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Gold: U.S. Women Defeat Defending Paralympic Gold Medalists Germany, 62-45, For Third Gold Medal in Last Four Paralympics

Indiana Gold: Indiana’s Catchings, White to celebrate at farewell ceremony

Indiana president Kelly Krauskopf initially built the fledgling Fever around home-state star Stephanie White.

Turns out, the hard-working rookie she drafted in 2001, Tamika Catchings, emerged as the face of the franchise.

On Sunday, the two most iconic players in Fever history — one now the coach — will say farewell to the WNBA in their final regular-season home game. Coach White is taking over the Vanderbilt program and Catchings is retiring.

“I think they had an equal impact. What both leave behind and have meant to this franchise …” Krauskopf said, pausing. “Steph was the very first player I went out and got to start this franchise. They were the cornerstones of this franchise.”

.com A Farewell to Tamika

.com Catchings, Paul George Share Unique Bond

.com Tamika: The Final Season – Episode 3

Indy Star: Doyel: Catchings gave us her best; how do we thank her?

San Antonio Silver: WNBA better off because of Dan Hughes’ contributions

“People like Pat Summitt, Kay Yow, Geno Auriemma, Ann Meyers — they made me feel really comfortable,” said Hughes, who is retiring from his Stars coaching job at season’s end. “It opened the door. They accepted me. I really went to work at understanding where the women’s game was then, but also learned how it got there.”

Dan Hughes leaving extensive legacy in San Antonio

Hughes, who transformed the Stars from an afterthought when he arrived in San Antonio in 2005 to a title contender only two years later, will coach his final game when the team plays Phoenix at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the AT&T Center.

“From my experience, what I saw from him was that he generally cared about doing everything that was reasonably within his control and power to try and help his players,” said Rachel Askin, the Stars’ media relations director during the 2010 season who now lives and works in Boston. “He gave people a fair shot.”

Askin’s sentiment on Hughes’s impact is shared by many.

Excelle: Dan Hughes: appreciation for a WNBA survivor as he leaves the Stars

Swish Appeal: A Penny (Taylor) for your thoughts

Hoop: Swin Cash’s Humble Journey Nears Its End

There is an often-repeated expression that notes people may forget what you said, but they’ll always remember how you made them feel. That seems an appropriate thought for an article about Swin Cash’s impending retirement at the conclusion of this WNBA season. She is one of the league’s larger than life personalities—not only on the court, where her accomplishments are historic, but also in the hearts of fans, friends, family and the community.

BTW: Playoff Picture

.com: Inside The W with Michelle Smith

The Los Angeles Sparks haven’t looked nearly like the team that ran out to a 20-1 start as of late. Beginning with a two-game stumble right before the Olympic break, Los Angeles has won just four of 10 games. The Sparks lost their No. 1 seed, meaning they won’t have home-court advantage in a potential WNBA Finals matchup with the Lynx, and a little crisis of confidence conceivably could have been brewing in the City of Angels.

But Tuesday night’s big win over Phoenix might have been exactly what the Sparks needed to right the ship prior to the postseason.

I know… Without Delle Donne, Chicago Sky’s playoff hopes look dim

Really lovely: WNBA star Elena Delle Donne shares spotlight with her disabled sister in new Gatorade digital short

High School:

Doh! Iowa High School Girls Basketball Team Draws Backlash for Super Racially Insensitive Poster

Cool: A school gym in need gets a piece of Lady Vols history

Here it comes! An addition to the library: Dust Bowl Girls: A Team’s Quest for Basketball Glory, by Lydia Reeder. Review:

Dust Bowl Girls, ten years in the making, is bursting at the margins with the intimate details of the Cardinal team members’ lives, providing genuine heart to a narrative only half-recorded in the newspapers of the time. Taking advantage of the scrapbooks and oral stories from the personalities so lovingly portrayed in the text, Lydia Reeder paints the story of a team of hard-on-their-luck teenagers rising up out of the dust of poverty and the Great Depression, bringing hope and honor to their small city of Durant in Oklahoma.

NCAA

Around the Rim: “Swoopes” There It Is: LaChina Robinson welcomes 2016 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee Sheryl Swoopes to the show. Plus, Storm F Breanna Stewart and ESPN’s VP of Women’s Programming Carol Stiff join.

On : The absurdity of invoking Baylor rape victims in response to the NCAA

I, and countless other sexual assault survivors, would implore the North Carolina GOP not to co-opt our movement for victims’ rights in order to deny the rights of transgender citizens, many of whom are victims of violence as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the LGBT community experiences sexual violence at rates higher than heterosexuals. Human Rights Campaign estimates that nearly half of transgender people will experience sexual violence in their lifetime.

In addition to ignoring the plight of sexual assault in the transgender community, the North Carolina GOP’s statement is blatantly disingenuous, given the party’s history of denying legal protections for assault victims.

Need an assist? The Troll Slayer – A Cambridge classicist takes on her sexist detractors.

In February, Mary Beard, a classics professor at the University of Cambridge, gave a lecture at the British Museum titled “Oh Do Shut Up Dear!” With amiable indignation, she explored the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients. Her speech, which was filmed by the BBC, was learned but accessible—a tone that she has regularly displayed on British television, as the host of popular documentaries about Pompeii and Rome. She began her talk with the Odyssey, and what she referred to as the first recorded instance of a man telling a woman that “her voice is not to be heard in public”: Telemachus informing his mother, Penelope, that “speech will be the business of men” and sending her upstairs to her weaving. Beard progressed to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, in which Tereus rapes Philomela and then cuts out her tongue so that she cannot denounce him. Beard alighted on Queen Elizabeth and Sojourner Truth before arriving at Jacqui Oatley, a BBC soccer commentator repeatedly mocked by men who were convinced that a woman couldn’t possibly understand the sport. A columnist for The Spectator, Beard noted, currently runs an annual competition to name the “most stupid woman” to appear on the current-affairs show “Question Time.”

Finally, Beard arrived at the contemporary chorus of Twitter trolls and online commenters. “The more I’ve looked at the details of the threats and the insults that women are on the receiving end of, the more some of them seem to fit into the old patterns of prejudice and assumption that I have been talking about,” she said. “It doesn’t much matter what line of argument you take as a woman. If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it.” Such online interjections—“ ‘Shut up you bitch’ is a fairly common refrain”—often contain threats of violence, a “predictable menu of rape, bombing, murder, and so forth.” She mildly reported one tweet that had been directed at her: “I’m going to cut off your head and rape it.”

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So, THAT’s not how the Sparks and Lynx wanted to get out of the post-Olympics gate….

LA went up to Seattle and got squeezed by the Storm, 79-72. Stewie struggled, but Bird picked up the slack, hitting 5-7 from behind the arc.

“It’s surprising because we didn’t have the best offensive night. It was all about defense for us,” said guard Jewell Loyd, who finished with 15 points, seven assists and five steals with just one turnover.

Nneka continued her hot play, but it wasn’t enough.

“I think we sat around for six weeks and everybody told us how good we were and I think we softened up,” said Sparks Head Coach Brian Agler.

Maybe Excelle should play the lotto (Connecticut Sun: a team on the rise, playoffs in sight) ’cause the Lynx got stymied by the Sun (and Moore’s foul trouble)  in Connecticut, 84-80.

“We have to grind,” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “We don’t out talent anyone. There’s a reason that four of those players (on the Lynx) are on the Olympic team. We aren’t going to out-talent anyone in this league, but we have to out work and out tough.”

No one on the Lynx is pointing to the Olympics as an excuse:

“In the end, it’s probably a wash,” said Reeve, when asked before the Lynx’s 84-80 loss to the Sun if fatigue or lack of sharpness would prevail. “Any advantage they may have from being off, full-rested, maybe honing some skills, the group that was over in Rio is in game shape and has that rhythm of playing a game. That’s something you can’t simulate when you’re off.

In San Antonio, the Liberty kept their focus and dispatched the Stars, 84-77, thanks to the sweetness that is (MIP) Sugar. Hello, playoffs!

Elena Delle Donne brought the 34-point boom to Chicago as the Sky took down Atlanta, 90-82.

“We took care of the basketball, and I think the key was we married that to good offensive execution and attacked and got to the free throw line,” said Sky coach Pokey Chatman. “I think that comfort allowed us to weather the storm when we were down by seven and then up by eight. 

“It was nice to see that, and we’ll need it as we head on to Dallas.”

Speaking of Dallas, the eternal Pierson’s 23 (and 4000th) couldn’t help the Wings against Penny “sore throat” Taylor and the rest of the Merc.

Phoenix Mercury players won a combined four medals at the Rio Olympics, and more importantly, may have found the defense and chemistry that was missing before the Olympic break.

Despite falling behind by 11 early against Dallas on Friday night, the Mercury hammered the Wings 98-72 before 11,396 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Phoenix’s most one-sided win of the season came against a team it went 0-3 against pre-Rio, including a triple overtime loss June 18 after leading 75-59 going into the fourth quarter.

Washington Post: Mystics and WNBA are back from Olympic break, but LaToya Sanders got no rest

Aussie, Aussie, ello! Mystics Sign Leilani Mitchell as Bria Hartley starts planning for a munchkin.

Slam Online: WATCH: WNBA Super20

The historic 20th WNBA season has been one for the record books. The Lynx and Sparks got off to a blazing hot start, the W has faced controversy for trying to police its players and the basketball has never been better.

With all the talent and storylines around the League, the final part of the regular season and the playoffs provide a guaranteed storybook ending.

Get hype for the rest of the 2016 campaign, picking up again tonight, with the video above, featuring highlights from the first part of the summer.

Also: Nike & WNBA Star Elena Delle Donne Donate Sneakers To Delaware Newborns

Meanwhile:

Doug Bruno savors experience with USA women’s basketball team

Baylor women’s basketball coach Kim Mulkey donates to Louisiana hometown in wake of flooding

Vermont women’s basketball cancels game at UNC over transgender bathroom law

“The decision to cancel to our Dec. 28 women’s basketball game at North Carolina was made as a result of concerns over the HB2 law, which prevents transgender people from using government-run bathrooms based on their gender identity,” University of Vermont athletic director Jeff Schulman said Wednesday. “We strive very hard to create an inclusive climate for our students and staff in which they all can feel safe, respected, and valued. It would be hard to fulfill these obligations while competing in a state with this law, which is contrary to our values as an athletic department and university.”

WATN? Rodrigo is new grad assistant for Georgia basketball

WATN? Mo’ne Davis shifts her drive to the basketball court: The Little League World Series pioneer two years later

Davis, 15, is heading into her sophomore year of high school at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. She dreams of a career in the WNBA, and she knows the journey begins with the process of college recruitment. That’s why Davis has made the decision to forgo high school basketball this season – after representing her school as an eighth-grader and a freshman – and exclusively play AAU with the Philly Triple Threat team, where she can go head to head with the best talent in the nation.

“I made the decision because it was time to start getting out there in front of college coaches and showing my improvement over the next two years,” Davis said.

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Screwing with the constant “WEEEEEE’RE DOOOOOOOMED” narrative: WNBA’s 20th season produces strong numbers and ratings

NY Times: Quiet Protest Helped Tina Charles Find the Voice of Her Conscience

“Of course, as an individual, I do have goals to be one of the best players in the W.N.B.A.,” Charles said Thursday. “But when you reach a goal, nothing compares to the person you become along the way.”

Hartford Courant: Breanna Stewart: Transition From UConn Sheds Light On Gender Discrepancies In Athletics

Okay: Harry Potter and the WNBA Power Rankings cast

Aussie! Aussie! Don’t! Go! Phoenix Mercury guard Penny Taylor to retire at season’s end

One part elaborate marketing promotion, one part performance art and all parts exhausting, the season-long athlete retirement tour has seen a rebirth in recent years.

Derek Jeter earned half a year’s worth of #RE2PECT at ballparks across the country. Nike gave Kobe Bryant his own holiday. Forty-year-old David Ortiz is currently making his long trek around league, picking up plenty of interesting parting gifts along the way.

Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings didn’t want anything of the sort. No elaborate branding campaign, no pregame ceremony celebrating her many accomplishments, no odd presents from opposing teams. Instead, Catchings, a league champion, MVP, 10-time All-Star and five-time Defensive Player of the Year who is going for her fourth Olympic gold medal, is flipping the script.

Like Jeter before her, Catchings is doing it her way, and her way means instead of honoring herself, she’s using her 15th and final go-around the league to give back. league’s 12 cities.

The argument for or against professional athletes being role models to the youth of today’s society has many different viewpoints, but when talking about Laney High School alum Tamera Young, she’s been able to utilize her platform as a veteran in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) to make an impact in the two communities she calls home.
The Sparks haven’t wanted for star power since Candace Parker arrived in 2008, but the team has struggled to capitalize on her greatness, topping out in the playoffs with a trio of conference final losses. That could change this year, however, thanks to an out-of-this-world breakout season by 26-year-old forward Nneka Ogwumike. Ogwumike has always been good, but she’s currently putting on one of the greatest single-season performances in WNBA history, and it has the Sparks finally playing like champions.
Yea! (but I would have been campaigning for a visit with Audra McDonald – swoon!) After a long social media campaign, WNBA rookie Imani Boyette finally met 50 Cent

NCAA:

Carp: Tennessee loses Carter, Cooper for upcoming season

Nice: West Virginia’s women’s basketball team exhibition to benefit flood victims

WATN? Former Hawkeye women’s basketball player Sam Logic hosts Camp 22 in Davenport

Did you catch this? Miami Women’s Basketball Coach Blasts Texas A&M

Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier was not happy with the sexist slides from the Texas A&M football women’s clinic, which have gotten the Aggies criticized nationally and led to the suspension of two staff members.

Last night, Meier blasted A&M on Twitter for the slides. She also expressed disapproval for only punishing offensive line coach Jim Turner and special teams coordinator Jeff Banks with two-week suspensions.

Keeping an eye on this: 3 black players file discrimination suit against Cottey College

NCAA & WNBA: Olympics: Double the coaching, double the threat

“Playing for both Coach Auriemma and Coach Reeve has been a blast,” said Moore. “They’re both very competitive, both very detailed oriented, but both enjoy the game, enjoy their teams, so I’m just getting double the coaching trouble here with having them both here.”

Bob Kravitz – WTHR/NBC: Fever’s Tamika Catchings prepares to say farewell to the Olympic world stage

“What are you doing?’’ I asked Tamika Catchings.

She was alone, sitting on the edge of a press-conference room stage, having previously done interviews with Indianapolis-area media members like your humble correspondent.

After a short round of interviews – and Tamika is the only Indy athlete who insists on hugging all members of the local media – she was alone. No national media talking to her. No international media talking to her. In fact, the press-conference room, which was filled for the U.S. men’s basketball team just one day earlier, was maybe one-sixth filled.

“Just hanging,’’ she said. “Waiting to go back (to the boat where the basketball teams are staying).’’

This is nuts. And this is wrong. And this is completely expected. 

USA Today: Serial survivor Seimone Augustus key for US women’s basketball team

Geno Auriemma’s team will be a prohibitive favorite in Brazil, befitting a group that has a 41-game Olympic winning streak and has won the last five gold medals. It is a roster overstuffed with big names and world-class stars, none of whom has a story quite like Seimone Augustus. Her basketball resume includes two national player of the year awards at LSU and a WNBA Finals MVP trophy with the Minnesota Lynx, and her health resume qualifies as a medical horror story.

“With all the stuff she’s been through, she has always stayed the same person,” said longtime teammate Diana Taurasi. “She’s has this even keel about her. That’s impressive. She’s (been) one of the biggest pieces of this team for a long time.”

Also: Seimone Augustus proud of WNBA player activism

USA Today: Elena Delle Donne outgrew gymnastics dream, targets basketball gold

Elena Delle Donne — who at 6-5 is a guard in a pivot player’s body and the pride of Delaware — brings her unique gifts to Rio, a 26-year-old Olympic rookie whose first five-ring dream, alas, never quite materialized. It was hatched in Atlanta 20 years ago, when young Elena watched from home in Wilmington as 4-foot-8 Kerri Strug stuck a vault with an injured ankle to help the U.S. women’s gymnastics team win gold.

“I wanted to be a gymnast,” Delle Donne told USA TODAY Sports with a laugh. “It was all about (Strug.) I should’ve known there was no chance.”

Yakima Herald: Bird, Stewart bring exuberance to US women’s Olympic basketball team

Breanna Stewart can tell you where she was, what she did, and how she felt when she got the call notifying her she made the 2016 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team.

“You’re supposed to keep it under wraps, but the first thing I did was call my parents,” said the first-time Olympian of sharing the news while standing in the lobby of her Seattle apartment building. “My dad started crying on the phone.”

The Summer Olympics begin this week, and tales of poop-filled water, human body remains on the shore, petty crime, serious crime, terrorism with a topping of the Zika virus have beset the Rio Games.

Sign me up.

Star-Telegram staffer Charean Williams will be covering this event, Erin Phillips of the WNBA’s Dallas Wings will be playing for her Team Australia … and I am green with envy.

EVEN as Marianna Tolo fell to the floor in agony last August her mind started the mental mathematics.

She had just torn her ACL in her first season of WNBA basketball and yet the only thing that really mattered was the 2016 Rio Olympics.

One of the last two players cut from the London 2012 squad, Tolo has made a remarkable recovery to get back to the court in the nick of time.

“My first Olympics, we had players like Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes,” Bird said. “They showed us what it meant to be a part of USA basketball. How to carry yourself. How to play. How to play within the team. How to put the gold medal before anything else.

“… When you get older, you want to pass that on to the new crop coming in. Not only are you honored to be a part of the tradition, you want to make sure you’re keeping it up.”

Forty years ago this summer, a team of 12 women laid the foundation for the future of women’s basketball in the United States, competing as part of Team USA in the first-ever Olympic women’s basketball tournament at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.

There was no WNBA at the time, nor any professional women’s league in the U.S. at all. But for most of the group, this wasn’t their first high-stakes basketball tournament, as nine of the 12 women on the team had also played for Team USA at the Pan American Games the year before. Given the strength of the international competition, however, Team USA wasn’t expected to even qualify for the 1976 Olympics, let alone win a medal. But, led by coach Billie Jean Moore and co-captains Juliene Simpson and Pat Summitt (then known as Pat Head), they ended up going very far, eventually taking home the silver medal. 

For an inside look at the 1976 team’s historic run, The Huffington Post spoke with head coach Billie Jean Moore, players Nancy Lieberman, Ann Meyers and Juliene Simpson, who all played for the 1975 team, too, and Gail Marquis and Trish Roberts, who were newcomers in 1976. 

Along with athletes getting to know their counterparts from other nations, CISM also provides opportunities for officials to engage at the highest levels, Dinote said. “These can lead to training engagements down the road,” he added.

This week’s championship is the culmination of a “long process of trying to get women’s basketball on the map,” said Dinote, who also serves as secretariat of U.S. Armed Forces Sports.

Phelps was diagnosed with ALS in April 2015. Within six months he lost his ability to speak. In January, he was forced to eat and drink using a feeding tube.

But he continued officiating games around the state, using an orange hand-held whistle and LCD board to convey his thoughts if needed at the scorer’s table.

Players even took notice.

“It was a blast tonight, but being able to see Carl was even more amazing,” said Cache star Jamie Bonnarens, who delivered a personal letter to Phelps between games. “I got emotional before my game.”

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Thank goodness.

An ugly, cranky start by the Merc gave Maya Moore the Lynx a nice lead. And then then Penny Taylor in the fourth quarter happened. And then… Bonner missed a FT, Maya didn’t, Diana missed a three and Big Syl grabbed the rebound. Lynx go to 4-0, Mercury fall to 0-4.

From Richard at WNBAlien: WNBA and the Pick+Roll, and introducing the W Dozen

Eleven days into the WNBA season, it’s a little early to be drawing any real conclusions (although the ‘Minnesota good’, ‘San Antonio bad’, and ‘What the hell is going on in Phoenix?’ hot-takes are already emerging). So we’re going to take a look at one of the key building-blocks of virtually every modern offense in professional basketball. The pick-and-roll – or even just the pick – is an incredibly simple concept. You put a teammate in the way of your defender, and then force the defense to deal with the problems that creates.

From Excelle: How New York Liberty are remaking their small forward position

The New York Liberty play a throwback style of basketball. Defense and rebounding are priorities 1A and 1B. While other teams move towards smaller fours that can spread the floor, head coach Bill Laimbeer’s squad often plays two traditional bigs together. The Lib will bog teams down to a crawl and punish them in the low post. It’s been a fun and successful brand of ball, and it hasn’t taken away from the more modern aspects of New York’s game. 

This season, the Liberty have scoffed at playing traditional small forwards, opting instead for smaller players who perform despite not fitting the mold.

Connecticut: Slow Start, Too Many Fouls, Mar Beginning Of Miller’s First Season With Sun

Because of the monthlong Olympic break in August, the WNBA season lasts into September so a few missteps in May aren’t going to make a team panic.

Still, the start of season is a critical time for the Connecticut Sun. New coach Curt Miller is trying to install his system and bring a new culture to the franchise. It would be better for all concerned if some positive reinforcement was available early to help the process.

SlamOnline.com: Q+A: Nneka Ogwumike – The fifth-year Sparks forward dishes on L.A.’s hot start.

From Paul Doyle at the Hartford Courant: Dolson Spreads Word On Her Identity, And WNBA’s

About 90 minutes before the Connecticut Sun‘s home opener, Morgan Tuck walked past a cluster of reporters surrounding Washington Mystics center Stefanie Dolson.

“Oh my God, Stefanie Dolson!” Tuck yelled.

Without missing a beat, Dolson replied.

“Oh my God, Morgan Tuck!” she said.

Then it was back answering questions, seamlessly and smiling. Dolson, who left UConn for the WNBA two years ago, is still the same quick-witted, breezy personality who became a fan favorite during her time in Storrs.

From Cosmopolitan: How WNBA Player Imani Boyette Beat the Odds — and Her Depression

From the Fever: Wheelin’ Around: Erica Wheeler’s Journey to the WNBA

NCAA

From the Tennessean’s: Joe Rexrode: Vanderbilt’s Stephanie White — worth the wait

White is the head coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever and will remain so through a season that could realistically end in the Finals in mid-October (she led the Fever to the Finals a year ago as a rookie head coach). She might take full command of her first Vandy team less than a month before it starts the 2016-17 season.

That’s not ideal. But if White is what Vanderbilt thinks she is, what her resume and command of a room suggest she is, it’s meaningless. It’s the delayed flight to start a vacation that you’re already laughing about at the end of the vacation.

More on White from the AP’s Teresa Walker: Stephanie White ready to speed up Vanderbilt as new coach

And more on the ‘Around the Rim’ podcast: Meeting expectations

On the latest edition of “Around The Rim,” 2005 WNBA champion Ticha Penicheiro joins women’s basketball analyst LaChina Robinson as special guest host.

The two discuss the Sparks’ dominant win over the Sky, why the Mercury continue to struggle, whether or not teams are exceeding or falling below expectations and which players that usually fly under the radar are playing surprisingly well.

Plus, Hall of Fame coach Lin Dunn stops in to discuss Stephanie White’s end-of-the-season departure to coach at Vanderbilt, her decision to exit retirement and return to coaching at Kentucky and much more.

Speaking of Dunn: Kentucky’s new assistant coaches have strong bonds, common goal

It’s a word rolled out with regularity by head coaches to describe their team and coaching staff: family.

The three new assistant coaches hired by embattled Kentucky women’s basketball coach Matthew Mitchell certainly gave off that familial vibe when they met with the media for the first time Wednesday.

The newest hire, Hall of Famer Lin Dunn, said she thinks of her new boss “almost like a son” before giving a sideways glance and a smirk.

“Not a grandson, but a son,” quipped the 69-year-old, who has won more than 500 games at the college, professional and international levels.

International

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Dishin’ and Swishin’ podcast: ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel shares early WNBA thoughts

Doug Robinson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Dream’s two vets not giving up on title

Breanna Stewart’s Debut Ranks Among Best in WNBA History

Rookie Report: First WNBA Memories and As Former UConn Teammates Become Opponents, Friendship Remains Strong

Aussies in WNBA: Phillips and Taylor find form

Ah, the life of a rookie post: Imani Boyette

D-N-P. Three letters no baller can ever ignore. Ever.

For those of you who don’t know what DNP means. It’s “did not play”. Now, for the record, “did not play” is different from INJ, which would mean I was injured. No shame in not playing because you’re injured.

But I’M HEALTHY, PEOPLE!

Phoenix Mercury kicks off 20th season, works to draw young fans

If you need an “assist” keeping the kids busy this summer, the Phoenix Mercury is ready to help.

The WNBA team’s lineup, with a home opener on Friday, May 20, will include lots of things for the youngest fans to do both on and off the court.

Vince Kozar, the team’s vice president of business operations, says a Mercury game makes for a great family outing. “I think a two-hour basketball game with entertainment during time-outs, music all the time and other options is ideal,” he says.

Percy Allen at the Seattle Times: Jenny Boucek says Storm’s identity ‘still unfolding’

“It wouldn’t necessarily surprise me to hear some differing opinions about our identity, because we haven’t talked a lot about that,” second-year coach Jenny Boucek said. “I don’t want to determine their identity. They have to grow up into it. I’m not trying to change people or this team. It’s still unfolding before us.

“It’s like a baby. You don’t know how exactly they’re going to look like, how tall they’re going to be and what their exact gifts are going to be. You start to get a sense when they’re young, but it’s still part of the growth process.”

WNBA now has the best Wings in Dallas

Games:

It was in their grasp, then Jewell Loyd’s Game Winner, Career-High 30 Points Lifted Storm Over Mercury. Also, Breanna Stewart earns first WNBA win with double double in Phoenix

Mystics are a mess and got mauled by Toliver and the Sparks.

It’s tough to find things to praise after a game like this, but guard Bria Hartley deserves some. Starting in place of Natasha Cloud (illness), Hartley put together one of her better performances as a facilitator, dishing seven assists to just one turnover in 25 minutes of play. Historically more of a scoring combo guard, Mystics fans should be excited to see Hartley’s development as a playmaker for others.

Indiana ignored the excitement around Stephanie maybe going to Vanderbilt, came out focused and topped the Dream.

NCAA

Ron Higgins, Nola.com: Sagging LSU women’s basketball program gets a positive injection hiring assistant Mickie DeMoss

Well, hello! Abi Olajuwon named EMU women’s basketball assistant coach

And welcome: Cheryl Miller to coach women’s basketball at Cal State LA

The handover: Buscaglias become synonymous with Robert Morris women’s basketball program

Susie Gardner looks ahead to key summer for Mercer women’s basketball

WATN? Former WNBA first round pick Ta’Shia Phillips added to Indianapolis women’s basketball staff

You say Hello, we say goodbye? Stephanie White Over the Years

High School

DOH! Lakewood Ranch cited for rules violations by girls basketball coach Tina Hadley

Lakewood Ranch High School has been cited for conducting illegal practices with its highly successful girls basketball program, putting the school on probation for a year. It also could be fined more than $30,000.

International:

Optimism Abound as Canada Preps for Training Camp and Thornhill resident plays key supporting role in Canadian women’s basketball success

USA Basketball:

The game times for the Olympic basketball competition were released today. The entire schedule can be found via this link. The USA women’s team game schedule is as follows (note the times below are listed EDT/local). All the games will be televised and/or streamed live on one of the NBC platforms. Specific network information will come at a later date.

Sunday, Aug. 7 

11 am/12 pm vs. Senegal

 

Monday, Aug. 8 

11 am/12 pm vs. Olympic Qualifying Tournament 4th-ranked team

 

Wednesday, Aug. 10 

2:30 pm/3:30 pm vs. Serbia

 

Friday, Aug. 12 

2:30 pm/3:30 pm vs. Canada

 

Sunday. Aug. 14 

11:15 am/12:15 pm vs. Olympic Qualifying Tournament 2nd-ranked team

 

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Score! Scoring 60 points still seems surreal to Gophers guard Rachel Banham (Speaking of surreal: Kobe Bryant congratulates UMN’s Rachel Banham for her 60-point game). Yah, it took double OT, but wowza. The Star Tribune says: Appreciate the Gophers’ Rachel Banham while you still can

Said Stollings:

“I think one of the big things is we only have three home games left, and we have one of the most special players to ever wear a Minnesota uniform in Rachel Banham. I think people shouldn’t miss an opportunity to see her in one of these final three home games. She’s a rarity. Players like her don’t come around that often.”

Yes, I mentioned Charlotte Smith’s Elon, and they won, so that means they escaped the WHB jinx…. but what’s with 66 total points in a double-OT game? Oh. I see – a Top 10 on Sports Center

A strong final quarter helped Notre Dame escape Louisville, 66-61.

Three freshmen and a pair of sophomores had the floor Sunday when, near the end of the first half, 13,847 at the KFC Yum! Center rose to their collective feet.

Louisville’s women’s basketball team upped its lead to nine points on No. 3 Notre Dame, the surest sign yet during a lengthy winning streak the Cardinals are a budding national power.

Talented yet inexperienced, however, youth showed itself down the stretch of a 66-61 Irish win.

Well, the MVC is going to be tight. Drake knocks off Missouri State to squeak into the top spot. Don’t look now, but Loyola (CHI) is still a contender.

A feeble final quarter doomed Tennessee against TAMU. It allowed the Aggies to get to overtime and grab a win, 76-71. More importantly: Jordan Jones released from hospital, X-Rays and CT scan results normal

The Crimson tied it up against the Tigers and sent their game to OT… but couldn’t topple Princeton, 92-83.

DUCK(s) upset the Huskies courtesy of a 35-point fourth quarter (seems to be going around).

Ouch (if you’re USC): A three-point play with 1.9 seconds left gave #8 Arizona State a win over USC, 69-68.

St. John’s won the Tri-State Battle over Seton Hall, 72-64.

George Washington is still missing Jonquel Jones (5th game)… but they’re back to their winning ways.

Defense was optional in the Maryland v. Ohio State, which made it wicked fun. The Buckeyes scored more, so they’re now atop the Big Ten.

Ohio State fans looking for March basketball, you have a team.

It’s a confident, up-tempo team on the attack with a dynamic one-two scoring punch and multiple options on the inside and perimeter who can score when defenses focus on stars Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston. 

It’s a swarming defensive pressure team that can slap on a press and maintain it, forcing opponents to play their game at their speed (smaller and faster) even when that opponent is a top-10 mainstay and one of the best rebounding teams in the country.

It’s the best team in the Big Ten, no doubt.

Double boink: St. Francis (PA) makes sure Bryant loses two in a row, 85-72.

Make that TWO IN A ROW: Norfolk State over Maryland Eastern Shore, 74-63.

Wow: Howard (4-18, 2-7) stuns MEAC leading Hampton in OT, 83-77.

Interesting: Manhattan beat Marist (who was missing sixth-year senior Tori Jarosz), 64-59.

Surprise! 

Bobbie Kelsey created something of an Internet firestorm a couple weeks ago when she went on a little rant about her University of Wisconsin women’s basketball team’s need to get its collective butts in the gym to work on its shooting.

While that postgame monologue after a loss at Nebraska attracted widespread attention, it was a variation on a theme that has been consistent throughout Kelsey’s five years at UW.

And Monday night, it appeared to finally pay some dividends as the Badgers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 64-57 Big Ten Conference victory over Purdue before a crowd of 3,149 at the Kohl Center.

So, yeah, there was this game in Columbia….

UConn coach Gene [Hello, autocorrect?] Auriemma smiled at his three senior starters, savoring the latest virtuoso performance on the big stage by Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson — and fretting about their departure next season.

“I carry five cellphones now with all the coaches who want to schedule us next year when these guys leave,” Auriemma said Monday night.

Count South Carolina coach Dawn Staley among them after Stewart, Tuck and Jefferson combined for 53 points in No. 1 UConn’s 66-54 blowout of the second-ranked Gamecocks.
Garnet and Black Attack: Gamecocks fall 66-54
Hartford Courant: UConn Women 66, South Carolina 54: Happy Geno Means Happy Huskies; Other Things Learned
New Haven Regiser: Big 3 lead No. 1 UConn past No. 2 South Carolina
New Britain Herald: UConn women’s basketball quiets South Carolina for easy win
Hartford Courant: Jeff Jacobs: Huskies’ Road Show Is A Beauty To Behold
Hartford Courant: UConn Women’s Notebook: Geno Has Great Admiration For Dawn Staley
UConn Daily Campus: Women’s Basketball: Huskies shine under bright South Carolina lights

Those who call it “boring” get schooled: Breanna Stewart’s shot at history

Yea! IU GLBT Alumni Association to host annual Pride Day in support of IU women’s basketball

Congrats! Hope women’s basketball gives coach Brian Morehouse 500th career win

Congrats! Tom Shirley wins 700th career game as women’s basketball defeats Dominican (N.Y.) 59-54

In W news:

Keep up with who’s going where and when…you can count down the W draft or get update on free agency at Today’s Fastbreak.

Congrats! Former Lee’s Summit star Danielle Adams chosen to NJCAA women’s basketball hall of fame

Say it ain’t so! Aussie star Taylor set for WNBA swansong

WATN? Simone Edwards: Simone4children Foundation Needs Base

“In Hermitage, I got a building put up there for the homework programme. It was running and everyone was working. It’s a place where we had our homework programme, fed families, gave back-to-school supplies, tried to create scholarships and focused on self-esteem building. But what we do is mostly focus on education, but now it (building) is damaged,” said Edwards.

“Last year, I went down there, and some of the bad men broke the lock off the door, stole furniture, the stove and damaged the windows. The homework programme is continuing in the church, but the last I heard is that the new pastor wanted it off the property,” she told The Gleaner.

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So, the board is discussing whether having a sexual harasser as an owner is a good thing, and Lin Dunn steps to the plate: 

“I’m waiting for Laurel Richie to take a leadership role in this,” Dunn said. “I’m concerned that anyone who had been found guilty of sexual harassment would be back in a position working with women. I’m counting on Richie to do her due diligence and get the Board of Governors to make a decision that continues to show that the WNBA empowers girls and women and will be a role model when it comes to that.”

Honestly, I don’t envy Richie and the BoG. The stakes are pretty high, whichever way they vote.

Meanwhile, from Mel’s blog: Rob Knox’s WNBA Notebook: Liberty Focusing on Basketball Unhampered by the Thomas Hiring

But back in Newark at the preseason game on May 22, while the swirl of media attention was tough, it ultimately could be a positive for the Liberty and the WNBA.

That’s why Laimbeer appeared at ease as he sat on the bench laughing while members of the Liberty participated in pregame drills.

“Everybody knows who the Liberty are now,” Laimbeer said. “During media day, we told them very clearly to write whatever stories they’re going to write.

“However, we also told them, don’t go away. Come back in five weeks, look at the product, write about how we play and how the ladies are.”

From Mechelle: What everyone will be talking about when the WNBA’s 19th season begins

After an offseason of mostly negative WNBA news, thank goodness the league’s 19th season is beginning soon. It’s time to play ball again.

The WNBA starts with five games Friday, including last year’s champion, Phoenix, at home against San Antonio. Can the Mercury become the first team to repeat as champions since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002? That will be a challenge.

Contenders for the crown
Phoenix will be without Diana Taurasi all season, and it appears Penny Taylor also is not going to play in the WNBA in 2015. Brittney Griner will be on the sideline most of June as she serves a seven-game, league-mandated suspension for her April arrest after a fight with her then-fiance, Glory Johnson of Tulsa. Griner and Johnson were married in May.

From the other Michelle: New-look Mercury gunning for repeat

It became apparent a few weeks ago that the phrase “It is what it is” was going to be a mantra around the Phoenix Mercury’s camp.

The phrase is less about resignation than an acknowledgement of reality for the defending WNBA champions, who will begin the 2015 season not at all resembling the players who finished a remarkable run with confetti raining down on their heads.

No Diana Taurasi … no Penny Taylor … no Brittney Griner for the first seven games of the season … breathe and reboot ahead of Friday’s season opener at home against San Antonio. “At this point, I think that more than defending a championship, it’s just about trying to win a championship,” said veteran guard DeWanna Bonner. “We just want to get to the point where we can win another title. Really, we have so many different faces, this team hasn’t won a title.”

Speaking of which, now that I think about it…Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner having second thoughts, may appeal suspension

Surprisingly, a number of the comments in reaction to this totally wrong-headed opinion piece are thoughtful and nuanced: The W.N.B.A. Should Bring the Basket Down, and Fandom Up

Longtime readers of this blog know I disagree with this premise… for so many reasons. And it’s not because I’m against dunking. It’s just that, when you do the math, you realize that dunking is about 50 seconds total of the men’s game. If that’s why you watch the NBA, why not save yourself the 47 minutes and watch SportsCenter?

From Swish Appeal: 5 Players Due for Breakout Seasons in 2015

In college news:

CU women’s basketball: New-look Buffs get to work

Every year, college coaches deal with a certain level of roster turnover.

This summer, Colorado women’s basketball coach Linda Lappe is dealing with more turnover than ever before.

Heading into her sixth season as CU’s head coach, Lappe’s roster will look much different in the 2015-16 season.

“I think it makes it really fun and exciting,” she said.

Allison Guth excited to return to Yale as women’s basketball coach

Happiness is being an Ohio fan:

The women’s basketball program will be back in the NCAA Tournament … soon
Bob Boldon talks upcoming season of women’s basketball
Sports Column: There’s never been a better time to be a new Bobcat fan

Hmmmm…UMD coach resigns, cites unhealthy work environment

Minnesota Duluth women’s basketball coach Annette Wiles resigned Monday morning after seven seasons with the Bulldogs, citing an unhealthy work environment at the university.

She is the third female head coach to leave the UMD athletic department this year, following Shannon Miller, the former women’s hockey coach, and Jen Banford, who served as women’s hockey director of operations and head softball coach.

As did Miller and Banford, Wiles is expected to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The United States Department of Justice is investigating those earlier complaints.

The Indy Star’s offers up a little history: Ann Meyers took her best shot at making the Pacers

“Annie was one of the best basketball players ever. I didn’t say male or female. I said ever.” – Bill Russell, Boston Celtics legend

So here she was. One of the best players ever. No matter that she was a woman. Gender was just that, an easy label the sports world clung to that meant nothing to her.

Here she was, Ann Meyers, one of the best basketball players ever and she was about to prove it.

Inside Hinkle Fieldhouse in September of 1979, with Indiana Pacers coach Slick Leonard watching. With so many news cameras pointed her way, clicking nonstop, that she started feeling “uncomfortable.”

A bit of parallel history: UNC’s Beth Miller was there when women’s sports was a struggle

The arrangement eloquently illustrated the state of women’s college athletics. When the University of North Carolina volleyball season ended in the fall, player uniforms were not placed in storage. Instead they were passed along with travel bags and warm-ups for immediate use by members of the Tar Heel women’s basketball squad.

In today’s world of multimillion dollar contracts between apparel companies and major-college athletic departments, with uniforms carefully tailored to suit the needs and marketing imperatives of each sport, such a cozy cycle of reuse is difficult to imagine. “At that time, I don’t think the kids paid any attention,” Beth Miller, then UNC’s volleyball coach, recalls of the shared clothing in the latter 1970s. “They were just glad to have anything.”

The support at Chapel Hill was actually a marked improvement from conditions at Appalachian State and other major colleges at the dawn of the same decade, when women were limited to participation on the equivalent of glorified club teams. Miller’s highest annual budget as ASU volleyball coach between 1969 and 1972 was $1,500. In contrast, UNC’s current volleyball operating budget is $200,000, not counting scholarships and salaries.

Finally: We’re in the home stretch! Have you supported women’s basketball history yet? 

Now that the goal has been reached, I have decided that I should — and can afford to — publish 1,000 copies of my book. I have narrowed my search down to two local printers. One can print 1,000 copies for about $4,400 (or so). The other one would charge $7,500. The second printer also offers a number of other services, such as providing the ISBN, getting the book up on Amazon, storing up to 100 copies in their warehouse, and placing the book in their twice-yearly catalog distributed to a number of bookstores. The ISBN is worth $150. Their Amazon link means I would get a 60-40 split on sales, as opposed to 45-55 if I signed up with Amazon myself. The warehouse feature means that bookstores will be more likely to stock it. The catalog will help me market to libraries and schools.As you can see, my Kickstarter campaign has made it possible for me to consider the second option. So, once again, I am grateful for everyone who contributed. Please continued to spread the word. I will be taking donations until the Kickstarter ends later today.
Skip that latte for three days and you get an autographed copy of “Finding a Way to Play!” What a bargain!

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especially:

#10 Kentucky at #1 South Carolina – though having Goss on the court would be more fun)

Virginia at #21 Syracuse – a chance for the Orange to get their first ACC win or the Cavaliers to prove that this season means they’re on the road up. BTW, this stinks: Syracuse women’s basketball player Brittney Sykes out for season with ACL injury

#13 Duke at Florida State – could be a statement game for the Seminoles against a shaky Blue Devil team.

#12 Maryland at #23 Minnesota – so, who exactly IS this Gopher team?

#19 Nebraska at Illinois – careful, careful, careful, Big Red…

Georgia Tech at #8 North Carolina – can the Tar Heels regroup or does the Ramblin’ Wreck take advantage?

#15 Stanford at Washington State – yes, the Cougars aren’t quite the threat the Huskies were, but the Cardinal can’t take anything for granted this season.

Today’s games I’m keeping an eye on:

Phoenix v. Penguins.

Tigers v. Quakers.

Hatters v. Eagles.

West Coast Tigers v. Gaels.

A little West Coast news: Fresno State women’s basketball quite all right under new coach Jaime White

During her four years on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, Alex Sheedy has played for three different coaches.

Without any prompting, the senior forward majoring in mass communication and journalism will tell you which ranks atop her list.

It’s the one who has the current Bulldogs off to an 11-3 start and 3-0 in the Mountain West Conference: first-year coach Jaime White.

Oregon State Beavers women’s basketball notes and nuggets: Home sweet home — finally

Friday’s Civil War matchup will be Oregon State’s first appearance inside Gill Coliseum since Dec. 6.

For some perspective, that’s the same week former football coach Mike Riley left for Nebraska. 

Mid-west(ish): CU women’s basketball: Jamee Swan reaching potential in new role

Jamee Swan is able to laugh about the emotional swings of Jamee Swan now because she seems to be getting them under control and it’s showing up in the box score for the Colorado women’s basketball team. 

It hasn’t quite translated to Swan leading her team to more victories in the Pac-12 Conference, but she’s evolving for sure midway through her junior season. Swan has led the Buffs in scoring in four straight games, despite recently going from starter to the first player coach Linda Lappe brings off the bench.

Gophers women’s basketball: Unbeaten in Rachel Banham’s absence

A prominent objective for the Gophers women’s basketball team heading into this season was to crack the Associated Press top 25 for the first time since 2006. It seemed like an attainable goal, even though Minnesota hadn’t been nationally ranked in nearly 10 years. 

Then Rachel Banham tore her ACL, and it appeared, at least briefly, that all hope was lost. Banham was the preseason Big Ten Conference player of the year and all-important to the Gophers.

New Mexico: Team leader Chirrisse Bryce Owens has her own pace on, off court

Head coach Yvonne Sanchez said Owens has shown tremendous growth in each of her the three years in the program.

“She used to be so serious when she first got here,” Sanchez said. “She can be really light-hearted but can also be intense.”

Sanchez said Owens has outgrown the constant role of being a stickler and has blossomed into the easygoing leader the team needs.

From Jeff Metcalfe: Elisha Davis emerges as floor leader for No. 18 ASU women

“Lili can be misunderstood if you don’t really know her,” Turner Thorne said. “She wants to do her best and do things right every time and her biggest weakness is when she doesn’t, she gets frustrated with herself. I think in the back of her mind she wondered, do I belong here? Can I really play at Arizona State? Am I good enough?”

The answers we now know to those questions are yes, yes and yes.

Ouch! Broken-teeth incident lands Tulsa’s Ashley Hughes label of ‘toughest player in women’s basketball’

From the East Coast: While the Governor goes off to cheer for the Cowboys, New Jersey’s Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham’s women’s basketball team is on a 45-game roll

When it comes to winning streaks, the longer they go on, the harder they are to keep up. You get a target on your back the better you are, and when you dominate the competition, everybody wants to be the David to you Goliath.

If that’s truly the case, then when it comes to the Fairleigh Dickinson-Florham Devils, that target might be seen from space. The Devils are definitely a super-sized Goliath, having won 45 games in a row, including the 2014 DIV III Women’s Basketball Championship which capped off a 33-0 season.

Not sure what’s gotten into the NY Times, but they’re still noticing women’s basketball. This time it’s a familiar name in DII basketball: They Don’t Rebuild. They Replace. Emporia State Lady Hornets Keep Winning Despite Turnover

The Lady Hornets of Emporia State, 130 miles from home, had gone scoreless in their first two possessions against Missouri Western on Thursday night when the freshman point guard Addie Lackey cradled the basketball near midcourt and turned to her coach, Jory Collins, for instruction.

“Motion!” Collins yelled. “Let’s go!”

Three words were all it took for Lackey to ignite the offense, sending the ball from one pair of hands to the next until Merissa Quick made a short jumper. It was the type of precise possession that has become brutally familiar to opponents not only this season, but also for much of the past two decades.

At Princeton, a Student of Sports Leadership Successfully Applies Her Research: Courtney Banghart Has Led Tigers to 16-0 Record

As a women’s basketball assistant at Dartmouth in 2007, Courtney Banghart juggled her coaching duties with requirements for a master’s degree in writing and leadership development. For her final project, she conducted in-person interviews with accomplished coaches, including the North Carolina women’s soccer coach, Anson Dorrance, and the Connecticut women’s basketball coach, Geno Auriemma.

That May, days after completing and defending her 100-page oral history on sports leadership, Banghart, then 29, was hired as Princeton’s coach. She is now a rising star in a profession she never thought she would pursue when she was a neuroscience major and two-time first-team all-Ivy League guard as an undergraduate at Dartmouth.

Some Maggie Dixon follow up by Ray at Swish Appeal: Gail Marquis reflects on first women’s game at MSG and A historic classic at the Maggie Dixon Classic

Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Battling through Adversity as ACC Play Begins

One game from an extended holiday break, things were running smoothly for second year head coach Wes Moore and his NC State women’s basketball program. Despite losing 50.4 combined points per game (67.1 percent of the total offense) due to the graduation of its most recent senior class, which included WNBA Draft picks Markeisha Gatling and Kody Burke, the team was 8-3, in the midst of a three-game winning streak, and had only suffered losses to teams inside the top 49 of the RPI. 

One fast break changed a lot on December 19 against Davidson. While driving up the court, senior captain and guard Krystal “KB” Barrett stopped short to pump fake a trailing defender, suffering a non-contact injury to her right knee in the process.

Congrats! LSU’s Temeka Johnson announced as SEC Legend

 Schaefer has Miss. State on the rise

This was Vic Schaefer, coach of the Mississippi State women’s basketball team, talking late Sunday afternoon:

“We set offensive basketball back at least 20 years today.”

“We’re just not very good on the offensive end of the floor. We are not executing. We keep turning the ball over. Offensively, we are awful.”

“It’s my job to fix it and I’m not doing a very good job right now.”

Enough. Now then, you should know Schaefer’s Bulldogs, ranked No. 17 at the time, had just defeated Missouri 53-47, on the road, erasing a nine-point second-half deficit, to go to 17-0 on the season. That continued the best start and longest winning streak in school history.

From Swish Appeal, some WNBA news: Three questions on how Brian Agler will make his impact on the Los Angeles Sparks and The New York Liberty’s rehiring of Bill Laimbeer is questionable at best

Speaking of the Liberty: Cappie Pondexter Joins Athlete Ally

Q: You attended the Athlete Ally Action Awards in New York City and accepted the award given to the WNBA, which was honored for its LGBT Pride initiative. What was your takeaway from that night, meeting so many athletes and fans–both LGBT and straight–who all have such a commitment to making sports a welcoming place?

A: That night gave me a sense of peace knowing that Athlete Ally’s commitment to bridging the gap of equality in sports has grown tremendously. It is empowering to see the organization’s continued support for the LGBT community.

Congrats! Moore Honored As 2014 USA Basketball Female Athlete Of The Year

Penny Taylor urges Canberra Capital Stephanie Talbot to take WNBA plunge

Talbot is averaging 13.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game in her first season with the Capitals. 

She was taken at pick 33 by the Mercury in last year’s WNBA draft, but is yet to decide whether to head to the US when the next season begins in June. 

The 20-year-old’s high basketball IQ, speed, athletic frame and passing ability have impressed many astute judges, including Taylor. 

Please: Kim Perott Basketball Court proposal presented to LCG Council

The Martin Luther King Center on Cora Street in Lafayette would be considered by many an ideal place to remember Kim Perrot.  This basketball court is where Perrot’s dreams played out. Loretta Perrot is Kim’s big sister.  “I believe in my she had a mission from God.  He allowed her to be without any pain and suffering.  When the cancer overcame her she just went through it. She was a true soldier.”

From West Virginia: Flying Eagles introducing girls basketball hall of fame

Staples and Brown, the inside and outside threats from several top Woodrow teams in the mid-1980s, will be inducted into the hall. They’ll each receive a plaque, and their jerseys will be hung from the ceiling at the Woodrow gym. A special hall of fame banner will also be showcased.

Chick-fil-A at the Beckley Galleria will sponsor the girls hall. Owner Richard Jarrell has been a key booster of the team since he returned to Beckley several years ago. He’s helped get it scoreboards and better facilities, and he’s glad to be part of the new hall.

“I started going to the girls games because I was friends with (former coach) Bernie Bostick, and I loved watching the girls play,” he said. “This is past due. When they said they would do a hall of fame and were looking for a sponsor, I said, ‘I’m in!’”

Food for thought from Leland Gordon: Coaches share thoughts on 161-2 high school girls basketball game

Of all the blowouts we’ve seen here at MaxPreps, we don’t think we’ve seen one as big as 161-2.

That was the final score Monday between the girls basketball teams from Arroyo Valley (San Bernardino, Calif.) and Bloomington (Calif.), and as expected, it elicited conversation about how winning coaches are supposed to handle games where things are possibly getting out of hand.

Check out A High School Girls’ Basketball Miracle in Minnesota

We know Long Beach (college) is having a great year, but the high school entered 2015 on a sour note. Luckily,  the community came together to help:

After Christmas, the Poly girls went to Florida for a tournament. After landing in South Florida, they stopped to grab a bite to eat before making the estimated 90-minute drive to Naples. 

While they were inside the restaurant one of the team’s rental vans was broken into. Equipment and personal items were stolen. 
A Poly parent, who was making the trip a day later, was able to bring some extra uniforms so that the players who had theirs stolen would be able to play in the tournament. 

Then, enter Long Beach. 

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a litte US v. Spain recap via:

Yours truly and Lee: Women’s World Cup: USA sweeps to gold with 77-64 win over Spain 

The United States’ offense was at times elegant – as when Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) bulleted a court-long past to Seimone Augustus for one of her game-high assists – and at times muscular, as when Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx) ended the first quarter with a crowd-pleasing drive to the basket.

Women’s World Cup: Australia takes bronze in 74-44 rout of Turkish hosts

It was obvious that the Turkish team was disappointed and emotionally exhausted after their tournament run, but there was pride, too. “I’d like to congratulate the Australians on their win tonight,” said Turkish coach Ceyhun Yildizoglu. “They fought really hard to get this win, and it was a particularly powerful performance coming off their loss to the United States last night. For us it was just the opposite. We weren’t able to bounce back from the game last night (Turkey’s loss to Spain).”

Doug: Maya Moore leads U.S. to gold medal

Sue Bird added another gold medal to her already incredible U.S. basketball resume.

Bird became the most-decorated player in world championship history when the Americans won a second straight gold with a 77-64 victory over Spain on Sunday night.

Last year, Maya Moore “traveled” far into the future. The magic of professional make-up artists transformed her into “Betty Lou,” the old lady who shows she hasn’t lost her basketball mojo in a Pepsi Max commercial with similarly aged NBA players Kyrie Irving and Nate Robinson.

When Moore looked in the mirror and saw herself in artificial elderly form, her competitiveness came out.

“I hope I’m going to look better than that,” she said with a grin during this past WNBA season. “Both of my grandmothers are aging well, and my mom is, too. I’ve got some good genes.”

No one — least of all Team USA’s opponents at the FIBA World Championship for Women — will dispute that. The United States won the gold medal Sunday with a 77-64 victory over Spain, and Moore was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

Boti Nagy: Australia captain Penny Taylor named in All-Star Five after excellent World Championship form and Marianna Tolo stars as Opals hammer Turkey to secure third place at World Championships

 Brutal defensive pressure and brilliant offensive teamwork has won Australia a bronze medal at the FIBA Women’s World Championships after a 74-44 win over host nation Turkey.

Marianna Tolo led the assault with an Opals tournament-high of 21 points at 73 per cent, grabbing six rebounds and playing great defence in a complete performance which should secure avid WNBA interest for the France-based centre.

AAP: Opals finish in the medals at world championships

 The Australian women’s basketball team has saved it s best for last to win the bronze medal in style at the world championship.

The Opals, missing their two most influential players, completed an impressive campaign with a 30-point thumping of hosts Turkey in Sunday’s third-place playoff.

Today’s Zaman: Turkey loses bronze medal chance after Australia defeat

It’s been lovely to be in Istanbul and really fun to be in the arena for the World Championships. The praised heaped on the Turkish fans is well deserved.  I wish I could have seen more of the city, but that just means I can come back again. Until then, some final shots of the Blue Mosque.

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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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While I agree that Phoenix is the odds on favorite, the idea that it might be a cakewalk to the Championship is not something I’m comfortable with. How much walking and how much cake eating the Merc will depend on Elena’s back, Big Syl’s commitment to Beast Mode, Q’s continued clutchness and Piph’s shot returning. I REALLY want Prince back in the mix…. ‘Cause that could be a tide-turner.

I’ll be on the bus home while the game is happening, so here’s to heath and heart-stopping play.

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Appropriate descriptions of the two Conference Championship games played. Home teams staked themselves a big lead, visitors clawed back a bit (or a lot) to make it interesting… but to no avail.

On the games themselves:

From the AP: Mercury humble Lynx, 85-71 (Interesting echo from Bright Side: One year ago today the Phoenix Mercury were humbled by the Minnesota Lynx) and Phoenix Mercury build large lead, hold on to beat Minnesota Lynx in Game 1

Griner, PHX defense key to big Game 1 win over Minnesota

From Tyler Killian: Mercury open Western Conference finals with rout of Minnesota Lynx

Eleven months ago to the day, the Mercury stood on their home court as the Minnesota Lynx celebrated a series victory in the Western Conference finals — the disappointing end of the Mercury’s drama-filled season.

The memory of that game may have faded some by the time the two teams met on the same floor Friday, but watching the Mercury dominate the Lynx and release the pent-up frustration that had been brewing ever since they were eliminated in 2013, the feeling of catharsis inside US Airways Center was unmistakable.

From the Tribune: Phoenix rises up to top Lynx in Game 1 of playoff series

“This is the playoffs,” Moore said. “There’s not really a lot of surprises when you don’t play with the intensity you need to — especially on the road. There’s nothing that they did that was super new. It was just a matter of them executing their offense. We have to be more aggressive.”

From Richard: Mercury outwork, outhustle and outplay Lynx on way to Game 1 win

Story of the Game: The game started as much of it would go on – unfortunately for Minnesota. Buoyed by their noisy home crowd, the Mercury got out in transition early on and scored the first nine points of the game. They were challenging hard on all the jumpers the Lynx were tossing up, leaking out after making those challenges, and beating Minnesota down the floor at the other end. DeWanna Bonner also drilled a three in the opening 90 seconds of the game, which would be another bad sign for the rest of the night for the Lynx.

From Pat Friday: Indiana rains threes on Chicago to steal victory on home floor

From Nate: Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman cites turnovers as a “glaring” problem in Game 1 loss

From Mark Ambrogi the Indy Star: Fever claim Game 1 East Finals victory over Chicago, 77-70

It wasn’t hard for Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn to determine the key stat on Saturday night.

The Fever hit 9-of-21 3-pointers compared to 1-of-8 for Chicago.

Fever buckle down, stave off Sky and its partner article: Fever hold off Sky in fourth quarter for 1-0 series lead

The Indiana Fever had to have thoughts of the Sky’s historic comeback win four days ago in Atlanta running through their minds.

But, unlike Tuesday night, Indiana fended off the late-charging Sky and held on for a 77-70 victory Saturday night in the opener of the Eastern Conference finals.

From Bright Side of the Sun: WCF Preview: The One Year Journey Of The Mercury

Missed this from David: Delle Donne means the Indiana Fever aren’t facing a normal No. 4 seed

On the upcoming games:

Nate is feeling predictive: ECF/WCF predictions: Mercury, Sky will prevail

Did you catch Richard’s WNBA 2014 Playoff Previews – Eastern Conference Finals: Indiana Fever vs. Chicago Sky and WNBA 2014 Playoff Previews – Western Conference Finals: Phoenix Mercury vs. Minnesota Lynx?

Yup: Lynx need more from Moore against Mercury

The Phoenix Mercury did something in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals that no other WNBA team has been able to do all season long.

They stopped Maya Moore.

And yes: Reeve wants to see Lynx more aggressive in Game 2

Two hands.

If there was one thing that really surprised Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve about Friday’s 85-71 loss in Phoenix in Game 1 of the WNBA Western Conference finals, it wasn’t any one statistic or stretch during the game. It was an attitude.

As in, the defending champion Lynx didn’t have enough of it. “Phoenix has had a great season,” Reeve said Saturday, shortly after the team’s flight landed in Minnesota. “Phoenix has a great understanding that, in order to beat us, to go to the finals, they’re going to have to wrestle the trophy away from us. What I was surprised about was we didn’t have the collective effort to have two hands on that trophy.’’

From Mechelle: Lynx target solid start in Game 2 – Minnesota can’t afford another slow start against Phoenix

Since the Minnesota Lynx elevated to being an elite team in the WNBA three years ago, they haven’t ended a season at home. They won their 2011 and ’13 titles in Atlanta, and lost in the 2012 WNBA Finals at Indiana.

The Lynx are certainly hoping their 2014 campaign doesn’t end in Minneapolis, either — at least not during the Western Conference finals. They are down 1-0 in the best-of-three series after an 85-71 loss at Phoenix on Friday.

Sunday, the Lynx host the Mercury at Target Center (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) in a game to keep Minnesota’s season alive.

From Tyler: Mercury won’t relax after opening romp in WNBA Western Conference finals

Our frame of mind doesn’t change,” Mercury forward Penny Taylor said. “We know we’re up against a championship team, and we know if we relax for a second, that they’ll be on top of us.

“They’re such a good team, and we expect them to come back at full force.”

Who didn’t see this coming:  Mo’Ne Davis heading to the conference finals

Congrats to all: Chiney Ogwumike wins ROY, heads All-Rookie team (And I know folks are cranky that Shoni wasn’t named – but please don’t bring up her All-Star Game performance as a reason she should have been on the team… That’s just silly.)

This is cool:

Professional basketball player Shoni Schimmel, the first Native American to play in the WNBA All Star Game, and her family will make two appearances this weekend to support the Seneca Nation campaign against alcohol and drug abuse.

More on those who are no longer playing: Lack of star talent remains a top concern in D.C.

From the NY Times: In the W.N.B.A., Women’s Coaching Journey Gets Easier (“Easier”, of course, is a relative term, ’cause the gig reeeeeeally hard)

Seventeen years ago, Lin Dunn was coaching the Portland Power of the short-lived American Basketball League. Dunn believed in sharing her knowledge of the game, so she allowed college coaches to watch her practices.

One of them was Pokey Chatman, then a young assistant coach at Louisiana State. Chatman stayed for a week learning from Dunn, whom she remembered as a volleyball coach at Mississippi in the late 1970s.

On Saturday, Chatman, now coach of the Chicago Sky, faced Dunn’s Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the W.N.B.A. Eastern Conference finals.

Speaking of hard: From the Argus Leader: Daughter inspires coach to stay with basketball team

It’s not all about basketball, says Vermillion, whose 24th year of coaching begins next year. It’s not about the wins and losses. “I can guarantee you I have more losses than wins,” he says. “When I started out, it was all about winning, then I learned it’s not. It’s about developing girls.”

One rule: Family, church and school come first. Vermillion never holds tryouts, and he never names starters. At one point, he required a 3.25 grade point average.

Vermillion encourages players to take the ACT four times. They might not play college ball, he says, but they will come out of there with a degree. He also spends much more time than the typical coach talking with college officials about the girls, doing his best to get them scholarships.

He loves the girls but hates the parents, he says bluntly. The girls, his girls, keep him coming back every season.

Or, maybe it’s just one girl. A dozen years after Tiffany’s death, her father still coaches because, as he says simply, “This is what she left me.”

Sad news out of San Antonio:

In the past two years, Tai Dillard has been an assistant coach in the Pac-12 and SEC, two of women’s college basketball’s top conferences.

As her path has taken her to places such as Palo Alto, California, and Knoxville, Tennessee, Dillard reflected on the person instrumental in helping her coaching journey get started: Sam Houston High School girls basketball coach Milyse Lamkin.

Lamkin, 52, died Thursday after battling cancer, Sam Houston Principal Darnell White said.

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say it.”

Might be the new WHB tagline. Ah, well – sorry Skylar and Anne.

And just to keep everyone honest — how friggin’ resilient are Chicago (hello, Jamierra Faulkner!) (over LA) and Indiana (over Atlanta IN Atlanta)? (and how disappointing is LA?)

Yea! Penny!

Ouch! Seimone!

Bell Fuller at Full Court sets up your weekend: WNBA Big Games, Big News: Fireworks on tap in two July 4 weekend matchups

Along with the Fourth of the July holiday will come some top-flight action in the WNBA this week. Here are two of the games to add to your “must-watch” list; unfortunately, neither game is scheduled to be televised outside the local markets, but both will be available via the WNBA’s Live Access.

In other news:

Women’s Basketball Committee seeks cost savings for championship

The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee is exploring ways to reduce championship expenses while continuing to protect the student-athlete experience.

Yup, it’s official: OSU women’s basketball: Khadidja Toure transfers to East Carolina and Duke women’s basketball point guard Jones to transfer

This will be a fun something to attend before flying out to Istanbul: Team USA To Face Canada At Webster Bank Arena Sept. 15

Speaking of USA Basketball, the U17’s have been kicking butt:

Games are being streamed through YouTube.

The WBCA has a new boss: Danielle Donehew Leaving AAC To Take Over WBCA and a new “status.”

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Here in Omaha at a conference and the folks I’m sharing my lovely student housing with are from there. I got it — with a syllable missing, granted —  but the folks I was speaking with were impressed nonetheless. See, women’s basketball is a multi-purpose tool!

*ooooo! Sun shower in Omaha!*

Prepping for my presentation tomorrow with my two friends….

20140627_141121

But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have time to wonder if Skylar is bucking for MVP.

If Catch is going to come back.

If Chicago is doomed without the Donne.

If Anne Donovan is bucking for COY  — tonight notwithstanding. Or this news: Danielle McCray has undergone a surgery to repair a torn ligament in her thumb.

If the Dream are going to become a reality or go “poof!”

If Phoenix can continue their rebirth and truly challenge Minnesota (we see you Penny Taylor).

In other news:

Not good news for coach Curry: Alabama women’s basketball’s top returning scorer granted release.

Good news from a former Maine Bear: Blodgett named BU women’s basketball assistant coach

Speaking of Nebraska (Lincoln, though): NU Women’s Basketball Returns To Devaney Center For One Game

The Nebraska women’s basketball team plans to honor its first NCAA Tournament team when the Huskers return to the Bob Devaney Sports Center to take on Utah on Sunday, Nov. 23.

The game, which was announced by Nebraska on June 25, will mark the Huskers’ first game at the Devaney Center since moving into their new home at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the start of the 2013-14 season.

And yes, that was Gary Harris, Son of WNBA Great Joy Holmes-Harris, who was Drafted 19th Overall in the 2014 NBA Draft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s Famous Fan Friday – Jackson backs the Swans

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

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

Speaking of LJ: Jackson, Taylor in Australia training squad

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

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

Congrats: Katie Smith to Receive OHSAA Ethics and Integrity Award

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(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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Penny Taylor Tears ACL, Will Miss WNBA Season And Olympics

From the Telegraph: Penny Taylor’s season-ending knee injury a huge blow for Australian Opals ahead of London Olympics

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Seattle losing. At home. After running out to an 18pt lead. (Oh, and I wasn’t the only one. From Rebkell: 10:53 EST “it’s a wrap for phx…”)

So, yup, thanks to a Candice Dupree last second tw0-point (and almost in spite of Taurasi’s Increasingly Tempestuous Tantrums) “My Storm lost” (said the MA student I know.) Nate writes: Shock and Awe

Normally after a game that exciting – Storm or otherwise – I have no problem typing something beyond the basic recap. If the words don’t come to mind, I’ve developed all kinds of random tricks and mindgames to start typing. If typing doesn’t work, I go old school and pull out a pen and pad of paper. When all else fails, I hope that the numbers might bring some order to my thoughts.

But responding to a game like that is no time for statistics*.

After going through my progressions, I ultimately sat there staring at a sheet of yellow legal paper searching for a reaction – any reaction (Misery? Living Death by ref? The collapse of civilization as Storm fans know it!) – to what I just saw.

Where do you even begin?

In the early game, Catch played with a vengeance (no surprise she and Nicole got double-Ts. That battle was FIERCE) and Cappie continued her struggles in the face of Katie’s defense. End result, Indy gets to face Atlanta in the Conference Finals. (I don’t envy them)

Writes Mechelle of both winning teams: Unbreakable resolve leads Merc, Fever: Phoenix’s Penny Taylor, Indiana’s Katie Douglas lead the way

Thusly, we give kudos to Indiana’s Katie Douglas and Phoenix’s Penny Taylor, generally regarded as the highly respected “SBs” for their teams. But they were highly successful “BSs” in Tuesday’s two WNBA elimination games, from which the Fever and Mercury moved on to their conference finals.

Wait a second … by “SB,” obviously I meant “second banana.” And by “BS,” of course I meant “big star.” What other terms did you think I was referring to with those abbreviations? Huh? What kind of R-rated column do you think this is?

NEXT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Chat catch-up

with Mechelle:

Steve (Phoenix): Why does Penny Taylor never seem to get credit for what she does, when clearly she has been the Merc’s MVP this season. Is it just because Diana is on the team?

Mechelle Voepel: I think Penny does get credit, and most people really do value her. But she is playing alongside someone who is not only a great player but has such a force of personality and has been front-and-center of women’s basketball in the United States now for a decade going back to her UConn days. That’s just how it happens sometimes on all teams in all sports. As I’ve said before, the great thing is that Penny Taylor truly could not care less about individual awards. I’m not saying that as a cliche … anybody who talks to her would say that. Plus, she and DT get along so well, and they are each other’s biggest supporter. So it all works out for the good of the Mercury. Taylor is about winning WNBA titles. If she never has a season MVP award on her shelf, she won’t give it a second thought.

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You work your butt off for three quarters, 9 minutes and 30 seconds to keep your team in the game, and then suddenly, TA DA! another player sweeps in and seals the deal.

That’s what happened last night at the Rock when Penny Taylor went off on the Lib for 29pts and then the Star-Ledger’s headline is this: Liberty lose to Diana Taurasi, Mercury, 91-84‎. Oiy.

I mean, sure, Diana’s 30 seconds is what put the in the final nail (along with Carson’s turnovers), but it was Penny who cut down the trees, milled the logs, took the measurements, dove-tailed the corners, inserted the silk cushions in New York’s coffin. Of course, Diana knew it:

“She was great,” Taurasi said of Taylor. “She was the only person really giving us anything offensively. And the way they schemed defensively, it’s hard but she found a way to kind of find her spots and made them pay.”

Speaking of “I’m not dead yet!” the Sparks aren’t, though they sure tried to give the game back to Chicago. Unfortunately for the Sky, their furious fourth quarter rally fell short and LA escaped with at 86-82 win. Chicago’s now two games under .500 and they better keep an eye out for the Dream.

Bird bounced back from a really bad game and the Storm bounced the Shock, 89-72.

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Ben Jones, Indy Star: Shooting stars – Fever dynamic duo of Catchings, Douglas will start for the East

The biggest thing I look forward to is having the opportunity to play with players that you never get a chance to play with,” Catchings said. “It’s always fun to sit in the locker room, talk about different organizations, what goes on everywhere you go.”

From Mike Carmin at JCOnline: Skill, wisdom help Douglas remain WNBA All-Star

Katie Douglas turned 32 in May, but doesn’t feel her age is bringing an end to her WNBA career anytime soon.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“My body feels like I’m 25 or 26,” the former Purdue women’s basketball standout said.

From Brett LoGiurato at the Star-Ledger: Liberty’s Essence Carson, WNBA All-Star, learned it all at Paterson Eastside High School

When Essence Carson was a high school freshman, Paterson Eastside High School coach Ed Black pulled her aside after one practice to have a conversation. It turned out to be the most important conversation of her budding basketball career.

From the AP’s Paul Weber: WNBA All-Star Game features new faces
With 10 first-time All-Stars, the game will showcase the next generation.

The WNBA will celebrate its 15th anniversary Saturday by honoring the 15 best players in history during halftime of the All-Star game. The game itself, meanwhile, will look distinctly like the WNBA’s future.

In a similar theme (and with profiles) from My San Antonio: Young stars living WNBA’s old motto

In 1997, the WNBA launched its inaugural season with a catchy slogan that proclaimed: “We Got Next.” Fourteen years later, with many of the players who helped the league get off the ground either retired or nearing retirement, the WNBA’s future appears as bright as ever.

Check out the video previews of the game with interviews and such here.

Also, over at SlamOnline, Ben has WNBA All-Star Sights and Sounds: The scoop from San Antonio

…after the Storm beat the Silver Stars in Seattle Thursday night, Swin Cash and Sue Bird didn’t arrive in San Antonio until after ten in the morning on Friday. They got to the hotel, slept for about an hour or so, and then had to catch the bus to the AT&T Center for practice and media availability.

Why am I telling you this? Simple. If I didn’t, maybe you’d never know.

After all, based on the smiles, laughter, eager participation in multiple community events, and selfless interaction with fans there’s no way anyone would think these players were mentally or physically exhausted.

That, is the consummate definition of a professional.

Shaun Powell, NBA.com: WNBA outlives early growing pains, sees bright days ahead

The WNBA is celebrating 15 years, quite an accomplishment if you gave weight to cynics who said the league wouldn’t last 15 minutes. The last decade and a half hasn’t been without some pain, but everyone can agree the league has learned how to get through it.

Some franchises folded, others shifted. In order to generate cash — always a challenge in a male-dominated professional sports market — jerseys now serve as billboards, with “Bing” replacing “Seattle” for one example.

And yet, the league outlasted a rival (ABL) and still serves as a haven for women wishing to play beyond college.

Did you see that the ESPN experts picked the top 15 players of all time

From Eric Bailey, Tulsa World: Shock ready to step up in season’s second half

“Our goal is to set goals immediately and to set those that (can be) reached and (accomplished) … so that we can win,” Edwards said. “We have to clean up the turnovers, we have to become a dominant defensive team …

“I’m looking for maturity. I’m looking for a team that’s willing to do what we have to do to mature into a winning personality as a Tulsa Shock team. As we do that, I really feel like we’re going to end the season with some wins.”

Ellen Horrow, USA Today has: Charles-Fowles WNBA rivalry grows by leaps, rebounds

If a great rivalry can elevate a sport or a league, then the WNBA could be on the verge of a huge leap forward.

All-Star centers Tina Charles, of the Connecticut Sun, and Sylvia Fowles, of the Chicago Sky, are young, fierce and dynamic — and set to challenge each other in the post for years to come.

From Odeen Domingo, Arizona Central: Phoenix Mercury’s Big Three could equal a WNBA championship – Candice Dupree, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor leading Mercury to a big year

The three-headed monster, dreaded and envied.

In Greek mythology, there was Cerberus, the three-headed hound that guarded the gates of Hades. Thou shall not pass.

The Mercury have their own three-headed monster: Candice Dupree. Diana Taurasi. Penny Taylor.

From John Altavilla, Hartford Courant: Terrible Tulsa And Other Things About The WNBA
If you want to see what’s different in the WNBA this season check the Western Conference standings where competitive balance has suddenly reappeared.
Last season, the Seattle Storm went 17-0 at home on the way to the league championship and were the only team above .500 to qualify for the postseason in the conference.Parity is now more apparent with the resurgence of San Antonio and Phoenix and the rise of the Minnesota Lynx. Seattle could win it all again, but they will need to work harder for it this season.
As to what else has been interesting in the WNBA prior to Saturday’s All-Star game….
Bob Corwin at Full Court Press (which needs to do something about tagging their work — it NEVER comes to me via my news alerts): San Antonio Silver Stars 2011: Basketball Makeover 101
Hughes takes a cautious approach to where his team stands.  “There is a lot of evidence yet to be played out,” Hughes stated. Still, acknowledging that his team had a better start than many—the Silver Stars went 4-0 to start the regular season and stood atop the West with a 7-1 record at the end of June before dropping three in a row in early July—Hughes expressed his pleasure with his team’s unexpectedly strong performance this season:  “There is a good energy [and] a bench that has not always been part of the Silver Stars,” Hughes stated. 

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Kobe Bryant’s dad is LA’s new coach

From Mechelle: Joe Bryant a good fit for Sparks

It seemed to be sort of an “enough is enough” weekend in the WNBA. Friday night, coach Nolan Richardson stepped down after the 10th loss of Tulsa’s season, finishing his stay in the WNBA at 7-38.

Then Sunday, Los Angeles announced that coach Jennifer Gillom was being relieved of her duties, as the Sparks are 4-6 and have lost five games in a row. Assistant Joe Bryant is moving up for his second tour of duty as Sparks’ head coach. It’s also the second time he has taken over during the season.

Meanwhile, welcome to coaching, T: Teresa Edwards can’t help Shock from being trounced by Mercury

Penny Taylor scored 16 of her 18 points in the first half as the Phoenix Mercury built a big halftime lead and routed Tulsa 102-63 on Sunday in Teresa Edwards’ debut as interim coach.

Meanwhile, welcome to Chicago, the turnover machine,coach Pokey.

After the end of the first half, the Sky had an 11-pt lead (which ballooned to 17 in the second) and 7 turnovers. Then they got a case of fumble fingers (they finished with 19TOs) and Essence got her (goggled) groove back, and the Liberty snagged a 80-73 win at the Rock.

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for a game. And an odd game it was. Every time I looked up at the scoreboard, San Antonio’s shooting percentage was in the 20’s, but they still managed to stay within striking distance of the Lib. NY came out on top, and it was nice to have the 2500 or so in attendance go home happy, but I’m still not sure how the Lib came away with the win. (Perhaps coach Dan’s understated tie is to blame? What was up with that?!)

Queenie over at Swish Appeal is of a like mind:

I seriously have no idea how we won this game. We let them walk all over us on the boards, we kept passing the ball to places it didn’t belong, we missed a lot of easy shots… but when the chips were down, we managed to make things happen. Nicole Powell drew the big offensive foul on Danielle Adams, Leilani had the steal- it all came together, in a truly Liberty way.

Side note to the game: Lib welcomed VJ as the first member of their “Ring of Honor.” Odd to hear her say “Thank you NY!” while standing in New Jersey. Odder to see her SASS teammates come out at half time to support her and her former team, the team who was honoring her, stay in the locker room.

The Sun are keeping things happy at home, but they really need to not blow big leads. Makes people nervous. Still, a five-point win over the LJ-less Storm is a win. (And can I just say, since ESPN is too cheap to have enough cameras to make a W game watchable in a “oh, I can actually see the players’ faces” way vs. “it sorta looks like a scout tape shot”, it would be nice if Tina didn’t wear AJ’s white headband. It confuses me when I’m trying to id those itty bitty players during all those long distance shots.)

Not saying that things are totally turned around for Phoenix, but I’m guessin’ the “Fire Gaines” folks are a tad quieter. Behind Diana’s efficient (aka NOT Kobe-esque) 24 and an aggressiveness that had them scoring 42 — count’em, 42! — of their 97 points from the free throw line, the Merc came back to take down Chicago by 13. (And can someone explain this headline for me? Taylor on song for Phoenix in WNBA. Is that Australian for “unsung”? Or “on strong”? Or “a ledge”?)

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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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I guess this is as good a place as any to make your foray into the public eye: Diana Taurasi surprises former team

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from SlamOnline: It’s the Aussie Merc fans like to call PFT

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Opals star Penny Taylor’s season cut short

Taylor, a former world championship MVP and two-time WNBA championship winner with Phoenix, has been in career-best form with Fenerbahce in Turkey.

But some personal issues, including a family illness, have forced her to make the tough decision to return to Australia, with the 29-year-old expected back this week.

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James Dampney says, JT desperate to dominate, but Taylor steals the show

Opals coach Carrie Graf believes captain Lauren Jackson is trying a little too hard as she attempts to dominate the women’s basketball world championship in the Czech Republic.

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