Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, women's basketball writer Mechelle Voepel will stop by to chat about the women's college hoops season.
Voepel is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's women's basketball coverage.
Send your questions now and join Voepel Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (2:09 PM)
Good morning from California, where tonight's big game at Maples Pavilion is the talk of the town. Well, at least the talk of everybody I talk to. Let's get started.
kevin (macon ga)
If Diana Taurasi gets a FIBA suspension, will the WNBA honor it?
Mechelle Voepel (2:14 PM)
Diana Taurasi's status has also been a major item of chatter, of course. As we await the results of her B sample and the process that will take place after that, the WNBA's reaction is still an unknown. At this point, everyone I've talked with has more questions than answers, including the UConn folks who are closest to Taurasi. I would not say there is a feeling of optimism at this point about her participation in the next Olympics, but the process still has to run its course. This is going to a major issue for the WNBA to have to deal with.
Any insights on Elena D.'s absences from the latest Delaware games?
Mechelle Voepel (2:19 PM)
Actually, earlier today I saw a blog report from Kevin Tresolini of the News Journal in Delaware. Here is the link: http://blogs.delawareonline.com/collegesports/2010/12/30/sidelined-delle-donShe has bothered by deep muscle aches in her arms and legs, but nothing has been diagnosed. She is going to see a spine specialist next week.Let's hope for the best.
Ohio State has been getting exposed lately, as is Xavier. How much does this hurt perception of the Big 10 and the A-10?
Mechelle Voepel (2:26 PM)
It obviously doesn't help either league when its highest-profile teams lose games like this. But I would say Ohio State's loss to Duquesne is the most alarming, as it took place in Columbus. Of course, you can also see that as good news for the A-10. You have to wonder what mentally/emotionally is going on with the Buckeyes. Xavier looked very lethargic against Stanford, as if there was some hangover after the disappointing loss at Duke and then the holiday break. Losing at Stanford is no shame, but the lifeless and mopey way the Musketeers acted was alarming to me. Xavier's body language was just awful, and that is something you can control no matter whom you are playing.
Have you gotten to see Arkansas play yet? Any chance they'll be capable of taking the SEC crown this year?
Mechelle Voepel (2:30 PM)
Haven't seen Arkansas yet, but my hope is to make it down to Fayetteville for Tennessee's visit on Jan. 30. Good to see the team looking as strong as it has so far - nice win over Oklahoma - but that's a long way from being able to win the SEC. That would be stunning.
Aj Charlotte Nc [via mobile]
Which Of These Three Freshmen Guards Do U Think Is Better Now? Odyssey Sims, Meighan Simmons Or Bria Hartley. And Who Will Have The Better Career
Mechelle Voepel (2:35 PM)
I have been really impressed with all three because each one of them has stepped into key situations as a freshman and performed. All three have a lot on their shoulders, and have responded well. They've made big plays in big games - Hartley's 3-pointer against Baylor and Simmons' 3-pointer against Stanford both were crunch-time shots. I am not trying to waffle on the question, but a month and a half into their college careers, I'm not ready to proclaim any one of them "the best" but I am ready to say I think all three are living up to their billing.
glenn (Fresh Meadows)
Any merit to Greenberg's rumor about the Maloofs poaching Whiz?
Mechelle Voepel (2:42 PM)
Mel doesn't write baseless rumors ... as his recent blog entry attests, the Maloof brothers' ties to John Whisenant are very strong and go back a long, long way. If this ends up being the case, it will put the Liberty back to where they started: no GM, no coach and some seriously disgruntled fans who don't feel management really connects with them.
who do u think will guard maya moore? do u think chiney ogwumike could at least bother her a little bit with her athletisicm? Also, have u seen destiny williams of baylor play yet? do u think she could be an xfactor if baylor and uconn could play again? could she bother moore aswell?
Mechelle Voepel (2:46 PM)
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said the tough task of trying to slow down Maya Moore will be shared by several Cardinal players. Chiney Ogwumike will be one of them, and Stanford's hope is that she will bother a lot of players with her athleticism during her career. I haven't seen Destiny Williams in action for Baylor yet, but coach Kim Mulkey has said she expects her contribution to come both offensively and defensively. So far, nobody has been able to successfully "bother" Moore enough to beat UConn since 2008, but people will keep on trying.
Kathy (Los Angeles)
Do you really think Stanford has a chance to beat UConn tonight? If so, what will be the keys if the Cardinal are to win?
Mechelle Voepel (2:59 PM)
Of course Stanford has a chance to beat UConn. The Cardinal have been great on their home court the last several years, and they're coming off a demolition of Xavier. The losses at DePaul and Tennessee did not lower my opinion of Stanford as much as it seemed to a lot of other people's view of the Cardinal. One advantage Stanford has over most of UConn's foes is that as much respect as the Cardinal have for the Huskies, they are not "afraid" of them. They know UConn is a great team, but they are not in awe of them in that way that some teams are. Those teams are defeated before they even take the court. In Jeanette Pohlen and Kayla Pedersen, Stanford has an extreme rarity today in college basketball: Two players who have actually defeated UConn. Yeah, it was 2008, but at least they know it can be done. Pedersen, as always, will be a big key today. I think she remains the biggest matchup problem. Pohlen has had a great senior season thus far and would like to have a good game against UConn, a team she's struggled against. A big key will be if Stanford's interior game can get the Huskies in any kind of foul trouble. And it would be a good sign for Stanford if they can hit a few 3-pointers in the first half.
would you care to comment on Gene Wojo's article? why do we have to compare mens and womens basketball? can't they both just be appreciated for what they are?
Mechelle Voepel (3:16 PM)
I don't really want to comment specifically on that story. I think the general idea is completely asinine. The same people who have gone apoplectic about comparing the UConn and UCLA streaks probably don't have a problem with the term "best pound-for-pound" boxer _ even though by definition that compares boxers of completely different weight classes. Would the best flyweight have a chance against even a mediocre or worse heavyweight? No. And would it matter? No. The comparison of streaks was saying UConn did in women's basketball what UCLA did in men's basketball. It wasn't saying UConn could beat UCLA. But there are some people who simply can't look at anything women athletes do without saying, "Oh but men are better!" They need to apparently reassure themselves of this over and over. Gee, maybe I need to write a column wondering if anybody in the NBA will ever give birth to a baby *and* win a league championship. Because, you know, that happens with WNBA players.
Drew (Due North)
Should UCONN get past the Stanford Cardinals tonight at the Maples Pavilion, is there a Big East team or a non-conference opponent that could put a leash on the Huskies?
Mechelle Voepel (3:21 PM)
The game that most stands out is Feb. 8 at Morgantown, W.Va. The Mountaineers are off to a great start, but let's see how it goes in January. It could be a test for UConn. The Huskies still have a non-conference trip to North Carolina in January, but the Tar Heels have not played a very tough schedule thus far to suggest they'll be ready for UConn.
Mechelle Voepel (3:22 PM)
Lots of questions I didn't get to, sorry. Want to get to Maples extra-early. Will chat again next week.