|You asked for it, so here it is... the Official WNBA.com FAN Blog. "Have You Seen US?" is the place where a select, but diverse, group WNBA fans will be giving their take on all the latest happenings. From game recaps to gossip, these fans are speaking out. Who are Christal and Christia?|
Official WNBA Disclaimer
|The opinions expressed within this Blog, and by the entire WNBA Fan Blog Squad, do not represent the official policies or views of the WNBA, NBA or NBAE. Their opinions are expressly theirs and the"facts" may be inaccurate or merely the interpreted facts of this writer. The posting of this content on WNBA.com neither endorses its veracity nor validates its authenticity.|
1. Envy: Intense jealousy for the enjoyment of non-WNBA sports fans.
2. Gluttony: Excessive consumption of WNBA rerun games, special features and recorded material.
3. Greed: Uncontrollable desire to possess every piece of WNBA-related merchandise.
4. Lust: Strong desire for the WNBA season.
5. Sloth: Inability to be productive due to WNBA Couch Potato Syndrome.
6. Vanity: The need to imitate a WNBA personality; obsession over achieving an image of physical perfection.
7. Wrath: Sudden impulse to resort to anger as a defense mechanism in getting in front of WNBA peers.
Apparently, we weren't only ones paying attention. Back in June 2006, our "Small Wonders" series debuted with a question: What's up with WNBA players rolling up the "sleeves" of their jerseys? We tackled the hard-hitting issues of this annoying habit and received a few responses from fellow WNBA fans. The sleeve-rolling incidents revealed itself as early as 1999, on to 2003 when the league changed uniforms and carried on last season.
Almost a year later, the league introduces new uniforms with "fabric technology that works to regulate the athlete's body temperature by conducting heat and sweat away from the body." That's cool and all but the only thing we noticed was the smaller shoulder width. adidas finally answered our prayers. Dreams do come true. There is no way they can still roll up these babies.
With the 2007 season less than a month away, the excitement for May 19th continues to build up. And with the NBA & NHL playoffs, the MLB season starting up again and the verge of the WNBA's opening games, there's no better part of the year to be a sports fan than in mid-April (except in March when madness trumps any sports hoopla). In the past few months, fans have witnessed women's basketball garner front-page news, both for better and worse. But all that is behind us and the only thing left for women's basketball fans to do is speculate about the upcoming season. Here are our early predictions and expectations for the league's 11th season:
Most Valuable Transaction: Michael Cooper
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Sleeper Rookie(s): Shay Doron and Brandi Hoskins
In between shooting for our school's broadcast shows and watching our Lady Vols capture their 7th national title, we almost forgot this year's draft. But we still couldn't wipe the shock from our faces when Doron and Hoskins were taken much later than we expected. A year ago, both ladies could have been drafted higher, especially Hoskins who was a real steal for the Storm. Doron, on the other hand, will provide solid guard play for the Liberty and give Loree Moore a run for the guard spot.
Our most embarrassing WNBA moment for the past three seasons has been the same: it's the last game of the regular season and the Phoenix Mercury is nowhere to be found in the upper echelon of the standings. This year, we promise they will make it and if they don't…
…Paul Westhead will be fired and fans will have to bid "Paul Ball" goodbye.
With a new team and a new shiny uniform, Ruth Riley will find herself back on the All-Star roster this season. Besides, since LL is out, pretty much every center in the Western Conference has a fighting chance.
Most important opening game:
All eyes will be on the Sacramento versus Detroit late-afternoon match up. The 2006 Finals rematch will answer many questions that have been on fans' minds: What is going to happen to Sac's "white-line defense" without Coach Whisenant? How will Detroit fill the void left by Ruth Riley? Will the TV ratings match last year's Finals ratings? This game will show a lot.
Sanjaya Malakar prediction:
What does Sanjaya have to do with the WNBA? Well, the "Sanjaya Malakar Award" is given to the most intriguing, enigmatic element this season. Much like the American Idol contestant, some things will leave us baffled, yet craving for more. And it's a tie between (1) the new WNBA promotional commercial and (2) players coming back from overseas. Every year, fans wonder what the new catchphrase or theme song will be. It's also a big year for overseas impact. With the qualifying tournament going on this summer and many players competing overseas, it'll be interesting to watch pivotal players missing the first few games and fatigue playing a role by the end of the season.
Everyone is entitled to our opinion. Well, not really, but since it's part of our job to react and blog about the different transactions in the league, we thought we'd share our opinions on this year's draft by covering some of the draft's news tidbits.
Coach Coop to the rescue?
Yes, fans and haters of the Los Angles Sparks, Michael Cooper is back. It's great to see Coop, who led L.A. to two championships back in STAPLES Center, but we find this move controversial. The Sparks' landscape has changed since Coop's departure and it's interesting to see how he will coach a team with no Lisa Leslie or Nikki Teasley. We will also miss Coach Joe Bryant, who is now coaching in Japan's BJ League.
Who got the best picks?
As if Detroit didn't already have enough talent on their roster, they now have Ivory Latta. Detroit's starting lineup, intimidating as it may be, has gotten even more intimidating. If Latta starts for Detroit this season (which she will), Detroit will have the point guard they lacked last year. Let's keep in mind that Detroit is the reigning WNBA champion. Yikes.
Other teams who helped themselves through the draft were the Minnesota Lynx and the Chicago Sky. The Lynx added scoring with the acquisition of Noelle Quinn and traded for versatility with Lindsey Harding. The Sky in our opinion got the price of the draft, literally. Armintie Price is our early vote for Rookie of the Year and with the personality she showed on draft day, why wouldn't she win ROY? The grade analogy with Rebecca Lobo was priceless (pun intended).
Questionable call of the night
New York traded Becky Hammon for San Antonio's Jessica Davenport and a 2008 second round pick. Please tell us that we weren't the only ones shocked by this transaction. Obviously, the move can benefit New York's handicapped roster but we can't imagine the Liberty without Hammon. First Spoon, now Becky? Say it ain't so. In our opinion, San Antonio got the better end of the deal, adding much needed guard play and veteran experience by acquiring Hammon.
Now for the most important part of the draft: Fashion Winners
Best Dressed goes to Tiffany Jackson who wore colors that complemented her skin tone. Also, the trunk belt she wore along with the big pearls were very trendy. The Manolos of the Draft award goes to Lindsey Harding, who was not only the number one pick but was also the number one in shoes with her black strappy stilettos. And finally, Best Suit goes to Cori Chambers who dazzled us with her well-tailored, metallic suit. Somebody watched the 2007 Paris Spring/Summer Fashion Week runway.
Other fashion winners were Ivory Latta with her brown suit, Jessica Davenport with her red and black ensemble and Chrissy Givens with her floral blouse.
Remember us? We used to blog here. It's been a while since we've posted an entry and we apologize to anyone who actually finds time to read our pieces (sorry, grandma). We've been swallowed by journalism school and like most basketball heads, we've been in NCAA hibernation.
But as the 2007 WNBA Draft approaches, a familiar, brewing, topic comes to mind. It's called the "Candace Parker/Sylvia Fowles Sweepstakes" formally known as jumping from school to the pros sans college degree. Since it's probably forbidden to discuss underclassmen as future WNBA players, we won't go into detail about an individual player's possible impact in the league. Instead, we'll weigh the pros and cons of early draft eligibility.
Six years ago, the WNBA drafted its first ever international overall first round pick. Lauren Jackson entered the league as a talented 19-year-old brunette with international experience. Fast forward to present time and LJ now stands as a talented 25-year-old blondie with a league MVP and a WNBA championship. It's pretty safe to say she has done well without a college degree. And the fact is, many current college players are ready to play in the pros like Jackson was in the past. Not only do they get to enter the league in their prime and lose the risk of lowering their stock due to injury, but they can also elevate the league's talent pool at such a young age. And that's only for the college All-Americans. Allowing early eligibility can also open doors for high school athletes who are skilled enough but lack the academic standing to receive Division I scholarships. Obviously, the decision to abandon one's education remains a risky path to success.
Especially when money is a problem. The WNBA doesn't offer lucrative contracts like the NBA. For most female basketball players, they are better off staying in school and earning a degree than be enticed with a hit-or-miss professional career. The WNBA only has 13 teams and roster spots are limited. A player's career longevity is never guaranteed in pro sports. More over, who's willing to pick $50,000 over free education and a promise of a higher salary? A starter on any DI roster doesn't necessarily translate to a WNBA All-Star. But with a degree from a reputable school, she can end up as a doctor or a lawyer.
Yet a player who is dead serious in becoming a WNBA player will enter the league regardless, so why not have the option of declaring for the draft during her best years? Whether in high school or college. The only thing is, she could either end up like Kwame or Kobe.
No. 1: Latasha Byears, The One (?)
Aha! We bet you're shocked it's not Chamique Holdsclaw. After all we've been campaigning for 'Mique in almost every blog entry. But wipe that pretentious, surprised look off your face for just a second because Latasha Byears is the least surprising pick for the number one spot on our list. Do we really need to explain why? It's pretty self-explanatory. And with that we bid the World Wide Web goodbye! This list is dunzo. See you in our next entry. Adios.
Mitchell Layton/NBAE/Getty Images
This is the only Latasha Byears story known to the sports masses. And while it is the most publicized part of her story, it is not the most interesting.
We applaud Byears for two things. First of all, she is Debbie Schlussel's worst nightmare. (Feel free to read this article and send Schlussel a heated response. Just take a look at Byears' old WNBA.com 20 Questions page. She's smiling, proudly showing off her gold tooth and popping her jersey collar. Read down the questionnaire and Byears shows further traces of being a complete Schlussel nightmare. Her favorite non-basketball athlete is Charles Barkley, she picks Jerry Springer over Oprah and she admits she was born with charisma. But take a look at that bling on her right hand. It's a WNBA championship trophy. Even if you hate Latasha Byears, you still can't deny the fact that she was an integral part of the Sparks titles as a fierce rebounder and defensive asset.
Secondly, she's a comeback queen. Byears fought her way back into the league, proving that skills can overcome any scandal. Currently, it seems Tot has found a secure home with the Mystics and looks to finish her WNBA career there. Fortunately for Byears and the WNBA, the league and its supporters believe in second chances. And all she needed was a second look. Much like her career, Byears' 20 Questions page deserves a second glance. Scroll down and you'll find that, sandwiched between her favorite car and her rapping aspirations, Byears says she has a good heart. And we believe her.
No. 2: Diana Taurasi, The Bun
|OTHER FAMOUS TAURASI QUOTES:
"A nap, a beer... I dont know what I need."
"I just felt like hitting something orange."
- After beating Tennessee in a regular season game
"He's an Italian softy. He tries to come off with all this machoism, but he smokes his cigar, drinks a little wine and that's all he is."
- On Geno Auriemma
"UConn best in the country... get over it!"
- When asked about UConn's 70-game winning streak
Click here for source
The Chino native is one of the most successful figures in women's basketball. Though we can dedicate a whole blog entry enumerating her achievements as we have done for other players on this list, we'd rather celebrate Diana Taurasi's other gift. That is, her gift of gab.
Jim Calhoun once said that he shares two things with Taurasi: her passion for basketball and profanity. A notorious trash talker, Taurasi would be the first to admit how good she is. Despite her infamous quote, "I'm not arrogant, I'm just confident," we can't deny a universal truth. Taurasi is arrogant. But we love her for it.
Perhaps the most quotable player in the league, you can't help but be a fan. She's a marketing executive's dream. DT has a charming personality and basketball skills to match. Quotes like, "If there ain't basketball in heaven, then I ain't going," and "The bun is my trademark. Don't think outside the bun," have propelled Taurasi to the No. 2 spot on our list. As Gilbert Arenas would say, her swag is phenomenal.
No. 3: Nykesha Sales, The Franchise
We love No. 3 so much, we decided make a list within a list, just for her.
Nobody gives more interesting anecdotes than this Connecticut-bred star. Whenever the site puts up features, whether it's 20 questions or best teammate memories, Nykesha Sales never fails to amaze and amuse us. After all, we built this list around her. She is the Mona Lisa to our Da Vinci, the Hilary to our Bill Clinton, and the Patrick Dempsey to our Grey's Anatomy. You get the point.
She is the franchise player behind this list and we honor her by enumerating her most unforgettable antics. Here's Sales at her most fascinating moments.
Fabulosity #1: She had a dance-off against MC Hammer but Sales admitted that Hammer possessed all the moves.
Fabulosity #2: Her pregame ritual is a secret.
Fabulosity #3: She wants to design a shoe collection for women with big feet. Perhaps a certain teammate (No. 5 on our list) was the inspiration behind this idea?
Fabulosity #4: Sales grew up a few blocks from NFL star and recent Super Bowler, Dwight Freeney.
Fabulosity #5: Detroit is listed as one of Sales' favorite WNBA cities because according to her, the Motor City has a Dairy Queen on every corner.
Fabulosity #6: You can check your compatibility with Sales on Celebmatch.com.
Fabulosity #7: The worst gift she ever got was a dress she received from her grandmother. Apparently, Sales didn't like wearing dresses at that age.
Fabulosity #8: "Cool Keesh," her now defunct column on WNBA.com, where Sales shared her lack of culinary skills.
Fabulosity #9: She is Geno Auriemma's "precious," AKA the only player Auriemma never yelled at.
Fabulosity #10: She used to have paper curtains.
No. 4: Tamika Whitmore, The Gemini
True to her zodiac sign, the fourth most interesting player in the WNBA has two personalities: Tamika Whitmore on court and Tamika Whitmore off the court. Whitmore has so many antics, they merit their own VH1 "Most Shocking Moments" episode. Here's one of them.
Did you know that Tamika Whitmore meditates for 90 minutes before every game?
We wonder if she meditated before the 2001 Sparks-Liberty mini-brawl against Lisa Leslie. With 3:48 minutes remaining, Leslie was on pace for a fast-break play. Unfortunately for Leslie, Whitmore got there first.
Did you know that Whitmore relaxes by listening to Brian McKnight and writing poetry?
As Leslie prepared to lay the ball in the basket, Whitmore cut Leslie's layup attempt, sending Leslie to the front row. Leslie ended up on photographers' mercy and Whitmore was assessed with a flagrant-2 foul.
Did you know that Whitmore's favorite book is The Bible?
Whitmore's flagrant-2 foul resulted in an automatic ejection. Just before she exited the court, Whitmore waved to the 17,084-fan Madison Square Garden crowd and they responded with a "Beat L.A." chant.
Did you know that Whitmore describes herself as "quiet, nice and kind?"
After the game Whitmore told the New York Daily News, "I was going for the ball. If I were going for her, it would have ended up different. She would have been in the sixth row. I am 215 (pounds), she's a buck five. It was physical. She was gonna fly."
No. 5: Margo Dydek, The Ptys
Halfway through the list of WNBA's unique gems, we present the tallest player to ever play in the league.
Malgorzata Dydek is no joke. Sure, she's yet to dunk in a WNBA game and exceed critics' "tallest" expectations but Margo Dydek is no joke. And we're not only saying that because she's 7-2, though that is a large part of Large Marge's rank in this list.
Think about it, if basketball was meant to be a tall person's game, then Dydek was born to ball. Since birth, she was two feet away from being as tall as a normal eight-year-old. She was 5-11 by her twelfth birthday, the same age that she started playing basketball. Her height practically directed her career path. Isn't that why you (yes, you) expect greatness from her? Because she stands taller than her peers and is half an arm away from the basket?
But Margo didn't follow the larger-than-life predicted career trajectory. She's been stiff and inconsistent. So you ignore her. You put her aside like some leftover pierogies (Dydek's favorite mama recipe), forgetting the meat inside that dumpling. However, whether or not Dydek's career resembles a hall of famer or a 10-day contract player isn't entirely up to you.
Dydek refuses to be WNBA's Shawn Bradley.
She resurrected her career with the Conneticut Sun and the world (meaning, us) discovered her fabulosity. We soon found out that Dydek's personality is far from being stiff. She makes great crepes and hates cheeseburger. Her Polish nickname, ptys, is a French cake that according to her, she "abnormally" consumed as a kid. And she made her first American national television in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. At 7-2, it doesn't any more fascinating than that.
No. 6: Taj McWilliams-Franklin, The Super Momma
Because Taj McWilliams-Franklin managed to record a double-double in last season's Eastern Conference semifinal elimination game despite watching her husband leave for Iraq and dropping off her daughter to college the day before.
Because she married a shorter man.
Because her Las Vegas wedding didn't lead to a divorce five minutes later.
Because she started working out 10 days after she delivered
her second child.
Because she reads ten books every month.
Because she visits trivia websites just in case JEOPARDY! rings her up.
Because she sews her own clothes.
Because she's not ashamed to disclose the story behind her TJ Biscuit nickname, stating: "My father gave it to me when I was younger because I was fat like a biscuit."
Because her last name is hyphenated while her first name consists of three letters.
Because she has traveled to Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Vatican City and Yugoslavia.
Because she is a self-proclaimed Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen of the WNBA.
Because she dropped out from college after a Georgia State coach told her she won't be able to balance athletics, academics and motherhood.
And because she came back a year later to do just that.
No. 7: Kara Lawson, Gifted Child
After a brief interruption, we return to our list of 10 Most Interesting WNBA Players. We arrive at number seven with Kara Lawson.
If we were in high school Kara Lawson will be considered a "dork". But since we find her interesting and fabulous, we call her the gifted child. And gifted she is. At age three, Lawson memorized all U.S. presidents, tattooed the names of all NFL quarterbacks in her mind at age four and entered kindergarten with a fourth grader's reading level.
Growing up, Lawson played football with the boys and led her team in rushing, scoring and interceptions. In high school, Lawson also played soccer, leading her team to the Virginia State Cup Finals. Still, she scored a whopping 1370 on her SATs and excelled on the hard court, earning her first recruiting letter in fifth grade. Even Pat Summitt was impressed with Lawson's brain power.
During Summitt's recruiting visit, Lawson's high school coach inquired about the history behind Tennessee's mascot, Smokey. To which Lawson replied, "Smokey, a native blue tick coonhound, was selected as the result of 1953 Pep Club contest." Lawson went on to impress the Tennessee coach on and off the court. She appeared in three NCAA Final Fours during her four-year career as a Lady Vol and also enrolled in piano lessons in her junior year.
Now, Lawson is a WNBA champion and an All-Star in the making. Despite her tough overachiever exterior, she does have a softer side such as being a Valentine's Day baby and a former ballerina. She continues to impress us with her intellectual muscles as a color analyst for ESPN and as Pat Summitt once said, "If I'm ever on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Kara will be my lifeline."
We are temporarily interrupting the Top 10 Most Interesting Players list to discuss a matter that has been eating us live. E-mail comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We feel cheated. Betrayed. Robbed.
The Charlotte Bobcats' decision to fold the Sting completely blindsided us. Had the Bobcats given a media conference, a sign or any kind of warning, maybe better investors could have presented themselves to buy the Sting. But the move seemed like a transaction made in secrecy. Greg Economou, the Bobcats' chief marketing officer said, "It was driven by economics, certainly not philosophy." Tell us something we don't know.
Everybody knows it's business. We're not labeling the Bobcats as the bad guys but statement that they believe in the women's game and would have been willing to fight for it has been uttered once too many. Right now, it sounds like a bunch of "woulda, coulda, shouldas". Right now, everyone recognizes the cause but no one wants to stand up for it. And in that case, what is the WNBA's fighting chance?
After incessant talks of expansion last season, the league once again witnessed a team fold for the second consecutive year. Instead of moving forward, we have been pushed two steps back. The league appears to be an unwanted puppy in the pound.
On Monday, Jan. 8, a dispersal draft will occur and everyone will move on. But as women's basketball fans, we are nervous to be standing on unstable grounds. We want to see Candace Parker and Courtney Paris's draft class in the WNBA one day. We want to work for the league in the near future. We're just not sure if that would still be an option.
No. 8: Swin Cash, The Astounding Woman
Every week, we are counting down the most interesting players in the league right now. The list started with an Ivy Leaguer, then came the Calorie-aniac, now at number eight is WNBA's own astounding woman.
If there is anyone in the W who doesn't need 300-plus words to describe how interesting she is, it's Swin Cash. However, she did make the list which means you would have to read information you probably already know. To us, Cash is interesting for the success she has achieved on and off the court.
Cash probably doesn't top any basketball experts' "best players list" however, she is one of the most accomplished players in the league. Having won every championship title you can think of, Cash's trophy case is as full as Kevin Federline's alimony pocket. Cash may be surrounded with one of the most talented WNBA rosters but she shines as the team's undisputed leader. The same thing can be said with her unbeatable UCONN squad when Cash was named Final Four MVP amidst her teammates' eclipsing talents. But what else do you expect from a former class president/track star/overachiever?
The best thing about Cash's on court success is how she transcends it to off court victory. Recently, Cash was recognized as one of UCONN's best players during the "Huskies of Honor" induction ceremony. In 2005 she was named "Pittsburgher of the Year" and earned Self Magazine's "Super Strong Women Award". Add that to an array of other accomplishments which includes a guest cameo in the Bring It On: All or Nothing movie, being nominated for the oh-so-coveted ESPN Hottest Female Athlete and launching a Swin Cash clothing line. Yet, Cash always finds time to be involved in countless charities including her own "Cash for Kids" foundation. But perhaps the main reason why Cash ranks eighth in our list is her ability to keep us guessing on her next fashion statement.
No. 9: Kristin Haynie, The Calorie-aniac
Every week, we are counting down the most interesting players in the league right now. Allison Feaster started off the list and now at number nine we have Kristin Haynie.
We dare you to find any article or broadcast segment that doesn't mention Haynie's peculiar eating habits and we guarantee you will lose this bet. It seems as though the most interesting fact about Haynie is her 3,500-4,000 daily calorie intake. Suffering from a large intestine removal at age 11, Haynie endured fatigue throughout her childhood until her sophomore year at Michigan State. Doctors discovered that for Haynie to sustain her energy, she has to consume more meals than a normal person. Though we can understand the hook behind this story, we believe there is more to Kristin Haynie than just being a calorie eating machine and sure enough we've found some trivia.
Coming from a family deeply rooted in Michigan, Haynie has dreamed of playing for the Spartans. At two years old, her grandmother taught her the MSU fight song. Haynie prepared for her Spartan debut by strengthening her left hand. Predominantly right-handed, Haynie was forced to develop her left layup early because her driveway was only cemented on the left side of the hoop. Unfortunately, Coach McCallie wasn't impressed the first time she witnessed Haynie played in an AAU game. It wasn't until Haynie's senior year during an MSU summer camp that Coach McCallie offered her a scholarship. The usually soft spoken Michigan star came out of her shell in 2002 when she dressed up as Alicia Keys for an autograph session with young fans.
Haynie also excelled in softball, track and field and soccer, despite her you-know-what condition. As she becomes the successor to Ticha Penicheiro's reign, we hope more things will be said about Haynie besides her ability to chow down tacos and cheeseburgers. After all, she is number nine on our list.
No. 10: Allison Feaster: The Ivy Leaguer
With five more months before the WNBA season, blogging ideas have been limited. The league has kept a low profile in the off-season so far, leaving us crawling back to our comfort zone: our infatuation with lists. Hence, we present you with the 10 most interesting players in the W right now. Instead of ranking the league's 10 best (which takes a lot more work and perspective), we've decided to rank players that tickle our fancy. There are no particular criteria and the list is not really about publicized controversies or on court achievements. Every week we'll feature one player until we reach number one. Let the countdown begin…
10. Allison Feaster, The Ivy Leaguer
Everybody knows Feaster is associated with Harvard. As a Harvard alum, she shocked many followers by turning down other scholarships and picking a college unknown for its athletics. Though Feaster grew up in a single family income home, it didn't stop the South Carolina native from pursuing a Harvard education. Instead, Feaster balanced academics with two part-time jobs while she turned heads on the basketball court. After graduating from college, Feaster once again shocked the people around her by rejecting big time moolah from Meryll Lynch.
Feaster shoved her financial analyst career on the side and gambled on a very young WNBA league. And for this, we find her fabulously interesting. She's a strong woman who prefers to satisfy her passion rather than her pocket. Whatever faults professional sports has, Feaster is not the one to blame. This woman has her priorities straight. Feaster is a WNBA all-star, a mother and a high school valedictorian. All this while sustaining a long-distance relationship with her high school sweetheart turned husband, Danny Strong. Oh yeah, she also speaks English, Spanish, French and German.
Though it's still early in December, we've outlined a Christmas wish list for all WNBA teams to celebrate the spirit of the holidays. From draft picks to contract extensions, here are some of the things WNBA GMs are asking Santa this year (or so we think):
Charlotte: Here's hoping that being international teammates (Monique Currie and Tasha Butts for Israel, Janel McCarville and Kelly Mazzante for Slovakia) will translate to on-court Sting chemistry.
Chicago: A coach. And a new stadium that holds at least 10,000 fans. Or maybe 10,000 fans who will fill in a 10,000-capacity stadium.
Connecticut: Voodoo, magic potions, hypnotic equipments… anything that will finally give them that WNBA championship.
Detroit: For Tweety Nolan to play every game like it's a win-or-go-home situation.
Houston: To bring 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000 back.
Indiana: For Tamika Catchings to magically clone herself and play all positions.
Los Angeles: To be as good as they appear to be in paper. And for Chamique Holdsclaw to come back for more seasons (oh wait, that's our wish).
Minnesota: For Seimone Augustus to magically clone herself and play all positions.
New York: A true point guard, presence on the frontcourt and for Shameka Christon to start playing more like Sheryl Swoopes.
Phoenix: Ivory Latta and a way to make a 3-guard lineup work.
Sacramento: For players and coaches to stop contemplating retirement.
San Antonio: For Phoenix to sleep on Ivory Latta, so they can draft her.
Seattle: Avoid relocation and Sue Bird.
One of our favorite courses this year is Sociology of Sport. In one of the lectures, our professor posed the question: Who watches women's sports consistently? Surprisingly, three people (us, being the 2 out of 3) raised their hands. These are university students who are so involved in sports they actually paid 500 Canadian dollars to wake up in the morning just to talk about the course material. Yet, so few are avid fans of women's sports. What is it about women's sports that deters other sports fans from watching it? What is about the WNBA that causes a 10,000 attendance discrepancy compared to the NBA?
Surely, longevity and male chauvinism factor to low attendance rates. But for the most part, many sports fans are still caught up with misconceptions. After several message board hopping, we found three common misconceptions: the WNBA is boring, WNBA games have too many turnovers and missed shots, and the players are not athletic enough.
Well, we've had enough (again!). In response, we will attempt to Dr. Phil these concerns as well as suggest ways the WNBA can help its own cause.
First of all, the WNBA is not boring. The definition of boring these day is certainly a subjective one. But it's safe to assume, by boring they mean the WNBA don't have exciting dunks or crossovers or fancy fast break plays. To this we say: WATCH A GAME FOR MORE THAN 5 MINUTES, YO! Yes, this deserves a "yo" because this is probably one of the most ridiculous assumptions. If you watch it, for 6 minutes perhaps, you'll catch Lindsay Whalen contorting her body in impossible ways. Or Seimone Augustus dribbling a sick crossover. Or Diana Taurasi hitting every game-winning shot. If that's not exciting, what is? Besides, there is nothing wrong with being fundamental. This is the highest level of women's basketball. These are world class athletes. You've got to give them more credit than that.
Secondly, yes it's true. The WNBA averages more turnovers than the NBA by 2 points. And yes, the NBA averages 43.84 in field goal percentage while the WNBA averages 42.44. But that's only two more turnovers per game and 1.4 per cent less in field goal percentage, that's bearable. That doesn't constitute calling the W a sloppy league. Also, the WNBA made changes in the 2006 season that speeds up the game. Most people in message boards complained they watched the league in its first season and were unsatisfied. No disrespect to the vets, but the league's talent pool has improved since it's inception. It deserves a second chance.
Lastly, to people who are concerned about athleticism, we have one word for all of you: tweety. As in Deanna Nolan. As in the 2006 finals MVP. As in the most athletic player currently in the WNBA. She's all you need to satisfy your athletic appetite. Then there's Ticha Penicheiro who's been creating magic on court since her Old Dominion days. And if you haven't witnessed Chamique Holdsclaw take a fade away jumper, you're only cheating yourselves.
But like we said, sports fans are not solely responsible for the lack of attention. The WNBA does have shortcomings, mainly, its marketing scheme. We don't want to target anyone because the league's marketing has improved but the W needs to recognize its large, homosexual fan base. We're all for seeing more men in stadiums but it doesn't hurt to acknowledge the diversity of WNBA fans.
As you may have heard, David Stern is on a power trip. First the dress code, then the ball change, then the strict referees and now on-court uniform? The NBA is on extreme makeover mode. Everyone from Stephen A. Smith to Rasheed Wallace to Andres Nocioni have something to say about it. Here's what we have to say: the dress code was acceptable, the new ball is tolerable BUT the two recent additions (refs and on court fashion) may have crossed the line. And it's not just because Allen Iverson is the finest man in the world and should therefore be allowed to do whatever he wants, but because it's too much too soon.
What does this have to do with the WNBA? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! This will NEVER happen in the WNBA any time soon or maybe ever. Changes in the WNBA are far-fetched for several reasons.
The NBA claims these changes are made to promote a middle-class image and bring in revenue. We think they are here to shift attention from the negative publicity NBA players receive. Luckily for Donna Orender, WNBA players don't create that many off-court drama. The WNBA doesn't get enough publicity period. While the W isn't clean from controversy, for every Latasha Byers incident there are 4 Kobe Bryant cases.
Secondly, sex sells. Though we don't support marketing sexuality alongside talent, sex unfortunately, is a part of every female athlete's marketability. Because of this, no one will dare change off-court outfits to suits and ties.
The W is also a new establishment compared to the NBA. The league is far too young for any radical changes. Especially ones that have little to do with the game (i.e. fashion). Lastly, no one in this world have enough guts to tell 6 feet women how they should dress. Not even an uber-powerful, multi-millionaire. Evidently, women still hold an advantage in fashion, even in a world where men are seen as superior. Good to know.
About six months ago, we came across a thread on the ESPN board: The WNBA was looking for fan bloggers. Desperate and suffering from writing withdrawal symptoms, we decided to take a chance. The task was limited to 300 words, every word had to sound so convincing the league and Matt Wurst will have no choice but to pick us.
As you may have read, the site is once again seeking new fan bloggers for the upcoming season. So here goes the most cliché advice ever: BE YOURSELF. And if you're having trouble with that, maybe you can copy and paste the 300 words that got us through the monitor and onto your blogging lives (or perhaps nightmares?):
Hey. We are twins from Toronto and a we're big WNBA fanatics. For one thing, we write to our local cable service provider at least twice a year, thanking them for their WNBA coverage. We're 19 years old and both currently enrolled in the journalism program at Ryerson University. Here are some of the things we feel we can contribute to the Fan Blog Squad:
5. Lists and predictions, from all-WNBA teams to who has the best dress at the ESPYs. We love lists. Isn't it obvious?
4. A vast knowledge of WNBA history, statistical data and related news stories. We search them everyday. We might as well write about them.
3. Immeasurable love for sports and pop culture, which will come in handy for discussing the culture of WNBA basketball. (i.e. In the world of reality TV, which WNBA player would be the ultimate survivor? We say Tamika Catchings. She'll out hustle everyone to the bare necessities.)
2. We're online savvy. We are familiar with Photoshop, html, and animation. We'd love to incorporate graphics with our blog entries.
1. Writing and WNBA basketball are our passions. We wish for nothing more but to be a part of the WNBA community.
We're just aspiring journalists trying to get a break. We feel that it's extra sweet to have the opportunity to begin our writing experience with the same place we eventually want to end up in. We give a different viewers' perspectives, as fans from Toronto. Our writing style is factual, witty, and creative. Think SLAM magazine editor and NBA Blog Squad contributor Lang Whittaker, but feminine with less journalistic experience.
Please check out our blogs to get a feel of our writing style. They're WNBA-infested.
Christal & Christia Gardiola
That was our application, raw and unedited. If you noticed, there were a couple of errors. Of course copying it will be considered plagiarism but hey, do what you got to do. We won't tell. Actually, yes we would. Good luck to all applicants! You can e-mail us at email@example.com
There's a growing trend in the WNBA. We call it the Trudi Lacey move. And the latest victim is John Whisenant. Coach-maybe we shouldn't call him coach anymore-GM Whiz resigned as Sacramento's head coach but, he remains in the head office as Monarchs' G.M.
Quite frankly, we're baffled. The Monarchs made it to the Finals last season and were the World Champions the year before that. Whisenant and the Monarchs have a good thing going, why resign? Nancy Lieberman said the coaching job has been stressful for Whisenant, especially last season when he dealt with his mother's death. Whatever it is, Whisenant will be hard to replace. Unless Yolanda Griffith likes being called coach.
Phoenix gets the number one pick. That's right, the team with Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter will get to pick first in this year's Draft. If you feel cheated, just think how Chicago feels.
However exciting this news is for Phoenix, they still have a dilemma to deal with. Do they pick the best player (Ivory Latta) or a player who will fulfill their needs? Or do they trade the pick for a veteran player to add to their young team? It's a tricky one.
We chose 1998 because it was the good ole days…at least it was for us. Titanic ruled the box office, Celine Dion owned the charts and some of our favorite WNBA players were making news.
January 18 The Advocate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) reports 6'1 eighth-grader Seimone Augustus missed two consecutive dunk attempts.
February 26 The New York Times cites Sue Bird was at hand during the Connecticut-Villanova game to watch Nykesha Sales break UConn's scoring record. "It broke my heart when I heard about her injury,"' said Bird. "She's such a nice person. I thought it was great they let her break the record."
March 31 Knoxville News-Sentinel reveals that Chamique Holdsclaw will grace the cover of Sports Illustrated after leading Tennessee to a perfect 39-0 season. And Lindsay Whalen was still a sprinter, according to Saint Paul Pioneer Press (Minnesota).
May 7 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Sheryl Swoopes will be one of the judges for an ABC show featuring Tara Lipinski skating to rock and roll music against other top skaters.
June 10 Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio) reports Allison Feaster and Murriel Page as the "two rookies to watch" for the WNBA's second season.
June 28 According to Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Swin Cash led her high school basketball team to a city championship and won the 100-hurdle race.
September 4 The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) reports that during the R. Williams Jones Cup in Taiwan, Tamika Whitmore "lived off 'beef jerky, water and creatine' and hustled to an airport Burger King when the team landed in San Francisco."
5 The Advertiser labels 18-year-old Lauren Jackson as "Michael Jordan
of women's basketball". According to Australian national team coach Tom Maher, "God sent her to play basketball."
November 12 The Seattle Times reports Lisa Leslie was named USA's Basketball Athlete of the Year for helping USA win the gold medal (remember when USA used to win gold medals?) in the world championships.
December 1 Press Enterprise interviews Moreno Valley High school women's basketball coach Janet Sturges after a blowout win against Diana Taurasi's team despite a 30-point effort from DT. "She had 14 at halftime. Thirty points is low for her," said Sturges. Apparently, even back in '98, 30 points was still low for DT.
Show of hands (or keyboard hits) who misses the WNBA? If you're checking wnba.com during off season chances are you miss it, and we understand because we miss the W too. Raptors NBATV misses the WNBA so much they're showing reruns of this year's playoffs. So as a tribute to "Where's Waldo?", we searched and found some interesting whereabouts of our beloved players and coaches.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin found time out of her busy schedule to stop by a Moscow hospital and spend some time with the Clippers and the kids. Speaking of kids, Deanna Nolan went back to elementary school, former WNBA player Jen Rizzotti did well in a spelling bee and Tamika Catchings reads to achieve.
On behalf of Stacy Dales, Tammy Sutton-Brown, Kim Smith, Shona Thorburn and all Canucks, we wish everyone a Happy Canadian Turkey Day!
It's the aftermath. Following team USA's Sept. 21st loss to Russia, the Americans settled for the bronze medal. Now USA must qualify for an Olympic spot. But the biggest question remains: What went wrong?
Certainly, our credentials come up short to Ann Donovan's, so there will be no discussion of X's and O's. But several theories have been formed. And it's not really about the things that went wrong but more of how it could have been avoided.
The easiest answer would be Lisa Leslie. Maybe LL would have made all the difference in the world (pun intended). Her experience and post defense would have been more than useful during the semifinals. Though the USA team was nothing short of post talent (ahem, especially Candace Parker), having Lisa Leslie on anyone's side is yet to be proven as a disadvantage.
"Do you think they need to center their offense around one person?"
Rick Kamla's question received a resounding no from Kym Hampton. The women's team offense portrayed what the men's team have been criticized for: team work. But behind the Fantasy Hoops host's question possibly lies a genius. After all Australia had several top-caliber players but Lauren Jackson got the lion's share of their offense. And they ended up with the World Championships gold.
Or maybe, just maybe, USA needs to panic. Despite assembling one of its most athletic and talented squads, the U.S. of A still came up short of the gold goal. Could it be back to the drawing board? Should USA start from scratch? Panic maybe the overstatement of the year but whatever USA's formula of success was, it ain't working anymore.
Let us know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's a story about twins suffering from separation anxiety. It all began on September 12th with the Shock's championship parade, their last glimpse of the 2006 WNBA season. Left with no sign of basketball, the twins struggled with the pressure of blogging. Until recently, a ray of hope manifested itself with the FIBA World's Championships. Da-da-dan-dan….
Chapter Only Child:
Candace. Freaking. Parker.
The twins first met Parker in 2002 in the pages of SLAM magazine when Parker was only a brace faced, high school sophomore. And now despite being the youngest player on the roster, Parker continues to amaze viewers. The twins think the world will soon fall in love with Parker's game, if they haven't already. Maybe she's born with it or maybe its Lady Vol. The twins then wonder, will Candace Parker be women's basketball's Maria Sharapova?
Twins: Canadian-Filipino American Patriots
Inside the twins hearts lie a scandalous secret. Advocating Toronto basketball but now cheering for the United States, the twins live in hypocrisy. Perhaps it's the WNBA players that has influenced the twins' betrayal but they are not hiding it anymore! USA! USA!
Triplets: Quotable quote
Adia Barnes referring to USA women's team, "They're lucky they don't have to wear the Australian body suits. That can be scary." Indeed.
Chapter Quadruplets: Scrunchie?
The twins wish they could spin this chapter to its own Small Wonder volume but they just can't wait any longer. This situation must be addressed. The scrunchie appearances in the World Championships have been overwhelming. Last time the twins checked, that trend went out of style in 1998.
As their journey of redemption continues through the broadcast of the FIBA World Championships, the twins experienced a non-basketball fallback: Whitney and Bobby are getting divorced. If their love can't make it, what can? And with that, the world rests, unhappily ever after.
This is us, chickening out. Because this finals match-up is so unpredictable, we cower to the challenge of predicting a champion. Game 5 could belong to either Sacramento or Detroit. The only way to choose between the two is through bias, gut-feeling or a deep, lengthy analysis of each team's strengths and weakness. We don't find those options appealing. So instead, we'll keep our opinions to ourselves and let the statistics name the 2006 WNBA champions based on history. Try not to fall asleep.
Stat: 8 out of 9 teams with home court advantage won the
If we go by this statistic, the Shock is paced to win the coveted price. However, there is an exception and unfortunately for Detroit, they are facing the exception. Sacramento won the championship in 2005, even though Connecticut had home court advantage.
Stat: 6 out
9 Game 1 winners eventually won the championship:
The odds are in favor of Sactown but again, there is an exception. In 2003, Detroit won the championship despite losing game 1 to the Sparks.
In all 4 tied
series, the team with the home court advantage won the elimination game:
Houston in 1998 and 1999, Seattle in 2004 and Sacramento in 2005, what do these championship teams have in common? When the series went to a deciding game, their home court advantage paid off. Though game 5 won't be played at the Palace, technically Detroit still has home court.
In 3 out of 4 tied series
the game 2 winner ended up winning the championship:
This is the first time the WNBA championship stretched out to a five-game series, so this statistic does not directly apply. But based on it, Sacramento has a chance of winning.
Teams that won back to back championships always had home
It is always harder to repeat. But if the Monarchs will become the 3rd team in WNBA history to be back-to-back champions, the numbers say they need their home court and those cowbells. Unfortunately, this something Sacramento does not have.
All WNBA finals winners
won the championship on their home court:
Another blow to the Monarchs on home court scenario. No team in WNBA history has won a championship on the road. Again, the game won't be played at the Palace but it will be in Detroit.
In 5 non-sweep match-ups, 4 out of 5 teams won the last two games
to win the series:
Looks like winning game four at Arco could pay dividends for the Shock.
There you have it. The tally is six to three. Based on WNBA's finals history, Detroit is poised on winning its second championship. Looks like Bill Laimbeer will finally say something nice during the post-game conference.
Originally, we wanted to write a Finals preview. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and before you know it, Game 1 is in the books. Besides, other bloggers covered it to perfection. So instead, we give you our 2006 Finals wish list.
…that the series will finish in four games so the Shock wouldn't have to give up their home court for a Mariah Carey concert
…but also, we wish the series would stretch to five games and Detroit can play in the Palace
…both teams would minimize their turnovers
…Cheryl Ford's mom would get more credit for her daughter's success
…a 30-point performance from Deanna Nolan
…one game-winning shot from Nicole Powell a la last year in the conference finals versus the Comets
…that if the Monarchs go all the way, Ticha Penicheiro wins finals MVP
…that the finals MVP trophy is bigger
…a championship for Katie Smith
…Swin Cash stays alive in the playoffs and moves on with the little altercation with Bill Laimbeer
…Bill Laimbeer and Kara Lawson stay miked-up
…Hamchétou Maïga-Ba would score more giving us more reason to hear her name
…more WNBA players would show up as spectators
…we can watch the game live at Detroit just so we can yell "Detroit basketball!"
…whoever wins the championship will get a well-deserved publicity
…one double overtime, gut wrenching, nail-biting. "win or go home" type of game
…or make that two games.
Tonight the WNBA Conference Finals officially begins. Four teams will battle to win the WNBA championship. But before we focus on the future, let's look back on how the first round of the 2006 playoffs turned out. Here are the highs and lows from our perspectives:
- The Sacramento Monarchs have been the most impressive thus far. Winning by an average of 21.5 points, the Monarchs swept the Comets without any difficulty. The Monarchs look poised to make another run to the finals.
- Sparks vs. Storm, the only match up to stretch to three games. By far the best series in the first round, in terms of competitiveness. During the two Sparks wins, Los Angeles won by a total of 13 points. And the best part is, Sparks advanced baby!
- Luther Head, Tracy McGrady, Moochie Norris, Nick Collison, Robert Swift, Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, and the Billups clan all showed support for the WNBA. Nothing better than the "big brother" showing the women's game some love.
- As previously mentioned, only one match up stretched to three games in the first round. Three out four series were sweeps, an indication on how dominant other teams were. As fans, we were craving for overtimes and game winning shots.
- The most heart breaking realization in the first round is that Dawn Staley will retire without a WNBA championship. Even though her legacy will stay intact, it would have been nice to see Staley go out on top.
- What an injury prone series! From Sue Bird's nose to Chamique and Katie's feet, players have suffered valuable playing time due to injuries. The worst part is, the Sun and Sparks are still in contention with their respective star players hurt.
- As fans, we have to bid farewell to the Mystics. They've fought hard throughout the series but now it's time to say goodbye.
- This moment was so ugly, it was oogly. Nikki Teasley threw the ball over her head two minutes after the whistle blew, and it was called for an and-one. We're Mystics fans, but we say this is just bad officiating.
- When Sheryl Swoopes was held to 10 points in game one and 12 points in game two, Houston we've got a problem. It was surprising to witness the Comets play helplessly against the Monarchs. The Comets biggest lead in the series was one point. Yikes.
- Catchings, Catchings dove for the ball. Catchings, Catchings had a great fall. In all seriousness, that one looked like it really hurt. Catch is a warrior for coming back in the game and we hope it's nothing serious.
The WNBA should have a team in Toronto. This year the league added another franchise in Chicago and since then, there has been incessant talk about future expansion teams. During the All-Star game press conference, we listened to the media throw cities like Brooklyn and Philadelphia as future prospects. As fans and bloggers, we are proposing our great city as another option to Ms. Donna Orender. This proposal isn't quite as polished as a business proposal but it's more than a casual suggestion. We've dedicated a month of research and interviews for this piece and we can only hope it would be an offer the WNBA can't refuse.
Canada is economically a first world country. However when it comes to basketball, much less women's basketball, Canada is a developing country. It's no secret that in Toronto, hockey reigns queen. Recently we attended a charity basketball game which featured some of Canada's best collegiate players, hosted by former NCAA dunk champion, Gary Durrant. In between the games, Durrant mentioned he had difficulty finding enough female players and had to settle for one on each team. Sam Moncada, president of Scarborough Basketball Association (SBA) shared the same concern.
"We just can't get enough girls to come out," Moncada said, "Getting girls excited at an early age is difficult. A lot of parents when kids are 5-6 years old they're involved in so many activities. Basketball is not a main thing."
But as a country we are improving. Fan interest for basketball is vastly increasing in our city. Consider this: we have a total of 518 athletes participating in interuniversity women's basketball last season with 186 of those players from Ontario. These statistics are impressive, considering it doesn't include colleges and high schools. In terms of media coverage, Toronto has a basketball magazine, Ballerz Basketball Magazine and Raptors NBATV. In 2006, Raptors NBATV broadcasted 10 NCAA games and 46 WNBA games, excluding playoffs.
As of right now, we have an online petition going where people have voiced out opinions about a professional summer basketball league. Ballerz's editor-in-chief Edilson Silva said that as media he is willing to do his part to make Toronto a basketball city.
"Anybody associated with basketball, we want to see basketball flourish in both genders. We need to combine our heads and collectively push basketball in this country."
In all honesty, it isn't so much as the WNBA needing Toronto. But Toronto needing the WNBA. Moncada said a WNBA team would give women's basketball visibility but more importantly it would give young girls role models. Isn't that what the WNBA is all about? Silva agrees with Moncada's sentiments.
"The thing with Toronto is we have a lot of youths playing, they look up to role models. From what I understand, there are role models (in the WNBA) but there are no staples like a Michael Jordan or a LeBron James that everybody just loves. It will provide kids with another opportunity to have a dream and uplift the basketball scene."
We have Canadian players in the WNBA but their names are not as recognizable as Steve Nash or Jamal Magloire. And we attribute this to the lack of visibility. Presently, the biggest outlet we have for basketball are the Toronto Raptors.
The Raptors, has done significantly well in attendance, ranked 17th in '05-'06, despite missing the playoffs for the past few seasons. Fans have embraced basketball in Toronto because of the Raptors. We believe that a women's team has chance of garnering the same support. Obviously, right management and sponsorship is key. Though we have not spoken to any owners or potential sponsors, we have come up with a three year plan, just in case you didn't take our word for it.
The most reasonable ownership to consider are the Raptors since 11 out of 14 WNBA teams are NBA owned. Now here comes the math. The difference of attendance between NBA teams and their respective WNBA counterparts is over 9,000. During the first three years of the 11 WNBA teams, the attendance average was 9,546. During the Raptors' first three years, the team average an attendance of 19,305. The difference between the Raptors' first-three-years attendance and the 11 teams' first-three-years attendance is similar to the difference between NBA-WNBA attendance this regular season. For short, based on these stats it's attainable for the Raptors to sustain a WNBA team under a three-year deal.
Lastly, we think it's about time the WNBA expands internationally. And what better place than Toronto? We live in a beautiful city that prides itself in diversity and multiculturalism. We have a gorgeous arena, Air Canada Centre, that holds 19,800 people during basketball games. And the distance is ideal for road games. Though we cannot guarantee a packed arena every night or a profitable expansion market, we can guarantee that if the WNBA builds a team in Toronto, there would be at least be two people there who love the game purely sitting courtside every single game.
Title: Small Wonders Part IV
It doesn't makes sense. It just doesn't. Of all places, why would they put it there? There has to be another way. Can't the league put pockets in those shorts, like those cheap basketball shorts you find at Wal-Mart? The league should have considered this when they were changing the uniforms. But then again, how can we blame the league for this?
It's barely noticeable. Unless you're the type of person that pays so much attention to detail. Unless you watch the WNBA for more than the games and the players, there's no way you could see it. In fact if you're a first-time WNBA spectator, you might consider it normal. But after a while you'll notice that not everybody does it, only a few chosen ones. That's what happened to us.
We've been fans for a quite a while now, not that long but long enough. So when a game results to a 20-point blowout and the score for both teams is below 60 in the fourth quarter but the telecast stays on during those 20-second timeouts, our eyes tend to wander. And theories begin to form.
Maybe they put it there because it's impossible to forget, kind of like a safety deposit box. How can you possibly forget it when it's there? Or maybe it's pure superstition. Although of all alleged sports superstitions, this has to be the weirdest one… yet. Or, and we really hate to bring this up again, could it be an obsessive-compulsive behavior?
Nah, it's probably not a big deal. If you think about it, aside from the ick factor, it's really just an alternative to tucking it in your headband. Besides they wash it during halftime, don't they? Surely they can take 30 seconds out of the halftime break to wash it. Maybe they even replace it during halftime. But why would they keep it there? Why not just throw it away?
Mind you, we're not judging. Aside from the brain damage and the countless, sleepless nights, it really hasn't affected anyone else. It's not game-changing. It's not career-ending. It wouldn't change our high perception of the league or its players. And it's nothing compared to the over the top celebratory touchdown dances or any sports scandal for that matter.
But must players like Chasity Melvin and Barbara Farris put their mouthpieces in their sports bras?
p.s. You can send us your thoughts at email@example.com. Also, belated Happy Birthday Mique!
There are two things we can't get enough of: the WNBA Western conference playoff race and CBS's Big Brother All-Stars. To those who are not familiar with the show, BB is a game of power struggle and alliances. The players in power are the Head of Household and it's alliances. Every week the HOH nominates two people for eviction. However, the two nominees have a chance to take themselves off the chopping block by winning the golden Power of Veto. If a nominee is taken off the block, the HOH must replace it with another player. The beauty of this game is that the power can shift every week much like the Western conference. Those are the basic rules of Big Brother.
Now if you're not familiar with the WNBA, what the heck are you doing reading this blog? You're own your own.
Using Big Brother terms and conditions, we will attempt to paint a playoff picture. Since the East have clinched all playoff berths, we will sorely concentrate on the West.
of Household: Los Angeles Sparks
The Sparks have been steamrolling in the West with a 13-4 conference record thanks to Lisa Leslie's MVP numbers and the eye-popping, so stunning "We-can't-believe-it!"-"Will-you-be-our-MySpace friend?" unbelievable bench play of Chamique Holdsclaw. Being the only team to clinch a playoff spot, the Sparks' only trouble is to gain the overall number one record for a Finals home court advantage. With three games remaining against Western conference opponents, LA has a chance to eliminate unwanted playoff contenders.
for Eviction: Seattle Storm and San Antonio Silver Stars
Both in the bubble and fighting for the final playoff spot, these two teams are nominated because they have a .500 or better road record. Seattle has three remaining games on the road, including one in San Antonio. And to put it subtly, the Silver Stars are horrible at home with a 5-9 record.
San Antonio also has three remaining road games, two of which have very good home stands (Indiana, 10-3 and Washington, 11-4). But perhaps the Silver Starzz's biggest hurdle is the fact that the Comets possess the Power of Veto.
Power of Veto: Houston Comets
Though Houston is only a game above Seattle, the Comets hold the tie-breaker against the Storm but not against the Silver Starzz. Houston also has the most favorable schedule facing three teams with a sub .500 record on the road and two teams with winning records at home. We think Houston's schedule will secure them a playoff spot before their Aug. 12th battle against Seattle. If the Comets do clinch a spot before the Aug. 12th game, they are likely to use the Power of Veto and throw the game or rest their players against Seattle because of the tie-breaker scenario. However, if Houston and Seattle have similar records leading up to Aug. 12th, the Power of Veto will not be used.
In either scenario we don't see San Antonio squeezing in for the final Western conference playoff spot. Sorry Silver Starzz, but Julie Chen is waiting for you outside the WNBA Big Brother house.
*The oldest excuse in sports journalism is "We're on a deadline." If all predictions come through, we're geniuses. But if and when they fall apart, we're on a deadline, okay? E-mail us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.*
There is a thread going on a Candace Parker forum entitled "Thing You Won't See". It's a collection of ideas members think you will never find in the WNBA. One member brought up that we will never see Sue Bird or the Miller twins in long socks, Diana Taurasi dunking, and maybe the Oklahoma Storm. Another member pointed out that we will never see Taurasi with a loose bun. Although all these things seem improbable, there is one thing in the WNBA that we have never or will ever see in our lifetime. And remember we're only 19.
Lisa Leslie will never wear long basketball game shorts.
The day will never come when Lisa Leslie enters a game with shorts longer than three inches above the knee, a measurement we're very familiar with as Catholic school girls. However, unlike Catholic school girls, Leslie doesn't roll her shorts from the top. She carefully inserts it inside her under shorts, creating a ripple on both sides. And can we just say, this is fabulous!
It's feminine. It's stylish. It's signature Lisa Leslie. We have no idea what the reason is behind this, but just like any other Small Wonders entry, we have come up with some theories.
Theory 1: She grew up in an era were basketball shorts were unreasonably short. As Leslie became older, she got used to wearing short shorts and just never kicked out the habit.
Theory 2: Maybe she's making a semi-political stand. Female athletes have to live with a stigma that others perceive them as boyish. Maybe she wants to prove that female basketball players can be feminine off and on the court.
Theory 3: This may sound familiar. Just like the rolling of the jerseys and LJ's halftime hairdo change, this maybe a case of an obsessive-compulsive behavior (take it in good humor…no lawsuits please).
And so the search begins. We've scoured over 50 pages of images in Google and Altavista and have failed miserably. We have no way of contacting momma Leslie so instead we're passing the responsibility to you (yes, you!). Will someody please step forward with a picture of Lisa Leslie in long basketball game shorts? Because we have a feeling John Stockon will wear long shorts before Lisa Leslie does.
Reach us at email@example.com.
If we could walk around the mean streets of New York, if we could climb Seattle's Space Needle, if only we could plant a giant placard on top of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, we would. Lucky for us, we have the WNBA fan blog squad to plead a request.
"Can't you see/ There's a strength that's come over me/ Close my eyes…"
In 2002, the same year the WNBA got us hooked, the league commemorated Title IX with a "This Is Who I Am Campaign". The campaign included a show called Player's Journal. Hosted by actress Holly Hunter, Player's Journal told stories of WNBA athletes such as Sherly Swoopes, Chamique Holdsclaw, Dawn Staley, Nykesha Sales and Lisa Leslie. The half-hour show was originally broadcasted in Lifetime Network and eventually made reruns on NBATV.
This is where we come in. If it wasn't for Player's Journal we would have never known Dawn Staley's dedication to the city of Philadelphia, Jackie Stiles' relationship with her younger sister or the story behind Tina Thompson's lipstick. Player's Journal captured every player's story and brought us closer to loving the WNBA. For this reason alone, we say, please bring it back!
"…the beauty and desire/ The passion for this game, it takes me high.."
New players have entered the league and elevated the game to another level (ahem Augustus and Pondexter) and we think they should get an outlet to tell their stories. The same way Taurasi and Beard got their shine on in 2004 with the resurrection of an updated Player's Journal.
For us, this is what separates the WNBA from other professional leagues. Only in the WNBA will you find a show created by the league itself, that gives attention to who players are. Other leagues compressed athletes' off-court lives to five-minute halftime specials and then leave them to compete for a spot in Beyond the Glory.
What the Player's Journal brought was a sense of community. For new women's basketball fans, it draws them to the players. And for the veteran fans, it gives a nostalgic memory of how long our favorite players have come.
So for the second time, we beg the WNBA to bring it back. And if only we could walk around the mean streets of New York, if we could climb Seattle's Space Needle, if we could plant a giant placard on top of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, we would. Lucky for us, we have the WNBA fan blog squad and this banner.
WNBA comrades, women's basketball junkies and Michelle Branch fans everywhere, we are calling out to you. If you're a member of any message board, put this banner in your signature. If you have a website or a MySpace profile, represent with this homemade banner. Let us start an online revolution! Viva Player's Journal!
Good morning, good afternoon and good night! Welcome to the first ever 2006 WNBA All-Star Fan Blog Awards AKA WAFBA (read as waf-ba). Today we commemorate and recognize the festivities of the WNBA All-Star week by giving out 12 awards. Each award is named after a well-deserved person, company or title. Congratulations to all the winners as well as the nominees.
And the award goes to…
Bridesmaid Award: given to the best player that didn't win the MVP award
Nominees: Seimone Augustus, Lindsay Whalen, Michelle Snow
Winner(s): Lindsay Whalen
We can't give it to a player on a losing team. Besides, Whalen filled the Wednesday stat sheet with 10 points, six assists, five rebounds, two steals and countless drives to the basket.
The Ooh-Aah Award: given to the best executed
play of the game
Nominees: Deanna Nolan's bounce pass to Candice Dupree, Michelle Snow's 180 degree dunk, Cappie Pondexter's behind the back pass to Seimone Augustus.
Winner(s): Cappie Pondexter and Seimone Augustus
There were several eye-popping passes but this rookie connection takes the cake.
The Warm-up Award: given
to the pre-game moment that best hyped up the all-star game
Nominees: Tamika Whitmore's East win guarantee, President Donna Orender's press conference, Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes trash talking on NBATV
Winner(s): Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes
Three reasons: It was a classic moment from two WNBA divas, the exact opposite of what they said happened during the game and Gail Marquis' face.
The ESPN Microphone Award: given to the participant with the
best "miked-up" personality
Nominees: Coach Mike Thibault, Dawn Staley, Lisa Leslie
Winner(s): Mike Thibault
Because we think he's the only one who cursed.
The Diana Taurasi Award: a tribute to Taurasi, this award
is given to the personality with the best "miked-up" comment
Nominees: Mike Thibault vs. Lisa Mattingly and the referees, Lisa Leslie vs. the wet ball ("Can I get two shots again?"), Dawn Staley vs. the post players
Winner(s): Dawn Staley
It's funny when Dawn pointed out the reason why you shouldn't pass to the big players and we'll surely miss such comments from her.
Ball girl Award: given to the best sideline game interview
Nominees: Coach Whisenant calling LL "a pain in his rear" for the past three years, Rebecca Lobo and Teresa Weatherspoon's new hairdo, Cythia Cooper's interview with Heather Cox
Winner(s): Rebecca Lobo and Teresa Weatherspoon
We got so distracted with T-Spoon's hair, we didn't get a chance to listen on what they were talking about.
The Mystics Mayhem Award: given to the cutest moment in the
Nominees: Katie Douglas and her husband, Candice Dupree defending Dawn Staley while Staley playfully elbows her
Winner(s): Dawn Staley and Candice Dupree
It's too cute that as the student tries to guard her mentor, Staley still had a few (dirty) veteran tricks.
The Small Wonder Award: given
to biggest questionable moment of the game
Nominees: Diana Taurasi's shyness (?), MVP award trophy size, Lisa Leslie's refusal to entire the game again in late second half
Winner(s): Diana Taurasi
We're not try to mock or take it lightly. DT didn't seem like her usual enthusiastic self Wednesday night and it made us a bit concerned.
The Swin Cash Award: a tribute to Cash
(who's fashion style was deeply missed), this award is given to the player with
the best off-court fashion
Nominees: Nykesha Sales, Lisa Leslie, Alana Beard
Winner(s): Lisa Leslie
Leslie looked like a million bucks and a woman who has court named after her. Oh wait, she does.
The Doris Burke Award: exclusively
given to Doris Burke, this award is presented to the most memorable Doris Burke
Nominees: the absence of "you can't check that", "that's pretty stuff", "folks"
Winner: the absence of "you can't check that"
We expected Doris Burke to say this multiple times, and we were very disappointed.
The Joan Jett Award: given to the best celebrity
supporter present at the all-star game
Nominees: Ben Gordon, Jerome Williams, Nate "Tiny" Archibald and Michelle Williams
Winner: Michelle Williams
Her team is not doing too hot, but that didn't stop the Destiny's Child singer to rock a Chicago Sky Jersey.
The WAFBA Award: given to the person who
best represented the WNBA All-Star
Nominees: Donna Orender, Vonage, East All-Star team
Winner: Donna Orender
The East team was a close call, with their historic first win against the West but we're sucking up to Ms. President, so what?
Verified Investigator’s Cold Case Report
Report made by:
Various WNBA teams
Synopsis of facts:
25-year-old Lauren Jackson was seen changing her hairdo from a ponytail to a braid in multiple WNBA games.
Photo: Otto Greule Jr /NBAE/Getty Images
Photo: Otto Greule Jr /NBAE/Getty Images
Lauren Jackson is a member of the Seattle Storm since 2001.
Upon further investigation and several more hairdo change occurrences, detectives have found this behavior to be rather peculiar. It is suspected that the hair-braiding incidents are more than just an innocent conduct and
Sue Bird, Betty Lennox and longtime accomplice Suzy Batkovic are suspected to be involved in hair-braiding incidents. They are assumed as either braiders or hair tie providers. Other multiple sources as hair tie providers are also being investigated such as Jackson and the Storm locker room staff.
Though there is lack of evidence, it is suspected that hair ties are smuggled from
The Storm’s record during the hair-braiding incidents is untraced. However, it has been observed that
Investigators have concocted a couple of theories behind the halftime hairdo change.
Unsolved file. Punitive charges unknown. If you know anything about this case please contact the investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cgardiola & ChristiaGDetectives Christal Gardiola and Christia Gardiola
Lately, we've been glued more to our monitor than our television screen. Thanks to the WNBA Broadband Season Pass AKA webcast.
http://www.wnba.com/broadband/wnba_league_pass.jsp) After endlessly hearing about it through online forums lurking, we finally decided to look it up. A jiffy we refer to as an "Alleluia!" moment. Although it's still better to watch games on TV or in person, we've come up with five reasons why the webcast has been the best thing since Tot Byears gave a shout out to her friends on national TV. You know, Juju and them? Anyway, here are the top five reasons:
1. Accessibility: All you need is an Internet connection
and you're all set. You can access the webcast at home, on your laptop or in a
2. Affordability: It's FREE!!! Enough said.
3. The "LIVE" Factor: This is where it gets sentimental. Some fans are able to watch games live on TV. We (and probably other countries as well) get delayed game coverage. The webcast is our only source for live WNBA action.
4. Variety: As said on the official site: "WNBA Broadband Season Pass is carrying over 90 live webcasts this season. You can follow your favorite teams and players with live game video directly on your computer." That's what we mean by variety. Where else can you watch 90 WNBA games in one season?
5. Greediness: What's better than having one WNBA game to watch? Two games, that is. While enjoying a televised game, you can also watch on the computer and even listen to another game on the radio.
So there you have it, we hope we've converted you to webcast junkies. And if you call in the next 10 minutes, we will double your order with a WNBA hat, absolutely free… oh wait, this is not an infomercial. But it sure read like one, didn't it?
24-year age difference, 10 seasons of WNBA, 2 voices, 1 game.
I help coach a 5th grade girl's basketball team with my fellow Sun season ticket holder; Dave. His daughter is on the team. I watch these girls play. Their joy. Their laughter. Their moves. I have to smile when they talk about the W. Most of them want to play in high school. Some want to play in college. And there are 2 that at this stage, if they work hard, just might have a shot at the W.
I smile and think my how the world has changed.
She has a dream. Standing 4'4” tall, with nine years of existence under her belt, our little sister is convinced she has a chance in the WNBA. Her plan is simple. Duke University is her college of choice. She lives in an era when instead of dreaming to be like Mike, she wants to be like Mo (Monique Currie that is). She's convinced that by showing up at the 2019 WNBA draft, her spot would be secured.
When the ball was tipped off on June 21, 1997 for the inaugural WNBA game, no one expected the league to last 10 seasons. Who's to say it can't last for 13 more years? After all, our little sister's dream is not something new.
Not too long ago, we too dreamt of playing professionally. Countless women of today were once little girls who had the same dream. The only difference is we have the WNBA, while back then the best women ballers waited for their opportunity every four years.
When I was young... I know go ahead and roll your eyes... When I was young, Louisiana Tech was the home of basketball. And Title IX was beginning to have an impact. 1976 we had our first women's basketball team in the Olympics. I was glued to my TV set watching ABC and Jim McCay show the Games. I did not want to watch gymnastics, I wanted basketball. And then there they were. Young, oh my god young. I was 14 and I was watching people who became sources of inspiration to me...
Mary Anne O'Conner and Sue Rojcewicz were from Southern Connecticut State. Hey look! TWO basketball players from Connecticut. Well, if they can play... There were other women on the team whose names you might find familiar; Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman, Pat Head. Sound familiar? Eat your heart out! I got to watch them play!
We never got to watch Ann Meyers play. The most impressive thing we've seen her do is wear neon-colored suits well. We believe only Ann Meyers can do that, just like she's the only female player to crack an NBA roster.
Years from now, the cycle will continue. Several WNBA players will take over ESPN, NBATV and ABC studios. Kara Lawson will take Ann Myers' place. Stacey Dales will sit in Nancy Lieberman's chair and Pat Summitt will still be Pat Summitt.
Some high school kid, dreaming to play professional basketball will one day watch Lawson and Dales make predictions and analyze games. We wonder, unlike us, would she know better?
I worked my butt off to play in high school. And the Olympics rolled around again. I eagerly awaited watching Anne Donovan, Carol Blazejowski, and Lynette Woodard play. I will even admit to a crush on one of those and NO I am NOT naming names. But politics intervened and I learn that sometimes sports does not transcend differences regardless of the ideals we strive to achieve. 1984 added Teresa Edwards, Pam McGee, and Cheryl Miller to my list of idols.
Deanna Nolan, Chamique Holdsclaw and Cheryl Miller are our idols. We weren't born when Cheryl Miller dominated the scene. We admire her for journalistic reasons. On a basketball standpoint, we've only heard stories and read articles. She's the greatest myth of our generation. On one hand we have no way of validating her greatness, but on the other hand, we have no right to question it.
Secretly, we wish we were older. Stupid, stupid, we know. See, we want to know what it's like to witness Cheryl Miller's game. But we don't have to worry about passing anecdotes to future generations. We have technology for evidence and we have Seimone Augustus. She will be our story to tell.
I started college in 1982. I waited before I went. I did not know what I wanted out of life. But I did know I missed playing. I went to a women's college where Title IX was never an issue because we were the only game at the school. Well there was golf. And Equestrian science... But I am talking sports here! Where ya sweat from work! While Title IX was beginning to have an impact if you wanted to play you had to play in college. Cause that was the last stop. There were not athletic leagues for us after we left college. The greatest stage to aspire to was to be invited to play on the National Team. Say it with reverence and awe now; The National Team. I think that part of the reason why you do not have to beg the best of the women's game to play in the Olympics (unlike the men) is that until 1997 this was the highest level of sport for women. To women athletes, an Olympic Gold medal IS the holy grail.
Our story began 13 years ago, in 1993, (ironically we are 13 minutes apart) with two skinny six-year-olds, a worn out basketball rim and the bossiest big brother in the face of the earth.
“Shoot it! Shoot it,” he would always yell. A statement that was followed by tears streaming down our faces because of failed attempts. Too much for six-year-olds. Anger followed the tears. We were mad that we couldn't make a freaking basket; mad that our brother hogs the remote to watch games but mostly, we were mad because you know as kid you just hate when you suck at something and getting teased by the men in our family was hard.
We knew were bound to like the game, but we had no idea how much it would affect our lives. The love didn't come instantly. But when it hit us, it hit us all at once. Next thing you know we were avid fans of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), obsessing over Alvin Patrimonio and Johnny Abbarientos---names you wouldn't normally know unless you lived in our country. Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls brought us to the NBA and the United States. Eventually March became madness.
I drifted away from basketball when I join the army in the late 80’s. I have no idea who was on the 1988 Olympic team. I was a wee bit busy traveling to far off lands. Interestingly enough there is a weird chance that I might have been in the same place at the same time with “The Twins”. Manila 1988.
1992. Olympics again. No memory still. A little thing called Desert Storm. And learning to walk again. But the “perfect storm” was starting in my home state of Connecticut. Jen Rizzotti.
Chamique brought us to the W in 2002.
1995 I rediscovered my love of basketball as UConn played its heart out to the Perfect Year. 35-0 and its first National Championship. March Madness entered my life. It came at a time when I was struggling to accept that I was never going to walk right again. I was never going to get to be a soldier again. I was discharged the first week of March 1995 and depressed out of my mind.
Jen Rizzotti’s play got me to cry with its pure heart and scrappy play. My doctors were happy because I was finally showing emotions.
Eventually March became madness.
Oh the madness. Every year we would have a sibling March Madness tournament. The first year was 2004, with just the both of us. It has grown to us, our little sisters and two cousins. Living in Canada on visa’s we cannot travel to the US to see a tournament game. So we watch everyone we can on TV. And we argue about who is going to be drafted.
1996 was all about the Olympics again. Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes.
Sound familiar? This is the core of the Women’s Professional Basketball. Some went to the ABL, some started the W.
Holdsclaw can claim something other players can’t, she’s the reason why we love women’s basketball. Yeah, it’s not resume material. It’s not something she’ll put in her license plate or a plaque she’ll hang on her wall. But she’s the reason why two stubborn kids are now writing for the WNBA fan blog.
The date was June 25, 2002. We were 15 and glued to the TV for our first WNBA game. The score was 87-86. The Washington Mystics beat the Sacramento Monarchs in an overtime thriller. Twenty nine points and twenty one rebounds were the stats she posted. It was a done deal after that. She could put the ball in the basket where we could not. And She loved her grandmother. We can relate to that.
My first professional women’s game was THE first game of the W. Ten years ago today. June 21st, 1997. ABC Sports.
I wept like a baby.
So far from the days of women being told to sit down. So far from Title IX passing.
Teresa Weatherspoon. Lisa Leslie. They set the tone of the league for the rest of the greats to follow. A whole new way to measure basketball. The Olympics was no longer the highest platform to play on. And yet it is moving to see the best from the W beg to play on the National Team. To see Dawn Staley move from player to coach. To have Lisa Leslie teach the boys about team play in the 2004 games. I am proud that these women are teaching the next generation the importance of The National Team and The Olympics.
How do you explain it? What does basketball mean to us? These days we try very hard to make sure basketball is just a game. We try not to make it our life, try to make it a hobby. We aim or at the very least pretend that we don't live and breathe it. That we can actually survive a day without basketball. But that's a goal yet to be accomplished.
It's a lifestyle. Basketball is a part of us that not even the most meaningful words can depict. It's intangible, kind of like love and faith. Things that are hard to grasp with simple sentences. We can never really find the right words, because there are none. After all, intangibles are only defined through experiences.
Our little sister has experiences that we will never have. She is the next generation of this story. Hopefully, the WNBA and March Madness will be our little sister's earliest basketball memories. She keeps saying she plans to play for the WNBA. We always thought those dreams started when she watched Monique Currie score 43 points.
There is a second generation of women basketball players out there now. The girl’s who grew up with Title IX. They grew up dreaming of playing. They grew up watching women play.
Folks know I am big on history. And today is history. Ten years of incredible basketball. Ten years of idols, amazing plays, broken hearts, tears, sweat, contracts, unions, expansion teams, contraction teams.
Most amazing is there is a THIRD generation of little girls out there. They are growing up not knowing about Title IX but looking at posters of their heroes on their walls. Heroes named, Lauren, Lisa, Tamika, Diana, Lindsey, Alana, Dawn, Sheryl, Yolanda. And more.
The WNBA... it isn’t just a game.
The odds are not on our family's side. No one is more than 6 feet tall. Although at the age of nine, one of our sisters already wears size 4 shoes. She might just have a shot at it. And there is Tameka Johnson.
Just like any big sister, we want her to achieve everything she wants. If one day she decides she no longer wants to be a basketball player, we won't force her to change her mind. We want her to enjoy basketball for what it should be, a game.
The Twins are in Canada and can’t make it to the All-Star game this year. I was going to show them New York, The Garden, and tell them all about the history. Instead we are going to text Message each other as they watch the game on TV and IM with their sister.
I have witnessed the past. The Twins and I are witnessing the present. My players and The Twin’s sisters are going to be the future.
Funny how basketball can cross generations.
You can reach Us at email@example.com and Melissa at Rothum@aol.com
Disclaimer: Instead of attacking the league or the other selections, we figured the best way to defend Mique is to tell her how deserving she is. Hence, the letter. We know it's biased and maybe even unprofessional but that's a risk every fan blogger must take :. Feedbacks are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org
Honorable mention? Ouch. We know you've heard. It's not so much as a disrespect as it is a "y'all must a forgot" moment. There are couple of things the all-decade players have that you don't have yet. Seven of them are champions, five are league MVPs. But it's like they forgot how you changed or are changing the game.
Because part of the all-decade team criteria was the player's impact to the game, we honestly thought you were a shoo-in. Take it back to 1999 when they called your WNBA career as "one of the most anticipated careers in the history of women's basketball." Remember that? It ain't like it's been a disappointment since then.
It seems it slipped out of their minds how you're the only player to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season. That you rank top 5 all-time in total points, points per game and rebounds per game. And girl, you're not even done yet. You also led the league in rebounding in back-to-back seasons. Add those to your ROY, all-star appearances and all-WNBA team selections.
But you didn't have the hardware that matters most and our best guess is, the lack of championship bling eclipsed all your other achievements. Or maybe it's the recent off- court drama that cost you. Nah. That can't be it. They can't hold you responsible for something that even you can't control, can they?
Pam Ward said the W might assemble another all-decade team 10 seasons from now. We can't believe it'll take another 10 years before you get the love that you deserve. In theory, 10 years is not that bad. We just don't understand why you have to wait for something that should have been decided now. Knowing you though, you'll prove them wrong sooner than later.
With love always,
Apparently, our ranting works. Either our CSP (cable service provider) got tired of us complaining about the lack of WNBA games or it's just a huge coincidence that five games were televised this week. Either way, we win.
Speaking of winning let's go to…well let's just go to the New York Liberty. We watched the Liberty play against Connecticut, Houston and San Antonio. In those three games, New York averaged just over 64 points. It seems this team is struggling with the new 24-second shot clock, four quarters format. New York lack the offensive punch to compete with the points produced by opposing teams. But they showed resiliency by winning against the Silver Starzz in a back-to-back schedule.
Our beloved Mystics also struggled with two road loses against the Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun. We learned one thing from the Indiana loss: the next time Catch mentions she's playing hurt, we're not going to believe her. There's no point getting our hopes up thinking our team has an advantage. She was fine, it didn't look like she wasn't 100 per cent.
We are crossing our fingers that Nykesha Sales' newly dyed black hair is the reason behind the Mystics' loss and not the fact that we're bad luck to one of our favorite teams. Despite playing without Taj McWilliams-Franklin (our prayers are with you and your family) the Sun looked impressive to make another serious run in the playoffs.
Fans e-mailing fans:
As a follow-up to our Small Wonders entry, a few fans responded with some interesting suggestions behind the "rolling of the jersey" phenomenon. Here's three of them. Actually, this is all of them:
"On wnba.com you said e-mail you if anybody had another suggestion for the players rolling their jerseys, so I am. A reason why they might do that is it might be hot and the jerseys may be thick. They are playing just as hard as the men and if the jerseys are thick then that may make it hotter. Rolling the jerseys may be a way to make it cooler. But again that's just a suggestion for why they may do it. I watch the WNBA game when they're on TV and it don't look as bad as the NBA players do when they wear the sleeves and the high socks."
Here is a possible answer or rather my answer to your question about why WNBA players roll their jerseys.
Well for me rolling my jersey has always been something I do. Before the start of each game I roll and tuck the jersey into the straps of my sports bra. I do this just to have the jersey tighter I guess. WNBA players probably do the same thing and even though the league got better fitting jerseys they still do it because a jersey will always be loose unless it is skintight like the Australian body suits.
Hope that this answer suits you."
"That's easy…they think they are at gun show.... 'look at those guns girl'"
We love the e-mails. Keep them coming, email@example.com.
Warning issued to our cable service provider (you know who you are): When there are no televised WNBA games, our minds tend to wander. Sometimes it's a creative concept, like our last blog entry. Sometimes it's nonsensical, like this blog.
For the past few years that we've been fans, there are several thing that have boggled our minds. Here's one of them.
What's up with WNBA players rolling the "sleeves" of their jerseys?
Back when WNBA jerseys were loose, we thought players rolled their jerseys because an oversized jersey is uncomfortable. However, when the league changed the style of the jerseys in 2003, this theory went out the window---the players continue to roll their now fitted, non-sleeved uniforms. For this we ask, what's up with that?
Photo: Mitchell Lyton/NBAE/Getty Images
We have come up with possible theories. This puzzling (and quite frankly, annoying) habit may be a fashion statement. As silly as this may sound, it has to be put into consideration because we have fashion forward players like Swin Cash and Ticha Penichiero. Maybe it's the players' way of telling the league they want a halter top version. Or in Deanna Nolan's case, it may just be a chance to showcase her tattoos.
Worse, this could be a compulsive a behavior. An unstoppable habit that began in high school when jerseys were twice one's size and has now been carried to the pros. May be they are so used to rolling their jerseys, it has became a superstition.
If you have another suggestion or if you're an actual player with a definite answer, please save us from our misery and drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
Small wonder on deck: Lauren Jackson's halftime hairdo change…
Faces Behind Posters: Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Please claim your poster. E-mail us with some proof and something about yourself and you'll feel the joy of seeing your name on the Internet, as you will get a shout out on the next entry.
Photo: Mitchell Lyton/NBAE/Getty Images
You would think that with most TV programs showing season finales (America Idol, The O.C., America's Next Top Model, Everybody Hates Chris, etc.) Toronto would broadcast some WNBA games. Unfortunately for us, there will be no televised WNBA games this week. That's why we came up with our perfect WNBA player experiment. Most of the things on this list are wishful thinking, but it never hurts to dream.
The rules are simple. There are three categories: appearance (which has nothing to do with physical beauty), game and intangibles. We can only choose active WNBA players*, and we can only take one attribute from each. No player can be repeated. If you got any comments, whether you agree or disagree, feel free to e-mail us at email@example.com
| Sue Bird’s bouncy ponytail.|
We think that Sue’s bouncy ponytail is indicative of her pure excitement to play basketball.
Chamique Holdsclaw’s fade away jumper. |
Mique’s fade away is Jordanesque. Like Nancy Lieberman always says, “Mique owns the baseline!”
Thompson’s lipstick for luck. |
Think about it, TT is known for being a winner. Having said that, we also want…
Dydek’s height. |
Self-explanatory. Not only can our player play for the W, she can also play for the NBA!
| Sheryl Swoopes’ ability to go left.
In the words of Doris Burke, “You can’t check that!”
|Lisa Leslie’s winning attitude. When LL wants something, she gets it.|
| The Miller Twins’ arms. |
No one is more toned than Coco and Kelly. And the perfect player will be just as in shape.
Michele Snow’s dunking ability.|
Since this player is 7’2”, she might as well know how to dunk.
| Tamika Catchings’ hustle. |
Like we’ve said before, no one goes all out on the court a la Catch.
Yolanda Griffith’s hands. |
Yo has some inspector gadget hands. Enough said.
|Ticha Penicheiro’s crazy passing skills|| Diana
Taurasi’s swagger. |
We all know Diana has confidence.
|Shannon Johnson’s quick feet||Becky Hammon’s range AND Katie Smith’s stroke||Deanna Nolan’s clutch instincts|
| Monique Currie’s and Nykesha Sales’ scowls. |
For extra toughness
|Cheryl Ford’s knack for rebounding||Dawn Staley’s basketball IQ|
| The Lynx’s
We want this player to have her best years in front of her.
Lauren Jackson’s big girl versatility. |
We want this player to post up and shoot from the outside.
| Van Chancellor’s heart. |
We know we said we can only choose WNBA players, but read the fine print of this entry.
|Alana Beard’s defense||Swin Cash’s leadership|
Teasley’s ball handling. |
This includes her crossover dribble.
|Stacey Dales’ Canadian background. We just want to be proud of our girl.|
|Lindsay Whalen’s body control|
Having said all that, this
is probably what she would look like.
Ok, maybe she won't be given a lot of endorsement deals. But we figured with her basketball skills, marketability won't be a big problem.
*with the exception of Van Chancellor.
We're pretty sure you watched the game. But just in case you've missed some interesting sights and scenes…
What you'll find in this entry:
Random observations from the opening game between the New York Liberty and Connecticut Sun, a little bit of sarcasm and "ha-ha" jokes and meaningless and not-so meaningless numbers and pictures.
What you won't find in this entry
Outlandish predictions based on a season opener game.
Let's get ready to rumble, WNBA style!
Christia's 1st half observations:
-Before the tip off, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Katie Douglas seem confused about who to present the giveaway basketballs to. First game jitters? Apparently Connecticut didn't have any.
-6: 50 mark, 1st quarter, ex-Mystics spotting courtesy of Marianne Stanley and Kiesha Brown on the Liberty bench.
-6: 26 mark, 1st quarter, Hammon makes a miracle shot, "right out of South Dakota".
-End of 1st quarter, Liberty puts up 10 points. This can't be good.
Patty Coyle is upset. I would be too.
-9:26 mark, 2nd quarter, Sherill Baker showing some skills off a steal from a Sun inbounds play. And a minute later, she gets a rookie call and get substituted out of the game.
-8:32 Whalen believes she got fouled in the act of shooting. The MSG analyst says, "She believes wrong!"
-Oh…oh we see Michele Timms on the floor. Oh wait that's just Erin Philips.
-3: 20 Nykesha Sales smiles…cherish it. She barely smiled in this game and they were in the lead. There she is with her infamous scowl.
-It's halftime. NY-33, CONN-47
Christal's 2nd half notes:
-Barb Farris starts the half with an air ball!
- Around the 9 minute mark in the 3rd quarter, MSG makes is first and only shoutout to NBATV.
- Farris (aka "the proud player" according to MSG analyst, Mary Murphy) redeems herself with a three-point play at the 7: 15 mark.
- Cool Keesh for three!!!
-Down 21, Kraayeveld answers with a three pointer around the 2:34 mark. Why does her name looks more complicated than it actually is?
-End of 3rd quarter. New York still down by 21.
-Despite by being down by more than 15 points most of the game, these MSG analysts remain weirdly optimistic with New York's chances of winning.
- Liberty makes an 8-0 run at the 6 minute mark but they still can't get a break to cut the lead in single digits.
-"Shoot it, Timms!" Christia yells at Erin Phillips with 4:15 left.
-Game over. Connecticut 91, New York 74.
The New York Liberty needs to get help now or get really better… fast.
36 per cent shooting by the Liberty
22 inches- Margo Dydek's height at birth
6 times the Liberty loses their first game of the season
3 different times Mary Murphy mentions Lindsay Whalen's "reconstructive ankle surgery".
2 Sun mascots roaming the arena. A mom and a baby mascot.
1 shot clock violation. Not bad.
Nineteen years old. We hope you realize how young that is. We sure as hell are reminded of it every time we watch and talk about the WNBA with fellow women's basketball fans.
As babies born in 1987, Title IX was already in place for 15 years. Unlike our fellow fan blogger Melissa, we were privileged enough to play organized basketball similarly as it is today. No 3 on 3 half court sets. Unlimited dribbling and running fast breaks were allowed.
When the WNBA came about in 1997, we were a couple of ten-year-olds gathering enough guts to try out for the varsity team for the first time. Though we were aware of the WNBA, our knowledge began and ended with Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes.
Growing up in Manila, WNBA games were never televised. We didn't have local leagues like the ones they have in Europe. And our country never assembled a women's basketball national team.
With the WNBA less than a week away from its season opener, we are amazed how long the league has lasted and how far it has come along. The game is represented in 14 U.S. cities, with some games televised nationally and broadcasted in 198 countries (five stations from Philippines). Here in Toronto, all WNBA games are televised on ABC and Raptors NBA TV.
Sometimes the slim choices of WNBA coverage can mean staying up until 2 a.m. to watch delayed games, despite having 8 a.m. classes that same day. It means listening to SportsTalk 1260 radio on the Internet. It means working twice as much to gather the same information as the people who are privileged enough to live in WNBA cities. (Not that the "WNBA should have a Team in Toronto" blog entry has not been in our minds. Donna, we are planning to convince you and your constituents soon.)
Don't get it twisted, we are not complaining. We know we are blessed to have witnessed the Detroit Shock rally from last to first, Diana Taurasi get drafted and Lisa Leslie dunking the ball for the first time in WNBA history.
In a way we know a lot but not nearly enough as others who have supported the W since day one. We realize that we weren't there to witness Cynthia Cooper lead the Comets to four consecutive championships, or T-Spoon's half-court game winning shot to save the Liberty from elimination in 1999, or understand the hype behind Chamique Holdsclaw's draft class. We never came out and said, "Experts in the house!"
But because the women's game has evolved so much, planet earth has now been given a chance to watch the WNBA (or at least in 198 countries). A la Lebron James, the whole world can now be witnesses.
Feature article of the week:
(Drum roll) Melissa Isaacson of Chicago Tribune wrote a fabulous article reminding us fans, once again, how lucky we are to have players who are willing sacrifice six-figure salaries for the development of the WNBA.
Congratulations to all our fellow fan bloggers! We are truly amazed with your knowledge and writing style. If you want to collaborate for an entry at some point, holla!
The WNBA and the NBA are two different leagues. That's not a big surprise to anybody. One league has enjoyed over 50 years of existence while the other is on it's way to a 10th season. In terms of style of play, salaries and revenues, the WNBA ranks nowhere close to the success of the NBA. However in terms of temper tantrums and sexual assault allegations, the W takes a back seat to the L. Prior to the opening of the '05-'06 season the NBA went through an image overhaul by implementing an age limit and the dress code. The WNBA's biggest controversy leading up to the 10th season will probably be the revelation of Sheryl Swoopes' homosexuality.
Yet we are convinced that both leagues are parallel than most people think. After all, they play the same game and are cut from the same cloth. David Stern's blue blazer cloth that is (no offense, Donna Orender). With the NBA playoffs in full swing and the WNBA season on its way to the season opener, the question remains: Who are the equivalent of the WNBA teams in the NBA? After several minutes of arguing and whining, we came up with our list. Some picks are fitting while others remain arguable. Here are the final picks:
1. Charlotte Sting = New Orleans
Half of this comparison is based on our prediction that the Sting will (almost) make this year's WNBA playoffs, thanks to the rookie play of Mo Currie. Both teams were in the playoffs in 2003 but suffered the previous season, earning places in the bottom of the standings. This year, the Sting much like the Hornets will be playoff contenders. Currie will be to the Sting what Chris Paul is to the Hornets, minus the ROY.
2. Chicago Sky = Charlotte Bobcats
There's not much basis for this one since the Sky are yet to play a single game. But the logic was simple, expansion team to (recent) expansion team.
Sun = Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks like the Sun have explosive offenses. Connecticut and Dallas share playoffs predicaments year after year: always the bridesmaid never the bride. The Sun have been to two consecutive WNBA finals while the Mavs are yet to reach the NBA finals in the Nowitzki era. Both teams have a killer starting five. Both have great coaches.
4. Detroit Shock = Detroit
Best starting five in their respective leagues. Both won the 2004 championships. And then there's the Swin Cash-Rip Hamilton comparison. Both were raised in Pennsylvania, wear #32, went to UConn, and both have NCAA and pro championships. Coincidence?
5. Houston Comets = Miami Heat
For the past couple of years the Miami Heat have acquired what the Houston Comets always had: an unstoppable duo. Tina Thompson and Swoopes for the Comets. D-Wade and Shaq for the Heat. Both are also powerhouses in their respective conferences and have legendary coaches.
Indiana Fever = Minnesota Timberwolves
We were was going to pair up the T'wolves with the WNBA's Minnesota team, but then we came up with the analogy that Tamika Catchings is the WNBA's Kevin Garnett. Not in style of play mind you, but in career paths. First of all both players are two of the most passionate player in their leagues. No one goes all out like Catch and KG. Also, their teams have been quite successful (except this year's T'wolves) in reaching the playoffs. And though both superstars have had years when they had good teammates (Catch had Natalie Williams, KG had Spree and Cassell), neither have really gotten the help they deserved to go further in the playoffs.
7. Los Angeles Sparks
= Houston Rockets
The comparison does not go deeper than two seasons. Last season, the Sparks acquired Holdsclaw and the Rockets acquired McGrady. On paper the teams looked like the teams to beat. Yet even with all-star centers (Leslie, Yao) the teams underachieved. We're Holdsclaw fans, so here's hoping the Sparks wont share the demise of Rockets this upcoming season.
8. Minnesota Lynx
= Chicago Bulls
The Lynx just traded their star Katie Smith to Detroit while the Bulls have lost most of their better players (Brand, Curry and Crawford). Both teams have young rosters, but don't count the Lynx out of the playoffs because of their youth. After all smart draft picks have propelled the Bulls to their 2nd consecutive playoff appearance. In Seimone Augustus, we believe.
New York Liberty = Philadelphia 76ers
Not too long ago, these two teams were basking in playoff glory. In 2001, both were in the finals facing against a highly favored LA team. Since then, the teams have had several playoff appearances but the franchises have been in a funk despite having one of the shortest but all-star caliber guards (Hammon and Iverson). Now, Becky Hammon is all alone in New York as A.I. is in Philly, even with the company of CWebb.
Mercury = Los Angeles Clippers
These teams have been sharing the same mantra for a couple of years: "This was supposed to be our year" but both have been coming up short until now. We believe Diana Taurasi will propel the Mercury squad to the playoffs in the same way Elton Brand did this year. Also both teams have point guards that made/will make immediate impact. Stand up Sam Cassell and Cappie Pondexter.
11. Sacramento Monarchs = San Antonio Spurs
Both are reigning champs with MVP big players. Duncan for the Spurs, Griffith for the Monarchs. Both have all-star point guards. Parker for the Spurs, Penicheiro for the Monarchs. Both have coaches of the year winners in Poppavich and Whisesnant.
San Antonio Silver Stars= Portland Trail Blazers
We don't know what's happening with these two teams. A couple of years ago, they were regulars in the playoffs back when the Silver Stars were still known as Starzz in Utah. But now, both teams seem to be heading to a downward spiral direction. The Silver Stars were second in the bottom of the standings last season and the Blazers are also second-to-last this season.
13. Seattle Storm = Phoenix Suns
Playoff teams that are led by league MVP winners. This comparison is more reasonable if Stoudemire was playing, because both teams have one of the best 1-2 punches: Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson & Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire.
Mystics = New York Knicks
Both teams have great coaches that transferred from playoff teams but the most defining similarity of these teams are the headaches. We pity anybody who is a fan of one of these teams, more so if you're a fan of both. The Mystics and the Knicks have brought more headaches to their fans than any other team in their associations. And we should know...we're Mystics fans.
There goes the WNBA-NBA comparison. If you look at it more closely, the leagues are more similar than anyone would think. So if you only watch one of the other, we suggest watching both. If you're aggravated by the comparisons, worry no more. We're still arguing about them ourselves.