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Archive for August, 2013

A while back, Joanne Lannin, author of “A History of Basketball for Girls and Women,” dropped me a note to give me a heads up.

1) She’s working on an updated version of the book

2) She’s also  working on a book about the pioneering spirit of women in basketball and would love to talk to folks who played the game before Title IX was enacted in 1972.

3) She’s started a blog: Finding a Way to Play. Check it out for pieces on Delle DonneShoni

Junior Shoni Schimmel lit up the NCAA women’s tournament last spring with her fearless, exhuberant play for the University of Louisville (that’s her trash-talking Britney Griner at left).By way of her ascent to the national stage, Schimmel has shone a light on the experience of females like her: Native American basketball players who are making a name for themselves beyond the reservation.

Goodrich

Angel, who was drafted 29th out of the University of Kansas, was not the first Native American to make it to the WNBA, but she is the first to crack a starting lineup. Ryneldi Becenti, a member of the Navajo tribe in Arizona, played one game for the Phoenix Sun in 1997 and Tahnee Robinson, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe in Wyoming, played exhibition games during the 2011 preseason for the Connecticut Sun before being cut.

To Native Americans — be they from the foothills of Oregon, the deserts of Arizona or the plains of Oklahoma — Goodrich’s rise to the elite women’s professional level, has been a break in the clouds after many years of playing in the shadows. The experience of Indian girls in some ways mirrored that of white girls, whose opportunities to play competitive basketball were hit or miss until the latter decades of the 20th century.

the fabulous Hazel Walker, and Coach Summitt.

Wait, you suddenly feel the urge to read up on your women’s basketball history? Check out the books on this list.

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Things are getting clearer in the run to the playoffs.

Yes, the Storm are one win away from clinching playoff berth as Tina Thompson continues to go out with a bang, not a whimper.

Thompson, a 17-year league veteran, has willed the Storm into playoff contention. She’s averaging a team-leading 16.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in August. In a crucial regular-season series clincher against San Antonio on Tuesday, Thompson scored 27 points in the 72-71 road win.

The performance isn’t surprising to Thompson, 38. She recently said she had one of her better offseason training regimens in order to retire this season on a high. Thompson also made it clear when she signed with Seattle in 2012 her intention was to win a fifth WNBA championship.

BUT: If they do make it, they ain’t playing at Key. Next up: Minnesota.

Seattle is chasing Phoenix, but the Merc are twice lucky: they get to play Connecticut, and Candice Dupree has picked up the pace after Russ Pennell’s arrival as coach

Dupree said for her, the current scoring binge is about a “mind-set.”

“In order for me to help make this team better, I have to be aggressive and assert myself against these other teams,” she said. “I just can’t wait for shots to come within our system. When I catch the ball, I look to drive or shoot. If it’s not there, then pass the ball and play out of that.”

Interim coach Russ Pennell has made sure Dupree is featured in more offensive sets.

They almost let it get away, but Catch and Zellous made sure the Fever stayed ahead of the Liberty in the race for 4th. Or 3rd. Or 2nd, if Atlanta doesn’t right their injured ship. (They get a chance against Chicago today)

Chicago gets some love:

David Haugh – Delle Donne doing her (substantial) part to grow WNBA – League’s top rookie and legit MVP candidate will promote game after Sky season

Eric Zorn – Excuse me while I kiss the Sky

Contrasting opinions:

From SlamOnline: Standard Bearer – Ten years into her WNBA career, Diana Taurasi is having one of her best seasons yet.

Coming off of a hip flexor injury that limited her to just eight games last season, she’s come back with a vengeance, currently ranking second in the WNBA in scoring with 21.4 points per game. Ten times this season, she’s scored 26 points or more.

Though she receives less credit for other aspects of her game, she’s also averaging a career-high 6 assists a night, ranking second in the WNBA. That’s up from her average of 3.6 in 2011 (her last full season). She had double-digit assists three times: 10 vs Tulsa (August 20) and New York (July 2) and 11 vs Indiana (August 14). She’s also grabbing 4 rebounds per game.

From Aman Ali at the .com: Race to the MVP: Week Twelve

“Taurasi is one of the fiercest competitors in the league and a perennial favorite for the MVP award. But this season she hasn’t been able to shed her reputation of being an alpha-dog player that likes to shoot way more than she likes to pass. She has so much talent on her team, but how many of them are playing better as a result of Taurasi on the floor? McCoughtry suffered from the same reputation in years past and shed it this season – just ask her teammates Tiffany Hayes and All-Star Erika DeSouza who are playing some of the best basketball of their careers alongside her.”

Rebkellians clear up Ali’s lack of stat comprehension.

Also from SlamOnline: WNBA MVP Rankings – Candace Parker delivers in the clutch, fills the box score.

This past week, #CandaceCan became a mantra, as Candace Parker led the Sparks to a double-overtime comeback victory against Tulsa on Sunday. Slyvia “Big Syl” Fowles continues to spit out double-doubles and rise up the MVP rankings. Third year wing Maya Moore seems to be heating up at the right time as the Lynx look to make a trip back to the finals.

and Unsung Hero- Courtney Vandersloot is thriving at point guard for the Chicago Sky.

Quietly running the point is Courtney Vandersloot. The third-year guard is having her best season as a pro, averaging career highs in points (9) assists (5.5) and rebounds (3.3). Vandersloot is also averaging a career low in turnovers per game (2.5) while ranking fourth overall in the WNBA in assists.

Katie Konsiders Koaching: Katie Smith set to retire from WNBA.

Powell is going to Gonzaga.

Now to some off-court stuff via Nate:

RJ Aguiar of Towleroad has a pretty evenhanded account of the demonstration outside of the San Antonio City Hall yesterday that injured San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young attended yesterday, including links to local news coverage describing why the black and Latino protesters are opposed to an addition to the city’s existing nondiscrimination ordinance (click here from a video of the event from KENS 5). Andy Towle makes a good point in his associated post about Young’s tweets: “Given what she tweeted, however, she seemed to think that the anti-discrimination bill, to be voted on by the San Antonio City Council in early September, would also somehow legalize same-sex marriage.” (Hint: it won’t). (Read more)

I love that Coach Dunn has tweeted her support of Tully and Clarendon… And that Coach Boyle retweeted it. BUT: Where is every single other NCAA and WNBA coach?

Speaking of Coaches: Hall of Fame Inductee Dawn Staley Reflects on her WNBA Career and Community Outreach

Now to the important stuff: WNBA TEAM LOGOS: A VERY IMPORTANT CRITIQUE

Did you catch this from Fagan: SEX SELLS? TREND MAY BE CHANGING

In the Nine for IX film “Branded,” premiering Tuesday on ESPN (8 p.m. ET), filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady tackle the age-old question in women’s sports: Will sex appeal always supersede achievement?

But before we try to answer that, we need to ask ourselves a few more: Does sex really sell now? How do we know for sure? What if I told you it doesn’t?

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Laurel Richie

“Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view,” WNBA president Laurel Richie said in a statement. “The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people.”

Of course, she couldn’t ignore it, ’cause the rest of the world ain’t. From The Atlantic Wire: WNBA Star Doesn’t Care What She’s Voting For, She Just Doesn’t Like Gays

The WNBA is actually light years ahead of any other professional American sports league when it comes to progress for gay players and gay fans. While the NFL and NHL are busy talking about the anticipation of a single openly-gay player, the WNBA’s 2012 first draft pick, Brittney Griner, came out of the closet, was signed by Nike and was in a massive spread in ESPN magazine when she was drafted. “I am a strong, black lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better,” Griner said. Griner and Young actually went to the same college. 

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At Sochi Olympics, the podium can be a platform

Any young athletes out there wondering what to do about the Sochi Olympics, don’t listen to the spine-caved International Olympic Committee. Instead listen to the plain voice of Martin Luther King Jr. He wasn’t an athlete, unless pool-sharking counted, but he was more observant of sports than you would suppose, and he was especially interested in the Olympics as a stage for disobedience. There is no question he would tell today’s athletes, “Protest.”

’cause I was just reviewing the submissions for “Official Sochi winter US Olympic Footwear Providers:”

Kinda fond of the wings… But it might give new meaning to the term, “Wind aided record.”

Who’s your frontrunner?

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As you may or may not know, the San Antonio Silver Stars player has taken a public stance:

@sophiayoung33: Should San Antonio be a city that allows same sex marriage?? I vote NO.

Of course, if you’re followed the debate — I mean, the ACTUAL debate on the ACTUAL amendment being proposed, you’d know that the vote has nothing to do with same sex marriage. It’s about to ensure that people cannot be discriminated against for any of the following: sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or disability when it comes to housing or employment.

What Sophia believes about gay marriage is one thing. Folks will disagree with her on that. Folks may even lose respect for her because of her beliefs.

But 1) she’s proving she’s an uneducated voter and 2) by voting “No,” and urging others to follow her, she is voting FOR allowing discrimination.

Not good.

Rebkellians discuss.

From Hoopfeed: Sophia Young steps into equal rights controversy, Silver Stars fan speaks at city council debate

What happens when a WNBA player posts a tweet about a hot button topic while attending a protest on another controversial issue? San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young found out yesterday. The fan favorite since her college days helping lead Baylor to its first national championship in 2005took on two topics in one tweet. She followed up her first tweet with photo evidence of her stances. Young is not playing this season due to a torn ACL she suffered while playing overseas in China. However, she attends home games, interacts with fans and is active in the San Antonio community with charity work and her AAU girl’s basketball team, Sophia Young Elite.

While one can argue that adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to San Antonio city’s nondiscrimination code is related to state matrimony laws and gay marriage, legally the distinct issues have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, Young tweeted that she was against gay marriage while attending a protest at the city council opposing adding LGBT protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

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birding in Arizona.

First, after a long hike up a beautiful canyon, I get to see this:

(Rufous Crowned Warbler – and no, it’s not my shot.)

Second, I got to miss this: Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore spark Lynx’s rout of Liberty (Oh, and “Message sent, message not received” much? Maya played 33 minutes.)

Third, if I’m lucky (and finish the grant-writing stuff I need to do) I’ll get to see this:

(Red-faced Warbler — and again, no, it’s not my shot.)

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Chicago’s airport: Free Internets!!

On my way to Tucson to join friends and, I kid you not, hunt down a blue-footed booby. No surprise, he doesn’t belong in Arizona. (And no, I’m not making a special trip, this is just a getaway.)

Speaking of Chicago: WOOT! WOOT! (Cue the Manilow and welcome to the Playoffs! (Yes, it’s their first time.)

Center Sylvia Fowles, whose six-year tenure is the longest on the Sky, exchanged a high-10 with 7-foot-1 assistant coach Tree Rollins. Then she joined her teammates at the center circle to salute a crowd announced at 5,888, which greeted them with a sustained standing ovation.

Writes Andrew Lovell at ESPN: Sylvia Fowles lifts Sky to new heights

The first time Sylvia Fowles met Elena Delle Donne, she nearly suffocated the rookie.

 Not purposely, of course. Fowles’ bear hug just packed some serious power. Whether it was borne of excitement at the addition of the talented forward from Delaware, or eagerness to start the most anticipated season in Chicago Sky history, neither is sure.

But even before their introduction, Fowles knew on April 16, one day after the team made Delle Donne the No. 2 overall WNBA draft pick, that they were in for a special season in the Windy City.

Mystics are smelling the playoffs, and Dream are hoping their road trips end soon.

Who knows if the playoffs are a realistic dream for the Shock, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to try. And, btw,  with their 9th win, they’ve matched the team’s highest victory total in their four seasons in Tulsa.

After a fun first quarter, Seattle just did what they do to Phoenix: beat’em.

Good, because it was stupid and small: Bill Laimbeer fined by WNBA for saying player should ‘get hurt’

Thank you: Westover girls’ basketball coach Gene Arrington retires

Veteran Westover High girls’ basketball coach Gene Arrington, who guided his team to the state 4-A title in 2008, has announced his retirement. Athletic director John Green said assistant coach Michael Ferguson will take over the team as interim coach for this season.

A little history from Wenatchee: YMCA basketball teams in the 1920s

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Suddenly Minnesota looks a mess... and, so, I’m thinking “BAIL ON YOUR PREDICTION, you coward, IT’S GOING TO BE L.A. and Atlanta!!”

But then Chicago manages to survive the Mystics (‘ello ‘elle!), and the L.A. gets STOMPED by Spare Parts ‘ompsons.

And no, I don’t want to talk about Phoenix escaping the Cambage Shock. (What’s the record for double-doubles pts/assists in a season?)

And in “Honestly? Wasn’t a moratorium declared on this stuff?” news Hightower, Faris Sidelined By Injuries

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Horn Tooting Time

So, yes, I know it may come as a surprise, but I do have a real job.

“What!” you say. “Blogging on Women’s Basketball doesn’t keep you in champagne wishes and caviar dreams?”

To which I respond, “Caviar? Eeeuw, gross.”

Anyhoo – there has been a significant disconnect between my writing about women’s basketball (a lot) and my writing about the job I love, have been doing for 20yrs, and is kind enough to pay me so my good-nothing-but-sleeping felines can eat.

Yeah, I blogged while working in the UAE and came up with an article about the project. And then I wrote epic emails while working in Ethiopia. But, was I doing any really “grown up” writing?

So, I took advantage of an opportunity that came up a while back and, two years later, with enormous support from my editor (and former boss) Chris Vine, TA DA! I’m in a book!

The chapter title has a nice ring to it (thanks, CV!):  “Walking the Tightrope: The Complex Demands of Funded Partnerships.”

Makes you just wanna run out and buy a copy, huh.

For a small fee, I’ll autograph your copy (just don’t tell the NCAA.)

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Now that the Swedish Manicurist Consortium  has withdrawn its submission — “Oh, right, we’re from Sweden!” (And honestly, the design WAS a little simplistic. See below)

… the USOC has been flooded with applications to be the Official Manicurist of the US Sochi Winter Olympics teams. Some of the top candidates:

 

Even as someone who doesn’t care about Nail Art Design, I find I’m truly excited by the diversity of submissions —  I’m thrilled how the USOC has embraced the spirit of Flo-Jo:

[Florence Griffith Joyner] was someone who wanted to make a fashion statement, as well as do it while running so fast you could barely see the fashion,”says Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune on ESPN Classic’s SportsCentury series.

No word yet on whether Jason Thompson, the director of diversity and inclusion, will be on the selection committee.

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drop me a note, ‘kay?

I mean, geez:

Spare Parts Seattle (‘ello LJ!) takes down Will This Road Trip Ever End Indiana.

“(Tina’s) play tonight is just inspiring,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “If you can’t sit there and think about what she’s getting done at her age – the minutes she’s playing, hitting big shots, making big plays and guarding one of the better players in the league in (Tamika) Catchings, it’s hard not to really compete when you’re on the floor with her.”

Spare Parts (2) San Antonio takes down Not Quite New Look Phoenix.

“(Robinson is) just evolving into a player this year with the loss of Becky (Hammon) and Sophia (Young) where we have got to play through her,” Hughes said. “And playing through her takes different forms. It takes scoring, but it also takes her facility to set up people and that arc that she is working on was really important today.”

Coach of the Year Candidate Washington smoosh the This Wasn’t the Season Bill was Hoping For New York.

Hey, at least we held off the collapse until the fourth quarter.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt looked like she heard the scurrilous rumors that her classmates had passed her in the rookie rankings, and was determined to take back her place as the most surprising success of the class of 2013. She shook Katie Smith off her on defense repeatedly to get open jumpers, and she was fighting for rebounds every chance she got. She was very physical, and paid the price for it.. (Katie got in a pretty good hit on her, too. Katie is a Bad Girl, after all.) Kia Vaughn (who actually started the second half) threw her body around like nobody’s business, setting screens and picks and boxing out viciously. We kept throwing her passes. She doesn’t even go here anymore! She was strong on the inside. Tayler Hill played briefly, and it was amusing to watch the young Buckeye going up against the old Buckeye when she was matched with Katie Smith, but amusement value was all she provided. Nadirah McKenith looked solid but unremarkable. Emma Meesseman went hard after the ball, but her judgment was not always the best. She’ll learn. And she’ll be scary when she does.

Lose by a Little Get Revenge by a  Lot Atlanta stomps Can’t Quite Get it Together Connecticut.

Tall Person In the Middle Tulsa trumps Tall Person Missing in the Middle Minnesota. In Minnesota.

Liz Cambage had 27 points and eight rebounds as the Shock broke a 14-game losing streak against the Lynx and posted the biggest franchise win – home or away – since moving to Tulsa in 2010. 

“I think it signifies a real sign of growth for this team,” said guard Candice Wiggins, a five-year Lynx standout before coming to Tulsa in an offseason trade.

Yup, the next few weeks will be miiiiighty interesting. LA is looming (Sue Favor sends this link: Red hot Sparks put away injury-depleted Fever, 94-72), Atlanta is dreaming a Lyttle, and the #3 and #4 spots are up for grabs in both conferences. Read all about it at L’Alien!

A little high school history out of Bradenton, Florida: Southeast’s first girls basketball state champions stand alone

Those Lady Noles were an up-tempo team that epitomized the run-and-gun label and trapped all over the court. In a victory over Bayshore, Southeast scored 106 points. They had speed and athleticism and a big front line.

“We pressed the heck out of people and ran kind of a like a run-and-jump defense,” says Smith, who now works in the medical profession as a salesperson. “Olivia was an amazing person, and our inside force and could move well. Her sister (Christella) came off the bench, and she was big. Loretta was amazingly fast, smart and sassy. She was gifted, and Coach Narbut made us special.”

Sad news out of Georgia: Pat Rivers, the first girls basketball coach to bring a state title to Augusta, died Saturday morning.

“She pushed us a lot. She motivated us. She made us work harder,” said Natasha Reid, captain of the 1997 team who now works as a special education teacher at East Central Regional Hospital.

“I tried to be laid back, but she pushed me to be a leader. I didn’t see that back then. I’m glad she did.”

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Hat-Rainbow

What, too much?

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From Dan: Jenny Moshak retiring from UT over ‘issues of equality’

Jenny Moshak is leaving the trainer’s room at the University of Tennessee, but not without having a final say.

The associate director of sports medicine at UT, who’s a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit against UT, issued a statement Friday through her lawyer, Keith D. Stewart, saying that she took an early retirement over issues related to the suit.

“Due to the overall atmosphere since I raised issues of equality at the University of Tennessee and given the university’s unwillingness to address the issues of discrimination and retaliation, I cannot continue my association with the university’s athletic department,” Moshak said in the statement.

In W news, the Spare Parts Storm were doing just fine against the Delle Donne-less Sky, and then… oops! The she is!. Gave Jayda time to reconnect: Courtney Vandersloot is thriving with Chicago Sky

At Slam Online: WNBA MVP Rankings: She’s Back – Candace Parker returns from injury in dominant fashion.

In this week’s MVP rankings, Diana Taurasi has taken steps forward due to interim coach Russ Pennell’s more efficient system. Despite back-to-back 30-plus point outings for Angel McCoughtry, the Dream are riding a cold streak. Tamika Catchings, in the past week, nabbed her 900th steal and sneaks up the MVP ladder. And the “Candace Can” mantra still rings true for the Sparks, as their do-it-all forward reigns once again in the rankings.

Check out the latest:

Chris Morgan offers up WNBA Team Names: A Critique and someone else asks: Is Your WNBA Team Leading in… Injuries?

Why does this:

Iyanla Vanzant will try to work her magic on troubled former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw in the next episode of her OWN series, “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”

make me (and some others on Rebkell) uncomfortable?

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Delle Donne to have MRI of injured foot

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Russia and the IOC Agree: Don’t Be Openly Gay at the Olympics.

My response? Don’t boycott, stand up to them. Hire these folks to create the US’s Opening Ceremony uniforms.

THe_Molo_Tots_Pyxis_Suit_-_Rainbow

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Is it Minnesota and Chicago in the Finals? If those games are as entertaining as yesterday’s, WHOOP! WHOOP! Could be fun, but methinks the big question will center ’round the (wo)man in the middle.

Yes, as Mechelle wrote, the Merc needed more from Corey Gaines. And no, Phoenix is not necessarily out of the woods, but that they were able to handle Cambage speaks to the existence of a path. Kris at Bright Side is excited: Diana 6K makes history while the Phoenix Mercury gain momentum under drastic change

An unassuming lay-up in the third quarter of a blowout win over the Tulsa Shock and Diana Taurasi makes history with 6,000 points.

Not just 6,000 points, but the fastest player in WNBA history to reach that goal and now just 1,288 points off of Tina Thompson, a mentor and idol for Taurasi, as the all-time leader in points scored. After the game Taurasi let out a sarcastic “YAY” for her individual accomplishment, but then revisited what really got her there, which were her teammates and her mentors.

“You don’t get to 6,000 without great coaches, great teams, and great players around you,” said Taurasi after the game. “You don’t get there. You have to have great people around you every step of the way.”

Any guess at to who the top SG is in ESPN’s “Who are the top shooting guards?”

Injuries make an accurate assessment difficult, but it does seem to be a tale of two franchises reaping the benefits of their management choices: Mystics over Sun.

“I didn’t have any emotions about playing Connecticut,” Thibault said. “It was more about playing a team that’s chasing us in the playoff race. I felt the same way as I did when we played New York the other day…We’re just trying to survive in the playoff race.”

Is it all on the MIA Lyttle or is there some deeper flaw within the Dream? The return of Hayes may help. Speaking of “returns,” who lit what fire under Braxton, and is there any chance of it lasting? And could the Lib get any older? Yes!

“And I’m HEEEEEERE! I’m still HEEEEEEEERE! In a game of spare parts, Tina led Seattle over San Antonio.

“We were a little embarrassed the other night,” said Storm forward Tina Thompson, who had a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. “We definitely came back out with a different focus. We made them really uncomfortable in the first half, but it would be really naive to think they wouldn’t make a push in the second half… but we finished it off.”

More from Jayda: Storm guard Temeka Johnson, former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot giving back

WNBA players are known for their giving nature, most starting foundations despite seemingly not earning enough to give as they do. Storm PG Temeka Johnson is the latest to dote on the public in a rare move. She already has the H.O.P.E foundation that works to inspire communities, this week Johnson is using social media to show fans her appreciation.

and Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes

We’ve typically raised some of the top money in the WNBA, $40,000 or more. And (Hall of Fame college coach) Kay Yow was one of those people I’m so glad I got to know. Kay would come for that game before she died (in 2009 of breast cancer). We played L.A. one year and Kay was there, and I asked her if she would come talk to the team. It was so powerful we took some of her statements and put them on our walls. We’ve just had a real strong affiliation with that day.

JE: What was a quote you put on your locker-room wall?

Hughes: She looked at the team and said, “When life kicks you, you let it kick you forward.” We just took that and stuck it on our wall. It’s been there since 2008.

Jessica Breland says: Cancer Battle Made Me Stronger

Chicago! Chicago! That toddling town! Sky’s Quigley reunited with family

In college news:

Congrats – Megan Gebbia leaves Marist, becomes head coach at American

Life rarely gives second chances.

When their women’s basketball head coach left last month, though, officials at American University finally got the woman they’d wanted to lead their program in 2008. And, after a decade of loyal service as an assistant in Poughkeepsie, she gets to guide her own team.

Megan Gebbia — an assistant on Marist’s bench for 10 years, the past seven as an associate coach under Brian Giorgis — became American’s new head coach Monday, taking over a Patriot League squad that went 15-14 last season.

This is how Coop did it at her other programs: USC women’s basketball team adds 2 transfers for Cooper-Dyke’s first season

And, get your VCRs/DVDs ready: Uconn v Stanford and Tenn v UNC part of ESPN Tip-off Marathon

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Mercury fire Corey Gaines

add on: Who’s the new boss? A little background:  Why Was Russ Pennell Replaced By Dan Majerle at Grand Canyon?

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From Jere’ at the NY Times: Outrage Over an Antigay Law Does Not Spread to Olympic Officials

So it is entirely possible that any bobsledder or skier wearing a pin, patch or T-shirt in support of gay rights could be sent home from Sochi, not by Russian authorities, but by another group that suppresses expression: the International Olympic Committee.

Would the I.O.C. inflict such a public-relations disaster on itself? Perhaps not. But Olympic officials worldwide, including those in the United States, along with NBC and corporate sponsors, have put themselves and athletes in an awkward position by only tepidly opposing the Russian law that bans “homosexual propaganda.”

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celebrating her 80th birthday.

I’m the luckiest daughter ever, as those who’ve had the pleasure of meeting my mom can attest.

Happy birthday, mom!

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This time it was the .comCurse (Candace Parker’s Road to RedemptionParker is in midst of her prime playing some of the best basketball of her career right now) and Jayda (Welcome to hot seat Candace Parker; your must-win title push starts now.):

The Sparks, starting a season-high five-game road trip, were without All-Star Game MVP Candace Parker due to an injured right wrist. Her status for Los Angeles’ next game, Sunday at Washington, was uncertain.

Parker’s absence shouldn’t diminish the Shock’s win, nor Cambage’s career high 28pts. 

“It’s good to beat a good team,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We really want to push for the playoffs and we know we’ve gotta beat some of these elite teams to get there.”

Guess Diggins got her birthday wish.

The Laurel was in Minny: 

She was asked about a pre-season survey of league general managers, who picked Phoenix to finish first in the Western Conference, followed by Los Angeles and Minnesota. The Lynx have the league’s best record (14-3) at mid-season. “Maybe there were some bright, shiny toys in the window that got people excited,” she said, referring, perhaps, to highly-touted rookies like Skylar Diggins and Brittney Griner. “But I can’t imagine anyone affiliated with the WNBA considering the Lynx an afterthought.”

The Lynx confirmed their non-afterthought status by sluggishly starting and then slugging the stubborn Stars, 85-63.

“Everybody says, ‘What do you have to work on?’ ” Reeve said, acting as though the question was preposterous. “There is a ton we have to work on. … We played in spurts. We feel we have to play better, for sure. But in the end, statistically, we had a pretty good game.’’

Guess so.

In Chicago, Big Syl was…well, BIG as her 10-14 (32pt-15rebs) shooting made up for Prince & Cash’s double-double (3-13) carried the Sky over the Mystics.

“You know, she’s a beast,” Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said. “I call that her beast mode. … Look at her toenail polish when you go in there (to the locker room). She’s got that Incredible Hulk Green on.”

“Pack Up Your Basketballs In Your Old Kit Bag:” USA Basketball Announces Plan To Relocate Headquarters To Tempe, Arizona

USA Basketball today officially announced that it has agreed to relocate to Tempe, Arizona, as part of a $350 million development project. USA Place, LLC, has been selected to develop a new national headquarters and training center for USA Basketball on a 10.5-acre site located next to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on land owned by ASU at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive.

I can see the financial lure. Wonder how the staff will feel — and what impact it will have on the athletes (bball and other sports).

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fans are going to need a lot of antacid, what with teams losing leads and making big comebacks.

First is was the Lib against the Mystics. (Why does Kara mock us fans with her potential?) Oh, and Bill ‘splains himself in a Letter From Laimbeer

With the All-Star break behind us and the second half of the season in front of us, I wanted to take this time to thank you for your support and patience through the first half of the 2013 season. Although our record may not be what we anticipated entering the year, I’m confident that we are headed in the right direction towards bringing a Championship to the New York Liberty. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on our progress directly.

Then it was the Sun against the Catch-lesFever. (Hope  her family is okay) (Hey, how did I miss this? Dramatic growth in male fans helps WNBA’s Fever score profit for first time) (Oh, and Mike does a little pot stirring for Tina: Will she stay, or will she go now?)

Seattle, not to be outdone, took it to Phoenix. (Will Taurasi with the WNBA Community Service Underwriter award, what with all the funds she’s donating via fines?) (And, anyone need a center? Reserve Nakia Sanford leaves Storm)

Wheeeeee!!!!

Meanwhile, Michelle offers up Five (other?) things to look forward to

Folks who didn’t have to worry too much about rallying — unless it was around the flag — were the USA Basketball women. Dave chats with their coaches: Celebrating USA Gold with coaches Sherri Coale and Katie Meier; Monique Currie and the Mystics, Camille Little and the Storm look to hold on

Over at A Daily Dose of Hoops, Brian Giorgis Discusses Marist Women’s Basketball And Team USA

Nate offers some links that ponder the Upcoming collective bargaining and the impact of Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins, and Brittney Griner which led me to this: 

Sports fans have an exciting new avenue for enjoying the top news around the sports world thanks to the iPad app Beyond the Box. The app systematically ranks and analyzes the best sources related to each sports team and league in an effort to bring relevant and interesting content to the fans.

Beyond the Box founder and CEO Shailo Rao took some time to speak with FanSided about what in to making the app and what we can expect from the company in the future. You can check out what Shailo had to say below.

At the .com, Diggins is Looking Back, Looking Ahead. (I wonder if coach McGraw has tried All-Access again…)

Rachel explains the obvious: Why Elena Delle Donne is top rookie

Doug reconnects with Sheryl: Back on the court, Sheryl Swoopes is happy again

This new opportunity has provided a high from what Swoopes concedes was the lowest point in her life four years ago. She had just been cut by the Seattle Storm and was having financial problems, which came to light when she failed to pay rent on a West Texas storage unit. Swoopes lost years of memorabilia from her celebrated basketball career, including awards, jerseys, fan mail and her college diploma.

“I was just mad at everyone,” Swoopes said. “Mad at the WNBA, mad at life. I’d say a lot of it was my immaturity, my stubbornness — my mom says my hardheadedness. I wasn’t responsible in taking care of my things.

The WBCA decides to do some organized talking: WBCA board establishes working groups
to explore changes in women’s basketball:

Semrau assigned board members to three working groups, each co-chaired by two members of the association’s Executive Committee, to focus on a particular topic and develop recommendations for consideration by the entire board. Each group met briefly to begin their discussions and will continue them by teleconference in the coming weeks. The groups are:

  • Legislation and Governance — Penn State head coach Coquese Washington, the association’s vice president, and Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw co-chair this group, which will focus on how the WBCA might be better represented in a revised NCAA governance structure, how the WBCA can more effectively participate in the NCAA legislative process, and how the WBCA’s own governance structure might be improved in order to have a more efficient organization. Members include Claudette Charney, Hillsdale College; Diane Dickman, NCAA; Danielle O’Banion, Kent State; Martha Putallaz, faculty athletic representatives; Jennifer Rizzotti, Hartford; Christy Thomaskutty, Emory; and Rich Ensor, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
  • Playing Rules and Officiating — Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell, the association’s secretary, Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, and West Coast Conference deputy commissioner Connie Hurlbut co-chair this group, which will focus on whether or not we have the right rules going forward and how the game is officiated. The goal is to improve the quality of the game so that it is more attractive to spectators. Members include Anucha Browne, NCAA; Nikki Caldwell, LSU; Brandan Harrell, Georgia Highlands College; Patricia Manning, Williams College; Joanne McCallie, Duke; Melissa McFerrin, Memphis; and Dawn Staley, South Carolina.
  • Professional and Grass Roots Development — Kansas State head coach Deb Patterson, the association’s treasurer, and Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne, the immediate past president, co-chair this group, which will focus on educational programming that will provide WBCA members with opportunities to become better coaches as well as explore the feasibility of establishing a certification service for coaches of women’s basketball. Members include Amanda Butler, Florida; Tricia Cullop, Toledo; Lisa Mispley Fortier, Gonzaga; Kirsten Moore, Westmont College; Mary Beth Spirk, Moravian College; Carol Callan, USA Basketball; and Todd Starkey, Lenoir-Rhyne.

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this fabulous photo from the Hartford Courant’s photographers:

Griner happily posed for photos with Krapf as she tried to hold back her tears of joy.

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