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how important you are to your team.

Sucks, though, for your team., whe you can’t play. The Prince-less Sky fall to the Taurasi-Taylor-and-Dupree-less but Bonner-rooful Merc.

That’s four losses in a row for Chicago – luckily they play in the East, which hosts the ever loss-reliable Mystics. (A flagrant AND a tech? Sounds like folks are cranky.) Off to see if the Lib can hold up their end of the bargain as they face Sue’s Storm.

The Shock like to score. The Dream like to score more.

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The Write Space and Time

On that seemingly innocuous Wednesday, we talked about all the things you talk about when a season ends. And then we talked about all the things you talk about when you prepare for another — one that you’d like to see end a whole lot differently. Then I introduced them to the elephant in the room: my ladder.

I told them the brief, abridged version of how it got here to Norman, Oklahoma, and then I told them how special it was going to be for our team.

We talked about the Kay Yow Foundation. We talked about Coach Yow and her courageous battle with this insidious disease, we talked about the power of our platform as a collegiate team of women, and we talked about the symbolism of a ladder in our gym all off season: the daily reminder it could be to us of where we want to go and what it takes to get there.

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Just How Good Are the Minnesota Lynx?

Over the summer months, most of the attention when it comes to basketball is on the NBA Playoffs, the NBA Draft and, this summer, the Olympics.

The WNBA doesn’t get too much media love, though it should. And one team in particular is deserving of attention: the Minnesota Lynx.

The Lynx keep making their case,  dispatching the hobbled Merc by 16 and matching the Houston Comets‘ 1998 20-1 start. Tim writes: Minnesota Lynx won’t be sweating their 35-day Olympic break. Dishin’ and Swishin’ piles on: Are the Lynx a Budding Dynasty w/ Maya, Reeve

The Sparks continue to stumble, this time against San Antonio. Stephen writes: Silver Stars Fighting For Respect…Again – San Antonio is annually overlooked, but they’re used to having to prove themselves.

The San Antonio Silver Stars feel as if they are being overlooked by WNBA fans and the media that covers the league. After all, as of today, they do stand as the number three seed in the Western Conference.

“With fans and media, it feels like no matter what we do, we have to prove ourselves over and over every year,” said Sophia Young. “We get almost taken advantage of when stuff happens, even in games where we get a call and they do something and they don’t get a call for it. Every year, we get rated at the bottom of the list and every year we make the playoffs. We’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t matter anymore. We just have to go out there, play and prove ourselves again every year.”

The FTC Publications Newswire Daily (?) is Tracking The MVP Race – WNBA

Mechelle writes about the return of January (which, considering how hot it is in NYC, Januart returning would be would be nice).

It’s never wise to get overconfident, but the Fever have reason to feel good about making their eighth consecutive playoff appearance come September.

January is eager to experience it again. Last year, she played in just 10 games before suffering a torn right ACL. She missed the rest of the season — and the Fever missed her.

“Nothing against any of our other guards, but it helps a lot. It’s so nice to have Bri back on the court,” veteran teammate Tamika Catchings said. “Just her being able to attack and get to the basket when she wants to opens it up for everybody else.”

A WATN? from ladyswish:

Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth scored 10 points despite being in foul trouble to help Turkey upend Japan 65-49 in qualifying tournament action and move to within one victory of securing a bid to the London Olympics.

The Mi/chelles are back: WNBA News & Notes

Mechelle chats and answers a question about the leading Dive contenders:

Blake Whitney (Washington, D.C.): So, the Mystics are terrible. Think they’ll fire Trudi during the season? And, more importantly, do you think that would even help?

Mechelle Voepel: Trudi Lacey was Sheila Johnson’s hand-picked choice after the dismantling of the Mystics’ successful duo of Julie Plank-Angela Taylor following the 2010 season. Of course, we remember that Johnson also voiced her “belief” in Lacey with the answer of “Who knows?” when asked if she really believed TL could be successful. The Mystics are reaping what they sowed. Do I think a coaching change would help? At this point, I’m not sure how it could hurt.

And the espnW continues its WTF programing. I mean, if I wrote the following, what do you think the conclusion would be?

Since the league launched expanded to smaller markets, I have, at various times, channel surfed and stopped, parachuting in mid-game, hoping to be immediately wowed. I once rode a bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to watch a former teammate in a preseason game for the Lakers. (I left early in the second half to play blackjack, but perhaps that decision says more about me than the NBA.) All told, I probably watched the equivalent of one full game.

I am the target audience, yet I had never given a dime, or an evening of my attention, to support the men’s professional league of the game I love.

So, do you think at the end of my experience I’ll end up loving the NBA? As one of the ‘kellians put it:

I guess we are celebrating the anniversary of Title 9 by letting female writers write the same article male writers have been writing for years. Yay progress

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Girls basketball coach Pat Diulus dies at age 67

Pat Diulus, who rose to national prominence as a girls high school basketball coach during a career punctuated by run-ins with the OHSAA, died Tuesday after a brief illness.

Diulus coached Trinity and Regina to a total of nine state championships and nearly 600 victories in a career that spanned 25 years. Both programs became national powers.

Coaching legend Pat Diulus dies

“I’ve been thinking back on everything he’s done,” said Riley McCormick, who played on Regina’s 2009 Division III state championship team. “There have been a lot of things going on in the past year or two that may not have given him a great name.

“But I hope everyone can remember all the lives he did change. He truly was there for each and every player that crossed his path. I have nothing but love and support for him and his family. He has made an impact without question on the player I am today and the person I am today.”

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Yes, that was me tweeting

“don’t jinx’em, don’t jinx’em, don’t jinx’em.”

And, as my friends in Arkansas wrote, “WHOOO HOOO.” Yes, the Shock did “Beat LA!” and someone named Ethel looks wicked smart.

Nothing like a cranky Angel, huh, Indiana?

Yes, Bird IS the word. And what’s the word we can use to describe Washington — let the Post offer up a couple: Combined with last season, this team is now tied for the worst 44-game stretch in franchise history — matched only by Washington’s first 44 games as an expansion team back in 1998 and 1999.

With their win, and Washington’s loss, Tulsa has made the “Drive for the Divewicked interesting. (Who, are you, who? Who? New York Liberty) L.A.’s loss makes Minnesota‘s drive for the number one seed nice and smooth *Minny fans knock furiously on lots and lots of wood*.

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OT: It may surprise you all,

but I do have a day job: Art of the story aids literacy education

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Nike: Make the Rules – Voices

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other such targeted celebrations during basketball games can raise a huge number of issues.

As Mechelle said in her chat, “the fact that the league is celebrating [Pride], and that WNBA president Laurel Richie easily says the words “lesbian” and “gay” publicly, are all good signs.”

It’s also a fact that many faith-based organizations are deliberately and actively against equal rights for all, something I find both hypocritical and wildly un-American. So, when WNBA teams host “Faith nights,” it can, understandably, raise the hackles of all fair-minded fans. From an email I received:

I’ve written to LA Sparks mgmt. because this year they had 2 christian events as “entertainment” and no non-christian concerts/entertainment.  This really turns me off to attending Sparks games and I know I’m not the only one.  Is it possible that certain teams are looking to decrease gay fans and increase “families”, specifically christian ones? Don’t know but I think that it’s not a smart idea.

I agree, it’s unwise to alienate one fan base in the hopes of drawing another one. Neither am I willing to lump all faith-based organizations under one umbrella. But how do you decide who does or does not get a night? Here’s my simple litmus test: does the group/organization follow this non-discrimination statement as presented by Iowa State University:

“(Fill-in-the-blank) does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity.”

If the group demonstrates a pro-active compliance, cool. If no, respectfully suggest that they are more than welcome to support the League through the purchase of group tickets, but no team of the WNBA would knowingly align themselves with an organization that would deliberately discriminate.

Thoughts?

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A Q&A with Coach Stringer about the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

When you think back on your life, how might it have been different with Title IX?

I didn’t have the advantage of a Title IX. As a result, I saw women in the more traditional roles (housewife, teacher, etc.). Now, you see women doing everything. They’re CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I think, with Title IX, I might have been given a full scholarship to play basketball. Think about it, maybe I would’ve wanted to become a doctor. Who knows? But I couldn’t have done that. Look at how many women simply couldn’t afford to go to college. I was a poor kid.

Another Q&A, this time with Ann Meyers Drysdale: The former basketball star, the first female athlete to receive a four-year scholarship from UCLA, discusses the landmark equal-rights legislation Title IX (passed 40 years ago) and her new memoir

Q: What athletic performance — your own included — would you point to as the ultimate validation of Title IX?

“For me, it has to be my own. . . . We didn’t have enough money for me to ever attend UCLA, but because of Title IX, I got an education at UCLA. I think my Pacers tryout is part of the history of Title IX, as well. I know Lynette Woodard, an All-American at Kansas, told me it gave her the courage to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters, and I’d hope it gave others the courage to pursue their dreams.”

Michelle Smith writes about a couple of folks who’ve benefited from Title IX: Guard play puts Sun atop East

Kara Lawson, in her 10th season in the league, is experiencing the best start of her career. Through Sunday, she is averaging 13.8 points a game (second on the team) and has scored in double figures in 10 straight contests. Through 12 games, she has established career-best numbers in scoring, minutes played (29.0), field goal percentage (52.5), 3-point percentage (47.1) and free throw percentage (94.9).

Lawson, in the best shape of her career after switching to a vegan diet late in 2011, is also motivated to avoid being brought off the bench again as she was last season.

“It wasn’t something that I liked, but I don’t think anybody likes that,” Lawson said. “Nobody grows up dreaming of coming off the bench or wanting to be a role player. Everybody wants an opportunity to play a significant role and I would expect nothing less.”

Missed Mechelle’s chat from last week, and she was in rare form:

Judith (Broiling in DC):  After the Mystics’ loss to NY on June 8 that dropped DC to 1-5, Trudi Lacey required every player on the the team to write her a letter, at least one-page long, about why the team couldn’t finish and was losing. Since then, they eked out a 1-point win over Indy (scoring only 7 points in the last quarter), were blown out by LA, and last night couldn’t beat the Mercury bench. If you were a Mystics player writing a letter today to Trudi, what would it say?

Mechelle Voepel: “Trade me, please?” But that woudn’t take up a whole page, unless I wrote in first-grade script. I just think the vibe there is hard to overcome. Although I guess you could say there are a few other WNBA teams now that aren’t experiencing roses and sunshine, either.

From Richard (you can tell he’s an Alien because he insists on adding extra vowels.): WNBA Today, 06/24/2012: Favourites all cement their superiority. Just.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday – it’s been a busy few days in WNBAlien-land. Everything should be back to normal next week. For now, we’re going to catch up on Friday night’s game, as well as everything that happened on Saturday. Everyone who was supposed to win eventually took care of business, but some of them did it with far greater ease than others.

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Merlakia “The Shake” Jones.

Speaking of flashbacks, remember when Oklahoma tried to dump its women’s basketball team? Mechelle does: OU lesson still extremely important

...in 1990, Coale was a teacher/coach at Norman High School who couldn’t believe what she’d just heard from two other teachers: OU had announced it was canceling women’s basketball.

 Coale has recounted her memory of this OU bombshell many, many times before. But as a former English teacher, she’ll appreciate a reference to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous book of short stories, “Twice-Told Tales.” For many different reasons, some stories need to be told again and again.

And again.

I find this is especially true in regard to women’s sports. Some of you might think, “Surely, everybody’s heard about this, right?” After all, we in the national media revisited the infamous OU cancellation each time the Sooners went to the Women’s Final Four, in 2001, ’09 and ’10.

Nonetheless, everybody doesn’t know.

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“Don’t leap to conclusions, Fred.”

“Exactly. It’s not exactly as I laid it out, but I know you’ve been watching what’s been going on.”

“Sure have, Fred. I was intrigued to see that some of those teams reduced by injuries to playing, for all intents and purposes, on one leg sure do manage to give the opposition fits.

“Yes, siree, Ethel. Reminds me of my old vaudevillian days when everyone had the flu or the back of the set fell down… doesn’t matter what happens, the show must go on. Take a day off, and someone Young will steal your thunder. I also loved that dance move Miss Whalen pulled. Great footwork.”

“And I’m thinking, Fred, that the Tulsa team is just one player away from moving from “cute” and “feisty” to “a handful of trouble. Not unlike a certain red-head we all know and love. And speaking of loving, how impressed are you with the current competitors in the 2012 Dive for Griner Invitational?”

“SO impressed. I mean, look at the Liberty — they fight back from a 10-point deficit, get the lead at the half, Mini-Mi (aka Floppy Little Bunny) is shooting lights out, and then Cappie, after truly stinking up the joint, fouls out. They can point fingers at the ref AND the fact that Jeckyll-no-Hyde Braxton made an appearance. And I can only shake my head at the 26 turnovers. Their creativity in losing is, well, impressive.”

“True, but how about those Mystics? ‘Winless on the Road,’ sure has a nice ring to it. And it’s doing wonders for their Dive efforts. I guess the biggest question is, ‘Can Trudi pull a Sting?'”

“Right, Ethel. It’s not often that a GM has to fire herself, but if anyone can do it, it’s GM/Coach Lacy. I mean, if ‘Make the players write a letter about why they lost‘ didn’t give her a hint about her next step, I’m not sure what will….Of course, there’s always the possibility that GM/Coach Whiz will beat her to the punch. Honestly, the race to the unemployment line is almost as exciting as the race to the Dive. Can’t wait to see how the week unfolds!”

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So, what does it mean that the

NBA/WNBA site has a big ole Title IX at 40 t-shirt on the front page, but when you search for Title IX it gets all confused and can’t seem to find the T?

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I.O.C. Adopts Policy for Deciding Whether an Athlete Can Compete as a Woman

If a female athlete is found through a blood test to have a condition known as hyperandrogenism, which involves an excessive production of androgens, she will not be allowed to compete as a woman. To be barred, the female must have hyperandrogenism that “confers a competitive advantage,” the I.O.C. said, which means the androgens produce strength, power and speed because the body is receptive to them.

The I.O.C. policy, outlined in a statement dated June 22, will be in effect for this summer’s Olympics in London and will probably be followed by all sports federations that participate in the Olympics. The I.O.C. Medical Commission will be ready to take any cases and begin an investigation into them if any arise at the Games.

I.O.C. officials could not be reached Saturday night for comment.

If a man doesn’t have enough testosterone, will he be banned from competing as a man?

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The look of the reporter reacting to the VaTech AD’s reason for hiring Wolff is classic.

I wonder why Alabama hired Wendell Hudson  — ’cause he has three daughters?

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My name is Brittney Griner.

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I. Love. Taj.

If I only could find a Hair-O-Dynamic Taj doll, maybe I wouldn’t be so sad.

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Courtesy of Kim, I’ve transferred the Women’s Basketball Library to the WHB. Check it out — and send along any additions….

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a little flashback, courtesy of Title IX’s birthday: From Lee over at Full Court Press, Title IX: Former Texas Longhorn reflects on era of change

Hiss, who served as director of physical training for women at UT for 36 years, was an interesting character. In some respects, she was a pioneer. Her own promotion to that rank in the gender-biased culture of that era was no small accomplishment. Hiss made two years of physical education mandatory for every “co-ed,” as the women on campus were called at the time, and worked tirelessly to acquire resources for women’s athletics, raising $400,000 for construction the women’s gym and surrounding tennis courts and playing fields and establishing a vital intramural sports and physical education program for women that included a variety of activities from tennis and golf to archery, swimming, posture and interpretive dance.

At the same time, like her mentor, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover, one of the early heads of the Girl Scouts of America and one of the founders of the National Amateur Athletic Foundation, Hiss was adamantly opposed to team sports and intercollegiate competition for women.  Both Hiss and Hoover also actively campaigned against the inclusion of women’s sports in the Olympics, with partial success – though female Olympians competed in individual sports, the U.S. did not field its first Olympic women’s basketball team until 1976.

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recent coulda-woulda-shoulda-beens… Charles, Brunson and Peters…. sigh.

While the Lib play “anything you can do, I can do worser” with the Mystics, Peters’s play haunts New York fans.

There are games on TV today, so watch: Saturday Open Thread: The League Commemorates Title IX’s 40th Anniversary with Three Games, Starting at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT.

If you do, you’ll probably catch this W-spiced Boost Mobile advert.

Is there something in the Gatorade, ’cause “worst loss in franchise history” seems to be a theme – welcome to the club, Sun.

If you can figure out the SASS, call me, ‘kay? They’ve been a conundrum since that phantom foul that sent Phx to the Finals.

Sucks to be Prince-less.

You know you’re in trouble when a writer calls your site “influential.” Sure I am — that’s why the NYTimes doesn’t have a WNBA tab for game scores.

Congrats to WHB fav Jo Leedham, GB Olympian (along with Harvard’s Fagbenle and Florida’s Stewart), who pulled a rare double-double v. the Czech Republic: 19-pts, 12 steals.

Their best-ever performance, defensively and offensively, came after a 10-day road trip which has seen Great Britain also defeat Argentina, South Korea and Canada who are all ranked in the world’s top 12.

Surging like that would certainly suggest a realistic chance of making the quarter-finals in the London Olympics and possibly beyond – a remarkable achievement given where the team started from.

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There have been some concern that, with Kim closing her womensbasketballonline.com site (and it is just that – closed) that the Women’s Basketball Timeline she hosted (and I put together in a fever induced summer of googling) would disappear.

Kim and I have chatted, and she sent over the files. I’ve turned them in to a new page (see here) on the blog.

It was fun reviewing the Timeline (and it’s cool that, because the site is searchable, so is the Timeline), but I shudder to think how many of the links are broken and/or missing. And, of course, there are odd gaps in the contemporary history because neither Kim nor I had the time or brain space to keep it up these last few years. Now? Well, I guess I know what my summer 2012 project is…

I invite any and all of you to peruse the beast. Send me links. Make corrections. Suggest additions. Forward it to your Athletic Directors! On my way back from Kentucky, I ran into the very personable AD of a DIII college — he was on his way to Denver to talk alcohol and drug abuse policy. We got to speaking about what he’s finding on his campus — women team athlete’s dropping from teams, if they’re not playing during games (and occasionally becoming superb solo athletes). I brought up the history of female athletes being pushed away from team sports in to solo sports — using Gertrude, Sonja and Babe as examples, and contrasting it with women’s basketball…No surprise, he had NO idea of the history of women’s basketball, much less the “one step forward, two…maybe three steps backward” process its been simply to offer women the same right to play basketball as men do. Consider this little gem from 1919:

Tennessee: Dr. Mary Douglas Ayres Ewell, graduate of Sophie Newcomb College for Women in 1917, played under Clara Baer. Mary Ayres returned to Knoxville in 1919 and was named coach for the University of Tennessee girls’ basketball team. In March 1920, UT women students, with Ayres’ approval, requested “equal rights and privileges” with male athletes including team travel to other colleges for athletic events, increased funding for the women’s program, and representation on the Athletic Council.

Happy birthday, Title IX.

By the way, I’ve asked Kim if I can host some of her fabulous resources: the women’s basketball library and Media Tips in particular. If there’s anything else you’re going to miss, holler (womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com) and I’ll see what can be done to fill the void.

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about nuthin’.

Except, of course, they do.

From NPR: 4th Grader Lets School Know She’s Got Rights (btw, GO MOM!)

When the girls basketball team was cut from Charlotte Murphy’s Pittsburgh school last year, the then 4th grader told the superintendent that the cut went against Title IX. For the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the law that prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex, host Michel Martin talks to Murphy and Superintendent Linda Lane.

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Kim Callahan has decided to shut down her site, womensbasketballonline.com.

I would classify Kim high up in the ranks of what a friend recently identified as “amateurs who are more professional and passionate about the women’s game than most who are paid to cover or work in it.”

Those of her who’ve known her since the site was called “Chicks with Balls” can only gape and the number of early morning hours she spent gathering all the articles published online and organizing them in to one, readable page. And let’s not forget the endless extra hours she spent tabulating attendance, hunting down wnba media and team contact information, crafting her “lessons for advocacy” know as Media Tips, or hosting the women’s basketball timeline (information that has been sourced by various media outlets, big and small, not to mention numerous college students and a diverse group of history-curious individuals).

Ask her a question, and Kim has never failed to respond, either offering her information or directing you to the person who could offer you an answer.

Most people are lazy about their passions. They’ll indulge in them, but they rarely advocate for them. Kim did nothing BUT advocate.

I will miss her presence on the ‘net as much as I’ll miss her pointed humor and her constant support. The loss to women’s basketball is immeasurable.

Hey, Kim? “Chicks with Balls” rules!

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Dabnabbit!

Piph out 6-8 weeks.

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And so pleased they did it in front of their fans.

Lynx lose! Lynx lose! Lynx lose!

You knew it was going to happen, but I don’t know that you would have guessed it was the other team in green that was going to be the team who did it.

Dream lose Angel, and then lose to Connecticut.

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Not.

Especially if you’re Parker and the LA Sparks, who started on such a high against the Sun, and then boom. They took it to overtime against the Silver Stars, but that was all they wrote.

And especially if you’re Chicago, who saw their star end up on crutches. The Fever took advantage and Indy righted the ship with a nice win over the Sky.

In other news, another Connecticut writer weighs in on the suit v. Auriemma: Hardwick’s story about Auriemma hard to believe.

It’s hard to figure out this mess. I, too, have a hard time believing the accusations. One, I can’t imagine USA Basketball (in the form of Carol Callan) standing for the kind of crap Auriemma is accused of. At USA Basketball, they  take decorum beyond seriously. It’s never about “just getting the best so the US can win.” It’s about getting people who understand that the red, white and blue (and the gold) is IT. You mess with that ethos, it’s highly unlikely you’ll ever don the colors again.

Also, while I am in no way “in” in the world of women’s basketball, I know enough to know it’s a small world and there are VERY few secrets. People may know about unethical and immoral behavior and not do anything about it (witness Rene Portland and Penn State), but there’s little that the coaches,  writers and (some) fans don’t know. Across the board it seems people are saying, “Say what?” I keep waiting for the skeletons to appear.

That being said, just because there appears to be no pattern doesn’t mean what is alleged didn’t happen.

Wisest course of action: avoid a rush to judgment and wait for this thing to either play out in court or at the discussion table..

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  • Angel needs to violate team rules more often
  • The Mystics need to make a couple more adjustments and they’ll have that Dive action just right: get a lead, then lose it in dramatic fashion and have the opposition sink a last second basket. Who knew Catch and Katie would miss?
  • Maybe Fred underestimate Tulsa’s Diving skills?
  • Really, the less said about the Lib’s defense, the better. Building on a Mechelle tweet, they got UConned. There was a Kelley Cain sighting… and did you notice Peters’ box?
  • The Lynx give everyone an excuse to look up the old film “10” and call it research.

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the Bluegrass state (teaching, not birding). *And honestly, I’m trying to ignore the horror that is the Lib at Connecticut.*

From Nate: 2012 WNBA Most Improved Player Watch: Five Players Who Have Had Early-Season Success

All reports out of Chicago are that the Sky were more than happy not to endure another thriller in beating the Seattle Storm on Wednesday evening.

Nevertheless, Sky guard Epiphanny Prince still found a way to demonstrate that she’s taken her game to a new level this season.

I’m sure you all know what Nate is referring to: Efficiency In The World Of Basketball As ‘Effective Damage Per Second’ In World Of Warcraft

More Nate: Thursday Links: Sylvia Fowles’ Injury Scare, Candace Parker Makes Impression In Connecticut. Parker sure as heck did. Cool to hear UConnLobo cheer for a triple-double from TennesseeParker, wasn’t it?

*Holy carp! Will you LOOK at that Lib/CT score?*

’cause you can never have too many cooks: Lawyers Weigh In On Lawsuit Facing Auriemmaand for those so inclined: Trying To Understand The Point Of Law On A Difficult Case

What follows is an amalgamation of opinion about what both sides of this case may likely be thinking and what’s likely to happen sooner or later.

The most important thing to remember is: Listen, anyone can sue anyone for anything. That is not the issue. The issue is, can they win?

Did you see this over at Mel’s blog: Introduction and Robin Roberts’ Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

*Gads. The Lib/CT game is, as we used to say in college, “So ugly it’s WUGLY.” Unless, of course, you’re a CT fan. Down 40 at the end of the third. It’s kinda like a car crash. I’m having a hard time turning away.*

Interesting coaching hires at Jackson State (Surina Dixon), Buffalo (Legette-Jack) and SIUE (Buscher). And I’m not sure I mean interesting in a good way.

Ouch: Wiggins Completes 2012-13 Class With Destini Price (A decommit from Fresno St).

*Just turn away from the screen, Helen. You don’t need to see this. Actually, LA and Indy fans aren’t having so much fun neither.*

The rules review crew’s been at work: Decals, sportsmanship changes – Officiating ‘guidelines’ approved for charge/block calls

*Sigh. Shouldn’t there be a mercy rule or sumthin’?*

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Christine doesn’t go for the innocent until proven thang (it IS a law thing happening, not a USA Basketball thang) and makes some odd links: USA Basketball shouldn’t play slowdown on Auriemma

From Connecticut’s The Day: Two credible people … and more questions than answers

The day produced a particular illustration of Hardwick that Auriemma’s supporters might not like.

Still, I must admit: I’ve heard Auriemma’s detractors call him every name in the dictionary. But I have never – never, never, never – heard anyone with a shred of credibility question his morality.

From Connecticut’s Courant: Accusations Will Stick With Geno, Regardless Of Truth

I have always counted on Auriemma’s mouth to get him in periodic trouble, but not by using it to force a kiss. I have known him for 18 years. We’ve clashed on occasion, a few times famously. I also found him to be uncommonly loyal. I have been in his company in many social settings, almost always with a handful of media, probably three times a year. So that’s at least 50 times. He enjoys the attention. Saw him drink wine. Saw him smoke cigars. Heard him tell stories for hours. Saw women occasionally approach him like he’s a rock star. Saw those women walk away alone.

I was with the late, rapscallion Randy Smith of the Manchester Journal Inquirer once at a hotel bar with Auriemma. Smith was teasing Geno about his good looks, about women adoring him and how he still kept his hands to himself. Auriemma said he’d never even been to a strip club. I heard him say he’s perfectly happy because he loves his wife so much.

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From Mechelle: Testing Team USA’s solid foundation – Player injuries, lawsuit against Auriemma could test Games’ overwhelming favorite

There will be a lot of immediate speculation by people about which side they believe. These situations can be precarious for journalists, frankly. There are times when we can prudently state opinions. But there are other times when we need to let the system take its course as we try to sort out what happened.

I can say in nearly two decades of working as a journalist with Auriemma, he has never been anything but professional. In fairness, I do not interact with him in any other capacity. No one has ever told me, on or off the record, about him mistreating them in any way.

By the same token, I have not ever spoken with Hardwick. Her allegations are very real, serious issues that women in the workforce still face in our society. Whether her case in particular actually has merit, though, must be adjudicated.

Rich Elliot of the Connecticut Post: Ex-players Culmo, Lobo rise to Geno’s defense

“Coaching and beyond, I’ve shared many cocktails with the guy and sitting around in bars all over the country just chatting,” Culmo said. “And it’s always just social, hanging out, talking to people, telling stories. And that’s what it is. I’ve never seen anything inappropriate.’

***

“Obviously, I don’t have any idea what did or didn’t happen,” said former UConn All-American Rebecca Lobo, who has known Auriemma for more than 20 years. “But I’ve only ever known him to be someone of utmost character. And I think the world of him. He’s always been of the highest character in every dealing that I’ve ever had with him or any dealing I’ve ever witnessed him having with somebody else.”

From John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant: Hardwick Dependable and Professional, But So Is Geno

Here’s the actual complaint (in pdf form): The Kelley Hardwick Suit Vs. Geno Auriemma, NBA, USA Basketball

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