Chat with Mechelle Voepel
So, send in your questions now and then join Mechelle Friday at 3 p.m. ET!
Mechelle (3:01 PM)
Good afternoon from Cleveland. Let's get started.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Which is more surprising, only one ACC team in the Final Four or a Big East team in the Final Four but it's not UCONN?
Mechelle (3:04 PM)
That's a good question. I think the ACC was so good this season that we probably assumed the league might again get more than one team to the FF. On the other hand, the Big East was a very good conference this season, too. But ... UConn was certainly the team most saw as the "survivor" in that league to get this far. Rutgers' victory in the Big East tournament title game, though, ended up being indicative of how good the Scarlet Knights have become as the season's progressed.
Chris (State College, PA)
Here is a question that I doubt you'll answer (who knows you may surprise me). In your hatchet job column after Rene Portland's "resignation" you said that Penn State should steer clear of Suzy McConnell or anyone else with links to the Portland era? How ridiculous is that stance? Yeah, PSU shouldn't consider a person who was the best player in the history of their program, a former WNBA Coach of the Year, Olympic Gold Medalist, and someone who coached several Pennsylvania state championship teams? Really? Why, because she played for Portland. I have news for you, McConnell is getting the job and she should. She is the best candidate and if the best reason you can find not to give her the job is that she is connected to Portland, then your opinion is beyond mis-guided. Get a clue. I think it's great you tell a university how to run it's programs when you are not around it at all. Your hate-Rene agenda has blinded you to any common sense opinion where she is concerned.
Mechelle (3:10 PM)
Mechelle (3:15 PM)
I'm sorry, I keep having trouble trying to post answers. I 'll try again. Please go back and read my column and what I actually said about Suzie. I did not do a "hatchet job" on her. I said the school should consider a break from the past.
Mechelle (3:16 PM)
People tend to either agree with what I've written in regard to Coach Portland or vehemently disagree. In the end, I don't think Penn State is going to listen to what a sports writer thinks. I hope the school does what's best for the program.
what are the chances of rutgers winning it all?
Mechelle (3:18 PM)
Why not? The Scarlet Knights are playing great right now and have a ton of confidence. Honestly, it's not going to surprise me if any of the four win this title. And if my anwers are a little slow in coming, sorry. The wireless service I'm hooked up to is not cooperating.
I am a little confused, isn't the NCAA tournament a part of the College basketball season? If so, how can you not consider how a player plays at the most important part of the season in determining if that player should be the player of the year? P.S. Duke is not the best team this year.
Mechelle (3:21 PM)
I think this is a very fair question, and one I wrestled with a lot in terms of our ESPN.com player of the year voting. We did our voting just before the tournament, and it seemed wrong to me to "change " it based on Lindsey Harding having a rough game in the Sweet 16 vs. Rutgers. That said, I can understand the criticism. Sometimes you make a call on something and it may not be right. I think people now might say Candace Parker or Sylvia Fowles without question. The interesting thing is, the Associated Press player of the year is also voted on before the tournament. Maybe it's wrong that we do it that way.
jeff (state college)
Wouldn't it be ironic if Penn State went after Pokey Chatman to replace Rene Portland?
Mechelle (3:29 PM)
I think we can safely assume that's not going to happen.
unc vs rutgers in the finals. What is the outcome?
Mechelle (3:23 PM)
Well, that's who I think will make the final, and that UNC will win. But remember, my original Final Four picks were Duke, Stanford, Oklahoma and North Carolina. One out of four isn't too good for prognostication success.
how do think tenn. will do in the womens final four?
Mechelle (3:25 PM)
Nobody is ever surprised when Tennessee wins any game. But I think Tennessee is going to have to rebound at a really high level to be able to defeat North Carolina. They obviously don't want a game similar to what happened in Chapel Hill during the regular season.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
I can't argue with Harding being your choice for Player of the Year. It's like the NBA where Steve Nash is the MVP but can't lead his team to the promised land. Both come up big over the regular season. It's just unfortunate that they haven't won in the postseason. Your thoughts?
Mechelle (3:28 PM)
Well, I think they are great point guards with future chances at championships. In Lindsey's case, her college career is over, but she's got a long pro career ahead of her. I also think she has a good chance at being a significant part of the U.S. national team.
Glen (State College, PA)
I agree about breaking from the Portland era but wouldnt hate it if McConnell Serio was hired...that being say did temple lock away the best canididate...the pros aren't college and I think Staley would have been the much better fit in both breaking from portland and getting a proven college coach.
Mechelle (3:32 PM)
It's interesting that Dawn Staley decided to sign her deal with Temple at a time when one would think she was a candidate to go a lot of places. She's had great success there at Temple. But Staley is a very loyal person who likes being in her hometown. She makes decisions based on those factors. And ultimately, if McConnell Serio is hired at Penn State, I'll call and say, "I know you may not have liked or agreed with what I wrote, but I obviously hope we'll continue to have the good working relationship that we have had." The Penn State fan base and the program are important to women's basketball and I hope the "difficult" stories around that program will now lessen.
Marc (Malden, MA)
The writer who didn't vote Candice Parker 1st Team All America should have his vote taken away.
Mechelle (3:44 PM)
There is zero doubt that Parker is an All-American and one of the top-five players. We had this same issue a couple of years ago when Diana Taurasi was not unanimous first team. That should never have happened, either.
Is it Dissapointing as a coach do go 32-1 all year and then losing to rutgers as the duke bluedevils did
Mechelle (3:39 PM)
Sure it's disappointing to coach Goestenkors ... but who she felt bad for was her players, especially her two seniors. But Duke had a terrific season, and let's give credit to Rutgers for playing this well. The Scarlet Knights are not in the Final Four by accident. They deserve to be here.
Glenn (Morris Plains, NJ)
I knew about parker's situation but not Fowles...any chance she leaves early
Mechelle (3:42 PM)
I haven't had the chance to ask her, and I'm not sure if anyone else in the media has. I think she's a really mature young woman who will make the best decision for herself. Obviously, I hope she plays another year and Candace Parker plays all four of her college seasons, too. College, in my opinion, is way too important to give up.
Who do you think will need to lead Rutgers to a title at this time of the season?
Mechelle (3:52 PM)
Of course, the defense has been really good, but individually Matee Ajavon has stepped forward to make the big plays offensively. She was so clutch during the Greensboro Regional. Inside, Kia Vaughn is going to have to stay out of foul trouble but also hold her own offensively as much as possible against Sylvia Fowles.
Mechelle (3:53 PM)
Well, thanks for the questions. Hope everybody enjoys the Women's Final Four this weekend. And the start of baseball season. :)