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Archive for September, 2016

Lindsay Whalen, Lynx right at home in Xcel Center in Game 1 win and two from the Star Tribune: Maya Moore, well-rested Lynx crush Phoenix in WNBA semifinal opener and Confidence oozes from focused Lynx in playoff opener

Lynx players looked like a loose bunch 7 ½ hours before their playoff opener Wednesday. They concluded their morning workout with a shooting contest from half court, laughing and oohing after each miss.

Naturally, Maya Moore won the competition by being the first player to make from that distance. Does she ever lose at anything?

“We’re just confident,” Moore said of the relaxed mood. “We know who we are. When you don’t know who you are, you might be a little anxious.” 

The defending WNBA champions set a league playoffs record for points. 

AP: Los Angeles Sparks thrash Chicago Sky in WNBA playoff semifinalsSky have no answers for Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker and  Candace Parker displays many sides of her game in Sparks’ Game 1 win over Sky 

There were a few different Candace Parkers at the Pyramid in Long Beach on Wednesday night. 

There was scowling Candace Parker after two first-quarter fouls. There was screaming Candace Parker after a hard-fought layup. There was smiling Candace Parker after she poured in 19 first-half points. 

And then there was smirking Candace Parker, who ducked into the lane, finished a flashy layup and glanced at a leaping Magic Johnson before running back on defense. 

Guess the big question is, when the Lynx face the Merc in Arizona, will JMac and Cruuuuuuz be on the court?

No Shock: Storm’s Breanna Stewart is WNBA Rookie of the Year in near unanimous vote. The .com asks: Did Breanna Stewart Have the Best Rookie Season Ever?

No Shock: N.O. MVP. Big shock: L.A. Times coverage. MVP Nneka Ogwumike wants even more than that

The newly crowned MVP of the WNBA carefully reaches out and hands her guest a prized possession.

“Here it is,’’ the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike says with a big smile.

It is not the MVP trophy, which Ogwumike will receive Wednesday night at the Pyramid in Long Beach before the Sparks host the Chicago Sky in the first game of the WNBA semifinals.

 It is not a championship ring, which Ogwumike hopes to win next month as the Sparks have a legitimate chance to win their first league title in 14 years.

It’s a Chipotle “Chiptopia” rewards card.

Inside the WNBA with Michelle: 

Ogwumike was sandwiched in between two of the most highly anticipated rookies in league history, players that were pre-destined to be franchise-changers.

And then there was Nneka. The Stanford All-American was athletic, smart and all-hustle. She was headed to Los Angeles where the resident superstar on the roster was Candace Parker. She would be a supporting player, a second option.

Until she wasn’t.

Also: Ex-Ohio State star Jantel Lavender is WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year

And the winner is… Breaking down the results of the WNBA Draft Lottery

International: I Should Be Able to Play Basketball in a Hijab by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir

A defining moment of the Rio Olympicoccurred within moments of the American delegation entering Maracana Stadium. The procession was led by swimming legend Michael Phelps as flag-bearer who, after a few strides, gestured for teammates to join him. On that front line stood my friend Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Black Muslim American athlete, who in that beautiful moment symbolized diversity, acceptance and inclusion.

All I could do was gratefully live vicariously through Ibtihaj, because at that moment, I realized it may be the closest I get to reaching the Olympics myself.

College

Syracuse: Scoring on hold for Jasmine Nwajei, but confidence still surges for  transfer

Congrats, Molly: USF women’s basketball finds new head coach

Buckeyes: Women’s basketball: Freshmen getting adjusted to college life

Sporting News: Stephanie White paving the way for women in the coaching ranks

Women are making enormous progress in all levels of American sport, in all different sorts of positions. It might seem surprising, but one area in which that advancement has stalled is in coaching women’s teams.

White’s rise in the coaching world has been rapid — and unusual because it coincided with her ascent as a broadcaster. After leading Purdue to the NCAA championship and winning national player of the year honors in 1999, she played five seasons in the WNBA and then went to work as a college coach at Ball State, Kansas State and Toledo. She transitioned to broadcast work in 2007 and began working the summers as a WNBA assistant.

BOOM and Ka-CHING! Beth Burns wins wrongful termination lawsuit vs. SDSU

Former San Diego State women’s basketball coach Beth Burns won her wrongful termination lawsuit against the university Wednesday, receiving a $3.35 million judgment from a San Diego Superior Court jury for whistleblower retaliation after complaining about potential Title IX violations.

The trial lasted four weeks. The five-woman, seven-man jury deliberated two days before voting 9-3 in Burns’ favor – the minimum required in a California civil court – on the key question in the verdict instructions from Judge John Meyer.

“For me, I had no choice,” Burns, SDSU’s winningest women’s basketball coach, said of her three-year legal battle. “No one wants to do this. But I didn’t think I had a choice because they were saying that I hit somebody, that I was a bad person, and I just couldn’t live with at least not trying to clear my name.

 

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but, first things first: Let’s talk about how the game on the court has changed in twenty years.

Two decades ago, my Lib were battling the Timms/Gillom Merc in a one-and-done to get to the finals (IN Phoenix). I distinctly recall sitting with a friend in Astoria, watching the game on TV and thinking, “There’s no way we’re going to win.”

Wowza, we did! Final score? 59-41.

Fast forward to Sunday, and it’s a fantastic game. Lib lose *sigh* but it was a fantastic game. Final Score? 101-94.

Thank you: Praise Flows For Swin Cash Following Final Game

Angel carried’em through the first round but was dinged and gassed against the Sky. Both teams scorched the baskets. If EDD returns (is she returning???), her teammates are going to have to remember to share the ball with her. :-)

Takeaways from WNBA playoffs, round 2 and WNBA semifinal series set after opening-round dramatics

NEXT!

Top seeds Lynx, Sparks look to hold off challengers

.com: Semifinal Preview: (1) Minnesota Lynx vs. (8) Phoenix Mercury

The playoff format may have changed, but some things apparently never will. For the fourth straight year and fifth time in six years, the Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx will square off with the winner advancing to the WNBA Finals.

Add a little Film Study: Breaking Down Key Matchups in the WNBA Semifinals

Fox: 5 reasons the Lynx could repeat as WNBA champions

More Fox: Mercury, defending champion Lynx renew postseason rivalry

Minnesota: AP’s Whalen flourishing after turning down overseas money

Lindsay Whalen hobbled through the regular season last year. She hobbled through the playoffs. She even hobbled through the Minnesota Lynx championship celebration.

And so when it came time to head overseas for an 11th straight winter to go cash in on a can’t-miss opportunity to make the kind of money that just isn’t available to women’s basketball players in the United States, Whalen decided she had enough.

Janel McCarville returned to the Lynx this season knowing she’d be a backup for the first time in a decade. She embraced the role with gusto and has helped make Minnesota’s bench the envy of the WNBA — not to mention party central.

“Bench is where it’s at these days,” McCarville said.

We’re about to see what we didn’t get two years ago, but would have enjoyed: a best-of-five series between Minnesota and Phoenix in the WNBA playoffs.

Mackay’s Sandy Brondello has been inducted to the Queensland Basketball Hall of Fame in the same week the Women’s National Basketball Association team she coaches made the playoffs. 

Brondello lives in America with her family and coaches Phoenix Mercury, which progressed to the WNBA semi-finals at the weekend.

When she last spoke with the Daily Mercury, in July, Brondello said the team wasn’t in the right place to be in playoff contention.

“We struggled at the start of the season but we had the potential to be one of the best teams,” she said.

LA: N.O! Player’s Tribune: My Sister: The MVP

Have you ever met twins who were born 628 days apart? 

Well, now you have. 

Hi there. 

Meet me and my big sister Nneka.

O.K., so obviously we’re not actually twins … but we may as well be. The first thing you should know about sisters who are really, really close is that we have our own language.

And I don’t just mean emojis (though we do have our own sister-emoji code). Here, for example, is text exchange with Nneka from this past weekend:

Mechelle: No matter how you look at it, Nneka Ogwumike is the right pick for MVP

There was a moment earlier this season when there was a bit of a strange sound in Nneka Ogumike’s voice when she was asked about the difficulty of facing defending champion Minnesota.

Was that a little edge we heard from Ogwumike? She of the perpetually cheerful disposition and easy, bubbling laugh? Yeah, it sounded that way.

PRESENT

David Zirin, for Slam: Can’t Hold Us Down: Lost amid this summer’s deluge of splashier, less uncomfortable headlines, a group of WNBA players refused to have their public political protests silenced. Threatened with discipline and fines, they fought the league. And won.

There are times when the rock of history gets pushed forward by just a yard and we miss the fact that it’s not just an ordinary yard. It’s one that takes us into new territory.

I would make the case that such a moment went down in July.

It’s understandable if we didn’t fully appreciate it. At the intersection of sports and politics, this was a cacophonous, emotional summer. There was the death of Muhammad Ali. There were the countless controversies at the Rio Olympics. And there was that moment at the ESPYs when Carmelo, CP3, D-Wade and LeBron opened the show by speaking about police violence and made a public commitment to use their platform to help agitate for a solution.

In a smaller font, with far less attention, this summer was also when WNBA stars like Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Rebekkah Brunson (above with Moore), Swin Cash and Tina Charles used their own platform to wear political t-shirts during their pre-game warmups.

Essence: Who Run The World? The Entire WNBA Indiana Fever Team Just Kneeled During The National …

NY Times: Liberty and Mercury Players Join Anthem Protest Before Playoff Game

FUTURE

Dallas Wings set for WNBA lottery with chance to land No. 1 overall pick  ( Live on ESPN2 on Sept. 28) and Dallas Wings GM sees room for improvement, reason for optimism after disappointing season

The Dallas Wings finished their first season in Dallas-Fort Worth on the wrong side of the playoff picture with an 11-23 record. The season started off promisingly but was largely derailed by a series of injuries to several key players. But the team’s general manager Greg Bibb did not want to make any excuses following the season.

“I think we had fairly high aspirations for what this team could achieve this year and we fell short there so it’s disappointing,” Bibb said. “I’m a big believer in you-are-what-your-record-says-you-are and our record was 11-23 and that is unacceptable.”

San Antonio: Biggest task for new Stars GM? Find the right new coach

Seattle Times: Storm looks back on season with pride and into the future with hope

NCAA 

Folks who’ve followed some of the goings on at Tennessee might be intrigued by this news: University of Tennessee emails: Joe DiPietro, Jimmy Cheek agreed no raise, contract extension for Dave Hart

Different Orange: Pumped Syracuse women’s basketball player Alexis Peterson: ‘I have to seize the moment’

Keep an eye on this: Burns’ wrongful termination suit headed to jury

A loss: Annette Barbini remembered as ‘pioneer’ of girls athletics

The Wyoming Valley Conference athletics world lost Annette Barbini, a “pioneer” who “broke the glass” for women in her line of work, this week.

Barbini died at Little Flower Manor in Wilkes-Barre on Thursday. She was 75.

She spent much of her life immersed in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District and WVC athletics. Barbini wore many hats, ranging from physical education teacher to coach and PIAA official. She will perhaps be remembered most, though, as the first female athletic director in WVC history.

Another loss: Former Women’s Basketball Standout Nancy Bernhardt Passes Away

Former Villanova University women’s basketball standout Nancy Bernhardt passed away on Thursday, Sept. 22, after a courageous battle with breast cancer. Bernhardt played for current Wildcat head coach Harry Perretta and the Wildcats from 1980-84.  She is a native of Glenside, Pa., and a graduate of Bishop McDevitt High School. 

In 119 career games, Bernhardt scored 2,018 points, establishing her as one of just two players in the history of Villanova women’s basketball to score 2,000 career points. The 2,018 points ranks as the second most in school history. She also rates fifth on the school’s all-time assist list with 465 and 10th in rebounds with 631.

History

Congrats: WNBA’s Swin Cash named as Freedom Award recipient

Excelle: Q&A with former WNBA player Yolanda Griffith

Flying Queens: The Forgotten Legacy of Basketball’s Most Successful Female Team

Imagine that when you’re growing up you’re told you can’t play sports because if you run too fast, your uterus will fall out. That you probably won’t get into university because you’re a girl. That your career options are limited to teaching, nursing, or being a housewife. Welcome to 1950s America, when Title IX, the law forbidding schools from excluding people on the basis of their gender, was barely a flicker on the horizon.

It was a group of girls from the rural communities of America’s heartland who broke down these barriers, becoming the greatest female basketball team of all time with an unprecedented—and still unbeaten—winning streak of 131 games between 1953 and 1958.

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There’s been a lot going on…

on the basketball courts, football fields, cities and streets, at our workplaces and in our homes.

I want to honor my co-workers who spoke so honestly and heartbreakingly about their loss and fear and, yes, miraculously, hope. In the face of their truth, I encourage and dare to accept it as just that: truth. And take a moment to consider this statement by President Bush at the opening of the National Museum of African American History:

“A great nation does not hide its history,” George W. Bush said at the opening ceremony. “It faces its flaws, and corrects them.”

To do so requires courage and honesty. Here’s to us actually being the land of the brave.

Catch: Tamika Catchings continues her father’s civil rights march, but on a knee

Tamika Catchings recalls sitting on her father’s lap as a child when she first noticed a scar on his leg.

She asked if he got it playing basketball.

Long before Catchings became known as one of the best players in the short history of the WNBA, her father, Harvey, played in the NBA. 

But the scar wasn’t an old sports injury.

“I put my hand on it,” Catchings says.

Then her father told her about Jackson, Miss., in the 1960s. 

Doyel: Entire Indiana Fever roster kneels for national anthem

This earthquake started last month in San Francisco, but the aftershocks reached Indianapolis on Wednesday night when the Indiana Fever knelt in unison for the national anthem.

It was the first time an entire team has knelt for the anthem, a protest that began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s solitary sit-down Aug. 26. After changing his protest from sitting to kneeling, Kaepernick has been joined by a handful of NFL players and professional soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

On Wednesday, the Fever upped the ante.

USA Today: Mercury players meet with Phoenix police; will keep kneeling

 Mistie Bass, Kelsey Bone and their Mercury teammates met with Phoenix police a few weeks ago after practice.

It was an eye-opening experience and an encouraging one for the disheartened Bass.

Taking a deep breath….

Mechelle: WNBA players should be applauded for taking a stand on issues

When I was younger, like a lot of folks, I spoke out on anything I had a strong opinion about — even when it would have been best to just keep my mouth shut.

As I got older, I became more diplomatic. More thoughtful. More calculating. There are times when the best thing to say really is nothing. Not everything is worth arguing over.

Also because you realize no matter what you say, the vast majority of your fellow humans aren’t listening and don’t care anyway. I don’t mean to sound defeatist. It’s just that I think with age comes a kind of resignation that, to a degree, we’re all shouting into the wind.

But you know what? Even if that’s all I’m doing — shouting into the endless, howling hurricane that is the Internet — I support the WNBA players who kneeled during the national anthem at Wednesday’s Indiana-Phoenix game. 

.com: Marissa Coleman Pens Statement to Fans

Prior to tipoff of Wednesday’s playoff game, Fever players took part in a silent protest to bring light to pressing social issues in America today. In an effort to clearly define her position, Fever forward Marissa Coleman has penned the following statement to fans:

I have close family friends that have served this country. My brother in law fought for this country. My boyfriend was in the navy. My dad is a retired police officer. I would never disrespect them or devalue their service. My question is, why is it when you stand for something it is automatically assumed you’re against the opposite?? It makes no sense to me. I promise it is humanly possible and okay to be for Black Lives Matters, still support the hard working and dedicated officers and know that all lives matters. I promise it’s humanly possible to take a knee to spark conversations/bring awareness and still support our troops. I promise. You should try it.

BASKETBALL

Programing note! Women’s basketball history on display. The Liberty welcome author Joanne Lannin to the Garden tonight. Look for her table and strike up a conversation (and, perhaps, pick up her book, Finding a Way to Play.)

More library additions: ‘The Final Season’: New book confirms Pat Summitt ‘lived every life lesson she taught’

Jack More, GQ Magazine: If You’re Not Watching the WNBA, You’re Missing Out on Amazing Basketball

The crowd at the Staples Center had been electric all night, pulsing like a college crowd facing down a rival school. The home team had trailed since late in the first quarter, and with a minute and 23 left in the game, all looked lost as the visitors had run out to a 12-point lead. Then everything changed. The good guys mounted a furious comeback, and with 2.1 seconds left in regulation they hit an incredible falling-out-of-bounds three-pointer that pulled them to within two. But that’s when the magic ran out. One made free-throw and an intentional miss to kill the clock later, and the home team had fallen in one of the best basketball games I’d attended in a long time. (Oh, you have to see that falling-out-of-bounds three.)

Forbes: As Tamika Catchings Retires, The WNBA Loses The Ultimate Superstar

The WNBA was instituted in 1997, and later that fall, Catchings would step foot on the University of Tennessee campus, combining with Chamique Holdsclaw for a 39-0 Lady Vols run, giving Pat Summitt her sixth and third-consecutive national championship. After tearing her ACL as a senior in 2001, she became WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2002 with the Fever and embarked on a 15-year journey that was highlighted with the 2012 title win over Minnesota, as well as two other Finals appearances and the 2011 MVP. She was a five-time Defensive Player of the Year, four-time Olympic gold medalist and two-time FIBA world champion.

All of that pales, however, to the type of woman she was off the court, beginning with her Catch the Stars Foundation for underprivileged youth.

PatriciaBabcock McGraw: Women’s Watch: The end of the Catchings era

There were tears in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Lots of them.

And not just because the hometown Indiana Fever lost its first-round WNBA playoff game to the Phoenix Mercury.

Tears about the loss seemed to pale in comparison to the tears shed by fans and teammates about what the loss really meant.

It meant the end for beloved star Tamika Catchings.

USA Today Nina: The WNBA’s new single-elimination playoff format cut short a legendary player’s final season (umm… so did losing the game)

LaChina Around the Rim:  The new playoff era has begun

This week on “Around The Rim,” women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson talks WNBA playoffs, awards and retirement with Mystics coach Mike Thibault and former WNBA All-Star Chasity Melvin.

Excelle: WNBA Playoffs: Second round preview and predictions

BTW: Drake, Steph Curry, Kevin Hart & WNBA Players Demand You to ‘Pass the Ball’

Mechelle: Mercury, Dream move on in WNBA playoffs

Phoenix spent most of the summer trying to play like everyone — including the Mercury themselves — expected this team to play. It didn’t really happen with any consistency during the regular season — but it’s not too late. The Mercury are a victory away from advancing to the best-of-five semifinals but will have to win in New York on Saturday to do so.

Meanwhile, Atlanta got one of the best individual performances in playoff history from Angel McCoughtry in the first round. On Sunday, the Dream head to Chicago, where they hope to avenge a painful playoff series loss to the Sky two years ago.

Awaiting the winners are No. 1 seed Minnesota and No. 2 Los Angeles.

.com: Is Another Diana Taurasi Elimination Game Takeover in Store on Saturday? (this Lib fan sure hopes not!)

When the season is on the line, Diana Taurasi comes to play. We’ve seen it time and again, ever since she first burst onto the scene as a freshman at the University of Connecticut, and we saw it again Wednesday night.

I remember attending their final high school matchup at the Garden. What a game! NYTimes: Liberty Players’ Childhood Bond Outlasts the Story of Their Rivalry

Charles, a Queens native, and Prince, from Brooklyn, are familiar with playing for high stakes at the Garden. Ten years ago, before they were teammates, Charles and Prince were routinely portrayed as rivals battling for girls’ high school basketball superiority.

“For us, we didn’t even think about it like that,” Prince said. “We hung out most of the time after games.”

Charles added: “I think for our schools, that was a big rivalry. We both just wanted each other to be better.”

Excelle: Bill Laimbeer breaks down New York Liberty’s playoff task

Job one for the Liberty will be slowing Brittney Griner, whose form since returning from the Olympics has been comparable to the elite level she played at in 2015. She’s scored at least 15 points in eight of the last nine Phoenix games, while averaging three blocker per game over that period.

“I think she’s been more aggressive down the stretch, which was necessary for them to make the playoffs,” Laimbeer said of Griner. “She’s done a good job of focusing these last ten games. She’s a force out there, and everybody knows she’s a force, when she’s focusing, which she has been.

Merc .com: Mercury Battles Liberty in Meeting of Flagship WNBA Franchises

When the Mercury and Liberty take the floor on Saturday to decide a spot in the 2016 WNBA Semifinals, it will be a matchup of inaugural franchises, and teams whose early-year legacies could’ve been a lot different were it not for the dominance of the Houston Comets.

New shoe, but no show: Sky Rule out Delle Donne

Sarah Spain and EDD: Despite distance, Elena Delle Donne feels her sister’s presence in Chicago

.com: Round 2 Playoff Preview: (4) Chicago Sky vs. (6) Atlanta Dream

Swish Appeal: Like Mike: McCoughtry is ‘Jordan-ish,’ ‘she’s like Michael Jordan’

Philly.com: Cheryl Reeve: From South Jersey to La Salle to WNBA royalty

When Geno Auriemma put together his USA women’s basketball staff for the Rio Olympics, the University of Connecticut coach wanted a pro coach as one of his assistants since he would be coaching pros.

Auriemma went for the top, choosing the coach who has won three of the last five WNBA titles. He also chose a coach who, like Auriemma, is from the Philadelphia suburbs, with deep area roots (a mom who went to West Catholic, a dad who grew up in Gloucester City) and a local college alma mater.

Auriemma said he wanted Cheryl Reeve’s insight into the mindset of pro teams, “what goes into the ebb and flow of dealing with a pro team.”

CNN Video: WNBA Player Reshanda Gray a Slam Dunk for mentoring

Saying “bye”: So Long To Dan Hughes, One Of The Best Coaches The WNBA Has Ever Seen

Looking forward: Stars executive Riley excited to explore S.A.

Thank you: DeLisha Milton-Jones: My Retirement Letter

Thank you: Violet Palmer, who broke the gender barrier for NBA referees, retires from on court duties

It was a rough road for Violet Palmer, who along with Dee Kanter became the first female referees in NBA history back in 1997. It’s a hard enough adjustment for any official to jump to the NBA — no amount of refereeing NCAA games or any other level can prepare someone for the speed and challenges of the professional game.

But Palmer was an African-American woman entering the machismo-fueled world of male professional sports. Multiple players — including big names like Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott — questioned if a woman could and should referee a man’s game. Fans were worse spewing sexist and racist crap at her online and in person for years — all referees put up with some level of abuse from myopic fans, but Palmer got it far worse than others.

It turns out, she was good enough and officiated in the NBA for two decades, including getting to referee the 2014 All-Star Game. Players came around, including Barkley who publicly apologized to her.

College:

You stay put: Texas women’s coach Karen Aston gets 3-year extension, raise

Ciao: Sue Darling out as Northern Arizona’s women’s basketball

Read: ‘The Final Season’ gives insider’s look at Summitt, Lady Vols

Ouch: Georgia freshman Kortney Eisenman medically disqualified

You can play: NCAA Waiver Granted for FSU’s Chatrice White

Interesting: Several women’s coaches opt for a de-facto boycott to combat increasing workload

First, many are fed up with the price of tournament packets, booklets of rosters that college coaches receive upon paying their entry fee. Packets are supposed to be chock-full of contact information for the prospects, but sometimes aren’t accurate or up-to-date. (This has become a well-documented issue on the men’s side of college hoops. CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish wrote on it this summer.) Furthermore, there are so many events now that college coaches are often forced to pay obscene amounts of money to watch just one player at a single event, and play recruiting hopscotch around the country, criss-crossing the nation to see so many events and spend thousands of dollars. One Power Five coach said her staff crunched the numbers, and found that in just two years, they’ve spent more than $4,000 more than they did in 2014 on packets alone.

FWIW, a while back (’06) I wrote this for the WBCA’s Coaching Women’s Basketball: PAY-PER-VIEW RECRUITING: A look a the cost of college recruiting packs

So What’s a Good Price?
Well, that’s sort of like asking how much does a pair of pants cost — it depends.

When contacting all the NCAA Certified Tournaments organizers, I found prices ranging from $5 to $685, with the average resting somewhere between $125 and $300. At first glance, the cost variances seems nonsensical, especially considering the basic uniformity of the packet’s contents: a schedule of the games along with a player’s information (height, school, position, address, phone number), and AAU coaches information.

Mix in a coach’s concerns about missing or inaccurate information that can lead to wasted time or NCAA violations; events requiring accompanying assistants to purchase an additional packet at full price; the Groundhog Day question of why they have to buy the same information over and over again; and finally, add in the disconcerting feeling that someone is getting rich off of all this, and one can understand why the end of July can become a college coach’s “season of discontent.”

High School: 

They still call him ‘Coach’

There have been plenty of leading ladies in Norman Carter’s life. 

There is his wife, Jane, and daughter, Cathy.

There are the players he coached on Taylor County High School’s girls basketball teams. They once won 132 straight games over five seasons, a state record that may never be broken.

There are the thousands of young ladies who attended the basketball camps he ran every summer for 25 years at Middle Georgia College in Cochran.

And there are those whose lives he has saved through The Golden Rule, a shelter and rehabilitation center he founded 19 years ago for women with alcohol and substance abuse problems.

But the matriarch in his life was his grandmother, Ruth Carter. 

She raised him, loved him and inspired him to become an educator.

 

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of regular season. *sad face* But playoffs! *happy face*

Star Tribune: Sunday Q&A with Lynx guard Anna Cruz

AZ Central: Mercury’s Kelsey Bone to take anthem protests into WNBA playoffs

Dallas: Wings’ first Dallas season did not go as planned but talent on roster gives reason for hope

The WNBA’s first season in Dallas-Fort Worth was full of uncertainty. How would the newly-minted Dallas Wings fit into the saturated North Texas sports market? How would former All-Stars Skylar Diggins and Glory Johnson return after missing most if not all of 2015?

Now as the Wings approach their season finale in Indiana on Sunday, the answers are clearer. Dallas, currently 11-22, will miss the postseason. The team drew an average crowd of 5,298 fans, none larger than the 7,275 that came for the home opener at the College Park Center at UT-Arlington.

Washington: Emma Meesseman is on track to be the WNBA’s best three point shooter

Washington Post: A postseason berth out of reach, Mystics wrap up disappointing season Sunday

The Washington Mystics began this season seeking to advance deeper into the playoffs following three straight first-round losses. With one game left, Coach Mike Thibault and his players instead are left to deconstruct what went wrong in failing to qualify for the postseason.

Connecticut: Still ‘A Culture To Develop’ In Sun, Coach Says

Not long after the Connecticut Sun play their last game of the season Sunday in Washington, Curt Miller’s life will change again.

It’s already been quite the two years for Miller, the coach of Sun. He has moved from his resignation as coach of Indiana’s women’s basketball program in 2014, to an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2015, to the coach of the Sun and, finally, adding the title of Sun general manager this season.

“I have been incredibly fortunate,” Miller said. “It’s been a whirlwind.”

More on Catch: Tamika Catchings: A reluctant superstar

Sometimes superstars need to be reminded they’re superstars. Doesn’t happen often. Actually, almost never.

But when you start out a gangly, shy, insecure girl with a wobbly self-image — not ever really fitting in — it’s hard to see a superstar in the mirror.

When you wear clunky hearing aids that kids relentlessly tease you about.

When you stop wearing those hearing aids to avoid the embarrassment and people think you’re ignoring them, that you’re rude or you’re dumb.

Knoxville News Sentinel: Tamika Catchings ready to leave a lasting imprint

.com: On The Eve Of Her Regular Season Finale, Catchings Feeling Different Kind Of Nerves

Sweet. From Slam: Captain America – Teresa Edwards laid the foundation for the US Women’s Basketball dynasty.

As the men’s national team’s leading Olympic scorer, Carmelo Anthony has reached a legendary status in international basketball. He has three Golds, more than any other man to wear the red, white and blue. But not the most for an American.

Teresa Edwards has four Olympic Golds.

Edwards, a 5-11 point guard from Cairo, GA, played before the WNBA was even an idea. There’s not much footage of Edwards out there, but luckily, Katie Smith was around to see Edwards play.

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Gold: U.S. Women Defeat Defending Paralympic Gold Medalists Germany, 62-45, For Third Gold Medal in Last Four Paralympics

Indiana Gold: Indiana’s Catchings, White to celebrate at farewell ceremony

Indiana president Kelly Krauskopf initially built the fledgling Fever around home-state star Stephanie White.

Turns out, the hard-working rookie she drafted in 2001, Tamika Catchings, emerged as the face of the franchise.

On Sunday, the two most iconic players in Fever history — one now the coach — will say farewell to the WNBA in their final regular-season home game. Coach White is taking over the Vanderbilt program and Catchings is retiring.

“I think they had an equal impact. What both leave behind and have meant to this franchise …” Krauskopf said, pausing. “Steph was the very first player I went out and got to start this franchise. They were the cornerstones of this franchise.”

.com A Farewell to Tamika

.com Catchings, Paul George Share Unique Bond

.com Tamika: The Final Season – Episode 3

Indy Star: Doyel: Catchings gave us her best; how do we thank her?

San Antonio Silver: WNBA better off because of Dan Hughes’ contributions

“People like Pat Summitt, Kay Yow, Geno Auriemma, Ann Meyers — they made me feel really comfortable,” said Hughes, who is retiring from his Stars coaching job at season’s end. “It opened the door. They accepted me. I really went to work at understanding where the women’s game was then, but also learned how it got there.”

Dan Hughes leaving extensive legacy in San Antonio

Hughes, who transformed the Stars from an afterthought when he arrived in San Antonio in 2005 to a title contender only two years later, will coach his final game when the team plays Phoenix at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the AT&T Center.

“From my experience, what I saw from him was that he generally cared about doing everything that was reasonably within his control and power to try and help his players,” said Rachel Askin, the Stars’ media relations director during the 2010 season who now lives and works in Boston. “He gave people a fair shot.”

Askin’s sentiment on Hughes’s impact is shared by many.

Excelle: Dan Hughes: appreciation for a WNBA survivor as he leaves the Stars

Swish Appeal: A Penny (Taylor) for your thoughts

Hoop: Swin Cash’s Humble Journey Nears Its End

There is an often-repeated expression that notes people may forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. That seems an appropriate thought for an article about Swin Cash’s impending retirement at the conclusion of this WNBA season. She is one of the league’s larger than life personalities—not only on the court, where her accomplishments are historic, but also in the hearts of fans, friends, family and the community.

BTW: Playoff Picture

.com: Inside The W with Michelle Smith

The Los Angeles Sparks haven’t looked nearly like the team that ran out to a 20-1 start as of late. Beginning with a two-game stumble right before the Olympic break, Los Angeles has won just four of 10 games. The Sparks lost their No. 1 seed, meaning they won’t have home-court advantage in a potential WNBA Finals matchup with the Lynx, and a little crisis of confidence conceivably could have been brewing in the City of Angels.

But Tuesday night’s big win over Phoenix might have been exactly what the Sparks needed to right the ship prior to the postseason.

I know… Without Delle Donne, Chicago Sky’s playoff hopes look dim

Really lovely: WNBA star Elena Delle Donne shares spotlight with her disabled sister in new Gatorade digital short

High School:

Doh! Iowa High School Girls Basketball Team Draws Backlash for Super Racially Insensitive Poster

Cool: A school gym in need gets a piece of Lady Vols history

Here it comes! An addition to the library: Dust Bowl Girls: A Team’s Quest for Basketball Glory, by Lydia Reeder. Review:

Dust Bowl Girls, ten years in the making, is bursting at the margins with the intimate details of the Cardinal team members’ lives, providing genuine heart to a narrative only half-recorded in the newspapers of the time. Taking advantage of the scrapbooks and oral stories from the personalities so lovingly portrayed in the text, Lydia Reeder paints the story of a team of hard-on-their-luck teenagers rising up out of the dust of poverty and the Great Depression, bringing hope and honor to their small city of Durant in Oklahoma.

NCAA

Around the Rim: “Swoopes” There It Is: LaChina Robinson welcomes 2016 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Sheryl Swoopes to the show. Plus, Storm F Breanna Stewart and ESPN’s VP of Women’s Programming Carol Stiff join.

On : The absurdity of invoking Baylor rape victims in response to the NCAA

I, and countless other sexual assault survivors, would implore the North Carolina GOP not to co-opt our movement for victims’ rights in order to deny the rights of transgender citizens, many of whom are victims of violence as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the LGBT community experiences sexual violence at rates higher than heterosexuals. Human Rights Campaign estimates that nearly half of transgender people will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

In addition to ignoring the plight of sexual assault in the transgender community, the North Carolina GOP’s statement is blatantly disingenuous, given the party’s history of denying legal protections for assault victims.

Need an assist? The Troll Slayer – A Cambridge classicist takes on her sexist detractors.

In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” With amiable indignation, she explored the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients. Her speech, which was filmed by the BBC, was learned but accessible—a tone that she has regularly displayed on British television, as the host of popular documentaries about Pompeii and Rome. She began her talk with the Odyssey, and what she referred to as the first recorded instance of a man telling a woman that “her voice is not to be heard in public”: Telemachus informing his mother, Penelope, that “speech will be the business of men” and sending her upstairs to her weaving. Beard progressed to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which Tereus rapes Philomela and then cuts out her tongue so that she cannot denounce him. Beard alighted on Queen Elizabeth and Sojourner Truth before arriving at Jacqui Oatley, a BBC soccer commentator repeatedly mocked by men who were convinced that a woman couldn’t possibly understand the sport. A columnist for The Spectator, Beard noted, currently runs an annual competition to name the “most stupid woman” to appear on the current-affairs show “Question Time.”

Finally, Beard arrived at the contemporary chorus of Twitter trolls and online commenters. “The more I’ve looked at the details of the threats and the insults that women are on the receiving end of, the more some of them seem to fit into the old patterns of prejudice and assumption that I have been talking about,” she said. “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.” Such online interjections—“ ‘Shut up you bitch’ is a fairly common refrain”—often contain threats of violence, a “predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” She mildly reported one tweet that had been directed at her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”

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Brain. Melted…

No, NOT eaten, you Walking Dead fans… Melted. Just like every early childhood educator and teaching artist. So give’em a hug, shout out, tupperware of soup or somethin’…

BUT, my brains not too melted to not have seen the Liberty stumble to the finish line. Didn’t really need to see that. Dolson looked great, though.

Did notice that the no-longer everybody resting Sparks put it together against the Merc. And it’s good to see Chelsea Gray rockin‘(OMG THE LA TIMES!!! Mike Terry would be pleased). But is anyone else got a worried eye on Candace?

Impressed that Delle Donne-less Chicago squeezed by the Lynx.  Wonder if 50cent will buy season tickets.

The Angel-less Dream were not so lucky.

Inside The W with Michelle Smith

Washington’s “stayin’ alive” act is now in Atlanta. And Phoenix’s “stayin’ alive” act is home against the Storm. Very fun.

Deep breath: Tamika Catchings prepares for final regular season games of WNBA career

Yes: Catchings was one-of-a-kind competitor

It just makes sense that this is where the legend of Tamika Catchings will be rooted in forever: the capital city in the state that so adores basketball and where those who play it do so as if their lives depended on it.

That’s how it has always looked for Catchings. Her play reflected every cliché ever uttered about competing. She brought vivid life to those words about making the most of every moment on the court.

Catchings has been relentless. Her competitiveness wore out foes who thought no one could outlast them.

Yes: Catchings ranks among all-time WNBA greats

Yes: Throughout international and WNBA career, Penny Taylor always the consummate teammate

We’re nearing the end of the “Adventures of Penelope Jane,” that searing saga of the friendly but fearless, sharp-shooting, screen-setting, rebounding, beloved basketball heroine of the desert.

Well, that’s our Americanized version of Penny Taylor, an integral part of three Phoenix Mercury championship teams who will retire from the WNBA at season’s end. Phoenix fans affectionately claim her as their own, while fully respecting that she is an Australian whose influence on her country’s national team is also a huge part of her sporting legacy.

Kinda seeing it: Why Nneka Ogwumike should win WNBA MVP

Stay put: Lynx sign Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus to extensions

On the move (and odd timing… Hello, UtahSanAntonio Starzz?): Jennifer Azzi resigns after six years as San Francisco’s coach

Stay put: Elon extends contract of women’s basketball coach Charlotte Smith

Bye: ACC To Move Women’s Basketball Tournament Out of North Carolina

Farewell and thank you: Clayton Hornung, longtime girls basketball coach and mayor in Baker, dies at 69

“He was a great man, a great coach, a great father and a great husband,” Hornung’s son, Tim, said in announcing his father’s death.

Hornung retired from a 43-year teaching career after the 2012-13 school year. During his 37 years of coaching at Turner and Baker, Hornung built a record of 542-290. The vast majority of those wins – 469 – came at Baker, where he won Class B state titles in 1989, 1996 and 2001. In all, Hornung’s Baker teams won seven tournament trophies.

HOF: Quaker Valley girls basketball made history in 1978

Considering the many championship banners that hang in the Quaker Valley gym touting the school’s girls teams, it’s hard to remember there was a time when girls teams didn’t even exist at the school. 

For many years, that was the case. Then in 1978 — six years after the law known as Title IX required public schools to offer equal athletic opportunities for boys and girls — the Quakers had a section-winning and WPIAL semifinalist girls basketball team, setting a path for successes to come over the next four decades.

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Too late.

Angel suspended for a game.

EDD getting surgery on her thumb.

Wings out: Wings win home finale but Phoenix’s victory still eliminates Dallas from playoffs

Sun out: Sun fall to Sky, miss playoffs for fourth straight season

Cleansing the palate: One week left in WNBA season and playoff picture is clearer

NCAA congrats: Shauna Green is UD’s new Women’s Basketball Coach

Olympic congrats: Holtschneider to Bruno: “You made DePaul proud”

Paralympics congrats: USA women’s wheelchair basketball team now 3-0 in pool play

History: Game Changers: Carol Stiff

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