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Well, well, well….

what do you think about THAT!

Was sneaking a peek at the Mystics-Lynx game and saw it was a blowout early (in favor of Minnesota). Walk over to chat with the dad for a bit, snuck another look… WOWZA!!!

For Washington Mystics rookie Myisha Hines-Allen, the wait was agonizing. The 21-year-old second-round draft pick out of Louisville had grown to expect double-doubles, because she notched 12 of them in her final 24 games for the Cardinals and 16 total during her senior season. She had 45 double-doubles in four years, which made her the active ACC career leader before she left school. In college, they were second nature. But the WNBA is a different beast.

“I was just like, ‘Ugh, when is it going to happen, when is it going to happen?’” Hines-Allen said Sunday, rolling her head back in frustration.

Welcome back! A little rusty, perhaps, but nice to have Parker able to play 27 minutes. That being said, channeling my inner db: “Go ahead, Chelsea. We see you!”

Candace Parker returns, helps Sparks get past Phoenix 80-72

Candace Parker almost had scored her first points of the 2018 WNBA season, but instead the ball clanked off the iron and got scooped up by the opposition. Parker fouled reaching for the ball.

Yet, as referees blew their whistles and paused Sunday’s game, Parker laughed, clapped and, yes, smiled on her way to a team huddle. Even though she missed that shot, Parker still had plenty to smile about.

Fly, eagle, fly! Dallas over the Dream.

 Burn, baby burn! Sun over the Fever.

BTW: Sun want to accomplish as much as they can before they’re gone

“Thanks for raining on our parade“!” Storm over Aces. Lotta points were scored, lotta people watched, and Sue Bird nailed the dagger as Seattle took down Las Vegas.
 Tuesday Games
Lynx v. Dream: Looking to Rebound v. Looking for a Home Win.
 Wings v. Westchester: Lookng to Make Statement v. Looking for a Win
Mystics v. Storm: Streak v. Undefeated Streak
In other news
Yo! To that non-reasearcing dude-lette in my twitter feed: Alabama HS makes gender-bending decision, hires woman to coach boys basketball
Listen up! Old friend, and friend of the game, Kris Gardener called me up and we a little talked a bit about a lot….
James Dolan and the New York Liberty – the roots of the WNBA – from subscriber to the demise of the Houston Comets – Helen’s background and the WNBA – the future of the Liberty and the WNBA – media coverage from back in the day to now – Adam Silver’s comments about the WNBA’s inability to attract young female viewers and a back story of the relationship of men and women watching athletics – NCAA teams (slowly) doing a better job promoting / connecting fans to the WNBA – Social media and the WNBA and the NCAA – ‘Final Four’ / ‘Women’s Final Four’; ‘basketball’ / ‘men’s basketball’ – Reminiscing when we first met (before Twitter) – Conclusion

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  • We’ve got a great crop of rookies in the league.
  • The BIGS are showing up.
  • Some W teams (and others) have really upped their twitter/social media game.
  • The WNBA.com still is amateur hour.. and btw @nike where are the jerseys?
  • The Westchester Liberty can draw 2,300. Who want’s to buy’em?

    A Curtain closed one end of the Westchester Building. 2315. There are a lot of issues. 4500 is the Max capacity. If there was demand, we would have seen 4500. This Venue is 35-40 Miles from MSG. Many told Alan Barcoff the Lib Fan they are not going to commute. They better figure something out long term.

  • Consider how good the play has been, in spite of injuries/MIA players. If you’re not a Liberty fan, this is going to be a fun season.

From Michelle: Inside the W: First Impressions

As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

With just a handful of days gone by in the 2018 WNBA regular season, those first impressions are forming around the league. To be clear, a first impression is far different than a final conclusion, but there are some early things worth noting as the schedule gets into full swing.

Articles

High Post Hoops WNBA Expansion Roundtable – not a lot new here, but actually having the discussion is part of the process. Wonder what current W owners are thinking (except Dolan. We know what he’s thinking.)

High Post: Drop Off: must see WNBA lineups in 2018, part 2

Think Progress’ Lindsay Gibbs: While the NFL cowers to Trump, the WNBA takes a stand

The way both leagues reacted to activism by its athletes — and to the election of Donald Trump a few month later — has come to define them. This week, the NFL unveiled a controversial new national anthem policy — without input from the players — which requires players to stand during the anthem if they choose to take the field during its performance, or else their team will be issued a fine. The league is trying to do all it can to prevent Trump from publicly attacking its policies on Twitter or at a rally; its making decisions out of fear, and out of a desire to suppress the voices of its athletes.

Meanwhile, the WNBA officially baked social activism into its brand when it unveiled the “Take a Seat, Take a Stand” campaign that donates a portion of every ticket sold to a group of charities that support women, the LGBTQ community, and efforts to end sexual assault.

New Haven Register: WNBA players weigh in after NFL passes new anthem rule

Before Thursday night’s WNBA game between Los Angeles and Connecticut at Mohegan Sun Arena, reigning WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks, who also happens to be the president of Women’s National Basketball Players Association, spoke to Hearst Connecticut Media about the issue.

“(WNBA players) have been at the forefront of a lot of social issues, our players have done a really good job of expressing themselves and work among themselves to be leaders in the community and I think the NFL players are trying to do the same thing,” Ogwumike said. “It is interesting to see the changes that they made and I think it calls to attention changes that might be made in other sports. We have discussed it as a union briefly just through small chats, nothing official but I don’t think there is ever an inappropriate place for players to effectively voice their opinions especially on social and political issues.”

Ogwumike said it is not only the prerogative of players to speak out on issues impact them and their community, but it is the mission of the WNBPA to encourage that to happen.

 Listen up! Around the Rim: LaChina Robinson and producer Terrika Foster-Brasby recap the excitement from the WNBA’s opening weekend including the Sparks’ win over the Lynx and Chelsea Gray’s performance in big moments. Plus, Liz Cambage of the Dallas Wings joins to discuss her return to the league.

Great news! Guards Kayla McBride, Kelsey Plum join Aces

Plum, the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 who averaged 8.5 points and shot 36.5 percent from 3-point as a rookie, seemed confident as she begins her second WNBA season.

“I think mentally I’m a different person. Overseas will do that to you,” she said. “Honestly, whatever comes my way, I’ll handle it. I expect things from myself, but I’d rather just play it on the court than say it.”

Courier-Journal: Louisville basketball could have another breakout rookie in the pros

When Hines-Allen checked in for the first time Thursday with 33.6 seconds left in the opening quarter, it set off a chain reaction.

As she stepped onto the court Louisville’s coaches raised their phones to chronicle the moment, nearly in unison with a group of nearby Cardinals fans who started the wave accompanied by a loud, “Woo!” 

Louisville coach Jeff Walz and most of his staff made the trip up I-65 to watch the latest Cardinal turned pro, staking out seats a couple rows behind the Mystics bench.

Yardbarker: Three questions with Kelsey Mitchell: How the No. 2 pick is adjusting to the WNBA

.com: Breanna Stewart to Wear, Auction Shoes to Benefit Sexual Assault Awareness and Resources on May 25

Breanna Stewart’s #MeToo story that ran in The Players’ Tribune on Oct. 30, 2017, caught fire on a national scale, bringing to life the toll and destruction that sexual abuse can have on anyone, even a young girl aspiring to be a professional athlete.

Now, Stewart is continuing to give back and raise awareness.

Listen up! Burn It All Down: The crew talks about Danica Patrick’s complicated legacy, and then they discuss how women’s sports leagues can continue to grow their audiences. Plus, interviews Holly Rowe ()!!

Listen up! The second part of the podcast this week is now live. We break down the opening weekend of the season for the Eastern Conference teams

For the Win: Why a group of WNBA, NBA players spent the offseason back in the classroom

Some game articles:

CanisHoopus: Lynx Finish Strong to Top Liberty

Awaiting Mel’s epistle on the travel adventures of getting out to Westchester…. and the game. We know Doug was there… anyone else? Oh, Hi, Rebecca: 

I don’t swear in the GNoD. I take pride in this. But this Westchester nonsense is really testing me. I got on the bus to White Plains at 3:40. We pulled out of the stop at 3:47. We made it to White Plains station a bit past 5:30. And that was followed up with a long, sweaty walk to the WCC. I am not a fan of this whole thing, and neither was the other Liberty fan on the bus. (She was sort of obvious, what with the seafoam green Liberty shirt, the Liberty backpack, the two Liberty bracelets, and the green and white sneakers.) There was a lot of swearing behind me when she was updating her friend on her status. I am hot, I am sweaty, I am annoyed, and I am somewhat hungry. (To my amusement and frustration, I ended up playing guide to a couple of other lost fans, because guess what? The way the STH were told to go from the train station to the WCC is closed and they didn’t provide alternate directions!)

Sonics Rising (Hope Ally’s ok) Seattle Storm rally from 14 down to win in OT 95-91 over the Chicago Sky and from the Daily Herald Storm work overtime to beat Chicago, 95-91

The Courier: Chiney Ogwumike gets 1st WNBA victory against sister as Chiney Ogwumike details her unreal schedule as an ESPN analyst and WNBA player

More stuff

Eight years ago, former WNBA player Valerie Still’s mother, Gwendolyn, unexpectedly died. Still, the leading rebounder and scorer in University of Kentucky basketball history, turned to writing to help cope with her mother’s death. 

“We lived in Camden, New Jersey, which is one of the poorest and crime-infested cities in the United States. My mother was raising 10 children and I don’t know how she did it besides having the spiritual fortitude,” Still told espnW. “Her spirituality kept her going. My mom didn’t leave us any monetary inheritance and yet every day I live by her philosophy. I’ve survived because of that.”

Still’s story, told in her new memoir, “Playing Black and Blue: Still I Rise,” which is out now, touches on her upbringing, her rise to basketball fame and the importance of understanding vulnerability.

NCAA

Please continue doing this: Blue Devils on the Hardwood WNBA Update and Huskies in the WNBA: Week One

Congrats! Mocs Announce Burrows as New Women’s Basketball Head Coach

GamecocksOnline: MY SIGNATURE: BIANCA CUEVAS-MOORE BLOWING UP

Two days later, I was at rehab, working with Brian on my knee, and my phone was blowing up.

I’m not on my phone during rehab, so I just thought it was my mother or Kiki and I could call them back. We finished working out, and I go look at the phone and just see a whole bunch of missed calls and texts. I see Coach Staley, Kiki, my mother. I knew it must be important.

I called Kiki first and she says, ‘Dawn wants you to come back.’

’bout time: Mizzou AD Sterk apologizes to South Carolina’s Staley, settles lawsuit

Doink: Jeff Walz banned one postseason game for criticizing Final Four calls

El Paso Times: UTEP’s huge women’s basketball recruiting class could transform program

 

When will the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajun women’s basketball team head to the NCAA Tournament?

My prediction is the 2019-2020 season, and I think I have pretty sound reasoning.

First, the next time the UL women head to the NCAA Tournament, it will be a big deal. The program has appeared in the NCAA Tournament only once before (2007), and has been through its share of lean years. Since Garry Brodhead became head coach prior to the 2012-2013 campaign however, Louisiana has gone on to unprecedented success.

Related news

An athlete accused her coach of sex abuse. Olympic officials stayed on the sideline.  Lawmakers choke back tears, scream at Olympic sport leaders for sex-abuse scandal

The tears and anger this time came from lawmakers who spent the day fuming over a growing sex-abuse problem in Olympic sports that leaders have taken too much time to solve while devoting too little money for the fixes.

“I just hope everyone here realizes the time to talk is over, and you need to walk your talk,” Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said Wednesday shortly after choking back tearswhile questioning leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Center for SafeSport.

Speaking of the Olympics: Check out Blue Star Media’s coverage of the U17 trials. 

Speaking of coverage: Where To Find Coverage Of Women’s Sports

Such an observation is consistent with academic research. As Cheryl Cooky, Michael Messner and Robin Nextrum have observed, the sports media has for decades focused less than 10% — and often less than 5% — of its coverage on women’s sports. This can be seen — as Kiley Kroh noted in summarizing this research — by looking at ESPN’s SportsCenter:

SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program, dedicated just 2 percent of its airtime to women’s sports in 2014, according to the report — a figure that has remained flat since 1999.

As noted, there really is no upward trend in the data. Coverage of women’s sports remains persistently low.

Although coverage is low, it doesn’t mean coverage is nonexistent. With a bit of searching one can find sites that are providing consistent coverage of the various women’s team sports. What follows is a very incomplete list of sites dedicated to women’s team sports (i.e. not the LPGA or WTA). Although incomplete, it should give fans of women’s sports a place to start.

 

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What a Basketball Buffet!

A little feast, a little famine, a little agita. Great way to spend a Sunday.

Sun v. Aces: After Las Vegas jumped out to an early lead, they folded.

Hartford Courant: Connecticut Sun Start Season Off With A Bang — A 101-65 Rout Of Aces

Forget about a slow start this season.

The Connecticut Sun lived up to the preseason hype of being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference, blowing out Las Vegas 101-65 Sunday afternoon in the season opener at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Day: Sun Rout Aces in Record Fashion

Bleacher Report: Las Vegas Aces Lose Franchise’s 1st-Ever Game in Historic Fashion vs. Sun

The Connecticut Sun didn’t exactly roll out the red carpet for the Las Vegas Aces in the Aces’ regular-season WNBA debut.

The Sun won 101-65, with the 36-point margin of victory the most ever during the WNBA’s opening weekend, according to Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN.com).

The Aces were without Kelsey Plum and Kayla McBride, both of whom are still playing overseas in Turkey. Moriah Jefferson is recovering from a knee injury as well, leaving Las Vegas down three of its top guards.

LV Review Journal (they hired John Altavilla, y’all!) Connecticut routs Aces in season-opener 101-65

Four months from now, the WNBA’s regular season will have wound down and there will be irrefutable evidence about whether this western shift from San Antonio to Las Vegas had a positive impact on last season’s worst league franchise.

But there was no sense getting ahead of things Sunday when the Las Vegas Aces, a team very much still in its evolutionary stage, made their debut against the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena

Mystics v. Fever: Tolliver was Tolliver-ing in a good way.

Washington Post: Elena Delle Donne finds other ways to contribute as Mystics beat Fever in opener, 82-75

The Washington Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne, by Coach Mike Thibault’s recollection, didn’t miss a shot for roughly 20 minutes during pregame warmups for Sunday’s season opener against the Indiana Fever.

“I’m thinking, ‘Boy, that’s a pretty good rhythm,’ ” Thibault said. “And then we ran the first play for her, and that didn’t go in, and then she air-balled one. I just think she was pressing a little bit.”

WTOP: Mystics take first step in season, take a stand

The Washington Mystics’ 2018 season opened Sunday at Capital One Arena in front of 7,400 enthusiastic fans, who cheered the home side to a near wire-to-wire, 82-75 victory over the Indiana Fever. While that attendance number is often an afterthought, a new leaguewide initiative by the WNBA means that in their home opener alone, the Mystics raised $37,000 for women and girls empowerment programs.

HPH: Takeaways: How Washington Mystics found success on a tough shooting night

Indy Star AP: Indiana Fever comeback falls short in season opener against Washington Mystics

Kristi Toliver hit four 3-pointers and finished with 16 points and Elena Delle Donne scored 13 with seven assists to help the Washington Mystics beat the Indiana Fever 82-75 on Sunday in the season opener for both teams. [Paging the fact-checker]

Intersting .com feature: Notes & Quotes: Mystics Stop Fever, 82-75

Wings v. Dream: Liz is impressive, yes, but clearly she’s not in shape. Maybe it won’t matter.

Dallas News: Wings’ blowout win over Atlanta offers glimpse at the dynamic duo Dallas dreamt of this offseason

A 37-point second quarter, a new franchise record, took control of the game for the Wings. Diggins-Smith’s 3 for 4 shooting from 3-point range opened up the floor for Cambage to operate down low. She started her scoring with a four-point play and finished with a game-high 25 points.

Cambage introduced herself to the 5,907 fans in attendance with an array of post moves that left the undersized Dream helpless in the paint.

CBS-DFW AP: Diggins-Smith & Cambage Lead Wings Past Dream 101-78 (at least they have some video)

Hashtag Basketball: Thoughts on the Dallas Wings home opener

HPH: Fouls were a problem in Atlanta Dream’s loss to Dallas Wings: Three Takeaways

The Dream played fast and aggressive — which was by Collen’s design — but often times they were undisciplined. Atlanta racked up 32 fouls, and each starter finished with at least four fouls. This threw off Collen’s rotation as she had to make some unplanned substitutions at key moments in the game.

“We couldn’t go with a natural rotation with (several players in) foul trouble. It was really hard to get into a rhythm of timing of subs,” Collen told The Crush SportsTalk. “… Every time I turned around I had an assistant telling me, ‘Oh, she’s got three, oh, she’s got four.’ … I definitely think that affected the rotation.”

Lynx v. Sparks: Minnesota spotted LA to a nice lead, fought back and… got Gray’ed out.

Mechelle: Chelsea Gray’s buzzer-beater leads Sparks past Lynx in WNBA Finals rematch

The Los Angeles Sparks entered Target Center to start their WNBA season Sunday with one true post player, but a large amount of moxie and some of the toughest defenders the league has had. The Minnesota Lynx came into the game after a ring ceremony that had flashy lights and indoor pyrotechnics, with the defending champions joyously welcomed back by a sellout crowd of 13,032.

The set-up was perfect: 

Star-Tribune: Chelsea Gray’s buzzer-beating layup sends Sparks over Lynx to spoil season opener

Down to one real post player in Nneka Ogwumike, the Sparks flooded the defensive zone, collapsing around Lynx center Sylvia Fowles, who scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds, but also six turnovers.

“They just kept flooding, flooding, flooding,” Reeve said. “And we botched every opportunity on the inside. So Syl couldn’t hold it. Syl didn’t have any poise. We forced it to her. Just dumb. Dumb basketball. How do you have that big an advantage and you can’t exploit it?”

Pioneer Press: Sparks beat Minnesota at buzzer to spoil Lynx’s celebratory season opener

SB Nation: The short-handed Sparks stunned the Lynx in season opener

LA Times AP:

“Chelsea is the game-winner queen,” said Odyssey Sims, who led the Sparks with 21 points. “I don’t know how she squeezed up and flipped it in. I still don’t believe. I don’t even know how, but it was amazing.”

CBS Minnesota: Lynx Fall To Sparks 77-76 In Intense Home Opener

SB Nation: Sparks vs. Lynx has everything a rivalry needs — and more

Bingo! The Lynx-Sparks rivalry will waste no time getting intense this time around

ESPN: WNBA BPI: What’s next for Sparks and Lynx?

Liberty v. Sky: Fun to see a good crowd supporting Chicago in their sweet new digs. The Q’s fourth quarter made sure they went home happy.

Chicago Daily Herald: Quigley leads team effort as Chicago Sky down Liberty

The Sky, which got points from all 10 players who entered the game and between 13 and 26 minutes from each one of them, is now 2-0 on the season after its win on the road in the season opener Saturday against the Indiana Fever.

“Tina was like, ‘you’ve got a whole new five (coming in)?'” said Faulkner, relaying Charles’ reaction when the Sky again subbed in a fresh five players. “We have fresh legs. (The other teams are worn out sometimes).”

Faulkner, who is back in the fold after missing all of last season with a knee injury, is loving the Sky’s new look.

WGN

It’s certainly not the first basketball game to be played in the venue. In fact, Wintrust Arena has been hosting games for over a half-a-year by this point.

But for the Chicago Sky, everything was new on Sunday night. It was their first regular season game in the venue which they will now call home after previously playing the bulk of their games at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

While time will tell how they’ll fare playing closer to the city that before, at least their first effort lived up to their new arena’s name.

Chicago Sun-Times AP

“I think I want to be aggressive all the time, it just happened to be in the fourth quarter this time,” Quigley said. “We talked about it in the locker room that we had 20 assists on 30 field goals, so the ball was moving and my teammates were finding me, so that’s [a good thing].”

Mercury v. Seattle: Dang, Griner looks good. And the West is gonna be some kind of tussle!

HeraldNet.com Staff & Wire Reports:

“I didn’t feel like we got out of the gate well,” Seattle coach Dan Hughes said. “That’s my responsibility, especially playing a team that’s (already) played a game.”

Brittney Griner had 29 points and 10 rebounds to help Phoenix hold off the Storm. Griner, who led the WNBA in scoring and blocks per game last season, shot 10-for-16 from the field and added four assists and three blocks.

Spokesman-Review AP: Mercury beat Storm 87-82 in Seattle’s WNBA season opener

Seattle Times: Storm rallies but can’t catch Mercury in season opener

“For us, we’re still getting comfortable and developing our identity as a team,” said Bird, who had five assists. “The thing that we’re going to hang our hat on as a team is still in the works. So for us to battle back and to make it a game where we had a chance that says a lot about our resilience.

Sonics Rising: Top 5 Takeaways from the Storm’s 87-82 loss to Phoenix

Sunday evening, the Seattle Storm opened up their 19th season of basketball in Seattle in front of a good crowd. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Mercury looked like a team that made the semi-finals last year and could make another run at a championship this year. Phoenix came out strong in the first quarter as the Storm struggled to make shots and the Mercury were hitting every wide-open shot. Phoenix went up 26-17 after one period of play and were up double-digits by half-time.

News

ESPN: 20 Questions: Diana Taurasi’s historic game, Arike Ogunbowale and Kobe Bryant friendship goals

247Sports: Kelsey Bone ready for WNBA season with new team

UConn Blog: WATCH: Interview With New York Liberty Rookie Kia Nurse

CBC.ca: Canada’s Kia Nurse impresses in WNBA debut

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Bill Laimbeer begins quest to build WNBA’s Aces into champion

New York Times: The Liberty, in Transition, Make a New Home in the Suburbs. I wonder how many journalists will make the trek out to Westchester…

Billboard: The LA Sparks’ Essence Carson Opens Up About Her Blossoming Music Career & Record Company Internship

Ben Dull, HPH: Drop Off: 22 (not so) bold predictions for the 2018 WNBA season

1. Renee Montgomery and Brittney Sykes will combine to hit 130 three-pointers

Neither player made 40 last season. Montgomery’s career high in makes (66) was set in 2010 with Connecticut.

2. Sky will rank in the top-four in offensive efficiency

(This comes with one obvious condition: The clock doesn’t start until Courtney Vandersloot returns.)

 

This team simply needs to take better care of the ball, and they need everybody else around Vandersloot / Allie Quigley / Stefanie Dolson to make their open three-pointers.

3. The first two off the bench for the Sun by season’s end will be Chiney Ogwumike and…Lexie Brown

NCAA

You stay put: Dayton announces contract extension for women’s coach Shauna Green

Bye: OSU women’s basketball: Kalmer leaving program

Quad City Times: Cyclone men, women face significant summer

Worcester Telegram: Globe Trotters: Several former area college athletes choose to pursue professional careers overseas

Good reading: Uncovering the Hidden Resistance History of Black Women Athlete – Professor Amira Rose Davis has uncovered a history of athletic resistance

Amira Rose Davis is an assistant professor of History at Penn State and co-host of the Burn it All Down podcast. We discuss groundbreaking research and her forthcoming book, Can’t Eat A Medal: The Lives and Labors of Black Women Athletes in the Age of Jim Crow. To listen to this entire interview, check out the latest Edge of Sports Podcast.

Dave Zirin: Can you speak how you were able to find your source materials and put together this rarely recorded history of black women athletes?

Amira Rose Davis: This is part of doing black women’s history, in general. There’s not going to be one intuitive place, so you have to get really creative. For me, I started looking at [HBCU] college programs. Black colleges have gems in their archives. There, I found scrapbooks and journals and sometimes you don’t find them in the papers of black women, but you have to look at black men who have daughters or wives and that’s where their papers are actually held. Then, I looked in those papers and you have documents where people are talking about trying to start competitive athletics at Fisk University in the 1920s. All of a sudden, you have all of these documents about college-age women in the 1920s who are saying, “Give us competitive sports. We want to play!”

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#WNBAALLDAY

And here I am, trying to be good and read the two theses siting on my desk….

A huge H/T to the fab BIAD pod/twitter feed for a gaggle of articles (Why aren’t these tagged so google finds them?):

Lindsay Gibbs, Yardbarker: Top 10 storylines for the 2018 WNBA season

The 2018 WNBA season launches on May 18, and it is shaping up to be a dynamite five months of basketball.

Exciting players like Angel McCoughtry and DeWanna Bonner have returned from a sabbatical and pregnancy, respectively; superstars such as Elena Delle Donne, Brittney Griner, Sylvia Fowles, Maya Moore, Tina Charles and Candace Parker look ready to build on their legendary careers; while up-and-comers such as Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart look to truly come into their own.

Honestly, it’s shaping up to be one of the most exciting WNBA seasons yet.
Here are 10 of the biggest storylines to watch this summer.

Jessica Luther, Complex: Skylar Diggins-Smith Wants the WNBA to Win: ‘You Can’t Be What You Can’t See’

Most would say that Skylar Diggins-Smith is competitive. But anyone who’s spent time with the Dallas Wings point guard knows that’s an understatement. She’s always going hard. It’s a Monday evening in Las Colinas, a suburb northwest of Dallas, and Diggins-Smith is bowling with a group of friends, which includes her husband, Daniel Smith—a former wide receiver at Notre Dame—and Wings head coach, Fred Williams. Growing up in South Bend, Indiana, “You either do skating or you bowl,” she says.

We’re in the VIP section of Pinstack, one of those all-in-one entertainment complexes where aside from bowling, you can climb a rock wall, ride in bumper cars, play arcade games, or drink at the bar. To start, Diggins-Smith and her husband play on separate air hockey tables because the newlyweds—who just celebrated their first wedding anniversary—decided it’s healthier for their relationship if they don’t compete against one another. But the habit is hard to break.

Mirin Fader, Bleacher Report: PUT SOME RESPECT ON CANDACE PARKER’S NAME: As she begins her 11th WNBA season, Candace Parker drops knowledge on what it’s like being an OG in the game with plenty left in the tank.

Say hello to the bad guy, they say I’m a bad guy / I come from the bottom but now I’m mad fly / They say I’m a menace, that’s the picture they paint / They say a lot about me, let me tell you what I ain’t.

Candace Parker loves Jay-Z’s “Say Hello.” She too has been labeled many things: egotistical, standoffish to the media, difficult to play with, settles for too many jumpers, is too intense and argues with the referees too much.

“A lot of people love her, and a lot of people on the court hate her because of how good she is, how talented she is, but also because of the confidence she exudes,” says Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike. “She’s very, very misunderstood.”

Ava Wallace, Washington Post: Monique Currie never really left Washington, but she’s changed on her return to Mystics

Monique Currie had almost made it to the end of her first media appearance back in a Washington Mystics jersey when guard Tayler Hillcut into the semicircle of reporters to ask for a selfie. Hill slung an arm around Currie, who immediately threw up a peace sign for the photo op before Hill skipped away. When the interview finished, Currie slapped low five with a passing Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and laughed with Coach-General Manager Mike Thibault.

On that morning this month, Currie was one of just two non-rookies milling about Capital One Arena who didn’t play for Washington last year; Thibault had added her and fifth-year pro Devereaux Peters as free agents during the offseason. But Currie didn’t seem like a newbie.

“D.C. has always been home,” she said.

More at B/R: Roundtable: Experts on What to Expect in the 2018 WNBA Season

You might be one of many fans lamenting the approach of a long summer with “no basketball,” but here’s the thing: There will be basketball. World-class basketball, in fact, courtesy of the ballers of the WNBA, who are tipping off the league’s 22nd season Friday.          

Start with 12 teams, a 34-game season, and one rivalry—the Los Angeles Sparks vs. Minnesota Lynx—that resulted in one of the highest-rated finalsever last year. Add stars such as Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, who’ve returned stateside after dominating overseas, and rookies such as A’ja Wilson, Azura Stevens and Jordin Canada, who are bringing the buzz from the NCAA tournament as they prepare to make their WNBA debuts. Now, all that’s left is to sort things out on the hardwood.

Lyndsey D’ArcAngelo, Them: The WNBA’s Most Outspoken Gender-Nonconforming Player Is Over Shame

Layshia Clarendon isn’t going to apologize for who she is. She’s come into her own as one of the WNBA’s only gender-nonconforming players, and her LGBTQ+ advocacy and raw authenticity is a rainbow that pierces through dark clouds of conformity in professional sports. In an interview with them., she says she isn’t going to “dim my light” in order to make other people more comfortable, no matter what. And she means it.

Clarendon’s identity as a gender-nonconforming individual, a devout Christian, a person of color, a lesbian, and a professional basketball player have all been diametrically tied to one another. And as she’s grown more confident in who she is, embracing every single part of herself along the way, her confidence on the basketball court has become paramount to her success.

Shea Serrano, The Ringer: The WNBA Season Is Tipping Off

The WNBA season starts Friday. That’s exciting because, among other things, (1) this past WNBA Finals, in which the Minnesota Lynx defeated the Los Angeles Sparks, was the highest-rated WNBA Finals in 14 years, which means things are trending upward; and also (2) this past NCAA women’s tournament produced the best, most electric, most suspenseful final three games of any basketball tournament in recent memory, and the buzz from that is still soaking the atmosphere, so let’s hurry up and get started here, is the thinking.

As such, maybe you (like me) are feeling like you want to spend more time watching WNBA games this season. But maybe you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of learning a new kind of game on the fly (like I was), and new game rules on the fly (like I was), and new game schemes and game tendencies and game actions and game reactions and game terminology on the fly (like I was). If that’s the case, then you can take the rest of this article as a CliffsNotes of sorts for the WNBA, because it’s different from the NBA, which I know because there’s an extra letter in it, which makes it different, because that’s how “different” works.

Michael Baumann, The Ringer: In A’ja Wilson, Las Vegas Could Finally Have a Superstar Athlete to Call Its Own

Wilson’s South Carolina teams were electrifying, but not in the fast-moving, dangerously beautiful way in which we usually use that word in sports. Last year’s Oregon team — with its fast-paced, outside-shooting-based offense — was traditionally electrifying. South Carolina basketball is electrifying in the “NOT ONLY WILL THIS KILL YOU, IT WILL HURT THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE DYING” sense of the word.

Last year, South Carolina finished third in the nation in free throw attempts, 10th in field goal percentage, third in blocked shots, and 26th in rebounding margin. It was, by contrast, tied for 238th out of 349 teams in made 3-pointers. Not only was this not Oregon-style, this wasn’t even the preppy, Disney movie bad-guy dominance of UConn — South Carolina was like a glacier, advancing slowly, and flattening the landscape in its path.

Tamryn Spruill, Swish Appeal: Basketball legend Diana Taurasi teams up with BodyArmor in ad honoring her greatness

So, what goals remain for a human who already has won it all? For starters, Taurasi is laser-focused on the minutiae — the individual stones that pave the path towards bigger things.

“I’ve said it a lot, where you go into a training camp and all you talk about is championships and you forget to do all the work and the next thing you know, you lose in the semifinals,” said Taurasi. “I think this team has put together a roster where we should compete for a championship and it should be talked about, to win a title. But that only happens when you do the work … when you show up every single day ready to play, and ready to compete, respecting your opponents.” 

Over at WomensHoopsWorld, Jim Clark takes a deep dive into the Sun.

The Sun went from a ninth-place league finish in 2016 to fourth last season, and sprinted into the playoffs for the first time in five years by winning 19 of their final 21 regular-season games. They scored an average 86 points per game, blistering some opponents – including the powerhouse Minnesota Lynx – to whom they gave their first loss.

The emergence of 6-6 center Jonquel Jones from “who?” into an All-Star was the most obvious difference-maker for Connecticut, as she averaged a double-double and led the league in rebounds all season long in her sophomore year.

Jones was not alone in her advancement, however. Both veteran point guard Jasmine Thomas and second-year guard Courtney Williams improved in nearly every statistical category, providing support for the brilliance of Jones and the rock-steady play of forward Alyssa Thomas. That core group can take the Sun back to the playoffs. The most enticing question, as the season begins, is how much impact the return of 2014 Rookie of the Year Chiney Ogwumike and top-three pick Morgan Tuck will have to elevate the Sun to truly elite status.

Sharon Shabazz adds: Sky view: Alaina Coates is ready for her rookie season and Joe Veyera has Newly-deep Storm looking to get back to winning ways

Also – if you aren’t checkin’ High Post Hoops, you’re missin’ out…

In other news….anyone noticing a pattern? Scandal after scandal focuses scrutiny on USC leadership, culture

As with Tyndall, USC chose not to report the physician to authorities when top administrators learned of misconduct allegations.

The scandals have many inside and outside the university asking how both doctors could have operated in such sensitive positions for so long and whether USC was more concerned with keeping the allegations of misconduct secret than trying to fully investigate them.

“It was an egregious violation of its societal responsibilities for USC to keep quiet about Dr. Tyndall’s misconduct,” said Nancy Jecker, a professor of bioethics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. “Far from remaining neutral, silence took sides with power and privilege while failing to safeguard vulnerable patients.”

#WNBAAllDay

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and stay in for some Sunday WNBA basketball…’cause EVERYBODY PLAYS!!!! (Get your twitter schedule here)

1pm Connecticut v Las Vegas:

Indiana v. Washington

3pm: Atlanta v. Dallas

5pm: Los Angeles v. Minnesota

7pm: Westchester v. Chicago

9pm: Phoenix v. Seattle

Until then:

The Fever were ahead. And then they were very much not. Indy Star’s Matthew Van Tryon: Young Indiana Fever team gets rude awakening in season-opener

Indiana Fever rookie and former IndyStar Miss Basketball Stephanie Mavunga took the microphone before the team’s season opener and thanked the crowd for coming to support the team, receiving a loud ovation. It was just another sign that the focal point of this team going forward will be its youth.

But an 82-64 loss to the Chicago Sky showed that there will be growing pains along the way.

From highlights the two main contributors in Chicago’s season-opening win against the Indiana Fever: Allie Quigley & Diamond DeShields.

BTW, from Babcok McGraw: As season opens, Chicago Sky will lean on its depth

“Depth is one thing that we have that few teams do,” Stocks said. “A lot of teams will have a seven-player rotation and I think we will be able to get productive minutes from 10 players every game.”

In fact, Stocks is so committed to playing a deep bench that she is already planning on a slightly unusual rotation that includes two sets of starters.

Hashtag Basketball has The Morning After: Mercury vs Wings

Jack Maloney at Medium: DeWanna Bonner shines, shows versatility in triumphant return to Mercury lineup

This season, however, the Mercury just might have what it takes to return to championship contention and prevent a three-match between the Sparks and Minnesota Lynx in the Finals. They made a number of nice moves this offseason to improve their team, but if they are able to get back to contender status, one of the main reasons why will be DeWanna Bonner. The lanky, versatile 6–4 forward is back in action after missing all of last season on maternity leave, and provides a much-needed boost on both ends of the floor.

Listen up: Hear Coach Thibault break down camp, the new season, the state of the WNBA.

From The Athletic – who should have the WNBA as one of the leagues they list on the “curate your reading” page – The Lynx-Sparks rivalry will waste no time getting intense this time around (bummer Parker is a scratch for the game)

When you are as intense as the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker, the thought of standing through a championship ring ceremony for the team you lost to in the WNBA Finals is an uncomfortable scenario.

When the WNBA unveiled its schedule in February with the Minnesota Lynx and Sparks meeting opening day at Target Center in a rematch of the past two WNBA Finals, Parker voiced her displeasure with the league:

Also: Extended Q&A with Cheryl Reeve on her future, balancing two roles and more

When The Athletic sat down with Lynx GM and coach Cheryl Reeve and assistant GM Clare Duwelius this offseason, a lot of ground was covered in the hour-long conversation.

The bulk of the chat served as the framework for a story on Tuesday that detailed Reeve’s efforts to keep the Lynx dynasty rolling and the newly structured front office setup with Duwelius as her right-hand woman.

There was a lot that had to be left on the cutting room floor. So here are some excerpts of the conversation on Reeve’s desire to one day get into ownership, her appetite to continue coaching and raising her family in Minnesota, edited for clarity and length.

Howard at the Athletic: Storm’s offseason additions could mean a return to WNBA’s elite

In other, related news: Michigan State Will Pay $500 Million to Abuse Victims. What Comes Next?

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Aaaaaaaand….we’re OFF!!

And Diana says, “Hello, remember me?” Familiar faces return, but familiar star Diana Taurasi leads Mercury past Wings

In a WNBA season opener that had some intriguing comeback stories — including the return of Dallas center Liz Cambage — the star of the game was that player who for so long has made defenses groan, “Ugh, she never goes away.”

Or as Phoenix’s DeWanna Bonner put it, “Still the GOAT — that’s exactly what she is.”

Jeff Metcalfe, AZ Central: Diana Taurasi hits 1,000th career 3-pointer in Mercury’s season-opening win

Now there is definite proof that it’s better to not play basketball with a wedding hangover.

The Phoenix Mercury tried that, not by choice, last season and managed all of 58 points in a 10-point loss to the Dallas Wings on the day after celebrating Diana Taurasi’s marriage to Penny Taylor.

Friday night, again against the Wings, the Mercury broke away in the third and fourth quarters for an 86-78 victory to kick off the WNBA’s 22nd season.

High Post: Brittney Griner and Liz Cambage duel to open the 2018 WNBA season

For Griner, the change may need to be more of a mental one. The Mercury have been grooming her to take Taurasi’s spot as the heart of the franchise and a leader in the locker room for two years now. She is getting more comfortable, but that fire flickers out from time to time.

The next adjustment will be to a force out of her control — WNBA officiating. Griner is an impossible player to call fairly, with length to interrupt every shot and strength to ignore defense played against her. At war with Cambage, Griner gave the referees no chance, sitting for large portions of the game in foul trouble.

Did you miss the game ’cause you were having dinner with your second cousins? NO WORRIES. Revisit it: Free Through 5/24: Watch Live WNBA Games

Post final cuts: Drop Off: tough roster decisions, value of versatile shooters

Appreciate all the concerns about the W having “too much talent” and needing more franchises. Thoughts:

  1. Let’s stabilize the following franchises first, shall we? New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas
  2. Let’s get in-person attendance up to 75% per team.
  3. Let’s get TV viewership up 20%
  4. Let’s get more games on TV.
  5. Let’s get online viewership up 20%
  6. Let’s see how many teams distribute minutes across their bench
  7. Then, let’s find business-savvy people with $15-20 million in their account who are ready to spend it and have a five-year plan

For the Win: WNBA rookie A’ja Wilson is just excited she doesn’t have to go to class after her 1st game

Love this woman: Scott D. Pierce: Still battling cancer, Utahn Holly Rowe gets a chance to call a WNBA game for ESPN

I’m such a sap: Delino DeShields and his sister, WNBA star Diamond, had an adorable embrace before Rangers

High Post Hoops offers: Top 20 WNBA players countdown, ranked for the 2018 season: Part 1

18 players have been waived in the past two days. More cuts are coming both today and tomorrow. Shaping a WNBA roster can be difficult for a variety of reasons.

Five teams in particular stand out.

Also: The Chosen Three: Indiana Fever 2018 team preview

Show them your money! WNBA extends deal with FanDuel, offers contest for Las Vegas trip as Bettors back Aces at long odds to win WNBA title

Need some help? Forbes: The Pareto Principle And Forecasting The WNBA

No surprise: Minnesota Lynx sit atop preseason AP WNBA power poll – again

.com: Race to MVP: Brittney Griner Leads Preseason Rankings

SportsTechie: WNBA President Lisa Borders Previews the Future of Women’s Basketball

Michelle Smith: Inside The W: 22 Questions Heading into the WNBA’s 22nd Season

SB Nation: 3 reasons to be stoked about the new WNBA season

.com: Preseason Power Rankings: Can Anyone Catch the Lynx and Sparks?

All the “stick to sports” fans are gonna be pissed. And I’m lovin’ it: The WNBA Is Starting a New Season—Of Activism—By Asking Fans to ‘Take a Stand’ and  The WNBA Is Standing With Planned Parenthood

The WNBA season opens tonight, and the league announced Thursday the “Take A Seat, Take A Stand” program; for each ticket purchased, the league will donate $5 to one of six organizations that focus on issues key to women’s lives—and one of those organizations is Planned Parenthood.

Given the history of activism with WNBA players, this isn’t the biggest surprise—but it’s still pretty significant.

With the new NIKE gear (almost) here, some food for thought: At Nike, Revolt Led by Women Leads to Exodus of Male Executives

For too many women, life inside Nike had turned toxic.

There were the staff outings that started at restaurants and ended at strip clubs. A supervisor who bragged about the condoms he carried in his backpack. A boss who tried to forcibly kiss a female subordinate, and another who referenced a staff member’s breasts in an email to her.

Then there were blunted career paths. Women were made to feel marginalized in meetings and were passed over for promotions. They were largely excluded from crucial divisions like basketball. When they complained to human resources, they said, they saw little or no evidence that bad behavior was being penalized.

Finally, fed up, a group of women inside Nike’s Beaverton, Ore., headquarters started a small revolt.

WBHOF

World’s largest basketball at Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame gets 80-gallon paint job

NCAA

East Bay Times: Cal athletic department employee fired after report verifies sex assault allegations

After a months-long investigation sparked by a star basketball player’s allegations of sexual assault, UC-Berkeley has fired a longtime ​official in its athletic department ​for conduct involving at least seven women athletes, bringing the university’s long struggles with sexual harassment into the #metoo era.​

Mohamed Muqtar, 61, who served as assistant director of student services, was ​let go​ May 11​, a story first reported by ESPN.​ It is not clear when the university was first informed of claims against him​; ESPN reported that a former Cal instructor said she had twice in the past raised concerns with the athletic department after hearing from female athletes but was told nothing could be done unless the athletes themselves came forward.

​Muqtar’s alleged behavior​, which involved no fewer than seven women athletes over 20 years, ​finally burst into the open in January when Layshia Clarendon, a standout guard at Cal who currently plays professionally in the WNBA, filed a civil suit that launched a four-month investigation.

Cool that the dean of CUNY’s School for Professional Studies and I were chatting about this: Lindsay Whalen Juggles Jobs as a W.N.B.A. Player and an N.C.A.A. Coach

Lindsay Whalen had already secured her legacy in the state of Minnesota.

She led the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team to a Final Four as a player, after growing up in Hutchinson, Minn., about an hour’s drive from campus. After a successful tenure with the Connecticut Sun, she returned to Minnesota in 2011 to join the Lynx, and served as point guard for four W.N.B.A. championship teams and two other trips to the finals, a vital cog in the most sustained success by any group in league history.

And yet there was a new reason to cheer this month when Whalen joined her teammates on “Minnesota Lynx Night” at Target Field before a Twins game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Just kidding! She’s back! Bianca Cuevas-Moore not leaving the Gamecocks after all

Long term planning: Women’s Basketball: Huskies set to face Vanderbilt in 2018 Hall of Fame Showcase

Building the Dam: 2018-2019 Oregon State Women’s Basketball: A Way Too Early Preview

WNDU TV: ND women’s basketball’s traveling trophy series kicks off in SB

Anonymous Eagle: Marquette Women’s Basketball Announces Addition Of Amanda Maqueia

Since the Marquette women’s basketball season ended in March, the Golden Eagles have undergone two somewhat unexpected departures. First, it was Myriama Smith-Traore announcing her decision to transfer, and then it was Olivia Moskari being a surprise additionto the senior tribute section at the end of season banquet.

That left head coach Carolyn Kieger with three open scholarships for this coming fall instead of the lone spot that was expected. On Tuesday, the team announced that they’ve filled one of those spots with junior college transfer Amanda Maqueia.

High School

Congrats! She’s good people: Talawanda High School names Mary Jo Huismann as its next girls’ basketball coach

The Talawanda Board of Education approved the hiring of the Ohio Basketball Hall-of-Famer and former longtime Mother of Mercy High School coach at its meeting.

“She is not only a proven winner but she also has knowledge of building a program and also has great leadership,” Talawanda Athletic Director Wes Cole told WCPO. “Those qualities stood out with our interview committee. We were looking for someone to build our entire program from the youth levels to high school.”

Huismann is just four wins from becoming the third Ohio high school girls’ basketball coach in history to win 700 career games, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association

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Bounce, bounce. Snip, snip.

Anxious times for all awaiting news of “cut” or “keep.” Thursday’s a comin’…

Las Vegas Review: Aces rookie center Ji-Su Park impresses with skill, enthusiasm

Check out   for their, “O, Canada!” tweets.

Rob Knox: Mississippi State Grad Victoria Vivians’ Rookie Debut Under Way With Indy

It hasn’t taken long for Indiana Fever rookie guard Victoria Vivians to find her way to one of Indianapolis’ best eating spots: A mouth-watering soul food restaurant called Country Kitchen.

“I had the fried catfish and the greens,” a smiling Vivians said prior to the Fever’s second preseason game against the Washington Mystics at the University of Delaware Saturday night. “Everything was good. Indianapolis is a great city and I am grateful to be there. I can’t wait to play there in front of the fans in an official game.”

Ciao! An Italian Economist From 1906 Helps Preview The WNBA East

Minnesota CBS local: Playing Horse With The WNBA Vet Who’s Never Made A 3-Pointer

Wings: Inside the Paint: Coach Taj

,com: 2018 Season Preview: Five Reasons To Watch The New York Liberty Work

espn: Just how far can every WNBA team go this season?

The 2018 WNBA season tips off Friday, and even those teams who didn’t make the playoffs last summer — Atlanta, Chicago, Indiana and Las Vegas (then in San Antonio) — have reasons to believe they can get back to the postseason. Minnesota and Los Angeles, the titans of the past two seasons, return enough talent to once again be favorites for the championship. But they aren’t guaranteed to make the WNBA Finals, as some other teams are hungry to get their shot at winning a title.

Here’s a look at what could be the best-case scenario for every WNBA squad in 2018 — and also what could be the worst case.

For the Win:Meet the mom behind the most successful family in women’s hoops

The Undefeated: Motherhood is the guiding light in Los Angeles Sparks Candace Parker’s life

NCAA

The State: Build that statue! A’ja Wilson receives a very special graduation present from USC

The sign sits on the edge of the desk, almost missed among an office — populated by books, binders, plaques and the like — your basic head basketball coach’s office. The sign, with its inscription, is quite adept at drawing the visitor in.
Teach. Love. Inspire.

The sign sits in Stephanie Gaitley’s office at Fordham. Interestingly, it almost perfectly sums up her three-plus decades as a head coach, a career that recently added MBWA Maggie Dixon Coach of the Year honors to an illustrious resume. This past season, Gaitley led the Rams to second-round WNIT appearance, furthering the winning culture she established upon her arrival in 2011.

Debbie Antonelli was in Indiana broadcasting a WNBA game when she got the call in early July 2011. It was from her friend Robin Pingeton, fresh off her first season as Missouri’s women’s basketball coach.

She probably wanted to talk about recruiting, Antonelli figured. Robin left a voicemail. She was in the hospital. She’d just had a baby.

BTW: Have you been paying attention, NCAA? USOC can’t just look ahead to better sex abuse prevention. It must face its failures.

Presumably, the leaders of the U.S. Olympic Committee don’t wake up in the morning saying, “I want to enable child molesters.” They don’t go to work every day intending to help peddle young women to sexual abusers. Yet somehow, the USOC became a victimizer of athletes instead of their protector.

It’s hard to say what’s more sickening to read, the graphic descriptions of coaches rubbing up against their young charges or the chronology of years-long inaction by USOC administrators that left athletes vulnerable.

 

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