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First-team All-Big East honors for Grace



Grace USF senior guard Shantia Grace, the Bulls' top scorer as they make a run at their second-ever NCAA Tournament berth, was named Thursday as a first-team All-Big East selection.

Grace was the only Bulls player among 25 honored on two all-conference teams and four honorable mentions. She tied for second in the league in assists in conference play, averaging 4.9 per game, and ranked 15th in overall scoring at 15.1 points per game. Her assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.8 was the fourth-best in the conference.

Grace was a second-team all-conference selection in 2007 and 2008. Jessica Dickson earned first-team All-Big East honors for USF in 2006 and 2007.

-- Tough morning for USF coach Stan Heath, as his son Jordan, a junior guard at Tampa Prep, saw his season end on a controversial call with less than a second left of a tie game in overtime in the state semifinals in Lakeland. Heath was scheduled to attend his son's game -- a Tampa Prep player was called for a questionable foul with 0.4 seconds left, and the resulting free throws provided the winning margin. Here's the live blog from the Times' Ed Encina.

-- Former USF defensive coordinator Wally Burnham got a two-year deal from Iowa State that will pay him $275,000 a year, a 25 percent raise from what he was making last year as USF's highest-paid assistant. Burnham also got a car allowance, and there are incentives that could boost his pay based on team performance.

-- Talked Thursday with former Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon, now the offensive coordinator at Virginia, and spoke highly of his receivers coach the past two seasons, Steve Bird, hired this week as the offensive grad assistant at USF. He actually had two assistants working with receivers, and one of Bird's primary responsibilities was as the Falcons' special teams coordinator. "It was one of the reasons I hired him. We'd never had a guy with his expertise," Brandon said.

Bird worked especially with Bowling Green's punting unit, which ranked fourth in the MAC in net punting. As for him taking a job as a grad assistant after being a position coach, Brandon said it's just the nature of coaching right now.

"I think guys are doing whatever they need to do to stay in the business," Brandon said. "Ten guys got put on the street at Bowling Green (two were retained by the new coach). I think it's a good move by Coach Leavitt, and I think it will work out well for (Bird) down the road."

USF assistant John Hendrick has held the title of special teams coordinator since midseason last fall, but sounds like Bird might be able to help the Bulls there as well.

-- Veteran infielder Nomar Garciaparra signing with the A's means former USF standout Jeff Baisley, who made his major-league debut in September, is more likely to open the season in the minors, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Baisley is 2-for-6 this spring, with a double and one RBI.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 27, 2010 6:04pm]


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