Archive for September, 2017

Now that we’ve had time to digest

the yumminess that was last night’s game, here are some of the results:

Mechelle, ESPN: Lynx follow Lindsay Whalen’s lead to even WNBA Finals

Sylvia Fowles sensed it was going to happen. So did Renee Montgomery and Rebekkah Brunson. They all felt like Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen was ready to have a big performance in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals.

“I was telling her all day today: ‘The way they are guarding you, you can score,'” Montgomery said after the Lynx held off the Sparks 70-68 and evened the best-of-five series at 1-1 on Tuesday. “I told her, ‘You’re the pull-up queen, that’s your wheelhouse.’

Pat Borzi, ESPN: Rebekkah Brunson bounces back to help Lynx win Game 2

Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve has coached Brunson for eight seasons, through three title runs and two WNBA Finals defeats. She can sense when Brunson is disgusted with her play and knows how she usually responds — with tenacity.

Swish Appeal: Brunson’s timely steal halts LA’s comeback; Lynx tie series

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx hang on to defeat Los Angeles 70-68 in Game 2, tie series 1-1

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx’s Lindsay Whalen helps orchestrate one more victory at the Barn

This should have been a night to celebrate, but after she dribbled out the final seconds Whalen wearily flipped the ball to an official and accepted a mobbing by her teammates as if she wanted nothing more than a soft couch and a hard sleep.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Defense down the stretch allows Lynx to win Game 2

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Bravo to Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve

One my pet peeves about Minnesota media is that there are so many in our ranks who will ask the soft, easy, question in an attempt to either ingratiate themselves to a coach or player, or because they’re simply afraid to ask anything pointed.

So I applaud Cheryl Reeve. When the Lynx coach was asked soft questions about her team’s gutty comeback in a Game 1 loss in the WNBA Finals, she didn’t take the easy way out.

Canis Hoopus: Lynx Beat LA, Even Series

Bleacher Report: Lynx Survive Sparks Rally to Even 2017 WNBA Finals at 1-1

Deadspin: Lynx Hold Off Sparks Comeback To Take Game 2 Of The WNBA Finals

FanRag: Lynx defense the difference in series-tying Game 2 win

The Daily Breeze: Sylvia Fowles, Lynx even series with Sparks

SB Nation: Lynx tie series with Sparks in ANOTHER wild WNBA Finals finish

Swish Appeal: Fowles’ record night sets tone for a raucous Lynx victory

Zone Coverage: FAKLIS: When Championship Pedigree Doesn’t Matter for the Lynx

this isn’t a series that is based on the wealth of experience the Lynx have built over the last half decade (and change). This is a series built around two teams so evenly matched, that a double-digit victory seems less likely than the 20-plus point comebacks seen in the first two games.

It’s become clear that, despite making six WNBA Finals in seven years, Minnesota’s championship pedigree and experience isn’t good enough to beat LA.

Los Angeles Times: Sparks let one slip in 70-68 loss to Minnesota Lynx in Game 2 of the WNBA Finals

On the final play, Sparks point guard Chelsea Gray — a hero in Game 1 after making a last-second shot — couldn’t produce a replay, as three defenders engulfed her, making it impossible to shoot or pass, and the ball was stolen as the clock expired.

The Sparks fell 70-68. The series is tied 1-1.

“It was disappointing,” Sparks coach Brian Agler said. “We had a play, we just didn’t execute it.”

Game photos.

I will say, it was disappointing to hear so many Minnesota fans supporting racial injustice with their boos. I thought more of them. Perhaps they haven’t read the news?

Bitch magazine: All Of The Work, None Of The Credit: Don’t Drop The Ball On The WNBA’s Activism

Ah, HAH!!! (but no details): San Antonio Stars guard Moriah Jefferson undergoes successful knee surgery

Show them the (bonus) moneyTop rookie Allisha Gray highlights All-Rookie team

YesImani Boyette speaks up to save lives, lead others to hope and help

Sweet: Women’s National Basketball Players Association to donate money from league fines (Girls Who Code, the United Nations Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, the Greater Houston Community Foundation for Hurricane Harvey relief and the Southern Poverty Law Center)


Dayton Daily News: Deeper roster ‘a good feeling’ for Wright State women’s basketball

A little history, as a program on the rise reflects on its beginnings: First Belmont women’s basketball team reunites at Friday morning convo

“For a college president to listen to a female, 24 years old, in the 60s, is unheard of,” said Wiseman.

The Lady Rebels — Belmont’s nickname wouldn’t be the Bruins until 1995 — were formed, but spent most of the first year in the shadow of the men’s team.

The women practiced after the men’s team finished around 9 or 10 p.m. At the time, women were also not allowed to wear shorts on campus. They had to wear pants to the gym. When leaving campus, the women were not allowed to wear pants at all — they had to wear dresses.

“We were behind them in everything else, but we had an opportunity, and that was the whole point,” Wiseman said in a video that played during the convocation.

So, looks like men’s D-1 basketball is in a whole lotta trouble. Some thoughts/questions:

  • Why didn’t the community speak out? It’s clear many knew this level of corruption was going on, and yet no. one. said. a. word. And the journalists who are hinting there’s worse to come? How much did your access pay for you silence?
  • What about men’s football? ’cause we know it’s all connected
  • What about those shoe folks? ’cause they underwrite a LOT of other teams who are honest. They get into trouble, the money dries up.
  • What about women’s basketball? I’ve often heard it said that “there’s not enough money” in wbb to warrant illegal activity. Unethical? Oh, sure. Just wondering how deep the roots are.
  • How will this impact the “Olympic Sport” athletes? ’cause the U.S. Government does not underwrite them.

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@CoachOBlue: Home 🏡 just in time to watch catch Game 2 of the !

  Lindsay Whalen had that “I’m ticked off” look on her face yesterday during media availability. You had that feeling she’d have strong start.
@ExcelleSports Alana Beard picks up her second foul just two minutes into the game #WNBAFinals She’s the primary defender on Maya Moore…

@howardmegdal: You know how when @minnesotalynx fell behind 28-2, game wasn’t over? @LA_Sparks down 24-9. Ain’t over.
@TashaButts: WOW… they are blowing these whistles against LA.. they should probably not say anything to the refs, clearly they… umm nvm.

Lynx clogging up lanes forcing Sparks to take weak shots. #WNBAFinals@ExcelleSports: Ogwumike starting to dominate on the glass 30-22 Lynx.
 @MechelleV:  Lynx star Maya Moore hits first shot from field at 5:02 in 2nd quarter, gets 3-point play. Candace Parker still hasn’t scored for Sparks.
@TichaPenicheiro  Eeeeewwwwww, nice dime/no look from @Candace_Parker @Alanabeard20: #iTaughtHerThat😜
@ExcelleSports: Lynx up 41-24. Dominating the paint on both ends. Sparks need Nneka and Candace to get going.
@TashaButts: Am I the only one that sees the non-calls, holds and shoves right in front of the refs? I just want to see a great game.
@hoopism: Halftime: Lynx 45, Sparks 26

@MechelleV: Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike averaged combined 33.0 points in first 4 playoff games. Tonight through first half, Ogwumike 3, Parker 0.

@ExcelleSportsMaya Moore picks up her fourth foul and has to go to bench. Sparks on 13-6 run to start second half. 51-39 Lynx lead.
@CoachYoJU: My goodness Seimone Augustus is soooo silky smooth! #swish
@RichardCohen1: I know they want a storyline, but give it a damn rest on Parker’s ankle. She’s looked absolutely fine all night. #wnbafinals

@LA_Sparks: A three-point play by @Nnemkadi30 keeps the pressure on. #WeRise #GoSparks #WNBAFinals
@minnesotalynx: That’s a wrap for the third quarter! Lynx up 60-50 after three. Fowles, Brunson, and Whalen with 12 PTS each.

@Bevilaqua41: Going to be a hard fought final quarter!! Living the action between the LA Sparks and Minnesota!! #watchmework WNBA WNBA playoffs

@doshwoods: Sparks battling back! @Lynx_PR: Sparks ball, 62-53 with 8:05 left. If you aren’t watching already, now’s a good time to tune in.
@Lynx_PR: Ogwumike with the layup and the #Lynx lead is back down to nine with 4:15 left. Ogwumike now with a double-double (11p/10r).
@itscoachwise: the MN vs LA finals game is heating up… if you’re not watching, there’s about 5 mins left in the game. flip the channel.

@CoachDay80: If ur involved w WBB and ur not watching the WNBA finals shame on u! This whole WNBA season has been incredible! So much to c and learn!

@WNBA: Another close #WNBAFinals game on ESPN2! Sparks trim their deficit to 68-64 with 1:38 remaining.

@sportsiren: HOLY COW!!! Here we go again. Drama in @wnba Finals 3 point Lynx lead with 1:01 to play. #heartstopping!

@CStiffESPN Another WNBA Finals thriller. 4pt game with 43 seconds. ESPN2 NOW.

@splitthepost43.9 seconds all that’s standing between the Lynx and a split before heading to Los Angeles. Maya Moore hits 1 of 2 FTs. Lynx by 4.
@MechelleV: Candace Parker’s two free throws bring Sparks within 2, 70-68. Maya Moore misses jumper. Sparks ball with 13.4 seconds left. Holy moly.
@LaChinaRobinson: My nerves are bad.
@hoopism: Exactly the same game as Sunday, only in reverse. I’m tripping.
@coachjessb: That can NEVER happen in the final seconds! Must get open… must get the ball in!
@LeslieReineckerAre you kidding me?! Can one of these teams just throw the ball in successfully?≈
@WNBA_IntelGame ends with 3 straight turnovers. Exciting but in a different way from Game 1.

@ajuarezbsu: Minnesota tried to give it away, but L.A. wouldn’t take it
@Bre_stewart30: What a sequence of events
@theladykg: This is gonna be another great series. Holy cow!!! #WNBAFinals
@MoheganMaven: You guys. Cray. #WNBAFinals
@richarddeitsch: The @LA_Sparks-@minnesotalynx rivalry is a great calling card for the WNBA. Quality, exciting, compelling basketball.

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As Good As It Gets?

I sure as heck hope not! (and I’m cranky this didn’t publish)

The first game of the WNBA Finals is best relived on one’s twitter feed.

  • @DishNSwish: Props to and for their individual types of protest. They deserve your cheers not boos.
  • @hoopfeed: This is just embarrassing…for the Lynx. Not what was expected, at all. Sparks lead 27-2, 2:48 left in 1Q
  • @MechelleV: Lindsay Whalen’s halfcourt heave swished, but it was after the buzzer. It was just that kind of quarter for Minnesota. Yikes. 32-11 Sparks.
  • @MechelleV: Jia Perkins gets the steal, which leads to Sylvia Fowles basket. The kind of hustle play the Lynx are going to need a lot of to climb back.
  • @MechelleV: Williams Arena holds noise very well. :) #SoLoud
  • @DT3sBun: 6 point game 👀
  • @murrminks: Bruh. Please don’t ever say the WNBA is boring again. This league is so dope
  • @linzsports: MAYA MOORE OMG OMG OMG THIS GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • @ExcelleSports: Essence Carson with two huge misses from the free throw line. Seimone Augustus with the go-ahead layup with six seconds to go!
  • @hoopism: Chelsea #$%&ing Gray!!!!
  • @DishNSwish: After this game I don’t want to hear one person say “basketball starts soon!”
  • @RyanRunco: What a Game 1 of the Finals. It’s this simple. If you enjoy GREAT basketball you should be watching this series. It’s outstanding.
  • @richardfarley: I don’t think every good game has to be touted as an advertisement for the league, but holy crap was that an advertisement for the league.
  • @ExcelleSports: WNBA Finals Game 1 instant classic delivers best ratings ever for an overnight

Now, for the #morethan144characters take:

Mechelle: Behind career-high 27 points, Chelsea Gray guides Sparks to Game 1 win

In Sunday’s opening game of the Finals that went from blowout to barn burner, Gray led the Sparks in the right direction: an 85-84 victory. Even if they didn’t exactly take the most direct route to get there.

Pat Borzi, ESPN: ‘Unacceptable’ start dooms Lynx at home in Game 1

If the Minnesota Lynx had won Sunday, it would have been the greatest comeback in WNBA playoff history.


Game 1 of the WNBA Finals — a 85-84 Los Angeles Sparks win — technically wasn’t over when the Sparks jumped to a 26-point first-quarter lead at Williams Arena, shocking the pro-Lynx crowd of 11,823, which arrived primed for an afternoon of screaming itself hoarse.

TwinCities.com-Pioneer PressLynx rally after awful start but lose 85-84 in Game 1 of WNBA Finals

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Lynx’s Game 1 comeback falls just short after spotting LA 26 points

FanRag: Chelsea Gray gives Sparks thrilling Game 1 victory over Lynx

Excelle: Chelsea Gray takes over as Sparks take Game 1 of WNBA Finals

Summitt Hoops: Chelsea Gray hits game-winner, Sparks take 1-0 Finals lead

Canis Hoopus: Sparks Stun Lynx, Steal Home Court Advantage

Hoopism: Gray’s last-second shot sends Sparks past Lynx in Game 1

Hoopfeed: Chelsea Gray propels Sparks to victory in Finals game one, Los Angeles tops Minnesota 85-84

Summitt Hoops: WNBA Finals: Minnesota Lynx comeback would have been biggest in league history

USA Today/For The Win: There were 4 lead changes in the final minute of the first game of the WNBA Finals

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Scoggins: Moore steps up in crunch time, but Sparks’ Gray has answer

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Video of Lynx’s crushing home defeats to the Sparks: Three times Lynx were dealt last-second blow

Swish Appeal: Real Talk: WNBA Finals Game 1 breakdown by Pokey Chatman

CBS Minnesota: Despite Comeback, Reeve Blasts Her Lynx After Game 1

Minneapolis Star Tribune: The more Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve studied studied loss to Sparks, the angrier she became


For the Win: WNBA teams link arms, leave floor during national anthem at Game 1 of Finals

BTW: The WNBA has been at the forefront of protesting racial injustice

Cool: Pair shocked when name of adapted athletics facility at University of Alabama revealed

Margaret Stran and Brent Hardin got a surprise when the name of the University of Alabama’s adapted athletics facility was revealed Friday.

According to a school news release, the two figured the facility would be named for Mike and Kathy Mouron who had launched the project with two gifts totaling $4 million.

Instead, when the rendering of the facility was shown, the name “Stran-Hardin Arena” was above the main entrance to the facility.

SCUBA and Basketball, anyone? Tenerife to host FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup 2018

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As are we.

Sparks, Lynx set for WNBA Finals rematch

LA Times: Sparks determined to repeat as WNBA champions

Daily Breeze: Sparks visit Lynx as WNBA Finals rematch begins

Minny Trib: A dynasty in the making? Lynx-Sparks winner could lay claim

.com: Odyssey Sims Ready to Embrace First Taste of the Finals

Swish Appeal: Candace Parker: WNBA Finals, Pat Summitt — and the Lady Vols

.Lynx: Competing In WNBA Finals “Never Gets Old” For Lynx

Minny Tribune: For Minnesota Lynx, a good start is essential

Swish Appeal: Lynx still haunted by WNBA Finals loss, focused on execution

Duluth Tribune News: Lynx’s legacy is secure heading into WNBA Finals, but motivation remains

SB Nation: The Lynx and Sparks are superteams. That’s why the WNBA Finals are a must-watch.

For the Win: Gabrielle Union explains why you should watch the WNBA Finals

.com: Chasing That Championship Feeling

If you’re into this kinda thing: WNBA Star Maya Moore Gets Air Jordan 1, Jordan 10 Colorways

Need more fans, more sponsors, more games on TV because: WNBA salaries in focus as Finals tip off


Changing partners: After committing to play for UConn women’s basketball, top recruit Collier changes her mind


Mainers Find Camaraderie, Competition In Senior Women’s Basketball League

High School

WTF: Charges: Suspended lawyer exposed self to girls basketball teams

And on a political note (this should not surprise you):

Chiney Ogwumike delivers powerful statement in response to President Trump’s NBA and NFL comments

Warned ya: Betsy DeVos, Title IX, and the “Both Sides” Approach to Sexual Assault

North Carolina won’t celebrate its NCAA men’s basketball title at the White House…

Remember: “… I cannot stand and sing the anthem. I cannot salute the flag; I know that I am a black man in a white world.” – Jackie Robinson, 1972

“How about the irony of, ‘Free speech is fine if you’re a neo-Nazi chanting hate slogans, but … not to kneel in protest?'” Steve Kerr, 2017

Since “disrespecting the flag” is still the narrative being used, this courtesy of the US Flag Code Chapter 10: Respect for flag HennyWise‏ @koopa_kinte 

“Real patriotism, Mr. Trump, isn’t how you treat a flag. It’s how you treat Americans” —

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Are you ready to RUMBLE?!?!?!

Here’s hoping that, now that we got what we want, we get what we want… No pressure.

The 2017 WNBA Finals is almost certainly going to be one of the best series ever

EPSN: 20 Questions: Another Sparks-Lynx final

Amsterdam News: Sparks/Lynx rematch in WNBA finals

SB Nation: WNBA’s new playoff format has Lynx-Sparks rivalry front and center

Swish Appeal: Iconic rematch looms, LA Sparks prepare for ‘War of Wills’

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Finals rematch between Lynx and Sparks coming

The matchup

MSR News Online: WNBA Finals preview

.com: The First Finals Rematch

Minnesota Lynx: WNBA Finals provides another chapter in riveting rivalry

WNBA BPI: Lynx have slight edge over Sparks

After sweeping their way through the semifinals, both the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have a chance to complete the third perfect postseason since the WNBA Finals moved to a best-of-five series in 2005.

However, the BPI predicts that this year’s Finals, which open Sunday (ABC, 3:30 p.m. ET), have a 37.5 percent chance to go the full five games for the third straight year.

Listen up! The Rematch

LaChina Robinson gears up for the WNBA Finals rematch! She previews the Lynx-Sparks matchup with Liberty associate coach and 2x WNBA champion Katie Smith then chats with the Lynx’s Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore.

More Listen Up: The Summitt Slack Summit: Previewing the WNBA Finals

LA Stuff

Mechelle: Odyssey Sims steps up her game in first season with Sparks

Sometimes the “right” fit actually isn’t. Consider Los Angeles Sparks guard Odyssey Sims, who is from Dallas, went to Baylor, and was drafted No. 2 by the Tulsa Shock in 2014. The Shock then became the Wings when they moved to Dallas in 2016, so Sims was back in her hometown. Worked out perfectly.

Except … not really.

Players’ Tribune: Write Your Story, Babygirl

It seemed like nobody knew his real name. People just called him Picture Man.

Paterson, New Jersey, where I grew up, is the hood … the inner city … the ghetto … whatever you want to call it. And a lot of people have nicknames in the hood — funny nicknames, mean nicknames, really stupid nicknames, nicknames that make no sense at all, gang nicknames, everything. Picture Man got his name because he was always taking photos. You’d see him riding around on his bike. He’d stop to snap a picture of a fire hydrant, a street sign, a family cookout or whatever, and then he’d ride away. It was kind of unheard of, in our part of town, for someone to be into photography like that, so Picture Man was seen as a weirdo. A loner. “Different.” We loved him anyway. He was so mysterious to me, like there was a whole world about him that I didn’t know. To this day, I don’t think I ever learned his real name.

But I’ll never forget where I was when I heard the gunshots that ended his life.

Lynx stuff

CBS Minnesota: Lynx Seek Redemption Against Sparks As They Chase 4th Championship

She coulda been a Lib: Minnesota veteran Rebekkah Brunson reinvents her game

Long respected as a premier rebounder and defender, this season Brunson added a 3-point element. It followed a request from Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, who needed Brunson, Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen to expand their range to pull defenders from center Sylvia Fowles. Before this season, Brunson attempted only 12 3-pointers in 13 years, making two. This season she put up 66 and sank 23, good for 34.8 percent accuracy from beyond the arc.

Yardbarker: After a decade in the WNBA, MVP Sylvia Fowles is ready for the spotlight

Pioneer Press: If Lynx are to beat Sparks, Maya Moore has to score against WNBA’s best defender

Gopher Sports: Whalen, Lynx Start Finals at Williams on Sunday

We’re number 1! Lynx, Delle Donne lead WNBA merchandising

As expected: Wings’ Allisha Gray wins WNBA Rookie of the Year award

Truth: Jonquel Jones Has ‘Incredible Year 2’

You stay put: Sun Coach Curt Miller Rewarded With Contract Extension

Important: Once compared to Michael Jordan, ex-WNBA star shares suicide struggles at Oxnard College


Women’s basketball Final Four bid cycle for 2021-24 to begin (Hello, West Coast? But what about ESPN and those pesky time zones?)

A different kind of Phoenix: Arizona Wildcats, Adia Barnes recruiting among women’s college basketball’s powerhouses

Bye: Report: Jinaya Houston won’t return to Iowa women’s basketball

Finances are real: Facing Massive Cut, UConn Fires Back at Legislature With Geno Auriemma

’cause it was as bad a marketing decision as “New Coke”: Tennessee women’s golf team wears Lady Vols hats, brings tears to senior


Intersting: German Olaf Langer appointed head coach for Russian women’s basketball team

USA Basketball: 2017 USA Women’s National Team Training Camp Set To Tip Next Week

National Team head coach Dawn Staley(South Carolina), the roster includes WNBA stars Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Brittney Griner(Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kayla McBride (San Antonio Stars); Kelsey Plum (San Antonio Stars); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Kiah Stokes (New York Liberty); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); Morgan Tuck(Connecticut Sun); and Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun). Current collegiate All-Americans who will take part in the camp include: Napheesa Collier (Connecticut); Asia Durr (Louisville); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State); Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina).

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“Go hard or go home” time

Look who’s lurking….


Phoenix and Washington need to dig deep or else we’re going to get the rematch everyone wants a little faster than everyone wants.

3pm, Mystics v. Lynx

Albert Lee, Bullets Forever: Mystics vs. Lynx game 3 preview: Washington fights to stay alive

What’s at stake?

It’s obvious. If the Mystics win, they’ll host Game 4 at Georgetown University on Tuesday. If they lose, the season’s over.

This season was certainly a different one for me than many past Mystics seasons. In some years like 2011 and 2012, they were just horrible and hope was hard to come by. But in the last four years of the Mike Thibault Era, I saw good moments, but I knew that the Mystics still had no hope of a championship regardless of how well the team played.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: WNBA semifinals Game 3 preview: Lynx at Washington

Ava Wallace, Washington Post: ‘A well-oiled machine’: Minnesota Lynx roll toward sixth WNBA Finals in seven years

Reeve’s yelling is a normal pregame scene for Minnesota. Moore, a devout Christian, gets too engrossed in her warmup drills to remember to head down to the team’s chapel service before every game, an important part of the 2014 WNBA MVP’s routine. Mid-interview or not, it’s Reeve’s job to remind her.

It’s one of the many tiny details Reeve and the Lynx take care of to keep the WNBA powerhouse thriving.

Fox Sports: Sparks look to dismiss Mercury, advance to Finals

Summitt Hoops: Sparks lead Mercury 2-0, can close out series in Phoenix

.com: 1-On-1 With 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles

5pm Mercury v. Sparks

Jeff Metcalfe, AZCentral, Mercury face elimination at home against Sparks in WNBA semifinals

Sandy Brondello believes there is a path to beating the WNBA defending champion Los Angeles Sparks.

Whether her Phoenix Mercury can make it down that road Sunday to remain alive in the league semifinals and avert a second consecutive 3-0 exit from the final four will require corrections on both ends of the floor.

Mike Guardabascio, San Gabriel Valley Tribune: Sparks look to close out Mercury in WNBA semifinals

After a pair of double-digit wins in Southern California, the Sparks will try to make it a clean sweep when their best-of-five WNBA semifinal series shifts to Phoenix on Sunday.

Sparks head coach Brian Agler said he doesn’t think his team has played its best basketball yet, which should concern a Mercury team that hasn’t been able to stay with the defending WNBA champions down the stretch.

Eli Horowitz, Excelle: Sparks backcourt duo becoming impossible to guard

We know about former MVPs Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike. Alana Beard just won Defensive Player of the Year. But as the Los Angeles Sparks took a 2-0 series lead against the Phoenix Mercury Thursday night, something else became clear: the backcourt duo of Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims makes the Sparks offense nearly impossible to guard.

Mechelle, ESPN: Brittney Griner’s toughest obstacles are already behind her

Phoenix center Brittney Griner saw the worst-case scenario flash before her eyes as she felt pain ripping through her body. She thought her WNBA season was over, and her upcoming overseas season wouldn’t happen.

“I started freaking out,” said Griner of the gruesome-looking double injury she suffered on July 14 against Minnesota. “Everybody was kind of holding me and saying, ‘OK, calm down. What hurts?’ And I was like, ‘Everything hurts!'”

Talk: (all due respect, why can’t we improve the audio quality of LaChina’s gig) WNBA Roundtable Part II

More Talk: Dishin & Swishin Podcast: Curt Miller on WNBA Semi-finals and the Sun


Congrats: Paris to Return to OU For Jersey Honoring Nov. 10

NCAA.com: UConn basketball: For the Huskies, new faces are everywhere

Thank you: Bagwell to coach Bearcats one final time

Sitting behind his desk in an office surrounded by newspaper articles, trophies and score sheets that decorate the walls from top to bottom, Bagwell reflects on just how different coaching was 40 years ago.

“If I wanted to call a recruit and I was out, or if I wanted to call back to the office, I’d have to stop at a truck stop and dial their number,” Bagwell said. “Eventually I had a credit card and I’d have to dial in a bunch of numbers, then the dadgum number would be busy and I’d have to start all over. I don’t know how we survived, but we did.”

Four years after inheriting the women’s basketball program, Bagwell had Lander on a 19-game win streak, on its way to a No. 3 ranking and a 21-3 record.


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I mean, they ARE the two best teams…

but it’s still tough to have both series at 0-2.

Mystics were a handful, but the Lynx found their groove (as did MVP Big Syl) and secured the win. Oh, and that player that had been out for a bit came back.

The Sparks weren’t playing, shutting down BG and running to a 86-72 win.

LA Times: Sparks turn back Mercury to take 2-0 series lead

The Sparks are playing their best basketball at exactly the right moment.

“I think tonight we did resemble a little bit more of the way we finished the regular season,” Sparks coach Brian Agler said. “Offensively we were more aggressive, moved the ball better.

“I do think we keep getting better. I envision that. And we’re going to need to keep improving.”

A little reflection: How a three minute trade altered the fates of two WNBA franchises

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The Los Angeles Sparks were on the clock at the 2016 WNBA Draft and had three minutes to make a selection with the sixth overall pick.

With the draft being held in their home arena, the Connecticut Sun were watching the Sparks more closely than any other team. Having already made two first-round selections, Connecticut wanted to make one more. And the team’s staff knew who they wanted to take: George Washington University forward/center Jonquel Jones.

During 180 seconds that would change the future of both teams, the Sun sent the 15th and 23rd picks in the draft, its first round pick in 2017 and guard Chelsea Gray to the Sparks for the draft rights to Jones and the 17th pick in the draft.

It is infrequent in sports when a trade is mutually beneficial for both teams and actually makes both trade partners better. But that’s what this one did, as both teams are still reaping the benefits of this particular deal.

Yea: Sylvia Fowles, WNBA star, finds peace in unlikely post-career plan

When Sylvia Fowles broke her nose in May, she did not flinch.

In a game between Fowles’ Minnesota Lynx and the San Antonio Stars, the Stars rookie Nia Coffey, full of naive bravado, decided to challenge Fowles, the three-time WNBA defensive player of the year.

Fowles took a palm to her nose in the confrontation at the rim, but Coffey received the brunt of the impact. Her shot was blocked with so much force that it sounded like a volleyball spike; Coffey was duly sent to the ground and had to be helped up by a teammate.

To reinforce the lesson, Fowles stood tall, snarling down from her 6-foot-6, 211-pound frame, without once checking her nose.

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Home is where the heartbreak is….

Though both Connecticut and New York had homecourt advantage AND a nice lead, they walked away empty handed. Having been on my way to the Garden during the Sun-Merc second half, it’s hard to render a “judgment” about the nature of their loss – youth or the “Taurasi effect”?

CBS: Taurasi’s 11-0 In Elimination Games, Mercury Beat Sun 88-83

Yardbarker: Don’t bet against Diana: Takeaways from the first two rounds of the WNBA playoffs

Journal Inquirer: Taurasi deals Sun a setback

Bahamans Tribune: Jonquel Shines In Wnba Playoff Debut, Sun Go Home

Hartford Courant: Second-Half Letdown A Stunning Conclusion To Fine WNBA Season For Sun

I did witness the Lib suffer a “Tina-Charles-is-our-only-scoring-big and our guards couldn’t pick up the slack against the Mystics bigs…” And, oh yes, Toliver was un.con.cious. What a sight to see.

The Diamondback sits up and takes notice: Former Terp Kristi Toliver breaks WNBA single-game 3-pointer record

Excelle has Three reasons why the Washington Mystics upset the New York Liberty in the WNBA playoffs

Bullets Forever: Mystics make their first WNBA semifinals appearance since 2002

Washington Post’s Ava Wallace: Kristi Toliver’s season-high 32 points send Mystics into WNBA semifinals

There have been times when it looked as if the Washington Mystics were teetering, standing at a pivot point that could define the rest of their season. At home in July, two games after they lost Tayler Hill to a knee injury that would cost her the remainder of the season and Elena Delle Donne to a sprained ankle for a few games. Against Phoenix and Diana Taurasi in August, with a playoff seed on the line. Both times, Kristi Toliver embraced the pressure.

She dug in again Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Props to the delightfully annoying Mystics fans who made the trip north, group-wore red and cheered their team on. You showed up, and so did your team.

Not so much props to the body language of the Lib. Does make me wonder how long Trader Bill will be around. That Thomas guy did take credit for the Lib’s growth – will he accept responsibility for their inability to get past the single game elimination? Michael Cooper’s not busy… and where’s Julie Plank?

Newsday: Liberty ousted by Mystics in single-elimination playoff game

Swish Appeal: Toliver’s 9 threes, 32 points devastate Liberty as Mystics advance

And sure, it would be great if the second round wasn’t single elimination. BUT – fans and money and… heck, it’s an NCAA-esque environment! Win or go home. *sob*

SB has 3 things we learned from a record-setting second round of the WNBA playoffs

ESPN’s editor’s picks: Mercury’s Griner, Mystics’ Delle Donne dominate first round

What’s next: Take a deep breath and jump in! (And don’t let the BPI dishearten you: Expect Sparks-Lynx to meet again in WNBA Finals.)

ESPN: Top seeds Lynx, Sparks pose tough challenges for Mystics, Mercury in semis

WNBA semifinals podcast roundtable preview

Host Howard Megdal is joined by Lindsay Gibbs, who has covered the Washington Mystics, Ben Dull, reporter focusing on the Los Angeles Sparks, and Brendon Kleen, who has been on the Phoenix Mercury beat, to discuss the upcoming WNBA semifinals involving those three teams and, of course, the Minnesota Lynx.

Excelle: 12 takeaways playoff preview: Los Angeles Sparks gear up for surging Phoenix Mercury

AZCentral: Mercury taking on rival Sparks in fifth straight WNBA final four

Fox Sports: Next challenge for Mercury: Defending champion Sparks

Minneapolis Star Tribune: WNBA semifinals preview: Lynx vs. Washington

Summitt Hoops: The Washington Mystics are riding the wave, and Kristi Toliver’s hot hand

AP: Whalen Back At Williams Arena For WNBA Playoffs

Also, if you want to kill some time: AP Video: Players test out first WNBA video game


The Slipper Still Fits: Introducing one of the best recruiting classes ever for Gonzaga Women’s Basketball


Why hasn’t FIBA/Spain told us where the World Championships are being held? Don’t they know I want to buy plane tickets??? Sheesh. In the meantime, Paul gives us some info that reassures me the September tournament ought to be amazing: What does my own 2017 World Ranking Women look like?

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Brunch and Basketball, anyone?

It’s been a hot minute since the Mystics dispatched the Wings and the Merc muffled the Storm, so it’s understandable if you’re a little antsy for today’s games to start. Toss in the pressure of them being one-and-done/not dones, and wheeeeee!!! Excelle has Three things to know about each second round match-up

3pm: It’s all about the heat as “sure they’ve got BG and Diana but who are those other players” Phoenix goes up against “Oh, lordy, it’s gonna be an awful season…wait” coach-of-the-year Curt Miller’s Connecticut team.

Mechelle’s feeling bold: Expect New York to extend its win streak — and Phoenix to pull an upset

A marquee one-on-one matchup is one of the most fun things to watch. And that will be the case Sunday when post players Brittney Griner and Jonquel Jones clash as Phoenix travels to Connecticut in the second round of the WNBA playoffs.

Griner, the Mercury center who led the WNBA in scoring this season (21.9 PPG), is a past WNBA champion and an Olympic gold medalist. In her fifth WNBA season, she has taken on added responsibility for the Mercury and sparked them with 23 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday in a first-round victory over Seattle.

Yea, mini-Mi!!! Arizona Central: Shortest player in WNBA coming up big for Mercury as starting point guard

Since the Phoenix Mercury changed their starting lineup to include 5-5 point guard Leilani Mitchell, they are 4-0 and into the second round of the playoffs, a single-elimination game Sunday at Connecticut. During that stretch, 6-9 center Brittney Griner is averaging 28.2 points on 54.7 percent shooting and looking again like the best player in the league as she did before an injury July 14 took her out for a month.

Thanks, Katie! Former WNBA star buys block of tickets for children

5pm: Up-and-at’em East Coast teams! (And congrats to 6th woman Sugar and Comeback Piph!)

Bullets Forever believes Good things are happening for the Mystics heading into their NY Liberty playoff game

Most people did not think that the Mystics would get by the Dallas Wings in round one. For good reason, the Mystics had not proven in the regular season that they could with-stand a ‘punch’ – literally and figuratively – and not blow a game.

They blew huge leads against the Connecticut Sun, 22 points ahead, and against the LA Sparks, a 17 point lead, during the season.

What impressed me about the win over Dallas was the fact that they came out swinging from the jump.

The Washington Post offers up that stitched up Delle Donne has found a home in D.C.

Twice now, this 6-foot-5 basketball prodigy has taken her career, and her life, into her own hands with startling force.

The first time, Elena Delle Donne left in the middle of the night. She was 18, burned out, homesick and unwilling to cede any more of herself to the sport. She returned home to Delaware from the University of Connecticut for what she needed — a reprieve — before finding her way back to basketball on her own time and eventually becoming the No. 2 pick in the WNBA draft.

She left again nine years later, this time after spending the first four years of her professional career with the Chicago Sky.

.com has a preview and some X-Factors To Watch For.

ESPN says Improved Mystics offense could test Liberty

Newsday’s Mike Rose: Liberty hopes to stay hot Sunday in playoff game

The Liberty rolls into the playoffs as the WNBA’s hottest team with a 10-game winning streak.

One game, however, can change everything.

NY Post’s Marc Berman gives some guy named Thomas a lot of credit for this: Liberty could set franchise record as WNBA playoffs begin

“Ten in a row doesn’t really mean a whole lot except for playoff seeding,’’ Liberty coach and Thomas’ buddy Bill Laimbeer said. “In the one and done, you lose the next game and you’re out. Our players understand from last year the importance of one game.’’

In other news: The WNBA’s video game debut is a classic win-win. Publicity grab and all

We’re not surprised: Shocking But True: WNBA Has More Fans In Its 21st Season Than The NBA Had In Its 21st Season

While biding her time, The Lynx’s Seimone Augustus appreciates the good times

Brava: Liberty’s Tina Charles receives August WNBA Cares Community Assist Award

I have so many questions: Offseason to-do list: Dallas Wings need to bring Australian star Liz Cambage back to the WNBA

A different kind of ring: Notre Dame women’s basketball: Muffet McGraw takes rightful place in Naismith Hall of Fame and Pursuit of perfection leads Muffet McGraw to Naismith Hall of Fame and Hall Of Fame Ceremony: Muffet McGraw Speech

Joining her: Jeff Jacobs: From UConn To Springfield, Rebecca Lobo Always Had Her Hall Of Fame Family and Rebecca Lobo’s Incredible Journey to Basketball Royalty and From UConn legend to leading analyst, Rebecca Lobo gets call to Naismith Hall of Fame

Planning for Spain, anyone? Taurasi, Bird among 30 players invited to US training camp (and no Parker or Angel)

The Daily Citizen: Title IX 45 years later: ‘We have come a long way, baby’ (and then DeVos arrived)

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Pencils Down.

So, now the playoff seedings are set.

Minnesota finished with the league’s best record for the fifth time in seven years.

“That was crucial, getting the top seed,” Lynx center Sylvia Fowles said in a telephone interview Sunday. “We understood we made it hard for ourselves, but we came in and got those last three games.”

Mechelle writes: 

The Lynx aren’t the only team going into the playoffs with a full head of steam. So is defending champion Los Angeles, which is the No. 2 seed and, like Minnesota, has a double-bye into the best-of-five semifinals, which start Sept. 12. The Sparks (26-8) beat Connecticut 81-70 on Sunday for their seventh consecutive victory.

New York, the No. 3 seed at 22-12, is even hotter, having won 10 straight games. The Liberty will get a first-round bye along with Connecticut (21-13).

*all sing* Just in time, you came back just in time….”: Whalen will return to Lynx practice Wednesday

See you Wednesday – not you, Lindsay, YOU:

Dallas at Washington: (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Seattle at Phoenix: (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

Women’s watch: No playoff run for Sky, but teamwork showed 

Also: Sloot, there it is! Record holder for single-season assists average (8.1 APG)

Jump! From Tina Charles t o Jonquel Jones: “If anyone should break it, glad it’s this young phenom Congrats!” as Sun forward Jonquel Jones sets WNBA single-season rebound record


Two pathsTennessee chancellor Beverly Davenport ‘deeply values’ Lady Vols name and Tennessee Lady Vols are not boxed in by team unity issues

Tennessee isn’t thinking outside the box in terms of trying to forge a better sense of team unity within its women’s basketball program.

The Lady Vols have favored team-building exercises throughout coach Holly Warlick’s tenure, which is entering its sixth season.

This year is no different, except that they have been using more of these activities, assistant coach Dean Lockwood said last week. And one such activity revolved around what was inside the box.

Good job: UK basketball telethon raises $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief

No H8California’s travel regulations only a small complication for CSUB

The California state legislature has thrown a curveball to college athletic departments around the state, including that of Cal State Bakersfield.

On Jan. 1, regulations in Assembly Bill 1887 went into effect that significantly curtailed state-sponsored travel to states with laws considered discriminatory by the California legislature. 


Family more important than gold for paralympian

It wasn’t until her senior year in college at Doane that she discovered adaptive sports. After trying her hand at sitting volleyball, Schneider was asked how she felt about giving basketball a spin. Because she was still able to walk, she figured she was ineligible to play wheelchair basketball. Once she learned such wasn’t the case, a star was born.

“I started playing in the fall of 2005 and it just kind of took off,” she said.

Shortly after joining the Madonna Magic wheelchair basketball team, she added a second team representing the University of Arizona to her schedule. Her success with both programs led to a tryout with the 2008 USA Women’s paralympic team.

From the New Yorker: The Fight Over Women’s Basketball in Somalia

Aisha got her first call from the terrorists when she was fourteen. It was 2013, and she was at home, in Mogadishu, Somalia, when an unknown number appeared on her phone. She picked up. The man on the other end told her that Islam does not allow women to play sports, or to wear shirts and pants. It was immodest and indecent, he said. His voice was harsh and menacing. He told her that he was going to kill her if she didn’t stop playing basketball. The next day, another man called to say the same thing.

Aisha changed her phone number three times, but the calls kept coming, and she became convinced that someone at the mobile-phone company was giving out her contact information. After a while, Aisha began to argue with the callers, telling them that she was going to do whatever she wanted. When they threatened to kill her, she responded that only God was permitted to be in control of people’s souls. She was just a teen-age girl, but even she knew that—unlike these supposedly pious men.

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Snick. Snick. Sni….

Just like a good rainy day puzzle project, the complicated WNBA playoff picture is almost complete. And, just like when I did puzzles as a kid (and sometimes now), we’re clutching the last piece in our hand so we can be the “and it’s done” person. In the case of the W, we’re looking at Washington, Dallas and Seattle, New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Los Angeles…EVERYONE has a stake in today’s games. WOOT!!!!

PROGRAM NOTE: Wings v. Liberty is STREAMING. 2pmET: What the Dallas Wings have left to play for in season finale after clinching WNBA playoff spot

4pm:  Seeding on line for Sun, Sparks in finale

4pm: Phoenix/Atlanta – Dream end season against playoff-bound Mercury and Mercury can finish as WNBA No. 5 playoff seed with win Sunday

4pm: Washington/Minnesota – Preview: Lynx vs. Mystics

6pm: Seattle/Chicago – Sky, Storm go different ways after regular-season finale

Boogie Down, y’all: Gabrielle Union and the LA Sparks threw a locker-room dance party after a win

From Alana: Five Toughest to Guard

I used to always want to make the big play — the big steal, the big block. But great defense isn’t always flashy — it’s work. Unrelenting work. This year, Coach has reminded me of that. And that sometimes, players are going to make shots. That’s O.K., as long as I make it the toughest shot possible.

That’s been my mentality this year for the Sparks: Make every shot someone takes the hardest one they’ve ever taken.

Now, we’ve got the playoffs coming up and a championship to work toward. So, Players’ Tribune, you know I can’t give away all my secrets. But you asked for my list of the five toughest players to guard and I’m about the people.

Yes! Lynx’s success rewarded by WNBA with 2018 All-Star Game at Target Center

And counting: LI’s Sue Bird breaks WNBA career assists record. And yes, WNBA assists leader Sue Bird has always been consummate point guard

Seattle’s Sue Bird said one of the best compliments she has ever received came from one of her counterparts, Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot.

“She said, ‘When you’re off the court, I can tell there’s a difference. It’s not the same,’ ” Bird said. “Especially coming from a fellow point guard, that was really nice. Because when you’re on the court, you want to have a presence. To make your teammates feel at ease, more than anything.”

For 15 seasons in the WNBA, Bird has been doing just that for her teammates, and feeding them the ball as well. In fact, we officially can say now that no one in league history has done that better.

It’s been a tough, tough year – but there’s been no quit in San Antonio. Not unlike this kid: McBride closes WNBA season with big effort in San Antonio win

As expected: WNBA teams, players step up to help Texas after hurricane

Oh, and I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying: ‘I wouldn’t be here’ if it wasn’t for Tina Charles


Impressive: 3 years after she was shot, former Lincoln basketball star is going pro

“After I got shot, I was just reflecting on why I’m really playing basketball and why I’m really out here in these streets. I love basketball and I love making my family proud. I love them smiling and them talking about me playing the sport I love.”

Those tears were replaced with smiles on Aug. 16 when Bey was honored by the Jersey City City Council. Several key figures in her life, including Lincoln coach Tom Best, vice principal and Ward B Councilman Chris Gadsden and several others, talked about her accomplishments starting at Lincoln and continuing at both Monroe and Stetson University, where she played the last two seasons and earned a bachelor’s degree in digital arts.

But of course: Mississippi State Extends Women’s Basketball Head Coach Vic Schaefer’s Contract

Bye: Sophomore guard Bradshaw gone from Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks and lands in Dayton.

Awesome: Central Michigan’s Weston To Receive Lifetime Achievement Award I was fortunate enough to speak with Marcy about the early days of wbb officiating. REALLY interesting!

One of the practical challenges facing coaches and officials is the question of collegiality. Gone are the days when, recalled Weston, the two worlds mingled freely and officials all but donated their services. Schools saved money by having the officials ride the team bus, coaches all but picked their referees and thought nothing of going out for dinner after a game. “Did anyone say you cheated?” asks Weston. “No. They hired you because they thought you were the best around. They thought you were relatively fair, not perfect.”

A Congrats! that led to a WATN? Texas Tech inducted 10 into the South West Conferecnce Hall of Fame, including Alicia Thompson. She played for the Liberty, Fever and Storm., Now a teacher, started coaching at Lubbock High in 2015. From Feb 2016:

This has been a girls’ basketball season for the books; after going 3-4 in district and 9-18 overall, the varsity girls head into the playoffs for the first time in school history. This has also been a memorable year for first year head coach, Coach Thompson.

“Words cannot describe what it means to us as a team,” said Thompson. “It has been a phenomenal season, and it means so much for us to make history for this program and for Lubbock High.”

Speaking of WATN? Sammy Prahalis named head coach at Ward Melville

“Playing against Commack will be completely sick, but I’m super-excited about it,” said Prahalis, a six-year varsity starter for the Cougars from 2002-08. “This was the plan all along. To come back to Long Island and coach.”

Speaking of WATN-2?  Where Does Fake News Come From? Kate Starbird’s research on social media in the wake of disasters uncovers a web of disinformation.

@veteranstoday: Orlando nightclub shooting: Yet another false flag? — http://veteranstoday.com/2016/06/12/orlando/ looks like another PR extravaganza

This tweet links to a story claiming that law enforcement fabricated the report of a Muslim security guard who killed 49 people in June 2016 at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. The slayings were more likely carried out by professional assassins hired by the FBI, suggested the story, which was published on the website Veterans Today. The supposed motive: Muhammad Ali had just died, and authorities needed to counteract the positive PR his death had engendered for Islam.

“It made my hair stand up,” says Kate Starbird, ’97, an assistant professor of human centered design and engineering at the University of Washington.

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Just win, baby…

The final weekend of the regular season is like on of those restarts in racing after a crash – everyone’s jockeying for position, and it’s not clear where they’ll land (here are some thoughts and some other thoughts from Mechelle) SO: Just win, baby.

Congrats to Skylar and the Wings, who showed they don’t need an Australian to earn their first playoff spot since moving to Dallas. Honestly, there are times when I cheer for teams to win simply because it would be better for the league if they did. (That being said, I still think it would be better for the league if the Lib finally won a Championship.)

PROGRAMING NOTEWNBA And TIDAL To Live Stream Regular Season Finale Between New York Liberty And Dallas Wings

The WNBA and TIDAL, the global music and entertainment service, will livestream the first basketball event on the platform with the 2017 regular-season finale between the New York Liberty and the Dallas Wings on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 2 p.m. ET.

The groundbreaking video livestream will be available free to all fans on TIDAL.com/WNBA and the TIDAL App.

The Dallas Wings have dedicated the game to benefit Hurricane Harvey relief efforts by donating $1 for each ticket sold and have partnered with Dallas Women’s Foundation to support agencies across North Texas who are providing relief for impacted families. In addition, viewers watching the Texas-based game will be able to donate to Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief funds with the Red Cross and Dallas Women’s Foundation throughout the livestream.

ALSO: Griner, Mercury To Host ‘Sunday Is For Houston’

AND: The Ogwumike Sisters, Houston Cougars garner support for Hurricane Harvey Relief

Inside The W with Michelle Smith offers up: Regular Season Memories

The 2017 regular season is going to be remembered for the breakout of new, young talented players at nearly every position who are proving to be the league’s bright future.

It will be remembered for a veteran, championship team that set an early pace and forced everyone to try to keep up.

It will be remembered for the dominance of the towering post players.  It will be remembered because, well, it was memorable.

There were some moments that stand out among the rest. Here is what 2017 in the WNBA will be remembered for:

Here’s one player who will remember 2017 fondly: Jonquel Jones Is Rebounding Her Way Into WNBA History

Philly.com: The WNBA’s Natasha Cloud and a voice that carries

Somebody with a big voice, you can usually hear it. With former Cardinal O’Hara and St. Joseph’s star Natasha Cloud, you see it, even in a big WNBA arena, music blaring during a timeout, even when she’s injured, a hip injury coming right after a foot injury.

Who’s been the best? Here are some votes: Sparks duo leads espnW All-WNBA first team

Yes: Tiffany Jackson-Jones comes back from breast cancer to inspire defending WNBA champions

On one of the first road trips of the Los Angeles Sparks’ season, coach Brian Agler’s voice boomed across the locker room in Indiana.

He turned to veteran forward Tiffany Jackson-Jones with an out-of-nowhere request.

“Tiff,” he said. “Tell your story.”

A number of the older players on the team knew the outline of what they were about to hear — after all, the league is a small and close-knit community. Some of the rookies were hearing it for the first time. But because this was Jackson-Jones’ first year with the Sparks, none of her teammates really knew the full story of why she was suddenly gone from the league after the 2015 season.

Flashback: When the Houston Comets won the WNBA’s inaugural championship


There you are! Mizzou women’s basketball lands Gamecocks transfer

NCAA.com: Tennessee women’s basketball: Lady Vols’ Russell has no regrets about opting to return

Syracuse.com: After 4 years of college lacrosse, ex-CBA star joins Syracuse women’s basketball team


How Shao Ting upended the traditional path for Chinese basketball stars

Shao Ting is commonly acknowledged as China’s best female basketball player. Her resume tells the truth: Five-time CUBA (Chinese University Basketball Association) champion, three-time CUBS (Chinese University Basketball Super-league) champion, two-time WCBA (Women’s Chinese Basketball Association) champion and she’s the captain of the China national women’s basketball team.

Aside from being the only basketball player (male or female) who has won at all levels domestically in China, the 27-year-old, 6-foot forward is also a doctoral student at Beijing Normal University majoring in teacher’s education.

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