Women's Hoops Blog: June 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Monday, June 30, 2008

Over at Rethinking Basketball, Q offers some background to the Ms. McGee and son story -- something I now remember, but young pups probably have no reason to know.
Longtime WNBA fans may remember Pamela’s custody battle over her daughter, Imani, in 1998, which was the first such custody battle for a WNBA mother. At that time, Pamela was accused of being incapable of balancing the demands of being a professional athlete with the demands of being a good parent.
He also wonders about the "mutterings" at Pam's involvement in her son's pre-draft tryouts. (SO resonating with me, who's reading Susan Faludi's "Backlash" for the first time.)
In spite of the unfortunate color choice, I'll point you to a "WATN Pt. 3?" -- this time Tonya Edwards is a head coach. (h/t pilight)

All these flashbacks bring up an old question: Why the heck doesn't the .com have an alumni page? Not too hard, great promotion, and it keeps the history of the women's basketball alive.

Hmmm... on reflection, I may have to rethink the "not too hard" part, since Courtside LIVE is toujours mort.
Speaking of law and point guards, dumb luck brought this Pt. 2 of WATN? News about an ex-Lib/Miracle/Sol player:

Kisha Ford spent 2006-2007 working as a Forensic Accountant for the accounting firm KPMG in Atlanta, Georgia. There she continued her professional development as a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) in the anti-fraud community. Coach Ford went back to school to pursue her MBA with a concentration in Accounting at Baker College, which she completed in 2007.
Ford is now the head coach at Lane College, Jackson, TN.
Today's edition of "Where are they now?" features Anita Ortega, point guard on the 1978 UCLA championship team. She's an LAPD captain.

(What is it about point guards and law or law enforcement?)

You can read more about the All-American at "License to Thrive: 35 years of Title IX."
Robin Roberts will be this year's recepient of the 2008 WNBA Inspiration Award.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Via pilight, Candice Wiggins describes her new life in the land of the Lynx.

So does coach Zierden-- with uncommon honesty: "If I had a nickel for every person who grabbed me and said we needed a post player, I'd have something to spend," he says. "Obviously our need was up front, but we're not just one player away from the championship level. So we took Candice." And he doesn't regret it. (Nor do I.)
Was every game on Saturday an upset? Looks like it:

1. The Sky surprised Detroit in Chicago. The home team, having given up a load of late leads, had gone winless since June 7.

"This was huge," said Dominique Canty. Dupree led everybody with 18; Nolan had a real off night (2-15, 0-2).

2. The Silver Stars defeated the Lynx in San Antonio. The home team had an easier time of it because Augustus had a sprained big toe; it's not clear when she will return. Sophia Young ruled the high post; she finished with 20.

3. In the game you might wish you had seen (unless you're a Lib fan), Kara Lawson led her Monarchs past the Liberty in a close one at Arco Arena: she sank four treys despite a still-hurt shoulder. The 'Narchs tied the team's season high in points so far.

4. We're going to have to stop calling the Comets "struggling": Karleen Thompson's squad, who lost seven straight in May, have now won six of seven, and four in a row.

Last night the Comets took care of the Fever in Houston. Rookie Ajavon came off the bench to outscore Douglas and Catchings combined.

Even weirder: the Comets did it without Tina Thompson, who still has a broken finger. Between Cappie, Matee and Essence, I'm starting to think that coach Stringer's system-- focused on defense, conditioning and one-on-one play-- might do an exceptional job of preparing her best players for the pros.

In other news from Houston, the Comets waived Ashley Shields, the only first-rounder ever to go straight from junior college to the W-- where she didn't work out so well.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What is this, National Overtime Week? In Connecticut, the Sun required an extra frame to get past the Dream, who remain winless after fourteen tries. Atlanta's 0-14 start is now the worst ever for a WNBA team.

How did they almost win it? B-Money scored 44 on 17-32 shooting, a new career high. Only three players (thanks, Paul!) have scored more points in one game.

The Dream overcame a double-digit third-quarter hole; Jones and Whitmore completed a reverse old-fashioned three-point play (made free throw, missed free throw, Asjha's putback) to put the Sun at last ahead for good.

"We kept everybody entertained," said coach Thibault afterwards. "It kind of became a test of wills... That's a good a performance as I've seen. [Lennox] reminded me of Allen Iverson." It's a comparison that's been made before.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Courtside Not-So-LIVE! watch continues as we "watch" CT v Atlanta. Still no box, no stats on the 10 playing and that stupid yellow font is still around.

Slam gives itself props for covering the W and talks with five New York players.
Today's edition of "Where Are They Now?" brings us news on Monica Lamb.
Full Court's Chris Thompson rounds up the West. Biggest surprise: all seven teams out West have a real shot at the playoffs, since the distance from top to bottom is just four games.

Biggest non-surprise: "For Minnesota to stay in contention, Nicole Ohlde will have to start performing better." Some of us have been reading that sentence for years.
McGee #1 (granted, it's from May).

From ESPN.com's Jeremy Lundblad: "Mother-son legacy a first for WNBA/NBA" (h/t BCBG25)

"Coooooooop," he'd chant, then start raising the roof. (It was the mid-'90s, after all).

Like any kid playing basketball, JaVale McGee imitated his idols when messing around on the court. He'd knock down a deep shot and celebrate just as he'd seen the pros do.


But there was no "Coop" in the NBA in those days. McGee was mimicking Cynthia Cooper, his mom's teammate in Europe and a future WNBA star.

"[JaVale] views women differently because he's always been around strong women," said Pamela McGee, his mother.

I had a GREAT time at the game last night -- 'course it helps that the Lib pulled it out.

But, the fact that the Liberty sent out two emails about access changes to the Garden because of the NBA draft that DIDN'T include the information that I would be barred from my usual entrance -- sent me back in time to drag up this August, '07 rant:

What a Season Subscriber Wants, Pt. 1


It's relatively straight forward, but not taken advantage of. Season subscribers should get weekly emails from their home team,(they can be in digest or daily form, like Yahoo sends out news) and they should be designed FOR THEM. Why? 'Cause it doesn't take much to make us feel respected. Really, it doesn't. What does a subscriber email include?

Game notes. Liberty used to send 'em out, they do'em for the press. How hard is it to send it out? You don't have to include the whole text -- just a teaser paragraph or two with a LINK to the NYLiberty website. [Year later add-on: they're happening]

Women's basketball related information: I'm not sure that MSG separates Garden events from W and Women's College basketball events. I get lots of invites to attend concerts I'm not interested and (actually) can't really afford. BUT, the Maggie Dixon Classic is coming up -- I should have gotten the press release right quick. Links? Patty is an RU grad. Suuueueee is an RU grad. Maybe they host a pre-game get together? USA Basketball is coming to town -- open practices at John Jay would have been cool. A bus down to Trenton would have been cool -- I would have paid for a good ticket, tossed in some money for the bus, and would have loved to have Spoon or Sue or Kym as my host.

Give Away Heads Up

Granted, they've gotten pretty pi$$poor at the Garden but, as a season subscriber, I should NOT have to show up "in time" to get something. AND, I should get it, no matter what my age... (i wanted the yo yo. *sniff*) There's a suite at the Garden --maybe subscribers get their stuff there? Or SOMEwhere..... The email can tell'em where, and remind'em what they're going to get. Oh, and it should include a link to the "We'd like to thank the underwriter of the NYLIberty yo yo... CLICK

It's *FILL IN THE BLANK* night

I keep showing up and the announcement is made that it's Kid's night.. or 70's night... and I had no idea. It was probably somewhere on the Liberty's home page, BUT that's not the point. I should get a "prep" email a week before. Heck, if they want to "Blue-w out the Garden" for Friday's game, they need to ask people to wear their Liberty Blue shirts.... or tell'em to show up in time to pick UP a Blue shirt...

Also, if it's NOT game night, or kids day, or Maddie day (and if you can find our original Maddie, could you please send him back? This new teenager Maddie gets on my nerves...) and is, for instance, Alzheimer Night with a raffle, we should get an email to that effect. With a link to CLICK.

News Links

Yeah, we kinda kicked you to the curb when you had your "email the papers to get them to cover the game" thang... BUT, if you've recovered, here's how to fix it. Your media people photocopy press-clippings for the press -- how about putting together a game story email with LINKS so we can CLICK. Get the word out when the team IS covered, and if we CLICK on the link, we tell the papers that we're interested. NYLiberty.com updates

If you add content to the Lib page, there should be an email with a LINK alerting us. This is important during the season, and ESSENTIAL during the off-season. If you're going to have players playing abroad, you need to send up stat updates on 'em. If they're coaching in the NCAA, ditto -- and if you're payin' them to blog, you NEED to tell your fans that their blog entries are up.... [Year later add on: It also supports people's interest in the W year 'round!]

NYLiberty Ad Libs/Bohemian Rhapsody

Ok, so sometimes they're cheesy, other times they're fab. All the video media you create should be up on the Lib site - and there should be an email sent out with a link... what, you don't think I'd forward the Bohemian Rhapsody link to every W fan I know?????? [Year later add on: AND, since most every team does stuff like this, why isn't there a page where they're all posted? And then a Vote Off at the end of the season?]

Subscriber Survey/Interest thangs

Yellowtail was the event sponsor last year...and there was some sort of meet and greet and debrief with one of the assistant coaches, but it's often done so last minute (and haphazardly) that I wonder about the turnout. Perhaps it's a general email at the beginning of the season saying, "Hey, we're planning 4 or 5 chalk talks for the season -- what are you interested in learning about? Defense? Picks? Breaking down tape? Officiating? The logistics of managing a game (scorers table, stats etc)? I'm sure you can think up other stuff... then you send out follow up invites... I'm sure people would LOVE to talk with Dee or Lisa about the challenges of reffing *sincere, yet lightly evil grin*

Targeted "Get out the Vote/Attendance" emails.

Cost is an issue... and getting people to come to games can be an issue... So, if you're a season subscriber, you should be able to get a discount for a group of five. Maybe one game is chosen as the "Be Our Guest" game. A "group" could be as little as five people. Mid range seats at half-price. And EVERY attendee should get, in return, an incentive to come back. What, you may ask? A buy one get one free coupon. It's about getting butts in the stands, and you get butts in the stands by taking advantage(in a good way) of those who already believe in the game. It's up to the Subscription Manager to CAREFULLY decide what's in a Subscriber email vs. a general Garden, NY LIberty fan email... BUT, at every other game or so, someone should be handing ut a "Sign up for NY Liberty Scoop" cards to fans entering the game -- a small usiness card with the site and an easy-sign up process.

This is women's basketball... the internet is its lifeblood. Hook up the IV, Donna

You want more on Using the Web to Support Women's Basketball 101, check here and Rethinking Basketball here.
In some of last night's less exhausting games:

1. The Shock evened up their season series against the Sun by clobbering them at the Palace. Connecticut shot just 33%. "We were so bad offensively in the first quarter," said coach Thibault, "that we dug a pretty big hole."

The result puts the Shock in a tie for first in the East. It wasn't a perfect night for Detroit, though: Plenette Pierson may have hurt her knee.

2. You might not expect the struggling Comets to beat San Antonio without Tina Thompson, (broken ring finger), but that's what they did in Houston. Sancho Lyttle, in her first start this year, had a new career high. "She went in there and went to work," said teammate Michelle Snow.

3. Chicagoland natives Tan Smith and Cappie Pondexter led the Merc past Chicago in Chicago. The visitors shot 45% from the floor, but just 2-17 from long range, which means that a Sky team without Sylvia Fowles is a team that allows way too many layups: some fans seem near despair.

Phoenix, on the other hand, is a team that will let you miss shots and then get the ball back: the Sky had 20 offensive boards before halftime. ''I felt like they had 105," Diana said. "But you know what, we're used to getting people world records. As long as we get the 'W,' we don't mind.''

4. Last night's other overtime game brought its most surprising result: the Mystics scored 7 points in 33 seconds-- the last 33 seconds-- of regulation, then won a low-scoring overtime to defeat the Sparks.

It was the Mystics' first victory this year against a team with a winning record, and it looks as if overconfidence played a role: "We apologize to you all for the lackluster effort," LLL told L.A fans afterwards. "We're going to correct this and, next game, you're going to see a different Sparks team."
24 hours ago this year's Lib squad had yet to play an overtime period. Now they've played three. Janel McCarville looked as good as she has in her whole pro career as she led the exhausted Liberty past the Fever in 3OT at MSG.

Just watching the game on TV (in HD-- thanks, ESPN!) was pretty exhausting--- by the end most of the players looked worn-out, too. But they wanted the win, and the home team got one at last: NY climbed back out of a big first-half hole, traded one-point leads with Indiana forever, then fell behind by three with seconds to spare; Janel found Kraayeveld in the corner for the trey that forced the initial OT.

In the next 15 minutes of free basketball, McCarville split two free throws with seconds to go (she made the second-- you could hear fans exhale); Christon, Catch and Hoffman all hit timely threes; and Hoffman fouled out.

McCarville (31 points), Hoffman (26), Carson (18), and Sutton-Brown (23) all earned new career highs. Carson's Rutgers-style play-- use up the clock, then drive and get to the line-- looked like a great fit for coach Coyle's don't-rush-things style; McCarville looked, as usual, magnificent in the midst of a crowd in the paint, but vulnerable when isolated on the low block against a far taller TSB.

Since you asked: it was the second-longest game in league history: this one was longest.

And since you didn't ask (lest you be misled by the author tag): Jessie and Steve remain one unit, now as always (she's tired from last night's game too). Steve is simply tired of having to log out of his mail account, then into another, over and over, to post. (If there were two separate Steves here, we would let you know.)
From the NBA draft: JaVale McGee will try and make history for the Washington Wizards. For the first time, a son of a former WNBA player has been drafted by an NBA team.

First, good luck to him.

Second, the real history will be made if he makes the team, does well, and the NBA announcers constantly refer to mama-McGee, ESPN cuts to her in the stands, and there are ongoing chats with her about how she coached/taught/supported her son in learning the ropes of the college and pro game.
I hate it (or should I love it?) when major media outlets steal my stuff.

From the LA Times: "Sparks don't need Candace Parker's dunks to please fans --Their style of play is fun, and no sideshows are necessary."
Seimone and Candice are proving to be quite the 1-2 punch for the Lynx. The duo came up with big shots and free throws down the stretch to help their team defeat the Monarchs 80-76. It was the first time since 2004 the Lynx beat the Monarchs at home.

Minnesota led by as many as 10 points, but Sacramento would not go down without a fight. But each time the Monarchs closed within two points in the closing minutes, the Lynx had an answer.

Augustus finished with 23 points, six rebounds and three assists. She did that while battling stomach pains, nausea and vomiting - the result of a pre-game piece of peach cobbler. "I'll never eat another piece of pie before I come to the game,'' said Augustus. "There was no way I was going to stay out of the game. With a game like this and so much on the line, I wasn't going to miss too many minutes of this.''

Two Monarchs players also battled through ailments. Chelsea Newton went down hard a couple of times during the game, but did return to the game. Kara Lawson's shoulder popped out, but she was also able to return to action and hit a big three pointer in the closing minutes. As much as the shoulder may have hurt, the bigger sting to Lawson may have been the loss.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Courtside LIVE! watch -- LA v. DC. YUP, still no updated stats, no box score, and the choice a yellow font makes it unreadable.

Guess O., Donna can take comfort in the fact that the play-by-play works, huh? I mean, 33% is a great stat. If you're Wade Boggs.

Expecting great and getting grate.
Why are there so few female Sports Information Directors? Marie notes that some research will be presented at the College Sports Information Directors of America (and no, Alex Trebek, it's not because us girls don't know nothin' about sports).
Focus groups with female SIDs show that discrimination and sexism are still a problem and that old-school ideas about women and sports can keep women from opportunities they deserve ("Sometimes I just want to wear my resume on my shirt just to say I am qualified," said one SID). Challenges in reconciling work and family obligations are a big reason women decide to leave the profession.
In the only other game from Tuesday that we're likely to cover today (dunks or no dunks), Indiana came from far back to beat the visiting Monarchs. The Fever would have had an easier time of it had they shot better than 67% from what used to be their favorite place, the free throw line.

The Indy Star profiles that game's hero: once-maligned post player Ebony Hoffman. Anyone know she used to own a winery? She sold it, though: "I'm into other things now."

Things like conditioning: "Ebony has spent an awful lot of time coming early to the gym, staying late," says coach Dunn. No wonder she's improved.

Hey, the Star (that is, the Star's Fever beat reporter, K. L. Porter) also has a Fever blog. Cool. The recharged Fever (hi, Catch!) meet the Lib on ESPN2 tonight.
Also on Tuesday, the Lynx ate the Liberty's lunch. The home team doubled up the visitors early, then had little trouble the rest of the way; Ohlde scored a season-high 14.

Controversy preceded the game, and might have affected its outcome. Some fans had hoped the onetime Gopher great would come home via dispersal draft last year. Did Janel feel the same way? She did, but not anymore: "Once they passed on me, that was basically it. The heck with that. You obviously didn't want me."

Seimone had her irony afterburners on: "The motivation for [our] post players was the comment Janel made. They kind of fed off of that. So thank you, Janel, for that great comment."
Connecticut's bench walloped Detroit's starters at the casino on Tuesday, the first time in six tries the Sun have beaten the Shock. (There's a rematch in Detroit tonight.)

"We won the game with our defense," said coach Thibault, adding "Kerri [Gardin] and Amber [Holt] set a tone." Holt looked very good, and both newcomers shot well, combining for 7-8 from long range.

Those two and the other Sun rookies have done their share, as the Courant's Altavilla explains: will his fine Sun coverage fall victim to the deep cuts coming at that paper this year?
Geno re-ups at UConn: five years, $8 million in all. And yes, that's more than Pat.
Dunks in women's basketball are an interesting thing. Some people love'em because they believe they bring a level of excitement to the game. Some people hate'em because they believe it pushes the women's game more towards a "look at me!" style of play.

Me? I honestly could care less. A quick pondering of the numbers would quickly reveal the miniscule percentage of women's players that can -- or will -- dunk. On the boys side, it's de rigeur (and no one will listen to me when I suggest the boys have outgrown the size of the court and the height of the basket). I don't imagine it will EVER become common place in the women's game.

In fact, for every person who goes, "Ooo, look at the athleticism of *fill-in the blank*, she can dunk. It's amazing to see how the female athlete's body has progressed" there are 10 knuckleheads who are comparing the "quality" of the dunk to a male player's dunk, and using it as a reason to dismiss women's basketball because "It's not like the NBA."

So, when people say a player will "Change the game" because of her ability to dunk, I don't believe'em. That doesn't mean I won't acknowledge Parker's ability to elevate. But to be honest, that's not the part of her game I admire.

The above rambling was inspired by the posting of this: Sylvia Crawely's Blindfolded ABL ASG dunk.
Tamika Catchings writes for the latest issue of Guideposts.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So, what's the power of an unacknowledged correction?

When the men's national basketball team roster was announced, the NYTimes headline read: "U.S. Basketball Roster Announced."

Anyone who's read me for any length of time KNOWS what I posted in the comments section. It read something like
"Gee, I know you're all boy-centered and all, but there are two national teams: Women's and Men's. So, to be accurate, your headline should read U.S. Men's Basketball Roster Announced."
And then I added something nice about "good luck and I hope the team enjoys Beijing and learned from Athens...."

Here's the interesting thang: The correction was made, but my comment is not listed in the comments section. EVEN THOUGH the comments section does have some NYTimes responses and notes of corrections within the original article prompted by comments....

Interesting editorial choice, no?
Lisa and the Sparks educate a local weatherman.....
At Beacon Broadside, our own Helen interviews Pat Griffin of It Takes a Team.
Looks like Temple has their new coach.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Current pet peeve: The reign in Spain falls mainly on those who rein in the castle and hold the rains of power. (And it ain't just me.)

Which allows me to reprint this brilliant ode by a friend:
Too loose a plan can trip you up, and, likewise, two loose shoes.
To loose his wrath upon his friends a gentleman eschews.
A bigamist might marry with two Nancys or two Lous
If you had two loos in England, you might not know which to use
Tool use is for mechanics and brush use for Toulouse
In the tourney semifinals, we always see two lose.
Too, lose your concentration and you may find that you get
Reductio ad absurdum, by the Poet Lariat
Mel says it's Tonya or Natasha at Temple.
Something to watch until the games start tonight: Where the hell is Matt?
If you're not checking the "Rethinking Basketball," blog I can only say, "Why not?"

Latest posts: WNBA 2.0: Can Web 2.0 Tools Help the WNBA Build Its Fanbase? and Candice Wiggins: On the Positive Side of "Combo Guard."
Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker were both honored yesterday.

Catchings was awarded the 2008 female recipient of the Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Award in Tulsa.

Parker was in New York to receive the Honda-Broderick Cup as the nation's top female college athlete.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Marie is back! She takes a peek at the cuts within newspaper sports operations and the impact on diversity (tho some might argue diversity in sports journalism is an oxymoron).

Marie also wonders about female writers in the sports blogosphere.
"Enjoying Liberty, McCarville losing no sleep over Lynx:" Minny's Star Tribune speaks to the Mohawk of Many Colors on the eve of the Lynx-Lib match-up:
Janel McCarville hasn't wasted her energy yearning for Minnesota.

"Once they passed on me, that was basically it," McCarville said. "The heck with that. You obviously didn't want me."
It's Title IX's 36th birthday, but as the T-9 blog reminds us
...while commemorating Title IX on its anniversary, I want to also point also out that despite the statute's 36 years, Title IX enforcement -- especially in the context of athletics -- is not nearly so old. Opponents tied up the enforcement regulations governing athletics with political and judicial battles throughout the 1970s and '80s, and even succeeded in getting the Supreme Court to hold the statute inapplicable to programs, like athletics, that don't directly receive federal funds.

Even though Congress amended the legislation several years later to restore Title IX's applicability to athletics, the Reagan and Bush administrations weren't exactly enthusiastic about enforcing Title IX's mandate. In fact, it wasn't really until the Supreme Court held in 1992 that plaintiffs could sue institutions under Title IX violations for money damages that institutions began taking compliance seriously. Judicial confirmation that Title IX's private right of action extends to sexual harassment by one's peers, and retaliation against third parties, is an even more recent development.
Had one of those days at work that makes you wanna spit, so I'm glad Kathy blogged the Liberty game, 'cause yes, indeed, it was fun, fun, fun!

I did want to give a shout out to a couple of attendees: A W fan from Atlanta made her first trip New York City to cheer for the Merc (oops!). She took the indirect route -- driving from Atlanta to Charlotte to catch a flight. Her luggage was indirect, too, arriving at JFK instead of Laguardia. In spite of her travel adventures and the Merc's misadventures, it's always great to see the loyalty of W fans.

My dad came in from New Jersey -- not so far as Atlanta traveled, but he was thrilled to see a win. He hasn't been so lucky in previous trips. I'd hesitate to suggest it was his choice of head gear (he made a very memorable impression on security one year by showing up in a red, white and blue sequined baseball cap he'd discovered in some store), but clearly the Liberty had I gave him a few Father's Days ago brought the team luck.

It's funny, I grew to love sports because both my parents were athletic and loved to play and watch sports. Mom really could care less about basketball (she'd rather watch football), but dad has become a fan of the W because I have become a fan. A skilled multi-tasker, he often is correcting papers with one eye on the TV (I'm sure not to the detriment of his students). He always seems to know what's up with the team, and early in the season he suggested the Lib stop spotting opponents a double-digit lead. Ah, Dad, from your lips to the Lib's ears.

All in all it was a great day in the Garden: Atlanta and dad in the house, the Lib on fire, enough attendees so there were once again lines in front of the women's bathroom, and the creative staff put together a BRILLIANT video of the team rapping to Sugar Hill Gang's Rapper's Delight. I said a hip hop the hippie to the hippie the hip hip hop, a you dont stop the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie to the rhythm of the boogie...
The wait is over. Candace dunked for the first time in her young WNBA career and her team downed the visiting Fever 77-63.

The dunk certainly delighted the fans and Parker's 10 points and 10 rebounds helped the Sparks maintain their lead in the West. But once again, it was Lisa Leslie leading the way.

"She does all the little things," said Marie Ferdinand-Harris. "She stays after practice, she works hard, she works in the weight room. Being that she just had a baby, she worked three times harder than everybody."
Sacramento won their 200th game as a franchise and handed Chicago their fourth loss in a row.

The Monarchs used a balanced attack and another great performance from Crystal Kelly off the bench to hold off a second half rally from the Sky. "On this team, anyone can step up at any time," said Kelly, who finished with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Candice Dupree and Jia Perkins combined for 38 points in a losing effort.
Ivory Latta's career best scoring effort was not enough to give the Dream their first win.

Latta had 26 points and 10 assists, but her team is lacking in the two things that Bill Laimbeer says are keys to winning - defense and rebounding. Laimbeer's Shock had it. The Dream did not.

Cheryl Ford had one of her best offensive games of the season with 20 points (and 13 rebounds). Tasha Humphrey had a successful return home with 16, as did Katie Smith.
The Liberty and their fans had fun yesterday at MSG. They scored more than 100 points for the first time in franchise history as they demolished the Mercury 105-72.

New York made it look easy as six players reached double figures and every player scored. The Liberty benefitted from the return of Loree Moore to the line up and poor defense from the Merc. "They couldn't stop us. And I think we found our confidence," Moore said. "We couldn't do anything wrong, I felt."

While the win was nice, Patty Coyle knows her team still has work to do. "If we're going to move into that upper echelon, we're going to have to be consistent," the coach said of her young team. "We need to understand it was one game and one game only."

Fortunately for the Mercury, they had special plans today which may have helped them move past yesterday's loss.
Mel says it looks like George Washington has a new coach.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

So, really, someone tell me please: Why does WNBA.com invite me to Check out COURTSIDE LIVE! when the system doesn't work?

Perhaps they should remove the invite or contact Gametracker..
Probably still exhausted, not to mention deflated, from Friday night's overtime loss, the Lynx played some crappy basketball at home last night, and fell to the not-so-great Comets. Tina Thompson, as usual, led her team.

Also scoring, in giant bunches, and playing superb man-to-man defense at game's end: Candice Wiggins, who nearly won the day even though (sighs heavily) the Lynx shot 27% from the field, 67% from the line; both sides had more turnovers than assists.

Speaking of Candice (and Candace, and Jolene): Sharon says this year's draft is the best ever, and tosses up a couple of numbers to prove it.

Better news for Lynx fans: next year might include an outdoor game. "Everyone wants to be outside" in a Minnesota summer, says Lynx VP Angela Taylor, adding, "There is a huge possibility of our doing this." (It's been-- and I think this is good news-- bruited for years.)

The Lib and the Fever will face off this summer in Queens, in what appears to be the first open-air game (women's or men's) in the history of American pro basketball.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Other Friday games we didn't see:

1. Connecticut squelched Sacramento, holding the Monarchs to 56 points on 34% shooting.

For the losing side, Brunson excelled, with 19 and 10. For the winners, Barb Turner continued to look like a true pro, canning 3-6 three-pointers; Swanier, who started a few games ago, did not play.

2. In a late comeback, Seattle beat Indy in Key Arena. Bird and Wright led the way. If I had time, I'd read the I-was-there blogs here, and especially here.

3. The Silver Stars took a big early lead and just hung on to beat the Sparks in San Antonio: it was the home team's biggest win this year.

The Parkers Sparks have been drawing record or near-record crowds for all of their road games, and that means that when home teams beat them it can be a turning point in their season, for the players and for the folks in sales: let's see how San Antonio draw in July.

Hey, have you noticed that the Stars, too, have a blog sponsored by a hometown paper? Welcome to the club.

Oh, and Ann Wauters scored 21. "It's fun to play against the best players in the world," she said. (More fun than when she was a Liberty? Could be.)
'Twas a barn-burner in the US Airways Center, as the Sky and Mercury went in to overtime before Phoenix clinched the win, 112-105. A heartbreaking loss for the very feisty Chicago team (Syl, get well soon!) and another much needed victory for last year's champs.

Looked like the Merc had the game locked up in regular time after a late three by Taurasi (basketball mojo is real, radio guy!), but the Sky fought back, courtesy of Perkins, took the lead and could smell a win. But, a Barb Farris put back of a Cappie Pondexter’s missed lay-up with five seconds left tied the game at 95, so they played an extra five.

The box shows three players with 30 or more points: Diana, who only had 12 after 3 quarters, finished with 33 (the 14th time in her career going over the 30-point mark, tied for second in WNBA history). Cappie notched 31 (making C&D the first duo to notch simultaneous 30+ games twice - an awkward sentence, but you get what I'm trying to say). Jia "Holy Carp, she's on fiyah!" Perkins finished with 30. The other "ice" - Candice Dupree - was a basket short of making it a foursome of 30s.

Great game to listen to online, and I'm sure it was a hoot (and heart attack) to watch. Said the Queen o' da Bun:
“Growing up, those are the games you want to play in,” Taurasi said. “Up and down, people making plays.”
Which reminds me - 'splain to me again, O the Donna, why the radio feed cuts out just as the post-game interview starts? Can you say, "ARRRRRGGGGGH!"
Deanna Nolan virtually defeated the Lynx by herself. The player with the best ups, and maybe the speediest drives, in the W scored 44, a career and franchise high, in an overtime victory.

Nolan tallied the last two three pointers and then the last three free throws of regulation, by which the Shock forced the extra frame, then made the go-ahead buckets in OT. "Once she got rolling it was fun to watch," said coach Laimbeer. "They couldn't stop her and we needed every point."

The Lynx blew a five-point lead in the final minute: some question the calls coach Zierden made. When you're up three with one possession left, you have no fouls to give, and your opponent has a sideline inbounds, should you foul deliberately, or guard without fouling and contest the inevitable three-point shot?

It's a debate that will rage for as long as there's basketball, since the deliberate foul allows for a reverse three-point play on a miss and an O-board, especially if the floor includes Cheryl Ford. And yet Lynx fans might well feel Z made the wrong call.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"An Honor Worth Bearing."

South Carolina’s women’s coach [Dawn Staley] just keeps adding hardware to her crowded mantle. She was a two-time national player of the year at Virginia and a five-time all-star in the WNBA. She tops the Temple women’s program in wins as a coach. She owns three Olympic gold medals as a player.

There is one honor, though, that trumps all those.

Staley led the United States contingent into Olympic Stadium four years ago in Athens, Greece. She was the first basketball player to carry the flag. She became the 20th athlete to carry the U.S. flag since the tradition began for the 1908 Games. She joined the company of such luminaries as Rafer Johnson (1960) and Evelyn Ashford (1988).

“It was incredible because you don’t dream about that,” Staley says. “You dream about being an Olympian, winning the gold medal, graduating from college, but never in a million years of being a flag-bearer for the Olympic team.”

The Tulsa paper does a couple of pieces on Rebecca Lobo - a Q&A and an article, "Lobo Dreamed of the NBA."
Is Candace Parker the next Magic Johnson?
Christine Brennan writes about the blurry borderlines for Olympians and talks to Anne Donovan about Becky's decision.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oh, goodie - a new chapter in the Madison Square Garden ownership soap opera:
The NHL is threatening to kick the owners of the New York Rangers out of the league as punishment for accusing league officials of violating antitrust laws.

The NHL filed court papers Wednesday that included a draft letter from commissioner Gary Bettman proposing discipline against Madison Square Garden, L.P., that could lead to suspension or termination of its ownership of the Rangers.
From Canada, an article about "The ACL Club."

Couple of thoughts: lots of regurgitation of the basic "information" out there. I use quotation marks because nothing is actually backed with facts. Even the "prevention techniques" mentioned in the article seem to rely on anecdotal information to prove their effectiveness.

Also, I wonder about this statement: "And, unlike men's, female ACL injuries are usually not the result of a collision."

Is that actually true? Does someone out there have information on how ACL tears happen in men? (Tiger being the newest member of the "Club.")
1. L.A. handled Chicago at Staples; the Sparks led throughout. The Sky won't be very good till Fowles comes back, will they?

2. DC beat Houston in Houston with a late comeback: Alana scored 23. Kris at the HRR liveblogged the game.

Also from Kris: how do Comets fans feel about their new, and smaller, arena?

3. The Fever played great D for three quarters in Indy (if not four): the team ended up with a big win over the Liberty, though McCarville scored 23 (two below her career high).

Lin Dunn says next time, she might move Catch away from the paint, creating a pair of shooters (Catchings and Douglas) almost nobody could guard.

Dunn also says the Fever could be the next Celtics. Catch agrees: "KG hadn't won a championship yet. And me and him, I feel like we're the same players, we just want to win so bad. He said anything is possible so anything is possible, this might be our year, too." (You know, it might.)

4. Atlanta lost again to the visiting Silver Stars. As usual, the Dream couldn't control the paint: Ann Wauters cleaned up with 18 and 13. Is Wauters' return the most important on-court story nobody talks about?

On the other hand, the slender Stacey Lovelace, who has been misused as an interior player for most of her career, finished with a career-high 18 points (and 5 steals, on 8-19 shooting). She's also spent her whole W career on bad teams: could she play a role on a good one?

5. Phoenix fans finally saw the team they've been waiting for: the Mercury clobbered Connnecticut.

What happened? It looks like Diana went off: 32 points on 11-15 (3-6) shooting. (There are pros who can guard her, but they don't play for the Sun.) Also helpful: the return of Tan Smith, who hadn't played in about two weeks. "Just Tangela's presence alone makes a difference," coach Gaines said.

Fun fact for Sun fans: one-third of the way through the season, Lindsay has now made almost as many three-pointers as she made for the whole of last year-- and, from last year, her percentage from downtown has almost doubled (it's about where it was in 2004 and '05).
OUCH!! From the AP:
Southeast Missouri’s women’s basketball team was ordered to forfeit 44 victories Wednesday and the NCAA placed both the women’s and men’s programs on two years of probation for major and secondary violations.

The NCAA Committee on Infractions said the violations in the women’s program in the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons primarily involved impermissible housing, transportation and meals for prospective student athletes who moved near the university in the summer before enrolling for the first time. The men’s basketball program was penalized for allowing ineligible transfers to travel and practice.
Fresno is giving Johnson-Klein $9 million.

Gosh, that's a nice chunk of money. Does J-K know that the Women's Sports Foundation is a charitable organization and, most likely, laid the foundation of work that led to her getting that settlement? (hint, hint)
Over at Rebkell, there's a discussion of turnovers and the (possible) impact of playing (or not playing) pickup games. In an example of nice timing, Rethinking Basketball posted an article from the LA Times on women and pick up basketball.

From the article, "The male moral dilemma: How do you play hoops against a woman?":
Brian Shaw, a Lakers assistant coach, knows the problem only too well after scrimmaging with the Sparks last summer. The former Lakers guard, who retired in 2003, said he was looking to stay in shape by hitting a few baskets. Instead, he hit the dilemma.

"When playing against females you have to get over the initial holding back," he said. "After they hit you a few times and do some of the same stuff that guys do, you forget you're playing against girls.

"The first night we played them, we lost. The second night, we played harder and we won. When it comes down to it, it's just basketball."
(Un)-Inspired by the "Expect Great" commercials, a new blog has appeared: Rethinking Basketball. Latest post? "How Point Guards Influence the Game - Part 2."
So I maintain that even in a shooting slump, Sue Bird is the best pure point guard in the league right now, with Lindsay Whalen a close second.

We all probably have our favorite point guards, but how can we determine what makes a great point guard?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

So, Lib fans -- where do you think the team will play when the Dolan's kick'em out during renovations?
'cause it's a fun quote... From the after atalanta post, "It's all about the gear."
And finally, a while ago a woman who has started a company that makes hockey gear for girls emailed me. She asked me to mention her company and provided a link to the website. She had seen a previous post I did about another such company. But apparently she missed the point of that post where I bemoaned the pinkification of sports where girls' apparel has to be pink or purple and have polka dots so the girls feel better about playing sports such as hockey. I checked out the site. No polka dots but lots of animal prints; some pink. And the athletes are referred to as "ladies" and we know how I feel about that. So, needless to say, I will not be promoting said website.
A bit of a follow-on to the Sokolove/ACL furor from the Title IX blog:
The recent spate of studies and articles on injury rates--most of which focus on ACL tears--in female athletes could be part of a trend of inferiorizing the female body, which of course has ramifications for women's sports and female athletes and future female athletes. Maybe I am sounding the alarm a little early here, but this article in Science News that is reporting on a study of amenorrhea [the absence of menstruation] in young (teenage or early 20s) female athletes makes me nervous,
Read why here.
OT: A dear friend got married this past weekend. It was a lovely, lovely ceremony and so clearly a union of two people who loved each other.

Much like the unions of the many who got married in California on Monday.

Lord knows there's enough hate and despair in today's world. That people simply celebrate the miracle that is finding "the someone" you want to spend the rest of your life is just beyond sad.

With that happy thought, a little follow-up to the "Loving Day" post via Bob. He directed me to Jspot.org and Jeremy Burton's entry, "Mildred Loving, RIP."

Mrs. Loving, of Loving v. Virginia fame, was the woman, along with her husband Richard, who challenged the miscegenation laws, leading to a Supreme Court ruling allowing inter-racial marriage in America in 1967. Writes Burton:
In recent years I've had many opportunities to work on Jews of Color issues (for a fantastic book on this topic, see Melanie Kaye-Kantrowitz's "The Color of Jews," in which I have a bit part). Its important to remember that a substantial part of the Jews of Color story in this country would not be possible - or would certainly have developed very differently - without the Loving's courage (substantial but not all, since many Jews of Color come from non-European historically Jewish backgrounds, from adoption, or from non-racially mixed families of conversion, for example). And that courage, while not blind to larger impact, was informed by a very personal desire - to love freely and openly.

Whats also worth holding up at this time is the direct line from Loving to the most important marriage rights issue of our generation - equal marriage rights for same-sex families, and their is a profound narrative connection between these two civil rights causes.
In "Leading By Example," Billy Turner of the Times-Picayune writes a loving tribute to high school coach Geraldine 'Jelly' Pigott who, this Saturday, will finally be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

The times were different, the game was different and the athletes were different.

But one thing always was the same for Geraldine "Jelly" Pigott, who coached high school basketball in the 1950s and '60s. Winning never changed. It was a product of discipline and hard work.

Pigott certainly did more than her share of winning, too. She won six state girls basketball titles and finished second three times in 18 seasons at Jena High School. Though the total is unknown, most reports have her victory total at more than 900.


I had older sisters who played for her, and she was the same all the way through," [former player Kay] Smith said. "She taught us so much about life. The drills were not just flashy, they had a reason for all of them. She taught us how to lose, as well, we just didn't do it very often. I'm not bragging, that's just the way it was.

"Back then, all the publicity went to the football team, which didn't even have a winning team. But with her, I do believe she put Jena on the map.

In Ryan's column on enjoying a WNBA game, he wrote:

The blunt truth is that most guys still maintain a vision of basketball that must include lots of dunks and high-flying maneuvers, which means they can't get into the women's game. I'm not sure that's ever going to change, although Cooper says he's seeing a slight improvement.

"We are starting to get some single guys in the stands," he insists. I hope he's correct.
A reminder and a response (or, an experience).

Building a diverse fanbase -- both male and female -- will take time. It seems to me most fans get "imprinted" early in their life. One of my earliest memories is watching football with my mom and dad. I still love football.... I'm pretty fond of baseball, because in high school I attended a Red Sox game in the Luis Tiant era... Pro basketball? Feh -- never really watched it...

Walking into the Garden in the summer of 1997 "imprinted" me like a smack upside the head... I still get goosebumps.

But, if you don't even know that women's basketball exists, it's hard for that to happen.

It's also hard for that to happen if you've learned that only boy-sports are important. And there's no denying that's still taught -- implicitly and explicity. (And I won't go in to the email exchange I had with Mr. Ryan about the missing qualifier when he wrote about Bobby Knight's victories. But he called me PC and I called him inaccurate...)

But, I'm not giving up on the male wbball fan -- especially when I look to the future and think of all those young kids attending games. They don't know "girls can't play basketball," and no, they wouldn't say that.

Case in point? Yesterday, I'm in a school hallway in NYC. Slouched on a bench outside the main office is a young boy -- maybe 4th grade-ish. Dunno if he's in trouble, but I notice he's got a Titans t-shirt on. (No, not Houston or Tennessee -- this is pro men's laccrosse.) I, of course, have to strike up a conversation...

Me: Titans, huh? You're a fan?

Young boy: Love'm

Me: Cool -- I'm a fan of the Liberty. You and I are both fans of teams most people don't know exist.

Young boy: I love the Liberty, too.

Me: Rockin'!

Young boy: I thought they were going to lose that game against Minny.

Me: Me too -- but that Wiggins, she's a great player. Gotta get to class. See ya.

As I walked off he gave me a wave and a huge grin.

Yup, I have hope.
Had we stayed up to watch West Coast hoops on Monday night, we would have seen a corker: Ashja Jones finished a neat layup (assist: Whalen) that gave the Sun the last lead in a back-and-forth game.

Lauren Jackson led all scorers by a lot, but the rest of her team combined to shoot 16-47 (34%).

By the way, does Seattle have the best online presence, or what? Jayda blogs games, Kevin blogs games, the fan forum is at least as active as any of them, and then there are the separate, doubly attractive,official and unofficial Storm blogs.

The Sun continue their West Coast swing tonight when they visit the Merc, who seem just as surprised to be doing badly as some fans are to see the Sun doing well. "They're winning the games we're not," Diana says.

Ketia Swanier tells Nutmeg State reporters that she likes coming off the bench for a winning team: "It's not as hard as it was [at UConn] when I was expected to do things right away."
ODU welcomes a proud recruit from Scotland.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

News from It Takes a Team!:

On June 18 Out Professionals will host “Home Run or Strikeout: 25 Years of Gay & Lesbian Sports” at its New York City office. Pat Griffin, It Takes A Team! Director; Donna Lopiano, former Women’s Sports Foundation CEO; Sue Wicks, former WNBA player; and others will discuss gay and lesbian achievements in athletics around the world.

If you're interested in attending, click here.

Also, this past April, It Takes A Team! Director Pat Griffin organized and participated in a panel at the WBCA's Conference during the Final Four in Tampa entitled “Seeking Common Ground: Conversations Among Lesbians, Christians and Christian Lesbians.” The purpose of the panel was to explore areas of common ground among women in sport who hold divergent views and beliefs about homosexuality and the role of religion in sport.
The panel conversation was deemed an important first step toward identifying ways that women from diverse backgrounds and identities can participate on sports teams respectfully and successfully by the 40 coaches who attended and by the panelists. staffer, Melanie Bennett, video-taped the one hour panel discussion which will be posted on the ITAT web page in the near future. The panelists will be scheduling a phone conference soon to identify what the second step will be in continuing this important dialogue.

After the event Griffin interviewed Bridgett Williams, the Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Wright State University, about bridging the gap between Christian and lesbian athletes. Read the interview here.
The Mystics Insider blog tracks down Vicky Bullett.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan attended his first WNBA game last week .... and he liked it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It was a tale of two halves that saw the Sparks battle back to defeat the Monarchs on the road 74-66.

The Monarchs dominated a first half in which they led by as many as 17 points. But Los Angeles woke up from their sleep walking in the second half. And Sacramento went cold, going 0-15 from the floor in the third quarter.

The Sparks frontcourt paced the Sparks, including 15 points and 9 rebounds from Candace Parker. Becky Brunson scored 16 for the Monarchs.

It's sports," Jenny Boucek said. "You know, stuff happens. We knew what we needed to do – we just did it in the first half. We had a drop off in our intensity and our aggressiveness."
Sheryl Swoopes made her first return to Houston as a member of the Seattle Storm and her old team topped her new one.

The Comets led throughout, based on the play of Tina Thompson and Pee Wee Johnson and the team's defense. Seattle did get within three with 18 seconds left, but the Comets controlled the ball after a tie up and jump ball and closed it out with free throws. But according to Jayda, the actual jump ball may be one that should be reviewed by Dee Kantner. Kris from HRR also makes a note on the officiating.

Lauren Jackson led the Storm with 18 points and 9 rebounds and Tanisha Wright had a nice game off the bench with 14 points. But overall the team struggled offensively.
The two teams who competed for last year's WNBA title had their first rematch of the 2008 season and the Shock came out on top.

Leading the way, perhaps surprising to some, were rookies Tasha Humphrey and Alexis Hornbuckle. Humphrey came in averaging about three points a game and started only her second game of the season. But she definitely made the most of her opportunity and minutes, scoring 28 points in under 26 minutes of action. Hornbuckle grabbed the most rebounds by a guard in team history.

“Our rookies really played great tonight,” Bill Laimbeer said. “We knew about Hornbuckle and we know that she is really a solid player. Humphrey just got her opportunity recently and she has been working really hard for this. We know she can score we just never knew she could score like this.”

The rookies received help from veterans Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan and outplayed the high scoring Mercury duo of Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter. Taurasi and Pondexter combined to go 6-37 from the floor, but their team did make a second half run to pull within five. Detroit answered with back to back three pointers.

Corey Gaines was not as concerned about the shooting woes of his team as much as the hustle and desire. “The shots aren’t it because we’ve won games shooting bad,” he said. “They got loose balls at key situations.”
For the second game in a row, the Lynx got down, rallied, but came up short as they fell to the Liberty 77-76.

Candice Wiggins had a new career high and Anna DeForge and Seimone Augustus combined to add 30 points for the Lynx. Wiggins had a shot to win the game, but thanks to solid defense by Essence Carson, it did not fall and Cathrine Kraayeveld collected the rebound.

The Liberty had a balanced offensive attack, did a better job of sharing the ball and outrebounded the Lynx. New York is currently starting a rookie backcourt, but is receiving valuable experience and leadership from their frontcourt according to Patty Coyle.

New York now is above .500 on the season.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Unable to make it to Knoxville this weekend for the WBHOF Class of 2008 induction activities? Don't worry, Mel is there. He is talking to all of the inductees and reveals that we can look forward to a special edition of Beth and Debbie's Shootaround podcast.

Dan Fleser of the Knoxville News-Sentinel profiles inductee Suzie McConnell-Serio. Phil Richards of the Indy Star focuses on native daughter Patty Broderick, only the third official to be honored. The Richmond Times-Dispatch shows how Debbie Ryan could be honored for much more than her success as a coach.
In a showdown of two of the teams that have not lost at home, the Silver Stars rallied to keep their streak alive.

San Antonio played better defense and used the play of Vickie Johnson, Sophia Young, Becky Hammon and Ann Wauters to come back in the second half. Hammon finished with 17, Johnson with 16, Young with 15 and Wauters with 8 points and 10 rebounds.

Sue Bird broke out of her scoring slump for a game high 21 points, but had only four in the second half. Lauren Jackson added 18, but they did not receive much help. Jayda said the mood in the locker room after the game was not fun as the Storm believe they let one slip away.
In the game that was on TV, the Mystics ended their five game losing streak and continued their dominance over the Sky with a 64-57 win on the road.

Both teams struggled - the Sky with their shots and the Mystics with turnovers. But Alana Beard took over late in the game, scoring 12 of her team's final 14 points. Jia Perkins tried to keep up with Beard as the two traded baskets on four straight possessions. But Perkins and the Sky eventually ran out of answers. "Every time they needed a score, they scored," said Perkins, who finished with 17 points. "That doesn't say much for our defense."

"That's a team we should beat," Steve Key said of the Mystics. "We know we should beat them and they know it, otherwise they wouldn't have played a zone on us. Our inability to attack a zone was a problem. We couldn't get a shot up. That should not happen."
The Fever avoided being the first team to lose to the Dream with a 76-67 win on the road.

Tan White led four players in double figures with a game and season high 21. Indiana was sloppy early on, but did a better job taking care of the ball in the second half. They also did a good job of getting to the line (32 times compared to 15 for the Dream).

While the Dream are off to a rough start to their franchise, they seem to have the right attitude. "I think that's just how it's going to be for us for the rest of the year. We're an expansion team, and a lot of the other teams just don't have the respect for us," Kristen Mann said. "Hard work pays off and being scrappy and diving for loose balls. It's those little things that become big things. Eventually it's going to pay off, and we're going to get the win."

One thing that should help is the return of Iziane Castro Marques next week from Brazil.
Too bad this one was not on TV. The top team in the West needed overtime to take care of the top team in the East.

The Sparks opened the game strong and led 20-4, before the Sun battled back. Ketia Swanier's three pointer in the fourth quarter gave the Sun their first lead of the game. Connecticut had a lead in overtime, until Sidney Spencer hit a three to give her team the lead for good. Keisha Brown stole the ball from Lindsay Whalen and hit two free throws to help seal the win.

The Sparks' starting five all scored in double figures and and the team had an impressive 26 assists, including 11 from Brown. The big 3 from the Sun led their team with a combined 56 points. "It was there to win against what everybody says is the best team," Mike Thibault said. "We have a lot of work to do to get better, but I think we're close. ... They hit us with a barrage, but we got back out of it with a chance to win."

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Lynx could not overcome a dismal second quarter, their sloppy play or the Monarchs.

After trailing by as many as 19, Minnesota fought back in the second half and eventually pulled within a point, but Sacramento closed out the game with clutch free throws from Ticha Penicheiro . "All three of our losses have come down to the last three minutes of the basketball game, and that's when you have to be at your best," explains Coach Z.

Rookie Crystal Kelly was impressive for Sacramento off the bench and Nicole Powell did a great job behind the arc. While both teams played all of their active rosters, it was the Monarchs who seemed to have more balance and depth.

Despite losing their last two (and three of four), the Lynx are ready to bounce back. "I don't think there is a reason to panic,'' Nicky Anosike said. "We will refocus and move on. We will take a look at what we didn't do and move on to improve on that.''

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Check out the U-18 roster and get a jump on the peeps they'll be calling "the fabulous frosh."
Okay, this is another OT -- but it really gnawed at me.... Mostly because the headline was so not what I found in the content (which offers me a great opportunity to remind you that authors are often not responsible for headlines).

From the New York Times, When Conscience and Closet Collide:
Five years ago, Mrs. Baden, the lawyer, rarely gave much thought to paying full retail for an evening dress she was unlikely to wear again. But in the weeks approaching a recent gala, she bought a Chanel gown at Ricky’s on eBay for one third of its original $10,000 price. “I was going to wear it to just one function,” she recalled. “To spend that kind of money — I couldn’t justify it.”
May I be the first teaching artist to say, "Cry me a farkin' river!!!"

Thank you for letting me vent. I feel better now.
Mechelle notices there are a ton of UConn players on the Sun roster.
Having UConn players on the roster obviously isn't just about luring fans who have affection for them because of where they went to school. The fact is, it's wise from a pure basketball standpoint for Sun coach Mike Thibault to get UConn grads whenever they can fit into his team.

That's because competing in that program -- with its demanding standards -- gets players ready for the pro game. Plus, they come with an attitude that winning is expected.
Minnesota Public Radio's blog on baseball expands to basketball and Vanessa Hayden-Johnson for a candid interview.
In anticipation of her induction into the WBHOF, Lin "worth the price of admission" Laursen gets her due from Dan Fleser over at the Knoxville News.

As Central Arizona's new head coach, Denise Cardenas will try to catch Laursen's echo in her own voice.

If she needs any help with one-liners, Laursen is only a comment away. She sensed that Cardenas was growing tired of the big-shoes-to-fill questions and suggested a suitable Laursen-like response.

"Tell them they're only size 7 1/2 and to shut up."

The good news, says Stet Sports Blog, is
...that these days, [Bill] Simmons would kill for the juice the WNBA now enjoys. The talent level has transitioned from middle-aged free agents known only to basketball enthusiasts, to college superstars plucked from ESPN broadcasts and the attention of casual sports fans.

The bad news?
The WNBA won't let go of the "We get no respect because we're women," kick.
Elena Della Donne speaks to ESPN.
A busy night in the WNBA last night.

1.) J-Mac was back as the Liberty rallied from a fourth quarter deficit to keep the Dream winless. Betty Lennox had a game high 28 for Atlanta.

"We didn't close it out," Dream coach Marynell Meadors said. "All that goes back to a confidence level that we don't have right now. I think once we win a game or two, things are going to change for this team."

2.) The Mystics had four players in double figures, including Crystal Langhorne's best game as a pro. But it was not enough to hold off Nicole Powell, Kara Lawson and the Monarchs.

"We don't have that sense of urgency; for some reason we get it in the second half," said Alana Beard. "One thing that killed us were turnovers. We just can't hold on to the ball. We go periods where we have five, six turnovers in a row and it kills us."

3.) In what may have been the ugliest game of the night, the Silver Stars welcomed back Sophia Young and remained undefeated at home. Young had a game high 17 and San Antonio allowed Indiana to shoot under 32% from the floor.

“We didn’t really have time to practice with Sophia before tonight’s game, and that just goes to show what a great competitor she is,” Dan Hughes said. “Sophia has the ability to attack the defense and really break it down.”

In good news for the Fever (and USAB), Tamika Catchings is expected to make her season debut on Sunday.

4.) Diana Taurasi had an impressive 37 points on her birthday, but it was not enough to get past the Storm. As usual, the Mercury could not stop Lauren Jackson. And good news for Storm fans, Swoopes feels great and it showed.

The Storm had a big advantage in rebounding and at the line. "Thirty-two ... hmmm, well, can't win that game," Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. Added Taurasi: "We have some of the best offensive players in the league and we can't get a call? That's ridiculous."

5.) In the match up of the pre-season favorites from the two respective conferences, it was the Sparks who came out on top of the Shock.

Lisa Leslie led a balanced attack for the Sparks and her team was perfect from the line. "We've been practicing our free throws and we do that because there will be games where we're not going to get any," Michael Cooper said. "It's important to hit the ones you get."
OT, but not, really....
June 12 is celebrated by many interracial couples and families as "Loving Day." It's the day in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws banning interracial marriage. The day is named for the couple who brought the case to court, Richard and Mildred Loving. Commentator John Ridley has a remembrance.
Take a moment and listen, if you will.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This weekend, Virginia coach Debbie Ryan, along with Patty Broderick, Lin L. Laursen, Jill Rankin Schneider, Suzie McConnell-Serio and Michele Timms, will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

The honor inspires a lovely piece by Vicki Friedman of the Virginian-Pilot:

"The Hall of Fame is not about me," insisted Ryan, relaxing in warmups and propping up sandal-clad, pedicured feet that barely reach the coffee table. "It's about the people who played the game. It's everybody who's been involved in your career -from the officials to the fans to all the people at your university.

"It's all the people that helped you along the way, from your very first basketball coach to your teachers, people who helped make you who you are. More than anything, I think it's a great honor for the University of Virginia. For me, it brings great pride to know I brought this honor to the university."

Some college coaching news: The Polar Bears have a new coach and the coach of the Orange gets some props.

Congrats to Syracuse's Quentin Hillsman, who was named the Basketball Coaches Association of New York Women’s Basketball Division I Coach of the Year.

Adrienne Shibles, who most recently was the Athletic Director at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine, and the head coach at Swarthmore (Pa.) College from 1996-2005, will lead Maine next season.
"I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the amazing student-athletes at Bowdoin College," said Shibles. "Their passion, strength, and sincerity inspires me, and I'm confident that these women will help to make my transition seamless. Together with this team, I am certain that we can strengthen the high standards and unique traditions that have been synonymous with Bowdoin women's basketball."
And speaking of Wiggins: Candice did all she could, with a game-high 22 points in 30 minutes, but it wasn't enough-- her Lynx fell to the Sun for the second time in a week.

Barb Turner had a spectacular fourth quarter, scoring nine points in a row to give her team an unrelinquished lead. "That was awesome," Lindsay said. "You can't say enough for her and what she's done."

Turner really does look like a keeper. In other unusual lineup news, the Sun can now put four UConn players (Turner, Swanier, Raymond, Jones) on the floor together (at one point last night I believe they did); the Lynx used an interior lineup of Anosike and Houston, keeping Ohlde on the bench, for the last fifteen minutes of the game. Is that rookie duo shape of things to come?

In other Minnesota news, I almost didn't link to this snarky column by the Strib's Patrick Reusse, who seems to resent having had to attend the Lynx game: what's up with that?

In better Minnesota news, Seimone Augustus got feature treatment from local TV: check out the video. (Thanks to Paul for the link.) In general, local broadcast coverage of the Lynx may be getting better: that's what happens when you win.

And speaking of winning: the Sun now lead the league, but Minnesota retains the best record in the West. The Lynx should make the playoffs unless very bad things happen between now and the Olympics, but the loss might just bring fans back to Earth. That neat record (6-0 against teams without Lindsay Whalen!) comes from great rookies, better execution, and the same-as-usual scoring touch by Seimone, but it also comes from the schedule: Minnesota has won at Atlanta, Chicago and Houston (as well as in that season opener vs. Detroit), and the Lynx have yet to face Indiana, Seattle, or L. A.