Why, look who’s writing about the New York Liberty! Can Laimbeer lift the Liberty?
After the 2012 season, when the New York Liberty finished with a 15-18 record and exited the playoffs in the first round, many fans were disenchanted with management, uninspired by the product on the court and dreading the idea of spending one more summer “in exile” in Newark, New Jersey, awaiting the completion of final renovations on Madison Square Garden.
Then, in October, a ripple of excitement spread through the fan base: It was announced Bill Laimbeer would return to the WNBA as the Liberty’s new head coach and general manager. Laimbeer brought with him an oversized personality, a keen basketball brain and, most importantly, a history of almost instant success. In 2002, he took over an awful Detroit Shock team midseason and transformed it into a championship winner the next year. He followed that up with two more league titles in 2006 and 2008. What might he do with a team that went 15-19 in 2012?
Other folks have been really busy at Full Court. Sharon Crowson says It’s time for Chicago to meet expectations
Stereotypes can be useful because they are frequently accurate. They can provide a useful picture of a situation — but it’s vital to remember that “frequently” is very different than “invariably”.
That distinction is important to remember as the Chicago Sky enter their eighth season. They have yet to make the playoffs and the stereotype of non-playoff teams is that they lack talent — but nothing could be further from the truth.
Kelly Kline says the Upgraded Shock are thinking playoffs
Despite being stood up by Liz Cambage for the second year in a row (they made up), the Tulsa Shock are optimistic about 2013. Thanks to adding significant talent through the draft and offseason trades, the Tulsa season is shaping up to be the team’s best since it arrived in Oklahoma.
“We feel like we have more firepower, bigger guards, better shooting and we have a chance to be a better defensive team,” says coach Gary Kloppenburg. “We basically have a new team.”
Congrats! (Vrooom, vrooom!) WNBA Champion Indiana Fever named Grand Marshal for 2013 IPL 500 Festival Parade
The APs Kareem Copeland writes: Fever prep for WNBA title defense
The defending champion Indiana Fever feel like they are under the radar all over again heading into the WNBA season.
The team brings back 10 players from the 2012 roster and will be trying to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.
They have exactly been the talk of the league so far.
Speaking of BG, some Baylor message board fans may be turning their back on her, but W fans ain’t: Brittney Griner’s arrival sees 19 percent increase in sales of WNBA merchandise
The spotlight was hers and hers alone.
It shined on Mercury star Diana Taurasi for years, nearly a decade just in the WNBA. But now comes Brittney Griner, the Mercury’s new No. 1 overall pick — a 6-foot-8 phenom whose personality is just as big as her new teammate’s.
Asked to compare her spotlight to Griner’s, Taurasi didn’t miss a beat.
“It’s a lot taller.”
Mechelle says Maya Moore as motivated as ever
The WNBA season hasn’t even begun, but it has already been a championship kind of year for Minnesota’s Maya Moore.
Playing in China for the first time, she led her team to a title there. Then in April, she watched her alma mater, Connecticut, win its eighth NCAA women’s basketball crown.
“Obviously the alums feel a part of it, but that was their journey, their struggle, their learning, their growing, their competing,” Moore said of the 2012-13 Huskies. “It wasn’t an easy season; there were ups and downs. But to see it come together in those two games of the Final Four, it just made me so proud.”
It’s a reminder, of course, that how you finish means everything in sports. And last season, that’s what Moore’s Lynx didn’t do well. After having the best regular-season record for the second season in a row, Minnesota wasn’t able to successfully defend its WNBA title.
From the Yakima Herald: Storm’s Clark not taking anything for granted
Many already have Alysha Clark as a lock to make the final Storm roster for 2013.
Clark, a 5-foot-10 forward, crinkles her face at the idea.
Sure, she was part of the 2012 roster. She even played a key role when injuries and the WNBA’s break for the Olympics pulled teammates out of the lineup.
However, it didn’t land her a guaranteed contract.
An act of faith: Former WNBA player Tully Bevilaqua commits to her partner
Former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua and her life partner, Lindsay Bevilaqua, are raising two children in Indianapolis and own a gym together in the city.
So when the two, who have been together for 4 1/2 years, decided to get married, they opted for a ceremony in Indianapolis rather than going to a state that recognizes gay marriage.
But in Minneapolis: Augustus looking forward to Minnesota wedding
It looks like Seimone Augustus could get her Minnesota wedding after all.
The Minnesota Lynx star has been planning to marry fiancee LaTaya Varner, but she wasn’t sure she would be able to do it in her adopted home state because gay marriage was not legal. That could change by as early as next week.
The Minnesota House passed a measure to legalize gay marriage on Thursday and there is optimism among supporters that it will pass the Senate and be signed into a law by Tuesday.
”It’s just exciting thing to see so many people support it,” Augustus told reporters on Friday, her first day of training camp with the Lynx after returning from playing in Russia during the offseason.
From Michelle Smith: Mercury ready to rebound
“Last year was the hardest, most difficult thing I’ve ever been through as a player,” said point guard Samantha Prahalis, a rookie for the Mercury last season. “Losing that much, it was tough. People would say to me, ‘Yeah, but you get to play a lot,’ and I would say, ‘No, I want to win.’
”I was excited to get drafted to come here and play with Diana and Penny and play for titles.”
Just a couple of months later, the clouds parted. Oh, did they ever.
M&M ponder Which team will win the East?
Hello there, lady bolter: Alabama introduces new women’s basketball coach Kristy Curry. Here’s her goal: Alabama AD Bill Battle wants women’s basketball to outgrow Foster Auditorium
WATN? Windward’s Vanessa Nygaard will help coach U16 national team. She’s joined by LaDreda Akins (Haines City H.S., Haines City, Fla./Florida’s Finest AAU), Terri Bamford (LaJolla Country Day, La Jolla, Calif./Waves AAU),and Kimberly Davis-Powell (Essence Girls Basketball AAU, Tallahassee, Fla.)
Another new hire: Billi Godsey takes Iona’s reins
We still don’t know why the position became vacant, but it’s no longer open: San Diego State Hires Stacie Terry
It can be tough to play friends: ND v. Penn State - McGraw challenged by draw
Of all the teams in the Big Ten, there was one team that Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw didn’t want to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference-Big Ten Conference Challenge — Penn State.
That’s because Coquese Washington, who played for McGraw at Notre Dame and was an assistant coach for the Irish for eight seasons, is the head coach at Penn State.
“Of course, we would never schedule a game against Penn State, because I try not to play my friends,” McGraw said.
Speaking of rules that were overdue….here was someone who said “No” to banning girls basketball: E. Wayne Cooley, pioneer of Iowa girls sports, dead at age 90
E. Wayne Cooley, a girls’ sports pioneer who left long-lasting marks on the the state of Iowa, died Saturday of natural causes at age 90.
He ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls, from 1954 until his retirement in 2002, overseeing generations of athletes. Under his guidance, the Union expanded from three sports — basketball, golf and tennis — to nine programs.
Flashback to 2007: Hall of fame: Cooley led the cheers
Troy Dannen, current executive director of the IGHSAU, said Cooley has the greatest business mind he’s ever known.
“He’s the epitome of the promoter,” Dannen said. “He always came up with different ways to get people into the building. It was always about more than basketball at the basketball tournament.”
Sports Illustrated came to Iowa after Title IX passed in 1972 to do a story about the effect on the state. The article concluded the change barely caused a ripple, Cooley said.
“We were 15 to 17 years ahead of Title IX,” Cooley said of what he considers his top accomplishment. “I was very proud of that. The girls had everything.”
Cooley was recalled as a musician who once sat in with Harry James’ big band orchestra as it toured Iowa, an avid fan of Winston Churchill and an astute investor eager to put a hot stock tip to work.
“When Dr. Cooley came into a room, things happened,” said Craig Ihnen, executive director of the Iowa High School Speech Association, in a eulogy.
The service was attended by former all-state six-on-six basketball players like Lisa Brinkmeyer and Jan Jensen, Drake coaches Jennie Baranczyk (basketball) and Natasha Kaiser (track) and Northern Iowa director of athletics Troy Dannen. Dozens of longtime coaches and officials paid their respects.
Gov. Terry Branstad called E. Wayne Cooley a visionary who helped elevate Iowa girls’ basketball to a national phenomenon – some thing that touched Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds directly as a forward for Interstate 35 High School during the heyday of six-on-six era.
During his weekly news conference Monday, Branstad paid tribute to Cooley as a pioneer of Iowa girls’ sports. Cooley, who died last Saturday at the age of 90, ran the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union — the nation’s only statewide athletic association dedicated to girls — from 1954 until his retirement in 2002.
“E. Wayne Cooley was a visionary leader for girls’ athletics,” said Branstad. “He made it phenomenally successful.
“He was a great marketer and promoter,” the governor added. “He’s going to be greatly missed. He has a really wonderful legacy that he leaves in terms of girls’ athletics.”