..following vacation, work closeout and some minor computer repairs. And just in time, if I do say so myself. With the ASG looming, (My, My, My, MY Delle Donne!) things are getting mighty interesting.
Don’t know if it will be too little too late, but the West may have gotten a little tighter (or maybe not) with the icky news out of Minnesota: Seimone Augustus has surgery on knee, out indefinitely (maybe a month?) and Lynx guard Monica Wright out indefinitely after knee surgery. Anyone got Big Syl on speed-dial?
I got to catch the Lib v. Connecticut game last night. In the first half, the Sun looked a half a step faster and Alex Bentley couldn’t miss. Then Lib tightened up their defense, Tina Charles went into beast mode, Kiah Stokes went all Whack-a-Basketball, and suddenly the crowd was buzzing (am wondering how many giveaways there were – but really, who cares. Get folks into the Garden! Hi, Val!).
If one ignores the last four minutes of the game when NY tried to hand the game back to Connecticut on a platter… and Connecticut just dropped it over and over…even after the officials erased a couple minutes from the game because they missed awarding foul shots (oops!)…there are reasons to be encouraged in the land of the Big Apple. Sugar seems to have rediscovered her groove, but my interest is piqued by the return of Prince (and how that will impact Boyd’s confidence and sense of place). The NY Times’ Seth takes notice of EP in a nice long piece: Epiphanny Prince’s Arrival Raises Liberty’s Hopes of Returning to W.N.B.A. Playoffs
In February, Prince became the second local high school star to be acquired by the Liberty over the last two years. During the 2014 draft, they obtained Tina Charles, the 2012 W.N.B.A. most valuable player, who graduated from Christ the King in Queens.
The Liberty are relying on the two homegrown stars to form a potent inside-out scoring attack and lead them back to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
The AP gives Thomas “credit” for work that is happening on and off the court: With Isiah Thomas, Liberty Set a Foundation for a Turnaround
The biggest difference that Laimbeer has noticed with Thomas in the fold is that Dolan shows up to games and is involved.
“I didn’t see him for two years, he never came to a game. He pays attention and is involved now,” Laimbeer said. “He comes to games, but also it is internally in staff, ticket sales. They are very aware that he is paying attention to the Liberty. Everyone else knows we have to pay attention to the Liberty also, that’s a huge positive.”
“That may not have happened without Isiah being here.”
That “attention” and marketing focus is what folks said might be the benefits of hiring a sexual harasser. I say 1) Garden management has a history of “recommitting” to the Lib. Remembering Thomas’ complete incompetence as an executive and a coach, I’m reminded of chickens, eggs and hatching. 2) The man is in denial about his inappropriate behavior with professional women. Whatever success the Liberty may have, he has no business being associated with the team. That being said, I will continue to support my team, while asking that Thomas pulls an Elvis ASAP.
Dishin’ and Swishin’ has Chicago on the podcast.
In college news: San Francisco wisely says, “Coach Azzi, you. stay. put.”
Speaking of the future: (Yay, Jim!) With replenished roster, Buckeyes prepare for summer trip to Brazil and Minnesota’s Rachel Banham planning record-breaking return
Did you catch this? A lifelong basketball dream changes in a flash
For most of the Phoenix Mercury, the game didn’t matter much.
It was the unofficial start to a season, a preseason matinee. A practice match, really, for the defending WNBA championship team. They lost to Seattle, but the loss didn’t mean anything. The score didn’t mean anything.
For Becca Tobin, though, the game meant everything.
Tobin had been toiling for years to get her shot at the WNBA. She worked hard on the court at Glendale Cactus High School, even when things were tough, even when she lost her father in her senior year.
She worked harder at ASU, when they went to the Elite Eight. And harder still when she went to play in the European leagues, even when it was lonely, and cold, and she couldn’t understand anyone around her.
Because basketball could take her places.
There’s plenty of international basketball going on, eh?. Perhaps the most stunning development was Russia failing to qualify for the Olympics. Some point to ’08 as the start of trouble, but it was clear in ’04 that new Svetlanas or Stepanovas coming up through the ranks. Russian head coach Anatoly Myshkin blames Sue, Diana, Becky, Epiphanny… but Love and Basketball ain’t buyin’ it.
USA Basketball, the program that never sleeps, has two crews working:
The Pan Am games are cooking, where a passel of US college kids are taking on some seasoned vets. You can watch on ESPN3. If you’re wondering what Breanna Stewart learned from her FIBA-Worlds experience, or how her game might translate to the pros, check out her work against Brazil.
Now, about that conference I’m presenting at tomorrow….