Happy International Women's Day from The Basketball Movement!

In sports, school, business, well… everywhere, there are female figures both prominent and unnoticed that are deserving of appreciation.

Basketball offers an incredible platform for women at every level of the sport. We are seeing more female coaches, referees, and sponsored athletes than ever before. Naturally, society still has room for improvement in terms of acknowledgment and appreciation of women, but we are getting there!

In thinking of the most touted accomplishment’s by women at the height of the sport, things have been unfortunately stagnant. The NBA is on only its third female referee since Violet Palmer broke that barrier in 1997. Becky Hammon broke barriers as the first female assistant coach, but she has already been at it for five years. It would be nice to see more movement on this front in the Association.

It would not be difficult to imagine Hammon stepping into a head coaching position in the NBA after such a successful tenure under legendary coach, Gregg Popovich. We’ll see.

The WNBA is currently as talented if not more so than it has ever been. All-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi is still doing her thing in Phoenix, as well as the legendary Sue Bird for Seattle Storm. There is also plenty of young talent such as Elena Delle Donne, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore… you get it.

Unfortunately, despite the enormous talent in the league, revenue streams are not strong enough to support player salaries that rival their male counterparts. Basketball purists can appreciate the talent, but without increased support, many of the top players may start venturing overseas to make more money. Let’s keep these ladies here, shall we?

The NCAAW scene is thriving. March 2018 provided as much madness as we can remember for some time on the lady’s side. The sustained greatness of programs like UCONN mixed with up-and-comers such as Mississippi State has made for some incredibly entertaining basketball.

Locally, women’s basketball is going strong as well. The Missouri State Lady Bears are looking like a contender in the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, currently seeded second with only one game to play. The Drury Lady Panthers? Oh, they can’t lose. 28-0. Crazy.

Ranked at the top, the GLVC tournament is theirs to lose. The first game is tonight at 6:00PM in Illinois against McKendree, who are winless against the Panthers all-time, including a 17 point loss earlier this season.

Success abounds at the high school level as well, with many of our Yanders Law players and The Basketball Movement athletes showing out all season long. The future of women’s basketball is strong and we hope to help in making it stronger.

Special shoutouts also to all of the mothers, grandmothers, and other guardians of basketball players. Often unsung heroes, we see these special ladies giving so much to their players to put them in the best possible position to succeed. We see you, and we appreciate you.

Happy International Women’s Day again from your friends at The Basketball Movement!

High school girl slams it home - Fran Belibi

An exciting new high school dunker is breaking onto the scene - and her name is Fran.

This is not the first time a high school girl has dunked a basketball. However, Fran Belibi of Regis Jesuit High School, CO is making it look good at just 6’1”. Her first in-game dunk was at age 15. Now, her smooth moves have the senior going viral.

Here is the slam heard ‘round social media:

No question, her height and confidence make this dunk really pop. She has a great wingspan for her stature, but her bounce really shows how women’s basketball is growing. Hooping isn’t all about flash and otherworldly athleticism, but some extra juice certainly won’t hurt the sport.

Fran is committed to Stanford, where she will follow in her parent’s footsteps to become a doctor. She has a 35 ACT score, which is as close to perfection as possible. According to spots reporter Lindsay Joy, she has only been playing basketball since her freshman year.

As a Doctoral prospect, she has a bright future. However, it is looking like she will be able to ride her basketball career about as far as she wants.

We will continue to watch Belibi’s career with great interest, but that isn’t all. Girl’s basketball has always been flooded with incredible talent, but they are still finding ways to take things to the next level.

Fran Belibi is just one shining example of basketball movement in the world of women’s sports. For more on all things basketball, keep hunting around our blog as we track the movement.

Updated NCAA basketball power rankings

As things are beginning to take shape in the college basketball landscape, ESPN has released updated power rankings. Any surprises?

ESPN provides one of the most comprehensive power ranking systems available. It does typically favor “power conferences”, but with smaller schools making noise year after year, these types of rankings are slowly becoming more inclusive.

Kansas, Gonzaga, and Duke are all right around where they were expected to be at this stage in the NCAA basketball season. Duke’s freshman are looking more polished than many expected however.

The other top-four team that many expected to see for the year is Kentucky, who is listed on ESPN’s list at number nine. A lack of perimeter defense has proved to be a vulnerable point for the Wildcats, though they currently only have one loss.

After a strong start to the year, Michigan is more than deserving of the number four spot.

The full list from ESPN is shown below:

  1. Kansas

  2. Gonzaga

  3. Duke

  4. Michigan

  5. Nevada

  6. Virginia

  7. Auburn

  8. Tennessee

  9. Kentucky

  10. Texas Tech

  11. Wisconsin

  12. Virginia Tech

  13. Florida State

  14. North Carolina

  15. Michigan State

  16. Arizona State

Reigning NCAA basketball champions, Villanova is absent from the top 16 at this point. The Wildcats dropped a pair of games early; One to Michigan and another to Furman (South Carolina). They do appear to be back on track somewhat.

NCAA Women’s rankings

At the top: Guess who? The rankings on the lady’s side of things may be even more predictable than the men’s at this point in the year.

If you follow women’s college hoops or even just watched the bracket unfold during March Madness this past season, you will recognize most of the teams toward the top this list as perennial basketball powers.

Full list per ESPN:

  1. UCONN

  2. Notre Dame

  3. Oregon

  4. Baylor

  5. Louisville

  6. Mississippi State

  7. Maryland

  8. Oregon State

  9. Tennessee

  10. NC State

  11. Stanford

  12. Texas

  13. California

  14. Minnesota

  15. Syracuse

  16. Iowa

Will we ever see one of these power rankings that does not have UCONN at the top? Well, yes, eventually. Probably.

In the meantime though, UCONN continues to draw top talent with it’s stellar program and reputation. Notre Dame appeared to threaten for the top spot, but lost to the Huskies in a head-to-head matchup. Tough to argue with results.

For more NCAA, NBA, prep hoops, and everything else, keep scrolling here or follow @BBall_Movement on Twitter to get all the updates.