Archive for September, 2011

Today @BrendaVanLengen and @MechelleV launched a new women’s sports radio show at womenssportscentral.com, follow the show @WomensSportsCen

Women’s sports fans have always had to work harder to find news and commentary on their favorite sports. We’re working to make it easier.


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Richard’s (cue the reverb) WNBA Finals Mega-Preview Part 1: The Floor Generals – Whalen vs. Harding

This year’s WNBA Finals feature two of the best – but two rather different – starting point guards. Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen had the superior regular season. Unusually for a point, she’s strong and physical rather than small and quick. She uses her body and her strength to hold players off when she penetrates, and to finish plays at the basket even through contact.

As with all the best point guards, she’s also a game manager, finding the right player at the right time in half court sets. Typically for Minnesota that means feeding Augustus or Moore on the wing for shots in rhythm, but she also knows when her team needs to be focussing on forcing the ball inside or when they need her to create something herself. Along with Augustus and Moore she’s also been part of an exciting three-pronged fastbreak attack this season, all three capable of leading or finishing the break. She led the league in assists this year, but also put up far and away the best shooting numbers of her career (over 50% from the floor, and over 40% from three-point range, the first time she’s managed either of those feats). She’s Cheryl Reeve’s brain on the floor and she’s had an exceptional season.

Mega-Preview (Cue more reverb) Part 2: The Scorers – Augustus vs. McCoughtry

As with the point guards, the leading scorers for this year’s WNBA Finalists are both very effective, but in very different ways. After all her injury troubles, Seimone Augustus has been back to something very close to her best this season for Minnesota. She may not be quite as quick as she once was, but her game was never based around being the fastest player on the floor. It’s all about that pretty jump shot, and her ability to rise up and hit it at a moment’s notice from anywhere on the floor. For someone who takes the vast majority of her shots from mid-range or deeper, shooting over 50% from the floor this season is a remarkable achievement. She was also over 40% from three-point range, a number that McCoughtry probably doesn’t even reach in her dreams. Much of Minnesota’s offense revolves around running Augustus off baseline cuts and multiple screens to create shooting opportunities for her, and with accuracy like that you can see why. She’s simply one of the greatest shooters the women’s game has ever seen.

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As we wait….

Clay is Breaking own the Finals – Lynx vs. Dream: who has the edge?

This has been one of the best WNBA seasons ever when it comes to the product on the floor every night, and there’s no reason to expect the Finals to be any different. I don’t expect Minnesota to try to outslug the Dream as Connecticut and Indiana tried to do (and pretty much had to do).

Hopefully, both teams will focus on running and shooting, and we’ll get a high-scoring, highly entertainingconclusion to an outstanding WNBA summer. Set your DVRs now…

Nate is procrastinating on making his pick.

Big Syl is pondering how the WNBA award is a family honor

The AP’s Paul Newberry  is suggesting that while Atlanta mopes, they should look to the Dream to provide ray of hope

The Braves blew it. The Falcons are struggling. The Thrashers are gone. The Hawks? Who knows when they’ll play another game.

Well, cheer up Atlanta.

There’s still the Dream.

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and tremble.USA Women’s National Team Runs Away With 77-48 Victory Over Famila Schio

Brittney Griner (Baylor University) led all scorers with 15 points; Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (Connecticut Sun) and Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun) added 12 points apiece; Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty) scored 11; while Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars) and Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Silver Stars) chipped in eight and seven points, respectively.

BTW: Check out the box for a little WATN? session with Cheryl Ford and Janel McCarville and follow Swin Cash on twitter to learn why she’s “ticked” at BG.

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Northwestern State, Louisiana!

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NCAA cites Cincinnati women’s hoops, football for violations

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Lynx to Host Block Party Prior to Game 1 of 2011 WNBA Finals

From Crossover Chronicles:

This is going to be a competitive series with the players going at each other at the highest level.

But the point is these WNBA Finals are everything the NBA is not.

We see incredibly balanced scoring and deft passing and fewer one-on-one isolations that many criticize the NBA for. These are not players playing for greed or just showing up for a paycheck. Many of them play year-round in Europe during the WNBA’s offseason and many get paid more for those efforts than they do in the WNBA. Playing in the WNBA is purely for the competition of playing in the best overall league in the world.

What everyone complains about players in the NBA, these players seem to defy.

Michelle and Mechelle lay out The best of the WNBA’s best

As the WNBA celebrates its 15th anniversary and closes in on crowning its 15th champion, we debate how the 14 former champions stack up. And of course, SportsNation wants you to rank the teams, too.

Pat Borzi writes: Jessica Adair, Candice Wiggins bring punch

One dances after Minnesota Lynx home victories, the other walks to the locker room. One is a former Wade Trophy winner and first-round pick, the other a third-rounder from a small school in Washington, D.C., who was cut at her first two WNBA training camps.

Guard Candice Wiggins brings flash and a Stanford pedigree to the Minnesota Lynx, while center/forward Jessica Adair showed up at training camp as an unknown just hoping to earn a uniform. Both have turned into productive bench players for the Lynx and are possible X factors in the WNBA Finals (versus the Atlanta Dream) that begin Sunday at the Target Center.

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Now that my season is over, it’s time to make it about her again. We’ve been trying to come up with a way to honor Pat and let her know we will fight this disease with her. Last week, Damien was approached about running in the New York City Marathon, set for Nov. 6. That’s when the wheels started turning.

Not only is he running in the prestigious 26.2-mile race, I’ll be running in the 5K celebration the day before. And we’re doing it all for Pat. We’re running for the Alzheimer’s Association and we’ll be taking donations in an effort to help this organization and all of the research it does. You can find out much more on my website (http://www.alznyc.org/karalawson/).

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The crew covering the Finals is announced:

“The ESPN family of networks has locked in plans to cover the WNBA Finals, which will feature the Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx in a best-of-five series. Games begin on Sunday, Oct. 2, at 8:30p on ESPN and ESPN3 before shifting to ESPN2 and ESPN3 for the remainder of the series. Pam Ward will call Game 1 with analyst Rebecca Lobo and reporter Heather Cox. Terry Gannon will take over the remainder of the play-by-play duties in the five-game series with Lobo and Cox. Programming will feature coaches and officials wearing live microphones, an EStrator telestrator system and a new open for the WNBA Finals on ESPN/ESPN2 that will feature moments from the first 15 years of the WNBA Finals.”

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“Am not!”

“Ummmm. Uh, huh!”

“Says you!”

“Well, yes, I do.”


In other news, Big Syl edged out Catch to earn DPoY honors.

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Lynx Sell Out Lower Bowl of Target Center for WNBA Finals Opener


Hip Hop Music Legends “The Sugarhill Gang” to Perform at Halftime of Sunday’s WNBA Finals Game 1

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Fever assistant coach Stephanie White gives birth to son

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Chat Alerts!

Whalen, 4pm EST, Thursday.

Voepel, 2pm EST, Thursday.

And we missed today’s chat with Mama Taj.

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This time it’s the Pan American games being held in Mexico.

Check out the college/high school roster and the schedule (first US game tips off Oct 21).

Don’t forget the Senior Team is hoopin’ it up in Europe. Check out the photos. (Not sure coach Mulkey’ll be happy with that first one.)

Didja catch Cheryl’s piece over at HoopFeed? Sophia Young and Kim Mulkey excited about the San Antonio star’s USA Basketball training camp invitation

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Bird gives the word

to the Seattle Times.

And yes, Sue Bird did have surgery on her right hip.

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WATN? The Donna

Workin’ with the PGA.

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and Angel was Moriarty?

From the AP report:

Angel McCoughtry embraced her role as villain, constantly taunting Indiana’s fans while carrying her team to the WNBA finals.

Meanwhile, Indiana can only imagine “what might have been.” From the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz: Catchings plays tough, but not that well

Tamika Catchings sat alone at her corner locker stall, a distant look in her eye, her season, the Indiana Fever’s season, finished for the winter.

“I don’t know,” she said with a sigh. “Maybe me playing, maybe I hurt us more than I helped us.”

She paused.

“I don’t know.”

From Mechelle: Adversity, injury strike Catchings again – Fever star scored six points on 2-of-6 shooting, with five boards, in 24 minutes

Tamika Catchings has been through this before. Wow, has she ever.

Nate writes: Atlanta Dream, Minnesota Lynx Have Both Improved Since Regular Season Series

Well, that was quite a statement the Atlanta Dream made tonight.

With their 83-67 rout of the Indiana Fever in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals at Conseco Fieldhouse, the Dream advanced to their second consecutive WNBA Finals.

Somebody will get a franchise-first championship and have a compelling story to go along with it.

And while the Lynx are probably a reasonable favorite at this point, it’s hard anoint them champions just yet.

Of the upcoming Finals, one Michelle writes Atlanta takes aim at league giant in Lynx, and the other Mechelle writes: Dream, Lynx seek first title – From trio of MVP-worthy players to athletic rosters, Finals packed with star power

…the Dream’s mission is the same as it was last year: Beat the team that had the best record in the regular season. Atlanta couldn’t do it in 2010, getting swept by Seattle in three very close games. Can the Dream do it this time?

“We’ve got to find a way,” Dream star Angel McCoughtry said Tuesday after Atlanta’s 83-67 Game 3 victory over Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals. “We are used to having obstacles in our way, bumps in the road. We’re going to keep on driving.”

Over at nba.com, Shaun Powell writes: Patience and perseverance pay off for Finals-bound Lynx

It’s quite possible that, of all the slights and insults hurled at the Timberwolves lately, “playing like females” probably was uttered or tweeted once or twice at some point. Although right now, that would be high praise, and maybe even a goal, for the No. 2 professional basketball team in town.

As for the No. 1 team? That’s the Lynx, who are giving the Twin Cities a type of team they haven’t seen since George Mikan laced up Converse hi-tops.

Jeff Fecke at the Twin Cities Daily Planet writes: A Minnesota team that wins: No, this is not an oxymoron

…we’ve seen Vikings teams go 15-1 and come up short, seen the Timberwolves roll to the best record in the NBA and come up short. That scarred part of the Minnesota sports fan’s soul had to expect disaster (and still does, in the Finals). But for once, a Minnesota team had a chance to get to the championship, and took it. The Lynx will play for the WNBA title. They’ve given themselves a shot. And for victory-starved Minnesota sports fans, it’s about damn time.

BTW: Wolves president, new coach donate 2,000 tickets to WNBA finals

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some pre-game reading:

From SB Atlanta: Dream Vs. Fever: Finals Trip Awaits Winner Of Game 3 Match Up

Both teams could be potentially missing a key player in Game 3. 2011 MVP Tamika Catching’s status is unknown after she went down with what appeared to be a serious foot injury in the fourth quarter of Game 2. There has been no reports as of yet to whether or not she will be able to play in Game 3. Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said that the Dream would prepare as though Catchings would be in the lineup so expect an announcement on her status shortly before tip off on Tuesday. Atlanta will be without the services of starting center Erika De Souza who left after Atlanta’s Game 1 loss to join the Brazilian National team.

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: Who should Lynx fans root for tonight, Atlanta or Indiana?

A lot of Lynx fans will probably be watching the deciding game in the Eastern Conference finals tonight. But who should they be rooting for?

It all depends on what they want. If they want the best matchup for the Lynx in the next round, then they should cheer for Indiana. If they want the best series, maybe five games, they should pull for Atlanta.

If you don’t care about tonight’s game ’cause you’re still smarting from your team’s loss, read about the National Team: US women’s basketball team starts 12-day European training camp

With the London Olympics less than a year away, the U.S. women’s basketball team will get a rare chance to train when they begin a 12-day European tour on Wednesday.

Coach Geno Auriemma won’t have a very deep roster at his disposal for the trip that will take the Americans through Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

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Still dunno

Catchings “a game time decision” for Fever

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Ooooo! Rumors!

Suggestion that Ms. Lawson may have some nice news.

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We know what happened…

Minnesota stalked into the Land of the Sun (and Bun) and torched the Mercury, 103-82.

But the “experience” argument — even perpetuated by this writer in making the dreaded preseries prediction— turned out to be just plain wrong.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin has been in this league 12 years. The 40-year-old post, the league’s oldest player, won a title in Detroit in 2008.

Lindsay Whalen played in Finals series in Connecticut in 2004 and 2005.

Rebekkah Brunson won a title in Sacramento in 2005.

Maya Moore won three NCAA titles in Connecticut. (sic: Actually, it was 2)

How much more experience did we all want from this veteran, collected group of players, who merely managed to continue what they have done all season?

The Lynx have so may damn weapons, they remind me more and more of the 2002 UConn team — all about the same height, all with the potential to kick your ass, and all smart enough to listen to Mama Taj.

Some happy Lynx-lettes greeted the team when they arrived home.

Who will they face? Minny will wait to see what happens on Tuesday as Indy, and the rest of the WNBA world, keeps an ear out for news of Catch’s health. Game three went to Atlanta because they used one Brazilian to make up for the loss of another.

It’s not as though we haven’t seen Iziane Castro Marques have huge games before. After all, she was an All-Star last season, averaging nearly 17 points per game. But she hasn’t really been that kind of dominant player this year.

If she hadn’t done it Sunday, Atlanta’s 2011 season most likely would have been over. Instead, the Dream took Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, 94-77, sending the series back to Indianapolis for a deciding third game Tuesday (ESPN2, 8 p.m. ET).

Mechelle wonders: Who will step up in Game 3? With or without Tamika Catchings, Fever need someone to complement Katie Douglas

But if Catchings doesn’t play, the Fever will need another huge game by Douglas — she had 25 points Sunday and is averaging 20.4 in the five games of this postseason — and more offense from at least a couple of others. The only Fever player besides Douglas who scored in double figures Sunday was reserve center Jessica Davenport with 12.

If Catchings is sidelined, the odds definitely shift in favor of Atlanta, which is seeking its second consecutive appearance in the WNBA Finals.

Richard offers up his recaps of the games: Small ball comes up big for Dream; Lynx class shines through

The game will probably be remembered for Catchings’s injury, but long before that Atlanta had put in a hell of a performance. Castro Marques finished 13-22 from the floor for 30 points, a career playoff high and her best performance of the season by so far it’s untrue. McCoughtry had easily her best game of this year’s playoffs, shooting 11-23 for 26 points. She was nowhere near as effective in the second half, but the rhythm of the game had already been set. She got off to such a fast start, and Indiana spent so much time and attention working out how to cover her, that other parts of their game fell apart. Each of the other Dream starters ended the game with 10 points, as balance once again helped Atlanta over the line, even in a game where two wings exploded offensively and one starter was on a different continent. The question for Atlanta is whether they can replicate this. Those outside jumpers haven’t been falling for McCoughtry lately, and she still only shot six free throws in this game. If the shots from outside start bouncing out again, and Castro Marques goes back to her regular season form, does this team simply revert back to what we saw in Game 1?

Over at Forbes, Alana Glass writes about the league’s new owners: Mary Brock And Kelly Loeffler: Running The WNBA’s Atlanta Dream

“I think our community has been amazing; starting from the top from Mayor Kasim Reed who came to our first game and lowered our conference championship banner in Philips Arena, to the head of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce and all of the sponsors and fans. Sponsorships are up and ticket sales are up. The metrics are telling us, in addition to the anecdotal evidence that we are moving in the right direction. We know that we have more work to do so. We are not resting on any of that.”

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We don’t know yet….

Fever awaiting word on status of Tamika Catchings

More on yesterday’s games later, but I figured this is what we were all wondering about….

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to top off your Sunday: When she took the floor with famed Harlem Globetrotters the crowds were hooked

Picture this: A double-deck bus barnstorming the northern United States and Canada with the Harlem Globetrotters filling the upstairs and the Texas Cowgirls, a women’s basketball team, riding below.

The Globetrotters, featuring Wilt Chamberlain and Meadowlark Lemon, were black. The Texas Cowgirls were white.

The years were 1957 and ’58.

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“If *fillintheblankwomensbasketballplayer* played in the NBA, how well would she do,” simply because it ain’t gonna happen and I kinda want fillin to play in the W.

But it is interesting when we get stuff like this from “Ball Don’t Lie”:

Apologies for the title of this video, because 28-year-old New York Liberty point guard and four-time WNBA All-Star Cappie Pondexter is most certainly not a girl. No, this is a woman who absolutely took it to journeyman NBA point guard, and 2004 lottery pick Sebastian Telfair(notes) towards the end of a pickup game during the Impact Basketball run in Las Vegas on Friday.

Here’s the video, courtesy Hoop Mix Tape:

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but it’s still a “Yikes!” moment: WNBA’s Dream lose key player with season on line

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From Lady Swish:

Former Lady Monarchs star Hamchetou “Mama” Maiga, who will be inducted into the Old Dominion University Sports Hall of Fame on Oct. 15,  is leading her native Mali in the 2011 African Championships (Afrobasket) beginning Saturday in Bamako, Mali. In fact, she’s the captain of her squad, and as such has made some bold proclamations regarding what’s about to go down.

“We will win back the trophy,” Maiga told the press on the eve of the event “The loss in the final against Senegal in Madagascar (2009) was a bitter pill down our throat. This is an opportunity to redeem ourselves.”

Funny, we could never get such juicy copy out of Maiga when she played around here….

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Richard fills in the void: Top seeds defend home court in contrasting fashion

With Catchings and Douglas both having mediocre offensive nights, the Fever were fortunate that some of their supporting players decided to show up for this game. Zellous off the bench continued to add her driving and aggressive mentality to the mix, while Tangela Smith was firing away from outside and hitting more than she missed. Early in the game it was McCoughtry leaving her far too open, attracted to the ball when she should’ve stayed home with Smith on the perimeter. Later it was the post players, used to their assignments to close down the paint, and unable to rotate out quickly enough to close down the space and challenge Smith’s shots. It was almost like she was playing the Tina Charles role from the previous series – except Smith wants to be out there, and you need to worry about her beyond the three-point line. Already with 15 points (3-5 from beyond the arc), Smith continued to punish the Dream in the fourth quarter. She hit another three to take the Fever lead to 63-59, and yet another to stretch it to 68-62 with five minutes to play – at some stage, Atlanta were probably going to have to pay some attention to her out there.

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What’s the Tavares song?

Atlanta, must be missin’ an Angel.”

Writes Mechelle: Dream don’t waste time with excuses – Atlanta needs a big game from Angel McCoughtry, who was in foul trouble in Game 1

It was difficult for the Atlanta Dream to talk much about Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals without saying stuff they knew they weren’t supposed to say.

We’ll give you a big hint, though: Their lament involved somebody who played only 17½ minutes in the Dream’s 82-74 loss to Indiana on Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

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Sharp returns to Texas Tech

Sharp steps down as Kay Yow Cancer Fund Executive Director


Sharp takes on new role at Texas Tech

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Lemme at ’em!

Over at espnW, Michelle Smith writes: Candice Dupree can’t wait until Sunday

A fresh butterfly bandage covered the spot on her right arm where Candice Dupree received a postgame IV on Thursday. She stood in a Target Center hallway long after the Phoenix Mercury absorbed a 95-67 beatdown from the Minnesota Lynx in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals, and it was fair to wonder what affected her more, a shortage of fluids or opportunities.

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