For Vanderbilt's Palmisano, a Sweet Homecoming at Pauley

Michelle Palmisano should feel right at home this week.

Not only does the former Thousand Oaks High standout return to Southern California for the NCAA women's basketball Sweet 16, she'll be playing at Pauley Pavilion. Palmisano attended UCLA before transferring to Vanderbilt after her freshman season in 1992-93.

Top-seeded Vanderbilt (28-6) plays Purdue (23-7) in the West Regional semifinals at 6 p.m. Thursday at Pauley Pavilion.

Palmisano, a reserve guard, scored 15 points Sunday as Vanderbilt routed Memphis, 95-68, in a second-round game. She is averaging 9.6 points and is shooting 37.5% from three-point range. She was a starter early in the season, but has come off the bench in 23 of 34 games.

Palmisano, who ended her high school career as the fourth-leading scorer in state history, hasn't let basketball get in the way of her studies. She carries a 4.0 grade-point average majoring in biomedical engineering and was named to the GTE Academic All-American third team.

Palmisano could meet former Thousand Oaks teammate Marion Jones in the regional final Saturday. Jones' team, defending national champion North Carolina (30-4), meets Stanford (28-2) in the other semifinal at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Jones has had a superb season for the Tar Heels, averaging 17.9 points, five rebounds, 4.9 assists and 3.6 steals. The sophomore point guard had 19 points and a career-high nine steals last week in a first-round victory over Western Illinois.

Jones was named to the All-Atlantic Coast Conference team and also was an All-ACC tournament selection. An All-American in track, she is considered a strong candidate for ACC female athlete of the year.

The best policy: Westlake High golfer Hiroshi Kawashima earns a point for honesty, if not for knowledge of the rules.

While playing a match on Monday at North Ranch Country Club, Kawashima lost a contact lens. On the 14th hole, he hit his ball into the rough, six inches from another ball. Without his lens, he couldn't determine which ball was his, so he guessed and took at swing at one.

When that ball landed on the green, Kawashima could see he had hit the wrong ball, so he announced to the other players in his group and to his coach that he was disqualifying himself.

Said Westlake Coach Dan McDermott: "He's got integrity."

But he could use a rule book.

Hitting the wrong ball is only a two-stroke penalty, not a reason for disqualification.

Fish story: Life on the road was bumpy this week for the U.S. men's water polo team coached by Rich Corso, also the Harvard-Westlake water polo coach.

While the team was traveling to a second-round match Monday against Mexico in the Pan American Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina, the brakes on the team bus failed. When the bus finally rolled to a stop, it came to rest in front of a fish factory.

Said team member Chris Humbert: "It was the worst place it could have broken down. I thought I was going to get sick."

Fortunately for Corso and his squad, the wait was short. The bus carrying their Mexican opponents stopped and picked them up.

How did the U.S. players show their appreciation?

They blasted Mexico, 14-5.


Marmonte League softball coaches got their wish when the Newbury Park girls' basketball team, which includes several key softball players, had its season extended to the State championship game on Saturday, just three days before the league softball schedule began.

Said Simi Valley softball Coach Suzanne Manlet, whose team plays Newbury Park on Thursday: "They might still be bouncing the ball."


How horrific was the Cal State Northridge baseball team in its 17-6 and 13-3 losses to Cal State Sacramento on Sunday?

Let us count the ways:

* Northridge pitchers allowed runs in 11 of the first 13 innings. The first eight Northridge pitchers to make appearances allowed runs.

* Northridge batters struck out 11 times in the first game and 10 times in the second.

* Starting pitchers John Najar and Keven Kempton combined to allow 15 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings.

* The pitching staff allowed 26 earned runs in 16 innings. The team earned-run average jumped from 4.52 to a gaudy 5.30 after losing the three-game series. Four pitchers now have ERAs above 8.00.

* Northridge had 16 hits in a 13-3 loss in the series finale, but stranded a season-high 15 baserunners.

* Northridge Coach Bill Kernen called the doubleheader defeat Sunday "the worst day in the history of the program."

Things to Do

It will be the fastball of Lindsay Parker against the coaching of Beth Calcante as the La Canada softball team (3-1) plays a nonleague game today against Chaminade (3-2) at Chaminade's middle school campus in Chatsworth.

Parker (3-1), who has signed with Fresno State, is among the top pitchers in the state. Calcante, a former Northridge player who appeared in the NCAA Division I Women's College World Series in 1993 and '94, is the Eagles' top assistant in charge of offense.

The Cal Lutheran baseball team (7-7), ranked 24th in Division III, is scheduled to play second-ranked Eastern Connecticut State (6-0) at 2:30 p.m. today at Cal Lutheran.

Compiled by John Lynch. Contributing: Steve Elling, Rob Fernas, Jeff Fletcher, Vince Kowalick, Bryan Rodgers.

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