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Notre Dame survived a post-big win let down, but it took overtime.

Connecticut failed to lose two games in a row for the zillionth time, but there was some serious butterfingers involved.

In the battle of the Reds, Rutgers gave Louisville a scare, but the Cardinals pulled away in OT.

The Longhorns started the year strong, but Big 12 competition is proving to be another matter. Newcomer to the Conference West Virginia wrangled them good, 53-49.

Seton Hall still doesn’t care their coach is leaving for the W. They take down the Bearcats, 64-56.

Stanford thought about it… and then said, no, we don’t want California to win.

The Buffs got back on track against Utah. The Cowgirls did, too.

Speaking of big cats, the Tigers aren’t going away: Rookie quintet making early contributions

Every season, there are always uncertainties about how the freshmen on a team will adjust to college-level play and the extent to which they will be able to contribute. For the five freshmen on the women’s basketball team, however, these questions have hardly been an issue. Despite the presence of a talented senior class, the freshmen quintet, consisting of guards Amanda Berntsen, Michelle Miller and Annie Tarakchian along with forwards Alex Wheatley and Taylor Williams, has received considerable playing time and provided an offensive boost in scoring and rebounding for the Tigers. The Class of 2016 has combined to score nearly a quarter of the Tigers’ total points so far this season, with each member averaging at least five minutes per game.

A full-strength Baylor continues their demolition of the opposition. This time, Iowa State.

Hmmm… UTEP looks to be strong again this year. We have to wait until Feb 7th for their game against Tulane.

Keeping an eye on Cal-Northridge and Fresno State — both still undefeated in conference play.

Nice check in from the “local paper” on Iowa’s freshman: Ex-Mainstreeter great acclimates to being a Hawkeye

No, it wasn’t the dreaded three letters: Stokes relieved injury not worse

Given the alternative, Ohio State women’s basketball team co-captain Amber Stokes didn’t complain yesterday about needing a pair of crutches to reach the practice gym in Value City Arena.

The fifth-year senior suffered a sprained left knee near the end of the first half on Sunday in a 79-73 loss to Illinois. The possibility that she had suffered a season-ending ligament tear crossed her mind.

Jim Massie at the Dispatch writes about Ohio State’s 0-2 Conference record: Buckeyes’ slow start must end with stops

Tough times for the Catamounts: Overwhelmed by the first-place women’s basketball team in the America East Conference, the University of Vermont suffered a 58-30 defeat to Boston University.

Still tough times for the Black Bears: Hartford hands University of Maine women’s basketball team 11th straight loss

Looks like Williams-Flournoy got outta the Big East when the going was good. Writes Mechelle: Coach Flo has plan for Auburn

Terri Williams-Flournoy had been here in Missouri before, but this was the first time in her new role as Auburn coach. In her 12-year apprenticeship as an assistant, she spent two seasons at Missouri State.

Williams-Flournoy — known as Coach Flo by her Tigers — has paid her dues in the profession she was practically born into. Part of a basketball family in Virginia that includes brother Boo Williams — he’s one of that state’s most influential youth hoops gurus — Williams-Flournoy climbed the coaching ladder with a purpose and a plan.

And now, she’s in her first season in what is a new era for the SEC. Pat Summitt is in an emeritus role at Tennessee, but not head coach of the Lady Vols for the first time since 1973.

Have you noticed? FSU women’s basketball quietly excelling – With recent winning ways, Seminoles may soon cast shadow on other sports

The women’s basketball team has silently tip-toed to a 12-2 record and have placed themselves among the game’s most elite programs. The Seminoles are No. 5 in the nation in scoring, averaging 82.3 points per game and their field goal percentage of 49 percent only trails Baylor and Connecticut, two perennial National Title contenders.

The .com says that Angel McCoughtry wants you to trust and believe.

Speaking of Angel, from Mechelle’s chat:

kevin (macon ga): Angel McCoughtry said on wnba.com that she had “nothing to do with the coaching change”. Should we believe her?

Mechelle Voepel: Maybe that means she actually wasn’t the one to call Marynell Meadors to tell her she was fired? :) Of course she had something to do with it. But, anyway, it’s water under the bridge now. Fred Williams is the Dream’s coach, and Angel will be back as his star player. These things happen in pro sports … look at the NBA and coach firings and players saying, “Oh, I had nothing to do with it!” Meadors, I believe, would still like to return in some capacity to the league, but if not, she’s had a long career in the sport with a lot of accomplishments. I feel bad for her that things ended in Atlanta as they did, though. She deserved better. Now Angel and Fred will have a revamped East – at least in terms of the new coaching hires – to deal with.

Congrats are in order: U.S. Men’s, Women’s Olympic Teams Honored By USA Basketball and Taurasi Is Named USA Basketball’s Top Female Athlete (sorry anti-tank-Merc fans)

Oops! WNBA’s Maya Moore’s Olympic Ring Stolen, Sold to Gold Buying Store and Phew! Man charged with selling ring stolen from WNBA player Maya Moore

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From Nate: WNBA Hollinger Power Rankings: What Happened To The Silver Stars?

From our Alien Friend:

Paying no heed to the opening Sunday of the NFL season, there were five WNBA games on the slate yesterday. But we’ll get to those in a moment – unusually, there’s been some moderately worthwhile news emerging from our league over the last 24 hours.

Firstly, as announced by Cindy Brunson at the WNBA’s Inspiring Women Luncheon (and then first reported by Mel Greenberg via @womhoopsguru), the WNBA draft lottery will be televised by ESPN for the first time on September 26th. That’s much earlier than they’ve held the lottery before, but it should help build some buzz for the league heading into the playoffs. The extra interest this year obviously surrounds the 2013 graduating class that’s led by Baylor center Brittney Griner, with Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins considered pretty nice consolation prizes. It’s good to see both the League and ESPN showing that they’re invested in coming up with new ways to draw people into the WNBA, and get them talking about its potential.

From Jayda: WNBA to honor U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team; other tidbits from historic London Games

OK. National media didn’t do its best job covering the afterglow of women’s achievements at the London Olympic Games. The Seattle Times did offer diaries and features about Olympians with Washington ties. And I blogged/tweeted about the entire women’s basketball tournament, including USA Basketball winning an unprecedented fifth consecutive gold medal.

Side note: I was up early watching the Russians and Turks. However, I rarely tweeted about those games because surnames like Palazoglu or Vodopyanova would gobble up Twitter’s allotted 140-characters.

You know what, all the talk of Phoenix “tanking” may be goofy, but it sure has put the WNBA out there in the twitter-sphere! Speaking of the Merc, from Ben: Seven Random Observations About the 2012 Mercury

Joan Nissen has more on the Lynx: Lynx offer glimpse into winners’ psyche

Seimone Augustus remembers winning a championship last October in Atlanta.

She remembers, but it’s blurry. She and her teammates talk about it sometimes still, here in the midst of their next title chase, but the details sometimes elude them. They’re too focused on the here and now, on Chicago and then Indiana and then Indiana again. They’re thinking about Los Angeles next week, then Phoenix and finally San Antonio.

The Lynx know what comes next. They know it like their lives depend on it, and they know how much they want what lies at the end.

From Clay at Full Court: WNBA MVP race wide open — fans’ vote may count for a lot

Once again, WNBA fans have a voice when it comes to the league’s MVP.

Granted, it’s not exactly a Kelly Clarkson-sized voice (41 other individuals will also fill out a ballot), but it’s a voice nonetheless. And on top of that, one lucky fan voter will get a free trip to one game in this fall’s WNBA Finals.

The on-line voting booth at http://www.wnba.com/mvpvote is open now, and will remain open until Sunday, Sept. 23, and of course, ballots can be cast from mobile phones as well as from more mundane, if not downright outdated, devices such as desktop computers.

Clay also offers up: Who’s lucky? And which WNBA teams are really good?

We all know luck plays a role – maybe a big role – in sports, and life, for that matter. But thanks to baseball stat wizard Bill James, it’s become a lot easier to determine just which teams are the luckiest in any given season.

James calls it the Pythagorean method, because he found he could approximate what a team’s expected winning percentage should be by creating a formula that involved squaring runs scored and runs allowed. The method also applies to other sports, though with modifications, and it’s based not just on some mathematical whim but by comparing past results to, in the WNBA’s case, points scored and points allowed.

With that lengthy preamble out of the way, we can look at the luckiest, and unluckiest, teams in the league based on how they’re performed in the win-loss column as opposed to the points scored-points allowed category.

Bob Corwin had this: Atlanta nightmare leads to Dream job for Fred Williams

Assistant coaches who are quietly going about their business rarely get much ink — that is, until something dramatic happens.

When Atlanta Dream head coach and general manager Marynell Meadors was fired Aug. 27, all of a sudden assistant coach Fred Williams was not only thrust into a complex dual role, but also found himself in the middle of the latest Angel McCoughtry controversy. Williams suspended McCoughtry briefly before re-instating her for Sunday’s game, but putting that ongoing saga aside, here’s a look at the new man in charge in Atlanta.

Kelly Kline adds this: January could be the difference in October

In the last 10 games, January has posted a handful of career bests including 22 points against Phoenix on Aug. 25 and eight assists against the Liberty on Aug. 30.  Fever coach Lin Dunn says the Arizona State grad is also delivering career-best performances on defense. “She may be the best defensive point guard in the league,” says Dunn. “I’m not sure who is better.  She’s going to guard Cappy, she’s going to guard Angel and Seimone.  She’s always going to get the chance to guard everybody’s best player, so that’s been a huge plus for us that we didn’t have last year.”

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and somewhat disappointing to witness, since I trekked out to Newark in the hope of a real game, not a one-sided blowout. Lib 80-zillion, Merc not-nearly-as-much. Oh, and surprise: another Phoenix player was injured.

The highlight of the game was watching Diana and Cappie chat post-game with their USA Basketball/WNBA coach, Anne Donovan. Said coach of the 2008 gold medal team, “I miss that group.”

On an interesting “behind the scenes” note: President of Madison Square Garden Sports Leaving Post.

O’Neil’s departure comes just as the Knicks are facing a new challenge for fans and corporate dollars in their home market, with the Nets moving to Brooklyn this fall. The need for a strong, creative voice on the business side has perhaps never been greater.

Scott was the gentleman with whom I had a long conversation a year and a half ago about why, after joining up in 1998, I was no longer a NY Liberty season subscriber. He tried to convince me that better times were coming for subscribers — that he was re-vamping from the inside out. I wasn’t convinced then (not sure I’m convinced now), but it’s hard to see his departure as a good thing for the Lib (a team not mentioned in the article).

In Atlanta, looks like Angel is on a bit of a mission after the ruckus: Lindsey Harding, Angel McCoughtry lead Dream past Fever.

Paul Neilsen writes a somewhat overwrought defense of Angel: McCoughtry no angel but public assassination is over the top

A little on Sophia from the Carribbean Journal: From St Vincent to the WNBA

A little somethin’ from Nneka: Life on the Road as a WNBA Star

From Jayda: Aussie to Aussie: Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson speaks with Tulsa’s Liz Cambage

From Michelle: DeWanna Bonner’s game blossoms

From Nate: 2012 WNBA Most Improved Player Rankings: How Much Better Has Kristi Toliver Been This Season?

And yes, I watched as the Sparks faded in the second half against Minnesota. Amelia knows why: Fans give the Lynx an edge – Seats fill fast, and Target Center has become one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play.

Speaking of which, Mechelle chatted today:

Sofia (Durham, NC): SASS has lost 3 straight. LA’s lost 3 straight, too. Which team’s fans should be more concerned? I say LA’s fans should be more concerned because I think SASS has looked ‘better’ in their losses. But I may be over-impressed by that great OT game against the Lynx. What do you think?

Mechelle Voepel: I tend to agree with you that the Sparks fans might be more concerned now. Not specifically because LA has lost three in a row, but because Candace Parker hasn’t seemed a dominating force since she returned from the Olympic break. Some games, her numbers have been “OK,” but not others. Furthermore, she doesn’t look as engaged as she needs to for the rest of the Sparks to build off of her. It seems like the Sparks’ defense is not sharp, and the offense is tilting a little too much to the perimeter, especially for a team with the weapons inside that the Sparks have. Maybe LA will finish the last two games of this road swing stronger and then play well as they finish the regular season at home. But there are reasons now for Sparks fans to be a little worried, I think.

The finals are set at the Paralympics:

A little revenge: Australia edge US to make basketball finals

British women’s basketball team lose to Germany

In other Olympic news:

Bruno’s Olympic Trilogy—Part Two: Memorable Moments Off the Court – DePaul Coach Will Always Remember Emotional Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and Part Three—Personal Reflections

In college news:

From Swish Appeal: NCAA Women’s Basketball Attendance: Winners and Losers for 2012

From Marquette: Five Big East newcomers will present different challenges on women’s side

From Missouri: Q&A with Robin Pingeton and The Rest Of The Story: Pingeton Q&A

From Champaign: Bollant’s up for challenge

From El Paso: Women’s basketball heads into challenging schedule

While there has been a lot of talk about the men’s basketball team – and for good reason, given the talented incoming class and the challenging schedule assembled by coach Tim Floyd – fans should also start getting excited about the women’s basketball campaign.

Head coach Keitha Adams has done a tremendous job of building the program into a consistent winner. UTEP boasts the best winning percentage of all league schools since joining Conference USA seven years ago, has the third-most victories among Division I programs in the state of Texas over the past six years, and has won a trio of C-USA crowns, the 2007-08 regular season and 2012 C-USA regular season and tournament.

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what with Angel making up for lost time and Big Syl returning to form.

The question for both teams is: what happens next game? As Nate asks: WNBA Hollinger Power Rankings: What Difference Might Angel McCoughtry Make For The Atlanta Dream?

The story is: Sun lose! Sparks lose! 

From Richard: Atlanta’s conquering heroine returns, while Sparks are exposed again

It’ll be interesting to see how LA fares against Minny tonight. Not particularly interested in the Sun/Mystics game, though. You?

Mechelle celebrates a good news story: Alana Beard finds fresh start in L.A.

The Los Angeles Sparks have experienced back-to-back defeats. Boo-hoo. Alana Beard, even more so than the average WNBA veteran, is not going to be fazed by such setbacks. When you’ve lost two seasons during the prime of your career, rebounding from losing two games doesn’t seem like much of a challenge.

Beard has been in the WNBA for nine seasons but been healthy enough to play for just seven. She celebrated her 30th birthday in May. Sometimes in recent years, the thought crept in her mind that perhaps she’d need to start her life’s fourth decade by submerging completely in a new career: that of the businesswoman she has long planned to be.

She is not one of those pro athletes who will wake up one day and say, “Oh, no! Now what?”

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and now she is gone for the season. Dream fans must be wanting to wake from this nightmare, opponents must be wiping their brow…and I wonder if coaches are asking, “Who’s running this Laurel and Hardy show, Laurel?”

Mel has some words on coach Meadors ‘ firing.

Mechelle does, too

In other news, the Shock might be looking at some seriously twin towers next year since it appear Cambage will not return as promised. Of course, considering how the no-return happened, it is just as likely we’ll never see Liz back in the States, no matter what the Shock say.

Mechelle’s got some words about this mess, too.

I’m feeling like some of the vets need to have a sit down with the youngsters and talk about professionalism.

And that I should never go to Canada during the WNBA season….

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Get fired the next: the Dream has a new coach.

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Unless, of course, you’re a Seattle fan. Wasn’t the return of LJ supposed to be a GOOD thing?

Hmmm… I guess if your winning streak is going to end, might as well have it end with a thumping. LA did the honors to SA, 101-77.  The LA Times can’t be bothered to notice, but SportsPageMagazine has this: Beard’s Return to Offensive Relevance No Accident

Taurasi is still still feeling the effects of something-or-other, and NY enjoyed her abscess… er, absence.

Could any team happier than Chicago to see Tulsa up next? ’cause boy, the Sky are in deep doo-doo. (McCoughtry mystery, while Dream pile on Sky’s misery) Of course, taking the Shock lightly would be a mistake.

Some of the shine is off tomorrow’s Dream-Lynx game on ESPN, what with Angel doubtful and everyone, including Mechelle, (Will she be in D.C.?) going WTH?

It’s fair to say if you’ve watched the interaction between the two since Meadors drafted McCoughtry out of Louisville with the overall No. 1 pick in 2009, you would surmise that the coach has tried to make allowances for the temperament and personality quirks of her star player.

McCoughtry is clearly one of the top women’s basketball players in the world. She’s so talented that at her best, she’s as valuable to her team as anyone in the league. But at least from the outside looking in, McCoughtry seems at times disengaged from those around her. Does she fully trust her teammates? Does she feel like she has to carry the load too much of the time, especially in critical situations? Or does she actually insist on doing that? Or does it depend on the day and whom you ask?

In other news:

From Lady Swish: JMU grad gets her own shot at Olympic Gold

Andrea Woodson-Smith has visions of bringing home Gold.

The James Madison graduate, a member of Team USA Women’s Paralympic Basketball team, is Olympic-bound on Thursday. The 2012 Paralympics  start Aug. 27 and conclude Sept. 8 in London. Queen Elizabeth will open the Games for only the second time in history.

From the Telegraph: London 2012 Paralympics: St Paul’s Cathedral hosts women’s wheelchair basketball

Follow the USA women at the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

Who’s got the No. 1 selling (WNBA, not USA ’cause, like, you can’t get one of those.) jersey?

Were are you going to be December 1, 2013: UConn, OSU to play Hall of Fame Challenge in 2013

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Louisville loves her: Angel’s legacy now trimmed in Olympic gold

It wasn’t until I noticed what happens around Angel McCoughtry when she returns to Louisville that I fully appreciated her place in the sports history of this city.

Watch her for very long and the little girls will start to congregate, eyes wide. She signs autographs, poses for pictures, talks to them, asks about their teams, what positions they play.

Even after WNBA road games, where McCoughtry’s fierce on-court demeanor has made her player-most-likely-to-be-booed at many destinations, she’s around for kids after the games.

But here in Louisville, where she played college basketball and transformed the University of Louisville women’s basketball from an up-and-coming program to what now is one of the top attendance programs in the sport at any level, she means something more.

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The .com offers an article and video interviews with the gold medal winners.

Someone from the Tennessean has: Ex-Lady Vol Parker helps U.S. women breeze to gold

From Women’s Basketball in France: London Olympic Basketball – USA take basketball to a new level

On the “impact” of these games: Women have shone in London, but glow won’t carry over beyond the Games

The women of America are winning. The women of America are fabulous. The women of America are seizing the Olympics by the throat, causing millions of television viewers to fall in love with their athletic prowess.

And with good cause. As of Saturday night, 67 percent of the United States’ gold medals here at London 2012 have been claimed by females.

So why is it, when the Games conclude Sunday night, all of that love will mysteriously vanish?

That is no wild prediction. That is a near certainty, based on history.

 

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available.

I mean, sheesh, if there were, someone might actually BUY an Angel jersey and, you know, wear it around, promoting the game and then, you know, people might actually get to know about US women’s basketball. Wouldn’t want that to happen.

I mean, LOOK at what’s happening in the UK with their women’s soccer team: Once banned, women’s soccer thriving at Olympics

The same historic venues that kept women off the field are seeing support ranging from decent to robust, topped by the 70,584 that watched Kelly Smith and Britain beat Brazil 1-0 at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday night, a record British crowd and the third-largest to watch a women’s game anywhere in the world.

“I think we’re breaking boundaries,” British forward Eniola Aluko said. “And the people who are in control of the game can recognize now that women’s football is essentially a sport. So get more people out to see us like this and it will grow.”

Wasn’t it better in the olden days?
In 1921, England’s Football Associationbanned women from playing soccer on Football League grounds because the game was deemed “quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”


In the US, two years later:
The WDNAAF holds its first conference. It attacks competitive athletics, especially basketball as being unhealthy and inappropriate. Concern that women’s scholastic athletics will begin to resemble men’s (quasi-professional, corrupt, promoting betting) they promote a “Sports for Sports sake” philosophy.
I appreciate how retro USA Basketball and their marketing partners are, don’t you?

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engine, it’s clear this team will be cookin’ with gas – ’cause the “second” team is rockin’ the house.

It’s likely “Las Segundas”  will eventually have their own struggles, and that the Bird-Parker (ooo, Jazz!) – Taurasi- Charles (uniform malfunction aside) and the (still hobbled)-Fowles quintet will find their rhythm, but whoever they put on the court, the US is a damn tough out. There’s just no drop off. Writes Doug: Depth leads U.S. women’s basketball team past Turkey

Coming off the bench is a new role for McCoughtry, who has started for almost her entire career since high school. It’s a role she thrives in.

“Honestly not starting has been the best thing for my career,” she said. “I’ve gained discipline and I think before I didn’t have the discipline. This took my game to another level.”

From USA Basketball: USA Women Remain Unbeaten With 89-58 Rout of Turkey the box and extra quotes.

The Baltimore Brew is proud: Another Baltimore Olympian to cheer for: Angel McCoughtry – A member of the 2012 U.S. women’s basketball team, she honed her skills at a city rec center

The other games: The Czech Republic, the US’s next opponent, finally got a win, taking down Croatia 89-70. Check out Lee’s discussion of why

with 1.6 seconds left in the game, the score stood at 89-70 in favor of the Czechs, when Croatia’s Anna Lelas turned the ball over on a traveling violation. But instead of simply inbounding and allowing time to expire, Czech coach Lubor Blazek called time out, and the television cameras that are ubiquitous in Olympic arenas showed him in the huddle drawing up a final play.

China downed Angola, 76-52.

It certainly ain’t pretty — and I’ve got to believe some Aussie fans are pulling out their hair, even if LJ is amongst the scoringest (all hail Janeth) — but the Opals managed to dispatch Brazil, 67-61. As for Brazilian fans? Something’s got to change…

Similar score — and the Brits must be so proud, even in their lossRussia 67, UK 61.

France squeaked by Canada, 64-60.

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in the world of sports and being “disrespected” can become a motivating factor for some.

I know that San Antonio has talked about needing to “earn respect,” but I’ve gotta believe their trip to New York may have added fuel to their fire. First, the NY Post called them the “Silver Spurs.” Then, the Liberty, in a classic example of  “attention to detail,” print game day roster cards identifying the day’s opponent as the “San Antonio Storm.”

I kid you not.

Needless to say, the three large SASS fan groups in attendance were not amused. They went home happy, though, as their team put on a lovely display of team basketball and exited the building with a win. What a pleasure it was to watch “Liberty mid-west” in action (Becky, Shameka, VJ).  Defensively, it’s a very opportunistic bunch. On offense, Hammon and Young are so in sync — it’s just a delight to watch. The hidden killer, though, was Jia Perkins. Girl was smokin’ she was so hot. And yes, Adams has range and a nice touch inside, but you have to wonder how long a career she’s going to have if she continues to carry the weight she’s carrying (and missing layups). I’m also guessin’ that SASS is probably the only W team NOT looking forward to the London 2012 pause. They’re on a roll, and who knows what happens to their momentum during the hiatus.

As for the Lib, they certainly played a prettier game than the one I witnessed against the (real) Storm, but they eventually ran out of legs. Literally and figuratively. Vaughn and Pierson are still in civvies, DeMaya’s one leg gave out on her mid-second half and Alex Montgomery sported a post-game knee-ice bag that was a the size of a good loaf of sourdough. And don’t look to Braxton for any help — she’s still so out of shape that she thinks she’s playing hockey — every two minutes she calls to the bench for a sub. It seems rather insulting to every other player that she’s taking up bench and cap space.

Yup, defense done well (and a missing Angel) can do ya in: LA smooshed the Dream.

Echoing the classic Monty Python line, “I got better.” Sue Bird scored 31 as the Seattle Storm stomped the Mercury.

In the most important game of the day, Tulsa took care of business in the second half and Washington looked to secure their fair share of draft ping pong balls: Shock 78, ‘stics 62.

Speaking of injuries, (Big) Becky’s strained calf means Wojta gets a week’s worth of work.

Two cranky coaches: one in D.C. and one in Chicago. I wonder if they’ll write each other a letter…

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And so pleased they did it in front of their fans.

Lynx lose! Lynx lose! Lynx lose!

You knew it was going to happen, but I don’t know that you would have guessed it was the other team in green that was going to be the team who did it.

Dream lose Angel, and then lose to Connecticut.

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  • Angel needs to violate team rules more often
  • The Mystics need to make a couple more adjustments and they’ll have that Dive action just right: get a lead, then lose it in dramatic fashion and have the opposition sink a last second basket. Who knew Catch and Katie would miss?
  • Maybe Fred underestimate Tulsa’s Diving skills?
  • Really, the less said about the Lib’s defense, the better. Building on a Mechelle tweet, they got UConned. There was a Kelley Cain sighting… and did you notice Peters’ box?
  • The Lynx give everyone an excuse to look up the old film “10” and call it research.

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A memory of Summitt’s No. 8

Note: Today, April 18, coach Pat Summitt moved into a new role at Tennessee – as head coach emeritus. She finishes with 1,098 victories, 18 trips to the NCAA Final Four, and eight NCAA titles. Here is a story I wrote for ESPN.com in 2008 after Summitt’s last championship game.

TAMPA, Fla. _ Remember the old “Schoolhouse Rock” tune?

“Figure eight as double four,
Figure four as half of eight,
If you skate, you would be great
If you could make a figure eight.”

Tennessee’s Pat Summitt has made a figure eight now as a basketball coach, but she’s never “skated” a day in her life. That got reinforced from her earliest consciousness, by parents she called “the hardest-working people I’ve ever known.”

The apple, as they say, didn’t fall far from the tree. Summitt – whose program now has eight NCAA titles after its 64-48 victory over Stanford on Tuesday _ is a long way from the farm girl who wondered if she’d ever measure up to her father’s unyielding standards.

Six of one for Team USA

I will say that at some point, folks really do need to trust that the committee/USA Basketball wants to do everything possible to win gold in London, and that that’s the bottom line for them. Not catering to Auriemma’s alumni party, as the critics will call it. Furthermore, Auriemma himself wants to do everything possible to win gold. He doesn’t want the United State’s Olympic winning streak – which dates back to the 1992 bronze-medal game in Barcelona – to end on his watch.

And while you could dub Team USA “Team UConn” for the Olympics, you could also name it the No. 1 Collection: seven of the players have been the top pick in the WNBA draft: Bird (’02), Taurasi (’04),  Seimone Augustus (’06), Parker (’08), Angel McCoughtry (’09), Charles (’10) and Moore (’11).

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Cynthia Cooper got an up-close and personal look at EDD and, notes Mel, she’s impressed:

Cooper-Dyke was asked if Delle Donne could fit into the league now if she made the jump and responded, “She was a pro two years ago. Oh, yeah. She’s absolutely ready.”

The Shock and Merc exchanged short point guards. The Rebkellians aren’t impressed.

The peeps in Minny are still enjoying their Championship.

Parker Q&As with the Huffington Post on On Her Favorite Destinations, Playing In Siberia & Traveling With Kids

From SlamOnline: Video: Behind the Scenes with Angel McCoughtry – The Atlanta Dream star gives an all access look to her upcoming music video.

Latta To Become Parkinson’s Ambassador – Tar Heel great to raise awareness of the disease nationally.

“My father and my grandmother live with Parkinson’s, so I have seen first-hand the effects that Parkinson’s can have on an individual and on a family. This experience drives me to help other families touched by the disease.”

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NBA Finals: The atomic bond of Angel McCoughtry

Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry will rarely shy away from a press opportunity. The leading scorer in the 2011 playoffs, who broke her own record for most points in a WNBA Finals game with 38 in game 2, draws attention and scrutiny from fans for her on-court persona. No matter what criticism is fired at her direction, McCoughtry would not earn a second straight opportunity to win a title without the chemistry she developed with teammates, particularly starting point guard Lindsey Harding. Harding, who was traded to Atlanta prior to the 2011 season, offers a lens rarely seen in press coverage that demonstrates the strong bond between the two. Watch the video to learn more.

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Mama Taj-less child? Lynx head to Atlanta in quest of a title but with a question at center

Reserve center Jessica Adair doesn’t believe she will be making the first postseason start of her WNBA career when the Lynx play Atlanta in Game 3 of the championship series tonight at Philips Arena.

The 6-foot-4 second-year player out of George Washington University is in standby mode as the Lynx determine whether starting center Taj McWilliams-Franklin will play after spraining her right knee in Wednesday night’s 101-95 victory over the Dream at Target Center.

The current word is “probable.”

Kris Willis at Peachtree Hoops writes:  Atlanta Dream Return Home Down 0-2 And Facing Elimination

Now it is also worth noting that Minnesota has seemed to crank up their defensive focus in the fourth quarter as it is not just simply a case of Atlanta struggling. The Lynx has a lot to do with those struggles. For two straight games in the series, Atlanta’s fourth quarter offense has broken down into a series of head down one-on-one isolations that has either led to a bad shot or a turnover. 

Angel McCoughtry has played well overall in both Games 1 & 2 but she is also the biggest culprit in this case. She is always going to draw extra defensive attention from whoever the Dream are playing and it has been no different in this series. Atlanta needs her to be aggressive but that aggressiveness needs to be channeled within the concept of the team’s offense. A great example was Minnesota’s use of Seimone Augustus in Game 2 down the stretch.

Oh, and fans better plan a little extra time to get to the sold out arena: Heavy traffic expected in Atlanta this weekend

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you don’t have to take any responsibility for:

  • your style of play
  • your opponent’s style of play
  • the quality of your play
  • the quality of your opponent’s play
  • the quality of your coaching
  • the quality of your opponent’s coaching
  • the quality of your teammates’ play

This is not to say that officials don’t impact a game, don’t make mistakes, don’t drive fans, players and coaches crazy. (Just ask the Arizona Cardinals.)

But jeez, louise! Atlanta had a not insignificant lead. They had De Souza back. Angel was playing out of out of her mind (and not Kobe-esque). Moore was playing like a rookie. Becky was playing quietly. Taj was hurting her knee…

But, for all of that, writes Charles Odum of the AP, the Dream must now try to avoid being swept by Lynx in finals

The free-throw line was not kind to the Atlanta Dreamin their Game 2 WNBA finals loss in Minnesota.

The Lynx were sent to the line so many times Atlanta’s players and coach cried foul. But the Dream couldn’t blame the officials for their poor free-throw shooting which left them on the brink of being swept in the league championship series for the second straight year.

This, in spite of Angel continuing her record-setting ways and because Augustus wasn’t letting a win slip away.

“I’m just glad the people are here,” said Augustus. “Chanting M-V-P is a great thing, but we all know who the MVP is, that’s Tamika Catchings [from the Indiana Fever]. She’s a wonderful person and wonderful player. I just want to get the Title. That’s what’s in front of me right now. The MVP Award is over and done. You can talk about the WNBA Finals MVP but that’s none of my concern. I want the Title! That’s it!”

So, now the Minnesota Lynx are on threshold of WNBA title with 2-0 lead over Dream

If the Minnesota Lynx bid adieu to Target Center for the final time in 2011, they did so in a dramatic way.

They got beat up, but fought back.

They fell behind often, but rallied.

They made their free throws, many of them.

And suddenly, they find themselves one victory from a WNBA championship.

Yes, Augustus was incredible, but the difference maker was, as Mechelle puts it, the team effort that helped the Lynx rally past Dream

There are times when the Minnesota Lynx are just about spent in practice, ready to call it a day. But they don’t. That’s often when the men’s squad that works with the team is going all-out to beat up on the Lynx.

Minnesota veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin thinks that might be as good a reason as any for why the Lynx have thrived in the fourth quarter at the WNBA Finals. Just as was the case in the opener, Game 2 came down to the Lynx rallying and then putting their stamp on the last 10 minutes.

“We play situations in practice for the fourth quarter,” McWilliams-Franklin said. “So at the end of games, we always have another gear we can go to.”

About that fourth quarter: One ‘W’ from a WNBA title, winning is what the Lynx do best

For three quarters of the feel-good second game of the feel-good series of the feel-good season, everybody felt bad.

The Atlanta Dream were all over the Lynx, threatening to knot the WNBA Finals at 1-1 and give those in attendance a collective spasm. Everything appeared to be ruined. The fans at Target Center came to pay their final respects to the Lynx, who would certainly go on to clinch the championship in Atlanta.

Then everyone would gather again for the parade.

It just wasn’t happening on the court for the longest time. But the Lynx do have a knack for fourth-quarter histrionics.

Yup, the Lynx owner is enjoying the team’s success

A packed Target Center, a deafening crowd, the toughest ticket in town, “welcome” to ladies night. Game two of the WNBA finals with the Lynx hosting the Atlanta Dream.

Who would have thought a team that had never come this far and never played to these kinds of crowds could do it? The man who brought them here, Glen Taylor, did.

Michelle Smith writes for the Pac-no longer 10: Wiggins Looks To Be WNBA Champion

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Mechelle has a couple of pieces: Rebekkah Brunson’s 26 points lead Lynx

Rebekkah Brunson was leaning over a trash can, coughing, in the Minnesota Lynx’s locker room. She suggested somebody else go do a postgame interview, as she was still kind of catching her breath.

Sorry, she was told, it has to be you. You were just too good.

Indeed she was, and so were the Lynx. They defeated Atlanta Dream 88-74 before a crowd of 15,258 at Target Center, a place that in most years past was dormant during WNBA playoff time.

Dream will regroup for Game 2: Erika de Souza is expected back, which means Atlanta can return to its usual lineup

Angel McCoughtry has been sliding over to the power forward position in Atlanta’s starting lineup while center Erika de Souza is away. McCoughtry, 6-foot-1 and lean, jokingly said she’s been trying to bulk up with shakes and other forms of protein to give her more strength to handle the pounding inside.

“But as many times as I go to the bathroom before a game, it doesn’t work,” McCoughtry said.

That might qualify as too much information, but the fact that it was said in such a mirthful tone indicates the feeling the Dream had about their 88-74 Game 1 loss Sunday in the WNBA Finals.

Local Tim Leighton headlines his story: Lynx close with a rush to take 1-0 series lead over Dream in WNBA Finals

Atlanta bloodied the noses of the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

It was a rare occurrence for the Lynx, who dominated the WNBA this season in almost bully-like fashion. While the Lynx staggered at times, being on the wrong end of a fistfight stirred something very familiar.

It opened their eyes.

It motivated them.

It sent them on a spree that KO’d the Dream.

At espnW, Michelle writes: Minnesota proves its appeal in Game 1 win

If WNBA president Laurel Richie could bottle the energy, passion and genuine enthusiasm the fans in Minnesota have shown for the Lynx, surely she would.

Heck, if she could grab some of their ticket sales to spread around, she’d do that, too.

Marney Gelner of Fox Sports North noted the Electric atmosphere for Lynx win

Bob Sansevere picks up on an oft played theme:  Lynx give local sports fans a rare reason to cheer

You can bet the crowd was into it, yelling, clapping, dancing, waving those pompons and having the kind of grand time not enjoyed by fans of the Vikings, Gophers, etc.

Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian, a stranger to cheers, went to his Twitter account during halftime to tweet that he was at the Lynx game, posting a classy note, “Love the support (they) get Minnesota.”

The support is there because the success is there.

I wonder how many of the local press are flying to Atlanta?

As for Atlanta, with the return of Erika, the AJC notes: Dream center gets attention

Getting from Neiva, Colombia to Minneapolis isn’t the easiest journey. And the Atlanta Dreamcan’t wait for Erika de Souza’s 3,100-plus mile trip from South America to be complete.

Because while the Dream was losing Game 1 of the WNBA Finals to the Minnesota Lynx, de Souza was on her way back from leading Brazil to the championship of the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship. While Brazil earned a spot in the 2012 London Olympics with the victory, the Dream missed its 6-5 center.

It was funny how some writers got their knickers all in a twist because de Souza chose her National Team over her WNBA team. They want the W to put its foot down and “Choose us, damn it!”

Pshaw, I say. If an American made that choice, she’d be saluted for putting her country’s honor and prestige first.

Besides, if a team wants to allow a player that choice, it’s certainly in their right. Atlanta could have dumped her, just like NY chose to dump McCarville.

I’m not sure why people think the League should tell teams how they should or shouldn’t make their personnel decisions. Especially since, no matter how much writers whine about the calendar and its challenges, it’s the calendar we have.

Players are in a tough situation. Teams are in a tough situation. Giving ultimatums may just cut a nose off to spite the face.

And, what about this? Perhaps being flexible will provide the Dream with the boost that makes the difference in these Finals.

That could turn the whine into something sweet.

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you know it was a kick butt game when the AP reporter gets all descriptive and myth-busting (even though the NYTimes has since edited the initial online version of the game article):

For those who say the women’s game lacks everything that makes the sport great — athleticism, shot-making and competitive fire — Game 1 will not help them make their case. Maya Moore’s sensational reverse layup, a scoop shot that started from clear on the other side of the rim, got the Lynx started on a third-quarter surge that got them back into the game.

On the other end, McCoughtry was simply unstoppable, hitting a incredible array of jumpers from odd angles all over the floor, blocking shots and forcing steals to keep her team from faltering.

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From S.I.’s

Andrew Lawrence: McCoughtry, Dream’s bid for WNBA crown runs through league’s best

Angel McCoughtry wants a White House meeting with the president and her freshly won championship to be the main item on the agenda.

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Richard’s (cue the reverb) WNBA Finals Mega-Preview Part 1: The Floor Generals – Whalen vs. Harding

This year’s WNBA Finals feature two of the best – but two rather different – starting point guards. Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen had the superior regular season. Unusually for a point, she’s strong and physical rather than small and quick. She uses her body and her strength to hold players off when she penetrates, and to finish plays at the basket even through contact.

As with all the best point guards, she’s also a game manager, finding the right player at the right time in half court sets. Typically for Minnesota that means feeding Augustus or Moore on the wing for shots in rhythm, but she also knows when her team needs to be focussing on forcing the ball inside or when they need her to create something herself. Along with Augustus and Moore she’s also been part of an exciting three-pronged fastbreak attack this season, all three capable of leading or finishing the break. She led the league in assists this year, but also put up far and away the best shooting numbers of her career (over 50% from the floor, and over 40% from three-point range, the first time she’s managed either of those feats). She’s Cheryl Reeve’s brain on the floor and she’s had an exceptional season.

Mega-Preview (Cue more reverb) Part 2: The Scorers – Augustus vs. McCoughtry

As with the point guards, the leading scorers for this year’s WNBA Finalists are both very effective, but in very different ways. After all her injury troubles, Seimone Augustus has been back to something very close to her best this season for Minnesota. She may not be quite as quick as she once was, but her game was never based around being the fastest player on the floor. It’s all about that pretty jump shot, and her ability to rise up and hit it at a moment’s notice from anywhere on the floor. For someone who takes the vast majority of her shots from mid-range or deeper, shooting over 50% from the floor this season is a remarkable achievement. She was also over 40% from three-point range, a number that McCoughtry probably doesn’t even reach in her dreams. Much of Minnesota’s offense revolves around running Augustus off baseline cuts and multiple screens to create shooting opportunities for her, and with accuracy like that you can see why. She’s simply one of the greatest shooters the women’s game has ever seen.

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and Angel was Moriarty?

From the AP report:

Angel McCoughtry embraced her role as villain, constantly taunting Indiana’s fans while carrying her team to the WNBA finals.

Meanwhile, Indiana can only imagine “what might have been.” From the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz: Catchings plays tough, but not that well

Tamika Catchings sat alone at her corner locker stall, a distant look in her eye, her season, the Indiana Fever’s season, finished for the winter.

“I don’t know,” she said with a sigh. “Maybe me playing, maybe I hurt us more than I helped us.”

She paused.

“I don’t know.”

From Mechelle: Adversity, injury strike Catchings again – Fever star scored six points on 2-of-6 shooting, with five boards, in 24 minutes

Tamika Catchings has been through this before. Wow, has she ever.

Nate writes: Atlanta Dream, Minnesota Lynx Have Both Improved Since Regular Season Series

Well, that was quite a statement the Atlanta Dream made tonight.

With their 83-67 rout of the Indiana Fever in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Finals at Conseco Fieldhouse, the Dream advanced to their second consecutive WNBA Finals.

Somebody will get a franchise-first championship and have a compelling story to go along with it.

And while the Lynx are probably a reasonable favorite at this point, it’s hard anoint them champions just yet.

Of the upcoming Finals, one Michelle writes Atlanta takes aim at league giant in Lynx, and the other Mechelle writes: Dream, Lynx seek first title – From trio of MVP-worthy players to athletic rosters, Finals packed with star power

…the Dream’s mission is the same as it was last year: Beat the team that had the best record in the regular season. Atlanta couldn’t do it in 2010, getting swept by Seattle in three very close games. Can the Dream do it this time?

“We’ve got to find a way,” Dream star Angel McCoughtry said Tuesday after Atlanta’s 83-67 Game 3 victory over Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals. “We are used to having obstacles in our way, bumps in the road. We’re going to keep on driving.”

Over at nba.com, Shaun Powell writes: Patience and perseverance pay off for Finals-bound Lynx

It’s quite possible that, of all the slights and insults hurled at the Timberwolves lately, “playing like females” probably was uttered or tweeted once or twice at some point. Although right now, that would be high praise, and maybe even a goal, for the No. 2 professional basketball team in town.

As for the No. 1 team? That’s the Lynx, who are giving the Twin Cities a type of team they haven’t seen since George Mikan laced up Converse hi-tops.

Jeff Fecke at the Twin Cities Daily Planet writes: A Minnesota team that wins: No, this is not an oxymoron

…we’ve seen Vikings teams go 15-1 and come up short, seen the Timberwolves roll to the best record in the NBA and come up short. That scarred part of the Minnesota sports fan’s soul had to expect disaster (and still does, in the Finals). But for once, a Minnesota team had a chance to get to the championship, and took it. The Lynx will play for the WNBA title. They’ve given themselves a shot. And for victory-starved Minnesota sports fans, it’s about damn time.

BTW: Wolves president, new coach donate 2,000 tickets to WNBA finals

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Richard fills in the void: Top seeds defend home court in contrasting fashion

With Catchings and Douglas both having mediocre offensive nights, the Fever were fortunate that some of their supporting players decided to show up for this game. Zellous off the bench continued to add her driving and aggressive mentality to the mix, while Tangela Smith was firing away from outside and hitting more than she missed. Early in the game it was McCoughtry leaving her far too open, attracted to the ball when she should’ve stayed home with Smith on the perimeter. Later it was the post players, used to their assignments to close down the paint, and unable to rotate out quickly enough to close down the space and challenge Smith’s shots. It was almost like she was playing the Tina Charles role from the previous series – except Smith wants to be out there, and you need to worry about her beyond the three-point line. Already with 15 points (3-5 from beyond the arc), Smith continued to punish the Dream in the fourth quarter. She hit another three to take the Fever lead to 63-59, and yet another to stretch it to 68-62 with five minutes to play – at some stage, Atlanta were probably going to have to pay some attention to her out there.

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What’s the Tavares song?

Atlanta, must be missin’ an Angel.”

Writes Mechelle: Dream don’t waste time with excuses – Atlanta needs a big game from Angel McCoughtry, who was in foul trouble in Game 1

It was difficult for the Atlanta Dream to talk much about Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals without saying stuff they knew they weren’t supposed to say.

We’ll give you a big hint, though: Their lament involved somebody who played only 17½ minutes in the Dream’s 82-74 loss to Indiana on Thursday night at Conseco Fieldhouse.

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Both home teams won, putting each just this close to the Finals.

In Minnesota, the mayors are getting into some fun smack talk, but it was Phoenix that was smacked around. Writes Jim Souhan at the Star Tribune:

Then, on Thursday, [Glen Taylor] got to watch the most dominant playoff performance by a Minnesota basketball team since Kevin Garnett was jumping onto scorers’ tables.The Lynx beat the Phoenix Mercury 95-67 at Target Center, for the first time in four playoff games this season demonstrating just how dominant this team could and should be.

That’s 95 points in 40 minutes for a team that doesn’t benefit from the automatic baskets known as dunks. It’s hard to score 95 points in 40 minutes in a layup line. The Lynx did it in its first appearance in the Western Conference finals.

Coach Gaines recommends fans and other such folks not get ahead of themselves:

“It is one game, we’ve been there, done that,” said Mercury coach Corey Gaines, referring not only tp the Seattle series but championship runs in 2007 and 2009. “We didn’t play well, it happens. Are you guys writing us off?”

Oh, and do you agree with Richard’s tweet? Hilarious listening to Geno say the same stuff we say on boards to a national TV audience. And Ward and Lobo stunned into silence :).

In Indy, Dunn was fined for her comments about the officiating, but it may be Angel who may be wondering what the heck happened: it took her 17 minutes to foul out.

(WHB note: Now, someone I love and respect recently suggested I love officials.

I don’t, per se. I know they make mistakes. And I certainly know that everyone and their father has an opinion about their profession and thinks they have a bias for/against a team or a certain players. And, heck, in some cases, they may have a point.  But I am beyond weary of folks whining and complaining about the officiating and not either 1) taking responsibility for the possibility that their own actions put them in a situation or 2) actually playing the game instead of nagging the officials while the rest of their team gets back on defense.

You can disagree and be upset. But show some respect. Or else, allow the officials to mouth off, too. Heck, I’d pay the fine to hear what they had to say about some decisions coaches and/or players have made…. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.)

So, in Indianapolis, the “old” Tan Smith reappeared and lifted her Fever to a win.

There’s something endearing about a player who, after being the star in a very important game for her team, jokes that it was about time.

“I just took advantage of how they were playing us,” said Indiana Fever forward Tangela Smith, who led the way with 25 points in the Fever’s 82-74 Game 1 victory in the Eastern Conference finals Thursday against the Atlanta Dream. “They were so focused on Catch, Tammy and Dougie that they left me wide open. Maybe because I haven’t been hitting all year.”

Smith, you may be saying, what about Tamika? Well, noted Bob Kravitz, Game 1 epitomized Catchings’ MVP credentials

Catchings’ statistics in Thursday night’s 82-74 Game 1 victory over the Atlanta Dream didn’t scream “MVP,” but if you saw it, if you felt it, you knew it was so much more than merely 12 points and 13 rebounds. On a night when she struggled with her shooting, Catchings simply willed herself and her team to a victory.

She did it with defense, drawing two charges against Atlanta’s top scorer, Angel McCoughtry, who fouled out of the game. She did it with rebounds, grabbing six of her 13 in the fourth quarter. She did it with unselfishness, twice passing to Smith for open 3s in the fourth. She did it with aggression, altering the tone of the fourth quarter with one memorable play: She stole the ball at midcourt, drove fearlessly to the basket and tossed up a flying prayer that you wouldn’t dare try in a H-O-R-S-E game. It went in.

NEXT!

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…though somewhat inauspiciously, as the headline writer has mislabeled his game story link (Team effort lifts Sun past Dream vs Team effort lifts Dream past Sun)

The Sun led 68-63 and McCoughtry had just picked up her fifth foul on an impetuous attempt to strip the ball from Allison Hightower — 36 seconds after she picked up her fourth foul with an equally rash charge.

Playing their first playoff game since 2009, it seemed the Sun had the Dream on the ropes. The trouble is, that’s becoming a comfortable place for the defending conference champions.

I guess we’ll see if the Sun “become their record” or recover enough to win on the road.

In the first game of the night, the Lynx squeeeeeeaked by the Silver Stars by the slimmest of margins (isn’t in interesting that key defensive plays in the final seconds should figure in both days of games?). Wrote Mechelle:

Friday was far from perfect for Moore and the Lynx. They know they are fortunate to have escaped the Silver Stars again. Moore said of her missed free throws at the end, “Ugh, that was terrible,” and of her performance overall, “I guess I was never completely comfortable all night.”

Yet when the buzzer sounded, everything was right with her and the Lynx.

“We did what we needed to do,” Moore said. “It wasn’t exactly how we wanted it, but it’s one of those games that gives us something more to strive for.”

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It’s all about the 30+

(Points, that is… though it could apply to ages.)

Becky got her 37-point groove on, Tina went old school, but CP3 forgot her superwoman cape and the Sparks refused to rebound. End result: SASS get into the playoffs and hand Los Angeles an ugly loss, 82-65. (Bryant was dejected AND ejected. How’d that coaching change work out for you, Penny?)

“D.A. [Adams] coming back spreads the floor a lot, everybody’s very aware of her,” said Hammon. “Defensively, really is the key for us. Down that stretch of six or seven games where we struggled, we really lost three or four games at the buzzer. There were some games that could have gone either way.”

“Now that we have our full team back, we feel that we can compete with anybody in the league.”

Atlanta got on the 35-point Angel-train and rolled over Connecticut and into the third spot in the East.

“Angel McCoughtry just broke our whole team down,” Charles said. “She’s a great player and she made some tough shots. But some of her shots, like the layups, we should have been able to hold her off.”

This MVP race is TIGHT! Here’s the “other” Bird on Catch’s credentials.

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The Road is my Biggest Bane.

Clearly it’s the theme song of the Sun, who are now 5-8 on the road, discourtesy of the Dream‘s 94-88 win. It’s the second game in a row that Connecticut’s lost in OT. Ouch.

And watch out, folksAngel (and Atlanta?) has got her groove back:

Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry came up with the key plays on both ends of the court Friday night to lead the Dream to an 94-88 overtime win against the Connecticut Sun.McCoughtry blocked a shot at the end of regulation to force overtime and finished with 24 points, including two crucial baskets in overtime, as Atlanta won for the fourth time in five games.”She’s a winner,” Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. “She finds a way to score and she finds a way to defend. That block she made at the end of the game was huge.”

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