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Archive for April, 2013

but it ain’t me: SDSU INTERIM WOMEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH LEAVES FOR USC

Jualeah Woods, the interim women’s basketball head coach at San Diego State following the unexplained retirement of Beth Burns, was hired as an assistant on Cynthia Cooper-Dyke’s staff at USC. Technically it is a downgrade for Woods, who spent eight years at SDSU and held the title of associate head coach under Burns.

Speaking of Cooper: Texas Southern names new head women’s basketball coach

Ella Vincent writes:  Brittney Griner Is Revolutionizing Women’s Basketball – Will Brittney Griner’s coming out break down the “feminine” wall of women’s sports?

Basketball star Brittney Griner is one to watch for many reasons. She came out and revealed she was gay before she had her first professional game aft for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. She is one of the rare athletes to come out as an active player. It was a moment that showed how far America has progressed-but also how far it still has to go. Google her and “Brittney Griner man” shows up as often as her dunks when she played for Baylor University. More disturbing than the comments about her being a man are the attempts to make Griner feel ashamed for preferring pants over dresses. However, with Griner set to debut on the national stage this summer, can butch female athletes be free to express themselves?

Angela Hattery offers: Homosexuality and Professional Sports: A lesson from Brittney Griner to the NFL

On April 15 th , 2013 Brittney Griner, arguably the best player in women’s college basketball, was selected as the number one pick in the WNBA draft; she was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury and will play alongside the legendary point guard Diana Taurasi.   Three days later SportsWorld buzzed with the news that Brittney Griner had “come out” as gay.   

Critics pondered how Baylor, as a conservative Baptist institution, would deal with Griner’s announcement given that the Baylor student handbook reads in part:

The University affirms the biblical understanding of sexuality as a gift from God. Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm.

  Her coach, Kim Mulkey, while acknowledging that Griner was taunted and harassed during her career “professed ignorance” of her players’ relationships.

The official Baylor comment is that they will not “call out” Griner given that she has brought so much positive attention to the university.

Anyone else callin’ “bull” on Mulkey and  Baylor’s “ignorance”?

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From Variety: Media Coverage of NBA’s Jason Collins Varies Widely

The news Monday that Jason Collins had become the first active player in any of the four major U.S. team sports to reveal himself as gay itself provided a new demonstration of how idiosyncratically different media cover a story.

Even ESPN and ESPN.com seemed to be at odds over how to treat the NBA center’s news, which came two weeks after the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s first major-league game, while ESPN analyst Chris Broussard created his own controversy with [his] comments:“If you’re openly living in unrepentant sin, whatever it may be, not just homosexuality, (but) adultery, fornication, premarital sex between heterosexuals … I believe that’s walking in open rebellion to God,”  Broussard said on a special edition of ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”

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Spring had back-sprung.

Speaking of back-sprung: Yah, I might be jumping to conclusions, but what are you saying about the expectations for your program when you hire a coach who was 41-52 in three seasons at her previous job and has a career record of 120-113?

Need a little WATN? Here ya go: Cooper hires Levandusky as girls’ basketball coach

A little international news: First ever Jr. WNBA program to be launched next year in the Philippines

Chiney is Chasing my wildest dreams in Nigeria.

England is thinking long-term: Improving Allen looking towards Rio Olympic qualification

Dominique Allen was part of the British women’s basketball team that made their debut at London 2012, thanks to a wildcard hosts’ invite from world governing body Fiba.

But the 23-year-old insists qualification for Rio is more than a dream, even if it means a rapid rise up the world rankings.

“We have the EuroBasket in June in France so preparation is starting for that and I am really looking forward to getting back to it,” said Allen, who will return to the Olympic Park for the first time since last summer’s Games on Sunday July 21 for the National Lottery Anniversary Run.

“We just want to do as well as possible. We got some great experience at the Olympics and before the Olympics and we just want to keep that momentum going.

So, how are you at long-term planning? Wanna vacation with me in Turkey and watch the World Championships (Sept 27-Oct 5)?   I would be nice to watch the qualifiers for Rio play…

I can only imagine the headlines that were proposed — and then tossed — but it is good news for Salisbury U: Perdue’s gift is a major perk

Madeline Perdue was a student and athlete at the university, then known as Salisbury Teacher’s College, who dedicated her time to the community and to the campus. She played basketball and field hockey, for which she was named the Athlete of the Year in 1938.

“Madeline Perdue is fondly remembered by many throughout the Salisbury community, including the campus,” said SU President Janet Dudley-Eshbach. “She brought warmth to any gathering as a businesswoman and a sports enthusiast. She was, in many ways, ahead of her time, and made it easier for succeeding generations of women to pursue their dreams. I’m grateful to have known her and to have enjoyed her animating spirit, which has contributed so much to the Perdue family legacy.

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it sorta feels like spring!

From Tennessee: Carolyn Jackson retiring as Brainerd High’s girls’ basketball coach

Carolyn Jackson said she played very little when she was on Riverside’s basketball team. Little did she know then that spending time on a high school basketball team’s bench would become what she’s noted for.

Now after 40 years, a 965-285 record, numerous district and region titles and a state championship, Jackson has decided to retire as girls’ basketball coach at Brainerd, where the gymnasium is named for her and longtime boys’ coach Robert High.

“I’ve been coaching for so long, I felt it was about time to step down,” Jackson said. “I don’t have anything left to prove. I’ve done just about all I set out to do.”

Something seems to be brewing in Rocky Top: Heather Mason relieved of duties as UT’s associate strength and conditioning coach

In Pennsylvania, Lewiston coach Kevin Kodish reflects on 29 years at the helm

The one single factor that enabled me to coach for 29 consecutive years was the loving support of my family. No one can truly appreciate how much a coach’s family has to sacrifice unless they go through it. My wife, Shelly, and daughters Katy and Brooke gave up a lot of for me, and there aren’t words I can come up with that can give them their true due.

To the future athletes of Mifflin County, I ask three things:

Do right

Do your best

Treat others as you want to be treated

I humbly ask parents and athletes to remember that not everybody will be an all-conference performer. Not everyone will be a starter. Not everyone will be a great player. But everybody can do the best they can each and every day.

More news from PA: Dan Burt named Duquesne women’s basketball coach

“Dan Burt is the perfect choice to lead our women’s basketball program,” Duquesne athletic director Greg Amodio said in a statement Saturday. “He has demonstrated a strong commitment to the university and our student-athletes. I expect the program to grow under his leadership and compete for the Atlantic 10 Conference championship annually. The addition of Dan ensures that everything is in place for the continued success of Duquesne women’s basketball.”

You stay put: Hartford Coach Jen Rizzotti Signs Contract Extension Through 2018

Reaping the benefits:

Jay-Z Adds WNBA’s Skylar Diggins To Roc Nation Sports

Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury Player And Gay WNBA Draft Pick, Signs Deal With Nike

Patricia Babcock McGraw explains Why Griner’s game matters more than anything else

Kelly Kline says It’s time for the WNBA to acknowledge Griner and other gay athletes

Did Brittney Griner really “come out” last week or did she just quietly and politely remind all of us of the importance of living our lives authentically?

In last week’s widely publicized interview with SI.com, Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft, said simply, “Being one that’s out, you know, it’s just … being who you are. Again, be who you are. Don’t worry about what other people say because they are always going to say something. But if you’re just true to yourself, let that shine through. Don’t hide who you really are.”

After that answer, dozens of media outlets wrote “coming out” stories.  Yes, she is one of the first athletes to acknowledge her sexuality before turning pro, but coming out? I don’t think so! 

What are Griner’s soon to be teammates and opponents doing? Battling in Russia

Having previously secured European women’s professional basketball supremacy by winning the prestigious EuroLeague Championship back in March, Candace Parker, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Deanna Nolan are now driving their Russian club UMMC Ekaterinburg to the Russian League title.

McCarville, Whalen Hoping To Pick Up Where They Left Off

There are differences these days for Lindsay Whalen and Janel McCarville. The two no longer wear the maroon and gold at Williams Arena. They’ve traded in Dinkytown for downtown, and they certainly have more experience and basketball mileage on their odometers. 

It’s no longer 2004, and they’re no longer chasing Final Fours together. 

But it sure is hard to tell when you see them in action.

Find out about The Mercury’s New Point Guard

Clay at Full Court says, Despite setbacks, San Antonio concedes nothing

“We’re never picked to do well,” says San Antonio coach and general manager Dan Hughes, and this year is no exception. Not only did the Silver Stars lose their leading scorer and rebounder to injury (Sophia Young, 16.3 ppg, 7.2 rpg), the West now has three of the strongest rosters ever assembled in the same conference.

Oklahoma State’s Young ready for fairy tale in New York

The road to the WNBA hasn’t been easy for Young. From nearly giving up basketball in high school to breaking her arm while dunking in practice at the end of her sophomore year to losing coaches she practically considered family in a plane crash, Young has had more than her fair share of heartbreak.

Perhaps that’s why the wait seemed like an eternity.

Swish Appeal wonders, What are your ways to improve WNBA attendance in 2013?

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but the rest of the world sure did.

Here’s hoping you and yours are safe and hugged.

As for the basketball world, here’s what I missed:

It’s never too early: The early NCAA women’s basketball preseason top 10

Job filled: Pepperdine promotes assistant Ryan Weisenberg to job as women’s basketball coach. I guess only folks near the program can say whether this is a good or lazy hire.

Another job filled: New women’s basketball coach Randy Norton’s UAB connections go way back

Another job filled: Wright leaves Gannon to coach Miami (Ohio) women’s basketball

You stay put: Duke extends women’s basketball coach McCallie’s contract through 2018-19 season

It’s about time: Alabama reassigns women’s basketball coach Wendell Hudson to administrative role

And well they should: Special year treasured by Irish fans

 They came with basketballs to be signed, and cameras to snap photos.

They formed a line that snaked down the north dome of the Joyce Center, around the concourse, and past the basketball office in the south dome, to get autographs.

They showed up more than 1,200 strong, forcing a move from Purcell Pavilion to the north dome.

Notre Dame women’s basketball fans showed up in record numbers to celebrate a remarkable season, and bid farewell to seniors Skylar Diggins and Kaila Turner at the Fighting Irish women’s basketball banquet on Tuesday night.

From Sean Farrell: Syracuse Women’s Basketball: A Season In Review

With the selection of Kayla Alexander in the WNBA Draft last week, the women’s basketball season officially came to a close. Between a 24-8 record, an appearance in the Big East semifinals and the NCAA Tournament, it was arguably the most successful season in Quentin Hillsman’s seven years at Syracuse.

From jords: Kentucky Women’s Basketball 2012-13: Year In Review

Congrats: Schimmel Sisters, Angel Goodrich Win Prestigious NABI Honor

Angel Goodrich, Native American Basketball Invitational (NABI) alumnus who recently was selected by the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, only the second Native player to be drafted into the league, and Shoni and Jude Schimmel, the first Native Americans to play in an NCAA women’s basketball tournament championship game, were named the recipients of the 2013 Phil Homeratha Leadership Award. The award, named after the late Haskell Indian Nations University women’s basketball coach, Phil Homeratha, will be presented during the NABI Championship games taking place at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix on Sunday, July 21.

Cool: Roonie Scovel Talks About Seeing Former Player Drafted by WNBA

Podcast: Brenda & Mechelle:  WSC Radio Show: April 19, 2013: The end of the NCAA basketball season, the WNBA Draft and more

A blog entry from Elena: A little girl’s dreams realized

My days leading up to the draft were spent with 11 other rookies going to meetings to help ease the transition into the professional sports world. Rookie orientation was only three days long and as you can imagine, there is a lot of information that can be helpful in preparing to enter the WNBA. So, because of the short time period, we had to fit a lot of meetings into those three days. Because I was so busy focusing on the tips and information I was being presented with, I barely had time to focus on the fact that I was just days away from one I had dreamt of for as long as I could remember. Playing professional basketball was a lifelong dream and I was lucky enough that, due to the fact that the league existed for most of my life, this was a realistic dream.

From Full Court: Making sense of the Mystics’ Meesseman mystery pick

From the Pittsburgh Courier: Brittney Griner is Gay — Can the WNBA finally move on?

Last Wednesday during a press conference the #1 Draft pick in the WNBA, Brittney Griner did the unspeakable. She casually, matter of factly and openly came out as gay in her first press conference as a professional basketball player.

Griner enters the WNBA as one of the most successful college basketball players (male or female) ever, and she will do wonders for the Phoenix Mercury as a low post defensive stopper. However, what is more important than her play on the court is that her openness about her sexuality shows that as a league and a business the WNBA has finally grown up. Griner’s admission shows that the WNBA is no longer obsessed with finding that “crossover” star to “save” the league and might actually get back to the business of promoting good basketball.

More: Brittney Griner discusses being gay

From Kate Fagan: What does it mean to be an openly gay athlete?

From Jemelle Hill: Brittney Griner’s inspiring message

From LZ Granderson: No perfect time- Society’s not waiting for NFL to be fully prepared for an out player

From AZ Central: WNBA is fine with gay athletes such as Brittney Griner; why can’t men’s major pro sports seem to handle it?

From Fox Sports Arizona: Mercury embrace Griner as player, person

From Outsports: Podcast: Brittney Griner comes out to little fanfare

From HoopFeed: Before Brittney: Emily Nkosi talks about Griner and life since leaving Baylor after coming out

Will her play translate into the W season? WNBL grand final MVP Kelsey Griffin has re-signed with the Bendigo Bank Spirit for next season.

Movie time! Former Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt’s life, career chronicled

Pat Summitt smiled, laughed and shook her head at times.

The Hall of Fame coach, who has early onset dementia, was part of the audience watching a screening of a documentary about her career. “Pat XO.”

“It’s a wonderful film and they did a great job with it,” Summitt told The Associated Press. “It was really incredible to see all those people share their stories.”

Four losses:

Hall of Fame Clemson women’s basketball coach Tribble dies at age 80

Hall of Fame coach Sheridan dies: Shadle Park great won five state volleyball titles, two state girls basketball titles with Highlanders

Crash kills former Orange Park women’s basketball star, Alicia Gladden

Godwin Heights mourns girls basketball player who collapsed, died during practice

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NOW where is she going…

So glad you asked!

Now that we’ve hit the lull between the end of the college season/WNBA draft and the start of the WNBA season — a time I like to call SPRING MIGRATION, WHOOOP! — I’m off for a weekend of birding in lovely Key West, Florida.

Well, to be more specific, I’ll be on a boat putt-putting around the Dry Tortugas.

I’m likely to see the Brown Booby (I kid you not. Clearly, teenage boys were involved in the bird naming process back in the day) and, if I’m lucky, a Red Footed Booby (yes, they have red feet.). If I’m WICKED lucky, I’ll see a White-Tailed Tropicbird.

It’s likely I’ll be internets-free — shocking, I know — so I’ve asked the basketball gods to keep it down for a few days.

Back on Tuesday!

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on espnW

Speaking of Chicago, at the Tribune Shannon Ryan thinks Loyola’s rolling dice on Swoopes

Another opening: Buchanan resigns as EIU women’s basketball coach

You stay put (until, perhaps, you get a better offer?): Dayton’s Jabir rewarded with extension and South Carolina, Staley agree to extension

Ouch: Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Loryn Goodwin has left North Texas.

Nate does a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking on himself: 2013 WNBA Draft: Top undrafted prospects

After the past two WNBA drafts I’ve taken stock of some of the top undrafted players. This year, that includes three players we had been following throughout the 2012-13 NCAA season and a third who multiple people considered a first round pick.

At Full Court, Clays says Competence, not controversy, rules WNBA draft and  Mel says Top draft picks ready to become faces of the WNBA

With ESPN being the bridge in many ways through its other properties beyond telecasts that connects the NCAA and the WNBA when it comes to women’s basketball, network headquarters was the appropriate place to originate the highly anticipated draft that was beamed Monday night in a first-ever prime time window.

Draft day PHOTO GALLERY

Beginning last fall with its “Three to See” promotion focusing on collegiate superstars Brittney Griner of Baylor, Elena Delle Donne of Delaware, and Skylar Digggins of Notre Dame, ESPN kept the spotlight on the trio throughout the collegiate season and then transitioned the focus here on draft night with the correct assumption that the trio would be off the plate after the Phoenix Mercury, Chicago Sky, and Tulsa Shock made their picks at the top of selections in that order.

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