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Welp – I guess the cream of the West showed the Challengers of the East, huh?

Fare-the-well:  Inside The W with Michelle Smith

Swin Cash was on a conference call for the WNBA on Monday morning, talking with reporters in conjunction with Tuesday night’s nationally televised game between the Sparks and Liberty, which is an anniversary rematch of the first-ever WNBA game back in 1997.

She was, as always, a passionate, eloquent advocate for the league, a veteran spokeswoman for her team, and as it turns out, a soon-to-be-retiree.

Cash announced Tuesday morning via a personal essay for The Players Tribune that she will be ending her decorated WNBA career at the end of the 2016 season.

Social Reaction: Swin Cash’s Retirement

Film Room: Running Down a Dream

Candace Parker Provides Perfect Spark

Crap: Chicago Sky loses guard Laney to season-ending knee injury –

WATN? WNBA star Nicole (Ohlde) Johnson: Never give up

NCAA

“In the recent months, there have been accusations and false attacks made of my character and coaching,” Swoopes said in a statement released by a public relations firm. “I stand proudly in my values, actions and intent of representing the best interests for students — as athletes, but more importantly as individuals.

High/Middle School

Thank you : Master at his Craft: Longtime Collinsville Middle School girls basketball coach retires

After 30 years and more than 600 victories as a girls basketball coach at Collinsville Middle School, formerly North Junior High, Greg Craft is calling it a career.

Craft, 55, retired in May as a science teacher and coach. More than anything, he will miss the relationships he’s built with players during the last three decades, and it’s that aspect of retirement that has Craft not ready to completely say good-bye.

WBHOF

June Courteau first heard an official’s whistle while growing up in Minnesota, specifically when she exceeded the three-dribble limit during a high school physical education class. Her reaction was swift and pointed.

“I told the teacher ‘that’s stupid,’ ” she said.

Courteau undoubtedly has been on the other side of such a comment. She has 45 years worth of experience in officiating. She worked for decades on the court in the heat of the moment. She now oversees such work as the NCAA coordinator of officials.

It’s hard to separate Natalie Williams the basketball star from her volleyball alter ego. This weekend’s festivities in Knoxville will constitute a supreme effort in that regard.
Since she was on a basketball scholarship at UCLA, Williams considered herself to be a volleyball walk-on. She was a four-time All-American walk-on (1989-1992) who helped lead the Bruins to volleyball national championships in 1990 and 1991. She was the first woman to receive All-American honors in both sports in the same school year (1992-93).

Sherri Coale, in her own words
Summitt’s stand re-launched OU women’s basketball, and ignited a Hall of Fame coaching career
Friends and Foes: Conradt, Sharp Reflect on Coale
Sherri Coale has been model of consistency at Oklahoma

The AAU girls basketball tournaments that span age groups and take place throughout the country serve to promote the sport. They also honor and preserve the legacy of Bill Tipps.Eddie Clinton is involved with the AAU program in West Tennessee and benefitted from Tipps’ assistance as the organization’s national chair. Clinton saw firsthand Tipps’ people skills and diligence in action. “It was a labor of love for Bill,” Clinton said. “Whatever it took to build girls basketball, he wanted to do. Girls basketball would not be what it is today without Bill Tipps.

“We’re girls and we just want to have fun,” said 90-year-old Mary Wersells, the first girls’ basketball coach at Simeon High School as she reflected on the history of the sport.

Nearly four decades ago, Title IX was enforced which prohibited discrimination against female athletes. This opened the doors for pioneers in Chicago like Wersells and 81-year-old Narcissa Roberts, who became the first girls’ basketball coach at Corliss High School in 1973.

INTERNATIONAL
Library Additions: 
Rise and Fire by Shawn Fury. Writes Shawn:
The book basically traces the jump shot’s influence on the game from the time of its introduction to today’s dominance of the 3-pointer. But along the way I take a lot of detours and one chapter focuses on the 1968 Iowa girls title game. It featured the shooting exploits of Jeanette Olson and Denise Long. I write about both players and that famous game and then of course about Denise being drafted by the Warriors. It was my editor’s favorite chapter in the book and several reviews have noted it, including the Washington Post’s.
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BG and Glory was, “At least the authorities took it seriously.” ’cause like some readers, I had a flashback to Rosalind Ross.

The ESPNers wrote eloquently about the “other” things that came to mind: An espnW email chain about the Brittney Griner arrest

When news broke on Thursday that Brittney Griner and her fiancée, Glory Johnson, had been arrested for a domestic incident, it sparked the following thoughtful exchange among several espnW writers about the various complicated tentacles to the story.

How do you cover such a complex issue — breaking news about domestic violence between two women who are both active athletes, are stars of their respective teams and are engaged to each other?

The headlines also prompted other folks to speak. From Arizona: Alesha Durfee, Associate Professor and Graduate Director of Women and Gender Studies at ASU’s School of Social Transformation, Talks About Domestic Violence Among Women

In other W news:

Sweet turnout for basketball star Stefanie Dolson’s visit home

“It was over the top to get to meet Stefanie,” said Catie O’Connor, a fourth-grader at Goshen Intermediate School. “She was so nice. It was really special, it was awesome. It means the world to me. I really look up to her. I’m very excited.”

Dolson, a Minisink Valley graduate who won two national championships at the University of Connecticut and now plays for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA, spent more than two hours meeting with fans at Family Farm. At one point, a long line formed outside the building. According to Family Farm co-owner Jean Halahan, about 500 people showed up to meet the personable Dolson.

Post Draft News:
Liberty makes superb additions on WNBA Draft Day

It was supposed to be an unremarkable draft for the New York Liberty, which traded its first-round pick to the Connecticut Sun in last year’s deal for center Tina Charles, but coach Bill Laimbeer had some surprises. The Liberty traded guard-forward Alex Montgomery to the San Antonio Stars for the ninth pick, with which they chose Brittany Boyd, a tenacious point guard from the University of California who modeled her game after Cappie Pondexter.

Boyd, who played in the 2013 Maggie Dixon Classic in Madison Square Garden, said she loved the energy of the arena. If called upon, she’s ready to be the Liberty’s floor general.


Pitt’s Brianna Kiesel ready for her journey in WNBA

Welch Prepares for Transition to WNBA After a stellar career as a team leader for the Gamecocks

Blake Dietrick, Wellesley native, takes shot at WNBA

Butler High grad Cierra Burdick’s WNBA dream comes true

A little podcast: Dishin & Swishin 4/23/15 Podcast: Stephanie White takes the helm in Indiana, previews the season

WATN? Ticha Penicheiro: Former NBA and WNBA greats put on clinic for Cuban basketball players

and WNBA legend Ruth Riley looking to leave positive impact on Filipino kids.

Ruth also had something to say about how “bad” Connecticut is for the game: UConn raises women’s basketball in US, says former WNBA star

For former WNBA star Ruth Riley, the dominance of University of Connecticut in women’s college basketball does not present a problem.

It’s the catalyst that should raise the bar for the sport in the United States.

“You respect your opponent and you respect the fact that you know it’s an incredible program,” Riley, who won Olympic Gold in the Athens Games in 2004, said Thursday afternoon at Marriott Hotel.

Another WATN? Former Tech and WNBA player Alicia Thompson to be named Lubbock High’s girls basketball coach

On the college front, some disconcerting news, but not totally surprising if you’ve read some of the surrounding area’s message boards:

From a mother’s perspective: The WSU women’s basketball allegations

Former Wichita State players and parents are speaking out about the allegations that Coach Jody Adams and her coaching staff have mentally and verbally abused players in the program. The mother of a former player that transferred said these allegations are nothing new.

She also said that what brings it to life now is the fact that there are four transfers and two of them are starters.

“We’ve voiced concerns for a while now. There have been groups of players that have gone in together. I know several parents that have written letters and have had meetings.”


Eric Sexton issues statement on Jody Adams allegations

Former WSU players speak out on abuse allegations

Former players talk about allegations against WSU women’s basketball – KSN-TV

More Chiney! My Message To My Younger Self (UNFILTERED | CHINEY OGWUMIKE #3)

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Aetna And Travelers Go Back In Time To Play Women’s Basketball Game

Travelers had a successful team — the “Tower Five” — first, starting in 1921. The 1921-22 team went 20-2 and outscored its opponents, 469-180. According to Bermel, the people from Travelers encouraged Aetna to start a team in 1923. Adrian Brennan, who worked at Aetna, was the coach.

Over the next decade, the Aetna girls — the “Crimson Tide,” who were also known as the “hotsy-totsy girls from Hartford” in the New York press — won 111 of 133 games. They played in (and won) the first women’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden in 1928. Dr. James Naismith traveled from Springfield to watch them play.

Glad to see this. I uncovered some of the Aetna photos on their website back in the day when I put together the (now out of date) women’s basketball timeline, but they disappeared. Even reached out to Aetna – confusing the heck out of some folks – but to no avail.

In the Bayou, LSU women’s basketball striving to cultivate new leaders

Last year, seniors Jeanne Kenney, Shanece McKinney and Theresa Plaisance led the LSU women’s basketball team on both ends of the floor.

Coming into this season, the Lady Tigers are looking for ways to replace the production of these players by adapting to a style of play that fits the current roster and their leadership.

From the Big 12: 

Each of the last two seasons, Sherri Coale’s challenge was finding enough healthy players to practice. Two years ago, Coale had to borrow two players from the volleyball team.

This season, the Sooners have a full 15-player roster.

“I love the fact that my gym is crowded and I want it to stay crowded,” Coale said Thursday during the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Tour visit. “We have a lot of options. The question is who will be our starting five. I have no idea and that’s a fantastic problem to have.”

Nearby at Oklahoma State

Point Guard University has a new player ready to continue the tradition.

Andrea Riley, who was the Big 12’s career scoring leader before behind dethroned by Brittney Griner, started Oklahoma State’s run of outstanding guards in 2006.

Tiffany Bias then took over and helped the Cowgirls with an all-around game that last season produced 13.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Her career ended with Oklahoma State’s loss to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16.

Next up? Sophomore Roshunda Johnson.

Speaking of the Big 12: Cindy Brunson provides an in-depth 2014-15 preview

Speaking of the other 12, from Sue: Pac-12 preview: Stanford University

The biggest mystery in the Pac-12 going into the season is what Stanford will look like this year. Conference coaches picked the Cardinal to win the conference again, but the fact is that no one will know for sure until they step on to the court.

For starters, Stanford is Ogwumike-less for the first time in six years, with the graduation of Chiney Ogwumike last spring. Not only did the sisters lead the team statistically, but they carried it and kept the Cardinal relevant for the past three seasons.

From Connecticut: UHart women’s basketball adds 6 year old team member

The University of Hartford’s Women’s basketball team has a new team member that will never see a minute of action, but the impact she will make is immeasurable. Six year old Zoe Brown, who suffers from a rare immune system disease Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome, is the newest Hawk, thanks to the program Team Impact that pairs youth with life threatening illnesses with college and pro sports teams.

Well, this is unpleasant: Army used alcohol-fueled party, cheerleaders to woo recruits

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported Saturday that U.S. Military Academy documents show that the Army football program wooed recruits with an alcohol-fueled bus party, small amounts of booster cash, and dates with cheerleaders and female athletes.

Per the Gazette, the academy “acknowledged the misconduct” and admitted 20 cadets had been disciplined with two officers and two Army coaches facing reprimands. The academy also self-reported a recruiting violation to the NCAA.

Speaking of unpleasant. From EDD: No One Should Have to Go Through the Bullying That I Did

No one should ever experience being bullied. It’s a cowardly action that unfortunately occurs all too often in our schools. According to the National Education Association, it is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. I was one of those students being bullied. I would hear constant comments and snickers from students about my height. “Hey, you are taller than my dad and all dads! You are taller than the rest. Why are you so tall? Why aren’t you normal?” Those comments bothered me, made me feel small — made me wonder why I was different than everyone else. Why I was the one being picked on.

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another Write Space and Time:

At the USOTC the air is rare. And it has nothing to do with the altitude. Just walking from the car to the gym every day is sobering because excellence assaults you at every turn. Pictures capture the extraordinary. Boldly printed quotes urge greatness. And each and every facility begs to be the whetstone for the elite athlete’s blade.

I think it’s really hard to settle here. The steady drum of discipline is deafening, making this a place where good enough never is. If you train here, exceptional is expected. Honestly, I half expect Michael Phelps to peek in and glare at us when we don’t get back on defense. The presence of the elite hovers over you as you work, and while that might seem heavy to some, I think the great ones love it. The air here stretches them at every turn.

There is much to be gained from lofty expectations.

From USA Basketball: Coach’s Daughter, Theresa Plaisance’s Newfound Confidence Pays Off

After Theresa Plaisance was informed she’d earned a spot on the 2013 USA Women’s World University Games Team last month, she returned for five weeks to a place that always provides her comfort.

“I got to go home and spend some good quality time with my family,” Plaisance said. “I miss them a lot. I got to go home for Father’s Day and spend time with my grandparents and dad and my whole family. It was really nice.”

From Carl Ademac at SNY: Mosqueda-Lewis at home on Team USA

“We’re not a big team so we have to use our speed and quickness and be a fast-breaking team,” Mosqueda-Lewis said. “But we’re also a versatile team so we’re doing all the things that we need to do to get ready.

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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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I dunno, you tell me: The team she left last year is now 3-22 (2-12 in conference).

The team she joined last year is now 18-9 overall (15-1 in conference).

Bet Debbie wishes she’d been at this game: St. Francis (PA) 100, Fairleigh Dickinson 89. Threeeeeee-alert!

Okay, that was not impressive, St. Francis (NY). You should. not. lose. to. Wagner. (Especially when you’re up 18.) We now expect more from you — get used to it. Oh, and congrats for making the NEC tournament for the first time since 2008.

I’m not sayin’ nothin’ ’cause I don’t wanna jinx ’em, but anyone else noticed that Delaware State has been doing a lot less losing recently? They sure gave Hampton a game.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ those (Quinnipiac) Bobcats keep on rollin’! Quinnipiac’s 25 overall wins and 16 conference wins match the most in program history.

Speakin’ of rollin’: It was sorta close, and then, suddenly, it wasn’t even close: the Baylor Bears win their 25th in a row.

“We tried to stick to our game plan, but Brittney got a couple catches,” Campbell said. “I think that’s the difference. “She caught the ball and shot it. You can’t do much when the ball is in her hands.”

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…we get a women’s basketball double-header on non-cable TV again.

… we get TWO grand games on national TV.

…we get a competitive game between two top-ranked teams.

It was a good day to be a women’s basketball fan (not if you were a UConn fan, though).

The undercard was a fun game between #14 Purdue and #25 Nebraska – two teams that seem to enjoy overtimes.

In the overcard, #5 Notre Dame stormed in to a sold out Gampel and made the #1 Huskies blink. How much, I repeat, how much are we all looking forward to the rematch in South Bend? And how much are we going to miss this NolongerBig East rivalry?

Speaking of the NoLongerBig East, Quigley-less DePaul took it to #11 Louisville and held on for the upset, 86-80.

Speaking of the UsedToBePartOfBig East, West Virginia is not having a great time in the Big 12 — but they did put a scare in to Kansas.

The Hatters moved to 3-0 in the A-Sun.

Presbyterian didn’t let their win over Liberty go to their head —  well, maybe a little bit: They were down 40-19 at the half. But, they move to 4-0 in the Big South with their win over the Fightin’ Camels.

Texas couldn’t take advantage of their rebounding edge, and the Sooners escaped Austin with a win.

Hmmmm… St. Francis (NY) has been epically bad, and yet they defeated perennial NEC favorite Sacred Heart, 56-47.

The other St. Francis (PA) took care of their NEC opener with a win over Bryant, 81-76.

Let’s agree not to discuss the BU/Hartford game, okay?

Dickson went off, as did her fellow Memphis Tigers, and they won 109-68 over Wright State.

Duquesne stumbled at home, as Miami (OH) roared back in the second to take the game. How would you like to be the announcers with these two names: Olowinski (Redhawks) and Agunbiade (Dukes).

The Mocs of Chattanooga are now 3-0 in the Southern.

Coach is leaving you for the WNBA? Makes no nevermind. Seton Hall defeats Pittsburgh, 69-56.

Remember when we used to pay attention to Xavier? Kinda sad.

Remember the Bonnies? It’s been a tough season. They go down to Green Bay, 61-42.

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