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Archive for June, 2017

They were warned.
They were given an explanation.
Nevertheless, they persisted.

Meet the ‘kick-ass’ Muslim sporting pioneers

We were fortunate to meet an inspiring few who never saw their uniqueness as a barrier to achieving top-level success. Yet the overriding sense was that in order to reach that higher level, the onus was on them to adapt to their environment.

First up was the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation’s new trustee and former rounders international, Dana Abdulkarim.

This is a beautiful poem by basketball player and poet, Asma Elbadawi

Also:

Also: Liberty become first New York sports team to have float in city’s pride parade

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Also: WNBA Team Causes Storm of Interest with Planned Parenthood Partnership

And: Are Women Equal in America? A Look At Title IX’s Impact 45 Years Later

For those of us born in the years since, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the basic, fundamental fairness of the law wasn’t always a given. “When I was a kid, I couldn’t figure out why we didn’t have any woman lawyers and doctors,” says tennis champion and feminist icon Billie Jean King. “But then I found out later the classroom quotas in those graduate programs only allowed for five percent to be women. Without Title IX, we’d still have those quotas.”

And oh, by the way: New reports find little progress on 45th anniversary of Title IX

According to the report, which was commissioned by the NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, and the Gender Equity Task Force, the numbers of female head coaches and athletic directors have actually declined in the last 45 years.

For some, this finding may come as a surprise. Although Title IX was not explicitly designed to increase female participation in athletics, that has been one of its most visible effects. But at the same time, it seems likely that these increases in female participation have also driven more men towards coaching women’s teams.

Forbes: How Title IX Inspires Former WNBA Players To Pay It Forward

In 2001, Catchings and Riley entered the WNBA as first-round draft picks – being selected by the Indiana Fever (3rd overall) and the Miami Sol (5thoverall) respectively. Cash followed in 2002 and was drafted 2nd overall by the Detroit Shock.

While charting new territory as professional athletes, they quickly discovered that the equitable treatment and benefits afforded to collegiate athletes under Title IX do not extend to professional sports; keeping their fledgling league afloat would mean doing more than excelling on the basketball court.

 

As a result, Catchings, Cash, and Riley set out to learn the business side of professional basketball by becoming strong advocates within the players’ union – because that is where change could happen.

Flashback: Title IX: Sharing the Wealth – May 2007

Scanning the 35 years that separate the passage of Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and Don Imus’ insulting remarks about the Rutgers basketball team, you can hear echoes of women’s basketball’s history. For instance, in a recent profile for the Women’s Sports Foundation, Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer admitted she never envisioned being a coach. “I wanted to play,” said Stringer. “I would have played the rest of my life.” But, continued the piece, in the mid-’60s, organized basketball for girls in her hometown of Edenborn, Pa., did not exist. Instead, girls were expected to be cheerleaders. “You were a second-class citizen,” recalled Stringer. “Not that you weren’t able to [play basketball]. You weren’t allowed to. I remember this one grandmother telling her daughter that girls would have knots in their legs if they played. That’s a shame, because it made you ashamed to play.”

Imagine that. Ashamed because you wanted play.

Also: Kyrie Irving after WNBA game: ‘I cannot wait for my daughter to grow up and idolize’ them

Take that, “Stick to Sports” people.

Speaking of persisting, as Sue notes, “Slowly, all of these persistent players are being profiled.” From the NY Times: For WNBA’s Oldest Rookie, a Lot of Persistence Goes a Long Way

Stockton Record: Chelsea Gray: St. Mary’s grad healthy, busting out

Really, I should get teams/players to play me to express concerns about them: Inside the W with Michelle Smith: Sun On the Rise

From The Day: Sun remain a constant in an arena that continues to thrive

This is exciting – and must be a huge relief for Diggs to finally bust out: Skylar Diggins-Smith hits franchise record 7 3-pointers to lift Dallas over San Antonio

Watch out: Maya Moore is rediscovering her scoring touch.

From Sue: What retirement? Alana Beard burning up the court in her 12th season

Truth: WNBA legend Sue Bird: Athletes who don’t embrace sports tech are idiots.  (BTW: VERT Adds First Women’s Basketball Program Mississippi State)

I wonder what she thinks about a league that can’t effectively manage its social media? Though, there are some hits: From sleek graphics to hilarious video, WNBA All-Star voting brings out the best in promotions. And, in case you were wondering: Imani Boyette ranks WNBA team social media accounts.

But don’t forget: UConn’s Chris Dailey On Social Media: ‘You Have One Reputation’

Have you listened to-supported “Burn It All Down.”?

Listen up! Basketball legend Tamika Catchings

Howard Megdal is joined by Tamika Catchings, whose number will be retired by the Indiana Fever on June 24. The two take a stroll down memory lane, through Tamika’s favorite moments from a truly incomparable career.

About the fabulous Catch:

More Listen Up! LaChina Robinson is joined by WNBA’s Devereaux Peters

to discuss Diana Taurasi’s historic moment, if Taurasi is the GOAT (greatest of all time) and Tamika Catchings’ jersey retirement.

Which, of course, means ESPN asks: Rank ‘Em: The best women’s basketball players of all time

I don’t have a problem with this: Now the WNBA’s scoring leader, is Taurasi women’s basketball’s best ever? Why? Because Being the best teammate possible is more important to Diana Taurasi than WNBA scoring mark

There’s no question mark here: Brewster: Chino’s Diana Taurasi is the best women’s basketball player ever in US (and I appreciate the qualifier) Also, she’s inexorably linked with another great: Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, WNBA Stars, Keep Longtime Friendship

Soooooo…Who’s got next? Who will challenge Diana Taurasi’s scoring record?

For folks who don’t remember the history of players in the W: I lived in fear.’ Former WNBA star Ruthie Bolton says she escaped a violent marriage

‘Tonight may be the night he kills me,Ruthie Bolton remembers thinking as her husband called to her from their living room.

“Get in here,” he said. “I’m not going to ask you again.”

From the kitchen, she could see him sitting with a gun in one hand and a beer in the other.

Speaking of history: Pop Quiz: How well does Rebecca Lobo remember the first WNBA game?  You weren’t there? Check out how the game has/hasn’t changed: WATCH: Highlights from the first-ever WNBA game, 20 years ago today

International

*Musical lede* “Where ya going? Barcelona. Oh.” (No, I haven’t purchased flights yet… but I will!) FIBA: Europe’s five FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup qualified teams confirmed

Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia and Turkey became the first countries to qualify for the FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018, joining tournament hosts Spain and Olympic champions USA.

Fan Rag: How EuroBasket Women is currently affecting the WNBA BTW: Overseas Report: Meesseman, Lyttle Dominating EuroBasket

NCAA:

Yup, that timing was sure a surpriseDiamond DeShields not returning to Lady Vols Who knows what her future holds. It’s hard to predict, considering her talent and track record…

Illinois State: Reinhardt: Gillespie’s early efforts foster optimism

Gillespie had 10 players back from last season’s Illinois State women’s basketball team. The rub was that team won only eight of 31 games before the former Lewis University coach was hired to revive the downtrodden Redbirds.

“We were not going to just add bodies,” said Gillespie. “We were going to make sure if we signed anyone late, they would live up to our character standards and be impact players. We were not looking for someone to develop.”

Schedule: MTSU, Vanderbilt women to meet in opener thanks to coaching change

More schedule: UConn women’s basketball returning to MLK Day, will play Texas

Quack? Shouldn’t it be meow? Women’s basketball freshmen are ‘little ducklings’ as they adjust to life as Arizona Wildcats

And: Arizona women’s basketball recruiting: 5-star forward Valeria Trucco commits to Wildcats

Also: Arizona women’s basketball: Wildcats add Washington transfer Aarion McDonald

Rebuilding is tough: Women’s basketball: Nebraska lands top 100 post for 2017 recruiting cycle

Change is tough: University of Delaware women’s basketball loses highly regarded recruit

Reflection entering KBA’s sixth year: Michigan moments 60-56: NCAA championship run, women’s basketball’s first All-American

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Last call!!!

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Women’s basketball peeps have been amazingly supportive, so I’m sending out one last call for donations.

As I mentioned lower down in the blog roll, I’m doing some “DELEGATION” this year, and teaming up with my fabulous program manager Kady to raise money in support for the CAT Youth Theatre!

CYT is an essential program – offering the amazing young people of New York City a space to use and explore their voice… at NO COST TO THEM. Please support them if you can – and Kady will do pushups or planks as a “thank you!” (see what I mean about “delegation”?).

You can help keep the CAT Youth Theater FREE by donating.

Thank you!

Helen, stage manager, sound, props, back stage support and anything else that was needed…

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“Keep. Your. Temper.”

Wise words from the caterpillar to Alice, and I’m betting that Jenny B is wishing she’d remembered them last night. Not going to say her late game tech cost Seattle the game, but is sure made it harder for them to capture it down the stretch. And dang, who gave Indiana that lovely bench? 83-80, Fever.

What’s that new McCartney album, “Wings over L.A.?” Perhaps all the “Liz Cambage wooing” stories lit a fire under the butts of the current players. They flipped around their  traditional fourth quarter swoon, and suddenly, a Dallas win! 96-90.

An EDD injury and Meeseeman absence made the Minnesota-D.C. match less intriguing. The Lynx players made sure it stayed that way, as Whalen became the winningest WNBAer.

News

Washington Post; Would Washington embrace an elite WNBA team? Maybe, finally, we’ll have a chance to find out.

WomensHoopsWorld: Through challenges and changes, Ivory Latta’s spirit and fire remain key for Mystics

From the San Antonio Express: Influx of UConn players continues to dominate WNBA

Speaking of UConn players: Ever-Evolving Tiffany Hayes Making the Most of Increased Opportunities

Listen up! Howard talks with Atlanta Dream guard Tiffany Hayes

.com: Diggins-Smith, EDD Reflect On WNBA Journey

SI Kids: WNBA Star Maya Moore Talks About Returning to the Finals and Her Passion for Ending Childhood Hunger

NY Post: This globetrotting hoops star (Kiah Stokes) is a Koreatown barbecue fan

From the Telegraph: She skipped Dairy Lane. Now Allisha Gray is shining in the WNBA.

That was part of Gray’s preparation for the pro game.

“The biggest adjustment to the WNBA had to do with the physicality of the game,” she said. “You don’t get the foul calls you normally get in the college game, so you just have to play through the fouls.”

And the weight loss increased her endurance.

The old Kelsey Plum doesn’t exist anymore and in many ways, that’s a shame. But then, she’s OK with that … for now.

Nearly three months ago, she put the finishing touches on the greatest basketball career for a man or woman at the University of Washington.

And today, the most prolific scorer in NCAA women’s basketball history is averaging a mere 4.8 points while shooting a frigid 31.8 percent. She has had more turnovers (11) than assists (9) and is fighting to keep her starting job on an 0-7 San Antonio Stars team that resides at the bottom of the WNBA standings.

As it stands now, teams are hamstrung with what they can do with players who are hurt during the season. If a player is injured for an extended period of time, the team can either keep them on the roster — forcing the franchise to play with one less player — or they could cut them, which would cost the organization the player’s rights.

Neither is a great choice.

“Teams shouldn’t have to make that choice,” said Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike, who is sidelined for the season with an Achilles injury she suffered while playing overseas this past winter.

As you should: Thank you MSR for weekly WNBA coverage

As it should be: Former WNBA players getting front office positions

Also: WNBA’s president: Overcoming racial discrimination drove me to Duke

WATN? Former WNBA Player Alicia Thompson Returns to Roots

Listen up: LaChina welcomes Olympic Gold Medalist and former WNBA great Chamique Holdsclaw to the show to discuss her struggle with mental health and her platform for awareness.

More to Listen up (to): We’re On Live, The WNBA Show: Jack and Ryne sit down to discuss the league’s most recent news, like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird moving up the all-time scoring ranks, WNBA social media accounts blocking Tiffany Hayes and Ivory Latta’s children’s book. Then, they are joined by FanRag Sports’ Eric Nemchock to break down the Chicago Sky’s early season turmoil. Eric gives his thoughts on the offensive struggles, strange draft and Chantel Osahor. For the final segment, Jack and Ryne talk bigs. This season we’ve seen huge performances from the likes of Brittney Griner, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles down low.
History
NCAA
Listen up: Oklahoma head coach Sherri Coale and Howard discuss the transfer situation in the college game and opportunities for women to coach, to the expectations for a roster featuring a returning Vionise Pierre-Louis and incoming freshman Ana Llanusa.
In closing: 8-9 games in to the season, some thoughts
  • Umm…d’em Lynx.
  • Early injuries and temporary exits have me unclear on who’s an legit challenge to Minny
  • Exciting to see all these players getting “career highs”
  • We knew it was going to be tough for San Antonia, but ouch
  • See above for Chicago. Can the franchise survive whatever chases out coaches & players?
  • Honestly, when do the Sun fans get a break?
  • Expanding rosters/expanding number of teams – it’s not about talent (not sure we have that much excess) but fans and big money. So, for the moment, a strong no.

Oh, for all those “Stick to Sports” folks: Rats, snakes and scorpions: The unthinkable treatment of one softball team and the Title IX lawsuit to fight back

One night in Midland, Texas last month, Midland College softball coach Tommy Ramos walked into his team’s locker room facility and saw something he’d never seen before.

In the undersized portable structure that serves as the team’s locker room—a glorified storage shed, really—he’d already seen rats and 6-foot snakes. He’d watched as more than 20 players walk through mud puddles to cram into the shed, likely violating its fire code, in order to get changed and share the lone bathroom. Outside the shed at the school’s softball fields nearby, he’d seen dozens of fans stand for entire games because the bleachers only seat 25 people, watching as those same fans lined up to use the field’s black widow-infested porta potty.

But he’d never seen this before.

That night, Ramos and his assistant coach opened the door of the shed and saw a couple engaging in … Well, let’s just say, they’d rounded third base.

BTW, if you’re wondering, All the President’s Men holds up far too well….

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Hail friends!

I’m doing some “DELEGATION” this year, and teaming up with my fabulous program manager Kady to raise money in support for the CUNY Creative Arts Team’s Youth Theatre​!

CYT is an essential program – offering the amazing young people of New York City a space to use and explore their voice… at NO COST TO THEM. Please support them if you can – and Kady will do pushups or planks as a “thank you!” (see what I mean about “delegation”?)

If you can, we’d be grateful for your support: www.razoo.com/story/cyt

Thank you,
Helen

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