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Welp – I guess the cream of the West showed the Challengers of the East, huh?

Fare-the-well:  Inside The W with Michelle Smith

Swin Cash was on a conference call for the WNBA on Monday morning, talking with reporters in conjunction with Tuesday night’s nationally televised game between the Sparks and Liberty, which is an anniversary rematch of the first-ever WNBA game back in 1997.

She was, as always, a passionate, eloquent advocate for the league, a veteran spokeswoman for her team, and as it turns out, a soon-to-be-retiree.

Cash announced Tuesday morning via a personal essay for The Players Tribune that she will be ending her decorated WNBA career at the end of the 2016 season.

Social Reaction: Swin Cash’s Retirement

Film Room: Running Down a Dream

Candace Parker Provides Perfect Spark

Crap: Chicago Sky loses guard Laney to season-ending knee injury –

WATN? WNBA star Nicole (Ohlde) Johnson: Never give up

NCAA

“In the recent months, there have been accusations and false attacks made of my character and coaching,” Swoopes said in a statement released by a public relations firm. “I stand proudly in my values, actions and intent of representing the best interests for students — as athletes, but more importantly as individuals.

High/Middle School

Thank you : Master at his Craft: Longtime Collinsville Middle School girls basketball coach retires

After 30 years and more than 600 victories as a girls basketball coach at Collinsville Middle School, formerly North Junior High, Greg Craft is calling it a career.

Craft, 55, retired in May as a science teacher and coach. More than anything, he will miss the relationships he’s built with players during the last three decades, and it’s that aspect of retirement that has Craft not ready to completely say good-bye.

WBHOF

June Courteau first heard an official’s whistle while growing up in Minnesota, specifically when she exceeded the three-dribble limit during a high school physical education class. Her reaction was swift and pointed.

“I told the teacher ‘that’s stupid,’ ” she said.

Courteau undoubtedly has been on the other side of such a comment. She has 45 years worth of experience in officiating. She worked for decades on the court in the heat of the moment. She now oversees such work as the NCAA coordinator of officials.

It’s hard to separate Natalie Williams the basketball star from her volleyball alter ego. This weekend’s festivities in Knoxville will constitute a supreme effort in that regard.
Since she was on a basketball scholarship at UCLA, Williams considered herself to be a volleyball walk-on. She was a four-time All-American walk-on (1989-1992) who helped lead the Bruins to volleyball national championships in 1990 and 1991. She was the first woman to receive All-American honors in both sports in the same school year (1992-93).

Sherri Coale, in her own words
Summitt’s stand re-launched OU women’s basketball, and ignited a Hall of Fame coaching career
Friends and Foes: Conradt, Sharp Reflect on Coale
Sherri Coale has been model of consistency at Oklahoma

The AAU girls basketball tournaments that span age groups and take place throughout the country serve to promote the sport. They also honor and preserve the legacy of Bill Tipps.Eddie Clinton is involved with the AAU program in West Tennessee and benefitted from Tipps’ assistance as the organization’s national chair. Clinton saw firsthand Tipps’ people skills and diligence in action. “It was a labor of love for Bill,” Clinton said. “Whatever it took to build girls basketball, he wanted to do. Girls basketball would not be what it is today without Bill Tipps.

“We’re girls and we just want to have fun,” said 90-year-old Mary Wersells, the first girls’ basketball coach at Simeon High School as she reflected on the history of the sport.

Nearly four decades ago, Title IX was enforced which prohibited discrimination against female athletes. This opened the doors for pioneers in Chicago like Wersells and 81-year-old Narcissa Roberts, who became the first girls’ basketball coach at Corliss High School in 1973.

INTERNATIONAL
Library Additions: 
Rise and Fire by Shawn Fury. Writes Shawn:
The book basically traces the jump shot’s influence on the game from the time of its introduction to today’s dominance of the 3-pointer. But along the way I take a lot of detours and one chapter focuses on the 1968 Iowa girls title game. It featured the shooting exploits of Jeanette Olson and Denise Long. I write about both players and that famous game and then of course about Denise being drafted by the Warriors. It was my editor’s favorite chapter in the book and several reviews have noted it, including the Washington Post’s.
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(Thank you, Emily Langer, Washington Post) Nera White was an early superstar in the world of women’s basketball

“Did I have game?” Nera White once remarked. “You know that move Jordan made on the Lakers, switching the ball from one hand to the other? I was doing that in the ’50s.” 

White, who dominated women’s basketball in the 1950s and 1960s and who was widely regarded as one of the best players in the history of the sport, died April 13 at a hospital in Gallatin, Tennessee. She was 80.

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(Thank you, Mike Organ, The Tennessean) Basketball icon, Tennessee native Nera White dies

“Nera is probably the greatest athlete, man or woman, to come from this part of the country, certainly from this state,” said longtime Tennessean sports writer Jimmy Davy. “She probably did not get her due because she was a woman and women in athletics weren’t looked up to in her day like they are now. And Nera did not have a big ego. She kind of kept to herself and valued her privacy. She was a great, great softball player, but was more accomplished in basketball.”

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the first time this has happened on the recruiting trail. But “should” it?

From Clay at Full Court: Ohio State and Kevin McGuff know what matters most

the formula for the success the Ohio State University wants is simple: Win with talent.

So when McGuff hired Kelsey Mitchell’s dad Mark as an assistant coach, he made it clear to all that’s he serious about earning his salary, and that he will push the boundaries to get talent to Ohio State.

Now, Mitchell’s dad is a long-time, and very successful, boys’ high school coach, and he helped out with his twin daughters’ AAU team over the past few years, but there’s no way he was the most qualified person to fill out the Buckeye staff – except for his contribution to the gene pool.

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from HoopGurlz: Best Of Summer: Skills Edition

In addition to the bags under our eyes, what the travels confer upon us is a great sense of where the game of girls’ basketball sits today. It’s not much of a revelation to point out that players now are taller, faster and more athletic than ever before. Just watch the officials huff and puff to keep up with them. What we’re also seeing is an extraordinary climb in the game’s discernible, baseline skills. And, in keeping with ESPN HoopGurlz tradition, we present our annual systems check in the form of Best of Summer, version 2010. These, of course, is are not all-inclusive lists (though all alphabetized) but, as far and wide as we traveled this summer, we came as close as we ever have.

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He writes about Anne, Donna and Blaze: Women’s Basketball Pioneers Shepherd the Game Still

Today they are suits — pro basketball executives — but once upon a time they were kids, looking for a game.

They played their sport at the highest level of its time. Now their game keeps inching toward the rim, and they preside over it.

Donna Orender borrowed her father’s car in suburban Long Island. Didn’t tell him she was heading into the city for a game. Drove down a one-way street and lived to tell the tale. Now she is the president of the Women’s National Basketball Association

Thank you, sir Vecsey, for your appreciation of and advocacy for women’s sports.

If you enjoy his work, drop him a note an tell him so: geovec@nytimes.com

P.S. Ya wanna know more about that AAU game? Check out this article.

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some high school summer ball coverage: Girls basketball program adds to robust scene

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From the Orlando Sentinel: If you go to the AAU girls basketball tournaments = The AAU Girls Basketball National Championships and Super Showcase Series will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney through July 15.

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