Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back in it

Today's game results:

Elena Delle Donne returned and led the Mystics over the Stars, 85-76, with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

The Sun opened the second half of the season with a 93-72 win over the Sky.

The Dream rallied back from 18 behind to douse the Mercury in OT, 99-91. Layshia Clarendon had a triple-double for Atlanta.

The Wings clipped the Fever, 84-82. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 20-plus points for the sixth straight game.

The Lynx escaped the Liberty, 76-75.

The Sparks held off the Storm, 68-60.

No games until Friday. (What?)

WNBA team news:

WNBA teams are ready for the second half of the season.

The Sky will now play home games at WinTrust Arena in Chicago, as per a new local governmental agreement.

WNBA player news:

How Tina Charles' high standards for herself make everyone around her better.

Renee Montgomery is picking up the Lynx backcourt with energy and range.

Layshia Clarendon has been an All-Star on the court and an activist off of it.

Jonquel Jones is climbing to new heights for the Connecticut Sun.

Noelle Quinn has a message for NBA youngsters.

College program news:

At last, North Carolina has a date with the NCAA Committee on Infractions.

College team news:

Mississippi State's historic victory last season has whet their appetite for more.

College coach news:

Elon coach Charlotte Smith is making her mark on women's basketball.

U23 tryouts:

The Louisville contingent is ready for next week's U23 Team tryouts.

U19 World Cup:

USA beat Italy, 66-49, to advance to the round of 16.

Canada beat Latvia to go 3-0.

Watch an entire basketball team forget which hoop is theirs.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

"Fauk My Life": A earnest web show about living, growing up and following dreams!

Going away is always a strange time in life and things don’t always turn out the way you expect them to!

"Faulk My Life" is the story of Amy Faulk, a young woman who is working to pursue her athletic dreams while coming to grips with the ins and outs of life, family, friendships, and relationships. As she and the other characters in this story will soon discover, life isn’t meant to be easy.

This web-show tells a powerful story through exciting writing and talented new actors, as well as through featuring the work of independent artists who bring their unique sound to the table and contribute to the emotional intensity of the scenes in the show.

Fans and viewers will now have the chance to help the show grow and fuel the continuation of this gripping story by supporting the project.
Find out more, donate or join the crowdfunding campaign to help this web show come to life.

Visit the website for further details.

http://www.faukmylife.com/

Sky hang on to edge Sparks, 82-80

A game story from today, plus another fine photo gallery.

Next stop, All-Star game

Today's game results:

The Sky edged the Sparks, 82-80, to hand them their first home loss of the season.

The Stars routed the Fever, 85-61, for the second series victory in eight days. Kelsey Plum scored a career-high 16 points.

All-Star Game:

Seattle will light the city up to celebrate Saturday's game.

The All-Stars talk about the game.

WNBA player news:

In the course of discussing sexism and racism and the WNBA, Sue Bird comes out.

After 13 years in the WNBA, Lindsay Whalen stays involved with her alma mater.

Jasmine Thomas is hitting her stride with Connecticut.

Allie Quigley's All-Star selection is a fitting honor.

Theresa Plaisance is spreading her basketball Wings.

Devereaux Peters is giving back at her old high school.

College team news:

Missouri has beefed up their schedule.

Iowa State is working to replace lots of production.

Alex Johnson is ready to lead Middle Tennessee.

College coach news:

Bridgette Gordon is Tennessee's new assistant coach.

Christal Caldwell is West Virginia's new assistant coach.

New Mexico State's new assistant coach is DeAudra Brown.

Ogwumikes:

...are the real first family of hoops.

USA Basketball:

U16 team member Diamond Miller helped the USA win gold with her versatile game.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What a game day

Today's game results:

The Liberty rolled over the Sun, 96-80.

The Mystics rallied from behind to defeat the Dream in overtime, 100-96.

The Lynx crushed Dallas, 100-74.

The Fever snapped a five-game losing streak with an 84-77 win over the Mercury.

All-Star game:

Rebekkah Brunson and Sugar Rodgers will replace Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne in this Saturday's All-Star game.

In addition, Sun coach Curt Miller will replace Bill Laimbeer as the East coach, while Laimbeer attends to a family matter.

Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart give fans a look at Seattle's attractions.

A women's basketball city, Seattle is geared to host the All-Star game.

WNBA team news:

The Sky's new lineup is an improvement, but they have a way to go.

The Chelsea Gray-Jonquel Jones trade is paying big dividends for both teams.

Former Montana coach Robin Selvig is proud of the Storm for their support of Planned Parenthood.

WNBA player news:

Q&A with Nneka Ogwumike.

First-time All-Star Sugar Rodgers defines perseverance.

Stefanie Dolson's positive energy has sparked the Sky's recent success.

Brittney Griner's injury has all but ended her chances to win MVP this year.

More fall out on the lack of coverage issue:

Cut the B.S., ESPN: Your lack of WNBA coverage is the problem.

College player news:

UConn's Kia Nurse is headed for a Canadian training camp.

College coach news:

Mike Neighbors is settling into his new job at Arkansas.

Fort Valley State's new head coach is Le'Coe Willingham.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Rolling on towards All-Star break

Today's game results:

The Dream grabbed an 88-75 win over the Stars.

The Sky outlasted the Storm, 94-83.

About last night:

Sparks-Fever game recap and photo gallery.

Watch me Work video part II:

Dope stuff.

WNBA team news:

Why the Storm's owners chose to ignore potential backlash in supporting Planned Parenthood.

The Sparks remain a work in progress going into the All-Star break.

Week 10 power rankings.

WNBA player news:

Injured Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne will miss the All-Star Game.

Breanna Stewart is finding her activist voice, as loud as her game.

Tina Charles is an All-Star in many ways.

Seimone Augustus is featured on this podcast.

The All-Stars are gaining popularity, but seek marketing awareness.

College team news:

How Duke will build on its bounce-back season.

College player news:

Q&A wit former Wichita State star Alex Harden.

College coach news:

Clemson coach Audra Smith's contract has been extended through 2020-2021.

All-Star reserves, three-point contest participants named

All-Star Game reserves are:

Eastern Conference Reserves

Layshia Clarendon, Dream: The first-time All-Star leads the WNBA in assists with 6.9 per game, nearly double her career high. A 2013 first-round draft pick by the Indiana Fever, she has flourished since being traded to Atlanta before the 2016 season and becoming a full-time starter.

Stefanie Dolson, Sky: In her first season with Chicago after being acquired from Washington in an offseason trade, Dolson earns her second All-Star nod. The fourth-year pro ranks second among Sky players in scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg), both career-high marks.

Candice Dupree, Fever: Indiana’s leader in scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.5 rpg) is an All-Star for the sixth time in her 12 WNBA seasons. She is the first player in league history to represent one conference as an All-Star and then the other before again representing the conference for which she was first an All-Star.

Allie Quigley, Sky: The two-time WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year (2014 and 2015) is now a first-time All-Star. A regular starter for the first time in her nine WNBA seasons, Quigley ranks fourth in the East in scoring (16.4 ppg; five points above her career high) and third in three-point shooting percentage (.427, 38-of-89).

Alyssa Thomas, Sun: With career-high averages in scoring (13.8 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (4.9 apg) and steals (1.6 spg), Thomas has helped Connecticut overcome a 1-5 start to post the third-best record in the league (12-8). She and All-Star starters Jasmine Thomas and Jonquel Jones became the first trio of teammates in WNBA history to earn Player of the Week honors in three consecutive weeks.

Elizabeth Williams, Dream: The reigning WNBA Most Improved Player joins teammates Hayes and Clarendon as a first-time All-Star selection. The third-year pro ranks third among East players in rebounding (8.0 rpg).

Western Conference Reserves

Seimone Augustus, Lynx: This marks the seventh All-Star selection for Augustus, a three-time WNBA champion, six-time All-WNBA pick and the 2011 WNBA Finals MVP. The Lynx’s career leader in points (5,333) and fields goals (2,159), she is No. 2 in the WNBA in three-point field goal percentage this season (.467, 14-of-30).

Skylar Diggins-Smith, Wings: This is the third All-Star selection for Diggins-Smith, the third pick in the “Three to See” WNBA Draft of 2013 that also featured Griner and Delle Donne. She was voted to the All-Star Game as a starter in 2014 and 2015, the latter as the top vote-getter among West players despite suffering a season-ending knee injury after nine games. She ranks fifth in the league in assists (5.6 apg).

Chelsea Gray, Sparks: A first-time All-Star, Gray has thrived in her first year as a full-time starter and leads the league in three-point shooting percentage (.509, 29-of-57). A first-round pick of Connecticut in 2014, she was acquired by Los Angeles in a 2016 draft-day trade in which the Sparks sent the draft rights to Jones to the Sun.

Brittney Griner, Mercury: A four-time All-Star selection (she was voted as a starter in 2013, 2014 and 2015), Griner leads the WNBA in scoring (22.3 ppg; nearly seven points above her career best) and blocks (2.5 bpg). She is a two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year (2014 and 2015).

Nneka Ogwumike, Sparks: The reigning WNBA regular-season MVP earns her fourth All-Star selection. She is third in the league in scoring (20.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (.596, 137-of-230) while helping the defending champion Sparks to the second-best record in the WNBA (13-5).

Breanna Stewart, Storm: A near unanimous pick as the 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year (38 of 39 votes), Stewart will represent the hometown Storm at Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 in her first All-Star appearance. She ranks fourth in the league in rebounding (8.9 rpg), fifth in scoring (19.4 ppg) and sixth in blocks (1.5 bpg).
In selecting the reserves, the 12 WNBA head coaches voted for six players in their ow

Three-point contest participants are:

Sue Bird
Maya Moore
Sugar Rodgers
Allie Quigley
Jasmine Thomas

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The injury bug continues to bite

Today's game results:

A balanced Sun attack made for an 89-75 win over the Stars.

Kayla McBride sustained an ankle injury, and San Antonio said her status would be updated soon.

Photo gallery.

The Liberty throttled the Mystics, 85-55, who were without Elena Delle Donne and Tayler Hill.

This morning Washington announced that Hill had torn her ACL in Friday's game, and was out for the season, and that EDD had an ankle sprain and would sit out today's match up.

Barn-burner of the day: Wings 112, Sky 106, in double-overtime.

The Lynx overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Mercury, 81-66.

WNBA player news:

Candice Dupree is getting it done for Indiana this year.

Tomorrow's game:

Fever at Sparks.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Sky make it three in a row

Today's game results:

The Sky made it three straight by beating the Liberty, 78-68. Stefanie Dolson led Chicago with 23 points.

The Mystics stopped the Fever, 72-58. Elena Delle Donne left the game with an ankle sprain and didn't return.

The Lynx routed the Mercury, 88-71.

WNBA team news:

Madison Square Garden DJ Tiff McFierce gets the crowd moving at Liberty games.

WNBA player news:

Talking tech with Sue Bird.

Elena Delle Donne hopes to inspire with her children's book series.

How Diana Taurasi stays motivated.

Brittney Sykes has adjusted into the WNBA.

Sydney Wiese is adjusting to her new role in the league.

Former WNBA player news:

Penny Taylor visits the Around the Rim show.

Tomorrow's match up:

Dream at Storm.

Don't waste your breath on those who bash women's basketball

In dealing with under-18 students and/or student athletes, it's inevitable that an adult will get back talk from a kid at some point. Of course it's natural for the adult to want to put a kid in their place. After all, they know better. They've had more education, experience, and can see so plainly all the wrongs that the kid cannot.

Some new teachers or coaches might have go-arounds with young people at first, arguing and trying to talk sense into them. Eventually, most come to a realization: I don't need to waste my time going back and forth with a child. It drags me down to their level, as if I don't know any better, like them.

It's the same dynamic we see with the online bullies who go out of their way to insult women's basketball, female athletes and women.

They pop up at opportune moments to throw out degrading comments about women's basketball and its style; the women who play it and how they look; the crowd size for men's basketball compared to women's basketball. And as with everyone who finds themselves with a lot of "keyboard courage," the bullies don't hold back. The insults are usually ugly and personal.

I see some of the most intelligent women react to these fools on social media. They give them their best counter-put downs. They make obvious points, which of course fall on deaf ears and spawn more insults. Some women will highlight a bullying tweet to supposedly expose the idiocy of the tweeter, but all that does is give the bully more attention, and thus more incentive to do it again.

It's important for women to remember that there's no point in arguing with a child, or with someone who has a childish and immature viewpoint. They are wrong - and some might even know they're wrong - but nothing said to them will stop them. Sometimes kids say and do things to be bratty and rebellious, and the same is true with some adults.

The reasons undoubtedly vary. There are those who need attention, those who feel threatened by strong women, those who are misogynists, and those who just like to get a rise out of people. The reasons don't matter. What's important to remember is that just because someone fires a shot doesn't mean it's always the right thing to shoot back. In our hyper-reactive world, most seem to have forgotten that ignoring is one of the most powerful tools on the planet.

Arguing or responding to a social media bully is already letting them know they've won. They succeeded in getting someone's attention and getting under someone's skin; of course they'll continue to argue, and will escalate the insulting language. But it takes two to tango, so if someone tries to tango with me that way, I just give them the figurative Candace Parker blank stare and go back to what I was doing.

As the saying goes, I ain't got time for that.

If someone attacks me directly, I will respond. But throwing around general insults? Responding to that costs me minutes I'll never get back. Ignoring it will likely douse the flame.

Sparks go on a tear to stop the Sun, 87-77

Game story from last night, with amazing photo gallery here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sparks use strong second half to halt the Sun

Tonight's game result:

The Sparks used a second-half run to down the Sun, 87-77. Nneka Ogwumike scored a season-high 29 points and Candace Parker had 20.

WNBA team news:

After a trio of road losses, the Mystics get a break to work on their game.

The Sun are rising in Connecticut. (This is an example of what not to do in writing: the author assumes we know what Voltron and Oceans 11 are all about. I don't, so the analogies mean nothing).

This week's power rankings.

WNBA player news:

Sylvia Fowles is putting together an MVP season.

Aerial Powers sustained an ankle injury in practice Tuesday and is out 2-4 weeks.

The league's race to the MVP rankings: Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker start the list.

WNBA coach news:

Bobbie Kelsey has moved up to the pros.

Tomorrow's game schedule:

Mystics at Fever

Sky at Liberty

Lynx at Mercury

College player news:

Anastasia Hayes has hit the ground running in Knoxville.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

WNBA games resume tomorrow

WNBA team news:

The Dallas Wings are ready to push on into the playoffs.

The new playoff format can't take the joy out of winning conference.

WNBA player news:

A brilliant ad campaign helped push Jonquel Jonea and Jasmine Thomas to their first All-Star game.

Lindsay Whalen is climbing the WNBA leaderboards.

Erika de Souza has used basketball to overcome poverty in Brazil.

Evelyn Akhator wants to be great, and she doesn't mind Russian it.

The Stars re-signed Sequoia Holmes for the rest of the season.

Tomorrow's games:

Stars at Fever

Wings at Sky

Sun at Storm

Dream at Mercury

College team news:

Virginia has added French guard Amandine Toi to their roster.

40 collegiate athletes named to USA Basketball U23 training camp roster

Look at this mind-boggling list:

Kristine Anigwe (California/Phoenix, Ariz.)
Ariel Atkins (Texas/Duncanville, Texas)
Monique Billings (UCLA/Corona, Calif.)
Erin Boley (Oregon/Hodgenville, Ky.)
Kalani Brown (Baylor/Slidell, La.)
Lexie Brown (Duke/Suwanee, Ga.)
Tyra Buss (Indiana/Mt. Carmel, Ill.)
Jordin Canada (UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.)
Natalie Chou (Baylor/Plano, Texas)
Napheesa Collier (Connecticut/O’Fallon, Mo.)
Sophie Cunningham (Missouri/Columbia, Mo.)
Asia Durr (Louisville/ Douglasville, Ga.)
Katelynn Flaherty (Michigan/Point Pleasant, N.J.)
Channon Fluker (CSUN/Pasadena, Calif.)
Rebecca Greenwell (Duke/Owensboro, Ky.)
Linnae Harper (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.)
Myisha Hines-Allen (Louisville/Montclair, N.J.)
Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon/Walnut Creek, Calif.)
Marina Mabrey (Notre Dame/Belmar, N.J.)
Tynice Martin (West Virginia/Atlanta, Ga.)
Brooke McCarty (Texas/League City, Texas)
Teaira McCowan (Mississippi State/Brenham, Texas)
Brittany McPhee (Stanford/Normandy Park, Wash.)
Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State/Cincinnati, Ohio)
Mariya Moore (Southern California/Hercules, Calif.)
Jamie Nared (Tennessee/Portland, Ore.)
Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame/Milwaukee, Wis.)
Teniya Page (Penn State/Chicago, Ill.)
Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.)
Katie Lou Samuelson (Connecticut/Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Jessica Shepard (Notre Dame/ Fremont, Neb.)
Kristen Simon (Southern California/Gardena, Calif.)
Destiny Slocum (Oregon State/ Meridian, Idaho)
Azurá Stevens (Connecticut/Raleigh, N.C.)
Hallie Thome (Michigan/Chagrin Falls, Ohio)
Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State/Carthage, Miss.)
Jatarie White (Texas/Charlotte, N.C.)
Gabby Williams (Connecticut/Sparks, Nev.)
A’ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.)
Jackie Young (Notre Dame/Princeton, Ind.)

Pictures and bios.

STACKED.

Seattle Storm will feature four players in Planned Parenthood PSA

SEATTLE STORM LAUNCHES PSA IN SUPPORT OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEATURING SUE BIRD, NOELLE QUINN, BREANNA STEWART, SAMI WHITCOMB

Planned Parenthood rally set for July 18 at 5:15pm on KeyArena’s West Plaza

Seattle – As momentum builds for Seattle’s ‘Planned Parenthood Night’ on July 18, the team has unveiled a PSA featuring 9-time WNBA All-Star Sue Bird, 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart, Noelle Quinn and Sami Whitcomb.

Leading up to ‘Planned Parenthood Night’ on July 18, fans are encouraged to share the Storm’s PSA on their social networks. The Planned Parenthood rally will begin at 5:15 on KeyArena’s West Plaza on July 18, and speakers will include the Storm ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, and Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands (PPGNHI) CEO, Christine Charbonneau.

Following the rally, the Storm hosts the Chicago Sky, with tipoff set for 6 p.m. PDT on ESPN2. For every ticket purchased, the Storm will donate $5 to Planned Parenthood. The Storm also will be hosting an online auction, which will include game-worn shoes from Storm players and other items. Any businesses or corporations that are interested in supporting Planned Parenthood can purchase a block of tickets for donation to local Seattle women and children groups, by visiting StormBasketball.com or by calling (206) 217-WNBA (9622).

VIEW THE PSA HERE: http://bit.ly/2StandWithPP

In addition to the PSA, the team has announced a partnership with the Seattle-based tech startup app, Vermouth, which has pledged a $1 donation to Planned Parenthood for every app download. Founder of Vermouth, Jamien McCullum calls this strategy “apptivism,” the next step in corporate social responsibility: technology companies supporting issues and causes in alignment with shared values. When Vermouth reaches 50,000 downloads, and thus a $50,000 donation to Planned Parenthood, Seattle-based glass-blown candle company and philanthropic influencer, glassybaby, will match the $50,000 donation, netting a $100,000 donation to Planned Parenthood through glassybaby’s white light fund. This marks first time that glassybaby’s white light fund has matched donations.

DOWNLOAD VERMOUTH HERE: www.appstore.com/vermouth

Vermouth offers users recommendations on places to go and things to do from friends and those you trust, providing reviews in an authentic, genuine way from your chosen network of friends on the app. Users share and save recommendations they like, offering suggestions on places to take out of town guests or for last minute dinner recommendations.

PPGNHI offers a comprehensive range of high-quality reproductive health care services at 18 health centers throughout Western Washington. Now is the time for every person who cares about women’s health and access to affordable quality care to speak out and join this fight. Blocking people’s access to Planned Parenthood is deeply unpopular with both health care experts and Americans.

About Planned Parenthood

PPGNHI is the region's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider and advocate. We believe everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved. The organization operates 27 health centers in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, and Western Washington and provides medical services and sexuality education for thousands of women, men, and young people each year. Planned Parenthood is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization and relies heavily on charitable donations to ensure our patients' ability to determine their own destinies and receive the health care they need.

About the Seattle Storm

The two-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm is one of six independently owned teams in the WNBA, the world’s most successful women’s professional team sports league. Established in 2000, the Storm is committed to bringing outstanding professional basketball to a fan base rich with tradition and support. The Storm leads the way for change in the community with outreach programs for youth basketball, health and fitness. The organization looks to be an inspiration for girls and women while providing support and motivation to better the Puget Sound. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit StormBasketball.com.

About Vermouth

The Vermouth app launched on June 15 in Seattle, with simultaneous soft-launches in Portland, Honolulu, New York City and Sydney, Australia. Vermouth has doubled its user-base every week since launch. The app is currently available for the iPhone. It previous raised more than $1,000 for Mary’s Place, an advocate for homeless women, children and families. Vermouth is dedicated to continuing its philanthropic mission with additional non-profit partners into the future.

All-Star line ups announced

From the WNBA earlier today:

Eastern Conference Frontcourt

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score

1. *Elena Delle Donne (Washington) 1 1 2 1.25
2. *Tina Charles (New York) 2 1 1 1.5
3. *Jonquel Jones (Connecticut) 3 3 3 3.0
4. Candice Dupree (Indiana) 4 4 5 4.25
5. Alyssa Thomas (Connecticut) 5 4 4 4.5
6. Stefanie Dolson (Chicago) 6 7 6 6.25
7. Tamera Young (Chicago) 8 7 8 7.75
8. Kiah Stokes (New York) 7 7 17 9.5
9. Imani Boyette (Chicago) 9 7 17 10.5
10. Bria Holmes (Atlanta) 12 7 14 11.25

Eastern Conference Guards

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score

1. * Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta) 1 1 1 1.0
2. *Jasmine Thomas (Connecticut) 3 2 2 2.5
3. Kristi Toliver (Washington) 4 6 7 5.25
4. Tayler Hill (Washington) 7 3 6 5.75
5. Cappie Pondexter (Chicago) 8 5 3 6.0
6. Sugar Rodgers (New York) 6 6 7 6.25
7. Tiffany Mitchell (Indiana) 2 10 14 7.0
8. Courtney Williams (Connecticut) 5 12 7 7.25
9. Allie Quigley (Chicago) 10 4 13 9.25
10. Shavonte Zellous (New York) 11 12 4 9.5

Western Conference Frontcourt

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score

1. *Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota) 3 1 1 2.0
2. *Maya Moore (Minnesota) 1 4 2 2.0
3. *Candace Parker (Los Angeles) 2 5 6 3.75^
4. Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles) 4 3 4 3.75
5. Brittney Griner (Phoenix) 6 2 2 4.0
6. Breanna Stewart (Seattle) 5 6 5 5.25
7. Rebekkah Brunson (Minnesota) 7 7 10 7.75
8. Glory Johnson (Dallas) 8 7 8 7.75
9. Karima Christmas-Kelly (Dallas) 10 7 12 9.75
10. Alysha Clark (Seattle) 11 7 11 10.0

Western Conference Guards

Player Fan Rank Media Rank Player Rank Weighted Score

1. *Diana Taurasi (Phoenix) 2 1 1 1.5
2. *Sue Bird (Seattle) 1 2 4 2.0
3. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota) 3 6 3 3.75
4. Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas) 4 3 5 4.0
5. Jewell Loyd (Seattle) 6 4 2 4.5
6. Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota) 5 6 6 5.5
7. Chelsea Gray (Los Angeles) 9 5 7 7.5
8. Allisha Gray (Dallas) 7 8 12 8.5
9. Moriah Jefferson (San Antonio) 10 8 9 9.25
10. Alana Beard (Los Angeles) 8 8 14 9.5

Monday, July 10, 2017

All-Stars teams will be announced tomorrow

....so in the meantime....

WNBA news:

Post players are thriving in the WNBA, unlike the NBA.

WNBA player news:

Sue Bird isn't thinking about retirement.

Crystal Langhorne has serious style, on and off the court.

Courtney Paris is gradually working back up to full minutes after returning from injury.

Skylar Diggins-Smith is back to form and is leading Dallas.

Natasha Cloud is thriving in the WNBA.

Danielle Robinson has found the right fit in Phoenix.

Maykayla Epps is in rare air as a WNBA rookie.

Alyssa Thomas and Brittney Griner are the Eastern and Western Conference players of the week.

College player news:

Florida Atlantic transfer Jacey Bailey has landed at Northern Arizona.

Often-injured Kianna Holland has no regrets about her basketball career.

College coach news:

Sonia Burke is a new assistant coach at Fordham.

LGBT news:

Former NBA player Jason Collins continues to push for LGBT acceptance in sports.

Elena Delle Donne to publish memoir and children's book with Simon & Schuster

New York, NY, July 10, 2017—Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers announced today that it will publish a memoir and children’s book series by WNBA star and Olympic Gold Medalist Elena Delle Donne. Both will be released on March 6, 2018.

In her memoir My Shot, Elena Delle Donne delivers a powerful and motivational story of overcoming the challenges of competitive sports through balancing hard work and the support of a loving family. She has always forged her own path, from her first year of college when she walked away from a scholarship and a chance to play for UConn—the most prestigious women’s college basketball program—so she could stay in her home state of Delaware and be close to her older sister, Lizzie, who has several disabilities and can only communicate through hand-over-hand signing.

After overcoming burnout and almost leaving basketball for good, Delle Donne eventually found her way back to the court and went on to become the second overall selection during the 2013 WNBA draft, the 2013 WNBA Rookie of the Year and the WNBA’s 2015 MVP. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of hers, Delle Donne won the gold medal with the USA women’s basketball team during the 2016 Olympics.

Elle of the Ball is the first book in the middle-grade series Hoops about a charming middle schooler and her basketball team. Two more books in the series will follow in 2018.

Delle Donne now plays for the Mystics in Washington, DC. Off the court, she is the global ambassador to the Special Olympics and became the first national ambassador for the Lyme Research Alliance. She also hosts the De11e Donne Academy basketball camp which runs throughout the year, where she mentors and coaches girls ages seven to eighteen. On and off the court she is motivated by two words: demand excellence.

“I’m thrilled to announce the publication of my memoir and children’s book series,” said Delle Donne. “I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am today, and I’m looking forward to people reading about and understanding the ups and downs that have come with my career thus far. I hope the children’s series serves as motivation and inspiration to young girls and boys across the country.”

“Elena Delle Donne is an inspiration both on and off the court,” said Justin Chanda, Vice President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. “With her memoir and the Hoops series, fans will get to know even more about this remarkable person, and new fans will surely be made.”

Associate editor Liz Kossnar acquired world rights from Jennifer Keene and Erin Kane at Octagon.

Friday, July 7, 2017

All-Star events revealed

The WNBA will see and facilitate a number of All-Star Game events, revealed today.

Today's game results:

The Dream took down the Fever, 89-68, behind Layshia Clarendon's career-high 27 points.

The Mercury beat the Stars, 92-77. Diana Taurasi led Phoenix with 17 points, despite being ejected with 8:55 remaining in the game after incurring a second technical foul.

WNBA team news:

The Lynx is improving from behind the arc.

WNBA player news:

Tiffany Mitchell is enjoying a solid WNBA career.

Alyssa Thomas has stepped into the power forward role to lead the Sun.

Moriah Jefferson sustained a concussion in Wednesday's game.

Tina Charles took over the Liberty rebounding record last night.

It's a breakout season for Chelsea Gray and Jasmine Thomas.

Former LSU forward Theresa Plaisance is playing well for the Wings.

Elena Delle Donne takes a jab at Lonzo Ball and the Big Baller Brand.

Tomorrow's game schedule:

Mystics at Sun

Lynx at Sky

Sparks at Storm

College program news:

Why construction on NC State's $15 million dorm for basketball players is being delayed.

College coach news:

For Arizona coach Adia Barnes, a summer trip 20 years ago set the stage for her best year ever.

Winthrop coach Lynette Woodard has named her coaching staff.

At Chattanooga, Jonathon Goldberg has been promoted to assistant coach and Debbie Black is the new director of basketball operations.

Former UMaine player Courtney Anderson is joining the staff as an assistant coach.

UMaine's interim coach, Amy Vachon, has had a whirlwind first four months.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Lynx win first round against the Sparks

Today's game results:

The Lynx beat the Sparks, 88-77. It was their first match up since the Championship game Oct. 20.

The Storm and Liberty are still battling at this hour.

WNBA player news:

Stars players are continuing their former teammate's cause.

Tomorrow's game schedule:

Fever at Dream.

Mercury at Stars.

College team news:

The Lady Vols' non-SEC schedule is a grind.

College coach news:

Dawn Staley is pleased with South Carolina's performance in Japan.

Safiya Grant rejoins Siena as an assistant coach.

College player news:

George Washington senior Jada Matthews is enjoying a busy summer in politics.

High school news:

It's a golden summer, with no slumber, for No. 1 prospect Christyn Williams.

International basketball news:

Australia's Canberra Capitals have signed one of the best players on the continent - a teenager.

Being an athlete makes you a stronger person

Several years ago I was was having an in-depth conversation with a friend about trials and tribulations, when he laid this on me:

“You’ve been able to get through the hard times and the rough battles that you’ve had because you have that athlete mentality,” my friend said.

This sounds strange, but I hadn’t though of it that way. Even though we’ve all read the studies which show that a high percentage of female executives are former athletes, I didn’t necessarily relate that to myself. But when I contemplated it fully, I realized my friend was correct: being a jock turned me into a warrior.

I was inspired to get into sports after watching college women play basketball in the 1981-1982 season. The day after my team lost in the first round of the inaugural women’s NCAA Tournament, I embarked on what has turned out to be a lifelong athletic career.

I tried running first, and good grief, it was hard. After every run there was a brief period where I thought I’d pass out – or die. But I kept increasing my mileage, little by little, knowing instinctively that by the laws of adaptation, it had to get easier.

After three months I was ready for my first 10K (6.2 miles). I finished, got the T-shirt, was so proud, and my parents took some pictures. Then I went home and took a nap.

I played volleyball and basketball in junior high and high school, and wasn’t particularly good at either one. Track and field, however, proved to be my forte, and I stuck with it. I turned into a speedy little sucker, too, and placed in state as a high school senior.

It is the discipline in the process of training, with a larger goal in mind, that makes an athlete. It’s not that athletes don’t fail; in fact, failure is a constant companion. It is in continuing to go forth and improve, in returning after setbacks, and in pushing through adversity that strengthens not only the body, but the mind and spirit, too.

Humans need a moderate amount of both mental and physical challenge to remain optimally healthy, studies show. In our modern world of convenience, however, many of us have forgotten what it is to be challenged. But athletes haven’t.

A funny thing happens when you’re running a mile along hills that intersperse between a 10 and 15 percent grade, as my team and I did in high school: you get to the end, and you realize you did something you didn’t think you could.

Then the cycle repeats itself a few years down the line when mastering another feat that seemed impossible. Then it happens again. Confidence grows, as does the willingness to try and the fearlessness in the fight. This bleeds over into life.

I put myself through three collegiate degrees by working jobs to make ends meet and pay my own tuition. For a few long years, I taught school in the Watts area of Los Angeles, which was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. And those are just a few of the challenges I’ve encountered in my decades.

I’m very grateful that I’m an athlete who still runs and works out, because I wouldn’t have been able to make it this far and this well any other way.

Athletes always know who the other athletes are at an older age. I can tell right away when meeting someone new at the gym, or in public, whether or not they are a current or former athlete. It shines in their spirit.

I asked two of my favorite former WNBA players how being an athlete helped them through life, and here’s what they said:

Simone Edwards, former WNBA forward

I have always been an athlete as long as I can remember. I grew up in Kingston Jamaica, where children competed in track and field as early as the age of two. I turned to running as a way to distract the bullies to see the beauty of my height through speed so I would be praised and not be teased. My height was my advantage on the track and many other places, but it was also the main reason I was bullied. Then I turned to basketball at 16 to potentially escape poverty, which required much sacrifice. I trained hard in the sweltering sun and had to push through the pain and agony that comes with injuries. Quitting was frowned upon as a deadly weakness, so I learn to fight through every obstacles laid in front of me. I was taught that mental toughness is just as important, or even more important than physical toughness.

This I was taught at a very early age, growing up so even as I was being teased, I knew I had to stay focused and keep my eye on the prize. I couldn’t get too caught up in my emotions for too long. Coming to the America alone at 17 for college was extremely scary, but I was a poor girl who longed for the American dream. Every time I was hit with tough times while isolated, I remembered how hard I worked in the hot Jamaican sun to learn the game. As an athlete you are taught teamwork, resilience, to push beyond your limits and to have a winning mentality. You learn not to get too low over a lost or too high over a win. You have to bounce back the next day ready to compete no matter what the result was the night before.

Now that I am no longer competing as an athlete, I realize how all my trainings, competitions and being an athlete prepared me for life after the game. Adjusting to a world outside of sports has its challenges, but each time I run into a difficult situation I’m able to push through. I am very thankful for the life lessons learned from being an athlete.

Katie Smith, former WNBA guard and current assistant coach of the New York Liberty

It helps you handle defeats and setbacks, and helps you to jump back on the horse. And it does give you the competitiveness: pushing through if stuff isn’t easy, and knowing how to work with people. It gives you a confidence that you’re strong, that you’re powerful, and it teaches you teamwork. So at the end of the day, you know how to work with people, and you know how to get you through good and bad times.

The workload is never an issue, because athletes in general – we don’t mind working. But then there’s teamwork, and understanding the different dynamics and personalities, and how we all fit together and work together. The perseverance of whatever comes your way, you’ve got to make it work. It’s kind of that competitive spirit of “whatever comes your way, let’s go.” How do I fix it, how can I improve? There’s also the ability to take constructive criticism, because we’ve been coached and we’ve been told; we’ve heard the feedback and we’ve taken it.

Parents, teachers and coaches hold the key

My father took me to my first women’s basketball games, and for that I’ll be forever grateful, as he shaped the path of my life. I always encourage parents to take their daughters to women’s games, meets and matches so they can see solid role models and know that it’s OK to be strong.

Teachers can also encourage young women to try sports. Sometimes a girl hadn’t considered a sport, or didn’t realize how good she was at an endeavor until she gave it a try.

If a kid is already into sports, it is a coach’s job to provide manageable challenges that sets the young person up for a series of mastery events, if she applies herself. A coach often has more influence on a young person’s life than few others they encounter.

Athletes are the most fortunate people on the planet. Let’s go nurture some more.

For the full link to this piece, click here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Just like that

Today's game results:

The Wings topped the Dream, 94-84. Rookie Allisha Gray came up big with a four-point play down the stretch to ice her career-high 20-point out pour.

The Sun routed the Stars, 89-56, and most of the scoring was done by those who aren't the usual suspects.

The Mercury powered past the Mystics, 88-80, on the strength of Brittney Griner's 30 points and 14 rebounds.

WNBA team news:

How the Sun have turned around their fortunes.

WNBA player news:

Sun center Jonquel Jones is becoming one of the league's best bigs.

Mystics rookie Shatori Walker-Kimbrough is emerging from her shell.

The league shakes things up in their weekly MVP rankings.

Jasmine Thomas and Candace Parker are the Eastern and Western Conference players of the week.

Jonquel Jones and Sylvia Fowles are the Eastern and Western Conference players of the month for June.

Allisha Gray is the rookie of the month for June.

WNBA coach news:

Brian Agler is the coach of the month.

Watching the Lynx play from the stands is hard for former assistant coach Jim Peterson.

Tomorrow's game schedule:

The Lynx could make a statement with a win against the Sparks.

A statement is at stake for Minnesota.

It's time to stop whining about losing last year's Finals, Minnesota.

The season series is up for grabs when the Liberty visit the Storm.

The Storm's version of this match up.

College player news:

Loryn Goodwin has tranferred from UTSA to Oklahoma State.

Former Texas Longhorn Tasia Foman has landed at Texas-Corpus Christi.

College coach news:

Former Texas Tech great Sheryl Swoopes has been named director of player development for the team.

The Raiders' new associate head coach is Melanie Balcomb.

Diane Richardson brings a varied background to Towson.

Camille Collier is Radford's new assistant coach.

Western Carolina has a new assistant coach in Josh Keys.

Humbling start for prized rookie Plum

For those unable to read this fine story about Kelsey Plum due to subscription issues, I've received permission to reprint it in its entirety. Great stuff:

By Melissa Rohlin
San Antonio Express-News


SAN ANTONIO -- A video produced in January compared NBA star James Harden to Kelsey Plum, who at the time was starring for the Washington Huskies. Both players are left-handed guards who can seemingly score at will.

Harden is a household name, a recent runner-up for the NBA Most Valuable Player award who earned $28.3 million in 2016-17.

Plum went on to be the No. 1 pick by the San Antonio Stars in the 2017 WNBA draft.

While their playing styles may have similarities, their earning potential is starkly different. Harden made $26.5 million this past season. Rookie pay in the WNBA is about $50,000, while the veteran maximum is $115,000 per year.

Yet it was Plum who was not thrilled with the comparison.

“I never wanted to aspire to play like a man,” Plum said. “I think it’s really important to show that women are just as capable. And comparing a woman to a man is like apples and oranges, because it’s not that we’re limited, we’re different.”

After Harden saw the video, he tweeted at Plum, saying, “I see you.”

Harden and Plum did eventually meet in May when Harden was in town for a playoff series against the Spurs.

Plum was having dinner at Ruth’s Chris with Irv Roland, a family friend who works in player development for the Rockets. Roland asked Harden to stop by.

When Harden joined them, he handed Plum a pair of signed basketball shoes. Plum responded accordingly, autographing a pair of her own shoes for Harden.

Early years

Plum’s father, Jim, can pinpoint the moment when he saw his daughter gain her voice.

She was in third grade, and came home upset from school one day. She didn’t think her teacher liked her because she wore basketball shorts every day, didn’t do her hair and always had dirt streaked on her face from playing basketball at recess.

Her father then gave her an ultimatum — he told her she needed to confront the teacher or else he would.

Plum approached her teacher the following day and told her how she felt.

“The teacher cried and said I actually have more respect for you than anyone,” Jim recalled. “That seemed to jump-start her being independent.”

Growing up in the Plum household was not easy.

Plum’s mother and two older sisters played college volleyball. Her father played college football. And her younger brother plays college football.

Everything was a competition. After they would go out to dinner, Jim would quickly pay the check and sprint to his truck. His kids would immediately run after him. Anyone who didn’t make it to the car in time would be left behind.

Plum would play shooting games in the backyard with her family over who would have to clean up the dog poop. There would also be competitions over who would have to clean the dishes and who would get the best dessert.

“I got picked on my whole childhood,” Plum said. “They always ganged up on me. I was kind of sensitive growing up, so I’d always go to mom and cry. That never worked. It was difficult. I had to find my own way. My outlet was basketball. It was my thing. It was different from what everyone else was doing.’

Enter basketball

Plum began seriously focusing on basketball when she was 10. By 12, her father was taking her to local gyms to play pickup games with men three times her age.

She quickly learned that she could make the biggest impact on the court with her shot.

She was too small to defend effectively, but opponents would often leave her open because they didn’t see her as a threat. If she could score, she was valuable.

After she learned how to shoot over men, she had an almost unfair advantage playing against girls.

Plum, who is from Poway, California, attended La Jolla Country Day for high school. She made an immediate impact as a freshman. During her junior year, Plum’s team lost just one game and won the state title.

“She would score 30 or 40 points whenever we needed it,” said Terri Bamford, the girls basketball coach at La Jolla Country Day for the last 20 years. “She would get in a mode where she’d take the game over. Everyone knew if you could stop Kelsey, you could stop our team. That year, she was triple-teamed and she’d still put up those types of numbers.”

While Plum was an extraordinary player in high school, Bamford never imagined what her star would accomplish in college.

But then again, Plum was always in the gym, always improving.

She would practice before school from 6:15-7:30 a.m. three or four times a week, then attend practice, then stay afterward for a few hours to work out with the team’s assistant coach.

“Her work ethic was off the charts,” Bamford said.

College success

Plum chose Washington because she wanted to play for an up-and-coming program.

She averaged 37.3 minutes a game her first season, a freshman record. She was named a team captain because her attitude impressed her coaches.

Ever since Plum was a little girl, she would write down her goals. When she was young, she used to write them on her mirror. Before her final college season, she typed her goal into her phone — she wanted to be the best player in women’s college basketball.

Plum averaged 31.7 points a game during her senior year, nearly six points better than anyone else in Division I. She scored an NCAA-record 1,109 points and led her team to the program’s first Final Four.

The 5-foot-8 guard had developed into a crafty scorer. Her mid-range game was unstoppable, she could attack the rim and she was deadly from beyond the 3-point line.

Over her four seasons as a Husky, she scored 3,527 points, the most in the history of women’s Division I hoops.

This past season, she won the Wooden Award, the Naismith Trophy, the Wade Trophy, the Nancy Lieberman Award, the Associated Press Player of the Year award, the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and the Dawn Staley Award. She was also named Pac-12 Player of the Year and ESPNW Player of the Year.

“What happened toward the end of my career, I could have never imagined,” she said.

WNBA becomes reality

Despite all of her success, Plum didn’t think she would be selected No. 1 in the WNBA draft. And, yes, she knows that sounds ridiculous.

When her name was called, she was stunned.

“I didn’t know where to go,” she said.

Plum explained that her ascent had been so gradual for so long, that when she reached the top, it felt unreal. Her self-image hadn’t quite caught up with her skill level.

“You have to understand, I came out of high school, and I was like top 50 in the country, but I wasn’t like the No. 1 player,” she said. “In college, even coming into freshman, sophomore, junior years, I wasn’t one of the best players in the country. My senior year, when we started playing, I think I had worked really hard that summer and I proved I was. But it was like, I started here (holds hand low), and I was like boom, boom, boom (she incrementally moves her hand higher and higher). I never thought that I was like this (holds hand high).”

So when Plum’s name was called, it was an awe-inspiring moment for her family. Her father cried. Plum realized she had finally accomplished something she had written on her mirror when she was a child — reach the WNBA.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind of media. In April, she was introduced to San Antonio at a Spurs game and made a huge impression by tossing T-shirts to the crowd at the AT&T Center. Media around the country had fun with her athleticism.

A New York Daily News headline read: “Top WNBA pick Kelsey Plum puts T-shirt cannon out of a job” while an SB Nation headline described her as having a “QB arm.”

It seemed like everything she touched was turning to gold.

Rough start

Then things began to go in a different direction.

She sustained an ankle injury during practice in early May. It sidelined her for three weeks.

Once she was able to play, she had trouble scoring. She failed to reach double figures in any of her first 11 games and was twice held scoreless. Averaging just 13.5 minutes per game, Plum scored at a 3.4 point per game pace, while shooting 23.3 percent from the field.

It was a tough coming-back-to-earth experience for a player who was expected to make an immediate impact.

“It’s no secret that I’m struggling right now,” she said. “I’m not playing at the level that I think I can play at. It’s frustrating.”

Stars coach Vickie Johnson said Plum is undergoing a huge transition. She has confidence Plum will eventually live up to her lofty expectations.

“It’s like going from high school to the NBA,” Johnson said. “Some players are ready. LeBron James was ready. Kobe (Bryant), when he went in, he wasn’t ready. It took him a year or two to get ready. This is the best of the best.”

Eight of the last nine top picks in the WNBA draft have won the Rookie of the Year award. Plum does not want to be the second exception.

Her work ethic as a pro is the same as it has been at other levels. She is the first player to show up at practice and the last to leave. After a recent session, she stayed on the court for an extra hour to work out with Becky Hammon, a former Stars great who is an assistant coach for the Spurs.

“She was saying that you’ve got to become a wizard off the pick-and-rolls and passing with the right hand versus passing with your left,” Plum said “Just like gold nuggets of information.”

Forget Harden. Plum would rather follow in Hammon’s footsteps.

“Just to be able to see someone still dominate the game with your mind, that’s the level you want to get to as a point guard,” Plum said.

Throughout the last two months, when she has gotten down, Jim Plum has been there to guide her.

He told her this drought will be temporary. He has encouraged her to use this time as an opportunity to be a sponge around her coaches and to be the loudest possible cheerleader for her teammates.

Plum is once again deeply focused. She has written down new goals for herself, and she’s dead set on achieving them.

According to Jim, these are the times when she excels the most.

“I think this is very humbling and actually very positive because she’s just going to have to work,” he said.

That’s something she’s always been good at.