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who’ve “Kickstarted” for Joanne Lanin’s publication of her book, “Finding a Way to Play.” Lucky you, there’s still time to jump on the women’s history bandwagon. From Jo:

I am also grateful to the people who took the time to answer my questions over the last four summers as I sought to deepen my understanding of the struggles that pioneers of women’s basketball have faced. In no particular order, they are: Cindy Davies, Fayth Goodrich, Angel Goodrich, Marjery Johnson, Eckie Jordan, Theresa Grentz, Corinne Gulas, Kirsten Cummings, Helen White, Celeste Chartier, Jo Dill, Molly Bolin, Pat Griffin, Pat McKinzie-Lechault. Lorraine Rizzu- to, Marge Burge, Angela Alford, Paula Passarello, Lin Dunn, and Jane Pittman.”

Thanks again to all my backers. I will be updating you with printing details and publication dates as soon as I have them. Also, I’ll be sending you a survey to get your address (and t-shirt size if you wanted one). Women’s basketball rocks! And so do the people who support it.

$15 will get you a signed copy.
$25 will get you a signed copy for yourself and a thoughtful gift for your best wbb friend.
$100 (I’m looking at YOU coaches) will get you five signed copies for your starting five, ’cause young players NEED to know the history of the game their playing.

Speaking of history, Mama Taj’s in the house: 

As a 20-year-old with both a passion for basketball and a deep sense of responsibility toward family, Taj McWilliams-Franklin would go to the old practice gym at St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, at 6 o’clock each morning with a basketball in one hand and a baby carrier holding her infant daughter, Michelle, in the other.

She felt the need to work on her game, but couldn’t allow it to come at the expense of motherhood. Such workout sessions began defining who McWilliams-Franklin would be for decades to follow.

She became one of the most accomplished players in WNBA history while also distinguishing herself as a strong mother figure, not only for her three daughters, but her adult teammates, as well.

She needs that duality in her life. That’s why she left behind all the trappings of professional and Division I college basketball to attempt to transform Post University women’s basketball into a successful program.

Speaking of current history, from Chuck Culpepper at WaPo: WNBA star Brittney Griner is tough-minded, but fighting doesn’t define her

An authentic American athlete has a fresh blotch on her bio, so it might help that she also has uncommonly sturdy innards.

It might help that Brittney Griner had the guts to confirm her homosexuality to a student who asked . . . at the dawn of ninth grade. It can’t hurt that the former assistant coach at Baylor, Damion McKinney, found it “amazing to me how she could take being mocked,” and said, “I’ve never seen a kid who could handle things like people holding up [unkind] signs, the way she could.”

It surely helps that her keen sense of self dates back to a girlhood in which she would slide blithely under the car to help her father repair it, cut the hair off her Barbies and then paint them black and green, study military shows with her Vietnam-veteran dad, dream of following him into the police, even stand up to him when life asked for that. Even the professor who helped the WNBA parse her recent domestic-fight case deems her “a very, very brave, brave, brave person.”

As feared, a 5th player says “ouch:” Sun lose Kelsey Griffin

The cost of a crowded guard house: Shock releases Angel Goodrich

From Seattle: NBA playoffs mess with Storm practice (I dunno about you, but the WCWS messed with my sleep!)

Ummmm, is it too late to start a Kickstarter campaign to fix WNBA.com (and hire writers who can identify players in photos correctly)? From Rebkell folks:

1) The website rolls over to the next day at 9PM PDT. This means that I need to scroll left for any West Coast games still in progress on the scores scroll 
2) On that same scores page, the score frames span the entire page so that the left scroll button covers up half of the first score. It needs to be resized so that there is a gap between score and edge. 
3) Many pages – the box scores, the all-time leaders page are examples – do not resize horizontally based on one’s browser dimensions. The font is too big and the rest of the information simply goes off the right side of the page. 
4) Those oversized pages also do not present a horizontal scroll bar so it is impossible to view it. I have had to reduce the font size in order to fit it all onto one page. 
6) Resizing the main page any smaller than full-screen on my laptop will cause all the menu items in the header to disappear. They are actually collapsed on the left hand side but that is not intuitive at all. 
7) The career stats page no longer calculates totals for a player 
Cool The roster page no longer lists number of years in service next to a player’s name. That at-a-glance feature was useful. 
9) Many links are still pointing to the old DNS which makes them useless. On the Storm page, this includes revenue-generating links like how to purchase ticket plans or register for the fan road trip. So far that seems to be the same story on the Dream and Sun sites that I checked. 
10) The standings page has started the season already. It is listing the pre-season games as win-loss. Hopefully this will get cleared before June 5th. 
11) Every single ticket link that I saw on the schedule page is broken and redirects back to the main team page. 
12) The headers for the drop-downs also have old links attached to them so if you click on them it takes you back to the main site again. 
And one other question: 
1) Where would you suggest we go to check injury reports, latest transactions (updated within the hour), historical numbers for all players who no longer play for the league, and other statistics and facts that sports fans tend to want to know? None of these are available on the website.

 

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Quigley, other WNBA players to miss games for Euro tourney

New York’s Epiphanny Prince (Russia), Los Angeles’ Kristi Toliver (Slovakia), Indiana’s Shavonte Zellous (Croatia), Atlanta’s Celine Dumerc (France) and Minnesota’s Anna Cruz (Spain) are among those who will miss WNBA games and face potential fines from their teams or the league.

The winner of the Eurobasket earns a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Yeah, it would be cool to play in the Olympics,” Quigley said. “We’ll see.”

Speaking of Zellous: Zellous wins arbitration case against Turkish club

From Indy: Miss Basketball. National champion at Purdue. WNBA player. Successful college coach. And now Stephanie White is leading the Indiana Fever.

Nearly every one of Stephanie White’s early coaching stops played out void of fanfare.

They include one season as an assistant for the Ball State University women’s basketball team, the following winter in the same position at Kansas State and two years at the University of Toledo.

Have whistle, will travel.

Congrats! Basketball Star Tamika Catchings Named Latest Laureus Ambassador

From Illinois: Who will step up for Sky if Fowles doesn’t play? and As superstar Sylvia Fowles demands a trade, Sky see no limit in WNBA season

From New York: Wiggins feels sense of purpose with Liberty and Bill Laimbeer: ‘My time has passed’ for NBA job

From Georgia: McCoughtry now ‘living my own life’

If I said this were a story about a WNBA player who talked about doing yoga and feeling refreshed … who said she is learning to appreciate sunsets, cookouts and walks in the park … who uses terms like “relaxed” and “lightness” to describe her current state of mind … whom might you guess it was?

Probably not Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry, right? While being one of the best women’s basketball players in the world the last several years, McCoughtry often has been paired with adjectives like complex, intense, inscrutable, mercurial and moody.

The lights are on Maya Moore. She knows it. Maybe it explains why she speaks in measured and balanced tones when challenging colleagues, reporters, and as usual, herself.

The reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player and dazzling 25-year-old Minnesota Lynx veteran guard wrote an in-depth first-person story for the Players Tribune magazine in April about the lack of visibility for the league, overseas struggles and women’s basketball in general.

In addition to bringing the issues out in the open, Moore offered solutions and suggestions for enhancing the sport during an exclusive discussion with Womhoops Guru (this blog, not the Guru himself) on Wednesday when the Lynx played the Mystics in a preseason game.

A caring, personable ambassador, Moore’s motivation was simple.
From Connecticut: Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas showing off versatility (Which they’ll need, considering all the injuries they’re having.)
In NCAA news, the transfers have landed.
It’s Villanova for former Vol Jannah Turner.
it’s South Carolina for former Yellow Jacket Kaela Davis.
It’s Texas for former Commodore Khaleann Caron-Goudreau.
It’s Oakland for former Blue Demon ShaKeya Graves.

The Savannah State University football program and women’s basketball program have been ruled ineligible for postseason play because of a failure to meet minimum APR scores, according to the NCAA.

In addition, the SSU women’s softball team is facing level one APR penalties and the men’s and the women’s basketball team is facing level two APR penalties while the football team also faces level three APR penalties.

It’s pretty common to hear that Title IX creates a huge financial burden on colleges such that even if a school is lucky enough to be making millions on football or basketball, federal law mandates that a certain amount be spent on women’s sports. Leaving aside how this story implies schools are being forced to support women’s sports against their will (which I hope isn’t true), it also misses the fact that in some circumstances, women’s sports make money.

Yes, so-called “non-revenue” can be profitable. This isn’t saying they always are, because the conditions need to be right; but when they are, a school that is out of compliance with Title IX because it doesn’t have enough women participants could actually add a sport and increase its net cash in-flow after expenditures. Seems counter-intuitive, right? But it’s true. Come join me on a short, economic journey through arithmetic-land, where the only bias is a strong belief that when facts and common sense collide, facts win.

BTW: Joanne is now only  $265 away from her Kickstarter goal of $2500 to support the publishing of “Finding a Way to Play.” That means if 18 WHB readers give $15, not only will they get a free, autographed copy of the book, but they’ll help her reach her goal.
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Come on, folks – love the game? Love its history. Donate.

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and only $660 to go before Jo Lannin reaches her Kickstarter goal of $2500 to support the publishing of “Finding a Way to Play.”

Check out her updates for news, including comments from “Only a Game’s” Bill Littlefield:

Joanne Lannin’s passion for basketball and determination to honor and celebrate the women who’ve played it a various levels — most of them marvelously obscure — energizes Finding a Way to Play. Her book is a labor of love if ever there was one, and a testament to the pursuit of joy in sports.”

and ESPN/Boston Globe writer Jackie MacMullan:

“Joanne Lannin has played and covered the game of basketball with great fervor and passion, and in her new book Finding a Way to Play, she captures the spirit of the women who pioneered the sport she treasures. Their stories are inspiring, heartbreaking and infuriating, and they spring to life with Lannin’s steady voice guiding the way. If you love the game, you’ll love this book.” 

Why Kickstart for Women’s Basketball History? From Jo’s blog:

People have asked how much it will cost, overall to self-publish my book. The answer is: it depends on how many copies I want to print and how widely I want it distributed. Like many self-publishers today, I could send the book to a local printer and take care of all the promotions, library and bookstore distribution myself, but I’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to help me pay for a first-class effort. With the extra $2,500 I’m raising, I will be able to choose a printer with a solid track record of providing a full package of marketing and promotional help. I’ll also be able to have many more copies printed than I could have on my own. My goal is to get the book into the hands of as many fans of women’s basketball that I possibly can. So if you are willing to help me, check out this link. Every reward level includes a signed copy of my book, so you might just think of it as a pre-order. My goal is to deliver the books to those who’ve asked for one by the middle of July.

Oh, and if you want a sneak preview of the book, just browse through my blog posts over the last couple of years.  Several are “rough drafts” of the chapters I’ve added to the book.

Thanks for any and all help with my project. Women’s Basketball Rules!  And I want the world to know it!

Think about this: If everyone who looked at this blog today donated $15, not only would they get a signed copy of the book, but they’d help blow Jo’s goal out of the water….

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Huge blow for the Terps as starting point guard and soon-to-be-junior Lexie Brown decides to transfer. I always wonder about that “play closer to home” line…

Not as surprising, Jannah Tucker to transfer from Lady Vols.

Blick:

llinois hires firm to further investigate claims against basketball coaches

Ilinois has hired a Chicago law firm to further investigate claims by women’s basketball players that coaches mistreated them.

An internal review by the university’s office of diversity, equity and access initially found no violation of “applicable law, NCAA rules or university policy,” but athletic director Mike Thomas and Chancellor Phyllis Wise “have decided to contract with an external firm to continue and finalize that preliminary review,” a university spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Hutchinson women’s basketball team under investigation

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team is under investigation for alleged improper benefits to players.

The National Junior College Athletic Association confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating the program. Assistant executive director Mark Krug says an issue was brought to the organization’s attention last week. He declined to comment further.

Hutchinson coach John Ontjes says the school has until June 5 to respond to the NJCAA.

In eight seasons under Ontjes, the Blue Dragons are 257-26 and have won five consecutive Jayhawk West titles.

This season, Hutchinson’s only loss was in the NJCAA national championship game to Chipola, Florida.

In other news: Alabama women’s basketball making progress in rebuilding efforts, Kristy Curry says

The results have been modest through Kristy Curry’s first two seasons as Alabama’s women’s basketball coach. However, the groundwork is being laid for a better future, Curry said during the Tide’s recent Crimson Caravan event in Atlanta.

Alabama finished last season 13-19, including 2-14 in the SEC, after posting a 14-16 record during Curry’s first season as coach in 2013-14.

In W news: 

From Rebkell, an enumeration of the horror(s) that is know as WNBA.com.

One thing I don’t like when web pages get re-vamped by new companies is that they will move things around and not put redirects to the new pages, breaking search results and inbound links (like Wikipedia references). The people doing the WNBA site changed the locations of the playerfile pages without putting re-directs to the new page. Google should catch up, if they do keep playerfiles for retired players, but for now, if I search for “Becky Hammon playerfile” it gives me: 

http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/becky_hammon/ 

That page no longer exists. 

The new player pages have been moved under the “player” directory and a dash used instead of an underscore: 

http://www.wnba.com/player/sue-bird/ 

But as of now, there is no page for 

http://www.wnba.com/player/becky-hammon 

If they decide to not keep any playerfile data for players who were retired as of 2015, then that will be a bigger complaint.

From Tulsa: Glory finally arrived in town and says she didn’t expect arrest, WNBA suspension after domestic fight with Griner, now her spouse. Also, the Shock has a terrific backcourt trio in Skylar Diggins, Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams

T he Tulsa Shock is cornering the market on young, dynamic backcourt talent.

Skylar Diggins, Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams give the WNBA franchise a terrific trio rotating at point guard and shooting guard.

“There are great combinations all over the league,” Shock president Steve Swetoha said. “But for young players with potential, we’ll put our guard set against any in the league.”

Speaking of that suspension: Brittney Griner says other players want her to appeal suspension

Also from Phoenix: So you say: Mercury ready for title defense on FOX Sports Arizona

From Seattle/Australia:

Abby Bishop played one season for the Seattle Storm, in 2010, before returning to play professionally in her native Australia. She is back in the WNBA this year, but she did not return alone — Bishop has brought along 2-year-old Zala, a niece whom the 6-3 forward has taken care of since shortly after her birth.

Bishop’s sister gave birth to the child in August 2013, but unconfirmed medical issues meant that she would be unable to take of the baby. Rather than see Zala go to foster homes, Bishop stepped up and became her legal guardian, even though that meant juggling motherhood duties and a hectic schedule in Australia’s WNBL.

The AP offers: Seattle’s Bird ready for rebuilding, mentoring ahead

When Seattle opens its season next week at home against Los Angeles, Bird will begin her 13th season with the franchise. She has experienced the highs of winning two WNBA titles and is now facing the challenge of helping lead a massive rebuilding project after Seattle’s worst record of her tenure with the club.

She’s still Sue Bird, the starting point guard idolized by a younger generation. But more than any other time in her professional career, with Seattle’s selection of guards Jewell Loyd and Mosqueda-Lewis with two of the first three picks in the WNBA draft, Bird is adding the title of mentor.

From Indy: Stephanie White up for any and all challenges with Fever

“I’m a firm believer that you surround yourself with people who have more wisdom and see different things,” White said. “Not just people who agree with you all the time. I’m not going to get better as a coach, and neither is our team, if I’m not open to being challenged.

“Lin is the first person I worked with who was open for debate on everything; she always wanted to hear other people’s thoughts. It really helped me in terms of who I wanted to coach with me.”

Also from Indy: 2015 Indiana Fever Preview: Fever Plan To Open Up Offense This Year

Deja vu from Minnesota as Pioneer Press asks:  For Lynx and WNBA players, how much hoops is too much?

Time off is a rare commodity for Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus.

Her free days are few and far between. So when Augustus had a short stretch of off days available in early May, she took full advantage.

Augustus traveled to Hawaii to marry LaTaya Varner.

“It was, like, ‘We’ve got to squeeze (the wedding) in right here,’ ” Augustus said.

The Sun will rely on leadership of newcomer

Almost as soon as Katie Douglas announced her retirement from the WNBA and the Connecticut Sun, the question was popped.

Who will lead this team?

Connecticut coach Anne Donovan had an answer.

Camille Little.

Is Louisville lusting after the Liberty?

Is there any news on Angel’s knee?

And finally, flashing back to May 5, 1995, a little USA Basketball news:

Twenty years ago today, on the morning of May 25, 1995, 18 of the best women’s basketball players in the country were sitting in their respective dorm rooms at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, anxiously awaiting word on their fate. 

“I cannot believe that it has been 20 years,” said eventual two-time Olympic gold medalist Ruthie Bolton, who celebrated her 28th birthday on that day. “It was such a special moment for me. To be able to get ready to do something that would make history was a special moment. I felt like we were embarking on something special. I was nervous, but excited. It was something that I was extremely happy to be a part of, to be among a group of players that would change women’s basketball.”

If you want the real scoop on USA Basketball and the start of the W and ABL, two must reads for you this summer are Sara Corbett’s wonderful “Venus to the Hoop” and Tara VanDerveer’s “Shooting from the Outside.

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a fool’s errand… BUT, I do want to take a moment to point out this:

Jacki Gemelos’ Chicago Sky WNBA box score: 16 minutes, 4-7, +24. Honestly, who would have ever thunk that?

Nike announces signings of the top four WNBA draft picks (photos)

More love and respect for Katie Douglas: Retiring Douglas set example for area girls basketball players

Katie Douglas was a 6-foot-1 girls high school basketball player running the point long before such God-given backcourt leverage was fashionable.

The 1997 Perry Meridian graduate helped usher out single-class hoops while at the same time forcing observers of the girls game to think differently.

“With Katie there was no good way to defend her,” said longtime Franklin Community High School girls basketball coach Walt Raines, whose Grizzly Cubs have long staged battles against the Falcons.

Storm star Sue Bird presented with Moyer Foundation award

A little follow up from NPR: What Anti-Domestic Violence Advocates Are Saying About The WNBA Suspensions

More not-so-happy-news for the Lib: Prince to miss beginning of WNBA season to play for Russia

Speaking of the Lib – where’s Taj? Post hires former WNBA All-Star as head coach

From Swish Appeal: Key questions each WNBA Western Conference team faces heading into the 2015 season and Key questions for each WNBA Eastern Conference team faces in the 2015 season

From the Daily Courier: Kobritz Column: What the WNBA needs to learn from the NFL: “While the NFL is trying to ban one of its marque players over a tempest in a teapot, the WNBA is about to embrace a sleaze ball. Go figure.”

From the Huffington Post: Should Those Who Spoke Out Against Donald Sterling do the Same With Isiah Thomas?

In NCAA news:

Oklahoma women’s basketball: Sherri Coale talks potential rule changes, playing four quarters

Seven families protest handling of Illinois women’s basketball probe: report

The letter the newspaper obtained said the families “most strongly object to the manner in which the ‘internal investigation’ of mistreatment and abuses by the coaching staff was handled and is currently being handled by your office. We find this protocol unacceptable as well as completely disrespectful to the student athletes and their families affected by the coaches and coaching staff involved in these patterns of abuse.”

The seven families are writing in behalf of former players Taylor Tuck, Sarah Livingston, Amarah Coleman, Taylor Gleason, Alexis Smith, Nia Oden and Jacqui Grant.

David Teel at the Daily Press: Removing graduate transfer rule would be height of hypocrisy for NCAA

“If you’re transferring to be in a graduate program, the NCAA wants you to be working in earnest toward that degree rather than just using up your last year of eligibility,” Kevin Lennon, the association’s vice president of Division I governance, told the Associated Press.

Really? The NCAA wants Utopia? Well, then let’s have Mark Emmert solve the budget deficit, immigration reform and Middle East conflicts.

Were the 14 freshmen who declared for next month’s NBA draft “working in earnest” toward an undergraduate degree? The 15 sophomores?

The NCAA has no business attempting to police or discern an athlete’s motives. No one should care if a graduate transfer cares about getting a master’s.

Something for the twit who hate-tweeted me about this Liberty/Thomas fiasco from the New York Times: Any Publicity Is Good? Isiah Thomas and WNBA to Find Out

The Liberty will kick off a new W.N.B.A. season with their annual media day Thursday. This year’s event will probably be the best-attended one in franchise history. The reason? Isiah Thomas, the team’s new president, will be on hand alongside the players to face reporters.

From the Daily News’ Linda Stasi: It’s not just Isiah Thomas! There’s plenty of jobs available for all the other pervy, misogynistic male celebs out there

It’s about damned time that we all stopped harassing sexual harasser Isiah Thomas for becoming president and part owner of the New York Liberty women’s basketball team, pending board approval.

So listen up, disgruntled female hoopsters! Let us not think of the sexist pig’s rise to the heights of your sport as the height of absurdity/insanity/disrespect. Let us instead think of it as the height of female liberation!

After all, we women have finally reached true equality. If the man who cost Madison Square Garden $11.5 million in a sexual harassment suit can still get the top gig in women’s sports, just think of the possibilities. No, not for you. For them.

Add this: Adam Silver Needs to Step in on the Isiah Thomas Hiring

And (fingers crossed) WNBA BOG Reportedly Could Reject Effort To Make Isiah Part-Owner Of Liberty

At the other end of the spectrum: Flat Rock basketball team honored for record breaking success

Success came in leaps and bounds for the Flat Rock Rams this year.

Both the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams won District championships, with the girls adding in a Regional championship.

The regional crown was the first in school history.

For their efforts the girls were honored at a recent City Council meeting.

“They had a great season this year,” Recreation Director Rodney Wade said. “They were Huron League champions, District champions and Regional champions.”

The girls that are seniors on this team are the first group to have went through the Flat Rock Recreation League program from first grade through High School.

Shawnee basketball’s Freeman to be inducted into OGBCA Hall of Fame

For a man who didn’t even play basketball in high school, let alone college, Steve Freeman has had a one-of-a-kind career coaching the sport.

The long-time coach, who has been an assistant with the girls basketball team at Shawnee High School, will be honored for a storied career when he is inducted into the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame on May 30.

“It’s a really nice honor, very exciting,” Freeman said. “It’s also very humbling, because so much about winning is being in the right place at the right time with the right kids. I’ve been fortunate that I have, a lot of the time, been in the right place at the right time. There are a bunch of very good coaches who have never were lucky enough to be in that right situation. I feel really privileged, really blessed.”

From Billy Watkins at the Clarion Ledger: Who was first? ‘Reportedly’ Sue Dabbs

“Football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, tennis. Oh … and I love volleyball,” she said. “I try not to miss anything. This is a dream come true for me. My mama told me I became an Ole Miss fan at the age of 6. I don’t remember it. But I can’t remember not being one, so it had to be early.”

Dabbs said she enjoyed the column about Beth, who lives in North Carolina and is an ordained Episcopal priest and a cancer survivor.

“Beth deserved having a story written about her,” Dabbs said. “She’s done a lot with her life and did a lot for females in the sports writing business.”

And that is true. She did.

From Virginia: What Cosby girls basketball team does for classmate with autism will warm your heart

From L.A.: Japanese American basketball leagues help girls progress at prep level

Standing just 5 feet 3, Lauren Saiki was sometimes the smallest player on the basketball court. But her signature thread-the-needle passes and heady ball-handling propelled the point guard and her teams from Alhambra Mark Keppel High to four consecutive playoff appearances, capped by last season’s run to the Division II state championship game, a first for the school.

Saiki, 18, has earned a basketball scholarship to West Virginia.

For all this, she can credit the fundamentals she learned while playing for more than a decade in a Japanese American basketball league.

“That helped build my foundation,” Saiki said. “. . . I really fell in love with basketball.”

What’s cool is this continues the long history of women’s Japanese-American basketball on the West Coast.

Before, during, and after World War II, Nisei youth clubs offered hundreds of city girls like Ide a place of camaraderie and belonging where they could play basketball and baseball, socialize with boys, develop leadership skills, participate in community service, and forge lifelong friendships. In an era when Japanese-Americans faced racial barriers to social acceptance, these clubs enabled urban teenagers to claim American identity and enjoy the pleasures of popular culture.

Which connects to this from Jayda: Ramu Tokashiki looking to catch on with Storm

A half-dozen journalists attended the second day of Storm training camp Monday. All were interested in one player: Ramu Tokashiki.

A 6-foot-3 forward, Tokashiki stands out in the basketball world in Japan. Nicknamed “Taku” (pronounced TOCK), Japanese slang for strong, she signed with the Storm to be challenged by WNBA players.

“I understand she has no competition, per se, within the Japanese basketball system,” said journalist Misa Seely of American Sports Access. “There’s nobody as tall as she is and nobody as quick as she is. Her size and strength and ability to score is what makes her a superstar.”
Tokashiki is expected to make Seattle’s regular-season roster. It would make her the third Japanese player to compete in the WNBA.

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In case you missed this Kickstarter for Finding a Way to Play by Joanne Lannin

I’m asking for your help in order to self-publish my latest book, Finding a Way to Play: The Pioneering Spirit of Women in Basketball, this spring.

My book is full of stories that reflect the pioneering spirit of women from many different social strata and many different eras. Chapter one brings  Senda Berenson, the mother of women’s basketball, who carefully modified the rules (and enhanced the teamwork necessary) to keep her sport from being banned by physical educators and medical professionals in the 1890s to life.

A later chapter includes the career of Hazel Walker, whose team of women mostly from Arkansas, carried a gun to ensure their safety as they drove their station wagon across the country in the 1950s looking for a good game. That’s Hazel and her team in my cover photo, designed by graphics artist extraordinare, Sue Schenning of South Portland, Maine.

This book draws from an earlier book I wrote 15 years ago, A History of Basketball for Girls and Women, which is now out of print. In that book, I wrote very little about the rich history of black women and Native American women who endured racist taunts and slurs, and unequal treatment as they traveled great distances seeking opportunities to play.

My new book rectifies that omission and also includes heartbreaking stories of lesbian players who have had to hide their identities to protect themselves and preserve their places on the court. Another chapter profiles some of the senior women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who ignore their bodies’ aches and pains – and sometimes, doctors’ admonitions – to continue playing a game they may have been denied the opportunity to play when they were young.

My book is written. It is in the final stages of layout and design and should be ready to publish by the middle of June. I have secured the rights to all photos, chosen a cover design, and created an index and a photo credits page. I need to obtain an ISBN, choose the best printer for the project, and begin marketing efforts.

Joanne is halfway to her goal – skip a couple of coffee’s this week and help move her towards completion!

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From the Women’s Sports Foundation

ACT NOW: 

Sign our Petition to Deny Isiah Thomas 

 Ownership of the WNBA New York Liberty

Former Knicks Head Coach and President Isiah Thomas has filed paperwork to become part-owner of the WNBA New York Liberty, a decision whose final approval now rests with the WNBA Board of Governors. If Mr. Thomas is officially voted into position by this group, he will work in the same office from which he was once disgraced and with many of the same colleagues who were there when the former Knicks head coach was found guilty of sexual harassment of his colleague, Anucha Browne Sanders. Although Mr. Thomas continues to deny responsibility, the jury verdict ultimately resulted in MSG paying $11.5 million in damages for sexual harassment and retaliation.

Every day, young girls across the country hone their skills in hopes of one day scoring the winning basket on a college court or in the WNBA Championships. The WNBA’s message to those girls if Mr. Thomas is approved as part-owner of the New York Liberty is that sexual harassment – inexcusable behavior in any other workplace – is not only tolerated but is instead rewarded at the WNBA. When Donald Sterling was found making disparaging racial comments, he was banned from professional basketball for the rest of his life. The same rules must apply to sexual misconduct and the WNBA.

We implore the WNBA Board of Governors heed this recommendation and show the league’s millions of supporters across the world that they respect women from their executive suites to their season ticket holders to their youngest fans. Deny Mr. Thomas’ ownership of the New York Liberty.

YES! I believe sexual harassment is a serious issue. 
Sign the petition >>>
Published May 7, 2015, read the Foundation’s Open Letter to the WNBA Board of Governors here. 

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No rest for the weary over at USA Basketball:

USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team Roster Features Five USA Basketball Gold Medalists

The 12-member roster for the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team, which was announced following three days of trials that featured 51 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, features five USA Basketball gold medalists, including Jordin Canada(UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.); Diamond DeShields (Tennessee/Norcross, Ga.); Rebecca Greenwell(Duke/Owensboro, Ky.); Erica McCall (Stanford/Bakersfield, Calif.); and Mercedes Russell(Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.).

Playing on their first USA Basketball team will be: Nina Davis (Baylor/Memphis, Tenn.); Chanise Jenkins(DePaul/Chicago, Ill.); Brionna Jones (Maryland/Havre de Grace, Md.); Aerial Powers (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.); Courtney Range (California/Manteca, Calif.); Sydney Wiese (Oregon State/Phoenix, Ariz.); and Courtney Williams (South Florida/Folkston, Ga.).

Northwestern University head coach Joe McKeown will lead the 2015 USA Women’s World University Games Team, and he will be assisted by Holly Warlick from the University of Tennessee and Tanya Warren from the University of Northern Iowa.

Nneka Ogwumike Has Memories And Aspirations From The 2011 World University Games

During the competition, often alongside her sister, Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka observed many other sports, some of which she had never seen before, as a way to support the USA and her alma mater, Stanford University, which had several athletes competing in various events.

“I was lucky in that my sister and I met up with 10 other Stanford athletes. We saw a lot of our classmates. We actually watched them compete in their sporting events, which was really cool. I was really excited to watch our men’s volleyball team, because we had three Stanford athletes on that team. The games were super exciting.”

In addition to meeting up with classmates, Ogwumike made new friends in the village, which is something she advises the participants of the 2015 World University Games to do.

Roster Named For U.S. Pan American Games Women’s Basketball Team

Following three days of trials that featured 51 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the 12-member roster for the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team today was announced and features seven players who have won at least one gold medal with USA Basketball.

The retuning gold medalists include: Linnae Harper (Kentucky/Chicago, Ill.); Moriah Jefferson(Connecticut/Glenn Heights, Texas); Stephanie Mavunga (North Carolina/Brownsburg, Ind.); Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina/Charlotte, N.C.); Kelsey Plum (Washington/Poway, Calif.); Taya Reimer (Notre Dame/Fishers, Ind.);and Breanna Stewart (Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.).

Playing on their first USA Basketball team will be: Sophie Brunner (Arizona State/Freeport, Ill.);Alaina Coates (South Carolina/Irmo, S.C.);Caroline Coyer (Villanova/Oak Hill, Va.); Shatori Walker-Kimbrough(Maryland/Aliquippa, Pa.); and Courtney Williams (Texas A&M/Houston, Texas).

The University of Iowa’s Lisa Bluder will lead the 2015 U.S. Pan American Women’s Basketball Team, along with assistant coaches Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky University and Scott Rueck of Oregon State University.

Some nice “Catching up with…videos on their site.

In the crossover world of NCAA and USA sits Doug Bruno, who reflects on 29 years and looks to future

From Georgia: Retirement looks good on Andy Landers. Casual is his color.

Andy Landers, former Georgia women’s basketball coach and current caretaker of cows, announced his retirement in mid-March, leaving Georgia women’s basketball not only in search of a new leader but also a new identity.

“When you have been as good as they have been for so many years, you become synonymous with your school and it’s really hard to differentiate Georgia from Andy,” University of Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma said. “If you were talking about Georgia basketball, the conversation always started with Andy. He was unique. In the women’s basketball circles, there just weren’t many guys like him.”

Landers spent 36 seasons developing a program, players and personal relationships with everyone he encountered. He was the Lady Dogs.

Yikes. This is sounding ugly: Illinois women’s basketball assistant coach leaves program under storm of accusations

The Daily Illini obtained letters addressed to Chancellor Wise that were sent by the families of Jacqui Grant, Taylor Tuck and Taylor Gleason, which detailed verbal and emotional abuse on the part of Bollant and Divilbiss.
**
One of the claims made by the letters, which was echoed by Lydia Tuck and LaKeisha Coleman — Amarah Coleman’s mother — was that Bollant and Divilbiss enforced what was called the “Dog Pound.” The “Dog Pound” was the team’s group of nonstarters, and was required to go to extra practices.

“I told him the dog pound is where strays go,” Lydia Tuck said. “It would be different if Illinois’ mascot was Huskies or Wolves.”

Lydia Tuck’s other daughter, Morgan, was a starter for the University of Connecticut women’s basketball team, which won the 2015 National Championship. Lydia said Morgan’s time at UConn has been “night and day different” from what Taylor has experienced at Illinois.

The Hartford Courant has All The News You Need To Get Ready For WNBA Season

From Jayda: Jenny Boucek in ‘natural spot’ as Storm’s coach

Jenny Boucek loves redemption stories.

She can relax on the couch with a glass of wine and freely ride the emotions of a favorite flick such as “Dirty Dancing.” But before you characterize Boucek’s return to head coaching in the WNBA as redeeming, know this is not that. (WHB history note: Remember this and this from Mechelle back in ’09?)

 “It’s not about me at all,” she said of being named the Storm’s fourth coach in the franchise’s 15-year history. Boucek was an assistant in Seattle from 2003-05 and the past five seasons under previous coach Brian Agler.
“People are feeling it is right for me to be here right now, and I feel it’s right, so I’m here,” she said.

Mixed news for the W’s Shock: Glory Johnson absent from Shock training camp, but Riquna Williams back from injury

From the Republican American: Being best takes on new meaning for Taurasi

Shortly after her college career ended, she was selected first overall in the WNBA Draft by the Mercury. That first season she not only won Rookie of the Year honors but was also named to the All-WNBA first team, and then she finished up 2004 by winning an Olympic gold medal and an ESPY for being the best female athlete in the world.

Her career hasn’t slowed down since then. She’s won three WNBA championships (2007, 2009, 2014), two more Olympic gold medals (2008, 2012) and five EuroLeague titles (four with Spartak Moscow, 2007-10; one with EMMC Ekaterinburg, 2013).

“It may sound corny, but from the day I graduated I said, ‘I am going to totally give myself to this, and I want to make sure that at home and around the world everyone knows how good I am,'” Taurasi said. “There was no way I was going to be part-time. I am a full-time basketball player and have been the 10-11 years. I always believed that if you are not playing basketball, you are not getting better.”

Ddd you catch Diana on Grantland?

Cool: Schimmels, McCoughtry part of seminar panel

Former University of Louisville women’s basketball players Angel McCoughtry, Shoni Schimmel and Jude Schimmel will be among the speakers at next Thursday’s Inspiring Women ENERGY Seminar Series at the KFC Yum! Center. The event is hosted by the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream – McCoughtry and Shoni Schimmel’s team.

The luncheon, scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., is being held in advance of the May 23 WNBA preseason doubleheader at the arena. The topic for the luncheon will be “The Future of Women in Sports Leadership”

Not so cool, as the beat(down) goes on, this time from the Boston Globe: Isiah Thomas, WNBA a disturbing match

Now, the WNBA Board of Governors will decide whether Thomas is ownership material. Asked about the approval process, WNBA president Laurel Richie said the league would “collect background information” on Thomas, but she declined to discuss whether that would include a reexamination of the sexual harassment case. Richie emphasized that she had “great respect for the process and great respect for our Board” and anticipated thoughtful discussions.

That’s the restrained and responsible thing to say. But even with the process barely under way, the right and responsible thing to do is clear: Keep Thomas out of the ownership ranks. 

Arizona Central: Boivin: Just say no to Isiah Thomas, WNBA

No. No. No.

Approval would send a horrible message to young girls who look up to a league that has been groundbreaking in terms of giving female athletes opportunities.

Sexual harassment should be punished.

Not rewarded.

Fox Sports says Phil Jackson reportedly ‘not happy’ with Isiah Thomas’ hiring by Liberty (Though I have a funny feeling it’s more about PHIL’s future, not the message the hiring sends)

I wish some of these “non-ESPN folks” articles would mention the elephant in the room. Blocking Dolan’s idiotic wishes will likely cost the league the New York Liberty…

On the opposite side of the spectrum: Thank you: Retirement awaits for longtime girls sports advocate Marie Sugiyama

As a young woman, Marie Sugiyama would take any game.

Pickup softball? Sure. Field hockey? Yup. Even that weird thing they called girls basketball that wasn’t really basketball? That game with 12 players on the court and rules about who could and who could not cross the half-court line?

Sure, Sugiyama said yes to those offers, too, but that version of basketball had to rankle. Sugiyama, 79, never did like people telling her or other women where they can go, what they can do, what line they can cross.

Sugiyama, who next month will retire as the commissioner of the North Bay League after 42 years on the job, started her journey as a tomboy who liked to play whatever sport was out there. But she finished as a local hall of fame coach, athlete, administrator, teacher and champion for all young athletes, but especially female athletes.

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The Liberty players have an “open” dialogue with Thomas and Dolan and all’s good.

Cash said Thomas and Dolan’s comments to the team included “letting us know how things were going to be. Why they made the decisions that they made. And that’s all you can ask for as an employee, as a professional athlete, is to understand why decisions were made, how you got to this point and understanding what the goal is moving forward.”

Hmm… I see a monologue basically saying: We made a (very poor) decision, you have no voice (so be quiet), fall in (and don’t say boo) and you’ll still have a job (unless, as history has shown, Thomas has anything to do with the team)…

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Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson Suspended 7 Games in Domestic Violence Case

In a statement, Laurel J. Richie, the president of the W.N.B.A., said: “The W.N.B.A. takes all acts of violence extremely seriously. It is our strong belief that violence has absolutely no place in society, in sports or in this league. As president, it is my responsibility to protect the league and uphold its values. Our athletes represent the W.N.B.A., and they all must abide by the league’s standards of conduct. In this case, Brittney and Glory failed to do so, and that is unacceptable.”

Richie said she had consulted with domestic violence experts, as well as Linda Fairstein, the former chief of sex crimes prosecution in Manhattan, and N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver.

I give this a thumbs up… perhaps they read the “current trends in sports” tea leaves, as well as Mechelle’s piece: WNBA must take stand on domestic violence

That doesn’t mean that Griner, who was on the 2014 world championship squad and was originally scheduled to be at this week’s camp, needs to be excessively punished by the WNBA or USA Basketball. It also doesn’t mean either has to act in haste, or make decisions in reaction to the recent struggles other organizations — such as the NFL with Ray Rice and U.S. Soccer with Hope Solo — have had in responding to the issue of domestic violence.

But this must be seen as a time to take a true leadership stand, to be proactive and not dwell for too long in the “gathering information” mode both the WNBA and USA Basketball have been in. There’s an important message to be sent: Women are not just victims of domestic violence, but also can be perpetrators. And in cases where the parties are of the same sex, we can’t be any less diligent about demanding accountability from those involved.

Moving forward, Mechelle discusses a topic that the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL think doesn’t apply to them, but most know better: Openness best way to approach relationships between ‘rivals’

At the end of the USA Basketball women’s training camp Wednesday, national team coach Geno Auriemma had one more brief lesson: giving Seimone Augustus a few tips on how to dance at her wedding.

Augustus, the Lynx standout and two-time Olympic gold medalist, is marrying longtime partner LaTaya Varner on Saturday. Augustus has been open about her relationship, and publicly advocated for same-sex marriage to be legalized in Minnesota, which happened in August 2013.

Now, forgive me for branching off from that sweet, joyful image to a topic that might seem unrelated. But the reason is to establish this overarching theme: the necessity of openness.

Stickin’ with the W, Mechelle’s on a roll (and on a podcast: Mechelle Voepel on the issues surrounding the WNBA seasonWhy the Isiah Thomas hire is worse than you think picks up on a very real fear:

Yet there’s a concern that makes all of this even more insidious, if that’s possible. Thomas also was made a partial owner of the Liberty, so he must be approved by the WNBA’s Board of Governors. And if that doesn’t happen, what if Dolan threatens to pull the plug on the Liberty? Sources I spoke to around the league have expressed concern about that.

This could turn into a kind of extortion. It appears the Liberty are a pawn in something that shouldn’t even involve them or the WNBA. That’s the “game” of getting Thomas officially back into the fold at MSG. Dolan might have decided that this is a sure-fire way to secure that: Use the Liberty as a bargaining chip.

WNBA players have far less leverage than NBA players but if a majority came out publicly & forcefully against Isiah Thomas, he’d be done.

Detroit Free Press: Isiah Thomas seeks ownership; criticism keeps coming

Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas has filed paperwork for partial ownership of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, two people familiar with the situation said.

Thomas needs approval from the league’s board of governors for his ownership application to go through. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made.

Again (!) from the NY Post: Isiah Thomas has no business running the Liberty

Thomas is the brand new president of the New York Liberty.

That’s right, sports fans. A team made up of tall women who play for the professional Women’s National Basketball Association is being run by a guy so crudely insensitive to ladies’ feelings, a federal jury in 2007 found that, as president, general manager and coach of the New York Knicks, he sexually harassed the basketball team’s top female executive. She testified at trial that Thomas called her a “bitch,’’ a “ho’’ and hurled the F-bomb at her — then told her that he loved her.

Miami Herald: Linda Robertson: WNBA must not allow Isiah Thomas into league

Hiring Isiah Thomas to be president of the WNBA’s New York Liberty has to be some kind of a joke, right?

That would be like hiring a chain smoker to teach a fitness class or Captain Ahab to head Save the Whales or Franz Kafka to lead a comedic improv troupe.

Just in case: With Isiah leading Liberty, WNBA players union to monitor MSG work environment

More W stuff:

We’re sad, but not surprised: Seattle’s Jackson will miss season for knee

We’re not surprised, but will A.J. show?: Lynx to be without McCarville, acquire A. Jones (Agent:  ‘McCarville wasn’t physically ready’ for another WNBA season)

Maybe: Taurasi: Mercury Still Contenders In Western Conference

The “Other” National Teams cut into W time: Zellous and Achonwa to Miss Time with Indiana Fever in 2015

Speaking of National Teams: Tolo chasing Olympic goal and Meriden’s Damika Martinez chasing Olympic berth with Puerto Rico national basketball team

Some NCAA stuff: NCAA hopes to make rules of college game more like WNBA

The committee came up with suggested changes this week that include playing four 10-minute quarters instead of two halves, advancing the ball to the frontcourt in the final minute of game after a timeout and shooting two free throws after the fifth foul of each quarter. Those rules are used in the WNBA.

“What a great step forward for our game,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said. “As the game becomes more global, each year it’s important that we start the process toward standardizing the rules. This is just the beginning of what I hope are many other changes to improve this great game.”

Hmmmm: Mass exodus occurs for EWU women’s basketball

If the Eastern Washington women’s basketball team had to play a game today, the Eagles could only suit up five players.

Following a 21-win season and EWU’s first postseason win, five players – including former Mead star and starting point guard Jade Redmon – have decided to leave the program. And, a sixth player has decided not to use her final year of eligibility.

In addition, Eastern lost a seventh player, 6-foot-4 junior forward Hanna Mack, who decided not to play prior to the beginning of last season.

The players who agreed to talk with The Spokesman-Review blamed coach Wendy Schuller for all or part of their reasons for leaving.

Following up:

Part 2: WSU Women’s Basketball Coach Jody Adams talks about abuse allegations

In her first interview since allegations of mental abuse surfaced, Wichita State Women’s Basketball Coach Jody Adams speaks exclusively to Susan Peters telling her she looks forward to “enhancing” her coaching style

“That’s when the tears come,” says Coach Adams, referring to reading the messages of support she has received from current and former players.

Adams admits she has shed a lot of tears the past few weeks, not only over not knowing if she would keep her job, but over what she calls hurtful allegations that were made very public.

“What’s been said is what’s been said. I can’t say I believe in it and how it’s happened. It’s been tough, ” says Adams.

Happier news: McConnell-Serio optimistic about Pitt women’s basketball future

A busy B: UConn Women’s Insider: Breanna Stewart Gives New Meaning To Busy

Stewart, the three-time national champion and two-time player of the year, is at home in Syracuse, N.Y., after spending four days in Las Vegas last week at USA Basketball’s senior national training camp.

On her way home, she stopped back in Storrs to take her biology final, proof positive that in UConn women’s basketball, the call to remain a student never strays too far from the desire to be an athlete.

But this respite will be short.

Speaking of busy, I’ve often said men are rarely asked how they balance work and family. Here’s one who resigned his job to focus on family: USC women’s basketball lost Taylor to married life in Georgia

It was a tough decision, but when Darius Taylor thought about what he’s been a part of building and what he was about to start constructing, it made it easy.

“It’s hard to start a marriage off separated,” South Carolina’s former assistant coach said on Saturday, a day after it was announced that he was resigning his post. “Those first couple of years are the ones that are really important, where you build your relationship and trust.

“My fiancee being at Georgia, we’ve been able to make it work. We saw each other almost once a week. I knew that there could be some changes to give her an opportunity, and it’s the right decision.”

A little WBB history: 40 YEARS OF AGGIE WOMEN’S ATHLETICS: Branch set Texas A&M women’s basketball on winning course

Lisa Branch went to Texas A&M because she loved playing basketball; being part of history was just an added bonus.

The 5-foot-4-inch Branch was the program’s first All-American, earning second-team United Press International honors in 1996. She left school as the Southwest Conference’s career leader in assists (795) and free throws (614). During her time, the little girl from DeSoto became the program’s all-time leading scorer (1,939 points), and had the most 3-pointers (165), assists and steals (309), but it was leadership at point guard that made her extra special.

Sad news from PA: Wilson girls basketball coach Dennis Fry gave everything to the people, program he loved

Dennis Fry, aided by a cane, arrived at the Via All-Star Basketball banquet, and Bob Frankenfield was floored.

Fry, Wilson Area High School’s girls basketball coach who was battling lung cancer, was on hand to support the Warriors’ senior all-star representative, Madison Quinn.

Frankenfield, Wilson’s boys coach, couldn’t believe Fry’s strength as he sat quietly with his wife, Cathy.

“No one would have blamed him for not coming, but the man came,” Frankenfield said. “I couldn’t believe his courage.”

Fry, 61, died Wednesday at his Nazareth home.

Sad news from NY: Calling hours Sunday for Randy Grassel

“Women’s basketball lost a great, great friend,” Thomas athletic director Scott Morrison said. “He was always very well-prepared, a student of the game. He knew everything about the other team. I can’t emphasize enough the passion he had for girls basketball.

Mr. Grassel started the Eastside program, his daughter Jen joked, just so she’d have a team to play on. He was former Penfield High standout Kayleigh Duda’s first coach. She was in fifth grade.

“He just really inspired me and made me understand how much fun (basketball) can be and how you needed to be a good teammate,” said Duda, 27, who invited Mr. Grassel to her wedding last year. “He made our entire team so all together.”

Thank you: Union girls basketball coach Jim Stacy calling it quits after 15 years

The 1977 Shawnee High School graduate guided the Redskins to seven appearances in the state tournament and a combined record of 253-132. Union was in the 6A semifinals as recently as 2012-13, and his 2007-08 team went 27-0 en route to the state title.

“It kind of felt like it was the right time to hang it up,” Stacy said. “My little one’s getting ready to be an eighth-grader and I wanted to be a little more of a dad. I’ve been everybody else’s dad, and now it’s time to give her a little more attention.”

Thank you: Santa Fe High girls basketball coach retires

As the 2014-15 school year winds down, the coaching merry-go-round is speeding up.

The past two days has seen a series of coaching changes, highlighted by the resignation of Elmer Chavez, who retired as the head girls basketball coach at Santa Fe High. Chavez, who spent six years with the program, turned the Demonettes from perhaps the worst program in the state — one that lost 41 out of 43 games from 2009-10 — into a state championship team in 2014. He leaves with a 103-67 record at the school, an impressive achievement considering the Demonettes were 1-23 in his first season.

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from the Women’s Sports Foundation: 

The WNBA is the gold standard for women’s professional sports leagues. Nineteen years strong and still growing, the WNBA showcases incredible athletes who stand as role models for millions of girls and boys worldwide. Every day, young girls across the country hone their skills in hopes of one day scoring the winning basket on a college court or in the WNBA Championships. Your message to those girls if you approve Mr. Thomas as Liberty President is that sexual harassment – inexcusable behavior in any workplace – is not only tolerated but is instead rewarded with executive offices and big contracts. When Donald Sterling was found making disparaging racial comments, he was banned from professional basketball for the rest of his life. Clearly the same rules do not apply to sexual misconduct and to the women of the WNBA. Like all of your many fans and supporters, we don’t want to see your league and its good name tarnished.

From the Seattle Storm: 

“As the proud owners of the Seattle Storm, we believe there is no statute of limitations on the mandate that all WNBA owners and executives serve as exemplary role models and leaders,” the statement from Force 10 Hoops read. “The sports world is finally beginning to address issues such as sexual harassment, domestic violence and sexual assault, all of which have been inadequately addressed for far too long. The WNBA belongs in a leadership role in addressing these sensitive issues.

“Force 10 Hoops and the Seattle Storm welcome the opportunity to affirm the values and vision championed by the WNBA. We intend to fully participate in the league’s standard vetting process for all ownership changes. We will do our best to protect and defend the core operating principles, stated or assumed, that form the foundation of the longest-tenured and most successful women’s professional league – the WNBA.”

Honestly, in my *from a distance* experience of the Dolan modus operandi, if the WNBA and/or NBA have the temerity to resist his appointment of Thomas, I have no doubt that he wouldn’t hesitate to close down the Liberty in 2016. The question is: are there replacement owners out there and if there are, where would we play. Brooklyn, anyone?

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Awfulness: UNT women’s basketball player found dead in dorm

“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by the passing of Eboniey Jeter,” said Rick Villarreal, UNT athletic director. “She was a great young lady and a tremendous competitor, but most of all she was a trusted teammate on the women’s basketball team and a respected member of the Mean Green family.

Relieved-ness: WNBA MVP Moore re-signs with Lynx

Stupid-ness: UK women’s basketball notes: Epps suspended following alcohol incident

Adjusting-ness: Jody Adams, Wichita State introduce changes to women’s basketball program

“I’ve dedicated my life to building a successful program that not only wins basketball games, but prepares young women for the rest of their lives,” Adams said in the release. “I regret if my efforts to build winning teams were ever seen as disrespectful of any person. I’ll continue to look for ways that I can improve both my coaching style and technique to help us win games and improve the lives of our players every day.”

As a result of Monday’s meeting, women’s basketball players and coaches will work with a consultant in sports psychology. The release also said that players will have “enhanced open lines of communication” to athletic administrators, although specific steps were not described.

“They are starting to become like every other league,” U.S. national team coach Geno Auriemma said at training camp on Wednesday. “Players are starting to do what they think is in their best interest. Starting to think about their future. Sometimes that’s not always popular. … The league is strong and viable. It’s proven itself. New stars will pop up.”
I agree with Auriemma. I’m betting other players are just salivating at the chance to make a name for themselves and steal a roster spot. Notes Mechelle: WNBA IN GOOD HANDS AS YOUNG TALENT TAKES REINS

Right after you were allowed in to watch the last half-hour of the U.S. women’s national basketball team minicamp workout at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center this week, you were handed a yellow sheet with the players’ names on it.

NO, NAME, POS, HGT, WGT, DOB, TEAM, COLLEGE, HOMETOWN.

It was surprising that weight was listed among the headings, because you never see weight listed in an NCAA women’s basketball souvenir game program. When I asked a Team USA official about it, she said these are world-class athletes, and they should be treated as such. Amen to that.

One night nearly nine years ago still fuels members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team, because it’s the one that got away.

Over the last 20 years the various players that have earned roster spots have compiled a ridiculous 86-1 record in major international competitions, including gold medals in the last five Olympics, a 2007 title in the FIBA Americas Championship and gold in four of the last five FIBA World Championships. That one blemish, a 75-68 loss to Russia, came in the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship, and by the organization’s own absurdly high standards the game still stands out.

“That’s what USA Basketball is at this point,” said guard Sue Bird, who just completed mini-camp in pursuit of her fourth Olympic gold medal. “It’s not a story if we win, it’s a story if we lose.”

Q: Quick observations on the posts at this camp?

Taurasi: BG [Brittney Griner] and Tina [Charles] aren’t here, and they started every game of the world championship last year. They are a huge part of what we do. But the one player I just love is Nneka [Ogwumike]. I love playing with her; I love watching her play. She gives you energy.

Bird: She’s definitely gotten better.

Taurasi: And Sylvia [Fowles] had a good three days, which I’m sure felt good to her.

Bird: Yes, she hasn’t been fully healthy for a while.

Taurasi: I was telling Coach that Syl was our best player in Beijing [the 2008 Olympics] when she was just out of college. And when you look at the teams we will have to beat to win gold, they’re the biggest in the world. There is a place for Syl, and this has been a good three days for her to get back on that track.

This week the highly-decorated girls basketball coach announced she will be retiring from Monarch as a teacher as well as a coach, leaving a giant void from a Coyotes program that has evolved into one of Class 5A’s most consistent winners under Hook’s guidance.

“I think you always come to a point in your life where you wonder if there is something else out there,” Hook said. “I’m in a good position to retire from teaching, and teaching and coaching are both full-time jobs. I asked myself if I’ve done everything in the coaching profession that I set out to do. And I feel like I have. I feel like it’s a good time for change for both me and the program.”

Joel Beck at USA Today give C.O. a shoutout: 30 Years of Honoring The Future: Former POY Chiney Ogwumike using social media to make a difference

Spend a few minutes watching Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumikes ongoing video blog series, and you’ll come away with a strong realization about the 2014 WNBA All-Star: She just gets it.

Given the ubiquitous nature of social media in the world we live in, it certainly isn’t unusual for professional athletes to turn to the likes of YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for a little shameless self-promotion. What is unique, however, is seeing an athlete using his or her viral star power or magnetic personality to try to make an actual difference in the lives of others—unless, of course, you’re Ogwumike. Then it just seems to be second nature.

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You know, how, after they do something stupid, insulting or insensitive (hello, Cleveland Cavaliers), they say stuff like, “I’m sorry you were insulted.” Basically, avoiding responsibility for what they did.

Sorta like what Dolan and Thomas are trying to do.

Anucha is havin’ no of it. Anucha Browne Sanders irked by Isiah Thomas’ ‘attempt to rewrite history’

“In an attempt to rewrite history, the Garden has issued a statement about Anucha Browne Sanders’ lawsuit against MSG, [MSG chairman James] Dolan and Thomas that is, at best, misleading and, at worst, a fabrication,” read the statement, which was released by Browne Sanders’ attorney, Anne Vladeck, and first reported by the New York Daily News.

In 2007, when Thomas was coaching the Knicks, Browne Sanders alleged that he sexually harassed her. Although Thomas maintained his innocence, a jury found that MSG, owner of the team, improperly fired her for complaining about the unwanted advances. The jury also ruled that Browne Sanders was entitled to $11.6 million in damages from MSG and Dolan.

A portion of the money ($6 million) was awarded for the hostile work environment created by Thomas. The rest of the money was awarded because Browne Sanders was found to have been fired for complaining about the environment.

Brown gets some support from Deadspin (!) with their piece:Listen To Sexual Harasser Isiah Thomas Lie About His Sexual Harassment

“When the jury had an opportunity to fine,” Thomas began. “They fined Madison Square Garden. I was not liable or personally held for anything. The jury found no findings.”

“Anyone who’s vetted this,” he went on, “has looked at it, has come out and found that—as the jury found—that there were no findings in terms of Isiah Thomas.”

Here is a thing that actually, inarguably happened. On October 6, 2007, a jury found that Isiah Thomas sexually harassed a New York Knicks executive, who was fired when she told Madison Square Garden, the organization that owns the Knicks, that Isiah Thomas sexually harassed her.

The “home town” Detroit Free Press chimes in:

That was awkward.

Isiah Thomas made the TV/radio rounds this morning and couldn’t understand why people didn’t want to talk about women’s basketball instead of asking about the irony of a guy once accused of sexual harassment being named president of a WNBA team, the New York Liberty.

Or why his buddy, Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, would rehire the guy many think wrecked his New York Knicks. Not to mention that Dolan and his company were hit with the tab for that harassment lawsuit, too.

When he first saw the news, Dan Patrick started his phone interview with Thomas, the Detroit Pistons legend, Patrick said he was shocked and thought it was a joke.

While the WNBA top brass ponder going up against megalomaniac Dolan (and, I’m thinking, ponder a world without the NY Liberty if they do), Christine Brennan adds to the all-but-universal chorus of “wtf” reaction: There’s no place for Isiah Thomas in WNBA

Mr. Dolan, with no evidence to back his claim (IsiahThomas doesn’t even understand how bad a Knicks GM he was), would beg to differ: Jim Dolan: Isiah Thomas can build a winner. Meanwhile, Slate says, Suspend James Dolan – The Knicks owner just hired sexual harasser Isiah Thomas as president of a WNBA team. Will the NBA do the right thing?

As it happens, the NBA has this week been given the chance to demonstrate that its decisions regarding league figures’ conduct are motivated by principles of decency rather than headlines and PR opportunism. 

That chance has been provided by the blundering insensitivity and arrogance of New York Knicks owner James Dolan and his longtime ally, former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas. In 2007, a jury found that Thomas, at the time employed as the Knicks’ coach and team president, had sexually harassed a Knicks executive (and accomplished former basketball player) named Anucha Browne Sanders. Browne Sanders had been terminated after complaining internally about Thomas, and the jury awarded her $11.6 million in punitive damages for the harassment and her firing. Dolan and the Madison Square Garden Company, which owns the Knicks and is controlled by Dolan, were found culpable in Browne Sanders’ mistreatment for firing her. MSG did not appeal the jury’s decision and subsequently settled its legal dispute with Browne Sanders for $11.5 million ahead of a scheduled hearing regarding compensatory damages. Thomas was relieved of his duties in 2008.

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Dolan saying “Start rooting for the Sun because the Liberty dont want you.”

Why, you ask? From the NY Times: Some See Liberty Hire as an Insult to W.N.B.A. Fans

“On a basketball level, his track record is just horrific,” Wheelock said of Thomas, before noting his role in the suit that Browne filed.

“It boggles the mind he’d be in the same space as a women’s basketball team,” Wheelock said.

Kate and Jane weigh in.

Jane McManus

Even if Isiah Thomas were the foremost basketball mind of his generation — and any Knicks fan will tell you he’s not — there is no way he should be named president of the New York Liberty.

Kate Fagan

But before attempting to parse out the nuance in this hire, let’s start in a place we can all agree: The optics of this are terrible.

Like, really bad.

In fact, the optics might be so bad that any potential good that can come from the hire will be overshadowed by just how truly terrible this looks.

Of course, some good could come from this — if given the chance.

I might agree with Kate – if I felt basketball Thomas was at all interested in the Liberty being anything more than a stepping stone to Phil Jackson’s job. I welcome NBAers to the WNBA club. Often, they are the most ardent advocate of the game, in contrast to many of their myopic and misogynist NBA fans. I don’t doubt Thomas appreciates the women’s game. But nothing in his past suggests he has the skill to improve the game or respect the women who play it.

From Johnette Howard: Against all reason, tone-deaf Dolan once again turns to Isiah

Thomas has always had a Rasputin-like knack for survival, gliding from one job or controversy to the next talking about fresh starts, unfair raps and the out-of-the-box vision he has for turning also-rans into winners.

But even for Dolan, this move takes guts. Few professional sports owners would choose to give a second act to a man who a jury found to have sexually harassed a female Garden employee — let alone put him in charge running the Garden’s women’s professional basketball team.

But that’s what Dolan has done with this move.

From AP Doug: WNBA prez caught off guard by Isiah Thomas announcement

The WNBA has been thrown into the national conversation about domestic violence and sports, and now is facing a decision involving sexual harassment.

The league is reviewing the hiring of Isiah Thomas — once the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit — as president of the New York Liberty, an announcement that caught the WNBA president off guard. The WNBA was already immersed in a domestic dispute involving All-Stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson, who were arrested two weeks ago after assaulting each other at their home.

How the premier women’s sports league handles both is drawing interest.

Welcome to the big time, Laurel. If the Liberty have to be sacrificed, let them go out with a bang, not a whimper.

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It’s stunning how universally (with one notable exception) the dismay has been in reaction to Dolan hiring Thomas. More from the New York Times: James Dolan Gives an Executive Another Shot, Deserved or Not

Who among us does not believe in repentance and second chances? I called to ask the Garden about Thomas and the boss.

Have the two men repented? Do they have second thoughts? Or have they rethought their first thoughts?

This email statement arrived in my inbox:

Several problems arise here. The facts of the Browne harassment case are no longer “allegations.” A jury verdict is not a friendly tap on your shoulder or advice whispered in your ear. You appeal a verdict or accept it, at which point, like freshly poured concrete, it quickly hardens into accepted fact.

After the verdict, Dolan and Thomas made a show of suggesting that the jury was gullible and that they would appeal. “I’m very innocent,” Thomas said immediately afterward, tapping his chest for emphasis. “I will appeal.”

He did not.

I have no idea if the WNBA has the spine to resist the peevish oligarch that is Dolan – nor what the possible consequences might be (no more Lib). But, in the court of public and published opinion, they sure have a solid base from which to make a stand.

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Sorry, but you should not be “cool with it.

I have no issue at all with ex-NBA players/coaches being part of the WNBA. In many instances, we have reaped the benefits of their wisdom and professional experience (and yes, in some instances, they’ve been awful.)

But, Thomas is a disaster – as a human AND a basketball coach-executive. There is nothing “cool” about this.

Just look at the all-but-universal reaction:

Forbes: Isiah Thomas Returns To New York To Run WNBA Liberty, But He Never Really Left The Garden

Only Dolan could bring Thomas in to run his WNBA New York Liberty, and sell him a part of the team, eight years after a jury ruled that Thomas improperly fired a woman executive for complaining about his unwanted advances. The jury ruled for the executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, and entitled her to $11.6 million in damages.

Washington Post: Isiah Thomas named New York Liberty president despite past allegations of sexual harassment– um… WaPo, nothin’ “alleged” about it.

The New York Post: Only James Dolan would entrust a WNBA team to sexual harasser

The first reaction, honestly, when you see the news release, or when you see the item show up on your Twitter feed, is this: Funny or Die has just posted a new video on its site, Will Ferrell playing James Dolan, Jay Pharoah as Isiah Thomas, and for four or five minutes, they riff on the sheer absurdity of Isiah working in the WNBA.

More from the Post: James Dolan gives Isiah Thomas yet another chance

From SBNation : Isiah Thomas is becoming GM of the Liberty because he will never ever go away

Here are my thoughts on this:

1. Why

2. Go away

3. Even putting aside their friendship, I’m impressed James Dolan would still give Isiah Thomas such a job. Dolan has almost certainly just condemned his WNBA team. Isiah has never done a good job running a basketball enterprise, and he’s done it at pretty much every level that exists. And, ya know, sexual harassment. That happened in *this* organization. And now he’s moving to the WNBA side. Objectively bad hire, worst possible PR, and borderline inhumane to all the women in that organization. It’s like the golden sombrero of staffing.

Yahoo: Isiah Thomas is taking over the WNBA’s New York Liberty, which is stunning

Even if you set aside the sexual harassment suit and attendant claims, though — and I don’t believe you should — there’s plenty of purely-basketball-specific cause for head-scratching and concern on this hire. Thomas was an amazing basketball player, a Hall of Fame point guard who dominated despite being the smallest guy on the floor. He was Chris Paul before Chris Paul. Since hanging up his high-tops, though, his hoops career has been an unqualified disaster … and yet, Dolan just keeps calling his number.

And wow… just look at the reaction on the Liberty’s Facebook page. Talk about a total fail! Heck, even the New York Times (not just Harvey) is paying attention (yes, they know my email. Don’t I feel special!)

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and listen to the voices Harvey (Thank you, as always!) has gathered:

The former Knicks executive, who now uses the name Anucha Browne, is a vice president with the N.C.A.A. in Indianapolis, in charge of women’s basketball championships. Reached by text message, she said of Thomas’s return to the Garden: “I heard about this. No response is the best response for me.”

Mary Jo Kane, a veteran sports advocate in her role as director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota, said that Dolan had sent a troubling message to fans of the Liberty with this appointment.

“There is a certain insensitivity and tone deafness to Liberty fans and women in general when you hire someone who has lost a nearly $12 million sexual harassment lawsuit,” Kane said.

For my part, about to look in to canceling my season ticket renewal.

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Listen to Michelle:

Triple H has continued to display his relationship with Floyd Mayweather through social media, the most recent being a hearty congratulations to the boxer following his victory Saturday night. It’s not my place to say what one should and should not do on Twitter, especially during personal time. However the era in which we’re living is rapidly changing. And the lines between one’s corporate and private personas have blurred. Triple H has over two million followers. He’s one of the faces of a company that depends on a healthy public image. I realize he doesn’t speak for everyone, but does he realize that when he shows support to a convicted batterer, friend or not, it can effectively damage so much goodwill that the company is admittedly doing? It’s hard to sell a message of anti-bullying while slapping the ultimate bully on the back. I was a fan. A big fan. But it’s time to use my voice.

Listen to Mechelle: WNBA must take stand on domestic violence

Brittney Griner isn’t at USA Basketball team training camp here, but because of recent events, she looms large even in her absence. It seems unfortunate that at a gathering of so many extremely accomplished athletes who embrace being role models, such an uncomfortable topic as domestic violence has to be discussed.

But then again, maybe it’s situations like these where it’s actually best to get this topic in the open even more, to face the discomfort it provokes head-on. Because both USA Basketball and the WNBA need to make clear statements about domestic violence.

Listen to Brooke: 

Women. Not. Being. Acknowledged.

Enthusiasm and experience were the reasons conveyed to me by Sky CEO Adam Fox when I asked why Lisa Byington and I were being replaced after calling the Sky’s games for the last two seasons.  She and I have also called hundreds of women’s college games for the biggest networks in the country and have followed the careers of most of today’s WNBA players since they were 18 year-old freshman. We both played the game. Byington’s Northwestern Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament, and I played a few months professionally in Germany before an injury led me to find my life again in broadcasting. I’m speaking for both of us when I say I’m more than confident we come to the broadcast table every game enthused and experienced.

The Sky (and the WNBA) had something unique and special going — they had the only all-female broadcast team in the league. So what message does it send to replace those two females with two males and then offer them a 50% raise? At the same time, the WNBA and NBA are using the league’s biggest stars, including Lebron James and the Sky’s own Elena Delle Donne to encourage men to “Lean In”, to show the world they’re ready for equality. But the #LeanInTogether movement hasn’t made its way yet to the Sky’s front office. 

Step up, WNBA. Don’t be a coward. Dare to embrace your voice. Just say “no” to Isiah.

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epic-facepalm-funny-meme-funny-1496487871“Why?” you might ask.

ISIAH THOMAS NAMED PRESIDENT OF THE NY LIBERTY

Back story from 2007: Jury rules Thomas harassed ex-executive Anucha Browne Sanders,; MSG owes her $11.6M

You might recall that it was Anucha, VP of Division I women’s basketball championships,who handed the trophy to UConn this year. Could make WNBA/NCAA meetings a bit Awwwwkward.

Not to mention: Too Zeke to Fail: A Brief History of Isiah Thomas’s Crashes and Burns

Can I just add…

facepalm

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Chiney breaks down the rise of Nerd Nation:

Which is my excuse to repost:

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One of the hardest working, toughest-lucking players we’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. Remember this from 2001? Even Adversity Couldn’t Stop Douglas’s March to Final

Last Monday, Katie Douglas scored only 2 points in the first half of Purdue’s Mideast Regional final against Xavier. But Douglas did score 17 points in the second half, helping the Boilermakers advance to the Final Four. That was just Katie, most of her teammates thought with reverence, rebounding again. 

But Kelly Komara, a junior guard, knew the real reason. So did Pam Stackhouse, a Purdue assistant. They saw Douglas’s gray-blue eyes reflect the many memories that were shaking her game. March 26 would have been her mother’s 54th birthday. 

”She was a little emotional, and maybe she went out and played a little too hard,” Stackhouse said. 

Douglas’s mother, Karen, died last April 28 of breast cancer. Her father, Ken, had died three years earlier of pancreatic cancer. A teammate, Tiffany Young, was killed by a drunken driver in July 1999, the month before Douglas learned of her mother’s diagnosis.

From David Woods at the Indy Star:

She became the greatest female pro basketball player to come out of Indiana. But fans will no longer be entertained by her fiery persona, left-handed 3-pointers, slashes to the rim or clever steals.

Katie Douglas, who turns 36 Thursday, announced her retirement Friday after a 14-year WNBA career. The Indianapolis native had intended to play for the Connecticut Sun this summer but cited lingering back problems for her decision.

A hint (pre-retirement) of her future from Nathan Baird at the Lafayette Journal & Courier

“I would love to coach,” Douglas said. “I love the business side of basketball. I love the (general manager) perspective. I love creating a roster and seeing the development of that. I love various aspects and love being involved in the game. There are various things I need to kind of pursue and test and see what I’m passionate about.”

Viva Las Vegas! Bruno and USA Basketball Women’s National Team in Las Vegas

Speaking of US National Team members, did you catch this piece by Maya: (In)visibility:

After four years and two national championships, I went No. 1 in the 2011 WNBA Draft. That’s when I felt the drop.

There’s this unnatural break in exposure for the highest level of women’s basketball in the world. Wait, what happened here? That’s a question we as WNBA players ask ourselves. We go from amazing AAU experiences to high school All-American games to the excitement and significant platform of the collegiate level to … this. All of that visibility to … this. Less coverage. Empty seats. Fewer eyeballs. In college, your coaches tell you to stay focused on your team and the game — not the media attention. But you know you’re on national television. You know people are following you. You can feel the excitement. And then as a professional, all of that momentum, all of that passion, all of that support — the ball of momentum is deflating before my eyes

I went No. 1 in the 2011 WNBA Draft. That’s when I felt the drop.

Gone.

 Speaking of Minnesota – does the oft-injured Big Syl wanna go there?

“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best” is an age-old management strategy, but not exactly the mindset a team wants to have going into a season. The Chicago Sky, though, have had to operate in this mode since last fall in regard to center Sylvia Fowles.

And now it’s getting closer to the time to drop the “hoping for the best” part. Fowles doesn’t appear to have a future with the Sky, who drafted her No. 2 overall in 2008 out of LSU, unless there is a big turn of events.

The Sky have been readying for some time to move on without Fowles, even though that’s not what they would prefer. Fowles declined a contract offer last September, and negotiations — if you want to call them that — continued sporadically.

Speaking of the upcoming season: Dishin & Swishin 4/30/15 Podcast: Tulsa looks to Shock the Western Conference in 2015

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