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Morning Dish

January 15, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 16th, 2003

by Brian Seymour

Just two weeks after Lefty Driesell announced his retirement, another coaching legend is stepping down.

Mount St. Mary’s coach Jim Phelan has never been a household name, even among some college basketball insiders, but few coaches have had a more interesting career. Phelan is expected to announce at a press conference today that this season, his 49th at the school, will be his last.

No coach in history has coached more games than Phelan’s 1,339 or more seasons, especially at the same school. His 824 wins is fourth all-time behind Dean Smith (879), Adolph Rupp (876) and Clarence Gaines (828). Phelan took over the program at The Mount in 1954 after a brief professional career with the Philadelphia Warriors. Since then, Phelan has been a fixture on the sidelines in his trademark bow tie.

The 73-year-old Phelan took the Mountaineers to NCAA postseason tournaments 16 times, including twice (1995 and 1999) since they made the jump to Division I in 1988.

Mount St. Mary’s is 5-7 this season, and has shown much improvement since last year’s 3-24 campaign.

Coaches come and go, but legends like Jim Phelan are few and far between. Here’s Hoopville’s best wishes for an active, enjoyable retirement.

Side Dishes

UConn women tie win streak: Congratulations to the Huskies, who tied the NCAA Division I women’s record for consecutive wins at 54 with a 53-48 victory over Seton Hall. They’re tied with the mark set by Louisiana Tech between 1980-82. The record should fall Saturday when the Huskies meet Georgetown at the Hartford Civic Center. UConn has also won 55 straight at home.

MSU’s struggles continue: It’s not a good time to be an MSU. Michigan State has lost four of five and has dropped out of the Top 25 and No. 13 Mississippi State lost its third straight game Wednesday, 68-62 in overtime to Alabama. It’s been a streaky season for the Bulldogs (10-4, 0-3 SEC), which had won 10 straight before their losing streak.

Erwin Dudley and Mo Williams combined for 10 points in overtime for No. 10 Alabama, which improved its record to 12-2, 2-1 and increased its home winning streak to 28 games.

Redick keeps Duke perfect: Top-ranked Duke stayed perfect with a 103-94 win over Virginia, improving the Blue Devils to 12-0 overall, 3-0 in the ACC. It’s the sixth 12-0 start for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Freshman J.J. Redick scored 34 points for Duke, highlighted by a 11-for-11 night from the free throw line. Maryland gets the next shot to knock off the Blue Devils, though the Terrapins dropped a 81-72 decision Wednesday to No. 20 Wake Forest.

Surprise duo lead Big Ten: Everyone who picked Michigan and Iowa to top the Big Ten after three games put your hands up. I don’t see a whole lot of hands out there. Both schools were picked to finish in the lower division of the Big Ten standings, but both posted wins to keep their conference records perfect at 3-0 — Iowa (11-3 overall) topping No. 9 Illinois 68-61 and Michigan upending Ohio State 61-50. The win was the 10th straight for the Wolverines (10-6).

Tonight’s Menu

It’s a typically light Thursday for Top 25 teams with only two teams taking the floor against likely overmatched opponents.

• No. 2 Arizona travels to USC and No. 18 Louisville hits the road to face East Carolina.

• The top two teams in the Mid-Continent Conference square off in a key early-season contest. Southern Utah makes the long trek from Cedar City, Utah to face Valparaiso.

• The Mountain West has taken its own sweet time getting conference play rolling, but UNLV travels to BYU in the league opener for both — finally!

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