Women's Hoops Blog: June 2007

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Used to seeing coach Cooper as calm, cool, collected? Don't look now: M-Coop denounced his Sparks in public after last night's home loss to New York. The Lib shot 47%; Taj, still injured, sat out.

"You can't print the word I feel for our team," coach Cooper said. "Our whole defensive concept was down, and bad, and horrible..., and I'm not happy about it." Can another trade be on the way?
Scowlin' Brian Agler watched his old team tear up his new team inside: Minnesota canned the Stars in San Antonio behind 29 from Augustus. Hammon played with a hurt foot, which didn't help: she finished with just 12.

For the Lynx, the win felt good. "Nine days ago this same team just plain embarrassed us, and we knew it," coach Zierden said. Those predictions you had for the West? You can tear them up now...
I wasn't sure Jia Perkins belonged in the league. I am now. Last night she dropped 39 on the Monarchs, who lost to Perkins' Sky in double overtime.

Adrian Williams started in place of an injured Yo. "I was nervous," Williams said. "I haven't started since 2003." It was the Monarchs' second 2OT loss in under a week.

Perkins lost most of her senior year at Texas Tech to pregnancy, and most of her first two years in the league to the black hole that was the late Sting; she's in some elite company now.
Another upset: Washington edged Detroit on Alana's last-moment three-point play. Detroit gave up a big lead near the end. Coach Rollins: "Our group really, really grew up tonight."

Detroit had no Ford, and the Mystics had no style points, but Washington fans don't much care. Are the Shock reverting to overconfident form?
Upsets, upsets everywhere! Connecticut came back hard against Indiana behind Katie Douglas' 22. Ras, Douglas and Asjha combined to shut down Catch.

It was the Sun's second home win all year; since June 10 they're 2-0 against the Fever, 0-8 against the rest of the league.

"You can only get slapped in the face so many times," coach Thibault declared. "Either you stand up and fight or give in and go home. That's not me and I don't think it's the majority of our players. At some point, you respond."

Friday, June 29, 2007

Clay considers the topsy-turvy West. Verdicts: Michael Cooper is a great coach, Anne Donovan is probably a bad one, and Crystal Smith might just have been the steal of the '06 draft.
Can we call it a surge?

I don't know, but Houston has won four of its last five. The Comets continued their winning ways last night with a home win over Seattle.

Sue Bird, not on the floor for her defense, had zero points and three assists. "We wanted to take Sue out of the game offensively," coach Karleen said. "That's pretty hard to do, and that was huge for us."

"Somebody else needed to step up," said coach Donovan. "It's tough to win games when you need to spread out your scoring better than we did."
Two former WNBA players continue to write interesting articles in their respective publications.

Kym Hampton asks "What kind of fan are you?" in her latest Off-Court piece.

Adrienne Goodson explains the mentality and work ethic that is required to make it in the league in her latest Slam column.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Diana Taurasi, not quite apologetic: "Italy and South America is in my family. There's a lot of hot blood in that mix. We're passionate people."

She's serving a two-game suspension after mouthing off at officials last week: apparently a Phoenix assistant coach had to step between The Diana and the unfortunate referee.
The West has become impossible to predict: L.A., who lost to Houston last week, has now defeated the Monarchs twice.

Making things more surprising, Taj didn't play (tendinitis); L.A. started the inexperienced lineup of Spencer, Baker and Moore... and Marta Fernandez took over, scoring a startling 26.

Fernandez;'s younger brother may go in the first round of tonight's NBA draft. "He's very good," the Spanish guard said. "Tomorrow, we all watch on TV, and when the draft is done, I call him."
The Shock played hard for just enough minutes to defeat the visiting Sun. By "just enough" we mean "about eighteen," all in the second half.

Nolan and Cash combined for 35: just enough to stop a Connecticut comeback which included such unlikely events as treys from Whalen and Rasmussen. The Shock had no Ford, and the Sun had no Sales, again.

"Pretty much every game is pretty similar," said Asjha Jones. "Down the stretch we were right there and then had a couple turnovers right when we didn't need them."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some good things about watching Sacramento right now: they share the ball, they commit to smart defense, they communicate, they make good use of almost all their bench, and they've found a way to go 10-4 without a clear go-to scorer.

Some bad things about watching Sacramento right now: their games are, as Barry says, often ugly ugly ugly. 22 turnovers to eleven assists. Seven points in the second quarter. Two starters (Ticha and Yo) without a field goal. Offensive sets that make you think that Monarchs would really rather be playing defense. (Sometimes I really think they would.)

Last night Sacto fans cheered and grimaced through a demolition job on the Liberty, who scored just 46: only McCarville and Willis looked ready to play. Yo hurt her neck but kept playing; the docs will look at it again today.

If the regular season ended this week, it would be hard not to pick Sacramento and Detroit for a finals do-over. Is that the matchup the league wants us to see?
Lauren Jackson took apart the Sky: LJ scored 33, and her fans saw a fun home win. "This is what we should be doing every game," she said.

The Sky miss Canty. A lot. Jia Perkins, who started in her place, finished with (wait for it) zero assists. Dominique may be back as early as Friday, when the Sky get hit with the ugly stick play Sacramento: Pelton points out that Chicago won't suck, not at all, once Canty returns.

Also in Seattle, Jayda Evans says rumors (her word) have manipulative new owner Clay Bennett ready to sell the Storm when the Sonics move: Bennett still says, in public, that he's keeping both teams. If you know any gazillionaires, there's a good team in the Northwest awaiting your call...
The Sun are really bad, at least right now. Last night they let Washington shoot 47% (and 47% from three). Led by their bench, the Mystics won with ease.

Sales didn't play (again). Is that an excuse? "I don't have answers," said coach Thibault. "I don't even have the right questions."
A week ago Houston were winless. They've now won three out of four. Tina Thompson, as you might expect, led the home team. "When I wasn't hitting shots, everyone else was picking up the slack," she said.

Becky Hammon scored 32, but her Silver Stars turned the ball over thirty times; Crystal Smith had four steals. Maybe this isn't San Antonio's year?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

As noted by stever, "This is a Game Ladies," the fabulous documentary about Rutgers and coach Stringer during the 2000-01 season, has been released on DVD.

I believe the press release info has the dates the docu covers wrong.... BUT, you've got to appreciate Emerging Pictures' research -- I got this info via email:
We are selling the DVD in our online store and the film would certainly benefit from any publicity or exposure you could give the film in your blog. We even have a DVD affiliate program, in which one dollar is given to your organization every time a DVD is purchased from a connecting link on your website. You can visit the film’s website here.
And who said blogging about women's basketball wouldn't make us rich. Ted! I want my 10%!
Coach Donovan, reduced to tears.

Jayda Evans: "I'm not trying to make friends here."
Clay assesses the W's near-term future: "The most successful women's professional sports league in history has, it appears, reached a plateau."
The AP's Vin Cherwoo chats with Michael Cooper.

"We got to come with our 'A' game every night," coach Cooper says of his current team. "It's not like in the past where you could get away with some things."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Need to send out some healing thoughts down to Georgia. Andy Landers' son, Drew, was involved in a bad car crash. North Oconee high school assistant coach Shawn Smith was killed, and two students were admitted, but released, from the hospital.
Lauren Jackson responded from a somewhat off-night in Minneapolis on Friday by matching her career high of 35 and getting her team back to .500 in a 75-61 win in L.A.

L.A. was hurt by a couple of things. They apparently did not learn much from their big comeback against the Monarchs about the importance of playing hard for 40 minutes and they did not double team Jackson. "What were they kind of thinking putting just one person on Lauren [Jackson], especially on the block?" said Janell Burse. "It was weird, but if they're going to do stuff like that, we're going to exploit it."

Rookie Sidney Spencer said "our team just needs to become a 40-minute team. We seem to come out and play in spurts, and play a good 20 minutes here and there. We have to develop the mindset of playing 40 minutes." Spencer and newly acquired Sherill Baker may be part of a line-up change to the starting roster.

"A lineup change is on the way," said Michael Cooper. "We can't keep doing this, and expect a heroic effort every night. I thought after the last game, we had some momentum, but then we just come out flat and fall behind again. Why can't it be us who goes up by 10 points?"
The Liberty faced off against the Fever without two of their starters and got off to another slow start in a 74-63 loss.

The Fever capitalized on early turnovers and cold shooting from the Liberty and had an answer for every Liberty run to seal the win. "We came out tentative. I'm not really sure why we keep coming out tentative like this. You can't spot them leads like this," said coach Pat Coyle.

The Tamikas led four Fever players in double figures. Loree Moore and Cathrine Kraayeveld had solid games for the Lib starters. Janel McCarville and newly acquired Lisa Willis were sparks off the bench, combining for 25 points.
Diana has begun her two-game suspension for her fiery denunciations of Plenette Pierson and/or the league's refs. Cappie's still dealing with a hurt groin (she could come back next week). And Swoopes is still out.

Houston without Her Majesty versus Phoenix without their top two leading scorers? The teams were evenly matched, in the sense that both achieved, then blew huge leads: as you might expect if you follow the Mercury, they shot brilliantly early on, then let Houston surge ahead after halftime.

In the fourth quarter, though, the Merc got it back. Penny Taylor took over, finishing with 30; her team kept the Comets off the glass at the end. "We needed to get a win more than anyone realizes," Taylor declared. "Now we have a little bit of a break."

Crystal Smith worked hard for Houston, leading the visitors with 18. "It's always great to come back to play against your first team." she said.
Coupla games on Saturday that we couldn't get to on Sunday:

1. In a surprising Finals rematch, Sacramento bested Detroit. The Shock didn't guard Penichiero, who hit key shots late. "I'm just really proud of how I responded," she said.

Without Ford, the Shock also lost the battle of the boards by thirteen.

2. The Sky couldn't handle the Mystics, who shot 58%... in Chicago.

Worse yet, Dominique Canty injured her ankle. It looks like they're still waiting for X-rays: "It could be two weeks, it could be the next day," coach Overton said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Becky Hammon sliced and diced the Sun, who fell apart in the fourth quarter. Previously close, the game became a San Antonio rout.

Connecticut have just one home win this year. Katie Douglas: " It's an awful feeling to have one of the league's best fan [bases] and not be able to return the favor."

Sales didn't play (tweaked ankle); the Connecticut bench (except de Souza) didn't do anything. "Between the turnovers and the missed shots... someone on our bench has got to step up and say, 'Hey I wanna play. I want to be involved,' and force me to play them," coach Thibault says. "It hasn't happened yet."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Look, it's a new online mag about our game!

On today's front page, David Siegel asks if the world still needs point guards. Will the W ever experience a positional revolution?
Title IX has just turned XXXV. Voepel celebrates with a more-than-usually autobiographical column.
Pelton enters the training-camp controversy. The first couple weeks in the W used to be the sloppiest, and everyone blames all the absences from training camp caused (mostly) by overseas play.

This season, though, the numbers say otherwise: "players have actually gotten slightly sloppier with the basketball [that is, turned it over more] as the season has gone on....

"While everyone certainly agrees that getting players in camp on time would be preferable, I'm not sure it would ultimately make a noticeable difference in the play on the floor."
More with Pat and Geno and the series that wasn't will no longer be: rumor had it that Pat hit the 'eject' button because she didn't like how Geno recruited Maya Moore.

Maya Moore's high school coach says that's baloney: Moore is "a very spiritual person and I feel that's [UConn] where she felt she was being led," Tracey Tipton tells the Courant. "In addition to that, she was very taken with Coach Auriemma... He just told her, 'If you want to be a part of this, come, and if not, go somewhere else.'"

Tennessee seems to have filed complaints with the SEC about UConn's recruiting (dinky ones: a fan somewhere held up a sign). Summitt has said that she won't talk about the cancellation till UT's schedule comes out: can we expect explanations after that?

In better news, Pat left the hospital. Yup, she's fine.
Three more games, all (to judge by the teams' records) upsets:

1. Minnesota won! At home, again, behind late brilliance from Seimone Augustus, who tweaked her ankle but sank the winning shot with seconds to go. "We put our [other] shooters in the corners and let Seimone go to work," said coach Z.

Sue Bird scored 25 (more than Seimone, in fact) in a back-and-forth game. "It's been a very weird season," Bird sighed.

2. Houston have a two-game win streak! The Comets torched the Mystics in the Toyota Center: Tina Thompson and Ashley Shields scored 23 and 20. "We constantly push [Shields] to build her confidence up," coach Karleen Thompson said.

3. L.A. fans saw their team fall way behind, then had the pleasure of watching Sacramento's epic collapse. It was one of those games-- you've probably seen a few-- in which the Monarchs enter the fourth quarter and just completely forget where to put the ball.

The Sparks came back to win in double overtime. McWilliams-Franklin (21 points) got less than six minutes of rest in the whole game; Fernandez got less than three.

"It's our biggest win," coach Cooper said. "Hopefully it turns into something more."

Also in Sacto, Melody Gutierrez asks coach Boucek: when can we see more women coaches, and how?
Six games, five upsets! Let's see how many we get through:

1. Connecticut won! On the road, yet, and in Indiana, where Indy native Katie Douglas went nuts, scoring thirty points, a new career high. "It felt like the Connecticut Sun of old," she said. (Not quite: it felt scrappy and sloppy-- but she got the win.)

The Sun had some ugly turnovers, but the Fever had a few more. "We played like it wasn't as important to us as it was to them," coach Winters complained.

2. Becky Hammon's new team ran over her old one, coming back from way behind and controlling things late. The Lib seem to have a point guard problem again: Thorn did not play (sprained ankle); Bowen and Doron, who started, combined for zero assists, and Loree Moore (25 minutes) scored zero points.

Thanks to the Daily News for sending Kristie Ackert to the game, and for giving her the column inches she needs.

3. Phoenix lost again at home, to Detroit. The Shock came back late as, once again, Paul Ball gave its speedy practitioners big trouble holding on to a big lead.

The last call was a stunner: an offensive on Diana with five seconds left, with her team down by three. Taurasi was livid: "We needed a chance at the end to make the play. They took it away from us. That's complete bull... [Plenette Pierson] flops and flops and flops all the time, and they keep giving her the calls. It should be like soccer. They should give her a red card."

Maybe. Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered if Phoenix had been competitive on the boards: they got outrebounded by thirteen.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Looks like Pat will be fine. As of last night, she was still being treated for dehydration.

Tennessee women's athletics director Joan Cronan: "She just had 1,000 kids in [basketball] camp. That might dehydrate me too."
Look for ABC anchor Robin Roberts at tonight's Indiana home game.

Long a WNBA announcer, Roberts also played for Southeastern Louisiana, who once won a game against the WBL's New Orleans Pride. "I don't know where I'd be without Title IX," she says.
Last year the starters for the East in the All-Star game looked a lot like the Connecticut Sun.

This year? They're going to look a lot like the Shock. Voting ends Sunday: will anything change?
Have you heard of Foundation IX?

This profile will tell you more. It was started by Shelly Boyum-Breen, who used to coach the Augsburg women's basketball team and work for the Lynx. Their goal is to "eliminate cost as an obstacle for girls to participate in sport and organized fitness."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Time for a little USA Basketball update. The U-21 team is suffering through their stay in.... wait for it... Monte Carlo.

The team is preparing to defend its world title at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship, held this year June 29-July 8 in Moscow, Russia. In the first of a 3-game series against France, a sluggish start saw the game tied at the half, 36 apiece. A superlative third quarter, during with the US outscored the French 31-7, led to a 82-59 victory.

Candice Wiggins scored 16, DeWanna Bonner and Kia Vaughn dropped 12 each, while Essesnce Carson chipped in 10. Abby Waner and Courtney Paris snagged eight and seven rebounds, respectively, with Waner dishing out a team-best four assists. Check out post-game quotes from coach McCallie and players here.

Meanwhile, some of the best high school players were putting on a show at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs during the 2007 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival.

USA White, featuring UConn recruits Tiffany Hayes and Caroline Doty, finished 5-0 to win the gold medal. Glenn Nelson and Chris Hansen over at HoopGurlz covered the Festival, writing about Lynetta Kizer (who recently committed to Maryland), Kelsey Bone (the top ranked player in 2009) and Samantha Prahlis and Alyssia Brewer. They also put together a YDF top 12. Check it out and get the early scoop on the next generation of college players.
Pat, hopefully only suffering from dehydration, ends up in the hospital.

Note to coaches: Please stop scaring the heck outta us!
Why do so many teams look sloppy early? Because half the players didn't report to camp. Why not? Because they were playing in Europe. Why were they playing in Europe? Because they make a lot more money there than they do, or can, or will in the WNBA.

What can the WNBA do about it? Not much, says Voepel: some problems just don't have solutions.

DeMya Walker: "What I make here is not nearly as much as I make overseas. The money I make there -- that's what I'm saving for my daughter to go to college."
The Claw says she quit the WNBA because the schedule kept her away from family: "When you have a parent that has an illness, it makes you realize what's important."

It's almost always wrong to knock anyone for choosing to spend more time with their family. But it's too bad for the Sparks, and their fans, and their owners, that she didn't have that same realization in May.
Texas won't play Duke next year: coach G has cancelled the game.
The Sun scored the first seventeen points last night at the casino, but lost anyway to New York.

The Liberty's zone worked. UConn alum Ashley Battle had four steals and 18 points, including the final, decisive free throws.

Whalen ended up with ten assists but five turnovers; her team gave up the round thing 23 times, a season high.

The Sun have lost five in a row now. "“We just give them gifts," said coach Thibault. "No matter whether it was zone, press, it was just inept plays. We threw the ball to them."
New school-wide apparel contracts at UConn could eliminate the hefty sums Geno and men's hoops coach Calhoun receive for shoe-company deals with their teams alone.

Geno doesn't sound worried: "Up to this point, all the coaches kind of do their own thing," he says. "I don't know that it would be such a bad thing to have one company doing what they do for us and the men, soccer and football, for everybody."
Detroit drove a truck through Seattle. The visiting Shock won easily despite Seattle's big advantage in free throws; Smith and Nolan bombed away from outside. Together they scored 41.

More Seattle complaints: Lauren Jackson keeps getting technical fouls. And Betty Lennox's foot hurts. Lennox: "I need to get more shoes."

If you live in Michigan, chew out your papers for us: the News ran a brief, not even an AP story, and the Freep (who at least sent a reporter to a home game last week) didn't cover it at all.
How can you score 101 points (without overtime) in a WNBA game and still lose?

You knew the Mercury would find a way: last night Paul Westhead's high-octane, all-offense, no-rebound squad gave up 106 to the visiting Mystics, who have now defeated Phoenix twice despite losing to every other team they have played.

The game looks like a head-scratcher all around: 62 total free throw attempts (Sanford and Taylor fouled out), a rebounding deficit of 18 for the home team, and just seven minutes for starter Nikki Teasley, who somehow picked up a technical foul. "I'm glad we're not going to see [the Mystics] again," said coach Westhead.

Before last night, no team had ever scored 100 or more and lost in regulation; the 207 combined points are also the highest for a 40-minute game, the second-highest ever; what's the all-time record? This Phoenix game from '06.
The losing streak is over.

After starting the season 0-10, the Comets got their first win, defeating the Sparks 74-64. Even nicer for Comets fans was the fact that their team never trailed in the game.

Tina Thompson and Michelle Snow led the team in scoring, but they got help from people like Crystal Smith, who started for the first time with her new team. Smith had 8 points, 4 assists and no turnovers. "She is a spark player, and we needed someone like that on this team," Comets coach Karleen Thompson said.

"Everyone stepped up tonight," Coach Thompson said. "It finally clicked."
The Silver Stars started strong and led by as many as 22 before downing the Lynx 80-73.

Sophia Young scored a career high 24 points and Becky Hammon added 18 for SASS. Brian Agler served as head coach against his former team as Dan Hughes continues to recover from surgery on his Achilles Tendon.

The Silver Stars were playing their first game after a week off and were determined to get off to a great start. "That was just a good old fashioned butt-whoopin." Lynx coach Don Zierden said. "Seven points doesn't really tell you what the game was all about. They played much harder than we did right out of the gate."

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Trade Alert:

New York and L.A. have swapped their first round pick guards from the 2006 draft.
Want to help journalist Juliette Terzieff write a book on the WNBA? Start here. (Scroll down a bit for her email address.) Then start thinking about your ten favorite players, ever: she'll be collecting lists.
The life of a WNBA referee:

"At one of the timeouts [in Los Angeles], Penny Marshall of 'Laverne and Shirley' was giving us a hard time. I wanted to say, 'Laverne, come on, you're giving us a hard time!'"
Another Tennessee writer agrees:cancelling the UConn series was stupid.
Coming soon: a feature film about Immaculata, the small Catholic college in Philadelphia that dominated women's college hoops for much of the 1970s. Alums include (gulp) Teresa Grentz and Rene Portland.
Also tonight: the surprisingly mediocre Sun face the surprisingly OK Liberty.

Patty Coyle on Lib three-point ace Erin Thorn: "She can play, she's just always been hurt by... having somebody like Hammon [start at the same position]. She had to wait her turn."

After winning five straight the Lib have lost three in a row. The Courant's Lori Riley asks who needs a win more.
No one knows what to expect from the inconsistent Mercury, whose rematch with the Mystics comes tonight.

When the teams met in DC the Stics picked up their only win so far. "I don’t even want to think about it. I sucked that day," Tan Smith says.

Don't expect Cappie to play tonight: she's injured her upper thigh and groin. Coach Westhead calls her "day to day."
The Sky came close to winning their third game in a row, but came up short in a low scoring 54-52 loss to the Monarchs.

Nicole Powell hit the game winner with 4.7 seconds left and the Sky could not get a shot off in their last possession. Powell and Kara Lawson did most of the scoring for the Monarchs while the Sky were once again led by Candice Dupree.

With Armintie Price the only other player helping out Dupree offensively, some fans wondered why the rookie was pulled from the game with 3:00 to go in the game. Her coach explained. ''She was tired. I gave her a quick break and then we got her back in, and she finished the game. She played well.''

While the Sky would rather have the win, there is some optimism despite the loss. "If we can lose to the top team in the West by two points, that says a lot about our team," Dupree said.
This game of H-O-R-S-E was not even close.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Chronicle of Higher Education takes a long look at student-athlete concussions (subscription may be required).

First stop: Jamie Carey, whose history of head trauma began in seventh grade and continued until she was told to leave Stanford, then permitted to play at Texas and, of course, for the Connecticut Sun.

Carey tells the Chronicle that she's now "a little dyslexic and has a tough time reading numbers"-- then adds: "I'll play as long as my body will let me."
Sue Bird on Holdsclaw's retirement, Tony Parker's new ring, All-Star voting, and hair-straightening. What, you didn't realize she got her hair straightened?
Playing their second consecutive game without Cheryl Ford, the Shock held off the Sparks to move to 8-1 on the year.

Katie Smith led five players in double figures with 18, including seven in the final 2:22 of the game to help seal the victory.

The Shock looked to be in control of the game in the first half, but the Sparks used a strong third quarter to get back in the game. "We fought back, but they're the champs," LaToya Thomas said. "You've got to give it them. They had a run, we had our run, and then they had one more run."

Monday, June 18, 2007

New Gators head coach Amanda Butler loves her job but hasn't quite unpacked: she's still living in a Gainesville hotel.

Butler (a Gator herself in the early 1990s) has been hanging with other Florida alums-- among them Vanessa Hayden. Butler: "It was exciting that they want to be involved... That's the way a family should operate."
Alana calls Tree Rollins "a big teddy bear.... Even his mad is really calm."

I've never seen the Basket Cases so sad.
The Sky are for real, or and the Sun are in trouble: Connecticut have now lost four in a row. If the playoffs began today, Chicago would make them; the Sun would not.

What happened? Dupree (28 points on 10-14 shooting) looked unguardable and unstoppable, and the visitors simply looked more in sync for three of the game's four quarters.

Coach Thibault: "It's not very good basketball... We've had every kind of turnover you could think of." His team finished with nineteen of them. Jones (22 points) did her best, and Lindsay's up-and-down game gave her a double-double. But Sales and Douglas together hit just one three. Will one of them heat up? If not now, when?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

So, you may have noticed that .com has eliminated the "e-mail sports editors a form letter" page... wonder if it would have had an impact on Sports Illustrated's "coverage" of the W.

Kelli? Aditi? Who do we write?
Fans in Houston write letters. Will Mr. Koch write back?
Houston pulled down more rebounds than the homestanding Monarchs, but it didn't matter: Sacto dispatched the still-winless Comets behind Chelsea Newton's career-high 17.

"It's good to have a team that is ten deep," said the former Scarlet Knight. "Anyone can play, and anyone can score."

Houston continues to search for a backcourt: Tamara Moore didn't score; Crystal Smith did but incurred five fouls and eight TO's. How many more lineups can coach Thompson try?

Hamechtou Maiga-Ba chose to leave the Monarchs for the Comets, and tells Sacto fans she's still glad she did: "'It's a new team with new pieces," she says. "We are just trying to make it work."
The Silver Stars torched the Liberty. San Antonio fans saw the team defense coach Hughes has been touting all season, but they didn't see coach Hughes: he's having Achilles surgery, and assistant coach Scowlin' Brian Agler led the Stars to the win.

Becky Hammon did a number on her former team (22 points, seven assists) despite her scoreless first quarter. The Lib "knew every single thing I was going to try to do," she said. "It was important for me to get other people involved."
With Cheryl Ford, Detroit might still be unbeatable. Last night, though, a knee sprain kept her in street clothes.

Without Ford, the defending champs rolled over for the Fever, who kept a big early lead for a convincing win.

Catch scored 26; Sharp had one of the best games of her career.

Coach Laimbeer refused to blame Ford's absence: "We didn't have the concentration and, more importantly, we didn't have the desire."
The Lynx built off the momentum of their overtime win over the Sun to start their first winning streak of the season in a convincing 83-57 romp over the Sparks.

Seimone Augustus became the second fastest player to reach 1,000 career points. But she had an off shooting night, connecting on only 5-15 from the floor. That did not matter as much as four other players joined her in double figures, led by 16 from Kristen Mann.

"At the beginning of the season the only one making any shots was Seimone [Augustus]," Mann said. "We're not going to be successful when that happens." Seimone finished with five assists, including two consecutive kick outs to Svetlana Abrosimova for three pointers that brought the crowd to their feet.

Lynxbasketball.com reporter Mike Trudell took a page out of Kevin Pelton's book and blogged live from the game.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Two more games last night, both involving bad teams teams with lots of question marks right now:

1. DC couldn't make it past the Sparks. "We weren't on our toes, we weren't aggressive," Delisha Milton-Jones concluded.

Beard sprained her ankle but returned to the game. Ouch.

2. Chicago stayed ahead of the visiting Liberty by keeping New York off the glass: the Sky out-boarded New York by nineteen.

The Sky now have as many wins as they had at the end of last year. Dupree (24 points): "We're looking to win a whole lot more."
Once again, the Sun almost beat Detroit. "Our plan was to get Margo in foul trouble and then attack the rim," Cheryl Ford explained.

It worked, just barely. The home team won despite 36% shooting, 21 turnovers, and a late comeback by the visiting team. "It could have been easy if we played better," coach Laimbeer declared.

The Sun have now lost three in a row. Can they play better with the people they have?
Seattle took care of the last winless team in the league. Lauren Jackson dropped thirty points on the unfortunate Comets.

The visitors made the game dangerous unpleasant physical. "It was a football match," said LJ. Latasha Byears apparently slugged Janell Burse; Jackson got a T after wrestling with Maiga-Ba.

Barbara Turner-- once a Storm, now a Comet-- tells Houston fans not to blame coach Thompson: "People need to understand this is not the same team that stepped out on the floor for them years ago. She's building something."
Please let this make it be over... Pokey and LSU have settled on $160,000.
Maybe we all wrote Phoenix off too soon: last night the Mercury thrashed the Fever in Indy. "They ran it right down our throats," said coach Winters.

The Merc concluded the game with an 18-6 run, which suggests that they've finally started playing defense; Diana and Cappie combined for 43 despite D's foul trouble throughout.

"We have to grow up," Diana explained afterwards. "We play at a high level sometimes, and other times, we play at a level that's disgusting to watch. We have to really grow up and hold ourselves to a high standard every night."

Friday, June 15, 2007

It's a girl!
USA Basketball's U-21 World Championship team roster has been set. Coach McCallie will have some familiar names to work with, the only "surprises" to the casual observer might be Auburn's DeWanna Bonner (yes, she's listed as a 6'4", 136lb guard) and Wisconsin's Jolene Anderson.

The Youth Development
festival is going on, too. The USA Blue team overwhelmed Brazil 102-43. The USA White team, led by Caroline Doty (which explains the presence of Connecticut media) defeated USA Red 109-99. Nice to see some defense is being played up in Colorado...
What, no "Shock and Awe" headline? It's Detroit day in our national sports media: USA Today's Oscar Dixon says coach Laimbeer is psychic.

Laimbeer: "We knew we were talented, we're big, strong, fast; but it still boils down to chemistry. And that's been one of the most pleasant experiences for us" this year.

Graham Hays says chemistry means dynasty. And Katie Smith warns Hays: "We're getting better."
Lindsay Whalen wasn't really feelin' the love in the Target Center on Wednesday night. Maybe it was the mask: did her hometown crowd not recognize her as the darling of the Barn?

They certainly recognized their Lynx: the strongest crowd in a while (since the Katie trade, maybe?) saw good defense lead the Lynx to their first home win.

In overtime. Augustus (28 points): "It came down to having to make a defensive stop."

Augustus' defense on Douglas improved as the night rolled on; Douglas' on Augustus gradually got worse. "We have to get that mental toughness back," Douglas said.

Her team better hurry: they face Detroit again tonight.
Old(ish) tv rating numbers from the Sports Media Watch blog:

Women's sports have long been the source of ridicule among male sports viewers. One of the main arguments surrounding the inferiority of women's sports --specifically women's basketball -- is that nobody watches.

That myth is exactly that: a myth.

The Women's Final Four routinely outdraws the competing Opening Night baseball game (the gap between the two events was as large as 4.1 to 1.4 in 2002).

Interesting information -- and sure to be used in the NCAA decision process as they discuss moving the Women's Final Four a week later.

(nice catch, kage)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Diana Taurasi and Courtney Paris are amongst Sports Illustrated's "Most Fun Athletes to Watch."
The pre-season WNIT field is set: Maryland, LSU, Michigan State, Notre Dame, TCU, Western Kentucky, Delaware and Evansville will host first-round games, all of which happen Friday, Nov. 9 . Muffet's already preparing for the first game.

This year the tourney is trying a new format, moving from single elimination to a three-game guarantee. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 16-17
Indiana incinerated Seattle by playing a really good zone. "Defense led to offense," Tan White explained.

The visiting Storm scored just four points in one quarter. "That's insane," said Lauren Jackson, when told.

Seattle fans can blame Tuesday's dogfight in Chicago, which left the Storm with less than a full tank. Janell Burse: "We just burned out."
L.A. won another squeaker at home. Taj scored twenty, including the free throws that clinched it.

The good news: the Sparks proved that they can win without Holdsclaw, or Leslie, or Temeka Johnson. "We came together and played as a team," Christi Thomas said.

The bad news: twice in a row, L.A.'s home games against teams with very bad records have been decided in the closing seconds. Houston came within one point and half a minute of their first win.

The Comets, meanwhile, continued their search for a point guard: Tamara Moore got the start, juco rookie Shields played just four minutes, and former Hawkeye standout Crystal Smith got plenty of playing time even though she joined the team that day.
What the heck: Phoenix finally managed to out-rebound an opponent-- but the Merc lost anyway. To the Mystics. It was Washington's first win this year.

What happened? First, Penny Taylor got hurt: she took a charge, got hit in the stomach again, and couldn't return to the game.

Without her, the Merc had nothing inside: Tan Smith went 0-12. "Good shots didn't go in," Diana said.

Mo Currie, on the other hand, scored a career high for her new team. "They brought me here for a reason," Currie said.

Paul Westhead's defensively-challlenged squad has now given two not-so-good teams their first wins. (They play Houston, next Sunday.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Voepel on the Case of the Cancelled Rivalry: you can't blame Pat for cancelling the series because she's tired of Geno's wisecracks, but if she has a better reason, it would be great if she said so.

Clay: actually, you can blame Pat.

Swin Cash and Jen Rizzotti are just sad. Rizzotti says that UConn and UT will keep on meeting in the Final Four. "It's just another storyline in the saga of Pat and Geno," she adds hopefully.

Knoxville writer John Adams, not exactly a Huskies booster, says it: "The Lady Vols aren't just sticking it to UConn. They're sticking it to their own fans."
Voepel on Holdsclaw: you can't blame the Claw for her clinical depression, but you can get irked that, once more, she walked out midseason.
The Sky continued their trend of getting off to a good start, but could not maintain as the Storm pulled away with a 81-69 win.

Chicago had a few problems in the game, despite the quick start. They went cold offensively in the 3rd quarter and did not have an answer for Lauren Jackson or Janell Burse. “That’s kind of the tale of this early part of us — that we’ll put about three good quarters together but then for about 10 minutes, you know ...,” Sky coach Bo Overton said.

Candice Dupree once again led the Sky in scoring and rookie Armintie Price had the best game of her young career. But so did Storm rookie Katie Gearlds, who according to Overton "comes in right when we’re hanging in there, and we’re knocking her down and she is still making shots.”

Sue Bird also came up big, by adding 13 points and 11 assists.
The Liberty ended their two game skid and kept the Mystics winless, in a 79-69 victory.

New York set the tone early and were aided by the Mystics inability to put the ball in the basket. Shameka Christon came off the bench because of a violation of team rules and led her team with 16 points.

But she was not alone as nine players scored for the Liberty. Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the night was the 11 point performance by Janel McCarville. "It felt really good," said McCarville. "When you come off the bench and get minutes, you need to come in and be productive."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tina Thompson put up great numbers, but did not get much help in a 82-67 loss to the Monarchs.

Thompson finished with 33, including 17-18 from the free throw line. "It's frustrating that she played so well and we didn't have anyone playing well enough to back her up," coach Karleen Thompson said. "She is playing some of her best basketball this year."

The Monarchs were led by the outside shooting of Kara Lawson and Nicole Powell and the inside play of Becky Brunson. Sacramento also forced 27 Comet turnovers. "We were outplayed from start to finish," Thompson said. "There are a handful of little things that you have to do right and we aren't doing any of those things right right now."

The winless Comets next head to L.A. to face the Sparks in their first game without Chamique Holdsclaw.
How The NCAA Is Stupid, Part 36.
From USA Today, long, useful interviews with the W's non-NBA owners.(Scroll down for Hilton Koch's explanation of how his Comets will help him sell his furniture: let's hope it works.)
Holdsclaw: "There's nothing going on. You have your good and bad days, but the place where I was a couple years ago, I haven't been back to. I'm not pregnant, I'm not going crazy, I'm not depressed, or anything like that. I'm fine, I just want to kind of kick back."

Team officials were not given a reason, and they had no idea it was coming.

Cooper: "I had no problems with her. We talked and communicated really well. Yes, she was a bit of a loner. Most of the time (she) had her headphones on, but we always got along really well."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pokey to LSU: pay me to go away.
Stever rolls out a cool news aggregator. (Thanks for including us!) It's like a massive automated version of the work we do the fun we have (he has it too) each day. Something else to bookmark, if you like.

For local and regional newspapers, though, there is still no substitute for Kim Callahan, who keeps a hoops-on-TV schedule too.
Twin Cities blogger Weinhold says the Lynx have become the Timberwolves. Prove him wrong, someone...
Chamique Holdsclaw has decided to retire, thus ending the most disappointing career in the history of the WNBA.
New rivalries and old in Connecticut news: Jeff Jacobs delivers another long look at coach Laimbeer, the man Sun fans love to hate. (Whenever I read about coach Laimbeer, I like him; whenever I watch him on the sidelines, I don't.)

Also in today's yesterday's Courant: why did Tennessee end its series with UConn, a series ESPN wanted to keep?

Pat says she wants to focus on SEC games, which is like when Bush administration officials say they want to spend more time with their families (not that she resembles a Bush appointee in any other respect). Geno says he can't comment (you know he would if he could). And the Courant's "multiple sources" say that Tennessee is mad at UConn, in part over how the New England school has recruited Maya Moore.

Mike DiMauro has some fun with the conjunction of rivalries: apparently Pat "needs a refresher course in the best interests of women's basketball."

Maybe so. Pat chose to cancel the series right after she won her first title in nine years, and after her team beat UConn three years in a row: 2008 would have been the first time in a while when the annual game did more, recruiting-wise, for UConn than for Tennessee.
The Sun have made a habit of playing only the last halves of basketball games; yesterday they played the last three quarters, but let Detroit get too far ahead in the first.

The fans at Mohegan got a late comeback and a chippy game, with three T's, a flagrant (on Margo!), and a million 52 free throws. Sounds familiar.

The Shock got the win. They haven't lost yet this year. "We expect to be undefeated at all times," coach Laimbeer said afterwards, half-joking.

Katie Smith sank five treys, including the game-clincher at the end. "It's tough," said Katie Douglas, who had a rough day (2-11 shooting). "Everybody got spread out and we [left] their best three-point shooter open."
Trying to win her first major, Suzann Petterson collapsed at the Kraft Nabisco in April. Redemption is sweet: Yesterday she won the LPGA Championship.
The Fever are 7-1, with their only loss last Tuesday in New York. Last night they exacted revenge, beating the Lib by 19. TSB, happy in her new home, led with 22 and 13.

With the excitement of their hot start building, the Fever are trying not to get ahead of themselves. "I don't even know who we're going to play until the day before," says Tamika Whitmore.

But Catchings admits: "We're on our way to being a really good team."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

1. The Mercury played their game in Sacramento and came away with a big win despite Sac's late comeback. The Diana scored 26. "She got too many open looks," Kara Lawson explained.

Fun Phoenix fact: despite their winning record, the Mercury had fewer rebounds than their opponents in every game so far this year.

2. The Lynx wilted in Seattle: the home team won comfortably behind 30 points from Lauren Jackson, who returned to the lineup after an unspecified illness. Pelton says she's fine.

3. The Sky took apart San Antonio. Becky Hammon created for herself (20 points) but her team shot 33%: it looked a bit like one of last year's bad Liberty games. The Stars will be happy to take most of next week off.

Candace Dupree, on the other hand, is averaging almost 18 points per game, and shooting almost 49%. Did anyone see this for her coming out of Temple?

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Three more games last night. From West to East:

1. L.A. barely won its home opener, against the 1-7 (now 1-8) Lynx. Mwadi Mabika's free throws in the final seconds provided the entire margin of victory in a high-scoring, back-and-forth game.

Mwadi, Taj and Augustus looked great; Lynx rookies Quinn (UCLA) and Murphy (USC) enjoyed the trip home, within limits. "We fought back, but of course we're not satisfied," Quinn said.

2. The Comets have made a habit of blowing big leads; the Sun, a habit of playing basketball only after halftime. No rewards for guessing what happened in Houston: down by sixteen at the break, the visitors crushed the home team anyway.

The second quarter was apparently one of the worst in the history of the Sun franchise: the third quarter, the statistical best.

(Query to coach Thompson: if your team often runs out of gas late in games, why not use your bench a bit more? Six Comets, including the injured Swoopes, concluded the game with DNPs.)

3. The Mystics lost again, at home, to Indy. Catch scored 24, Beard 23.

Washington looked terrible in the opening minutes, and couldn't quite come all the way back at the end. Nikki Teasley: "I'm speechless. It's discouraging."
New York couldn't hang with Detroit. The defending champs are now the only undefeated team in the league.

The Shock both executed better, and looked like far better athletes; Pierson had a fine night, Loree Moore a really bad one. The visitors even justified their swagger: "We are the best team," Deanna Nolan said afterwards, "and we can only beat ourselves."

Friday, June 08, 2007

Well, poop. Tennessee has bowed out of future regular season match-ups with UConn.
Being Becky Hammon.
Via Stever: Dave King says his attempts to bring the WNBA to CO are going well so far. King must show the league the money by Sept. 15: if he's got it, the Colorado Chill will enter the league next year.

King ran the Chill in the NWBL, and his company runs the WNIT. He'll make an ideal WNBA owner... if he (and whatever allies he finds) have the financial resources to run a WNBA team.

Oh, and speaking of the WNIT: the preseason tournament has a new format for this fall, with the teams already announced. There are sixteen, among them Maryland, LSU, Delaware, Delaware State, and perennial attendance magnet Notre Dame.
As the Sparks prepare for their home opener against the Lynx tonight, get to know the new team owners.

When asked the best thing about being owners, Kathy Goodman replied, "If I'm going to be a geeky fan about it, I would say, the players saying hi to me," she said. "And hanging out with Michael Cooper. It's very cool."

The Sparks also have a re-designed Web site this season and have a blog from the voice of the Sparks, Larry Burnett.
Sacramento continued its dominance over Seattle at Arco Arena with a 81-72 win. The Monarchs withstood a late run from the Storm and another injury scare to secure the victory.

Five players scored in double figures for the Monarchs, led by 16 from Kara Lawson. According to Coach Jenny Boucek, the Monarchs "have several clutch shooters and I think our team is tough mentally. They are not afraid of anything. If the game is tight or the team is making a run they are going to stick together. I think that helps us in these types of games. "

Sue Bird stepped up her offensive production for the Storm, in Lauren Jackson's absence and Katie Gearlds broke out of her shooting slump. But it was not enough, as Betty Lennox and Izzy Castro Marques struggled from the floor and Janell Burse struggled against the physical post play.

Jayda Evans says part of the problem with the team is on court chemistry issues.
Voepel weighs in on the 2007 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame class.

The Knoxville News Sentinel continues its profiles of the inductees with former Lynx player Andrea Lloyd-Curry. She also gets a nice write up in Austin.

Mel Greenberg gets some love from his newspaper. His blog will continue to provide updates on the festivities this weekend.
In years past the coaches of the teams that played for the championship in year X got to coach the All-Star Game in year X+1. But John Whisenant, whose Monarchs lost in the 2006 finals ,isn't coaching the Monarchs anymore.

Rather than give his successor the gig, the league will take the coach whose team has the best record in the West as of July 1. Donna Orender, visiting Arco Arena last night, calls the new method "equitable." (Downside: effects on travel plans.)
Taurasi and Taylor beat the Sky in a game that stayed competitive till late. The duo combined for 43.

Coach Westhead: "Sometimes [Diana] wants to play in the flow, which isn't bad, but other times she just has to step up and say, 'This is my time to direct this team.'"

The uneasy win was the Mercury's first in four tries. Taylor: "We don’t want to go through losing streaks and then have to drag our way out and hope like we have the past couple years."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Former WNBA.com fan blogger Melissa has a great piece on Debbie Black up on Off-Court.
There are all kinds of connections in the Seattle-Sacramento game tonight.

Storm assistant coach Heidi VanDerveer was the Monarchs head coach in 1997 and 1998. Monarchs head coach Jenny Boucek was an assistant under Anne Donovan at Seattle for three seasons and played college ball with Storm forward Wendy Palmer at Virginia.

Palmer will be starting tonight for Lauren Jackson, who did not make the trip to Sacramento because of an illness.

Boucek talked to Jayda Evans about former WNBA players moving into the coaching ranks in the league. "We're just now entering that part of the evolution," said Boucek "Players are starting to retire and not get cut. When you get cut you're not at peace with your career and you're not ready to coach. We're just now getting into that wave and I think you're going to see a wave of ex-players coming in to coach who are going to be excellent. They'll have experience playing under great coaches and will have played professional basketball."
Indy crushed Houston. The home team took control early and got to rest its starters late; Catch did everything, and Sutton-Brown stayed out of foul trouble. "When we keep her on the floor, we're a different team," coach Winters noted.

Any good news for Houston fans? Barb Turner played well in a career-high 29 minutes. Hey, it's something.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Two of the three last undefeated teams faced off last night and some may be surprised that it was the young Liberty squad who came out on top.

Tamika Catchings had another solid all-around game, but it was the Liberty who received contributions from their starting line-up and reserve Ashley Battle.

"They put a lot of pressure on us and we did a good job of handling it. Once this team executes, this team has a pretty good shot at beating people," Pat Coyle said. "It was an excellent effort on both sides of the floor."

The Liberty's impressive shooting performance this season "has everything to do with execution," Coyle said. "Last year we settled for shots instead of getting the shots we wanted."
Sacramento showed what they could do without DeMya Walker and took over first place in the West with a solid 74-57 win over San Antonio.

The Monarchs frustrated the Silver Stars with their trademark defense and Rebbekah Brunson stepped up in Walker's absence and finished with 21 points and 9 boards.

But Brunson said it was about the whole team. "Unfortunately for other teams, if they lose of DeMya’s caliber they are going to be out of luck. We have a lot of players that are going to work hard and we're going to do the same things as when she was with us.”
The streak is over and the Lynx finally have their first win of the season. The marathon Tennesse-Arizona softball game may have kept fans from watching most of the first half of the game on ESPN 2, but the network did re-air most of the game later in the night.

Coming into the game against the Mercury, the Lynx had only led for 16:36 minutes of a possible 280. A big reason was their poor FG percentage, which was significantly better last night. And for the first time all year, it was the entire starting line-up who hit big shots. In fact, the MN starting line-up scored all of the team's points.

While the Lynx led by as many as 18, the Merc made it interesting at the end as they cut the lead to one possession in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, it was not enough to overcome their flat first half.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Lynx have a new addition to their team.
The 2007 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend is coming up in a few days.

The Guru, an honoree this year, has a blog set up on Philly.com to cover the ceremonies. His original blog is still up too.

Profiles of some of the honorees are popping up this week, including former Lady Vol Bridgette Gordon and Georgia coach Andy Landers.
What to do about the New York Times? As sixthwoman notes, the nation's paper of record no longer sends a beat reporter ten blocks down the street to watch Liberty home games-- but it does run the occasional long feature on our sport, so long that few other papers would find the space.

Today it's a good look at coach Laimbeer and the team he built. Swin Cash sums up: "If you don’t know Bill, you think he’s the biggest jerk walking. [But] I can see past it all." (She must: check out his rude nickname for her.)
The Pac-10 conference tournament moves to Los Angeles starting in 2009; the women's conference tourney will run concurrently with the men's, in the Galen Center (the guys use Staples).

The tournament has had lousy attendance in San Jose: now it will take place closer to the region's largest population center-- but a lot farther from the conference's best team.
Wendy Palmer scores 3K. "Maybe one day I'll sit back and look at it," the veteran says. "Right now I just want to win a championship."

Also in Seattle: Sue Bird hurt her knee. MRIs say nothing's badly wrong. (Storm fans cross fingers.)

Not yet tired of will-the-Storm-stay-there? stories? Storm fans mull the latest.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Diana Taurasi apparently "has piazza.... and the league needs that."
I spent several hours yesterday considering this piece of writing: "Swiper's motive for theft is obscure. He never seems to actually want the object he takes."
Geno joins WBCA administration, says he'll work to change some rules.
Another sports editor mocks the league's amateurish form-letter campaign.

Wait a minute: "We were impressed," writes the Washington Times' Tim Lemke, "with how many e-mails we were getting (even if they were form letters) and my editor responded to many of them personally."

Maybe an amateurish form-letter campaign beats no campaign at all. (Political pressure groups have thought so for years.)
The Sky won their second game in a row for the first time in franchise history against the struggling Lynx 78-72.

A 13-0 lead to start the game proved to be too much for the Lynx to overcome as they finished the half with only seven field goals. Augustus, Harding and Ohlde reached double figures but the team once again had a hard time connecting on shots.

The Sky benefitted from a strong start from Armintie Price, a great finish from Dominique Canty and solid all-around games from Candice Dupree and Claire Coggins. ''You've got to finish a game like that,'' Sky coach Bo Overton said. ''We have about 30 more games to go, and I know how hard those games are going to be.''

"Coming out of college (as the team's first draft pick), I didn't expect to win a lot of games as a new franchise," said Dupree. "But this year, I don't think 20 [victories] are out of the question. We definitely want to do it and we're off to a good start."
If you've been watching the Fever for a while, you know that even their best games can be painful to watch: both teams shoot atrociously, and Indiana wins at the line.

Last night was hardly their best: Indiana and Washington combined for 22 assists and 52 turnovers. Free throws accounted for almost half of Indy's points.

Worse yet, the homestanding Fever spent the first thirteen-plus minutes without a field goal--- a WNBA record. The Fever won anyway, remaining undefeated. Washington remain without a win.

Coach Winters was somewhere between amused and infuriated."It got to be like an epidemic," he said. "Everyone was turning the ball over." Veteran guard Tully Bevilacqua countered: "An ugly win is better than an ugly loss." Fair enough: but can they play a non-ugly game?
What looked like it was going to be a blowout became an exciting back-and-forth game in New York: Phoenix led for most of the game, but Jessica Davenport won it for the Lib on an old-fashioned three-point play at the end.

As in previous matches, the Mercury started out brilliant, then got tired; the Lib seemed to figure things out as the game went along. And Loree Moore ate everyone's lunch: a career-high 22, 4-6 from downtown, three steals, nine boards.

Cappie came alive in the final minutes for her contingent of Rutgers fans, but couldn't make the last shot. "It's time to move on," she says.

New York remain undefeated. ""I know people outside this organization don't expect a lot of us, but we have a lot of confidence in each other," said Erin Thorn. Next up (gulp): Indiana.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Reminder for stats hounds: individual plus-minus figures, and some other stats the league doesn't publish directly, are available, for almost every game, from Paul.

Saturday's Sun-Mercury match, for example, shows Whalen +18 (that is, the Sun outscored the Mercury by 18 while Whalen was on the floor), and-- more surprisingly-- Willingham +19, de Souza -6.
Will the Big East move the conference tournament to Mohegan Sun?

"It's got to be someplace in Connecticut or someplace close to Connecticut," says Geno. Unfair to the Scarlet Knights and the Fighting Irish, sure, but from a revenue standpoint, he's telling the truth.
Salt Lake City notices the rise of Erin Thorn.
Waterbury (Connnecticut) columnist Roger Cleaveland complains that the W hasn't made Diana as famous nationwide as she was famous in Connecticut while at UConn. Or is it Diana herself who's upset? The column makes it hard to tell.

Geno gets it right: "I think what she needs is to be given a certain amount of freedom on the basketball court. Yet at the same time you have to be able to rein her in a little bit. She is not unlike Michael Jordan his first couple years in the NBA, struggling to make the playoffs, struggling to find chemistry with the other kids on the team."

It looks as if Cleaveland (or his editor) saw the great feature on Diana's team overseas. (But no one expects the WNBA to treat its stars that way: certainly not Diana.)