Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tomorrow, it's Turkey

Team USA faces Turkey tomorrow in third-round Olympic play, at 2 p.m. PDT/5 p.m. EDT.

Catching up with assistant coach Jen Gillom.

Seimone Augustus has tweeted some pictures of Coach Geno Auriemma working out, and assistant coach Jen Gillom sleeping.

The US women are quietly on the brink of history.

Olympic team individual features:

Seimone Augustus' success puts her pain in perspective.

Q&A with Quanitra Hollingsworth, who plays for Turkey.


The 5,000 corridor - Delisha Milton-Jones.

Catching up with Essence Carson.

Shock rookie Glory Johnson goes back to school.

LA girls age 7-18: Candace Parker basketball camp coming in September

Girls age 7-18 can sign up now for Sparks superstar forward Candace Parker's basketball camp, Sept. 15-16 in Los Angeles. Here's what you get:

Opportunity to learn from and interact with Candace Parker

Exclusive 2012 Adidas Candace Parker Baskeball ProCamp T-Shirt

Autographed Camp Team Photo with Candace

7 Hours of Expert Instruction

Opportunity to Win Contests and Prizes

A Fun and Educational Experience Guaranteed!

They're Playing Basketball is four years old

Today marks four years since I began this blog.

As is true when I started it, I cover women's and girls basketball at all levels: high school, club ball, college, and professional play. I also address issues when they arise, provide links to news items, and try to cover stories that are overlooked.

Thank you for reading. I appreciate all who stop by here - the number of which has increased a lot since I began. Feel free to leave a comment, a suggestion or share information. All comments are screened for profanity/abuse/etc, and then published.

For those who have taken the time to email me, a special thanks. And if you have an idea for a story/entry, whether it's for this site or my new website (www.basketballways.com), contact me: hoopism@yahoo.com. No baller, coach or program is too big or small if there's a great story there.

Monday, July 30, 2012

One word for today's games: WOW

The biggest shocker in basketball at the Games so far was France's victory today over Australia in overtime, 74-70. To get to the extra period, Belinda Snell hit a half-court shot for the Aussies at the buzzer. The resulting loss made for an emotional roller coaster.

Both Lauren Jackson and Liz Cambage fouled out of the game.

Not to be outdone for heart attacks, Canada faced Great Britain and a very vocal crowd today, and they came from behind to win, 73-65.

Team USA easily crushed Angola, 90-38. Candace Parker was on fire from the tip, and lead the way with 14 points. Her four blocked shots today is a U.S. women's Olympics single-game record.

Sylvia Fowles sat out of the action with an injury.

Russia defeated Brazil, 69-59.

China pummeled Croatia, 83-58.

Turkey beat the Czech Republic, 61-57.

Game recaps and replays.

Other Team USA items:

Angola game quotes.

The USA bench is making its mark.

Candace Parker has a new Olympic outlook.

General Olympics:

This year has been a giant leap for women, but hurdles remain.

USA Basketball:

The U17 team will reconvene this week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. They play for the World Championships Aug. 17-26, in the Netherlands.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

US faces Angola tomorrow

Team USA faces Angola tomorrow in their second Olympic matchup. The game will air at 2:15 PDT/5:15 EDT.

Practice quotes from today.

Ex-Lady Vols join up with Geno Auriemma to garner a gold medal.

Lindsay Whalen is showing true grit.

There's nothing big about Sue Bird except her game.

Assistant coach/Dream Coach Marynell Meadors shares some photos.

Other countries:

Australia's Lauren Jackson is tired, emotional and superb.

NBA stars say Jackson is one of the best of all time.

WNBA bonus:

Support of the Seattle Storm is among the main issues as the city prepares to vote on building a new arena.

The Fever held their 12th annual bowling fundraiser last week.

Lynx practice report from Friday.

The Sun is asking fans to help pick the all-decade team. Here's how the voting is going so far.

Where are they now? : Wendy Palmer.

The Liberty returned to practice last Thursday.

Shock President Steve Swetoha talks about Liz Cambage's return after the Olympics, among other topics.

Crystal Langhorne talks about what it means to be named to the Mystics all-time team.

Pictures from the Mystics first practice last Tuesday.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympics, day one in the books

If you missed last night's opening ceremonies, or want to watch them and get chills again, the video is here.

Lauren Jackson lead the way for the Australian contingent.

Hoopfeed has a great schedule and results page for all of the games, through the finals.

There are 38 current and former WNBA players on Olympic rosters.

Today's results:

China 66, Czech Republic 57
Russia 58, Canada 53
Turkey 72, Angola 50
USA 81, Croatia 56
France 73, Brazil 58
Australia 74, Great Britain 58

The US overcame sloppy play to beat Croatia.

Coach and player comments.

Photo gallery.

The team is focused on their fifth consecutive gold.

Don't assume the US is going to win the gold.

Becky Hammon and Russia had to rally to beat Canada.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let the Games begin!

Opening ceremonies are no doubt taking place right now. US broadcasts in a few hours. In the meantime.............

Team USA met First Lady Michelle Obama after their last practice before competition.

First Lady's speech to Olympians.

USA team schedule.

Press conference photos.

The USA is ready to play.

Coach Geno Auriemma talks style of play.

Team USA is living the dream.

Why the US women are beatable.

Diana Taurasi is anxious to start.

General Olympics:

Group A preview.

Group B preview.

Basketball tip sheet.

Enter your zip code to find local TV listings.

The torch arrived earlier today.

Other countries:

The Canadian team is soaking up the atmosphere.

Australian Michele Timms cautions not to underestimate Great Britain.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Nike Nationals schedule

This event - the unofficial club ball national championship - starts Saturday.

Pools and schedules.


by Sheryl M.
Los Angeles Sparks season ticket holder

This past Saturday, July 21, the Los Angeles Sparks held their Tip-A-Spark fundraiser at Jillian's at Universal City Walk. All tips raised by the players go to benefit the L.A. Sparks Foundation and Kids in Sports, Los Angeles.

The event began with a 90-minute dining experience, where each of the Sparks players served several tables as waitresses. The menu featured special Spark-themed items such as "The Sunshine Salad" and "Nneka's Grillin' Chicken Sandwich."

The first thing I noticed when my waitress, Nneka Ogwumike, came to take my order was her name tag. The name written on it wasn't "Nneka" or "Nnemkadi," instead it was "Agatha." I asked if the fake name was to confuse people and she aplogized and introduced herself as Nneka, but I let her know I knew her name and found it amusing.

Most of the other players whose name tags I saw also had different names: Ebony Hoffman = Samantha; Delisha Milton-Jones = Bethany; Kristi Toliver = Maggie; Marissa Coleman = Bertha; Alana Beard = Mary Jo Ann, aka Alana. Nicky Anosike decided to stick with her real name.

In addition to serving their own tables, the players also came by other tables to sign autographs and chat with fans that called them over. This did cause a few players to get a bit territorial about their tables when they saw another player at one of them. Probably the funniest of these exchanges was when Delisha came over to sign an autograph at my table. Nneka saw her and came over to lay her claim to her her territory. Delisha suggested that the fan could tip her instead, and then told the fan that her autograph cost two dollars. Nneka interjected and said not to listen to Delisha, and that she didn't charge for autographs.

The dining portion of the event was followed the gaming portion, where fans got the chance to bowl and play pool and arcade games with the players. "Super Shot" was by far the most popular arcade game, since it gave fans the chance to try and out-shoot a professional basketball player.

Nicky shot against the same fan for several games. She dropped the first three rounds, and after each round would yell "rebound!" When she finally won the fourth game, she held her arms up and then gathered her opponent's tickets as well as her own. She informed him, "winner take all!" Of course she was just kidding and ended up giving them to her opponent's young daughter.

Nearby, Alana Beard was playing pool with a fan. When the fan scratched the cue ball, causing Alana to win the game, Alana ran around the pool table for a victory lap.

Nneka was dominant at "Dance Dance Revolution." At one point it was announced that she had been undefeated so far. She tried to help her opponents, however. Once she actually stopped playing to show her opponent how to time hitting the buttons to score better. She even ended up calling out which foot to stomp down on which was such a nice thing to do. In the end she still ended up winning by a sizeable margin.

Delisha spent all her time up bowling with fans, and was quite good at it. At one point she scored a turkey - three strikes in a row. When Nneka came up to the bowling area, McCall - the Sparks' in-arena host - got her and Delisha on the PA system to invite the fans to come play against them. Nneka said bowling was her game.

Their back-and-forth continued throughout their time bowling. It was mainly Delisha goading Nneka by calling out her name and saying "what?" while cupping her hand over her ear to indicate that Nneka's trash talking had gone silent. Delisha was generally very animated while playing, and when her opponent's ball went towards the gutter, she would make a pushing gesture in the air, trying to will it back towards the center of the lane. She celebrated every time she got a strike or a spare.

There were tip boxes that were labeled with each of the players names, and at the end of the event all the money was counted to see who made the most tips. Alana won with a total of $408, Delisha was second with about $30 less dollars and Nneka was third. All three of the top 3 made over $300 in tips.

Sheryl's amazing event photos.

Sheryl's incredibly dope event videos.

The copy on Team USA keeps flowing

The USA women are after more than gold.

New stuff from USA Basketball.

The Olympic team rookies are already seasoned vets.

The Games show Title IX is at work.

Catching up with Tamika Catchings.

Family comes first for Candace Parker.

Funny story about Diana Taurasi.


Aussie and Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson will carry the flag for her country in tomorrow night's opening ceremonies.

WNBA bonus:

DeWanna Bonner is doing it all and doing it well.

The Lynx' Monica Wright....spiritual kickboxing dog whisperer.

Club ball:

Dishin & Swishin takes a stab at explaining recruiting.

The League, Say No schedules for the weekend

Los Angeles hoops fans, here you go:

The League

Say No Classic

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

MTW Showtime Nationals Championship game

Today's title game:

Cal Sparks Gold 53, Tree of Hope Elite 34

Don't let the score fool you - it was a great game. Seattle-based Tree of Hope Elite is well-coached, physical and relentless. University of Washington commit Kelli Kingma paced her team and kept it close until about midway through the second half, when Gold took over. With several ranked players on the California squad, it was to be expected.

Gold guard Courtney Jaco lead her team with 10 points.

A few game photos are below. Full tournament photo gallery is HERE.

Class of 2013 11th-ranked Erica McCall lays it up for Cal Sparks Gold.

Kelli Kingma played a heckuva game for Tree of Hope Elite, despite sporting a huge shiner from yesterday's action.

They sat three deep for the championship game.

Full Nationals bracket.

MTW Showtime Nationals, Los Angeles, day two

The morning session of the Michael T. White Showtime Nationals Championships on Tuesday, July 24, featured marquee matchups.

Cal Sparks Gold 60, So Cal Magic Black 42

So Cal Magic Black showed heart and hustle, but they were no match for the loaded Cal Sparks Gold team. Gold guard Courtney Jaco, known for her three-point shot, was on fire from the jump ball, and had four NBA-range treys to lead the team in scoring.

Lady Style Elite Black 54, Chinese National Team 47

The Chinese National Team came close to beating their opponents, but the Style stepped it up a few notches in the last few minutes of the game to close out the win. Before that, scoring was neck and neck the whole way, with China having the momentum most of the time.

Tournament director Michael T. White said the Chinese National Team contacted him about being in the tournament, similar to the way the boys team from China did eight years ago. The country is seeing increased interest in the sport, and as a result, all of their national teams are getting more competitive.

I especially enjoyed one moment of the game, when a Chinese player was trying to inbound the ball. As sometimes happens, no teammate was in sight. She yelled "sa!" (or something like that). No one came. She yelled louder: "sasasa!"

I had to smile. It's the same in any language: get your butt over here and get this ball.

A few pictures from these games are below.

The full MTW Showtime Nationals photo gallery is HERE.

Cal Sparks Gold guard Courtney Jaco can shoot threes. She had four in Tuesday's first game, including the one pictured above. She shoots them far beyond the arc.

Chinese National Team player scores over Rotary Style in the first half of Tuesday's game.

Mercedes Jefflo and Jordin Canada. Canada takes the ball down court at lightening speed.

Rotary Style player tries to keep the ball away from the China team.

Evening session:

Cal Sparks Gold 59, JBS Elite 48

The JBS teams, from the Sacramento area, are extremely well-coached by Sean Chambers and his staff. And they gave Gold a scare in the first half when they took a 10-point lead. But Gold clawed back and only trailed two at the break, and stepped it up in the second half to win. Courtney Jaco lead Gold with 16 points.

Cal Sparks NorCal 56, Cal Sparks National 44

These Northern and Southern California teams joined forces earlier this year to form a powerful alliance. But even though they are as one, they sure have fun playing each other. It's kind of like wrestling with your kid brother: you just go hard. Lots of spirited play on both sides, which made for a fun game.

Today another NorCal-SoCal matchup went down, and the troops from another Northern team lead cheers for their friends in the game. It was pretty funny.

Full Nationals bracket.

Santa Barbara Gauchos get $1 million contribution

Longtime Gaucho women's basketball supporters Renee Trenholm and Susan Romero have made a $1 million dollar commitment to the program, it was announced by Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Mark W. Massari.

The gift is the largest for the women's program in its history.


Olympic bonus:

Watch our US team on this dope video.

Good three-days-before-the-Games to you


Tamika Catchings and Candace Parker are ready for Olympic duty.

Assistant coach Marynell Meadors blogs.

A look at Olympic women's basketball from 1976 to the present.

Three rising stars of Team USA to watch.

The Australians are ready to shake the silver streak.


So far, North Carolina leads the recruiting race. Here's the top 10:

1. North Carolina
2. Notre Dame
3. Virginia
4. Maryland
5. Northwestern
6. Penn State
7. Iowa State
8. Texas Tech
9. Michigan
10. Florida State

Monday, July 23, 2012

'Tis the second half of July

Great blog entry by Oklahoma Coach Sherri Coale on July recruiting:

And this is what we see: a lot of fouling. I'll just start with that. If a player is shooting, odds are she's gonna get smacked. And it doesn't matter if she's in the lane or 30 feet from the rim. The goal does not seem to be: make the offense shoot a bad shot, get the rebound, and go to the other end to score a basket. The goal seems to be: maul the shooter. Maul her now. Maul her to the ground if possible. Maul her with authority, then walk away and be proud that she did not escape unscathed on your watch.

We also see an inordinate amount of falling down, which may or may not be directly related to the fouling. Despite the fact that hitting the floor while in the act of shooting is a given (see above), there is also a whole bunch of just general falling, too. It's almost cartoonish sometimes. I want to run out to the middle of the court and yell "Slow Down!!" July basketball makes me think of what the Daytona 500 would look like if every 16 year old I know were allowed to drive in it. It's just a mess of players going way faster than their skill set -- and oftentimes their legs -- will allow. Warp speed basketball means turnovers. It means collisions. And it means a lot of falling down, which, really, won't sell many tickets or win many games. It makes me wince, it makes me tired, and it makes me want to go home (by way of Wendy's, please, if that's humanly possible).

Shot selection is a problem, too. I'm pretty sure the rule is: if you can get it off, it's a good one. I've seen kids shoot one versus three. I've seen kids shoot while falling down with their back toward the basket. I've seen 5-foot-4 point guards try to shoot through the forearm of six-foot-five centers. (Centers who aren't running in from the shadows either -- they're parked, rooted in front of the rim, waiting and salivating.) And I've seen lots of guys who think anything across half court is money.

But the ol' look-away layup is the shot of the summer. Apparently gazing toward your target is outdated. Maybe I'm just old school, but I have always found looking at the goal to be helpful. I saw at least one look away layup per game. And I saw a lot of games in 10 days. I wish that were hyperbole.

I'll be covering MTW Showtime Nationals tomorrow and Wednesday.

In the meantime, class of 2013 super 60 pick Makayla Epps has reopened her recruitment after initially choosing Louisville.

Olympic bonus:

Candace Parker has learned to appreciate things more since her last Olympics. And her three-year-old daughter has traveled way more than I have.

The Australian team has settled into the Olympic Village.

Remembering the 1996 Olympics, and Coach Tara VanDerveer.

It's not an either/or situation: WNBA needs to market to all of their fans

I asked two longtime Los Angeles Sparks season ticket holders recently to tell me about the demographics they see at WNBA games. One said:

"I am not sure of the demographics or even if they are kept by the teams. Just by looking around my section and nearby areas, I have noticed a shift to more adults and adults with children.

My guess would be 30 percent lesbian - but I may be way off!!

I have also noticed more men - with and without kids in the arena.

I think the emphasis on targeting families has worked in bringing more families and kids out to the games."

The second estimated that up to 50 percent of the fans in her section were gay/lesbian.

I see roughly the same thing: Numerous adults and children. Anywhere from 30-50 percent gay/lesbian. Families, or sections of families. Lots of women and girls.

I would further break it down into age: The adults are mostly age 30 and up, and the young people, 14 and under.

WNBA marketing logic since the league's inception is that they need to attract NBA or NBA-type fans to the league, i.e. straight males, who also tend to make more money that can be spent. Thus, effort was put into garnering those consumers. As a result, many WNBA fans felt that the league tended to over-emphasize the lives of their straight players in the WNBA's early days and to downplay the presence of the lesbian athletes, toward this end.

The presence of lesbian basketball players has always been the elephant in the women's basketball room.

For whatever reason, women's basketball has always had a higher-than-the-population number of lesbian participants. People in the sport know this. But how they treat this information is the source of contention.

Traditionally the WNBA has ignored its lesbian players and fans, pretending both don't exist. Sheryl Swoopes was the first major pro superstar to come out in 2005, and since then, a few others have been openly gay. The most notable is Lynx all-star guard Seimone Augustus, who came out this year and marshaled the Twin Cities gay and lesbian pride parade last month with her fiance.

The Lynx posted a release on their website prior to the parade, noting that Augustus would be the grand marshal. Another WNBA team that has embraced their gay/lesbian fan base is the Seattle Storm. The organization has participated in the Seattle gay and lesbian pride parade for the last three years. Storm communications said it is a business decision:

"The Seattle Pride Parade is a large community event in the city. The Storm organization supports events, causes, businesses, groups that support the team. It makes sense for the Storm to be involved in this popular city event."

Indeed, it does make sense to court the business of 30-50 percent of your customers. Why the WNBA hasn't seen this logic more consistently for the last 16 years defies explanation. If they are afraid of backlash from society at large, all they need to do is look to President Barack Obama, whose recent announcement that he supported gay marriage was met largely with shrugs.

If the WNBA courted and supported many of their athletes and fans, it would not only gain them some respect for taking a stand, but it would undoubtedly ease some of the stigma female athletes still feel around perceived or real sexual orientation.

Some Sparks season ticket holders have recently filled out an NBA.com survey asking who they come to games with, i.e. a spouse, partner, child, etc. So it sounds like they are collecting demographics, which is a good thing. I hope the survey also asks the ages of respondents.

The WNBA needs to court and reach out to fans in their late teens and twenties - two populations that are largely underrepresented at games. Younger kids and mature adults show up en masse to support teams, but not so much younger adults. It would behoove the league to figure out why this is, and then address that population and try to get them into arenas.

The league would also do well to divorce the notion that they need to attract NBA fans for the WNBA to be successful. The WNBA and NBA have two different fan bases, and while many WNBA fans also watch their male counterparts, the same can't be said of most NBA fans.

I was on a local Los Angeles radio show a couple weeks ago, and the host said something he'd already expressed to me privately, which is that the WNBA needs to show its athletes as sexy to attract more male fans. I don't agree.

If an athlete wants to wear sexy clothing because she likes it and that's who she is, then so be it. But putting on an act and not being who you are shouldn't be a requirement. If attracting male fans is indeed a goal, then go after the ones who my girls play pickup with for hours at 24 Hour Fitness - the ones who don't care if my girls sweat in their tank tops or what their hair length is. The ones who just joke around with them, and where all have a good time.

Finally, it would behoove the WNBA to market itself as a legitimate and viable sports league rather than a place just for children.

If the WNBA wants to grow its fan base, they need to first acknowledge their current fans and court more of them. Then they need to accurately ascertain potential future fans, and go after those folks. If that doesn't fit into the traditional straight male/NBA mold, then so be it. The WNBA is its own entity, and the league needs to claim its identity.

USA women continue Olympic preparations

The countdown until game one is T-minus four and a half days. Players and Coach Geno Auriemma weigh in.

Great Britain Coach Tom Maher said his squad is the best-prepared team he's ever had.


The league legends lounge in the 5,000-point corridor.

The Olympic break comes at a perfect time for the Seattle Storm.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

USA wraps up exhibition tour with win over Turkey

Team USA beat Turkey 80-61 today, in their final exhibition before the commencement of the Olympic Games in a few days. Seimone Augustus lead with 16 points, and Diana Taurasi added 14.

In Turkey, they faced New York Liberty center Quanitra Hollingsworth, who gained Turkish citizenship this year and was named to the team.

Great perspective on time in this "legacy" story from Tamika Catchings.

Augustus has come a long way from "little old Louisiana."

Lindsay Whalen is showing her Olympic face.

Wherever Maya Moore goes, titles follow.

Diana Taurasi is looking for a third gold medal.

The Sun's Tina Charles and Asjha Jones are ready for the Games.

Interesting....cumulative stats for Team USA for their five exhibition games.

Their next game will be Saturday, vs. Croatia again: 8:45 a.m. PDT/11:45 a.m. EDT.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Next up tomorrow: Turkey

Tomorrow at 8 a.m. PDT/11 a.m. EDT, Team USA plays Turkey.

More from today's game:

Photo gallery from the win over Croatia.

Traveling is a way of life for the USA women.

An emotional Sue Bird talks about the loss of her stepfather.

Just because:

It's women's time to shine at the 2012 Olympics.

Games fevah grows

Just a short time ago, Team USA throttled Croatia, 109-55. Sylvia Fowles had 15 points, Candace Parker 14 and Seimone Augustus 12. All US players scored, including Sue Bird, who returned to the team today after a week away due to her stepfather's death.

Who is supposed to do what on our US squad.


Iziane Castro Marques has been removed from the Brazilian team for violating a team rule. The team will continue with 11 players.

Olympic sexism issues (shout out to Helen for the heads up on a few items):

Australia is reviewing its Olympic travel policy in the wake of plane-gate.

Study: Male athletes have skill, while female athletes have luck.

Another one: She won a gold medal because she's pretty.


The Aussies routed China, 84-53, in their exhibition.

The Opals aim higher.

Friday, July 20, 2012

NCAA investigating other club ball programs

The NCAA already banned two prominent club ball programs from July competition, and now they are investigating numerous others for possible violations.


On the question of why more women aren't watching women's sports

The Curley Center for Sports Journalism has published an interesting study on why more women don't watch women's sports. Key findings:

In drawing from the conversations, we suggest that fanship is something more than simply developing an affinity for a certain team, but rather a complex concept mediated by one’s gender roles. For example, most of the women expressed a preference for the Olympics (an especially timely finding and one that sparked the initial popular interest in the piece). Indeed, analysts are saying that the female audience watching the Olympics will be larger than ever. Our research helps explain why this is; we note that the way the Olympics are presented – in short, easy-to-digest packages – are especially easy to appreciate for individuals who do not have the luxury of sitting down in front of the television for three uninterrupted hours. Rather, for those who are responsible for childcare and other domestic labor duties (generally women, according to existing wide-scale sociological research), the routine of sitting down only to get back up quickly to tend to something in the house is all too familiar. Thus, the ability to turn on the TV for 15 minutes, see a nice, tidy package of, say, track and field, is especially conducive for people with a hectic and full schedule in the home.......

The challenge to building a women’s sports fan base is also mediated by the form of domestic life. As the women in this study showed, watching sports was not a leisure activity, but rather associated with emotion labor. On the latter part of this two-pronged challenge, media producers and women’s sports advocates interested in building audiences in the short-term need to acknowledge and address the structural impediments facing women with the potential for interest in watching women play. For instance, airing professional women’s sports on weekends is a barrier for many women who perform traditional gender roles associated with childcare.

I hadn't thought about that, but the theory makes sense.

Next question, of course, is how do we address this issue?

Team USA set for next leg of Olympic journey

Our women are headed to Istanbul as a tune up for the Games, which start in exactly a week.

The "women to the back of the plane" scandal deepens, as Japan had their female athletes fly in economy and men in first-class too, like the Australians.

The US women, who are expected to win gold, are still fighting for respect.

The leader of Canada's Olympic squad appears to be Courtnay Pilypaitis.

Pro news:

Great Britain captain Jo Leedham will give the WNBA a go next summer.

Remember Cheryl Ford? No, she's not retired - she's rehabbing.

Remember Debbie Black? She'll be inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

NCAA items:

Former basketball standout Jackie Stiles has been named an assistant at Loyola Marymount University.

Cincinnati Coach Jamelle Elliott's contract has been extended through 2018.

The League and Say No Classic weekend schedules

The League:

7/21 (Marl)
10:00 2v*12
11:00 *3v*12
12:00 *3v13
1:00 1v5
2:00 4v*14
3:00 *7v10
4:00 *7v*14
@ St. B
6:00 *8v11
7:00 *8v*9
8:00 6v*9


1. White – (BBG)
2. Black – (Beast Mode)
3. Yellow – (AVC)
4. Pink – (Cal State LA)
5. Orange – (SF state)
6. Red – (Encore)
7. Baby blue – (UCSD)
8. Lime Green – (Salvatori)
9. Forrest green – (Black Mamba)
10. Blue - (GSAC)
11. Navy – (Right Now)
12. Purple – (Mustang Alumnae)
13. Ex
14. Gametime

Say No:

Saturday, July 14

9 a.m. 11 vs. 3
10 a.m. 1 vs. 2
11 a.m. 6 vs. 8
12 p.m. 11 vs. 4

Sunday, July 15

9 a.m. 7 vs. 4
10 a.m. 1 vs. 8
11 a.m. 7 vs. 10
12 p.m. 2 vs. 9


#1 Advanced Basketball - Reginald Snell
#2 Titans - Raymond Shepard
#3 Team Excel - McKinsey Hadley
#4 LA Fastbreak - Louie Nelson
#5 PHB 1- Valentine
#6 PHB 2 - Valentine
#7 Citrus College
#8 Citrus College
#9 Jessica Cheeks
#10 Encore - Erica Jackson
#11 Team Quitte

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thursday practice

Pictures from today's Team USA practice.

Controversy is brewing over the way the Australian women's team was sent to the back of the plane for the flight to England.

Liz Cambage's London diary.

Dishin & Swishin talks to AP reporter Doug Feinberg about Olympic basketball.

For the US team, it's mostly a UConn thang.

Ten things to know about Candace Parker.

Our women are on a world tour.

More on the Olympics - and some of it aggravating

The sexism on display during yesterday's USA-GB broadcast is not just limited to this country: the Australian women's team received second-class treatment compared to their male counterparts.

US Team:

The team and Coach Geno Auriemma share thoughts on last night's game.

Despite their sub-par performances in both exhibition games this week, the US women remain heavy favorites to win gold.

Diana Taurasi is one of the team veterans. But one columnist wondered the same thing I did: how can she suddenly be ready to play after sitting out almost the entire season injured? Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Michael T. White Showtime National Championships brackets posted

Look at all the talent coming to Mater Dei High School, near Los Angeles, next week: Tree of Hope and Lady Style from Seattle, JBS from Sacramento, Cal Sparks North and South, the infamous OGDL, the (Candice) Wiggins Waves, and several intriguing newcomers.

Perhaps the most intriguing first-day matchup in the National Division is Cal Sparks Gold vs. the Chinese National Team.

Signature Division.

Open Division bracket.

This is always such a fun tournament to cover. I'm looking forward to it.

Pat Summitt's life a movie?

Apparently it's a possibility, but I hope it doesn't come to pass. No actress could ever do her justice, and the movie would have to be at least five hours long to do her life justice. For my hero, I vote NO.

Olympic bonus:

I've got to give a shout out to Helen for this.

Team USA 88, Great Britain 63

The reserves turned things around for Team USA today, giving them the juice to finally extend the lead in the third quarter and finish the job. Maya Moore lead the US with 18 points, and Lindsay Whalen added 13.

Box score.

I'm concerned that Team USA hasn't dominated their first two opponents, as it took them a while Monday night to mount a lead on Brazil. Anytime a team is slow to start, that is a red flag - especially considering how hungry some of the members of the US team have said they are.

I was never sold on the composition of Team USA in the first place. I would have put Cappie Pondexter and Nnemkadi Ogwumike on the squad instead of Swin Cash and Ashja Jones, both for their significantly better statistics and younger legs. I'm sure there are politics involved, as there always are. But USA Basketball should be able to put those aside for the Olympic Games.

And as if these women aren't disrespected enough playing for the WNBA, ESPN commentator Mark Jones today kept making errors referring to players during the game cast. He mixed up Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles, as well as Candace Parker and Maya Moore. That is completely unacceptable, especially considering all the good, knowledgeable commentators that could have taken his place.

Finally, when, how and why was UConn assistant Chris Dailey suddenly added to the Olympic staff? There already were three assistant coaches. Why four?

I wish I was feeling more excited about this Olympic basketball competition so far, but I'm not.

July viewing period, part II, begins Sunday

We're currently in the NCAA dead period zone, but come July 22, part II of this month's viewing period will be on like Donkey Kong.

Here's the full list of July tournaments, with the second batch beginning on page 21. Big tournaments are:

Nike/BSN Midwest Summer Showcase at Indy Indoor Sports Park in Indianapolis, Indiana www.ohiobasketball.com, July 22-23

Blue Chip Basketball Battle of Baltimore at Park School in Baltimore, Maryland www.bluechipbasketball.com, July 22-24

USJN/Nike 17u National Championship (Washington DC) at Capital Sports Complex in District Heights, Maryland www.usjn.com, July 22-25

Showtime National Championships at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California www.michaeltwhite.com, July 23-25 (Yours truly will cover this one)

Basketball on the Bayou at John A. Alario Center in New Orleans, Louisiana www.roundballacademy.com, July 23-26

adidas Super 64 Women's Division at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas, Nevada www.adidassuper64.com, July 25-29

Muscle Milk Invitational at Westin Resort and Spa in Henderson, Nevada www.calsparks.com, July 26-28

Women's summer leagues around the country

I've talked and posted about the Say No Classic and The League here in Los Angeles, but there are adult women's summer leagues throughout the country. Here's a comprehensive list.

Olympics-college mixture

Team USA just beat Great Britain, but that will be a separate post altogether. In the meantime:

Point guard Sue Bird will return to the team Saturday. She has been with family in the wake of her stepfather's death. Geno Auriemma discusses the issue.

Kelley Hardwick - the referee who filed suit against Auriemma for sexual harassment, will work at the Olympics after all.

Australia's Liz Cambage could be a key to unlocking gold for the Aussies - especially if the USA doesn't step their game up.

The Aussies like their beds at the Olympic Village.


A short time ago, the Baylor Bears were honored as NCAA Champions by President Barack Obama at the White House.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

OK, a couple more pro things

Nnemkadi Ogwummike was named rookie of the month for July. She also collected the honor in May.

Players of the month are the same as the players for the week: Candace Parker for the West and Tina Charles for the East. Looks like an MVP race to me:

Highlights of Charles’ month included:

Earned back-to-back WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week presented by Boost Mobile honors.
In her final game before the break, recorded her 12th double-double of the season as the Sun earned its fifth straight win behind Charles’ 25 points and 13 boards at Chicago. Tallied 12 points and eight boards in the second half, rallying Connecticut from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit for an 80-78 victory.
Scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in an 86-75 win over Tulsa on July 6.
On the strength of her fourth straight double-double, helped the Sun hand Minnesota its first home loss of the season. Her 19-point, 15-rebound effort keyed the 86-80 win July 7.

Highlights of Parker’s month included:

Notched four double-doubles.
Opened the month with 28 points, 13 rebounds, two blocks and a pair of assists in a 96-90 win over Minnesota on July 5.
Recorded her 13th double-double of the season with 22 points and 14 boards (including 11 on the defensive end), and three blocks in a 90-71 road win at Phoenix on July 10.
Recorded 17 points, 14 rebounds, and three steals en route to an 83-59 decision over Seattle on July 7.
Closed out her July performance with 19 points, four blocks and seven boards in a 77-74 road win over Eastern Conference contender Indiana on July 12.

Power rankings still have the Silver Stars on top.


Shanterrica Madden was sentenced to 29 years today for the murder of roommate Tina Stewart, an MTSU guard, last year.

WBCA Academic Team Honor Rolls

All the honorees.

Top honorees from each division:

Division Institution 2011-12 Head Coach Team GPA

NCAA Division I Green Bay Matt Bollant 3.616
NCAA Division II Drury Steve Harold 3.709
NCAA Division III Northland Bill Wilson 3.706
NAIA Northwestern (Iowa) Chris Yaw 3.657
Junior/Community College Salt Lake Betsy Specketer 3.379

Division I Top 25:

Rank Institution 2011-12 Head Coach Team GPA

1 Green Bay** Matt Bollant* 3.616
2 South Dakota State** Aaron Johnston 3.61
3 DePaul** Douglas Bruno 3.604
4 South Dakota Ryun Williams* 3.595
5 American Matt Corkery 3.563
6 Youngstown State Robert Boldon 3.55
7 Utah Valley Cathy Nixon 3.524
8 North Dakota Gene Roebuck* 3.505
9 Florida Gulf Coast** Karl Smesko 3.474
10 St. Francis (N.Y.) John Thurston 3.456
11 Montana State Tricia Binford 3.435
12 Northern Colorado Jaime White 3.421
13 Western Carolina Karen Middleton 3.406
14 (tie) New Mexico Yvonne Sanchez 3.403
14 (tie) Northern Iowa Tanya Warren 3.403
16 North Dakota State Carolyn DeHoff 3.402
17 Montana Robin Selvig 3.399
18 Indiana-Purdue, Fort Wayne Chris Paul 3.398
19 Bradley Paula Buscher* 3.396
20 Denver Erik Johnson* 3.387
21 Bucknell Kathy Fedorjaka* 3.382
22 Yale Chris Gobrecht 3.352
23 Sacred Heart** Edward Swanson 3.349
24 Bowling Green Curt Miller* 3.347
25 Eastern Washington Wendy Schuller 3.337

Monday, July 16, 2012

If you want Tennessee to retire Candace Parker's jersey.....

Sign this.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2013 inductees announced

The list includes Peggie Gillom-Granderson, Jen Rizzotti, Annette Smith-Knight and Sue Wicks, and coaches Gary Blair and Jim Foster.

The induction ceremony will be next June 8.

One last lil bit of WNBA for a while

Western and Eastern Conference players of the week are Candace Parker and Tina Charles, respectively.

The Silver Stars are the surprise "buzz" team at the break.

The Lynx who are left behind will work on their skills during the Olympic break.

The Olympic break is a time to relax for the Sun.

Shock Coach Gary Kloppenburg's mid-season review.

Tulsa is one superstar away from being contenders.

USA 99, Brazil 67

A respectable effort in tonight's exhibition game, though Team USA let Brazil get too close mid-game for the liking of some fans.

Lindsay Whalen was named the Tiffany Player of the Game with 21 points and five assists.


Would love to put up the box score, but no one has it. I'm irritated.

Sue Bird didn't play, due to a death in her family.

After the game, Team USA met President Obama, who offered his congratulations. (He had just watched them play)

This morning, the team went to Arlington National Cemetery.

They have a gold standard to live up to.

Lindsay Whalen and Maya Moore went different routes.

Time for a time out

It's the NCAA dead period, and all is quiet........

But before that, there was the epic Battle in the 'Boro.

In a few days, club ball action will resume. Next week Cal Sparks Gold hosts the Michael T. White Tournament at Mater Dei. Brackets will be released Wednesday, and of course I'll be there.

Pat Summitt:

Check out this awesome piece on the legendary coach by none other than Alysa Auriemma - Geno's daughter:

Let me just clear this up right away. Pat Summitt is a titan of women's basketball. She practically IS women's basketball.

I know. I'm the daughter of Geno Auriemma. I've met Barack Obama twice. I've been in the Hall of Fame to watch my father inducted alongside Charles Barkley and Dominique Wilkins. Tennessee is the grits and gravy-soaked Evil Empire and we're the cool Yankee rivals with good posture and Katharine Hepburn houses on our coastline. I should be stoned for even suggesting a compliment towards Pat Summitt.

I would be the worlds' most ungrateful, insipid, spoiled, solipsistic idiot if I didn't recognize the importance of this woman in the women's rights movement and the game of basketball as a whole. Women's basketball as an institution would be NOTHING without that woman, and I don't think hyperboles exist in this situation.

Everything my father has done in the world of womens' basketball, Pat Summitt did it first. It's like that episode of South Park "Simpsons Already Did It". Pat Summitt is The Simpsons in this corollary. (Sentences I never thought I'd say.) She got a 39-0 season before UConn did, she got a Championship 3Peat before UConn did, she got the best recruits before UConn did. And she did it with grace and a sense of dignity that you cannot argue. I won't try to argue it. I am General Disarray, to keep up the South Park comparison. Pat Summitt Already Did It.

Pat Summitt has a gold medal, and more championship trophies, and 1,000+ wins. Whether you like it or not, she is the number one reason my father was even able to do half of what he's done. And if I can give her those kinds of props, you can too. She is the standard to which we should all aspire for in terms of grit, clout, proficiency, success, and determination. And she did it without dropping nearly as many f-bombs as my Dad does. So...she's probably a little classier, but Southern people just tend to sound classier than Philadelphia people do in general. I think it's the accent.

That's some nice, grown-woman stuff right there.

Team USA's first scrimmage is tonight

Our Olympians face Brazil tonight in the first of two exhibitions this week.

From foes to friends, the USA team makes a quick transition.

Photo gallery from yesterday's practice.

Candace Parker dunked in practice Saturday. So did Sylvia Fowles.

Brazil is ready.

The Olympics schedule is demanding.

Angel McCoughtry is more comfortable on the world stage this year.

Diana Taurasi talks about the challenges the US faces from other teams.

Of course, Coach Geno Auriemma calls Sue Bird "the best point guard in the world."

This team has a familiar feel for Auriemma.

Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles go way back.

UConn assistant coach Chris Dailey is helping Team USA.

Something I missed: hoops great Teresa Edwards is the Chef de Mission for our team this Olympic Games.

Today's game is 2:30 p.m. PDT/5:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN2. Go USA!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Nnemkadi Ogwumike's flawless transition to the pros is just the first step

I had a great time putting together this feature on super-rookie Nnemkadi Ogwumike.

I remember watching then-freshman Ogwumike in March, 2009 address the media at the Pac-10 Conference, and her maturity struck me then. But this past April, at the Final Four, I knew I had to go more in depth due to her reaction to losing in the semifinals (first paragraph of the story). Talking to Ogwumike numerous times since then in Sparks post-game interviews, I am convinced she's really a 40-year-old stuck in a body that is 22.

I interviewed both Chiney Ogwumike and Ify Ogwumike - their mother - for the story. I found myself wanting to adopt Chiney, and being grateful that Ify is a middle school principal, which allows her to extend her influence to numerous young people.

Chiney shared an interesting anecdote with me: she is the "fire" of the relationship with her sister, and Nneka is the "ice." And they both even each other out in that respect.

For whatever reason, some are still underestimating Nneka Ogwumike, even as she's stormed into the WNBA and put up the numbers she has. But that won't last for long.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Olympic team opens camp

Hey, our Team USA has opened camp.

The hoopers put on a show.

Team USA is ready to live up to expectations.

Olympic team coach Geno Auriemma is feeling the heat as the Games approach.

Practice report.

Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles and Tina Charles are going to help Team USA stay big in the middle.

Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi talk Olympics.

The Tulsa Shock's chaplain is looking forward to the Games, again.

(Edited to update at 9 a.m. PDT July 15, 2012)

Cleaning house at Fullerton?

First, Cal State Fullerton fired their men's basketball coach. Then they reassigned their athletic director to another job.

Rumors are flying that women's basketball coach Marcia Foster could resign, but she did just hire an assistant coach.

Yet, some signees appear to have left:

There is nothing on the Cal State Bakersfield roster yet, but I hear Briana Barfield will play ball there. Similarly, nothing on the Eastern Arizona roster yet, but I understand Lunden Junious will play ball there. Both athletes had committed to Fullerton two months ago.

Wonder what's going on?

Friday, July 13, 2012

WNBA now off for a month

Before we get to the last games before the break stuff, we have some WNBA news......


Longtime Mystics fans are discouraged by the team's downward spiral.

The team's decline saddens me, too. There are a bunch of great players on the roster, so why they keep losing is confounding. I heard that Coach Trudi Lacey cut numerous quality players from this year's training camp, and no one can understand why. I'd love to see Julie Plank back.


Hey, the Sparks are having fan events again! For the first time in a loooong while. It's Tip-a-Spark next Saturday. The picture alone makes me want to go.

Sharnee' Zoll's blog for the Sparks.


The Star-Tribune assesses the first half of Minnesota's season.


For Tamika Catchings, every day is about being a leader in life.

Silver Stars:

Dishin & Swishin talks to Becky Hammon.

And today's games, which are the last four as we go into break for the Olympics:

Well, well, well: Mystics won one - 70-53 over the Liberty.

The Silver Stars push their winning streak to nine by getting one over the Dream, 90-71.

The Sun barely survived the Sky, 80-78.

The Storm upended the Mercury, 83-64.

Olympics news

The USA women's team is in Washington to prepare for the Olympics.

Our USA team will play two exhibition games next week: Monday against Brazil, and Wednesday versus Great Britain.

Diana Taurasi is almost 100 percent recovered from her hip flexor injury.

Maya Moore talks Olympics.

Team USA's clothes are made in China. Lawmakers are infuriated.

Recruiting 101, part II

It's July - the biggest high school recruiting month of the year, and college coaches are scouring club ball tournaments around the country looking for good fits for their programs.

With so much talent on display, how do coaches know whom and what to look for? I asked a few coaches to break it down for us, and today Cal assistant Coach Kai Felton weighs in. She is known for her recruiting skills.

I've been asked before, "What is it that you do during the July evaluation period?" It's a great question and lots of people who aren't in our profession really don't understand that it takes a ton of pre-July planning and organizing...all to sit in a gym ALL DAY. Yep, you heard me right; we often watch 12-plus hours a day of basketball.

The planning and organizing is key for each women's basketball program. We all have the same goal: to watch and support our top recruits throughout the month. There are hundreds of tournaments to choose from, but you'll see us where we hope our future Bears are playing. It's important to discuss who sees what team/recruit and we always want our head coach in the stands wearing the blue and gold.

We wish all of our recruits played at the same tournaments...that'd make our jobs easy. Yet, that's never the case, so you'll see us split up across the country. And more often than not, more than one coach will be recruiting at an event on different days so that we can effectively see as many players and games as possible. For example, in Oregon, three of us recruited that tournament and all on different days. We didn't miss a game. There are days, where we can work a tournament together. We LOVE these days because we get to spend time with one another, and there is more Bear Territory in the gym!

When coaches are in the gym recruiting, each has their own style. Some are in jeans and their school polo, some are in basketball shorts and T-shirts, some wear skirts and heels (yea, I know...not me!), some love loud shoes (me!) and most are in khaki's and their school colors. Personally, my outfits scream where I'm from and I'm comfortable with it because I love where I'm working and I'm proud of where we are going. I want our future Bears to know that you won't catch me in anything else. Yesterday I wore a T-shirt with Bear Territory on the front and Cal on the back, and an older gentleman at the airport said to me, "Golden Bear Territory?" I told him yes, and he walked away with a smile and said, "Go Bears."

Sitting in a gym for 12-plus hours is no easy task! I've learned that packing healthy snacks is the way to go and taking breaks when you have them. Even if that means walking outside for 10 minutes to breathe in some fresh, sometimes hot and humid air. Working out during the month is key. I can't say I'm always great about waking up early to do so, but when I do, I always feel better! Coach Lindsay Gottlieb is the master at waking up at 4 a.m., working out, jumping on a plane and then recruiting!

Breakfast is also key because I might not eat again until dinnertime depending on how the games go and where the breaks are, if there are any. So far, this July, I've seen coaches with: mixed nuts & dried cranberries, Fruit Snacks, fresh raspberries, bananas, apples...others who are less worried about their diet have chips, candy, and cookies. There is usually a concession stand where we can buy food, but I tend to go there only as a last resort. If you can get out of the gym to head to Panera Bread or Subway, do it! It's healthy to change it up and see the sun, even for a little bit. My unhealthy-guilty pleasure is coffee and Diet Coke - I won't go a day without it! Oh, and thanks to (associate head coach) Charmin Smith, I've got my SIGG canteen filled with water so wherever I go, I stay hydrated!

When watching games, we want to be present, so we put our iPhones away and we watch closely. We want to learn our recruits’ tendencies and remember moments in the game that we can later share with them. The Bears love to play fast, put big numbers on the board, press and get after it defensively, so we are looking for players who emulate that style. At the same time, we are very specific in what we need and what we are looking for in each class. Each of our recruits brings talents to the table that we need in our system. Anytime we see a new player that we've not evaluated before, we take down notes and let each other know so we can continue to watch them play. If they are younger, we put them into our system so we can follow their development and growth.

At the end of each evaluation period, we will meet as a staff and talk about who we saw and what we liked. It's a great time to talk about new players who caught our eye and where they will fit in as a Bear! We are always trying to stay one step ahead. We've got a talented Golden Bear team now and we are going to add more skill, speed, athleticism and fun personalities in the years to come.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

22/20, 30/14, 28, 27

Amazing game night:

Sparks rookie Nnemkadi Ogwumike exploded for 22 points and 20 rebounds and lead her team to a 77-74 win over the Fever. Ogwumike's 12 offensive boards was a WNBA record.

Tamika Catchings had 27 points for Indiana, and the Indy Star has a different take on the game.

My take: it was a helluva game.

Earlier, Maya Moore lead the Lynx to an 89-74 victory over the Shock, with 28 points. Rookie Glory Johnson had a career-high 30 points, plus 14 rebounds, for the Shock, who have a helluva lot of heart.

There are four final games tomorrow before the Olympic break:

Mystics at Liberty
Dream at Silver Stars
Sun at Sky
Storm at Mercury

The next league game is Aug. 16. *sigh*

Other league news:

Ruth Riley earned the WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for June.

Sparks at Fever post-game quotes:

Quoting Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn

(General comments)

“I’m very disappointed that we didn’t win this game. We did everything we needed to do except rebound. Their (Los Angeles’) effort to get offensive rebounds was the difference. Rebounding is attention to detail. I told our players to come back better rebounders or don’t come back.”

Quoting Sparks Head Coach Carol Ross

(General comments)

“It was a hard-fought game. We laid it all out tonight. We sneaked out of here with a win.”

(On last play for Fever)

“The Fever diagramed a very good play, had a great look and we didn’t guard it very well.”

Quoting the Fever’s Briann January

(On rebounding)

“It was definitely the difference in the game. You can’t win when you let one person get 20 rebounds. It is not on one person, it is a team effort. It is one thing we will work on and get better when we come back from the break.”

(On Los Angeles starting lineup)

“They’ve been on the road and it’s a credit to them. They brought energy. They continued to play hard for 40 minutes.”

“This is a tough one to let go, especially at home.”

Quoting the Fever’s Tamika Catchings

(On rebounding)

“I’m sure for us that everyone has already talked about it… rebounding. Nneka (Ogwumike) had 20. That’s just not acceptable. It’s just frustrating going in as it’s the same thing over and over. Again, we continue to talk about rebounding, boxing out and turning the ball over. Hopefully this break will be good and everyone will regroup and re-focus for the second half of the season.

Quoting the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike

(General comments)

“I thought we did a good job. I’m very excited about our five wins going into the break. We fought hard.”

“After we won quarters one and three, we wanted to work hard to get (quarter) four.”

Quoting the Sparks’ Kristi Tolliver

(General comments)

“It was a hard-fought battle. I’m glad we were able to get the victory. I knew that it was going to come down to the battle of the boards. We had good all-around effort. It’s a good victory going into the break.”

Reminder: Shannon Bobbitt basketball clinic this Saturday

Recruiting 101, part I

It's July - the biggest high school recruiting month of the year, and college coaches are scouring club ball tournaments around the country looking for good fits for their programs.

With so much talent on display, how do coaches know whom and what to look for? I asked a few coaches to break it down for us, and today Tulane University assistant Doshia Woods weighs in. She has had 13 years experience in the field, and she had this to say:


For our staff, we always make a point to watch the kids who correspond with us during this time.

During the school year (which begins Sept. 1) we make a focus list. We send out information and try to prioritize who we like the best. Once they start corresponding back, we moved them to another list.

When we go to tournaments this summer, we are comparing the players we like by position. For the younger kids, we look for improvement if we have seen them already.

We try to follow up with those who have called, emailed, or sent film. But these days that's harder to do because some tourneys are so watered down!

We try to develop a relationship with the player, and sell them on Tulane.

During July we are looking for that player who makes a difference on the court - one that if you don't know her name, you want to know it!

As an assistant for Lisa Stockton at Tulane, I try to identify who can play for her in skills, and who can achieve academically. Then it's my job to make sure my boss sees them. Now this step makes me mad sometimes because we know girls can be temperamental. Well, if they pick that ONE game to play lazily, it could be their one chance to play for the boss!

Unfortunately, we don't care too much (or I don't at least) who wins which tourney, but I do look for those players who continue to play hard, play smart, and make a difference despite the score.

Los Angeles: The League, Say no schedules for Saturday

The League:

Marl: Marlborough School 250 S. Rossmore Ave. 90004
St. B: St. Bernard 9100 S. Falmouth

7/14 (Marl)
10:00 12v*14
11:00 *1v*14
12:00 *1v10
1:00 3v*5
2:00 *4v*5
3:00 *4v13
4:00 7v9
@ St. B
6:00 6v8
7:00 2v11

1. White – (BBG)
2. Black – (Beast Mode)
3. Yellow – (AVC)
4. Pink – (Cal State LA)
5. Orange – (SF state)
6. Red – (Encore)
7. Baby blue – (UCSD)
8. Lime Green – (Salvatori)
9. Forrest green – (Black Mamba)
10. Blue - (GSAC)
11. Navy – (Right Now)
12. Purple – (Mustang Alumnae)
13. Ex
14. Gametime

Say No:

9 a.m. - 3 v 11
10 a.m. - 1 v 2
11 a.m. - 6 v 8
12 p.m. - 4 v 1

1: Advanced Basketball
2: Titans
3: Team Excel
4: LA Fastbreak
6: PHB 2
8: Citrus College 2
11: TBA

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Winning streaks, and other news

Today's game action:

The Sun have a four-game winning streak going after defeating the Mytics, who are now tied with the Shock for league's worst record (3-14).

In the meantime, the Silver Stars have won eight in a row after a 77-68 decision over the Sky.

The Dream beat the Storm at home, 70-59. Seattle was without Tina Thompson, who sustained a sprained knee and ankle in Saturday's game against the Sparks.

Other WNBA:

Slamonline tabs Candace Parker as tops in the MVP race.

The WNBA East is not what it seems.


Diana Taurasi was named WNBA player of the year, and Brittney Griner was named female college athlete of the year at tonight's ESPYs.


The pre-season WNIT field has been announced.


Tamika Catchings is getting used to being one of the veterans on the Olympic team.

Diana Taurasi's injury won't slow the gold rush.

Pat Summitt tribute video

Just a short time ago at the ESPY Awards, Coach Pat Summitt was presented the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. Here is the tear- and chill-inducing video that was played beforehand.

Full video of Peyton Manning's introduction and Coach Summitt's acceptance speech.

UTLadyVols summary.

Some twitter reaction.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Undercurrent of homophobia still shapes women's sports

This piece is troublesome, on many levels:

Heartening as Iamstrong’s story may be to gay-rights and social-equality advocates, it is not necessarily representative of women’s athletics, a world in which, contrary to public perception and mainstream media attention, homophobia routinely provide a pervasive undercurrent in many day-to-day elements......

Homosexuality in men’s sports remains a headline-making topic, especially as a highly visible barrier still not crossed by an active athlete in a major U.S. sport. But despite limited visibility, homophobia in women’s sports may affect a far greater number of lives......

“If you’re an athlete and you’re a man, nobody thinks you’re gay,” said Griffin, professor emeritus of the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts and the director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Changing the Game project, which targets homophobia in K-12 athletics.

“If you’re a women athlete, the stereotype is you are a lesbian, or you must be playing on a team with a bunch of lesbians. As long as that is the stigma, women’s coaches are much more defensive and fearful about that kind of label. And as long as it has that kind of power, it makes it more likely that coaches and parents will use that (against women).”......

Male coaches or married female coaches in women’s athletics can’t say it directly, so they often sell their programs as “wholesome,” “family-based” or steeped in “family values.”

Many say such pitches routinely cross the line from promoting a sense of family on a team to not-subtly assailing other programs as pro-gay, itself used as an epithet.

The tactic is so rampant that it shapes recruiting practices, keeps women’s coaches closeted and contributes to a sizable gender imbalance for coaches of women’s teams, experts say.

According to Brooklyn College professors emerita R. Vivian Acosta and Linda Jean Carpenter, women hold only 42.9 percent of coaching jobs in women’s sports, down from more than 90 percent following the passage of landmark Title IX legislation in 1972. The law, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last month, prohibits gender discrimination in all publicly funded education programs, including athletics.

Men, meanwhile, hold about 97 percent of coaching jobs on the men’s side and more than 99.5 percent of jobs in men’s team sports, the study found. Since 2000, NCAA programs have added 1,774 women’s head coaching jobs, and men have filled 1,220 of the openings.

While old-fashioned sexism is cited as a leading cause of the imbalance, fear of being labeled as gay or losing recruits under the same guise is widely blamed for keeping women’s coaches closeted, driving them from the sideline or keeping them from coaching in the first place......

Considerable mental energy goes into shrouding sexual orientation for many female athletes, observers say, while even straight athletes find themselves trying to prove they are not gay.

Hair ribbons, the growing use of makeup during competition and even long hair, once far less common in women’s sports, are decried by some as homophobic constraints, even if such traditional symbols of femininity don’t indicate sexual orientation.