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ESPN TO TELEVISE 108 WOMEN'S CAGE GAMES
ESPN, using four different networks, will televise a record-high 108 women's basketball games during the 2011-12 season. The schedule includes 84 regular-season contests, and 13 conference tournament games. ESPN networks will also show all 63 games of the NCAA women's tournament. The first games of the new season will be shown on Nov. 15, with Louisville at defending national champion Texas A&M in the College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon aired over ESPNU; and Miami at Tennessee in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic on ESPN2.

U.S. PLACES SEVENTH AT PAN AM GAMES
With wins in its last two outings, the United States women's basketball team placed seventh in the eight-team Pan American Games in Mexico. The U.S. lost to Argentina 58-55 in its first game, and then fell to Puerto Rico 75-70. It then defeated Mexico 87-58 and Jamaica 87-41 for seventh place. The young, inexperienced team had just five practice sessions before the tournament opened.

ORAL ROBERTS JOINS SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE
Women who play basketball at Oral Roberts will see their venues change from the Summit League to the Southland Conference next July. ORU will be the smallest school to join the Southland Conference, and its first private school since the late 1970s. The Southland has 10 members, all of them in Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

UNC JUNIOR OUT FOR EARLY SEASON
North Carolina junior center Waltiea Rolle will miss the early part of the Tar Heels schedule due to her pregnancy. Rolle has withdrawn from school for the fall semester, but will be eligible when the semester and final exams have concluded on Dec. 16. Rolle blocked 82 shots last season, and averaged 7.2 ppg. and 4.6 rpg.

TINA THOMPSON WINS TRIUMPH AWARD
Rev. Al Sharpton's National Action Network, at the organization's second annual Triumph Awards, honored Los Angeles Sparks forward Tina Thompson. The Triumph Awards recognizes those who have made a positive impact beyond their performance on stage, in the arts, in sports and in the community. Thompson is the only player to participate in all 15 WNBA seasons. She is the league's all-time leading scorer with 6,751 career points. Off the court, Thompson has been actively involved with WNBA Cares community relations initiatives throughout her career. Thompson is also co-owner and creativity director of Blueprint Collective, a marketing and branding agency that hosts philanthropic events throughout Southern California.

NOTRE DAME IS PRESEASON PICK TO WIN BIG EAST
For the first time since 2002, Notre Dame is the preseason pick to win the Big East women's basketball title. Irish star guard Skylar Diggins was chosen the preseason player of the year. Notre Dame was defeated by Texas A&M for the 2011 NCAA championship. UConn is the No. 2 pick, followed by Louisville, Rutgers, Georgetown, DePaul, St. John's and Syracuse in the top half of the conference. Chosen on the Big East preseason team are Diggins, her teammates Natalie Novosel and Devereaux Peters; UConn's Bria Hartley and Tiffany Hayes; Keisha Hampton of DePaul; Georgetown's Sugar Rodgers; Shoni Schimmel and Monique Reid of Louisville; St. John's Shenneika Smith and Da'Shena Stevens; and Kayla Alexander of Syracuse.

WNBA DRAFT LOTTERY TO BE NOV. 10
The lottery for the top pick in next year's WNBA draft will be held Nov. 10. Tulsa, that finished with a league-worst 3-31 record has the best chance (44.2 percent) at getting the No. 1 pick in the lottery that includes the four teams that didn't make the playoffs. Defending champion Minnesota is next (27.6 percent) because it owns Washington's pick due to a trade that sent Nicky Anosike to the Mystics (6-28) last April. Chicago (14-20) has a 17.8 percent chance, and Los Angeles (15-19) is at 10.4 percent. The rest of the first-round selections will be in inverse order of team's records during the regular season.

ST. JOHN'S LOSES STEVENS FOR 4-6 WEEKS
Forward Da'Shena Stevens, the second-leading scorer on the St. John's women's basketball team last season, will be sidelined for 4-6 weeks with a left knee injury she suffered during the offseason. Last year she averaged 11.8 ppg., and led the Red Storm with 6.4 rpg. The senior ranks 11th on the school scoring list, and is sixth in rebounding.

MARION JONES IN SERBIA, CROATIA
Former Tulsa Shock guard and track star Marion Jones made a series of diplomatic visits to Serbia and Croatia for the U.S. State Department. Jones visited with school children and other citizens in Serbia and Croatia, the former Yugoslav republics hit by war and earthquake in recent years. Jones was cut by Tulsa midway through the season. She has not ruled out returning to the WNBA.

SIX CONFERENCES CONTINUE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SUPER SIX SERIES
The ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12 will take part in the Super Six Series, an annual showcase highlighting two teams from each conference in early-season competition. The first game will be on Nov. 16, with Georgetown of the Big East traveling to LSU of the SEC.

MIAMI PICKED NO. 1 IN ACC PRESEASON POLL
The University of Miami received 30 first-place votes to place first in the ACC preseason poll. Duke placed No. 2 with 10 first-place votes. Maryland, Florida State and Georgia Tech round out the top five. UNC was picked to finish sixth, followed by N.C. State, Virginia, Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson and Virginia Tech. Selected on the ACC preseason team are Cierra Bravard, Florida State; Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams, Miami; and Lynetta Kizer and Alyssa Thomas, Maryland. Johnson was chosen as the preseason ACC player of the year.

NOTRE DAME WOMEN FRONT AND CENTER
For the third consecutive year, the Notre Dame women's basketball team will be front and center in the South Bend and greater Michiana communities with its groundbreaking outreach program renamed “Heart of the Irish”. The goal of this year's program is to highlight community leaders who are making a difference, as well as encourage fans to give back to their community and make an impact through a variety of special initiatives.

AURIEMMA TO RECEIVE 2012 JOHN R. WOODEN AWARD
UConn head women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, one of the winningest mentors in the NCAA, will be presented with the John R. Wooden Award's “Legends of Coaching” honor April 6-8, 2012, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. UConn, under Auriemma's tutelage, has won seven national titles, and recorded four undefeated seasons. Since he has been at UConn, all players who have exhausted their eligibility have graduated. He will coach the U.S. Olympic team next summer in London.

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