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but I’m a little worried about the Lib’s tall folks.

Tina looks fantabulous, but where is Kiah? Sugar is already making a bid for the “Most Improved” as Old Big Easters will recognize the form they’re seeing on the court (and, do you remember her Player’s Tribune piece?). Intrigued to see how our elder guards contribute – really want an announcer to get the chance to say Z-to-Z for the nice give-and go. The Dallas visitors say Skylar is day-to-day, but even without her, the Wings are proving that they’re not going to be a pushover this year. Looking forward to see what happens for the newly-transfered franchise. Home wins, I hope.

Swish Appeal: ‘Pinch of Sugar’ goes a long way in Liberty victory

Queenie:

Dallas really misses Skylar Diggins. They really don’t have a consistent second option without her. Without her, Plenette Pierson and Odyssey Sims were both forcing the issue a lot, especially in the first half. Diggins tried to give it a go in warm-ups, but that knee is still braced, and she was walking very gingerly. She would have been at maybe quarter speed if she’d had to play, and I don’t think she was very happy about it; when she came out of the tunnel, she was with the trainer and there was a virtual thundercloud over her head. (It also really doesn’t help their rotation.)

On the West Coast, Los Angeles picked up where it left off last year… as did, unfortunately,  Seattle. Behind Parker’s 34, the Sparks easily handled the Storm. L.A. Times … dabnabbit! You use the AP report!!?!?! And oh, snap, the Sparks aren’t in your header or your dropdown menu. So. Not. Cool. At least Mechelle wrote somethin’

There were five No. 1 picks on the floor at Staples Center on Sunday, all of whom could tell you their own stories of what it means to them to be in that club.

When the game was over, 2008’s top pick — the Los Angeles Sparks’ Candace Parker — had the biggest day and her team got exactly the start it wanted: a dominant, 96-66 victory over the Seattle Storm.

There actually were some positives for the Storm, particularly regarding two of their No. 1 picks who look to be the foundation of a bright future: 2016 top pick Breanna Stewart, in her pro debut, had 23 points, while 2015 top pick Jewell Loyd, last season’s rookie of the year, had 20.

Swish Appeal: Candace Parker’s Sparkling performace engulfs Storm

Sue: Parker, Stewart both shine in Sparks dominating opening win

Hoopfeed: Candace Parker spoils debut of Breanna Stewart with 34-point explosion as Sparks beat Storm 96-66

The local paper hasn’t stopped paying attention: Breanna Stewart makes WNBA debut, experiences something new: Losing

Did you catch this from Stewie? Day One, Again.

Downtime? I have none. Just the way I like it.

Last week I was in Seattle trying to figure out if I could pull off the trip back to Connecticut for graduation. My new teammates asking, “What time do you have to be there?” Meanwhile I’m thinking, What if I get there and they forget to call my name? But being able to graduate in person from an institution like UConn, in front of a community that gave you so much, is an opportunity you can’t pass up. I made it, and squeezed in a visit to the White House with my UConn teammates; it was worth it.

Swin back in?

From Mike DiMauro at the Day: Motto for new-look Sun: Humble, but hungry

Kelsey Bone, center for the Connecticut Sun and never a candidate to mince words, offers the following overview of the 2016 season:

“We gotta make the damn playoffs,” she said, alluding to a locale that has eluded the franchise since (gulp) 2012.

Diana Taurasi learned a lot by watching her Phoenix Mercury teammates, at least when she wasn’t yelling at her monitor.

“I turned into that fan. ‘Why aren’t we rebounding? Why aren’t we executing down the stretch?,’ ” she told Excelle Sports Saturday at shootaround, prior to the Mercury’s season-opener 95-76 loss to the Minnesota Lynx.

Watching was the only thing Taurasi could do following her choice to skip the 2015 season, a move that reverberated fiercely within the WNBA community; Taurasi had won her third championship with Phoenix and her second Finals MVP award the year before.

On Saturday night, Taurasi could call herself a player again, competing against the Minnesota Lynx at Target Center, a venue where fans generally love to hate anything that has to do with purple and orange, especially the player wearing the No. 3 jersey. In Minnesota’s lean years,

If you haven’t purchased ESPN the Magazine, might recommend you get out and do so. WNBA oral history: Moving the ball forward

DAVID STERN WALKED down the hallway of the NBA offices in Manhattan and paused as he approached Val Ackerman’s office.

The then-NBA commissioner poked his head in the doorway.

“This would be a summer league, right?” Stern asked.

“Yeah,” Ackerman recalls saying, “that’s the plan.”

THE WNBA WASN’T launched by one landmark meeting. Rather, it evolved from a series of brainstorms, serendipitous circumstances and casual conversations: It was the right people working together at the right time. The NBA had reached a zenith of popularity and marketability in the early 1990s thanks to megastars such as Michael Jordan and collaborations with other organizations, such as USA Basketball. All of that delivered the Dream Team for the 1992 Olympics.

 Great job by Delle Donne (and, I’m assuming, a little assist from the Sky PR folks) – she’s been all.over.Chicago.In Chicago Magazine: The New Superstar in Town

In the glittering heart of Gotham, at a swank TriBeCa gala fit for a tuxedoed Bruce Wayne, a newly minted superhero soars toward an unseen basketball hoop, a flaring silk of blond hair trailing like a cape.

A few feet away, in heels and a form-hugging gown, a very tall blond woman who more than passingly resembles the leaping figure mulls the Marvel poster like a patron at a gallery, examining the main image of the subject cradling a basketball like a deity palming a planet, her hair swept back like Athena.

A small grin, then a full-on smile blossoms as she reads the character’s name.

“I hadn’t seen this,” she says to a friend. “Pretty cool, huh? Full-Court Goddess. I’ll take that.”

Speaking of which, fingers crossed: Sky’s Elena Delle Donne practices, expected to play Wednesday

About friggin’ time. From Excelle: WNBA.com dramatically expands stat, historical video offerings

This doesn’t suck: ESPN posts highest WNBA overnight rating for a regular-season game since 2011

A little college:  

With rumors circling about an extension, On the Banks writes: C. Vivian Stringer’s Impact Upon Women’s Basketball is Legendary

From the Sentinel: Next recruiting class crucial to Lady Vols’ future

Bye: Nebraska sharpshooter Natalie Romeo to transfer to UW women’s basketball team

Romeo leaves Nebraska after the abrupt resignation last month of Huskers coach Connie Yori over allegations that the coach mistreated players. Romeo has denied those claims.

“It was pretty difficult there,” she said. “I just think it’s the best thing for me to move on.”

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purchase USA Women’s Basketball jerseys: Olympic women’s basketball ratings records surge in viewership

On television, NBC is reporting it had 11.4 million viewers for the USA Women’s Basketball opener against Croatia on July 28, an increase of +96 percent when compared to the two game average on NBC in 2008. The game, which the Americans won 81-56, peaked with 12.3 million viewers during the first quarter. The Croatians only trailed 31-28 at that point.

Jayzus! Imagine if, say, 1% of those viewers purchased a USA Women’s Basketball jersey. Just THINK of the attention that might draw to the women’s game. That would be absolutely horrible (David Stern, you who complain to the NY Times about their lack of coverage of the women’s team and yet let the “jersey-free Olympics” debacle contiue.)

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Inside the Rings: A Giant Leap for Women, but Hurdles Remain

During Friday’s opening ceremony, Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, drew loud and sustained applause when he said: “For the first time in Olympic history, all the participating teams will have female athletes. This is a major boost for gender equality.”

It is true that women have come light-years from the first modern Games, held in Athens in 1896, when their presence was welcomed only as spectators. Women, too, have made significant gains even since the Atlanta Games in 1996, when 26 nations did not send female athletes.

Yet the fight for true equality is far from being won.

Something Jere’ doesn’t mention is coverage. Apparently David Stern asked the Times folks if they were going to cover the women.

I don’t believe he got an answer.

So, I don’t mind repeating myself: In case you’re inspired to do something about the missing coverage, twitter is, you know, very public. Since I can’t pick on EVERY news outlet, I’ll pick on my local NYTimes folks. Maybe the hashtag could be NYTimesOlympicFail?

@LondonLive: Continuous coverage of the #London2012 Olympics by New York Times reporters and editors.

@LondonLive: Hey, LondonLive Was wondering if you knew the US had a women’s national team in basketball. They’re pretty good, what with them going for their 5th gold. What do they need to do to get coverage?

@nytbishop: New York Times general assignment sports reporter.

@nytbishop: Hey Greg. Impressed with the number of words you’re writing about the men’s national team. Is there a rule new at the Times that you can’t write about the women? Just wondering.

Rob Mahoney @RobMahoney: I write basketball things at basketball places. The New York Times. ESPN TrueHoop Network. NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. NBC Sports’ ProBasketballTalk.

@RobMahoney: Hey Rob. I see you write “basketball things at basketball places.” Did you know that there are some basketball things happening that include women? Might want to check them out. They’re called the US National Team

About the basketball (which is on-going and very interesting!) The US plays Angola today. Viewing info from RebKell:

5:15 PM ET
TV: NBC Specialty Channel – Basketball

Online video for cable subscribers:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/liveextra/video-watch.html?video=womens-group-a-angola-vs-united-states

Alternate online video:
http://www.thefirstrow.eu/watch/132945/1/watch-olympic:-angola-vs-united-states,-womens.html

Preview/Boxscore:
http://london2012.fiba.com/pages/eng/fe/12/olym/p/eid/6232/gid/15/grid/A/rid/9087/sid/6233/game.html

Live stats:
http://london2012.fiba.com/extSTATIC/fiba-live/?event=6233 (scroll down to game #15)

 

Learn a little about the Angolan team at Full Court. In case you missed Lee’s July 19th preview: London 2012: Angola — Just happy to be there

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You’re going to have to wait a week for the Seattle Times’ feature on Laurel Richie, but you can check out the vast media coverage below:

First, read the teleconference transcription at the .com (’cause it’s always fun to see what writers pick out).

Next, from Kelly Hines (not Lynn?) at the Tulsa World: WNBA president Laurel Richie calls league a ‘terrific product’

“I am learning along the way,” she said during a media teleconference Tuesday. ” … I have been a viewer of (WNBA) games, not necessarily an attender of games.”

From Vin at the AP: Richie set to take over as WNBA president

Laurel Richie acknowledged she doesn’t know a lot about the WNBA’s history. Still, days after being hired as the WNBA’s third president, she called it a ‘dream job.'”I am learning along the way,” Richie said Tuesday on a national conference call with reporters. “I have been, as part of the interviewing process, spending lots of time with many, many people with the NBA and WNBA. I am on that learning curve.”

In contemplating why she previously wasn’t a ticket-buying WNBA fan, Richie pinpoints the fact that she was “not necessarily being approached.” Meaning she felt like the league hadn’t made an effective concerted effort to reach people who weren’t already largely predisposed to being women’s basketball fans.

“So what I want to think about is, how do we reach out to people and engage them?” Richie said. “Versus assuming or putting the burden on them to come and grab us.”

From Mel: The Business of New WNBA President Richie Will Be — Business

For those who have watched the WNBA evolve into its forthcoming 15th season there were few surprises out of new president Laurel J. Richie’s introductory teleconference with the national media Tuesday afternoon.When Donna Orender, the second WNBA president and successor to Val Ackerman, announced her resignation last fall, officials in the hybrid connectivity of the NBA and WNBA targeted the next leader to be someone with a strong business and marketing background to rebrand the league.

I’ve maintained since the beginning of the WNBA’s search for a new president that someone from outside the women’s basketball world would be a good idea.

An “outsider” would presumably bring some fresh ideas, a frame of reference free from historical inertia, and perhaps a critical eye on some practices that have become accepted as common sense.

The NBA’s search committee took that reasoning to its extreme with its choice for the league’s third president to succeed Donna Orender.

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Ack!

I just had a flashback: NBA planning to buy out Hornets owner

NBA Commissioner David Stern confirmed on Monday that the league is proceeding with its plan to buy the New Orleans Hornets from majority owner George Shinn and minority owner Gary Chouest.

Shinn has been trying since last spring to sell the team to Chouest, but those negotiations stalled.

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David Stern in no rush to make hire

When you ask NBA commissioner David Stern what he expected of the WNBA when the league began in 1997, his answer goes a ways toward your judgment of departing WNBA president Donna Orender’s six-year tenure.

“We had no projections other than to survive,” Stern said Friday, after the announcement that Orender was stepping down and going to start her own business. “We wanted to be that island in a sea of sports-league failures.

Set in those parameters, Orender’s time running the WNBA seems at least more favorable than not. It’s probably fair to say, though, that a portion of league fans have been lukewarm about her reign.

Not the Dave in going to pay attention to me, but I’m not so sure I’m sold on the next Prez needing to have a background in women’s basketball. Consider Mr. Kennedy’s bio:

James Walter Kennedy was an overachiever who served as NBA Commissioner for 12 years before retiring in 1975. He presided over a period of unprecedented growth for the league. Under his leadership the NBA doubled in size, evolved into a major sport that rivaled baseball and football, and became a big business. Kennedy was an energetic and commanding man who brought a mix of political savvy, public-relations sense, and business acumen to the league, and he guided its rapid rise to prosperity. As the NBA evolved from a motley collection of basketball teams into a major entertainment empire, Kennedy was the person who had to address its growing pains. “We went through the hammers of hell,” he told the Arizona Republic in 1975.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the league struggled to cope with the emergence of the rival American Basketball Association, the advent of free agency, and a host of other issues. Kennedy found himself spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with legal matters. “I am not quite sure that all changes in basketball during the last 12 years have been in the best interest of the NBA,” he told The New York Times in 1975. “There was a movement of action from the court of play to the court of law.”

Under Kennedy’s stewardship the NBA expanded from 9 teams to 18, went from no television revenue to a $9-million network contract, and increased annual attendance from 1.9 million fans to more than 7 million.

So, mostly I’m looking for someone who will bring “mix of political savvy, public-relations sense, and business acumen to the league.” I’m not expecting the W to make an NBA-esque transformation. But I am looking for someone who will understand what makes the W unique, but also what it has in common with every other business: A customer base that needs to be respected and a product that needs to be creatively (and accurately) marketed. I don’t care about personality, I care about persona. The new Val-O needs to have the will to demand a base-level of “Best Practices” from every franchise.

Lastly, I want to express my appreciation for Stern’s backing of the W. It can’t have been easy — and there is no doubt that without, there would be no W. So, I don’t know if he wears it, but I hope that he knows that the WBI t-shirt was a sincere invitation.

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