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They were warned.
They were given an explanation.
Nevertheless, they persisted.

Meet the ‘kick-ass’ Muslim sporting pioneers

We were fortunate to meet an inspiring few who never saw their uniqueness as a barrier to achieving top-level success. Yet the overriding sense was that in order to reach that higher level, the onus was on them to adapt to their environment.

First up was the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation’s new trustee and former rounders international, Dana Abdulkarim.

This is a beautiful poem by basketball player and poet, Asma Elbadawi

Also:

Also: Liberty become first New York sports team to have float in city’s pride parade

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Also: WNBA Team Causes Storm of Interest with Planned Parenthood Partnership

And: Are Women Equal in America? A Look At Title IX’s Impact 45 Years Later

For those of us born in the years since, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the basic, fundamental fairness of the law wasn’t always a given. “When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out why we didn’t have any woman lawyers and doctors,” says tennis champion and feminist icon Billie Jean King. “But then I found out later the classroom quotas in those graduate programs only allowed for five percent to be women. Without Title IX, we’d still have those quotas.”

And oh, by the way: New reports find little progress on 45th anniversary of Title IX

According to the report, which was commissioned by the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, and the Gender Equity Task Force, the numbers of female head coaches and athletic directors have actually declined in the last 45 years.

For some, this finding may come as a surprise. Although Title IX was not explicitly designed to increase female participation in athletics, that has been one of its most visible effects. But at the same time, it seems likely that these increases in female participation have also driven more men towards coaching women’s teams.

Forbes: How Title IX Inspires Former WNBA Players To Pay It Forward

In 2001, Catchings and Riley entered the WNBA as first-round draft picks – being selected by the Indiana Fever (3rd overall) and the Miami Sol (5thoverall) respectively. Cash followed in 2002 and was drafted 2nd overall by the Detroit Shock.

While charting new territory as professional athletes, they quickly discovered that the equitable treatment and benefits afforded to collegiate athletes under Title IX do not extend to professional sports; keeping their fledgling league afloat would mean doing more than excelling on the basketball court.

 

As a result, Catchings, Cash, and Riley set out to learn the business side of professional basketball by becoming strong advocates within the players’ union – because that is where change could happen.

Flashback: Title IX: Sharing the Wealth – May 2007

Scanning the 35 years that separate the passage of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and Don Imus’ insulting remarks about the Rutgers basketball team, you can hear echoes of women’s basketball’s history. For instance, in a recent profile for the Women’s Sports Foundation, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer admitted she never envisioned being a coach. “I wanted to play,” said Stringer. “I would have played the rest of my life.” But, continued the piece, in the mid-’60s, organized basketball for girls in her hometown of Edenborn, Pa., did not exist. Instead, girls were expected to be cheerleaders. “You were a second-class citizen,” recalled Stringer. “Not that you weren’t able to [play basketball]. You weren’t allowed to. I remember this one grandmother telling her daughter that girls would have knots in their legs if they played. That’s a shame, because it made you ashamed to play.”

Imagine that. Ashamed because you wanted play.

Also: Kyrie Irving after WNBA game: ‘I cannot wait for my daughter to grow up and idolize’ them

Take that, “Stick to Sports” people.

Speaking of persisting, as Sue notes, “Slowly, all of these persistent players are being profiled.” From the NY Times: For WNBA’s Oldest Rookie, a Lot of Persistence Goes a Long Way

Stockton Record: Chelsea Gray: St. Mary’s grad healthy, busting out

Really, I should get teams/players to play me to express concerns about them: Inside the W with Michelle Smith: Sun On the Rise

From The Day: Sun remain a constant in an arena that continues to thrive

This is exciting – and must be a huge relief for Diggs to finally bust out: Skylar Diggins-Smith hits franchise record 7 3-pointers to lift Dallas over San Antonio

Watch out: Maya Moore is rediscovering her scoring touch.

From Sue: What retirement? Alana Beard burning up the court in her 12th season

Truth: WNBA legend Sue Bird: Athletes who don’t embrace sports tech are idiots.  (BTW: VERT Adds First Women’s Basketball Program Mississippi State)

I wonder what she thinks about a league that can’t effectively manage its social media? Though, there are some hits: From sleek graphics to hilarious video, WNBA All-Star voting brings out the best in promotions. And, in case you were wondering: Imani Boyette ranks WNBA team social media accounts.

But don’t forget: UConn’s Chris Dailey On Social Media: ‘You Have One Reputation’

Have you listened to-supported “Burn It All Down.”?

Listen up! Basketball legend Tamika Catchings

Howard Megdal is joined by Tamika Catchings, whose number will be retired by the Indiana Fever on June 24. The two take a stroll down memory lane, through Tamika’s favorite moments from a truly incomparable career.

About the fabulous Catch:

More Listen Up! LaChina Robinson is joined by WNBA’s Devereaux Peters

to discuss Diana Taurasi’s historic moment, if Taurasi is the GOAT (greatest of all time) and Tamika Catchings’ jersey retirement.

Which, of course, means ESPN asks: Rank ‘Em: The best women’s basketball players of all time

I don’t have a problem with this: Now the WNBA’s scoring leader, is Taurasi women’s basketball’s best ever? Why? Because Being the best teammate possible is more important to Diana Taurasi than WNBA scoring mark

There’s no question mark here: Brewster: Chino’s Diana Taurasi is the best women’s basketball player ever in US (and I appreciate the qualifier) Also, she’s inexorably linked with another great: Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, WNBA Stars, Keep Longtime Friendship

Soooooo…Who’s got next? Who will challenge Diana Taurasi’s scoring record?

For folks who don’t remember the history of players in the W: I lived in fear.’ Former WNBA star Ruthie Bolton says she escaped a violent marriage

‘Tonight may be the night he kills me,Ruthie Bolton remembers thinking as her husband called to her from their living room.

“Get in here,” he said. “I’m not going to ask you again.”

From the kitchen, she could see him sitting with a gun in one hand and a beer in the other.

Speaking of history: Pop Quiz: How well does Rebecca Lobo remember the first WNBA game?  You weren’t there? Check out how the game has/hasn’t changed: WATCH: Highlights from the first-ever WNBA game, 20 years ago today

International

*Musical lede* “Where ya going? Barcelona. Oh.” (No, I haven’t purchased flights yet… but I will!) FIBA: Europe’s five FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup qualified teams confirmed

Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia and Turkey became the first countries to qualify for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018, joining tournament hosts Spain and Olympic champions USA.

Fan Rag: How EuroBasket Women is currently affecting the WNBA BTW: Overseas Report: Meesseman, Lyttle Dominating EuroBasket

NCAA:

Yup, that timing was sure a surpriseDiamond DeShields not returning to Lady Vols Who knows what her future holds. It’s hard to predict, considering her talent and track record…

Illinois State: Reinhardt: Gillespie’s early efforts foster optimism

Gillespie had 10 players back from last season’s Illinois State women’s basketball team. The rub was that team won only eight of 31 games before the former Lewis University coach was hired to revive the downtrodden Redbirds.

“We were not going to just add bodies,” said Gillespie. “We were going to make sure if we signed anyone late, they would live up to our character standards and be impact players. We were not looking for someone to develop.”

Schedule: MTSU, Vanderbilt women to meet in opener thanks to coaching change

More schedule: UConn women’s basketball returning to MLK Day, will play Texas

Quack? Shouldn’t it be meow? Women’s basketball freshmen are ‘little ducklings’ as they adjust to life as Arizona Wildcats

And: Arizona women’s basketball recruiting: 5-star forward Valeria Trucco commits to Wildcats

Also: Arizona women’s basketball: Wildcats add Washington transfer Aarion McDonald

Rebuilding is tough: Women’s basketball: Nebraska lands top 100 post for 2017 recruiting cycle

Change is tough: University of Delaware women’s basketball loses highly regarded recruit

Reflection entering KBA’s sixth year: Michigan moments 60-56: NCAA championship run, women’s basketball’s first All-American

OT:

Last call!!!

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Women’s basketball peeps have been amazingly supportive, so I’m sending out one last call for donations.

As I mentioned lower down in the blog roll, I’m doing some “DELEGATION” this year, and teaming up with my fabulous program manager Kady to raise money in support for the CAT Youth Theatre!

CYT is an essential program – offering the amazing young people of New York City a space to use and explore their voice… at NO COST TO THEM. Please support them if you can – and Kady will do pushups or planks as a “thank you!” (see what I mean about “delegation”?).

You can help keep the CAT Youth Theater FREE by donating.

Thank you!

Helen, stage manager, sound, props, back stage support and anything else that was needed…

“Keep. Your. Temper.”

Wise words from the caterpillar to Alice, and I’m betting that Jenny B is wishing she’d remembered them last night. Not going to say her late game tech cost Seattle the game, but is sure made it harder for them to capture it down the stretch. And dang, who gave Indiana that lovely bench? 83-80, Fever.

What’s that new McCartney album, “Wings over L.A.?” Perhaps all the “Liz Cambage wooing” stories lit a fire under the butts of the current players. They flipped around their  traditional fourth quarter swoon, and suddenly, a Dallas win! 96-90.

An EDD injury and Meeseeman absence made the Minnesota-D.C. match less intriguing. The Lynx players made sure it stayed that way, as Whalen became the winningest WNBAer.

News

Washington Post; Would Washington embrace an elite WNBA team? Maybe, finally, we’ll have a chance to find out.

WomensHoopsWorld: Through challenges and changes, Ivory Latta’s spirit and fire remain key for Mystics

From the San Antonio Express: Influx of UConn players continues to dominate WNBA

Speaking of UConn players: Ever-Evolving Tiffany Hayes Making the Most of Increased Opportunities

Listen up! Howard talks with Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes

.com: Diggins-Smith, EDD Reflect On WNBA Journey

SI Kids: WNBA Star Maya Moore Talks About Returning to the Finals and Her Passion for Ending Childhood Hunger

NY Post: This globetrotting hoops star (Kiah Stokes) is a Koreatown barbecue fan

From the Telegraph: She skipped Dairy Lane. Now Allisha Gray is shining in the WNBA.

That was part of Gray’s preparation for the pro game.

“The biggest adjustment to the WNBA had to do with the physicality of the game,” she said. “You don’t get the foul calls you normally get in the college game, so you just have to play through the fouls.”

And the weight loss increased her endurance.

The old Kelsey Plum doesn’t exist anymore and in many ways, that’s a shame. But then, she’s OK with that … for now.

Nearly three months ago, she put the finishing touches on the greatest basketball career for a man or woman at the University of Washington.

And today, the most prolific scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history is averaging a mere 4.8 points while shooting a frigid 31.8 percent. She has had more turnovers (11) than assists (9) and is fighting to keep her starting job on an 0-7 San Antonio Stars team that resides at the bottom of the WNBA standings.

As it stands now, teams are hamstrung with what they can do with players who are hurt during the season. If a player is injured for an extended period of time, the team can either keep them on the roster — forcing the franchise to play with one less player — or they could cut them, which would cost the organization the player’s rights.

Neither is a great choice.

“Teams shouldn’t have to make that choice,” said Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, who is sidelined for the season with an Achilles injury she suffered while playing overseas this past winter.

As you should: Thank you MSR for weekly WNBA coverage

As it should be: Former WNBA players getting front office positions

Also: WNBA’s president: Overcoming racial discrimination drove me to Duke

WATN? Former WNBA Player Alicia Thompson Returns to Roots

Listen up: LaChina welcomes Olympic Gold Medalist and former WNBA great Chamique Holdsclaw to the show to discuss her struggle with mental health and her platform for awareness.

More to Listen up (to): We’re On Live, The WNBA Show: Jack and Ryne sit down to discuss the league’s most recent news, like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird moving up the all-time scoring ranks, WNBA social media accounts blocking Tiffany Hayes and Ivory Latta’s children’s book. Then, they are joined by FanRag Sports’ Eric Nemchock to break down the Chicago Sky’s early season turmoil. Eric gives his thoughts on the offensive struggles, strange draft and Chantel Osahor. For the final segment, Jack and Ryne talk bigs. This season we’ve seen huge performances from the likes of Brittney Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles down low.
History
NCAA
Listen up: Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale and Howard discuss the transfer situation in the college game and opportunities for women to coach, to the expectations for a roster featuring a returning Vionise Pierre-Louis and incoming freshman Ana Llanusa.
In closing: 8-9 games in to the season, some thoughts
  • Umm…d’em Lynx.
  • Early injuries and temporary exits have me unclear on who’s an legit challenge to Minny
  • Exciting to see all these players getting “career highs”
  • We knew it was going to be tough for San Antonia, but ouch
  • See above for Chicago. Can the franchise survive whatever chases out coaches & players?
  • Honestly, when do the Sun fans get a break?
  • Expanding rosters/expanding number of teams – it’s not about talent (not sure we have that much excess) but fans and big money. So, for the moment, a strong no.

Oh, for all those “Stick to Sports” folks: Rats, snakes and scorpions: The unthinkable treatment of one softball team and the Title IX lawsuit to fight back

One night in Midland, Texas last month, Midland College softball coach Tommy Ramos walked into his team’s locker room facility and saw something he’d never seen before.

In the undersized portable structure that serves as the team’s locker room—a glorified storage shed, really—he’d already seen rats and 6-foot snakes. He’d watched as more than 20 players walk through mud puddles to cram into the shed, likely violating its fire code, in order to get changed and share the lone bathroom. Outside the shed at the school’s softball fields nearby, he’d seen dozens of fans stand for entire games because the bleachers only seat 25 people, watching as those same fans lined up to use the field’s black widow-infested porta potty.

But he’d never seen this before.

That night, Ramos and his assistant coach opened the door of the shed and saw a couple engaging in … Well, let’s just say, they’d rounded third base.

BTW, if you’re wondering, All the President’s Men holds up far too well….

Hail friends!

I’m doing some “DELEGATION” this year, and teaming up with my fabulous program manager Kady to raise money in support for the CUNY Creative Arts Team’s Youth Theatre​!

CYT is an essential program – offering the amazing young people of New York City a space to use and explore their voice… at NO COST TO THEM. Please support them if you can – and Kady will do pushups or planks as a “thank you!” (see what I mean about “delegation”?)

If you can, we’d be grateful for your support: www.razoo.com/story/cyt

Thank you,
Helen

For threeeeeee (lead)

Shout out to Diana passing Katie Smith’s 3-point mark (as the Merc stomped the Paris-less Wings). I have such a clear memory of Katie plying the Lib, wearing that ugly Lynx uniform (yes, it was ugly). NY had the lead, Minny had the ball, and I’m muttering, “Don’t let Katie get the ball. DON’T let Katie get the ball! DON’T LET KATIE GET THE BALL!!!!!” Guess who got the ball and won the game. Yup. Kids, they don’t listen…

Mechelle spends some quality time in Diana in her piece: You don’t know Diana Taurasi

Her competitiveness has never waned, though it sometimes gets her in trouble. Taurasi recently was suspended one game for a forearm to the head of an opponent. The hit wasn’t very hard, more like a veteran sending a message to a younger player. The league opted to punish Taurasi, but most observers would say it was Dee being Dee.

Exactly who is Dee, though? Women’s basketball fans are probably sure they know. She has been one of the most successful players in the sport since she began her college career at UConn 17 years ago.

As the end of the school year and the start of the WNBA season collide with my first major allergy attack (I was far happier sympathizing with sufferers than emphasizing with them!) it’s hard to get a bead on teams quite yet, as latecomers and injuries are impacting chemistry and outcomes.

Atlanta’s go to be the biggest surprise, no? Without Angel (and with Hayes having a little bit of an injury scare) the Dream look way stronger than expected. The win over LA is particularly surprising (and it’s nice that it happened at home).

It’s delightful to see the growth of Jewel Loyd, isn’t it? It’s been said, and will continue to be said, but the Loyd-Stewart flashbacks to the halcyon days of Sue Bird and LJ are legit.

Does it feel like Sylvia Fowles is trying to close the book on any/all of those memories of her as an “oft injured player who never quite did all that her talent promised”? Nina Mandell: The most dominant team in the WNBA has another big advantage this season: Rest

Excited to see how Pluminator handles the hype-mobile, now that she’s (almost) healthy.

Plum arrived on campus that summer and started learning the offense and studying film of Pac-12 opponents. In between summer classes, she spent four or five hours with Neighbors each day preparing for their respective freshman seasons.

Then something else totally unexpected happened: The coaching staff named Plum a team captain. Her tireless work ethic, confidence and obvious talent notwithstanding, Kelsey’s new teammates did not all take to the decision kindly.

“When she first stepped into the captain role as a freshman, she kind of immediately went into, like, an I-need-to-take-over type of mode,” Davis says. “Coming in as a freshman, I don’t think you really want to do that with people you don’t know that well yet.”

Sooooo…. can Washington rise to the top with Delle Donne? Only if her teammates provide strong, consistent support.

Waaaaaaay too early, but 2-2 defending champs?

Sure, but they’re still winless: Getting the call (or message): Jonquel Jones steps up for Sun in Chiney Ogwumike’s absence

While playing abroad, Jones learned that Chiney Ogwumike, the Sun’s second-leading scorer in 2016 (12.6 PPG), sustained an Achilles tendon injury while playing in China in November. Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller sent a message to his players, notifying them that Ogwumike would be lost for the season.

A second note, sent individually to Jones, had a clear message: She was the next woman up.

More Sugar love: Sugar Rodgers Ready To Embrace Enhanced Role

Aussie! Aussie! Sharpshooting Whitcomb makes Perth proud

Seattle Times: Seattle Storm’s Crystal Langhorne adjusts to supporting role, but shooting WNBA-best 75 percent

Yea: Rookie Report: South Carolina Duo Thriving in Dallas

Fingers crossed for good health: Rachel Banham, from Gophers to WNBA, stays resilient through multiple knee surgeries

About those dang injuries: Babcock McGraw: Draft-pick Coates still waiting in the wings

In case you hadn’t noticed: Lefties dominate WNBA rookie class

”I never thought about that, but that is kind of cool,” said left-hander Kelsey Plum, who was chosen first. ”When I was younger it definitely was an advantage, but as you get older you play well with both hands and people are more used to guarding you.”

Speaking of noticing: Dallas Wings introduce Lightning, the WNBA’s only female mascot

Shooting geeks, anyone? Shooting Myths, One-Motion Shooting And The WNBA

Innersting…. WNBA changes All-Star selection process, gives players vote

College (Transfers)

West Virginia: Carey Statement on Alexis Brewer

Bellarmine: Knights women’s basketball adds Division I transfer from EIU Van Dyke

Also: Former Ohio forward Kelly Karlis to transfer to Wisconsin

Sue and Lyndsey D’Arcangelo offer up an in-depth look at the Reasons behind increased college basketball transfers numerous and complex

After several years of holding steady below eight percent, the four-year college transfer rate for women’s basketball began to rise in 2010-2011, and shows no sign of slowing down. For many years, the transfer rate for student-athletes from two-year colleges was higher than from four-year colleges, but that pattern reversed in the 2011-2012 school year. Given the most recent data available from the NCAA, 2014-15 ended with nearly a tenth of women’s college basketball players transferring from four-year colleges and 8.4 percent coming in from two-year colleges.  These rates are comparable to men’s college basketball, with four-year and two-year college transfer rates of 14.1 and 15 percent, respectively, for the season.

As it should be: Road signs honoring SC national basketball title put up

Where the Q’s at! Lewis getting the entire package with Quigley Smith

Samantha Quigley Smith, whom Lewis hired as its new women’s basketball coach, is rock solid when it comes to X’s and O’s.

Her work ethic never will be questioned.

That much is indisputable. For evidence, look no further than all her teams accomplished in her five seasons as the head coach of the women’s program at University of St. Francis.

Also moving over 12 inches: Nikki McCray-Penson named ODU women’s basketball coach

WTN? Former WNBA player Alison Bales graduating from WSU Boonshoft School of Medicine

WTH, Baylor!?!?! Do you have no shame? New Baylor Lawsuit Alleges Football Players Held Gang-Rape Initiations, Dog Fights and Yet Another Lawsuit Says Baylor Officials Did Nothing After Report Of A Gang Rape By Football Players

Julie DiCaro on Only a Game.

It also alleges a lot of things we haven’t heard before, like that gang rapes were used as bonding experiences by the players, particularly to haze freshmen players. … Another lawsuit alleges that there were 52 acts of rape by 31 players. … So, I guess the question is: if the NCAA is not gonna give the death penalty to a program like Baylor, what is the point and purpose of having the death penalty at all?

Soooo, what’s the best way to drag out fragile menfolk into the light? Create a podcast called “Burn It All Down” featuring

In this weeks, “Where is she now?”

West Virginia: WVU women’s basketball nabs Michigan transfer Kysre Gondrezick

Indiana: Pitt women’s basketball player Brenna Wise headed to Indiana

Wisconsin: Ohio redshirt junior Kelly Karlis transfers, will begin play in 2018-19

Syracuse: Syracuse women’s basketball picks up Kiara Lewis, transfer from Ohio State

Marquette: Marquette Women’s Basketball Officially Announces The Transfer Of Tori McCoy

Arkansas: Arkansas women’s basketball add FSU transfer A’Tyanna Gaulden

South Dakota State: Cascio Jensen (Nebraska) headed to South Dakota State

Duke: Fresno State’s Bego Faz Davalos transferring for final year and Vida en el Valle asks Why is Faz Dávalos waving goodbye to Fresno State basketball a year early?

No surprise, really: Kansas women’s basketball’s McKenzie Calvert intends to transfer

After an off-the-court incident involving redshirt-sophomore guard McKenzie Calvert, Kansas men’s basketball sophomore guard Lagerald Vick and freshman guard Josh Jackson loomed over the Kansas women’s basketball team’s disappointing season, Calvert announced on Twitter that she plans on transferring from the program.

Truth: Dawn Staley has been on whirlwind tour since winning title

Congrats: Northwestern women’s basketball promotes Christie Sides to associate head coach

Welcome: New UMKC women’s basketball coach gets competitive fire from mom

After dinner one night this week, Shelly Hoyt raced her daughter Jacie to the car.

Nothing unusual about a little mother-daughter competition, except Jacie, 30, was going to be introduced as UMKC’s next women’s basketball coach the following day.

“My mom is a competitor,” Jacie Hoyt said. “She hates to lose.”

Just stuff:

Timeless Torches defy age as WNBA dance team

Sigh: Does Brittany Boyd’s torn Achilles mean game over for the New York Liberty? But, Big Things Expected From UConn Grad Kiah Stokes As WNBA Begins. And, Former Gophers star Amanda Zahui B. entering third WNBA season with confidence

Dallas News: Can the Wings turn around last season’s poor defense? Players are starting to buy in

Atlanta: Former Hillhouse star Bria Holmes ready for breakout year in WNBA

Summitt Hoops: Imani Boyette: Inside day one (of my best WNBA season ever)

Augusta Chronicle: Michaux: Allisha Gray makes seamless transition to WNBA

From Michelle: Inside The W with Michelle Smith: The Lynx

It is an interesting place, in that Minnesota Lynx locker room. A place where victory doesn’t always satisfy, where winning championships don’t satiate, and where losing one sticks in the craw so deep it lasts for months.

It’s also a place of familiarity and family. A place with inside jokes, long memories and shared goals and expectations.

After Wedding bells for top Australian basketballer Penny Taylor and WNBA star Diana Taurasi, Penny says, ‘I should be treated exactly the same as everyone else’: Basketball great Penny Taylor calls for marriage equality.

Deja vu all over again: WNBA athletes trapped in unfair comparisons with men

HISTORY ALERT

Do you remember the golden era of Ipswich women’s basketball?

The female class of the 1980s and 90s, spearheaded by icon Bernard Ball, were major players on the national basketball scene, before the team was forced to withdraw from the Senior National League early in the new Millennium. 
The Bobcats were known around the country as a force to be reckoned with, producing players who were among the best in the region and beyond.

Michigan: Carrollton girls basketball broke barrier with 1979 championship

The state championship was nice. An undefeated record with 28 wins was also memorable.

But over time, the players on the 1979 Carrollton girls basketball team have come to see the Class C state championship as something more important.

The Cavaliers beat Royal Oak Shrine, 50-31, to claim the state title, the first girls basketball state title in Saginaw County history.

Double bad news – in New York: Not only did the Lib lose to the steamrolling Lynx, they lost bundle of ‘tude Boyd.

The combo of the League Pass and twitter feed provided many opportunities for over stimulation on Friday. And the nice, long interview with Magic provided many minutes of missing the game on the court… and it was a good one between LA and Washington. Disappointed that the Sparks aren’t even on the LA Times’ “Other” tab. They didn’t send Broderick Turner and just grabbed the quote-less AP feed. For the return of Parker and the arrival of Delle Donne? Grrr…

LA Daily News sent Mike Guardabasico, though: LA Sparks defeat Mystics on championship ring night

It was championship ring night for the Sparks on Friday, and the team looked primed to repeat as the WNBA’s best.

With Candace Parker a surprise starter (she flew home from Turkey the evening before), the Sparks looked unstoppable offensively as they beat the Washington Mystics 99-89.

From Brian Love and Sue at Women’s Hoops World: Sparks get Championship rings, beat Mystics 99-89 (lots of photos)

It was the first game back for Candace Parker, Essence Carson and Jantel Lavender, who all finished up their playing seasons in Turkey a few days ago, got on a plane to Los Angeles and suited up at what was the middle of the night in Turkey, where they had been all winter. Parker scored 18 points, Carson three, and Lavender didn’t play.

Sparks coach Brian Agler was especially impressed by Parker’s performance.

Early Rookie of the Year sighting: : In Sydney Wiese, the Los Angeles Sparks just might have found their Kristi Toliver replacement

Just two games into her WNBA career, she’s showed no problem translating that skill. On Friday night, after the Sparks received their championship rings with Toliver and the Mystics in town, Wiese put on an incredible shooting display, going 6-10 from 3-point land on her way to a new career-high of 22 points.

Including the Sparks’ first game against the Storm, Wiese is now 8-13 from 3, good for a 61.5 percent clip, and averaging 14 points per game.

From the Bullets Forever blog:

EDD was great, but it wasn’t enough — Delle Donne carried the Mystics on Friday night and pulled off some moves that made her look unguardable. After all, she is a former MVP, but there were some plays where EDD would’ve scored even if she was playing one-on-five.

Dream’s not missing a beat sans Angel. Tiffany Hayes stepped up big, and Clarendon’s seemed to find a nice assist groove as Atlanta took down Chicago, 91-83.

Most people aren’t good at being patient.

But patience is going to be a must for the Chicago Sky and its fans, at least for a while.

The Sky is now 0-2 on the season with Friday’s 91-83 loss to the Atlanta Dream in the home opener at Allstate Arena.

No one seems even close to a panic though, recognizing that with a new coach, a new system and a lot of new faces, the Sky is definitely a work in progress.

From the Tribune: In home opener for Sky and new coach Amber Stocks, Dream pull away for 91-83 win

Curiosity dogged Alaina Coates.

The Sky rookie didn’t travel with the team to its first game of the season and wasn’t sure what to expect out of its first-year coach. So, sidelined with an injury, Coates used Friday night’s home opener to decipher Amber Stocks, whose team ultimately lost 91-83 to the Atlanta Dream.

Still Pluminator-and-MoJeff-less, San Antonio put up a fight against Phoenix. The Merc rode Griner’s presence and Leilani’s daggers to a 78-72 win. Oh, and a grumpy Diana got her first tech of the season.

Stars/Mercury game story at the Stars’ .com page: Isabelle Harrison Sets Career-High 16 Points in 72-78 Loss to Phoenix

Kayla McBride scored 14 in her 2017 Stars debut, but the Stars dropped to 0-3 on the season. Phoenix improved to 2-1.

“It’s hard to come to play from behind the first quarter,” said Johnson. “The way we fought the last 3 quarters is a plus for us. We are still missing two pieces. K-Mac [Kayla McBride] just got in from Turkey last night. She had her physical this morning and played tonight. I’ll be excited to see our team next week against Dallas. I think you guys will see the real Stars in action.”

Listen up! To VJ and Howard.

Johnson spoke to The Summitt at length, detailing her plans on both the offensive and defensive ends. A goal is to finish in the top two in pace, along with every other category.

Johnson also discussed her tenure with the New York Liberty, who honored their longtime standout guard this past weekend at Madison Square Garden.

Tonight (have you submitted your FanDuel yet?):

7pmEST: Indiana v. Connecticut: Fox Sports: Williams, Sun aim to keep Fever winless (May 19, 2017)

SportzEdge: After cutting back on the Ben & Jerry’s, Morgan Tuck has emerged as Connecticut Sun’s biggest threat

Norwich Bulletin: Sun hope week off pays dividends

Miller said practice this week was dominated early by some more conditioning work.

It’s easy to see why.

While the Sun hung with Atlanta in the second half, won the third quarter (16-13), and almost took the fourth, where they struggled was late in each of the periods.

The Dream outscored the Sun, 9-0, in the final 3 minutes, 7 seconds of the third quarter and 9-2 in the last 2:57 of the game.

Connecticut didn’t finish.

8pmEST: Star-Telegram: Dallas Wings host Minnesota in home opener

In other news: 

WABE, Myke Johns: Atlanta Dream Co-Owner Strives To Elevate Women, WNBA

For Atlanta Dream co-owner Mary Brock, there is practically a straight line between the basketball court and the board room, and she has data to back it up.

“There have been so many studies and surveys done about successful women,” Brock said to In Conversation host Valerie Jackson. “If you look at women who are successful in business and you survey them and find out if they participated in sports at any time in their lives, over 80 percent participated in sports.”

Brock singles out the care that the Women’s National Basketball Association and the Atlanta Dream franchise take to elevate their players not just on the court, but after they’ve left the game.

Lois Elfman, Amsterdam News: WNBA teams show continued commitment to community

WNBA teams and the league’s players have always been known for their community outreach. Last week, the New York Liberty stepped it up with all the players, coaches and management participating in a large-scale community initiative. The players were matched with organizations or causes about which they are passionate.

“This year, we’re talking about showing up for New York, and we want to show up in the community in a bold way,” said Swin Cash, Liberty director of franchise development. “It’s not a one-time thing. We’re going to stay connected with the organizations. … It’s authentic to who we are as a team and organization.”

Seth Berkman, NY Times: W.N.B.A. Is Helping Officials Raise Their Game

With the W.N.B.A.’s 21st season beginning this month, the league is working to change a perception of referees who have come under increased scrutiny in recent years, instituting new financial and teaching benefits.

Many players and coaches understand officiating is an inherently thankless occupation, and in the W.N.B.A., the referees must call a game that has notable differences in style and rules from other levels of basketball. But there is also a sentiment that more streamlined officiating will equal a better and more enticing product.

Finally, sending some warm love and respect to Holly Rowe: ESPN’s Holly Rowe to work through cancer recurrence and ESPN’s Holly Rowe Finds Work Cathartic as She Battles Cancer

Rowe told The Associated Press on Thursday that she was again battling cancer, sharing the news hours after ESPN announced that it had extended her contract.

“I don’t think about having cancer when I’m out here,” Rowe said before the tipoff of a W.N.B.A. game between the Minnesota Lynx and the Liberty, her first this season. “Monday, I have a CT scan and have treatment. I’ll be a cancer patient on Monday. I’m not thinking about it today.”