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on Mr. Silver:

“I don’t mind the truth, even when harsh. But I’m puzzled by how publicly stated hazy dissatisfaction fits into your leadership role. It set a gloomy tone on the day when the WNBA’s MVP was in action to start the postseason.”

***

I would advise, though, trying to get a better grasp on the network of traditional media, social media denizens, bloggers, freelancers, podcasters, and “superfans” who closely follow the WNBA not just all season, but all year. And then find ways to reach out more to them, to pick their brains for ideas, to realize there are some untapped opportunities in our technologically ultra-connected world now for the WNBA’s publicity needs.

The WNBA will never be anything like the NBA in popularity, wealth and scope. However, there are people not just in the United States but across the world who care passionately about the WNBA.

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whose mom passed this December. Was about to drop her a line, when I find this on the ESPN website: Thanks, Mom, for all you did for me – Dorothy Voepel remembered as funny, lovably curmudgeon-like sports fan

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny might feel his ears burning a little less this baseball season. Then again, maybe not. My mother’s baseball viewing — and critiquing — habits actually might not change.

The upcoming season will be very different for me, though. As every hour of every day has been since Dec. 10, when my mom, Dorothy Voepel, died at age 92.

She was more independent and stubborn than any other person I’ve encountered. That’s part of why it still remains so difficult for me to grasp she’s gone. I always thought that even with Death, she’d win the argument.

 

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FINALLY!!! This has been a pretty delightfully ridiculous winter/spring, but worth every hard, exasperating, inspiring moment. And getting a chance to walk up a mountain and see these gentlemen?

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Cerulean Warbler

 

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Hooded Warbler

Well, that just puts the cherry on top.

Oh, and the W season is about to start, and the Lib are BACK in the Garden and BACK in black… Let us see what magic Trader Bill has wrought.

The start of the season means it’s preview-pa-looza time.

Over at WNBAlien, Richard is back with a vengeance:

WNBA 2014 Last Minute Awards and Season Predictions

MVP

It seems like a relatively short list of candidates this year, compared to usual. Someone like Tina Charles or Tamika Catchings might be in the fold again if their teams do surprisingly well, but otherwise I see five likely possibilities: Elena Delle Donne in Chicago; Angel McCoughtry in Atlanta; Maya Moore in Minnesota; Candace Parker (again) in LA; and Diana Taurasi in Phoenix.

WNBAlien Special – Grading the Trade Catchup: Charles forces her way to New York, Sun make the best of it

The biggest news of the WNBA’s draft night this year had nothing to do with the players being selected.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Tulsa Shock

The rebuilding – or just ‘building’, if you don’t count the Detroit variant of the franchise – continues for yet another year in Tulsa. They’ll tell you they’re aiming for the playoffs, but it’s going to be hard work achieving that barring some serious collapses elsewhere in the West.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Seattle Storm

I may have been the only person on Earth who predicted the Storm would make the playoffs last season (I kept pointing it out when analysts claimed no one had, because it’s nice to be right once in a blue moon).

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: San Antonio Stars

San Antonio’s season last year was an uphill struggle from the beginning. Sophia Young (now Young-Malcolm after her marriage) tore her ACL before the season even began, and Becky Hammon played a grand total of 12 minutes before suffering the same fate. Any team, shorn of their two veteran leaders and best players, would’ve struggled from that point on. So given that both are now back in the fold, the youngsters have an extra year of experience, and there’s another high draft-pick to add to the mix, they should bounce right back to being the 21-13 team from 2012, right? Well, maybe.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Phoenix Mercury

After being the darlings of many experts and fans in preseason a year ago, the Mercury have been lost in the shuffle a little bit this time around.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Minnesota Lynx

At some point, there’s not much more to say about the Minnesota Lynx. If you’re reading this, you probably watched them play last year, and the year before, and the year before that – you’ve seen how overwhelming they can be. 

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Los Angeles Sparks

The Sparks were a very good team last year. They had their flaws, and some ugly nights, but based on points per possession over the course of the regular season they were the second-best offensive team in the league, and the second-best defensive team. Of course, with the way American sports works, their season was defined by the disappointing first-round playoff exit at the hands of Phoenix, rather than any success they’d had before that point. 

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Washington Mystics

After a couple of embarrassingly terrible years, Mike Thibault took over and made this franchise respectable again last season. He turned over half the roster, created a cohesive and deep team, and just flat-out got them playing again. 

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: New York Liberty

There are lots of positives for the New York Liberty heading into this season….So why does it still feel like this team has a lot more questions than answers circling around it going into 2014?

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Indiana Fever

While there is turmoil everywhere else, the Indiana Fever, Tamika Catchings and Lin Dunn just keep chugging along, showing up and winning games. That said, 2013 was a difficult season for Indiana.

2014 WNBA In-Depth Previews: Connecticut Sun

Well if we thought Chicago’s offseason was messy, welcome to a team where a bomb went off.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Chicago Sky

Last year was meant to be the breakthrough for the Chicago Sky… It’s kind of a shame that the offseason hasn’t managed to carry that positivity through to 2014.

WNBA 2014 In-Depth Previews: Atlanta Dream

Dream fans were starting to get a little worried early in the 2014 offseason. For a squad that had reached the WNBA Finals in three of the last four years, there was still a clear weakness in perimeter shooting that needed to be addressed, and some question marks around their guard corps.

Not to be outdone, Swish Appeal offers:

2014 WNBA Eastern Conference Predictions and 2014 WNBA Western Conference Predicted Standings

2014 WNBA: Michael Cooper era for Dream begins Friday night against Stars

Phoenix Mercury Media Day: Videos, notes, and how this team more self aware than last years incarnation

WNBA Friday Game Preview and Open Thread: Five games start at 7 p.m., three on NBA TV

The .com has Top Storylines of the 2014 WNBA Season and the always insightful 2014 WNBA.com GM Survey 

And what say the ESPN experts? 2014 WNBA season predictions

New to the scene Andrew Lovell writes: Ogwumike ready to start pro career – No. 1 draft pick helps lead young Sun squad into Friday’s season opener

Chiney Ogwumike stood near the free throw line, hands planted firmly on the hips of her 6-foot-4 frame.

Sweat dripped from her braids down to the already-saturated white WNBA headband as she listened to every word leaving Katie Douglas’ mouth.

It wouldn’t be fair to say Ogwumike was angry. But you better believe she wasn’t pleased.

Mechelle says the Dream are favorite in the East

At some point, we might start wondering if the Atlanta Dream have “Alydar” syndrome. For you youngsters, that’s the horse that finished second to Affirmed in all three Triple Crown races in 1978.

Alydar was a very talented colt, good enough that he could have won the Triple Crown himself. It was just his bad luck he happened to be 3 years old at the same time as Affirmed.

Michelle says the Lynx are in front of pack in tough West

The WNBA is at its best in the West again in 2014.

There can be little argument that the power in this league continues to lie in the Western Conference, but there might be some argument about which West team reigns supreme.

Minnesota — its star-studded roster largely intact — is coming off another impressive title run, a sweep in the WNBA Finals against Atlanta last fall that sets up the Lynx as the early favorites to repeat.

And yes, brilliant headline writer: Bird’s return should bolster Storm

Sue Bird is a believer in chemistry. To a point.

“Sure, you have teams that might be less talented that can get farther than a team with more talent because they know how to play together,” Bird said. “But there’s definitely a happy medium. We want to have both.”

As the Seattle Storm retool for a new WNBA season and prepare for a brutal opening stretch, a happy medium would probably suit them just fine.

Another newbie, Melissa Isaacson adds: Stronger Delle Donne ready for tipoff- WNBA’s 2013 Rookie of the Year remained in Chicago, bulked up in offseason

At 6 feet, 7 inches and roughly 300 pounds, Miles Bankston was his usual formidable obstacle in Elena Delle Donne’s path, but common sense and team protocol dictated he not flip the franchise player on her head as she drove toward him 10 days before the season opener.

Last year it would not have mattered because Delle Donne would have avoided contact, team scrimmage or otherwise, and settled for her patented fadeaway jumper.

“This time,” Chicago Sky assistant coach Christie Sides said with a satisfied smile, “she turned the corner, hit the big boy and finished over him.”

A little video: Mechelle & Michelle: WNBA Players To Watch

A little audio: Roundtable previews the WNBA (The roundtable consists of theSeattle Times’ Jayda Evans, Bluestar Media’s Wendy Parker, and Fox Sports’ Cindy Brunson. Dishin & Swishin’s David Siegel is the host.)

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as those who knew coach Ginny Doyle and Natalie Lewis mourn and regroup….

A women’s basketball history tweet-scusion brought this back: More Than a Game: 6-On-6 Basketball In IowaIn 1993, the era of girls’ six-on-six basketball in Iowa came to an end. This one-hour IPTV documentary takes a look back at the game and what it meant to generations of girls who played it. Check out the video.

Almost lost is the shuffle: a good move for VCU, and a hiccup for Stony Brook.  We (as in the royal we) at WHB had watched with an eager eye last season as Beth O’Boyle  continued to shift the Stony Brook Seawolves from a “walkover” to “watch out.” Her work caught the eye of a smart AD, and so she’s off to another state. From Hanaa’ Tameez at the Statesman: Former Women’s Basketball head coach O’Boyle prepares for new challenges at VCU

“VCU is an opportunity for me where one of the biggest things is to get closer to home,” O’Boyle said in a phone interview. 

“My family is all in Maryland, less than two hours from here. The opportunity for them to share in my coaching a little bit more and be a closer to them was really a big part of the decision.

“I absolutely love my players at Stony Brook and I couldn’t even imagine not coaching them next year,” she continued. 

“It was extremely difficult and it was really important to me that they hear my decision from me and not on Twitter.”

Speaking of moving: Old Dominion star Shae Kelley transferring to Minnesota (guess the Monarchs don’t have an issue with releasing folks, huh, K-State.)

Speaking of NOT moving, how about Mechelle on K-State’s mean-spiritedness?

Let’s hope ego doesn’t trump common sense and recognizing the decision was wrong. Because it was. I spent a lot of time talking on and off the record to people involved in this decision. I think the university jumped to the conclusion that since she asked to leave, it had to be because a member or members of the former staff was behind it. I interviewed Romero over the phone and in person. I talked to her nearly three hours between the two. I asked her a ton of questions. She is extremely bright, very well-spoken even though she has only been speaking English regularly for less than a year, and she has a very strong personality. I believe her. I think school officials did not take enough time to just *listen* to her. John Currie, the athletic director, did not even meet with her before signing off on the decision to deny her release. He may say that’s because she didn’t ask him directly for the release. She went to the compliance office, because she thought that was where she was supposed to go. Why didn’t the AD reach out to the best player on the team last year and say, “Let’s have a face-to-face meeting about you wanting a release. Let me hear from you why, and let’s talk about it.” Was she not important enough? Was it easier to just deny the release, assume she was a puppet, and then toss her to the appeals committee, which never gave her any reasons for denying her appeal? What more does she have to say? She’s said, “I wasn’t tampered with, but if you are so sure I was, then block ANY school you want to block.” Do they really have to block every D-I school in the United States by denying the release? Does that seem even marginally reasonable?

OPA! UMaine women’s basketball team completes recruiting class with Greek guard Gerostergiou

Guess who I’ll be hanging with in Istanbul this fall? Bruno, Staley, Reeve assist women’s national team (Should I watch out for flying jackets? <g>)

Speaking of the Flying Jacket: From Mechelle: Lynx again the WNBA favorite – League’s 18th season opens Friday; defending champs open at Mystics

The champagne was still wet on coach Cheryl Reeve’s clothes when her mind took a quick look ahead. Her Minnesota Lynx had just won their second WNBA title last October, so players and coaches were celebrating with some bubbly. But Reeve also had the big picture in sight.

Three consecutive appearances in the WNBA Finals? Winning two of those three series? Great … but Reeve knows every WNBA team is still measured against a higher standard set long ago.

It ain’t going to be a walk in the park, though: No Wright, Peters and now no Becky.

From David Woods at the Indy Star: 13 seasons in, Tamika Catchings can still provide for Indiana Fever (how can it possibly be 13?)

Tamika Catchings doesn’t need to be treated as delicately as a museum artifact.

After all, the Indiana Fever forward is coming off a season in which she averaged 17.7 points and 7.1 rebounds a game, comparable to her WNBA career statistics (16.7 and 7.5). Moreover, the Fever recovered from a 1-7 start and reached the Eastern Conference finals for a fourth time in five years.

However, the 34-year-old “Catch” is in the fourth quarter now. She has pledged to play through the 2016 Olympic Games and is looking ahead to a new career in a WNBA front office. She is looking for a successor to her decade-long position as president of the players’ association.

Also from SwishAppeal: Q&A: Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman on Elena Delle Donne’s strength, Sylvia Fowles’ injury, and trading Swin Cash and Q&A: Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles talks about her injury, rehab, and the loss of Swin Cash

So, yah, it’s only preseason, but have you noticed what Diggins’ been Doin’?

And yah, the Liberty are “Back in Black” (y’all better EARN those jerseys) and have Tina Charles (will the locals come?)…. but how successful are they going to be with Cappie alone at the point?

And the “Live Access” mishegoss begins. It’s breathtaking how much effort the League puts in to MISSING a chance to join the 21st Century and build a happy fan base. BTW, Muffet? The discount code is: WNBALA2014

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this: Women as sports analysts? Yes, we can

Years ago, when I was a young, single gal in Los Angeles, I was set up on a blind date. I was promised this guy would be perfect for me — an Ivy League graduate, tall, funny, ambitious and into sports. Less than five minutes into the date, upon hearing I was an associate producer for a national nightly highlight show, he blurted out, “You’re probably going to hate me for saying this, but I can’t stand hearing women talk about football.”

I bit my tongue, hoping somehow he’d save himself.

“I mean, even if a woman does know what she’s talking about when it comes to football, which is rare, I still can’t stand hearing a female voice talk about it.”

Needless to say, there was no second date.

And so, I encourage you to make an effort to listen to Michelle & Mechelle and Debbie & Beth (easier when ESPN updates the link to their LATEST blog) or David & Sundry Folks. All have “cred” — even if you don’t like what they say. And they’re talking about our game because, as somebody name Helen wrote in her article: Media Coverage and the Alternatives: Paper, Pods, Streams, and Blogs

Even as we track the steady growth in popularity of women’s basketball, it’s not unusual for coaches, players and fans to feel that media coverage has not kept pace.

“Progress doesn’t necessarily move on a linear line in terms of coverage of sports,” explained Mechelle Voepel, sportswriter for the Kansas City Star and a regular contributor to ESPN.com. “It really depends on the personalities that are involved at a newspaper and the commitment of that newspaper to diversify its coverage. Also, it can follow an economic cycle. And all those things can change over time. For instance, you could have a newspaper that ten years ago might have been doing a much better job of women’s basketball than it is doing now, just because of one of those factors.”

***

PODS ‘R US
Podcasts – recorded audio that can be accessed on-demand through an online link or downloaded onto a portable media player – have become an increasingly affordable way to offer access to post-game news conferences or one-on-one interviews with players and coaches. “Shootaround with Beth and Debbie,” is a slightly more ambitious project. Developed in collaboration with the WBCA and hosts Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli, it’s the first weekly podcast offering in-depth coverage of women’s basketball.

“You can hear ten different opinions from ten different guys on the national scene with radio shows and T.V. shows,” observed Mowins, “and we thought there was a need for discussion around the country [about women’s basketball] and nobody’s doing it. Debbie [Antonelli] and I like talking about basketball and so we said, let’s try this.”

Self-admitted technical neophytes, the pair first sought advice from the television and radio people they’d worked with concerning the necessary software and hardware. Now, months later, they’re negotiating the logistics of mixers, time zones and conference calls to produce a half-hour show that features interviews, opinions, and the occasional dose of intriguing stats. “It’s all fallen into place and now it’s a matter of being as creative as we can,” said Mowins. “We’re starting to get more emails from people – folks who know a good story in college basketball or are making suggestions. We’re getting some reaction emails, too: ‘Hey, you said this and I agree or I disagree.’ Now the challenge is trying to build this is — how do you market this, who’s our audience.”

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Swish Appeal has 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Kingston Bracket Preview: Who Can Challenge The Connecticut Huskies?

At Hoop Feed it’s: Dishin’ on the Brackets: Kingston Region and Dishin’ on the Brackets: Raleigh Region and the 3/15/12 Podcast: Come dancing with the annual NCAA tournament roundtable which includes Mel, Dough, LaChina, Jayda, Angela Taylor, Wendy Parker and Orin “the DWHoops King” Day

At ESPN, Mechelle chatted today…yesterday… geez, traveling and time sure is confusing. Here’s the wrap.

Terri: Bill Plaschke of the LA Times was on Around the Horn on ESPN the other day and he came down hard on the women’s selection committee for their mind-boggling draws for the tournament. He pointed out how Stanford was a No. 1 seed but had to go all the way to Virginia to play Hampton. Do you think if the media shines a spotlight on the committee’s ineptitude they will ever do a better or more logical job of putting together the bracket?

Mechelle Voepel: I wonder how much Bill understands about the history and background of the committee and the different challenges that the women face with their bracket. I’ve been writing about the committee/bracket for 16 years for ESPN.com, and I actually think they do a better job now than they did in the early 2000s. But to some degree, as long as there are pre-determined sites, their hands will be tied. It makes putting together the bracket that much tougher when you add in that element. There were only so many options of places to send Stanford, and they opted to ship the Cardinal far away but have them on a neutral court. Pre-determined sites do not increase attendance, they make it easier for TV to televise all the games. I think having top-16 seeds host is still the best answer for attendance and for fair distribution on the bracket. But I don’t know that we’ll ever go back to that. So every year, there are these problems. The committee, no matter what they say, can’t solve the puzzle they are presented without making some decisions that seem ridiculous to the average person who doesn’t closely follow the sport. For that matter, they sometimes seem ridiculous to those who *do* closely follow it.

From Julia Savacoo at the W, or is it ESPN women’s basketball page? there’s a video. Khadijah Rushdan has will to succeed

Not much else new on the ESPN site. Heck, even the headlines are several days old…. well, actually, when I check the “required to be used by announcers twitter feed hashtag” I found a ton of stuff. Why isn’t the main page defaulting to a Tourney page. Where IS the link to the Tourney page? Oh, I found it... waaaaaay down below. Oh, and look, it’s sneakily put in the upper right hand corner. That’ll get people’s attention! I am glad they put Rebecca’s face where it belonged.

Anyhoo, go check out the stuff that’s up:

  • Voepel: Year later, teams still chasing Baylor
  • Analysis: Des Moines » Fresno »
  • Analysis: Kingston » Raleigh »
  • Voepel: Stricklen seeks consistency »
  • Hays: BYU’s Steed worth the wait »
  • Fagan: How teams will try to stop Griner »
  • Hays: All the pieces in place for Princeton »
  • Hays: Delle Donne finds way back home »
  • Student-athlete blogs »

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle at 2pmEST.

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From her chat:

kevin (macon ga): In the last week, 10 ranked teams have lost to unranked opponents. Is parity a reality?

Mechelle Voepel: I asked Geno Auriemma about this Monday. He said that parity is kind of like global warming: Not everybody believes in it or always sees the evidence, but it really is there. Now … for those folks who don’t believe in global warming, I guess I can’t convince them that either thing really exists. :) I actually think “parity” to a degree has been around a long time. It’s just taking a while for it to reach the very top with any consistency. I do think weeks like this past one are good evidence of progress. And, yes, I believe in global warming.

After yesterday’s events, she blogs: You can wake up, St. John’s. It wasn’t a dream

Opposing coaches watch film, do the scout, and run their players through practice before facing UConn, just like going against any other team. Except it’s not. You wonder how many coaches – for instance, one of a program that had lost its last 27 in a row to the Huskies – could truly keep 100 percent faith that this preparation really mattered.

Yet that’s what being a coach is: Believing you always prepare to win because that possibility always exists. Even if you are about the only one on Earth who believes it.

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join Debbie and Beth for a women’s basketball roundtable.

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle’s looking to answer your questions today at 2pm.

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From Mechelle’s chat (not going to ask why the link isn’t up on the ESPN site:

ian (ny) Can we please get a montage of Kim Mulkey’s animations on the side line at ESPN? She can be so funny.

Mechelle Voepel  (4:14 PM) I would imagine some techno-savvy women’s hoops fan or fans could put together the perfect “music video” with Mulkey. Could be very hilarious to watch.

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Today @BrendaVanLengen and @MechelleV launched a new women’s sports radio show at womenssportscentral.com, follow the show @WomensSportsCen

Women’s sports fans have always had to work harder to find news and commentary on their favorite sports. We’re working to make it easier.

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Chat Alerts!

Whalen, 4pm EST, Thursday.

Voepel, 2pm EST, Thursday.

And we missed today’s chat with Mama Taj.

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Chat alerts!

You’ve got Taj at 1:30EST. Which instantly makes my wanna flashback to the Hair-O-Dynamic-Taj-Doll.

Mechelle’s right on her heels at 2pmEST. When are we going to get the Hair-O-Dynamic-Mechelle-Doll?

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yesterday:

Birdfan (Louisiana): Just watched NY hold Chi-town to 49 points and one in the 4th…not the most interesting game…what does Chi-town have to do to make it into the playoffs?

Mechelle Voepel: That game was gross, sorry. One point in the fourth quarter? Anybody got a Rutgers joke handy? Of course, the funny thing is that it was two former Scarlet Knights – Cappie Pondexter and Essence Carson – who led the way for the Liberty against Chicago today. It’s going to be a race between the Sky and Dream to see who can get their act together well enough to grab that fourth playoff spot in the East. Chicago has to find some more consistent scoring options.

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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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From Mechelle’s chat

a question from Kevin in Georgia:

Pam Ward said at the draft that the WNBA would name its president “within the next few days or so”. Is that a believable timetable?

Mechelle Voepel: Personally, I think she was ad-libbing, maybe trying to present it in a more positive light. As opposed to, “We’re here at the WNBA draft and there is no president to announce the picks. We have no idea when there will be a president. Supposedly before the season starts in June.” That might not sound so good. :) But that’s me speculating … yes, I let out a guffaw of disbelief in the press room when that statement was made on TV. Then again, I don’t know when it’s going to happen, either.

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Rhode: ‘You’d have to smile back at her’

(Note from MV: I wrote on Feb. 14 about the anniversary of the 1961 plane crash that killed the U.S. figure skating team on its way to the World Championships in Prague, and how that event had prompted some essays I’d written over the last decade. Sorry for the delay in posting, but here is the first.)

If she went into a room that was dark, she’d be the light bulb.”

_ Mike Michelson on his sister, Rhode

The home at 21808 McHelen is tan, and you can imagine that once, there was an energetic little girl running around inside this house, getting into everything, exhausting her mother.

Or, at least I can imagine this because of what I’d been told about Rhode Lee Michelson from the people who knew her, all of whom seem to have exceptionally vivid memories of her. She would grow up to go to Banning High School, but she wouldn’t finish there. Her life would end during her senior year.

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(I am such a question-submitting slacker! sigh) From the chat.

steve (ann arbor): Has Pat Summitt ever had a more(evidently) aggravating 24-2 team?

Mechelle Voepel: This statement made me laugh out loud, and I’d bet a lot of Tennessee fans would acknowledge the same. The team has talent, and I think they have heart … but they lack a type of killer instinct that is usually present at Tennessee. I’m not even sure if that’s the right term, but it’s something like that. That said, they’re still unbeaten in SEC play and they’ve seemed able to scramble out of trouble. I’m sure the real worry is if they have another stink bomb of a first half as they did against Vandy last Sunday, but it’s deep into the NCAA tournament against a team that the program doesn’t emotionally “own” the way Tennessee does with Vandy. If Tennessee gets in too deep a hole in the tournament, can they climb out once they’re at the Sweet 16 or beyond level? I’m sure that’s what Summitt and her staff are trying to prevent.

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle, today at 2pmEST.

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Chat Alerts!

Charlie at 1pm, Thursday. (news via twitter, but I don’t see it on the list)

Mechelle Voepel at 2pm, Thursday.

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Chat Alert!

Michelle, 2pmEST.

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Mike Pesca at NPR.

“There was a subtle but telling choice made after the game as the team posed at center court.

“A fan tossed the players a UCLA jersey. The name on the back (was) Wooden (and)  the number 88 was crossed out. The jersey wasn’t held up to the cameras. In fact, it was quickly tucked away by an assistant coach so no one could see it.

“UConn didn’t beat UCLA and they didn’t win a title.

“As the team posed for the horde of cameras, they weren’t holding on to a trophy, they were holding on to each other.”

Mechelle and some mouthy broad on WNYC’s The Takeaway.

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Mechelle, today at 2pmEST.

Also, check out Graham’s chat wrap.

Glenn (Fresh Meadows): A little funtime, if 30 for 30 went to you and asked you for one story to do a film on for WCBB, which would you choose?

Graham Hays: Good one to close on, and my editor is rolling her eyes, knowing exactly where I’m going with this one. I’d choose Jackie Stiles, and it’s not even close. The more you look at the current power structure in the sport, the more amazing it is she got Southwest Missouri State to a Final Four as recently as she did. And then to tack on an initially promising WNBA career with the Fire derailed by injuries, it’s a perfect 30/30. Somehow I don’t imagine it will ever get the nod, but I’d volunteer my services for free in a heartbeat.

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Mechelle writes for the Rally

More, more, more on mentors

Expounding upon the value of mentors strikes me as a lot like talking about the necessity of good nutrition and getting enough sleep. It’s common sense, but it bears repeating endlessly.

The National Women’s Law Center is sponsoring a “Blog to Rally for Girls’ Sports Day” today, Dec. 8, where they are asking bloggers to write about the value of girls’ and women’s sports and what that means to them.

I write most of the entries on this blog about women’s sports, so on this day, I want to focus on the value of mentors … and the value of appreciating them. And in doing so, I also get to tell you the rest of a story that I wrote recently.

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We can all enjoy someone else’s day from hell

…my buddy and the world’s best sports writer, former KC Star columnist Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated, had one of those, “This can’t be happening” trips going from Kansas City to NYC on Wednesday.

Joe being Joe, he could make it hilarious very quickly. But I happen to know this was one of his busiest weeks in a schedule that is ridiculous all the time. He was in St. Louis on Monday for a sports panel that included the likes of Bill James and Bob Costas. Then it was back to KC and off to NYC.

Except his route ended up including the Pennsylvania Turnpike. (Which I can assure you is generally not something you experience in flying from Missouri to New York.)

At any rate, if you’ve ever had one of “those” days traveling – even if you’re not a Midwesterner – you will appreciate this.

Makes me glad that all I have to do today is drive from St. Louis to Lincoln, Neb. And I know all the exits.

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle, Thursday, 2pm.

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Crossing paths with two Jordans

Sorry that it has been dead around here at the blog in recent weeks. I started my new role at ESPN.com – covering a variety of college sports beyond women’s basketball – in late September, and it’s taken up not just a lot of time, but a fair amount of emotional energy.

I don’t say that in a bad way. It’s really good. I had followed some of the other college sports _ such as volleyball, women’s soccer, wrestling and cross country/track _ formerly for the Kansas City Star, so catching up on them again has been a little easier. Still, each year in every sport brings you a new cast of characters.

Other sports, such as men’s soccer (which unfortunately is not a Big 12 varsity sport) and field hockey (which I never covered but watched a bit when I lived on the East Coast) have required more of a learning curve to get up to speed on the most compelling stories.

But it’s been great.

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Chat Alert!

Mechelle, today at 2:00pm Eastern

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Chat Alert!!

Today with Mechelle Voepel: 3:00 Eastern

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