Women's Hoops Blog: October 2008

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Friday, October 31, 2008

(on edit from helen) Clearly both Steve and I felt strongly enough about Hyman's blog entry to post a link to it.

His words did send off some echoing bells about the relationship between coaches and officials and the relationship between high school coaches and parents from Rick Wolff at the Center for Sports Parenting. Wolff identifies three distinct types of parents:
The Discreet Parent, who meets several times with the coach during the season to “check up” on their child’s progress; the Befriender, who hopes the friendship can be parlayed into more playing time for their child; and the Loudmouth, who screams and yells from the stands at both the child and the coach.

While some cross the line, Wolff understands the parents’ intensity. “If you’re a parent,” he explains, “you’ve been chauffeuring your kids around to basketball games from the time they were 5 or 6 years old, you’ve been there for tryouts and travel teams and AAU teams. By the time the child is in eighth or ninth grade, you’ve invested quite a bit of your time, emotion and, of course, your finances in making sure your kid is going to be a star player. Now you’re handing your kid over to a coach who may not see your kid s the same kind of star you [do].”

“Coaches biggest complaints, almost universally, are dealing with parents.

Since the reality is that only about one percent of high school girls’ basketball players get scholarships, a coach needs to mange the parent’s expectations. Preseason meetings between coaches and parents laying out the coach’s ground rules and philosophy are essential. “Those meetings were a nice gesture or convenience 15 or 20 years ago,” says Wolff. “Now you must have that meeting.”
From Jessie I get the following link to the Youth Sports Parents blog where Mark Hyman writes about the dangerous lives of sports officials.
If you think adult behavior in your neighborhood league is out of hand, skim this police blotter compiled by the National Association of Sports Officials. You'll feel better. Or perhaps a lot worse.

Check out the NASO blotter of incidents, and ask yourself why on earth anyone would want to become an official....
From Karen Tucker for the WBHOF:

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame’s new and improved website at www.wbhof.com. “This project has been a long time coming,” WBHOF Vice President/General Manager Dana Hart said. “We recently celebrated our 10th Anniversary and as we look to the next decade of promoting women’s basketball, we knew it was time for a fresh, updated website.”

Kate Lee, Multimedia Courseware Designer at Smith College, where women’s basketball originated in the 1890s, put together the new design and worked closely with the WBHOF to update the website’s content and features. Once the site was to everyone’s liking, Bob Adkinson, Knoxville Tourism & Sports Corporation’s VP of Technology and Information Systems, assisted with the actual launch. “I love basketball and I love history, so volunteering my skillset to help the Hall of Fame redesign its website was a win-win situation,” Lee said. “The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is a fabulous facility and I am honored to help promote it by designing a website where visitors can explore the history of this sport, visually and audibly.

“The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (WBHOF) is a non-profit museum and hall of fame whose mission is to “Honor the Past, Celebrate the Present, and Promote the Future” of women’s basketball.

It's official: The New York Liberty will not be evicted from the Garden this summer.

So says Pete, my season subscriber rep.

The only question I have is, why on earth did I have to call Pete to find out. With all the surveys we subscribers had to fill out this past summer, do they not realize we understand what's going on? That there are several people who are considering NOT reupping because of the threatened eviction. That we're all VERY used to the Liberty pulling their own "October Suprise" AFTER you send in your bucks (ie weekday noon games, games at Radio City Music Hall, an outdoor game.).

You think they'd do everything they could to reassure nervous subscribers. But, of course, that would mean they actually paid attention to us and were actively concerned about us. And that's not the Lib's modus operandi, now, is it.... sigh.

But, hey, at least we're not playing somewhere in New Jersey next season.
There's going to be a new member of the Texas Longhorn's Hall of Fame.

It's been almost three decades since Hattie Browning played at UT, but she still holds the records for most steals in a game, most steals in a season, and career steals-per-game average.
“There’s no feeling that can describe (being inducted into the Hall of Honor). You just have to scream and say, ‘What?’,” Browning said. “When you consider all the people who were at Texas with me and the ones that have gone through since, and all the people who are being inducted with me... to be put on that same level is quite a compliment.”
RyAnne Ridge, who played for Kathy McConnell-Miller at Tulsa, says that McConnell-Miller promised her an athletic scholarship at Colorado University-Boulder after McConnell-Miller left Tulsa for Boulder. Ridge then transferred to Colorado, but did not receive an athletic scholarship. So she's suing the school.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Well, this is mighty unpleasant.
Three white Quinnipiac University students have been arrested and dismissed from the school after an investigation into the racial harassment of black players on the school's men's and women's basketball teams.
Expand your knowledge base: cram about all the conferences.
Where in the world is Mechelle Voepel?

No longer at the Kansas City Star.


**Note to readers: I ain't kiddin'. Click on the bloody links. Send supportive emails. Advocate and agitate. Now it's the industry AND the economy. If you want coverage, you're going to have to be very, very noticeable. Want some hints on how? Go here.

This reminds me of why the W's mismanagement of their use of the internet ticks me off so. It's stunning that they should be so incompetent. But I digress...**

Luckily, she be bloggin' -- check her out at voepel.wordpress.com.

And I agree -- I want her to be different, too. Maybe Vickie Johnson's step back jumper?
When you win, sometimes the publisher lets you add another chapter.

That's what happened to "Thirteen Women Strong: The Making of a Team," which chronicles the 2006-07 season of the Northern Kentucky University women's basketball team, after the 2007-08 team won the Division II national championship.
That Yahoo-Rivals.com-CBS-Interactive U-Wire crew keeps churning out the college stories (the season can't get here fast enough!): The youthful Volunteers, intense Terps, kidney-less Gators, sharing Cyclones and watchable Huskies.

Oh, and a reminder: if you don't click, they don't know you read, and then they won't be able to tell the advertisers that people are interested and, as a result, they won't think covering women's basketball is worth it....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cal's Hampton has a slight knee setback.
Some encouraging news about coach Yow, who ended up in the hospital for a few days after a change in her new chemo treatment threw her body for a loop.
From the blog over at ESPN.com, Graham points to the top 10 mid-majors. Start with the Redbirds and end with the Flames.

Visiting the blog will also get you some background on Marist junior Rachele Fitz.
From SportsAgentBlog.com (who knew!) an interview with Eric Wiesel, Rebekkah Brunson and Armintie Price's agent.

Darren Heitner: How did you get started in this industry?

Eric Wiesel: After graduating from law school and starting to practice as a litigating attorney I was introduced by a business client to an NBA player being abused by his agent - no communication, accountability or respect. There were also financial irregularities. As an advocate and man I couldn’t believe the way the athlete/person was being treated - as an employee rather than an employer. At roughly the same time, I was introduced to a WNBA player who was having the same issues - except the lack of respect and honesty from her agent was even greater. I deeply wanted to make a difference in their careers and lives. I had found the career I feel completely passionate about.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Patricia Babcock McGraw joins the Big Ten Network as a blogger.

Don't expect daily updates, though-- at least not till the collegiate season begins: all we found was a (long, fun) first post from Friday, with something about every Big Ten team.
Purdue's Lauren Mioton isn't just a Boilermaker guard; she's also the homecoming queen.
Kara Braxton is now a restricted free agent. The Shock site's Ryan Pretzer asks: can the Shock keep her?
Thanks to Stever, who finds an article about the soon to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Famer, Ora Mae Washington:

Her name had a certain buoyant lilt to it.


Ora Mae.

Ora Mae Washington.

The finest athlete you never heard of.

In the opinion of those who were there to see her and to those to whom tales of her deeds were passed on, she was, and remains, the greatest black female athlete ever.

Monday, October 27, 2008

ACL's suck.

Ask Louisville senior Chauntise Wright, who played so ferociously during last year's Big East tournament.

Or ask Kansas freshman Angel Goodrich. You might recall the New York Times article we posted on Angel from 2007 or the piece from ESPN.com this past February. 
Rivals.com from Yahoo sports brings us CBS Interactive U-wire (huh?) and several articles on women's basketball:

Gators get out dancing shoes

Illinois dominated by new faces

Red Raiders relying on experience

Penn State lacking height as team and Penn State aims for Big Ten championship

On a side note, how nice is it that, with Portland gone, I can stop cheering against all things Penn State (though, I must say, I've got some issues with Joe and his support of Rene).

Which leads to Title IX blog:
With apologies for tooting our own horn, my co-blogger Kris and I are pleased to announce that the Journal of Sport and Social Issues has published our article about race and the Jennifer Harris case.

Here is the abstract:

In 2007 Penn State basketball coach Rene Portland retired shortly after a confidential settlement ended a discrimination lawsuit brought by former player Jennifer Harris against Portland and Penn State. Because of Portland's infamous policy of not allowing lesbians on her team, her departure was celebrated as a victory against homophobia in sports. Yet although Harris's claims of sexual orientation discrimination were validated in the media, her allegations of racial discrimination were ignored or dismissed as implausible. In this article, we examine the omission of race from the discourse surrounding this case and suggest that both legal and cultural factors contribute to society's tendency to ignore the intersecting discrimination in sport and the multiplicity of identity.

A subscription is required to download the whole article, but we are more than happy to send reprints on request.
Toot, toot!
Kris over at the Houston Roundball Review has some stuff on the Aggies and the Sooners.
You may have read her articles and columns in the Daily Herald. Now you can also read a new blog from Patricia Babcock McGraw on the Big Ten Network's site.

PBM will be one of the color analysts for women's basketball on the network this season. Maybe she is replacing Mary Murphy or Theresa Grentz.

Edit - It looks like Mary will be back but no mention of Theresa in this article.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thanks to sharp-eyed reader Alicia G, we've fixed the link to the Michigan (Ann Arbor) board: Wolverines fans should be able to find it again.

We're pretty sure some of the other links in the right-hand column need updating too. If you find such a link-- or want us to add something-- let us know.
Xavier star Amber Harris will miss most of the collegiate season: she hurt her knee during practice a few days ago. Harris was one of the nation's top high school recruits.

With her out, XU will expect a lot from Ta'Shia Phillips, who is still coming off shoulder surgery. "Now they expect even more out of me," Phillips says.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As the Title IX blog points out (again), John McCain still doesn't understand the Title IX law.
McCain: I am concerned, however, that the Clinton administration took unwise liberties in interpreting Title IX with the consequence that many schools have adopted policies of strictly equal funding for male and female athletic programs. Unfortunately, many popular athletic programs have been cut because the overall amount of funding available for athletics programs will not sustain identical men's and women's programs in every sport.

T-9: Because I have made this complaint before, I will keep it brief, in the hopes that someone from the McCain campaign will absorb it and pass the info on to their boss.

Title IX does not call for identical programs in every sport. This rhetoric clearly belies your intent to exempt football from the Title IX equation. Don't think we don't see this. And second, I have yet to see (though would be happy to) an athletic department that is equally funding its men's and women's programs.
Which brings me to some random thoughts about the economy, athletics, and Title IX as applied to sports (because we all know, of course, that Title IX has not been just about sports -- it's had a huge, positive impact on the number of women attending college).

1) "It's Affordable!" should be in every women's basketball promo.

2) This is a great (though I use that word advisedly. Perhaps "useful" would be better) time to check in with the Sports Economist Blog (where I, as a transplanted Red Sox fan, am tracking with interest the investigation into the funding of the new Yankee stadium.)

3) It's been hard to avoid articles (or interviews - Hi Stacy Dales on the football sidelines!) on the impact of the economy on colleges/universities and their (football) athletic programs. Recently the NYTimes had three:

Financial Straits of Boosters Hit Athletic Programs
Oklahoma State is hardly alone in watching its soaring ambitions crash back to earth with the fortunes of some of its biggest benefactors.

When Aubrey K. McClendon, the chief executive of Chesapeake Energy, recently announced that he had to sell some 32 million shares, or more than 5 percent of the company he founded, worth nearly $600 million, athletic officials at the University of Oklahoma were rattled. The bankruptcy proceedings of another energy company, SemGroup, has brought unwanted attention to the University of Kansas, where the company’s ousted co-founder, Tom Kivisto, had pledged $12 million for a recently opened football complex.

Like the chief executives on Wall Street, leaders of collegiate athletic programs must acknowledge that the boom days of fund-raising have given way to belt-tightening.
Rising Criticism as Rutgers Invests in Athletics
Fair or not, Persaud and several other students said that they could not help but link their own hardships to news that the state university planned to move ahead with $102 million in football stadium renovations or that the athletic department received more than $2 million in state earmarks when overall financing to Rutgers was being cut.

“I think it’s ridiculous, because there are so many more things they could be spending their money on, like technology in the classroom,” said Persaud, a junior majoring in biology and psychology. “Or more buses.”
Lure of Big-Time Sports Propels Rutgers
But the president of Rutgers, Richard L. McCormick, while acknowledging that the university needs to reshape its oversight and ethics policies and that it faces a severe cash crunch that is likely to scale back the stadium project, says that turning back from big-time sports is not an option. He says that the $50 million sports budget is less than 3 percent of the university’s $1.75 billion budget. The university provides $15 million of the athletic budget, with the rest coming from ticket sales and other sources.

Dr. McCormick then reels off a list of the big-time public universities with big-time sports: Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Berkeley and the rest. For better or worse, that’s the way the game is played at America’s public universities.
In the immediate future, Rutgers is facing rising financing costs, a severe budget crunch and a depressed economy that has all but shut down the donations that were expected to help pay for the project. And the questions raised by The Star-Ledger of Newark about the financial management of Rutgers athletics have hurt the university’s credibility with the Legislature at a time when it most needs it.
As athletic directors begin the process of belt tightening, it will be interest to see which programs get strangled. (Check out NBR's 2007 video series on the business of college football -- remembering that many endowments are in the market).

You've got to wonder if non-football (male) sports are cut, if fingers will be pointed at Title IX.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Something everyone in New York realized when the Republican Convention took over the Garden during the W 2004 season and ousted the Lib from the Garden was that, "Oooops! There was no alternative basketball space in the city."

Radio City Music Hall was the sole (gimmick) option. Cute, but really unworkable.

So, you can understand why, with the team being so young and lovable and doing so well, the prospect of two years worth of Madison Square Garden renovations gave every Lib season subscriber agita.

It was clear the work would be done around the Knicks and Rangers' schedule, and the Lib would be shipped off to who-knows-where. I knew of several subscribers from New Jersey and Connecticut who were considering NOT re-upping simply because of the uncertainty -- and the guaranteed inconvenience -- of next year's playing space.

So, some interesting now rumors on Rebkell suggest that one glass of lemonade might be squeezed out of the lemons that is the current state of the economy: the renovations might be delayed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The BasketCases have good news for Mystics fans (and not so good news for Lynx fans). The new GM is Angela Taylor.

Best of luck to Angela in D.C. She will be missed by Lynx fans.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reporters and SIDS (Sports Information Directors) pick Harvard narrowly to win the Ivies this year.

The Crimson lost a best-of-two three-way playoff last year, sending Dartmouth to the NCAAs; returning starters include feisty guard Emily Tay.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Northwestern's coach McKeown meets the media.

Seems to me he's a good fit for the place: he's clearly a good X's and O's coach, and recruiting to Northwestern must be a lot like recruiting to GWU-- big city, good academics, private school, national draw, international reputation, excellence in the arts, etc.

But the competition will be a lot tougher: how fast can he turn a ship that has been taking on water for about nine years? And-- given the number of season-ending injuries sustained by Northwesterners lately-- should he do anything about the training staff?
Once again, so suddenly and so sadly, another young athlete dies of an enlarged heart. Ohio native Jasmin Hubbard was the second student-athlete at Indiana Tech to pass away this month: both appear to have had undiagnosed heart troubles.
Bellowing Bill will of course return to the Shock-- but will one of his assistants leave for the ejector seat that is the head coach job at the Washington Mystics?
Tons of UConn blogging lately from the Courant's Altavilla, including, today, a Letterman-style Top Ten list.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Over at ESPN.com, Graham Hays is gearing up for the college season with "News and notes from around the web." Scroll down and you'll find his "Top 10 games to watch in 08-09." The Rebkellians offer their choices.

Mechelle chimes in with "A look at the journey to the 2009 Final Four."
The Basket Cases drop in on a Terps practice-- and they have the black and red photos to prove it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

An honor for Tennessee Lynx post Nicky Anosike.
In the lead sports feature in this Sunday's NYT, Longman asks how Elene Delle Donne, not long ago the nation's top hoops recruit at UConn, ended up playing volleyball at Delaware. "She seems a lot happier now," says a high school teammate.

It sounds like she gave up hoops because she stopped liking it. At the Courant, Altavilla picks up the hint that if her feelings change, she might well show up in Storrs.

Longman ends by quoting Delle Donne's obviously ambivalent dad: "I want her to watch the Final Four," he says. "Hopefully [sic] Geno Auriemma is cutting the net down. And I hope Elena says 'Thank God I'm not there.' Then it was the right decision."

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Honey, I'm home!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Via pilight, a big interview with Lauren Jackson, who says she'll skip the WNBA to focus on the Opals in 2012.

She also says one day she'll play in the Australian WNBL: "I'd love to play in Sydney. [The time] couldn't be that far away."

We can expect her (barring severe injury) in Seattle in 2009, though. Storm fans discuss all the will-she-won't-she tales, and offer a few more WNBL links.
Breaking news from the Title IX blog:
We just learned that Florida Gulf Coast University will pay $3.4 million to settle a lawsuit filed by two former coaches, Jaye Flood and Holly Vaughn, who allege that they were terminated in retaliation for raising concerns about gender discrimination in the athletic department (more press about the settlement here and here). Their lawyer, Linda Correia called the 3.4 million figure "the price of retaliation."
Go read the background of the story over at the IX-ers.... and riddle me this - why on earth are Universities so dumb? Do the LIKE to give people huge hunks of change?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

WATN? Natalie Williams.
Say it ain't so. The rumor Clay heard is correct. Jacki Gemelos is sidelined again this season with a knee injury.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Slightly off topic: women's hockey coach Michelle McAteer, whose Minnesota-Duluth team currently holds a national title, has something to say about all this "hockey mom" chatter. Worth a read.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sharon Crowson says the W season was great till the finals began. She also says we really do have more parity-- nobody's as good as Detroit, but there's a big old pileup right below where the Shock stand, in part because (Sharon says) there's a deeper pool of players, but also because (she says) we have better coaches, coaches attuned to the pro, not to the college, game.

It's true that no coaches now come from the most prestigious NCAA posts to the W... but is that because the W has a better, deeper source of coaching talent? Or is it because nobody today would make the same career move as Carolyn Peck? When the W started nobody knew what would happen: some people thought it would get very big, very soon-- so big as to make it financially worthwhile to leave a BCS conference head coaching job, as Peck did and as Van Chancellor did too.

Does anyone think that now? When college head coaches leave college jobs for the W, they're coming from places like UMKC (which didn't work out so well).

The question is whether the new pool of talent-- former WNBA assistants, former WNBA players, and, in the wake of Bill Laimbeer's first championship year, former NBA types-- is better or worse than the old. Sharon says it's better. That's probably true-- though the ex-NBA types (Laimbeer, Whitehead, Thibault) have had the best of it so far, and the WNBA-management veterans (Linda Hargrove, anyone?) some of the worst.
Last week we saw Zalika Green's ten best moments from this year's exciting-- but somewhat anticlimactic-- WNBA season: now she's come up with the ten worst.

Number six: yet another sub-.500 season for the team whose season tickets we once held...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vermont's Times-Argus writes about authors Linda Peavy and Ursula Smith and their new book, "Full Court Quest: The Girls from Fort Shaw Indian School Basketball Champions of the World,"
Although the tale is complex, they wanted the 10 girls to be their main characters. Once they had their archival data in hand, they took the story to the families and tribal kin to get the story behind the story.

"It was the enthusiasm and support of these descendants that kept us going for the 10 years it took to write this book," Peavy said. "They had heard their grandmothers talk about playing basketball at Fort Shaw and heard stories about the summer they spent in St. Louis (at the World's Fair)."

"They became our collaborators," Smith added. "Their memories and memorabilia helped us get to know the individual players, their personalities, their cultural heritage, their family ties, their experiences both before and after their years at the Fort Shaw school. Without those insights, we could never have brought the story alive."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Henry Abbott at ESPN, who didn't watch the WNBA at all this year, talks back to the haters nevertheless.
From Women's Sports Nation blogger Zalika Green, ten things to remember about this year's WNBA season.

Green on Atlanta's first season (number two): "Gaining a new franchise in the WNBA is like opening your first Christmas gift as a kid. It’s great for the first five minutes and then you’re like ‘what’s next."

Sophia's buzzer-beater is number ten.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I caught this story in this morning's Star Tribune about a new study from the Women's Sports Foundation that measures the nationwide participation rates of girls and boys in exercise and organized team sports. .

WSF's Website has the full study and an executive summary.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

If you've ever checked out the Women's Basketball Timeline, you'll know that women have competed for a national basketball championship since the mid-20's.

The first, sposored by the AAU, was held in Los Angeles in 1926. After a two-year pause, the AAU championship was moved to Witchita, KS and continued through to 1979, when Ann Meyers and her Anna's Bananas team were crowned champions.

From Palatka, Florida, a story about one of the teams that competed 80 years ago:
The Palatka Panther Wildcats girls' basketball town team of 1929 was not only successful here in Palatka, but made it all the way to the State and National Basketball Championships. ..Team members were mostly from the Palatka High School team after they graduated.

In March of 1929, the Panthers played the 1928 Tournament Champion Shepp's Aces of Dallas and lost. The Panthers were presented a beautiful trophy for good sportsmanship and were described as being the most popular team there with the fans. Lelia Hudgins was chosen on the third All-American Team.

The crowds lined Lemon Street (now St. Johns Avenue) cheering for the Palatka Panther "Wildcats." There was even a parade with the team riding on a fire truck.

The "Wildcats" were the team who put Palatka, Fla., on the national map.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Jayda thought she was done blogging, until she got a letter from the Donna.
Since we're cutting space in the paper and this would have to be cut in order to fit, The Seattle Times decided to post it on the blog. Please offer your opinions. Here's the letter:

Why the WNBA Matters Op-Ed
By: Donna Orender, WNBA President

Tension and passion hung in the air in the final electrifying seconds of Game 2 of the WNBA Western Conference Finals on Sept. 27. In front of a packed home crowd at the AT&T Center, the San Antonio Silver Stars' Sophia Young hit a 14-foot turnaround jumper at the buzzer to fend off elimination from the Los Angeles Sparks. At this moment, someone leaned over to me and whispered, through the tremendous noise, "You must be so proud of all this." (more)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

From the Women's Sports Foundation's "It Takes a Team" page:

Introducing It Takes A Team! Captain-Martina Navratilova!
From the beginning she believed that the Women’s Sports Foundation’s efforts to address homophobia in sport should also include homophobia in men’s sports. She believes, and we agree, that to effectively eliminate homophobia in sport, it is necessary to pay attention to how it affects people of all genders in sport. As team captain, she endorses It Takes A Team! as the premier education resource for addressing LGBT issues in sport and will assist in our fundraising efforts to ensure that It Takes A Team! has the financial resources we need to continue to work toward making sport a safe and respectful place for athletes of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
Olympic Softball Silver Medalist Lauren Lappin Comes Out
USA softball player Lauren Lappin recently announced that she is a lesbian — a bold move for any athlete, considering the still-hostile cultural environment of sport. At the 2008 Olympic Games, Lappin talked about what some of the hardest parts for her were and how her family and teammates were a great support. Lappin hopes that her story of learning to embrace and accept herself will help others to see that the transition doesn't have to be hard.
When should media report on the personal life of gay and lesbian athletes?
When NBC Olympic coverage failed to acknowledge that Australian diving gold medalist, Matthew Mitcham, was openly gay, many people wondered if this omission was a sign of homophobia or just an oversight. This omission was notable when the personal lives of heterosexual athletes were routinely included in Olympic TV coverage. Read sports commentator Bob Costas’ interview about media coverage of gay athletes.
Interested in knowing more about officiating and the movement to improve and develop the profession? Check this out:

Important Information Regarding Your eOfficials.com Registration!

Dear Helen,

In 2005, we launched Excel Sports Officiating (ESO) and eofficials.com, an ambitious and ground-breaking venture, seeking to make unprecedented improvements to benefit the entire officiating profession.

Our vision was to create a single Internet hub where officials like you – across the lines of sport and level and more than one million strong – would have access to career advancement resources provided by the world’s best officiating educators. To ensure that our content would assist your career objectives, we coordinated our efforts with the NCAA and numerous other athletic governing bodies. As you might imagine, we’ve only scratched the surface of this monumental project.

Then came September 25, a red-letter day in the history of sports officiating in the United States!

On that day the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) acquired a controlling interest in ESO along with The Arbiter (www.thearbiter.net), the leading officiating assigning program in the industry. You can read the NCAA's announcement regarding this historic merger by clicking here.

Needless to say, we are elated that the NCAA has not only supported our efforts from the beginning, but believed enough in our shared vision to take it to the next level, all to facilitate your advancement as an official!

Over the next several months we will collaborate with The Arbiter and the NCAA to plan and – in 2009 – launch a new website to be equipped to provide every online resource that you will need to succeed. We will continue to pool the knowledge and experience of the most accomplished talent in officiating and provide the conduit to disseminate that knowledge and experience to the officiating community.

Featured on the new site will be product offerings specifically designed to help you improve and advance in your officiating career. Our product plans include a national registry of officials, standardized officiating resumes, expansion of our present rules and procedures testing program, original video and animation tools, officiating fitness and nutrition programming, the Official Advancement Lecture Series, exclusive educational and career content from the NCAA and other major athletic organizations, and the RulesExcel™ Database, a one-of-a-kind repository for rules study.

As a registered user of eofficials.com, you have personally helped us facilitate this historic project. Next year we will forward an offer to expand upon your current use of the site and take advantage of these exciting resources at a special rate.

As former Vice President in charge of umpiring at Major League Baseball, I have firsthand experience in bringing officials from different areas together for the betterment of the individual official and the overall profession. I hope you will continue to take advantage of the resources on our current website. And, more importantly, I hope you are as excited as I am about the future! We would consider it an honor if you would remain on board as we usher in this new age of officiating.


Ralph Nelson

President, eOfficials, LLC
The Chicago Tribune marks the passing of Bonnie Sue Mayhew.
More than 40 years ago, when Bonnie Sue Mayhew began teaching with Chicago Public Schools, girls who wanted to play sports were not given the same opportunities as boys.

But Ms. Mayhew and other physical education teachers worked to ensure that their female students had those equal possibilities even before Title IX prohibited discrimination in school sports programs.

"She made sure that her girls were treated equal, that they weren't shoved aside for some other thing," said Margaret MacLeod, a friend and former physical education teacher in Chicago schools.

"There were other coaches who did what she did, but she was like the top of the rock. Bonnie would not like to say that she was the only one who did that. Together they pushed," MacLeod said.
The amazing thing about the internet is that, even when I'm in the UAE, I can still post about basketball. (Can I say how cool it is to see google instructions in Arabic?)

Val Whiting was kind enough to forward her latest piece for Delaware at Play: "Swimmer steps out of comfort zone and into world of triathlons."
Experts say 95 percent of us will retreat to our comfort zone when we try something new but don't succeed.

Kate Hastings is one of the 5 percent of us who will try something new and keep at it, no matter how difficult it is.

The 11-year-old's primary sport is swimming. She competes with Delaware Swim Team and has qualified for both Summer and Winter Junior Olympics, representing the Middle Atlantic Zone. Kate placed second in her age group at the 2007 Delaware state championships.

Monday, October 06, 2008

More thoughts on the sweep: Pelton says we've got a dynasty. In retrospect, had Cappie missed her chippie in the last seconds of last year's Game Four, the Shock would now be celebrating a three-peat.

Want pictures? The San Antonio board has tons.

If you had to predict, based on last year's results and rosters, who would end up in this year's Finals if no one got hurt, Detroit would have been a fine pick. So would Phoenix, and Indiana, and probably San Antonio as well. But if you told me that Detroit would lose Ford for the year, that Pierson would get hurt, skip playoff games, and log just 12 minutes apiece in the games she did play-- and then predicted a title for Detroit anyway-- I wouldn't have believed you for the world.
Katie Smith continued her great play and helped lead the Shock to their third title in six years. While the Silver Stars got off to a solid start, the Shock took control in the second half and never looked back.

Katie was the obvious choice for MVP and a well deserved honor for one of the best to ever play."Her will is never to lose," said assistant coach Rick Mahorn. "Players just can't get that. It's already instilled in them." She finished with 18 points, most of which came during key moments in the fourth quarter. "Everybody was locked in and understood what we wanted to get done," said Smith. "It's a lot of fun to be on this team. It has a certain swagger and competitiveness to it. We find ways to win."

The other part of the outcome that pleases most fans was to see Taj McWilliams-Franklin finally win a WNBA title. Taj calls it her Kevin Garnett moment.

Fellow .com blogger Sophia Young shares her reaction to end of the season.

Voepel gives us the feel good story from the "Bad Girls," who really did not seem all that bad with their impressive defense and dominating performance, especially during the Finals.

And since we are late with the report, we can tell you the Shock and their fans celebrated their championship in downtown Detroit today.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Katie Smith looked great last night, and carried her team in the second quarter, when it otherwise flagged. She's on track for finals MVP, as Voepel says.

The series moves to Ypsilanti now-- it's been displaced from the Palace by Disney on Ice. The Shock need one more win. Katie's basketball IQ is up there in the stratosphere: she won this game for them (after the hot team start), and Taj-- whom you might say won game one-- is overdue for the praise she now receives. And yet...

Unless you live in, or hail from, the Motor City, this probably isn't the finals you wanted to see. If you work in Secaucus, you might just be tearing your hair out. And I'm thinking-- with apologies to Ted-- that we might have the worst Finals series ever.

Though the games have seemed close on paper (Detroit +3 om the boards in game one, +7 in game two; more game one stats from Paul) neither one felt close.

San Antonio might have done wonders at full strength, but without Darling or Lawson-Wade they have one experienced point guard, who's also their chief offensive threat-- they needed one late comeback and one crazy buzzer-beater to get to the finals, and they seem overmatched now that they've arrived.

In the first quarter last night, Detroit led 19-2. Then the Shock somehow stopped playing and let the Silver Stars tie the score; the home team even led, briefly, around the 40s, thanks in part to a series of Shock turnovers.

But Becky Hammon seemed to run around and try to do everything herself: no other Star except Ann Wauters made many shots, no other Star except Sophia wanted to take many shots, and the disparity in team defense was just silly. Detroit shot over 50% as a team; the Stars couldn't even make it to 33%, and the shot chart says they were 3-for-15 from layup range.

Detroit were the second best rebounding team in the regular season; the Stars were the second worst. Part of that has to do with possessions per game (can anyone send me the rebounding percentage comparisons?) but it doesn't inspire confidence. What do the Stars need to do to force a game four? And who thinks, on the Shock's home floor, they can do it?

Friday, October 03, 2008

In Connecticut, coach Thibault already has a draft board.
Voepel says the Stars need more energy-- and not just in the fourth quarter; if they don't win tonight, they're toast.

Sharon Crowson says the Stars need more energy-- and not just in the fourth quarter: if they don't win tonight, they're toast.
The W's All-Rookie Team.
Looks like the W has their MVP.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

People really, really, REALLY like Candace Parker's jersey.
From the USA Today, "Influx of foreigners presents new challenges for NCAA."
An NCAA study out this week reveals the scope: More than 16,000 foreign athletes dotted NCAA rosters in 2006-07, nearly two-thirds of them in Division I. They accounted for 6.2% of all Division I athletes, up from 2.4% eight years earlier.

With that influx has come challenges.

Players come out of overseas development, or club, programs that often blur the line between amateurism and professionalism, at least as drawn by the NCAA. Taking pay or other compensation beyond expenses is an easily understood no-no. But it can be trickier to identify other violations, such as playing on a team alongside pros.
Which is one of the reasons the NCAA *nolongercalledClearinghouse* moved to address both academic eligibility and amateurism.
We only caught the fourth quarter, alas, of Finals Game One last night-- and it wasn't much of a surprise: Detroit came in with a double-digit buffer, let the Stars tie it up at the very end, then made free throws and a rebound or two to take a one-game lead.

The Shock's veterans ran the show: Katie and Taj combined for 49 points. And Detroit looked like a team-- more like a team than the Stars, really, in those last minutes: Taj looked like part of that team, even though she's been there for less than a full season, and even though she had serious respiratory trouble. She lost her voice on Wednesday, and needed treatment during the game.

Becky looked like the Hammon I remember from years past in New York: penetrating, or overpenetrating, and trying to win the game almost on her own. Hey, it worked against L.A... but against the Shock she didn't hit a three-pointer all night.

Fun fact: both teams' benches combined for... nine points. And Pierson didn't play.

The worst thing about sports is injuries, and the worst thing about the WNBA season is that injured athletes don't get time to recover. If you make, each May, a list of the teams that could possibly win the finals-- those with competent coaches, a veteran leader or two, sufficient firepower, etc.-- the team that does win it all may not be the one with the intangible edge in May: sometimes it's the team with the fewest serious injuries come Labor Day.

That would be Phoenix, last year (as much as I loved to watch them); it was Detroit, the year before (Yo Griffith's accumulation of small injuries, DeMya's incomplete rehab), and Sacramento, the year before that.

This year, though, both finalists have lost big pieces-- Detroit lost two starters, the SASS arguably their most important reserves. Detroit gave up last year's title game, as Ted explained at the time, in part because they lost Cheryl Ford. This year they lost Ford again, and they may have to keep going without Pierson too: if the Shock prevail-- and most folks seem to think that they will-- it will be Laimbeer's greatest triumph as coach.

But they still shouldn't mic him up during the games.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pelton has a prediction: Detroit in four.

Voepel (who may well be channeling Helen) likes the idea that either Taj, or VJ, will walk away with a ring... and doesn't much like the idea that the Almighty takes sides in playoff basketball.