Chat with Graham Hays
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN.com women's college basketball writer Graham Hays will be here to chat about the women's season.
Hays contributes to ESPN.com's women's basketball, softball and soccer coverage. He began with ESPN in 1999.
Send your questions now and join Hays Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Graham Hays (4:02 PM)
Some bad news out of the gate, with Baylor announcing sophomoe Shanay Washington will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Depth starting to be a bit of an issue for Baylor, but it will be interesting to see if the rotation just shrinks or if someone like Lindsay Palmer gets a chance to step up.
Graham Hays (4:03 PM)
And now I'll stop answering questions nobody asked. What's on your minds?
Glenn (Fresh Meadows)
I know alot of seniors have left, but are you shocked by some of the lukewarm starts by the supposedly strong mid majors (Dayton, Gonzaga) and the flat out dessimation of other former mid major contenders (VERMONT, HARTFORD)
Graham Hays (4:06 PM)
Not surprised about the latter two, with a lot of personnel losses from the teams that dominated America East the last couple of seasons. I saw Vermont on Saturday and they actually played all right against BC, but they're extremely young. On Dayton and Gonzaga, I don't necessarily buy the lukewarm label, especially for Gonzaga. They aren't dropping much in our mid-major top 10 -- how many other teams would do better than 12 points cumulative difference against USC and Stanford? In both cases -- Gonzaga at USC and Dayton at home against Penn State -- you had games that were there for the taking, but neither team has fallen on its face.
So, UConn rules the universe because it beat Baylor by ONE point. The Lady Bears had played three games in three days, flew to CT on Monday, and played the Huskies on Tuesday. Wow.
Graham Hays (4:08 PM)
Well, the other 79 wins before that one probably have a lot to do with the hubbub, but I take your point. I don't think Tuesday's game proves anything other than both UConn and Baylor are pretty darn good. And we already knew that. It was a lot of fun to watch, though.
With Baylor down Washington and Griffin, do you see a possible shake up in the Big 12 this year, meaning someone other than Baylor winning the title?
Graham Hays (4:11 PM)
Not going there yet. I love the potential Sims and Griner have as a combo, and I'm not sure anyone else in the Big 12 can match that this season. Washington was able to do a lot of things, and had the potential to improve in all of them this season, but it's not a slight to say she's a role player on a team as good as Baylor. If they were to lose anyone else, then maybe A&M, Oklahoma or someone moves ahead of them. But as long as Griner, Sims and Melissa Jones are there as a core, they're still the team to beat out there.
Glenn (Fresh Meadows)
What was your take on John Saunders handing the NCAAW Title to the Huskies Sunday...thought that was presumptious...I saw alot of holes and even less talented but very physical Gtech showed their lack of posts will haunt them big time, I see 4 teams who beat them on paper (OSU, Stanford, Baylor, Tennessee), 2 remain on the schedule. Why still the invincibility, I though despite the loss (which was more poor clock management by Mulkey) Baylor Exposed Uconn's lack of post power this season.
Graham Hays (4:14 PM)
I believe that was on Sports Reporters, right? It's an opinion show, and he's entitled to his opinion. I happen to disagree rather decidedly, but nobody can be right until April. What I found perplexing was how many people were declaring these were clearly the two best teams in the game and we might as well skip ahead to the national title game. If I'm Stanford, I'm tapping some people on the shoulder and pointing to the halftime score in last season's title game.
Graham Hays (4:15 PM)
And on the post question, you may have something, Glenn. But Walker looks like a pretty good, if undersized, post defender, and don't count out Dolson as an impact player by the time the postseason rolls around.
kevin (macon ga)
Tulane is 3-0 and smoked Mississippi State. Are the Green Wave for real?
Graham Hays (4:18 PM)
Depends on how we're defining real, but yeah, Tulane looks like a team that could make some noise in Conference USA. I'm really interested to see how they fare against LSU and potentially Cal, if they face the latter in a holiday tournament final. Neither team is lighting the world on fire at the moment, but both have talent and will push Tulane a lot more than a seriously rebuilding Mississippi State.
Erin Hengesbach (Portland, MI)
How much of a chance does Washington have to get past Boston College and into the Final 4?
Graham Hays (4:22 PM)
Pardon the soccer tangent. At this point, with only three of the top eight seeds remaining, I'd be crazy to say any underdog had worse than a 40 percent chance of winning. It's just one of those seasons when anything can happen. Washington has allowed, what, one goal so far? And that to Portland at their place? Jorden LaFontaine-Kussmann is a great story, but she and the Washington defense are also playing some tremendous soccer at the moment. BC played one of its best games in demolishing West Virginia last week, and going coast to coast over the holiday weekend doesn't work to UW's advantage, but nothing will surprise me at this point.
Your thoughts on OSU getting Prahalis back?
Graham Hays (4:26 PM)
I guess it's cliche, but I feel like the whole thing may help them in the long run. There aren't any championship teams out of Temple, Eastern Michigan and LSU, but to go to Philadelphia and to Baton Rouge (not to mention an EMU team that has a decent backcourt) and come out with three solid wins without her is noteworthy.
Glenn (Fresh Meadows)
I just saw the Huskies resorting to Hack a Shaq to take care of Griner...that is not the Geno way and while freshmen can and will develop, the baylor game was such a wake up to me that I called the streak ending in the garden at Game 88 against OSU
Graham Hays (4:27 PM)
Duly noted, you're on the record with that one.
Barry (Phoenix, AZ)
What are the chances of you and Voepel having a WCBB Today podcast, like Ryen Russillo does for the NBA?
Graham Hays (4:28 PM)
Voepel would be fantastic for one of those. I, on the other hand, would not. Not sure if anything like that is in the works.
Hi Graham! Stanford looking good as always and am a Sooners fan this year. Stanford Oklahoma finals? What do you say? Thanks!
Graham Hays (4:31 PM)
Not ready to go there with Oklahoma, although I like what I've seen so far. Ellenberg and Hook give them some of the range they lost in Hand and there are a lot of big bodies inside for Coale to work with. And, of course, Danielle Robinson is a heck of a ribbon to tie it all together with.
kevin (macon ga)
Arizona is #1 in RPI. Should Wildcat fans be excited?
Graham Hays (4:34 PM)
No idea about the RPI. I didn't honestly think one was released this early. But sure, Arizona fans have some reason to be optimistic -- certainly more optimistic than in a long time. You can build something around White and Ibekwe, even though I think White has been in a bit of a shooting funk to this point.
Tara (Palo Alto)
Does I have the horses to end The Streak in Palo Alto a month from now?
Graham Hays (4:35 PM)
You do if Neka Ogwumike doesn't miss any more time.
Is there a more tempermental group than women's hoops fans? I mean, honestly, the hubbub about a few ex-Huskies making fun of Kim's outfit was just silly.
Graham Hays (4:38 PM)
Find me a group of any significant size that isn't temperamental. But thankfully, I was traveling the morning after the game and missed that whole story. I'm not in a big hurry to go catch up on the details.
Glenn (Fresh Meadows)
Kim Barnes went on record that she needs to slow down St. John's speed attack because of TOs, do you think this a good idea or should she go with what got her there?
Graham Hays (4:41 PM)
It doesn't mean you can't speed things back up, but when you're turning the ball over 20 times a game, you're prone to losing any of the advantage you gain from pushing tempo in the first place.
How did you enjoy your trip to Green Bay? I enjoyed watching the team play in MN last weekend (and I hate to say anything positive about anything with Green Bay).
Graham Hays (4:44 PM)
Loved the atmosphere, loved the town, very friendly people. I'm the millionth person to say it, but it's amazing to think a town that size has an NFL team. As for the Phoenix, they really are an enjoyable team to watch. Along the lines of what Glenn was talking about with St. John's, Green Bay is a team that can play at a really high tempo, playing a lot of pressure defense without sacrificing possession.
Glenn (Fresh Meadows)
I will say this about WBB and Women's sports in general...fans want way more sportsmanship...I'm all for it but there is a place for good natured ribbing and sometimes I feel Women's sports fans forget that fan is short for fanatic ;)
So which freshman impressed you more; Bria Hartley or Odyssey Sims?
Graham Hays (4:47 PM)
Wow, there's no wrong answer there. If you're talking about Tuesday's game, I'll say Sims because she did it on the road and she did it over a larger swath of the game than Hartley. But that doesn't take anything away from Hartley's clutch shooting at the end. What I love about Sims is the confidence she seems to play with, without it drifting over into an undue sense of self. She knows she's good, she has faith in her talent, but she's not going to make a huge show of it.
How worried is Notre Dame about their start of the season?
Graham Hays (4:49 PM)
On a scale of 1-10? Maybe a 2? Sure, you'd love to get the wins against UCLA and Kentucky at home, but this is a team with a lot of people in new roles ... or just a lot of new people, period. Those players get some confidence, get some shots to go down against New Hampshire and Morehead and then get tested against UCLA and Kentucky. If they're losing close games late and turning the ball over in February, I'd worry. Right now, it's a learning curve.
Can Kentucky challenge Tennessee in the SEC?
Graham Hays (4:52 PM)
Challenge, probably. But unseating Tennessee may depend on A) if Amber Smith plays and B) how quickly she regains her form if so. That's not to say Kentucky can't do some things without Smith, but if you're talking regular-season conference titles, you're talking about a pretty small margin for error.
Ti Hua (NJ)
How do you think the Scarlet Knights will do this year? Lost Brittany Ray, Myia McCuirdy and Rashida Junaid. But Khadijah Rushdan has more experience now and younger players like Erica Wheeler, Chelsee Lee and Monique Oliver are stepping up. We have six All-Americans but a short bench.
Graham Hays (4:56 PM)
You put your finger on it. They have a good base to work with, but where does the depth come from? Seems to be a recipe for a team that pulls some upsets but also drops just enough games it could win to be out of any race for second in the Big East. I'm also curious to see how Rutgers holds up later in the season, with the earlier start to practice. It's no secret that C. Vivian Stringer can work a team pretty hard, often with positive results, but will they still have their legs in March?
Any teams or players surprise you yet in the early part of the season?
Graham Hays (5:00 PM)
It doesn't feel like the shoe has quite dropped there, still sort of waiting to sort out the surprises. I am surprised at San Diego State starting so slowly. Nebraska was a pleasant surprise, although it looked like it had its hands full with Saint Mary's over the weekend. Mildly surprised that Jantel Lavender scored so well without Prahalis -- not that she doesn't have the offensive skills but that you would think a post would miss a point guard most of all. I'm missing a bunch, but those come to mind.
Graham Hays (5:01 PM)
All right, time to close up shop. Thanks again for all the questions. Enjoy Thanksgiving!