The St Conal’s garden crew with their pumpkinsWould you like the opportunity to grow your own vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers? If so then the community gardens at St Conal’s Letterkenny is the place to become the modern day good-lifer!Since its inception in 2010 the garden has grown into a natural , sustainable and healthy community. The garden which holds over forty outdoor plots alongside four polytunnels, fruit picking orchards and an indoor gazebo is now accepting names from individuals for the 2014 growing season plot spaces. Alongside your plot space this year you will have the opportunity to get involved in tutored garden time and also some competitive growing!You can grow all sorts in the St Conal’s Garden!Community gardener Joanne Butler will be on hand one day a week to offer assistance and advice to all growers at St Conal’s.“Next year we will start a seed sharing & saving scheme along with a possible box scheme being launched at the garden ”One of the community groups involved in the garden this year is Cara House who are finishing up a very successful garden course there. Participants not only learned practical horticulture but also built a pallet garden, had a go at pumpkin carving, and made christmas pots which go on sale in a few weeks time .Chairperson of the gardens Ann Wilkilson said “increasing consumer interest in where our food comes from combined with concerns about air miles, GM foods and sustainability has led to a community garden renaissance here in which I firmly believe is growing by the year.”So if you would like to get growing with outdoor exercise and relaxation then come on and get involved in the community gardens at St Conal’s.Plot spaces are limited so call Ann on 0868591619 for more information .Busy at work potting some plants. ST CONALS COULD PLANT A NEW IDEA IN YOUR HEAD was last modified: November 18th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Joanne ButlerSt Conal’s Garden
Story Links Photo Gallery DES MOINES, Iowa – The entire Drake athletic department convened on Sunday, Aug. 28, afternoon at the Knapp Center to recognize its student-athletes and pledge to live the Bulldog Way both on and off the field.In addition to reaffirming their commitment to living the Bulldog Way, Drake student-athletes and staff lived it by partnering with Meals From the Heartland to package more than 40,000 meals that will be delivered to malnourished people in Iowa, across the United States and around the world.Director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb was joined by Drake University president Marty Martin and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee members in detailing the tenets of the Bulldog way and the success it has created.Every team, student-athlete, coach and staff member pledged to live the Bulldog Way and signed a copy of the Bulldog way, which states We act with INTEGRITY.We demonstrate and uncompromising COMMITMENT to EXCELLENCE.We OUTWORK and OUTHUSTLE our opponent in pursuit of CHAMPIONSHIPS.We desire the BEST FOR and expect the BEST FROM each other.We MAXIMIZE OUR POTENTIAL by ASPIRING TO GREATNESSWE LIVE THE BULLDOG WAY.Print Friendly Version
BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight “We did a good job at sustaining our effort from start to finish. We executed on both ends very well,” Meralco head coach Norman Black told reporters.“Total team effort. Everybody stepped up led by AD (Durham) and JD (Dillinger) also hit some big shots,” Black said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFive players scored in double-digits with Allen Durham, Jared Dillinger and Ranidel de Ocampo tallying 18 points each.Durham, the reigning Best Import, also hauled down 25 rebounds while Dillinger and de Ocampo combined for nine triples. PBA Women’s 3×3 Tournament – February 24, 2016 PLAY LIST 35:57PBA Women’s 3×3 Tournament – February 24, 201635:47PBA Women’s 3×3 – March 18, 201603:49Will Ginebra’s Barangay be a huge factor in the PBA Finals?01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Read Next PBA IMAGESSTA. ROSA — Meralco dominated Star from start to finish, 98-74, to gain a 2-0 lead in their 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup semifinals series Tuesday night at Santa Rosa Multipurpose Complex here.The Bolts showed no signs of slowing down after racing to splitting start, 36-13, early in the second quarter and even led by as much as 30 points, 78-48, entering the fourth period.ADVERTISEMENT Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients MOST READ Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary LATEST STORIES Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Prince Eze out of the NCAA MVP race View comments Dillinger went 6-of-8 from downtown as he and de Ocampo teamed up with Durham to create a lethal inside and out game that had the Hotshots’ defense guessing.The Bolts go for the sweep on Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.“We gave to play our best basketball to beat them.”Mark Barroca had 16 points for Star, which blew a big lead late in Game 1.The Hotshots shot just 32% from the field while the Bolts displayed a potent offense, hitting 53% of their attempts with 28 assists.ADVERTISEMENT
PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Duke’s Zion Williamson (1) falls to the floor with an injury while chasing the ball with North Carolina’s Luke Maye (32) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Duke rookie sensation Zion Williamson was forced out of the Blue Devils’ game against archrival University of North Carolina after he suffered a knee injury in the two teams’ matchup in the Atlantic Coast Conference.Williamson was about to turn the corner against the Tar Heels’ Luke May when his left shoe exploded resulting in what Duke head coach Mike Krzyewski called a “mild knee sprain” in a report by ESPN.com.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants Nike, who is in a 12-year deal with Duke stemming from an extension in 2015, released a statement wishing Williamson, a projected top overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a speedy recovery.Williamson was wearing a school exclusive pair of PG 2.5s that are primarily designed for wing players and guards.“We are obviously concerned and want to wish Zion a speedy recovery,” said the sports giant. “The quality and performance of our products are of utmost importance. While this is an isolated occurrence, we are working to identify the issue.”WNBA legend Swin Cash,s a two-time WNBA champion and a two-time NCAA champion with University of Connecticut, chipped in in saying Williamson should wear LeBron James’ sneakers that are built for bigger players.“Honestly at Zion’s size he needs to change up & wear Brons shoe. They are literally built for a guy his size. I remember after my back surgery I changed up shoes because of the shock impacted to my back,” said Cash who also wished the best for Williamson.ADVERTISEMENT Pacquiao: No boxing for son Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Urgent reply from Philippine football chief The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward then clutched his right knee in pain just 36 seconds into the game before walking off, in his own power, to the Blue Devils’ locker room without his Nike PG 2.5s.UNC, the no.8-ranked team in the conference, then took advantage of Williamson’s absence and cruised to an 88-72 win over the top seeded Blue Devils.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesIt put everyone in the position of having to figure it out, playing without him, while playing a really good team. It’s not a good situation,” said Krzyweski in the ESPN.com report.“At halftime the realization that he’s not there settled in. And we played horrible to start the second half. The final 16 minutes I thought we played really well, but it was too late,” Kryzewski added. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town View comments
New Delhi: The high-powered GST Council on Saturday decided to reduce the tax rate on electric vehicles (EVs) to 5 per cent from the existing 12 per cent, a move aimed at accelerating the adoption of eco-friendly mobility solutions. The new Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate on EVs will be effective from August 1, the finance ministry said in a statement after the 36th meeting of the GST Council. The GST rate on all EVs has been reduced from 12 per cent to 5 per cent. Additionally, the tax rate on chargers or charging stations for EVs has been slashed from 18 per cent to 5 per cent. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The council also approved GST exemption for hiring of electric buses (of carrying capacity of more than 12 passengers) by local authorities from August 1, the statement said. The meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, was held via video conferencing. The GST Council, headed by the union finance minister, has state finance ministers as members. It also took certain decisions regarding changes in GST law. The last date for filing of intimation, in Form GST CMP-02, for availing the option of payment of tax (by exclusive supplier of services) has been extended from July 31 to September 30, the statement added. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Further, the last date for furnishing statement containing the details of the self-assessed tax in Form GST CMP-08 for the June quarter (by taxpayers under composition scheme) has been extended to August 31. The earlier deadline was July 31. The central government has been taking initiative to popularise environment friendly electric vehicles. In the Union Buget 2019-20, the government provided additional income tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on loans taken to purchase EVs. Besides, customs duty has been exempted on certain parts of EVs to further incentivise e-mobility in the country. The Centre has also approved Rs 10,000 crore to encourage faster adoption of EVs in the country under the FAME II scheme, which aims to encourage faster adoption of such vehicles by right incentives and charging infrastructure.
TOKYO — The lawyer for Nissan’s former chairman Carlos Ghosn, who is being held on charges of falsifying financial reports, says the 64-year-old businessman is suffering from a fever.Ghosn’s lawyer Motonari Ohtsuru said Thursday that doctors at the Tokyo Detention Center said he should rest after running a fever of 38.8 C (101.8 F) late Wednesday.Visits to Ghosn by consular officials and lawyers were postponed.On Tuesday, Ghosn told a Tokyo court he was innocent, in his first public appearance since his Nov. 19 arrest. The court rejected an appeal by Ghosn’s lawyers for his release from detention.During the hearing Tuesday, Ghosn appeared much thinner than before he was arrested. Earlier, he had asked for more comfortable conditions than are usually provided at the detention centre.The Associated Press
Balurghat/Gangarampur/Berhampur (South Dinajpur/Murshidabad): Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee alleged on Friday that BJP and RSS are backing the Congress candidate in Berhampur and in the same breath, said the saffron party will not be coming to power in Delhi.She was addressing a mammoth rally at Berhampur. Earlier in the day, Banerjee addressed two more rallies at Balurghat and Gangarampur in South Dinajpur. Without naming sitting Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury, she said: “He does not stay in Murshidabad and his only business is to criticise Trinamool Congress. On the last day of the Parliament, he gained support from BJP by calling Trinamool Congress a party of thieves. Who is honest? Saradha was set up in the 1980s and CPI(M) and Congress leaders were involved. But no action was taken against them. The Congress leaders have betrayed the voters as they follow Congress during the day, BJP in the afternoon and CPI(M) at night,” adding that “RSS is backing Congress in Berhampur.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe Trinamool supremo said BJP will not be able to make a comeback in the Lok Sabha polls. “From where will they get seats? In Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Bengal they will get zero seats. In Uttar Pradesh the number of seats will be reduced. In Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh BJP cannot do well. From where will they get seats to form the government?” she asked. In Murshidabad district, Congress got two seats in Berhampur and Jangipur while CPI(M) had bagged the Murshidabad seat in 2014. Banerjee said when she was in Congress, she had come to Murshidabad several times with Mannan Hossain. She had cordial relations with veteran leaders of the district like Abdus Sattar and Atish Chandra Sinha. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We had to take part in the general election within 22 days of setting up Trinamool Congress in 1998. I could not come to the district and reach out to the people,” she regretted. In Balurghat and Gangarampur, Banerjee urged the voters not to cast their votes in favour of BJP. “If BJP is voted back to power there will be no democracy in India. The society will be divided and the economic condition of the country will become worse. In the past five years, BJP has not done anything,” she said. Stating that all-round development has taken place in South Dinajpur, she said: “There is not a single family that has not been benefitted by the schemes of the state government. The farmers have been greatly benefitted as the state government is paying the premium of the crop insurance. The annual income of the farmers has gone up three times. Kanyashree has benefitted the girl students enormously. Under Khadya Sathi, people are getting rice at Rs 2/kilogram.” She said the time has come when people should think before casting their votes. “Rest assured that Trinamool will play a major role in the formation of the new government in Delhi. There will be a secular and pro-development government, where the interest of all sections of people will be protected,” she said. Banerjee also urged the first-time voters to cast their votes in favour of Trinamool Congress. “Don’t vote for CPI(M) and Congress as it will strengthen the hand of BJP. Vote for Trinamool Congress to set up a democratic government at the Centre,” she said.
2015SEC119+9.2+1.7+25.6+5.9 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratings. Conferences classified as “independent” were excluded from the ranking.Source: College Football at Sports-Reference.com Big 1264+7.3+0.9+19.1+2.7 Pac-1263-10.3-0.4+5.8+1.5 CONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS Sun Belt64+5.8+1.7+1.4+1.0 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2013SEC107+3.1+1.0+19.5+4.6 Big Ten103-4.2-1.5+6.4+0.8 Which conference is winning the 2016-17 bowl season? MWC74+2.9+0.1+2.9+0.1 CUSA74+1.2+0.5-2.1-0.0 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratingsSource: College Football at Sports-Reference.com 1996SEC55+10.0+2.2+27.0+4.0 Independent22-8.5+0.4-6.1+0.5 2002Big Ten75+8.9+2.6+19.8+3.9 It’s also the second-biggest gap for any conference since 1936, trailing only the SEC’s 5.9 excess wins of a season ago.1If you’re curious, here’s the all-time top 10: 2008SEC86+7.0+2.3+18.1+4.2 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2006SEC96+9.7+2.1+20.7+4.1 2016ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 If Clemson knocks off the historically dominant Crimson Tide in the CFP championship game — and Elo gives that scenario a 33 percent chance of happening — the ACC would take over the No. 1 slot.2Again — this is, in part, a function of there being so many more bowls nowadays. If we limit ourselves to conferences with at least six bowl entries since 1970 (the year bowls stopped matching Division I-A/FBS teams with non-FBS ones), the 2015 SEC ranks seventh on a per-game basis, and the 2016 ACC 16th. But it’s also worth remembering that as a conference’s bowl contingent grows, the quality of its worst bowl-bound teams also decreases, depressing its per-game rating.Now, there are a few caveats to be had there. Although the ACC has won far more than we’d expect against a very tough slate of opponents, it’s also gotten a little lucky in the process. According to the Pythagorean formula, which generates an expected record based on the points a team scores and allows, the ACC’s bowl record should be more like 7-4 than 8-3, which matters when discussing the razor-thin margins atop all-time leaderboards. Relatedly, its adjusted scoring margin (+18.5) doesn’t even rank No. 1 this season; the Big 12 has a +19.1 mark, albeit in half as many games. By contrast, the SEC was +25.6 in bowls last season.ACC teams were favored by Elo in only four of the conference’s 11 bowls, and although one of those favorites lost (Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl), the rest of the ACC’s bowl teams picked up the slack with five upset victories. (Including Clemson’s 31-0 rout of Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.3Although Vegas listed Clemson as 1-point favorites, computer power rankings such as Elo and ESPN’s Football Power Index were (wrongly) slightly higher on the Buckeyes.) When the SEC won nine bowls last season, it was only a slight improvement on the 7.3 they were expected to win going into the bowls. The ACC’s eight wins this year are much more out of step with the 4.8 wins Elo would have predicted, a gap that will grow to 5.5 wins if Clemson upsets Alabama.Regardless of how much good fortune has been involved, however, the ACC has been the class of this year’s bowls. And a Clemson victory on Monday night would add more than just one bragging right to the conference’s trophy case. ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 SEC126-0.5-0.3+11.0+2.7 1998Big Ten55+9.7+2.5+25.9+4.2 2014SEC127-0.5+0.0+14.0+4.0 After Oklahoma cruised past Auburn in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl, college football’s 2016-17 bowl season is nearing its finale. The only game left? Next Monday’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, a rematch of last year’s title tilt. That game — a 45-40 Alabama victory — concluded a dominant season for the Crimson Tide’s Southeastern Conference, one that punctuated the first nine-win bowl season by a single conference in college history.But in a surprise twist, it’s Clemson and the Atlantic Coast Conference — not Alabama and the SEC — that are winning the bowl battle once we adjust for expectations. And with the Tigers carrying the conference’s banner into the title game, the ACC has a chance to top last year’s SEC for the most impressive bowl season ever.The ACC has gone 8-3 this bowl season, already the second-most wins by a conference in a single bowl season since the AP poll era started in 1936. (Of course, because bowl season has become so bloated in recent years, this year’s ACC teams have also played in the third-most bowls ever, tied with four other conferences since 2013.) But the ACC’s record is still notable because of its difficulty: FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings — which estimate the relative quality of every FBS team — would have expected an average team to go 3-8 against ACC teams’ bowl opponents, losing by an average of 2.7 points per game. Instead, ACC teams have won by 7.6 points per game. That five-win gap between the ACC’s bowl record and what Elo would have expected from an average group of teams is easily the biggest of any conference this season: 2007SEC97+4.3+2.6+15.7+4.9 Most dominant bowl seasons by conference, 1936-2016 MAC60-4.5-2.1-5.7-2.3 YEARCONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS American72-9.5-2.5-3.0-1.5
For the past few seasons, the best defenders in the NBA have been some combination of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard and Gobert out for all or much of the season so far and Green’s production falling off just a bit, we’ve got some new blood in contention to be the NBA’s best defender.To put a number to this, we’ll use data from Second Spectrum that shows us both the total number of shots defended by a player and how much he affected those shots. There are a few ways to get at this, but we’re going to use “quantified shot probability” (qSP) — which determines the expected value of shots defended using shot distance, shot location and defender position, among other variables — and “quantified shot making” (qSM) — which subtracts the expected effective field goal percentage on those shots from the actual eFG to determine how much of an effect the defender had. In other words, does the defender make shots worse? And if so, by how much?We’ve used metrics like this in the past, but the rub with this set is it adjusts for who’s taking the shot, meaning weak defenders who guard bad shooters don’t get as much credit, and defenders tasked with guarding superstars aren’t punished for their assignment — the star’s excellence is baked into the stat.The per possession numbers will look a little different from the overall effect — players like Tarik Black and Marreese Speights have defended a lot of shots very well in short minutes — but this chart should demonstrate that there is a wide spread on defender effect. What we’re missing here, though, is how many shots a defender actually affects. Kevin Durant, Golden State WarriorsThe Warriors are unfair. Draymond Green — for my money the best defensive player in the league — has for whatever reason been a little off during the first quarter of the season, possibly because the Warriors can sleepwalk to a bare-minimum 2-seed. He’s not been bad, mind you, just not quite as dominant as usual. That’s left quite a lot of slack in the Golden State scheme, and Durant has picked up more than his fair share of it. Golden State ranks eighth in defensive rating, down from second a season ago, but that almost feels like a threat more than a falloff given how flat the team has looked at times. Beware, it says, this is a top 10 defense even while almost completely half-assing things, just on the virtue of Kevin Durant showing up to work. Durant has been improving as a defender for years, going back to his time with the Thunder. (If you ever go back and watch the 2016 series between OKC and San Antonio, watch Durant on defense — he was the best defensive big man in that series.) His style is also entirely his own: KD gives up relatively “great” shots — ones his opponents would be expected to turn into 52.3 eFG against an average defender, or about what Austin Rivers gives you as a defender. Not great. But because Durant is so long, so mobile and so smart positionally, the actual shots against him fall at a rate of just 45.2 eFG. This still happens within the overall Golden State system — Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have similar opponent eFG numbers, albeit on fewer shots defended — but Durant’s role has him not only locking down his own man but also covering up for lapses by his teammates.Green may remain the more important defender for the Warriors — he’s the anchor, and what he does from his position is impossible to replicate. But Durant’s play so far has been the strongest on a Golden State defense that should end up being a top-3-type unit, at minimum. But despite the limitations, these metrics are a pretty good way to look at who’s having the best defensive season. A few players stand out on the list: Honorable mentionGiannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have both been outstanding through the first quarter of the season, but they don’t have quite the same track record as some of the players listed above. Just the same, neither seems to be a fluke. We’ll be a little more certain how permanent their new defensive excellence is by the All-Star break. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis, who last season was in the tier just behind Gobert and Green for overall defensive value, but this year fell off early before making up some ground in the past few weeks.Some others seem more like early-season mirages — Josh Richardson, Gary Harris and Eric Gordon are all having excessively good years by the metrics but are playing way above the levels they had in previous seasons.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Anthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansFrom the time he was a rookie, Anthony Davis has had all the tools. He’d block shots and steal alley-oops and tug on his shorts and check the opposing point guard 30 feet from the basket. He came into the league as a destructive defensive force, but for reasons ranging from injury to scheme to sheer offensive burden, Davis’s aggregate effect on the defensive end hasn’t always lived up to the promise of those moments. This season, it has. Davis ranks seventh in the league in shots defended overall, and the defense gets 12.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits down. That’s nearly double his defensive on/off split from last season, which was already by far the best of his career.Partly this is because of his partnership with DeMarcus Cousins. Defensive intensity hasn’t always been Cousins’s strong point, and that’s still true today, but he has defended the most shots in the league, and done so while holding opponents to a middle-of-the-road 51.4 eFG on shots he defends. Not great, certainly, but it’s a respectable backstop for the defense.Because of Cousins’s role as a reliable constant, Davis is free to cover more ground without making risky moves to get back into plays. And because of that, his personal foul rate is at an all-time low (2.6 fouls per 100 possessions). This allows Davis to do what he does best — stick to his man, rotate to help in the paint without overextending, and blitz spot-up shooters on the perimeter faster than anyone else his size in the league. Here we’ve got total shots as well as the qSM (the difference a defender makes on each shot) plotted against each other to show who’s affecting how many shots to what degree. This isn’t perfect. For one, a great defender doesn’t simply challenge shots — he denies them from happening, forcing a team to reset its offense. But by the same token, great defenders also work their way back into plays, affecting shots by playing smart help defense and covering acres of ground. Another thing these numbers don’t reflect the is overall quality of the shot — there are a few defenders who don’t depress value of each individual shot by as much as others but who force opponents into low-quality shots in general (through hard work and smart positioning) so that the overall effect is the same. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, Boston CelticsThe Celtic defense has continued to crush opponents. Boston is 18-4, with a league-leading defensive rating (100), the second-lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (48.6) and a roster full of live-bodied defenders who can switch practically any assignment. Even Kyrie Irving is chipping in on the effort. But while every Celtic is doing his part, some parts are more critical than others. It’s undeniably been the play from Smart, Brown and Horford that has carried the Celts so far.Smart does not possess the most graceful set of skills, but what he provides is unmistakable to anyone watching. He’s all over the floor, hounding ball handlers, bodying up on bigger players in the post and bumping cutting players he isn’t even guarding, like a middle linebacker jamming a slot receiver.Brown is a little different. While the Boston defense is built on interchangeable pieces switching and denying an offense space, it also needs players who can stick to their man across multiple screens, then square up and check their man as he plants and drives. Brown has stepped into that role and dominated so far. He can fight over screens (or just outright avoid them) to allow the defense to keep its shape, and he has the quicks to shut down first steps with the length to challenge pull-up attempts.Horford, meanwhile, does not have nearly the same reputation as the other two, but this season, he looks livelier than he has in the past when making switches, and he has defended the most shots of any Celtic. The newfound agility in space is especially important — because the defense will semi-regularly ask him to survive on an island against a wing, but also because his role at the center of the defense requires him to scuttle shooters who’ve just run over two or three screens trying to escape Smart or Brown.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Ohio State women’s basketball team slogged through confetti and streamers as it cut down the nets after claiming its third consecutive Big Ten Tournament title Sunday. Following a Feb. 6 loss to Northwestern at the Schottenstein Center, the Buckeyes had a 4-6 record in Big Ten conference play, and their future seemed bleak. Fast-forward to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. OSU (22-9), the Big Ten Tournament’s No. 5-seeded team, was tipping off in the championship game against No. 2-seeded Penn State (24-9) at Conseco Fieldhouse. Fast-forward again to about 5:25 p.m. At that moment, the Buckeyes were hoisting the Big Ten Tournament championship trophy above their heads at midcourt as confetti showered over them. The title was the fourth in program history. Senior center Jantel Lavender and junior guard Samantha Prahalis propelled the Buckeyes to the victory, grabbing a game-high 23 points apiece. Lavender, Prahalis and sophomore guard Tayler Hill were named to the Big Ten All-Tournament team. Lavender was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. The Buckeyes’ heroes of the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds were senior guard Brittany Johnson and Lavender, respectively, and it appeared that Prahalis assumed that role in the first half against Penn State. The Lady Lions led, 12-8, at the first media timeout, thanks to a balanced offensive attack led by junior guard Zhaque Gray. Prahalis had an early answer for Gray, scoring six points in the first half during a 13-4 run that put OSU ahead, 21-12, with just more than 11 minutes until halftime. The teams went on to match each other nearly bucket for bucket, for much of the first half. Prahalis continued to drive the Buckeyes’ offense, accumulating 14 points and three assists. Prahalis said Penn State’s defense allowed her open looks at the basket. “I had a lane,” she said. “Every night is different for me. It’s just what the game brings.” Lavender added nine points of her own as OSU took a 44-39 lead to finish the half. But eight points from Gray and 12 from Penn State sophomore guard Alex Bentley meant the Big Ten title was far from decided. But the Buckeyes were within 20 minutes of accomplishing a goal that seemed unattainable in early February. A determined Lavender opened up a personal 6-0 run to extend the Buckeyes’ lead. Then, a steal and some quick passing led to an easy layup for her, which extended the lead to 59-46 in the second half. OSU supporters cheered, and Lavender signaled to the fans for even more noise as she ran back on defense. Hill drilled a step-back jumper to increase the Buckeyes’ advantage to 63-49 with less than 13 minutes remaining. OSU was on its way. Penn State redshirt sophomore forward Mia Nickson scored 15 points, with 11 coming in the second half. But it wasn’t enough to help the Lady Lions claw back into the contest. Bentley misfired on numerous 3-point attempts as OSU extended its lead. Johnson missed a 15-foot jumper after nearly letting the shot clock expire, and Lavender hauled in the offensive rebound with 2:12 remaining. The Buckeyes retained possession for the remainder of the game, coasting to an 84-70 win. Lavender credited the win, at least in part, to OSU’s experience in prior Big Ten title games. “I definitely think our experience here has helped us win this game,” Lavender said. “I think us having that experience in the last three years (helped us to) just deal with three games in three days.” That’s exactly what the Buckeyes did. OSU had to overcome No. 4-seeded Iowa, No. 1-seeded Michigan State and No. 2-seeded Penn State before the indoor fireworks could be detonated overhead at Conseco Fieldhouse. Each opponent presented a different challenge, but the Buckeyes were up to the task. By virtue of its 10-6 regular-season record in conference play, OSU earned a bye into the tournament’s quarterfinals and began play Friday against the Hawkeyes (22-8). Lavender and Prahalis, the Buckeyes’ top two scorers, were slow to get involved on the offensive end of the court that night, but Johnson picked up the slack. Johnson scored a season-high 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, and her 7-of-14 shooting from 3-point range was instrumental in OSU’s 71-61 win. “I was just in the zone, I guess,” Johnson said following the game. “I just wanted to step up and help my teammates out. That’s what I did.” After her team suffered elimination from the tournament, Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said Johnson is a threat on the court. “You’ve got to know where she is all the time,” Bluder said. “She is a really, really good 3-point shooter.” On day three of the tournament, OSU played Michigan State (26-5) with a berth in the championship game on the line. Lykendra Johnson, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, was standing between the Buckeyes and a third consecutive tournament title — literally. But Lavender made quick work of her with a historic performance. Lavender torched the Spartans for 37 points, a Big Ten Tournament single-game scoring record, en route to a 72-57 win. Lavender also tied the tournament’s single-game record with 15 field goals on 15-of-20 shooting to help the Buckeyes get to Sunday’s championship game. With his team on the doorstep of history, OSU coach Jim Foster lauded the Buckeyes’ focus after Saturday’s win. “We’re smart enough, patient enough,” Foster said. “Good teams don’t get real high and don’t get real low. We just go about our business.” Despite her record-breaking performance, Lavender did not emphasize her personal accomplishments, but focused instead on what her team did well in its three wins against the Spartans this year. “The times that we’ve played Michigan State our team has really (understood) who we are as a team,” Lavender said. “It’s not any different situation, except for the number by our team is No. 5, and I think we’re playing like the No. 1 seed right now.” Lavender said after Saturday’s win that she “likes playing at Conseco Fieldhouse.” Sunday’s championship game against the Lady Lions afforded her, along with senior teammates Johnson, guard Alison Jackson and forward Sarah Schulze, a chance to exit the arena as Big Ten champion one last time. Foster said the 2010–11 team is better than the previous two teams he coached to Big Ten titles. “I would say this was the best team of the last three,” Foster said. “I think how we won this is a reflection of that.” With the win, the Buckeyes clinched the Big Ten’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes now await the announcement of their seeding and opponent. With the NCAA Tournament still to come, Prahalis said her team has a good sense of where it is and where it’s been. “We’re very confident,” she said. “We don’t forget where we was a month ago. All we have is each other.” OSU will represent the Big Ten in the NCAA Tournament for the ninth consecutive year.