Women's Hoops Blog: May 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Saturday, May 31, 2008

The official announcement will come later today (at halftime of this game), but there are already reports on some of the players expected to be named to Team USA's Olympic team.

Edit - USA Basketball has now posted the names of first nine selected.
Revenge was sweet for Lauren Jackson and her Storm teammates as they avenged their only loss of the season by demolishing the Silver Stars 78-57.

In addition to Jackson's 28 points and improved team rebounding, a key to the game was the stifling defense played on Becky Hammon. She finished with only three points, all from the foul like.

Sue Bird, who finished with 10 assists, explained their defensive approach. "It's a team defensive game. We know that Becky Hammon and Sophia Young are their go-to players. Whenever they caught the ball, it wasn't that you didn't guard the person you were assigned to, but you definitely over-helped. We worked on it in practice, the rotation, and we have a lot of really smart players who are just good at knowing where to be at the right time."

From Jayda's spot on press row, the game was a breeze for the Storm.
Sacramento came out on top of a hard fought battle with Houston, 73-66.

The Monarchs never trailed. But the Comets pulled even at 58 in the fourth quarter before the home team went on a 10-0 run to close the game out.

Houston's biggest problem seemed to be getting their shots to fall, as they connected on only 29.4% for the game. Both teams received solid contributions from some of their rookies. Matee Ajavon and Erica White combined for 27 points for the Comets. And Laura Harper added 11 points for the Monarchs.

Harper and her fellow rookies are getting plenty of on the job training as they combined for 46 minutes of play. "We need a bench," Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said of her rookies. "We've got to develop them. Sometimes, I've just got to bite my lip and let them learn."
Connecticut rebounded from their last outing to get past New York 89-84 at home.

Four players scored in double figures for the Sun, including 18 from Tamika Whitmore. Lindsay Whalen played through an aching Achilles' with a solid all around game. Despite this, there are still concerns for the Sun, especially turnovers.

“I told our team, ‘I’m happy we won, but I’m seeking perfection right now,’” Mike Thibault said. “And there’s a big difference.”

Rookies Essence Carson and Erlana Larkins combined for 26 points off the bench for the Liberty.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The WNBA takes a cue from Project Runway.
In the game I wish we had seen, Indiana beat L.A. in double overtime: Douglas scored 25, Tan White 20.

Coach Dunn explains how her team pulled ahead: "They were doing a great job switching off on Katie -- either Lisa Leslie or Candace Parker were on her the whole night -- so as we went down the stretch we decided to let Katie be a decoy in the corner... and put Tan in the two-man game or put Tan in a position to drive."

Francophone Congolese center Bernie Ngoyisa, new to the team, had 14 and 9 in a key late stretch; no other Fever sub managed even one point. (The Indy Star rewards her with an enormous picture on their sports front page: good on the Star!)

Parker, for her part, finished "five by five"-- at least five points, rebounds, steals blocks and assists-- something no WNBA player had ever done. Just two NBA'ers, Paul says, have done it more than once.

Parker and Leslie both tried to dunk but failed (hey, you can't have everything): 9,235 fans (great for Indy in May) showed up to see CP3 but stayed for the home win. Let's hope they all come back.
In a scrappy, close game the Lynx got past the Sky. "Mentally, we weren't prepared," said coach Key. "It was a complete 180 from the team" that won their home opener.

Chicago, at home, led at halftime, but the Lynx broke the second-to-last of ten ties in a run led by Houston's offense and Hayden-Johnson's defense; Seimone and DeForge (6-10, 3-3) both looked rather good.

Minnesota are now the last unbeaten team in the league: it won't last, but for durable fans, it feels good.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In her latest post, Dee Kantner provides a glimpse of what a typical game day is like for a WNBA official.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

From reader Ed:
I've just added a WNBA simulation to my website. The simulation generates a final score, box score andplayer stats for all the teams. I will be adding past season's and team's as well.

Check out the games below, hit play again for a totally different result each time or select new teams to play other teams. The current teams are listed under 2008. I have 2006 teams listed as available, but they need to be corrected, they were only used for testing.

Let me know what you think. The first link is for a single matchup, the second is a series that can be played on the site (3,5, and 7 games available). Click the results button to see the box score for each game of the series. There is also a tournament feature for 4,8,16,32, and 64 teams.

Single game

3 game series
The Spokesman-Recorder's Charles Hallman takes another look at the advertising campaign of the Lynx and the league.
Betty and Alana had quite the duel, but it was the Mystics who came out on top 80-74.

Lennox had 29 to Beard's 25. But Beard got a bit more help from the rest of her team. The Mystics killed on the boards and had a big advantage at the free throw line. "It's great when you can just grit it out like we did," said Taj McWilliams-Franklin.

The BasketCases offer their assessment. Katie Carrera of the Mystics Insider adds a few points to ponder as well.
The Comets welcomed the Lynx and their fans to the first game in Reliant Arena. And the sold out crowd saw their team open the game strong but falter late as the Lynx fought back to win 98-92 in overtime. This is the first time since 1999 the Lynx have gone 2-0 to open the season.

Minnesota trailed by 12 with 6:29 left in the game, and then took over. Nicky Anosike scored 16 of her 20 points in the second half and came up with several big plays late in regulation and in overtime. Seimone Augustus had one of her best all-around games of her career. But the unsung hero was Kristen Rasmussen, who slowed down Tina Thompson in the second half.

"Problem tonight was that we only played about 35 good minutes, and we needed to play 45 good ones," Thompson said.
The Fever made the Sun look really bad on national TV. Douglas scored 23.

It was the biggest loss in Sun history. "We didn't stop them," said Asjha Jones; neither she nor her teammates could keep Indy out of the paint, nor could anyone slow the Fever down.

Connecticut fans, once Douglas' partisans, booed the Indy native once it became clear that she was going to lead her new team way, way past her former one. "They love their Sun. They received me well during introductions. I'm thankful," said Douglas afterwards. "But when things didn't start to go their way, I can't say I blame them. It was something I'd expect. I wouldn't want them cheering for me."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

From Indy, an op-ed in favor of the Fever.

Writer Larry DeGaris, a UConn alum, now teaches sports marketing at the University of Indianapolis (not to be confused with the U. of Indiana): he's apparently an expert on sports sponsorships.
ESPN gives Candice Dupree (with an 'i') her own blog.
The Washington Post now has an in-house Mystics blog: Postie Melissa Rosenberg has something to say not just about her own team but about tonight's Fever-at-Sun matchup.

The nationally televised game (ESPN2, 7pm) has Katie Douglas playing for her hometown, and against her old team. "It will be emotional for me," she says.
The Arizona Repubic does a Q&A with Merc head coach Corey Gaines.

Monday, May 26, 2008

In Connecticut, Sandrine Gruda is in the house.

The Sun picked the Martinique native in last year's draft, understanding that she might not show up till now; she's just 20 years old, and those who have seen her in Europe say she's already great.
Bob Corwin predicts success (no surprise) for Los Angeles, and a mess (followed by relocation) for Hilton Koch's Comets.
Los Angeles had no problem winning in Atlanta: another sellout crowd (including plenty of Volunteers there to see Parker) watched the Dream shoot 29%.

Coach Meadors didn't sound discouraged: the Sparks "have great talent and I don't think we're going to see anybody in the league better than they are," she said. "We've got a foundation, but they're 12 years into the league."
The Shock had no problem beating the Lib at the Palace: at one point the home team led 24-6. Pierson scored 25; Katie Smith, on the other hand, went an alarming 1-9... at some point the Shock will need long-range shots, and won't get them.

Not last night, though. Detroit's superior athletes kept the lead comfy until the fourth period, when the Liberty made a big run: too little, alas, for Lib fans, and too late.

The crowd at the Palace looked truly anemic-- no cause for worry, I think, since the Shock have shown some fan presence before: and Detroit sports media have plenty of other things to cover right now.
The Mystics picked up their first win in their well-orchestrated home opener. The Basket Cases praise the hoopla, and the team.

Nikki Blue hurt her ankle and could be out for a while: expect Beard to bring the ball up the floor (rather than Amber Jacobs as starting PG). Alana scored 16 in the close contest, which left Houston still winless after four games.
Donna blogs the Dream.
Where are they now? Anita Kaplan, 1992 National Champion at Stanford, pro in Sweden, San Jose Laser and Chicago Condor.
Mike DiMauro in Connecticut writes about Kara Lawson:

She's no rock star, but she's become a face of women's basketball, with eyes that, depending on what the calendar says, peer into the camera or pierce anyone trying to guard her.

Lawson, perpetually misunderstood by the Connecticut faithful, usually gets booed at Mohegan Sun Arena. It's the Tennessee thing. Yet while Connecticut women's basketball fans score big points for their knowledge, they rarely look smaller than when they serenade a young woman whose personality, accountability and candor are helping the game they love grow a little more every day.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Remember when UL-L's Ragin' Cajuns got in to the NCAA tourney?

Well, something's in the catfish, cause their unseeded softball team is heading to Oklahoma City to play in the Super Regional.

Boy, it's nice to be watching so much softball on tv, ain't it?
Clay begs Becky: please don't play for Russia. Fans react (UPDATE: more reactions here.) At a sports blog new to me, an articulate blogger defends Becky's choice.

UPDATE: why has there been almost no teeth-gnashing re: Deanna Nolan and Kelly Miller, who may also play for Team Russia in Beijing?

Becky has said that if she thought she could play for Team USA, she wouldn't have signed up for a foreign squad-- and, as Clay notes, from a pure basketball perspective, Hammon should probably be on her own country's team: coach Donovan hasn't exactly treated her well (and hence has no business insulting her on national TV, which Donovan did on ABC yesterday).

If I understand these things correctly, Becky likely makes money by becoming faux-Russian, in ways that most fans may not understand-- ways Paul, who understands lots of things, has just explained.

If I understand rightly, it's not just that Becky might get paid directly (Team USA members also get paid). The important fact is that the Russian Superleague in which Becky plays requires two "Russians" on the floor at all times; once she's "Russian," i.e. a Russian citizen, she counts as one of them. That makes Becky (and Nolan and Kelly) worth more to a Russian club.

To make matters weirder: Sue Bird, who is ethnically Russian (but plays for Team USA) does not count as "Russian"; there's no reason the Russians would or should make her a citizen, since she wouldn't play for their national team. (She couldn't even if she wanted to, since she's already competed in a FIBA-sanctioned match for the United States.)

Bird does, however, hold an Israeli passport; Diana Taurasi, on Bird's club team, counts as Italian (since she holds an Italian passport). That makes her able to work in Europe more easily (and to avoid visa issues that hassle Americans) thanks to the Bosman ruling, which many European national teams dislike.

It also means that neither Sue nor D counts as American; Superleague teams can sign as many non-Russians as they want (as long as they put two "Russians" on court at all times), but when the same teams play in Euroleague, they can have just two "Americans" per team. (Thanks to both Paul and Kevin for explaining the tangled sets of rules.)

It's unclear to me (and I don't know if Becky has said) whether her acquisition of Russian citizenship was contingent on her joining Russia's Olympic team... but it wouldn't make much sense otherwise: why would the government bother?
In the game I wish we had seen, Connecticut throttled the Monarchs at the casino. The Sun started slow but looked fine from the second quarter on, taking control inside and out.

The Sun also had a slow start on Opening Day: it may have to do with coach Thibault's starting lineup (his three best players plus two rookies), which allows him to bring experience off the bench.

One player Sun fans like to see come off the bench: Barbara Turner, who finished 5-10 from long range, racking up several new career highs.
In the game we saw, Seattle once again fell far behind early, but this time the comeback attempt fell short: Becky Hammon and her Silver Stars did a number on the visiting Storm on national TV.

Hammon scored 20, Young 23, and Helen Darling (!) 14. "I have to be aggressive," Darling says, "to open things up" for the rest of her team. I for one have never seen her play that fast.

ABC's broadcast team spent its halftime feature, and much of the rest of its time, discussing Becky's decision to turn Russian for the Olympics. What will her USA fans think?

Coach Agler says the "real season" doesn't start till Friday, when the Stars visit Key Arena for the two teams' second match in a row. I'm pretty sure San Antonio fans think the real season began on Opening Day.
If you check out after atalanta you've read about 12-year-old, 6'1" Jaime Nared who's been banned from playing against the boys because she's a girl (not because she's dropping 30+ on opposing teams.)

aa also directed you to Pandagon for more on the issue.
Let me just say here that the sports-radio reaction - one of the most accurate bellwethers in the history of opinion - locally has been overwhelmingly supportive of young Ms. Nared. Usually you can find a few devil’s-advocate types who spout some sexist party-line nonsense, but in this case the Hoop doesn’t have a supporter as far as the eye can see.
Now there's some video from Good Morning America.
Some rookies get some ink: ex-Badger and current Sun Jolene Anderson, ex-Terp current 'stics Crystal Langhorne, and ex-Blue Raider Amber Holt.
Want to increase coverage? Don't just kvetch, write! (Compliments AND Crankiness). For example, in Orlando they published this.
The New York Times takes a look at some of the more dedicated fans of the WNBA.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Well, it's not a slap, but it's pretty close. Taj speaks.

"We coast sometimes," McWilliams-Franklin said. "Win or lose you should be exhausted. We have to have the mentality that . . . when they throw that ball up that's when we start. Go all out, nonstop, head to the floor for every post-pounding minute that you can possibly give."


"We've got to get it done or we're all going to be sitting," she said.
(h/t SportsGuru)
In Atlanta's first-ever home opener, the Shock spotted the home team 19 points, then came roaring back to beat the expansion team easily.

"We didn't come out to play as hard as we could," said Cheryl Ford: her team played as if it would take them about 20 minutes to defeat the Dream once they started to try-- alas, they were right.

No one could remotely guard Nolan, who scored a game-high 33; late in the fourth, she fell down on her left arm, left with a sling, and never returned. We'll keep you posted.

Good news for the Dream: De Souza looked fantastic (18 boards). So did the crowd: an enthusiastic sellout. Worse news, though no surprise: just 7 assists for the team. They'll get better. We hope all the fans stick around.
The Contra Costa Times has a great profile on agent Lindsay Kagawa. Among her clients are Diana Taurasi, Seimone Augustus, Noelle Quinn and Candice Wiggins.

Not too long ago, Kagawa was captain of the Stanford volleyball team.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A question for the .com peeps: What's the point of having the "Courtside Live" feature if it doesn't have running game stats?

Things that make you bang your head against the wall.
Mechelle finds a link between an 82-year old gentleman who finally walked in the Kansas graduation ceremonies and the young Candace Parker, who recently did the same in Tennessee.

Both are "A Walk to Remember."
A clarification from Karen: They don't own us YET and we DID run a story.

Marcus Henry wrote
There's nothing like getting a blowout win immediately after a lackluster loss.

The Liberty did just about everything wrong in its season-opening loss against Connecticut on Sunday. But last night, the turnaround was complete, quick and furious as the Liberty routed the Washington Mystics, 79-60, at Madison Square Garden.

The stat sheet was in stark contrast to Sunday's as the Liberty beat the Mystics in nearly every facet of the game.
A side note about the game from a fan in the stand:

Yes, the Mystics looked profoundly awful. And worse yet, as I watched Taj work her butt off, I was having flashbacks to the Vicky Bullet era.

The consummate professional, my lasting image of VB is during a playoff game against the Lib. Things were falling apart for DC and no one but VB seemed to give a good hot damn or knew what the heck was supposed to be happening. If she could have grabbed her teammates by the scruff of the neck and slapped them silly, I think she would have. When I think about VB, what I remember is her face, a mixture rage and frustration.

At times, I got feeling last night watching Taj do everything (Beard doing the rest) while the rest of the Mystics looked out of sorts and confused. And looking like they really, really need a coach.

I'm not giving up on the 'stics -- the Sting taught me the folly of that. But my heart did break a little as I watched Taj. Seeing her switch from fierce-Taj to sportsmanship-Taj as she pulled Cat up after a collision, or concerned-Taj as she crouched over an injured JMac made me wish... well, it made me wish she was on a championship winning team.
Big Syl had a much better game in her second outing and the Sky's home opener. Candice Dupree was perfect from the floor and nearly perfect from the line and Armintie Price scored a career high 22. The result was a 87-77 win over the Monarchs.

In the Monarchs' earlier games, it was mentioned by the broadcast teams that they wanted to run a lot more this season. But it was the Sky who really pushed the tempo and scored on one fast break after another.

"My teammates tell me no one can stop me, so that's in my head now and I'm trying to take it to the hole," Price said. "I can jump and I can pass, but I have to be able to knock down shots when my teammates pass it to me."

''That's what I'm used to -- blocking shots and running the floor,'' said Fowles. We just wanted to make a good impression and ... win.''

Before the game, Price was honored for winning last season's Rookie of the Year award. The arena upgrades (including a big screen for replays and highlights) were highlighted throughout the game by the broadcast crew of Eric Collins and Stacey King. Stacey takes over for Nikki McCray and he is not nearly as much of a homer as Nikki was. The celebrities taking in the game were also shown throughout the broadcast and included Stacey Dales, Dwayne Wade and Quentin Richardson.
At home, New York made beating the Mystics look easy.

The Basket Cases claim that it's the worst they've ever seen the Mystics play. Taj had a big double-double, but it didn't matter: the Liberty led by 21 at the half.

One oddity for media-conscious Lib fans: now that the Dolans own both the Liberty and the Long Island newspaper Newsday, shouldn't the latter run a story when the former win a home game?

CLARIFICATION: some friendly body at Newsday wrote Helen to say that the Dolans haven't acquired the paper yet, and that a Lib did run-- though that story was nowhere on Newsday's sports web page this morning. (I didn't see it. And I searched.)

In Newsday's defense, other papers-- especially the Detroit News, which covers the Shock pretty well-- sometimes have similar problems: a story (a filed story, not a wire report) shows up in the print edition and in a Google News search for "WNBA," but not on the front Sports page of the newspaper's site. (Of course, the problem may just be my eyesight.)
It must be hard for Jayda not to use the same lede over and over: last night the Storm started slow, fell behind badly during the second quarter, then roared back after halftime for a convincing win.

That was the story last weekend, and on Tuesday night, and again last night in the Valley of the Sun, where the defending champions blew a 21-point lead. The Merc are now 0-3.

"We ran out of juice," said coach Gaines of his Mercury. "They're not in shape to do what we do, which is run."

The speedy Merc style fits badly both with the short training camp at the start of the summer, and with Phoenix's lack of a bench: when the starters get tired, there's really no plan B.

Merc fans remember that story from 2006; is the wrong year repeating itself for their team?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Slam's Stephen Litel asks Bill Laimbeer about the Expect Great campaign.
Meet me in St. Louis?

It's Final Four lottery time.
The Basket Cases get nostalgic for the Monistat yeast infection era. Their label, not ours.
That was fast: speedy PG Crystal Smith goes to Washington, though she won't be able to play for about two weeks; the Mystics create roster space for Smith by dismissing tall, thin center Lindsay Taylor.

Also in Mystics-land: more light on Nakia Sanford, who has risen to Washington's occasion. Some people had her as last year's most improved. "It's okay," she says about not winning that award. "I got the most improved paycheck."
Connecticut bloggers wonder if Debbie Black and Tonya Cardoza are the leading candidates for the Temple job.
Kara Braxton came off the bench and led her team over the Fever in Auburn Hills. The visitors came back from 14 down, but Nolan's late jumper put her team back on top.

Bellowing Bill expects to keep Braxton as a reserve, starting ex-WVU rookie Olayinka Sanni at center, for now. "He's just trying to figure out the right chemistry," Braxton explains. "I don't have a problem with it."

After Detroit reconfigures itself inside, they may have to think about their perimeter: the Shock won despite going 0-8 from downtown.

The Fever may have their own perimeter problem: Tan White (5-19, 3-10) attempted more shots than any two of her teammates combined. I wondered three years ago if White could adjust to a team where she wasn't the be-all and end-all of offense: it seems to me that the jury's still out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good news if true, or at least some pleasant rumors, about the business side of the Comets.

Many fans still believe that Houston owner Hilton Koch can't really afford to run the team. Last week he told his city's newspaper of record that the Comets were sticking around: "We need fans. We need to win games. We need to embrace the community, but we are covering all those bases."

This year's Comets have moved to Reliant Arena, since their last venue (where the NBA Rockets play) was probably too expensive and clearly too big. Some people thought the move was a bad sign, but I'd say it's better to fill a smaller arena than to look lost in a large one-- and you can do either one with the same number of fans.
From the Women's Sports Blog, news of a survey you might want to take:
Some universities in Ohio, Kent State and Youngstown State, are conducting research on "gender and sports fandom." They send along this link to their survey. It's pretty clear that they're trying to gauge the level of personal identification a fan has with sports teams and players.
From the University of Oregon's Daily Emerald: "The next step forward: The world of women's basketball coaching is becoming increasingly populated by former professional players."
The last college basketball season has seen Coquese Washington take over at Penn State, Tia Jackson at Washington and Cindy Blodgett at Maine. Already, the college basketball landscape is dotted with former pros, with Dawn Staley at Temple (Staley is now at South Carolina), Jennifer Rizzotti at Hartford, Suzie McConnell-Serio at Duquesne and more.

With the current WNBA season underway, there are likely future coaches just waiting to be discovered.

"I think it is something that will be more prevalent in the future because I think you get a taste of basketball as a profession just playing-wise and I think you get a different appreciation for it once you're a maturing adult and you find yourself loving the game and wanting to be around it," Staley said.
Clay complains about the raw new coaches coming into the Pac-10.
San Antonio beat the Merc convincingly to win their home opener. Sophia Young scored 25. (She would have been matched against Penny if Penny were present; here's what happened last time those two met.)

The defending champs are now 0 and 2; Diana, upset, picked up a late technical foul. It's not unusual: every so often, those fits can cost her team a game.
The Storm had another slow start, but again took over after the break, overcoming the Monarchs in Seattle.

Swoopes and Griffith looked focused but clearly past their primes; Her Majesty shot 3-13. Swin Cash, on the other hand, didn't start but looked great.

So did Katie Gearlds (3-3 from long range), whose late hits sealed the deal for her team. "That's what I get paid to do," she said.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Goody makes her predictions and she has some original picks (Seattle #1 over L.A. and Atlanta making the playoffs).
Dawn Staley has filled her staff at South Carolina with former Olympic teammates Nikki McCray and Carla McGhee.

Lisa Boyer is also going to continue to work for Staley, after serving as her assistant at Temple.
*note of no real importance -- this one makes it 9501 total posts*

Trudy Lacey is back coaching, this time for Queens University at Charlotte.
Clay explains why this year's rookies look so much better than, say, the class of '03-- and why the WNBA now benefits from a positive feedback loop.
Yet one more NBA fan sees Candace Parker and loves it.
In the LA Times, David Carter asks, "Can Sidney Crosby, Candace Parker and Big Brown save their sports?"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hardworking Mystics owner Sheila Johnson tells the Washington Post about her job.

Johnson: "We are constantly fighting this uphill battle of trying to fill seats and get corporate sponsorship so that we can meet budget.... We have to market these young women for people to see that they're extraordinary."

Thanks to the hardworking Basket Cases for the link.
A little east/west cross-blogging: the LA Times' Adam Rose took some time to check in with new Bruin coach Nikki Caldwell, who just wrapped up the "Cruisin' for a Cause" bike tour (motor, not pedal).
Nice double Ohio-dip for Semeka Randall: Get named Ohio head coach and get inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
May I be the first of, I'm sure, many New York Liberty fans who were fascinated -- I mean, just fascinated! -- to read Tamika Whitmore's version of her time with the New York Liberty.

As her stats show, she's been a major "offensive threat" with every other team she's played for EXCEPT the Liberty. *yes, that WAS the sarcasm plane flying by*

Of course I remember that, averaging 26.3 points a game, she led the nation in scoring. At Memphis.

But Miko, moving in to your 10th year in the WNBA, you're averaging 9.8pts a game. And that's including the two delightful games you've unleashed to open the '08 season.

Hey, I have no issue with players doing whatever they need to do to psyche themselves up or explain a great scoring game. It's what they do. (Did you catch the fascinating Radiolab, "Lying to Ourselves"?)

But just because they say it doesn't mean I have to believe it, right?
Worth a read: Title IX blog's response to the NCAA releasing financial information on its "member institutions."
When you don't count institutional subsidies as revenue, only 17 out of 300 Division I program (5%) were profitable during the 2004-2006 period that was the scope of the study. 16 of these programs were in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly, DI-A). Moreover, DI institutions' expenditures rose an average of 23%, outpacing the increase in revenue, which rose 16%.

Why is this important and what does this have to do with Title IX? The new report is important because it begins to dismantle the common misperception that college athletics can generate "profit" for the institution, which is to blame for the epidemic of profit-seeking that has unmoored college athletics from its educational mission. Among other problems the commercial mentality has caused (commodification of athletes, low graduation rates, etc.) it has also incited an arms race of spending on state of the art facilities and other amenities that are designed more to help recruiting than to contribute to a meaningful student-athlete experience.
President Orender, on the record yesterday, discussing future expansion for the W: "Probably two teams in the next five years."

That sounds about right. I promise to cheer if Dave King in Colorado gets one, but only if you promise not to boo if they don't: he'd be a great owner-- if he could find the money.
The Sun downed the Liberty in New York's season opener; a late comeback behind a full-court press couldn't quite save the Lib from the Sun's superior scorers.

Former NY enforcer Tamika Whitmore led everybody with 17; the rest of the box score looks good for Sun rookie Jolene (4-6 from downtown in 24 minutes), not so good for Barb Turner (0-3 and two boards in 15).

"When I was here, they didn't even use me as an offensive threat," Whitmore said afterwards. "I came out of college leading the nation in scoring and they never once used my strengths. Maybe if they had they would have won one of those three championships I played for."

Wondering where that fire (or temper) came from? Even if you don't usually read player profiles, do make time to see Ned Griffen's bio-piece on Whit from Saturday's Sun program: the long piece covers the alarming poverty in which Whitmore grew up, her connection to the All-American Redheads, and the secret origin of her weird behind-the-head outside shot.
More on the new advertising campaign for the Lynx and the man behind it.
It was celebration time in Minnesota as the 10th season of the Lynx kicked off. Three members of the original Lynx (Charmin Smith, Tonya Edwards and Sonja Tate) watched the game from the team bench. Another was playing for the opposing team. And it was the Lynx rookies who shined in their debut as Minnesota downed Detroit 84-70.

Candice Wiggins was a spark off the bench on both ends of the floor. Nicky Anosike showed she was not intimidated by the strong post play of the Shock. And third round pick Charde Houston perhaps surprised some by leading all scorers with 21 points in just over 16 minutes of action.

"It is the new Lynx,'' Wiggins said. "It is a new chapter. What's nice is that it isn't just one person. It is a team, a program on the rise. We have great energy, and we love playing. That is what will drive us.''

The young team was also the one who showed more poise. Detroit Coach Bill Laimbeer: "What surprised me was our turnovers. We didn't take care of the ball like we are supposed to. I thought our energy level wasn't necessarily where it needed to be also. Those were the two disappointments tonight."

Plenette Pierson and Katie Smith continued their strong play for the Shock by combining for 32 points. But the Lynx saw a little more balance with 10 players scoring and playing at least 10 minutes.

It's only one game, but it is a step in the right direction for the Lynx franchise and their fans.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

We don't get to see as many games in person as we did a few years ago: moving from Minnesota to Boston will do that. We did, however, take in the Sun's big win on Opening Day. Whalen looked as good as ever, and Barb Turner really can stick around in this league.

Not as good as ever, and in fact worse than we've had it before: cigarette smoke in our part of the arena. See, Mohegan Sun has no smoking in the arena-- but it's a casino, so people light up just outside the arena, and if you're sitting in sections 118 or 119, next to the main entrance, the chemicals just blow up and in. Perhaps the tribe could invest in a few giant fans? In the meantime, if you are taking a smoke-sensitive child or adult to a game, we advise that you sit in any sections but those.

Speaking of fans, the arena was not-- to our surprise-- sold out, though it came pretty close except for the very worst seats. Ned wasn't kidding about the full-color newspaper program for Opening Day.

Speaking of in-arena experience, rumors accumulate: everyone wants to see Candace Parker. If you plan to attend a Sparks away game, you may want to purchase your tickets now.
All women's basketball fans know about ACLs. But what do we know about what an athlete must do return to the court?

Michelle Smith of the San Francisco Chronicle writes about the process in, "THE LONG ROAD BACK: ACL injuries exact as much a mental toll as a physical one on athletes."
It all begins with the shock of the injury, often a combination of grief and denial. The reverberations can ripple through the entire team, other players working through their fear that this could well happen to them - because it often does.

Those initial days are followed by the stark realities of surgery and months of rehab, compounded, particularly in-season, by the isolation of being the one left behind as everyone else moves on.
A little 'Essence-tial" reading: Carson is in the Daily News...
Carson, the Liberty's top pick in April's draft, is hoping she can help return the franchise to the level of success she remembers as a kid. She'll take her first step today when the Liberty debut its newest star at the Garden in the season opener against the Sun.
...and part of a NorthJersey.com story
The Liberty president has been a fixture at Rutgers games since the WNBA began, scouting the players in Scarlet Knights' uniforms and the opponents Rutgers brings in. All these years, Blazejowski has heard the exhortations from fans: "If you'll just take a Rutgers player. ..."

"We'd smile and say we'll see what happens," Blazejowski said.

And then she smiled, because this year, in the 12th WNBA draft, it finally happened. The Liberty drafted not just a Rutgers player, but one of the most adored — all-time games leader and Paterson native Essence Carson.

The new era of Storm basketball got off to a slow start, but a 22-1 run helped them go on to a 67-61 victory over the visiting Sky.

"That little spurt in the third and fourth quarter is what we envisioned when we put this team together," Brian Agler said. All of the Storm's All-Stars were a factor in the win. “We have five players in here who can make plays,” said Sue Bird, who finished with 13 points. “Every one of us has been the go-to player at some point in our careers and has had to make plays.

Kevin Pelton and Jayda Evans both live blogged during the game and gave their usual welcome observations from press row.

Chasity Melvin scored 15 points for the Sky, but Sylvia Fowles was limited to just over 15 mintues because of foul trouble.
There was no Yo or DeMya, but the Monarchs showed they still have a lot of weapons and defensive intensity in a 73-64 win over the Silver Stars.

Adrian Williams-Strong and Rebekkah Brunson combined for 23 points and 16 rebounds on the inside for Sacramento. Laura Harper had a solid debut 10 points, 5 rebounds and two blocks. "We need our rookies to play well," Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said.

Ticha Penichiero was successful in running a faster paced offense and the Monarchs held the Silver Stars to under 33% from the floor on the defensive end. In her second season as head coach, the Monarchs finally appear to be Boucek's team.

Sophia Young was a bright spot for San Antonio with 22 points on 10-18 from the floor.
Both teams were without their best player, but the Fever still had Katie Douglas to rely on as they downed the Mystis 64-53.

Douglas scored 23 points in her Fever debut and her team outscored the Mystics by 12 in the final quarter. Lin Dunn on Douglas: [Katie] played a lot of minutes tonight. She knows how to score and will find a way to score. Now people should understand why we worked so hard to bring her here. Her defense caused some problems.”

The Fever's bench was also important to the victory. Four reserves were part of a critical 9-0 run for Indiana to start the fourth quarter.
Candace Parker showed why many are picking her team to win it all and why the Sparks may have turned down trade offers for multiple All-Stars for the rookie sensation Parker nearly had a triple double as L.A. held off Diana Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and the Mercury in an entertaining 99-94 win.

As L.A. Times columnist Kurt Streeter writes - "How many times can you write the words fantastic, superb and perfect?"

For the Mercury, the team stayed close with their trademark syle of play and a a gutsy performance from Cappie Pondexter who scored 32 points after just arriving from Turkey. But Pondexter also picked up a late game technical foul that helped the Sparks seal the victory.

Despite the loss, Corey Gaines was pleased with the effort from his team. “They played hard. I can’t ask for more,” he said. “Cappie just flew in and Dee just flew in. We haven’t practiced together yet. I was happy.”
The Sun welcomed the Dream into the league with a dominating 100-68 win.

Atlanta got off to a good start and had some highlights for the franchise's first game. But the Sun proved to have too many weapons and reached the century mark for the first time at home. As Tamika Raymond commented, ”For us to pull out a win if any caliber, whether it's an expansion team or the team they picked to finish No. 1 in the east, it's a great win for us.”

Barbara Turner scored 15 points off the bench in her Sun debut and energized the crowd and her team. "She got that energy flowing in all of us," Tamika Whitmore said. "The crowd fed off her. We fed off her. We started to run more smoothly." Whitmore had a game high 22 points and Ashja Jones added 18. The Sun outrebounded the Dream 53-29. Their rebounding total was a team record.

Said Mike Thibault: “I don’t think we scratched the surface of what we can be.”
The season tipped off yesterday with Detroit crushing Houston 85-66. The Shock were able to use some of their new additions in a decisive second half run.

Deanna Nolas was limited to 17 minutes because of an ankle injury, so rookie Alexis Hornbuckle took advantage of the playing opportunity. “I thought Hornbuckle did a great job defensively for us,” Bill Laimbeer said. “Franchise record in steals - that’s pretty decent for a first-game rookie.”

Katie Smith set the pace offensively with a game high 21, while Cheryl Ford pulled down 11 rebounds. Smith's game seemed to benefit from a move to the wing. "I'm playing more of the No. 2 guard and small forward instead of point guard and that's more of a scoring opportunity," said Smith. "I'm just playing the game and looking for the defense gives me. I'm not just about scoring points. I'm about playing the game."

The Comets were led by Tina Thompson, Mwadi Mabika and Matee Ajavon.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A little love for the Liberty from Newsday.
Slam continues their W coverage with an IM interview with Candice Wiggins and a Goody interview with Katie Smith.
The Day's Mike DiMauro writes of Tamika's Inferno. That's Tamika Raymond.
More W season previews, some of them on radio (hence in a Web-friendly audio stream):

Lynx (and Timberwolves) statistics hero Paul Swanson talks to Blanche (about an hour and a half in-- you van fast-forward).

Clay talks to Only a Game.

Back in the print world, Miko tells the Courant what she expects from the Sun (and shows off her wheels). The same paper has its own preview.

Down San Antonio way, fans ask: can the Stars repeat last year's success? That paper (whose SASS coverage has improved) makes its own season preview an elegant Q&A.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Jayda fills new Storm fans in on the recent history of Seattle's team.

LJ on 2008: ""Everything has completely changed. I don't feel as much pressure as I've felt in a long time on the court, which is crazy. I feel like it's going to be good."

At Jayda's crosstown rival, sunny views surround the Storm's new owners, new veteran signees, new coach.

Says Sue Bird: "I really like the way Brian [Agler] has things going."
Look who's joined .com's Blog Squad.
Just wanna say, that someone telling me "there's no kvetching this week about coverage" is like waving a red flag at a bull -- occasional contrarian that I may be.

But, since I'm such a mensch, I won't, and will simply direct you to the appropriate links:

TV Guide "She Hoops to Conquer."

Mark at the AJC is "Wishing the Dream well."

Kelly "bangs of steel" Miller gets five questions.

The W adverts get better?

Ned writes about Asjha Jones getting acquainted with her brand new team. He also claims some full color stuff with previews and capsules... I expect Saturday Sun fans to confirm or deny such an occurrence.

Catch doesn't want Alana to feel bad, so she's going to miss the first two games too.

Lori gives Tamika Whitmore plenty of space to "Tell is like it is."
The Title IX blog points us to the cover page of the USA Today Sports page and a series of articles on Title IX retaliation cases (that, of course, the blog has been covering).

I repeat myself but hey, if it worked before, quote NH-M:
"In the past," noted Nancy Hogshead-Makar, associate professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and recipient of Duke University's one and only swimming scholarship (1978), "when women complained about pay or how their female athletes were being treated, they were really close to being fired. Whereas now they have this call for agitation against retaliation, so actually they have more job protection if they complain than if they don't."
Doris Burke gets the attention of the New York Times.
“Doris is insightful and passionate,” said Norby Williamson, an ESPN executive vice president who said it was an “easy decision” to add N.B.A. analysis to Burke’s portfolio, which already included women’s Final Four analyst. “She’s a good storyteller and energetic about her presentation. She’s earned the opportunity. She is articulate in a succinct and direct way that allows viewers inside.”
It's a preview-tastic day! Hays takes apart the East. Most surprising factoid from his column: only two current Shock players (Katie and Deanna) connected on even one three-pointer for Detroit last year.

Long Island's Newsday touts the young, hungry Lib. Notable Lib news not included in that column: the Dolans, who own the Liberty (and the Knicks and MSG and MSGTV) are going to own Newsday as well.

The WaPo tracks veteran movement around the league-- there's been more of it than most of us would expect.
It's all Candice in the Strib's Lynx/WNBA season preview (on the front page of the sports section in the print edition).

The online version of the paper even has bonus information on Candice.

Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer will be in Minneapolis for the Lynx home opener on Sunday, cheering Candice and the Lynx on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DeMya got waived.
Northern Illinois' Carol Owens will coach the USA Women's U18 National team. GW's Joe McKeown and Marquette's Terri Mitchell will assist.

There will be 35 players vying for 12 roster spots during the June 9-12 team trials.
Ned over at the Day writes that Mike Thibault ain't goin' nowhere:
Mike Thibault has received job offers since he's been the head coach of the Connecticut Sun, whether it's joining an NBA staff or being a women's college basketball coach.

Thibault keeps turning them down, though, as he's already got a job he likes.

Another reason he ain't goin'? Both Mike and his assistants have gotten two-year extensions on their contracts.
Marie responds to the Sokolove article -
My problem is the way this story is framed. The subhead for the story (in the print edition) sets the tone: "Everyone wants girls to have as many opportunities in sports as boys. But can we live with the greater rate of injuries they suffer?"

I won't bother providing a number of obvious responses to the question.
She also notes that several NYTimes readers have used the "comments" section to point out flaws within the piece.
The Fever pick up Bernie Ngoyisa from the Sky; in exchange the Sky get K. B. Sharp.
USA Today's WNBA season preview is up.

It includes something on the new look Storm; they track all of the offseason All-Star moves; and predict each conference race.
Tot will sit for six to eighte weeks: broken toe.

In the same vein, the Bee says the Monarchs have been plagued by injuries.

In Mystics land, their first two games will be without Beard.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Alana Beard talks about the timing of her off-season surgery:

The smart move financially would have been to have the surgery at the start of the WNBA season so that she could do her usual trips abroad, with the additional bonus of being healthy in plenty of time to make her case to be chosen for the U.S. Olympic team this summer.

"A lot of people were in my ear: 'AB, you have to think about your future, you have a bright future ahead of you,"' Beard said. "And I said, 'Yeah, but I also have a team that's working their butts off to play this game and to win, and I couldn't give up on that.

So what happens when a funding referendum fails and a high school decides they must cut 17 of 29 varsity sports. (No, they don't blame Title IX, smarty pants!) A non-profit is created:

"We have a strong and wonderful tradition of athletics and activities here," said assistant superintendent Steve Razidlo, who will replace retiring superintendent Jerry Walseth this summer. "It was from that tradition that new patterns of thinking emerged that said, 'We value this so highly, and we can't afford to let it go.' "

The nonprofit group, Warrior Way Inc., has raised more than $330,000. The new funding plan uses investment proceeds from that money, along with drastically higher activity fees, to reduce the amount of public funding for sports and activities from 78 percent to 22 percent.

Shanna Crossley is out for the season: torn ACL.
afteratalanta chimes in on the new W ad campaign:
Will the new WNBA campaign work?

Doubtful. If it's aim is really to draw in male fans by pointing out to them how stupid their own comments on the women's game are (like there's no action, the league is stale, women are not physical enough, etc.) my suggestion is to try again.
The W's webcast schedule is up. Over 90 games - and free!
If you're a Liberty season subscriber, and you know anything about managing a subscriber base, you're painfully aware that New York has a habit of stumbling and bumbling when it comes to keeping their peeps informed (not to mention happy or feeling appreciated).

I mean why should I, a decade-long season subscriber, expect that the Liberty should have sent out an email to inform me of this event? (Happening TOMORROW!)

Folks -- this is subscription management 101. And it's the kind of stuff that makes me want to bang my head against a wall.
From the Title IX blog: Their fever's goin' up.
It is only our good taste that keeps us from keeping a little thermometer icon in the corner and raising the mercury every time someone files a gender discrimination lawsuit or complaint against Florida Gulf Coast University.
And more:
We comment on quite a few editorials that invoke Title IX. And we let, believe it or not, many just go by with a sigh and a shrug. But our very patient colleagues at the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State have poured through three years worth (2002-2005) of editorials on Title IX in a recent study on how writers discuss and frame the law and its application.

The findings should not surprise anyone who is paying any attention. Despite the liberal rhetoric, despite what looks like support for gender equity, many editorialists continue to frame Title IX as beneficial to women and girls (that's the "support" part) but detrimental to men and boys. And as the study's authors state, such "faulty assumptions" will have long-term (and I would argue short-term as well) effects on the viability of the law.
Learn more about Seattle Storm CEO Karen Bryant
"The Storm is a beloved community asset, and that is in no small part due to Karen. She understands the game intuitively from having played it, but she's also got a strong business sense. She's a thoughtful and caring individual as well as being a top-notch executive, and that comes across to the people in our organization. the sponsors and businesses with whom we have relationships, and to the fans."
And Kelli's Back!!

From SI.com Anderson writes: Sparks Are Flying: This isn't your daddy's WNBA anymore, as independent owners take over key teams -- including L.A. -- and an influx of new and returning stars promise the most competitive season ever.
When the spirit moves her, Carla Christofferson, a former high school cheerleader and current co-owner of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, puts on the head and feet of the team's dog mascot, Sparky, and happily pads around the team's downtown offices, startling staff members. You can be sure former team owner Jerry Buss, 75, who's known more for chasing young women than for marketing them, never did anything like that.
No surprise, the Women's Sports Foundation (with a recently redesigned website) has a response to the NYTimes article by Sokolove.
From the article: "Advocates for women’s sports have had to keep a laser focus on one thing: making sure they have equal access to high-school and college sports. It’s hard to fight for equal rights while also broadcasting alarm about injuries that might suggest women are too delicate to play certain games or to play them at a high level of intensity."

Research conducted by The Women’s Sports Foundation and others clearly shows that girls involved in physical activities have a reduced risk of obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety and low self-esteem and, later in life, heart disease, and osteoporosis and breast cancer. Several hundred readers have posted reactionary comments on the piece. Read the full article and join the conversation below.
When last we heard from Coach Coale, she was blogging about her pet peeves and why basketball players can be like squirrels in the road.

These days, she's in Italy with her Oklahoma team, and she is checking in with a daily journal.
I walked away from Vatican City in awe of our ancestors and their uncanny attention to detail. I can't even fathom how much marble had been carved or how long it must have taken to carve it. I can't imagine that the sculptors had many types of tools but what amazes me most is not the intricate use of a hammer and a chisel but the deliverance of detail that had to come solely from the mind's eye. There was no photography! So, the image of a lion trapping its prey was from memory. The veins in the arms of the gods and the expression on the face of a frightened mother were created from observance. Not only were the artisans attentive to detail in the artistic endeavor itself but maybe even more so in the stuff of daily life. I'm reminded of how fast we go and how advantageous it might be to notice a little bit more along the way.
It's early in the process, but Mel id's who is (and isn't) interested in the Temple head coach position.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Annika is retiring.

Surprising? She's finally returning to form, and if she played for a few more years, she could challenge some significant records... but she isn't interested.

She is a Swede, after all. Lagom ar bast.

(Coming in June: Blogging the U.S. Open, Annika's last, from Interlachen.)
Ball State has their new coach: Kelly Packard.

It's a name that may be familiar to those who followed the NWBL. She coached Dave King's Colorado Chill (you may recall he was in the running for a WNBA team and did a Q&A with WHB) to a couple of championships.

A little tibit? While working for Triple Crown, she was Becky Hammon's manager.
The Strib's Rachel Blount talks USA Basketball with Lindsey Harding, Candice Wiggins and Anne Donovan.

"We're struggling," Donovan said. "We've never seen this in women's basketball. Because the rest of the world is catching up, we're going to have to change what we do in terms of carving out time for training camps."

Monday, May 12, 2008

More about Sokolove: the magazine cover, and the subtitle on that cover, were pretty indefensible (and pretty condescending too). I hadn't seen the cover when I linked to the piece (that's the marvel of Web-only previews). And I wish Sokolove had spoken with grownup women athletes who have come back from ACL tears, rather than just with teens and their worried parents. (Maybe his book has a Q&A with Katie Smith.)

On the other hand... if his article causes more parents and coaches at the junior high, high school, and club levels to learn about appropriate warmups and other injury-prevention programs-- thus reducing future ACL injuries, without reducing participation-- won't the piece have done more good than harm?

Speaking of good: Voepel is back, with a good league-wide preview, one graf per team. (On the other hand.. she's pretty snarky about the Lynx, isn't she?)
Whenever I see the word "epidemic" in a media story, my skepticism synapses begin firing uncontrollably. (If you're wondering why, see, e.g., here, here, here, and here.)

I had the same reaction this weekend reading Sokolove's article on injuries in women's sports, first noted Thursday by Steve, discussed this afternoon by Helen.

The article is filled with plenty of heart-wrenching anecdotes and hand-wringing quotes from worried parents (both staples of the epidemic reporting genre), but it's pretty thin on anything resembling statistics. And to the extent there are statistics -- like 0.25 per 1000 -- they don't sound anything like an epidemic.

Injuries are a problem in all sports, and certain types of injuries are more common in women's sports. We should do what we can to reduce them. But sensationalism, while useful for selling newspapers and books, isn't a helpful response.

For further disassembling, see Jezebel.
I'm glad the New York Times is giving women's sports injuries some attention.

But, reading Sokolove's piece (adapted from his upcoming book, “Warrior Girls: Protecting Our Daughters Against the Injury Epidemic in Women’s Sports,”) I did have some misgivings.

I found it intriguing that the day after the Sunday Magazine piece, the Times ran an article about a football player "Accepting the Costs of a Life in Football."

In the piece, former Cincinnati Bengals Reggie Williams who, years after his career, suffers pain and injury that threaten his leg and his life. Writes George Vecsey, "Williams knows that an alarming number of his peers are dying young, but he says he has no regrets about his violent occupation."

Thankfully, Title IX blog's response to the Times' piece on injuries was able to articulate my main concern:
The second concern is related to the tone of the piece. The cover art, of a girl with a bandaged head being bonked on the head with a soccer ball, with the words "Hurt Girls" above it, seems to diminish the female athletes, and at the same time not give a second thought to boys who suffer serious injuries in sports.
Soccer (here and abroad) has done this sort of thing for years, but it's still going to look weird in the W: next week, all week, you'll see the McDonald's logo on every jersey, for every team.

Donna promises, or warns us about, more jersey-front deals in the future: "There are more partners out there... It could happen."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Want some team-by-team previews? You can find previews for the Sun and the Fever over at Off-Court now.

You can also get longer previews for the Fever, the Merc, the Sky and the Comets (with more almost surely to come) over at Full Court, though only Clay's take on the Merc can be read in full by non-subscribers as yet. (Much of the paid-subscriber-only content at Full Court becomes free with age.)

Want more Storm news? Pelton is blogging again: the new-look, new-ownership Storm appears to have retained his services. Good for them. And for us. And for him.
Another (believably) optimistic story about the finances of the W, based (almost certainly) on the same teleconference that brought us the Reuters piece below: the Hartford Courant endorses President Orender's take.

"We understand that men tend to govern the conversation when it comes to sports," she says, "and I think the WNBA is starting to bring change to that. We had growing pains, but what is emerging now is the fruit of that labor."

Also from Donna: hints at a franchise in Albuquerque within the next couple of years, and a strong suggestion that this year's schedule won't include an All-Star game.
Reuters chronicles optimism, in Secaucus and around the W, re: Candace Parker's power to draw new fans.

Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman: "We look at it as a classically undervalued asset."

In Atlanta, Dream owner Ron Terwilliger talks about the asset he now controls.

"We are launching in a recession," he says. "Sponsorships have not been what I had hoped... But I've got a very long view of this team."

Crazy fact from an earlier chat with Terwilliger: the Atlanta market supposedly gives the WNBA higher TV ratings than any other market, even counting the markets (Seattle, New York, etc.) with a fine fan base for their own teams.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

So, riding on the subway this afternoon, I see a guy wearing a Washington University at St. Louis men's baseball t-shirt, and while I thought about going over and saying "You've got a great women's basketball program," I didn't.

And I'm thinking, "Whimp."

And then I see that the University is giving an honorary degree to Phylis Schlafly (h/t afteratalanta).

And I'm thinking, "WTF?!?!"

Seems the campus is in an uproar -- and, for those who aren't "of a certain age" and are wondering who the heck is this Schlafly broad, click here.

Of course, you'll remember where the 2009 Final Four will be held: St. Louis.
Says the Title IX blog:
I guess, as I have pointed out so many times before, if sports writers across the country cannot accurately explain Title IX, it shouldn't be expected that the guy who wants to be the next leader of the country can either.
Who's got their facts wrong? Click here.
In honor of Mother's Day tomorrow, the Chicago Tribune's Melissa Isaacson talks motherhood for pro athletes including Jia Perkins and Lisa Leslie.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune talks to Vanessa Hayden-Johnson about her return to the Lynx after having daughter Zyon Brianna

Friday, May 09, 2008

Fans like this Lynx advert, and ponder coming up with their own for the W.
You may remember us blogging about Howard Payne and their coach Chris Kielsmeier (turned around the program in 8 years, undefeated D-III National Champions this year).

Congrats go out to Coach K, who has just accepted the head coach position at Wayne State.
News and gossip from Sparkland: Lisa Leslie's book is out.

Marianne Stanley will return to L.A. as an assistant under coach Cooper (a job she held in 2000, before departing for DC).

Finally, and hearteningly: at least one June road game, on the East Coast, involving L.A. is reportedly close to selling out right now. That's hearsay, of course, but isn't it cool? (Have you heard similar rumors? If so, from where?)
Looks like Semeka Randall will become head coach at Ohio.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I guess the Gray Lady really has decided that women's sports matter: this Sunday's New York Times magazine cover story is all about girls, women, and ACL tears.

Michael Sokolove (and his editors) boiled the NYT mag article down from a new book about girls' and women's sports injuries, addressed primarily to young athletes' parents.

Why are there so many ACL tears? Will there be more? (Yes, there will.) Is it related to physiological differences between teen boys and teen girls? (In part.) Can coaches and parents do anything about it, especially at the high school level? (Yes, within limits: read the article.)

If you get most of the way through, you'll see blame laid: not on sex differences between meniscuses (though those play a role) but on overspecialization, too-frequent play, and year-round play in a single sport, in the teen years. Sounds familiar.

Sokolove: "The club structure is the driving force behind the trend toward early specialization in one sport — and, by extension, a primary cause of injuries."

If you've come here looking for more on ACL tears and women's hoops, the Times' own Jere Longman, who followed women's sports when the rest of that paper nearly ignored them, looked at the matter when Shea Ralph ended her career, back in 2001.

Brian McCormick, who thinks about such things all day, has his own practical advice for coaches, parents and players. (We'd love to know what he thought of the Times piece.)

Clay ruminated on ACL injuries in January, after UConn lost its second starter.

The WBCA has its own coverage of ACL-tear prevention programs; we hope to provide links to more such programs soon. (I'm pretty sure Helen has written about them somewhere, but I can't find the link yet!)

As for Sokolove's book, we'll be reviewing it (along with a few other women's hoops books) in this space sooner or later-- more likely later-- when we find the time.