Archive for July, 2011
out of Illinois: Area coaches rate value of travel teams
Fonda sees plenty of positives with getting involved with a club team, though she would still like to see kids playing two or three sports, a practice that used to be commonplace.
“The more they can play, they better they will be,” she said. “Is it good for me as a coach? Yeah, because they are getting court time and playing a high level of competition. But it is kind of a catch-22. You wish they had time to be kids and they don’t. They are scheduled out their ying-yang. When I was young, we played in our driveway, that was our AAU.”
**A plea to all news website designers: put the PHYSICAL address of your paper somewhere on your bloody site so I can reference your state! grrrr**
They are linked through a college experience in which they shared some triumphantly transcendent moments … and some frustratingly distracting ones, too.
Now, still quite young in their professional careers, former Rutgers teammates Essence Carson and Epiphanny Prince are WNBA All-Stars. Both are having a breakout kind of season, which merited their selections as reserves for Saturday’s game (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET).
Looking at the photo…hmmmm…why do I have a sudden urge for candy corn??
Saturday is the WNBA All-Star Game in San Antonio, but it will be more like a University of Connecticut family reunion.
For the Western Conference, four of the five starters — Swin Cash (2002), Maya Moore (2011), Diana Taurasi (2004) and Sue Bird (2002) — played for the Huskies. On the Eastern Conference side, Tina Charles (2010) is starting and Renee Montgomery (2009) is a reserve.
Page 2 had a chance to catch up with Bird, who has won a championship with UConn, an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA championship. Even though she’s been playing for the Seattle Storm since 2002, she still has a Connecticut cellphone number
(The heat has made me sooo punny!)
Like their first game, four players again scored in double digits, this time it was a game-high 16 from Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S. / Norcross, Ga.), as the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team (2-0) ran out to a 65-32 advantage through three quarters before settling in for the 76-53 victory over Russia (1-1) at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship on Friday afternoon in Puerto Montt, Chile.
Q: Did you think the result would be like this?
Coach Rizzotti: I kind of did, because we let them have it a little bit yesterday. Just in terms of not judging ourselves by winning, but more about how we played. We didn’t feel good about we played yesterday. We were much more individuals and a lot less like a team. We challenged them to defensively be a lot better, to trust each other and to find a way to be more of a selfless player. I thought we looked like a much better team today than we did yesterday.
FIBA story: USA – Stewart’s defence takes centre stage
While many of her teammates are looking forward to it, power forward Breanna Stewart isn’t so sure. “I could sing but it just won’t sound any good!” she laughed when asked about the talent contest following her team’s crushing 76-53 win over Russia.
Ben Jones, Indy Star: Shooting stars – Fever dynamic duo of Catchings, Douglas will start for the East
The biggest thing I look forward to is having the opportunity to play with players that you never get a chance to play with,” Catchings said. “It’s always fun to sit in the locker room, talk about different organizations, what goes on everywhere you go.”
From Mike Carmin at JCOnline: Skill, wisdom help Douglas remain WNBA All-Star
Katie Douglas turned 32 in May, but doesn’t feel her age is bringing an end to her WNBA career anytime soon.
In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
“My body feels like I’m 25 or 26,” the former Purdue women’s basketball standout said.
From Brett LoGiurato at the Star-Ledger: Liberty’s Essence Carson, WNBA All-Star, learned it all at Paterson Eastside High School
When Essence Carson was a high school freshman, Paterson Eastside High School coach Ed Black pulled her aside after one practice to have a conversation. It turned out to be the most important conversation of her budding basketball career.
The WNBA will celebrate its 15th anniversary Saturday by honoring the 15 best players in history during halftime of the All-Star game. The game itself, meanwhile, will look distinctly like the WNBA’s future.
In a similar theme (and with profiles) from My San Antonio: Young stars living WNBA’s old motto
In 1997, the WNBA launched its inaugural season with a catchy slogan that proclaimed: “We Got Next.” Fourteen years later, with many of the players who helped the league get off the ground either retired or nearing retirement, the WNBA’s future appears as bright as ever.
Check out the video previews of the game with interviews and such here.
Also, over at SlamOnline, Ben has WNBA All-Star Sights and Sounds: The scoop from San Antonio
…after the Storm beat the Silver Stars in Seattle Thursday night, Swin Cash and Sue Bird didn’t arrive in San Antonio until after ten in the morning on Friday. They got to the hotel, slept for about an hour or so, and then had to catch the bus to the AT&T Center for practice and media availability.
Why am I telling you this? Simple. If I didn’t, maybe you’d never know.
After all, based on the smiles, laughter, eager participation in multiple community events, and selfless interaction with fans there’s no way anyone would think these players were mentally or physically exhausted.
That, is the consummate definition of a professional.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: WNBA outlives early growing pains, sees bright days ahead
The WNBA is celebrating 15 years, quite an accomplishment if you gave weight to cynics who said the league wouldn’t last 15 minutes. The last decade and a half hasn’t been without some pain, but everyone can agree the league has learned how to get through it.
Some franchises folded, others shifted. In order to generate cash — always a challenge in a male-dominated professional sports market — jerseys now serve as billboards, with “Bing” replacing “Seattle” for one example.
And yet, the league outlasted a rival (ABL) and still serves as a haven for women wishing to play beyond college.
Did you see that the ESPN experts picked the top 15 players of all time
From Eric Bailey, Tulsa World: Shock ready to step up in season’s second half
“Our goal is to set goals immediately and to set those that (can be) reached and (accomplished) … so that we can win,” Edwards said. “We have to clean up the turnovers, we have to become a dominant defensive team …
“I’m looking for maturity. I’m looking for a team that’s willing to do what we have to do to mature into a winning personality as a Tulsa Shock team. As we do that, I really feel like we’re going to end the season with some wins.”
Ellen Horrow, USA Today has: Charles-Fowles WNBA rivalry grows by leaps, rebounds
If a great rivalry can elevate a sport or a league, then the http://content.usatoday.com/topics/topic/WNBA”>WNBA could be on the verge of a huge leap forward.
From Odeen Domingo, Arizona Central: Phoenix Mercury’s Big Three could equal a WNBA championship – Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor leading Mercury to a big year
The three-headed monster, dreaded and envied.
In Greek mythology, there was Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guarded the gates of Hades. Thou shall not pass.
The Mercury have their own three-headed monster: Candice Dupree. Diana Taurasi. Penny Taylor.
If you want to see what’s different in the WNBA this season check the Western Conference standings where competitive balance has suddenly reappeared.Last season, the Seattle Storm went 17-0 at home on the way to the league championship and were the only team above .500 to qualify for the postseason in the conference.Parity is now more apparent with the resurgence of San Antonio and Phoenix and the rise of the Minnesota Lynx. Seattle could win it all again, but they will need to work harder for it this season.As to what else has been interesting in the WNBA prior to Saturday’s All-Star game….
Hughes takes a cautious approach to where his team stands. “There is a lot of evidence yet to be played out,” Hughes stated. Still, acknowledging that his team had a better start than many—the Silver Stars went 4-0 to start the regular season and stood atop the West with a 7-1 record at the end of June before dropping three in a row in early July—Hughes expressed his pleasure with his team’s unexpectedly strong performance this season: “There is a good energy [and] a bench that has not always been part of the Silver Stars,” Hughes stated.
From UCSB’s newsletter:
Coach Mitchell has suffered two losses in the past week. Her uncle was killed in a car accident and a few days later her mother unexpectedly passed away. Coach Mitchell is currently in Arkansas with family.
Condolences may be sent to Coach Mitchell at the following address:
Head Coach Carlene Mitchell
UCSB Women’s Basketball
ICA Building #243
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5200
Coach Mitchell will be back on the recruiting trail later this week, and will return to the UCSB campus in August.
Didn’t we already deal with this nonsense? NCAA committee will consider changing start date for women’s basketball tournament
On Thursday, the governing body announced the Division I women’s basketball committee will study the feasibility of moving the start of the tournament back one week from its typical mid-March start. No deadline has been set for a recommendation, and the study still needs to be approved by two additional NCAA committees. But the possibility of sliding the entire tournament back one week — and possibly changing game days — is real.
Wasn’t there “change talk” in ’08? In that case, it was about putting the men’s tourney in the same place as the women’s. I cached back to our old website to refresh my memory. Here ’tis:
“I think it’s time,” University of Miami president Donna Shalala said in a telephone interview. “We’ve tried separate but equal, and it just doesn’t raise the level of visibility. I’m thinking Friday-Sunday for the women and Saturday-Monday, as it is now, for the men. You’d have the whole press corps there to cover the men, so they could cover the women, too.”
The Final Four is not the problem. That baby is sold out. It’s the entire season through the regionals. If you want to raise media awareness/coverage, might I suggest you read and act upon Kim’s Tips? And Donna – what kind of job is your Athletics Department doing for your team?
“The passionate basketball fan is locked in for three weeks, and I think you should maximize that attention. The women’s game won’t be as big as it can be without attracting more of the male audience. If guys see the best players in the biggest games, I think a lot of them will be into it. We’re a country of taking the path of least resistance, and if that means having the women at the same Final Four as the men so be it. You’ve got to make it easy for people.”
The best teams are already visible on ESPN to millions of people. What makes you think having the men’s game in the same place as the women’s game will make the two groups of fans cross pollinate?
What makes us think that the fans of women’s basketball are the same as the fans of men’s basketball? Have people read the research done by the Taylor Research and Consulting Group? IIRC, it suggests that while college wbball fans tend to follow both the women’s AND the men’s teams, it didn’t work the other way. It’s got some really interesting stuff in there, so download it and put it to good use.
“It’s an interesting concept that may have some merit,” Auriemma said. “It would expose the game to a different level of journalists. It does have the potential, though, to get completely obliterated by the men’s tournament.
About that “different level of journalists….” Making a bunch of writers who, at best, ignore or, at worst, denigrate the women’s game is not going to be helpful. Ask Marie Hardin about her research. Or chew on what Kris Gardner of Houston Roundball Review said recently:
“My colleagues in the media – they make fun of it all the time,” said Gardner. Initially he covered the NBA, but was drawn to women’s basketball by the passion of the Houston Comets’ fans. “You hear the snide comments from people you hang around with – especially the men. ‘Women’s basketball? Who cares about that? Why should we bother even covering it?’”
We need to find and cultivate writers and sports editors who want to be there.
Finally, there’s simply a lot of basic, un-sexy, ground level work to be done to promote the women’s game and grow it to the next level of fandom. Some first steps?
- Energetic Coaches who understand building an audience is part of their job
- Better Quality Sports Information Directors who pro-actively cultivate media coverage and find creative ways to get the word out about their sport
- Athletic Programs that take advantage of the NCAA Marketing materials that are available. The NCAA has done a lot of the work for you — but it does you no good if you don’t use it. (And kudos to the NCAA for their marketing grant program)
- As Geno notes, ask/beg/make ESPN do a better job of promoting the game. Yah, yah, they’ve expanded their coverage to the full tourney. And yah, they had those great Monday match ups — but promos, highlights, news items and ESPN Classics broadcasts are weak. And I’m not even going to discuss the quality of some of the play-by-play and color commentary people….
- How about a stronger cross-promotion with the WNBA? Moving the draft to the Final Four weekend was a huge success. What are other (NCAA legal) ways to connect the two worlds/fan bases?
Interestingly enough, I do remember getting an “omigawdshereadstheblog?!!?” email from a well known women’s basketball journalist in response to my post. Quoting from her note:
The Final Four gets a ton of good coverage, HUGE ratings — sometimes the highest rated games, male or female, televised by ESPN all year — and always sells out. It’s the regular season that needs better marketing and emphasis, and I think ESPN’s Big Monday series went a ways towards building that.
The press ain’t the problem, as I see it. The level of journalist that covers the Final Four is equal to the men’s — Jere Longman and Harvey Araton of the N.Y. Times are there every year, as if Filip Bondy of the NY Daily News, Christine Brennan of USA Today, etc.. It’s hard to find better than those folks. Also, Mitch Albom of Detroit has been known to commute back and forth, bless his heart.
It’s the editors who need to be persuaded to devote more space to the game, and the way to get them to do that is to ratchet up interest in the regular season, especially on a local level, so that readers start demanding it. My editor already sends two good writers to the women’s Final Four. It’s the coverage between October and April that can be thin.
Yah, tell me you thought you’d be reading this headline in your lifetime: Jessica Davenport powers Fever past Sky
Yup! Indy went home and got a welcome win after two road losses.
“It’s always nice to be at home and to have that home crowd behind us,” Davenport said. “I thought our road trip was pretty tough, but we had a great practice yesterday and everyone had energy. I think just being at home helped a lot.”
“That’s the kind of basketball we want to play right there — I don’t know any way else to put it,” Wright said. “That’s the kind of basketball we want to play, we need to play, and in order to be successful, we have to play. We wanted to go into the (All-Star) break on a good note after that three-game skid.”
In other W news: From El Alien -
Before we get to yesterday’s games, first the big news from this afternoon. If the announcement that the worst team in the league is releasing their 11th player can ever truly be considered ‘big’. After 47 appearances, the Tulsa Shock finally decided that Marion Jones had served her purpose on their roster and cut her today, in order to sign backup center Abi Olajuwon. In the eyes of most WNBA fans it was about time, but some will still be sorry to see her go.
From Jayda: Take Two: Storm isn’t getting what it hoped for from veteran Katie Smith
The urge is to cover your mouth before the thought rushes out.
Has Seattle been blinded by the glitter of another legend on the downslide?
I know. Say it isn’t so. Not Katie Smith.
But the Storm has been here before with Yolanda Griffith, Shannon Johnson and Sheryl Swoopes. All were once premier athletes who created a buzz during their signings only to falter to aging bodies and lack of productivity.
Mechelle was chatting:
Dennis (Cerritos, CA): can we end this failed experiment already? People could care less about professional women’s basketball! Just look at the attendance of the games. Who actually attends these games are Boys & Girls clubs members who were handed down those tickets as some corporate gift. Only through politically correctness has this sport been force fed down our throats all the while we’re ignoring the obvious. No on watches these games whether it be on TV or in person. Women’s groups are extorting NBA owners to fund this failure or be called corporate sexist chauvenists. Who are they kidding when they bragged a few years ago about the WNBA making it 10 years. Fact is, it hasn’t “made it,” it was dragged to the finish line by the NBA owners and corporations held at gunpoint to sponsor this game. If someone out there reading this thinks I’m just being a hater and is anti-woman, please provide the ratings of a WNBA game. Now grab those ratings and compare it to what it costs to televise, operate and present a game and the ROI is simply not there. This lockout the NBA is having because the owners are claiming they’re losing millions of dollars, I bet if you look at the books, plenty of those millions lost is in funding the WNBA, but you probably will never hear that in the media. I have an open mind so if you think I’m wrong, back it up with hard numbers and I’ll change my mind. But something tells me that those numbers don’t exist.
Mechelle Voepel (3:11 PM): OK, I went ahead and posted this, even though I really don’t have time to refute everything Dennis has in his rant. Much has been written about the fact that the average salary for one player in the NBA is far greater than the salary cap for a whole team in the WNBA. Anyone who thinks the WNBA’s expenses have anything to do with this lockout must have flunked economics class worse than I did.
But here’s another thing I want to say to Dennis and others like him. First, don’t go off on an angry, stereotypical rant about the WNBA, and political correctness and these nebulous “women’s groups” that are forcing the sport down your throat … and then end by saying you have an open mind. You don’t in any way have an open mind. Women’s sports threatens you, and you’re ticked off over who knows what, so you come to a chat about women’s basketball for people who DO care about it (who you claim don’t exist) and bash it. Feel better? Also, can you please tell me where I can find one of these powerful “women’s groups” who are controlling the NBA owners and scaring them to death by threatening to call them chauvinists? I’d love to interview the women in such a group and ask them why they are not using all their power over the NBA owners to even greater advantage. Because I’d like a team in Kansas City. Apparently all I have to do is scream about political correctness, and they’ll be so afraid they’ll do exactly what I want. Why haven’t I tried that? Don’t worry, Dennis, it’s almost football season.
When’s Mechelle’s not kickin’ butt and takin’ names, she’s also writing about San Antonio: Silver Stars ready for the spotlight – Hosting All-Star Game is another highlight in a great season so far for San Antonio
If you had suggested to a WNBA fan a decade ago that San Antonio would be a great place to have the All-Star Game and a 15th-season celebration someday, you would have gotten a puzzled stare. There was no WNBA franchise in the Alamo City at that time.
If you’d asked guard Becky Hammon in the spring of 1999 whether she thought she was good enough to play in the WNBA, she’d have given you the same answer Danielle Adams would have in 2011: Yes, absolutely. But if you were to ask Hammon now whether she had any idea what her pro career would really be like, she’d say, “It’s crazy. I feel so fortunate. I had no idea the things that were in store for me.”
but it sounds close.
From Roman Augustoviz at the Star Tribune: Alone at No. 1 in West for now! Really!
from Mike DiMauro at The Day: UConn loses its first mom
RuthAnn, stricken with the disease nearly 20 years ago, took her fight public. She engendered immeasurable publicity for breast cancer awareness.
But what she did most was humanize a program that would develop the most maternal and paternal fans in sports. She was its first mom. It was her daughter that became everyone else’s. This would become a program staple. Soon, the fans felt the same about Sue and Shea and Svet . and on the band played.
You always felt like you knew RuthAnn. Even if you didn’t. She was the familiar face in the crowd, the mom of this extraordinary player. And when you met her, you learned she was as sweet and comforting as you hoped.
Cursed by an unexpected fate yet blessed with the platform it provided her, RuthAnn Lobo lived the last 17 years of her life determined to make her journey a symbol of discovery and inspiration to others.
“My first experience being with cancer survivors was six weeks after my last chemotherapy treatment in 1994, at the Race for the Cure in New Britain,” Lobo said in 2008. “One of the volunteers asked me if I wanted to wear a survivor’s hat and I wondered if I qualified. But when 600 women in little pink hats come forward, you feel a burden lightened because you see you are not alone.”
If you are so moved, please consider honoring Ruth Ann by making a contribution to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Sometime in summer 2009, Ryan Borde asked Portland State women’s basketball coach Sherri Murrell if she wanted a family photo added to the team media guide. Sure, she said. The assistant media relations director uploaded to the athletics website a snapshot of Murrell and her partner, Rena Shuman, each holding one of their blond toddler twins, Rylan and Halle, and quickly forgot about it.
That image reverberated nationwide. Already out to people she knew, Murrell became known as the only publicly gay coach in Division I women’s basketball.
Two years later, despite an expanding era of openly gay mayors, clergy, even an NBA team president, Murrell still stands alone. She is bemused by the notion that there is but one gay coach in a sport long known to have lesbian players and leaders, and saddened that no colleague has felt safe to follow her.
Kevin Cook not only lead the Gallaudet Bison women’s basketball program back to nearly it’s former glory, but also into the national spotlight. But today it was announced that Cook has decided to walk away, leaving the team and the Gallaudet athletics program to search for a new coach to continue the comeback.
then you’re talking about San Antonio.
With their victory over the Sparks, SASS is now 5-1 on the road. It helped, of course, that Becky snapped her mini-slump and LA shot for carp. Interesting unhappy stat: Tina was scoreless and, as she noted post-game, ” I don’t think I ever played less than five minutes either.”
As for sunday’s games, don’t forget to check in avec l’Alien.
In theory, there were three WNBA games played yesterday. In practice, there were maybe 75 minutes or so of basketball actually worth talking about. One barely watchable blowout that will only be remembered for the halftime ceremony and for clashing with the women’s World Cup soccer final; one painfully dull blowout that somehow became a game; and one game that was actually a competitive contest from start to finish. So let’s start with the game where both teams actually showed up for all 40 minutes.
’cause I’ve been, well, busy being a professor type….
So, working back to front:
Though it is a passage just 37 words long, Title IX has been both credited with and blamed for a lot of things that have happened in college athletics in the past four decades.
In regard to the concept of “pay-for-play,” Title IX is generally seen as a substantial roadblock. But not just because of the gulf between football/men’s basketball and women’s sports, but also because of the gap between those “big two” sports’ profit-producing programs and virtually all other collegiate sports, both male and female.
This is the fifth year that Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas have been playing together as Indiana Fever teammates, but they probably wouldn’t call this season “pivotal.” That sounds too heavy, and they don’t want to carry that weight through the summer.
Sure, Douglas turned 32 in May, and Catchings will celebrate her 32nd birthday Thursday when Indiana is host to the Chicago Sky. Wear and tear from typically playing nearly year-round is an unavoidable concern in women’s hoops. Plus, in her career, Catchings has dealt with two of the major injuries — ACL and Achilles tendon tears — that often plague basketball players.
But if the Fever’s dual pillars can stay healthy, or relatively so, through the rest of this season, maybe it will bring them their first WNBA title, which is the biggest goal both have left in their basketball careers.
Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles is a native of Florida and graduate of LSU, and a polite Southern hospitality is just an ingrained part of her personality. But don’t mistake that for a propensity to sugarcoat things. Fowles prefers the unvarnished truth.
So when you ask if she’s relatively satisfied with the Sky’s play thus far — going into the week of the All-Star Game, they’re in fourth place in the Eastern Conference — she says it’s not good enough.
Posted in WNBA, tagged Betty Lennox, Cappie Pondexter, Doneeka Lewis, Joe Bryant, Kara Lawson, Los Angeles Sparks, Marion Jones, New York Liberty, Sheryl Swoopes, Tulsa Shock, washington Mystics on July 18, 2011 |
Game wasn’t great. Gosh, tulsa SUCKS. But the spoon part was real nice. Brought a tear to my eye. And she was so well-spoken and heart-felt.
’nuff said. Though, if you want more, do check out Queenie’s take.
I didn’t like Marion Jones before this because of her previous scandals and shenanigans. I don’t like her now because she was flat-out gooning out there, going low on players. She contributed one nice flying block, but other than that, I wouldn’t mind seeing her out of the league. Betty Lennox, unsurprisingly, looked rusty. Sheryl Swoopes still has the shot, but her famed defense is not what it was. She committed a lot of holding that the refs either didn’t see or refused to believe that Swoopes could be committing, and it ticked me off.
Liz Cambage really needs a post coach to show her how to use her size, because she’s not using it well as often as she could. She needs to get it together and lay off the dirty play, because I know she’s a nice and exceedingly dorky kid. Doneeka Lewis appeared to have found her shot in this game, and she’s a lot faster than I remembered, but then she lost the shot, and I’m really okay with that.
It was Joe Bryant’s first loss since returning as head coach one week ago. And it was the Sparks’ first loss at Staples Center this season.
But the most painful part for the Sparks was that it happened during the greatest second-half comeback in WNBA history.
When they put their head on their pillows, do you think the Sun players mutter, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home?”
Chicago loses its fifth straight away from home, and the Dream are glad of it, coming away with a 76-68 win.
“We needed this,” McCoughtry said. “We have got to keep our confidence up and continue to play hard. If we keep the confidence, I know we can continue to do this. From this point, we just need to work on our chemistry and play together.”
“Some losses loom large for a team,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said of Wednesday’s 112-105 loss to the Mercury. “For us, that’s not who we want to be. Sometimes that has to happen to make that recognition, and I thought we had a great deal of emphasis on our defense. Two games of pretty good D, so we got back to who we are.”
From Paola Boivin at Arizona Central: The WNBA gives hope to female athletes everywhere – Women’s basketball is alive and well despite lack of popularity
Dishin’ and Swishin’ you’ve missed this:
Alex Chambers, Author, 13 Teams: One Man’s Journey with the WNBA
Alex became known as the WNBA’s Superfan when a couple of years ago he went on a journey to see every WNBA city in the span of around one month. Alex has now put his memories and thoughts on paper, and on July 15th his book will be available at Amazon.com. Alex and David discuss the WNBA, his journey, and share a few stories. Listen to this and you’ll see why you have to buy this book!