Women's Hoops Blog: June 2003

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, June 30, 2003

LJ was back and that made all the difference for Seattle tonight. She had 22 for the Storm. All-Star starters Sue Bird and Dawn Staley both had off nights shooting -- Bird was 1-10 and Staley had 2 points -- but both had a bunch of assists.

Charlotte's home winning streak is over.
All-Star starters named: Leslie, Thompson, Cooper, Bird, and Swoopes in the West; Phillips, Holdsclaw, Catchings, Weatherspoon, and Staley in the East.

Now, there's no accounting for taste or fan All-Star voting. But:

Katie Smith is awesome, #4 in the league in scoring. And yet she was only ninth in votes amont West guards. Come on, people.

Shannon Johnson is having a great year -- 16.9 points, 6.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds. She should be starting ahead of both Staley (7.2, 5.8, and 1.8) and T-Spoon (2.6, 3.9, and 2.6).

Swin Cash is leading Detroit atop the league. I know it's hard to put her above Catchings or Holdsclaw, but given how little Chamique has played this year, maybe Swin should have gotten the nod.

Nikki McCray was only about 250 votes away from being a starting guard (and 20,000 more votes than aforementioned Pee Wee). I know Nikki used to be great, but this year she just ain't doin' a damn thing: shooting around 30%, averaging 3.5 points, just under 2 rebounds, and just over 1 assist. If she would have been named a starter, I might have gone postal. Luckily, we averted that disaster.

Anyway, on the whole, this seems like a pretty good result, and it should be a great game.
Becky Hammon’s recent season-ending ACL injury has me again thinking about the female athletes’ increased susceptibility to these devastating injuries. According to an article in USA today last week, women high school and college basketball players are 5x as likely to suffer an ACL tear than male players, and women high school and college soccer players are 3x as likely as male players.

It is so sad to see a player go down in a game or practice with a torn ACL. I know in my playing days I have had plenty of friends and teammates suffer through ACL injury, surgery, and rehab. I guess I just always figured that people who had ACL injuries were just unlucky, and I always thanked my stars that I wasn’t one of them.

While it is unclear exactly why women seem to have far more ACL injuries than men, studies have pinpointed a few important differences and possible ways to prevent ACL injuries. According to the article, “Studies have shown women's muscles react differently in landing. In particular, their hamstrings provide just a third of the shock absorption men's create. It's known that women tend to land with straighter legs than men. Men's hamstrings absorb more shock from landing than those of women.”

There have been several different studies and programs of late that have been able to show anywhere from 20-80% decreases in ACL tears through balance, strength, and stability training. "Some injuries are going to be inevitable," Cincinnati based research Tim Hewett says. "But if we can get the word out on balance, body control and hamstring strengthening, we can change this profile."

On a side note USA Today also had an interesting article on the projected increase in ACL tears for both younger male and female athletes.

Kathy Orton at WaPo examines the continuing repurcussions of Annika's appearance at the Colonial.

More women will likely be playing in men's events, partly because they are qualifying, partly because men's tournaments are inviting women in the hopes of increasing visibility and ratings.

All of this should be good for the LPGA. "The level of attention and interest that's being generated in women's golf generally as a result of these stories is what I think is the biggest impact," LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw said.
The Shock are still campaigning for respect. At least they have some local sports reporters on board...
With Hammon gone, T-Spoon will need to perform. The Times discusses her recent frustration. The biggest problem has been her shooting -- she has worked with a shooting coach, but to no avail.

Despite her visible troubles, she says she can handle it: "I don't look for anyone to help me," she said last week. "I really don't listen to anyone."
The Rockers played a tough, team-oriented game to beat Indiana yesterday. LaToya Thomas went 10-11 with 23 points.

Catchings had 19 points and 10 rebounds, but she got little help. McCray and Ivey, Indiana's starting guards, combined for only 4 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

The Williams sisters are rolling through Wimbledon.

Their mom recently told George Vecsey that she thinks the French Open fans gave Serena a tough time because of her race. Eric at Off Wing has this take on the situation.

Although I think it's fair to say that the Williams have in the past had to fight extra battles due to their skin color, I have to agree with Eric about this one. I love Serena, but she was really stupid when she did that interview making fun of French people in the fake accent. No one should have been surprised that Rolland Garros fans were hard on her after that.
Ken Wright at the Wash Times says the Mystics' season is slipping away. Everyone hopes that Holdsclaw's return will turn things around, but they will have to perform extraordinarily well to get to the playoffs.

Chamique denies the rumors, says there's no fighting on the team, says everyone gets along great. Well, she also used to deny that there were any issues between her and McCray.

Anyway, Mique was expected to play today, but she didn't. And Washington lost again. The Mystics had only one player in double figures. Jones, Dales-Schuman, Miller, Smith, and Burgess all struggled shooting.

Coach Stanley says "We've just got to stay strong through this very difficult time." Even if the team can't stay strong, kudos to the DC fans for continuing to show up to cheer on their team.
From the Ventura Star, another article on the WNBA's marketing strategy, whether it's too sexy, etc. I think we've talked about this issue enough.

One bad note -- the article says attendance is down this year. Things were strong in the first week or so, but since then the fans have been losing some interest. This year's average sits at 8,787, down about 5% from last year.

The Courant reports on Thibault and Laimbeer, guys schooled in guys hoops who have now switched to the women's game.

At ESPN.com, Voepel talks about how Laimbeer has turned the Shock around.

Says coach: "I'm very much enjoying myself. The women listen very well to me, respect what I have accomplished. I treat them as professional basketball players and I know how you should manage them. I was a very smart player and we (the Pistons) were a smart team, we were self-motivated. The coach was there to guide us through the problems, and that's how I'm trying to do it now.''
After serveral weeks without internet at home, we're back online! Thanks to Raezer and Brendon for the assists!

Surprising results yesterday -- both top teams lost.

1. Detroit's win streak is over. And quite unexpectedly, it ended in a loss to Phoenix. Adrian Williams had 20 points and 11 boards for the Mercury.

The Mercury are now only 3-11, but this one really felt good.

2. Sacramento had a nice win over LA. Yo had 24 points and 10 rebounds.

The Monarchs hadn't beated the Sparks during the regular season in 3 years. The Sparks have some time off now, and they are hoping to re-group and end the mini-slump.

3. The Fever beat Seattle. LJ didn't play at all -- Bird had 11 assists, but without Lauren, Seattle just can't do as much. Catchings had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists. Nice work! Nikki McCray had 3 points in 23 minutes. Hey Nell -- why is she still starting?

Indiana is undefeated at home. LJ doesn't plan to be out for long.

4. Houston beat San Antonio. The Stars still can't score. Snow had a big night, with 19 and 8.

5. Charlotte made 27 of 29 free throws and beat Connecticut.

Teana McKiver, a free-agent rookie from Tulane, surprised the Sun by scoring 14 for Charlotte.

Saturday, June 28, 2003

Absolute tragedy yesterday. Hammon is gone.

There have been two great stories this year: the Detroit Shock and Becky Hammon.

Hammon has been awesome, leading the Liberty in scoring from off the bench. When I've seen her, she's looked unstoppable.

In last night's game against Detroit, Becky tore her ACL. She is done for the year. I don't even know what to say. This just sucks.

The results of Friday night's games:

1. Lynx win. Beating Phoenix is no big deal... but a win's a win. Katie Smith rained 3s as usual. Tons of turnovers, but Minnesota overcame that with good play in other regards. It was not a pretty game to watch: "very, very bloody ugly," said Van Gorp.

2. Detroit rocked New York again. Solid performances inside from Riley, Ford, and Cash. That's eight in a row for the Shock.

3. Seattle beat Cleveland. Sue Bird had a great game, just 3 boards from a triple-double. LJ led in scoring, even though she rested most of the second half. Coach Hughes took the blame.

Speaking of Sue, Jeanna writes in and says: where's the love?

Earlier this year, I made some disparaging remarks about how Sue was playing. Jeanna wants to know why, since then, I haven't pointed out how Sue's been kickin ass and takin names.

True, my statements in May were maybe a bit unfair. But in my defense, I did give Sue some big props after I got to see her play against LA. And lest their be any confusion: I love Sue Bird. I love her as a player and a person. If not for Sara, I'd probably move to Seattle...

And she has been doing great lately, no doubt about it. Now as to who's the best point guard in the league? Well, I think before last night you could have made a case for Hammon over Bird. Now.... it's just too bad we won't be able to see them match up this year...

Friday, June 27, 2003

Rough times for Jackie Stiles, reports the Portland Tribune.

Stiles took a big pay cut to go with LA in the first place, but because of her injury, they're not paying her at all. Based on the crappy league rules, LA can retain the rights to Stiles without paying her or putting her on the IR.

So Jackie not only has to deal with a serious injury -- she's also without a paycheck (and insurance?).

She's moved back home with her family in Missouri. She's gonna work on rehabilitation and try to run some basketball camps to make a little money. But Stiles remains optimistic: even though it's been a struggle, she plans to be back next year. "I've learned one thing: When I get back out on the court, and I'm 100 percent, I'll enjoy every minute I'm out there."

She can be an amazing player to watch. I hope she makes it back.
I've been a little sad about how my home-town Lynx have done the last couple weeks, but Pam Schmid says that even though they're 5-6, they still have their best shot ever for the playoffs.
Two games last night:

1. LA beat the Stars. Leslie had an off night, going only 3-16, but Tamecka Dixon and Delisha Milton picked up the slack.

The Stars offense continues to be terrible. For the year, they are shooting less than 38%, near the bottom of the league. The second half yesterday was particularly bad, and San Antonio blew a huge lead.

2. Indiana won a wild one over Connecticut in double OT. Rookie Coretta Brown was HUGE off the bench; she scored 26 points and hit 5 of 6 from downtown.

(Nikki McCray watch: 13 minutes, 0 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist.)

After the loss, Sun Coach Thibault said that some players like Rebecca Lobo and Adrienne Johnson will be seeing more of the bench because they just haven't been contributing.

Today, everyone is piling on and making excuses. Sun fans are mad at the refs and bewildered about the clock screw up. Folks in Connecticut just aren't used to losing...

Thursday, June 26, 2003

Lieberman on Laimbeer and Detroit's surprising success story.

One interesting note: Coach had his players sign up for DirectTV so that they could watch more games, learn about the opposing teams, become better students of the game. Maybe we fans should all do the same...
Who is the dirtiest player in the league? Nominations include: Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, and Tari Phillips.
Well, this is an uncommon day. 90 degrees in SF, Supreme Court overturns Bowers...

Last night Phoenix got one step closer to its goal of obtaining Diana Taurasi in the 2004 draft: it lost to New York.

Hammon: 12 points off the bench, mostly in the second half, hero again. Fans at the Garden booed when Adubato took her out. She's the new rock-star in the Big Appla.

T-Spoon: 1 point in 27 minutes (but 9 assists). T-Spoon says she has nothing to prove. Well... I guess you've gotta tell yourself that.

Feaster led the Sting with 14 as Charlotte beat Cleveland. The Rockers' defense couldn't close out enough on Charlotte's perimeter attack.

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Hello! I am here again!

So teams are already talking about Taurasi and Beard in next year's draft. Well, I think that is gettng a little ahead of the game, but I can understand the excitement. Although I am generally not one to believe that one player can change the the fate of a whole team, history has proved that once in a blue moon it can happen. In recent history, NBA players like Jordan, Shaquille, McGrady, and Garnett have been able to turn a whole franchise around with their ability and character. They are the unique kind of player that can make everyone better - and by everyone I don't just mean the players on the court, I mean the whole thing - the coaches, the fans, etc.

Could Taurasi or Beard be one of those? Not only do I hope the answer to that question is "yes", but I also really do think it could be so. I dream of a Bird/Magic type rivalry for Taurasi and Beard. Wouldn't that be awesome? Fun to watch and great for the league!

Well, just something to dream about as we plod through another Wednesday....
More good analysis from Dan Fleser on how the Vols plan to end the post-season troubles that have plagued them the last couple years. And a good article here from the Miami Herald on the recruiting frenzy building around 6'5" Sylvia Fowles.
Taurasi says the Providence game was "embarassing and frustrating and very hurtful." She will try to avoid a repeat performance tonight as UConn tries to complete the perfect regular season, and the rest of the Big East vies for seeding in the conference tournament.
More on the 'other' Huskies: Nancy Lieberman says here that the UW Huskies might be the most underrated team in the country.

Once was enough: Dierdra Chatman says she won't turn her back on the flag anymore.

Fascinating article in the NY Times this morning -- the growth of girls' basketball has created a problem. Newer teams, when they face established teams, are getting destroyed by scores like 115-2. High school sports organizations are experimenting with running clocks and other means to limit the embarassment.
Steve Kelley of the Seattle Times profiles LJ's rise to the top. She's already awesome, and still so young.

Says teammate Brondello of the Leslie-LJ rivalry: "I'm not very objective because I've been watching her play since she was 16. Lisa Leslie and her are the best players in the world already, but I'm not sure Lisa Leslie was doing the things Lauren is doing at 22. Now it's up to Lauren how far she wants to come, but I know she has the drive to be the best player in the world."
Via NoDak at the Duke board, this article from last week's Arizona Central on how some pro teams (like the Mercury) are already beginning to hope that Taurasi and Beard can change their franchises.

In the article, Nancy Lieberman says she'd probably take D over Alana: "I'd take Taurasi (over Beard). She can play at the two (guard), she can post you up, she can open up the game like nobody else. Beard is just as dominating at what she does."
Another win for the Shock. Another 20-point game for Swin. And yet, no one in Detroit seems to care -- only 3,500 in attendance.

The Fever were cold. (And on the Nikki McCray watch: 0 points, 0 assists, 2 rebounds.)

In the match-up of champions, LA topped Houston. The Comets have now slipped back below .500.

Oh, the Mystics. When it rains, it pours. Asjha was back as a starter for Mique, and Coach Stanley benched Dales-Schuman because she hasn't been doing anything lately. It all seemed to work, and Washington was up most of the game...

Then the Sun took a lead late. But then Coco heroics, a three, then another jumper to tie the game with 2 seconds!

Katie Douglas inbounds to McWilliams-Franklin, a few dribbles, backs in, spins, throws one in at the buzzer.

It's not good to lose to the Stars. Really not good to lose to the Stars at home. Sacramento appeared to have an easy win, but let the game slip away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Time is running out -- cast your All-Star ballot.
Mystics woes continue. Mique has reinjured her leg. They're struggling with her, and they're nearly hopeless without her.

At the other end of the East spectrum, Coach Laimbeer pounds this message into the heads of the Shock every day: you can be a champion.

Out west, the Sac Bee talks about the 2003 rookie class. "Although the WNBA's rookie class of 2003 was initially unheralded, some young stars have emerged." Ford is rocking in Detroit, Gwen Jackson is doing well for the stars, and though LaToya Thomas, Chantelle Anderson, and Kara Lawson all had slow starts, they've all started making good contributions to their teams.

Monday, June 23, 2003

On the links, 13-year-old Michelle Wie won the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links. Said Wie of her victory: "pretty cool."

On the grass at Wimbledon, Venus says she's still confident and won't retire anytime soon. "I have a lot of years left," she said. "I think [Serena] is a great player for sure, but I don't see why I shouldn't be around much longer. I don't know why this is a thought in anyone's mind."
Elsewhere in the league, Seattle embarrassed San Antonio 93-53 and broke its franchise record for most points.

It was a nice rebound for the Storm, after their worst performance of the season in Friday's loss to Sacramento.

Everything went wrong for the Stars -- they shot poorly, rebounded poorly, passed poorly, turned the ball over, and played soft defense. This was their worst loss ever. "It is what it is," San Antonio coach Candi Harvey said after the game. "I'm absolutely stunned, but I'm not taking responsibility for it. There are 11 players ... this one's on them."

New York topped Charlotte. Hammon was again the leading scorer, with 21 off the bench. Kelly Miller, normally a solid defender, was near tears yesterday trying to contain Hammon.

In addition to being the best guard on her team, Hammon might be the best in the East. But she wasn't even on the All-Star ballot, and her wonderful but over-the-hill teammate T-Spoon (with 0 points and 2 assists yesterday) will likely start at point in the All-Star game.

I'm all for letting fans pick the All-Stars, and the veterans should get some props and votes for their lifetime performance. But sometimes that goes way too far.
Broken internet at home, so no weekend blogging -- sorry!

Detroit continues to rock the mf house! After beating New York on Friday, they beat Connecticut yesterday in OT. All five starters in double figures. Cheryl Ford had 21 rebounds -- are you serious?!?

Swin Cash, the team leader, is emerging as a superstar. Detroit is now 6-1. It's time for everyone to start taking them seriously.

Sun Coach Thibault could only pace the sidelines in frustration as he watched his team go down to the East's best squad.
Thanks so much for the love note, baby. You're the best. Sometimes things are pretty nutty around these parts, but we have the only thing that matters. Happy anniversary....

Friday, June 20, 2003

Well, it seems like all my posts always start with an apology for not being around for a while. This new job is working me over pretty good! It is cool though. I am finally doing something worthwhile with my time.

I have totally been out of hoop and sports loop too. I gotta catch up. I think it is funny to think of Ted standing outside the MCI center with a bunch of little kids waiting for autographs after the Mystics game. That's my guy!

This weekend is our first anniversary. What a year! Don't ever let anyone tell you the first year of marriage or partnership is the hardest because they don't know anything...it rocks!!! I know you all read Ted's posts (since he does most of the posting - read:computer hog), and you probably already know that he is one cool cat, but I just wanted to make sure you all new what an awesome guy he is. I am the luckiest person in the world because I get to hang out with him everyday. Happy Anniversary Babe! Love you!
Uber-blogger Glenn Reynolds on blogging.
Another article from last Sunday's Times that I had missed till now.

The article discusses women's performance in sports compared to men's. The article says that women's sports are still lagging behind men's in terms of the use of modern methods of strength training. This means that women may have more untapped potential.

Men have been doing this stuff for decades, so they are reaching natural limits. "Men are making improvements by the millimeter and women are making improvements by the yard," says a UPenn statistics prof.
Detroit is really the story so far this year. Before the Seattle game last night, Lieberman interviewed Coach Laimbeer. You can just see how excited he is about his team.

Swin Cash, Ruth Riley, and Cheryl Ford (two sophs and a rookie) are tearing everyone up inside. The team seems to be doing everything right. The magnitude of the turnaround is incredible.

The Shock host New York tonight. With a few more wins, Detroit can separate itself from the Eastern Conference pack.
Well... it was some trip...

My flight got in at 7 Wednesday. I was hoping to make the 2nd half of Washington-Sacramento, but I took the SuperShuttle and didn't get downtown till after 9. I waited outside the press entrance of the MCI Center for awhile with all the kids seeking autographs. For some reason, I really wanted to meet Stacey. Seems like maybe we have a lot in common -- she's from Canada, I'm from Minnesota; we've both got the hyphenation thing going... but no one ever came.

Had an interview with Justice Stevens on Thursday. It went pretty well -- he's a very nice man, easy to talk to. I had a little rougher time with his clerks. They asked me some questions that I really wasn't prepared for (and that, in retrospect, should have been easy to anticipate). So I kind of whiffed. And considering how many people they're interviewing for how few slots...

On the positive side, I got to sit and talk with a Supreme Court justice for a half an hour. We talked a lot about drug policy, which was pretty damn sweet. And the good thing about not getting the job is that I get to stay in San Francisco (the promised land) a little longer.

The flight home was awesome. JetBlue with TV, Seattle v. LA on ESPN2. 1. Great win for the Storm. Got to see LJ battle with Lisa -- that's probably the premier position match-up in the league right now.

Lisa is probably still the better player -- better post moves, better hands, better 1-on-1 D, and she's in better shape. But LJ plays great held D and shuts down the whole lane. Plus, LJ seemed like she got in Lisa's head. After their little shoving confrontation, it seemed like Lisa played frustrated all night.

Sue Bird really played like a superstar. She's always running, crashing the boards, making everything happen. She did fade at the end, from sore knee and fatigue.

Sandy Brondello couldn't miss. And with her team falling apart at the end, she created a little space for herself and nailed and 18-footer. She ended with 21. Awesome.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Crazy. As luck would have it, Sacramento is playing the Mystics tomorrow night. I'm staying just a block or two from the MCI Center, so I might even get to see a game. My flight isn't supposed to arrive till 7 in Dulles, though.... I guess I can hope for an early arrival.
Been talking a bunch about how well Cheryl Ford has been doing this year -- so far, she looks like the Rookie of the Year. The Free Press today has this profile.

In part due to Ford, Detroit has been looking good. Tonight they'll try to be the first team to hand the Sparks a loss.

I mentioned the Liberty's guard issue after the last game. T-Spoon is the veteran team leader, but Hammon has been New York's best scorer lately -- you could even make a good case that Hammon is one of the top few guards in the league. I was thinking that New York should consider a trade, but Coach Adubato says that Hammon is really more of a 2-guard than a point, which should make it easier for her and T-Spoon to share floor time.

Back home, Pam Schmid talks about Svet and her injuries. Both at UConn and in Minnesota, Svet has always seemed to me like a player who's never quite lived up to her amazing potential. Maybe if she can put the injuries fully behind her, we'll finally see what she's really capable of.

I'm off to DC for a couple days. Just found out today that I have an interview there Thursday. So -- maybe someone else can take the reigns the next few days. Sara? You out there?

Monday, June 16, 2003

Lara forwarded this article (similar to the Times article discussed below) from the AP discussing women's sports. It discusses the problems of declining attendance and TV ratings for the WNBA and WUSA.

I'm not sure it's true that the WNBA's attendance figures are declining or stagnant, as the AP article states. The last I saw, attendance this year has been up about 10% at WNBA games.

The AP article also has a bizarre diagnosis. The Times article said that most women's sports fans are men, and it said the problem is that not enough women like women's sports. The AP article, by contrast, implies that almost all women's sports fans are women, and it says the problem is that not enough men like women's sports. According to AP, the WNBA has given up advertising to men and is focusing instead on pitching the game to women.

I don't know which article is right (or rather: which is less wrong). But suffice it to say: the WNBA needs to work hard to grow attendance and ratings and to make the game appealing to fans, both men and women.

That said, it's always worth reminding ourselves of a point that should be obvious: TV ratings, fan interest, and profitability are often a poor measure of merit.

This year's NBA finals are a good example. Ratings were absolutely horrible -- the lowest in decades. No one watched because no one really cares much about Tim Duncan, who dominated the series. Being a Garnett-lover, I'm not much of a Duncan fan myself. But I have to admit that he is an amazing player, probably the best on the planet right now. That no one wants to watch him on TV doesn't show anything about his basketball ability.
Of the games Saturday, probably the most surprising was Detroit-Washington.

Detroit is a good team with some solid young players and a very good coach, so we shouldn't be surprised that they can win such a game, even on the road.

What was surprising was how terribly the Mystics played. It was embarrassing, one of the worst games in franchise history.

Yes, they didn't have Mique, and that was obviously a factor. But the Mystics have other top players like Stacey Dales-Schuman and Asjha Jones who haven't been doing a damn thing lately. Defense was terrible -- Detroit shot 55%. And the Mystics were sluggish on offense too -- only 8 assists for the team.

Coach Stanley needs to get Mique back in there, and she needs to give the bench players more time.
So you open the Sunday Week in Review section, and you see an article titled "Why Don't Women Watch Women's Sports?" The article starts out by noting that while millions of young women now play sports, not many watch sports. In fact, most spectators of women's sports are men. Why?

This is a fascinating question. You refill your cup of coffee. Thank God for the Sunday Times, right?


First, it turns out that it's not really true that most women's sports fans are men. In general, a bit over half of the television audience is made up of men, but most fans in the stands are women. Oh well. We still wonder: why don't more women watch?

The article quotes women's basketball expert Stacey Pressman. She's been to one WNBA game, and she says: women's basketball is boring. That's enlightening. Nice career, Stacey.

The article then tries to give an actual answer -- it quotes a researcher from ESPN who says that "sports is more of a social currency" for men and "they need to know what happened in the game last night so they can talk about it with their buddies. Women don't have the same need."

OK. This answer has some initial plausibility. Men talk about sports at the water cooler; women't don't. There may be some truth to that. But this just raises more questions.

Women's sports aren't part of the "social currency" for men -- men don't talk about women's sports at the water cooler. So why do any men watch women's sports?

More fundamentally, why aren't sports part of the social currency for women? Even though lots of women play sports, not many watch sports on TV or spend a lot of time talking about sports. We haven't gotten very far from the article's initial question, and we're still wondering: Why?

Well, no answers are forthcoming. The article next produces a soundbite debate about Title IX between Donna Lopiano of WSF and someone else. Boring and irrelevant.

Then, the article concludes with a typically stupid quote from an evolutionary psychologist: men were hunters, so men like sports. (You can get tenure for shit like that?) What does this have to do with the question of why women don't watch sports even though they play sports?

Oh well. The article doesn't really give us anything approaching an answer, but the question is real. Any ideas?

Sunday, June 15, 2003

We were in Bend, Oregon for a wedding. Bend is sweet. 80 in the day, 50 at night, sunny, dry, high desert-style. Super sweet.

Nice win for the Lynx yesterday at Seattle.

Got to watch the LA-New York game on TV in the hotel yesterday. Becky Hammon looks great; seems like the Liberty have a problem with the Witherspoon-Hammon situation. Lisa Leslie is just in another league.

Thursday, June 12, 2003

Gwen Jackson has been doing great work for the Stars, and Cheryl Ford has been doing great work for the Shock. Other top rookies, including LaToya Thomas, Chantelle Anderson, and Kara Lawson, have had quieter starts.

Phoenix, at 1-6, has had a rough start. They are gonna try to start running more to get their offense flowing.

Over at WNBA.com, 20 questions with Nikki McCray, one of the league's most overrated players.

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

In this 120-page memorandum opinion, a federal court in D.C. dismissed a challenge to Title IX. The suit had been brough by a bunch of men's wrestling teams. They had argued that the Dept. of Education had gone beyond the terms of the statute, and that the current interpretation of Title IX violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

5 games tonight:

1. San Antonio had a much better game tonight, but still lost to Washington. Might have been the result of home-town reffing: 27 fouls against the Stars compared to only 12 against the Mystics, and all those extra trips to the line made a big difference in a very close game. The struggles of Dales-Schuman continue.

Jocelyn Penn, who was just picked up by Washington yesterday, had a very good night off the bench, 12 points in 12 minutes, mostly down the stretch. The large Washington crowd was worried when the Mystics blew a big lead, but thrilled with the win.

2. Becky Hammon scored a career-high 33 against Minnesota a few nights ago, and came back with another 28 tonight to lead New York over Cleveland.

Betty Lennox took tons of shots and made almost none.

3. Houston, without Swoopes or Cooper, beat Sacramento. Everyone stepped up for the Comets. Penicheiro, despite her shoulder injury, played most of the game... but she didn't score a point. Sacramento had chances to win, but messed up crucial plays down the stretch.

4. Seattle trounced Indiana. The Fever lack a true point guard, and it makes their offense stagnant. Tonight Sue Bird had as many assists as the entire Indiana squad. For Seattle, LJ was again the dominant force.

5. Go Lynx!

Oh crap... the evil empire wins again. Leslie makes a jumper at the end to give LA a one-point win over Minnesota. Nice effort, Lynx.
A final note on the WNBA marketing thing:

One of my concerns is that the issue of orientation seems to be lurking around this thing, and not in a good way. I don't mind that the WNBA wants to market players' personalities, but it does bother me when it will only promote (those who appear to be) cute straight women.

Sue Wicks told the Village Voice last year, "I can't say how many players are gay, but it would be easier to count the straight ones." Even if she was exaggerating, it's certainly true that the WNBA has lots of lesbian players and fans.

And the WNBA still seems terrified to acknowledge this. Wicks herself was the best example of the problem -- she was one of the best and most popular players in the biggest market in sports, and yet, from a commercial standpoint, she was practically invisible.

(Sue admitted beying annoyed about this, and she tried to convince the league to change its ways. For the most part, she stayed behind the scenes: after she came out, she got tons of interview requests from reporters wanting to cover a controversy, but Sue usually turned them down. Some of the New York fans, however, refused to remain quiet, and thus the Lesbians for Liberty thing last year and the resulting Sports Illustrated press.)

The conventional wisdom is that if the WNBA ever acknowledged (much less celebrated) the lesbian players, coaches, and fans, it would ruin the league's chances of appealing to mainstream America. I respond: the people who are really put off by lesbians are never gonna watch the WNBA anyway.

Plus, sometimes you gotta lead.
Has anyone seen Sara? I guess with her new job she's too good for us.
Yep, the Rockers are happy with their play, especially their defense.

To try to reverse their slide, the Stars are putting Gwen Jackson in the starting line-up. The young players are taking over the league. And just wait till next year...

LJ has been kicking ass, and she got rewarded with Player of the Week honors. But she doesn't like individual accolades: "It's a team game, mate." I love Aussies.

And last but not least, I know you've all been worried about the coaching situation at the University of Western Ontario. Well, here's the latest.
Another blog response to bete noir Pressman from Jen Garrett here.

Monday, June 09, 2003

Two weeks ago John Levesque of the Seattle PI had this article criticizing Sue Bird's spread in Dime Magazine and the WNBA's new sexualized marketing. I posted about the issue here and here.

(If you'd like to see some of the Dime photos, go here and click on Gallery.)

Now Wendy Carpenter at the Tacoma Trib has this article on the same issue. As journalism, this is a little derivative, but it gives Sue and others a chance to respond to Levesque.

Most of the justification offered by Bird, Penicheiro, and the ad people seems to be this: if it's controversial, that's fine, because anything that gets attention is good for the league. This might be called the Dennis Rodman response.

Sue also says this: "Females probably look at it as, 'Way to go, good job girl, keep doing your thing. And men are like 'Oh, you shouldn't use your looks and your body to get people's attention, you should use only your basketball abilities.'"

Well, that's fairly counterintuitive. Seems like men are more likely to go for the Dime Mag stuff than women are -- especially if you look at that magazine's typical product. But given Levesque's reaction (and mine), maybe there's something to her point.

Maybe men are reading too much Catherine MacKinnon.
The WNBA has a few days off, and some teams are taking stock.

In Sacramento, the picture is grim. The Monarchs had been picked by many as the best in the league this year, but they've started 2-4. According to GM Jerry Reynolds, Saturday's loss to LA was the worst game Sacramento has ever played.

San Antonio is 2-5, but the Stars say they're not ready to throw in the towel yet. To turn things around, they'll need to start working together and passing in their offense.

Houston's dreams of a return to the championship circle are looking unrealistic. With Coop and Swoopes hurt (and with Swoopes depressed even when she's been playing) the Comets are without 2 of their 3 big stars. Coach Chancellor says someone other than Tina Thompson needs to step up. But who?

So, some teams are having a rough time last year. But it's not all doom and gloom out there. Cleveland and Detroit finished at the bottom of the East last year, and Minnesota at the bottom of the West. All three have gotten off to good starts and have performed beyond expectations.
Dan Fleser at KnoxNews has been running a series on recruiting.

Yesterday, he talked about the high school graduating class of 2004, which Duke Coach G and others say is the strongest recruiting class ever, with players like Candace Parker and Alexis Hornbuckle.

Today he discusses the Vols' recruiting strategy, and the difficulties they've had the last few years. They didn't really go after players like Alana Beard and Mistie Bass, and they lost recruiting battles for people like Ann Strother, Seimone Augustus, and Brittany Hunter. After losing Kara Lawson and Gwen Jackson, they badly need some new talent.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

The WNBA will likely follow the NCAA and move the three-point line back. I think that's a good idea.

There's also increasing talk about moving to the men's 29.5 ball instead of the current 28.5. Some players say the bigger ball is actually easier to handle. I don't know -- I have a much easier time with the 28.5.

Both changes will require more strength. Folks are gonna have to spend more time in the weight room to adjust.

Saturday, June 07, 2003

San Antonio might need to have another team meeting. They shot 18 for 70 and lost to Detroit. Cheryl Ford, who didn't even play half the game, had another double-double. Amazing. Swin Cash also had another good night. Detroit's got so much talent inside that it's biggest problem is getting everyone enough time and touches.

Houston's woes continue. Tina Thompson had a big game, but it was like she was alone out there. (Swoopes: 11 minutes, 1 for 5, 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist. Wasn't she an MVP? What the hell is going on out there? Can someone hire her a sports psychologist?) Shannon Johnson had 21 points and 8 assists as Connecticut beat the Comets.

(UPDATE: Swoopes sprained her ankle and left in the first half. Call off the psychologist.)

Cleveland got most of its points from the bench as the Rockers beat Charlotte.

Turnovers hurt New York, and the Liberty lost to Indiana. Catchings rocks the house: 24 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, 4 steals.

LA played a very clean game (lots of assists, few turnovers) and Lisa Leslie had just a typical great night. The Sparks beat Sacramento handily. Penicheiro re-injured the shoulder that she had surgery on in the off-season. It was a devastating night for the Monarchs.

Sue Bird did end up playing most of the game against Phoenix. She's still not shooting well, but she had 10 assists. LJ was the dominant force for Seattle, her 27 and 14 gave the Storm another victory.
Six games WNBA games tonight. Sue Bird might sit out.

From the Mercury News, a discussion of Pat Summitt, and why women never coach men. There's been lots of complaining lately by guy coaches who say they're discriminated against in the market for jobs coaching women's college teams. And yet it still seems inconceivable that a women, even Pat, would ever get offered a job coaching men.

Harry Peretta draws an analogy: "Thirty years ago they said an African-American could not coach. That's not true, and it was never true. But that's what society made you think. Ask most people then, and that's what they believed. Now it sounds so stupid."

Friday, June 06, 2003

OK -- whose job was it to guard Becky Hammon tonight? Whoever it was didn't do a very good job. Hammon had 33 as New York beat Minnesota in front of another worthless Minnesota crowd. Yes, I'm ashamed of my roots.

The Mystics disappointed a huge home-opener crowd of 18,000. Got killed on the boards and lost to Cleveland. Dales-Schuman was invisible again, and Asjha Jones didn't hit anything. The first half was a fiasco; Washington scored only 14 points. Cleveland was happy that it didn't have to deal with Holdsclaw.

Swoopes did a little better tonight, but Houston still lost to Charlotte. Free throws were the difference. The Sting, now 4-1, are on a roll. The frustration is building in Houston.
My votes for the two stupidest things our government has done lately, here and here. (Cue in Nas and Lauryn Hill, "If I Ruled the World"...)
Shaunzinski Gortman and Lynn Pride were in a car accident in Minneapolis, but they're OK. Malik Sealy, a player on the Timberwolves, was killed in an accident near the same spot a couple years ago.
Sparks Coach Cooper says he'd rather be in the NBA.

That's too bad. Having former NBA guys as coaches will be a mixed blessing for the WNBA. On one hand, they can be great coaches, like Coop and Laimbeer. On the other hand, they'll bail when they get the chance.
Yesterday the Mercury News had a long examination of the struggles of women's pro sports. Some highlights:

The women's pro leagues are caught in a chicken-and-egg paradox about recognition and success. They need attention to attract sponsors, marketing and TV exposure, but their games are considered insignificant by the male-dominated sports media, which will pay more attention to a so-called "Battle of the Sexes" event such as Sorenstam's recent appearance on the PGA Tour than it will to more legitimate competition.

[Though attendance has been steady,] tickets are so inexpensive in both leagues neither has much chance to break even, because both lack the huge TV contracts of men's professional and collegiate sports. The WUSA buys its own air time on ESPN, PAX and TSN (Canada), while the WNBA gets no rights fee but has a revenue-sharing deal with ESPN and ABC. Without a big rights fee to protect, TV networks and sponsors do minimal promotion.

Although many of the best WUSA and WNBA players are married and mothers as well, athletes, administrators and women's sports leaders ... acknowledge the perception that women's pro teams are filled with gay athletes has had an effect on popularity.

"Many male friends I talk to have the stereotyped idea that a lot of female athletes are homosexuals," said Ruth Riley, former Notre Dame star and center for the WNBA's Detroit Shock. "Maybe that does keep them from coming to watch_unless they are bringing their daughters."

The WNBA's audience is 80 percent women, according to Val Ackerman, who called the league's fans "different" and said the appeal to gay women "is a plus.

"But it really is a non-issue."
Sheryl Swoopes speaks about her slump:

"I think everybody gets to a point, no matter what it is you do or what your job is, to where maybe they start questioning if this is what you want to do anymore, or maybe go explore other opportunities. Not that I've done that. In the offseason, I just really didn't have that fire or that desire to dedicate all of that work, to give that commitment to the game that I love so much and that has meant so much to me."
Three games last night:

LA won a close one over Sacramento. The Monarchs had a chance to tie at the end: Penicheiro missed a free throw intentionally and Lawson got the rebound, but Kara missed the putback.

San Antonio's offensive slump ended, and they beat Phoenix. The Stars felt that the finally played like they should be playing.

And in the most impressive performance of the night, Detroit spanked Connecticut. Everything went right for the Shock: six players in double figures, great shooting, and a huge rebounding edge.

Cheryl Ford had another sweet game and a double-double. She, more than any other rookie so far, has been able to step in and make an impact.

Detroit had several thousand students in attendance. Very good crowds at all three games.
OK. I understand that the French wanted to cheer for Henin instead of Serena. Fine.

But Henin herself pulled one of the least classy moves I've seen in a long time. Serena was in the middle of a serve, and Henin raised her hand to ask her to stop. Serena saw it, checked her serve, dumped one into the net. But the ump didn't see Henin and counted the serve out. Serena said "She put her hand up!" Henin denied it, acted like nothing had happened.

That's horrible. Henin played a great match, but she deserves no praise for that bullshit move.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Graham Hays on Page2 responds to Stacey Pressman's column from the other day.

Unlike Stacey, Graham actually knows something about the WNBA, and actually talks a little about basketball. Read it -- it's great. And thanks to ESPN Page2 for being fair and publishing a response.
Serena lost. Oh... crap. I got to watch the first two sets this morning, but then had to come to work. I thought she was gonna pull it out. Congrats to Henin.... but I'm still pretty disappointed.

One loss to a good player isn't a huge deal. But Serena might need to think a little about this one. For the past couple years, she's been killing everyone just by playing her own game. She never really adjusts to her opponents -- she admits that she doesn't study their games. And she doesn't really play any differently on grass than she does on clay.

But her opponents have been studying her, and they've been starting to figure some things out. Henin has now beaten her twice this year playing backboard tennis. It might be time for Serena to watch some film and try to tweak a few things.

Only a few weeks till Wimbledon....
The Sue Bird AmEx ad was on during the NBA finals last night. It's awesome.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

San Antonio's offensive production was terrible (again) as the Stars lost to Charlotte. Feaster had 21, including 5 3s.

After the game, the Stars players met without the coaching staff to try to figure out what the problem is.

The Sting, who started 1-10 in 2001, are now 3-1.
If you happen to be interested in MTBE or federal preemption law (who isn't?), you can check out some of my non-hoops work.
In recruiting news, Alexis Hornbuckle, one of the nation's top high school prospects, has narrowed her choice down to Duke and Tennessee.

Said Alexis of UConn: "It was too cold."

Despite their championships, it seems like UConn has had a little trouble on the recruiting front the last two years. What's the problem up there?

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

In the Castro Community Center league, Sara's team had a rough night tonight. Started off well, but with only 5 players, they just ran out of gas. I broke my vow of silence and yelled at the ref about lane violations.

Can't sleep. Our volvo wagon is on Steiner, can see it out the window. There's a woman sleeping in the doorway behind the bus stop, and there's a man standing in the street behing our car. He's holding three plastic bags full of something. Two in the right hand, one in the left. He's facing the woman. He hasn't moved in 3 hours since we got home.
And you thought tonight was a good night in Houston: Cynthia Cooper might be out for the season. Oh man...

Chamique Holdsclaw is also hurt, but not too seriously.
Houston avoided its third straight loss by beating Phoenix tonight. Though Swoopes remained cold, the Comets shot over 50% from the field, while the Mercury had no one in double figures.

Before today, Sacramento was the best shooting team in the WNBA. Tonight, Seattle shut them down and got their first win. LJ was huge. Everything went wrong for the Monarchs. The Storm were happy with their first win, but Sue Bird said after the game: "We can't celebrate too much. We gotta act like this happens all the time."
In response to my Stacey Pressman-trashing post yesterday:

Eric at Off Wing says I'm too hard on her. He is a fan who started his writing career by covering women's sports, but he says that in recent years he's been turned off by increasing politicization and male-bashing. Fair enough. He also says that we might see Stacey in a better light if we paid more attention to this column (for which Stacey claims endless accolades).

A friend of a friend says how unfair it is to expect the WNBA to be awesome right out of the gate. She notes that the NBA in its early days was extremely boring and unpopular.

A couple folks have said: "I'm politically conservative, and I also love women's hoops." Exactly. Just shows that we aren't all fans only because we've been duped or coerced by the PC lesbian gendarmerie.
I was sad when Kate Starbird got cut. Levesque reports that she'll be all right.
Some people thought Mauresmo might give Serena a challenge. Nope. 64 minutes, 1 and 2.
From the Duke Basketball Report, this article on the Deep South Classic and the amazing play of Candace Parker. Candace threw one down on Iciss during some one-on-one. Yikes.
Worries around the league:

The Comets face the prospect of their first three-game losing streak ever. Swoopes is at a loss for words.

The Stars' Adrienne Goodson is dealing with a serious slump. "I can't even tell you the last time I performed the way I have been."

Ruthie Bolton has a hip pointer.

Sue Bird is suffering from post-ACL repair patellar chondromalacia. Without her, the already-troubled Storm are basically ruined.
Our blog isn't the dullest in the world. This one is.

Monday, June 02, 2003

On the Devil's Den, my friend (see below) Stacey responds to an email from Barry. Says Pressman: "you have no idea what it is like to be a woman and work in the sports industry and have to blindly accept the fact that the WNBA and Title IX is the greatest thing to ever happen to women."

Yes, you see, the sports industry has been taken over by feminazis. If you speak out boldly (like Stacey did), you risk your career. Must by horrifying. Thank you for your courage, Stacey.

Araton on Navratilova, the Williams sisters, and the state of women's tennis. Martina's quiet comeback has been amazing. She marvels at the support she receives from straight women.
Sonja Henning led the players' union fight against the league. Last week, she was dumped by Washington, leading to some speculation about retribution. Today, however, she was picked up by Indiana.

Jordan Adams was moved to the IR yesterday. Don't fret, Lobos. She'll be back.
In April, Stacey Pressman wrote this article for the Weekly Standard explaining why women's basketball sucks. She has now essentially reproduced the same article and published it on ESPN Page 2.

Stacey does occasional sports reporting on ESPN Page 2. Well, not exactly sports reporting -- here she tells about a date, here she talks about being single, etc.

Her writing style is kind of like blogging: lots of quotation marks and rhetorical questions and parentheticals and exclamation points. Occasionally clever, if a bit too cute.

At times, her grammar slips: "To his credit, he's a very nice guy, whom, upon reading this column, will no doubt come after me . . ." (Stacey, when who introduces a subordinate clause, its case depends on the function in the clause. In the clause "[who] will no doubt come after me," use the nominative pronoun. Buy a copy of Fowler, Strunk & White, or Garner. And avoid hypercorrections -- those are the most annoying mistakes to read.)

Stacey, who apparently has been to one WNBA game (the Sun's opener against LA), thinks that women's hoops is boring.

There are a few obvious reasons to question her judgment. Given her earlier article, it's a little disingenuous of her to suggest that she went to Mohegan to see what it's like, as if she had an open mind about the whole thing. Her suggestion that she's generally a big women's sports fan also seems dubious. I won't hold my breath waiting to see an article in the Weekly Standard by Stacey explaining why women's soccer or gymnastics are terrific, entertaining, and popular.

Even if she did pay some attention to the Sun-Sparks contest (doubtful), it would be silly to make an assessment of all of women's basketball based on that one game. I doubt she's watched more than a few women's games in her whole life, and she isn't exactly inundated with women's hoops highlights watching SportsCenter. The game she went to was Connecticut's first game ever, and it was a bad one -- the teams combined shot about 35%. Watching an early season game like that can be painful, but play isn't always so sloppy.

To be sure, basketball is pretty boring sometimes -- actually, much of the time. When you just watch the highlights on the news, you receive the false impression of a beautiful contest among godlike creatures. Most games, however, are filled crap, sloppy play, laziness, and mistakes. But this is just as true for the men as it is for the women. Early season NBA games are notoriously terrible. And, if field goal percentage is any indication, then the NBA overall is just about as boring as the WNBA.

That said, we shouldn't put the WNBA or its players beyond criticism. The quality of play does need improvement, and the league's marketing is occasionally silly -- see, e.g., the hype about Lisa's dunk last year.

Moreover, there are real reasons why reasonable people might like the men's game better than the women's. If your favorite things in basketball are the super-human individual athletic feats -- the sick dunks, the oops, the air time -- you might, like Stacey, prefer the NBA. But at least try to appreciate that not all great plays are above the rim, and that there are some individual plays in the women's game that defy words. Sometimes watching Taurasi evokes the same feeling as watching Kobe -- see, e.g., her left-handed baseline fadeaway in the championship.

It would be one thing if Stacey merely expressed some preference for men's ball. But her point isn't just that she doesn't like women's hoops -- she suggests that no one really does ("virtually no one watches women's basketball").

She says: "Like a portion of the WNBA's fans, I'm finally coming out of the closet."

(Let's pause for a moment to appreciate Stacey's sly double-entendre. Oh yes, her use of the closet metaphor would make Eve Sedgwick proud! You see, one of Stacey's astute observations is that many WNBA fans are lesbians. Exactly how that's relevant to her arguments about women's hoops is not immediately clear -- but we'll see in a minute.)

Stacey says that if we'd all just be honest, we'd admit that we don't really like women's ball. Really? Am I lying, or have I been brain-washed? Stacey says that no one cares about players like Sue Bird and Chamique Holdsclaw once they leave college. Really? As I've been saying for the last few days, the bigger problem is that people care too much about Sue Bird. Stacey say that TV ratings aren't good. True, but does that prove that "women's basketball sucks"? The ratings for the NBA finals will be down this year, but it might be the most exciting championship in years.

Stacey says that she's not going to pretend to like women's hoops just because she's a woman. Congratulations. But why assume that everyone else is pretending? It is, after all, possible to both enjoy the quality of the play and have a special appreciation because it's women playing. Is it unreasonable for parents of girls (basketball players or not) to want their kids to see women play? Are those people "pretending"?

But what really annoys Stacey isn't so much basketball as gender politics. Once you get past the first few paragraphs of her articles, you see that she doesn't have much substantive to say about the game.

Rather, she's fed up with "political correctness." She doesn't like it that you're labeled a "sexist pig" if you don't like women's hoops. She's pissed that the "gender wars" have invaded sports programming. She hates how the vast left-wing conspiracy has taken over the television networks, even sports networks like ESPN (not usually known for its left-wing politics). She's tired of those academic feminists trying to jam women's basketball down her throat.

Now we see the relevance of the lesbian references. Probably those lesbians in the crowd are also part of the secret compact among Ivy League women's studies departments, Title IX advocates, ESPN, and Val Ackerman to take over the world.

There's not much to say in response to Stacey's middle-brow political rants. Some people, like me, love women's hoops, perhaps in part for political reasons. Some people, like Stacey, hate it, in part for political reasons. Politics, to some extent, suffuses sports and our preferences related to sports. We shouldn't be surprised about that.

Stacey interned at the National Review, a conservative magazine. She's written for the Weekly Standard, another conservative magazine. Stacey is conservative. She uses criticism of women's hoops as a vehicle for conservative politics. How original. At least she's up front about it -- lots of sports writers do the same thing unwittingly.

Ultimately, though she has a touch of wit, Stacey's work doesn't contribute much to the debate in either sports or politics. She's an opportunistic young writer who's just trying to get published -- who can blame her for that? -- but her anti-women's hoops arguments are vacuous and banal.
Attendance is up so far this year. Let's hope it stays that way.

This is a little silly, but what can you do: only a few games into the season, it's already time to vote for the All-Star game. Exactly what is our decision supposed to be based on?
Cleveland has had good, but not great attendance figures for the last few years. It's probably not yet profitable -- last year, New York and Washington were probably the only two franchises in the black. But owner Gordon Gund says he's committed to the Rockers. "We're trying in Cleveland. Whether it succeeds or not anywhere depends on whether the people in the marketplace support it and come out and see it. That is not, I emphasize, absolutely not a threat. We want to make it work."
Sheryl Swoopes can't explain how she missed an uncontested lay-up in OT yesterday: "I missed it; ain't nothing else to say. I just missed it." For the Lynx, Svet and Tamika Williams came up with big plays in OT.
Hello Everyone!! Did you think I had disappeared? Sorry I have been gone for so long. I was home visiting my family and now today is my first day of my new job. It is like the first day of school all over again!

A few quick things before I head out this morning...

The Washington papers are displeased with the Mystics start this season. The team lost to Indiana this weekend and then again to the Liberty last night. Washington forward Chamique Holdsclaw said, "It hurts. You don't want to go down two games at the beginning of the season, but hey, we've got 30-something more games to play. I'm not going to beat myself and die over one game. You know you've got to work on things and just try to get better." The Mystics seemed no match for the Liberty's size inside, but according to Coach Stanley, size is not the problem. "I think we're capable of defending better with who we have. That's what I think," Mystics coach Marianne Stanley said. "I don't think we really made the grade today defending in the post. I don't think it's that we lack size or anything. We have athletic people who understand how to defend, and we're still in the early stages of the season. The defense inside hasn't been what it can be and should be. It's still early where you are fine-tuning, and what I see going around the league is that nothing is a sure thing."

Sunday, June 01, 2003

"What a difference a day, a homecourt and 15,045 fans make." So says the Times of the Liberty's Saturday-Sunday turnaround.

Speaking of fans... another small crowd today in Minnesota. We have some of the worst NBA fans in the league, and also some of the worst WNBA fans. I'd like to think that winning will bring people out, but I'm not sure that will make any difference. crap.
Venus, Capriati, and Davenport all lost today. Get the feeling that, with Serena so dominant, they don't really think it's worth it anymore. Venus might retire soon.
ESPN The Magazine picked the Lynx to be the worst team in the WNBA this year. The Lynx beat Sacramento, almost beat LA, and today they beat Houston. Swoopes had another off night -- wonder if maybe the Swoopes-Cooper chemistry thing is going bad again. Tina Thompson was serving her suspension for the Katie Douglas fracas the other night.

In today's other games:

New York recovered from yesterday's disaster and beat Washington. Tamika Whitmore had 21 and 13. Holdsclaw was cold, and Stacey Dales-Schuman didn't do much (just like yesterday). There were over 15,000 in the Garden for the home-opener.

Connecticut got its second win, beating the Stars. Sales had 22. Other than Dydek, San Antonio's starters played poorly -- Marie Ferdinand was 0 for 8.
Cleveland destroyed New York yesterday. The Rockers' three top scorers came off the bench; Betty Lennox had 14 in 16 minutes. It was an embarrassing beginning for the Liberty.