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We head back across the Atlantic for updates from today's EuroLeague quarterfinal-round second-leg matchups. Two of the series ended in two-game sweeps, while the other two will go to deciding contests next week.
Tipping things off today in Brno, Czech Republic, after losing the first game
to Deanna Nolan's defending champion Gambrinus side on Tuesday, Spartak
Moscow Region evened its quarterfinal series at a game apiece with a convincing
81-63 win. Tina Thompson set the standard for Spartak, putting up 25
points and 11 rebounds, while Diana Taurasi chipped in with 20 points
of her own, including four of five from three-point range. Agnieszka Bibrzycka
and Tamika Whitmore added 13 and eight points, respectively. Nolan was
again huge for Gambrinus, dropping 29 points in a losing effort.
In Valencia, Spain, Ros Casares forced a third game in its series with Turkish side Fenerbahce thanks to a 71-53 victory. DeLisha Milton-Jones led the way again for the Spaniards with 20 points, while newly acquired Connecticut center Erika de Souza posted 16 points and 14 rebounds. Cappie Pondexter led Fenerbahce with 14, and Linda Frohlich and Tammy Sutton-Brown added nine and six points, respectively.
Elsewhere, in Sopron, Hungary, CSKA Volgaburmash earned its third straight trip to the EuroLeague's Final Four with a 75-63 victory and a two-game sweep of MKB Euroleasing. Ann Wauters of CSKA wowed the crowd, posting 24 points and eight boards. Edwige Lawson-Wade added 12 points for the victors, who are hoping to repeat their 2005 title in the competition.
Also, Bourges Basket ended Vilnius' EuroLeague campaign, notching a 60-54 win and a series sweep on the Lithuanian side's home court. Vicki Hall had 10 points and six rebounds for Bourges. Katie Douglas led the way for Vilnius with 17 points and seven boards while Yelena Leuchanka added 10 and six of her own.
So it all comes down to a final Game 3 for Gambrinus-Spartak and Ros Casares- Fenerbahce. The deciding matchups will be played Wednesday, February 28, on the home courts of Spartak and Fenerbahce. Be sure to check back next week for more news and highlights from overseas.
While getting a chance to hobnob with many of the celebrities at NBA All-Star Week this past weekend, I really had a chance to refine my Oscar picks. The Academy Awards will cap off the busy awards season in Hollywood this weekend and all of my old pals will be there.
I also asked a few players for their picks for some of the big awards. They were not very helpful:
- The Depated
- Letters from Iwo Jima
- Little Miss Sunshine
- The Queen
Lisa Leslie: "I think The Departed was pretty cool. To be honest, I did not see The Queen, but I think that will probably win. I wanted to see it, but I am not sure it's the best movie to see at night because I have a tendency to fall asleep. I would like to see it for a matinee. But I will say that The Queen will win."
Swin Cash: "I haven't seen any of the movies nominated, but Dreamgirls was my best movie of the year."
Dominique Canty: "Being over here in Poland, you don't see too many movies... But my favorite has been The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith and his son. I liked the (movie's) message and the fact that it's based on a true story. It's about a guy who struggled. But regardless of what he was going through, he never gave up on it. I think that's a great message to send out to anybody and everybody."
Nykesha Sales: "Well, I did just see Norbit..."
- Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond
- Ryan Gosling in Half Nelson
- Peter O'Toole in Venus
- Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness
- Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland
Lisa Leslie: "I would like to see Will Smith win, even though I believe Forest Whitaker will win it. He swept the early awards, but I think Will Smith deserves an award. He did an amazing job and he was so not like Will Smith. No one is going to win anything based on my picks, obviously, but he is my pick."
Swin Cash: "Will Smith"
WNBA.com Editor Adam Hirshfield's picks
Forest Whitaker, The Last King of Scotland: He's an amazing actor.
Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine: Phenomenal role as the grandfather/striptease choreographer.
Best Actress: Aren't Judi Dench and Meryl Streep in this category every year? I'll go with Mirren (The Queen) because it's a more serious film.
Supporting Actress: I think the Oscar will go to Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls.
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, The Departed: Great characters, engaging, interesting story. A wicked good movie.
Best Documentary: An Inconvenient Truth: I can see the headlines now: "Al Gore wins something!"
Adapted screenplay: I'm rooting for Borat, just to hear Sacha Baron Cohen's speech. Happy time!
Best Picture: The Departed was my favorite film of the year, but I think Babel, The Queen and Letters From Iwo Jima are all more likely to take this one home. I'll go out on a limb... Crash won in an upset last year, and Babel is pretty similar in the way it weaves together different stories. I'd put my money there.
- Penélope Cruz in Volver
- Judi Dench in Notes on a Scandal
- Helen Mirren in The Queen
- Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada
- Kate Winslet in Little Children
Lisa Leslie: "Meryl Streep. That's all. That's all."
Swin Cash: "I think Kate Winslet will pull off the upset."
For the record, I am pulling for Little Miss Sunshine, because I'm a fan of anything Steve Carrell is in (even though this was a huge departure role for him) and he was great to talk with at All-Star. That said, I think Letters from Iwo Jima wins in an upset. I think Forest Whitaker will win, as well, but DiCaprio had the best 1-2 punch with The Departed and Blood Diamond. As for lead actress, I saw none of these films, but think Helen Mirren beats out perennial winners Dench and Streep.
Other winners to help you win your office pool...
Best director: Clint Eastwood for Letters from Iwo Jima
- Supporting actress: Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls
- Supporting Actor: Djimon Hounsou in Blood Diamond
- Animated film: Happy Feet
- Art direction: Dreamgirls
- Best cinematography: Children of Men
- Costume design: The Queen
- Best documentary: Iraq in Fragments
- Best short documentary: “The Blood of Yingzhou District”
- Editing: Babel
- Foreign language film: Days of Glory (Indigènes)
- Best original score: The Queen
- Original song: Something from Dreamgirls
- Best short animated foreign documentary: Okay... I'm done. Real work to do...
We're getting down to the nitty-gritty in both the EuroLeague and EuroCup club competitions. Each tournament has made it through one game of its quarterfinal matchups, and WNBA players are continuing to perform impressively on Europe's biggest stage.
We tip things off in the EuroLeague, where the quarterfinal round is a best-of-three series. All of these first legs were played on February 20.
Cappie Pondexter was the star of the day in Istanbul as her jumper with six seconds remaining lifted Fenerbahce to a 69-67 win over Ros Casares. Pondexter finished with 15 points, 10 assists and six boards, while Tammy Sutton-Brown added 17 points and seven rebounds. Linda Frohlich added 10 points for the first-leg winners. DeLisha Milton led the way for the Spanish side with 19 points and 13 boards, while the newest member of the Connecticut Sun, Erika de Souza, chipped in with 11 points.
In Russia, despite its All-Star-laden squad, home side Spartak Moscow Region fell to Gambrinus 73-58 in their first leg thanks largely to 33 points from Czech forward Eva Vitckova and 17 from Shock star Deanna Nolan. Tina Thompson (19 points, nine rebounds) and Diana Taurasi (14 points, six rebounds) led the way for Spartak.
Elsewhere in Russia, CSKA took Game 1 of its series against MKB Euroleasing 75-62. Ann Wauters scorched the Hungarian side for 23 points and 10 rebounds, while Edwige Lawson-Wade and DeMya Walker added 13 and 11, respectively.
Finally, Bourges Basket eked out a 66-60 win at home over TEO Vilnius, despite 16 points from Katie Douglas and Ebony Hoffman's eight points and eight boards in a losing cause. Vicki Hall notched six points and seven rebounds for Bourges.
The second games in each of the quarterfinal matchups will be played later today, while the Game 3's, if necessary, will be held on Wednesday, February 28.
Next, we head to the EuroCup, where Thursday's three tilts brought an end to the first legs of their two-game total-points-scored contests.
In Moscow, Olympia Scott took over with 17 points and an astonishing 18 rebounds as Dynamo Moscow Region dismantled Nadezhda 67-42. Chasity Melvin added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Russian powerhouse.
The other Moscow-based squad, Dynamo Moscow, scored a solid win in Israel, 68-57, against Anda Ramat Hasharon. Rebekkah Brunson put up 11 points and pulled down 13 boards for the Russian club, while Seimone Augustus added four points in limited action. Mwadi Mabika (12 points, seven assists) and Deanna Jackson (nine points, eight rebounds) led the way for the Israelis.
Elsewhere, Faenza absolutely pounded Lisa Willis and Chevakata 101-44, and on Wednesday, Italian power Lavezzini ripped Taranto Cras 86-61 despite nine points from Laura Summerton.
The second legs in the EuroCup's quarterfinal matchups are all scheduled for Thursday, March 1.
Check back later today for updates from today's second quarterfinal legs in the EuroLeague.
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With a few exceptions, all of the WNBA players who were in Las Vegas for NBA All-Star Week are heading back their separate ways... Tina Thompson is going back to Russia, Tamika Catchings is a on a plane to Korea and Shona Thorburn is probably still at Jam Session taking pictures for her scrapbook.
What a week it was, culminating in last night's All-Star Game! All of the WNBA players had great seats and got the VIP red carpet treatment. After meeting many of the celebrities on the red carpet, Lisa Leslie and her husband, Michael, found their seats. They loved watching fellow Los Angeles star Kobe Bryant take over en route to winning the M.V.P. Award and Catchings raved about Gilbert Arenas' trampoline dunk during one of the timeouts.
"Hysterical," she said. "That was so funny for me when he followed the guys jumping off the trampolines. I was worried he was going to get hurt!"
For others, the entire experience of working in the community made the week a success.
"This is what I came here to do," Sheryl Swoopes said. "I loved having the chance to work with so many kids and be a part of all that was going on around town."
After winning the Haier Shooting Stars Challenge, the victors disappeared, likely off to celebrate somewhere on the town. So we asked the losers just what went wrong tonight:
So what happened out there?
"Poor shots, poor shots. I thought I was shootin', but he thought it was his turn and his ball went in instead of mine. So that's what happened when we went out of order."
On her half court shot:
"I work on that a lot. At the WNBA All-Star Game I knocked it down first try."
"We lost, but we had fun."
On the ladies hitting two half court shots:
"You gotta give it up for Candace and Swin for representing the WNBA like that. We play to look out for each other, you gotta look out for Detroit and Chicago when they're shootin' like that. We didn't win, but it's alright. We'll bounce back."
"Our shots were high and awful. But, hey, Detroit got 'em in, it happens like that sometimes."
On the controversy:
"There was a lot of controversy. With the one minute clock stoppin'... A little controversy."
Did the best team win?
"In my heart I think we're the best team, but that's how it goes. Shots didn't fall, and you can't blame anybody. "
Despite some early clock issues, Chicago and Detroit advanced into the finals as both Candice Dupree and Swin Cash drain half-court shots!
Teams Los Angeles and San Antonio were eliminated due to the struggles of their NBA legends from the 3-point line.
In the Finals, Chauncey Billups sunk a half-court shot for Detroit while Candice Dupree and Scottie Pippen struggled for Chicago and were ultimately disqualified when Ben Gordon shot out of turn.
As Cash predicted yesterday during media day, your champions are Team Detroit. Bill Laimbeer: champion, again.
With the Haier Shooting Stars competition set to begin, we caught up with the four competitors:
I snagged Temeka as she was heading in for a quick pre-game snack. How's the experience been so far?
"I'm just here to have fun. This has been a great experience, being my first time here, enjoying every moment of it. The girls are great, the guys are great, the legends are great. I mean it's just an all-around great event, and I'm really enjoying myself."
Any highlights so far?
"Just being here is a highlight enough for me. Meeting everybody and seeing how nice people really are. We get here and you don't know how they all are on and off the court or whatever, but the NBA guys have been great. It's been fun. I haven't met Chris Paul yet -- I'm a Chris Paul fan."
Any predictions for tonight?
"Have fun. I predict I'm gonna have fun regardless of the outcome."
"It's really exciting. It's a once in a lifetime experience being here today. Meeting Scottie Pippen and George and these other NBA players and legends. It's really fun."
"I've been here since Sunday just doing a lot of stuff for the WNBA, making appearances, stuff for the community. I'm not a big gambler, don't like to lose a whole lot of money. I'll be going to parties, shopping."
"Chicago takes it. It looks like everybody's struggling with the half court shot, so we'll see."
I caught Kendra with a plate of spaghetti and meatballs, preparing for the event.
"This is a great experience. It's a great opportunity for anyone to come to All-Star. This is my second time, so I'm lovin' every second of it. I'm just honored that I get to represent San Antonioand the WNBA. Having a great time and looking forward to tonight."
"Seeing everybody. To walk through the hotel and see the players and the legends like Scottie and all of those guys we're seein' tonight. I mean I grew up watching them play so to actually meet them and try to interact with them personally is pretty cool."
Any players you'd still like to meet?
"MJ, but I haven't seen him in two years."
Meanwhile, Kobe and Dwyane Wade walk behind her and she exchanges "hi"'s with Kobe.
"I hope we can defend our title, that's what I'm here for."
Holding a plate of salad, also clutching a bag of M and Ms prior to the competition.
"It's exciting. I think for everyone of the girls that are participating and for the guys it's about going out and having a good time. I'm sure it'll get more competitive when we get out there but it's just fun right now. My highlight so far is just seeing people. A lot of the girls play oversees so get a chance to see 'em. For the guys, I cover these I guys and I see them on ESPN. So now to come here I'm gettin' flack about, "you said this on tv or you said that on tv" so now to be here around them is pretty cool."
"I'm definitely going to the Players Association party. I'm a big Mary J Blige fan. I don't really care about anything else that's happening as long as I get to see Mary perform."
Tamika Catchings' West squad topped Katie Smith's East team in the 2007 McDonald’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Presented by 2K Sports. Both players were in the starting lineup and scored points for their teams. Of course, it was more about the fun than the game itself. See some photos here.
Catchings and her sister then attended the ESPN party at Tryst nightclub at the Wynn Hotel along with former Tennessee teammate Kara Lawson. Also in attendance were Shaquille O'Neal, Scottie Pippen, Donna Orender as well as many ESPN notables like Stuart Scott and Bill Simmons. The party was capped off by surprise performances by rappers Kelis and Nas.
Katie Smith headed out to see Elton John perform a private concert with only a handful of select guests. Ruth Riley was one of four basketball stars to introduce the musical icon before the show began. Riley, Clyde Drexler, D-League All-Star Stephen Graham and Chris Paul represented the four NBA classes of stars at "The Red Piano" Concert at Caesars Palace.
What was really going on at the media circuit earlier today...
All-Star Friday is always Media Day. All of the participants in the weekend's events, WNBA and NBA, go through a gauntlet of NBA Entertainment stations (photos, NBA TV and dot.com) in the morning, then meet the press in the afternoon.
The morning started bright and early at 7 a.m. at the Palms with Sherrill Baker and Lisa Leslie making the rounds. Lisa said hello to former NBA center Manute Bol. Bol is so tall that he made even Leslie seem small in comparison.
Players first stopped into those photobooths you might see at an arcade or boardwalk, the ones that put out four pictures on one long strip. some players made funny faces while others donned NBA All-Star apparel.
Swin Cash was preparing for her photoshoot while talking with us, putting on makeup and applying various cosmetics that I could not accurately describe. She talked about getting ready for the Shooting Stars and just how seriously her coach, Bill Laimbeer, is taking this. She admitted that she and Chauncey Billups had to avoid Laimbeer yesterday because he kept talking about it.
Tamika Catchings talked about her participation in the Celebrity Game this evening (7 p.m. ET on ESPN) and admitted that she is nervous. I tried to assure her that she will be the best basketball player on the court, but that did little to calm her nerves.
All 15 of the WNBA players here in Vegas went through the circuit. Their stop at the dot.com station was helpful in developing long-lead features for features we will put together for the upcoming Draft and season preview. We talked about strengths and weaknesses from last season, goals for 2007 and team needs this free agency and Draft season. When they were through, then came in the NBA guys... Dwight Howard started things off, then Lebron James and Kobe Bryant posed for pictures together. The two went at it in L.A. last night as James' Cavs knocked off the Lakers.
Several of the WNBA players, Kara Lawson, Katie Smith, Tamika Catchings and Tina Thompson, also participated in the NBA Technology Summit, which brings together some of the brightest minds across various media and technology businesses. Lawson and Smith were so enthralled with learning about some of the new things on the horizon that they wanted to stay longer and chat up some of the execs. Smith and Catchings then left to get ready for the game tonight while the rest of the gang headed over to Jam Session to meet and interact with fans.
I was all ready to write about how Sue Bird took on the guys and won.
Unfortunately, she just didn't show up.
No, literally, I mean. Bird, who was supposed to participate in a tournament to promote the launch of EA's new NBA STREET Homecourt Challenge video game, flew all the way from Moscow to New York, but could not get out of the Big Apple due to weather delays, and could not compete against the seven other NBA All-Star competitors at the Moon Nightclub at the Palms in the new Fantasy Tower.
Sorry, Sue, you missed a fun night.
Sheryl Swoopes was named as an injury replacement in the tournament by the Commissioner's office and joined Denver's Carmelo Anthony (the NBA STREET Homecourt Cover Athlete), Rip Hamilton (Detroit Pistons), Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns) and Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz) in the competition. NBA STREET Homecourt is the first NBA licensed video game to feature WNBA stars. Players will be able to choose Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Lauren Jackson to face off against NBA stars in the virtual court. This also represents the first time female professional athletes have gone head-to-head with their male counterparts in a basketball video game.
"This is another part of history, another milestone," said Swoopes. "It's long overdue, but it's a good sign for the game, where we've been and where we're going."
Acclaimed basketball writer and ESPN columnist Scoop Jackson served as emcee of the tournament and tunes were spun by DJs J Babu and Just Blaze.
Once the games got started, party-goers could watch all of the action on four 4 plasmas around the main room. Among the many celebs on hand to watch NBA stars play virtual versions of themselves were Chamillionnaire, Mya, Lloyd and Ne-Yo. Lisa Leslie and Tamika Catchings were among the many WNBA stars also in the house to watch. Of course, there were velvet ropes in front of each area to enclose the players and keep out the rif-raf.
Once the games got down to business, it wasn't pretty. Swoopes admits that she is not a gamer, but wants to be so that she can relate to her son. She lost something like 11-1 to Rip Hamilton in the opening round. Chris Paul ended up beating Carlos Boozer in the finals as Linda Cohn and I looked on. They actually showed the game on the inside of the roof, which would later open up as the partygoers danced the night away.
Prizes given out to the participants and others at the party
(where was my goody bag?) were a PlayStation 3 console and games, a Nintendo Wii
console and games
and Xbox 360 console and games, PSP console and games and a pair of Jordan 22’s.
From back in New York, Bird was a good sport, writing "It's huge for the WNBA to be the first professional female athletes in a basketball videogame. It's just too bad I couldn't be there for all the fun."
So what's the bottom line?
Buy this game! No, I have no stock in Electronic Arts (though they do have fun parties). WNBA fans have been lobbying for a video game for years, and this is the first step. If fans go out and buy the game, it will demonstrate that there is viability in the market. Women are a growing force within the gaming community and now represent 39% of the gaming population, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
“We’re excited that NBA STREET Homecourt will be the first videogame to include the WNBA. Featuring six of the WNBA’s biggest stars, hardcore basketball fans are going to love the opportunity to battle with players like Diana Taurausi and Sue Bird against the stars of the NBA, like Carmelo Anthony, Rip Hamilton and Dwyane Wade," said Jordan Edelstein, Director of Marketing, Electronic Arts. "We’ve been looking for the right way to bring the WNBA to a videogame, and NBA STREET Homecourt is the answer we’ve been looking for.”
Here's what USA Today had to say.
"It's just fantastic that WNBA players are the first female professional basketball players to be featured in video gaming, Donna Orender said. "It's real recognition in terms of their accomplishments and achievements and its testament to their great appeal."
In Other News... Parties. They'r ehappening pretty much non-stop from now through Monday. There are more parties here than we can cover or attend or even talk about. So I'm not going to waste time or space recapping all of them. Read the gossip magazines because this weekend is as much about the celebrities and VIPs as it is basketball. Red carpets, papparazzi, limousines... From Sprite's Lebron party, the NBA Wives party, the GQ party with Steve Nash, the Players Association, the International Television party, the Diddy/T-Mac party, the NBA/TNT party, the ESPN party, the Nike party... everyone has a party. How to get between them - taxi traffic is proving to be the nightmare of the weekend - is not going to be fun at all. But that's not stopping anyone. Seriously, there is a party for everything, with everyone. I think there is a party that celebrates all of the other parties. That said, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world this weekend.
Sheryl Swoopes appeared on ESPN News today to talk about her participation in the EA Tournament as well as the public comments made by retired NBA player Tim Hardaway that has made national press. In case you missed it, here is what she said.
...Regarding EA’s “NBA STREET Homecourt” video game…
Q: What are you doing with EA Sports this
week in Las Vegas?
A: I am one of six WNBA players that will be featured in the first videogame to feature WNBA players. There will be six of us competing against NBA players and I am so excited about this opportunity.
How big of a gamer are you?
A: I have a nine-year old son, so I have to know how to play a little bit! But for myself and the other five WNBA players, we are all ecstatic. This is a part of history. For EA Sports to step up and say what we want to do is include you, that we deserve it and then for us to be able to compete against the NBA players on the same level – all the skills, to jump off someone’s shoulders, backflip and be able to dunk - I am really excited about it.
Q: Have you played the game yet?
A: I am so thrilled to be a part of the first videogame to feature WNBA players. The thing that really excites me is I get to be in this game with, in my opinion, five of the best female basketball players in the whole world. And we get to compete against the best NBA players. We will be able to do the same things that the guys can do. I’m going to be playing against guys that, on a daily basis, I watch in NBA games and try to take different things from every player. It will be a lot of fun.
...Regarding the comments by Tim Hardaway…
This is a controversial time in basketball with Tim Hardaway’s recent comments.
What was your reaction?
A: Everything hit me all at once. First let me say this: kudos to John Amaechi for standing up, stepping up and being himself. I went through this about a year and a half ago, and I absolutely understand everything he is going through… all these… the different emotions. I am really proud of him and happy for him.
On the other hand, I think Commissioner Stern said it best today when he said the statements that Tim Hardaway made are not representative of the entire NBA. I think the stand that he took in banning Tim from the rest of the NBA All-Star activities shows everybody his support.
I think it’s unfortunate, these comments that Tim made. He is entitled to his opinion but at the same time, I don’t think he stands for what everybody else stands for.
Q: How are attitudes among WNBA players different
from NBA players in regards to homosexuality?
A: I am sure there are people who disagree with it, there are people who are ok with it and there are people who may feel the same way that Tim Hardaway feels about it. When I made the decision to come out I did so because I was ready to be me. I was tired of not being able to be myself and having to pretend to be someone else. My teammates have been very supportive of me – when I made my announcement, prior to it and now. The good thing about it is that while a lot of people felt there would be so many negative repercussions, really people have been very supportive of my decision. I’ve said all along that it doesn’t change who I am as a person or as an athlete. I just wanted to live my life. If anything it changes people around me.
Tim is more than welcome to make his comments and feel the way he feels. I think it’s unfortunate because I’ve had a lot of respect for Tim when he was in the NBA and thought he was a great guy. I still think he is a great guy. Hopefully we will be able to educate him a bit more now.
How do you compare the reaction to coming out as an active player as opposed to
coming out after retirement like John Amaechi recently did?
A: I didn’t make my decisions based on what everybody else thought. I did it because I wanted to do it for myself. I think it is harder for men and guys to accept that a person might be gay or a teammate might be gay or a best friend might be gay. I think it’s really hard for whatever reason for guys to accept that. Women have been able to deal with that issue a little bit better. I think John stepping up was huge, regardless of whether he was retired or still playing. He is in a position now where he can be himself.
Q: What would you say to Tim today?
A: That he is entitled to his opinion. But to use the word hate in any capacity is very strong and very powerful. He needs to look at who he is and the position he is in now. He didn’t always have the things he has now and life was not always easy for him as a black male. To make those comments that he made, there are just so many bigger issues in this world besides who is gay and who is straight.
This afternoon I joined WNBA Stars Tamika Catchings, Ruth Riley, Kara Lawson, and WNBA legends Lynette Woodard and Jennifer Azzi as they paid a special visit to the Sunrise Children's Hospital here in Las Vegas.
After a short delay from leaving the hotel due to a transportation snafu, the WNBA stars were on their way to Sunrise, located on the East Side of Las Vegas a short drive away from the Strip. Upon their arrival, they were greeted by the cheerful hospital staff and split into groups to visit the patients, who range in age from infants to teens. Armed with WNBA Cares teddy bears as well as other goodies to hand out to the patients, the WNBA stars were joined a host of other NBA Legends and others who were there to spread good cheer to the children. Among the many in attendance were His Honor, Mayor of Las Vegas Oscar Goodman, rappor/actor Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, the one and only Ronald McDonald, and NBA Legends Scottie Pippen, Kevin Willis, Bob Lanier, Jerome Williams, and Kiki Vandeweghe.
The visit to the patients' rooms only lasted about an hour, but left a great impression on the WNBA players who took some time to put a smile on the face of those who are less fortunate.
"I think that any time you do an event like this and walk up to a room and put a smile on someone's face, it's really motivating to be able to make a difference in the community and in these children's lives." said Tamika Catchings. "I hope that someday their dreams are able to come true."
"This is a great event, to be able to do something off the court and make a difference in people's lives," added Ruth Riley. "Just to come out and interact with the kids and brighten their day and give them a smile, it mean's a lot to them and to us."
Kara Lawson agreed, "It's great to to do things like this, kids are always fun so I love the opportunity to go to events like this."
Good friends away from the game, Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson have something new to talk about: Lisa's pregnancy.
As we were wrapping up our live chat with Lisa and Temeka Johnson at the Palms, Thompson arrived with her mother and son to check in with the WNBA staff.
At first Tina was reluctant to hug anyone as she "had not showered in 48 hours," but we all got past that. After flying in from Russia to Los Angeles yesterday and arriving late last night, she drove to Las Vegas this morning. She immediately wanted to see Lisa's belly and marveled at how big she has gotten. Leslie is now 20 weeks pregnant (the average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks). She is actually getting her five-month ultrasound next week and will learn the gender of her baby.
"Even your legs look a little thicker," Tina said as she poked at Lisa's thighs.
Lisa believes that she is having a son. Her husband, Michael, is also hopeful for a boy.
Meanwhile, Thompson's son, Dylan, remained quiet, no doubt exhausted from the travel. He will soon have a new friend to play with.
I wish someone told me to wear different shoes.
This morning, I joined the NBA Cares Caravan to help build houses in northwest Las Vegas. Along with Ruth Riley, Sheryl Swoopes, Nykesha Sales, Shona Thorburn and Candice Dupree in the WNBA, as well as retired NBA legends Bob Lanier, Tim Hardaway, Jerome Williams and volunteers from Pitney Bowes, we continued work on three houses, hammering nails into crossbeams, cutting lumber and laying foundation. The NBA and Pitney Bowes joined forces with Habitat for Humanity on the build.
Despite the chilly temperatures and windy conditions, the players were hard at work in their hardhats and work gloves. But as Nykesha Sales said, it was much better than being at home in the snow. Sheryl Swoopes also was full of laughs despite missing a nail and hammering her thumb (she'll be okay). Riley admitted that she has no construction experience, but after her morning of work, she cannot say that anymore. Ruth was actually on the scene as early as 5:30 a.m. for an appearance on a local morning show. This was just four hours after her flight landed. We know who will be sleeping well tonight.
At the end of the build, with the corner house well on its way, the home's future owner, Mrs. Ayala thanked the crowd of volunteers and cut a ribbon to dedicate her new home. Habitat leaders think she could move in as early as two months from now. In order to be eligible to receive a home from Habitat, families have to volunteer at least 250 hours on other sites and homes. The NBA and Habitat have teamed up to build eight hoises for families in Houston, Los Angeles and the Gulf Coast region since last season.
From here, the players are now enjoying a brief respite and restoring their energy for this afternoon's big event, which is set to begin in a half hour or so at the Desert Breeze Community Center on the outskirts of town. The WNBA Be Fit-Be Smart-Be Yourself Clinic is the first big WNBA event of the week as several the group of players already here will host 75 Las Vegas girls in an event that highlights the WNBA and its Be Smart-Be Fit-Be Yourself program.
In Other News... Word from back east is that Sue Bird is stuck at the airport after weather forced her flight out this morning to be cancelled. She arrived in New York from Moscow only to be delayed by the nor'easter currently blanketing the northeast. She is one of approximately ten additional WNBA stars set to arrive here in Las Vegas in the next 24 hours.
"When I grow up, I want to be a WNBA player."
When uttered by the mouths of kids, these words are like gold, diamonds, sunshine and cotton candy all rolled up into one for all of us affiliated with the WNBA. But you might just be surprised who we overheard saying these very words at one of this afternoon's "Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Pledge to be a S.T.A.R" basketball clinics on the Vegas outskirsts. Not a little girl, but a little boy.
That's right. Kevin Lopez wants to be a WNBA player.
Think about that for a minute.
For the first 10 years of the WNBA, little girls finally learned to dream big and finally had a new dream to shoot for. This kind of aspirational mantra has become a watchword of the WNBA faith over that time. It is who we are.
Yet it often goes unnoticed just how much the skill and personality of these players profoundly impacts boys as much as it does girls, winning them over and converting them into new fans. Fans for life.
At the YMCA of Southern Nevada, the famous Nellis Airforce Base and the Mirabelli Recreation Center, the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Pledge to be a S.T.A.R basketball clinics took place with approximately 50 - 60 kids, all Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA members, at each spot. Candice Dupree, Nykesha Sales and Shona Thorburn helped teach many of the core fundamentals of the game as well as lessons that can apply both on and off the court.
S.T.A.R. stands for Sportsmanship, Attitude, Teamwork, Respect
At the YMCA, Sheryl Swoopes and Jennifer Azzi were also on hand as NBA Cares and the Clinton Foundation announced a new partnership. They also helped to launch "NBA Fit," the NBA's new healthy lifestyle initiative. That far off the strip in northwest Las Vegas, there was no neon and the only thing flashing was the smikes on the faces of the kids.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, the NBA and WNBA put on tremendous events, from in-arena events to clinics. I have been to many, many clinics, probably 50 or more, and I am always amazed at how special an experience they are for everyone involved. For the kids, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet, learn from and get to hang with some of the best athletes in the world. It's impossible to capture the smile of a child's face as he meets an icon. But for the players, you'd think they were over it... you been to one, you been to them all, right? Wrong. No matter the event, the player, the city, whatever... the energy and enthusiasm is tremendous. They know that they are giving these kids great memories and always give their all to make it the best day ever.
Yesterday, a group of WNBA stars and NBA legends got All-Star Week started right... Bob Lanier, Jerome Williams, Jennifer Azzi, Anthony Peeler, Kiki Vandeweghe, Nykesha Sales, Sheryl Swoopes, Shona Thorburn and Candice Dupree visited three schools in five hours... The Robert Lake Elementary School, the William E. Ferron Elementary School and the Laura Dearing Elementary School. The annual Reading Rally Caravan conducted reading time-outs with children and began with a school-wide assembly that got the kids fired up about reading. Reading is obviously a pet cause of the NBA as well as all of us bloggers... so thanks for reading!
In Other News... This just in. Traffic is not fun.
Las Vegas has an energy unlike any other city.
Sure, New York, Miami and Los Angeles are open day and night with cars and traffic bustling and people always on the streets going about their business. But in Las Vegas, their business is recreation. Casinos, shows, hotel pools, restaurants and clubs are all ready to give visitors a first-class experience. The rich and famous, celebrities and athletes all come here to play.
Films and movies have tried to capture that energy, but you cannot really explain it until you have experienced it with all of your senses - the chirping sound of slot machines chiming through the night, the not-so-odorless smell of fresh oxygen being pumped throughout the concourses of every building, the unruly sight of the taxi line at the airport, the impatient feel of waiting for your elevator to finally open and the sweet taste of victory when you finally get past the velvet rope and into the newest, hottest club in town.
When you are in Las Vegas, there is always that ongoing sense that something special is happening that you just don't want to miss. The same holds true with every NBA All-Star Weekend, that we are just lucky to be here, but this year will be different even though I'm not yet sure why. Everything just feels bigger.
Unlike last year, the NBA and WNBA players are staying at a separate hotel than the rest of the league. We are staying at the lovely MGM Grand, which is in close proximity to the Thomas and Mack Center and Jam Session at the Mandalay Bay. For security reasons, I will not disclose the players' hotel, though you could probably figure it out if you really wanted to. We've rented a car on a whim. It's too hard to get around without one. Now there are no excuses if we miss anything.
The thing about Vegas is that everyone always gets really into where everyone else is staying. Each hotel has its own unique personality which until you have stayed there, you cannot fully comprehend. Of course, there are the theme hotels - New York, New York, Paris, the Venetian, Treasure Island. But there are also the overly-extravagant hotels that feature full-on shopping experiences, convention centers, art galleries, restaurants and more - Bellagio, Wynn, etc. Of course, all of them have casinos.
For the record, there will be no gambling on this trip (at least not by me) - plus, all gambling references and puns will be kept to a minimum as we have been asked to stay away from the entire gaming notion as a league. That will naturally be quite difficult, but we'll do our best.
After all, this is about basketball, it is about stars and it is about fun. The best basketball players in the world, both male and female, will be here to partake in all of the activities (Not to mention the inordinate amount of VIPs who will probably show up just because it's fun to hang out in Vegas). Las Vegas is the place to be and everyone wants to be here.
We know Vegas. I've been here before. Many times. Those stories are unlikely to ever make the blog (at least this one), so it will be our job to capture that for you as best we can - the player appearances and activities, the games and perhaps even the parties (if we can get there and then get in). Getting around will be a different story as traffic is going to be tight, but let's just say we've got you covered.
With the dot.com blog team on the scene, you've hit the jackpot.
Shoot. I knew I couldn't control myself. Better luck next time.
"Las Vegas looks the way you'd imagine heaven must look at night." - Chuck Palahniuk
"Almost everywhere you look, a building is screaming a visual or verbal insanity at you." - Merrill Markoe
"For a loser, Vegas is the meanest town on earth." - Hunter S. Thompson
"Las Vegas has always beeen a magnet for great writers." - Mike Tronnes
"Man, I really like Vegas." - Elvis Presley
It's gonna be big.
With the entire basketball world set to descend on Las Vegas, Nevada this week, that's all we can say right now. NBA All-Star Weekend could be even bigger than big.
Las Vegas, Nevada is one of the fastest-growing cities in the world after springing up out of the desert, literally, in the middle of the last century. Names like Elvis, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, Liberace, Dean Martin, Howard Hughes and Buggsy Siegel put it on the map (not to mention its attraction as a gaming and resort mecca). Nowadays, entertainers like Celine Dion, Wayne Newton, Elton John, Barry Manilow, Blue Man Group, Cirque du Soleil and Prince make Vegas a year-round destination. That, and the parties. Water is the hot-button political issue there as the demand could quickly outgrow the supply. But one thing that is not in short supply is NBA and WNBA talent.
The advance crews, the IT guys, events crews, TV production people, etc., have been working on this for nearly two years. The television, production and events crews have already been on the ground for weeks. Everyone wants to be here, from players to family and friends to celebrities and even fans. Even my girlfriend scheduled her vacation to coincide with this trip (A free hotel room is all I can guarantee her).
Yet as far as talent goes, the biggest names in Las Vegas right now are WNBA players, who arrived earlier today. With NBA games continuing through Thursday of this week, the best of the WNBA are already in the desert getting the week started right.
In between the player appearances and community events, expect to hear about some of the (many) parties (with everyone trying to one-up each other). The real work (and fun) begins tomorrow with WNBA stars and NBA legends hitting the streets for a Read to Achieve Learning Caravan. From there, it won't stop until next Monday with little sleep in between. After all, it is Vegas, baby.
And if any city can handle it, is this one.
In the meantime, chew on this "golden nugget" to get you in the mood…
The final eight spots have been decided in both of Europe's major club tournaments, and many of the WNBA's best have played pivotal roles.
We begin today in the EuroLeague, where five teams qualified for the quarterfinals last week, sweeping their best-of-three eighth-final-round matchups.
Last Friday, Tina Thompson's 17 points and 11 boards led the way as a loaded Spartak Moscow squad swept past home side USK Prague 67-52. Diana Taurasi added 13 points and seven rebounds and Ticha Penicheiro and Tamika Whitmore chipped in with six points apiece for the victors. Barbara Farris notched 10 points and eight boards in a losing effort.
Behind the stellar play of WNBAers Yelena Leuchanka (16 points, seven rebounds), Katie Douglas (14 and six) and Ebony Hoffman (10 and seven), Vilnius remained arguably the hottest team in Europe, notching its sixth straight win with a 74-68 triumph at Halcon Avenida. Nicole Powell put up 20 points in a losing effort for the Spanish squad.
In Krakow, Poland, Valencia's Ros Casares held Wisla Can-Pack star Anna DeForge to 18 points in notching a series sweep with a 67-57 victory. Delisha Milton and Allison Feaster-Strong scored 17 and 16, respectively, for the Spanish team, while Dominique Canty put up 13 for Can-Pack.
Maria Stepanova and Ann Wauters scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, to lead CSKA past French side Valenciennes 76-70, earning the Russians a spot in the quarters. DeMya Walker added eight for CSKA.
American Vicky Hall had 10 as defensive-minded Bourges clamped down on Marie Ferdinand and USO Mondeville, earning a two-game sweep with a 66-53 away win.
Three of the EuroLeague clashes went to a third game, and each of the deciding tilts was played on Wednesday.
First, Fenerbahce, after falling in Game 2 last week, returned home and moved on to the quarters thanks to an 84-56 lambasting of Dexia Namur. Cappie Pondexter led the way for the Turkish side, posting 15 points and seven assists. Tammy Sutton-Brown added 11.
Also moving on were home sides MKB Euroleasing -- which dispatched UMMC despite 12 and 11, respectively, from Cheryl Ford and Lindsay Whalen -- and Czech team Gambrinus, which benched MiZo Pécs 67-48 behind nine points from Deanna Nolan. Vickie Johnson had 14 for the Hungarians.
Looking ahead, the best-of-three matchups for the EuroLeague's quarterfinal round were also announced this week. CSKA will host MKB Euroleasing, Vilnius will travel to Bourges, Fenerbahce plays host to Ros Casares and Gambrinus heads to Russia to take on Spartak Moscow. The openers will be played on Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Game 2s are set for Friday, Feb. 23 and any deciding Game 3s will be played on Wednesday, Feb. 28.
Next, we move over to the EuroCup, which saw all eight of its second-leg, aggregate-points eighth-final contests decided Thursday evening.
Chevakata eked out a two-point aggregate win, 148-146, thanks to a 78-68 win at home over K Cero VODS. Lisa Willis paced the victorious Russians with 25 points, while Janel McCarville led the Slovakian side with 26.
Deanna Jackson was on a roll for Ramat Hasharon, putting up 26 points, 10 boards and four assists as her side notched an impressive away victory at Barcelona, earning a place in the next round with a 147-134 aggregate win. Mwadi Mabika added 10 for the Israelis, while Kelly Schumacher netted 13 for Barca.
Dynamo Moscow Region booked its spot in the quarters with a 72-59 win over Botas Spor Adana. Chasity Melvin led the way with 21 for the triumphant Russian side, while Olympia Scott added 10 of her own.
Thanks to a 61-59 away win in the second leg at Lattes Montpellier, Taranto Cras Basket pulled off a one-point aggregate victory. Laura Summerton scored what turned out to be a critical two points in the win, while Kelly and Coco Miller added seven and six points, respectively, for the French side.
Despite losing by three in the second leg, Megan Mahoney and Italian club Lavezzini Basket advanced to the quarterfinals with a 156-133 aggregate win over Besiktas Colaturka. Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert scored 15 for Besiktas.
Another second-leg loser, Faenza kept it close enough against Hondarribia-Irun (77-62) to punch its ticket to the quarterfinals, earning a 149-146 win on aggregate. Murriel Page and Iziane Castro-Marquez each posted 11 points for the Spaniards.
After a three-point loss in the first leg, Dynamo Moscow came back in the second to spank Tarbes 90-53 and earn a spot in the quarters.
Elsewhere, despite falling 61-60 in Thursday's second leg, Russian club Nadezhda earned a 132-130 aggregate victory over Lille Metropole.
The two-leg quarterfinals are set for Feb. 22 and March 1. We'll see Faenza take on Chevakata, Taranto Cras will face Lavezzini in a battle of Italian sides, Ramat Hasharon matches up against Dynamo Moscow and Dynamo Moscow Region battles Nadezhda.
Next week, we'll be checking in with all of the WNBA talent at the NBA All-Star extravaganza in Las Vegas, but stay tuned two weeks from now for more info on our stars playing overseas. Until then, adios, bon soir and arrivederci…
With the NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas this year, which WNBA players will
be participating in the Shooting Stars Game this year?
- Lynetta, Corpus Cristi, Texas
A. The NBA All-Star Game is actually one of the biggest events on the calendar for the WNBA and its players. Naturally we will be there as early as Monday to participate in all of the events with WNBA players. This year, rougly 20 current and former players will be all over Las Vegas for appearances in the community, parties and even on-court activities. WNBA.com will be your insider source once again for complete access on the scene. To answer your question specifically, the Shooting Stars participants will be announced later on Thursday, but we'll let you in on the secret as far as it stands now... Team Detroit will feature Swin Cash and Bill Laimbeer, Candice Dupree is a part of Team Chicago, Temeka Johnson fills in for the spot on Team Los Angeles normally occupied by Lisa Leslie and Kendra Wecker will be back with the San Antonio squad that won the event last year. Also, at least two WNBA players will be playing in the Celebrity Game on Friday night as well, and both of the confirmed stars are big names in the game. Complete coverage begins Monday...
Hey what's up yall!! My teacher has
me doing a web evaluting worksheet on yall web-site and i need to know who created
this web site? Is there a why for me to contact who is responsible for thic page?
and If so how do I contact that person? Holla back at me and let me know whatthe
- Amarie, Chicago, IL
A. The history of WNBA.com is a long and distinguished one. The initial site launched way back in the last century, and has undergone several cosmetic and strategic changes in its ten-year evolution. The most recent change came prior to the last season and all of the content you see on this site has been created by the NBA Entertainment team. As for the person in charge, you are talking to him. That's what the deal is!
And now for the "fired-up" portion of our program...
I think the WNBA and
NBA all star game should one day be in Chicago. Chicago is a great city and the
people here love sports.
- Ladyballa, Chicago, IL
Why is the
All-Star game always on the east coast. It was held once in Phoenix but that was
not announced until the start of the season and that was not enough notice to
make vacation requests and arrangements. There are many WNBA faithful on the West
coast that have been waiting a long time for the chance to see an All-Star game.
For the last four years there have been rumors that it would be held in LA, Sacramento
or Seattle. Is there some reason that the game is always on the East Coast?
- Julie, Sacramento, CA
We've won 4 championships, been in as many
post season playoffs. We have Tina and Sheryl. We had Cooper and Chancellor. Why
can't we get the WNBA ALLSTAR in Houston? If I was going to go somewhere for an
Allstar I'd rather go to NY than DC. All I think of when I see Washington DC is
Politics not Basketball(which has nothing to do with the team)
- Anonymous, Friendswood, TX
Can you please help me in finding out who decides
where the all-star games are to be located at. It appears that us "westcoasters"
do not get a fair shake in the deal. We support our women but how can we when
they are thousands of miles away.If you can give me a little insite, I would like
to pass it on to others. In fact, who can we contact to debate our issue with?
Thanks for your kindness.
- Becky, Roseville, CA
I have a
question - Why are the All-Star games always held on the East Coast?? Is it because
it is more convenient for the Heads of the WNBA being located in New York? What
about the faithful fans of the West?? Do you all think we are rich and just can
fly out to the East every freakin year?? I mean, if you want it close, hold it
in Houston...will that be close enough to the east for you?? And next year we
will probably skip the All-Stars because of the Olympics!!! So, then you will
"sneak" it to MSG for 2009...and we get screwed again. So....answer
that for me...please. WE....deserve the All-Star game out West!!!!
- Dominique, Fontana, CA
I was just reading that the 2007 WNBA All-Star game is
going to be in Washington AGAIN. What is up with that? Are any other venues besides
Washington and New York even looked at? Every WNBA city should host it at least
once to see if they can get the fans out. We love basketball here in Indiana,
but we've never had a chance to be host, nor has any other midwestern city. I
think more people would attend if it was more centrally located, and easier for
people to drive to, than being always around the east coast. I guess that's why
the executive get paid the big bucks. They know much more than the average fan.
- Kathy, IN
A. Okay. Breathe, people. This is just a sampling of the number of emails we got on the subject. As you know, the 2007 WNBA All-Star Game will take place on July 15 in our nation's capital. It is the second time the game will take place in Washington DC. Here is how the process works. Each year, teams are invited to submit proposals to host the game. The proposal should include logistical elements as well as promotional and marketing support. Only teams that submit proposals are considered. Teams that do not nominate themselves are not considered. Committed owners and front office groups that put in the effort to make this the sensational experience and event that it deserves to be are rewarded with the right to host the game. So for everyone who is riled up about their city or team not hosting the game, my advice would be for you to encourage your team to get involved and submit a proposal for the next time around. With new owners in places like Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston, we might see a real interest moving forward and that's really what it comes down to.
When is the 2007
Draft scheduled? Thank you.
- Carol, Phoenix, AZ
A. Wednesday, April 4 in Cleveland. If you can't make it, check it out on ESPN.
really like to catch more WNBA games via cable/tv. There are not enough games
being broadcast on the main players - ESPN or ABC. Will NBAtv carry the WNBA games
- if so we will switch cable providers in order to pick that channel up! Try as
we might to catch at least one game in CT - we cannot even get that done. Cannot
express enough how important it is for more games to be available via cable or
- Karol, Norwood, MA
A. I would love more games on television. We all would. There will be a number of games on NBA TV again this season, yes. We are still determining the final schedule as it is contingent on local television schedules. As for the national and cable broadcasts, the fact that there are games on every week on Saturdays and Tuesdays ("appointment viewing") is huge. In a short season, getting more games is tough, but something we continue to work for.
I think the playoff format should now be either 3-5-5 or 5-5-5.
What is your take on this?
- Kirven, Rancho Cordova, CA
A. I think we're heading in that direction ultimately and I know that the basketball minds in this league are always looking at ways to make the game better for everyone, especially the fans. With current TV deals and financial restrictions, it won't happen this season or next, but I do know that conversations of this nature take place on a regular basis.
I think Diana Taurasi and Chantelle Anderson have beautiful
hair. As a stylist in southwest Texas and a WNBA fan, they stand out to me as
the "hair apparents" at the top of the WNBA. Having met and seen many
more of these players in person, who would you rank as having the most gorgeous
-Eugenia, El Paso, TX
A. Ummmm. Yeah. As a man who will someday be bald, I'm not sure how qualified I am to answer this one. It would have easily been the most bizarre email we got all month had it not been for the next one. But it got me to thinking... and thinking... and thinking. I seriously thought about this one for 20 minutes. Many factors went into my thinking - quality, cut, off-the court style, on-court appearance - to name a few. Only players who played in 2006 were eligible. So without further ado, my top ten:
- DeLisha Milton-Jones, Washington Mystics: shiny and brilliant, I'd love to know what conditioner she uses.
- Sherrill Baker, New York Liberty: That side ponytail is innovative, stylish and effective.
- Lisa Leslie, Los Angeles Sparks: Consistent, reliable and always just right.
- Brooke Wyckoff, Chicago Sky: Whether the blonde is real or not, it looks real good.
- Tina Thompson, Houston Comets: She's had her ups-and-downs in terms of style over the years, but 2006 was a great year for Tina's locks.
- Sue Bird, Seattle Storm: As steady as she is on the court, her style has become a WNBA fixture.
- Chantelle Anderson, San Antonio Silver Stars: Our writer nailed this on the head. Great hair.
- Cappie Pondexter, Phoenix Mercury: Even though she does her best to downplay it with a headband, there is no way to hide her unquestionable quality.
- Svetlana Abrosimova, Minnesota Lynx: Sleek, yet maintains its great volume even when pulled back on the court.
- Swin Cash, Detroit Shock: Never a hair out of place.
you know of any players that have been involved with factory, farm or landscaping
equipment from a promotional standpoint? Even if not an official endorsement deal,
maybe they appeared in local commercials for businesses that sell these products?
I own a lawncare maintenance business and am interested to see how WNBA players
would test for promotional purposes. They seem smart and many look good on television.
Can you please put me in touch with your marketing group to see if there is a
future partnership opportunity?
- Kyle, Norman, OK
A. Nothing says selling lawnmowers like Ticha Penicheiro!
Hello Editor my name is Lashanda and
my best friend is an excellent basketball player...AI in a skirt they call her!
She is a college graduate and is very determined not to let her basketball career
end b/c of not recieving the proper exsposer. She went to Shaw Univeristy in North
Carolina which is in the CIAA conference. She is the best point guard I have ever
seen and she has a love in her for basketball that you wouldn't believe! If you
want to know what I know look her up on Yahoo, just type in her name Nastassia
Boucicault and read why it is such a shame that she can't live her dream. I know
you are not a scout or anyone that can help her achieve her goals but if you could
give some advice about going about getting her some exsposer I would greatly appriciate
that. I am sure you are a busy lady but any advice would be helpful! Thank you
for your time!
- Lashanda, Brooklyn, NY
A. Well I'm not sure I have much pull here seeing as how I don't sign players to teams, but perhaps by putting her name up here, those that do manage WNBA teams will look into her if she is so worthy. My advice would be to play overseas and keep getting better if she is not getting the looks yet from WNBA teams. Also send in video clips to WNBA teams.
Who is this Adam Hirshfield and why is he writing on your blog?
- Junie, Washington, D.C.
A. Actually, Adam is the new WNBA.com editor. He is taking the reins on this site and helping to drive it to bigger and better things. I will still be involved, but you won't see my name as much save at the big events. Adam will be primarily responsible for content and messaging on a daily basis. He knows his stuff and is as good as they get in the business. And from this point on, he will be answering your questions in the weeks and months to come.
Thanks for all the questions, and keep 'em coming. Also stay tuned for my weekly column, "Wurst Week Ever," debuting in March.
We've seen a ton of action in Europe involving WNBA players over the last week. The EuroLeague's Sweet 16 -- or eighth-finals as they're called over there -- got underway earlier in the week. Meanwhile, the EuroCup tipped off its own eighth-finals round last night, and we've got the results hot off the presses.
But we'll start with the EuroLeague, where the Game 1s of the best-of-three series took place on Tuesday. Interestingly, the higher-seeded home teams won all eight games. There's no such thing as a European vacation, especially at this time of year.
Away we go:
Tina Thompson led the way with 25 and Tamika Whitmore and Ticha Penicheiro added 13 and 12, respectively, as a loaded Spartak Moscow team dismantled USK Prague 82-54 to take a 1-0 series lead. Diana Taurasi scored six, while Sue Bird chipped in with three. Barbara Farris had 10 in a losing effort for Prague.
Ebony Hoffman took over for TEO Vilnius – posting 18 points and eight boards -- as the Lithuanian side earned a 78-66 win over Halcon Avenida. Katie Douglas scored 11 points and added seven assists for the victors, while Nicole Powell and Nicole Ohlde put up 18 and 10 points, respectively, for Halcon.
In Valencia, Spain, Delisha Milton-Jones put up 19 points and 12 boards as Ros Casares came from behind to fight past Polish side Wisla Can-Pack 80-72, despite 21 from Anna DeForge and 11 from Dominique Canty. Margo Dydek added 13 for the Spanish side.
CSKA Samara shook off Valenciennes as Ann Wauters and DeMya Walker combined for 42 points, while Fenerbahce went one-up on Dexia Namur despite 24 points from Cathrine Kraayeveld.
Lindsay Whalen had 13 and Cheryl Ford 12 points and 13 boards as Russian squad UMMC went a game down to MKB Euroleasing. Meanwhile, in Bourges, the home side stopped USO Mondeville 73-63 thanks to 14 from American Vicky Hall. Marie Ferdinand had eight points and two steals for USO.
Deanna Nolan notched 16 as Gambrinus walloped Vickie Johnson and MiZo Pecs 80-47 to go a game up.
All of the Game 2s are set for later Friday.
The home teams were nearly as successful over in the EuroCup's Sweet 16, winning six of the eight games Thursday. This round of the tournament is scored as a soccer-esque two-game aggregate-points series.
New member of the Mercury Kelly Mazzante posted 17 and new Liberty center Janel McCarville added 12 and nine as K Cero VODS of Slovakia scraped by Chevakata 78-70. L.A. native Jaclyn Johnson posted the day's high in points with 27 in a losing effort.
Rebekkah Brunson and Seimone Augustus combined for 18 in Dynamo Moscow's road 68-65 upset of Ayana Walker and Tarbes, while Megan Mahoney put up 12 as Lavezzini Basket bopped Besiktas 92-66 despite 11 from Kara Brown-Braxton.
Israeli side Ramat Hasharon was paced by Mwadi Mabika's 22 points and seven boards and Deanna Jackson's 19 and nine in their 73-59 first-leg blasting of UB Barca. Kendra Wecker had 21 points for the Spanish side, while Kelly Schumacher pumped in 15 of her own.
Chasity Melvin notched a lucky 13 points and 13 rebounds and Olympia Scott added 12 and nine in helping BC Dynamo Moscow Region to a 68-64 triumph over Botasspor Adana.
Italian side Faenza shot past Hondarribia-Irun 87-69 despite 20 from Iziane Castro Marques and 15 from Murriel Page.
Kelly Miller scored 12 in Lattes Montpellier's 62-61 road upset of Laura Summerton and Taranto Cras, while Nadezhda took a 72-69 lead on Lille-Metropole.
The second legs of these series will be played at the lower seeds' home arenas on Thursday, Feb. 8, so check back next week for all the latest.
Yet another eventful day here at the W. Today was the annual WNBA Board of Governors Conference held at the Milennium Hotel near Times Square in Manhattan. Owners and official team delegates met with league personnel to discuss a number of issues pertaining to the business of the WNBA. These Board of Governors meetings are a lot like Rice Krispies Treats. You aren't expecting to be overwhelmed going in, but they always leave you wishing you could have more when they're gone.
There is much to share, though not all of it has been officially released yet, so don't beat me up for not being able to share all. Patience...
In the meantime, this begins a busy sales season for tickets, sponsorship and marketing for the upcoming season. Some highlights from the day:
New Sparks owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson are awesome. Not only are they passionate and committed, but they are big fans of this Blog. Welcome to the league! I had the opportunity to meet with these two extraordinary women as well as new team president Nancy Spears and I am sold. Sparks fans, you have a lot to look forward to. So I encourage you to be vocal yet again, because you have three extremely intelligent, committed women fighting to build things back up again in Los Angeles. They know marketing, they know business and as season ticketholders, they know the Sparks and the WNBA.
Speaking of new owners, the new owner of the Houston Comets was on hand for his first official meeting with the WNBA. More on him tomorrow...
To echo Donna Orender, this is a group of vested and committed owners who are leading things in the right direction. There is also a real sense of committment to each other... realists, but optimists.
New rules.. new rules... new rules... coaches can call timeouts, eight seconds in the backcourt among the big ones. Check out the release that just came out.
More games on national television than ever before. WNBA ratings on ESPN2 are growing. More sponsors are coming on board and existing sponsors are upping their investment.
We also heard from the basketball operations group, community relations, broadcasting, the digital assets group (that's WNBA.com to the common folk), marketing, sales as well as Donna Orender and David Stern. With the amount of brainpower in the room, the league truly is in good hands.
Finally, more new things for 2007 which we can't get into, but they will bring an entirely new and different look to the WNBA in 2007.
Yes, this Blog was vague, but big things are on the way. I'm excited!
Whether you haven’t yet seen it or can’t wait to relive it, you’ll get another chance to experience the Detroit Shock’s run to the 2006 WNBA title. The team’s triumph in the WNBA Finals over the Sacramento Monarchs will be featured tonight, Jan. 29, at 8 p.m. ET on NBA TV’s new documentary series, The Run.
While previous shows have detailed Dwyane Wade and the Heat's 2006 crown, LeBron James’ first playoff campaign with the Cavaliers and the Clippers bringing an end to their 30-year postseason drought, tonight’s episode is told from the perspective of Shock coach and former Pistons “bad boy” Bill Laimbeer.
“Winning championships is always a highlight of what you try to accomplish,” says Laimbeer. “It’s what you play for. It’s the only reason I played as a basketball player, and the only reason I’ve coached. Winning them, especially through some adversity, makes it even more gratifying.”
And winning a title in spite that adversity — thanks to the play of WNBA All-Stars Deanna Nolan, Swin Cash, Katie Smith, Cheryl Ford and Ruth Riley, among others — meant a lot to Laimbeer, a two-time NBA champ with the Pistons.
“We have worked hard all season long and this is what we’ve played for,” said Laimbeer, addressing his team before Game 5 of the Finals. “How bad do you want it? I know I want it. Let’s go out there and bring it home.”
So be sure to check out tonight's show on NBA TV, then let us know what you think.
Sorry for being so quiet on the blog front lately, but things are oh-so-busy even when the WNBA offseason is on. So after ten rounds of qualifying games in the Euro League, the seeding is set for the next round. 16 of the 18 teams moved on and will begin play in two weeks. Schio and Lotos Gdynia were the only two teams not to advance. Here is an updated list of where everyone is at as of today.
In Group A action, TEO Vilnius knocked off Wisla Can-Pack, 81-77. Katie Douglas has a stellar game, pouring in 29 points. Anna DeForge kept Krakow in the game with 29 points of her own. Jurgita Streimikyte added 18 for Vilnius and Dominique Canty scored 17 in the loss for Krakow. Spartak Moscow won again, and 88-69 win over USO Mondeville, to wrap up the top seed in the next round. Tina Thompson scored 22, Svetlana Abrosimova had 15 and newcomer Tamika Whitmore had 14. Rounding out the rest of the WNBA stars on this team, Biba and Bird had eight, Ticha Penicheiro scored five points and Diana Taurasi scored only three. Thompson, Whitmore and Taurasi each had seven rebounds. Marie Ferdinand scored 20 in a losing effort. In the third game in Group A, MKB Euroleasing Sopron eliminated Famila Schio, 73-68. Penny Taylor scored 19 in the loss.
CSKA Samara beat Bourges, 74-54, to finish with an 8-2 record. Ann Wauters scored 15 and Demya Walker had 12 with 10 rebounds. Maria Stepanova scored 8 points and had 15 rebounds while Kristin Haynie contributed five points. MiZo Pecs finished in third place despite losing to Perfumerias Avenida, 70-65. Nicole Powell scored 22 and teammate Nicole Ohlde had 12 for the victors. Dexia Namur handed USK Praha another loss, 68-54, but both teams will advance. Cathrine Kraayeveld scored 17 points in the win.
Fenerbahce clinched the group with a 71-68 win over Ros Casares as Linda Frohlich scored 16 points and Cappie Pondexter scored 15. DeLisha Milton-Jones scored 22 points and pulled in 17 rebounds. Valencia finished the round at 6-4, as did Gambrinus Brno after a 92-51 win over Lotos Gdynia (who was eliminated). Deanna Nolan scored 20 points for Brno while Betty Lennox and Tan White each had 14 for Gdynia. UMMC Ekaterinburg also dropped to 6-4 after a 73-67 loss to US Valenciennes. Kristi Harrower had 20 in the win, while Cheryl Ford had 10 points and 16 rebounds for Ekaterinburg in the loss.
Here is how the next round matchups will play out:
#1 Spartak Moscow (9-1) vs. #16 USK Praha (1-9)
#8 Gambrinus Brno (6-4) vs. #9 MiZo Pecs (6-4)
#4 Bourges (8-2) vs.
#15 USO Mondeville (3-7)
#5 TEO Vilnius (7-3) vs. #12 Perfumerias Avenida (4-6)
#2 CSKA Samara (8-2) vs. #14 US Valenciennes (3-7)
#7 MKB Euroleasing Sopron (6-4) vs. #10 UMMC Ekaterinburg (6-4)
#3 Fenerbahce (8-2) vs. #13
Dexia Namur (3-7)
#6 Ros Casares (6-4) vs. #11 Wisla Can-Pack (5-5)
The top three scorers in the last round were DeLisha Milton-Jones, Tina Thompson and Cappie Pondexter. Milton-Jones also topped the rebounding charts.
The second matches in the two-game series of the Sixteenth-Finals are complete and the pairings for the Eighth-Finals are now set. Here's how the played out.
Chevakata's 76-55 win over BG Dorsten gave them a 138-121 composite victory. Lisa Willis led all scorers in the second game, totaling 19.
After losing the first game, Taranto Cras Basket came back to beat Sibenik Jolly JBS, 71-60 and take the overall series, 131-128. Laura Summerton scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds in the win.
Anda Ramat Hasharon also came back to win over Acis Incosa Leon, 72-51. The 138-119 advances the Israeli club to the next round. Deanna Jackson went 18 and 14 in the win.
In the battle of Dynamos, Kursk edged the Moscow Region club, 57-56. But BC Dynamo Moscow Region won the combined series, 121-116. Chasity Melvin posted 19 and 11 in Game Two.
Nadezhda topped Pallacanestro Ribera despite dropping the first game as well, this time by a score of 69-60. Nadezhda wins 139-136. Laura Macchi had 20 and 6 in the loss in the crucial second game.
Tarbes GB knocked out KK Hemofarm after a 71-54 win in game two brought the total to 151-126. Ayana Walker had eight points and eight rebounds in the win.
Despite losing the second game by a score of 78-72, Lavezzini Basket eliminated MBK Ruzomberok by a combined score of 167-158.
K Cero VODS beat Szeviép, 71-56 to win by a total of 144-122. Kelly Mazzante scored on 4-for-8 downtown and Janel McCarville had 17 and 7 for Kosice.
Besiktas Colaturka edged Gran Canaria in a blowout win that resulted in their moving on. In the 69-51 game two win, Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert had 18 and 6 while Kara Braxton had 16 and 8. Brooke Wyckoff had nine points in the loss. Besiktas Colaturka won the series by one point, 137-136.
Dynamo Moscow's 80-61 in game two over Hapoel Tel Aviv gives Moscow a 187-121 series win. Rebekkah Brunson had 20 and 10 in the win.
ESB Lille Metropole's 86-73 win over Pays D´Aix results in a 166-143 series win.
Botas Spor Adana came from behind to eliminate Trogylos Basket with a 76-59 game two win. Botas Spor Adana wins 149-140.
UB Barca lost by 12 to Elitzur Ramla, but managed to hold off Ramla in the total points, 166-159. Kelly Schumacher had 14 and 10 for Barca while Kendra Wecker was held scoreless in 12 minutes. Ramla's Monique Currie led all scorers with 34 points on 11-for-20 from the field.
Lattes Montpellier and Gospic tied at 71 apiece in game two, but it was more than enough for Lattes Montpellier to win, 141-127. Kelly Miller scored 15 and Coco Miller scored 13.
Hondarribia-Irun came back in game two to knock out CSKA with a 72-63 win in game two. The combined score was 138-132. Iziane Castro Marques scored 23 points for her new team and leads Hondarribia-Irun to the next round.
Faenza's 93-65 win over Kozachka-Zalk in the final game gave them a 142-126 win and a place in the next round which begins February 1. The matchups are as follows:
K Cero VODS vs. Chevakata
Lavezzini Basket vs. Besiktas Colaturka
Tarbes GB vs. Dynamo Moscow
Nadezhda vs. ESB Lille Metropole
BC Dynamo Moscow Region vs. Botas Spor Adana
Anda Ramat Hasharon vs. UB Barca
Taranto Cras Basket vs. Lattes Montpellier
Faenza vs. Hondarribia-Irun
The Louisiana State University women's basketball program has been one of the premiere establishments in the sport for years and produced a number of talented WNBA players (with more to come...) thanks to the leadership and guidance of Sue Gunter and now Pokey Chatman.
Two of the former stars will be honored for their accomplishments while at L.S.U. Silver Stars guard Marie Ferdinand will be inducted into L.S.U. Sports Hall of Fame and Sparks guard Temeka Johnson will have her jersey retired by the school tomorrow.
Ferdinand, who was selected by the Utah Starzz eighth overall in the first round of the 2001 WNBA Draft, remains the only member of the Starzz players to last from the relocation to San Antonio. Prior to graduating from L.S.U. in 2001, she was a Kodak All-American (2001), named AP Second Team All-American (2001) and First Team All-SEC (2001, 2000). The former WNBA All-Star missed the entire 2006 season after giving birth earlier in the year, and also got married in 2006.
Temeka Johnson has overcome a height disadvantage to become a star in women's hoops. She was selected sixth overall in the 2005 WNBA Draft by the Washington Mystics and went on to become the 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year. She was traded to the Sparks prior to the 2006 season. While at L.S.U., she was named AP All-American honorable mention (2004, 2003, 2002), All-SEC First Team (2005, 2004), All-SEC Third Team (2003), SEC Tournament MVP (2003) and SEC All-Tournament Team (2003, 2002).
Congratulations to these two WNBA stars who remain true to their college roots.
With the New Year's holiday behind them, the EuroLeague teams resumed their group play this week with only one more to go before elimination round seeding is set. All nine games will take place next Wednesday, but as for this week...
Vilnius remains firmly in second place and improved to 6-3 with a
74-69 win over USO Mondeville (3-6). Jurgita Streimikyte led the way with 20 points
and eight rebounds while Katie Douglas finished with 17 points and six steals
for the Lithuanian team. Ebony Hoffman and Yelena Leuchanka
had five points apiece
in a winning effort. In her first EuroLeague game with her new team, Marie Ferdinand
scored 18 points for Mondeville. In the other Group A game on Wednesday, Spartak
handed MKB Euroleasing Sopron a 73-62 loss and improved to 8-1 to stay two games
ahead of Vilnius. Diana Taurasi scored 20 points, Tina Thompson
scored 13 points
and had nine rebounds, Svetlana Abrosimova had 10 points and seven rebounds, Ticha
Penicheiro scored nine points and dished out seven assists, Agnieszka Bibrzycka
finished with eight points and Sue Bird scored four points. In the one Group A
game on Thursday, Familia Basket Schio dropped to 0-9 while Wisla Can-Pack Krakow
improved to 5-4 to tie Sopron. In Krakow's 75-67 victory, Dominique Canty had
16 points and seven rebounds while Anna DeForge had 16 and seven of her own. Penny Taylorscored 12 points in the loss. The Hungarian squad hit two free throws with
just seconds left to secure a 7-69 victory.
Bourges Basket also improved to 8-1 with a 67-54 win at ZVVZ USK Prague. Vicky Hall scored eight points in the win while Praha falls to 1-8 and remains in jeopardy of not advancing. Barb Farris had 10 points and eight boards in the loss. In other Wednesday action, Dexia Namur got a much-needed win to improve to 2-7 while Halcon Avenida fell to 3-6 after the lopsided 82-53 loss. Cathrine Kraayeveld scored five points and pulled in six rebounds in the win while Nicole Ohlde and Nicole Powell managed only nine and six points respectively. On Thursday, MiZo Pecs upset Samara on the road behind 25 points and six rebounds from Vickie Johnson. MiZo Pécs improved to 6-3 to pull within one game of Samara (7-2).
With their coach out due to health issues, Brno dropped a tough game to US Valenciennes Olympic, 72-66. Slobodanka Tuvic had 10 points and 14 boards in the and Kristi Harrower had 10 points and eight assists in the win. Deanna Nolan had 13 and Sophia Young scored 10 points in the loss as USVO improved to 2-7 while Gambrinus dropped to 5-4. There were two Group C games on Thursday as Fenerbahce defeated Ekaterinburg to stay atop the group. The two teams were tied with matching 6-2 records coming in. Cappie Pondexter scored 25 points and recorded eight assists, Linda Frohlich had 15 points and seven boards and newcomer Tammy Sutton-Brown had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists in the 81-67 win. Suzy Batkovic scored 21 points while Cheryl Ford had 13 and 7 in the loss. In the other game on Thursday, Valencia blew out Lotos Gdynia, 76-50, to move into a second place tie with Ekaterinburg. DeLisha Milton-Jones had 24 points, 11 rebounds and four steals and Margo Dydek had seven points and seven rebounds in a winning effort. In her first EuroLeague game with Gdynia, Betty Lennox finished with 16 points. Tan White has 11 points.
The next round of the EuroCup got started this week as teams will play two games to determine who moves on to the next round. Three games took place on Wednesday, 12 were played on Thursday and one will go down later on Friday. The second game in each series will take place next week in the second city.
Laura Macchi score 19 points Pallacanestro Ribera's 76-70 win over Nadezhda, Megan Mahoney had 26 in Lavezzini Basket's 95-80 win MBK Ruzomberok and Kelly and Coco Miller each scored nine points for Lattes Montpellier in their 70-56 win over Gospic in the three games on Wednesday that tipped off the Sixteenth-Finals.
Thursday saw several more upsets. Lisa Willis scored 11 points as her Chevkata team slipped past the previously-undefeated and top-seeded BG Dorsten, 66-62. Laura Summerton scored only four points in Taranto Cras Basket's 68-60 loss to Sibenik Jolly JBS. Acis Incosa Leon got 17 points from Tracy Reid in a 68-66 win over Anda Ramat Hasharon. Deanna Jackson had 20 points and 10 rebounds while Mwadi Mabika finished with 12 points in the loss. BC Dynamo Moscow Region also held off Dynamo Kursk, 65-59, despite having a worse preliminary round record. Anastasia Kostaki had 18 points and six rebounds and Chasity Melvin also pitched in with 16 points and nine rebounds for the Moscow club. Taranto Cras Basket, Anda and Kursk were all 5-1 in the previous round, but all lost to teams that finished with 3-3 records in their earlier group play.
Form did hold as the second place finisher in Group D, Tarbes GB, eclipsed KK Hemofarm, 80-72. The newst member of the Sparks, Ayan Walker, scored 21 points and had seven rebounds for the French victors (Tarbes Gespe Bigorre). New York Liberty forward Janel McCarville had 22 and 13 in K Cero VODS' 73-66 win over Szeviep. Her former Sting teammate, Kelly Mazzante, now a member of the Mercury, scored 18 points of her own for the Slovakian team.
Gran Canaria handed Besiktas Colaturka its first loss in EuroCup play this season, an 85-68 win, in which Ashley Battle scored 21 points and Brooke Wyckoff had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert scored 19 points and posted 14 rebounds and Kara Braxton had six points in the loss. Dynamo Moscow blew out Hapoel Tel Aviv, 107-60, behind 16 points from Seimone Augustus and 13 from Nuria Martinez. Helen Darling scored 13 points and Tanisha Wright scored 12 in the loss.
UB Barca pulled away from Ramla for a 91-72 win at home. Kelly Schumacher scored 22 points and Kendra Wecker chipped in with 17 for Barca. Monique Currie led all scorers with 26 points while Plenette Pierson also scored 18 points in the loss. PBC CSKA toppled Hondarribia-Irun, 69-66, as Tiffany Johnson had 11 points and 14 boards. Iziane Castro-Marques arrived just a week ago for Hondarribia-Irun and scored 26 pints in the loss. Murriel Page also scored 10 points.
In Other News... With the short, but impressive list of WNBA talent currently playing in Korea's WKBL, it is hard to ignore this league in our regular updates. Check out the names... Tamika Catchings (Woori Bank Hansae), Katie Feenstra (Shinsegae CoolCat), Yolanda Griffith (KB Savers), Lauren Jackson (Samsung), Taj McWilliams-Franklin (SBirds Shinhan Bank) and Michelle Snow (RedWings). There are only six teams in the league, each one with a WNBA player.
Nearly all of these players have been there before and liked it well enough to return. Perhaps we may see more stars head there in the months and years to come.
After a busy first week to 2007, the questions came in in bunches. I guess after you all stopped writing to Santa now that the holidays are over, I'm the next best thing. Well, we've got the elves hard at work and eager to make all of your dreams come true...
Why are the charlotte sting not playing in 2007 what
is going on? and what about bring wnba to florida?
-Kathy, Seffner, FL
A. In case you haven't been following, the Charlotte Bobcats organization decided to discontinue operations of the Charlotte Sting. Several years ago, the Hornets moved from Charlotte to New Orleans, but the Sting remained in Charlotte as the NBA expansion Bobcats ownership purchased the Sting as a part of the deal. Despite interest from several ownership groups, the WNBA will only have 13 teams in 2007. Expansion remains very much in the future, though exact locations depend on ownership groups. The WNBA will strongly consider locations that will support a team according to a number of criteria, including arena availablility and media outlets.
I love the WNBA very much. What's going to happen to Houston
Comets now that Van Chancellor has retired from the team? Is he really going to
sell the Houston Comets or not. Secondly why did the Charlotte Sting go out of
business I mean that is a great team but you guys need to be paying those girls
alot of money. I mean one day if I had like enough money I would buy or coach
the Houston Comets to another championship I mean those girls I mean what they
are doing for that team is so cool. Oh and congrats to the Chicago Sky awesome
team and there coach is so cool I hope that I get to come and see the Sky I haven't
been to see them but I will.
- Christina, Lufkin, TX
A. The Houston Comets have been purchased by a new ownership group. Of course, Van didn't sell the team as he didn't own it. We will learn more about this in the coming days, but this group will install new basketball leadership, including a General Manager and new head coach. As for why the Sting went out of business, that's a question of economics. I never took economics in college, so I'm probably not the right person to answer that.
Which of the following statements is NOT true?
A. If Candace Parker decides to enter the WNBA Draft, the Phoenix Mercury are a lock to win their first WNBA title.
B. I have six fingers and toes on each hand and foot.
C. I have attended every Phoenix Mercury home game since 1997.
D. Michele Timms named her baby after me.
E. I have it in my will that should I die, I want my ashes spread around USAirways Center in Phoenix.
Good luck in answering.
-Kalsie, Scottsdale, AZ
A. Wow, I love multiple choice questions. It reminds me of my days studying for the SATs. As my sister, an SAT tutor will tell you, these tests and questions are really just a big game and you have to know how to play. Ok, the first thing to do is rule out what we know is definitely true. I do know that Michele Timms's daughter, born in January 2004, is named Kalsie, and if you really have been to every home game in Phoenix, I believe she owes you that much. So C and D are out. I also believe that you would have your ashes spread in the arena in Phoenix, mostly because you spend so much time there that the odds are that you'll probably die in the arena anyway. So E is out. that leaves A and B. Candace Parker is a great talent and would make an immediate impact in the WNBA. Six fingers and toes is a condition known as Polydactyly. It's not as rare as you may think since my babynurse had it. And she gave great backrubs. So this is a toss-up. I'm going to go with A - I don't think Candace makes Phoenix a lock since the WNBA is so deep and talented that any number of teams could win it all. Am I right? How'd I score? By the way, did you know that the SATs are now out of 2400. When did this happen? And do I automatically explain this to people now when I try and justify that breaking 1400 when I took it really was a big deal, or do I just play it off like I don't really care or even remember what I got on the test? I want high schoolers to think I'm cool, so can we get a vote on this?
Hi I am responding to the question asking
what I am up to. Well I am currently playing in Poland. I am still doing what
I love to and do best playing baskestball. I have so many people and coaches in
the states as well as oversees asking me way am not playing in the WNBA. Once
they see me play and the things i do on the court really turn heads.Alot of people
really enjoy watching me play. I have made history once with the WNBA by being
one of the first 80 players to start the league and I plan to make history again
with the biggest return ever back to the WNBA. This is my confidence and faith
in god,myself and my game speaking. I wish everyone a safe and HAPPY HOLIDAYS.
- Kimberly Williams
A. Thanks so much for writing in, Kimberly. I know all of the fans appreciate it. Good luck and keep in touch! See, dreams can come true on WNBA.com!
Since Tammy Jackson retired from
the Houston Comets, I haven't heard anything about her. She was such a big part
of those Championship years, and i thought she would be associated with the WNBA
somehow after retiring. She was a fireball on the court, and the biggest cheerleader
on the Comets bench. I still miss seeing her joking around with Thompson and Swoopes.
Do you know what she is doing now?
- Debbie, Houston, TX
you put me in touch with Jasmina "Jazz" Perazic-Gipe (1997 Liberty)?
She was my agent a few years back, and I lost touch with her.
- David, Biloxi, MS
I was hoping to contact Kiesha Brown regarding her
opinion of Dr. Farshchian and his work on joint and ligament regeneration. Kiesha's
picture and endorsement is on his website so I would like to get her opinion of
her results. I'm having some knee problems and I am researching Dr. Farshchian
as his procedure is outside outside normal orthopedic procedures.
- Bruce, Santa Barbara, CA
A. Wow, talk about opening the door here, I feel like we're fast becoming a private investigation service here at the dot.com trying to put people in touch with long-lost relatives or high school sweethearts. But it worked with Kimberly Williams, so why not... So... Tammy Jackson, Jasmina Perazic-Gipe and Kiesha Brown, if you are reading these questions... drop a line here and we'll post your answers next time. And if you are looking for someone from your past, contact the Maury Povich show.
i am 12
and when i grow up i am really confedent of being in the wnba. I am the best player
on my basketball team and i was wondering how to make it in?what would i have
- Jamie, Golden, British Columbia, Canada
A. Practice. Seriously. Keep playing as hard as you can, learn from anyone and everyone, play against the best players you can and work to improve your game. That said, enjoy the game, as well. Most people who play basketball never make it professionally, but that shouldn't diminish your passion for the game. So for now, keep playing. High school is the next step for you in a few years and then in about four or five years, if colleges are interested in you, that would be the next step on the path to making a WNBA team.
I am a new high school coach in my first year
on the job who came up with a revolutionary strategy that has been successful
so far this season. We are already 7-1 and I cannot believe that no one has thought
of it before. Granted I coach the Freshman team, but I wanted to get your thoughts
on it. Basically, I leave one player up in the offensive zone at all times and
bring four back on defense. We give up a decent number of points, but the opponent
does not score every time. Either way, the full-court pass to the open player
down court almost always results in a lay-up. It is like a fast-break without
the running. I know you know many of the coaches in the WNBA, so I'm curious if
you'd share this idea with them. Thanks so much.
-Glenda, Kale Ridge, WA
A. Don't take this the wrong way, Glenda, but that is pretty much the most absurd thing I have ever heard. Or it was, until I did more research on this and found out that you are not even remotely the first person to come up with this idea. I'm sure the total points scored in the game is ridiculously high, but I'm not sure it is the best lesson to teach a group of kids still learning the game. I also have to assume that the opposing teams catch on and leave someone at least in the area to defend that player left open.
Who is going to be the
first free agent signed. Come on, I know you know.
-Jamere, Orlando, FL
A. Actually, I don't.
My name is Kizzy Tassin and I want to try out for
the WNBA how and who do I contact about this an e-mail or a website I was told
that there is a new legue the Bumblebees out of New Orleans which is were I am
from if you can give me some futher information please inform me I am ready for
the big ledge.
- Kizzy, Leesville, LA
I have a few questions
regarding the WNBA. Alot of Female players want the opportunity to play professional
after college. If they don't get offers overseas or drafted in the league, they
resort to playing in semi-pro leagues that pay minimal amounts or don't pay at
all. My Question is: Is there any possible way for a female to try to play in
the WNBA, without getting drafted?? For instance, through a Combine, Tryout, or
Training Camp..Another Question is: What steps would she have to take in order
to get a foot in the door, if she has the talent but no connections??
- Vangie, Jacksonville, FL
A. I'm going to answer these two together as well since the questions are related. There are no league-wide try-outs. There are open tryouts on a team-by-team basis in late April and early May. Many players who played in college have the chance to audition for a team. The first thing you'll have to do is get in touch with the teams. I'd put together a video reel of highlights if you have that ability, then send it to a few teams. If not, just send letters. They are listed in the phone book. That said, making a WNBA is very difficult. I'm not sure anyone who doesn't play in the league realized just how tough it is. Players who were at the top of the game in college don't even make teams, so you'd have to be pretty special and a pretty extreme case to be talented enough to make a team and not already had a chance. There are scouts out there. A lot of them. That said, stranger things have happened. But not many.
DON'T LET THE FACT THAT I'M IN MARYLAND FOOL YOU!!!! WILL SOMEBODY EXPLAIN TO
ME, LIKE I'M A 4 YEAR OLD, WHY THIS LEAGUE EXISTS WITHOUT A TEAM IN PHILADELPHIA????
DO YOU THINK WE DON'T HAVE TALENT??? HEY BOYS AND GIRLS, CAN YOU SPELL D-A-W-N
S-T-A-L-E-Y?? HOW ABOUT M-A-R-I-L-Y-N S-T-E-P-H-E-N-S??? LET US NOT FORGET THE
100-PT (IN ONE GAME) MIRACLE WOMAN, LINDA PAIGE!!! I USED TO DO PLAY-BY-PLAY/COLOR
FOR TEMPLE BACK IN THE EARLY '80'S, AND I REALLY WISH THERE WOULD BE A PUSH BY
SOMEBODY TO GARNER SUPPORT FOR A TEAM THERE!!! IT MAKES NO SENSE THAT DAWN HAS
TO BE LIVE THERE, COACH THERE, AND PLAY SOMEWHERE ELSE BECAUSE WE HAVE NO TEAM!!!
THERE IS DEFINITELY ENOUGH TALENT IN THE BIG 5 FOR THE CITY OF WINNERS TO HAVE
DRAFTED A TEAM BY NOW!!!
WHAT GIVES????? WHO DO I HAVE TO COMPLAIN TO TO GET SOME ACTION?????
- TIMOTHY, COLLEGE PARK, MD
A. Having spent my formative years in the City of Brotherly Love, I know how great a basketball town Philadelphia is. I think a WNBA team would be great for Philly, but it takes a group of committed owners to make it happen.
Can you tell me how
I can find a copy of Vern Mickelson's book. He played for the Mpls. Lakers in
the 50's and early 60's. Thank You.
- Theresa, Le Sueur, MN
A. I'm not sure I can help out here. Naturally, I tried Google, but that came up empty. I then went to my local library, but I was only confounded by the vast updates to the Dewey Decimal System since I last tried to use it. Seriously, does anyone use those card catologues anymore? It seriously makes you wonder how anything got done before computers because someone typed up all of those cards. Finally, I decided to check with resident NBA historian John Hareas, who was harder to find behind his stack of books and magazines because he actually moved offices here. And of course, he delivered. Turns out we've been spelling his name wrong! The Vern Mikkelsen Story, by Jon Egan. (also see Hardwood Heroes by Ross Bernstein - afterword by Vern Mikkelsen).
Hey, someone please
answer this. My friend told me he heard a commentator say during the wnba game
that in 2008 Atlanta was suppose to be getting a team together. Is this true?
Because If it is "I WANT ALL" the details I can get. I remember back
in 1996 I think it was we had the Atlanta Glory and they only lasted like 1yr
and 1/2. Please let it be true!! LOL. I was so sad when the Glory was no more
they were good. we have some true ballers in Atlanta so if it's true I can't wait
because it will be like the bulls were in the 90's. Just HOT. LOL... ok that's
my question though is it true because I want in!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Phew... thanks I had to get that load off my chest!)
- Tiffany, Atlanta, GA
A. Atlanta - great city. Does it have a WNBA team in its future? Maybe. Again, expansion is taken on a case-by-case basis, but I have no specific information about Atlanta. Of course, that doesn't mean it won't happen. The bottom line with expansion is this (not that I expect the many, many expansion-related emails to stop): you'll know when we know.
I heard from my roommate's uncle who works with
you that you weren't writing about the WNBA anymore. Is this true?
A. False! Though we are expanding the Internet Services group, I will now be managing a group of writers and site editors working on the WNBA and D-League. But I will still be prominently involved in WNBA content. It's in my blood. I may be writing less in the future, but I'm around.
Sameka Christon has signed to
play for a Spanish team called "Rivas Futura" in a city near Madrid.
She had played one game (10 ponits, 4 rebounds) and after Christmas starts second
round of "Liga Femenina" Before this Rivas Futura will play "Queen's
Cup" january from 5th to 7th.
- Chito, Madrid, Spain
A. Gracias, Chito. We'll be sure to follow her and update WNBA fans on her progress.
A busy day in the WNBA indeed... the excitement of a new schedule as we circle the big games and key matchups on the calendars... but also a resolution to the Charlotte Sting's immediate future. The Dispersal Draft for Charlotte Sting players on Monday is another step in the ongoing development of the WNBA. While it is disappointing to see Charlotte go, at least for the short term, the league continues to grow as committed and passionate ownership groups work for the long term. What it also means is the addition of talented players to existing team, making everyone better in the process.
How does it work? All players on the Charlotte Sting’s roster (active, injured, suspended or draft list/reserved) at the conclusion of the 2006 season -- other than unrestricted free agents -- will be eligible for selection. That means everyone but Allison Feaster and Tammy Sutton-Brown. The Dispersal Draft will consist of only one round. The order of selection based on the inverse order of last year’s regular season finish
So imagine the Chicago Sky, an expansion team just one season ago, adding an experienced veteran or promising young star to its roster with the first pick. That might mean Windy City-native Tangela Smith could be returning to her hometown... or perhaps the pairing up of second-year stars Monique Currie with Candice Dupree to building a strong nucleus. No matter what happens, it should be an exciting day in the WNBA... and with free agency just around the corner, things are sure to get interesting.
Many box scores and ten years ago, our forefathers and foremothers brought forth on this continent, a new league, conceived the Sparks, Monarchs and Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all women deserve a professional basketball league in the United States with an equal right to fame and prominence.
And so the WNBA was born. Ten years later, it continues to be a source of marvel and entertainment for fans all over the world.
So another calendar year comes to an end as we take a pause to celebrate another great season and a fantastic year in the WNBA. 2006 really had it all, from a year-long anniversary celebration to veteran stars proving they are still in their prime to younger stars challenging those veterans for league supremacy. We've spent a great deal of time and space here honoring those and many more accomplishments, but the time has come to look forward to 2007.
League and team personnel have already been preparing for next year. The schedule will be revealed shortly and matchups will be anticipated. The Draft plans are already in the works, as are plans for a great All-Star Weekend in July. Coaches are traveling the country scouting the top college players and you know the players are doing their part, keeping busy and staying in shape by playing all around the world.
New stars will shine, more records will fall and new fans will find something they love. Personally, I can't wait. I know you can't, either. So in the meantime, have a Happy New Year and get excited because the 2007 WNBA season is closer than it ever has been before!
In Other News: Thanks for dinner, Coach Graf.
November - December 2006
September - October 2006
2006 WNBA Finals
March - April 2006
January - February 2006
November - December 2005
September - October 2005
2005 WNBA Finals
2005 WNBA All-Star Game
2004 WNBA Finals
2004 Game At Radio City