Posts Tagged ‘Sheila Johnson’

Wisconsin hung with Gonzaga through the first, and then the Bulldogs ran away with the win.

Speakin’ of dogs, the Danes are still undefeated.

Wow – BU has not had a fun first year in the Patriot League.

Why don’t people listen when I say “‘Ware the Wabbits”? In the first half, the Lions got kicked but good by South Dakota State. Penn State then got their rabbit’s foot working and it looked like they were going to recover from a 20pt. deficit to escape with a win. But no, the Jackrabbits pull a huge win upset out of their hat.

Yes, I see you, undefeated Indiana — but Iowa looms on January 2nd.

Eastern Michigan goes up against Big Blue — and earns its first loss of the season, 89-75.

Graham puts the spotlight on some deserving teams and coaches: WCC offers some of nation’s best basketball

What college soccer fans have known for years looks increasingly a fact of life in basketball. Teams that treat the West Coast Conference as a little guy put themselves at risk of a big surprise. 

Gonzaga’s win at Wisconsin on Tuesday night finished a Midwestern sweep that began with a win at Ohio State and cemented the Bulldogs as the team atop the rankings. But this isn’t just about the WCC’s flagship program, the one with three Sweet 16 appearances and a regional final since coach Kelly Graves arrived. Four teams from the conference appear in this week’s rankings, teams with a combined 33-2 overall record and 9-1 record against major conferences this season. 

What used to be the six power conferences, including the old Big East, were the only leagues a season ago that ranked ahead of the WCC in RPI. Two seasons ago, the WCC ranked eighth among all conferences. That is in contrast to the previous decade, when the league finished better than 12th on just two occasions. Credit the arrival of a proven program like BYU with some of the improvement, but it’s also about growth from programs like Saint Mary’s and San Diego, which advanced to the semifinals of the WNIT two seasons ago, finished second in the league for the second season in a row last season and now finds a home in the mid-major rankings for the first time.

Let’s get this hype started: Duke v. UConn, December 17th.

John Altavilla – Duke-UConn: It’s More Than A Game and Another 1 vs. 2 Just A Week Away For UConn

Mechelle & Michelle: Top Teams Face Off

Ouch: Kentucky’s Stallworth sidelined after knee surgery

Good news: Maryland’s Frese celebrates son’s success in beating leukemia

So, just how happy are the Sun? 

Asked how he was doing after his Liberty ended up fourth in the WNBA draft lottery Tuesday, New York coach/general manager Bill Laimbeer joked, “Oh, I’m just destroyed and heartbroken.”

He was totally kidding, of course. Last year, with the “3 to See” lottery, coming in fourth left Mystics’ president/managing partner Sheila Johnson visibly stricken and disappointed.

But this year, while No. 1 is coveted as always — Connecticut has the top selection, followed by Tulsa, San Antonio, and New York — the talent available for the top four picks is not perceived to have a precipitous fall-off between selections.

Speaking of the W: Michael Cooper interview, Part II: The Atlanta Dream’s offseason, the 2014 WNBA Draft, and Pat Riley’s influence

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draftees have a better chance to surprise this year.

Mechelle says the WNBA draft hinges on the No. 4 pick

Last September when the WNBA draft lottery was held, Washington president/managing partner Sheila Johnson couldn’t hide the look of frozen horror when the Mystics got the No. 4 pick. Fourth was the “tough-luck” spot in a draft where there were perceived to be three prizes.

Washington’s woes were not Mike Thibault’s worry that day. He was still coach of Connecticut and focused on the playoffs. But almost seven months later, the No. 4 pick doesn’t look as bleak as it did last fall, and now it’s Thibault’s choice to make.

Remember when Swish Appeal set up their 13 to Watch? Now Nate offers up A preliminary draft board for the 2013 WNBA Draft

Last year, I posted an essay about the evaluation of draft prospects in terms of minimizing risk, drawing from principles outlined in the widely-read book Moneyball. Since then, I’ve set out to see if there are tangible ways to weigh a prospect’s value by their level of risk relative to past prospects based upon a set of red flags and similarity ratings. The following is a partial draft board based what I’ve been able to put together.

From the Des Moines Register: Iowa State’s Prins, Poppens bullish on WNBA teams’ interest

From the Daily Princetonian: Rasheed looks to go pro after Princeton

From the Bleacher Report: WNBA Draft Order 2013: Teams in Best Position to Acquire Elite Talent

Here’s the espnW’s first-round mock draft

Full Court offers up their WNBA 2013 draft preview: One, two, three, and then…

Some interesting dribs and drabs on the college season:

From Zach Neiner at Penn State: Breaking the stigma of women’s basketball

In December 2011, I sat in the Ernie Davis dining hall at Syracuse University with a friend watching, for a moment, Syracuse battle West Virginia in an empty Carrier Dome.

We made jokes about the game, itself, and attendance. Before this school year, I carried the same stigma as most do toward women’s basketball.

“Women’s basketball?” we thought. “What’s that? It’s certainly no men’s basketball.”

A lot has changed since that day.

For more than six months, I have covered women’s basketball, quickly learning to admire the beauty, the athleticism and the competition of the game. And how can one not?

From Fort Myers: FGCU ready to move on after disappointing end to season

Sharing the same facilities every day at a small school, the Florida Gulf Coast Universitymen’s and women’s basketball teams also share a close bond.

So it’s not that the women weren’t happy when the men, whom they consider brothers, made a historic run in the NCAA tournament last month. It’s just that seeing the program achieve unprecedented success was bittersweet after the women’s own promising season ended in disappointment.

From the AP’s Gary Graves: Louisville expects to grow from title-game loss

Add Lee Michaelson: For Louisville, season may be over but the magic lives on

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Seems to have happened with the blog formatting (nothing I did, I can assure you! on edit: But, hey! I fixed it! Magic!), but perhaps it’s the internets reflecting the wacko-ness of the ping pong balls.

Karma’s a b*tch, ain’t it Sheila?

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The US 17 is iffish about defense, but loves to score: USA U17 Women Sprint To 131-89 Win Over South Korea To Open Play In 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship

“I remember thinking at halftime it was so unusual to have 70 points and only be up by 20,” said USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas). “I thought Korea really shot the ball well, especially early. They cooled off a little bit in the second half, and I thought our team did a really good job of adjusting after halftime, getting over screens and getting a hand up. It was an unselfishly played game on our part, and everybody was looking for each other. I think their full-court press hurt Korea, but they stayed with it pretty much the entire game, and we were just getting layups on the back end of it. Diamond DeShields, Linnae Harper and Lindsay Allen, they all did such a great job of seeing down the floor and finding their teammates behind the press. It was a nice way to open the tournament for us.”

The U18 team enjoys both sides of the game: USA Women’s U18 Team Remains Perfect With 87-36 Victory Over Colombia, Advances To Medal Semifinals

Alexis Prince (Edgewater / Orlando, Fla.) scored a game-high 19 points to lead the 2012 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team (3-0) to a 87-36 victory over Colombia (1-2) to close out FIBA Americas U18 Championship preliminary play on Friday afternoon in Gurabo, Puerto Rico. The game, which saw all nine available U.S. players contribute no less than four points apiece, advanced the U.S. to the semifinals as the No. 1 seed out of Group A.

From coach Meier:

What do you need to work on heading into the semifinal?
In a perfect world I’d like to not have to call a timeout to make an adjustment. They went on a little run there and cut it to 18 at the start of the second half. We had to call a timeout to make an adjustment. That adjustment led to a 25-0 run. The negative is that we had to call a timeout. The positive is, that was a ridiculously impressive response to that timeout.

They’ll face Canada at 8:15pm EST – streaming available.

Las tres caballeras de Los Lynxs are back in action and wasted no time making mincemeat of the Mystics. (photos) I gotta wonder – is Shelia Johnson’s conscience twitching at all, or has she forgotten the team she’s undermined so totally?

Same ole same ole with San Antonio and Tulsa. The Shock keep it close (Liz ain’t due until the 30th) and San Antonio pulls out their 10th win in a row. And yes, Sophia gets my MVP vote.

Sorry, Pokey, but Prince didn’t help – maybe there are other issues? and Nate ponders: Chicago Sky Turnover Woes Continue In 82-76 Loss To Atlanta Dream

After the Chicago Sky’s loss to the Connecticut Sun on July 13, a friend of mine who was at Allstate Arena texted that Sky center Sylvia Fowles looked like she spent most of the game “hiding” on offense.

It almost sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, even in the world of basketball where people just above average height for human beings look tiny – the 6’6″ All-Star who would later try to dunk in London can’t possibly expect to hide herself with almost all eyes on her, especially without guard Epiphanny Prince to shoulder the burden of offensive focal point.

And yet, sure enough when you look at footage of that game you see a player literally hiding herself in plain sight

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the SASS stayed hot. This time, they got a huge game from someone we haven’t heard a lot about so far this season and managed to squeak out a win over the Merc.

It was a happy day-after-the-fourth in LA as the Sparks toyed with a blow out and then kept the Lynx at bay. (And why is there “no photo available” for Toliver, ESPN?). That’s two losses in a row for the Lynx, but Roman isn’t panicking: “Do they have a go-to player in a tough game?”

A little Shock overload:

From Tulsa World: Cambage, stars to play in Olympics, then rejoin WNBA teams

Kloppenburg said the break creates “two seasons” for the WNBA. For Tulsa, it also creates two teams.

“She’s going to create a whole other dynamic we don’t have,” Kloppenburg said of the 20-year-old Cambage. “All of a sudden we have somebody that we can throw to down there that can really finish up around the rim.”

From Swishin’ and Dishin’: 7/5/12 Podcast: Fireworks just starting to boom for Gary Kloppenburg’s Tulsa Shock

From Mechelle: These are trying times in Tulsa

Temeka Johnson always heard she was too little, and just never paid any attention. Courtney Paris heard she was too big, and tried to ignore it. Now, here they both are with the Tulsa Shock, the team that wants so much to fit in.

In its third WNBA season in Oklahoma, the Shock’s record so far isn’t much different than the first two seasons, when they won a combined nine games. Tulsa is 2-12, pretty much the categorical opposite of Western Conference-leading Minnesota, at 13-2.

But is there light at the end of the tunnel? Or is it just a mirage? The Shock has lost four games by three points or fewer. You don’t need to be completely delusional to picture Tulsa as 6-8, in which case it would be hanging with Seattle and San Antonio in playoff contention.

At least, I don’t think you have to be delusional. There seems to be hope in Tulsa … or at least not abject despair.

Personally, I think you need to travel to D.C. to get a solid dose of “abject despair.” In Tulsa, the leadership cares — might even have a clue. Since May, 2005, Washington fans have watched Sheila Johnson fumble and mumble the Mystics into a dysfunctional mess. Yah, espnW, Sheila Johnson writes the owner’s manual... but has anyone actually read the thing?

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well, seems like Mystics fans ain’t buyin’.

Pretty amazing, huh. It was one thing for Trudi to keep handing that “youth” line to the press after every loss and long after she’d cut half the rookies and parked Dunlap on the bench, but it’s quite another to have this go out post-season to fans.

And saying that making the playoffs is the goal of a team that will be in its 15th season? As bballfan2005 said recently in another thread, when 4 of the 6 teams in a conference make the playoffs, that’s hardly an accomplishment.

The Sheila and Her Cohorts can’t undo the damage they did with the October Massacre, but until this letter, I was still holding out some hope that they’d take some positive steps forward after this last season. With this letter, though, I think it’s clear they really don’t care about the franchise or the fans, and they have no intention of spending the time or money to do things right now. They took the cheap and easy way out by keeping Trudi. They have their jersey sponsor, and they seem satisfied with that.

What a mess they have made of this franchise. Crying or Very sad

And only in a little niche sport like the WNBA would the things they’ve done, and a letter like this, go unmentioned and unridiculed by most of the sports media

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Oh, the pain

of being a Mystics fan.

The much anticipated retrospective from the DC Basket Cases is up (or, should it be down):First Among Worst

Over the years, we’ve suffered through many a miserable season. But without a doubt, the recently concluded Mystics 2011 season was, for us, the very worst ever. Worse even than the 3-27 inaugural season? Yes. Having a women’s professional basketball team in our Nation’s capital was all new and exciting. There were large and enthusiastic crowds, and, most important, there was the promise of better things to come. We had fun. Worse even than the season of 2008, which we used to think of as the franchise’s low point? Yes. Because most of the misery and the failure of this season, unlike 2008, was the result of self-inflicted wounds. This season need never have happened this way, and should never have happened this way.

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The fastest W player to 5000 points celebrated that accomplishment with a win. Behind Candice Dupree’s sweet game, the Merc stayed red-hot, taking down the (yes, I’m going to say it) Myserable Mystics.

Speaking of Myserable, did you check out Mechelle’s chat? Gotta love opinionated journalists:

Judith (Wash DC): Is the Mystics’ front office tone deaf? Following up the off-season debacle, and with the team now at 2-9, they’ve just invited fans to PAY MONEY to attend a pre-game panel with Sheila Johnson, Ted Leonsis, and Laurel Richie. Forty dollars for season ticketholders, 60 bucks in advance for those who aren’t, $70 at the door. The price includes a game ticket and “food & beverage (cash bar).” CASH BAR for those prices? Really? I will gladly pay $70 for your ticket, Mechelle, if you’ll go and ask questions.Seriously though, now the fans have to pay for a little pre-game chat with the owners?

Mechelle Voepel: When I first saw this, I thought, “Every time we think the Mystics have outdone themselves in PR gaffes, they come up with something new to surprise us.” I wouldn’t pay a nickel for this “opportunity,” and neither should anybody else. It’s insulting.

After the Battle of the Replacements, it’s too early to call the coaching change “brilliant.” ‘Cause it depends on how you spin the story. If you’re an LA fan, there’s cause for concern (the Sparks were playing the Shock. And they were 18 down.) But there’s cause for optimism: they did come back for a 79-74 win.

The Lynx notched an impressive win, stopping the Fever’s seven-game win streak IN Indiana.

“The biggest thing for us was that we finally locked down and defended in the second half,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “We were disappointed with how well we let the Fever move the basketball, we thought they really had their wheels rolling.”

In New Jersey, an uninspired fourth quarter by the Liberty gave the Sun their second (Only two? Ouch!) road win.

“A lot of the games we don’t give ourselves a chance to finish the game,” Montgomery said. “We’re down so much that we exhaust so much energy trying to come back, that when we come even close to coming back we kind of run out of gas. It was close the whole game and we gave ourselves a chance to win it and we did.”

The victory was coach Thibault’s 167th , tying him with Anne Donovan and Michael Cooper for second place in WNBA history.

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Talkin’ money…

Leonsis: Mystics are losing money, but franchise will survive

When Sheila Johnson announced earlier this month the Washington Mystics got rid of their general manager and coach in a cost-cutting move, the reason she gave for the drastic measure was keeping “the franchise alive,” leaving some to wonder if the team was about to go under.

Ted Leonsis attempted to allay that fear in an interview last week, and others around the WNBA, including the commissioner, gave a more upbeat analysis of the league as a whole.

We shall see if seriously pissing off the fanbase will add to those fears.

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Q piles on

Mystics Hiring Process Could Send The Wrong Message To Fans

Try to imagine the scenario of persuading a basketball fan who had heard a little something about the team to go see a game: how exactly would you explain to someone on the fence about the WNBA why the team let go a Coach of the Year candidate that led the team to its best record in franchise history and an Eastern Conference title?

Sure, times are tough and it’s not hard to believe that they “weren’t successful on the business side” as Mystics president and managing partner Dr. Sheila Johnson said during her chat with the media. And it’s also hard to critique the process without knowing exactly how things unfolded. So this is not about their decision to hire Lacey: she very well could build on the momentum the organization was building as someone who has already been there as an assistant.

This is about the process of getting to that decision – it’s not that hard to imagine that from an outsider’s perspective, the move screams instability after the organization finally appeared to find something strongly resembling it.

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you REALLY feel.

From today’s chat:

Rosa: Have you ever heard anything as strange as the Sheila Johnson media phone call? Has the Mystic’s organization lost its collective mind?

MV: Very rarely have I ever heard someone on a teleconference so apparently ill-prepared to answer legitimate questions. It’s hard to understand how someone could run a business with such little grasp of public relations, customer service and dealing with the media. If the Mystics sought to make changes for their financial security, that’s their choice … but considering the season they just had, they needed to communicate the “why” to their fans. They needed to respect their fans, period. Instead, the fans got condescension and illogic. I can’t fathom why anyone would do business like that. Being condescending and insulting to the media is one thing – we get that at times. Doing it to your customers is a whole other issue, and it makes no sense.

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unless it’s censored like a North Korean newspaper. (Anyone takin’ odds?)

Trudi Lacy will have an online chat on Thursday at 2:00PM.  http://www.wnba.com/mystics/news/lacey_110410.html

Gottal love the timing, what with it conflicting with Mechelle’s 2pm ESPN chat.

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(Considering what DC fans are saying, I can’t imagine it was….)

From Mechelle: Mystics brass baffles fans – Despite coming off of team’s best season, Mystics coaching carousel continues

Maybe Sonny & Cher’s “I Got You Babe” should accompany Washington Mystics fans through what appears to be their perpetual voyage of the damned.

Just as Bill Murray woke up again and again to the same song in “Groundhog Day,” the Mystics’ faithful must wonder how many more times they have to hear about a new coach/new direction for a franchise that never seems to run out of ways to pull the rug out from under them.

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who may be feeling like the Great Pumpkin is headed right at’em.

As you our readers know, we were incredibly upset over the news about Angela Taylor. Now, hearing about the loss of Julie, we are simply numb. Why should we continue to be emotionally invested in this franchise? We were told when Angela and Julie were hired that this time it would be different, but as with Charlie Brown, the ball still just keeps getting snatched away. Why should we continue to invest our money and emotions, only to be disappointed time and time again? Those are the questions we have been asking ourselves today. Frankly, right now, we just don’t think we have it in ourselves any longer to care . . . certainly not to the extent we did. Congratulations, Mystics Front Office. Your business acumen has succeeded in driving a wedge between your product and your heretofore most loyal customers. A few months ago, we would’ve said such a thing was impossible. You proved us wrong.

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Oh. Dear. Really?

Trudi Lacey hired as Mystics coach, GM

Let me let Clay say what I was thinking:

So much for Sheila Johnson running a quality franchise …

Dumping a proven GM, and a proven coach, for a nice woman who has proven to be hopelessly inadequate as a WNBA coach or GM is simply incomprehensible.

This is not only bad news for the dwindling number of serious Mystics’ fans, it’s very bad news for the league as well.

My second thought was, “Shit. You mean if we had waited we could have gotten Angela AND Julie??!! SHIT!”

Poor Mystics fans. And I thought we had it bad in Newark.

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The Mystics’ Ted reads

the USA Today article and says

I am very pleased that we are mentioned in this article.

I still don’t understand why the media can’t get facts correct though as per my blog post of yesterday.

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