Friday, September 30, 2011

USA Women's National Team wins their first game

The score: USA 77, Familia Schio 48. Brittney Griner lead the way with 15 points, and Swin Cash, Renee Montgomery and Tina Charles each chipped in 12.

Coach and player quotes.

Griner's blog. (This girl is almost 21 and she just had her first smoothie? Wow.)

More on the University of Cincinnati:

Basketball Coach Jamelle Elliot was "stunned" to learn of the violations at her school, which included hundreds of impermissible calls.

School statement.

Recruiting news:

September was a big month for committments.

Full September timeline.

And finally, some college notes......

I can't believe tomorrow is October already, and many Division I schools have their first practices on Monday. The college season is just around the corner!

This afternoon I went to the practice of one Pac-12 team. More to come soon........

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lady Vols in the news

Kara Lawson is embarking on a journey with her husband to raise funds for Alzheimer's Disease research:

Pat Summitt has meant so much to so many of us. Whether you're a former player like myself or a fan who follows women's basketball, we all owe Coach Summitt a debt of gratitude. In some way, shape or form, we are where we are because of her.

Just as she is there for me every time I need someone to turn to, I will be there for her now. We will be there for her now.

Lawson talks to David Siegel about that and more, on the weekly Dishin & Swishin podcast.

Tamika Catchings had to keep quiet about her MVP award for two days before the news was made public.

Other items:

For whatever reason, it seems like Americans are compelled to rank things. So now Mechelle Voepel and Michelle Smith have ranked all of the past 14 WNBA championships. Of course your favorite 'ships will be the one(s) your team has won, and your least favorite, the one(s) taken by the team you despise. The end.

The University of Cincinnati will be on probation the next two years for numerous recruiting violations in women's basketball and football.

Sylvia Fowles is Defensive Player of the Year

Chicago Sky center Sylvia Fowles is the defensive POY of the WNBA this year.

The All-First Team:

Sylvia Fowles
Tamika Catchings
Rebekkah Brunson
Tanisha Wright
Angel McCoughtry

The All-Second Team:

Sancho Lyttle
Swin Cash
Tina Charles
Armintie Price
Katie Douglas

More details.

Awesome photo gallery.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Talkin' newspaper coverage, freshman and recruiting visits

Clay Kallam says high school sports coverage in the Northern California area is in danger, due to the consolidation of several small publications:

High school sports is the most labor-intensive activity in the sports department. (All local news coverage is more expensive that national coverage, which is supplied by wire services.) Not only does it require reporters, it requires photographers, people to take phone calls and the necessity of producing pages on deadline rather than at a steady pace through the shift.

Any manager looking to cut editorial costs ("editorial" is the department that produces the news sections) is going to look hard at high school sports coverage, as it's easy to suggest that only a small percentage of readers care about it since no one watches it on TV, at least compared to the NFL.

It's sad that the Bay is going the way of larger cities, where there is no high school sports coverage in major dailies. That art is left to small dailies, weeklies, and people like me. That's why I try to get out to as many games as possible each year, and it's why I always encourage the reading audience to send in a game report if you catch a great matchup. I'd love to increase the coverage in this space.


It's a tedious time of year for college freshmen basketball players. I've been reading the tweets and Facebook postings of many of them over the last month, and they're trying to get a handle on the "grown and on your own" thing. They're homesick, stressed out about their schedules, don't know if they can handle some of their classes, and are getting used to pushing themselves along instead of relying on others.

Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale calls it "being on the cliff," and she loves watching 18-year-olds go there.


Tennessee's recruiting visit dance card has sure filled up for October. Among the visitors scheduled are Andraya Carter, Jordan Adams, Mercedes Russell and Rachel Hollivay, to hame a few. GoVolsExtra's take.

More on the Eastern Conference final

Atlanta forward Angel McCoughtry embraced her role as the villain last night, taunting fans all game long. Jeez. And I thought ignoring her coach's substitute for her to come out of the game was bad enough.

Fever Coach Lin Dunn has the quote of the night:

Dunn thought the only foul the officials didn't call against Indiana was the one she wanted.

"I don't know why I didn't get a technical, I sure tried," she said.

On the Fever side, the return of Catchings didn't play out like a fairy tale, the way fans wanted.

Mechelle Voepel: Tamika Catchings has been through this before. Wow, has she ever.


And the beat don't stop.......

Your WNBA team lost? You'll be out of the country within two days.

USA Basketball's National Team will play soon. They're kicking it in the meantime.

Minnesota - one of the last two teams standing - has some great community supporters. The Timberwolves have purchased 2,000 tickets for fans to Sunday's game. Outstanding.

Three experts preview the finals.

USA Basketball college tip:

The Pan American Games Team has been named.

Publication news:

Holy crap, Batman, Sylvia Fowles will be in ESPN's "the body issue" next week.

Recruiting advice:

ESPN's Mark Lewis said that when considering colleges, athletes need to be ready for changes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dream beat Fever, advance to league finals

Atlanta dominated from beginning to end and took the Eastern Conference title, beating Indiana 83-67.

The stats of some individuals were good, but the overall turnover, fouls, shooting percentage and rebounding stats of both teams left much to be desired.

Fever forward Tamika Catchings, injured in Sunday's game, surprised fans by coming into the game in the first quarter. Her diagnosis: a torn plantar fascia in her right foot. Fans at Conseco Fieldhouse gave her a standing ovation as she went out on the floor.

The first game is Sunday in Minnesota.

Catchings warming up for Eastern Conference final - will give playing a try

Just seconds ago, the WNBA "tweeted" a report by the Indy Star that Fever forward Tamika Catchings will try to play in tonight's deciding game three in the Eastern Conference finals. She was injured Sunday, and no information about the nature or extent of her injury has been made public until now.

Picture of warmups.

Alyssia Brewer to UCLA?

Rumors popped up yesterday on a couple message boards that the former Tennessee forward, who left the team earlier this month, will play for UCLA. Then ESPN Hoopgurlz tweeted a few hours ago that, per Brewer's former club ball coach, she definitely is going to be a Bruin.

UCLA Sports Information Director Steve Rourke declined comment on the matter.

Sue Bird has surgery

Storm point guard Sue Bird had successful surgery this morning to repair the labrum in her right hip.

ESPN W had a summit yesterday in Tucson, AZ that included Lisa Leslie, Skylar Diggins and a host of other amazing female athletes. Check out what happened.

West Virginia has landed two big fish.

Sky Coach Pokey Chatman discusses the season, and the 2012 season.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pat Summitt has received an outpouring of love

I asked Debby Jennings, University of Tennessee Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations, how much mail Coach Pat Summitt has received since announcing Aug. 23 that she has early-onset dementia.

"Thousands and thousands of emails, cards, letters, prayer cloths, holistic remedies – such an outpouring of love from so many people from around the world," Jennings said. "It has been truly incredible and very touching for all of us to see."

If you haven't sent a card yet and wish to, here is the address:

Coach Pat Summitt
Lady Vols Basketball
207E Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena
1600 Phillip Fulmer Way
Knoxville, TN 37996-4610

No word on Catchings; deciding game three tomorrow

Not a peep today on the status of Indiana Fever forward Tamika Catchings, who was carried out of Eastern Conference finals game two in the middle of the fourth quarter yesterday after injuring her right foot.

Is she seriously hurt> Will she play or won't she play in tomorrow night's deciding game three? It's hard to know.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel says that someone's got to step up on the Fever side.

Indiana is prepared to play without her. "It's not whether or not you have adversity - it's how you deal with it," said Coach Lin Dunn. They need to put that on a bumper sticker.

Minnesota Lynx notes and quotes after yesterday's Western Conference win.

In pre-injury Catchings news.......

I wish this fantastic interview came with video, but listening will still bring smiles.

Last week the MVP visited a teen in an Indianapolis hospital who she had already positively influenced.

Sad recruiting news:

Top recruit Katie Collier is rumored to have leukemia.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dream force a game three; Lynx take first Western Conference championship

Oh, what an afternoon.

The Dream came out strong and capitalized on Fever turnovers and poor shooting, and took the game, 94-77.

Tamika Catchings came down on her right foot funky at the fourth quater 4:54 mark, and had to be carried off the floor by teammates. She did not return to the game. It was quite a sight - the entire Indiana squad surrounding their MVP on the court when she was still down. And Catchings left the floor with a towel over her head, which is never a good sign.

In the Fever post-game interview, Coach Lin Dunn said the problem wasn't with Catchings' right Achilles tendon, which she had surgically repaired four years ago. Dunn called it "a right foot issue" and said Catchings would be evaluated tomorrow.

Game three in the series will be 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday, in Indianapolis.

Next up was the Minnesota-Phoenix game. Let's start with the box score, and a salute to 40's women: 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds for 40-year-old Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Rookie Maya Moore, 18 years her junior, had 21 points, five assists and seven rebounds. Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner each recorded 22 for Phoenix in the Lynx' 103-86 win. This is the first Western Conference championship for Minnesota.

"Superhero" McWilliams-Franklin was already savoring the season. (Love that picture of her game face)

Minnesota gets a week off before the Finals begin. Here's the schedule:

Game 1, Sunday, Oct. 2 at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
Game 2, Wednesday, Oct. 5 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2
Game 3, Friday, Oct. 7 at Atlanta/Indiana, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2
** Game 4, Sunday, Oct. 9 at Atlanta/Indiana, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2
** Game 5, Wednesday, Oct. 12 at Minnesota, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2

Footnote on Bonner:

I respect the game of the Mercury's 6-foot-4 forward, who has won the league's "sixth woman" award for the last three consecutive years. She was everywhere today - outside, inside. She took some improbable drives to the basket that were just gutsy. Bonner did everything she could for her team.

It's easy to underestimate her because of her size: she's 137 pounds. But time and time again, Bonner has shown that she has the heart of a lion. I think someday soon she'll be one of the first five women instead of the sixth one.

Footnotes on Catchings:

Immediately after the injury, WNBA players from around the league began expressing their concern and well-wishes on Twitter. Fifty minutes ago, Catchings "tweeted" herself:

"No feeling bad 4 me- Gods got me!!....Thanks for all the prayers don't stop those : )"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A twist in the playoff plot, and more on Catchings and Taurasi

Advantage, Indiana: Atlanta Dream Center Erika de Souza will miss the rest of the Eastern Conference finals. She has returned to her home country Brazil to play for the Brazilian national team in the FIBA American Championshp for Women. In her absence, the rest of the Atlanta team will need to step up their performances. WNBA blog.

MVP stuff:

Tamika Catchings and her father Harvey Catchings talk about the challenges she's overcome to be one of the best in the game. You may want to get a tissue before watching.

MVP press conference part 1, and part 2.

Geno Auriemma on Diana Taurasi:

Interesting comments from the UConn coach on his former player, Diana Taurasi. She has great basketball intelligence, and he could tell the moment he met her she'd be one of the best in the game. Auriemma also said he's talked to Taurasi before about channeling her energy into a more positive direction.

"You don't become a great player by sitting on the bench the last three minutes cheering your teammates on. The great players are deciding the game the last three minutes."

He added that he hopes an incident like the one that happened Monday against Seattle "doesn't happen again."

The Fever and Dream tip of in game two tomorrow at noon PDT/3 p.m. EDT, and the Lynx and Mercury follow at 2 p.m./5 p.m.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Forbes profiles Sparks owners Kathy Goodman, Carla Christofferson and Paula Madison

It's nothing that hasn't already been printed elsewhere, but it's in Forbes, baby.

More on the playoffs

The Indy Star says last night's Fever win over the Dream epitomizes Tamika Catchings' MVP credentials. And they got a picture of Iziane Castro Marques' flagrant, when she tried to take Catch's head off.

Catchings took time out today for a live chat with ESPN.

On the other side of the league, the Lynx last night showed just how dominant a team can be.

This piece is ostensibly about whether or not Seattle Storm players can document their bruises. But it ends up being a discussion about the behavior of Mercury forward Diana Taurasi:

The most volatile player was Mercury G Diana Taurasi, who cursed to the KeyArena rafters four times as she fouled out with 6:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. None of the Storm players were surprised by her behavior, however. Jackson even added that she has a potty mouth, but now that she's 30, her mother has told her to tone it down.

"Diana has a potty mouth, that's a fact," said Storm C Ashley Robinson, who's known Taurasi since AAU ball. "She needs to stop cussing like that, she's almost 30. But she's exactly how she is on the court (off it), but she's not mean, she's not nasty.

"I think it's hard for people to know that she really means the best. She competes hard. I swear it's like Tourettes, she gets caught up in the moment and before you know it she's cussing. But it's also why a lot of people love her. You probably don't want your kids cussing but you want your kids competing as hard as she competes."

Smith added that the Taurasi factor brings entertainment and characters to the league, which is a positive. Yet Smith, a 13-year veteran, added she's never seen a player get away with talking to officials the way Taurasi has done since entering the WNBA in 2004 as the first overall pick to Phoenix.

"I told her she got extra hits in and she's like, 'Naww,'" said Smith of a conversation she had with Taurasi during the pivotal Game 3. "I have a lot of respect for D, she's a good, good friend.

"She gets away with the (cursing), so there's nothing we can do about it. We all handle ourselves differently. The refs don't say anything...I think if you do it enough, you can't 'T' her up for everything. The same way with fouls. You can't call them all."

Very interesting.

Here's where the Storm players will be in the WNBA off-season.

Recruiting news bonus:

ESPN has the latest on class of 2012 committments.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fever, Lynx take game one

Eastern Conference semifinal game one:

Fever 82, Atlanta 74

It was the Tangela Smith show for a while, but the league MVP Tamika Catchings made a crucial, outrageous basket late in the fourth quarter that fueled her team the rest of the way to the win. Check this part of the story:

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Tamika Catchings finished her special day the right way.

After being announced as the league's most valuable player earlier Thursday, she had 12 points and 13 rebounds to help the Indiana Fever defeat the Atlanta Dream 82-74 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Catchings sealed the win with one of her signature late-game gems. She stole the ball from Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry, then drove more than half the length of the court, spun through contact and made a behind-the-head layup off the backboard that gave the Fever a 74-66 lead.

``I was just trying to drive the basket and get to the line,'' Catchings said. ``I was going in there with the intention of attacking Sancho (Lyttle) and get to the line.''

It was the kind of play that has earned Catchings a rare level of respect from her peers.

``She's just a hustle player, she just outworks everybody,'' Tangela Smith, who led Indiana with 25 points, said. ``We needed that stop at that time. That's what Catch does.''

That's what struck me today is the way so many other players were congratulating Catchings, saying her MVP title was a long time coming, and talking about how hard she works. She definitely showed that in tonight's game, as she bounced back from hard foul after hard foul.

Western Conference semifinal game one:

Lynx 95, Phoenix 67

In Minneapolis, the Lynx got off to a strong start and never looked back. The Mercury made a run in the second quarter, but Minnesota came out after halftime with guns blazing. It turned into a butt-whoopin, with the depth of the Lynx showing up in the box score.

Nice big break til Sunday.

Quick catch-up at halftime

(No pun intended, as the Fever lead the Dream 42-40 right now)

As the Eastern Conference semis play out, the mayors of the Western Conference semi teams have placed a bet on the outcome of the series: apples or hot sauce.

Goooood lawd but Sue Bird has been playing with a torn labrum for almost a year. Now she contemplates surgery. I love the strength of women.


Visitation update for the weekend.

Tamika Catchings is WNBA's MVP

Tamika Catchings has come so close to winning this award so many times, but this time's a charm: she's the MVP. And she won handily over the runner-up.

Catchings' career in pictures. What an incredible walk down memory lane.

Catchings' MVP season pictures.

Father Harvey Catchings, a former NBA star, is very proud of his daughter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It's Taurasi, not a double-standard

The Phoenix Mercury were in Seattle Monday night playing the Storm in game three of the Western Conference semifinals. With 6:38 to go in the game, Mercury forward Diana Taurasi fouled out of the game. She walked towards her bench yelling over and over, "F*&% that s*&%! F*&% that s*&%!" She was assessed a technical foul - her second of the post-season (she had six in the regular season this year).

The eight-year veteran received criticism for her behavior on social media outlets, like twitter. I was one of them. I called her classless.

Today my friend Ben York's piece defending Taurasi ran on Ben feels like there's a double-standard with fans between female and male athletes. He maintains that NBA players do the same kinds of things Taurasi did the other night, and nary a word is said. WNBA ballers, on the other hand, are criticized. Here's the meat of his argument, to me:

So, knowing this, why should our reactions to the tempers of women’s basketball players be any different? Why, when they have a heated reaction, are people shocked and almost offended? Are we just more conditioned to men getting angry? Are women held to a higher standard? A different standard? Are they not supposed to get mad or frustrated?

I understand playing the “role model” card. Certainly, there are times when the line is crossed. But it bothers me that WNBA players are so quickly judged.

I understand where Ben is coming from, believe me. I was the most heady of rebels when I was a teen. I despised the concept of "ladylike" that my mother talked about, so everything she deemed as such, I did the opposite. Open-mouth burping? Check. Torn up jeans? Most def.

To be sure, female athletes are judged more harshly than males on appearance. It gets back to that whole ladylike BS. But I don't see the judging on game-like displays as lacking parity.

Take former Notre Dame forward Devereaux Peters. As the Irish were beating UConn in the NCAA Final Four last April, Peters would scream at the top of her lungs after she made a shot. She would nod her head, and usually end with a chest bump with whomever was closest. I didn't hear anyone criticize that display.

Likewise, I don't hear any talk when technicals are accrued by players over the WNBA season. Like Ben said, it's a part of the game.

I can only speak for myself, but this isn't about a double-standard when it comes to Diana Taurasi. I don't even watch the NBA, or men's college ball, so I have no idea how they act. The issue for me is that Taurasi is a repeat offender with her bad behavior, and it's ruined any chance I've had of enjoying her tremendous game.

Besides garnering six techs this season, Taurasi is the league fouls leader. She also has more technicals than anyone else, by far.

Last year Taurasi was the second-leading foul-getter, and again lead in techs. One of those was collected when she threw an elbow that broke a player's nose.

In 2009, Taurasi tied for the most techs with five. In 2008 she had a whopping eight technical fouls.

I don't like the way Taurasi has spit on the courts of other teams, including the Seattle Storm, which is the team of her friend Sue Bird. I don't like how Taurasi will stand on the court, five feet out from the bench, during the game. Nor do I care for her campaigning to the refs all the time. But it's the screaming cursing that turns me off the most.

I can certainly understand being irritated at the referees; God knows WNBA officiating is not the best. But to scream and cuss all the time? Taurasi is going to be 30 years old next year.

She is a hell of a player - there is no doubt. Diana Taurasi is one of the best in the WNBA.

But again, speaking just for myself, my not appreciating her actions Monday night isn't a double-standard. I'm just tired of the act.

Two arrested in the killing of Tayshana Murphy

I was thinking about this hard today - why the two suspects hadn't been arrested in the death of Tayshana Murphy yet. But now they have. And in South Carolina, no less.

Thank god.

Not much the night before the conference finals begin

Just a little bit:

The Minnesota Vikings bought 500 tickets to tomorrow night's round one playoff game, and are giving them to fans. How dope is that?

The Fever is full of Vols.

"If they can play for Pat, they sure can play for me," says Lin Dunn.

"Coach Lin is a little more country than Pat," says Shannon Bobbitt.

Funny stuff.

Recruiting advice bonus:

ESPN's Mark Lewis urges ballers to follow their own instincts and refrain from bowing to parental pressure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lynx beat Silver Stars, advance to Western Conference finals

Seimone Augustus exploded for 22 points in Minnesota's 85-67 defeat of San Antonio.

Here's the finals schedule:


No. 1 Lynx vs. No. 3 Mercury

Gm 1: PHX @ MIN Thur, Sept. 22, 9 ET - ESPN2
Gm 2: MIN @ PHX Sun, Sept. 25, 5 ET - ESPN2
Gm 3: PHX @ MIN* Tue, Sept. 27, TBD - TBD


No. 1 Fever vs. No. 3 Dream
Gm 1: ATL @ IND Thur, Sept. 22, 7 ET - ESPN2
Gm 2: IND @ ATL Sun, Sept. 25, 3 ET - ESPN2
Gm 3: ATL @ IND* Tue, Sept. 27, TBD - TBD

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fever, Mercury advance to conference finals

What a heart-stopper and a screamer, tonight's Mercury-Storm game. Phoenix came behind from a huge first-half deficit to win by two, 77-75, on a Candice Dupree putback.

Earlier, the Fever beat the Liberty 72-62, thanks as usual to monster performances by Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas. They will play Atlanta in the next round.

The Lynx and Silver Stars face off tomorrow night to determine the other Western Conference finalist.

UCLA's Jasmine Dixon ruptures Achilles, out for season

What a tough break for Los Angeles native Jasmine Dixon, who was to head into her senior season.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dream finish Sun; Silver Stars force a game three

The Dream got off to a slow start, but rallied to beat the Sun 69-64 and take the series.

Meanwhile, the Silver Stars had their revenge from Friday night, defeating the Lynx 84-75 and forcing a decisive game three on Tuesday.

On the playoff blog, check the third photo down of Maya Moore going up for the layup. Look how many people are in the audience? It makes my heart warm.

Other news:

Sue Bird and Ruth Riley are the co-winners of this year's Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh are joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

After wake, funeral, Tayshana Murphy laid to rest

Hundreds attended the wake Friday night for Tayshana Murphy, shot and killed last weekend in an apparent housing project feud. Her funeral yesterday was standing room only. Her body was taken to New Jersey for burial. The suspects in her killing are still at large.

Cards and/or donations can be sent to her parents:

Tephanie Holson
Taylon Murphy
3170 Broadway #15-I
New York, NY 10027

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Game threes are on

The Liberty defeated the Fever, 87-72.

The Mercury beat the Storm, 92-83.

Both game threes will be Monday.

Big playoff blog full of goodies.


Tamika Catchings' story has been told many a time, but this story is a gem. Love this part:

Actually, looking back, she recognizes that it was the start of something else — the defiant, resolute, competitive woman who plays forward for the Indiana Fever.

Not that she advocates flinging your hearing aid into the local crop, but if there was a defining moment for the 32-year-old Catchings, it was that hot afternoon in Abilene.
Tamika decided she was going to be known for something other than looking and sounding different from the other kids.

Fall = visitation

Every weekend in September and early October is visitation weekend across the land. ESPN looks at some of the top recruits and what schools they are considering.

ESPN prefaces another recruiting update piece with the question that I've been asking for ages, "how much is too much?" You all aleady know I think the load needs to be scaled back for young ballers.


A cool piece by Coach Dawn on the evolution of happy teams.

Atlanta, Minnesota win last night; playoffs continue today

The Dream beat the Sun 89-84.

The Lynx held on to beat the Silver Stars 66-65.

Hopefully today's games will be just as exciting:

The Liberty and Fever play at 1 p.m. PDT/4 p.m. EDT.

The Storm and Mercury face off at 7 p.m. PDT/10 p.m. EDT.

Lady Vol Hall of Fame and Pat Summitt

Tamika Catchings and Semeka Randall are among the inductees to the Lady Volunteers Hall of Fame in two weeks.

Even after they graduate, Pat Summitt is happily stuck with her players for life. (I know how that is, and it's a beautiful thing).

Friday, September 16, 2011

WNBA inaugural season ticket holders a dedicated bunch

I had the pleasure of speaking to three WNBA fans who have been season ticket holders for the entire 15 years of the league's life: one from New York, one from Los Angeles and the third from Phoenix - the three original teams that remain. Here's the story.

WNBA unleashes first round of awards

Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve is Coach of the Year.

The Lynx' Maya Moore is Rookie of the Year.

The Liberty's Kia Vaughn is Most Improved Player of the Year.

The Mercury's DeWanna Bonner is Sixth Woman of the Year - for the third time!

All-Rookie Team:

Maya Moore
Danielle Adams
Courtney Vandersloot
Danielle Robinson
Liz Cambage

MVP is yet to be announced. Who will it be??

Cards and donations for Tayshana Murphy family

A wake for high school basketball sensation Tayshana Murphy, gunned down last Sunday morning, just ended in New York City. Her funeral is tomorrow.

Send condolence cards and/or donations to cover funeral and burial expenses to her parents:

Tephanie Holson and Taylon Murphy
3170 Broadway, Apt. #15-I
New York, NY 10027

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fever squeak it out, Storm for the rout

It's feeling a little like 2009 so far for the Fever, who had to rely on a last-second jumper from Erin Phillips to pull out the 74-72 first-round win tonight.

Box score.

Meanwhile, the Storm beat on the Mercury and were ahead by as much as 25 points in the second half. Final: 80-61.

Box score.

Some business and an upper


The Minnesota Twins have bought 500 upper-deck seats for Friday night's Lynx playoff game.

Ceal Barry will be the head coach for USA Basketball. She and assistant coaches Jennifer Gillom and Debbie Ryan will whip the team into shape for the October Pan American Games in Mexico.

UC Santa Barbara Coach Carlene Mitchell is finally settled in.

Fun stuff:

The Cal coaches have swag!

I'm dyin ovah heah. And it looks like the team bonding is going well.

Alyssia Brewer "no longer a member" of the Tennessee team

Abruptly, senior forward Alyssia Brewer is no longer a Lady Vol.


Tayshana Murphy's family invites suspects families to meeting to stop fued

The family of the slain basketball star has invited the families of the suspects in her death to a public meeting tonight, in hopes of stopping the feud between the Grant and Manhattanville housing projects.

A fundraiser was held last night, and Murphy's wake will be tomorrow night, with the funeral Saturday.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Night before playoffs stuff


Judging from athletes, owners and fans on twitter, people are ready for the playoffs to begin tomorrow.

For the fifth consecutive year, WNBA attendance and viewership was up.

Dishin & Swishin talks to Cheryl Ford, Sophia Young and Temeka Johnson.


Geno Auriemma says don't expect a title from UConn this season.

The NCAA has clarified their policy on participation by transgender athletes.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

One arrested, two more sought in the death of Tayshana Murphy

It seems that New York Police know who they're looking for now.

A fundraiser to help pay for funeral expenses will be tomorrow night at the Brown Sugar Club in Brooklyn.

The good and the bad

A report from the National College Players Association found that college scholarship athletes live in poverty.

Top class of 2013 guard Rebecca Greenwell has torn her ACL.

On the upside, Diana Taurasi, Tina Charles and Lindsay Whalen have won 2011 WNBA Peak Performer Awards.

Two days til the WNBA playoffs

The analysts, players and coaches speak.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel has previews of two matchups:

Liberty vs. Fever

Silver Stars vs. Lynx

Michelle Smith has the other two:

Dream vs. Sun

Mercury vs. Storm

Voepel, Smith and Rebecca Lobo make their predictions:


Silver Stars-Lynx



Voepel says the playoffs have a wide-open feeling.

Will Tamika Catchings get a WNBA title or MVP crown?

Monday, September 12, 2011

No suspects in Tayshana Murphy killing, but police now say she was targeted

I can't get this story out of my mind.

The latest, posted just a short time ago, indicates investigators now think Tayshana Murphy was targeted in the shooting and that her death wasn't a case of mistaken identity after all.

Until now, New York Channel 1 and the Wall Street Journal have reported that there are no suspects, despite much police questioning, in the Sunday morning shooting.

The young athlete is remembered by friends and family, and the irony that she was turning things around for herself is bitter.

The various accounts of the incident are well-known at this point.

Had she lived, Tayshana might have gone to Miami for college.

An interview with Tayshana's father, and a description of her murder as "cruelty."

The irony of the first quote in this story is eclipsed only by the account of the obstacles she overcame.

WNBA notes

Players of the week are Katie Smith for the West and Angel McCoughtry for the East. Smith scored her 6,000th career point in the Storm's final regular season game last night.

In their loss last night, the Tulsa Shock tied the WNBA record for least single-season victories.

Silver Stars rookie Danielle Robinson scored 36 points in their win.

Overlook the annoying makeup part, and here are some awesome interviews with LA Sparks players.

Sparks owner follows through on promise, Milton-Jones and Hoffman learn about their African heritage

My recap of a touching and humorous moment after Friday night's Sparks game.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

More on Tayshana Murphy

A difficult day in New York City already, made even worse by the tragic death of 18-year-old Tayshana Murphy.

Regular season ends; playoffs begin Thursday

Today's scores are in:

Sun 69, Liberty 63

Dream 93, Fever 88

Lynx 96, Mercury 90

Silver Stars 102, Shock 94

Storm 81, Sky 70

And the playoff schedule is set.

Sylvia Fowles had a 30 point, 13 rebound effort for the Sky. That was enough to make her the second player in league history to average 20 and 10 on a season. That's so bangin!

Sparks 74, Sky 67

My game write up, with pictures.

I also talked with Sky Coach Pokey Chatman on next year for the team, and I talked with Ticha Penicheiro about her possible impending retirement. It was a "wow" evening.

Quick ones

Ten seasons with Tamika Catchings. You don't see that much anymore, unfortunately. If you did, though, I guarantee the league would draw more fans.

I'm jealous of Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot: she gets to go home to Seattle today. I have to wait a few more months for my visit.

Rebekkah Brunson has made a huge impact for the Lynx. (Ignore the misspelled caption - Mechelle Voepel spells her name right in the story)

New York City prep player shot and killed

I can't believe how much violence there's been this year involving female basketball players. Now this: Tayshana Murphy was shot and killed early this morning in a case of mistaken identity. She had just started her senior year at Murry Bergtraum High School three days ago, and was ranked 16th at the guard position.

The entire story is so upsetting. I feel sick.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


The Liberty beat the Fever 83-75.

Then there was the Storm-Mercury game. For my father's 50th birthday way back when, my brother and I got him a T-shirt that said "old age and trechery will always overcome youth and skill." I couldn't agree more, and neither could Katie Smith: she exploded for 26 points to counter Diana Taurasi's 36, giving the Storm the 85-70 win. The Storm have clinched the second seed in the West.

Despite Candace Parker sitting out the game, the Sparks beat the Shock 84-73. Rookie Jantel Lavender filled in for Parker, whose knee had flared up yesterday, and put up 19 points and grabbed 12 boards. It was Lavender's second double-double of the season.

Ticha Penicheiro had last night's play of the day with a fancy layup. Notice how Parker is first up off the bench to cheer it on.

Shock forward Sheryl Swoopes plans to play at least one more season before retiring.

College and recruiting:

The Lady Vols are about to start team sessions.

It's early committment season.

ESPN's on the trail updates.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jockeying for playoff position

Seattle and Phoenix already know they're meeting in the playoffs next week. Tonight's last regular-season matchup between them will determine home court advantage.

The Fever and Liberty are currently playing. A New York win would tie them with Atlanta. And yes, Shannon Bobbitt started for the Fever.

The next games that matter are Sunday, when the Liberty and Sun face off, the Dream takes on the Fever, and Minnesota goes against Phoenix. Something tells me the series are going to be on and poppin this year.

The Lynx top the final power rankings of the year.

Other stuff:

Nice piece in Forbes about Force 10 Hoops LLC, aka the three female owners of the Seattle Storm. They have really run that team the right way.

Here's the Pat Summitt tribute "This is Tennessee" video that was run at last Saturday's football game. It's really moving. And fans greeted it with a standing ovation.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

WNBA MVP race winds down, colleges winding up


The race for the MVP is down to 10:

Tina Charles
Tamika Catchings
Sylvia Fowles
Angel McCoughtry
Lindsay Whalen
Diana Taurasi
Cappie Pondexter
Sue Bird
Becky Hammon
Seimone Augustus

One analysis.

The WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for August goes to Seattle Storm forward Swin Cash.

No triple-double for Tina Charles last Friday: she was incorrectly given three assists. Was that the stat person's error or what?


Cal State Northridge has reloaded for the season, and then some - check out my story.

Gonzaga has some super frosh.

USC has released its season schedule and WOW! They're taking on all the dragons: Nebraska, Georgia, Notre Dame, Duke, Gonzaga and Texas A&M? Talk about stepping up to the plate.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Typical late summer basket

Other WNBA stuff:

The case for Sue Bird as this year's MVP.

Dishin & Swishin with Candace Parker, Tammy Sutton-Brown and Maria Laterza.


The SEC will accept Texas A&M into the conference.....if the remaining Big 11 schools don't sue them.

The Sun Belt and ESPN have struck a deal.


How should seniors narrow their college choices as mid-November approaches? Mark Lewis knows.

WNBA playoffs take shape

The Silver Stars took that fourth Western Conference playoff spot last night, beating the Sparks 82-65. They were lead by Becky Hammon's 37-point rampage. Seventeen of her points were in the fourth quarter.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel said that of the four teams that didn't make the playoffs, the Sparks are the most disappointing. She raises a LOT of questions about the Sparks in this piece.

Tonight, the Fever clinched the number-one seed in the East with an 87-69 win over the Mystics.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Showdown of the week: Sparks vs. Silver Stars

I'm leaving shortly to go see San Antonio and Los Angeles battle it out for that last Western Conference playoff slot. The back courts will determine the winner, one writer says.

DeWanna Bonner and Tina Charles are the West and East Conference players of the week, respectively. Excellent.

Over in Lynxville, veteran Taj McWilliams-Franklin is keeping her team focused.

OK, gotta go.................

Monday, September 5, 2011

No comparisons necessary, but some examples would be good

It's a nice story in today's LA Times: examples of why sports matter. A behavior therapist with a learning disability, a blind baseball fan and a high school football player are profiled.

But what's missing from this piece? The female sports fan.

I'm not going to guess as to why the LAT didn't include us, but they aren't known at all for covering women's sports. So it's not surprising that they missed the boat in talking to some of the many, many female sports fans in the US, and writing a piece to which more people could relate.

If they had talked to the thirty-something ballers who play in the Say No Classic and The League over the summer here in Los Angeles, they would have got some great stories. Many of them are former Division I players, and sports still very much matters in their lives.

How about talking to some of the gray-haired Sparks season ticket holders - most of whom started coming to games in the first place just because they were so thrilled that there was finally a women's pro league?

They could have even talked to me. Running and the serotonin it produces has saved my life so many times, I can't even count. Basketball coaches and players have inspired and shaped my life beyond my wildest dreams.

It's really unfortunate that women aren't a part of this LAT story. We need as many visible examples as possible to represent females.

Case in point: a week ago, Sparks Coach Joe Bryant reportedly made a comment to Storm media before the two teams matched up. He said that Sparks forward Candace Parker should "step up and take over the game" like Laker Kobe Bryant.

All incredulity that he would name his own son aside, I look forward to the day when female ballers aren't compared to male ballers anymore. Sure, sure, boys came first. But enough great women have been in the game long enough where comparisons to the men aren't necessary anymore.

"Candace Parker should take over the game like Cynthia Cooper used to" would work. Others: "be clutch like Sue Bird," "triple-dub like Tina Charles," "throw up three-point daggers like Lindsay Whalen."

Nor is it a safe assumption that WNBA fans watch NBA games. The many, many fans I know in both Seattle and Los Angeles don't watch the men's league.

Speaking of amazing examples, you can buy a "We back Pat" T-shirt to show your support for Coach Pat Summitt. A portion of the sales will go towards Alzheimer's research.

Shannon Washington update

A vigil/service was held last night at Florida A&M for slain basketball guard Shannon Washington. Grab some tissues, because these pictures will break your heart.


Tulsa Shock owners admit their experiment has failed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Only one playoff spot left

The Dream have now clinched a playoff spot, after beating the Shock 73-52 today. That was the last open spot in the East, so they're set.

The Lynx whooped the Liberty 86-68, behind Maya Moore's 19 points.

Tina Charles had 24 points and 15 rebounds in the Sun's 79-48 thrashing of the Mystics.

The Fever beat the Sky, 88-80. Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas each put up 17 for Indiana.

Here's the standings right now:


Indiana1 x 20 11 0.645 0.0 12-7 12-3 8-8 5-5 W 1
Connecticut2 x 20 12 0.625 0.5 13-7 14-2 6-10 6-4 W 2
New York3 x 18 14 0.563 2.5 10-10 11-5 7-9 5-5 L 1
Atlanta4 x 18 14 0.563 2.5 12-8 10-6 8-8 8-2 W 2
Chicago5 o 14 17 0.452 6.0 10-12 10-7 4-10 5-5 L 2
Washington6 o 6 26 0.188 14.5 4-17 4-13 2-13 1-9 L 2


Minnesota1 w 25 7 0.781 0.0 17-4 13-3 12-4 8-2 W 1
Seattle2 x 19 13 0.594 6.0 14-7 13-2 6-11 7-3 W 2
Phoenix3 x 18 13 0.581 6.5 10-9 10-5 8-8 6-4 W 1
San Antonio4 15 16 0.484 9.5 9-11 8-8 7-8 3-7 L 1
Los Angeles5 13 18 0.419 11.5 9-11 8-6 5-12 5-5 L 1
Tulsa6 o 3 28 0.097 21.5 1-18 2-14 1-14 2-8 L 3

The Sparks and Silver Stars play each other Tuesday, in Los Angeles. After that, each team has two more games. LA would have to win all three games to claim that fourth spot. It's possible, but San Antonio has the easier schedule this week.

Sparks game caller Larry Burnett says LA has a secret weapon: assistant coach Sandy Brondello, who used to coach for San Antonio.

Playoff Primer, y'all.

FAMU basketball player stabbed and killed

Florida A&M guard Shannon Washington was stabbed and killed early this morning in her apartment, according to Tallahassee Police. A suspect has been arrested.

The sadness of this situation leaves me speechless.

One more into the playoffs

The Mercury beat the Sparks last night to clinch a playoff spot. The 93-77 victory came despite Sparks forward Candace Parker's 32 points (27 at the end of the third quarter), and guard Kristi Toliver's 23 (including six three-point shots).

The Sparks are two games behind San Antonio for the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams play Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Speaking of the Silver Stars, they fell to the Storm last night, 70-60.

Other news:

The Atlanta Dream has announced an ownership transition. Kathy Betty will hand over the reins to Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler.

The University of Washington's Kristi Kingma will miss the upcoming season after tearing her ACL.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Quick hits before tonight's games

College basketball workouts and practices have begun!

Writer Maria M. Cornelius has lots of Lady Vols photos on this page.

Coach Pat Summitt is being up front with recruits about her early-onset dementia diagnosis.

San Diego State Coach Beth Burns has posted video one and video two of the Aztecs morning conditioning session today.

I'm excited about this upcoming season.

Playoff picture continues to become more clear

Last night:

First things first: the Liberty beat the Lynx 78-62 last night, and clinched a playoff spot. Leilani Mitchell put up 24 points for New York, including six three-point shots. The Lynx still have the league's best record, despite the loss, and get top seed and home court advantage in the West.

The Sun kicked the butts of the Fever, and Tina Charles recorded a triple-double in the process: 10 points, 10 assists, 16 rebounds. It was the first triple-dub in the Sun's history, and only the fifth in league history.

The Shock made things difficult, but the Storm pulled out the win, 78-72. Seattle has clinched their eight consecutive playoff appearance.

Unfortunate news:

Ivory Latta will miss the rest of the season with an injury. Too bad the Shock and the Tulsa World don't want to tell us what that is.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

WNBA playoff picture

After tonight's games, here is the current playoff picture:



Indiana1 x 19 10 0.655 0.0 11-6 12-3 7-7 6-4 L 2
Connecticut2 x 18 12 0.600 1.5 11-7 13-2 5-10 5-5 L 2
New York3 17 13 0.567 2.5 10-10 11-4 6-9 5-5 W 1
Atlanta4 16 14 0.533 3.5 11-8 8-6 8-8 7-3 L 1
Chicago5 14 16 0.467 5.5 10-11 10-6 4-10 5-5 L 1
Washington6 o 6 24 0.200 13.5 4-15 4-12 2-12 1-9 W 1


Minnesota1 w 24 6 0.800 0.0 17-4 13-2 11-4 8-2 W 6
Seattle2 17 13 0.567 7.0 12-7 13-2 4-11 5-5 L 1
Phoenix3 17 13 0.567 7.0 9-9 9-5 8-8 6-4 L 1
San Antonio4 15 15 0.500 9.0 9-10 8-7 7-8 3-7 W 2
Los Angeles5 13 17 0.433 11.0 9-10 8-6 5-11 6-4 W 1
Tulsa6 o 3 26 0.103 20.5 1-17 2-13 1-13 2-8 L 1

x-Clinched Playoffs Berth | e-Clinched Eastern Conference | w-Clinched Western Conference | o-Eliminated from Playoffs contention

East and West Conference players of the month of August are Sylvia Fowles and Lindsay Whalen, respectively.


ESPN is already trying to rank the class of 2014.

Michelle Snow has a nice tribute to her college coach Pat Summitt. I like "Pat Summitt takes Michelle Snow from Shy to Fly" the best :)

The rest of the Sparks player appearance photos; game wrap up

Check my slideshow from yesterday's Candace Parker and Delisha Milton-Jones/Ticha Penicheiro appearances. Fun times.

The Sparks avenged their loss to Seattle Sunday by beating them 68-62 on Tuesday. The entire LA team were possessed - especially Candace Parker. I've not seen her take Lauren Jackson on one-on-one like that before, and she kept beating her. On one play in the third quarter, Jackson was all up on Parker, and Parker kept backing up into her and backing up, looking for Penicheiro to get open. When TP finally flashed, Parker threw the long side pass right past Jackson, into her hands, and TP made the easy layup.

After the game I asked Parker if she had been motivated by Sunday's loss. Her eyes got a little bigger and she said emphatically, "Oh yes - I was pissed."