Friday, July 25, 2014

Three-game night

Tonight's results:

The Mystics survived a bad fourth quarter to overcome the Shock, 82-77.

The Sky beat the Stars, 88-78.

The Sky edged the Dream, 79-75.

More WNBA news.....

Mercury:

Shay Murphy is providing a spark off the bench.

Liberty:

Swin Cash and Cappie Pondexter are launching blogs.

Storm:

Outgoing COO Karen Bryant interview, part two.

Lynx:

Lindsay Whalen podcast.

College news:

Central Michgan's new assistant coach is former Michigan State star Kristin Haynie.

High school:

Is Miami High School's Beatrice Mompremier the next Sylvia Fowles?

Mercury star Brittney Griner celebrates Pride night with fans

Brittney Griner celebrated Sparks pride night with fans.

Shoni Schimmel's achievements are inspirational to many

I had a great talk with Shoni Schimmel's parents, Ceci and Rick, after last weekend's All-Star game. Awesome people.

Story.

Last night's games

The Mercury routed the Sparks, 93-73, for their 14th consecutive win. One more victory and they tie the Comets' record for second-longest winning streak.

The Liberty outlasted the Storm in overtime, 84-80, despite a triple-double from veteran Temeka Johnson. "Mighty Mouse" made franchise history.

More WNBA news.....

Lynx:


Minnesota finally has a healthy starting five.

College news:

Indiana coach Curt Miller has abruptly resigned.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WBCA college honor rolls

Tops in Division I:

1. University of Missouri-Kansas City
2. Eastern Washington University
3. University of Northern Colorado
4. St. Francis College
5. Western Illinois University
6. Drake University
7. University of Northern Iowa
8. DePaul University
9. Illinois State University
10. Utah Valley University
11. Florida Gulf Coast University
12. Houston Baptist University
13. American University
14. University of Denver
15. Northern Kentucky University
16. Austin Peay State University
17. Lehigh University
18. Belmont University
19. South Dakota State University
20. Cornell University
21. Arizona State University
22. Colorado State University
23. Yale University
24. Brown University
25. Bowling Green State University

All divisions.

WNBA news.....

Sun:


Alyssa Thomas is adapting to life as a pro.

Storm:

Lineup changes.

Mystics:

Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson are continuing their smooth transition to the WNBA.

Lynx:

Today's practice report.

Liberty edge Sparks 66-64

My game story.

More pictures:


Sparks bench, with Candace Parker on the left and new coaching staff on the right.


Sparks confer during a pause in the game.


Liberty meet at a time out.


Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer doesn't like a call.


Gary Kloppenburg coaches from the sidelines.


Gary Kloppenburg coaches from the sidelines.


Liberty on the fast break.


Alana Beard tries to get around Alex Montgomery.


Tina Charles grabs one of her 15 rebounds.


Nneka Ogwumike looks to pass.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Becky Hammon to retire after this season

Becky Hammon told the Stars last night and the rest of the world today: she's retiring after this season. She leaves a legacy.

The 37-year-old Hammon is a six-time All-Star who ranks seventh in WNBA history in total points (5,756), second in three-point field goals made (817), fourth in assists (1,663), sixth in games played (440) and first in free-throw percentage (89.6 percent, minimum 300 attempts).

"Throughout the years" photo gallery.

Today's results so far:

The Mystics surged past the Sun, 89-75.

In a bit, the Liberty take on the Sparks, to begin the Penny Toler era in Los Angeles.

More WNBA news.....

Stars:


The Stars have signed Astou Ndour, as Heather Butler's seven-day contract expired.

Mystics:

The Mystics are trying to overcome turnover and age issues the second half of the season.

Mercury:

Coach Sandy Brondello's preparation has set the standard for the red hot Mercury.

Sun:

Chillin4Charity part two.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Maya clinic

It took two overtimes, but the Lynx prevailed over the Dream, 112-108. Sounds like an All-Star game, right? It was for Maya Moore, who had a career-high 48 points. That's right: 48.

The Sky finally won one, edging the Fever, 60-57. Sylvia Fowles lead the way with 21 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

The Stars squeaked by the Shock, 95-93.

The Mercury are in the midst of beating the Storm at the moment.

More WNBA news....

Dream:


Q&A with new COO Maureen Brown.

All-Star game MVP Shoni Schimmel's performance Saturday was highlighted on ESPN SportsCenter.

Liberty:

Swin Cash has embraced New York.

Storm:

It's time to get tough.

Sky:

Sylvia Fowles threw out the first pitch at the White Sox game last night.

College news:

Olivia Ogwumike - little sister of Nneka and Chiney - has signed with Pepperdine. She will be a freshman this fall.

The contract of Wichita State coach Jody Adams has been extended through 2019.

Shay Robinson is Maryland's new assistant coach.

UC Santa Barbara has added Matt Schiff as an assistant coach.

Duke's Rebecca Greenwell says excitement is building for the fall.

WNBA, NCAA missing an opportunity

Like the rest of the sports world last week, I watched rapper Drake serenade Skylar Diggins with words on the ESPY Awards show. The significance of the moment was real: one of the biggest entertainers in the business was giving props to one of the faces of the WNBA.

But the incident also highlighted a profound disconnect by both the WNBA and NCAA: not leveraging attention from musical megastars to facilitate the growth of the game.

The ESPYs weren't the first time women's hoops has received love from hip hop artists. Lil Wayne showed up at several Minnesota Lynx games a few years ago wearing a Seimone Augustus jersey, as a tribute to the fellow Louisiana native. Wayne also gave frequent twit-outs to Diggins, at one point calling her his wife. Rapper Common attended a Notre Dame at UCLA game in November, 2012 and waited afterwards to talk to Diggins. He has also attended Los Angeles Sparks games. Ludacris has been spotted at Atlanta Dream games.

In maybe the biggest nod of all, Jay Z signed Diggins to his Roc Nation sports agency last year, after she graduated from college.

All the love is great, but women's basketball needs to make it work for them. Both college and WNBA teams always need more butts in seats, and if there is one group that has more power, influence and money than male sports stars, it's entertainers. It's amazing what you get when you just ask. I suggest the WNBA and NCAA do just that.

Why not start with Jay and have him make appearances at Shock games, to support his protege? I have a feeling the entire city of Tulsa would show up if he had a courtside seat. If he came to Madison Square Garden - in his hometown - regularly to support the Liberty, the team would find itself with a bigger fan base. (This would also indirectly help Jay's client).

If Nicki Minaj can rap about Lisa Leslie, as she did in a song a couple years ago, I'm sure Lil Wayne could be persuaded to drop in a line about Augustus, or another player he appreciates. Jay could also easily finesse in a Skylar Diggins reference as he hits the tour circuit with wife Beyonce.

If Jay Z, Drake, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj started talking about how cool and fun women's basketball is, I bet that would translate into an attendance bump for the sport. We've already seen, countless times, how well music and sport go together. During last week's ESPYs, for example, one of the best skits featured Drake and Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin.

The WNBA and NCAA need to get off their rears and start reaching out to entertainers. It would be a match made in heaven.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to business tomorrow

ESPN's power rankings:

1. Phoenix
2. Minnesota
3. Atlanta
4. Indiana
5. Washington
6. Los Angeles
7. San Antonio
8. New York
9. Connecticut
10. Tulsa
11. Seattle
12. Chicago

Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore were Eastern and Western Conference players of the week.

Games resume tomorrow, with a four-contest line up.

More WNBA news......

Lynx:


Rebekkah Brunson makes her on-court season debut tomorrow.

Today's practice report.

The Lynx are ready to roll after the All-Star game.

Storm:

.....have signed Waltiea Rolle to a seven-day contract.

The story of outgoing COO Karen Bryant, part one.

All-Star interview with Lauren Richie:

The WNBA President answered questions from the media prior to Saturday's game.

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame:

Gail Goestenkors was elected to the WBHOF 2015 class the same day she opted to resign from the LA Sparks as assistant coach, as head coach Carol Ross was let go.

College news:

Tennessee coach Holly Warlick wants the Lady Vols to have a stronger finishing touch.

Good God, UConn's Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis is a senior already? I remember her as a sophomore in high school.

Ebony Wells joins LaSalle from Florida State.