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… now you know who to blame. Hello, Mel: Four decades of the women’s college basketball poll: History and impact

Eighteen years earlier, Greenberg created what became the AP women’s college basketball poll ahead of the 1976-77 season at the Inquirer. The poll, which completed its 40th season in 2015-16, helped market and grow the women’s game at a time when coverage of women’s sports was minimal.

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Greenberg didn’t buy into the idea of a poll for women’s basketball when Philadelphia Inquirer sports editor Jay Searcy wanted him to start one from scratch. With team information and schedules not readily available, Greenberg contacted the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women, which ran women’s college sports until the NCAA assumed control in 1982.

The AIAW responded with a position paper: “In the middle it says, ‘Women should not get involved in newspaper games and things like polls because it will lead to the evils of men’s athletics,’” Greenberg recounted.

The poll was seemingly dead before it could even get off the ground.

Speaking of polls….Charlie says Notre Dame leads way in way-too-early preseason top 25 rankings

The season that the rest of women’s basketball has waited for will finally arrive. The reign of Connecticut, at least as the dominant, immovable force in the game, is over. The 2016-17 season looks to be as wide open as any season in more than a decade (even in 2011, when Texas A&M and Notre Dame met for the championship, UConn and Baylor entered the season as big favorites).

Certainly teams can change before next season tips off, with player transfers, coaching changes and injuries. But it’s time to start looking ahead.

Let the housecleanning and heart-healing begin: Louisiana Tech hires Brooke Stoehr to replace Summitt. Longtime WHB readers will remember the good job she and her husband Scott have done as co-head coaches at Northwestern State.

Congrats: ODU women’s basketball assistant Trina Patterson named UNCG head coach

BTW: I’m worried about the depth of the NBA: We Just Saw The Most Lopsided Playoff Openers In Modern NBA History Maybe they should reduce the number of teams playing…

 

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Frozen Flash Mob Style

Oh, oh – Philly folks get called out…and call out The Guru!! (and stay for the outtakes!)

No matter how often you see it, it’s still BLOODY cold!

Oh, oh, WNBAers – Lin Dunn and the Fever is coming after you!!!!

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From Nate: WNBA Hollinger Power Rankings: What Happened To The Silver Stars?

From our Alien Friend:

Paying no heed to the opening Sunday of the NFL season, there were five WNBA games on the slate yesterday. But we’ll get to those in a moment – unusually, there’s been some moderately worthwhile news emerging from our league over the last 24 hours.

Firstly, as announced by Cindy Brunson at the WNBA’s Inspiring Women Luncheon (and then first reported by Mel Greenberg via @womhoopsguru), the WNBA draft lottery will be televised by ESPN for the first time on September 26th. That’s much earlier than they’ve held the lottery before, but it should help build some buzz for the league heading into the playoffs. The extra interest this year obviously surrounds the 2013 graduating class that’s led by Baylor center Brittney Griner, with Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins considered pretty nice consolation prizes. It’s good to see both the League and ESPN showing that they’re invested in coming up with new ways to draw people into the WNBA, and get them talking about its potential.

From Jayda: WNBA to honor U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team; other tidbits from historic London Games

OK. National media didn’t do its best job covering the afterglow of women’s achievements at the London Olympic Games. The Seattle Times did offer diaries and features about Olympians with Washington ties. And I blogged/tweeted about the entire women’s basketball tournament, including USA Basketball winning an unprecedented fifth consecutive gold medal.

Side note: I was up early watching the Russians and Turks. However, I rarely tweeted about those games because surnames like Palazoglu or Vodopyanova would gobble up Twitter’s allotted 140-characters.

You know what, all the talk of Phoenix “tanking” may be goofy, but it sure has put the WNBA out there in the twitter-sphere! Speaking of the Merc, from Ben: Seven Random Observations About the 2012 Mercury

Joan Nissen has more on the Lynx: Lynx offer glimpse into winners’ psyche

Seimone Augustus remembers winning a championship last October in Atlanta.

She remembers, but it’s blurry. She and her teammates talk about it sometimes still, here in the midst of their next title chase, but the details sometimes elude them. They’re too focused on the here and now, on Chicago and then Indiana and then Indiana again. They’re thinking about Los Angeles next week, then Phoenix and finally San Antonio.

The Lynx know what comes next. They know it like their lives depend on it, and they know how much they want what lies at the end.

From Clay at Full Court: WNBA MVP race wide open — fans’ vote may count for a lot

Once again, WNBA fans have a voice when it comes to the league’s MVP.

Granted, it’s not exactly a Kelly Clarkson-sized voice (41 other individuals will also fill out a ballot), but it’s a voice nonetheless. And on top of that, one lucky fan voter will get a free trip to one game in this fall’s WNBA Finals.

The on-line voting booth at http://www.wnba.com/mvpvote is open now, and will remain open until Sunday, Sept. 23, and of course, ballots can be cast from mobile phones as well as from more mundane, if not downright outdated, devices such as desktop computers.

Clay also offers up: Who’s lucky? And which WNBA teams are really good?

We all know luck plays a role – maybe a big role – in sports, and life, for that matter. But thanks to baseball stat wizard Bill James, it’s become a lot easier to determine just which teams are the luckiest in any given season.

James calls it the Pythagorean method, because he found he could approximate what a team’s expected winning percentage should be by creating a formula that involved squaring runs scored and runs allowed. The method also applies to other sports, though with modifications, and it’s based not just on some mathematical whim but by comparing past results to, in the WNBA’s case, points scored and points allowed.

With that lengthy preamble out of the way, we can look at the luckiest, and unluckiest, teams in the league based on how they’re performed in the win-loss column as opposed to the points scored-points allowed category.

Bob Corwin had this: Atlanta nightmare leads to Dream job for Fred Williams

Assistant coaches who are quietly going about their business rarely get much ink — that is, until something dramatic happens.

When Atlanta Dream head coach and general manager Marynell Meadors was fired Aug. 27, all of a sudden assistant coach Fred Williams was not only thrust into a complex dual role, but also found himself in the middle of the latest Angel McCoughtry controversy. Williams suspended McCoughtry briefly before re-instating her for Sunday’s game, but putting that ongoing saga aside, here’s a look at the new man in charge in Atlanta.

Kelly Kline adds this: January could be the difference in October

In the last 10 games, January has posted a handful of career bests including 22 points against Phoenix on Aug. 25 and eight assists against the Liberty on Aug. 30.  Fever coach Lin Dunn says the Arizona State grad is also delivering career-best performances on defense. “She may be the best defensive point guard in the league,” says Dunn. “I’m not sure who is better.  She’s going to guard Cappy, she’s going to guard Angel and Seimone.  She’s always going to get the chance to guard everybody’s best player, so that’s been a huge plus for us that we didn’t have last year.”

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Dishin & Swishin podcast, featuring Stephanie White, Christy Winters-Scott, Mel Greenberg, Shimmy Gray-Miller and Doug Feinberg.

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Others weigh in…

Jayda has a look at the 2011 Draft but admits:

Who are we kidding? This is going to be all about Gonzaga PG Courtney Vandersloot and Georgia Tech wing Alex Montgomery with a little Storm news mixed in. The pair of Washingtonians represented the state well, getting selected third and 10th overall in the WNBA draft on Monday.

Mel checks in with his musings on the WNBA’s Draft Day

Watching two major entities working side-by-side Monday afternoon with the WNBA draft being held at the worldwide television headquarters of ESPN was tantamount to witnessing two major banking firms going through a major.

Hartford Courant sports columnist Jeff Jacobs focusing on Maya Moore noted as an aside, “It was hard to know exactly where the WNBA stopped and ESPN started.”

Considering how downsized draft day had been the last two seasons when the event returned to NBA Entertainment studios in Secaucus, N.J., just across the Hudson River from New York, the arrangement worked out better for the most part for all parties concerned.

Where did I see someone comment, “ESPN cares more about the WNBA than the WNBA does.”

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From Mel

Guru Report: Mining RPIs Part I

It is a tradition in the Guru’s inner sanctum that this is the week he takes the first look at an RPI Report – The acronym stands for Ratings Percentage Index – to get some kind of picture of what lies ahead in terms of the NCAA long-range outlook and who needs to step it up in conference play, what are the surprises and what are the disappointments.

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Long Range Forecast: UConn Likely In Philly For Sweet 16

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From Mel

New Guru Home Launched For The Holidays!

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there was a ton written leading up to the UConn/Ohio St. match up:

UConn’s Moore, Dixon remember bitter taste of losing, Post
Game day: Ohio State vs UConn, Post
UCLA’s run of 88 once believed to be untouchable, Post
A closer look at UCLA men’s 88 game streak, Post
UConn, UCLA: Tale of 2 dynasties, Courant

Forget comparisons; each streak is a thing of beauty, Jeff Jacobs, Courant
UConn women, UCLA men will stand together, no matter the fruit, Courant
History is Buin for Huskies, Register
Streak by the numbers, Register
Bulldogs upset No. 15 Florida State, Register

Huskies are on the cusp of history, Day
It’s the week of the streak for UConn women, Day
In the final stretch toward the record, Day
Geno deadpans his way to history, Day

UConn Huskies heading for history, Bulletin
Most viewers won’t be able to see record-tying UConn game, Bulletin
On the biggest stage, UConn women shoot for 88 straight, Republican
UConn, UCLA streaks are similar in several ways, Republican
UConn poised to make history, NBCConnecticut
Dolson makes strides at No. 1 UConn, Times Record

OSU women don’t want to be victim No. 88, Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State women’s basketball team faces huge test against powerful Connecticut, Cleveland Plain Dealer
UConn’s streak a Wooden delight, Long Beach Press Telegram
Connecticut goes for UCLA’s basketball milestone, LA Times
UConn’s Geno Auriemma: From Philly to basketball immortality, Philly Inquirer

Foster’s Buckeyes challenge Auriemma’s Huskies, Mel Greenberg, Philly Inquirer
UConn women deserve same respect as UCLA men, Fan House
Just win, baby! UConn cast changes, results don’t, SI
UConn do it, Geno – stay where you are
, NY Post
No smoke and mirrors needed for UConn women’s streak, Jackson (MS) Sun

UConn takes aim at long-held UCLA streak, St. Louis Dispatch
UConn streaks stirs emotions on both sides, Bradenton Herald
Before UConn, there was Wayland, NY Times
When Baptists were queens of…basketball, Baptists Today
Connecticut women are 1 win shy of matching UCLA, Fox News

UConn streak doesn’t suffer by comparison, Fox News
If this were men…, Swish Appeal
UConn women’s streak stands on its own, Daily Press

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Big Blue PSU Machine Blasts Army

Here is the Penn State web site account directly in terms of top of the report from Wednesday’s win over Army.

The Guru will be offering this and some weekly stat report highlights with a quick note at the bottom. He will be at Rutgers Thursday night when No. 11 Georgetown gives the Scarlet Knightts another key test.

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Mel’s blog for good stuff.

Also, have you been following Sue’s breakdown of the Big 10?

At her blog, Mechelle wants you to remember The horror movie nobody calls a horror movie

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Mel looks back before we all look forward: Another Poll Season Looms

With the 35th season of AP voting about to get underway with the release of the Associated Press preseason poll later this week the Guru presents from the history files for you people of CoSIDA and other stat freaks a few preseason poll categories.

Incidentally, poll No. 600 is only six voting weeks away.

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(I guess there’s a reason why there’s no link to in on the ESPN women’s basketball page.) I rather enjoyed the W/NBA mix up. Hey, turnabout is fair play. Check out the chat:

Natalie (NC): I’m sure you’re getting a lot of questions about the unceremonious firing/release of Angela Taylor in DC, so I don’t want to ask about that specifically, but I do want to use it as a basis for a broader question. It’s pretty clear that, but for Mel Greenberg‘s reporting, the Mystics had no intention of telling their fans that Taylor was out as GM. They quietly removed her from their website, gagged Mystics players and staff (apparently), and hoped no one else would notice. How can a team show such contempt for its fans?But the bigger problem is that this isn’t something that’s exclusive to the Mystics. At times, throughout the season, I’ve felt like several WNBA teams and the league as a whole, seemed overly secretive and, in doing so, alienated fans. It’s gotten to a point where longtime season ticket holders are rethinking their purchases because they no longer have faith in their team’s front office. And, on top of all that, the league’s leaders, including President Donna Orender, seem unwilling to discuss fan dissatisfaction. So what are we to do? Should fans be more accommodating or do we have the right to expect better?
Mechelle Voepel: You pretty much said it all, Natalie. The Mystics as an organization have stonewalled all of us journalists on this so far. They have been asked to explain. They have been pleaded with, in fact. I did get a call from the WNBA saying the Mystics would reach out to me. Still waiting for that. On my blog, I will have a much longer discourse on this overall issue – the treatment of the fans for a niche league that depends on the loyalty of a relatively small – compared to some other sports – group of fans. And about the league’s apparent inability to have much influence on how individual franchises handle the management of difficult situations in terms of explaining them to fans and the media. You’d like see a more uniform front: This is how we treat people, because we have to maintain our relationship with fans. To say the least, the situations with the Liberty and Mystics – both coming off great, fun seasons that had their fans rejuvenated – have been terrible examples of how to maintain hard-won enthusiasm – that your players provided you – as an organization.

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Dream beginnings…

from Mel: Hot Drafts Made Atlanta A Winner

Glancing at the roster of the Atlanta Dream it appears that Marynell Meadors, the general manager and coach, certainly looks like she has known what she was doing in building the team from nothing when it joined the WNBA before the 2008 season.

In some ways Meadors seems to have followed the blueprints of Bill Laimbeer, who managed to execute a worst-to-first turnaround when he took over the former Detroit Shock early in the season in 2002 and guided them to dethroning the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Sparks in an exciting best-of-three finals a year later with the win coming in Motown.

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Da Guru notes

that it’s all set in the East — except for the order of finish.

You can catch Jayda’s Seattle/Mystics game thread here.

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Sr. Guru

Unprecedented WNBA Chaos

Unless some separation quickly occurs by the weekend, whatever the cause, a glance at the schedule beginning Tuesday night and through the end of the regular season on Aug. 22 reveals that almost every game will already be loaded with implication and contested at playoff intensity level just to get to the playoffs

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Guru Musings: WNBA UConn Elders Give Seattle Win Over Sun Youngsters

The Guru will be honest — he wasn’t planning to write for another day until covering the New York Liberty-Washington Mystics Eastern showdown Friday night at Madison Square Garden.

But then the thought occurred — why not? Besides a few things from different worlds have happened and while many are worthy of their own headline, the Guru decided to go with his cash (he wishes though the traffic is there) cow subject.

And, La Jayda: Game thread: Connecticut at Seattle and Storm holds off Sun, 83-82 – Lauren Jackson had 31 points and eight rebounds, but Seattle had to rally from a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter to eclipse the Connecticut Sun.

With the KeyArena crowd on its feet and roaring, the final five minutes of Seattle’s game against Connecticut suddenly seemed to morph into a jam session — basketball style.

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Le Guru

East Upsets Tighten Race Further

The ride down the stretch in both WNBA conference races has become worthy of the E-tickets needed in the early days of the Disney entertainment complexes before one overall price for those attractions that had the best thrills.

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Da Guru

Sizzling Sunday As Stretch Drive Continues

With almost every game in the WNBA having some importance attached to the outcomes these days, there weren’t enough presidents to go around Sunday as teams continued to jockey against each other to reach the postseason.

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More Guru

Dream’s Rise Becomes Sun’s Demise

On Friday night while the Mohegan Sun casino-entertainment complex was offering patrons free tee shirts to add to their apparel, the Atlanta Dream were in the nearby arena busy making quick work skinning the Connecticut Sun 94-62 in a key WNBA game.

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says Mel.

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From Mel

WNBA: Stretch Drive To Playoffs Get Under Way

On Wednesday and Thursday the living daylights will highlight the WNBA schedule for the week with the stretch drive to the playoffs under way.

The theme could also be nothing but matinee for those two days because the four scheduled games for Wednesday and one for Thursday will all be completed long before time for dinner arrives locally.

We’ll go day-by-day in a few minutes and update across the week but let’s look at what each team faces overall.

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Washington Monumental Hitting The Fourth

Two WNBA teams have identities appropriate to the Fourth of July celebration of America’s independence.

The Washington Mystics lived up to their residency in the nation’s capital on Saturday night, completing a fantastic week with a 69-54 victory over the Tulsa Shock in the Midwest.

Meanwhile, the New York Liberty suddenly reversed direction from a three-game win streak, losing in the desert to the defending WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury, 97-82, which returned the home team to the win column.

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WNBA: West’s Second Place An All-Time Worst

The gap between first and second place in the WNBA’s Western Conference could get even wider or slightly better Thursday night when the San Antonio Silver Stars visit the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Sparks (3-11), winless in four games since former league MVP Candace Parker was lost for the season with a shoulder injury, are motivated knowing the outbreak of mediocrity in the conference is keeping Los Angeles very much in playoff contention.

The Sliver Stars (5-8), hoping to avoid a slide to stoke Los Angeles’ hopes, sit in second place a whopping 7.5 games behind the Seattle Storm (14-2).

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