Women's Hoops Blog: July 2010

Inane commentary on a game that deserves far better

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Oh, hi. It's you. What are you doing here?

What, you didn't get the email? Well hack up a hairball! That's what comes of delegating to dogs.

So, ya, we've moved. Check out womenshoopsblog.wordpress.com/ if you want to keep up on the inanity.

Don't worry, though. I'll be here if you forget and come back.

Okay, then. Well, bye.

Oh, one sec!

Do you mind switching the channel to ESPN2? The game's on. Thanks.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

My Liberty fandom demands that I wish losses on the Sparks at every turn.

But, dear L.A. friend Maria is, hands down, the best women's basketball fan in the world. And I think mighty highly of Kathy Goodman. So I'm pleased Maria went home happy and Kathy had some good news to blog about.
I am not sure how to describe my mood coming into Thursday night’s game against the San Antonio Silver Stars. Resigned may be the best word. I knew what our team was capable of. I knew we were far from out of the running in the Western Conference if we could get a couple of wins, especially since Minnesota had lost its game earlier in the evening. I knew our next three games — this one, Saturday afternoon and Tuesday night — were going to be crucial since they were against Western Conference teams. I also knew that we had a very long losing streak behind us. San Antonio was in second place in the West, and we had played a terrible game of basketball against them in San Antonio earlier in the season, but I knew our players were just sick of losing. So I decided to try my best to live in the moment — not celebrate an early lead or despair at early setbacks — just let the game unfold.
Jayda. When she's not bloggin' she's Wright-in'. Tanisha Wright has won over Storm fans with improved play

(Sorry. Got a little more sun than I expected today.)

Tanisha Wright? Remember her? The player many fans wanted traded because of her propensity for turnovers, especially in playoff games?

Now fans in KeyArena's Section 115 join to raise letters spelling her name. Others in Section 128 bring homemade signs. And game operations have to keep New Kids on the Block's "The Right Stuff" on cue for all the plays Wright has been making lately.

OT: Sigh. It's the birding doldrums.

Migration is over and all our feathered friends are, well, making eggs or worried that their fledglings are going to fall out of the nest, fly into a tree or get eaten by a crow or some human's unbelled cat.

That being said, there are some beauts hanging about the neighborhood. Just saw this guy - what a beak, no?

Speaking of beaks, there's a reason I call this guy the basset hound of birds. But, check out what he can do with that schnoz!

And, as per a request: American Oystercatcher and Black Skimmer.
Speaking of the NABI, this news from Indian Country Today:
The 8th Annual Native American Basketball Invitational, the largest NCAA-certified Native American basketball tournament, will be honoring the Haskell Indian Nations University women’s basketball team with the NABI Achievement Award during the NABI Girls Championship half-time at the U.S. Airways Center July 10.

The NABI Achievement Award will be presented to Haskell for demonstrating tremendous athletic achievement. The 2009 – 2010 women’s team qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II National Basketball Championships. This was the team’s first appearance there. Of the 14 players on the team, Haskell originally recruited nine through the NABI tournament.
With a h/t to Peggy for the reminder: The 2010 Native American Basketball Invitational is on tap July 6-10. Drop in if you're in Phoenix.

The tourney is of particular interest in light of this q/a from Mechelle's chat:
Dale (South Dakota)

Mechelle, do you think the trends of Native Americans playing women's basketball will ever catch on? It seems like the few who have gone on, had success. Jenni Lingor, Nadia Begay, Jaci McCormack, Jenna Plumley, Tahnee Robinson, Angel Goodrich, Mystee Dale, are a few names that come to mind. With the exception of Goodrich, none of the above mentioned were nationally ranked players. With Shoni Schimmel at Louisville, I think more Division I coaches will give more than a glancing look at reservation schools. What do you think?

Mechelle Voepel (2:41 PM)

Honestly, if coaches know there is talent out there, they will usually find it. They miss sometimes, for sure, but I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think coaches are intentionally avoiding players from any certain areas ... there would just be no logic at all to that. A bigger factor may be that when Native American players are successful, they inspires others to work to be at their level. And that is something I do see happening.
The blog's had some posts on the long and interesting history between Native Americans and basketball.
Congrats to the US Softball squad, winners of their 7th consecutive World Softball Championship.

Graham has been following the games. And twittering. My fave:
Fantastic diving catch from Finch on foul pop. She hits, she pitches, she fields. If she could hit PKs, Ghana would take her.
Stoopid IOC.
Heads up, deja vu: Come tomorrow, July 4th, expect us to be inane-ifying at http://womenshoopsblog.wordpress.com/

This site will continue to exist and remind you we've moved.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Interesting and important point from the Title IX blog: Coaches' Title IX Literacy Called Into Question
Coaches are sorely lacking foundational knowledge about Title IX, according to new, unpublished research profiled in this article in Athletic Business. The study's authors, Ellen Staurowsky of Ithaca College and Erianne Weight of Bowling Green, found that most coaches have received no formal Title IX training and instead rely largely on the media for their knowledge of the law. As a result, they are steeped in misperceptions or uncertainty about the law, which they view as the responsibility of administrators instead. Staurowsky gives two reasons why coaches as well should be literate in the basics of Title IX:
Number one, because they are advocates for their programs. If they don't have a strong understanding about Title IX, then they don't have the traction to be able to effect change within their administration or to even call their administration out when it is lethargic on Title IX issues. Number two, the enforcement scheme relies on every constituency to be aware of how Title IX works, from government officials to school administrators to coaches to athletes to parents. Back in the 1970s, female athletes were learning about Title IX from their coaches. That link has disappeared. So enforcement can't just come from the top down. It can't just come as a matter of presidential decree. It's got to come from the bottom up.
HoopGurlz' Glenn Nelson reflects on the recent FIBA tourney:
Girls' basketball in the rest of the Western Hemisphere, it seems, is girls' basketball. No matter the country, there always seem to be the overbearing "stage" parents who sit off by themselves, yelling instructions, in various languages, at their daughters. And the girls, as in the U.S., still largely ignore them.

Yet, as evidenced by the FIBA Americas U18 Championships, basketball south of the U.S.-Mexican border has its own rhythms and idiosyncrasies.

From Mel: WNBA: West's Second Place An All-Time Worst
The gap between first and second place in the WNBA's Western Conference could get even wider or slightly better Thursday night when the San Antonio Silver Stars visit the Los Angeles Sparks.

The Sparks (3-11), winless in four games since former league MVP Candace Parker was lost for the season with a shoulder injury, are motivated knowing the outbreak of mediocrity in the conference is keeping Los Angeles very much in playoff contention.

The Sliver Stars (5-8), hoping to avoid a slide to stoke Los Angeles' hopes, sit in second place a whopping 7.5 games behind the Seattle Storm (14-2).
From the AP's Jeff Latzke: Growing pains for Jones, Richardson in WNBA
The wins are rare and the playing time scarce. The living quarters are cramped, and there's no daily routine.

Life in the WNBA has certainly been no fairy tale for Marion Jones.

The one-time fastest woman in the world finds herself at the end of the bench for a last-place team, spending more time cheering for her Tulsa Shock teammates than showing what she can do after more than a decade away from basketball.

Yet through it all, the WNBA's oldest rookie is bubbling with enthusiasm.

From the Hawai'i Tribune Herald: Mercury lots of fun for Pilipaa
The Pilipaa girls 14 volleyball team had a good time Thursday in Phoenix, taking in a WNBA game and watching the defending champion Phoenix Mercury.

The Hilo girls went early to U.S. Airways Arena, home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns, and indulged in a few pregame delights, sitting on expensive, leather front-row chairs, and taking a picture with guard Keita Swanier.
From the AP: NCAA to publish APRs for coaches

Guess how many coaches of women's sports they interviewed.
On the Road with the Phoenix Mercury - SLAM gets unprecedented access inside the WNBA.
“How was it?” My fiancée excitedly asked. I had just arrived back in Phoenix after spending the past week in Seattle and Los Angeles with the Phoenix Mercury, 2009 WNBA Champions. Being a lifelong fan of the WNBA, she was excited to hear the intricacies and behind the scenes scoop of life on the road for a professional athlete.

“Umm…,” I poetically replied. If I’m honest, I had no clue how to articulate the extent to which the previous week impacted me; it was that profound. I thought for a moment, took a deep breath, and continued.

“My faith and admiration for professional athletes has been renewed.”

Bold? Yep. Exaggerated? Not at all.
Reminds me of when Michelle Agins (who, interestingly enough, I just blogged about) followed the Lib in 1998. I don't think her photos are online anywhere (help, someone?) but I still have that Sunday New York Times Magazine on my shelf.

When the WNBA started in 1997, Agins knew it was her time. The memory of walking into the Garden for the first time is still vivid. “I got chills. I had no idea it was going to be like this – all those people.” She distinctly remembers not wanting to let the players down – of needing to capture the game in a powerful and evocative way to earn the women press coverage.

Agins admits she feels an “unprofessional” closeness with the New York Liberty. It’s not surprising, especially considering her experiences with the team in 1998. Assigned to do a short photo essay, she was to travel with the Liberty for 10 days. But things started off poorly — the team was losing, the mood was poor and Cathy Ryan, the Times Sunday Magazine photo editor, phoned Agins to kill the piece. Agins pleaded for one more day.

After the call, and trapped on a plane with the team, Agins vividly recalls her desperate attempt to keep her composure. Then Kym Hampton, the Liberty center, tipped up her sleeping mask to look at her “What’s the matter?” Hampton asked. “Your coach mad at you?“

“Well,” explained Agins to Hampton “they thought I’d have better access and you guys are shutting me down. It’s been kind of embarrassing. This was my shot, and I’ve blown it.”

Hampton paused. “Well, what do you want?” Before Agins knew it, once closed doors flew open.

“It was like the team came together for me,” recalls Agins. “It was incredible. That was the one time I felt like I was no longer a photographer, I was a team member. The camera disappeared. I had this invisible ball. I had my own play I had to run in order to tell the story for the team, and that was what I did.” When she returned to the Times’ offices, Ryan had filled a room with blowups of all the photographs she’d taken in a 72-hour period. A three-page essay had expanded into a 10-page story and a Sunday Magazine cover.

Speaking about USA BBall, some good news:

2010 FIBA Men's And Women's U17 World Championship Games To Be Streamed Live Online Quarterfinals, Semfinals And Medal Games Available On FIBAtv.com

I'm sure this in not a case of "blog and effect," but I can imagine, can't I?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

From USA Basketball: Six Olympic Gold Medalists Among 11-Member Team Set To Participate In WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game

Wow. The USA site is SO much less ugly than it was....
Good questions and answers during Mechelle's chat today.

Gosh, it would be nice if I got an email reminding me that it was happening....
So you think you want to be a coach?

Check out Aaron McMann's piece from Central Michigan Life.com: Growing up with Guevara: new assistant women’s basketball coach begins new role alongside former coach, mentor

During Oesterle’s brief time there, Stanford finished the 2002-03 season 27-5, including making another NCAA appearance. Oesterle, able to sit in coaches meetings, learned and absorbed as much as she could from legendary Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer.

But the fact remained she wasn’t being compensated.

“It was hard,” Oesterle said. “I ended up moving in with Heidi, Tara’s sister, because I ran out of money. I had to sweep floors during halftime of the men’s games and volleyball games so I could earn some extra money.”

Heads up part tres: Come July 4, you will find our inanity has moved to: womenshoopsblog.wordpress.com
To Russia with Love: Spartak Keep Pace High in Offseason
...expectation for next season isn't necessarily going to be reduced in line with the circa 50% reduction in the player budget. Costalas is still expecting Chatman to deliver on the court with plenty of options at her disposal - many of whom would still be the envy of most coaches in ELW.

"Now we expect her to blend the veteran players with the young hungry talented players and help us bring good results while playing her type of basketball - aggressive, hardnosed, and disciplined, but simple and effective."

"Continuing from last season is Sue Bird, Anete Jekabsone, Marina Karpunina, Ilona Korstin, Irina Osipova, Sonja Petrovic and Natalia Vieru. We brought back Lauren Jackson, Katia Demagina and Noelle Quinn and signed three extremely talented players: Nadezda Grishaeva, Jelena Milovanovic and Epiphanny Prince who in the upcoming World Championships will be the starting point guard of the Russian National Team."

Speaking of National Teams, Katie Douglas may play for Greece and Sancho Lyttle for Spain.

From Clay Kallam at Slam Online: Peeking Over the Women’s Basketball Horizon; USA Basketball, WNBA Playoffs and Gonzaga on the come up

Yes, it’s pretty safe to say that Tulsa and L.A. are lottery bound, though the latest in a series of Minnesota injuries (Candice Wiggins this time) may cause the Lynx to sink to fifth.

That seems unlikely, though, as Nolan Richardson, as expected, is clueless in Oklahoma, and Jennifer Gillom, as some feared, can’t seem to get the Sparks all pointed in the same direction.

In the East, Anne Donovan, as expected, has done little to inspire New York fans who have been turned off by years of mismanagement by James Dolan and Carol Blazejowski – so the Liberty will need a late-season hot streak to get in to postseason. Steve Key, also a target for disgruntled fans, hasn’t done much with the Sky, though the absence of Shameka Christon hasn’t helped. Like New York, Chicago will need to catch a fire to avoid a place in the Maya Moore sweepstakes.

The Star Tribune's Gail Roseblum profiles Charde Houston and the work she is doing with her group Project Y.O.U.
It's just about ASG time, and I've been expecting some "So, how are those off-season, early season trades holding up?" check-ins.

Here's Mechelle on Cappie and the rest of the new Libs:
Cappie Pondexter didn't come to New York to sit in last place. When her Liberty team visited Tulsa last week, the players were in put-up-or-shut-up mode. They'd just lost June 22 at home to Minnesota, and it's not as if the Lynx are tearing up the WNBA this year. That was a defeat that, frankly, really ticked off the Liberty. So …

"We had a meeting amongst the players," New York guard Leilani Mitchell said. "We said, 'The coaches have given us everything we need. It's up to us.'"
So, do we consider this a "slap upside the head?"

From The Day's Mike DiMauro: Dear Diary: I'm having some problems with the WNBA ...
What I don't understand, Dear Diary, is that once the Indiana game ended, why the blackout was not lifted. I'm not educated enough, Dear Diary, to follow or care about all the convoluted, esoteric, television blackout rules that govern sports. But, Dear Diary, it seems to me that if you are the WNBA, with limited, regional fan bases, the rules should at least be made clear to the few, the proud, who actually care.