Friday, May 31, 2013

Finally, back at it

Though the Dream defeated the Fever, 86-77, Indiana players received their 2012 Championship rings in a pre-game ceremony.

The Liberty just squeaked one by the Shock, 78-76, in overtime. Some feel the Shock's last basket should have counted, and sent the game into a second extra period.

The Sun and Sky are still battling as I speak.....

Tomorrow the Sparks will be at the Silver Stars, and the Lynx FINALLY get their season started, hosting the Sun.

Other WNBA news:

Sparks....Candace Parker traces her love of basketball back to eighth grade.

Lynx....have named their anniversary team.

They aim to master the details to regain the title.

I'm wondering why it's taken so long for Minnesota to begin their season this year.

Shock....rookie Skylar Diggins is adjusting to WNBA life.

General:

WNBA President Laurel Richie is eager to watch this year's rookies develop.

Tina Thompson to retire after this season

The last of the original players of the WNBA's 1997 season - Tina Thompson - will retire after this season.

It's a sad day.

Check out the beautiful photo montage tribute on this message board thread.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three days off is too long

We get back to game action tomorrow night, after three gameless days.

The Fever's ring ceremony will precede their home opener. Rookie Layshia Clarendon and veteran Tamika Catchings talk about what it means.

The Fever will host the Dream.

New York will host Tulsa, and Chicago hosts Connecticut.

Other WNBA news:

Dream....meet rookie Anne Marie Armstrong.

Angel McCoughtry in slow motion.

Mystics....today's practice highlights.

Fever....the league has taken note of assistant coach Stephanie White.

Lynx....rookie Sugar Rodgers is determined to overcome her past.

Mercury....every Thursday, we'll get the Mercury five.

Sky....will the Sky crack the playoffs in their eighth year?

Sparks....Candace Parker balancing act.

Liberty....Essence Carson talks about her passion for basketball, and music.

Shock....rookie Skylar Diggins' game day rituals.

Sun....Kara Lawson brings poise and experience to the team.

General:

The WNBA is off to a strong start in the ratings.

One ESPN writer says it's time to stop celebrating dunks.

College news:

Louisville coach Jeff Walz says embattled Rutgers athletic director nominee Julie Hermann took care of Cardinal athletes during her tenure there.

Q&A with USC coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke.

Colorado has named former coach Ceal Barry interim athletic director.

Colorado State coach Ryun Williams continues to revamp the roster.

Catching up with Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff.

Notre Dame will have a tough schedule in its new league, the ACC, next season.

High school:

Former hoop stars Andrea Stinson and Ashley Battle have each landed their own high school coaching jobs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A bit more WNBA

Lynx....introduce the first of many regular podcasts.

Minnesota scrimmaged against men tonight, and they rallied to win, 83-81.

Mystics....have a fresh start.

Mystics minute with assistant coach Marianne Stanley.

Fever....Q&A with Briann January.

Mercury....Candice Dupree is a smooth operator.

Brittney Griner "owns the middle"

Great, in-depth story on Brittney Griner's life, coming out, and what it means to her new employer, the WNBA.

The most interesting part to me is this:

Over the past 16 years, the WNBA has tried, ever so gently, to create space for itself in the saturated sports world. Marketing campaigns have cherry-picked players who best seem to represent traditional feminine ideals, but in trying to court mainstream fans, the league has struggled to become culturally relevant in its own niche.

Griner happily embraces what the WNBA has long shied away from: controversy. "It's always been, 'Oh, it's just so nice the girls can play,'" says Mercury president Amber Cox. "We want role models, but we need lightning rods to balance things out. In that sense, Brittney has taken us to the next level. If someone is invoking emotion in people, they care. And apathy has been our biggest enemy."

Griner's arrival coincides with intriguing new research about WNBA fans. League executives admit that their marketing efforts have been schizophrenic at times as they've searched for a common thread among their eclectic audience. Now the research shows a theme: People who support the WNBA have progressive views on gender. "They share the ultimate goal of living in a world where gender equality exists in all its forms," says league president Laurel Richie.

The WNBA has been building toward the emergence of a player who can embody this philosophy, and now here she is with her size 17 sneakers and 88-inch wingspan. "This feels like a magical moment," Richie says. "I think years from now, we'll look back on 2013 as the pivotal year for this league."


I completely agree with the "needing to embrace controversy" part.

Fans of the league have puzzled for years over the ways the WNBA has tried to market themselves. Maybe they finally have a game plan.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Much going on during a no-game day

General WNBA:

The rookies shone during opening weekend.

I have to agree with all of Helen's snap judgements after opening weekend.

Teams:

Shock....Fans showed up this weekend.

Lynx....There is still one week to go until the Lynx's opener. Hmmm.

The team is adjusting to the new WNBA rule changes.

Today's practice report.

An honor:

Indianapolis is going to create and name a court after resident Tamika Catchings. Ground has been broken on the project.

College news:

Incoming Rutgers AD Julie Hermann remains under fire. She was the focus of a 2008 Louisville lawsuit.

Semeka Randall had a meeting with Alabama A&M players before being introduced as the new head coach today.

Pat Summitt:

The legendary coach will be inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame.

U16 team:

....had two surprising additions and one stunning omission.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mystics take Shock in overtime; Sky rout Mercury

In today's first game, the Mystics topped the Shock in overtime, 95-90, behind Ivory Latta's 27 points. Four players were in double figures for Washington, and three were for Tulsa.

Box score.

Then the Sky routed the Mercury, 102-80. Rookie Elena Delle Donne lead all scorers for a while, and ended with 22 while teammate Epiphanny Prince had 26. Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner dunked twice during the game.

Box score.

Good game quotes here.

Thoughts, in no particular order:

- Possible theme for opening weekend: expect the unexpected. It's a different league now, as evidenced by the Storm getting their asses kicked, the Mystics winning, and rookies going off. Veterans are also showing out. It's like everyone got some energy drink.

- Now, if we could keep some of these players with a team for more than two seasons, the WNBA would have something to really market.

- Was there anybody else besides me who said Phoenix won't be as good as everyone expects them to be, and to not automatically hand them the championship? They may just end up taking it all, as four months from now is a long time. But they've got work to do, as we saw today. Making one good college player appear isn't necessarily an immediate solution.

- Two 100-plus scoring games on opening weekend is an indicator of a good season to come.

- Elena Delle Donne is ridiculously skilled. She filled up her stat column nicely, and matched Griner for rebounds and blocks, though she's much shorter. I took an unofficial twitter poll during the game today, and it was 50/50 on whether Griner should have been first pick, or EDD. Whatever the case, Chicago has a very special player.

- The guys in the weight room at my gym liked Griner's second dunk. Men will be paying attention to that, trust me. They don't think you can have a basketball game without a dunk.

- I thought the Liberty and the Shock would be off to a stronger start. I guess that goes with "expect the unexpected."

- Watch out for the Sparks. They are loaded.

- The Lynx need to hurry up and play. And are the Dream going to be better than people guessed they would?

- The claim to the trophy is wide open right now.

USA Basketball names U16 team

They have been named:

DeJanae Boykin
Kalani Brown
Chassity Carter
Lauren Cox
Crystal Dangerfield
Chelsea Dungee
Asia Durr
Sabrina Ionescu
Tori McCoy
Taylor Murray
Arike Ogunbowale
Katie Lou Samuelson

Last two season openers on tap today

The Mystics will tip off against Tulsa in a few hours, and the Sky will be at Phoenix later.

Then we have a three-day break until the next round of games Friday.

Around the WNBA:

Mystics....guard Ivory Latta is ready for a fresh start.

Mercury....what a journey it's already been for rookie Brittney Griner.

Phoenix is the talk of the league as their first game nears.

Sun....Kelsey Griffin aims to re-ignite her pro career.

Lynx....new feature column on the team website, Uncontested Shot.

Bonus: expect the WNBA to return to Sacramento.

College news:

Shareta Brown has left Detroit.

Oklahoma State's view from the top in Europe.

The diverse experience of Arizona State associate head coach Meg Sanders has strengthened the program.

New Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is already fighting for her job.

U16 trials:

The try out roster is down to 43.

California's Jaelyn Brown is battling for a spot.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dream, Sun prevail on second day

Tonight's games:

Dream 98, Shock 81.

Look at all the players in double figures in the box score.

Sun 81, Liberty 69.

It was a shoot out between Kara Lawson and Cappie Pondexter.

Early indications still are that this season is going to be a great one.

Tomorrow's game features the Storm at the Sparks.

Other news:

Fever....the champions finally got their parade.

Sun....are passing on veteran talent for now.

Storm....Sue Bird is optimistic after knee surgery, and she still hopes to make a contribution to the team.

Lauren Jackson is in Australia, but still has the Storm on her mind.

U16 trials:

Day three photos.

College news:

Ivory Latta will be an assistant coach at her alma mater, North Carolina, filling the vacancy by Trisha Stafford-Odom.

WNBA 2013 season, day two

Today on tap, Tulsa at Atlanta and New York at Connecticut, both at 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern.

Around the WNBA:

Liberty....look to coach Bill Laimbeer off the court, as well. Great piece, and I love a coach that is willing to jump into drills.

Lynx....a new season means a new opportunity for Monica Wright.

Mystics....minute with Matee Ajavon.

Sky....for Chicago, it's playoffs or bust.

Mercury....season preview one, two and three.

U16 trials:

Fullcourt has a fun look at some of the off-beat things at the trials, going on currently in Colorado Springs: the tall and the short of it.

High school:

Class of 2015 watch list.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fever 79, Silver Stars 64

Indiana overcame a slow start to soundly beat San Antonio, 79-64.

Tamika Catchings and Shavonte Zellous each had 19 points for the Fever, while Katie Douglas added 18 and Erlana Larkins grabbed 12 rebounds. Shenise Johnson lead the Silver Stars with 14 points.

Box score.

- Katie Douglas' return presence on the floor made a big difference for Indiana. Douglas and Catchings work so well together.
- San Antonio seems to need a leader. Who will step up?

Brianna Turner verbals to Notre Dame

Well this is a surprise, from the #1 pick of 2014:

Brianna Turner, who is regarded as the top basketball player in the Class of 2014, ended a long recruiting process that dates back to middle school.

The 6-3 forward verbally committed to Notre Dame, picking the Irish over Baylor, Duke, Connecticut and Stanford.


More details from the South Bend Tribune.

Tonight's the night

The Silver Stars-Indiana match up tips off the season in a few hours. In the meantime, news:

Preview: is there a beat in the East?

ESPN conjecture on the top MVP candidates.

Fever forward Tamika Catchings blogs that she feels blessed.

Cappie Pondexter diary, entry one.

Practice with Lynx forward Maya Moore. Her team is among many talented squads this season.

The three to see are ready to begin their WNBA careers.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Final rosters

Waivers today:

Johannah Leedham CON Waived 5/23
Latoya Williams CON Waived 5/23
Ruth Riley CHI Waived 5/23
Shawnice Wilson MIN Waived 5/23
Julie Wojta SAS Waived 5/23
Yvonne Turner SAS Waived 5/23
Ziomara Morrison SAS Waived 5/23
Christine Flores SAS Waived 5/23
Shey Peddy WAS Waived 5/23
Courtney Paris TUL Waived 5/23
Chelsea Poppens SEA Waived 5/23

Have lead to final rosters in time for tomorrow's season opener:

Sparks

Sky

Storm

Sun

Silver Stars

Fever

Shock

Mystics

Lynx

Liberty

Mercury

Dream

Some stalwarts of the league are gone now, like Cathrine Kraayeveld and Ruth Riley. It's a whole new WNBA.

The night before the WNBA season opener

Indiana at San Antonio opens up regular season action tomorrow, followed by a full weekend of games.

Other WNBA news:

The WNBA hopes their new logo and Brittney Griner are slam dunks.

Team plus talent will win the West.

Fever....the champs are back for more.

Indiana is short on healthy players, but not tenacity.

Sparks....owner Paula Madison interview.

Dream....Angel McCoughtry and the Dream are seeking a return to the WNBA finals.

Mercury....Brittney Griner blogs.

Sky....Elena Delle Donne blogs. She is in the national spotlight.

Shock....practice with Skylar Diggins.

Liz Cambage wanted to come back last season.

Storm....how to enjoy the season without Lauren Jackson or Sue Bird.

Lynx....practice with Maya Moore.

Tragedy:

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt's cousin was shot and killed by an off-duty police officer after celebrating her making the Mystics roster.

Saved:

Duke forward Richa Jackson survived Monday's Oklahoma tornado, and now has a new perspective.

College news:

Purdue graduate Drey Mingo has won the Honda Inspiration Award.

Kathy McConnell-Miller leaves the Tulsa Shock to be associate head coach at Pitt.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Hurting time

Many WNBA teams are making final cuts in preparation for tomorrow's deadline, and today's cuts are brutal.

The Lynx waived Jacki Gemelos and Chucky Jeffery. That hurts me personally.

The Fever waived Jasmine Hassell.

The Mercury waived Erin Thorn but picked up Briana Gilbreath.

The Dream waived Sydney Carter and Cathrine Kraayeveld.

The Liberty have waived Shenneika Smith, and Phoenix has also let go of Nikki Greene and Ify Ibekwe.

The 11-player roster is straight up BULL. Teams are forced to cut good players that they'll need if someone gets injured. The league needs to raise the cap to 13.

Other WNBA news:

Sky....have landed a broadcast deal with a local company.

Sky is the limit for the team.

Sparks....Candace Parker resumes her chase for her first league title.

Fever....is going after their second straight championship.

Storm....look to be competitive minus their two stars.

Sun....is hoping new coach Anne Donovan can lead them to a championship.

Mercury....Brittney Griner is looming large over the WNBA.

Liberty....Coach Bill Laimbeer and the new Liberty are ready for a fresh start.

Round table chats with New York coaches.

Shock....a strong off-season has raised the bar for Tulsa.

Lynx....are hungry after last year's finals loss.

Dream....have finalized their roster.

Silver Stars....steady and sure, San Antonio slides into the new season.

College news:

New coach Candi Whitaker has begun her job at Texas Tech.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WNBA GMs weigh in

The WNBA's general managers seem to have a better grasp of things than ESPN. Their preseason picks:

Who will win conference and the title?

Best players.

Best off-season moves.

Best rookies and international players.

Best defense.

Best coaches.

Miscellaneous categories.

Other WNBA news:

Today's preseason game: Sun 88, Lynx 80. Minnesota was without Janel McCarville and Lindsey Moore.

ESPN is analyzing each team.

Sparks....have named Bridget Pettis assistant coach and Gail Goestenkors and Olaf Lange consultants. Pettis replaces Jim Lewis, who resigned, and reuniting Goestenkors with Alana Beard and Lindsay Harding sounds like a winner. Lange is married to the other Sparks assistant coach, Sandy Brondello.

Mystics....one on one with Tierra Ruffin-Pratt.

Today's transactions:

Player Team Transaction

Scholanda Dorrell TUL Waived 5/21
Megan Frazee PHO Waived 5/20
Jordan Madden SAN Waived 5/20

Interesting piece from the Hartford Courant:

Does sexuality impact roster construction?

Former Baylor players respond to Brittney Griner statement about Kim Mulkey

Well here's a loaded piece: reactions from three former Baylor Bears to Brittney Griner's comments that coach Kim Mulkey told her to be quiet about the fact that she's gay.

This comment from Stasha Richards is intriguing, if true:

“When I woke up, about 45 minutes into the day, they already had a group of (people) that didn’t even play, just around the program are like…pissed -- because Kim is loyal. What is this about? It has to be about something that happened from the last game up until now. (Griner) wasn’t at the banquet and (she didn’t) graduate."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Excerpts from "Sum It Up," by Pat Summitt

I've been reading Pat Summitt's autobiography "Sum It Up" slowly, in bits every day while I'm on the stair climber at the gym. This is due to my lack of time recently, but I think I like it this way, because it allows me to savor the book.

Often I find myself laughing, causing some people to wonder what I'm reading. It's because Pat Summitt is pretty darn funny - something that may not seem obvious on the surface.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite funnies with knowledgeable basketball people. If you don't end up buying the book, you'll at least have these great stories.

From chapter nine, where Summitt is chronicling a game during the challenging 1996-1997 season:

Farther down the bench our injured point guard Kellie Jolly, sitting with a damaged knee, looked surprised; she'd never heard me uncertain before. Mickie and Holly offered a couple of suggestions, but we all knew the answer wasn't on an clipboard. I shrugged as if to say, "I don't know who's coaching this team." I wandered down to Tyler's seat on the end of the bench. He just looked up at me with his six-year-old wise man's eyes and held out his hands.

"I'm doing everything I can," he said.


Further along, discussing the "dream team" of 1997-1998, which went 39-0:

Ace might have required soothing talks about her love life, but on the practice court, she dove for every loose ball until she had floor burns, and she absorbed my demands with an unblinking, steady resilience.

Me to Ace: "What have you learned?"

"That I'm soft."

"Prove me wrong."

"I will."

By the time of the NCAA Tournament, we were the overwhelming favorite, flatly the most deserving team in America, and I'd never desired a title so badly for a group. But we were so young I didn't know how they would react to the pressure. I was willing to go to any length to prepare them, use any manipulation to get their minds right.

"I want this for the kids," I said to Mickie and Holly. "I'll do anything to help them get it. I'll say anything. I'll get a technical. I'll strip."


The part about Michelle Snow on page 301 is deep and interesting.

I'd never come across such conflicting strengths and weaknesses........"Snow!" I'd yell, and her head would swivel toward me like a baby dinosaur, looking for a leaf to chew. "I think you need to major in psychology," I said. "Because I can't figure you out. Maybe you can figure yourself out." She took me up on it and got her degree in psychology.

"I told her, I said, 'psychology taught me a lot about you.'" - Michelle Snow


I'm almost done. It won't be as bad as "Raise the Roof," where not only the players but myself were devastated at the end when it was over. But it'll be close.

Second round

You know the week leading up to opening days is fast and furious, so here goes.......

Injury update:

It continues for defending champs Indiana Fever, as now Erin Phillips will be out 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus.

Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon has broken her right middle finger.

Other WNBA news:

Once upon a jersey: the evolution of sponsorship in the league.

Lynx....are preparing for their final preseason game.

Mystics....a minute with Ivory Latta.

The league writes its own team previews:

Mystics.

Storm.

College news:

North Carolina assistant Trisha Stafford-Odom is the new head coach at Concordia University Irvine.

USA Basketball:

The U16 trials later this month will feature 135 athletes completing for spots.

The latest transactions

Transactions page updated:

Player Team Transaction

Alyssia Brewer LAS Waived 5/20
Briana Gilbreath LAS Waived 5/20
Chante Blacky TUL Waived 5/20
Amber Holt TUL Waived 5/20
Keisha Hampton SEA Waived 5/19
Samantha MacKay SEA Waived 5/19
Sonja Petrovic CHI Waived 5/18
Jessica Adair PHO Signed 5/18
Chatilla van Ginsven CON Waived 5/17

I HATE that there are only 11 players allowed on a team.

Other WNBA news:

ESPN says this season will be a page-turner.

ESPN season predictions.

Shock....more fuel for the Skylar Diggins haters, as her new agent, Jay-Z, gave her a Mercedes for graduation.

Diggins talks about life on and off the court.

Baylor/Brittney Griner:

The economics of suppression - why Baylor discouraged Brittney Griner from being openly gay.

Griner has had a whirlwind month.

One blogger says Baylor's request of Griner is shameful.

College news:

The new coach at Texas Tech is Candi Whitaker.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Shock top the Sparks; Griner makes her preseason debut

Glory Johnson unloaded 22 points on the Sparks, and Candice Wiggins added 20, to help the Shock win 82-67.

Brittney Griner lead the Mercury over Japan, 87-64, with 18 points and eight rebounds.

The next preseason game isn't until Tuesday.

Other WNBA news:

The Lynx headlined a business luncheon last week.

Mercury guard Samantha Prahalis stepped up her game and conditioning in the off-season.

U19 team chosen

USA's U19 team is:

Alexis Jones
Breanna Stewart
Morgan Tuck
Candice Agee
Bashaara Graves
Linnae Harper
Moriah Jefferson
Brianna Turner
Nia Coffey
Gabby Green
Kelsey Plum
A'ja Wilson

World University Games Team named

Here they are:

Ariel Massengale
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Bria Hartley
Reshanda Gray
Cassie Harberts
Theresa Plaisance
Odyssey Sims
Crystal Bradfor
Aaryn Ellenberg
Jordan Hooper
Tricia Liston
Shoni Schimmel

WNBA LiveAccess price went up

Last year, the price to watch WNBA games online was $4.99. This year it has risen to $14.99 for the season.

I got an email with a promotion for $2 off because I subscribed last year. I don't know if I want to take that, though. That's a steep increase - especially when the video quality is sometimes bad.

Friday, May 17, 2013

USA Basketball trials continue

The trials continue in Colorado Springs for the World University Games Team and the U19 team.

WUG:

Amber Orrange is hoping the second time is the charm.

U19:

How basketball found Lia Galdeira.

Tough competition is ahead for the 33 trying out.

U16:

The four court coaches who will assist during the selection of this team are LaDreda Akins, Terri Bamford, Kimberley Davis-Powell and Vanessa Nygaard.

WNBA and so much more

WNBA:

Ten potential break out players for 2013.

A change of plans is always difficult for the waived.

Making the cut is tough - but not impossible - for second-rounders like Chelsea Poppens.

Transactions page is finally up to date, including today's Sparks cut of April Sykes.

Liberty....the sisterhood of two basketball Smiths: Katie and Shenneika.

Lynx....Monica Wright will play back up for three positions.

Lindsay Whalen strives to set a good example.

Lindsey Moore is Lindsay Whalen's shadow.

The Lynx celebrate 15 years in the WNBA.

Sky....Epiphanny Prince will miss a few weeks of the season to play for Russia. But she's signed a multi-year contract.

Media day recap.

Sun....Connecticut shakes it up, but did they really need to?

Dream....Atlanta might miss the point.

Mercury....don't sleep on Candice Dupree.

College news:

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw is challenged by a game that was scheduled for her team.

Could Brittney Griner's announcement that she's gay change things at Baylor?

Chattanooga coach Jim Foster has a national role.

Louisville's Shoni and Jude Schimmel talk about their inspiration and goals.

DePaul has partnered with the city of Chicago to build a new arena.

Tayshanna Murphy:

The two men accused of killing high school basketball stand out Tayshanna Murphy in 2011 are on trial now in New York. Murphy danced with her sisters the night she was murdered.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

More transactions

From the rosters, it's apparent there have been more cuts today (though the wnba.com transactions page hasn't been updated as of right now).

The Sparks have waived Nicky Anosike, Tiffany Clark and Paola Ferrari.

The Mystics have waived Natalie Novosel and Drey Mingo. Because they added Jessica Moore yesterday, they still have one more cut to make.

The Lynx have waived Jessica Adair.

The Sky have waived D'Andra Moss.

Other WNBA news:

Shock....What is the deal with this young woman? Liz Cambage returns to Tulsa. The Shock just got a lot more scary.

Glory Johnson is ready to show her net worth.

Sun....Guard Kara Lawson has received the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award.

Coach Anne Donovan sees Lawson as a vital part of the team.

Sky....Swin Cash Q&A on community service.

Elena Delle Donne has settled in.

Lynx....the rookies enjoyed media day.

Media day is an art.

Mystics....Coach Mike Thibault comments after yesterday's preseason game against Brazil.

Silver Stars....behind the scenes at media day.

Liberty....Can Bill Laimbeer lift the Liberty?

Storm....rookie Tianna Hawkins is out to play her own game and make her own name.

Mercury....Phoenix is working hard, ignoring the hype.

Photo gallery.

Tomorrow's preseason game features Tulsa at Seattle at 7 p.m. Pacific time.

College news:

Semeka Randall is the new Alabama A&M coach.

Remember Debbie Black? She's the new coach at Eastern Illinois.

George Washington's Brooke Wilson has been granted a sixth year of eligibility.

Kristy Curry's new boss at Alabama has big expectations for her.

The New York Senate has honored Husky Stefanie Dolson.

USA Basketball:

Trials for the World University Games team have begun. Gooo, Reshanda!

High school news:

In Texas, 6-foot-9 freshman Nancy Mulkey is an emerging star.

New Jersey junior Alliya Butts brings a bit of everything to the court.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three more games, lots more news

Today's preseason action:

Sky 85, Liberty 67

Rookie Elena Delle Donne put up 17 for Chicago in her debut, wasting no time in impressing.

Mystics 71, Brazil National Team 56

Silver Stars 64, Fever 58

Other WNBA news:

Fever....The Fever will be short-handed going into the season.

Jessica Davenport will miss six to eight weeks with a lower leg stress fracture.

The team will be grand marshals later this month for a major city parade.

Mercury....Brittney Griner learned the skyhook from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: ''I went to legend school today and it was awesome,'' Griner said. So is that quote.

The Mercury is ready to rebound.

Sun....The Sun still have tough cuts to make.

Storm....The Storm's Alysha Clark isn't taking anything for granted.

Storm media day photos.

Mystics....The Mystics have signed Jessica Moore.

Belgian Emma Meesseman might just make Washington's roster.

Mystics minute with Natalie Novosel after today's game.

Lynx....Sugar Rodgers overcame incredible obstacles to reach Lynx camp.

Liberty....Rookie rant, by Kamiko Williams and Kelsey Bone.

Coach Bill Laimbeer knows team spirit.

ESPN contemplates the Eastern Conference champ.

College news:

Rutgers has appointed Julie Hermann as athletic director - the first woman in the school's history. Next year she'll have to decide whether or not to renew C. Vivian Stringer's contract.

LSU and former UCLA assistant Stacie Terry is the new head coach at San Diego State.

Purdue coach Sharon Versyp will be inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame.

Alabama A&M will name their new coach tomorrow.

Coach Raegan Pebley will stay at Fresno State.

Billi Godsey takes the reins at Iona.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Transactions? Yes

Remember the "transactions" tab at the top of the wnba.com page? It'll be back this week, the spokesperson at the league office says. In the meantime, the page itself is up, and it's comprehensive. Here are the cuts for the last week:

Player Team Transaction

Moore, Loree NY Waived 5/14
Lewis, Doneeka TUL Waived 5/14
Lucas, Italee TUL Waived 5/14
Chambers, Brittany LA Waived 5/13
Taylor, Lindsay LA Waived 5/13
James, Jasmine SEA Waived 5/13
Redmon, Katelan SEA Waived 5/13
Bobbitt, Shannon WAS Waived 5/12
Corral, Ashley WAS Waived 5/12
Warley, Avery WAS Waived 5/12
Stokes, Amber SAN Waived 5/12
Gray-Lawson, Alexis SEA Waived 5/12
Spears, Brittany TUL Waived 5/11
Mosby, Bernice IND Waived 5/9
Penn, Karisma NY Waived 5/9
Childs, Jalana PHX Waived 5/9
Prins, Anna CON Waived 5/8
Smith, Andrea CON Waived 5/8
Harper, Laura IND Waived 5/6

Tomorrow's preseason games:

Brazil National Team vs. Mystics, 11:30 a.m.

Silver Stars at Fever, noon

Liberty at Sky, 12:30 p.m.

Other WNBA news:

Indiana Fever media day photos.

Liberty camp diaries, day eight.

With Bill Laimbeer as a coach, the retooled Liberty is excited.

Lynx draftee Jacki Gemelos will live the WNBA dream, if her knees will let her. Her teammate Janel McCarville made the first pitch at the Twins game last night.

College news:

Texas Tech recruits are playing the waiting game to see who will replace recently-departed coach Kristy Curry. Possible candidates.

Texas A&M coach Gary Blair offers insight on the Texas Tech situation, and says he plans to retire where he is.

High school:

Fullcourt.com's latest fresh 50 list for the class of 2015.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A bit of movement

College news:

Joy Cheek will leave her assistant coach position at Duke to be an assistant at Ohio State, with Kevin McGuff.

Tyler Summitt is following in his mother's footsteps.

Mother's Day:

Cierra Burdick and her mother have always counted on each other.

Maya Moore and her mother have a special bond.

Ivory Latta has support and unconditional love from her mother.

Preseason: Storm 67, Sparks 66

Long Beach, Calif. - The Storm outlasted the Sparks Sunday, 67-66, in the first exhibition for both teams.

Alysha Clark hit a jump shot with 4.6 seconds to go to put Seattle up by one, and the Sparks had a chance for one more play, but Farhiya Abdi over threw an inbounds pass, leaving no time for the shot as the clock expired.

Box score.

There were 15 lead changes in the game - seven of which were in the fourth quarter. The Storm began the game aggressively, mounting a lead in the second quarter that they took into halftime, 40-33. In the third quarter, the Sparks caught up, and from then on it was neck and neck to the finish.

Both teams held out key players - Tanisha Wright for Seattle, and Alana Beard for Los Angeles - both of whom dressed for the game. The Sparks were missing Candace Parker, Kristi Toliver, Lindsay Harding and Jantel Lavender.

Each team also followed a pattern of starting their strongest lineups, and letting veterans play, in the first quarter and a half, and slowly easing them out of the action for the remainder of the contest. Players took turns at multiple positions.

Rookies on both sides impressed.

Spark guard A'Dia Mathies slashed to the basket for six points. Storm forward Tianna Hawkins had sweet shots for eight points, and teammate Chelsea Poppens used her quick, aggressive style on defense.

Second-year players Nneka Ogwumike for Los Angeles and Shekinna Stricklen for Seattle both played overseas this winter, and their improvement from their rookie seasons was apparent.

Storm Coach Brian Agler:

"I thought we did OK. I know LA didn't have some of their key players out there. What I gauge on is, are you getting carryover from your practices? We're getting carryover, and that's a positive sign.

Every team this time of the year has tough decisions.

I thought our defense was pretty consistent, for the most part, was consistent from beginning to end. I thought we rebounded really well in the first half, and in the second half, we gave up a few too many offensive boards.

You don't really have a strategy for preseason games. You just say four or five things and see if people can get those thing done, and for the most part, we did. Offensively I thought we did some good things. I don't think either team shot the ball really well. But in the second half they came out and really pressured us, and it bothered us in the third quarter.

Two weeks from now, LA will look a bit different than they did today.

Sparks Coach Carol Ross:

“We did get some results we wanted. First, we found out at halftime that they are coachable. We asked them to do things differently in the second half and I thought in the third quarter you saw a much different team. We fell in love with the outside shot in the first half, that’s a heartbreaker. We had to get control of the paint again, help our defense so we were ready to get a lot of deflections. Our hands were much more active in the third quarter and we were able to look at personnel, see how people play under the big lights.

It was an offensive lapse, in my opinion. When you jack up threes and don’t go deep into the shot clock, you give your defense no chance. We kept our defense in a bad position for the first half, especially the second quarter. I was looking to see can we make adjustments. They got an ear full at halftime and they made adjustments.”

The Sparks' next preseason match up is May 19, when they face the Tulsa Shock.



Coach Carol Ross gives the Sparks instructions for Sunday's game after Saturday's practice



Storm forward and Los Angeles native Tina Thompson's son, Dyllan - seen here watching Sunday's game - celebrated his eighth birthday Friday. He has grown up before the eyes of fans.



Candace Parker, left, and Kristi Toliver, returned to the team Sunday and sat at the end of the bench.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WNBA pre-season is under way (!!)

Tonight it was Dream 72, Shock 58.

Skylar Diggins got a busted lip; Courtney Clements repped the West Coast with 18 points.

Wish there was a write up on this one.

Other WNBA news:

The Mystics hope new coach Mike Thibault can snap them out of a two-year funk.

Washington may have a long road ahead.

Mystics media day interviews and photos.

WNBA rookies Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne share their favorite music playlists.

Delle Donne is making Chicago home.

A peek into the Delaware grad's workout.

Storm point guard Sue Bird had successful knee surgery today.

Seattle returnee Shekinna Stricklen aims to show a more aggressive style of play this season.

The Sun is adjusting to new rules.

The latest from San Antonio's training camp.

Mercury training camp blog, day four.

The Lynx are lending a hand during National Women Build Week.

Minnesota is managing minutes.

Overseas:

A fascinating, all-access look inside the lives of Diana Taurasi, Candace Parker and Sue Bird as they play in Russia. (Check out their names, in Russian, on the backs of their uniforms)

Mother's Day:

Tyler Summitt says his mother "taught him the right way."

Awesome video of Candace Parker and daughter Lailaa, as the LA Spark talks about motherhood and ball.

The San Antonio Silver Stars talk about their mothers.

Nanci Thibault (wife of Mystics coach Mike) has a mother's day special.

College news:

It looks like the NCAA is set to approve a 10-second back court rule.

Jim Foster is the new coach at Chattanooga.

High school:

Top Tennessean 2014 prospect Alexa Middleton is chasing WNBA dreams.

Meet Floria recruit Haley Lorenzen.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

More goodies raining down

The upgraded Shock are thinking playoffs.

Tulsa is welcoming the WNBA's newest star, Skylar Diggins.

Liberty camp diaries, day one.

Fever training camp, day four.

The Mystics' Ivory Latta is changing the sneaker game.

Mystics Coach Mike Thibault after day four.

A moment with Michelle Snow.

Another moment with Drey Mingo.

Temeka Johnson will be watched as she tries to fill in for the Storm's Sue Bird.

Minnesota Lynx: the Reeve report.

The Sun have waived Andrea Smith and Anna Prins.

Kelsey Griffin has a new attitude with Connecticut, and is ready to go.

The Sun are embracing change.

Mercury training camp blog, day three.

Brittney Griner continues learning with the Mercury.

ESPN contemplates which team will win the West.

College news:

Maegan Conwright has left the University of Kentucky.

Akilah Bethel has transferred from West Virginia to LSU.

World University Games try out roster announced

Thirty-one will vie for a spot on the World University Games Team during trials, May 16-19. They are:

Danielle Ballard
Rachel Banham
Crystal Bradford
Gennifer Brandon
Cierra Burdick
Hallie Christofferson
Aaryn Ellenburg
Morgan Eye
Reshanda Gray
Sara Hammond
Cassie Harberts
Isabelle Harrison
Bria Hartley
Jordan Hooper
Brittany Hrynko
Briahanna Jackson
Betnijah Laney
Jasmine Lister
Tricia Liston
Maggie Lucas
Tyaunna Marshall
Ariel Massengale
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Amber Orrange
Haley Peters
Theresa Plaisance
Shoni Schimmel
Meighan Simmons
Odyssey Sims
Bria Smith
DeNesha Stallworth

What a list!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

34 invited to U19 World Championship team trials

Short notice: 34 of the nation's best under 19 players were selected today to participate in the team trials, May 16-19, in Colorado Springs. They are:

Jordan Adams
Candice Agee
Jillian Alleyne
Ameryst Alston
Shacobia Barbee
Amber Campbell
Oderah Chidom
Nia Coffey
Kendall Cooper
Rebekah Dahlman
Kaela Davis
Amber Deane
Lia Galdeira
Bashaara Graves
Gabby Green
Tiaria Griffin
Linnae Harper
Moriah Jefferson
Alexis Jones
Brittney Martin
Stephanie Mavunga
Xylina McDaniel
Sydney Moss
Kelsey Plum
Jordan Reynolds
Tyler Scaife
Ieshia Small
Breanna Stewart
Brittney Sykes
Morgan Tuck
Brianna Turner
Courtney Walker
Marqu'es Webb
A'ja Wilson

The future is bright.

A bit of news while camp is churning

Things are a wee bit quiet, but that's good this time because it means everybody's working.......

Lynx draftee Jacki Gemelos is intent on overcoming her injury past.

Gemelos shows no quit.

Kamiko Williams is graded high by the Liberty.

It's a new year and a different situation for the Fever's Erlana Larkins.

Angel Goodrich is vying for a Shock roster spot.

Rookie Kelly Faris will continue to rest her injured foot with the Sun.

Sky #2 pick Elena Delle Donne threw out the first pitch at the Chicago Cubs game this week.

Mystics training camp, day two. Mystics minute with Avery Warley.

Brittney Griner is proof that it does get better.

Griner and Mercury Coach Corey Gaines talk about the opening of training camp.

Phoenix camp day two blog.

Sure wish there was some news about Liberty, Sun, Dream and Sparks camp. The Silver Stars, Sky and Shock could speak up more too. Just sayin.......

College news:

Hannah Douglas is transferring from Butler to Florida Gulf Coast.

Oakland University will join the Horizon League in July.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sparks open training camp

The Los Angeles Sparks opened training camp today with several still missing from their 19-player roster. Coach Carol Ross said she expected everyone to be back by the end of the week.



April Sykes makes a shot while Alana Beard waits her turn.



Draftee Brittany Chambers is interviewed for television media.



Assistant coach Sandy Brondello watches Marissa Coleman's shot go in, while coach Carol Ross looks on.



Ebony Hoffman is interviewed for television media.

Coach Carol Ross on the 19-player training camp roster:

"Anytime you have a chance to bring people into camp, you want to seize the moment. It's an 11-player roster (maximum), but you want to get a look at people and see how they compete at the highest level. You want to give them opportunity to get in front of you so they can be seen."

So you have an open mind as to who will make the roster?

"I do. They'll start separating themselves. Today is just the first day and everyone's getting back in rhythm. Some are coming out of college, some are returning from overseas....at the end of the day we're trying to speak the same language, and that's basketball."

Are there any positions/players that are guaranteed?

"I would hope so." (Laughs) "I'm not the GM."

Everybody's looking at Phoenix, but how do you see the Sparks lineup?

"Everybody's talking about really everybody but us, and that's fine. We've still got things to prove to ourselves. I don't have anybody I'd trade in. Championships aren't won by talent, though it helps to have it. But it's the intangibles that separate teams: the toughness mentally, the toughness physically, the ability to adjust styles of play, being deep enough, and you've got to be lucky. There are a lot of number one-ranked teams that don't end up being number one. On any given night, anything can happen."

"I wouldn't talk about us. We haven't proved anything - we've got to prove something. We'll have pressure, and it'll come from within. We're not defending anything; we're fighting for something."

WNBA training camp begins

Indiana Fever opening day.

The Liberty will be fun to watch this year, coach Bill Laimbeer says.

Amber Stokes is eager for her tryout with San Antonio.

Q&A with Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve.

Minnesota is focused on consistency.

Skylar Diggins and Candice Wiggins will create a speedy back court for the Shock.

Tulsa thinks Diggins is their missing piece.

College news:

Tyler Summitt is interviewing for the head coaching position at Chattanooga.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

'Twas the day before WNBA training camp

Players have been migrating to their team cities the last few days. My hometown LA Sparks saw both of their two top draft picks stop by the office Wednesday.

Now tomorrow morning, it's on as training camp starts.

WNBA news:

Time hasn't changed the Lynx's "hometown girl" Janel McCarville.

Phoenix Mercury have nothing to worry about this season.

Skylar Diggins is ready to play for Tulsa.

Fever Coach Lin Dunn stresses the importance of balancing life and career.

Sky rookie Elena Delle Donne's work out.

A conversation with Shock rookie Angel Goodrich.

New players, new rules as camps open.

Seattle Storm:

This season will be a test of character for the Storm.

Seattle is where former high school stars try to make a pro roster.

Brittney Griner:

The rookie's contact with the Mercury includes a skateboarding clause.

Griner has signed a contact to play in China after WNBA season is over.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Game back on

So much to report again, hallelujah.......

WNBA:

Nnemkadi Ogwumike's team edged Tina Charles' team in the Polish Women's Professional League championships.

With Coach Mike Thibault, the Mystics have nowhere to go but up.

The Lynx are launching an "inspiring women" series.

More ink on Katie Douglas, and further press on Anne Donovan.

College news:

Tennessee Coach Holly Warlick and the women's soccer coach recommended firing strength coach Heather Mason.

San Diego State athletic director Jim Sterk is providing little insight into former coach Beth Burn's recent retirement.

Hampton has extended coach David Six's contract through 2019.

Nyla Milleson will start fresh at George Mason.

Keneisha Horn has left Alabama, and another player may leave as well.

Two current Louisville freshmen are ready to step up next year.

Ohio State forward Kalpana Beach had knee surgery yesterday to repair a torn ligament.

Oregon's Cynna Miley hopes to give a voice to young women everywhere.

Utah is traveling to Europe to play next week.

Fordham's Christina Gaskin has been invited to compete for a spot on the Great Britain Senior National Team.

A tribute to former Dartmouth coach Chris Weilgus.

College business:

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors suspended changes to recruiting communication rules, but they don't affect women's or men's basketball.

High school class of 2014:

Jatarie White of North Carolina is taking leadership skills to a new level.

Meet Kristen Simon, of Los Angeles.

Super 60.

USA Basketball:

The U16 team trials will feature 33 high school players in camp May 23-27.

Tragedy:

Veteran Detroit high school basketball coach Charles Scott was shot to death.