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Stars’ Becky Hammon to retire

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Quintessential Becky.

Doug is on it.

”It was emotional for me. I was so glad I got to do it after a win not a loss,” Hammon said in a phone interview. ”With college and professionally and overseas, I’ve given 20 years of my life to a high level of basketball. I worked a tireless amount of hours. The overwhelming support I got back from the little press release that the Stars put out has been incredible.”

Well, carp!!!

Michael Cooper has tongue cancer

I’m fortunate that my condition was diagnosed early, and this episode illustrates the importance of screening and early detection,” Cooper said. “I know the team will be in good hands with Coach Thompson at the helm during my absence, and I look forward to returning to the court soon.”

but one has to wonder, “Why does the GM still have a job?” Followed by, “Wait, you think she’s going to do a better job?”

Mechelle breaks the news.

It’s been a while, but

even after my fabulous trip to Omaha (with a drive by workshop with the amazing folks at the Omaha Community Playhouse), visits with various parental units book-ending an intense Summer Professional Development Institute with Early Childhood educators…and then my cable/internet access goes out (Thanks TWC!) …I find that nothing much has changed in the W. Folks are still pounding the heck outta each other and nothing seems guaranteed. Unless you’re Phoenix. (Now if that doesn’t put the kibosh on ‘em, NOTHIN’ will…)

Catching up on the games I missed with Richard at WNBAlien.

On the good news side: Catch is back. (No, the pun wasn’t intended, but I’ll take it!)

Faith, fitness and a new pregame routine are allowing Tamika Catchings to perform as if she is 25 again — not 35, which is what she turns on her birthday Monday.

She scored 14 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter Thursday night, leading the Indiana Fever to a rare 82-64 blowout of the Chicago Sky at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

On the bad news side: Delisha is out. How is it possible that she is 39? Yes, I know she didn’t start with the league in ’97, but I still group her and Becky as “one of the originals.” Totally sucks. 

And yes, I was surprised when Milton was switched out of Cash. Really? Why? But, Swin Cash is happy to be in New York

On the “huh!” side, just when I thought Cappie and the Lib were on their deathbed, the revive enough to annoy the heck outta the Dream. Still, my eyes aren’t shining with joy when I think about NY.. sigh.

Looking at the standings, it’s a bit shocking to see where Chicago has landed – even with all their injuries. (I point to Indiana and coach Dunn’s effort.) The Sky has a helluva a lot of talent, and yet??? (Oh, and Delle Donne won’t attend WNBA All-Star Game.)

The same could be said for LA – and they don’t really have an injury excuse. Makes me wonder about chemistry and coaching.

It just shows that coaching in the W IS important — and hard to quantify/qualify. Just like Donovan hasn’t been the “disaster” that some folks presumed, Mike hasn’t been the Mystics’ miracle worker (yet?). Albert Lee wonders: Who will be the Washington Mystics’ best player over the next several years?

Lots to look forward in the second half of the season — especially if Augustus and Brunson return. Ditto for EDD. Games I’m looking forward to:

  • July 22: Atlanta @ Minnesota (How does the Dream hold up against the West second time through?)
  • Juy 24: Phoenix @ L.A. (This is the time for LA to make their push)
  • July 29: L.A. @ Phoenix (see above)
  • August 5: Atlanta @ Phoenix (Deja vu West Coast Test)
  • August 7: Chicago @ Minnesota (If they have their full compliment, and they’re making a run at the playoffs, this game could be key)
  • August 8: Connecticut @ New York (This game could be about draft picks and/or a playoff spot.)
  • August 10: Atlanta @ Chicago (Again, health and a run for a playoff spot could be at stake)
  • August 16: LA @ Phoenix (These two teams don’t like each other… the end of the season is approaching… playoffs are at stake…. what’s NOT to like?)

From Mechelle: WNBA first half: The good, the bad

Right now, there is no WNBA team flying higher than Phoenix, which has the best record in the league and is host to the All-Star Game on Saturday (ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET). Now there’s some serendipity.

When the 2014 season began, defending champion Minnesota appeared to be the favorite, and the Lynx are still a threat to win it all. But they need to get healthier, and they know that the Mercury’s confidence is brimming.

Phoenix and Minnesota also have Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore leading the MVP race, along with Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry. The Dream are atop the East but are thinking bigger than that. After coming away empty-handed from three trips to the WNBA Finals, Atlanta — with Michael Cooper now as its coach — wants to get past that ceiling. 

In terms of the schedule, we are actually already past the midway point of the season. Seattle, in fact, has just 10 games left. But it’s still a good time to assess where every team is and  hand out some grades. Considering most of the league is around or below .500, it stands to reason that there’s a pretty big gap between those earning A’s and everyone else.

From Swish Appeal: How is each WNBA team faring at the All-Star break?

Speaking of the All Star Game: Albert is cranky at these decisions: 2014 WNBA All-Star Game: Sue Bird and Ivory Latta named as injury replacements. Which is a little goofy (infuriating?). Mostly, I think, because, even when they DON’T intend to, it always seems folks are blaming the players for the selection process. (Flashback to Sue Wicks’ selection). ‘sides, Sue herself is honest enough to wonder how she got the nod to attend. But, USA Basketball thinks she’s still got enough to do a feature on her: Before They Made It: Sue Bird

Nate points out the “snubs.” (Another word I dislike, ’cause it brings it to the personal, where there are always so many intangibles involved…)

Obviously, folks on Twitter weighed in about the selections almost immediately. Swish Appeal readers have already commented and voted about the matter. And I pre-emptively posted a table of statistics that should make it pretty easy to glean who I think the biggest snubs, er, candidates for replacement spots are.

With some time to think things over, let’s try to bring that together to see who are the players most deserving of a replacement spot.

Oh – and it bloody-well be a sellout so the West Coast franchises will stop ducking the responsibility for hosting the beast. (And West Coast fans can stop whining about it “always being on the East Coast.”) Put your money and your organizational skills where your mouth is, I say….

More on the game:

Can’t avoid it: Diggins an All-Star on, off the court

Not even Drake’s infatuation can throw Skylar Diggins off her game.

From Elliot: Stanford graduates Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike meet again as WNBA all stars

Nneka Ogwumike could afford to play the charitable big sister last weekend when her Los Angeles Sparks demolished Chiney Ogwumike’s Connecticut Sun 90-64 in basketball’s version of Family Feud.

While running down the court in the second half, Nneka told Chiney, “Hey, tie your shoe.”

Always the protector, Chiney recounted this week as she and her sister prepared for round two Saturday in the WNBA all-star game at US Airways Center in Phoenix.

More on the sisters from Doug: Ogwumike sisters headline WNBA All-Star reserves

Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike became the first pair of sisters to be chosen to participate in the WNBA All-Star game when the league announced the reserves on Tuesday night.

“It means the world to me because, honestly, I didn’t expect to come to the league and be able to feel like a confident player,” Chiney Ogwumike said of the honor. “You expect rookie struggles, and I have struggled at times, but I have great teammates who lift me up, and I have an organization that gives me so much confidence. And to be there alongside my sister. … I think it’s just awesome and I feel blessed.”

The sisters are amazing enough for the NY Times to have given them some space: Rivalry Begins for Sisters With Ambition – Chiney and Nneka Ogwumike, Sisters and No. 1 Picks, Face Off

Shortly after she was selected in April as the No. 1 overall pick in the W.N.B.A. draft by the Connecticut Sun, Chiney Ogwumike moved into her own apartment. During her first visit, Ify Ogwumike, Chiney’s mother, presented her second-oldest daughter with a housewarming gift that carried a not-so-subtle message, a study guide for the Graduate Record Examination.

“She put it purposely on my night stand,” Chiney Ogwumike said this month. “It’s ominous, watching me all the time.”

Brittney Griner set for 1st healthy WNBA All-Star Game

Around this time a year ago, Brittney Griner wasn’t in a good place. The Mercury center was struggling to recover from a sprained left knee and brooding over the realization that she would have to miss the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game.

Sitting out any game is no fun for an athlete. Sitting out your first All-Star Game after being voted in by the fans in your rookie season — that takes disappointment to another level.

“It sucked,” Griner said. “It definitely sucked, not being able to play and having to sit there and watch everybody else. It was horrible.”

And yes, we noticed: Griner blossoming in WNBA after rough first year

Which is why Swish Appeal has a Q&A with Diana Taurasi: Phoenix Mercury’s hot start, Brittney Griner’s improvement, the WNBA title chase

What about those Merc? Deflecting Brondello leads Mercury rise

Right, the players make the plays and it’s wise for a coach to keep everyone aware of it.

“Obviously, the organization and detailed work that Sandy’s put in every day has kind of made us really focus going into games,” Taurasi said of Brondello, a former world-class guard from Australia whom she played for in Russia the past two winters. “Knowing what we’re doing on both sides of the ball … that’s really helped.”

VIDEO: From Ben and the .com: Taurasi and Catchings (Please, please, pleeeease let them both be in Turkey!!!)

From Jayda: The Storm’s Brian Agler talks about his team and its struggles

Q: The roster has suffered a few setbacks. How do you think the team has handled adversity headed into the All-Star break?

Agler: There’s been a lot of inconsistencies with our team this year. Like a lot of teams, we haven’t had a lot of time to practice because the season is 2½ weeks shorter. … I don’t think our defense has been up to par with the (Storm) teams in the past. I see that as a lack of court time because there are some things that need practice repetition. But we talk about it and understand the importance. So, that’s our focus, to become consistent on the quality of our play.

Shoni rules the World of Jersey. (The jersey that you wear, silly!)

Speaking of Shoni, from the Journal-Courier: Schimmel, McCoughtry stick with U of L roots

Shoni Schimmel and Angel McCoughtry are enjoying their first season as teammates on the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, and the partnership of the two greatest alumnae in University of Louisville women’s basketball history will reach new heights on Saturday when they both start in the league’s All-Star Game in Phoenix.

From USA Today, David Woods asks: Who is the greatest women’s basketball player ever?

It’s easy to ignite discussion in a bar or chat room on who’s the greatest male basketball player of all time. M.J. or Kareem? Wilt or Russell? What about LeBron?

What about the female players?

That might be a more difficult conversation. Not because there aren’t candidates, but because it’s a list that can’t easily be pared.

“It’s just like the NBA or the NFL. You can’t say there’s one player because that’s how good the game is, and that’s how much it’s evolved over the years,” said Kelly Krauskopf, president and general manager of the Indiana Fever. “That’s the way it should be.”

In other news:

Catching up with Texas Tech’s “no tolerance” policy: Texas Tech reinstates Nigel Bethel II and Video of Nigel Bethel Punching Amber Battle During Texas Tech Pickup Basketball Game Emerges After Grand Jury Dismisses Charges

Cool: Sugden makes history at the Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championships

From Paul (who I hope to cross paths with in Istanbul): Waiting for the youth scene to catch fire in 2014

Having written last week about the various shortcomings on court at the FIBA U17 World Championship for Women, I have to confess my spirit was barely lifted by the U20 European Championship Women.

The play seemed to me at least, to be of an inferior quality to many previous editions. The Final itself, between eventual winners France and their opponents Spain, was exciting in terms of its conclusion due to the fact it went to overtime.

But, whichever way you dress it up and even taking into account the mitigation of some excellent defense – which was highlighted by Spanish senior team boss Lucas Mondelo – it was not the spectacle you would expect and epitomised much of the tournament.

From Connecticut: KML ready for senior moment

For three years, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis has talked about looking up to the likes of Kelly Faris, Bria Hartley, and Stefanie Dolson on the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team.

But the tables have now turned on the Anaheim Hills, Calif., native. She and Kiah Stokes are the only seniors on the Huskies’ 2014-15 roster.

“There is definitely a lot more pressure, and a lot more responsibility,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “But the people on this team, they take care of themselves.”

Oops and ouch: Naje Gibson, a talented women’s basketball recruit, will not attend Pitt this year as she is academically ineligible.

From the Ames Tribune: “Fab Five” freshmen add versatility, depth to ISU

Rare has been the year in Iowa State women’s basketball coach Bill Fennelly’s tenure that he could call upon nine or 10 players in a given game or even play a proper five-on-five scrimmage without one team blowing out the other.

That may change this season.

More from Iowa: Polish team takes a chance on injured Poppen

Chelsea Poppens knew that her stock was down after rupturing her ACL in January during her stint in Australia and that any overseas professional team picking her up for the upcoming winter season would be taking a chance.

Lublin of the Polish league took that chance on the 6-foot-2 former Iowa State forward this week, signing Poppens for the upcoming season that starts in September, about one month after she is tentatively projected to fully recover from her injury.

More international basketball news: For Fort Gibson ex, this move requires a passport

Slowly, over the course of time, Carissa Crutchfield has drifted away from home.

That current joins with a tidal wave in a few weeks.

From Fort Gibson to Oklahoma State to the University of Arizona, Crutchfield will head to Krasnoyarsky Russia, to begin a pro basketball career. It’s Russia, but smack-dab in the middle of Siberia, 2,500 miles or a five-hour flight from the capital city of Moscow.

From the Daily Californian: Cal women’s basketball must develop role players

Depth was a major issue for the Bears last season, and it was evident in their lack of a second-string point guard to back up Boyd. When Boyd left the floor to rest or because of foul trouble, Gottlieb was forced to play Afure Jemerigbe at point guard. The Bears also had little depth behind Gray and hit lulls in scoring whenever she left the floor.

Despite losing a major cog in Brandon, Cal projects to bounce back, improving its role players as well as its main stars. Gottlieb’s quick-paced tempo complements Boyd and Gray with the Bears running up and down the court every chance they get. Gottlieb plays to the team’s strengths, allowing Boyd and other wings to gamble and trap around the perimeter to force turnovers, leading to easy buckets in transition.

Tough news from down the road:

Former Campbell Hall girls’ basketball standout Lauren Holiday has taken a medical retirement from basketball at UCLA.

She will remain with the team as an undergraduate assistant.

Holiday suffered from multiple concussions and was the subject of a Times’ story last February looking at head injuries among women athletes.

Fun stuff: Central Kitsap’s new girls basketball coach Nikki Nelson a dribbling phenom

Nelson, a Chewelah native (that’s about an hour north of Spokane if you didn’t know) was a ball-handling wunderkind and can probably still get it done today.Check out this video of Nelson performing at halftimeat a Seattle SuperSoncis game (remember them?) on April 4, 2014

More from the Courier-Journal crew: Walz ready to replace U of L women’s vets (and congrats on the munchkin, Jeff!)

On Tuesday, U of L coach Jeff Walz said his program is on task and headed in the right direction, despite the challenges presented by the departures of WNBA All-Star Shoni Schimmel, standout forward Asia Taylor and two other key seniors.

Having five freshmen ready to play is a big factor in that transition, Walz said.

“I’m really excited about where they are now and even more excited about where they’ll be in two or three months,” Walz said.

The freshman class is built around wing Mariya Moore, a McDonald’s All-American who will play for the USA under-18 team this summer. Walz is an assistant coach for that team.

A little more from Louisville: Jeff Walz summer Q&A, WNBA, newcomers, more

All right, I’m going to admit something. University of Louisville coach Jeff Walz held a news conference to update some news with his women’s basketball program today, but I got distracted by his 13-month-old daughter, Lola, during the news conference and only caught about half of what he said.

So here’s a transcript of a portion his news conference from today — with the obligatory Lola photo gallery attached

Good news in Nashville: Vanderbilt’s Rebekah Dahlman back after health scare

“I stepped off the court and I was like, ‘Something is wrong,’<TH>” Dahlman said. “I took off my arm sleeve and I just noticed that my arm was completely black and blue and very swollen. Like double the size of my left arm.”

What happened next is a blur in Dahlman’s memory. Trainers rushed her to the emergency room at the university’s medical center.

“I’m kind of freaking out,” Dahlman said. “I didn’t know what to think and didn’t know what to do.”

From Georgia’s Telegraph: Lady Vols’ Massengale eager for comeback

Tennessee is preparing to welcome back a senior point guard while monitoring the status of an ailing post player.

Ariel Massengale is looking forward to returning for her senior season after missing the final 16 games of the 2013-14 season with a head injury. Massengale, who also underwent offseason surgery on her right knee, says she’s hoping to be 100 percent by the start of the school year next month.

While Massengale awaits her return, sophomore center Mercedes Russell is recovering from offseason surgery to her right foot. Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said Russell is out kind of indefinitely right now” and was uncertain whether the injury would affect the 6-foot-6 center’s status for the start of the season.

Sports Illustrated on a former Vol: Where are they now: Catching up with Chamique Holdsclaw

She turned herself in to the police two days later and spent a night in jail, where heckling inmates challenged her to  games of one-on-one. Holdsclaw finally decided to deal with her depression. “This wasn’t the court saying that I had to do therapy or anything of that sort,” she strains to note. “This was all me trying to get things right in my life.”

On her lawyer’s recommendation, she hired a forensic psychologist to audit her medical records; he referred her to another psychologist who, after a 15-minute review, revealed that she didn’t just have clinical depression she also had bipolar II disorder. “And I’m like, Man, you got all that in 15 minutes?”

The news was upsetting but also came as a relief. Now there was and explanation for the the emotional swings she had experienced. Furthermore, the psychologist noted, Holdsclaw was not only taking the wrong drugs to treat the wrong ailment, but also taking them at the wrong times. After switching to a new drug, Depakote, a mild mood stabilizer, and a new therapist with whom she meets with once a week, she has noticed a major difference. “Looking back,” she says, “I really should’ve been in therapy more. It’s changed my life. It’s like you come in one person and leave another.”

The fabulous Nancy Fahey and her amazing Washington U (St. Louis) program goes dunlin‘.

Dicky V is all wet:

And are the stripped shirts!

Signing off! Thank you, oh Coffee Shoppe, for your internet access….

The game is on ESPNU & at livebasketball.tv.

US reached the finals by virtue of their win over Hungary, 91-63 (and Samuelson’s the hot-hand).

“I thought we struggled at times, and credit Hungary for really pushing the tempo offensively,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “They really had us back on our heels. I was not very happy with our defensive effort in the first half. We held them to 24 points in the second half, which is more what we are accustomed to.

“When we started to get cold from the perimeter a little bit, we pounded the ball inside,” Phillips added. “We had 50 points in the paint, which is a great number for us. They mixed up man and zone defense, and I think we showed great balance in our ability to score from the free-throw line, the paint, beyond the arc and in transition.”

Spain got there by knocking out the Czech hosts, 73-41.

FIBA has this: Spanish guard Laia Raventos gunning for gold in Final with USA

Check out the team comparison.

Couple of heart-stoppers in the W last night.

Renee Montgomery made up for a misstep on the defensive end with her basket with 5.8 seconds left to help Connecticut snap their losing streak and secure a win against Tulsa.

“It’s no fun losing,” Douglas said. “I felt like we were definitely on a skid. I just implored them to have as much energy as we possibly could. We knew we could get the job done. We went on a six-game winning streak earlier so we knew we could play at a much higher form. We took this like it was our last game.”

Question: with her sixth 30-pt game, how close is Diggins to securing MIP honors?

Kayla McBride’s play continues to show she’s gunning for rookie of the year: She answered January’s late three with her own game winning shot, pushing San Antonio to a victory and ruining Catch’s return.

It doesn’t bode well for a team in the WNBA – or in any level of basketball – when an opponent’s newbie shows poise and your own veterans do not.

The San Antonio Stars exploited the Indiana Fever’s late blunders, completing an improbable comeback in a 71-70 victory Saturday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Seattle over Chicago as Nate writes:

Bird and Langhorne shared team-high scoring honors with 19 efficient points apiece. Bird shot 7-for-13 from the field, including a big three-point play on a jumper with 1:07 left that put the Storm up 4. Langhorne had her mid-range shot going in addition to finding ways around the Sky’s larger front line to shoot 8-for-10 from the field. The combined 38 points from the Storm’s inside-outside combo is a season-high as both have had their ups and downs this season and haven’t clicked to this extent at the same time.

At home, Atlanta used a dominant second half to earn a 86-73 victory

The Dream beat the Mystics. That’s not a surprise.

But what was a surprise was that the reserves as opposed to the starters were the ones who made a key 11-2 run in the last 3 minutes and 41 seconds to close the third quarter. That was the key run to locking up this game. After Ivory Latta made two free throws to give the Mystics a 56-55 lead, Aneika Henry made a putback layup after an offensive rebound (it was the second in a row).

Finally! The Atlanta Journal Constitution notices their local team is winning: 

“We really were trying to focus on putting 40 minutes together, not to have a big lull and let teams come back,” said Atlanta assistant coach Karleen Thompson, who spoke with the media after the game because coach Michael Cooper wasn’t feeling well. “We played great defense and everyone contributed well.”

Doesn’t prevent a putz from commenting on their piece, though. I guess we’re lucky that sad excuse for a human Coulter has been so distracted by the men’s World Cup.

As the All-Star Game approaches, Swish Appeal assesses:

How well are each of the WNBA teams playing compared with expectations?

Nate offers up some midseason WNBA statistics: The Phoenix Mercury’s dominance, the Minnesota Lynx’s potential

WATN? Jenni Benningfield: U of Colorado.

And, yes! #Chillin4Charity Cold Water Challenge reaches men’s college basketball (VIDEO)

The semi-final game will be broadcast on ESPN U and streamed.

The team got there by defeating USA U17 Women Defeat Canada, 86-45.

“I think the score was not indicative of how tough the game started,” said USA head coach Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose Cagers AAU, Calif.). “ I really thought that we stifled each other on the offensive side of the ball, and both teams struggled to score. That was familiarity, and that was well coached-basketball. Both teams were familiar with the scouting report. I think our depth and energy and intensity on the defensive side of the ball really helped spark us to create a lead.”

The winner will meet the winner of the earlier game between Spain and Czech Republic.

Great news: Tamika Catchings returns, hopes to help Fever down the stretch

With no Tamika Catchings and six newcomers, the Indiana Fever could have been thinking about 2015 midway through the 2014 season.

Instead, Catchings is returning from a back injury, and the Fever are poised to make a playoff push in a less-than-formidable Eastern Conference. The 2011 MVP and three-time Olympic gold medalist makes her season debut in Saturday’s 5 p.m. game against the San Antonio Stars at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

In other good news: From Jenni Carlson at The Oklahoman: How a season with ‘Coach C’ helped spark former Oklahoma star Courtney Paris’ breakout WNBA season

Last summer, Paris signed with Mersin, a team in the Turkish Basketball League. She had played in the league the two previous seasons and done well, averaging a double-double, so she was a known and sought-after commodity.

When she arrived in the city of nearly a million and met her new coach, though, she didn’t feel all that loved. Ceyhun Yildizoglu pushed and prodded, harassed and hounded. The man who also coaches Turkey’s national team wanted everything done the right way every time.

In more happy news: Jayco Opal Penny Taylor returning to her best in WNBA

It has been a horror run of injuries for the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women MVP since she first suffered a tear of her anterior cruciate ligament prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, but over the past three games we have seen Taylor return to her free-scoring best.

After having her minutes monitored through the first 11 games of the WNBA season, the Mercury’s Australian Head Coach Sandy Brondello took the shackles off the 33-year-old and has seen some impressive numbers since.

Happy, as in ka-ching, news: WNBA Cashing In With Pro-LGBT Campaign

Griffin is the author of Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport.She says the WNBA’s campaign is a good start, but it should have come a lot sooner.“You have to look at the WNBA in the context of sexism in sport as well as homophobia in sport because all women’s sports leagues really have to struggle for their share of the media attention,” she said. “It’s been very challenging for them to take on anything that they perceive as potentially controversial, that might affect the bottom line.”

Griffin says the league is finally feeling comfortable enough to “cash in” on larger changes in society regarding marriage equality and civil rights. And cashing in is exactly what the league is doing.

Happy, as in taking action: From Chicago’s Daily Herald: WNBA’s Griner takes on bullying in a big way

Griner has written “In My Skin,” a book about her life that chronicles her struggles growing up gay, and she is in the process of creating an anti-bullying smartphone application. Griner says she was bullied and picked on relentlessly as a child for being different.

The app, which will be called BG: BU, is a resource for kids who are being bullied. It’s also helpful for their parents and teachers.

“I definitely got bullied as a kid and teased, and I didn’t really have an outlet or a resource that I could reach out to in order to get the proper help that I needed,” Griner said. “I don’t want any kid to go through the same problems and the same obstacles that I went through. I want to give kids and parents a safe zone to get help.”

Nice: ‘We Stand For Women’–The WNBA and My Daughter by Jason Greene:

Watching sports with my daughter is different than watching sports with my son. I admit that it shouldn’t be, but it is.

With my son, we get caught up in the excitement of the game, root for our favorites and cheer at the opposing team’s failures. With my daughter, though, somehow I get caught up in giving her a history lesson on women’s sports and trying to convince her that she needs to work harder in every area of her life.

Why? Because the inequalities between the genders are glaring when viewed through the sports lens.

This is what happens when I say nice things about a team? Losing record and now, says George Albano, there looms a Critical stretch ahead for Sun

The Sun have certainly been one of the surprise teams the first half of the season, winning eight of their first 14 games after posting a league-worst 10 victories a year ago.

At the same time, they’ve also been one of the harder teams to figure out. They started the season 1-5, which can be attributed to a virtually new roster getting acclimated with one another. Then the Sun won seven of their next eight games, a sign they were starting to find some team chemistry.

But after six straight wins, which gave them an 8-6 record and catapulted them into second place in the Eastern Conference, Connecticut has lost four straight.

In not-so-happy news, Texas Tech guard Amber Battle has been suspended for a month after admitting to having “initiated the first contact” with the now dismissed TT football player Nigel Bethel.

“Nothing I can say can truly repair the harm I have already caused. I did not represent the Double T like I am supposed to and I promise to hold myself to a higher standard from here on.”

Again, I point out that “Texas Tech Athletics does not tolerate violence against women.” Greatly appreciated. Even more appreciated would be: “Texas Tech Athletics does not tolerate violence against people.”

Summer’s here and the time is right for Chillin’ in the street!

Chillin’ in Chicago (chillin’ in the street) (Thanks Sasha, Sloot, Big Syl and Q)

Down in New Orleans (chillin’ in the street)

In New York City (Thanks Katie and Barb!)

From USA Today: 

As of July 3, the “Cold Water Challenge” has accumulated more than 35,000 tweets, 142,000 retweets and 92 million twitter reaches, according to the Yow Foundation’s executive director, Sue Donohoe.

“We never knew how this would just take off,” said Donohoe

The challenge’s social media footprint has evolved to include “#coldwaterchallenge” and “#icebucketchallenge” thanks to the involvement of prominent sports figures.

In particular, the challenge has caught on among professional golfers.

Fresh off her win in the U.S. Open, Michelle Wie brought major publicity to the effort when she doused herself on June 30, and then challenged reigning British Open champion Stacy Lewis, who answered the call.

From Mechelle: How #Chillin4Charity caught fire – Arizona coach ignites hoops nation with cause benefiting Kay Yow Cancer Fund

Start with a big vat of “I dare you.” Add a huge helping of “for a great cause.” Sprinkle in “humorous discomfort.” Serve up on social media.

What do you get? #Chillin4Charity, which continues to spread goose bumps and goodwill throughout the nation’s women’s basketball community.

The movement, which is also known as the “Cold Water Challenge” and was started by Arizona coach Niya Butts and her staff in June, is raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. But it’s also done something else.

“It’s united a lot of us,” Butts said of her fellow coaches. “We all compete against each other in recruiting and the games, but we also have this big monster that has impacted all of our lives.