Women's Hoops Blog: July 2007

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tonight, National Champion DePauw is highlighted as part of ESPN2's celebration of champions. Check your local listings for the time.

Tsk, tsk if you're asking, "Who?"
New from long-time women's basketball supporter Robin Roberts, and it ain't good: she's announced she has breast cancer.
As reported by Jayda Evans, the second ESPN2 game tonight will be moved to ESPN Classic. (Does this mean the game won't be interrupted by the same "30 at 30 Update" all night?) While the Classic-less will be missing, the Monarchs at Storm match-up is still expecting the appearance of the MVP-candidate who had an MRI yesterday.
Katie Douglas is having another great year: she's leading the Sun's resurgence-- but she's also playing almost 35 minutes per game.

Coach Thibault: "I didn't intend that. I'll try to get her some rest."

Also at the casino, Margo tries to recover from her back injuries, which began in Europe: "I wasn't supposed to come for this season," she says. It's been "tough for me all the way."

Monday, July 30, 2007

In the pay-for-it section of Full Court, Sharon reflects on the new crop of Big Ten coaches. Her predictions: success at Penn State and Illinois, a good choice with some question marks at Michigan, and a serious disappointment for the only-recently-really-good Spartans. (But how can Kevin Borseth be "a jerk" if his players "love him"?)
Swoopes on her own coming-out story-- and on John Amaechi's.
It was not as pretty or as fun to watch as their Thursday night game, but the Sun once again rallied past the Liberty in the fourth quarter.

While Janel McCarville was solid for the Liberty again, it was Katie Douglas who stepped up - both on the court and on the sideline for the Sun. Her coach may want to give her a rest, but Douglas said she is fine. "I'm sure (Thibault) is trying to obviously win games and get us ready for playoffs and not burn me out," Douglas said. "But I feel the most energized that I've ever felt at this part of the season."

Aside from McCarville, the rest of the Liberty struggled to score, especially in the fourth quarter. "We're losing a lot of close games because we are young," said Patty Coyle, whose team's last five losses have been by six points or less. "As far as I'm concerned we have to play better down the stretch. ... That's just the bottom line."
Two players had career highs and the Lynx held off the Monarchs for their second win in a row. Nicole Powell scored a career high 29 for the Monarchs, but she was topped by 39 from Seimone.

The game was similar to the now infamous Mystics game for the Lynx. They had a double digit lead on a team in the fourth quarter, despite an advantage at the free throw line for their oppponent. The other team gets back in the game by forcing turnovers on the young backcourt and hitting big shots. But this time, the Lynx held off the late rally and earned the victory.

This was the Lynx first win over the Monarchs since 2004. "I give all the credit to Minnesota," Jenny Boucek said. "This is definitely a missed opportunity."
The Sky looked like a playoff team Sunday with a franchise best 18-point win over the Comets. Chicago jumped out to 26-12 after the first quarter. Tina Thompson, who had 10, 6, & 6, was surprised by the second year squad- "I think that they shocked us a little bit that they came out so hard and so fast. We allowed them to do every single thing that they wanted to do." Stacey Dales lead the balanced attack with 18 points.
On the second night of a back-to-back, the Shock struggled to squeak past the Sparks in Auburn Hills. All-Star Kara Braxton had only one point but made big plays to close out the game. Taj McWilliams-Franklin lead the Sparks with 16 pts & 11 rebs but couldn't connect inside with 42 seconds left and a one-point lead. Plenette Pierson's 21 points included 13-15 from the line and a three-point play with under 30 seconds in the game.
The Merc blew a fourth-quarter lead, but Diana took over, breaking a tie on the way to a hard-fought win over the Fever.

Phoenix now have four wins in a row... but look at the schedule, and look at the games-- then think about the playoffs. If they can't stop Tan White, what will they do about Nolan, or Hammon? or Indiana, once Catchings returns?
Do the Silver Stars have the best bench in the league? Last night in Seattle it looked that way: Ferdinand-Harris, Little and Crossley (nee Zolman) combined for 47 minutes, 26 points, and smart defense that turned an exciting, close game into a road win.

Oh, and Hammon was brilliant. Jayda asks: is Becky an MVP?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

If you've ever been to a Final Four-- or been on a mailing list for a team that won it all-- you probably know you can buy (at no little cost) DVDs of recent Final Four games.

It turns out you can also rent or stream them from Netflix. Cool!
Full Court's Jim Clark blows up at the refs: "Lousy officiating drives marginal, but knowledgeable, fans away." (At least the W's refs aren't gambling. So far as we know.)

Ted looked at the WNBA's zebras at some length two years ago, and got some useful feedback.

As Ted, Pilight and others have pointed out, it's hard to improve officiating without creating more and better officials-- there would have to be a talent pool of qualified people who could ref WNBA games but don't.

Clark suggests that there may be such people: college ball officials (men's or women's) who choose not to ref in W games now. (NBA refs are apparently prohibited by contract from officiating elsewhere; they're also paid way more than the W pays, though it's hard to find out what they make. The best WNBA officials can get promoted to the NBA, which is a structural problem the W can't solve.)

Most college refs have day jobs. Would those who now take the summers off from basketball change their plans if the money were better? If the W raised its rates (now $600-800 per game) to what BCS conferences pay ($1,200 or so, Clark says), would that be enough? And would they be much better than the officials (many of them college-game vets) we have now?
Shay Doron: from Christ the King High, and onward, in the footsteps of Sue Bird.
Even with Ford gone, DC couldn't handle the Shock: Detroit controlled the second quarter, the paint, the boards, and the game.

"Offensive rebounding killed us," explained coach Rollins. The Basket Cases are just sad.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Batesville, New York City and Alaska: tour stops for this All-American Redhead. Look for a WNBA Redhead tribute, either quite soon, or next year.
Two more games we didn't get to see:

1. Becky Hammon had a crappy night, and her Stars lost to Houston. Tamecka Dixon, on the other hand, had a career night: 21 points, 10-15 shooting. "We had a hard time slowing her down," admitted coach Hughes.

2. The Storm blew away the Catch-less Fever. Lauren Jackson scored her 4,000th point; 8,000 fans gave her a standing O; more on LJ's accomplishment (and her team's easy win) from Pelton.
The Sky and the Merc held a three-point shooting contest last night in Chicago: the Sky won the contest, but the Merc won the game.

Chicago's stunning display included 15-32 team shooting from downtown, 7-13 from Stacey Dales and 6-10 from GW star (and heretofore-marginal pro) Cathy Joens.

The barrage was either a statistical anomaly, or an appropriate reaction to Phoenix's zone defense (and Phoenix's pace.) It was fun to watch, but it didn't quite work: Taurasi broke a tie in the closing seconds with a circus-style scoop shot in traffic, and her team won by a pair. "She practices that all the time," coach Westhead joked.

Taurasi was more, well, reflective: "It's like they say, live by the three, die by the three," she explained. "But you shouldn't lose games when you make [fifteen] threes."
After the deflating loss to the Mercury on Wednesday, the Lynx used Thursday's practice to play shooting games and boost their spirits. It seemed to work as they ended their 10 game skid with a 85-76 win over the Sparks.

Svetlana Abrosimova scored a season high 23 points and set the tone early for Minnesota. "We've been struggling for many games, so every game we come out; this is the day we're going to get it," Abrosimova said. “We know that when you have a star player like Seimone Augustus you need people who can compliment her, people who can pick up the slack when she comes out of the game. I thought that Svetlana has stepped up and done a good job for us,” Coach Z said.

Seimone Augustus also scored 23 and the Lynx dominated the points in the paint and rebounding.

The Lynx had Lindsey Harding back on the bench for the first time since her surgery last week to repair her torn ACL. A crew from NBA-TV seemed to be filming a segment on her doing the game, so look for that in a future episode of WNBA Action.

It was also the annual visit of WNBA President Donna Orender. She talked to a group of Lynx season ticket holders before the game. Many of the questions from the crowd focused on officiating as fans were still upset over last Friday's Mystics game. But Orender also talked about the successful All-Star game, expansion, the new television contract and merchandising.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wyoming's Cowgirls get some props from the U.S. House of Representatives for their WNIT championship.

The bill, H.R. 384, congratulates the University of Wyoming Cowgirls for capturing the first WNIT title in UW history and defeating the University of Wisconsin Badgers by a score of 72-56 on March 31, 2007. The Cowgirls victory came in front of a crowd of more than 15,000 fans, the largest crowd ever assembled at Laramie's Arena-Auditorium for a women's basketball game.

Great excuse for a little "Flashback Trivia."
The Maggie Dixon Classic has found a home: Madison Square Garden.

The second annual Maggie Dixon Classic will be played Dec. 8 at the Garden with a women's basketball doubleheader featuring Rutgers, Duke, Pitt and Army. It is the first women's doubleheader there since 1981, when Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion and Cheyney State took part.

Note to all teams involved, to the New York Liberty, to the NCAA, to the WBCA, to the Garden staff: there is NO reason this baby shouldn't be held in front of a packed house. Start getting those emails written now!
To the delight of Gopher fans everywhere, Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville put on a show last night as their teams faced off in CT. McCarville scored a career high 24 points, along with 10 rebounds, four steals and two assists. Whalen had 20 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals. More importantly for the Sun, they pulled out a 79-75 win.

Both players got help too. Ashja Jones hit a bank shot off of a routine pick and roll with Katie Douglas to put the Sun up for good with 8.9 seconds left. Evanthia Maltsi learned she better shoot when she is open and scored eight points in the final two minutes of the game and stole a pass intended for McCarville in the closing seconds.

McCarville's play in the opening minutes of the game forced Margo Dydek to the bench and she never returned. Erika de Souza stepped up in her place. “She gives us a toughness. A presence,” Katie Douglas said.
The Fever continued to struggle without Tamika Catchings, this time dropping an ugly 60-50 game to the Monarchs. It was the fourth loss in a row. "Tamika's a huge part of what we do,'' said Brian Winters, who expects Catchings to return in a couple of weeks. "When a player of that magnitude gets pulled out of the lineup, it's serious adjustment time.''

Tan White scored 14 off the Bench for Indy, but the team only shot 33% from the floor and turned the ball over 25 times. The Monarchs were even worse from the floor, but got to the free throw line 23 times and connected on 19.

Coming up big for the Monarchs were Rebekkah Brunson and Kristin Haynie. Brunson, playing on a sore leg, had a game high 17 points. Haynie broke out of a season long slump, to add 10 points of the bench. "I told her before the game to be aggressive," said Ticha Penicheiro. "Just play basketball. Sometimes we get too caught up in our mistakes. It affects us and the way we think."
The news on Cheryl Ford came before the Shock hosted the Sky last night. They got off to a slow start and saw their seven game winning streak come to an end in a 83-73 loss.

More than anything, the Shock seemed to miss the rebounding punch Ford provided as the Sky won the battle of the boards. "I'm preparing for the worst," Bill Laimbeer said of Ford. "Whatever happens, happens. We can't dwell on it. We have what we have. We have to add a frontcourt player who can get some rebounds."

Katie Feenstra continued her strong play from Tuesday's win in CT. But the Shock are still waiting on Kara Braxton to show what she is capable of. But the post players for Detroit had no answer for Candice Dupree, who had a game high 24 points and 12 rebounds. “Dupree is an offensive-minded player,” said Feenstra. “We probably could have done a better job defending her…but she’s offensive minded. She’s going to score no matter what.”
Tough news for the defending champs and Cheryl Ford. The All-Star MVP will miss at least the rest of the regular season with a left knee injury.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Voting scandals, steroids, and... Nykesha Sales? The story that won't go away.
Notes on Tuesday's Fever loss from Peru. Peru, Indiana, that is. Ruth Riley fans take note.
No real surprise in yesterday's only game. Penny Taylor continued her fabulous play and the Mercury rolled over the Lynx 103-79.

Minnesota had their largest crowd of the season with over 13,000 kids from day camps and adults skipping work in attendance. Unfortunately they did not get to see the post game victory dance. With a losing skid now at 10, hopefully the players remember how to do it.

The Lynx trailed by 12 at half, but pulled within nine in the third quarter. They never got any closer and when Seimone Augustus went to the bench for what was supposed to be a rest, the game got out of hand. "Toward the end [of the fourth quarter] we kind of gave in and [Phoenix] had their way with us," Augustus said.

Taylor especially had her way as she scored 30 points for fourth time this season. "She is having a phenomenal season," Nicole Ohlde said. "She has the ability to extend the range. She is quick off the dribble and has great footwork. She is able to do a lot of things."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chancellor Gee is taking the Jim Foster Highway from Vanderbilt to Ohio State. In addition to the oddity of returning to his previous role as OSU President, Gee is leaving a school without an athletics department for the nation's largest athletics budget of $110 million.
New Mexico mourns and remembers longtime Lobos beat reporter Mike Hall.
Congrats to the Pan Am team for USA Basketball. They downed Brazil 79-66 to take Gold for the first time since 1987.

Matee Ajavon exploded for 27 points to lead all scorers. Coach Staley said the difference was the depth of her team.

More than 13,000 people were on hand to see Janeth Arcain's final game for the Brazilian national team.
It was a playoff type atmosphere with both teams riding six game winning streaks. And it was even on national T.V. But as in the three previous games this season, the Sun showed they could hang with the Shock but not actually knock them down.

Three players had career highs and both teams shot the ball at or near 50% and only combined for 19 turnovers.

Eastern Conference Player of the Week Lindsay Whalen and Katie Douglas continued their strong play and combined for 60 points as they shot nearly 73% from the floor. Perhaps most surprisingly is that Whalen connected on most of her shots, not driving to the basket but hitting open jump shots. She finished with a career high 33, including 3 three pointers.

But as good as Whalen and Douglas were, Deanna Nolan was even better. Nolan finished with a franshise record 36 points. Asjha Jones said of Nolan: “It's tough to guard a player who's that athletic and is making shots fading way from you. She's jumping and fading. There's not really too much you can do about that.” Nolan has some help too. Katie Feenstra, started and also finished with a career high 19. She set the tone early for the Shock.

While the Sun has lost 9 of the past 10 against the defending champs, the players have not given up on getting over the hump. "I'm not frustrated at all," said Jones. "When you have nothing to correct and you lose, that's when you get frustrated. But there were a lot of things we could have fixed tonight, and we just have to work on it."
Ticha Penicheiro showed she is still one of the best point guards in the league and helped her team end a three game losing streak.

Penicheiro was agressive in going to the basket and finished with a season high 19 points, along with 6 assists. She scored 11 in the fourth quarter and was perfect from the floor. "Coach has really told me to be aggressive," said Penicheiro. "I've worked really hard. My goal is to become a consistent shooter."
Arizona reporter Mark Heller breaks down the likely issues for the next round of collective bargaining between the W and its players. Well, all the issues but one.
What a night! Career and season scoring records for several players, playoff implications in every game, and (oh yeah) some close, gripping games on national TV. To see these two, though, you had to be in the stands:

1. LJ made her case for MVP by tying the all-time league record for points scored: 47, in OT, in DC.

Too bad her team lost. The Stix worked together; Nikki T had ten assists.

LJ: ""If we had won, I probably would go out until 6 o'clock in the morning to celebrate it, definitely. But I'm going home. I think losing takes away everything."

Mystics coach Rollins: "No one told us we would have to play Dirk Nowitzki tonight."

2. San Antonio stayed ahead of the west by beating the Catchings-less Fever in Indy; the home team have now lost three straight.

"We're going through a little transition," coach Winters admits. "But hey, we're all professionals." The Fever's rebounding looked pretty amateurish, though: the Stars won the boards by thirteen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

While over 300 college championships are nice, Columbus looks at its (lack of) championship history in pro sports, including "the most dominating team in central Ohio pro sports history," the ABL's Quest.
The rumors are true. The US Senior Women will take on the Opals in Uncasville. The game is set for Sept 19 at 7 pm; tickets go on sale this Monday morning.
Pilight Kevin notes the trade deadline approaching but says nothing's going to happen.
Brazil defeated defending champs Cuba, and the US bench (and what a bench: Angel McCoughtry, Mel Thomas and Jane Appel!) sealed the deal against Canada, 75-59, so today's Pan-Am final is set: Brazil (4-0) against the U.S (4-0).
"It’s exciting," said head coach Dawn Staley. "I think the committee put together a great basketball team to compete for a gold medal…and I think our team has played extremely well under these circumstances of being the youngest team here." (Their average age is almost 7 years younger than the Brazilian team's.)

You can say it’s a Tennessee-UConn match-up. You could say it’s a Rutgers-UConn match-up," said Staley. "But there is nothing that compares to playing for a gold medal outside of your country and in somebody else’s back yard."
Maltsi: a star in Greece, and now a really good role player in Connecticut. But is her first name Evina (as the Courant has it)? Or Evanthia?
Mystics play Seattle tonight. Tree Rollins admit that Jackson is hard to guard, while the normally loyal Basket Cases get snarky: "Perhaps the Mystics will decide to play four quarters of basketball."
Adrienne Goodson praises the new TV deal.
Well, the Lynx made the front sports page of the print edition of the Star Tribune. But not for reasons they would probably like.

Melissa Rosenberg looks at the franchise that currently has the worst record in the league and has struggled with attendance over the last several seasons. She provides some comparison attendance numbers between what the team reports to the league and reports from the Minneapolis Community Development office to the Minneapolis City Council.

The good news is the front office has two talented young players to build the team around in Seimone Augustus and Lindsey Harding and, more importantly, that Lynx owner Glen Taylor remains committed to the team.

Monday, July 23, 2007

More news on the proposed Atlanta franchise. Just one committed, financially appropriate, competent owner is all they need-- but do they even have one?
Two more games yesterday-- both close, both high-scoring, both won by the teams you'd expect to win:

1. The Sun needed every second to beat the Comets at the casino: coach Thibault decided against a timeout, Asjha's last shot fell, and Tina Thompson's didn't.

"Sometimes in a tie game you screw yourself up calling a timeout when you don't need to,” Thibault explained. “[Houston's] defense right there... was on the run backpedaling. You just go at them.” The coach got his hundredth win.

Maltsi started in place of Sales (mild concussion). The Sun's starters did almost everything; the bench scored just two points.

2. Seattle beat New York in MSG on Sue Bird's final jump shot-- her only field goal of the game.

The Lib displayed balanced scoring but faded late. McCarville: "We've been playing pretty good basketball, we just haven't been able to put teams away at the end."

As always, Jayda was there. If the playoffs began today, both the Liberty and the Storm would squeak in; neither feels comfortable. "We want to move up," Bird said.
Brynn Cameron talks about being a mom and trying to come back to basketball, also says Matt Leinart is a crappy dad.
The talented Helen also profiled Nancy Lieberman for the Women's Sports Foundation Web site.
The good news for Lynx fans is that Seimone started and played in yesterday's game against the Mercury. This despite her hip pointer injury she suffered in the last game. The bad news for Lynx fans is that even with Seimone on the floor, they could not stop Paul Ball.

Seimone finished with 23 points in just over 30 minutes of play and from radio game reports did not look to be in pain. The Lynx were up early in the game, but had a terrible second quarter to trail by 15 at the half. To the Lynx credit, they did not give up and eventually got within seven points with just over 4 minutes left in the game.

The Mercury once again got an impressive performance from Penny Taylor, who combined with Tangela Smith to score 52 points. "We're one of those teams that are really trying their best in the last 11 games to kind of step up and be consistent," Mercury coach Paul Westhead said. "Hopefully, consistently good. Consistently bad is a no-brainer."
League patsies a year ago-- and not quite champions still- the Chicago Sky have lately become a lot of fun to watch. Part of it is the fans (not the numbers, but the enthusiasm). Part of it is the Chicago public TV crew who do the announcing-- the duo remind me of UConn's CPTV team: unapologetic homers who call the Sky's starters by their first names, they're also unafraid to view replays and pronounce accurate calls against their team.

Part of it is the way they share the ball and yet don't mind taking things one-on-one. And much of it is the emergence of Jia Perkins: last night she scored 27, leading her team as they beat the Stars in OT. On the last, decisive play, Perkins found herself double-teamed by Riley, then found Dominique Canty in a corner for a game-winning three.

"We beat the No. 1 team in the East [Indiana, and] the No. 1 team in the West, so our confidence is high," Perkins said. Hers should be-- she's had a stunning month: 22, 17, 24, 17 and 27 points in her last five games, plus that 39-point statement in L.A. Those are Taurasi, Augustus, Beard-esque numbers: even if Jia can't keep it up (and she may not: defenses adjust to scorers) they show that a good team can build an offense around her.

But Beard (for example) was obviously going to be a big scorer out of college, and she was a #2 draft pick. Perkins was a second-rounder, and took four years to emerge: why?

One answer, of course, is that Charlotte made everyone except Tan Smith look terrible (and made Tan Smith look like a shot hog, which she kinda is). Janel McCarville is making a similar, though less surprising, emergence.

But the real answer may be pregnancy. Before she quit the Red Raiders in the middle of her senior year, Perkins was leading the team in scoring; Tech hasn't been half as good since. "I was pregnant when I got drafted," Perkins joked with reporters last year, "so I'm not even supposed to be in this league." She's a single mom now.

In other words, Perkins emerged as a pro at the same time as she rehabbed from her pregnancy, got rescued from a terrible team, and figured out her adult life. Some players never quite make it all the way back. Others-- some teen moms, but also McWilliams-Franklin-- have their best season two or three years after parturition.

Add that uncertainty to the question marks that always surround a collegiate draft pick, then add in the non- or anti-player-development that took place in Charlotte, and you have a mystery that has lasted years. It's great for Sky fans to see that mystery solved.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Erin Phillips speaks! The speedy guard tore her ACL in Australia this winter: in Connecticut this week, she says she'd rather wait and stay healthy than rush her rehab and ruin her career.
In a warm-up for the 2007 FIBA U-19 World Championship tournament in Slovakia (July 26-August 5), the US was down by two in at the half in the pre-tourney championship game, but an 18-2 run in the third quarter sealed the win over host Spain, 79-71.

No player played over 28 minutes, and you've got to believe Doug Bruno must enjoy coaching players like Maya Moore, Jasmine Thomas, Jantel Lavender and Vicki Baugh.

"This pre-competition tournament has been very useful for us because we have such a young group," said Bruno. "They needed to experience all the adversity we’ve dealt with, the tough travel and arriving just a few hours before our first game, before we travel to play in the world championship. Every single player on the team has done some good things, and now it is about finding consistency."

Down in Rio de Janeiro, the US Pan Am team whomped Argentina 85-54. Emily Fox (who some may remember as the super "speed-stacker") led all scorers with 18 points. Natasha Humphrey went 5-of-7, including 3-of-4 on three's, and Marissa Coleman added 12. A total of 48 fouls (including two technicals) were called. Said coach Dawn Staley of the game:
"Our team came over last night and watched them [Argentina] play against Cuba, so we saw the physicality of the game and we anticipated it," said USA head coach Dawn Staley. "But, it was a hard game to play in because there was a lot of grabbing and a lot of aggressive play. I thought our players did as much as they could to keep their composure and their poise and not really get into retaliating."
Next up, Cuba. Cuba, also 2-0 in the tournament, has won the gold medal at each of the last two Pan American Games and has seven players returning from its 2003 gold medal team.

As for the Senior team, you can catch them playing Australia at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, N.J. on September 16. "This is no ordinary team and no ordinary game," USA Basketball president Val Ackerman. "Fans will have the opportunity to truly see basketball played at the highest level."

Why there? Well, the arena has supported big-time women's basketball in the past, recently serving as host for the first- and second-round games in the 2006 NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Of the eight regional sites for that year's tournament, the games in Trenton drew the largest crowds.

And it doesn't hurt that Ackerman was born in N.J. and honed her basketball skills at Hopewell Valley High School. Or that one of her assistant coaches at Virginia was Mike Ryan, current president of the Mercer County Sports and Entertainment Commission. Hey, it takes time, but women can rebuild the "old girls (-boys) network" lost when the AIAW was wiped out in '82.

Tickets are on sale at the SBA box office, by phone at (800) 298-4200, and online at www.comcastTIX.com.

Mel Greenberg's blog hints there may be a second chance to catch the team up at a Connecticut-based casino, and a UConn fan said Ticketmaster sent out an email about a Sept. 19th day, but they don't have tickets listed on their site. Yet.

Side note: USABasketball has a re-designed site. Not so fond of it. On the women's side, they (aka the fabulous media relations person Caroline Williams and her staff of few to none) always done a great job of producing features and game reports, but the current layout looks kinda....well...amateur-ish.
More on the mystery of the switched uniforms.
Even with Ford on the bench to rest her knee, Detroit had no trouble beating Washington. Nor did they expect much. Coach Laimbeer: "We've been wearing our starters out, and we had an emotional win in Indiana last night followed by a five-hour bus ride home. So we built tonight's game plan around the reserves, and they played big."

The Mystics scored just thirteen points before halftime; both teams had more turnovers than assists.
Will Jia Perkins be an All-Star someday? She sure looked like one in last night's fourth quarter: a putback and a trey from the ex-Texas Tech guard gave the Sky their first win in five tries.

Yes, Indy played without Catchings, but a win is a win, especially for the patient Chicago crowd. Catch will be out for two to three weeks after hurting her foot on Friday.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Our own Helen has been writing. A lot. And interviewing coaches. Women coaches. In the pros. Are we likely to see more of them? Pat Coyle: "In the last two or three years I've had assistant jobs open, and I haven't had any women apply."

Also from Helen, a long look at Title IX. Florida law prof Nancy Hogshead-Makar: "Back in the 1980's, the NCAA was openly hostile... Now you have the NCAA bending over backwards to support Title IX."

What about those angry college wrestlers? Hogshead-Makar: "They've worked through all three branches of government to weaken Title IX[and] failed repeatedly, on every count. I don't know what their strategy is, but it ain't working."
Rebecca meets Rebecca!
Houston couldn't guard Kraayeveld, but New York couldn't guard Thompson or Dixon: Cat got a new career high (31 points on 12-23 shooting), but the visiting Comets got the win.

"We got anxious down the stretch," coach Coyle explained; the Lib missed real chances late.
"We're an interesting, puzzling team." So coach Westhead decided after his Mercury lost at home to L.A.; it was the Sparks' first win in their last eight tries.

Another puzzle: Sidney Spencer, whom very few people saw as a WNBA starter last year, shot 6-10 from downtown, with twelve boards. Wow.
Detroit got past the Fever in Indy, and into a tie for first. Katie Smith burnt down the house: 4-7 in treys, 28 points overall.

"They had the attitude tonight," said Indy guard Tully Bevilacqua. Worse yet for Fever fans: did Catchings injure her foot?
Silver Stars, still on top of the West! The Stars-- at home, but wearing black for some reason-- gave Sacramento the runaround, with veterans (Vickie Johnson and the much-maligned Darling) connecting on key plays.

San Antonio's starters collectively shot 10-15 from downtown. "You find the open person, and the open person makes the shot," explained VJ. (In more good news: the San Antonio crowd looked good. And loud.)
Suddenly the Sun look really good. Yesterday they throttled Seattle at the casino, holding the Storm to 17 after halftime.

"That's probably one of the most complete halves we've played," coach Thibault said. From turnovers to on-ball defense, Connecticut's backcourt simply outdid Seattle's, despite Sue Bird's post-surgery return. Oh, and Lindsay? She's baaaaack.
The Lynx looked they were on their way to one of their most impressive wins of the season. Instead a 14 point fourth quarter lead turned into a 91-87 overtime loss to the Mystics.

Perhaps even worse than the loss of the game is the injury to Seimone Augustus near the end of regulation. Augustus, who had scored a career high 33, collided with another player and went down hard. She remained down for several minutes; she eventually got up with assistance but did not return to the game. "We don't know the extent of Seimone's injury, but obviously, it isn't good because she didn't come back,'' said Lynx coach Don Zierden.

The Mystics got back in the game with full court pressure that resulted in 32 Lynx turnovers and a generous advantage at the free throw line. Nicole Ohlde, Kathrin Ress and Kristen Mann would foul out and two more players had five fouls. Despite this, the Lynx still looked like they had the game with a three point lead with 3.8 seconds left. But Tamara James somehow convinced official Roy Gulbeyan that she was fouled by Mann on a desperation three at the buzzer.

The good fortunes continued for the Mystics in overtime when Nikki Blue scored from near half court just before the shot clock expired. She was one of five players who scored in double figures for Washington. Coach Rollins: "We had a great all-around effort. The game ball tonight goes to Nikki Blue. She really grew up as a WNBA player tonight."

Friday, July 20, 2007

It was a solid day for USA Basketball. After sneaking past Australia yesterday, Doug Bruno's U19 squad beat Brazil 90-75, lead by Maya Moore's 15 points. Their third and final exhibition game in the Canary Islands is Saturday against Spain.

The veteran US Pan Am squad, where the average age is 20.5, cruised to a 95-41 victory over Colombia in the competition's first game. Tomorrow brings Argentina.
If passing on all the choice openings of this off-season wasn't proof enough, Brian Giorgis has upped his commitment to Marist until 2014.
With its first ever Pan American game tonight, Jamaica meets the well established Brazil. The Jamaican team boasts of four players from New Jersey, including Nicole Louden. To further the Garden State connection, Simone Edwards (Iowa), an original member of the Storm and 2004 WNBA Champion, and Rebecca Richman (Rutgers) played for C. Viv in college.
With all of the coaching changes and injuries to players like Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, there are a lot of questions about the Big 10's upcoming season. One team who thinks they can move to the top is Wisconsin.

Jolene Anderson returns after a successful stint with USA Basketball for her senior season with a talented mix of experienced players and newcomers.

Elsewhere in the Big 10, Purdue expects to find out soon if they will face any sanctions from the NCAA.
Tickets go on sale later this morning for a September 16 exhibition game between USA and Australia. The game will be played in Trenton, NJ. Prior to the game, Team USA will spend some time training at Temple.
There were a couple of great profiles on WNBA players earlier this week that are still worth mentioning.

On ESPN.com, Graham Hays tells the success story of Fever guard Tully Bevilaqua.

In the Courant, John Altavilla examines how good Diana Taurasi is.
Nearly every team plays tonight and there are two big showdowns.

The top two in the West face off in San Antonio. Both teams are fighting through injuries as SASS is learning to play without Erin Buescher. For Sacramento, Adrian Williams is ready to start her first game as a Monarch is Rebekkah Brunson can't play.

Another big game has the first place Fever hosting the Shock. With the best record in the league, Indy hopes this season is different. "It seems like we're finally putting the pieces together," Tamika Catchings said. "We've been talking about winning a championship and about different players stepping up and moving into their roles. Finally, people are starting to get it."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

With the Mystics win over the Comets, the Sky needed to top the best team in the East to keep from moving into last place. It was close, but not enough as Indy won their sixth in a row 75-74.

Tamika Catchings filled up the stat sheet with 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. While Jia Perkins countered with 24 points in 23 minutes for the Sky. "She was able to do what she wanted to at will," Catchings said, "and we're a better defensive team than that."

The Fever remain a game ahead of the Shock and get a chance to go up 2-0 in the season series tomorrow at home.
Detroit's starters came up big and took over in overtime to help the Shock win their fourth in a row 87-82, this time over the visiting Liberty.

Cheryl Ford scored 19 and grabbed 18 boards and Deanna Nolan scored 21 to pace the defending champs. But Laimbeer had to play his starters more minutes than he would've liked. "That's going to catch up to us," Laimbeer said. "I've got to stop that."

This was the second time in a row the Shock and Liberty have gone to overtime, but Laimbeer sensed something was different this time. "I could see it in everyone's eyes. Our antennas went up, and it was like, 'This is not going to be the same overtime that happened last time."

Janel McCarville once again had a solid game agains the Shock and had four teammates join her in double figures, but the Lib could not keep up in OT. "You judge yourself against the best, and we played with one of the best teams today," said McCarville.
The Mystics got off to a disastrous start this season, but they've fought their way back into the playoff hunt. Last night, they climbed another step upward with a win over Houston.

The game was a microcosm of the season so far: terrible start, emotional unraveling, then a renewed focus and turnaround.

Washington is four games below .500 but only a game and a half behind fourth place Connecticut. Houston, by contrast, is now five games out, their season all but over. Will they start tanking too?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton will miss this season with an ACL tear. Added to the graduation of Katie Geralds and Erin Lawless, Purdue will be without its top three from '06-'07.
There are three matinee games later today. In Indianapolis, there will be more than one Catchings working. Tamika's sister Tauja will be doing the radio broadcast for the Sky.

The Indy Star talks to the sisters.
SI's Kelli Anderson remembers the best game she's ever seen.

Kelli also has a great profile of Lauren Jackson.
Katie Douglas, Nykesha Sales and Lindsay Whalen made big plays down the stretch to help the Sun hold off the Lynx 84-79 for their fourth win in a row.

Douglas finished with 22 points and Whalen added 20 as the Sun had an answer for every Lynx run. Whalen said this started on their West Coast trip. "It was just people finding their roles — when to be aggressive, when not to be aggressive. We've sort of fed off of each other.” After coming up short earlier in the season in close games, the Sun are finding a way to make the plays necessary to win.

The Lynx won the battle of the boards and saw Svet connect 5-6 from three point range. Seimone once again led the way with 24 points. Her team will look to end their second seven game losing streak of the season on Friday against the Mystics.
If she wasn't worried already, last night's Mercury-Storm game must have Anne Donovan thinking about the possibility of Team USA facing the Opals next summer in the Olympics. Penny Taylor and Lauren Jackson put on an offensive showcase, putting up 32 and 33 points respectively as Taylor's team downed Jackson's Storm 89-79.

While Betty Lennox added 22 points, the Storm missed having Sue Bird on the floor as they turned the ball over 20 times. Taylor also got more help from her teammates than Jackson did. Cappie Pondexter said, “Everyone was contributing. When we’re like that, we’re definitely tough to beat.”

Seattle is expected to have Bird back in the starting line-up for their next game and Taylor is expected to go back to wearing a guard on her rib after taking a shoulder in the closing seconds of the game. Taylor said "it's nothing serious; it's just painful.”
Becky Hammon found Sophia Young under the basket with 17.8 seconds left to give San Antonio their fifth straight win, 63-61.

Los Angeles benefitted from having Temeka Johnson back in the starting line-up and used a 10-0 run to start the final quarterto get back into the game. But the Sparks had no answer for Hammon and Young, who combined for 42 points.

Coach Cooper on Hammon: "Our purpose was to limit her three-point attempts, but for some kind of reason, we'd either fall down, or we'd let her pop open for a three, and I don't understand that."

It was the seventh loss in a row for the Sparks. Cooper added "I think the bottom line is someone on our team is going to have to become a leader, a go-to person. Sometimes, you have to be selfish and put your head down and make a play. If we can't make a play, we are going to fumble like we did."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Adrienne Goodson recaps her All-Star weekend in her latest column.

Goody also spent some time hanging out at the game with Jayda Evans.
Donna is joining RebKell Nation.
Taurasi slammed Summitt for canceling the series and ridiculed the idea that she and Sue Bird had an illegal meeting with UConn recruit Maya Moore. But what about the meeting with Doty?
TiVo Alert - After watching the games on ESPN 2 tonight, be sure to check out Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn and the Shock are in a feature with correspondent Jon Frankel.
More on that new TV deal between the W and ESPN/ABC: apparently it gives the league "millions and millions." ($3M? $30M? They're not gonna say.)

"There is a business model in place," says Donna Orender. Part of the deal involves Deadspin not being snarky.

Why is Media Week reporting that there's still no rights fee? Do they know something other outlets don't?
Laurie Koehn, all-time record-setting three-point contest ace.
Along with the uncertainty of the Storm's future in Seattle is the uncertain future of its starting line-up staying with the organization.
The East topped the West on Sunday in one of the closest and most competitive All-Star games yet. This marked the second win in a row for the East after losing the first six times.

Cheryl Ford captured MVP honors with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists. Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas also put up numbers worthy of MVP consideration.

The West opted to go with the three point shot a lot (46 attempts) and it worked well for them at times. "We just tried to beat them from the outside simply because we thought we are a little quicker," Tina Thompson said. "They did a great job of getting the ball inside and getting really high percentage shots."

With a sell-out crowd of over 19,000, Mystic All-Star Alana Beard was impressed. "Man, if only we could play in an arena like this every night," she said. "It was amazing to see."

Prior to the game, the league held the Dribble, Dish and Swish and Three Point Competitions. Becky Hammon edged defending champion Seimone Augustus to capture the Skills Challenge. While Laurie Koehn shot an impressive final round of 25 to win the Three Point crown. “The hardest thing in contests like these is when you’re nervous and you don’t feel like you have any blood in your arms,” Koehn said. “So my biggest strategy was just to relax.”
Congratulations to the 2008 class of inductees in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Miss the All-Star Game? Wurst and Adam Hirshfeld blogged it all.
The league has a new contract with the ABC/ESPN/ESPN2 networks: games on TV through 2016, digital redelivery of at least some games through the ESPN site, and (for the first time) a straight-up rights fee.

Is that fee any more than a token amount? If so, it could help the league a lot. But even the ability to say, right now, that they've got a new long-term deal, with some rights fee rather than none, sounds like good news to me.
Voepel watches the All-Stars practice at a Boys & Girls Club. (Also, Catchings meets Condi Rice.)
At the Washington Post, Wilbon celebrates Kara Lawson's homecoming: the DC-area native will (finally) play in today's All-Star Game. Oh, and if you didn't know: she's engaged! (Besides being a hard worker and a good shot, Lawson makes a good interview too.)

Also at the Post: Holdsclaw's new life. "I know what makes me miserable," she says. "I'm trying to stay on the happy side."

ASG roster news: Thompson will start; Young will play, and Brunson won't. She's going to rest her troublesome leg.
At the Buffalo News, Amy Moritz unravels the mysteries of summer AAU ball: local star Joelle Connelly tries to shine as college scouts look on.

Some good news: parents worry about year-round play. Joelle's mom: "We tell her in August she doesn’t have to touch a basketball."

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Washington Post gets ready for the All-Star game with a profile of Evil Bill.

Katie Smith says coach Laimbeer "never taps you on the back and says, 'Great job.' He's not a cheerleader-type... I just really love that he tells you exactly what he wants and what he feels," she continues. "That's wonderful at this point of my career."

Also in the Post, the (limited) festivities that will surround the game. "I would love to throw the biggest party in the world," says Mystics owner Sheila Johnson, "but I'd have to get approval from the league."
Four games before the All-Star break and three were on TV! (Thanks NBA-TV).

In the matinee game in Houston, the Comets used a strong inside game from Michelle Snow and Tina Thompson to give the Lynx their sixth straight loss. Seimone finished with 24 and received some scoring help from Shay Murphy and Tiffany Stansbury, but it was not enough.

The Fever used a balanced attack and big contributions from their bench to cruise past the Liberty for their fifth straight win. Indy led by as many as 26, which allowed Tamika Catchings to sit for the fourth quarter. "Of course, I want to get in the game, but I'm having fun watching everybody play and glad we have as much talent as we do that we can afford to do that,'' she said.

Detroit overcame an early Chicago lead to remain perfect against the league's newest team. Candice Dupree and Jia Perkins reached double figures for the Sky, but their team shot less than 35% from the floor. The Shock had five players in double figures, including 18 from Deanna Nolan. It was the fourth loss in a row for the Sky.

In the best game of the day and a rematch of the 2005 Finals, the Sun won their third in a row with a 82-78 overtime win over the Monarchs. There were 14 ties and 22 lead changes throughout the game. Lindsay Whalen tied the score with four seconds left in regulation and scored her team's first eight points in overtime to put the Sun in control. Whalen finished with 22 points, 8 assists and five rebounds.

While the Monarchs enter the break with a two game losing streak, a bigger concern might be the health of Rebekkah Brunson's leg. She pulled herself out of the game in the third quarter and is unsure whether she will play in the All-Star game on Sunday. "We'll see," said Brunson. "I really need to do what's best for me and the team."

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The SASS knew they weren't going to escape the season without injuries, but I'm betting, considering their track record these past few years, they hoped they'd finish up '07 without any season-ending ones.

No such luck -- Erin tore her ACL.
In addition to Mystic players Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones, two players who grew up in the D.C. area will be joining in on fesitivities. Teammates Kara Lawson and Rebekkah Brunson are making their All-Star debuts and the Washington Post checks in with Brunson on coming home.
Becky Hammon returned to action and helped her team win their fourth in a row with a 87-77 matinee game victory over the Mercury. This was the second double digit loss in a row for Phoenix after winning four in a row.

Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 27 points and Penny Taylor added 19, but the bench only scored two points. “(There's) just no juice right now,” Taurasi said. “I guess the All-Star break is coming at the right time.”

One surprising stat from the game (and a positive for the Merc) was the rebounding edge. Phoenix also did a nice job of getting to the line, but missed some critical attempts in the fourth quarter. “A missed opportunity,” Taurasi said. “But we’ll have other ones.”

A concern for the Silver Stars after getting Hammon back is the extent of the knee injury in the first minute of the game to Erin Buescher.
Seattle was unable to duplicate their camp day performance in L.A. from Tuesday and Connecticut won their second game in a row, 76-63.

The Sun took advantage of the travel-weary Storm and stronger bench production to seal the victory. "To me, one of the more disappointing things is our bench needs to be able to get in and give us a lift," Anne Donovan said.

For the Sun, things seem to be looking up after their rough stretch earlier this season.

Katie Douglas: "We played with a lot of energy and that's what we've done in the last three games. We're playing well, starting to mesh and getting into a rhythm”

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Well, drat: Harding goes down with an ACL.
Wait -- am I in the early stages of heat prostration, or did the New York Times really allow Liz Robbins to write about.... the surging, surprising Silver Stars?
When will the injured Swoopes return to the hardwood? Her Majesty isn't sure: "It could be a week... It could be another month."
Kara Lawson, All-Star. About time.
Former Fresno State v-ball coach Lindy Vivas has won her lawsuit against the troubled-- no, very troubled-- school.

Vivas was fired in 2004; she said she got mistreated, and then canned, because the macho administrators couldn't take her work on behalf of her players and team-- and because they thought she was gay. The jury agreed, awarding $5.8 million.

Part of the case involved when and how many v-ball games would take place in the new Save Mart Center, which was then mostly reserved for men's and women's basketball. Former Fresno AD Scott Johnson and soap opera villain very much former Fresno women's hoops coach Stacy Johnson-Klein testified: one juror called both Johnson and Johnson-Klein "not credible."
Two more games, both on national TV, both good-but-not-great samples of the W's current product:

1. Detroit played a cat-and-mouse game with Chicago, lying low for the first half, then pouncing. "That kind of seems to be our M.O.," said coach Laimbeer.

Despite Bill's comments last week, Braxton started: apparently he asked the players to pick the starters themselves. Cash scored 20, Perkins 22.

2. Houston almost defeated Indiana, blowing a lead, then fighting back late. Byears looked surprisingly effective (not to say menacing); the Comets looked much improved from last month's hapless, winless team.

"I thought we'd pull it out," said Tina Thompson. "I really feel this loss."
LA hit a new low on camp day: a 35 point home loss.

"We're not getting it yet, so we'll continue to take our lumps," coach Cooper said. As he walked out of the postgame press conference, he was also heard to mutter "I've made a huge mistake."
Hypothetical huddle conversation after the end of regulation.

Coach Z: Well guys, that was a great fourth quarter comeback. But remember -- we're trying to lose. The refs are doing their part -- you need to do yours.

[Player name redacted]: But Coach, doesn't that make us sort of... like... a disgrace to the game?

Coach Z: Do as you're told! If you don't, I'll put Tamika back in and make sure we lose!

Mission Accomplished.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Something else Stever caught, and we missed, this weekend: Diana rips Pat for ending the UConn series.

"I'm really disappointed about this. It took so much to build it up," she told the Courant. "But you know, I just guess that certain people don't think this is an important game anymore. ... So let's find someone else and make something beautiful happen, like Rutgers, LSU or Duke."

What about those allegations around the recruiting of Maya Moore? "if [that was Summit's] reason for stopping the game then [UConn] are better off not being a part of it."
In an exceptionally thoughtful essay, Christine Baker says what it's like to be a high school coach-- and how the job has changed. (It's behind the subscription wall at Full Court, but it's the sort of piece that should make subscribers glad they subscribed.)

Baker, last seen as a saddened Liberty fan, coaches at Rye Country Day, where almost all the parents expect their kids to go to college (whether or not they play hoops).

How different does the job of a coach feel at a high school like, say, Miami-Edison, known around here for its links to Sylvia Fowles?
That ESPN story on Sue and Diana in Russia is the media gift that keeps on giving: at the L.A. Daily News, Paul Oberjuerge uses it as a jumping-off point to discuss all the bad things about year-round pro ball. (Thanks to Stever for finding the piece.)

The scheduling problems are a headache, but the real threat to the W-- or at least to the quality of play in the W-- is the strain on players' bodies created by the lack of an off-season.

Diana opines that year-round ball is why Holdsclaw quit the WNBA. "She said, `You know what, I've played for so long, I'm going to take my summers off and play overseas (in the winter) and still make great money... That might be the trend for people who get a little bit older."

Including Diana herself: "If I keep this up," she says, "I can play only four or five more years."
The league has announced all most of the All-Star Reserves. The West and East coaches will still have to pick replacements for the injured Bird and Hammon.

Not selected (or not yet): Sophia Young, Katie Smith, Kara Lawson, Loree Moore. Oscar Dixon investigates.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Fever won again yesterday, beating Chicago easily.

Everything is great in Indiana right now. Six players hit double figures. Catchings became the first player in league history to have a 7-7-7-7 game. The Fever sit at 13-4, the best record in the league.

"I really feel like we have a good enough team that we can be a dominant team. Period," Catch said. But can you beat Detroit in the playoffs?
Houston got its first road win as the Lynx swoon continued. Minnesota sucked inside; Ohlde was 1 for 8.

"The difference in this game was when they threw the ball inside, good things happened," coach Zierden said. "When we threw the ball inside, we didn't get the job done."

Houston is climbing out of the cellar while the Lynx are climbing in. (But is there anyone here who really wants Minnesota to win this year?)
After one quarter, it looked like a Phoenix road win. After two, a wonderful, fast-paced game. And after three, it was quite clear that Detroit would grind the Mercury into a powder.

The Shock snapped a losing streak by scoring the most points in the history of the franchise, 111 to the Mercury's 82. Detroit's dominance included a 19-0 run and a 72-point second half; they also doubled up the Merc in rebounds and held Paul Westhead's starters to 2-18 from downtown. "We got back to the basics," Katie Smith said.

The Shock's fireworks show also included the effective pro debut of Ivory Latta: coach Laimbeer once told us she wouldn't play much this year, but last night she got a career high in minutes and in points: she had 20 of each.

As for the Mercury's tactics... if I've seen one game like this, I've seen fifteen: the Mercury take a big early lead, then trail when their legs get tired and their jump shots stop falling, and just don't have a plan B. They're almost surely going to make the playoffs, but what will they do when they get there?
Maybe it is a good year to be a Liberty fan: the home team came out strong, the Monarchs came out discombobulated and flat, and the Lib gained a twenty-point lead in ten minutes, then played well enough to preserve the win.

In her first start at the Garden, McCarville looked good. In fact, she finally looked like a top-five draft pick, someone who should start for a good team-- especially if the other starting post is slower, but taller, and shoots threes.

Loree Moore on Janel: "She's a good rebounder, a good passer. But I think it's her attitude, her toughness that has really trickled down."

For the visitors, Brunson had fine numbers (18 and 9) but couldn't overcome the Lib's team effort. "In the first quarter they kicked our tails," said coach Boucek. That's about right.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

MSG-TV commentators for some Liberty road games never leave New York, announcing the games from the studio while watching them on video. It's a cost-saving measure, and Liberty fans shouldn't mind: they still get to see their team on TV way more often than other fans get to see theirs.
Are there more technical fouls in the W this year? Or are there just more technicals on Connecticut?
More talk from Dave King about expansion to Colorado. Let's hope he and Triple Crown can find the capital to make it work.
San Antonio without Hammon versus Seattle without Bird: who wins? In Texas, it was the Stars, who just managed to hang on after a huge first-half lead.

Erin Buescher was the hero: her career-high 27 points included a crucial late trey. "I don't know if I've seen as good of a quality player in this league as her," said Scowlin' Brian Agler. "I'm so happy she is being rewarded now." (We're happy too-- but we think Agler forgot someone.)

Hammon will return to the lineup Wednesday, when San Antonio meet the Mercury. Is the West's playoff roster already set?
Tina Charles's shoulder: at last, surgically repaired.
Connecticut broke the century mark for the second time in two nights; this time, the Sun won. Douglas and Maltsi-- you know, that Maltsi-- combined for 51 points (12-14 from downtown).

L.A. without Leslie or Holdsclaw or Temeka Johnson look like a team not even Michael Cooper can make work: the Sparks have lost five straight. M-Coop:"I thought we were about defense, but obviously, we're not. We're going to go back to the drawing board and keep drawing."
A scrappy match with lots of missed layups from both teams became Chicago's game to lose. They lost it, falling apart offensively, allowing a late run, and giving a road win to the hungrier Mystics.

Beard scored 25, Dupree 24; Chas Melvin tallied her three-thousandth point.

Has the Sun-Times stopped sending reporters to their home team's home games? Perhaps they'll send someone down I-65 today, when the Sky meet the Fever. The Indy Star's Michael Pointer examines his home team's best season yet.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Immaculata movie will apparently star Ellen Burstyn and David Boreanaz. (Note to director: don't ask him to do any accents.)
Clay hates All-Star Games but names his own All-Stars anyway.
High school megastar Elena Delle Donne won't play basketball this summer: she's decided to skip the U.S. U19s.

Good for her. "I wish I had done this a while ago when things weren't as complicated," she said.