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WBB : Junior college transfer Williams begins season in Syracuse’s starting lineup

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on November 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Ryne: rjgery@syr.educenter_img Shanee Williams had nowhere to go. The junior guard was hounded by the Long Beach State defense as she dribbled toward the basket. Unable to get to the hoop, Williams didn’t force the issue.Instead, she stopped, deftly went behind her back and lofted a pass into the paint. There, a trailing Kayla Alexander plucked the pass out of the air and finished a layup to get Syracuse on the board 30 seconds into the game.In her first action for the Orange, the junior college transfer quickly demonstrated her playmaking ability.‘I think that her athleticism and her knowledge of basketball allows her to get through a lot of situations that a lot of players wouldn’t get through,’ SU head coach Quentin Hillsman said. ‘She really understands the game, and she’s played basketball pretty much all of her life.’Williams brings her understanding of the game to Syracuse (1-0) this season after spending two years at two junior colleges. She earned a spot in the starting lineup at shooting guard to start the season and played 14 minutes in the Orange’s season opener against Long Beach State on Sunday. Though she didn’t see the floor for long stretches, Williams played under control and made good decisions with the ball, turning it over just once.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor a Syracuse team that committed 28 turnovers against the 49ers, Williams’ steady play and calm demeanor on the floor was evident.Williams developed that court presence as a freshman at Monroe Community College in Rochester and during her sophomore season at Monroe College in the Bronx. After a standout career as a scorer at Murry Bergtraum High School in Manhattan, Williams transitioned from shooting guard to point guard in junior college when her coaches felt the 5-foot-7 guard was too small to continue playing off the ball. After moving from one Monroe to another — because she was homesick — Williams grew into that role and led the Bronx’s Monroe College to the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Women’s Basketball national championship.The junior, who averaged 13.6 points and 4.1 assists per games last year, said she was nervous to play point guard at first, but eventually gained confidence in the role.‘I really felt comfortable playing, handling the ball, because I feel like I got control of the game, and I can see the floor,’ Williams said. ‘So I knew who was open, I knew who can shoot, I knew what we can do as a team.’With Williams directing the Mustangs, they finished the regular season 25-5 and entered the 2011 NJCAA Women’s Basketball National Tournament as the No. 11 seed out of 16. Williams and Monroe shocked the rest of the field as they advanced to the national championship game against No. 1 Pima (Ariz.) Community College in Peoria, Ill.Monroe head coach Seth Goodman said his team was still searching for its first field goal two and a half minutes into the game.So he turned to Williams, the star of the team, to break the Mustangs’ scoring drought.Monroe ran a pick and roll at the top of the key for Williams, giving her an opportunity to make a play with the ball in her hands. When her defender went under the screen to cut off her driving lane, Williams took a dribble and pulled back to knock down a jumper from just inside the 3-point line.‘I think the girls were a little nervous,’ Goodman said. ‘She made a tough shot and that kind of got us going a little bit.’After that first shot went down, Monroe controlled othe game and took a six-point halftime lead. And when Pima threatened late in the second half, Goodman said Williams rose to the occasion again, hitting a couple of big shots to keep the Mustangs out in front.Williams said the last play of the game will be her lasting memory from the championship run. Pima fouled her to send her to the line, and she knocked down both free throws to ice Monroe’s 78-74 victory.It was after that championship run that Williams finally felt confident as a point guard. And she will need that confidence as she makes the transition to the Division-I level.‘I’m not that person that’s outspoken,’ Williams said. ‘I let my dribbling, my shooting, whatever I can do on the court do the talking for me.’rjgery@syr.edulast_img read more

Replay system does Dodgers no favors in loss to Pittsburgh Pirates

first_imgPITTSBURGH >> The Pirates initiated three challenges in their 6-5 win over the Dodgers on Saturday and won them all. The Dodgers challenged one call on the field and lost.In a one-run game, that mattered a lot.Don Mattingly has never shied away from suggesting changes to the replay system this season, particularly when calls go against the Dodgers and the manager gets on a roll. That’s happened a few times. The Dodgers are 10-19 on challenges this season.The last of the four challenged calls saw Yasiel Puig called out at first base with one out in the ninth inning and Howie Kendrick at second base. Puig was originally ruled safe by first base umpire Mark Wegner because Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez briefly lifted his foot off the bag to catch the throw from third baseman Jung-Ho Kang. Added catcher A.J. Ellis: “They’re going to see what they see. It’s one of those things, every time you watch a challenge you’re so biased toward your own team coming out on top. You look up there and go, ‘There’s daylight there!’ or ‘He tagged him on that right there.’ Both dugouts are probably thinking we’re going to get this call right most of the time, especially most of the really tight ones. It was disheartening to see it go through.”Hernandez finding his nicheKiké Hernandez got a rare start in center field — his third in 20 games since the All-Star break and his sixth this season — against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano.It was Hernandez’s 17th start against a southpaw this season, compared to 13 against right-handers. The numbers say that’s a good call: Hernandez drew a walk and hit a home run in his two plate appearances against Liriano, raising his batting average to .408 against lefties this year with eight doubles, two triples and two home runs in 49 plate appearances.“I think Kiké can hit righties,” Mattingly said. “It’s just our situation, the way we’re set up, that’s not his role. I do think that there’s going to be a day when Kiké has a chance to play a whole lot more. I think he’ll hit righties too. It’s been a year the way our team is set up those at-bats aren’t there for him.”Hernandez is hitting .197 against right-handed pitchers this year. When the Pirates went to right-hander Joe Blanton out of the bullpen, left-handed hitter Joc Pederson took over for Hernandez in center field.Mattingly shied away from saying that Hernandez would continue to spell Pederson against left-handed starters, preferring instead to use Hernandez in a super-utility role. Pederson has started 12 games against lefties this year.Also …Justin Turner will be able to slide without restriction once he returns from a skin infection next week, Mattingly said. … Scott Van Slyke’s two-hit game was his first since July 8. His outfield assist was his first since June 30. … The Dodgers’ 55 hits are their most through five games on any road trip this season. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img Pirates manager Clint Hurdle challenged the call, a lengthy review followed, and Puig was ruled out.Mattingly reiterated some familiar talking points after this game, using a new tact: sarcasm.“It’s obvious that it’s 100 percent clear and convincing. I’m sure we’ll get a photo at one point that shows (Rodriguez’s) foot was 100 percent on the bag. So within the terms of the rules of ‘clear and convincing,’ I’m sure it is.”Sarcasm there?“No, I’m just sure it’s 100 percent,” Mattingly said. “That replay system is so good that there’s 100 percent turnover there, that means it’s clear and convincing the foot was absolutely on the bag. I’m hoping to get a photo of that.”last_img read more

Kobe Bryant’s basketball retirement poem

first_imgFrom my mind & bodyTo my spirit & soul.As a six-year-old boyDeeply in love with youI never saw the end of the tunnelI only saw myselfRunning out of one.And so I ran.I ran up and down every courtAfter every loose ball for you.You asked for my hustleI gave you my heartBecause it came with so much more.I played through the sweat and hurtNot because challenge called meBut because YOU called me.I did everything for YOUBecause that’s what you doWhen someone makes you feel asAlive as you’ve made me feel.You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dreamAnd I’ll always love you for it.But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.This season is all I have left to give.My heart can take the poundingMy mind can handle the grindBut my body knows its time to say goodbye.And that’s OK.I’m ready to let you go nowSo we can both savor every moment we have left together.The good and the bad,We have given each otherAll that we have.And we both know, no matter what I do nextI’ll always be that kidWith the rolled up socksGarbage can in the corner:05 seconds on the game clockBall in my hands5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1Love you always, Kobe Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Game-winning shotsIn the Great Western ForumI knew one thing was real:I fell in love with you.A love so deep I gave you my all — center_img This is the text of the retirement statement, reportedly written by Kobe Bryant, as posted on the website theplayerstribune.com.From the momentI started rolling my dad’s tube socksAnd shooting imaginarylast_img read more