Your Day in Women’s Basketball, October 19: NCAA shakes up schedules, not scholarships

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 08: A general view during the 2013 NCAA Women"u2019s Final Four at New Orleans Arena on April 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 08: A general view during the 2013 NCAA Women"u2019s Final Four at New Orleans Arena on April 8, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images) /

NCAA grants student-athletes an extra year to compete, stays quiet regarding scholarships

The NCAA granted DI winter athletes an extra year of competition and an additional year of competition due to the coronavirus pandemic. No decision has been announced yet on whether the organization will allow students to opt-out of the season without losing their athletic scholarship. But they absolutely should.

The NCAA already profits off these student-athletes (particularly basketball players), and forcing them to play through COVID or risk losing their scholarship (in this economy!) is asinine.

The Pac-12 announced that its women’s basketball teams would play entirely in-conference this season, with a four-game bump to a 22-game conference season rather than the usual 18 game slate. Coaches around the league had a range of reactions to the decision.

“I’ve already been on record as saying I’m for the 22-game Pac-12 schedule,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said at the end of September. “I love the double round-robin and even if it was not a COVID year, I would still want a 22-game schedule. I think that’s fair. I love it. We play in a great conference.”

More from ACC

Others, like Arizona head coach Adia Barnes, said that a 20-game schedule would have been preferable, allowing for men’s and women’s teams to travel together.

Over in the ACC, Lousiville was the first team to announce a non-conference schedule. The season takes off with a mixed-bag of competitors: alongside UConn, Cincinnati, and Middle Tennesse State, the Cardinals will get the chance to take it easy against Eastern Kentucky (11-18 last season) and first-year DI program Bellarmine.

Across the ACC, New Mexico-to-Pitt transfer Jayla Everett received a waiver to play immediately for the Panthers. The reigning Mountain West Freshman of the Year will take her scoring tenacity to a Pitt squad that won just one game in-conference last season.

Up at the WNBA level, The Next’s Bailey Johnson broke down the many questions (and few answers) that the Atlanta Dream will have to answer before next season. On the bright side, Atlanta will walk into next season with its core of Chennedy Carter, Courtney Williams, Elizabeth Williams, and Tiffany Hayes still intact. Shekinna Stricklen also can fill the stretch-4 role that head coach Nicki Collen was clamoring for at the end of the year.

There’s a chance Monique Billings, Glory Johnson, and Betnijah Laney could all be on their way out of Atlanta this offseason. The toughest choice for the Dream will involve whether or not they re-sign Laney, who won the WNBA’s Most Improved Player award (Myisha Hines-Allen was robbed!) this past season.

Atlanta will have the money to offer Laney the max and then some. But the front office won’t be able to sign all of Carter, Blake Dietrick, Renee Montgomery, and Maite Cazorla if Laney re-ups.

While the Dallas Wings had a tough end to their season, Allisha Gray didn’t let it suppress her appetite to improve. Gray has worked closely with trainer John Hollmon to expand her game as she looks to build upon her multi-leveled scoring prowess and two-way skills.

“I feel Allisha can be an all-star,” Hollmon said. “I think she is one now. As long as she continues to put in the work on and off the court she will get there. Her numbers have improved every year and numbers don’t lie.”

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