Women's Hoops Blog: May 2003

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, May 31, 2003

The webcast was AWESOME!!! I feel like I saw a glimpse of the future, and it is good. Maybe someday we'll be able to watch anygame we want over the web.

And what a game too. Too bad Detroit couldn't pull it out on their home floor -- Ruth Riley, you gotta get that rebound at the end...
I finally get to see a game today, when Washington faces Indiana on ABC. Then, later on, the big webcast. Will it really work?

New York (finally) starts its season today. They plan to keep winning ugly.
Minnesota used a late-game run to top San Antonio. Katie Smith led the Lynx with 21; Dydek has 20 for the Stars. Dydek was also very frustrated with her teammates -- "It looks like we don't want to win," she said.

Connecticut got their first win ever in a high-scoring shoot-out against the Comets. Shannon Johnson had 31 for the Sun, while Swoopes had a rough night -- I guess it really is possible to stop her. Houston really couldn't stop Johnson, and she made a key 3-pointer at the shot clock buzzer that really took the wind out of the Comets' sails. It didn't help Houston's cause that Tina Thompson got ejected after a scuffle with Katie Douglas.

Seattle lost. Again. After leading the whole game, they allowed LA to tie it at the end, and then lost in OT. Sue had 22 points, but she had to leave the game with 1:12 left in the 2nd half due to knee trouble. The Storm still had a 5 point lead at the time, but fell apart with out her. She pleaded to go back in for the overtime, but Coach Donovan kept her on the bench. Lauren Jackson had another off night. The Sparks thus ended with 4 wins in their brutal 7-day road-trip.

In front of 17,000 people, Sacramento beat Phoenix. Yolanda had 22 points and 9 boards. The whole game -- the crowd, the scoring, the dominance on both ends -- was a celebration for the Monarchs. Phoenix just couldn't score -- its starters combined for only 26 points on 10-33 shooting. Plenette Pierson was the one bright spot for the Mercury.

Friday, May 30, 2003

Annika returned to the LPGA today and shot an amazing 62. Huge crowds welcomed her back -- LPGA ticket sales are apparenlty way up. Said Annika, "if I touched any little girl, any woman who felt like it opened doors for someone, that's great."
oops... never mind the post previously here. I misread the quote "just don't care" vs. "don't just care" Big difference. Sorry...
We've been complaining here and everywhere about our inability to see or hear any WNBA games. We don't have ESPN2 or Oxygen, and it's not easy to find audio webcasts on the net.

Now, some good news: tomorrow, there will be a free video webcast of the Detroit-Charlotte game. Tune in to WNBA.com to check it out.
In the third round at Roland Garros, Serena rolls with double bagels in 40 minutes.
The Detroit Free Press reports today on the Shock's efforts to stay in business. This article sounds an awful lot like yesterday's article in the Detroit News. Is the NY Times plagiarism scandal spreading west?
Four games tonight.

Seattle has its home opener against LA. The Storm are worried that if they keep losing, they'll be playing all year in front of an empty stadium.

Houston hosts Connecticut. Sheryl Swoopes has been rocking the world lately. The Sun will try to shut her down. Good luck.

The Lynx will be in San Antonion. Stars point Jen Azzi will get to play against her role model, Teresa Edwards.

Phoenix will be in Sacramento. The Mercury will focus on defense. The game will be sold out -- way to go, Sactown.
Here's an interview with Sue Wicks at WNBA.com. In her retirement, she is looking forward to taking some accounting classes. Hmmm.

Also at WNBA.com, one of the aforementioned Dime Magazine photos of Sue Bird is on the front page right now. For those of you who've never seen it, Dime is sort of a combination basketball-soft porn rag. Still, that is a good photo.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

In tonight's game, Tamika Catchings led all scorers with 19, but Indiana lost to Charlotte. The Fever threw up tons of shots, tons of threes, but nothing fell. Coretta Brown was 2-13. Ouch.

Charlotte's defense was key. Coach Fortner said the Fever just had no rhythm. The crowd in Charlotte was only about 5,000, pretty disappointing for a home opener.
Eric at Off Wing responds to my post yesterday about sexualized marketing of women's hoops.

Eric is right, of course, that the WNBA's promos haven't just been about Sue Bird. But it does seem to me that Sue has been elevated to the top of the marketing pyramid -- she's the one with the AmEx ad, she's the one in Dime Magazine. And her exposure so far is disproportionate to her on-floor performance. Sheryl, Lisa, Tamika, and Chamique are probably the league's best players (and are also all attractive), but they get less media time than Sue. (There is another problem, which we might call the "Sue Wicks problem"... but I'll leave that for another day.)

But my point isn't really about Sue Bird (again, I love her), or even about sex per se. It's just that I don't think the league's marketing strategy is very good. Two different but related things:

1. Seems like the league focuses too much on the top-down model that works for other sports. In major men's sports, most of the money comes from huge national TV contracts. As a result, national marketing is the key -- they make money by getting people all over the country (not just in markets with teams) to watch TV.

With the WNBA, that won't work yet -- at least not for a few years. We need a bottom-up, not a top-down model. The league's success needs to start at a grass roots level -- i.e., it needs to start with local support for the teams. Needs to start by filling seats in the stadiums, not by improving Nielsen ratings.

2. Focus on the competetive advantages (apologies for the Michael Porter speak) that the WNBA has.

One huge advantage is cost -- most pro sports (like the NBA) are just too damn expensive for normal people to go to the game. But with the WNBA, tickets are relatively cheap, and regular people can go and bring their family -- and even get good seats! That's why I love seeing Detroits selling $8 lower deck seats. That's the sort of thing that can really bring people in, and get them hooked.

The WNBA is more family friendly than other sports too. You can go watch players who haven't recently been in jail.

Finally, the women thing does matter. The WNBA gives a chance to give kids (and the rest of us) exposure to women role models. It's not terribly easy to find that.

So, what I'm saying is, I think that the league's marketing efforts should focus on these things. That doesn't necessarily mean that they shouldn't show players in tight clothes or low-cut dresses... but if that's all they do, I think they're missing the point.
The Post profiles Chamique Holdsclaw, and the Courant profiles Courtney Coleman.

And from the track and field world, Jere Longman profiles Allyson Felix, a 17-year-old sprinting phenom from LA.
There have been some positive signs early this year: big crowds, marketing deals, and more fan interest. Let's hope it keeps going. If you live in a WNBA town, get to some games!!!

It is unclear, however, whether the Shock will survive. Their attendance and play have fallen over the years. They hope Detroit hero Bill Laimbeer can turn things around as coach. The team has also begun some promising new local marketing efforts to fill the seats.
Minnesota isn't happy about the way they lost. With less than a minute left, Katie Smith was called for a phantom lane violation, which gave Mwadi Mabika the chance for two more free throws. Oh well... Was a good effort nonetheless. Minnesota has shown that it can play with the league's top teams.

In the other game last night, Phoenix got its first win against San Antonio. Stacey Thomas did a great job containing Marie Ferdinand. It was a sloppy game -- neither team scored in the last 1:43. The Stars had chances to win, but couldn't get anything to fall.

The San Antonio Current has this extended discussion of the Stars, the WBNA and its history, and Jen Azzi.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Crap -- LA beat the Lynx 83-80. Sounds like it was a good, exciting game. As predicted, LA had the advantage inside, but Minnesota made a bunch of 3-pointers.
Minnesota has some confidence after the upset win against Sacramento last weekend. They'll try for another tonight against the Sparks. The Lynx have lost to LA 12 times in a row, but LA might be tired tonight after playing in Cleveland last night. The match-up against Lisa Leslie will be tough inside.

San Antonio is at Phoenix tonight. The Stars will try to build on Saturday's victory over Seattle. Tamicha Jackson is trying to stay confident despite her poor shooting and the Mercury's 0-2 start.
The site has been very slow lately. BlogSpot is having server problems (it's always something). Seems to work faster if you go to Google, type in "women's hoops blog," then link through. Anyway, sorry about the problem...
John Levesque at the Seattle PI offers a critique of the sexualized marketing of women's hoops. He's responding to a recent Sue Bird spread in Dime Magazine, and also maybe to the 'This Is Who I Am" campaign, where Sue is also featured prominently looking hot but slightly stupid.

I love Sue -- she's a good player, seems like a good person, and yes, she's sexy. But I don't really love seeing her glam shots in mags or on national TV ads. Something about it just doesn't feel right. With her poor play lately, she might be developing a little bit of a Kournikova problem. And in addition to the sex-gender thing, there also seems to be a race issue here -- why is Sue Bird the WNBA's It girl instead of Sheryl Swoopes?

I think the problem is this: the WNBA wants to market to current sports fans. Most sports fans are guys. So, the league is trying to appeal to guys who watch men's sports, trying to convince them to give women's hoops a shot. And they think sex is the way to do that.

I don't really like that strategy. I think they should try to appeal to people who don't otherwise watch sports. Try to appeal to women, kids, girls who usually don't spend the weekend watching football on TV. Try to bring in a totally new demographic. And if you want to appeal to these folks, probably Sue Bird in a pink sports bra leaning back, chest out, looking saucy isn't the way to do it. (This is who I am? Is that really who she is?)

I don't mean to be too puritanical about this. I'm enough of a Third Waver to embrace some about of this -- people should feel comfortable with their sexuality, be able to express it, etc. But is that really what's going on here? Don't know...

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Lisa Leslie had 20 and 12 as LA beat Cleveland tonight. Betty Lennox came off the bench and led the Rockers in scoring. The Sparks were down 13 in the 2nd half, but they didn't panic -- the experience of a champion paid off again.

NBA hype king LeBron James was in attendance.
Internet radio update: it now appears that at least some games will be available over the web via the Live Audio site at WNBA.com. Thanks to Kate at WNBA talk for figuring this out.
In last weekend's Sunday Magazine, the Times had this excellent profile of Tamika Catchings. The article also discusses the WNBA and its recent makeover.

Tamika is about to re-launch her website. Swin Cash also has a new personal site here.
One game tonight: Cleveland's opener against the Sparks. It's on Oxygen... but who has Oxygen?

In business news, the league has signed a deal with P&G to market a bunch of products including Cascade dishwasher soap, Cheer detergent, and Swiffer. How... um... domestic.

In non-hoops news, SARS has a silver lining: the US gets to host the women's soccer World Cup. Games will be at different stadiums around the country.

And in Paris, Serena has started kicking some butt.

I watched most of the college softball championship last night. I hate to say this, but it was really boring -- almost no hits. Nonetheless, congrats to UCLA.

The USA World Championship team was named. On the roster: Seimone Augustus (LSU), Alana Beard (Duke), Ebony Hoffman (USC), Kristen Mann (UCSB), Caity Matter (Ohio State), Nicole Ohlde (Kansas State), Shawntinice Polk (Arizona), Cappie Pondexter (Rutgers), Christi Thomas (Georgia), Kendra Wecker (Kansas State), Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota) and Tanisha Wright (Penn State).

On the USA Pan Am team: Jenni Benningfield (Vanderbilt), Rebekkah Brunson (Georgetown), Jamie Carey (Texas), Roneeka Hodges (formerly LSU), Laurie Koehn (Kansas State), Janel McCarville (Minnesota), Loree Moore (Tennessee), Nicole Powell (Stanford); Ann Strother (Connecticut); Lindsay Taylor (UCSB), Iciss Tillis (Duke), and Barbara Turner (Connecticut).
Seattle has had a disappointing start, losing to both Houston and San Antonio. Coach Donovan doesn't know what to do. The Storm's shooting has been abysmal. Against the Stars, they were 20-64 from the field and 1-12 from 3-pt land. (Will Sue Bird ever be a scorer in the WNBA?)

San Antonio drew a huge crowd of over 15,000 for that opening game against Seattle. That's a great sign.
I'm back. Sara's still home in MN with her family.

While we were there, the Lynx pulled off a big upset, beating Sacramento 72-71 in their first game. Svet had a great game, scoring 23. There were almost 11,000 at the Target Center -- we couldn't be there, because we were in Brainerd. With its size disadvantage inside, I didn't think Minnesota had much chance against the Monarchs. But they were able to overcome that disadvantage with great outside shooting.

Jordan Adams is enjoying Minneapolis -- it's nicer than she expected. She's taken an apartment out in the burbs by Lake Minnetonka. Jordan -- you should try to get up north sometime too.

Friday, May 23, 2003

We're home in Minnesota, just about to head up north into the woods for a couple days. So no internet, no blogging....

Last night, Houston beat Seattle 75-64. Sheryl Swoopes was awesome, with 27 points. The Comets had a big edge in inside scoring and rebounds. Seattle had no killer instinct.

Sacramento beat Phoenix 65-56. Phoenix just couldn't score -- it shot about 30%, was 1-9 from 3pt land, and had only two players in double figures. The Monarchs played sloppily also, but got the win.

Possible team in the Bay Area next year? yes, please.

At the Colonial, Annika was fabulous. She'll have to improve by a shot or two to make the cut today, but whatever happens, it's been amazing. If you get a chance to watch today, you should check it out. There are lots of little girls in the gallery to see her play. Incredible.

And my girl Serena is on the cover of SI this week. Good article, too.

Ok, we're off. Enjoy the opening weekend. We'll be back in a couple days...

Thursday, May 22, 2003

Why would someone bomb Yale Law School?

The wait is over -- it's time for tip-off. Two games today: Seattle at Houston, and Sacramento at Phoenix. Good luck, everyone.

And today is also Annika's first round. At WaPo, Sally Jenkins says this is much different than Martha Burk.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Is it just me, or are there even fewer WNBA games on national TV this year than in the past? Seems like the NBA's new deal with ABC/ESPN was a raw deal for the women.

Does anyone know of a way to hear games on internet radio? The WNBA Audio site seems to be defunct.
Today was the day, and here are all the cuts. Some very good players on that list. Jocelyn Penn, for example, was a second team All-American and the ninth overall pick in the draft. What this means: until the league expands again, only the very best players out of college will have a spot in the WNBA.
One day from opener, papers around the country are giving the league some coverage.

The Post Intelligencer profiles Anne Donovan and the team. The Seattle Times has its own profile of Coach Donovan, this discussion of the Storm's attempt to prove everyone wrong, and this profile of Sue Bird, the "accidental superstar."

The Boston Globe discusses Coach McConnell Serio's attempt to get the Lynx into the playoffs for the first time.

On yesterday's cuts: the SacBee says that Kara Wolters was cut because of money and Chantelle Anderson. Kara, no doubt, would love to play somewhere, especially somewhere closer to home. Several Sun players like Courtney Coleman are nervous today. Detroit had to let go former MSU star Syreeta Bromfield.

As we've said before, the tough cutting this year should improve the quality of the game.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Lobo fans rejoice -- Jordan Adams seems to have survived in Minnesota. She might get placed on the IR, but she's probably all set. The Lynx decided to go with Adams's scoring touch over Gwen Slaughter's bigger physical presence. Minnesota also let Sonia Chase go.

Sacramento waived Kara Wolters today. Any chance the Sun need another ex-Husky inside?

Former Cardinal Kate Starbird got let go by Seattle. I always liked her -- hope she finds a home somewhere else.
All of our old posts have been recovered, and our archives are even working. Thanks to the folks at blogger for getting this fixed.
Sorry I haven't written in a long time. New job, part-time job, traveling, etc. have been keeping me darn busy lately. I am getting excited for the WNBA season opener on Thursday. Unfortunately, there are not any teams in our area so Ted and I will have to do all our hoop watching on the tube.

So what is happening out there in these last few days before the season kicks off...

The Charlotte Sting have been busy getting their roster in order. The Sting acquired forward Rushia Brown from the Cleveland Rockers in exchange for forward Pollyanna Johns Kimbrough. Also, Sting center Tamara Stocks and forward Vanessa Nygaard were released, and forward Nadine Malcolm, hit by a car before Friday's exhibition, is in Charlotte after being released from a Phoenix hospital.

The San Antonio Silver Stars are feeling like their 2 pre-season match-ups (losses) with the 2-time defending LA Sparks turned out to be good things. Coach Candi Harvey wasn't initially too thrilled with the pre-season schedule, but now she has changed her mind. "Now that the games are over, I'm really glad we did (play the Sparks twice)," Harvey said. "I think it was the best move for this particular team at this time."

Also, the Seattle Storm announced they will host a Portland Fire (one of this season's disbanded WNBA franchises) fan appreciation night on June 7. This year's Storm roster includes three former Fire players -- center Alisa Burras, forward Stacey Thomas and point guard Tully Bevilaqua -- and former assistant coach Jessie Kenlaw. The Storm also announced they have waived guard Kate Paye to move closer to the league-mandated roster total. Coach Anne Donovan still needs to make one or two more cuts by tomorrow.
Only two days away from the WNBA regular season opener. The league might be a victim of an unfortunate coincidence, in that the opener is the same day that Annika tees off at the Colonial. Annika's appearance is creating a media frenzy -- it's one of the biggest stories in sports, men's or women's, this year. Let's hope the media remembers the WNBA on Thursday too...

Monday, May 19, 2003

The Tamara Moore trade is the latest event in a bizarre saga in Minnesota. Last year the Lynx traded Betty Lennox to Miami for Moore. Lennox was bitter -- she was caught off guard by the trade, and couldn't understand why the Lynx didn't want her.

This year, Lennox was hoping the Lynx would pick her up in the dispersal draft. They snubbed her again. After the dispersal draft, she said that she still didn't understand why she was traded in the first place. Now, Minnesota has traded Moore to the shock for a third-round pick next year. Good as next year's draft class will be, a third round pick is still almost worthless.

So, the Lynx have essentially given Lennox away for nothing. Lennox, meanwhile, has had a very good preseason in Cleveland.
There were a bunch of transactions today as teams try to get organized before the cut deadline Wednesday. Minnesota traded Tamara Moore to Detroit for a third-round pick next year, and Cleveland traded Rushia Brown to Charlotte for Pollyanna Johns Kimbrough.
Two games yesterday:

1. New York over Houston 67-64. Tough shooting night for the Comets. Cynthia Cooper, hampered by a pulled hamstring, isn't as fast as she used to be, but she is slowly getting back up to speed.

2. Cleveland over Detroit 86-71. The Rockers used balanced scoring and depth to prevail. Swin Cash had a big game, with 24 for the Shock, but it wasn't enough.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Jung Sun-Min's entry into the WNBA is a historic event. The Seattle Times tells her story.

Lots of people are predicting that Sacramento and LA will end up as the top teams, but Van Chancellor isn't buying it. With Coop back and Figgs added, he thinks Houston could be back on top. But with so many personel changes around the league, it's very hard to know what the competition will look like.

The Courant discusses the hoops-casino mix at Mohegan.
Diana Nyad at the Times has this article about Annika and women competing against men. Shaun Powell at Newsday talks about Nancy Lieberman's time playing hoops in the men's USBL. Lieberman faced many of the criticisms Annikca is now hearing. "The people opposed to her are making this bigger than it is," says Nancy. "All Annika's trying to do is get better. Lighten up. Isn't that what sports is all about?"

(The Times article says that, under LPGA rules, you must have been "female at birth" to play. Does that mean FTM trannies can play, but MTF can't?)
Led by Anna DeForge with 25 off the bench, Phoenix beat Indiana yesterday 72-61.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

At ESPN.com, Nancy Lieberman has her preview of the coming WNBA season. She also has her picks for the East.

Minnesota Coach McConnell Serio answers some questions in a WNBA.com Q&A.
Two games last night:

1. LA over San Antonio 69-68. That's an encouraging result for the Stars

2. Phoenix over Charlotte 72-61. Even with a bunch of new players, the Sting seem to have a lot of chemistry.
Sara got a job yestderday -- doing development at Girls Inc.! We have reached full employment. As Homer Simpson would say: "We're rich! Richer than astronauts!"

Friday, May 16, 2003

So so busy at work today, and Sara is getting ready for an interview at Girls, Inc., so not much blogging today.

But here's an article on Kelly Miller, and how she's working hard to get some playing time on the Sting. We always follow the Miller twins closely because of the Minnesota connection. Back in the day when Sara and her sister were in the MN hoops scene, the Miller twins weren't the most beloved players, partly because they were better than everybody, partly because their dad was a bit pushy. But it is amazing what they've accomplished -- their work ethic is incredible, and they seem to get better every year.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

The Times says Annika the Great's appearance at the Colonial will go down in history like Billie Jean King's whooping of Bobby Riggs. Famous analyst David Faherty says he'll be there to congratulate her at the 18th green: "I'll be there because I want to say thank you for my daughter for trying."
Tonight at the casino, Houston beat Connecticut 79-72. Swoopes led all scorers with 24 -- Coach Chancellor ran all of her old-time favorite plays, and Sheryl got into a rhythm. Sales led the Sun with 20.
Connecticut Sun Coach Mike Thibault has been pushing his team hard these last few weeks in order to prepare them to play a fast-paced running style game. Coach Thibault said, "I am pushing them to fight through fatigue and frustration. They're close to their limit today because I have accelerated the learning process the last couple of days. It has been more physical. It has been more demanding. There's been more running. They'll be relieved to have a game." Rebecca Lobo has played for coaches who like to run before, but Coach Thibault's pace seems to be at a whole different level. "I've played for coaches who like to run, but they would pick and choose," Lobo said. "Coach wants us to run all the time."

Personally, I love the fast paced game -- love to play it and watch it -- and I can't wait to see the CT Sun in action.
On the links, Annika's classy response to guys who criticize her for playing in a men's tournament: "I think everybody's entitled to their own opinion, and obviously they speak their minds, and that's just where I want to leave it,'' she said. "I don't hold anything against anybody."
can't sleep... so...

3 games last night:

1. Indiana over Phoenix, 66-61. Tamika Catchings kicked butt as usual, with 20 points, 8 boards, and 4 steals. Rookie Coretta Brown helped lead the Fever in a comeback effort.

2. Sacramento over Seattle, 64-48. The Storm shot 25% from the field. Now that's ugly.

3. Minnesota over Detroit, 72-64. Former Huskies Sveta and Tamika combined for 26 points for the Lynx. Cheryl Ford had an great game for the Shock.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The May 21st roster deadline is looming and lots of players and coaches are feeling the pressure. San Antonio Stars Coach Candi Harvey said, "There's no doubt in my mind that we have improved ourselves at every position. We are two deep and sometimes three deep at every position. It is so competitive, and that's fun. People's jobs are on the line. I think it's literally going to go down to the last day as far as roster cuts."

Houston Comets Coach Van Chancellor says make decisions for "Cut Down Day" is his least favorite part of his job. "It's just going to be one of those kind of sleepless-night situations," Chancellor said. "Usually, you feel like you're reasonably right. Right now, I'm not sure what right is. We've got another week, two more (exhibition) games. I'm thinking it will work itself out."
Ticha Penicheiro is probably the best passer in the game, but her shot has never been pretty. This off-season she spent a lot of time working on her shooting. If she starts draining outside shots, she could really become a dominant force on the floor.
In preseason action yesterday, Cleveland beat Washington. Betty Lennox had a great game for the Rockers. Washington got its butt kicked on the glass, Mystics Coach Stanley said she was more interested in experimenting with the line-up than with winning.

Click here for the box score.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

You can view the Sue Bird AmEx ad at this site by clicking on "Deli." It's pretty funny -- better, I think, than the supposed-to-be-sexy "This is Who I Am" campaign.
The worst thing about women's hoops is all the ACL injuries. Detroit just lost Allison Curtin, who tore her ACL in the game against the Lynx. Curtin, who played for Tulsa this year, was picked up by the Shock in a trade two weeks ago.

We need to do more to figure out how to prevent ACL injuries. This new study, just published this month, suggests that differences in the muscles of men and women account for the gender differential in ACL injuries. It recommends that women focus more on strengthening quads and hammys. So if you're gonna play hoops, get to the weight room too!!!

UPDATE: Lara sent along this article about a high school team that implemented an ACL injury prevention program. The players noticed results, and one player survived a serious knee injury without ACL damage.
The Mercury have lost point guard Kristen Veal, who left the team perhaps in part because she didn't want to play backup to Tamicha Jackson.
New from Full Court: This early look at the Seattle Storm, who have a bunch of new faces including a new coach. For subscribers, the mag has previews of other teams too.

Also, Barry Uhrman has this interview with UCSB coach Mark French. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be free on the web, so you might want to take advantage before they fix it!
More on the off-season happenings in college hoops:

At Montana University 5-foot-9 guard Kayla Lambert, one of the most highly-touted athletes in Montana history, is leaving MU for academic reasons. Lambert had to sit out her freshman year because her high school grades and test scores didn't meet requirements. Lambert said she took 11 credits during the fall semester at MU, then "15 or 16" this spring, but that she wasn't going to pass all her courses. Athletes need to pass 24 credits per year to stay eligible. "I'm going to summer school (at Fort Peck Tribal College) to pick up some classes," she added. "Then I'm going to (Sheridan)."

There are also lots of coaching changes going on right now too. Here are just a few:

Nebraska added Malone from Bradley as an assistant coach and the University of Richmond also added assistant Jim Daly to its coaching staff. Former Vanderbilt basketball star Ashley McElhiney will be reunited with former Vanderbilt coach Jim Foster when she joins his staff at Ohio State
Commentators are responding harshly to Vijay Singh's criticism of Annika Sorenstam. Mike Celizic at MSNBC tells Vijay to get over it: "There's no such thing as cooties." Thomas Boswell at WaPo rips Singh, Scott Hoch, and Nick Price, who have all bristled at Annika's appearance. "What's the matter, guys? Are you jealous because Annika has already done deeds so great in women's golf that she will be remembered long after all three of you are forgotten?"
It's getting closer: for the sake of football, the ACC is gonna steal 3 teams from the Big East. Miami, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech might leave. If they do, will the Big East look around for replacements.
Looking for a job in women's hoops? Check out this career site from the WBCA. Couldn't find anything in California, unfortunately.

Monday, May 12, 2003

In non-hoops news, golfer Vijay Singh doesn't like that Annika Sorenstam is playing in a men's tournament. "I hope she misses the cut. Why? Because she doesn't belong out here." He went on: "It's ridiculous. She's the best woman golfer in the world, and I want to emphasize woman."

Chill out, Vijay.
From WNBA.com, here is an updated list of who has been waived. Carla Bennett, Lindsey Meder, Kristeena Alexander, and UConn-killer Trish Juhline are among those recently let go.

It's sad to see good players get the axe -- another unfortunate result of the unfortunate contraction. But the silver lining is: fewer players should help the quality of play.

Elsewhere, GBall Magazine has this preview of the WNBA's Western Conference.
Old posts still gone.... oh well...

Kara Lawson had an impressive debut for the Monarchs, leading them in scoring in a win over Seattle. Sue Bird, on the other hand, had an off night for the Storm. (Also in that article: Starbird says beer goes to calves.) Lauren Jackson didn't play for Seattle and Chantelle Anderson didn't play for Sacramento. Coach Donovan will work on the Storm's transition defense.

More on the Jackie Stiles situation: sounds like she might make it back this year if there's no tendon damage. She's been having a ton of pain, and if she didn't fix it, she'd risk rupturing her Achilles and ending her career.

In college, Geno supports the two proposed rule changes: moving back the 3pt-line, and using the trapezoid lane. He has also suggested switching to a men's-sized ball, which, thankfully, the NCAA is not considering.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Another great Mothers' Day story about Cheryl Ford's mom, Bonita. Cheryl's famous father gets all the press, but it was Bonita who raised Cheryl.
ESPN has this Mothers' Day special on mothers in sports. It mentions a bunch of women hoopsters.
blah. used to have a post here, no longer relevant, and no way to erase, can only replace. with this.
Houston beat New York by one point. Sounds like some of the bench players were really hustling to keep their spots.

Lauren Jackson turns 22 today, and the Storm have their first preseason game against Sacramento. The Monarchs, with a bunch of new players, think they have a championship line-up this year.

The Sparks beat the Silver Stars in their first exhibition game. Jen Gillom had a good first outing.
Well, we just switched to a new version of Blogger that's supposed to be better, but we've lost all of our old posts! Crap....
There were rumors the other day that the Sparks were gonna cut Jackie Stiles. Turns out she will miss the season due to an injury, some bursitis in her ankle.

All old posts are currently missing (due to a software change at Blogger). Months of work lost... sigh.... Blogger says they haven't lost our stuff, and that it'll be back. sometime.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Check out this story about Monarchs guard Edna Campbell and her life after a diagnosis of breast cancer. Amazing.
The Mystics beat the Lynx in exhibition play yesterday. The Lynx didn't look good. Lobo fans will worry that Adams was only 1 for 4, ending with 2 points... but I don't think her job is in jeopardy. It was a return home for Coco Miller, who won state championships for Rochester Mayo in '95 and '97 (luckily for the Miller twins, Sara had moved on to college by then).

Betty Lennox still has some bad feelings toward the Lynx. "To this day I don't know why I was traded from Minnesota," she said. Then she was hoping to return, but Minnesota passed on her in the dispersal draft. Now, she's ready to make Cleveland her home.

The IndyStar says Tamika Catchings is the best player in the WNBA.

Jen Gillom explains why she left Phoenix. She says it "was never about the money."

Seattle cut Jamie Redd and Felecia Ragland.

Friday, May 09, 2003

In big blogosphere news, Salem Pax is back online.
WB Magazine has this profile of Silver Stars guard Marie Ferdinand, including a bunch of glam shots like this one.

Speaking of glam shots... on our site tracker we can keep track of how people get here. Lately, we've been popping up as a result for some strange searches. Like, some people have typed in "Nykesha Sales sexy photos" or "Alana Beard lesbian," and they've ended up at our site. I wonder if they're disappointed when they get here?

Ok. i need to work...
Coco Miller returns home tonight as the Mystics play the Lynx in Rochester, MN. The Mystics are the best commercial franchise in the league, and after last year's taste of on-court success, they are ready for more winning.
From WCH (via Barry at the Devil's Den): 10 things you can do to support the game. Old article, but still relevant.

This topic is getting tired, but here it is anyway: another article about how male coaches can't get hired in women's hoops. Cry me a river.
Tamika Catchings had 19 and 12 as the Fever beat the Sting yesterday. The Sting were playing without key inside players, including Tammy Sutton-Brown, who's in Russia.

Sue Bird is making $57,500 as a top-four pick, but now the top picks get only $40,000. Bird isn't too worried about Taurasi: "she will have an opportunity to maximize her salary with free agency." Also, if you're interested in stalking Sue (who isn't?), she lives in a one-bedroom in downtown Seattle. Just wander around and listen for the Notorious B.I.G.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Much to our chagrin, Jim Rome -- the Rush Limbaugh of sports media -- is back on ESPN. Granted, I haven't watched him much, but when I have, I've never heard him say anything good about women's sports (especially women's basketball). He seems typical of the opinionated, loud, annoying punditry that seems to dominate the sports airwaves. His relentless attacks on the WNBA last year were stupid and tiresome.

On the other hand, he had Billy Bean on. Maybe his ESPN incarnation will be less offensive.
Now that the WNBA preseason has gotten going teams are starting to trim down their rosters. The first roster cut deadline is Sunday and after that teams have until May 21 to get their rosters down to 11 players -- sounds like there might be lots of good players out of work for the summer. Here are some updates...

The Texas Longhorns star Tai Dillard is vying for a spot on the new San Antonio Silver Stars team. According to Jennifer Azzi, the WNBA is getting more and more competive. As the pool of talented young players increases, more and more players are competing for a finite number of spots. "I almost wouldn't want to be coming out of college right now because I think it is so much more competitive," Azzi said. "It's so much more difficult, which makes making this team pretty incredible for someone right out of college, whether they are drafted or not."

The Sacramento Monarchs have already waived Edmarie Lumbsley, Jackie Higgins, and Gretchen Becker.
There is a good article on the state of women's sports in the Indianapolis Star today. The article is in response to critcs who say the recent WNBA contract issues, the WUSA pay cuts, and the lower ratings for the NCAA Final 4 indicate that women's sports are going the wrong way in terms of popularity and growth. WNBA president Val Ackerman and Donna Lopiana, director of the Women's Sports Foundation, whole heartedly disagree with these critics. Ackerman says, "I think women's sports in general have reached a point of irreversibility in terms of the number of girls who play and in terms of the receptivity of people and companies to support them at the pro level." Lopiano directly addresses the ratings question, "Whenever there's a downturn in women's attendance, all of a sudden people call out the vultures, but no one looks at similar downturns in men's sports. You look at NBA attendance, it goes up and down. You look at NBA ratings, they go up and down."
Lobo fans will be following Jordan Adams's new career with the Lynx. She had a very good start the other day, scoring 14 in just 12 minutes. We're looking for the Lynx to have a break-out season this year.
Eric McErlain gave us this mention at Off Wing a few days ago -- thanks a lot! He asks what changes to expect with Leonsis set to take over the Mystics. I'm really not sure -- sounds like, right now, Leonsis has other things on his mind. It's unclear how the Wizards fiasco and the rift with Pollin will affect the Mystics.

The Mystics really have, in many ways, the best franchise in the WNBA. They led the league in attendance last year, averaging over 16,000 per game. And even in 2001, when they finished tied for last in the East, they were near the top in attendance.

I lived in DC the summer of '01, and I had a great time following the Mystics. They have a great venue with a good location, they get good local media coverage, and they have probably the best fans in the league. So I'm hoping that, whatever goes on in the front office, the Mystics will keep leading the league forward.

My question for Eric is: who's gonna win the hockey game tonight? I'm hoping that we've gotten in Cloutier's head by scoring 11 on him in the last two games. Go Wild!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Recently discovered two good general (or rather, men's) sports blogs: SportsFrog and Off-Wing Opinion. Check them out sometime.

SportsFrog gave us a shout out a few days ago, but dissed our design. Ouch. Yes, it's true, our site is really really ugly. If we knew how to change it, we would...
In case you missed this: great post-retirement article from the Times on Sue Wicks.

Yesterday, the Liberty beat the Sun in the first game at Mohegan.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The WNBA preseason is finally underway!!!

My Minnesota Lynx got off to a good start defeating the Detriot Shock 86-72. Katie Smith led the Lynx with 18 points going 3-for-3 form 3pt land. The Shock were led by Swin Cash and Deanna Nolan each with 14 points. The big story of the game was Teresa Edwards. The 38-year-old rookie point guard made her WNBA debut today. Edwards, one of the all-time women's hoops greats, had 8 assists and 4 points in 15 minutes of play. The Lynx drafted Edwards 14th overall and are hoping her experience and talent at the point position can help them make their first trip to the post-season.
Nykesha Sales agreed to a deal for something north of 80k. Will the bad feelings from the contentious contract negotiations affect her play and her relationship with Coach Thibault?

Also in the Courant's lifestyle section, this article about the Sun's sexy new uniforms, made to fit women. I'm hoping we're not moving toward Australian unitards.

Indiana cut Nadine Malcolm. Gwen Jackson is trying to roll with it after being traded 6 days after she was drafted. Ruthie Bolton is happy to stay in Sacramento.

The Mystics have extended their consulting agreement with Coach Summitt for two more years.
Here's the latest on the possible break-up of the Big East.

Monday, May 05, 2003

Things seem to be getting worse between Sales and the Sun. It appears that the two sides are communicating through the newspapers. Says Coach Thibault: "This isn't the Orlando Miracle. They are out of business. This is the Connecticut Sun. ... Whatever is past, that's history, good or bad."

During the dispersal draft, Ukari Figgs told Minnesota that she wouldn't be playing this year, so the Lynx passed on her. Now she's decided that she will play for Houston. Am I offended? Oh... we're used to it.

Like me, Deanna Jackson is recovering from surgery to repair torn cartilege. She hopes to contribute to the Rockers coming off the bench at first.

Finally, in case you missed it, Jen Gillom did sign with LA.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Oh yeah -- to all the Husky fans: Happy Maria Conlon Day.
It was big news when the Sun acquired the rights to Nykesha Sales, one of the greatest players in UConn history. Now, it turns out she might not play for the Sun after all. According to the Courant, Sales made $75k last year, and has asked for 80 this year. (Sales's agent was eager to correct the mistaken figures published earlier by the Courant.)

The Sun have offered much less than she wants; their offer would result in a pay cut of about 40 percent. In addition, the Sun actually yanked a pending offer Thursday night and then presented a lower one. Sales is not pleased. She may simply not play.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Been a bad few days. Wolves lose, now KG gets passed for the MVP. Oh well...

Coach Laimbeer says soph Swin Cash is now the cornerstone player on the Shock; she's been named captain.

The Monarchs started practice, but have yet to sign a few players including Yolanda Griffith. The Mercury are also missing a few. Seattle started practice without most of its international set.

The Sun have now signed everyone but Nykesha Sales. The Sun's practice sessions have been brutal, as Coach Thibault has been working on conditioning.

Andrea Stinson had no interest in the free agent market. She's happy in Charlotte. And the Liberty are just happy to be playing. But I'm still sad Sue Wicks is done...
Sara spoke last month about allowing college players to leave if their coaches do. This proposal has been getting a bunch of press recently -- from folks like Bilas and Vitale at ESPN, and most recently from Rhoden at the Times. Today, Sam Eifling at Slate makes the counter-argument.

His main worry, though, is about players following their coaches, creating a mercenary system where schools essentially buy a set of coach and players. But the solution to this is obvious -- allow players to leave if their coaches do, but don't allow them to follow their coach. In other words, they can transfer to any school but that one. In fact, this is the very proposal that everyone's been talking about. So I'm not sure what Eifling is talking about...

Friday, May 02, 2003

Over $5000, Jen Gillom is leaving the Mercury.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

If you didn't hear former UConn Huskie and current CT Sun player, Rebecca Lobo, got married in April. Anyway, her new hubby SI.com writer, Steve Rushin, wrote a cute piece on Rebecca and their meeting. You can see a few photos of their wedding on the Sun's website.
Some more preseason reporting today, on the Mystics here, on the Lynx here, on the Sparks here, on the Storm here, on the Silver Stars here, on the Sting here, and on the Mercury here.

There are a couple common threads that have run through the preseason reporting over the last few days. First, things are very hectic right now. The time between deal and opener is so short, and teams are having trouble signing everyone, negotiating the salary cap, getting physicals done, getting folks in town, and starting practice. Most teams will only have a handful of practices before the season. This might mean we can expect some sloppy play at the beginning.

Second, quite a few good veteran players are getting frozen out of the league. With contraction, there are fewer spots. Some players lost veteran status, and faced the choice of huge pay cuts or not playing. Plus, the influx of rookies from college and other countries always means new fights for roster spots. Kate Starbird says: "what you're going to find is that the league will be full of really young players and stars — that's it." That seems about right.

One of the young stars, Tamika Catchings, is glad she doesn't have to play overseas all year.