Your Curated Guide to Women's Sports

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, AP Women's Soccer
Twitter: @AnnieMPeterson

Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, High Post Hoops
Twitter: @HowardMegdal

Fridays: Hockey
By: Erica Ayala, NWHL Broadcaster
Twitter: @ELindsay08
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Anyone's game—Pokey Chatman interview—must-click women's basketball links

We learned some significant things about Baylor specifically last week with that win over UConn. But for me, the bigger takeaway from it all is this: we're going to enter an NCAA tournament in March without a clear favorite for the first time in ages.
Truly, who would you say is a team you'd bet on over the field? Four teams earned number one votes in this week's AP poll. Baylor beat UConn, who beat Notre Dame, who beat Gonzaga, who beat Stanford, who beat Baylor... and we're not even talking about Louisville, who gets Notre Dame tonight, nor Oregon, nor Maryland, nor Mississippi State. It's easy to envision a pathway to a championship for any of these teams.
It feels mildly demanding to ask for a better tournament than last year, when both semifinal games and the national championship all thrilled a sold-out crowd. But there's something bigger here than just the Final Four. It's becoming commonplace for the Final Four to sell out, and the regionals to have empty seats. What a deeper pool of championship contenders will mean is an elevated level of Sweet 16 and Elite Eight matchups. It is yet another reason that the deepening talent pool and rising parity will continue to lift women's basketball. And it's going to be awfully exciting.

This Week in Women's Basketball

Hayes Gardner traces Bridget Carleton's rise to stardom.

Mirin Fader on Azzi Fudd, so read, obviously.

The Maori Davenport scandal is an utter embarrassment, and not to Maori. Here's the original story.

Michelle Smith talks to Bobi Buckets.

This long read from Ben Hochman on Muffet McGraw captures her motivations so well.

Albert Lee gets you ready for WNBA free agency.

My latest Big Board for the WNBA Draft is live.

As is Russ Steinberg's latest Bracketology.

Ava Wallace is glorious on Brenda Frese reaching win 500.

Check out Ari Chambers, talking the week that was in college hoops.

Mel Greenberg checks in with Penn-Princeton and other notes around the sport.

And Maggie Vanoni delved into Kelly Graves' coaching style.

Tweet of the week!

Five at The IX:
Pokey Chatman, Indiana Fever
HM: As you reflect on the 2018 season, what was your biggest surprise?
PC: I was happy with the way the rookies were able to handle being thrown in the fire and, despite an unsuccessful season, still managed to carve a place in history.  Their attitudes and approach to this level, the learning curve, learning different positions, injuries all during a short season, was incredible.  They will no doubt be much better prepared for 2019.
HM: You brought in Cappie Pondexter in June, in part to mentor Kelsey Mitchell. What have you seen as the fruit of that collaboration so far?
PC: Cappie's acquisition was more than "mentoring Mitchell.”  Honestly, it was a peek for many to see how the greats approach, appreciate and respect the game – in every facet.  As a coach, we can tell them things, however seeing it up close and personal resonates on a higher and much-needed level.  I truly believe they were able to bottle some of it up and use as they prepare for their next season.  
HM: As she enters year four, what is the biggest step forward you need to see from Tiffany Mitchell?
PC: Tiff is one of the hardest workers and has a fight that is unmatched.  I would like to see her improve as a 3-point shooter and show better consistency with regard to shot selection.
HM: What's your process like for scouting collegiate talent this time of year? How much do you need to get in the gyms to see players live?
PC: Of course we pour over film, and the BIG matchups are always a treat.  However, attending a practice, and live games that may not be considered big games are important as well.  I like to get a peek into a player’s true approach – how early they arrive, their warm-up routine, engagement, leadership qualities, vocal demeanor, etc.  
HM: What are your three favorite food destinations in road WNBA cities?
PC: Oh wow!  I'm a foodie and I'm greedy. Rosa Mexicano both in D.C. and L.A., and Fogo de Chao is great in Minnesota (Indianapolis, too!).
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The IX · Some field or arena · Where women play, USA 90909 · USA

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