Thursday, April 30, 2015

The roots of women's basketball invisibility run deep

Maya Moore's terrific essay on the invisibility of WNBA players was a great piece to tie in to one I was working on:

The roots of women's basketball invisibility run deep

It's a societal problem, and we've got work to do.

Chiney Ogwumike: There's nothing better than being an athlete and a nerd

The latest video from the effervescent Chiney Ogwumike.

Hitting every category

International news:

UMMC Etakerinburg defended their Russian Premier League title and secured a seventh straight Championship with a 62-59 win over Nadezhda. Candace Parker lead the way with 15 points and 16 rebounds.

USA Basketball:

Jennifer Rizzotti will return next week as the Women's National Team court coach.

WNBA news:

The WNBA has failed in the handling of domestic abuse, one columnist says.

After the draft, Dream rookies are getting settled in Atlanta.

Q&A with Mystics rookie Natasha Cloud.

Today's transactions:

Team Player Transaction

Phoenix Alex Harden Contract Signed
Los Angeles Annalise Pickrel Contract Signed
San Antonio Dearica Hamby Contract Signed

College news:

Kentucky stand out Makayla Epps pleaded not guilty in court today to several alcohol-related charges.

Former Southeast Missouri State coach Ty Margenthaler is now an assistant at Samford.

Former Arizona State guard/forward Nicole Iademarco has transferred to Rice.

Five Kennesaw State players have come to the defense of coach Nitra Perry, accused of harassment.

Wichita State's inquiry into allegations against coach Jody Adams could stretch into weeks.

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley is on the hunt for consistent scoring next season.

27 to attend USA Basketball training camp next week

The list of attendees for next week's USA Basketball Women's National Team camp is star-studded:

Jayne Appel (San Antonio Stars), Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Sue Bird (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (New York Liberty), Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock), Stefanie Dolson (Washington Mystics), Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky), Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury), Bria Hartley (Washington Mystics), Briann January (Indiana Fever), Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (Seattle Storm), Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks), Candace Parker (Los Angeles Sparks), Cappie Pondexter (Chicago Sky), Danielle Robinson (San Antonio Stars), Odyssey Sims (Tulsa Shock), Breanna Stewart (University of Connecticut), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury), Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky), Monica Wright (Minnesota Lynx) Jennifer Hamson (Los Angeles Sparks), Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm) and Tiffany Mitchell (South Carolina).

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fowles, transactions, Gray foundation, college news

Sylvia Fowles and Chicago Sky standoff:

The Chicago Sky are preparing to move on without center Sylvia Fowles. She and the organization have been at a stalemate since September, when Fowles declined a contract offer. She wants to be traded.

Her agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, hasn't returned my requests for comment, either.

More WNBA news:

Lynx rookie Reshanda Gray got a $12,000 donation last week to start a foundation. She plans to start an organization in South Los Angeles, where she was raised.

Dayton forward Ally Malott graduates Sunday, and looks forward to the WNBA.

Both draftees and non-draftees were signed today:

Team Player Transaction

Chicago Aleighsa Welch Contract Signed
Chicago Cheyenne Parker Contract Signed
Los Angeles Cierra Burdick Contract Signed
Los Angeles Andrea Hoover Contract Signed
Los Angeles Tyonna Outland Contract Signed
San Antonio Nikki Moody Contract Signed
Seattle Jazmine Davis Contract Signed
Seattle Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Contract Signed
Seattle Jewell Loyd Contract Signed

College coaching news:

New Utah coach Lynne Roberts is applying her energy to creating a new culture within the program. Roberts wants the Utes to be nationally relevant.

Northern Illinois coach Kathi Bennett has resigned.

College player news:

Buffalo's Mackenzie Loesing has retired due to chronic injury.

Some good news for USC:

The Trojans have signed Temi Fagbenle and Candela Abejón for next season, bringing the roster up to eight. Fagbenle is a Harvard graduate transfer, and Abejón is from Spain.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rookies inking contracts

Today's WNBA transactions:

Team Player Transaction

New York Brittany Boyd Contract Signed
New York Amber Orrange Contract Signed
New York Lauren Mincy Contract Signed
Phoenix Promise Amukamara Contract Signed
Phoenix Rebecca Tobin Contract Signed
Tulsa Amanda Zahui B. Contract Signed
Tulsa Mimi Mungedi Contract Signed
Tulsa Brianna Kiesel Contract Signed

Training camp begins May 17.

More WNBA news:

Jewell Loyd isn't forgetting her high school roots.

Finally, a photo gallery of Indiana Fever all-star forward Tamika Catchings' induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday.

College player news:

Former Old Dominion center Maia Lee has transferred to Towson.

Nyilah Jamison-Myers has transferred from Clemson to Charlotte.

Arizona has just signed the tallest player in program history in France native Eugenie Simonet-Keller, who is 6-foot-8.

College team news:

Four Southeast Missouri State women's basketball signees have been released from their national letters of intent.

College coaching news:

Coach Dawn Staley keeps South Carolina among the elite with her latest move in signing Sarah Imovbioh.

Minnesota coach Marlene Stollings will be inducted into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame for her achievements as a player.

Lamar coach Robin Harmony signed a three-year contract extension through 2017-2018.

Maryland's amazing donor:

Lifetime Terrapins supporter Carole Harris' latest endowment to women's basketball puts her total support of the program at $2.5 million.

Brittney Griner enters domestic violence diversion program

On the heels of last week's incident with fiance Glory Johnson, Brittney Griner has entered a domestic violence program that includes counseling:

Griner pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, but that plea will be set aside while she attends 26 weeks of domestic violence counseling. All charges will be dismissed if she successfully completes counseling, according to her attorney, David Michael Cantor.

"It is never OK for an argument to turn physical," Griner said in a statement released through Cantor. "This will never happen again, and I take my relationship and my responsibility as a role model seriously. I am committed to making positive changes and I plan to use what I have learned to set a good example and help make a difference in the world around me."

The program was part of a plea deal.

Griner's season in the WNBA will not be affected.

Bits from the 9-1-1 call.

Monday, April 27, 2015

FiveThirtyEight: Women's college basketball is better than men's

Great stuff:

Last month, when my editor tasked me with looking into the stats surrounding the notorious Harvard-Stanford 16 vs. 1 upset from 1998 for ESPNW, I didn’t know much about women’s basketball. When I found that upsets are much less common in the NCAA women’s tournament than in the men’s, my mind jumped to what seemed like a logical explanation: Perhaps the lack of upsets is caused by a lack of depth in the women’s game.

In particular, teams like the epically dominant University of Connecticut Huskies — newly minted winners of their third straight national title and the 10th of Coach Geno Auriemma’s reign — must be able to win so much because they get all the best players from a shallow talent pool. Even many who love and defend women’s basketball often judge it a little differently than men’s, on the presumption that it’s a less mature sport.

I don’t begrudge anyone for thinking this — I would still think the same if I hadn’t had the game on my mind for the past seven weeks. (Have I mentioned my editor is patient?) And it would make sense if there were any truth to the notion that women’s basketball is less talented.

But it isn’t. As it turns out, not only is women’s college basketball as strong and deep in college-age talent as the men’s game, but for the rarest talent, it is significantly more so.

And further down:

As you may have anticipated by now, the main thing that has an impact on competitive balance — and it’s a doozy — is the number of top players on the men’s side who leave college early, generally to enter the NBA draft. The 2015 NBA draft could see more than 50 early entrants; the WNBA draft this year had only two — and that was two more than it usually has.7

While virtually all the best female players of college age are playing college basketball, only a fraction of the best male players are.

I concur.

WNBA news takes center stage

As has been rumored, Sylvia Fowles is seeking a trade from the Chicago Sky. She wants to go to one team, but declined to identify it.

Number one draft pick Jewell Loyd said it was her time to leave Notre Dame, but declined to elaborate as to why.

The Atlanta Dream has invited Mississippi State's Martha Alwal to training camp.

Mystics forward Stefanie Dolson has grown as a player since her college days, but is still happy as "Big Mama Stef."

The latest transactions:

April 27, 2015
Team Player Transaction

Connecticut Elizabeth Williams Contract Signed
Indiana Chelsea Gardner Contract Signed
Minnesota Reshanda Gray Contract Signed
Minnesota Shae Kelley Contract Signed
New York Natasha Lacy Waived
Washington Ally Malott Contract Signed
Washington Natasha Cloud Contract Signed
Washington Blake Dietrick Contract Signed

Transfer news:

Old Dominion gained and lost a player.

Paris Kea has transferred from Vanderbilt to North Carolina.

Former USC guard Destinie Gibbs has landed at Pitt.

College player news:

Kelly Smith fills a void for Northern Illinois.

College team news:

LSU's athletic director says Tiger women's basketball needs to be revitalized.

College coaching news:

Former Eastern Michigan coach AnnMarie Gilbert is now head coach at Virginia Union University.

Gavin Petersen is Utah's new assistant coach.

Wichita State:

Coach Jody Adams didn't violate NCAA compliance rules, an investigation has found.

Tamika Catchings inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame - no, really

Hoops legend Tamika Catchings was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night. You wouldn't know it from the Hall's website, from the site of the Indiana Fever, or from the twitter accounts of either organization. Nor is there anything on the Tennessee women's basketball site about Catchings' induction.

Additionally, I haven't been able to find any stories or features about the ceremony on the Internet.

This "forgetfulness" is in no way excusable for not only an amazing player, but the best ambassador for the game that we've ever had.

The Hall did one thing right: they put up a Catchings bio.

Let's hope everyone gets it together soon and acknowledges the honor bestowed on Tamika Catchings. Deserving is an understatment.

College coaching news:

North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell's recovery from leukemia included work in her blueberry patch.

New Austin Peay coach David Midlick has work ahead of him.

Dayton coach Jim Jabir's tattoo will remind him of a triumphant season.

Wisconsin coach Bobbi Kelsey says her team is still learning, and that wins will come.

Abuse allegations against Wichita State coach Jody Adams continue to unfold.

College player news:

Former Virginia post player Sarah Imovbioh has transferred to South Carolina.

WNBA news:

The league weighs in on what they think the biggest offseason moves were.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Griner and Johnson still plan to wed

In case you missed Glory Johnson's tweet Friday night - and my retweet of her tweet - she and Brittney Griner still plan to wed after their altercation last week.

College coaching news:

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley is eyeing a bigger role for her "youngsters."

Sunday conversation with new Lafayette coach Theresa Grentz.

Kennesaw State coach Nitra Perry has been accused of verbal and physical harassment toward her players.

More on Wichita State:

Some former Wichita State players and the school's athletic administration are at odds over coach Jody Adams’ style.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More changes

Coaching/player changes:

Georgia coach Joni Crenshaw has named Karen Lange her associate head coach.

Evan Unrau is coach Bonnie Henrickson's new assistant coach at UCSB.

Senior point guard Kyndal Clark is leaving Drake.

Former North Carolina State guard Chloe Jackson has transferred to LSU.

More college news:

Allegations against Wichita State coach Jody Adams are that she created "an atmosphere of anger, isolation and personal insults," causing four players to quit. Former player mother's expressed perspectives on the allegations.

Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey has been retained, but her contract wasn't extended.

At CSUN, Tessa Boagni and Caroline Gilling click in basketball and in life.

WNBA news:

Princeton's Blake Dietrick will take her shot at the WNBA.

"Message to my younger self"

Chiney Ogwumike's latest "unfiltered" video - a message to her 13-year-old self.

Another call to action on domestic violence

From the Washington Post:

Of course, one can’t equate domestic violence in the WNBA with domestic violence in men’s professional sports. Last year, ESPN counted 48 players “considered guilty of domestic violence under league policy” in the NFL since 2000, and Bleacher Report noted nine NBA players charged with domestic assault in the past three years. Even the most creative Googling for “WNBA domestic assault” won’t return numbers like these.

Still, the league is not immune from the problem. Though WNBA players in legal trouble are not covered as closely as male pro athletes in similar jams, there were reports that Jantel Lavender of the Los Angeles Sparks was hit with a restraining order by her ex-boyfriend in 2011 after a fight; that former WNBA player Deanna “Tweety” Nolan was arrested for allegedly assaulting her wife in 2012; and in 2013, former WNBA player Chamique Holdsclaw pleaded guilty to assault after her girlfriend, another WNBA player, reported Holdsclaw shot at her SUV.

Yet, when Congress wrote a letter urging professional sports leagues to clarify their domestic violence policies after the Ray Rice incident last year, the WNBA was not on the list of recipients......

The WNBA, however, has not made its policy on domestic violence public, if it has one. The league retweeted the Tulsa Shock’s statement about Glory Johnson — more or less, a no-comment — but has yet to offer a statement of its own. (The league was not immediately available for comment.)

Dina Skokos, the WNBA director of communications, said yesterday:

“We are aware of the incident involving Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson and are working with the Phoenix Mercury and Tulsa Shock organizations to obtain more information.”

That is the league's lone statement on the matter, so far.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NCAA news continues to flow

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw supports having the women's NCAA Tournament at a different time from the men's.

Not one but two good reviews of new Jayhawks coach Brandon Schneider.

Former Louisville guard Arianna Freeman has transferred to Colorado.

Well, there's one way to do it:

Texas A&M University-Kingsville coach Wade Scott is cleaning house. After a program-worst 0-26 season, he's cutting all but four players from the roster.

WNBA news:

South Carolina's Aleighsa Welch is preparing for her transition to the league.

Griner-Johnson case brings same-sex violence into the spotlight

It's been a little over 12 hours since the news of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner and Tulsa Shock forward Glory Johnson's arrests for domestic violence broke. There's been no outcry against women, women's sports or the WNBA because of it. I haven't been able to find any homophobic statements on the Internet. Those with vested interests weren't fretting with one another about the impact the incident would have on the game.

In fact, the reaction to what happened last night in a Phoenix suburb between two of the faces of the league has been pretty ho-hum. Are we that accustomed to professional athletes being involved in domestic or other violence? Maybe.

There was Baltimore Raven Ray Rice punching his wife out in an elevator last year. Two weeks ago, NBA players were involved in a stabbing at a New York City night club. Phoenix Suns twin brothers have been charged with felony assault.

Arizona Republic reporter Paola Boivin says the Griner-Johnson sheds light on a long-taboo subject:

When all is pled and done, this could turn out to be the greatest assist of Brittney Griner's career.

Reports on Thursday that the Mercury star and her fiancée were arrested on suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct shed light on an issue that has been ignored by sports leagues, avoided by media and mocked by fans: same-sex domestic violence.

This period of hyper-sensitivity toward abuse issues is a good thing. It might not feel that way to Griner and her partner, Glory Johnson of the Tulsa Shock, but the long, Title IX-fueled journey for equal opportunity must also include equal coverage of tough storylines......

It's a real concern. A 2014 survey by the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center found that 21.5 percent of men and 35.4 percent of women living with same-sex partners experienced intimate-partner physical violence in their lifetimes, numbers significantly higher than opposite-sex relationships.......

The WNBA should be proactive in educating players about abusive relationships and the resources available to them.

The league is unique in that it has had more athletes be open about their same-sex relationships. It should be at the forefront of discussion, too.

The WNBA, like most professional leagues, has been more reactive than proactive in addressing impactful issues.

It could learn a lot from the NFL, both good and bad.......

t is not just the league that bears responsibility to trigger change.

The media has under-reported stories of same-sex domestic violence. "Why" is a complicated question. Is it because same-sex relationships are still a hot-button issue for some? Is it because of fear of casting a negative light on women who are still battling equal-opportunity issues?

Tulsa World columnist John Klein made similar statements:

Now, Griner and Johnson will be central to the discussion of domestic violence among same-sex couples and how sports leagues deal with the issue.


The WNBA has been silent on the issue today. We are all waiting to see what they will do in this unprecedented case.

I agree with Boivin that the league should educate players about abuse and abusive relationships. It may seem quick to the WNBA, which began courting their gay and lesbian fans in earnest only last summer. But it's time. What it's not time for is burying heads in the sand. A strong, reality-based response is the best response.

If there are player suspensions, so be it. But there should also be a platform to address the issue of domestic violence - same-sex and opposite-sex. The WNBA has a chance to be a leader here.

It will be interesting to see what happens next.

More coaching and player carousel

UC Santa Barbara has named Bonnie Henrickson as their new head coach.

Pacific associate head coach Bradley Davis has been elevated to head coach.

Courtney G. Pruitt has been named head coach at Alcorn State.

Camryn Whitaker is Kentucky's new assistant coach.

Lilley Vander Zee is transferring from Texas.

South Dakota State's Gabby Boever has been granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA.


Arkansas has extended coach Jimmy Dykes' contract through 2019-2020.

The Wichita State president is looking into the recent transfers of four basketball players.

WNBA transactions page:

...has finally been updated after 22 long days.

April 23, 2015

Team Player Transaction

Atlanta Samantha Logic Contract Signed
Atlanta Aneika Henry Contract Signed
Atlanta Janeesa “Chucky” Jeffery Contract Signed
Atlanta Lauren Okafor Contract Signed
Atlanta Monique Oliver Contract Signed
Connecticut Ka-Deidre Simmons Contract Signed
Minnesota Amber Harris Contract Signed

Mercury and Shock release statements on Griner-Johnson incident


PHOENIX – Phoenix Mercury Executive Vice President and General Manager Jim Pitman has released the following statement:

“The Mercury organization is aware of an alleged incident involving Brittney Griner. We are in the process of gathering additional information, and will have no further comment at this time.”


TULSA, Okla. From team president Steve Swetoha:

“We are aware of the reports out of Phoenix regarding our player Glory Johnson. We are in the process of gathering information at this time. Of course our first concern is for Glory’s well-being and health. We are looking into the matter further and have no other comment to make at this time.”

More details about the incident have emerged:

Griner, 24, and WNBA player Glory Johnson were in an argument in the Goodyear home they recently purchased. Several people inside the home tried to break up the fight before police were called, police said.

Police reports indicate that Johnson's sister called Goodyear police Wednesday afternoon to report that Johnson and Griner, who were "in the living room throwing things at each other."

When police arrived at the home on 133rd Drive, Johnson's sister, Judy, told officers she was at a loss for what to do because of the way the two were fighting, so she called police.

"We couldn't get them pulled apart," Judy Johnson said, according to a police report.

Brittney Griner, fiancee Glory Johnson arrested for assault, disorderly conduct

This morning:

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, the reigning WNBA defensive player of the year, and Tulsa Shock forward Glory Johnson, her fiancée, were both arrested Wednesday for suspicion of assault and disorderly conduct, according to multiple media reports.

Both Griner and Johnson were arrested in Goodyear, Arizona, on Wednesday. Johnson was released at 4 a.m. Thursday, with Griner being released 23 minutes later, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

Mug shots.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

College hoops still taking center stage in the news

College news:

South Carolina

Gamecoach coach Dawn Staley is confident in the team's continued success.

South Carolina was recently recognized at the Statehouse.

Two donors - including an alumni - have endowed South Carolina with a scholarship named for Aleighsa Welch.

Air Force

Air Force's athletic director said hiring coach Chris Gobrecht was a no-brainer.

Gobrecht said her Ivy League experience will translate to her new job.

The challenge for Gobrecht will be massive.


Former Dixie State hoopers suing the University, alleging racial, sexual and religions discrimination.

The contract of Northern Iowa coach Tanya Warren has been extended through 2020-2021.

Lakota Beatty has transferred from Oklahoma State to Oral Roberts.

Former TCU center Klara Bradshaw has transferred to SMU.

Tatum Neubert is leaving Oregon.

UConn's Gabby Williams is looking to get better this offseason.

Husky Breanna Stewart is the Honda Award winner for women's basketball.

Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant reflects on a hard year.

WNBA news:

San Antonio rookie Dearica Hamby has a blog.

Coaching trio returns to USA Basketball

Dawn Staley will coach the U19 World Championship team this summer, and Kim Barnes Arico and Jeff Walz will assist her. The group coached last year's U18 team.

College news:

David Midlick is Austin Peay's new coach.

Bryce McKey and Bett Shelby as assistant coaches. They were assistants at Xavier and Virginia Tech, respectively.

College coaching changes so far this spring are here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Around the WNBA, colleges; Catchings to be honored

WNBA news:


Coach Bill Laimbeer and the New York Liberty are ready for the next chapter.

Liberty rookie Brittany Boyd is excited to head to New York.


Dream rookie Samantha Logic still has a few items to check off her list.

It's an Atlanta Dream come true for Lauren Okafor.

Dream forward Angel McCoughtry has come out, and says it cost her a spot on her Turkish national team.


Q&A with new Sparks guard Erin Phillips.


Tulsa Shock draft picks press conference.


Indiana Fever coach Stephanie White is a busy bee.


Storm veteran point guard Sue Bird, revealed.

College news:

After a car accident last summer took the lives of two teammates, Texas A&M-Commerce plays to remember.

North Carolina is getting a brand refresh, courtesy of Nike.

New coach Brandon Schneider has a vision for Kansas basketball.

Rice has a new assistant coach, as does Georgia State.

Nebraska has hired Britney Brown as assistant coach. She has held the same job at Tulsa for the last four years.

Bre McDonald and Tyara Warren will transfer from West Virginia.

Deborah Meeks and Ashley Jones - both juniors who came from Trinity Valley Community College last year - will not return for their final season at Kansas State.

Hanne Mestdagh and Victoria Wells have also decided to forego their senior seasons at Colorado State.

Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame:

The goat Tamika Catchings will be inducted Saturday.

Monday, April 20, 2015

More bits

WNBA news:

How prized rookies Brittany Boyd and Kiah Stokes will fit in with the Liberty. Coach Bill Laimbeer looks forward to working with Stokes.

Ariel Massengale is living a Dream.

Natasha Cloud deserves her shot with the Mystics.

The Sky's Aleighsa Mitchell is proud of the legacy she'll leave at South Carolina.

College news:

Former Texas forward Nekia Jones has transferred to North Texas.

New Kansas coach Brandon Schneider is expected to bring transformation to the team.

Final Four a success across multiple platforms

Great news:

The Women’s Final Four attendance totaled 39,540, marking the highest attendance for the Women’s Final Four in the last five years. The national championship game attendance reached 19,810 fans in Amalie Arena.

In addition, the first and second rounds of the championship, taking place at the top 16 hosting sites under the new Division I women’s basketball format, recorded the second-highest total attendance since 2004. The overall 2015 Division I Women’s Basketball Championship also recorded the third-highest number of fans since 2004, with a total of 239,746 going through the turnstiles.

More college news:

What was I just wondering last night? Utah has hired Lynne Roberts, from Pacific, as their new head coach.

UALR coach Joe Foley's contract has been extended through 2023-2024.

Former Oklahoma State guard Roshunda Johnson has transferred to Mississippi State.

Texas Tech coach Candi Whitaker is putting together a team through transfers and recruiting.

Nicole Seekamp has been granted a fourth year of eligibility at South Dakota.

WNBA news:

Blake Dietrick is preparing for Mystics training camp.

Brittany Hrynko will fight for a spot with the Dream.

Behind the scenes at the draft.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

SFA coach takes Kansas job

Kansas has a new coach:

Brandon Schneider, from Stephen F. Austin.

I wonder what's taking Utah so long. They fired their coach long before Kansas got rid of theirs.

Cal State Santa Barbara is still head-coachless, too.

Pat Summitt:

Three years ago yesterday, Pat Summitt retired. The game misses her.

College news:

Iowa State's Jadda Buckley is back in the gym and ready to take on ball handling responsibility.

WNBA news:

Connecticut Sun veteran Katie Douglas is taking stock of her past and future.

Chicago Sky top pick Cheyenne Parker is putting her troubles behind her.

Samantha Logic is a promising work in progress for the Dream.

The Storm begins their trip back to the top with two promising picks.

Pitt's Brianna Kiesel is "blessed and honored" to have been drafted by the Shock.

Iowa State's Nikki Moody, who was drafted by San Antonio last week, had been living at home in Texas since the college season ended. She "just decided I’d rather go where I’m comfortable.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

Chiney Ogwumike: the way female athletes are portrayed in the media needs to change

Chiney Ogwumike unfiltered.

College ball world: lots and lots of shaking

Transfers abound:

Four players are leaving Wichita State, including two starters.

Former Illinois guard Taylor Gleason has transferred to Oakland University.

Kat Cooper has transferred to Oregon from Boston College.

Sophomore forward Nekia Jones is leaving Texas.

More player news:

Madison Cable has been approved for a fifth year of eligibility at Notre Dame.

Coaching news:

Lafayette will introduce Theresa Grentz as head coach Monday.

Stephanie McCormick is Western Carolina's new coach.

North Florida's new coach is Darrick Gibbs.

South Florida coach Jose Fernandez has some international recruiting magic going.

Syracuse coach Quentin Hillsman's contract has been extended, for an undisclosed period.

Team news:

CSUN is continuing to build with new signees.

More on the WNBA draft

Player news:

Rutgers star Betnijah Laney has long been a draft target of Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman. Chicago's top pick, Cheyenne Parker, comes with risk.

Wichita State's Alex Harden was surprised at her selection.

Natasha Cloud is on cloud 9 after being picked by the Mystics.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kiah Stokes are excited to play alongside Husky legends Sue Bird and Tina Charles.

The Sun were thrilled to land Elizabeth Williams.

Cheyenne Parker is in disbelief over her draft selection.

Team news:

The Storm's rebuilding is almost complete after yesterday's draft.

The Sun not getting Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is probably for the best, one columnist says. Getting healthy is a must for Connecticut.

The Dream selected point guard Samantha Logic with their first-round pick.

The Liberty was all about the Bay Area point guards.

The Mystics have signed Princeton's Blake Dietrick.

The Sparks have signed Cal State Bakersfield guard Tyonna Outland.

Two more players leave USC program

Freshmen McKenzie Calvert and Amy Okonkwo have left the University of Southern California.

That makes six departures for the year, and drops the roster to six after graduation next month.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

WNBA draft analysis


1 Seattle Storm, Jewell Loyd Notre Dame
2 Tulsa Shock, Amanda Zahui B. Minnesota
3 Seattle Storm, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis UConn
4 Connecticut Sun, Elizabeth Williams Duke
5 Chicago Sky, Cheyenne Parker Middle Tenn. State
6 San Antonio Stars, Dearica Hamby Wake Forest
7 Los Angeles Sparks, Crystal Bradford Central Michigan
8 Washington Mystics, Ally Mallot Dayton
9 New York Liberty, Brittany Boyd California
10 Atlanta Dream, Samantha Logic Iowa
11 New York Liberty (from Minnesota) , Kiah Stokes UConn
12 Phoenix Mercury, Isabelle Harrison Tennessee


1 (13) Tulsa Shock, Brianna Kiesel Pittsburgh
2 (14) Los Angeles Sparks, Cierra Burdick Tennessee
3 (15) Washington Mystics, Natasha Cloud St. Joseph's
4 (16) Minnesota Lynx (from New York), Reshanda Gray California
5 (17) Chicago Sky, Betnijah Laney Rutgers
6 (18) Phoenix Mercury, Alex Harden Wichita State
7 (19) Connecticut Sun (traded to Atlanta), Brittany Hrynko DePaul
8 (20) Seattle Storm, Vicky McIntyre Oral Roberts
9 (21) Indiana Fever, Chelsea Gardner Kansas
10 (22) Chicago Sky, Aleighsa Welch South Carolina
11 (23) New York Liberty (from Minnesota), Amber Orrange Stanford
12 (24) Phoenix Mercury, Zofia Hruscakova Slovakia


1 (25) Tulsa Shock, Mimi Mungedi Nevada-Reno
2 (26) Seattle Storm, Nneka Enemkpali Texas
3 (27) New York Liberty, Laurin Mincy Maryland
4 (28) New York Liberty (from Minnesota), Michala Johnson Wisconsin
5 (29) Atlanta Dream, Ariel Massengale Tennessee
6 (30) San Antonio Stars, Dragana Stankovic Serbia
7 (31) Los Angeles Sparks, Andrea Hoover Dayton
8 (32) Washington Mystics, Mrica Gajic Bosnia
9 (33) San Antonio Stars, Nikki Moody Iowa State
10 (34) Atlanta Dream, Lauren Okafor James Madison
11 (35) Minnesota Lynx (from New York), Shae Kelley Minnesota
12 (36) Phoenix Mercury, Promise Amukamara Arizona State


Seattle Storm

They got a #1 point guard in Jewell Loyd, who can learn from arguably the best in the business in Sue Bird, as she nears retirement. The Storm got sharp-shooter Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and top-tier center Vicky McIntyre, who will help fill Lauren Jackson's absence. They will save Nneka Enemkpali for next year, to work alongside McIntyre. Just the thought of both of them in the paint is frightening.

Connecticut Sun

Versatile, high-scoring Elizabeth Williams is a great addition to the roster. And the Sun wisely traded Brittany Hrynko to Atlanta for the rights to veteran Jasmine Thomas; Connecticut needs more veterans.

Minnesota Lynx

Brilliant move to trade traded its 11th, 23rd and 28th overall picks to the New York Liberty in exchange for guard Anna Cruz and the Liberty’s 16th and 35th overall picks. They were able to pick up forward Reshanda Gray, who wasn't supposed to be available by pick 16, and Minnesota Gopher Shae Kelley, for local appeal. The Lynx are already loaded, and this makes them even better. Yikes for other teams.

New York Liberty

The trade with Minnesota helped them make out like bandits. They grabbed dynamic point guard Brittany Boyd, big girl Kiah Stokes, point guard Amber Orrange, super guard Laurin Mincy, and Michala Johnson. Though the presence of both Boyd and Orrange makes me think Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer is thinking of a trade.

Washington Mystics

The Mystics took Dayton forward Ally Mallot, Natasha Cloud of St. Joseph's, and Mrica Gajic of Bosnia. Who? But remember that coach Mike Thibault is a basketball genius, and he says Washington "got the two players we wanted most." That he could have taken many other players at those spots, but went with Mallot and Cloud, says all you need to know. Also, it looks like they've invited Princeton's Blake Dietrick to camp.


Fans were puzzled the way some players dropped below where they were projected to be picked - Reshanda Gray, Aleighsa Welch and Laurin Mincy, in particular.

Well, that's how it goes.

General managers and coaches spend all winter scouring the country and the globe for their best fits, and often times it's not the "star" players that they come to believe will fit the bill. In the actual draft, picks can also change based on previous picks and who is still available. It's best not to take it personally, but people always do.

Way uppers/what?:

By the same token, there are also those players who are taken much higher than they were projected, if they were at all. Cheyenne Parker and Crystal Bradford were those two players in the first round. Brianna Kiesel, Cloud, Alex Harden in the second rounds. Of course fans in those cases will debate whether the GM knows secrets, or whether they know nothing at all.


Jewell Loyd, Amanda Zahui B., Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Elizabeth Williams go 1-4. No surprises.

ESPN's coverage of rounds two and three was poor to non-existent once again. Why people are surprised at this year after year eludes me.


No Notre Dame coaches were there for Loyd. Why not?

According to the ESPN2 telecast, center Sylvia Fowles remains unsigned by the Chicago Sky. What?

Glaring draft omissions:

Damika Martinez

Jazmine Davis

Amber Battle

Martha Alwal

Sara Hammond

Bria Smith

Jennifer O'Neill

Elem Ibiam

Melissa Dixon

Training camp:

....begins in a week and a half.

One more draft call

I don't remember there being as much copy and hype around a WNBA draft in a while. Here's one last fling before pickin' time:

Funny stuff from draftees.

WNBA teams are wondering about Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis' defense.

Sun coach Anne Donovan thinks Iowa's Samantha Logic one of the best on the draft point guard list.

Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis says community connectedness is the key to the league's stability.

Draft prospect Jude Schimmel has a new book out called "you don't have to leave the reservation to be successful."

Three from the ACC are attending the draft.

Draft night has arrived for Iona star Damika Martinez.

Texas Tech's Amber Battle is seeking a chance in the WNBA.

Mississippi State's Martha Alwal and Kendra Grant are eager to pursue professional careers.

Vicky McIntyre wants to be the first Oral Roberts player in the WNBA.

Jewell Loyd:

Loyd has overcome a lot - in her own words.

Tough choices are not new to the former Notre Dame guard, who comes from a tennis-loving family.

Loyd is not a lock as the Storm's number one draft pick.

One ESPN writer says Loyd leaving college early was a good thing.

College news:

Wichita State coach Jody Adams is interviewing at Kansas.

Former Marquette guard Kenisha Bell has transferred to Minnesota.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

More on the draft

The WNBA's draft board is up.

The draft will be 4 p.m. Pacific/7 p.m. Eastern tomorrow on ESPN2.

New Storm general manager Alisha Valavanis is set to continue the team's rebuild in tomorrow's draft.

The Sun hold the fourth pick.

The Mercury's draft board shifted after Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B. entered.

The Lynx aren't expecting immediate help from the draft.

Three Lady Vols are ready for the draft.

Duke's Elizabeth Williams will be a headliner.

Wake Forest's Dearica Hamby is a likely first round pick.

Helping orient the rookies invited to the draft tomorrow were Tamika Catchings, Jayne Appel, Skylar Diggins and Chiney Ogwumike. Photo.

OK, let's do this.

College coach, player movement

College coaching news (lots of hiring going on, or about to go on):

Stephen F. Austin coach Brandon Schneider is the top candidate for the Kansas job.

Ole Miss has given coach Matt Insell a four-year contract extension.

FGCU coach Karl Smesko will return.

Melissa Kolbe is Western Kentucky's new assistant coach.

Florida has added Bill Ferrara and Shimmy Gray-Miller as assistant coaches.

Quick chat with new Georgia coach Joni Crenshaw.

New Portland State coach Lynn Kennedy promises his team will be Big Sky champs.

Virginia coach Joanne Boyle is hoping for a breakthrough next season.

College player news (lots of transferring going on):

Isabelle Harrison will take life lessons from former coach Pat Summitt into the WNBA.

Four Oklahoma State players are leaving the program.

Former Illinois post Jacqui Grant has transferred to DePaul.

Former Minnesota forward Jackie Johnson has transferred to Loyola Marymount.

Indiana has added juco transfer Tyshee Towner.

Rumor has it that McKenzie Calvert and Amy Okonkwo have left USC.

College team news:

Mississippi State looks to build on their historical season this year.

USA Basketball:

Northwestern University coach Joe McKeown is the head coach of the 2015 World University Games Team, and Tennessee coach Holly Warlick and Northern Iowa coach Tanya Warren are assistant coaches.

Pre-WNBA draft talk

It's a little more than 24 hours before the WNBA draft, and all through the house............

The WNBA draft got an unexpected upgrade with the additions of Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B. Their leaving changed things.

Both Loyd and Zahui B. will bump Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis down.

Could the Sun get KML?

The Storm have many great options.

Loyd's early departure from college means early draft gems could fall to the Chicago Sky.

The Atlanta Dream have options with the tenth pick.

The Minnesota Lynx are looking to rebuild with the number 11 pick.

The defending champion Mercury will have four picks tomorrow.

The San Antonio Stars have plenty of options.

Aleighsa Welch's strengths at South Carolina have primed her for the WNBA.

Ex-Washington Husky standout Jazmine Davis is hoping for a shot in the WNBA.

Former Iowa Hawkeye Samantha Logic could make history in the draft.

Former Princeton star Blake Dietrick has decided to go pro.

Former Duke Blue Devil Elizabeth Williams - a future doctor - is sure to go high in the draft.

Central Michigan's Crystal Bradford awaits her selection tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

McGraw finally speaks about Loyd's departure

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw has broken her silence about star guard Jewell Loyd's announcement last week that she was foregoing her final year of eligibility to enter the WNBA draft. McGraw was caught off-guard by the news, which left her feeling numb - and she's still getting over it.

Interestingly, Loyd didn't talk with her former coaches in advance, and they still haven't talked. McGraw thinks Loyd's decision a poor one:

"I think it's really a bad decision for women to leave early," McGraw said referring to the women's game in general. "They are not making the money the men make. They are going to make less than $50,000 in the league. And to get your degree from a school like Notre Dame, it's just mind-boggling that anyone would choose to leave early."

College coaching news:

Coach Mike Neighbors' contract has been extended at Washington through 2019-2020.

Coach Chris Gobrecht has left Yale to take the head coach job at Air Force.

American has extended coach Megan Gebbia's contract through 2020-2021.

Former Ball State associate head coach Rekha Patterson is Southeast Missouri State's new head coach.

College player news:

Former Marquette guard Tia Elbert has transferred to Indiana.

Sophomore guard Morgan Blumer is leaving FGCU.

WNBA news:

The Los Angeles Sparks have hired Amber Stocks as an assistant coach. Though new to the pro coaching ranks, Stocks has a fascinating resume:

Stocks served as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Xavier University from 2002-2009. During her years with Xavier, she helped put together six 20-win seasons and six national postseason appearances, including four NCAA Tournaments. Prior to joining Xavier in 2002, Stocks spent two seasons as women’s director of basketball operations for the University of Tennessee, working closely with then Lady Vols head coach Pat Summitt on the daily operations of the program. She was part of the staff that helped lead Tennessee to two regular season SEC Championships and advanced to the 2002 Final Four.

Stocks is also a certified strength and conditioning coach, overseeing strength and conditioning at the University of Notre Dame (1999-2000) and serving on the staff for the University of Cincinnati and Xavier (1998 – 1999) during her undergraduate careers.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lauren Hill remembered at memorial

The 19-year-old who lost her battle with brain cancer last week was remembered at a memorial at Xavier University tonight, at the arena where she made her first layup in college competition last November. She was "a fierce competitor":

Gary Townsend's granddaughter, Emily, was Lauren Hill's roommate at Mount St. Joseph.

Townsend, of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, was attending the memorial service with his wife, Diane. He said they saw both Hill's first and last basketball games for MSJ.

"She always was a fierce competitor," he said.

Townsend said he has never been to a service of this magnitude.

"I felt like I wanted to be here," he said. "I wanted to be a part of it."

"She taught a lot of people a lot of things," Diane Townsend said.

She played life til the final buzzer:

Her pastor said Lauren owned "an attitude of gratitude." He urged us to take our Lauren lessons and share them. She will be remembered for raising more than $1 million for research, to fight a disease she knew would kill her before a cure was found. What shouldn't be forgotten is she did it with absolute selflessness and courage.

What do you like about basketball? I'd asked her in December, the last time we spoke. "Playing to the final buzzer," she said. "Not worrying about the last play or the play that's coming."

Never give up, in other words. Be in the moment. Play it out. Basketball, again, as metaphor.

Photo gallery.

Draft invitee list; UMMC Ekaterinburg falls

Pro news:

Here are the college prospects who will be in attendance at Thursday's WNBA draft.

VVZ USK Prague captured their first Euroleague title with a 72-68 win against UMMC Ekaterinburg yesterday. It was the first title in VVZ team history.

Will former Middle Tennessee forward Cheyenne Parker be drafted?

Q&A with former Oklahoma State Cowgirl Tiffany Bias.

College player news:

Former Texas A&M post Jada Terry is transferring to Texas Tech.

Morgan Tuck will stay at UConn after next season.

College coaching news:

Shimmy Gray-Miller has left her assistant coaching position at Nebraska for the same job at Florida.

One columnist feels that community college coach Jim Turgeon would be the right fit for Kansas. I was just wondering last night when the Jayhawks will hire someone.

Boston College has extended coach Erik Johnson's contract through 2018-2019.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Georgia hires a coach

Georgia has promoted associate head coach Joni Crenshaw to head coach, replacing longtime coach Andy Landers. Crenshaw is just the second person in school history to hold the position on a full-time basis.

I'm loving this because not only has a female coach been hired, but an African-American one, at that.

College player news:

Lady Vol guard Andraya Carter was seen at Tennessee's softball game yesterday on crutches, with an ice bag on her left knee. She declined to comment.


No transactions since April 1.

Are teams really finished signing free agents and making trades? Not much action this year. Are they relying on the draft?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Contemplating WNBA draft winners/losers; college news keeps flowing

WNBA draft winners and losers, in light of this week's events.

Interesting to see the list of number one picks, in retrospect.

Year Player Position College/Country WNBA Team Conference

1997 Dena Head Guard Tennessee Utah Starzz Western
1998 Margo Dydek Center Poland Utah Starzz Western
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw Forward Tennessee Washington Mystics Eastern
2000 Ann Wauters Center Belgium Cleveland Rockers Eastern
2001 Lauren Jackson Center Australia Seattle Storm Western
2002 Sue Bird Guard Connecticut Seattle Storm Western
2003 LaToya Thomas Forward Mississippi State Cleveland Rockers Eastern
2004 Diana Taurasi Forward Connecticut Phoenix Mercury Western
2005 Janel McCarville Center Minnesota Charlotte Sting Eastern
2006 Seimone Augustus Forward LSU Minnesota Lynx Western
2007 Lindsey Harding Guard Duke Phoenix Mercury (later traded to the Minnesota Lynx) Western
2008 Candace Parker Forward Tennessee Los Angeles Sparks Western
2009 Angel McCoughtry Forward Louisville Atlanta Dream Eastern
2010 Tina Charles Center Connecticut Connecticut Sun Eastern
2011 Maya Moore Forward Connecticut Minnesota Lynx Western
2012 Nneka Ogwumike Forward Stanford Los Angeles Sparks Western
2013 Brittney Griner Center Baylor Phoenix Mercury Western
2014 Chiney Ogwumike Forward Stanford Connecticut Sun Eastern

College player news:

Notre Dame's Madison Cable, who has one year of eligibility left, is up in the air about her future.

College team news:

Virginia is at a crossroads.

Another mass exodus: five players are leaving Loyola, Chicago.

College coaching news:

Q&A with Tennessee coach Holly Warlick.

College conference news:

WCC storylines to think about in the offseason.

Lauren Hill:

A memorial for the young brain cancer patient who died yesterday will be Monday at Xavier University.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Draft intrigue

There was a pre-draft media conference call with coaches, prospective draft picks and ESPN analysts today, and most of these stories are a result of those interviews:

Unexpected declarations changed the draft board.

Top prospect inclusions add intrigue to the draft.

Latecomers are enhancing the Shock's options.

Full call transcript.

Wake Forest's Dearica Hamby is eyeing the draft.

College player news:

Sophomore center Jada Terry will transfer from Texas A&M.

Oklahoma State point guard Roshunda Johnson will transfer.

Kentucky freshman guard Jaycee Coe is leaving.

College coaching news:

Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer's contract has been extended four years.

Breanna Stewart wins Wooden Award

Connecticut junior Breanna Stewart is the 2015 Wooden Award winner.

Chiney Ogwumike, unfiltered

Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike has the first of what will be weekly videos out today. She is working with Grit Media in an endeavor to share more about herself that is more personal, and in turn learn from others. A company spokesman said she'll be talking about what she feels like talking about, and that includes answering fan questions.

Ogwumike can be reached via twitter:

Mount St. Joseph's Lauren Hill passes away

Mount St. Joseph freshman Lauren Hill died this morning, after battling brain cancer:

The Indiana native said at the game her goal was is to find a cure for cancer. Hill was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma shortly after her 18th birthday. The rare form of brain cancer typically affects young children ages 4 to 9.

"When I was diagnosed I remember kind of feeling lonely because nobody understood. And now that more people know about this story and the awareness of DIPG. I'm so happy that people know about it now and that we can get some research going and hopefully find that home run cure for cancer," Lauren said.

"And even though I'm probably not going to be around to see it, it's going to help a lot of people. And that's why we need to keep staying with this and not end it with this game, and keep supporting research."

She didn't let her condition dictate her final days.

Thursday, April 9, 2015


WNBA news:

Storm coach Jenny Boucek kept it really general in today's Q&A. Asked about Jewell Loyd and Amanda Zahui B. she said "Both of these players enhance the value of this draft significantly" and "Both are really exciting young players that will be fun to watch grow." Asked about Lauren Jackson returning this year, she said "Lauren is still fighting for her health and we stay very connected. We care about her deeply and hope to see her soon."

Candace Parker isn't being paid to sit out.

College player news:

Irish fans are scratching their heads over why Jewell Loyd would want to leave early for the WNBA draft.

Former Indiana freshman Maura Muensterman is transferring to Belmont.

College coach news:

Xavier coach Brian Neal's contract has been extended through 2018-2019.

"Those who run college sports don’t look much like those who play college sports"

Thought-provoking piece by Washington Post columnist/author Sally Jenkins on the disparity between NCAA administrators and the athletes they serve:

The NCAA just spent a week floating airy platitudes about inclusiveness versus discrimination at the NCAA Tournament in full shameless view of the public, over a potentially discriminatory Indiana law. Yet no one in the candor-flinching organization so much as skipped a shrimp buffet or returned a gift bag in a fit of social conscience over the fact that 87.7 percent of its Division I athletic directors are white. Or that 90 percent of them are men. Meantime, just 22 percent of college basketball coaches are black, while the hiring of female coaches is plummeting across all sports.......

In NCAA Division I football, 58.7 percent of the players are people of color. In basketball, 57.6 percent are African American, while another 3.5 are two or more races. As for women, they make up. 43.4 percent of athletes across all NCAA divisions.

Yet 88 percent of presidents of the 126 universities in the Football Bowl Subdivision are white. The coaches they hire are 88.9 percent white. Their NCAA faculty representatives are 93 percent white. And almost 100 percent of their Division I conference commissioners, 29 of 30, are white. What’s clear is that hosts of qualified people are not even getting interviews for jobs. Ex-athletes are the pool from which you could reasonably expect new hire to come from, yet they’re only fractionally represented.


These hiring practices are a longtime trend, and they’re only trending worse, not better. You would think that with the growth of women’s sports, especially basketball, it would create jobs for women. Instead, the number of women coaches is declining in all sports. Forty years after Title IX females hold only 38 percent of the head jobs in Division I women’s sports, and also less than half of assistant coaching jobs. Lapchick, who has been collecting NCAA diversity data since the 1980s, calls this “the single most striking and disturbing set of statistics” he has seen. “It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Why is it important to mandate broader candidate pools? Because the NCAA is choking off talent rather than encouraging it and that’s not a true meritocracy. Female athletes need to see women coaches and athletic directors, “so they can see themselves doing it,” says former Texas coach Jody Conradt. As the saying goes, it’s hard to be what you don’t see.

Candace Parker to miss the start of the season

Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker will miss the start of the 2015 WNBA season so she can rest up and be healthy for competition:

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Sparks announced Candace Parker will miss an undetermined number of games at the start of the 2015 season in order to be 100% healthy before joining the team on the court.

“This was a decision Candace made that she felt was in the best interest of her health and in the best interest of the team,” said Penny Toler. “Our goal has always been to win another championship, and having a healthy and rested Candace Parker will undoubtedly help us down the stretch. We are confident in our returning core leaders, WNBA champions and international stars that will lead the Sparks. When Candace is ready, she will return to the court healthy and rested to help the Sparks in our quest to win the 2015 title.”

Looks like general manager Toler's views conflict with new coach Brian Agler's approach:

"There are certain things you have to hang your hat on," Agler said. "Whether it's that you're a defensive team, a great rebounding team, or whatever it is. There has to be a certain personality that you go to work with every single day and a common goal.

"And to me, that can't initially be 'win the WNBA championship.' There have to be steps to take to get to that point."

Three to see update

Nice piece in SLAM on Skylar Diggins, Brittney Griner and Elena Delle Donne.

Each player's journey since the 2013 draft is chronicled. There are also some interesting comments about the WNBA:

Television ratings during the 2014 playoffs were up 90 percent from the previous season, with single-game viewership hitting a six-year crescendo during Game 2 of the Mercury-Lynx Western Conference finals.

Its audience is growing, but the league still stubbornly tries to

market to mainstream male sports fans who have little interest. The WNBA even pitched using smaller and tighter uniforms to players, who universally shut the idea down in 2013. “We care more about comfort on the court than sex appeal,” Griner says.

To its credit, the league acknowledged LGBT Pride for the first time in 2014, launching a Pride Month and a WNBA Pride website. Eighteen seasons in, it was about time.

As the talent level continues to grow along with the fan base, the

WNBA has other issues to address in order to solidify its legitimacy. With the regular season currently spanning just three short months, the WNBA is treated as a second priority for players who earn a living in overseas leagues. Case in point: The sport’s biggest star of the past decade, Diana Taurasi, announced that she will sit out the upcoming 2015 season due to a contractual agreement with her team in Russia, UMMC.

Cut it however you like—losing the reigning Finals MVP is an ugly headline for the league. If the WNBA wants all of its stars to play,

it has to offer players incentives to stay at home.

The league is slowly coming to understand this, as evidenced by the introduction of a “time off bonus” (albeit a minimal one) in its recent CBA. By giving players a choice to take time off, or perhaps not feel the need to play year-round, the WNBA has shown a willingness to change. It’s time to take action, and there couldn’t be a better group of stars leading the way.

The 3 To See have arrived just in time.


The player's tribune: Brittney Griner

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Big coaching hires

Coaching news:

Former Maryland assistant coach Marlin Chinn is the new head coach at Florida International. It's the second Terps assistant to leave this week.

Portland State has hired Lynn Kennedy as their new head coach.

North Texas has hired Texas assistant Jalie Mitchell as their head coach.

Player news:

Maryland's Malina Howard wins the Elite 89 Award for having the highest GPA of any athlete at the Final Four.

Loryn Goodwin is transferring from Butler, sources say.

Montana freshman volleyball player Jace Henderson will play the rest of her college career for the basketball team.

Jewell Loyd declares for WNBA draft, upsetting prospective pick list

Jewell Loyd is headed to the WNBA:

Notre Dame's junior guard declared herself eligible for the WNBA draft on Wednesday, a night after the Irish lost in the national championship game to UConn 63-53.

Loyd could be the top pick by Seattle in the April 16 draft and had until Wednesday night to declare. She has up until five days before the draft to return to Notre Dame if she changes her mind.

Loyd has been a decorated player during her time with the Irish. It was a stunning conclusion to her college career.

Just a few days ago, Minnesota's Amanda Zahui B. declared her intent to enter the draft early. Loyd's decision was a shocker, and has thrown mock draft boards into disarray. Zahui B. was thought to be a number one pick by some fans; now it is thought to be Loyd.

WNBA draft order:

First Round

1) Seattle (12-22)
2) Tulsa (12-22)
3) Seattle from Connecticut (13-21) (Little, Stricklen, Montgomery, 1/28/15)
4) Connecticut from New York (15-19) (Charles, Thomas, Bone, 4/14/14)
5) Chicago (15-19)
6) Indiana (16-18)
7) Los Angeles (16-18)
8) Washington (16-18)
9) San Antonio (16-18)
10) Atlanta (19-15)
11) Minnesota (25-9)
12) Phoenix (29-5)

Second Round

1) Tulsa (12-22)
2) Los Angeles from Seattle (12-22) (O’Hea, 4/1/14)
3) Washington from Connecticut (13-21) via Seattle (Little, Stricklen, Montgomery, 1/28/15) (Hollingsworth, 2/22/15)
4) New York (15-19)
5) Chicago (15-19)
6) Phoenix from Indiana (16-18) (Lucas, 5/12/14)
7) Connecticut from Los Angeles (16-18) (Gruda, 3/28/14)
8) Seattle from Washington (16-18) (Hollingsworth, 2/22/15)
9) San Antonio (16-18)
10) Chicago from Atlanta (19-15) (Cash, Clements, 5/7/14)
11) Minnesota (25-9)
12) Phoenix (29-5)

Third Round

1) Tulsa (12-22)
2) Seattle (12-22)
3) New York from Connecticut (13-21) (Charles, Thomas, Bone, 4/14/14)
4) Minnesota from New York (15-19) (Rodgers, 4/16/14)
5) Atlanta from Chicago (15-19) (Cash, Clements 5/17/14)
6) Indiana (16-18)
7) Los Angeles (16-18)
8) Washington (16-18)
9) San Antonio (16-18)
10) Atlanta (19-15)
11) New York from Minnesota (25-9) (Rodgers, 4/16/14)
12) Phoenix (29-5)

Here is a popular mock draft board before the Loyd news.

What will happen next week?

Storm coach Jenny Boucek will chat live tomorrow.