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Huge blow for the Terps as starting point guard and soon-to-be-junior Lexie Brown decides to transfer. I always wonder about that “play closer to home” line…

Not as surprising, Jannah Tucker to transfer from Lady Vols.

Blick:

llinois hires firm to further investigate claims against basketball coaches

Ilinois has hired a Chicago law firm to further investigate claims by women’s basketball players that coaches mistreated them.

An internal review by the university’s office of diversity, equity and access initially found no violation of “applicable law, NCAA rules or university policy,” but athletic director Mike Thomas and Chancellor Phyllis Wise “have decided to contract with an external firm to continue and finalize that preliminary review,” a university spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Hutchinson women’s basketball team under investigation

The Hutchinson Community College women’s basketball team is under investigation for alleged improper benefits to players.

The National Junior College Athletic Association confirmed Tuesday that it is investigating the program. Assistant executive director Mark Krug says an issue was brought to the organization’s attention last week. He declined to comment further.

Hutchinson coach John Ontjes says the school has until June 5 to respond to the NJCAA.

In eight seasons under Ontjes, the Blue Dragons are 257-26 and have won five consecutive Jayhawk West titles.

This season, Hutchinson’s only loss was in the NJCAA national championship game to Chipola, Florida.

In other news: Alabama women’s basketball making progress in rebuilding efforts, Kristy Curry says

The results have been modest through Kristy Curry’s first two seasons as Alabama’s women’s basketball coach. However, the groundwork is being laid for a better future, Curry said during the Tide’s recent Crimson Caravan event in Atlanta.

Alabama finished last season 13-19, including 2-14 in the SEC, after posting a 14-16 record during Curry’s first season as coach in 2013-14.

In W news: 

From Rebkell, an enumeration of the horror(s) that is know as WNBA.com.

One thing I don’t like when web pages get re-vamped by new companies is that they will move things around and not put redirects to the new pages, breaking search results and inbound links (like Wikipedia references). The people doing the WNBA site changed the locations of the playerfile pages without putting re-directs to the new page. Google should catch up, if they do keep playerfiles for retired players, but for now, if I search for “Becky Hammon playerfile” it gives me: 

http://www.wnba.com/playerfile/becky_hammon/ 

That page no longer exists. 

The new player pages have been moved under the “player” directory and a dash used instead of an underscore: 

http://www.wnba.com/player/sue-bird/ 

But as of now, there is no page for 

http://www.wnba.com/player/becky-hammon 

If they decide to not keep any playerfile data for players who were retired as of 2015, then that will be a bigger complaint.

From Tulsa: Glory finally arrived in town and says she didn’t expect arrest, WNBA suspension after domestic fight with Griner, now her spouse. Also, the Shock has a terrific backcourt trio in Skylar Diggins, Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams

T he Tulsa Shock is cornering the market on young, dynamic backcourt talent.

Skylar Diggins, Odyssey Sims and Riquna Williams give the WNBA franchise a terrific trio rotating at point guard and shooting guard.

“There are great combinations all over the league,” Shock president Steve Swetoha said. “But for young players with potential, we’ll put our guard set against any in the league.”

Speaking of that suspension: Brittney Griner says other players want her to appeal suspension

Also from Phoenix: So you say: Mercury ready for title defense on FOX Sports Arizona

From Seattle/Australia:

Abby Bishop played one season for the Seattle Storm, in 2010, before returning to play professionally in her native Australia. She is back in the WNBA this year, but she did not return alone — Bishop has brought along 2-year-old Zala, a niece whom the 6-3 forward has taken care of since shortly after her birth.

Bishop’s sister gave birth to the child in August 2013, but unconfirmed medical issues meant that she would be unable to take of the baby. Rather than see Zala go to foster homes, Bishop stepped up and became her legal guardian, even though that meant juggling motherhood duties and a hectic schedule in Australia’s WNBL.

The AP offers: Seattle’s Bird ready for rebuilding, mentoring ahead

When Seattle opens its season next week at home against Los Angeles, Bird will begin her 13th season with the franchise. She has experienced the highs of winning two WNBA titles and is now facing the challenge of helping lead a massive rebuilding project after Seattle’s worst record of her tenure with the club.

She’s still Sue Bird, the starting point guard idolized by a younger generation. But more than any other time in her professional career, with Seattle’s selection of guards Jewell Loyd and Mosqueda-Lewis with two of the first three picks in the WNBA draft, Bird is adding the title of mentor.

From Indy: Stephanie White up for any and all challenges with Fever

“I’m a firm believer that you surround yourself with people who have more wisdom and see different things,” White said. “Not just people who agree with you all the time. I’m not going to get better as a coach, and neither is our team, if I’m not open to being challenged.

“Lin is the first person I worked with who was open for debate on everything; she always wanted to hear other people’s thoughts. It really helped me in terms of who I wanted to coach with me.”

Also from Indy: 2015 Indiana Fever Preview: Fever Plan To Open Up Offense This Year

Deja vu from Minnesota as Pioneer Press asks:  For Lynx and WNBA players, how much hoops is too much?

Time off is a rare commodity for Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus.

Her free days are few and far between. So when Augustus had a short stretch of off days available in early May, she took full advantage.

Augustus traveled to Hawaii to marry LaTaya Varner.

“It was, like, ‘We’ve got to squeeze (the wedding) in right here,’ ” Augustus said.

The Sun will rely on leadership of newcomer

Almost as soon as Katie Douglas announced her retirement from the WNBA and the Connecticut Sun, the question was popped.

Who will lead this team?

Connecticut coach Anne Donovan had an answer.

Camille Little.

Is Louisville lusting after the Liberty?

Is there any news on Angel’s knee?

And finally, flashing back to May 5, 1995, a little USA Basketball news:

Twenty years ago today, on the morning of May 25, 1995, 18 of the best women’s basketball players in the country were sitting in their respective dorm rooms at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, anxiously awaiting word on their fate. 

“I cannot believe that it has been 20 years,” said eventual two-time Olympic gold medalist Ruthie Bolton, who celebrated her 28th birthday on that day. “It was such a special moment for me. To be able to get ready to do something that would make history was a special moment. I felt like we were embarking on something special. I was nervous, but excited. It was something that I was extremely happy to be a part of, to be among a group of players that would change women’s basketball.”

If you want the real scoop on USA Basketball and the start of the W and ABL, two must reads for you this summer are Sara Corbett’s wonderful “Venus to the Hoop” and Tara VanDerveer’s “Shooting from the Outside.

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fans are going to need a lot of antacid, what with teams losing leads and making big comebacks.

First is was the Lib against the Mystics. (Why does Kara mock us fans with her potential?) Oh, and Bill ‘splains himself in a Letter From Laimbeer

With the All-Star break behind us and the second half of the season in front of us, I wanted to take this time to thank you for your support and patience through the first half of the 2013 season. Although our record may not be what we anticipated entering the year, I’m confident that we are headed in the right direction towards bringing a Championship to the New York Liberty. I wanted to share with you my thoughts on our progress directly.

Then it was the Sun against the Catch-lesFever. (Hope  her family is okay) (Hey, how did I miss this? Dramatic growth in male fans helps WNBA’s Fever score profit for first time) (Oh, and Mike does a little pot stirring for Tina: Will she stay, or will she go now?)

Seattle, not to be outdone, took it to Phoenix. (Will Taurasi with the WNBA Community Service Underwriter award, what with all the funds she’s donating via fines?) (And, anyone need a center? Reserve Nakia Sanford leaves Storm)

Wheeeeee!!!!

Meanwhile, Michelle offers up Five (other?) things to look forward to

Folks who didn’t have to worry too much about rallying — unless it was around the flag — were the USA Basketball women. Dave chats with their coaches: Celebrating USA Gold with coaches Sherri Coale and Katie Meier; Monique Currie and the Mystics, Camille Little and the Storm look to hold on

Over at A Daily Dose of Hoops, Brian Giorgis Discusses Marist Women’s Basketball And Team USA

Nate offers some links that ponder the Upcoming collective bargaining and the impact of Elena Delle Donne, Skylar Diggins, and Brittney Griner which led me to this: 

Sports fans have an exciting new avenue for enjoying the top news around the sports world thanks to the iPad app Beyond the Box. The app systematically ranks and analyzes the best sources related to each sports team and league in an effort to bring relevant and interesting content to the fans.

Beyond the Box founder and CEO Shailo Rao took some time to speak with FanSided about what in to making the app and what we can expect from the company in the future. You can check out what Shailo had to say below.

At the .com, Diggins is Looking Back, Looking Ahead. (I wonder if coach McGraw has tried All-Access again…)

Rachel explains the obvious: Why Elena Delle Donne is top rookie

Doug reconnects with Sheryl: Back on the court, Sheryl Swoopes is happy again

This new opportunity has provided a high from what Swoopes concedes was the lowest point in her life four years ago. She had just been cut by the Seattle Storm and was having financial problems, which came to light when she failed to pay rent on a West Texas storage unit. Swoopes lost years of memorabilia from her celebrated basketball career, including awards, jerseys, fan mail and her college diploma.

“I was just mad at everyone,” Swoopes said. “Mad at the WNBA, mad at life. I’d say a lot of it was my immaturity, my stubbornness — my mom says my hardheadedness. I wasn’t responsible in taking care of my things.

The WBCA decides to do some organized talking: WBCA board establishes working groups
to explore changes in women’s basketball:

Semrau assigned board members to three working groups, each co-chaired by two members of the association’s Executive Committee, to focus on a particular topic and develop recommendations for consideration by the entire board. Each group met briefly to begin their discussions and will continue them by teleconference in the coming weeks. The groups are:

  • Legislation and Governance — Penn State head coach Coquese Washington, the association’s vice president, and Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw co-chair this group, which will focus on how the WBCA might be better represented in a revised NCAA governance structure, how the WBCA can more effectively participate in the NCAA legislative process, and how the WBCA’s own governance structure might be improved in order to have a more efficient organization. Members include Claudette Charney, Hillsdale College; Diane Dickman, NCAA; Danielle O’Banion, Kent State; Martha Putallaz, faculty athletic representatives; Jennifer Rizzotti, Hartford; Christy Thomaskutty, Emory; and Rich Ensor, Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
  • Playing Rules and Officiating — Kentucky head coach Matthew Mitchell, the association’s secretary, Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, and West Coast Conference deputy commissioner Connie Hurlbut co-chair this group, which will focus on whether or not we have the right rules going forward and how the game is officiated. The goal is to improve the quality of the game so that it is more attractive to spectators. Members include Anucha Browne, NCAA; Nikki Caldwell, LSU; Brandan Harrell, Georgia Highlands College; Patricia Manning, Williams College; Joanne McCallie, Duke; Melissa McFerrin, Memphis; and Dawn Staley, South Carolina.
  • Professional and Grass Roots Development — Kansas State head coach Deb Patterson, the association’s treasurer, and Arizona State head coach Charli Turner Thorne, the immediate past president, co-chair this group, which will focus on educational programming that will provide WBCA members with opportunities to become better coaches as well as explore the feasibility of establishing a certification service for coaches of women’s basketball. Members include Amanda Butler, Florida; Tricia Cullop, Toledo; Lisa Mispley Fortier, Gonzaga; Kirsten Moore, Westmont College; Mary Beth Spirk, Moravian College; Carol Callan, USA Basketball; and Todd Starkey, Lenoir-Rhyne.

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unless, of course, you’re the Chinese National team.

US women’s basketball team routs China 100-62 in an exhibition game and Starters, subs shine for U.S. women

“We gave up too many points in the first half,” he said. “But we talked about this in the locker room — not one player on this team was picked because they’re a great defensive player. We have all these good offensive players that are going to moan when we make them play defense. Defense is going to be the last thing that we get right, but as the weeks go on, we’re going to get it right.”

Speaking of which : For women’s basketball stars, representing their country is worth its weight in gold – In men’s basketball, the NBA ring is the thing, and a gold medal is cool if it happens. But in women’s basketball, the pursuit of Olympic gold remains a priority.

Four years ago, a flight attendant recognized Sue Bird on her trip home from the Beijing Olympics. It didn’t take long before everyone on the airplane was applauding the world champion and asking the question.

Can we see your gold medal?

Bird pulled the precious item — the second Olympic gold of her career — out of her carry-on bag, and the next thing she knew, the medal was being passed around the plane. Even the pilot begged to see it.

“Nothing compares to that,” Bird said, explaining the importance and the joy of playing on the United States women’s basketball team.

Mechelle’s been busy:

Little looks for big impact in Seattle

If you called Seattle’s Camille Little a successful scavenger in the WNBA, she’d rightfully take it as a compliment. She specializes in picking up the loose ball here, the missed shot there, and trying to turn them into something valuable for the Storm.

“I’m not the first, second or even third option,” Little said. “I get my shots where they fit in. I get rebounds and putbacks and steals. I don’t get my number called a lot, but I get things done in a different way.”

However, during this past winter, Little played in China. As the only American on the team, she had a very different role than she has in Seattle.

M did a little chatting:

Jan (Kentucky): How did UNC land such a haul in Women’s college basketball recruiting? Who does Tennessee need to get them back to the Final Four?

Mechelle Voepel: Yeah, that’s something isn’t it? Clearly assistant Trisha Stafford-Odom has been a boost to UNC, having come over last summer from Duke. (What intrigue *that* is!) Carolina has usually recruited well over the years, but this is quite a haul. The questions remain, though: How exactly to they find spots for all those currently on the team, the 2012 signees, and those from the class of 2013 who’ve given verbal commitments? Aren’t we sure to see a few transfers from Carolina over the next 1-3 years? And will this talent actually develop well enough and play well together?

As for Tennessee, I know a lot of Orange fans were – and maybe still are – apoplectic over the UNC windfall, and worried that they are really falling behind in recruiting. But the new-look Tennessee staff is only now really just in place … they are going to have to hit the trail -figuratvely speaking – hard now and try to catch up, if you will. Tennessee has good recruiting coaches in place.

She also did a little podding: WSC Radio Show: May 11, 2012: Brenda and Mechelle talk about the WNBA, Brittney Griner’s injury, NCAA softball and more

Oh, ain’t this… funny: NJ kicks NY out of NJ so NJ can play NY so the Liberty Open Season at MSG

You know, those coaching changes are still happening.

Ditto with those WNBA transactions.

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here.

Some stuff that’s come across the wire:

Sparks Ink Ebony Hoffman to Free Agent Contract; Penicheiro and Quinn Re-Sign

From Jayda: Sign here…WNBA players begin to ink contracts and Storm re-signs Camille Little

Meanwhile, Ben has: The Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Basketball – Celebrating 25 years of National Girls and Women in Sports Day.

It will be great when we don’t have to recognize it,” – Phoenix Mercury assistant coach, Bridget Pettis, regarding National Girls and Women in Sports Day in an interview with the Arizona Republic.

I’ve written many articles defending women’s basketball over the years. I make no apologies for doing so; it is a passion of mine and something I deeply believe in.

The fact is, though, a thousand articles could be written with different perspectives from much better writers and it still would not make the lasting impact we long for. We would inevitably end up being dismissed as too defensive or excessively optimistic. As the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

Today, as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, I’m somewhat conflicted. On one hand, I’m proud that we have a day set aside to recognize the accomplishments of women in sports. Conversely, it saddens me that a formal day is even needed in the first place. Shouldn’t we, in 2011, be passed this as a society? When will women’s basketball get the respect it deserves?

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From Jayda: Storm celebrates 2010 WNBA championship with Seattle

Storm PG Sue Bird told people this will probably be the year remembered for coach Brian Agler doing the Stanky Legg. Prodded by nearly 5,000 fans gathered at KeyArena on Friday night, he went to halfcourt and did the jig with players Camille Little, Svetlana Abrosimova, Ashley Robinson and Le’coe Willingham, who’s pictured right with G Tanisha Wright spraying champagne in the locker room postgame on Thursday.

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Q writes: Little Things Mean A Lot: How Unsung Heroes Stepped Up in Game 1

When I saw Seattle Storm forward Camille Little isolated at the top of the key on Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry with less than 30 seconds left and the game tied at 77, I immediately recalled comments about the Dream’s young star from Storm coaches in the previous few days.

“I don’t know if we have that answer right now,” said Storm coach Brian Agler when asked about stopping McCoughtry after Saturday’s practice, echoing the words of assistant coach Nancy Darsch from the day before. “We do have people that are pretty good individual stoppers, but that doesn’t always get it done. So we have to do it more from a team concept than from necessarily a one-on-one situation.

BTW: Now that I’ve discovered this cool little WordPress application that generates “recommended links,” it becomes doubly frustrating when ESPN doesn’t apply links in their articles equitably. Or should that be “doesn’t equitably apply links in their articles…” Where’s my editor!

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Mechelle on Camille

Little does a lot for Storm

Camille Little refers to herself as having been “a mean girl” in college. She says this with a half smile, but she isn’t really joking. This is a player almost disarmingly self-aware and candid. Little tells it like it is because she has no interest wasting time telling it any other way.

But … a mean girl? That’s perhaps too harsh a self-assessment for the former North Carolina forward, who’s now with the WNBA-leading Seattle Storm. However, even when she was at UNC, Little was as business-like as if she were already a professional.

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