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 1 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (1:00 PM)
Good afternoon. I seem to have a little bit of tricky connection here, but hopefully it will hold up. Let's get started!
Buzzmaster (1:22 PM)
Hey everyone, Mechelle is having wireless issues and is rebooting. She will be back up on a few minutes.
Dave (Cleveland, Tn)
I was surprised Maryland played a reasonably close game with UConn considering their injuries. Were you?
Mechelle Voepel (1:45 PM)
Yes, actually, I was. You wonder how the Terps are going to be able to get through a grueling season with the limited personnel now. But they will have to figure it out.
Do you think Paul and Michael have passed their expiration dates at Oregon and USC? They're talented coaches....but aren't producing results.
Mechelle Voepel (1:46 PM)
It's interesting that you bring up Paul Westhead and Michael Cooper ... because they are two of the names now being rumored for Mystics and perhaps the Conn Sun jobs. I've heard Mike Thibault and the Mystics have talked as well. Anne Donovan, Van Chancellor and Julie Plank also in the rumor mill. Atlanta just announced it was keeping Fred Williams on.
There is a game tonight between teams with combined 14-1 records and no one nationally is paying much attention. No, it is not the PSU-UConn game as their combined record is 13-1. It is Kansas vs. Arkansas -- do you think either could be a Top 10 contender, or more likely Top 20, or will their later schedules do them in? Tough to play in a week with MD-UConn and ND-Baylor, eh.
Mechelle Voepel (1:47 PM)
I'm waiting to see how these teams do against tougher competition, especially Kansas. Maybe we'll get a better idea about both as they take on each other.
NDFANTASTIC (South Bend mansion)
What did you think of Diggins' handshake with Lil' Wayne in th emiddle of hte Baylor game? Don't you think she earned it as she's a superstar and it was only during a timeout? Do you think Taurasi or Catchings would have done the same for a big fan of theirs?
Mechelle Voepel (1:51 PM)
Skylar is a "star" although she would be the first to say she didn't play like one last night. I don't think a handshake like that is a big deal ... as in, I don't think that distracted her or anything. Rather, I think Baylor's defense was tough on her. As for whether someone like DT or Catch would do that ... DT, I would think, definitely might - she does have that panache. :) I think it's less likely that Catch would even notice who was sitting where. She's pretty intense on the court. Not that DT isn't ... just different personalities.
The Notre Dame and Baylor game was close most of the game. Is ND better than expected or did Baylor just play off?
Mechelle Voepel (1:58 PM)
As for ND-Baylor, I was impressed with how the Irish played, considering they've lost 3 starters from last year and their star PG had a rough night shooting. They will grow a lot this season.
Mechelle Voepel (1:58 PM)
Baylor was just getting Sims back after her hamstring injury kept her out the equivalent of five games, and Kimetria Hayden didn't play much because of disciplinary reasons. But still, when they needed to turn it on, Baylor did.
Jeff (New York)
what is going on with Skylar Diggins this season? i know its early but she is shooting around 35% from the field. Is she pressing?
Mechelle Voepel (2:00 PM)
Maybe it's that ... perhaps it's that she's still adjusting to the different personnel around her. She had a real comfort level with Novosel, Mallory and Peters. There's a lot on her plate now, and she might be pressing. She was very upset after last night's game. You hope she eases up and realizes that it's only early December, and she and the Irish have plenty of time.
Nebraska loses to Creighton. Is this explainable, or is Nebraska starting out 'overrated'?
Mechelle Voepel (2:03 PM)
I give credit to Creighton for playing a really good non-conference schedule year after year ... those kids are not "awed" by teams from bigger leagues. That said, Nebraska has been up and down. I think Jordan Hooper is still far from 100 percent physically. Last night, she was 0 of 7 from the field. Overall, Nebraska definitely has not been as good as some folks thought they might be. At least not yet.
Gary Blair is roughly 67 yrs. old, Stringer is about 64, Hatchell and Landers are 60, with VanDerveer 59 and Auriemma 58. Do you anticipate these coaches continuing into their deep 60s or young 70s in Blair's case? It seems 4 coaches will surpass 1,000 wins besides Summitt.
Mechelle Voepel (2:05 PM)
None of them show any signs of wanting to stop or slowing down. Seems like Geno Auriemma in the past has talked about perhaps wanting to do other things at some point, but I don't know how serious he is about that. Heck, I might retire before any of them do. :)
Two part question - How good do you think the Texas Longhorns can be this season under first year head coach Karen Aston?Also, do you see anyone outside the Top 10 having a legitimate shot at winning the National Championship this coming March/April?
Mechelle Voepel (2:13 PM)
Texas has talent ... but let's see how the Longhorns do when the competition gets tougher. I don't see anyone outside the current top 10 as a legit NCAA title contender this year. Not to be a Scrooge.
Could you please clarify: "Anne Donovan, Van Chancellor and Julie Plank also in the rumor mill." Do you mean for the Sun? (The sentence followed your mention of Thibault talking to the Mystics.)
Mechelle Voepel (2:16 PM)
I've heard all three rumored for the Mystics job, but it's still just that - from the rumor mill. Not sure that Julie Plank and the Mystics would make up, but I guess anything is possible.
Tennessee has played Really Big, as of late; do you see them back into the top ten at any point soon?
Mechelle Voepel (2:18 PM)
Yes. They are young, but have a lot of talent. They are going to have some missteps still, but things are starting to click. I won't be surprised if they lose games you don't expect them to, though. But by the season's end, they should be pretty good.
SIX Big 10 teams in the Volleyball Sweet sixteen? Two unseeded teams? Fun tournament, but it still comes down to can anyone beat PSU?
Mechelle Voepel (2:19 PM)
Thank you! A volleyball question in this technically challenged chat. :) Great performance so far by the Big Ten. I will be in Omaha this weekend, where it's Nebraska vs. Washington and Oregon vs. BYU. All the regional semis are on ESPN3, and then the regional finals are on ESPNU on Saturday.
Mechelle Voepel (2:27 PM)
After logging off and on about 25 times during this chat, I'm officially giving up. Sorry about that, folks. Hope to have the bugs worked out next week!