Friday, March 30, 2012

Final Four Semi Should Have Been Final

It didn't take a genius, rocket scientist or even a "guru" to know that Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike would wind up being special players when both were around 10 years old. Blessed with height, athleticism and the desire to learn was a given but when you throw in that drive, well you got yourself a recipe for success. Stanford vs Baylor should have been playing for the championship in my honest opinion and the winner of this game should win it all. Nneka and Brittney Griner are the two most dominant players in basketball today and it's a shame one of these teams will have to lose


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

GPR Scouting "Rising Stars" This Weekend


Angela Harris and Faith Cook are two of the top players in the city right now and they haven't even made it to high school but there are plenty others on the rise. Girlz Prep Report will be on hand to cover the Houston Insiders Hoopfest Tournament this weekend and several stories will be coming out on players to watch from middle school on up. High school player rankings are in the process of being adjusted and will be completed in April and again after the July viewing events. If you think 2012 was tough..............

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Final Four Features Four Area Players-AGAIN

Brittney Griner made it to the Final Four in her freshman season and she's back again as a junior as she attempts to lead Baylor to an unprecedented 40-0 season. To get there won't be an easy task as she and her teammates have to go against Stanford featuring Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. Nneka is playing in her fourth straight Final Four while Chiney is in her second but this game will have four players from the Houston area, Amber Orrange plays for the Cardinal as well. Last season also featured four local players the Ogwumikes met Texas A&M, Sydney Colson and Adoara Elonu were on the Aggie squad and the previous season Nneka was there with Griner and Kelly Griffin, also from Baylor, along with Jasmine Hartman from Oklahoma

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Many Players Will Have Something To Prove

This will be a summer of expect the unexpected as many players will find their stock may not be where they quite thought it was while others will appear out of nowhere. The 2012 group of players absence will leave a big hole to fill so it will be interesting to see who wants to step up and be "the girls" for their respective squads. One such player to keep an eye is Regina Scott along with her high school teammates from Klein Forest who might be household names come July


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Club Season Ready To Unleash Tomorrows Stars

One thing you can always count on from me is spotting young talent at the early ages. From Courtney Williams to Recee Caldwell, Brooke McCarty to AJ Alix and host of others who I tabbed can't miss at an early age. Can't miss means a variety of things and no matter what, it's up to player to continue to work if they want to excel at whatever level they hope to attain. Tiffany Arceneaux (Dayton) and Jayla Calhoun (Summer Creek) were both Newcomers of the Year in their respective districts while Faith Cook hasn't even been fitted for her high school uniform but I expect big things along the way for her as well. I'll be keeping you abreast on the players coming up and one thing this won't just be household names because as you can see there are players everywhere

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Girlz Prep Report Rankings

I will be covering the Houston Insiders Hoopfest Tournament next weekend, March 31st-April 1st and this will give new players a chance to be evaluated along with updating the progression of others I already have listed


Keep in mind how hard it is to get to the next level and contrary to what you hear, it's not that easy based on statistics provided by the NCAA which say it's somewhere around 2-4 percent of high school seniorss that actually make it


Cover your bases and make sure you're in the right position.

Unsigned Seniors Have A Bit Of Everything

As I take a break from March Madness while watching many of the upsets on the men's side along with the near upsets on the women's side, it let's you know players are everywhere and sometimes there are diamonds in the rough, ask those guys in the Russell Athletics gear what can be accomplished. Although not as prevalent on the female side as the men's, there are still a number of players that can change programs at every level who often go unnoticed for whatever reason however a keen eye along with placing players in the right fit has done wonders for many, many teams and players. Derita Silas moved to Houston from Mississippi and as you can see this 6'0 senior can get up, way up and although she may be raw in some areas, there are many positives going in her favor.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Baylor On Course To Make History

 Last season Texas A&M became the fourth different Texas school to win the NCAA National Championship, Texas (1986), Texas Tech (1993) and Baylor (2005). No other state can make the same claim, Indiana and California have two different teams each. If you look closely, you will also see that a Texas school has won the championship in every decade since it's start, just a little something for you trivia buffs, and now the Baylor Bears has something even more impressive to shoot for.

If they pull this off, the Bears will finish an unprecedented 40-0, no other team has ever won 40 games since they started the Women's NCAA Tournament in 1992 , the closest has been 39-0, Connecticut has done that 3 times, while Tennessee has done it once. To top that off, only 6 teams have ever gone undefeated in the 30 year history of the tournament.

NCAA Championship History

Prior to being called the Women's NCAA Tournament, it was known as the AIAW Women's Basketball Tournament. La Tech was 40-5 in the 1979-80 season

AIAW Championship History

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

March Madness Begins

Rolling with Texas A&M on their championship run last season as a parent was something even I find hard to put into words. The excitement each step of the way had the adrenaline flowing and along with the atmosphere, especially when they made it to the Final 4 still gives me goosebumps. This season is basically like last where many of the experts have Baylor, Stanford, UCONN and Notre Dame as the favorites to reach the Final 4.



I can go with that because those are the four best teams on paper but the best team doesn't always win, you only have to be the best that game. There are several area players playing in the tournament so if you get a chance check out the action

Area 2013 Class Filled With Blue Collar Players

I have never seen a class mirror another in back to back seasons and it appears things happen in cycles.In 2012, there was a variety of offensive minded players that could score on you from multiple ways and while the class of 2013 has some players like that, there isn't an abundance in the area like it was from the previous class. Two of the most athletic players from 2013 have already committed, Christen Inman (Northwestern) and Alexia Sanders (Rice) however the versatility from the different types of players are not lacking as you have several next level players.

AJ Alix is one of the top point guards in the state. I always say the game starts at the one, that's the real and also why she's the "Real Deal".  That's my favorite saying along with one I've modified, "you can't teach height, especially when they can play"

6'2 Carol Willie is ready to explode on the circuit this summer and after her performance this season, be ready

2013 Willie Ready To Explode

Monday, March 12, 2012

McNeese State Heads Back To The Big Dance

McNeese State came into the season with hopes of winning the regular season conference and most importantly the post season tournament in the Southland Conference. The didn't win the conference but they did win the tournament, defeating Stephen F Austin 62-58 in the finals, sending them back to the NCAA Tournament.

All-Tournament Team
Caitlyn Baggett, McNeese State (MVP)
Ashlyn Baggett, McNeese State
Tammara Marion, Stephen F. Austin
Kendra Wells, McNeese State
Ashlee Mells, Stephen F. Austin 


Friday, March 9, 2012

Southland Conference Championship Preview

McNeese State (25-7) has one more hurdle to climb to head back to the "Big Dance" and that's against Stephen F Austin (23-8) who defeated Nicholls State 66-57. Nicholls State had to be one of the fan favorites after knocking off #1 seed Central Arkansas on Tuesday. Not only was Nicholls State the #8 seed, that was also their first ever postseason victory so emotions were riding high

LiAnn McCarthy was the star on Tuesday for the Lady Colonels on Tuesday by hitting 7 of their teams 14 three pointers on her way to 32 points, she only had one of their five against the Lady Jacks however at the half the ball game was tied at 25

In the second half, SFA outscored them 41-32 and the last six minutes was the story as SFA was clinging to a 49-47 lead. Two threes from Brittany Matthew, a jumper by Annette Davis and clutch free throw shooting from Courtney Conright and Tamara Marrion sealed the victory

 KK Babin led Nicholls State with 14 points while Sumar Leslie had 10. Nicholls State finishes the season 15-16 however they are losing only three seniors

Marrion led SFA with 15 followed by Matthew and Ashley Mells with 11 each, all three had 3 three pointers 

Mells has always been a gifted shooter and the game between these two teams for the championship will have just that, shooters on both ends. It will also have young ladies battling under the basket and from baseline to baseline however once again, the Cowgirls have that taste to return and also want to avenge their conference loss that was played in Nacogdoches. 

McNeese St In Position To Baggett Again

For all practical purposes, this game was over after the first five minutes as McNeese State jumped out to a 17-0 lead against Texas State. The Bobcats couldn't make a basket while it appeared the Cowgirls couldn't miss, in fact McNeese shot close to 60% in the first half, 55% from bta while Texas State managed just over 13% and also throw in a 25-7 rebound advantage for the Cowgirls and you can see why the score was 48-9 at the half.

Texas State is a better team than the one that played on Thursday, I saw them on Tuesday and I saw them against Rice back in December but McNeese State made it to the NCAA Tourney last season by winning the Southland Conference Tournament and they came out focused and ready to do it again

So much is said about the Baggett twins, Caitlyn and Ashlyn, and their ability to drop bombs from all over the court however Candace LaCombe can also shoot the three pretty darn good as she led the Cowgirls with 16 points, this included four threes

Markita Hull beasted up with a double-double of 13 points and 17 rebounds while the Baggett twins and Raiywana Gatlin had 11 each, followed by Kendra Wells who was a rebound shy of her own double-double with 10 and 9. In all, six Cowgirls finished in double digits putting together a very balanced scoring attack

Ashley Ezeh  and Diamond Ford combined for 45 points against Sam Houston on Tuesday but both scored only 2 in the first half against the Cowgirls. The both caught fire in the second half and finished in double digits 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Southland Conference Semifinal Preview

McNeese State has that high powered offense with an aggressive back-court of three point shooters that can also take you off the dribble, Caitlyn and Ashlyn Baggett. Those two can score in bunches and along with Kendra Wells on the interior, they have someone who can not only score but clean up the boards on both ends . The Cowgirls are the defending Southland Conference Tournament Champions, they are battle tested and they have their eyes on heading back to the NCAA Tournament

The Baggett's aren't the only three point weapons, Candace LaCombe didn't have her best game shooting wise on Tuesday but she nailed a couple of long range bombs when they needed them the most against Southeastern Louisiana

If Texas State comes scoring out like they did against Sam Houston expect another high scoring game against McNeese State and this could be an exciting game. I'm ready to watch Ashley Ezeh battle Wells in the paint along with Diamond Ford going coast to coast or launching bombs from even another coast. Sam Houston shot the ball 77 times on Tuesday, Texas State can't let McNeese put up that amount of shots or this could get ugly

LiAnn McCarthy was simply unbelievable for Nicholls State scoring 32 points which included 7-10 from bta, half of her teams 14, in their 79-59 major-upset victory over regular season champion Central Arkansas. This was also Nicholls State first ever victory in the tournament so I expect them to relish being the underdog against Stephen F Austin and having the mindset that they can do it today

SFA had four players score in double figures against Lamar, seniors Tamara Marrion, Courtney Conright and Amina Sawyers while freshman Porsha Roberts joined the group. Unlike Nicholls State, SFA has won a conference playoff game before however the last time was 2007. If  Nicholls State drops 14 threes like they did in game one, this could become interesting

A lot of former area high school players are still alive, games begin at NOON!

#gprbb #merrellmadness

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

2013 Watch-List Emma Hughes

Emma Hughes probably has another growth spurt left that will get her over 6'0. Right now she's on the edge at 5'11 but she's also on the edge of being a name you might hear a lot of over the summer as she heads into the club ball season playing for Dynasty-Johnson. She'll also work on her skills to try and help lead College Park back to the district title

Still raw in a lot of areas, that old saying "you can't teach height" comes into play along with Emma's work ethic and desire so I'm looking forward to watching her progression over the summer as she makes that push to get where she needs to be to play at the next level

Southland Conference Tournament Provides Merrell Madness

McNeese St Head Coach Brooks Donald-Williams  &  Caitlyn Baggett
 If yesterdays action is any indication on what to expect tomorrow then anyone watching will be in for a treat. Four good games, no actually four great games including Nicholls States win over Central Arkansas 79-59, Nicholls State was seeded 8th while Central Arkansas won the regular season conference

 This means that McNeese State is the top seeded team left and even though they started off slowly, the firepower produced by the those terrific twins, Caitlyn and Ashlyn Baggett who combined for 37 points while Kendra Wells cleaned up the boards with 21 rebounds puts them in the drivers seat to head back to the "Big Dance" after defeating Southeastern Louisiana 67-55.

Texas State defeated Sam Houston State in a shootout, 74-66 with Ashley Ezeh and Diamond Ford combining for 44 points, both are former area stars

Stephen F Austin defeated Lamar 73-64 behind 16 points from yet another former area star Tamara Marion. More to come from the tournament later today.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Texas Finals Video Recap

 Morgan Bolton was one of many exciting players doing exciting things in the state finals however her behind the back pass on the money was so smooth, you got an instant replay, check out the video which is also on the GPR  Website courtesy of Passthaball

The Amazing Alexis Jones- Can I Get An Encore?

For the road, courtesy of Passthaball!!!!!!

2014 Watch List-Jasmine Nash

Jasmine Nash transferred to Klein Collins from Westfield and paid immediate dividends once she was cleared to play, bring another scoring threat to the team. During the season, Jasmine had hold some of the top players in the area and I expect her to be doing the same this summer with Cy Fair Shock
Still raw in some areas, Jasmine has a lot of upside and with her enthusiasm and work ethic, she may be on the verge of something big this July. Nevertheless remember the name!!!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Lewis Left Lasting Impression

 Taylor Lewis is one of the top 2014 players in Arkansas and if the progression continues, that may trickle over to all of the country. How good is she? Well she has some things you just can't and with high IQ both on and off the court, she is definitely a player you want to catch, the story is in the link below

2011-12 All-Southland Conference Women's Basketball Teams

McNeese State place three players on the All Southland Conference team, Ashlyn and Caitlyn Bagget along with Kendra Wells, all will be on hand tomorrow as they open the Southland Conference Tournament up at 12pm against Southeastern Louisiana

Area stars who also made the team that will be on hand are Ashley Ezeh (Bush) and Diamond Ford (Hightower) from Texas State who will go against Britni Martin (Conroe) and Sam Houston State in the second game. In the nightcap, Tamara Marion (Bellaire) will lead Stephen F Austin against Lamar

Here is the complete list of the teams

Girls Basketball State All-Tournament Teams

Loryn Goodwin, Alexis Durley and Kendall Shaw are the area players who made the teams.

Here's the complete list

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Southland Conference Schedule Set For Tuesday March 6th

Diamond Ford (Hightower) is one of many area players who played their high school ball here that are now playing for Texas State, in fact there are several former stars coming back to town including Lamar's Jasmine Henderson (Dulles) and Nicholls State's Jenny Nash (Cy Woods)

McNeese State is back to defend their title and they will crank it up off the top starting Tuesday at noon

Here's the schedule

Southeastern Louisiana @ McNeese State   12 p.m.

Texas State @ Sam Houston State   2:30 p.m.

Nicholls State @ Central Arkansas   6 p.m.

Lamar @ Stephen F. Austin 8:30 p.m.