Saturday, July 4, 2015

Boom, boom, boom!

General WNBA:

League president Laurel Richie wants the WNBA to be more in the news.

Shock:

Rookie Amanda Zahui B. had a long, winding road to the pros.

Stars:

Catching up with San Antonio rookie Dearica Hamby, by yours truly.

Sparks:

"I want Candace" aka Candace Parker, will premiere on Nickelodeon Saturday.

USA Basketball:

The Pan American Games team has opened training camp.

U19 member Crystal Dangerfield sets the tone on the court and in the band.

The WUG team is playing Italy right now in the first round of the championship games.

Happy Fourth of July!

The newest trend in college hoops is transferring

Great piece that includes comments by Sun coach Anne Donovan and UConn coach Geno Auriemma:

Transferring is the newest trend in college basketball.

What the heck:

When the upcoming season tips off, there will be 107 players from the American, ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC who have either transferred, left school or been forced to retire due to injury. That isn’t counting All-Americans Jewell Loyd of Notre Dame and Amanda Zahui B. of Minnesota, who each brought about a premature end to their electrifying collegiate careers to become the top two picks in the 2015 WNBA Draft.....

Some of the numbers are staggering. There are 27 players gone from the Big 12, including six from Oklahoma State, four from Kansas State and three each from Baylor, Texas Tech and West Virginia in the last year alone. A total of 23 players in the ACC have left (24 if you count Loyd). Clemson lost its top three returning scorers to Charlotte, Chattanooga and Auburn while eight other ACC programs have lost multiple players via the transfer route.


It may be time for the NCAA to change the rules.

Big time wins

About last night:

The Sparks squeezed past the Shock, 98-95, in a thriller that featured a Kristi Toliver second-half explosion. The Los Angeles guard, in only her third game back from playing overseas, put up 43 points and broke Lisa Leslie's franchise single-game scoring record of 41 points.

I will have more later.......

The Lynx routed the Storm, 82-57. Maya Moore appears to be slump-less now, as she lead the way with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Sky:

Everyone else thinks Elena Delle Donne is a star, except her.

Contemplating rookie stats

The top rookie performers this season don't generally correspond to the 2015 draft board.

1. Dearica Hamby, San Antonio: 10 points, 6.3 rebounds. Draft pick: 6

2. Natalie Achonwa, Indiana: 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds. Draft pick: 9 (2014)

3. Chelsea Gray, Connecticut: 8.8 points, 1.5 rebounds. Draft pick: 11 (2014)

4. Brittany Boyd, New York: 8.2 points, 3.5 rebounds. Draft pick: 9

5. Jewell Loyd, Seattle: 8 points, 3.4 rebounds. Draft pick: 1

6. Ramu Tokashiki, Seattle: 7.3 points, 2.4 rebounds. Draft pick: International player, not drafted

7. Cayla Francis, Phoenix: 6.9 points, 4.7 rebounds. Draft pick: International player, not drafted

8. Marianna Tolo, Los Angeles: 6 points, 3.4 rebounds. Draft pick: International player, not drafted

9. Kiah Stokes, New York: 5.8 points, 6.3 rebounds. Draft pick: 11

10. Cierra Burdick, Atlanta: 5.8 points, 4 rebounds. Draft pick: 14

11. Andrea Hoover, Los Angeles: 5.3 points, 1.5 rebounds. Draft pick: 31

12. Jasmine Lister, Los Angeles: 5 points, 2.3 rebounds. Draft pick: not drafted

13. Erica Wheeler, Atlanta: 4.8 points, 1.3 rebounds. Draft pick: not drafted

14. Amanda Zahui B., Tulsa: 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds. Draft pick: 2

15. Betnijah Laney, Chicago: 4.7 points, 3 rebounds. Draft pick: 17

16. Brianna Kiesel, Tulsa: 4.3 points, .09 rebounds. Draft pick: 13

17. Ally Malott, Washington: 3.6 points, 1.3 rebounds. Draft pick: 8

18. Clarissa Dos Santos, Chicago: 3.5 points, 3.9 rebounds. Draft pick: International player, not drafted

19. Natasha Cloud, Washington: 3.3 points, 2.5 rebounds. Draft pick: 15

20. Alex Harden, Phoenix: 3.1 points, 1.9 rebounds. Draft pick: 18

The next ten spots:

21. Jennifer O'Neill - not drafted

22. Kayla Thornton - not drafted

23. Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis - draft pick 3

24. Elizabeth Williams - draft pick 4

25. Cheyenne Parker - draft pick 5

26. Jennifer Hamson - draft pick 23 (2014)

27. Samantha Logic - draft pick 10

28. Reshanda Gray - draft pick 16

29. Brittany Hrynko - draft pick 19

30. Inga Orekhova - International player, not drafted

Fascinating stuff.

What this seems to say, more than "don't believe player rankings," is that you just never know how a player's game will translate from the college to pro level. It's an unknown.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Another "so much news" day

About last night:

The Mercury drubbed the injured Shock, 86-55.

Nneka Ogwumike lead the Sparks to their first win over the Stars, 86-81, with 27 points. It was Ogwumike's 25th birthday.

Right now it's halftime of the Storm at Lynx game, and later on, the Shock visit the Sparks.

Mystics:

In three quick seasons, coach Mike Thibault has turned the team around.

Storm:

The Storm may rest veteran Sue Bird more frequently.

Lynx:

The frustrations of Minnesota vets Seimone Augustus and Lindsay Whalen last week sparked a turnaround.

Mercury:

Spanish guard Marta Xargay has reported to Phoenix.

WNBA officiating:

It's been a rough first month of league play for WNBA officials.

College news:

Some Illinois parents don't believe the allegations of a group of former players who are suing the University and coach Matt Bollant.

Lia Galdeira will forego her final season at Washington State to turn pro.

Coming off a stellar freshman year, South Carolina's A'ja Wilson looks to improve.

Former Oregon guard Drea Toler has transferred to Cal State Santa Barbara.

Louisiana Tech coach Tyler Summitt will appear on ESPN Sportscenter July 11.

South Carolina assistant coach Nikki McCray-Penson was inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame last night.

Jessica Kern is Furman's new assistant coach.

Courtney Davidson is a new assistant coach at Radford.

Frontiers:

Becky Hammon will coach an NBA summer league this year, and be the first woman to do so.

USA Basketball:

The World University Games team beat Canada in a scrimmage, 68-51.

Games opening ceremony photo gallery.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Big things poppin, episode #212

Shock

It turns out that knee injury in Sunday's game was a torn right ACL for Skylar Diggins, who will miss the rest of the season.

Sun:

Kelsey Bone will be suspended for one game without pay for a flagrant foul she committed in last night's game against Indiana.

Sky:

Elena Delle Donne is flirting with the WNBA's record of 66 consecutive foul shots. She currently has 58.

EDD is having a stand out week.

Mystics:

Stefanie Dolson is learning as she goes, with good results.

Liberty:

New York got a steal in the draft with Kiah Stokes.

Lynx:

Q&A podcast with coach Cheryl Reeve.

General WNBA:

Players in the league have shoe game.

College news:

Seven former Illinois players are suing the University, coach Matt Bollant, former coach Mike Divilbiss, the athletic director and the board of trustees. Among the allegations are that Bollant conducted racially-segregated practices. The plaintiffs seek $10 million.

Shake up at Northern Colorado: assistant coach Shalee Lehning has resigned, assistant coach Deb Patterson will be director of basketball operations, and new assistant coaches are Laurie Koehn and Austin Thoms.

Duquesne coach Dan Burt has received an undisclosed contract extension.

Ranait Griff is a new assistant coach at St. Francis-Brooklyn.

Steve Huber is a new assistant coach at Arkansas State.

Laura Terry is a new assistant coach at Texas State.

Jamie Nash has joined Monmouth as an assistant coach.

Stephanie Geehan is a new assistant coach at Fairfield.

Louisiana-Lafayette's coaching staff is complete.

USA Basketball:

Courtney Williams is proud to represent the US on the World University Games team.

Oregon State's Sydney Wiese and Ruth Hamblin are ready to compete - Wiese for the US and Hamblin for Canada.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top teams fall

Down went the Sun's seven-game winning streak, as the Fever defeated them, 92-84. Tamika Catchings, aka the goat, lead Indiana with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and notched 3,000 career boards in the process.

All five Sun starters were in double figures.

The Storm surged past the Shock, 74-69. Sue Bird was the high-scorer for Seattle with 17 points and Riquna Williams was critical for Tulsa, with 23.

The Shock were without Skylar Diggins, who sprained her knee in Sunday's win and will miss at least four games. Tulsa is now without several starters.

Storm rookie Jewell Loyd at last seems to be getting more confident. She had 13 points in the win, and showcased her athleticism on many plays. I suspect this is just the beginning.

Also.................

The Mercury held off the Stars, 85-78. Brittney Griner lead Phoenix with 23 points in her first home game of the season.

The Liberty bested the Sky, 89-81. Tina Charles had 26 points and 11 rebounds for New York, and Elena Delle Donne put up 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for Chicago.

The Liberty activated Epiphanny Prince prior to the game, but did not play her.

Storm:

Rookie forward Ramu Tokashiki is coming on strong for Seattle.

Shock:

Tulsa is thriving behind the veteran leadership of Plenette Pierson.

Forward Glory Johnson revealed yesterday that is is pregnant with twins.

Mercury:

Phoenix and Brittney Griner are re-adjusting on the fly.

Sun:

Newcomer Jasmine Thomas has been crucial to the team's early-season success.

Lynx:

Q&A with Seimone Augustus.

Players of the week:

Elena Delle Donne for the East, for the third straight week, and Lindsay Whalen for the West.

College news:

Lisa Carlsen is Northern Illinois' new head coach.

Jada Pierce is Niagara's new head coach.

Ball State has extended coach Brady Sallee's contract through 2019-2020.

Sasha Palmer is Wisconsin's new assistant coach.

Troy's new assistant coach is Neil Harrow.

Former Marist Red Foxes Kat Fogarty and Brittni Lai have transferred to New Hampshire.

Jasmine Jackson will return to Georgetown this year for her final season of eligibility.

USA Basketball:

The U19 team has opened training camp. Photos.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Is it game time yet?

Tomorrow's game schedule:

Fever at Sun

Liberty at Sky

Stars at Mercury

Shock at Storm

Shock:

Tulsa has achieved an amazing turnaround this year, and is impacting their home city.

Mercury:

Brittney Griner kept her focus during her suspension with the help of a former Division II player.

Griner says when she steps on the court, nothing else matters.

Sky:

Elena Delle Donne seeks more respect for women's sports.

College news:

Northern Illinois will introduce their new head coach tomorrow.

Niele Ivey has been promoted to associate head coach at Notre Dame.

All their recent transfers prove South Carolina is the place to be.

The Sun also rises

Sun is rising:

Chemistry plus unselfishness plus Ogwumike = Sun success, by yours truly.

Chiney Ogwumike is branching out during her time off the court.

Fever:

Tamika Catchings is one of four finalists for the first Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award. Fever release.

Sparks:

....are still without a win after seven games.

Jasmine Lister is shining for Los Angeles.

Liberty:

Coach Bill Laimbeer is all smiles regarding New York's defense.

College news:

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley backs the removal of the confederate flag for reasons bigger than hoops.

Oregon has added Boston College transfer Kat Cooper.

Former North Carolina guard Jessica Washington has transferred to Kansas.

USA Basketball:

The World University Games team is ready for South Korea.

The U16 team won a bronze medal yesterday.

Lapchick Character Award:

Basketball pioneer Lucille Kyvallos of Queens College has won the Lapchick Character Award.