While “Trader Joooooeeee, Trader Joe” was running through my head at the Tina Charles-to-NY news, other actions just made me shake my head. Truly, it’s going to be an interesting season in the W as all these moves shake out.

Now, time for folks to try and anticipate what it will all mean.

Swish Appeal’s Lee is breaking down the Washington Mystics’ Draft Night and the Crystal Langhorne trade

On the same night when the Washington Wizards soundly defeated the Miami Heat, 114-93 at Verizon Center, Mike Thibault and his staff were in the same building, busy at work trying to improve the Mystics for the future. In a video interview with Monumental Network’s Casey Phillips which you can see above (click here for the video if you cannot see the embed above), Thibault gives his breakdown of what their first round draft pick, Stefanie Dolson, and their acquisition of Bria Hartley and Tianna Hawkinsbring to D.C. this summer.

From Nate: Connecticut selects Chiney Ogwumike first overall

More from Lee: New York Liberty acquires Tina Charles and Tim adds, Sun trade former MVP Charles to Liberty, select Ogwumike No. 1 in 2014 WNBA Draft

Pre-draft, they had  their WNBA draft: Top prospects by tiers

Finding the right comparison for Alyssa Thomas

WNBA draft profile: How good can McBride become?

and WNBA draft profile: Shoni Schimmel, Louisville

Finally, just in case you’re still looking,  here are the 2014 WNBA Draft recap: Top undrafted players

At Full Court, Lee Michaelson wonders, Could Gray be the steal of the 2014 WNBA Draft? and discusses Bria Hartley’s brief tenure with the Seattle Storm

At ESPN, it’s Kate Fagan writing: Chiney follows in Nneka’s footsteps - Stanford star drafted No. 1, two years after older Ogwumike was picked first by L.A

Mechelle had her red pen out: Draft grades: East leads the way

The Western Conference has tended to grab a lot of the headlines in the WNBA and currently boasts the defending champion — and still formidable — Minnesota Lynx. But at Monday’s WNBA draft, most of the intrigue came in the Eastern Conference.

That involved both veterans and draftees finding new homes. None bigger than Connecticut’s Tina Charles — the 2012 MVP — who is going to New York, her hometown. This was a move the Sun said Charles forced, and it added to the youth movement at Connecticut.

Want video? Here ya go:

I’m sure Richard in England stayed up way too late and is, at this very moment, working up his assessment of the draft. Until that is posted, you’ll have to make due with this: WNBAlien Special – Grading the Trade: Three-way deal sends Lawson to D.C., Bentley to Connecticut, and confusion to Atlanta (with Matee Ajavon)

USA Today did some stuff on the draft, too: Behind the scenes with Chiney Ogwumike, the WNBA’s top draft pick

Before getting primped for the night, Chiney relaxes on a couch overlooking ESPN’s draft setup with Baylor point guard Odyssey Sims, who was taken No. 2 by the Tulsa Shock.

They talk about all the things they’ll do once they’re in the WNBA, like putting their paychecks into their savings account and changing their eating habits.

“You can eat what you want, just in moderation,” Chiney said. “Do you cook?”

“Yeah, but it takes too long,” Sims replied. “When I’m hungry, I’m hungry.” They both laugh.

“I’m right there with you,” Chiney said.

Later, after the two were selected 1-2, they hug each other in the hallway outside the draft set. Sims sheds a few tears.

From other folks:

Sun Draft Chiney Ogwumike, Then Trade Tina Charles To Liberty, Courant
Jeff Jacobs: Bitterness Is In The Air With Tina Charles’ Departure Courant

This is a total face-lift, a total eclipse of the Sun. Yet before UConn fans and Sun fans go crazy about Connecticut’s WNBA team trading away one of the greatest players in State U. history, a league MVP only two years ago, this much you should know:

Tina Charles refused to play for the Sun anymore.

“We were told [by Charles' agent] that if she was not traded, she would sit out,” Mohegan Sun CEO Mitchell Etess said Monday night after the Sun sent Charles, 25, a restricted free agent, to the New York Liberty for Alyssa Thomas, Kelsey Bone and the 2015 No. 1 pick.

WNBA draft: Dolson to Mystics, Hartley to Storm, Post

UConn’s Dolson, Hartley picked back-to-back in WNBA Draft first round, Register
UConn’s Dolson, Hartley will be WNBA teammates, Register
Dolson, Hartley To Play Together For Mystics, Courant
Dolson and Hartley to be teammates again in Washington, Daily Campus

WNBA Draft Facts, Figures, Courant
Pictures: UConn’s Presences In The WNBA, Past, Present, Future, Courant

Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas goes No. 4 in WNBA draft; Washington Mystics take U-Conn.’s Stefanie Dolson, trade Crystal Langhorne, Washington Post

Still in Nashville!

And may I be this first (WHB blogger) to put in a request that Nashville host again… SOON! There’s just too much to see and do and I only have two feet and 24 hours in a day.

So, after a Holiday Inn breakfast that included bacon (!) and scrambled eggs (!) and biscuits (!), the rest of Monday morning was spent plotting and planning with two fellow basketball nuts. The brainstorming and opinionating was fast and furious (is there any better kind?) and we even managed to extract a couple of doable action steps. Watch this space for future actions in support of building women’s basketball attendance.

I then joined a small cohort of friends from the midwest and we *tried* to take in the Country Music Hall of Fame. There’s just too much stuff (and, said my Nashville friend, I didn’t push enough of the buttons). I’m not sure why I didn’t know about Bakersfield and the music business, nor why I didn’t connect the impact of the Dust Bowl on west coast music and filmmaking, but I’m glad that significant gap was filled.

Lunch/Dinner time followed at Jack’s barbecue (FOB Sue can now rest easy) ’cause that’s required dinning in Nashvegas. Love their potato salad…

Then came the games.

As always, it’s fun to see women’s basketball history walking the hallways of the (lovely) Bridgestone arena. Jody Conradt, Tina Charles, Lisa Leslie, Pokey Chatman, Lin Dunn, Andy Landers…. the list goes on. We watched the game next to the Best Uncle Ever – he brought his niece to the game as a present (she’d played basketball against TN’s Harrison, but softball is her love). A landscaper by trade, soccer coach by avocation, BUE had a great eye for spotting former players as they wandered by…

As for the games: I don’t know if it came across on TV, but there was a golden, glowing ball surrounding McBride. What a sight to see. It was not so fun watching Maryland’s matador defense in action nor their stationary offense. Que paso?

In the second game, Stanford came out confident and with a clear plan to slow the game down. And it worked beautifully, as Connecticut’s offense continued to stutter and start. But then that three rimmed out, and there was a missed layup, and before you knew it, I’m sure the phrase “patented Connecticut run” was being used by the game announcers. Unfortunately, having slowed down the game, the Cardinal couldn’t speed it up when they needed to catch up.

Highlights: The Firecrackers, a fabulous group of jump ropers, the marching band from local TSU, and Kiah Stokes – who was my “player on which the game turned” nominee. McBride’s performance was THE highlight, though.

We exited the arena into a drizzling rain (boo!) and hustled our way to the fancy, shmancy Omni for a post-game beverage and game dissection – only to find there were no late-night beverages available. Luckily, the staff was susceptible to my subtle NY charm and hangdog puppy face. Five minutes later we were sipping lovely martinis and leaning up next to a fireplace de-damping. Ahhhh….

Monday morning I put on my “yah, I’m on vacation, but I can do a little of my ‘real’ work if ya want.” Met friend Lattie to lead a session on questions and questioning with some fabulous teaching artists who work under the auspices of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Far too little time — and SO much fun to be with them — but Lattie did treat me to some yummy Asian fusion and a walk through the extraordinary Nashville Public Library. And I do mean extraordinary. A new building that fits it seamlessly with the surrounding architecture — it reads 1930s — it manages to be “classical” without dominating or overwhelming. Best of all, it has a PUPPET THEATRE!!!! The library has a tradition of puppetry – initiated by a gentleman to loved to use puppets to engage young children. The new library honored that tradition is a delightful way. I had a chance to meet the amazing puppeteers and see their exquisite puppets. Oh, to have seen their show String City: Nashville’s Tradition of Music and Puppetry.

Squeezed in another meeting of mind — this time “women’s basketball history” nuts. What a delight to meet FOB Ellyn and talk history and research and ethnography and Susan Cahn and oral history and… well, just talk history. What more could you ask? So, if anyone reading is a good grant writer – or just has some extra cash they’ve been wanting to invest in a great cause – this is what we want: $50,000 to help capture the oral histories of women’s basketball. (Sort of a “StoryCorps of Women’s Basketball.)” We want to take advantage of reporters or educators and their love of stories and say, “Here’s $250 – go spend a couple of hours with this person (perhaps an area/neighborhood person) and get them to talk about what it was like to play, organize, officiate, manage, advocate and legislate for women’s basketball.” We’d then have them upload it and have the interview magically transcribed and catalogued.” (About $250 an interview). Simple, no?

Oh – and all this plotting and planning happen in the exquisite Hermitage Hotel. A kind staff member  gave us a thirty-second tour, that turned in to a discussion of NCAA, unions, the women’s suffragette movement with, of course, a little women’s basketball history tossed in for good measure. Wheee!

The day continued with delicious food (are you noticing a recurring theme on this trip?) at City House in Germantown. Knowledgable and friendly staff, intriguing beverages, too much food (meaning, there was no room for desert! *sad face*) Since friend Lattie was our guide, we got to make another too-quick pass through another part of the oh, so impressive Centennial Park — I really liked the timeline.

We capped off the evening with a Nashville tradition: the Time Jumpers at Third and Lindsley. Wow. Just wow. And the verse they added to Henry Strzelecki’s Long Tall Texan? Priceless… Thanks Vince and company!

A quick look at the basketball news before turning out the lights made my head spin and my eyes go wide. When I randomly wondered if some reporter would be ridiculous enough to ask Geno and Muffet the “If you were driving and saw the other coach on the side of the road with a flat tire would you stop question” I was KIDDING. What on earth happened in the bowels of the Bridgestone during the off-day media circus?

Honestly, coach McGraw – hush, now. It’s about the players. Because What’s Happening Tonight in the Women’s NCAA Final Has Never Happened In Any Other Sport


Wicked early flight meant getting up wicked-er early, so I’m looking forward to a nap soon.

It’s chilly-greening-spring here in Tennessee – 40 or so when we landed, but the Final Four greeter promised us 64 by noon. When you’re in the sun, yes….when you’re not? Brrrrrr!

Easy car pick up, then headed to East Nashville for some breakfast at Marche Artisan Foods. Great service, yummy food…

With time to kill before the hotel opened up, drove into, through and around downtown Nashville. Small and bustling at the center. Different, more concentrated vibe than when I was in Knoxville for the WBHOF induction ceremony a while back. Strong mix of old and new architecture.

Continued our wandering exploration and end up driving past Vanderbilt (yes, as we researched, started by THAT Vanderbilt – hence the “Commodores” nickname.) Did you know the campus was also an arboretum? Did a quick drive through – really, really lovely. Also stopped by Centennial Park to visit the Parthenon and did some walking. Yup, it’s big. Nearby lake is being dredged/cleaned, so that wasn’t so scenic.

It’s early for birds – but there is a list: RobinsBlue Jays, a lone Turkey Vulture, cackling Grackles, some beautiful Bank Swallows, noisy Northern Mockingbird, a gregarious Carolina Wren, and an early Hermit Thrush.

Next on the agenda, the aforementioned nap, then a return to East Nashville to partake of the fare at the Eastland Cafe. Then, we’re off to the Grand Ole Opry!


Hoping tomorrow features a visit with a WBHOF inductee, coffee, brunch, barbecue and two fabulous games.

Until them, some more reading (and listening): First, make sure you check out the Tennessean’s coverage:

Fans show love early in Women’s Final Four

Kara Lawson: No favorite between Pat, Geno

Rebecca Lobo: UConn is beatable

Legendary lady Pat Summitt: Pride of Cheatham County


Final Four teams have fun at Ryman

UConn’s Dolson, Hartley old hands at Final Four, Post
More Than Anything, Geno Demands Sweat From UConn Women, Courant
More Awards For Stefanie Dolson, Courant
Capsule: No. 1 Seed UConn Women Vs. No. 2 Seed Stanford, Courant
Pictures: Behind The Scenes With UConn Women In Nashville, Courant
It’s a Great Time to be a Husky, Stefanie Dolson

Stanford’s supporting cast stepping up to help Ogwumike, Register
ESPN analyst touts Ogwumike’s pro potential, SFGate
Lawson Says Stanford Has Best Shot At UConn, Hartford Courant

U-Md. abuzz as women’s basketball team heads to Final Four, Washington Post
Nashville already full of Maryland fans, ABC
Majoring in Chemistry, Chloe Pavlech

Before UConn, ND should fear Terps, Observer
Notre Dame Women: Save Your Pity, Blue & Gold
Irish must prove doubters wrong, Kate Fagan
Geno (And USA Basketball) Love Kayla McBride, Hartford Courant

Dishin & Swishin 04/03/14 Podcast: Breaking down the Final Four with coaches Doug Bruno, Lindsay Gottlieb & Coquese Washington, HoopFeed

Duke coach’s analysis of women’s Final Four, Bradenton Herald

In Women’s Final Four, Jousting Before the First Jump Ball, yea! It’s Harvey at the New York Times

Beating UConn rarely leads to title – Most teams that beat UConn in NCAA tourney don’t win NCAA championship, Mechelle Voepel

Rematches story of women’s Final Four, AP Teresa M. Walker

Five minutes with ESPN analyst Kara Lawson, Nashville Business Journal

NCAA hosting women’s hoops summit at Final Four, AP Doug


As coach Mitchell cuts to assistant coaches, Sea of Blue is Taking a Moment To Celebrate The Season That Was

the Elite Eight. Two honest battles, one recovery  and an oddly timed TO that nearly capped an amazing comeback. Ah, it was FUN. Thank you to all the teams that made it so.

LSU women’s basketball coach Nikki Caldwell calls her team ‘courageous’ during 2013-2014 season

Shoni Schimmel’s Career Comes to a Close in Electrifying Fashion

Louisville moves on without G Shoni Schimmel, but that doesn’t mean she’s not still winning: Schimmel Captures Women’s, Overall 3-Point Championship

Run to Elite Eight showed Texas A&M women’s basketball program back on rise and After defeat in Elite Eight, A&M women’s basketball team looks to future

Young Tar Heels accomplish plenty, aim for more

Now, on to Music City.

So, about those four participants:

Women’s Basketball Final Four Loaded With Stars, AP Doug Feinberg
Talented group of coaches lead Final Four teams, AP Doug Feinberg
Final Four coaches ready to get to Nashville, The Tennessean

Final Four: Breaking Down Each Team, Observer Online
Doris, Kara and Rebecca Offer Thoughts on 2014 NCAA Women’s Final Four Matchups

Women’s Final Four may be full but not orange, The Tennessean
Final Four Flashback, Courant

Don’t Forget About Teams Joining UConn, N.D. In Final Four, Courant

Characters fuel Stanford women’s basketball’s Final Four run, Stanford Daily
Stanford stares down Huskies as it prepares for Final Four, Stanford Daily
Fears of a Stanford women’s basketball letdown unfounded, Stanford Daily
Stanford women’s basketball fights ‘bad’ image, Mercury News
Amber Orrange is Stanford’s quiet leader, Mercury News
Congressional reps place bet on Stanford-UConn women’s basketball game, San Francisco
Stanford women hope a second shot at UConn won’t miss, Palo Alto
Stanford tries to stop the UConn juggernaut, San Francisco Chronicle

Final four notebook: Reimer steps into big role for ND in Achonwa’s spot, Post
Achonwa ready to lead from the bench, ABC News
Notre Dame’s Reimer embracing her big chance, AP Tom Coyne
Notre Dame women’s basketball team begins Final Four trip to Nashville, Fox 28
Irish Not Ready To Fold, Stacey Page Online
Irish resiliency again being tested, Daily Herald
Grosse Pointe North’s Ariel Braker seeks better fortune for Irish in Final Four, The Detroit News
Notre Dame has matchup problem with Maryland
VIEWPOINT – Here’s to Muffet McGraw, NDSM Observer
It’s Braker’s time to shine for Irish, South Bend Tribune
Now is the time for Reimer to step up for Notre Dame women, South Bend Tribune
McGraw, Notre Dame women love the underdog role, South Bend Tribune

Maryland Women’s Basketball By the Numbers: 2005-06 VS. 2013-14, Press Box
After grueling turning point, women’s basketball ready for Notre Dame, Final Four, The Diamondback
As Terps rally toward Final Four, they hope fans follow, Baltimore Sun
Earlier comeback against Notre Dame helped position Maryland for Final Four run, Baltimore Sun
Underdog women’s basketball has chance to make major statement on national stage, The Diamondback
Thomas eager to excel for Maryland in Final Four, Washington Post
Alyssa Thomas continues to shatter Terps records and no one can keep track, Washington Post
Maryland look to be spoilers at women’s Final Four, AP Teresa M. Walker

UConn Women Have Company On Top Of Basketball World, Courant
Jeff Jacobs: Cherish The Moment, Connecticut: Something’s Happening Here, Courant
UConn women have eyes on cutting down Nashville nets, Register
How the UConn women could win or lose NCAAs
, Post
UConn Knows First Win Vs. Stanford Means Nothing Now, Courant
UConn-Stanford: The Last Time They Met, Courant
UConn Looks To Sell Itself With Both Teams In Final Four, Courant
UConn women don’t take Final Four trip for granted, Register
Bria Hartley, Moriah Jefferson have been dynamic backcourt duo, Register
Over last 15 years UConn is unrivaled, men and women, Register
UConn men and women both won national titles 10 years ago, Register
Two UConn Final Four teams means merchandising opportunities, Register
Final Four could be a block party for No. 1 Connecticut, AP article from Lansing State Herald
UConn’s Stewart unanimous first-team All-America, Post
Kevin Duffy: UConn, where there’s plenty to cheer, Post
Auriemma, UConn not overlooking Stanford in national semifinal, Register
Breanna Stewart 7th Husky To Be Named Wooden All-American, Courant
A Guard in a Center’s Body at Forward for UConn, NY Times
Husky Nation Divided? Teams Have Different Followers On Twitter, Courant
Geno Auriemma Marches Toward Coaching Immortality With the University of Connecticut, Newsweek

Chicago Now’s Token Female offers her Final Four picks.

Stuff from the ESPN crew:

Creme: Women’s Final Four Primer

Quick Dish: Soundbites from Final Four coaches

espnW’s Final Four picks

A little video:

Need your live basketball fix?

The WNIT concludes this Saturday: UTEP women’s basketball: Keitha Adams, Rutgers coach face off

After 13 years as a Division I coach, Keitha Adams has been on the opposite bench from some all-time greats and Rutgers coach Vivian Stringer, whose 929 wins are the third most in NCAA women’s history, nears the top of any list.

Adams even had a chance to meet her a year ago.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have my relationship with coach (Don) Haskins,” Adams said. “I talked with coach Stringer at the Final Four last year, I wanted to figure out how we could do a home-and-home and get her team down here. We had a conversation about coach Haskins, the 1966 team. We talked about that, now one year later she’s going to be here.

“I respect all she’s done for our game, for her as a role model for all players. It’s awesome and I respect her a great deal.”

Need more?

ESPN Classic NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Schedule, Sunday, April 6th

DateTime (ET) Game
Sun, Apr 67 a.m.2002 NCAA National Championship: Connecticut vs. Oklahoma
9 a.m. 2009 NCAA National Championship: Connecticut vs. Louisville
10:30 a.m.2010 NCAA National Semifinal: Connecticut vs. Baylor
12:30 p.m.2010 NCAA National Championship: Connecticut vs. Stanford
2:30 p.m.2012 NCAA National Semifinal: Baylor vs. Stanford
4 p.m.2012 NCAA National Championship: Baylor vs. Notre Dame


Carp. Carp. Carp.

Curt Rallo ‏@rallo_NDinsider 9m
ND source tells S.B. Tribune that Natalie Achonwa @NatAchon has ACL tear in left knee and will not play in Final Four for @ndwbb.

New York, April 1 (AF) – A group of prominent women’s college basketball players has announced that they have formed a union and will ask the National Labor Relations Board to grant them the right to seek a player vote as to whether the union will be authorized to bargain with the NCAA. The announcement was made at the offices of the Women’s National Basketball Players Association in New York City. It follows a recent determination by the Chicago regional office of the NLRB that the College Athletes Players Association can conduct a union election among Northwestern University football players.


Thomas said that the key goals of the union were two-fold. The first goal is “to help create a level playing field for women’s basketball as other sports seem to be reaching for more resources.” Dolson explained this goal in more specific terms: “We want to make sure the new football union doesn’t grab all of the money.”

Second, according to Thomas, the union wants to prevent coaches and educational institutions from imposing unreasonable demands on players. These demands range from difficult travel schedules to practices that conflict with classes and exams to more unusual obligations. “I mean, I love the twins to death,” Thomas said, “but if I’m going to be babysitting them all the time, I should at least get paid as much for it as a 14 year old instead of hearing that paying me would be a violation of NCAA rules.”

Is it too much to ask

that “knee” and “injured” struck from the women’s basketball lexicon?

MRI today for Natalie.