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in this trade (The Dream’s Erika de Souza to Chicago. They get Damiris Dantas and rookie Reshanda Gray from Minnesota and Lynx’ first-round pick in 2016 WNBA Draft. Chicago sends Sylvia Fowles and the rights to its own 2016 second-round pick to Minnesota – and no, the Lynx won’t play the Sky until (if) the playoffs), take some time to watch the replay of the US-Russia U19 game. Really fun to watch.

A few ASG articles hanging about:

Schimmell Ellectric in 2nd WNBA All-Star Game. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one listening to the ASG play-by-play wondering, “but, does Shoni’s game translate to the pros? It takes flash and fitness, kiddo.

With The All-Star Game On The Line, Maya Moore Found Another Level

At the end of last year’s WNBA All-Star Game — a “shootout” in the desert that the East team won in overtime over the West at Phoenix — Maya Moore appeared a bit irritated.

Not truly mad, mind you. But it was clear that even a so-called meaningless exhibition wasn’t entirely meaningless for Moore. The Minnesota star already has two WNBA titles and a league MVP award, while just in her fifth season as a pro. Bottom line: She always plays to win. Maybe if she was playing some 5-year-old in Candy Land, she might throw the game to the kid. But … don’t necessarily count on that.

Sefko: Why WNBA has never been stronger as league enters Dallas market

Back in the spring of 1996, “We got next” became a reality.

That was the catchphrase when the NBA board of governors approved the concept of the WNBA. The league was a leap of faith that had to be nursed through some tough times, yet has emerged as a legitimate force in the sporting world in less than two decades of existence.

It has become relevant, when many thought it couldn’t.

What is next for Tamika Catchings after an amazing WNBA career?

Doug focuses on what’s next in the WNBA:

The sprint to the playoffs and the WNBA championship will most likely hinge on which team can stay the healthiest. Minnesota is leading the Western Conference right now, but the Lynx are without two of their three All-Stars as Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus are sidelined with injuries.

Whalen, who hurt her eye last week, should be back soon. Augustus is out until mid-August while recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery.

I guess it’s just as well that Liz stayed away from Tulsa: Cambage ruled out of Australia squad after skipping camp

Liz Cambage has been ruled out Australia’s squad for games against Japan and the Oceania Olympic qualifying series against New Zealand after skipping a training camp to attend a music festival.

Cambage had been recalled to national duties last week following nine months on the sidelines after rupturing her Achilles, but Basketball Australia issued a brief statement late Sunday saying the 23-year-old center had ”made herself unavailable” for the games against Japan starting Monday and had been scrubbed from the Oceania championships as a consequence.

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Well, not so much if you’re a Sparks fan, but HEY, what a great game to have on ESPN, no? Debbie must have been thrilled: the Sparks shot 48% and the Dream 53%.  Atlanta had a RIDICULOUS 68 pts. in the paint (and Shoni added 7 assists).

Langhorne is still gettin’ her groove on, but Bird’s cold night against the balanced Mercury doomed Seattle. 

In wise news: Fordham held on to coach Gaitley.

In sad news: Texas A&M-Commerce players Aubree Butts and Devin Oliver died in a Tuesday car crash.

“This is an unspeakable tragedy and a loss that is felt by the entire university community,” A&M-Commerce President Dr. Dan Jones said in a release. “It is made more grievous by the dreams that will not be fulfilled. Our prayers go out to the loved ones of those we have lost.”

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First and foremost, a huge shout out to Barb Stevens and her Bentley University team. Not only did they earn the Division II crown, they went undefeated, AND they came back from 9 down with less than six minutes to go.

With her team down nine points with 51⁄2 minutes left in the NCAA Division 2 championship game, Bentley coach Barbara Stevens allowed herself a moment of consolation.

“I had a fleeting thought looking up at the clock at one point where I said, ‘OK, it’s been a good season,’ ” Stevens said.

It was about to get much, much better.

****

“We looked at each other with six minutes left and knew we had to give it everything we had,” grad student Courtney Finn said. “We had our backs against the wall and really had nothing to lose down nine points. We had six minutes left in our careers and we had to give it everything we had.”

That’s  No. 917 for coach Stevens – and her first national championship.

“I can’t tell you what a tremendous ride this has been for our coaching staff and the Bentley community,” said Stevens. “What a ride for these young ladies and proud of them doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. We’ve gone through so much together and they are truly champions.”

From John Dudley at the Erie-Times News:

The banner above Barbara Stevens in Bentley’s small sea of blue Friday night at Erie Insurance Arena read “Finished Business.”

Some business takes longer to finish.

Stevens, Division II women’s basketball’s winningest coach, finally won a title on her second try 37 seasons into what’s already been a Hall of Fame career.

The last 28 of those seasons have been with the Falcons, with whom she’s been to nine NCAA semifinals, two finals and, now, one mountaintop.

Not such good news for two coaches: Rhode Island is looking for a new leader, as is Minnesota. Rhodie looking of a new boss was not surprising, but for some, Borton’s firing was. Not for those around the program, though.

Jonathan Hawthorne writes: Paul Westhead’s time with Oregon women’s basketball inconsistent but impactful

The team, who was saddened by the news of his departure from Eugene, clearly enjoyed his style of play and mentorship.

“To play for a coach like him, who’s coached NBA players and won championships, it’s probably the highlight of my career because he has taught me so much,” Jillian Alleyne said after the game. “He taught me ultimately to believe in myself, that I can be any kind of player I want to be. So it’s been a great honor and a great pleasure.”

Speaking of coaches in unhappy situations, Kate Fagan dives into the rabbit hole that is the she said/she said of BU’s Kelly Greenberg: Two Distinct Portraits of Greenberg

Kristen Sims, a former Boston University women’s basketball player, remembers how head coach Kelly Greenberg supported her unconditionally before and after her knee surgery, taking Sims to doctor’s appointments and constantly checking in to see whether she needed anything.

Jacy Schulz, another former BU player, remembers the time she entered Greenberg’s office and the coach placed a box of Kleenex on the desk to signal what was to come. “She said I was a waste of life, and that I should never have been born,” Schulz told espnW.com.

Both Sims and Schulz speak with the conviction that comes from personal experience. This is exactly how it happened for me. And according to more than a dozen interviews conducted with former BU players, each of the above interactions reflects the dramatically divergent experiences of the young women who have played for Greenberg over the years.

Joan Venocchi at the Boston Globe writes: A bully, or a booster

Who’s the real Kelly Greenberg?

The two sides to her story sound like parallel worlds of a college hoops universe.

From Allie Grasgreen at Inside Higher Ed: Equal Opportunity Bullying

It’s clear that bullying and emotional abuse by coaches of any gender has deep roots. But several complaints and lawsuits in recent months focused more attention on behavior that people would historically expect to see more from men.

In WNBA news:

You stay put:  Atlanta Dream re-signs All-Star C Erika de Souza after career-best season

You also stay put: Quigley & Warley Re-sign with Chicago and Sun Sign Hightower, Greene

You go back: Katie Douglas leaving Fever as for Sun

You come here: Fever announce signing of Marissa Coleman and Sky sign free-agent forward Breland

Will you come here? Phoenix Mercury today acquired the rights to Polish center Ewelina Kobryn from the Seattle Storm in exchange for forward Charde Houston

And yah, WNBA Makes If Official: 2014 Draft At Mohegan Sun On April 14

WATN? Kelly Mazzante: Mazzante’s return to Hershey for state finals brought back a lot of memories; and not all were good-The former Montoursville High and Penn State star worked the state basketball finals for PCN.

WATN? Keri Chaconas: Former WNBA player settles in Huntersville

Holm grew up in northern Virginia, where she began playing basketball at a young age. Her prowess in the sport as a prep player landed her a scholarship at George Mason, her home school, in 1992.

She took advantage of the opportunity.

While Holm didn’t get a chance to play in an NCAA tournament game during her time with the Patriots, she almost single-handedly vaulted George Mason into a contender for the Colonial Athletic Association title.

Holm’s success as a 3-point shooter – her 218 treys have her tops in school history – helped drive George Mason to the CAA championship game in 1994, where the Patriots fell to powerhouse Old Dominion and their star freshman Ticha Penicheiro, 78-61.

From the AP’s Paul Newberrry: Szabados inspiring but women deserve more

 

But the fact that Szabados’ only real playing option after Canada’s thrilling victory was to sign on with the low-level Southern Professional Hockey League shows just how far women’s sports still lags behind, despite all the progress in the last four decades under Title IX.

At the very least, Szabados and so many other female athletes deserve leagues of their own.

Outside of the WNBA, there’s virtually no conduit for women to make a decent wage in North American team sports after their high school and college careers are over. That’s why Szabados eagerly joined the SPHL for a few games, even though some viewed it as nothing more than a publicity stunt for a team averaging less than 3,000 fans a game. That’s why Jen Welter – all 5-foot-2, 130 pounds of her – is playing in a men’s football league, taking on guys more than twice her size.

They have no choice, their options are limited.

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with Phoenix knocking of Minnesota’s biggest challenger, and Indiana doing the same for Atlanta. Guess everybody will be nice and rested.

I’m looking forward to these games, especially to see how the battle in the paint plays out… tho Jayda is looking for something different: the battle No-Longer Big Easters: Maya Moore vs. Angel McCoughtry in best-of-five series on ESPN networks

From Mechelle: Two motivated clubs meet for title

Sorry, Minnesota Lynx, you still don’t get to be the underdog. It’s your third consecutive year in the WNBA Finals, and you’re the favorite again. You wore that mantle well in 2011, but the championship slipped away from you last year.

**

Sorry, Atlanta Dream, but this is your third trip in the past four years to the WNBA Finals, and you are going to feel underestimated again. The Lynx had a 26-8 regular-season record to your 17-17. They had three players with MVP-like numbers this year (Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus); you had one (Angel McCoughtry).

From Michelle: Lynx, Dream meet again in Finals

Key to the series

Protecting the home court. Atlanta has to win at least once in Minnesota if it wants to win this series. That’s no easy task considering the Lynx’s 17-2 record at home this season. In two playoff wins in Minnesota so far, the Lynx’s average margin of victory is 19.5 points.

The Dream have won only two road games since June 23, winning at Washington in the Eastern Conference semifinals and at Indiana on Sunday. But Atlanta has been a dismal team away from its home court for most of the year, and that doesn’t bode well.

Tim Leighton at the Pioneer Press talks pre-game prep: Before WNBA finals comes 10 hours of ‘Grand Theft Auto’

The victory in the best-of-three Western Conference finals not only gave the Lynx a berth in the WNBA Finals for the third consecutive season, it also earned players a 48-hour furlough from coach Cheryl Reeve.

Augustus had two things in mind upon returning home: a massage and getting her fingers warmed up for a team “Grand Theft Auto” video game party.

Don’t let the frivolity give you the wrong impression, though. Nathan Meacham reassures fans of Los Lynx that Minnesota’s not expecting a 2011 Finals rerun with Dream

It’s back to the WNBA Finals for the Minnesota Lynx, who will be facing the same opponent they defeated in 2011, but that doesn’t mean there are many similarities.

“This team is really different than the team in 2011,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Each of their journeys has been very different. This group wants to get this team’s championship to cap off this journey.”

Nate offers up Three keys for the Atlanta Dream in the 2013 WNBA Finals

During his introduction to the Atlanta Dream’s game against the Minnesota Lynx on August 20, broadcaster Bob Rathbun commented, “You can game plan for the stars in this league defensively, but the reason they’re stars is that they can come through despite all the defensive pressure. That’s certainly the case with Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry and Minnesota’s Maya Moore.”

And of course you can probably apply the same reasoning to Seimone Augustus.

Yet the thing that fans often forget when considering the defensive end of the ball is that defense is never entirely a one-on-one effort – it’s always a 5-on-5 effort. Conveniently, examples of what the Dream need to do to succeed showed up within the first four minutes of their 88-73 win in late August.

The Card Chronicle takes notice: McCoughtry Seeking Elusive First WNBA Championship

It’s been nearly five years since Angel McCoughtry left Louisville, and since then she’s accomplished just about every professional goal imaginable. Except one.

McCoughtry will go for her first WNBA title when the Atlanta Dream begin play in the WNBA Finals on Sunday at Minnesota. The Dream have played in the finals in three of the last four years, but were swept in both of their previous appearances, including in 2011 against Minnesota.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution couldn’t be bothered, so they asked Doug to chime in (and don’t even ask him to make it Dream-centric): Minnesota Lynx face Atlanta Dream in WNBA finals

Ever since the Minnesota Lynx lost in the WNBA finals last year, they’ve been focused on getting back there.

Now they are three wins away from a second championship in three seasons, facing a team they swept two years ago to earn the franchise’s first title.

“We’re a very hungry, determined group of women,” said Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus. “All year we’ve talked about holding our goal and destiny in our hands. We have another chance at a title after not ending last season the way we wanted to.”

Clay writes his WNBA Finals preview: Will Atlanta live the Dream? Or will Minnesota erase last year’s nightmare?

The WNBA would have much preferred one of the Three to See, or Candace Parker and company, in the Finals. The league can certainly deal with Minnesota, with Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus, but 17-17 Atlanta, two-time losers in the Finals, isn’t exactly the dream opponent (sorry).

The positives are that the Dream love to run, so there should be lots of points, and Angel McCoughtry could melt down in SportsCenter-worthy fashion at any moment.

In the end, though, the Lynx are clearly better, and an Atlanta win in this series would count as the biggest Finals’ upset in league history.

Jayda also offers up some exit interviews: Nancy Darsch will not return to Seattle

Speaking of exit interviews, Mark Ambrogi at the Indy Star says Indiana Fever looking to reload for 2014 after getting swept in Eastern Conference finals

Good news for the Chicago: Sky owner Michael Alter all-in (and for those who say the League needs to avoid being “a movement”:

What Alter did not see coming but has figured out, he said, is that “this league is still about a cultural transformation, getting people [to relate to and follow] women and women athletes. And we still have a long way to go, that’s just a fact.”

He also included the phenomenon of women reporters eschewing what some, like himself, may view as a responsibility to champion women’s sports in favor of pursuing the bigger (men’s) beats.

“It’s the same thing with the corporate battle,” he said. “Men are not as comfortable saying, ‘We should do this.’ They don’t want to be the one to make the argument convincing everyone to do it. They’ll support if, but they want someone else to be the flag bearer.”

Simply put, Alter said, that attitude took him by surprise.

Mystery AP person writes: Mercury fall short of expectations, but coaching change brings strong finish

“It was a strange year, it was a little weird,” Taurasi said. “When things were not going our way through the season we worked through it. When they made the coaching change, it could have easily been a foregone season. But we stuck with it. I’m happy the way we fought throughout the season.”

In college news:

Might be an idiot: UWGB women’s basketball: Zastrow pleads not guilty to DUI charge

Might be in trouble: Georgetown places women’s basketball coach Keith Brown on leave following complaints

Georgetown has placed women’s basketball Coach Keith Brown on administrative leave, along with assistant coach Tim Valentine, following complaints of unprofessional conduct and inappropriate language.

The concerns were raised by players on the eve of Brown’s second season as head coach of the Hoyas and were first reported Monday night by WJLA (Channel 7). Georgetown’s assistant vice president for communications, Stacy Kerr, confirmed the circumstances that led to the university’s actions in a statement.

Awful news, reminding us how hard it can be to speak up for oneself: Maryland man arrested for assault of Tennessee recruit Jannah Tucker

A Maryland man has been arrested and charged with second-degree assault in a case that involves Tennessee recruit Jannah Tucker.  The No. 12 ranked 2013 recruit surprised the Lady Vols’ staff in July when she did not report to campus as scheduled, instead sending an email citing unspecified “personal reasons.”

Full Court has confirmed a police report and obtained court documents indicating that officers from the Franklin precinct of the Baltimore Police Department arrested Joshua Anthony Gerrard on Wednesday, July 25, at his home in Owings Mills, Md., on charges of second-degree assault. Gerrard remained in custody overnight and was released the following day on $50,000 bail. A trial date has been set for Feb. 12, 2014.

In high school news:

Definitely an idiot: Ex-basketball coach gets probation over play devised to hurt student heckler

Could be an eye-opener: High school girls’ hoops seeks officials

Nice to be recognized: Dover honors 2 for legendary commitment to students, community

During the introduction for Fisk the announcer read, “Marge Fisk, a graduate of DHS, Class of 1950, and the University of New Hampshire Class of 1954, came back to Dover High in the fall of 1970. Married to husband Bill and raising four children, Marge began the awesome task of revamping the girl’s Phys Ed. Department. With determination, organization and a little bit of magic she began putting together a solid sports program and some of the best girl’s basketball and field hockey teams in the state.” 

In 1975, the field hockey team won the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association for Field Hockey Class AA Championships under Fisk’s leadership. In 1977, an undefeated team coached by Fisk won the Girls Basketball State Championship.

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by something orange yesterday.

In San Antonio, the Silver Stars kept creeping back, but Parker swatted away any hope  – LA moves on.

In NY, things were going along rather swimmingly for the Lib, until Kara “fess up, you never thought I’d make it in the WNBA, much less win Olympic gold” Lawson completed a four-point play followed by a wide-open three. Bye-bye NY – CT awaits the next round.

Neither LA nor CT were particularly impressive (though I’d bet a nickel Debbie enjoyed the West games more than the East games – and I will admit, I like me a high scoring game as much as anyone), but that’s not the point right now. Winning and moving on to the Conference Finals is.

All eyes are on today’s games (Harding leads Dream to a steal; Lynx hold on by their claws).

Speaking of the Dream – from Full Court:“Basketball is everything to me”: De Souza’s story of struggle and triumph

And their opponent, Indy: – from the Star: Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn keeps pushing toward goals

Dunn described herself as a die-hard Democrat and has aligned herself with women’s causes. At the 2011 women’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, she was honorary chairman of an event for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She said she was influenced by discrimination against blacks in the South.

“I grew up seeing that. And it was heart-breaking,” she said. “Now I continue to see how gays and lesbians are discriminated against. I just cannot hardly tolerate any type of discrimination. It’s really hard for me. I think that was instilled in me by my grandparents.”

If only every member of the WBCA had her courage and conviction to do the right thing.

Mechelle says the Storm is all-business for Game 2

Storm veteran Katie Smith knows how tough it is to try to repeat as WNBA champion. She came close to doing it with Detroit in 2006-07, but the Shock lost the latter year in a five-game series with Phoenix.

So Smith has been keeping an eye on defending champion Minnesota this season, watching to see how the Lynx are doing with the mental grind of attempting to win two titles in a row.

“Watching them play, from the outside, they haven’t relaxed,” Smith said. “You see there’s not a lack of intensity. People are diving on the floor; against Atlanta [on Sept. 7] they went two overtimes and gritted that out. They take pride in what they do. It tells you they’ve got their minds on business. It’s not, ‘We’re the champs and we can walk out and just win.’ They go out and prove it.”

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It’s good to be a copycat: Atlanta Pro Sports Teams Buy Tickets to Support Atlanta Dream

A reason to like the “Who-less” Roger Daltrey:

The voice of the Who was supposed to perform last Wednesday in Minneapolis but last week the concert had to be switched to Tuesday to accommodate the Minnesota Lynx’s WNBA championship series.

“It’s the right reason to move the show,” Daltrey said last week. “They’ve never been in the finals before, right? I wish them all the luck. I think it’s great.”

The other Lindsey writes! Harding wants to drive Dream to WNBA title

Mama Taj reminds everyone: We Haven’t Won Anything Yet

Nates at Swish Appeal (Where women’s basketball, the Sugarhill gang and Lil Wayne unite in harmony) notes: Why The 2011 WNBA Finals Is A Great Time For Depressed NBA Fans To Give The League A Chance

De Souza effect from Mechelle: Dream, Lynx will make adjustments – Erika de Souza’s return will impact both teams in Game 2

Minnesota post player Taj McWilliams-Franklin said she used to watch her father play solo chess. He’d be trying to outsmart himself. She’d stay silent and observe, attempting to out-think him on both sides of the board.

“It never happened,” she said, smiling. “I’m awful at chess. But along the way, I picked up skills I use in basketball. Because I’m always thinking two moves ahead.”

De Souza effect from Michelle: Erika de Souza ready to rock

Erika de Souza stood in front of the media Tuesday afternoon, talking about her journey back to the United States, with her agent Fabio Jardine doing the translating from Portuguese to English.

A few questions in, de Souza was asked whether she was tired or ready to go for Wednesday’s Game 2 of the WNBA Finals against the Minnesota Lynx at the Target Center.

No translation needed.

“Ready to go,” de Souza said in English, smiling.

Here comes Seimone! Augustus hitting her peak – After six seasons in WNBA, Lynx star says ‘I’m just now coming out of my shell’

Even if you’re not so thrilled by tattoos, you almost can’t help but be captivated by what covers Augustus’ right arm. There is nothing confrontational or self-congratulatory about this body artwork. The ink on her skin speaks of an appreciation of life’s beauty that’s at her core, her way of wearing her heart on her “sleeve.”

“I actually just let the artist free-style,” Augustus said. “I have my mom’s name in it. I wanted a feminine-type sleeve with flowers and water, meaning peace and tranquility. Things that mean something to me.

On counting: Here’s 23 reasons to watch the Lynx from Jim Souhan

1. Nobody with the Lynx complains of bilateral leg weakness. In fact, a few Lynx players competed despite illness on Sunday.

2. Nobody in Lynx management has ever proudly used the word “bifurcate.”

3. Watching the Lynx is better than sitting home, online, and sending profane and anonymous messages about the teams and players you hate. Put your money where your modem is, show your face in public and support a championship-caliber team.

Tim writes: Lynx vow to enter lockdown mode early in Game 2 of WNBA Finals and Rachel writes: All revved up for the Lynx

“At the beginning of the season, Lindsay told me, ‘Coach, this is a bandwagon town,'” Reeve recalled. “If we win, it’ll come.”

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Swish Appeal. (Yes, Nate did finally cave and make a prediction.)

2011 WNBA Finals Series Preview: Key Players, Stats, and A Prediction

The 2011 WNBA Finals might be the toughest to predict in some time.

As well as the Atlanta Dream have been playing in the latter part of the season and through the playoffs, we can hardly say for sure that they’re done peaking, particularly with center Erika de Souza expected back some time during the Finals. And even if Iziane Castro Marques doesn’t continue scoring the way she did in the Eastern Conference Finals, they’ve been so impressive adjusting to circumstances that it’s hard to know what might stop them consistently.

And then there’s the Minnesota Lynx, who just have the league’s best record and methodically eliminated the Phoenix Mercury in the Western Conference Finals.

So who will win the series?

2011 WNBA Finals: Rebekkah Brunson Leads Minnesota Lynx to 88-74 Game 1 Win

Minnesota Lynx Once Again Show Off Their Impressive Balance In Game 1 Of The 2011 WNBA Finals

And I know who should perform at halftime next game.

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Mechelle has a couple of pieces: Rebekkah Brunson’s 26 points lead Lynx

Rebekkah Brunson was leaning over a trash can, coughing, in the Minnesota Lynx’s locker room. She suggested somebody else go do a postgame interview, as she was still kind of catching her breath.

Sorry, she was told, it has to be you. You were just too good.

Indeed she was, and so were the Lynx. They defeated Atlanta Dream 88-74 before a crowd of 15,258 at Target Center, a place that in most years past was dormant during WNBA playoff time.

Dream will regroup for Game 2: Erika de Souza is expected back, which means Atlanta can return to its usual lineup

Angel McCoughtry has been sliding over to the power forward position in Atlanta’s starting lineup while center Erika de Souza is away. McCoughtry, 6-foot-1 and lean, jokingly said she’s been trying to bulk up with shakes and other forms of protein to give her more strength to handle the pounding inside.

“But as many times as I go to the bathroom before a game, it doesn’t work,” McCoughtry said.

That might qualify as too much information, but the fact that it was said in such a mirthful tone indicates the feeling the Dream had about their 88-74 Game 1 loss Sunday in the WNBA Finals.

Local Tim Leighton headlines his story: Lynx close with a rush to take 1-0 series lead over Dream in WNBA Finals

Atlanta bloodied the noses of the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

It was a rare occurrence for the Lynx, who dominated the WNBA this season in almost bully-like fashion. While the Lynx staggered at times, being on the wrong end of a fistfight stirred something very familiar.

It opened their eyes.

It motivated them.

It sent them on a spree that KO’d the Dream.

At espnW, Michelle writes: Minnesota proves its appeal in Game 1 win

If WNBA president Laurel Richie could bottle the energy, passion and genuine enthusiasm the fans in Minnesota have shown for the Lynx, surely she would.

Heck, if she could grab some of their ticket sales to spread around, she’d do that, too.

Marney Gelner of Fox Sports North noted the Electric atmosphere for Lynx win

Bob Sansevere picks up on an oft played theme:  Lynx give local sports fans a rare reason to cheer

You can bet the crowd was into it, yelling, clapping, dancing, waving those pompons and having the kind of grand time not enjoyed by fans of the Vikings, Gophers, etc.

Vikings wide receiver Bernard Berrian, a stranger to cheers, went to his Twitter account during halftime to tweet that he was at the Lynx game, posting a classy note, “Love the support (they) get Minnesota.”

The support is there because the success is there.

I wonder how many of the local press are flying to Atlanta?

As for Atlanta, with the return of Erika, the AJC notes: Dream center gets attention

Getting from Neiva, Colombia to Minneapolis isn’t the easiest journey. And the Atlanta Dreamcan’t wait for Erika de Souza’s 3,100-plus mile trip from South America to be complete.

Because while the Dream was losing Game 1 of the WNBA Finals to the Minnesota Lynx, de Souza was on her way back from leading Brazil to the championship of the 2011 FIBA Americas Championship. While Brazil earned a spot in the 2012 London Olympics with the victory, the Dream missed its 6-5 center.

It was funny how some writers got their knickers all in a twist because de Souza chose her National Team over her WNBA team. They want the W to put its foot down and “Choose us, damn it!”

Pshaw, I say. If an American made that choice, she’d be saluted for putting her country’s honor and prestige first.

Besides, if a team wants to allow a player that choice, it’s certainly in their right. Atlanta could have dumped her, just like NY chose to dump McCarville.

I’m not sure why people think the League should tell teams how they should or shouldn’t make their personnel decisions. Especially since, no matter how much writers whine about the calendar and its challenges, it’s the calendar we have.

Players are in a tough situation. Teams are in a tough situation. Giving ultimatums may just cut a nose off to spite the face.

And, what about this? Perhaps being flexible will provide the Dream with the boost that makes the difference in these Finals.

That could turn the whine into something sweet.

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some pre-game reading:

From SB Atlanta: Dream Vs. Fever: Finals Trip Awaits Winner Of Game 3 Match Up

Both teams could be potentially missing a key player in Game 3. 2011 MVP Tamika Catching’s status is unknown after she went down with what appeared to be a serious foot injury in the fourth quarter of Game 2. There has been no reports as of yet to whether or not she will be able to play in Game 3. Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said that the Dream would prepare as though Catchings would be in the lineup so expect an announcement on her status shortly before tip off on Tuesday. Atlanta will be without the services of starting center Erika De Souza who left after Atlanta’s Game 1 loss to join the Brazilian National team.

From the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune: Who should Lynx fans root for tonight, Atlanta or Indiana?

A lot of Lynx fans will probably be watching the deciding game in the Eastern Conference finals tonight. But who should they be rooting for?

It all depends on what they want. If they want the best matchup for the Lynx in the next round, then they should cheer for Indiana. If they want the best series, maybe five games, they should pull for Atlanta.

If you don’t care about tonight’s game ’cause you’re still smarting from your team’s loss, read about the National Team: US women’s basketball team starts 12-day European training camp

With the London Olympics less than a year away, the U.S. women’s basketball team will get a rare chance to train when they begin a 12-day European tour on Wednesday.

Coach Geno Auriemma won’t have a very deep roster at his disposal for the trip that will take the Americans through Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic and Hungary.

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but it’s still a “Yikes!” moment: WNBA’s Dream lose key player with season on line

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The Road is my Biggest Bane.

Clearly it’s the theme song of the Sun, who are now 5-8 on the road, discourtesy of the Dream‘s 94-88 win. It’s the second game in a row that Connecticut’s lost in OT. Ouch.

And watch out, folksAngel (and Atlanta?) has got her groove back:

Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry came up with the key plays on both ends of the court Friday night to lead the Dream to an 94-88 overtime win against the Connecticut Sun.McCoughtry blocked a shot at the end of regulation to force overtime and finished with 24 points, including two crucial baskets in overtime, as Atlanta won for the fourth time in five games.”She’s a winner,” Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. “She finds a way to score and she finds a way to defend. That block she made at the end of the game was huge.”

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WATN? Cheryl Ford

The Czech Republic.

At least she’s healthy enough to play. Maybe she’ll want to come to Newark in the summer.

In other International news: Becky will rest before playing in Russia. de Souza is in Spain.

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