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Archive for April, 2010

Brenda VanLengen is out of town today, Friday, April 30, so I will be doing her “She’s Got Game” on-line radio show. I’ll be talking with former Kansas basketball player Nakia Sanford of the Mystics, whose Jayhawk career I covered. I’ll also have some guests on to discuss swimming and golf.

You can listen to the show at 1 p.m. Central time here. If you have any questions for me or comments, send them to mvoepel123@yahoo.

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If you follow baseball at all, you might have noticed some obscene scores involving the Pittsburgh Pirates recently.

Scores such as 20-0 and 17-3. They’ve been part of a seven-game skid in which the Pirates have been outscored 72-12. This is the kind of pounding I can relate to on a “competitive” level … because it reminds me of the softball team I was on in grade school, a misfit squad for which the term “mercy rule” might have been invented.
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Three depressing stories recently have caught my attention … and, hey, isn’t that a great lead-in to make you want to read the rest of this blog entry?

In each case, they are “depressing” for some different reasons, but all have been filling my mind the last few days. They are:

*-The USA Swimming sexual-predator problem, and how that relates to hoops.
*-The Oregon State mass tranfer/bigger picture in the Pac-10 issue.
*-The announced retirement of golfer Lorena Ochoa from the LPGA.
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COLUMBIA, Mo. _ New Missouri coach Robin Pingeton and the rest of her staff will likely feel in a bit of limbo for a while. While they moved into their offices here right away, many family members remain back home Bloomington-Normal, Ill.

Spouses still have jobs there, while children are still in school or daycare. Some of the staff’s family, like that of assistant Randy Norton, will be staying in Illinois for another year while one of his daughters finishes out high school.

It’s a drive of four and a half hours between the old home and the new one. Along the way, an hour and a half northeast of Columbia, is Bowling Green, Mo. That’s where the prep senior who was just named Miss Missouri Basketball _ heavily recruited 6-foot-3 forward Anne Marie Hartung _ is from. She grew up on a farm there, and her mother, Sharon, played basketball at Missouri.

But where is Anne Marie going to play? At Texas. That’s right. She’s a born-and-raised Missouri farm kid whose mother was a Tigers player. Yet she didn’t choose Mizzou.
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COLUMBIA, Mo. _ Robin Pingeton is wearing a long-sleeved gold T-shirt with “Mizzou” on it … just a few week ago, of course, all her casual athletic gear would have been in the Illinois State hues of red, white or black.

But that’s how it works in the coaching business: When you take a new job, you must instantly “become” that new school because that’s now your identity and what you are selling to recruits.

In the Missouri women’s basketball offices, now populated mostly by the newcomers, there are two framed jerseys representing the best of the Tigers’ past. Pingeton, MU coach now for a week, can’t possibly be expected to know these women. She and her staff are still getting to know the current Tigers who’ll play for them next season.

But I know who the former wearers of those jerseys are. The old-timey (the 1980s is old times!) sleeved, collared jerseys are still strangely familiar to me, the Nos. 33 and 42 never forgotten. Joni Davis finished her career in 1985, Renee Kelly in 1987. They are 1-2 in career scoring for Missouri, and Kelly is the program’s leading rebounder, with Davis fourth on that list.

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I went to Columbia, Mo., yesterday to chat with Robin Pingeton, and yes, we did talk about the various issues that have been discussed on this blog. Will have a lot more on that that just a little later. Also hope to catch up with new Colorado coach Linda Lappe this afternoon.
It is interesting that with the addition of Pingeton and Lappe, the Big 12 now has four coaches who are natives of Iowa, with them joining Iowa State’s Bill Fennelly and Nebraska’s Connie Yori.
Yori played high school hoops when the girls’ game was still all six-on-six in Iowa. Pingeton’s prep career was in the bridge between six-on-six and five-on-five, while Lappe played after all schools had gone five-on-five.

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Had a long chat with former Buffs coach Ceal Barry on the decision to hire her former player, Linda Lappe, as Colorado’s new head coach. Barry made a lot of positive points about Lappe. But Barry also was realistic about how some people will react to such a youthful coach _ she is 30 _ getting her first shot at Division I after not being a head coach at that level before. Barry’s sense of optimism, though, was very strong.

“I’ve lived here 27 years, and I sent an e-mail out to a large group of people I know about a new season-ticket offer,” Barry said. “And immediately all these people said, ‘I’m in.’ I’m getting all these e-mails back, and it’s because of the respect they had for Linda. The excitement of our community for this _ everybody here gets it. They get who she is and what she stands for.

“I know outside of here, people may look at this and say, ‘What are they doing?’ But they don’t know Linda. All I say is, ‘Give her a chance.’ ”
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