Women's Hoops Blog: June 2010

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

OT: Worst Writer-Award Winner Disgusts With Sexy Rodent Metaphor
It's a writing award that most authors would want to avoid. However, novelist Molly Ringle found a silver lining in being the 28th annual recipient of the Bulwer-Lytton prize for the worst opening sentence of a novel.
Oooh, if only they added a "sports blog" category. I'm sure I'd be a shoe-in.
Seeing double-double?

Perhaps it's because your team is playing against Tina Charles. From SwishAppeal's freelantz:

It's hard to imagine a rookie who's already nabbed herself the share of a franchise record midway through her first season, but Charles has done just that. Her almost pedestrian - at least for her - 16 points and 12 rebounds are her sixth double-double in a row and 12th of the season through 15 games.

And there is your record, ladies and gentlemen. Not even a rookie record yet, but a franchise record. Charles' 12 double-doubles has tied a Connecticut Sun record and she still has 19 games to play.

From my fellow educator in LA: Kathy Goodman: Focus and effort
The last time I played basketball -- the only time, really -- I was in eighth grade and my U.S. History teacher, who coached the eighth-grade team, asked me to join because I was tall. I knew the rules of basketball — I had played it in gym class — but had no actual basketball skills. But I liked my history teacher, so I joined the team. It became apparent pretty early in the process that I had no actual skills. I couldn’t dribble; I couldn’t pass; I couldn’t shoot. My coach still played me, though, because the one thing I could do was rebound. It didn’t require great athleticism or years of practice. It required focus and effort. I was reminded of that often during the Sparks’ 80-68 loss to the New York Liberty on Tuesday night.
From Sports, Media and Society: Sports blogging: Don't look for big payoff

Damn. Well, there go my retirement plans!

But, more to the point:
As the Ad Age article makes clear, though, there are plenty of Brinings out there, willing to write about sports and a host of other topics -- for free. The result may be a business model that discourages organizations from paying for quality reporting and writing. In other words,the free-content trend drags down the entire sports-reporting enterprise.
My highlight - and I'd add, the current business model discourages readers from expecting to pay for quality reporting and writing....
Top 10 Fan Favorites Announced for 2010 WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Balloting Presented by T-Mobile

**sits back an awaits the, "OMIGOD THIS PROCESS IS SO FLAWED" posts and articles.**

Congrats to San Antonio and their fans for getting the vote out. You got yourself some publicity (and, I believe, your players a little extra cash).

As for the other teams: Look and learn, y'all.
An interesting article in light of the ACLs that plague women athletes: Phys Ed: What Exercise Science Doesn’t Know About Women
After his original work was completed, Dr. Rowlands says, “we received inquiries from female cyclists,” asking to be part of any further research. So, almost as an afterthought, Dr. Rowlands and his colleagues repeated the entire experiment with experienced female riders.

This time, though, the results were quite different.

WHB's emphasis
Interesting: I.O.C. to Seek Gender Equality
The International Olympic Committee says it will be promoting the U.N. goal of equality for women and will be pressing Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Brunei to send female athletes to the 2012 Olympic games for the first time.

The question I have is will those women be allowed to ski jump or play softball?
They may not have many players, but Oregon State has found a new coach who will try to lead the program out of their current mess. Scott Rueck is leaving DIII George Fox to be the new head coach at his Alma Mater.
Geez, how many shoes are the Beavers wearing? 'cause they keep on dropping.

From Lindsay Schnell: Oregon State women's basketball program loses Haiden Palmer to Gonzaga
Haiden Palmer confirmed to The Oregonian today that she is leaving the Oregon State basketball program, a move that leaves the Beavers at risk of having too few players to field a team unless it takes drastic measures.
It's impressive that athletic director Bob De Carolis had no idea what was going on....

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Those of us who remember Michelle Agins from her time photographing the Liberty might enjoy checking out some of her latest work for the Times. There's more here.
From Donald Barnat at SportsPageMagazine: As Losses Pile Up, Sparks Owner Digs In
The first thing that hits you is the exuberance in her radio-ready voice. Los Angeles Sparks co-owner Kathy Goodman speaks with a hard-charging positivity that’s so impervious to bad news it makes one wonder what it would really take to get her off message.
Mechelle talks about The Donna's old stomping ground (on edit: as in, the worked the pro golf circuit, not the LPGA): The LPGA Championship: Past, present and future

So there was this important women’s golf tournament this past weekend. Got big crowds and terrific local media coverage, and since it’s a major championship, you surely must have heard all about it, right?

Unfortunately, probably not. Unless you’re a committed fan of women’s golf, it was easy to miss it entirely. The LPGA Championship – which dates back to 1955 – was contested in Pittsford, N.Y., in the greater Rochester area. American Cristie Kerr torched the field for the second major championship of her career.
Actually, I did hear about it -- probably because Kerr's an American and that made it "news worthy."
From Jeremy Rosenthal of the .com: Team Chemistry Key to Fever Success

Rookie Jené Morris realized the strength of the team bond before she even practiced with her new teammates.

It was the day of the WNBA Draft and after being selected, nearly every Fever player called or e-mailed Morris to welcome her to the team.

Of course, I'm the kind of person who asks, "How'd they get her contact info so fast?" :-)

To Lib fans who frequent Cafe 31: Just found out that owner John is ill.

I'll be putting together a "Get Better!" card for him and will bring it to 31 after the Chicago game on July 11th. (Maybe before, too, if I get down from the ASG in time.)

Please drop by and sign it, if you'd like.
Ooooo! With a h/t to the Title IX blog, Dr. Mary Jo Kane, director of the Tucker Center, pulls a flip test:
"How would people react if the school cut a men's sport like baseball or lacrosse and used those funds for a male cheerleading squad?"
From the Title IX blog -- another myth v. fact post: Cuts to Men's Teams and the Shark Attack Phenomenon.
Myth: Coach of Qunnipiac's former men's track team: "Ever since the mid 90’s, however, far more men’s programs have been eliminated in the name of Title IX than have been created for women."

Fact: Title IX Blog: "Both sides of this claim, that Title IX promotes cuts to men, rather than gains for women, are belied by the most recent government study of college athletic participation trends, which was published in 2007 and relies on data through the 2004-2005 school year."
From the NY Posts Lenn Robbins: Liberty turn to rookie Greene as closer

With all the changes the Liberty has made since last season, coach Anne Donovan had a rookie on the court in the decisive final two minutes of a 77-68 win over Connecticut on Sunday.

"It means she trusts me," rookie Kalana Greene told The Post. "The last couple of games I haven't added much of anything. But she trusted me, believed in me and in a game we absolutely needed going into this West Coast trip, she gave me a chance."

The Terps Insider reflects on Debbie Yow's departure: Yow Legacy Mostly Positive

Enter Yow, who was hired as Maryland’s athletic director in 1994, at a time when not much was going right for the department. Yow inherited a massive $51 million debt, a history of poor academic performance among athletes, fan apathy and a slew of unsuccessful varsity programs.

To say that Yow’s arrival was not well received among many in the school’s gentrified alumni and booster base would be an understatement. She’s originally from North Carolina, which immediately made some Maryland folks suspicious, because that state was home to the ACC power base that was perceived to look down on its northern-most (at the time) school. Fueling further skepticism was the fact that she was hired away from St. Louis, a Midwest school with no great history in athletics.

Topping it all off, however, was the fact that Yow is a woman. Maryland had never had a female athletic director, and some close-minded fans and boosters wished the school never did. There was a large segment of Terrapin Club members who never truly supported Yow and seized upon any misstep or problem as evidence that she was not qualified for the job.

Heads Up Part Deux: The blog'll be moving July 4th to http://womenshoopsblog.wordpress.com/

You can visit and bookmark now, but it's got that new paint smell and the movers have some links to pack....
Road Trip! She who produces much copy was in OK for the Tulsa-Seattle game: Resilient Storm push past Shock - Bird out, LJ under the weather, but collective effort propels Storm to 13th win
Lauren Jackson looked ready to crawl into a semi-fetal position in the locker room. She just wanted to take a shower, fall asleep and begin to recuperate.

"The hardest thing in the world as an athlete is not having any energy and trying to play," Jackson said. "Because your legs are so dead."
From the OANow.com site: AU ROUNDUP: Mixed bag for WNBA’s former Tigers

From Matt Stout at the Norwich Bulletin: Sun forge on, likely without 2 guards

From the AP: Storm’s Bird day-to-day with back spasms

Lynn Jacobsen at the Tulsa World writes: Charles, Sun are Shock's next hurdle

Monday, June 28, 2010

So from Milton Kent, there's more talk about "taking time off for recuperation." I was intrigued by this quote from Milton's piece:
While Beard did not play overseas this past offseason, a number of players have groused privately about having to work nearly a full calendar year without a reasonable amount of time off between their seasons. Taurasi is one of the few players to publicly express her concerns.
"Groused privately?"

Geez, children, grow up. Playing year 'round has been the reality of the W since Day 1. If you don't want to play in the W, then don't. While we fans may whine a bit, I don't know that any would begrudge you the time off. As Diana herself noted in the article:
"The WNBA was here before me and it will be here after me," said Taurasi. "This league isn't based on one person. It never was and it never will be. There's still going to be a lot of great players out there. The level of play will still be high."
The summer season, the tight scheduling -- it's not a whim. Nor is the 11-player roster. It's a business decision. You want to make suggestions on how to improve things (in this current economic climate), g'head.

How about we reduce the season 10%? How about we eliminate the All Star Game? How about we make players chose between playing in the W or playing for USA Basketball. (We know who wins THAT battle.) How about we ask the non-US leagues to alter their calendar? (Yah, like they give a whit about the W.)

And while I'm willing to listen to those who will argue that the 11-player roster has impacted the quality of play or resulted in more injuries or put quality players on unemployment, I'm still waiting for tangible proof.

To be frank, I'm not quite sure what's up with this sudden (though familiar) focus on tired bodies. There are plenty of incompetence's to focus on in the WNBA -- their marketing, their inability to access the internet effectively, the seeming resistance to apply "Best Practices" across the board. Why don't writers tackle those issues?

The brand could be so much stronger, but no one seems to be able to slap the W upside the head.
From 5 Vinez Monkeys (in Atlanta): WNBA: Not What You'd Expect (Review)
Everything about the game was amazing. From the moment we found out seats until the moment we found the exit, I was completely and utterly blown away. I'm already planning on taking Ashley and her friends to game soon. I know they'd love it, and you can't beat the ticket prices!
ESPN Chat time: On Tuesday, we'll have Washington Mystics forward, and current WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Crystal Langhorne stopping by to chat.

Send in a question. Or two. Or three. Show ESPN that yes, we're interested in them covering women's basketball.
It's Monday, which means no games, but does meant the next installment from Richard Cohen at SportsPageMagazine: This Week in the WNBA: Week Six - All Star Special

First things first: the ground rules. These are my picks for who I think ought to be there, not who I think the fans and then the coaches and Team USA will select. The picks are based on this season's WNBA play and production, not established positions or performance in prior competitions. I'm assuming there'll be 11 players on each roster, like a typical WNBA All-Star Game, even though Team USA is allowed 12 in any standard international contest. For the purposes of these picks, I'm also assuming that Maya Moore won't be playing, despite being part of the Team USA pool. Oh, and I'm taking some liberties with positions, because there weren't any restrictions on the ballot this year, so I can do what I like. Lauren Jackson won't be playing any point guard in my theoretical lineups, but if the team works better with her at power forward rather than center, she'll move.

That's about it, so on to the picks. Up first, the Stars and Stripes.

Well, look who's on the front page of ESPN.com!

I'm not sure if this is an example of "blog and effect," but I'm taking what I can!

Oh, and as for this? A little bird suggests that the copywriters at MSG have some 'plaining to do!
Inside Women's Basketball: The Magazine.
WATN? with Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil. Coaching in Texas.
Deja vu all over again.

From an email from MSG that I get 'cause I'm a Liberty subscriber:

Madison Square Garden
August 15 – 1PM
Don't miss your chance to see the stars of USA Basketball take on France at The World's Most Famous Arena! Plus, catch China take on Puerto Rico in this exciting International doubleheader. One ticket = two games!

As a Madison Square Garden Insider, you may purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. The presale begins today, Monday, June 28th at Noon and ends Tuesday, June 29th at 11:59pm.

Click here and be sure to use code USAHOOPS.

Get your tickets now -- this is your only opportunity to see these national teams plays in the U.S. prior to the upcoming FIBA World Championships.

Okay, so I know I'm picking the same nits that I'm always picking, but what is so hard about including four letters and an apostrophe?

Tsk, tsk USA Basketball ('cause I KNOW them must have given the copy a once-over.) Please do your part to stop the marginalization of the women who play for USA Basketball.
So, you want to go the Final Four?

Ticket applications for the 2011 Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis are currently available online and being accepted through July 1.

The all-session ticket book price of $175 includes the national semifinals on Sunday, April 3, and the national championship game on Tuesday, April 5. All three games are at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Ticket applications are available online at www.ncaa.com. One properly submitted application per individual/household will be accepted for inclusion in the ticket selection process, with each such applicant eligible to request a maximum of six ticket books. About 5,000 ticket books will be allocated to the general public for the 2011 Women’s Final Four.

All due respect, those-in-charge at ESPN.com, but it's June 28th and you've still got the U-18 story from June 25th up. Lindsay has written other pieces on the tourney. Why aren't they on the front page? (Or linked on her original article.)

If you want people to come to the .com site, you need to get new content up in a timely manner, even if you have to borrow it from Hoopgurlz: Gold medal is step in Team USA's plan
At the conclusion of the U18 FIBA Americas Championship gold medal game Sunday night between the U.S. and Brazil -- another cakewalk win for the Americans -- the U.S. team rose and politely applauded its 81-38 victory.

There was no big celebration, no whooping and hollering. After all, it ended just like everyone expected. In this hemisphere, the U.S. is first and Brazil a distant second.

"As a team, we made it our goal to win the gold," Chiney Ogwumike said. "This was just us achieving another goal."

Kathy Goodman on her Sparks: Hope springs eternal
We did not play a good game on Thursday night against the Washington Mystics, so I was, not surprisingly, a little pessimistic coming into Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Dream, which is atop of the Eastern Conference. I took some time on Saturday to get a little perspective and inspiration by visiting the Martin Luther King Center and the Carter Center in downtown Atlanta. By game time, I was fairly philosophical and just wanted us to play some good basketball, win or lose. So why is it the Sparks had to start so strong and get my hopes up all over again?
(Welcome to the Land o' Lib fans, Kath.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Oro! Oro! Oro!
The USA Women's U18 National Team outscored its opponents in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship by an average of 55.8 points.
**And I'm not typing it, but you know what I'm thinking.
Lucky Brian?
The men's FIBA match is being streamed, but the women's isn't. Give me a moment while I put on my surprised face....

At least you can follow along with the Jugada por Jugada.
Quick hits from the Lib-Sun game:

  • Well, that was unexpected!
  • First half: No really, can we give Charles the ROY award now? Second half: Well I'll be! She's human!
  • Two steps forward: On Gay Pride Day, the arena cameras focus on a woman wearing a LGBT Pride shirt.
  • Three steps back: Really? A fan contest called "The Wedding Dress Dance Off?" Just how tone deaf are you Blaze and The Donna?
  • Lib continue to do their best imitation of the men's national soccer team, giving their opponents a big lead early, then....
  • Wow, it's amazing what a little defense'll do ya.
  • The mantra of fans in my section: Do NOT look at the scoreboard. ('cause then you get your hopes up and then the Sun take the lead). Look down! Look down!
  • Who's Zina and why is she writing the AP game report? There better be some more words added, or else I'm coming to the next game with a "WE WANT VIN!" sign
  • So, you have Rebecca Lobo in the house. Granted, she's broadcasting for the Sun, but you're telling me, Blaze, that you can't find a moment in the first half to introduce her to the fans as a founding Liberty player and most recent inductee to the WBHOF?
  • I'll be the first to admit I'm no fashion icon, but Anne, what's with puffy sleeves?
  • Gold stars to Nicole Powell and Kalana Greene (who actually gets double gold stars, in that she came up with two or three key plays in crunch time.)
Heads Up: Looks like we're going to be moving in a week or so over to wordpress.com.

Currently, we're running the two sites in parallel - this is the primary site, and when we remember, we cut and paste into wordpress.

You can take a peek - just be aware we're still fiddling and have to start transferring links. The new addy is:

Jayda on Nolan:
Thumbing through his wardrobe, Nolan Richardson came across a gem: his coveted pink sports coat.

"I've got that one set," the first-year WNBA coach said of when it'll be worn again, on July 30 as part of his Tulsa Shock's participation in Breast Health Awareness Week. The look was among his flamboyant coats of armor as the coach prepared daily to deal with racism and discrimination.

Lindsay Schnell: Team USA learns lesson in focus
For the first time at the FIBA U18 Americas Championship that's being held at the Olympic Training Center this week, USA coach Jennifer Rizzotti on Saturday lit into her team during a timeout.

The reason? Lack of hustle. The message? They should never get tired of being great.
...and Jones brings energy to Team USA
If there's one thing all USA basketball teams have in common, top to bottom, it's this: A combo guard.

The thinking of the U.S. basketball committee is that each team needs to be equipped with two true point guards and at least one more player who could step in and act as floor general, if needed. Two weeks ago at the U18 trials, head coach Jennifer Rizzotti looked around and worried her team would be missing someone who could play the ½-spot. But then along came Alexis Jones, and all was well.
Looks like Lindsay Schnell (of the U18 reports) is keepin' busy. From OregonLive: Oregon State women's basketball: The past, the present, what future?
Never before in major Division I women's college basketball has a program attempted to lift itself from such depths as the Beavers face in the wake of the LaVonda Wagner era.

The Beavers are in shambles after the head coach -- who was fired June 1 -- drove away more than 16 players in five years. After a rash of player transfers this spring, athletic director Bob De Carolis launched an investigation into the program. Media reports then revealed that Wagner had built a controlling, abusive environment. Her dismissal soon followed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The USA U18 team's earned a shot at gold.
A tough loss, eh?
From the Washington Post's Katie Carrera: Washington Mystics look for Marissa Coleman to regain her shooting touch
When the third shot she attempted Thursday night found the basket, relief flashed across Marissa Coleman's face. Maybe this game would be the one that sparked the Washington Mystics' second-year wing out of her scoring slump and maybe it wouldn't, but at least some shots were falling.
From Mel:
Like former Tennessee sensation Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks three years before her, WNBA newcomer Tina Charles, the overall No. 1 pick of April's draft out of UConn, is quickly transforming into a professional star who is playing more like a seasoned veteran than someone who has only been around the league a few months.
Brian Heyman from the Times writes: For Liberty, New Faces Are Taking Time to Fit In

Carol Blazejowski, the Liberty’s president and general manager, has continued to upgrade the roster in terms of talent, toughness and winning know-how since last year’s last-place finish in the Eastern Conference. Yet the Liberty is still not winning consistently, at 5-7, more than a third of the way into the 34-game regular season.

“I’m one that underestimated how long it would take for our chemistry to really come along,” Coach Anne Donovan said.

In honor of a beautiful June day, some basketball beach reading suggestions:

Mini Mi!!!!

Great crowd in Seattle saw a great game.

Equally great crowd in Connecticut saw another great game.
So, what is it about men and their faulty balls?

(sorry. i couldn't resist.)
OT: Good news about the best all-around women's tennis player ever: Navratilova’s Will Is Tested, but as Always, She Prevails
Martina Navratilova arrived here, at the tennis tournament where she won nine singles titles, free in every sense that mattered. Free of cancer. Free of the radiation treatments she had before, during and after the French Open. Free to resume the life the diagnosis briefly, and only slightly, interrupted.
From USA BBall: USA Women's U18 National Team Rolls Into Medal Semifinals With 108-44 Defeat of Puerto Rico USA Shoots 31-of-46 From Free Throw Line - To Set New High For Free Throws Attempted
The USA Women's U18 National Team (3-0) hit a record-tying 31 free throws and received double-figure point production from eight players as the Americans rolled past Puerto Rico (0-3), 108-44, on June 25 in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"Our goal going into the game was not to settle," said USA and University of Hartford head coach Jennifer Rizzotti. "We knew we could get a good shot every possession, but we really wanted to work for a great shot. So, I'm really pleased with the 22 assists, because I wanted them to be unselfish and share the ball."

And, if you want a giggle, check out this photo on "How to position yourself for a rebound."

It took several weeks, but yet another shoe has dropped at OSU:
Angela Misa has been granted her release from the Oregon State women's basketball program and will not return for her sophomore year.

Friday, June 25, 2010

From Atlanta
The unofficial “John Smoltz Life After Baseball Tour” found Smoltz in an unfamiliar spot Friday, practicing with the Dream at Georgia Tech.

The practice was Smoltz’s way of promoting the Dream and drawing attention to women’s professional sports, and when it was over he realized that he chose the right professional sport to pursue when he was younger.

Could there be an Aussie flavor to the All-Star Game weekend?
From the Seattle PI blog: Storm first round pick taking one step at a time

From the Chicago Now blog:
The WNBAs Chicago Sky is a women's professional basketball team in Chicago... I give the description because some of you just don't know because they are not the BULLS and it's not the NBA. But, I gotta tell you these women play as fierce as any male team I have ever seen.
Mel on the LA-D.C. game: WNBA: Mystics' Langhorne Shatters Sparks
Billed as a WNBA game in the nation's capital Thursday night, the Washington Mystics' cross-conference matchup with the Los Angeles Sparks drew key involvement from alums of its prominent NCAA neighbor up the road -- the University of Maryland.

Two members of the 2006 NCAA champion Terrapins were the leading scorers for their teams, most notably Washington's Crystal Langhorne, who drove the Mystics into a second-place three-way tie in the East via a 68-53 victory over the injury-riddled Los Angeles Sparks at the Verizon Center.
In another example of ESPN.com not understanding "integrating the brand," you kinda have to search for Schnell's coverage of the U18's.

Day 1 Ogwumike becomes voice of Team USA
If there's one thing you should know about the U18 USA team it's this: They are led by Ogwumike, the 6-foot-3, Stanford-bound forward who displays unusual energy for her size and position, someone who doesn't know how to take a play off because she probably never has. You would never know from the way Ogwumike plays that her team is busy dismantling opponents.
Out of the U-18 games, two articles:

From Lindsay Schnell: Hartley finds mentor in Rizzotti

Hartley's offensive onslaught was a reversal from Wednesday's game, when she happily dished out six assists instead of relentlessly attacking the basket. And that, says Rizzotti, is exactly why Hartley will be successful at the next level.

"Bria knows what needs to be done," Rizzotti said. "She knows when she needs to be a scoring point guard and she knows when she needs to be a distributing point guard, and that's what she's going to need to know at UConn.

From Glenn Nelson - Santos sisters lead Puerto Rico

Normally, as residents of Geneva, Ill., and flag-waving U.S. citizens, Ashley and Sidney Santos would be highly interested in, and more-or-less supportive of, Team USA's destined steamrolling of the Western Hemisphere's girl hoopers during the FIBA Americas U18 Championships. Except for Friday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, where, as representatives of Puerto Rico, a U.S. commonwealth, they likely will join the ranks of the steamrolled.

ot: Ah, the first Jersey tomato of the summer. Bliss!
From John Reid at... the Daily News Group? The MercuryNews.com? Growth spurt: Stanford athletics reached new heights by embracing Title IX and spending money on improved facilities and top coaches

At Stanford, not everyone welcomed Title IX with open arms. Stanford's Buck Club, now called the Buck/Cardinal Club, led the opposition. It didn't want to share revenue acquired, mostly from football, with women's athletics.

"Any time there is change, there will be resistance," Stanford baseball coach Mark Marquess said. "The Stanford community, the Stanford alumni. I'm old school, but I had three daughters who played sports. It's a lot easier sell when you have daughters who are into sports."


"I think everyone was concerned about the potential impact on existing programs. [Stanford's Director of Tennis Dick Gould said, reflecting back on 1976.] How could we possibly essentially double the funding we were providing to our eight or so men's programs? We were having enough problems funding what we had. That being said, our Athletic Department really stepped up and sold existing scholarship donors, etc., on the values and responsibilities of women's sports. I am very proud of how our department responded to the challenges of Title IX and of how we sold it to our constituents. Stanford really took the lead implementing Title IX. I believe much of our later success in women's sports is related to the proactive stance Stanford took from the start."

Disconcerting: Practice canceled due to illness - Tulsa Shock dealing with staph infections.
ESPY Time:

Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Lindsey Vonn and Serena Williams are the nominees for the Best Female Athlete award. The nominations were announced Thursday.

The ESPYS will be hosted by Seth Meyers of "Saturday Night Live" and televised live (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).

So, ESPN.com -- why do Brees, Bryant, James, Johnson and Pujols have links to an ESPN stat page, and only Serena is linked? (Michigan? I didn't know she was born in Michigan!)

Another example of the ESPN.com hand not talking to the ESPN tv hand?

Wow: Reports: Debbie Yow to leave Maryland
Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow (WHB note: one of 28 female ADs) will take the same position with North Carolina State, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

The move is expected to become official at a news conference Friday, according to the reports.

Yow has spent 16 years at Maryland, and under her direction the Terrapins have won more than 20 NCAA championships, including titles by the 2002 men's basketball team, the 2006 women's basketball team and this year's women's lacrosse squad.

US 89, Brazil 46.
The USA Women's U18 National Team (2-0) began its game against Brazil (1-1) similar to how it left off the night before. The USA launched a 13-2 run within the first three minutes of play, eight coming from guard Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.), before it sailed to a 89-46 win over Brazil on June 24 in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jayda has an ode to Tammy Sutton-Brown: The 6-foot-4 former Rutgers star has played in the shadow of teammates, but is one of the most effective big players in WNBA history

It doesn't seem like that long ago to Tammy Sutton-Brown.

The former Rutgers star remembers a shy Australian named Lauren Jackson being selected No. 1 overall in the 2001 draft. Knowing her from national-team play, Sutton-Brown knew that there was nothing bashful about the Aussie's game.

But as Jackson quickly rose to WNBA stardom, Sutton-Brown waited as she was flicked into anonymity.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looks like Live Stats are working for FIBA: US v. Brazil.
Glenn Nelson has a nice U18 slide show.
FullCourt's Christopher Thompson has the Dribble and Dish: 2010’s Most Improved WNBA Players
Oweee, oweee, oweee.

Betty, knee.

Ruth, pinkie.
WATN? with Kelly Gibson. Syracuse.
From MV at ESPN.com: Fowles keeps focus in Chicago - Finally injury-free, Fowles has scored in double figures in all 13 Sky games

Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles is the youngest of five siblings in her family … yet being a kind of older-sister type actually comes easily to her.

"It's funny, isn't it? I like it, though," said the 6-foot-6 Fowles. "I accept my role. If that's what it takes, that's what I'm willing to do."

"Big Syl" as "big sis"? Well, at the very least, she is that to rookie teammate Epiphanny Prince.

"I cook her food," Fowles said, chuckling.

And to sixth-year pro Cathrine Kraayeveld -- another newcomer this season to the Sky, although not to the WNBA -- Fowles is just a "sister" -- not necessarily the "big" kind. She doesn't need a protective instinct with Kraayeveld; instead they have bonded because of personality similarities.

From MV's blog: Ace and Ice, on the sidelines
This can happen at the Final Four, or maybe any “big event” that finishes your season-long coverage: You might overlook the most obvious story because it is so completely obvious.

Such was almost the case in Tampa in 2008 as I was tossing around ideas for what to write as the championship-game preview. Then I realized, 0f course, that the story was Candace Parker and Candice Wiggins, the two seniors who had led their teams to this Final Four and had been largely responsible for ending different types of “droughts” in their respective programs during their careers.
From Ben York at SlamOnline: Mercury’s Candice Dupree Having a Career Year - All-Star forward loving Phoenix
News from the NCAA: Women's basketball grants awarded to 12 DI institutions
The NCAA is awarding women’s basketball grants to 12 Division I institutions and two conferences as part of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Grant Program to increase awareness, exposure and attendance.


For 2009-10, 10 of the 18 grant recipients increased their home game attendance averages, with grantee attendance up 7.5 percent overall. Eastern Michigan posted an increase in home attendance of 86.8 percent, while East Tennessee State increased its average attendance by 77.7 percent. Several grant recipients established single-game record attendance marks.

“We are proud that after the first two years of the program, 12 of our previous grant recipients are on track to achieve a 50 percent increase in attendance over a five-year period,” said Donohoe.

USA BBall update: U18 National Team Beats Argentina In FIBA Americas U18 Championship Preliminary Round Opener

On Olympic Day, the 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team (1-0) made an impressive first step toward earning its own gold medal.

Nine players scored at least six points for the USA, leading the USA to a 91-32 win over Argentina (0-1) on June 23 in each team's opening game in the preliminary round of the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, Texas) led the United States with 15 points and 12 rebounds in 15 minutes. Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, N.Y.) scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, while Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.) and Kayla McBride (Villa Maria Academy/Erie, Pa.) scored 10 points apiece.

Appreciating the advanced knowledge: Chat with Mechelle on ESPN.com today at 2:15pmEST.

And you can chat with Tina Charles, the newest member of the NBA's Phoenix Suns at 2pmEST.
An article from Wyoming that reminds us of history and the fact that spell-check is the devil. McDonald honored for legendary career
Her trek has seen her earn a college basketball scholarship as walk-on and claim All-America honors as a member of the USA women’s basketball team that took part in the World Tournament in Lima, Peru.

She become the women’s basketball coach at the University of Wyoming, handled administrative duties in both the Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences and become a color commentator on the radio.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Erin of the Title IX blog emails:
Though I feel like my entire blog is a response to that infernal column, I did post about it today: http://title-ix.blogspot.com/2010/06/mythbusting-in-honor-of-title-ixs.html

I admit that it's not my best blogging -- forgive me. Even after my own head stopped spinning, I found it hard today to muster the energy to repeat the truth to people who have no intention of engaging with it.
Please, read her blog entry. And all the other great stuff they're writing about (hey, they're live, IN THE COURTROOM, listening to the Quinnipiac-cheer stuff!).
So John Altavilla is warning that the 11 player roster is turning out tired play and that the stars are pondering walking away from the W 'cause they're tired.

Since it's Diana he's using to warn the league, and since no one I know has done any factual analysis of the impact of the 11 player roster, here's my quick attempt:

33.2 .416 .330 4.4 3.9 1.3 2.65 3.40 17.0
05 33.0 .410 .313 4.2 4.5 1.1 3.39 3.40 16.0
06 33.9 .452 .397 3.6 4.1 1.2 2.32 2.90 25.3
07 32.0 .440 .367 4.2 4.3 1.4 2.63 3.30 19.2
08 31.9 .446 .360 5.1 3.6 1.4 2.44 3.70 24.1
09 31.5 .461 .407 5.7 3.5 1.2 2.65 3.10 20.4

So, comparing '08 v. '09, since the 11 player roster, Taurasi is playing less minutes, shooting better from inside and outside the arc, better at FT's, more rebounds, .1 less assists, .2 less steals, .21 more TOs, less fouls and 4pts less per game.

Someone else can figure in the Penny/Cappie factor. And the lack of Cappie factor when they look at this season.

Someone else can look at the league in 97 and the league in, say, 2002 and total the average starting minutes for starters vs. bench.... and then maybe we can start talking about what is contributing to what kind of play.

I respect athletes wanting to take time off. And I totally understand if Dee (or Penny or Wauters or LJ or whoever) make that decision. There's a simple reality to the W and how it tacks on to the international game. Until someone proves it otherwise, it's the schedule not the roster that's the issue.

And it ain't a new issue.

And, fwiw, the dropping down to 11 wasn't a whimsical decision, it was a business decision. Just like the kind a newspaper might make these days when deciding not to send reporters to cover the Hall of Fame induction of one of their readers most beloved players, and one of the most significant, of all time.
The Seattle branch of the West Coast WBI chapter checks in on Blue Star's "opinion" piece. From Q at SwishAppeal: On Title IX & Why Facts Matter

In fact, the protection of football revenues was considered critical by members of the Nixon administration who wanted to assure football interests that, "Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to require equal aggregate expenditures or athletics for members of each sex."

The WNIT Preseason brackets are set. Games start November 12th - championship'll be on the 21st.
See, this is the kind of crap that gets us members of the Women's Basketball Intelligentsia up in arms.

From BlueStar Basketball, the "longest running national evaluation and college showcase organization in women's basketball." Why it’s time to get beyond Title IX
But there’s another side to its legacy that threatens to tarnish the positive effects and cloud the challenges facing a more globalized women’s athletics landscape. Ever since the mid-1990s, when Title IX activists began pushing for proportionality — something they deny, of course — the women’s sports movement has veered away from the noble intent of the law, and away from embracing any reasonable definition of fairness for young athletes of both genders. (my emphasis)
I had a hard time getting though this opinion piece when I hit this paragraph.

I mean, feel free to do some creative thinking around the impact of Title IX on sports, but first get your friggin' facts straight. Or do some actual friggin' research. If you had, you'd know that "proportionality" is part of the three prongs used by the courts to assess an institution's compliance with Title IX.

On top of that, it was pushed by MEN'S FOOTBALL because, at the time Title IX was passed and they and the NCAA were fighting against it tooth and nail, women were a distinct minority on college campuses. They never imagined that women would want to go to college, so assessing a universities athletic offerings as it related to the "proportion of men v. women" in attendance guaranteed that football budgets would be protected. I mean, women would never want to get a degree, become doctors or lawyers or... gasp... play sports!

Now that the shoe's on the other foot, "Oooops."

Ok. I'm going to go off and spit some bullets and let the real experts over at the Title IX blog take this on.
From OurSportsCentral: WNBA Honors Decorated Coach For Two Consecutive Undefeated Seasons
In recognition of his impact on athletes and his demonstrated commitment, passion and dedication to work and the community, University of Connecticut Head Coach Geno Auriemma has been named the recipient of the 2010 WNBA Inspiring Coach Award. The Award presentation will take place at "WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun" on July 10.

All hail Donovan, but tell me what's wrong with this paragraph:
The best player on the U.S. national team confirmed his place as the best player in U.S. history at the moment when his team and his country needed him most. Thanks to a lightning-quick stoppage-time counterattack started and finished by 28-year-old Landon Donovan, the Americans overcame an amazing series of earlier misses and their Algerian opponents to win 1-0, and advance to the World Cup's round of 16 as the winners of Group C.
For the record: It's the MEN'S US National Team.

For the further record:

US Women's National Team:
World Cup: Two-time winners
Olympic: Three-time gold medalists Golds
Algarve Cup: Seven-time winners

Mia Hamm and Michelle Akers were the only two women named to the FIFA 100 (a list of the 125 greatest living footballers). No US men were selected (granted, the list was compiled by Pele in 2004)
US Men's National Team:
World Cup: Best finish 3rd, in 1930
Olympics: Silver and Bronze in 1904
CONCACAF Gold Cup: Four time winner
Observation: You've got to love the Wiki men's entry because it feels the need to starts with an apologetic tone: "Though soccer has not traditionally had a high profile in American sporting life, the sport has steadily grown in popularity since the 1970s.

Most (US) Caps:
Cobi Jones: 164
Marcleo Balboa: 128
Landon Donovan: 125

Kristine Lilly: 345
Mia Hamm: 275
Julie Foudy: 271
Joy Fawcett: 239
Top Scorer:
Landon Donovan: 44

Mia Hamm: 158
From Mel: WNBA: Lynx Take Liberty; Sky Shade Sun
As the clock was winding down in the final minute, it was great to be a Lynx fan again with team energy and performance returning to preseason expectations.

And then, suddenly, with eight seconds remaining and the victory sealed, Wiggins went down again and did not leave the court under her own power.
Interesting news out of the NCAA, especially in light of the Knight Commission report:

The Division I Recruiting and Athletics Personnel Issues Cabinet has proposed legislation that would curb the number of noncoaching staff members with responsibilities specific to several high-profile sports.

After extensive study and surveys of the membership, the cabinet has sponsored three proposals addressing noncoaching personnel and setting specific limits. The proposals would:

  • Limit noncoaching staff dedicated to football teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision to four.
  • Limit noncoaching staff dedicated to football teams in the Football Championship Subdivision to two.
  • Limit noncoaching staff dedicated to basketball teams (men’s or women’s) to one.
From Mechelle's blog: The Pat and Geno convo

By now, you’ve probably seen the picture of UConn coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt talking after the induction ceremony at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. Or if you haven’t, just click on the link.

You also can see, on the right side of the photo, a partial face and arm (in a blue-striped shirt) of someone standing right next to them. That is me.

Now, it probably looks as if I could hear absolutely every word they said. But I didn’t. In fact, I intentionally tried not to listen to it. I know … what kind of reporter am I, right? But here’s what happened.
From Jayda: Practice? Yes, we're talking about Storm practice
Women in basketball: Causing conundrums since 1892.

Basketball body hopes for solution to women’s uniform row

FIBA-Asia, basketball’s governing body in Asia, is trying to solve the uniform controversy impeding the growth of women’s basketball in the continent.

Women’s dress code is a thorny issue for players representing Muslim countries where religious and cultural issues have repeatedly stalled the growth of the women’s game in the region.

However, Sheikh Saud bin Ali Al Thani, who is the president of FIBA-Asia, yesterday said a workable solution would soon be found.

Speaking of Kelsey, her rookie teammate is having a ridiculous year, and The Day's Mike DiMauro is noticing: Charles has graduated to the discussion of the best centers in the world
And to think it was seven months ago today - Dec. 23 - that we hyperventilated at the thought of Tina Charles vs. Jayne Appel. It was the Stanford-UConn game in Hartford. National television. The potential No. 1 and No. 2 draft picks, in some order, on the same court.

Now through the power of revisionism, we ask: What were we thinking?
Jon Nystawa of the Omaha World-Herald writes: Basketball: Ex-Husker Griffin eager for quick climb in WNBA
Kelsey Griffin, not trying to show off, spotted up at the 3-point line after a Connecticut Sun practice last month and started launching attempts from long range.

No big deal, right? That’s exactly what those standing around thought.

Until, that is, they saw the basketball drop neatly through the net. Over and over again.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quick hits from the Lib-Lynx game:

  • In the battle of the dispersal draftees, Nicole and Becky both had nice games, but Beck gets the W.

  • The W might be costly for the snake-bit Minny, 'cause Wiggins went down at the end of the game with an ankle-thing that looked mighty unpleasant. (Yes, it's awful)

  • With C. Viv in the house, Carson and Vaughn continued their journey to the west end of the bench. Cappie would had a nice game if "fouls drawn" translated into "points scored."

  • I'm going to have to check what JMac's basket-to-turnover ratio is.

  • For those of us "of an age:" If Rose Mary can erase 18.5 minutes of White House tapes without twisting an ankle, surely she can wipe out the Lib's third quarter turnover-fest without breaking a nail.

  • Augustus is playing like a woman pleased to be back on the court.

  • Some USA Basketball peeps were in the house.

  • Is Blaze the last GM standing?

  • Honestly, how hard is it to play tic-tac-toe, folks?

  • How sweet is that Seton Hall job looking now, Anne?

  • At the moment, I'm seriously regretting the fries and chicken fingers I poached from my across the aisle neighbor.

  • A shout out to my WBI peeps in NYC and in Toledo. Wear it in good health.
From Mel: WNBA: Connecticut Sun Shines Out West
Let’s consider this premise as the Guru’s thematic Thrive and Survive week concluded Sunday with two games in the WNBA.

In terms of nicknames, if the Connecticut Sun and the Seattle Storm switched conferences with their records of the moment preserved, they would still be at the top but their nicknames would be more appropriate geographically speaking.

The Sun would be over the Western Conference while the Storm would be raging in the East.
Mechelle blogs in on CP's bum wing: Injury forces Parker to rest, take break

Do you ever think this "regulator" in your brain sometimes makes decisions for your own good? I envision this tiny, frequently exhausted bureaucrat running around in our craniums, trying to keep the whole body and mind happy, with a desk overflowing with paperwork and a phone ringing non-stop. Then one day …

It says, "Enough! I need a break! You need a break! I'm benching you!"

From Q: Rookie Report: What Jayne Appel adds to the Silver Stars

During a Sunday night game in which seemingly every able body got a chance to try stopping Seattle Storm forward Lauren Jackson, San Antonio Silver Stars rookie center Jayne Appel came in and got her chance.

Indeed it has to be a daunting task for a rookie, but Appel didn't exactly back down.

If Appel has any immediate physical advantage in the WNBA, it's that she's strong and relatively nimble given her wide frame. So she used it to the best of her advantage against Jackson -- on one play when a teammate shot the ball, Appel sort ducked underneath Jackson to get position and just sort of threw her body at her, something like a hockey player might give a body check. The Storm ended up getting the ball, but Appel had made her presence felt - Jackson visibly grimaced from taking the hit.

And more from Swish Appeal:

Sam James: Fever Win Against the WNBA's Best, But Fail to Gain in Standings

LJ Rotter: Around the Web: Mystics Win in OT, High Praise for Smith

Q: On Bird's injury: What does it mean that her knee "basically hyperflexed"?

A Seattle native at the game sent me the following three line message (censored for our readership, but feel free to use your imagination):




From SI.com's Rhiannon Potkey: Fittingly, Moore, Hodge share Honda-Broderick Cup Award
For only the second time in its 34-year history, the annual Honda-Broderick Award crowned co-winners Monday afternoon at the J.D. Morgan Center on the campus of UCLA.
"I am honored because this is about celebrating women's sports, not just about basketball," said Moore, a sports marketing and media major with a 3.85 grade-point average. "It's a celebration of how far we have come, and to all the people who have supported women's athletics. For me to be able to represent that is awesome. I got goosebumps just watching the highlights."
Under list of people who can't seem to catch a health break: Shock guard Crossley hospitalized

Monday, June 21, 2010

Errps -- clearly we've been distracted by how early the W season started...Richard Cohen from SportsPageMagazine has been producing a fun, opinionated and pithy series of articles entitled "This Week in the WNBA."

Playing catch-up, I wasn't sure if I should post them back to front, front to back or a Lost-like all over the place. Traditionalist that I am, I decided to start at the beginning of the series.
This Week in the WNBA: Week Zero
I'll be bringing you a weekly roundup of everything that's been going on in the league. From games of the week to trade rumors, players on the rise to players about to get cut, this column will attempt to provide a somewhat entertaining summary of WNBA events from the past seven days, and a glance at what might be coming up in the next seven. Mondays will never be the same again (I may be prone to the occasional use of slight hyperbole. Get used to it).

This week, seeing as the season's only been going two days and you're probably still reading my Off-Season Summary and Last-Second In-Depth Season Preview, I'm going to offer my predictions for the season to come. Regular season rankings, playoff outcomes and postseason awards are all projected below, for what that might be worth. All picks were made prior to this weekend's games, just to be fair to all those other people around the internet who threw out preseason guesses (summaries, as will become clear, were written afterwards, but the picks didn't change). Warning: Gambling based on my predictions may be dangerous to your bank account.

This Week in the WNBA: Week One

The Claw is Out

Most weeks, the section of this column dedicated to transactions will be pretty small and tucked away towards the end. A lot of weeks, it'll probably say 'none' and leave it at that. Meaningful trades and pickups don't happen very often with only 12 teams and a limited collection of impact players. This week, however, saw a player waived on Wednesday, signed on Friday, and starting for her new team on Saturday, putting up a 19pt/3reb/5ast performance in 30 minutes that showed just what she's capable of. So goes a pretty typical week in the weird and wild career of one Chamique Holdsclaw.

This Week in the WNBA: Week Two

In Over his Head or just Over-Zellous?

When it was announced that Nolan Richardson had been appointed head coach/GM/all-purpose Commander-in-Chief of the Tulsa Shock, eyebrows were raised in the women's basketball community. He might be a coaching legend in Oklahoma, but he'd never coached women, never coached pros and had his own '40 Minutes of Hell' system that wasn't going to change regardless of his personnel. Also, since leaving the University of Arkansas in 2002 amid a storm of racial controversy, the only coaching he'd done was with national teams in places like Mexico and Panama - not exactly well-known basketball hotbeds. Every new franchise tries to make a splash, but handing over complete control of basketball operations to a man who'd had no previous interest or connection to the WNBA seemed at best to be an optimistic roll of the dice. At worst, the Shock's new owners were putting their team in the hands of a 68-year old whose time had passed, and setting themselves up for a recovery that would only begin when Richardson and the franchise eventually parted ways. This week's trade of Shavonte Zellous to Indiana reignited the Richardson debate.

This Week in the WNBA: Week Three

Big Markets, Big Problems

On June 21st 1997, the first WNBA game was contested by the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks. They had some of the shining lights of the women's game on their rosters and represented the two biggest cities - and biggest media markets - in America. Thirteen years on, both franchises are still around and new stars like Parker and Pondexter have emerged to replace the likes of Leslie, Lobo and Weatherspoon. But in the opening weeks of the 2010 season, the signs haven't been good for either inaugural franchise and with ten losses between them in only thirteen total games they need to sharpen up fast. Otherwise their fans are going to be left harking back to those earlier years, and praying for luck in the lottery.

This Week in the WNBA: Week Four

Taking the League by Storm

A month into the 2010 WNBA season, most teams have played at least ten games and there are still a lot of things up in the air. Will the LA Sparks ever work out how to play defense? Are the Minnesota Lynx really quite this bad? Will I ever admit that Marynell Meadors might even faintly resemble a decent coach? But one thing that isn't really up for debate is which franchise currently stands as the league's best team. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Seattle Storm.

This Week in the WNBA: Week Five

Parker Parked, Sparks Spinning

Remember last week when I mentioned Candace Parker's recurring shoulder injury but said "don't be surprised to see her back out for their next game on Friday?" Well that idea was scuppered late on Thursday night when Los Angeles Sparks GM Penny Toler put out a brief press release entitled 'Sparks Forward Candace Parker to Miss Remainder of 2010 Season.' As it turns out, Parker's shoulder dislocation last week has finally led to the decision to have surgery that she's probably needed for several years now. Exactly how long she'll be out is currently unknown, but she's also likely out of the 2010 World Championships in the Czech Republic in late September. Team USA will miss her, as will the WNBA as a whole, but both of those organisations have players who can step up to fill the hole. The Sparks, on the other hand, are going to have to find a way to compete without their superstar, and it's not going to be easy.

Rebkell sends out a "Wanted: Expert in international law, copyrights and logo stealing" as an English team poaches an ABL logo.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Card collector alert: The new set has been announced.
From Josh Flynn at SlamOnline: Risky Business - Seattle Storm’s Svetlana Abrosimova is loving basketball again

Svetlana Abrosimova is not a risk-taker. Her winsome smile morphs into a slight grimace at the suggestion. “[Seattle Storm head Coach Brian Agler] started saying this before he signed me—‘She’s a risk-taker’—and everybody repeats it now,” she laughs.

Risk-taker or not, there was one area Abrosimova was unwilling to take a chance: her return to the WNBA. Absent from the 2009 season, she wasn’t walking back onto the court for just any team. On the brink of turning 30, she wanted to spend her final years as a professional athlete seeking a championship. She didn’t want to arrive to training camp and hear a coach say the season would be a building process. She didn’t want to hear about youth, an inexperienced hunger to win.

LSU loses two:

LSU women’s basketball coach Van Chancellor announced junior point guard Taylor Booze will transfer from the Lady Tigers and junior guard Erica Williams has left the squad.

Booze, a native of Carrollton, Texas, is transferring to Oklahoma City College, an NAIA school closer to her hometown. Williams will remain at LSU to focus on academics and earning her degree.

From the West Coast and East Coast -- more stuff on Pop's day and basketball:

Jerry Brewer at the Seattle Times: As a coach and a dad, Storm's Brian Agler makes mark

Brian Agler, the coach, lives in solitude in a small Lower Queen Anne apartment and entertains himself by quietly analyzing video of basketball games.

Brian Agler, the dad, lives with his wife and two kids in Columbus, Ohio, and sits in the stands like any other helpless parent while his children — point guards, of course — play hoops.

Jeff Jacobs at the Hartford Courant: Sun's Renee Montgomery Thankful For Her Dad's Guiding Force

He would give her two basketballs and one order.

"My dad would make me dribble the two balls at once and he'd hit me, tap me," Sun guard Renee Montgomery says. "I was young and I was mad and I'm going, 'They'll call a foul every time!' He'd go, 'Sometimes they don't.' I'm like, 'Yeah, right.'

"When you're young, sometimes you don't know why your parents do things."

We know why Ron Montgomery did this drill back in West Virginia. We've seen his daughter dismantle full-court pressure, fast-break UConn to a national title. We've seen her 5-foot-7, 140-pound body get jostled by much bigger WNBA bodies — often without a whistle — and still her dribble remains unaffected.

From Katie Carrera at the Washington Post: Monique Currie is low-key about her lofty output for Mystics
To Monique Currie, her emergence as arguably the Washington Mystics' best player this season was necessary. Perhaps it was even mandated by the predicament her franchise faced without its established star and by Currie's personal desire to begin asserting herself in games rather than letting the play dictate her actions.
A follow up info source from Nicole LaVoi at "One Sport Voice:"
Earlier in the week I posted a blog about the new report on gender in televised sports. Professor Cheryl Cooky, co-author of the report, was interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio and talks in depth about the report. You can listen to the interview and hear her insightful thoughts about the report and about issues pertaining to girls’ and women’s participation in sports. To download to interview go here. (you’ll have listen to it with VLC media player you can download for free). It is well worth your time to listen.
LA Sparks owner Kathy Goodman is blogging again at the LA Times. Her latest entry: The win that almost was
From Pat Griffin: What Do USA Swimming and the Catholic Church Have In Common?
Answer: A big disgusting sex scandal, that’s what.


The abused swimmers who have come forward, their parents, and their lawyers believe that USA Swimming has failed to take seriously their responsibility to conduct thorough background checks on coaches affiliated with USA Swimming. This ABC 20/20 segment on this scandal includes an incredibly tone deaf interview with the executive director of USA Swimming, Chuck Wielgus, that illustrates the problem. Like the leaders of the Catholic Church, he doesn’t seem to understand the magnitude of the problem or want to take responsibility for his organization’s role in failing to protect young girls and women in USA Swimming sponsored programs from sexual predator coaches.
Let this be a reminder to anyone who is a coach -- of women OR men. If the organization you work with, be it a YMCA, summer league, PAL program, high school, university or professional league, doesn't have a clearly articulated, pro-active and trust-able policy in place, get one now.

Need help? Go here. (Skip the article and hit the addendum)
On papa's day, from Mechelle: Olajuwons' bond more than basketball - Hakeem never wanted Abi to feel she had to play, but he is thrilled she did

As we celebrate Father's Day, we tend to focus on the idyllic as if it were always attainable, even though we see all around us that it's not. Loving relationships often don't work. Marriages end. Careers become consuming. Children grow in spite of it all.

Abi's parents didn't stay together. Millions of couples don't. And when you add in the travel demands of a professional athlete, which Hakeem was until Abi was in high school, the possibility for an unbridgeable gap developing exists even with the best-intentioned fathers.

"A lot of people don't have great relationships with their fathers," Abi said. "And I look back and appreciate the fact that I did have and still do have a great relationship with my dad.

An update from Queenie. Seems the "Man in the Crosshairs" has canceled on coffee with Jayda. Guess all those people who "don't follow the W" have become a little more troublesome that he expected. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

You know that they say, if you can't stand the heat, don't light the fire.... Don't really need my binoculars to spot this.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Quick hits from tonight's Lib/Storm game ('cause I know Queenie will do a fab write up):
  • So, can we not have 12-year old girls with thin voices sing the National anthem? It makes fans nervous.
  • Yeah, we lost. But after an iffish start, it turned out to be a high quality, fun basketball game. Highly enjoyable, except for that "losing" thang.
  • The Donna was in the house, escorting the Roker, Al.
  • The gentlemen members of the Sue Bird fan club were in the house to my right. Boy, they can knock back the beverages.
  • Ms. Wright doesn't look like a basketball player, but she surely is.
  • Mini Mi is turning in a nice little season. She had an end to end run that involved avoiding the swinging arms of several green clothed trees that had me laughing my ass off and having Wizard of Oz/Trees throwing apples flashbacks.
  • Essence and Kia seem to be playing themselves into oblivion.
  • Ms. Pierson brought her Shock (Detroit edition) skills to the paint -- one offensive foul, one defensive foul and one throw down.
  • So, I saw these "Inaugural Season" t-shirts sponsored by Nespresso. They're kinda butt ugly -- especially the color green-t they chose. Maybe it's because the sponsor is a coffee maker company, but it sorta reminds me of Liberty "Foam Green" covered with a big ole coffee stain.
  • Of concern for Storm fans, LJ seemed to have banged up her other knee.
  • Sue had a sweet game, made all the more impressive by her dagger-in-the-heart shots.
  • If Nicole can avoid Ohlde-foul-a-minute syndrome, she might become a interesting all-around contributor.
  • Not that Blaze and company care, but a lot of the fellow season subscriber conversations start with "So, where are we going to be next season?"
  • Please, where's the JMac we loved? Can we please have her back.
  • So, the Lib are 4-6 and the Merc are (almost - JINX!) 6-5 . Wonder how Cappie's feeling about having her own team.
All right, everybody, start drinking your support: BACARDI® Gold Rum and the WNBA Schedule Announcement of the First Recipients of the Gold Standard Scholarship Program
BACARDI® Gold Rum and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), in partnership with The Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, announced today that they will award the first Gold Standard Scholarships in the amount of $15,000 each to two female students (21+) at the league's fifth annual WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon on July 14.
And, what I mean about "support," I'm suggesting that when you spend your money you speak your allegiance out loud.

For instance, I was looking at homeowners insurance (Shut up. I am NOT growing up.) and I made a decision to contact State Farm BECAUSE of their support of the Wade Trophy and All Americans. And, when I spoke to an agent, I explained that was the reason I called them first. Of course, it didn't mean I went with them, but they did get a "touch," as they call it in the biz...

I say this because during the WBHOF induction ceremony I got a chance to speak with Jack North, ex- of State Farm and one of the key players in getting State Farm to bring women's basketball into their "support stable." When I asked him "why women's sports/basketball" he talked about his mentor at State Farm being key. (Which reminded me of Hunter Low and Kodak) That, and his daughters.

But it's not "just 'cause it's a cause." North's belief is that investment in women's brings a lot more benefit than that that is measured by Neilsen ratings.

So, think about what you can do to can make yourself measurable...
Speaking of USA BBall -- the old foggies (aka, the 18s) are workin' hard. You can catch their game against those from the land of Maple Leafs: USA Basketball And Fort Carson To Host USA Women’s U18 National Team Scrimmage Against Canada

Kelly McElroy of HoumaToday (Louisiana) writes about a local:

Theresa Plaisance is the kind of kid who never forgets to thank those around her, even with a schedule that would make most people’s head spin.

After interviewing the star basketball player from Vandebilt Catholic numerous times over the last couple of years, not once has she left me without thanking her family, friends, coaches, teammates, classmates and others who she feels have helped her succeed.
An update from USA Basketball:

Jewell Loyd (Lincolnwood, Ill.), a 5-9 guard from Niles West High School today was added to the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team following the withdrawal of Alexyz Vaioletama(Mater Dei H.S./Fountain Valley, Calif.), who is unable to participate in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship for Women due to a right shin stress fracture.

"I was just really shocked. It is a great honor, and I was speechless," Loyd said. "From the trials, we all got along pretty well, so I'm not worried about the teamwork, and I have been working out here, so I'm ready to go. I'm ready to play with the other girls and learn some new things from coach. I'm just ready to get back out there. It's been one of my dreams to wear USA and represent your country doing something that you really love to do. It's amazing."

At Bleacher Report, Keith Schlosser provides a preview of tonight's game at the Garden: Seattle Storm's Dynamic Duo Aims To Continue Winning Against New York Liberty
Again, an example of a college program making a link to the W/pros: From the U: Former Lobos Make a Name for Themselves as Pros

Only a little over three in 100 girls who play high school basketball will have the opportunity to compete at the college level. Less than one in 100 collegiate female basketball players will get drafted by a WNBA team. Though it may seem as if these chances are slim to none, the UNM Women's Basketball team has produced several players who have gone on to play at the next level.

2009 graduate Angela Hartill spent the last year playing professionally for the German team, New Basket Oberhausen (NBO). Angela was the second leading scorer for her team with 12.7 points per season. NBO, located in the small town of Oberhausen, plays strictly within the country against other German teams.