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A little feast, a little famine, a little agita. Great way to spend a Sunday.

Sun v. Aces: After Las Vegas jumped out to an early lead, they folded.

Hartford Courant: Connecticut Sun Start Season Off With A Bang — A 101-65 Rout Of Aces

Forget about a slow start this season.

The Connecticut Sun lived up to the preseason hype of being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, blowing out Las Vegas 101-65 Sunday afternoon in the season opener at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Day: Sun Rout Aces in Record Fashion

Bleacher Report: Las Vegas Aces Lose Franchise’s 1st-Ever Game in Historic Fashion vs. Sun

The Connecticut Sun didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for the Las Vegas Aces in the Aces’ regular-season WNBA debut.

The Sun won 101-65, with the 36-point margin of victory the most ever during the WNBA’s opening weekend, according to Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN.com).

The Aces were without Kelsey Plum and Kayla McBride, both of whom are still playing overseas in Turkey. Moriah Jefferson is recovering from a knee injury as well, leaving Las Vegas down three of its top guards.

LV Review Journal (they hired John Altavilla, y’all!) Connecticut routs Aces in season-opener 101-65

Four months from now, the WNBA’s regular season will have wound down and there will be irrefutable evidence about whether this western shift from San Antonio to Las Vegas had a positive impact on last season’s worst league franchise.

But there was no sense getting ahead of things Sunday when the Las Vegas Aces, a team very much still in its evolutionary stage, made their debut against the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena

Mystics v. Fever: Tolliver was Tolliver-ing in a good way.

Washington Post: Elena Delle Donne finds other ways to contribute as Mystics beat Fever in opener, 82-75

The Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne, by Coach Mike Thibault’s recollection, didn’t miss a shot for roughly 20 minutes during pregame warmups for Sunday’s season opener against the Indiana Fever.

“I’m thinking, ‘Boy, that’s a pretty good rhythm,’ ” Thibault said. “And then we ran the first play for her, and that didn’t go in, and then she air-balled one. I just think she was pressing a little bit.”

WTOP: Mystics take first step in season, take a stand

The Washington Mystics’ 2018 season opened Sunday at Capital One Arena in front of 7,400 enthusiastic fans, who cheered the home side to a near wire-to-wire, 82-75 victory over the Indiana Fever. While that attendance number is often an afterthought, a new leaguewide initiative by the WNBA means that in their home opener alone, the Mystics raised $37,000 for women and girls empowerment programs.

HPH: Takeaways: How Washington Mystics found success on a tough shooting night

Indy Star AP: Indiana Fever comeback falls short in season opener against Washington Mystics

Kristi Toliver hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and Elena Delle Donne scored 13 with seven assists to help the Washington Mystics beat the Indiana Fever 82-75 on Sunday in the season opener for both teams. [Paging the fact-checker]

Intersting .com feature: Notes & Quotes: Mystics Stop Fever, 82-75

Wings v. Dream: Liz is impressive, yes, but clearly she’s not in shape. Maybe it won’t matter.

Dallas News: Wings’ blowout win over Atlanta offers glimpse at the dynamic duo Dallas dreamt of this offseason

A 37-point second quarter, a new franchise record, took control of the game for the Wings. Diggins-Smith’s 3 for 4 shooting from 3-point range opened up the floor for Cambage to operate down low. She started her scoring with a four-point play and finished with a game-high 25 points.

Cambage introduced herself to the 5,907 fans in attendance with an array of post moves that left the undersized Dream helpless in the paint.

CBS-DFW AP: Diggins-Smith & Cambage Lead Wings Past Dream 101-78 (at least they have some video)

Hashtag Basketball: Thoughts on the Dallas Wings home opener

HPH: Fouls were a problem in Atlanta Dream’s loss to Dallas Wings: Three Takeaways

The Dream played fast and aggressive — which was by Collen’s design — but often times they were undisciplined. Atlanta racked up 32 fouls, and each starter finished with at least four fouls. This threw off Collen’s rotation as she had to make some unplanned substitutions at key moments in the game.

“We couldn’t go with a natural rotation with (several players in) foul trouble. It was really hard to get into a rhythm of timing of subs,” Collen told The Crush SportsTalk. “… Every time I turned around I had an assistant telling me, ‘Oh, she’s got three, oh, she’s got four.’ … I definitely think that affected the rotation.”

Lynx v. Sparks: Minnesota spotted LA to a nice lead, fought back and… got Gray’ed out.

Mechelle: Chelsea Gray’s buzzer-beater leads Sparks past Lynx in WNBA Finals rematch

The Los Angeles Sparks entered Target Center to start their WNBA season Sunday with one true post player, but a large amount of moxie and some of the toughest defenders the league has had. The Minnesota Lynx came into the game after a ring ceremony that had flashy lights and indoor pyrotechnics, with the defending champions joyously welcomed back by a sellout crowd of 13,032.

The set-up was perfect: 

Star-Tribune: Chelsea Gray’s buzzer-beating layup sends Sparks over Lynx to spoil season opener

Down to one real post player in Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks flooded the defensive zone, collapsing around Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, who scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds, but also six turnovers.

“They just kept flooding, flooding, flooding,” Reeve said. “And we botched every opportunity on the inside. So Syl couldn’t hold it. Syl didn’t have any poise. We forced it to her. Just dumb. Dumb basketball. How do you have that big an advantage and you can’t exploit it?”

Pioneer Press: Sparks beat Minnesota at buzzer to spoil Lynx’s celebratory season opener

SB Nation: The short-handed Sparks stunned the Lynx in season opener

LA Times AP:

“Chelsea is the game-winner queen,” said Odyssey Sims, who led the Sparks with 21 points. “I don’t know how she squeezed up and flipped it in. I still don’t believe. I don’t even know how, but it was amazing.”

CBS Minnesota: Lynx Fall To Sparks 77-76 In Intense Home Opener

SB Nation: Sparks vs. Lynx has everything a rivalry needs — and more

Bingo! The Lynx-Sparks rivalry will waste no time getting intense this time around

ESPN: WNBA BPI: What’s next for Sparks and Lynx?

Liberty v. Sky: Fun to see a good crowd supporting Chicago in their sweet new digs. The Q’s fourth quarter made sure they went home happy.

Chicago Daily Herald: Quigley leads team effort as Chicago Sky down Liberty

The Sky, which got points from all 10 players who entered the game and between 13 and 26 minutes from each one of them, is now 2-0 on the season after its win on the road in the season opener Saturday against the Indiana Fever.

“Tina was like, ‘you’ve got a whole new five (coming in)?'” said Faulkner, relaying Charles’ reaction when the Sky again subbed in a fresh five players. “We have fresh legs. (The other teams are worn out sometimes).”

Faulkner, who is back in the fold after missing all of last season with a knee injury, is loving the Sky’s new look.

WGN

It’s certainly not the first basketball game to be played in the venue. In fact, Wintrust Arena has been hosting games for over a half-a-year by this point.

But for the Chicago Sky, everything was new on Sunday night. It was their first regular season game in the venue which they will now call home after previously playing the bulk of their games at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

While time will tell how they’ll fare playing closer to the city that before, at least their first effort lived up to their new arena’s name.

Chicago Sun-Times AP

“I think I want to be aggressive all the time, it just happened to be in the fourth quarter this time,” Quigley said. “We talked about it in the locker room that we had 20 assists on 30 field goals, so the ball was moving and my teammates were finding me, so that’s [a good thing].”

Mercury v. Seattle: Dang, Griner looks good. And the West is gonna be some kind of tussle!

HeraldNet.com Staff & Wire Reports:

“I didn’t feel like we got out of the gate well,” Seattle coach Dan Hughes said. “That’s my responsibility, especially playing a team that’s (already) played a game.”

Brittney Griner had 29 points and 10 rebounds to help Phoenix hold off the Storm. Griner, who led the WNBA in scoring and blocks per game last season, shot 10-for-16 from the field and added four assists and three blocks.

Spokesman-Review AP: Mercury beat Storm 87-82 in Seattle’s WNBA season opener

Seattle Times: Storm rallies but can’t catch Mercury in season opener

“For us, we’re still getting comfortable and developing our identity as a team,” said Bird, who had five assists. “The thing that we’re going to hang our hat on as a team is still in the works. So for us to battle back and to make it a game where we had a chance that says a lot about our resilience.

Sonics Rising: Top 5 Takeaways from the Storm’s 87-82 loss to Phoenix

Sunday evening, the Seattle Storm opened up their 19th season of basketball in Seattle in front of a good crowd. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Mercury looked like a team that made the semi-finals last year and could make another run at a championship this year. Phoenix came out strong in the first quarter as the Storm struggled to make shots and the Mercury were hitting every wide-open shot. Phoenix went up 26-17 after one period of play and were up double-digits by half-time.

News

ESPN: 20 Questions: Diana Taurasi’s historic game, Arike Ogunbowale and Kobe Bryant friendship goals

247Sports: Kelsey Bone ready for WNBA season with new team

UConn Blog: WATCH: Interview With New York Liberty Rookie Kia Nurse

CBC.ca: Canada’s Kia Nurse impresses in WNBA debut

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Bill Laimbeer begins quest to build WNBA’s Aces into champion

New York Times: The Liberty, in Transition, Make a New Home in the Suburbs. I wonder how many journalists will make the trek out to Westchester…

Billboard: The LA Sparks’ Essence Carson Opens Up About Her Blossoming Music Career & Record Company Internship

Ben Dull, HPH: Drop Off: 22 (not so) bold predictions for the 2018 WNBA season

1. Renee Montgomery and Brittney Sykes will combine to hit 130 three-pointers

Neither player made 40 last season. Montgomery’s career high in makes (66) was set in 2010 with Connecticut.

2. Sky will rank in the top-four in offensive efficiency

(This comes with one obvious condition: The clock doesn’t start until Courtney Vandersloot returns.)

 

This team simply needs to take better care of the ball, and they need everybody else around Vandersloot / Allie Quigley / Stefanie Dolson to make their open three-pointers.

3. The first two off the bench for the Sun by season’s end will be Chiney Ogwumike and…Lexie Brown

NCAA

You stay put: Dayton announces contract extension for women’s coach Shauna Green

Bye: OSU women’s basketball: Kalmer leaving program

Quad City Times: Cyclone men, women face significant summer

Worcester Telegram: Globe Trotters: Several former area college athletes choose to pursue professional careers overseas

Good reading: Uncovering the Hidden Resistance History of Black Women Athlete – Professor Amira Rose Davis has uncovered a history of athletic resistance

Amira Rose Davis is an assistant professor of History at Penn State and co-host of the Burn it All Down podcast. We discuss groundbreaking research and her forthcoming book, Can’t Eat A Medal: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow. To listen to this entire interview, check out the latest Edge of Sports Podcast.

Dave Zirin: Can you speak how you were able to find your source materials and put together this rarely recorded history of black women athletes?

Amira Rose Davis: This is part of doing black women’s history, in general. There’s not going to be one intuitive place, so you have to get really creative. For me, I started looking at [HBCU] college programs. Black colleges have gems in their archives. There, I found scrapbooks and journals and sometimes you don’t find them in the papers of black women, but you have to look at black men who have daughters or wives and that’s where their papers are actually held. Then, I looked in those papers and you have documents where people are talking about trying to start competitive athletics at Fisk University in the 1920s. All of a sudden, you have all of these documents about college-age women in the 1920s who are saying, “Give us competitive sports. We want to play!”

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#WNBAALLDAY

And here I am, trying to be good and read the two theses siting on my desk….

A huge H/T to the fab BIAD pod/twitter feed for a gaggle of articles (Why aren’t these tagged so google finds them?):

Lindsay Gibbs, Yardbarker: Top 10 storylines for the 2018 WNBA season

The 2018 WNBA season launches on May 18, and it is shaping up to be a dynamite five months of basketball.

Exciting players like Angel McCoughtry and DeWanna Bonner have returned from a sabbatical and pregnancy, respectively; superstars such as Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner, Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Candace Parker look ready to build on their legendary careers; while up-and-comers such as Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart look to truly come into their own.

Honestly, it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting WNBA seasons yet.
Here are 10 of the biggest storylines to watch this summer.

Jessica Luther, Complex: Skylar Diggins-Smith Wants the WNBA to Win: ‘You Can’t Be What You Can’t See’

Most would say that Skylar Diggins-Smith is competitive. But anyone who’s spent time with the Dallas Wings point guard knows that’s an understatement. She’s always going hard. It’s a Monday evening in Las Colinas, a suburb northwest of Dallas, and Diggins-Smith is bowling with a group of friends, which includes her husband, Daniel Smith—a former wide receiver at Notre Dame—and Wings head coach, Fred Williams. Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, “You either do skating or you bowl,” she says.

We’re in the VIP section of Pinstack, one of those all-in-one entertainment complexes where aside from bowling, you can climb a rock wall, ride in bumper cars, play arcade games, or drink at the bar. To start, Diggins-Smith and her husband play on separate air hockey tables because the newlyweds—who just celebrated their first wedding anniversary—decided it’s healthier for their relationship if they don’t compete against one another. But the habit is hard to break.

Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report: PUT SOME RESPECT ON CANDACE PARKER’S NAME: As she begins her 11th WNBA season, Candace Parker drops knowledge on what it’s like being an OG in the game with plenty left in the tank.

Say hello to the bad guy, they say I’m a bad guy / I come from the bottom but now I’m mad fly / They say I’m a menace, that’s the picture they paint / They say a lot about me, let me tell you what I ain’t.

Candace Parker loves Jay-Z’s “Say Hello.” She too has been labeled many things: egotistical, standoffish to the media, difficult to play with, settles for too many jumpers, is too intense and argues with the referees too much.

“A lot of people love her, and a lot of people on the court hate her because of how good she is, how talented she is, but also because of the confidence she exudes,” says Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike. “She’s very, very misunderstood.”

Ava Wallace, Washington Post: Monique Currie never really left Washington, but she’s changed on her return to Mystics

Monique Currie had almost made it to the end of her first media appearance back in a Washington Mystics jersey when guard Tayler Hillcut into the semicircle of reporters to ask for a selfie. Hill slung an arm around Currie, who immediately threw up a peace sign for the photo op before Hill skipped away. When the interview finished, Currie slapped low five with a passing Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and laughed with Coach-General Manager Mike Thibault.

On that morning this month, Currie was one of just two non-rookies milling about Capital One Arena who didn’t play for Washington last year; Thibault had added her and fifth-year pro Devereaux Peters as free agents during the offseason. But Currie didn’t seem like a newbie.

“D.C. has always been home,” she said.

More at B/R: Roundtable: Experts on What to Expect in the 2018 WNBA Season

You might be one of many fans lamenting the approach of a long summer with “no basketball,” but here’s the thing: There will be basketball. World-class basketball, in fact, courtesy of the ballers of the WNBA, who are tipping off the league’s 22nd season Friday.          

Start with 12 teams, a 34-game season, and one rivalry—the Los Angeles Sparks vs. Minnesota Lynx—that resulted in one of the highest-rated finalsever last year. Add stars such as Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, who’ve returned stateside after dominating overseas, and rookies such as A’ja Wilson, Azura Stevens and Jordin Canada, who are bringing the buzz from the NCAA tournament as they prepare to make their WNBA debuts. Now, all that’s left is to sort things out on the hardwood.

Lyndsey D’ArcAngelo, Them: The WNBA’s Most Outspoken Gender-Nonconforming Player Is Over Shame

Layshia Clarendon isn’t going to apologize for who she is. She’s come into her own as one of the WNBA’s only gender-nonconforming players, and her LGBTQ+ advocacy and raw authenticity is a rainbow that pierces through dark clouds of conformity in professional sports. In an interview with them., she says she isn’t going to “dim my light” in order to make other people more comfortable, no matter what. And she means it.

Clarendon’s identity as a gender-nonconforming individual, a devout Christian, a person of color, a lesbian, and a professional basketball player have all been diametrically tied to one another. And as she’s grown more confident in who she is, embracing every single part of herself along the way, her confidence on the basketball court has become paramount to her success.

Shea Serrano, The Ringer: The WNBA Season Is Tipping Off

The WNBA season starts Friday. That’s exciting because, among other things, (1) this past WNBA Finals, in which the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Los Angeles Sparks, was the highest-rated WNBA Finals in 14 years, which means things are trending upward; and also (2) this past NCAA women’s tournament produced the best, most electric, most suspenseful final three games of any basketball tournament in recent memory, and the buzz from that is still soaking the atmosphere, so let’s hurry up and get started here, is the thinking.

As such, maybe you (like me) are feeling like you want to spend more time watching WNBA games this season. But maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of learning a new kind of game on the fly (like I was), and new game rules on the fly (like I was), and new game schemes and game tendencies and game actions and game reactions and game terminology on the fly (like I was). If that’s the case, then you can take the rest of this article as a CliffsNotes of sorts for the WNBA, because it’s different from the NBA, which I know because there’s an extra letter in it, which makes it different, because that’s how “different” works.

Michael Baumann, The Ringer: In A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Could Finally Have a Superstar Athlete to Call Its Own

Wilson’s South Carolina teams were electrifying, but not in the fast-moving, dangerously beautiful way in which we usually use that word in sports. Last year’s Oregon team — with its fast-paced, outside-shooting-based offense — was traditionally electrifying. South Carolina basketball is electrifying in the “NOT ONLY WILL THIS KILL YOU, IT WILL HURT THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE DYING” sense of the word.

Last year, South Carolina finished third in the nation in free throw attempts, 10th in field goal percentage, third in blocked shots, and 26th in rebounding margin. It was, by contrast, tied for 238th out of 349 teams in made 3-pointers. Not only was this not Oregon-style, this wasn’t even the preppy, Disney movie bad-guy dominance of UConn — South Carolina was like a glacier, advancing slowly, and flattening the landscape in its path.

Tamryn Spruill, Swish Appeal: Basketball legend Diana Taurasi teams up with BodyArmor in ad honoring her greatness

So, what goals remain for a human who already has won it all? For starters, Taurasi is laser-focused on the minutiae — the individual stones that pave the path towards bigger things.

“I’ve said it a lot, where you go into a training camp and all you talk about is championships and you forget to do all the work and the next thing you know, you lose in the semifinals,” said Taurasi. “I think this team has put together a roster where we should compete for a championship and it should be talked about, to win a title. But that only happens when you do the work … when you show up every single day ready to play, and ready to compete, respecting your opponents.” 

Over at WomensHoopsWorld, Jim Clark takes a deep dive into the Sun.

The Sun went from a ninth-place league finish in 2016 to fourth last season, and sprinted into the playoffs for the first time in five years by winning 19 of their final 21 regular-season games. They scored an average 86 points per game, blistering some opponents – including the powerhouse Minnesota Lynx – to whom they gave their first loss.

The emergence of 6-6 center Jonquel Jones from “who?” into an All-Star was the most obvious difference-maker for Connecticut, as she averaged a double-double and led the league in rebounds all season long in her sophomore year.

Jones was not alone in her advancement, however. Both veteran point guard Jasmine Thomas and second-year guard Courtney Williams improved in nearly every statistical category, providing support for the brilliance of Jones and the rock-steady play of forward Alyssa Thomas. That core group can take the Sun back to the playoffs. The most enticing question, as the season begins, is how much impact the return of 2014 Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike and top-three pick Morgan Tuck will have to elevate the Sun to truly elite status.

Sharon Shabazz adds: Sky view: Alaina Coates is ready for her rookie season and Joe Veyera has Newly-deep Storm looking to get back to winning ways

Also – if you aren’t checkin’ High Post Hoops, you’re missin’ out…

In other news….anyone noticing a pattern? Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture

As with Tyndall, USC chose not to report the physician to authorities when top administrators learned of misconduct allegations.

The scandals have many inside and outside the university asking how both doctors could have operated in such sensitive positions for so long and whether USC was more concerned with keeping the allegations of misconduct secret than trying to fully investigate them.

“It was an egregious violation of its societal responsibilities for USC to keep quiet about Dr. Tyndall’s misconduct,” said Nancy Jecker, a professor of bioethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Far from remaining neutral, silence took sides with power and privilege while failing to safeguard vulnerable patients.”

#WNBAAllDay

and stay in for some Sunday WNBA basketball…’cause EVERYBODY PLAYS!!!! (Get your twitter schedule here)

1pm Connecticut v Las Vegas:

Indiana v. Washington

3pm: Atlanta v. Dallas

5pm: Los Angeles v. Minnesota

7pm: Westchester v. Chicago

9pm: Phoenix v. Seattle

Until then:

The Fever were ahead. And then they were very much not. Indy Star’s Matthew Van Tryon: Young Indiana Fever team gets rude awakening in season-opener

Indiana Fever rookie and former IndyStar Miss Basketball Stephanie Mavunga took the microphone before the team’s season opener and thanked the crowd for coming to support the team, receiving a loud ovation. It was just another sign that the focal point of this team going forward will be its youth.

But an 82-64 loss to the Chicago Sky showed that there will be growing pains along the way.

From highlights the two main contributors in Chicago’s season-opening win against the Indiana Fever: Allie Quigley & Diamond DeShields.

BTW, from Babcok McGraw: As season opens, Chicago Sky will lean on its depth

“Depth is one thing that we have that few teams do,” Stocks said. “A lot of teams will have a seven-player rotation and I think we will be able to get productive minutes from 10 players every game.”

In fact, Stocks is so committed to playing a deep bench that she is already planning on a slightly unusual rotation that includes two sets of starters.

Hashtag Basketball has The Morning After: Mercury vs Wings

Jack Maloney at Medium: DeWanna Bonner shines, shows versatility in triumphant return to Mercury lineup

This season, however, the Mercury just might have what it takes to return to championship contention and prevent a three-match between the Sparks and Minnesota Lynx in the Finals. They made a number of nice moves this offseason to improve their team, but if they are able to get back to contender status, one of the main reasons why will be DeWanna Bonner. The lanky, versatile 6–4 forward is back in action after missing all of last season on maternity leave, and provides a much-needed boost on both ends of the floor.

Listen up: Hear Coach Thibault break down camp, the new season, the state of the WNBA.

From The Athletic – who should have the WNBA as one of the leagues they list on the “curate your reading” page – The Lynx-Sparks rivalry will waste no time getting intense this time around (bummer Parker is a scratch for the game)

When you are as intense as the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker, the thought of standing through a championship ring ceremony for the team you lost to in the WNBA Finals is an uncomfortable scenario.

When the WNBA unveiled its schedule in February with the Minnesota Lynx and Sparks meeting opening day at Target Center in a rematch of the past two WNBA Finals, Parker voiced her displeasure with the league:

Also: Extended Q&A with Cheryl Reeve on her future, balancing two roles and more

When The Athletic sat down with Lynx GM and coach Cheryl Reeve and assistant GM Clare Duwelius this offseason, a lot of ground was covered in the hour-long conversation.

The bulk of the chat served as the framework for a story on Tuesday that detailed Reeve’s efforts to keep the Lynx dynasty rolling and the newly structured front office setup with Duwelius as her right-hand woman.

There was a lot that had to be left on the cutting room floor. So here are some excerpts of the conversation on Reeve’s desire to one day get into ownership, her appetite to continue coaching and raising her family in Minnesota, edited for clarity and length.

Howard at the Athletic: Storm’s offseason additions could mean a return to WNBA’s elite

In other, related news: Michigan State Will Pay $500 Million to Abuse Victims. What Comes Next?

And Diana says, “Hello, remember me?” Familiar faces return, but familiar star Diana Taurasi leads Mercury past Wings

In a WNBA season opener that had some intriguing comeback stories — including the return of Dallas center Liz Cambage — the star of the game was that player who for so long has made defenses groan, “Ugh, she never goes away.”

Or as Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner put it, “Still the GOAT — that’s exactly what she is.”

Jeff Metcalfe, AZ Central: Diana Taurasi hits 1,000th career 3-pointer in Mercury’s season-opening win

Now there is definite proof that it’s better to not play basketball with a wedding hangover.

The Phoenix Mercury tried that, not by choice, last season and managed all of 58 points in a 10-point loss to the Dallas Wings on the day after celebrating Diana Taurasi’s marriage to Penny Taylor.

Friday night, again against the Wings, the Mercury broke away in the third and fourth quarters for an 86-78 victory to kick off the WNBA’s 22nd season.

High Post: Brittney Griner and Liz Cambage duel to open the 2018 WNBA season

For Griner, the change may need to be more of a mental one. The Mercury have been grooming her to take Taurasi’s spot as the heart of the franchise and a leader in the locker room for two years now. She is getting more comfortable, but that fire flickers out from time to time.

The next adjustment will be to a force out of her control — WNBA officiating. Griner is an impossible player to call fairly, with length to interrupt every shot and strength to ignore defense played against her. At war with Cambage, Griner gave the referees no chance, sitting for large portions of the game in foul trouble.

Did you miss the game ’cause you were having dinner with your second cousins? NO WORRIES. Revisit it: Free Through 5/24: Watch Live WNBA Games

Post final cuts: Drop Off: tough roster decisions, value of versatile shooters

Appreciate all the concerns about the W having “too much talent” and needing more franchises. Thoughts:

  1. Let’s stabilize the following franchises first, shall we? New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas
  2. Let’s get in-person attendance up to 75% per team.
  3. Let’s get TV viewership up 20%
  4. Let’s get more games on TV.
  5. Let’s get online viewership up 20%
  6. Let’s see how many teams distribute minutes across their bench
  7. Then, let’s find business-savvy people with $15-20 million in their account who are ready to spend it and have a five-year plan

For the Win: WNBA rookie A’ja Wilson is just excited she doesn’t have to go to class after her 1st game

Love this woman: Scott D. Pierce: Still battling cancer, Utahn Holly Rowe gets a chance to call a WNBA game for ESPN

I’m such a sap: Delino DeShields and his sister, WNBA star Diamond, had an adorable embrace before Rangers

High Post Hoops offers: Top 20 WNBA players countdown, ranked for the 2018 season: Part 1

18 players have been waived in the past two days. More cuts are coming both today and tomorrow. Shaping a WNBA roster can be difficult for a variety of reasons.

Five teams in particular stand out.

Also: The Chosen Three: Indiana Fever 2018 team preview

Show them your money! WNBA extends deal with FanDuel, offers contest for Las Vegas trip as Bettors back Aces at long odds to win WNBA title

Need some help? Forbes: The Pareto Principle And Forecasting The WNBA

No surprise: Minnesota Lynx sit atop preseason AP WNBA power poll – again

.com: Race to MVP: Brittney Griner Leads Preseason Rankings

SportsTechie: WNBA President Lisa Borders Previews the Future of Women’s Basketball

Michelle Smith: Inside The W: 22 Questions Heading into the WNBA’s 22nd Season

SB Nation: 3 reasons to be stoked about the new WNBA season

.com: Preseason Power Rankings: Can Anyone Catch the Lynx and Sparks?

All the “stick to sports” fans are gonna be pissed. And I’m lovin’ it: The WNBA Is Starting a New Season—Of Activism—By Asking Fans to ‘Take a Stand’ and  The WNBA Is Standing With Planned Parenthood

The WNBA season opens tonight, and the league announced Thursday the “Take A Seat, Take A Stand” program; for each ticket purchased, the league will donate $5 to one of six organizations that focus on issues key to women’s lives—and one of those organizations is Planned Parenthood.

Given the history of activism with WNBA players, this isn’t the biggest surprise—but it’s still pretty significant.

With the new NIKE gear (almost) here, some food for thought: At Nike, Revolt Led by Women Leads to Exodus of Male Executives

For too many women, life inside Nike had turned toxic.

There were the staff outings that started at restaurants and ended at strip clubs. A supervisor who bragged about the condoms he carried in his backpack. A boss who tried to forcibly kiss a female subordinate, and another who referenced a staff member’s breasts in an email to her.

Then there were blunted career paths. Women were made to feel marginalized in meetings and were passed over for promotions. They were largely excluded from crucial divisions like basketball. When they complained to human resources, they said, they saw little or no evidence that bad behavior was being penalized.

Finally, fed up, a group of women inside Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., headquarters started a small revolt.

WBHOF

World’s largest basketball at Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame gets 80-gallon paint job

NCAA

East Bay Times: Cal athletic department employee fired after report verifies sex assault allegations

After a months-long investigation sparked by a star basketball player’s allegations of sexual assault, UC-Berkeley has fired a longtime ​official in its athletic department ​for conduct involving at least seven women athletes, bringing the university’s long struggles with sexual harassment into the #metoo era.​

Mohamed Muqtar, 61, who served as assistant director of student services, was ​let go​ May 11​, a story first reported by ESPN.​ It is not clear when the university was first informed of claims against him​; ESPN reported that a former Cal instructor said she had twice in the past raised concerns with the athletic department after hearing from female athletes but was told nothing could be done unless the athletes themselves came forward.

​Muqtar’s alleged behavior​, which involved no fewer than seven women athletes over 20 years, ​finally burst into the open in January when Layshia Clarendon, a standout guard at Cal who currently plays professionally in the WNBA, filed a civil suit that launched a four-month investigation.

Cool that the dean of CUNY’s School for Professional Studies and I were chatting about this: Lindsay Whalen Juggles Jobs as a W.N.B.A. Player and an N.C.A.A. Coach

Lindsay Whalen had already secured her legacy in the state of Minnesota.

She led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team to a Final Four as a player, after growing up in Hutchinson, Minn., about an hour’s drive from campus. After a successful tenure with the Connecticut Sun, she returned to Minnesota in 2011 to join the Lynx, and served as point guard for four W.N.B.A. championship teams and two other trips to the finals, a vital cog in the most sustained success by any group in league history.

And yet there was a new reason to cheer this month when Whalen joined her teammates on “Minnesota Lynx Night” at Target Field before a Twins game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Just kidding! She’s back! Bianca Cuevas-Moore not leaving the Gamecocks after all

Long term planning: Women’s Basketball: Huskies set to face Vanderbilt in 2018 Hall of Fame Showcase

Building the Dam: 2018-2019 Oregon State Women’s Basketball: A Way Too Early Preview

WNDU TV: ND women’s basketball’s traveling trophy series kicks off in SB

Anonymous Eagle: Marquette Women’s Basketball Announces Addition Of Amanda Maqueia

Since the Marquette women’s basketball season ended in March, the Golden Eagles have undergone two somewhat unexpected departures. First, it was Myriama Smith-Traore announcing her decision to transfer, and then it was Olivia Moskari being a surprise additionto the senior tribute section at the end of season banquet.

That left head coach Carolyn Kieger with three open scholarships for this coming fall instead of the lone spot that was expected. On Tuesday, the team announced that they’ve filled one of those spots with junior college transfer Amanda Maqueia.

High School

Congrats! She’s good people: Talawanda High School names Mary Jo Huismann as its next girls’ basketball coach

The Talawanda Board of Education approved the hiring of the Ohio Basketball Hall-of-Famer and former longtime Mother of Mercy High School coach at its meeting.

“She is not only a proven winner but she also has knowledge of building a program and also has great leadership,” Talawanda Athletic Director Wes Cole told WCPO. “Those qualities stood out with our interview committee. We were looking for someone to build our entire program from the youth levels to high school.”

Huismann is just four wins from becoming the third Ohio high school girls’ basketball coach in history to win 700 career games, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association

Anxious times for all awaiting news of “cut” or “keep.” Thursday’s a comin’…

Las Vegas Review: Aces rookie center Ji-Su Park impresses with skill, enthusiasm

Check out   for their, “O, Canada!” tweets.

Rob Knox: Mississippi State Grad Victoria Vivians’ Rookie Debut Under Way With Indy

It hasn’t taken long for Indiana Fever rookie guard Victoria Vivians to find her way to one of Indianapolis’ best eating spots: A mouth-watering soul food restaurant called Country Kitchen.

“I had the fried catfish and the greens,” a smiling Vivians said prior to the Fever’s second preseason game against the Washington Mystics at the University of Delaware Saturday night. “Everything was good. Indianapolis is a great city and I am grateful to be there. I can’t wait to play there in front of the fans in an official game.”

Ciao! An Italian Economist From 1906 Helps Preview The WNBA East

Minnesota CBS local: Playing Horse With The WNBA Vet Who’s Never Made A 3-Pointer

Wings: Inside the Paint: Coach Taj

,com: 2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The New York Liberty Work

espn: Just how far can every WNBA team go this season?

The 2018 WNBA season tips off Friday, and even those teams who didn’t make the playoffs last summer — Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana and Las Vegas (then in San Antonio) — have reasons to believe they can get back to the postseason. Minnesota and Los Angeles, the titans of the past two seasons, return enough talent to once again be favorites for the championship. But they aren’t guaranteed to make the WNBA Finals, as some other teams are hungry to get their shot at winning a title.

Here’s a look at what could be the best-case scenario for every WNBA squad in 2018 — and also what could be the worst case.

For the Win:Meet the mom behind the most successful family in women’s hoops

The Undefeated: Motherhood is the guiding light in Los Angeles Sparks Candace Parker’s life

NCAA

The State: Build that statue! A’ja Wilson receives a very special graduation present from USC

The sign sits on the edge of the desk, almost missed among an office — populated by books, binders, plaques and the like — your basic head basketball coach’s office. The sign, with its inscription, is quite adept at drawing the visitor in.
Teach. Love. Inspire.

The sign sits in Stephanie Gaitley’s office at Fordham. Interestingly, it almost perfectly sums up her three-plus decades as a head coach, a career that recently added MBWA Maggie Dixon Coach of the Year honors to an illustrious resume. This past season, Gaitley led the Rams to second-round WNIT appearance, furthering the winning culture she established upon her arrival in 2011.

Debbie Antonelli was in Indiana broadcasting a WNBA game when she got the call in early July 2011. It was from her friend Robin Pingeton, fresh off her first season as Missouri’s women’s basketball coach.

She probably wanted to talk about recruiting, Antonelli figured. Robin left a voicemail. She was in the hospital. She’d just had a baby.

BTW: Have you been paying attention, NCAA? USOC can’t just look ahead to better sex abuse prevention. It must face its failures.

Presumably, the leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee don’t wake up in the morning saying, “I want to enable child molesters.” They don’t go to work every day intending to help peddle young women to sexual abusers. Yet somehow, the USOC became a victimizer of athletes instead of their protector.

It’s hard to say what’s more sickening to read, the graphic descriptions of coaches rubbing up against their young charges or the chronology of years-long inaction by USOC administrators that left athletes vulnerable.

 

Survive and advance…

That’s how teachers feel about May and how, I’m sure, many of those battling for spots on W teams feel, too.

Keep up with who’s cut/who’s not via the .com transactions page and your team’s roster. Might recommend you follow your team on twitter, as updating can be…slow. Also, Welcome to the WNBA: Good Luck Finding a Job

“Ball! Ball! Ball!” a chorus of players screamed inside the University of Southern California’s Galen Center, where the Los Angeles Sparks were holding training camp. The gym was filled with W.N.B.A. stars like Candace Parker, Odyssey Sims and Alana Beard, but the voices ringing out loudest were the rookies competing for a spot on the team.

Winning a spot will be no easy feat with the Sparks coming off back-to-back W.N.B.A. finals appearances.

Shakayla Thomas, who was the team’s second-round pick in last month’s draft, is one of those rookies. A star at Florida State, she is not guaranteed a roster spot despite being drafted, and she could be packing her bags in a matter of days.

NCAA.com: A record 4 Ivy Leaguers trying to make WNBA teams

Lynx

Times Herald-Record: Lynx set sights on back-to-back WNBA titles

ESPN: Lynx duo Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles bring out the best in each other

How is this possible? In the NFL, it means you can’t play quarterback! Minnesota Lynx WNBA Star Rebekkah Brunson Credits Vegan Diet for Career Longevity

Listen up! Lynx Radio

Storm

.com2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Seattle Storm Work

Mystics

.com 2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Washington Mystics Work

Mercury

.com: 2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Phoenix Mercury Work

.com: 2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The Chicago Sky Work

Aces
Wings
Sun
Liberty
OMG, I actually got an email from the New York Liberty asking me to buy single tickets! *insert shocked face* Yes, the sarcasm is deep this morning.
Fever
Atlanta
Other W Stuff

First up on the show, Brenda, Shireen, Lindsay, and Jessica reflect on this year and look forward to the next one.

Then, Lindsay interviews sure-to-be-a-legend Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics about Adam Silver’s recent comments about the WNBA, how WNBA president Lisa Borders is doing, and EDD publicly coming out.

Up next, Wyomia Tyus — a two-time olympian, track legend, and author — joins Amira to talk about Tyus’ experiences playing sports in the Jim Crow South, the 1968 Olympics, and athletic protest. They also preview Tyus’ memoir, Tigerbelle: The Wyomia Tyus Story.

Then the BIAD crew, once again, talks about diversity in sports media (or lack thereof).

As always, you’ll hear the Burn Pile, Bad Ass Women of the Week, and what’s good in our worlds.

Which makes this wicked important: WNBA to Work with Sylvain Labs on Growth Opportunities

NCAA

Listen up! Blake speaks with Emily Potter

Former Utah WBB player Emily Potter talks to me about her decision to write an article for her school newspaper that detailed her battle with depression. We talk about what it took to get to that point, her low points in that fight and what her life has been like since the article. We also discuss her food instagram, her homemade cake pops and her love of Christmas.

If you’re looking for a great place to combine Thanksgiving turkey and basketball, check this out: UNC Basketball: Tar Heels to participate in Paradise Jam and  UConn basketball’s 2018 Paradise Jam bracket revealed

Slap the Sign: Notre Dame Basketball: NBA Coach Seeks Advice from Notre Dame’s McGraw

Notre Dame Insider: Notre Dame’s shooting star: Arike Ogunbowale’s journey filled with big shots, big moments

Rev’em up, coachWhirlwind start for new BG basketball coach Fralick

Good luck! New Georgia State basketball coach, Gene Hill is a proven winner

That’s one! Scalia commits to play for Whalen, Gophers That’s two! Gophers basketball lands four-star guard

Daily News Journal: 3 ways Matt Insell’s hiring gives MTSU basketball a needed spark

HelloAgnus Berenato to Give Commencement Speech at Mount St. Mary’s

ByeLawson leaves Purdue basketball program

ByeWilson Central basketball star Kendall Spray leaving UT Martin for Clemson

Bye: Sabrina Haines transferring from ASU basketball

Hello: Danni Williams transfers to Texas

Hello: Purdue basketball adds Texas Tech transfer

Thank you: Jim Foster made immeasurable contributions to basketball

Foster — who retired Tuesday after 40 years with 903 wins and as the only coach to take four different teams (Saint Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Chattanooga) to the NCAA tournament — expected people to pay attention and think for themselves. That included his players, his assistant coaches, the media and even fans.

He wanted to know what you knew. And if it was obvious you didn’t know anything, he wanted to know why. There was no excuse for that.

Thank you: Central Valley basketball coach Freddie Rehkow resigns

Central Valley girls basketball coach Freddie Rehkow resigned from the position on Tuesday morning after 21 years, citing the desire to concentrate on the needs of his family.

“My boys need me, my wife needs me,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

Rehkow coached the 2017-18 Bears to a state 4A title, their second in three seasons, and won a postseason national invitation tournament in New York.

Thank you: Stan Swank Announces Retirement After 31 Years as Basketball Coach

The end of an incredible era of winning has arrived. After 31 years as Edinboro University’s women’s basketball coach, Stan Swank has announced his retirement.
 
Swank completed his 31st season as Edinboro’s head coach recently. He departs as the all-time winningest coach in PSAC basketball history, both men’s and women’s basketball, with a 581-305 record. He broke the PSAC record for career victories with his 560th career win on December 2 at Mansfield, breaking the record previously held by Bloomsburg’s Charles Chronister.

Thank you: Kennard-Dale basketball coach to retire after reviving program

When he agreed to take a junior varsity position with the Kennard-Dale girls’ program four years ago, he still didn’t think another varsity head coaching job was in his future. 

But it was. Rudisill accepted the top girls’ job at Kennard-Dale in 2016, and turned the Rams from a losing team into a state playoff qualifier in just two seasons. 

That turnaround is giving him peace of mind as he steps away from coaching.

A loss: Clare Droesch, former Boston College guard, dies at 36. From the Daily News’ Kristie Ackert: Remembering NYC high school hoops legend Clare Droesch 

The thing I remember about Clare Droesch was not so much the natural way she found the basket. It wasn’t so much the sweet jump shot that took her from Christ the King to the national stage at Boston College. It wasn’t even her self-assuredness on the court or the dry sense of humor she had.

The thing that alway stuck with me about Clare was the respect that other players had for her.

Good reading

From my former WBMagazine editor, Lois Elfman: Panel Tackles Issues of Sexism, Misogyny and Patriarchy

On Feb. 27, 2018, renowned journalist, award-winning writer and media consultant Carol Jenkins hosted a dynamic panel discussion at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. The panelists for “Urgent Conversations: Sexism, Misogyny and Patriarchy, Where Do We Go from Here?” included journalist Susan Chira, attorney and commentator Wendy Kaminer, social justice advocate Carol Robles-Román and cultural anthropologist Dr. Bianca C. Williams.

As the lone academic on the panel, Williams, associate professor in the anthropology program at the CUNY Graduate Center, provided insights into her work, experiences and perspective in academia.

Holy sexist bullshit: Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel: D’Amato: Time not right for Becky Hammon to coach Bucks

What they need is an experienced coach with a strong personality to get them to the next level. I’m not saying Hammon can’t be that person. I’m saying it’s too big a risk to find out whether she is or isn’t.

***

But what if she failed? What if the team took a step backward under her leadership? The Bucks would come under fire for allowing a “social experiment” to derail their title aspirations. Critics would howl that the ownership group was out of touch, that the team wasted two or three years of Antetokounmpo’s prime on a publicity stunt.

It’s just too big a gamble for a team teetering between good and potentially great.

Players Tribune: An Open Letter About Female Coaches

The reason I wanted to start by telling you about my parents, is that their story makes me think about today’s NBA. Specifically about how, in the 72-year history of the league, there has never been a female head coach. Even more specifically, it makes me think of Becky Hammon: a coach who has been the topic of much conversation lately, and who I’ve had the opportunity to play for in San Antonio.

But if you think I’m writing this to argue why Becky is qualified to be an NBA head coach … well, you’re mistaken. That part is obvious: One, she was an accomplished player — with an elite point guard’s mind for the game. And two, she has been a successful assistant for arguably the greatest coach in the game. What more do you need? But like I said — I’m not here to make that argument. Arguing on Coach Hammon’s behalf would feel patronizing. To me, it would be strange if NBA teams were not interested in her as a head coach.

Sarah Spain: ‘Area 21’ authentically embraces women athletes

It’s late April in Atlanta and a heated debate breaks out on the set of TNT’s “Area 21.” The show’s host, former Timberwolves and Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, is halfway out of his chair with excitement, while former Sonics great Gary Payton is cackling away on a nearby couch. Both men are focused on Candace Parker, who’s going off, analyzing the moves of Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Antetokounmpo crip walks down the court! He be doing this,” the Los Angeles Sparks superstar and two-time WNBA MVP exclaims while pantomiming the dance’s footwork from her leather armchair, “and then dunks! He euros eight times! … I don’t understand how you stop him when he can travel!”

Garnett has been waiting for this opportunity to unearth an old debate.

“Right after she gets done, ask the question!” he interrupts, yelling over to Larry Lacksen, a.k.a. Wonder Boy, who’s seated at a giant wooden desk underneath an illuminated “Area 21” sign.

“This is a relevant question here from Derek,” says Wonder Boy, reading a viewer question from a laptop. “Gary Payton, is Candace Parker’s post move a travel?’

“Oh, we’re going to the court!” Parker yells. “Oh, we’re going!”

Dad on Friday, where I got to hear Vijay Seshadri read.

Mom Saturday and Sunday, where we got to take a walk, see a golden retriever who’d found the only mud puddle around, and eat a yummy BLT. This morning, the tufted titmice are claiming spring is here with their insistent “Peter, peter, peter” and there’s a downy woodpecker crawling up a tree. Life is good.

Meanwhile, lordy Mr. Silver, do better (Adam Silver: One of the WNBA’s problems is that not enough young women pay attention to it). Sigh.

Katie Barnes: A shift in the WNBA season? Show me the money

Would having the WNBA’s season run during the fall and winter help improve the league’s profitability? That’s a question NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he contemplates, according to an interview Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up.”

“It’s been harder to get people to come to the games,” Silver said. “It may be because the games are in the summer. One of the things we’ve talked about is do we need to shift to the so-called more natural basketball season sort of in the fall and winter?”

It’s not a new thought. Traditionally the idea goes as follows: Summer is for swimming and flip flops; it’s for running outside, not lacing up high tops or sitting in dark arenas. And there’s some truth to that argument.

But the WNBA would need to vastly restructure its compensation agreements with players for this thought to ever gain traction.

Sue’s action steps from September, 2015: Marketing the WNBA? Here’s a plan

A response from Elena Delle Donne

Pick and Roll: Kristy Wallace: From injury nightmare to WNBA Dream

WLTX: A’ja Is Embracing Her New Role As A Headliner In Las Vegas

FoxReno: Catching up with Gabby Williams

Hey, ya wanna new gig? From the Minny Star Tribune: Women coaching men’s basketball? Why not a hugely successful Minnesota coach?

Who’s got game? Seattle’s mayor takes on WNBA star Sue Bird in HORSE

Feel like watching some basketball? High Post Hoops will catch you up WNBA players shine in EuroLeague Final Four: recap and highlights

BTW: Matchups Set for Women’s Medal Round at USA Basketball 3×3 National Championships

Feel like attending a conference? Check out the “Muslim Women in Sport Network Summit”  is their keynote speaker

A ground-breaking global virtual summit featuring some of the leading Muslim women experts in sport. The conference will showcase inspirational women in sport who lead, inform, and display innovative practices across the sport industry. From Sport for Development to Leadership and Athlete Advocacy, the focus will be on a call to action to purposefully pursue and embrace diversity as a critical enhancer to best practice in sport.

WATN? Kristin Haynie starts free basketball clinic for Benton Harbor students

NCAA

New hire: Lance White Named Pitt Women’s Basketball Head Coach

New hire: The La Salle Official Announcement of New Wbb Coach Mountain MacGillivray’s Hire

AP: South Carolina will look different, plans to have same success

Dawn Staley is ready to start a new chapter her South Carolina women’s basketball program.

The coach believes the program will continue its winning ways, albeit with a different look. The Gamecocks won’t be led by dominant post players, Staley will turn her focus to her backcourt.

’cause why the heck not? 2019 WNBA Draft: Way-too-early mock draft