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From Full Court
Teams are more than talent.
Sure, a supremely talented group of players can overwhelm a roster with significantly lesser ability, but when two talented groups go head-to-head, “team” becomes more important.
In the competitive Western Conference, there are three very talented rosters, but only one has the balance that comes when ability matches position, when options are many and holes are few. That roster belongs to Minnesota, which is why the preview begins with …
Ever since Dick Vitale high-volumed his way onto a TV screen, American sports fans have listened to a host of commentators talk about coaches as if they were players. “Rick Pitino sure shut down Trey Burke in this one,” an announcer will intone, as if Pitino were out on the court personally shadowing Burke.
In truth, of course, Pitino could have had the greatest strategy in the world, but if his players didn’t have the talent to execute it, it wouldn’t matter. Or, to put it another way, coaching IQ directly correlates with player talent.
And this cool little review: Once upon a jersey: The evolution of sponsorship in the WNBA
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, names were everything.If that play was a basketball game, and one team was the Montagues and the other the Capulets, the name splashed on the jersey would be an honor for the players to display and each fan to behold. The names of the teams (families) in this game would represent a bitter rivalry between sworn enemies, and would contribute to a competitive matchup.
The only difference here is that, unlike in the play, this basketball game would not end with the key players dying by suicide. (And I for one would like to keep it that way.)
Michelle says: Pondexter among MVP candidates
Mechelle writes: Defending champ back for more
On May 31, the Indiana Fever will unveil their WNBA championship banner and receive their rings. There were some times over the winter months when Fever president and general manager Kelly Krauskopf checked the WNBA website and once again had a feeling of amazement that these things were going to happen.
“I’d see, ‘Get your Fever 2012 WNBA championship gear here.’ And I’d think, ‘Wow, that’s us,’” Krauskopf said. “Then you start reflecting on the journey it is to get there — all the years, tweaking the roster, everything the team went through. When we started the playoffs badly against Atlanta, when Katie [Douglas] went down in Connecticut. That whole journey makes it more special.”
It’s a lengthy path that, for Krauskopf, reaches way back to 1999, when she was named chief operating officer of the expansion Fever.
Michelle asks: Is Harding L.A.’s missing piece?
Speaking of missing, Michelle knows the Storm will have new look in 2013
“We’ve played a lot of games since I’ve been here without Lauren,” Storm coach Brian Agler said, referring to the fact that Jackson hasn’t played a full season for the Storm since 2010 because of injuries and the 2012 Olympic break. “Not that we enjoy it, but we have a good feel for how that is … We haven’t played many games without Sue.”
Mechelle knows Mike T is Ready to resurrect the Mystics
She also is aware that the Plot thickens as 2013 season nears
Last week, women’s basketball Twitter queen Skylar Diggins sent out a short, perfectly apt tweet. It was in response to a big surprise with her new team, the Tulsa Shock, but it could apply to the entire WNBA season, which officially starts this week.
”The plot thickens …” was @SkyDigg4′s comment. And indeed, there are a lot of storylines to follow, many of which could — and probably will — impact who we see in October battling for the WNBA championship.
- Los Angeles: Better, deeper, dangerous »
- Minnesota: Overlooked Lynx »
- Phoenix: Looks fantastic on paper »
- San Antonio: Short on frontcourt depth »
- Seattle: Who will step up? »
- Tulsa: Raised expectations »
- Atlanta: McCoughtry is the key »
- Chicago: Finally headed to playoffs? »
- Connecticut: Donovan steps in »
- Indiana: Defending champs still solid »
- New York: Laimbeer teams with Pondexter »
- Washington: Thibault takes over »
The AP Mystery Writer says Strong offseason, filled with major moves, raises the WNBA bar for the Tulsa Shock
Are the pieces finally falling in place for the Tulsa Shock?
Time will tell, but if the preseason prognostications of the league’s general managers are any indication, Tulsa finally looks like a playoff contender. A survey found the Shock as the WNBA’s most improved team.
The AP’s John Marshall wonders: Is this the beginning of The Brittney Griner Era?
AP Mystery Writer deux is in Texas and offers this: Steady and sure, Silver Stars — one of the WNBA’s most consistent clubs — slide into new year
AP Mystery Writer trois is covering Chicago: Sky is the limit for Chicago, Delle Donne as WNBA team hopes to turn tide in 2013
APMW4 is California Dreaming: Candace Parker resumes chase for her 1st WNBA title with LA Sparks
Candace Parker is ready to resume her pursuit of the only major title to elude the basketball star in her career.
She wants a WNBA championship to add to her two Olympic gold medals and two NCAA championships at Tennessee. She even won a title with her Russian pro team during the offseason.
Parker thought the Los Angeles Sparks had the makings of a title team last year, but they came up short, getting swept in the Western Conference finals by Minnesota.
APMW5 is at the Casino: Connecticut Sun eyeing WNBA title with new head coach
Mike Thibault led Connecticut to two WNBA Finals in his decade as the team’s head coach, but never won a championship.
That will be Anne Donovan’s charge this season.
Connecticut fired Thibault and replaced him with the Hall of Fame standout in the offseason. The move came despite a year in which the Sun posted an East-best 25-9 record before losing to Indiana in the conference championship series.
“Usually, when you’re taking over a team, you’re restructuring, you’re tearing it down, you’re building it up again,” said Donovan, who won a WNBA title as coach of Seattle in 2004, beating the Sun in the finals. “That’s certainly not the case here in Connecticut.
Randy Hill at Fox Sports South is wondering: Griner will be huge, but can she make WNBA big?
The arrival of Griner and two other gifted rookies – Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne – has been offered in carefully rendered comparison to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird lifting the NBA profile in 1980.
That’s not excessive pressure, is it?
“I just learn to go with it,” Griner said of handling expectations. “I really haven’t had a problem with that.”
Sports Illustrated offers up this AP article: After finals loss, Minnesota Lynx hope for title finish in 2013
Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve would find herself walking through the aisles at her grocery store this offseason when she would be recognized by a fan.
The ensuing conversation would occasionally catch her off guard. Often times instead of congratulations being extended for leading her team to a second straight WNBA finals, the most common question she got was, “What happened?”
After steamrolling through the regular season at 27-7 in pursuit of their second straight championship, the Lynx lost to Indiana in the finals. For a franchise that for years was a league doormat, the newfound expectations have been eye-opening.
From Scott Gleason at USA Today: WNBA hopes Brittney Griner, new logo are slam dunks
Change is coming to the WNBA.
That message is being emphatically emphasized in the upcoming season with a new logo featuring a player rising to the rim for a dunk.
Fittingly this summer, the 12-team league welcomes a rim-rising star who’s already generated an unmatched buzz before stepping out on the court for an official game.
Lois Elfman writes this for the Amsterdam Times: WNBA veterans joining coaching ranks with the Liberty women basketball team
This will be a New York Liberty season like no other, with All-WNBA First Team guard Cappie Pondexter playing alongside fellow WNBA champions Cheryl Ford and Katie Smith, as well as talented rookies Kelsey Bone and Toni Young.
The coaching staff is also unlike any the Liberty has had before. All four assistant coaches played for the Liberty at some point in their WNBA playing careers—Barbara Farris, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Whitmore.
John Altavilla writes: Sun Goal This Season: Tighten Things
Keep up with the Fever with Kevin Messenger’s blog.
Over at Mel’s blog, it’s Mike Siroky’s SEC Report: Making The WNBA Season Opener Rosters
L’Alien is Back (and redesigned)! Priming for Opening Night in the WNBA: New Rules, a New Line, and Prediction Time
So What’s New?
Well if you’ve ended up here, you’re probably well aware of the ultra-hyped new rookie class that’s entering the league. They’re obviously new. We’ve also had coaching changes in New York, Connecticut and Washington since the end of last season. But you can read all about that and the various roster changes in the individual previews. What has the WNBA altered for 2013 on a more basic level?
Finally, a little audio: WomenSportsCentral – Link Brenda and Mechelle’s WNBA preview starts at 13:05 minute.