NCAA Talk

DePaul women eliminated by Oregon State in Sweet 16

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DePaul women eliminated by Oregon State in Sweet 16

DALLAS (AP) — An elite performance by Jamie Weisner and a first-ever regional final for Oregon State in the women's NCAA Tournament.

"What I'm seeing is amazing," coach Scott Rueck said.

Weisner had career highs with 38 points and seven 3-pointers, along with 10 rebounds, as the Pac-12 champion Beavers beat DePaul 83-71 on Saturday night to win in the Sweet 16 less than six years after Rueck took over a program in shambles.

"Just enjoying every moment of it," said Weisner, the senior guard who was the Pac-12 Player of the Year and conference tournament MVP.

After Weisner missed her first three shots, she scored Oregon State's last 11 points of the first quarter — right after the Beavers (31-4) had gone ahead for the first time, and to stay. She made 14 of her last 17 shots, including 7 of 9 3s.

"That was contagious for the rest of the team," guard Sydney Wiese said.

"She willed us to win tonight," said center Ruth Hamblin, another Beavers senior. "To have a competitor and a teammate like that, it makes you want to work harder and to do more for her and for the team."

The Beavers (31-4), the No. 2 seed in the Dallas Regional, play top seed Baylor (36-1) on Monday night with a Final Four berth on the line.

Wiese and Hamblin both scored 13 points. Wiese had consecutive early 3-pointers right before the Beavers went ahead to stay.

DePaul (27-9) was in its fourth Sweet 16 under 30-year coach Doug Bruno, but has never gotten farther in the tournament.

Jessica January had 20 points for sixth-seeded DePaul, while Jacqui Grant had 15 and Mart'e Grays 14.

Grant scored her team's first seven points as the Blue Demons jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead before Wiese hit consecutive 3s in 32 seconds and Deven Hunter — who finished with nine points and 12 rebounds — made a go-ahead layup.

"They're obviously a lot bigger than us and it made it difficult to get to the rim as we have in other games," January said. "Just a good team all around, they own their match-ups and they're just really aggressive."

Weisner then had her 11 straight points, including three 3s for a 21-14 lead. Her previous career highs had been 27 points and six 3s.

"She is the ultimate competitor. She gives everybody in the room confidence. Her confidence is earned," Rueck said. "She just brings this infectious energy to every situation. ... You just want to be around it, so you would be crazy not to just smile and enjoy it."

With a roster filled with seniors and juniors recruited by Rueck, the Beavers are in a regional final nearly six years after he had to conduct open tryouts to fill his first roster.

Oregon State has won 21 of its last 22 games and has already set a school record for victories this season. They won the Pac-12 Tournament and shared the regular-season title, after last season winning the crown outright to end Stanford's run of 14 championships in a row.

"There are four No. 1s in this tournament, and the fifth team is Oregon State," Bruno said. "It should be a really good game on Monday night."

Baylor has a 23-game winning streak after a 78-58 win over Florida State earlier Saturday in the NBA Dallas Mavericks' arena that is only about 100 miles from the Lady Bears' campus in Waco.

The Lady Bears are trying to get to its fourth Final Four in coach Kim Mulkey's 16 seasons after losing in regional finals to Notre Dame each of the past two seasons.

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

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USA TODAY

NCAA is taking steps to allow student-athletes to make money off their likeness

Bulls rookie guard Coby White has talent, an infectious smile and an afro that makes him stand out on the court. It’s a fair bet he could have made some money off his likeness while he played at North Carolina if the rules allowed it.

The NCAA is taking steps towards allowing its athletes to do so, but there’s still a long way to go in the process. The organization’s Board of Governors unanimously voted to start the process. That vote moves things to the NCAA’s three divisions “to consider updates to relevant bylaws and policies,” as it was worded in the NCAA's press release.

“We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes,” said Michael V. Drake, the chair of the board and president of Ohio State. “Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships.”

The board asked each division (Division I, Division II, Division III) to make any new rules immediately and no later than January 2021.

It’s important to note that none of the changes are final, or even imminent. It’s still relevant that the NCAA is going through the process at all, after being so strongly in favor of amateurism across the board for its student-athletes.

The potential changes would not allow for compensation based on performance or participation in a sport. Of course, the natural grey area is that higher performing athletes will be more marketable so they would be compensated on performance indirectly.

This comes after California passed legislation to allow college athletes to receive endorsement/sponsorship money and other states are pursuing similar.

This is still far from being official or finalized, but it will continue to be a major story in college sports over the next couple years.

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

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USA TODAY

Dave Leitao suspended 3 games, DePaul put on 3-year probation

The DePaul men's basketball team has been placed on three-year probation and head coach Dave Leitao has been suspended three games for the 2019-20 season, the NCAA announced on Tuesday.

The program was found guilty of "failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance while Leitao did not "prevent violations from occurring in his program."

A Division I Committee on Infractions panel concluded that a "former DePaul associate head coach violated NCAA ethical conduct rules when he knowingly directed the former assistant director of basketball operations to provide impermissible recruiting benefits to a recruit."

The NCAA found that three coaches knew about the situation but failed to report the infractions. DePaul will vacate all wins earned while the ineligible player competed and suffer recruiting restrictions. They were also fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men's basketball program budget.

In 2019, DePaul had their first winning season since 2007 by going 19-17.