Women's Hoops Blog: July 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

From ken some interesting news from a New York Times article:
By the time they arrive in Beijing, most athletes have resigned themselves to the possibility of undergoing a battery of tests for banned substances, like anabolic steroids and certain cough medicines.

But some male athletes may find they are asked to submit to an entirely different examination — one that will test whether they are, in fact, men.

Organizers of the Beijing Olympics have set up a sex-determination laboratory to evaluate “suspect” male athletes, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Sunday.
*note: the above citation was slightly altered to underscore a point.
Val - the OTHER Val - checks in from Delaware and writes about the Shock/Sparks contretemps.
Need to plan your Olympic basketball viewing? Check here for details.
SI.com remembers there's such a thing as women's basketball as Nina Mandell catches up with Diana Taurasi.
This is encouraging: The WNBA has received the first A-plus given in Richard Lapchick's annual diversity report card on race and gender.
Some US Olympic stuff: Defense could be key to U.S. success in Beijing and Kids take lead from the pros.

Also, some bad news for Brazil.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mechelle takes a moment to ponder the season so far:
I'm not sure which is more baffling: trying to figure out how they came up with that plot for the new "X-Files" movie … or determining who really is the best team in the WNBA's Western Conference.
Wishing you were at the Stanford gym watching the Olympic team practice? Me too.

Luckily, Jayda is there and blogging.
In the two late games, streaks were ended.

Indiana ended their three game losing streak with a close 88-84 win over Phoenix. The good news for Fever fans and USAB is that Tamika Catchings continues to make progress in her rehabilititation. Last night she scored 25 points, including two free throws down the stretch that helped her team win.

Entering the break, the defending champs are now six games out of first. "It's a hard loss to go into the break with," Diana Taurasi said. "We played tough, and there were some bounces here and there, and we just couldn't pull it out. It's definitely frustrating."

Meanwhile, the Storm continued to surprise other teams without Lauren Jackson. This time, they ended the seven game winning streak of the surging Monarchs with a 77-71 win. Sue Bird scored 24 and Swin Cash added 13 for the Storm.

Today, Bird is teammates with Monarch Kara Lawson. Her Storm teammate, Camille Little, already has the Olympics figured out. "We told [Bird] good luck, ball out, and come back with the gold. We told Lauren to get the silver and Kelly can have the bronze."

Jayda and Kevin once again fill in with great details of yesterday's game.
Another team probably looking forward to the break is the Washington Mystics. They could do little right in their 82-60 loss to the visiting Sun.

Ashja Jones was on a mission to put the bad Verizon Center vibe behind her and succeeded with a game high 27 points.

The Mystics were on a mission to continue their improved play under interim coach Jessie Kenlaw, but instead reverted to their old ways. "It's all about making progress," Kenlaw said. "We can learn from [the loss] but it's one thing to talk the talk. Now we have to start to walk the walk. And the thing we have to do is do it consistently. It's not about winning a game here, losing a game there. We've got to get to the point where we do consistently what it takes to win."
One of the largest (non-Camp Day) crowds at the Target Center came to see Candace and help send off Seimone and the other Olympians. The game had the feel and intensity of a playoff game and the Sparks prevailed in OT.

The big 3 for the Sparks stepped up - Parker had 20 by halftime, both she and Leslie finished with 23 and DMJ added 18. For Coach Z, that was the difference - "They have three Olympians, we have one, [and] our second-leading scorer [Candice Wiggins] was out."

The Lynx did have Charde Houston back, and it helped as she took some of the scoring load. Seimone surpassed 2,000 career points and finished with 29 points.

But as well as the Lynx did to close the gap to force overtime, the fact that they went scoreless and did not secure the win did not sit well with the players. "It will be difficult to not think about this one,'' said Vanessa Hayden-Johnson.

The sour taste of the loss was at least temporarily put on a hold for the post game celebration for Seimone, Candace, Lisa and DeLisha. One of the local sports anchors interviewed the players, who were presented with flowers from young fans at the game. Candice Wiggins spoke on behalf her team for Seimone and Lisa's daugther, Lauren, tried to make a new friend with Vanessa's daughter, Zyon.
The Shock continued their pre-break fade, dropping their fourth in a row in a nightmare week for the franchise.

"We knew two weeks ago we needed the break, and the ceiling kind of caved in on us with the injuries and suspensions," Bill Laimbeer said. "We knew it was coming. I just didn't think it would collapse this much."

“It was our toughest stretch of the year, there’s no question about that,” Laimbeer added, “Four teams on top of their game and we had to play good basketball and through various circumstances we were unable to get it done.”

The Shock did hold a slight edge at halftime, but a change in defense allowed Becky Hammon to get going offensively for the Silver Stars. She scored all of her 23 points in the second half.

Deanna Nolan scored 25 for the Shock, but Laimbeer said the team will be working on their offense when they return to practice next week. "We're going to take some time off (nine days) and then come back and practice hard, especially on offense. We really need practice time right now."
New York won Sunday afternoon, defeating the Dream in a game that reminded me of a chef putting out a stubborn kitchen fire. There was no real panic, because it was "under control," but there always was the understanding that the flames could explode into a full blown firestorm.

Atlanta refused to die, surging and ebbing in front of an enthusiastic crowd and with the return to form of Betty Lennox (18pts).

With a box score
that showed both teams with similar (except for assists), you can point to WHEN the Atlanta turnovers happened plus some timely New York free throw shooting as reasons for the Liberty victory.

Christon (24) and JMac (22) led all scorers, Loree Moore had nine assists, and Leilani Mitchell had another TO free game and notched a block. (!) Of concern: Tiffany Jackson went down with what looked to be a painful sprain.

A couple of oddities - both teams shot better from behind the arc that in front, and both teams had players fouled on three-pointers.

Gotta say, for Liberty fans used to cheering for a team that feels comfortable 'round .500, the fact that the Lib are entering the break at 15-10 is a little disorienting. In a good way!

Makes one wonder -- what do you call a coach that holds together the youngest team in the league and guides them to second in the Eastern Conference?
Saturday also saw the Monarchs continue their hot streak by taking down the Fever 70-62.

Rebekkah Brunson helped her team get off to a good start and the rest of the team followed suit.
Said Laura Harper, "We're not a team that gets a lot of accolades, not like some other teams that have some flashy players. But we are not a team to forget about."

Harper tied her career high with 11 and Brunson had a double double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Brunson's numbers of late have been especially impressive considering she is playing with a stress fracture and torn cartilage in her right leg.

Coach Boucek on Brunson: “She continues to impress. She’s been on a tear since they told me she couldn’t play. That’s when having a bunch of rebels on your team comes in handy.”
This is late, but we will take this opportunity to catch up on the last two days of games before the Olympic break.

Houston entered the break as the hottest team with a 79-65 win over Chicago on Saturday. Candice Dupree tied her season high with 28 points, but the Cometes had a balanced attack that was too much for the Sky to beat.

“It was a really good all-around effort tonight,” Roneeka Hodges said. “That is exactly what we wanted, to have the whole team contribute.”

As impressive as the Comets have been playing, they are currently out of the playoffs. They are a a half game behind the Sparks and Monarchs (and have played one fewer game).
Dropped an email to the creator of the wbball trivia game and got this response:
I created the game because my daughter plays basketball. I told her YOU KNOW HOW TO PLAY THE GAME BUT YOU DON'T KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE GAME. A lot of players and people made it possible for you to attend college on an athletic scholarship. In September, she will be attending *a D-1 University* on a basketball scholarship.

The game has over 200 trivia questions about the Rich History of Women's basketball (Players, coaches, rules, historic moments, etc).The schedule Release date Fall 2008 (Mid-September).I've written a song for the game (SHOW ME YOUR GAME). I have bottled water to promote the game.

Right now I'm taking pre-order for the game.I have 50 pre order so far. The pre-order cost is $19.95. Suggested Retail price $24.95.
From the "How can you not click with this headline?" pile:

"Post-Sonics, the inner Squatch abides" is about the no-longer-Sonics mascot (who also is the Storm's mascot)
The world's largest sportswear and shoe company Nike Inc has pulled some advertisements that appeared to send out anti-gay messages, according to the online edition of The Oregonian newspaper.

The newspaper said controversy arose last week over some advertisements for Nike's new Hyperdunk basketball shoes. The ads were dubbed homophobic by bloggers and critics, the paper said.
Steve sends me news of the perfect women's basketball Christmas - birthday - wedding- holiday - father's day present:
Remember the Schoolyard Game H.O.R.S.E? Remember how fun it was to beat your opponent at this game. Well, Ronald Robinson Entertainment can bring those memories back to life! Introducing the new video game... SHOW ME YOUR GAME.

SHOW ME YOUR GAME takes the simple concept of the schoolyard game H.O.R.S.E. and teaches female athletes the Rich History of Women’s Basketball. Name the first female to dunk in a high school game? 1st player to be drafted by the WNBA? Get the game to find out the answer! All you need is a computer and a mouse and YOU'RE IN THE GAME. In interviews, Mr. Robinson’s states “ Some of the game that are out in the mainstream market introduce a lot of violences, blood and gore.I want to find an alternative for families to be able to find fun and entertaining games that reinforce positive images.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

An article from the Times on sports and school budgets:
As cash-strapped school districts across the nation scale back sports programs or try to pass on part or all of their costs to students and parents, some fear that the tradition of the scholar athlete is at risk. In Mount Vernon — where this year more than 700 students were expected to participate on 55 teams in basketball, football, volleyball, tennis, cross country, track, soccer, wrestling, swimming, baseball, softball, golf and cheerleading — many teachers and parents say that sports not only keep children coming to school but also keep them away from crime, drugs and gang activity.
George Vecsey writes about Robin's battle with breast cancer.
Roberts praises the contemporary superstars who play the game right up near the basket. She doubts she would have been good enough to play in the W.N.B.A., but traces her survival to her life as an athlete.

“To be honest, as an athlete, I was annoyed with my body,” she said.

“I took such good care of it. I felt it had let me down. My doctor said, ‘It won’t help you avoid cancer, but it will help you kick its butt,’ and that’s just what I did.”
Mechelle on the suspensions:
Now, when it comes to the WNBA's decisions in regard to the Sparks -- and the mind-set the league voiced in a teleconference about the penalties -- I do have some concerns.
The NYTimes prints an AP piece on the Dream keeping a positive attitude.
“We had to get our minds right first,” guard Kristin Haynie said. “Not a lot of people expected much from an expansion team, but we’re finally getting it. We’ve had some good wins, and sometimes we just come up short.

“We just have to finish the season off strong.”
Via Peggy's email, an update on the NABI Championship (and a great photo from Glenn):
Angel Goodrich wanted to fit in one more tournament of "just playing around" before she went to work.

The incoming freshman for the Kansas women's program returned to the Native American Basketball Tournament for a farewell tour and almost returned home sans championship.

That is, until a tipped pass and an assist from younger sister Nikki Lewis, leading to Goodrich's layup, put Oklahoma's Anonymous squad ahead by one with 16 seconds remaining.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Clay returns to public radio to talk about physicality, the Shock, and The Brawl. Oh, and the Olympics.
At Off-Court, David adds to Connecticut's anti-Lieberman vibe. Not that one, silly; this one.

And just to be clear: the problem isn't that Nancy Lieberman is, well, old: the problem is that putting a prominent 50-year-old former star and current broadcaster in a Shock uni two nights after The Brawl makes the league, and the Shock, look either desperate for good publicity, or just silly. Had it been a 50-year-old former WBL star whose name casual fans would never recognize, and who had never appeared on TV, I at least would have had no problem. (But then the Shock wouldn't have had all those fluffy stories.)

By the time the Olympics start, fortunately, we're not going to be talking about these events at all: by the time league play resumes, we might not even be talking about The Brawl. We'll be talking about the future, and about the Olympics. And that's the way the league wants it... if (and it's a pretty big if, this year) Team USA can bring home the gold.
Tar Heel fans might want to know about coach Hatchell's new contract.
Lynx coach Z, his wife, and their teammates on her fight against cancer. (Things look good, as of right now.)
First the U18's knocked off Canada and then they moved on to dismantle Brazil, 96-51, and win gold. All 12 U.S. players scored in the game, including nine players with points in the first quarter.
Janel's game-winning drive last night was rather wonderful-- we've been watching the replays around here too. Hi, Rebecca!

But let's not forget, in all the McCarville hoopla, that the Liberty beat the no-longer-all-that-shorthanded Sparks because, until the last few minutes, New York's guard play ran rings around L.A. Leslie and Parker, statistically, had superb games. DeLisha Milton demonstrated her value (you may not like her much, but she can still shoot). The home team lost the battle of the boards by double digits.

But the Liberty did what you should do when you play L.A., especially if you've only got one active player taller than 6'2": press a lot, try to baffle the offense before it gets going, and then deny the ball to one of L.A.'s two interior stars, forcing the Sparks to play the game from outside. It was fun to watch. But it was fun to watch in part because it was so close... and it was so close in part because the Lib got flustered near the end, in part because the Lib have real trouble on the boards.

Along the same lines, but more articulately, Q says New York really could make win the Eastern Conference playoffs-- because they're so deep, and because Janel is just so good. UPDATE: win, not make: my bad. Thanks to B for spotting the oops.
Shuey is back in the league.
Writes the Arizona Republic of the sixth Native American Basketball Invitational:
Basketball is as much a religion as it is an escape for people on reservations.

"Rez" ball got its name from the relentless, full-throttle games among athletes who try to outrun their opponents.

It's exciting and the support is great.

Most of the highest-drawn high school games in Arizona history are between reservation schools, boys and girls.
In perhaps the most anticipated game of the night, Janel McCarville hit a layup over Lisa Leslie with 6.4 seconds left to give the Liberty the win.

A large crowd was on hand to see the Sparks and they got to see an intense nail-biter. "I had gotten the ball stolen on my last two possessions prior to that," said McCarville. "But in the huddle, (Head Coach) Patty (Coyle) was confident in me, said she was going to come back to me, and we did, and I made the shot."

McCarville finished with a team high 15 points and talked after the game how her team did not get caught up in the hype of the game. "For us, it was a normal week," McCarville said. "One reason we've been successful is because we haven't really worried about other teams. We don't worry about them on the court or off the court."
Going into last night's game, Lynx players and fans were a little nervous. They would be without two of their biggest contributors off the bench - Candice Wiggins and Charde Houston. But those concerns were put to rest, at least for the night, after an important win over the Silver Stars.

"This definitely gives us a lift,'' Nicky Anosike said. "We knew no one would feel sorry for us if we went out there without two of our players. It was key (that we got it done).'' While Seimone Augustus had another stellar performance, the key was in the contributions from everyone else.

The players get today off from basketball, but will participate in the Lynx Go Pink Event. After a busy week of games, several players were looking forward to getting some rest. "I'm very tired," Lindsey Harding said. "After [Thursday] night's game, I probably slept three hours if that."
The Mercury got a much needed win over the visiting Storm as teams continue to jockey for position in the Wild Wild West.

Diana Taurasi got back on track behind the arc, played aggressive and nearly had a double double (31 points and 9 rebounds). “(Diana) was in attack mode tonight,” said Cappie Pondexter. “She was aggressive, taking jumpers and going to the rack.”

The Mercury also received a boost off the bench in LaToya Pringle, who went 10-10 from the line. "They just kept fouling me, and I'm a pretty decent free-throw shooter," Pringle said.
Like many of their games this season, the Dream kept it close but did not do enough to produce the win over the visiting Mystics (who moved to 2-1 under interim head coach Jessie Kenlaw).

Atlanta welcomed Erika DeSouza back for the first time since fracturing her leg in May. But Betty Lennox only played 12 minutes. According to Marynell Meadors, "she's not doing a lot of things we would like her to continue to do. For some odd reason she's not shooting the ball. I think she's trying to make the game a little more difficult than what it is. ... Maybe she's just in a little bit of a slump. But we're trying to get her out of it."

The Dream also need to work on taking care of the ball down the stretch. After nearly coming back from a 13 point deficit, Atlanta turned the ball over three times in a row. The Mystics took advantage of that and secured the win. Taj McWilliams-Franklin had a double double and Washington got contributions from everyone who played.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sharon at Full Court writes about the return of Nancy Lieberman -- just the headline is worth the visit.
Karen has more to say: "Hey, WNBA, don't run away from this fight."
Quick hits from yesterday's action:

The Silver Stars overcame an early problem with turnovers to emerge victorious over the Sky. Sophia Young and Candice Dupree both scored 20 points for their teams, but Young got a little more help. You can watch post game interviews with Dan Hughes and some of his players on the team's Web site.

Sacramento continued to be on a roll as they won their sixth in a row, this time over the Mercury. As usual, the Monarchs received balanced scoring with Rebekkah Brunson leading the way with 18.

Minnesota came back to defeat Indiana in overtime, but lost two of their rookies to injuries. Candice Wiggins went down hard in the first quarter and has a deep bruise in her lower back. Charde Houston hurt her knee in the fourth quarter. Both had to use wheelchairs to get off the court and neither are expected to play tonight. Seimone Augustus finished with 25 points as the Lynx went 31-36 from the line.

In one of the games impacted by the suspensions, Lindsay Whalen put on a show and the Sun pulled away for a big win over the Sparks. L.A. used all eight of the available players they had and had a balanced attack, but it was not enough.

In the other suspension impacted game, Nancy Lieberman suited up for the Shock, but the Comets won the game. Houston trailed until a big run in the third quarter gave them the lead for good. Roneeka Hodges had six three pointers to lead the Comets.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Oh, cool! More things to do during the Olympic break:
Tillary Park Foundation in conjunction Rerita Esannason Productions will host the first Annual Legends Ball Reunion in Harlem’s historic Alhambra Ballroom. This event takes place on August 16, 2008 at 9:30PM with cocktails, dining, awards ceremony and musical entertainment.

Honorees will include Michelle Edwards, Alfreda Harris, Rosetta “RED” Guilford, Janice “Pearl” Thomas, Nicole McCrimmon, Dana Owens aka Queen Latifah, Rhonda Windham, Gail Wasmus. All of these women have made their mark on women’s basketball achievements of today. Olympian Gail Marquis will be the host of the evening. Tickets are $50.
For more details or tickets, visit the event website.
Well, no surprise, the fans are full of strong opinions about the suspensions.

So, Donna, how do they feel you're handling your first league crisis? A sampling:

A Sham, WNBA please explain what a punch is worth, SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR PARKER!!!, This league is an effing joke!, An Open Letter to Donna Orender.

So far so good, huh?
Well, it's official.

All I can say is, "REALLY?!??!"

I can understand politics, economics and logistics, but I sure hope the league is ready for the fan-fallout.
L. A. and Detroit both play games tonight. (Both games are on TV.) That means that if the league wants to suspend somebody-- for a few games or for the entire season-- it must should probably decide who, and for how long, sometime today.

As of this minute, fans are still waiting. Rumor has it that an ESPN talking head says somebody's gone for the year.
From sports writer and Business Week editor Mark Hyman comes a resourceful blog about youth sports. His latest post concerns the parents of scholarship athletes: following up on a report from Dallas, and on others from the NYT, Hyman notes that most such parents are glad their kids played college sports-- but not because of the money.

Hyman is writing a book about youth sports now: it's supposed to be done in 2009, but he's apparently looking for feedback-- evidence, stories, anecdotes, queries-- right now.
The Lib beat the Mystics on Camp Day in DC. They had to work at it: Taj turned in another fine performance, with a game-high 19, but New York got far more out of their bench.

And what did the Washington Post's beat reporter find everybody discussing? You guessed it. Said Linda Hargrove: "I don't see anything good coming of this."
So, if Nancy is back, can Jamila be far behind?
Christine Brennan's latest column touches on the fight, Title IX and toughness.
Is it true?

It looks like the Shock have signed Nancy Lieberman.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mechelle weighs in on the fight.
Before the old folks go to Beijing, the young'uns (U-18) are playing in Argentina in the Americas Champship.

Corral, Diggins, Prahalis, Speed, Faris, Stricklen, Brewer, Kizer, Boothe, Ogwumike, Tinkle, and Bone whumped Venezuela big time, 112-49.

Said head coach Carol Owens:
A win is always good, and I thought we made an improvement from the first to the second half. We got a lot of the kinks out in the first half, and you can only do that through playing. We obviously had the height advantage, and if we don't take advantage of that shame on us. That was our goal going into the game, and it freed up our guards a little bit towards the end.

We made some improvements in terms of transition defense and knowing how to execute with the ball in transition in the second half. So, we're really pleased with the win, but not satisfied of course. We still have a ways to go, and we need to continue to work on our defense and our rebounding, which are things that need to continue to define this team.
Canada is next.
Lauren Brill at the .com gives Tiffany Jackson her attention.New York Liberty forward Tiffany Jackson is following the typical WNBA maturation process. In her second year in the league, she has improved in every statistical category."Last year, there was not a game that I wasn’t nervous or I didn’t have butterflies in my stomach." Jackson said. "I think this year I am a lot more comfortable."

And not to keep beating the proverbial dead horse, *whap!* but I should have gotten an email *whap!* from the Liberty *whap!* highlighting this story.*whap!*
The brawl inspires Karen to jumpstart the Keyboard Quarterbacks blog.
Australian reader Sara writes in to answer the question: What is LJ wearing today?
The Comets and Mercury had another entertaining game. This time, the Comets held on to beat the Merc 94-92.

Sancho Lyttle did not start, but came up with a big steal to give her team the possession that gave them the lead for good. Tina Thompson led the Comets with 19, but perhaps more important were the 12 points Matee Ajavon scored off the bench. “Coach (Karleen Thompson) said that I needed to be a spark player tonight so when I came in the game, I wanted to be a defensive force out there. The offense came with that,” Ajavon said.

Diana had 31 for the Mercury, but was only 1-9 and the team was under 27% from beyond the arc.
In yesterday's other matinee game, the Monarchs kept up their impressive play of late and downed the Dream 79-66. It was the fifth win in a row for Sacramento and kept them within a game of the third place Sparks.

This time out, it was a career high for Scholanda Robinson that proved key. "Offensively, she was not missing the moments and was very aggressive attacking their defense," Jenny Boucek said. "She epitomized the identity of our team tonight."
Bad news for Detroit - Cheryl Ford is out for the season with a torn ACL. The report says that it happened with 2:06 left in the game (before the brawl broke out and she tried to restrain Pierson).
In one of yesterday's matinee games, Seattle played without LJ and Yolanda and most of the game without Sheryl. But they still had enough to hold off a late surge from the Lynx.

Sue, Swin, Camille and Tanisha did nearly all of the scoring for the Storm. The Lynx were led by Charde Houston and were hurt by the combined 6-27 from the floor from Seimone and Candice. Seimone rarely misses this many shots and it was especially surprising after her performance in San Antonio over the weekend. "I had a glimpse of a good day and a bad day, they just happened to be back-to-back," Augustus said. "I've never experienced anything like that.

Coach Z: "We need to become a team that starts with our defense first, adding: "When we play with energy, we can beat good teams and when we don't play with energy, we can lose to anybody." Big V, who missed a shot to give the Lynx the lead with a few seconds, left added: "We have to figure it out, then we have to do something about it. It was bad."

Sue's take on the game was obviously a little different: "[This] is one of the best wins in our franchise history," Bird said.
Q weighs in on last night's Sky win, and on future lineups (bullish on Perkins and Sharp, quite bearish on Canty). I had Chicago as a playoff team in May; with the Fever's skid, my Sky pick is starting to look plausible again. (I also had the Fever as a team that would be hard to beat once Catchings came back, though: shows how little I know.)

Q also weighs in on last night's street brawl at the Palace, where the Sparks' win turned into an afterthought.

Blogger Dave Hogg says he's a friend of Rick Mahorn-- and that Mahorn screwed up. For more on the mess and Mahorn's part in it, see the exchange at Justine Larbalestier's place. (And read her books when you can.)

"I don't think it was a dirty game at all until the last four seconds," said Michael Cooper. "The league will... have to decide what to do." It sure will.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's a veritable epidemic! (nod to Ted)

The Razorbacks, notes afteratlanta, are Ladies no more. Seems it was more a marketing issue than one of equity, but says ken,
...I am glad it is gone. Perhaps other schools will follow suit. (According to the article linked...Arkansas is particularly egregious in its inferiorizing treatment of female athletes.) But I think that the idea for doing so was to improve branding and thus increase revenues, capitulating even further to the DI athletics corporate mentality is kind of lousy.
A quick hit from Slam about the Outdoor Classic. (And a congrats to SportsPageMagazine's Noam Galai for the photo credit! Great shot)

Monday, July 21, 2008

A blog grows in San Antonio: Ladies' Court, written by SA journo pro Joe Ruiz.

Don't like: the name, though it perhaps came (along with the script) from the big network that hosts Ruiz's work.

Do like: more attention to the sport in SA, especially now that the team's doing well. What does Ruiz have to say about how it feels, these days, to watch a Stars home game?
I wanna work for the Merc!!!

Why, you might ask? Easy! Remember a while back they gave us the Cappie-patch doll.

This time, it's "Le'coe Willingham: Office Enforcer."

Honestly -- how much fun can you have!!!
Perhaps they're reading this blog?

The Knoxville News has an "Is it time to drop the 'Lady' from 'Lady Vols?" poll.

Typical comments, ranging from thoughtful to knee jerk to just jerk. I found this one...
not this again? any fool that thinks the Lady is disrespectful in any way has usually has father figure issues, a bad mullet cut, held ACLU membership drives or owned a VW at some point in their lives...there, for you people that need something to be offended at ...there you are.
...ironic in so many ways. In fact, I count at least eight.
She's baaaaaaaa-ack! (pt. 2)

USA Basketball breathes a sigh of relief. As does the Chicago Sky. As do their fans.

And the Fever go, "Dabnabbit!"

Big Syl is back.
Not much I can add to Helen and Q re: Sunday's games in the Phone Booth and at the Palace: go read Q! go read Q! and if you're a Mystics person, go read the Basket Cases' coverage too!

There was, however, a third game that New England fans might have noticed: up by just one with a couple of minutes to go, the Sun closed the game on a tear and ended their losing streak, defeating the Sky at Mohegan.

Whalen and Jones combined for 43, but starter Swanier scored a donut; Holt, who shot badly till the last few minutes, kept her composure and lifted her team with late shots. Coach Thibault seemed OK with the team's play: "I don't need four or five great plays," he said afterwards. "I need about twenty good ones."
She's baaaaaaa-ack.

Sacramento season ticket holders found out when she left them a voicemail with the news (how cool is that): DeMya is a Monarch once more. *checks schedule to see when Sacramento plays LA*
An eye for the game, an appreciation for play, a flowing style and a good turn of phrase -- all things Q brings to the blogosphere.

It's a pleasure to read, and I have little hesitation saying that "Rethinking Basketball" provides a welcome counter-balance to the "inane commentary" WHB is proud to offer.

Read his account of the Sacto-Detroit game and you'll get what I mean. My favorite line? His description of Deanna Nolan's play:
Nolan just rose over Penicheiro’s hand to stick the three. She’s incredible – with the game on the line and a hand in her face, she’s shooting jumpers over people from the three-point line. You can’t hope to defend that without cheating.
And consider his appreciation of the Mystics players after their upset win over Seattle.

What struck me was seeing the exuberance of a frequently dysfunctional Mystics team led by an interim coach beat a contender with the best record in the league based on pure effort and heart when they had every reason to give up. It shows something about the Mystics that has perhaps been lost in a professional sports world dominated by overblown contracts and ego: this team really cares about what they do. And it makes it easy to love women’s basketball.

Any time I get to witness the joy that comes from someone doing what they truly love – even if it’s putting a ball into a basket – it gives me goose bumps. It doesn’t matter if they go on to win the championship, what their attendance was, or whether they are engaged in challenging sexist double standards about women (though all those things are important). What matters is that they truly care about the outcome of that game and it’s worth noting in a society that has become way too wrapped up in the extremes of cynicism and trying to change the entire world at once.

As a theater person, I flashed back to 1985 when I watched in awe as Lily Tomlin performed her one-woman show, ''The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.''

In the show, the character Trudy is trying to explain humans and their experiences to some visiting aliens:
"They asked me, 'Did it feel like goose bumps?'

I said 'You folks never felt goose bumps?'

They said, 'No.' They asked me to explain goose bumps. Do they come from the heart? Do they come from the mind? Do they come from the soul? Or do they come from geese?'"
Continued Trudy,

"Yeah, remember that night I took 'em to the theatre. We're standing there in the dark, I feel one of 'em tug my sleeve, he whispers, 'Trudy, look.'

I said, 'Yeah, goose bumps. You really like the play that much?'

They said it wasn't the play gave 'em goose bumps, it was the audience. I forgot to tell 'em to watch the play, they'd been watching the audience. Yeah, to see a group of strangers sitting together in the dark, laughing and crying about the same things just knocked 'em out.

They said; 'Trudy, the play was soup - the audience - art.'"

Most people are writing soup about women's basketball. Thanks to Q, we're getting some art.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sharon at Full Court has picks for the East's All Stars, if this year had an All-Star Game: her starters are Whalen (yes, of course, and if the Sun get past the first round of the playoffs this year she'll be my pick for MVP), Douglas (fine), Dupree (sure), McCarville (OK, and she's sure fun to watch) and Asjha Jones (who looked better in June, I'd say). Three Detroit players turn up among the reserves.
What a weekend! Between yesterday (Saturday) and today, we had a much-hyped, and genuinely neat (I was going to say "cool" but it was hot out) public event; a televised game that felt like a closely-fought playoff, with well-matched veterans and a one-possession finish decided by clutch play; an overtime game with a loss for the league's most hyped stars; and two big wins for the two teams we almost always support.

Alas, the big event, the Liberty's outdoor game, was a blowout loss for the home team, as Indy-- confounding everyone's expectations-- won on the basis of superb outside shooting, and the Liberty looked worse than they have all year. Q says rightly that the event was a success, but the basketball game was all kinds of failure: it's just as well that in order to watch it remotely, you had to have MSG or NBATV.

Also, the big wins for the teams we support weren't on national cable TV at all. We'll try to bring you Connecticut's win tomorrow, along with the other two Sunday games (the stories we like to link mostly aren't up yet).

For now, I'm happy enough to record Minnesota's big upset in San Antonio, where the Silver Stars fell to 12 and 2 at home. Augustus shot as well as she has all year, at one point sinking 11 field goals in a row; Big V and Candice had useful stat lines too (Ohlde, not so much). "We fed off our post players and found our spots," said the ever-affable Seimone. Coach Zierden was gone for the weekend with pneumonia; assistant coach Plank gets credit for the win.

Also not televised: L.A.'s overtime loss. The Sparks got to OT on the unlikely story of a Lisa Leslie three-pointer: did you know that she has made 119 in her WNBA career, shooting almost 32% from long range? But Michelle Snow scored 20 to Lisa's 16; both Houston and Los Angeles ended up with more turnovers than assists.

And in Saturday's least surprising result, the Mercury manhandled the Dream in Phoenix. Diana and Cappie combined for 38 points; neither played much more than half the game.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Well, phew.

A while back I attended the panel "HOME RUN OR STRIKEOUT: 25 YEARS OF GAY & LESBIAN SPORTS," and OutProfessionals, the organizer, has just posted the podcast -- I thought I was going to have to try and transcribe my vague and distant recording.
Is the professional sports world an open playing field or the "last closet"? When you talk about LGBT people and sports, it's not just about athletics; there are much bigger questions about gender roles, stereotypes and pop culture. A stellar panel of lesbians and gay men who've made sports their lives speak out.

You'll hear from National Sports Hall of Famer Donna Lopiano, Bill Konigsberg, an openly gay sports writer for The Associated Press; Mark Larson was Mr. International Gay Rodeo Assn. (2002) and Mr. North Star Gay Rodeo Assn. (2001, 2000); Amy Scheer is the current Vice President, Marketing & Communications at Madison Square Garden; Cyd Ziegler, Co-Founder of outsports.com; Pat Griffin, noted lecturer on lesbian and gay issues in athletics; and Sue Wicks, former all-star basketball player for the WNBA's NY Liberty.
The panel was ridiculously amazing, and the discussion was illuminating and entertaining. I'd recommend any fan of women's basketball - gay, straight, or miscellaneous - if you're passionate about the game, take a listen.
Coach Stringer's autobiography gets a five-star review on the front page at Off-Court. But why not print the admiring reviewer's name?

UPDATE: the author's name is Alison Shaman, and it appears at the very bottom (with the publication info).
Normally I'm very much against players who quit their losing teams, implying that they'll leave the sport if they're not traded, then somehow turn up on the rosters where they want to be.

I'll make an exception, however, for Stacey Lovelace: a player with a high offensive IQ (at least when I've seen her) and a genuine outside shot (35% career from downtown), she's too thin to be an effective low post pro, but so tall that coaches don't see her as anything else.

Having played for terrible first-year expansion teams in Seattle, Chicago and Atlanta; having taken two years off (in part due to motherhood); and having played on an over-.500 team only once (the 2004 Lynx) in the previous six years of her career, she chose last month to walk away from Atlanta, and now gets minutes off the bench with the Shock.

UPDATE AND CLARIFICATION: there's no official confirmation that she quit, but it's hard for me to draw any other conclusions: all we know for sure is that she missed two games, and then got waived. Coach Meadors told reporters at the time that Stacey sat out for personal reasons-- she sure wasn't waived for lack of playing time. It feels a lot like two years ago, when Elaine Powell left the Sky. And by the way, Lovelace is from Detroit.

Again, if she had come to the Dream from a championship team; if she were a second-year player still used to racking up wins in college (she did win a couple of rings at Purdue)-- then I'd consider this set of events less than classy.

As it is-- and given the shape of her career thus far-- I say, "Let she who has played on three first-year expansion teams, and on a couple of other quite bad ones, and is now raising a child far from any of her relatives, cast the first stone."
Sacto had to work to beat Atlanta, whose fourth-quarter surge almost gave the Dream their fourth win. Instead, the Monarchs improved to .500; they would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

"Their record is very deceiving," coach Boucek said of the visiting Dream. "They've been playing really well."

The Monarchs, on the other hand, played just well enough to win. "We're not happy," said Nicole Powell.

Both of these teams (barring major injury) should compete better after the Olympic break: the Dream, because they've learned to play together; the Monarchs, because their defensive intensity usually looks sharper as the season goes on.

The Western Conference may also look very different if Team USA's marquee players come back exhausted from Beijing: L.A. isn't going to win games without them.

UPDATE: Bob Corwin flogs an unconfirmed rumor that Temeka Johnson has quit L.A.
The Fever-without-Catchings lost to the Storm-without-Jackson in Indy. Catch is still recovering after being kicked in the heel (we might, or might not, see her in Queens today); LJ is already with the Opals, getting ready for Beijing.

The Fever at one point led 25 to 11, but ended up getting beaten badly late in the game, on the boards and from the line. "Rebounds have been one of our issues all season," said Tammy Sutton-Brown, whose 6.5 boards per game in 2008 makes this one her best rebounding year.
Speaking of disasters: Mystics fans are all too used to bad news, but Connecticut fans don't expect to lose five in a row.

After single-handledly almost-winning some games her team couldn't quite take away, Lindsay turned in a clunker: 1-8, 2 points, and 2 assists. "They played better than us," coach Thibault said. "I'm not into moral victories right now."

Sky fans are into actual victories for a change, though the Chicago crowd had, as usual, a nail-biting fourth quarter. In even better news for the Windy City, and for the league, and for Team USA, Fowles should return to the court sometime before the Olympic break.

UPDATE: Q sees all, knows all, says point guard play made the difference.
After back-to-back disasters (first the Lib by 21, then Detroit by 37), Mystics coach Tree Rollins has been fired.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Where's Ruthie? In Saudi Arabia with Lynette, of course!
For the first time ever in Saudi Arabia, WNBA and Jeddah United Sports Co. conducted two basketball clinics for coaches and players as part of the Sports United Friendship Basketball Program. Forty five players from various teams and 25 coaches of different organizations signed up for the quality training that was run by ex-WNBA players Lynette Woodard and Ruthie Bolton.
Sunday's Connecticut game v. Chicago is a Think Pink day.

By the way, some of the proceeds from the Lib v. Indy Outdoor Classic (tip-off temperature projected to be 93 degrees) will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Through Thursday, 17,963 tickets have been sold.

The game is generating some media buzz, too:

Newsday: Liberty players can't wait for outdoor game.
For some Liberty players, it wasn't easy remembering the last time they played a competitive outdoor basketball game.

After a slight pause, Liberty forward Shameka Christon said the last time she was in an outdoor game was when she first started playing. Janel McCarville also had trouble recalling her asphalt days. "It was a long time ago," McCarville said. "I couldn't even tell you.
USAToday: Liberty, Fever set to take an outside shot at history.
The Liberty Outdoor Classic was the creation of Liberty executives, who pitched it to the WNBA's front office before this season and worked to stage it with the United States Tennis Association. WNBA President Donna Orender embraced the idea and its history-making potential.

"This game is one of the biggest events on our calendar," Orender said, "and it's definitely a significant milestone for the league. And I think the decision to use Arthur Ashe Stadium was a fantastic idea. It is a venue of champions."
Mechelle at ESPN.com: WNBA comes to the house that Ashe, King built
If you've ever wandered around New York on foot, you know one of the sounds of the city -- weather permitting -- is basketball outdoors. The dribbling, the "swish" of twine or chain, the grunts and yells and teasing and trash-talking.

"It's where most basketball players get their start -- outside," New York Liberty president and general manager Carol Blazejowski said. "For me, it was here in New York City and right across the river in Jersey. I wish I could actually play in this game. It is special."
BrandWeek Magazine: Marketers Go 'All Out' for WNBA Outdoor Game
American Express and The Hallmark Channel, both marketing partners of the WNBA's New York Liberty, are sponsoring the game. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation will serve as the beneficiary of the event, with a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales, as well as various fundraising activities throughout the evening, going to BCRF. Breast Health Awareness T-shirt, courtesy of Hallmark Channel, will be given to first 5,000 fans. A crowd of about 18,000 is expected at the stadium, located in Flushing, New York.
New Jersey's The Leader: Get set for this weekend’s ‘Outdoor’ extravaganza
The Liberty will make history Saturday, July 19, as they take to the outdoors vs. Indiana at Arthur Ashe Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. basketball under the stars matchup. Commissioner Donna Orender thanked Jim Dolan and his entire Madison Square Garden staff for making the “Outdoor Classic” possible. “The WNBA has taken a leadership role in putting together the first-ever professional basketball regular season game outdoors. The NBA played an exhibition game, but this one counts,” stated Orender.
The Gothamist and Finding Dulcinea and Oursports.com, which reminds people that
MSG, a premiere sports and entertainment television network, will televise live the "Liberty Outdoor Classic" featuring the first outdoor regular season professional basketball game with the New York Liberty taking on the Indiana Fever on Saturday, July 19 at 7:30 p.m. at Arthur Ashe Stadium at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens.

The network will produce a special half-hour pre-game show live from Arthur Ashe Stadium for the historical event, and immediately following the game MSG will break down the game and the entire "Liberty Outdoor Classic" on the network's signature nightly show "MSG, NY". The game will also be streamed live online at www.NYLiberty.com and exclusive video coverage and photos from the event will also be available online. [NBAtv will also broadcast the game.]
Finally, count on the New York Times pull out all the stops with their article, "Huh, people play basketball in the summer? It opens:
Stacy Johnson-Klein, you just won a 9 million dollar settlement from Fresno State in a Title IX sexual harassment/retaliation case -- where are you going next?


Looks like Johnson-Klein has a new job.
According to the Associated Press, Johnson-Klein has been hired by the Oklahoma Cavalry to manage their minor league professional men's basketball team. The team is currently the Continental Basketball Association's defending champions. Johnson-Klein will be the league's second female general manager.

The former Fresno State coach is also said to be negotiating a movie deal.
Oiy, a movie deal?

I'd be intrigued to read SJ-K's narrative, since those who followed the whole friggin' Fresno State mess (and it ain't just SJ-K) realize that Ms. J-K probably ain't someone you'd instinctually want to champion. Remember Mechelle's piece?
The Fresno Bee has had the unenviable and laborious task of chronicling this mess, and I'd urge you to go to the newspaper's Web site and read its archived coverage. George Hostetter was the Bee's primary reporter for the Johnson-Klein trial and wrote fact-filled stories that also conveyed the undeniable sense of how soap-opera absurd some days of testimony were.

Even just a few stories will leave you with the feeling that "choosing sides" between Johnson-Klein and the school was akin to trying to untangle an unsavory knot of "which adults behaved badly more often."

Following the Fresno State fiasco for the last couple of years, I reached the conclusions that I would guess many people did. The school's athletic department had a poisonous culture of irresponsibility, sexism, lack of professionalism and bad decision-making. But … Johnson-Klein very likely might have been fired by any school in the country.
So here's a radical thought:

Imagine you're a WNBA team with a passionate, creative, aggressive marketing/community relations staff.

Imagine you're that staff and you've looked at your calendar are realized, "Hey, will ya look-at-that! There are no games in August!"

Imagine that, instead of thinking, "BEACH!" you're thinking, "What can I do to keep the W in the hearts and minds of my W fans?"

How about hosting an Olympic Women's Basketball Viewing Party? Get a local restaurant to open up bright and early, fire up the kitchen and lay out the bar. Invite some players -- encourage them to share information about their foundations. In fact, invite ANY WNBA player to send over information about their foundations? How about maybe hooking up with a local WNBA card dealer and have a rip party?

What a great idea, no?

Of course, if your local W team ain't interested, don't pout. Instead say, "Fine! I'll do it myself!"

That's just what the Off Court people in Connecticut are doing. Check out what they've put together (and it's still growing.)
We are going to be in a nice local bar with complete kitchen called Humphrey's East.

The bar is opening at 10 am for our event. We will have the run of the join until 1 pm when they open to the public.

There are 4 TVs and they can seat up to 200 comfortably.

Steve from C&S Sports and Hobby will be bringing his WNBA Trading Card stock for those who want to rip and trade.

The Phoenix Mercury will be sending materials about their Foundation.

Diana Taurasi's Foundation is sending materials.

We are in contact with Tamika Raymond in an effort to have her attend to make a presentation about her foundation during half time.

We have an invitation out to Curtis Symonds the former of the COO of the Washington Mystics for him to speak a few minutes about running a basketball organization.

We also are talking with 3 different team foundations for them to make presentations at half time.

Direction and info updates we be posted as things are solidified. Check back regularly.

Please RSVP to the contact listed so we can give the owners of Humphrey's East a better idea of numbers as they are donating their space for our viewing pleasure.
Canis Hoopus' big dog, Stop-n-Pop, a stalwart contributor to the Minnesota basketball scene, takes time to show a bit of love to the felinae (here at wh, we believe the actual nomenclature would be Felinae Lynxi Hoopi - though we're not sure about the declension). S-n-P not only performs a lovely take down of the local idiot of the week, but also gives some great advice for everyone in the area, "drive on down to the Target Center to catch a Lynx game..." where you'll see, "World class athletes playing a game of precision skill and agility...." While the members of our household usually bike down to Lynx games, we heartily encourage any mode of transportation that takes you down to see Seimone, Candice, and the whole pride.

Dogs and Cats, living together, mass hysteria!
What can you say about a game in which your bench outscores your starters 45-32 and outscores the opposition's bench 45-10?

How about "Yippee!!"?

Or, if you're New York coach Patty Coyle: "I've been saying it all year. One of our strengths is our bench. I feel confident putting anyone in there."

Last night's 77-56 victory by the Liberty over the Mystics pulled the team within a half-game of the second-place Sun and 2-1/2 of the first-place Shock. The Liberty outscored Washington in every quarter, and did not trail during the final three periods.

It's also the team's third straight win, which is confusing the heck outta Lib fans, who've gotten used to the W-L-W-L pattern. Not that we're complaining, mind you.

A couple of delightful moments during a not particularly attractive game

  • Leilani "Mini-Mi's" mini Hail Mary shot (and an MSG graphic that showed that over the last 9 games, her assist to turnover ratio is 22-1.
  • Tiffany "I'm breaking out, y'all" Jackson's play -- including a grin inducing "clap, clap, beam!" reaction after a play.
  • Ashley "PULL!" Battle's return to the scoring ranks. I call her "PULL" 'cause her shot -- especially her three -- has such a high arc and slow rotation/motion that you can hear the skeet shooters in the audience taking aim.
  • JMac's "Pick of Death" on Nikki Blue. It was a thing of beauty. Nikki was chasing after Mini Mi at a good clip and then "BOOM," smack dab in the middle -- there was Janel. The kicker, though, was JMac giving Nikki a "there, there" pat on the shoulder as she stood up and tried to recover.

As for the Mystics, Alana Beard scored 15 points and Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Mystics. But Washington shot 34 percent and committed 22 turnovers that led to 27 points for New York.

If you're a Washington fan (yes, I heard you last night ), not much to be said but "ouch."
Minor trouble has turned into major consequences for Jenna Plumley: she's been suspended for the season.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

And don't forget, you can visit the Title IX blog any time you want. It's good for you -- like broccli, laughing, and playing with a four-year-old.

The latest installement: Professor Brake on Discrimination Against Pregnant Athletes.

Professor Deborah Brake's article "The Invisible Pregnant Athlete and the Promise of Title IX" in the current issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Gender examines the legal protection for athletes who become pregnant during their college careers.

Until very recently, this issue had been entirely off the radar screen of colleges and universities, OCR, and the NCAA, despite clear regulatory language prohibiting such discrimination. Brake devotes careful attention to the question why discrimination against pregnant athletes -- often experienced as a scholarship revocation rather than medical redshirt status -- was invisible for so long.

Really, if you're not visiting Q's blog daily, you're not getting as smart about women's basketball as you could be.

The latest entry: Visualizing The WNBA’s Top Player Combinations: The Player Styles Spectrum

...knowing how well individual players complement each other could help us imagine trade possibilities, evaluate draft selections, the impact of a missing player, etc.

Well, David Sparks at the Arbitrarian blog has created a novel graphical visualization of WNBA playing styles, which I think is a step forward in player analysis. Hopefully, it enables a deeper analysis of team dynamics, perhaps reinforcing and extending my thinking with some stronger data.

Aside from just being a cool representation of information, I find this work to be quite useful for describing the composition of WNBA teams and further understanding what creates good team chemistry.

OT: How is it possible that Billie Jean King is 64? 'Cause if she's 64, then that must mean I'm.... well, never you mind!!

A great Q&A with BJK.

Q: If you were the head of a sports network, what changes would you make?

A: I'd start having more and more women's sports on. I love sports because of the human element. I think most people can relate to that, whether they like a sport or not. It's about the people. The reason people think they know all these male athletes is because they see them all the time. If they see us enough, they will definitely like us. And make sure you take boys and girls to women's sports. The girls are taken to men's sports. Don't separate.

There's a long tradition of Native American girls playing basketball in the United States. (You can check out some past entries in this blog's WBBall History section to catch up on the backstory.)

Thanks to an email from Peggy, we get a piece from Andi at the Outer Limits blog on a group of young women preparing to compete in Native American Basketball Invitational tournament (NABI) on July 19th.

I watch the girls scrimmage, and I’m struck by the effortless athleticism of almost all of them. Most shoot either-handed, dribble and fake with moves that rival pros, and conduct seemingly impossible passes under the boards. At an average age of 16, most of these girls have been playing basketball for 10 years out here in Indian Country and most play other sports, on teams that consistently go to state tournaments or take state championships in their divisions.

But fewer than 5 percent of college athletes across the nation are Native. I’m here to explore that, to find out what drives these young women, and to find out what in their communities both nurtures and hinders them. Watching them on the court, I’m caught up in the way the team works together, and the focus of every single player out there. A few bystanders wander in and take up positions near the old stage, on one end of the court. I ask one what he thinks and he says: “I’m just glad they’re playing and going to the tournament.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Title IX news from our fearless law professors over at the Title IX blog.

If you follow the application/enforcement of T-9 at the college level, you'll know that the compliance records of universities and colleges has a lot to be desired. But they ain't got nothing on high schools.

The thing is, parents of the current crop of high school kids were, in many cases, the beneficiaries of Title IX. If you were a woman, you might have gotten a scholarship. If you were a man, you might have become aware of the inequities in the educational system.

So, when these parents see their daughter's athletic programs are marginalized, they tend to get cranky. Which is one reason you're seeing more T-9 cases at the high school level.

So back to the new news from the T-9 blog, which is actually old news:
...a year ago, the petitioned the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to "clarify" Title IX's application to by stating that the three-part test for measuring equity in participation does not apply to high school athletics. But earlier this year, OCR denied this petition, affirming the applicability of the three-part test to high schools.
Basically, it means high schools have to meet the same requirements as universities. So, you may ask, what exactly is "the three part test"?
The "three-part test" refers to a portion of the Department's Policy Interpretation, issued in 1979, that provides guidance on the application of Title IX to athletics.

It sets forth three options to determine whether an institution's intercollegiate athletic program provides nondiscriminatory participation opportunities for male and female athletes. A school may demonstrate compliance by meeting any one of the three parts:

1.) Whether the institution provides opportunities for participation in intercollegiate sports for male and female students in numbers that are substantially proportionate to their respective enrollments; or

2.) Whether the institution can show a history and continuing practice of program expansion that is demonstrably responsive to the developing interests and abilities of the members of the sex that is underrepresented among intercollegiate athletes; or

3.) Whether the institution can show that the interests and abilities of the members of that sex have been fully and effectively accommodated by the present program.
Hey, John? I'll give you a nickel if you can find the word "quota."
Q says the Silver Stars are such a good basketball team because they're really a team: no matter what talent you have on your roster, depending "on individuals is a less reliable approach than [relying on] synergy and chemistry."

Sharon at Full Court considers the recent Lynx nosedive distress. Has Minnesota's post game-- not just perennial softie Ohlde, but Houston and Hayden-- declined as the season goes on?
We neglected to link last week-- when it would have been timely-- to this serious analysis of the most recent Lynx loss.

The source: a new (as of March), and articulate, blog that covers women's hoops as one among many sports worth watching. For all prior W coverage from that blog, look here. (H/t to P.)
Sooner guard Jenna Plumley in minor trouble with the law. Sigh.
In her latest blog entry, Dee Kantner explains the block-charge, travel, and loose ball calls.
Both of today's games were matinees, so no games to follow tonight on TV or the internet.

Detroit held off Chicago to remain undefeated at home. Cheryl Ford led a balanced Shock attack while Jia Perkins had a game high 26. Perhaps worse for the Sky is word that Dominique Canty, who did not play, is out for the year.

In the other game, the Fever could not overcome the Dream. So Atlanta gets win number 3. Izzy Castro Marques had her best game of the year, scoring 24 and Betty Lennox added 16.

In addition to losing the game, there is some potentially bad news for the Fever (and USA Basketball). Tamika Catchings was playing one her best games since her return when she was kicked in the foot. She had to leave the game in the fourth quarter and did not return. She is being evaluated so no news yet on how bad it is.
The Maggie Dixon Classic line-up is now official: Black Knights vs. Scarlet Knights followed by Nittany Lions vs. Huskies. Games start at noon on Sunday, Dec. 14.

Both contests will be aired on ESPNU. Tickets go on sale Friday, July 18, at 10 am at the MSG box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.thegarden.com.

Note to the New York Liberty: Coach Washington was a member of the New York Liberty. Carson and Coyle are RU grads. Ex-Lib-Knight Wicks is coaching in Brooklyn. Battle is a UConn grad. West Point is in New York.

Get your act together and help Liberty subscribers be part of a Madison Garden sellout.
'midst a discussion of "Outdoor game - good idea or no?" on rebkell, some great news: The Outdoor Classic at Arthur Ashe Stadium, located at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, is all but sold out and people are beginning to scramble for seats.

If this is true, I'd expect the Lib to be broadcasting it from the roof tops.

Wait, what am I thinking? This is the Lib!

On edit: From the .com an email full of links.
He might not be able to spell Lindsay Whalen, but that doesn't stop Brian McCormick from appreciating the W.

I used to wish that ESPN would televise NBA Summer League games. Now, I am glad to watch the WNBA on television rather than the NBA Summer League.

While the Summer League was disastrous yesterday, from what I saw, today's game between the Sun and Liberty was entertaining and well-played. I love to watch games where players actually use their pivot foot to make a move, rather than changing their pivot foot as well. I was happy to see some semblance of shot selection, rather than watching Anthony Roberson, Wilson Chandler, JJ Hickson and Corey Brewer jack shots at will.

I saw real post moves and real step-back jump shots tonight. I missed those last night. I saw PG play from Lyndsay Whelan which was almost non-existent in four games yesterday.

SI does give a little coverage to women's basketball once in a while. Here is an interview with Tamika Catchings.

Lynx fans were told there should also be a profile on their three rookies, but it has not been published yet.