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Don’t go to OT.

Hill scores career-high 24, Mystics beat Sun 84-76 in OT

The Lib got there two different ways – let the Sparks back in and came back against the Dream. End result? Two losses. Oops.

Inside The W with Michelle Smith

This is why Tina Charles came to New York. She wanted to come to her hometown team and be a part of building the Liberty franchise into one of the league’s elite teams.

The Liberty are 2-2 with both losses coming in overtime, but are still looking poised to build on the success of 2015, when they posted the best record in franchise history and the best regular-season record in the WNBA.

Charles said the Sparks loss, a game in which the Liberty led by eight with 1:16 to go in regulation, leaves “a bad taste.”

Yah, sure, you’re telling me that you thought the Storm would give the Lynx their biggest challenge of the season (so far). (Or that the Merc would be 0-fer) If you don’t have the June 21st Minnesota/LA match up circled, I have no idea what will get you revved in the world of basketball.

Speaking of Seattle:

Go behind-the-scenes of Breanna Stewart’s WNBA debut in a new documentary series

Seattle Times: Storm’s Breanna Stewart is learning from tough early losses in WNBA

Speaking of the Sparks, from Fastbreak’s WNBA Weekly Rundown: Sparks shining early (And stompin’ the Sky)

Nneka Ogwumike is ‘glue’ for Los Angeles Sparks

A year ago right about this same time, we checked in with Ogwumike and she was very optimistic about the Sparks’ potential, despite forward Candace Parker sitting out the first part of the season. But then Ogwumike suffered a sprained ankle in an exhibition game in late May. (The season started in June then, with no major international competition to have to fit in like this year with the Olympics.)

And very little went right for L.A. for nearly two months. 

San Antonio: Moriah Jefferson quickly becoming a shining ‘Star’

Hello, Washington: Jamie Weisner added to the roster.

Some people hate the jerseys, some people love’em. Me, I’m glad the Wings are off to such a great start – and that a sold out crowd got to see a home win. Great job getting the word out in the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area.

Tara Sullivan: WNBA passing the test of time

The first postgame locker room in WNBA history looked like something out of a M*A*S*H episode, exhausted bodies dropping wherever they could. Such was the price of an emotional (participating in the historic debut of a brand new basketball league) and physical (actually playing in the 60-minute game) toll. Players from the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks were worn out.

“Right now, I’m emotionally spent,” Liberty center Rebecca Lobo told me that California day in June 1997. “We had so much emotion running through us for this game. We were wound tight and wanted to explode.”

Stefanie Dolson says decision to come out was ‘mainly to be a role model for the younger girls’

Today, the former UConn star and WNBA All-Star player will come out publicly in print that she is a lesbian athlete. Although it has been out on the web for almost two weeks on ESPN.com, the ESPN The Magazine article about Dolson hits newsstands today. 

“I don’t really see it as an announcement,” Dolson said prior to the Mystics’ game with the Connecticut Sun on Saturday. “It was mainly just to get out that the WNBA, as a league, is supportive of who we are as women. That’s why our fans are so great. They support us, too. I’m just glad that I’m happy.”

Former WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton shares three takeaways from her film ‘Mighty Ruthie’

Former WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton’s film, “Mighty Ruthie,” premieres Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on SEC Network. It highlights the Olympic medalist’s life as a college basketball player at Auburn in the 1980s, as she worked hard to prove her talent and eventually became a star athlete.

A few years later, Bolton led the United States women’s basketball team to the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Los Angeles. Throughout her successful career, Bolton kept a secret from her family and teammates: Her then-husband was physically abusing her.

Two days after “Mighty Ruthie” was screened at her alma mater by her former teammates and their coaches, espnW interviewed Bolton. Her older sister, Mae Ola, also a star athlete at Auburn, was present for the conversation. Bolton spoke candidly about the film, but she was adamant about not wanting viewers to pity her.

NCAA

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, good night…well, not until the end of the WNBA season. No real surprise, as Vandy made it official and named Stefanie White their new head coach. They sure got lucky, timing-wise… I think (ponders how early the process might have started). White will be joined by Carolyn Peck as associate head coach.

The SEC is setting up quite the Indiana/Purdue reunion, an Lin Dunn couldn’t stay off the sidelines. She joins Matthew Mitchell on the sidelines as a. Here’s hoping she can help right whatever’s wrong with that ship (on and off the court).

Hello: Williams-Jeter Added to Penn State Women’s Basketball Staff

Speaking of Connecticut grads: Hartley, Dolson know what awaits next year’s UConn team. It will help that they got another transfer addition (who won’t have to change her clothing color scheme much) Kentucky’s Batouly Camara Joins UConn; Will Sit Out A Season

Bye: Stasha Carey transfers to Rutgers women’s basketball, leaves Pitt

Congrats:

Michele Schmidt, assistant sports information director at South Dakota State University, won the 2016 Fred Stabley Sr. Writing Contest’s coach/administrator/historical category for the College Sports Information Directors of America’s District 7.

Schmidt’s article was on the 1986-87 women’s basketball team making the program’s first trip to Alaska. The Jackrabbits spent Thanksgiving visiting the North Pole, the Alaskan pipeline and a glacier. To read the story, visit http://www.gojacks.com/news/2015/11/26/210534488.aspx?path=wbball.

USA Basketball

You may recall Lubbock Christian as the team who got stomped by UConn in the preseason, made a video about it, and then went on to go undefeated and claim the DII championship. That may explain why LCU’s coach Steve Gomez got an offer to coach for USA Basketball. He’ll get to hang with the fabulous Nancy Fahey (Washington University), the only coach to win five Division III national championships, Washington University who he may have met at the Final Four festivities,  and Pam Crawford from League City Clear Springs High School.

International: Lauren Jackson to the rescue for Melbourne Boomers

AAU: Basketball Rebels Bounce Back After Founder’s Death

The MRC Rebels Girls Basketball Club was founded in 1988 by Oscar Jimenez, who saw a lack of basketball opportunities for San Francisco girls and sought the City’s help to fill the gap. The program received City funding early on, though Jimenez paid for some expenses out of his own pocket. When Jimenez died suddenly in 2010 at the age of 57, many of his youthful club members lost a mentor and father-figure. Slowly, with the help of new talent, the club has successfully rebounded. 

“It’s unique because of its legacy and affordability,” said assistant coach, Mark Reppert. “We have girls coming up from South City largely due to the legacy created by Oscar. The team is made up of girls from an array of backgrounds and cultures, which I think is rare for San Francisco these days. This diversity represents what the Mission is at its heart.”

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A quick measuring stick as she starts her W career and everyone prepares to support her. Below’s a list of stats for

  • #1 picks.
  • Who were identified as centers, even if they can play a little 4. Yes, Janel as a “center” is pushing it, and Wauters, Dydek and Leslie were what I’d call “experienced” centers… but hey, it’s what I’ve got.
  • Used Basketball-Reference.com for the stats.

If anyone wants to look up their stats for theri first games, send’em on over.

2013 Brittney Griner 
First season
27 games. 26 minutes. 12.6/6.3 rebs.

2010 Tina Charles
First season
34 games. 31 minutes. .487. 15.5/11.7 rebs

2005 Janel McCarville
First season
28 games. 3 start. 11.1 minutes. .340%. 1.8/2.7.

2001 Lauren Jackson
First season
29 games. 34.5 minutes. .367%. 15.2/6.7 rebs.

2000 Ann Wauters
First season
32 games. No starts. 18.7 minutes. 523%. 6.2/4rebs.

1998 Margo Dydek
First season
30 games. 28 minutes. .482%. 12.9/7.6

1997 Lisa Leslie
First season
28 games. 32 minutes. .431%. 15.9/9.5 rebs

Meanwhile…

Man, I love how Minneapolis covers the Lynx. (Excited at the amount of coverage the Wings have gotten, too)

A fresh approach for Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen: The Lynx veteran guard stayed home this offseason to recharge after an injury-riddled 2015 season

For weeks Lindsay Whalen did, basically, nothing. And it was glorious.

All of November and half of December, Whalen, the Lynx guard, once and future Olympian, former Gophers star and Minnesota’s favorite daughter, rested. She didn’t go to the team’s facility. For the first time in a decade she didn’t go overseas to play.

She didn’t do any basketball stuff at all.

Lynx forward Brunson ready to start after recent arrival and Healthy, excited Augustus happy to rejoin Lynx

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’cause it’s the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeeear… Take a deep breath, y’all, shut the door and pull up a chair ’cause you’ve got a lot of reading to do!

First things first: WNIT!!
Saturday, April 2  |  3 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. CT
CBS Sports Network – Thad Anderson (play-by-play) and Chiney Ogwumike (analyst)

The finals are set and it pits two programs who’ve got something to prove (to the selection committee): South Dakota v. Florida Gulf Coast University.

The Coyotes earned a birth by throughly handling Oregon, 88-54.

DakotaDome’s long goodbye as a basketball facility will now officially be talked about for a very long time. The old gal just doesn’t want to give up on roundball just yet. USD will now play the winner of Michigan vs. Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday accompanied by a crowd expected to be bigger than Wednesday’s.

“Even when we were just warming up at 60 minutes (before the game), the people were filling in,” said Kelly Stewart, who was one of six Coyotes who hit double-figures. “Then every time we came out of the locker room there was more people. And finally, when we were about to do the starting lineups, I looked up and I got a huge smile on my face. Everyone was smiling.”

The Eagles took on Michigan in from of a record crowd, and came away with the 71-61 win.

“It was a great defensive effort against a great offensive team,” said head coach Karl Smesko. “Now we’re excited to get to play for the WNIT Championship. The crowd was exceptional tonight. It was a huge advantage for us to have it here with that type of atmosphere. I’m sure it’s the type of game that these players will remember for a long time.”

FYI: WNIT NOTES

-Minnesota’s Rachel Banham scored 48 points on March 16 to lead the Gophers to an 87-80 win over Milwaukee in Round 1. That set a Postseason WNIT record for most points in a game, surpassing Tamika Whitmore of Memphis (45 against Arkansas State, 1999). 

-Sharnae Lamar of Northern Iowa dished out 15 assists to set a single-game WNIT record in the team’s 64-58 victory over Drake, 64-58. 

-The 2016 title game between South Dakota and Florida Gulf Coast is the second time since 1998 that two mid-major programs have played for the Postseason crown. In 2004, Creighton beat UNLV for the title.

-Before 2016, there have been 13 mid-major teams to reach the Postseason WNIT championship game. The six mid-major champions are Creighton (2004), Missouri State (2005), Wyoming (2007), South Florida (2009), Toledo (2011) and Drexel (2013).

About that stuff happening in Indianapolis: FREE Women’s Final Four Activities

General:

Indianapolis set to be center of women’s basketball world

All of the women’s basketball world will descend on Indianapolis this weekend in a celebration of the sport.

For the first time in NCAA history the Division I, II and III women’s titles will be decided on the same court.

“We can’t wait for the 2016 championship games in Indianapolis,” NCAA vice president for women’s basketball Anucha Browne said.

Celebrating 35 Years of NCAA Women’s Basketball

Beth Mowins to replace Dave O’Brien as announcer in Final Four, first-time all-female crew for ESPN at event

Women’s basketball | Final Four: Three first-timers crash party with UConn

Meet the Women’s Final Four

Audio: ‘Around the Rim’: Final Four preview

Audio: Kara Lawson with SI’s Richard Deitsch

Audio: Sue Bird talks about the low pay for women’s professional basketball in the United States on this edition of our Keeping Score with Rick Horrow audio podcast

Audio: HBO and The Ringer’s Bill Simmons is joined by Diana Taurasi to discuss her WNBA return from Russia, UConn’s dominance (6:00), the stupidity of lowering the rims (13:00), GSW’s selflessness (16:30), playing pickup with Westbrook and Draymond (21:00), and the struggling Lakers and D’Angelo Russell (30:00).

Audio: Special Dishin & Swishin Podcast: “Ambassador” Tamika Catchings welcomes the WBB world to Indy

Audio: Dishin & Swishin 3/31/16 Podcast: Doug Bruno is back to break down the 2016 Final Four

Women’s NCAA tournament: Four keys to the Final Four

Women’s Final Four: Can Anyone Stop UConn?

At Women’s Final Four, male-coached teams not a bad thing

These Are The Last Three Teams That Have A Chance To Beat UConn

SNYDER: UConn overshadows parity among other women’s basketball teams

VanDerveer: UConn’s rule isn’t bad for the sport — but next year it could be

Jeff Jacobs: In Women’s Final Four, It’s The Men Who Beat The Odds

Jeff Jacobs: Think UConn’s Geno Auriemma Is A Rock? You Should Meet His Wife

Pac-12 Feature: From ground floor to Final Four

My turn: JUST CATCH UP

Washington:

How UW’s and OSU’s Final Four run is a breakthrough for Pac-12 women’s basketball

Pac-12 Feature: From ground floor to Final Four

7 things to know about Washington Huskies (Syracuse women’s basketball Final Four foe)

Meet the Final Four-bound UW Huskies women’s basketball team

Washington’s jump shooter doesn’t jump

HUSKIES WOMEN: Masters of the Unexpected

Four knee surgeries later, UW’s Walton unfazed by doubts

Mike Neighbors: From Blockbuster To The Final Four

Oregon State

Five questions for Beavers-Huskies

Washington and Oregon State new faces in Final Four

New to following Oregon State women’s basketball? Here’s a crash course on the Beavers

Oregon State Beavers women’s basketball blending intensity, playfulness during Final Four run

Final Four newcomer Oregon State scrappy on defense

Watch: Gary Andersen and Pat Casey on Oregon State

OSU dreams big, embraces Final Four berth

Watch: Oregon State women’s basketball Final Four appearance called ‘incredibly miraculous’

Can Oregon State Shock The World?

Rueck’s Beavers have big fans in OSU’s 1963 Final Four team

OSU has unfinished business in Final Four

Aki Hill and the bliss of the Final Four

Open tryouts to the Final Four: Oregon State’s dramatic rise

Syracuse:

Syracuse’s Hillsman, Read preparing carefully for Washington

Syracuse women’s basketball guard Alexis Peterson brims with confidence

Keep shooting: Syracuse women’s basketball senior Brianna Butler does what she’s told

Turning point for Syracuse women’s basketball this season began with a loss

Kayla Alexander: Syracuse Orange Nation on Cloud Nine

Syracuse women’s basketball center Briana Day: Bigger foes aren’t going to push me around

Go Orange! Syracuse men’s, women’s basketball teams head to Final Four

Connecticut:

Is UConn’s sustained dominance bad for women’s basketball?

UConn may be the greatest college basketball dynasty ever

Geno Auriemma: Having to defend success ‘makes no sense’

Geno: Ignore UConn Women If You Want, ‘But Don’t Demean Those Who Appreciate It’ –

Why the dominance of the U-Conn. women’s team should be embraced

UConn’s opponents need to step up their game

Jeff Otterbein: UConn Women Simply The Best, Just Watch And Learn To Live With It

Here are a few additional assignments for sports columnist

Fans appreciate greatness, even when the games aren’t close

Fans don’t agree with columnist who says Huskies are killing the game

UConn Women’s Basketball Team Confronts Consequences Of Being ‘Too Good’

UConn too good? Quit the whining, beat ’em!

Respect the Women!

Be Great. Don’t Apologize.

UConn women don’t find winning boring

UConn women should be respected

UConn can join a pair of 4-peat pioneers in women’s basketball

Connecticut poised to make history again

UConn making something hard look easy

Huskies closer to place no team has ever been

Freshmen provide Huskies with needed backup help

UConn freshmen stepping up in NCAA Tournament

Samuelson’s family is UConn women’s basketball’s family, too

Women’s basketball: Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart leads a star-studded Final Four

Other basketball news:

Rachel for threeeeee: Banham edges Smith in 3-point championship

Brava: Jennifer Azzi comes out as gay, announces marriage to her USF assistant coach

“I, too, lived a long time not being 100 percent honest,” Azzi said. “Kind of the don’t-ask-don’t-tell kinda of thing. And it’s so stupid. I don’t know why we do that, but we do that. I’m a college coach. Is it going to hurt me with recruiting? What are people going to think? And you are constantly worrying about those things.

Supporters laud Jennifer Azzi for her bravery – but you can read the fear…

New women’s basketball coach Kenny Brooks raves about recruiting potential at Virginia Tech

Jonathan Tsipis’ plan to grow Badgers women’s basketball attendance starts with being visible –

New UW women’s basketball coach wants to keep state’s best players

Tsipis tasked with turning tide for women’s hoops

Wisconsin Women’s Basketball: Tsipis’ energy stands out during initial meeting with team

Bradbury named UNM women basketball head coach

KSU Women’s Basketball Coach Agnus Berenato

Kim Rosamond named Tennessee Tech women’s basketball head coach

Finally poached: UCF announces Katie Abrahamson-Henderson as head coach of women’s basketball

Former UConn players apply Auriemma lessons as coaches

Bye: Jatarie White to transfer from USC women’s basketball program

Bye: Two leave Duke women’s basketball team

WNBA:

Updownup-down… honestly, I think the NBA should raise their rim. It’s ridiculous how easy it is for the giants who play the game to score…

Army brass supports Minato in WNBA bid

Jennifer Gish: The next goal for UAlbany’s Shereesha Richards — the WNBA

Lindsay Whalen Joins Timberwolves’ Broadcast Booth

Deep Diving WNBA Data — Griner’s Paint Defense

WNBA Award Accuracy by Win Shares

Girls Sports Month: Candace Parker on what drives her, dunking and being a mom

WNBA Reveals New Apparel Items Celebrating Landmark 20th Season

The Legend of Lauren Jackson

Cool: Boomers And Fire GMs Head To WNBA Again

Following on from a successful visit last year to work alongside management at the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA, the off-court leaders at the Deakin Melbourne Boomers and JCU Townsville Fire will again embrace a fact-finding mission in Los Angeles and Phoenix this June, this time taking in eight sporting events in 10 nights.

WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw “hitting game-winning shots” on and off the court

In case you missed it: Blake Griffin’s ‘Broad City’ appearance included a discussion about the WNBA

OT, but not really: Nike responds to U.S. national team jersey controversy

The sportswear behemoth that has outfitted the national team program for decades has been hit especially hard on two issues.

First, with the women’s jerseys, the low-cut neckline has been called unnecessarily sexualizing by some fans, and simply inconvenient anatomically for others whose body shapes aren’t the same as the widely used industry standard.

Second, with the men’s jerseys, you can’t buy one emblazoned with the three stars that represent the World Cups won by the women’s team. There are plenty of men who support Jill Ellis’ reigning champions just as much as they support Jurgen Klinsmann’s collection of question marks.

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@laurenej15

Hey lovelies, thank you so much. Retiring is the hardest thing to do, but thank you for your support. I’m going to miss this game so much

Lauren Jackson’s excellence was never bad for the game and I was never bored watching her. I will so miss the on-court nightmare she was.

Jon Healy: Lauren Jackson deserved better than having her brilliant basketball career ended by injury

It hardly seems fair Jackson was unable to bow out on her own terms, with knee injuries taking that right from her.

As a result of the ongoing problems, her WNBA side, the Seattle Storm, was without the superstar for three consecutive seasons, leaving a pockmark on her legacy there.

Even so, the 34-year-old will be remembered as one of basketball’s best players with a wide-ranging skill set that made her an unstoppable scoring threat, a tenacious rebounder and a dominant defensive presence.

Also from Jon: Lauren Jackson says low pay in women’s basketball forces players to over-extend themselves to make a living

AP: Former Seattle star Lauren Jackson announces retirement

She had been named on Australia’s Opals extended squad for Rio, but recent fitness testing and medical advice convinced her she should not continue playing.

“It really is so surreal retiring here where it all began 19 years ago,” Jackson said. “Today I’m announcing my retirement from the love of my life, basketball. Two years ago I hurt my knee playing in China … my knee ended up degenerating really, really fast, I got arthritis pretty quickly and since then I’ve had multiple surgeries.”

Chris Dutton: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James on Lauren Jackson: ‘She’s the greatest’

Freya Noble: ‘Basketball is in my blood’: Australia’s greatest female player Lauren Jackson breaks down as she announces retirement after two decades

‘Today I’m announcing my retirement from the love of my life – basketball,’ she said, the emotion evident in her voice. 

‘It took me all over the world, gave me friendships that will last forever, so thank you for everyone for being here… for giving me this opportunity to say goodbye.’

Olgun Uluc: Lauren Jackson became ‘Australia’s crown jewel’, says former Boomers coach Brett Brown

She managed to do something with her sport that no other Australian has ever replicated. She dominated in the United States.

In a country that prides itself on garnering the best talent from across the globe, to join some of the most competitive, and successful, leagues of all-time; Jackson reigned supreme.

“She became Australia’s crown jewel,” former Australian Boomers coach, Brett Brown, told foxsports.com.au.

Alanna Jarry: Thank you to Lauren Jackson, a living legend of the game

James Willoughby: The 10-word pact Lauren Jackson made at 12

Lauren Jackson’s father played basketball for Australia. So did her mother.

Growing up around the sport and playing from an early age, she seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of her parents.

But at 12, Jackson’s performance at a Country Cup suggested that maybe she didn’t want that life. Her parents twigged and told her she didn’t have to keep playing.

Jackson’s response should go down in the folklore of Australian sport, given she is arguably the best basketballer the nation has ever produced.

She went to her room, sat at her computer, and – as the story goes – typed: “From this day on, nothing will stand in my way.”

Kevin Pelton: Appreciating LJ’s dominance — and wondering what might have been

Lauren Jackson did many things well on a basketball court, but hiding her emotions wasn’t one of them. In between celebratory smiles, Jackson was full of entirely too much frustration caused by the injuries that ultimately forced her to retire from basketball this week at age 34.

If you were building the ideal basketball player in a lab, you might want to start with Jackson. At 6 feet, 6 inches, the Australian legend was one of the tallest players in the WNBA throughout her 12-year career, yet she was also one of the league’s most dangerous outside shooters. Jackson’s combination of skills drew comparisons to NBA star Dirk Nowitzki, but Nowitzki couldn’t match Jackson — the 2007 defensive player of the year — in terms of impact at both ends of the court.

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’cause work’s been busy… and I got to see Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall last night. <BLISS>

Interesting WNIT games on tap tonight!!

Ohio v. Temple

At some point, be it next week, next month or next season, Bob Boldon said everyone is going to finally realize how special a player Kiyanna Black has been for the Ohio University women’s basketball program.

Black, meanwhile, is hoping for one more special performance to keep Ohio’s season alive.

Northern Iowa v. South Dakota

Amy Williams jokingly admits to ‘torturing’ herself on the bus ride home from last Sunday’s win at Minnesota.

She re-watched film from a game back in mid-November.

Her University of South Dakota women’s basketball team had suffered a 21-point loss at Northern Iowa that day, but Williams needed a refresher. Her Coyotes, after all, will host Northern Iowa tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. in the third round of the WNIT.

TCU v. UTEP

TCU is still in this thing.

The Horned Frogs (18-14) will visit UT El Paso at 8 p.m. Thursday in the WNIT’s Round of 16. UTEP (28-4 and 18-0 at home), the Conference USA regular-season champs, spent much of the season hoping for a long run in another postseason tournament before being upended by Old Dominion in the CUSA tourney.

TCU made a first-round exit in the Big 12 tournament but is now one win away from the longest postseason run in program history, in just coach Raegan Pebley’s second year.

WNIT happened:

Michigan (Big Ten) romped over San Diego (WCC), 78-51.

Hofstra (CAA) ended Virginia’s (ACC) post-season, 65-57.

The Hofstra women’s basketball team slayed another power-conference giant Tuesday night in its run through the WNIT, knocking off the University of Virginia 65-57 at the Mack Sports Complex to advance to the team’s first WNIT quarterfinal since 2007.

“What a phenomenal win, not just for Hofstra but for the CAA,” said Hofstra head coach Krista Kilburn-Steveskey after the game. “It’s a proud moment to be coaching these women here.”

Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun) over Tulane, 73-61.

Motivated by being left out of the NCAA tournament, the Florida Gulf Coast University women’s basketball team continues to make the most of its postseason appearance.

For the third game in a row, FGCU’s offense looked unstoppable at times Wednesday in the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament. The Eagles used 11 3-pointers and a 27-point third quarter to ease past Tulane, 73-61.

Oregon (Pac12) took down Utah (Pac12), 73-63.

Crap: Cait Craft broke her left hand in practice. Out of NCAA tournament game for

PhewOhio State women’s basketball | Alston back in nick of time

Help: Tennessee’s mission: Slow down OSU’s Mitchell

Growth: Wilson right on track at South Carolina

Height: To post upset, Syracuse women’s basketball needs to cut South Carolina down to size

Jump: Jewell Loyd: Fighting Irish Trying to Clear Their Biggest Hurdle

Audio‘Around the Rim’ podcast: How Sweet 16 it is

Picks: Experts’ picks: Chalk will rule Sweet 16

Conversation: Dishin & Swishin 3/24/16 Podcast: Stephanie White breaks down the Sweet 16

Discuss: NCAA WBB first- and second-round attendance should not be what the postseason is about

Bye: Freshman Taja Cole says she’s leaving Louisville

Bye, too: Virginia Tech fires women’s basketball coach Dennis Wolff

Bye, Bye: Two USU Women’s Basketball Players Leaving Program

Stay: Illinois women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant to return next season

Nebraska: Analyzing why a disappointing season happened and what might change

Read: Olympian and WNBA Star Tamika Catchings Shares Stories of Triumph in New Book

Yup: Djokovic’s jokes about female players’ hormones as damaging to the sport as Moore’s comments

Good: WNBA condemns Raymond Moore’s sexist WTA comments

Cool: The Schimmel sisters visit Fairbanks and the NABT, Nates win title

Sweet: Watch Emma Meesseman practice with a Belgian girls basketball team in her hometown

Forward: UAlbany’s Shereesha Richards prepares for WNBA draft

Forward, too: Jonquel Jones sets stage for high WNBA selection

Hmmm: Rio Olympics 2016: Opals legend Lauren Jackson still under cloud as Belinda Snell cut from squad

Leadership: American Airlines, NCAA, PayPal speak out on NC law restricting LGBT protections

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Another setback for LJ – which is a real bummer (especially for those of us who were looking forward to seeing her in Turkey!)

More on Milyse Lamkin: Sam Houston coach taught life lessons

Although she was devoted to developing the young athletes she coached into responsible citizens, Lamkin’s commitment to her community didn’t end at the school’s doors. Like her mother, Mildred Lamkin, she believed in making San Antonio’s East Side a better place to live. For example, she was choir director at her church.

“After basketball practice, she would go right to church,” said Sam Houston senior Dajah Thomas, who played three years on Lamkin’s basketball team. “She just helped a lot of people.”

NOW the AJC pays attention? Dream moving forward

To make the postseason in 2015 for the seventh time in the team’s eighth season will require keeping the nucleus of the squad together, as well as finding a few key parts to support the bench.

“I think we have a great foundation,” Cooper said.

A loss for those who cover women’s basketball:Longtime LA Sparks photographer Eric Wade dies

The media core who covers the Sparks every summer has got to know each other over the years. You work for different publications but you work together, and sometimes you become friends. Such was the case with Eric Wade and myself.
Eric had a calming presence, even when speaking about teams and players he was passionate about. He was funny; Just last month he and Sparks forward Jantel Lavender and I engaged in some brief jokes on Twitter. Eric was also observant and kind, and he loved photography. He was always behind the lens, shooting something.

Hats were Eric’s thing. He often wore Kangols, but sometimes opted for the dressier style, as he did the day I took this picture of him taking a picture.

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lovely few days in Minneapolis. Got to hang with family friends, see an overflowing Minnehaha Falls, re-connect with one of the original WHB bloggers, finish the second to last of my WBHOF articles, present a kick-butt conference session with some amazing educators and researchers, and chill with three fabulous munchkins: Theo, Jonah and Mae.

Now I need a nap.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world has contented spinning:

Exciting visit to the White House for Stef… I mean, the UConn’s women’s team. (Oh, dear: UConn women’s basketball in good shape for next title run)

The Lynx aren’t far behind.

New jobs for Megan Duffy and Jocelyn Wyatt and Katy Steding.

Speaking of jobs: Jenny Boucek talks about career, NBA coaching aspirations

FSU lands K-State (finally) transfer Leticia Romero.

I like when this happens: NOLA is tracking LSU alum in the W.

Ray at Swish Appeal has an Interview with San Antonio Stars rookie Kayla McBride: Adjusting to the WNBA

Ben York is talking The Evolution of Diana Taurasi

As her illustrious career continues, Taurasi has adapted to various styles of play that best suits that particular roster and team – something that is infinitely easier said than done, especially when many consider you to be the best player in the world.

In the run-and-gun years, Phoenix needed her to put the ball in the basket as much as humanly possible (not that it would be frowned upon now).

In the past few years, as the league has progressed, they’ve needed her ability to create and get the entire team involved (which is a direct correlation with being amongst the league-leaders in assists).

Nevertheless, it’s one thing to have an evolving game but another thing entirely to be effective at it – and finish amongst the league-leaders in the process.

Are the stars returning to the stands? First, NY gets Billie Jean King, now Ludacris And Others Attend WNBA Atlanta Dream’s “Dads & Daughters Night”

Medic! Lauren Jackson gets more knee surgery. EDD continues to be plagued by Lyme Disease.

From Patricia Babcock McGraw: Struggling Prince trying to find answers

During the Los Angles game, Prince was in uniform for the first time this season. But she did not see the floor.

In Atlanta, Prince made her season debut, but played only 9 minutes. She did, however, score 7 points.

She had been out until that point for personal reasons and joined the team only two weeks ago, battling what seems to be a severe case of mental exhaustion.

As for the games since I departed NY and returned…. can anyone figure this season out? I mean, except for Minnesota, who has got their you-know-what-together?

From David: Dishin & Swishin 06/12/14 Podcast: Underrated as a player and team, Danielle Robinson and San Antonio surprising in the West

Cappie remembers how to score, and the Lib stomp Washington.  (surprise! btw. ESPN still has the Lib in Newark.)

Parker scores a lot and rebounds a lot… but the rest of the team? Not so much. Minnesota dispatched the Sparks at the Staples Center.

Cappie forgets how to score, Diggins does not: Tulsa wipes the floor with New York. And hellooooo Courtney Paris! Welcome to the defense-free Liberty front court. (So much for that “heart-to-heart” meeting, Libs.)

More thumping of the Mystics, this time by Brittney.

Delle Donne-less Sky fall to the Storm. I wonder how much her extended minutes has played into the reoccurrence of the Lyme disease.

The Catch-less Fever rallied to take down Seattle and make Lin Dunn’s big night in Indianapolis extra special.

Steve Lebron at Policymic writes: How Much Women’s Basketball Players Make in the U.S. vs. China

While NBA players secure financial stability the minute they enter the league as first-round picks, the most talented female players are — while adequately compensated relative to other occupations — very low on the financial totem pole for athletes.

Fun times for USA Basketball at the 3×3 tournament.

Speaking of USA Basketball:

U of L’s Hammond calls gold medal experience ‘humbling’

Sara Hammond said Sunday, after representing the United States and earning a gold medal doing so, that her FIBA World Championship experience was tough to put into words.

The University of Louisville basketball player managed nonetheless after her USA Basketball 3×3 women’s team took gold in Moscow.

 

Three sisters, one out-of-sight dad

Jon Samuelson, father of one of the most successful sister acts in women’s basketball, is ever-present in the lives of his three talented daughters — he’s just hard to find during their games.

Samuelson, who played college basketball at Cal State Fullerton and pro ball in Europe, has taught the game to Bonnie, who will be a senior at Stanford this fall; Karlie, a rising sophomore at Stanford; and Katie Lou, a 6-foot-3 wing at Mater Dei High School (Santa Ana, Calif.), a Connecticut recruit and the No. 1 prospect in the 2015 class.

From Amanda Hess at Slate.com: The WNBA Finally Recognizes Its Lesbian Fans

This month, the WNBA became the first American pro sports league to openly recruit LGBTQ fans by launching a dedicated marketing platformselling rainbow basketball pride T-shirts, and sponsoring pride games across the country. On June 22, ESPN2 will air the first-ever nationally televised pride game. WNBA President Laurel Richie frames the strategy as a smart business decision: Recent market research has revealed that 21 percent of lesbians have attended a WNBA game, and 25 percent have watched one on TV. For a league that’s had serious difficulties getting anyone to fill its seats, those stats are astonishing.

The New York Times’ Julie Macur writes: Coast Cleared by Others, W.N.B.A. Finally Finds Its Gay Pride

When Brittney Griner, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 W.N.B.A. draft, heard about her league’s new campaign to market games to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, she said, “What are we going to have, T-shirts, shoes?”

It was about time, Griner said she thought, and then wondered what she could do to help.

I find the comments interesting and insightful (something unusual, we know, when folks comment on articles about women’s athletics.  While I, too, have been frustrated at the far-too underground recognition of the lesbian fan base, I’m finding some of the finger pointing and shoulda-coulda rather tone-deaf.

Simple question: who has more security? The NCAA or the WNBA? Who has more players, more fans, more “institutions?” NCAA, WBCA? I’m lookin’ and YOU.

Doug gives Chiney and Nneka some focus: WNBA’s Ogwumike sisters raise funds for education in Nigeria

WATN? UConn and CT Sun standout Nykesha Sales visits CBC

Oh, the drama: Diamond DeShields to join Vols

More good news for the Vols: Te’a Cooper gives verbal to Tennessee

Speaking of Knoxville: Dunn led way for today’s generation – Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball HOF on Saturday (ESPN3, 7 ET)

There are two kinds of vision, of course. The kind that lets you see what’s in front of you, and the kind that lets you imagine what you hope will one day be there.

Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn always has had both, going back to her youth in Tennessee in the 1950s and ’60s. Even then, Dunn had a passion for sports and could see strategy and tactics as a natural-born coach. But she also saw what wasn’t there: enough opportunities and support for girls and women in athletics.

When Dunn is inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee, as part of a class of six, the honor will be a testament to Dunn’s determination to make the real world line up better with the possibilities she always imagined.

Lin gets around the “only five minutes to speak at the induction ceremony” rule by writing for ESPN: Five decades of fighting for equality – Lin Dunn to be inducted into Women’s Basketball HOF on Saturday

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Okay, they get away with the name ONLY because they’re from Chickasha: Former player remembers last Lady Chicks state trip.

The last time a Lady Chicks basketball team went to state, none of the current squad, technically, existed.

It was 1995, the first internet search engine, Yahoo!, had just been invented; in that early spring time no one was aware of the fate facing the Alfred P. Murrah building in Oklahoma City, and the WNBA wasn’t even around. The feelings inside the Lady Chicks’ camp then are now being played out once again.

“None of these girls were born yet, I was a freshman in college; that really puts it in perspective,” head coach Christy Edelen said. “It’s an honor that doesn’t come around too often.”

On the move in the W: Sun Acquire Bentley; Lawson Reunited With Thibault In D.C.

The reshaping of the WNBA‘s Connecticut Sun began in a big way Wednesday with the trade of veteran guard Kara Lawson to the Washington Mystics.

The three-way deal with the Atlanta Dream brings Alex Bentley, the former Penn State guard, to the Sun.

The day began with Washington trading guard Matee Ajavon and its second-round pick, the 18th in the draft, to Atlanta for Bentley and a third-round pick (No. 32) in this year’s draft.

Also on the move: Mercury trade for Erin Phillips from the Indiana Fever

The Mercury announced a trade Tuesday, acquiring guard Erin Phillips from the Indiana Fever in exchange for forward Lynetta Kizer and a first-round draft pick.

Phillips, a six-year veteran with the Fever and Connecticut Sun, has averaged 6.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 152 games (67 starts), and won the 2012 WNBA championship as a member of the Fever.

The trades awaken Richard at WNBAlien: Grading the Trade: Phoenix filch Phillips from Fever for 1st and Grading the Trade: Three-way deal sends Lawson to D.C., Bentley to Connecticut, and confusion to Atlanta (with Matee Ajavon)

It’s Famous Fan Friday – Jackson backs the Swans

If this weekend’s Sydney Derby is a battle for NSW fans, then Australian basketball champion Lauren Jackson has already picked her side.

The Seattle Storm forward, who has been granted a season of leave from her WNBA commitments to recover from knee and ankle surgery, will be back home in Australia this year and will be supporting her beloved ‘Swannies’ throughout the 2014 season.

Speaking of LJ: Jackson, Taylor in Australia training squad

Still speaking of LJ: Australian Basketball Legend Lauren Jackson Joins Athlete Ally

“I respect all of my friends, family and teammates for the people they are. That’s why I feel it’s important to advocate for equality for the LGBT in sports and beyond. Joining Athlete Ally as an Ambassador is a way for me to publicly express this support, and I’m delighted to become a part of such an important cause,” Jackson said.  

Congrats: Katie Smith to Receive OHSAA Ethics and Integrity Award

Congrats: Indy Pride & More Team Up with Indiana Fever for Diversity Night – The trend of professional sports teams aligning with LGBT individuals and groups makes its way to Indianapolis.

WATN? Former WNBA player Edna Campbell headlines Rays of Hope Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day

From the Advertiser’s Al Karré: Former UL athlete deserves place of honor

In February, The Daily Advertiser, in celebration of Black History Month, ran a picture of former Ragin’ Cajun and WNBA basketball star Kim Perrot.

Now, during Women’s History Month, it is equally appropriate to honor her.

It has been a little more than 14 years since her passing, but in the hearts and minds of basketball fans, she continues to live on as a shining example of excellence at the highest level of sports.

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Stormy Monday…

Lauren Jackson undergoes surgery

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More Live Access Griping…

The official Live Access REALLY REALLY sucks thread

Problems w/ Live Access for Sun Game?

It the Twitter-sphere:

Lauren Jackson ‏@laurenej1517s @wnba why is live access out? And for how long?

CappiePondexter Fans ‏@TeamCAPPA17m SERIOUSLY ABOUT TO DEMAND MY MONEY BACK!!!!!! @WNBA LIVE ACCESS IS A DISGRACE!!!!!!!!!!!
Richard Cohen ‏@RichardCohen129m Okay, looks like it’s happening to all of us. #LiveAccess mess continues. And this one’s supposed to be on a TV channel. #wnba @WNBA
Muffet McGraw ‏@MuffetMcGraw30m – Is anyone watching the Tulsa game? This Wnba live access is terrible
WNBA Jones ‏@WNBAJones31m@WNBA Live Access has been terrible and so far not worth the $14.99 this yr or even the $5.00 last yr. This wouldnt happen with the @NBA.
DaTruthTella ‏@DaTruthTella36m@WNBA The “Live Access” has been horrible tonight, well it’s bad almost every night but tonight has been disgusting.
 Lynette Baker ‏@Lynette7_Baker37m@wnba exactly it’s ridiculous!RT @Ayoo_itsBreezyB Sooo we pay more money but Live Access is all mess up?? Get it together
Mike Peden ‏@TheSportsBrain37mOh great…#LiveAccess froze and I can’t watch the #Storm play the #Shock. Wasn’t the price increase supposed to fix this? #wnba
Ilene Hauser ‏@wbbswoosh Protected account47m@WNBA Live Access not working, getting a rainbow picture.
Jayda Evans ‏@JaydaEvans1h.@bigmarys Considering #ESPN is a major backer of #WNBA, boggles my mind, too. Site is sweet but shouldn’t have kinks this early #LiveAccess
Jayda Evans ‏@JaydaEvans4hRT @WashMystics: RT @ConnecticutSun: If trying to watch game via liveaccess, we are aware there is an issue. We will keep you posted!” Sigh
@xjennersonx: @JaydaEvans exactly why didn’t pay $15. I knew it wouldn’t be worth it.” Come on! New app more than video. It’s Y3? Need time

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Clay up after he tries to say nice things about you:

So how much does the 0-2 start for Phoenix really mean? Is Corey Gaines really an idiot? Are the Mercury really worse than Seattle? Is Brittney Griner really overrated?

The answers, in order: Very little; no; no; and emphatically no.

Merc get royally stomped by the Lynx. On a Mission Much? Maya Managed Many Points in Minimum Minutes (23/22)

The Lynx scored 60 points in a half consisting of two 10-minute quarters. That’s three points a minute. Traditionally, that has been accomplished mostly by men with large Afros and a red, white and blue basketball.

The Lynx also tied a franchise record with 30 assists, on 36 baskets, and tied a franchise low with six turnovers. Traditionally, that kind of ratio isn’t accomplished at any level of the game.

M&M discuss “Who are the top five centers.

As Brittney Griner is quickly finding out, it’s not easy being a center in the WNBA.

 It’s rough down there in the paint — the size, the physical play, the jostling, the foul trouble.

The best women’s league in the world is home to the best centers in the world in 2013, a group that includes grizzled veterans, gold medalists and some of the most promising young talent one could imagine.

Even with Storm center Lauren Jackson out of the league for the season, taking a year off from Seattle to heal her hamstring, the best centers in the WNBA make for a star-studded list of talent and experience. These strong, powerful women score inside at will. They battle for the boards, block shots and stretch defenses.

In this game-changing season for the WNBA, espnW will rank the top players at each position. We start with the WNBA’s five best centers:

The Lib are thrillin’ fans with OT wins over shorthanded teams. Their coach? Not so much.

Who’s singing “I’m Baaack in the Saddle Again”? Erin Thorn. So’s the other CP3.

How much fun is coach Donovan having? Not much. Montgomery is out for three weeks (or more) and now White’s Broken Finger Adds To Sun Injury Problem. And, do you know what? It’s Almost Time For Thibault’s Connecticut Homecoming. Wheeeeeee!

Speaking of injuries: NOT good: Prince sprains ankle in first game for Russia. Timely that espnW’s re-visioned site discuss “Player’s Priorities.”

Nate offers up 2013 WNBA Most Improved Player watch list: 10 players with the opportunity to improve

The Most Improved Player award is fundamentally about the gap between expectations and outcomes, which brings an inherent element of unpredictability to the process of picking one.

Chances are that if a player showed signs of improvement in the previous year, they don’t have the strongest case for being the most improved player in the league as every year someone takes an unexpected leap.

However, when looking at the actual winners of the WNBA’s Most Improved Player award in the past they have actually been quite predictable:

Richard l’Alien offers up: Trading Tina Thompson

Last week saw one of the legends of the WNBA, the sole remaining player from 1997′s inaugural season, announce that this would be her final year. Tributes and glowing assessments of Tina Thompson’s career rightfully flooded in, but because I’m an unsentimental soul my first thought was “does this make it more or less likely that she’ll be traded?” On reflection, it seems like the retirement announcement probably doesn’t make much difference – there was always a strong chance that this was her last season anyway, so any move for her would’ve been primarily about what she could offer in 2013. But it does seem like an appropriate time to look at whether Seattle might find a new home for Tina before the trade deadline on August 15th.

Who’s singing “I’ll be watching you.” Refs. Or is it the fans. Or is it the refs?

WATN? Pat Coyle is back in the coaching ranks at St. Peter’s in the MAAC. Lucky Patty — she inherits a team that went 2-28 last season. And they’re called the Peahens.

Speaking of coaching, Alysha Clark will sample the profession at Middle Tennessee next season.

Mel’s talking Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction stuff, and a guest blogger gives us the view from Chicago: Maya’s WNBA Chicago Scene: Elena Delle Donne Quickly Brings Sunshine to the Windy City

Have fun Suuuuuuuueeeeeeeee! Sue Wicks grew her love for the game, will be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

From SlamOnline: ‘This Is Not Hoosiers’ – Filmmaker Robert T. Herrera reflects on the compelling documentary The Gray Seasons.

With the WNBA season underway, it’s only right that the ladies got next, and although the number of films chronicling women and basketball are few and far between, they do exist. The Gray Seasons follows Shimmy Gray-Miller, head coach of the St. Louis University Lady Billikens as she takes over the Division I program. Documenting the team for four years, the film showcases the losses, which sometimes occur more than the wins, the countless moments of Gray-Miller’s determination, and the courage, pain and resolve of her team.

Slam also offers up a little slice of women’s basketball history — and you know how we love that! The Forgotten – “Machine Gun” Molly Bolin is probably the best female guard you’ve never heard of. (Of course, if you’ve read Karra Porter’s Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women’s Professional Basketball League, 1978-1981, you know all about Molly.)

More history: US Rep. Gabbard Pays Tribute to Title IX and Co-Author Patsy Mink

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While league gears up, LJ will sit

She has also been the anchor for the Australian national team, and competed in Europe and her home country. All while getting the living crap beat out of her, as she did the same thing to her fellow post players. Frankly, that’s the life of the big women and men in basketball, and it takes high pain tolerance and fortitude. Jackson has both in abundance.

But, as much as Seattle and the WNBA will miss her, Jackson’s taking the 2013 season off — as was announced by the Storm on Wednesday — is for the best. She is trying to heal a hamstring injury that has prevented her from playing in Australia this winter (summer there) and that required surgery.

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The nigh on unreadable NCAA.com listing is here. Oh, wait, I found this “Week Listing“, but it doesn’t have the Connecticut game on SNY. At ESPN you can get a list of all the games, but not if they’re watchable via TV or streaming (unless it’s ESPN/Watch). Why is this so hard?

Speaking of TV and Connecticut: UConn Huskies Women’s Basketball Continues to Soar on SNY

On the heels of UConn’s victory over Georgetown, SNY, the official television home of the UConn Huskies Women’s basketball program, today announced that the game averaged an 8.52 household rating – the network’s highest rating of the season.  This ratings benchmark also signifies the highest household rating in nearly two years for the program in the Hartford-New Haven DMA (UConn-Syracuse, 9.1 household rating on 2-28-11).  In addition, the game ranked as the #1 program in its time period – beating all competitive sports programming airing in the market – including ESPN’s NBA Double Header.  UConn-Georgetown on SNY also topped all network prime time series last night in the Hartford-New Haven DMA – except ABC’s Modern Family (9.05 household rating)

Some basketball was played yesterday.

In a battle of the birds, the Blue Jays of Creighton took down coach Glance’s Redbirds of Illinois State and now stand at 3-0 in the MVC.

Arizona State got its first win of the PAC-12 season, as did Oregon State.

Washington State kept it close in the first, but UCLApulled away in the second for the 78-52 win.

Sue covered the USC win over UW.

Over at  WSC Radio Show, Brenda and Mechelle are Breaking down the top six women’s basketball conferences

The Dishin & Swishin 1/10/13 Podcast: Matthew Mitchell readies No. 6 Kentucky and “40 minutes of dread” for first ever matchup with Texas A&M

David also has Dishin & Swishin – Philly Style with Princeton head coach Courtney Barnhart (sic). The soon to be moving, I’m sure, coach is garnering a lot of attention: From the Daily Pennsylvanian: Behind Enemy Lines: Princeton’s Courtney Banghart

 In her six seasons as head coach for the Tigers, the program has undergone a complete reversal of fortune. In her first season, the team went 7-23 and won just four Ivy League games. However, in the past three seasons, the Tigers have gone 41-1 in the Ivy League and entered the national rankings, a first for an Ivy League women’s program. Before coming to Princeton, she was an assistant for four years at Dartmouth. She also played at Dartmouth from 1996 to 2000 and won two Ivy League titles.

From NJ.com: Princeton U. women’s basketball coach Banghart a natural leader

She vacations in Bermuda and Hawaii. She has traveled cross-country and heard the howls of wolves in Yellowstone. She has slept in tents in the Great Northwest, hitch-hiked through Alaska where she watched bears snatching salmon swimming upstream, kayaked on the Prince William Sound, and stayed in hostels in France, Switzerland and Amsterdam.

She loves to read, is hooked on the TV series “Dexter,” estimates she watches more than 700 men’s college basketball games a year, plays tennis, likes healthful yogurt that doesn’t necessarily taste good and rarely wakes to an alarm.

Courtney Banghart also is a pretty good coach.

Beth and Debbie have the ESPNW Basketball Podcast focuses on “the first years,” a pair of Big Ten head coaches, Indiana’s Curt Miller and Illinois’ Matt Bollant.

In W news: Lauren Jackson expected to make full recovery after surgery on injured hamstring and Former Boilermaker Katie Douglas recovering after ankle surgery

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Oi! Oi! Oweeee

Lauren Jackson undergoes surgery

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What a fun day of basketball we had yesterday.

I’m betting that if I’d walked up to you this morning and said, “Atlanta scored 88. Against Indiana,” you’d have immediately thought, So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night!”  Indy!

Psych! You should be singing along with the Jackson Five: “Goin’ Back To Indiana”

How much did coach Dunn miss January in the first game? Ask James Bowman: January’s career night gives Fever critical Game Two win; Game Three to decide series

Indiana only had two days to solve the problems the Atlanta Dream caused them in Game One or their plans in Indianapolis when they arrived back home would be cleaning out their lockers and buying plane tickets to Europe.

Indiana guard Briann January would keep the Fever alive with a career-high 24 points and send everyone back home with one more game to play as the Fever beat Atlanta 103-88 at Philips Arena in Game Two of the best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinals.

Adds David Woods at the Indy Star: Indiana Fever have more weapons than Tamika Catchings, Katie Douglas

Conventional wisdom: Stop Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas, and you stop the Indiana Fever.

Updated theory: OK, maybe not

I’m wondering if this means you need players for offense and coaching for defense?

The late night game was Seattle’s version of 6 Characters in Search of an Author —  the players just wrote their own script. Who were the characters, you ask?

Lady of a Certain Age Who Wants to be a Dentist: Katie Smith with an opening three.
Tall Lady With a Dubious Hair Color: Lauren Jackson with a buzzer-beating, game tying three.
Point Guard Lady with the Appropriate Last Name: Tanisha Wright with a “let’s play another five minutes” three.
Wise Warrior Princess-Lady with the Intimidating Lipstick: Tina Thompson with an “That Australian may have fouled out, but I’m Still Here!” three.
Lady With the Very Neat Pony Tail: Sue Bird with an “I’m tired, let’s get this done” three.
Lady With the Mysterious Injury: Sue Bird (in a dual role) with an  “And here’s the dagger to prove we’re done” three.

Seattle fans – and those of us who watched  with no loyalty but for our love of the W – got a game that captured the essence of why we love women’s basketball.

From Jayda: Seattle Storm extends season with double-overtime victory – Lauren Jackson hits big shot to make it possible, then Sue Bird finishes it off

Mechelle writes: Storm’s 2OT win one to savor – Seattle overcomes 13-point deficit, Brunson’s 22 points, 15 rebounds

Ask any truly devoted fan in any sport when they love their team the most, and they might say it’s not necessarily when it’s absolutely at its greatest peak. Rather, it might be when the team is really not at it’s best, but is giving everything it possibly has … and finds a way to beat the odds.

That’s what the Seattle Storm did Sunday night in a wild, draining, thrilling, memorable 86-79 double-overtime victory against Minnesota. Seattle was staring the end of this season right in the face, but instead forced the Western Conference semifinals to a third game back in Minneapolis on Tuesday (ESPN2, tip TBD).

Thank you, Seattle and Minnesota. You put on the kind of show that may have changed the minds of those who tuned in the watch Sports Center.

Unless, of course, they were named Kate Fagan. Too bad for her, no?

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and somewhat disappointing to witness, since I trekked out to Newark in the hope of a real game, not a one-sided blowout. Lib 80-zillion, Merc not-nearly-as-much. Oh, and surprise: another Phoenix player was injured.

The highlight of the game was watching Diana and Cappie chat post-game with their USA Basketball/WNBA coach, Anne Donovan. Said coach of the 2008 gold medal team, “I miss that group.”

On an interesting “behind the scenes” note: President of Madison Square Garden Sports Leaving Post.

O’Neil’s departure comes just as the Knicks are facing a new challenge for fans and corporate dollars in their home market, with the Nets moving to Brooklyn this fall. The need for a strong, creative voice on the business side has perhaps never been greater.

Scott was the gentleman with whom I had a long conversation a year and a half ago about why, after joining up in 1998, I was no longer a NY Liberty season subscriber. He tried to convince me that better times were coming for subscribers — that he was re-vamping from the inside out. I wasn’t convinced then (not sure I’m convinced now), but it’s hard to see his departure as a good thing for the Lib (a team not mentioned in the article).

In Atlanta, looks like Angel is on a bit of a mission after the ruckus: Lindsey Harding, Angel McCoughtry lead Dream past Fever.

Paul Neilsen writes a somewhat overwrought defense of Angel: McCoughtry no angel but public assassination is over the top

A little on Sophia from the Carribbean Journal: From St Vincent to the WNBA

A little somethin’ from Nneka: Life on the Road as a WNBA Star

From Jayda: Aussie to Aussie: Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson speaks with Tulsa’s Liz Cambage

From Michelle: DeWanna Bonner’s game blossoms

From Nate: 2012 WNBA Most Improved Player Rankings: How Much Better Has Kristi Toliver Been This Season?

And yes, I watched as the Sparks faded in the second half against Minnesota. Amelia knows why: Fans give the Lynx an edge – Seats fill fast, and Target Center has become one of the toughest places for visiting teams to play.

Speaking of which, Mechelle chatted today:

Sofia (Durham, NC): SASS has lost 3 straight. LA’s lost 3 straight, too. Which team’s fans should be more concerned? I say LA’s fans should be more concerned because I think SASS has looked ‘better’ in their losses. But I may be over-impressed by that great OT game against the Lynx. What do you think?

Mechelle Voepel: I tend to agree with you that the Sparks fans might be more concerned now. Not specifically because LA has lost three in a row, but because Candace Parker hasn’t seemed a dominating force since she returned from the Olympic break. Some games, her numbers have been “OK,” but not others. Furthermore, she doesn’t look as engaged as she needs to for the rest of the Sparks to build off of her. It seems like the Sparks’ defense is not sharp, and the offense is tilting a little too much to the perimeter, especially for a team with the weapons inside that the Sparks have. Maybe LA will finish the last two games of this road swing stronger and then play well as they finish the regular season at home. But there are reasons now for Sparks fans to be a little worried, I think.

The finals are set at the Paralympics:

A little revenge: Australia edge US to make basketball finals

British women’s basketball team lose to Germany

In other Olympic news:

Bruno’s Olympic Trilogy—Part Two: Memorable Moments Off the Court – DePaul Coach Will Always Remember Emotional Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and Part Three—Personal Reflections

In college news:

From Swish Appeal: NCAA Women’s Basketball Attendance: Winners and Losers for 2012

From Marquette: Five Big East newcomers will present different challenges on women’s side

From Missouri: Q&A with Robin Pingeton and The Rest Of The Story: Pingeton Q&A

From Champaign: Bollant’s up for challenge

From El Paso: Women’s basketball heads into challenging schedule

While there has been a lot of talk about the men’s basketball team – and for good reason, given the talented incoming class and the challenging schedule assembled by coach Tim Floyd – fans should also start getting excited about the women’s basketball campaign.

Head coach Keitha Adams has done a tremendous job of building the program into a consistent winner. UTEP boasts the best winning percentage of all league schools since joining Conference USA seven years ago, has the third-most victories among Division I programs in the state of Texas over the past six years, and has won a trio of C-USA crowns, the 2007-08 regular season and 2012 C-USA regular season and tournament.

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is she ignores all those who’ve ever told her “put an arc in it!” ’cause dang, it’s a flat, FAST shot. And when it goes in (as it did last night) it just makes you shake your head and say, “geometry, as we know it, has been temporarily suspended.” Most of the Minny folks did well as the Storm said “Hi” to Lauren and wished she’d been on the court.

Speaking of the Lynx, Nate asks: 2012 WNBA Point Guard Rankings: How Good Has The Lynx All-Time Assist Leader Been This Season?

Yes, d’em Shock are feisty. But sometimes you live by the Latta, you die by the Latta (say the Sun, muttering under their breath.). Especially if you have a Lawson.

That being said, folks in the Drive for the Dive must be wondering, “How much longer before Cambage suits up and what kind of impact will she have?” ’cause it would seem the Lib are more than willing to stagger through the door the Sky have opened.

When will the LA writers notice the Sparks? Indy sure did. That’s seven straight for the palm tree wearers.

Jayda offers up her WNBA power rankings, and they’re more silver than gold.

There’s a little wacko USA BBall going on: U.S. fields teams in FIBA 3-on-3 hoops World Championship

Oh, and the “still wet behind the ears” crew is doing all right: USA U17 Women Cruise Into Quarterfinals With 98-28 Rout Of Mali.

“They are undefeated in pool play, and I’m proud of them,” Schneider said of her team. “Obviously, now we are to a point where you lose and you are out of contention for a gold medal. We want to be sure we are approaching the bracket play in the right frame of mind, and I think that we are. I think that they are ready, and they are obviously very talented. Now, we are just waiting to see who it is going to be.”

They’ll celebrate my birthday by going up against Australia in the semis. (Wow. Just got a hit of deja vu!)

Speaking of Aussies: Olympic hero returns

She left Australia as a rising star but Rachel Jarry has returned a hero.

The Point Cook resident arrived back on home-soil last week with the rest of her Opals team-mates and her prized bronze medal hanging proudly around her neck.

Speaking of the Olympics: From the DePaul site: Bruno’s Olympic Trilogy—Part One: Road to the Gold: Three-Part Series Opens With DePaul Coach Retracing Steps to USA’s Fifth Gold Medal

And, I’m sorry, but WTF is ESPN doing wasting money on having someone like Kate Fagan write about the WNBA? (Roster limits hurt WNBA). It’s obvious that she doesn’t care about the league, so much so that she can’t even be bothered to learn about the personnel (hello, you want someone Lin-esque with actual talent? How about Becky Hammon). Then she throws together a piece that’s totally ill-informed, self-contradictory with a good does of “illogical” thrown in for good measure.

Hey, the League faces plenty of challenges — it would be nice if someone who actually was interested in doing their job with a modicum of integrity was asked to write about those challenges.

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Canada. Their defense was ridiculous.

The defense was stifling, even suffocating at times.

The United States women put on a clinic Tuesday, forcing the Canadians to take bad shots or not allowing them to shoot at all. The Americans, who cruised into the semifinals of the Olympic basketball tournament with a 91-48 rout, harassed Canada into three shotclock violations in the first seven minutes.

‘‘It’s one thing to miss a shot, but to not be able to get a shot off says a lot about your defense,’’ US coach Geno Auriemma said.

From USA Basketball, a couple of great post-game quotes from Geno:

On the relationship between the United States and Canada after last night’s soccer game and today’s basketball game:

Well, I’m sure the Brits, having two of their former colonies playing against each other, were hoping the roof would fall in and we’d all lose.

On knowing your team only becomes a huge story if you lose being a sign of respect to the level of dominance the women’s team has achieved:

We played a game for the ages against China, in terms of how well we played and executed, and somebody left a USA Today international lying around, and I picked it up to read about the Olympics, and there wasn’t one line or one sentence written about that game the next day. Not one. But, the top 10 preseason college football poll was in there, so that was really good, because I’m a college football fan. That goes back to what I said earlier. I think we have the mindset that we really don’t care. We’re way past that. There are no feminists on my team. We’re not running around burning our bras trying to make people believe in our team. I would burn mine, because it doesn’t fit like it used to. We just play basketball. And whether anybody cares or writes anything about it, there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re not in the PR business. We’re in the basketball business. That’s what we do. And, we’re pretty damn good at it.

Writes Jackie MacMullan: U.S. women are real Dream Team

But Auriemma said his group has steered clear of setting any side agendas aside from the obvious gold medal.

“If we win that, all the other stuff takes care of itself,” explained point guard Sue Bird.

That doesn’t mean others haven’t tried to come up with a catchy slogan for the U.S. women.

“Someone put shirts in our rooms that said ‘Road to Respect,’ ” Auriemma said. “I thought that was kind of dumb. Sue Bird has won two gold medals, two WNBA championships, a million championships in Europe, world championships for the U.S., and a couple of national championships with Connecticut.

“If they don’t respect her by now, then screw them.”

From Voice of America: US Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Dominating in London (and prepping for Australia)

From somewhere not in London, Mechelle writes: Aussies face tough semifinal task

Short of somehow being able to protect Penny Taylor from an ACL injury earlier this year, Australian star Lauren Jackson has done everything she can to try to win Olympic basketball gold.

Rebecca Lobo’s hubby, Steve Rushin, writes for SI:Finding a long forgotten gold medal and getting chills all over again

But the kids’ Olympic spirit was most evident when they were racing down the upstairs hallway, or racing scooters down the driveway, or fighting to be first in the car — their usual taunts of, “I won, you lost” replaced by Olympian taunts of, “I won gold, you won silver.”

“Where’s your gold medal?” our 5-year-old daughter asked her mother after one of these races.

“In a bank,” she replied. And then, after a pause: “At least I think it is.”

The kids had never seen her gold medal, I’d never seen her gold medal, and my wife, Rebecca Lobo, hadn’t seen her own gold medal in 16 years, since a few days after she’d won it in Atlanta. Now, she wondered if it really was still in that safe deposit box, for which she hadn’t seen a bill in ages. What if the bank lost her forwarding address, and auctioned off the box, perhaps to one of the guys on Storage Wars? (I pictured Barry Weiss holding it in those skeleton-gloved hands of his.)

Also at SI, Kelli Anderson writes: U.S. must take down Aussies before playing for fifth straight gold medal

The NY Times finds some space for the women’s team: U.S. Coach Keeps Talking, and His Team Keeps Winning
The United States women’s basketball team battered another overmatched opponent Tuesday. Afterward, Geno Auriemma talked the way only Geno Auriemma can.
He described his coaching style in these Olympics as “more British,” and by that he meant calmer, more understated. He called the T-shirt someone left in his room recently, the one with the “Road to Respect” slogan, “kind of dumb.”
Doug previews tomorrow’s Aussie/US game: US-Australia women hoop teams square off in semis

Even though they have had their way with Australia, the Americans are wary of what’s at stake.

“I think the semifinal game for whatever reason is sometimes harder,” U.S. point guard Sue Bird said. “They’ve been even more competitive than some of our gold medal games. This point the four teams left are very good teams. It’s no surprise that these four teams are in this situation. Everyone’s trying to get the chance to win a gold medal.”

Make sure you get out of work on time or take a late, long lunch: game’s at 5:12EST – NOTE: Or does ET mean English Time? Looks like it: ESPN has the game listed as NOON EST. I know when I’m takin’ lunch!

At Full Court, Clay has his preview: Can Australia finally beat Team USA? It could happen and adds, for the 9pmEST game, No tanking this time — Russia and France are playing for a shot at gold.

From Lee: Russia squeaked out a win over Turkey

“It was our goal not to match up with the USA in the quarterfinal or semifinal. We have done our best in the group stages to make sure we didn’t match up with them early. It makes it easier but it’s going to be a battle regardless of who we face. I don’t know which one [the United States or its semifinal opponent Australia] I would choose,” said Russia’s Anna Petrakova.

And, it’s official: Lauren Jackson becomes all-time women’s Olympic high scorer as Australia wears down China to advance

So often the focus is on the stars, but even though Liz Cambage (Tulsa Shock) scored a game-high 17 points for Australia, the reason the Opals beat China, 75-60, in the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Olympic competition in women’s basketball today wasn’t the 6-8 20-year-old sensation, nor even the all-around play or record-breaking scoring of superstar Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm). The real reason for the win was the depth of Australian roster.

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“Shhhh, I’m reading!”

“Sorry. Don’t suppose you’re reading anything in the NY Times?”

“Don’t be silly. They’re too busy drooling another 827 words all over the men’s team.”

“Right. Silly question. So, what are ya reading?”

“Well, for starters, Fred,” from Doug: Geno Auriemma talks style of play

“We would love to play basketball the way Spain plays soccer,” he said. (WHB Spoiler Alert: Just not like they did today — guess those first class seats helped the Japanese men, huh?) “The ball moves, we’re not trying to be like Italy and win nothing-nothing on penalty kicks. I don’t think that helps anybody.”

When told his soccer analogy could irritate some Italians, Auriemma wasn’t concerned.

“I grew up in Italy so I can make that comment,” the coach joked. “I’ve seen some Italian blowouts where they’ve won 1-0.”

Speaking of that guy from Philly, a mystery writer in London has this from the Quad City Times: Women’s hoops coach Geno Auriemma on cusp of adding golden chapter to remarkable American tale

Across a life of basketball, even as the victories and championships and perfect seasons piled up, Geno Auriemma always figured there was one goal out of reach: United States women’s national team coach.

It wasn’t just that he was born in Italy. It wasn’t just that he was a man in a women’s game. It wasn’t just that he was from the college ranks and the trend lately swung to taking pro coaches.

It was Geno himself. He is, admittedly, an abrasive force. Unapologetic. Politically incorrect. Not at all a member of the inner cliques of the women’s basketball. He’s had longstanding feuds with any number of coaches, most famously Pat Summitt, the icon of the sport.

He wins games, not popularity contests. Getting to be national team coach is, quite often, a popularity contest.

“I did think that if there was a committee that picked the coach, then the chances of me getting picked were zero,” Auriemma said Thursday.

USA Basketball says, “Let the Games Begin: U.S. Women Arrive In London

Is Geno different than the perception you had of him at Tennessee?

Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks): I would be lying to you if I said no. I think that it’s cool when you come from rival schools to kind of see now Coach Auriemma does basketball stuff and how he is off the court. I always knew that he liked to joke and things like that, but it’s been cool playing. Obviously a lot of his girls are on the team. It’s been nice. It’s been a good experience. We haven’t felt too orange (reference to Tennessee’s orange), except when he makes little jokes or something like that about the Southeastern Conference.

Speaking of Candace with an “a”: Olympian Candace Parker Represents Chicago

Speaking of the SEC: Former LSU basketball stars Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles formidable 1-2 Olympic punch

Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles are no strangers to shared success. The LSU All-Americans-turned-international basketball stars together have claimed two Final Four berths, hoisted the Turkish Cup and won multiple gold medals, including the title at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Their games are complementary: Augustus is a 6-foot swingman who can create shots and get to the rim, and Fowles plays the post, dominating the boards with a quickness not indicative of her 6-foot-6, 200 pound frame. And as one can imagine, with the amount of times they’ve appeared on the same roster, their chemistry isn’t limited to the court.

Loudy Foudy brings some much needed gravitas to the game: Crown Jules: Underwear or No Underwear?

Richard Deitsch at SI gives us his Women’s basketball preview

Two pieces from SlamOnline:

Yaron Weitzman: Gold Standard- Diana Taurasi will be looking to add another notch to her storied career when she leads Team USA into the Olympics.

Christy Winters Scott on The Golden Mentality:  the mindset behind playing for Team USA (Have I mentioned how USA Basketball hates that “Team USA” thang? “There is no such thing!”)

“We three Lynx from Minneapolis are … ” From the Minnesota Daily: Lindsay Whalen leads trio of Lynx to London Games – The ex-Gophers star will play at her first Olympics with two Lynx teammates.

From Kelly Parsons at the Washington Times: Maya Moore brings poise to court for U.S. women

When she’s not on the move, the youngest player on the 2012 U.S. Olympic squad spends her time taking it all in.

“I just watch and make sure I’m paying attention and observing everybody who’s in a position of leadership,” Moore said. “They’re usually there saying the right things when we need to hear it, and I’m just soaking it up and trying to cause chaos of the other team.”

Here are “25 athletes to watch” during the Olympics.

Nathan McCarter at the *gulp* bleacher report narrows it down some: USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team: 3 Rising Stars to Watch

From Peter Souders at Yahoo Sports: United States Women Toughen Up Inside to Beat Down Their Opposition.

Peter also has: The 2012 Olympic U.S. Women’s Basketball Team is Ready to Destroy the Opposition

There’s been a lot of discussion in the media recently about the “feud” between the 1992 U.S. Men’s Basketball “Dream Team” and the 2012 U.S. National squad who claim they could beat them. ESPN has done statistical analysis on the two teams; analysts have debated the claim, and Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Kobe Bryant and Barack Obama have voiced their opinions about the debate. But amidst all the discussion about the men’s team and how dominant they might be, there is a U.S. team that has already reached the dominating levels of the Dream Team: the female half of the basketball competition in the Olympic Games.

Seems Mechelle’s not available, so espnW trots out Prim Siripipat, Jemele Hill and Shelley Smith to discuss gender equality for some male and female Olympic teams.

Lee at Full Court wonders: London 2012: Australia — Can team training offset the loss of Penny Taylor?

Speaking of Australia, I bet glad LJ paid for that seat upgrade: Lauren Jackson named flag bearer of the Australian Olympic team for the 2012 London Games

Paul at FIBA.com weighs in: Veteran ‘glue’ is key to medal prospects

As fans and media, we should collectively hold our hands up, guilty as charged. For I fear we continue to give far too much attention to the headline acts who seduce us with their stats while simultaneously shunning those players who rarely dazzle with points, rebounds or assists but in reality, make teams tick.
 
Yes, those players who are the first names on the roster for each respective coach and when you throw in the additional element of veteran experience, provide the ‘glue’ which will hold together some of the most serious medal contenders in London.
 
It’s an essential ingredient for success. And, while that is always the case at any tournament, I feel it will be an overriding feature in London. In particular for Russia and Australia who each have a great shot at making the Final and, on their day, could even upset red-hot favourites USA.

FIBA’s Mageshwaran offers up this: These Chinese youngsters are Young Stars already!

These are nervy moments of anxiety that Guo Ailun and Zhao Shuang are undergoing in the days of the build-up to China’s participation, in what is likely to be the most popular event among team sports at London – basketball.

These are two youngsters, on the brink of their maiden Olympian experience, bristling with enormous potential and have already been marked out for future stardom. How bright they will shine in the future will depend on their performance at London!

The Denver Post’s Mark Kiszla writes: Taurasi embodies rise of women’s hoops from “fluffy-fluffy”

But maybe the real measure of acceptance for women’s sports in society is the unabashed sass of Taurasi. She doesn’t have to act like a lady 24/7 to soothe the male ego. The two-time Olympic gold medalist doesn’t care who sees her sweat, or hears her swear in the stream of locker-room banter.

“It’s not all fluffy-fluffy women’s basketball. It’s not all about skirts and cupcakes,” Taurasi said Thursday. “Sometimes, there’s steak and cussing going on. And that’s life. It’s not that pretty all the time. It’s kinda ugly sometimes.”

Oh, not every guy stretched out on the sofa back in the United States wants to hear women roar on the field of play. Some red-blooded American males would rather admit to reading “50 Shades of Grey” than watch Taurasi shoot a jumper. But as Geno Auriemma plops down on the bench for Team USA, one of the last significant stigmas of female sports has been more thoroughly erased.

It has ceased to be uncool for a man to coach a team of women.

While the debate about the Dream Team or 2012 has ceased for the most part (especially as 2012 has been put to tough tests by Brazil and Argentina in exhibition play already), putting this year’s women’s team up against USA Women’s of the past is actually an adequate argument. Along with the Huskies, Seimone Augustus, Tamika Catchings, Sylvia Fowles, Angel McCoughtry, Candace Parker and Lindsay Whalen round out the loaded roster.

“We’re just as deep as they were. We’re just as competitive. I think both teams definitely want to get that gold. But me being on this team, I would say we would beat that team just to start something,” said Charles jokingly. Cash added: “The one thing about this team is that it’s really unique. Even from our team in 2004 that I played on, I just think that this team is pretty deep. We’re probably gonna be full-courting up on both sides of the ball. I just think that we have the athleticism, the quickness, the length, the size, so I would put this right up there as one of the best teams, but you gotta get out there and win gold before you can start talking about which team is better than the other.”

From “Our Correspondant” at the Liverpool Echo: Johannah Leedham on a mission to put women’s basketball on the map at the Olympics

When Leedham first began representing her country at junior level, many would have scoffed at her decision, with the sport – particularly female participation – far from being in the mainstream.

But as the 24-year-old has evolved into one of the team’s stars, hitting a buzzer-beater in 2008 against Germany to hand Great Britain its first ever Division A victory, so has the sport itself.

Jessica over at Swish Appeal talks a little Russia and Czech Republic

Just remember, the basketball doesn’t end August 11th: This Trailer for the Paralympic Games is the Most Amazing Olympic Video You’ll Ever See

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Diana Taurasi reflects on her road to London

Diana Taurasi knows it could have been all different.

Had her suspension for a banned substance in 2010 not been thrown out, odds are she would still be fighting it in court. Instead, she’s heading to London on Wednesday for her third Olympics with the U.S. women’s basketball team.

“That whole experience has helped me appreciate things more,” Taurasi said over breakfast Tuesday. “You wake up and whether it’s the Olympics, your parents, loved ones, friends or your family you learn how fragile everything is. We all kind of appreciate every little moment a little more. Sometimes it takes things like that to help you think that way.”

The Auriemma/Hardwick story isn’t over yet, so I’m not drawing any literal parallels, but you’ve got to wonder if Doug might be writing a similar story in six months or so.

A little somethin’ somethin’ on Diana’s friend and teammate, Sue: Bird simply loves playing in Seattle

 A long way from the Pacific Northwest, Sue Bird learned that one of the mainstays of Seattle sports was gone.

Ichiro Suzuki, who had been in Seattle since Bird arrived in 2002, was traded from the Mariners to the New York Yankees on Monday. That leaves Bird as the second-longest tenured athlete in the city behind Storm teammate Lauren Jackson.

“That’s pretty crazy, I never would have thought to check that out,” Bird said. “I actually really love that. I love that I’ve been in the same place, developed a relationship with the community and the fans and the ownership. It’s a place I want to be. I feel like they’re loyal to me and I’m loyal to them. It’s a very comfortable situation.”

Thank goodness Doug made the trip — ’cause, have you noticed? Mechelle seems to be missing.

Which made me want to take an unscientific look (serious study is THEIR job) at the coverage so far. Let’s take a look at the NYTimes Olympic/Basketball section: There are 15 links (two are basically repeats).

Three are devoted to the US women, all by the AP (don’t know if Doug did’em)

Complainant Headed to Games (87 words, by AP. Not about the team)

Atlanta Coach and Player Are Eager to Get to London (682 words by AP)

Americans Travel Great Distance for a Few Warm-Ups (615 words, by AP)

11 are devoted to men’s basketball, 10 the US men

U.S. Olympic Basketball Roster Is Versatile, but Not Tall (774 words, by NY Times employee Nate Taylor)

N.B.A. Title Adds to James’s Credibility as U.S. Team Leader (915 words by NY Times employee Nate Taylor)

Nigerian Men’s Basketball Team Makes Olympics (113 words, by AP)

Hanging Out With Olympians (part of NY Times’ Google+ hangout  –  with Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers)

Blake Griffin Off Olympic Team With Knee Injury (86 words, by AP)

U.S. Gets Past Brazil but Struggles Down Low ( 776 words, 40 devoted to the women’s game, by Adam Himmelsbach, NY Times employee)

U.S. Men’s Basketball Team Routs Britain in Exhibition (506 words, by Reuters)

An Eye-Opening International Education (1023 words, by Jake Appleman, NY Times employee)

Krzyzewski, at Scene of 1992 Victory, Harks Back More to 2008 (781 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

With One Tuneup Left, U.S. Has Biggest Test Yet (827 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

Only a Tuneup, but One the U.S. Takes Seriously (862 words, by Greg Bishop, NY Times employee)

Wouldn’t it be cool if every single NCAA Division I, II, III, NAIA Division I, II etc. coach dropped a “6623 words v 1424 words? It doesn’t add up!” email to the NY Times Sports department? Sports@NYTimes.com

And no, we don’t have Tom Jolly to kick around anymore. Instead it’s Joe Sexton, who admonished Karen Crouse publicly for voicing her opposition to the Augusta National’s gender discrimination policy. Hmmmm… Illuminating, no?

You could also try:

Public Editor

Arthur Brisbane, our public editor, represents our readers. You can reach him by e-mail or by calling (212) 556‑7652.

Write to the Publisher or President

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1996: VanDerveer leads U.S. women to ’96 gold

At Stanford, Tara VanDerveer and Jennifer Azzi helped transform women’s basketball from a virtual club program into a headliner and a must-have ticket at Maples Pavilion. Of course, two national championships and a pipeline of outstanding talent perpetuated the success and the popularity of the game at Stanford.

But on a national or international scale, women’s basketball had not quite caught up to what was happening in the college game, at least in pockets like Stanford. The U.S. women’s team had produced a series of disappointing results heading into 1996 – bronze medals in the 1991 Pan Am Games, ‘92 Olympics and ’94 world championships.

With the 1996 Olympics to be held in Atlanta, a concerted effort was made to raise the profile of the women’s team, which paled in the public’s imagination to the resounding success of the 1992 men’s Olympic team – the “Dream Team.”

No, really, I mean it — read Tara’s Shooting from the Outside and Sara’s Venus to the Hoop. The games don’t start for a few days. You have time, and it’ll give you a truly rich understanding of what’s going on in London.

1997: Nothing like the Reign – The Seattle Reign 1997 (Look! It’s Tari, Tari, Tari! She must be psyched about her cousin, Tayyiba Haneef-Park)

Flash forward, from FIBA’s Paul Nilsen: Thinking of Sanchez when The Games begin

When the eagerly anticipated Olympics finally swing into action later this week, my thoughts won’t only be with those ready to step out in London but also those who missed out – and none more so than Argentinian legend Carolina Sanchez.
 
Four years ago, when Argentina failed to punch their ticket for Beijing, it was a painful experience in more ways than one for the veteran. A broken nose caused a premature exit from the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament and rubbed an unnecessary dose of salt into a deep emotional wound.
 
And, perhaps even more agonising and disappointing than what she endured in 2008, was the way in which she recently bowed out of international basketball altogether last month.

More from Paul and FIBA: Serbian straight talking from Jokovic

Even accounting for the cynics who will hint at political motivations whenever representatives of any Federation speak, Jokovic is direct, very much matter-of-fact and that’s a hugely appealing quality.
 
“I suppose that we have started repairing the long-term consequences of inaction and the neglect of women’s basketball,” she admitted.
 
“We have improved the financial situation, set up the system, laid the foundations to build something that we will all be proud of.
 
“But, it takes maybe two Olympic cycles of serious work to get closer to our former successes.

A great tweet from Paul: Paul Nilsen@EuroLeagueWomen

I’ve no time for the bigotry, prejudice and intolerance shown towards our women players. You know who you are. Shame on you. You’re blocked!

Paulo Kennedy: Will the Opals be first class?

Julio Chitunda: What next for Mali?

From Doug: US coaches not marching in Olympic ceremony

Don’t expect to see Geno Auriemma or Mike Krzyzewski marching with the U.S. delegation Friday night at the opening ceremony.

They aren’t allowed because Olympic organizers decided to cut down the number of people marching to shorten the ceremony.

“It really was something special to do, but to be honest the Olympics are about the athletes,” Auriemma said. “No one really remembers who the coaches were. No one remembers who coached Jesse Owens.

“I’m OK with it. The focus is, as it should be, on the athletes. They are the ones who got here and deserve the attention and praise.”

Important tweets from Doug:

With Ichiro’s trade to the Yankees; Sue Bird is now the longest tenured athlete in Seattle sports.

Turkish women’s basketball team got a strong sendoff to its first Olympics. Music blaring and 70 members of hotel staff waving Turkish flags

Just the stats, m’am: Cumulative stats from USA Basketball.

Also from USA Basketball: USA Women’s National Team Ready To Roll Into London

Geno Auriemma (head coach, USA and University of Connecticut)
Is this team shaping up to look as you expected? Yeah, I think so. We just talked a little bit about how we can’t be great at everything because we just don’t have the time to be great at everything. If we did have a couple months together, we could be great at everything because the collection of players that we have is phenominal. But the things that I thought we’d be good at, we are very good at. The flexibility that we have, the versatility that we have with this team is exactly what I thought it would be. The leadership is exactly what I thought it would be. People buying into their roles is exactly what I thought it would be. So yeah, the only downside is I wish I had three months with these guys, even three straight weeks, because it would be a lot of fun to watch.

Oi! Some Aussie video with LJ.

From Swish Appeal: 2012 London Olympics Preview: Turkey

From Lee/Full Court: London 2012: Russia — As usual, an enigma

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some ink from Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register: Former Cheshire Academy standout Johannah Leedham cherishing time as Olympic captain

Speaking of memories that will last a lifetime, Leedham had seven early points as Great Britain raced out to a 21-10 lead against the four-time defending Olympic champion United States squad in Wednesday’s international friendly. Although the U.S. won 88-63, Leedham opened a few eyes with a game-high 21 points.

“Oh my God, it was amazing,” Leedham said. “Going to a Division II school for all four years, you (admire) people like that in the four years watching them play on TV. The fact that I am meeting them on the court, all the (11) players at once, it was amazing. It was just a real exciting experience sharing the court with people like (Diana) Taurasi and Maya Moore. It is amazing. To be able to compete with them is a dream come true.”

John Altavilla at the Hartford Courant outlines Who Will Do What In London

The United States Olympic women’s basketball team plays its third exhibition game this month on Saturday vs. Croatia in Istanbul, and Sue Bird is expected to rejoin the team following the death of her stepfather. She has missed the first two exhibition games, both victories, 99-67 over Brazil and 88-63 over Great Britain. The U.S. then plays Turkey on Sunday and has two days of practice there before heading to London for the Olympics. The Americans’ first game is July 28 vs. Croatia.

“I think anytime you lose somebody like Sue, who has the respect of every single player on the team and is a coach on the floor, you feel it,” U.S. coach Geno Auriemma said. “There is a comfort level knowing that when she gets in the huddle and says something, it’s exactly what you would say, or in some cases way better than what you would say. But not having Sue has given us an opportunity to see Lindsay Whalen in a different light, and I think she’s opened a lot of eyes. Maybe people thought, ‘Well, she’s just there in case something happens to Sue or Diana,’ but she’s proven she is here to affect the outcome of the game. That’s been one of the more pleasant surprises for me.”

What to expect from each player as the heavily favored U.S. team goes for the gold medal:

As for the competition, Chris Dutton at the Sydney Morning Herald writes: Opals aim higher

Lauren Jackson is still one of the world’s best players, but the Opals’ hopes of clinching an elusive gold medal dropped dramatically when Penny Taylor had a knee reconstruction earlier this year. Jackson has sacrificed her WNBA season with Seattle to put all of her focus to building the Opals’ gold medal bid. She desperately wants to win gold before she ends her glittering career and there’s little doubt the Opals will be Olympic contenders again. But even with giant 203cm centre Elizabeth Cambage, the Opals may struggle to provide superstar Jackson with enough support to clinch the No.1 spot.

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Jayda’s back and

checking her mail bag: Can Storm players document their bruises?

From the Twitter file, Vicki595 asked “Can you ask the Storm players to document their bruises? Because they were mugged the entire series.” Only I didn’t need to ask, each nick, scrap, and bruise was apparent as soon as the players sat down for final interviews on Wednesday.

F Lauren Jackson was the worse. Both elbows were a shade of purple that would even make University of Washington fans cringe. PG Sue Bird had a bruise shaped like an island on her right forearm. Willingham said she was playing with a bruised left rib and G Katie Smith’s head was marked up, but was the only player to call it “fun.”

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I like that the Storm share “exit interviews.”

Sue, LJ and CEO Bryant & Agler speak.

Candice blogs “Championship or bust.”

Mechelle chats 2pm EST.

From David Woods: Fever try to reverse regular-season nightmare in East finals

Although it’s too late for the Indiana Fever to add to their roster, coach Lin Dunn is adamant that they need reinforcements.

She wants more of the “wild, crazy” fans who energized the Fever in Monday’s decisive playoff victory over New York.

“I’m going to be tweeting and ‘Face-ing’ and all that other stuff,” said Dunn, who knows basketball better than she does social media.

Wow: Flashback time! Seven years after their first high-profile meeting, Lindsay Whalen and Diana Taurasi meet again on center stage *remember that first round game when Whalen returned from her hand injury? wow!*

“I had always heard so much about her, this phenomenal player at UConn,” Whalen said. “I knew she was a great player who was always in the national spotlight. I didn’t know her as a person, but I certainly knew how great she was.”

Taurasi was amazed at times when she watched Whalen on film and TV.

“She is now what she was like back then,” Taurasi said. “She knew how to run a team and distribute the ball. I don’t think anyone does it like her.”

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than overlooked. Or under appreciated. ‘Cause Taylor has always scared the heebbie jeebbies outa me when she’s played against my team.

From Mechelle: Penny Taylor more than a sidekick – Oft-overshadowed Aussie veteran has put in one of her best seasons

“I think I’m a really sore loser,” Phoenix’s Penny Taylor said with a laugh, although she’s serious about the topic. “In every game, I’m very, very competitive. But outside of basketball, I’m not really like that. I’m happy to step out of that nature away from the court.”So if you were playing “Monopoly” with Taylor and she landed on one of your properties that had a hotel, she wouldn’t pick up the game board and toss it to the floor. She might let loose with an expletive, but even that doesn’t mean she’s really upset.

“I swear way more than anyone else I’ve met in America,” Taylor said, grinning. “Except for maybe Diana.”

Speaking of Aussies (and Mi/Mechelles) Michelle Smith has this: Lauren Jackson relishing every moment

Lauren Jackson can see the sand running out of the hourglass.

The 17-year-old basketball prodigy who was the great young star of Australian basketball is 30 years old now. She has many fewer years at the front end of her career than she has in the back.

And her latest injury, a torn labrum in her hip that required surgery, was a stark reminder.

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Agreed

From Mechelle: Playoffs have wide-open feeling

In the WNBA a year ago, there was a green giant that was anything but jolly to those standing in its path. The strong feeling heading into the postseason then was that the visual of Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson and their Seattle teammates lifting the league trophy would ultimately symbolize last summer for the league.

The success of the Storm indeed ended up being the dominant story of the WNBA in 2010, as they swept through their three playoff series with a 7-0 record and Jackson was named MVP of the league and the finals.

Got any idea of what image will wrap up 2011, the league’s 15th season? Actually, you probably have several.

Here’s the playoff schedule.

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Speaking of dismal

Indiana Fever rout Washington Mystics 87-69; Clinch the best record in WNBA Eastern Conference

The Fever win means they’ve clinched the #1 spot in the East and have a couple of games left to coast.

“I think it’s a great situation to be in, to be quite honest,” said Katie Douglas, who led the Fever with 21 points. “I think last year was a terrible situation to be in. Every game, every second mattered. Everybody else mattered.”

In other news, we’ve got that race for MVP. Vin says Charles, Catchings among top WNBA MVP contenders

With two of the WNBA’s last three MVPs sidelined by injuries for much of the season, the race for this year’s award is wide-open.

And while Lauren Jackson, Sheryl Swoopes and Lisa Leslie combined to win it nine of the previous 11 years, there could be a first-time winner for the third time in four years.

Jackson won her third last year while leading the Storm to their second championship, but missed 20 games this season with a hip injury, and Los Angeles’ Candace Parker, who was the MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2008, was out for 15 games because of a knee injury.

Ben explains Why Sue Bird Should Be the 2011 WNBA MVP

Imagine, for a moment, where the Seattle Storm would be without Sue Bird in 2011.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

In 2011 thus far, Bird has recorded six assists or more in a game 11 times, scored 15 or more points 18 times, and turned the ball over two times or less a staggering 20 times.

Considering how often the ball is in her hands for the Storm, these totals are nothing short of remarkable.

The .com notes A ‘Legend’ary Endorsement of Catchings

Projecting forward, Roman says 25-win teams, like Lynx, have fared well in WNBA playoffs

With Sunday’s victory at New York, the Lynx become the 12th team in the WNBA’s 15-year history to win at least 25 games in the regular season.

Eight of the previous 11 teams which reached that victory total won WNBA championships, the other three lost in the playoffs to the eventual champions.

Reflecting backwards, Mechelle says of the Four on outside looking in Sparks most disappointing of four teams left out of playoffs

The Sparks lost their centerpiece player/superstar Candace Parker in late June, and she didn’t come back until mid-August. She missed 15 games, and even her return wasn’t enough for Los Angeles to gain a spot in the postseason. It took a late-season push to reach last year’s playoffs, so it’s time for some serious self-evaluation for this franchise.

Nate explains why the SASS is on the inside, looking out:  Becky Hammon & How The San Antonio Silver Stars’ Playoff Berth Was Won

While writing a piece about the San Antonio Silver Stars’ chemistry back on July 1, I cut out a section about All-Star guard Becky Hammon.

It wasn’t at all that she didn’t belong in a conversation about the Silver Stars’ chemistry; it was just an extra 400 words that was just as easily summarized by writing, “Hammon still scored [in 2010], but the Silver Stars didn’t have the distributors around her to complement that scoring.”

The Silver Stars were 7-1 at the time and I figured I would have ample opportunity to highlight Hammon’s contributions again.

Well, of course, the Silver Stars lost three straight and then Hammon only scored five points in a win against the Seattle Storm that had me more caught up in a certain team’s 20 turnover-performance. Then the All-Star break, a win at Washington, and Danielle Adams’ injury which led to losing 10 of 12 games.

You can read the rough draft “outtake” here, but the main point here is that Hammon is one of a handful of players that I sort of chose early on as someone to follow despite hardly writing a word about her in this space.

And then Hammon’s 17-point fourth quarter in a 17-point win over the Los Angeles Sparks happened.

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East clearing up as the Sky fall

It’s sad to see Chicago’s season go down in flames like that, but disappointingly apropos. They had to win this game, and for three-and-a-bit quarters they were pulling it off. But when New York raised their intensity level, there was nothing in the locker to respond with. They either tried desperately to force the ball to Big Syl and turned it over in the process, or stood around looking for Fowles, realised the shot clock was running out, and watched Prince fire up a jumper. I know Fowles is their main weapon, and should be their first option on every trip down the floor, but it would’ve been nice to see them look for something else at some point.

The Basket Cases on the Mystics-Lynx game:

About the only thing we enjoyed last night about the Minny game was that Alan Horton, the Minny announcer, repeatedly commented on how successful Angela and Julie were in Washington. Although Horton was off-camera, you could almost see him scratching his head in bewilderment, trying to make sense of why they are no longer with the Mystics. (In terms of bewilderment, Alan, you’re not alone.)

Jayda on Seattle v. Los Angeles:

The stat of the night? Neither team had a single fast break point, Seattle missing its lone attempt. The last time that happened? Oh, the embarrassing loss to Minnesota at home in June. You would think the Storm had improved since then, but Tuesday was definitely a disappointment. “This is a definitely a step back,” Agler said. “We didn’t give ourselves some opportunity.” The Storm gave the Sparks 20 points on 19 turnovers, another bugger stat in the game. “It seemed like right when we were making our run, we had a couple critical turnovers,” Agler said. True.

and

STARGAZING: It’s been a celebrity-filled trip to LA-LA land for Jackson. When the team landed at Los Angeles International Airport, she ran into NBA champion Paul Pierce (Boston), who posted on Twitter that she’s his idol. During her warmup about two-hours before game-time on Tuesday, Emmy-award winning actress Jane Lynch waltzed in with her family. Jackson freaked and ran over to give her a big hug, totally blushing. Lynch was just as excited to get smothered by the 6-foot-6 center, posing for a photo with Jackson and some teammates. Agler was the photographer. Lynch personally contacted that Sparks to get a ticket, telling me she just hadn’t been this year so it was time. Her daughter also plays hoops.

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Lucky Lib

LJ is back.

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No, I’m not kidding.

Went to check out the Lib’s silent auction (dude-lettes — advertise it better and run it through the end of the third quarter. Might give bidders a chance to, you know, bid.) and when I returned, there was a four-person family in my seats. Obviously, the Rock seat-police are far kinder than MSGs, and there were extra seats behind them, so I didn’t stress them. I did, of course, have to strike up a conversation with the interlopers — and yup, I kid you not! It was Mrs. and Mrs. Swin and two youngsters.

Mrs. Swin is right up my alley. Perched on her seat, she is unabashedly a fan of her daughter, but loves and respects good play. She yelled and cheered (I think Swin heard her in one quiet moment, because I swear I saw an “Oiy, I hear my mom” look flash across her face). Mr. Swin was silent most of the game until, just about at crunch time and prior to a Lib inbounds, he quietly warned Seattle, “Watch number 23.”

Obviously, nobody heard him because, sure enough, Cappie curled around a screen and nailed a three.

As for the game itself, it was an odd one. The final score reads ugly (58-56), but it didn’t feel ugly. The Lib won in spite of their generosity to Sue Bird (not sure she could have been more open for her threes) and the obvious tallness, yet baffling ineffectiveness, of their post people. (Save Pierson. As my co-attendee noted, there’s a clear geneological link from PP to Taj to Vicky Bullett.)

Cappie’s impressive game winning drive (got the gentleman from Bell Biv Devo up on his feet) almost went for naught as the Storm got a ton of chances in the last 3 seconds to tie the game. Fortunately, Carson woke up offensively AND defensively, and stuffed Bird’s game tying shot to secure the win.

The Stars went all Chicago Sky in the second period, only managing to score five points, and help Indy roll to a 81-68 win. Wow, did Adams make THAT much of a difference?

Watch out, LJ, the Tina Beast is coming after you: Charles tied Lauren Jackson’s WNBA record with her seventh straight double-double as the Connecticut Sun defeated the Chicago Sky 69-58. As for the score, I loved Thibault’s comment: “Can we call it a defensive clinic, not an offensive meltdown?”

LA squeaked out a win at home against Tulsa. I wonder if this bodes well for the Shock for the rematch on the 20th. I’ll be there — will CP3? And hello, 23pts? What has Ticha been drinkin’!

Atlanta REALLY squeaked out a win over Washington via Sancho’s last second shot (is it just me, or have there been a ton of “last second shots” these past two weeks?) and Matee’s 28pts. Guess Ajavon heard ‘kellians dissin’ her MIP creds, huh?

Clearly, the game worth watching in the archives is the Phoenix/Minny matchup. Moore bested Taurasi 28-26 in points and 5-1 in steals, but it was DT’s lone swipe that sealed the Mercury’s win and snapped the Lynx’s 9-game streak.

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