Co-head coaches lead Lady Techsters; Connors a US team player
Putting one little word after another and whatever became of Bo Belinsky? - Louisiana Tech's women's basketball team, ranked second in the country, has an unusual setup with co-head coaches Sonja Hogg and Leon Barmore. Hogg, whose wardrobe never saw a rack, does all the recruiting for the Lady Techsters in addition to doing a great job with public relations. Bar-more, whose 194-20 record going into this season is the best in the nation for the past six years, teaches a very disciplined type game.
''The first thing I noticed after getting into women's basketball was that nobody was guarding anyone,'' Leon explained. ''Well, defense is what wins games and good defense is probably what this team does best.'' Barmore carries a notebook with a sticker on it that reads: ''Plan ahead. It wasn't raining when Noah built the ark!''
The Lady Techsters feature two All-Americas in 6 ft. 3 in. center Janice Lawrence, and 5 ft. 4 in. guard Kim Mulkey. Lawrence, who leads Louisiana Tech in scoring and is second in rebounds, has the legs of a sprinter and the consistency of a sewing machine. Mulkey, who wears the same poker face Oscar Robertson made famous in pro basketball, has more than double the assists of anyone else on the team while shooting better than .700 percent from the floor. If the Shue fits. . .
Coach Gene Shue of the Washington Bullets, who has turned losing franchises around in Baltimore, Philadelphia, San Diego, and D.C., calls himself the impatient type. ''It's so important for me to win quickly coming into a losing situation that I've never minded taking a problem player from another club if I thought he could help me. Even if he had a super-bad reputation, I always felt I could change it. In my opinion, too many general managers panic and trade players at the first sign of trouble when the thing they should be doing is learning how to handle them.'' Shue also thinks it's a mistake to expect every high draft pick to make it big right away. ''It happens sometimes with exceptional people like Larry Bird or Magic Johnson,'' Gene explained. ''But for most rookies it takes at least a year's time to make the proper adjustments.'' Connors serves his country
Jimmy Connors, who seldom explains his decisions, says he is playing for this year's United States Davis Cup team because he feels like it. ''I think having me around takes a lot of pressure off John McEnroe,'' Connors told me after winning California's Congoleum Classic. ''Mac can now go on court knowing he doesn't have to win all his matches.''
Despite capturing many major singles titles, Jimmy has played for his country infrequently and never on a Davis Cup champion, a situation he seems determined to change.
Asked if he thought his own strategy would continue to blend comfortably with that of Davis Cup Captain Arthur Ashe, Jimmy replied: ''I learned a long time ago how to play winning tennis and I don't want Ashe or anyone else fooling with my game. In fact, I won't stand for it. If there is any controversy during our Davis Cup matches, what I want from Arthur is someone who will go out and fight my battles with officials. I don't want to do it myself because it might break my concentration.''
When US Davis Cuppers recently swept Romania in Bucharest, Connors and McEnroe won both of their singles matches. The next time the American team plays will be against Argentina on July 13-15 in the US. Baseball bits
* The Montreal Expos reportedly signed Pete Rose as much for his leadership qualities as his bat. Rose needs 202 hits to break Ty Cobb's major league record of 4,191 set over 24 seasons. Pete, who played first base last year for the Philadelphia Phillies, will go to left field for the Expos, with Tim Raines shifting to center and Andre Dawson to right.
* The best quip I've heard lately was by Oakland A's play-by-play announcer Lon Simmons, who gave a USFL score during a spring training game, then asked: ''What are we doing playing baseball in the middle of the football season?''