Women's Hoops Blog: June 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Today the .com is all Vols: Claw, Catch and Candace.
Q is thinking All Star Voting and wants YOU to think Lyttle!
Good news for Bloggin' Coach Binford:
Citing teams that perform well on the court and in the classroom, Montana State University has agreed to three-year contract extensions for men's basketball coach Brad Huse and women's basketball coach Tricia Binford
OT, but always a good read: From Pat Griffin, Girls, Grunts and Ground Strokes OR Ladies, Loud Noises and Lobs (Take Your Pick)
I do get the point that these noises, by men and women, could be distracting for opponents. If I close my eyes while watching Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams play a match, I could mistake it for a remake of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. However, it is equally disconcerting to hear the men grunting like they seriously need a dose of Dulcolax.
Perhaps inspired by the WHB *hears Mechelle snort milk through her nose* Mechelle writes about the Lynx:

There's no such thing as an ACL injury you don't cringe over, but Augustus' blown knee seemed especially unfair. The Lynx, who had a coaching change just days before the season began, had gotten off to a strong start under Jennifer Gillom. It appeared that maybe all the bad mojo that this franchise has endured was finally lifting.

But, no, about the time we were all saying, "Check out the Lynx," Augustus -- who was averaging 21.0 ppg -- hit the floor. It's not as if Minnesota (or any other team, for that matter) has an Augustus substitute on its bench. Her absence hurts the whole league.

However … Minnesota hasn't collapsed. And so that's now the story line for this game: Can Gillom keep this team on track even without one of the world's best players?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tina Thompson -- Warrior Princess and... mentor.
The Freep's Perry Farrell catches up with Alex Chambers’ three-week, 13-city trek around the WNBA.
The journey is in memory of his friend Cyndee Luque, who died of breast cancer last April. When Luque died: “That’s when it really hit me,’’ said Chambers, a Phoenix resident and an avid fan of the Mercury.

“The WNBA does a great job of breast cancer awareness and this is my way of honoring Cyndee and the work the WNBA is doing. The league has been a tremendous supporter of breast cancer awareness and I want to do my part.

“They’ve been great as far as helping me get with personnel in the front offices of the teams I will be visiting so I just don’t have to walk in as a stranger. I got to set near the team bench and I got a chance to meet Rick Mahorn.’’
One thing that is going well for the Lib is their creative side. Their "Get out the All-Star Vote" video is a hysterical piece de resistance (hint, hint to Youtubists).

And, in honor of Michael Jackson, they brought back last year's "Thriller."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sun waive Turner and welcome a leading candidate for the All-Name Team.
The Miami News takes note of Seattle coach Brian Agler's roots:
Brian Agler only spent four seasons at Northeastern A&M, but it got him ready for what lay ahead for him professionally.

The former Lady Norse basketball coach is in his second year as head coach and director of player personnel of the WNBA Seattle Storm.
Sorry about the tease, but it's a pay-to-view site.
That's four-straight for the Sky at home.
"Winning at home is one of our goals, just to give our fans a show," Sky center Sylvia Fowles said.
Ice Dupree had 23, Big Syl had a double-double and Perkins almost echoed her with 14pts and 8 steals as Chicago topped Washington 68-63.

As for Atlanta, their trip to the casino became a nightmare - starting with travel delays and ending with the fact that shooting 47% didn't, somehow, translate into a win.

That's what happens when you limit your possessions through turnovers (22) and Asjha Jones goes off for a season high 24 points and 12 rebounds.
"We haven't played in a week and the last time we played them we were awful,'' Jones said, alluding to a five-point loss to the Dream two weeks earlier. "I was ready to play.
Is there any question that rookie coach Grandmama Gillom leads the (waaaay early) race for Coach of the Year?

Team gets off to a great start, Augustus is playing like a woman possessed, then she goes down with an ACL. The Lynx stagger through their next two games, then get on the road to recovery.

Last night they spanked the Phoenix Mercury, 109-80, behind Mrs. a-Whi-iggins (anyone out there old enough to remember the Carol Burnett show?) and Roneeka Hodges' 22 points.

Nice to see close to 6,000 at the Target Center. The Lynx, and the league, needs this. (Ditto with Washington, Chicago and those stoopid Fevers.)

Oh, and good to hear from Seimone.
USABasketball is going tweet.

Keep track of what is going on with the U-19 team through USABasketball.com, or check out Caroline Williams and Suzy Merchant on Twitter. The latest from Coach Merchant:
Standing in front of Danube River! had lunch at famous Serbian Restaurant learned to Serbian dance! Team had a lot of fun. To practice!
h/t phil!
I'm not going to say anything about the Fever extending their winning streak to 6 with a victory over the Lib and you can't make me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A little somethin-somethin' from the LA Times on Tina wearin' that odd colored uniform.
It's not that she doesn't still love L.A. She is wearing No. 32 this season in honor of Magic Johnson and is enamored with purple and gold. The problem is she won four WNBA championships wearing red and white.

"Los Angeles is home, but the Los Angeles Sparks aren't my home," said Thompson, who will anchor the offense of an injury-depleted Sparks team as it hosts the division-leading Seattle Storm on Sunday. "If I would go anywhere, you have to get acclimated with how things are run and how they do things."
The Monarchs spotted the Silver Stars 13 points in the first quarter and never recovered, losing 62-52. Becky scored 26.

After losing two straight, is San Antonio glad she's back from Russia? DA!
Wonder how much Cooper is enjoying coaching his last season in the W.

And I wonder if LJ paid attention to all the pre-season MVP votes Lisa got. Behind her 32 pts and 8 rebounds, the Storm avoided a Liberty-esque meltdown and defeated the Sparks, 69-67. Seattle is now 6-2 (great shot of Swin stripping the ball from Tina as time expired) and LA is 2-5.

Sparks owner Kathy Goodman blogged in the LA Times: Sparks vs. Storm: I knew it would be tough . . .

I was sitting in ridiculous bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405 fighting my way to LAX on Friday afternoon with my Jackson 5 anthology album in my CD player like most of the country, thinking, "I really don't want to fly to Seattle this afternoon." Mostly I was sad about Michael Jackson, as I reminisced about cutting Jackson 5 singles off the back of boxes of Honeycomb cereal when I was a kid and playing them on our Close 'N Play record player, lip-syncing along and trying to imitate their dance moves. And the traffic wasn't helping. And, of course, there was looming above all that the prospect of another road game. The Sparks have not exactly played well on the road this season. And we were playing the Storm. Who are playing really well. Anywhere.

There's no question our team is talented. We arguably have the most individually talented team in the WNBA from top to bottom. But we also have only five players returning from last season, and two of them are sitting home recovering from injury and pregnancy, so, what with basketball being a team sport and all, it has made the start of the season a little rockier than we anticipated. And the road is definitely not our friend.

How much fun is Rick having as a head coach, I wonder: Shock hit snooze against Dream.

'Claw hit for 28pts, Nikki had 11 assists, DeSouza had a double-double and the Dream (now 4-4) have matched their win total from last year. Oh, and the Shock went down, 96-86.

Good news for Detroit: rookie Zellous scored 25. Katie added 20, but the Shock are now 1-5. Hopefully Hornbuckle will be able to return from her concussion.
Well, I'm glad I'm not a flight attendant on the trip from New York to Indy this morning. If the Lib and Fever happen to be sharing an aisle, you know Shameka is saying,
"Get your elbow off my arm rest."

And Katie is answering, "Make me."
Can you give a technical on a plane?

What can i say -- it was that kind of game. Not unlike so many Indy/NY games it started out ugly. Then it got uglier (for the Fever). And then the nice lead the Lib starting melting away - turnover by bonehead play by Katie in the zone and no one could stop her kinda play.

Note to Shameka: Do not get Katie Douglas cranky. No really, do NOT get her cranky.

In the second half, there was some sort of tangle-up between Christon and Douglas -- I only caught the end when Katie was on the floor looking after Christon. The look on her face was not angry, it was more "Oh, it's going to be like that, is it?

The next time Indy was on offense, Katie went up to Christon and -- arms in the "setting a pick" stance -- just bumped her. Gotta respect that -- not dirty, not sneaky -- all out in the open and quite deliberate.

Tempers flared, KD got a foul and Christon got a tech... and the rest is history.

Behind Douglas' 28 (in the second half - oh, and the Greeks are following her) Indy surged back. The Liberty had several opportunities to put the game away (JMac is having free throw nightmares), improbable people made amazing plays, tunovers and fouls made fans writhe in agony, and the Fever walked away with the win.

And, you know what? I'm disappointed my team didn't win, but what a great, fun game to watch!
Odeen Domingo from azcentral.com catches up with Alex Chambers as he embarks on his "13 teams, 1 journey." trip.

Friday, June 26, 2009

OT: A New York bird story.
Phoenix outscored (check out the photo -- I thought there was no hugging in basketball!) a Marissa-less Washington yesterday, and the DCist says, Taurasi vs. Beard Is a Rivalry You Should Know
If you get goosebumps watching Ovechkin vs. Crosby, LeBron vs. Kobe, or Tiger Woods vs. everyone else, give this matchup a try: Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury vs. Alana Beard of the Washington Mystics, both first round picks in the 2004 WNBA draft. Taurasi’s Mercury - the highest scoring team in the WNBA - held on in the final seconds of the fourth quarter Thursday to win over the Mystics, 93-87.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's about boy's basketball, but it actually does relate to the women's side.

The Wall Street Journal's Kevin Clark's article is titled: American Kids Flunk Basketball 101 - As AAU Leagues Dominate, Basic Skills Decline; Mr. Beasley Decides to Speak Out
At Thursday’s NBA draft, some of America’s budding basketball superstars will learn where they will launch their careers. Four months later, when the season begins, many will learn something else: They don’t know how to play basketball.

One system that prepares young American players for the pros, the Amateur Athletic Union, is, by most accounts, broken. Without a rigid minor-league system like baseball’s or the extra seasoning football players get in college, America’s basketball gems increasingly get their training from teams affiliated with the Amateur Athletic Union, a vast national youth-basketball circuit that has groomed many of the sport’s top stars.
We've read articles about the tensions between high school and AAU coaches and the realities of high school coaching on the women's side. Clark really doesn't add much to the discussion, beyond speaking with basketball players Mr. Beasley and Mr. Jennings. He also mis-characterizes the issues surrounding the role of AAU in recruiting. Writes Clark:
Agents and college coaches have flocked to AAU games, where they can get to know players outside the watchful high-school system. The opportunity to travel across the country and play in front of these kingmakers—often on teams with other top prospects—is something high schools can’t deliver.
Umm, hello -- has Mr. Clark not heard of the NCAA and its recruiting rules? Or wondered about the recruiting expenses faced by universities? Or spoken with the over-worked and underpaid high school coaches who revel in having a top recruit? Or how you evaluate talent when the competition is...well, midgets from the nearby high school?

And don't tell me the "youth initiative" announced by the NBA/NCAA in 2008 is going to "improve the American structure." To my mind, it's simply trying to wrest control of developing elite talent from the world of AAU coaches/programs (and the dollars they earn).

You want to talk real reform? Discuss academics, participation, compensation, full participation v. elite exclusion.... yah. Right. That's going to happen.
TIME magazine has 10 questions for Candace Parker.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What's Q been up to? No surprise, lots of good, good stuff (dang, does work get in the way of basketball or what?)

Why The Minnesota Lynx are the Perfect Learning Environment for Renee Montgomery
We know that Renee Montgomery knows how to win from her days at UConn.

We know that she has the leadership skills to run a championship team.

What we don’t know is how good a professional point guard Renee Montgomery will be.

Of course, you never really know what you’re getting when you draft a rookie in any sport – all you can really do is make an educated guess and hope.

Yet what makes following Montgomery’s development as a rookie point guard particularly interesting is actually Chicago Sky coach Steve Key’s reasoning for selecting Kristi Toliver one pick ahead of Renee Montgomery.
NY Times on "Quantifying Basketball's Intangibles": Why Not Start with the WNBA?
Something mysterious happened this weekend that I am struggling to figure out:

I had no interest in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.

Perhaps it’s because I was just busy with other things this past weekend. Perhaps it’s just because the whole thing started to feel anti-climactic, but not necessarily inevitable. Perhaps it’s because I don’t particularly like watching arrogant people succeed (really, do we need more of that in the U.S. right now?).

I hope this does not make you think less of me as a basketball fan.

But in between procrastinating on work with fuzzy or distant deadlines, I spent some time reading the responses to Phil Jackson’s tenth championship and Kobe Bryant’s first without Shaquille O’Neal…as though we really needed to hear more of that storyline.

And yet, I somehow found something interesting to think about in WNBA terms.
“If the WNBA had the gumption to take a more progressive stand…”
When I first watched the All American Red Heads video montage that has been floating around WNBA circles, it was hard to ignore the political impact they might have had in addition to the historical legacy of women’s basketball.
For women to not only get paid to play professional basketball, but also show off and outplay men as they were doing it had to be considered radical for the time. From John Molina’s All American Red Heads website:
When the Red Heads set out on the road, they weren't just playing basketball. They were pioneers to break down all of these stereotypes....and didn't even know it at the time. They were just women that had a great passion to play basketball…

They would only play against men and by mens rules. During that time, women were playing 6 on 6 with only 3 players being allowed to cross the court.

There was still much concern at the time, that women shouldn't play the game like a man because they weren't as physical and could hurt their chances to have children.
As Molina implies, even if the Red Heads' players did not consider themselves “activists” or “feminists” but “just passionate athletes”, they were undeniably involved in a highly politicized activity, even if only by challenging stereotypes. And as we know, those stereotypes of gender (or race) have concrete social consequences.

Why We Cannot Count the Monarchs Out…Yet

Rookie Point Guard Briann January is Adjusting and Making an Impact

Point Guard Rankings & Rookies: What a Difference a Weekend Makes...

Point Guard Rankings Update & Surprises: Cappie Pondexter and Jia Perkins...Top 10? (Late Edit)

Catching up with Mechelle:

While pondering how to celebrate Title IX's 37th birthday, MV has a a flashback that makes her cranky: Keep on throwing and catching, Jody
I never watched this “Girl With Something Extra” show when it was on – not a lot of people did, as it was cancelled after one season – but several years later, I was channel surfing and came across a re-run. And, wow, did it TICK ME OFF.

Read the synopsis and, um, see if you can guess why:

Sally’s tomboy niece is having trouble relating to old-fashioned John. She likes football, but he prefers girls who wear dresses.

The name of the episode was, “Sugar and Spice and Quarterback Sneak” and it originally aired on Nov. 30, 1973. Had I seen it then, when I was an 8-year-old football fanatic, my head might have exploded in rage. As it was, coming across it accidentally when I was 22, I felt like punching a wall.
On Epiph's exit:
A lot of folks have weighed in on Prince’s decision, which seems mainly motivated by the desire to improve her family’s living situation. But no one who watched Rutgers this past season could have failed to notice the refrigerator that Prince was carrying on her back. With a leader like Essence Carson gone, senior Kia Vaughn in her on-again-off-again funk, and a bunch of what-the-hell-are-we-doing freshmen running around, a big burden was on Prince.

Maybe she was ready to be relieved of that, which was the accelerant on the already existing fire to start earning money sooner rather than later.

I won’t pretend to put myself in Prince’s shoes, as I never felt any financial responsibility when I was 21. All I was worried about was graduating from college on time (as long as that didn’t interfere with my TV obligations like Creature Feature). I figured once I finished school, then I’d start thinking about getting a job.

But where I’m concerned for Prince’s sake is hoping she doesn’t end up regretting this decision. She won’t have a senior night at Rutgers, won’t have another Big East tournament or NCAA tournament, won’t have that one last chance – however elusive it may seem – at a national championship.

And finally: Soccer fever: Was it really a decade ago?

It was hours before the United States’ opening match of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, but many of us sportswriters were already there in the press box. We had been told the place would be packed, so we’d better not risk getting stuck in traffic.

Instead, we risked getting an ‘N Sync song stuck in our heads.

“But when we are apart, I feel it too …”

N Sync was going to perform at halftime of the U.S.-Denmark match, and someone in the press box who had a daughter suggested that this was truly a day straight out of heaven for thousands of tween-and-younger girls. There would be nearly 79,000 people at Giants Stadium that day, and a good many of them would be screaming their little pig-tailed heads off.

And it occurred to me that I was, indeed, going to be seeing something rather different this afternoon. Kids going crazy with glee watching “girls” play sports and “boys” sing and dance. Interesting …

I'm reminded of that day in Giants Stadium every time I look at the World Cup banner hanging on my bathroom wall. And yes, I kept the ticket stub.


It's official -- Plenette's out for the season.

Black is out for Saturday's game.
The 2009 Basketball Women's World University Games team has been named and leaves for Serbia on June 23. Think Coach Charli is excited to coach'em?
"I think that the committee has done a tremendous job of selecting this team. We have everything that we need to bring home a gold medal. Our perimeter and our post game are exceptional. I don't think we have any kinks in our armor. Now it's just a matter of becoming a team - really working with each other and learning our offenses and our defenses in a very short amount of time. I could not be more excited about the individuals I'm going to coach and the opportunity in front of us."
Check out quotes from the players and the photo gallery.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lisa Leslie is expected to miss at least six games - and no, she's not playing for the Russian team.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bloggin' from Coach Binford:
I apologize to my passionate readers for not posting my Next Level blog on Friday, but rather today.

For the five of you, (ha) I hope that today's blog was worth the wait as it is the most challenging trait of them all, PERSEVERANCE.

I am going to give you a quiz, and I want each of you to answer these questions before reading on.

Hey, coach! You keep puttin' WNBA into your posts and my handy-dandy search thingys will keep reminding me to check your blog out... :-)
Speaking of bribes, here's a very effective one -- and it's for a great cause! Just got this from Lisa over at the Phoenix Mercury (But keep this a secret between you and me, 'kay?)

One of the craziest (and most exciting) times of the year in our office is starting now… It’s MERCURY MADNESS, our All-Employee Sell-a-Thon!!! Starting NOW, all of our employees get together for a cause and are put into teams to see who can get the most tickets donated for Mercury charities. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m competitive, but I also love good causes, and WE NEED YOUR HELP! Every $10 donated provides one ticket to a child who wouldn’t have had the opportunity otherwise to attend a game.

I know times are tough, but I’m challenging everyone to donate at least 2 pairs of tickets; that’s only $40… and it’s for the kids. I’ll even get you a receipt to show you made a donation for tax purposes! If you’d prefer not to donate the tickets, you can use them yourself/friends/family/coworkers/teams/etc. $43 tickets for only $10?! CRAZY. If you’re feeling really generous, it’ll come back to you: for every $500 donated, you’ll receive FOUR courtside seats to a game OR a suite for the night (includes 20 tickets).

My own incentives (Shhh… keep this on the DL; no other employees are offering this). If you:

Donate/buy 10 tickets – Receive an autographed photo of the player of your choice

Donate/buy 25 tickets – Receive an autographed jersey of DT or CP23

Donate/buy 50 tickets – Receive the 4 courtside seats to a game -or- a suite night (listed above) AND an autographed jersey

It’s easy. Just open the attached form: you can choose specific games or choose to donate the tickets. Complete the form & scan/email back or fax it to 602-379-7540. Email or call me if you have any questions, but this special ends at the end of the day on Wednesday. Tell your friends, and spread the word!

I’m getting a head start and will donate $40. Who’s next???

You'll have to drop Lisa an email (lkowalewski@phoenixmercury.com) if you want the bribe... I mean, if you want to donate.

Think about it -- skip buying coffee this week and you can donate 2-6 tickets (depending on the severity of your coffee addiction.

Want more of an incentive? Last year over 10,000 children were able to attend Mercury games through donations.

You want to make a kid happy? Donate.

You want to grow the WNBA? Donate.

(Imagine if this were a League-wide program and teams/fans competed against each other....)
From Matt Stout of the Norwich Bulletin:
Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault didn’t intend on ticking off Kerri Gardin.

Maybe he should.

Benched in the fourth quarter Tuesday in Connecticut’s 78-75 loss at Chicago, Gardin emerged as a force in the latter half of a back-to-back with the Sky on Friday, flirting with a triple double and employing everything in her versatile skill set.
From Full Court: WNBA West: A Long and Winding Road to Finals
In a year that boasts greater parity within the WNBA's Western Conference, holding serve by winning at home is critical. Still, road road victories are particularly precious, and thus far have spelled the difference between who's on top of the Conference and who's not.

Indeed, the necessity of notching up those "W"s in alien arenas has proved so crucial to success in the West that the team the majority of WNBA GMs predicted pre-season would take the title currently finds itself in the conference's basement. The talent-loaded Los Angeles Sparks chalked up an impressive win over last year's league champs, the Detroit Shock, in LA's home opener -- their only home game to date. They then preceded to drop all four of their away games to find themselves the goat of the conference.

Bizjournals interviews Angela Taylor, Mystics GM.
Angela Taylor is a two-time collegiate basketball national champion who wasn’t ready to cut ties with the game she loved. With the help of some encouraging and influential mentors, she got a chance to work in the league office of the women’s professional basketball organization, the WNBA. Now, as the Mystics general manager, Taylor is trying to lead the team to a winning record.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lordy, but we have some catching up to do (how much am I liking San Antonio and Atlanta!). Until I get some breathing room, check out this blog entry from Ambassador Susan Rice: Celebrating Title IX
I played point guard for my high school basketball team at National Cathedral School in Washington (I also played tennis and softball). What I learned from my coaches and teammates extended well beyond the basketball court. Being part of the basketball team taught me some valuable life lessons and helped shape me as a person. I learned how to be a team player, how great it feels to win, how tough it can be to lose – and how difficult it is to do so gracefully.

As the United States Ambassador to the United Nations—I’m often reminded that in basketball as in diplomacy, you have to know when to throw elbows, and when to show finesse.

Friday, June 19, 2009


The Lynx today announced that forward Seimone Augustus will miss the remainder of the 2009 WNBA season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study done yesterday revealed the extent of the injury, which occurred in the second quarter of Minnesota's game on Wednesday at Phoenix. The date for surgery has yet to be determined.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Oh this ought to be fun: Diana's on the Today show, 8:20amEST (and, it would seem, 8:2oamPST)
Also from the WSF: It Takes a Team's Pat Griffin speaks with Jenelle DeVits and her mom. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, DeVits is an out lesbian who played basketball for the university.
PG: What athletic accomplishments are you most proud of?

JD: I walked on as a freshman and received a scholarship my junior year, and received the Wildcat Award because my coaches felt that I embodied what it meant to be a student-athlete at the University of New Hampshire.

PG: How did you come out to your teammates? Your coaches?

JD: I was never in the closet to them. My freshman year I had to come out, but it wasn’t noticeable. I just made sure me having a girlfriend was just as “normal” as everyone having boyfriends.

From the Women's Sports Foundation: Perceptions of “Others”: The Role of Heterosexism in the Decline of College Women Coaches - Lesbian head coaches in college sports discuss their views on the overall decline of female head coaches in the college ranks.
Research continues to point to a steady decline of women head coaches in collegiate sport (Carpenter & Acosta, 2006). While female collegiate student-athletes are at an all time-high, female college head coaches are at an all-time low. Scholars (e.g., Griffin, 1992; Kauer, 2005) have suggested a relationship between heterosexism and the decline in the number of women coaches; however no research directly addressed heterosexism and the decline prior to this study.

This qualitative study examined the perceptions of eight NCAA Division I lesbian head coaches about the decline in the number of women head coaches. The two most prominent themes from the interviews with these coaches were (1) the coaches’ perceptions that heterosexism does play a role in the decline in the number of women coaches, and (2) how heterosexism has limited lesbian coaches’ upward mobility. Six of the eight coaches believed that heterosexism has played and continues to play a role in the decline. They discussed how this phenomenon is perpetuated by athletic directors’ selecting more male coaches than ever before and showing a preference for married women coaches. They also discussed how heterosexism and homonegativism are difficult to prove. Whether an applicant for a coaching position was not selected or a current coach was released from her position, she more than likely would not bring up the issue of heterosexism or homonegativism for fear of repercussion in future searches.
It's Kelli Anderson's turn: Prince's decision to leave Rutgers early may be ill-advised
But to the two agents who know the overseas market for women's basketball players better than anyone, Prince's plan reflects a wildly unrealistic view of her value right now. "To be fair, I don't know her situation," says Mike Cound, who, along with partner Tom Cross, negotiated 98 overseas contracts last year. "If she can't play in college because of grades, that's one thing. But anyone who comes out and says, 'I've got the grades to stay and graduate but I think I can go make a lot of money,' I'd say you're nuts and anyone advising you is nuts."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dick Patrick at USAToday gathers reactions to the Epiph departure: Prince's early exit from Rutgers for pros not likely to start trend
Jess Davenport has found a new court to play on.
Contributor's note:

By the way, if we don't keep up to date with all the W games it's not because we don't like the teams. (Well, ask me after the team plays my Lib). It's just that this June/July are rather crazed in the real-life-gotta-work-the-job side.

Apologies in advance if you feel your team is ignored. We'll try and do our best.

Speaking of doing our best, sure hope tonight's game between Phx and Minny lives up to expectations......
The Times' William Rhoden asks: She’s Turning Pro, But Is It Progress?
SLAM continues their coverage of the W with an interview with HOFer Jen Gillom and an profile of a likely future HOFer, Cappie Pondexter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The DC BasketCases go bowlin' with the Mystics.
Tough news for the Mystics - rookie Marissa Coleman is out 4-6 weeks with a high ankle sprain.
BC transfer Mia Nickson will become a Nittany Lion.
It's official: Maryland's Strickland transfers to South Carolina.
From Jon Greenberg at ESPNChicago.com (ESPNChicago.com?): Still fighting for recognition
You might have missed it, but two major sports events occurred in the first week of June. You might have overlooked these developments because they happened in the Women's National Basketball Association.
WATN? with Andrea Stinson
MORE than 200 aspiring basketball players in Bahrain will be taking part in the kingdom's first-ever basketball clinic to be conducted by former professionals from the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's NBA (WNBA).

Festivities get underway today with a glittering opening ceremony at 10.30am at the Zain Basketball Arena in Um Al Hassam. The clinics take place tomorrow and on Tuesday.

Former NBA fan favourite Jerome Williams and ex-WNBA All-Star Andrea Stinson headline this highly anticipated event, which is part of the US Department of State's Sports Envoy Programme entitled 'SportsUnited'.
As the new members of the WBHOF were inducted, Mechelle talked about difference makers and Jayda offered a reflection
Catching up on weekend news: Cal coach Joanne Boyle confirmed that three players will transfer.
Out of San Antonio, Buck Harvey reflects on the MIA Becky.
Yup - the All-Star voting has begun! Go and click your buttons.
Are you checking in on the WNBA rookie blogs? DeWanna checks in on Winning, Singing and Celebrating.
Tamika Raymond earned the Dawn Staley Community Leadership award.
Congrats to Carrice Baker who's being inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame:
It's a wonder she didn't have a nickname like "Spitfire" or "Bricks."

Carrice Baker, tough as nails and ever ready to answer a challenge, is going into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame June 27 in Natchitoches for her accomplishments over 39 years as a high school girls basketball coach at both Winnsboro and Jena. She won more than 1,000 games and guided her teams to eight state championships - four at each school - without being a genius scribbling X's and O's. She did it with talented players, but with strict adherence to discipline and fundamentals.

Her approach to coaching: hold the blinis and caviar, and pass the bread and butter.
From the Daily Mississippian: Gillom pursues dream as coach
Former Ole Miss star forward Jennifer Gillom learned less than two weeks ago that she had been named head coach of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. Right after learning that, Gillom had to be on a plane to Knoxville, Tenn., in order to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

“What a wonderful experience, and I didn’t expect the emotions that I had when I was being inducted,” Gillom said. “It didn’t really hit me until I was in the room with all the former members, coaches and players and realizing that I was among the elite group, and it was just an amazing feeling. It was a big night. I had all my family there and everybody seemed to enjoy themselves, and I was glad they were able to be a part of it.”
A blow to Rutgers and a "first:"

Epiphanny Prince, a third-team all-American guard for Rutgers who once scored 113 points in a high school game, plans to skip her senior season and play basketball professionally in Europe before entering the 2010 W.N.B.A. draft.

On edit: I confirmed what I had a vague recollection of: she ain't the first. You might remember her W career.
John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant on Angel: McCoughtry, After Facing UConn For Title, Learning In Pursuit Of Dream
"I'm very happy with the situation I am in here," she said. "I know [the Dream] only won four games last year. But I know we're going to be OK and I'm glad to be here. The veterans have accepted me, put their arms around my shoulders and have helped me, taught me about the pro game. And it is very different than college, tougher and stronger. I can't get by with the things I did in college, that's for sure."
Renee Montgomery is among the five finalists for the Broderick Cup.
Connecticut Public Television will broadcast "Witness to Perfection," their documentary on the UConn season tonight at 8pmEST and will rebroadcast it tomorrow, Wednesday, at 8pm.

The show will stream online at their site both nights.
No Jayne for the USA World University game -- knee surgery.
Speaking of attendance:
The University of Hartford was one of 14 institutions and four conferences selected to receive funding through the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Grant Program, which is in its second year.
The grant program, which will provide Hartford with $50,000 in marketing money, is designed to increase awareness, exposure and attendance of women's basketball. Hartford's proposal to the NCAA was built around increasing its women's basketball season ticket holders by 300 percent over three years.
“We are pleased with the success of many of last year’s grant recipients and are excited to see what these new recipients are able to achieve with this assistance,” said NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Vice President Sue Donohoe. “When resources are allocated and efforts are focused to promote women’s basketball, it can provide a meaningful return on the investment.
Per the NCAA, other sites include:
Auburn University; Big South Conference
Cornell University
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Michigan University
Iowa State University
Patriot League
San Diego State University
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Riverside
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Kansas
University of Miami (Florida)
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
University of South Carolina, Columbia
West Coast Conference
Western Athletic Conference

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's interesting to read some of the reactions to Coach Bill's departure from the W (Mechelle writes some in her blog and plans to add more later and to ESPN.com).

Laimbeer has been rather extraordinary since joining the Detroit Shock. He's turned around the franchise, he's won three championships (the one last year being the most improbable), he's grumpified players and opposing coaches and ticked me off with his over-the-top-histrionics against officials.

He's been a lightening rod, which I can respect and admire, 'cause it takes a thick skin, a huge ego and a strong sense of self -- and it's been good for the W.

I need to digest all the whys and wherefores of Laimbeer's sudden desire to golf, but for the moment I'm going to disagree with Mechelle on his exit strategy. Said MV:
Some will criticize the timing of his departure, but not me. I’m sorry he’s leaving, but he’s given a great deal to women’s pro basketball and has the right to do whatever is best for him.
Coach Z got skewered as being unprofessional. Does Laimbeer get a free pass on "professionalism" just because of his women's basketball resume? Shouldn't standards be standards and not be shifted because someone's been successful?

And take a moment to consider the state of the team he's leaving: they're 1-2, have been blown out on national tv, returned the favor, and then gotten dumped by the whothehellarethesepeoplewearingMysticsuniformsandwinning team.

Cheryl Ford is still recovering from ACL surgery.

Kara Braxton is still serving her league suspension for DUI.

Pierson is injured and likely out for the season.

I know, Detroit under Bill has faced worse odds and won. No idea if Coach Mahorn has the chops to do so. But I'm thinking they could sure use someone who knows what's what as they travel through this bumpy season.

To be clear, I have no issue with his leaving the WNBA - be it to golf or plant the seeds for an NBA gig. And in no way take it as a diss of the W. It's business. Ask any D-III program that's lost a coach to a D-II, and on up the line.

It's not THAT he's leaving, it's WHEN he's leaving.

Bill called the timing a "miscalculation."

I say, "Huh? You had a professional/personal epiphany three games into the season and so you quit?"

That just doesn't sit right.
On June 14th, the drama officially ended: Becky Hammon will miss two road games to play for the Russian National team.

Sorry New York fans. Sorry Connecticut fans. If you bought tickets to this game just to see Becky, you're sh*t outta luck.

Of course, maybe this means my Lib finally get a victory!
It looks like Evil Bill/SFO is leaving the Shock.

Is he headed to Minnesota to coach the T-Wolves?

Edit: Mel has more on this. No job lined up yet for Laimbeer, but Mahorn will take over as head coach and Reeve will be the top assistant and GM.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Holdsclaw's return to the W brings her to Sports Illustrated in Kelli Anderson's lengthy feature.

The folks at NPR's Only a Game, who try hard to cover the W during the season, talk to Anderson in this week's show.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sonja Hogg enters the WBHOF:
When Sonja Hogg was named Louisiana Tech’s women’s basketball coach, she quickly began burning up the miles on recruiting trips in her 1974 Oldsmobile Tornado.

After she wore out the transmission in that car, she bought a 1977 Tornado. When that car bit the dust, she upgraded to one that really knocked recruits off their feet — a 1980 Cadillac.

On Saturday, Hogg will take another ride. All the way into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

One of the pioneers of women’s college basketball in the 1970s, Hogg will be among six people inducted in the 2009 class in Knoxville, Tenn. She hasn’t coached since ending a six-year run at Baylor in 2000, but her importance in the development of women’s basketball will never be forgotten.
On June 10th HOOPS4THESOUL took note of Lucy Harris:
Thirty two years ago today, Harris was the first woman ever selected in the NBA Draft.

After a dominating basketball career at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, Harris was a seventh-round selection of the New Orleans Jazz in the 1977 NBA Draft.
A couple of links re-offered:

Lusia Harris - Profile

Sports Illustrated, 1975: The Women
At 6'3" and 185 pounds, Lusia (Lucy) Harris is a towering talent who last year led Mississippi's Delta State University to the only unbeaten record (28-0) in women's—or men's—college basketball and the championship of the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women. And while the 19-year-old sophomore center was scoring 25.3 points per game, making 65.5% of her shots and pulling in 400 rebounds, she also was Exhibit A in a trend that is sweeping the women's game.
Lusia Harris-Stewart and Lebron James.
In a special pre-game ceremony prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers game versus the New Orleans Hornets, NBA All-Star and Cavalier LeBron James and his mother Gloria will honor women’s basketball legend Lusia Harris-Stewart. As part of Black History Month, The James Family Foundation is recognizing Ms. Harris-Stewart as the first African-American female inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From Mechelle for Yo: "Here's to your perseverance."
How to define this career? Remarkable perseverance. In fact, that’s how you’d define Griffith’s life.

Her numbers went down in recent seasons, of course, yet she was still a valuable veteran presence. It was strange to see her in a Storm uniform last season, and stranger still to see her this year in the Eastern Conference, playing for Indiana.

But that’s not how we’ll remember her as a player. We’ll always see her in our minds as a Monarch.

Griffith was, at her WNBA peak, as tough a post player to stop and to score/rebound against as there was. No WNBA championship team has been as blue-collar as Sacramento, which won the title in 2005, and no one better symbolized that than Griffith.
Jayda takes note: New coach Jennifer Gillom leaving her stamp on Lynx
Los Angeles forward DeLisha Milton-Jones had to say something to Minnesota Lynx coach Jennifer Gillom.

Milton-Jones had just experienced a flashback during L.A.'s recent loss here.

"The first thing she did was congratulate me on the job I was doing," Gillom said of the conversation. "The second thing she said was, 'Oh my God! I thought I was seeing Jennifer Gillom all over again on the court when I saw Nicky [Anosike]. She's got your move down pat.' "

Well, there's one piece missing. The kick at the end of Gillom's patent turnaround jumper.

"Thank God," Milton-Jones told Gillom. "Cause you used to kick me all the time.
A little background from the Daily Post Athenian (TN) on new Lynx assistant Jim Davis.
Davis, a 1970 Tennessee Wesleyan College graduate, began his career as a middle school coach at Englewood, followed by high school head coaching stops at Madisonville, Charleston and McMinn County. Davis moved from McMinn to Roane State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University before being named the coach at Clemson University in 1987.

Davis posted a career record of 355-197 at Clemson before resigning and being named assistant athletic director in 2005

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Julie Plank has been a W assistant for.ev.er.

Now, in her head coaching debut, she has the Mystics at 3-0 with wins over Connecticut (at CT), Atlanta and Detroit. Could it be that she's broken what ever curse the Mystics franchise seems to have been...well... cursed with since opening day in 1998?
Slam Online's Stephen Litel: It’s Only One Game - Kristi Toliver and the Chicago Sky look to rebound after shaky debut.
Roman Augustoviz: Lynx make it known: Their jerseys are for sale

I love the comments on the article that call the move "cheezy."

You know what would be cheesy? If a team sported the logo of some shoe company on their jersey... or, say, sold naming rights of their arena to a bank or a well known retail store... oh. wait.
Indy's future:
I'm worried.

I'm not!

Get to know WBHOF inductee coach Jill Hutchinson:
"Frankly, I was wondering why I was getting inducted to begin with,'' she said.

Apparently she wondered whether 461 career victories - the most in Illinois State history (men or women) - added up to sufficient sizzle. There are no national championships or Women's Final Four appearances, although she did coach two medal-winning U.S. international teams.

Upon further reflection, though, Hutchison realized that she was in the right place at some pivotal times in the game's evolution.
Montana State coach Binford's latest blog entry:
You will be extremely proud of me as I played basketball this past week. Not only did I pick up the ball again, but I played two days in a row, then played volleyball, and then played basketball again!

Three questions came to mind as I picked up my favorite sport in life.

1) What was I thinking?

2) What part of my body doesn't hurt?

3) Where did my game go?
It was a win for Indy last night -- but it was painful.
1) Katie Douglas showed she's as tough as nails after knockin' noggins with Janel Burse. Oweeoweeowee. Appreciated the "my boo boo is worse than yours" moment post game. But, I'm guessin' that today the left side of KD's face resembles those evil Cardassians from Deep Space Nine.

2) Totally and truly sucks: Yolanda Griffith is out for the season -- and for her career -- with an achillies tear.

3) Fans are NOT happy with the roster moves being made by the Fever post injury.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Some may wonder why this blog often takes note of the homophobia in sports.

'Cause it's a problem, dudes and dudettes! Need an example? Check out this section from Pat's recent post on the It Takes a Team! blog:
I have had two conversations in the last month with women targeted by this kind of discrimination. One conversation was with a college coach who has been dismissed after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a player. There was no investigation, no evidence presented. Just the accusation and boom, the coach is gone. The coach denies the accusation and is seeking legal counsel to defend herself. The other conversation was with two lesbian athletes who were dismissed from a college team. Their previous coach was fine with them being out and in a relationship. Their new coach…not so much. In both cases there were charges made to cover over the real reason for the dismissal or to supplement the charges, in the case of the coach.
The LA Times' Jerry Crowe notices Paul Westhead is nearby:
"The fact it was the women's team, I found that attractive because of my experience with the Mercury," Westhead says during an interview in his office near Autzen Stadium. "I liked the way they played. I liked the way they just went after it."

He also liked the fact that Oregon, scheduled to open a new arena late next year, pursued him, encouraging him to implement the unorthodox, run-and-gun "speed game" that was so successful for Westhead's Hank Gathers-Bo Kimble teams at Loyola but was less rewarding at some of the coach's other stops.
From the Tenn site:
An Iraqi girls' basketball team made up of 10 players and three coaches will be making a stop at the University of Tennessee and the Lady Vols basketball camp as part of a program that helps promote peace through sports.

Sponsored by Sport 4 Peace/Global Sports Partners and SportsUnited, the players arrived in Washington, D.C., on June 3 and spent several days in the nation's capital.

The team visited a local high school, assisted with a youth soccer program for mentally and physically disabled children, toured the Smithsonian and attended a WNBA Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream game.
Jeff Morrow writes about Leilani Mitchell:
Back when she was a young teen, Leilani Mitchell always thought she might be a teacher.

She never thought the sport she loved, basketball -- the sport she played in the driveway of her Kennewick home against her five brothers -- would take her around the country and to Europe.

But that's what has happened, as Mitchell has just begun her second season with the New York Liberty in the WNBA.

"I didn't really watch the WNBA when I was younger," she said last week in a phone interview. "Being an elementary teacher was always something that I wanted to do."
Swin, post-surgery.
Good thoughts to UNC's Jessica Breland.
Mechelle faces the music and blogs:
This is what I wrote after the Sparks’ 78-58 season-opening win over Detroit on Saturday:

Not sure how we’ll see a much different game on Monday, despite the Shock having home-court advantage then.

And, of course, I was right. It wasn’t much different. Once again, it was a blowout. Errr ….
OK, well, I wasn’t exactly right. How about completely not right?

Yeah, it was a blowout, but by the Shock this time, not the Sparks. Detroit turned the tables and won 81-52 behind 27 points from Deanna Nolan and 17 from Katie Smith.

You may have noticed that "All-Access" has been a little less than "All" or "Access."

Just wanna say, if I (or any stage manager/production stage manager) did my job so poorly, I should get my azz fired. Did no one run glitch checks? What on earth is pre-season for?

And yah, while it's nice that there's a "ooops, SO sorry we screwed up" message somewhere on the .com, a business truly interested in quality customer service -- a business who understood the interent -- would have sent out an email blast to every single email they had on file.
1) I would have found out about the "sorry we're working on it" from the W, not a helpful fan
2) If I DIDN'T know about "Semi-Live, Semi-Access" I would have learned about it.

Let's see if they can fix this puppy. And fast.
(told ya the Loree Moore jersey bribe wouldn't work. and didja think I wouldn't notice she changed her number this year???)
As the countdown for the latest inductees into the WBHOF approaches, Dan Fleser looks at inductee and the new head coach of the Lynx, Jennifer Gillom.

Monday, June 08, 2009

*Cue: Processional trumpet-type like music*

Announcer: I believe I see movement... Yes, I believe they are on the way. The rose petals are falling, the anointing oil has been distributed, the Donna is prepared.. and yes, here they come, the Los Angeles Sparks, heirs to the WNBA crown.

Oh, look, there's Lisa Leslie waving to the crowd!

*Cue: Violin-type like music*

And here it comes, the trophy, gently drifting from the skies to land so perfectly in #9's hands. She's reaching up for it... reaching up... and... What the hell?

*Cue: Sound of needle dragging across record. Cue: "Welcome to the Jungle!"*

Announcer: (in the background) Hey, gimme my mic back!

Deanna Nolan (The WNBA trophy in her left hand, mic in her right): Helllllllloooooooo Detroit! The Shock. Are. In. The. House!

Announcer (Mic restored): Yes, well... Oh, Coach! Coach Laimbeer? Any comments?

Coach Laimbeer: Sure. Just want to remind everyone -- We've got Tweety and you don't. And Katie ain't done.

*Cue: graphic*
First spelling... sorta.


Keep your day jobs. "-)
Hmmmm... May be that Q's turning into a Storm-a-holic.

I will agree that the Key is a great place to watch a game -- which is why I made the trip out to Seattle twice to catch the experience. (The first time I ended up in Spokane. Long story. Great experience. And I have my signed Anne Donovan bobblehead to prove it!)
This is cool: From the Orlando Sentinel: Our year-in-review look at the 2008-09 high school sports season continues as Shannon J. Owens gives her top five moments in girls basketball.
WATN? Timmsy. Oiy! Oiy! Oiy!
Time to design!
For the second consecutive season, adidas is giving WNBA fans the opportunity to combine their passion for the game with their creativity to design a shooting shirt that will be worn oncourt during the 2009 WNBA All-Star Game on July 25 in Connecticut.
Remember the concern ('07) about concussions a while back? An update from the Sports Medicine blog: New Guidelines for Head Injury and Concussion in Youth Sports
An international panel of neurologists changed their recommendations regarding concussion care for young athletes. The new recommendations, published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, say any athlete, 18 and under, who may have sustained a concussion during sports should not be allowed to return to activity the same day. The group's previous recommendation allowed the athlete to return to activity if cleared by a doctor or certified athletic trainer. The neurologists now believe it's too difficult to make an immediate determination of the seriousness of head injuries which makes it too dangerous for continued play to be considered safe.
Don't wanna jinx Grandmama and her Lynx, but did you notice that after their 100+ game, Minnesota defeated Indiana 96-74?
Charde Houston: 10-12/23pts
Simone Augustus: 9-11/19pts
Nikki Anosike: 6-8/17pts
Candice Wiggins: 2-5/10pts
Kelly Miller: 2-3/5pts (slacker!)
Even scarier? The starters played between 24 and 29 minutes.
The Sky have a new TV deal with Comcast, with an interesting feature.

The Chicago Sky of the WNBA and Comcast have reached an agreement to broadcast five games this season on Channel 100, and formed a partnership to present additional Sky content via Comcast Digital On Demand, Channel 1.

The On Demand content will include additional games, team and player special features and game highlights.
Notes from yesterday's Lib/Sun game:

Clearly, the Lib had a bad case of paint allergy. The symptoms were obvious: an inability to drive to the basket and a irresistible urge to chuck up threes. End result? Connecticut emerged victorious.

Highlights of the game?
  • Watching Whalen play.
  • Watching Phillips and Mini Mi Mitchell go at it like Spoon and Debbie Black.
  • Watching the Timeless Torches and mascot Maddie (holy cow, in a sleek spandex thang that had everyone laughing like hyenas. If the number is not at the ASG, the Donna should retire.)
  • Watching the fifth addition in to the long line of improbable shots made by improbable players (In calendar listing):
1) Spoon "The Shot."
1a) 'cause I don't think it was as visible to the rest of the W: Tari Phillips' three over Kara Wolters during the LIb's improbable comeback from 18 or so down mid-second half.
2) Bethany Donaphin v Shock
3) Erin Thorn v Shock (and Connecticut)
4) Jessica Davenport v Mercury
5) Leilani Mitchell v. Connecticut (And I'm disappointed in you YouTube mavens!)
You want more, read Queenie's fabulous *cue reverb* "Game Notes of Dooooooom!"

ps Since Queenie didn't make not of it -- what was with the pole dancer at the beginning of the game? Just a TAD disconcerting!
Is Plenette Pierson out for the season? According to her coach, yes.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Remember when (in Nov 2008, mind you) Dr. Brand said cuts are expected, but they damn well better be equitable?

Too bad the news didn't trickle down to the Florida High School Athletic Association. From the Title IX blog:
In a cost-reducing effort, the Florida High School Athletic Association came up with and initially approved a plan to cut back the number of games teams play during a season; 20 percent across the board. Except for football. You would be right if you too thought that wasn't actually going to fly. But even when threatened by lawsuits when he said the school board would not reconsider the decision until the fall (keeping the cuts intact), FHSAA head Roger Dearing did not blink--at first.But apparently he is blinking now.

The Florida Parents for Athletic Equity and Title IX advocate and law professor Nancy Hogshead-Makar, who calls Florida home, may have made him a little nervous.
Not surprised. Do not -- I repeat, do NOT mess with Nancy Hogshead-Makar. She's smarter than most of us put together. (Hey, she went to Duke!)
Via rebkell - a quick look at numbers for the first half of opening weekend:
Atlanta: 8,709
Connecticut: 7,191
Los Angeles: 13,154
Minnesota: 8,708
Phoenix: 13,582
Sacramento: 14,824

Average: 11,028

Last year's average: 12,305
Awwww, for f*ck's sake, ESPN, are ya trying to make me cranky on my Lib's opening day? I know you're suffering money woes, but you can't get highlight announcers that can actually read?

The is no such player as Cappie POINdexter.
From Brian Martin at the .com: Rookies Shine on Opening Night.
So much for first-game jitters. Taking a cue from last year’s Rookie of the Year and MVP Candace Parker – who had the best debut in the history of the league with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists – four of this year’s rookies turned in outstanding performances on opening day.

And while none of them matched Parker’s brilliant performance, each of these four players were key contributors throughout the game and in crunch time as their respective teams each opened the 2009 campaign with a victory.

Warning: Do not read Mechelle's latest blog entry if you don't want to get a serious case of the giggles.

And they're off!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

WATN? with Shay Doron -- who would probably be very interested in wearing a pair of Lisa Leslie's new sneakers.
So, Mike DiMauro, when you next write about, say, a UConn male alum, will your article open like this?
For some reason, you are reading this. And not looking at the accompanying photos. Are you mad? Maybe you should stop reading. And gaze at the cover shot. It really is worth a thousand words, among which could be “hubba, hubba,” “va va va va voom,” “holy stimulus packages” or perhaps, “hottie, hott, hott.”

That's Emeka Okafor. No. 50 of the Charlotte Hornets.
(T minus 3-hours)
And a 1, and a 2, and a 3 (all sing): "Let's Get It Started!" (old school)
Over the years, the rosters of the W have been dotted with players boasting "unexpected" resumes. Add Union's Josephine Owino to the list.
Owino didn't play in either of the Mystics' two preseason games, but general manager Angela Taylor said the staff saw Owino's potential in the 20 preseason practices.

"We took a flyer on her and drafted her because of the highlight package we received from (Campbell)," Taylor said. "Once in camp, she was a solid scorer on the low block, a dynamic rebounder, and has an impressive presence in the paint."

Taylor said Owino's two NAIA titles also intrigued the Mystics because they were looking for players with a winning mentality.
Readers of this blog will remember the story of the Union team, the NAIA championship they won and the tornado that all but wiped out their school.
From Jeff Metcalf and the Arizona Republic: Recession heightens challenges for WNBA
The WNBA is a teenager this year confronting decidedly adult issues.

Because the parent NBA, and the sports industry in general, is being squeezed by a global recession, the women's professional basketball league is facing perhaps the most critical season of its 13-year existence.

The WNBA begins play this recession-impacted season with its fewest franchises in seven years, and teams have cut rosters by two players to save money. The owner of at least one franchise has said his team must double attendance this season to survive.
I'm glad they talked to Val Ackerman for this piece, 'cause while one of the reasons I love and support the W is the social and political aspect (and why I so often want to slap the Lib and the Donna upside the head), it still is business. Said Val once, when talking about Title IX: "There is no law that says you have to have the WNBA."

Which is why I like Nancy Lieberman's stump speech:
“I can’t tell you how many times I give speeches,” recounted Lieberman, “and I ask the audience, ‘Okay, who here wants the WNBA?’ And almost every woman raises her hand. ‘And who wants equality in sports and business?’ And every woman raises her hand.’ And then I say, “Okay, how many of you have season tickets for the local college team?” Not even a third of the people there raise their hands.

And then I ask, ‘Okay, now how many of you have Coach purses? Louis Vuitton? Chanel?’ And everybody raises their hands. And I say, ‘One less purse, and you could be a season ticket holder for Arizona State University basketball. See how it works? I mean think about it! Don’t sit there and say men are holding us back when you don’t reach into your pocket. Decide you’re going to have two less fancy-shmancy meals this year and buy season tickets. If you’re not going to do it, if women who love women’s athletics don’t buy season tickets, why should the person who’s really not that passionate buy them?” challenged Lieberman. “Women have to support women.”
WATN? with Jen Azzi -- waitin' for the Hall.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Hey, what's that on the front of Lisa Leslie's jersey??
The Catamounts' very fine player, Courtnay Pilypaitis, has been named to the Canadian Women's Basketball Team that will compete at the 2009 World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia from July 1-12
Nice news for California University of PA and not so much for Franklin Pierce:
Mark Swasey and California University of Pennsylvania added a twist to the old adage, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, Thursday, when Swasey was introduced as Cal's new women's basketball coach.

In Swasey's case, he beat 'em then joined 'em.

Swasey comes to California from a seven-year stint as head women's coach at Franklin Pierce University. If that institution sounds familiar, it should. To die-hard Vulcan fans, it's all too familiar because Swasey's Franklin Pierce team ended Cal's season in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight tournament last March in San Antonio, Texas. Franklin Pierce advanced to the Division II championship game.
David Zingler talks to Seimone.
Mechelle has another look at Z's departure from the Lynx.
From Mechelle: What a season we should be in for
Lisa, Yo and VJ are farewell touring. LJ is back where she feels she belongs. Claw gives it another try. For these sagas and more, tune in for a "very special" WNBA season.
Sure, there are reasons you could be blue. Aren't there always? The league lost Houston last year. There are rumblings about Indiana's needing a big attendance boost (or else) this season. Roster cuts down to 11 are painful. The economy is doing its havoc dance with everything and everybody.

But even taking all that in, this really is a special season for the league. We're talking big, big picture here. It's a season for the historical record. It's the last hurrah for some of the greats of the game, such as Lisa Leslie and Yolanda Griffith -- one more chance for the young, rising stars to play side-by-side with them or against them.
Talk about a quiet suspension - Braxton for 6.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

22 days until his journey begins, but that's not stopping 13 teams, 1 Journey from blogging. Click to hear Diana...try to spell.

Honestly, I feel sorry for people who don't just love Dee. What they are missing!
From Our Sports:
During her farewell season, Leslie will don a pair of specially designed sneakers created by Nike. The distinctive edition of the new Blue Chip II will feature the Sparks' familiar purple-and-gold colors and, at Leslie's request, a unique, pink highlight pattern. The shoes will be used to generate awareness about breast cancer and raise funds to help fight the disease, a cause that is very important to her. Prominent among the efforts will be online or in-arena auctions of the Leslie-Nike sneakers, conducted by many WNBA clubs following select Sparks road games. Proceeds will benefit the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation.
Some may remember the health scare Lisa's mom had in 2000.
Final cuts are happening -- and it ain't fun. Among the "names"? Tan White, Ashley Paris, Jessica Davenport, Ivory Latta.

And I am going to miss this name: Western Michigan's Tiera DeLaHoussaye.
Jonah Ballow of Lynx News sits down with Grandmama.
Speaking of attendance -- at the state level -- from Tim Warsinskey at the Plain Dealer: Tourney attendance going down
Such are the challenges the Ohio High School Athletic Association faces each season when selling tournament tickets, which provide about 90 percent of its annual revenue. Matchups, travel distance and weather -- in 2008, a huge snowstorm ruined state girls basketball crowds -- can greatly influence attendance.

But those factors cannot be blamed for a long-term downward spiral in the state's four largest and most profitable tournaments -- football, boys and girls basketball and wrestling. Since 1999, attendance at football and girls basketball tournaments each is down 30 percent, boys basketball is down 23 percent and even the venerable wrestling tournament has slipped 13 percent.
In light of the good NCAA attendance news, Mechelle reflects: Attendance Up, Coverage Down.
Speaking of Community Colleges...

In December of 2008, we noted the extraordinary story of Kayla Hutcheson, who suffered near total memory loss after a collision during practice, and her Walla Walla Community College teammates and coach who supported her.

ABC World News has picked up the story. (There's a longer version of the story on Nightline: The Girl Who Couldn't Remember.)
From Jayda's Blog, Alisa Scott goes Community College.
Scott (pictured far right by Jeffery Hobbs) faces immediate challenges at Shoreline CC. She's the third coach in two years and turnover for players is just as high because the school only offers about 65 percent scholarship, according to athletic director Doug Palmer. Palmer said the head coaching position is part-time, paying about $6,000, and every sport has to raise its own funds.
The challenges at the Junior College/Community College level are impressive. But if it's the right fit for you, the rewards will be worth every hour you spend driving the damn van.
Coach Ryan finds two new assistants -- and one of them is Wendy Palmer.
From Lenn Robbins at the NYPost -- Lib are Worried (Moore or Less)
From Nick Williams and the Tampa Tribune: Hillsborough High hires woman to coach boys basketball

Stephanie Crawford grew up in Safety Harbor, known by many as the young girl who could play basketball with the boys.

She starred at guard at Countryside High and went on to play collegiately and professionally, spending four years in the All-Armed Forces Women's Basketball League with the Air Force women's team. Crawford eventually entered the coaching ranks, guiding high school and summer travel teams in the Bay area.

But on Tuesday, she recorded a new career milestone. Crawford, 38, accepted the boys varsity basketball head coaching position at Hillsborough High, becoming the only woman in Hillsborough County to take over a premier boys program.

From Matt Hudson at the Ball State Daily News: The Art of Scheduling which is a nice companion piece to The Scheduling Puzzle.
Economics, shmeconomics: Women's basketball attendance sets another record

NCAA women’s basketball attendance in 2008-09 topped the 11 million mark for the third straight year and set a single-season record of 11,160,293. The previous best was 11,114,054 in 2008. Division II was the biggest factor in the record-breaking total, beating its all-time women’s basketball attendance mark by almost 124,000 fans. Division III also topped last year’s record attendance figure with 4,667 more fans for a total of 1,203,162.

In Division I, the numbers fell short of the previous season’s record but were good enough to place second all-time at 8,042,040 spectators.

As colleges cut back, so is the NCAA:
On Wednesday, the NCAA announced it would suspend membership dues for the next school year, plans to give schools an additional $5 million and intends to trim about $500,000 in travel expenses for committee meetings.