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the Shock as they stunned the surging Sparks.

Phoenix tried to prove that the tank is not in by taking down Seattle, in Seattle.

The reeling Dream were thrilled to meet the Mystics.

Indiana gave NY a little more dose of reality.

Connecticut, which has reversed old habits, holds the league’s best road record, much to San Antonio’s dismay.

Oh, and I saw a life bird: white-winged crossbill.

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and now she is gone for the season. Dream fans must be wanting to wake from this nightmare, opponents must be wiping their brow…and I wonder if coaches are asking, “Who’s running this Laurel and Hardy show, Laurel?”

Mel has some words on coach Meadors ‘ firing.

Mechelle does, too

In other news, the Shock might be looking at some seriously twin towers next year since it appear Cambage will not return as promised. Of course, considering how the no-return happened, it is just as likely we’ll never see Liz back in the States, no matter what the Shock say.

Mechelle’s got some words about this mess, too.

I’m feeling like some of the vets need to have a sit down with the youngsters and talk about professionalism.

And that I should never go to Canada during the WNBA season….

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Get fired the next: the Dream has a new coach.

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Quick check in

to say, “Beware, Chicago, my name is CASSANDRA!”

Hanging with the mom an college friends. Off to Maine for a week of birding (PUFFINS!). Rumor Maine and Canada has the internets, but not sure how reliable it’ll be… So, if the blog goes MIA  you’ll know why.

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Unless, of course, you’re a Seattle fan. Wasn’t the return of LJ supposed to be a GOOD thing?

Hmmm… I guess if your winning streak is going to end, might as well have it end with a thumping. LA did the honors to SA, 101-77.  The LA Times can’t be bothered to notice, but SportsPageMagazine has this: Beard’s Return to Offensive Relevance No Accident

Taurasi is still still feeling the effects of something-or-other, and NY enjoyed her abscess… er, absence.

Could any team happier than Chicago to see Tulsa up next? ’cause boy, the Sky are in deep doo-doo. (McCoughtry mystery, while Dream pile on Sky’s misery) Of course, taking the Shock lightly would be a mistake.

Some of the shine is off tomorrow’s Dream-Lynx game on ESPN, what with Angel doubtful and everyone, including Mechelle, (Will she be in D.C.?) going WTH?

It’s fair to say if you’ve watched the interaction between the two since Meadors drafted McCoughtry out of Louisville with the overall No. 1 pick in 2009, you would surmise that the coach has tried to make allowances for the temperament and personality quirks of her star player.

McCoughtry is clearly one of the top women’s basketball players in the world. She’s so talented that at her best, she’s as valuable to her team as anyone in the league. But at least from the outside looking in, McCoughtry seems at times disengaged from those around her. Does she fully trust her teammates? Does she feel like she has to carry the load too much of the time, especially in critical situations? Or does she actually insist on doing that? Or does it depend on the day and whom you ask?

In other news:

From Lady Swish: JMU grad gets her own shot at Olympic Gold

Andrea Woodson-Smith has visions of bringing home Gold.

The James Madison graduate, a member of Team USA Women’s Paralympic Basketball team, is Olympic-bound on Thursday. The 2012 Paralympics  start Aug. 27 and conclude Sept. 8 in London. Queen Elizabeth will open the Games for only the second time in history.

From the Telegraph: London 2012 Paralympics: St Paul’s Cathedral hosts women’s wheelchair basketball

Follow the USA women at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Who’s got the No. 1 selling (WNBA, not USA ’cause, like, you can’t get one of those.) jersey?

Were are you going to be December 1, 2013: UConn, OSU to play Hall of Fame Challenge in 2013

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is she ignores all those who’ve ever told her “put an arc in it!” ’cause dang, it’s a flat, FAST shot. And when it goes in (as it did last night) it just makes you shake your head and say, “geometry, as we know it, has been temporarily suspended.” Most of the Minny folks did well as the Storm said “Hi” to Lauren and wished she’d been on the court.

Speaking of the Lynx, Nate asks: 2012 WNBA Point Guard Rankings: How Good Has The Lynx All-Time Assist Leader Been This Season?

Yes, d’em Shock are feisty. But sometimes you live by the Latta, you die by the Latta (say the Sun, muttering under their breath.). Especially if you have a Lawson.

That being said, folks in the Drive for the Dive must be wondering, “How much longer before Cambage suits up and what kind of impact will she have?” ’cause it would seem the Lib are more than willing to stagger through the door the Sky have opened.

When will the LA writers notice the Sparks? Indy sure did. That’s seven straight for the palm tree wearers.

Jayda offers up her WNBA power rankings, and they’re more silver than gold.

There’s a little wacko USA BBall going on: U.S. fields teams in FIBA 3-on-3 hoops World Championship

Oh, and the “still wet behind the ears” crew is doing all right: USA U17 Women Cruise Into Quarterfinals With 98-28 Rout Of Mali.

“They are undefeated in pool play, and I’m proud of them,” Schneider said of her team. “Obviously, now we are to a point where you lose and you are out of contention for a gold medal. We want to be sure we are approaching the bracket play in the right frame of mind, and I think that we are. I think that they are ready, and they are obviously very talented. Now, we are just waiting to see who it is going to be.”

They’ll celebrate my birthday by going up against Australia in the semis. (Wow. Just got a hit of deja vu!)

Speaking of Aussies: Olympic hero returns

She left Australia as a rising star but Rachel Jarry has returned a hero.

The Point Cook resident arrived back on home-soil last week with the rest of her Opals team-mates and her prized bronze medal hanging proudly around her neck.

Speaking of the Olympics: From the DePaul site: Bruno’s Olympic Trilogy—Part One: Road to the Gold: Three-Part Series Opens With DePaul Coach Retracing Steps to USA’s Fifth Gold Medal

And, I’m sorry, but WTF is ESPN doing wasting money on having someone like Kate Fagan write about the WNBA? (Roster limits hurt WNBA). It’s obvious that she doesn’t care about the league, so much so that she can’t even be bothered to learn about the personnel (hello, you want someone Lin-esque with actual talent? How about Becky Hammon). Then she throws together a piece that’s totally ill-informed, self-contradictory with a good does of “illogical” thrown in for good measure.

Hey, the League faces plenty of challenges — it would be nice if someone who actually was interested in doing their job with a modicum of integrity was asked to write about those challenges.

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From Mechelle: Pieces fit perfectly for Silver Stars – San Antonio (15-5) picks up right where it left off before Olympic break

Who would have criticized Hammon if she’d taken a little time returning and recovering from the Summer Olympics? A deep Silver Stars team could handle Tulsa and Phoenix without her, couldn’t it?

“I need to come in and be dependable,” Hammon said. “It didn’t even cross my mind to miss a game.”

That statement and her subsequent 15-point, eight-assist performance that night in an 89-79 victory over the Shock could be an appropriately representative freeze-frame of Hammon’s entire career. When your veteran still feels she has to prove her dependability in her 14th season in the league, it’s easy for San Antonio’s youngsters to glean what it means to be a true professional.

No surprise: WNBA Hollinger Power Rankings: Silver Stars #1, Liberty Catching Up To The Sky Fast

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USA Women’s U18 Team Golden After Erasing Double-Digit Deficit To Eclipse Brazil 71-47

“Those three were workhorses down there,” said Katie Meier, USA U18 National Team and University of Miami head coach. “They just battled and battled and battled. When I say it was a physical game, it was an extremely physical game. So every time Bre (Stewart) or B (Bashaara Graves) or Morgan (Tuck) got a touch, it was well earned. They really had to even focus on a catch. They were getting swarmed. That’s what opened up Michaela Mabrey and she just put us on her back there for awhile and brought us back into the game.”

And the U17 is looking to follow suit: USA U17 Women Battle Belgium For 80-50 Win

“I was pleased with our effort,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “It wasn’t a surprise that Belgium came out and played hard, and they played well. Throughout the first half and into the third quarter, we just kept needing some little spark that would give us some energy, and Linnae Harper in particular came out in the third quarter and really dominated things defensively and helped us create some opportunities that we were able to build on. We won by 30 points, but it felt like it was a struggle.”

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and it can’t get up. (And no, it’s not because Augusta finally recognized women exist.) They had the lowly Mystics down and couldn’t put them away. I see storm clouds in the Land of Lincoln.

Sure, it was sorta close in the beginning — and then the real Minnesota stepped up and the Shock walked away with another loss.

Without Dee (and her “dental procedure”) the Merc are beyond toothless and San Antonio is all smiles.

It’s a sore subject. Clay weighs in: Taurasi must play — or both she and Phoenix must pay

She has now missed two games after the break, for dental work, which again, could be legit. (Josh Reddick, a starting Oakland A’s outfielder, has been bothered by dental work for a week, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.) But hey, we’re done with that. The next game is Thursday, and Taurasi will have had 11 days since the gold medal game to get over whatever traumas she suffered in London – and there is absolutely no reason she shouldn’t play.

So does Mechelle: Mercury falling while lottery looms

Maybe for the next home game — Thursday with New York — the Mercury brass can pump nitrous oxide into the US Airways Center. Perhaps laughing gas will make the Phoenix players and fans feel falsely euphoric — even if former Phoenix standout Cappie Pondexter, now with the Liberty, outscores the Mercury by herself.

Here’s who is definitely not laughing, though: Those fans and observers from around the league who are furious with the Mercury’s continued free fall, because they believe it to be largely intentional.

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basketball player:

Diamond DeShields, Defense Lead USA U17 Women Past Canada 86-47

Behind 29 points from Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) and a defensive effort that limited Canada (0-2) to an icy 20.8 percent from the field (15-72 FGs), the USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team (2-0) earned an 86-47 win in the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship on Saturday night at Sporthallen Zuid in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

and USA Women’s U18 Team Cruises Past Canada 95-46, Into Gold Medal Game

A pair of USA Basketball veterans, Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North H.S. / North Syracuse, N.Y.) and Morgan Tuck (Bolingbrook H.S./ Bolingbrook, Ill.), combined for 42 points and 11 rebounds to leadthe 2012 USA U18 National Team (4-0) to a 95-46 victory over Canada (2-2) in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship semifinal game on Saturday night in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. Advancing to the championship game for the ninth time in as many U18 tournaments, the U.S. will face also undefeated Brazil (4-0) for the gold medal on Aug. 19 at 8:15 p.m. (all times EDT)

Catch the game, streaming, here — the play-by-play (in Spanish) has been great.

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and giveth away.

After a game in which the Sun were extremely generous with their turnovers, the rematch in Connecticut found the Liberty post players returning the favor. In spades. Of the 26 TOs NY had, 16 were by post players. So, the team shoots 48% (50% on threes) and CT shoots 47% (27% on threes), but lose to the Sun, 85-74.

Short-handed Seattle (Sue, LJ, Wauters) kept it close, but the Sparks used balanced scoring to get the season sweep of the Storm.

When Sancho doesn’t score, the Dream struggle. When the Fever are seriously hitting their threes, it’s wicked hard to beat’em.

BTW: Richard is back from his Olympic fiesta: WNBA Today, 08/17/2012: They’re baaaaaack!

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“I’m going to Rio.” (But Merc – and face it, W – fans are wondering: are ya goin’ to Phoenix?)

BTW, if Sue, Diana and Catch do get to Rio, Mr. Colangelo, any chance we might be able to purchase their USA Basketball jersey? #USABasketballmarketingembarrassmentfail

A little @BrendaVanLengen and @MechelleV doing their post-Olympic review, the WNBA & NCAA volleyball podcast stuff.

A little mish-mosh:

Business model for SS&E based on Spurs’ success

The Silver Stars of the WNBA and Rampage of the American Hockey League, both celebrating their 10-year anniversaries, have evolved into what officials say are profitable franchises, including marked upswings in attendance and the standings.

Cool! Lady Swish will be pleased: Welcome to L.A., Dawn.

Ouches: Seattle and Connecticut

Behind the scenes with Patricia Babcock McGraw as the Sky’s Fowles, Cash share some Olympic stories

“It drove me crazy not to be playing,” Fowles said. “There were a couple of times the trainer had to say, ‘You have to slow down. You’re trying to get back too fast.’

“I had to make a grown-woman move. The young me would have said, ‘Just play through the pain.’ But I’m at a point in my career now where I have to be smart, and knowing that I had to come back to the Sky, the coaches and trainers agreed that I needed to sit out for a bit and work back slow.”

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The US 17 is iffish about defense, but loves to score: USA U17 Women Sprint To 131-89 Win Over South Korea To Open Play In 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship

“I remember thinking at halftime it was so unusual to have 70 points and only be up by 20,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “I thought Korea really shot the ball well, especially early. They cooled off a little bit in the second half, and I thought our team did a really good job of adjusting after halftime, getting over screens and getting a hand up. It was an unselfishly played game on our part, and everybody was looking for each other. I think their full-court press hurt Korea, but they stayed with it pretty much the entire game, and we were just getting layups on the back end of it. Diamond DeShields, Linnae Harper and Lindsay Allen, they all did such a great job of seeing down the floor and finding their teammates behind the press. It was a nice way to open the tournament for us.”

The U18 team enjoys both sides of the game: USA Women’s U18 Team Remains Perfect With 87-36 Victory Over Colombia, Advances To Medal Semifinals

Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.) scored a game-high 19 points to lead the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team (3-0) to a 87-36 victory over Colombia (1-2) to close out FIBA Americas U18 Championship preliminary play on Friday afternoon in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. The game, which saw all nine available U.S. players contribute no less than four points apiece, advanced the U.S. to the semifinals as the No. 1 seed out of Group A.

From coach Meier:

What do you need to work on heading into the semifinal?
In a perfect world I’d like to not have to call a timeout to make an adjustment. They went on a little run there and cut it to 18 at the start of the second half. We had to call a timeout to make an adjustment. That adjustment led to a 25-0 run. The negative is that we had to call a timeout. The positive is, that was a ridiculously impressive response to that timeout.

They’ll face Canada at 8:15pm EST – streaming available.

Las tres caballeras de Los Lynxs are back in action and wasted no time making mincemeat of the Mystics. (photos) I gotta wonder – is Shelia Johnson’s conscience twitching at all, or has she forgotten the team she’s undermined so totally?

Same ole same ole with San Antonio and Tulsa. The Shock keep it close (Liz ain’t due until the 30th) and San Antonio pulls out their 10th win in a row. And yes, Sophia gets my MVP vote.

Sorry, Pokey, but Prince didn’t help – maybe there are other issues? and Nate ponders: Chicago Sky Turnover Woes Continue In 82-76 Loss To Atlanta Dream

After the Chicago Sky’s loss to the Connecticut Sun on July 13, a friend of mine who was at Allstate Arena texted that Sky center Sylvia Fowles looked like she spent most of the game “hiding” on offense.

It almost sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, even in the world of basketball where people just above average height for human beings look tiny – the 6’6″ All-Star who would later try to dunk in London can’t possibly expect to hide herself with almost all eyes on her, especially without guard Epiphanny Prince to shoulder the burden of offensive focal point.

And yet, sure enough when you look at footage of that game you see a player literally hiding herself in plain sight

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Well, almost.

Diana couldn’t make it out to Seattle, Sue and her flu did, Seattle shot well and Phoenix aka “the walking wounded,” couldn’t buy a basket. Result? The Storm are at .500 and looking forward to the return of LJ.

Same ole, same ole with the Mystics: they get their distinctly unmagical butt handed to them by the Fever. Congrats to Catch: her 14 &14 made that her 76th double-double.

Who dat on the court?!?! Dat be Plennette! Welcome back, lady! PP hit the courts with a vengance, the Libs found their shooting touch and the Sun slid back to their “on-the-road-get-discombobulated-and-lose (17 TOs)” look: NY 79, CT 66. Nice to see Kristie Ackert back in the house talking to HOF bound SUUUUUUUUUE.

Sue Wicks recognized the look on Tina Charles’ face eight years ago. Then a top recruit at Christ the King High School in Queens, Charles had wide eyes and her smile was huge when she saw Wicks, then a Rutgers assistant coach.

“It was immediate. She recognized me, I was the player she watched with the Liberty,” said Wicks, who sat courtside at the Prudential Center as the Liberty upset Charles and the Connecticut Sun on Thursday night, 79-66. “Now I watch her and (Liberty guard) Cappie (Pondexter), who played for us at Rutgers and I am so proud of them and of what we built.”

In anticipation of tonight’s game, Nate tries to figure out What Angel McCoughtry’s 2012 Olympic Performance Means For The Atlanta Dream
Speaking of the Olympics:

Auriemma: Olympics ‘most pressure I’ve ever felt’

UConn Coach Geno Auriemma Says One Olympics Is Enough

Geno Auriemma happy to go out on top as Olympic basketball coach

Geno Auriemma On 2016 Rio Olympics: ‘I Would Say It Is Somebody Else’s Turn’ To Coach

I’m guessing that, reading the links (I’m assuming they wouldn’t bother to read the articles) there are several folks who are happy to see the above — they couldn’t put down their college-colored glasses and cheer for the US team.

What will folks do if a coach who represents a homophobic university is selected to lead the USA Basketball team?

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mi ritmo!

Yes, the U18 team is playing in great rhythm: USA Women’s U18 National Team Bypasses Argentina 68-28 Injuries are a concern, though: How much did it hurt the team to lose Jannah Tucker in the first quarter and be down to nine players for the rest of the game?

Lexie Brown: A lot. We lost Allisha (Gray) earlier (Aug. 7) and we’re just short on guards right now. So her hurting her knee is killer, but it’s going to give us more fire to win this for her, for Allisha, and for each other, basically. She was great on the bench. It was like she was on the court, especially on defense. She was yelling out everything and she’s awesome. I hope nothing serious is wrong with her (WHB: twitter says it’s an ACL).

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basketball: US v. Argentina

Yes, I can edit AND listen to play-by-play in Spanish.

Preps me for the Lib v. CT game tonight. Gonna be there — how about you?

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5) Even if you DO buy the chicken fingers, it costs less than a movie.

4) Baby, it’s hot outside – so chill at the arena and let the players turn it up a notch.

3) Cambage is back — and you know how to pronounce her name.

2) You can start cheering for your team, now that the UConn players are in the minority.

And the number one reason to watch the WNBA:

1) You don’t have to travel to London to see Olympians live — they’re right in front of you.

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(Laugh-In, y’all.) points to US women’s soccer: Will London gold medal lead to a more favorable CBA for US women?

When the U.S. men’s soccer players travel back to their clubs from Wednesday’s game against Mexico, they will fly in business class to destinations in Europe and North America. When the U.S. women’s national team players traveled back to the U.S. this week after winning the Olympic gold medal, many of them flew in coach class (while some had upgrades to premium economy purchased by U.S. Soccer).

The U.S. Olympic Committee purchased the airline tickets for the Olympics, which were coach-class seats for the U.S. women, just as they would have been for the U.S. men’s team had they qualified.

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messin’ with dem boyz whoz wants to play sports. Charts: The State of Women’s Athletics, 40 Years After Title IX

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Bernice Sandler, who helped draft the legislation back in 1972recently told ESPN, “The only thought I gave to sports when the bill was passed was, ‘Oh, maybe now when a school holds its field day, there will be more activities for the girls.'” During the Senate hearings on the bill—aside from one Senator’s crack about coed football which drew hearty guffaws—sports weren’t mentioned at all.

My, how things change. Forty years later, despite the important impact it’s had in other areas, from math and science education to the rights of pregnant students, Title IX is best known for transforming women’s athletics. In 1972, just 1 in 27 girls participated in high school sports; today, about two in five do, according to the Women’s Sports Foundation. The number of women playing at the college level has skyrocketed by more than 600 percent. (Incidentally, these days coed football teams aren’t a joke either.)

Yet progress towards gender equity in sports has been uneven and incomplete. Here are five charts showing what’s changed—and what hasn’t—since Title IX’s passage in 1972.

At the heart of it, when you get through all the gender stereotyping and social backwardness (easy, no?) these days, the big issue is about money. Sharing the pie. About how to divide a limited pie to feed various mouths. And everyone knows that Athletic Directors (overwhelmingly male) make the money decisions. And (mostly) they’re not interested in equity. If they were, there would be no need for Title IX.

So, when the male AD decides that the last 10 football players – the ones who never get in to the game – are more important than, say, the best 10 male wrestlers, or the 5 fabulous female fencers… Well, that’s not the fencers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” fencing because they caught a glimpse of Mariel Zagunis. Or the wrestlers’ fault because they’ve somehow developed an “interest” wrestling having  caught a glimpse of Rulon Gardner. It is a choice that ADs are making because they’re scared of football.

So, while I understand that the whimpy, lazy default is to blame women for having the temerity to be interested in the higher education opportunities that sports scholarships offer, I’d be more impressed if folks like Doug at the Deseret grew a set (so to speak) and looked at the facts and didn’t hide behind his threatened ego. I guess we know who Nikes “Voices were talking about:

I’m not saying the choices are easy — especially in these economic times when educators should really be looking carefully at what they’re spending on athletics and why. But lazy reporting and opinionating gets us nowhere. Women and men “just wanna play ball.” What’s the best way to help all of them do that?

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USA Races To 99-26 Victory Over Dominican Republic In FIBA Americas U18 Championship Opener

The young pups must have watched the Olympics, because they had a slow first quarter and then absolutely clamped down on defense. They got a ton of blocked shots, but coach Meier wasn’t too impressed. From the quotes page:

On the USA’s blocked shots record: I didn’t really encourage that behavior. I know that once it gets started we have to show a little more discipline there. If that’s our goal defensively (to block shots) it means somebody got beat and we’re already in trouble. We’re going to correct that. I’m happy for them, but that’s not the defense we want to play.

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From Mechelle: WNBA teams restart their engines – Games resume Thursday; teams have about seven weeks for final playoff push

Lawson, who turned 31 in February, is having the best season statistically of her career, averaging 14.5 point, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. She has made 43.8 percent of her 3-pointers (39 of 89) and seems particularly focused.

“We feel good about the second half of the year — [while] understanding that everybody feels like they’re ready for a good second half,” Lawson said of the universal optimism that marked a WNBA conference call Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s a team out there that doesn’t think they’re going to improve. I just think the intensity of the games will be a little bit higher as everybody tries to position themselves.

From Dishin’ and Swishin’: A Roundtable recap of the Olympics and preview of the returning WNBA season. ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, Washington Mystics commentator Christy Winters Scott, and and Mel Greenberg chat with David about:

Will Diana Taurasi play again this season for the Phoenix Mercury?

Is there a team that could move up and sneak into a playoff spot?

Did the WNBA get the rub it needs from the Olympic Games coverage? Is the WNBA marketing the success of the Olympics games enough?

The WNBA has had only two players average twenty points and ten rebounds previously (Sylvia Fowles in 2011 and Chamique Holdsclaw in 2003). Fowles, Candace Parker and Tina Charles all are close this season. Can they reach this amazing level?

Who will help their team the most of the returning internationals and injured players? What impact will they have on the rest of the season?

Which teams benefited from having the time off the Olympic break provided?

The NBA’s LeBron James who won the championship, a gold medal, regular season and Finals Most Valuable Player awards this year. Can anyone match that feat this WNBA season?

Nate gets into the act, wondering: WNBA Midseason All-Rookie Teams: Who Are The Top Rookies After Nneka Ogwumike?

Speaking of rookies, Sports Page Magazine has this: Sparks’ Ogwumike Ready for Leadership Role as WNBA Season Resumes

Speaking of the return.. the return of an age-old question: Sex, muscles, basketball: How do you sell an athletic woman?

Americans have a complicated relationship with female athletes. During the Olympics, we love them. They had some great moments in the 2012 games, which concluded Sunday. The United States women’s soccer team beamed from the gold medal podium in front of a crowd of 80,000 after defeating Japan last Thursday. Throughout the games, the NBC cameras couldn’t get enough of gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Missy Franklin, both likable medalists. This year, America sent more women than men to compete in London for the first time.

But male and female Olympians return to different worlds this week: most of the women have nowhere to play professionally in the U.S. Take female soccer players, whose U.S. pro league folded this year. Goalie Hope Solo recently told Newsweek that the team must come out on top at the games because if it doesn’t, “People are going to forget all about us.”

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Check out the futurecas the USA U18 team faces the Dominican Republic at 1:15 pm est.(UPDATED with a better link. I hope.)

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More WNBA second-half prep from

Bob at Full Court: The WNBA’s best — in the first half of 2012

The post-Olympic portion of the WNBA season will be kicking off Thursday so to help FCP readers get back in the WNBA groove, here’s a look back at the first portion of the season.

As there was no WNBA All-Star game this year, let’s start by naming our all-star selections as if the game would have been played instead of that thing in London.

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since July 20th. Thanks, Doug Robinson, Deseret News:  Women win big in Games — at what cost?

At the risk of raining on the you-go-girl parade, there is downside to the story, and you wonder why it has gone unnoticed and unnoted: The rise of the women has come at the expense of the men.

Universities, the lifeblood of Olympic sports in America, have been slashing men’s sports to comply with the federal government’s misguided demand for 1 to 1 proportionality — if 51 percent of a school’s enrollment are women, then 51 percent of the athletic scholarships must go to women, despite the original intent of the law that stated Title IX would be used to reflect interest and not as a quota system. Universities cut men’s sports to even up the numbers because A.) football has 100 or so players on the roster and there isn’t a women’s football team, and B.) there isn’t as much interest in athletics among females.

It is always impressive to find a writer with such a stunted vision of facts. Where to start, where to start? How about here.

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From Dishin’ and Swishin’: Podcast: Can Phoenix & New York make a playoff run? Corey Gaines & Monique Ambers discuss their teams

From the Norwich Bulletin: Sun players pleased for teammates’ Olympic success

The jet lag may not be all that bad — it’s only a five-hour time difference between Connecticut and London —  but the hangover from winning the Olympic gold medal may be something that Tina Charles and Asjha Jones will have to overcome.

During the WNBA‘s Olympic break, which began July 14, the Sun have been doing their best to keep one of the league’s top motors revving by holding practices for their remaining nine players since just before the start of the London Games on July 27.
You can see her feet tapping inches away from the floor where they would rather be running.
Besides 36 minutes of the pre-Olympic WNBA season, Diana Taurasi has been on the wrong side of the thin black line that frames the Mercury’s home court. A hip-flexor strain and ankle problems have kept Taurasi from donning the only clothes she’d want to wear at Mercury games. Instead, she’s been relegated to cheering her team on from the sidelines in casual business attire.
She hasn’t been alone.
No, she hasn’t. Add in Phoenix’s mayor: Phoenix Mercury Dominate Then Break Mayor Greg Stanton’s Nose
Now, about that thing that just happened in London:
Kelli Anderson at SI: U.S. women did not generate buzz, but did generate fifth straight gold

Simply put, this group was a collection of low-maintenance, high-production gym rats, similar in talents the players who came before, but different. No player from the 1996 team that started this golden run is still playing. “That’s what makes the streak even more impressive,” said Bird the day before the gold-medal game. “It’s not the same group of people playing great together. It’s a different group every time. There are people without gold medals on this team. And then there are people who have them and want to keep that legacy going, to keep that history alive, take the torch, so to speak, from those who came before us and do well with it.”

Doug: A repeat in Rio? US women’s hoops team thinks it’s possible after winning Olympic gold

From Fox Sports Arizona (or is it also Doug’s?)  Unsure of legacy, Taurasi wants fourth gold

Diana Taurasi’s already impressive Olympic resume isn’t finished.The U.S. shooting guard has three gold medals and plans to be at the 2016 Rio Games looking to win a fourth.Still, the 30-year-old Taurasi isn’t ready to pencil herself into an all-time starting lineup of U.S. Olympic women’s basketball players that would undoubtedly include four-time gold medalists Lisa Leslie and Teresa Edwards.Others, though, say Taurasi belongs.

And, Down Under, the fight goes on: Lundy, Opals to push for end to gender discrimination

THE second-class treatment of Australia’s female Olympic basketballers was tip-of-the-iceberg evidence of the gender discrimination that still exists in sport, which the federal Sports Minister, Kate Lundy, leaves the London Games determined to rectify.

Her claim, on the eve of the closing ceremony, that ”basketball is not alone” came as the Opals captain and Australian team flag bearer Lauren Jackson, and her teammate Kristi Harrower, felt free to discuss the furore over the male and female teams’ different travel arrangements after they completed their competition with a bronze medal.

Most of Australia’s national women’s team flew to London in premium economy class while their male counterparts travelled – as a general rule – in business class.

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from Nate: On USA Coach Geno Auriemma Calling France’s Celine Dumerc ‘The Most Impactful Player’ In The 2012 Olympic Tournament

It’s always weird to focus on the loser in a sports contest, especially when the loser gets blown out 86-50 in a gold medal game by an opposing country that has won 41 straight games and 5 consecutive gold medals.

But it’s hard to disagree with USA head coach Geno Auriemma’s point that France was the team of the tournament – those weren’t just gracious words from a coach who has wins to spare. Years of preparation paid off for France and it showed not only in surprising most people by even getting to the gold medal game, but in their execution and their ability to even hang around with the U.S. as long as they did before a third quarter that showed the gap between the two teams.

Video from the .com: USA Women: The Road to Glory – Follow the US Women’s National Team’s all-access journey from training camp to winning Olympic gold in London

Paul has: Looking back on London

As the dust begins to settle on the Games, there’s no probably no better time to pick out my initial reflections from London 2012, a tournament that delivered the usual roller-coaster of emotion and plenty of thrilling action to feast upon. So, in no particular order;

The party hosts

It was interesting FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann was quoted as saying “I think the British men’s team didn’t let us down.” I actually thought the British public (and anybody else for that matter) weren’t let down by the GB women either.

Paul also wrote on a popular theme this Games: USA Olympic record lacks due respect

As the USA bids to land a simply stunning fifth straight gold medal and extend their somewhat mind-boggling 40-game Olympic winning streak, there’s little doubt they’ve not been handed the wider recognition or respect this magnificent record so thoroughly deserves.
 
Equally, their hard work and application at the defensive end here in London also needs to be highlighted. I readily put my hand up in shame at focusing far too heavily on their offensive capabilities heading into the tournament. It was probably never about this in reality– only doing the dirty work effectively and playing defense.

Did you see this from Doug: Olympics: U.S., then the rest: The Americans continue their domination of women’s basketball with a fifth straight gold medal.

Catchings said the Americans “just wanted to keep that legacy going.”

Edwards, a five-time Olympian, said no worry there.

“The legacy is real,” said Edwards, who had a front-row seat Saturday night. “What these kids have been doing is amazing. Without much time to practice. In the middle of the WNBA season. And they look good. It’s like the whole world knows who we are. I’m really proud of them.

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Ten things to take away from London

Having talent no doubt means a great deal. But that, in and of itself, won’t get anyone a spot on the U.S. team. USA Basketball doesn’t have the opportunity to get the team together as much as it would like. But it does have the luxury of being a stickler about commitment to whatever practices, exhibitions and games there are.

If you’re healthy and can be there, then you better be there. Otherwise, someone is going to take your place.

For all the differences in personalities, backgrounds and experiences among the players on these past five gold-winning U.S. squads, there has been a unifying thread: team first. And not just because it’s required. But because it’s considered an honor.

That’s a very tangible attitude that has been passed down as a sacred trust. It has been embraced by all who’ve made the U.S. national team, at least for the duration of their time playing on that team.

BTW, I’ll add an 11th take away: Mechelle should have been there to cover the games.

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Women’s Olympic success: a flood that began as a trickle

Because this is how it happens: In 1976, Margaret Thompson Murdock became the first woman shooter ever make an American team. She might have been a token, but she was also a major in the U.S. Army, and she tied with her team captain Lanny Bassham in a rifle event for gold. Olympic rules prohibited a shoot-off, so the gold medal went to Bassham, while she got the silver. As the anthem played, Bassham pulled her up on the podium with him.

This is how it happens: In the 1984 Los Angeles Games, only 24 percent of the athletes were women. In the 1992 Barcelona Games, they were only 25 percent of the competitors. By the 1996 Games it increased to 36 percent, and by the 2008 Beijing Games, that figure exploded to 42 percent, and in London it was 44 percent, with every country sending at least one woman. The International Olympic Committee’s goal is 50-50 participation eventually. But an even more important benchmark would be to make the medal opportunities equal. Because that means that someday, as 17-year-old gold medalist Claressa Shields said, “There will be 30 of us in every event, and they will treat us fair.”

Also from the WaPo: U.S. women Olympians ‘hoping we have a million little girls who are inspired’

The U.S. team’s dominance, fueled by women who rolled up 29 golds and 59 total medals, defied the pre-Games speculation of London organizing committee leader Sebastian Coe.

“The only thing Seb got slightly wrong is he predicted we would come in behind China in the medal count,” USOC Chairman Larry Probst said Saturday, adding later, “We’re pretty happy about that. . . . Yeah, we like to come in first.”

First place makes a difference to the USOC, the only national Olympic committee that receives no government funding (WHB emphasis). The organization relies on donations from corporations and individuals to provide support for its athletes.

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Louisville loves her: Angel’s legacy now trimmed in Olympic gold

It wasn’t until I noticed what happens around Angel McCoughtry when she returns to Louisville that I fully appreciated her place in the sports history of this city.

Watch her for very long and the little girls will start to congregate, eyes wide. She signs autographs, poses for pictures, talks to them, asks about their teams, what positions they play.

Even after WNBA road games, where McCoughtry’s fierce on-court demeanor has made her player-most-likely-to-be-booed at many destinations, she’s around for kids after the games.

But here in Louisville, where she played college basketball and transformed the University of Louisville women’s basketball from an up-and-coming program to what now is one of the top attendance programs in the sport at any level, she means something more.

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again.

The east has top v. low standings going up against each other: CT v. NY and IN v DC.

The game that should generate the most should be, of course Phoenix and Seattle: the return of Diana and LJ? (Be early if you want a Lauren bobblehead.  I want one! And a Bird one, too! *whine*)

The .com has a Midseason Report up.

Until then, how about this news:

WNBA’s Atlanta Dream hosts first LGBT Pride night

Latta having career year for Shock

While we were all busy mastering the time difference between the US and Great Britain, over at Swish Appeal, thewiz was gathering links:

A Collection of Atlanta Dream Links During Olympic Break, and A Link to the Previous Team Link Pages

A Collection of Chicago Sky Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Connecticut Sun Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Indiana Fever Links During Olympic Break

A Collection Of LA Sparks Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Minnesota Lynx (pun intended) During Olympic Break

A Collection of Phoenix Mercury Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Silver Stars Links During the Olympic Break

A Collection of Seattle Storm Links During Olympic Break

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