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Whoa, who’s going to guard EDD? (Paging Nneka! Paging Nneka!).

Snap judgment: EDD for ROY.

To Russia with love? Sure, Piph wants to play in the Olympics, but damn, girl, you’re important to this team (see last year).

Snap judgment: Sky needs to get a comfortable lead in the East so they can hold on and make the playoffs.

Who’s going to light a fire under the Mercury? They couldn’t have looked less interested in playing yesterday — and that was on defense (as always) and on offense.

Snap judgment: Corey’s on the hot seat.

What a difference a year makes: How much fun was the Tulsa (Yes, TULSA, ESPN!)/Mystics game?!? Whoop! Whoop!

Snap judgment:  Coach K & T split COY awards.

Rome wasn’t re-built in a day, nor was the Detroit Shock/Newark Liberty. Even if Ford and Pierson get healthy, defense and offense are an issue.

Snap judgment: Liberty don’t make the playoffs.

Yes, it’s going to be a loooong season in San Antonio and Seattle.

Snap judgment: Storm and Silver Stars get the first and second picks in the 2014 draft.

“Baby, you can drive my (reaaaaally, reaaaally) nice car!” The happiest point guard in the west is Ms. Harding. The happiest MVP candidate is Ms. Parker.

Snap judgment: The Minny/LA rivalry will heat up big time. Expect technicals.

Snap judgment, two: Hollywood rediscovers the Sparks.

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by something orange yesterday.

In San Antonio, the Silver Stars kept creeping back, but Parker swatted away any hope  – LA moves on.

In NY, things were going along rather swimmingly for the Lib, until Kara “fess up, you never thought I’d make it in the WNBA, much less win Olympic gold” Lawson completed a four-point play followed by a wide-open three. Bye-bye NY – CT awaits the next round.

Neither LA nor CT were particularly impressive (though I’d bet a nickel Debbie enjoyed the West games more than the East games – and I will admit, I like me a high scoring game as much as anyone), but that’s not the point right now. Winning and moving on to the Conference Finals is.

All eyes are on today’s games (Harding leads Dream to a steal; Lynx hold on by their claws).

Speaking of the Dream – from Full Court:“Basketball is everything to me”: De Souza’s story of struggle and triumph

And their opponent, Indy: – from the Star: Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn keeps pushing toward goals

Dunn described herself as a die-hard Democrat and has aligned herself with women’s causes. At the 2011 women’s NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis, she was honorary chairman of an event for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. She said she was influenced by discrimination against blacks in the South.

“I grew up seeing that. And it was heart-breaking,” she said. “Now I continue to see how gays and lesbians are discriminated against. I just cannot hardly tolerate any type of discrimination. It’s really hard for me. I think that was instilled in me by my grandparents.”

If only every member of the WBCA had her courage and conviction to do the right thing.

Mechelle says the Storm is all-business for Game 2

Storm veteran Katie Smith knows how tough it is to try to repeat as WNBA champion. She came close to doing it with Detroit in 2006-07, but the Shock lost the latter year in a five-game series with Phoenix.

So Smith has been keeping an eye on defending champion Minnesota this season, watching to see how the Lynx are doing with the mental grind of attempting to win two titles in a row.

“Watching them play, from the outside, they haven’t relaxed,” Smith said. “You see there’s not a lack of intensity. People are diving on the floor; against Atlanta [on Sept. 7] they went two overtimes and gritted that out. They take pride in what they do. It tells you they’ve got their minds on business. It’s not, ‘We’re the champs and we can walk out and just win.’ They go out and prove it.”

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Unless, of course, you’re the LA Sparks and have to play your opening round at Galen. No never mind, though, as the SASS will have to stew on their way back to San Antonio, as they saw their lead slip away into a LA win.

At the Casino, life was probably a little more interesting than the Sun wanted, what with New York hanging around until the end, but Tina’s points made the difference and the Sun won their first playoff game since ’08. (Yikes!) Oh, and Carolyn, honestly, wear the bloody reading glasses. You’re IQ will go up 50 points if you’re not improvising because you can’t read what someone else wrote for you.

How Slam Online do in their preview? WNBA Playoff Preview Who will reign victorious in the first round of the WNBA Playoffs?

Looking at tonight, Mechelle says: Seattle’s identity still taking shape and Jayda adds: As playoffs begin, Storm healthy but still a bit unsure.  There’s a little more optimism here: Storm rested, ready to test mettle in playoffs

From the Runner Up MVP: Tamika Catchings would love to add WNBA title to sterling resume

The Pioneer Press says For Minnesota Lynx’s title defense, mum’s the word,

the Lynx site is busy Breaking Down The Lynx’s Record-Setting Regular Season, Fox Sports has Old and new mesh well for WNBA’s Lynx, while Sports Page Magazine offers As playoffs begin, coaches assess the West.  

LSU pays attention to their alum: Augustus, Hightower Set for WNBA Playoffs as does PSU: Storm and Former Lady Lion Standout Wright Open WNBA Playoffs Friday and the Blue Raiders: Alysha Clark and Seattle Storm open WNBA Playoffs on Friday

In the awards derby:

Hays: Charles wins MVP, thanks Thibault

Kara Lawson Receives 2012 Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award

Sun’s Montgomery earns Sixth Woman Award

Smith: Toliver transforms into MIP

This from WaPo: Former Terrapin Kristi Toliver, eases up and excels for WNBA’s Sparks

During her first three seasons in the WNBA, former Maryland all-American Kristi Toliverfaced a more formidable adversary than any opponent wearing a different jersey: her own internally corrosive passion.

This year, however, Toliver began to dilute the more acidic aspects of her intensity. As a result, the guard had her best season as a professional and played a vital role in helping the Los Angeles Sparks reach the WNBA playoffs.

From those teams not playing:

Voepel: Magical for Merc but not Mystics

Hays: Behind-the-scenes with Washington

Hays: Gaines on Griner, prospects

From Fox Sports: Griner’s skills tower over compatibility issues and from Swish Appeal: Is Phoenix Ready For Brittney Griner?

And from Hoopfeed: How to “fix” the WNBA Draft Lottery Problem

From the College ranks:

Out of Sacto: California law will aid hurt athletes

Out of Connecticut: A Lobster Tail. Tale: This one’s above and beyond basketball

This is the story of someone’s Warholian 15 minutes. And how it morphed into a narrative of inspiration. And how it reminds us, during this season of playoffs, pigskins and pennant races, that sports are for win or lose, not life or death.

It has particular relevance here on the day the WNBA Playoffs begin and women’s basketball goes national again for a few weeks. This is one the nation needs to know: How humanity transcends the rivalry in the country’s only two outposts where women’s basketball is part of the culture.

Here is the two-minute drill version: A little girl in Niantic asked a man named Don MacKenzie to save an 80-year-old, 17-pound lobster from what would become a date with a bib and butter. And now somewhere around $5,000 has been raised from Connecticut to the Pat Summitt Foundation.

No, really

The Pacer at UT-Martin has: Pat Head Summitt: The story behind the women’s basketball legend

Out of UT Knoxville: Bashaara Graves loves her hometown, and Lady Vols

Also out of UT Knoxville — you knew this was coming: Debby Jennings files suit against UT for ‘unlawful discrimination’; says Pat Summitt was told she would not return as coach

From the Richmond Times: Offseason attrition makes VCU’s women’s basketball coach road rockier

From Naples, Fl: FGCU notebook: Women’s hoops ready to work

A little WATN? in Boiler-land: Wisdom-Hylton rejoins Purdue women’s basketball program

An update from the Illini: Tate: Bollant builds support system

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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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#1 Ashland (OH) v #2 Shaw (N.C.) in San Antonio on CBS Sports Network. To win, Shaw’s going to have to stop Kari Daugherty (a transfer from DI Dayton), who averages 21.2 points and 14.0 rebounds per game.

Those Ohio Eagles have been bloggin‘. Find out more about those N.C. Bears here.

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but you’ve got to wonder if (and that’s a qualified “if the tall Aussie doesn’t return) we didn’t see the WNBA finalists in action last night.

True, Indy needed a last second basket (from Bobbitt!) to squeak out a win over Washington — but they did get the win.

Not a lot of drama in Minnesota after the first quarter — the Lynx simply ran over the Storm.Yah, the Lynx are having fun being number one but, writes Tim Leighton at the Pioneer Press,

The Lynx, however, are leaving elevated excitement levels to their fans.

“The bottom line is that we haven’t done anything yet,” head coach Cheryl Reeve said. “We have a lot of work left to do, and we haven’t seen San Antonio yet. I don’t know if I am ready to say we are the team to beat, but we have put ourselves in a position to gain a lot of respect.”

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And here are

your All Star Reserves.

Speaking of the ASG, if you’re going to San Antone (and it’s truly worth the trip!), here’s some news on the planned activities.

Also, check out this panel featuring LL, SS, TT and Lynette. It airs Thursday, July 21.

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So, you know who

the All-Stars are. Now Swish Appeal asks: Who Are The Top Candidates For Reserves?

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Swoopes is ready for season with Shock

“It was a no-brainer,” Edwards said. “I mean, if she wasn’t (already) playing, how wonderfully blessed would we be if she is capable of playing. I wish she wasn’t struggling with a swollen knee but yes, she has brought everything I thought she could to the team. I’m very impressed with her.”

In Atlanta, Lindsey Harding Gives Dream Another Scorer

Connecticut is Moving On Without Sandrine Gruda and there’s the matter of A Player and A Symbol: Native American WNBA Guard Has Dual Responsibilities

In Phoenix, Penny Taylor treasures her career and Seth says the Merc are Bigger, Stronger, Tougher

In Minnesota, Lynx rookie Maya Moore talks: Bob Sansevere listens

San Antonio is busy Revitalizing the Silver Stars

In New(ark) York, a Rookie in W.N.B.A. Who Is Veteran in Life’s Lessons Faces Battle to Make Liberty

On draft day last month, the Liberty acquired Breland, a 6-foot-3 forward, from Minnesota, which selected her in the second round with the 13th overall pick.

This is business. Breland has to absorb a new system and prove herself quickly to stick around for the Liberty’s June 5 opener at Atlanta. But she is getting her chance to become a professional, armed with a new perspective forged on the hard road from diagnosis to remission.

In Chicago, the New Sky coach Chatman is not new to everyone


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