Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lady Vol Mourns The Loss Of Her Mother

University of Tennessee Lady Vol rising sophomore Cait McMahan’s mother, Teresa, passed away on Tuesday, May 29 after a courageous battle with cancer. Ms. McMahan is survived by her children, son Reese and daughter Cait.

“This is a sad day for the McMahan and Lady Vol families,” said Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt. “Having had the opportunity to know Teresa – she had incredible faith and fight and truly was a great mother. Our thoughts go out to Cait, Reese and the McMahan family.”

Cait, a native of Maryville, Tennessee, just completed her rookie season on the Lady Vol Basketball Team where she helped lead the squad to the Southeastern Conference and NCAA Championships.

There will be no receiving of friends for Ms. McMahan. Instead, family and friends may gather for a graveside service at 2:00p Thursday at Grandview Cemetery.
McCammon-Ammons-Click Funeral Home in Maryville is handling the arrangements.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Anosike and Hornbuckle Named as Finalists for 2007 USA Basketball Women's Pan Am Games Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Basketball announced today that 15 athletes had been selected as finalists for the 2007 USA Women's Pan American Games Team following the May 17-20 USA National Team Trials that featured 45 athletes vying for a coveted roster spot. The selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball.

"I'm very excited about the players that have been selected," said USA and Temple University head coach Dawn Staley, an assistant on the 2007-08 USA Women's Senior National Team. "It's a very versatile group that can do a lot of things on both sides of the basketball court. It's a group that's used to playing in big basketball games and that's something we're going to have to play in during the five games down in Brazil. We're going to see some tough competition in Rio and I think the committee did a tremendous job of putting us in the best possible situation to go down there and win the gold.

"I think it's going to be a hard task to get this group down to 12. I'm glad I'm not the one that is choosing the team. Certainly all of us, Kathy (Delaney-Smith), Bill (Gibbons) and I will put our best foot forward and give everyone an equal opportunity to be a part of the 12 players that make it."

The 14 athletes still in contention for a spot on the final 12-member USA Pan Am Games Team include: Jessica Adair (George Washington / Washington, D.C.); Matee Ajavon (Rutgers / Newark, N.J.); Nicky Anosike (Tennessee / Staten Island, N.Y.); Jayne Appel (Stanford/Pleasant Hill, Calif.) Marissa Coleman (Maryland / Cheltenham, Md.); Krystal Ellis (Marquette / Racine, Wis.); Emily Fox (Minnesota / Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Amber Holt (Middle Tennessee / Duluth, Ga.); Alexis Hornbuckle (Tennessee / Charleston, W.Va.); Chardé Houston (Connecticut / San Diego, Calif.); Tasha Humphrey (Georgia / Gainesville, Ga.); Erlana Larkins (North Carolina / Riviera Beach, Fla.); Angel McCoughtry (Louisville / Baltimore, Md.); Mel Thomas (Connecticut / Cincinnati, Ohio) and Candice Wiggins (Stanford / San Diego, Calif.).

The finalists include 10 athletes who have previously competed for USA Basketball. Appel won a gold medal in aiding the 2006 USA U18 National Team to a perfect 4-0 slate at the 2006 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo.; Larkins was a member of the 2006 USA U20 National Team that captured the gold medal in Mexico City, Mexico; in 2005 Anosike, Coleman, Larkins and Wiggins captured the gold medal at the FIBA U19 World Championship. Prior to the U19 Worlds those four won the 2005 International Sports Invitational gold medal. In 2004 Coleman, Houston, Larkins and Wiggins started their age group off on the right foot by sweeping the competition at the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship to collect the gold medal.

Coleman got her start in a USA Basketball uniform at the 2004 USA Youth Development Festival; while Ajavon, Hornbuckle, Houston, Humphrey, Thomas and Wiggins all competed in the 2003 USA Youth Development Festival.

Nine USA Pan American Games Team finalists earned 2007 All-America honors. McCoughtry and Wiggins, both of whom were Wade Trophy finalists, were named to the Associated Press All-America second team, Humphrey and Larkins earned A.P. All-America third team honors and Ajavon, Coleman, Ellis, Hornbuckle and Houston were A.P. All- America honorable mentions. The 2007 Kodak/WBCA All-America Team featured Wiggins, while Kodak/WBCA All-America honorable mention went to Humphrey and Larkins.

The USA Pan Ams finalists will reconvene on July 6 in Washington, D.C., and the eventual 12-member squad will be named prior to the team departing for Brazil on July 16.

The Pan American Games women's basketball tournament will be held July 20-24 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will feature eight national teams from FIBA Americas. The U.S., placed in Group B, opens preliminary play against Columbia on July 20. Facing Argentina on July 21, the USA will close the preliminary round with a contest against defending Pan American Games gold medalists Cuba on July 22. Semifinals are slated for July 23 and the gold medal will be contested July 24. Also competing in the 2007 Pan Ams women's basketball tournament are Group A nations Brazil, Canada, Jamaica and Mexico.

Assisting Staley are collegiate head coaches Kathy Delaney-Smith of Harvard University (Mass.) and Bill Gibbons of College of the Holy Cross (Mass.).

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lady Vol Coach Pat Summitt to Receive New York Athletic Club's Winged Foot Award

Summitt won her 7th NCAA Tournament this year

NEW YORK - Pat Summitt, coach of the University of Tennessee's NCAA champion women's basketball team, and Billy Donovan, who guided the University of Florida to the men's crown, will receive the New York Athletic Club Winged Foot Award on May 23 at a dinner at the NYAC. The award is presented annually to the coaches of the men's and women's NCAA basketball champions.

New York Athletic Club President Val Taubner said, "Both of our Winged Foot Award winners this year accomplished amazing feats, with Coach Donovan winning in consecutive years, and Coach Summitt guiding Tennessee to its seventh national crown in her incredible 33-year reign as coach."

Summitt's squad beat North Carolina in the semi-finals, 56-50, then topped Rutgers in the championship game, 59-46. This was Summitt's first national title since 1998. The other championships came in 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1996, 1997 and 1998. Summitt is the all-time winningest coach-man or woman-in NCAA basketball history, with 947 victories and only 180 losses (34-3 this season). By comparison, Bobby Knight has the most victories for a men's Division I coach, 58 less than Summitt at 889.

In addition, the Lady Vols under Summitt have made 26 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Sweet 16 and produced 12 Olympians. Summitt has a 100% graduation rate among all Lady Vols who have completed their eligibility. Her entire coaching career has been spent at Tennessee. Summitt graduated from Tennessee-Martin in 1974 and became coach of Tennessee beginning with the 1974-75 season.

Florida became the first men's team to win back-to-back titles since Duke accomplished the feat in 1991-92. In the Final Four, Florida defeated UCLA, 76-66 in the semi-finals, then topped Ohio State 84-75 in the championship game. Florida's balanced team has rightfully been lauded because several players returned this season instead of going on to the NBA.

Donovan starred at St. Agnes High School in Rockville Centre, Long Island and at Providence College, where he played for Rick Pitino. He has a career coaching record of 296-123, and a mark of 261-103 in 11 seasons at Florida (35-5 this season). He has guided the Gators to nine straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Donovan worked as a graduate assistant under Pitino at Kentucky in 1989, became a full-time assistant in 1990 and then became head coach at Marshall in 1994. He began at Florida in 1997.

Past winners of the men's New York Athletic Club Winged Foot Award, in addition to Donovan last year, are: Rick Pitino, Kentucky (1996), Lute Olson, Arizona (1997), Tubby Smith, Kentucky (1998), Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (1999), Tom Izzo, Michigan State (2000), Mike Krzyzewski, Duke (2001), Gary Williams, Maryland (2002), Jim Boeheim, Syracuse (2003), Jim Calhoun, Connecticut (2004) and Roy Williams, North Carolina (2005).

This is the ninth time the women's award has been presented since the NYAC recognition began in 1999. Past winners of the women's award are Carolyn Peck, Purdue (1999), Geno Auriemma, Connecticut (2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004), Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame (2001), Kim Mulkey-Robertson, Baylor (2005) and Brenda Frese, Maryland (2006).