Friday, August 22, 2014

Little League world series is over, and women's sports are again shoved to the side

Great commentary by Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins:

Now she will go back to taking penciled tests, as opposed to being recruited into social-science conversations about gender and whether biology is destiny. Everyone wants to say something important about Davis, but what really needs to be said is this: As she returns to the dim, dull regular school day, may her experience as a Little Leaguer not be the pinnacle of her athletic life. Because something dimmer and duller is what Davis can expect when the men at ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Deadspin lose interest in her.......

So while it’s great that a 13-year-old girl was treated as an accomplished athlete, I’d be more grateful if Candace Parker and Diana Taurasi, two of the greatest basketball players on earth, didn’t have to spend the winter in Russia just to make a decent living. “If only we had a Davis every single day in the media for girls,” (Billie Jean) King says.....


For a few brief days, Mo’ne Davis caused some powerful men to think in a different way about sport, to see exciting new potential in a little girl. She was so viscerally striking that she shifted their perceptions of female capacities. Maybe that will lead them in turn to another visceral perception: of how much female aspiration gets suffocated daily by the inevitable narrowing of access, opportunity and attention, and the small, deadening, devaluing assumption that because her body isn’t as big as a man’s, her talent, by definition, can’t be as important.

But Jenkins' best paragraph provides hope:

The point of Mo’ne Davis is not what she proves about girls against boys. The real point of her is how a stunning wildflower can bloom in even the stoniest soil, given the tiniest opportunity and some sustenance. Look what can happen, how a child can burst out of category. Look what athletic striving can result in — that tremendous rearing back of hers, and then the delivery, a white streak that seemed to leave a groove in the air.

And this is why I keep writing.

Round one, two more close games

Oh what a night:

The Sky edged the Dream, 80-77.

The Mercury held off the Sparks, 75-72. Diana Taurasi had a playoff-best 34 points for Phoenix.

All four day one games were close and exciting, and I love it.

Mystics-Fever and Lynx-Stars go at it in second games tomorrow.

Last-minute bits before round one, game one, part two

With Brittney Griner in the middle, the Mercury aim for a title.

Maya Moore has always given her all - just ask her mother.

Will officiating be a factor for Indiana in game two?

Non-playoff news:

Seattle Storm season recap - good stuff.

College news:

Tennessee's Mercedes Russell will miss the 2014-2015 season as she recovers from foot problems.

Ryan Johnson has joined Idaho State as an assistant coach.

Storm get first draft pick, plan to go young

Storm get first draft pick, plan to go young.

COY, defensive POY, defensive teams named

Mercury coach Sandy Brondello is the coach of the year.

Phoenix center Brittney Griner is defensive player of the year.

All-defensive teams:

2014 WNBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM

Player Team Position Points

Brittney Griner Phoenix Mercury Center 55
Sancho Lyttle Atlanta Dream Forward 45
Briann January Indiana Fever Guard 34
Angel McCoughtry Atlanta Dream Forward 30
Tanisha Wright Seattle Storm Guard 30

2014 WNBA ALL-DEFENSIVE SECOND TEAM

Player Team Position Points

Alana Beard Los Angeles Sparks Guard 29
Tamika Catchings Indiana Fever Forward 29
Danielle Robinson San Antonio Stars Guard 27
Sylvia Fowles Chicago Sky Center 17
Maya Moore Minnesota Lynx Forward 17

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Fever, Lynx survive in thrilling game night

Both of tonight's first-round games were just the way fans love them: close and full of suspense.

The Fever got by the Mystics, 78-73. Tamika Catchings lead Indiana with 22 points.

Catchings has broken one record and may break another:

Catchings needs 21 points to become the league's all-time playoff scoring leader. Her 10 boards helped her pass Lisa Leslie as the WNBA's career leading rebounder in the postseason.

''The thing that's so special about her is that she's so multidimensional,'' Fever coach Lin Dunn said. ''She's doing something everywhere. She's a once-in-a-lifetime player and I'm privileged and honored that I've gotten to coach her.''


Then Minnesota survived a huge run by San Antonio to win, 88-84. They were lead by 26 points from Maya Moore, who received the MVP trophy in a pre-game ceremony.

I've got to give props to all four teams, and all four coaches. Lin Dunn, Mike Thibault, Cheryl Reeve and Dan Hughes set the standard.

Another leak: coach and defensive player of the year

Another "person close to the situation" reports that Mercury coach Sandy Brondello has won coach of the year, and Phoneix center Brittney Griner has been tabbed defensive player of the year.

I'm guessing that the Sky's Allie Quigley has collected the sixth woman of the year award, as Jia Perkins of the Stars wasn't presented with it before tonight's game.

Playoff fever

Fever:

Retiring coach Lin Dunn has her mind on a title, not a final run.

Dunn is feisty, not always G-rated, and comes with a Southern drawl.

Lynx:

The defending champion Lynx open the playoffs in the shadow of the Phoenix Mercury.

What's working, what's not.

Minnesota couldn't ask for anything more from MVP Maya Moore.

She stepped up her game to win this year's MVP award.

Moore has become a lean, scoring machine.

Rebekkah Brunson is happy to be a Lynx for life.

Mercury:

After a record-setting season, Phoenix's mission starts anew.

Preparation marks Sandy Brondello's coaching for the Mercury.

Dream:

....have unfinished business entering the playoffs.

They are in an unfamiliar position at the top.

Mystics:

The young Mystics look to make some noise.

Stars:

....live by the three to take the third seed.

Sparks:

A disappointing Sparks team gets a second chance in the postseason.

Sky:

....are the wild card in the playoffs.

Adversity has prepped them for the postseason.

General playoffs:

Five things to know about the WNBA playoffs.

Here's the transcript from Tuesday's media conference call with coaches, players and ESPN analysts. You can probably guess which questions were mine, that enabled me to write my playoff preview story.

Draft lottery:

....is tonight at halftime of the Fever-Mystics game - 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern.

Non-playoff-related:

Chelsea Gray hopes to make her WNBA debut next spring.

Bill Laimbeer and Cappie Pondexter reflect on a disappointing season for New York.

Maya Moore is 2014 MVP

It's official:

NEW YORK, Aug. 21, 2014 – Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx has been named the 2014 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Samsung, the WNBA announced today. Moore received 371 points (including 35 first-place votes) from a national panel of 38 sportswriters and broadcasters.

2014 WNBA MOST VALUABLE PLAYER PRESENTED BY SAMSUNG VOTING RESULTS

Points Player Team

371 Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
242 Diana Taurasi, Phoenix Mercury
112 Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta Dream
91 Candace Parker, Los Angeles Sparks
67 Brittney Griner, Phoenix Mercury

Wednesday, August 20, 2014