Stanford women get No. 1 seed, face UC Davis

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Stanford women get No. 1 seed, face UC Davis

March 14, 2011
(AP) -- The Stanford women's basketball team will begin its quest for a fourth consecutive Final Four with a first-round matchup against UC Davis on Saturday.

Stanford received a No. 1 seed Monday when the brackets were released for the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Connecticut earned the No. 1 overall seed.

It was the second straight No. 1 seed for the Cardinal, who fell to UConn in the title game last season.

Tennessee, and Baylor are the other No. 1 seeds. The tournament begins Saturday.

Connecticut's path to a third straight national championship could include a renewal of the most heated rivalry in women's college basketball.

For Geno Auriemma to match Tennessee coach Pat Summitt with an eighth national championship he might have to go through her Lady Vols, who earned the top seed in the Dayton region. If both come through their regions, UConn and Tennessee could meet again in the national semifinals at Indianapolis.

Auriemma's Huskies didn't have to face Tennessee during its record 90-game winning streak that was ended by Stanford on Dec. 30. The two pre-eminent teams in the sport broke off their annual matchup in 2007 in a testy split.

First up for UConn is former star Jen Rizzotti and her Hartford Hawks, who won the America East title. The two teams have played each other over the last six years but didn't meet this season. Hartford is winless in 11 meetings against UConn.

The Huskies will be trying for their third consecutive title, matching their run from 2002-04 and Tennessee's from 1996-98. UConn is one of a record nine Big East teams in the field. The Big East got 11 men's teams in their field announced Sunday.

Unlike the men's bracket that expanded to 68 teams this year, the women decided to stick with 64. Indianapolis will host the Final Four on April 3 and 5.

The last time the Final Four was in Indianapolis, Baylor won the championship as a No. 2 seed.

The Lady Bears, led by sophomore center Brittney Griner, will face No. 16 Prairie View in their opener on Sunday in the Dallas region. No. 8 Houston will play No. 9 West Virginia, No. 5 Wisconsin-Green Bay takes on No. 12 Arkansas-Little Rock, and No. 4 Michigan State plays No. 13 Missouri Valley champion Northern Iowa.

In the other part of the bracket, No. 6 Georgia takes on No. 11 Middle Tennessee State, which is still dealing with the death of Tina Stewart. Her Blue Raiders teammates played, and lost, their lone game in the Sun Belt Conference tournament.

No. 2 Texas A&M meets No. 15 McNeese State, No. 7 Rutgers plays No. 10 Louisiana Tech and No. 3 Florida State plays No. 14 Samford.

If the seeds hold, the Aggies and Lady Bears will meet for the fourth time this season. Baylor beat Texas A&M by a total of 15 points in their three meetings including a three-point win in the Big 12 title game.

Stanford, which opens against UC Davis, could also face UCLA for a fourth time this year. The Cardinal swept the No. 3 seed in Spokane three times, but the Bruins had a late lead in the Pac-10 title game on Saturday.

Tennessee will open at home in the Dayton region against No. 16 Stetson, which needed a 55-footer at the buzzer to advance to the Atlantic Sun tournament championship game. No. 8 Marquette will play No. 9 Texas in the other game in Knoxville.

No. 5 Georgia Tech will play No. 12 Bowling Green and No. 4 Ohio State faces No. 13 Central Florida. The Buckeyes have had a roller-coaster season, winning their first seven games before dropping seven of the next nine. They righted themselves and have won their last nine games capped by a Big Ten tournament title.

No. 2 Notre Dame plays No. 15 Utah and No. 7 Arizona State meets No. 10 Temple. Rounding out that part of the bracket, No. 3 Miami plays No. 14 Gardner-Webb and No. 6 Oklahoma plays No. 11 James Madison. The Sooners have made the Final Four the last two seasons.

In the Spokane region, No. 8 Texas Tech takes on No. 9 St. John's. Fifth-seeded North Carolina plays No. 12 Fresno State, and No. 4 Kentucky faces No. 13 Hampton.

No. 2 Xavier plays No. 15 South Dakota State, and No. 7 Louisville faces No. 10 Vanderbilt. Xavier lost to Stanford last season in the regional finals when the Musketeers missed two layups with the clock running down and the Cardinal hit a shot at the buzzer. No. 6 Iowa plays 11th-seeded Gonzaga while No. 3 UCLA takes on No. 14 Montana.

In the Philadelphia region, No. 8 Kansas State plays Purdue; fifth-seeded Georgetown takes on No. 12 Princeton; and No. 4 Maryland faces No. 13 Saint Francis, Pa. No. 2 Duke hosts 15th-ranked Tennessee-Martin, and No. 7 Iowa State plays 10th-seeded Marist. Finally, No. 6 Penn State hosts No. 11 Dayton and third-seeded DePaul faces No. 14 Navy.

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew leave no room for Gamble

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew leave no room for Gamble

During the month the 49ers had no general manager or head coach, Tom Gamble was the next-highest-ranking football official and was charge of the personnel department on an interim basis.

But CEO Jed York made it clear from the beginning Gamble, whom Trent Baalke promoted to assistant general manager just prior to the start of training camp last summer, would not be considered for a promotion to general manager.

John Lynch, with no front-office experience, was hired over Arizona’s Terry McDonough and Minnesota’s George Paton. Before Lynch’s introductory press conference, he hired two top lieutenants in the personnel department to usurp Gamble on the organization's power structure.

On Wednesday, the 49ers announced what had become inevitable: Gamble was leaving the organization.

“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” Gamble said in a statement. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Lynch’s first move as general manager was to hire Adam Peters away from the Denver Broncos to serve as 49ers vice president of player personnel.

Lynch worked alongside Peters when Lynch took part in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, which included a trip to the NFL scouting combine, prior to the 2013 draft.

“That month, month-and-a-half, I actually sat next to Adam every day,” Lynch told CSNBayArea.com. “Those are long meetings. I’d listen to him and we’d talk in between about players. I just saw way back then, he’s a guy who’s highly respected in the league. I firmly believe in two, three years, he would’ve been a GM. He was on that track, at least.”

During Lynch’s introductory press conference a week later, he announced the hiring of Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive. Lynch and Mayhew were teammates in the secondary for Lynch’s first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayhew spent seven seasons as Detroit Lions general manager. Mayhew should be able to provide Lynch with valuable counsel as learns on the job after spending the past eight seasons as a TV analyst on FOX.

“Martin has sat in the seat as a general manager and his experience will play an integral role in helping us locate the type of football player we want representing this organization both on the field and in the community,” Lynch said.

Gamble recently completed his 29th NFL season and his 10th with the 49ers in two stints. After he was fired as Philadelphia Eagles vice president of personnel late in the 2014 season, and came back to the 49ers in the 2015 offseason.

While with the Eagles, Gamble was one of the few individuals in the front office who worked well with Chip Kelly. Gamble played an important role in speaking up for Kelly and bringing him to the 49ers last offseason.

Kelly and Baalke were fired after the 49ers' 2-14 season, and the 49ers promoted the ability to create a fresh start when a new coach and general manager. While the 49ers were expecting Gamble to remain with the organization through the draft, his spot with the organization was going to be tenuous with a new regime.

“He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him,” Lynch said in a statement. “After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities.”

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”