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Gold: U.S. Women Defeat Defending Paralympic Gold Medalists Germany, 62-45, For Third Gold Medal in Last Four Paralympics

Indiana Gold: Indiana’s Catchings, White to celebrate at farewell ceremony

Indiana president Kelly Krauskopf initially built the fledgling Fever around home-state star Stephanie White.

Turns out, the hard-working rookie she drafted in 2001, Tamika Catchings, emerged as the face of the franchise.

On Sunday, the two most iconic players in Fever history — one now the coach — will say farewell to the WNBA in their final regular-season home game. Coach White is taking over the Vanderbilt program and Catchings is retiring.

“I think they had an equal impact. What both leave behind and have meant to this franchise …” Krauskopf said, pausing. “Steph was the very first player I went out and got to start this franchise. They were the cornerstones of this franchise.”

.com A Farewell to Tamika

.com Catchings, Paul George Share Unique Bond

.com Tamika: The Final Season – Episode 3

Indy Star: Doyel: Catchings gave us her best; how do we thank her?

San Antonio Silver: WNBA better off because of Dan Hughes’ contributions

“People like Pat Summitt, Kay Yow, Geno Auriemma, Ann Meyers — they made me feel really comfortable,” said Hughes, who is retiring from his Stars coaching job at season’s end. “It opened the door. They accepted me. I really went to work at understanding where the women’s game was then, but also learned how it got there.”

Dan Hughes leaving extensive legacy in San Antonio

Hughes, who transformed the Stars from an afterthought when he arrived in San Antonio in 2005 to a title contender only two years later, will coach his final game when the team plays Phoenix at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the AT&T Center.

“From my experience, what I saw from him was that he generally cared about doing everything that was reasonably within his control and power to try and help his players,” said Rachel Askin, the Stars’ media relations director during the 2010 season who now lives and works in Boston. “He gave people a fair shot.”

Askin’s sentiment on Hughes’s impact is shared by many.

Excelle: Dan Hughes: appreciation for a WNBA survivor as he leaves the Stars

Swish Appeal: A Penny (Taylor) for your thoughts

Hoop: Swin Cash’s Humble Journey Nears Its End

There is an often-repeated expression that notes people may forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. That seems an appropriate thought for an article about Swin Cash’s impending retirement at the conclusion of this WNBA season. She is one of the league’s larger than life personalities—not only on the court, where her accomplishments are historic, but also in the hearts of fans, friends, family and the community.

BTW: Playoff Picture

.com: Inside The W with Michelle Smith

The Los Angeles Sparks haven’t looked nearly like the team that ran out to a 20-1 start as of late. Beginning with a two-game stumble right before the Olympic break, Los Angeles has won just four of 10 games. The Sparks lost their No. 1 seed, meaning they won’t have home-court advantage in a potential WNBA Finals matchup with the Lynx, and a little crisis of confidence conceivably could have been brewing in the City of Angels.

But Tuesday night’s big win over Phoenix might have been exactly what the Sparks needed to right the ship prior to the postseason.

I know… Without Delle Donne, Chicago Sky’s playoff hopes look dim

Really lovely: WNBA star Elena Delle Donne shares spotlight with her disabled sister in new Gatorade digital short

High School:

Doh! Iowa High School Girls Basketball Team Draws Backlash for Super Racially Insensitive Poster

Cool: A school gym in need gets a piece of Lady Vols history

Here it comes! An addition to the library: Dust Bowl Girls: A Team’s Quest for Basketball Glory, by Lydia Reeder. Review:

Dust Bowl Girls, ten years in the making, is bursting at the margins with the intimate details of the Cardinal team members’ lives, providing genuine heart to a narrative only half-recorded in the newspapers of the time. Taking advantage of the scrapbooks and oral stories from the personalities so lovingly portrayed in the text, Lydia Reeder paints the story of a team of hard-on-their-luck teenagers rising up out of the dust of poverty and the Great Depression, bringing hope and honor to their small city of Durant in Oklahoma.

NCAA

Around the Rim: “Swoopes” There It Is: LaChina Robinson welcomes 2016 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Sheryl Swoopes to the show. Plus, Storm F Breanna Stewart and ESPN’s VP of Women’s Programming Carol Stiff join.

On : The absurdity of invoking Baylor rape victims in response to the NCAA

I, and countless other sexual assault survivors, would implore the North Carolina GOP not to co-opt our movement for victims’ rights in order to deny the rights of transgender citizens, many of whom are victims of violence as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the LGBT community experiences sexual violence at rates higher than heterosexuals. Human Rights Campaign estimates that nearly half of transgender people will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

In addition to ignoring the plight of sexual assault in the transgender community, the North Carolina GOP’s statement is blatantly disingenuous, given the party’s history of denying legal protections for assault victims.

Need an assist? The Troll Slayer – A Cambridge classicist takes on her sexist detractors.

In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” With amiable indignation, she explored the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients. Her speech, which was filmed by the BBC, was learned but accessible—a tone that she has regularly displayed on British television, as the host of popular documentaries about Pompeii and Rome. She began her talk with the Odyssey, and what she referred to as the first recorded instance of a man telling a woman that “her voice is not to be heard in public”: Telemachus informing his mother, Penelope, that “speech will be the business of men” and sending her upstairs to her weaving. Beard progressed to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which Tereus rapes Philomela and then cuts out her tongue so that she cannot denounce him. Beard alighted on Queen Elizabeth and Sojourner Truth before arriving at Jacqui Oatley, a BBC soccer commentator repeatedly mocked by men who were convinced that a woman couldn’t possibly understand the sport. A columnist for The Spectator, Beard noted, currently runs an annual competition to name the “most stupid woman” to appear on the current-affairs show “Question Time.”

Finally, Beard arrived at the contemporary chorus of Twitter trolls and online commenters. “The more I’ve looked at the details of the threats and the insults that women are on the receiving end of, the more some of them seem to fit into the old patterns of prejudice and assumption that I have been talking about,” she said. “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.” Such online interjections—“ ‘Shut up you bitch’ is a fairly common refrain”—often contain threats of violence, a “predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” She mildly reported one tweet that had been directed at her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”

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HOT

Even in first gear, 1. Minnesota and 2. Los Angeles look inevitable. Shifting the WNBA Playoff format may have been one of the best decisions the league has made in the last 10 years.

Can the Lynx be the Warriors of the WNBA this season? Should they try?

Film Room: Assists Sparking LA’s Unbeaten Run

3. Yesterday’s game against Washington notwithstanding, Atlanta seems to have finally all its talent together. Can Angel continue to “trust” and can her teammates continue to show up…

Dream’s improved chemistry key to fast start

Sitting in the parking lot of Austell’s Riverside EPICenter, where his team practices, Dream coach Michael Cooper said there are two reasons why the WNBA squad is 5-1 and atop the Eastern Conference after finishing fifth and missing the playoffs last year.

The first is an upgrade at center and at point guard.

The second reason given by Cooper was chemistry. Leading scorer Angel McCoughtry referred to it as positivity after Sunday’s win over Chicago.

Atlanta Dreaming: Meet the Upstart Leaders of the Eastern Conference

HOT and COLD

4. New York: Interesting comment from last night’s Seattle/NY broadcast – when leading by 7 last year, the Lib did. not. lose. That’s been an issue this year – the Storm’s comeback attempt is a case in point. Charles is on fire, and Sugar is smokin’, but the rest of the team is a question mark – do the show up (hello, Indiana game) or not? Much of the Lib’s future will depend on Prince’s ability to return (post Olympics?) to create a more consistent inside/outside balance.

5. Indiana: The team that defeated Atlanta on opening day was not the team that showed up at the Garden on Friday. Dunno how much Maggie Lucas’s injury will impact the team as a whole (or knowing they’ll be working for a new coach next year), but, the good news is…

Rookie Report: Tiffany Mitchell Shining For The Indiana Fever and Fever’s January still working back from knee injury

6. Chicago: Now that Sloot is back, perhaps we’ll see their real potential

The Sky’s not the limit: DePaul alum Allie Quigley an integral part of the Chicago Sky

Fastbreak: WNBA Weekly Rundown: Streaking Sky and struggling Sun

After a rough start to their season, the Chicago Sky are getting back on track. Last season, they compensated for a lackluster defense by outrunning and outgunning the competition, playing plenty of three-guard lineups with Elena Delle Donne at the 4.

This year, things are a little different. With their center position log-jammed, coach Pokey Chatman has had to figure out minutes distributions for her post players, which has led to larger lineups and a lack of continuity at the 5.

Despite this, the Sky have retained their success on offense, and after starting 1-4, they’ve won their last three games to vault them back into playoff contention. 

And: Wrigley’s World: Sky star Elena Delle Donne’s four-legged fan

7. Dallas: Young and Gun. This early in their Texas career it’s important to win on their home court. Or, if they’re going to lose, lose with high scoring enthusiasm. Eventually, though, the word “defense” will have to enter their play.. ditto health.

8. Seattle: Not sure what to make of them, but the Stewie/Loyd pairing is sure sweet (sometimes). How quickly can Boucek mold old and new?

Alysha Clark enjoying fast start to WNBA season

Q and A: Breanna Stewart On Transition to Storm And Going Back To Connecticut

On Friday, Breanna Stewart returns to Connecticut for the first time since leaving UConn just a few months ago. Ahead of the Storm’s meeting with the Sun (7 PM ET, WNBA League Pass), Breanna Stewart talked to reporters about adjusting to the WNBA, her partnership with Jewell Loyd, and what it will be like to return to Connecticut.

9. Washington: Bill’s early advice was to “get healthy.” They’re getting there (as their win over Atlanta showed). Will it hold?

HOT MESS

10. San Antonio: I love Dan Hughes, but what on earth has he wrought? GM Ruth will have some reorganizing to do. Are Peters and Jefferson strong enough building blocks?

11. Phoenix – They look at sixes and sevens, with not-good rumors floating… NOT what the fans (or the GMs) expected, no?

.com: Petrovich Molds All-World Talent into Reserve Role for Mercury

Scottsdale Health; Diana Taurasi: Back, and Better Than Ever

12. Connecticut: Would love to talk to coach about his learning curve.

The message on Friday from Connecticut Sun coach Curt Miller was pretty simple.

If his players don’t want to put out the effort that he wants in the game plan that he has devised, than they just aren’t going to play for him.

“Everyone in this league wants to play and you have to reward people when they are playing hard and when they are playing efficiently,” Miller said following the loss to Atlanta on Friday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

To the fans, please be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

In other news:

SlamOnline: Go Ahead and Respect It How going to a WNBA game changed one man’s outlook on the women’s game.

I’ll be honest with you: I wasn’t a fan of the WNBA growing up.

I didn’t pay much attention to their games, even though I knew a few of their stars (Lisa Lesile, Sue Bird and Becky Hammon). Heck, I didn’t even watch those dominant, title-winning women teams at UConn. All because I thought watching women’s basketball, wasn’t a “cool” thing to do.

Who, as a male sports fan, watches that stuff? (Insert sarcasm and misogyny.)

Unfortunately, our counterparts receive a bad reputation for their game. You’ll hear offensive comments regarding their skills, looks and even sexuality. Despite having backing from the NBA and an aggressive public relations plan, the WNBA can often struggle to catch America’s attention.

But something changed for me last Tuesday, as I covered the New York Liberty vs Atlanta Dream game at Madison Square Garden.

LaChina: ‘Around the Rim’ podcast: All about chemistry

On this week’s “Around The Rim,” women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson and this week’s special guest host former WNBA All-Star Chasity Melvin delve into the discussion of team chemistry.

The two highlight how the Mercury are finally showing signs of gelling together, how the Lynx haven’t missed a beat this season, which rookies are shining in the first weeks and give their take on the first-ever WNBA AP rankings. Plus, they share their picks for the NBA Finals.

Think the WNBA is in Trouble? Let’s Talk Some NBA History

Magazine cover gives WNBA some overdue respect

Early on, no player more important to WNBA than Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

For those interested in expansion: Women’s hoops league to put team in Nashville

NCAA

Excelle Sports feature on ESPN’s Holly Rowe details workload covering women’s basketball

As Breanna Stewart walks to center court for the tip-off at the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Women’s basketball tournament in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a murmured buzz runs through the crowd that’s seated courtside. But it’s not for Stewart, the most recognizable name in the women’s college game, or even for UConn, the mecca of women’s college basketball.

“It’s Holly Rowe,” someone says over my shoulder, pointing toward the court. Sure enough, Rowe glides past in a navy blue dress and heels, smiling to the fans who shout her name and stopping to shake hands or hug those who extend a greeting.

Throughout the game, Rowe, a longtime ESPN sideline reporter, hustles from one bench to the next and works her way up and down the sideline, stopping only briefly to review notes or chat with the occasional fellow member of press row before dashing off to cover the next on-air moment.

Flashback to the Old Big East days: Bulger sisters sparked WVU women’s hoops success

Re: Duke Transfer: UConn Fans Are Going To Like Azura Stevens, Says ESPN’s Debbie Antonelli

As Azura Stevens was emerging as a college prospect at Cary High in North Carolina, analyst Debbie Antonelli took special interest.

Stevens, after all, was playing for Antonelli’s alma mater. Before playing for Kay Yow at North Carolina State, Antonelli — then Debbie Mulligan — played basketball at Cary High.

So Antonelli has a history with Stevens, who recently transferred from Duke to UConn. And as an analyst for many ACC games, Antonelli has watched Stevens develop during her first two years of college.

Her scouting report for UConn fans?

Speaking of transfers: McDonald’s All American Lindsey Corsaro commits to UCLA after getting release from Kentucky

Kentucky transfer Jennings joins USC women’s basketball team

Scott Rueck’s ‘vision of what elite is is even more clear’ after Final Four run

In this wide-ranging conversation with The Oregonian/OregonLive, Rueck reflects on the memorable season and looks ahead to what’s next for the Beavers. 

It’s officially June. Have you finally had a chance to really step back and reflect on everything that happened this past season?

From time to time, because it comes up so much with people. There’s obviously been a lot of conversation about it. I don’t know if you step back and look at the whole picture, really. I don’t know when that will happen, necessarily. But just the specific moments that come up have been fun to go back and look at. I’ve watched our highlight video a few times. That was really well-done and that brings back vivid memories. There’s a lot of reliving the Baylor game with all of us. That’s the one that tends to come up the most. It was an amazing thing to be a part of.

Women’s Basketball: Ohio set to dominate the MAC again

Dumping high expectations on a team certainly doesn’t make playing any less stressful.

That was the reality Ohio struggled with all last season, a year removed from an NCAA Tournament appearance, with a returning roster that could produce the best result in program history.

Yes, there was pressure. At times, that led to visible stress.

Embrace the Challenge: Courtney Banghart and the Tasks Ahead for Women’s Basketball

On the right wall in Courtney Banghart’s office is a framed article: Fortune Magazine’s 50 Greatest Leaders from 2015. There, her name and accomplishments are listed alongside people such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. Banghart’s lead of the Princeton women’s basketball team to a 30-0 regular season, and the first NCAA win in the program’s history, earned her a continuous spotlight all season long.

As a leader in the national spotlight, her abilities to guide her team are tested night in and night out. But this upcoming season could be one of the most unpredictable for her in many seasons. She is forced to handle not just a drastically changing roster but also a league continuously growing and evolving.

Hello! UCF WBB adds 8-time WNBA All-Star Nykesha Sales to coaching staff

Bye: OSU women’s basketball: Close leaves program

Bye: Three women’s basketball coaches depart Marist

Stay put: Purdue’s Versyp Granted 6-Year Contract Extension

Bye: Purdue’s Komara to join White’s staff at Vanderbilt

Shoo: Alabama women’s basketball program moving games out of Foster Auditorium

After four years playing in a refurbished Foster Auditorium, Alabama women’s basketball is moving back a few blocks to Coleman Coliseum.

The school announced the move Tuesday morning as coach Kristi Curry expressed her desire to create an electric game-day atmosphere. Foster Auditorium holds 3,800 while Coleman Coliseum seats more than 15,000.

Kings’ coach recalls friendship with Muhammad Ali

The second person Nancy Lieberman called after she got the assistant coaching job with the Sacramento Kings was Muhammad Ali.

She shared her first memory of seeing ‘The Greatest’ at the age of 10.

“Late 60’s early 70’s, you know, people were telling me, you know, I’m stupid, I’m dumb, I’m never going to make anything of myself, girls don’t play sports and I saw this man on T.V. you know, defying the odds and saying he was the greatest of all time,” said Lieberman.

It wasn’t until she was 19 or 20 years old when she met him.

INTERNATIONAL:

Opals in women’s basketball loss to Spain

The Australian women’s basketball team have received a taste of what to expect at the Rio Olympics in a 58-55 loss to Spain before Spanish fans.

After smashing Argentina by 42 points in the first game of their European tour a day earlier, the world No.2 Opals had a much tougher task against world No.3 Spain in San Fernando on Tuesday morning (AEST).

Team Canada’s Tatham promoting women’s basketball to next generation

US Coach Promotes Wheelchair Basketball in Gaza

A top U.S. coach is in the Gaza Strip to help set up the territory’s first female wheelchair basketball team.

“I think for Gaza this is a very unique thing,” said the trainer, Jess Markt. “I think there are not so many opportunities for women to play sports here, and particularly for disabled women.”

Markt, 40, was a track athlete until 21 years ago when he suffered a severed spinal cord in a car accident. Three years later, he began playing basketball and in recent years he has coached wheelchair teams in Afghanistan, India and Cambodia.

POLITICS

Women’s Sports Foundation Report:
Coaches of Women’s College Sports Face Widespread Gender Bias; Many Fear Speaking Out

80% of female coaches believe it is easier for male coaches to secure high-level jobs  

Today the Women’s Sports Foundation released, “Beyond X’s & O’s: Gender Bias and Coaches of Women’s College sports,” the first study to measure the issue of gender bias in coaching of women’s college sports on a systemic basis.

The findings confirm that there is a systemic gender bias directed at female coaches of women’s sports; it is not sporadic or limited to a few institutions. As a result, women face limitations in pay and professional advancement in the coaching workplace. And it’s a trend showing no signs of improvement. 

(Yes, this is politics) Naomi Jackson at espnW: On loving broken women and Brittney Griner

Everything in my life has prepared me to love damaged women, women who drag their broken wings behind them “like a decoy,” as poet R. Erica Doyle writes in her collection, “Proxy.”

“You hold back enough to keep them curious. Women like that. Wounded enough to be salvageable. Women like that, too. Fixing broken things. Take in the broken wing you drag like a decoy.”

It begins, as everything does, with my mother. Schizophrenic and eventually unable to care for her children, my mother vacillated wildly between affection, praise, bouts of intense creativity and joy and seemingly infinite rounds of melancholy, listlessness and abuse. Living with a mother whose mental illness made her behavior erratic and her presence unreliable made me an expert at reading other women, at shaping my needs, desires, and self to fit their moods.

As I move into grown womanhood, I’m shedding this tendency toward accommodation and emotional acrobatics that put other people’s (lovers, friends, colleagues) needs before my own. I get it wrong sometimes, as humans do, but we make the road by walking.

Jane McManus: It’s time to lift the ‘veil of ignorance’ when it comes to campus assault

Baylor’s former president and chancellor Ken Starr sat with ESPN’s Joe Schad for a televised interview after a Pepper Hamilton report alleged systematic disenfranchisement of students who reported being sexually assaulted by other students, including some players on the football team.

Starr called for transparency and simultaneously hid behind his “veil of ignorance,” a garment that can be found next to the cloaks of deniability in Aisle 5. It’s a gutsy move, calling for others to be forthright when you can’t lead by example.

Starr was evasive throughout the interview, even on a question about how Baylor handled the assault claims.

SO….. what do you think the folks who gave the video below a thumbs down were thinking?

Maybe they like this Onion report: College Basketball Star Heroically Overcomes Tragic Rape He Committed

 

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And not just because it’s my mom’s 81st.

It’s when Phoenix and Minnesota meet at the Target Center. (And NO, it is not on national TV. Anyone got any pull?). If anyone’s going to derail the Merc’s march to a new WNBA win-streak record, it’ll be the Lynx. Both have leaders drawn from a UConn program that knows records are nice, but it’s winning the final game that earns you the prize.

Maya may be on the road to MVP but, more importantly, she’s gettin’ her posse back. Augustus is back and Brunson is right behind her. Finally, the Lynx *knock wood* are fully healthy for first time all season.

Five of Moore’s WNBA-record 10 30-point outings have come with Augustus out of the lineup.

That’s a double-sided paradigm. Augustus’ absence affords Moore more touches. But it also allows defenses to double-team her more often.

“I think it’s the same for both of them,” Reeve said. “‘Mone can benefit a lot from Maya playing as great as she is. Nothing’s easy for them.”

Brunson’s return offers similar avail in the post. No longer is Janel McCarville primarily responsible for clearing out the lane and tearing down rebounds — both Brunson specialties. Brunson’s post-up abilities also allow Reeve to make full use of her offense, which features a lot of high-motion facilitation from McCarville.

They’ll meet a Merc team that seems to be clicking on multiple cylinders. As the .com’s Kate Bennert notes, Griner is stronger, Diana is leading, and Brondello’s influence is a cypher.

It will be great to see these two teams go at each other, but it’s not just a record on the line, it’s home court and the top seed in the West. I’m not sure if San Antonio or LA should be considered legitimate threats, but both teams have the talent capable of upsetting the favorite. It would be a toss up of who I’d rather face — probably L.A., ’cause Dan Hughes has proven he can coach you right into the loser’s locker room.

Looking at the standings in the East reminds me of the bad old days – 5 of the 6 teams under .500. The East is easily dismissed because it still looks like no one wants the number one spot. The Dream were flying, but have suddenly hit a three-game losing streak (was Coach Cooper that important? Get well fast, sir!)?

No, I’m not counting Seattle out (and hoping Sue Bird is back in), but it’s been a tough season for the Storm – even with triple-doubles.

Will Chicago, with two of it’s big four back healthy (and MIP candidate Quigley) figure out their internal puzzles and be all that they can be? Is the return of Delle Donne on the horizon? Not as optimistic about Vandersloot, though.

Ooooh, look. There are the Mystics – as Stef Dolson, Bria Hartley Continue Smooth Transition To WNBA

Aside from her new swash of purple hair, a look she began to percolate as soon as her UConn career was over, nothing seems particularly different about Stefanie Dolson.

“If you want to know the truth, that [the new hair color] may be the most fun of all this season,” Dolson said. “A conversation starter? Yes.”

Indiana’s keepin’ it together. And Lin’s savoring her “farewell tour.”

Connecticut and New York (not my curse) are fighting not to drown in the basement. The Sun will be cheering against the Lib (whose final games  all East teams, except Phx) because it’ll mean a nice draft pick.

Boy, the off-season coaching carousel ought to be interesting….

Before we get there, Nate has some WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year candidates: Searching for a diamond in the rough

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Is it Minnesota and Chicago in the Finals? If those games are as entertaining as yesterday’s, WHOOP! WHOOP! Could be fun, but methinks the big question will center ’round the (wo)man in the middle.

Yes, as Mechelle wrote, the Merc needed more from Corey Gaines. And no, Phoenix is not necessarily out of the woods, but that they were able to handle Cambage speaks to the existence of a path. Kris at Bright Side is excited: Diana 6K makes history while the Phoenix Mercury gain momentum under drastic change

An unassuming lay-up in the third quarter of a blowout win over the Tulsa Shock and Diana Taurasi makes history with 6,000 points.

Not just 6,000 points, but the fastest player in WNBA history to reach that goal and now just 1,288 points off of Tina Thompson, a mentor and idol for Taurasi, as the all-time leader in points scored. After the game Taurasi let out a sarcastic “YAY” for her individual accomplishment, but then revisited what really got her there, which were her teammates and her mentors.

“You don’t get to 6,000 without great coaches, great teams, and great players around you,” said Taurasi after the game. “You don’t get there. You have to have great people around you every step of the way.”

Any guess at to who the top SG is in ESPN’s “Who are the top shooting guards?”

Injuries make an accurate assessment difficult, but it does seem to be a tale of two franchises reaping the benefits of their management choices: Mystics over Sun.

“I didn’t have any emotions about playing Connecticut,” Thibault said. “It was more about playing a team that’s chasing us in the playoff race. I felt the same way as I did when we played New York the other day…We’re just trying to survive in the playoff race.”

Is it all on the MIA Lyttle or is there some deeper flaw within the Dream? The return of Hayes may help. Speaking of “returns,” who lit what fire under Braxton, and is there any chance of it lasting? And could the Lib get any older? Yes!

“And I’m HEEEEEERE! I’m still HEEEEEEEERE! In a game of spare parts, Tina led Seattle over San Antonio.

“We were a little embarrassed the other night,” said Storm forward Tina Thompson, who had a team-high 17 points and 11 rebounds. “We definitely came back out with a different focus. We made them really uncomfortable in the first half, but it would be really naive to think they wouldn’t make a push in the second half… but we finished it off.”

More from Jayda: Storm guard Temeka Johnson, former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot giving back

WNBA players are known for their giving nature, most starting foundations despite seemingly not earning enough to give as they do. Storm PG Temeka Johnson is the latest to dote on the public in a rare move. She already has the H.O.P.E foundation that works to inspire communities, this week Johnson is using social media to show fans her appreciation.

and Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes

We’ve typically raised some of the top money in the WNBA, $40,000 or more. And (Hall of Fame college coach) Kay Yow was one of those people I’m so glad I got to know. Kay would come for that game before she died (in 2009 of breast cancer). We played L.A. one year and Kay was there, and I asked her if she would come talk to the team. It was so powerful we took some of her statements and put them on our walls. We’ve just had a real strong affiliation with that day.

JE: What was a quote you put on your locker-room wall?

Hughes: She looked at the team and said, “When life kicks you, you let it kick you forward.” We just took that and stuck it on our wall. It’s been there since 2008.

Jessica Breland says: Cancer Battle Made Me Stronger

Chicago! Chicago! That toddling town! Sky’s Quigley reunited with family

In college news:

Congrats – Megan Gebbia leaves Marist, becomes head coach at American

Life rarely gives second chances.

When their women’s basketball head coach left last month, though, officials at American University finally got the woman they’d wanted to lead their program in 2008. And, after a decade of loyal service as an assistant in Poughkeepsie, she gets to guide her own team.

Megan Gebbia — an assistant on Marist’s bench for 10 years, the past seven as an associate coach under Brian Giorgis — became American’s new head coach Monday, taking over a Patriot League squad that went 15-14 last season.

This is how Coop did it at her other programs: USC women’s basketball team adds 2 transfers for Cooper-Dyke’s first season

And, get your VCRs/DVDs ready: Uconn v Stanford and Tenn v UNC part of ESPN Tip-off Marathon

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WNBA season so far?

I think we kinda knew that the aging Fever would struggle. And injuries certainly have not helped a bit. But losing six in a row?

Yes, I did identify that Ms. Prince was a tad important to Chicago (her first game back notwithstanding.) . She couldn’t help the Russians, though. Not sure the rumors of the team doing a happy dance in reaction is accurate.

Wait. They DIDN’T go in to overtime… and the DID win? At HOME? TWICE! What is going on in Tulsa!?!

On the flip side, New York stumbled into overtime and then bumbled into a loss against the Silver Stars and Dan’s really impressive tie. (Shout out to the Liberty staff who wore Pride Ties.)

Both Tina and Angel shot poorly, but a (still) depleted Sun lost to what may be a one-man band Dream team. (Did the WHB Curse strike Henry?)

Yah, they’ve won since, but what was up with the Missing Lynx against Los Angeles?

And obviously, you do not want to play the Sparks at home (5-0).

Tina going of for 30 and 21 has nothing to do with hearing Katie’s footsteps, I’m sure.

Pssst. Did you know Katie was retiring?

So, where are we? Atlanta/Chicago v. LA/Minn. (Oh, and Corey’s butt may not be so toasty — but I still am unclear if he knows what to do with a real center.)

Nice news for Brian: Storm coach Brian Agler to be inducted into Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame

From Mel: Some Guru’s Musings on Val Ackerman’s NCAA White Paper

Dan Fleser checks in, too: New report assesses the state of women’s college basketball

What I say: Any change that encourages a faster pace and more scoring is worthwhile. Adopting a 10-second backcourt rule is long overdue. A 24-second shot clock might be too fast. I’d be willing to try, provided it’s combined with a wider foul lane and more stringent officiating of perimeter play. Hands off the guards. They’re the engine that will drive any scoring upgrade.

The scholarship reduction is as overdue as the 10-second rule. Too many schools don’t use their full allotment. Those that don’t use 13 should be penalized by losing another scholarship. These grants-in-aid are the hard-earned treasure of Title IX. They’re a terrible thing to waste.

As does John Altavilla: Ackerman Report Takes Hard Look At NCAA Women’s Basketball

Speaking of college, some low points:

From the AP: Oakland head coach fired due to misconduct that led to internal review

From Swish Appeal: Commentary: Amanda Butler has dropped the “ball” when it comes to Sydney Moss transfer request

After reading about the recent debacle that has become the Sydney Moss transfer situation, it’s obvious that this has become increasingly unfair for the person being hurt the most: the student-athlete who just wants to transfer to move closer to home. 

To refresh you on what’s been transpiring, The Alligator’s Phil Heilman — who by the way has done a superb job covering this ever-evolving state of affairs — reported earlier this week that Moss plans to leave Florida.

The story should have remained relatively uneventful at this point, but unfortunately it isn’t. What happened next was truly flabbergasting for those that follow player transfers closely.

Speaking transfers, the exodus of Baylor assistants has not gone unnoticed. They did snag a good one as a replacement: Prairie View’s Toyelle Wilson. (By paying her what Kim thought she deserved?)

Speaking of coaches: Thank you: Woodlan girls basketball coach stepping back

Burns-Cohrs ranks ninth all-time on the Northeast Indiana list for career girls basketball coaching wins with 219. She coached North Side for 13 seasons before moving to Woodlan in 2000.

“I don’t look at it as retirement,” Burns-Cohrs said. “I feel like God is leading me in another direction. I am stepping back and I’m ready to explore some other opportunities that are out there. I’ve coached basketball for more than half my life, and I think I still have plenty of gifts to give other people.”

And a different kind of “thank you:” Twinsburg girls basketball coach Julie Solis wants to leave on her terms: Tim Warsinskey’s Take

Julie Solis has every reason in the world to leave Twinsburg. Her husband, football coach Mark Solis, took a job near Columbus this month, and her powerful girls basketball team is back to square one.

The basketball talent that has walked through Twinsburg’s last two graduation ceremonies has been an exodus of near biblical proportions.

Few coaches in any sport can match the success Julie Solis has had in four years there: 104-6 record, two Division I state championships, three straight state finals and a 43-game winning streak that ended in this year’s state final.

Solis admits next season’s team could “easily win five games.”

So, why stick around for that?

Solis says she will return to coach and teach at Twinsburg for one more year.

Again, why?

Speaking of youngsters, consider the U16 results and realize why the women’s basketball might be the next target for elimination:

USA Women’s U16 National Team Cruises Past Costa Rica 106-19, Into FIBA Americas U16 Championship Semifinals

USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Downs Host Mexico 101-29 To Advance To Gold Medal Game

Gold Medal Game: USA U16 Women 82, Canada 48

So, the final was USA 289, the rest 96.

Ouch.

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The Prince-less Sky fall to the undermanned SASS. (Perhaps Tony Parker inspired them?). ESPN’s headline highlight’s EDD, and for good reason: she battled the classically physical vet Delisha Milton-Jones and still managed a nice line: 17 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 4 Blk

Snap judgment: Dan Hughes, COY.

The more undermanned Sun (add Lawson to the DNP list) were outscored in the final quarter by 11, and Mike T and his Mystics team left Connecticut with the win (and a standing ovation).

Snap judgment: All these injuries are making me feel like it’s September, not June. If folks get healthy, this really may be a tale of two season halves.

The soon-to-be more undermanned Liberty (fingers are crossed that Carson’s knee injury is a bad sprain) went down to Georgia and got spanked by the Dream, 75-56.

Snap judgment: Yes, the Dream are 4-0, but look at who’ve they played (and are going to play). It’s not until July 9th that they’ll get a real test.

Wig and Dig are still shooting like figs, but Seattle was equally putrid from three-point land. End result, Tulsa gets their first win. (They gotta win at home, though!).

Snap judgment: Yes, if you’re the Storm, this season may mean you live and die by the three, but how does a team come out “flat?” Not okay.

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Texas senior Cokie Reed and junior Chelsea Bass retire from basketball

On the opposite side of the spectrum, looks like Duke commit Becca Greenwell took a little inspiration from the FGCU Eagles — making 17 three-pointers in a game. Oh, and so did a high school team: Michigan girls basketball squad sets new state record with incredible 22 made 3-pointers)

How’s Kim doing at her new gig in Michigan? It’s still early, but consider this: Women’s basketball ranked for first time since 2002

Their in-state rivals won their first Big 10 game of the season.

It ain’t easy being a Buckeye these days: They took Purdue to three OTs but,  their Valiant effort ends in defeat

It ain’t easy being a Ute, neither: Cold-shooting Utah loses to No. 23 Colorado

Make that “Hatters 6-0 in the A-Sun.”

Ditto with the 3-happy Eagles.

Got a little WATN? for ya: Usha Gilmore Named New Women’s Basketball Coach

And here’s a little, “You Stay Put” for ya: Silver Stars head coach accepts contract extension

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keep d’em Lynx-zies rollin’! (I must admit, I have a soft spot for Minnesota ’cause the originators of this blog came from the fine city of Minneapolis…)

Make it seven in a row for the Lynx as they took down Phoenix 90-73. But there will be no laurel-resting here ’cause the SASS are up next.

“It’s just on to the next one, one at a time,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, after her team improved to 14-4. “It can turn in an instant, for whatever reason, and we don’t want to be that team that lets our guard down.”

Speaking of guards, Tim Leighton of the Pioneer Press points to a particular one: Lindsey (sic) Whalen has another Minnesota team reaching new heights:

“It is not a coincidence that Lindsay Whalen was a part of the Gophers in ’04 and what is happening with us,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

Whalen, who had averaged 15.8 points and seven assists in the team’s nine previous games, had 11 points and five assists to help spark the Lynx, who used an early run in the second half and another in the fourth quarter to hold off the Mercury (11-8).

Whalen, 29, appears to have been reborn in the second year of running Reeve’s system, and her play is stirring memories of past heroics. Her slashing drives down the lane have been powerful, and her perimeter shooting has been textbook pure.

Nate has more on What Makes Lindsay Whalen The Best So Far in 2011

I know some are pointing to Reeve as Coach of the Year and, rightly so, muttering about Augustus as POY (Um, get Land O’ Lakes as your sponsor, ’cause she’s smooth like buttah), but can Bird and Agler of the Jackson-less Storm get some props? (Speaking of LJ, fun to hear her last night and even nicer was the optimism about her rehab.)

Consider the AP’s opening lines as Seattle dismissed the Adams-less SASS.

Sue Bird’s 3-pointer right before the third-quarter buzzer provided a lift at just the right time for the Seattle Storm.

Bird hit a 22-footer to put Seattle up by eight just a minute after the San Antonio Silver Stars had cut a 13-point deficit to one in the quarter.

The Storm then went on a 10-2 run to start the fourth quarter en route to a 78-64 victory over the Silver Stars on Tuesday night. Bird finished with 17 points and Swin Cash added 16.

“Yeah, that one really hurt us,” Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said about Bird’s 3-pointer.

You know, if Mini Mi continues to reclaim her outside shooting touch, the Lib could get interesting. Mitchell notched four 3s (all in the 4th quarter) and Plenette (who would look so slammin’ in a 1940’s get up, dontcha think?) added 20 and New York took down the Dream by 10.

It’s looking more and more like the fourth spot in the East will come down to a battle of the light blue uniforms.

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for a game. And an odd game it was. Every time I looked up at the scoreboard, San Antonio’s shooting percentage was in the 20’s, but they still managed to stay within striking distance of the Lib. NY came out on top, and it was nice to have the 2500 or so in attendance go home happy, but I’m still not sure how the Lib came away with the win. (Perhaps coach Dan’s understated tie is to blame? What was up with that?!)

Queenie over at Swish Appeal is of a like mind:

I seriously have no idea how we won this game. We let them walk all over us on the boards, we kept passing the ball to places it didn’t belong, we missed a lot of easy shots… but when the chips were down, we managed to make things happen. Nicole Powell drew the big offensive foul on Danielle Adams, Leilani had the steal- it all came together, in a truly Liberty way.

Side note to the game: Lib welcomed VJ as the first member of their “Ring of Honor.” Odd to hear her say “Thank you NY!” while standing in New Jersey. Odder to see her SASS teammates come out at half time to support her and her former team, the team who was honoring her, stay in the locker room.

The Sun are keeping things happy at home, but they really need to not blow big leads. Makes people nervous. Still, a five-point win over the LJ-less Storm is a win. (And can I just say, since ESPN is too cheap to have enough cameras to make a W game watchable in a “oh, I can actually see the players’ faces” way vs. “it sorta looks like a scout tape shot”, it would be nice if Tina didn’t wear AJ’s white headband. It confuses me when I’m trying to id those itty bitty players during all those long distance shots.)

Not saying that things are totally turned around for Phoenix, but I’m guessin’ the “Fire Gaines” folks are a tad quieter. Behind Diana’s efficient (aka NOT Kobe-esque) 24 and an aggressiveness that had them scoring 42 — count’em, 42! — of their 97 points from the free throw line, the Merc came back to take down Chicago by 13. (And can someone explain this headline for me? Taylor on song for Phoenix in WNBA. Is that Australian for “unsung”? Or “on strong”? Or “a ledge”?)

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won’t prevent me from bringing you a little this and that:

From the New York Time’s Cheering Section (?): Savoring the Small Victories With My Two Little Girls

As the often-perplexed father of two girls, Ella and Sylvia, who took sports as second nature, I have been smitten with everything they have done on the court, the field, the track, the pool and assorted other places. In the age of the controversy over Tiger Mothers, I resolutely stand as the Pussycat Dad of sports parents.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s in suburban New Jersey, I wasn’t sure how girls got around to playing sports. Even when they did, it was of a different form. Girls basketball was six on a side, only two of whom could play the full length of the court, presumably because girls had no stamina. They played softball, with 10 players and the squishiest ball they could find, so no one could possibly get hurt. Lacrosse and field hockey had so many penalties, the whistle seemed to blow at every turn to save them from even the tiniest welt. They always had to wear skirts, not practical pants or shorts.

But when my girls turned 5, they were in the vortex of T-ball, biddy basketball and the inevitable soccer.

From Jodie Valade at the Plain Dealer: WNBA’s new commissioner, former Shaker Heights resident Laurel Richie, maintains her father’s pioneering spirit

Well, that’s one! Tulsa Shock gets its first win of the season (Enjoying your season, Sheila?)

Tulsa (1-5) relied on big performances from veterans Ivory Latta, who scored 22 points, and Sheryl Swoopes, who had her best outing of the year with 13 points.

“I thought that for 40 minutes (Saturday night) we brought the energy,” Swoopes said. “I think that every player on this team refused to lose.”

Thanks, Dad! Storm rookie can thank father for WNBA shot – Ify Ibekwe’s face lights up with the thought. The Storm rookie will be able to honor her dad on Father’s Day by playing the game he pushed her to pursue.

The NY Times spends 30 seconds with Penny Toler.

How much does having coach Dan back mean? Well, I dunno. But Mechelle notes: Rookies, Becky Hammon off to hot start

San Antonio coach Dan Hughes, traversing the hallways of old Municipal Auditorium during the Big 12 tournament in March, was sure of something he’d been watching. But not so sure of something else.

As he talked about it, you could tell he was really wrestling with it. It wasn’t a case of “Go with your gut,” because that was conflicted, too.

Hughes was there in Kansas City doing one more scout on players he was already very familiar with as he contemplated the following month’s WNBA draft. He had picks No. 6, No. 20 and No. 30. He has been around the league long enough to know there was a possibility — regardless of how much time was put into scouting — none of the selections ultimately would pan out.

Did you miss Mechelle’s chat? Read all about it!

Sigourney (LV-426) Tell the truth . . . about thirty minutes into Tuesday’s Shock/Indy game, were you beginning to wonder where you could buy some Tofu-Crow?

Mechelle Voepel Do they make Tofu-Crow? Maybe it’s one of those fancy East Coast dishes that a vegetarian can’t get here in cow country. Actually, I thought, “Maybe I ticked off the Shock enough that they are now going to be a good team!” No, I didn’t really think that. The Shock doesn’t care what I write. But I *did* think I would need to write something congratulating them on making me look like a fool. And I would have been happy to do so. The last thing I want is for any WNBA team to struggle the way Tulsa has. I really want the franchise to succeed there.

What that game showed, though, was the essence of their problem – and we saw this last year, too – they can play well enough in stretches to be “in” games. But the fourth quarter does them in, even in those games where they are playing well. They get worn down, and the more experienced talent on other rosters gets in gear. Plus, they have to deal with the fact that every team is super aware of not wanting to be the team that loses to Tulsa. I do hope things start getting better for the Shock, and if you know of where I can get that Tofu-Crow in the Midwest, let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to eat tofu.

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Sky’s Christon Out 8 Weeks

In other W news: Pokey Chatman, Corey Gaines and Dan Hughes Discuss Launch of WNBA Season and so do Rebecca Lobo and Carolyn Peck

Candace Parker Offers Maya Moore Some Advice and Nate says the Indiana Fever Need To Fill Point Guard, Rebounding Voids

No surprise, the Turkish lab that messed with Taurasi and others has received a six month ban and Clay is Handicapping the 2011 WNBA Season

Diana Taurasi’s poorly handled drug “suspension” helped the Mercury, for one of the two or three best players in the world is fresher and healthier for this summer than in recent memory. But DT can’t be much better than she has been, and Penny Taylor is still, well, Penny Taylor, so the key for Corey Gaines and company is to get Kara Braxton to bring it every night – or, more realistically, two out of three nights. There’s not much depth behind the underrated DeWanna Bonner, but when all the cylinders are firing in synch (including, most critically, Braxton), the Mercury are a team to be feared.

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Yes, the SASS coach loves his rock ‘n roll: Dan Hughes: An Unforgettable Musical Journey

Did you catch Mercury Managing Partner Robert Sarver’s statement on Diana Taurasi?

Speakin’ of Coach Dan, some interesting observations from Mechelle during her chat.

From the NAIA world: Next step for Bethel remains: Beat Union (You and every other NAIA team <g>)

Dan Fleser reports Tennessee is getting a much needed breather before facing Kentucky: Lady Vols get chance to recuperate

Lynn Jacobson writes about the Big 12 Frosh living up to the hype.

Congrats to coach Boyle on win #200. (What’s happened to those Arizona programs?)

Left Coast Hoops has highlights from the first Pac-10 teleconference in a month.

Welcome news from Kevin Tersolini: Elena Delle Donne is right at home – UD dominates; star reaches 1,000 points

Mel strikes a similar theme:Delle Donne’s Time, Overtime, And Nick of Time

Lady Swish writes: ODU, JMU, UNCW still tied atop CAA

Full Court Press has This Week in the Big Ten: Battle Royale for Top Spot on Tap

Graham talks about the Blue Demon’s as they prepare to face UConn: Passing fancy leads DePaul into UConn Only unbeaten teams in Big East clash Saturday, when Huskies host Blue Demons

More well-deserved press for coach Cook and and the Bisons: Gallaudet women’s basketball enjoys perfect season

Oh, this is a good basketball rebounder name: Plucker Taking Summit League By Storm – Parker Native, NDSU Junior Leads League In Rebounding

A little somethin’ somethin’ for Robin fans: Robin Roberts Returning to Roots for Jersey Retirement

I offer you two groan inducing headlines: Pacific women can beat flu but not Gauchos and (the really awful) Georgetown’s press creases Louisville women 76-52

That “squeak” you heard was Maryland escaping with a win on a three with 1.2 seconds left as the DCBC listened in. That other squeak came from Michigan State’s win over Wisconsin. Coach Stone will have to wait another day for win #500.

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He’s baaaaaaack

The man with the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon tie is back to lead the SASS.

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