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Please Critique My Stories (Women's Basketball)

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by deviljets7, May 15, 2007.

  1. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    Since I am new here, let me first introduce myself. My name is Jason and I am the Sports Editor at my student newspaper (it is a weekly paper). Before becoming an editor I was a staff writer for three years.

    Here are two stories I would like to get some feedback on (don't worry, be as mean as you feel neccessary). The first one is on a contract extension that head coach Jennifer Rizzotti received in April.

    The second one is on Hartford's loss in the America East Championship. I should note that the Championship occured during the middle of spring break, so it was published more than a week after the games actually occurred. For length reasons, I'm going to put the second story in the next post.

    Rizzotti, Hartford Agree to Contract Extension
    Jason Bernstein
    Issue date: 4/12/07 Section: Sports

    The face of women's basketball at the University of Hartford should be staying for years to come. On Thursday, April 5, the University announced that they had agreed to a contract extension with head coach Jennifer Rizzotti. The extension puts Rizzotti under contract through the 2013-14 season. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Rizzotti is believed to have earned a significant raise from the contract she signed in 2006. Her old contract was through the 2009-10 season.

    "[Rizzotti] has built and maintained a women's basketball program that is quickly becoming one of the best in the country," University President Walter Harrison said. "She's built a model program here and at the same time, she's become the billboard for the University of Hartford."

    In eight seasons as the head coach, Rizzotti and the Hawks have a record of 144-98. In that time period, they have won three America East tournaments and two regular season titles. In March of 2006, they won their first ever NCAA Tournament game, a 64-58 victory over the Temple Owls.

    With the success that Rizzotti has had at Hartford, she has received calls in previous years from bigger schools about their head coaching positions. Rizzotti has been receiving offers since her first America East Championship in 2002. This year was no different, as Florida, Michigan and Penn State were among the schools to express interest in Rizzotti.

    "We strive to be one of those very high profile mid-major schools," Hartford director of athletics Pat Meiser said. "Retaining Jen Rizzotti is a part of that."

    Despite the offers from bigger programs, Rizzotti, a native of New Fairfield, Conn., has remained at Hartford.

    "I wouldn't say the temptation [too leave] has been too great. I'm happy here at Hartford," Rizzotti said. "I always felt pretty good about wanting to stay here. It wasn't a hard decision for me."

    "Personally, it's where I want to live. I'm from Connecticut; my family's here and I want to raise my family in Connecticut. It's a good fit in a lot of ways."

    This past season, Hartford went 25-9, the second highest win total in school history. Hartford won the America East regular season championship for the second consecutive season but lost in the finals of the America East Championship to UMBC. The Hawks competed in the WNIT, where they defeated Bucknell in the first round before falling to South Carolina in the second round. Rizzotti was named America East Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

    While Rizzotti and the Hawks have accomplished a lot in her eight years here, she thinks that the future will be even better.

    "From a basketball standpoint, I feel like we haven't reached our limit yet," Rizzotti said.
  2. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    Re: Critique My Stories (Women's Basketball)

    Hawks Stunned by UMBC in A.E. Finals
    Jason Bernstein
    Issue date: 3/22/07 Section: Sports

    When you reach March Madness and conference tournaments, upsets can happen at any time. The University of Hartford women's basketball team found out the hard way of the pain that comes with being on the receiving end of an upset defeat. The No. 1 ranked Hawks were stunned 48-46 by No. 7 ranked UMBC in the finals of the America East Championship. The loss, Hartford's first since Jan. 10, snapped a 15-game winning streak.

    "It's not good enough," Danielle Hood said, while trying to hold back tears after the game. "We didn't play good enough today." Hood led the Hawks with 17 points and earned a spot on the All-Championship Team.

    The Hawks' offense could never get on track in this game, as they shot just 31 percent (18-for-58) in the game. Hartford was ice-cold from 3-point range, going 1-for-12 from beyond the arc.

    "I was really pleased with our execution, but we couldn't finish," head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said. "You can't shoot 31 percent with 10 turnovers and win a championship."

    Despite a poor night on offense, the Hawks had a chance to win the game in the final minutes thanks to the play of their defense. The Retrievers were held scoreless over the game's final 6:06.

    Hartford trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, but gradually chipped away at the UMBC lead. Freshman Diana Delva was nearly unstoppable in the second half of play, pulling down nine of her game-high 16 rebounds, tying a career high. Delva also added 11 points for her fourth double-double of the season.

    The game would not have a happy ending for Delva or the Hawks. Trailing 48-46 with 14.7 seconds left, Delva, one of the team's best free-throw shooters all season, missed both shots from the charity stripe. Afterwords, she grabbed the rebound and was fouled again. Delva had two more free throw attempts with 12 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for Delva and Hartford, both free throw attempts rimmed out.

    Despite the four misses, Delva recovered and pulled down the rebound after UMBC's Sharri Rhode missed a foul shot with six seconds remaining.

    Hartford's Courtney Gomez attempted a 3-pointer at the buzzer, but it was no good. As the Retrievers stormed the court in celebration, the Hawks walked back to the bench in disbelief at what had just happened. During the post-game awards ceremony, many of the players had their jerseys over their face to hide the tears.

    Backup guard Carlee Cassidy led UMBC with four 3-pointers and 14 points. Amanda Robinson had 10 points and was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament. UMBC defeated the top three seeds to win the tournament and earn their first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

    The road to the America East Finals was not an easy one for Hartford. On Friday, March 9, the Hawks outlasted Albany 60-50 in a physical quarterfinals match-up.

    Hartford survived a surge by the Great Danes in the second half thanks to the shooting of MaryLynne Schaefer. Schaefer scored the Hawks' first eight points in the second half and finished with a team-high 16 points.

    Hartford went into the half with a 28-21 lead. Senior Ikea Witt led the way, scoring 11 of her 16 points in the game's first 20 minutes.

    Albany had a 31-30 lead with 14:28 left, but Hartford's talent upfront proved to be too much for the Great Danes. Hood had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Delva added 10 points and 10 rebounds.

    In the semifinals, the Hawks defeated Binghamton 56-46. On this night, Hartford got superstar performances from some of their role players.

    Gomez, the team's backup point guard, drained three 3-pointers en route to a career-high 13 points. Katie Kelley had one of her best games of the season with 12 points and eight rebounds.

    "We weren't 15-1 with only Hood and [Ikea] scoring," Rizzotti said. "We won with a lot of people doing a lot of work behind the scenes and Courtney and Katie are two of those people."

    Kelley and the Hawks dominated the game from the opening tip. Kelley had Hartford's first four points of the game as the Hawks raced out to a 13-2 lead. Hartford's stifling defense held the Bearcats to 1-of-10 shooting with six turnovers, silencing the home town crowd.

    The Hawks were victorious despite the struggles of their top offensive players. Witt was limited to just four points and Delva had five. Hood had 12 points for Hartford, but shot just 3-of-10.

    The Hawks' bid for a third straight America East Championship fell just short and will now have to settle for a spot in the WNIT.

    "That's what you play for," Rizzotti said after Hartford's stunning loss. "You want to play in the postseason. There are a lot of sad faces and a lot of tears right now, but we're going to keep our heads high."
  3. deviljets7

    deviljets7 Member

    bump. I'm not trying to be a pain, but I'd really to get some opinions or advice on these two articles.
  4. MilanWall

    MilanWall Member

    Just a few quick comments on the second story. The lede is a little bland. I think it might have been a better idea to introduce the play-by-play of the final minutes earlier in the story. After all, the best free-throw shooter on the team missed FOUR straight free throws at the end of the game -- that's pretty noteworthy — maybe even lede-worthy. Could you not get a quote from her? A Division-I athlete should be able to answer a question about missed free throws in a situation like this. Also, I was rather surprised there were no quotes from the UMBC coaches/players in this story. It would have been nice to get some perspective on the "David" that slew your school's "Goliath." I know it's a weekly paper, so I can understand if you made the attempt to get some UMBC quotes and just didn't manage it — but I hope you at least tried to do so.

    The first story is pretty solid, I like how you got three different quotes. Just a reminder to proofread closely — you misused "too" rather than "to" in one of the quotes. Also, some of the sentences were a little choppy and perhaps could have been combined.
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