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said Aussie head coach Brendon Joyce: Liz Cambage omitted from Australian Opals team for Olympics basketball qualifiers against New Zealand

Meanwhile, in other international news, the Russians get a reprieve of sorts from FIBA.

Canadian Kia Nurse’s “How I spent my summer” essay is going to be wicked long: Canadian women open with a win over Puerto Rico at FIBA Americas. (Check out tonight’s stream of Canada/Chile – 8:30pm)

Brazil is chillin‘ ’cause they’re in.

USA Basketball marks One Year To Rio: USA Basketball Looks Back on Every U.S. Olympic Basketball Team Since 1936. Of course, you need to scroll down to ’76 to see the women’s team. I’ve always wondered: If WWII hadn’t happened, was there enough momentum to get the women into the Olympics in ’40?

As Nancy follows Becky, Local coaches weigh in on the recent hiring of Welter and Hammon in the NFL, NBA

Kate, who played at California Lutheran University before working as an assistant coach at the school for three years, is curious if the same applies in reverse situations. If a female coach walks into a gym full of male athletes, will they garner the same respect and attentiveness?

That’s one of the many questions raised, especially in recent weeks, since three women joined the professional coaching ranks in the NFL and NBA.

A little more on the topic:

Daily Camera: Women knock down barriers of ‘men’s’ sports

These hirings are important nods to Welter’s, Lieberman’s and Hammon’s very real qualifications — Lieberman is a member of both the Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, for example — and to the value of considering women for nontraditional roles in any walk of life.

When sports franchises break racial, sexual or gender barriers, they don’t do it to be politically correct. They do it because the players or coaches in question are right for the positions. Think of the Dodgers and Jackie Robinson.

Filip Bondy, NY Daily News: With women like Becky Hammon & Nancy Lieberman beginning to coach the men, it’s time to make some room at the table  

If players on the Sacramento Kings ever distrust the credentials of their new assistant coach, they can always Google “Nancy Lieberman” and discover an impressive resumé more than worthy of the position.

“I’m like a puppy,” Lieberman says. “I come with papers. I have pedigree. I’m not a mutt. And I’ve never been in a situation where I thought people didn’t respect me.”

Let’s just hope we can keep the door wedged open.

The Sparks are singing, “Just in time, I found you just in time…” with the return of Beard and Parker.

Candace Parker knew it was time to come back to the WNBA when her daughter Lailaa asked why she wasn’t playing with the Sparks any more.

”She didn’t understand that I was taking some time off,” Parker said. ”She said she wanted me to play for them.”

So Parker, who sat out the first half of the season to rest mentally and physically, returned to Los Angeles after the All-Star break. The Sparks have won four of six since the two-time league MVP came back.

After getting blown out in their first matchup, the semi-stumbling Lynx told the Sparks, “Wait a minute, Ms. Postman” and used home court advantage to get the win.

Always good to read about a return: After injuries nearly derailed career, Chelsea Gray flourishing with Sun

Chelsea Gray’s first season in the WNBA is a dramatic reversal of fortune. The 22-year-old rookie point guard is now one of the top subs off the bench for the Connecticut Sun, and is averaging 7.4 points in 16.4 minutes per game just past the halfway point of the WNBA regular season. Gray ranked ninth in the league and first among rookies in three-point field goal percentage (38.9) through her first 15 games, and is one of the WNBA’s most promising offensive weapons.

But the trajectory of Gray’s basketball career was drastically altered 18 months ago.

The news is less happy in the land of the Shock. 

Let’s avoid talking about the Storm or San Antonio, shall we? Well, maybe just a smidgen about the Storm: Loyd starting to feel more comfortable in the WNBA

Loyd’s development hasn’t been lost on teammate Sue Bird.

“I think early on she was getting adjusted, a little tentative, trying to feel her game out,” Bird said. “Now she’s starting to see where she can be successful. Almost a 180 in terms of her aggressiveness.”

And KML slowly adjusting to life in the WNBA

After a remarkable collegiate career during which Mosqueda-Lewis made a record 398 3-pointers, scored 2,178 points, became a two-time All-American and won three national championships, she’s struggled to make the transition to the professional game after getting picked third overall in the WNBA draft.

The level of competition, athleticism and defensive intensity are all drastically better in the pro game.

“The biggest eye-opening thing has been that it is going to be a process,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “It’s not something that’s going to come quickly. It’s something I’m going to have to work harder at and go with day-by-day.”

And Ramu Tokashiki, a Japanese Rookie, Blossoms in the W.N.B.A.

The first English word the Japanese forward Ramu Tokashiki learned from her Seattle Storm teammates is unprintable here. Used in jest, it has become Tokashiki’s favorite saying. But another favorite English word is “confidence,” something she has built during her first W.N.B.A.season. Tokashiki has become one of the league’s best rookies and a blooming fan favorite, while hoping to change the perception of women’s basketball in Japan.

Sitting in the Milwaukee airport yesterday, I caught the tail end of the Mercury/Chicago game. (Kinda cool, no?)

“A win against a good team at home, you get on a roll and get momentum,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said. “And to be able to come in here and talk about a defensive assignment that you carried out against a hot team … that’s a crucial thing.”

I’ll get to see them in action (again) against the Lib. Can they eeek out a revenge game and stay in the chase for the top seed? And, of course, there’s nothing like winning to catch the NY Times’ attention: Rebuilding Around Tina Charles Puts Liberty in Playoff Hunt

A Liberty season that began with an off-court to-do over the hiring of Isiah Thomas as team president has turned into a great one on the basketball court. The Liberty sit on top of the W.N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference at 13-6. If the team maintains that .684 winning percentage over its final 15 games, it will finish with the best record in franchise history.

It is quite a contrast from last year, when the Liberty finished 15-19 and missed the playoffs. So what has changed?

NCAA:

So, the investigators hired by Illinois found nothing amiss when it came to the women’s program… but this is an interesting turn: Chancellor’s resignation could impact Illini athletics

The ground beneath the University of Illinois’ Department of Intercollegiate Athletics trembled this week.

It didn’t send plates crashing to the floor, but it moved, and just as it would with the arrival of a minor earthquake, those standing in the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building felt their stomachs jump.

If the release of findings from an external investigation into the school’s women’s basketball program didn’t create enough commotion, the stunning resignation of Chancellor Phyllis Wise grabbed everyone’s attention.

Simply put, Wise’s exit could be a game-changer for Illini athletics.

Speaking of game-changers: Ouch. South Carolina’s Mitchell Undergoes Surgery for Foot Injury

You stay put: Pitt signs McConnell-Serio through 2020-2021 season

Montana Grizzly: Family means everything to Lady Griz coach Selvig

Robin Selvig was a bit startled when one of his Lady Griz basketball players, McCalle Feller, openly revealed to her coaches and teammates during a team barbecue her freshman year that she was adopted.

“Everybody sits around and says something interesting about themselves,” Selvig said Monday before serving as the guest celebrity for the annual “A Waiting Child” golf tournament at Yellowstone Country Club. “That was the first thing that came out of her mouth.”

It’s not that adoption is a touchy or sensitive subject. American families adopted more than 7,000 children in 2012, according to the U.S. State Department. But Feller’s openness and honesty is what surprised Selvig.

Awesome: Muslim Basketball Players Design Own Outfits And You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!

A community basketball team in Cedar-Riverside Minneapolis, consisting of young Somali girls, made the news recently. These players did not gain attention from media outlets for bashing stereotypes or fighting against the Islamic oppressive patriarchy. They were lauded and positively represented for creating a solution to challenges they faced with their basketball uniforms. Their long skirts and flowy hijabs were not optimal for the courts.

So, the girls partnered with the College of Design at the University of Minnesota and created uniforms that would suit their personal and religious preferences.  This successful collaboration was widely covered and the majority of the reports were pleasantly surprising and unlike any I had ever seen before; nuancedpositive and accurate.

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from the U19 Championships? Ask Paul!

A is for All-Star Five and congratulations to A’ja WilsonNapheesa CollierAlanna SmithDaria Kolosovskaia and Maria Vadeeva. I would also throw into the mix Louise DambachEmese HofLaura QuevedoRaisa MusinaJulie Allemand and Ksenia Levchenko and Azura Stevens for my terrific 12.

B is for blowouts and regrettably there were far too many throughout the competition.

C is for competition format. Twelve teams is a maximum for women’s youth events and four spots for the Americas is at least one too many in the current mix.

D is for Dawn Staley, the winning coach from the USA who I thought did a good job considering the loss of key personnel ahead and during the tournament.

I’ll add my A for Announcers. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the team that handled the games. It was like having two Kara Lawsons working side-by-side, reminding viewers of what basketball announcing should be – player knowledge, history and game analysis.

W news…

So, have you decided who got the best of the trade?

Mike weighs in: Who won three-way trade?

WHAT ATLANTA GETS

Atlanta’s participation likely made this arrangement possible, as a direct trade between Chicago and Minnesota was difficult to fathom with their available assets. Expected to be a contender in the East early in the season, Atlanta’s campaign has been nothing short of a mess. Shoni Schimmel’s lack of conditioning and a mismanagement of resources on the floor has been a baffling endeavor for head coach Michael Cooper; in Atlanta’s last game before the All-Star break, a 97-92 road loss to Chicago, he seemed unaware of the foul tally with McCoughtry and Tiffany Hayes, costing them crucial minutes in a close game.

Schimmel’s stamina is returning to last year’s form, but the Dream no longer have a proven center. Their involvement in the trade was interpreted as a tacit admission that a rebuilding phase was more likely than a run at a championship. With a pair of 22-year-olds and five 2016 draft picks to this point, such a philosophy is believable.

Mechelle (edit: hate auto correct! you think it would know by now) weighs in: Three-team trade boosts Lynx, Sky

Minnesota really wants to win the 2015 WNBA championship. Chicago is hoping that it made the best of a very difficult situation. And Atlanta, while not giving up on making the playoffs this year, is looking more toward the future. Those are the general takeaways from the big three-team trade announced Monday.

Wonder how Marynell Meadors is doing. What, too soon?

David offers up an Eastern Conference team-by-team midseason review: A close race but blockbuster trade may shake things up

NEW YORK LIBERTY (12-5, 1st place)

If one team did not want to see the All-Star break, it was Bill Laimbeer’s Liberty. They are on a five-game winning streak, coinciding with the return of Epiphanny Prince from her obligations in Russia and insertion in the starting lineup. Prince and All-Star Tina Charles are the only Liberty players averaging double figures, but it seems to be Charles (17.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg) and someone else stepping up night in and night out. One night it is Sugar Rodgers hitting big shots, another it is Kiah Stokes dominating on the defensive end.

“We just have to stay disciplined in who we are,” says Charles. “It’s definitely been working for us to be number one in the East right now. We are just going to stay disciplined in who the Liberty is and just competing out there.

Keep an eye on: Four of the Liberty’s last five games are against Eastern conference playoff contenders Chicago, Connecticut, Washington, and Indiana, with the fifth game against Western leader Minnesota.

Tulsa Fire Sale! Give Tulsa fans free entry for rest of the season

Tulsa Shock minority owner, Stuart Price announced that he is calling on majority owner Bill Cameron to open seats to the remaining nine Shock home games for free. On Monday, after a few weeks of speculation, Cameron announced that he is moving the team to Arlington, Texas. The WNBA governing board approved the move in a unanimous vote on Thursday. Price has indicated that he is also filing a lawsuit against Cameron.

“Our community and fans have been here through the bad times and they deserve better than to lose the team just when it finally turns the corner,” said Price. “The players and coaches also deserve better than to have their winning season disrupted with the relocation news.”

Who dat on the cover of the Chicago RedEye? 

In her rookie season, Elena Delle Donne led the Sky to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. A year later, the team was in the WNBA finals.

Delle Donne transformed her team—can she do the same for the WNBA? There’s reason to believe so.

Today’s NBA players are rock stars. On a first-name basis with the world, they appear in summer blockbusters and soda commercials and earn hundreds of millions of dollars on the court and even more off it.

But it wasn’t always this way. In the 1970s—30 years after the league’s inception—the league was floundering. Interest had dwindled to the point that the Finals weren’t even televised live.

That all changed when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird entered the league in 1979.

Seems to me the W has ridden three surges in popularity/attention on women’s athletics:

  • The ’96 surge (which brought pre-and-early Title IXers in and a strong lesbian following) capped by soccer’s ’99ers.
  • The ’00 UConn surge (which brought current college fans to the W) capped by Taurusi.
  • The 2014-15 surge (which reinvigorated national attention and media coverage and activism) capped by the “Summer of Women.”

Here’s hoping the W can build on it’s young talent and successfully navigate the current upheaval in cable access and media coverage. If women’s basketball college coaches are smart, they’ll fully embrace the both the W AND the changing social perception of sexuality and use both as leverage in building their programs – starting with getting sufficient support from their Athletic Directors.

Did you catch this: BETH BROOKE-MARCINIAK

Welcome to The Drive, powered by Ford. In this series, Sage Steele goes back to campus with former college athletes to revisit the places and life-changing moments that inspired their drive to succeed. Beth Brooke-Marciniak, former Purdue women’s basketball star and global vice chair, public policy for EY, travels back to her alma mater.

A little more on the 2016 inductees: 

If the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2016 class was a player, it would be a combo guard strong enough to post up beneath the rim.

Or, perhaps a center not afraid to shoot the occasional three.

The six-person class that will be inducted in Knoxville on June 11, 2016, is being celebrated for its versatility.

From the Deseret News: Taylorsville native Natalie Williams to be inducted into Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016

Williams said she’s so focused on accomplishing new goals, she doesn’t always take the time to reflect on just what she’s achieved.

“I forget how much I’ve accomplished,” she said. “I’m always working on trying to do more.” One of the great joys of her life currently is coaching her three daughters, the oldest of which, Sydney, 15, will play at Alta High this winter.

Ayla, 8, and Nation, 5, also play, while Sydney’s twin brother Taurasi is a hip-hop dancer.

She said she’s not worried about whether her daughters will feel the pressure that may come as fans and media compare them to her, as she tries to help them focus on the same thing that helped her achieve so much success.

“All Mom cares about is hard work and effort,” she said.

Speaking of Utah:

Lynne Roberts doesn’t consider her hiring as the dawn of a new era for the University of Utah women’s basketball team. Roberts, the first head coach to come from outside the program since 1975, is just looking forward to the challenge of getting the Utesback to where she says they belong.

“I want to be national relevant,” Roberts said. “If there’s a sentence that would be it.”

After four years at the helm of Chico State and nine at Pacific, Roberts now heads a Utah program that has fallen on hard times. The Utes, who have an all-time record of 837-364, are a paltry 23-49 in Pac-12 play since joining the conference in 2011-12.

Speaking of rebuilding:

The idea of revamping a roster for the second straight year is nothing out of the ordinary for Louisiana Tech women’s basketball coach Tyler Summitt.

Summitt, the young 24-year-old coach who is constantly reminded by his mentors that implementing a culture takes two to three years, sat back and watched his predominately new team workout last week just as he did in 2014 during his inaugural season with the Lady Techsters.

That doesn’t mean Summitt and his coaching staff haven’t been hit with obstacles when dealing with a group of six newcomers.

Speaking of prepping for the NCAA season: 

The Gamecocks have been conditioning on and off the court in preparation for the season.

“Today was very important,” said USC sports performance coach Katie Fowler, who recently joined the program after serving in a similar capacity at Maryland. “We’ve been working a lot on our speed work. They’re tapering down a bit this week.”

The Gamecocks, who advanced to the Women’s Final Four last season and were ranked No. 1 in the nation for several weeks, are determined not to be one-hit wonders and are dedicated to improving.

Liz, Liz, Liz. Don’t call a lawyer. Grow up and decide if basketball is what you want.

WHEN did that happen?

When did we collectively decide to reward bad behaviour?

When did it become OK for sport stars to be petulant, cloaked from reality and allowed to bask in their own sense of entitlement unchallenged?

When did the media and the public become so fearful of upsetting the delicate young geniuses who dot our sporting landscape that we stopped calling an act of self-indulgence what it is?

I love Aussie basketballer Liz Cambage, even though what I’m about to say will cost me contact for a time.

Finally, as an educator who loves sports and respects the hell out of classroom teachers, I’ve been wanting to do something like this for YEARS! (And REALLY cranky that I can’t embed the dang video. I’ve tried and it just won’t let me.)

Key and Peele: Education Center

As an AAU coach once told me, “If parents cared as much about their child’s teachers as they do about why I put the team in a zone or man-to-man-defense, imagine what would happen to education.”

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Almost.

My brain moved my flight up 36 hours. Luckily I looked at my reservation and went, “Hey, I’m not leaving until Sunday night!” That’s what comes of purchasing a ticket months ago. It also means I can go in to the office Saturday and finish up some final bits of business instead of staying there deep into the night….

Brittney didn’t miss her flight, and Geno seems wicked happy.

“I was worried,” Griner admitted. “I was worried about my eye, honestly. I had a teammate lose her eyesight playing basketball in college, so that was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure my eye was okay, and also, I wanted to play with USA Basketball. So, it would have sucked bad to get bad news twice. When I heard that I was able to come play, I hopped on a plane, came in and started practicing.”

Speaking of wicked happy, if you can’t fly to Turkey for the FIBA World Championship (notice the singular – thanks CW), you’re in luck: the games are being broadcast and, because the US is the featured game (often 9:3opm) the time difference works in your favor. Tomorrow, for instance, USA faces China at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

All games will be carried by NBA TV and ESPN3/Watch ESPNThe gold medal game, regardless of who advances, will air on ESPN2 at 11am PT on Oct. 5. If you don’t have NBA TV, the Watch ESPN app or ESPN via your computer, you can pay a $10 subscription to watch the full tournament on LiveBasketball.TV. Or/And use the hashtag #Turkey2014 on Twitter to get updates and commentary about the competition.

From Geno: Are you happy to finally get the games started tomorrow?

I am. I think the first one is always the most difficult. You’re not quite sure what you’re going to get. You want to obviously get off to a great start and set the tone for the way the tournament’s going to go. In this case, too, we’re anxious to see how Brittney’s going to fit in. We haven’t played a game with her yet. We’ve had two practices with her. I guess by USA Basketball standards, that’s a long time. But I think that all the players and I’ve noticed in the past two days in practice that there’s a sharper focus. Now that we’re here, it’s right there in front of us. So, we’re pretty excited about it.

Thanks to the AP, Doug is in Turkey to cover the game. Support him and click through and read the full story: US women set to defend hoop title at world tourney

The U.S. has only lost once at the worlds since 1998, but suffered a rare defeat in an exhibition game against France last weekend.

That setback raised a few eyebrows heading into the tournament, which begins Saturday in Istanbul.

“There are a lot of really good teams in the tournament and we’re one of them,” said coach Geno Auriemma “For us or anyone else to think we’re anything more than that is not being really objective about this whole thing.”

I don’t know if anyone from ESPN is in Turkey, but Lee from Full Court is: 2014 Women’s World Championship officially opens in Istanbul

“The country should be very proud of the success achieved by the women’s national team,” added Elphinston. “They performed very well at the 2012 London Olympics, as well as at the European level, and most recently also at the youth level. This is an example of what hard work combined with strong government and commercial support can do to take the sport to the next level.”

In Istanbul or not, Mechelle can still write: Team USA ready to take on the world

Those involved with USA Basketball tend to lament the lack of time that the American team gets to spend together preparing for major events, especially compared to most other nations.

But one of the things that’s interesting about the 2014 version that starts play in the 2014 FIBA World Championship on Saturday in Turkey (ESPN3, 2:30 p.m. ET) is how much familiarity actually is a part of this squad — at least pods of familiarity.

NBC OlympicTalk (?!?!)’s Nick Zaccardi is Analyzing the U.S. women’s basketball roster for World Championships

Oh, Canada: Canadian women’s basketball team set for FIBA world championship – At familiar grounds in Turkey, the Canadian women’s basketball team appears poised for success ahead of the biggest stage in the sport.

The vivid recollections washed over them and the wonderful moments became fresh in their minds as members of the Canadian women’s basketball team walked in the Ankara Arena in Turkey for practice Wednesday afternoon.

For the majority of the 12-woman team, recalling the last time they’d played a significant game on the court was enough to buoy their confidence going into the world championship that begins Saturday morning.

More Canada: Special times for the Nurse family

This has to be such an exciting time for the Nurse family.

Not only is UConn freshman Kia Nurse preparing to play for Canada in the FIBA World Championship for Women which starts on Saturday, but her older brother Darnell is making a serious push at making the opening-night roster for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers.

So who’s the competition? WNBAlien Richard meets Dishin’ & Swishin’ Dave. Richard knows his international basketball players.

You’ll know some of them, too: 35 Current and Former WNBA Players to Compete in 2014 FIBA World Championship

From FIBA: Global celebration of women’s basketball officially open

“This tournament is about a lot more than Turkey. It is about continuing the emergence of basketball across the globe, in all five continents.

“Hosting this Championship is part of a journey that began over 20 years ago, when we set out to become a leading basketball nation and that meant doing so both in men’s and women’s basketball. The great sporting results we have achieved in recent years are a proof of this.”

Also from FIBA: USA the team to beat as 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women set to tip off Saturday

Mechelle and Graham argue about who’s the most important player on the National Team.

Brittney Griner is a presence unlike any other available to Team USA. Or available to the rest of the world, for that matter.

The opportunity in front of her is unlike that in front of any other player on the American roster.

v

I voted for Minnesota’s Maya Moore as the WNBA’s MVP this season, and had no qualms about that. But we saw that the MVP for the playoffs was Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi, and I think that status will continue into the upcoming world championship.

I’d say “Ignore Angel at your peril:” Talking Turkey With Olympic Champion Angel McCoughtry

Earlier this month Angel McCoughtry was practicing with her USA Basketball teammates in Annapolis, Maryland, not far from her hometown of Baltimore.

Now she is prepping her teammates for her second home of Istanbul, Turkey. 

McCoughtry, a 6-foot-1 forward who helped Team USA to gold medals at the 2010 FIBA World Championship for Women and the London 2012 Olympic Games, plays professionally for Fenerbahҫe in Istanbul. The upcoming FIBA World Championship for Women, set for Sept. 27-Oct. 5, will be played in Turkey with the gold-medal game being held in the same arena where McCoughtry plays with her pro team. 

“The people there love basketball, both for the men and the women,” McCoughtry said. “And I’m so excited to show my teammates around Turkey

Sue says : “The five that start on the bench could be the starters”

LH : What’s the strength of this team ? Your physicality ?

SB : Well, you know, we have a lot of strengths, we are very lucky ! One that is think is huge, and will help us in a tournament like the World Cup where we have 3 games in a row then a little bit of a break before three other games in a row, is our depth. We are not going to rely on 6-7 players, like some countries do. We have a very talented team. The five that start on the bench could be the starters, easily. Like I said, I think that is probably our biggest advantage. Then, yes, of course, we have some very talented players.

Espana: Laia Palau : “Sancho Lyttle represents more than half of this team’s strength”

Ladyhoop : You lost one of your team’s important figures in Amaya Valdemoro, who retired.

L.P. : Indeed ! She did great things for us and we are going to miss her but we have to look forward. We gave the ball to other players, like Alba or Xargay. The youngsters are playing very well, furthermore. This year, we got Ann Cruz, coming from the WNBA. We have young players with a lot of experience.

The Opals say: “We’re not fazed by loss of Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage

While Joyce stressed only a team effort would cover the losses, he singled out veteran Penny Taylor as a figure capable of inspiring the team.

Taylor, 33, will captain the Opals in Turkey after fighting her way back from two injury-plagued seasons.

“Penny has the ability to raise the standard in others and that’s what leadership is from my point of view,” Joyce said of Taylor, who this month won a WNBA title with Phoenix.

“We certainly need that right now with everything that’s happened.”

And let’s not forget they have Mini Mi! Leilani Mitchell : “We played our first three games together here in Paris”

I’m waiting for something new from Paul Nilsen, but until it arrives, you’ll just have to settle for this piece from May pondering, Who will be the center of attention in Turkey?

Kevin Tresolini hits the big time as his piece on EDD lands in USAToday: Elena Delle Donne hopes home cooking will be the cure

A basketball season undermined by illness and injury is over sooner than Elena Delle Donne would have preferred.

The U.S. begins play in the FIBA World Championships on Saturday in Turkey. But Delle Donne is not on its 12-woman roster because of a bulging disk in her lower back.

Still, the former Ursuline Academy and University of Delaware All-American, less than two weeks removed from the Chicago Sky being swept in the WNBA Finals, has already made progress toward recovery.

And 2016, with the Summer Olympics positioned on the August calendar, remains firmly in her sights as well.

In other news:

Nate is keeping busy: 2014 WNBA rookies who deserve All-Rookie honorable mentions

As the 2014-15 NCAA season approaches, we’ll begin breaking down the top prospects for the 2015 WNBA Draft in the next few days. But before moving on completely to next year, it helps to take stock of how the 2014 rookie class performed beyond those who got All-Rookie recognition.

Sorry haters, it doesn’t look like the 18-year-old WNBA is going to collapse just yet: High quality competition boosts WNBA, fans

Across many regions including these Twin Cities, the WNBA is establishing a root that is growing. 

As proof, look no further than the exciting three-game Western Conference Final (WCF) series between the Minnesota Lynx and eventual WNBA champion, Phoenix Mercury. With central young stars Maya Moore and Britney Griner at the root of the rivalry, both the Twin Cities and Phoenix can lean back and look forward to a decade of should-see-TV.

Awesome: 21 ways we love WNBA champ Brittney Griner

It was the summer of Brittney – not the singer with one T but the gay Houston native with two. Hang on tight, because you’re about to love this lesbian WNBA All Star, even if you’ve been living under a sports-free rock.

Brittney Griner’s reign actually goes way beyond this past summer. It’s Griner’s whole year, and we’re just living in it. In a relative flash, the Nimitz High School basketball star has gone from Texas phenom to national treasure. Now everything she touches makes gay Houston proud.

Griner put the LGBT nation on notice in 2013. That’s when the No. 1 draft pick out of Baylor came out as gay matter-of-factly to the roar of lesbian basketball fans. Her star’s rise gained momentum off the court when she stood up to bullies, became a Nike menswear model, wrote a book “In My Skin,” and wowed a star-studded gay crowd.

OK. I admire Becky as much as anyone (thanks, Robin). But can some please break the pencil of the next writer who uses “undrafted” and “Hammon” together with out the qualifier: Because the bloody ABL talent flooded the bloody WNBA pool. I mean, friggin’ Jennifer Rizzotti was drafted 48th!

WATN? Tangela Smith: Western Michigan.

WATN? Le’Coe Willingham: Tennessee State.

Surprise! (NOT): Stephanie White takes over as Fever’s head coach

“I’m so glad that it is happening in this state. I’m so glad that it is happening with this franchise. To play at every level in my home state and now to be the head coach of the pro team is a pretty surreal moment,” White said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “I’m just realizing how humbling and special this moment is.”

More on Steph from the Indy Star: New Fever coach Stephanie White altered her career plan from astronaut to WNBA leader

Speaking of coaches, nice to see that hullabaloo was nothing but smoke: Holy Cross, Coach Bill Gibbons Agree To Contract Extension

Old Big East Flashback: Ieva Kublina, whose stellar career helped the women’s basketball program to four consecutive postseason appearances and ended with 95 consecutive starts, is the newest member of the  Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame.

Jayda continues her Storm exit interviews: All-Star Crystal Langhorne filled a void in the paint

Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me: Qatar out of women’s basketball over hijab row

The wearing of hijabs has become a hot topic in sport in recent years with Muslim athletes complaining that they are being discriminated against.

Judoka Wojdan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shaherkani hit the headlines at the 2012 London Olympics when Saudi Arabia demanded she be allowed to compete wearing a hijab.

While international judo federation rules at the time barred her from doing so, Shaherkani was eventually allowed to compete wearing a modified veil.

Human Rights Watch told Reuters it should have been up to FIBA to prove why Qatari players should not wear headscarves.

“We oppose any general ban on wearing of headscarves and onus should be on the regulator to prove why a ban is necessary on the basis of health and safety,” it said.

“In the case of basketball, it’s difficult to see how a ban on the headscarf is anything other than an unnecessary restriction on the players’ rights to religious freedom and personal autonomy.”

We’re not surprised, because we know the history:

You may have heard the story of former Memphis and Indiana State women’s basketball player Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir: she was the first Muslim woman to play NCAA Division I basketball wearing hijab (after breaking Rebecca Lobo’s high school scoring record in Massachusetts).

Yet since graduating from Indiana State, she has led the fight against FIBA’s rules restricting headwear in international competition.

As with most women’s basketball players, the Massachusetts native aspired to pursue a professional career internationally. However, FIBA’s ban on wearing headgear (that also affects Jewish and Sikh men) has kept her from playing overseas.

It’s been a long, tough day, so we’re going to add (and end on) a positive note: Just put in an order for 170 tickets to the Maggie Dixon Classic on January 4th at the Garden. I had — just HAD to round it up, so I do have three extra tickets in case you’re cranky you missed your chance to join us. Just email me: womenshoopsblog @ gmail.com.

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USA v. France.

Feisty crowd. Fun French announcers. Pull up a croissant and enjoy!

Live Stats from FIBA. (Rien de threes in le premiere half)

And yes, the news for Australia is bad: 

Basketball Australia today confirmed Australian Jayco Opals star Elizabeth Cambage has been ruled out of the 2014 FIBA World Championship for Women campaign after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon.

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Immaculata, Queens College to play

Madison Square Garden will honor the first women’s basketball game played at the arena 40 years ago with a rematch between Queens College and Immaculata as part of the Maggie Dixon Classic on Jan. 4.

Immaculata won the inaugural game 65-61 in front of 12,000 fans on Feb. 22, 1975.

“It was a defining moment for women’s basketball and for women in general,” said former WNBA president Donna Orender, who played for Queens College. “I can still hear Helen Reddy singing ‘I am woman hear me roar’ the crowd was screaming and tears rolled down my cheeks on the layup line. I was a freshman and so proud matching up against the more preeminent guard in the country — Marianne Crawford Stanley. It is so important we celebrate our heritage and history.”

Check out this program from the March, 1973 AIAW National Championship pitting Cathy Rush v. Lucille Kyvallos. Some teams just have a coach, some have a coahce and manager, and SOME have a coach, manager and…. chaperone!

From Newday, 2004″  – ‘We were pioneers’

A women’s college basketball team regularly packing gyms,getting media coverage and making trips to Madison Square Garden. If you’re thinking of the women’s teams from the universities of Connecticut or Tennessee – who are in the Final Four tonight in New Orleans – you’re wrong.

The school was Queens College, and the years were 1968- 1980. During this period, the Lady Knights ruled New York and became the first women’s team from the city to compete in a national tournament. They were ranked in the top 10 nationwide from 1972-1978 – finishing second in 1973 – and in 1975 became the first women’s team to play at the Garden.

FYI, considering the USA WNT is doin’ the FIBA thing: Kyvallos was U.S. team’s head coach at the 1977 World University Games and Rush coached the 1975 USA Basketball Pan American team.

Speakin’ of the FIBA thing – I got my visa and so do DT and Candice. They weren’t much help against the Aussies but, luckily, other folks stepped up.

From (I’m guessing) Doug: 

Candace Parker is out. So is Sylvia Fowles. Brittney Griner is questionable. And now Elena Delle Donne is a no-go.

With a series of injuries to several post players on the U.S. women’s national basketball team, the heavily favored Americans have suddenly been cut down to size as they prepare for the world championship that begin Sept. 27 in Istanbul.

It’s a new challenge for USA Basketball. Veteran post play has long been a strong suit, from Anne Donovan to Yolanda Griffith and Lisa Leslie.

Might be some bad news for Liz and the Opals.

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She’s baaaaaa-ack: Cheryl Miller to Coach Langston Women

Local girl makes good: From the Lancaster Online: Elizabethtown grad Sarah Fairbanks is stepping up her game at St. Joseph’s

St. Joe’s coach Cindy Griffin wanted Fairbanks. In fact, Griffin said last week, “We knew we needed her.’’

Fairbanks wasn’t entirely sure why.

She wasn’t an all-state high-school player. At 6-1, she was a bit undersized for a major-college post player. Her prep stats, 15 points per game as a junior, 19 as a senior, were very good but not spectacular.

E-town is not a traditional girls’ basketball power, and in Fairbanks’ senior year lost in the first round of both the Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three playoffs.

“I was hesitant at first,’’ she said last week. “They were the highest (level) school that recruited me.’’

A well-deserved “You stay put, please:” UNH Announces Contract Extension for Women’s Basketball Head Coach Maureen Magarity

The WNBA to host first preseason tourney at Disney

The WNBA is bringing its first preseason tournament to Florida.

The defending league champion Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky, Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury are set to tip off the four-game tournament May 9 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

Winners from the opening games will meet May 11, with the other two teams playing in a consolation game. 

Out of Minny: Though they’ll open training camp short-handed, the Lynx hope to copy Sparks, repeat as WNBA champions

Tulsa is, again, a Liz-Free zone. Guess I’ll have to wait until October/Istanbul to see her: Cambage gives priority to Opals. Meanwhile, Shock first-round pick Odyssey Sims introduced to Tulsa and the Tulsa World offers up Who to watch, roster, schedule and more

Love me a little flashback history: Central High girls won first state basketball title

The Blackman High girls’ basketball team made history in March 2014 winning the school’s first state team championship. This convincing display of athletic dominance came exactly 90 years after the girls of Central High School (CHS) brought Rutherford County its first state basketball title.

As a precursor to the state championship, the CHS 1923 team won the Middle Tennessee Athletic Association championship. The coach was W. R. Romine, who doubled as the CHS manual training instructor. The team was captained by Ida Lee Byrn; India Gannaway served as the team manager.

Mabuhay, Tina: WNBA legend Thompson to help select jr cage All-Stars

WNBA Legend Tina Thompson arrived in Manila yesterday to lead the Jr.NBA/Jr.WNBA Presented by Alaska National Training Camp.

She will help coach participants from all over the country vying to become Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Stars.

Finally, as BU and Butler try and “move on,” they should remember it’s not simply about hiring a new coach. They should read this from Beverly Breton Carroll, the mother of an athlete: Rutgers athletics: When sorry seems to be the hardest word

Watching your son and his Rutgers basketball teammates in a headline-making video shown on ESPN is akin to the moments before a car crash. The coach is hurling balls at the players, shoving them hard enough to send them sprawling on the court and spewing vile insults. Time crawls as you view a reality too disturbing to process.

You’ve been operating on high alert for several months now, muscles tensed, anticipating the next upsetting chapter in this saga. All the Rutgers basketball games you watched, your gut twisting at the dynamics between coach and players, one of whom is your son. All the times you wanted to spew about a horribly wrong situation when friends asked, “How’s Austin doing at Rutgers?”

Your son imparts only the barest of information. You do not have a full picture of the environment these kids are being subjected to every day, but you’ve heard disturbing stories about what happens at practice and you know a lot of players are depressed — a common symptom of emotional abuse. Yet you feel helpless. Speaking up will only make you sound like a whiny, entitled mother complaining about the coach’s treatment of her son. Ditto for the other families. Triple ditto for the players.

But here, finally, is justification for your emotions. This video confirms your fears. The car crash is real.

And they should also read the comments…..

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Suddenly Minnesota looks a mess... and, so, I’m thinking “BAIL ON YOUR PREDICTION, you coward, IT’S GOING TO BE L.A. and Atlanta!!”

But then Chicago manages to survive the Mystics (‘ello ‘elle!), and the L.A. gets STOMPED by Spare Parts ‘ompsons.

And no, I don’t want to talk about Phoenix escaping the Cambage Shock. (What’s the record for double-doubles pts/assists in a season?)

And in “Honestly? Wasn’t a moratorium declared on this stuff?” news Hightower, Faris Sidelined By Injuries

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drop me a note, ‘kay?

I mean, geez:

Spare Parts Seattle (‘ello LJ!) takes down Will This Road Trip Ever End Indiana.

“(Tina’s) play tonight is just inspiring,” Storm coach Brian Agler said. “If you can’t sit there and think about what she’s getting done at her age – the minutes she’s playing, hitting big shots, making big plays and guarding one of the better players in the league in (Tamika) Catchings, it’s hard not to really compete when you’re on the floor with her.”

Spare Parts (2) San Antonio takes down Not Quite New Look Phoenix.

“(Robinson is) just evolving into a player this year with the loss of Becky (Hammon) and Sophia (Young) where we have got to play through her,” Hughes said. “And playing through her takes different forms. It takes scoring, but it also takes her facility to set up people and that arc that she is working on was really important today.”

Coach of the Year Candidate Washington smoosh the This Wasn’t the Season Bill was Hoping For New York.

Hey, at least we held off the collapse until the fourth quarter.

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt looked like she heard the scurrilous rumors that her classmates had passed her in the rookie rankings, and was determined to take back her place as the most surprising success of the class of 2013. She shook Katie Smith off her on defense repeatedly to get open jumpers, and she was fighting for rebounds every chance she got. She was very physical, and paid the price for it.. (Katie got in a pretty good hit on her, too. Katie is a Bad Girl, after all.) Kia Vaughn (who actually started the second half) threw her body around like nobody’s business, setting screens and picks and boxing out viciously. We kept throwing her passes. She doesn’t even go here anymore! She was strong on the inside. Tayler Hill played briefly, and it was amusing to watch the young Buckeye going up against the old Buckeye when she was matched with Katie Smith, but amusement value was all she provided. Nadirah McKenith looked solid but unremarkable. Emma Meesseman went hard after the ball, but her judgment was not always the best. She’ll learn. And she’ll be scary when she does.

Lose by a Little Get Revenge by a  Lot Atlanta stomps Can’t Quite Get it Together Connecticut.

Tall Person In the Middle Tulsa trumps Tall Person Missing in the Middle Minnesota. In Minnesota.

Liz Cambage had 27 points and eight rebounds as the Shock broke a 14-game losing streak against the Lynx and posted the biggest franchise win – home or away – since moving to Tulsa in 2010. 

“I think it signifies a real sign of growth for this team,” said guard Candice Wiggins, a five-year Lynx standout before coming to Tulsa in an offseason trade.

Yup, the next few weeks will be miiiiighty interesting. LA is looming (Sue Favor sends this link: Red hot Sparks put away injury-depleted Fever, 94-72), Atlanta is dreaming a Lyttle, and the #3 and #4 spots are up for grabs in both conferences. Read all about it at L’Alien!

A little high school history out of Bradenton, Florida: Southeast’s first girls basketball state champions stand alone

Those Lady Noles were an up-tempo team that epitomized the run-and-gun label and trapped all over the court. In a victory over Bayshore, Southeast scored 106 points. They had speed and athleticism and a big front line.

“We pressed the heck out of people and ran kind of a like a run-and-jump defense,” says Smith, who now works in the medical profession as a salesperson. “Olivia was an amazing person, and our inside force and could move well. Her sister (Christella) came off the bench, and she was big. Loretta was amazingly fast, smart and sassy. She was gifted, and Coach Narbut made us special.”

Sad news out of Georgia: Pat Rivers, the first girls basketball coach to bring a state title to Augusta, died Saturday morning.

“She pushed us a lot. She motivated us. She made us work harder,” said Natasha Reid, captain of the 1997 team who now works as a special education teacher at East Central Regional Hospital.

“I tried to be laid back, but she pushed me to be a leader. I didn’t see that back then. I’m glad she did.”

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This time it was the .comCurse (Candace Parker’s Road to RedemptionParker is in midst of her prime playing some of the best basketball of her career right now) and Jayda (Welcome to hot seat Candace Parker; your must-win title push starts now.):

The Sparks, starting a season-high five-game road trip, were without All-Star Game MVP Candace Parker due to an injured right wrist. Her status for Los Angeles’ next game, Sunday at Washington, was uncertain.

Parker’s absence shouldn’t diminish the Shock’s win, nor Cambage’s career high 28pts. 

“It’s good to beat a good team,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We really want to push for the playoffs and we know we’ve gotta beat some of these elite teams to get there.”

Guess Diggins got her birthday wish.

The Laurel was in Minny: 

She was asked about a pre-season survey of league general managers, who picked Phoenix to finish first in the Western Conference, followed by Los Angeles and Minnesota. The Lynx have the league’s best record (14-3) at mid-season. “Maybe there were some bright, shiny toys in the window that got people excited,” she said, referring, perhaps, to highly-touted rookies like Skylar Diggins and Brittney Griner. “But I can’t imagine anyone affiliated with the WNBA considering the Lynx an afterthought.”

The Lynx confirmed their non-afterthought status by sluggishly starting and then slugging the stubborn Stars, 85-63.

“Everybody says, ‘What do you have to work on?’ ” Reeve said, acting as though the question was preposterous. “There is a ton we have to work on. … We played in spurts. We feel we have to play better, for sure. But in the end, statistically, we had a pretty good game.’’

Guess so.

In Chicago, Big Syl was…well, BIG as her 10-14 (32pt-15rebs) shooting made up for Prince & Cash’s double-double (3-13) carried the Sky over the Mystics.

“You know, she’s a beast,” Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said. “I call that her beast mode. … Look at her toenail polish when you go in there (to the locker room). She’s got that Incredible Hulk Green on.”

“Pack Up Your Basketballs In Your Old Kit Bag:” USA Basketball Announces Plan To Relocate Headquarters To Tempe, Arizona

USA Basketball today officially announced that it has agreed to relocate to Tempe, Arizona, as part of a $350 million development project. USA Place, LLC, has been selected to develop a new national headquarters and training center for USA Basketball on a 10.5-acre site located next to Arizona State University’s Tempe campus on land owned by ASU at the southeast corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive.

I can see the financial lure. Wonder how the staff will feel — and what impact it will have on the athletes (bball and other sports).

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The U-19 is still looking for a challenge: US 103, Mali 26; US 103,  China 56. Today they face the Netherlands, Tuesday it’s Canada and Wednesday it’s France. Look for the semi’s to be streamed on July 27th via FIBATV.

Meanwhile,  the elders were making memories at World University Games

What did Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper miss out on while she was in Kazan, Russia, playing for the United States women’s basketball team at the World University Games?

* A couple of Husker summer practices.

* The baseball All-Star Game.

* “Sharknado” on SyFy.

She spent more than 30 hours on airplanes (each way), learned to like — sort of — Russian food, and found it wasn’t a problem playing in front of the opposing crowd in the championship game because, well, she couldn’t understand a word the fans were saying.

A health(ier) Indiana is a hungry Indiana.

New York doesn’t want to see the Sky any more with or without an injured or not injured Big Syl.

The Merc didn’t want to see Sammy anymore (and some suggested waiving her was an affirmation of an alarming trend in the world of basketball ), but Trader Bill is interested: New York Liberty sign Long Island’s Samantha Prahalis to a 7-day contract.

Speaking of bigs: Glory and Liz are rocking the Shock, who’ve won three in a row. From Tulsa World photographer Mike Simons:

“She can’t cover you Liz!”

That is what I heard several times from the crowd at the Tulsa Shock game against the Atlanta Dream. It seemed to be true as Elizabeth Cambage seemed to do whatever she pleased on the floor during their game against the Atlanta Dream. She finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds in their 90-63 victory over Atlanta.

I, like other newspaper photographers, spend a lot of time at sporting events. It is fun, and rare, when you see someone rise above the rest and get into the zone as I have heard it called. I saw it in the Cotton Bowl as Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel dismantled Oklahoma’s defense. I saw it as I covered NBA basketball player O.J. Mayo in high school. There have been others, and there will be others. It was exciting to watch it yesterday with Cambage.

And yes, if Seattle continues to miss out on upset opportunities, maybe Tulsa will make the playoffs. Though San Antonio is still proving to be stubborn.

If and when Griner gets healthy and Gaines figures out to how to use her on offense, the Merc might really threaten Minnesota. As it is, this time Moore was just enough to help the Lynx survive.

WNBA’s Zoll-Norman shares message: Be yourself

She doesn’t even like the term “coming out” because hers was not some great revelation and had nothing to do with the timing of other pro athletes like Jason Collins and fellow WNBA player Brittney Griner who recently spoke out about being gay.

“There’s no secret,” Zoll-Norman said. “The interview kind of took a turn. It was really supposed to be about going to the pride parade and me being in it representing the Sky organization, which is an amazing thing. I had never been in a pride parade before and it kind of turned out to be that it was a ‘coming out.’ I don’t really like that term because if I was straight I wouldn’t have to come out and say I was straight. I don’t think that has anything to do with me as a basketball player.

“It turned out that it was an inspiration for some people, which I can appreciate, and I’m glad that it was. I just hope that everybody knows that they can be themselves.”

Purdue is down one: Sophomore Taylor Manuel will transfer from Purdue

Loss in West Virginia and Tennessee:

No player in the history of West Virginia high school girls basketball ever has or ever will be able to match the impact Mary Ostrowski had on the sport.

A standout at Parkersburg Catholic, Ostrowski-who lost her long battle with cancer on Friday at age 51-was the pioneer, the trailblazer, the player who set the standards for all others.

She was West Virginia girls basketball’s first superstar, winning the state player of the year award the first three seasons, while leading Catholic to 88 straight wins and two state championships.

Obviously, she was an extremely gifted player. But what set her apart from others who also fell into that category was her work ethic, which was legendary.

The news is getting worse out of Oakland: Players’ shocking allegations against former NCAA women’s basketball coach: As many as 15 former players and others close to the Oakland University women’s basketball program allege Beckie Francis fixated on their weight, pushed her religious views and used intimidation.  

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the reaction to Liz Cambage’s  return to the Shock.

Liz Cambage said she really wanted to join the Tulsa Shock last August for the second half of the WNBA season, but things didn’t work out.

She was drained from helping her native Australia to a bronze medal finish in the London Summer Olympics.

“I wanted to come back so bad last year. It wasn’t until I got onto the plane, and I had a bit of an event, a breakdown,” she said.

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Cambage says she’s headed to WNBA

The relationship between Cambage and the Shock reminds me a little of that game that my nephews always begged me to give them money to play. You know, the one with all the cool-looking prizes in the big glass box, and all you have to do is pick one up with this claw-thing and then drop it off into the open space. Yeah, that’s all you have to do.

“You’re not wasting 50 cents on that,” I’d say. They would plead, “But I could get the iPod! I just know I could get it this time!”

I’d say, “Yeah, right. You KNOW the clamp will open before you drop in the prize. It ALWAYS does. You KNOW like one in a million people — if that — actually gets the iPod.”

The inevitable comeback: “Nuh-uh! My friend at school said his cousin got it once!”

Cambage, the 6-foot-8 Australian who was the WNBA’s No. 2 draft pick in 2011, has been the prize that the Shock haven’t ever quite had a grip on.

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“I am reviewing… the situation.”

Which means Liz says, “I’m baaaaaack!”

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(Well, yes, I AM back writing again, but again, this ain’t about me.)

From Sherri Coale: As Good as it Gets

The membrane was just too thin. The stories were everywhere, and they were great stories. I just couldn’t tell them. Not while they were happening anyway. I was afraid if I wrote, I’d prick what little protective covering we had left and we’d leak all around the room in a form too liquid to pick up. So I just trudged on trying not to think too much about any of it. “Right foot. Left foot. Breathe…” I just woke up every day and followed that drumbeat over the mountain and through the woods of this season.

And we wound up here in the land of as good as it gets.

In W news, this is encouraging: Penny Taylor’s Journey Back

In other W news, this is not surprising: Liz Cambage not returning to Shock

Which leads to this piece: Likely top WNBA draft picks discuss playing in Tulsa

Are ya wondering who’s going to be at Bristol Draft Day? 

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and now she is gone for the season. Dream fans must be wanting to wake from this nightmare, opponents must be wiping their brow…and I wonder if coaches are asking, “Who’s running this Laurel and Hardy show, Laurel?”

Mel has some words on coach Meadors ‘ firing.

Mechelle does, too

In other news, the Shock might be looking at some seriously twin towers next year since it appear Cambage will not return as promised. Of course, considering how the no-return happened, it is just as likely we’ll never see Liz back in the States, no matter what the Shock say.

Mechelle’s got some words about this mess, too.

I’m feeling like some of the vets need to have a sit down with the youngsters and talk about professionalism.

And that I should never go to Canada during the WNBA season….

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The US 17 is iffish about defense, but loves to score: USA U17 Women Sprint To 131-89 Win Over South Korea To Open Play In 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship

“I remember thinking at halftime it was so unusual to have 70 points and only be up by 20,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “I thought Korea really shot the ball well, especially early. They cooled off a little bit in the second half, and I thought our team did a really good job of adjusting after halftime, getting over screens and getting a hand up. It was an unselfishly played game on our part, and everybody was looking for each other. I think their full-court press hurt Korea, but they stayed with it pretty much the entire game, and we were just getting layups on the back end of it. Diamond DeShields, Linnae Harper and Lindsay Allen, they all did such a great job of seeing down the floor and finding their teammates behind the press. It was a nice way to open the tournament for us.”

The U18 team enjoys both sides of the game: USA Women’s U18 Team Remains Perfect With 87-36 Victory Over Colombia, Advances To Medal Semifinals

Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.) scored a game-high 19 points to lead the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team (3-0) to a 87-36 victory over Colombia (1-2) to close out FIBA Americas U18 Championship preliminary play on Friday afternoon in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. The game, which saw all nine available U.S. players contribute no less than four points apiece, advanced the U.S. to the semifinals as the No. 1 seed out of Group A.

From coach Meier:

What do you need to work on heading into the semifinal?
In a perfect world I’d like to not have to call a timeout to make an adjustment. They went on a little run there and cut it to 18 at the start of the second half. We had to call a timeout to make an adjustment. That adjustment led to a 25-0 run. The negative is that we had to call a timeout. The positive is, that was a ridiculously impressive response to that timeout.

They’ll face Canada at 8:15pm EST – streaming available.

Las tres caballeras de Los Lynxs are back in action and wasted no time making mincemeat of the Mystics. (photos) I gotta wonder – is Shelia Johnson’s conscience twitching at all, or has she forgotten the team she’s undermined so totally?

Same ole same ole with San Antonio and Tulsa. The Shock keep it close (Liz ain’t due until the 30th) and San Antonio pulls out their 10th win in a row. And yes, Sophia gets my MVP vote.

Sorry, Pokey, but Prince didn’t help – maybe there are other issues? and Nate ponders: Chicago Sky Turnover Woes Continue In 82-76 Loss To Atlanta Dream

After the Chicago Sky’s loss to the Connecticut Sun on July 13, a friend of mine who was at Allstate Arena texted that Sky center Sylvia Fowles looked like she spent most of the game “hiding” on offense.

It almost sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, even in the world of basketball where people just above average height for human beings look tiny – the 6’6″ All-Star who would later try to dunk in London can’t possibly expect to hide herself with almost all eyes on her, especially without guard Epiphanny Prince to shoulder the burden of offensive focal point.

And yet, sure enough when you look at footage of that game you see a player literally hiding herself in plain sight

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5) Even if you DO buy the chicken fingers, it costs less than a movie.

4) Baby, it’s hot outside – so chill at the arena and let the players turn it up a notch.

3) Cambage is back — and you know how to pronounce her name.

2) You can start cheering for your team, now that the UConn players are in the minority.

And the number one reason to watch the WNBA:

1) You don’t have to travel to London to see Olympians live — they’re right in front of you.

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to a pretty glorious day, no?

Everyone knew the Aussies were going to be a handful. Most knew that it would come down to how the US handled the Opals size inside and how the Aussies matched up against the American depth and conditioning. A quick compare and contrast the halves via the box score tells an accurate tale. (And the free throw shooting shows how much pressure everyone felt – very Elite Eight-ish, no?)

Various folks (none, of course, from the NY Times. They haven’t even bothered to link Doug yet.) on the game:

From Doug: U.S. holds on, defeats Australia

Now this was something new. The U.S. women’s basketball team faced its first Olympic halftime deficit in 12 years on Thursday night as it tried to reach the gold medal game for the fifth straight time.

Not to worry.

From Full Court, Clay writes, Team USA finally wears down Australia, advances to gold medal game and Lee asks London 2012: Will semis loss to the U.S. be the end of an era for Australian women’s basketball?

Deep in the bowels of North Greenwich Arena, home to London 2012’s men’s and women’s basketball contests in their knockout stages, in a rabbit warren known as the mixed zone, one of the few areas in the Olympic venues where athletes and the media are permitted to interact, Kristi Harrower stood crying.

And not just a tear or two dripping down her sweaty cheeks, but full-fledged sobs — to the point where the Australian reporter standing next to me, as most of the press engulfed the handful of U.S. players who had made it past the broadcast access points, said he found himself choking up himself. As for myself, I felt so moved by Harrower’s uncensored emotion that I contemplated risking my Olympic credential by reaching across the metal barricade that separated us and giving her a hug. Then, like a coward, I thought better of it, and allowed the scene to continue, one lonely woman standing there crying, some six or so of the rest of us, journalists, Australian team handlers, and Olympic volunteers alike, awkwardly shuffling from foot to foot and wondering what to do.

Mechelle writes from her Room with a View of the television: Deeper, more fit USA tops Australia – Americans will play for their fifth consecutive gold medal after rallying in semifinals

Well, if you’ve watched the Americans throughout this Olympic tournament, you probably suspected their defense would kick in during the second half. And it did. Cambage didn’t score after halftime and didn’t even seem nearly as involved in the game.

From Jackie MacMullen: Taurasi, Team USA to play for gold – Americans rally from four-point halftime deficit for 86-73 semifinal victory

So it happened. Somebody finally punched the United States women’s basketball team squarely in the face.

And you know what? U.S. tri-captain Diana Taurasi kinda liked it. Not trailing by four points at halftime, exactly, but the fact this semifinal Olympic game against Australia was edgy, contested.

“Not the worst thing for us,” she suggested.

Over at the Examiner, it’s Mike Peden

Australia center Elizabeth Cambage had a powerful first half, but the United States had a more powerful overall game.

That effectively summed up the semifinal bout of the Olympic Games tournament between the two meccas of women’s basketball, with the United States continuing their dominance of the rivalry, winning 86-73 Thursday at North Greenwich Arena in London, England.

The Sporting News’s Sean Deveney:

It is as if Sue Bird knew what was coming.

Before Team USA settled in to face Australia in the semifinals at North Greenwich Arena, Bird warned that in her experience, the semifinal has been the toughest game the Americans have had to contend with. And, facing an Australia team they had dealt with in the gold-medal game in the three previous Olympics, there was little doubt the game would be difficult.

It did not disappoint.

Reuters’ Larry Fine: Olympics-Basketball-U.S. beat Australia, into women’s final

“We’ve played a lot of basketball in the last month with my team and I don’t think anybody’s played better against us than Australia did in that first half,” said U.S. coach Geno Auriemma. “That was an impressive display of basketball.”

K.C. Johnson (with a little drop-by from Pokey) at the Chicago Tribune says:

The U.S. women’s basketball team has won games with its talent and tenacity, its defense and depth.

On Thursday, in a taut semifinal far closer than the final score indicated, it used all those qualities and added one more: its leadership.

Ray McNulty at Scripps Howard News Service: U.S. women’s basketball team struggles, beats Australia

The world’s best women’s basketball team found itself in an unusual predicament as it walked off the floor Thursday midway through its Olympic semifinal game against Australia.

Behind on the scoreboard.

“I don’t think we’ve ever been down going into halftime,” U.S. forward Candace Parker said.

Jeff Zillgitt’s USA Today headline writer gets a little carried away: Moore carries U.S. women’s basketball team to final

It wasn’t Moore’s finest offensive performance. She made 4 of 10 shots and coach Geno Auriemma spoke from experience, having coached Moore for four seasons at UConn. At 23, she is the team’s youngest player.

“This is her first experience at the Olympics,” Auriemma said. “She kind of played the way she did when she was a freshman at Connecticut. Every time she touched it, she shot it. Today, it helped us and hurt us, and other players reminded her, ‘Hey.’ She was so hyped up because she wanted to play so well.”

William James from Reuters adds, “Amazing” Cambage make U.S. sweat for victory

Over at the Wall Street Journal: U.S. Women Squeak By Australians in Basketball

Kelli Anderson at Sports Illustrated writes:

There was no need to panic, really. The U.S. women’s basketball team had been in close Olympic matches before, and it had been down at the half before. It might take a little research to confirm that, but after the USA’s 86-73 semifinal victory over Australia on Thursday, U.S. co-captain Sue Bird insisted that it has happened, even recently.

“Everybody thinks we steam roll, but go look at previous Olympic box scores, that’s not always the case,” she said.

From Jim Morton at the NZ Newswire: Cambage has lessons to learn: Graf

Opals coach Carrie Graf hopes rising basketball star Liz Cambage learns her lessons after sparking a Twitter storm before Australia’s gold-medal dream ended on Thursday night.

Cambage had initially laughed off suggestions she took a swipe at swimmer Stephanie Rice over her purported fling with married US basketballer Kobe Bryant in the lead up to the 86-73 semi-final loss to US. (Oiy vey)

Some fun shots of the game at the Sacto Bee.

From Roy Ward and the Greater Dandenong Weekly: London 2012: Cambage and Rangers stars do Aussies proud against US

From the busy folks at USA Basketball: USA Women Rally Past Australia 86-73 To Advance To Gold Medal Game. They also have post-game quotes and photos. From Augustus:

On the team’s second half effort:
When Sue Bird has to yell at you about something it’s a problem. I think everybody took it personally, the way we defended in the first half. It was very disappointing to see Cambage get easy shots like she did. So they came out and played awesome and the second group just took it upon themselves to be a little more aggressive and put the pressure on Australia early.

By virtue of their 17-point win over Russia, les Rouge, Blanc et Bleu will face Les Bleus

Nobody talks about us. We don’t exist in the Olympic Village,” said French coach Pierre Vincent. “The only way to exist is to win. I told the girls in the locker room, if we win, we will exist.”

Yah, you predicted that final. Not.

From Doug:

France just doesn’t want the Olympic party to end.

Singing and dancing their way around the court after knocking off another women’s basketball power, France advanced to its first gold medal game with a 81-64 victory over Russia on Thursday.

Edwige Lawson-Wade scored 18 points and Emilie Gomis added 15 points for France, which will play the U.S. on Saturday in a matchup of the only two unbeaten teams in the tournament.

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I did get to tromp around in the mud and see this beauty (ruddy turnstone), this beauty (black bellied plover) and this handsome guy (avocet) who shouldn’t even be in the neighborhood.

US 88, Czech Republic 61: Speaking of hot, the Czechs sure were hot from outside in the first quarter, huh? Didja get nervous? Me, not so much — I just feel a little like a little old grandpa backseat driving and yelling “Guard the damn three! I said GUARD THE DAMN THREE!” (Did you see this headline at the Detroit Free Press: U.S. women’s basketball routes Czech Republic, 88-61.” And here I’d heard the traffic wasn’t so bad…)

Fortunately, they listened to me (or maybe some Italian born coach), made the adjustments and started playing some beautiful ball to win the US’s 37th Olympic game in a row.

Oh, and congrats BUT the reason you got a new rebounding record is because YOU MISSED SO MANY DAMN BUNNIES I THOUGHT ELMER FUDD WAS SHOOTING! (note: wordpress has this cool stat thing that shows a map of where visitors to the site come from. I apologize to all those folks out there who are wondering who the heck Ethel, Fred, George and Elmer are…) From Auriemma: 

I think that when you get to the Olympic Games shooting percentages can go down – because players have a tendency to rush things. That one possession I think we had six offensive rebounds in one possession and couldn’t make a layup. The offense is going to go up and down depending on the day maybe but I know we are going to go on a couple of runs in the course of the game. We certainly need Diana to play the way she played today because when she does she is able to stretch the team’s defense like nobody else. The Czech team is very difficult to play against. Defensively the only chance we had was just to wear them down. I think that is exactly what happened they got worn down.

Nate is chillin’ over the US’s 3-shooting: USA Women’s Basketball Vs. Czech Republic: Why Poor Three Point Shooting Is Not A Major Concern In The 2012 Olympics

ESPN lets Loudy Foudy spend a whole 3:35 minutes on the USA basketball team: Maya Moore.

It’s ridiculous to thing how far the Brits have come in such a short time – remember, the team didn’t exist until 2006.

Initially, basketball was the only discipline in which the host country was not to be automatically awarded entry. This was because the Great Britain basketball teams did not exist until 2006, and FIBA, the world governing body of basketball, was concerned about the future of the unified British teams after 2012, as well as the claimed total lack of competitiveness of British basketball. However, in a meeting held in Lyon, France, on 13 March 2011, the FIBA executive board agreed to allow the British teams to qualify automatically

Tom Maher has been magnificent, and the team has really bought in to whatever he was selling. Crushingly enough, the French Assassin made sure Great Britain continued winless in the Olympics, as Les Bleus defeated England in “injury time.”

BTW, I recall speaking with Jo Leedham a couple years back, and Andrea Congreaves’ name came up. Here’s some WATN? news out of Ireland: Glanmire name former WNBA star as new coach

Canada, 79  Brazil, 73: Speaking of winless: Holy carp, how much of a hot mess is Brazil in and can they get it together before 2016? They go bye-bye, and Oh, Canada! Courtnay & Co. will play on.

Ooooo! Didja hear! We found new lyrics to the classic “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off!”

You say CambAYge
And I say CamBAHge
You say garbAYge
And I say garbAHge

Australia 70, Russia 66: In the battle of the randomly prepared basketball announcers what’s-his-name on the sideline gets mispronunciation demerits, the whole group gets multiple demerits from turning Liz’s Olympic dunk into a story about Lauren v. Leslie. And Annie – -Love ya. You’re the most humble superb athlete I’ve ever met. But I believe Candace is going to ask you for the bonus money she earned with that mythical Championship.

Turkey 82, China 55: If you can figure out the Chinese team, please call. As for the Turkish team – cool! And, this settles it. I am covering the Worlds in Turkey in 2014 ’cause Turkey is the new hotbed and the place ought to be rockin’.

Croatia 75, Angola 56.

Up next: China at 11:45 EST. Check out Doug’s preview and email me thoughts about this quote:”The U.S. is a very tough team and we will do what we can against them,” China coach Sun Fengwu said through a translator. “We will try some special things against them.”

Oh, and the Washington Times has this: The real Dream Team: USA women’s basketball and the Bleacher Report has USA Olympic Women’s Basketball Team 2012: How Team Ranks Against Best All Time

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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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the SASS stayed hot. This time, they got a huge game from someone we haven’t heard a lot about so far this season and managed to squeak out a win over the Merc.

It was a happy day-after-the-fourth in LA as the Sparks toyed with a blow out and then kept the Lynx at bay. (And why is there “no photo available” for Toliver, ESPN?). That’s two losses in a row for the Lynx, but Roman isn’t panicking: “Do they have a go-to player in a tough game?”

A little Shock overload:

From Tulsa World: Cambage, stars to play in Olympics, then rejoin WNBA teams

Kloppenburg said the break creates “two seasons” for the WNBA. For Tulsa, it also creates two teams.

“She’s going to create a whole other dynamic we don’t have,” Kloppenburg said of the 20-year-old Cambage. “All of a sudden we have somebody that we can throw to down there that can really finish up around the rim.”

From Swishin’ and Dishin’: 7/5/12 Podcast: Fireworks just starting to boom for Gary Kloppenburg’s Tulsa Shock

From Mechelle: These are trying times in Tulsa

Temeka Johnson always heard she was too little, and just never paid any attention. Courtney Paris heard she was too big, and tried to ignore it. Now, here they both are with the Tulsa Shock, the team that wants so much to fit in.

In its third WNBA season in Oklahoma, the Shock’s record so far isn’t much different than the first two seasons, when they won a combined nine games. Tulsa is 2-12, pretty much the categorical opposite of Western Conference-leading Minnesota, at 13-2.

But is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it just a mirage? The Shock has lost four games by three points or fewer. You don’t need to be completely delusional to picture Tulsa as 6-8, in which case it would be hanging with Seattle and San Antonio in playoff contention.

At least, I don’t think you have to be delusional. There seems to be hope in Tulsa … or at least not abject despair.

Personally, I think you need to travel to D.C. to get a solid dose of “abject despair.” In Tulsa, the leadership cares — might even have a clue. Since May, 2005, Washington fans have watched Sheila Johnson fumble and mumble the Mystics into a dysfunctional mess. Yah, espnW, Sheila Johnson writes the owner’s manual... but has anyone actually read the thing?

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Cambage out of shape ahead of tip-off

Her Bulleen Boomers coach Tom Maher was dismayed when his best player arrived home overweight and out of shape ahead of the WNBL season tip-off on Friday.

Both say it will take about a month before she is back to her best.

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but about some of the players.

Clay talks “that up in the air” race: What The Numbers Say About the WNBA MVP

So now that L.A. dissipated any real interest in the last weeks of the WNBA season by collapsing in the fourth quarter Tuesday, we’ve got a little time to look at some other aspects of the summer—such as who really is the best player.

There are a lot of candidates of MVP, but for the sake of discussion—OK, maybe even an argument—a look at the latest Player Efficiency Rankings list can add some actual data to the conversation.

Mechelle talks about the player I wish the Lib had: Brunson makes big impact with Lynx – Circuitous route to Lynx finally paying off for forward, franchise

There’s nothing punny about this headline from Odeen Domingo at Arizona Central: Mercury’s Penny Taylor expected back for playoffs

Jimmie Trammel at the Tulsa World writes about that tall Aussie: Shock’s Cambage deals with tough love and high expectations.

The 6-foot-8 Australian center was asked to give herself a letter grade for this season. Her response: “An ‘A,’ from what we have been through and what I have handled and the way I carried myself. I still have a smile on my face.”

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Cambage struggling with losses

She may have one of the biggest personalities in the WNBA, but Tulsa Shock center Elizabeth Cambage has shed a lot of tears in her rookie season.

At the other end of the spectrum is Indy.

Tonight’s game is followed by four straight against teams with losing records, but Dunn said that will not stop the Fever from focusing on each opponent.

“I think our veteran players know that,” Dunn said. “They know what’s going to happen, they know the situation that we’re in. It’s a good situation. You want to be hunted, you want to be No. 1 and you want people after you.”

Trying to find their way onto the spectrum is the Dream

The Dream is no stranger to the highs and lows of a roller-coaster season.

Look no further than last year for evidence, when the Dream opened with six consecutive victories before closing the regular season by losing six of their final seven. But the 2010 postseason was another high for the Dream — with a franchise-first WNBA finals appearance.

“That’s the game of basketball,” guard Angel McCoughtry said.

Even if it’s after the fact, it’s always fun to read Richard’s writing:

So the WNBA was finally back last night, with the first proper games since last Thursday. Weird how five days can feel like so long in the middle of the season when the offseason lasts nearly eight months. Anyway, even I feel like five games in one piece is a bit much to cover, so we’re going to split this up. The entire Western Conference played last night, but the five teams that still matter were encompassed by three games. So this column will cover those three contests, and tomorrow I’ll get to the East. It means Washington and Tulsa are in the wrong half, but at this point I barely consider them to count. It’s a five-team race on either side, and everyone outside of delusional Mystics front-office personnel knows it. On to the games.

Speaking of Washington, the DC BasketCases are in rare form:

Some of Our Readers Were Wondering why the BCs didn’t post about the Mystics’ game Tuesday night against San Antonio.

Well, the truth is we actually started a short post, but we were so inspired after writing about paneling that we decided to paint part of our basement . . . and ran out of time for our blog. So, like the Mystics (against the Silver Stars and against the Dream before them), we just couldn’t finish.

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You know,

I smiled at the memory when I saw this ASG photo... but it was smile tinged with sadness.

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Why teams enjoy

playing the Shock, by a Rebkellian:

I don’t think I can stand to watch Tulsa anymore. They are poised to win, with Cambage going crazy all of a sudden, killing NY all by herself, and just when they could win the game, Idiot RIchardson takes her out of the game with 1:15 or so left in the game. And what happens? They lose again.

This time it was the Liberty who reaped the benefits, behind a really strong game from Kia Vaughn. (Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to join Mechelle for some of that crow – tofu or otherwise?)

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of the move to Newark: Two Liberty players in minor accident

Liberty assistant coaches Monique Ambers and Lady Grooms were also involved in a separate traffic accident en route to the Newark arena.

“I’m concerned,” head coach John Whisenant said. “I think we’ve got the greatest organization in the world behind us. So I think if there’s a solution to it, we’ll find it. We obviously didn’t do it properly today, but I think there’s got to be a bus or a van as a group that we can (take to) get here alright.”

The Liberty are slated to play three seasons at the Prudential Center while Madison Square Garden undergoes a series of renovations. Their training facility is in White Plains, N.Y., which makes for a very long commute.

Accidents not withstanding, the Lib continued their 0-for streak at home, losing the rematch with the Dream+Angel.

Speaking of 0-for (yes, the Shock lost again. And congrats, Katie.) I don’t know if there’s a “FireNolan.com” yet, but you’ve got to wonder if it’s imminent. From Mechelle (what a perfect photo on the espn front page, no?): Future bleak for Tulsa Shock

This quote from Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson, given to the Tulsa World’s Kelly Hines last week, cracked me up with its repetitive inanity — while at the same time made me feel sorry for everybody involved with the Shock, including Richardson.

“I think it’s important that someone steps up,” he said. “Not only someone steps up, but some of the other players that we were counting on not as much have an opportunity to step up. So you’ve got your bench having to step up and players on the floor stepping up.”

OK, so I’m going to step up here and say it’s not just that the Shock aren’t a good team. They appear to have no hope of being a good team. They have little hope of even being a mediocre team.

Speaking of Mechelle, did you notice she moved her personal blog? It’s here now. Visit, and you can read “Why Ford, Nolan, and McCarville” are taking the summer off. Oh, and this piece: Sometimes, we find we’re closer than we think, is sneak-up-on-you-moving.

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Seems to me that this season the Shock are to the W what the Orioles are to MLB: when you need a win, you hope they’re on your schedule. Sun needed and, voila! Tulsa provided. Not sure if DeMya enjoyed it so much.

It wasn’t the first time DeMya Walker, a 12-year veteran of the WNBA, was about to get plowed over during the ever noble endeavor of taking a charge. But it may have been the first time anybody this big was doing so.

Let’s leave it here: Walker’s had happier sights in her life than a 6-foot-8-center, built like a tight end, running at her as if she were, say, the end zone.

Now that the Mavs have won (boy, is James being excoriated or what!), Ben has a request: Dear Mark Cuban: Please Buy a WNBA Team – Cuban would be a huge hit in the WNBA. (But Ben, didn’t you notice how quiet Mark was this season?)

The Times of Trenton celebrates their native daughter: Hopewell’s Ackerman still at head of class

Ironically, a rejection from cheerleading helped spurn Ackerman on to becoming one of the foremost cheerleaders of sports for girls and women.

“We had no sports opportunities for girls at Timberlane (a middle school in Hopewell) when I was there,” Ackerman remembered. “So I tried out for cheerleading and I got cut. My pride was wounded.”

The story was different for Ackerman at Hopewell Valley High, where she earned 10 varsity letters, including seven under Skiba, who was then the head field hockey and girls’ basketball coach.

Out of Eastern Iowa Sports and Rec: Son’s illness causes Frese to ‘look more at the now’

Brenda Frese has allowed her life to slow down a bit.

“As a coach, you’re always trying to stay ahead,” said Frese, a Cedar Rapids native and University of Maryland women’s basketball coach. “You’re always into that hectic pace.

“But now, from my end, I’m looking more at the now instead of the future.”

When considering the alternative, a life-slowing event doesn’t sound that bad.

As a bookend to the challenges of Muslim players abiding by their faith as they play basketball, from the Jerusalem Post: ADL urges FIBA to rethink ‘discriminatory’ uniform policy

To abide with Jewish rules of modesty for women, Israeli national team player Naama Shafir normally wears a T-shirt under her basketball uniform. However, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) for Europe said wearing the T-shirt would violate its uniform policy and it would not make an exception, thus preventing Shafir from participating in the European women’s basketball championship, which opens June 18 in Poland.

You may remember that Shafir plays for Toledo, which won this season’s WNIT.

The Journal-Courier’s Mike Carmin thinks the Trade may benefit former Purdue star Wisdom-Hylton

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Ooops!

Visa keeps No. 2 pick Cambage out of Tulsa camp (A slightly overwrought headline. Don’t panic, Shock fans.)

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Penny Taylor is interviewed

Loz helps Liz handle The shock of the new

AW: Are you looking forward to playing each other?

LC: I can’t wait to play against the big LJ, drop another 40 on me. Woohoo!

LJ: It’s not going to happen, it’s different in America. Defence is so important over there. Coaches really play to stop the main players. It won’t be one-on-one against anybody. You’re going to have five people against you and strategies to try to limit you. You’ve just got to relax and not be afraid. That might be one thing that holds you back. You’ve got the world at your feet and there is not one woman in that league who is as strong as you. I can guarantee you that right now.

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