Archive for August, 2011


as the playoffs approach and ESPN says ESPN2 Delivers Most Viewed WNBA Regular Season Since 2005

Teams at home with the playoff potential.

NY: 6,334 (Quietest 6,334 I’ve seen in a while, but that may have been because of how the Lib played the first three quarters.)

Atlanta: 6,467

SASS: 6,934

Minny: 8,065

LA: 9,023


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East clearing up as the Sky fall

It’s sad to see Chicago’s season go down in flames like that, but disappointingly apropos. They had to win this game, and for three-and-a-bit quarters they were pulling it off. But when New York raised their intensity level, there was nothing in the locker to respond with. They either tried desperately to force the ball to Big Syl and turned it over in the process, or stood around looking for Fowles, realised the shot clock was running out, and watched Prince fire up a jumper. I know Fowles is their main weapon, and should be their first option on every trip down the floor, but it would’ve been nice to see them look for something else at some point.

The Basket Cases on the Mystics-Lynx game:

About the only thing we enjoyed last night about the Minny game was that Alan Horton, the Minny announcer, repeatedly commented on how successful Angela and Julie were in Washington. Although Horton was off-camera, you could almost see him scratching his head in bewilderment, trying to make sense of why they are no longer with the Mystics. (In terms of bewilderment, Alan, you’re not alone.)

Jayda on Seattle v. Los Angeles:

The stat of the night? Neither team had a single fast break point, Seattle missing its lone attempt. The last time that happened? Oh, the embarrassing loss to Minnesota at home in June. You would think the Storm had improved since then, but Tuesday was definitely a disappointment. “This is a definitely a step back,” Agler said. “We didn’t give ourselves some opportunity.” The Storm gave the Sparks 20 points on 19 turnovers, another bugger stat in the game. “It seemed like right when we were making our run, we had a couple critical turnovers,” Agler said. True.


STARGAZING: It’s been a celebrity-filled trip to LA-LA land for Jackson. When the team landed at Los Angeles International Airport, she ran into NBA champion Paul Pierce (Boston), who posted on Twitter that she’s his idol. During her warmup about two-hours before game-time on Tuesday, Emmy-award winning actress Jane Lynch waltzed in with her family. Jackson freaked and ran over to give her a big hug, totally blushing. Lynch was just as excited to get smothered by the 6-foot-6 center, posing for a photo with Jackson and some teammates. Agler was the photographer. Lynch personally contacted that Sparks to get a ticket, telling me she just hadn’t been this year so it was time. Her daughter also plays hoops.

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Connecticut after-Shock?

San Antonio said, “We ain’t gonna lose seven in a row,” and the Sun said “Oh, man, we’re on the road again?” End result: SASS 78, Connecticut 66 and the playoffs are still in sight for San Antone and, oddly enough, clinched for the Sun. (Congrats on your 5000th pt., Becky!)

The Merc had no desire to be streaked or shocked or surprised, so they stomped a pooped Tulsa.

The Shock was playing its 11th game in 26 days and a sixth game in the last 10 days.

“I think we’re really tired,” coach Teresa Edwards said. “I think, in our minds, we wanted to play hard. We wanted to go out and do well again. But we just couldn’t do it. I kind of recognized that early in the game.”

Chicago practiced a little self-inflicted wounding. They were cruising in the fourth with a nice, comfortable lead, then Cappie decided to pull her “It’s time for my late game heroics.” The Sky then fumbled the ball over and over and New York walked in for the touchdown. From Queenie:

I have no idea what part of their ass they pulled this out of, and I neither care or regret my use of such language. I think “pulled it out of our ass” is the most accurate possible assessment of this game, and in the interest of journalistic integrity, I have to use the most accurate assessment.

And yes, that was Sue doing color. No, she’s not got a vocal style “made” for commentary, but hell, she’s so much better than Kym, who sounds about as professional as two teenagers texting at the mall….

Speaking of fumbling, when was the last time you saw Catch do that? Last night. Ouch. (And I’m not talking about the high school football that kept on jumping into my Live Mixed Access.) Indy and the Dream put on a (a second) rip roarin’ show for the Atlanta fans and Sancho put the cherry on top (to mix my metaphors or something). The clock winding down, game tied, Tamika with the ball in her hands, but she gets trapped. Panicked pass, turnover, Lyttle and swoops in for a lay-up. Dream win, Sancho breathes a sigh of relief,  and Indy is in the playoffs.

Side note: I’m sure Reeves will get it, but anyone think what MM has done to keep this Atlanta team together through the horrible opening of the season to this return to last year’s form is worth a vote or two in the COY race? (And why is the AJC using the AP report?)

Minnesota fiddled around for a bit in the first half, but then they got on track (not UNtracked) and put the pedal to the metal (not the petal to the medal) and took care of business. And the ‘stics.

Yup, looks like that wagon is gettin’ mighty big… Lynx winning hearts as victories pile up

We watch sports for the spectacle and the spectacular, and the Lynx provide enough of both, with fast-break baskets and reverse layups. We also watch sports to see cohesion and competitiveness, to see people who grew up in different climes and circumstances bonding together under pressure, and the Lynx are the best example of that on the local landscape.

“One thing I love is that before the game, Lindsay will come over and give me a high-five,” Leone said. “You can’t get that anywhere else. I’m a sucker for stuff like that. To have a professional team be so accessible … I’m a sucker for that. If you tell me you like me, you’ve got me.”

…and Adair’s 10pts points gives Tim Leighton a reason to write about her: Reserve center Jessica Adair blossoming into key contributor for Minnesota Lynx

Jessica Adair was heavy, out of shape and nearly out of hope when she was cut from the Minnesota Lynx’s training camp before the 2010 season. Deep within a 6-foot-4 frame that once carried 268 pounds, she found the courage to fight off the demons that threatened to end her dream of playing professional basketball.

Her transformation leaves her with a smile nowadays.

“It feels pretty good, but I have to stay humble about it,” Adair said Tuesday night.

No last second heroics this time. Parker (27pts) and the Sparks got some measure of revenge, taking down the Storm, 68-62.

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No really…

what the hell is up with the “Rate This” ass ads on ESPN?

When should I expect crotch shots of men with the invite, “Measure This!”

Maybe we should “Ask Kelly,” the ESPN ombudsman.

By the way, have you heard about this: ESPN partners with Poynter – Journalism institute expands the traditional role of network’s ombudsman

ESPN and The Poynter Institute have partnered for a new step in media transparency — The Poynter Review Project — in which a panel of Poynter faculty will review ESPN content across all platforms and publicly comment on ESPN’s efforts. This will include monthly essays and additional timely responses as issues arise. The group also will address fan concerns during its 18-month tenure.

“The Poynter Institute’s reputation in the field of journalism is unmatched, and we welcome the panel’s scrutiny in this new format,” said John A. Walsh, ESPN executive vice president and executive editor. “Our goal is to improve our content through increased accountability, transparency and timeliness. We believe The Review will take the traditional ombudsman role and advance it for the 21st-century media world.”

So, if you want a voice in what, who and how ESPN covers, speak up!

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Just walk it off?

by Nicole Powell

At one time or another, be it as an amateur, collegiate, or professional athlete, we’ve all had to endure and push through the threshold of pain, sacrificing our bodies for the sake of competition. To defy bodily ill with mental toughness is a sign of strength and can be categorized as courageous, even heroic at times. As a matter of course, athletes are frequently lauded for this type of achievement, the act of asserting their will and decreeing that their minds are master over their sometimes weakened bodies.

For us athletes, in other words, suck it up and don’t be a wuss might be the closest thing we have to an eleventh commandment.

Once the ACL is injured, the athlete has a decision to make. You can live with a torn ACL, but it will forever hinder your physical capabilities. Or you can surgically repair the ACL and go through months of intense rehabilitation.

Here is the story of two athletes who went through the surgery and rehab. Whitney Hand and Kendall Wallace are both basketball players who tore their ACL on the court. Being college athletes, their rehabilitation was done on campus, and it was aggressive.

But their story can answer the question many athletes have after a diagnosis: Now that I’ve torn my ACL, what’s next?

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some follow-up from the New York Times’ Lynn Zinser: Unfamiliar Path Unfolds at Tennessee

“My first thought was, Pat Summitt is our coach and always will be,” said Tennessee’s athletic director, Joan Cronan, who has worked with Summitt for 28 years. “But I had three things to do. I had to protect Pat, who is the most loved person at the University of Tennessee. I had to protect her legacy. And I had to protect the program she built.”

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Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese signs contract extension

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From Jayda: WNBA talk: Storm center Ashley Robinson talks about her chances of winning the WNBA’s most improved player award

From Jimmie Tramel at the Tulsa World: Shock’s Jackson among most improved in league

You’ll remember Nate put together some candidates/numbers back on August 4th.

Here’s the list of past winners.

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Nate explains How The Tulsa Shock Got Their Second Consecutive Win Against The Connecticut Sun

After the Tulsa Shock’s 78-72 loss to the first place Minnesota Lynx last week, head coach Teresa Edwards said that it was [possibly their best performance of the year].

And yes, they definitely had showed signs of improvement.

But still, it’s hard to know what’s more surprising: that the Shock ended  their 20-game losing streak in Los Angeles on the back end of a back-to-back or the fact that they followed it up with an 83-72 win against the almost certainly playoff-bound Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.

Richard at WNBAlien also weighs in:

Well whaddaya know? A Tulsa win streak. It’s patently obvious that this team has benefitted from better coaching on how to play in this league, and from a tighter rotation. While it isn’t necessarily good to lose Betty Lennox due to a concussion, have Kayla Pedersen see very limited action due to either injury or coach’s decision (depending on which report you listen to), and have Cambage heavily restricted by shoulder pain, it’s allowing the players more rhythm and consistency. Edwards has also finally realised that playing Latta for as many minutes as she can survive is a vastly superior option to ever letting Andrea Riley see the floor. They actually look like they know what they’re doing on the floor, know where they’re supposed to be, and are prepared to go out there and execute. They might still be beaten by teams with more talent, but it’s becoming far rarer that they give games away through sloppiness and stupidity.

Mel gives the game a mention in his WNBA Report: Minnesota Wins The (Regular Season) West

Swoopes, meanwhile, was not through for the weekend after Friday’s heroics that resulted in the team presenting interim coach and recent Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Teresa Edwards with two autographed game balls.

Her second one came Sunday after Swoopes scored 22 points and Tulsa (3-25) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to win at home against Connecticut 83-72.

It’s the third time in recent weeks that the Sun blew a double-digit lead they held in the third quarter.

The result enabled Tulsa to combine with the Chicago Sky (14-15) in for the moment holding up playoff-qualifying parties for the second-place Sun (18-11) and the first-place and idle Indiana Fever (19-9).

And yes, if I had any juice, I would have named Swoopes West Player of the Week.

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Mechelle says….

Ne rest pas on your shocks, Shock: Work must continue for Tulsa – In snapping 20-game losing streak, Shock at least get reminder of how it feels to win

All that brings us to these last two weeks of the WNBA season and a Shock team on a different kind of “streak.” A winning streak.

OK, two victories in a row doesn’t normally get the title “streak.” But it applies here. Because it looked as if Tulsa was doing the equivalent of pushing an out-of-gas clunker through 100-degree heat, hoping to somehow refuel and get running again. It seemed almost impossible. But as Jackson said, they kept pushing.

Two wins in a row — 77-75 Friday at Los Angeles and 83-72 Sunday at home against Connecticut — were a testament to the Shock’s refusal to play dead when most everybody else already thought they were long-ago expired and well into decay. At the very least, the Shock can now only tie the 1998 Mystics for fewest wins in a season.

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Ummm… Crunch Time? So sayeth Clay at SlamOnline.

The Chicago Sky are not really a threat to win the WNBA championship—after all, they’re a game below .500 with five games left—but if they do find a way to make the Playoffs, it will mean much more than happy fans, happy players and a successful first season for Head Coach Pokey Chatman.

If Chicago makes the Playoffs, the Sky get at least one more home game, and it could be hoped that enough fans would turn out so that owner Michael Alter would make a few thousand dollars more. And for every additional Sky Playoff game, he would make a little more money and the team would get a little more local publicity.

Stephen Litel also asks: Lindsay Whalen for MVP? – Whalen is legitimately in the debate for WNBA MVP and very well might walk away with the award.

“Obviously, [Tina Charles and Lindsay] are huge for their teams, but I’ve been able to really just experience and enjoy playing with Lindsay Whalen,” said Maya Moore. “There’s no question without her our team would be very, very different and she’s my MVP for this team. She’s irreplaceable and so consistent for us. It’s been amazing. I think that’s something that I don’t know if you can appreciate unless you’re here with her every day to see that consistency from her and how hard that is in this competitive league. She’s definitely got my vote. She’s got the qualities and characteristics that it takes—the consistency, the balance, she’ll get rebounds and tons of assists, always scoring points for us. It’s really fun.”

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decided by one point or two points and neither of them involved the Tulsa win, would you be surprised?

Prolly. Tulsa didn’t just win, they stomped (great photo). And, even better, they stomped (Over a 14 1/2-minute span, the Shock outscored the Sun 43-13) in front of their fans.

“Everyone who played contributed to this win, everyone,” said Swoopes, who hit the winning jumper in final seconds of a 77-75 victory at Los Angeles on Friday night. “To get a home win for our crowd was great. They have supported us throughout the losing streak.”

A great three by Prince, and a poorly designed final play by the Lib, and it was Chicago eking out the win and saying, “We’re not dead, yet!”

Seattle did everything they could to give the Sparks a win but, in the end, a Toliver foul sent Bird to the free throw line and Seattle escaped with a 65-63 victory.

Danielle Adams couldn’t help the SASS (remember that 7-1 start?) as Minnesota surged, and then held on, to take a 85-75 win and clinch a playoff spot and, more importantly, the top seed in the West.

‘To be able to clinch in a timely manner, especially with five games left is great,”  said guard Seimone Augustus, who led the Lynx with 20 points. “We now have an opportunity to tweak some things in the last few games that we have and get ready for the postseason. ”

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That would be 22pts, a whole lotta Latta, and suddenly: a 2-game winning streak for the Shock. This time the victim was Connecticut.

Nate explained Tulsa’s win over LA. Looking forward to his breakdown of this one.

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Indy and the Dream put on

a fine show last night. Great fan support, but the Fever couldn’t stop Atlanta when it counted: the fourth quarter. Hello, where was that vaunted Indiana defense? The Dream shot 55%.

And yes, announcers, it does feel like 1) the playoffs and 2) we’ve shaken off the “flashback to the 90’s scoring jag.” Thank goodness.

Sure, Indy would like to secure home court through the playoffs (not sure that’s going to happen) but they really need to keep ahead of everyone in the East.  Speaking of which, New York better watch out — the #3 spot is under attack. Of course, they may not want to play Connecticut…. Hey, whatever happens, the East playoffs are going to be fun.

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OT: Birds and Hurricanes….

From the fabulous 10,000 Birds blog: Daredevil Whimbrel Survives Hurricane Irene

Intentionally or not, the innovate scientists at William & Mary’s Center for Conservation Biology have been mapping out the impressive limits of Whimbrel ability. Long-time readers no doubt remember the adventures of Winnie the Whimbrel, who set a new distance record in the flight range of Whimbrels before she, in the tradition of other great aviatrixes, disappeared into legend. Just Wednesday, a madcap migrant named Chinquapin, part of the newest wave of wired Whimbrels, flew through the dangerous northeast quadrant of Hurricane Irene en route from Canada to South America.  What a tough guy! Whimbrels… is there anything they can’t do?

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Congrats to new moms

Ruthie Bolton and Beth Cunningham.

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FWIW, the blog

has entered the twitter-sphere.

Not sure what it’ll mean, other than that WordPress automatically tweets blog entries to WomensHoopsBlog.

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Do I see a worm turning?

From Alex Raskin HoopsWorld: NBA PM: Time to Sell Jersey Ads

It’s not a magic bullet; it can’t make the Sacramento Kings profitable; and it will have virtually no effect on BRI, the lockout or the national debt. But if the NBA were to put advertisements on jerseys—an idea the WNBA is prepared to announce (um, hello, Alex? a little late to the Bing Farmers market much?), according to an article by Michael McCarthy of USA Today—perhaps that small potential income could alleviate some of obstacles preventing an agreement between the owners and players.

The disagreement, after all, is about money.

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Road Trip!

I have, in the past, made various road trips to follow the Lib or the National Team. It had been a while, so I decided that I’d finally make good on my threat to visit my friends Candy and Teddy in Arkansas, especially since they now were Shock season subscribers.

Landing at XNA (X?) in Bentonville, AK on Sunday, August 21, I snagged a car and set up my handy dandy GPS. Since I had time, I let it take me down a dirt road short cut that ended at a closed bridge. Hey, at least I STOPPED when I noticed the bridge that was out….

Returning to the paved roads, I arrived safe and sound in Springdale. There, I was treated to a “welcome to Arkansas and happy 50th” lunch at the Market Place Grill (the flaming queso was impressively flaming, the chipotle burger dripped with yummy goodness, and the server had a great sense of humor). Afterward, I toured C&T’s nice little spread and met their sundry animals. It’s obviously an SEC house: Summitt, their 2-year-old pup, smelled the Big East on me and eyed me suspiciously throughout my visit.

Unfortunately, one of my local hosts was suffering from foot trauma, so they weren’t going to be able to travel to Tulsa for the games. So I solo-hotfooted it west (literally, since the Cherokee Turnpike speed limit is 75.) past farms, open land, and unfamiliar towns. The land between the cities is rolling and somewhat green — they’ve been suffering a severe lack of rain. You can see the burn, and I’m sure next spring will reveal many dead trees.

I made it without incident (though local signage peeps need to remember us out-of-towners need clarity when stuff is closed down. Neon orange signs draped across signs on exits we want to use can bring mini-panics.) and settled in to the recently reappointed Holiday Inn (this is not your mother’s HI). Had a lovely chat with the receptionist (she wants to become a zoologist) and gratefully stretched out in my room. But, combine a 4:30 am wake up with seven hours of travel and the hour I gained, and I almost relaxed too much. I happened to take a peek at my ticket and  — gak! it’s a 6pm CST tip off! I threw on my Suuueeeeee Wicks t-shirt, galloped out the front door.

Walking through Tulsa after work hours is a little spooky because, as my birdwatching host Jo (a 50-year Tulsa native), people have moved out of the city. There’s no one on the streets. Apparently (according to Jo), there’s a push to bring folks back, but it’ll take some time. I did get a chance to admire some of the superb art deco architecture. The Boston Avenue Methodist Church is cray-zee!

The BOK Center, started in 2005 and opened in 2008, is part of that plan. Looking sleek and modern — like Phoenix’s America West arena (Sorry, USA Airways — it’s hard to keep up) with a dash of Gehry — the interior is clean and open. I know that’s the trend (heck, that’s why the Lib have been exiled to Newark), but I kinda like arenas with a bit of grunge on’em. You understood that sports was a sweaty, messy experience. Whatever the Garden’s faults, you could have 3,000 in there and you’d feel like it was twice that. The space contained and focused energy, and the lighting directed your attention to the athletes on the court, not the fans in the stands.

As for the games, well you already know that the Shock lost both I attended — to the Sparks & Lynx — so I’ll just offer some random observations:

    • This Tulsa team has not given up. It appeared the bench players had taken on the role of pushing and supporting the on-court players.
    • Lacy is from Pepperdine. It’s a measure of how out of this season I’ve been that I didn’t know that. How cool for Rousseau, one of the first coaches in the W, to see that happen.
    • Honestly, is there a more dramatic “I was fouled, ref!!!” team than LA?
    • Things that make you go hmmmmm: 50+-year-old security peep wearing a suit, guarding the floor, and sporting geeky springy sneaks.
    • Food: Some classic and interesting offerings. A draft beer costs a dollar more than a bag of popcorn. And, as my friend from Kansas City asked, “What exactly is the draw of a snow cone?”
    • Seems to me the Shock mascot Volt would love to hang out with the Lib’s Maddie. Furs of a feather, so to speak.
    • These fans love their team. They stay until the end. They cheer their players because they know they’re so over-matched. Here’s to a future full of good draft picks and a strong coaching crew.
    • You know? Minnesota’s kinda short — or maybe it’s better to say, all of the same height (remember the UConn team of 2002). They were in my hotel and, well, you’d never guess they were elite athletes. They kinda looked… normal.

When I was not watching basketball, I was, of course, birding. I’d contacted the local Audubon and on Monday, the fabulous Jo took me out for a full day (thank goodness the weather behaved — there was a cooling mist most of the day). She is a seriously good birder, as is Pat, who joined us mid-walk. I mean SERIOUSLY awesome. I felt lucky to hang with them. We walked and talked and laughed, paused for a really good “wet” burrito at El Guapo, and then did more walking and talking. My favorite birds were the Pileated Woodpecker, the Kentucky Warbler and the always handsome Mississippi Kite, but it was the company that made the day.

There was more of the same the next day, as Jo then made sure I was connected with her “clan” of local birders. This time we ate at the Blue Moon where they served up an out-of-this-world BLT — with fried green tomatoes. Yowza. Great food, better company. The generosity of birders (and people in general) does my heart good.

After we parted company Tuesday, I had enough time to go out to Oklahoma City and visit the National Memorial. It is simple, beautiful and profoundly moving. I can only say, “Go see it.” And, if I may be so bold, dare to simply experience it before you pull out the cameras.

Wednesday had me packed and heading back East, but not before I made my way out to North Harvard Ave (there’s a Yale Ave, too) to have some Oklahoma Style Bar-b-q.

Basketball, birding and barbecue. Yup, quite the road trip!

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NOT at Glencoe.

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There ya have it!

Officials should call the game not based on what they see, but who the player is.

Gosh, this kind of thoughtful opinionating just makes my heart go pitter-pat.

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(other than Irene bearing down on folks — be safe all) is Tulsa shocking LA. While it’s too bad the win didn’t happen in front of their fabulous fans, one can only imagine the hootin’ and hollerin’ happening in Oklahoma and (almost nearby) Fayetteville, Arkansas.

It wasn’t an easy victory (and they almost gave it away... FREE THROWS TJ!!!) and I’ll confess I walked away from the screen a couple of times in the last few minutes, but phew! they pulled it out, thanks to Ms. Swoopes.

When asked if she was surprised that the Sparks didn’t apply any pressure to Swoopes bringing the ball up the floor, Shock head coach Teresa Edwards said she thought LA underestimated her team.

“Like most teams would,” said Edwards. “[Us] being the Tulsa Shock, I wasn’t surprised. I was glad. Less pressure. They waited on us.”

Regarding her 1996 Olympic gold medal-winning teammate having the ball in her hands at that moment of the game, Edwards said, “We called that. Spread the floor, let Sheryl bring it up. She’s our best free-throw shooter and our best closer.”

Meanwhile, in other games, Connecticut and Phoenix put on a helluva show (fans sounded great!). Kara nailed a killer 3-pointer to help push the Sun to a 95-92 win.

In Minnesota, where the bandwagon is getting very popular, it was close until suddenly the Lynx hit the afterburners and boom, they took down the Silver Stars. (Does anyone use the forearm clear more obviously than Whalen? Well, maybe Taurasi….)

Similar game pattern in Chicago, where the Mystics kept it close until the Sky figured out how to GET. IT. TO. BIG. SYL!

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Swoopes, there it is!

And Tulsa gets the win!

nb: Anyone else find it disconcerting that “Guess that Ass!” is a advert on the ESPN wbball site?

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I’m wearin’ orange

but you can’t see it….Campaign surfaces backing Pat Summitt

Meg Smath is a Vanderbilt Commodores fan who works for the University of Kentucky. She’s still wearing some orange to show she’s rooting for Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.

“Pat Summitt is probably the one person on the planet I want to beat the most, but for this, I am behind her all the way,” Smath said. “I may hate losing to her, but I respect her so much. She has done so much for women’s basketball in general and the University of Tennessee in particular.”

Thanks to an informal “We’ve Got Your Back, Pat” campaign publicized on Facebook and Twitter, people around the country — and not necessarily Lady Vols fans — were wearing orange Friday to show support for Summitt, who announced this week that she’s been diagnosed with early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type. The Facebook group had more than 19,000 fans by Friday afternoon.

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(Hello, Meatloaf fans!)

ESPN’s 24 hour basketball marathon on November 15th features Tennessee vs. Miami in the State Farm Women’s Tip-Off Classic (that ought to be a fun game) and Louisville at defending national champion Texas A&M.

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Wanna go to the W Finals for free?

Enter early and often.

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Jere’ on Pat

A History of Fearlessness

“It might not be curable, but I’m sure she has a plan to deal with this,” said Tara VanDerveer, the Hall of Fame coach at Stanford. “All those things she has taught in sports — discipline — could be exactly what she needs. I give her a lot of credit for being so open in sharing this and being so courageous in continuing to coach. A lot of people would say, ‘That’s it,’ and do crossword puzzles. But she’s bringing visibility to something that a lot of people have a hard time talking about and dealing with.”

In an athletic context, this is precisely what Summitt has done for nearly four decades, bringing widespread attention to something that made many people uncomfortable — the ascendance of women’s sports.

Jeff Jacobs at the Hartford Courant writes: Summitt’s Influence On Former Players Goes Far Beyond Basketball Court

It was late in 2009 when Lawson, who had won a WNBA title with Sacramento and an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, hit a low point in her career. A quadriceps injury had ruined her WNBA season. The Monarchs had folded under her.

“It was one of those things where you just don’t know where to go,” Lawson said. “My team was gone. My knee was really bad.”

She thought about it. She knew exactly where to go. Back to people she could trust. Back to where she could rehab her knee and her head. Back to Pat. Lawson and her husband, Damien Barling, didn’t only return to Tennessee. They became Summitt’s neighbors for the next four months.

From Christine Brennan at USAToday: Fighting Alzheimer’s might be Pat Summitt’s greatest legacy

People who have never watched a women’s basketball game or have never heard of Summitt will want to tune in to see how she’s doing. She will cross over into our culture in ways she, and we, haven’t thought of yet. For starters, there’s this: How often have we seen a person with so high a profile be given this kind of devastating diagnosis yet choose to remain so vividly in the public eye?

Magic Johnson has done it for nearly 20 years with HIV. Lou Gehrig with ALS and Arthur Ashe with AIDS certainly gave it their all for as long as they could. Others have overcome or lived with diseases ranging from cancer to diabetes to heart ailments, then become champions for research and cures. And now there’s Summitt.

From Charles Pierce at the Boston Globe: Aw. dammit, anyway

The news about Pat Summitt is sad beyond words, especially for This Blog, who has a particularly nasty dog in this particular fight. Its father and all four of his siblings succumbed to Alzheimer’s — which you can read about here, if you like — so it knows quite well the extraordinarily tough row Ms. Summitt and those close to her have to hoe.
(And, believe me, when it comes to collateral damage — physical, psychological, and emotional — Alzheimer’s is a genuine sonuvabitch that way.)

This Blog only spoke to her once, and it was by way of hello-how-are-you? at a coaches deal,  but there seems to be little question that she’s got more than a little iron to her. There’s some speculation now about whether or not she should try to continue to coach. This Blog can’t tell you how happy it is that she’s going to try. One of the great changes wrought by the increased public awareness of Alzheimer’s — and thank you, Nancy Reagan, you wonderful tough old dame, you — is that people in the early stages of the disease are now speaking out while they still have the capacity to do so. For too many years, families with Alzheimer’s patients hid them away — See the above assigned reading for details — and the guilt and shame became a symptom of the disease, Alzheimer’s patients suffering from it most of all.

Sam Venable writes: Pat Summitt might as well be blood kin to us all

This may be considered heresy, here in the bedrock of Republicanism, but Pat Summitt’s courageous admission of early-onset dementia trumps a similarly courageous admission made in 1994 by former President Ronald Reagan.

Both of these people, icons in their respective professions, put a human touch on a devastating medical condition.

From Gene Wojciechowski at ESPN: Trying times for Tennessee Volunteers

Phillip Fulmer needed a few moments to compose himself.

“I’m struggling here,” the former University of Tennessee football coach said in a phone interview.

Fulmer was trying to find the right words to describe his friend Pat Summitt, who Tuesday made public her ongoing battle with early-onset dementia, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease. He struggled because his own mother suffers from Alzheimer’s, so he knows exactly how the disease can slowly erode a person of their memory and in many ways, their life.

“And it does not discriminate,” Fulmer said.

At the Boston Globe it’s Deborah Kotz: Pat Summitt’s smart decision to keep coaching with Alzheimer’s

“My guess is that her most salient symptom is her memory loss,” said Rentz. “Returning to work with help from assistants is exactly what we encourage early-onset folks to do.” Summitt’s professional responsibilities will not only give her a psychological boost but could actually slow the progression of the disease by keeping her brain agile.

“The worst thing she can do, in terms of her disease progression, is to retire, sit home, and watch TV,” Rentz said.

At GoVolsExtra, Megan Boehnke says Support for Pat Summitt continues

University of Tennessee officials say they’ve been overwhelmed with support since Tuesday’s announcement that Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt is receiving treatment for early-onset dementia.

From Nate at Swish Appeal: Pat Summitt’s Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis: Reactions From The Web & Personal Experience

…my heart sank almost immediately when I got the text about Summitt’s situation halfway to the center – and remained heavy for most of the day – not only because I wouldn’t wish Alzheimer’s on the families of my worst enemies, but also because it was a reminder that I never expected to be speeding down the freeway to pick up a zoned out Dad putting himself in harm’s way when we first learned of his early onset diagnosis about a decade ago at about the same age Summitt is now.

I told the Swish Appeal staff during the NCAA women’s Final Four that I would be leaving Seattle to return home to the Bay Area to help out with Dad, which has had an impact on how things around here have run.  But honestly I consider it a great privilege to be in a situation where my family is able to rally together to help deal with this daily emotional roller coaster together – I cannot fathom what it’s like for people who don’t have the luxury of that type of support network and it’s great to know that Summitt will have tons of support. But the hardest thing about all of this, support or not, is that every day is completely unpredictable, which compounds the reality that the path forward is even more uncertain.

I hesitated to even write this in the wake of Summitt’s sad news because it’s not really about me and I fully understand that it’s different for each person, particularly as I’ve learned more about the disease and seen other people who are dealing with it; it’s about what her and her family – real and Lady Vols – face as they try to get through this together. Nevertheless, this is the lens through which I read this news, both very literally at that moment and more abstractly; it’s hard to truly express the wave of empathy that came over me when I heard about this or anyone who has just been diagnosed at such a young age. 

But to be quite honest, some of the coverage of the situation – as with any situation – drew out an almost hostile response from me (this, for people that know me, is not difficult to do, by the way), partially because of my own sense of how hard this situation is and in part  because of the way this has been framed in the context of her career.

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From Sally Jenkins: Pat Summitt, Tennessee women’s basketball coach, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease

Full disclosure: It is the measure of Summitt’s large-heartedness that she could call any of a half-dozen people her closest friend. This writer has only one: her. “I would rather drive stakes through my own hands than write this story,” I said.

Sally also did a Q&A with Tennessee women’s basketball assistants Mickie DeMoss, Holly Warlick and Dean Lockwood

At Sports Illustrated: Ex-Lady Vol Marciniak on Summitt’s diagnosis, her future and more

Fortune Magazine’s Patricia Sellers: Tough love: Behind Pat Summitt’s leadership coaching success

ESPN Blog: Tyler Summitt stands tall for his mother

Washington Post’s Jenna McGregor: Pats Summitt’s Back-up Team

Dan Fleser: Tabor Spani: Pat Summitt, Lady Vols still thinking national title
…and Pat Summitt: UT assistants ‘have my back’ Summitt hints action plan discussed
…and Mayo Clinic tests troubled Summitt
…and Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia – Lady Vols basketball coach has no plans to step down

From VolunteerTV.com: Vol fans stand in support of Pat Summitt and Join ‘We’ve got your back Pat’ by clicking here.

John Adams from GoVolsxtra.com writes: When it’s time, Lady Vols will be left Summitt strong

From the Tennessean’s David Climer: Pat Summitt won’t take diagnosis lying down

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You know,

I have all sorts of pithy observations about the Shock/Minny game tonight and my stay in tulsa, but the heart’s gone right out of me….

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Holy crap.

That’s all I can come up with. Holy crap. You’re away from your computer all day, and horrible, awful, cruel things happen.

Pat Summitt has early onset dementia

Pat Summitt plans to coach the Tennessee women’s basketball team “as long as the good Lord is willing,” despite recently being diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

“There’s not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that,” she told the Knoxville News Sentinel Monday evening. The News Sentinel and Washington Post first reported Summitt’s condition.

Mechelle: Summitt again fighting uphill battle

There are some people like that: Those who are so obsessed with what might happen, they never seem to experience what is happening. Those who turn every headache into a potential brain tumor, every cough into lung cancer, every setback into the end of the world.

Then there are the majority of us. We worry, but we overcome it. We slump into self-pity, but we gradually pull ourselves out. We are afraid, but we comfort ourselves by thinking of who we can count on.

And there are those in a relatively small group who basically put everybody to shame: The harder things get, the tougher they become. The bigger the obstacle, the more determined they are to scale it. The greater the fear, the braver they grow. Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt is one of those people. In fact, she’s pretty much their ringleader.

Summitt’s statement.

From Graham: Summitt impact extends past court

If you ask someone to close their eyes and tell you what mental image appears when they hear Pat Summitt’s name, you’re likely to get almost as many answers as she has wins.

Arms folded, weight offset ever so slightly on one leg, face a picture of consternation as she stands on the sideline.

Smiling, one arm raised toward the crowd as she cuts down the net after one of those many championships.

The glare — that infamous, soul-penetrating, confess-your-sins-and-take-cover look of disapproval.

There are probably a hundred more, each going at least a thousand words toward defining her, and each leaving at least as much unsaid. Like the smirk on Babe Ruth’s face, the bat in Ted Williams’ follow through or the space between the bottom of Michael Jordan’s sneakers and the court, the images are of someone larger than life. They don’t represent a moment in time as much as transcend it.

Kara speaks: Summitt Will Remain Focused

Doris speaks: Summitt Will Remain Coaching 

Carolyn speaks: Peck Saddened By Summitt News

Reactions from Jody, Nikki, Tara, Candace, Tamika, Kim, Geno, Gail, Melanie, Sherri, Rick, John, Charli, Lindsay, Doug, Beth, Jim, Michelle….

From espnW: Dementia defined.

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