Women's Hoops Blog: April 2010

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Yesterday was the inaugral Minnesota Lynx Girls and Women in Sport Career Day. One of the panelists, Nicole LaVoi from the Tucker Center, shares some of her thoughts from the event.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Q's keepin' and eye on Seattle: Devanei Hampton "impressive" early in Storm camp: "I finally got my chance"
Charde Houston and her fellow airplane passengers had a little more excitement than they wanted.
The oft injured Chelsea Newton is retiring.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I swear, I'm going to have to make up those "Proud member of the Women's Basketball Intelligentsia" t-shirts. And send one to David Stern.

This gem from Clay Kallam's trip to the gym:
So I'm pedaling away on the exercise bike, idly watching Jim Rome talk to David Stern, and the topic turns to the economic issues facing the NBA. Stern talks about cuts have to be made, and Rome goes right after the WNBA.

Stern laughs and says "The WNBA is the least expensive of our luxuries -- in fact, we make a little money on the WNBA."

Rome wants none of it, and presses a little, hoping to get Stern to admit the W is something of a burden, but Stern isn't buying. He says "Thanks for the platform," and delivers some WNBA propaganda.
Another reason to check out the Title IX blog: Erin and Barbara Osborne are presenting a the NCAA Gender Equity Issues Forum - and sitting in on some sessions. Writes Erin:
One of the topics that has been addressed so far is Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) reporting. Today's presentation highlighted some very important differences between gender equity disclosures that colleges and universities make to the government under the EADA and gender equity disclosures they make to the NCAA. Because EADA data is public (NCAA's is not), I rely on EADA data all the time as the starting point of an analysis of an institution's compliance with Title IX. However, as today's session highlighted, there are many reasons why EADA may not be providing as clear a picture on maters of compliance as we sometimes like to think. Here are some things that I learned today that will cause me to take EADA data with extra grains of salt from now on.
FWIW, those of us who know the how hard NCAA's fought against Title IX still shake our head in amazement that Dr. Brand created this Forum....
I'll add my "congrats!" to Nancy Hogshead-Makar who has, as the Title IX blog notes, been named Senior Director for Advocacy for the Women's Sports Foundation.

NH-M rocks.

This comes on the heels of the announcement that the Obama administration would be repealing the 2005 policy interpretation allowing schools to rely solely on email surveys to show compliance with prong three. (Check out TIXB's round-up on the re-clarification.)

FYI, NH-M, Kathryn Olson, Chief Executive Officer and Sarah Vilms, Public Policy Advisor, were invited to discuss the Obama administration's announcement on Title IX on the Voice of America “Capital Thinking” radio broadcast. You can listen to the internet rebroadcast of their conversation.
The coaching carousel continues:
After 12 seasons and 11 consecutive Southern Conference regular-season championships at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, women's basketball coach Wes Moore has accepted East Carolina's offer to coach the Pirates.
Mark Wiedmar of the Times Free Press asks: What took so long?
From the AP: Augustus, Wiggins have surgeries

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From Q: On sports media (Pt. 2): Mel Greenberg, disciplined imagination and making the WNBA relevant

University of Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma called Greenberg "the godfather of women's sports" and when thinking about "professionalism" in the women's sports media, it's hard not to see Greenberg as the guy who set the standard. Although I really didn't know much about him until a year ago, I think it's fair to say from his blog yesterday morning - he wrote, "...again the Guru notes, it's not the basketball era that's ending here" - that he was more committed to something bigger than himself and his own ego. At some level, it would appear, he was focused first and foremost on the game.

Where is this going?

As I continue to think about women's sports and the media, Greenberg's steady focus on the game provides the inspiration for further analysis. When I look at his career, I actually see the vision of what I would want for women's basketball coverage.

It's a rainy Sunday (in New York), so Mechelle's latest blog title seems fitting: Not to be a downer, but …

Three depressing stories recently have caught my attention … and, hey, isn’t that a great lead-in to make you want to read the rest of this blog entry?

In each case, they are “depressing” for some different reasons, but all have been filling my mind the last few days. They are:

*-The USA Swimming sexual-predator problem, and how that relates to hoops.
*-The Oregon State mass tranfer/bigger picture in the Pac-10 issue.
*-The announced retirement of golfer Lorena Ochoa from the LPGA.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I read a lot of complaints about women's basketball announcers -- they talk over the game, they don't know the game, they don't mention the score, fouls, substitutions, they wax loquacious about their past accomplishments.

Some of that can be attributed to the fact that many who call or provide color commentary for the games have not been actually trained to do the job. Granted, training doesn't necessarily mean you'll rock at the job, but it can give you a focus and offer you a criteria for self-critiquing (or, if you're lucky and self-confident enough, maybe a mentor can side-coach you.)

Sometimes, the announcers are trumped by the producers/directors (they don't call the camera angles, the cuts to sideline or "in the stands" conversations, or the listen-ins to miced up coaches).

Of course, this "issue" with announcers is not unique to women's basketball, as Don Ohlmeyer, ESPN's Ombudsman notes.
One of the most frequent complaints in the mailbag relates to announcers who are incessantly sidetracked by observations, opinions and issues that viewers believe stray far afield from the game they're watching.
Some cases in point: "I was disgusted by ESPN's coverage of the NIT semifinal game between Dayton and Ole Miss. Instead of focusing on an exciting close game, they launch into an extended interview with [departing ESPN announcer] Steve Lavin, the new coach at St. John's -- ignoring what's happening on the floor" … "The coverage was disrespectful to the teams, players and fans" … "Is this what your announcers think the fans are turning in to see? Cover the game!"

ESPN's production teams do an excellent job of providing pictures, sound, and graphics that not only cover the action but also deliver a sense of place and the excitement that surrounds the games they cover. And make no mistake, ESPN has a fine stable of first-rate announcers who do excellent work on a regular basis. Most are professional, prepared, intelligent and articulate and have that sensitivity to the moment.

But too often, it seems, self-discipline wanes and what follows is the inevitable lapse into excess that causes so much agita in the mailbag. When a network broadcasts 1,100 basketball games and 300 football games a year, there will be peaks and valleys in performances. But with focus on imagination and self-discipline in the booth -- and a control truck that acts as the last line of defense -- there'll be less need for the common viewer refrains of "You're straying again" or "Let's get back to focusing on talking about the game."
LSU inducts Sue Gunter into their Hall of Fame.

On a historical side note: This past season, I really enjoyed Shootaround's "trip down memory lane" as Beth and Debbie offered their top "Starting Five" for various programs. (I particularly like the "All-First Name" team from USC.)

What was disconcerting was to see how often those players didn't have a college bio/stats page on their alma mater's website.

Traditional media outlets do a good enough job of ignoring and dismissing women's basketball history -- we don't need athletic programs doing the same.
WATN? Rushia Brown and Tracy Henderson-Edwards: OverTime Basketball Academy.
And he's off!

Women's hoops guru retires: Mel Greenberg's poll and writings helped bring the sport to prominence.
When in the late summer of 1969, three weeks after Woodstock, Mel Greenberg arrived at The Inquirer, women's college basketball was virtually invisible - widely viewed as an insignificant pastime for physical-education majors.

Very few women played the game, very few schools had teams, and very few media outlets even acknowledged its existence.

But today, thanks in large part to Greenberg, 63, who is retiring this week after 40-plus years at The Inquirer, that onetime shadow world is considerably brighter.
A hat tip to Mel -- who's never been anything but generous and inclusive in his love for women's basketball and anyone who showed even a slightest passion for covering the game.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The WHB has followed the story of the Leedham family through Division II.

Freelantz from Swish Appeal picks up the tale with the Unlikely Journey of Johannah Leedham.
It's official. Jennifer Azzi is the new head coach at the University of San Francisco.
The What it Takes blog on the Washington Post site features Marissa Coleman.
There is a good article in salon.com/Broadsheet by Anna Clark worth checking out on homophobia in women's sports.
As teams finalize training camp rosters, the Storm announce that Janell Burse will not be back with them, but Svetlana Abrosimova will.
The Guru says goodbye to the Inquirer.

Cheryl Coward of the excellent hoopfeed.com recalls her meeting with him last summer.
A Sweet Goodbye For Shameka Christon
Shameka Christon is no longer a member of the New York Liberty, but to her fans she will always hold a special place in their hearts. Before departing for Chicago, where she will report for training camp with the Sky, Christon held a “Farewell Bowling Party” at Harlem Lanes on Wednesday night.
Sounds like fun, huh?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Congrats to Amy Ruley on being inducted into the Minnesota Girls' Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
Looks like UConn is not satisfied by ruining women's basketball -- now they're taking their plague of excellence to other sports: Michigan softball has found a comparison and a contemporary in Connecticut women's basketball
It started as a joke. Michigan’s softball players wanted to watch the men’s NCAA basketball tournament. Their coach, Carol Hutchins, and her staff wanted to watch the women’s tournament.

On the bus during a road trip to start the season they reached a compromise - Connecticut.

"So we were on the bus watching women's basketball and we were like 'OK, can we change the channel,'" junior first baseman Dorian Shaw said. "But when you're watching UConn, it's like they have no gender. They are just playing basketball. They are just doing things that you just don't believe anybody will be able to do.

"When we are watching them, it's fine."

In watching UConn, Michigan also found something else - a comparison.
Ben York has a great story of a special fan of the WNBA.
More transfers: Kansas loses two.
Another opening: the contract of UNC-Wilmington coach Ann Hancock will not be renewed.

And now we know where Morehead's Bradbury is going: Wright State.
Jennifer Azzi appears to be the new coach at the University of San Francisco.
Will this be her last stop in the league? Taj McWilliams signs with the Liberty.
The Tulsa World is covering the open tryouts for the Shock. So does freelantz at Swish Appeal.
Oregon State's Director of Athletics speaks about the transfers from the women's basketball program.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Within the latest piece on the USA Swimming horror, a disconcerting comment:
The USA Swimming board of directors will meet May 1 to define the timeline and procedures for implementing the plan, Wielgus said. It also will share the key findings in its report with other youth organizations, within and outside the Olympic movement.

''We're not in a bubble on this,'' he said. ''Quite frankly, I've had multiple phone calls from people from other organizations, sport and otherwise, who have expressed that they too are facing this problem.''
Ummm... does anyone else hear sirens?
More openings and fillings in the coaching world:

New coach at Lafayette is Dianne Nolan.

Albany has hired Katie Abrahamson-Henderson.

Todd Buchanan is the new head coach at the University of Houston.

Morehead State will need a new coach now that Mike Bradbury has resigned.
Following in Kim Arico Barnes' footsteps, Brandon Schneider is making the leap from DII to DI: The Emporia State coach, who just captured the DII title, will take over at Stephen F. Austin.
Good news for the Storm.

They have a new sponsorship deal with Bing. It "will include the Bing logo on jerseys; arena advertising; joint promotions through Bing maps, video and visual search; integration between Bing and a Storm scavenger hunt; and sponsorship of the Junior Storm Initiative community program."
Swish Appeal's freelantz looks at how Indiana Fever rookie Jené Morris has embraced social media.
Illinois State has found their new head coach - former NC State Assistant Stephanie Glance.
More on Robin Pingeton's hiring at Missouri. The Columbia Tribune travels the path that led her to her new job.

Mechelle has part two of her look at the program and focuses on the new coach.

USA Today reports that the National Center for Lesbian Rights is not happy with the comments made by the new coach at her press conference when she was hired.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

You know what drives me crazy? When institutions that should know better are just drop dead stupid.

LSU pissed me off because, after all the articles on sexual misconduct by coaches, they somehow did not have a conduct policy in place. Heck, even the WBCA took action -- doesn't your institution pay attention to the association its coaches belong to? You'd think the simple fear of being sued would have gotten some action...

And the whole issue pisses me off because institutions are STILL being stupid and young people are still being abused.

Case in point: From Karen Crouse at the New York Times - USA Swimming Outlines a Plan to Help Prevent Misconduct
USA Swimming’s beleaguered board of directors, contending with the fallout from two high-profile cases that sent veteran coaches to prison for sexual misconduct, convened an emergency teleconference Sunday night. They devised a seven-point plan to address the issue of coaches’ taking advantage of their young athletes.

The next morning, a 21-year-old former competitive swimmer filed a civil suit in Missouri that named USA Swimming as a defendant, claiming she had been sexually abused by a member coach who later moved to another team in a different state.

Since the success of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, swimming’s national governing body has faced at least three lawsuits involving male coaches’ behavior toward female swimmers.
Makes me want to do a survey of all NCAA, NAIA and JC institutions to find out if they have a policy in place and how they educate both their coaches and students about what's okay and what's a non-starter.

'cause people, the "online predator" thang may be "real" but it's a huge sensationalist distraction: the abusers are almost always family members and trusted friends.
Mail call!

Ben York catches up with the WNBA Mailbag.
After the deluge, Q weighs in: "The Persecution of Excellence": Why sensationalistic journalism is bad for women's basketball

Regardless of whether you're an advocate of the game, what we witnessed is just flat out bad journalism. Far too many of the "journalists" who sports fans look to most failed to, well, actually be "journalists" -- like, you know, people who take an event, put it in context, and help us understand its significance.

Rather than taking a well-reasoned position based on actually paying attention to the thing they wanted to report on, they presented an unreflective leading question and followed it up with unreflective rantings based on a ridiculous premise. How it is that someone who considers themselves a "journalist" could write something that had no basis in what was actually happening in the real world is beyond me. And that was bad for women's basketball because it denied the unreflective fans that read these unreflective journalists the opportunity to better understand the game.

I dunno... looks like I make have to make up those "Proud member of the Women's Basketball Intelligentsia" t-shirts after all. And send one to Q.

Who else wants one?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Interesting Title IX news: Rule Change Takes Aim at Loophole in Title IX
The Department of Education will no longer allow universities to rely solely on student surveys to prove they are meeting the requirements of the gender-equity law known as Title IX, a reversal of a Bush administration policy that had been opposed by the N.C.A.A. and women’s sports advocates.

The change, expected to be announced Tuesday by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., is the latest recent step by the department’s Office for Civil Rights regarding antidiscrimination laws in education. In March, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the office would open investigations in about 32 school districts and take a harder look at whether universities and school districts are violating civil rights laws, including Title IX.
And the beat goes on...

A few days ago, Michelle wrote about transfer-mania in the Pac-10. Q chimes in: Kate Lanz Transfers from Oregon State: "It wasn't a positive environment"
Having been waived by the Liberty, Q explains why Signing Loree Moore Perfectly Completes a Quietly Strong Off-Season for the Storm
Minnesota Monthly covers the return of Lindsay Whalen to the state with some great quotes for Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.

And head coach Cheryl Reeve has placed the future of the franchise squarely on Whalen’s shoulders. “If you think of the most exciting times in the history of the franchise, this would have to rank in the top two,” she says. “The first was when the Lynx announced that they would be in Minnesota. The second is the acquisition of Lindsay Whalen.”

“It’s one thing to be excited that Lindsay’s coming home, and it’s another to be a fan of the Minnesota Lynx,” says Reeve. “The thing we’re looking for is for people to become fans, buy season tickets, be at the games, and create the kind of energy that people saw with the Gophers. That will be the real Lindsay effect.”

About 3,000 showed up to watch Maya Moore try and beat Maya Moore as the National Team went up against the Select Team.
The Red team (the national team) won the first two quarters of the USA Basketball scrimmage at the XL Center. Then Moore switched to the White (the select team) and that team won the last two 10-minute quarters. She hit a put-back in the waning seconds of the last quarter to put the White team up for good, 27-25.
The Daily News from.... Virginia (It is AMAZING how often on newspaper sites you have to search for their geographical location!) takes note of a local kid doin' good: Phoebus grad Terri Williams-Flournoy seems to have Georgetown's women's team on the right track

Terri Williams-Flournoy liked her 2008-09 Georgetown women's basketball team. But she disliked, sometimes intensely, the Hoyas' style of play.

Too slow, too half-court, too darn dull.

As head coach, Williams-Flournoy knew she was the primary culprit. She had strayed from her up-tempo roots, planted on the Peninsula, and most important, had not adjusted to her personnel.

Sweet! Dream Announces Broadcast Partnership With FOX Sports
Jeff Pearlman at SI takes the time to write a really fine piece on the passing of a class act: Former Delaware women's basketball coach Joyce Perry has succumed to cancer.

Sometimes, when you happen to be an especially gigantic jerk, you do dumb things.

In 1993, I was an especially gigantic jerk.

At the time I was sports editor of The Review, the University of Delaware's student newspaper. I was young and moronic and inexcusably cocky, and I made it one of my missions to -- and there is no other way to say this -- mock the school's women's basketball team. Why? Because I was a bully with a Bic, and a women's team drawing roughly 400 fans per game is an easy target. Hence, I penned insulting columns and embarrassing headlines, I belittled their accomplishments and dismissed their stars. In one particularly pathetic piece, I dared the coach to allow me to practice with her players. "We'll see how good they are," I wrote -- a line straight out of Chauvinist Pig Loser: 101.

The coach, to her credit, never responded.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

As you would expect from a reporter who loves the game, Mechelle continues her tour of the new Big 12 coaches:

Visiting the new crew at MU
I went to Columbia, Mo., yesterday to chat with Robin Pingeton, and yes, we did talk about the various issues that have been discussed on this blog. Will have a lot more on that that just a little later. Also hope to catch up with new Colorado coach Linda Lappe this afternoon.

It is interesting that with the addition of Pingeton and Lappe, the Big 12 now has four coaches who are natives of Iowa, with them joining Iowa State’s Bill Fennelly and Nebraska’s Connie Yori.
and What’s new at Mizzou: Part 1
Robin Pingeton is wearing a long-sleeved gold T-shirt with “Mizzou” on it … just a few week ago, of course, all her casual athletic gear would have been in the Illinois State hues of red, white or black.

But that’s how it works in the coaching business: When you take a new job, you must instantly “become” that new school because that’s now your identity and what you are selling to recruits.

In the Missouri women’s basketball offices, now populated mostly by the newcomers, there are two framed jerseys representing the best of the Tigers’ past. Pingeton, MU coach now for a week, can’t possibly be expected to know these women. She and her staff are still getting to know the current Tigers who’ll play for them next season.

But I know who the former wearers of those jerseys are.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Good news for Mercury fans - Penny Taylor and Temeka Johnson re-sign with the team.
Speakin' of USA Basketball -- doing anything this weekend?
The public will have a chance to see some of the country’s top basketball talent, including nine with ties to Connecticut, when members of the 2010 USA Basketball Women’s National Team take on the 2010 USA Basketball Women’s Select Team in a Red-White exhibition scrimmage on Sunday, April 18 in Hartford, Conn. Tickets for the Red-White contest, which will be played at 12:30 p.m. (EDT) at Hartford’s XL Center, are available online at www.ticketmaster.com, through Ticketmaster charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and in person at the XL Center box office. Seating for the scrimmage will be general admission and all tickets are $10 (other fees may apply).
Stephen Litel from SlamOnline: Asjha Jones: Don’t Forget About the Veterans - Lost in the hype of all the young talent acquired, the Sun also have strong veterans.
After missing out on the playoffs for the first time since arriving in Connecticut, the Sun have been busy this off-season. The current talk revolves around their draft day, which brought them Tina Charles, Kelsey Griffin, Danielle McCray and Allison Hightower, but their arrivals would not have been possible without trading away Lindsay Whalen.
The yeas and nays have been counted and the results are that the NCAA makes changes in basketball recruiting
USA Basketball 2010 Women's Select Team - Photo Gallery & Quotes
The 2010 USA Basketball Women's Select Team got underway with its first practice on the morning of April 15, and USABasektball.com was there for all of the first-day action, including the press conference honoring the 2010 John R. Wooden Award Player of the Year Tina Charles and finalists Kelsey Griffin, Maya Moore and Nneka Ogwumike.
Hear what USA Women's National Team head coach Geno Auriemma and several of the Select Team players had to say with our post-practice quotes and check out the action in our photo gallery!
Due to injuries that are keeping Jayne Appel and Kara Lawson from fully participating in the USA National Team's practices, USA Basketball brought in a few of its USA Select Team members early. Not only are they being added to drills and practices, they're able to learn the drills from USA National Team head coach Geno Auriemma and they get an extra day or two to play alongside and pick the brains of Olympic gold medalists. Following Wednesday's practice, USA Basketball.com sat down with three recent WNBA Draft picks and one returning collegian to find out how they're enjoying this unique opportunity.
From Charlie: An early look at the preseason 1-64
Many of the usual suspects will litter the top of the 2010-11 preseason rankings in November. Baylor and Stanford are heavy favorites to find themselves in the Final Four again and appear to be the best threats to wrestle away the crown from two-time defending NCAA champion Connecticut. Stanford is already used to playing in April, and the Lady Bears should get accustomed to it as well.

But who else should we keep an eye on?
From Left Coast Hoops, words on West Coast movement:

Two days, two announcements that key players on two Pac-10 teams are leaving their respective programs.

If only the news that Oregon State’s leading scorer Talisa Rhea is transferring to Seattle University – or that point guards Kiki Moore and Danielle Lenoir are leaving Washington State — came as a surprise.

But it’s not, not a surprise at all because player movement in the Pac-10 seems to have become commonplace in recent years. It’s more commonplace every place, in fact.

Mike DiMauro from Connecticut's The Day says "Discard this theory with the rubbish"
Globe also posed the question, "would an NBA team be tempted to try to develop [Griner] as a power forward?"

A reader in, say, Dubuque, Iowa, might be amused by the question. Maybe another reader in Savannah might view it as innocuous. But here in our corner of the world, where newspapers run poll questions about whether the UConn women could beat the UConn men, the premise of the Globe's column should make us pull a Peter Finch in "Network," where he goes over to the window and advises us to yell that we're mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.
Q ponders how Beard's injury might affect the Mystics. He also chimes in on "The Role Model Thing: Perspectives from the Women’s Game"

While female athletes may not be "role models" in the colloquial sense that we think of them -- people we literally want to be exactly like -- they do often present a model for the range of things women can do and as he writes "destabilize gender stereotypes". I'm not sure it's possible to measure that impact with any kind of research and even so, the effects might not appear immediately.

But second, as related to the WNBA, what I wonder is if it's different because the league has been around longer. Maybe the league has merely brainwashed its players, but many of the players we talk to -- and college players as well -- talk about the importance of not only being a role model, but also the existence of the league as a new aspiration for them. It's probably not the central motivation to become a professional basketball, but many of the women we've spoken to do see that as something more than peripheral to their responsibility as athletes.

Also at Swish Appeal, freelantz writes, Alison Lacey ready to learn from the best in Sue Bird

And if you been in a "holding pattern, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the next basketball season mode, oh, look! it's a furlough -- fun times, huh Jayda? --" you might want to take a gander at some of the S.A. writing you may have missed: Swish Appeal 2010 WNBA Draft Archive: Links, Links, and More Links...

Over the last two weeks we've written quite a bit previewing, covering, and recapping the WNBA draft.

With articles scattered all over the site and difficult to find, here are links to pretty much everything we've written in order to bring some measure of order to the chaos we've created.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kelsey Bone has picked her new school - Texas A&M.
From the Missourian, a Q&A with new Missouri women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton

Q: You are bringing your entire ISU staff with you (Randy Norton, Willie Cox, Jenny Putnam). How much easier was it for you knowing your assistants were coming with you?

Pingeton: “I definitely think it helps. We’re a very tight staff, very good friends. We’ve done it once before at Illinois State. It’s amazing to me how much this mirrors where Illinois State was seven years ago. Just to a T. It’s a little eerie to be honest with you.

“(Iowa State head coach) Bill Fennelly gave me great advice when I left (Iowa State as an assistant coach). He said hire the most loyal people you can find and job descriptions will take care of themselves. That’s exactly what I did. Knowing you’re in a foxhole with people that you trust and that have been loyal to you and understanding what it takes and having the same philosophy. I think that’s instrumental.”

Congrats to "The Pest," "The Gnat" or "The Bane of My Existence" (Spoon) : Debbie Black is part of the 2010 class of the Bucks County Athletic Hall of Fame.
Unfortunately, there is another season ending injury. Shyra Ely recently ruptured her patella tendon in her right knee. She is using Yard Barker to share her recovery process.

There is a growing number of players who will be missing the upcoming season due to injury. In addition to Shyra:

Alana Beard
Kelly Mazzante
Katie Gearlds

There are also reports that Laura Harper tore her ACL and will be out for the season or most of the season in San Antonio.

Let's hope this is the end of it.
Janel McCarville recaps her eventful season in Russia.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bad news for Alana Beard and the Mystics. She will miss the 2010 season with an ankle injury.
The Shock and Silver Stars swap bench players and Q has some quick analysis of the deal.
Look who is going to be on Celebrity Jeopardy.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our new little guy has arrived!
View From The Dugout - A College Coach's Perspective by Brian Tompkins: The Persecution Of Excellence: Gender bias in women's sports
Kevin Durant, a gentleman baller for the Oklahoma Thunder: My Thoughts on Women’s Hoops

We were playing the Utah Jazz the night of the women’s championship game, but I did get to catch the National Semi-Finals. Man, those were some good games. Brittney Griner from Baylor is real good and a lot of fun to watch. But UConn had a better team and they prevailed. So it was something else to see them win two titles in a row and not lose a game in two years.

In spite of what I may have said about his article last year, Dave (Friend of the Blog?) Zirin takes time to talk with the a member of the women's basketball intelligentsia.
Catch is the latest WNBA player guest blogger on SLAMonline.
Mechelle has some thoughts on the new hires: New in the North
There are two new coaches in the North Division of the Big 12, with Robin Pingeton taking over at Missouri (she was formally announced at a press conference Thursday), and Linda Lappe named Colorado’s new coach at a press briefing this morning in Boulder.

Pingeton comes from Illinois State; Lappe, who is a former Buffs player, from Division II Metro State.

I am trying to take some deep breaths and sort out my thoughts on these two hires. Actually, I was up most of the night writing those thoughts, but I don’t want to publish all that just yet without a little more time to ponder the situations. If that gives you some indication my reaction to both is not exactly positive, that’s a correct guess.

and New coaches, more thoughts

Had a long chat with former Buffs coach Ceal Barry on the decision to hire her former player, Linda Lappe, as Colorado’s new head coach. Barry made a lot of positive points about Lappe. But Barry also was realistic about how some people will react to such a youthful coach -- she is 30 -- getting her first shot at Division I after not being a head coach at that level before. Barry’s sense of optimism, though, was very strong.

Good thoughts go out to North Dakota State's Hannah Linz. She was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Former Buff Linda Lappe has been hired as the new head coach at Colorado.
Pat Griffin has an interesting piece on the new coach at Missouri.
Marynell Meadors has been added as an assistant coach to the US national team.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Life will be busy for some players pre-WNBA: Joining the USA Baskeball April training are Monica Wright, Kelsey Griffin of Nebraska, Andrea Riley of Oklahoma State, Allison Hightower of LSU, Jacinta Monroe of Florida State and Kalana Greene of Connecticut, Jantel Lavender of Ohio State, Danielle Robinson of Oklahoma, Jasmine Thomas of Duke and Nneka Ogwumike of Stanford.
Mechelle checks in about the draft:
OK, so it wasn’t a deep draft. It wasn’t even a semi-deep draft. It’s too harsh to say it was as shallow as a plastic kiddie pool. But maybe it was as shallow as one of those back yard above-ground pools. As I mentioned to my editor at ESPN.com, thank goodness the draft no longer went four rounds, as it did years ago. Because if there had been a fourth round this year, I think the pro teams would have had to draft a few of the school mascots to round out their selections.

Between injuries, defensive questions, offensive questions, mindset questions, size, strength and probable need to change positions, there is more to wonder about than be certain of with this year’s group of seniors aspiring to be pros.

Yah, we know the first half was beyond ugly, but ESPN says the TV ratings were up 29%.

Geez, women's basketball is doooooooomed!
Extending our sincere condolences to Tiffany Jackson: Leaving a Legacy

A giant of a man in heart and stature who built one of the nation's most influential girls' basketball club programs, Marques Jackson of Duncanville, Texas, died on Sunday morning at age 46 of a heart attack.

In its seventh year of existence, Jackson's DFW program has churned out a parade of women's basketball stars, including his own daughter, Tiffany, who plays for the WNBA's New York Liberty and was an All-American at Texas. DFW alumni also include Brittney Griner, the NCAA tournament star at Baylor, and Brittainey Raven, a senior at Texas, among others. The program has plenty of future stars, including Odyssey Sims, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) high-school player of the year and Baylor signee, and Moriah Jefferson of Glenview, Texas, one of the top prospects in the 2012 class.

OT: I'm back! Saw this and this and this.

Friday, April 09, 2010

For photos of the Draft, check out Tara's shots on SportsPageMagazine.com.
There is a ton of information on the Draft. Some highlights:

Connecticut - No surprise they took Tina Charles. They also landed Kelsey Griffin at #3 through the Lynx, in exchange for a first and second round pick in the 2011 Draft. Danielle McCray was their pick at #7 (which they got the day before in exchange for Chante Black and Amber Holt). Allison Hightower and Johannah Leedham were selected in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. McCray definitely will not play this year because of a torn ACL and and Leedham may miss the season as well to train with the national team in England.

"I signed here knowing we already had Renee Montgomery and we were likely going to get Tina," Sun guard Kara Lawson said. "But what really excited me about the day was all the youth we brought in. We've essentially given ourselves a four-to five-year window [to win]."

Minnesota - The Lynx were excited to add Monica Wright with the #2 pick to an already talented roster. The #3 pick was not as clear cut. Had they used it for themselves, Jayne Appel would be a member of their team. But believing they will not be in the lottery next year, they gambled on the picks from next year's draft. Gabriela Marginean will join Wright in camp as a fellow rookie.

Chicago - The Sky's pick was not in the U.S., but she is happy to have the chance to play here this summer. Epiphanny Prince will join one of her teammates from her Turkish squad on a Sky team looking to make the playoffs for the first time. Joining Prince in camp will be Abi Olajuwon

San Antonio - The Silver Stars took advantage of Jayne Appel's availability at the #5 slot and also added Alysha Clark and Alexis Rack in the second and third rounds. “Sometimes, fortune is even more powerful than preparation,” Silver Stars general manager Dan Hughes said. “I don't think we thought we could get any of these players.”

Appel will need some time to recover from an ankle sprain and stress fracture in her foot. But she said, "I'll do the best I can to stay in shape and get healthy. Getting healthy is the big thing so I can help this team."

Washington - Everyone, including Angela Taylor and Julie Plank, acknowledge they wanted to add post players. And the Mystics did that with Jacinta Monroe at #6 and Jenna Smith at #15. Shanavia Dowdell and Alexis Gray-Lawson will also get a shot as a later picks. For more on all of the selections, check out the BasketCases blog.

Tulsa - The Shock traded their pick in the first round, but did add Amanda Thompson and Vivian Frieson in the later rounds. Nolan Richardson explains why he wanted Thompson. The fact that she was from (the University of) Oklahoma had nothing to do with the pick," Richardson said. "Winning will put butts in the seats. Amanda is a player I would have taken regardless of where she played college. She's got that type of character, wit about herself and she loves the game. You can tell that by the way she plays it."

Los Angeles - Jen Gillom indicated before the draft she wanted shooting guards and that is what they got with their first two picks, Andrea Riley and Bianca Thomas. "I can't believe how perfectly it turned out," Gillom said. "Riley is the type of player we need in L.A. She's definitely Showtime. People are going to love to watch her."

The Sparks also added a couple of post players in Angel Robinson and Rashidat Junaid.

Atlanta - The Dream went with potential with their first round pick of Chanel Mokango. "I think we filled a tremendous need at that post position,” Marynell Meadors said. “I think her upside is just out of sight.” Brigitte Ardossi and Brittainey Raven were also picked by Atlanta.

Seattle - The Storm selected a back up PG for Sue Bird in Alison Lacey, who should also fill the three point shooting void of Katie Gearlds, who is taking the season off. Lacey will be joined in camp by fellow Big 12 player Tanisha Smith and Hungarian center Tijana Krivacevic.

Indiana - The Fever have been pretty quiet during the off season, but did add some depth to their roster with the selections of Jené Morris, Armelie Lumanu and Joy Cheek.

Phoenix - The Mercury did not have a first round selection, but did pick up Tyra Grant and Nyeshia Stevenson.

New York - The Liberty were also without a first round pick, but added Kalana Greene, Ashley Houts and Cory Montgomery to the roster.

For a first hand look at the draft, be sure to check out reports from Queenie and freelantz on the scene report and reactions from Q and others at Swish Appeal.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Missouri has hired their new coach.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Will the Sun be going for a sweep of Huskies in the first round now?
Of course we saw the championship game: right now we are trying to ruin women's basketball by not writing about it.

If you can't wait, here's some celebration from the Nutmeg State, and some joylessness from Cardinal-ville.

Here's Geno: ""I don't know how we're going to be able to go 39-0 next year. The only reason I say that is, if we win every game we play next year we'll be 40-0."

And here are some late thoughts I haven't seen elsewhere yet:

1. In the other two high-profile rematches in the NCAA tournament this year, the first-time losers won the second time round. But not this time, however it looked at the half.

2. When Stanford lost to UConn in December, the folks in dark red had just played Tennessee and Duke, Appel wasn't quite well, and the game was in Hartford.

When the Cardinal got beat again by Connecticut's epoch-making team, Jayne Appel was clearly in great pain; she made not a single field goal in 30 minutes on the floor.

UConn are the best team in the land, if not the best of all time-- they were really the best last year too-- on all the evidence available; but Cardinal fans will wonder for a long time what would have happened had the two teams met just once, this year, on a neutral court, with all players on both sides healthy at last.

(That said, Appel didn't look much worse at the end of the game, after colliding with Hayes and re-hurting her ankle, than she did at the start of the second half: it's the chronic ankle pain I'm talking about, which had her grimacing even before the collision-- she didn't look healthy matched up against Xavier, either.)

Mechelle has not one, not two, but three new columns related to UConn's big win.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Only in Texas?

Walking home tonight, passed through the driveway area of the Marriott. There was a Domino's pizza delivery car parked -- complete with the little light-up Domino's roof attachment thing.

The car was a Cadillac.
Congrats to Connie Yori - the first recipient of the Kay Yow Award.
Janel McCarville shares what it is like playing overseas in the latest guest blog in Slam.
Voepel looks back at the glory, and the flaws, of Nebraska's almost perfect season.
More on Mobi (or Mobolaji) Akiode from Mark Hertz: Mobi Akiode Inspires Girls in Nigeria

Check for the ESPN Outside the Lines piece on her on ESPN Classic.
From Brigitte Yuille at Financial Edge: Top WNBA Salaries: How Do They Stack Up?

To be honest, other than for the education of the general public, I'm not sure what the point of articles like this is. Why on earth WOULD WNBA salaries even casually resemble NBA salaries?

I mean, why do the people forget the fact that the NBA has been around longer, plays more games, has ridiculous advertising and sponsorship, is a highly visible and marketable brand and fills stands. (Unless, of course, you're in New Jersey. Or New York. Or *fillintheblank* And yes, we all know that if the figures and stories are correct, the league has not escaped the overblown excesses that financial boom can bring and there may be a reckoning of some sort in the not too distant future.)

I hate it when people compare apples to pasta -- and ignore history, to boot. Makes me cranky.

Maybe I should put on my bunny ears again.
ALL SING: Let the sun shine! Let the sun shine in! The suuuuun shine in!

Storm and Sparks to play outdoors.
Stanford fans C and R have the jitters before tonight's game. They have long memories, and a high word count, too. But why won't they-- or any other bloggers, apparently-- have press passes in San Antone tonight?
The media hasn't forgotten the "other" programs that have enjoyed a wonderful season:

Tim Kroboth at the Kentucky Kernel writes: Women’s hoops can brag as much as men

When the NCAA Tournament arrived, Dunlap and Co., matched John Wall and Co., in advancing to the Elite Eight.

Against No. 5 seeded Michigan State and a No. 1-seeded Nebraska team that had lost only once all year, Coach Mitchell’s Cats dominated with speed and defensive pressure.

So, where have you been?

From the NewsStar.com: Weatherspoon promise shines

The glory days of Lady Techsters basketball are on display once again.

We're not talking about the championship banners hanging in an auditorium, or a dusty, little-visited, hall-of-fame.

The glory days were visible in the NCAA women's basketball tournament, along the sidelines.

And signs of a program back on the ascendancy were apparent on the court as well.

Dan Murrell of The Reflector says: Lady Dawgs, seniors complete milestone season

With the men's team getting most of the headlines, the Lady Bulldogs quietly built a resume, taking on big time teams before competing in the tough SEC. That resume earned MSU a bid in the Big Dance in March, allowing the women to shine on the national stage as they fought their way to the school's first ever Sweet 16 appearance.

Coale's success should not be overlooked, writes Steven Jones of the Oklahoma

The men’s basketball team backed up their Elite Eight run in 2009 by missing the post season entirely in 2010 after playing without National Player of the Year Blake Griffin, who left for the NBA and pre-season All-American Willie Warren, who missed half the season due to injury.

Then there is the women’s basketball team, who finished last season in the Final Four, then lost the Paris twins to graduation and the 2009 Big 12 freshman of the Year Whitney Hand to injury and ended the season … well, they turned out okay, actually.

It is interesting that the women’s basketball team, who dealt with just as much adversity as other Sooner squads, was able to make it back to the Final Four this year.
Clay Norman of the Norman Transcript notes: Sooners kept on fighting

Oklahoma women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale really likes her seniors. She might have said it anyway following Sunday night’s 73-66 Final Four loss to Stanford, but to see her tell it, the emotion involved was clear.

“Stacey Dales and Laneishea Caufield and Caton Hill will forever be the class that took us to our first Final Four,” she said. “And these guys will be the first ever to take us back to back.”

These guys, of course, are senior guard Nyeshia Stevenson, senior forward Amanda Thompson and senior center Abi Olajuwon.

Did we catch this in the media swarm? Tina Charles won the Naismith.
Interesting news in the Junior College ranks: Trinity Valley is bringing Michael and Kenya Landers back as head coaches.

You'll remember Landers was Shannon Bobbitt's coach at TVCC, took TVCC to a national title, and then last year, went to Baton Rouge Community College, where he served as athletic director and head women's basketball coach. He led the first-year program to a 22-6 record and conference championship, earning this year's WBCA JC/CC Coach of the Year award.
Get ready for Wednesday's pre-draft edition of Dishin' & Swishin': The World of Women's Hoops
Wednesday at 11 am and 7 pm, http://www.wstrradio.com/

Guests include:
Renee Montgomery, Connecticut Sun
Tyra Grant, Penn State
April Phillips, Xavier
Angela Taylor, GM Washington Mystics
Cheryl Reeve, Coach Minnesota Lynx
Stephen Key, GM & Coach Chicago Sky
Lin Dunn, Coach Indiana Fever
John Altavilla, writer Hartford Courant
Clay Kallam, writer Full Court Press
Coquese Washington, Coach Penn State
Bill Fennelly, Coach Iowa State
Debbie Ryan, Coach University of Viriginia
Bob Starkey, Asst head coach LSU
Fans can chat with Cappie tomorrow, 11:30amEST.
Oh the horror! Look how ruined women's basketball is!

Stanford out to deny UConn second straight title, Post
Doty, Hayes look to shake shooting slumps, Post
Notebook: 'A great rivalry', Post
UConn vs Stanford, who has the edge? Post
UConn in 1 vs 2 games, Post
UConn freshman Faris stepped in with solid effort, Post
UConn fans take in San Antonio sights plus the games, Post
Huskies showed confidence, resolve under fire, Chris Elsberry, Post
Stanford notebook: VanDerveer offered advance in Cosmo, Post
UConn has one hurdle left: Tuesday vs Stanford, Courant
UConn women's streak something to be celebrated, Jeff Jacobs, Courant
UConn women perfectly enjoyable, Courant
Experts predict results of UConn vs Stanford, Courant
Doris Burke breaks down UConn-Stanford game, Courant
Tina Charles wins Naismith Award, Courant
UConn's unbeaten 2002 champions reminisce, Courant
UConn's unbeaten teams, Courant
Stanford's Ogwumike finds answers, Courant
National championship capsule, Courant
UConn faces Stanford tonight for second straight national title, Register
Guards could hold key to outcome? Register
The end of the road, Day
Stanford can spoil the party, Mike DiMauro, Day
UConn vs Stanford, Day
Huskies eye back to back national titles, Republican
Charles adds Naismith Award to list of achievements, Republican
Showdown in San Antonio, Daily Campus
UConn Huskies one win away from history, Mechelle Voepel, ESPN
Huskies' roll players must step up against Stanford, Graham Hayes, ESPN
Looking ahead: Women's final, NY Times
Setup is perfect for the Huskies, Boston Globe
Connecticut appears unstoppable as women's national title matchup with Stanford arrives, Newark Star Ledger
UConn women vs UCLA men, NewsOK
'Uncanny knack for perfection' fuels UConn's historic dominance, SI
Stanford looking to shock the world in rematch against UConn, SI
How good is UConn women's team? Greensboro News & Record
Huskies' star Moore proves UConn was right choice, Houston Chronicle
Photos: Ready for championship, San Antonio Express
UConn's streak a study in precision, execution, perfection, Austin American Statesman
Women's title game is perfection vs almost perfect, Detroit News
UConn dynasty is good for game, Belleville News Democrat
In NCAA women's title game, Moore and Ogwumike to lead UConn, Stanford, Washington Post
Stanford's Ogwumike, UConn's Moore take title game spotlight, USA Today
Geno holds court: Best women win because they stay in school, Fan House
Loss to Stanford in 2008 Final Four changed Charles, UConn forever, Fan House
In this case, history teaches nothing, ESPN
Stanford stands between UConn and perfect repeat, USA Today
Cardinal's new shot at taming Huskies, Wall Street Journal
Women's final renews stars' friendly rivalry, NY Times
Problem child becomes complete player, NY Times
Rematch with championship implications, San Jose Mercury News
Head above the rest, Mercury News
Another shot at the perfect team, San Francisco Chronicle
Auriemma impressed by Ogwumike's progress, Chronicle
Gold-Onwude aims high in final speech, Chronicle
Women's hoops stage is set for the final act, Palo Alto Online
Pressure behind them, Cardinal recharge for ultimate test, Fan House
Way, way more daily news coverage for tonight's big game (8:30pm Eastern) than we can possibly read and discuss in this space: Helen (above) has it all, and holy cow, that's a lot of coverage. A few highlights and not-quite-random reads:

Longman sees how far Stanford's Gold-Onwude has come. "Ros really had to go from that caterpillar to the butterfly," coach TV says.

Gold-Onwude has also become quite the speechmaker: yesterday she said Geno should have a reality show.

Much-injured-- but highly motivated-- Stanford guard J.J. Hones watched last year's Final Four from Spain: now she's rejoined her team. Hones will have offseason surgery and then decide whether to return to the team: "I don't want to be one of those old people that goes for a walk and has to put ice on their knees," she explains.

The Austin-American Statesman waxes literary, comparing UConn's offensive sets to "a kind of pulley mechanism," and to Bill Bradley as witnessed by John McPhee.

SI's Deitsch watches Maya Moore get ready for Nneka Ogwumike. "She's developed faster than any sophomore in the country," Moore says. "She has a lot of confidence right now."

Jeff Jacobs looks back at the not-yet-perfect season-- and slips in a jab at coach Summitt near the end.

UConn has played Stanford in three Final Fours in a row. That hasn't happened since... 2004, the third of three years in which UConn met Tennessee, either in the semis or in the title game.

Milton Kent is the latest writer to note how Tina Charles changed, and improved, after UConn lost to Stanford in 2008-- the last time the Huskies lost to anyone.

UConn fans swarm San Antonio, seeing the sights and loving the Riverwalk.

The Strib's Rachel Blount (in syndication) explains why UConn are not ruining women's basketball. She might have noted that Sunday's UConn game drew the best ratings the Final Four has had in years (2.6; Stanford-OU drew just 1.7).

When Jessie and I were in Indianapolis for the '05 Final Four, we saw coach Mulkey take a call from George W. Bush. Last week he tried to call coach Mulkey again.
One filled seat sometimes means another empty one.

UMass has hired a new coach: Vermont's Sharon Dawley.
More on why UVM's Dawley might have chosen to move south to UMass-Amherst:

Dawley's America East champs at UVM made it to the second round of this year's NCAA tournament; all-everything team leader Courtnay Pilypaitis graduates this spring.

At UMass, Dawley will compete in a tougher conference, one that had more tournament teams this year than the Pac-10 (and did better, once they arrived, than the Big Ten): UMass, who went 11-19 last year, also gives Dawley the conference rookie of the year, center Jasmine Watson.
Brenda VanLengen describes her role with the ESPN production crew during the Final Four.
Want to know if the Lynx are taking Wright and Appel? Head coach Cheryl Reeve will be chatting online today at 11 am CT.
The Sparks and the Storm will be playing one of their games outside this summer in the Sparks Sunset Showdown.
Tara Polen at SportsPageMagazine.com gives a closer look at Columbia's Judie Lomax, a 5-11 forward who put up impressive numbers rebounding the ball.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Speaking of Cynthia Cooper and the Hall of Fame....

Note to ESPN: When your talking heads are talking about the current class, would you mind including Cynthia's name?

Note to ESPN.com: When you link a story about the current class on the women's basketball page, d'ya think you might want to put COOPER in the headline/link? And maybe not have her info tacked on at the very end of the story as if it were an afterthought?
Congratulations to Cynthia Cooper for being named to the Naismith Hall of Fame Enshrinement Class of 2010.
Movie Alert: There are two special screenings of "Training Rules" in San Antonio today: Noon and 6pm.
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
922 San Pedro Avenue

210-288-0201 or EsperanzaCenter.org
The NCAA has a "post game central" site which, I believe will host interviews with Tara (noon? not sure which time zone) and Geno (2).
No Brussels Sprout in San Antonio this summer.
Lots of coverage to be had at Kim's Women's Basketball Online's Daily News page. So far, my favorite quote? Harvey Araton at the New York Times:

It was a small step for Charles and perhaps an evolutionary leap for women’s college basketball when Charles dribbled across the lane and made Kareem Abdul-Jabbar proud by rolling in what actually was more of a Magic Johnson baby hook over Griner’s elastic reach.

Nneka Ogwumike led her team past Oklahoma in a game with a weird storyline: Stanford led by double digits most of the way, then let their control turn into cruise control as Oklahoma came within one possession in the final minute of play.

Ogwumike, back home in Texas, tallied 38 and 16; an obviously not-quite-mobile Appeal Appel (whoops) finished with 13 and 10. Ogwumike's career-high 38 points are also, apparently, the second-highest individual point tally in women's Final Four history: regular readers probably know who holds the record still.

OU had to try to beat Stanford's posts with outside shooting, and they never quite pulled it off.

It was the end of an emotional season for OU's seniors Thompson and Olajuwon, who returned to the F4 despite losing the Paris twins to graduation and outside ace Whitney Hand to an ACL. "Our whole season has been about fighting," said Thompson, "and we fought our way back into that game."

Q has detailed analysis, as you'd expect. Helen is in San Antonio-- look for her! She may or may not be wearing bunny ears; look for her along the river walk, one feature of SA that's really as cool as advertised-- at least, it was when I was there. (Also cool in SA: this poet. You might look for her at the Final Four, too.)