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I’m kinda psyched to get to the Garden this year. From Mechelle: 

Boyd, a WBCA All-American this season, seems eager to traverse three time zones and jump right into a different kind of classroom setting. She will get the chance to learn from veteran guards such as Tanisha Wright (a free-agent signee who spent her first 10 seasons in Seattle), Epiphanny Prince (obtained in February from Chicago in a trade for Cappie Pondexter) and Essence Carson.

“I think those players are going to prepare me and challenge me each day to get better,” said Boyd, who averaged 13.4 points, 6.8 assists and 7.7 rebounds this season at Cal. “I just want to learn and figure out how we can be great as a franchise.”

Speakin’ of Bill (and how he kept dragging the old Detroit Shock behind him), a little WATN? with Tweety: Return to WNBA unlikely for Flint’s Deanna Nolan after success in Russia

Hardcore women’s basketball fans may remember Deanna Nolan as a silky smooth guard for her WNBA championship career with the Detroit Shock.

That was a few years ago, but she hasn’t hung up her sneakers just yet.

She’s still got it.

At 35, the five-time WNBA All-Star is wrapping up her eighth season in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Nolan plays for the UMMC Ekaterinburg basketball team, which competes in both the Russian and Euro leagues.

More post draft stuff:

Mike Peden at Full Court offers up his 2015 WNBA Draft Analysis: Minnesota makes the most of draft pick trades with New York

Atlanta: Massengale living a dream

Chicago: Aleighsa Welch ready to continue career in the WNBA

 Following a whirlwind few weeks, Aleighsa Welch was back in a place she feels most comfortable on Monday – South Carolina’s practice facility inside the Carolina Coliseum.

Welch, recently drafted by the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, is back in Columbia preparing for graduation and her life as a professional basketball player.

“I finally got a chance to sit down after the draft to think about and realize you’re just a few steps away from playing in the WNBA,” said Welch. “That part of it has been exciting.”

Welch proud of legacy she’ll leave at USC

Tulsa: Mungedi drafted by Tulsa Shock

From walk-on, to Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, to Women’s National Basketball Association draftee. Former Nevada center Mimi Mungedi was selected by the Tulsa Shock with the 25th pick in the WNBA Draft on Thursday, April 16.

The Shock took the 6-foot-8 Gabon native with the first pick in the third round, making Mungedi just the second Wolf Pack player to be selected in the WNBA Draft (Tahnee Robinson was the first in 2011). Mungedi’s WNBA odyssey has been one for the ages. She didn’t pick up a basketball until she was 12 years old. Mungedi averaged a mere five minutes a game as a walk-on freshman at Nevada, before starting 11 games as a sophomore.

Then came her coming out party. Mungedi won back-to-back MWC Defensive Player of the Year awards her junior and senior season. She left her mark in the Nevada record books, setting single-seasons record in blocks (74) and career blocks (162).

Old college stuff to chew on from Charlie: Way-too-early Top 25 for 2015-16

And the transfers keep on coming:

West Virginia’s Bre McDonald and freshman guard Tyara Warren will not return.

Kansas State announced the departures of Meeks, Jones.

Sad news from the West Coast: DHS girls basketball pioneer Barb Iten dies

Barb Iten, the former longtime area educator who led Davis High to the first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section girls basketball championship, died at her home in Vacaville on Sunday. She was 65.

Iten coached only one season (1974-75) at DHS, but it was a memorable one.

That team (which featured the legendary Denise Curry) went 23-1 — including an unofficial split of two games with UC Davis. The Devils beat Grant, 64-31, for what would be the school’s first section crown in modern CIF history.

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getting my SCUBA certification (yup, I’m officially a diver!), the WNBA was having an interesting weekend.

On the “not fun” interesting side: Shock players had staph infections. It’s a little deja vu-esque for Tulsa. Writes Mechelle:

There’s no getting around it: This is a tough subject for the Shock — and the WNBA — because the franchise has dealt with staph infections each of the three years it has been in Tulsa.

***

Still, the length of Pedersen’s absence with “flu” prompted some rather ridiculous rumors about what was actually wrong. Why didn’t the Shock just initially acknowledge publicly what it was?

Well, staph (short for staphylococcus aureus) infections are something that franchises and leagues really don’t want to talk about ever, let alone three years in a row. ESPN the Magazine’s Ric Bucher wrote, in an October 2010 story, about how staph was “the secret scourge of locker rooms everywhere.”

He detailed a staph outbreak that hit the Boston Celtics in 2006, along with several other harrowing experiences by athletes with infections. Including the NBA’s Grant Hill, who missed an entire season after contracting a staph infection during an ankle surgery.

On the “fun” interesting side, I swear I heard the “Beat LA!” chants while I was under water. I find a rally and a two-point win will do that to a NY/J crowd.

Tina rallied the Sun to beat a Sylvia-less Sky — who got a 21/15 game from Swin. But, PLAYOFFS? Swaggering Sky Puts Playoff Tickets on Sale

Katie D broke 5,000 but, more importantly, her 30pts helped Indy take down Phoenix, 89-83.

In the “what the heck is happening” interesting side, Sophia is still rockin’ the joint, but the SASS are still losing — this time by a whole heck of a lot to Minnesota (who didn’t miss a beat with Augustus sidelined.). Gotta love the eagle-eye headline editors: WNBA: Moore’s double-double leads Silver Stars.

In the “bored now” interesting side, the Dream stomped all over the Mystics. More nice things from Harding. The teams involved in the Drive for BG has begun to narrow: Draft Lottery Results Will Be Announced Before Playoffs Begin

Friday was pretty fun on the court, too. Says Nate:

This has already been mentioned elsewhere, but if you happened to miss Friday night’s overtime thriller between the Atlanta Dream and Minnesota Lynx you should go back in the WNBA LiveAccess archives and check it out. It was an instant classic unlike any other game this season if only because it was played at such a high level if nothing else.

It’s almost hard not to start the recap of the weekend’s 11 games without that game at the top, but we’ll still go in reverse chronological order just to attempt to bring some coherence to what happened…and keep the Lynx at the top (for summaries of what happened in Atlanta or New York, check out what James, Ray, and Queenie wrote elsewhere on the site).

That was a sigh of relief coming out of Seattle: Storm clinches WNBA-record ninth consecutive playoff berth. Jayda adds: Storm rookie Shekinna Stricklen is elevating her game. Sue says, Thanks, fans, for the starring role you play

Joan Niesen from FSN says Rivalries would enhance WNBA’s popularity

Cheryl Reeve has been the villain.

It’s hard to envision that here in Minneapolis, where Reeve has quietly altered the power structure of the WNBA, turning mediocrity into utter dominance. She’s still the underdog, in a sense, in her out-of-the-way city so far from the lights of New York and beaches of Los Angeles. Reeve and her Lynx are big time, but they still haven’t lost their small-town, overachiever feel.

But Reeve had a life before the Lynx, one that included a four-season stop with Bill Laimbeer and the Detroit Shock. And Laimbeer, he was the villain back then. Even Reeve admits it.

Anyone else find it weird that no Minny players are in the “running” for MVP? Maybe the fan vote will “Boost” one of them into the running.

In other news, they’re going to need a reeeeeeeally big table: The United States’ female Olympians have been honored by WNBA with its Inspiration Award. Heather Burns writes:

Tamika Catchings has won three gold medals as a member of the U.S. women’s basketball team, the latest last month in London. But it never gets old.

“When I first get my bag with all my gear, I do the same thing every time,” Catchings said. “I go up to my hotel room and I get out my jersey and my shorts and my socks, and I lay it all out on the bed. Take a picture, post it. Every time.

“When you have Team USA across your chest, you aren’t just playing for yourself or your families. You are playing for the whole United States of America.”

Speaking of the Olympics, the gold went to… Gliders get rolled for gold by German muscle

Still speaking of the Olympics: My First WNBA Game (Wouldn’t it have been cool if she could have attended wearing a USA Women’s Basketball jersey?)

Hey, speaking of honors, did you see that the NY Times wrote about the Red Heads? Photo in an Attic Leads to a Forgotten Team’s Place in the Hall of Fame

Every journey to the Basketball Hall of Fame follows its own path. This one starts with flaming red hair, a dull black-and-white photograph and one man’s ravenous curiosity about a team few others even knew.

Last Friday night in Springfield, Mass., about 65 women (many with fiery auburn hair) were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and the All American Red Heads officially emerged from basketball obscurity.

Thanks, John.

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go hand in hand. It gets louder during tournament time, and gets even louder when your team loses.

I’m not saying officials don’t make mistakes. That would be like saying players or coaches or announcers or reporters don’t make mistakes. But, remember the old saying: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

Folks complain, but rarely have any sense of the reality of the officiating training process. Nor do they seem to be interested in actually learning about the job — the art, the science, the actual rules.

So, I invite folks to not just whine, but learn and offer actionable solutions. First step, some (slightly ancient) articles to peruse:

Making the Calls: The World of the Referees

There’s little doubt Title IX and the evolution of the female athlete have changed how women’s basketball is played, coached and marketed. But the impact on those who officiate the games is rarely acknowledged. While coaches, players and fans often rail against the officiating, there often is a lack of understanding and appreciation of not only the basics but, as it were, of the art of reffing.

“What’s expected of officials now has increased exponentially,” says Dee Kantner, a Division I ref for 19 years and currently Director of Referee Development for the WNBA. “You used to just show up, stretch out a little, go out on the floor, and boom, you’re done,” she recalls. “Not anymore. These athletes are quicker and stronger. They’re doing things that a lot of people aren’t used to seeing. You just don’t show up at the game and expect to be sharp and work the games to the top level it needs.”

Earning Their Stripes: Officials In Training – October 2007

Currently Supervisor of Officials for the WNBA, Dee Kantner began officiating in 1982 and is acknowledged as one of the top Division I referees. A few years ago Kantner said this about being a women’s basketball official:

“It’s not a vocation or an avocation that a lot of people innately say, ‘That’s what I want to be,’ because there’s so much negativity surrounding it. Everyone’s always focusing on the bad things about it: people yell at you, you wear bad polyester…. But those are far outweighed by the positives.”

And what are those positives? You get to stay close to the game you love; you stay in shape; you earn a little extra pocket money. And if you’re patient and good – and I mean really good – you might become one of the handful of Division I officials who do the job full-time and earn a six-figure income.

So where do these “positive” people start and how do they learn the craft? Well, if one imagines the officiating pool as a pyramid built on experience and shaped by geography and opportunity with Division 1 at its peak, its base – it’s foundation – is the high school official.

Coaches and Officials: Reaching Across the Divide – July 2006

Gamesmanship.

For some, it’s as much a part of the game as the squeak of basketball shoes. Getting that intangible advantage can be reflected in how a coach works the media, a player, the other coach or, for the purpose of this discussion, an official.

Consider this recent example: Watching a nationally televised game between the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun and Detroit Shock, the Shock were making a furious comeback. On an inbound play, Detroit center Ruth Riley was called for a foul – probably her fourth, maybe her fifth. Immediately Detroit head coach Bill Laimbeer, all 6’11”, 260 pounds of him, loomed over official Lisa Mattingly (who’s got to be 5’8” or so on a good day), saying “Oh, that’s a terrible call. A terrible call! And millions of people are watching on television and seeing what a bad call that is. That’s a horrible call,” he continued, “and it’s all out there on national T.V. for everyone to see.”

Never mind the fact that the replay clearly showed the television audience the correct call was made, it was obvious he was using his physical size, his recognition of the media exposure (both coaches were miked), and the pressure of a close game, (imagine if it had been at Detroit!) to try and influence how the game was being called -– though it is hard to imagine how that might work on such an experienced official as Mattingly.

OFFICIATING UNDER REVIEW: Coaches, Conferences and the NCAA Working to Collaborate

It goes without saying that any coach interested in how officials are evaluated by the NCAA regional advisors or during the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship should read the very clear “2008-09 NCAA Women’s Basketball “Officials’ Performance Evaluation Form.”

While doing so, though, they should also pay particular attention to following section of the introduction:

 Please note that this performance instrument was not created with the intent of replacing those used by individual conferences; rather, the NCAA women’s officiating program is interested in creating a systematic approach to selecting and advancing the best officials for its tournament. 

Why the caveat?

“This is often an area that is misunderstood by coaches as well as the general public” said Mary Struckhoff, the NCAA’s coordinator of women’s basketball officiating, “I think it is natural for people to assume that because the NCAA writes and establishes the playing rules, that it also oversees regular season officiating.

Wrong.

“It is important for people to understand that each conference oversees its respective officiating program, while the NCAA championship falls under the purview of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee,” explained Struckhoff.

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at NBA.com’s Hoops: Katie Smith, Three-Point Queen

The year Katie Smith graduated from college at Ohio State University1 women’s basketball leapt into the national consciousness as the U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team earned a decisive gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. That excitement was met by the launch of two women’s pro leagues: the WNBA and the ABL.

Smith opted to join the ABL, staying close to home with the Columbus Quest.2 For the next two years she barely lost a game, as the Quest won two league championships.

The ABL folded midway through its third season, leaving Smith and many other professional women’s basketball players wondering about their futures.

“That was kind of a tricky time,” recalls Smith of the months leading up to the 1999 WNBA Draft. “You had an influx of all these ABL players that are bouncing over to the WNBA.3 You have WNBA players trying to save their jobs. There was some negotiation.

“They wanted to protect what they had, but also wanted the best basketball league. Eventually, that’s what it was.”

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WATN? Cheryl Ford

Poland!

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Gone, but not forgotten

The Detroit News publish a long AP on their former team: Shock see small successes in first season away from Detroit

“This is our rookie season, and your rookie season is your base year. We plan on taking this base and getting better every year,” said Cameron, the Oklahoma City businessman who bought the team in October. “I’m actually really happy with where we are.

The season’s financially not over yet, but we’re pretty confident we’re going to be at or better than where we projected to be in our first year, so I’m excited about that. We haven’t won quite as many games as we thought we would.”

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Katie Carrera writes: Nolan Richardson’s foray into the WNBA has been a Shock to some

Days after he traded away nearly every player with ties to the storied Detroit franchise that relocated to Tulsa for the 2010 season, Nolan Richardson reaffirmed his commitment to building a winning WNBA team out of an abysmal first year.

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