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of regular season. *sad face* But playoffs! *happy face*

Star Tribune: Sunday Q&A with Lynx guard Anna Cruz

AZ Central: Mercury’s Kelsey Bone to take anthem protests into WNBA playoffs

Dallas: Wings’ first Dallas season did not go as planned but talent on roster gives reason for hope

The WNBA’s first season in Dallas-Fort Worth was full of uncertainty. How would the newly-minted Dallas Wings fit into the saturated North Texas sports market? How would former All-Stars Skylar Diggins and Glory Johnson return after missing most if not all of 2015?

Now as the Wings approach their season finale in Indiana on Sunday, the answers are clearer. Dallas, currently 11-22, will miss the postseason. The team drew an average crowd of 5,298 fans, none larger than the 7,275 that came for the home opener at the College Park Center at UT-Arlington.

Washington: Emma Meesseman is on track to be the WNBA’s best three point shooter

Washington Post: A postseason berth out of reach, Mystics wrap up disappointing season Sunday

The Washington Mystics began this season seeking to advance deeper into the playoffs following three straight first-round losses. With one game left, Coach Mike Thibault and his players instead are left to deconstruct what went wrong in failing to qualify for the postseason.

Connecticut: Still ‘A Culture To Develop’ In Sun, Coach Says

Not long after the Connecticut Sun play their last game of the season Sunday in Washington, Curt Miller’s life will change again.

It’s already been quite the two years for Miller, the coach of Sun. He has moved from his resignation as coach of Indiana’s women’s basketball program in 2014, to an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks in 2015, to the coach of the Sun and, finally, adding the title of Sun general manager this season.

“I have been incredibly fortunate,” Miller said. “It’s been a whirlwind.”

More on Catch: Tamika Catchings: A reluctant superstar

Sometimes superstars need to be reminded they’re superstars. Doesn’t happen often. Actually, almost never.

But when you start out a gangly, shy, insecure girl with a wobbly self-image — not ever really fitting in — it’s hard to see a superstar in the mirror.

When you wear clunky hearing aids that kids relentlessly tease you about.

When you stop wearing those hearing aids to avoid the embarrassment and people think you’re ignoring them, that you’re rude or you’re dumb.

Knoxville News Sentinel: Tamika Catchings ready to leave a lasting imprint

.com: On The Eve Of Her Regular Season Finale, Catchings Feeling Different Kind Of Nerves

Sweet. From Slam: Captain America – Teresa Edwards laid the foundation for the US Women’s Basketball dynasty.

As the men’s national team’s leading Olympic scorer, Carmelo Anthony has reached a legendary status in international basketball. He has three Golds, more than any other man to wear the red, white and blue. But not the most for an American.

Teresa Edwards has four Olympic Golds.

Edwards, a 5-11 point guard from Cairo, GA, played before the WNBA was even an idea. There’s not much footage of Edwards out there, but luckily, Katie Smith was around to see Edwards play.

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So semi-shouted the gentleman Ohio State fan (now from Florida) with a big grin on his face as the fans at Madison Square Garden roared and groaned their way through a double-overtime playoff loss.

True dat.

Three of the four playoff games have been tight tests as teams shored up their defense, tighten up their offense, and tried to ride through small mistakes that were suddenly magnified to game changers. There simply is no favorite this yearexcept for the team you’re cheering for – and that, Mr. Silver, is something you should be shouting from the rooftops.

In case you were a classroom teacher-parent-admnistrator-scheduler trying to negotiation the silliness that is this September’s school schedule, here’s what you missed:

Phoenix-Tulsa

Tulsa fought hard to get to the playoffs, but Game One was all swatty-swat-swat-swat-swat… well, you know the rest. Defensive Player of the Year made sure the game was all about her.

Brittney Griner literally rolled into the pregame news conference to announce that she had been named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

She arrived at the platform on a hoverboard, one of those two-wheeled contraptions that looks like a Segway without the handles.

The first time Phoenix Mercury general manager Jim Pitman saw his star center riding around on her new toy, he admitted it made him “very nervous.”

“But I’ve seen other people ride it and she is, by far, the best at it,” Pitman said. “So I feel a little better about that.”

Even in the face of the most publicly tumultuous year of her basketball career, it’s really difficult not to feel good about Griner in any context.

Chicago-Indiana

What’s lovely and brilliant about Elena earning the MVP is this simple truth: She’s an extraordinary basketball talent, and we just had no idea if she (and we) would get an opportunity to delight in her skills. For this year, at least, it was a resounding, “Yes!” (Oh, and the Times like one of her skills a lot: Elena Delle Donne’s M.V.P. Year Includes Mastery of Free Throws)

Of course, you’d be foolish to count Indy out. And speaking of counting, Mr. Silver: Indiana Fever among league leaders in sponsorship sales, profitability

New York-Washington – Prince was magnificent, Tina was ferocious, Latta was timely and Lawson modeled the resilience that defined the Mystics. Neither team gave an inch. What. a. game. In the end, as the Times wrote, Once Again, Mystics Have Liberty’s Number

In their first playoff game at Madison Square Garden since 2010, the Liberty treated their fans to a thrilling 50 minutes of basketball, but they now stand one game away from elimination after an 86-83 double-overtime loss on Friday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In a game that had 23 lead changes, the Mystics had an 82-80 lead and were on the precipice of closing out the Liberty when Mystics guard Tayler Hill was fouled with 62 seconds remaining.

William Rhoden wrote: Liberty Relying on Epiphanny Prince to Return to Her Old Ways – but first, they need to hit their free throws.

Leading up to the game, Gene at WaPo wrote: Mystics count on balance in WNBA playoffs, without a star to guide them

Charged with rebuilding the Washington Mystics, Coach-General Manager Mike Thibault arrived in December 2012 at a considerable disadvantage because of some horrible luck. In the WNBA draft lottery three months earlier, the Mystics, with the league’s worst record, had drawn the fourth pick and eventually missed out on Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins.

Without a franchise player, Thibault began assembling a team in which every member of the roster would be asked to contribute. The result has been three straight playoff appearances, including this year as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

WTOP offered: Mystics bring local flavor to WNBA playoff run

As we wind toward October, many Washington sports fans may feel disillusioned about the “P” word. But there’s a playoff-bound team here in the District, one with a chance to break a title drought with a pair of area natives guiding the way.

That team, if you haven’t been paying attention, is the Washington Mystics, who begin their quest for a first-ever WNBA title Friday in New York. And while they received big news this week about their new future home across the Anacostia, they have a chance right now to ensure they have a banner to hang when they open that building in 2018.

If the Mystics can win this year, they’ll do so with two Alexandria, Virginia, natives in the backcourt, rising defensive star Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and one of the league’s icons, Kara Lawson.

After Trader Bill earned COY honors (though, as my seatmate suggested, not coach of the last 20 seconds of the game) honors, Mechelle reflected: Laimbeer really was the best option for New York to succeed

The day the Liberty announced they were not bringing him back, I spoke with Laimbeer, and he didn’t have anything negative to say about the organization. He didn’t sound upset or angry.

He explained how the former Detroit Shock organization was different from New York. In Detroit, Laimbeer felt that as coach and general manager, he had a lot of autonomy and answered to only one person: the president and CEO of the Pistons and Shock.

With Madison Square Garden, which owns the Liberty, Laimbeer thought there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Although, that’s my phrase for it. The phrase he used was, “They’ve got a lot of moving pieces.”

My biggest frustration with the Liberty, who are an original WNBA franchise, had always been that there were people who had power — at least in name — with the organization but were not entirely engaged with the Liberty.

The AP’s Melissa Murphy offered this: Liberty Shot-Blocker Stokes Contender for Rookie of Year

Stokes has transitioned from defensive role player for the three-time defending champion Huskies to multifaceted spark plug off the bench for the resurgent Liberty, who face the Washington Mystics on Friday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

“She came in and played like a veteran from the start,” said New York coach Bill Laimbeer. “I think that’s a UConn upbringing, they’ve played so many big games. Her defense has been spectacular for us all season long.”

Minnesota-Los Angeles

Yes, Maya was Maya-esque, but that almost wasn’t enough – even with Augustus and Whalen back.

“This team has great leaders that know how to respond,” Moore said. “Everybody had great focus going into the locker room. People were speaking up, talking about what was going on and everybody was saying things that were great – very helpful – so going into the second half with the right mindset, knowing what we want to focus on as well as our energy – it worked out for us.”

Pregame, Pat Borzi wrote: The Lynx’s title hopes confront a much-improved WNBA

Look closely at the royal blue sneakers the Lynx will be wearing for their Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Sparks. Seimone Augustus’s number 33 appears on the back of most. Augustus swears up and down this was a mistake, which is interesting, considering Augustus ordered the shoes from Nike herself.

“Nike sent over the ID and told me to ID them,” Augustus said, laughing after this detail was pointed out to her. “I figured I’d ID mine and they would kind of put everyone else’s on. They decided to put 33 on the back of everybody’s.”

In one of the WNBA’s cooler traditions, Lynx players break out identical brightly-colored sneakers for the playoffs. The color choice falls to Augustus, a nod to her seniority (she’s been with the Lynx longer than anyone, since 2006) and impeccable fashion sense. For a team beset by injuries and the general upheaval from two major trades, having even a sneaker order go wrong seemed so apropos to an off-kilter season that Augustus and her teammates laughed it off.

L.A. needs to stop the turnovers, or else….

In other news:

Australia: Carrie Graf: ‘Barefoot with a basketball and a smile, that’s all that mattered’

It’s 35 degrees, the humidity is overwhelming and chooks are scurrying across the court as Carrie Graf coaches village kids in Micronesia.

For the veteran Canberra Capitals mentor, this is well outside her comfort zone.

With seven WNBL championships and an Olympic bronze medal to her name, Graf is used to ordering the likes of Lauren Jackson about. But a chance to give back to a sport which has given her so much convinced Graf to take her young family on an adventure into the unknown.

Cool! (Though I think the headline should read “against”) FSU Women’s Basketball Shooting 24-Hours of Free Throws for Cancer

Take a Minute: Virginia women’s basketball team works with Special Olympics athletes

Good news for the Red Foxes: Marist’s Jarosz to return to women’s basketball team

Loss in Florida: Palm Beach State College sophomore Benetria Robinson was killed in a shooting

From Florida: 

Even before an important step Tuesday toward the start of the college basketball season in two months, FGCU women’s basketball coach Karl Smesko already has been encouraged by fall workouts…he’s already seen enough to feel good about FGCU’s chances to expand on its perennial success and last season’s first-ever NCAA tournament victory.

Off court: New York Liberty star Tina Charles determined to help her community

From the Huffington Post: Here’s Why You Should Be Paying Attention To The WNBA – “How is it a great time to be a female athlete if you pick and choose who you leave out?” (A Player’s Tribune recap) and How Reshanda Gray Went From South Central LA To The WNBA – “If it wasn’t for where I come from, I wouldn’t be here right now.”

When the WNBA playoffs tip off on Thursday, the Atlanta Dream will be absent in the hunt for a championship. Yet while her team may not have notched a playoff berth, this season caps an unlikely journey from South Central Los Angeles to professional basketball for rookie forward Reshanda Gray.

Raised in the rough LA neighborhood, Gray, 22, shared a one-bedroom apartment with seven other brothers and sisters as well as a difficult upbringing.

“My life as girl growing up, it wasn’t always pretty. I didn’t get the chance to live a normal, happy childhood. There were always challenges,” Gray, choking up, told The Huffington Post in a recent interview.

“Where I’m from, not many people make it out. So it was hard to find that one little push to see something outside of South Central LA,” she said. 

Killing time before the games? Ponder: WHO IS THE BEST [U.S.] [“Modern-era”] WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PLAYER OF ALL TIME?

espnW recently crowned the best female athlete ever. Which got us thinking: Who are the best women’s basketball players in history? Mechelle Voepel and Michelle Smith of espnW, and ESPN’s Rebecca Lobo and Carolyn Peck each ranked their players. We counted the votes and seeded the players accordingly. Now it’s up to you to determine who advances and who is eliminated. Click through the matchups, read Voepel’s take on each player, and be sure to vote in the poll at the bottom of each page — or hit Twitter and vote for your favorite players with the hashtag #WBest(player’s last name). Voting for the first round will run through Monday, Sept. 21.

Might I suggest some write-in votes? From Teresa Edwards.

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After upsetting the Cardinal, USC looked like they had nothing left as they faced Oregon State. But, Coop helped them “raise the roof” and earn a trip to the dance.

If there was a title to the story of the Southern California women’s basketball team over the past decade, it might be: “Promise Lost.”

The talent, the potential, the parade of All-Americans that should have made this one of the premier programs on the West Coast, seemed to dissolve into a smoldering heap every single year.

There was the cruel succession of ACL injuries that cut short the careers of Jackie Gemelos and Stefanie Gilbreath, who were among the most elite recruits in the country when they committed to USC. There were inexplicable late-season losses to lower-division conference teams that would leave the Trojans’ résumé lacking when it came in front of the NCAA committee. There were coaching changes and personality conflicts and, to be very honest, a whole lot of underachievement.

But USC changed the narrative on Sunday night at KeyArena.

Scott Rueck will await the Committee to see if he’s managed to shift the Pac12 paradigm. As the Oregonian asks: If Scott Rueck leads Oregon State women to NCAA Tournament, how big of an accomplishment is it?

Speaking of the Committee, Charlie tries to work through their headache predict AND explain the brackets.

Fordham took any mystery out of the Committee’s hands by upsetting Dayton to claim the A-10 crown. This accomplishment is six years removed from their 0-for season and gives New Zealander Rooney what she missed by a sliver last year: An NCAA berth.

We’ve been watching this unfold over the season: High Point v. Winthrop. In the end, Dequesha McClanahan leads Winthrop to first-ever Big South title

“What a game and what a tournament. I’m very proud of our players, this program and very thankful to our administration and all of our loyal fans and supporters that were here and suffered without a championship for over 30 years,” said Winthrop head coach Kevin Cook. “That’s what really makes it meaningful for them and our team.”

Yes, THAT Kevin Cook.

After an up and down season on and off the court, Nebraskan sophomore Rachel Theriot took control of the Huskers future and guided them to their first Big 10 conference title.

“It was a game where we couldn’t make a shot, but we found a way to win,” Husker coach Connie Yori said. “That says a lot about our mental toughness. We did a great job on the offensive glass. Every game doesn’t come down to playing pretty, but you find a way to win.”

No surprise, the Irish claimed their first AAC title – but were you a little surprised by how close the game was (at first)?

When is two points more than two points? When it’s a basket that sends a figurative bolt of electricity through a team and its fans. And that was exactly what Jewell Loyd’s alley-oop did in the second half of the ACC tournament title game.

The Fighting Irish are champions of their new league, and they will go into the NCAA tournament undefeated at 32-0. They execute offensively, are patient even when things aren’t clicking as well (which is rare, but happens), and are very dependable on defense.

But … they are also just really darn fun to watch.

Yes, a bit of a surprise, because of the upset of South Carolina, but Kentucky falling apart at the end? Not so surprising this season. Tennessee’s SEC title might give them a #1 seed, which would be (be honest) a surprise.

Tennessee adopted the motto of “Grind for Nine” at the beginning of this season, referencing the team’s blue-collar mentality as it pursues the program’s ninth national championship. The Lady Vols haven’t been to the Final Four since 2008, which is also the last year they won a national title. Back then, Pat Summitt coached the Lady Vols, before resigning in 2012 because of health reasons. Warlick, Summitt’s longtime assistant, became the team’s head coach.

The conference tournament title won Sunday was the first for Warlick as a head coach. As she accepted the trophy afterward, she said hello to her longtime mentor, who did not make the trip. “I want to say hi to Pat Summitt,” Warlick said to the crowd. “I know she is watching this broadcast.”

The crowd erupted in cheers.

Yes, most of us had Marist v. Iona penciled in to the MAAC finals. Quinnipiac decided to erase that prediction.

“(Quinnipiac) did a great job executing,” first-year Iona coach Billi Godsey said. “When it comes down to it, we didn’t do a terribly wonderful job of stopping them in the defensive end.”

BTW, there was news in the MAAC quarters as the Rider team scored its biggest win in years — maybe ever — with a 63-56 upset of Fairfield.

Interesting games coming up:

BYU women’s basketball: Cougars will meet “scary” Pacific in WCC semifinals Monday. Of course, the other WCC semi is classic rematch: Gonzaga v. St. Mary’s.

America East: Stony Brook continues to surge under coach Beth O’Boyle — and gets a second shot at Albany for their efforts. Can they pull off the upset – again?

Quakers v. Tigers: Penn (21-6, 11-2 Ivy) and Princeton (20-7, 11-2 Ivy) are both tied atop the Ivy standings and face each other in the season finale at Jadwin Gym on Tuesday (5:30 p.m.). The winner earns the outright Ivy League title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The loser has already clinched second place and therefore, an automatic berth in the WNIT.

Davidson will try and stop Chattanooga‘s quest for the Southern Conference title.

Same old, same old in the Patriot semis: Navy v Holy Cross, Army v. American, with a little extra oomph:

However, Gibbons readily admits the greatest motivation comes from preserving history as Holy Cross wants to prevent Navy from equaling its feat of capturing four consecutive Patriot League Tournament championships. The Crusaders set that standard from 1998 through 2001 under the direction of Gibbons.

“We certainly would like to stop them from tying our record,” Gibbons said. “We’re playing for a lot of alumni who were part of that great run.”

Yup, it’s UConn (with Stewart’s block earning a SportsCenter nod) agains the Cardinals. In the classic, “Careful what you wish for,” the New York Times notes that “Louisville Confronts Elephant in Its Room”

For all the strides the Louisville women have made in becoming a perennial basketball power, the climb to the top remains daunting. Connecticut, the Cardinals’ opponent in the final of the American Athletic Conference tournament Monday night, has won 14 straight against them.

Speaking of former Big East teams: It’s the Mountaineers hunting Bears in the Big 12 title game. Remember Sims’ 48 against West Virginia in January? And the rematch in March? (TV: Fox Sports 1?)

From the Boston Globe, some nice coverage of Barb Stevens at Bentley: Barbara Stevens has Bentley women’s basketball program point toward perfection

This is where it all happens, in Barbara Stevens’s warm and inviting office on the second floor of Bentley University’s Dana Center. A large bookshelf behind her neatly arranged desk in the far left corner of the room is adorned with trophies and nets cut down from Northeast-10 title games and framed photos of the teams she has coached in 28 seasons as the head coach of Bentley’s wildly successful women’s basketball program.

“I keep telling my players if they keep winning them, then I’ll keep putting them up,’’ Stevens jokingly remarked to an office visitor Thursday afternoon.

But this is where Bentley’s unrelenting pursuit of perfection is mapped out on a daily basis. It is where Stevens doggedly prepares through exhaustive film study and advanced scouting. And, as anyone will tell you, Stevens, 58, is nothing if not a evangelical minister of the coaching gospel, “Practice makes perfect.’’

Also from the Globe, there are a couple of back-and-forth stories: Bullying accusations continue against BU coach Kelly Greenberg.

I think we may have heard this coming a few years back: K-State women’s basketball coach Deb Patterson fired after 18 seasons

Happier news out of the Sunflower state: They stumbled, but didn’t fall: Wichita State’s women’s basketball wins second consecutive MVC title. The conference tourney looms.

Coale is guaranteed $1.01 million per season, but bonuses and fringe benefits will lift her annual compensation well beyond that figure. Lot of money for the coach of an 18-13 basketball team that enters the Big 12 Tournament this weekend in the league’s lower division.

But Coale isn’t paid just for basketball. She’s paid for her ambassador skills. She’s paid for her promotional and PR skills. Coale is a virtual spokesmodel for the university, be it talking to engineering alumni or youth groups or coaches all across the country or all of America itself, courtesy of Northwestern Mutual.

When Coale talks about the importance of sport in young girls’ lives, or the importance of education, or the importance of hard work to fulfill dreams, people listen. Some of those people are impressionable. Others are influential. Coale reaches them all. I’ve said it before; Coale’s next job won’t be coaching a basketball team, it will be vice president of the university.

A little W news:

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Doug says: Cash, US women’s basketball team ready to face Angola in their 2nd game of the Olympics

“I was at a point in 2008 where I didn’t want to leave this game with people defining who I was as a player,” Cash said. “Going out with an injury is not what I wanted my legacy to be.”

A conversation with five-time Olympian and basketball great Teresa Edwards helped her refocus with one goal in mind — making it to London. Cash dedicated herself to getting healthy and now that the 32-year-old is back in the Olympics, she is ready to play whoever is next on the U.S. schedule.

From USA Basketball: U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team Practice Quotes

Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx)
Practice looked intense today, did you feel it was a good one?

It was a great practice. We came in. We worked hard. We practiced as if we didn’t play yesterday and don’t play tomorrow. I think it’s why we’re going to be able to play the way we want to tomorrow. We just came in, worked on some things offensively, added a few things and tightened up a few things on defense.

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looking at the other scores, no team was particularly awe-inspiring yesterday.

Let’s just say “Oi, Canada!” (Or, perhaps we should be listening to Becky saying “Nyet to this losing stuff.”

China surprised the Czechs (and many others). Adds Clay: China, France surprise on an interesting first day in London

If day one is any indication, women’s basketball in the 2012 Olympics will be a great show.

About the only game that went as expected was Australia vs. overmatched Great Britain, but otherwise, from Croatia hanging with the U.S. for 30 minutes to Canada exposing Russia to China and France pulling upsets, it was a day for the unexpected – and a great appetizer for what looks like it will be a very entertaining two weeks of basketball.

On the US side, feel free to let the final score fool ya — especially if you took my advice and threw away the first three quarters. Perhaps neither the coaches OR the players should have attended the Opening Ceremonies? <g> Actually, it’s always rather graceless not to give the other team credit for your peckish performance. Says Lee: Croatia makes Team USA work in Olympic opener

From the USA Basketball quote page (no, I wouldn’t mind if this was a running theme):

Do you feel like USA Women’s Basketball is underappreciated for all these streaks and all these records?   Why do you think this team isn’t more popular?  Women’s soccer seems to get more attention.

Auriemma: I have my theories.  I think when you live in the United States and you’re a great women’s basketball player or you’re a great women’s basketball team, you happen to live in a country where the best basketball players in the world live on the men’s team and the best basketball team in the world lives.  You’re always going to be compared to that team or those players and you’re always going to come up short.  That’s just the nature of the game.  Women’s basketball is the most popular team sport in America.  And you’re right, the soccer gets a lot of attention:  once every four years.   During the regular season, during all the other times, women’s basketball gets just about all the attention from any women’s team sport in America.   But when it comes time for the Olympics, it’s like ‘yeah, they’re gonna win.’   That’s unfortunate.  It’s unfair to these players and those that came before them.   I don’t know that there is anything we can do that except just play but it is like UConn.   The only story that’s going to come out of these Olympics is if we lose and then that’ll be a big story.  Then, the U.S. women will be very, very popular all over the world.

Was amused by this turn of phrase in a Yahoo! story:

The decorated ensemble constituting the 2012 USA women’s basketball team have their sights set on extending that streak of Olympic glory to five in London, impressively unencumbered by the suffocating pressure (WHB: or actual media coverage) typically attached to such an ambitious endeavor.

SPOILER ALERT: BTW – congrats to Kimberly Rhode who, in a dazzling performance, became  the first U.S athlete in an individual sport to win five medals in five consecutive Olympics.

You know what would be a cool sidebar to the story? Teresa Edwards, who is currently serving as Chef de Mission. The four-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year Edwards first put on a USA Basketball uniform at the age of 17 at the 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival and was a fixture on USA Basketball teams for nearly two decades. She won: gold in 1984, 1988, 1996 and 2000, and bronze in 1992.

From the News-Tribune’s TJ Cotterill: Nothing big about Bird except game

At London’s Olympic Park, Sue Bird doesn’t look much like a world-class athlete.

Bird – standing at a generous 5-foot-9, 150 pounds – could easily be taken for a spectator as she strolls past Olympic gargantuans such as New Zealand shot put athlete Valerie Adams; 350-pound Holley Mangold, the U.S weightlifter; or even U.S. tennis player Serena Williams and her powerful thighs.

“Some of these Olympians are just specimens and you just feel disgusting compared to them,” Bird said. “I was walking around and thinking ‘Dang, I need to put a sweatshirt on.’ ”

Michelle (no, not Mechelle) at the KC Star asks: If you don’t know Team USA women by now, will you ever? (And then promptly misspells Catch’s first name. Ooops.)

“We were joking about it, how all the other athletes were flocking to those guys,” Catchings said. “Everywhere they went, a trail of people followed. It doesn’t make us mad. We accept it. It was just kind of funny. To be honest, I’m not sure I want to be that famous. I like to be able to live a somewhat normal life, go to the movies, to eat, and be recognized here and there.”

But, a little more recognition for the U.S. women’s basketball dominance sure would be nice, she conceded.

“In due time, credit will be given,” Catchings said.

In a similar vein, from Mike Bresnahan at? for? the Baltimore Sun: McCoughtry leads fourth-quarter surge for U.S.
A handful of journalists were on hand to watch the U.S. women’s basketball team win its Olympic opener against Croatia. (I was willing to be the sixth finger, but the USOC said no thanks, we have too many folks covering women’s basketball.) It was an obvious contrast to the crammed news conference the previous day for the U.S. men’s team, where reporters scurried toward Kobe Bryant and LeBron James before packing into a dense semi-circle seven or eight people deep.
“This is more physical than our games,” Bryant quipped as media members pushed and shoved one another. “I’ve seen at least two flagrant fouls.” 

Not only is the women’s team up against Croatia, the Czech Republic, etc. There’s overwhelming competition from that other U.S. team.

Maybe its me, but as I’ve been watching all of the preview shows leading up to the 2012 London Olympics, I haven’t noticed much attention given to the USA women’s basketball team.

It’s been gymnastics this, swimming that. Track and field this, men’s basketball that.

Where is Geno? Where are Maya Moore or Tamika Catchings? Where is the news about a four-time defending gold medalist?

The Courant is time sharing Mike Bresnhan with the LA Times: Geno Auriemma Glad His U.S. Women’s Team Considered The Favorites

It might be the best-kept secret in England.

The U.S. women’s basketball team has won 33 consecutive games in the Olympics, not to mention the last four gold medals, and nobody will talk about it.

Back to the US team: Ex-Tennessee Lady Vols team up with former rival Geno Auriemma to chase gold – Ex-Lady Vols join Auriemma to chase gold (I dunno – seems to me once a Vol, always a Vol. There ain’t no “ex” about it)

They’re playing for Geno Auriemma.

That might have been unthinkable for Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker before Auriemma became Team USA coach in 2009, but they’re used to it — even having some fun with it, now that the former Tennessee greats and the fiery Connecticut coach are poised to win gold together.

Are Summitt and Auriemma different? Very, Parker said.

“You’ve just got to go through it,” Catchings said of Auriemma’s outspoken style. “Trust me on that.”

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Katrina McClain Elected To Naismith Hall of Fame

McClain is Lady Bulldog Basketball’s second Naismith inductee, following Teresa Edwards a year ago.

“One of the things that makes me proud is that both Katrina and Teresa went in (to the Naismith Hall) on the very first opportunity they had as finalists,” Landers said. “That means to me that there’s little question in anyone’s mind about their worthiness.”

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Make of this what you will…

Edwards not lobbying for head-coaching job with Shock

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Nate explains How The Tulsa Shock Got Their Second Consecutive Win Against The Connecticut Sun

After the Tulsa Shock’s 78-72 loss to the first place Minnesota Lynx last week, head coach Teresa Edwards said that it was [possibly their best performance of the year].

And yes, they definitely had showed signs of improvement.

But still, it’s hard to know what’s more surprising: that the Shock ended  their 20-game losing streak in Los Angeles on the back end of a back-to-back or the fact that they followed it up with an 83-72 win against the almost certainly playoff-bound Connecticut Sun on Tuesday.

Richard at WNBAlien also weighs in:

Well whaddaya know? A Tulsa win streak. It’s patently obvious that this team has benefitted from better coaching on how to play in this league, and from a tighter rotation. While it isn’t necessarily good to lose Betty Lennox due to a concussion, have Kayla Pedersen see very limited action due to either injury or coach’s decision (depending on which report you listen to), and have Cambage heavily restricted by shoulder pain, it’s allowing the players more rhythm and consistency. Edwards has also finally realised that playing Latta for as many minutes as she can survive is a vastly superior option to ever letting Andrea Riley see the floor. They actually look like they know what they’re doing on the floor, know where they’re supposed to be, and are prepared to go out there and execute. They might still be beaten by teams with more talent, but it’s becoming far rarer that they give games away through sloppiness and stupidity.

Mel gives the game a mention in his WNBA Report: Minnesota Wins The (Regular Season) West

Swoopes, meanwhile, was not through for the weekend after Friday’s heroics that resulted in the team presenting interim coach and recent Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Teresa Edwards with two autographed game balls.

Her second one came Sunday after Swoopes scored 22 points and Tulsa (3-25) rallied from a 15-point deficit in the third quarter to win at home against Connecticut 83-72.

It’s the third time in recent weeks that the Sun blew a double-digit lead they held in the third quarter.

The result enabled Tulsa to combine with the Chicago Sky (14-15) in for the moment holding up playoff-qualifying parties for the second-place Sun (18-11) and the first-place and idle Indiana Fever (19-9).

And yes, if I had any juice, I would have named Swoopes West Player of the Week.

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(other than Irene bearing down on folks — be safe all) is Tulsa shocking LA. While it’s too bad the win didn’t happen in front of their fabulous fans, one can only imagine the hootin’ and hollerin’ happening in Oklahoma and (almost nearby) Fayetteville, Arkansas.

It wasn’t an easy victory (and they almost gave it away... FREE THROWS TJ!!!) and I’ll confess I walked away from the screen a couple of times in the last few minutes, but phew! they pulled it out, thanks to Ms. Swoopes.

When asked if she was surprised that the Sparks didn’t apply any pressure to Swoopes bringing the ball up the floor, Shock head coach Teresa Edwards said she thought LA underestimated her team.

“Like most teams would,” said Edwards. “[Us] being the Tulsa Shock, I wasn’t surprised. I was glad. Less pressure. They waited on us.”

Regarding her 1996 Olympic gold medal-winning teammate having the ball in her hands at that moment of the game, Edwards said, “We called that. Spread the floor, let Sheryl bring it up. She’s our best free-throw shooter and our best closer.”

Meanwhile, in other games, Connecticut and Phoenix put on a helluva show (fans sounded great!). Kara nailed a killer 3-pointer to help push the Sun to a 95-92 win.

In Minnesota, where the bandwagon is getting very popular, it was close until suddenly the Lynx hit the afterburners and boom, they took down the Silver Stars. (Does anyone use the forearm clear more obviously than Whalen? Well, maybe Taurasi….)

Similar game pattern in Chicago, where the Mystics kept it close until the Sky figured out how to GET. IT. TO. BIG. SYL!

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Stuff at SlamOnline

From Kyle Stack: Talking With a Hall of Fame Trio – Teresa Edwards, Satch Sanders and Artis Gilmore discuss their Hall of Fame careers.

A little analysis from Clay: Charity Stripe? – The silence of the whistles can be deadly.

Who does it worst: These players are hidden killers on a team. Their numbers may OK, but they are deadly to an offense because they don’t penetrate, or if they do, they shy away from contact. Small guards can be somewhat excused, but when post players like Alison Bales and Ruth Riley never get to the line, there’s a problem.

 

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Friday Open Thread: Naismith Hall Of Fame and Three WNBA Games

The three WNBA games tonight (click here for schedule and information) won’t be on NBA TV tonight for a pretty good reason.

Stanford Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer and current Tulsa Shock coach Teresa Edwards will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame with festivities beginning at 6 p.m. EST on  NBA TV (and the actual ceremony apparently starting at 8 p.m. EST). Updates on the ceremony will be posted at SB Nation’s Hall of Fame storystream.

C&R shared a great list of Tara-isms, which should probably be used during the WNBA games tonight to honor her greatness. For more thoughts on VanDerveer, my summary of that 800th win. For my naive thoughts on Charles Barkley saying Teresa Edwards is the best ever and why history is good, click here.

Got your own thoughts? Excellent! Please leave them in the comments.

Enjoy the night.

More on the HOF inductees from Michelle Smith at espnW: Inductee VanDerveer feels right at home:

“I have been given great opportunities to study the game.”

And study she did. VanDerveer, who led the U.S. team to an Olympic gold medal in 1996 and has won two NCAA titles, is known as one of the most detail-oriented, meticulous coaches, which has helped keep her at the top of her game, having led the Cardinal to four straight Final Four appearances.

VanDerveer joked that she reached her 10,000 hours of practice long, long ago. “I love practice,” VanDerveer said. “I don’t know if my players love it as much.”

Michele also has: No end in sight for Edwards

The day before her enshrinement into the Naismith Hall of Fame, Teresa Edwards sat with a reporter who produced photos of her first Olympic Games back in 1984.

“I didn’t know that I was supposed to be nervous,” Edwards said, shaking her head and laughing as she remembered the 16-year-old self she was looking at in those pictures. “I didn’t know any better.”

Five Olympic Games and a Hall of Fame career later, Edwards knows now.

“I never knew I would be here,” Edwards said, a humble beginning to her acceptance speech for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tim Kawakami of the Mercury News writes: Chris Mullin, Tara VanDerveer bring grace, dignity to Hall of Fame ceremony and Tara VanDerveer fits right in at Hall of Fame ‘dress rehearsal’

Over at MassLive, Dick Baker says: With family roots in the Forest Park section of Springfield, Tara VanDerveer has her own home now at the Basketball Hall of Fame

At SB Nation, Scott Schroeder writes: Teresa Edwards Inducted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame On Strength Of Four Olympic Gold Medals

Eric Bailey at the Tulsa World chips in: Tulsa Shock coach Teresa Edwards to join Hall of Fame tonight

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From Mechelle: VanDerveer, Edwards head to HOF: Road together wasn’t always smooth, but Naismith inductees took game to new levels

Edwards had a lot on her mind in late 1995, because she knew the next year would be one of the most important of her career. Team USA would be trying to regain Olympic gold, and the pro women’s basketball league she was invested in — the ABL — would be launching. Meanwhile, VanDerveer also was consumed with what she was expected to accomplish in 1996 while away from a very successful Stanford team.

“We weren’t the best of buddies; it was a long year,” Edwards said of she and VanDerveer. “Looking back, I think it was partly because in Tara, I met someone that shared the same intensity for the game that I did … but with that came tension.

“I have respect for her, and I learned a lot about her. I learned I wasn’t the only one who loved the game so much. We were part of something brilliant. We helped change the dynamics of turning the corner professionally for women’s basketball in this country.”

 

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Yah, we know

WNBA’s Shock reach halfway mark with just 1 win

Interim coach Teresa Edwards has found a way to cope with a season that’s spiraling toward the worst in WNBA history for the Tulsa Shock.

Halfway through their season, the Shock have won only one game in 17 tries and they’re 0-6 since she took over following Nolan Richardson’s resignation.

“I just try not to count that record out loud to myself, first of all,” said Edwards, a four-time Olympic gold medalist.

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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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Speaking of the Shock

The Tulsa World blogs: Nolan Not Totally at Fault for Shock Failure

Mechelle writes: Edwards takes on Tulsa challenge

I talked to Edwards about this earlier in the season. The word “perfectionist” is used a bit too loosely, but in Edwards’ case, it fits. And it’s part of why making the transition to coaching has been difficult for her.

“It’s tough when you can see a player who’s on the cusp of being really good, who’s just one switch from understanding they can be great,” Edwards said. “But you don’t know if they’re going to get it.

“The people I talk to about this are mostly former players that don’t coach because they feel the same way. They get too frustrated. I really can laugh and talk about it with them. They can make it light again.”

A note to writers who aren’t Mechelle: Learn how to spell Teresa’s name, all right, or I’m a gonna have to hurt you….

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Tara in the Naismith Hall of Fame. VanDerveer’s Disappointment Tempered by Selection to Hall or is it Hall of Fame small consolation to VanDerveer.

It seems right (though some may find it ironic) that Teresa Edwards will join Tara as a Hall member.

Don’t ask why, just read Shooting from the Outside and/or Venus to the Hoop.

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so I say, why not take both!?!

Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards A Finalist For Naismith Hall of Fame

The fact that these two women part of the 1996 gold medal team (and have a certain relationship) allows me to remind you to READ THESE FABULOUS BOOKS (hey, it’s a long weekend!):

Shooting from the Outside, by coach VanDerveer and Joan Ryan

Venus to the Hoop, A Gold Medal Year in Women’s Basketball, by Sara Corbett

 

 

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I am very, very proud of a special roundtable, TRIBUTE TO KAY YOW that we have done with four amazing guests. WBHOF coach Marsha Sharp is the Executive Director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a former colleague and rival. We also have three former North Carolina State players under Coach Yow, Debbie Antonelli, 1983-1986, current women’s basketball analyst, Krista Kilburn-Steveskey, 1987-1990, currently head coach at Hofstra University, and Kristen Gillespie,1996-1999, currently assistant coach at UIC. The love these four women have for the late great Coach Yow is clear in their memories, and it made for one of the most enjoyable hours I’ve had since I started doing the show.

A true legend of the game I always wanted to interview, TERESA EDWARDS, is the new Director of Player Personnel for the Tulsa Shock. I talked to her about her role in the Shock organization, building the franchise, the WNBA Draft and players, the Naismith Hall of Fame, USA Basketball and more.

Division II women’s basketball has a new number one, and it’s Clayton State University, after an epic two point victory over previous #1 and conference foe Lander. Head Coach DENNIS COX has his team rolling, and has built a team that has been the Final Four and Elite Eight in recent years.

Finally, this we combine our Senior Class interviews and our Big Game previews! I am joined by the Captain of the Army Black Knights, Lowe’s Senior Class Award finalist ERIN ANTHONY to discuss her career and being a Cadet at West Point and her future after graduation. Then, Erin helps break down the all important “Star Game” between Army and Navy this weekend. A great listen, to a great kid. It may just change your mind on who to vote for that Lowe’s Award!

Today, Dishin & Swishin on www.wstrradio.com, after 1 pm ET

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Corey Gaines Signs Extension with Phoenix Mercury

You work here: Stephanie White named as Fever Assistant Coach

You sit down: Storm’s Jackson injures left leg, will be out 3 months or more

You be honored: This year’s Silver Anniversary Award winners take time to reflect (Teresa Edwards)

You fall boom: No. 6 WVU upset by Marquette – Loss ends the nation’s longest winning streak

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Teresa Edwards returns to WNBA – Tulsa’s director of player personnel sets out to help redefine Shock

For all great athletes, there comes that time when they either do — or don’t — make peace with the end of their competitive careers. Teresa Edwards acknowledges it has taken her awhile.

Which is understandable. When you’re a five-time Olympian, it might seem as if you are going to play forever … because it’s almost like you already have.

Then when you do seriously begin to let go, you must find who and what you are in regard to the sport if you aren’t playing it. When Edwards began that adjustment to life no longer as a player, she knew she was going to face some big challenges.

‘chelle also uses her blog space to take issue with NCAA volleyball bracket:

The Division I NCAA volleyball bracket came out Sunday, and I kept looking at it, thinking I had to be missing something.

“This can’t be as ridiculous as it seems,” I thought. “It can’t be. This is a joke.”

I rather quickly wrote a story for ESPN.com about the bracket, suggesting Penn State got what looked like an absurdly easy road to the Final Four, and that the Seattle region looked like it was really difficult.

But … I wasn’t anywhere near as forceful as I would be with women’s basketball. (Actually, if I saw a women’s hoops bracket this bad, my head might have exploded like that grotesque scene in “Scanners.”) And I’ll be really frank about why: I know the history of the NCAA women’s hoops brackets inside and out, so my reaction time is a lot quicker (like, instantaneous) in regard to flipping out over anything I think is screwy.

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WATN? Teresa Edwards

Tulsa!

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Not totally convinced, but I believe T Edwards is in the house – caught what I thought was a glimpse of her going up the escalator as I was down.

Twice I spotted Cynthia Cooper’s pony tail, but never got a good enough look to confirm it was attached to her body.

I really suck at being a stalker.

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