, a starting guard for Connecticut’s undefeated women’s team, for Newsday. Her work ethic and freakish endurance have made her a star.
I’m in the process of writing stories for several other publications and will keep you all updated. Thanks for reading!
SPRINGFIELD, MA—Tony Bozzella and Brian Giorgis have shaken hands with each other 26 times after a basketball game. The two coaches arrived in the MAAC at the same time, in 2002; Bozzella at Iona and Giorgis at Marist. In the 26 post-game handshakes, four of which came after a MAAC Tournament game, Bozzella has always been the one doing the congratulating, Giorgis the consoling. Marist has won seven consecutive MAAC titles and 28 straight against Iona, with Giorgis owning a personal 26-game win streak against Bozzella. The two—who are, surprisingly, very good friends—will meet again in today’s women’s championship (noon, ESPNU).
You’d think Bozzella would want nothing to do with a guy who has dominated him over his 11-year Iona career, but that couldn’t be less true. Bozzella says Giorgis has been a great friend to him and his family. He considers him a mentor and says Giorgis, who owns an impressive collection of sports memorabilia, has been generous in giving some of his items to Bozzella’s kids.
Continue reading MAAC Womens Final: Can Iona Upset Marist?