Thursday, May 31, 2012

Taurasi out indefinitely with hip flexor injury

Tonight's game:

As Diana Taurasi is out indefinitely with a hip flexor injury, Atlanta beat Phoenix handily, 81-65.

Other pro stuff:

It's the battle of the unbeatens tomorrow night, as Connecticut hosts Minnesota.

On the other side of the country, as the Storm prepare to face Tulsa, point guard Sue Bird talks about Shock Coach Gary Kloppenburg, who was an assistant at Seattle a decade ago.

The Taurasi-less, road traveling Mercury will face the Silver Stars.

WNBA stars talk about the effects of Title IX.

Kinda odd, considering soccer star Hope Solo went to the University of Washington......she will be honored June 23 at the Mercury game, as a Woman of Inspiration.

NCAA:

The SEC and its members are donating $100,000 to the Pat Summitt Foundation to fight Alzheimer's Disease.

Central Arkansas has named Sandra Rushing their new head coach.

Linda Hill-MacDonald's contract won't be renewed at Buffalo.

U17s and U18s take down Brazilian teams

U17s 80, Brazil 38.

Diamond DeShields lead the way for USA Basketball with 15 points, four steals and three assists.

U18s 97, Brazil 36.

Breanna Stewart was the high scorer for USA, with 25 points.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A bit of deja vu, and Erica McCall in the spotlight

WNBA tonight:

Deja vu from last night: Lindsay Whalen put back her own miss to help the Lynx edge the Mystics, 79-77. Washington had come back from 24 down to give the defending champs a run. Like Kristi Toliver last night in LA, Whalen hadn't had the best game before making the winning shot.

Sylvia Fowles lead the Sky over the Silver Stars, 77-63, with her 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Other WNBA:

Kristi Toliver has reinvented herself.

Lynx rookie Devereaux Peters is loving pro life.

WNBA players are bracing for the month-long Olympic break.

Sparks forward Nicky Anosike reported on a social networking site that her knee surgery today was a success.

USA Basketball:

Today in Florida, the U18 women came from behind to beat the U17 women, 73-66, in a scrimmage. Tomorrow, each team competes against Brazil; check ESPN3 at 4 and 7 p.m. EDT.

Two pieces on the U17's Erica McCall.....she talks about being the sister of the Phoenix Mercury's DeWanna Bonner, and she has been a star in California, but is a team player with USA.

Title IX:

Georgeann Wells - the first woman to dunk - has seen the impact of Title IX on her daughter, Maddison Blackwell.

Sparks 76, Shock 75

Last night's game was a whopper - check out my story.

Notes:

- The Shock is much better than their record indicates. They really hustle and play hard, and are much improved from last year. It's only a matter of time before they start to sew it up and get some wins. They've got a lot of great players, and they have a great coach.
- Speaking of that, Coach Gary Kloppenburg has lost a lot of weight since I saw him at the Final Four. He acknowledged it was true when I asked him about it. I wanted to buy him a massage.
- The team, overall, are upbeat and in good spirits. That was good to see.
- The Shock bench outscored the Sparks bench 43-10. Does Tulsa have the highest-scoring bench in the league?
- The Sparks are an entirely different team this year as well. They are closer, more positive as a whole, and they believe in themselves. They bring that all to the court, and it shows. That is one of the key ingredients to building a championship team: see last year's example, the Minnesota Lynx.
- Nnemkadi Ogwumike was called for five fouls last night, and on the last one she did something I've not seen her do before: she stomped on the floor and yelled in protest. (Nneka, angry?). But then she responded by igniting the Sparks and scoring seven points. I like this rookie's fearlessness on the floor, and her passion in playing the game. She is quickly establishing herself in this league.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

USC assistant coaching staff finally announced

Bout time:

Daron Park
Tai Dillard
Evan Unrau

More coaching carousel; USA Basketball update

Lynx "momma" Taj McWilliams-Franklin will be an assistant coach at Rice. (What a great idea)

Former Arizona State interim head coach Joseph Anders joins New Mexico as assistant.

Priscilla Edwards will join Joe Tartamella's staff at St. John's as an assistant. She has been at St. Bonaventure the last three seasons.

Business:

Butler will join the Atlantic-10 next year, instead of 2013-2014.

USA Basketball:

The U17 team's Oderah Chidom isn't the player she used to be, and that's a good thing.

Perseverance has paid off for the U18 team's Moriah Jefferson.

Anosike to have surgery, will miss six weeks; Parker and Catchings are the Conference players of the week

From Sparks HQ:

Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks announced today that Nicky Anosike will undergo arthoscopic knee surgery on her left knee tomorrow and will miss about six weeks of the season as she recovers.

"After further evaluation of her knee, we decided that performing surgery now, rather than later, would be her best option, so that we could have a 100 percent healthy Nicky for the remainder of the season," Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler said.

Anosike played in the three Sparks preseason games, but has not dressed for a game yet this season. The 6-foot-3 center is in her fifth year in the WNBA and signed with the Sparks this offseason after playing three years with the Minnesota Lynx and last year with the Washington Mystics. She is averaging 9.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in her career.


Western and Eastern Conference players of the week are Candace Parker and Tamika Catchings.

Bonus:

The Mercury have re-signed Krystal Thomas, after waiving Zane Tamane.

Tulsa Shock president Steve Swetoha answers questions from his mailbag.

WNBA week in review, with Shimmy Gray-Miller and Cheryl Coward.

Pat Summitt receives Presidential Medal of Freedom Award

Legendary Tennessee Coach Pat Summitt received the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award today at the White House. President Obama put the medal on Summitt himself. His comments about her:

President Obama’s introductory comments about Pat Summitt:

“When one doctor told Pat Summitt she suffered from dementia, she almost punched him. When a second doctor advised her to retire, she responded, ‘Do you know who you are dealing with here?’ Obviously they did not. As Pat says, ‘I can fix a tractor, mow hay, plow a field, chop tobacco, fire a barn and call the cows, but what I’m really known for is winning.’ In 38 years at Tennessee she racked up eight national championships, more than 1,000 wins. Understand, this is more than any college coach, male or female, in the history of the NCAA. And more importantly, every player that has gone through her program has either graduated or is on her way to a degree. That’s why anybody who feels sorry for Pat will find himself on the receiving end of that famous glare. Or she might punch you. She still is getting up every day and doing what she does best, which is teaching. The players, she says, are her best medicine.”

President Obama, reflecting on the impact Pat Summitt has made for women, including his daughters:

“When I think about my two daughters who are tall and gifted, knowing that [because of] folks like Coach Summitt, they are standing up straight and diving after loose balls and feeling confident and strong. Then I understand the impact that these people have had extends beyond me. It will continue for generations to come. What an extraordinary honor to be able to say thank you to them for the great work that they have done on behalf of this country and on behalf of the world.”


Video.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Gemelos, Ogwumike to host basketball camps next month

Former USC Trojan Jacki Gemelos and former Stanford Cardinal Nnemkadi Ogwumike will each host basketball camps in their respective hometowns next month.

Gemelos will have two sessions June 4-8 in Stockton, Calif. - one for older girls and one for younger ones.

Ogwumike will host her camp June 28-29 at Cy-Fair High School in Texas.

College news takes the spotlight on WNBA's day off

Matt Daniel is leaving the University of Central Arkansas to take the head coaching job at Marshall University.

Not-so-good blood between Daedra Charles-Furlow and Tennessee:

On April 20 — the day after a press conference detailed the coaching transition — Charles was summoned to the office of athletic director Dave Hart and told that she didn't have a place in the new order.

Charles-Furlow understood that the athletic budget was being cut and that changes were in store. But she didn't understand why Warlick didn't break this news to her. Furthermore, she was irritated by Warlick saying earlier this month that she thought Charles-Furlow "wanted to pursue other opportunities."

"I wish she would've told me,'' Charles-Furlow said. "(Hart) doesn't know me. He doesn't know my history."


Pat Summitt received the 2012 Pop Warner Female Achievement Award last night.

WNBA news;

The Lynx are still on top of this week's power rankings, followed by Indiana, Los Angeles, Connecticut and Atlanta.

May 25-27 efficiency leaders are Candace Parker, Tamika Catchings, Angel McCoughtry, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Candice Dupree and Maya Moore.

Nneka leads the rookie stats.

U17, U18 women open training camp in Florida

Both the U17 and U18 teams opened camp today in Orlando, Florida, in preparation for games later this week.

High school:

Parade's All-American Basketball Team -

Aerial Powers
Alexis Jones
Alexis Prince
Bashaara Graves
Bay'lee Purdy
Bre Crum Sickles
Breanna Stewart
Brianna Butler
Candace Brown
Courtney Williams
Danaejah Grant
Diamonisha Sophus
Hayden Hamby
Heather Bowe
Jasmine Jones
Jewell Loyd
Kahleah Copper
Kate Gillespie
Khadijah Carter
Khadijah Sessions
Kristen Gaffney
Kuaneshia Baker
Madison Ristovski
Makenzi Morrison
Makenzie White
Malina Howard
Michaela Neuhaus
Michelle Miller
Minta Spears
Morgan Tuck
Moriah Jefferson
Nicole Bauman
Nicole Boudreau
Nirra Fields
Niya Johnson
Pachis Roberts
Peyton Little
Sierra Moore
Sydney Moss
Tiffany Mitchell

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day weekend game action

The Storm are really missing center Lauren Jackson. The Lynx are ridiculously good, too. Final today: Minnesota 84, Seattle 71.

In today's other game, the Fever defeated the Dream 78-62, behind Tamika Catchings' 25 points and 12 rebounds. Last season's MVP is both physically and mentally strong, as usual:

ATLANTA (AP) Tamika Catchings is hardly slowing down in her 11th WNBA season.

If she keeps playing at an elite level, Catchings might win a second straight league MVP award, but she insists her goals are much higher.

``I want to win a championship,'' she said. ``For me, every single game, every single practice is about trying to help this team get better and get closer to our final goal.''......

Catchings' double-double was her 73rd, fifth-most on the WNBA's career list, and helped Indiana (3-0) win its second straight over the Dream after losing the Eastern Conference finals to Atlanta last year.


NCAA:

Catching up with new Ole Miss Coach Adrian Wiggins.

Club ball:

The stars of last weekend's West Coast Premier Spring Invitational are profiled.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WNBA thoughts

Just watched the Sparks beat the Mercury, 99-88. Phoenix made several runs, but couldn't quite muster the firepower of Los Angeles, lead by Candace Parker's 27 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Rookie Nnemkadi Ogwumike added 22 points, and Kristi Toliver had 18. The Mercury were lead by Candice Dupree's 24 points, and Diana Taurasi's 18.

Some Sparks thoughts:

- So far this season, this is the best I've seen Candace Parker play since her 2008 rookie year. Her demeanor on the court is so succinct and determined.
- Nnemkadi Ogwumike is fearless, making bold moves that rookies don't usually attempt.
- It's nuts to see that so far, the loss of Sharnee' Zoll to injury, and the resulting 10-woman roster, isn't effecting the Sparks.
- The Mercury are doing very well without Penny Taylor, and Diana Taurasi made a nice comeback tonight after sitting out two games due to a hip injury.
- DeWanna Bonner deserved that start more than any player I can think of right now.

In today's other game, the Shock rallied but were unable to contain the Mystics, who prevailed 64-61. Tulsa's losses this season have been so close. They are a much-improved team from last year.

Tomorrow Seattle will take on Minnesota, and Indiana faces Atlanta.

NCAA coaching news:

Heidi VanDerveer will leave Occidental College to be San Diego's new coach.

Friday, May 25, 2012

WNBA games, and lots of Tennessee news

The Tamika Catchings-Katie Douglas tandem struck again, propelling the Fever over the Sky, 83-72. Catchings netted 22 points and Douglas had 21, which put her over the 2,000-point mark. She is the second player - after Catchings - in franchise history to do so.

The Dream rolled in their home opener, stomping the Liberty 100-74.

The Sun squeezed past the Silver Stars, 83-79.

Tomorrow Tulsa is at Washington and Los Angeles is at Phoenix.

Tennessee news:

Nia Moore has signed with the Lady Vols. She got a release from Illinois, where she originally signed when Jolette Law was coach. Law is now an assistant at Tennessee.

Extremely strong language.....Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said former media relations director Debby Jennings was "insubordinate, disrespectful and fostered an atmosphere of negativity and division."

Jennings' lawyer fired back.

One writer says that Jennings' dismissal wouldn't have happened if Pat Summitt had been healthy.

Former Lady Vol assistant Daedra Charles-Furlow is West High School's new head coach.

Other NCAA:

After a bout with cancer, Iowa State Coach Bill Fennelly is back to his talkative self.

Olympics:

Becky Hammon will play for Russia once again in this year's Olympics.

Signings:

Week in review. The highlights:

Agler to Indiana: Taylor Agler of Westerville, Ohio has been a fixture on the national recruiting scene for the past two years. Our staff saw her as a rising sophomore at the Midwest Showdown in May of 2010. The three-star prospect is the first Class of 2013 prospect to pledge to play for new coach Curt Miller and his staff. A 5-8 combo guard, Agler will bring versatility to Bloomington as she can play on the ball or off of it and can stretch defenses with her shooting range.

Farmer to Auburn: A lot has changed in the recruiting process for Keonna Farmer of Birmingham, Ala., over the past six months. Farmer originally pledged to attend Alabama before re-opening her recruitment during the high school season. The four-star forward visited multiple campuses before deciding to stay in-state and attend Bama's SEC West rival, Auburn. At 6-1, Farmer will bring the Tigers length and activity at the forward position. Those skills appear to fall in line with new coach Terri-Williams Flourney's previous style of play as the coach at Georgetown.

Hanson to Oregon State
: Gabriella Hanson of Fullerton, Calif., gives an Oregon State program on the rise another weapon to score. The 5-11 junior guard, might not have a specialty on the offensive end but does a little of everything and has a real knack for putting the basketball in the hole. A three-star prospect, Hanson should be productive in the Pac-12 as she possesses a good build with a motor that runs consistently on both ends of the floor.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Lynx rally to beat Sparks, 92-84

Tonight's match up featured the defending champs Lynx vs. the "for real" Sparks:

The Lynx won their first two games of this season easily, by 22 and 18 points. But neither of those early opponents had the firepower of the Los Angeles Sparks.

The defending WNBA champions, trailing by as many as nine points, had to rally to beat Los Angeles 92-84 on Thursday night at Target Center before an announced crowd of 7,923.


Will we see these two teams in the Western Conference Finals this fall?

Other WNBA news and items:

Candace Parker is on top of the week one "race to the MVP" rankings.

This week's Dishin & Swishin podcast talks to Indiana Fever Coach Lin Dunn and Tulsa Shock point guard Temeka Johnson.

Fans can make their own power rankings.

Chicago Sky owner Michael Alter is an avid bicycle commuter.

NCAA news:

Texas-Arlington will join the Sun Belt Conference next year.

New UNCW Coach Adell Harris is putting the pieces together.

Alexis Burke is transferring from Illinois to Rutgers.

Morgan Jones is transferring from Northwestern to Florida State.

USA Basketball:

The U18 team is analyzed here and here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sparks guard Sharnee' Zoll out for the season with ACL tear

From Sparks HQ:

Los Angeles – The Los Angeles Sparks announced today that Sharnee Zoll will miss the remainder of the 2012 season due to a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) in her left knee.

"It's unfortunate that Sharnee won't be able to play this season," Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler said. "Up until her injury, she was playing really well. We look forward to seeing what she can do next season."

Zoll averaged 7 assists in her two preseason games with the Sparks. Against the Japan National Team, Zoll notched 10 points, 6 assists and 3 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play.


What an incredible bummer for Zoll. Wonder who the Sparks will pick up to take her place?

But wait, there's (always) more.......

The 40th anniversary of Title IX is coming up:

The author of Title IX.

The Seattle Storm discuss Title IX.

Title IX history on the Indiana Fever page.

Q & A with Billie Jean King.

Chicago Sky Title IX trivia.

WNBA:

It works for Momma Taj in Minnesota, and now Ticha Penicheiro is the momma of the Chicago Sky.

NCAA:

Ohio State will begin giving athletes iPads this fall.

Debby Jennings' lawyer says she was wrongfully terminated

Ugliness at Tennessee:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- An attorney says Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart gave the woman in charge of media relations for the Lady Vols less than four hours to decide to retire or be fired for "insubordination" earlier this month.

David Burkhalter wrote to Tennessee chancellor Jimmy Cheek that the "ultimatum" to Debby Jennings came in a meeting May 15, according to records first obtained by the Knoxville News Sentinel on Wednesday.

"She was told she had the 'choice' of retiring, being terminated and/or resigning and she was to give Mr. Hart her decision by 4:30 p.m. that same day before he left on the Big Orange Caravan or she would be terminated for alleged 'insubordination,' " Burkhalter wrote to Cheek. "She then returned to her office to find that while she was in the meeting her computer had been confiscated and you can understand how this made her feel as if she was being treated as a common criminal."

Tennessee had no immediate comment Wednesday afternoon.


Govolsextra story:

Debby Jennings, who spent her career helping enhance the image of the University of Tennessee athletics, is considering legal action following her abrupt departure from the program she served for 35 years as the primary media contact for Lady Vols athletics.

Jennings, who is the only media relations director recently retired basketball coach Pat Summitt ever had, was the associate athletic director for media relations when UT announced her retirement last week.

Jennings’ attorney, David Burkhalter, said first-year UT athletic director Dave Hart offered his client the choice on May 15 to be fired for “insubordination,” resign or retire. The letter was obtained by the News Sentinel through a public records request.

More on the WNBA, and more

More on the WNBA:

Last night's action also saw the Lynx rout the Liberty and the Mercury edge the Shock.

Last night's efficiency leaders were Candice Dupree and Candace Parker.

More on the Sparks.

Cheryl Coward and Shimmy Gray-Miller review opening weekend, and more.

Lynx received championship rings in ceremony last weekend.

USA/Olympic basketball:

The WNBA profiles our Olympians, beginning with Seimone Augustus.

Olympic basketball schedule released.

NCAA:

Katy Steding joins the Cal basketball staff, replacing Daron Park.

The University of Maine has signed nine......from from Germany, Israel, England, Sweden, Serbia, Finland and the U.S. Wow.

Club ball:

West Coast Premier Invitational recap.

Sparks 74, Storm 61

It was an interesting game last night. The Sparks have gone from offensive dominance to defensive prowess. The Storm will continue to struggle without Lauren Jackson.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doug Oliver will head UC Irvine program

Many have been waiting for this announcement.

In other Big West news, Cinnamon Lister leaves Idaho State to join Cal State Northridge.

USA Basketball:

U17 roster analysis one and two.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Tennessee signs junior college guard Jasmine Phillips

North Carolina junior college guard Jasmine Phillips will join the Lady Vols this summer.

It is Coach Holly Warlick's first signing, and the first JUCO player to come to Tennessee since Shannon Bobbitt.

Organization has petition to "save women's athletics at Tennessee"

Petition to "Help Save Women's Athletics at the University of Tennessee and Preserve Pat Summitt's Legacy," by change.org.

What is going on here?

Monday digest

WNBA items:

The Lynx are on top of the league's first power rankings.

Sparks.....

My friend Donald spoke with rookie Nnemkadi Ogwumike.

Candace Parker discusses balancing motherhood and her basketball career.

Sun and Liberty.....

Connecticut's weekend sweep gives them reason for optimism.

A weekend of losses gives the Liberty more questions than answers.

Chamique Holdsclaw:

The possibly retired superstar was named one of the top 40 female athletes of the last four decades by ESPNW.

She talked to the Washington Post's Sally Jenkins about her new role as a mental health advocate.

Legends:

Delta State University will immortalize basketball great Margaret Wade with a life-sized statue.

Teresa Edwards is doing a lot of charity work lately.

NCAA:

Ryun Williams is Colorado State's new head coach.

Detroit has extended the contract of Coach Autumn Rademacher by three years.

Introducing your U18 team

The team has been chosen, and will play Aug. 15-19 in Puerto Rico:

Breanna Stewart
Brashaara Graves
Imani Stafford
Morgan Tuck
Jannah Tucker
Moriah Jefferson
Alexis Prince
Kendall Cooper
Allisha Gray
Lexie Brown
Michaela Mabrey
Brittney Sykes

Sunday, May 20, 2012

U18 trials begin

Michaela Mabrey feels at home in the gym.

Players speak after early session.

Photos.

Lynx, Sun win

The Lynx offense explosion cooled off the Mercury, and they won 105-83. Diana Taurasi had sat out the game for Phoenix with a hip injury. Seimone Augustus bruised her ribs flying out of bounds, but she's OK.

The Sun defeated the Liberty 92-77, behind Tina Charles' 25 points and 11 rebounds. New York is now 0-2.

The league takes a day off tomorrow, with no games.

Other WNBA news:

The Connecticut Sun will donate $100 to the Pat Summitt Foundation every time Kara Lawson makes a three-point shot this season.

Storm mailbag.



Introducing your U17 team

The 12-woman roster was just named:

Returning from last year's U16 team are.....

Erica McCall
Mercedes Russell
Diamond DeShields
Kalea Davis
Rebecca Greenwell
Linnae Harper
Taya Reimer


and newcomers are.....

Lindsay Allen
Oderah Chidom
Kai James
Brianna Turner
Jessica Washington


The FIBA U17 World Championships will be Aug. 17-26 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Schedule.

Kendall Cooper, LaJahna Drummer, Allisha Gray, Stephanie Mavunga and Jatarie White were held over to attend the U18 trials, which begin today.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

U17's wrap up trials

The U17's wrapped up trials today, and the 33 who tried out will find out tomorrow whether they are they are one of the 12 chosen for this summer's team.

Trials features.

Familiar faces and new ones open U18 trials in June.

U18 National Team Features.

2012 season, day two

Today's games:

The Sun squeaked out the 78-73 victory over the Liberty. Tina Charles lead Connecticut with 19 points and 13 rebounds.

The Fever fought off the Dream, 92-84. Katie Douglas put up 21 points for Indiana, and Tamika Catchings added 16.

The Sky beat the Mystics, 69-57. Epiphany Prince had 16 points for Chicago.

The Silver Stars surged to overcome the Shock, 88-79. Sophia Young was the high-scorer for San Antonio, with 20.

Tomorrow's action:

Phoenix at Minnesota, and New York at Connecticut.

Really? Back-to-back with the same opponent? Whose idea was that?

The Mercury-Lynx game will be on ABC.

Other pro stuff:

WNBA preview from the league office.

This year, Sun Coach Mike Thibault enters his tenth year with the team.

The Liberty's John Whisenant juggles his duties as coach, GM and head scout.

Tulsa Shock: three storylines.

Rally 'round the Lynx, boys.....maybe it'll even make Lindsay Whalen smile someday.

Seattle Storm playbook

My favorite Division I assistant coach strikes again - this time, analyzing the Seattle Storm offense, after last night's game.

It's his wish that commentators would focus more on breaking down the game, rather than commenting on Tina Thompson's lipstick color.

Me too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Random extras

WNBA preseason results.

Brenda Vanlenegen and Mechelle Voepel talk about the 2012 WNBA season, the Lady Vols, and more.

The season begins with some of the league's stars still in their home countries, preparing for the Olympics.

NCAA:

A blow for Iowa, as two players retire due to chronic injuries.

Sparks 72, Storm 66

Now THAT was a season opener. It's just too bad someone had to lose that game. But it was Sparks guard Kristi Toliver who lead her team to a comeback, after they were behind by as much as 18 points. She had 25 points - 10 of which were in the fourth quarter. LA out-scored Seattle 30-10 in the final period.

Game story.

Box score.

Some random thoughts from me and mine:

- Ann Wauters looked crazy good for having been out of the league for a bit, and having a kid.
- The Sparks have a lot of urgency now that they didn't have before....there is no walking back to the bench anymore.
- I feel badly for Storm fans - the best fans in the WNBA, hands down. They really made it loud in Key Arena, as usual.
- I'm even more excited now for the re-match, aka the Sparks' home opener on Tuesday. Now I'm almost glad the game was moved back two days.

Tomorrow there are four games on tap: Connecticut at New York; Atlanta at Indiana; Chicago at Washington; and San Antonio at Tulsa.

The league previews the Sparks.

Team preview index.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

NCAA still hoppin and poppin

Business:

The NCAA is overhauling a body of rules that would make for stronger penalties against those schools who break rules.

Transfer rules won't be as easily lifted.

Southern Methodist has fired athletic director Rick Orsini.

Conference changes:

Old Dominion has joined Conference USA.

The Atlantic-10 has added Virginia Commonwealth.

Coaching hires:

Kevin Baker is the new coach at University of Texas at Tyler.

Remember Kristin Haynie? She's now an assistant at Eastern Michigan.

Transfer:

Zakiyyah Shahid-Martin has found a home. The forward/center from St. John's will transfer to Weber State.

Other news:

Spelman College has honored Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer with the Legacy of Leadership Award.

New Michigan Coach Kim Barnes-Arico kept all her recruits, and no one transferred (a true miracle).

Bonus international news:

The Russian championship team UMMC Ekatarinburg have hired the husband and wife team Olaf Lange and Sandy Brondello as their head and assistant coaches.

Oregon graduate Jasmin Holliday recently got a taste of what it would be like to play overseas.

U17 trials begin

The U17 trials began today in Colorado Springs, with 33 athletes competing for 12 spots.

Trials roster.

More athlete information.

Inspirational high school bonus:

A Kansas star baller overcame serious illness to come back to form.

WNBA season opens tomorrow

I love statistics - especially when I don't have to prepare them. Thankfully, Kevin Brown, aka pilight, loves to crunch numbers, and he's done so for opening day. Check out stats on the oldest, youngest, draft class, college, and even Zodiac sign here.

Similarly, James Bowman has player durability stats.

Non-stat stuff:

The WNBA tabs Candace Parker as an early favorite to win MVP this season.

Hoopfeed previews the Western Conference.

Dishin & Swishin roundtable season preview.

Seattle Times WNBA power rankings.

ESPN expects Minnesota to dominate this year.

The Fever is ballin: renewing 23 corporate partnerships for the season.

Tamika Catchings and the Fever will make another title run.

So will the rebuilt Seattle Storm.

The league previews the Seattle Storm.

The Storm previews its versatile new lineup.

San Antonio Silver Stars media day photos.

The Mercury will fill their point guard role by committee.

The Sparks have just arrived in Seattle for their opening night match up with the Storm tomorrow. Let's go!!

Mercury, Mystics rosters set

Phoenix Mercury:

DeWanna Bonner
Candice Dupree
Alexis Gray-Lawson
Alexis Hornbuckle
Charde Houston
Samantha Prahalis
Nakia Sanford
Zane Tamane
Diana Taurasi
Penny Taylor
Avery Warley

Washington Mystics:

Matee Ajavon
Dominique Canty
Monique Currie
Natasha Lacy
Crystal Langhorne
Natalie Novosel
Latoya Pringle-Sanders
Noelle Quinn
Ashley Robinson
Michelle Snow
Jasmine Thomas
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton

Nothing on the Liberty site about a final roster being set, and there are still 12 players listed on their roster, without explanation.

Same exact scenario with the Shock.

Dream, Sky and Sun set rosters

May 17

The Phoenix Mercury waived Chastity Reed, Dymond Simon and Amanda Johnson
The New York Liberty waived Katelan Redmon and Raffaella Masciadri

May 16

The Atlanta Dream waived Coco Miller
The Minnesota Lynx waived Julie Wojta and Queralt Casas
The Phoenix Mercury waived Krystal Thomas and Andrea Riley
The Seattle Storm waived Allie Quigley and Ashley Corral

Atlanta Dream:

Erika de Souza
Lindsay Harding
Tiffany Hayes
Aneika Henry
Laurie Koehn
Cathrine Kraayeveld
Yelena Leuchanka
Sancho Lyttle
Angel McCoughtry
Courtney Paris
Armintie Price
Ketia Swanier

Chicago Sky:

Swin Cash
Sylvia Fowles
Shay Murphy
Ticha Penicheiro
Sonja Petrovic
Epiphany Prince
Ruth Riley
Carolyn Swords
Courtney Vandersloot
Le'Coe Willingham
Tamera Young

Connecticut Sun:

Tina Charles
Kalana Greene
Kelsey Griffin
Allison Hightower
Asjha Jones
Kara Lawson
Danielle McCray
Mistie Mims
Renee Montgomery
Shay Shegog
Tan White

Incredibly, at this hour, there is nothing on the websites of the Liberty, Shock or Mercury that indicates a final roster has been set. The Mystic's site says the roster is set, but that list still has 12 on it. Hopefully those four teams can get it done by the end of the day for their fans.

Some recruiting and coaching news via twitter

It looks like Karlie Samuelson had dropped UConn from consideration and will join her sister Bonnie at Stanford.

USC has yet to make a formal announcement, but former Cal assistant Daron Park has been seen out and about recruiting for the Trojans. Tai Dillard is also rumored to be a new assistant coach. And Atticus Finch, via twitter.com/wbballhoopscoop says that the third assistant is Evan Unrau, of Santa Clara University. What's up with all the secrecy at USC? They never even announced that Mary Wooley and Laura Beeman left, and that Michael Cooper II was let go.

West Coast Premier Spring Invitational

The annual tournament, in the Inland Empire of Southern California, is on like donkey kong this weekend with seven brackets.

Locations, including maps.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tennessee media relations director Debby Jennings retires after 35 years

If anyone deserves to retire, it's Tennessee's Debby Jennings. The only media relations director Pat Summitt ever had, Jennings has been at the post for 35 years. Now she's retiring.

Congratulations to her, but I have to admit, I'm sad.

More on the W

The WNBA will now charge $4.99 for LiveAccess to games on the web, ending years of free streaming.

For their 16th year, the league has 16 stories to watch.

The league previews the Atlanta Dream.

Q & A with Sky center Sylvia Fowles.

Some WNBA rosters finalized today

Several teams made cuts one day early today, and finalized their rosters.

Seattle Storm:

Sue Bird
Lauren Jackson
Katie Smith
Ann Wauters
Alysha Clark
Ewelina Kobryn
Shekinna Stricklen
Tanisha Wright
Victoria Dunlap
Camille Little
Tina Thompson

Los Angeles Sparks:

Nicky Anosike
Alana Beard
Marissa Coleman
Ebony Hoffman
Jantel Lavender
Delisha Milton-Jones
Nnemkadi Ogwumike
Candace Parker
April Sykes
Kristi Toliver
Sharnee' Zoll

San Antonio Silver Stars:

Danielle Adams
Jayne Appel
Tully Bevilaqua
Shameka Christon
Becky Hammon
Shenise Johnson
Ziomara Morrison
Jia Perkins
Danielle Robinson
Tangela Smith
Sophia Young

Minnesota Lynx:

Jessica Adair
Seimone Augustus
Rebekkah Brunson
Amber Harris
Taj McWilliams-Franklin
Maya Moore
Devereaux Peters
Erin Thorn
Lindsay Whalen
Candice Wiggins
Monica Wright

Indiana Fever:

Tamika Catchings
Jessica Davenport
Katie Douglas
Sasha Goodlett
Roneeka Hodges
Briann January
Earlana Larkins
Erin Phillips
Jeannette Pohlen
Tammy Sutton-Brown
Shavonte Zellous

The Storm and the Sparks are the only two teams to accurately reflect the 11-woman rosters on their web pages right now. The Silver Stars, Lynx and Fever put out enough information about cuts that fans can still look at their websites and put two and two together. Teams that are still question marks at this hour are the Shock, the Sun, the Mercury, the Sky, the Liberty, the Dream and the Mystics.

WNBA transactions page.

Look at the brutality from yesterday and today:

May 16

The Phoenix Mercury waived Chastity Reed, Dymond Simon and Amanda Johnson
The Connecticut Sun waived Sidney Spencer
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Loree Moore and Porsha Phillips
The Chicago Sky waived Felicia Chester

May 15

The Los Angeles Sparks waived Khadijah Rushdan, Ashley Shields and Darxia Morris

Shock Coach Gary Kloppenberg has been perhaps the most vocal in saying how much he dislikes making cuts, because every player teams have to let go are WNBA-ready. Indeed. The league needs two more teams to hold all of the amazing athletes that just got cut. It's heart-breaking.

Survey says........

The WNBA surveyed their general managers and came up with some interesting predictions and nominations for "best of," in various categories.

The Lynx are favored to repeat as champions.

Season predictions.

Best players.

Best off-season moves.

Best rookies and international players.

Best defense.

Top coaches.

Miscellaneous categories.

Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Court issues

WNBA adds "restricted area" on courts.

The NCAA Women's Basketball Rules Committee is discussing court surfacing, among other things.

News on every basketball channel

WNBA:

In the last exhibition today, the Lynx bench lead the way in beating Chicago, 82-61.

Sparks media day photos.

Today's transactions.......

May 15

The Washington Mystics signed Jessica Breland
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Kalisha Keane
The Connecticut Sun waived Dawn Evans
The Tulsa Shock waived Amber Hold and Shanna Zolman

The league really needs to form a couple of expansion teams. This is ridiculous, and will only get worse by Thursday, when final cuts are due.

NCAA:

The Black Coaches and Administrators have named South Carolina Coach Dawn Staley their female coach of the year.

Louisville's Tia Gibbs and Monique Reid have been granted medical hardship waivers, and will return next season.

Baylor center Brittney Griner is still on cloud nine.

Tennessee Tech Coach Sytia Messer has resigned to be associate head coach at Georgia Tech.

Coach Suzie McConnell-Serio has been given a four-year extension at Duquesne.

Former Saint Louis University coach Shimmy Gray-Miller will be an assistant coach at Nebraska, where she will coordinate recruiting.

Legends:

How Ann Meyers Drysdale played like a girl and won.

Rutgers Coach C. Vivian Stringer always makes time for community service.

Seimone Augustus:

Lynx forward Seimone Augustus is marrying her longtime girlfriend next summer. I can't think of another out WNBA player since Michelle Van Gorp, and Sue Wicks before her. Very courageous.

Edit to add: Someone just told me Ann Wauters of the Storm is out, but I hadn't heard that.

New class of 2014 rankings

ESPN has new top 25 rankings for the class of 2014. Here are the top 10:

1. Kelsey Mitchell
2. Brianna Turner
3. Jatarie White
4. Jordin Canada
5. Gabby Green
6. Lynee' Belton
7. Recee' Caldwell
8. Bianca Cuevas
9. Sierra Calhoun
10. A'ja Wilson

The media interviews WNBA coaches and players

Yesterday members of the media, including myself, interviewed WNBA coaches Dan Hughes, Mike Thibault, Carol Ross and Gary Kloppenberg, and athletes Candace Parker, Angel McCoughtry, Katie Smith and Cappie Pondexter. They spoke about the league, about their teams, and other topics. Check it out.

Bonus:

The league previews the Indiana Fever.

The Sky have set their sights on getting into the playoffs for the first time.

Monday, May 14, 2012

New class of 2013 rankings

The top 60 about-to-be-seniors, on a club ball circuit near you. The top 15:

1. Mercedes Russell
2. Kaela Davis
3. Diamond DeShields
4. Taya Reimer
5. Linnae Harper
6. Rebecca Greenwell
7. Allisha Gray
8. Jannah Tucker
9. Kendall Cooper
10. Tyler Scaife
11. Erica McCall
12. Jessica Jackson
13. Ieshia Small
14. Ronni Williams
15. Jessica Washington

Jury convicts defendant in MTSU stabbing case

That didn't take long: Shanterrica Madden was convicted by a jury today in the 2011 stabbing death of Middle Tennessee State guard Tina Stewart. She will be sentenced July 16.

Opening day is Friday

Now we're getting close to the deadline, so the transactions are more painful. Today's:

May 14

The Tulsa Shock waived Lorin Dixon and Vicki Baugh
The Washington Mystics waived Laura Harper and Ashley Walker
The Chicago Sky waived Shey Peddy and Sydney Carter
The Indiana Fever waived Shannon Bobbitt
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Cierra Bravard
The Seattle Storm waived Ashley Gayle and Lindsay Taylor

And check this out from yesterday:

May 13

Lindsay Wisdom–Hylton has been awarded to the Washington Mystics pursuant to a waiver claim.

I've not seen that before, so I don't know what it means.

Tonight's pre-season action:

The Sky dominated the Liberty, 89-57.

The Mystics routed the Sun, 83-64.

The league previews the New York Liberty.

David Siegel previews the Eastern Conference.

Tulsa Shock rookies Glory Johnson and Riquna Williams are ready to roll.

Lynx Coach Cheryl Reeve takes one last look back before leaping ahead.

USA Basketball:

Story on USA's scrimmage with Japan yesterday.

Photo gallery from Saturday's China game.

Olympic media summit.

Tribute song for Pat Summitt

What do you do if you're a musician and Pat Summitt is your mentor? You write a cool song.

Check it out, and go buy it. Proceeds go to the Pat Summitt Foundation.

Announcing! My new basketball website

Hello, faithful readers.

Today I'm excited to launch my new website, basketballways.com. As I have in this space, I will cover college, high school/club, and professional women's basketball - 24/7/365 on the new site. I will continue to write for other publications, as I love to write and I enjoy collaborating with others. This will simply be my own corner of the web.

I also will continue to blog here in this space. "They're Playing Basketball" has become such a part of my daily routine these last four years that I can't imagine life without it.

As I've always said, if you have an idea for a story or a feature, whether it be a player, a coach, a team or a movement, please email me: suefavor@basketballways.com.

Basketballways.com is brand new, so there isn't much on it yet, but just wait.

Thank you for reading - I do appreciate it.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A bit of high school and college news

High school recruiting:

The recruiting week in review. ESPN will have new rankings tomorrow.

Mother's Day:

A great tale of some Ohio basketball-playing triplets - the Recker crew.

NCAA:

USC has landed a four-star class of 2012 guard: Destinie Gibbs, from Georgia.

An MTSU student testified Friday that she was trapped in the apartment during the fatal stabbing of Lady Raider guard Tina Stewart.

Indiana Coach Curt Miller is excited about his new job.

The stars showed up last night for former Lady Vol Brittany Jackson's Pat Summitt benefit.

Pre-season action: Storm 61, Sparks 60

Rookie Shekinna Stricklen lead the Seattle Storm to a one-point victory today over the Sparks, with 15 points. The Storm were missing Sue Bird, and the Sparks Candace Parker, because both were at USA Basketball practice. Game box score.

Just after the game, the Sparks announced that the home opener, featuring another matchup with Seattle, will be bumped to May 22 to accommodate the playoff schedules of three of LA's male pro teams.

The Storm just waived centers Lindsay Taylor and Ashley Gayle, which brings the roster to 14. The Sparks have been mysteriously waive-less lately.

Related:

USA Basketball was a time to see who jelled.

ESPN discusses USA's win over China last night.

Remaining Storm Center Ann Wauters is yet another athlete who balances basketball and motherhood.

Other WNBA news:

The league previews the Connecticut Sun and previews the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Hoops Insider interview: I discuss the Los Angeles Sparks

I recently talked with Hoops Insider about the Los Angeles Sparks. Check it out.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

USA Basketball easily defeats China

They only had one practice under their belts, last night. But by the second quarter in tonight's exhibition against China's national team, our Olympic squad was flowing together extremely well. They beat China 100-62.

This marks the beginning of the USA team's quest for a fifth consecutive gold medal.

Players say representing their country is worth everything.

Tomorrow morning the USA team scrimmages against the Japan National Team. Tomorrow evening, the Sparks and the Storm play a pre-season game. Which means that Candace Parker and Sue Bird will have long days.

Friday, May 11, 2012

USA Basketball camp

Our Olympic basketball team is in Seattle practicing right now, together for the first time this year. They play China tomorrow night and Japan Sunday. Schedule.

NCAA:

Rutgers and Louisiana Tech will face off at Madison Square Garden this December in the Maggie Dixon Classic.

Indiana Coach Curt Miller has hired his staff.

Mother's Day:

LSU Coach Nikki Caldwell is enjoying motherhood.

Around the WNBA

In today's pre-season action.....It's a whole new Tulsa Shock, baby - they whooped Seattle 86-60. Rookies Glory Johnson and Riquna Williams lead the way with 10 points a piece. The Storm committed a whopping 39 turnovers.

Sue Bird chat highlights.

Last night the Sky outlasted the Mystics, 73-68. Mystics post-game recap and notes.

More on Thursday's Lynx win over the Sun.

Finally! A Liberty training camp update.

The league previews the Tulsa Shock.

A mixture of veterans and newcomers on the Silver Stars is to Becky Hammon's liking.

The Lynx have welcomed back "Momma" Taj McWiliams-Franklin.

Today's transactions:

May 11
The Chicago Sky waived Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton
The New York Liberty waived Iasia Hemingway
The Minnesota Lynx waived Brittany Rayburn
The Indiana Fever waived Shyra Ely-Gash and LaTangela Atkinson

Mother's day:

Tina Thompson's son Dyllan has grown up with basketball.

Sparks 95, Japan National Team 77

My game story from last night's action.

As I mentioned on twitter, the lighting was bad, so my pictures were limited. Even though the top two are blurry, I have to share because you get the idea........


In the first quarter, rookie sensation Nneka Ogwumike stole the ball and raced down the court to put up a bucket. Look at the height, above, that she achieves on this.


Ebony Hoffman wills her way to the basket constantly. Here, she girds to make two of her 12 points on the evening.


The Japan team was tough. Wicked shooters. Engaging coach. Here, they huddle in the fourth quarter.

My friend Donald Barnat got some great pictures because he has a super-cool professional camera.

First Sparks home game is May 20. Can't wait.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In the middle of pre-season games

WNBA:

The Lynx just squeaked out an 87-85 win over the Sun.

Washington and Chicago are currently knotted up in the third quarter.

I'm leaving shortly for the Japan National Team-Sparks game. Follow me on twitter.com/hoopism.

Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Rizzotti and Kara Wolters will do commentary for the Sun.

Camille Little is ready to produce for the Storm.

NCAA news:

Ivy League officials have decided against post-season tournaments.

Guard Centresse McGee has left Illinois for DePaul.

Other news:

The trial for the alleged killer of former Middle Tennessee State guard Tina Stewart is set to start. Some of the Lady Raiders will have to testify. The incident sparks bad memories for them.

Lunch buffet

More WNBA previews:

Chicago Sky.

Washington Mystics.

Tonight's pre-season games feature the Japan National Team at the Sparks, the Mystics at the Sky and the Lynx at the Sun.

Recruiting:

Interesting account of how a recruiter was ejected from an Atlanta tournament last weekend, for just sitting there.

Dishin & Swishin:

Jacki Gemelos and Monique Currie talk ACL injuries.

Pat Summitt:

The legendary coach will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2012 ESPYs in July.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Brittney Griner breaks wrist

Baylor center Brittney Griner broke her right wrist skateboarding. Picture. Guess it all worked out that she opted out of the Olympics.......

Other NCAA news:

The NCAA has established a new position - the vice president of women's basketball championships. Duties:

The vice president of women’s basketball championships will oversee the strategic direction, operation and management of the following:

• The Division I, II and III women’s basketball championships.
• The relationship between the NCAA and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
• The performance of other functions assigned by the executive vice-president.

Jen Hoover will take over at Wake Forest.

Recruiting:

To prepare for the summer evaluation period, give yourself a spring report card.

Mid-week W update

Last night's pre-season action:

Alexis Gray-Lawson lead Phoenix over Japan with 34 whoppin' points.

Tonight:

Fever down the Stars, 78-69.

Seattle Storm:

Tina Thompson has watched the evolution and revolution of the WNBA.

Shekinna Stricklen's mother Karen is coming to Seattle to watch her daughter play on Mother's Day. Stricklen has been going to defensive school.

Washington Mystics:

The Mystics are putting the new pieces together. And Crystal Langhorne likes it.

Former Cal Bear Ashley Walker is trying to make the team.

Los Angeles Sparks, by yours truly:

Working on identity.

WNBA:

It's Media Day week for most teams. Check out the dope photos.

Transactions:

May 9
The Washington Mystics waived Brianna Gibreath

May 8
The Phoenix Mercury waived C'eira Ricketts and Christine Flores
The Atlanta Dream waived Romina Ciappea, Brittany Johnson, Chelsea Regins and Aishah Sutherland.
The Los Angeles Sparks waived Tyra White and Rashidat Junaid
The Connecticut Sun waived Jessica Breland and Stefanie Murphy

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pro stuff

They're baaaaack:

Sue Bird returns to the Storm.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin steps back into her Lynx "momma" role with a new job: mentoring Devereaux Peters.

Tamika Catchings must balance playing for the Fever, and being a member of the Olympic team.

They're there:

Swin Cash thinks her new team, the Sky, can make it to the playoffs.

Former Sun Devil Dymond Simon is trying her best to make the Mercury team.

Alysha Clark is making a bid for the Storm roster.

And how about this:

It's been 10 years since a team were back-to-back champs, as the Sparks did it in 2001 and 2002. Will the Lynx be next?

WNBA transactions and news

The page has finally been updated:

May 8
The Phoenix Mercury waived C'eira Ricketts and Christine Flores

May 7
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Latoya Williams

May 6
The Minnesota Lynx waived Tavelyn James, Jasmine Lee and Kayla Standish
The Tulsa Shock waived Marshae Dotson

May 5
The Connecticut Sun waived Brittany Carter

May 4
The Washington Mystics waived Kerri Gardin

May 3
The Chicago Sky waived Lykendra Johnson
The Indiana Fever waived Courtney Hurt and Jenna Smith
The Phoenix Mercury waived Brittney Thomas
The Washington Mystics waived Tia Lewis

May 2
The Chicago Sky signed Sydney Carter and Shey Peddy
The Minnesota Lynx signed Devereaux Peters and Kayla Standish
The Phoenix Mercury signed Christine Flores, Amanda Johnson, Samantha Prahalis and C'eira Ricketts

May 1
The Seattle Storm waived Rachel Allison, Dellena Criner and Jacqua Williams

April 30
The Connecticut Sun signed Stefanie Murphy
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Ify Ibekwe

April 29
The Minnesota Lynx signed Brittany Rayburn

April 28
The Washington Mystics signed Tia Lewis, Anjale Barrett and Natalie Novosel

April 27
The New York Liberty signed Kelley Cain and Katelan Redmon
The Tulsa Shock signed Marshae Dotson and waived Chanel Mokango
The Washington Mystics signed Rashanda McCants

April 26
The Minnesota Lynx signed Tavelyn James and Julie Wojta
The Seattle Storm signed Jaqua Williams, Ashley Corral, Dellena Criner, Ashley Gayle and Shekinna Stricklen
The Phoenix Mercury signed Avery Warley
The Tulsa Shock signed Glory Johnson and Riquna Williams
The Los Angeles Sparks signed Nnemkadi Ogwumike and Tyra White
The Connecticut Sun signed Chay Shegog

The league previews the Phoenix Mercury.

Next week is WNBA Cares Week.

Monday, May 7, 2012

WNBA cuts update

The Mystics waived Tia Lewis, Kerri Gardin and AnJale Barrett from their training camp roster.

The Lynx waived Tavelyn James, Jasmine Lee, and Kayla Standish.

The Storm waived Dellena Criner, Jacqua Williams and Rachel Allison.

The Fever waived Courtney Hurt and Jenna Smith.

The Shock waived Marshae Dotson.

The Mercury waived Brittney Thomas.

Nothing from the Silver Stars, the Liberty, the Sky, the Sparks, the Dream or the Sun.

More and more WNBA news

Tonight's WNBA pre-season result:

Sun defeat Liberty in pre-season opener, 96-81.

More WNBA news:

The league previews the Lynx.

Queralt Casas of Spain isn't letting a language barrier stop her in Lynx training camp.

Georgia Tech center Sasha Goodlett is impressing so far at Indiana Fever camp.

Overseas vet Lindsay Taylor has arrived at Storm camp.

The Mystics did some Navy Seal training, as a bonding exercise. Photo gallery.

Michelle Smith and Mechelle Voepel discuss the upcoming season.

Pre-season schedule.

NCAA coaching news:

Brenda Mock is the new coach at UNC Asheville.

Something's wrong on the govolsextra.com page, but assistant coach Daedra Charles-Furlow wasn't retained at Tennessee.

Clarisse Garcia is a new assistant at Alabama.

Recruiting:

The revised 2012 rankings list shows only one player who has yet to be signed.

2013 rankings.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Pre-season stories

More on the Sparks' thrashing of China. (More photo gallery with captions).

Shock Coach Gary Kloppenburg sees positives in their loss to the Dream.

Something on the Fever-Silver Stars game.....but no box score yet. (I don't get it)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

North Carolina lands three big recruits

Diamond DeShields, Stephanie Mavunga and Jessica Washington all decided to be Tar Heels today.

Complete recruiting updates so far this spring.

Pre-season game wrap up

First up today, the Dream squeaked out a 91-89 win over the Shock. Laurie Koehn lead Atlanta with 21 points, and Ivory Latta and Riquna put up 18 and 17, respectively, for Tulsa.

In another close one, the Fever edged out the Silver Stars, 69-67. There is no box score up yet on wnba.com, or the Fever's website. No comment. But hoopfeed found somewhere that Roneeka Hodges lead Indiana with 16 points, and Danielle Adams put up 12 for San Antonio.

The Sparks blew out the China National Team, 98-71. LA's #1 draft pick, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, lead all scorers with 20 points. Four other Sparks were in double figures. For China, Gao Song and Ji Yanyan each had 19 points.

My photo gallery.

Game notes:

- China got off to a quick start with some serious defense, but LA quickly woke up and took a lead that grew and grew. Every Spark player except Delisha Milton-Jones got floor time and each player contributed. Milton-Jones was resting, and is not injured.
- China had a 6-foot-9 player, Wei Wei, who scored her team's first six points, but quickly cooled off. They out-shot the Sparks in free throws (LA really needs to work on those), but had almost twice as many turnovers. The China coach made players run lines after the game, but I don't know if I would have, because the team played hard. Even when they were behind by 30, they continued to play hard.
- Sparks Coach Carol Ross really coaches. She walks the sidelines, crouches, yells, waves her arms - the whole enchilada. It is fun to watch. And the team responded. Every single player that took the floor ran like she was being chased. It's a whole new Sparks team, y'all.
- Nnemkadi Ogwumike is amazing. That is all.
- Ebony Hoffman was a beast on the shots and the boards. She is fun to watch, and she yells at her teammates (in the spirit of communication) too.
- Khadijah Rushdan had an exceptional coast-to-coast run up the floor late in the game, that involved three behind-the-back crossovers to flee defenders. She almost broke her own ankles as she approached the basket, but regained her balance and put it up and in. This got the street-clothed Candace Parker, just back from Russia, off the bench and jumping up and down. The whole thing was jaw-dropping.
- April Sykes was impressive, as was Marissa Coleman. They started the game, along with Hoffman, Kristi Toliver and Nicky Anosike. If I were the six players who still weren't at camp yet, I would haul my booty to LA as fast as possible. The cuts will be brutal.
- AC Green was in attendance, along with over 1,000 fans and 50 members of China's media.

Friday, May 4, 2012

WNBA: stop complaining and do your part

Last month, NBA Commissioner David Stern and WNBA President Laurel Richie made these comments in a piece, ironically called "Shining a Light on the WNBA":

One of the things Stern, and the other representatives of the league, spoke most passionately about was the lack of coverage of the W.N.B.A. by the news media.

“It’s too bad that we can’t get a fair allocation of space based on interest,” Stern said in reference to the league’s ratings on ESPN2 in contrast to the small amount of coverage it receives in many newspapers and online.

When asked if there were any publications that were adequately covering the league, the W.N.B.A.’s president Laurel Richie said: “I’d say no, but maybe that’s just because I’m biased. But I’d say no.”


Oh, really?

Got Hoopfeed? Lots of stories on this website, especially the first week of training camp.

Same with Swish Appeal.

The Seattle Times has a full-time Storm reporter who follows the team around the country during the season, covering their games. She's even written a book.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune provides excellent coverage of the Lynx. They have a tab for the team at the top of the sports page.

These are just some of many news sources that regularly cover the league.

Between these four sites alone, there were dozens of WNBA stories posted this week. There was even a piece on Lisa Leslie and her new role as co-owner of the Sparks (which many still don't know about) on SportsIllustrated.com, by yours truly.

How many of these numerous stories did the WNBA tweet? Five or six. They had surprisingly few tweets for the first week of league training camp.

How many of these stories are linked on the league website? Zero.

If I were in charge of the WNBA, I'd be tweeting, linking and promoting the hell out of any and all coverage that the league gets. I'd bend over backwards to give those news agencies any help that they needed in writing more stories. I'd get the SIDs of each team to reach out to reporters of those publications on a weekly basis with story ideas and photo opportunity offers. I'd make sure those stories were also linked on the pages of the respective teams, as well as tweeted on the team account.

What I wouldn't do is erroneously complain about the lack of coverage, when I did nothing to reciprocate the coverage that does exist by promoting those stories and giving the publications recognition.

WNBA, stop complaining and do your part.

Injuries, ironing, bike rides, awards and websites

WNBA:

Sad news today, as the Indiana Fever announced forward Shyra Ely-Gash will miss the season due to a torn ACL.

Something you don't know about Diana Taurasi.

Candice Wiggins brings confident leadership to the Lynx bench.

The Storm's Tina Thompson balances basketball and motherhood.

NCAA news:

UConn center Kiah Stokes had successful surgery today on her foot, to repair a torn tendon. She's expected to be ready for next season.

Tennessee Coach Holly Warlick and LSU Coach Nikki Caldwell are ready to blast off on their annual "cruise for a cause."

Pat Summitt has earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Presidential Council on Fitness, Sport & Nutrition.

NCAA business:

Texas-Arlington is moving to the Sun Belt Conference.

NCAA coaching moves:

Nate Kilbert is the new coach at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

Sharon Versyp's contract at Purdue has been extended through the 2018 season.

Erica White joins North Florida as an assistant.

USA Basketball:

Official websites for the U17 World Championships have been launched.

Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore will be a trio of Lynx on this summer's Olympic team.

Overseas basketball:

The Czech team for whom Delisha Milton-Jones and Lindsay Whalen have played - who won a second straight championship last week - has let the two players go.

Chamique Holdsclaw and Jacki Gemelos update

Chamique Holdsclaw is not currently in WNBA training camp. The veteran forward was contemplating a return to the league after taking last year off due to injury. Her agent, Stephanie Stanley, said "As of now, she's not playing in the league but I think if the right opportunity arises, she would return."

Holdsclaw continues her work speaking about depression and advocating mental health. She is also promoting her biography, released in March, "Breaking Through: Beating the Odds Shot After Shot."

USC graduate Jacki Gemelos was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx April 16, in the third round. The embattled guard has torn ACLs in both knees over the last six years. Lynx spokesman Alex King said the franchise is keeping the rights to Gemelos and expects her at training camp in 2013. Gemelos said the Lynx has encouraged her in her rehabilitation. She is currently doing sponsor photo shoots, and has started a new website, www.jackigemelos23.com. She will keep fans updated as to her progress in her blog.