Monday, November 28, 2011

VCU fades late in 72-64 loss at No. 13 Alabama (AP)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ? Bradford Burgess couldn't take solace from the fact that VCU hung in there with No. 13 Alabama and his former coach for 36 minutes.

The final four minutes were what bothered him after the Rams fell 72-64 to the unbeaten Crimson Tide and Anthony Grant on Sunday night.

"I'm not happy because we lost," said Burgess, who was recruited to VCU by Grant. "I don't really believe much in moral victories. We had an opportunity and we let it slip away."

Not before they left an impression on Grant, who said VCU "may be the best 3-3 team in the country, just based on what they're capable of."

JaMychal Green scored 16 of his 21 points in the second half and had 14 rebounds, and Tony Mitchell scored 13 to lead the Tide. VCU coach Shaka Smart wasn't surprised by their performances.

"I tried to explain to our guys the tape doesn't really do justice to how athletic those guys are and how active they are," said Smart, who worked with both Tide players with USA Basketball over the summer. "Green was a monster tonight. He was terrific."

Green had missed the previous game with a hip bruise but helped the Crimson Tide move to 7-0 for the first time since 2006-07. Mitchell sprained his right ankle in the previous game.

The Tide trailed VCU (3-3) by as many as six points in the second half but closed the game on a 12-5 run and allowed only one basket over the final 4 minutes.

"During the last four or five minutes of the game, our guys really stepped it up on the defensive end," Grant said.

Burgess hit three 3-pointers in the second half and scored 18 points to lead VCU, which also got 10 points from both Rob Brandenburg and Juvon te Reddic.

"Alabama deserved to win tonight," Smart said. "They played really hard and caused us some issues, particularly in the second half. They blocked six shots, but they really changed a lot more shots."

Grant led VCU to 76 wins from 2006-09 before taking over at Alabama. Smart, his successor, took the Rams even farther with a Final Four run last season, but his team's stuck at .500 despite coming off wins in two straight games against Western Kentucky.

Both teams turned up the full-court pressure at times and bank on stingy defenses that keep them going even when their shots aren't falling.

"It pretty much was like looking in the mirror and playing ourselves," Green said. "They're a very disruptive team. We couldn't run our offense the first half but the second half we executed better and just had more focus.

Burgess is the only Grant recruit who saw action for the Rams. The two shared a quick hug and chat after the game.

"He just said he loved me," Burgess said. "I told him I loved him back."

Alabama made 13 of 21 shots (62 percent) in the second half after trailing at halftime for the first time this season, 33-32. The Tide outscored VCU 40-24 in the paint, which helped overcome 1-of-11 shooting from 3-point range.

The Tide took a 66-60 lead with 2:30 left on an 8-0 run finished off by two freshmen.

Trevor Lacey drove the floor for a layup after Green's blocked shot and Rodney Cooper followed with another basket for Alabama's biggest lead to that point.

Brandenburg hit two free throws to end the string. Mitchell then made 3 of 4 free throws to stretch the lead to 69-62 with 1:32 left.

The Tide went 6 of 8 from the line over the final 1:54.

Mitchell hurt his ankle early in the previous game and limped off the court 7 minutes into the game after scoring six of the Tide's first 10 points. Green, who was 8 of 12 from the field, also spent a few minutes in the locker room with a bruised left elbow in the first half.

It didn't stop them from scoring nearly half of the Tide's points.

VCU hit 40 percent from the field but still managed to score the most points of any Alabama opponent this season.

"The second half was what killed us," Reddic said. "The first half we fought, but just to fight in the first half is not good enough. You've got to fight for the entire 40 minutes."


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Sunday, November 27, 2011

England study: Low-risk births don't need hospital (AP)

LONDON ? A new study in England shows little difference in complications among the babies of women with low-risk pregnancies who delivered in hospitals versus those who gave birth with midwives at home or in birthing centers.

Based on the findings, researchers said women with uncomplicated pregnancies in England should be able to choose where they want to give birth ? and one expert said about half of all pregnant women here could potentially safely give birth outside a hospital.

But they sounded a note of caution for first-time mothers and their infants, who may face a higher risk if they choose a home birth.

"I would never say women should give birth in a particular place, but hope this gives women more information to make an informed choice," said Dr. Peter Brocklehurst, director of the Institute for Women's Health at University College Hospital in London, one of the paper's lead authors. He conducted the research while at Oxford University.

"Birth isn't an abnormal process, it's a physiological process," he said. "And if your pregnancy and labor is not complicated, then you don't need a high level of specific expertise."

Brocklehurst added that about 50 percent of pregnant women in England ? those who are low-risk ? should be able to choose where to have their baby.

More than 90 percent of pregnant women in England now give birth in a hospital. Some officials say the new study should prompt women to consider alternatives.

"This is about giving women a choice," said Mary Newburn of NCT, a U.K. charity for parents, one of the study's authors. She said midwife-run birth centers in England have a more homelike environment, with privacy, sofas and birthing pools.

In Britain, midwives deliver more than 60 percent of babies already. Similar care is provided in the Netherlands, where about a quarter of all births happen at home. Elsewhere in Europe, most births are led by doctors, although midwives may also be involved.

In the United States, however, less than one percent of births happen at home. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not support planned home births and warns evidence shows they have a higher risk of newborn death compared to planned hospital births. The training of midwives in the U.S. varies by state ? and some have no regulations.

Brocklehurst and colleagues collected data for nearly 65,000 mothers and babies between 2008 and 2010 in England. Of those, there were 19,706 births in hospital obstetric wards, 16,840 births at home, 11,282 births in "freestanding" midwifery units ? independent clinics where there are no doctors or access to anesthetics ? and 16,710 births in "alongside" midwifery units, often housed within hospitals.

All the pregnancies were low-risk, meaning the mothers were healthy and carried their baby to term. Women planning C-sections or expecting twins or multiple births were excluded from the study.

In the U.K.'s hospital obstetric wards, most low-risk women don't see a doctor during labor and are only treated by midwives.

There didn't appear to be a difference for the infants' health based on where the mothers planned to give birth.

But researchers found a higher risk for first-time mothers planning a home birth. Among those women, there were 9.3 adverse events per 1,000 births, including babies with brain damage due to labor problems and stillbirth. That compared to 5.3 adverse events per 1,000 births for those planning a hospital birth.

The study was published Friday in the medical journal, BMJ. It was paid for by Britain's department of health and another government health research body.

Dr. Tony Falconer, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists, said his group supports "appropriately selected home birth." He noted the higher risk of problems among first-time mothers choosing a home birth and said that raised questions about where they should deliver.

For Emily Shaw of Oxfordshire, northwest of London, giving birth in a hospital wasn't appealing. She wanted home births for both her sons but because her first baby was induced into labor, she had to deliver him in a hospital in October 2008.

Shaw delivered her second son at home in April. "I felt much more comfortable there," she said. "Instead of getting into a car to go to the hospital, the midwives came to me."

"It was nice to have the home comforts during labor," she added, saying she could eat in her own kitchen and use her own bathroom. "And unlike the hospital, they didn't kick out my partner in the middle of the night."




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