Women's Hoops Blog: April 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Merc fan's shoulders droops and opponents heave a sigh of relief: Penny news.
ESPN has a play-by-play of the Seattle-Sky preseason game: 27-25 Chicago leads at the... ouch... half?

And the .com has a courtside life thing -- why must one search three different sites to find out this stuff? They say the game's on the free audio pass but I'm getting nothing.
Cherelle George is playing basketball again after two years off the court:
The free agent pickup for the Indiana Fever says she’s responsible for Purdue spending two years on probation. That’s why she found it an odd coincidence that a team that plays just 65 miles from the West Lafayette campus would sign her.

“My mother was scared,” George joked. “She said ‘Don’t come out of your hotel room.”’

George’s joke hides the pain she said she still deals with after making an error in judgment that sent shockwaves through the Purdue athletic program.
From the NCAA website:
It’s no secret that one of the goals for those who administer the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship is to increase attendance at preliminary-round sites.

The 2008 tournament was a step in the right direction, as 25,497 more fans attended first- and second-round games this year than in 2007, an increase of 22 percent.

Total attendance for the tournament was 236,464, an 18 percent increase from the 199,932 fans who attended the event in 2007.
Can you hear that loud ticking?

That's the countdown to tonights first W preseason game: Seattle at Chicago, 8pmEST.

Most likely no Big Syl on the court (tho the SkyInsider suggests different). Hopefully DePaul grad and 2nd round pick Allie Quigley will get some time in front of her peeps.

Looking at the Sky schedule it's kinda sad - one ABC game and no listing (yet) for local radio/tv? No radio listed for this game on Seattle's page, neither.

Sheesh -- not even a gametracker?
In no particular order, SI offers some photographs of landmark moments for (US/Canadian) women's sports (h/t psheehy):

1926 - Gertrude. A no-brainer for SI: She's wearing a swimsuit!

(17 years of nuthin'? How about d'em Red Heads?)

1943 - A League of their Own. As good as the movie.
1947 - Babe. They mention her 1932 Track and Field AAU blitz, but she was also an AAU All-American in basketball in 1932. And '31. And '30.

1957 - Althea. 'nuff said.

(15 years of nuthin'? How about Diane?)

1972 - Richard - Maybe the wrestlers should blame him?
1973 - Billie Jean - Wonder what ever happened to that little piglet
1977 - Janet - She's in the brick. House.
1978 - Aiie! It's a Girl! - And 22-years later it was, Aiie! It's Lisa Olson!

(14 years of nothin'? How about Joanie?)

1992 - Manon - Kick save and a beaut!
1996 - Oh, Atlanta! - But will they be saying, "Dot's all folks?"
1997 - Kym and Lisa - Sigh. I miss the black Liberty road uniforms....
1998 - Cammi - Can't we check now?
1999 - Brandi - Oh, those abs of steel

2001 - ESPN - Imagine missing Marist.
2003 - Annika makes like the Babe
2006 - Effa - Force 10's inspiration?
2006 - Pat - Nothin' rocky about what she tops.
2007 - Wimbledon - Finally even-steven
2008 - Hayley - O, Canada!
2008 - Danica - Yes, mine is bigger than yours.
2008 - Ashley - Didn't get the play Danica got, but there was nothing funny about beating dad.
From the USOC: "Amazing Awaits" the virtual Olympic-networking site.
As part of the USOC's efforts to promote and support the U.S. Olympic Team on the road to Beijing, AmazingAwaits.org connects supporters to their favorite athletes in an interactive celebration of the Olympic journey. Fans can show their support by making a connection with their favorite athlete and cheering them on via this digital forum.
Not that I'm being wbbal-centered or nothin', but I wonder how long we have to await a video shot of a women's basketball player? Or a wbball player to "link" to -- I mean, if Jennie and Abby can be listed, why not Lisa or Diana?

100 days to the start of the Games. YIKES!
Another story -- not about women's hoops, but about women's sports -- that inspires.
Umpires confirmed that the only option available under the rules was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out. So without any choice, Knox prepared to make the substitution, taking both the run and the memory from Tucholsky.

"And right then," Knox said, "I heard, 'Excuse me, would it be OK if we carried her around and she touched each bag?'"
Mechelle takes one last look back at the 2007-08 season (and a little forward).
Next season, as mentioned, Tennessee will be a very young team. And it's a real shame that Vicki Baugh -- who was having one of the most effective performances of her rookie year -- suffered a torn ACL in the title game.

But the Summitt Factor remains. Even if she was forced to coach five raccoons she found on her back porch, Summitt likely could at least make the Sweet 16.

Then again, word is raccoons steer well clear of that place now.
She has a second piece about college coaching changes, coaching mysteries, coaching messes and coaching challenges.
...athletic departments would be wise to have periodic conflict-resolution seminars for their employees and student-athletes (without disdain, eye-rolling or foot-dragging from coaches).

Another plus would be a workable, fair system that allows players to talk to school officials about legitimate problems with coaches before they reach crisis situations.

And departments must try to foster an atmosphere where coaches feel that they can ask for help without fear that will undermine their authority or jeopardize their careers.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Looks like the Maggie Dixon Classic match-ups are set:
Rutgers v. Army
UConn v. Penn State
The games are scheduled for Sunday, December 14th.

If four tri-state teams can't get this double-header sold out, I'll be grumpy.

Note to the Garden, New York Liberty management and the MDC organizers:

A bunch of women's basketball fans are going to be sitting in the Garden all season. You might want to mention the Classic to them. Hey, you could even have Essence Carson (RU), Patty Coyle (RU) and Ashley Battle (UConn) host a pregame lunch at Cafe 31.... How about ex-Lib/now PSU head coach Coquese do something?

I'm just helping you plan ahead. Since you're so good about that.
Jess Foley, her foot healed, gets a shot with the Sun.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Yes, we know that Team USA lost to China this weekend. We're just too distracted to say much about it right now.

We might have more later: you can watch Clay's head explode here.
In SLAM, Goodie sends out some love to a player she believes deserves more recognition.
As a baller I have had the sheer pleasure of playing against the absolute best in the world. From the US to Brazil to Hong Kong the list has been deep. I sat back and reminisced about all of those women Hoopin’ for love just like the men do. Icons like Cheryl Miler, Hortencia (Brazil), Ann Myers-Drysdale, Katrina McClain, Medina Dixon, Carol Blazejowski and Anne Donovan all paved the road for a player like me. These names are just a few of the great ones but there’s one not mentioned who deserves the crown. The best and least talked about diva is Lynette Woodard.
Just because the Supreme Court rules in your favor and the Birmingham Board of Education decides to settle with you, it doesn't mean it's over. From the Title IX blog:
Former girls basketball coach Roderick Jackson says the Board has not been living up to its obligations under the settlement agreement. The Birmingham News reports that Jackson filed a motion in federal district court last week asking the judge to find the Board in contempt.
BC has a new coach: Sylvia Crawley.
It's not about hoops, but it is about women in college sports, and it's inspiring.
News out of St. John's: It's a girl!
(with a h/t to beknighted) Paul Franklin of the Courier-News gives us an inside look at recruiting:

It's only lunch time, but C. Vivian Stringer has already been up nine hours.

Marianne Stanley has already watched parts of 16 games, and Tasha Pointer has been to the airport and back and has been watching games for three hours.

The Rutgers University women's basketball coaches are evaluating basketball players at an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) tournament and the frenetic pace has only begun.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Ron Morris writes about South Carolina's search for a new coach: Gender Battle:
Everyone in women’s basketball circles agrees the best candidate for any head coaching vacancy should get the job. The battle lines are drawn — women against men — when the debate turns to whether the best candidates are being hired.
If the stars are still overseas, who's focused on training camp? The rookies, of course, especially late-round draft picks: in Sacramento, in Los Angeles (Zoll), in Detroit (Sanni), in Liberty-land (Georgia's Megan Darrah), and in Seattle again with Natalie Doma, undrafted out of Idaho State.

Doma's numbers would make her nationally famous had she earned them in a BCS conference; the Canadian scorer showed up on the Wooden and State Farm lists as it is.

"It's really hard," Doma says of her time in Storm camp. "I'm just trying to teach myself to learn the plays from the sideline... The coaches have seen what I can do."
Bird and LJ, and other starters on almost every WNBA team, are still overseas. "I don't think anybody likes it," says new Storm coach Brian Agler, "but... it's almost a way of life now. It's something every team has to deal with." (He's not even scowling.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

From the New York Times and the Washington Post, a lot more on today's win for Obama and Bales:

"Being on Bales' team, and thus spared her shot-blocking threat, allowed Obama to do what he does best -- drive to the hoop for layups, and zip no-look passes to Bales, who scored most of their team's points... And with that, the press was ushered out of the gym so that the six could play another game."
Tamika Williams Raymond says she's glad to be back in Connecticut.

Coach Thibault says she'll expand her offensive game beyond the O-boards and layups that were pretty much all Lynx fans ever saw.
Obama plays three-on-three basketball with Alison Bales.
Glenn gets oddly cranky about girl's basketball because he encounters two grumps. (h/t WSB)
South Carolina is still looking for a coach. Names tossed around? Sylvia Hatchell and Dawn Staley.

By the way, Staley is being inducted into the Virginia Hall of Fame.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Karen blogs over at Newsday about the Opera de Soap.
Cool! An invite from the Women's Sports Foundation:
The International Women's Sports Hall of Fame and its 130 members will be welcomed to their new home in the Billie Jean King International Women's Sports Center, housed in the Sports Museum of America in New York City this summer!

Join current Hall of Fame members C. Vivian Stringer, Donna de Varona, Martina Navratilova, and many more on Monday, June 9, as we welcome the 2008 inductees.

Space is limited, so purchase your seats today! For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Kerry Milhaven at (800) 227-3988, ext. 176.
Lots of good stuff over at Marie's blog:

Bionic Cover! continues her look at disabled athletes... and sent me to pull out Jodi Buren's fabulous book "Super Women: 100 women, 100 sports." Remember the breathtaking photograph of Aimee Mullins?

From sex symbol to real threat offers a little reflection on the blog coverage of Danica's win:
Not surprisingly, some (including the Deadspin and The Big Lead) found reason in Patrick's win to question the validity of auto racing as a sport or invited degrading, sexist comments from fans. What will be interesting over the next few months will be to see how mainstream coverage of Patrick evolves, as she has proven the ability of women to threaten the dominance of men in this sport.
Leon Barmore signs on as a Baylor assistant.
Geez, you go away from a few days and the damndest stuff happens in the soaps.

First Auriemma says Tennessee canceled the series because Summitt accused the Huskies of a recruiting violation.

Now ESPN's Shelly Smith (not a disinterested party) is writing about Tennessee alleging UConn recruiting violations. A Freedom of Information Act request shows
Tennessee officials asked the Southeastern Conference in July 2006 to investigate the UConn program, alleging eight incidents involving as many as 11 NCAA rules violations may have taken place either at a 2005 event or over a period of years.
Seems the secondary violation (a phone call to ESPN arranging a tour for Maya Moore) is the only confirmed complaint.

On edit: The Knoxville News has a pdf of the letters/complaint.
after atalanta gives us an (NCAA) women's hoops wrap-up.
It's a good thing the food was good at my championship party Tuesday night because the game was just so-so. This does not mean there is no parity in the women's game or that the tournament as a whole was boring.

The coverage before, during, and after was littered with "they're not quite there yet" sentiments or, conversely, "they're there and now they have to deal with all the evils of success" type comments.
Gail loses a couple of Longhorns.
Nikki and Holly say:
We’re less than 3 weeks away from the start of the 2008 ride!

If you have a hog of your own don’t forget
to join us for our kick-off event on May 10th.
The TaTa Tour begins and ends at Wild Wing Café.
Registration is limited.
$50 for single rider, $75 for double, $10 for after party.

You don’t have to ride a hog to fundraise for breast cancer.
Log onto http://www.cruisinforacause.com/
and become a virtual rider.
Set up your own personal fundraising page, send it to friends, and fundraise for breast cancer. Join Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell and become part of the ride by making a donation or asking friends to donate in your name.

Fund the ride, fund the fight.
Both newspapers of the Twin Cities discover Lynx hopeful and WNBA blogger Megan Vogel.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Slam Online's Steven Litel chats with coach Key at the Sky.

The only real news: Chas Melvin isn't going anywhere-- she'll turn into a power forward, and start beside Fowles.
Via Stever: don't expect to see Catch in early-season Fever games-- she's still recuperating from last season's injury, and wants to get healthy in time for the Olympics.

Catch, Swoopes, Tina Thompson, Ford, Cash, LJ... all injured, the past couple years, as often as not. How much better would the WNBA be if the world's best players could take a few off-seasons off? (On the other hand, how much worse would it be if they all took a look at their paychecks, and then took their summers off instead?)
Seattle journos have been watching the revamped Storm practice:

Her Majesty Swoopes has kind words for rookie and local hero Kristen O'Neill.

Katie Gearlds has high hopes after her weird rookie year. "Hopefully I have a job," the former Boilermaker scorer says.

Hey, Jayda's blog is back!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Candace is an adidas girl.
A couple of coaching notes: Melissa McFerrin, who Liberty and Mystic fans will remember, has moved from American to Memphis.

California (PA), a Division II top dog, is losing their coach to Division I. Darcie Vincent will become the head coach over at Appalachia State.
The Times-Picayune sends some Olympic-sized love Big Syl's way.
Vacationing with mom, so have been slow to keep up with USA Basketball's Good Luck tour.

Not so much luck the first game v. the Aussies. Lisa and Katie were high scorers, but the fourth quarter proved USA's undoing, 74-60.

Much better luck against the Cubans. 92-60 was the final, with Big Syl serving notice: 25pts, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots.

Lisa and Syl then both had double-doubles as the US whupped South Korea, 92-56.

Next up for the US, the 0-3 Kiwis.

Currently China is 3-0.

Australia is 1-2, having lost close contests to China and Cuba.
When people *cough me and most every other fan of women's basketball* complain about the coverage of women's basketball, we tend to look with envy at the state of Connecticut.

"The Horde" as it is lovingly (and occasionally dismissively -- though I think it's out of jealousy) called blankets both UConn and the Sun. Consider the roll call sent in by my favorite flunkie beat writer Ned:
Roll call
* Hartford Courant (John Altavilla)
* New Haven Register (Jim Fuller)
* Norwich Bulletin (Matt Stout)
* Waterbury Republican-American (Roger Cleveland - the paper is about 72 miles from the reservation)
* Willimantic Chronicle (Rich Zelusky)
* Mel Greenberg (got lost on the way to work, I guess)
* Ann Miller (spmsportspages.com)
* The local radio person
* Someone that nobody had ever seen before
* New London Day (Mike DiMauro and Ned Griffin)
Does Kris have a scoop on Cynthia Cooper's next job?
Congrats to Mama Margot!
In Washington, Seattle Times columnist Jerry Brewer is getting chills -- and it's not because of the weather.
"This is a dream team," Swoopes said.

This is giving me goose bumps.

We're talking about some of the finest players and personalities in women's basketball history. We're talking about players who have helped build and maintain the WNBA. Critics will wonder whether the group can stay healthy and whether the stars can suppress their egos, but we're talking about players who have spent a lifetime trying to establish something bigger than them.

This isn't just the right way to relaunch the Storm. It's the only way.
In 2002 Nikki Teasley spoke out about her battle with depression.

Today, Tracy Roller speaks out about her battle:
Diagnosed with manic depression, Roller has fought off both attempts and thoughts of suicide, battled alcoholism and spent two months this past season attending daily out-patient sessions at a stress center in Indianapolis with hopes of reclaiming her life.

To ensure her survival, she quit the job she loves as head coach of the Ball State women's basketball team, sold her home near the southern skirts of Muncie, and made plans to move to Indianapolis.

"I'm going to miss (coaching) dearly, but I can't do it right now," Roller said in an exclusive interview last week. "I love this community. I love this house. I love everything about Muncie, but I can't not be the women's basketball coach and be here."
Those "in the know say, "Look for Delisha to return to Los Angeles."
The New York Times says Essence and the Liberty are excited.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Clay has been watching Brittany Griner, who appears (to him, at least) to be the best high school player ever in the history of the universe.

You may already have seen her dunk; unless she changes her mind, she'll be dunking for Baylor.
Tia loses another player.
Looks like UNLV has solved the problem of UCLA paying Olivier's salary. She's their new coach.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

From Jayda via Stever: how fans saved the Storm.

Inspiring, sure: but where is Jayda's blog?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

From Sharon at Full Court, some bad news for Big Ten fans (players transferring; Lisa Stone not going anywhere), and even worse news at Southern Illinois.
Good news for Lynx fans, I'd say: Big V should be back.
Relive the Tampa Final Four experience through some great quotes gathered by Tara Polen during the week of festivities. For example:
“I didn’t know what it was. I said ‘What’s that number, 739?’ And she said, ‘That’s Dawn Staley’s assist record … I’m gonna get it.’ I said, ‘Oh, are you?’ She sure enough did, about ¾ of the way through this season. A lot of people say, ‘Did Dawn have an advantage back when she played because she actually got to play with several All-Americans on the team?’ and actually Dawn didn’t have an advantage because she had Doyle Smith there as our statistician and Doyle never gave Dawn any assists. She’d play at home and have three assists; she’d go on the road and have 15. So actually … the record that she had was phenomenal.”

- Virginia coach Debbie Ryan on Sharnee Zoll’s topping Dawn Staley’s 739-record ACC assists

Friday, April 18, 2008

ESPN.com has a nice little page tracking the coaching changes.
Okay, so how about a little USABasketball?

Here's the roster for the Good Luck Beijing Tour. Hmmm... strong at the point guard position, I see....

The National Team is one of the six nations taking part in the Tournament which is being held at Wukesong Arena the site of the 2008 Olympic basketball competition. The field also includes 2006 World Champion Australia, host China, Cuba, New Zealand and South Korea.

The tournament will feature a single round-robin preliminary round with games played on April 19, 20, 21, 23 and 24. Teams will then be seeded for the April 26 finals based on records from the round-robin preliminary round with the top two squads facing off in the gold medal game

First up for the US - Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Looks like three of the US games will be on NBAtv (but not this one).

Is it too much to ask that they be streamed? I mean, if the Vermont Catamounts can do it, surely China/US basketball can do it.
Now's your chance to get familiar with next year's freshmen: the full list of the Parade All-Americans is finally out.
So, what to do while you await the first preseason game? Check out USA Softball's "Bound for Beijing" tour. They're playing 7 college teams (through May 14th) and all the games are on ESPN.

Arizona was the first victim. (oiy! errors!) Next up? Oklahoma State on April 22nd.

Don't forget there's an ongoing effort to reinstate softball as an Olympic sport in 2012. Check here for a story and sign the petition.
You know, every time I turn around, Florida Gulf Coast University is embroiled in another Title IX mess. This time it's their former counsel, "terminated" in July.

Is there something in the water?
Maryland frosh Kat Lyons is transferring.
As we struggle through the Sargasso Sea that is the time between the NCAA Final Four and the W's preseason, Charlie gives us something to argue about: A 2008-09 preseason Top 25.
Interesting list of "finalists" (neither confirmed or denied) for the UNLV head coach position: former UCLA coach and UNLV standout player Kathy Olivier, Washington assistant Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, Texas-El Paso coach Keitha Adams, Northern Arizona coach Laurie Kelly, South Florida coach Jose Fernandez and Rutgers assistant Carlene Mitchell.
DMJ don't wanna stay. So she's asked the Mystics to trade her.

Puts the Mystics in a tough position -- who's interested in a veteran edging to the twilight of her career? Also, seems she nixed a trade to Minnesota. Said Linda Hargrove:
“I am not very optimistic. Her options are either she sits out this year or plays for the Mystics or we make a deal with one of the teams she wants to go to. I don't think there is anything there. We have exhausted all possibilities.”
Tricia Cullop as Toledo's new coach?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Nike has named its new development center at their headquarters in Beaverton, OR in honor of C. Vivian Stringer.
The 35,000-square-foot C. Vivian Stringer Child Development Center will open in June and have 26 classrooms to provide care, learning and development for approximately 300 children.

"Words cannot truly express how deeply touched and honored I am," Stringer said. "When Phil Knight called to tell me of this tribute, I was literally speechless. I am so very humbled.... It is extremely personal because of the work that will be done in the building for young people, like my daughter."
Pilight points us to a(nother) new blog on women's basketball-sports: This is our game.
AJC's Karen Park tells of her experience trying out for the Atlanta Dream.
UCLA says, "Meet coach Nikki!"
I'm glad people keep reminding me of the .com's player blogs. There's some mighty good stuff, this time from Taj on jersey numbers, friends in Iraq and the experience of injuries abroad.

My teammate Armintie (Price) was injured in Game 2 in the second quarter and didn't play in the second half of the game. They diagnosed her with a hyperextended knee. And it was a bit scary for her at first, but now she is almost back to 100 percent and has played in the last two games. She is still wearing a knee brace, which is somewhat limiting, but she's feeling a lot better about it now.

She is doing good, not as happy as she normally is. Even her jokes are few and far between this week because the team has put a lot of undue pressure on her to come back to the court quickly. I'm not sure they understand what it's like for her to be injured. But, still, it's nothing serious, though there were a lot of rumors going around that it was an ACL or something like that. But it's not, it's just a bit of a hyperextension.

Developing referees -- Brazilian style:
The investment in women referees in Brazil is a program developed by Geraldo Fontana, Referee Coordinator of CBB and FIBA Commissioner, to follow FIBA’s philosophy. FIBA’s plan is to increase the number of women referees throughout the world. And the results are coming. On April 4th and 6th, Andreza Almeida and Flavia Renata Almeida became the first two referees to work together in a game valid for National Championship for Men in Brazil.

“The nomination of Andreza and Renata is part of the program to motivate women to become referees. The goal is to give them experience by acting in games with stronger contact”, explained Geraldo Fontana. “And these games are also useful to practice for further FIBA’s exams. Just a few countries work with women in high level games of men competitions. The development of Andreza and Flávia represent the success of the investments. In 2005, CBB took them both to the School Games, organized by the Brazilian Olympic Committee. Parallel the tournament, CBB had the referee’s camp, which was very productive. This kind of event is a good way to develop leadership, to teach and discover talents. With training and support, Andreza and Flávia will be motivated to improve and invest in their career.”

And yes, I do recognize the conundrum that "plagues" all those involved with developing good, new referees. When they DO get better, they move up the ranks... In the US, "up the ranks" means not only D-II up to D-I, but women's games into men's games (salary/prestige).
SLAM's Stephen has a Q&A with 'ice Dupree.
Monarchs fans find out when their team will be on TV.
Yo talks with Sacto fans about her decision to play for Seattle.

"I've been the face of the Monarchs," she says. "I've been a mentor. I've been a mother. I've been slash coach. But [at the end of her time in Sacramento] I wasn't a player because I've had so many things to do that I stopped being me."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Via Stever, Moscow Spartak won the Euroleague even though Lauren Jackson, who plays for that well-paid club, tore up her foot in the semis. LJ's mom called it "the most painful injury she's ever experienced"-- and she's experienced, alas, a few.
Movin' Time:

Ohio State loses an assistant.

So does Kentucky.

Baylor loses an assistant and a player.

Bowling Green loses two freshmen.

Oregon loses Tamika Nurse.

Idaho State's coach Newlee is moving over to the University of Idaho.

Shanice Stephens is moving from Clemson to become the head coach of North Texas.

Santa Clara hires Gonzaga assistant Jennifer Mountain as head coach.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

After Atalanta has a follow up to the story out of Kansas last February about St. Mary's Academy banning a female official from refereeing a boys' basketball game.
...the Kansas State High School Activities Association has added language to its application for member schools which prevents discrimination against an official based on sex, nationality, race, or religion. (Note the very obvious absence of sexuality and gender expression. Grrr...)
Some serious faces up in Chicago with USABasketball. Good to see Harding is back on the court....
All the gidiness around Spoon returning to La Tech has prompted some serious flashback via harlem_basketball.

The year is 1986. The Sports Illustrated article is headlined Belles of the Ball: Off the court they're ladies, but when they put on basketball uniforms they become Lady Techsters—Louisiana Tech's all-business dynamos.

A quote:

Of course, not everyone is cut out for Lady Techsterism. In Ruston, where there is no great tradition of Women's Lib, the team carries an almost antebellum image, and Lady Techsters are required to be ladylike. A Lady Techster is likely to be a good student and a devout Christian, probably favors needlepoint over Madonna tapes on airplanes and fears a drug test about as much as she does an airport metal detector.

"We like them to be winners on court, but nice-looking ladies off it," says Mulkey, who might wear pigtails on court but is the picture of proper southern womanhood as a coach and recruiter. "You don't wear raggy old jeans to class. There are some things a Lady Techster just can't do."

The photographs are... well... omigod, Spoon! Scroll through the thumbnails to page 118-121 (real page 108).

Check out another SI on Spoon and LaTech, circa 1988.
For while senior forward Erica Westbrooks was providing the points - a game-high 25—Weatherspoon, a 5'8" whirling dervish from Pineland, Texas, was performing a minor miracle. Auburn's Ruthie Bolton had taken 'Spoon for 16 points in the first half, as the Lady Tigers grabbed a 31-19 lead. But over the last 20 minutes, Weatherspoon flawlessly directed Tech's attack (seven assists, one turnover) and energetically disrupted Bolton's (no points, six turnovers). Weatherspoon said later of her offense: "I love pressure. Pressure makes you a better basketball player." And by way of explaining her sensational defense, she said, "It upsets me when somebody scores like that on me. In the second half, I'm out to shut them down."
Transfers: USF freshman Gianna Messina to Tampa, Ohio State's sophmore Lesslee Mason-Cox , Missouri State's Marisha Brown and Minnesota's sophomore Korinne Campbell to TBA.

Southern Illinois is going to lose five freshmen.
Via Ron C, the struggle for women's basketball in Saudi Arabia, which doesn't send female athletes to the Olympics.

Lina al-Maeena, who founded a club team in Jeddah, says she's seen how youth sports help girls there. "Girls arrive shy, and in a very short period they are outgoing, energetic, motivated," she says. Basketball "gives them a sense of empowerment."

Maybe that explains why some people don't like it.
Sad, horrible news out of Connecticut. Randy Smith of the Journal Inquirer has died.

"Randy was a great writer and a wonderful friend to all of us," Journal Inquirer Publisher Elizabeth Ellis said. "He has been a wonderful contributor to this newspaper. We will miss him."

Smith's columns were a mainstay in the paper's sports section.

"His integrity and fearlessness made him the best at what he did for 30 years," Managing Editor Chris Powell said.

Smith, who was only 61, was a great, great friend to women's basketball. Says today's JI editorial, "The man who wrote well:"

Smith was part of a tradition that is almost forgotten in sports writing now. For him sports writing was not about contracts, gossip, celebrity endorsements, or technique. He saw sports as a healthy slice of the human drama. Sports, for him, were about heroes and bums; failure and aspiration; brotherhood, courage, and hope.

Therefore the concept of sports writing as a form of technical writing was totally alien to him. To Randy Smith, sports writing was supposed to be a kind of literature.

In his hands it was.

Yes, the coverage the NYTimes has given women's basketball has been a recent favorite target of mine. Back in 2006, he was emailed the question (not by me -- honest!):

--Why don’t you guys cover the New York Liberty?

You may recall Mr. Tom Jolly's reponse:
A. We report the results of all Liberty games, albeit usually in short items. Again, it's a question of resources. Except for the major teams, we're less about covering events and more about reporting on the bigger stories that transcend a particular sport. For instance, rather than merely cover the Connecticut-Washington playoff games this weekend, our reporter John Eligon wrote about two players, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and DeLisha Milton-Jones, with interesting back stories.

The Times is a general interest newspaper, though, and our mission is to report on the big issues of the sports world. Just as our Foreign, National, Metro and Culture sections pick and choose the events and news they cover, we look for stories that are of broad interest.

The beauty of the Internet is that people who want to read more about a particular sport can easily do so by finding a Web site devoted to that sport. And you can count on us to be there when those sports are involved in news that elevates them to general interest, just as we were for the World Cup, the Olympics and the Tour de France.
(Sort of -- you may recall the word count tracking I did of the Women's National Team v the Men's Basketball)

A couple of months back, TJ was answering questions again. I've noticed (as other readers have) a significant change in the volume of coverage given to wbball, so I dropped him an "atta boy" email ('cause, you know, you need to use a carrot AND a stick. Though, I'll admit, wielding a stick can be more viscerally satisfying).

Seems TJ responded! (Back in Feb '08 -- who knew! And if you did, why didn't you tell me!).

A. See what I meant about readers viewing us differently, depending on their perspective?

Dr. Johnson, your complaint about our coverage of women's basketball refers to our Web site and is related to the earlier question about the availability of golf scores. Those statistics are provided by a third party vendor; we simply don't have the personnel to be able to keep up with all of the statistical information in sports. Unfortunately, the amount of data that's available relates to the perceived interest in each sport. Like it or not, women's basketball has not yet achieved parity with men's basketball.

As for *that damn WHB gadfly's* observation, I confess that you're keeping closer track of that than I am. *you bet your sweet bippee I am. And honestly, I don't believe you* We look for good stories in all sports and even if women's basketball isn't yet on par with the men's game in popularity, *we know that and appreciate the "yet"*it's got a significant following and lots of interesting topics.*we knew that -- glad you've figured it out*

By the way, both of you might be interested to know that I heard an ESPN radio commentator saying he can't stand women's basketball and that there was no way The New York Times was going to force it on him. *Yes, we've heard. Don't you love the fact that a couple of old grey ladies like the NYTimes and the WHB's gadfly can drive the poor, paranoid ESPN sod to distraction? I'm tempted to forward him some of Mechelle and Graham's articles. Does that make me evil? heh. heh.*

Again, it all depends on your perspective. *Or your personal biases*or media economics*or reader input*

Monday, April 14, 2008

Barry returns to Full Court with his own list of D-I All-Americans: McCoughtry makes the first team, Charel Allen the second, and Maya Moore wins the special one-time-only Next Taurasi award.
More studies weigh in on injuries to girls and women in sports, including the one with three letters.

A surgeon explains ACLs and their troubles; Sara thought about ACLs back in 2003.
Not too much of a surprise: South Carolina's Sue Walvius has resigned.
OT: US Women's Hockey defeated traditional rival Canada 4-3 to capture gold at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Women's Championship.

I love hockey. Played it (though, I'll admit, to use the word "played" to describe my skill set is quite...generous) for a couple of years in high school. I see a lot of similarities between basketball and hockey.

But, when it comes to comparing the USA Basketball website to US Hockey's, the ice-people have the upper hand, no question.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'll admit I'm an amateur-obsessive about women's basketball history. (Yes, I know there are dead links to be addressed -- I'm looking at YOU Eastern Carolina! -- not to mention the list of AAU All-Americans from 1929 on...)

While the internet is a great source of information, the real gold lives in the memories of players and the pages of century-old newspapers. Fortunately, there are people out there doing the true work of traveling, researching, writing and getting someone to publish the beast. They've produced such books as:
The Only Dance In Iowa: A History Of Six-Player Girls' Basketball by Max McElwain. 2004

A Century of Women's Basketball: From Frailty to Final Four by Joan S. Hult. 1991.

A History of Basketball for Girls and Women
: From Bloomers to Big Leagues by Joanne Lannin. 2000.

Just for Fun: The Story of AAU Women's Basketball by Robert W. Ikard. 2005.

Lady Hoopsters by Linda G. Ford. 1998.

Senda Berenson: The Unlikely Founder of Women's Basketball by Ralph Melnick. 2007.

Shattering The Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball by Pamela Grundy and Susan Shackelford. 2005.

Mad Seasons: The Story of the First Women's Professional Basketball League, 1978 - 1981 by Karra Porter. 2006.
But, there is still a huge treasure trove of primary material out there just begging to be explored -- not just about women's basketball in general, but its role within Native American communities (I eagerly await the publication of Peavy and Smith's book on the 1904 Fort Shaw team), immigrant communities in the early 1900's, Japanese-American communities interned in the 1940's, black communities... you get the point.

Which brings me to Claude Johnson, Black Fives, Inc. and the Black Fives Blog:
Black Fives, Inc. researches, preserves, promotes, and teaches the history of African American participation in basketball. In particular, its focus is on the many all-black teams that played from the early 1900s through the late-1940s, prior to the racial integration of pro basketball, a period that I call the Black Fives Era.

Through scholarly research, methodical archival preservation, trademark protection, and thoughtful promotion, our goal is to bring the teams of the Black Fives Era back to life. Why? Because in the basketball family tree, this era is where our lineage started; those players are our on-court ancestors. This is our history. We should be conscious of it. Learning about our past may teach us new things about ourselves, and allow us to put some present-day issues and circumstances into better perspective.
A man (and group) after my own heart.

Those who've scanned through the timeline have caught tantalizing glimpses of the fabulous Ora Mae Washington, the legendary Philly Tribunes and the Chicago Roamers. So, it's with particular delight that I see that Johnson and crew have fleshed out this skeleton of knowledge with great research and scans of some fabulous primary sources.

You can check out a series of blog posts that launched with this salvo:

"Today, December 3, 2007 at 5:59 a.m., Black Fives hereby declares December as Black Women’s Basketball History Month." The post was done at 5:59 a.m. this morning, in order to take priority in the universe over Don Imus, who went back on the air at 6:00 a.m. today.

1. Top 10 Terms Imus Could Have Used - 10 out-of-date, once-politically correct, historically accurate terms for African American female basketball teams.

2. Female Black Fives Invade Philly
The first Colored Y.W.C.A. was established in 1918 in Germantown, a racially diverse community in the northern section of Philadelphia, Pa. The Germantown Hornets, a championship African American women’s basketball team, were formed in 1929 in affiliation with this original “Branch for Colored Girls and Women.”
3. The Chicago Roamer Girls Were Pretty, Magnificent
Formed in Chicago in 1921 by local basketball and track star Edward “Sol” Butler, the Roamer Athletic Club was originally affiliated with the Grace Presbyterian Church’s Sunday School.The Roamer Girls won their very first game, played at the massive 8th Regiment Armory on Chicago’s South Side on Saturday on March 19, 1921, against the Olivet Baptist Church Cosmopolitans. The Roamers featured Lillian Speed, Pollie Rickman, Margrete Lewis, Corinne Robinson, Mignon Burns, Lillian Ross, Virginia Willis, Lula Porter, and Isadore “Izzy” Channels.
4. Death By Chocolate Co-eds
... the South Side of Chicago in the early 1930s witnessed the birth of one of the greatest women’s basketball teams ever created, the Club Store Coeds, a.k.a. the Chocolate Coeds.

The Coeds were formed by local nightclub promoter Dick Hudson, and they took over where the Roamer Girls, Oberlin Girls, Olivet Girls, and Savoy Colts had left off.

The team featured a lineup of all-stars that included four-time All-American Kate Bard of Crane College in Chicago (now Malcolm X College), former Oberlin Co-eds and Philadelphia Tribunes player Bernice “Mighty Atom” Marshall, former Oberlin Coeds player and La Salle College of Chicago star Marge Jackson, two-time Olympian hurdler Tydie Pickett, Vi Casey, an All-American from “colored girls” college national champion Xavier University, Lula Porter, a four-time winner of the all-black American Tennis Association’s women’s singles championship, Naomi Stokes, formerly of the St. Louis Argus Five, and Helen “Streamline” Smith, a graduate of Lemoyne College in Memphis, who at 6-feet 7-inches was perhaps the tallest female in basketball.
5. All Hail The Philadelphia Tribune Girls! (Happy Birthday Ora Mae Washington 1/23/08)
The Tribune Girls won 11 straight Women’s Colored Basketball World’s Championships.

The Tribune Girls were formed in 1930 with players from the Philadelphia Quick Steppers and the Germantown Hornets, two exceptional local all-black female basketball teams.

The Quick Steppers featured Inez Patterson, a phenomenal sports star who also managed and coached the team. The Hornets’ lineup included two amazing athletes who were already nationally renowned as tennis players, Ora Washington and Lula Ballard.
Quite the honor for referee Sue Blauch: She will be one of about a dozen women's basketball referees for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

Blauch grew up in Short Gap, W.Va., and has had a basketball in her hands since she was in third grade. In 1986, Blauch graduated from Eastern Mennonite College where she and her team clinched the school's first women's Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship.
"I'd have been dangerous had I been 6 feet tall," said Blauch, who, at 5-foot-7, played forward. "I loved banging around at the post position."
Blauch started working as a referee in 1988 and in 2001 it became a full-time job.

I'd ask those who are wondering how we can improve and expand the women's basketball officiating pool to ponder the realities of those 13 years.

That's over a decade of committing your weekends and evenings to traveling to church leagues, local high schools, college leagues, international venues and WNBA cities -- all while holding a "real" job to put food on your table.

Basically, you get to live the life of a traveling salesman with the added bonus of getting insulted on national t.v. Tempting, no?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

USA Basketball asks a couple of Terps to come along for the ride to Chicago and pre-Olympics Beijing.
Does Nikki cruise to UCLA?
Nicole Hester, a junior on the Drexel basketball team, overcame her battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma and was named the 2008 recipient of the V Foundation Comeback Award.
"I'm personally very thankful for the generosity of groups like The V Foundation because the research and technological development that they have funded helped me get back on the basketball court this season and is helping millions of people out there who are battling cancer right now," Hester said.
The coaching carousel spins away at Toledo.
The Atlanta Dream tries to sign up Tennessee fans.

Friday, April 11, 2008

So, seems Spoon was speaking at the annual Louisiana Tech Lady Techster Banquet tonight and said something that made people very, very happy....
A little cross-blogging via email: Illinois junior guard Lori Bjork informed Illinois coaches this morning that she is leaving the UI program. Bjork, a third-team All-Big Ten selection, leaves the Illini as the school's all-time leader in three-point shooting.
The legendary Amy Ruley left some big shoes to fill when she retired as North Dakota State's head coach. In her 29 years she guided the Bison to five Division II national titles and then took them into Division I. She also won 671 games in her career and was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

New head coach Carolyn DeHoff
ain't skeered. A player and captain for Arizona State, she's worked for 17 years at the D-I level.
"We're going to talk about a standard of excellence here. It's not going to be good enough just to be 19-11," DeHoff said. "A standard of excellence is going to be: 'You're going win 20-plus games, and you're going to cut down those nets and you're going to make those NCAA tournament appearances.'"
Missed this mid-March article from Chris Hansen of Hoopgurlz.com (now owned by ESPN) : Personal threats becoming unfortunate reality in girls hoops."
Tayler Hill, Minneapolis South High School's star junior guard and ranked No. 12 in the 2009 class by HoopGurlz.com, should have been resting the night before her team played St. Paul Central in the Minnesota Class 4A championship game. Instead she was on the receiving end of threats of violence against her.

"She received some threatening phone calls late Friday night, early Saturday morning that were graphic and violent in nature," South athletic director Mark Sanders.
TV ratings for the Stanford-Tennessee championship game were up 30%.
Anyone who's watched women's basketball for more than a year knew exactly what it was the moment it happened -- even if they hoped for something different.

Tennessee's Vicki Baugh tore her ACL during the Championship game.
In Canada, they're rallying around Carolyn Sturgess, who received the diagnosis of terminal breast cancer in spring of 2005. Sturgess was was a part of two national championship women's basketball teams at Laurentian University.

...wearing the pink uniforms makes team captain Chelsea Serafini, 14, and her teammates think beyond basketball.

"I find now that we're talking about things, I've started to understand a lot more about the struggle and the long journey of treatment," Serafini said, wearing a pink uniform outside the team's practice gym at ecole Sacre-Coeur.

"It's not like it changes just that person's life, but it changes the lives of people around them. "I actually feel really good when I put on the uniform, because I feel like I'm helping Carolyn and other people. It makes them feel good to know we're thinking about them."

Graham looks at not-ParkerFowlesWiggins draft picks.
...for all the talk about the talent at the top, the group's professional legacy ultimately hinges as much on players like Tamera Young and Amber Holt and coaches like Marynell Meadors and Mike Thibault, who gambled on the roulette wheel of their potential.
Jonesing for some basketball? Check out the EuroLeague Final Four Live and Free. Rickyy has done the all the homework on this...

To watch go to http://www.fibaeurope.com/ and click on the 'Watch Basketball Games Online' box in the top right corner. There'll be a direct Windows Media Player link as well -- and, since this post is late, check the site for archived games. (And don't read the bottom of the post: Spoiler Alert!)

UMMC: Bibrzycka, Nolan, Gruda, Taylor, Ashja Jones, Leuchanka, Harrower, Aubert

Spartak: LJ, Taurasi, Bird, Tina Thompson, Izi, Schegoleva, Miller, Mazzante

Brno: Whitmore, Maiga-Ba, and a bunch of Czech and Slovak players you've probably never heard of (most significantly Viteckova and Zirkova)

Bourges: Snell, and a load of players you've probably never heard of, most notably Kireta, Miyem,Dumerc, Ndongue and Petrovic

I'll let Richyyy lay out the dates and times for you:

FibaEurope is streaming the EuroLeague Final Four live from their website. This is the top tournament in European Women's club basketball. The semi-finals are tomorrow (Friday), and the final and third-place playoff are Sunday.

First semi-final is UMMC Ekaterinburg vs. Spartak Moscow, and tip-off is 3pm local time in Brno, Czech Republic. As far as I can work out, that's 2pm British Summer Time (so local time for me), which is 9am EST in the US tomorrow morning. The second semi-final is Gambrinus Brno vs. Bourges, starting three hours later (so 6pm local time in Brno, noon EST).

I'm happy to be corrected about timings if someone else is more sure, but I'm pretty sure the above differences are right. The times are the same on Sunday - 3pm and 6pm local (9am and noon EST), third place playoff followed by the final.

SPOILER ALERT! (but a reason to watch the archived game):

Spartak wins. Box Score (thanks mb1):

For Spartak:
LJ: 35pts, 12 rbs
TT: 24 pts, 3 rbs, 1 assist
Bird: 4 pts, 8rbs, 4 assists, 5 to
DT: 5 pts, 1rb, 3 assists

For Ekaterinburg:
Leuchanka: 15 pts, 7 rbs, 2 assists
P Taylor: 8pts, 4 rbs, 2 assists
Harrower: 9 pts, 4rbs, 2 assists
Bibrzycka: 8 pts, 7 rbs, 1 assist
A. Jones: 9 pts, 4rbs, 1 assist
Gruda: 8 pts, 1rb
A response from the emailbox to an earlier post:
I currently live in Oklahoma City and am a native of the state. Personally, I would have loved for a WNBA team to relocate here, but am glad that the Storm are staying in Seattle because I don't think that they would have the same support here in OKC as they do in Seattle. But not because we don't want "those kind of women". . .

I also completely agree with your personal assessment that Mr. McClendon is a small-minded, ignorant shit. I am embarrassed that he made that statement because I live in OKC and am therefore associated with the prick, but also because by making that statement, he, in the minds of the ignorant, has just made a blanket statement about OKC that is completely untrue.

In a state full of embarrassing people (Sally Kern, Jim Inhofe . . .really, we could both go on and on), I just want to let you know that there are, indeed, a ton of us who LOVE women's basketball, a lot of us who happen to be gay, and some, like me, who happen to be members of both camps. Again, thank you for reminding people that not everyone... okay, really no one... agrees with ol' Aubrey and his homophobic ways.

I might argue with the "okay, really no one" sentiment (simply check out the comments section on most any women's basketball article. And let's not even discuss the kind of small-minded, ignorant drek that can appear on message boards.), but it does remind me that, whether you're aware of it or not, simply by participating in women's basketball -- either as a player, coach, fan, writer etc. -- you are making a social and political statement.

And it will remain so as long as people are threatened by strong, powerful women.

Now if only I could find that quote - was it Billie Jean? Was it Gloria? -- that says something to the effect of, "Sports is politics," I could end this post on a high note.
In the Seattle Times, more sleazy emails from the lying bigots who want to move the Sonics, but fortunately no longer control the Storm.

More good news for Storm fans, this time from the P-I: coach Agler says Tanisha Wright, whatever she does have to do, won't have to bring the ball up when Bird's off the floor.

"We need to find somebody coming out of this training camp that can play behind Sue Bird," Scowlin' Brian explained yesterday. "And if we're fortunate enough, give us the opportunity to play them at the point and let Sue Bird come off some screens."

Hey Jayda! When do you re-start the blog?
Email synergy offers up a couple of linked links.

From Milwaukee: Monfre for Three, while Mom's "There For Me"

On December 22, 2003, the day after Brett Favre's father Irv died, he played the game of his life against the Oakland Raiders. Perhaps no one could fully understand the shoes he had to fill that night.

Perhaps no one, until Saturday in East Lansing, Michigan.

In Marquette's 81-66 win over Michigan State in the finals of the WNIT, Marquette junior guard Erin Monfre came off the bench and had her own game of a lifetime, while her mother Maureen, who passed away in January from breast cancer, was still on her mind.

"Especially with everything I had gone through, it was just a special

At the article link you can hear audio of the article's author Jay Sorgi speaking with Monfre, as well as find links for organizations supported by Marquette's "Think Pink" game.

The other email brings the news that Holly and Nikki will ride again!

Cruisin’ for a Cause is a long-haul motorcycle adventure to raise dollars and awareness for a cure for breast cancer. (Remember when they checked in last September?)

Last year, Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coaches Holly Warlick and Nikki Caldwell raised over $50,000 through their 11-day, over 3,000 mile cross-country ride from Berkeley, California to Knoxville, Tennessee. On May 11th the riders head south, taking their ride against breast cancer from Knoxville, Tennessee to Key West Florida and back to Knoxville.

You can donate here.

You can also register for the May 10th TaTa tour and join Holly and Nikki on a cruise through the East Tennessee countryside and rocking after-ride Party on the Patio at Wild Wings. Riders pay $50 ($75 for a double) for the ride, a commemorative ride shirt, great music and all the wings they can eat. Pre-registration for the ride is required. Non-riders can join in the party for $10 at the door.

Which leads me to the stupendoulsy successful "Think Pink" breast cancer awareness initiative, held February 8-17, 2008 that galvanized what Coach Kay Yow called "A Nation of Coaches."

Over $930,000 has been raised for breast cancer awareness and research and more than 830,000 fans have been reached in arenas across the globe.

“We were amazed by the enormous support of coaches, teams and communities across the nation and the outpouring of dedication that each of the participants portrayed. The wave of pink seen throughout the month of February was one of the largest movements in women’s basketball history,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass.

At the Final Four, the WBCA unveiled a new brand identity that will more closely align the initiative with sports: The WBCA Pink Zone™. Said Coach Yow:
"Despite all the games I have coached and all the great opponents I have battled on the court, breast cancer by far has been the toughest opponent I have ever faced. My hope is that the money we raise will change the lives of the many individuals who face this opponent daily. Join me and let’s beat cancer once and for all."

Check out the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and the Fund's impressive Board of Directors here.

Don't forget to check out the rockin' video highlights of this past year's "Think Pink" campaign.
Boston College needs a new coach: Cathy Inglese has resigned.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Most Excellent!!! The New York Times reaches out to Los Angeles to find a story about women's basketball. Karen Crouse (who has been very busy recently) writes a long piece about a "New Breed of Sports Tycoon Bringing Order to the Court."
Christofferson’s mode of relaxation is also a metaphor for how she lives her life. Over the years, her circles of ambition have grown larger and the bull’s-eyes have become more minuscule: From a tomboy in North Dakota to Miss North Dakota; from a law student at Yale to one of the youngest partners at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm that specializes in entertainment and commercial litigation; from a Los Angeles Sparks season-ticket holder to a team co-owner.

From pompom girls to proprietors, Christofferson and Goodman represent the next stage in the evolution of women in sports: the self-made mogul who neither inherited a team from her father or a spouse, like the late Georgia Frontiere with the Rams, nor bought one with her husband’s wealth, as Marge Schott did with the Cincinnati Reds.
OT: Who put the body mic on the cardinal watching the Masters. Yikes! I'm surprised none of the golfers have complained.
Heeeeee's baaaaaack!

The nice thing is that if google decides to be a bid ole poophead and wipe out three years of work known as the "She's Got Game" blog without so much as an email, you can go somewhere else.

Welcome back stever and the "She's Got Game" blog.
And yes, we learned our lesson and have backed up our little bloglette.
From Seattle and psheehy, a link to a Jayda article with the following quote:

That truth was confirmed in an August magazine interview with co-owner Aubrey McClendon, who said, "We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle." McClendon also stated that he wasn't in favor of the Storm because he didn't want "those kind of women" in Oklahoma City — referring to lesbians. McClendon and co-owner Tom Ward have given $1.1 million to anti-gay marriage proponents.

The Oklahoma ownership group has since sold the Storm to four local women for $10 million, but was fined $250,000 for McClendon's remarks.

*steps up on soapbox*

First: Aubrey, what a small-minded, ignorant little shit you are.

Second: I believe Aubrey was fined for admitting he and the crew lied about wanting to keep the Sonics in Seattle, not for being a small-minded, ignorant little shit. It appears that only happens to NBA players.

Third: I don't know what the stats are, but the last I heard it's 1-in-10. So Aubrey, you small-minded, ignorant little shit, you might want to be careful who you mouth off to in Oklahoma City. Or, amongst your very small circle of friends.

Fourth: Considering the very visible gay community that came out (no pun intended) to support the women's Final Four ("Ybor businesses bank on lesbian basketball fans") and the fact that Oklahoma City loves its women's basketball (hello, can you read attendance numbers!) and that certain city peeps have expressed an interest in hosting the Final Four, maybe, Aubrey, you small-minded, ignorant little shit, you should just keep your small-minded, ignorant little shit thoughts to yourself before you paint an entire city with your small-minded, ignorant paintbrush.

*steps off soapbox and places it over Aubery's small-minded, ignorant little shit head.*
Just in time for the W season (or, as he writes, "Just in time for the Candace Parker era") SLAM introduces Stephen Litel as a new columnist (Goody is still around).
Yes, believe it or not, I’m a man who enjoys the WNBA. Get over it. This is not going to turn into a place for trollers to post continuously how the league is boring, not as athletic as the male counterparts, etc. It gets old, isn’t true and, to be blunt, is the argument of the uninformed. This is the one way I feel like Jim Rome…come strong or don’t come at all.
Connecticut thought about trading up to get Wiggins, but finally used their original draft pick (the eighth) for Middle Tennessee wing Amber Holt, who once scored 41 points against LSU. She doesn't shoot threes, but coach Thibault says she can learn: "I'll do whatever he wants me to do," she claims.

A few other recent Sun moves have involved, well, Connecticut: Swanier with the Sun's other first-round pick, Barbara Turner in a trade from Seattle, Tamika Raymond (nee Williams) from Minnesota.

You can justify each of these moves individually: Raymond is an emotionally steady veteran on a team that's just lost some veterans. Turner has unrealized potential. If Erin Phillips stays in Australia this year, Swanier could surely will give the Sun something they need.

Together, though, the moves make me wonder a bit: is the casino worried about attendance? Does the team think they need more UConn fans at the gate?
The Women's Sports Foundation has a new CEO: Karen Durkin. Most recently the executive vice president of communications and brand strategy at the National Hockey League, Durkin previously spent 10 years at the Ladies Professional Golf Association.
“Karen’s depth of sports marketing experience will help deliver to the Women’s Sports Foundation lasting partnerships, an increase in financial support, a stronger brand presence and awareness for the important work that we do,” said Billie Jean King, founder of the Women’s Sports Foundation. “Her career is an affirmation of what women can do for sports and through sports. We’re delighted to welcome her.”

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The first trade of the Draft has officially been announced. If you watched the Draft on TV, you may know it involves San Antonio and Atlanta. When the Draft aired, it was still a proposed trade.

San Antonio gets: Ann Wauters, Morenike Atunrase and a 2009 second round pick.

Atlanta gets: Camille Little, guard Chioma Nnamaka and the Silver Stars 2009 first round draft pick.
The Draft is over. The top picks went as expected and so far, there are no trades. The news stories are still coming up, but several teams have added some great information.

In L.A., owner Kathy Goodman kept a War Room blog. "Ok, it's official LA! We're getting CP!! I know you didn't doubt it. But until it's official, it's speculation. Now we can relax and fix our sights on our second round pick."

The Sky will be hosting a chat tomorrow with their top two picks - LSU teammates Sylvia Fowles and Quianna Chaney.

The Lynx had reporter Mike Trudell down in Tampa to cover the Championship and Draft. Interviews with Candice Wiggins, Nicky Anosike and Charde Houston are already up. They also had reporter Becca Walters in the War Room to blog.

The Shock's beat reporter, Ryan Pretzer, provided updates throughout the draft and even did an online chat with fans as Detroit added Alexis Hornbuckle, Tasha Humphrey, Olayinka Sanni, Natasha Lacy and Valeriya Berezhynska.
Karen notes a distinct New Yawk flavor to Tennessee's win.
It wasn't about Ace vs. Ice after all. It was about Rosalyn Gold-Onwude and J. J. Hones versus Alexis Hornbuckle and Shannon Bobbitt. It was about Auguste and Parker and Anosike on the boards together against Appel (who played like she had the flu), Wiggins and Pederson.

It was about Tennessee pressing and trapping for 30-odd minutes, starting their defense way before half-court, and using superior reach, length, and foot speed to smash Stanford's deliberate offense to flinders.

And in the end, it wasn't much of a game. The Cardinal ended up with 24 turnovers, most of them in the first half, where it mattered; the first set were mostly forced by Tennessee athletes, but later the underdogs came mentally unglued, throwing the ball at teammates who weren't there, or picking up their dribble at just the wrong time. Athleticism-- as Clay often says (and may not enjoy saying) erased skills; experience beat enthusiasm nerves, and the Lady Vols had no trouble repeating as champions.

Voepel and Geno, in retrospect, look like prophets: Mechelle said that Anosike would show up and score, and Geno said after UConn's loss that top teams beat Stanford (if they can; UConn couldn't) by creating a full-court, up-and-down, maximally physical game.

"Who has the athletes to do that?" said Coach TV afterwards. "They do." Gold-Onwude (whose team, remember, beat Rutgers in November) added, "We hadn't seen that much pressure all year."

Candace should be happy: she showed, not just skills, but poise, and dedication (not least to the physical demands of rehab). Her team pulled together around her, and Pat Summitt's group of elite, experienced athletes looked like what they were: together, they came out on top.

UPDATE: Lady Vols fans celebrate; other fans discuss.

CLARIFICATION: new reader mail suggests that this post implied Tennessee's athletes weren't skilled. That wasn't at all the intended implication (not here, not in Clay's piece, not in coach TV's press conference either). Rather, Tennessee's physical gifts-- as applied, skillfully, on the defensive end-- made Stanford's players unable to use their skills.