NCAA

Speed a concern for Stanford vs. Hampton

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Speed a concern for Stanford vs. Hampton

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) Stanford might have the most interesting situation for a top seed in the women's NCAA tournament.

The Cardinal had to travel across country to face a Hampton team that felt disrespected when it was made a No. 16 seed, and will be playing about 11 miles from its campus.

The Cardinal (31-1) and Pirates (26-4) meet Saturday at the Constant Center, after eighth-seeded West Virginia (23-9) and ninth-seeded Texas (18-13) meet in the opener.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said the hardest part about the game will be containing the Pirates' speed and quickness.

Once the ball goes up, seeding doesn't matter, forward Chiney Ogwumike said.

"Being a 1 seed is great, and the validation of hard work throughout the season, but basketball is a game of matchups," she said. "Either way, you win, you go on. You lose, you go home. It doesn't matter the number that goes in front of your school."

Unless, perhaps, that number is as high as they go on the seeding chart.

The Pirates, of the lightly regarded Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, set a school record for victories, are second only to Connecticut in scoring defense (46.8) and are in the tournament for the third year in a row. Last year, as a No. 13 seed, they fell 66-62 in overtime against Kentucky, proving to point guard Jericka Jenkins "that we can play with the big dogs."

That feeling carries over to this year, senior forward Keiara Avant said.

"I feel like, of course, we have a chip on our shoulder, making it last year with Kentucky into overtime," she said. "We knew that we could have sealed the deal but, this time, we're ready and we're going to be focused."

The Cardinal will be, too.

The game marks the start of the final tournament for Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Chiney's older sister, and the team wants to make it special for her.

Nnemkadi averages 21.8 points and 10.5 rebounds. Chiney averaged 15.8 and 10.3.

"She's a sister to us all, really," forward Joslyn Tinkle said of Nnemdaki, one of two seniors on the roster. "We play every game for her and the rest of the seniors that we have."

The Pirates will be bolstered by the return of Melanie Warner, their third-leading scorer with a 10.7 ppg average. Warner has been out since Feb. 19 with a broken finger.

And by the crowd, Hampton coach David Six hopes.

"I know one thing," he said with a broad smile. "There's going to be a lot of people from Hampton Roads there tomorrow. That's definitely a plus."

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

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USATI

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

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AP

Pac-12 basketball teams near Barcelona terrorist attack safe

Men's basketball teams from Oregon State, Clemson and Arizona were staying at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, near where a van drove into pedestrians on Thursday, but team officials said everyone was safe.

Spanish police have confirmed they are investigating the bloodshed in Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas district as a terror attack. The area is a popular summer tourist spot.

Tulane also was playing in Barcelona, but it was unclear if they were staying in the same hotel as the other teams.

Oregon State assistant coach Gregg Gottlieb posted to Facebook: "We are all luckily ok. Our hotel/restaurant is located right on Las Ramblas. This tragedy happened right in front of us as our team just sat down for pregame meal. Thoughts and prayers for all those that are were hurt."

The Beavers' game Thursday night was canceled. It was supposed to be the first of a five-game tour.

Clemson was scheduled to play Thursday night against a Spanish All-Star team.

"We've been in contact with our men's basketball program currently in Barcelona and the entire travel party is safe and secure. Their exhibition game for tonight has been cancelled and the team will return to Clemson as previously scheduled tomorrow morning. Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona," the South Carolina school said in a statement.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell confirmed in a text to The Associated Press that the three teams were staying in the same hotel.

"We are fine. Thankful to be safe and together," Brownell wrote.

Tulane athletic director Troy Tannen confirmed via social media that the Green Wave players and staff were safe.

Replying to a Twitter inquiry from a Portland television about whether the team was OK, Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle responded: "Yes we are, happened directly in front of our hotel while we were having a team meal in the restaurant, so senseless and sad! All accounted4."

Oregon State said it has not yet determined the remaining schedule for the team, which was supposed to be on the exhibition tour until Aug. 25.

A spokesman for Arizona said the Wildcats have canceled their third and final exhibition of their tour and "are currently working on travel plans to return home."