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Archive for August, 2010

*waits for all the WNBA bashers and glass half emptiers to start writing smack*

From Seth at SBNation: New Diana Taurasi Contract Only One Year

But don’t panic, Taurasi doesn’t seem to have any intention of leaving the desert any time soon and made it clear when we spoke after practice today that her intent was to help the team.

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in Oregon? Longshots get another look at OSU women’s prospect camp

“Why not me?” said the 2007 graduate from Franklin High School. “I think I could play here if I was in good shape.”

Pin was joined by 54 other hopefuls — or is it wannabes? — in Corvallis, all of whom were thinking the same thing. Any other year at almost any other program the thought of hosting a walk-on camp would seem absurd, but this summer at Oregon State, anything is possible.

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Oh, oh…

*steps up on soapbox*

So, if you’re a regular reader of this blog (and it would appear that 600-800 of you are daily) you know how often I bang the “If you want coverage you have to advocate for coverage” drum.

My understanding from “those in the know” is that it’s no longer just about clicking on a link. It’s also about leaving comments.

Yah, while it’s annoying to register (use a yahoo-ish addy, kids, for that stuff) and the whole “Be the first to LIKE this” forced Facebook thing is even more annoying, it really needs to be done. ’cause if it’s not, then the coverage is going to continue to shrink.

SO — this is not really a test… think of it more as a challenge. Go to the Michelle Agins LENS link on the NY Times that features her slides from the 1998 NY Times Sunday Magazine. Leave a comment.

Right now there are 5. If 10% of the daily readers will step up, that would be and additional 60-80 people saying to Sports Editor Tom Jolly – “Hey, we want coverage and we’re willing to prove it.” Come on. I dare ya.

*steps off soap box*

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As the League worries its head

about when the Indy/NY v Atlanta series could possible start (Thurs? Sunday? – Space issues), some pre-Wed game reading.

First from the Lib:

We need your support plus your friends and family as we take on the Indiana Fever in a DO OR DIE game

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1 @ 7:30pm

We can’t do it alone…

Please forward this link to your friends and family!

Have them join in on the fun. And the price is right – no fees! Your friends pay what you pay as a thank you!  USE CODE: NYL Get Tickets Now

From the .com: Hoffman, Fever Hoping For Game-Three Win

From Chris Denari:

With their collective backs to the wall on Sunday night, the Indiana Fever protected home court and stayed alive in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series with New York, knocking off the Liberty 75-67 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The series is now tied at 1-1 and both teams have had 20-point leads on their home court. Now the Fever will look to do something they have never done in their first six trips to the playoffs: win a series while not holding home court advantage.

From Plenette Pierson’s blog (h/t pilight): From the Country Side to the Big Apple

I couldve never imagine being a Lib because there was such a big rivalry between the Libs and the Shock! I never thought that I could love New York City due to the fast pace style of life, but Ive found my second WNBA home. I think most of the fans here were on the fence about a sworn enemy joining their team but they soon learned to love me. It was clearly a breath of fresh air for me to be reunited with Taj and be able to be in a system that I could be as successful as I was in Detroit. I remember coming in to my first practice as a Liberty player and turning to Taj and saying “I cant remember the last time I set a screen on someone”. She laughed but I was serious, I thing throughout my time in training camp and the few games that I played in Tulsa I may have set 1 screen. Now that I have been here a while Im in the thick of things and picking up where I left off in Detroit. Now we are in the money time… Playoffs baby!

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Storm/Merc matchup

From Nate at SPNation: Storm WNBA Playoff Push: Regular Season Series With Mercury Generates More Hype Than Substance

…for all the excitement the regular season series might generate, as Cash said the Mercury are playing some of their best basketball right now and the Storm have really only played them once with mid-season acquisition Kara Braxton, who has added some additional muscle to their post rotation. In other words, the Storm aren’t exactly looking back at the regular season matchups, no matter what that might say to fans about how exciting this series could be.

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Praising ‘ice

It’s Jeff! Jeff Metcalfe! JEFF! Good to read you! Where ya been?

Phoenix Mercury’s Candice Dupree comes up big in WNBA playoff debut

Until last week, Candice Dupree was a three-time WNBA All-Star with zero playoff appearances.

By averaging 25.5 points and 9.5 rebounds – both team highs – in the Mercury’s Western Conference semifinal sweep of San Antonio, the 6-foot-2 forward proved she is postseason-ready and instrumental to the drive for a second consecutive championship.

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To grow a woman’s basketball program takes more than recruiting and knowing your X’s and O’s. It takes long hours marketing, working crowds, building relationships with local businesses and movers and shakers, and the support of your administration.

And, of course, it takes money. So it’s been cool that the NCAA has provided grants to help programs improve. The University of Dayton is one of the grantees:

Jahrling detailed in the proposal that UD has created such a strong program, and they could really use extra funding to increase awareness, exposure and attendance. More than half of the money received will be spent on video shoots in order to promote the girls and encourage future recruitment in the community.

“We really have a good product on the court, and we want to showcase that talent to everyone here and nationally,” she said.

Out of the 88 schools who applied for this grant, only 12 received some aid in the end. Jabir feels that along with the proposal written by Jahrling and Harper, his team’s recent success proves the opportunity this institution has to become a national spectacle.

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One of seven new members of the Lady Vols Hall of Fame.

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Oi! Oi!

From the Indy Star’s David Woods: Fever’s Bevilaqua shines at right moment – Veteran guard hits key 3-pointers

The Indiana Fever count on Tully Bevilaqua for leadership, defense and ball-handling. Three-pointers are bonuses.

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Tough loss: Deseree’ Byrd Will Not Return For the 2010-11 Season – Cardinals lose experienced point guard for the upcoming season

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*a little chess humor for ya*

You’ll never guess who the Rookie of the Year is.

Here’s here Team o’ Rooks.

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I lied

SO, if you think the Turkish Prime Minister is upset, what do you think the Czech PM’s reaction will be when he sees what FIBA has in store for the WOMEN’S World Championships!

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Like DE-FENCE!?!

Here’s your All-WNBA team.

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News from Istanbul

(not Constantinople)

Cheerleaders at (men’s)  basketball tourney vanish in Turkish PM’s presence

The famous quote “good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere” apparently needs an update: Cheerleader girls do not go where the Turkish prime minister is going.

I’m simply going to refrain from comment.

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from Bill Clark at the Columbia (MO) Daily Tribune: Basketball star a memorable player

During four years at Clinton High School (1946-49), Ol’ Clark lived in ignorance. I didn’t know high school girls played basketball.

Then I came to Boone County and, in 1955, became a high school basketball official. I quickly discovered high school girls not only played basketball, but, in some communities, the girls drew larger crowds than the boys.

My first girls’ assignments were at Hallsville and Harrisburg. It was at Harrisburg that I met my first female basketball superstar — Dulane Richards. In the old six-girl game, usually a team’s best player became the go-to shooter, often averaging well more than 20 points a game. Dulane was Harrisburg’s go-to girl.

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WNBA: Three Playoff Teams Get Extended Rest

The Guru is loathe to tell you exactly what day conference finals begin, probably Friday or Saturday, because when the conference semifinals schedule was released on the final night of the regular season some of the dates were quite different from what had been given to the Associated Press several days earlier.

One reason for the gap is, of course, allowances if any of the series went the entire three-game distance, which has now happened in the Indiana-New York series.

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Looking into the glass ball

From Kathy Orton at the Post: Washington Mystics must dertermine (sic) what comes next after playoff loss

In many ways, the season turned out much better than expected – except when it came to the playoffs where once again Washington came up short. The Mystics have lost eight consecutive postseason games and are 4-12 overall in the playoffs.

The organization has boldly stated that its goal is to win WNBA championships. But before that becomes realistic, the Mystics must first win a playoff game

and Washington Mystics General Manager Angela Taylor chats about this season and next season

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Yo, .com

Why can’t you even HINT at what the Eastern Conference Finals schedule is going to be? You KNOW that it’s going to be Atlanta @ Indy/NY.

Inquiring minds want to know… how tired the top seed is going to be.

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Neither opponent gave up…

….From DJ: The Los Angeles Sparks’ rocky season came to an end Saturday after an 81-66 loss to the Seattle Storm, but not for a lack of intensity or ingenuity.

From Kathy: In June, everyone told us not to worry — we would never make the postseason.  Everyone counted us out, and we were declared dead over and over.  But our team just wouldn’t die.

…From Seth: Becky Hammon continues to prove why she’s one of the great players in the game. Tough as nails but just too much to ask of her to carry the entire team.

From Terrence Thomas: The Silver Stars, however, overcame an overhaul of their roster, injuries and chemistry issues to earn the No. 3 seed in the West.

but from my end there was a sense of predictability about the Seattle and Phoenix sweeps.

And while the Western Conference match up isn’t exactly a “familiarity breeds contempt” series, there is an “all in the family” feel. Notes Mechelle:

…there is some cross-pollination in the Storm-Mercury matchup. Including, of course, with the longtime friendships that exist among various members of the teams, plus their collaboration on overseas squads. There is such a degree of familiarity between the Storm and the Mercury that scouting reports seem practically unnecessary.

What there hasn’t been, surprisingly, between the two franchises this summer is balance in the series, at least in terms of the outcome. Seattle won all five meetings. However, four of them were very close.

I predict 3 games, 4 Ts and the team with the UConn players on it moves on to the Finals.

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Those of us at the first Lib-Indy game had the good sense to breath a sigh of relief when Katie Douglas proved to be a non-factor. We’re not stupid. Catch is a lot to deal with. Catch AND Douglas? Makes us nervous.

Case in point? Last night’s game Katie wasn’t huge, but you could call her the difference maker. Writes Mechelle:  Katie Douglas, Fever force Game 3 – After subpar opener, Indy star’s tough defense, 13 points shine in Game 2

Admittedly, soap operas are going the way of the typewriter. But if you still are or ever were an addict, you know of those weird episodes when a show had to use the thespian equivalent of a pinch hitter.

If the actor who normally played the role was sick or otherwise briefly unable to perform, a replacement actor was used. Typically, the show’s announcer would do a little voice-over — “The part of Susan is being portrayed today by Jane Smith” — but it never stopped seeming strange to see a character who was so familiar to you suddenly look absolutely nothing like herself.

So … who knows? Maybe that’s kind of what happened with Indiana’s Katie Douglas in the Fever’s first-round series opener Thursday at New York. We say “kind of” because in this case, whoever was wearing jersey No. 23 for the Fever that night did bear a remarkable resemblance to the real Katie Douglas. She just didn’t play anything like her.

David Woods sounds downright bouncy: Fever still have plenty of fight – When game gets physical, the hosts overpower Liberty and force a decisive Game 3

With the Indiana Fever in peril of ending their season, they didn’t need additional motivation or agitation. The New York Liberty supplied that anyway.

Tamika Catchings didn’t like the shove from Cappie Pondexter. Didn’t like the look that Essence Carson gave after a halftime buzzer-beater. Didn’t like the bold talk from the Liberty afterward.

“Let’s go, let’s go,” Catchings said her response was. “If this is how we’re going to play, let’s go and have fun.”

Clearly, Catch didn’t suffer and “Post-Award” let down. Congrats to the winner of the Defensive Player of the Year and Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

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Check. It. Out. Ms. Agins! From the NY Times’ LENS section: Michelle Agins on Women’s Basketball

The simple way to tell the story is that Michelle Agins of the New York Times been shooting the Women’s National Basketball Association since its creation in 1997. Accurate enough, but the story goes deeper. You could trace it to the fact that Ms. Agins herself played hoops as a girl growing up in Chicago. It began in earnest when she started covering the women’s basketball team of the University of Connecticut, at Storrs. “I was watching them, year after year, growing into great players who had no place to go after college other than Europe,” Ms. Agins recalled. That was one reason she so enthusiastically welcomed the W.N.B.A.

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More Unexpecteds

Not to be outdone, Newsday does a pre-game day preview: Liberty expects tough road ahead at Indiana

It’s hard to deny that the WNBA’s new playoff format gives the second-seeded Liberty some margin for error in its Eastern Conference semifinal series against the third-seeded Indiana Fever.

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here’s a last “summer reading” book to add to your list. From the Title IX blog: A Title IX Must-Read: Getting In the Game

Hot off the press! Getting In the Game is a new book by Title IX expert Professor Debbie Brake from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. In the book, Brake examines how Title IX has affected and continues to affect many facets of college and scholastic athletics for men and women. Chapter by chapter, Brake identifies and analyzes the hard and interesting questions that Title IX raises, including the appropriateness of separate teams in the first place, whether and when girls should be able to try out for boys’ teams, how to measure equal opportunities (the three-part test), what counts as athletic opportunities (including the cheerleading issue), the effect of Title IX on men’s sports, the effect of Title IX on women of color (for more, see here), what constitutes equal treatment, the tension between equal treatment and acknowledging sex-differences (the pregnancy issue), and general aspects of the law, such as protection against sexual harassment and employment discrimination, that apply to athletics as well.

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if college sports are suffering from the economy, so are sports at the high school level.

This article from the Santa Cruz Sentinel lays out the story in Cali: Pay to play: High school athletics hit hard by budget cuts

Like most high school sports teams in Santa Cruz County, the Grizzlies and Wildcatz were forced to slash budgets and come up with new sources of income after the Pajaro Valley Unified School District and Santa Cruz City Schools cut an estimated $420,000 combined in athletics funding last year. Most programs are now entirely self-funded, which means some students’ families pay $150 for their kids to play a sport. Coaches earn far less or work for free while spending half their time fundraising the thousands of dollars it takes to pay for league dues, officials and equipment.

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Expect the Unexpected

As in, a pre-game day preview from Kristie Ackert at the Daily News. New York Liberty look to sweep Indiana Fever in WNBA playoffs, advance to East finals

That sigh of relief you hear is Liberty fans reading the news about Taj.

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the WBI is proud to welcome a new member to the Chapter in Florida.

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on her own blog to reflect on Atlanta’s win: Dream celebrates, but not with ‘Claw

Yet with the Dream having a well-deserved celebration after sweeping Washington, one couldn’t help but think that it’s a shame that – for a variety of reasons – we really haven’t seen Holdsclaw have that many triumphantly joyful moments in her pro career.

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Heeee’s Baaaaack!

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside and read a book, Richard drops in with his WNBA End-of-Season Awards Spectacular!

He’s got your MVP AND your LVP. Your DPY AND your WDPY! (I’m rather fond of the Neener Neener Award) Check it out.

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Why the Storm call Jana Vesela “Dirk” and other playoff notes, check out Q’s piece at Swish Appeal.

Over there you’ll also find Seth Pollack Breaking Down The Mercury Defense

I know, “Mercury” and “defense” aren’t exactly words that normally go together, but it was pretty clear last night that this team has made improvements on that side of the floor.

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That was simply a serious stomping by the Dream.

The coverage brings us the obligatory theme-related headlines:

SportsPageMagazine: Dream Conjures Amazing Run, Zaps Mystics Out of Playoffs

“I don’t think anybody in our situation has ever gone to the conference championship series,” she said, referring to the rapid progress from a 4-30 record two years earlier.  “And we have. I’m really proud of our team. I thought it was our defense and our rebounding.  And I thought that was the difference in the game.”

From Kathy Orton at the Washington Post: A nightmarish end to Mystics’ season

The Washington Mystics did a lot this season to earn respectability on the court. They set a franchise record for wins and earned the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

But when it came to the playoffs, it was the same old Mystics. Washington did nothing in the Eastern Conference semifinals to dispel its reputation for disappointing in the postseason.

The ESPN headliner must’nt have gotten the memo: Depth, chemistry carry Dream. Writes Mechelle:

In one of the scarier moments in this WNBA season, Atlanta’s Sancho Lyttle caught an elbow from Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles and was soon out cold. For the first week afterward, she had headaches. Then for the next week, she felt more fatigued than usual. Standard effects of a concussion, and something athletes and their teams must be very cautious about dealing with.

Eventually, as she recovered, she worked hard to return to playing like her normal self.

“You get hit, you get knocked out … you just gotta get back up and keep going,” a smiling Lyttle said earlier this summer. She was talking about her concussion, but she might as well have been speaking about the Dream’s season.

The AJC offers news and trivia: Happy birthday coach, the Dream sweeps playoff series 2-0

“This was by far the best birthday I’ve ever had as a professional coach,” Meadors said.

The SBNation takes the straight forward approach: Mystics Eliminated From Playoffs In A 2-Game Sweep By The Atlanta Dream

For the DC BasketCases It’s Over.

As a coda to it all, Kathy wonders if we’ll see Katie next year:

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