Women's Hoops Blog: July 2009

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Friday, July 31, 2009

So, as a longtime Liberty fan I have to ask: When does Blaze fire herself?

Now that would be change we could believe in.
Many Liberty fans have wanted this for a while. Patty Coyle was fired. Anne Donovan will serve as interim head coach for the rest of the season.
The Storm is officially celebrating their 10th season this weekend in Seattle.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Have you seen the Mercury Five?

The team is encouraging fans to help get them on Ellen.
This should be good. Mark you calendars for Saturday, August 8.

Pokey Chatman will be a guest on Women's Sports Talk Show.
Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman continues to chronicle the team's season in her blog in the L.A. Times.
Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News with her last column.
Mechelle talks to Katie Smith.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Star Tribune's Rachel Blount writes about the evolution of the Lynx.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Last we heard, the Vols' Amber Gray was in the hospital after complications resulting from shoulder surgery.

Now we get a clearer picture:
Post-surgery complications ensued, resulting in tests and the discovery of an aneurysm in the brain that was beginning to hemorrhage, said Gray's mother, Tonya Carter.

Gray, 19, underwent a 12 1/2- hour surgical procedure last week at the University of Cincinnati's Neuroscience Institute. She has since been moved to a rehabilitation center and has started down the road to recovery.
Ooooooooooo -- Off Topic, 'cause it's about tennis, but On Topic, because Pat employs what I like to call the "flip test." And it's friggin' funny.

Wimbledon To Assign Courts Based on Anatomical Dimensions
In an effort to stem the tide of criticism over the use of heterosex appeal as a criterion for assigning courts in the women’s side of the bracket, Wimbledon officials have announced new gender equitable criteria for next year. All entrants (regardless of sex or gender identity) over the age of 18 will submit a certified list of anatomical measurements and a full body color photograph taken in a swim suit. The anatomical measurements submitted must be certified as accurate by a physician who will complete the measurements according to a strict protocol approved by Wimbledon officials. The anatomical measurements for competitors in the men’s championship must include shoulder width, chest circumference, height and, of course penis length and girth, at rest and erect. The competitors in the women’s event must submit measurements for body weight, breast size and booty circumference.
In "College Coaches Pay to Find Out Who's on the Court," Pete Thamel for the Times writes about how cranky men's coaches are about paying a rather hefty for a packet of information (aka "entrance fee") so that they can watch potential recruits play on the summer circuit.

As he notes, the economic times have made those fees even harder to swallow. But, if Pete had had the time, inkling and/or space, he might have asked what those fees cover. While I'm not saying some organizers don't take a hunk off the top (on the men's side), it's interesting speaking with those who organize the AAU/summer camps on the women's side, where the big bucks are not as obvious.

In Pay-Per-View Recruiting: Looking at the cost of coach’s packets, coaches are given a template of sorts to assess the "legitimacy" of the fee they are paying.
1. The Packet: Beyond the basic, and not insignificant, cost of the production (photocopying, binding, design of special add-ins, shipping), it’s important to take into account the time and energy involved in the gathering of all the information. Someone is handling team registrations, chasing after incompletes, and updating the information. (And if they are not, they should be reported to the NCAA so they don’t get recertified next season).

One organizer put the raw cost of producing a packet at $25 each. Another offered a dollar-per-team formula while a third suggested $10-$15 a team. Packets can be produced in two weeks to four weeks or, depending on the registration process, drag on for months. And we haven’t even started addressing the added costs for those organizers who’ve introduced high-tech support like PDA downloads, information-rich websites and daily grid-sheets….

2. Referees: A relatively simple math problem: two or three refs (at $40-$60 each) for every game of the tournament.

3. Clock and Book: Another numbers game. Some tournaments use volunteers, some pay because, as Brandon Clay of Peach State Basketball has discovered, “It can get kind of messy.” Think $25 per person per game.

4. Athletic Trainers: The number and ease of availability of trainers is a concern to both coaches and operators. Of course, every additional trainer adds extra cost, which, of course, needs to be passed on to someone. $20/hr.

5. Event Staffing & Supplies: Again, it depends if the staff is paid, volunteer, or a mixture of both. How many of them are there and are any full-time?

6. The Venues: If you’ve ever had to rent a gym, you know what the costs can be. If you haven’t recently, simply ask about your institution’s rates. Clearly, price will reflect the location (D.C. is different than, say, Duluth), as well as the quality of the venue. (Is it old, fully equipped, air-conditioned?)

7. Insurance: It should come as no surprise to anyone that insurance is a major cost. “It used to be $2,000,” recalled Mike T. White, whose company oversees, amongst other tournaments, the Deep South Classic and Fall Finish. “The insurance factor has doubled in the last twelve months, due to some of the high school boys that have passed away on the courts recently. So, just to have insurance,” he explained, “you’re talking $12-$18,000 for a tournament, if you have more than 100 teams.”

The final ingredient is all this involves the intangibles of the event: Is it organized and professionally run? Do the games start in a timely manner? Are the game officials always ready and accounted for? Are the on-site needs of the coaches met? Was the information presented in a timely and correct way? Are the directions to each site accurate? Were there hi-tech perks and useful bonuses in the packets?

If the answers are yes, go back to the pants you’re looking to purchase: Are you willing to pay more for quality work?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Surfacing for a moment to take note of a NYTimes piece on the ASGame. (Taped it. Don't tell me how it ends. :)

Off to the Garden with my UAE peeps. Expect it to be a fun slaughter -- and can't wait for them to all meet coach Donovan afterward.
Congratulations to the class of 2010 inductees into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
There was little defense, but plenty of offense as the West reclaimed the All-Star Crown in a 130-118 win.

Live blogging was done by:

Jayda Evans



Observations from Off-Court, Mechelle and Mel Greenberg.

Plus Mechelle has a piece on all of the former UConn stars.

Graham said the celebration was equal parts present and future, with eight players making their All-Star debut. Earlier, Graham wrote about the bond between Bird and Taurasi.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The USA Women’s U19 National Team rallied, but came up short against Spain last night 90-86 in preliminary play.

It was the first loss for the team since 2001.
Business Week takes a look at the W.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

It will be an all out Twitter fest at the All Star Game.

Also, Off-Court's David Siegel will be blogging live for ESPN.com.
Mercury reporter Ben York tries to convince Dime magazine readers to pay attention to the WNBA.
Mechelle catches up with Catch and talks Summitt, Poland and her desire to win a WNBA championship.
Going to the All-Star Game? Be sure to get there early to see the WNBA All-Star Pre-Game Challenge.

It does not look like this will be televised this year, but maybe something will change by Saturday.
Worth a read on Full Court Press are two new articles on the Detroit Shock and the L.A. Sparks.
USA Today's Brian Kapur takes note of Alana Beard getting her due.

Meanwhile, both the Washington Times and the Washington Post focus on one of the midseason candidates for most improved player in the league, Crystal Langhorne.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We may find out more today about a possible WNBA team in Tulsa.
The defending WNBA champions will be honored on Monday at the White House.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Georgia Ice 13 and under AAU team is profiled in USA Today. On the team are daughters of Ken Griffey Jr., Antonio Davis, Dee Brown and Delino DeShields.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Congrats to the 2009 All-Star Reserves.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Last October I was here.

Now, this July, twelve of them are here.

Which is cool, but it's going to be two weeks of being very, busy. So, early apologies if stuff goes MIA on the blog.

FWIW, this July 26th, we will all be here. If you happen to be in New York, come visit!
From Five Boro Sports:
To put it mildly, Adia Revell is facing an uphill climb.

Her task: to build a Division I junior college women’s basketball program – from scratch – in one of the toughest cities in the world. The Brooklyn native will welcome her first recruiting class to ASA Institute in her home borough this coming fall, just one year after the school started an athletic department.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” the 25-year-old Revell said. “But I would have said that about my first year of playing Division I basketball and I would have said that about my first year transferring [colleges]. It was definitely a learning experience.”
Tim Leighton of the St. Paul Pioneer Press has a great article on Charde Houston.

Her story is familiar to many women's basketball fans. Comments from Houston's mom, coach Jen Gillom and teammate Candice Wiggins help illustrate her inspiring story.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

OT: If you're willing to multi-task - watch the WNBA online and, then at 8pmEST watch the US v Japan softball (a rematch of the Olympic gold medal game -- sorta. Almost half the US team are newbies) on ESPN.

The tv listings say this is a repeat -- if it is, do. not. tell. me. the. final. score.
I first heard about Darla Simpson a few years back when she played in the NWBL. Today, the Houston Chronicle catches up with her.
She was an all-conference selection twice during her time on the University of Houston basketball team.

She was selected to the Southwest Conference All-Decade second team and went on to play in the American Basketball League and WNBA.

Fast-forward nearly 20 years to 2009, a time when Darla Simpson never thought she would be playing basketball. Then again, she never thought her relationship with coach Louis Ray III would evolve into a 10-year career with the semi-pro Houston Jaguars.

“I didn't like Louis that much at first, but when he started the team it was a way for me to stay in shape,” Simpson, 39, said. “I've always loved basketball and I still enjoy it, but I never thought I would play this long. I'm going to do it as long as I'm having fun.”
From Brett Cyrgalis at the New York Post: CHRISTON SHOOTS TO STAR-DOM
The closest thing the Liberty have to a superstar is a 6-foot-1 forward who has unmitigated confidence in her 4-7 team.

Shameka Christon's play over the first 10 games of the season garnered her 48,129 votes for this year's WNBA All-Star team, just 1,820 votes short of the starting lineup for the Eastern Conference. And when the reserves are announced on Monday, it would be a shock if the 13 WNBA coaches leave Christon off the list.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Interviewer: "So, how loud does this amp go?

Katie Douglas: "Eleven."

Yup, that's where the Fever's winning streak stands.

Meanwhile, Connecticut got a much needed win over the (struggling) SASS, and Seattle showed that, even with LJ out of the lineup, Whiz has got a lot to do before he can show that the team he put together is playoff caliber: the Storm stomped Sacramento, 69-56.
Is the W ready for the Tulsa Tumble (or some such team)?

So long as Clay Bennett and his ilk aren't involved, I say SURE!
Pat Griffin applies the "flip test" to recent news: What If He Was Gay? Steve McNair and Double Standards
I am all for forgiveness. None of us are perfect and most of us have secrets or past personal indiscretions we are not proud of. Steve McNair could very well have been a “good man” despite cheating on his wife and putting himself before his children.

What is difficult for me is the hypocrisy that the reaction to Steve McNair’s death represents. We are asked to overlook Steve McNair’s adulterous indiscretion and see him as a man of God. I could only wish that fans, players and others who follow men’s professional sports teams could be as accepting of gay athletes who lead exemplary personal lives or even those whose personal relationships are similarly complicated as Steve McNair’s was.

Male professional athletes are often given a pass on bad behavior, even criminal behavior, but a law-abiding, morally upstanding gay athlete? No so much.
While Andy Landers signed a three year extension at Georgia, the Lynx made some moves with two of his former players. Christi Thomas is out and Tasha Humphrey is in.
Q makes some points about Zellous that makes this Liberty fan draft-grumpy again.
Damn - not a calf, but an Achilles.
Out of Tulsa: Courtney Paris adjusting to Sacramento's system - Former OU star got off to a slow start but is learning her role.
"I think I'm starting to figure things out," Paris said in phone interview. "I'm learning the system more each day and I'm feeling more comfortable with each game. Sure, this is a different role for me but I think with each game I am taking a step in the right direction for my career. I didn't expect to start. I knew that coming in. I also knew I needed time to learn the Monarchs' system."
In Detroit, Reeve juggling WNBA duties
At first glance, Cheryl Reeve appears to be caught in the middle.

A 1984 Washington Township High School graduate, Reeve is the lead assistant for coach Rick Mahorn of the WNBA's Detroit Shock. She's also the general manager of the defending champs.

Sound strange? Not to Reeve.
From NPR's All Things Considered: Web Site Gives Girls Basketball Stars Major Play
For the country's top high school girls basketball players, summer vacation can wait.

July is chock-full of tournaments showcasing players for college basketball recruiters, which means Glenn Nelson's summer plans have to wait as well. Nelson chronicles all things girls basketball on his Web site HoopGurlz.com. It has become the place to go for news about girls basketball recruiting — and much more.
From David Woods at the Indy Star: Rookie January gives Fever a spark off the bench
Before this WNBA season, the Indiana Fever resolved to add toughness and a point guard.

The Fever did both when they selected Arizona State's 5-8 Briann January with the No. 6 draft pick

Never mind that she was twice the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Or that she played four NCAA Tournament games this year on an ailing ankle.

In the first five minutes of her first pro practice, she took a charge from a male practice player. Poor guy didn't know January is a black belt in karate.
In W business news:
Nfinity , the first women's performance team sport footwear company, announced today that they will partner with the WNBA's Atlanta Dream for the 2009 season. The two Atlanta-based organizations will work together on cross promotions throughout the season.
Mechelle is "Examining the 'right' to say what's wrong."
A couple of years ago at a WNBA finals game in Sacramento, a fellow writer and I got to talking about something that I’ve always found difficult to discuss. It was a relief to talk to her about it, because she understood exactly what I meant and had similar feelings about it.

Here’s what it was: We agreed that it’s hard to write columns that sound critical of people without questioning whether you really have the “right” to do it.

I know this may seem counter to the view many people have of the media. And that’s probably because it seems most columnists don’t seem to ever have second thoughts about this. They have a column, it’s their opinion and if you don’t like it, they don’t care.

Or at least they act like they don’t care.
Mercury fans rejoice as Penny Taylor rejoins the team.
NCAA mock selection sessions have been done in the past and written and talked about by media members like Mel Greenberg, Mechelle Voepel, Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli.

Another mock session is taking place this week in Indianapolis with many of the top coaches in the country and the NCAA blog, Double A Zone is there. Day one wrapped last night and Day two is currently in progress.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Mercury have suspended Diana Taurasi for two games and the league has their first statement on the matter.

"The WNBA supports the actions taken today by the Mercury and we don't believe further action by the league will be necessary."
Of concern: Seattle couldn't defend their home court as Katie Smith continues her run at the WNBA's newly created "Old Fart Who Can Still Play Like An All-Star" award by driving Detroit to a 66-63 victory.

Of more concern: LJ's calf injury.
From the SASS -- "The Tale of the Missing Eyelash."
The Hartford Courant's John Altavilla with a great new post on his blog.

We love Di here and wish it hadn't happened. We're all human. I get it. But just exactly how deep is the sand the people in New York responsible for this have their heads buried in today?

It's life. It happens - usually to the men, of course. We can deal with the details. We hope she'll be better for it in the long run.

I bet Candace Parker's baby burped today. How about some pictures of that?

Did you Tweet with Sophia Young, by the way?

Cokie Roberts is being honored!

Attendance is up 1.345678 percent.

Very bad job by the WNBA. A total lack of credibility.

If the league wants us to swallow the sweet, it has to be prepared to dish us the sour. Think it over before you come to town next week and tell us how great everything is going.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From Ronald Clark of North Jersey.com: Carson returns home to give back
Essence Carson is a busy woman.

She’s in the middle of her second season playing for the WNBA’s New York Liberty and her schedule can be hectic. But when she received a phone call from childhood friend, Emmanuel Capers, to come and speak to about 21 young girls attending the Paterson Recreation basketball camp on Wednesday, she was quick to say, “yes”.

“It feels great just to be here and give back to the community,” Carson said, “and to be able to brighten up these kids’ day, in any way, shape or form. Just looking at their faces today, really made me smile.”
Q weighs in on rookies and All-Stars.
Dueling Rutgers grads:

1) Cappie helped welcome Whiz back in style, dishing a team-record 15 assists and notching 12pts. Add in Diana's 22 points, Bonner's 15, Mazzante's 14 and Le'Coe and Temeka's 13, and the Merc created the perfect field-day atmosphere for the 11,590 screaming muchkins who witness the 100-81 drubbing.

How the Monarchs scored 81 while shooting 34% is just one of those wonderful run-and-gun basketball mysteries that coach Whiz will have to solve.

2) Meanwhile, Indiana's streak is 10 and counting as Tammy Sutton-Brown dropped 22 (10-11) on Chicago. A season-high crowd of 10,051 showed up to witness the 84-74 victory, which is very nice.

Not so nice? Big Syl sat because of her sore knee.

3) 17,220 showed up at the Phone Booth to catch a doozy of a game. San Antonio almost blew a 10pt lead in the 4th, but hung on by the hair on their chinny-chin-chin for the 79-78 victory. Both teams now stand at 6-6.

The good news for the Mystics? Coleman was back on the court.

4) That pounding you hear behind you is coach Gillom banging her head on the wall. What more can be said about the 91-77 schooling Atlanta gave the Lynx. 'Claw had 28 and the Dream shot a scorching 53%.
Okay, I don't think I sounded like a total idiot.
From Karen Tucker, over at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame:
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame will announce its 2010 Induction Class on ABC during the July 25th WNBA All-Star game. The game airs at 3:30 p.m. (EST), live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., and marks the third year that the WBHOF has announced its upcoming induction class on ABC during a WNBA event in July.

The Class of 2010 will be officially inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on June 12, 2010 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The 2010 Induction will mark the 12th year of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, which held its grand opening and inaugural induction in 1999, and increase the number of individuals who have been ecognized as Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductees will increase to 115.

The Class of 2010 will be officially introduced to the world during the 2009 State Farm Tip-Off Classic.

2009 Select Girls’ Basketball Camp:
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is hosting the 2009 Select Girls’ Basketball Camp at Maryville College in Maryville, TN. This three-day exposure event is open to all high school girls’ basketball players who have the desire to play at the next level.

Girls representing 11 different states have already registered to participate in this event, offering a diverse level of competition and worthwhile experience for every camper!

This camp is an NCAA Registered and AAU Sanctioned event and Division I, II and III College Coaches have been invited to attend the camp on July 27 and 28 for recruiting purposes.

Registration is $500, but the WBHOF is offering a $100 discount to anyone who registers between July 1 and July 17!!!!

Registration includes all basketball activities, skills and games, lodging in campus dormitories, all-you-can-eat meals for three days, reversible Select Camp jersey, and one-time family pass for admission to the WBHOF. A Select Camp merchandise package is also available to purchase in advance.

And finally:
2009 Future Hall of Famer Summer Clinic:
The Second Annual FHOF girls basketball clinic will be held at Farragut Middle School (Farragut, TN), August 3-6. This camp is open to girls basketball players, ages 9-14 and is a great opportunity for young players to learn the fundamentals of the game. Registration is $200 and includes a WBHOF t-shirt, lunch each day and a one-time family pass to the WBHOF.

For More information on any of the above events, please visit http://www.wbhof.com/ or call (865) 633-9000!
ESPN.com notes how economics is impacting college athletics:

In February, Stanford eliminated 21 staff positions in its athletic department and cut funding to the school's nationally ranked men's fencing team. Stanford officials told the fencing team it would have to raise $250,000 to cover operating costs next season and raise additional money to create an endowment for future expenses.

"We have to cut $7 million over the next two and a half years," Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said. "It's not an insignificant amount when you consider salaries and scholarships are a pretty set amount. It's substantial."

Across the country, Stanford isn't alone in its financial difficulties. Many athletic departments are struggling to balance their financial books after receiving less funding from state legislatures and fewer donations from alumni and boosters.

On the ESPN.com, Mechelle rightly drops the hammer on Diana Taurasi.

There's no way Taurasi should be an All-Star, and the league must take as harsh a stance as its guidelines allow in terms of punishment.

If she indeed does not play in the All-Star Game, her absence will be conspicuous. And that's a shame, but that shame is all on Taurasi herself. She is the first truly high-profile WNBA player to get in any serious legal trouble.

Considering what a popular, visible and vocal presence she is for her franchise, the league and the sport of women's basketball, this is as much a worst-case scenario as the WNBA hopes it ever has to deal with.

Because the real worst-case scenario, of course, is that Taurasi, if driving under the influence, could have killed or severely injured herself and others. There aren't any excuses for that behavior, and Taurasi now has a mark on her reputation that will never come off.

After last night's Sparks/Sun game Mechelle gets reflective:

The Los Angeles Sparks fell 82-71 at Connecticut on Tuesday, and the preseason favorite’s worries got a little more intense. The Sparks are now 4-8 -- um, you may have noticed the 3-10 team behind LA in the West standings just fired its coach -- and so the question has to be asked.

Are the Sparks really going to right the ship when Lisa Leslie returns from injury and Candace Parker returns to her usual self after her maternity leave?

Many of us are trying to figure out why we guzzled the Sparks’ purple Kool-aid despite knowing that there really are some good reasons Leslie is retiring at season’s end, that Parker was going to try to do the ultimate quickie bounce-back, that Tina Thompson would be in a new place with different circumstances, and that the Sparks were going to have point-guard questions that other top teams wouldn’t have.

Cool choice:

Cokie Roberts, political commentator for ABC News, senior news analyst for NPR News, and bestselling author, will be the recipient of the 2009 WNBA Inspiration Award, WNBA President Donna Orender announced today.

The WNBA Inspiration Award, which recognizes an individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family, and community, will be presented at the league's fourth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If you get NBATV:

Subject to change, as always.

Friday July 24th
12:00pm -- "WNBA: Birth of a League"
1:00 -- "The Run: Detroit Shock"
1:30 -- "WNBA Action"
2:00 -- "Houston Comets 1st Championship"
3:00 -- "Houston Comets 2nd Championship"
4:00 -- "Houston Comets 3rd Championship"
5:00 -- "Houston Comets 4th Championship"
6:00 -- 1999 WNBA All-Star Game
8:00 -- 2000 WNBA All-Star Game
10:00 -- 2005 WNBA All-Star Game

Saturday July 25th
12:00am -- "Raise the Roof: Cynthia Cooper"
12:30am -- "The Run: Detroit Shock"
1:00-3:00 -- "WNBA Action"
3:00 -- Game 2 of the 1998 WNBA Finals (PHO vs. HOU)
5:00 -- Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals (HOU vs. NYL)
7:00 -- 1999 WNBA All-Star Game
9:00 -- 2000 WNBA All-Star Game
11:00 -- 2005 WNBA All-Star Game
1:00-3:30pm -- "WNBA Action"

h/t nick
So, filling out a really, really long survey that spent a lot of time talking about all the NBA games I don't watch got me the honor of previewing some WNBA playoff commercials.

#1) Um. Erin doesn't play for the Liberty any more. Umm, Detroit featured? Umm, Connecticut featured? At least you got Indy right.... Really lacking in action or energy.

#2) A step-by-step recreation of "The Shot." Hello, it's sooooo 1999 -- where's the "Where's the next great shot coming from" montage of Cappie, LJ, Charde, Becky, etc. etc?

#3) The still picture montage. Better than the "Expect Grape" adverts, but where the hell is the life action? The explosion of it at the end?

#4) "Expect Great: Parker. (Shouldn't that be retitled: "Expecting. Great.") Gack, I hate those commercials. No energy. No drive. No impact. You simply need better voice overs and better clips.

#5) Still with the still shots.... do you expect people to believe the voice over just 'cause?

#6) Gawd, the sappy, insincere "Have you seen her?" voice over makes me want to slap someone. And didn't anyone tell'em that Houston folded?

#7) Better. At least we had some names AND HIGHLIGHTS!!! Sheesh. What are they scared of.

Hope they read my "please be as detailed as you can" comments.
Speaking of post-Diana DUI:
Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi faces three drunk-driving related charges, including extreme DUI, for a July 2 incident in which she was pulled over on Camelback Road.

Results of a blood draw showed Taurasi was driving her 2006 Land Rover with a blood-alcohol level of 0.17 percent, or more than twice the Arizona legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to a Phoenix police report released today.
So here's some useless scheduling speculation:

As per the article she shows up in court July 22. She's convicted.

Next, she's immediately suspended by the league.

She misses AT LEAST three games: All Star, New York, Connecticut.

Selfishly, I'll be pissed because her actions have screwed me out of having the pleasure of seeing her play in New York (as well as the 20 people I'm bringing).

It also screws the league out of the boost they might get from the casual fan who tunes into the ASG.

It also screws all the UConn fans who would love to cheer her return.

Which ought to embarrass the hell out of Taurasi.

Which would serve her dumb ass right.

The woman was drunk off her ass and she got into a car. There. Is. No. Excuse.

Of course, she could delay it all by having the court date pushed back. I hope the Donna has the guts to say "Don't."
Get your All-Star Starters here!

Interesting that the Phoenix Lifelock were locked out - either a bad effort on the Merc's part in getting the vote out (do not talk to me about how miserable the effort was in New York -- not counting the fabulous Beyonce parody. That was an individual's creativity, not the concious effort of a thoughtful management organization) or maybe some Diana DUI backlash?
Says Alex: Sos I'm in Min-i-sew-tah, ya fer sure I am.

Questions with Bob Sansevere: WNBA super fan's got game in every city
Phoenix special education teacher Alex Chambers is in the midst of a journey that will take him to all 13 WNBA cities for games. He plans to be in Minneapolis on Wednesday to catch the Lynx game against the Atlanta Dream. That will be his eighth stop. Chambers, 35, started his month-long trip June 28 and will end it later this month at the WNBA All-Star Game in Connecticut. I talked to Chambers on Monday about his jaunt around the country.

BS: I can understand going to Major League Baseball ballparks. Or touring NBA or NHL arenas. But the WNBA? Are you that big a fan or are you just quirky or maybe just looking to do something different?
So, we know all the players Pat has coached/taught. Who taught Pat?

Nadine Gearin, the former head coach from The University of Tennessee at Martin who guided the playing career of Pat Head Summitt, died yesterday afternoon at the VanAyer Nursing Home in Martin after a long illness. She was 73.

Gearin was the first head coach of women's basketball team UT-Martin and guided Lady Pacers basketball team from 1969-78. One of Gearin's outstanding players was Head Summitt (1971-74) who went on to become the all-time winningest basketball coach in NCAA history while leading the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to a 1,005-193 record in 35 seasons.

"Nadine Gearin was so much more than a coach to me," said Summitt. "She was a great friend who taught me so many things including how important it was to keep life-long ties to your teammates. I learned by her example and that is one of the reasons why Lady Vol basketball is such a great family today."

From Newscoma:
To know Coach Gearin, you have to understand that she was a tough coach who led the Lady Pacers (now the Women’s Skyhawks) during a time before Title IX. It was different world back in the 70 and the late 60s.
You see, Nadine broke barriers. And the pebble that she threw in the water created an eventual tsunami with a woman who would become the coach in college history with more wins than you could shake a stick at.
And Nadine fueled that fire within Summitt nearly 40 years ago.
Jayda talks to Jenny Boucek about her dismissal from the Monarchs.

In Sacramento, the Bee's Ailene Voisin has a different look at the situation.
Full Court Press is no longer part of the Scout network, but they are still around. Recently added items include an interview with Betty Lennox and an update on Abby Waner.

Monday, July 13, 2009

So tell me, Mechelle, how do you really feel?

Monarchs firing Boucek is a senseless decision

Every once in a while, there are personnel moves in sports that are so unfair, so wrong-headed and so contrary to progress that I have a hard time sitting down long enough to type in my thoughts about them.

Because what I feel more like doing is rampaging around and screaming. Witnessing sheer stupidity has that effect on me.

But since that is definitely not a good way to communicate publicly, I’m forcing myself to sit down so I can write that Sacramento’s firing of Jenny Boucek as head coach is as dumb a decision as anything I’ve seen in following the WNBA since its 1997 inception. (And that covers a lot of idiotic ground, especially when you consider some of the Mystics’ coaching moves, the Lynx’s trade of Katie Smith, and the Henry Bibby “era” for the Sparks.)

It looks like Jenny is out.

Seems to me that, in my very uninformed opinion, some other WNBA team is going to be very lucky. (Kathy? Do you need coach B's number?)

And GM Whiz is going to have a very interesting time coaching the team he's put together. I believe Phoenix has got next.

ON EDIT: Hey, wait! The Lib are short an assistant....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Too late, but the USA World University Gold game game was rebroadcast with Charli mic'd up.

I'd love to have watched to see the whole thing -- what a great education for the fan to hear a coach's thoughts as the game is going on (and kinda funny too).

ON EDIT: It's 8:35 PM EST and the game is running again.
The Donna listens to the Helen. At least when it comes to getting the Timeless Torches to the ASG.
Mechelle does her own recap: Deuces are wild on Saturday
Three of four WNBA games were decided by a single, solitary basket Saturday … and in the only contest that wasn’t close, Candace Parker had two points.

So two was the magic number on a crazy night where if you’re a Monarchs’ fan, you’re saying, “OK, what else can happen to us?” … if you’re a Sparks fan, you’re saying, “So when does the ‘running away with the West’ stuff start? … if you’re a Sun fan, you’re saying, “Crap, we lose to freaking Detroit again and this time I didn’t even get to heckle Laimbeer.” … and if you’re a Dream fan, you’re saying, “Another lousy last 2 minutes. Gee, where have I seen this before?"
1) Says Q: Mercury Beat Monarchs in a Thriller: Who Says WNBA Basketball Isn't Exciting?
Whoa -- what an amazing game between the Mercury and Monarchs! One of the best played overall of a very well played week in the WNBA.

You have to feel for the Monarchs -- they really outplayed the Mercury for the majority of the game and completely neutralized the type of Mercury blitz that the Sparks and Sky had to endure...(WHB note: But does yet another Sacto loss spell the end for Jenny B?)
2) Well, I'd say it was a different kind of exciting at the Garden last night, but let's not split hairs, 'kay? :-) Suffice it to say that I'm rather fond of the Dream at the moment, that JMac hates the #7 and would like to burn all but the last two minutes of this game tape, and that going 18-18 on freethrows is a GOOD thing. That, and a furious comeback, some seriously important defensive stops, and the tantalizing possiblity that the Scarlet Knight contingent might start participating in the season.

3) Down at the Phone Booth, 12,217 (yeah winning! yeah Candace Parker hype!) watched Alana Beard score 26 points (and CP score 2), and the Mystics end the game on a 12-0 run to get the 75-63 victory over the Sparks.

LA owner Kathy G checks in: The girl with a curl in the middle of her forehead
The Sparks started the game against the Washington Mystics like we started against New York. We make things so much harder for ourselves by letting the first six to eight minutes get away from us. At one point in the first quarter our entire team was being beaten by Alana Beard by herself—she had all 13 of the Mystics' points to our 2. It had the makings of a blowout. I was emboldened by the experience in New York though, where we had finally woken up and played hard and pulled out a win, so I did not totally give in to despair.
4) In Connecticut, Detroit beat the Sun in technicals (4-0) and in OT, 79-77. The game featured 17 lead changes, 16 ties, no Deanna Nolan and 25 points from Katie "don't call me long in the tooth" Smith.
Dawn twits:
Dawn Staley has no sense of direction in her new hometown of Columbia, still gets carded at the movie theater and is a common frequenter of Za's Brick Oven Pizza (veggie with barbeque sauce is her favorite).

But you don't have to follow the South Carolina women's basketball coach around town to know this - just become a follower of her on Twitter.
Want some free Liberty tickets? Generate some web buzz and increase your chance of seeing the Mystics v NY on the house.
Gambling and sports in the US go hand-in-hand (Even if the NCAA gets a tad tied up in knots about it).

But, if you get yahoo/google alerts and such you'll notice you're getting more "betting on the W" information. The Day's Mike DiMauro writes: Over-Under A Point Of Interest Here
Increased gambling on the WNBA is another step in what's been a better summer than the league could have imagined. Two franchises, Phoenix and Los Angeles (both of which are near Las Vegas), signed lucrative sponsorship deals manifested in advertising on team uniforms.

It's hard to understate the significance of that, especially in an economy that has businesses spending less and furloughing more.

”Nobody would have signed these deals if they thought the league was dying,” Sun coach Mike Thibault said on Friday before he had to watch his team play Saturday. “The WNBA is going to be here. How many teams and where they are, we don't know. But it's like the NBA. How many different cities has the NBA been in?”

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Because when you're researching something sometimes you just are reminded of some amazing WNBA moments. From the WNBA.com history page:

Triple-doubles during the regular season
Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets v. Det 7/27/99
14 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists

Margo Dydek Utah Starzz v, Orlando 6/7/01
12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks

Lisa Leslie Los Angeles Sparks v Detroit 9/10/04
29 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks

Deanna Nolan Detroit Shock v Connecticut 5/21/05
11 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists

Triple-doubles during the playoffs
Sheryl Swoopes Houston Comets v Seattle 9/4/05
14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists
ESPN news:
ESPN will debut the latest "This is SportsCenter" on-air promotional spot -- "Dunk" -- on Monday, July 13. The newest effort in the award-winning campaign features Los Angeles Sparks' Candace Parker and several SportsCenter anchors including Hannah Storm, Brian Kenny, Jay Harris, Stuart Scott and Scott Van Pelt, as well as the Pittsburg Penguins mascot, Iceburgh.
Thanks to a heads up from Melissa over at Off-Court:

Fox College Sports To Online Broadcast 2009 Women's World University Games Gold Medal Game At 7 P.M. EDT

Belgrade, SERBIA (July 11, 2009) - Fox College Sports will air the 2009 Women's World University Games Gold Medal Game online at the following link. The broadcast will air at 7:00 p.m. EDT and loop three times.

NOTE: If you want to avoid a spoiler, do NOT scroll down the blog.
Links from Marie's Sports-Media-Society blog:
Women's game: Not 'as good' as it was?
A story in the South Bend Tribune today reports that ND women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw, speaking at the annual NACDA meeting, lamented the state of women's college basketball -- ethically speaking -- today. "It's not quite as good as it used to be. I think the pressure to win is affecting people," she said, and later added, "People aren't exactly following the rules" but those who know about it aren't "willing to step forward."
It seems that a logical follow-up question for her is "What specific rules violations to you know about?" She added that there haven't been any "major infractions" in the women's college game of late, but she is convinced an ethics committee is needed.
Considering the very obvious issues of homophobia and "negative recruiting" over the years I, too, and wondering what coach is referring to.

The question of "ethics" has been raised and is being discussed within women's college basketball and in the ranks of the WBCA. Consider what some coaches said a couple of years back:
When it comes to regulation, Coale has little interest in getting bogged down in all of it. “‘Is this the number of days we should have on the road? Do we want to legislate text messaging?’ All these ‘little’ things that I know are big things. At the end of the day,” says Coale, “you cannot legislate morality. We better be teaching people to be ethical individuals and to do things with the right mission and the right purpose.”

Russ Davis of Vanguard University (NAIA) accepts the challenge. “In our leadership we need to make sure we have more discipline with ourselves, our teams, the people we recruit and the people who we deal with,” he said. If you are in a position to use your influence to encourage more ethical behavior, do so. For example, Davis coaches a high profile club team. He will not play in a tournament if it includes teams or coaches that he thinks aren’t working with integrity. Additionally, “there are tournaments out there just gouging the coaches,” he explained. “They’re [charging] $600 for coaching packets and the big time schools can afford it. But the lower and mid-majors? They don’t have the budget for that.” Recognizing that his team’s absence can impact a tournament’s bottom line, he simply avoids those events.

Stringer, too, has seen the beginning of the “slippery slope.” “When we get to the point that we will do whatever we need to do to win,” reflected Stringer, “then we teach our kids to do whatever we do to win. And those little kids become young adults, and those young adults then are in authority positions and continue to perpetuate the same kinds of things. Whether you are Muslim or Catholic you understand ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ‘Thou shalt not do some fishy things.’

Stringer sees a need for some basic laws, the “‘10 Commandments’ of our profession,” she says, “Anyone who steps over it – in any ways shape or form – is to be banned. Until we have a code – not an NCAA code – I’m just talking about a code of ethics. Unless those of us who have been there…provided we can open our mouths and say anything. I can’t be around here stealing and cheating all my life and then step up and say something to one of my younger colleagues who might be doing some things. But I do think that we need to stop before we go a couple more steps. We need to break it down and make sure it’s a great, great profession.”
You know, this and this still gets me giggling.
Kris over at the Houston Roundball Review interviews LaTech coach Teresa Weatherspoon.
First, the US team said, "Zdravstvu!"

Then they said, "Dosvidanniye"

And then they asked (translated from Russian) "Gold medal, please."

A monster 28-point, 18-rebound performance from Tina Charles (Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.) helped propel the 2009 USA Women's World University Games Team (7-0) past a determined Russia (6-1) 83-64 and on to an undefeated gold medal at the 2009 World University Games on Saturday afternoon in Belgrade, Serbia.

"I'm really proud of this team," said USA and Arizona State University head coach Charli Turner Thorne. "They stayed tough, kept working hard. These are some of the best college players in the country, and they showed it tonight. That Russian team has been playing together for years. I coached against them two years ago (at the 2007 FIBA U21 World Championship). For these young ladies to come together in a couple of weeks, be so responsive to what we asked them to do as coaches, to give everything they have for their country, that was awesome."

Additional quotes.

On Ebay:
UCONN Women's Basketball Signed Final Four Set Sign

ESPN NCAA Women's Final Four Set Sign signed by UCONN Women's Basketball Head Coach Geno Auriemma and players Maya Moore, Renee Montgomery, and Tina Charles. All signed on the set following their win in the 2009 championship game. Heavy wooden case is about 30"x30". Net proceeds for this auction item will benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

The Donna's name is being tossed around as the LPGA looks for a new boss.
Jason Jones over at the Sacbee catches up with Alex-13 Teams: Monarchs' -- and WNBA's -- biggest fan may be this man
"I hope I'm reflecting well on the league," Chambers said before a Monarchs game earlier this week. "I hope that other people that read my story see the WNBA not only has female fans, but male fans and serious fans. Every other sports league has had fans to do something like this, so I figured it was time the WNBA had somebody."
I love, love, LOVE what Alex is doing. I also know that, before the internets and its tubes got all twitter-ized and cable-ized and facebook-ized and such, other fans have made grand (and mini) tours of the league and arenas. And shared them with other fans.

The W simply didn't notice'em. So, I appreciate that Alex is taking advantage of modern media "tools" and that the .com is taking notice. (And, hopefully, learning a thing or two.)
The Fever are singing, "Number nine, number nine, number nine...."
From Jayda: More on Sue Bird's shoes worn to raise cancer awareness
Storm PG Sue Bird acknowledged the color of her new Nikes. Especially what a national viewing audience might feel, watching her dart around a basketball court Thursday in yellow kicks in HD-TV on ESPN2.

"Obviously it's loud," Bird said. "Fortunately it matches our uniforms, so I didn't look too terrible."

But the sneakers could have been a psychedelic swirl of 70 colors and Bird would have still worn them with pride. That's because it's part of an effort to raise global cancer awareness with famed cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Also, because cancer reached its ugly prongs into Bird's inner circle. Last fall, soccer Olympian Michelle French of Kent was diagnosed with "Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma and Schelorsis of the Mediastinum", a Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Did we know LSU coach Bob Starkey has a blog? Check out his various Hoop Thoughts.
Communication is a big part of coaching. As I've been taught by Coach Don Meyer, "It's not what you say, it's what they hear." A big part of communication is terminology. For instance, it's critically important that you staff uses the same terminology to improve the retention of your team and to avoid confusion. It's not back screen and back pick -- pick one and we all use it. Not block out and box out -- find one and stay with it. Above that, look to string phrases together that stick with kids (and your staff). Coach Meyer is the guru at this and I will share some of his in a later post. Coach Dale Brown had the HIT philosophy at LSU. Let's HIT 'em. Play HARD, play INTELLIGENT, and play TOGETHER. I think as coaches, for absolute maximum benefit, you should constantly spend time working on terminology and words phases. In fact, a better vision of how important this is comes again from Coach Meyer who refers to them as "word pictures," because when used properly, they actually paint a picture that sticks in your players mind. Some time ago, an article appeared in the USA Today written by Jarrett Bell that speaks to this point and how Pittsburgh Steeler's head coach Mike Tomlin used them to shape the culture of his football team:

That's shop talk, courtesy of Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who has stretched much mileage from a few choice words on his rapid ascent up the coaching ladder.

"I've probably heard that one at least 150 times — this year," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel says. "It's kind of monotonous, but we get the point."
From the Washington Times: A season interrupted -- Injury complicates Coleman's transition to pros
From Eric Woodyard and Mlive.com: Swag: Deanna Nolan deserves the ESPY for best WNBA player, and it has nothing to do with swag
Auburn's W update.

Oh, and from the Auburn Plainsman: Bonner and Boddie in WNBA
From the NY Daily News:
Everyone at Boys & Girls HS has a heavy heart.

Frank Mickens, the school's beloved former principal and basketball coach, died in his sleep at his Brooklyn home Thursday morning. He was 63.

Mickens coached Boys & Girls from 1969-79, leading the Kangaroos to a PSAL championship in his last season on the bench.

Before the 1994 season, Mickens hired Ruth Lovelace in an unprecedented move, making her the first woman to coach a PSAL boys basketball team.
From the .com: WNBA Player Recommendations
Pretty much everybody has bought something from Amazon.com at this point, right? Maybe some of you have used Netflix or Pandora. Anyway, the point is, we've all been subjected to suggestions of similar products, similar movies and similar music based on the selections we've made. And as much as we hate to admit it, a lot of the time such marketing techniques work (Exception: "Godfather III" per our interest in "Godfather" and "Godfather II").

So that got us thinking. There is a select group of players in the WNBA that garners a bulk of the attention, yet there are plenty of other stars that are talented and entertaining that don't receive the recognition they deserve. With that, we decided to come up with my recommendations of lesser-known WNBA players based off those that are considered the league's biggest names.
You know, W, you'd improve your fanbase's knowledge if you'd dump that sorry-azz excuse for a fantasy game and return the the old VGM. THAT game helped you pay attention to EVERY player in the league.

And don't think I've given up hoping that one day you'll figure out how to use the internets and all its tubes and have every team send out email news blasts containing all the articles written on their team.... sigh.
Dave Zingler, "WNBA: Observations & Interviews Upside-Down East, Q&A With Alana Beard."
Deanna's gimpy hammy simply add to the Shock's struggles: Detroit (2-7) at Connecticut (5-5)
From the DCist: Mystics' Sanford Balances Full Year of Sport With Charity Work
The New York Times' Mike Tierney takes note of Chamique Holdsclaw's return to the Garden.
Clinical depression kept her out of the W.N.B.A. for nearly two full seasons, and even led to an overdose of antidepressants. In a strange way, it has brought her back to the league.

With her illness in check and her game in tow, Holdsclaw ended her hiatus this year, driven to show others afflicted by depression that it is beatable.

“It’s not about me anymore,” she said. “I’ve always been a player who just played. I have to use my voice a little more now, give back to young people dealing with the problems I’ve had.”

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yikes: Tennessee forward Amber Gray will be transferred to a hospital to be near her family in Ohio after suffering unspecific complications following shoulder surgery last week.
From the AP: NCAA sanctions Missouri Western women’s hoops
The NCAA put the women’s basketball program at Missouri Western on probation for two years and threw out some 50 victories Wednesday as punishment for allowing an ineligible athlete to play for two seasons that included a conference championship for the Division II program.

Besides the ineligible athlete, whose play was deemed a major violation, the NCAA also found that a former student-athlete received extra benefits from a former coach, a secondary infraction.
Had a great time at the Liberty-Sparks game last night.

Big, big crowd that stayed hyped all game. The Timeless Torches rocked the house with their new routine and the Liberty creative crew came up with a great new campaign: "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" featuring Janel and coach Coyle. (Wait for it... wait for it.... Janel McCarville and Patty Coyle.)

Now if only the rest of the Liberty had been as creative. And no, I am not so fond of the Sparks at the moment. (Hey, did you know one of their players has a baby?)

(Though truly, as much as I love Taurasi and LJ and Cappie and Augustus and Katie Smith and Lisa at her peak - my first pick to start a team is Tina Thompson. That woman is rock solid, superb skill, no-nonsense talent. And I sure hope this isn't her final year.)
The Minnesota/Mystics game (96-94, Lynx) game is what a "Must watch the archive" game. Q takes note of Renee Montgomery's Breakout Game and the Minnesota Youth Movement
By now you’ve probably heard that she re-entered the game with 3:14 left in the 4th quarter and proceeded to score 12 consecutive points and 18 of her season-high 21 points over the course of seven minutes between the 4th quarter and overtime.

Her game has been variously described as “electrifying”, a “scoring rampage”, or my personal favorite from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: “Rookie guard Renee Montgomery, who usually provides a spark for the Lynx off the bench, was a flamethrower.”

And it was all capped by some of the best post-game comments I have ever heard – simultaneously honest, humble, and humorous – including a clarification for those who might consider Montgomery “on fire” (or throwing flames) last night: "I didn't really catch fire, I just shot layups. It wasn't like I was on fire from (three-point range)."

However, the ability to get to the rim eight times in seven minutes at the end of a close WNBA game is no small feat. And though it was apparently the same play, she wasn’t exactly scoring in the same way.

The U-19 training camp is in full swing.
12 athletes arrived in Colorado Springs on July 9, where they will train through July 17. They will then depart for Bangkok, Thailand, where the two-time defending gold-medalists will try to make it three straight golds at the U19 Worlds.
The old folks are moving into the Gold medal game (vs Russia) after a victory over Australia. Australia was up early and the back and forth the US "allowed" made Charli a little cranky.
"I think we came out, got a little run and then we let up," said USA and Arizona State University head coach Charli Turner Thorne. "As a coach I don't understand that. We always want everybody to go out and work hard every possession. You have to credit Australia. They're a tough, physical team. They play hard every possession. Our team can learn from that. We take possessions off and every time we took a possession off in the second half, they capitalized."

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Sancho Lyttle is getting a lot of press. From the .com.

Up until this season, the bench is where Lyttle had been making her living in the WNBA. Of the 120 games she played in prior to 2009, she started just 36 of them. Being a reserve didn’t bother Lyttle so much. After all, she was still relatively new to the game. The 28-year-old didn’t start playing basketball until her senior year of high school after making the switch from track.

“It wasn’t really getting out of track as much as trying to learn something new,” Lyttle said. “That’s when I started to pick up basketball as a hobby to try and learn the fundamentals of it.”

Lyttle’s short-lived high school basketball career led her to Clarendon Junior College(Clarendon, Texas) for two seasons before a scholarship offer came from the University of Houston. Despite a light basketball resume, coaches there saw potential due to her athleticism and height.

That college offer came from Joe Curl - who, himself spent many years coaching at the Junior College level.

University of Houston coach Joe Curl is a big believer in the junior college players, and not just because he coached at Trinity Valley for three years. He just point to Sancho Lyttle as an example of what JUCO’s can do for international and developing players. Lytle came to the States from St. Vincent, in the British West Indies, “a great athlete who had incredible potential,” noted Curl. But, she had only played netball, never “American” basketball.

“I give her junior college coach (Wade Scott, Clarendon) all the credit in the world for her development.”

“The junior colleges are worth their weight in gold. I’ve always believed that. In Sancho’s case, to get over the hurdles she needed to be able to be successful at the D-1 level junior college was absolutely priceless. Small town. Small classes. A coach that could drill her on the fundamentals of the rim, the backboard, her footwork. And she had the heart, the brain to do whatever she was asked.”

Houston weathered a few SEC and Big 12 storms before they signed her in 2003 “and the rest,” said Curl, “is history. She came in here and took us to a #3 seed in the NCAA tourney, a #8 seed, I believe, in her senior year and was a #5 pick in the WNBA draft. I think she improved a lot while she was here, but I really felt her real basis of who she is right now as player and a person…I give a lot of credit to Wade Scott and the program he had there.”

LA is coming to NY (hope to be very fond of the team after they leave), and Barbara Barker of Newsday writes:
Every basketball player has her own pregame routine. Few, however, have one as challenging as Candace Parker's.

Before tonight's WNBA game against the Liberty at Madison Square Garden, Parker will listen to Jay-Z, stretch and take some shots with her Los Angeles Sparks teammates. Then she will return to the locker room, pull out her breast pump and get down to business.

"This is something I think I can keep doing for Lailaa," Parker said of avoiding formula for her 8-week-old daughter.
She also writes something that sounds mighty, mighty familiar:
The WNBA's reigning MVP is not the first player in the league to have a baby. In fact, on her team alone, there are five mothers. Yet, Parker is pushing the envelope in one important way: She is starting her family at the beginning of her professional career, rather than putting it off until her late 20s or 30s.
I'm still not sure why Barker, like the NYTimes' Crouse, chose to hype Parker's age and ignore all the other basketball mothers such as, to name a few: Sheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, Helen Darling, Le'Coe Willingham, Kara Braxton, Vanessa Hayden, Yolanda Griffith, DeMya Walker, Jia Perkins, Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Scholanda Robinson, and Nikki Teasley (thanks for the list, Melissa).

To ridiculously split hairs, as Crouse did in a response to an email from my friend and colleague Melissa, and say that Sheryl was a whole two years older (um. but the league was BRAND NEW) or the "other players weren't expected to carry the league" (um. player after player has been expected to do that.) is dismissive and insulting to the other players who've been balancing parenting and a professional career. (note how I use don't use "motherhood," since I'm still waiting on the upcoming article about LeBron James' struggles balancing parenting and pro ball)

I don't understand the need to do that in order to honor (or hype) what Parker is trying to do this season.
From Jenni Carlson of the Oklahoman: WNBA is not sitting well with Courtney Paris FORMER SOONERS STAR STRUGGLING TO ADJUST TO LIFE IN THE PROS
She is trying to make the most of her time on the bench.

"I can’t honestly say I was familiar with a lot of the players and what they do,” she said. "In the summers, I was doing stuff, so it’s not like I paid attention as much to the WNBA.
"I’m learning more about the game I play every day.”

Or the game she doesn’t play, as the case may be.

"It’s definitely been a process, a learning process,” she said. "But at the same time, it’s a process I need to make.”
Perhaps the lesson is, if you think you're a good college player and want a career in the WNBA, perhaps you should take a moment to check out you competition and get a feel for the level of play. Note to Courtney: W players don't suck.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

From OurSports:
The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), today announced that it will tip off the league's inaugural WNBA Green Week on July 9. The event, which marks the first-ever partnership between NRDC and a women's professional sports league, will run through July 16. During Green Week, the entire WNBA family will team up to generate awareness and funding to protect the environment with special oncourt apparel, auctions to support environmental preservation organizations, public service announcements, and hands-on community service projects.

As part of WNBA Green Week 2009, adidas will outfit all players with 100 percent organic cotton shooting shirts featuring the WNBA Green logo. Spalding will sponsor an auction for the duration of Green Week on WNBA.com featuring Spalding basketballs, made from 40 percent recycled materials and autographed by WNBA players. All proceeds will benefit NRDC.
The US volleyball team (oh, headline editor!) is now 5-0, in great part to Kayla Pederson's balanced game.
Stanford junior Kayla Pedersen just missed a double-double with nine points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the USA Women's Basketball World University Games Team (5-0) beat Czech Republic, 115-78, on Tuesday in Belgrade, Serbia.
It was a bad sprain: Sparks' Lisa Leslie still questionable for WNBA All-Star game
Rebecca Lobo, at Women's Open, worries about WNBA future (She looks great, cute kids look cranky)
Alex DiFilippo from SignonSanDiego.com: Houston: Pick No. 30 and playing like No. 1
Charde Houston is proving she was a steal as a third-round pick in last year's WNBA draft.

The San Diego High graduate, who holds California's record with 3,837 points in her high school career, is making a huge impact for the team that took a chance and selected her 30th overall, the Minnesota Lynx.

Despite falling further than she would have expected in the draft after an up-and-down college career at Connecticut — where she received AP All-America honorable mention twice but saw her minutes cut by almost half her senior season — Houston is making the most of her sophomore campaign for the Lynx. She's performing like a first-round pick for Minnesota, which is tied for first place in the Western Conference.
Better start checking the Garden's timing system -- the line up for the Maggie Dixon Classic is out and Scarlet and Orange are involved.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

You know how sometimes you don't get enough -- if any -- info on an injury? Seattle's box went the other way on Ashley Walker's DNP.

Oh, yeah -- behind Swin Cash's fine freethrow shooting, Seattle downed San Antonio in what looks to have been an ugly way to spend an afternoon (unless, of course, it was raining cats and dogs or your team won.)
From Steve Contorno from the IlliniHQ.com: For women's hoops, recruiting is a cutthroat business

Law has always been a talented recruiter. For 12 years, she helped C. Vivian Stringer build Rutgers into a national powerhouse. And in that time, the recruiting game has transformed into a cutthroat business.

The media and fan demand have turned men's basketball recruiting into an industry that remakes young student-athletes into national icons. And the changes in recruiting on the men's side, both good and bad, have slowly trickled to the less prominent women's side.

"I've seen the recruiting change so drastically, that's why we're here every day working on the 2011, 2012, 2013, because kids are committing early," Law said.

Monday, July 06, 2009

A little touch of insomnia let's us catch up on last night's games:

1) January's running three-pointer at the half (.com's Play of the Day) may have fired up the Fever, but it was Sutton-Brown's 22pts that carried Indiana to a 8th straight victory. This time, the victim was Atlanta,

2) Detroit fans got treated to a heck of a game, but that may be small comfort. Katie Smith said, "I'm not dead yet," loggin' 40 minutes and 28pts and Zellous made this Lib fan jealous (6-13, 7/8 on fts), but Erin Phillips dropped 6 in overtime to lead the Sun to a 95-92 victory. Oh, and new Sun member Sandrine Gruda made Coach T look brilliant, scoring 23 points.

3) Lots of fans, some hype (though the Breeze wants more) and, for most moms, a decent return for Candace, but she couldn't help the lack of Sparks speed and commitment to defense.

Phoenix lifted their run and run and gun offense to new heights in the second half and boom, it was a blowout. A blowout where four Sparks starters hit double figures. Phoenix simply had more scorers, and Bonner continued to make her case for mid-season ROY.

Oh, and game announcer? Diana's ability to stay focused and perform in spite of the DUI is a sign of her professionalism. NOT getting putting yourself in a position to get cited for DUI would be a sign of a professional.

Mechelle on the CP return:
Candace Parker's return to the Sparks on Sunday night in Los Angeles ended up having some unexpected drama from other sources.

There were the preparations at the Staples Center for the upcoming Michael Jackson memorial, which might get a little bit nuts. And there was Mercury leading scorer Diana Taurasi playing her first game since a DUI citation last week in Phoenix. (The legal process has just started; a possible suspension from the league will depend on the situation's resolution.)

Still, the big news of the night was indeed Parker's taking the court again, as she had been out on maternity leave. Her daughter was born May 13, and CP3 lived up to her prediction that she would be back in early July to play her second season in the WNBA.
More Charli from Serbia.
Outta Detroit - Barb Farris.
In - DeForge?
Thanks to Q, a nice companion to my Title IX rant:
“Title IX and Sports”: The Impact of a 1974 Memo to President Richard Nixon

If you are a) interested in the education of our nation’s youth, b) interested in civil rights, and c) interested in women’s sports (as I am), you probably took note of the White House’s commemoration of the 37th anniversary of Title IX on June 23rd.

However, lest we assume that 37 years of existence is equivalent to the eradication of sexism in education generally or sports in particular, Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts turn our attention back to the issue of enforcement.

In a recent column entitled, “Title IX a start, but women athletes still seek level playing field” Roberts & Roberts write: (go read, you reader you!)
More Q:
How The Mercury Beat the Sparks in LA: From 0 to 22 in About 5 minutes 30 seconds
The Phoenix Mercury’s impressive 104-89 road victory over the Los Angeles Sparks last night was one of those games that simply cannot be appreciated by reading the box score or even the play by play alone.

It’s not just that the Mercury posted a season-high 36-point third quarter, that they managed to out-rebound the Sparks 40-31, or that they ran off 11 straight points to start the fourth quarter. It’s how they did it that is noteworthy.
Does Marissa Coleman Still Have a Chance to Win Rookie of the Year?
With Nikki's exit, Mechelle writes: Revisiting Teasley’s recent thoughts is rather eerie
A few weeks ago, I chatted with Atlanta guard Nikki Teasley about coming back to the WNBA after missing last season on maternity leave.

One of the things we discussed was how surprised she was that fellow North Carolina graduate Ivory Latta had been cut from the team before the season began.

”When I received that phone call, I stopped everything. I was in total shock that happened,” Teasley said of hearing the news then about Latta. “She’s done so much for the city and the organization. But at the same time, I have faith in the organization that they made the right decision and they are going to do what’s best for the team.

Update on the Moore knee.
Dan Fleser writes about the woman who gets him the news: The Vols' Debby Jennings:

Debby Jennings came to the University of Tennessee to attend law school.

She took a right turn into journalism and latched on to a pretty good story: the fledgling Lady Vols athletics program.

“The women’s athletic department was one year old, it was like a colt finding its legs,’’ said Jennings, who became the Lady Vols director of media relations in 1977. “I got in on the ground floor of the whole thing, the whole concept of women’s athletics.”

Thirty-two years later, Jennings’ department has received nearly 400 national publication awards and groomed more than 72 graduate students for a place in either the sports information profession or public relations.

Mystics roster news: Mosby back, Humphrey gone.

From the Reading Oklahoma Blog:

The Western Writers of America have also honored Full-court Quest as a winner in their nonfiction category, Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary. In April of this year, the Oklahoma Center for the Book announced Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith’s book as the Twentieth Annual Oklahoma Book Awards winner in Nonfiction.

Full-Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School, Basketball Champions of the WorldLinda Peavy and Ursula Smith—University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK

A little follow-up from Illinois' Courier News: Sporting peace: coaches teach Iraqi teen girls how to play basketball
If the Iraqi women's basketball team qualifies for the London 2012 or Chicago 2016 Olympics, two local coaches will be able to say they helped make it happen.

Elgin Academy Varsity Girls Basketball Coach Vicente Pena and Wheeling High School Girls Varsity Assistant Coach Julissa Hernandez coached a summer basketball camp last month in Knoxville, Tenn.. The camp was developed by Global Sports Partners, a sports agency that contracts with experts to provide access to sports for women and children who have been deprived of opportunities due to social and cultural traditions.