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except when they remind you that a D-I before your name doesn’t mean much. For instance:

Pepperdine played its lone exhibition contest of the 2012-13 season and dropped a 67-60 decision to 2012 NAIA National Quarterfinalist Westmont. (Westmont was actually the #1 seed, and got upset by some Chaps who were Ladies)

Kent State lost to Gannon University — ranked 15th in the DII preseason polls.

Having fun yet, new head coach Misti Cussen? Not so much, as Oral Roberts got hammered by DII Harding University. In their first exhibition game, the Lady Bisons got “shocked” by Wichita State.

Maggie Lucas from Penn State is blogging at ESPNw. So does Nerd City kid Chiney.

Candice Wiggins is writing at SlamOnline: Nike: The Goddess of Victory (It’s more than just a costume)

Mel has some Guru College Musings: Delaware and Delle Donne Still Making Their Own Histories

Delle Donne, however, is the first from a non-BCS conference to make the AP team since Amanda Wilson did likewise in 1998-99.

The AP preseason squad began in 1995-96, which is why you won’t see Nancy Lieberman, Lisa Leslie, Cheryl Miller, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Lynette Woodard or Carol Blazejowski’s names on historical lists.

Technically, one could say Delle Donne is the first from a Mid-Major per se because back in 1998-99 no one was using BCS terminology, which is derived from the Bowl Championship Series in football.

The six power conferences usually monopolizing the BCS are Pac-12, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Atlantic Coast and Southeastern Conferences.

No one was using Mid-Major terminology, either.

From ESPN the Magazine: ‘Same heart, same pride, same fight’ – New Lady Vols head coach Holly Warlick leads pivotal transition

HOLLY WARLICK stands behind a large mahogany desk, her gray-blue eyes scanning the office in front of her. Autographed photos and lifetime achievement awards dot the walls around her; every imaginable kind of orange Tennessee memorabilia, from Lady Vols Russian nesting dolls to a Pat Summitt bobblehead, fill the massive bookcase at her back. “What am I supposed to do with all this?” Warlick asks to no one in particular. “It’s too big; it’s too empty. It’s just — it’s Pat’s.”

After 27 years as an assistant coach for the Lady Vols, Warlick always envisioned herself as the heir apparent to the legendary Summitt. Only it wasn’t supposed to happen this way. “I’d often joke I would be pushing her out of here to games in her wheelchair,” recalls the 54-year-old, her voice perma-hoarse from years of coaching. “Pat and I discussed it in this very room, and I was really, genuinely happy with that.” Instead, Summitt’s diagnosis of early-onset dementia in 2011 and subsequent retirement at the end of last season destroyed any dreams of a celebratory passing of the torch. Now, premature or not, the future of Tennessee women’s basketball rests squarely on Warlick’s shoulders.

Something to keep you focused during the NCAA season: From Nate: 2013 WNBA Draft: How do we identify prospects with the best chances for success in a ‘deep’ draft?

With James Bowman continuing his look at the top women’s college basketball programs this week, I’m going to start officially looking ahead to the 2013 WNBA Draft for the remainder of the week. We’ll begin today with a look at what NCAA Division I statistics suggest a player has the talent to make it as a pro, as we began to discuss previously.

Oh, and the NCAA approves tougher sanctions. Please excuse the side comments….

The NCAA is demanding everyone in *men’s high visibility* college sports play by the same book.

Those who deviate from it *if you can catch’em* and flout the rules *so that they can get the recruits that will keep their job and make the alumni happy* will soon be paying a steeper price. *of course, depending on how steep, the risk might still be worth it*

On Tuesday, the NCAA’s board of directors passed a package of sweeping changes that will hold coaches more accountable for rule-breaking offenses and threaten rogue programs *huh? Rogue suggests there are programs that currently flout the rules! I’m shocked? Are they scared?* with longer postseason bans and fines that could cost millions of dollars. *So, who hasn’t learned their lesson recently?*

Coaches *who are pissed off that they’ve seen “illegal” behavior but haven’t had the guts to actually make an official complaint* say it’s about time.

*I hear folks singing “Catch me if you can.”*

But critics worry this may be just another round of tough talk and little action.

“It sounds nice in theory but until I see a big-time coach like (John) Calipari or somebody get suspended for a year, I will not believe this will do anything,” said David Ridpath, an Ohio University professor and past president of the NCAA watchdog The Drake Group. “I think there a lot of loopholes in there when you start reading it.”

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From Michigan State: Madison Williams to Miss the 2012-13 Season  – The 6-7 center re-injured her left ACL and will miss her third-straight season.

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From the Daily Illini: Illini women’s basketball routes Marian in 1st season exhibition

Kids? Listen to me an listen good: Spell Check is the devil.

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“Madam President.” After winning 1st WNBA title, Fever promote longtime front-office executive Kelly Krauskopf to team president

And on this day to deal with Hurricane Sandy, all the wind blowing, all the bluster, what better occasion to commemorate Bill Laimbeer’s return to the WNBA?

This is not good news for the league. It’s great news. The villain has returned. Every good story needs one. The WNBA has been bereft of a true rivalry – a rivalry with personality and animosity – since Laimbeer left the league three years ago and the Bad Girl Detroit Shock relocated to Tulsa.

Detroit-Connecticut was must-watch. Tulsa-Connecticut is just another game.

Speaking about the tall Aussie who was on the Olympic team: Medicos order Jackson to rest

Recovering Opals star Lauren Jackson’s WNBL return has been postponed, with Canberra Capitals’ medical staff on Tuesday ordering her to have at least another week of rehabilitation.

Speaking of an Aussie teammate, almost a year after she had the left worked on, Sue Bird had right hip surgery. She’s been rehabbing in Connecticut.

Frank, who was named Wednesday the school’s acting women’s basketball coach, sat Thursday in nearly the same place as Summitt and Warlick in one of the conference rooms at the Wynfrey Hotel for his appearance at the 2012 SEC Media Day. He didn’t have to face a wall of television cameras and microphones, but he did have to begin to explain how the Rebels were going to work their way out of a scandal that has engulfed the program.

From the OVC:

In recent years, the popular move when it came to coaching vacancies in the Ohio Valley Conference women’s ranks was to hire an assistant coach from another school or from within the established program. This year, when vacancies came open. That wasn’t the case.

Noticeably missing from the returning seniors is Lexie Gerson, who underwent hip surgery in early September and will miss the entire season. She was named to last year’s ACC All-Defensive team, ranked No. 15 in the country in steals.

“The loss of Lexie was quite a shocking blow,” said head coach Joanne Boyle in a released statement. “She has been a tremendous defensive spark for us on the court. We are all wishing her a speedy recovery and know that she will be back next season with that same energy and enthusiasm.”

From the middle-ish of the country: Missouri women’s basketball players eager to start new season

From another school in the middle-ish of the country: CU Buffs’ Jen Reese rebounding from eye injury

From out in Oregon: Breaking the bad – A summer chemistry lesson emboldens injured Ducks squad to dream

As odd as it may seem, Paul Westhead accused himself, Oregon’s coach, of doing a little too much coaching the last couple years.

His free-wheeling, fastbreak system got the UO women into the WNIT in 2010, to cap Westhead’s first season with the Ducks. But then came records of 13-17 and 15-16, and Westhead started to tinker.

“I saw us stuck, and tried to unstuck ’em,” he said the other day, “and probably got more stuck. I’m going to avoid that this year. … I’ve never been a big X-and-O guy anyway. Much of what I do is chemistry — getting them to play quick, fast, hard, every moment, and quicker, faster, harder the next moment.”

James continues his countdown:

This entry in the list of Swish Appeals Top 100 Programs in Division One women’s college basketball looks at the teams ranked #41-70. But how come there are no non-DI schools on the list?

And continues:

This entry in the list of Swish Appeals Top 100 Programs in Division I women’s college basketball looks at the teams ranked #26-40 and discusses which stat can mean the difference between making a tournament and not.

Is it too early to ponder Christmas gifts? NO! From FIBA:

We are proud to inform you that FIBA has released its latest instructional DVD, entitled ‘Queens of Hoops’, a valuable tool which we hope can inspire and assist the continued growth of women’s basketball worldwide. (WHB note: I wonder if they talk about “attractive costuming”?)

Leading international stars Diana Taurasi, Lauren Jackson and Céline Dumerc are among the 12 players from around the world who reflect on their careers to date, share their know-how and pass on some of the secrets that have helped them reach the top of the women’s game.

The DVD also features the expertise of renowned coaches Jan Stirling, Geno Auriemma and Tom Maher.

We invite you to watch the videos by going to FIBA’s Coaching Library Website coachinglibrary.fiba.com.

For instructional videos go to http://coachinglibrary.fiba.com/pages/eng/cl/QueensOfHoops/p/qoh_teaser.html

For interviews with players and coaches go to http://coachinglibrary.fiba.com/pages/eng/cl/news/p/videos.html

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hurricane. I can’t get “For those in peril on the sea” out of my head.

That being said, I am safe, on high ground and have electricity, so I’m making use of good fortune to do some catching up.

Congrats to Brockton, MA’s Jim Daley:

There is no room left on retired Whitman-Hanson Regional High girls basketball coach Jim Daley’s coaching resume. It’s filled with 510 wins, 15 league championships and 30 tournament appearances just to name the highlights of his 33-year tenure on the Panthers’ sideline.

However, Daley still has one more basketball bow to take because on Nov. 18 at Holy Cross, the longtime Whitman-Hanson icon will be inducted into the Massachusetts High School Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.

More congrats to Katie Kowalczyk-Fulmer, named the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Girls Basketball Coach of the Year. She coached the Grand Haven girls basketball team to the Class A state championship last March.

A little high school Title IX news from Columbus, Indiana: Teams aim for equal billing: Schools have four years to comply with court ruling

The Jennings County girls basketball team has played Franklin County the past 11 years, with most of those games taking place on Saturday afternoons.

But if the Panthers are to continue playing the Wildcats after this season, they likely will have to find a “prime-time” spot, meaning a Friday or Saturday night or the night before Thanksgiving.

In WNBA news:

Wanna own a W team? Mebbe not: Sparks’ Former Owner Sues Law Firm

The former owner of the WNBA team Los Angeles Sparks accused its former attorney of legal malpractice, claiming in court that he helped the team’s current owners squeeze it out of the franchise.

Where’s Swin at? Star basketball player, McKeesport native returns to help children ‘Cash’ in

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and WNBA star Swin Cash returned to McKeesport to seek support and new partnerships for her Cash for Kids nonprofit as she strives to help the youth of her hometown.

Inviting community leaders, local organizations and city youth to the Palisades on Saturday, Cash focused on her off-the-court passion of working with children.

From Indianapolis: President Obama calls Catchings, Dunn, Krauskopf to congratulate Fever on WNBA title and  Indiana Fever owner Herb Simon savors ‘special moment’

Herb Simon has owned the 2012 WNBA champion Indiana Fever since the franchise’s inception in 2000. The Fever won their first title last Sunday, defeating the Minnesota Lynx 87-78 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to claim the best-of-five Finals 3-1.

In the aftermath of their breakthrough triumph, Simon, who has also owned the Indiana Pacers since 1983, answered questions about the meaning of the title to him and a variety of other topics.

Question: Was the Fever’s WNBA championship your most satisfying moment as an owner?

Simon: It ranks right up there. This was a very special moment for all of us. The team, the way they played. I tell you, I got very emotional that last game. It was one of the greatest things that I’ve experienced.

From Chicago, Patricia Babcock McGraw writes: WNBA crown completes Catchings’ glittering resume

We all just want to fit in, even world-class athletes.

Tamika Catchings was feeling a bit left out during a special ceremony at the WNBA All-Star Game in 2011. It was the league’s 15th season and the top 15 players of all-time were being honored.

In an WNBA/College crossover story: Big Ten women’s basketball: Penn State’s Alex Bentley learns as Fever intern

In a “Local Makes Good” story: WNBA title for Markham’s Sutton-Brown

During her professional basketball career, Tammy Sutton-Brown had the good fortune to play for championship teams overseas.

But for the 34-year-old Markham native and Markham District High School grad, the biggest championship came this past weekend as a member of the Indiana Fever who defeated the Minnesota Lynx 87-78 to claim the WNBA crown in four games.

Another one from the West Coast: January savors WNBA crown

Briann January isn’t at Disneyland – and she won’t be any time in the near future.

But who needs the happiest place on Earth when you’ve just made a lifelong dream come true?

Another from Pittsburgh: Just call her, ‘Champion’

Shavonte Zellous’ smile, energy, work ethic, enthusiasm and passion are as infectious as ever, but after Zellous helped the Indiana Fever win its first WNBA championship Sunday, it is clear her game is still as good as ever, too.

More importantly, her penchant for rising to the occasion is intact.

Sure, the Lynx are left to ponder what went wrong and how to fix it, but ne despair pas, Los Lynx fans: Blueprint For Success Still In Place

Our attention may be shifting to the NCAA, but the W folks are abroad: Temeka Johnson blogs: Russian team off to strong start

Hello all, I’m back. I know I told you that I would write about the new additions to our team once they got here, so guess what: THEY ARE HERE. We have Epiphany Prince who played at Rutgers University (WNBA, Chicago Sky), Erin Lawless, who played at Purdue and also on the Slovakian National team, and Shay Murphy who played at USC (WNBA, Chicago Sky). These are the new additions to our team along with myself, Michelle Snow, and a few new talented Russian players as well.

Mechelle writes a really important piece about two big off-season stories: Laimbeer returns, Stern to retire in ’14

On the same day NBA commissioner David Stern announced when he would be saying goodbye to his job, Bill Laimbeer said hello to the WNBA again.

In the grand scheme of things, the WNBA will be considered a small part of Stern’s legacy as one of the pre-eminent sports czars of our time. And Laimbeer always will be known more as one of Detroit’s “bad boys” — a hard-nosed, blue-collar player who relished the fact that opposing fans loved to hate him — than as a WNBA coach.

But to those who follow women’s basketball, the contributions Stern and Laimbeer have made to this sport are quite significant.

College news:

Using appropriately groan producing verbiage, Swish Appeal begins their survey of top Division I women’s basketball programs: Division One women’s college basketball:  #71-100

Speaking of top programs, it means nothing – and it’s not surprise —  but Brittney Griner, Baylor women’s basketball unanimous preseason favorites

Speaking of polls, the fabulous D3Hoops has their pre-season rankings up,  and all eyes are on Calvin.

The Stanford Daily says: W. BBall: VanDerveer and Cardinal reload as season approaches

There was some drama in Vol land, but now it’s over: Top women’s basketball prospect Jannah Tucker recommits to Tennessee

As for the drama at Ole Miss: Adrian Wiggins Fired From Ole Miss

“The allegations and findings that led the University to this decisive and swift action are now being further examined jointly by the University and the NCAA,” the university said.

In addition, student-athletes Kay Caples, a transfer from Trinity Valley Community College, and Brandy Broome, a transfer from Pensacola State College, are ineligible to compete at the University after failing to meet NCAA transfer eligibility standards.

There’s some “drama” (as in, something with a storyline) from Cali: Stanford Women’s Basketball’s Six Pack, Episode Four – Summer At Stanford : Greenfield, Payne and Samuelson give viewers an inside look at their summers on The Farm

Not to be outdone, over at the California Golden Blog, they have a Women’s Basketball Season Preview Part 1: Embracing Expectations

From the Hoosier State: IU Women’s Basketball Implements New Practice Routine

So what about those new points of emphasis? They mean MSU women’s basketball to make changes on defense

The “Secretary of Defense” may have to wage his battles a little differently this season. 

Mississippi State University first-year women’s basketball coach Vic Schaefer scanned a two-sheet printout of 10 points emphasis Division I officials will be asked to monitor this season. When asked for his opinion about how his new team was going to handle four areas that could make it more difficult for defenders, Schaefer said he has been down this road before and it will be up to him and his coaches to teach their players better.

“Every year, it seems they’re trying to enhance the offensive side of the game,” said Schaefer

Unfortunately, there’s some “Dabnabbit!” drama to report: Brene Moseley out with ACL tear in blow to Maryland women’s basketball team. Moseley offers up a blog entry: “Courage.”

Oklahoma had their own version of “Dabnabbit”: Williams out for season with ruptured Achilles’ tendon

So, did you catch any of the firestorm after UConn Coach Geno Auriemma Says Lower The Rim In Women’s College Game?

“The game hasn’t grown as much as it should in the last 10 years and much of the old guard doesn’t want to hear it,” Auriemma said Monday after taping “Beyond The Beat,” which airs Tuesday on CPTV Sports. “In 2002, we played the Final Four in front of 30,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

“Now, 10 years later [2011], we [the women’s Final Four] can’t sell out the Conseco Field House [in Indianapolis]? So how much has the game possibly improved, in terms of how badly people want to see it?”

Auriemma believes one of the ways to increase the game’s appeal is by increasing offensive efficiency.

We know it’s not going to happen because, as Kevin Hoffman (who should learn how to spell Auriemma’s name) of Winning Hoops writes: Lowering Rims In Women’s Hoops A Logistical Nightmare. But there was some interesting (and not interesting) discussion spurred by his comments.

From the Tulsa World: Big 12 women’s basketball notebook: To lower or not to lower

“I really do think his team must be so good that he didn’t have anything to rant about, so he just started talking about lowering the stinkin’ rim,” Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale said. ” … You can go to the rec center, and can you go to an elementary gym, a high school gym, you can go to an arena like American Airlines and the goals are 10‑foot tall, and you can shoot on them and get better.

“I don’t think we want to put ourselves in a situation where we have to find a women’s goal so we can get better as players.”

From the New York Times (that can’t be bothered to have a WNBA scoreboard): Idea to Lower Rim for Women’s Basketball Stirs Talk

Other coaches around the country applauded Auriemma’s forward-thinking outspokenness. Most believed an immediate switch would be impractical — considering the number of high school gyms and playgrounds that would need adjusting — but they agreed with his central tenet: more people should be considering ways to improve women’s basketball as an attraction for fans.

“The logistics — I don’t think it’s possible,” Gonzaga Coach Kelly Graves said. “But I like the train of thought, I really do.”

From David Whitely at AOLFanhouse: Geno Auriemma’s right: Lowering the rim would help women’s basketball soar higher

Geno Auriemma has coached UConn to seven NCAA women’s basketball titles. He recently guided the U.S. team to a gold medal in the London Olympics.

Now he’s a soldier in the war on women?

From the Connecticut locals: Jeff Jacobs of the Courant talks Raising Rates (Men) Ad Lowering Rims (Women)

Don’t lower the rim of expectations.

We’re not only talking about Geno Auriemma‘s ideas for improving women’s basketball. We’re talking about the academic disaster that was the UConn men’s basketball program in the first decade of the 21st century.

The headlines on UConn athletics have arrived in loud, fascinating national bursts the past few days. Some have painted Auriemma as a visionary for — among several suggestions — arguing that rims should be lowered. Others have painted Auriemma as impractical or even demeaning of women’s abilities.

Mike DiMauro from The Day shoots for another target: Fixing this problem is a layup

Geno Auriemma’s musings from earlier this week, to lower the rim in women’s basketball, has become a cause célèbre within the game. Lots of opinions across the country, again illustrating there is no bigger, better voice for the game anywhere. Never has been, never will be.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to examining whether a lower rim is practical or realistic. An unintended consequence of the debate has been the rise of a peripheral issue which has the game’s intelligentsia in almost lockstep agreement:

Ditch the smaller basketball.

Grumpy Gregg Doyel rants: Lowering rims to boost scoring in women’s hoops? Geno’s math is hideously flawed, basically wasting an entire column of digital ink because he hasn’t the ability to look beyond the surface of the issue that prompts an Auriemma to toss out “lower the rims.”

Kate Fagan, who has admitted she doesn’t watch the women’s game because it’s not like the men’s, chimes in at ESPNw:  Lowering the rims? Um, no, that’s not the answer, mostly because she thinks the game should embrace what it claims to be she doesn’t like, not like the men’s.

On the flip site, Johnette Howard (who needs to learn how to spell coach Summitt’s name) says: Listen to Geno Auriemma; it’s time for change

The irony of any suggestion that Auriemma might be a traitor in women’s basketball’s midst is that his UConn teams are perennially, consistently, and without fail the best example of all the very same traits that women’s game actually loves about itself: selfless passing, constant motion, fundamental soundness, unapologetic competitiveness and an insistence on excellence. It should come as no surprise that Auriemma is a great admirer of Red Holzman’s great Knicks squads, one of the all-time great exemplars of teamwork in sports. And at times, let’s face it, Auriemma has been as neurotic as any female coach about how coaching women rather than men is devalued, and seen as some lesser calling.

But here’s the thing I agree with him on. Women’s basketball has also been rolling out that old John Wooden quote about how much he preferred their game to the men’s for so long it feels older than Wooden was himself. And Auriemma may be the only person in the game with the stones — not just the stature — to look at a troubling aside like the last women’s Final Four in Indianapolis and essentially tell women’s basketball, “Hello? Are you not as concerned about this as I am? It’s time to get over ourselves. This is our wake-up call.

I can get behind that.

Don’t know about you, but I have a feeling of urgency about the future of women’s basketball – both at the college and the pro level. As in, is this it? (You think the non-coverage of the women’s national team was by happenstance?) Yup, Geno was stirring it up again, poking at folks and – admit it – getting women’s college basketball some attention. You don’t like it? Then look to the other coaches in the game and ask them to step up and step out of their comfort zone.

Coach Kim – I dare you to make a statement with your words, not just your clothes (though they’re damn fun). For instance, lead the fight against bullying in women’s basketball – which includes facing down homophobia (and a heavy dose of misogyny) within and without the sport.  Would love to see you face down people like BarefootSerpent who commented: Baylor’s adding a man to their team didn’t boost women’s basketball, so why would lowering the rim?

Coach Coale – I dare you to make a statement with your words (which are beautifully written), not just your shoes. For instance, lead the fight for coverage of the game – both in print, online, on television.

Coach Tara – You may be old school, but you’ve got a program who knows how to rock video world. Tap in to that creativity and dare them to be the “Best Practices” program for all women’s basketball teams – and don’t forget to connect with Mr. Luck in Indy!

Laurel Richie? You better bring it, girl — and I’m not just talking about sponsors (which we appreciate!). Slap some order on your off-the wall franchises and remind the players that it ain’t just about them and a 94′ court. They need to look at the actions of the early WNBAers and say, “I need to match that and more,” ’cause their paycheck is not guaranteed. Just look at what’s happening overseas….they’re not rolling in the dough any more that the W is.

WBCA – I dare you to make a statement and stop being so damn polite. Be an active leader, and don’t worry about whose knickers you put in a twist. Don’t settle for what the NCAA offers, dare to demand more. If you don’t reach for the main course, you’re sure as hell going to be eating table scraps.

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And we got’im!

Bill Laimbeer named New York Liberty general manager and head coach

Suddenly, I’m interested in the Lib again.

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and the desk is (almost) clear, I still come to the same conclusion: Indy winning was great for the league on so many levels.

Great: For those of us “old timers” who remember Catch being picked, despite her torn ACL.
Great: For those of us who’ve watched year after year as the Fever just missed having the right personnel around her.
Great: For those of us who watched random injury after random injury derail the Fever’s quest.
Great: For those of us who understand everything good Lin Dunn has done for the women’s professional game.

Great: For those home fans — some who’ve been loyal through thick and thin, some who gleefully jumped on the bandwagon — who got to witness a Championship victory on their home court.
Great: For those random folks who flipped channels and caught the scene of thousands of delirious fans celebrating a women’s basketball fans.
Great: For all those cranky fans who thought the season was “boring” because Minny was a prohibitive favorite to win. Psych!
Great: For a league that really needed this season to end on a bang, not a whimper.

Great: For all the attention Cheryl’s jacket-toss garnered.
Great: For every ounce of heartache and frustration on the Minnesota team — they gave a city that was starving for a Championship a taste. And they went home empty handed. Just think how ferocious they will be next year.
Great: For every “semi-scrub” on the Fever team who figured out how to be a “super sub.”
Great: For anyone who’s followed Katie Douglas’ off-court story.
Great: For Catch, who has been the epitomy of class, class and class. Not only deserved this, she earned every single second of it.

From the wires:

Mechelle: Tamika Catchings wins elusive title – Three-time Olympic gold medalist and former NCAA champ finally nabs WNBA crown

You’ll get no argument from anyone involved in the WNBA that nobody plays harder than Catchings … and yet she’s still beloved league-wide despite her limitlessly aggressive, no-off-switch style.

Which is why after Catchings and the Fever beat defending champion Minnesota 87-78 Sunday to win Game 4 of the WNBA Finals and the series 3-1, even the conquered Lynx paid genuine tribute to the Fever’s franchise icon.

As Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve put it, “There’s not anybody that cannot be happy for Tamika Catchings to finally get a championship.”

Also from Mechelle: Turning disappointment into a title – After getting cut from Australian national team, Erin Phillips focused on Fever

Indiana guard Erin Phillips never had to look far for inspiration when she felt a little weary during the WNBA Finals.

“Anytime something started to hurt, I’d glance at Katie,” Phillips said of teammate Katie Douglas, who was sidelined by an ankle injury in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Oct. 11. “I knew how much Katie wanted to be out there. You just forget about whatever pain you have. You just go to another level.”

Phillips and her fellow Fever backcourt players did that in a major way over the last five games with Douglas out. And it was an enormous part of Indiana winning the franchise’s first WNBA title Sunday with an 87-78 victory over Minnesota.

From Michelle: Fever share championship moment

While the payoff moment was watching Tamika Catchings grab that WNBA championship trophy and hoist it over her head, tears streaming down her face, it was just that — a single moment.

Championships aren’t built on a single anything. They are a compilation of moments and performances, hardships and triumphs. They are a blessed combination of the efforts of coaches and players and general managers, and even when an athlete as singular as Catchings — one of the most beloved players in the WNBA — gets what she has so obviously deserved by virtue of the Indiana Fever’s 87-78 victory in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday night, there’s so much more to it.

Lana Bandoim of Yahoo Sports has this: Tamika Catchings Discusses the Indiana Fever’s WNBA Championship: Fan View

From the Bleacher Report: WNBA Finals 2012: Catchings and the Indiana Fever Win First Championship

With only a few seconds left in Game 4 of the 2012 WNBA Finals, one of several special moments occurred. Indiana native Katie Douglas, who was sitting out the finals due to injury, trotted out onto the court to a large crowd ovation.

Shortly afterwards, the buzzer sounded and it was official. The Indiana Fever were champions for the first time in franchise history.

From the AP/Sports Illustrated: Fever top Lynx for first WNBA title

“When you come into this league, your goal and dream is to win a WNBA championship,” Catchings said. “Twelve years later … it’s so sweet right now.”

From the Indy Star: Two from Bob Kravitz

This one’s for Tamika Catchings, who finally filled out her trophy case with her first WNBA title to go along with all those Olympic gold medals and overseas championships. Did you catch that snapshot of Catchings standing on the victory podium, holding up the championship and MVP hardware? What a sight.

This one’s for Katie Douglas, the hometown girl who, sadly, didn’t get a chance to play until the final 3.2 seconds of this series but helped bring the Indiana Fever to this heady place with her work in the regular season and earlier in the playoffs.

It only figured that the Fever and Pacers Sports and Entertainment would have to go to a Plan B. It only figured that with rain pouring down, and more rain in the forecast, the team and its parent company would have to move the parade inside to the lobby of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.

After all, isn’t that what the WNBA champion Fever have been doing throughout this remarkable run to a title, Indy’s first pro hoops title since the 1973 ABA Pacers?

Something happens, you move on. You find a Plan B. You embrace a Plan C. You roll out a Plan D.

From David Woods: Fever win 87-78, claim franchise’s first championship

“It’s been an amazing journey, the ups and downs,” Catchings said.

Members of the Colts and Pacers were on hand to support the Fever, and congratulations for Catchings came from everywhere. There was this tweet from someone who knows what it’s like to wait for a championship:

“Bout Damn Time!!” LeBron James posted. (Btw, more twitter reaction here)

From Robert King: Indiana Fever fans’ excitement reaches new high in historic win

When Kristina Howard emerged from Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday night after following the Indiana Fever since their birth in Indianapolis there was nothing else for her to do except to unleash an immense victory cry.

She wasn’t alone.

Fans, young and old, turned a quiet evening in Downtown Indianapolis into one of civilized revelry — blaring car horns, screams of delight and mugging for the TV cameras looking for something to start their late-night newscasts — as they celebrated the WNBA team’s championship-clinching 87-78 win over the Minnesota Lynx.

From the “What, too soon?” files: Can the Fever do it again next season?

Not to be outdone, Nate asks: Can the Fever repeat as WNBA champions in 2013? and tracks the Fever’s Unexpected Path to a title

The Lynx had a balanced, deep and versatile roster that seemed to be built to win on paper and did little to suggest they wouldn’t finish the task by repeating as champions.

And it’s hard to appreciate just how incredible a feat the Indiana Fever’s 3-1 win over the Minnesota Lynx in the 2012 WNBA Finals was without taking into account the entirety of that narrative.

Finally, from Richard: Catchings and Fever complete richly deserved Finals victory

Unlikely as it may have seemed at the start of the series, this was a richly deserved win for Indiana. In fact, it was all the sweeter for the fight they had to show to reach the summit. They lost their opening game of the playoffs at home, made two changes to their starting lineup, and came back to knock off Atlanta. They went 1-0 down to Connecticut, then lost Douglas in the opening minutes of the decider, before playing the Sun off their own floor. And then they outplayed the strongly favoured Lynx for the significant majority of the WNBA Finals, to earn their rings. It was a championship built on defense, heart, hustle and hard work, plus pure desire to keep fighting that little bit harder than their opponents.

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