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Archive for May, 2011

Sky’s Christon Out 8 Weeks

In other W news: Pokey Chatman, Corey Gaines and Dan Hughes Discuss Launch of WNBA Season and so do Rebecca Lobo and Carolyn Peck

Candace Parker Offers Maya Moore Some Advice and Nate says the Indiana Fever Need To Fill Point Guard, Rebounding Voids

No surprise, the Turkish lab that messed with Taurasi and others has received a six month ban and Clay is Handicapping the 2011 WNBA Season

Diana Taurasi’s poorly handled drug “suspension” helped the Mercury, for one of the two or three best players in the world is fresher and healthier for this summer than in recent memory. But DT can’t be much better than she has been, and Penny Taylor is still, well, Penny Taylor, so the key for Corey Gaines and company is to get Kara Braxton to bring it every night – or, more realistically, two out of three nights. There’s not much depth behind the underrated DeWanna Bonner, but when all the cylinders are firing in synch (including, most critically, Braxton), the Mercury are a team to be feared.

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From Mechelle: Questions abound for 15th season – Lynx-Sparks tip off WNBA season Friday, followed by four games Saturday

Question: Will the Liberty under new coach John Whisenant end up being a hot mess?

Magic 8 Ball: “Ask again later.”

It seems our oracle orb is essentially tabling this question out of some respect for the 2005 WNBA title that Whisenant won in Sacramento, and the ability of New York guard Cappie Pondexter. But Liberty fans must be feeling a good deal of anxiety, which is not, unfortunately, new for them.

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A little W stuff

From Mechelle: Harding at home in Dream backcourt

“Sometimes I forget she wasn’t on the team last year,” Castro Marques said. “She brings a lot to this team; she’s the point guard we needed to push the ball more. Now, I think we really have what it takes.”

From Ben: 12 Days, 12 Previews: Washington Mystics, Tulsa Shock and New York Liberty.

I can’t help but feel Ben’s being wildly over-optimistic about the Lib this season. Yah, they have Cappie, but take a lesson from the Bulls and the Merc (in their off years). The Lib have done nothing to increase their offensive versatility. Add to this that, to my eyes, they are sorely lacking in the post — especially if Janel is out (which probably happened before Ben wrote this). They’re undersized and under-experienced, and that will impact both their offensive and defensive game.

Even with JMac in, I’m not sure why we should expect her to improve on her lackadaisical performance of last season. And hey, I’d love for Kia to serve me up some crow in three months by making “that game” into “her game,” but I don’t foresee it on the menu at The Rock. While I appreciate Nicole’s energy, it’s her efficiency that is in question. Honestly, unless Ms. Ford saunters in with a set of healthy knees, I expect Cappie to be swarmed and the Lib to be watching the playoffs from the sideline.

From Nate: 2011 WNBA Preview: Will The Seattle Storm Have A Good Enough Bench To Repeat?

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 Women’s U16 National Team Announced

“This was a difficult decision for the committee because we had so many talented players, who all played with tremendous heart and determination over the past four days,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and non-voting chair of the USA Women’s Developmental National Team Committee. “We feel very confident in the 12 athletes selected, and we look forward to watching them compete in just a few weeks at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.”

The HoopGurlz article reminds me that 15-year-olds don’t necessarily understand the difference between “political” and “philosophical” choices and that “convential wisdom” would be an interesting way to chose an entire team.

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NCAA approves hoops rules changes.

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This month, we bring you stories of African-American Wounded Warriors captured by the Department of Defense in honor of African American History Month. These are inspirational stories of overcoming adversity and challenges.

This week, we highlight former Specialist Danielle Green-Byrd(U.S. Army), who was originally profiled by Defense Media Activities as a part of their Wounded Warrior Diaries Series by Lt. Jennifer Cragg in January of 2009.

Specialist Danielle Green-Byrd was a Women’s Basketball  star at the University of Notre Dame before joining the Army, and deploying to Iraq in 2004.  In May of 2004, shortly after returning from her wedding in the United States,  Specialist Greene-Byrd was manning a station in Baghdad, when her post was attacked by insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades.

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from the New York Times: A Ballplayer. A Bookworm. A Killing.

They were two women from hard corners of Memphis who went to Central High School, one of the top performers in the city public school system. They were the first in their families to attend college, both going to Middle Tennessee State University on scholarships. Both were known for their focus, their love of family and their determination to make better lives for themselves.

***

On the evening of March 2, just before 7 p.m., an anonymous 911 call came in to the local police. Inside Apartment 321, officers found Stewart on the floor of her bedroom, dead from a stab wound. Madden was interviewed for more than an hour and a half by the police and finally admitted to the killing. She wrote down her final version in a two-page confession.

The families of the women have been devastated. Madden, who is out of jail on $100,000 bail, has claimed it was self defense, after Stewart started a fight. Serge F. Kovaleski of The New York Times interviewed family members, friends, coaches, teachers, law enforcement officials and lawyers. There are no good answers. Only a staggering dual loss, captured here in interview excerpts and a written confession that is at the center of the case: One success story from the streets of Memphis dead; another charged with first-degree murder and facing the possibility of life in prison.

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becoming a non-season subscriber (Oh, did I mention how professional and organized the “new” Lib are under Scott Oneil, MSG Prez? I got an email saying “My tickets are ready.” (You mean the ones you couldn’t figure out how to charge me for?) And that was followed up by a FedEx notice telling me my season tickets had arrived. (Oh, you mean the tickets for the season I opted out of IN DECEMBER?))

Anyhoo, I’m gone and now so is Janel. (?)

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On Margo

from Bridget Pettis: ‘Thank You Margo’

from Jayda and the Storm: Storm mourns loss of former WNBA player Margo Dydek

From Ailene Voisin: Margo Dydek was a sweet, gentle giant

 

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On Margo

from Jeff Jacobs at the Hartford Courant: Margo Dydek’s Many Friends Mourning

Bill Tavares remembers chatting courtside before a game with the public relations person from another WNBA team when she suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, my God!”

Tavares, the Sun’s media relations manager, thought something had gone horribly wrong. Instead, there was one of the other team’s players — usually surly, always with a scowl — rolling on the floor, roaring with laughter. Next to her, on her back stretching, sharing the joke, was a 7-foot-2 giant of a woman.

“The PR person for the other team was in awe,” Tavares said. “She said, ‘I have never seen [that player] smile. I didn’t know she could.’

“Afterward, I told Margo. Margo just smiled and said, ‘She is a very nice person but she doesn’t trust too many people. You just need to get to know her.'”

That is the essence of Malgorzata Dydek, who died Friday at age 37 in Brisbane, Australia.

Margo didn’t just meet the world. She got to know it.

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Damn

Małgorzata “Margo” Dydek, 1974-2011

https://i1.wp.com/media.scout.com/Media/Image/69/690608.jpg

https://i0.wp.com/www.thetallestman.com/images/margodydek/margodydek.jpg

http://www.thetallestman.com/images/margodydek/margodydek%20(14).jpg

The picture I wish I had available was the one where Debbie Black was hiding behind Margo back in her Utah Starzz days….

From Mechelle: Dydek popular with teammates, fans – Polish star will be remembered for her personality as well as her playing career

“As a basketball player, she impacted our franchise tremendously. But it’s amazing what a unifying force she is as far as everybody always referred to her as one of the best teammates they ever had. I can’t think of anybody who didn’t like her a lot. She just got what you’re supposed to be as a person, as a friend.”

Which is why the grief is so strong and so universal in the pro women’s basketball world now. Dydek, who had been in a coma since suffering a heart attack on May 19, died Friday in Brisbane, Australia, where she was coaching. Dydek, 37, was about three months pregnant with her third child. Her death was confirmed, but there were no further details as of late Thursday night in the United States.

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the WNIT preseason field has been announced.

The 16-team field for the 2011 Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament was announced today.

Top 10 teams Baylor, Notre Dame, and UCLA headline the field that also includes Akron, Chattanooga, Detroit, Drexel, ETSU, Hartford, Howard, Indiana State, Long Island, Manhattan, McNeese State, Tennessee Tech, and UAB.

The Preseason WNIT bracket will be announced in June. Click here for snapshot of the field.

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A little USA Bball

2011 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Championship Team Finalists Announced

“The fact that so many of these kids had played together for USA Basketball was a factor,” said Donohoe. “Certainly you like kids who have good experience, whether it’s USA Basketball experience or it’s experience playing together. It’s the same situation with any team that we select: what skill sets do those kids bring? How do you mold those skill sets together as one unit in order to win a gold medal.

“I’ve done this since 2004 and it was probably as challenging for us as any year that we’ve been here. Because there were so many talented players here, there were so many players who have had previous USA Basketball experience, those decisions were really hard. We were making changes as late as late last night. At a point we just said that we felt good about what we had. We put together two teams that we believe can be very successful, but it was a challenge.

Isn’t it nice to see Gemelos and Delle Donne in the mix for the 2011 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team?

From ESPN Rise: Make the cut: Sue Donohoe provides tips for U19 world championship team tryouts

Hmmm… Sue might want to suggest that if someone has a bone to pick, they avoid tweeting.

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No Moore

Moore leaves Sparks due to medical reasons

No siree! Lisa Leslie says she’s ‘not coming back’ to WNBA

No stopping. Sparks’ Thompson just keeps going

No. 2 & 3: 12 Days, 12 Previews: San Antonio Silver Stars and Connecticut Sun – Five keys to a successful season.

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Swoopes is ready for season with Shock

“It was a no-brainer,” Edwards said. “I mean, if she wasn’t (already) playing, how wonderfully blessed would we be if she is capable of playing. I wish she wasn’t struggling with a swollen knee but yes, she has brought everything I thought she could to the team. I’m very impressed with her.”

In Atlanta, Lindsey Harding Gives Dream Another Scorer

Connecticut is Moving On Without Sandrine Gruda and there’s the matter of A Player and A Symbol: Native American WNBA Guard Has Dual Responsibilities

In Phoenix, Penny Taylor treasures her career and Seth says the Merc are Bigger, Stronger, Tougher

In Minnesota, Lynx rookie Maya Moore talks: Bob Sansevere listens

San Antonio is busy Revitalizing the Silver Stars

In New(ark) York, a Rookie in W.N.B.A. Who Is Veteran in Life’s Lessons Faces Battle to Make Liberty

On draft day last month, the Liberty acquired Breland, a 6-foot-3 forward, from Minnesota, which selected her in the second round with the 13th overall pick.

This is business. Breland has to absorb a new system and prove herself quickly to stick around for the Liberty’s June 5 opener at Atlanta. But she is getting her chance to become a professional, armed with a new perspective forged on the hard road from diagnosis to remission.

In Chicago, the New Sky coach Chatman is not new to everyone


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More on Margo

From HoopFeed: Updates on Margo Dydek, former WNBA player still in medically-induced coma. From Chas Melvin’s blog:

Margo is not just a great basketball player but she is an even better person. There is no one that hasn’t come in contact with Margo that doesn’t enjoy being around her. I remember hanging out with Margo in Poland and at 7’2″ she was one of the few people that made me feel short. Sometimes we would go places and people would be rude and gawk at her or say mean things to her and I would  get angry. Margo was always cool and would  just brush it off her shoulder. She would look at me and say “Chas they are just ignorant and we are just going to ignore them. Then she would say something funny to make me laugh.

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from Lady Swish (who knows a ton). Did a great job gathering reaction to Coach Larry’s resignation.

“I honestly didn’t see this coming at all. I guess the best way to describe it is that I was shocked. … For her to resign — it seems like something she wouldn’t do. … I know there were rumors, there was stuff about her contract. … I just feel like, where’s the loyalty? I know the program hasn’t been doing great for the last couple of years, but she has done so much for the program. If she didn’t leave on her own terms, it would be sad. She’s an amazing coach and an amazing person, and it’s a very sad day for women’s basketball. – Ticha Penicheiro, to the Daily Press.

http://es.pn/mr6l6V – one of the best Wendy Larry moments, which at the time was my least favorite. – Amy Mulligan, University of Virginia media relations (link is to an ESPN story about ODU’s Final Four victory over Stanford).

LS had her own reaction: ODU had a gem in Wendy Larry

The legendary coach of the Lady Monarchs announced Tuesday that she is stepping down. She will remain at ODU, with responsibilities for assisting the Office of Institutional Advancement for athletic related fundraising projects, and alumni events, and yes, we wonder what that means.

Folks have grown restless at ODU, both inside the department, where new athletic director Wood Selig made her contract dispute public, and amid the declining fan base. The Lady Monarch faithful clamor for a return to the glory days when they made lunch meat out of the rest of the CAA. New coach or not, we don’t see those times coming back.

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If you want news on Margo

don’t go to WNBA.com. Go to Rebkell. Key information:

Her health is improving, she’s still in coma but has started to breathe by herself.  http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=lv&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fsport.tvp.pl%2Fkoszykowka%2Faktualnosci%2Fdydek-nadal-w-spiaczce-ale-jest-poprawa%2F4547189

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From Mechelle

Pressure’s off Augustus – With much more talent around her, Augustus and Lynx could be poised for turnaround

Augustus was taken first in the 2006 draft the day after the Final Four ended in Boston. Cappie Pondexter of Rutgers went second. Five years later, Pondexter has two WNBA titles — both won with Phoenix — and has been an MVP-caliber player. Now with New York, Pondexter knows she has the biggest load to carry every game for the Liberty. That’s just how it is, and how she seems to prefer it.

But Augustus is a different personality. She has certainly been one of the very best scorers in the WNBA. However, she doesn’t seem to be looking to be a superstar, even if she has superstar talent.

It might sound I’m being too harsh on Augustus, and that’s not the intention. After all, how much can you fault anybody who has averaged 20.4 points in her WNBA career?

Rather, I’m putting Augustus under the microscope to examine what this season might be like for her and the Lynx. Perhaps the thing she most needed was the arrival of someone such as 2011 top draft pick Maya Moore, a player who is so comfortable being in the spotlight and having to meet high expectations game in and game out.

Sun set sights on return to playoffs

Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault figures it takes at least until the third year for point guards to really establish who they are as pro players. And he’s not just saying that because Renee Montgomery is in her third season.

But if his assessment does apply in regard to Montgomery, it’s pretty good timing. The Sun have missed the playoffs the last two seasons and, last year in particular, the Eastern Conference was a free-for-all in which little lapses made a big difference.

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Videos, including stuff from the U19 tryouts and clips from the National Team trials.

N’forget pas: US19 exhibition v. Brazil will be broadcast on ESPNU/ESPN3.com on June 5th at 12:30pmEST.

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From Slam Online: 12 Days, 12 Previews: Seattle Storm – Five keys to a successful season.

The WNBA’s 15th season begins June 3rd and SLAMonline is counting down the days with in-depth previews of all twelve teams.

Prior to the start of each WNBA season (and NBA season for that matter), every writer and blogger in the country compiles extensive (by “extensive” I mean “wordy,” and by “wordy” I mean “tired”) previews analyzing the upcoming year, team by team. It’s just a fact of life. Almost as certain as death and taxes.

The problem, however, is they all look, feel, and say the same exact thing every year (copy and paste). You, the reader, deserves far better. Thus, we’re going through each team discussing five specific things they’ll need for their 2011 campaign to be considered a success.

More importantly, we want this to be interactive – be sure to post your thoughts in the comment section below.

There’s a ton of other stuff there, so make sure you check it out. A highlight: The Season: Episode 2 – The Lady Wolves’ journey continues on.

Here’s part two of The Season, a six-part series that follows the Buford Lady Wolves on their quest to three-peat as Georgia 2A state champions. In this episode, the Wolves are tested by several tough opponents in the Jump Off Plus Holiday Invitational; Tennessee head coach Pat Summitt pays a visit to check on verbal commits Andraya Cater and Kaela Davis; and there’s an in-depth feature with Andraya Carter on her Olympic experience. Be sure to his insidewomensbasketball.com for other episodes The Season.

Have you read Mel recently: AP Women’s Poll History — Changes In Latitudes and Guru’s Mixed Report: Old Dominion, Delaware, Rutgers, WNBA

This is one of those rare times that WNBA commentary will mix with the collegiate world here because of wanting to save a little time.

The Guru starts with Delaware’s Tina Martin checking in on Thursday afternoon returning inquiries about her former coaching colleague in the Colonial Athletic Association — Old Dominion’s Wendy Larry, who announced Tuesday she was stepping down after a 24-year run that included 17 straight conference titles in the conference.

One of those came at the expense of Martin’s Blue Hens, who beat ODU twice during the regular season — a rarity in terms of winning in Norfolk, Va. — but then in the CAA title game blew a second-half lead and lost to the Lady Monarchs in overtime.

And there’s this from the AP’s Bob Baum (and a headline writer with a call of the alliteratives) ‘Tougher’ Taurasi back from Turkish turmoil

Late last year, while playing professional basketball in Turkey, Taurasi was told by authorities there she had tested positive for the banned stimulant modafanil. In February, the Turkish basketball federation cleared her of wrongdoing after the lab that conducted the test retracted its report.

“It toughens you up,” she said of the experience, “and life’s about going through stuff that is really hard. You can let it really wreck you and you can be mad at it, which I was for a while. But I finally got over it, had a really good group of people around me here in Phoenix, my family, my close friends, my teammates, the fans here in Phoenix. You really sometimes have to depend on those people to get you through tough times and they did. They got me through it.”

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Wendy Larry’s legacy at ODU: A fierce competitor, and a friend

Wendy Larry’s resignation on Tuesday after 24 seasons, 17 consecutive conference championships and 20 NCAA tournament appearances reverberated throughout the world of women’s college basketball.

“I was just sad. I think I sat at my desk and cried,” said Taylor, in her 12th season as William and Mary‘s head women’s coach. “I just think it’s a really sad day for women’s basketball and for Old Dominion.

“She’s a great lady. She’s been great for the game. She’s been a great mentor for the young coaches in the league.”

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to most of you, but I’m proud to say that this weekend I met a birding goal: 200 different species in NY state in a calendar year. The highlight of my weekend? This little guy, who I’d never seen before (Life bird: Least Bittern).

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Well, ouch

First there was this: Silver Stars’ Appel a happy camper – Second-year center thrilled to be healthy for preseason practice.

And now there is this: Silver Stars’ Appel has knee surgery

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I’ve seen no confirmation,

but this looks bad: Everybody please pray for one of the best women basketball player in my country MARGO DYDEK. She is in hospital in COMA.

On edit: From a translation of an article:

We are optimistic because the results of tests performed in hospital are good – said the PAP’s older sister Margaret, Catherine Dydek, who is coaching basketball Pruszkow.

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UCSB Names Carlene Mitchell New Head Coach

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Show me the money?

Moore 1st female hoopster to join Jordan’s brand

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Alysha Clark’s 2011 WNBA Training Camp Journal: Preparing For Silver Stars Training Camp

Alysha Clark’s 2011 WNBA Training Camp Journal: San Antonio’s Defense Ahead Of Offense After Two Days

Nolan Richardson is Mining for Diamonds; Juanita Ward’s Journey to Brilliance

Connecticut Sun Likely to Play the 2011 Season Without Sandrine Gruda

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Wendy Larry resigns as ODU’s women’s basketball coach

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Washington Named 2011 BCA Female Coach of the Year

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