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Not so much, eh Courtnay?

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Taking it straight to the basket is just part of the custom lyrics on the platinum hit song “Classic” by Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller of MKTO that was reinvented for ESPN2’s WNBA regular-season coverage. Debuting during tomorrow’s doubleheader (Indiana at Atlanta, 8 p.m. ET; Chicago at Los Angeles, 10 p.m.) the song will be used in games telecasts through the remainder of the regular season.

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Oh, look. What a surprise. Chicago with another injury: Vandersloot out 6-to-10 weeks with sprained knee

And a different kind of ouch: Alexis Jones is transferring from Duke?

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(Hope this FASHION trend doesn’t go viral!)

Cynthia Cooper goes at June, Kobe, Chris Paul and Jen Azzi FIERCELY!

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Still in Omaha, and the W is

still playin’.

I don’t know if it the comment should be “no one wants to win the East” or “no one wants anyone to win the East.” Folks just keep slappin’ teams down to .500 or so. (Unless you’re the Dream.)

Cappie and Tina had just enough to hold off Bentley and Chiney – though Chiney points the finger at the Sun: 

“We had the perfect comeback being written and we tore out the last page,” said Ogwumike, who had 22 points and a career-best 17 rebounds.

And, before we start saying, Yah, sure, Cooper can guide that Dream team to that elusive ‘ship, consider that a cobbled-together-Catch-less Indiana team had the lead late, and then, when they lost the lead, were within 4 until the last .43.

Another rally and another push back meant Becky and San Antonio escaped with a win over Washington.

And yup, huge congrats to Griner for slappin’ away 11 shots. BUT, before we move from “the anointing of Minnesota” (ouch Augustus. And yikes, Seattle!)  to “the anointing of Phoenix” as the odds-on favorite for WNBA champs, consider they only beat Tulsa by 3. And that was with Tusla shooting 31.% (18 offensive rebounds anyone?)

BTW – enjoying watching the Omaha weather change. Have had hot and humid, torrential downpour and fabulous lightening, gray and threatening, stunning sunsets, and a little hail just to keep everyone on their toes. Got some birds on campus, to. Lots of robins, chipping sparrows, barn swallows, chimney swifts, and and chickadees. Last night, while visiting a community garden, heard and saw nighthawks.

Nighthawks - photo from Wild Birds Unlimited

Nighthawks – photo from Wild Birds Unlimited

 

Don’t know if I’ll be able to get out to a field and see the beautiful state bird of Nebraska, the Western Meadowlark.

Western Meadowlark - from FindtheBest

Western Meadowlark – from FindtheBest

 

 

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Incoming potential football star punches star women’s basketball player and breaks her jaw.

Incoming player is no longer incoming. Rightly so.

3 minutes for the ESPN talking heads talk: “No matter what the circumstances were, Nigel punched a woman.”

WHB Wonders: If he punched a man, would he still be on the team?

As the story continues: all about impact on football team, about the “promise” of this football player, need for coaches to regroup, might he be back.

WHB Wonders: What about that person he hit? Yes, she might have surgery. Yes, she might file charges, but what about her? Her team? Her coaches? Her family?

Amber Battle is a rising senior, and was the Red Raiders’ leading scorer and rebounder last season, with 16.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. This on a team that just had three players, Marina Lizarazu, Diamond Lockhart and Jasmine Caston transfer.

In other news, a story that highlights the impact of having one-year scholarships: 3 area women off Radford hoops team – Students, coach give different versions of what happened

Robinson and Brower said their scholarships were not renewed by coach Mike McGuire, who is entering his second season with the Highlanders. Robinson said McGuire did not renew Clark’s scholarship, either.

“He told me he wasn’t renewing my scholarship because I wasn’t going to get any playing time next year and I should transfer,” Robinson, a former Highland Springs star, said in a phone interview. “I told him specifically I didn’t want to transfer and he said it wasn’t up to me, (that) he wasn’t renewing my scholarship, so I didn’t have a choice.

Some serious sadness: Former UTSA basketball coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair killed in motorcycle accident in Austin

Rippetoe-Blair went 216-173 during her tenure at UTSA and led the Roadrunners to the NCAA tournament in 2008 and 2009. She holds UTSA basketball records for victories and seasons coached.
 
“I really don’t feel like I’ve ever gone to work,” Rippetoe-Blair said in an interview during her last season. “I mean, honestly, I love what I do. It’s all about the kids and motivating them, and seeing how well they do. That’s on the court and in the classroom, and then seeing them come back and say, ‘Thank you.’ It wasn’t just basketball.”

There’s no answer to such senseless loss, but there can be some actions that try and find some balance in the world: Q&A: Arizona women’s basketball head coach Niya Butts’ Chillin4Charity project spreads like wildfire

University of Arizona women’s basketball assistant coach Calamity McEntire approached head coach Niya Butts with an idea.

After seeing cold water challenges sweeping the different social media outlets, McEntire thought it would be a good idea to challenge the different coaches around the Pac-12 to see if they would do it.

Butts then proposed that they package the challenge with a monetary value. If the challenge wasn’t met by a coach, they would have to donate money to the Kay Yow Foundation for the fight against women’s cancer. If an athlete failed to meet the challenge, they would have to do five community service hours. In just 13 days, the Chillin4Charity project has spread all across the country including to the University of Oregon.

Butts caught up with the Emerald earlier this week to talk about the success of the project.

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Where’s Nashville?

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Denver Double Dips:

AND they call out Brittany Lange, head coach of my temporary-home-town University UNO. Sorry coach – prolly the WHB’s fault…

Did the Merc freeze the first Aussie, Aussie Oi! Oi!?

And, ¡sí señor!

barcelona-lionel-messi-celebrates-goal

Diana did call you out…. ¡Qué frío!

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Here in Omaha at a conference and the folks I’m sharing my lovely student housing with are from there. I got it — with a syllable missing, granted —  but the folks I was speaking with were impressed nonetheless. See, women’s basketball is a multi-purpose tool!

*ooooo! Sun shower in Omaha!*

Prepping for my presentation tomorrow with my two friends….

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But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to wonder if Skylar is bucking for MVP.

If Catch is going to come back.

If Chicago is doomed without the Donne.

If Anne Donovan is bucking for COY  — tonight notwithstanding. Or this news: Danielle McCray has undergone a surgery to repair a torn ligament in her thumb.

If the Dream are going to become a reality or go “poof!”

If Phoenix can continue their rebirth and truly challenge Minnesota (we see you Penny Taylor).

In other news:

Not good news for coach Curry: Alabama women’s basketball’s top returning scorer granted release.

Good news from a former Maine Bear: Blodgett named BU women’s basketball assistant coach

Speaking of Nebraska (Lincoln, though): NU Women’s Basketball Returns To Devaney Center For One Game

The Nebraska women’s basketball team plans to honor its first NCAA Tournament team when the Huskers return to the Bob Devaney Sports Center to take on Utah on Sunday, Nov. 23.

The game, which was announced by Nebraska on June 25, will mark the Huskers’ first game at the Devaney Center since moving into their new home at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the start of the 2013-14 season.

And yes, that was Gary Harris, Son of WNBA Great Joy Holmes-Harris, who was Drafted 19th Overall in the 2014 NBA Draft

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Elena Delle Donne out indefinitely

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Nerd Chillin’ Kids, Nerd, Nerd Chillin’ Kids….

Zags Lisa and Craig give a new meaning to “Ice Cold from the Field.” (And we have NO problem with Cheatin4Charity)

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in the MOOOOOOORRRRNing!

At least when I get up Friday AM, it will be to catch a 6am flight to Omaha to present at a conference and work with some of the fine folks at the Omaha Community Playhouse. But 50% of the players who got up bright and early yesterday morning for afternoon Kid Camp days got a loss for their trouble.

The Mystics ended a four-game skid by taking down San Antonio AT San Antonio, 81-70. Nice to see Dolson fight through a knee sprain and Meesseman and McBride back filling up their stat lines.

Tired Storm legs meant tired Storm shooting. LA managed to defend home court against Seattle, though they almost let their third quarter doom’em again. Sue over at Full Court says the Sparks are collectively dealing with chemistry, line up issues

“I loved how we won,” Los Angeles coach Carol Ross said. “We were resilient, tough, and battled through fatigue. We finished all the way to the end and kept a positive attitude until the end. We never doubted we would win it.”

The Sparks demonstrated the same play last week in defeating the visiting Tulsa Shock. It was a noticeable difference for a team that has been known to lose momentum during games, and have lackluster showings on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

“This game we were able to correct our problems, and make plays down the stretch and do what works for us,” All-Star forward Candace Parker said.

She’s baaaaack: Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed guard Nadirah McKenith

She’s also baaaaack: The New York Liberty signed free agent forward Charde Houston

Deborah Fleck asks: So how’s Irving MacArthur and Baylor graduate Odyssey Sims doing in the WNBA?

Jayda’s got some stuff to say about WNBA Pride & TV. Meanwhile, Rose Scott at NPR says, The WNBA Televises Its Pride With LGBT Campaign

Ned Griffen says the Sun continue to follow Douglas’ lead

Katie Douglas wanted to talk to Connecticut Sun public and community relations manager Bill Tavares at a recent practice, so she walked over and lowered her shoulder into him.

Laughter ensued.

Douglas was asked about her back, which caused her to miss most of last WNBA season. She had lumbar microdiscectomy surgery last October to correct it.

“The back is good,” Douglas said. “How does it look?”

More laughter.

Honestly, ESPN, that’s the best photo you could find?

BTW: Vote early, vote often:WNBA releases first tally for All-Star game, voting ends July 2

In college news:

UNCW women’s basketball team ready to reap rewards of patience

Adell Harris tried not to take it personally when a parade of UNCW women’s basketball players invaded her office in May 2012looking to leave.

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Frozen Flash Mob Style

Oh, oh – Philly folks get called out…and call out The Guru!! (and stay for the outtakes!)

No matter how often you see it, it’s still BLOODY cold!

Oh, oh, WNBAers – Lin Dunn and the Fever is coming after you!!!!

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What a great way to spend a beautiful Sunday and get NO work done: watch a sweet quintology of WNBA games.

Most every team involved put in a fine show – entertaining to watch, tough nosed, and almost making you wish we could pull a  FIFA. No, not accept a bribe. Call a game a tie.

It started early with the Shock finally winning a close one AND an away game. Tough loss for Chicago, who did all they could do with their tall folks sitting on the bench. But, the Diggins Scowl was in the house, and her fierce game got some support from her teammates, and down went the Sky.

I’ll be honest: Totally did not expect the Dream to die in New York. But, with Cappie having a stunningly efficient game and Sugar showing up, the Lib survive so-so-ness from Tina and Alex (and Cruuuuuz survived several abrupt encounters with the floor) to earn the win. Helped that Angel went for high-volume shooting and someone jinxed Tiffany Hayes and Jasmine Thomas.

The Sparks sputtered at home against a balanced San Antonio (though McBride looked human).  It’s not that LA was awful.  But turnovers (22) and miserable shooting from behind the arc (1-11) doomed them. You know,  if Kristi returns from her “personal business” and the Sparks start winning, she’s going to be in-Toliverable.

The still Catch-less Fever kept Minnesota honest through much of the game. They shot for crap (37%), and the Lynx shot for gold (57%) and they still only lost by 6.  Nice offensive balance by the Lynx, but you gotta wonder what will happen if Brunson can’t return. (Yes, Dev, we see you….) Classy move by Lynx to honor Dunn.

The night cap between Seattle and Washington was a high quality classic. Old (UConn) Guard v. New (UConn) Guard as Bird and Hartley went toe to toe, which was wicked fun to watch. The teams combined for a measly 20 turnovers, which was a delight to see. The game went into overtime, as it should. And Seattle won, as the fans deserved.

BTW: Cool, though I’m not a fan: WNBA Pride shirts led sales for all NBA merchandise in its first week

Equally cool: Kate Fagan on Tina Charles: Changing the World, One AED at a Time

Speaking of cool: Seattle U’s Chillin4Charity!

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Irish. NICE call out to Indiana Pacers’s Lance “do you mind if I blow in your ear?” Stephenson.

The ’49ers go under the bucket – and step up with what must be youngest participant so far….And Jay Bilas, you have been called, dude!

OU Softball’s Patty Gasso is in it to win it…. twice! (I pity the fool….)

Check out the other videos on twitter.

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Surf is up and the waves are ice free!

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heart.

But that’s ok — ’cause it’s for a great cause!

Bucknell Women’s Basketball Embraces #Chillin4Charity Challenge

OSU women’s basketball: Beavers take part in cold water challenge

Iowa State Fennellys get doused in cold water for charity

Chippewa Nation

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gotten some relief, and others may be feeling toastier.

New York’s in trouble. It doesn’t matter if the score a lot of points or a few points. They’re not winning. Even more troubling? The Sun’s success might mean they get a Lottery Pick for the Charles trade. #MightComeBackToBiteYou. Oh, and adios Toni?

The Dream is in a groove and lovin’ it. (Now, if only the AJC would notice.)

The 2014 WNBA season is now in its second quarter and the Atlanta Dream is showing itself to be a legitimate contender.  But to be more specific here, that’s for the WNBA Championship, not just Eastern Conference banner. 

Indy and D.C are…surviving –  I KNOW coach Dunn and folks want Catch back, but I also know they want CATCH back. Respect their patience.

By the Great Lakes, Chicago folks are falling like flies, and it’s killin’ their mojo, but not their Pride. The All-Star break can’t come soon enough.

Is the Sun rising? Coach Donovan Knows It Takes All Kinds To Make Sun Mesh

In the West:

L.A. was making everyone wonder, que pasa? Then they met Tulsa and earned a no-longer-take-them-for-granted win.

The Lynx were rolling, but shorthanded still. Then they encountered the high-low we all expected Griner-Taurasi to be. Looks like the Merc are bringing the heat.

Seattle is making folks earn every win against ’em…. but, I’m guessing Bird would rather win than pile up stats. They do have a new COO, though: Alisha Valavanis will be leaving her post as the University of California, Berkeley’s Assistant Athletics Director of Development for Annual Giving and Alumni Relations

It’s amazing what Danielle Adams can do – unless, of course, you remember what she did in the NCAA Championship game. Doesn’t mean I don’t worry about her knees….

Some great games on today — and it’s WNBA PRIDE TIME!

 

images

Shock @ Sky.

Dream @ Liberty.

Stars @ Sparks.

Fever @ Lynx.

Mystics @ Storm.

Just a thought about Mechelle’s piece The WNBA’s Pride predicament. It’s amazing what happens to my heart when I read the players tweeting their support of WNBA Pride. For those of us who have journeyed with the players, fans, coaches and owners within the league, we know what a seismic moment this is. We’ve been frustrated, logical, realistic, impatient, hurt, embarrassed and sensitive to others. And yet, here we are: WNBA PRIDE.

This year, the league is acknowledging that fan base with a first-ever multi-media campaign: WNBA Pride, Presented by COVERGIRL. Nine teams are hosting a pride-themed game including the Chicago Sky, whose match up against the Shock on ESPN2 Sunday will be the first nationally-televised such game in professional sports.

Wicks, who came out before her retirement in 2002 when a reporter asked her if she was a lesbian, called the WNBA’s pride campaign “fantastic.”

“There have always been gay and lesbian fans at WNBA games,” she said. “It’s nice for fans of the community to be recoginzed for their support.”

For some reason, I’m flashing back on Whoopi Goldberg’s Broadway show (1985) where a character said, “Love isn’t smilin’ at people with your face and squintin’ at them with your heart.”

Here’s hoping that, wherever you draw your personal code of morals, ethics and/or intra and inter-personal behaviors from, you can agree with this: judge people by the “content of their character.”

In other news: More games to watch in you’re in Toronto: Welcome to the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship.

Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States all remain undefeated after two days of play at the 2014 Women’s World Wheelchair Basketball Championship at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto, Ont.

AND they’re putting up big numbers. The games are streamed.

Speaking of international play… The lil bits (aka, the U17 team) was in a dogfight with the Canadian team… end then they zoomed away in the fourth.

The medium bits (aka the U18 team) will reassemble at the USOTC for training camp July 25-August 5. You can watch them play for FREE in Colorado Springs, August 6-10.

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Florida:

For the past few days, dozens of women’s basketball coaches across the country have willingly let their players, fellow coaches, or administrators dump buckets of ice cold water over the heads.

Friday, Miami coach Katie Meier became one of the latest to let herself get soaked as part of the #Chillin4Charity campaign that is raising money for the Kay Yow Fund

Here’s how it works: 

After being called out be a fellow coach, a coach has 48 hours to complete the Cold Water Challenge by allowing a bucket of ice water to be dumped over their head. Once the challenge is completed, the challenging coach donates $50 to the Kay Yow Fund. If a challenged coach fails to complete the challenge within 48 hours, he or she must donate $250 to the charitable fund, named in honor of former N.C. State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow who died in 2009 after a third bout with breast cancer.

You can follow the Icey Cold Water Dumpings on twitter at #Chillin4Charity. (Hmmmm…. I’m surprised there is the @Chillin4Charity… hint, hint)

Jayda:

Red Raiders:

Michigan

Seattle Storm:

Will The Bun chicken out??

And speaking of the Land of the Bun, the Land of the Sun and fundraising opportunities: What are folks doing during the WNBA All Star Game in Phoenix? They SHOULD be CHILLIN4CHARITY!

Oh, and speakin’ folks who could be chillin’ – Where’re my Division II, Division III and NJCAA champeens at?

FDU-Florham: You were the first women’s team from New Jersey ever to win a national collegiate basketball championship AND you were perfect in your run to the top. How else would a New Jersey team celebrate a championship but make coach Marc Mitchell “swim with the ice fishes”?

Bentley: YOU were perfect in your run to the top. Doesn’t your coach, Barbara Stevens, deserve to “chill” after you had to come back from a 9-pt deficit to win?

Trinity Valley: You had one blemish on your run to the top, but have won back-to-back-to-BACK titles. Take a load off and chill with your championships, coach Elena Lovato.

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from Mechelle 

Representing Athlete Ally, Taylor and Appel had a postgame discussion with fans at a restaurant inside AT&T Center right after a recent Stars game. Ticket sales manager Alma Lara also attended the event and addressed various questions from fans. One concern raised was the “Kiss Cam” that is shown on the JumboTron in the arena. A fan was upset that, at a previous game, the Kiss Cam focused in on two men who are part of the Stars’ staff that entertains fans during timeouts. They reacted in mock horror, suggesting the idea of two men kissing was inherently odd and comedic.

The meeting was attended by about 40 fans who expressed gratitude about the chance to discuss these issues. Appel was later asked by espnW if it bothers her that none of her teammates — some of whom she acknowledged are gay — came to the Athlete Ally meeting. If she as a straight person found it so important to participate, why didn’t they?

“The opportunity is there,” Appel said. “And I think it’s really important for players — like Brittney Griner has — to say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to talk about being gay.’

“But by the same token, I respect my teammates if they’re not comfortable putting themselves out there. I don’t want to push them into it. I want them to take the initiative.”

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#Chillin4Charity and Anchoring Down at Vandy

Horned Frogs chill out (but might want to check their spelling)

Oh, dear – Brooklyn in the House! LIU Blackbirds get “Not nice!”

Look out, Secret Service: Texas State Challenges FLOTUS!

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They dumped some ice on me…..

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Dr. Charlotte West: From Athlete to Advocate to Athletic Director: Blazing the Way for Women’s Basketball

Charlotte West was a little worried. She’d been told she has only five minutes to speak at her Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction. “I thought, my Lord, I’ve been involved in competitive women’s basketball for 70 years. I started listing things that I want to say that I’m like, oh my gosh, this should be an hour and a half.”

Born in 1932 in Michigan, West and her sister were adopted by a couple in New York. She spent much of her early years “snow-birding” as her family traveled from upstate New York down to Florida until school administrators put a stop to it. “That out and in several times a year was really interfering with [my sister’s] progress in school. My parents were called in and they said, ‘she needs to be tutored and to put keep her one place or the other.’ So starting in the fifth grade, I did all my schooling in St. Petersburg.”

West’s earliest sports memory is playing 7th grade basketball. “We probably only had three or four games,” she recalled. “But I can remember playing and feeling very empowered.” She so wanted her own hoop and a basketball but, though her parents were supportive – even though neither of them were particularly athletic — it was wartime. “Everything was rationed. If it was rubber or leather, like a basketball would be, you couldn’t get it.” Yet somehow, they managed. “We were on our way to Memphis to visit my father’s relatives where we spent our Christmases and spent the night in Dothan, Alabama,” said West. “We were walking around after dinner and found a sports store and it had a basketball. So my father bought me that for Christmas. I tell you, that basketball got plenty of use.”

Basketball in the land of oranges

West played three years in junior high and three years at St. Petersburg High School. “I had a great high school coach,” she reflected, who “did it for the love of the sport because they didn’t get supplemental pay.” As a player, West describes herself as “Fast. Very, very fast. So I mainly played forward. I did play guard sometimes, when they wanted to substitute different people, and of course I loved the rover because she got to move.” Things changed, though, when she started college. “I went to Florida State and we had nothing,” she stated bluntly. “Nothing.”

Fortunately, St. Petersburg was part of the AAU/Industrial Leagues that swept across the country during World War II. Many companies such as Maytag, Kelvinator, Dr. Pepper and such, sponsored basketball, softball and volleyball teams in an effort to build worker cohesion and brand recognition. “When I was junior or senior in high school St. Petersburg had R.H. Hall (an appliance store company). They would play [teams from] Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa. So I got some early experience with a higher level of play. When I got into college, I played with them a few times when it was convenient to get away from school.”

While at FSU, West completed a double major in Math and Physical Education. “I loved math and I was good in it,” said West, “but I also loved sports and I knew I wanted to teach. And at that time there was a little stigma if you were in Phys. Ed. I don’t know if there was some protective mechanism there or not, but I did my practice teaching in Physical Education in Jacksonville, but I did it with the condition that I could go in and do a class in plain geometry at the high school so I’d be qualified to do both.” After she graduated from Florida State she returned to St. Petersburg to be with her mother – her father had died two months previously – and started as the physical education teacher and, eventually, coach at Boca Ciega High School.

Pushed off the court and into organizing

West continued her studies at UNC–Greensboro, one of the two prominent graduate schools for women in Physical Education (Texas Women’s being the other). “I visited with both chairs of the department and I just liked the connection at Greensboro.” It couldn’t have hurt that there was a local AAU/Industrial team that seemed more and willing to bring on West and her fellow student, Joan S. Hult (who later went on to write A Century of Women’s Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four). The two arranged a tryout during a game and, she recalled, “we clicked. We did really well and [the coach] was excited about us. He said, ‘Now you ladies, you are coming back every time aren’t you?’ I said, ‘yeah.’ Unfortunately, the news didn’t go over so well at the University.

“We got to school the next day and we both had a note in our boxes in our mailboxes in the P.E. Department. The head of the department called us in and she said, ‘I understand that you’re down playing city league basketball and we just don’t let our majors do that.’ She turned to Joan and said, ‘You’re a graduate assistant, so I’m telling you, you will not play.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I can’t tell you that (West was on an academic scholarship) but I think it would be to your advantage not to.’ In typically direct fashion, West countered, “Miss. Morris, I love sports, I love to play and I think it’s a crime that we don’t have more for women.’ So,” continued West, “she puts me in charge of a inter-class tournament for all the PE majors. So we played, but that was her ‘solution.’”

After West completed her Masters in Physical Education and Dance, the same department head directed her to Southern Illinois University because, explained West, “she said they do more for women sports and she knew my intent to work towards varsity athletics for women–which I was told might hinder my professional success.”

Nothing could have been farther from the truth.

Small acorns, great oaks

West arrived at Southern Illinois in 1957 began a 41-year career of advocacy and action in women’s intercollegiate athletics. She coached of the women’s golf team for over 12 years (winning the national championship in 1969), badminton for seven years, and volleyball for one year. She also coached women’s basketball from 1959 to 1975 – all while serving as a professor in the Department of Physical Education. In 1973, she became a full professor (having gotten her doctorate at Wisconsin-Madison in Physical Education with a minor in Educational Measurement) and developed SIU’s graduate program in Sports Management, which she directed until June 1991. From 1960 to 1986, West was director of intercollegiate athletics for women and led the transformation of the department into a nationally recognized program with a budget of more than $1 million for 11 sports. After the merger of the men’s and women’s athletics departments, she served as associate athletics director for one year, interim director for another and associate athletics director for 10 years.

In parallel with her duties SIU, West became heavily involved with Title IX legislation, serving as a consultant for the Health, Education, and Welfare portions of Title IX that related to athletics. Since the NCAA was not willing to sponsor championships for women, West helped do so through the American Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW) – and organization for which she also served as president. With the dissolution of the AIAW (1981-82), West continued her work advocating for equity in in athletics by serving on the NCAA’s Committee on Financial Aid and Amateurism, the Committee on Athletic Certification, and the Gender Equity Task Force. She spent five years (1992-97) on the NCAA Council, a 44-member group that governed collegiate athletics and was the first woman member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), eventually being inducted into the NACDA Hall of Fame (2006). The first recipient of the Woman Administrator of the Year Award from the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators, in 1996 West was also named the first recipient of the Honda Award of Merit— a national honor given for outstanding achievement in women’s collegiate athletics. She retired from SIU in 1998.

Looking back, looking forward

When she reflects on all she did, the teaching, the coaching, running tournaments and serving on panels and committees, she laughs. “Billie Jean King talked about their efforts in the ‘70s and she says, ‘when I think back I have to take a nap.’ It’s a good line. I think back and wonder, ‘My gosh, how did I live through it? How did I do it?’ But you know, you are driven because you love what you were doing. We could see so much progress. And, yes, we had setbacks, but it just it was exciting. It was an exciting time of seeing your efforts come to fruition.”

For all that was accomplished, West knows that the work is not close to being over. “You know, we’ve documented that men’s participation is growing at a more rapid rate than women. We’re not even close to equity in participation. The budgets are just extreme,” she continued. “The men are just gaining twice as much every year as the women, and people just seem to say, ‘well, as long as the women are getting a little something everything’s okay.’ The administration is going down you know the number of women in athletic director roles has been flat or now starting downwards, which is a huge surprise.”

“A lot of people don’t realize that if it hadn’t been for AIAW, we wouldn’t have had that growth and we wouldn’t have had a billion dollar television contract — all these things that really happened in the 70s. It’s a kind of a paradox for some of us,’ said West. “We worked so hard to give the athletes the benefits they have today, the opportunities. So you rejoice in that. But then you’re saddened by the fact that they don’t know how they got there. No respect whatsoever, you know they expect these benefits which — I’m glad that they’re there for them — but they don’t appreciate them. They don’t understand how you have to continue to strive.” She takes some comfort from a friend who heads the SIU Department of Philosophy. “She said, ‘every great movement rises, and then there is always this falling back.’” West paused a moment. “Just so long as it doesn’t it fall back to where you started.”

******

Historical note: Women’s basketball history owes a debt to Dr. Ellyn Bartges, who earned that prefix through her research on and interviews with Dr. West. “Circle more before you land”: an ethnography of feminist leader Dr. Charlotte West is now posted at IDEALS: Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship.

Additional information: Charlotte West, interviews by Ellyn L. Bartges, audio and print transcripts, Family Memories Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, Springfield, IL.  Three interviews over six years were conducted, (March 2005, June 2009, and August 2011) .

You’re also invited to check out What about the character of the girls?: Girls and Women’s Basketball in Illinois, 1968-1977.”

Illinois hosted its first Girls’ State Basketball Tournament in 1977, five years after the U.S. Congress passed the landmark Title IX legislation. Title IX led to an explosion in the growth of women’s sports in the United States, dramatically changing American culture in the process. This collection of oral history interviews chronicles that story and the early struggles for both Illinois girls’ basketball (high school level) and women’s basketball (collegiate level) throughout the country. The twenty-six interviews in this collection were conducted beginning in 2004 by Ellyn Bartges, herself a participant in Illinois’ first tournament in 1977. Ellyn designed the oral history project and conducted the interviews as part of her master’s capstone project at Western Illinois University, under the direction of Dr. Virginia Boynton of the WIU History Department.    

In 2010 Ellyn Bartges was interviewed about her own life story and the creation of this oral history collection by Mark R. DePue, Director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Oral History program

The page includes interviews with various folks including: Dr. West, Jill Hutchinson, Gail Marquis, Billie Moore, Chris Voelz and Holly Warlick.

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I guess it’s parity — or it could be that some teams just don’t have their heads on straight….

Bentley’s on a Roll(s. Get the play on words? No? Oh, well. Nevermind) and helps lift the Sun to an important win.

It’s been a while since the Mohegan Sun Arena rocked during a Connecticut Sun game like it did Thursday night.

Renee Montgomery heaved up a 3-pointer just past half court at the first-half buzzer to give Connecticut a four-point lead.

Alex Bentley ended the third quarter with a 3-pointer to push the Sun ahead.

Old-hand Katie Douglas made two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to push Connecticut ahead late in the game.

The Sun survived two shots in the final five seconds to beat the uber-talented Phoenix Mercury, 96-95, setting off a roar from the 5,760 in attendance.

And just like that, Connecticut has its first multi-game winning streak.

And Mike is cranky ’cause the Merc are cranky.

But it’s okay, ’cause Taurasi Plans To Stay Forever Young, Says UConn Fans Need Not Worry

Then the Dream go, “Not so fast, everyone! We’re going to make some noise!)” and take down Minnesota, 85-82.

Cooper assigned Hayes to guard Maya Moore and McCoughtry to defend Seimone Augustus. His plan went well.

“Our pick-and-roll coverage worked to perfection and again,” Cooper said. “We just wanted to limit one of those players. It was going to be hard to limit two. But we held both to under 20 points, and if you can do that against any team you give yourself a chance to win.”

The – say it with me, everyone – “short-handed Sky” fell to the “really need a win” Mystics, 79-68.

The Sun continue on a roll, courtesy of Ms. Bentley, and squashed the flailing Lib, 83-75, in spite of Charles’ fab game.

The losses piled up quickly at the start of the season, but Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan continued to insist that she was seeing progress from her youthful team.

It’s not easy for fans or the media to appreciate improvements in a results-oriented business such as basketball. Fair or not, everything is measured in wins and losses.

Speaking of Tina: Liberty’s Tina Charles to give half her salary to foundation in aunt’s name

And Mike is happy ’cause We’ve got Bentley … you know the rest

The Storm, helped by the reappearance of Ms. Wright, sneak up on San Antonio, 79-72.

 Danielle Robinson can handle the missed shots. She can deal with an offense that’s often too stagnant. Those afflictions, the Stars’ point guard surmised, are fixable.

It’s the defensive breakdowns and gaudy offensive numbers opponents are increasingly putting up that are unacceptable.

Behind Paris and Diggins, the Shock live up to their name and stun the Sparks, 69-67.

San Antonio shakes off a loss, and stomp all over the still stunned Sparks.

 A night earlier, the Stars sat in a quiet locker room, pondering another head-scratching effort that left them questioning everything from their offensive struggles to a lack of defensive intensity. Behind closed doors, the players challenged one another to play for pride, each other and the organization.

“Just wanted to get on the same page,” Stars point guard Danielle Robinson said. “We are all playing for each other. There’s no drama or anything. We just wanted to clear some things up.”

Richard at l’Alien tries to explain it all.

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Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Lin Dunn played “like a guy,” built legacy for women’s game

Trace your finger down Lin Dunn’s resume, and the legacy that earned her a place in the 2014 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is quickly revealed.

Drawing on a potent combination of humor, energy, advocacy, vision and straight up orneriness, she created women’s basketball programs at Austin Peay State University (1970-77), University of Mississippi (1977-78) and Miami University (1978-87). She coached at Purdue for nine years (1987-96), where she collected three Big 10 conference titles, made seven NCAA tournament appearances, four Sweet Sixteen appearances, and a trip to the Final Four in 1994. In 1997 she transitioned to the professional game, earning Coach of Year honors in her first and only year in the ABL (1998). In 1999, she spearheaded the establishment the new WNBA Seattle Storm franchise, serving as coach and general manager for the team’s first three years. She joined the Indiana Fever staff in 2004 as an assistant. Named head coach for the 2008 season, Dunn led the Fever to the WNBA championship in 2012.

For all that, one has to wonder what might have happened had she been born decade later.

“To be honest with you,” said Dunn, “I was probably was a better player than I am a coach.”

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Honored as ‘Trailblazers’

Charlotte West enters women’s hoops hall today

Former APSU coach Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Lin Dunn heads home for Hall of Fame honor

Yolanda Griffith to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Michelle Edwards, Rutgers’ director of ops, to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

Hall the end of a long journey for Jazz Perazić

Griffin takes U.S. Open break for Hall of Fame induction

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Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 — Hall the end of a long journey for Jazz Perazić

When Jasmina (Jazz) Perazić enters the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this June, she will do so on the merits of her career as a Maryland Terrapin (’79-‘83). During her time in College Park, the six-foot guard led the program to three ACC Championships and the 1982 Final Four. Her 1,396 points ranks her 18th all-time in scoring for the Terps and she is one of only three women to have their jerseys retired by the University.

Quite the accomplishment for someone whose earliest basketball memories include coaches yelling, “What are you doing?”

And the rest of the series, in case you missed’em (two more still to be published – Lin Dunn and Charlotte West): Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Yolanda Griffith – Perennial underdog arrives at pinnacle

Reflecting on her journey to the Hall of Game, Griffith said, “It is truly a great honor. I’m happy for the recognition. But every day I say I am blessed. I am blessed with how I turned out because of my parents and my brothers and sisters. I’m blessed because I’ve never taken anything for granted. I don’t want you to give me anything.  I want to earn it. That’s just how I was raised.” “But throughout my career playing basketball, I’ve had the right coaches that guided me in the right direction. Basketball’s just a huge part of my life, taking up a lot of time and focus. Trying to get my game better, realizing that there’s somebody out there that’s better than me. I was always the underdog, not getting the publicity. And, you know, I’m pretty much okay with that not happening — because people that know basketball know.”

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Mimi Senkowski Griffin — A love affair with the game

Griffin is not unaware that the role girls were expected to play in a Catholic school seemed contradictory to those they played on the court. “That’s the dichotomy of sport: allowing you to be what you weren’t able to be in school,” she reflected. “I think one of the reasons that young girls in Catholic schools loved basketball was it gave us a sense of identity. It was so great to find something that made you feel good about yourself and feel good about accomplishing something with others as a group. It cemented our self-esteem and,” she added with a laugh, “it was just the bomb.”

Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Michelle Edwards — The Miracle of “Ice”

“When I first heard, I was like, ‘What?!’ Then I went online to see who else had been inducted — Lin [Dunn], Yolanda [Griffith] and Jazz [Perazic]….  I mean, Lin Dunn was my coach [with the Seattle Storm]! Then I thought about all the great players that have not gotten in. Then I started thinking back on my career asking myself, ‘Was I really that good?’ It blows my mind, when you really dissect it, because I’ve played with some great players.  And some great players came after me. I’m definitely humbled and feel blessed. I hope my teammates can come because I really want to thank them ….” Edwards took a deep breath and regrouped, as she looked ahead to next month’s formal induction ceremony. “I’m going to take it one day at a time and try my best to just take it all in.”

I ran out time and couldn’t do anything on the 1976 US Women’s Basketball team (the first to play in the Olympics), but I can pull up some old stuff I did.

In case you don’t remember, here’s the team:

NAME
POS
HGT
WGT
AGE
SCHOOL HOMETOWN
Cindy Brogdon
F
5-10
155
19
Tennessee Buford, GA
Nancy Dunkle
C
6-2
155
21
California State Fullerton Fullerton La Habra, CA
Lusia Harris
F
6-2
180
21
Delta State Minter City, MS
Pat Head
F
5-10
155
24
Tennessee-Martin Ashland City, TN
Charlotte Lewis
C
6-2
180
20
Illinois State Peoria, IL
Nancy Lieberman
F
5-9
140
18
Far Rockaway H.S. Far Rockaway, NY
Gail Marquis
F
5-11
165
21
Queens College St. Albans, NY
Ann Meyers
G
5-8
135
20
UCLA La Habra, CA
Mary Anne O’Conner
G
5-10
158
23
Southern Connecticut State Fairfield, CT
Patricia Roberts
F
6-1
150
21
Tennessee Monroe, GA
Sue Rojcewicz
G
5-7
135
22
Southern Connecticut State Worcester, MA
Juliene Simpson
G
5-6
156
23
John F. Kennedy College Roselle Park, NJ
HEAD COACH: Billie Moore, Cal State University, Fullerton
ASSISTANT COACH: Sue Gunter, Stephen F. Austin University (TX)
MANAGER: Jeanne Rowlands, Northeastern Univ. (MA)
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Gail Weldon, Western Illinois University

In 1976, the US team had to qualify for the Olympics. As the USA Basketball site mentions: the USA finished in a distant eighth place at the 1975 FIBA World Championship. When the team traveled to the 1976 Pre-Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Ontario, most “experts” gave them little chance to earn a berth to the Montreal Games. So, when they DID, they didn’t have a budget and the didn’t have a practice space. Famously, Bill Wall used his own American Express to cover expenses and Hunter Lowe (of Kodak All-American fame) stepped up and found space up in Rochester. Eventually, this “unexpected team” won a silver medal, falling to the powerhouse Soviets in the finals.

From the archives: Lucy Harris, who scored the first basket in the Olympics

The 6’3” Harris-Stewart is considered by many to be the prototypical modern center. Born February 10, 1955, in Minter City, Miss., she grew up watching her equally tall older sister win high school championships. “Most people don’t realize how organized [girls’] basketball was in Mississippi during that time,” she explained. “In my area, it was a money-drawing event.” “I used to love watching her play,” said Harris-Stewart of her sister. “She could really handle that ball. When I went to Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, we had the same coach, Conway Stewart. That was so awesome, to be able to play for someone who loved the game.” Harris-Stewart remembers coach Stewart talking about the game and keeping a cool head. “He talked to me a whole lot about keeping my composure and not to do things to be thrown out of a game. Because,” she admitted with a sly smile, “even though I was a shy person, I would get you back on the court.” 

A little Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers and 1970’s AAU basketball

 “If anyone’s telling you they were aware, they’re not telling you the truth,” said Nancy Lieberman, who competed with the AAU team the New York Chuckles in 1978. “It was basketball, and that’s what made it so pure. We didn’t know the politics, the dynamics. We didn’t know about Title IX, we didn’t know about AIAW. All we knew about was basketball. It was competitive. It was pure. People didn’t complain about playing time. Nobody was trying to get a commercial. Everybody was paid the same thing: nothing.” Carol Blazejowski, who played for the Allentown Crestettes, concurred. “I had just graduated from college (Montclair State), and I was playing in as many games as I could to stay in shape for the ’80 Olympics. It was just ‘get in the game.’ Once you graduated from college, where were you going to play? Hooking up with an AAU team was the ‘bridge,’ if you will. Either into extinction or, if you were pretty good, it was a holding place until the Olympics or USA Basketball geared up.”

A little USA Basketball history:

When the United States joined the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) as a member in 1934, it was the Amateur Athletic Union (a very different beast than the AAU of today) that FIBA first recognized as the organization responsible for USA teams in international competitions. While the AAU had been holding U.S. women’s basketball championships in since 1929, the 1953 World Championship marked the very first time a major international basketball competition was held for women. Until the early 1970′s, staff and players for those teams were drawn from AAU teams, sometimes known as Industrial teams, with names like Nashville Business CollegeMidland Jewelry, Raytown Piperettes and the Hutcherson Flying Queens. AAU All-Americans like Katherine Washington,Doris Rogers and Colleen Bowser competed under the direction of coaches like John HeadHarley Redin and Alberta Cox. ABAUSA, or the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America, emerged in 1974 after a 10-year struggle between the AAU and other U.S. basketball organizations for control of the USA’s international teams. With the recognition of ABAUSA by FIBA, international teams and coaches began to be drawn almost exclusively from the collegiate ranks. The first team fielded by ABAUSA was for the 1975 World Championships. Though coached by Cathy Rush of Immaculata College, it included none of Rush’sMighty Macs,” instead featuring such players as Lusia Harris,Nancy DunkleAnn Meyers and Pat Head (later Summitt). Choosing Rush as coach “really was a no-brainer,” admitted Bill Wall, Executive Director of ABAUSA from 1974-1992,Margaret Wade having retired and Cathy having just won three straight AIAW titles with Immaculata.”

From the old WHB site, 2009:

Ted first talked about Hunter on this blog in 2005, when he was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.In February of ’08, we wrote about the Hunter and his Kodak All-Americans when State Farm took over the AA sponsorship.Hunter died this past September, and Sherri Coale spoke to Low’s impact.

Recently, others offered their reflections on Hunter Low:

Betty Jaynes, former head coach of Madison College (Harrisonburg, VA) from (1970-82).

On meeting Hunter.

[In 1975] we had that national AIAW championship and I happen to also be the tournament director. That was the year Eastman Kodak decided that they would have a Kodak All-America team. I was on the committee to select — as well as the Championship chair — and that is where my life crossed with Hunter.

He walked into our gym one January with a whole entourage of Eastman Kodak folks to sit down and talk with me about how we could have a meeting place for the Kodak committee and the kinds of things that we could do with a group. At that time the AIAW would not let a sponsor have any type of appearance or recognition at the championships site. So our plan was, once the players were flown into Harrisonburg, to bus them in to Washington DC where we could have the Kodak luncheon and the presentation.

[Eventually] the AIAW got a little bit better at allowing Kodak to be near the championship, so about two or three years later we are able to bring the players in and have our own luncheon in the city where the championship was.

Talk about Hunter’s role in the founding of the WBCA.

He was instrumental in that because, in 1980, the NCAA decided that they would take over women’s sports. When they did that, the AIAW sued them for antitrust (and eventually lost). Hunter was very concerned about where the Kodak All-Americans would be housed — they had a contract with the AIAW and it was no longer in existence.

He encouraged me, along with many other coaches, to form a Coaches Association so that we would have our own identity, no matter what area we played — whether it was the NCAA or the NAIA, or NJCAA — no matter what it was, we could bring our coaching profession under a Coaches Association and have our own identity about strategies, awards and be political about our rules and regulations.

He sponsored the original group that met in Syracuse. Norfolk [VA, 1982] was our organizing committee, and the group that met in Syracuse during the Olympic Festival was sort of a sounding committee. They came together and decided, yes this is what we’re going to do. And he was responsible for housing that group and getting them to the meetings.

How did he connect with women’s basketball?

He had two daughters Valerie and Elizabeth – and one of them played. His wife Jody has always been heavily involved in this whole All-American thing. She said for years he went away to be with all these women, and she finally got pretty much tired of it, so she decided she’d tag along. And she falls in love with everybody and everybody falls in love with her and then Hunter says, “Now wait a minute. This is my gig!” (Laughs)

Hunter had always been involved with the American Football Coaches Association in doing their Eastman awards. You’ve got to understand that he’s a Kodak man. He was in film and the football coaches had film every Saturday. They filmed the games, they sent it Kodak and they processed it, and it was back in their hands the next day. I think he saw men’s and women’s basketball as the potentials for the use of that film. I think that was his whole thing. That’s why Kodak was the official imager of the women’s basketball committee.

Was he connected to the 1991 book of women’s basketball photographs, “At the Rim”?

His boss was responsible for that, Ray Mouland (?). Ray was really into the imaging and so he said that if we would help to get all female photographers — that was part of it. It had to be all-female photographers. We did all of that legwork for them — signed the players and the teams and the coaches — and then they put together the sports information groups, like in Virginia, and got the female photographer there. Then they went through and picked out the photographs.

That was a real exciting time for me because they let me go to Rochester and see all the pictures. I had no input, but it was just an absolutely amazing kind of thing to watch all that transpire. And then the deal was that every member of the WBCA would get a copy.

I love the one of Muffet McGraw and her baby. He went away as a [college] freshman this year. It’s just amazing how all these things transpire.

Describe the man to somebody who never met him.

Well Hunter was very big in stature — I want to say maybe 6’3” or 6’4” — a big, overpowering, gentlemen. You would think that he would be rough, but he was a gentleman’s gentleman. That’s my sister’s comment, that he was a gentleman’s gentleman. But that’s what he was — he was tender, very caring. Exceptionally polite to everyone and very gracious when he was introduced to someone.

He loved to all of the All-Americans. They always remembered him. They would write to him and communicate with him. Ann Meyers Drysdale was one of his favorites. He loved Nancy Lieberman. And Jody Conradt. Lin Dunn, who coaches the Indiana Fever. Billie Moore, the ‘76 Olympic coach, because he was responsible for taking care of a lot of their housing and their practices in Rochester.

I loved being around Hunter and his sidekick Bill Orr. Bill was with Tel Ra Productions in Philadelphia. Bill always provided a videotape of the Kodak All-Americans that we distributed to all of our [WBCA] members, and our members would show the highlights of these players during their camps. That’s the only kind of video that they had, the Kodak All-American videos. I think that’s why so many young girls coming up through the system said that they wanted to be a Kodak All-American. They learned it from their experiences during summer camps.

He just loved to the fact that women received recognition. Even before the Kodak, the early days of 70’s, the latter part of 60’s, he was involved with basketball clinics in the Poconos. It was a Kodak clinic. He funded those and that then fell into the Kodak All-American. And it just kept rolling. He was just extraordinary.

Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee

Hunter Low was a great friend of women’s basketball for many, many years. I first met Hunter in 1976 when he helped to arrange a place where our women’s Olympic basketball team could train in Rochester before we headed to Montreal for the Olympic Games.

He was passionate about the game of women’s basketball and was instrumental in the development of the Kodak All-America team. There was no better person, father or friend to the game than Hunter.

Kathy Harston (Wayland Baptist and a 1978 Kodak All-American)

Hunter Low saw the exuberance and passion that women’s college basketball players played with and was instrumental in helping make women’s college basketball what it is today.”

Ann Meyers Drysdale (UCLA 1974-’78. First player, male, or female, named to Kodak’s All-America team in four straight seasons)

Hunter, Hunter, Hunter! He really was a special man and friend. I am so sad to hear the news.

He took care of me when the first Kodak team was named. Since I was the only freshman, he sent me a round trip ticket. Or did I pick it up at the airport (LAX)? Remember in those days (1975) tickets were hand written. I was babysitting as my Mom and Dad went up to Oregon to watch UCLA and my brother David play at in the NCAA tournament. I don’t remember how Hunter worked it out with my folks to get me to fly cross country — but he did. Then when I was flying back home out of Reagan Airport (it wasn’t Reagan yet) I had thrown my airplane ticket away, because I had already used it (one way) and didn’t think I needed the receipt (which was the other leg home), but who knew? Hunter had to go to the counter and get my ticket rewritten and explain the WHOLE thing! :>)

My sophomore year in Minnesota, Hunter had a big birthday cake for me and had all the All-Americans sing Happy Birthday to me.

Hunter was great with EVERYONE! But he and I hit it off and he and Jody became very special friends in my life. He was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather. We were so lucky to see the world through Hunter’s eyes and heart. He was special to so many and made our world a better and happier place to be in!

Jody Conradt, former head coach at Texas (1976-2007)

Talk about Hunter’s “hidden” legacy.

I think in our sport we have a tendency — I mean in the general public — to think this is something that just started in the 1970’s. At that point in time there just wasn’t as much focus on women’s basketball the way it is in certain situations now. So therefore people that weren’t involved at that point in time probably don’t have an appreciation for what Kodak’s contributions was and the fact that that contribution happened solely because of Hunter Lowe.

Describe Hunter to people who’d never met him.

I used to always think about his sense of humor. His sense of humor and how he had a wonderful recall. You could not see him for months — almost years — and you would be in his presence and he would remember obscure details about the last time you saw him, or about your team. Just wonderful recall.

Nancy Lieberman, Old Dominion University (Kodak All-American 1978, ’79, ’80)

Talk about what Hunter’s role in the growth women’s basketball

I had sent a letter to his family. I just wanted them to know what he meant to all of us and to women’s basketball. He did things…Kodak didn’t have to support women’s basketball or the all-American team. They were one of the first people to really step up, not with a toe in but with a full commitment. We’re talking about the early 70s. It wasn’t a popular thing to do, but he was so passionate.

He had a vision. He was so real. There was nothing pretentious about him he could make the call. He had the ability to write the check. Or tell the people that needed to write the check. And he did.

I couldn’t wait to give him a hug because this man just genuinely loved women’s sports. He just treated us like we were gold. Really, some of my experiences around Hunter were some of the first experiences that I had — eating at a nice restaurant or staying in nice hotels. I mean, I was a poor kid from New York. In ‘76 I was 17 — I turned 18 in Montreal (at the Olympics). Hunter was real protective of me because he knew I was so young and that I probably was a little out of my element. He always made me feel so comfortable. You don’t forget that.

What Hunter stories do you have?

I can’t tell you how many times I had dinner with him in Rochester or when he was with us with USA basketball or with the Kodak team. He loved to tell this story my senior year we’re at the Kodak All-American banquet. Inge Nissen, my teammate who was 24 — at the time we were all like 22 or something, but she was very mature because of her European background– and Inge is sitting at the Kodak All-American table with me with a cognac in one of those big glasses. Her hand is on the bottom and she’s swirling it around, and smoking a cigarette and kids are coming up, “Oh, Miss Nissen, I want to be like you one day!”

And I’m just sitting there and Hunter’s going, “You want to die of smoke inhalation and be inebriated?” [Laughs] I was such a nerd. I didn’t smoke, I didn’t drink, I didn’t do drugs, but she was so mature. Hunter loved telling that story — it was the darndest thing I’ve ever seen because, you know, she was so much older and mature. We laughed.

Talk about his legacy.

I think the hardest thing for people like me is that we didn’t see him enough, after we had a measure of success, to say thank you. And that’s the thing you kick yourself in the behind about. It’s the simplest thing to just be able to just say, “Hey thanks for everything.” And you lose those opportunities. And I’m really sorry, on a personal note, because we only saw him at events.

We were his family and his family was our family. He treated one and all like family. And he has decades and decades of us on posters. All you have to do is take a look at them and you’ll know. That’s the key to life.

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From his article in Time Magazine:

Many will argue that the pay difference is the result of free market supply and demand. More people want to see men play professional basketball than want to see women play, so the players are paid accordingly. You can’t argue economics. There is truth to this. You can’t force people to attend a sporting event if they don’t want to.

However, this is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can change things. First, we need to address why they don’t want to watch. This goes back to cultural biases. If we don’t value girls’ sports in middle school and high school, then we don’t grow up to value them as professional athletes. And by value, I mean make athletic opportunities available, pay coaches equally, and promote female sports with the same vigor as we do male sports.

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Several of them – some of them virtual strangers – have donated to the 18 days/$18,000 for the 18th year of the CUNY CAT Youth Theatre fundraiser.

You folks are AWESOME!!!

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lovely few days in Minneapolis. Got to hang with family friends, see an overflowing Minnehaha Falls, re-connect with one of the original WHB bloggers, finish the second to last of my WBHOF articles, present a kick-butt conference session with some amazing educators and researchers, and chill with three fabulous munchkins: Theo, Jonah and Mae.

Now I need a nap.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world has contented spinning:

Exciting visit to the White House for Stef… I mean, the UConn’s women’s team. (Oh, dear: UConn women’s basketball in good shape for next title run)

The Lynx aren’t far behind.

New jobs for Megan Duffy and Jocelyn Wyatt and Katy Steding.

Speaking of jobs: Jenny Boucek talks about career, NBA coaching aspirations

FSU lands K-State (finally) transfer Leticia Romero.

I like when this happens: NOLA is tracking LSU alum in the W.

Ray at Swish Appeal has an Interview with San Antonio Stars rookie Kayla McBride: Adjusting to the WNBA

Ben York is talking The Evolution of Diana Taurasi

As her illustrious career continues, Taurasi has adapted to various styles of play that best suits that particular roster and team – something that is infinitely easier said than done, especially when many consider you to be the best player in the world.

In the run-and-gun years, Phoenix needed her to put the ball in the basket as much as humanly possible (not that it would be frowned upon now).

In the past few years, as the league has progressed, they’ve needed her ability to create and get the entire team involved (which is a direct correlation with being amongst the league-leaders in assists).

Nevertheless, it’s one thing to have an evolving game but another thing entirely to be effective at it – and finish amongst the league-leaders in the process.

Are the stars returning to the stands? First, NY gets Billie Jean King, now Ludacris And Others Attend WNBA Atlanta Dream’s “Dads & Daughters Night”

Medic! Lauren Jackson gets more knee surgery. EDD continues to be plagued by Lyme Disease.

From Patricia Babcock McGraw: Struggling Prince trying to find answers

During the Los Angles game, Prince was in uniform for the first time this season. But she did not see the floor.

In Atlanta, Prince made her season debut, but played only 9 minutes. She did, however, score 7 points.

She had been out until that point for personal reasons and joined the team only two weeks ago, battling what seems to be a severe case of mental exhaustion.

As for the games since I departed NY and returned…. can anyone figure this season out? I mean, except for Minnesota, who has got their you-know-what-together?

From David: Dishin & Swishin 06/12/14 Podcast: Underrated as a player and team, Danielle Robinson and San Antonio surprising in the West

Cappie remembers how to score, and the Lib stomp Washington.  (surprise! btw. ESPN still has the Lib in Newark.)

Parker scores a lot and rebounds a lot… but the rest of the team? Not so much. Minnesota dispatched the Sparks at the Staples Center.

Cappie forgets how to score, Diggins does not: Tulsa wipes the floor with New York. And hellooooo Courtney Paris! Welcome to the defense-free Liberty front court. (So much for that “heart-to-heart” meeting, Libs.)

More thumping of the Mystics, this time by Brittney.

Delle Donne-less Sky fall to the Storm. I wonder how much her extended minutes has played into the reoccurrence of the Lyme disease.

The Catch-less Fever rallied to take down Seattle and make Lin Dunn’s big night in Indianapolis extra special.

Steve Lebron at Policymic writes: How Much Women’s Basketball Players Make in the U.S. vs. China

While NBA players secure financial stability the minute they enter the league as first-round picks, the most talented female players are — while adequately compensated relative to other occupations — very low on the financial totem pole for athletes.

Fun times for USA Basketball at the 3×3 tournament.

Speaking of USA Basketball:

U of L’s Hammond calls gold medal experience ‘humbling’

Sara Hammond said Sunday, after representing the United States and earning a gold medal doing so, that her FIBA World Championship experience was tough to put into words.

The University of Louisville basketball player managed nonetheless after her USA Basketball 3×3 women’s team took gold in Moscow.

 

Three sisters, one out-of-sight dad

Jon Samuelson, father of one of the most successful sister acts in women’s basketball, is ever-present in the lives of his three talented daughters — he’s just hard to find during their games.

Samuelson, who played college basketball at Cal State Fullerton and pro ball in Europe, has taught the game to Bonnie, who will be a senior at Stanford this fall; Karlie, a rising sophomore at Stanford; and Katie Lou, a 6-foot-3 wing at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), a Connecticut recruit and the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 class.

From Amanda Hess at Slate.com: The WNBA Finally Recognizes Its Lesbian Fans

This month, the WNBA became the first American pro sports league to openly recruit LGBTQ fans by launching a dedicated marketing platformselling rainbow basketball pride T-shirts, and sponsoring pride games across the country. On June 22, ESPN2 will air the first-ever nationally televised pride game. WNBA President Laurel Richie frames the strategy as a smart business decision: Recent market research has revealed that 21 percent of lesbians have attended a WNBA game, and 25 percent have watched one on TV. For a league that’s had serious difficulties getting anyone to fill its seats, those stats are astonishing.

The New York Times’ Julie Macur writes: Coast Cleared by Others, W.N.B.A. Finally Finds Its Gay Pride

When Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 W.N.B.A. draft, heard about her league’s new campaign to market games to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, she said, “What are we going to have, T-shirts, shoes?”

It was about time, Griner said she thought, and then wondered what she could do to help.

I find the comments interesting and insightful (something unusual, we know, when folks comment on articles about women’s athletics.  While I, too, have been frustrated at the far-too underground recognition of the lesbian fan base, I’m finding some of the finger pointing and shoulda-coulda rather tone-deaf.

Simple question: who has more security? The NCAA or the WNBA? Who has more players, more fans, more “institutions?” NCAA, WBCA? I’m lookin’ and YOU.

Doug gives Chiney and Nneka some focus: WNBA’s Ogwumike sisters raise funds for education in Nigeria

WATN? UConn and CT Sun standout Nykesha Sales visits CBC

Oh, the drama: Diamond DeShields to join Vols

More good news for the Vols: Te’a Cooper gives verbal to Tennessee

Speaking of Knoxville: Dunn led way for today’s generation – Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball HOF on Saturday (ESPN3, 7 ET)

There are two kinds of vision, of course. The kind that lets you see what’s in front of you, and the kind that lets you imagine what you hope will one day be there.

Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn always has had both, going back to her youth in Tennessee in the 1950s and ’60s. Even then, Dunn had a passion for sports and could see strategy and tactics as a natural-born coach. But she also saw what wasn’t there: enough opportunities and support for girls and women in athletics.

When Dunn is inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee, as part of a class of six, the honor will be a testament to Dunn’s determination to make the real world line up better with the possibilities she always imagined.

Lin gets around the “only five minutes to speak at the induction ceremony” rule by writing for ESPN: Five decades of fighting for equality – Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball HOF on Saturday

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