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their successors were making a statement about the future of USA Basketball: “We got this.”

The second quarter of the U19 team against Australia was impressive. (You can watch it on ESPN3 replay) That didn’t hold a candle to the second half of their gold medal match against France. Yes, a key player of Les Bleus went down with an injury, but still: Hold a team to 8pts? In the entire half!?!

“Obviously we had to grind it out on the offensive end,” said Meier. “At halftime we talked about our defense. They had only scored 20 points and that was huge for us. So, we just said that when push comes to shove, you win championships with your defense, so go out there and lock down and stay together as a team. That was just an amazing performance.”

In other news:

Don’t forget to check out tonight’s installment of 9 for IX: Sheryl Swoopes’s Hoop Dreams and Whole Truths

LZ chips in: Sheryl Swoopes being herself

On the one hand, you had a high-profile athlete, one who had just won her third WNBA MVP trophy, tell the world she was gay. And she did so a mere few months after another high-profile Texan, President George W. Bush, endorsed an amendment banning same-sex marriage to the U.S. Constitution.

While having someone of Swoopes’ stature be openly gay provided activists with an important figurehead in the fight against the proposed law, having that figurehead insinuate she chose to be gay, was not — as politicos would say — on message.

But that’s Sheryl Swoopes — not a spokeswoman, not a contrarian, just herself.

Speaking of stars, Carl Ademac says Moore has Lynx lurking

At the ripe old age of 24, Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx is one of eight women’s basketball players in the world to win a NCAA title, a WNBA crown, and gold medals in the FIBA world championships and the Olympics.

“That just really humbles me and makes me realized how blessed I am,” Moore said Saturday after helping the West beat the East 102-98 in the WNBA All-Star Game at sold out Mohegan Sun Arena. “There are so many talented players, ones that are taller than me, jump higher than me, are quicker than me … I’ve just been fortunate and my timing perfect to play with great players at the world championships when I was still in college at UConn and come to a team as talented as the Lynx and have even more success.”

Jayda Evans talks with Storm guard Tanisha Wright

ST: Which was tougher, 2012 with the injuries, or 2013 without Bird and Jackson and with all the new faces?

Wright: Last year was much harder. This season has at least been enjoyable. It isn’t all for nothing. The way we’re playing this year — the grit, the attitude, the not laying down — that’s a lot better than what we had last year. We’re doing a good job defensively. There are games where we’ve held teams to 60, 65 points. It’s fun when you have people to play with who have that type of (defense-minded) attitude.

This ought to make the off-season fun: WNBA Facing Labor Issues As CBA Expires After Season

The NY Times is revisiting Tennessee: Anniston Star – HOT BLAST In Tennessee a unique school for teenagers

If you read nothing else on this Monday morning, then grab a cup of coffee and spend some time with New York Times journalist John Branch’s latest work.

Between Nashville and Memphis is Carroll County, Tenn., which, according to Branch, “is a rural place, quietly troubled by the hollowing plagues of small-town America — unemployment, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy among them. The problems lurk in the shadows between landscaped brick homes and the bucolic countryside.”

The Carroll County Juvenile Court operates Carroll Academy, a public school for troubled and at-risk teens. Students are sent there for all sorts of reasons, including behavioral issues and drug use. Branch is a sports writer for The Times, and his stories focus on the school’s girls basketball team, which has lost more than 200 games in a row.

However, the stories are not about the basketball team. They’re about life in a version of small-town America beset with economic problems that are seemingly overwhelming. Branch’s stories are long, but they are worth your time. I can’t help but wonder how many Alabama counties would benefit if their respective juvenile courts had the resources to open this type of school.

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Chicago news: Zoll-Norman broke her thumb against the Mystics while Swords has a knee ligament injury that will require surgery on Saturday.

A little something to counter the bad news: In Its 17th Season, The WNBA Continues To Defy Odds

The WNBA is well-managed but is fighting for its life,” said a world-renowned sports journalist.

My jaw dropped when I read that statement earlier this year. Since 1997, the WNBA’s inaugural season, the same recycled storyline has been printed year after year.

Despite continued criticism and predictions of failure, the longest-running women’s professional basketball league in the U.S. is holding its own and not folding anytime soon.

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How can you miss an opportunity to hear Lin Dunn?

The rest of the crew ain’t so shabby, neither: former WNBA players Yolanda Griffith and Michelle Edwards, former University of Maryland and Yugoslavian star Jasmina (Jazz) Perazik, and women’s basketball contributors Mimi Griffin and Charlotte West.

The 1976 Olympic National Team will get some love, too:

Cindy Brogdon
Susan Rojcewicz
Ann Meyers
Lusia Harris
Nancy Dunkle
Charlotte Lewis
Nancy Lieberman
Gail Marquis
Patricia Roberts
Mary Anne O’Connor
Patricia Head
Juliene Simpson

Speaking of USA Basketball: The U19 team advanced to their fifth-straight World Championship Gold Medal Game with their 77-54 defeat of Australia.

“Obviously that second quarter, that was one of the most thrilling moments in coaching ever,” said Meier. “That run, that 21-0 run was just so hard earned. It didn’t come easy. They didn’t cough up the ball. Kids were covering and fighting and pursing balls. It was really, really tough. We played very, very hard in that stretch.”

The gold will be no cakewalk, as they will face a French squad that, earlier in the tournament, gave them everything they could handle. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 tomorrow at 1:15 EST.

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Thank you, Tina

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all sorts of bad stuff happens: EDD gets a concussion, Penny goes under the knife,  BG sits for the ASG (and Arizona Central calls her “Griney.”)

Yes, the Three To See might be MIA, but don’t despair: the WNBA All-Star Game will Feature Mic’d Players, Ref Cam

I just want to give a shout out to the Amazon Warrior Princess: Tina Thompson scores 23 to lift Storm past Sparks.

You know what would be classy? If the W organized a “Thank you-Retirement Salute” for Tina at the ASG….. like maybe bringing her to the all-star game… HEY! Tina Thompson to replace Brittney Griner in WNBA All-Star game

From ESPN: It’s Time for WNBA midseason awards. Personally, my mid-year COY vote goes to Dunn. Adversity could have crushed the team and set up the Fever for a “why bother” second half. Now, it’s more like a “Damn, we have to play them?” Oh, and congrats to Catch: Tamika Catchings climbs into 4th on scoring list as Fever win

This is interesting: Weatherspoon becomes first WNBA player to join NBRPA

The non-profit association aides in the transition of professional players after their playing careers. Programs are designed to help with financial literacy and career assistance among other areas as well as serve as a social network for retired players.

Founded in 1992 by NBA greats Dave DeBusschere, Dave Bing, Archie Clark, Dave Cowens and Oscar Robertson, the organization also hosts camps and different community events. The group has more than 500 members that played in the NBA, ABA, the Harlem Globetrotters and now the WNBA.

Ooo, la la! France was unwilling to roll over for the U19 team — but the young’uns found a way to overcome les bleus and escape with a 6-pt victory.

“We have a ton of respect for France,” said USA U19 and University of Miami head coach Katie Meier. “They match us athletically. They are better than us in pace of play and they controlled the tempo tonight. We couldn’t impose our will on them, because they’re a very veteran team. We had to play their game and break through our box of tricks. We had to dig through our half court offenses and our half court defenses and really execute. We figured it out, but it took a long time to figure it out. They’re a very sophisticated, high-level basketball club.”

Japan is up next (1:15pm, today. Live Stats). Should the U.S. advance to the July 27 medal semifinals, it will face the winner of the Australia-China contest for the right to play in the July 28 gold medal game. The medal semifinals and the gold and bronze medal games will be streamed live online by ESPN3.

Off te be grown up and conference-y. You all keep an eye on the women’s bball world and make sure no one gets hurt, ‘kay?

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to this… ’cause if there ain’t, the Aztec Administration is peopled with cowardly idiots and women’s basketball has lost an important leader because of their idiocy.

From Kevin Acee at UT San Diego: Is what we see really what got Burns fired? – Women’s Basketball Coach struck assistant in video

If that’s all there is, what am I missing?

That’s the only plausible reaction after viewing the video at the center of the surprising and possibly scandalous departure of a record-setting college basketball coach.

There is much wisdom in acknowledging you might not know everything, and that may well be the case in the retirefirement of San Diego State Women’s Basketball Coach Beth Burns.

She’s not saying, and SDSU is not saying.

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ever come up with the stoopid idea?”

WNBA rookies lift viewership, sales

“Oh.”

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The U-19 is still looking for a challenge: US 103, Mali 26; US 103,  China 56. Today they face the Netherlands, Tuesday it’s Canada and Wednesday it’s France. Look for the semi’s to be streamed on July 27th via FIBATV.

Meanwhile,  the elders were making memories at World University Games

What did Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper miss out on while she was in Kazan, Russia, playing for the United States women’s basketball team at the World University Games?

* A couple of Husker summer practices.

* The baseball All-Star Game.

* “Sharknado” on SyFy.

She spent more than 30 hours on airplanes (each way), learned to like — sort of — Russian food, and found it wasn’t a problem playing in front of the opposing crowd in the championship game because, well, she couldn’t understand a word the fans were saying.

A health(ier) Indiana is a hungry Indiana.

New York doesn’t want to see the Sky any more with or without an injured or not injured Big Syl.

The Merc didn’t want to see Sammy anymore (and some suggested waiving her was an affirmation of an alarming trend in the world of basketball ), but Trader Bill is interested: New York Liberty sign Long Island’s Samantha Prahalis to a 7-day contract.

Speaking of bigs: Glory and Liz are rocking the Shock, who’ve won three in a row. From Tulsa World photographer Mike Simons:

“She can’t cover you Liz!”

That is what I heard several times from the crowd at the Tulsa Shock game against the Atlanta Dream. It seemed to be true as Elizabeth Cambage seemed to do whatever she pleased on the floor during their game against the Atlanta Dream. She finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds in their 90-63 victory over Atlanta.

I, like other newspaper photographers, spend a lot of time at sporting events. It is fun, and rare, when you see someone rise above the rest and get into the zone as I have heard it called. I saw it in the Cotton Bowl as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel dismantled Oklahoma’s defense. I saw it as I covered NBA basketball player O.J. Mayo in high school. There have been others, and there will be others. It was exciting to watch it yesterday with Cambage.

And yes, if Seattle continues to miss out on upset opportunities, maybe Tulsa will make the playoffs. Though San Antonio is still proving to be stubborn.

If and when Griner gets healthy and Gaines figures out to how to use her on offense, the Merc might really threaten Minnesota. As it is, this time Moore was just enough to help the Lynx survive.

WNBA’s Zoll-Norman shares message: Be yourself

She doesn’t even like the term “coming out” because hers was not some great revelation and had nothing to do with the timing of other pro athletes like Jason Collins and fellow WNBA player Brittney Griner who recently spoke out about being gay.

“There’s no secret,” Zoll-Norman said. “The interview kind of took a turn. It was really supposed to be about going to the pride parade and me being in it representing the Sky organization, which is an amazing thing. I had never been in a pride parade before and it kind of turned out to be that it was a ‘coming out.’ I don’t really like that term because if I was straight I wouldn’t have to come out and say I was straight. I don’t think that has anything to do with me as a basketball player.

“It turned out that it was an inspiration for some people, which I can appreciate, and I’m glad that it was. I just hope that everybody knows that they can be themselves.”

Purdue is down one: Sophomore Taylor Manuel will transfer from Purdue

Loss in West Virginia and Tennessee:

No player in the history of West Virginia high school girls basketball ever has or ever will be able to match the impact Mary Ostrowski had on the sport.

A standout at Parkersburg Catholic, Ostrowski-who lost her long battle with cancer on Friday at age 51-was the pioneer, the trailblazer, the player who set the standards for all others.

She was West Virginia girls basketball’s first superstar, winning the state player of the year award the first three seasons, while leading Catholic to 88 straight wins and two state championships.

Obviously, she was an extremely gifted player. But what set her apart from others who also fell into that category was her work ethic, which was legendary.

The news is getting worse out of Oakland: Players’ shocking allegations against former NCAA women’s basketball coach: As many as 15 former players and others close to the Oakland University women’s basketball program allege Beckie Francis fixated on their weight, pushed her religious views and used intimidation.  

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excited about the present AND future of the WNBA: Los Angeles v. Phoenix. Diana v. Candace. Great crowd. Lots of scoring. Great skills on display, tempered by a soupçon of crankiness.

Granted, it was late for the East Coasters, but it sure was worth staying up for:

And, while part of me agrees with Lobo’s assessment of Taurasi’s tendency to get cranky, I appreciate how unapologetic she is about it. Her post-game comments remind me of this fabulous Nike promo:

Of course, Diana will have to pay careful attention to scheduling her next T – ’cause she’ll miss the following game.

Oh, yah, and the WNBA all-stars were announced. Did you get the email?  (more…)

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coach Coale: 

Today has been ridiculous. We had a meeting this morning at 10:30 a.m. before practice, then we had shootaround at noon … then we packed our bags so that they could be loaded on the truck at 6 p.m. … then we left for the gym at 7 p.m. … and we’re at the airport now and it’s 2:45 a.m. Somewhere in the middle of all that we played really well and won a gold medal at the World University Games.

Our team played our best game together at the most important time. We shared the ball on offense, we ran in transition, and we got down and guarded a Russian squad that can shred you if you’re not all on the same page. We defended their ball screens and adjusted to their adjustments while flooding the paint and daring them to launch three’s. And we had a counterpunch for every punch they threw. That’s what great players do on big, bright stages.

Meanwhile, Carl Ademac is aware that, playing for the U19 team, Another title is within Stewart’s reach. Stewart is also offering content to Syracuse.com : Breanna Stewart Diary: Team USA wins tournament, explores Canary Islands, tries water sports

Former Cicero-North Syracuse star and current Connecticut sensation Breanna Stewart is participating in another summer of USA Basketball, an annual tradition with her that dates to 2009. This year, Stewart is headed with her USA teammates to the FIBA U19 World Championship in Lithuania, scheduled for July 18-28.

We’ve engaged Stewart to write diaries in the past, but this summer we thought it might be fun to chronicle how 12 gifted basketball players spend their free time while practicing and playing internationally. Here’s the second excerpt in Stewart’s latest summer diary (She’s supplying the Instagram photos and videos):

Paul Nielson is Looking forward to some fabulous fun in Lithuania (lucky dog!)

Watching youth basketball is a serious buzz at any time as far as I am concerned. Seeing young players cutting their teeth in their national team colours for a few years before they fight to make it with the seniors on the big stage is just wonderful.It is particularly interesting because bodies are still growing, attitudes are still being shaped and of course, skills and know-how are in their respective infancy.

To be able to get a close look at these talents not only on the court, but also looking at how they interact with the tournament environment generally, is genuinely humbling for me because there will be many great talents and athletes on display.

From Aaron Lommers at the Herald Net: Who’s the top rookie in the WNBA? Storm players share their thoughts on league’s first-year players

Speaking of rookies, from Melissa at the Los Angeles Times: WNBA’s Brittney Griner has learned to rise above it all

In her short time in the league, Griner has become a celebrity. The first openly gay athlete to sign with Nike, she can’t go anywhere without being approached by fans seeking her autograph, she said.

But the memories of being bullied by peers while she was growing up still haunt her. Griner remembers those who refused to believe she was a girl and those who questioned her sexual orientation. Others groped her and taunted her verbally, she said.

Zack at Swish Appeal says Rookies help put Mystics back above .500 but the Truthtella wonders: Are the Mystics really rebuilding?

Can a team claim itself to be in rebuilding mode when

  • not one of its current starters has less than six years of WNBA experience?
  • two of them (Currie and Snow) are at least 30 years old?
  • all but one current starter played in Washington last year?
  • the decision was made to hire the all-time winningest head coach in WNBA history? 

Ray Floriani writes Indiana Fever rookie Layshia Clarendon making progress in her rookie year

Philly’s CBS station notices Temple Product Dupree Still A WNBA Standout

Dupree is in her 8th season in the league, her fourth in Phoenix, after being drafted in the first round by Chicago back in 2006.

“Still haven’t met my major goal, which is to win a WNBA championship, but the last seven years have been amazing,” Dupree told KYW Newsradio recently. “I’d take this any day over a regular 9-to-5 (job). Been a lot of fun and hopefully I have a few years left in me.”

Kyle Ratke, Web Editorial Associate at the Lynx site notices Whalen’s recent scoring surge: Stepping Up For Seimone. At the Pioneer Press, Bruce Brothers chimes in with: Janel McCarville starting to play like her old self

Two seasons away from the WNBA, plus a disagreement with a team overseas, had left her pro basketball future in limbo.

McCarville, 30, was at home in Stevens Point, Wis., when the Lynx acquired her rights in March. She started the 2012-13 season playing in Turkey but left her team in January because she wasn’t getting paid, she said. When the Lynx called, she was overweight and out of shape and returning to what she considered the unlikeliest spot for her to ever play again.

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve mentioned early this season that the former University of Minnesota star’s head had to be spinning because of all the changes.

Goody Goodrich: Behind Angel and a red-hot Riquna, the Shock defeated the Storm handily.

A lot of missed shots for the Dream meant a lot of rebounds… but LA was playing at home, and everyone else picked up the slack as Candace had an off scoring night.

Walk down memory lane as pilight reviews The worst trades in WNBA history

During the Sparks-Shock game last night, Rebecca Lobo suggested the trade that brought Kristi Toliver to Los Angeles was one of the most one sided in league history. Bad trades have been subject for debate among WNBA fans since Mikiko Hagiwara was traded to the Mercury in 1997. I even blogged on it myself back when WNBA.com was sponsoring fan blogs and Kristi Toliver was just the hero of the Final Four. Let’s update things and see where the Toliver trade ranks and see if any other recent trades are as bad or worse. Here are the top 10 worst trades in WNBA history:

Do svidaniya, Sveta: Abrosimova retiring

The http://www.lovewomensbasketball.com site found an interview to championat.com in which former UConn star Svetlana Abrosimova said she is ending her playing career as she embarks on the next stage of her basketball career which could include being named the Russian Basketball Federation President.

Nice: Charles Honored With Margo Dydek Award

The Connecticut Sun recognized Tina Charles as its 2013 Woman of Inspiration, honoring her with the second annual Margo Dydek Award prior to tipoff of the game against the Chicago Sky on July 12th at Mohegan Sun Arena. 

The reigning WNBA MVP, Charles was selected for this award because of her remarkable generosity and tireless efforts to help those in need. Charles follows Rebecca Lobo, who received the inaugural Margo Dydek Award last August. She received a donation of $1,000 from the Connecticut Sun Foundation. 

“Margo was a special person who was known as much for her open spirit as she was for her talent on the basketball court,” Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said of Dydek, who died unexpectedly at the age of 37 following a heart attack on May 27, 2011. “In that sense, she has a great deal in common with Tina, who embodies so much of what Margo was about.”

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Atlanta Dream Forward Sancho Lyttle Undergoes Successful Surgery, Will Miss 6-8 Weeks.

Speaking of “littles,” after the WUG’s littles did a superb job against the Russian’s bigs and won gold, it’s now the young’uns turn: USA U19 Women conduct first practice in Lithuania.

WATN? Former Purdue star Katie Gearlds takes 1st head coaching job at Marian University

Ouch: Diggins.

More ouch: Griner.

Jayda talks to da Rooth: WNBA Talk: Atlanta Dream’s Ruth Riley

Mechelle on the impact of Harding and Toliver on L.A.’s backcourt

Los Angeles guard Kristi Toliver always has had that one particular grin on court that makes me think of a little kid who just grabbed two extra cookies when nobody was watching.

It’s not obnoxious or mocking or dastardly. It’s just … well, I guess you could call it mildly, mischievously gleeful. Like, “Ha! Threaded that pass!” or “Hee hee! Nailed that shot!”

Whenever Toliver was having a good time on the court, you could tell. Conversely, when she was not happy, that was pretty obvious, too. But the even-keeled Kristi — the one who has become more and more reliable for her competitive consistency, whether her shots are dropping — actually is a regular presence these days.

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More 9 for IX this Tuesday…

and a reflection from the Courant’s Lori Riley: Claire Smith’s Locker Room Exile A Reminder Of How Far We’ve Come – ESPN Documentary Looks At Pioneering Female Sports Writers

When I confessed to Claire that I hadn’t heard about the time when she, as a Courant sports writer, was thrown out of the San Diego Padres’ locker room in 1984 — only five years before I arrived at the Courant — she told me that was a good thing.

“When we went to Tribeca [Film Festival], there were a lot of young reporters there, and they didn’t know the story,” said Smith, who left the Courant in 1990 and went on to work at The New York Times and the Philadelphia Inquirer before joining ESPN in 2007. “They don’t recognize that environment, and that’s a good thing.”

A little WATN?

Teel Time: U.Va. women’s basketball set to hire Frett Meredith

The University of Virginia is poised to hire Peninsula legend La’Keshia Frett Meredith as a women’s basketball assistant coach.

A 1993 Phoebus High graduate and the leading scorer in state history, Meredith has worked the past eight seasons at Georgia, where she was a two-time All-American and led the Lady Bulldogs to back-to-back Final Fours. Meredith served as an assistant coach at Georgia for six years, as director of basketball operations the past two.

From Marcus Henry at Newsday: Ex-LIer Sue Bird, out injured, wants to extend WNBA career

Missing so much action hasn’t been easy on Bird, especially with her team struggling at 5-8 after a 66-57 loss to the Liberty on Tuesday.

“I’m not on the road, so you kind of miss the bonding and comradarie thing that happens,” Bird said before the homecoming game of sorts in Newark. “Being somebody who’s been playing for so long, I kind of took that for granted. And I see now how important it is.”

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Terrific back-and-forth game between Australia and the US, with both teams having the lead… and both teams losing the lead. Then, a CMU Chippewa came to the rescue, as Crystal Bradford got her own miss for a put-back and a one-point lead. Then, of course, the US had to defend to the end to earn the win.

“I tell you what, that 14 seconds felt like forever,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale (University of Oklahoma). “And then we did everything right, and I thought came up with the rebound, and they called a jump ball and we had to defend them for seven more. We had not been really good in defending their inbound plays. For a split second there, I thought about changing the way we were guarding on the inbound, but I felt like the most important thing for our kids at that point was to be sure, and so we stuck with what we had been doing and got them to take a tough shot and came up with the rebound somehow. We’ve been given a gift.”

Next up for the US: the gold medal game against a much taller Russians (in front of a home court): Monday, July 15, live on ESPNU (1:30 p.m. EDT).

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The US WOMEN are rollin’ at the WUG — though a 30-pt win wasn’t a breeze against Sweden.

“Our defense in the second half was much better than it was in the first,” said USA head coach Sherri Coale(University of Oklahoma). “We kept the ball in front and forced them into taking contested shots. We did a much better job on the defensive glass. They are a tremendous offensive rebounding team and go at it very hard. If you can block them out, then you have an advantage in transition on the other end. That was what we were able to do in the second half.”

Reminder: ESPNU will air the USA’s semifinal game at the following dates & times: July 13 @ 1 pm ET || July 13 @ 10 pm ET || July 14 @ 5 am ET || July 14 @ 11 am ET. If they make the Gold Medal game: ESPNU: July 15 @ 1:30 pm ET || July 15 @ 9 pm ET || July 16 @ 8 am ET

It wasn’t easy, but Whalen and Wright led Lynx past Indiana

It was easy, as Candace Parker’s 30 points helped the Sparks get first road win

Alaska’s greatest women’s basketball player finally steps off court at age 31

Ryan Larsen has been named head coach at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology.

High school basketball has its issues: Prep Charter girls’ basketball team to surrender titles

And its ambassadors: Beloved Trenton Central High School girls basketball coach continues free summer camp despite funding cuts

As the girls basketball coach at Trenton Central High School, Reginald K. Murray may hold the record for most wins in girls’ basketball in Mercer County and serve as a major speaker for national coaching conventions, but right then, the girls in his free summer camp needed to get their footwork down.

Inside a sweltering gym at the school last month, Murray pushed the young athletes, who ranged in age from high-schoolers down to fourth-graders, through agility drills before moving onto the next exercise.

The sessions known as Hell Week went on for five days before Murray picked teams for tournament play.

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the Czechs were the victims… followed by the Brazilians.

Sherri’s bloggin’:

Every afternoon I try to take a little jog around the village. It’s therapeutic. And there is always plenty to see. I find it funny that the outdoor courts that join flag alley in the median of campus are a magnet for athletes from all countries. There are nets and goals and hoops, but by and large people gather there to shoot baskets. Plain and simple. Sometimes boxers shadow fight themselves in the corners and occasionally people hit a volleyball back and forth, but mostly athletes gather just to hoop. It’s so funny. Most are ridiculously awful and yet seemingly unashamed–I suppose their prowess in their own respective venues more than tides them through.

Not gonna gloat, but did you see who won last night’s Minny/Dream game? Someone thought “Losing Augustus could be nightmare for Lynx against Dream,” but that wasn’t the case. During the first half, though, I did want to say to Rebecca — yah, the Lynx are shooting a zillion %, but they’re still only up 10 or so… but that became a moot point in the second half as Minnesota made another home-court statement, overwhelm Atlanta. Who stepped up? A Cavalier: Wright engages starting role as Lynx dismantle Dream. And yes, Minnesota Lynx looking a lot like WNBA’s best team

Do not despair, Atlanta, cause even though the Dream Fell to Minnesota, They Still Holds Best Record in WNBA

Ray’s an EDD fan too: Elena Delle Donne’s combination of attitude, intelligence and talent helping her succeed in rookie year

She stood in a corner outside the Chicago Sky locker room, a barrage of cameras, microhones and notepads in front of her.

The media closed in more than some defenses.

Through it all Elena Delle Donne was cooperative, insightful and generally cheerful. A 93-64 win on the road, cynics would say, helps the disposition. True, but in his case this is classic Delle Donne – this is who she is.

Revisiting the “expand the roster question” issue about “no one to practice against,” remember the Merc promo/gimmick? Mercury’s challenge working out

Michael Romero sprinted down the basketball court, hoping to at least slow down the opposition’s fast break.

But the other team had numbers and were pressing in transition. Romero turned to pick up the ball handler. Too late.

A devastating screen sent the 5-foot-11 Romero tumbling to the floor. Standing over him, seemingly unfazed, was 6-foot-2 Phoenix Mercury forward Candice Dupree.

“She just drilled me with this nasty screen,” Romero said. “It was like, man, these girls are rough, they can play.”

With that bone-rattling pick, Dupree opened the eyes of one male non-WNBA fan. The Mercury hope to do the same to thousands more, albeit in a less intimidating way.

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quality time in front of the tube.

9 for IX: PAT SUMMITT: IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Want to know the real Pat Summitt? “Pat XO” is an authentic portrait of the legendary basketball coach, taking the camera from the filmmaker’s hands and placing it into those who know her best. The Nine for IX film premieres July 9 on ESPN (8 p.m. ET).

Follow it with a little Lynx v. Dream.

The Dream have had eight days off heading into a stretch of four straight road games, though McCoughtry doesn’t believe the long layoff will affect the team’s momentum.

“Everybody can use a break,” McCoughtry said. “Our bodies need it. It’s a long season.” 

Minnesota, though, is hoping Augustus doesn’t need any time to rest a sprained left ankle she suffered in Sunday’s 91-59 rout of Phoenix, which boosted the Lynx to 6-0 at home. She left with 7:01 remaining in the second quarter and did not return, though X-rays were negative.

Speaking of Tennessee, Jeff Goldberg who gave us the wonderful chronicle of the Notre Dame/UConn 2001 season, “Bird at the Buzzer” has been given the green light by the University of Nebraska Press to write “For the Good of the Game” on the history of the UConn-Tennessee rivalry. Scheduled for January 2015 release, keep an eye out for his outreach to fans: he wants to pepper the book with fan experiences.

Speaking of the Dream, from Mechelle: Who are the top five small forwards?

If you were picking which position has been the “MVP” for the WNBA season to this point, it would be small forward. These are the primo do-everything players. And the five small forwards we have picked as the best right now in the league are indeed doing everything at a high level.

Need someone to mix it up in the paint? They can do that. Shoot 3-pointers and slash to the rim? Gotcha. Rebound? Yep. Handle a big scoring load, or set up teammates, or both? Check. Defend players bigger, smaller and the same size? You’ve come to the right place.

The oldest of them is the only one of the five to have won the league’s regular-season MVP award, but the other four — all age 26 or younger — could be future MVP honorees. Three of them have won the Rookie of the Year award, and another is in the running for that honor this year.

As the old “Schoolhouse Rock” video said, “Three is a magic mumber.” Indeed, the 3 position in the WNBA has some of the most exciting players in the league to watch.

Speaking of “players to watch,” the USA WBBall teams are full of ’em: USA, Hartley rout Maui in WUG opener (which produced this great comment: We in Hawai’i deeply resent UConn Huskies participating in an unprovoked attack on our islands. If you do it again, we are prepared to suspend the delivery of pineapples and small umbrellas to Storrs… NO Mai Tai for Aggressors!!

From USA Basketball: Selfless Offense Carries USA Women’s World University Games Team To 120-32 Victory Over Mali

Next game: Team USA will face the Czech Republic in pool play Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. EDT. You can follow the game on twitter (#USABWWUG) Also:

Brenda VanLengen ‏@BrendaVanLengen – I will be courtside at the @usabasketball women’s game tonight vs CZE at the World University Games & will be tweeting updates. #wugusa

ESPNU will air the USA’s semifinal game at the following dates & times: July 13 @ 1 pm ET || July 13 @ 10 pm ET || July 14 @ 5 am ET || July 14 @ 11 am ET. If they make the Gold Medal game: ESPNU: July 15 @ 1:30 pm ET || July 15 @ 9 pm ET || July 16 @ 8 am ET

The (not so) little bits (U19) are still preparing: Standard Setter, Morgan Tuck Capitalizes On USA Leadership Role,
Alexis Jones: USA Basketball’s Crafty Floor General and Gabby Green Beats the Odds

Following two consecutive summers of bitterness and hurt, Gabby Green nearly gave up.

In the summer of 2011, she traveled to Colorado Springs, Colo., to try out for the USA Women’s U16 National Team.

The next summer she returned and attempted to earn a spot on the USA Women’s U17 World Championship Team. For Green, her first two tryouts with USA Basketball teams produced the same result: cut and sent home early.

“When it happened the first time, I was disappointed,” Green said. “But I just kept working. It was literally the next day after I got back home, I told my dad we had to go to the gym.”  

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St. John’s v. Texas A&M.

UConn v. Cal.

As I have for the past zillion years, I’m going to put in an order for tickets (or at least start harassing my fabulous connection at the Garden) mid-August. We have, in the past, gotten FABULOUS seats, thankyouverymuch.

If you are interesting in being part of the horde, all you need to do is drop me an email at: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com

Include:
Your full name
Mailing Address
Number of tickets you’d like.

I’ll then start a tally and, when tix are finally available, I’ll send out one final “You sure? You want more? email.

Then I’ll purchase the whole kit-and-kaboodle, pick’em up at the Garden and mail’em out to you. When they arrive, send me a check.

The other option is we meet at the Garden and you had over cold, hard cash.

Let’s see if we can break 60 this year!

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she’s not on my team. *sigh*

Yes, perhaps the “Three to See” has become the “Two to View”, but wow, how much fun is it to watch Elena Delle Donne play. (And congrats to her, CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year) Granted, the Lib had no one who could guard her. Katie? Nice try — she gives up inches and years. Plennette? Delightfully physical, which EDD handled, but nowhere quick enough. The kid plays in control, is ACTUALLY a guard in a forward’s body, and has pogo-stick-like elevation skills.

Pokey plays EVERYone, and yesterday, they all seemed able to play. Who knows if it’s chemistry, coaching or basketball IQ, but the team looks so in sync with each other. It’s as if everyone’s field of vision/sense is open to their teammates and they can all “sense” where each other are on the court. There was one moment where the Sky did lose their mind offensively, and if Pokey could have kicked badgers out of her toes, she would have.

Of note:

Big Sly was back on the court and, while she didn’t light up the scoreboard, her quick hands were in every passing lane.
Carolyn Swords: Since when did she become a reliable, nitty-gritty big?
Prince: Always interesting to watch her battle her ego when she goes up against Cappie.
Sloot: Just as I said, “You know, if Courtney ever rediscovers her shot, then….” Eureka, guess what happened?
Blue Hens fans: In da house, courtesy of Amtrak and a convoy of buses.

The best Liberty moment? When they were showing “When they were a baby” photos, and there was golden lab puppy Maddie with a crown on his head…. 

I don’t know what happened during the game, and I don’t have the cast-iron metaphorical cojones to walk up to Katie Smith and ask her these things, but she was hot under the collar like nobody’s business. I thought someone on Chicago said something about her mother or something. Her head was not in the game the rest of the way. She couldn’t find her rhythm shooting, and her defense was below her average. I don’t expect her to be a total game-changer anymore, but we could have used her to keep the game within striking distance. Leilani Mitchell was pesky, but she couldn’t check Vandersloot sufficiently, which meant that defensively she was reduced to doubling down and trying to make things happen with disruption. As you might be able to discern from the score, this was not successful. Avery Warley rebounded well, but I think everyone involved knew that she was out of her depth. Kara Braxton muscled a little bit, but this was not a smart Kara day. This was a very dumb Kara day. If Kelsey can’t get easy shots to fall and Kara’s having a very dumb day, things are not going to end well in the post for the Liberty. Cappie Pondexter showed a spark of life in the second quarter, and she and Kamiko teamed up for one beautiful defensive sequence that resulted in a shot clock violation, but too much of the offense was flowing into her and then stagnating. It was Cappie against the world, just like it was under Whiz, and that’s not a scheme for long-term success. She took a lot of good shots, but she took even more bad shots.

And yes, that was the Lib’s “best” moment. The team is out of sorts, Bill looks like he’s out of options, and NY could easily slide out of the playoffs, ’cause CT can still get healthy.

Meanwhile, in Minny, the on-again, off-again buzz saw that is the Lynx was on again and, as a result, Phoenix was sliced and diced. The “damn it” news is that Augustus left the building on crutches, meaning it’s likely she’s a no-show for the game against the Dream.

The Q is back, and Mike *breathes a sign of relief* T is the winningest. Nice 212-congrats.

No, Tina didn’t “officially” cost the Sun a win, but her ridiculous melt down/two Ts effectively stopped Connecticut’s momentum and hamstrung their comeback effort against Indiana.

Yah, we thought this is what it was that took Becky down, but we like to delude ourselves sometimes: Frackin’ ACLs.

Doug at the AP recycles the “Expand the Roster” story.

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As someone who has seen endless recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance (with the 1950’s addition) in NYC public schools,  I was thinking, “How cool would this be?”

Monday: Students and Staff recite the Pledge

Tuesday: Students and Staff recite the Declaration of Independence, Part 1.

Wednesday: Students and Staff recite the Declaration of  Independence, Part 2.

Thursday: Students and Staff recite the Declaration of  Independence, Part 3. (It’s a longish document, dudes and dudettes.)

Friday: Students and Staff start on the Bill of Rights, Preamble plus Amendment 1

Monday: Students and Staff start on the Bill of Rights, Preamble plus Amendment 2

etc., etc., etc. through the 27th.

So, what are the chances of this catching on?

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Or, in this case, Chicago’s peril, ’cause yes, the WHBCurse seems to have come to roost in Chicago as the Sky lost Big Syl, then lost a lead, and then lost the game to the Storm. Oops.

With Sky center Sylvia Fowles out with an ankle injury, the Storm could put a lot of focus on defending Delle Donne. Seattle did that well, holding her to a season-low 12 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Sky guard Epiphanny Prince also felt the effects of the Seattle defense, going 3 of 9 from the field for 12 points.

The Storm were able to keep Delle Donne and Prince off-balance from the field without sending them to the line all that much. That was key, as they are exceptional free throw shooters, both better than 90 percent from the line this season.

Home sweet home, huh? While coach Ross is lobbying for all the playoff games to be held at Staples, (tsk, tsk LA Times) the Lynx are wondering “Wha Happen?”

14 NY turnovers lead to 21 Merc points…. and another Phoenix win.

For much of the Mercury’s season, it’s been Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Brittney Griner and Diana Taurasi.

The talk has been about them off the court. So has the focus on it.

But don’t forget, the Mercury also have Candice Dupree, a three-time All-Star and DeWanna Bonner, who was second in the league in scoring last season.

The two made sure people remembered Tuesday night, scoring 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds apiece, in leading the Mercury to a 94-87 win over the New York Liberty.

A poor shooting Tulsa (even with Liz back) was just what the doctor ordered for Connecticut.

Any inspiration is happily accepted amid a losing streak, a three-week, four-game odyssey for the Connecticut Sun by Tuesday night. Which is why even though Sydney Carter, the little guard who did, posted more impressive numbers, her teammates chose to focus on the “two” under the category of “blocked shots.”

“Two blocked shots for Sydney Carter!” injured Sun guard Renee Montgomery said in the relieved locker room, perusing the post game stat sheet. “Dead serious.”

And, in case you didn’t catch my sarcasm yesterday: From the Day’s Mike DiMauro: ‘Three to See’ is generating interest among WNBA’s fans

A more cynical sort might dismiss Connecticut’s distaste for “three to see” by reasoning that none of the three hail from UConn, thus creating haughty disapproval. Maybe others here who have obtained a more global view could tolerate “three to see” if it didn’t have a flavor-of-the-month feel and if similar effort went into marketing those who came before them (Diana, Maya, Candace, etc.)

No matter our opinion about the “three to see,” though, we here in our state should be the first to admit that any marketing plan that moves the needle, especially outside Connecticut, is good for the game we love.

So now we propose the following question:

What if “three to see” is actually working?

“To wit”, as the All-Star Voting early tallies comes in, look who’s leading: EDD

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I’m sure she won’t mind this: Baylor coach Mulkey given one-game postseason suspension, reprimand

A public reprimand and penalties, including a one-game tournament suspension, have been issued for Baylor University women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey for a violation of tournament policy during the 2013 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

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(Is that the laziest, over-used, faux adjective of the 20-teens or what!?!?!), it’s just that when I look at the Dream’s 10-1 record, I’m not impressed. Yes, Angel IS On Fire, but as I mentioned earlier, it’s July 9th (ESPN2, 8pm and, Hello .com, the link to Ticketscalper doesn’t work) that I have circled on my schedule. ’cause until then, I still have Chicago (they who stomped the Sparks without a dinged up Syl) and Minnesota (they who also stomped the Sparks, but tomorrow ought to be interesting)  in a very entertaining Finals.

San Antonio reeeeeeally needs to get their team healthy. As do the Fever.

Seattle reeeeeally has to think about who they want to take with the first pick. Though I would agree with this: KeyArena: the WNBA’s best venue

Okay, so maybe Corey’s seat is not so toasty any more. Ah, the taste of victory. And the arrival on court of an Aussie. And the help of NBA friends saying “What the frack are you running?” CT Post’s Kevin Duffy writes: Griner’s time coming, but Saturday belonged to Taurasi

In 2006, Taurasi averaged 25.3 points per contest, the first of her five scoring titles. The following year, she made her playoff debut, guiding the Mercury to the WNBA title. In doing so, she became the seventh player in history to capture championships at the collegiate, professional and Olympic level.

At the time, Griner was in her second year of organized basketball. And she was already the subject of her first Sports Illustrated article.

“(Taurasi) has seen and done it all,” Griner said before Saturday night’s game at Mohegan Sun. “It just makes it easier when you come in and have a leader like that on the court.”

It does, especially when the leader shoots fadeaways off one foot, hits cutters with no-look passes and dominates a pro game with a casual offensive flair you’d expect to see in pick-up.

Hey, Van and Mike are now tied!

Speaking of the (almost) past: From Patricia Babcock McGraw: Thompson’s long ride about to end

Daily vitamins have helped.

So has a healthy diet and a relentless fitness regimen.

But the seemingly ageless Tina Thompson is still 38, no matter how many times she denies herself fast-food French fries. In WNBA time, or by any standards for a professional athlete, that’s pretty old.

What hasn’t gotten old is Thompson’s game, which is why the announcement of her retirement at the end of this season is sad for the WNBA, even though, at the same time, it is completely understandable and somewhat expected.

Speaking of the immediate future, I’m sure tired of the “Three to See,” aren’t you? I mean, what GOOD is it doing? Fan Interest In Rookies Leads The WNBA To Unprecedented Viewership Numbers.

Oh. Never mind!

Speaking of “Oh, never mind,” John at the Courant mines familiar territory: WNBA Roster Size A Problem For Connecticut Sun and Opponents.

Yes, I realize it’s a money issue. (Do the math: 12 teams. $100,000 per team. Approx $1 million from ESPN. It doesn’t add up) And I guess you can’t find players on the road to help you (I mean, ’cause why would you organize this across the league? ’cause it would make too much sense?). But I’ve said this before and I’ve said it again: are you looking for bodies or for actual talent? ’cause there’s a reason the starters +1/2 play all the minutes: the pool of talent isn’t that deep.

If young (or medium young) players want to play in the W and get cut.. do they deserve to be dragged across the country, not playing, maybe not working on their game.. just because you need a body to practice against? Or, because the players want 24 more people to get jobs (therefore not putting the pressure on THEM to perform and survive?)? Or should they, just like officials do, pay for their own professional development and earn a place on the roster?

This is cool!” Staten Island Ballers girls shoot to donate 10,000 basketballs

“We’re hearing the average player doesn’t have a basketball,” said Pete Lisi Jr., owner of Staten Island Paramount, the league’s biggest sponsor. “They can’t play on their own. They can’t practice on their own. One of the missions of the organization is to distribute basketballs to the youth of Staten Island.”

Looking forward to next “$20 if you can name all the teams in the Conference” college basketball season? Notre Dame is: Balanced powers await Irish women

Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw has enjoyed the view of the Atlantic Coast Conference the past two seasons.
 
That view has been from the top of a ladder as McGraw was cutting down nets to celebrate the Irish advancing to the Final Four.
Seung Lee tries to stir up a little outrage, and then seems to agree with the number: Power Rankings: No. 5 women’s basketball

The fact that the Cal women’s basketball team, fresh off its first Final Four appearance, is only No. 5 in the power ranking is, personally, hogwash.

Upon further introspection, however, I do think the Bears landing No. 5 is fairer than it seems at face value for two reasons. First, it is just a testament to how successful 2013 was to Cal athletics as a whole. Second, the graduation of the seniors leaves the team thinner and more unknown, making it hard to gauge its potential.

Some coaching spots filled:

Katarski Named Seton Hill Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Packard Chosen to Lead TU Women’s Basketball Program (Those of us who follow coach Packard know she suffered a horrible loss recently. Hopefully this will be a healthy outlet for her and her family.)

Jessica Mannetti named Sacred Heart Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Another secured: Stewart shows faith in Heard with proposed raise

A little WATN? (Even though they added an “s” to her name, Yo can’t hide from us!) Lafayette hired ex-WNBA star Griffiths

Laura Keeley at the News Observer thinks Collegiate women’s basketball is at a crossroads

There was another notable conclusion from Ackerman’s work: there is a tremendous appetite for change.

And that thought was echoed locally.

“What’s happening, it’s really a welcome thing,” said Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie. “I don’t want it to stall in any way.”

The NCAA began to act on the Ackerman report this week. The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced it will immediately allow regional host institutions to play on their home courts, which was among the suggestions contained in the report.

BTW: For Women’s Coaches, Time No Longer Freezes in Summer

Suzie McConnell-Serio, the new women’s basketball coach at Pittsburgh, was excited to get a jump on the season.

Because of a new N.C.A.A. rule, she does not have to wait until the fall to get a chance to work with her team. Coaches are now allowed to work out with their players for eight hours a week — including two on the court — if the athletes are enrolled in summer school or have met certain academic benchmarks.

The rule took effect for men last summer. In the past, teams could work out with coaches in the summer only if the team was taking a foreign trip.

In International news, ‘ware the Turks! Turkey’s ‘basket fairies’ clinch bronze medal at Eurobasket

Turkish women’s basketball confirmed expectations, as the national team won the bronze medal at the FIBA European Championships held in France, dominating Serbia 92-71 in yesterday’s game.

Go Guam! Guam finishes strong to win gold medal

Happy Trails To You? WNBA star open to visit Manila

WNBA guard Kara Lawson said the other day she’s agreeable to visit Manila someday and encourage girls to play basketball in showing by example how it can lead to a career.

From USA Basketball: ‘ware, World, the US Hoop(eristsa)s are coming! (USA vs Mali  – July 8, 2013 @ 12:30 pm ET) A little Shoni. A little Hooper. And some more: Hooper overcomes anxiety, set to play on World Games team

“She kind of just blended in with everybody else at the beginning,” Coale said. “That happens a lot of the time due to nerves. Kids just aren’t comfortable with the situation. But Jordan did assert herself more and more, and she had a really good last day. She was very aggressive and has been ever since.

“We knew she could really shoot it and she was versatile. At Oklahoma, we refer to her kind of player as a ‘long, tall shooter.’ She’s just been fantastic for us.”

Next up in Colorado? The U19ers.

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