You asked for it, so here it is... the Official Blog. "In Other News..." will be your one-stop source for all WNBA-related info and activities taking place throughout the season. From game reactions on the court to player appearances, free agency and trade rumors and college prospect tracking and anything else that falls through the net, the Blog will be updated regularly with news, links and photos. All you have to do is keep coming back to get your fill and stay in the loop. | Blog Squad

June 2006

Click and Roll: The 4th of July Weekend Edition
Posted: By Mike Slane, June 30, 2006 9:45 a.m. ET

Just when you thought New York may have finally been turning its season around, the Liberty came out looking dreadful in the first half on Tuesday against a team with a dreadful record. The Liberty made only 16 percent of their shots in the first two quarters as they went on to lose to the Charlotte Sting(3-12), 73-67. The Sting won only their second road game in their last 23 tries. The Sting couldn't keep their momentum rolling two nights later when they visited the Chicago Sky. The WNBA's two worst teams faced-off with Chicago coming out on top, 75-69, to notch its second win of the season. The win was the Sky's first ever home win and ended their 13-game losing streak.

Due to a miserable eight-point first quarter, the Mystics home winning streak finally came to an end. On Tuesday the Fever became the first team to celebrate on the Verizon Center floor in seven Mystics home games this season after defeating the Washington Mystics, 74-67.

The Detroit Shock are making their way up the Eastern Conference standings mainly because of the league's biggest rebounding force, Cheryl Ford. Ford, who is averaging a league best 12.8 rebounds per game, grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds to go along with 22 points as the Shock beat the Silver Stars, 63-59, on Tuesday night. The Shock have won their sixth straight against San Antonio while the Silver Stars continue to slide with their fourth straight loss. The Shock's win streak came to an end two nights later, however, losing to the Indiana Fever 66-56.

Houston continued to struggle on the road as the Connecticut Sun shot down the Comets, 73-57. Comets guard Dawn Staley made her final regular season stop in Connecticut and was honored with a Dish & Assist Hero Award during a pregame ceremony. But despite their road problems, the Comets don't seem to have any problems at home, where they have now won eight straight, as they finished strong to beat the Mystics 83-76 at Toyota Center on Thursday.

The Seattle Storm are over .500 for the second time this season after winning back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Tuesday, smothering defense and 18 points from Sue Bird guided the Storm as they held off the defending champion Sacramento Monarchs, 68-53. The following night without Lauren Jackson in the lineup, the Storm blew straight through Los Angeles as they snapped the Sparks winning streak with a 75-67 win. The Sparks are now in a bad mood and will try to take it out on the Mercury tonight.

In round two of the battle of the rookie sensations, Minnesota Lynx guard Seimone Augustus finished with a game-high 24 points and Mercury guard Cappie Pondexter shot poorly (5-14), but Cappie stole the spolight when she came through in the clutch. Pondexter hit a game winning three with 5.8 seconds left in regulation and then stole the ball on an inbounds pass to lead the Mercury past the Minnesota Lynx, 81-78. The Lynx couldn't bounce back from the defeat the following night with Augustus having her second-worst scoring game of the season as the Lynx lost to the Monarchs 87-78.

Busy Night
Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 28, 2006 10:01 a.m. ET

The Seattle Storm held off the Monarchs last night for a much-needed victory at home. Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson paced the Storm, who also got a great night out of Barbara Turner. The rookie forward registered a career-high seven assists as Iziane Castro Marques continues to struggle. But with a game tonight against the Sparks, don't expect Lauren Jackson to play much, if at all. A team source indicated that Jackson's shins might force her to miss the game against the best team in the WNBA to date.

The Eastern Conference is off tonight after a busy night last night. Connecticut, Detroit and Indiana won again. Connecticut and Detroit's wins came over the Western Conference. The West still maintains a slight edge over the East in head-to-head matchups, 20-15. However, Chicago has lost nine of the games to the West.

In Other News... After New York's loss to Charlotte last night, Becky Hammon was frustrated in the lockerroom.

"We just lost to Charlotte at home." San Antonio visits the Garden on Friday night. Tonight at Madison Square Garden, the NBA will hold its annual Draft in the Theater while Madonna rocks the arena next door. Let's just hope one credential gets us access to both events...

Click and Roll: One Third of the Way Home
Posted: By Mike Slane, June 27, 2006 9:35 a.m. ET

After 10 years in the WNBA, Lisa Leslie has not lost a step. In a 105-80 rout over San Antonio on Sunday night, Leslie scored a career-high 41 points and became the first WNBA player in history to reach the 5,000 point mark. And no surprise here, Leslie was named the WNBA Player of the Week for the second straight week and the third time this season.

We cannot forget the other record set over the weekend. While Lisa Leslie was scoring and Los Angeles winning another game, the story was a little different for the expansion team in the Eastern Conference. After a 90-77 loss to the Phoenix Mercury, the Chicago Sky have now lost13-straight, tying a single-season mark set by the Detroit Shock in the 2002 season. The Sky only led once in the entire game... 2-0.

The New York Liberty are finally starting to gel. On Saturday the Liberty won their second straight for the first time this season as Barbara Farris scored a career-high 20 points as they survived a 29 point performance from Seimone Augustus to come out on top 93-83.

Detroit remained undefeated at home after they defeated the Mystics 92-86 on Saturday. In an offensive showcase, both teams shot over 50 percent from the floor with the Shock shooting 51.4 percent and the Mystics shooting 50.7 percent. Detroit went on to win another one at home on Sunday as they defeated they defeated the Sting, 71-61.

The Mystics, who had lost two in a row, bounced back from their loss to the Mystics the following day when Teasley and Melvin led the attack as they defeated the Connecticut Sun. Washington improved to 7-0 on their home court, but have done so this season with many of their once loyal fans missing. The Mystics once set a league record by averaging 16,000 fans per game in 2002, which is more than some NBA teams, but the numbers have drastically decreased since. Last season they averaged 10,000 fans at every game, this season they're only averaging 6,838.

Speaking of the Connecticut Sun, I thought there was going to be a major upset in the Eastern Conference last Friday night when a tired Connecticut team almost lost to the last place Chicago Sky. The Sky led by as many as 11 in the third quarter, but the Sun woke up in the fourth to win 84-79. The Sun will continue their tough schedule this week with games against the Comets and Shock.

In Other News... the Storm could not hold on to a late lead Sunday, as the Comets went on to win their seventh consecutive home game, 84-74, on Sunday... The Monarchs are looking to win their first back-to-back games since the first two games of the season tonight after beating the Fever 82-61 on Sunday.

Ask The Editor
Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 27, 2006 7:11 a.m. ET

Matt, you know what annoys me? When people compare WNBA players to other athletes or sports. Especially the NBA. I actually hate when people do this when comparing people across different sports. It's just not fair to anyone involved.
-Ulee, Cleveland, OH

You know what? That email was like the Natalie Williams of emails this time around. Was it the flashiest of questions? Of course not. But an All-Star? Definitely. You want this question at the cornerstone of any email question and answer list. Yet, most people will underappreciate its brilliance. To answer your question, I never minded these comparisons. For one, when making comparisons, they are usually favorable and paying tribute to both players. Also, they are good conversation pieces at dinner parties or while sitting at a game with a friend, and I sure like to talk. I would even say that I'm like the Lisa Leslie of opinions. Some people love them, some people hate them, but regardless, you have to respect my contributions.

I seen Teresa Weatherspoon being honored at the Liberty's first home game of the season. Would you please tell me where she is today - what team is she playing for or is she retired. Do you know if she would be interesting in working with the Liberty coaching team or managial position.
-Hanifa, Brooklyn, NY

Teresa is no longer playing the WNBA. Her last season was back in 2004 with the Los Angeles Sparks. She was honored earlier in the year by the Liberty and I have since seen her at additional games. It is great to see Spoon back at the Garden and I am looking forward to her being honored during the All-Decade celebration at the All-Star Game on July 12. Teresa lives in New Jersey and still plays regularly. As far as coaching with the Liberty, I'm not sure there are any openings at this juncture. Personally, I think Teresa would make a great coach at any level. She is smart, a great communicator and a brilliant leader and motivator.

Where is Ann Strother?
-Gail, Wethersfield, CT

At practice, maybe? Is she not picking up her cell phone? No, Ann was actually drafted by the Houston Comets, then immediately traded to the Phoenix Mercury. She has played in seven of the Mercury's 12 games this season and is averaging 2.3 ppg.

Seimone CAN'T do it Alone, The #1 Rookie in the league need some help. If you would get her some help, your team would be a top contender. They are either going to play, or go set down. She will wear herself out trying to win games by herself. You are going to burn her out, get her some help.
-A very concerned fan, MN

I actually think Seimone could do it alone, though no team in the WNBA wins with just one star player. That said, Minnesota is one of the youngest, if not THE youngest, team in the WNBA. In the past two seasons, they made a concerted effort to get younger. Championship teams are not built overnight. Neither are playoff teams. Just ask Diana Taurasi. But I would not worry about Seimone getting burned out. At 22 years old, she has plenty of time to grow and help a team win.

I am really tired of the announcers for basketball and softball going off on tangents or focusing on THEIR favorite player or team. Please ask them to stay focused on the game at hand and give credit where credit is due rather than focusing on one player, like Diana Taurasi, Or Lisa Leslie. There are other upcoming players that are really good too. GIVE THEM CREDIT.
-Jan, Buellton, CA

I totally agree with you on the tangent thing. I'll do what I can to talk to these Hall-of-Famers and see if I can get them to change their style. Actually, funny story... one time I was talking to a Hall-of-Fame broadcaster in another sport, who I won't mention specifically, and we got completely caught up in talking about what our favorite restaurant to visit is on the road. This person was raving about a new fusion place in Washington, but as a New Yorker, I was totally stunned. Don't get me wrong, Washington is great. I love the monuments and museums and the busy feel of our nation's capital. I've even run into national leaders while visiting, but New York is the cultural center of the world and has more great restaurants than you can imagine. But for this player-turned-analyst, it was more about the ambience than the food. So it just goes to show you that every question and every answer answer has a story behind it and while you may not agree, there is someone out there who appreciates it. Wait, I totally went off on tangent there, didn't I?

LOVE THE WNBA !!! Live in NYC, and go to as many Liberty games as I can, but have to say that Seattle is my favorite team, even though I love all the teams, except Detroit. Anyway, was wondering what is the best way to meet the players before or after the game for a quick handshake/picture ? You do a great job, by the way !!!
-JC, New York, N.Y.

Thanks, JC. You do a great job, too, I'm sure, at whatever it is that you do. So if you would like to meet a player, there are a few ways to do it. Nearly every player is eager and willing to pose for a picture or sign an autograph. I would say the only time they are not is when they are actually working. That ssaid, get to a game early, stay late and be patient. There are a lot more fans than there are players. Also try catching them at an event away from the arena, such as community events, fundraisers or appearances. And it that doesn't work, send me an email and I can send you an autographed photo of me.

Just a note to say that I enjoy the WNBA very much. I am an avid fan of the Los Angeles Sparks even though I live in Arizona. I try to watch all the games on TV even if I have to surf from one channel to the next.
I also want to thank the WNBA & NBA TV for the TV coverage the WNBA is getting and for broadcasting more of the WNBA games.
Thank you so very much.
-Lois, Bullhead City, AZ

Lois, as a Sparks fan, I bet you're in a really good mood these days. Your team is playing exceptionally well and they are a lot of fun to watch. Lisa is playing like a woman possessed, Holdsclaw is enjoying herself again and even the young supporting cast is playing its part to perfection. That said, you really have to give a lot of credit to Coach Joe Bryant. There were a lot of questions about his role with the team in the offseason. Whether or not he'd be back and how the team would respond to him. Well, he's proven he can coach and that his players like playing for him. Thanks for watching and for caring. Every fan counts.

With due respect to the new players of the was the pioneers that made it happen. Teresa Weatherspoon inspired ALL teams and fans in the league with her personality and defensive skills. I cannot believe she is not on All-Deacde team. Almost everyone one of the WNBA players interviewed said "Spoon" should be on it. Interesting Becky Hammon didn't say Spoon. She's a great player but what was that about?
-Rev, Rutherford, NJ

Father, you make a great point. I agree that Spoon should have been on the team. As a fan, I voted for her. Unfortunately, not enough of our other fellow fans agreed. Remember, WNBA fans played a significant role in shaping this team and had a month to vote. It's hard for me to disagree with any of the players on the team. Seriously. You might have a few who you disagree with, but all of them are deserving. Each member of this team has left a great mark on the league and represents the very best in sports. Instead of bashing players (not that you have, but fans have been venting...), celebrate and congratulate the honorees.

Matt and staff... I'm a relatively new fan of the WNBA and didn't know much about the league coming into the season. But I've befriended a few players randomly and I'm coming in for All-Star in New York with several of my friends. How do I find you that week and take you out to dinner? We need to hang out. I think we'd be friends.
-Karl, San Antonio, TX

How about this. You email me your number and I'LL call YOU.

What I Wish For
Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 26, 2006 6:45 a.m. ET

Every year on my birthday, I think long and hard about what to wish for. This is one of those rare opportunities when I get to think only of myself and make some wonderful dream come true. Of course, you are not supposed to tell anyone what that wish is or else it will not come true.

Since today is my birthday (turning 25 for the fourth straight year!) and I will hopefully get to blow out candles on a cake and make a birthday wish (note to co-workers: I prefer chocolate over vanilla and ice cream over yogurt), I figured I could share some of the wishes that did not make the cut, and will do my very best to keep the actual wish to myself.

  • That my puppy, Malcolm, and all dogs for that matter, get to live forever.

  • Spend more time with people like Dr. Leigh.

  • To see players like Cynthia Cooper, Teresa Weatherspoon, Rebecca Lobo and the early pioneers of the WNBA play one more game.

  • To sit courtside at the WNBA All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden on July 12.

  • Win the lottery.

  • See Deanna Nolan dunk in a game.

  • To see Dawn Staley make the All-Star Team.

  • That Seimone Augustus and Cappie Pondexter play until they're 45.

  • A five-game WNBA Finals.

  • More butts in seats at WNBA games.

  • To see the headline on my birthday in 2007: New York Knicks select Greg Oden.

  • To be able to write the WNBA Power Rankings forever.

  • To look good in a bathing suit during my post-World Championships vacation to Cabo in October.

  • That the people who've made working at the league a great experience, people like Brenda Spoonemore and Angela Taylor, bring the same spirit and find success and happiness in new ventures.

  • That I get to cover all the great players in the league who have always been so nice to me as they win a WNBA championship... people like Katie Smith, Tamika Catchings, Dawn Staley, Becky Hammon, Lindsay Whalen, Nykesha Sales and, well, the entire Sun team, Vickie Johnson, Crystal Robinson, Alana Beard and Diana Taurasi.

  • To finally shake this cough that I've had since my sophomore year of high school.

  • To be the first person named Director of Programming for WNBA TV.

  • That we can sign Shaquille O'Neal to play the lead in the movie whose script i am nearly finished with about a retired NBA player who fulfills a deahtbed promise to go back to school to get his degree, yet it is made the R.A. of an all-girls dorm due to a housing snafu as hilarity ensues.

  • Good health to all my friends and family and my unborn children.

  • That someone found the nice, new umbrella I recently bought but left at a restaurant on Saturday night.

  • That all remaining video tapes on my June 2002 appearance on "The Weakest Link" are summarily rounded up and destroyed a la Farenheit 451.

  • To someday get a shot on the bench coaching a WNBA team.

  • Kelly Clarkson sings at my wedding.

  • To win the Nobel Prize for Puff Pieces.

  • A New York Mets World Series title.

  • When they make a movie about my life, that the guy who plays "Turtle" on Entourage is cast in the lead role.

  • That Donna Orender presents me with the plaque when I am inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • The Phoenix Mercury make the playoffs.

  • The new NBA D-League team in Los Angeles is named the Los Angeles Mattwursts.

  • The Chicago Sky win again.

  • That my parents never move to Florida, but my sister moves back to New York.

  • That the new shirt I bought online actually fits me.

  • To meet Bruce Springsteen.

  • Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson play forever.

  • Val Ackerman is the next NBA commissioner.

  • To sit courtside at the 2068 WNBA All-Star Game when I turn 90.

Click and Roll: The Last Chance for All-Star Voting Edition
Posted: By Mike Slane, June 23, 2006 9:58 a.m. ET

After finishing a five-game road trip with a 2-3 record, the Seattle Storm were happy to be home. Betty Lennox is starting to "feel a whole lot better" after being involved in a car accident on May 19th, and despite their sub-.500 road trip, coach Donovan feels that the Storm made progress. Unfortunately for Seattle, star forward-center Lauren Jackson was injured yet again in the final game of the trip, but that didn't seem to stop her on Wednesday as she scored a game-high 28 points to go along with 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks in a losing effort to the Phoenix Mercury. Seven of the Storm's next nine will be played at home.

The Washington Mystics could have used their second-leading scorer, injured forward DeLisha Milton-Jones, on Wednesday as the Mystics' three-game winning streak came to an end with a 72-66 loss to the New York Liberty. Behind Becky Hammon's 23 points and Shameka Christon's career-high 21 points, the Liberty ended a three-game slide.

Coach Muggsy Bogues said Charlotte "had no heart" as the Connecticut Sun looked like their usual self routing the Sting, 90-66, on Tuesday. The Sun outrebounded the Sting, 41-24 and made a franchise-record 38 field goals. Two days later the Sun were at it again, burning the Lynx, 79-62. With Nykesha Sales ailing, just about every other player in the Sun lineup contributed in the win.

The San Antonio Silver Stars were handed their first road loss of the season on Wednesday, losing to the Sacramento Monarchs, 75-69. Erin Buescher scored 16 points and Yolanda Griffith added 15 points, but nothing helped the Monarchs more than Kara Lawson's six points in the final 3:52.

Not much of a surprise here... The Chicago Sky cannot seem to find a way to win. They suffered their 11th loss in 12 games this season, falling to the Indiana Fever, 77-55, on Wednesday. Tamika Catchings, the leading All-Star vote getter, sat the entire final quarter after the Fever took a 62-37 lead into the fourth.

Who's the best of the west...? Well, we might have gotten our answer on Wednesday with Los Angeles proving that they are the team to beat. Led by Chamique Holdsclaw's 20 points, the Sparks defeated Houston, 75-55, building a 1.5 game lead over the Comets in the Western Conference standings.

The leagues' toughest rebounding force is showing that she can be a force on the offensive end as well. On Thursday night, Cheryl Ford scored a career-high 24 points while adding 14 rebounds as the Detroit Shock once again dominated the boards in a 86-74 victory over the Charlotte Sting. The Shock have now won three straight.

Don't forget to vote your favorite players to the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game. Voting ends Sunday night, so hurry up!

Why You Should Vote
Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 22, 2006 10:11 a.m. ET
If you didn't know by now, All-Star balloting for the 2006 WNBA All-Star Game on July 12 ends this Sunday evening. It is really important that you vote, and here's why.

  • You decide who you want to see. The All-Star Game is for the fans. Plain and simple. You watch the game, you buy the tickets, so you should get to see who you want to play.
  • Star players deserve the recognition and the spotlight. They bust their backs to entertain you and deserve to have a little fun while putting on a show.
  • Whether they say it or not, every player wants to be an All-Star.
  • Players' careers are often defined by these accolades, at least partially. We keep track of the number of appearances.
  • Once you are an All-Star, you are always an All-Star. It's an honor accorded to presidents, doctors and Hall-of-Famers.
  • Money. Players do get a bonus for being selected.
  • If you don't vote in a player as a starter, you have to hope the coaches and league is smart enough to put them on as a reserve, and do you really want to chance it?
  • New York is fun. Who wouldn't want to spend a few days in New York? It's fun here!
  • This is a business. If you care about the WNBA, and I know you do, you should know that one of our bug business metrics is fan balloting. As long as we shouw growth in fan support each season, we have proof that we're growing. So the more votes you cast, the more we can show those naysayers that we are here to stay.

    So do it. Vote now.

    In Other News... I just voted. I did. And while I am only one vote (and don't have any more pull than that, despite what you might think), I voted for who I think most deserves to play in the game. Here is who I voted for... Out west... Diana Taurasi and Seimone Augustus. They, in my opinion, are most deserving as of right now... Tina Thompson and Lauren Jackson... and Lisa Leslie. If I had three more votes, Pondexter, Bird and Swoopes would have been on there as well. In the east... Alana Beard and Katie Douglas... Nykesha Sales and Tamika Catchings... and Cheryl Ford. Luckily Ford is listed as a center. My next three were Becky Hammon, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Nikki Teasley.

    Also, I spoke with several members of the Mystics last night and all were confident that the injured DeLisha Milton-Jones would be back in about a month. So that's good news, whereas initial reports were that she could miss the rest of the season.

    A New Way To Follow the WNBA
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 21, 2006 9:31 a.m. ET

    Happy Summer, everyone! Today is the longest day of the year, and with five games on the schedule tonight, you'll need every minute of it.

    But June 21 is also special to the WNBA for another reason... On June 21, 1997, the New York Liberty and Los Angeles played the first-ever WNBA game at the Great Western Forum in Los Angeles. Sparks guard Penny Toler scores the league’s first basket at 19:01. New York won, however, 67-57.

    Today also means only five days until my birthday. For convenience, be sure to send all gifts to my attention at the NBA Offices in New York.

    Also, a hearty congratulations to the NBA Champion Miami Heat, who knocked off the Dallas Mavericks in Game Six last night behind the superstar efforts of third-year star Dwayne Wade. With all that Wade did to help his team win on the offensive and defensive end, he really is becoming the Tamika Catchings of the NBA.

    But today is special for yet another reason... the official launch of the new and improved statistics section. Sure, you may have seen it over the past few days as we tested it and tweaked it to get it just right, but today we are officiall ready to invite you to check it out, play around with it, get a feel for it. One bit of advice: when searching through the categories, always remember to click on the "GO" link to navigate forward.

    Not only does the new stat tracker have the ability to search more statistical categories with more splits and breakdowns than ever before, but you can even dice things up by position. That comes in very handy when trying to decide who to vote for to represent your conference in the All-Star Game. Note that voting ends this Sunday so VOTE NOW!

    In Other News... The news isn't all bright and cheery this morning as Washington's DeLisha Milton-Jones will be out for several weeks with a sprained MCL. She suffered the injury on Saturday, though she is unlikely to miss as much time as initially discussed.

    Click and Roll: The First Day of Summer Edition
    Posted: By Mike Slane, June 20, 2006 9:15 a.m. ET

    The league's leading rebounder was at it again last weekend. Cheryl Ford grabbed 18 rebounds as the Shock out rebounded the Fever 44-27 to come away with a 71-63 win on Friday. The Shock's defense sure shocked Tamika Catchings and the rest of the WNBA world, as they held Catchings, who was recently selected to the All-Decade Team earlier in the week, to a mere three points on 1-10 shooting. Catchings bounced back from her poor performance two days later as she scored 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists to help the Fever beat the Charlotte Sting, 92-85, in overtime.

    For every rebound she grabs, Cheryl Ford will make a donation of $3 during the remainder of the season to the Children's Tumor Foundation.

    The women's basketball team of New York is starting to look more like the 2005-2006 men's team. Becky Hammon said the Liberty are "not competing" after falling to the Comets on Friday night, 72-58. And things didn't get much better for the Liberty the following night as the Mystics' Alana Beard scored 26 points to send the Liberty home with their third loss in a row. Could things be any worse for the Liberty right now? Well, they could be if they lost 10 straight like the expansion Chicago Sky have after Saturday night when they fell to the San Antonio Silver Stars.

    On Saturday, the Monarch's Kara Lawson and Erin Buescher led a comeback victory over the Storm, snapping their two-game win streak. Lawson had 16 points and Buescher finished with 14 for the Monarchs in the victory.

    Having problems trying to decide who should win rookie of the year? The two first overall picks in last April's draft, Minnesota's Seimone Augustus and Cappie Pondexter of Phoenix, went head to head on Sunday at the Target Center. Augustus tied a career-high scoring 32 points as the Lynx beat the Mercury 94-82. Pondexter, the No. 2 pick, had 22 points in the contest.

    Mwadi Mabika tied a WNBA record with seven 3-pointers as the Sparks beat the Monarchs 80-69 on Sunday night. Mabika went 9-of-15 on field goals and was 2-of-2 from the free throw line to finish with a season-high 27 points.

    So what does it all mean? Lots of scoring. After the league changed the shot clock from 30 seconds to 24 seconds, scoring has been at an all-time high in the WNBA. Teams are averaging 76 points per game, which is very high compared to the previous high of 70 points per game.

    A Third of the Way Home
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 19, 2006 4:36 p.m. ET

    The league has now completed 74 of the 238 regular season games scheduled for this season, and while we won't do an official By The Numbers this week, here is a very technical look at some of the statistics through Week Five.

    >2: The average time for all 74 regulation game is 1:58, three minutes longer than last season’s average length of a regulation game of 1:55.

    3: Last week, the Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks went 3-0 and led the league in scoring over that period of time. The Sparks averaged 86.7 points per game, while the Mystics averaged a blistering 90.3 points per game.

    4.2: This year, the number of field goal attempts (fga) are up from 46.0 pg to 50.2 pg, an increase of 4.2 two-point fga per game. Similarly, 3-pt fga are up 2.6 pg from 11.9 to 14.5.

    24: FIBA changed from the 30-second shot clock to the 24-second shot clock between the 2000 and 2001. Scoring increased from 65.3 points per game to 71.6 points per game. It is important to note that in 1999, the league averaged 69.0 points per game, two years before the change, and that by 2004 scoring settled back down to 69.5 points per game. The WNBA scoring figures appear to far more dramatic this season.

    30: Last week, Diana Taurasi averaged 30.0 points per game for the Phoenix Mercury. This season there are currently five players averaging over 20 points per game (Taurasi, Augustus, Leslie, Pondexter, and Beard), while no season in WNBA history has featured more than two 20-point per game scorers.

    32.6: Fouls per game have only increased 1.45 fouls per team per game or a total of 2.9 fouls per game. Turnovers have increased from 29.2 to 32.6 per game which can be attributed to the shot clock and the increased number of possessions. Assists are up 2.1 per game as well. While fouls are up 2.9 fouls per game (39.5 in 2005 to 42.4 in 2006), it is important to note that opening weekend the average fouls per game were 49.3 and that average decreased significantly in week three down to 42.8 fouls per game and 39.5 last week. Free throw attempts have only increased by 2.7 per team/per game from 19.1 per game to 21.8.

    45.4: In 19 games last week, the league averaged 76.2 ppg (the same as the 17 games played the previous week). Additionally, overall field goal percentage (42.6 percent) is virtually the same as last season, while two-point field goal percentage has increased from 44.5 percent last season to 45.4 percent. This is an indication that teams are not only adjusting to the new shot clock but thriving by getting better shots in their offenses and/or getting the ball in the hands of the scorers as the clock is winding down.

    56: In 2005, WNBA teams scored 80+ points in a game 41 times in 442 opportunities, a frequency of 9.3 percent. In 2006, teams have exceeded 80+ points a total of 56 times in only 148 point totals, a frequency of 38 percent, which means nearly 2 out of every 5 point totals exceed 80+ points. After 74 games, the league has registered 21 point totals of 90+ point, while last season featured only five scores of 90 points or greater. This includes the WNBA record established three weeks ago by the Minnesota Lynx in its 114-71 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on May 31st.

    63.5: In an earlier edition of The Week That Was, it was mentioned that home team winning percentage was at a 10-year low (.526). In 36 games since that time, the home team winning percentage has increased to 63.5.

    76.1: Teams are averaging 76.1 ppg in comparison to 67.3 ppg in 2005. This is an increase of 8.8 ppg/per team. It is important to note that the highest scoring average in league history was 70.3 points per game during the 1998 campaign, and that was the only season that the league averaged more than 70 points per game. Currently, 13 teams average more points per game than the league average last season (expansion Sky average 1.8 points less than last year’s average).

    78: The number of possessions per game have increased from 70 per team to 78. Teams are shooting their first shot 16 seconds into the shot clock as opposed to 17.5 seconds last season.

    80: In 2000, the Houston Comets set the record for highest points per game average in a season at 77.3 per game. In 2006, seven teams are in contention to break that record: PHX (84.7), WAS (84.5), CNT (82.4), SEA (78.7), MIN (78.4), LAS (77.5) and SAC (77.2). In that same season, the Comets established a WNBA record .470 field goal percentage as a team. This year, HOU (.477), WAS (.470), SEA (46.0), and LAS (45.2) are all in contention to break that mark set six years ago.

    In Other News... Much has been made and written about the All-Decade Team that was announced last week. Fans have written in upset that certain players were left off, even our fan bloggers have written about it. Nearly all of their arguments have been valid. It's hard to condense ten great years into a list of ten players. Yet, the fans had their say, so it's hard to really complain about it too much. What I can say is that the vote really was very close, and the difference between those Honorable Mentionees was really very slim. So whether you agree or not with all ten players, honor their contributions to the game. All are stars, all deserve the recognition.

    Click and Roll: The Father's Day Edition
    Posted: By Mike Slane, June 16, 2006 10:06 a.m. ET

    A lot has happened in the WNBA this week, but nothing tops the All-Decade Team selections. As part of the WNBA's 10th Anniversary, the current players and coaches, the fans and the media voted 10 players to the All-Decade team. Cynthia Cooper, the only retired player selected, joined three other Comets, Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley, on the list. The six other players included Seattle's Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson, Indiana's Tamika Catchings, Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith, Los Angeles Lisa Leslie, and Detroit's Katie Smith.

    Back to the hardwood... Thanks to Liberty GM Carol Blazejowski and head coach Pat Coyle, New York has a new look this season. But unfortunately, they are off to a slow start with a 2-7 record and a sixth place standing in the East. It's going to take many baby steps before the new-look New Yorkers get back on track. The Liberty may have made some progress Tuesday by scoring five straight to force OT against the Fever, but Tamika Catchings' game winning jumper with 0.1 seconds left on the clock sent the Liberty fans home with another L weighing on their minds. Tonight they will look to rebound and upset the best that the West has to offer, the Houston Comets.

    Speaking of Tamika Catchings, the first returns of the 2006 WNBA All-Star balloting were released on Wednesday. Catchings leads all players with 27,722 votes while Sheryl Swoopes leads the Western Conference with 26,720 votes.

    The first-place Houston Comets started the season on fire but have recently cooled off a bit due to injuries to forward Sheryl Swoopes. Swoopes participated in her first full-scale workout with the Comets since reinjuring her back June 4 on Tuesday and started for the Comets on Wednesday against the Monarchs. Swoopes finished with 11 points, 1 point shy of her 4,000th career point, in only 26 minutes before being sent to the bench with a sprained. ankle.

    After losing the first two of a five game road trip, the Storm are now rolling. Seattle won their second straight away from Key Arena last night as they dominated the boards in the second half to beat the banged-up Sky, 74-61. The Sky have now lost nine straight.

    In other action around the league... On Tuesday, the Sparks defeated Phoenix, 98-84, ending the Mercury's two-game winning streak... Shaunzinski Gortman's "D" saved the Storm on Wednesday as she shut down Minnesota guard Seimone Augustus to help lead Seattle to a 74-66 win... The Washington Mystics remain undefeated on their home court after defeating the Charlotte Sting 87-70 on Tuesday... The Mystics the won their first road game on Thursday blowing out the Sting 96-77.

    Thursday Afternoon Scoop
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 15, 2006 4:37 p.m. ET

    The Phoenix Mercury have signed Kayte Christensen, who played with the team back in 2003 and 2004. She had been with the Comets in the preseason and was signed to a hardship contract for the first week of the season, but her contract expired with the Comets earlier this month when Tamecka Dixon and Tari Phillips were cleared to play.

    In Other News... Speaking of Comets injuries, I just ran into Dawn Staley here at the NBA Offices in New York. The Comets are in town to play the Liberty on Friday night, and when asked about teammate Sheryl Swoopes, who left yesterday's game with an ankle injury, she indicated that Swoopes has made the trip, but she was not sure whether Swoopes would play or not.

    Ask The Editor
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 14, 2006 5:02 a.m. ET

    Time for me to dip back into the Ask The Editor mailbag and answer some of your most burning questions.

    Q. I am very curious how the players of the week are chosen. Do the coaches or media vote? Thank you.
    -Darcy, Logan, OH

    Actually, the teams each nominate one of their own players and send all submissions to the league office on Monday mornings. Those names are then voted on by a panel of league officials. And in case you are wondering, I do get a vote. And I'm 3-for-3 this season. I can't speak for the others who get a vote, among them many of the WNBA basketball operations personnel, but I look for the player who made the greatest impact in the success of their team in that past week. For example, I voted for Cappie Pondexter because she was instrumental in Phoenix going defeated last week. She also sent me homemade chocolate chip cookies. Ok, not really.

    Q. We really miss the WNBA here in south Florida, how can I get the ball rolling to bring it back?
    -Lois, Tamarac, FL

    Believe me, Lois, we miss it too. Especially now that many of us are getting a taste of South Florida with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. A number of factors go into expansion consideration by the top NBA and WNBA league officials. Most importantly is a viably strong ownership group with a good venue and a strong fanbase. Also, say hello to my grandparents, Mike and Laura, who are actually your neighbors.

    Q. What are the requirements for becoming a Fan Blogger on your website? I became a season ticket holder with the Chicago Sky before they even had a name. I then really became "SkyHooked" at the team's first exhibition game. I was never a sports fan and could never understand the psychology of being one. I understand know. I talk with Margaret Stender, CEO of the Sky, on a regular basis and have a passion for the team, the players and the organization that borders on "irrational exuberance." This is something I cannot explain. I can't get enough? I e-mail Margaret, Dave Cowens and Steven Key and call my account rep, Wendy Ellis, probably more than a 54 year old married white guy with a teenaged daughter should. Go Sky!
    -Rick, Chicago, IL

    Good day to you, Rick. thanks for your growing interest in the WNBA. The Sky are a great addition to the league and great group of people to work with. While they're struggling early (as you might expect with an expansion team), they'll be around for awhile and get better as time goes by. As for the psychology of the sports fan, I've been one my whole life and cannot explain the psychology any better than you. I think it may be a combination of deeply-seeded rooting interests, identifying with people of passion or even living vicariously through top athletes as someone who used to play sports but is not very good at them. But most of all, I think we love good drama, whether it is in television, movies, theater or sports - we feel for the characters, follow the plot and feel the themes. It's also contagious. When you are around people who get into it, you get into it. And it never dies. Welcome to the club. As for the fan bloggers, we had an open application process prior to the start of the season, got about 200 applications and chose a good mix of geography, gender and age to represent the WNBA fans. They've been great. Since this is a new idea, we'll see how it goes and perhaps expand it next year. For now, does it make you glad to know that you got into this Blog?

    Q. Who are the players, past and present, who have won at all three levels, NCAA and WNBA championships and Olympic gold? I believe Swoopes, Cash, Bird and Riley may be in this elite group.
    -Sandra, Brooklyn, New York

    Yes, that is correct. I love a good trivia question. If only this were for an orange wedge in Trivial Pursuit, you'd be much better off right now.

    Q. I have my tickets for the all star game and I was wondering if there was going to be any other activties that the fans can attend during the allstar break.
    - Mary, Lake Hiawatha, NJ

    "Of course, there will be a number of events surrounding WNBA All-Star in New York. First, Summer Jam and the Be Fit tour will converge on New York Monday through Thursday (the game is Wednesday night). There will also be a skills challenge and 3-point contest this year on Tuesday. There will also be a number of community events in New York that will be announced later in the month once the plans are finalized. Finally, I'm having a barbecue on the roof of my apartment on Sunday afternoon. Mmmmm. Burgers.

    Q. What ever happened to Cheryl Miller?
    -Linda, Arlington, TX

    Cheryl is still around, working as an NBA commentator for games on TNT. She works the sidelines with the top broadcasting team and interviews the top basketball personalities in the game on a daily basis. You may also see her later this summer in some sort of WNBA-relatedcapacity.

    Q. Matt, Who is your favorite player and team? And does this strain or influence your fair and unbiased coverage on a daily basis?
    -Gretta, Pittsburgh, PA

    Are you trying to get me in trouble? The real truth is that I do not have a favorite player or team. I have players that I love to watch and players that are fun to cover and interview and email with and talk to and hang out with. As far as teams go, I grew up in New York and attend nearly all home Liberty games in an official capacity, but I spend as much time watching other teams and traveling and getting to know personalities on all teams that it would really be hard to root for one over another. I root for both teams in every game. Remove the WNBA aspect to that question and I'll tell you that my favorite NBA team is the Los Angeles Clippers (and has been for awhile), my favorite NBA players are Dwayne Wade, Quentin Richardon, Darius Miles, Chris Webber, Lebron, A.I., Wally and T-Mac.

    Q. Hello, I love the direction the league is going and think everyone there is really doing a great and you can tell how much you all care. Do you work much with Donna Orender? What is she like? thanks for all you guys do,
    -Raquel, Piper Creek

    She's amazing. I stopped drinking coffee and still have a rush every day in the office. I'd have to say it's great working with someone who is so passionate and so smart at the same time. She is a great communicator and an innovative thinker and she inspires everyone around her give their maximum effort all the time. And I'm not just saying that because she has a signed, framed picture of my in her office, which she does.

    Got a question? Send it our way.

    Click and Roll: The Flag Day Edition
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 13, 2006 7:44 a.m. ET

    With no games on Monday, we were finally able to catch our breaths after a crazy weekend of WNBA fun.

    On Sunday night, the Indiana Fever bested the visiting Seattle Storm, 69-62. The Fever keep their home record perfect while a lax offense cost the Storm. Seattle also paid the price after Lauren Jackson fouled out. Jackson is dealing with injuries in both legs. At the very least, a pair of friendly Aussies reunited on the court... Indianapolis has Bevilaqua fever.

    In other action on Sunday, the Connecticut Sun won their fifth straight game, an 85-71 win over Washington. Katie Douglas scored 26 points to begin the All-Star talk and Ambrosia Anderson finally got off the bench and participated in her first WNBA game. Elsewhere, the Minnesota Lynx pulled even at .500 with a big second half to close out the Comets, who could not get their shots to fall. The Lynx defeated Houston by slowing Tina Thompson and won their fourth victory in five games. Seimone Augustus, who has stepped to the head of a new class in WNBA, had the Comets were worried coming in.

    On Saturday night, the Monarchs defeated the Sky, and are now awaiting the return of their coach, John Whisenant, who was away with his family after the passing of his mother. That second win is still elusive for the slumping Sky, whose skid hit eight games. Also, the New York Liberty won their first road game of the season in San Antonio as the Silver Stars' home woes persist. Of course, San Antonio guard Vickie Johnson still loves New York. The loss came after a drubbing Houston the previous night. Even without Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson exploited the Liberty's lax defense. At least New York's Ashley Battle finding her form in N.Y.

    Friday was actually a busy night with five other games and a total of 12 teams in action. An energized Sting defeated the Fever at home and the improving Los Angeles Sparks dispatched the Sky, 73-65. WNBA Player of the Week Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi led the Mercury to another win over Detroit at home. The streaking Minnesota Lynx ended the Silver Stars' winning streak as Augustus saved the Lynx again. In the final game, the Douglas and Margo Dydek led the Sun to a win over the Storm, who found their rhythm too late. This Time, Douglas seals the deal at the line and Connecticut stopped Sue Bird, who, along with fellow UConn alum Barbara Turner, enjoyed their Connecticut homecoming.

    In Other News... Spend five minutes with Joan Jett, rock star and WNBA fan.

    Get Well, Melissa
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 12, 2006 3:31 p.m. ET

    I received some disturbing news today that one of our favorite fan bloggers, Melissa, was in the hospital with what might have been a heart attack. While details are still unknown, reports are that she is stable. We will share more infomation as it becomes available.

    Get well soon, Melissa!

    Top WNBA Official On the Present and Future
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 11, 2006 9:20 p.m. ET

    Renee Brown, the WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations, conducted an interview with Associated Press/Indianapolis writer Cliff Brunt last week for a story on the WNBA. She spoke about the impact of the new rule changes, the increase in scoring and the future of the WNBA. Here is the full extent of what she said.

    On what she sees as a result of the WNBA’s key rules changes for 2006 (the move from a 30-second shot clock to a 24-second shot clock and the switch from two halves to four quarters):
    “I was really happy that the rules changes were implemented because I felt that we have the athletes to actually execute with these particular rules. We didn’t see it as being a big change because so many of our athletes play FIBA basketball so they’re used to playing with a 24-second clock and four quarters.
    “I really thought this would get us in line with the world as far as professional athletes are concerned. It really separated us from the college ranks instead of us having two 20-minute halves and the 30-second clock.
    “We felt that our athletes were ready for it. Even the top college players coming into the WNBA, most of these top college players have played for USA Basketball and played at that pace before. It’s not like it was a huge adjustment for them because the top 10 or 15 players [at that level] play on junior teams with USA Basketball. We felt that with our athletes coming in bigger, faster, stronger and much more versatile, it would not be a problem.”

    On the increase in scoring through the first week of June:
    “Scoring is up to 75.9 points per team per game (through 6/5/06 compared to 67.3 for the 2005 season). I think there are a variety of reasons for it.
    “We have the best players in the world and I think our coaches are doing an outstanding job in really recognizing our players’ talents and letting them play. I think you see a lot more teams wanting to get out and run, create quick shots...the whole idea of the transition game, getting the ball off the boards, getting it out and pushing it up the court.
    “The biggest change is that we’ve reduced the shot clock by six seconds and we’re finding that teams are currently shooting, on average, within 16 seconds whereas last year they were shooting at 17.5 seconds [into a possession].
    “The six-second adjustment -- with the type of world-class athletes we have -- it makes the game a better game and more exciting for our fans. It’s something we were extremely happy to see because we knew our players would adjust and do well with it.”

    On whether the improved quality of the athletes coming into the WNBA means there will be expansion:
    “There is no timetable at the moment, but it is something that we will consider.”

    On possible future rules changes:
    “Right now, just getting into our 10th year and having adjusted a couple rules, we want to stick to this and see how it works. We want to watch it over the year. We’ve been tracking it week to week to see what our stats look like and we want to see if the length of games will increase because of the change to four quarters. So we want to see how these changes go for us before we start thinking about other things.”

    On whether the scoring, though it’s early in the season, has created greater interest in the WNBA:
    “It may be early to tell but I believe these changes will result in increased interest in the league. When you look at us over the 10 years of the league, the highest we ever averaged was 70.3 points (per team) per game. Right now were averaging nearly 76 points.
    “I think there’s a buzz going on out there with [rookies] Seimone Augustus [of Minnesota] and Cappie Pondexter [of Phoenix]. When you look at their stats as of today, when you look at the top five scorers in the WNBA and see that Seimone and Cappie are both in the top five, people are saying, ‘Wow, what are these rookies doing?’ You’re seeing players coming in bigger, faster, stronger and ready to play the game. And they’re impact players. When you look at that and see two rookies coming in and right away being that type of impact player and when you look over at Sophia Young and see what she’s doing in San Antonio, there’s a lot of buzz going on with this particular class and with the league in general.”

    On the impact of high school and college coaches and how it has resulted in the overall improvement of women’s basketball players:
    “These players in college now have had the opportunity for years to see and know that the dream really can come true [in terms of making a career in women’s basketball]. The coaches, both at the high school and collegiate level – particularly at the collegiate level – know what skill sets they have to work on with these athletes to get them prepared to come into the WNBA. I really have a high degree of respect for these college coaches. It’s great to watch players develop over four years [in college] and by the time they come to us they really are ready.”

    Click and Roll: The World Cup Edition
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 9, 2006 10:14 a.m. ET

    With no action on thursday night, we look back to the great action from earlier in the week of this edition of Click and Roll.

    A morning matinee in New York between the Liberty and Sun saw thousands of New York City public school students brave the weather and attend the game. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Liberty were flat and guard Katie Douglas kept Sun shining despite getting poked in the eye. Taj McWilliams was playing with a broken finger, but all it took was a little tape to get her back in the action. Connecticut has been riding good momentum and have the best record in the WNBA. Liberty coach Pat Coyle chalked up the loss to a lack of effort. The Liberty were going for two in a row.

    Taj will not be available when the Sun host the Storm on Friday night. The Sun look to speed up and not get off to another slow start.

    The Sun bench has been coming up big, including forward Laura Summerton, whose numbers adding up to more playing time. The Sun have also been using some pretty unconventional methods, such as boxing, to round out their training, which enables them to stay on top of their game.

    The return of Tamika Catchings was all it took to end the Fever's skid. Catchings' return sparked the Fever and an all-around strong effort powered Indiana to victory over the Mystics on Wednesday, extending the franchise's best start in its 7 seasons as Alana Beard and Tully Bevilaqua scrapped to the end. The Mystics had played the night before. The Comets were on a roll heading into Tuesday night's game with Washington, consider that roll halted. In what they are calling a "beautiful win," the Mystics thrashed the Comets led by Alana Beard. Houston could just not keep up with Washington, though Comets coach Van Chancellor shrugged off the loss.

    Now, the rested Comets aim to regain momentum tonight.

    Also on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Sparks returned home for the first time this season, having opened the season with a six game road trip. The Sparks also welcomed back Chamique Holdsclaw after tending to family matters. That combination proved to be too much as the Sparks knocked off the Detroit Shock in the home opener.

    The Sky visit the Sparks for their third time this season. The teams met once in the preseason. Keep an eye on Chicago's Stacey Dales, whose return has been anything but easy.

    In the final game on Wednesday, the Seattle Storm hung on to defeat the visiting Chicago Sky, making it six losses in a row for Chicago. It was a late surge that helped the Storm seal the deal, though it seems that the expansion Sky was just what the struggling Storm needed. In the win, Lauren Jackson becamse the fastest to reach 3,000 points... and counting... Before the game, it was Betty Lennox who heated up the Storm at practice and got them going again. The news isn't all good for Seattle, though. An Achilles tear will sideline Wendy Palmer for four weeks or more.

    The hurting Storm are now on the road for five games. Barbara Turner will be making her first return to Connecticut and is learning to power forward. Janell Burse is also ready and bursting with confidence.

    On Tuesday, the Phoenix Mercury finally got the taste of victory as Cappie Pondexter and Diana Taurasi paced the win. The teammates became the first pair in WNBA history to score 30 points for the same team in the same game. The Monarchs played without their Coach, but the team is moving forward despite the absence of Coach John Whisenant, who is at home tending to his ailing mother.

    The Mercury have been scoring big despite their record, and enter tonight hunting for their second win. Another Mercury rookie, Crystal Smith, enjoys being a pest.

    Looking ahead to tonight, there are six games and 12 teams in action... The Silver Stars aiming for success at home, which should not be too hard for teammates and neighbors cook together and play together. Second-year Stars forward Kendra Wecker shines in a different role. The Silver Stars take on the Lynx tonight. the Lynx are ready. Lynx rookie Seimone Augustus has racked up four straight games with more than 20 points.

    In Other News... Check out the New York Times' review of 'The Heart of the Game.' calls it this summer's must-see feature documentary.

    Instant Offense: Keep It Up
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 6, 2006 6:22 a.m. ET

    Every so often, I'll get an good email with some helpful information. The most recent one came from the WNBA's own Wade Morehead, the Senior Director, Basketball Operations. His weekly stat memo continues to show that scoring and offense is on the rise. As you should know well by now, the WNBA implemented new rules to improve the game and the product that our league provides to the fans. Naturally, we closely monitor the effects that these rules have on the game this season.

    So through 38 games so far this season, teams are averaging 75.9 ppg in comparison to 67.3 ppg in 2005. This is an increase of 8.6 ppg/per team. It is important to note that the highest scoring average in league history was 70.3 points per game during the 1998 campaign, and that was the only season that league averaged more than 70 points per game.

    In 2005, WNBA teams scored 80+ points in a game 41 times in 442 opportunities, a frequency of 9.3 percent. In 2006, teams have scored 80+ points in a game 29 times out of 76 scores, a frequency of 38 percent. That means nearly two out of every five point totals exceed 80+ points. After 38 games, the league has more than doubled the number of 90+ point totals from last season (11 in 2006 and 5 in 2005). This includes the WNBA record established last week by the Minnesota Lynx in its 114-71 win over the Los Angeles Sparks on May 31.

    The number of possessions per game have increased from 70 per team to 78. Teams are shooting their first shot 16 seconds into the shot clock as opposed to 17.5 seconds last season. That also means that the number of field goal attempts (fga) are up from 46.0 per game to 50.1. Similarly, 3-pt field goal attempts are up 3.0 pg from 11.9 to 14.9.

    And what about the shot clock? Well, there have been 57 24-second shot clock violations in 38 games, an average of 1.5 per game. During the preseason, teams averaged 2.64 24-second shot clock violations per game, which reveals that teams are adjusting to the new time. Just for the sake of comparison, during the 2005-06 NBA regular season, teams averaged 1.19 24-second shot clock violations per game.

    In Other News... Come out and support your home team and make some noise... Home team winning percentage is currently at a 10-year low (.526). However, that trend improved for the home teams last week to a .667 winning percentage.

    Heart of the Game: It's Finally Here!
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 6, 2006 11:59 p.m. ET

    WNBA President Donna Orender was just one of many celebrities and V.I.P.s on hand tonight at the New York premiere of The Heart of the Game at the Bryant Park Hotel in New York City. Also on hand were the film's director, Ward Serrill, narrator Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges, stars Darnellia Russell and Bill Resler, not to mention Jay-Z, LA Reid and NY Liberty Kym Hampton.

    After months of build up (a lot of it in this Blog), the film opens on June 9.

    In case you've been out of it, here is how Miramax is promoting the film:

    When Seattle filmmaker Ward Serrill met Bill Resler, a college tax professor who moonlights as a girls’ basketball coach, he didn’t realize that he was about to embark on an incredible seven-year journey. Serrill, camera in hand, followed Resler – who looks more like Santa Claus in Birkenstocks than a whistle-blasting high school coach – into the Roosevelt High School gym and soon discovered a group of girls whose unbridled toughness, passion and energy he came to call THE HEART OF THE GAME. Then, one day, onto the Roughriders’ court (and into the film) walked Darnellia Russell – a tough, inner-city girl whose off-court struggles would eventually threaten to crash the star athlete’s plans to play college ball and be the first person in her family to get a college education. At the center of THE HEART OF THE GAME is Darnellia’s unforgettable true story – the loss of her eligibility and her legal battle to get back on court to play the game that means everything to her. With Coach Resler, her team and her family standing by her side, she takes on enormous personal obstacles as well as the ruling body of high school sports in Washington State.

    Directed by Serrill, this in-depth documentary not only illustrates the hard-charging energy and excitement of the game, but also captures the fiercely competitive and extraordinary spirit of a winning team. Featuring narration by multi-platinum and Grammy® Award-winning artist and actor, Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges (“Crash”), the producers are Serrill and Liz Manne and the executive producer is Larry Estes.

    A Click and Roll for the End of Days
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 6, 2006 7:52 a.m. ET

    There is no hotter team than the Houston Comets after their fifth win in a row. It was their defensive presence that stymied the Lynx on Sunday night. The streak went to four after the Sky fell on Friday night. The big story in that game was Dawn Staley, coach of Temple, facing her for player, Candice Dupree. It was pupil vs. teacher as Dupree and Staley made WNBA history. In the end, Staley's Comets eclipsed Dupree's Sky, but Staley is still looking out for Dupree.

    But it was not all bad for the Lynx last week. Rookie Seimone Augustus had a big game and poured in 31 points to lead Lynx past Fever, ending a late rally. Augustus leads a group of impressive young talent making their rookie debuts this season.

    Another young team on the rise is the San Antonio Silver Stars, who are 4-0 on the road behind the play of rookie Sophia Young. The Silver Stars, trailing by 14, erased the large deficit with 32-point quarter and rallied to sink the Seattle Storm at the line on Sunday. In their previous game, the Silver Stars held off and proved to be too much for the defending champion Monarchs. At least Sacramento can go into tonight's game not worried about losing their coach. The Monarchs are looking for more points from point guard Ticha Penicheiro. The Monarchs will take on the the Phoenix Mercury, who have lost four games straight.

    The Detroit Shock had a busy weekend, playing back-to-back games with Chicago and Washington. On Saturday in chicago, Bill Laimbeer continued to haunt Chicago with 'Bad' memories as his Shock topped the Sky, who apparently could not shoot straight. Katie Smith's 21 leds the way for Detroit. But a day later, Detoit's lethargic offense doomed them. The Shock were mystified as they puts up little resistance in a 92-68 loss to the Mystics. A 28-minute delay was the only issue that Washington had in their own building as Coach Richie Adubato's team remains unbeaten at home.m

    The Seattle Storm are hurting, and not just forward Wendy Palmer, who is sidelined with a partially-torn Achillies tendon. Her absence meant a lack of rebounds in Sunday's loss to San Antonio. Or as the Aussies say, the Storm were "pipped." Yet, in their previous out, the Storm were back in top form and absolutely ran over the Mercury, setting a franchise record for points with 97.

    The New York Liberty finally got off the snide and earned their first win on the season on Saturday. After starting four games on the road, the Lib returned to Madison Square Garden and knocked off the spark-less Los Angeles Sparks in an overtime thriller. The New York Times bi-monthly sports magazine spoke with WNBA president Donna Orender this weekend, who has been spanning the country visiting with all 14 teams.

    Finally, the Charlotte Sting and Connecticut Sun played a home-and-home series. Sting coach Muggsy Bogues is ready for WNBA challenges, but the Connecticut Sun swept both games thanks to a second-quarter run and a second half surge. The Sun made the necessary adjustments after last week's loss to Detroit and dominated the Sting on the boards and an effective transition game. The Sun have also gotten steady and reliable play from its deep bench.

    In Other News... in this league, the mothers know best and Go shopping with Tamika Williams.

    Don't Mess With Texas
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 5, 2006 11:20 a.m. ET

    So when I picked the San Antonio Silver Stars to be the most improved team in the WNBA, what did you think? Did you laugh? Did you think about all of the bad luck that the team has incurred over the past few seasons?

    Well after last night's 89-87 victory over the Storm in Seattle, the Silver Stars are 4-2, all alone in second place. They have won four games on the road and three games in a row. They have now knocked off the past two WNBA champions away from home. Rookie forward Sophia Young had her third double-double of the season already with 14 and 11 in Seattle, including a key offensive rebound late to seal the deal. And talk about a resurgence, ten-year veteran Vickie Johnson is leading the team in scoring with 14.7 points per game, the highest of her career.

    The other hottest team in the WNBA, the Houston Comets, are 5-1 and have the best record in the WNBA. They have reeled off five straight wins.

    In Other News... Three players are within reach of scoring their 3,000th career point in the WNBA. Seattle Storm teammates Lauren Jackson and Wendy Palmer both could reach that milestone on Wednesday night when the Storm hosts the expansion Chicago Sky. Jackson needs 12 points and Palmer 16 to reach 3,000. The LA Sparks' Mwadi Mabika is on the verge as well with 3,970 career points. Jackson, Palmer and Mabika currently rank 11th, 12th and 13, respectively on the league’s all-time scoring list.

    Jackson also is on pace to be both the youngest and fastest to the 3,000-point mark.

    Through June 4th, Jackson leads the Storm and ranks second in the league in scoring with an average of 22.5 points per game. Palmer is a fifth in scoring among the Storm with 9.4 points per game and Mabika is sixth on the Sparks with 5.8 ppg.

    Dreams Do Come True
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 5, 2006 10:43 a.m. ET

    Back in 1998, Fever forward Ebony Hoffman was a high school basketball player who suddenly had a dream to reach for: the WNBA. Eight years later, she is making that dream come true.

    Special thanks to Ebony's mom, Marsha, for sending this to us.

    What The Real Writers Are Writing: Click and Roll
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 2, 2006 7:21 a.m. ET

    The top story of the week thus far has been the Lynx re-writing the record book. The WNBA record in 114-71 victory, a scoring frenzy, if you will, ended a week of frustration for Seimone Augustus and the previously-winless Lynx, who were finally able to avoid the late-game fade. The victim in the record-setting evening, the Los Angeles Sparks, LA has showed little fight in the second half of a back-to-back. The record night at the Sparks' expense was led by the impressive rookie guard, the top overall pick from L.S.U., who has been offsetting that frustration with a leadership role in Minnesota. The Lynx had little time to celebrate their performance as the host the Fever tonight.

    In a battle of the past two champions on Wednesday night, the Monarchs rolled over the Storm. The defending champions were too much for Storm as their defense was exposed. Betty Lennox had been hoping to "get Betty back". This is just the beginning of a brutal month for Seattle. The Storm seek that elusive remedy for its defensive ills while Lennox is mad at herself for not playing angry.

    Monarchs rookie Scholanda Dorrell also puts on quite a 'Show'. Kara Lawson, who is hoping for a spot with the U.S. National Team, got to audition a bit for the coach, who also happens to be the Storm's coach, Anne Donovan. Speaking of coaches, the Monarchs are keeping their focus on the present as Monarchs Coach John Whisenant works while he waits to hear back from the Kings regarding their coaching vacancy. Mechelle Voepel looks at WNBA coaching history: Women coaches were given early opportunities, but most coaches today are men. That means the WNBA is also a man's world.

    The Sparks had to be up early after a 64-55 victory in Chicago on Tuesday night. All-Star center Lisa Leslie's 19 points, 16 rebounds lifted the Sparks to it's theird straight win. In their second week without Chamique Holdsclaw, Leslie has carried the load and is showing no signs of slowing down, at least not yet... The Sky struggled offensively in dropping their third consecutive game. The game marked the national television debut for Coach Dave Cowens' club (ESPN2). Tonight, Sky rookie Candice Dupree faces her former college coach, Dawn Staley, and the Comets is a never-before seen teacher vs. student matchup.

    Like the Sparks, the Indiana Fever also faced the tough task of playing the second half of a back-to-back on the road. After blowing out the Liberty at home on Tuesday, the last unbeaten team traveled to Houston for a date with the Comets. The Fever had not only improved with their many offseason addition, but also in the offseason improvement of Tan White. Yet, without Tamika Catchings, who was sidelined with a right arch sprain, the Fever had little chance. Dominique Canty stepped up to lead the Comets, who were looking to avoid a letdown, to the victory. The bad news for the ailing Comets is that Sheryl swoopes was lost to injury as well.

    The Fever handed the Liberty their third straight loss on the road, and were huge underdogs as they headed into Detroit to close out their road trip on Thursday night. The Shock celebrated their ninth anniversary as well as a 10th for the WNBA. Yet, the game was much closer than anyone could have predicted. The Shock snuck by on a last second lay-up by Deanna Nolan to win, 64-63. Swin Cash led the way with 20 points.

    In their previous outing, the Shock went into Connecticut last Saturday and pulled off that great overtime win. The Sun did not take the loss lightly, but were instead embarrassed and upset. In the Sun's rebound game, they got to face last year's worst team, the Charlotte Sting, last night. The Sun got a much needed win as center Margo Dydek dominated the boards. But injuries are beginning to mount for Coach Thibault's tough squad. Rookie guard Erin Phillips has a concussion and Taj McWilliams-Franklin was also hobbled, but played. Both played limited minutes.

    Finally, the ongoing improvements in San Antonio continue to manifest in victories for the San Antonio Silver Stars. Kendra Wecker led the Stars to their second victory on Wednesday night over Phoenix. The Mercury are getting closer, but are still winless. They will try switch at guard, bringing in Jen Derevjanik after waiving Tamicha Jackson. The backcourt remains in question for Phoenix as injuries continue to plague the winless team. Meanwhile, the Silver Stars' centers have been putting in extra work, though the Silver Stars' Ely is likely out for season.

    Late Arrival
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 1, 2006 4:01 p.m. ET

    Bernadette Ngoyisa has been on the roster for the Chicago Sky since the start of the season, but just met her teammates yesterday for the first time. The 6’4” center from the Democratic Republic of Congo arrived in Chicago this week having recently celebrated capturing the EuroLeague Women’s title on Sunday, followed by her wedding . Ngoyisa played last season with the San Antonio Silver Stars averaging 4.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per game.

    Did You See That?
    Posted: By Matt Wurst, June 1, 2006 5:42 a.m. ET

    "My teammates were on FIRE!"

    Lynx forward Kristen Mann sounded like she was excited last night, and she has good reason to be. The Lynx put together one of the greatest performances in WNBA history with an historic 114-71 win over the visiting Los Angeles Sparks. In the victory, the Lynx broke a number of league and team records...

    League recordsPrevious record
    Most points, game- 114111, Detroit vs. Indiana, June 18, 2000
    Tie - most three-point field goals made- 1515, Washington vs. Los Angeles May 26, 2005
    Tie 2nd - Largest margin of victory - 43Largest – 45, Houston @ Washington, Aug 17, 1998
    43, NY vs Washington, Aug 13,1998
    Tied 2nd - Most points in the 2nd Half - 6363, Washington vs. Utah, July 19, 1998

    Lynx recordsPrevious record
    Most points, 1st half- 5148, vs. Utah, June 14, 1999
    Most points, 2nd half- 6352, @ Los Angeles, July 8, 2001
    Most field goals made- 3932, @ Seattle, May 20, 2004 (most recently)
    Most assists- 2925, vs. Indiana, August, 6, 2000

    Rookie Seimone Augustus is the real deal. She led six Lynx players in double figures with 26 points. Augustus, Mann and Svetlana Abrosimova shot a combined 13-15 from 3-point range in the win.

  • More In Other News... Blog

    May 2006
    March - April 2006
    January - February 2006
    November - December 2005
    September - October 2005

    More Blogging

    2005 WNBA Finals
    2005 WNBA All-Star Game
    2004 WNBA Finals
    2004 Game At Radio City