Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, women's basketball writer Mechelle Voepel will stop by to chat about the start of the college season.
Voepel has covered women's college and pro basketball for ESPN.com since 1996. Read her blog at www.mechellevoepelblog.com.
Send your questions now and join Voepel Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (2:04 PM)
Good afternoon from Municipal Auditorium, site of the Big 12 women's tournament for the last time here in Kansas City. Just finished watching #5 seed Kansas State "upset" No. 4 Iowa State.
Matt (Sandusky, OH)
Which team has the most to gain from playing well in the Big 12 Conference Tournament?
Mechelle Voepel (2:06 PM)
Kansas could really use a victory tonight against Texas AM, which should propel the Jayhawks into the NCAA field. It doesn't seem that likely that KU can do this, but this team has surprised me a lot this season - in good ways and in bad. Texas and Oklahoma State sure didn't help themselves last night with losses. Texas looked terrible throughout the game, Oklahoma State rallied at the end but it wasn't enough. Kansas State helped itself a little with today's win, perhaps, in terms of the Wildcats' mindset going into the tournament.
Should Elizabeth Williams of Duke or KML of UConn win Freshmen Player of the Year, or someone else?
Mechelle Voepel (2:10 PM)
I would give the edge to Elizabeth Williams for how much of the load she had to carry for Duke. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also had done quite a lot for UConn. I wouldn't criticize anyone who opted for KML instead, but I would vote for Williams. Kentucky's Bria Goss, Washington's Jazmine Davis and Minnesota's Rachel Banham are among the other rookies who really have had standout first seasons.
Coach Klop seems to be signing a lot of athletic and young players to fill the Shock training camp with. I think Chanel McKongo, Jene Morris, Scholonda Robinsion (Dorrell), and Temeka Johnson could provide quickness our team lacks. I am glad Scholonda is back. She was the leading scorer the first season. Do you think these signings provide the speed the Shock need? And can Glory Johnson possibly be 4th in the draft or has her stock went up to the 2-3 spot. Btw, like the Glo-Jo nickname.
Mechelle Voepel (2:13 PM)
Gary seems to have pretty specific game plan for the style he wants the Shock to play. Plus, because of the early start of the season, the Shock and most of the other teams may need to sign - or have already signed - some players that may not necessarily be in the mix later in the season but are needed at the start. Glory Johnson may still be available at No. 4, but certainly not much longer. I think she's going to be a very good pro; she's so athletic and plays extremely hard.
Dave Link ((fleeing, furiously, from CT))
It seems after three games, UConn is better than the doubting Thomases gloated, and that Notre Dame is not as invincible as their big fans bragged -- do you really want to see them play a 4th time two years in a row, or face Baylor and Stanford? If that, which two matches would you want to see?
Mechelle Voepel (2:18 PM)
I don't know what all the fans were saying, but I can't imagine Notre Dame folks really, seriously would have been bragging they were *invincible,* were they? I wouldn't think so. :) Also, I think people in Connecticut/UConn fans tend to worry/doubt more than people outside do. I think most outsiders actually don't doubt UConn. I really would like to see Baylor vs. Stanford at some point, just because that matchup inside would be so interesting.
sportsfan0360 ((sitting, quietly, next to ESPN parole officer))
Does Geno need to win 9 Natl. Championships and/ or win 1,100 games to be considered the best ever, or what he has done to date in 11 years less with all the streaks and higher win percentage, already give him a slight edge between the two legends?
Mechelle Voepel (2:21 PM)
I think generally speaking, whomever has the most titles between Tennessee and UConn, when all is said and done, may be regarded as "best ever." But there are these big fan bases on both sides that already have their minds made up on "best ever," and that's not going to change no matter what happens.
You left Alyssa Thomas off your All-American lists? She is the ACC POY and tournament MVP and led her team to the title. I believe she is the best sophomore in the country and will be named a State Farm and AP All-American
Mechelle Voepel (2:28 PM)
She may well get all those honors, and they would be deserved. I make my all-American suggestions last Friday before the ACC tournament. I'm not sure ... Alyssa's performance in Greensboro maybe would have swayed me a little different on one of the second five players I listed. But who that I have on there doesn't deserve it, too? That's the thing with these honors ... people will say, "How could you leave off X person?" but then whom do you leave off? Prahalis, Wojta, Johnson, Hayes and C Ogwumike are very good players, too. I think Chiney is in that conversation of best sophomore in the country, as is Odyssey Sims. I am not saying Alyssa doesn't deserve to be listed in the top-10 players in the country. As I said in the thing I wrote last week, you could disagree with all five of my choices for the second team and that wouldn't mean you were wrong. I think a lot of players are candidates for those spots.
kevin (macon ga)
Tavelyn James won the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award. Is she a WNBA prospect?
Mechelle Voepel (2:33 PM)
From what I have heard, yes. But it's not like I've had much opportunity to see her. I will look forward to getting that chance in the WNBA if it happens.
Jim (Kansas City, MO)
Mechelle -- That was an excellent story you had Wednesday on Oklahoma State. That team, and their situation, really does tug at the heart strings. Nevertheless, I was for MU last night, and the Tigers barely held on to beat the Cowgirls after building a 20-point lead...I would like to hear your assessment of MU; it seems to me that they have a talented corps of young players, and it appears that Robin Pingeton was a very good hire. I worry, however, about how they're going to replace BreAnna Brock and Christine Flores. I don't see much size among the returning players.
Mechelle Voepel (2:35 PM)
I feel like this team has been built, in the short amount of time Robin Pingeton has had, to be successful in a Big 12-North style of play. But I don't see it working the same way in the SEC, a very athletic league top-to-bottom. The Tigers will need more size and athleticism to even start to compete in the SEC. It's too bad for Mizzou that they won't have Flores and Brock in that first year of the new league.
kevin (macon ga)
The All American Red Head are among the finalists for induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Will they make it?
Mechelle Voepel (2:36 PM)
I really hope so. They are a neat and under-appreciated part of women's basketball history and Americana.
Jamie (San Antonio)
Do you think the addition of Tangela Smith will make enough of a difference to put the Stars in contention or are they still to thin at the post by having to rely on Appel as their other center? Hughes still doesn't seem to be addressing their rebounding issues.
Mechelle Voepel (2:38 PM)
More questions this week about the interior of SASS. Tangela is a longtime vet who's good to have in the locker room and can still help a team, but she's at the end of her career, of course. I still think the SASS interior is too much of question mark.
Matt (Sandusky, OH)
If still playing in the league, would Nebraska have had a better chance of knocking off Baylor this season than any of the other teams in the Big 12?
Mechelle Voepel (2:40 PM)
I don't think they would have had a better shot that Texas AM did, and personnel-wise the Aggies seem to me the best-equipped to have done it. But they didn't. Or at least haven't ... they could still meet here in the Big 12 tournament. Baylor just recently started in its quarterfinal against Texas Tech here.
Matt (Sandusky, OH)
Did having the #4 & #6 seeds play in the Big Ten Conference Tournament Final show off the league's parity or rather expose the inconsistent play of it's top teams?
Mechelle Voepel (2:43 PM)
A little bit of both, but I imagine most Big Ten followers weren't actually too surprised that happened. I found it interesting that Nebraska never made a Big 12 title game, but made it to the Big Ten final in its first year in the league. I had thought that matchup-wise, game in and game out, Nebraska would compete better in the Big Ten. And that's a young Huskers team, so they have a lot to look forward to.
Mechelle Voepel (2:46 PM)
The question asked was who should the Storm take at No. 2. The question got erased somehow. My answer: If no one leaves early and Nneka Ogwumike does go No. 1 as expected, I would go with either Glory Johnson or Shenise Johnson if I were the Storm.
Mechelle Voepel (2:47 PM)
Well, I'm going to refocus on the Baylor-Texas Tech game in front of me. Thanks for chatting ... will do so again next week when we'll know the bracket!