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from Mechelle 

Representing Athlete Ally, Taylor and Appel had a postgame discussion with fans at a restaurant inside AT&T Center right after a recent Stars game. Ticket sales manager Alma Lara also attended the event and addressed various questions from fans. One concern raised was the “Kiss Cam” that is shown on the JumboTron in the arena. A fan was upset that, at a previous game, the Kiss Cam focused in on two men who are part of the Stars’ staff that entertains fans during timeouts. They reacted in mock horror, suggesting the idea of two men kissing was inherently odd and comedic.

The meeting was attended by about 40 fans who expressed gratitude about the chance to discuss these issues. Appel was later asked by espnW if it bothers her that none of her teammates — some of whom she acknowledged are gay — came to the Athlete Ally meeting. If she as a straight person found it so important to participate, why didn’t they?

“The opportunity is there,” Appel said. “And I think it’s really important for players — like Brittney Griner has — to say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to talk about being gay.’

“But by the same token, I respect my teammates if they’re not comfortable putting themselves out there. I don’t want to push them into it. I want them to take the initiative.”

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Laurel Richie

“Sophia has the right to express her point of view, however, I do not share her view,” WNBA president Laurel Richie said in a statement. “The WNBA supports diversity and we are committed to the equal and fair treatment of all people.”

Of course, she couldn’t ignore it, ’cause the rest of the world ain’t. From The Atlantic Wire: WNBA Star Doesn’t Care What She’s Voting For, She Just Doesn’t Like Gays

The WNBA is actually light years ahead of any other professional American sports league when it comes to progress for gay players and gay fans. While the NFL and NHL are busy talking about the anticipation of a single openly-gay player, the WNBA’s 2012 first draft pick, Brittney Griner, came out of the closet, was signed by Nike and was in a massive spread in ESPN magazine when she was drafted. “I am a strong, black lesbian woman. Every single time I say it, I feel so much better,” Griner said. Griner and Young actually went to the same college. 

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As you may or may not know, the San Antonio Silver Stars player has taken a public stance:

@sophiayoung33: Should San Antonio be a city that allows same sex marriage?? I vote NO.

Of course, if you’re followed the debate — I mean, the ACTUAL debate on the ACTUAL amendment being proposed, you’d know that the vote has nothing to do with same sex marriage. It’s about to ensure that people cannot be discriminated against for any of the following: sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or disability when it comes to housing or employment.

What Sophia believes about gay marriage is one thing. Folks will disagree with her on that. Folks may even lose respect for her because of her beliefs.

But 1) she’s proving she’s an uneducated voter and 2) by voting “No,” and urging others to follow her, she is voting FOR allowing discrimination.

Not good.

Rebkellians discuss.

From Hoopfeed: Sophia Young steps into equal rights controversy, Silver Stars fan speaks at city council debate

What happens when a WNBA player posts a tweet about a hot button topic while attending a protest on another controversial issue? San Antonio Silver Stars forward Sophia Young found out yesterday. The fan favorite since her college days helping lead Baylor to its first national championship in 2005took on two topics in one tweet. She followed up her first tweet with photo evidence of her stances. Young is not playing this season due to a torn ACL she suffered while playing overseas in China. However, she attends home games, interacts with fans and is active in the San Antonio community with charity work and her AAU girl’s basketball team, Sophia Young Elite.

While one can argue that adding protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to San Antonio city’s nondiscrimination code is related to state matrimony laws and gay marriage, legally the distinct issues have absolutely nothing to do with each other. However, Young tweeted that she was against gay marriage while attending a protest at the city council opposing adding LGBT protections to the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.

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

From our Alien Friend:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seimone Augustus remembers winning a championship last October in Atlanta.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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From Mechelle: Pieces fit perfectly for Silver Stars – San Antonio (15-5) picks up right where it left off before Olympic break

Who would have criticized Hammon if she’d taken a little time returning and recovering from the Summer Olympics? A deep Silver Stars team could handle Tulsa and Phoenix without her, couldn’t it?

“I need to come in and be dependable,” Hammon said. “It didn’t even cross my mind to miss a game.”

That statement and her subsequent 15-point, eight-assist performance that night in an 89-79 victory over the Shock could be an appropriately representative freeze-frame of Hammon’s entire career. When your veteran still feels she has to prove her dependability in her 14th season in the league, it’s easy for San Antonio’s youngsters to glean what it means to be a true professional.

No surprise: WNBA Hollinger Power Rankings: Silver Stars #1, Liberty Catching Up To The Sky Fast

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and it can’t get up. (And no, it’s not because Augusta finally recognized women exist.) They had the lowly Mystics down and couldn’t put them away. I see storm clouds in the Land of Lincoln.

Sure, it was sorta close in the beginning — and then the real Minnesota stepped up and the Shock walked away with another loss.

Without Dee (and her “dental procedure”) the Merc are beyond toothless and San Antonio is all smiles.

It’s a sore subject. Clay weighs in: Taurasi must play — or both she and Phoenix must pay

She has now missed two games after the break, for dental work, which again, could be legit. (Josh Reddick, a starting Oakland A’s outfielder, has been bothered by dental work for a week, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.) But hey, we’re done with that. The next game is Thursday, and Taurasi will have had 11 days since the gold medal game to get over whatever traumas she suffered in London – and there is absolutely no reason she shouldn’t play.

So does Mechelle: Mercury falling while lottery looms

Maybe for the next home game — Thursday with New York — the Mercury brass can pump nitrous oxide into the US Airways Center. Perhaps laughing gas will make the Phoenix players and fans feel falsely euphoric — even if former Phoenix standout Cappie Pondexter, now with the Liberty, outscores the Mercury by herself.

Here’s who is definitely not laughing, though: Those fans and observers from around the league who are furious with the Mercury’s continued free fall, because they believe it to be largely intentional.

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again.

The east has top v. low standings going up against each other: CT v. NY and IN v DC.

The game that should generate the most should be, of course Phoenix and Seattle: the return of Diana and LJ? (Be early if you want a Lauren bobblehead.  I want one! And a Bird one, too! *whine*)

The .com has a Midseason Report up.

Until then, how about this news:

WNBA’s Atlanta Dream hosts first LGBT Pride night

Latta having career year for Shock

While we were all busy mastering the time difference between the US and Great Britain, over at Swish Appeal, thewiz was gathering links:

A Collection of Atlanta Dream Links During Olympic Break, and A Link to the Previous Team Link Pages

A Collection of Chicago Sky Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Connecticut Sun Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Indiana Fever Links During Olympic Break

A Collection Of LA Sparks Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Minnesota Lynx (pun intended) During Olympic Break

A Collection of Phoenix Mercury Links During Olympic Break

A Collection of Silver Stars Links During the Olympic Break

A Collection of Seattle Storm Links During Olympic Break

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“Oh, now Fred, you know that’s never a good thing.”

“Very funny Ethel. No, I was just thinking about all those folks who talk about how ‘basketball is a winter sport.’ (I guess they boycotted the NBA’s playoffs, right?) And I was thinking, considering how hot it is going to be on Sunday, who’s smarter? The person who travels out to Yankee Stadium, pays $220 for a ticket and $12 for a beer and sits out in the broiling sun…or the person who travels to the Rock, pays $50 for a ticket and watches the Liberty face the SASS in lovely, air conditioned surroundings.”

“Fred, you’re asking about the ‘intelligence’ of the average sports fan?”

“I see your point, Ethel.”

“Speaking of the SASS, they sure are surging. Did you see what they did to Indy yesterday? Spotted them a nice lead and the BOINK! surged back to take the win. Not sure I’m looking forward to the return of Becky to New(ark) York.”

“Ethel, it’s been a while since Blaze pulled that fabulous move — I mean Becky for Jessica Davenport? Brilliance. Ah, the good old days of ‘things in the hopper’ and ‘rebuilidng’.”

“True, Powell over Brunson is right up there, but doesn’t live up to that standard. Memories. They do bring a tear to the eye.”

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Just How Good Are the Minnesota Lynx?

Over the summer months, most of the attention when it comes to basketball is on the NBA Playoffs, the NBA Draft and, this summer, the Olympics.

The WNBA doesn’t get too much media love, though it should. And one team in particular is deserving of attention: the Minnesota Lynx.

The Lynx keep making their case,  dispatching the hobbled Merc by 16 and matching the Houston Comets‘ 1998 20-1 start. Tim writes: Minnesota Lynx won’t be sweating their 35-day Olympic break. Dishin’ and Swishin’ piles on: Are the Lynx a Budding Dynasty w/ Maya, Reeve

The Sparks continue to stumble, this time against San Antonio. Stephen writes: Silver Stars Fighting For Respect…Again – San Antonio is annually overlooked, but they’re used to having to prove themselves.

The San Antonio Silver Stars feel as if they are being overlooked by WNBA fans and the media that covers the league. After all, as of today, they do stand as the number three seed in the Western Conference.

“With fans and media, it feels like no matter what we do, we have to prove ourselves over and over every year,” said Sophia Young. “We get almost taken advantage of when stuff happens, even in games where we get a call and they do something and they don’t get a call for it. Every year, we get rated at the bottom of the list and every year we make the playoffs. We’ve gotten so used to it that it doesn’t matter anymore. We just have to go out there, play and prove ourselves again every year.”

The FTC Publications Newswire Daily (?) is Tracking The MVP Race – WNBA

Mechelle writes about the return of January (which, considering how hot it is in NYC, Januart returning would be would be nice).

It’s never wise to get overconfident, but the Fever have reason to feel good about making their eighth consecutive playoff appearance come September.

January is eager to experience it again. Last year, she played in just 10 games before suffering a torn right ACL. She missed the rest of the season — and the Fever missed her.

“Nothing against any of our other guards, but it helps a lot. It’s so nice to have Bri back on the court,” veteran teammate Tamika Catchings said. “Just her being able to attack and get to the basket when she wants to opens it up for everybody else.”

A WATN? from ladyswish:

Former VCU star Quanitra Hollingsworth scored 10 points despite being in foul trouble to help Turkey upend Japan 65-49 in qualifying tournament action and move to within one victory of securing a bid to the London Olympics.

The Mi/chelles are back: WNBA News & Notes

Mechelle chats and answers a question about the leading Dive contenders:

Blake Whitney (Washington, D.C.): So, the Mystics are terrible. Think they’ll fire Trudi during the season? And, more importantly, do you think that would even help?

Mechelle Voepel: Trudi Lacey was Sheila Johnson’s hand-picked choice after the dismantling of the Mystics’ successful duo of Julie Plank-Angela Taylor following the 2010 season. Of course, we remember that Johnson also voiced her “belief” in Lacey with the answer of “Who knows?” when asked if she really believed TL could be successful. The Mystics are reaping what they sowed. Do I think a coaching change would help? At this point, I’m not sure how it could hurt.

And the espnW continues its WTF programing. I mean, if I wrote the following, what do you think the conclusion would be?

Since the league launched expanded to smaller markets, I have, at various times, channel surfed and stopped, parachuting in mid-game, hoping to be immediately wowed. I once rode a bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to watch a former teammate in a preseason game for the Lakers. (I left early in the second half to play blackjack, but perhaps that decision says more about me than the NBA.) All told, I probably watched the equivalent of one full game.

I am the target audience, yet I had never given a dime, or an evening of my attention, to support the men’s professional league of the game I love.

So, do you think at the end of my experience I’ll end up loving the NBA? As one of the ‘kellians put it:

I guess we are celebrating the anniversary of Title 9 by letting female writers write the same article male writers have been writing for years. Yay progress

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So much basketball, so many emotions:

LA Sparks fans: Oh, lord, we had such hopes and now lo…Whooopee!

Seattle fans: Got no LJ? Beat LA! Got no LJ bea… WTF?!!?

Liberty fans: Oooo, look at the pretty new seats, isn’t it nice to be back in the Garden and look, our team is… dabnabbit! Double dabnabbit!

Connecticut fans: Nothing puts you in a good mood as a close win followed by a good, old fashioned stompin’.

Phoenix fans: Well, if we lose by 19 with Diana on the bench, shouldn’t we win by 6 when she comes back off it?

Minnesota fans: We are the Champions! We are the Champ…. Watch out for that chair Siemone! Gulp.

Indiana fans: Look, it’s a healthy Catch and a hot Katie and…yikes! Make those freethrows.

Dream fans: It’s just one game, right? It’s just one game.

Chicago fans: Sylvia’s back, and I feel fine!

Mystics fans: Well, ummmmm…. Crystal had a nice game.

Shock fans: I’m feeling a little deja vu, ’cause the fourth quarter is the bane of our existence.

San Antonio fans: Oh, so THAT’S what a healthy Shameka Christon looks like! (I know Lib fans are happy — and I’m sure two Tulsa season subscribers/Arkansas fans had a lose-win night at the game.)

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and heads to the Windy City, tweets hoopfeed.

Also from the site: Exclusive interview: Chamique Holdsclaw talks about her new book, opens up about battling clinical depression and her bond with Pat SummittFebruary 6, 2012

  • Chamique Holdsclaw’s season-ending injury in 2010 was a devastating blow. The basketball icon’s torn Achilles tendon interrupted her WNBA comeback with the San Antonio Silver Stars and proved to be the worst injury of her career. The sluggishness of the rehabilitation process and a slight re-injury to the tendon caused her to contemplate walking away from basketball altogether.

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at Swish Appeal: What Each WNBA Team Do In 2012, Pt. 2: Playoff Teams That Might Not Be Championship Caliber Yet

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So said Maya Moore to the crowd that watched the Lynx defeat the Silver Stars 85-67 and move out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.

Don’t let the final margin fool ya, though. There was a moment, early on, where you had to wonder whether the young Minny team was going to break under the pressure or snap back.

After a first quarter in which they appeared to be the Missing Lynx, the home team flexed some muscle and got after the San Antonio Silver Stars. They mashed them, which is all anyone ever wanted, and re-established themselves as the team to beat in this postseason.

I guess they answered their (first) challenge.

NEXT!!

Check out the East Preview and the West Preview. (Steve at SlamOnline has his own West Preview.)

Then Graham weighs in on Ms. Price

Price played sparingly after arriving via trade from Chicago in 2009 and didn’t start a game last season until the playoffs, but this season she grew into starter’s minutes and a captain’s role. A season ago, she was a nice player. Now Price is invaluable. Dream assistant Carol Ross has seen a lot change in the player she recruited at Ole Miss nearly a decade ago.

“She’s now like a player-coach because she coaches in the offseason at Ole Miss,” said Ross, who left the school in 2007. “She has a great basketball IQ. Now, I can ask her [about defensive options]. I might not always agree with her, but I’m always interested in her opinion because she sees the game very well from the defensive end.

“I can assure you, I didn’t ask her that when she was a college player, but I’m asking her now.”

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but still disappointing.

The Sun are the Groundhog Day of the WNBA – get a lead and lose it. Go on the road and… lose it.

On the other hand, Atlanta pleased its fans (and new owners) by coming back and using a balanced attack to grab the win and move into the Conference Finals.

“We were down . . . and it doesn’t seem to bother us,” Meadors said. “I’ll tell you what; get us to the fourth quarter and we’re pretty good. It was all about our defense, and it wasn’t anything the coaches were saying.”

Watching the San Antonio/Minny game, the Queen/Bowie song kept running through my head – “Dum da-da-da da da dum dum Pressure!” The SASS vets handled it, the Lynx youngsters not so much.Writes Mechelle

It has been a summer of coming home for Jia Perkins, and one of growing up for Sophia Young.

Those two led the way Sunday as San Antonio beat Minnesota for the first time this season, and in the process avoided elimination in the Western Conference semifinals.

Perkins, who just before this season joined San Antonio via trade from Chicago, led the Silver Stars with 24 points, while Young had 23. After five losses to Minnesota, including a one-point escape by the Lynx on Friday, this time San Antonio found a way to beat the Western Conference’s top seed, 84-75 in San Antonio.

NEXT!

Oh, and if you want to prep for tonight, check out WNBAlien:

Part of me hates these best-of-three playoff series that the WNBA uses for its first two rounds. You play for months to get here, and then everything can be over in the blink of an eye. A slightly shorter regular season allowing longer playoff series would be a better framework in my eyes. But you can’t deny that it makes the postseason instantly exciting. After losing their opening games, New York and Phoenix went into Saturday’s games in do-or-die situations. Win, and they’d have a chance in a deciding game on Monday night; lose, and all the hard work all season long would’ve been for naught.

Me, I love the best of three simply because it demands total focus. Screw up and you’re out. I’ll take that pressure any day over the never-ending NBA playoff-a-looza. Heck, I think men’s tennis would benefit from a best of three — make’em play with a sense of urgency….

And speaking of urgency — the .com urgently needs to get a copy editor.

“Define you’re edge with Lisa Leslie”?

WTF? Its jest knot write!

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…though somewhat inauspiciously, as the headline writer has mislabeled his game story link (Team effort lifts Sun past Dream vs Team effort lifts Dream past Sun)

The Sun led 68-63 and McCoughtry had just picked up her fifth foul on an impetuous attempt to strip the ball from Allison Hightower — 36 seconds after she picked up her fourth foul with an equally rash charge.

Playing their first playoff game since 2009, it seemed the Sun had the Dream on the ropes. The trouble is, that’s becoming a comfortable place for the defending conference champions.

I guess we’ll see if the Sun “become their record” or recover enough to win on the road.

In the first game of the night, the Lynx squeeeeeeaked by the Silver Stars by the slimmest of margins (isn’t in interesting that key defensive plays in the final seconds should figure in both days of games?). Wrote Mechelle:

Friday was far from perfect for Moore and the Lynx. They know they are fortunate to have escaped the Silver Stars again. Moore said of her missed free throws at the end, “Ugh, that was terrible,” and of her performance overall, “I guess I was never completely comfortable all night.”

Yet when the buzzer sounded, everything was right with her and the Lynx.

“We did what we needed to do,” Moore said. “It wasn’t exactly how we wanted it, but it’s one of those games that gives us something more to strive for.”

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A quick hit before

I hit the road up to the Casino….

Three of the four non-playoff bound teams played last night. Best you can say is no one got hurt in the SASS game (I hope) and Adams scored 14. As San Antonio moves forward (with Becky staying put), the Sparks (dang Parker’s knee), Sky and ‘stics need to do some post-season pondering.

And, well, just wow. Talk about a petty, whiny, opinion piece!

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So I’ll leave it up to Richard to figure it out: When key pieces are missing, wins don’t come easy

A WNBA double-header tonight, and just for a nice change, you’re getting WNBAlien coverage of both games only hours after their conclusion. The first game to tip off was in Washington, where a miniscule crowd watched their Mystics take on Atlanta. For Washington, these games don’t mean anything. Having traded away their 2012 first-round pick, even tanking to improve their lottery odds isn’t worth the effort. However, the fans did have the prospect of Monique Currie returning from her ACL injury and seeing her first action of the season tonight. If that’s enough to make you want to renew your season tickets, more power to you.

He also has some profound pondering about the playoffs: Postseason positioning still a perplexing puzzle

As you near the end of any regular season in a sports league, some games naturally don’t mean an awful lot. The WNBA is no exception, but thanks to tight standings in both conferences most of the teams are still fighting for something as we head into the final two weeks of the season. Still, there are certainly some games that aren’t as important as others right now, so even I’m intending to limit the depth of coverage on certain matchups. Of course, we’ve seen how that’s gone throughout the course of the season, so let’s just be thankful that there aren’t any Tulsa-Washington games left on the schedule. I’d probably have found some reason to write 2,000 words about it.

Visit Mel for his take on the games last night: Mystics Spell Atlanta While Silver Stars Shine Over Mercury

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Not much more to be said about the Lynx (and Moore’s) visit to the Casino. The Sun ignored the hype and simply hammered Minnesota so hard they were wondering if the softball “mercy rule” was going to go into effect.

The other games last night (Live Access was rockin’) were pretty damned competitive: All were decided by four were decided by 3 points or less (I’m ignoring the points from CP3’s shirt-flinging hissy fit.)

In Newark, the Lib needed some heroics from Cappie to take down Langhorne and the Mystics, 69-66. Yes, “Ugly beats Bad.

In San Antonio, Catch continued to make her case for MVP as she gathered up the staggering Fever over the struggling SASS and Dan got tossed. (It was a bad call, y’all, but it was a costly toss.)

In Phoenix, Bird and Smith’s incomprehensible turnover helped the Merc finally snatch defeat out of the jaws of the Storm, 81-79.

Parker was smooth and secure in her return (whoopee!), but LA couldn’t hold onto a lead and the Dream followed DeSouza to a 84-79 win. (It was a good call, y’all, but Parker’s shirt toss might get the W on SportCenter.

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Sylvia enjoyed success against the SASS, and so did Chicago, 85-73.

Tulsa kept it under 30, which is really all you can say about their 82-54 loss to Minnesota. (Except: 8,388. Looks like the Lynx bandwagon is revving up!)

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but it was close. (Have you noticed the extra minutes seem to be taking toll on Kia: 25 minutes, 0 pts, +/-25?)

The end result? Washington took down the visiting Lib 91-81.

Meanwhile, the San Antonio ended their losing skid by hosting Tulsa (who, all credit to them, did not go down easy).

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Yah, tell me you thought you’d be reading this headline in your lifetime: Jessica Davenport powers Fever past Sky

Yup! Indy went home and got a welcome win after two road losses.

“It’s always nice to be at home and to have that home crowd behind us,” Davenport said. “I thought our road trip was pretty tough, but we had a great practice yesterday and everyone had energy. I think just being at home helped a lot.”

Seattle was just as happy to return home, spanking San Antonio 73-55.

“That’s the kind of basketball we want to play right there — I don’t know any way else to put it,” Wright said. “That’s the kind of basketball we want to play, we need to play, and in order to be successful, we have to play. We wanted to go into the (All-Star) break on a good note after that three-game skid.”

In other W news: From El Alien –

Before we get to yesterday’s games, first the big news from this afternoon. If the announcement that the worst team in the league is releasing their 11th player can ever truly be considered ‘big’. After 47 appearances, the Tulsa Shock finally decided that Marion Jones had served her purpose on their roster and cut her today, in order to sign backup center Abi Olajuwon. In the eyes of most WNBA fans it was about time, but some will still be sorry to see her go.

From Jayda: Take Two: Storm isn’t getting what it hoped for from veteran Katie Smith

The urge is to cover your mouth before the thought rushes out.

Has Seattle been blinded by the glitter of another legend on the downslide?

I know. Say it isn’t so. Not Katie Smith.

But the Storm has been here before with Yolanda Griffith, Shannon Johnson and Sheryl Swoopes. All were once premier athletes who created a buzz during their signings only to falter to aging bodies and lack of productivity.

Mechelle was chatting:

Dennis (Cerritos, CA): can we end this failed experiment already? People could care less about professional women’s basketball! Just look at the attendance of the games. Who actually attends these games are Boys & Girls clubs members who were handed down those tickets as some corporate gift. Only through politically correctness has this sport been force fed down our throats all the while we’re ignoring the obvious. No on watches these games whether it be on TV or in person. Women’s groups are extorting NBA owners to fund this failure or be called corporate sexist chauvenists. Who are they kidding when they bragged a few years ago about the WNBA making it 10 years. Fact is, it hasn’t “made it,” it was dragged to the finish line by the NBA owners and corporations held at gunpoint to sponsor this game. If someone out there reading this thinks I’m just being a hater and is anti-woman, please provide the ratings of a WNBA game. Now grab those ratings and compare it to what it costs to televise, operate and present a game and the ROI is simply not there. This lockout the NBA is having because the owners are claiming they’re losing millions of dollars, I bet if you look at the books, plenty of those millions lost is in funding the WNBA, but you probably will never hear that in the media. I have an open mind so if you think I’m wrong, back it up with hard numbers and I’ll change my mind. But something tells me that those numbers don’t exist.

Mechelle Voepel  (3:11 PM): OK, I went ahead and posted this, even though I really don’t have time to refute everything Dennis has in his rant. Much has been written about the fact that the average salary for one player in the NBA is far greater than the salary cap for a whole team in the WNBA. Anyone who thinks the WNBA’s expenses have anything to do with this lockout must have flunked economics class worse than I did.

But here’s another thing I want to say to Dennis and others like him. First, don’t go off on an angry, stereotypical rant about the WNBA, and political correctness and these nebulous “women’s groups” that are forcing the sport down your throat … and then end by saying you have an open mind. You don’t in any way have an open mind. Women’s sports threatens you, and you’re ticked off over who knows what, so you come to a chat about women’s basketball for people who DO care about it (who you claim don’t exist) and bash it. Feel better? Also, can you please tell me where I can find one of these powerful “women’s groups” who are controlling the NBA owners and scaring them to death by threatening to call them chauvinists? I’d love to interview the women in such a group and ask them why they are not using all their power over the NBA owners to even greater advantage. Because I’d like a team in Kansas City. Apparently all I have to do is scream about political correctness, and they’ll be so afraid they’ll do exactly what I want. Why haven’t I tried that? Don’t worry, Dennis, it’s almost football season.

When’s Mechelle’s not kickin’ butt and takin’ names, she’s also writing about San Antonio: Silver Stars ready for the spotlight – Hosting All-Star Game is another highlight in a great season so far for San Antonio

If you had suggested to a WNBA fan a decade ago that San Antonio would be a great place to have the All-Star Game and a 15th-season celebration someday, you would have gotten a puzzled stare. There was no WNBA franchise in the Alamo City at that time.

If you’d asked guard Becky Hammon in the spring of 1999 whether she thought she was good enough to play in the WNBA, she’d have given you the same answer Danielle Adams would have in 2011: Yes, absolutely. But if you were to ask Hammon now whether she had any idea what her pro career would really be like, she’d say, “It’s crazy. I feel so fortunate. I had no idea the things that were in store for me.”

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then you’re talking about San Antonio.

With their victory over the Sparks, SASS is now 5-1 on the road. It helped, of course, that Becky snapped her mini-slump and LA shot for carp. Interesting unhappy stat: Tina was scoreless and, as she noted post-game, ” I don’t think I ever played less than five minutes either.”

As for sunday’s games, don’t forget to check in avec l’Alien.

In theory, there were three WNBA games played yesterday. In practice, there were maybe 75 minutes or so of basketball actually worth talking about. One barely watchable blowout that will only be remembered for the halftime ceremony and for clashing with the women’s World Cup soccer final; one painfully dull blowout that somehow became a game; and one game that was actually a competitive contest from start to finish. So let’s start with the game where both teams actually showed up for all 40 minutes.

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the Lib are lobbying to play SASS for the rest of the season.

Fortunately for the Merc, they had the Shock on their schedule, so the got to notch another win. (Are Shock fans grateful?)

Talkin’ about an evolution *listen* (Hey, if you remember when Tracy had that first hit, then you’ll forgive the alteration) From the Washington Examiner (who tap the AP’s Cliff Brunt): WNBA changes game in 15 years

Tamika Catchings knew she couldn’t settle.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist starred for the Indiana Fever for nearly a decade as one of the WNBA’s best and most popular players, but she was disappointed in her outside shooting during the 2009 season and felt the world’s rising basketball stars nipping at her heels.

Seeking an edge, she hired shooting coach Marvin Harvey. After tireless offseason work, she shot a career-best 45 percent from 3-point range in 2010 and was second in league MVP balloting.

Tangela Smith, Catchings’ teammate with the Fever, made her WNBA debut 14 years ago as a traditional post player with mostly back-to-the-basket moves. Now, she’s best known for making 3-pointers and stretching defenses — she made just 106 3s her first 11 years in the league, but has hit 100 in nearly 2½ seasons since.

The players’ stories offer examples of how much women’s basketball has changed.

Speakin’ of evolution, from the Pioneer Press’  Tim Leighton: Minnesota Lynx’s Maya Moore hasn’t made a huge impact in WNBA

Assigning herself a letter grade for the first nine games of her WNBA career was a humbling exercise for Lynx rookie Maya Moore.

She was pleased with her hustle and scoring in transition but said she wanted to be a more aggressive rebounder and better perimeter defender.

“I’d give myself something in the B range,” she said. “I’m not totally happy about that. I still have plenty of work to do.’

Still speakin’ of evolution: From the Indy Star’s Bob Kravitz: Let’s not kill WNBA over NBA lockout

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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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enjoying seeing Tulsa on their schedule? Mystics stop four-game skid by pounding Shock

Indiana stays en fuego, silencing the Lynx with a late push courtesy of Katie D, 78-75.

Speaking of “fuego,” look at d’em Stars! (And how frustrated are the Dream fans?)

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would I rather be a Mystics or Shock fan?

From John Klein at the Tulsa World: Shock’s shocking play bodes ill for season

Cambage appears to be good enough to become a dominating interior player, but the Shock lacked any kind of offensive punch from the outside in a 93-62 loss Friday night at the BOK Center.

“We’ve got to make shots,” said Richardson.

It was, if anything, worse than the score indicated. The Shock was completely overwhelmed in every area.

I guess I’ll be able to see this for myself when I visit Arkansas/Tulsa in August.

Check out the fan’s perspective at Rebkell. (And no, I don’t know what’s up with the frogs in ice cubes.)

What is the earliest a coach has been fired in a season? I am wondering if I was too generous giving Richardson 13 games.

As for the Mystics… well, I’m betting that Angela Taylor and Julie Plank are the small and petty type (that’s more my style) but geez… From Steve Yanda at the Washington Post:

For spurts, the Washington Mystics play the brand of basketball their coach desires. But through three games this season, those spurts and that brand — swarming defense blended with up-tempo offense — have appeared only sporadically.

The Mystics on Saturday spotted the visiting Chicago Sky an 18-point halftime lead, and while Washington conducted a furious second-half comeback attempt, the deficiencies that led to its sizeable deficit proved too much to overcome. Chicago claimed an 84-77 victory, dropping the Mystics’ record to 1-2.

And yah, right, you saw this coming: Silver Stars remain unbeaten

After Saturday night’s action, the San Antonio Silver Stars stand alone as the WNBA’s only unbeaten team with a record of 3-0.

The Silver Stars knocked off the Atlanta Dream, who fell to 0-3 on the season, 86-74. Rookie Danielle Adams scored 32 points on 11-for-19 shooting, including five 3s in only 21 minutes of action. Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry played in her second game of the season since returning from a knee injury, scoring 19 points, but it wasn’t enough for Atlanta to break into the win column.

Writes Terrence Thomas for the San Antonio Express-News: Adams’ record night rallies Silver Stars past Dream – Ex-A&M star has rookie record 32 points for S.A.

Throughout her basketball career, Danielle Adams has heard all the reasons she wouldn’t be successful at the game.

Coming out of high school and college, the diagnosis from fans and experts was always the same — she was too short to play in the post, too slow and wasn’t a great leaper.

The Texas A&M product hopes what transpired Saturday night will help silence the doubters.

By the way, walking through customs in Addis I got to say, “Congrats on your national championship” to a kid with a Texas A&M jacket on. And she knew what I was talking about.

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He’s baaaaaaack

The man with the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon tie is back to lead the SASS.

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See ya!

Silver Stars fire first-year coach Brondello

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(This’ll make C&R happy) No Pain Jayne

For the first time since winter, Jayne Appel (San Antonio Silver Stars) is going full-tilt in practice, and she describes that feeling in one word: ‘Fun.’

From Carl Ademac at the Journal Inquirer – Piecework for Auriemma – Preps Team USA while waiting for reinforcements to arrive

Geno Auriemma isn’t one to take sides when it comes to his former players with the UConn women’s basketball team.

But the United States national team coach in him had to be smiling Sunday when Sue Bird made a 3-point shot with 2.8 seconds left as the Seattle Storm eliminated Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury to move into the WNBA Finals.

“I told Sue and D that I was rooting for both of them,” Auriemma said Sunday before the game in Phoenix. “But, really, the team that goes up 1-0 in the series is the one that I root for. I know Diana won’t go down without a fight, but if I didn’t tell her that I was pulling for her she would get mad and wait a week to show up at camp.”

The Auriemma quote also allows me a “clean up” post: From Mechelle’s blog: Bird saves the Storm a lot of worry

Whenever Seattle guard Sue Bird has done something great in her WNBA career – a not infrequent occurrence, of course – I’m reminded of a certain image of her. And the weird thing is, it’s an image I didn’t actually even see.

FYI: If the Bus Gods are in a good mood September 10th, I’ll be at the USA/Australia game in Hartford. If the Wireless Gods are in a good mood, I may try my hand at *gulp* live blogging.

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the Conference Finals, and the New Yotk Times is writing about… San Antonio?

I guess beggars can’t be choosers.

For This Coach, the Orders Come From His Wife

The Silver Stars of the W.N.B.A. have a husband-and-wife act that flouts convention. Imagine Katie Holmes getting top billing over Tom Cruise, or Gavin Rossdale singing backup for Gwen Stefani.

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