Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Phoenix Mercury blog

Nice work by this group:

Phoenix Mercury Community

Yes, Chantelle Anderson really got cut

I guess the answer to my question of last night was C. None of the above - the Dream just didn't get off their booties to post the info until today.

Transaction page

Unsurprisingly, the Mercury also cut Murriel Page.

Sparks 80, Sun 77

The Sparks prevailed over the Sun today in Connecticut, and Rebecca, aka Queenie, was there:

Game Notes of Doom

Interesting that none of the guards showed up big, and that Vanessa Hayden had the points and the plays that she did:

Box score

Opening day only six days from now!

Sparks updates

Sparks Coach Michael Cooper already knows who he's going to cut to make the June 5 deadline before Saturday's regular-season opener, but he won't reveal anything until after today's pre-season game against Connecticut, at noon PDT.

Tina Thompson and Betty Lennox are bending to fit the team mold, which will make the Sparks extra scary this year. And teammates have noticed Lisa Leslie's improved health lately.

And then there is the Waiting for CP situation:

“It is a major change for Candace,” Leslie said. “I call her ‘the baby [of the team],’ but now it’s different because the baby has a baby. It’s an adjustment.”

“Having a baby is not glamorous; you need a great support system. [Parker’s husband, Minnesota Timberwolves forward Shelden Williams] will be a great dad. It’s tough, but one advantage she has is her age in terms of recovery time."

Leslie also mentioned that because Parker had a natural birth, instead of a Caesarian section as Leslie did, Parker’s rehabilitation time will likely be much shorter. She is expected to be able to return to the team sometime in July. But until then, the Sparks can rest assured that with the help of their newcomers, Thompson and Lennox (and two of their veterans, Leslie and Milton-Jones), the team will be fully capable of adapting to its one-month super challenge.

Leslie is back in twitterville.

And finally, happy birthday to both Sparks co-owners, Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson. Kathy shares my birthday, today, and I'm pretty sure she turns 45. Carla's day is tomorrow, and she's my age - 42. Kathy and Carla have completely changed the fan culture of the Sparks since taking over, and they are easily the coolest, most accessible WNBA owners in the league.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

WNBA mysteries

A few days ago, Chantelle Anderson reported on her twitter page that she'd been waived by the Atlanta Dream. But there's still no mention of it on the WNBA transactions page......I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been checking every day.

So is she really waived or did they take it back? Because teammate Chamique Holdsclaw also tweeted that she would "miss telle."

Meanwhile, across the country, the Phoenix Mercury website has been locked down. There will supposedly be a major announcement made Monday in New York, and Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter will be on hand. What else could it be but an ownerhip change?

Finally, I'm a little jealous tonight, because Holdsclaw twittered that the Dream's season ticket holder event today was awesome. The Sparks had promised to have a picnic for STH's way back when they were re-signing people in late 2008. But I guess they forgot about it like they forgot to re-schedule the January rummage sale that was cancelled when they had to announce Candace Parker was pregnant.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Courtney Paris blogs for SI

My life off the court has also changed a lot. I haven't seen my sister, Ashley, since the middle of May, but she does keep in touch through some rude comments on Facebook.


But check out the big wisdom from Sacramento Coach Jenny Boucek:

My first time working one-on-one with coach, I was beating myself up over missing shots until she looked at me and said, "You're not going to be very successful if you're not willing to fail." That is a new concept for me.

Boucek is my new hero, as that's such an important concept to grasp. I was just getting together some quotes for one of my kids today on that very topic.

More, more, more, Courtney

This twitter thing is so interesting

Being a nosey reporter at heart, I love peeking into the minds of some of the WNBA players via twitter. For example, today Janel McCarville reports that she and Diana Taurasi compared her to Birdman (they decided Janel is better lookin). Chantelle Anderson wanted to play more in tonight's Dream win. And Ashley Paris is getting used to driving since sis Courtney isn't around right now. The best, however, is Dawn Staley:

Campaigning to get purple Kool-Aid in vending machines and on room service menus

McCoughtry learning the ropes

"In college I could just float to the rim with ease," McCoughtry said. "Now I have to watch my back. That's one of the differences right there. Everybody is just as athletic as you are, so you have to use a little bit more fundamentals."


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome to the "real world," young lady

About five hours ago on twitter, Kristi Tolliver commented, "Weird that we have no team meal together....where did college go?"

It's a cold, impersonal world much of the time. Hang in there, youngin.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sparks open practice fan event - Betty Lennox (and a lil "Noey")

I still can't get over the change in Betty. Look at the relaxed and happy photos of her from media day Wednesday. Then imagine her dancing with Delisha Milton-Jones and Shannon Bobbitt while the rest of the team urged them on.

Coolest thing I've seen in a long time. Betty's in a good place.

Betty returns from the sideline with a jersey prior to the beginning of the practice.

Betty looking down court......I'm lovin the new style with the braids that she's rockin.

Noelle Quinn will make the roster, believe it.

Sparks open practice fan event - CP returns

They did the team intros, and there was no Candace Parker - even on the sidelines. I think we were all disappointed, but then suddenly the announcer guy introduced her too, and she stepped from out of the hallway and into the door to the gym.

She looked exactly the same as she did before, 10 days after giving birth. CP does indeed live a charmed life.

She said a few very brief words, then turned to co-owner Kathy Goodman.

Then CP went to the other side of the court and hung out at the scorer's table.

After getting a message, she headed back across the court, via the sidelines.

CP came to get some lucky kid sitting right in front of me. Someone behind me asked her where the baby was. Candace smiled and said, "chillin."

Sparks open practice fan event - the team

The scene today was at Los Angeles Southwest College, with about 450-500 fans in attendance. The even was billed as an open practice, and it begun with Coach Michael Cooper introducing each team member, who said a few words.

Before commencing the practice, he had everyone stand up and clap. The usual suspects started dancin and gettin jiggy with it: Delisha Milton-Jones and Shannon Bobbitt, aka the team jokesters. But I couldn't believe my eyes because there was a third dancer - none other than the formerly-serious and intense Betty Lennox. I love it!

Intros before the beginning of the practice......I can't believe they will have to cut 2-3 people from this roster. Ouch.

Next three photos: they warm up with shooting drills.

Every so often, they'd regroup at half-court to talk with coaches Cooper and Marianne Stanley.

Players wait on the sidelines for their turn in the five-woman weave drill.

As the practice drew to a close, there was dancing.......I couldn't catch any of it, but they were most def dancin.

A sweaty Betty Lennox lead the winner of a Candace Parker-autographed ESPN Magazine down to the team for a dance and a presentation.

Aside from the five-woman weave, they did more shooting and featured a one-player run and shoot drill (as she took the pass from her teammate) that competed with the other half of the team across the court.

But I have to be honest: aside from the antics, it was boring. Me and those around me kept waiting for them to break into a scrimmage, and the clock kept ticking down in increments as someone kept re-setting it. We'd think cool, this is it and here comes the scrimmage. It never happened, and it was a let down.

Hopefully the Sparks' other events this season will be more fun-filled.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hawaii scoop

Former USC Coach Mark Trakh is in Hawaii for his second interview for the UH women's basketball coaching job.

A shoe for the Q-angle?

I hope the claims of this shoe maker are true:

First glimpse into Sparks training camp

Cooper maintained he didn't have a set starting lineup, though he acknowledged the combination of Noelle Quinn, Betty Lennox, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie "is a very good lineup for us." That unit often played together in Friday's practice, but players at Wednesday's media day said Cooper has fielded between five and seven different combinations.


Cooper on Wisdom-Hylton: "Active rebounder, real good passer for a big, has that diversity that we like in our bigs in being able to play multiple positions. She showed she can move around to the 3. Five might be out of her realm, but against certain teams she may be able to play the 5 spot."

Cooper on Paris: "Ashley is a better ball handler than expected. She’s another one that can move out and play multiple positions. I know in college she was mainly just a 4 most of the time. But here she’s probably going to have to put in a little work at the 3. So that’s always a good thing because again the more positions you can play, the more minutes you can spend out on the court."


I have some scoop myself from a reliable source: Lennox has been on fire in practices; Bobbitt's hard work in the off-season is showing up in quick cuts and very good court vision; everyone has been doing a lot of communicating on the court during scrimmages; and Noelle Quinn is making an excellent case for a starting spot.

I can't believe they're going to have to cut three from this roster. Anyway you go, it will be painful.

Hackney rumors confirmed

Kendall Hackney wants out of USC:

I wonder what USC is going to do.

And the second cuts in the WNBA are........

Doneeka Hodges and Sherrill Baker from Indiana today:

Cuts have been very slow in coming this season so far. Either teams are taking their time in deciding, with the low 11-player cap, or they want to keep everyone they can for as long as they can.

Sidney Spencer ready to roll with the Liberty

Maria M. Cornelius does it again, this time with a nice feature on former Lady Vol Sidney Spencer, who will play her third WNBA season this summer with the New York Liberty:

Spencer has both fans who say she hasn't been given a chance, to detractors that say she's slow. This will be the telling season for the forward.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

WNBA pre-season already?

It has begun: New York defeats Washington and Seattle beats Sacramento.

Box scores:

Upcoming pre-season games:

University of Hawaii coaching update

Looks like longtime assistant George Wolfe is interviewing for the head coaching job. Other names said to be in the mix are Colorado assistant Patrick Harrington, former Arizona coach Joan Bonvicini, and former USC coach Mark Trakh:

In the meantime, Hawaii fans are taking sides between the two media sources that have reported on this matter the last few days, posted in this blog:

I suppose we won't know what's really going on for a while yet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Looks like Mark Trakh won't be going to Hawaii gets the inside dish on the UH's two finalists for the women's basketball coaching position, and former USC Coach Mark Trakh (rumored to be in contention for the position) isn't among them:

Marissa Coleman speaks

Nice video of the Mystic's rookie forward:

Southern California basketball mom needs help in time of tragedy

A well-known SoCal basketball mother has experienced the worst kind of tragedy in losing a child. Another daughter and a granddaughter are in critical condition after the car crash.

Scott Roczey of Girls Can Hoop sent the following letter out to members of the LA high school basketball community, so I thought I'd publish it here as well. Questions can be referred to Roczey at:

Dear Coaches, Referees and Friends,

Our dear friend Cheryl Pope, who has been an active parent, daily operator of hundreds of basketball leagues and we all might know as Ms. Pope or Momma Pope, has tragically lost her oldest daughter of four, Jovonne Pope (29) in a fatal four-car crash. Her granddaughter and her third oldest daughter, Kiara Crockett-Pope (9) and Cacie Pope (23), are currently in Intensive Care fighting for their lives. Cheryl has been blessed with a giving heart and has gone over and beyond a duty as a mother to her children and in many cases children of the local neighborhoods. It is now our turn to pay it forward to Ms. Pope in her most vulnerable time of need.

Kiara, the granddaughter of Ms. Pope, is currently unaware of the passing of her mother due to her heavy sedation for the next seven days to allow her body to heal from her fractured face, dismantled jaw, which doctors had to reconstruct with numerous amounts of pins, a ghastly head injury, bruised lungs, torn liver, loss of many teeth, shattered bones that were reconstructed in her arm, and an emergency blood transfusion. When a family encounters a death, specifically a child who loses their mother, the emotional trauma the child is left with can be overwhelming and often debilitating. As parents, we try our best to protect our children from having to experience or feel any pain, grief, or anguish that can be brought forth throughout life. In this case, the protection that her mother shielded her with was taken out of her hands suddenly, and is now forever taken. We as family of the Pope’s, write this letter to you and your family asking for any monetary help that you are able to give Kiara so she will be able to have a proper burial for her mother, future emotional and psychological help she might need, future surgeries to reconstruct her beautiful face and teeth, and many other issues Kiara will be faced with as her journey through life continues.

Being a child within today’s society is not an easy task, and being a child whose mother has been tragically taken away from them is even harder. Your family’s monetary donation is very essential and imperative for Kiara and Cacie’s mental and physical rehabilitation, but also for the Pope family overall. Let’s give Cheryl a great monetary heart-warmed gift to embark on re-building the abundant Pope family.

Make donations to ANY Wells Fargo Bank. (SAVINGS) Account Number: 6605745667


Family of the Pope’s

Caldwell says responsibility is what it's all about

Nikki Caldwell goes back to her roots:

Monday, May 18, 2009

First casualty of WNBA training camp is.......

The Sparks' third-round pick, Britney Jordan.

That leaves 13 on the roster:

Shannon Bobbitt G
Marie Ferdinand-Harris G
Marta Fernandez G
Vanessa Hayden C
Betty Lennox G
Lisa Leslie C
DeLisha Milton-Jones F
Jessica Moore F-C
Ashley Paris F
Candace Parker F
Noelle Quinn G
Tina Thompson F
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton F

Only two must be cut to make the WNBA's new mandatory 11, and they have until June 5 (the day before the season opener) to do it.

I think Jessica Moore will be one of the cuts.

Wondering who fans of other W teams think will be the next go to on their rosters after this second day of camp.

C. Vivian Stringer hires new assistant coach

Ronald Hughey comes aboard:

Stanford writer ponders Paul Westhead

Jake Curtis wonders if Paul Westhead's up-tempo style is going to mean competition for Stanford's Tara VanDerveer:

It's nice of Curtis to feel threatened, but he's jumping the gun. Westhead has a lot of work to do before he's at the top of the Pac-10.

USA Basketball teams named

California representation on the U19 team in San Bernadino's Layshia Clarendon. USA is loaded, with the team also featuring Nnemkadi Ogwumike of Stanford and Indiana's own Skylar Diggins:

The University team is also stacked, with Jayne Appel and Maya Moore on board, just to name two:

It'll be a fun summer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The night before training camp starts..........

This weekend last year, Candace Parker made her WNBA debut in her team's first game with 35 points. Tomorrow training camp starts, and who knows if Parker and Leila Nicole will even be on the sidelines. In the meantime, Coach Michael Cooper and Center Lisa Leslie are ready for their last season together:,0,6485622.story

This is my favorite part, about last year's semi-final loss to San Antonio:

"We made it so much harder than it had to be," said Leslie, who will retire at the end of the season as the league's all-time leading scorer. "We have no one to blame but ourselves."

You won't hear me arguing about that.

Minnesota is excited, because they're deeper than a swimming pool this year:

The Mystics figure they'll have a tough training camp this year:

And the WNBA previews training camp, with four specific looks at the bottom of the page:

Let the fighting for spots on teams begin.

Oregon loses two

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon sophomore forward Ellie Manou and freshman guard Darriel Gaynor have decided to leave the team.

Manou is returning to her native Australia. She averaged 7.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 57 games, including 34 starts.

Gaynor averaged 1.3 points and one rebound in 26 games last season as a true freshman.

Oregon coach Bev Smith was let go after the Ducks went 9-21 last season. She was replaced by veteran Paul Westhead.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Yolanda Griffith to retire after this season

Though she just signed with the Indiana Fever earlier this spring, it will be Yolanda Griffith's last team. The legendary forward announced today she'll retire after this WNBA season - her 13th as a pro. Griffith is a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a seven-time WNBA all-star, a member of the WNBA's all-decade team, and will have played pro ball for 13 years when she steps down.

“My career in the WNBA has given me a lot of great memories and friendships,” said Griffith. “At this time, I, with my family, have made the decision to make this season my last. I look back on all the great basketball memories, my accomplishments and my life as a WNBA player, with a smile. But I look forward to my future goals with enthusiasm.”


Kendall Hackney wants out of USC

A reliable source tells me that Ohio forward Kendall Hackney, who verbaled to USC over a year ago, wants out of her committment. If she is granted the release, that would make two of four (former coach) Mark Trakh recruits that the Trojans have lost.

My source added that if Trakh gets the Hawaii coaching job that he is rumored to be in the running for, another recruit will follow.

Incoming coach Michael Cooper better hit the ground running.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mater Dei players talk about coach Kevin Kiernan

Mmm.....wonder what coach's pay back is going to be for this:

Monique Oliver to Rutgers

Interesting selection for Oliver:

Will she last the four years?

Edit to add: It seems Oliver's decision came out of the blue. A source tells me that earlier this week, Oliver was ready to commit to another school, but suddenly today it's Rutgers.

What happened?

And here comes the op-ed part of this blog: the USC Athletic Department sucks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sports reporting and sports blogging don't have to be adversarial

Some people who lament the state of newspapers in today's world point at bloggers and say that pretty soon, there won't be any objectivity left. That all that will remain are people's opinions rather than objective journalism.

That would indeed be a bad scenario, but it won't happen. Newspapers have taken a blow, but journalism hasn't. People understand the need for objectivity. It's just that US residents tend to see things in black and white, either/or, good and bad. But blogging and journalism don't have to be mutually exclusive.

My homey petrel, who writes the Atlanta Dream blog, nicely addressed the advantages of sports blogging in response to a criticism:

The stereotype of internet bloggers being obsessive geeks becomes a strength instead of a weakness. Sports bloggers - writing from the prospective of fans - spend a lot of time thinking about sports. I would dare to venture that I spend much more time thinking about the WNBA in my spare time than the print journalist for, say, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that attends the WNBA game. This is because my plate is free in my spare time, and she only has so many hours in her day. She might have to cover a different sports event every day. How much intellectual firepower can she direct to the WNBA?

Furthermore, her time is directed. She doesn't have the leisure to think about what she wants to. She has an editor who wants to please the bulk of the readership, and that editor tells her what she has to do. This means reporting about "football and spring football" at least in Atlanta. If she becomes really good at her job she might be hired and given a beat, or if she's even better she might be given an opinion column and can write about what she chooses. But without a full time beat or an opinion platform her priorities are set by someone else and her work is closely monitored.

Sports bloggers can set their own priorities. They're not only mavens regarding their chosen sports but they're their own editors. (If you read this blog, you can see how that could be a detriment.) If I want to do a statistical study of the WNBA for a full week, there's no editor to stop me. I only have to please myself. This gives a sports blogger freedom that a reporter might envy.


Truth be told, there are good things about both blogging and journalism, and there's a place at the media table for both art forms.

As a former newspaper reporter, I feel like I mix it up here. I have game reports that are straight accounts of the game (journalism); I have opinion pieces (both editorial and blog) like the "you're a jerk" entry two weeks ago; I have posts where I include questions and musings.

I enjoy the freedom of blogging because it allows me to insert invaluable human perspective, which is what life is all about in the end. But I also write for a website, and "just the facts, maam" is necessary sometimes too.

Bottom line: it's a good idea to get news from both places. Sports journalism and sports blogging compliment - not contrast.

WNBA launches feature that means 200 webcast games this summer

More games than you can shake a ball at:

New York, May 13, 2009 - The WNBA today announced the launch of WNBA LiveAccess, a new feature on that will provide fans with free access to more than 200 live game Webcasts - the league's most comprehensive offering - throughout the 2009 WNBA season.
For the first time, fans around the world will be able to access live game Webcasts on individual team Web sites. Some blackouts of live games will apply. All of the WNBA LiveAccess games will then be archived for on-demand viewing.

Overall, the extensive online offering will complement the WNBA's broadcast coverage, which includes live national telecasts of up to 29 regular season and postseason contests on ESPN2 and ABC and another 50 games on NBA TV, as well as games streamed on


CP finally has her baby

Those Sparks people aren't wasting time with this one - the kid is only an hour and a half old:

Candace Parker Gives Birth to Baby Girl!

This morning at 11:29am, Sparks forward and 2008 WNBA MVP & Rookie of the Year Candace Parker gave birth to a baby girl. This is her first child with husband Shelden Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Congratulations Candace!

As MVPs, you heard it first!



(May 13, 2009) – Candace Parker gave birth to a baby girl today at 11:29am. It is the first child for the WNBA MVP/ROY and husband Shelden Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The baby girl weighed in at 7 pounds, 6 ounces and 20 inches in length.

"Shelden and I are thrilled," said Parker. "This is such a life changing moment for us, we feel blessed to have a healthy and beautiful baby girl."

Parker plans to rejoin the Los Angeles Sparks once she has received clearance from her physician.

Parker nearly averaged a double-double her rookie season (18.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg) and she led the WNBA in rebounds. She earned the 2008 WNBA Rookie of the Year award and the Most Valuable Player award marking the first time in the WNBA's 12 seasons that a rookie has won MVP. Parker captured her first Olympic Gold Medal at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. She won back-to-back NCAA championships with the Lady Vols in 2007 and 2008 leading the team in scoring (20.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.8 rpg) her final season at Tennessee. Parker was named the 2007 and 2008 Collegiate Female John R. Wooden Player of the Year, State Farm Player of the Year, Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Year and Kodak All-American. She earned the NCAA Final Four MVP award in 2007 and 2008.


What a relief. I've been talking to Candace every morning for a week, telling her to have the baby already. I was wondering if it might come today, though.

What is this little girl's name? Can't wait to see a photo.

Monday, May 11, 2009

11-player WNBA rosters will be brutal

If anyone doubted how cut-throat it will be this summer with the new 11-player cap rule, dig this: the Mystics waived Coco Miller today. She's been with them for eight years.


Of course, teams are entitled to cut anyone they want to. But when the vets start seeing the axe, anyone can go.

Don't get too attached to anyone for the next couple of weeks.

Renovation planned for UCLA's Pauley Pavilion

Right now they're making the big annoucement, that the old arena will at last be remodeled. Details will be forthcoming, but I'd have to say that any improvements would be great. With all due respect to my new basketball home, the place is pretty rickety. There's only one restroom on the lower level, and the wooden aisleways between seats look like they came straight out of "Grease."

You forget about it until you go to Galen Center, and then you realize you've been living in the poor house. Now I'm not asking for a Bel-Air mansion like Galen, but how about a really nice Pasadena-like bungalow?


Edit to add video link of "transformational tour," which includes interviews:

Catching up with the Universities of Oregon and Arizona

New head Coach Paul Westhead added Keila Whittington and Kai Felton to his staff first:

Then he brought on Dan Muscatell:

Then Friday, the Ducks signed their first new player, and she is none other than the reigning Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges southern region player of the year, Kristi Fallin.

Fallin played two seasons at Umpqua Community College for head coach Dave Stricklin, and ended her career as the program’s all-time three-point leader with 208 – crushing the previous mark of 132. The Roseburg native also finished as the program’s all-time second leading scorer, and became just the fifth player in Riverhawks history to break the 1,000-point plateau.

During her recent MVP season, Fallin led the NWAAC averaging 23.0 points per game, as Umpqua clinched the Southern Region title, and took a third-place finish at the NWAAC championships, ending the year with a 29-3 record.


Fallin's coach at Umpqua, Dave Stricklin, is understandably pleased for his athlete:

Hopefully this is the start of the upswing of the Oregon program again.

Meanwhile, to the south, Arizona has picked up their second junior college standout:

Likewise, hopefully that program is also on the rise.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Who gets off a motorcycle looking like this?

UCLA Coach Nikki Caldwell and Tennessee Assistant Coach Holly Warlick ended their week-long motorcycle ride yesterday to raise awareness/funds for breast cancer research. Caldwell, who is now sans braces, looks better on the end of a bike trip than most of us do driving to work in the morning. Maria M. Cornelius snapped a photo, and put it in a thread:

If Caldwell wasn't so cool, I'd be jealous.

Virginia assistant coaches leave

What's really going on here?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Kristi Harrower signs with Sparks

Yep, yep, the little bird that told me was right.

G'Day Kristi!

Your Los Angeles Sparks have signed 2008 Basketball Victoria Player of the Year,
Kristi Harrower!

Harrower just won an Olympic silver medal in Beijing with the Australian National Team.

Welcome to Los Angeles Mate!

As MVPs, you heard it first!


LOS ANGELES – Three-time Olympic silver medalist and 2008 Basketball Victoria Player of the Year Kristi Harrower has signed with the Los Angeles Sparks it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Harrower has been a staple of the Australian national basketball team that has proven they are second only to the United States. Harrower last played in the WNBA in 2005 for the Minnesota Lynx but brings a wealth of international experience to the Sparks.

"We're very happy to have signed Kristi. She has played at high level for a number of years," said Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. "She is a point guard with a lot of experience and we're excited to have her compete in training camp."

The 5'4" guard led the Bendigo Spirit in 2008-09 with 19.4 points and 6 assists in 20 games played. In her final season with the Lynx, Harrower averaged 4.6 points in 34 games.

Harrower was awarded the Betty Watson Medal for the 2008 Female Player of the Year at the Basketball Victoria 2008 Annual Awards Dinner last month. The medal is presented to the female player who has made the greatest contribution at state, national and international levels in the past year.

The Los Angeles Sparks tip-off the WNBA season on June 6th at the STAPLES Center against the Defending Champion Detroit Shock at 11:30 am. For more information on season or group tickets logon to or call 877-44-SPARKS.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Kristi Harrower goes to........

On the transaction page today, readers can see that the Minnesota Lynx renounced the rights to point guard Kristi Harrower. This gives the Aussie free agent status.

A few days ago, before this went down, I heard that Harrower will probably end up part of a west coast WNBA team.

The next few days could be interesting.

Sparks' Quinn already giving back

Noelle Quinn, acquired by the Los Angeles Sparks yesterday, is doing something more of us should do: she bought season tickets to give away to kids. Send in your essay explaining why you think you should win them, and they're yours. You've got a few weeks to do it, too:

The Bishop Montgomery HS alum, known for her many community endeavors, has decided to become a "Patron of Lisa's Legacy." Quinn purchased three season tickets to send three kids to each Sparks home game. In total, 51 kids will benefit from Quinn's sponsorship. To be eligible to win a ticket sponsored by Noelle Quinn, kids can nominate themselves, their friends or be nominated by their parents beginning on Wednesday, May 6th through Monday, June 1st. In 250 words or less, entrants must describe why they feel they deserve the tickets by sending an e-mail to with "Noelle's Tickets" in the subject line. Each winner will receive a post-game meet-and-greet with Noelle.


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Odds and ends from all sides of the hoopin' spectrum

* Happy belated birthday to Dawn Staley, who turned 39 yesterday.

* Lauren Jackson apparently does have a heart after all:

"I love the Storm - I love playing there," Jackson said late Monday night in her only interview between signing her new contract and leaving for a vacation with her parents. "For different reasons, the opportunity came up to play somewhere else. It came down basically to me loving it in Seattle. I've said for a long time it's my home there in America. I couldn't bear to leave. I just wanted to come home and make the decision and be with my parents and my friends here and do it that way. It was easier for me."

Jackson also referred to potentially leaving the Storm as probably "The biggest mistake that I'd ever made," and reiterated what a special place Seattle has become for her.

"It came down basically to me loving it in Seattle. I've said for a long time it's my home there in America. I couldn't bear to leave."
Aaron Last/Storm Photos

"I'm really fortunate and I'm glad that I had this time to think about it and really put what I love about Seattle in perspective and how I would feel if I left," she said. "I think that I would have lost a huge part of me if I had gone from Seattle, so I'm just glad that I got this opportunity to have this time and realize how important it is."

Timing played a factor in Jackson's thought process. Entering the Storm's 10th Anniversary season, she thought back on the start of her own career, and her development as a player and a person that has in many ways been intertwined with the Storm's growth as a franchise.

"There's definitely a lot of nostalgia when I think about it, like when I first came over to Seattle and I was so scared and I just didn't know what to expect being away from home," Jackson recalled. "Looking back on it, I don't know how I've lasted this long overseas, but I guess that's just a part of growing up and loving what you do. Seattle definitely has been my home, and the 10th season coming up obviously was something that made me want to be there even more, because I feel like I've been part of that program and helped it grow for a long time."


* How is Michael Cooper going to coach both USC and the Sparks if the latter go deep into the playoffs, which will take them into October?


* Kellie Harper will have a "tough task" heading NC State:

But how many schools are like Western Carolina, who had a "good luck" party for their outgoing coach on April 27?

Pretty classy, WC.

Los Angeles Sparks: a kudo and a prediction

I'd like to commend Sparks co-owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson for working so hard to build a solid and deep team this year. You've both been busting your butts over time, and that's admirable.

You've also rebounded well after being caught off-guard with Coach Michael Cooper's announcement that he was considering the head coach job at USC. You didn't let that trip you up; you came back stronger. I know it's you two doing all of this, hence the acknowledgement. I hope that your next plan is to find the best coach in the world to take over when Cooper leaves.

Candace Parker: so many people have said about your season this year, "god knows when she'll be back," referring to the impending birth of your daughter. I don't think those people know you very well, though. I'm going on the record right now as predicting you'll be back in July, if not sooner, and it will seem like you never left.

Thirty-one days til the opening game.

But wait, there's more..........


Sparks Trade Spencer to New York Liberty for 2010 First-Round Pick; Send First-Round Pick and Masciadri to Minnesota Lynx for Quinn

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks today acquired former UCLA star and Los Angeles native Noelle Quinn. The Sparks traded Sidney Spencer to the Liberty in exchange for their 2010 First-Round draft pick and then sent the exclusive negotiating rights for Raffaella Masciadri and the Liberty's First-Round pick to the Lynx.

"Noelle is a great player; we are very happy about her addition to the team and to be bringing her home," said Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler. "We wish both Raffaella and Sidney the best. Their time here has been great and we believe that this is a mutually beneficial trade all the way around."

Originally selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft by the Lynx, Quinn averaged 3.6 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in only 16.7 minutes per game in 2008 with 25 starts in just her second season in the league.

Quinn finished her career as the No. 4 all-time scorer in UCLA women's basketball history with 1,829 points. She also totaled 794 rebounds (No. 8 on the UCLA career charts) and 450 assists (No. 7 all-time) to become the only UCLA basketball player, man or woman, to record career numbers of 1,800 points, 700 rebounds and 400 assists. She earned honorable mention All-America honors in her last two seasons and first-team All-Pac-10 acclaim as a freshman, junior and senior, as well as 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year honors.

"I am so blessed to be joining the Sparks family. My family has always had season tickets and I grew up watching them and then being able to play at UCLA, I always dreamed of having the opportunity to continue playing at home and now that it has come true, I'm overwhelmed," said Quinn. "Thank you to everyone who helped bring me home. It's such a privilege to share in Lisa's last year, to have a chance to help this team win a title and to be here to give back to LA."

Noelle's mother, Golden Quinn, who currently teaches for the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been a Sparks season ticket holder since the WNBA's inaugural season.

The Bishop Montgomery HS alum, known for her many community endeavors, has decided to become a "Patron of Lisa's Legacy." Quinn purchased three season tickets to send three kids to each Sparks home game. In total, 51 kids will benefit from Quinn's sponsorship. To be eligible to win a ticket sponsored by Noelle Quinn, kids can nominate themselves, their friends or be nominated by their parents beginning on Wednesday, May 6th through Monday, June 1st. In 250 words or less, entrants must describe why they feel they deserve the tickets by sending an e-mail to with "Noelle's Tickets" in the subject line. Each winner will receive a post-game meet-and-greet with Noelle.

For more information on Sparks season tickets, group tickets or partial plans please visit or call 1-877-44-SPARKS.

This sure makes things interesting for the Sparks. Bringin home some local flava.

Liberty gets Sidney Spencer for 2010 first-round pick

The Sparks just got a little less Tennessee. But what's strange is that I just got this from the Liberty - not the Sparks - and I'm an LA season ticket holder:

Liberty Acquires Guard Sidney Spencer From Los Angeles In Exchange For 2010 1st Round Pick
New York, Los Angeles & Minnesota Complete Three-Team Trade

The New York Liberty has acquired guard Sidney Spencer from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for the Liberty’s first round pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft, it was announced today by team president and general manager Carol Blazejowski. As per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. Los Angeles has sent the first round pick and forward Raffaella Masciadri to the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for guard Noelle Quinn.


I'm happy for Sid. Her frustration at unecessarily languishing on the bench last season, after leading the team in 2007, was visible. Hopefully she'll be utilized properly by NY. And the Sparks are back in it next year with a first-round pick. A win-win for all.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pat Summitt honored with theater presentation

Quite an honor, really - a 2.5-hour presentation in the legendary coach's honor:

Caldwell, who is now the head coach at UCLA, noted that Candace Parker wanted to attend but is due to have a baby girl any day now.

“A little Bruin … I mean a future Lady Vol,” Caldwell said.

There are several versions of this story floating around the web, but Maria Cornelius' is the best because she always provides so much detail.

Lauren Jackson stays with Storm

Finally, she decides:

And it's the right choice, too. Congratulations to Seattle Storm fans.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Chantelle Anderson launches web site

Blog, gallery, Q and A, links - Atlanta Dream forward/center Anderson's got it all covered:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mystics transaction wire

The good: former Sparks guard Kiesha Brown will be employed this summer after all, signing with the Mystics today.

The bad: Crystal Smith, who played for Washington last year, and Camille LeNoir, the dynamic USC point guard who won't even get to attend camp, were waived today.

I hate this time of year for pro ball.


Michael Cooper named USC head coach

It's really true:

Los Angeles Sparks head coach and former Los Angeles Lakers great Michael Cooper has been named head coach of the USC women's basketball team, effective at the completion of the Sparks' 2009 season in late September/early October, USC athletic director Mike Garrett announced today (May 1).

Joining Cooper's USC staff will be long-time collegiate and high school assistant Ervin Monier, who will oversee the Women of Troy program as associate head coach until Cooper's arrival.

"We are absolutely thrilled to hire a coach of Michael Cooper's caliber," said USC athletic director Mike Garrett. "This is an exciting time for Women of Troy basketball. Between Michael's coaching experience and his playing background, he brings so much to the table. He has coached and played at the highest level and with the greatest players in the world. He'll be an excellent in-game coach, he'll do a great job preparing his teams and he'll wow the recruits. And I'll say this: we'll be a strong team defensively.


Just out of sheer curiosity, I'll have to attend a few more SC games next year. This will be interesting.

This site says Cooper will leave the Sparks after this season:

Can't wait to hear from Kathy and Carla.

Cal recognizes it's gay and lesbian fans

Berkeley's position on the map — both geographic and political — allowed Mosness to try a promotion that no college had yet to try. She decided that the 2007-08 season, her first on campus, would include a GLBT Pride Day. Mosness spread the word via the athletic department's web site and fliers circulated among area gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups. On game day, a San Francisco-based organization of GLBT families set up a festival-like atmosphere outside Haas Pavilion, complete with face-painting, poster-making and games. As has been customary for years on Pac-10 Conference weekends in Berkeley, a GLBT squad of former collegiate cheerleaders joined Cal's dance team during on-court performances. Once the game began, GLBT fans were formally acknowledged via scoreboard and public-address announcements. "I wouldn't say it's our biggest fan base, because our biggest fan base is families and kids," Mosness says. "But it's a huge population, and it's a market here in the Bay Area."