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Screwing with the constant “WEEEEEE’RE DOOOOOOOMED” narrative: WNBA’s 20th season produces strong numbers and ratings

NY Times: Quiet Protest Helped Tina Charles Find the Voice of Her Conscience

“Of course, as an individual, I do have goals to be one of the best players in the W.N.B.A.,” Charles said Thursday. “But when you reach a goal, nothing compares to the person you become along the way.”

Hartford Courant: Breanna Stewart: Transition From UConn Sheds Light On Gender Discrepancies In Athletics

Okay: Harry Potter and the WNBA Power Rankings cast

Aussie! Aussie! Don’t! Go! Phoenix Mercury guard Penny Taylor to retire at season’s end

One part elaborate marketing promotion, one part performance art and all parts exhausting, the season-long athlete retirement tour has seen a rebirth in recent years.

Derek Jeter earned half a year’s worth of #RE2PECT at ballparks across the country. Nike gave Kobe Bryant his own holiday. Forty-year-old David Ortiz is currently making his long trek around league, picking up plenty of interesting parting gifts along the way.

Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings didn’t want anything of the sort. No elaborate branding campaign, no pregame ceremony celebrating her many accomplishments, no odd presents from opposing teams. Instead, Catchings, a league champion, MVP, 10-time All-Star and five-time Defensive Player of the Year who is going for her fourth Olympic gold medal, is flipping the script.

Like Jeter before her, Catchings is doing it her way, and her way means instead of honoring herself, she’s using her 15th and final go-around the league to give back. league’s 12 cities.

The argument for or against professional athletes being role models to the youth of today’s society has many different viewpoints, but when talking about Laney High School alum Tamera Young, she’s been able to utilize her platform as a veteran in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) to make an impact in the two communities she calls home.
The Sparks haven’t wanted for star power since Candace Parker arrived in 2008, but the team has struggled to capitalize on her greatness, topping out in the playoffs with a trio of conference final losses. That could change this year, however, thanks to an out-of-this-world breakout season by 26-year-old forward Nneka Ogwumike. Ogwumike has always been good, but she’s currently putting on one of the greatest single-season performances in WNBA history, and it has the Sparks finally playing like champions.
Yea! (but I would have been campaigning for a visit with Audra McDonald – swoon!) After a long social media campaign, WNBA rookie Imani Boyette finally met 50 Cent

NCAA:

Carp: Tennessee loses Carter, Cooper for upcoming season

Nice: West Virginia’s women’s basketball team exhibition to benefit flood victims

WATN? Former Hawkeye women’s basketball player Sam Logic hosts Camp 22 in Davenport

Did you catch this? Miami Women’s Basketball Coach Blasts Texas A&M

Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier was not happy with the sexist slides from the Texas A&M football women’s clinic, which have gotten the Aggies criticized nationally and led to the suspension of two staff members.

Last night, Meier blasted A&M on Twitter for the slides. She also expressed disapproval for only punishing offensive line coach Jim Turner and special teams coordinator Jeff Banks with two-week suspensions.

Keeping an eye on this: 3 black players file discrimination suit against Cottey College

NCAA & WNBA: Olympics: Double the coaching, double the threat

“Playing for both Coach Auriemma and Coach Reeve has been a blast,” said Moore. “They’re both very competitive, both very detailed oriented, but both enjoy the game, enjoy their teams, so I’m just getting double the coaching trouble here with having them both here.”

Bob Kravitz – WTHR/NBC: Fever’s Tamika Catchings prepares to say farewell to the Olympic world stage

“What are you doing?’’ I asked Tamika Catchings.

She was alone, sitting on the edge of a press-conference room stage, having previously done interviews with Indianapolis-area media members like your humble correspondent.

After a short round of interviews – and Tamika is the only Indy athlete who insists on hugging all members of the local media – she was alone. No national media talking to her. No international media talking to her. In fact, the press-conference room, which was filled for the U.S. men’s basketball team just one day earlier, was maybe one-sixth filled.

“Just hanging,’’ she said. “Waiting to go back (to the boat where the basketball teams are staying).’’

This is nuts. And this is wrong. And this is completely expected. 

USA Today: Serial survivor Seimone Augustus key for US women’s basketball team

Geno Auriemma’s team will be a prohibitive favorite in Brazil, befitting a group that has a 41-game Olympic winning streak and has won the last five gold medals. It is a roster overstuffed with big names and world-class stars, none of whom has a story quite like Seimone Augustus. Her basketball resume includes two national player of the year awards at LSU and a WNBA Finals MVP trophy with the Minnesota Lynx, and her health resume qualifies as a medical horror story.

“With all the stuff she’s been through, she has always stayed the same person,” said longtime teammate Diana Taurasi. “She’s has this even keel about her. That’s impressive. She’s (been) one of the biggest pieces of this team for a long time.”

Also: Seimone Augustus proud of WNBA player activism

USA Today: Elena Delle Donne outgrew gymnastics dream, targets basketball gold

Elena Delle Donne — who at 6-5 is a guard in a pivot player’s body and the pride of Delaware — brings her unique gifts to Rio, a 26-year-old Olympic rookie whose first five-ring dream, alas, never quite materialized. It was hatched in Atlanta 20 years ago, when young Elena watched from home in Wilmington as 4-foot-8 Kerri Strug stuck a vault with an injured ankle to help the U.S. women’s gymnastics team win gold.

“I wanted to be a gymnast,” Delle Donne told USA TODAY Sports with a laugh. “It was all about (Strug.) I should’ve known there was no chance.”

Yakima Herald: Bird, Stewart bring exuberance to US women’s Olympic basketball team

Breanna Stewart can tell you where she was, what she did, and how she felt when she got the call notifying her she made the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.

“You’re supposed to keep it under wraps, but the first thing I did was call my parents,” said the first-time Olympian of sharing the news while standing in the lobby of her Seattle apartment building. “My dad started crying on the phone.”

The Summer Olympics begin this week, and tales of poop-filled water, human body remains on the shore, petty crime, serious crime, terrorism with a topping of the Zika virus have beset the Rio Games.

Sign me up.

Star-Telegram staffer Charean Williams will be covering this event, Erin Phillips of the WNBA’s Dallas Wings will be playing for her Team Australia … and I am green with envy.

EVEN as Marianna Tolo fell to the floor in agony last August her mind started the mental mathematics.

She had just torn her ACL in her first season of WNBA basketball and yet the only thing that really mattered was the 2016 Rio Olympics.

One of the last two players cut from the London 2012 squad, Tolo has made a remarkable recovery to get back to the court in the nick of time.

“My first Olympics, we had players like Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes,” Bird said. “They showed us what it meant to be a part of USA basketball. How to carry yourself. How to play. How to play within the team. How to put the gold medal before anything else.

“… When you get older, you want to pass that on to the new crop coming in. Not only are you honored to be a part of the tradition, you want to make sure you’re keeping it up.”

Forty years ago this summer, a team of 12 women laid the foundation for the future of women’s basketball in the United States, competing as part of Team USA in the first-ever Olympic women’s basketball tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

There was no WNBA at the time, nor any professional women’s league in the U.S. at all. But for most of the group, this wasn’t their first high-stakes basketball tournament, as nine of the 12 women on the team had also played for Team USA at the Pan American Games the year before. Given the strength of the international competition, however, Team USA wasn’t expected to even qualify for the 1976 Olympics, let alone win a medal. But, led by coach Billie Jean Moore and co-captains Juliene Simpson and Pat Summitt (then known as Pat Head), they ended up going very far, eventually taking home the silver medal. 

For an inside look at the 1976 team’s historic run, The Huffington Post spoke with head coach Billie Jean Moore, players Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers and Juliene Simpson, who all played for the 1975 team, too, and Gail Marquis and Trish Roberts, who were newcomers in 1976. 

Along with athletes getting to know their counterparts from other nations, CISM also provides opportunities for officials to engage at the highest levels, Dinote said. “These can lead to training engagements down the road,” he added.

This week’s championship is the culmination of a “long process of trying to get women’s basketball on the map,” said Dinote, who also serves as secretariat of U.S. Armed Forces Sports.

Phelps was diagnosed with ALS in April 2015. Within six months he lost his ability to speak. In January, he was forced to eat and drink using a feeding tube.

But he continued officiating games around the state, using an orange hand-held whistle and LCD board to convey his thoughts if needed at the scorer’s table.

Players even took notice.

“It was a blast tonight, but being able to see Carl was even more amazing,” said Cache star Jamie Bonnarens, who delivered a personal letter to Phelps between games. “I got emotional before my game.”

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A Q&A with Coach Stringer about the 40th Anniversary of Title IX

When you think back on your life, how might it have been different with Title IX?

I didn’t have the advantage of a Title IX. As a result, I saw women in the more traditional roles (housewife, teacher, etc.). Now, you see women doing everything. They’re CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. I think, with Title IX, I might have been given a full scholarship to play basketball. Think about it, maybe I would’ve wanted to become a doctor. Who knows? But I couldn’t have done that. Look at how many women simply couldn’t afford to go to college. I was a poor kid.

Another Q&A, this time with Ann Meyers Drysdale: The former basketball star, the first female athlete to receive a four-year scholarship from UCLA, discusses the landmark equal-rights legislation Title IX (passed 40 years ago) and her new memoir

Q: What athletic performance — your own included — would you point to as the ultimate validation of Title IX?

“For me, it has to be my own. . . . We didn’t have enough money for me to ever attend UCLA, but because of Title IX, I got an education at UCLA. I think my Pacers tryout is part of the history of Title IX, as well. I know Lynette Woodard, an All-American at Kansas, told me it gave her the courage to try out for the Harlem Globetrotters, and I’d hope it gave others the courage to pursue their dreams.”

Michelle Smith writes about a couple of folks who’ve benefited from Title IX: Guard play puts Sun atop East

Kara Lawson, in her 10th season in the league, is experiencing the best start of her career. Through Sunday, she is averaging 13.8 points a game (second on the team) and has scored in double figures in 10 straight contests. Through 12 games, she has established career-best numbers in scoring, minutes played (29.0), field goal percentage (52.5), 3-point percentage (47.1) and free throw percentage (94.9).

Lawson, in the best shape of her career after switching to a vegan diet late in 2011, is also motivated to avoid being brought off the bench again as she was last season.

“It wasn’t something that I liked, but I don’t think anybody likes that,” Lawson said. “Nobody grows up dreaming of coming off the bench or wanting to be a role player. Everybody wants an opportunity to play a significant role and I would expect nothing less.”

Missed Mechelle’s chat from last week, and she was in rare form:

Judith (Broiling in DC):  After the Mystics’ loss to NY on June 8 that dropped DC to 1-5, Trudi Lacey required every player on the the team to write her a letter, at least one-page long, about why the team couldn’t finish and was losing. Since then, they eked out a 1-point win over Indy (scoring only 7 points in the last quarter), were blown out by LA, and last night couldn’t beat the Mercury bench. If you were a Mystics player writing a letter today to Trudi, what would it say?

Mechelle Voepel: “Trade me, please?” But that woudn’t take up a whole page, unless I wrote in first-grade script. I just think the vibe there is hard to overcome. Although I guess you could say there are a few other WNBA teams now that aren’t experiencing roses and sunshine, either.

From Richard (you can tell he’s an Alien because he insists on adding extra vowels.): WNBA Today, 06/24/2012: Favourites all cement their superiority. Just.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday – it’s been a busy few days in WNBAlien-land. Everything should be back to normal next week. For now, we’re going to catch up on Friday night’s game, as well as everything that happened on Saturday. Everyone who was supposed to win eventually took care of business, but some of them did it with far greater ease than others.

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With a h/t for the reminder to Nate & Swish Appeal, the list of the nominees: Title IX Trailblazer Tribute For The National Association of Collegiate Women’s Athletic Administrators’ 40th Anniversary Contest:

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX on June 23, 2012, NACWAA invited athletics departments, conference offices and organizations across the nation to nominate and celebrate a trailblazer who has made significant contributions in the area of gender equity. We are pleased to announce that 25 trailblazer tribute videos were submitted and are now available for viewing on the NACWAA YouTube Channel. Direct links to each entry are listed below.

The video with the most views during the designated two-week viewing period (April 9-23, 2012) will win a $9,000 gift from the NACWAA Foundation Fund in support of its women’s athletics programs and/or female staff professional development.

America East Conference – Pat Meiser
Auburn University – Meredith Jenkins
University at Buffalo – Nan Harvey
Cornell University – Digit Murphy
Capital University – Dixie Jeffers
Dartmouth College – Josie Harper
University of Dayton – Ann Meyers
DePaul University – Jean Lenti Ponsetto
Fresno State University – Margie Wright
Hollins University – Lanetta Ware
Illinois State University – Laurie Mabry
Kent State University – Judy Devine
Lone Star Conference – Kathleen Brasfield
Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Northeast Conference – Christie Rampone
Northwestern University – Kelly Amonte Hiller
University of Oklahoma – Marita Hynes
Pacific Lutheran University – Sara Officer
Princeton University – Chris Sailer
Southern Illinois University – Charlotte West
University of Texas – Jody Conradt
UCLA – Ann Meyers Drysdale
Wiley College – Janet P. Eaton
William Smith College – Pat Genovese, Aliceann Wilber and Sally Scatton
West Virginia University – Kittie Blakemore

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It only took far too much work to find it (thank you Kate): LINK

Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli preview Kentucky-Tennessee and Connecticut-Oklahoma. They speak with Ann Meyers Drysdale and Tennessee associate head coach Holly Warlick.

Now, if only we can get the folks at ESPN to put a link on the women’s bball page that stays up for longer than a sneeze. (Notice I don’t say lung shaking, hacking cough since, unfortunately, I know from current experience that they can last for.ev.er.)

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