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Dishin’ and Swishin’ podcast: ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel shares early WNBA thoughts

Doug Robinson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Dream’s two vets not giving up on title

Breanna Stewart’s Debut Ranks Among Best in WNBA History

Rookie Report: First WNBA Memories and As Former UConn Teammates Become Opponents, Friendship Remains Strong

Aussies in WNBA: Phillips and Taylor find form

Ah, the life of a rookie post: Imani Boyette

D-N-P. Three letters no baller can ever ignore. Ever.

For those of you who don’t know what DNP means. It’s “did not play”. Now, for the record, “did not play” is different from INJ, which would mean I was injured. No shame in not playing because you’re injured.

But I’M HEALTHY, PEOPLE!

Phoenix Mercury kicks off 20th season, works to draw young fans

If you need an “assist” keeping the kids busy this summer, the Phoenix Mercury is ready to help.

The WNBA team’s lineup, with a home opener on Friday, May 20, will include lots of things for the youngest fans to do both on and off the court.

Vince Kozar, the team’s vice president of business operations, says a Mercury game makes for a great family outing. “I think a two-hour basketball game with entertainment during time-outs, music all the time and other options is ideal,” he says.

Percy Allen at the Seattle Times: Jenny Boucek says Storm’s identity ‘still unfolding’

“It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me to hear some differing opinions about our identity, because we haven’t talked a lot about that,” second-year coach Jenny Boucek said. “I don’t want to determine their identity. They have to grow up into it. I’m not trying to change people or this team. It’s still unfolding before us.

“It’s like a baby. You don’t know how exactly they’re going to look like, how tall they’re going to be and what their exact gifts are going to be. You start to get a sense when they’re young, but it’s still part of the growth process.”

WNBA now has the best Wings in Dallas

Games:

It was in their grasp, then Jewell Loyd’s Game Winner, Career-High 30 Points Lifted Storm Over Mercury. Also, Breanna Stewart earns first WNBA win with double double in Phoenix

Mystics are a mess and got mauled by Toliver and the Sparks.

It’s tough to find things to praise after a game like this, but guard Bria Hartley deserves some. Starting in place of Natasha Cloud (illness), Hartley put together one of her better performances as a facilitator, dishing seven assists to just one turnover in 25 minutes of play. Historically more of a scoring combo guard, Mystics fans should be excited to see Hartley’s development as a playmaker for others.

Indiana ignored the excitement around Stephanie maybe going to Vanderbilt, came out focused and topped the Dream.

NCAA

Ron Higgins, Nola.com: Sagging LSU women’s basketball program gets a positive injection hiring assistant Mickie DeMoss

Well, hello! Abi Olajuwon named EMU women’s basketball assistant coach

And welcome: Cheryl Miller to coach women’s basketball at Cal State LA

The handover: Buscaglias become synonymous with Robert Morris women’s basketball program

Susie Gardner looks ahead to key summer for Mercer women’s basketball

WATN? Former WNBA first round pick Ta’Shia Phillips added to Indianapolis women’s basketball staff

You say Hello, we say goodbye? Stephanie White Over the Years

High School

DOH! Lakewood Ranch cited for rules violations by girls basketball coach Tina Hadley

Lakewood Ranch High School has been cited for conducting illegal practices with its highly successful girls basketball program, putting the school on probation for a year. It also could be fined more than $30,000.

International:

Optimism Abound as Canada Preps for Training Camp and Thornhill resident plays key supporting role in Canadian women’s basketball success

USA Basketball:

The game times for the Olympic basketball competition were released today. The entire schedule can be found via this link. The USA women’s team game schedule is as follows (note the times below are listed EDT/local). All the games will be televised and/or streamed live on one of the NBC platforms. Specific network information will come at a later date.

Sunday, Aug. 7 

11 am/12 pm vs. Senegal

 

Monday, Aug. 8 

11 am/12 pm vs. Olympic Qualifying Tournament 4th-ranked team

 

Wednesday, Aug. 10 

2:30 pm/3:30 pm vs. Serbia

 

Friday, Aug. 12 

2:30 pm/3:30 pm vs. Canada

 

Sunday. Aug. 14 

11:15 am/12:15 pm vs. Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2nd-ranked team

 

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“Weeeee are the Champions.” (What, too soon?) Lynx’s ‘fast start’ overwhelm Sky in Delle Donne’s returnFowles scores 24 against former team; Lynx beat Sky 97-80In First Game Against Former Team, Sylvia Fowles Joins Elite Company

Elena Delle Donne may be the face of the Sky. But when it comes to the franchise’s voice, that is all Cappie Pondexter.Chicago Sun-Times: Pondexter lends voice, veteran leadership to Sky

 The 10-year veteran has no trouble being the Sky’s resident vocal leader, but after a disappointing loss in last season’s WNBA Eastern Conference semifinals, Pondexter is done mincing words.

Make no mistake. This is Tamika Catchings’ team.

It is also Marissa Coleman’s team, and Shenise Johnson’s team, and Erlana Larkins’ team … and who knew it could be Erica Wheeler’s team while she fills in for point guard Briann January?

“It could be anybody’s night on any given night,” Coleman said.

That was never more true of the Indiana Fever than on Wednesday night.

Three of the first four possessions for the Washington Mystics in their game against the Dallas Wings on Wednesday night resulted in turnovers. The other produced a missed layup. Coach Mike Thibault was, to say the least, displeased.

The frustration didn’t end with just his players though. The officiating also provoked Thibault’s ire to the point he walked past halfcourt at Verizon Center midway through the first quarter and shouted to referee Sue Blauch: “Give me a technical now.”

 Phew! Sun get first win of season, 72-68 at Stars and Bone spurs Sun past San Antonio.
It’s gonna be tough in San Antonio this year….

While the world rightfully continues to go bonkers over “Hamilton,” I’ve recently found myself pleasantly lost in the past with another Broadway smash hit. The nearly 40-year-old — can it be? — “Annie.”

This was prompted by my nephew playing Oliver Warbucks in his high school’s production. It reminded me of how great a musical this is, even when performed by theater novices (including, in this case, a Harlequin Great Dane named Waffle in the role of Sandy.)

Now, just hang with me; we’re getting to the WNBA, with its 20th season just launched.

 

If Candace Parker was looking to make a point, she made it all right. Thirty-four times, in fact.

The question isn’t whether Parker was trying to make a statement Sunday with her 34-point effort in Los Angeles’ 96-66 win over Seattle at Staples Center. The question is, which statement was it?

Was it a message to USA Basketball that despite not being selected to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team that she is still on a short list of best players in the world?

Was it a reminder to the WNBA that the two-time MVP is as dangerous as ever and prepared to dish it out over an entire season after taking half of last season off?

WNBA STAR TINA CHARLES ON HOW STRONG, SUPPORTIVE WOMEN HELPED HER SUCCEED

Why are you excited to participate in She’s On Point?

For me, a lot of it was about giving back to Karen Pedrosa [who was the park manager at the time]. She was always keeping Roberto Clemente open late so we were able to scrimmage against the guys. She would travel with us to the AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] games. She’s just an awesome individual. She’s the Deputy Chief of Bronx Recreation now, and it’s a testament to the impact she’s had on the community.

UConn women’s basketball legend Bird wants to end career on her terms

When she re-signed with Seattle in the offseason, Bird made certain she had a multi-year deal. She didn’t want her contract status to determine when the final year of her career arrives.

“Truthfully, the way I view it is a one-year plan. Everybody has their own (way). Tamika Catchings is an example of somebody who announced her retirement early. Then Ray Allen is somebody I communicate with and he is somebody that never announced it. Just stopped. But that was what was right for him,” Bird said.

“I think every player when it comes to their retirement only knows how they are going to feel and how they want to do it. And right now what is working for me in my own little mind is a one-year plan.

LaChina and Carolyn Podcast: We’re Back…For The WNBA

From Charles Hallman: A ‘simple’ job: Marketing the WNBA 

Last Saturday night, after she handed the Minnesota Lynx players and coaches their 2015 championship rings, Borders worked the “room” where nearly 10,000 people were in attendance for the team’s season opener. Madame President earlier told the MSR, “I am the number-one salesperson for the WNBA. That is absolutely true.”

She heads a league that is celebrating 20 years, but to too many eyes — media, Joe Rockhead males and others — it has been 19 years too long. “We are 20 years old, which is remarkable by any standard,” continued Borders. “But we are just getting started. We’re young and nimble.”

The president and this reporter briefly touched upon several topics:

USA Today’s Nina Mandell: Retired WNBA star Katie Smith wants to leave lasting legacy on women’s game as a coach

Long before Katie Smith, a 17-year veteran of the WNBA, knew she was going to become a coach there was no shortage of coaches who told her she would join their ranks one day.

“I’ll say it right in front of her,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said, walking by Smith as his team prepared to play the New York Liberty, where Smith was promoted to associate head coach this season. “I told her she was going to be a coach and she said no. Years ago when I coached USA Basketball, I said, ‘You know you’re going to end up being a coach.’”

Smith replied that she was going to go to dental school or do something else, but Thibault wouldn’t listen. 

NCAA

NCAA.com Rules group pleased with state of the game

[Use of technology and other] areas the Women’s Basketball Rules Committee will continue to study and discuss include:

  • Widening of the lane from 12 feet to 16 feet.
  • Moving the restricted-area arc to 4 feet from 3 feet.
  • Moving the 3-point line from 20 feet, 9 inches to the international distance of 22-1.
  • Deterring players from faking fouls. A warning would be issued on the first offense, followed by a technical foul on subsequent offenses.
  • In free throw situations, teams would be allowed to substitute only before or after the foul shots are taken. There would be no substitutions allowed in between the two or three free throws.

You stay put: Scott Rueck signed a two-year contract extension

WATN? Langston University hires Elaine Powell to replace Cheryl Miller as head coach

LADY VOLS ADD JUCO STAR – London Native Cheridene Green Becomes Lady Vols’ First International Signee . This calls for a flashback: Junior Colleges: Where Opportunities Knock – November 2007

Last season Shannon Bobbitt (Trinity Valley Community College) and Alberta Auguste (Central Florida Community College) became the University of Tennessee’s first junior college signees since – well most couldn’t remember when last it happened. (1977, by the way.) How’d it work out? Just ask Middle Tennessee State coach Rick Insell.

“First time ever Pat took two [Junior College] kids and what happens? She wins a National Championship. Did those kids play a major part in them winning that? Absolutely. Would she have won it without them? Who knows?”

“But she won it with them.”

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She’s baaaaaa-ack: Cheryl Miller to Coach Langston Women

Local girl makes good: From the Lancaster Online: Elizabethtown grad Sarah Fairbanks is stepping up her game at St. Joseph’s

St. Joe’s coach Cindy Griffin wanted Fairbanks. In fact, Griffin said last week, “We knew we needed her.’’

Fairbanks wasn’t entirely sure why.

She wasn’t an all-state high-school player. At 6-1, she was a bit undersized for a major-college post player. Her prep stats, 15 points per game as a junior, 19 as a senior, were very good but not spectacular.

E-town is not a traditional girls’ basketball power, and in Fairbanks’ senior year lost in the first round of both the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three playoffs.

“I was hesitant at first,’’ she said last week. “They were the highest (level) school that recruited me.’’

A well-deserved “You stay put, please:” UNH Announces Contract Extension for Women’s Basketball Head Coach Maureen Magarity

The WNBA to host first preseason tourney at Disney

The WNBA is bringing its first preseason tournament to Florida.

The defending league champion Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury are set to tip off the four-game tournament May 9 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Winners from the opening games will meet May 11, with the other two teams playing in a consolation game. 

Out of Minny: Though they’ll open training camp short-handed, the Lynx hope to copy Sparks, repeat as WNBA champions

Tulsa is, again, a Liz-Free zone. Guess I’ll have to wait until October/Istanbul to see her: Cambage gives priority to Opals. Meanwhile, Shock first-round pick Odyssey Sims introduced to Tulsa and the Tulsa World offers up Who to watch, roster, schedule and more

Love me a little flashback history: Central High girls won first state basketball title

The Blackman High girls’ basketball team made history in March 2014 winning the school’s first state team championship. This convincing display of athletic dominance came exactly 90 years after the girls of Central High School (CHS) brought Rutherford County its first state basketball title.

As a precursor to the state championship, the CHS 1923 team won the Middle Tennessee Athletic Association championship. The coach was W. R. Romine, who doubled as the CHS manual training instructor. The team was captained by Ida Lee Byrn; India Gannaway served as the team manager.

Mabuhay, Tina: WNBA legend Thompson to help select jr cage All-Stars

WNBA Legend Tina Thompson arrived in Manila yesterday to lead the Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA Presented by Alaska National Training Camp.

She will help coach participants from all over the country vying to become Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Stars.

Finally, as BU and Butler try and “move on,” they should remember it’s not simply about hiring a new coach. They should read this from Beverly Breton Carroll, the mother of an athlete: Rutgers athletics: When sorry seems to be the hardest word

Watching your son and his Rutgers basketball teammates in a headline-making video shown on ESPN is akin to the moments before a car crash. The coach is hurling balls at the players, shoving them hard enough to send them sprawling on the court and spewing vile insults. Time crawls as you view a reality too disturbing to process.

You’ve been operating on high alert for several months now, muscles tensed, anticipating the next upsetting chapter in this saga. All the Rutgers basketball games you watched, your gut twisting at the dynamics between coach and players, one of whom is your son. All the times you wanted to spew about a horribly wrong situation when friends asked, “How’s Austin doing at Rutgers?”

Your son imparts only the barest of information. You do not have a full picture of the environment these kids are being subjected to every day, but you’ve heard disturbing stories about what happens at practice and you know a lot of players are depressed — a common symptom of emotional abuse. Yet you feel helpless. Speaking up will only make you sound like a whiny, entitled mother complaining about the coach’s treatment of her son. Ditto for the other families. Triple ditto for the players.

But here, finally, is justification for your emotions. This video confirms your fears. The car crash is real.

And they should also read the comments…..

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excited about the present AND future of the WNBA: Los Angeles v. Phoenix. Diana v. Candace. Great crowd. Lots of scoring. Great skills on display, tempered by a soupçon of crankiness.

Granted, it was late for the East Coasters, but it sure was worth staying up for:

And, while part of me agrees with Lobo’s assessment of Taurasi’s tendency to get cranky, I appreciate how unapologetic she is about it. Her post-game comments remind me of this fabulous Nike promo:

Of course, Diana will have to pay careful attention to scheduling her next T – ’cause she’ll miss the following game.

Oh, yah, and the WNBA all-stars were announced. Did you get the email?  (more…)

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From Jere’ at the New York Times: Praising Griner Proves Far Easier Than Stopping Her

“Brittney Griner, after winning the national championship last year, should have erased any doubt as the greatest to ever play the game,” Mulkey, who grew up in southeast Louisiana, said Monday night. “Why is she the greatest? Because she impacts both ends of the floor.”

Various basketball precincts would undoubtedly cast votes for Diana Taurasi, Cheryl Miller or Chamique Holdsclaw as the greatest college player. But certainly Griner is the most uniquely influential. There have been centers as tall or taller, but none at that size with such lithe elegance.

For St. Joseph’s Ashley Prim’s, her career comes full circle with Connecticut games

Prim, the Ansonia native and key member of a pair of state championship teams at Kolbe Cathedral, could barely believe her eyes when it was revealed that her Saint Joseph’s squad would be facing Vanderbilt in the subregional being played at Gampel Pavilion.

“I was excited that I would be somewhat close to home and play in front of my family,” Prim said. “It was exciting seeing our name pop up.”

(Speaking of Connecticut: Nykesha Sales back with the Sun)

From the Daily Camera, CU Buffs define ‘uncommon’ goals in different ways – Lappe, players agree there is more to accomplish this season

At the start of the year, the Colorado women’s basketball set a goal of being uncommon.

With 31 games behind them and the NCAA Tournament in front of them, the 19th-ranked Buffaloes (25-6) are still working on that goal.

“There’s still a couple of things that might have to happen and there’s just usually a feeling that you get when you reach that,” said head coach Linda Lappe, whose team will open the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against Kansas (18-13). “We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on the right path.”

BTW: NCAA women’s basketball players outscore men in classroom

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Cheryl Miller

You could say that Cheryl Miller, with her versatile athleticism and unapologetic flare, stood the women’s college basketball world on its head. But that only begins to describe a player who once literally stood on her head.

And why is it so dang hard for ESPN to understand that if you don’t have links to women’s basketball stories on the women’s basketball pages THAT STAY, it’s hard for people to find the stories. Like this one, on Rosalind Ross, who was murdered in September of 2010: At the corner of love and basketball

MALIKA WILLOUGHBY LOVED ROSALIND ROSS. She loved her from the moment she saw her, when Willoughby was only 14, playing summer league basketball, and Ross, 17, already a local star full of swagger, approached her and complimented her game. Ross told her she had potential, looked her right in the eye and smiled. After that, Willoughby was seized with a sense of recognition so jarring that she could not stop thinking about Ross, about how Ross made her feel and what that might mean.

Rosalind Ross loved Malika Willoughby too, but she was cagier. Three years older, raised in Milwaukee’s rough Harambee neighborhood, Ross had seen some things. She’d heard her father talk about “faggots.” Seen what happened to those kids, the ones who were different, like her younger brother Spencer, who played with her dolls and knew how to double-Dutch jump.

When Ross and Willoughby met, Ross had a boyfriend, Kevin. He and Ross later attended the prom, where she’d wear the third dress of her entire life and pose for the camera, smiling, head tilted, demure, the way she knew she was supposed to be. Kevin was handsome and kind, but he was not Willoughby. He did not make her laugh or cry. He inspired no feeling at all, not like Willoughby, young and beautiful and hungry for Ross in a way neither of them fully understood.

“I’m not gay.”

“I’m not either.”

So they told each other, even as they courted, exchanging passionate letters, then kisses that Willoughby said made her “lose her mind for two days.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

So they told each other, and no one else, knowing what would happen if they did.

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Iowa’s Kathryn Reynolds out with torn ACL

Riddle me this: Departing trio thins roster of U-Tennessee Martin women’s hoops program

The Bulldogs have a new boss: Pebley Takes Over Fresno St. Women’s Basketball

No pressure: With five starters back, Baylor women can shoot for 80-0

Mechelle follows up on her blog post about Aston’s hiring at Texas. (Did you see her blog on the Big 12?)

Karen Aston recalls piling into a car with some of her college teammates in Arkansas and driving to Ruston, La., to see what greatness in women’s basketball looked like in the 1980s. Southern California and Cheryl Miller were playing at Louisiana Tech.

An “epiphany” is how Aston describes it now. Watching Miller — one of the best athletes to have played the sport, regardless of era — was one thing. But capturing Aston’s attention even more was the atmosphere at Louisiana Tech’s Thomas Assembly Center: The way that women’s hoops seemed to really matter to the university and the community.

Nate’s been busy: 2012 WNBA Draft Prospects: A Statistical List Of 50+ NCAA Seniors

Mom and I are busy, too, lookin’ at this beauty (Red Legged Honeycreeper).

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