Thursday, June 30, 2011

A few more thangs

Lauren Jackson's surgery was successful today.

A few words from the WNBA's last original, the venerable Tina Thompson.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel thinks the Sparks are going to suck without Candace Parker.

The recycling continues: former Virginia Tech Coach Beth Dunkenberger is now Tulane's director of operations. (Does that make her the DOO?)

The Santa Barbara News-Press has a good piece on new UCSB Coach Carlene Mitchell today. It requires a subscription via the newspaper website, but it has generously been displayed here.

The Seattle Storm is now making jerseys for dudes. Seattle has always been more evolved than most cities.

ESPN revises the class of 2011 college rankings

New list and 16-30:

1. Tennessee
2. Connecticut
3. Rutgers
4. Duke
5. California
6. Stanford
7. Louisville
8. USC
9. Texas A&M
10. LSU
11. Texas
12. Iowa
13. Kentucky
14. Northwestern
15. Oklahoma
16. Minnesota
17. North Carolina
18. Pittsburgh
19. San Diego State
20. UCLA
21. Georgia Tech
22. West Virginia
23. DePaul
24. Notre Dame
25. Ohio State
26. Georgetown
27. Kansas
28. North Carolina State
29. Nebraska
30. Clemson

Cal is in the spotlight on the first list:

Last year's Cal class was all about adding perimeter players and scoring, so the logical encore to the No. 12 signing class is to add frontcourt and point guard talent.

The Golden Bears were able to accomplish this despite Joanne Boyle leaving for Virginia, assistant Jennifer Hoover taking the head job at High Point, and assistant Kevin Morrison going north to Washington. The new staff, lead by Lindsay Gottlieb, the new head coach, and Charmin Smith, the lone holdover from the previous staff, is off to a terrific start with the addition of the No. 7 prospect, Justine Hartman, who was released by UCLA after its coaching change.

Erika Johnson, a 6-foot-1 forward who is emerging as a wing prospect, and Reshanda Gray, an athletic forward who is a monster on the glass and terrific in transition, provide the frontcourt depth the team will need to continue to contend for tournament bids in a top-heavy conference.

The team has plenty of athleticism on the perimeter, but point guard prospect Brittany Boyd is all types of explosive at the position. Her first step and leaping ability will force defenses to give help and will allow shooters like Mikayla Lyles and Lindsay Sherbert to get open looks.

Full list of 60.

Oaks Christian High School coach leaves to coach at Cal State Northridge

Mario Trutanic Jr., who coached at private high school Oaks Christian for the last year, has resigned to be an assistant to Coach Jason Flowers at Cal State Northridge. He replaces Bryan Camacho, who left Bellarmine-Jefferson High School last year to take the job with the Matadors, and went back to high school coaching last month.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

No news is good news (different meaning)

Storm center Lauren Jackson will miss 8-12 weeks after she has surgery tomorrow to repair the labrum in her left hip.

The Indiana Fever announced that point guard Briann January tore her ACL in yesterday's game. She'll be out for the rest of the season.

Sheila Boykin has chosen Nikki Caldwell and stifling humidity over UCLA.

Well, I guess one good thing did happen today: the Storm were honored at the White House today for their 2010 Championship. Judging from the tweets of the team and management, President Obama was extremely nice.

Here's a little pre-trip interview with Swin Cash.

Bonus: some good recruiting advice from ESPN's Mark Lewis.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WNBA tonight

Katie Douglas and Jessica Davenport lead Indiana over Phoenix, 91-86. But Fever point guard Briann January injured her knee, and will have an MRI tomorrow. Jeeeeezzzzzz........

San Antonio beat Chicago 84-74, and they're 7-1 now.

Tina Charles had an incredible 22 points and 23 board to lead Connecticut over ailing Los Angeles, 79-76.

Why isn't Kristi Toliver starting for the Sparks? Just wondering.

A few teams have been cutting and cutting away, like the Storm's release of Ify Ibekwe and Tulsa letting go of Jacinta Moore.

Bonus: ESPN series surveys coaches as to how early is too early to offer a scholarship? Anything under 17 is too young. And recruits shouldn't be required to report to college until the second summer session, at the earliest.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The League 2011 schedule

The League 2011, plays Thursdays and Saturdays at St. Bernard High School, Los Angeles.

Schedule subject to change during the first two weeks of league. Check website for changes:

Copies of all games are available for purchase.

• * team plays at least twice that day
• ** game may be moved to a Sunday

6/25/11, 6/30/11, 7/7/11

11:30 1v10 6:30 6v12 6:30 1v6
12:30 2v4 7:30 2v8 7:30 2v11
1:30 6*v7 8:30 4v10 8:30 3v12
2:30 3v9* 9:30 1v7 9:30 4v7
3:30 *6v11
4:30 8v9*

7/9/11 (diff location) 7/14/11, 7/16/11, Date TBD

11:00 1v5* 6:30 1v8* 11:00 1v4 1:00 5*v7
12:00 2v9* 7:30 2v3 12:00 2v5* 2:00 5*v10
1:00 5*v12 8:30 4v8* 1:00 3*v5*
2:00 4*v9* 9:30 7v12 2:00 9*v12
3:00 5**v9** 3:00 3*v6
4:00 4*v11* 4:00 9*v11*
5:00 3v10* 5:00 7v10
6:00 6v8 6:00 8v11*
7:00 10*v11*

7/21/11, 7/23/11, 7/28/11

6:30 1v12* 11:00 1v2 6:30 1v11
7:30 3v8 12:00 3v4 7:30 2v12
8:30 4v12* 1:00 5*v6* 8:30 8v10*
9:30 2v7 2:00 5*v11* 9:30 3v7
3:00 6*v9* 10:30 6v10*
4:00 11*v12*
5:00 9*v10
6:00 7v8

7/30/11 (PLAYOFFS), 8/6/11

(A) 11:00 1st v 8th 3:00 Championship
(B) 12:00 2nd v 7th
(C) 1:00 4th v 5th
(D) 2:00 3rd v 6th
(1) 3:00 W(B) v. W(C)
(2) 4:00 W(A) v. W(D)

1 – Yellow 2 – Purple 3 – Baby Blue 4 – Pink 5 – UCSD 6 – Navy Blue
7 – Red 8 – Black 9 – Green(SF State) 10 – R. Blue 11 – White 12 - Teal

Sheila Boykin to make a major decision

Long Beach Poly forward Sheila Boykin was quietly released from her letter of intent with UCLA, and is now deciding between that school and LSU, where Nikki Caldwell went. Boykin will decide by the end of the week.

Candace Parker out six weeks with lateral meniscus tear

Knee Injury To Sideline Candace Parker Approximately Six Weeks

LOS ANGELES – An MRI on Monday revealed that Los Angeles Sparks post player Candace Parker has torn the lateral meniscus in her right knee and will be sidelined for approximately six weeks.

Parker suffered the injury during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Liberty in Newark, N.J. With 5:56 remaining in period, Parker went down after grabbing a defensive rebound and then briefly making contact with the Liberty’s Quanitra Hollingsworth. The Naperville, Ill., native did not return to the contest.

“We look forward to Candace making a full recovery,” Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler said.

“I appreciate all of the kind thoughts and prayers that have come my way in the last 24 hours. They have truly helped,” Parker said. “I look forward to picking up where I left off and contending for a WNBA championship,”

Prior to her injury, Parker averaged 17.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists through seven games, recording four double-doubles. She began the 2011 campaign fully healthy after missing 34 regular season games over the past two seasons due to injury and pregnancy. In 2008 Parker became the first player in league history to capture both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors.

Los Angeles (4-3) continues its current seven-game road trip Tuesday at the Connecticut Sun (4-3). The nationally-televised game on ESPN2 is scheduled for a 5 p.m. PT tip-off.

- From Sparks HQ

Thank goodness it's not the ACL, but jeez. I'm sad.

Coaching carousel flips order of top signing classes

With all the coaching changes, some players left, which means a change in the order of strength of the list. Tennessee and Connecticut still take the top two spots, but there were plenty of other changes. UCLA dropped off the map, for one. New top 60 list.

Candace Parker watch: numerous folks in twitterland are sending up prayers and good thoughts for the Sparks forward, who is having an MRI on her knee today after injuring it in the game yesterday against New York. The moment I hear something, I'll post it here, because I'm holding my breath, too.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Candace Parker Injures Right Knee in Sunday’s Game vs. New York

LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Sparks post player Candace Parker will return to Los Angeles and has an MRI scheduled for Monday to determine the severity of a right knee injury suffered during the third quarter of Sunday’s game against the New York Liberty.

“Right now we don’t know, we’re going to get her an MRI and we’re just hoping for the best. It’s tough but we’re hoping everything is alright,” Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom said after the game. “We’ve played without her before so we just have to focus on getting to the next game and playing hard and having people step up. She just said, ‘keep me in your prayers,’ and that’s’ all we can do for her right now and just hope for the best. She’s in good spirits, which is a good thing.”

With 5:56 remaining in the third period, Parker went down after grabbing a defensive rebound and then briefly making contact with the Liberty’s Quanitra Hollingsworth. The Naperville, Ill., native did not return to the contest.

Before that point, Parker had amassed 16 points and 11 rebounds for her third consecutive double-double and fourth of the young season. She entered Sunday’s game ranked sixth in the WNBA in scoring and third in rebounding.

Parker began the 2011 campaign fully healthy after missing 34 regular season games over the past two seasons due to injury and pregnancy. In 2008 she became the first player in league history to capture both MVP and Rookie of the Year honors.

The Sparks will have an update on Parker’s condition when more information becomes available.

Los Angeles continues its current seven-game road trip Tuesday at the Connecticut Sun. The nationally-televised game on ESPN2 is scheduled for a 5 p.m. PT tip-off.

- From Sparks headquarters

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No guarantees

In the WNBA, being a first-round pick is no guarantee you'll survive in the league. Sad, isn't it?

Both of the NCAA-certified summer women's leagues in Los Angeles have now commenced: the Say No League and The League. The schedulers for both leagues promised to get the schedules to me a few days ago, so as soon as they do I'll post it here.

One thing I do know is that Say No has moved from the USC campus to the Roy Roberts Boys and Girls Club at 1339 E. 120th St., Los Angeles, 90059. The League plays at St. Bernard High School, 9100 Falmouth Avenue Playa Del Rey, 90293. Say No plays Saturdays and Sundays and The League plays Thursdays and Saturdays.

New WNBA President Laurel Richie plans to market the heck out of the league. Good deal.

Lauren Jackson will miss three weeks with hip muscle tear

The injury bug has bitten the all-star Storm center once again.

The Storm won last night without her, and may be finding their way, finally.

Also last night, the Silver Stars clamped down in overtime to take down the Sparks, 90-80. Game feed.

Both Minnesota and LA lose? The West is wild.

In the meantime, the Mercury might be rising out of their slump. They beat the Dream last night for their third consecutive win.

Friday, June 24, 2011

ESPN coaches survey: recruiting and sexual orientation

Hats off to ESPN writers for tackling the subject of how a recruit's sexual orientation might effect recruiting:

When ESPN HoopGurlz asked more than 20 college head and assistant coaches or recruiting coordinators whether a prospect's sexual orientation should be a factor in her recruitment, all were adamant that it should not be. Yet, when the discussions progressed, it turned out that sexual orientation, in some situations, could have an impact.

"It does matter," said the head coach referenced above. "I'm being honest."

Another said, "It's an unavoidable question."


Still, many coaches insisted the topic almost always comes up in recruiting, usually raised by a prospect or, even more often, by a prospect's parents.

And, in such cases, the issue can cut both ways. Some parents are concerned their daughters might be "flipped," as one coach put it, by a gay teammate or coach. On the other hand, heterosexual coaching staffs believe they've often lost openly gay recruits. "I think they just don't feel we can relate enough," one coach said.

Deep talk.

First Friday of summer

Did you know LA Sparks forward Delisha Milton-Jones had a near-drowning experience as a kid that changed her whole outlook on life? She says it's why she plays basketball the way she does today.

Basketball great Charlotte Smith is Elon University's new head coach.

The University of South Florida self-reported some NCAA violations, including giving unauthorized plane tickets to some women's basketball players.

Several female hoopers are nominated for an ESPY award this weekend.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

39th anniversary of Title IX is today

As we recognize the 39th anniversary of Title IX legislation today, journalist Wendy Parker writes about "Recapturing the Intent and True Spirit of Title IX."

Former UW coach Tia Jackson has been named an assistant coach at Rutgers, putting her back with her former coach C. Vivian Stringer.

The Storm get to meet President Obama next week.

Another look at the special Nike Hyperfuse shoes created for the Los Angeles Sparks for their 15th year this week.

Some of my recent Sparks home game photos that didn't quite make the cut.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What's the hurry with college freshmen?

Every so often some kid commits to a college when they're 12, and fans decry it.

"What are they going to start doing next? Recruiting in grade school?" people will say.

Well, it appears that college freshmen are now being gobbled up in much the same fashion. I'm noticing from all my networks that increasingly, incoming frosh are expected to report not in the fall, not in second summer session, but first summer session.

That means this week.

For those from Texas on East it might not be such a big deal, because most high schools in those regions are finished by mid-May. But on the West coast, where the school year ends in mid-June, college comes too quickly.

I know one girl who graduated this week and was headed out to college the next day. Another went to her school last weekend, came back for graduation during the week, and headed back on a plane the next day.

No time to breathe, no time to enjoy finally being done with high school. No time to reflect on the first milestone of life, or relax and catch up on things that fell by the wayside for the sake of senior portfolios, activities and last-minute business. It's just on to more school, with no head space.

I just finished up my own teaching school year a few days ago, and it's only been today that I've felt a faint semblance of being rested again.....eventually. If I had to jump into school again this week, I'd lose my mind.

I've written against year-round basketball for the 18-and-unders in this space before, because I think young people need a break sometimes. And then someone will post a comment that unless kids stay on it 24/7, someone who is working harder will get the next scholarship instead of them.

Maybe so. I'm a fair person and am interested in the opposing argument. So in this vein I'd like to throw the question open to college coaches: why snatch a kid up so quickly now? Do you really feel like an extra 3-9 weeks in the program will make that much difference? Do you think they're going to get in trouble if they don't come to college the second high school is finished? Aren't you afraid they're going to get burned out on school and/or hoops?

I really want to know.

Basketball trainer Sherrise Smith takes high school coaching job

Sherrise Smith is the new basketball coach at Marlborough High School - a private high school in Los Angeles. Smith, a former Cal standout, conducts individual and private trainings in the West LA area.

Smith confirmed she had taken the job, but didn't return requests for further comment.

Bonus: Club ball season approaches, and the famous End of the Trail bracket is posted.

Speaking of club ball, ESPN's Mark Lewis has some tips on how to get through July with flying colors.

Sparks 96, Liberty 91

My game story: it was everything you could want in a 15th-year game.

Game feed.

Great game.

The Sparks are pretty scary right now.

The WNBA has a 15th anniversary video called "Got Now."

Some great odds and ends

Tina Thompson is the last player standing from the WNBA's opening day in 1997.

Shandrika Lee is Paul Westhead's new assistant coach at Oregon. She replaces Kai Felton.

The Pilot Rocky Top League in Tennessee is beginning its second season. Lady Vol soon-to-be sophomore Meighan Simmons was picked first in the draft last night.

In the latest installment of ESPN's interviews with anonymous college coaches about what they're looking for in recruits, the touchy subject of race is addressed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WNBA unveils 30 official nominees for voting of top 15 players of all time

Whoa, what a list. I couldn't make those 15 cuts if I tried:

Top 30 Nominees for Top 15 Voting

Seimone Augustus

Sue Bird

Ruthie Bolton

Swin Cash

Tamika Catchings

Cynthia Cooper

Katie Douglas

Cheryl Ford

Yolanda Griffith

Becky Hammon

Chamique Holdsclaw

Atlanta Dream

Lauren Jackson

Shannon Johnson

Lisa Leslie

Taj McWilliams-Franklin

Delisha Milton-Jones

Deanna Nolan

Candace Parker

Ticha Penicheiro

Cappie Pondexter

Nykesha Sales

Katie Smith

Tangela Smith

Dawn Staley

Sheryl Swoopes

Diana Taurasi

Penny Taylor

Tina Thompson

Teresa Weatherspoon

Natalie Williams

15th year anniversary of WNBA today

It's on tonight, like it was 15 years ago on this date: LA and NY facing off here in LA.

Penny Toler was playing for the Sparks at the time, but she always had her eye on being the organization's general manager. Tickets for tonight's game will be reduced to 1997 prices.

The league's first president, Val Ackerman, reflects.

Slow starts to this season:

Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson isn't worried about her own slow start, or that of her team.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel contemplates whether or not Phoenix should worry about their own slow beginning.

The Liberty are looking for answers to their own inconsistencies.


Tulsa Shock forward Liz Cambage is almost back to full speed after a concussion sustained earlier this month.

Katie Douglas of the Indiana Fever is day-to-day with a contusion.

Big-time back up:

The Sparks' bench showed out the other night, but the bench of the Silver Stars is a potent force too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tulsa finally wins one

The Tulsa Shock garnered their first win last night, over the Mystics, 77-59. Ivory Latta poured in 22 points and Sheryl Swoopes added 13.

Atlanta's Sancho Lyttle will mix six games to compete for Spain in EuroBasket Women 2011. Ouch.

EuroBasket day one results.

Father's Day heartwarmer: Seattle Storm rookie Ify Ibekwe owes her shot to her pops.

OG section: 30 seconds with Sparks GM Penny Toler, who was playing 15 years ago when the league commenced.

Golden, baby - U16s beat Brazil for the gold medal

A decisive 73-40 victory meant gold medal for the USA U16 team last night:

Eleven of 12 players scored for the USA, including four in double figures. Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.) led the way with 12 points, five steals and four assists; followed by Jannah Tucker (New Town H.S./Randallstown, Md.) with 11 points five rebounds and five assists; Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owensboro, Ky.) with 10 points and three assists; and Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.) with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

Now THAT'S a team effort.

It was also a record-breaking one:

In the USA U16 competition record book, six individual records were broken and two were tied, including Greenwell with points averaged (15.6), field goals attempted (tied, 29), field goals made (62) and 3-pointers made (11) and attempted (tied, 24). Russell set new highs for rebounding (11.4) and blocked shots (4.0), and Harper owns the steals mark (3.4).

As a team, the USA established competition records for rebounds (322), rebounds averaged (64.4), blocked shots averaged (9.6) and steals averaged (17.4). All of the previous competition records were set in the inaugural FIBA Americas U16 Championship in 2009.

Check out the main page for a dope group photo with the medals.

Friday, June 17, 2011

From high school to grown - are you certified?


Arizona State has lost another recruit, as Simone Westbrook of the class of 2012 decommitted and re-opened her recruitment. This follows the de-committment of Kiki Alofaituli, class of 2011, and Cassie Harberts of the class of 2010. What's going on here?

Long Beach State has signed two: Lauren Spargo and Mary Ochiltree. Coach Jody Wynn has had a rough first two years.

Grown women stuff:

Summer, 2011 NCAA certified basketball leagues!

High School:

The annual July San Diego Classic, which has grown in popularity in Southern California, will certify its elite division this summer.

U16s beat Puerto Rico, head to gold medal game tomorrow

Our U16 team used a 23-0 run in the second quarter in today's semifinals to bury Puerto Rico, 99-51. The US was lead by 20 points and six rebounds from Rebecca Greenwell, 16 and eight from Jatarie White, and 14 and 13 from Mercedes Russell.

They play Brazil for the championship tomorrow at 6 p.m. PDT/9 p.m. EDT.


U16s enjoy day off; will take on Puerto Rico today

Yesterday our USA youngins visited a local school and took a trip to the beach on their day off from play. Photo gallery.

The U16s take on Puerto Rico today at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT in the semifinals of the medal round. Gooooo USA!

Bonus: in the third part of ESPN's investigation into what coaches want, the anonymous respondents talk about scholarships.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A lil father's day love

Candace Parker talks about her husband Shelden Williams, and their daughter. She calls Shelden "an amazing father."

Parker also talks about her father, Larry Parker, who she says believed in her before she did.

WNBA bonus:

Hard work is paying off for Rebekkah Brunson. The Minnesota forward is having an amazing season.

The Liberty's temporary move to New Jersey has had mixed results.

2012 McDonald's All-American game will be in Chicago (again)

From McDonald's All-American HQ:

Today we are thrilled to announce that Chicago will become the first back-to-back host of the McDonald’s All American High School Basketball Games when the 2012 Games take the court at the United Center on March 28. The 35th annual Boys Game will tip-off at 8:30 p.m. CT (ESPN) and will be preceded by the 11th annual Girls Game at 6:00 p.m. CT (ESPNU). Proceeds from the Games will continue to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Ticket info will eventually be available at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

U16s whump Venezuela, 114-32

Do we have some depth, or what. Today's victory puts our USA youngins in the medal semifinals.

Southern California high schools will be re-divisioned again

This formula doesn't make anymore sense to me than the last one. How do other states do this?

In other high school news, Mater Dei is getting a new transfer in Nirra Fields. This stuff is bananas....nanananananas.

Bonus: the UW's Kristi Kingma talks about how to get on your grind for spring and summer workouts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A couple more things

The venerable Tina Thompson isn't slowing down anytime soon.

With role models like this......brawl breaks out amongst two New York elite ball clubs after the coaches get into it. As the kids would say, "smh."

Seattle University will join the Western Athletic Conference

SU will jump conferences in 2012-2013.

Around the league, NCAA coach survey, catching up with the Hall of Fame

Hoopfeed has a great summary of what's up around the WNBA: marketing talk, Eastern and Western Conference standings so far, and individual statistical leaders - both overall and rookies.

Katie Douglas, Crystal Lanhorne and Diana Taurasi lead overall, while amongst rookies it's Danielle Adams, Liz Cambage and Maya Moore. Interesting.

In the second part of their series where they survey NCAA coaches who don't wish to be identified, ESPN found that "intangibles" won over size and skill.

Hoopfeed has a great roundup of the weekend's induction of six into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Class of 2013 rankings

ESPN is wasting no time ranking the class of 2013.

Top 25:


1 Kaela Davis 97 Tennessee G 6'2" Buford H.S. (GA)
2 Diamond DeShields 97 None W 6'2" Norcross H.S. (GA)
3 Taya Reimer 96 None F 6'2" Hamilton Southeastern H.S. (IN)
4 Mercedes Russell 96 None P 6'5" Springfield H.S. (OR)
5 Kailee Johnson 96 None F 6'3" Central Catholic HS (OR)
6 Tyler Scaife 95 None PG 5'8" Hall H.S. (AR)
7 Kendall Cooper 95 None P 6'3" Saint Anthony H.S. (CA)
8 Jannah Tucker 95 None G 6'0" Western HS (MD)
9 Linnae Harper 95 None G 5'6" Whitney Young H.S. (IL)
10 Rebecca Greenwell 95 None G 6'1" Owensboro Catholic H.S. (KY)
11 Jessica Jackson 95 None W 6'3" Jacksonville H.S. (AR)
12 Stephanie Mavunga 95 None F 6'2" Brownsburg H.S. (IN)
13 Alexis Brown 95 Maryland PG 5'9" North Gwinnett H.S. (GA)
14 Allisha Gray 95 None G 5'9" Washington County H.S. (GA)
15 Erica McCall 95 None F 6'3" 170 Ridgeview H.S. (CA)
16 Ieshia Small 95 None W 6'0" Dr. Krop H.S. (FL)
17 Briana Day 95 North Carolina F 6'4" Millbrook H.S. (NC)
18 Sydney Umeri 94 None F 6'1" The Lovett School (GA)
19 Jada Terry 94 Texas P 6'3" Cedar Hill H.S. (TX)
20 Kristina Nelson 94 None P 6'3" Greater Atlanta Christian School (GA)
21 Ronni Williams 94 None W 6'0" Atlantic H.S. (FL)
22 Jessica Washington 94 None PG 5'8" Jenks H.S. (OK)
23 Alaina Coates 94 None P 6'4" Dutch Fork H.S. (SC)
24 Kianna Holland 94 Ohio State PG 5'9" Seneca H.S. (SC)
25 Lindsay Allen 94 None PG 5'8" Saint Johns College H.S. (DC)


The U16s are going nuts in Mexico at the championships. They beat Brazil today, 71-54. My girl Mercedes Russell, aka #4, set four records in her international debut: rebounds, blocks, and free throws made and attempted. Now THAT'S what I'm talkin 'bout.

A bit of W news

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel says the Tulsa Shock is not only a bad team, but they have no hope of being a good one. That's too much only four games into the season. And there's never "no hope" for anything. The column is out of line.

The Storm had an open practice Saturday, and both they and fans had fun.

Connecticut has corned the market on Alaskan natives.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tonight's WNBA results

The Fever rallied behind Tamika Catchings' 19 points to beat the Liberty, 86-80.

Sylvia Fowles had another big game against the Mystics, pouring in 23 points in the Sky's 84-77 win.

The Silver Stars are the league's only unbeaten team, thanks tonight to rookie Danielle Adams. She put up 32 points in the 86-74 win over the Dream.

Sparks over Mercury game story

Versatility and offensive firepower propel the Sparks over the Mercury.

Pictures from the Sparks Facebook page.

What a quick and crazy game that was. Tina Thompson said - and Kristi Toliver agreed with her - that the Sparks are finally playing the same as they practice. If that's the case, other teams should be worried.

Sparks over Phoenix

My story will be published in a bit, but in the meantime, hopefully these pictures will suffice: Candace Parker and daughter Lailaa at the post-game autograph session. Lailaa takes helping mom out very seriously.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pre-game fodder

Q and A with Tulsa Shock owner David Box.

Shock rookie Kayla Pedersen - one of the Cardinals who had a 66-home game winning streak during her college career - would love to continue that tradition.

Marie Ferdinand-Harris, now with the Phoenix Mercury, talks about her last three years playing for the LA Sparks as her new team comes to town to play them. She calls the LA years "the three lowest years of my whole WNBA career." That's a pretty strong statement. Did the reporter just not ask her why, or did she decline to comment? I need more info. Though I'm not surprised; she never seemed happy here. I guess the Mercury is where you go if things don't work out with the Sparks.

Michael O'Brien, aka Slovydal, has some great commentary on what having local flavor means for a WNBA team. It's something that I've written on before - that each team needs some franchise players who stay and form the team's identity. The fan base grows from that. When star players are traded constantly, teams lose fans.

What college coaches want

ESPN has taken to surveying college coaches about what they're looking for in recruits, on the verge of the July viewing period. There's a lot of interesting statements in what they say is their first installment of this series. Such as:

....This generation right now likes to be told what to do. … Four to five years ago there were more kids who understood that accountability piece. It was more about looking for talent because kids were much more disciplined. Technology and media attention have changed kids tremendously. Kids aren't as invested to work in the gym every day. They need to Facebook, and Twitter, and check out what all the media outlets are saying about them. It didn't used to be like that. Kids want instant gratification. And so do their parents. There seems to be no long-term investment into working hard, being accountable and letting natural progression happen."

What's keeping me from taking the comments completely seriously, however, is that the coaches interviewed insisted on being anonymous. ESPN explains that ...."because they are barred from commenting on players until they sign National Letters of Intent and much of what they do is highly proprietary."

The coaches are talking in such generalities that I don't see why they wouldn't want to be identified. If anything, it would be a great public statement to recruits who are interested in their schools.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

WNBA double-header is notable tonight

The Mystics were missing Alana Beard, and the Dream were minus Angel McCoughtry, but the two teams battled into overtime before Washington prevailed, 98-90.

The Seattle Storm were down 64-39 to Minnesota after three quarters tonight. They rallied back in the last period, lead by point guard Sue Bird, but it wasn't enough. The Lynx won, 81-74. They were Rebekkah Brunson's 22 points and 14 rebounds. Another story, with pictures.

Other W news:

Coach Pokey Chatman plans to take the Chicago Sky to new heights.

Chatman wants center Sylvia Fowles to shoot more.

The Phoenix Mercury, who travel to Los Angeles tomorrow night for a matchup, need to work on their offense.

Hall of Fame:

The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame will host its 13th annual induction weekend.

Former WNBA president Val Ackerman is one of the inductees.

Ackerman considers the WNBA her third child.


Karina Alofaituli has been released from her National Letter of Intent with Arizona State and has reopened her recruitment.

Gearing up for club ball season in three weeks

OOO, I was just thinking about this the other day, and apparently so was ESPN:

Parental involvement and support is instrumental in an athlete getting through the month of July.

ESPN's summer coverage schedule, though there are more tournaments (I'll post those later).

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hump day

Old Dominion has named its new head coach: Karen Barefoot, a former assistant.

The Seattle Storm's ownership group - Force 10 Hoops LLC - will be among the marshals at Seattle's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender pride parade this Sunday. The group consists of Dawn Trudeau, Lisa Brummel and Ginny Gilder.

Did anyone doubt Minnesota would be good this season, considering their roster? They're doing it with the help of the youngins.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The beat goes on


Hoopfeed has an excellent WNBA opening weekend recap that includes attendance figures and other great info.

New league president Laurel Richie assures hoopheads that she's a fan of the game.

She's on a quick learning curve. One of her first lessons: Storm fans are probably the most passionate in the league.

In tonight's lone game, Rebekkah Brunson posted a double-double to lead the Lynx over Tulsa, 75-65.

Former Bruin Nikki Blue announced she has retired from play.


Cori Close's replacement at Florida State has been named. Former Seminole Brooke Wyckoff is their new assistant coach.

Monday, June 6, 2011

News on timeout

Pro stuff:

You can tell a male wrote this: It's still Seimone Augustus' Lynx. It's everybody's Lynx; there are so many stars on that team now - Candice Wiggins, Lindsay Whalen, Monica Wright, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and now Maya Moore. They're loaded.

Moore got a taste of losing Friday, and came back with the win yesterday.

Eleven former Lady Vols populate the rosters of the WNBA. That's a pretty huge percentage for one school.

Transfers and hires:

Morgan Toles - Auburn's starting point guard - is leaving the program.

Justine Hartman talks about why she chose Cal in her second recruitment search.

Central Florida has hired former LSU assistant Bob Starkey.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Minnesota, New York win today

It was a tale of two games today.

The whoopin belonged to the Sparks, as the Lynx opened up a 20-point third quarter lead and ended up winning 86-69.

The Liberty had to rely on last-second antics to slip by the Dream, 94-88.

Hmmm.....maybe the East will be just as rough as the West this year.

USA Basketball names U19 team

Here they are:

Jordan Adams
Cierra Burdick
Diamond DeShields
Stefanie Dolson
Bria Hartley
Alexis Jones
Ariel Massengale
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis
Imani Stafford
Breana Stewart
Morgan Tuck
Elizabeth Williams

What a team.

WNBA feast

Every year since the league began, a bunch of whine bags always pop up and say the WNBA is about to fold. But the league is standing the test of time.

Nevertheless, their marketing needs work. (Great picture here of Candace Parker's "Flo-Jo" sleeve)

Profitability is still a goal for the WNBA.

The Connecticut Sun - the last team the late Margo Dydek played for in the WNBA - has mounted her number under its baskets at Mohegan Sun Arena. She fit in everywhere.

The Sun have to win their fans back.

Jessica Moore, back in Connecticut playing for the Sun, has come full circle.

New GM, new challenges for new New York Liberty.

Former WNBA players enjoying coaching roles in the NCAA. (Cynthia Cooper-Dyke and the issues this year at UNCW have been omitted, interestingly)

Todays games:

Los Angeles at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m. CDT

New York at Atlanta, 3 p.m. EDT


Yesterday marked the first anniversary of the death of legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden. Coaches still carry on his legacy.

Storm 78, Mercury 71

The 2010 Western Conference and League champions banners are raised in Key Arena yesterday prior to tipoff against the Phoenix Mercury.


The Storm pulled out the opening day win yesterday in front of a full house at home. Before tipoff, banners were raised at Key Arena for last year's Western Conference and League championship. Star center and last year's MVP Lauren Jackson lamented the lack of time to celebrate the franchise's second title win:

"I wish we had more time to celebrate last year because we were in and out and gone (to the FIBA World Championships) and the moment was gone," Jackson continued. "Everyone is saying 'focus on 2011' and I understand that being an athlete and I'm trying to, but it was awesome."

My Storm correspondent Tate Strommen said the crowd was raucous, as usual, and the game was exciting and tightly-played. He said Katie Smith is a great addition to the team, and he was impressed when she went on a scoring tear.

After the game, Tate and his friend went to Jays for lunch - a place on the Seattle waterfront. Who should walk in but Storm point guard Sue Bird and Mercury forward Diana Taurasi - old friends from college.

Tate walked up to Bird and congratulated her on the win. Taurasi raised her leg, martial arts-style - and pretended to kick him. She said something about her team and Tate patted her on the shoulder and said, "sorry," then continued to the restroom.

"I thought the whole thing was really funny," Tate told me.

You never know who you're going to run into in Seattle.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

More on WNBA opening night

At last night's Lynx at Sparks game, Candacer Parker's mother Sarah Parker and husband Shelden Williams sat courtside with two-year-old Lailaa Williams. Next to them was Lisa Leslie, Michael Lockwood and their two kids - Lauren, almost four, and one-year-old MJ. Lauren was sporting a purple leather jacket and a headband, and Lailaa had a purple T-shirt on with a yellow tutu. Lauren approached Lailaa and the two grabbed hands. Then lil Lailaa offered her friend a snack, which she happily accepted. Picture is here. It was so cute I couldn't even stand it.

Both little girls are already so tall for their age that it's a bit eye-popping. Leslie's son is pretty big, too.

The champion Seattle Storm will tip off within the half hour, after they present rings to players in a pre-game ceremony. Early tweets indicated the level of excitement at Key Arena.

The Indiana Fever also kick off their season today. Michael O'Brien says the team desperately needs a tuneup. (By the way, Jessica Moore got picked up by the Connecticut Sun).

I'm not one to make predictions, but the West will be tough this year. Seattle may win it all again, but it won't be as easy for them as last year.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sparks outlast Minnesota, 82-74

My game feed is here.

One thing I forgot to include is regarding the Sparks new video that they play prior to team introductions. It features the starters all messing with a WNBA ball that's lit up by special effects. It's cool-looking. Of course they save Candace Parker's cameo for last, and she got the most applause from the crowd of over 13,000.

More tomorrow, including some ridiculously cute pictures of Lauren Lockwood and Lailaa Williams.

WNBA season kicks off tonight with Lynx at Sparks

The season begins at 8 p.m. PDT tonight with Minnesota at Los Angeles.

Game preview.

Tomorrow there are four games on tap:

Phoenix at Seattle

Washington at Connecticut

Chicago at Indiana

Tulsa at San Antonio

Word is that Staples Center in Los Angeles is sold out for tonight's game.

LA-area high school coaching news

The new Brea Olinda coach is Kim Cram-Torres, who has coached the Villa Park team to success for the last nine years.

Bryan Camacho, who left Bellarmine-Jefferson to be an assistant at Cal State Northridge, is back in the high school ranks. He's the new coach at Alemany.

Candace Parker feeling better than ever

It's been a rough first three years for the former Tennessee Vol in entering the WNBA, but Candace Parker is ready to go.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

WNBA opening day rosters set

Sparks roster.

Storm roster.

Liberty roster.

Shock roster.

Lynx roster.

Mystics roster.

Mercury roster.

Sun roster.

Fever roster.

Silver Stars roster.

Sky roster.

Dream roster.

See them all at once here.

The New York Liberty has suspended Janel McCarville for the season for failing to report to training camp or even calling. Weird.

The Storm is predicted to win it all again this year.

Personally, I'm glad to see so many Tennessee Vols on various rosters - especially Shannon Bobbitt, who made the cut for the Fever.

Let's play ball, y'all.

U16 tip sheet

ESPN profiles some of the players at last weekend's trials. Part two is here.

Mark Lewis dispels the myth that trying out for USA Basketball increases a player's recruiting stop.

Pat Summitt will be inducted into Tennessee Hall of Fame

The only surprise is how Pat Summitt hasn't been inducted sooner.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

These WNBA cuts are brutal

The Tulsa Shock cut Betty Lennox, Darxia Morris and Rashanda McCants.

I'm hurt the most by those cuts.......ouch.

The New York Liberty waived Mekia Valentine, Whitney Boddie, Crystal Kelly and Ewelina Kobryn.

The Atlanta Dream waived Shannon McCallum.

The Chicago Sky waived Linda Frolich.

The Indiana Fever waived six-year veteran Jessica Moore.

The Connecticut Sun waived Stefanie Murphy.

John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant has ten ways to improve the WNBA.

The Guru comments on the Mystics' cut of veteran Chasity Melvin.

Final cut is tomorrow.

College transfers:

The University of Washington will add Kellie McCann-Smith from Nebraska.

USC gains Kate Oliver from Marist.

Kentucky forward Sarah Beth Barnette is leaving.

Sparks trade Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton to Chicago Sky

For some reason, I had a feeling LWH wouldn't be around this season. From Sparks HQ:

Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton Traded to Chicago Sky for 2012 Second Round Pick
Sparks Now Hold Five Selections in 2012 WNBA Draft

LOS ANGELES –The Los Angeles Sparks have traded forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton to the Chicago Sky in exchange for a second round pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, Sparks General Manager Penny Toler announced Wednesday.

“We appreciate Lindsay’s contributions to the Sparks over the past two seasons and wish her well as she returns to her hometown of Chicago,” Toler said.

The 6’2” native of Naperville, Ill., averaged 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 61 career regular season games with the Sparks after being drafted in the first round, 13th overall in 2009. Coincidentally, her career high of 16 points were scored during an Aug. 4, 2010 victory over Chicago.

With the acquisition of the Sky’s second round selection, Los Angeles now holds five picks in the 2012 WNBA Draft. In February, the Sparks received a second round choice from the Tulsa Shock in exchange for guard Andrea Riley.

The Sparks roster currently stands at 12 players, which must be trimmed to 11 by 11 a.m. PT on Thursday.

WNBA transactions

The quality of play in the league has gone up even further......check out recent transactions, letting players go who where there last year. Taylor Lilley and Jene Morris are just some of the casualties:

May 31
The San Antonio Silver Stars waived Shanavia Dowdell.
The Phoenix Mercury waived Brittany Spears.
The Atlanta Dream waived Shannon McCallum.
The Washington Mystics waived Megan Frazee and Ashley Houts.
The New York Liberty waived Mekia Valentine.

May 30
The Seattle Storm waived Jacinta Monroe
The Indiana Fever waived Abi Olajuwon and Jene Morris.
The Phoenix Mercury waived Taylor Lilley.

May 28
The Washington Mystics waived Chasity Melvin and Angel Robinson

May 27
The Chicago Sky waived Jolene Anderson and Amy Jaeschke
The Minnesota Lynx waived Kachine Alexander and Angel Robinson
The Minnesota Lynx traded center Quanitra Hollingsworth to the New York Liberty in exchange for the rights to swap third round draft picks in the 2012 WNBA Draft

And what is up with Janel McCarville not being with the Liberty this season?