Monday, June 30, 2014

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Some "wow" games

Well well well.....

The Liberty finally got one - barely - by holding off the Sun, 67-65.

The Mercury squeaked by the Shock, 80-77. Brittney Griner set a WNBA single-game record by blocking 11 shots.

The Lynx finally beat the Storm this season, by the skin of their teeth: 74-69.

Other, more expected results:

The Stars topped the Mystics, 73-65.

The Dream downed the Fever, 76-68.

USA Basketball:

The U17 team thrashed France, 88-40, at the World Championships. Just a week ago, France beat them by six points.

College news:

Texas Tech's Amber Battle will have surgery after being hit in the face on campus yesterday by an incoming freshman football player. The young man - Nigel Bethel II, has been dismissed from the school.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Tulsa Shock: the overtime team

Tonight's result:

The Sparks rallied past the Shock in overtime, 92-89. It was Tulsa's third consecutive overtime game.

It was also the first game back for Kristi Toliver, who missed six games with Los Angeles helping Slovakia qualify for a European National Championship.

Game notes:

Tulsa Shock

- Skylar Diggins led the Shock with 29 points, shooting 9-for-18 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line. She has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 games this season for the Shock.

- Rookie Odyssey Sims recorded her first career double-double, with 17 points and 10 assists. Courtney Paris also earned her eighth double-double of the season, putting up 12 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

- Three Shock players scored in double digits – Diggins (29), Sims (17) and Paris (12).

- Rookie Jordan Hooper added nine points off the bench, shooting three-for-six from behind the three-point line.

Los Angeles Sparks

- Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks with 22 points, her tenth time this season to score in double figures.
- Jantel Lavender put up her third double-double in the last four games, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
- Candace Parker led the team in assists with seven and also added 15 points.
- Four Sparks players scored in double figures – Ogwumike (22), Lavender (16), Parker (15) and Toliver (12)

More WNBA news.....

Shock:

Rookie Jordan Hooper is coming up big for Tulsa this season, including nine points off the bench today.

Liberty:

Essence Carson remains determined.

Storm:

Q&A with Crystal Langhorne.

There are five games tomorrow again.

Former UTSA coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair killed in motorcycle accident

What a horrible tragedy:

Former UTSA women's basketball coach Rae Rippetoe-Blair was killed in a motorcycle accident Friday afternoon in Austin.

Rippetoe-Blair, who coached the Roadrunners for 13 seasons before resigning last August, was 52.

Rippetoe-Blair apparently lost control of her motorcycle on an overpass in north Austin, according to reports. Rippetoe-Blair and the motorcycle fell over the edge of the overpass. No other cars were involved in the accident, according to reports.

Rippetoe-Blair had sold her motorcycle and was on her way to deliver it to the buyer in Austin when she had the accident, her mother said by phone Saturday morning.

"She had it sold to someone who wanted it in Austin," Anita Rippetoe said. "They were going to meet at a bank and Rae was going to get paid and get rid of it. I don't know how far she was from the bank, but I don't think it was too far."

Rippetoe-Blair was going to return home with friends who drove to Austin in her car. The friends were ahead of Rippetoe-Blair when the accident occurred.

"They kept looking in the rear-view mirror to make sure they could always see her," Anita Rippetoe said. "There was a lot of traffic, her friends told me, and then they didn't see her. The friend that was driving got off on the next exit to try to see her, and then they saw what had happened."


The former coach had retired to care for her husband, who has Alzheimer's Disease.

It's stories like this that make you wonder why.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Some close ones

Tonight's results:

The Mystics got by the Sun, 69-63.

The Mercury rallied past the Fever, 81-76.

The Sky held off the Liberty, 73-69.

The Storm downed the Lynx, 81-71.

More WNBA news.....

Lynx:

Coach Cheryl Reeve admits she made a mistake in drafting Lindsey Moore last year.

Sun:

Danielle McCray will be out 6-8 weeks after surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament.

Chillin 4 Charity:

The Los Angeles Sparks.

The Phoenix Mercury.

Ailing:

Elena Delle Donne and Tamika Catchings fight illness and injury to play on their terms.

College news:

The University of Tennessee has filed another protective motion in former media relations director Debby Jennings' lawsuit against the school.

Retiring athletic director Joan Cronan is optimistic about the future of the Lady Vols.

Alabama's top scorer Daisha Simmons has been granted a release and will transfer.

Rhode Island's staff is now complete.

Colorado has extended the contract of coach Linda Lappe through 2019.

A few notables heading into game evening

The son of WNBA founding player Joy Holmes-Harris - Gary Harris - was drafted by the Bulls last night in the NBA draft, at the 19th spot.

The contract of Darxia Morris, who was brought in by the Sparks to fill Kristi Toliver's spot, was terminated yesterday. Sounds like Toliver, who has been in Slovakia playing with the National Team there, will be in Tulsa tomorrow as the Sparks take on the Shock.

Elena Delle Donne out indefinitely with Lyme Disease

Sadness: Elena Delle Donne is out indefinitely with Lyme Disease. She's returned home to Delaware for treatment.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A bit of everything

Tonight's results:

Despite the return of Sylvia Fowles and Elena Delle Donne to the Sky, the Sun beat Chicago, 79-69. Connecticut has won six straight.

It took an overtime, but the Shock pulled together to down the Fever, 107-102.

More WNBA news......

Lynx:


Minnesota had one of their best practices of the year today, according to coach Cheryl Reeve, who said, "I feel like I got my team back."

Practice report from today.

Rookie Asia Taylor blogs: Don't panic.

Sun:

Chiney Ogwumike blogs about thriving in transition.

Storm:

Noelle Quinn provides quiet leadership to the team.

Dream:

Angel McCoughtry has been nominated for an ESPY award for best WNBA player.

Mercury:

Could the Mercury's offense be better than it was in 2009, when they won the title?

ESPN's power rankings:

A bit of change....

1. Mercury
2. Lynx
3. Dream
4. Sun
5. Fever
6. Stars
7. Shock
8. Sky
9. Mystics
10. Storm
11. Sparks
12. Liberty

WNBA All-Star game:

League president Laurel Richie is excited about the upcoming game.

WNBA pride game last Sunday:

Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans was not impressed with the broadcast.

College news:

UNCW is ready to reap the rewards of patience.

Coach Debbie Black's contract has been extended at Eastern Illinois through 2017.

Cindy Blodgett is Boston University's new assistant coach.

Vicky Picott has joined Wagner as an assistant coach.

Cold water challenge reaches 31.42 million people nationwide

Arizona's cold water challenge, aka Chillin4Charity, has reached 31.42 people nationwide, and become a sensation.

That's what I'm talmbout.

Sparks collectively dealing with line up, chemistry issues

I had some fascinating post-game conversations yesterday after the Sparks knocked off the Storm.

Check out my story.

More WNBA news.....

Shock:

With the help of rookie Jordan Hooper, Tulsa shoots for their second straight road win today.

Sun:

Kelsey Bone has fortitude and grammar among the best of them.

Alex Bentley is starting to shine for Connecticut.

Dream:

Angel McCoughtry will appear is this year's edition of ESPN the body.

Atlanta players have also completed the Chillin4Charity challenge.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sparks down Storm, 65-57

My game story.

I'll have an extra goody to check out tomorrow morning.

USC one of a few colleges that will offer four-year scholarships

Yesterday the University of Southern California announced it would offer four-year scholarships to women's basketball, instead of the one-year renewable scholarship that has been traditional throughout the NCAA. The policy will take effect July 1.

Fresno State and Illinois offer four-year scholarships to all athletes, but most other schools stick to the one-year model.

The four-year option was approved in 2011 by the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.

Some basics about athletic scholarships.

Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles will return to game action tomorrow

Major news for the Chicago Sky:

Elena Delle Donne and Sylvia Fowles will return to game action tomorrow.

All-Star balloting:

Elena Delle Donne and Maya Moore lead All-Star voting so far.

Player movement:

The Lynx waived Lindsey Moore and signed Nadirah McKenith.

One of today's results:

The Mystics downed the Stars, 81-70.

More WNBA news......

Fever:

Karima Christmas has returned to game-finishing form.

Indiana has eight of their next 11 games at home.

Dream:

A conversation with general manager Angela Taylor.

Sun:

The Sun continue to follow Katie Douglas' lead.

Injuries are starting to catch up with Connecticut.

They chilled for charity, bless their hearts.

Shock:

Experience is paying off for Skylar Diggins.

Storm:

...has a kiss cam.

Lynx:

Today's practice report.

Rookies of 2013:

....are showing out this year.

College news:

UConn's Morgan Tuck is gradually working her way back from injury, as is Gabby Williams.

Chillin4Charity cold water challenge!

I've retweeted a lot of the cold water challenge videos over the last week. A phenomenal number of colleges have joined in, and the humor is a blessing to go with the donations to breast cancer research.

Check out my story.

This just added today: Coaches Lin Dunn, Stephanie White and All-Star Tamika Catchings take the challenge!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Chillin4Charity

It's the cold water challenge craze that's sweeping the women's basketball nation. Here are some of the best challenges posted. Story upcoming.......

Original challenge, by Arizona coach Niya Butts.

Cal's challenge, featuring Olympian/Golden Bear Missy Franklin.

TCU's challenge.

WSU assistant coach Brian Holsinger's challenge, which Tennessee assistant coach Dean Lockwood answered very well.

USC's challenge.

POYs and player movement

WNBA news.......

The league's players of the week:


...are Angel McCoughtry for the East, and Brittney Griner for the West.

Liberty:

....have signed forward Charde Houston and waived Toni Young.

Tina Charles is trying to change the world, one deed at a time.

Shock:

Skylar Diggins has experienced a sophomore surge.

Mystics:

Tayler Hill, who gave birth to a son last week, may return after the All-Star break next month.

Lynx:

Devereaux Peters is recovering well from injury.

The Lynx honored Fever coach Lin Dunn before their game yesterday.

Storm:

Angel Robinson blogs about being an experienced rookie.

Storm notebook.

College news:

Elena Lovato joins Mississippi State as an assistant.

Duke's Rebecca Greenwell checks in from Kentucky.

USA Basketball:

France beat the US, 78-72 yesterday, in their second and final exhibition game before the World Championships in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Game frenzy

Busy day of close games:

The Shock got by the Sky in overtime, 105-99, behind Skylar Diggins' career-high 33 points.

The Liberty stopped a losing skid and downed the Dream, 85-78, despite Angel McCoughtry's 33 points.

The Stars held on to edge the Stars, 72-69, by yours truly.

The Lynx survived the Fever, 83-77.

The Storm squeaked by the Mystics in overtime, 89-86.

Whew! That's a work out.

Some other quotes from San Antonio coach Dan Hughes that couldn't fit into my story.....

On his bigs:

"Our big people can pass and catch, and that's a great asset. They all have almost guard-like numbers."

On the Sparks:

"You add Kristi Toliver and they're hard to beat. They're playing without a player that is probably exactly what they need. They do a lot of things well. All of us in the league know there are periods where you have to deal with people getting hurt and people away, and you have to deal with it. You put Wiggins on that team and you put Toliver on that team and that's a supremely good basketball team. They're just going through a period where they're waiting to get those people back."

"(Candace) Parker to me is playing, even for her, at an upper level. Statistically you look at her and, what do you do? Because she's passing it well this year, as well as all the other things."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

First day of summer and.....no basketball?

*Sigh*

But......

Tomorrow is the WNBA's nationally-televised pride game, as the Sky host the Shock.

More WNBA news.....

Liberty:

Tina Charles' passion for giving was instilled by her father.

Mystics:

Mystics Magazine, episode one.

USA Basketball:

The U17 team won the first of two exhibition games they'll play before going to the Czech Republic for the World Championships next week. They routed Canada, 80-45.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Overcoming difficulties

Tonight's results:

Seimone Augustus played through pain and lead the Lynx past the Mystics, 75-65, with 19 points.

The Dream are now the hottest team in the league after downing the Liberty, 85-64: they're 9-3.

The Mercury took down the Shock, 91-80, behind Brittney Griner's career-high 28 points.

The Fever overcame travel difficulties to dispatch the Sky, 83-75.

More WNBA news.......

Sky:

Elena Delle Donne talks about her struggle with Lyme Disease.

Sun:

The Sun are even better than we thought.

Anne Donovan has the team playing well.

College news:

Jennifer Hamson will decide whether to play pro basketball or volleyball this December.

Miranda Forry has joined Idaho as an assistant coach.

Georgia State's new assistant coach is Jeri Porter.

Seton Sobolewski's contract has been extended at Idaho State.

WNBA's Pride campaign

The WNBA's Pride campaign has been a success so far.

Some teams have had issues.

Q&A with league president Laurel Richie.

Some of the players talk about having pride-themed games.

A record, and some redemption

Last night the Stars edged the Storm in overtime, 87-82. But in the process, veteran point guard Sue Bird made her 2,000th career assist, setting a league record.

The Sparks also got it together and beat the Shock, 87-77.

More WNBA news.....

Lynx:

Coach Cheryl Reeve is not alarmed by the team's recent slide.

Mercury:

Brittney Griner has shown marked improvement from last season.

Griner said we need more gay and lesbian role models
.

College news:

Target Center will make a bid for the Final Four.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

What's on tap tonight

The outcome of the Shock at Sparks could determine whether or not shake ups occur in Los Angeles.

The Stars and Storm will also battle.

More WNBA news.....

Lynx:


Seimone Augustus, who missed last night's game at Phoenix with knee bursitis, is questionable for tomorrow's game.

Get to know rookie Tricia Liston.

Fever:

Briann January has joined Athlete Ally, for LGBT inclusion.

Storm:

Shekinna Stricklen and Alysha Clark are in cahoots.

Mercury:

Phoenix's win over the Lynx last night ties them with the defending champs for first in the West.

College craze:

If you haven't been following my twitter, "Chillin for Charity" is sweeping the nation. It's awesome.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sparks need a change, but what kind?

Expectations for the Los Angeles Sparks were high going into this season.

In February, none other than Magic Johnson bought the team, saving it from its demise. Then a complete all-star lineup was assembled that included both newcomers and team veterans. Suddenly, the Sparks were deeper than they've been in a decade, which was the last time they cut down Championship nets. Even fans of other teams had to admit: LA had a chance to win it all this year.

Sure, there have been the setbacks of losing Kristi Toliver for a few weeks while she plays for the Slovakian National Team, and Candice Wiggins for about a month recovering from meniscus surgery. But the Sparks' slide into the cellar of the league has taken everyone off guard.

They've won only one game of their last seven and have, at this writing, dropped four straight. They are 3-7 for last place in the Western Conference. The only team doing worse currently - and that's only because of their loss today - is the New York Liberty with a 3-9 record.

Just watch Los Angeles on the floor: they lack cohesion and focus. They start strong and are unable to sustain the momentum. Their defense is weak and their offense doesn't seem to follow any direct plans. Player substitution plans are unfathomable. It's plain to see why they're losing.

"What's wrong with the Sparks?" fans keep tweeting and texting me. Speculation on the rebkell message board has stretched out several pages worth on various threads.

It became obvious during last night's butt-kicking by the Lynx that the problem likely stems from the top.

I was watching another part of the floor at the time, but two season ticket holders alerted me that Candace Parker had exchanged words with assistant coach Gail Goestenkors when she was taken out of the game. Pictures were posted on the Internet, which are below.





At the end of the first quarter of play in last night's Lynx at Sparks game, Candace Parker reacted to something assistant coach Gail Goestenkors said. Later, in the second quarter, the injured Candice Wiggins came off the bench to speak to her teammates.

I'm not going to pretend to be privy to the relationships of the people in the above pictures, but one thing seems clear: there's not a lot of respect there. And without togetherness on a team and healthy coach-player relations, there is nowhere to go but down.

It may be time for a coaching change for the Sparks. Carol Ross is a proven experienced and quality coach, and she's a fantastic person. But she may not be the best fit for this team. There have been many cases where a coach isn't successful with one team, but goes on to another and achieves mightily. This currently includes former Sparks coach Michael Cooper, who didn't find success at USC but now has the Atlanta Dream at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Sparks have struggled for years to find a quality coach that can lead them, which is why they've run through so many.

With the amount of talent Los Angeles has right now, there is absolutely no excuse for their poor performances of late. Other coaches have got far more out of far less personnel. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve was playing with only nine earlier this season, as three players sat out with injuries, and the team began 7-0. In 2012 Lin Dunn coached the Indiana Fever to a championship without their second-leading scorer.

Magic Johnson, who has been to only one home game so far this year, and his partners owe it to Sparks fans - especially the ones who have been there since the WNBA's opening game in 1997. They are upset and can barely stand to attend games right now.

A change needs to happen, and fast. But if Sparks management decides to find a new coach, there is one major problem: who would they get who is better than Ross? Most college coaches aren't going to leave those secure positions to come to the unstable ranks of the pro coaching world. And what other long time WNBA coach isn't already coaching a team?

Fact: having the two worst, most struggling teams in the WNBA be in the two largest markets hurts the league.

Something needs to happen on both coasts, but what? I would hate to be a team owner, president or general manager right now.

The Sparks face the surging Tulsa Shock tomorrow night.

Prince scores 30 in Sky win

Today's results so far:

She's baaaackk: Epiphanny Prince lead the Sky over the Liberty, 105-100 in overtime, with 30 points.

The Dream are hot: they downed the Mystics, 83-73. They're now 8-3.

Minnesota and Phoenix will tip off shortly.

More WNBA news.....

Storm:

The Storm have hired Alisha Valavanis as their new chief operating officer. She'll replace Karen Bryant, who is stepping down July 31.

Sky:

The miracle that is Jessica Breland. Ooo do I love stories like that.

Elena Delle Donne has won the Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her off-the-court community service.

A frustrated Delle Donne had to sit again today.

Mystics:

Monique Currie exudes leadership for Washington.

Mercury:

The Mercury's offensive adjustments are paying off.

Ruth Riley:

...has announced her retirement after 13 years.

WNBA recognizes gay pride:

They have a web page!

College news:

Brian Holsinger has been promoted to associate head coach at Washington State.

Jonas Chatterton has left his associate head coach position at Colorado to be an assistant coach at Oregon State.

Leah Foster joins Sheryl Swoopes' staff at Loyola Chicago, as an assistant coach.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Shake up

This week's skids and wins have made for tectonic plate shifts in ESPN's WNBA team rankings this week:

1. Phoenix
2. Atlanta
3. Minnesota
4. Indiana
5. Connecticut
6. Chicago
7. Tulsa
8. Washington
9. San Antonio
10. Los Angeles
11. Seattle
12. New York

Swishappeal then wonders if two of those coaches are on the hot seat.

Players of the week:

The youngins are in the spotlight this week: Skylar Diggins and Alex Bentley are the Western and Eastern Conference POYs.

More WNBA news......

Lynx:


...are searching for answers after losing two in a row.

Monica Wright returned to the court yesterday.

Fever:

Tamika Catchings has been doing her incredible work for her own foundation, Catch the Stars, for ten years. The former Lady Vol has made quite an impact on the lives of some kids.

Layshia Clarendon was a grand marshal of Indianapolis' gay pride parade Saturday, and other Fever players came to support.

Liberty:

Coach Bill Laimbeer talks offense, and Liberty players.

Essence Carson interview, part two.

Storm:

The Storm have made some changes in their front office.

Mystics:

...have launched an interactive multi-cam live mobile app.

College news:


Guess who's a new assistant at Colorado? Jamie Carey.

San Jose State's new assistant coach is Dan Muscatell.

FahKara Malone is a new assistant coach at Butler.

Lazar Milinkovic joins Morehead State as an assistant coach.

Katherine Menendez and Justin Paluch are new assistants at Colgate.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

More on the unexpected side

The Lynx lost again today - this time against the Mercury, at home: 80-72. It's the first time Phoenix has beat Minnesota since 2011, and the Lynx have lost two straight, and three of their last four games.

Foot note: it was Monica Wright's first time playing for Minnesota this season after knee surgery April 25. Fans at Target Center gave her a standing ovation when she took the floor.

On the flip side, the Shock have now won four consecutive games after besting the Storm, 85-79.

Foot note: Skylar Diggins lead Tulsa with a career-high 26 points.

The Sun are also on a roll after squeaking by the Liberty, 76-72. Connecticut has won five of their last six games, while New York has won one out of their last five games. I thought the Liberty would be better this season.

Atlanta continued their winning ways, upending the Mystics, 75-67.

More WNBA news......

Fever:


Natasha Howard has emerged as one of the league's top rookies.

Lynx:

As the Lynx are struggling, so is Maya Moore.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stars blow out Sparks, 101-74

Stars 101, Sparks 74

Both teams played last night. The box score doesn't show a significant statistical difference to account for a blow out.

But here's the difference, I think, from the above-linked story:

A return to simplicity was needed following a 79-72 loss to Seattle on Friday night, which prompted a team meeting after the game.

"Just getting on the same page," Robinson said of the meeting. "We are all playing for each other. There's no drama or anything, we just wanted to clear some things up."


I've been thinking, and I don't recall the last time I heard a Sparks player say anything about playing for one another, or togetherness. But it's something that the defending champion Minnesota Lynx talk about often.

Los Angeles is now last in the Western Conference.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony today

Lin Dunn, Michelle Edwards, Mimi Griffin, Yolanda Griffith, Jasmina Perazic and Charlotte West were inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this evening. No pictures on the Hall's website as of yet, but there is plenty of copy to suffice in the meantime:

Lin Dunn "played like a guy" and built a legacy.

Yolanda Griffith arrived at the pinnacle. It's an honor she never expected.

The Hall is the end of a long journey for Jazz Perazic.

Mimi Griffin took a break from the U.S. Open to be inducted. She had a love affair with the game.

Michelle Edwards: the miracle of Ice.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dads, awards and some pride

WNBA Cares Community Assist Award:

The Liberty's Tina Charles has received this award after donating half of her WNBA salary to the Hopey Heart Foundation.

2014 rookie report:

A look at how the league's top rookies are doing so far this season.

Father's Day:

Tamika Catchings, Swin Cash, Candace Parker, Elena Delle Donne, Kayla McBride and Stefanie Dolson pay tribute to their dads.

Dads and daughters: interview with Candace Parker and her father Larry Parker.

Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike celebrate the day with father Peter.

Seimone Augustus blogs about her father, Seymore Augustus.

Storm coach Brian Agler has passed his love of hoops on to his kids.

Gay/lesbian pride:

Fever guard Layshia Clarendon will be one of the grand marshal's of Indianapolis' gay pride parade tomorrow.

Lin Dunn retirement:

Tamika Catchings talks about playing for the longtime coach.

More WNBA news......

Shock:

Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims make the Shock the WNBA's best entertainment.

A confident Courtney Paris is enjoying a break out year.

Mystics:

Stefanie Dolson and Bria Hartley blog.

Stars:

Kayla McBride blogs.

Knock knock - parity's calling

It seems like there is more parity in the WNBA so far this season.

For starters, Atlanta handed Minnesota their second loss of the season, 85-82. Angel McCoughtry and Erika de Souza lead the way for the Dream.

And then there's this: the Shock downed the Sparks, 69-67, on a Skylar Diggins game-runner.

The Sun are winning now. They defeated the Liberty, 83-75.

The Storm are beginning to win too; they held off the Stars for a 79-72 victory.

The only result that wasn't a surprise tonight is the Mystics taking out the short-handed Sky, 79-68.

Now the standings are interesting. Atlanta is on top in the East, followed by Indiana, Washington and Chicago - all of which are .500 and above. In the West, only two teams are .500 and above: Minnesota and Phoenix. Did you think Los Angeles and Tulsa would have the same record eight games into the season? Neither did I.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A bit more on a big news day

Tonight's result:

The Sun held off the Mercury, 96-95.

Lynx White House visit:

President Obama honored the 2013 WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx at the White House today.

"In 2013, you set out for a little redemption," Obama said, "and, to put it mildly, you succeeded."

Lin Dunn pending retirement:

Coach Lin Dunn reflects on 44 years of coaching, and fighting for equality for five decades.

Dunn paved the way for today's generation.

More WNBA news......

Sky:


Elena Delle Donne didn't travel with the team to Washington D.C., staying behind to receive treatment for Lyme Disease.

Liberty:

Chucky Jeffery tries to find her niche with New York.

Fever:

WNBA president Laurel Richie visited Indiana last night.

Dream:

...have added Big Tigger as an in-arena co-host.

Storm:

The function of assistant coach Shaq Williams.

Lynx:

The Lindsey Moore podcasts.

Father's Day:

Jon Samuelson - father to Bonnie, Karlie and Katie Lou - is an "out of sight" dad.

College news:

Laquanda Dawkins is a new assistant coach at Tennessee Tech.

New assistant coaches at Utah Valley State are Vicki Bohney and Adam Wardenburg.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: We Need to Stamp Out Misogyny in Sports

Kareem Adbul-Jabbar opens the conversation:

The easiest way to determine women’s value to their culture is to look at how much we pay them in relation to men. Some studies suggest that in general women make less doing the same jobs as men (the Census Bureau concludes that women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn). This national trend extends to professional sports. According to Forbes, the maximum salary for a player in the WNBA is $107,000, compared to the $30.5 million Kobe Bryant will make. Inbee Park, who won the 2013 U.S. Open in golf, received $585,000 for her victory. Justin Rose, the men’s winner, received $1.4 million. This disparity is seen less in tennis because England’s Wimbledon, the French Open, and the U.S. Open all pay men and women winners equally (which is why of the 10 top-paid female athletes in the world, seven of them are tennis players).

This discrepancy extends to coaching as well. For Division I college sports, men get paid significantly more. Male basketball head coaches averaged $71,511, while women coaches averaged $39,177. Even in gymnastics, which is predominantly female, the men coaches are paid more. This doesn’t even address the fact that there are more opportunities for males than females to play sports, both as amateurs and professionals.

Many will argue that the pay difference is the result of free market supply and demand. More people want to see men play professional basketball than want to see women play, so the players are paid accordingly. You can’t argue economics. There is truth to this. You can’t force people to attend a sporting event if they don’t want to.

However, this is something of a self-fulfilling prophecy. We can change things. First, we need to address why they don’t want to watch. This goes back to cultural biases. If we don’t value girls’ sports in middle school and high school, then we don’t grow up to value them as professional athletes. And by value, I mean make athletic opportunities available, pay coaches equally, and promote female sports with the same vigor as we do male sports.

Yes.

Diamond DeShields will transfer to Tennessee

The rumors are true:

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The consensus 2014 women's basketball national freshman of the year is relocating to Rocky Top, Tennessee head coach Holly Warlick confirmed on Thursday afternoon.

Six-foot-one guard Diamond DeShields, who averaged 18.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game as a rookie at North Carolina in 2013-14, has signed an SEC Grant In Aid and will begin attending classes during the second session of summer school on July 3. She will have to sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules and has three seasons of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2015-16 campaign.

"We're very excited to announce that Diamond DeShields is joining the Tennessee family," Warlick said. "She's experienced, athletic and passionate, and she has a great knowledge of the game. Diamond has been highly successful at every level of basketball, and her impact on our program will be immediate."

It's a whole new Tennessee.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sky reel from injuries, illnesses, despite Prince's return

The Storm beat the Sky, 80-76. Chicago can't get a break right now. Epiphanny Prince came back, and scored 18 points with six assists. But Elena Delle Donne sat, suffering from a Lyme Disease flare up. Yikes.

The Shock grabbed their second win, downing the Liberty, 72-57. Skylar Diggins lead Tulsa with 21 points, and Courtney Paris had her fifth double-double on the season with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

The Mercury defeated the Mystics, 81-66, behind Brittney Griner's 20 points.

More WNBA news......

Fever:

All-Star forward Tamika Catching says "basketball is a universal language" in discussing the team's diversity night tomorrow.

Mystics:

A minute with rookies Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson, who visited the White House with their former UConn teammates yesterday.

Lynx:

Today's practice report.

Asia Taylor blogs about her adjustment to the pros.

Liberty:

Sugar Rodgers is getting ready to publish her autobiography while she adjusts to a new team.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The beat goes on......and on and on and on

Let's get right to the news......

Sky:

A struggling Epiphanny Prince is trying to find answers:

Having grown up in the projects of Brooklyn, Prince left Rutgers after her junior year so that she could start earning income for her parents and family.

She plays in Russia and still supports her family, which has made it difficult for her to slow down.


Just, wow.

Also, get to know Jess Breland.

Fever:

Coaching legend Lin Dunn nears the end of the road.

Diversity night/Lin Dunn Hall of Fame recognition is prior to Wednesday's game against Seattle.

Dream:

Celine Dumerc's first week in the league was documented by French journalists.

Liberty:

Essence Carson has come back from injury.

Stars:

Rookie Kayla McBride is adjusting to the WNBA.

Mercury:

Brittney Griner's improvement has meant a hot start for Phoenix.

Anatomy of a road trip.

Storm:

Center Lauren Jackson had a third knee surgery in late May.

Lynx:

Get to know rookie Asia Taylor.

Take aways from the weekend.

WNBA's players of the week:

Diana Taurasi for the West and Erika de Souza for the East.

ESPN's power rankings:


Do you agree with ESPN's team rankings?

1. Lynx
2. Mercury
3. Dream
4. Sky
5. Sparks
6. Mystics
7. Fever
8. Stars
9. Storm
10. Sun
11. Liberty
12. Shock

Four early candidates for WNBA COY?:

Swishappeal says Cheryl Reeve, Sandy Brondello, Mike Thibault and Pokey Chatman stand out from the rest.

I say Reeve, Brondello and Michael Cooper.

College news:

Leticia Romero, who had to battle Kansas State to get a release from scholarship, is transferring to Florida State.

The 2013-2014 UConn team was honored at the White House today for their National Championship.

Whether or not the NCAA will have to pay athletes for use of their likeness in ads and other products is now on trial.

Kelly Cole is the new head coach at Northeastern.

Jocelyn Wyatt joins Penn State as an assistant coach.

Mallory Luckett has been promoted to assistant coach at South Alabama.

Former Duke players in the WNBA update.

Former Missouri star Bri Kulas still hopes to give the WNBA a try.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Lynx, Liberty dominate

The Lynx bounced back from their first loss of the season Friday to defeat the Sparks, 85-72.

The Liberty dominated the Mystics, 81-64.

3X3 team claims gold medal

Cierra Burdick, Jewell Loyd, Tiffany Mitchell and Sara Hammond, aka the USA's 3X3 team, claimed the gold medal earlier today at the World Championship in Moscow. They beat the host team Russia, 15-8, to win.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

More unlikely results

Who would have thought that the Dream would crush the Sky? But they did, 97-59.

The Sun beat the Fever, 88-71, and the leading scorer was Alex Bentley - not Chiney Ogwumike.

It took two overtimes, but the Mercury got by the Stars, 91-79.

Does the season seem more exciting to you already, as it does to some of my friends? I think it may be the phenomenal rookie class of 2014. Not to mention all the 2013 draftees who have improved.

I'm buckling up, as the Lynx are here in Los Angeles to play the Sparks tomorrow. It should be a blood bath (again).

USA Basketball bonus:

Our 3X3 team took down Uruguay and France today to advance to the semifinals.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Alternate universe

Interesting night:

The Fever rallied for a 64-61 win over the Mystics.

The Shock grabbed their first victory of the season by creaming the Mercury, 94-78.

The Sparks stopped a two-game losing skid by routing the Sky, 102-88.

The Storm took down the previously-undefeated Lynx, 65-62.

Which means Sunday's Lynx at Sparks match up will be its usual interesting slugfest between the two Western Conference powers.

Another thought: Skylar Diggins had 20 points and nine assists for Tulsa, in yet another great showing. Perhaps the Diggins haters will shut up now.

Yet another thought: Elena Delle Donne.....33 points. Amazing player.

Honors, college coaching shuffle, 3X3 games

White House visits:

The Connecticut Huskies will be honored by President Obama for the National Championship at the White House on Monday.

The Minnesota Lynx will be honored by Obama for their 2013 WNBA Championship next Thursday.

College news:

Former Cal assistant coach Katy Steding is the new head coach at Boston University.

New assistant coaches at Eastern Washington University are Jerise Freeman and Bryce Currie.

Megan Duffy is a new assistant coach at Michigan.

Greg Collins has been promoted to associate head coach at Western Kentucky.

Coach Matthew Mitchell and wife Jenna have donated $1 million to Kentucky athletics.

Santa Clara guard Ricki Radanovich has had an emotional journey through basketball.

USA Basketball at the world 3X3 Championships:

The USA Basketball 3X3 team, which includes Cierra Burdick, Sara Hammond, Jewell Loyd and Tiffany Mitchell, have advanced to the round of 16.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Parity in the WNBA, more college coach hirings, and recruit commits to Tennessee

Tonight's results:

The Stars shot past the Liberty, 87-75.

The Mystics downed the Sun, 74-66.

More WNBA news..........

Liberty:

Tina Charles blogs for SLAM.

Shock:

Courtney Paris has finally found the right fit in the WNBA.

Lynx:

Basketball is not foreign to Brazilian Damiris Dantas.

As Seimone Augustus looks to shoot more, the Lynx benefit.

Lindsay Whalen threw out the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game last night.

Mercury:

Diana Taurasi blogs for ESPN.

Statistics show a dramatically-improved Mercury from last season.

Storm:

Sue Bird and Crystal Langhorne are getting comfortable with one another.

Sun:

Q&A with Kelsey Bone.

General WNBA:

ESPN analysts say most teams in the league are struggling right now, aka there is parity....or something.

College news:

Coach Jim Foster's contract at Chattanooga has been extended through the 2019 season, and he got a raise.

Caroline McCombs is the new head coach at Stony Brook.

Kachine Alexander and Patrick Harrison are North Dakota State's new assistant coaches.

Jackie Voight has been promoted to assistant coach at North Dakota.

Lejon Wright Sr. is Lamar's newest assistant coach.

Kelsey Hogan returns to New Hampshire as an assistant coach.

Jessica Jackson is Appalachian State's new assistant coach.

The new staff at Minnesota will push star Rachel Banham to the next level.

Two players have transferred from Chattanooga.

Venus Lacy overcame a "Gump-like" childhood to be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame this month.

High school news:

#12 in the 2015 class, Te'a Cooper, has verballed to Tennessee.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dream top Sparks, 93-85, and Monica Wright is back for the Lynx

It was a showdown in the first half. But the last two quarters belonged to the Dream, who beat the Sparks, 93-85. Erika De Souza lead the way for Atlanta with 27 points:

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Los Angeles Sparks had no answer for the inside combination of Erika de Souza and Sancho Lyttle in the second half.

De Souza scored 20 of her career high-tying 27 points in the final 20 minutes to lead the Atlanta Dream to a 93-85 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night. Lyttle added 10 of her 18 in the second half as the Dream scored a season-high 68 points in the paint and outscored L.A. by 20 from within the lane.

Atlanta coach Michael Cooper was not surprised.

''In taking this job, those were some of the things that I liked,'' said Cooper, who coached the Sparks to WNBA titles in 2001 and '02. ''With Sancho, Erika, Anieka (Henry), and Nadia (Colhado), you have people who can get paint points and work well in the high-low action in the high post. I thought we did well in that regard.''


Box score.

Yes, Kristi Toliver did play, having returned from Slovakia sometime this morning.

Currently the Mercury are beating the Storm. Full results later......

More WNBA news.....

Lynx:


Monica Wright is back at practice.

Mystics:

The young Mystics are making strides.

A minute with Ivory Latta.

Fever:

Today's practice report: interviews with Briann January and Shavonte Zellous.

Shock:

Q&A with Skylar Diggins.

Dream:

Q&A with rookie Shoni Schimmel.

College news:

Fordham has extended coach Stephanie Gaitley's contract through the 2021 season.

Binghamton's coaching staff is now complete.

Vernette Skeete and Scott Merritt join Marquette as assistant coaches.

Danielle Santos is Florida State's new assistant coach.

WNBA All-Star voting open

NEW YORK, June 3, 2014 – WNBA All-Star Balloting presented by Boost Mobile will launch today at 2 p.m. ET as the most expansive balloting program in the 18-year history of the league.

Fans around the world will have the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite WNBA players on WNBA.com, mobile devices, the WNBA Center Court App presented by Boost Mobile, and for the first time via Twitter and Facebook.

Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 will take place at US Airways Center in Phoenix, on Saturday, July 19, and will be nationally televised on ESPN, with tip-off at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT).

“Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star is a showcase event and a celebration of the greatest women’s basketball players in the world,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “Fan engagement is very important to the league and our teams so we are very pleased to introduce a new expansive balloting program for fans to take part in and vote for their favorite players.”

“Boost Mobile is excited to partner with the WNBA on the selection process for the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game,” said Steve Gaffney, vice president-Corporate Marketing, Boost Mobile. “We encourage all fans to get out there and cast a vote for their favorite players.”

The 60 players included on the ballot represent all 12 WNBA teams. Voters are asked to select two guards and three frontcourt players (forwards and/or centers) from each conference. A write-in option is also available, allowing fans to choose players not listed on the ballot.

Fans can vote for up to 10 players per day on WNBA.com, mobile devices, and the WNBA Center Court App presented by Boost Mobile, and will be able to share those All-Star picks with friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter, encouraging others to cast their ballots as well. Fans also will be able to cast votes on Facebook and Twitter, voting for one player per day using the designated hashtag #WNBABALLOT.

Balloting will conclude at midnight ET on Wednesday, July 2.

The WNBA will announce the All-Star starters on ESPN2 on Tuesday, July 8, during a nationally televised game featuring the Los Angeles Sparks at the Minnesota Lynx (tip-off at 9 p.m. ET). Reserves will be announced on ESPN2 on Tuesday, July 15, during the game between Los Angeles and the Indiana Fever (tip-off at 8 p.m. ET).

Individual tickets for Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star 2014 start at just $20 and can be purchased online at PhoenixMercury.com/allstar, through Ticketmaster viaTicketmaster.com, by dialing 800-745-3000, or at the US Airways Center Ticket Office. For every All-Star Game ticket sold, the Mercury will donate $1 to its “All-Stars and Stripes” program benefiting local military heroes and their families.

How to vote
.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Hot happenings

General WNBA:

The WNBA's Eastern and Western conference players of the week are Briann January of Indiana, and Linsday Whalen of Minnesota.

There's been a shift in ESPN's weekly ranking of the teams, with the Fever and Mystics on the rise.

Interview with league president Laurel Richie.

Team news......

Dream:

...have activated Celine Dumerc for tomorrow's game against the Sparks. Rookie Inga Orekhova was waived.

Swin Cash is adjusting to a new role in Atlanta.

Tiffany Hayes is adjusting to the Dream's new coaching staff.

Liberty:

...have waived injured Kamiko Williams and signed Avery Warley-Talbert.

Anna Cruz is the tourist point guard.

Sun:

How does Renee Montgomery fit in with the Sun? Ask carefully.

Sky:

Courtney Vandersloot broke the franchise record for assists Friday with 13.

Sparks:

Will be without guard Kristi Toliver until at least June 25. She is training with the Slovak National Team.

Lynx:

Yesterday's win over the Stars was the 100th for coach Cheryl Reeve.

Storm:

Eye on the Storm, episode two.

College news:

Sources say NCAA chief operation officer Jim Isch is leaving the organization.

Adeniyi Amadou is Kentucky's new assistant coach.

Cal State Bakersfield coach Greg McCall (aka the father of DeWanna Bonner and Erica McCall) has signed a three-year contract extension.

David Midlick is the new associate head coach at Memphis.

Coach Dawn Staley has set high goals as South Carolina begins summer workouts.

Middle Tennessee State assistant coach Kim Brewton is among the nation's top assistants.

Sparks guard Candice Wiggins out 4-6 weeks after meniscus surgery

From the Sparks:

SPARKS CANDICE WIGGINS UNDERGOES MENISCUS REPAIR IN LOS ANGELES

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Sparks guard Candice Wiggins today underwent successful surgery to repair the meniscus in her left knee, it was announced by Sparks Executive Vice President and general manager Penny Toler.

Wiggins’ expected timetable for return is four to six weeks.

The Sparks will take on the Dream on Tuesday, June 3 in Atlanta before visiting Chicago to play the Sky on Friday, June 6. The Sparks return home on Sunday, June 8 to host the Minnesota Lynx at 12:30 pm at STAPLES Center.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

WNBA players to be featured on ABC show "Bachelorette" show

From WNBA HQ:

ON-COURT DRAMA TURNS INTO OFF-COURT FIREWORKS, AS FIRST, 11 MEN GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH WNBA SUPERSTARS AND THEN, ANDI’S FAIRYTALE GOES AWRY, ON “THE BACHELORETTE”

THE TWO-NIGHT “BACHELORETTE” SPECIAL EVENT CONCLUDES MONDAY, JUNE 2, WITH AN ALL-NEW EPISODE

Country Music Singer-Songwriter Jon Pardi Gives a Special Performance for Andi and Marcus


“Episode 1004” – A two-night Bachelorette special event concludes as Andi and the13 remaining men begin their global journey to find love with a trip to the scenic New England area and Connecticut. Dylan is the lucky recipient of the first one-on-one date, but he has a lot on his mind. Whether he chooses to share his tragic story with Andi might make all the difference between their relationship steaming up or getting derailed. Eleven men think they are on top of their game until it is revealed that they first will face off against WNBA superstars in a no-holds-barred basketball game and then, in an even more hotly contested match between the guys, with the winning team spending more time with Andi. Facing her overwhelming fear of heights, Andi invites Marcus to rappel 30 stories down the side of their hotel – but high winds turn this date into a grueling challenge. Finally, Andi has a dramatic meltdown at the cocktail party as she wonders if any of the men are taking her seriously, on “The Bachelorette,” MONDAY, JUNE 2 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network.

Dylan and Andi spend a day taking a nostalgic steam train through the breathtaking New England countryside. It’s Dylan’s opportunity to open up to Andi and reveal his heartbreaking family history, which he knows he needs to do to move on and have a real relationship. But will Dylan be able to let go of his hurt long enough to trust Andi and, if so, how will Andi react?

Eleven men are eager to show off their basketball skills when they arrive at the Mohegan Sun arena, until Andi explains that they will compete against some of the WNBA’s best – superstars Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Elena Delle Donne, Lindsey Harding and Nneka Ogwumike. But this is no slam dunk for Andi’s suitors, so Andi changes it up and has the bachelors divide into two teams to battle one another. However, only the winning team will attend an after party with Andi. One man takes some alone time with the Bachelorette to make sure that they are on the same page, but will the date rose go to the best athlete on court or the most romantic suitor off court?

Marcus receives the final date card for what will be the ultimate adrenaline rush. Andi decides that she needs to face her fear of heights and picks this athletic bachelor to accompany her in a heart-stopping rappelling descent 30 floors down the side of the Mohegan Sun in 50 mile per hour winds. Will Andi take a leap of faith with her brave Prince Charming or will he be as frightened as she is? The couple end the evening with a romantic dinner and country singer-song writer Jon Pardi serenading them.

The cocktail party is full of emotional drama. After a serious discussion with one of the men, Andi has a tearful breakdown and addresses all her suitors about her intentions and whether they are there for the right reasons, leaving them stunned and speechless. Eleven men are left to travel with Andi to Europe, starting in Marseilles, France.

The 13 remaining men are:

Andrew, 30, a social media marketer from Culver City, CA

Brian, 27, a basketball coach from Camp Hill, PA

Chris, 32, a farmer from Arlington, IA

Cody, 28, a personal trainer from Chicago, IL

Dylan, 26, an accountant from Boston, MA

Eric, 31, an explorer from Citrus Heights, CA

J J, 31, a pantsapreneur from San Francisco, CA

Josh M., 29, a former professional baseball player from Atlanta, GA

Marcus, 25, a sports medicine manager from Dallas, TX

Marquel, 26, a sponsorship salesman from Las Vegas, NV

Nick V., 33, a software sales executive from Chicago, IL

Patrick, 29, an advertising executive from Newport Beach, CA

Tasos, 30, a wedding event coordinator from Denver, CO

Hosted by Chris Harrison, “The Bachelorette” is a production of Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television. Mike Fleiss, Martin Hilton and Alycia Rossiter are the executive producers. “The Bachelorette” is broadcast in 720 Progressive (720P), ABC's selected HDTV format, with 5.1 stereo surround sound. This program carries a TV-14,L parental guideline.