Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, women's basketball writer Mechelle Voepel will stop by to chat some hoops.
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 (2:08 PM)
Good afternoon, sorry for the late start. Let's get going!
Is the SEC gonna be another "beat each other up" type of conference this year. Will the champion you think have three losses like last yr? I feel the Lady Vols will get better and possibly have a sweet 16 run in them. As for the Big 12, is the OU women's team going to have a grind playing with just eight players in the conference? The only time I remember a success point with six main players or a depleted roster was Coach G's Duke team who went to the Final Four. Can OU get to the Okla City Regional with just 8 players? To me, somehow you can't count out Coach Coale.
Mechelle Voepel (2:13 PM)
A lot to discuss here. I will be surprised if the SEC champ *doesn't* have at least a couple of losses. We are still waiting to find out just how "for real" Georgia is, but the Dogs will certainly be in the mix, along with Kentucky and Tennessee, plus others. Tennessee will keep improving, and they could be a pretty good team by the NCAA tournament. As for Oklahoma, Sherri Coale has done a lot with a little many times before, so you know the Sooners will play as well as they can regardless of how the numbers work against them. As for making it to the OKC regional, that's so far down the road that I don't think it's something to speculate on now. Let's see how the Sooners do as conference play starts.
Matt ((South Bass Island))
Would the media have already turned Stanford versus UConn into what Tennessee versus UConn was if Tara Vanderveer was more of a polarizing figure on television like Pat Summitt?
Mechelle Voepel (2:20 PM)
I don't think that it's so much about that ... the Tennessee-UConn rivalry to me developed as more about the "old guard" in Tennessee being challenged by UConn. And then the coaches' personalities and the North vs. South aspect both came into play. Also, these are programs that from 1995-2010 combined to win 12 of 16 NCAA titles. Stanford hasn't won a national championship since 1992 - before the Tenn-UConn rivalry started. As much success as Stanford has had, the fact that they haven't won a title during the UConn-Tenn rivalry has more to do with how the UConn-Stan series has been "presented" than TVD's personality.
Amy Hurley (Glen Mills, PA)
Do you expect Elena Delle Donne to return to form this year? How has her extended absence and mediocre start to this season affected her Top 3 WNBA draft status, if at all? Also, where do you expect Arizona to finish in the PAC-12?
Mechelle Voepel (2:25 PM)
As long as she doesn't have any significant setbacks - which can be a tricky thing to predict with Lyme disease - EDD will have a very good senior season. And from what I've heard from WNBA coaches, she is still being evaluated the same - as the No. 2 or 3 pick. As for Arizona, I'd say the Wildcats will finish between 6th and 9th in the Pac-12.
Mechelle as a UConn fan out here in CT, besides Chiney Stanford doesn't get much love from Me, So does Stanford have enough Depth to slow down Stewart and Dolson inside.
Mechelle Voepel (2:29 PM)
It's kind of funny that Stanford started the season as a team people weren't sure about, for obvious reasons. They they beat Baylor, and people started to say, "They're better than we thought." Then they struggled with South Carolina, and folks said, "Maybe they're not as good as we thought." And when I say "people," I mean me, too. Stanford is good, obviously, but how good and how that plays out again in the postseason are legit questions. In terms of stopping UConn's Stewart and Dolson, among others, I think it will be a big challenge. I expect the Huskies will win, and Stanford will still benefit from the experience. I'm just hoping it's a fun, close game, because we've had very few of those so far this season on TV.
Matt ((South Bass Island))
Since the turn of the century, has Notre Dame turned into "Purdue's Big Sister" in the hierarchy of Indiana?
Mechelle Voepel (2:35 PM)
I guess I don't necessarily think of it that way ... but I can see why you would say that. It's been nearly 14 years since Purdue's NCAA title, while the Irish have won a championship and been to the Final Four two other times since. But since the schools aren't in the same conference - even if they are in the same state - I don't really compare them in my mind probably as much as people who live in Indiana do. The Boilermakers and Irish play this Saturday, and both are off to good starts, with only one loss each. So I guess the Indiana bragging rights are on the line for this season.
Mechelle Voepel (2:36 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. Will be back next week when there is more to chat about. UConn-Stanford is at 4 p.m. Eastern Saturday on ESPNU.