Reference Library – USA – Mississippi
Alabama women s basketball is back in the win column. UA broke its five-game losing streak by piecing together one of its best all-around performances of the season against Tennessee, defeating the Lady Vols for the second-straight time, and the fourth time in program history. Ball security was a huge reason Alabama was successful. Crimson Tide coach Kristy Curry has stressed that limiting turnovers to under 13 per game is crucial in conference play. On Thursday, she was spot-on. Alabama turned the ball over just 10 times against Tennessee, and no player had more than two turnovers for the game. Shelton State transfer Coco Knight had her best game at Alabama, while leading the way to the upset win. The junior guard used 25 minutes to score 16 points, grab eight rebounds and dish three assists. Knight s standout performance set career-highs in minutes, points, assists and rebounds.
The 5-foot-7 Knight trailed only juniors Hannah Cook and Ashley Williams in rebounds against the Lady Vols, and despite her small stature she was able to generate second-chance points by grabbing four rebounds on the offensive end.
The coaches kept telling us to go to the (glass), and that s what I did, Alabama guard Knight said. As a team we had 22 (offensive rebounds), and I think that s the highest we ve had in a while. Teams that finish in the top 10 of the Southeastern Conference standings will get a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament that begins March, 1. Alabama starts the final week of the regular season ranked eleventh in the conference with three games left to play.
New season marks new careers
The start of the Greg Goff era for the University of Alabama baseball team (2-1) was also the start of several new players careers. Nine players made their UA debut over the weekend, including three of the five relievers used in Alabama s series win over Presbyterian. Freshman Sonny Potter pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday and redshirt freshman Davis Vainer needed just seven pitches to work through the ninth inning on Sunday. Junior college transfer Garrett Suchey pitched three innings on Sunday, giving up two runs.
There will likely be more newcomers on against Southern Miss. The game, which was originally scheduled for Tuesday, has been moved to 6 p.m. on Wednesday due to threat of rain.
I definitely think you ll see some guys throw that haven t thrown yet, head coach Greg Goff said. We re still trying to decide who we re going to lock in and throw and our bullpen. When you have a bunch of new guys, in a first year, I ve never seen these guys play a game. For me, we ll kind of get our feet wet as we go. Sophomore righty Brock Love is expected to pitch at some point Wednesday, but some freshmen are still awaiting their turn. Freshman lefthander Garret Rukes hasn t pitched yet, nor has righty Deacon Medders.
Transfer sees more playing time
In late January, there was reason to wonder if Ar’Mond Davis was going to have a role for the University of Alabama men’s basketball this season. Davis, a junior college transfer from Tacoma, Washington about as far as one can get from Tuscaloosa and still remain on the continental United States was far down the Alabama bench. He played just two two minutes against Georgia and didn’t play at all in a home win against Mississippi State. Then improvement met opportunity. Davis started to see a slight increase in playing time. Then, with the Crimson Tide in foul trouble and fighting to hang on in a four-overtime win at South Carolina, Davis came off the bench to play 38 minutes and score a career-high 19 points. Last Saturday, he added a 16-point performance against LSU.
Crimson Tide coach Avery Johnson said it was part of a season-long maturation for Davis that was not unusual for a junior college transfer.
“I think sometimes when a junior college kid enrolls at a Division I school, especially in a Power Five conference, the immediate thinking is that he really is a junior,” Johnson said after the Crimson Tide victory over LSU. “I disagree with that.
“With some juco kids, it takes a while to understand the entire process — school life at a Power Five (college), the way we travel, the way we practice. Especially when you’re playing for me, that’s not an easy thing to do.
“So there were a lot of growing pains for a long time. But I would say that about three weeks ago, we started to see some progress in the way he practiced, in the maturity level, and we started to get a little more confidence to play him a little more in games.”
Johnson said he was still advising Davis on various matters, on the court and on social media as well.
“In the last game (at Missouri), he didn’t feel well. So he tweeted about it. I told him that probably wasn’t a good thing to tweet about because you don’t to send people thinking that you’re making excuses about going 0-for-4 from the 3-point line.
“He’s a a kid I get after every day (at practice.) He and A.J. (Avery Johnson, Jr.) have some tough skin, because they get it a lot. But he’s responded.”
Gymnastics improves score before postseason
It s time to shake things up in the college gymnastics world. Since most teams have now completed in at least six meets, rankings are determined by regional qualifying score (RQS). This takes a team s top six scores (three of which have to be from away meets), drops the highest and then averages out the remaining five. The University of Alabama is No. 4 with a 197.085 RQS. Oklahoma (197.89), LSU (197.655) and Florida (197.435) go down in order for the top three. Those are the only four programs in the nation with a 197-plus RQS.
Without the RQS, the Crimson Tide would have remained No. 6 with an overall average of 196.803. Scores dropped this week for Alabama included the Arkansas meet (195.325), the Elevate the Stage meet (195.85) and the Florida meet (197.825). All of this is meant to give a more consistent representation of each team s abilities before postseason.
On Monday, Alabama coach Dana Duckworth said Aja Sims is fine after being pulled from the lineup last Friday. While warming up, Sims fell off the uneven bars, took a hit to the head and underwent concussion protocol. The senior is tied for 10th on the floor exercise with a 9.895 RQS. She also has a season-high 9.975 and is the Crimson Tide s anchor performer.
Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin will be at Coleman Coliseum on Friday for Alabama s meet against No. 12 Boise State. She was a member of the 2008 U.S. women s gymnastics team that took home the team silver from Bejing, China.
Alabama’s Coco Knight (13) moves toward the goal during the first half of a game against Tennessee at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa on Thursday. [Staff Photo/Erin Nelson]
Elaine Blanchard with Memphis Police Director Michael Ralllings at Blanchard’s church last year.(Photo: courtesy of Elaine Blanchard)
Elaine Blanchard is an ordained minister and a proud graduate of the Memphis Police Department’s Clergy Police Academy. Last fall, she welcomed Police Director Michael Rallings as a guest for a Wednesday evening meal at Shady Grove Presbyterian Church.
“Our police officers have such a difficult job. They all need our help,” said Blanchard, who posted a photo of her and Rallings on her Facebook page. She also officiated the wedding of a woman who works for Mayor Jim Strickland. The mayor was in attendance.
“He seems like a nice man,” she said.
Last week, she learned via Facebook that she is one of 81 people who can’t enter City Hall without a police escort. She also learned that she’s one of 43 people barred from visiting Strickland’s home.
“This grammie is a gangsta!” the 5-4, gray-haired grandmother joked on her Facebook page over the weekend. It would be funny, if it wasn’t so absurd.
Blanchard has never been arrested. She’s never been to the mayor’s home. She can’t remember if she’s ever been to City Hall. How did she end up on City Hall’s list of security risks, or the mayor’s list of persona non grata? How did so many others? Why does such a list even exist?
Police aren’t saying. The mayor says he didn’t know about the list even though it bears his signature. The mayor says he did sign an “authorization of agency” form Jan. 4 a list of people he has ordered to stay off his personal property.
In December, a group of protesters organized a “die-in” on his lawn and video showed some peeking through his windows. But many, if not most, of the 43 people on the list Strickland signed did not participate in the “die-in.” That includes Blanchard.
“I would never have done that,” she said. “I felt sorry for the mayor when I heard about that one. It was wrong to do that at his home.”
Blanchard did participate in a public protest last year. That seems to be the only common denominator among most of the people on the list. That might explain why there’s more than one list, as The Commercial Appeal’s Ryan Poe reported Friday.
Memphis City Hall requires police escort for Darrius Stewart’s mother, protesters
The first list is dated Jan. 4 and names 43 people including Blanchard “barred from the premises” of Strickland’s home who “also have to be escorted while in City Hall.”
It doesn’t explain why. But those on the list have participated in one or more recent nonviolent public protests at the Mississippi River bridge, Overton Park, Graceland, Valero refinery, or elsewhere. Strickland’s signature is on all four pages of the list. But three of the pages include Lt. Anthony Bonner’s handwritten note that those on the list “have to be escorted while in City Hall.”
It’s unclear whether the notes were added before of after Strickland’s signatures. The second list is dated Jan. 17 and names 14 people who “have to be escorted at all times while inside City Hall.” It also doesn’t explain why.
Seven of the names are listed as white females; six as white males; one as a black female. The list was signed by Police Lt. Albert Bonner. The third list seems to present some legitimate and specific concerns. It’s called “City Hall escort list” and it’s undated and unsigned. It names 27 people and adds a brief description or reason why each person is on the list. Fifteen are listed as “former employee.”
A dozen others are identified with words like “threats,” “harassment,” or “disorderly conduct” and “vandalism.” One is identified as “Order of Protection.”
Why aren’t the first two lists more specific? Why are public protesters considered a security risk at City Hall?
“It implies that everyone on the list is somehow a threat to city officials,” said Jayanni Webster, a 27-year-old honors graduate of UT-Knoxville. “It’s very upsetting.”
Webster, a community organizer, was one of six protesters handcuffed, detained and cited for blocking the road in front of Graceland last July. Blanchard joined a demonstration outside Graceland in August. It was during the annual candlelight vigil for Elvis. The next day, two local legislators Rep. G.A. Hardaway and Sen. Lee Harris complained that police kept black protesters behind barricades while allowing white protesters free movement.
Blanchard told the press that she agreed.
“I threw my leg over the barricade and a Graceland security officer came over and gave me a hand, lifted my elbow and helped me over the barricade,” she told The Commercial Appeal.
“The police could clearly see that a white woman who had been with the protesters was climbing over the barricade, and no one stopped me.”
Blanchard figures that her public complaint is why her name is on the City Hall security list. She hadn’t thought about going to City Hall anytime soon, but now she feels sort of obligated. Tuesday afternoon, she plans to attend a protest being called the “Weigh In at City Hall.”
First she’ll have to find her way there.
“I’m not even sure which building it is,” she said. “But once I get there, maybe they’ll show me around.”
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Florida baseball sweeps opening series: The Gators swept their three-game home and season opening series with William & Mary. Florida picked up a 5-4 victory on Friday, an 8-1 win on Saturday, and an 11-6 triumph on Sunday. (Florida Gators; Ethan Bauer, Independent Florida Alligator; Jordan McPherson, Miami Herald; Pat Dooley, Gainesville Sun)
Gator softball goes 4-1, wins Aquafina Invitational: Florida opened home play this weekend. The Gators defeated Florida A&M, 8-1, and Northwestern State, 9-3, on Friday. Florida dropped their first contest of the season to Maryland, 4-2, on Saturday, before turning around and picking up another victory over Northwestern State, 10-0. Florida finished their weekend with a 5-0 win over FIU on Sunday. The 10-1 Gators have played 11 games in the last ten days. (Herb Brooks, Florida Gators)
Thoughts on the Gators 57-52 victory over Mississippi State: On Florida s struggles, point guard ball security, the Gators defensive identity, and KeVaughn Allen and Devin Robinson. Also noted: Florida is hopeful that Canyon Barry will be available for Tuesday night s game against South Carolina. (Chris Harry, Florida Gators)
UF gymnastics wins at Arkansas: The Gators swept the individual event titles – all with marks of 9.92 or better. No. 3 Florida earned a 197.125 to 195.20 win over the No. 23 Razorbacks. (Mary Howard, Florida Gators)
Florida women s tennis extends home win-streak to 163: The No. 1 Gators defeated No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 5 Stanford this weekend. As I mentioned in this weekend s open thread, Florida s 163 game win streak is the longest active home win streak of any NCAA Division I team in any sport. (Kathy Cafazzo, Florida Gators)
Three Gators post season-best times at Tiger Invitational: The three Gator competitors at the event all came away with season-best times, including a pair of personal records for Michael Timpson, Jr. (Zach Dirlam, Florida Gators)
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