Women's basketball links: UConn tops USA Today preseason poll, more season previews, background on Maya Moore as 'Betty Lou'

Rebounding machine Gennifer Brandon is among the 30 players named to the Lowe's Senior CLASS award preseason list. - USA TODAY Sports

Some women's basketball links from the past week to get you ready for the 2013-14 NCAA women's basketball season.

The NBA regular season started last night, which is exciting for bored hoops junkies who needed to see actual games being played instead of talking about who will the fourth spot in the center rotation. Unfortunately, the L.A. Lakers won last night (no Northern California bias there at all).

Anyway, this won't be turning into a NBA catchall site - NCAA women's basketball exhibition season is starting up, which gives us plenty of preseason chatter to discuss (and I swear there will be some preseason draft commentary sometime before the season kicks into full gear).

So without further ado, some of the links that have caught my eye over the past week.

  • Jace Evans of USA Today provided a brief rundown of the top 25 teams that appeared in the USA Today coaches poll, which was released yesterday. People love to gripe about these things and debate snubs, but with nobody having even played a game, it's hard to dispute UConn being at the top of this poll. Baylor, ranked 10th, will certainly be a team to watch as Odyssey Sims will lead the team this season without Brittney Griner. But otherwise - and absolutely no offense to the coaches voting - but I put about as much stock in preseason polls as I do in preseason rankings of every single NBA player. Read more >>>
  • Cal Athletics reports that their ninth ranking in the poll ties the highest preseason ranking in program history, fitting after making the Final Four last season. Without Layshia Clarendon, they'll be led by Brittany Boyd and Gennifer Brandon this season. Read more >>>
  • The candidates for the 2013-14 Lowe's Senior CLASS award were announced today with 30 candidates each from men's and women's basketball. From the website: "An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School ®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities." Looking forward to seeing if California Golden Blogs comes up with another hashtag as trend-worthy as #LayshiaFacts for Brandon. Read more >>>

  • Maryland Athletics has a recap of their first exhibition game against local opponent Catholic, a 110-34 win as anybody familiar with the DMV basketball scene might assume. Star WNBA draft prospect Alyssa Thomas had 8 points in 14 minutes of action. Read more >>>
  • Pat Eaton-Robb of the AP reports that UConn senior Bria Hartley is looking forward to rebounding this season after being hampered by a lingering ankle injury last season: "‘I've never had to face anything like that before; not playing and being so inconsistent when I did,’’ Hartley said. ‘‘It helped me grow and mature as a person.’’ Read more >>>
  • Patricia Babcock McGraw of the Daily Herald looks at the conference changes that both DePaul (new Big East) and Notre Dame (ACC) and justifiably suggests that you go make a cheat sheet to keep up (honestly, I'm still memorizing who's where). While DePaul was picked as the preseason champs of their new conference, McGraw suggests that Notre Dame has a good chance of taking the ACC title. Read more >>>
  • Jason Kersey of the Oklahoman reports that Sherri Coale is impressed with freshman Gioya Carter. "There's something magical that happens with Gioya Carter when she walks across the boundary line," the Oklahoma women's basketball coach said during Friday's media day news conference. "She becomes an athlete. It's special and it resonates. And in that regard, I get a little flashback to a kid named Stacey Dales." No pressure there, kid. Read more >>>

  • Dave Zirin of The Nation put together a pretty interesting look at the dynamics that may be keeping journeyman NBA center Jason Collins, the first active male athlete in the major U.S. pro sports leagues to publicly announce that he's gay, from earning a roster spot this year. Collins did not make an opening day roster, but that may come down to a far more benign question: how much can he still contribute to a NBA roster? Read more >>>

Obviously there are probably other links of interest to you out there. Feel free to drop them in the comments below, create a fanshot with videos or photos that we can share, or write up a fanpost if you have a longer commentary on something.

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