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R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Posted: By Melissa, June 30, 2006 8:48 a.m. ET

Can you name the following player?

Has scored over 3,500 points in her career ... there are six players who have done that.

Can you name them?

Has over 1,000 rebounds ... there are twenty-four players who have done that. But it rules out Katie Smith.

Can you name her?

Has over 550 assists in her career. Opps there goes Tina Thompson. This player has a lifetime average of 2.4 assist per game with a total of 583.

Can you name her?

Has over 400 steals ... that rules out Lisa Leslie. And Chamique Holdsclaw. This player has a lifetime average of 1.81 steals per game and ranks fourth on the all time leader board with 446 as of June 29, 2006.

Can you name her?

Has drained over 325 three point shots in her career. That rules out Sheryl Swoopes.

Can you name her?

She is the backbone of her team. Every year she has been in the league she has played in the all-star game but she has never been on an Olympic Team. A player who is the sixth all-time leading scorer in the W has never been on an Olympic team. The top five scorers have all been on teams. One of the biggest thief's (stealing) in the league and never on an Olympic Team? There is something wrong with that.

Can someone explain to me why this player is not mentioned in the same sentence as Cash, Jackson, and Catchings?

This player is one of the funniest, friendly, and compassionate players in the league. She makes time for kids and will sign just about anything thrust into her hands. There is a picture out in cyberland of her signing a t-shirt being worn by a puppy. She intensely private though and rarely speaks about her personal life. Her family is at each home game. Quietly supporting her. And polite to the fans that approach them.

Can you name her?

While my question has been “Can you name her?”, my OTHER questions is ...

Why is Nykesha Sales not part of all the promotional material for the WNBA?

Why is Nykesha Sales never mentioned or considered for MVP? Or Defensive Player of the Year?

Why is Nykesha Sales the best never talked about player in the league?

Ask Seattle how devastating this player can be. There was about 1 second when the entire arena collectively inhaled as Kesh launched a 3 at the buzzer in game 2 of 2004. Half an inch and the record books would read differently.

Is that the measure of respect? One-half inch?

I have been sitting in front of my laptop trying to find some inspirational heroic thing to say about Kesh. I have been typing and deleting for over an hour now. And maybe that is why Kesh isn’t on the tips of our tongues. There is nothing heroic about her. She isn’t the girl next door with the smile like Sue Bird. She isn’t brash in her greatness like Diana Taurasi. She isn’t blonde and bouncy like Becky Hammond. She isn’t fashion model beautiful like Swim Cash. She doesn’t have a sexy accent from a far off land like Lauren Jackson. She isn’t a “Diva” like Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson or Sheryl Swoopes.

Nykesha Sales is the hard working next door neighbor that will help you shovel your drive way or lend you their lawnmower. She is the friend you drink a beer with or share a backyard BBQ. She is the person that tells you after a bad break up that you are to good for the ex. She is the easy going person that always can make you laugh when you are having a bad day.

In Connecticut we all seem to know that and appreciate her. Every home game, during the introductions, Kesh gets the loudest cheers. Her scowl is infamous to us. Her intensity and focus can win games. Connecticut is her home and we love her for that. You can find her eating in local restaurants. She knows the fun “townie” places to eat and hang. Kesh doesn’t have to talk about getting to know a community, she is part of the community.

Her drive is going to take this team back to the Eastern Conference Finals. While the “experts” talk about Washington and Alana Beard or Detroit and their Olympic All-Star line up, Kesh is quietly taking her team to the top of the Eastern Conference Standings.

In Connecticut, respect is spelled N-Y-K-E-S-H-A.

Acts of Kindness:

Terry McCue, is a firefighter for the Phoenix Fire Department.

Support your local heroes

Mindless Quotes:

“Girls can't play basketball.” -- My jerk of a brother since I was 14.

“Never piss off a woman with a blog.” -- Me.

The Best Ever
Posted: By Kevin, June 29, 2006 11:48 p.m. ET
Over at ESPN, they're doing a series of polls to determine the best WNBA championship team ever. Let me tell you how I would rank them, starting at the bottom…

9: 2004 Seattle Storm

20-14 regular season, 6-2 playoffs

PG Sue Bird
SG Betty Lennox
SF Sheri Sam
PF Lauren Jackson
C Kamila Vodichkova
Key Bench: Janell Burse, Tully Bevilaqua
Coach: Anne Donovan

The Storm had the worst record of any WNBA championship team. They never seemed like a team destined to win it all, but everything just seemed to fall into place. The Comets fell apart after the Olympic break, meaning they wouldn't have to deal with the uber-experienced Swoopes & Thompson. Michael Cooper left the Sparks, and while I like Karleen Thompson as a coach it's too much to ask anyone to take over that late in the season and make a playoff run. Katie Smith got hurt, so they essentially got a first round playoff bye. The Monarchs did their annual Game 3 meltdown in the conference finals, Kool Kesh missed the gamer in Game 2 of the finals, Big Game Betty went nuts, and suddenly the Storm are champions. Not bad for a team with so-so defense and only one consistently reliable scoring threat.

8: 2003 Detroit Shock

25-9 regular season, 6-2 playoffs

PG Elaine Powell
SG Deanna Nolan
SF Swin Cash
PF Cheryl Ford
C Ruth Riley
Key Bench: Kedra Holland-Korn, Barb Farris
Coach: Bill Laimbeer

I'm sure some people will be surprised to see this team ranked this low. The more I look at them the more they seem like a fluke. All the other championship teams had prior playoff experience. The Shock hadn't been to the post-season since 1999. The only player left from the 1999 team was Astou Ndiaye-Diatta, who played all of six minutes in the 2003 playoffs. All the other championship teams had a core of players that had been together for several years. Nolan was the only Shock starter who was in Detroit before 2002. All the other championship teams (except the 2002 Sparks) turned the ball over fewer times than their opponents. The Shock had the worst TO differential in the league by a wide margin. The Shock caught lightning in a bottle, their subsequent mediocrity demonstrates what an anomaly the title really was.

7: 1997 Houston Comets

18-10 regular season, 2-0 playoffs

PG Kim Perrot
SG Cynthia Cooper
SF Janeth Arcain
PF Tina Thompson
C Wanda Guyton
Key Bench: Tammy Jackson, Tiffany Woosley
Coach: Van Chancellor

I don't know what to do with this team in this ranking. On talent, they probably belong last, but I just can't put any team with Coop on it at the bottom of the list. That's really the big lesson of 1997. Never, ever bet against a team with Cynthia Cooper on it.

6: 2005 Sacramento Monarchs

25-9 regular season, 7-1 playoffs

PG Ticha Penicheiro
SG Chelsea Newton
SF Nicole Powell
PF DeMya Walker
C Yolanda Griffith
Key Bench: Kara Lawson, Rebekkah Brunson
Coach: John Whisenant

After three conference finals losses in four years, Coach Whiz did something bold. He traded Tangela Smith for Nicole Powell (give or take a draft pick and a few benchies). Trading away a key starter is something very few teams trying to get over the hump to a title have done. Smith was really good for Sacto, so it's not like Seattle dealing Amanda Lassiter, a decent player forced into a too prominent role for the Storm in 2002-2003, or LA moving Allison Feaster, a prospect who didn't flower until she got to Charlotte. Anyway, Powell gave them the big outside threat they needed to balance the inside game of Griffith & Walker and hit those absurd threes against Houston to break the conference finals jinx. And, of course, no discussion of this title team would be complete without mentioning the injury to Lindsay Whalen in the finals, which may or may not have been the deciding factor in the championship.

5: 2002 Los Angeles Sparks

25-7 regular season, 6-0 playoffs.

PG Nikki Teasley
SG Tamecka Dixon
SF Mwadi Mabika
PF Delisha Milton
C Lisa Leslie
Key Bench: Latasha Byears, Sophia Witherspoon
Coach: Michael Cooper

I was talking a minute ago about the relatively easy road the 2004 Storm had to the finals. I'm here to tell you that no champion ever had an easier playoff slate than the 2002 Sparks. In the first round they faced the not-ready-for-prime-time Storm, with a rookie Sue Bird and a 21-year-old Lauren Jackson making her playoff debut. Check Lo-Jack's 4 point effort on 1/9 shooting in Game 2 if you think a player of her caliber is unaffected by nerves. In the second round they faced the Starzz, another team in uncharted territory after having been gifted with a win in round one. They were also a team that LA owned, having beaten them senseless in every meeting that year, and a team that had an all-time playoff choker at point in Jen Azzi. Nobody on Earth thought Utah would win a game, and they didn't. In the finals LA got the last gasp of the classic Liberty. New York had finished first in the godawfully weak east at 18-14 and wheezed through the playoffs with no road wins, a bad stat when the other team has home court in the finals. Even at that it took a last second three from someone who had been 0/7 from long range to put it away.

4: 2000 Comets

27-5 regular season, 6-0 playoffs

PG Janeth Arcain
SG Cynthia Cooper
SF Sheryl Swoopes
PF Tina Thompson
C Tiffani Johnson
Key Bench: Tammy Jackson, Coquese Washington
Coach: Van Chancellor

In the first four years of the league, The Comets won four titles. There were only two points at which I really thought they were in danger of not winning. The first was in the middle of 1997, when the team got clobbered by LA to fall to 7-5. Coop talks about that in her book, She Got Game. It was after that game that she confronted Van Chancellor in his office and he told her to do her thing on the court. The second time I thought The Comets might not win it all was with about 30 seconds left in Game 2 of the 2000 finals. The Lib were up three and Houston looked deflated by their complete inability to do anything to stop Tari Phillips. You know what happened after that, Coop hit the three to send it to OT then dominated the extra period to finish off the 4-peat. I had forgotten the rule I learned in 1997 about betting against Coop. Unfortunately I wouldn't need to remember it anymore after this season.

3: 2001 Sparks

28-4 regular season, 6-1 playoffs

PG Ukari Figgs
SG Tamecka Dixon
SF Mwadi Mabika
PF Delisha Milton
C Lisa Leslie
Key Bench: Latasha Byears, Nicky McCrimmon
Coach: Michael Cooper

Lisa Leslie had the most dominating playoff run of any player ever in 2001. Six double-doubles in seven games. 31 blocks, with at least two in each game. She even averaged three assists per game. Boy did she know how to finish people off too. In the final game of the first round against The Comets she had 28 points and 18 rebounds. In the deciding game of the conference finals against the Monarchs she had 35 points, 16 rebounds, and 7 blocks. In the last game of the finals against the Sting she had 24 points, 13 rebounds, 6 assists, and 7 blocks. This team was on a mission from the start. They were 9-0 before anyone knew what hit them and people were talking seriously about them going undefeated before a late June swoon had them losing three in a row. After that was the record 18 game win streak. Unlike their '02 counterparts, this team had a very rugged set of playoff opponents. The four time defending champion Comets (albeit without Cooper and Swoopes), then the very tough Monarchs led by Yolanda Griffith, then a Sting team that had finished by going 17-4 over the last 2/3 of the season and winning two straight playoff series on the road. It was going to take a great team to dethrone The Comets. This was a great team.

2: 1999 Comets

26-6 regular season, 4-2 playoffs

PG Sonja Henning
SG Cynthia Cooper
SF Sheryl Swoopes
PF Tina Thompson
C Polina Tzekova
Key Bench: Janeth Arcain, Tammy Jackson
Coach: Van Chancellor

How good was this team? The Liberty got a real live, bona fide miracle at the end of Game 2 of the finals, and it still wasn't enough for them to beat The 1999 Comets. If I were making a list of the most mentally tough WNBA teams ever, this team would have to go at the top of the list. They had to deal with the illness and eventual death of Kim Perrot. It was the first year that Cooper & Swoopes were really butting heads over who the alpha dog of the team was. They had to face the influx of ABL talent that turned the league upside down. They were even starting to get some grumbling from Comet fans about Van Chancellor's drafting strategy. And in the end they had to see umpteen million replays of "The Shot" before the decisive game of the finals. I shudder to think what it would have taken to distract this team from its goal.

1: 1998 Comets

27-3 regular season, 4-1 playoffs

PG Kim Perrot
SG Cynthia Cooper
SF Sheryl Swoopes
PF Tina Thompson
C Monica Lamb
Key Bench: Janeth Arcain, Tammy Jackson
Coach: Van Chancellor

It's a tough call between the 1998 and 1999 Comets for #1. Ultimately it came down to the plain fact that Kim Perrot ran the team better than anyone else ever did. When people talk in reverential tones about the great Houston teams it's this lineup they're thinking about, not the team with Wanda Guyton or Tiff Johnson or Sonja Henning. The irony, of course, is that The 1998 Comets came closer to losing in the playoffs than any of the Houston championship teams. They were down a game and trailing in the second half of Game 2 against Phoenix when Van Chancellor went to the small lineup, with Arcain in for Lamb. The Merc couldn't handle it, nobody could, and The Comets legend was born.

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Posted: By Rebecca, June 29, 2006 8:00 a.m. ET

Blogging about the present Liberty would be depressing, and about the future too foggy, although I really ought to take on the task eventually. Instead, I turn to the past. It makes sense in a way; I think of my role on this blog as a chronicler and a storyteller. My strength lies in spinning a yarn better than most people can. So for this 10th anniversary, let me tell you a few tales from what we like to call the Mecca…

As the song says, "I've been everywhere, man." I've sat so high up that you can put your hand flat on the ceiling, so high that if you were brave enough, you could lean out from the seats and reach for the banners in the rafters, touch Knick and Ranger and Liberty history. I've sat first row, center court, so close to the action that I nearly lost my laptop screen to an errant pass. Okay, so that was at All-Star open practice. But I *have* sat first row behind the bench a time or two, where my view kept getting impeded by this frenetic blonde woman who just would not stop pacing. I've been on the court twice, shot there once- free throw shooting is harder than it looks, you know- and never lost the wonder of stepping onto the Garden floor.

I spent five seasons, half the Liberty's lifetime, in Section 210, across from the Liberty's bench, angled to the action. Sharp enough eyes could spot facial expressions and occasionally lip-read; playing "name that shade" on Richie Adubato's face was one of our favorite pastimes. I was there on June 30th, 2000, when Tari Phillips dropped 30 points on Indiana, including a 3 to tie and two free throws for the lead; it's still the only 30-point game a Liberty player has had on the Garden floor; I was there when Tamika Whitmore scored 28 on the Mercury and consciously passed off instead of going for 30 near the end of the game, and we all knew she could have taken the shot instead because she was having that kind of season. I was there on June 27th, 2003, that fateful night when Becky Hammon lost her footing against Detroit and the season slipped surely away as her ACL tore; though it was at the other end of the court, closer to the low 200s, I heard her fall and I saw her scream, and I will never forget that sight, just as I will never forget Stephanie White screaming and falling when Indiana visited the Garden later.

Just as I will never forget hearing Rebecca Lobo scream, seeing *her* writhe, 43 seconds into the 1999 season. That night I was in 233. We all heard. And I try to forget with games from 1998 and 1997.

~*~

I always thought it was section 83 we sat in for the Houston game in 1998, the night they gave out rattles and I was bound and determined to convert my friends (including the star guard for our high school basketball team) to love of the WNBA. Of course, the game we chose was one of the few nights where Houston laid a smackdown on the Garden floor, because they never did that except during the playoffs, that was part of what made the rivalry so interesting. But I remember being off in a corner, and section 83 is center court. Maybe it was 63, then, a corner seat, the kind of seat they take pictures of the court from in order to get its most aesthetic angle. It was the most we had ever spent on tickets at the time, before 2003 and the All-Star Game and fun in section 49 with the railing in our eyes and everyone walking back and forth through our line of sight, because I was so determined to convert my friend and her mom.

Going to the last regular-season home game, the home closer as we call it to match the home opener, has been a tradition for me and my mom since 1998. We like the free t-shirts, or at least we used to before the shirts got too cheesy and too small. In 1999, we were in section 132, dead center of the first row, straightline level with the Jumbotron. The home closer for the Liberty that year was August 19th. That night, they announced the death of Kim Perrot, the beloved Houston point guard.

I have spent seven seasons since then in the upper echelon of the Garden, in seats across from the Liberty bench and in seats facing the three conference champion banners. But when I close my eyes and imagine the Garden, I'm straightline level with the Jumbotron, dead center of the first row of section 132, and the Garden is dark and silent, and there on the screen is Teresa Weatherspoon the tears streaming down her remarkable cheekbones, her face framed by her braids, and I remember this so clearly because while Spoon was always the emotional firestarter for the team, we never, EVER saw her cry until that night.

The Liberty went on to wallop Cleveland that night (for some reason, the bad things always happened when Cleveland was in the building; they were the opponent the night Rebecca Lobo tore her ACL), behind the career-high 16 points of a a much loved reserve guard. You could say that there was a little birth on that night of death. You could say things have changed a little since 1999, too.

~*~

I've been to three heartbreaking Finals games, including 2002 when Sue Wicks seemed bound and determined to win that game, what she maybe knew would be her last game at MSG, come hell or high water, so in the last minute, she stepped back and canned a corner three like she was Becky or Crystal or something. (Well, technically I've been to four heartbreaking Finals games, but one of them didn't involve New York, so it falls outside the purview of this entry.) I don't know how many first and second round games I've been to, though I'm sure I could do the math. I saw the Liberty hang 96 on the Mystics on an unbelievable afternoon in 2002. I was behind the bench the night Becky Hammon passed off to Bethany Donaphin for a short jumper against Detroit, and I wouldn't trade that experience for the world. I sat in the 400s for the first ever All-Star game, back when the Liberty occasionally needed to open the highest deck, and maybe seven rows off the court in 2003, and this year I'll be sort of in the middle, center court in 224.

Radio City, too. I've been in two of the mezzanines and traded a Lauren Jackson swatch card for a seat in the pit the night of the exhibition game against the Olympic team and sat upon the stage the night Crystal Robinson put up a shot clock-beating, game-changing, four-point play to beat Charlotte. Most Liberty fans try to forget the Radio City experience, because the Garden is our home, but it was that Charlotte game that my honey and I finally got our signals uncrossed, and after the San Antonio game that we planned our first date.

~*~

Since becoming a season subscriber, and including the one-year hiatus in between, I've missed about eight games. Some of them were because I was deemed too young to go to games alone when my mom was on the road, and she was always on the road for at least one game. I missed the Detroit game in 2002 where VJ won it with two free throws in the final seconds because my parents guilted me into going to my prom instead, and I still regret going to the prom. I missed the Indiana game later that month because I had to graduate high school, and I still regret that scheduling conflict. We've cut short Father's Day celebrations and small birthday celebrations for my dad in order to get to games, rescheduled family shindigs around the Liberty schedule. Last season, when I thought I was as angry at the mismanagement of this team as I was going to get, the only game I ended up missing was because we had matinee tickets. I cadged tickets off friends, spent maybe fifty bucks the entire season to go to sixteen and three-quarters games, and caught four games up at Mohegan Sun as penance.

~*~

I've dragged my mom to two games, both in 1999, once against Houston for one of the most unforgettable regular-season games ever; we sat in the highest deck and watched Coquese Washington and the Spoons (because we used to have plural, you know) lead the Liberty to a dramatic win over Houston. The other time was against Utah, when I was convinced that they had really pulled it together. They hadn't, but we did get to see the Spoon/Debbie Black/Venus Lacy smackdown, the first instance of the hostilities that would be, um, rather well known in later years. (By the time Spoon and the Pest mixed it up again, it was just part of the New York-Miami rivalry, and I was back upstairs in 210 to watch the whole thing.)

She's only had to drag me once, but it was the most important time of them all. It was a game against the Mercury. The first game against the Mercury. The first game ever played on the Garden floor. Even after we watched New York at Los Angeles, I hadn't been convinced that this WNBA thing was for me, but she was bound and determined to get me there. I still remember the first-night electricity. I think I still remember the view, once I push section 132 out of my head. It's probably not as high up as I remember it being from all those years ago, but then, that was my first sporting event of any sort, so I really didn't know the Garden the way I know it now. It probably ended up being around the same level as my season seats have always been, somewhere in the 200s. I was young and dumb then, and I didn't save my souvenirs, so I don't have a ticket stub to match up with the Garden seating chart. What I do have is the memory of the slightly mellower orange of the Phoenix road colors, of Michele Timms's hair shining in the light of the Garden's floodlights, of the first time I ever invested myself in the wins and losses of a basketball team.

That was June 29th, 1997. Happy 10th anniversary, Garden basketball of the summer variety. Here's to many more years of Maalox moments, dancing at the center court logo, laughter, tears, and curse words in I don't know how many languages.

Game Day
Posted: By Lisa, June 26, 2006 12:46 p.m. ET

For me, game day starts off by trolling the web for info about the Storm's upcoming game. There is almost always a preview of that day's Storm opponent up on http://www.wnba.com/storm/. Written by our webmeister, Kevin Pelton, it gives some great info about that day's match-ups, how the players are doing lately, what the team's strengths and weaknesses are, and of course enough stats to drown even a stat fiend.

Storm fans are blessed with three newspapers that post regular Storm coverage on their websites. The best is http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/storm/, the website for the Seattle Times. Not only do they boast daily coverage on our Storm, but they have a regular blog from columnist Jayda Evans, who actually travels with the Storm to all their games. The other two sites http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/wnba/ and http://www.thenewstribune.com/sports/storm/ aren't as robust as the Seattle Times site, but their coverage is more than just spitting back the AP newswire's story.

Finally, I check out what the überfans are posting on http://www.stormfans.org/ and http://boards.rebkell.net. There is almost always some great tidbits on these two sites, with fans of all stripes checking in with info about the upcoming game. It is a way to feel like you really know your stuff when it comes to talking to the other fans at the game. And Storm fans are really knowledgeable.

Pregame Ritual

I arrive at Key Arena an hour and a half before tipoff. Usually I make it 10 minutes earlier, to hang with my fellow fans and discuss the latest news, but today, I'm 5 minutes late. Today's game against the San Antonio Silver Stars is on a Friday and traffic is fierce as folks make their way home after a long week of work.

Vic and I always have dinner at the Fox Sports Northwest HD Lounge before each game. They have an amazing buffet spread that is not only good, but really creative. Today we have some sort of amazing spicy seafood pasta with great hunks of crab and giant mussels, blackened red snapper with mango salsa, chicken parmesan, and some fresh shrimp and veggie rolls. There is always a number of salads, a few appetizers, and a full line-up of desserts. If we are lucky, there is another WNBA game playing on the TVs-tonight it is the Sky vs. the Sun. There are a number of regulars who sit in the same seats each night. We talk shop, get each other fired up for the game, and start putting our game face on.

You see, a hardcore Storm fan takes their job as the sixth "man" very seriously. We love it when the opposing team comments on the crowd during their postgame quotes. We really dig hearing the players, coaches and front office staff rave about the fans and how they feed off of us. In past seasons, we had our spiritual leader. We called him "pirate guy" because he always wore a Storm bandana on his head. This guy sat behind the basket near the visitor's bench and was cheering non-stop. His enthusiasm would get the rest of us fired up and the Key would rock. Unfortunately, he is no longer a season ticket holder, so our job is much harder than it used to be.

I usually make it courtside about 50 minutes before the game starts. Players are just finishing up their stretches and are shooting around. This is my first opportunity to gauge the players first hand. Who's having trouble hitting shots? Who's not dressed for the game? I usually spend a few minutes talking with my buddy Jack. Jack sat next to me behind the visitor's bench for the 2004 Championship season. You go through a season like that cheering until you are hoarse, and you come out friends. Both Jack and I have migrated towards center court. The view is better (just try watching the game with Bill Laimbeer standing if front of you all game) and you are closer to the action on both sides of the court.

I tend to pace around my seat like a caged animal before the game starts. Adrenalin starts to pump through my veins as I start thinking about the night's match-up. I am more pent-up than normal tonight because my Storm hasn't been consistent at home, having lost to Phoenix two nights earlier and blowing a big lead in the 3rd quarter to these same Silver Stars a few weeks back. It doesn't help my mood when I notice Jae Cross nailing something like ten 3-pointers in a row during warm-ups.

By the time we hit the national anthem, I am pumped. We were given these big pink thunder sticks before the game (they are usually yellow, but we are celebrating breast cancer awareness tonight, so it is pink) and by the time the Storm are being introduced, Vic has my pair blown up tight. If you get them blown up just right, they can make the loudest racket. I can't seem to blow them up well at all, but Vic is a meistro and mine rock! We are polite as the Silver Stars are announced, saving our biggest cheer for Assistant Coach Sandy Brondello, who played her final seasons for the Storm. Then the lights go down, the music swells and we are treated to our pregame video. The beat rushes through me as I watch LJ hit a three, Sue cut through the lane, and Izzy make Katie Smith look like her feet are stuck in concrete. I get a chill every time as I watch Betty shoot a game finishing three-ball as radio announcer David Locke screams, "And its Betty for THE DAGGER! Betty Basketball! She's unreal!" Then the players take the floor one by one to an appreciative and loud crowd. The Key seems pretty full and it is rocking.

Game Time!

Storm fans always start off every home game on their feet until the Storm scores its first points. I can remember times in the past where it took four minutes or so for the Storm to score so we could sit. Tonight, it takes all of 13 seconds, as Janell hits a short jumper on a pass from LJ.

We have the usual choreographed cheers of "Defense!" followed by two claps or bangs of your thunder stick, and "Go Storm Go!" when we are on offense. We also love to encourage our Aussie contingent with the "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, Oi, Oi!" cheer. But being a great sixth "man" is much more than that. It's understanding the game enough that you can have an affect on the outcome. I make it a point to learn the first names of all the officials on the floor. Tonight we have Bob, Lamont and Keith. As the game wears on, I make a point to tell the refs when they have messed up a call or missed something. Much like the coaches do. You would be surprised how often that works. The refs try to ignore the crowd, but if I see Katie Feenstra using her elbow or forearm to get clearance from Janell, then I am going to mention it to the men in stripes. More often than not, they will call a foul soon after I point something out to them. Coach Donovan can't always get in a word with the refs, especially on the visitor's end of the court, so I help out.

Tonight, the sixth "man" had an impact at the end of the 3rd quarter. Shanna Zolman had the ball with around 12 seconds to play. She was being guarded closely by the Storm when a fan behind me yelled out "5…4…" and as if this was a regular thing, the Storm fans in our area chimed in "3…2…" and Zolman threw up a prayer of a shot. With 8 seconds left in the half. And missed badly. This gave the Storm a chance to get the final shot. Its those little things that make home court an advantage.

We have all the usual contests and such that most teams have during time-outs. You know the various races, shooting contests, trivia contests, etc. for fabulous Storm prize packages or free tickets to an upcoming game or seat upgrades at the current game. These are all fun and everything, but aren't unique to what I would call the Storm fan experience. They just keep us amused while the players are huddling with the coaches. There is also the Storm Dance Troupe (young kids) and the Storm Hip Hop Squad (adults). One of the most anticipated timeout events is Doppler's Train. Basically, Doppler grabs some kid out of the crowd and starts the train on the court. Kids and some adults rush out of the stands from all sides and join the train. Tonight it seems like a couple of hundred kids are out there smiling and bopping along. At the end of the time-out, a siren blares and kids go flying in all directions like some mad Chinese fire drill.

At the end of the game, the players toss t-shirts to the fans in the stands. Tonight LJ presents a game ball to a kid in the stands. If we win, we are treated to the Voice of the Storm, David Locke, interviewing one of the Storm players on the court. Tonight it is Janelle Burse, whose 16 points and 9 rebounds helped take the pressure off of LJ and provide some needed firepower.

It is always hard for me to describe what it is like going to a Storm game. It's kind of like visiting your best friends and they are having this great party that is a heck of a lot of fun. See, not very easy. Storm games are much more than great basketball for me. They are somewhat of a ritual of summer. Something I look forward to each year and something that I am bummed about when it is all over. It is an intense camaraderie with fans whom I never would have interacted with , but during a game I wouldn't hesitate to high-five or even give a hug to should the moment seem right. And most of all, it is 8,000 fans all gathered together and giving it their all with the same goal-helping our team win!

Straight White Boys and the WNBA
Posted: By Melissa, June 26, 2006 3:14 a.m. ET

I am on the Board of Advisors to the Roosevelt Institution. I work with the Yale Chapter where I was the Senior Advisor for the past 2 years. I love these college kids. I know I am not supposed to call them college kids but hey, when you are old and grey you can get away with it. I spend my time listening to ideas. And asking questions. Yup. Part of my job is to ask questions.

So what does this have to do with the W you ask?

Well, during the summer folks are working and the mom in me comes out. Need a place to wash your clothes? Is everyone eating? Anyone need a place to crash? Oh and who is free Tuesday night and wants to check out a game?

Well someone always feels like they need to be politically correct and make nice with me so they tag along.

The whole car ride out is a conversation about their latest research project. What problem that faces our society are they working to solve? What stumbling block have they tripped over? Who do they need access to but can’t get an appointment with? And I know these boys are being nice to me by keeping me company at the game.

We get to The Arena about an hour early. I am big on watching warm ups. Is Katie Douglas draining her 3s? Or are they rimming out. If they are dropping it is going to be a hot game. Is Kesh looking loose? Does Asjha have her game face on? What about the other team? Who is on the reserve list tonight? Mostly I explain the women’s game to the guys. We get our bottles of water and settle in.

As the rest of the season ticket holders in my section show up the guys begin to get perplexed. I sit next to two school teachers. In front of me are a heterosexual white couple. Behind me is a lesbian couple. At the far end of the row, a group of black lesbians wave hello to us and a couple of other straight white boys are down front. Across the aisle are the dad’s with their basketball daughters. And then there are the Sun dancers. So not what the guys are expecting.

The conversation moves to who is who on the floor. What school they went to. What position they play. Each players WNBA history. From teams to years and awards; the guys begin to be come interested in the unfolding scene before them. But with intros they are still acting cool and aloof.

Until tip off.

Tip off usually gets a “Dang she got up!” “How tall is she again?”

“That is Large Marge. Margo Dydek. 7 foot 2 inches. Same height as Shaq.”

“Get out!” “No serious. She leads the league in blocked shots”

By the end of the first quarter the guys as making comments about shots, and steals.

By the end of the second quarter they are asking questions.

At half time they are checking out the dancers. But then so am I.

And by the end of the 3rd quarter they are yelling at the refs. Seriously. They are on their feet yelling at the referees. And they are asking questions.

“Who was that again?”

That was Katie Smith, Lisa Leslie, Tweety, Swim, Sue Bird, Lauren Jackson, Tully (Aussie Aussie Aussie) Taurasi, Jamie Carey, Erin Phillips, Becky, Catch, Swoops, Tina, Dawn Staley, Brooke, Alana and on and on and on.

They stand and applaud at the end of the game. They have tried to catch a t-shirt or a ball when the Sun win. And they have a silly grin on their face. You know that grin, the one all three year olds have when they are happy.

They pause for a moment staring at the court and the crowd. Then they turn to me, and say, “When is the next game? Can I come?”

These are the future politicians and policy makers. And they are falling in love with the women's game; not just the cheerleaders. {And in Connecticut those cheerleaders are hot.} These are the guys who are going to be in the room making the decision to keep Title IX around. I know there is going to be a day when my buddy Brian is in a meeting and someone makes some comment about lesbians and athletics. And Brian is going to cut that person to shreds cause he is now a WNBA fan and it was a lesbian who taught him about the game.

A couple of weeks ago, Pat who sits behind me, gave her tickets to a young guy who works for her. He brought his girlfriend. By the third quarter, he was screaming at the refs and saying, “This is fun.” Turning to his girlfriend, “We need to get season tickets. We’re ONLY an hour away. This is cool.

So take your favorite straight white boy to the game. Take your neighbor to a game. Take your boss to a game. Take your mail carrier. Take somebody in your life because in the W it isn't about gender or color or orientation or politics;

it is about the game.

Acts of Kindness:

This one comes from John Maxwell at the Detroit Shock. They are selling flip flops to raise money for cancer research.

Well I am all for helping cancer research but the chance to walk all over Detroit is to much to pass buy. So I am ordering a pair. Sorry John, I just had to take the shot cause I am from Ct. But I love the efforts Detroit is putting into supporting their community. http://www.wnba.com/shock/community/cashresourcecenter_060503.html They helped open a local resource center. So if you are in the area, help out.

Mindless Quote:

“Mom! MOM! Erin Phillips gave me her sweat band!” A screaming 10 year old at the last Sun game as she ran to her mother waving the wrist band. Sometimes it is the little things that can make a day great.

Coaching Changes
Posted: By Kevin, June 25, 2006 3:58 p.m. ET

There has never been a WNBA season without at least one coach being replaced during the year. Only once has there been an off-season without a coaching change (after 1997). Check this chart of the number of coaching changes made each season and off-season:

YearChanges DuringChanges After Teams
1997209
19983310
19992312
20001516
20012216
20023516
20032414
20043313
20052113

Utah/San Antonio has made the most in-season coaching changes, making the move during the 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2004 seasons. Washington has the most off-season moves, doing the deed after 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004.

Almost all coaches start to lose effectiveness with a team after a few years, often leading them to be fired. This usually brings condemnation from irate fans, saying that the coach is being made into a scapegoat for the team's problems. Ms. Weeble was a good coach a couple of years ago, wasn't she? She just won coach of the year two years ago, didn't she? If she was a good coach then why isn't she a good coach now?

There are several reasons why this happens, but the overriding principle is that a successful coach changes the needs of the organization and in doing so she makes herself obsolete. The first thing a coach does when taking over a team is to determine what changes need to be made. Over time, coaches tend to lose the ability to see what needs to be changed.

Coaches (and teams) can be measured along many different lines….offense/defense, use the bench/iron five, young players/experienced players, high pressure/low pressure, fast break/half court set, and so on. New coaches are effective because they pull the team out of the rut caused by over-emphasis on any one category.

Henry Bibby, for example, was a very high pressure coach. The Sparks stopped responding to him late last year and the team replaced him with the very low pressure Joe Bryant. They finished 4-2 under Jellybean last year and have the league's best record this year. I don't know too many people who think Bryant is a great coach, or even a better coach than Bibby. He's just the right coach for LA right now.

The same sort of thing happens in all the categories. If a team doesn't use its bench, the subs won't be sharp and the team will be vulnerable to injuries. If the bench is overused the team won't be able to develop stars. Dan Hughes is a fine example of the latter. He had good teams in Cleveland, but when it came crunch time he never had a go to person. This bit him in the 2003 playoffs against the Shock. With game 1, and perhaps the series, on the line Swin Cash was able to turnover Deanna Jackson because the Rockers had no star to get the ball to in the waning seconds. If a team loads up on veterans then age will catch up with them quickly, but if they use too many young players then they probably won't be able to make a title run until a new coach brings in some veteran leadership.

Another issue is that of loyalty of a coach to her players. If a new coach comes in, she doesn't owe anything to anyone. She can bench or release players who aren't getting the job done without apology or explanation. An established coach can't do that as easily. She would have to break faith with players who have given her their best effort. This can affect the whole team. When the established coach decides to release a long time teammate, the remaining players feel betrayed. Coach can't be trusted anymore. Teresa gave all she had and look what happened to her. When a new coach does the same thing the reaction is more like Nobody's job is safe here. I better get my butt in gear or I'll be out on the street. Free agency can make this a little easier on the coach, as they can sometimes say that the decision was out of their hands.

Generally speaking, coaches are hired for good reasons and they're fired for good reasons. A team brings in a coach to fill a need. Once that's done, the team will have a different need and most likely will need a new coach to fill it. Getting fired doesn't mean someone is a bad coach. It just means the team needs a different kind of coach.

Across The Generations
Posted: By Melissa and Christal and Christia, June 21, 2006 4:37 p.m. ET

24-year age difference, 10 seasons of WNBA, 2 voices, 1 game.

I help coach a 5th grade girl's basketball team with my fellow Sun season ticket holder; Dave. His daughter is on the team. I watch these girls play. Their joy. Their laughter. Their moves. I have to smile when they talk about the W. Most of them want to play in high school. Some want to play in college. And there are 2 that at this stage, if they work hard, just might have a shot at the W.
I smile and think my how the world has changed.

****

She has a dream. Standing 4'4” tall, with nine years of existence under her belt, our little sister is convinced she has a chance in the WNBA. Her plan is simple. Duke University is her college of choice. She lives in an era when instead of dreaming to be like Mike, she wants to be like Mo (Monique Currie that is). She's convinced that by showing up at the 2019 WNBA draft, her spot would be secured.

When the ball was tipped off on June 21, 1997 for the inaugural WNBA game, no one expected the league to last 10 seasons. Who's to say it can't last for 13 more years? After all, our little sister's dream is not something new.

Not too long ago, we too dreamt of playing professionally. Countless women of today were once little girls who had the same dream. The only difference is we have the WNBA, while back then the best women ballers waited for their opportunity every four years.

****

When I was young... I know go ahead and roll your eyes... When I was young, Louisiana Tech was the home of basketball. And Title IX was beginning to have an impact. 1976 we had our first women's basketball team in the Olympics. I was glued to my TV set watching ABC and Jim McCay show the Games. I did not want to watch gymnastics, I wanted basketball. And then there they were. Young, oh my god young. I was 14 and I was watching people who became sources of inspiration to me...

Mary Anne O'Conner and Sue Rojcewicz were from Southern Connecticut State. Hey look! TWO basketball players from Connecticut. Well, if they can play... There were other women on the team whose names you might find familiar; Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman, Pat Head. Sound familiar? Eat your heart out! I got to watch them play!

****

We never got to watch Ann Meyers play. The most impressive thing we've seen her do is wear neon-colored suits well. We believe only Ann Meyers can do that, just like she's the only female player to crack an NBA roster.

Years from now, the cycle will continue. Several WNBA players will take over ESPN, NBATV and ABC studios. Kara Lawson will take Ann Myers' place. Stacey Dales will sit in Nancy Lieberman's chair and Pat Summitt will still be Pat Summitt.

Some high school kid, dreaming to play professional basketball will one day watch Lawson and Dales make predictions and analyze games. We wonder, unlike us, would she know better?

****

I worked my butt off to play in high school. And the Olympics rolled around again. I eagerly awaited watching Anne Donovan, Carol Blazejowski, and Lynette Woodard play. I will even admit to a crush on one of those and NO I am NOT naming names. But politics intervened and I learn that sometimes sports does not transcend differences regardless of the ideals we strive to achieve. 1984 added Teresa Edwards, Pam McGee, and Cheryl Miller to my list of idols.

****

Deanna Nolan, Chamique Holdsclaw and Cheryl Miller are our idols. We weren't born when Cheryl Miller dominated the scene. We admire her for journalistic reasons. On a basketball standpoint, we've only heard stories and read articles. She's the greatest myth of our generation. On one hand we have no way of validating her greatness, but on the other hand, we have no right to question it.

Secretly, we wish we were older. Stupid, stupid, we know. See, we want to know what it's like to witness Cheryl Miller's game. But we don't have to worry about passing anecdotes to future generations. We have technology for evidence and we have Seimone Augustus. She will be our story to tell.

****

I started college in 1982. I waited before I went. I did not know what I wanted out of life. But I did know I missed playing. I went to a women's college where Title IX was never an issue because we were the only game at the school. Well there was golf. And Equestrian science... But I am talking sports here! Where ya sweat from work! While Title IX was beginning to have an impact if you wanted to play you had to play in college. Cause that was the last stop. There were not athletic leagues for us after we left college. The greatest stage to aspire to was to be invited to play on the National Team. Say it with reverence and awe now; The National Team. I think that part of the reason why you do not have to beg the best of the women's game to play in the Olympics (unlike the men) is that until 1997 this was the highest level of sport for women. To women athletes, an Olympic Gold medal IS the holy grail.

****

Our story began 13 years ago, in 1993, (ironically we are 13 minutes apart) with two skinny six-year-olds, a worn out basketball rim and the bossiest big brother in the face of the earth.

“Shoot it! Shoot it,” he would always yell. A statement that was followed by tears streaming down our faces because of failed attempts. Too much for six-year-olds. Anger followed the tears. We were mad that we couldn't make a freaking basket; mad that our brother hogs the remote to watch games but mostly, we were mad because you know as kid you just hate when you suck at something and getting teased by the men in our family was hard.

We knew were bound to like the game, but we had no idea how much it would affect our lives. The love didn't come instantly. But when it hit us, it hit us all at once. Next thing you know we were avid fans of the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association), obsessing over Alvin Patrimonio and Johnny Abbarientos---names you wouldn't normally know unless you lived in our country. Jordan, Pippen and the Bulls brought us to the NBA and the United States. Eventually March became madness.

*****

I drifted away from basketball when I join the army in the late 80’s. I have no idea who was on the 1988 Olympic team. I was a wee bit busy traveling to far off lands. Interestingly enough there is a weird chance that I might have been in the same place at the same time with “The Twins”. Manila 1988.

1992. Olympics again. No memory still. A little thing called Desert Storm. And learning to walk again. But the “perfect storm” was starting in my home state of Connecticut. Jen Rizzotti.

****

Chamique brought us to the W in 2002.

******

1995 I rediscovered my love of basketball as UConn played its heart out to the Perfect Year. 35-0 and its first National Championship. March Madness entered my life. It came at a time when I was struggling to accept that I was never going to walk right again. I was never going to get to be a soldier again. I was discharged the first week of March 1995 and depressed out of my mind.

Jen Rizzotti’s play got me to cry with its pure heart and scrappy play. My doctors were happy because I was finally showing emotions.

****

Eventually March became madness.

Oh the madness. Every year we would have a sibling March Madness tournament. The first year was 2004, with just the both of us. It has grown to us, our little sisters and two cousins. Living in Canada on visa’s we cannot travel to the US to see a tournament game. So we watch everyone we can on TV. And we argue about who is going to be drafted.

****

1996 was all about the Olympics again. Rebecca Lobo, Jennifer Azzi, Ruthie Bolton, Teresa Edwards, Venus Lacey, Lisa Leslie, Katrina McClain, Nikki McCray, Carla McGhee, Dawn Staley, Katy Steding, Sheryl Swoopes.

Sound familiar? This is the core of the Women’s Professional Basketball. Some went to the ABL, some started the W.

******

Holdsclaw can claim something other players can’t, she’s the reason why we love women’s basketball. Yeah, it’s not resume material. It’s not something she’ll put in her license plate or a plaque she’ll hang on her wall. But she’s the reason why two stubborn kids are now writing for the WNBA fan blog.

The date was June 25, 2002. We were 15 and glued to the TV for our first WNBA game. The score was 87-86. The Washington Mystics beat the Sacramento Monarchs in an overtime thriller. Twenty nine points and twenty one rebounds were the stats she posted. It was a done deal after that. She could put the ball in the basket where we could not. And She loved her grandmother. We can relate to that.


****

My first professional women’s game was THE first game of the W. Ten years ago today. June 21st, 1997. ABC Sports.

I wept like a baby.

So far from the days of women being told to sit down. So far from Title IX passing.

Teresa Weatherspoon. Lisa Leslie. They set the tone of the league for the rest of the greats to follow. A whole new way to measure basketball. The Olympics was no longer the highest platform to play on. And yet it is moving to see the best from the W beg to play on the National Team. To see Dawn Staley move from player to coach. To have Lisa Leslie teach the boys about team play in the 2004 games. I am proud that these women are teaching the next generation the importance of The National Team and The Olympics.

****

How do you explain it? What does basketball mean to us? These days we try very hard to make sure basketball is just a game. We try not to make it our life, try to make it a hobby. We aim or at the very least pretend that we don't live and breathe it. That we can actually survive a day without basketball. But that's a goal yet to be accomplished.

It's a lifestyle. Basketball is a part of us that not even the most meaningful words can depict. It's intangible, kind of like love and faith. Things that are hard to grasp with simple sentences. We can never really find the right words, because there are none. After all, intangibles are only defined through experiences.

Our little sister has experiences that we will never have. She is the next generation of this story. Hopefully, the WNBA and March Madness will be our little sister's earliest basketball memories. She keeps saying she plans to play for the WNBA. We always thought those dreams started when she watched Monique Currie score 43 points.

****

There is a second generation of women basketball players out there now. The girl’s who grew up with Title IX. They grew up dreaming of playing. They grew up watching women play.

Folks know I am big on history. And today is history. Ten years of incredible basketball. Ten years of idols, amazing plays, broken hearts, tears, sweat, contracts, unions, expansion teams, contraction teams.

Most amazing is there is a THIRD generation of little girls out there. They are growing up not knowing about Title IX but looking at posters of their heroes on their walls. Heroes named, Lauren, Lisa, Tamika, Diana, Lindsey, Alana, Dawn, Sheryl, Yolanda. And more.

The WNBA... it isn’t just a game.

****

The odds are not on our family's side. No one is more than 6 feet tall. Although at the age of nine, one of our sisters already wears size 4 shoes. She might just have a shot at it. And there is Tameka Johnson.

Just like any big sister, we want her to achieve everything she wants. If one day she decides she no longer wants to be a basketball player, we won't force her to change her mind. We want her to enjoy basketball for what it should be, a game.

****

The Twins are in Canada and can’t make it to the All-Star game this year. I was going to show them New York, The Garden, and tell them all about the history. Instead we are going to text Message each other as they watch the game on TV and IM with their sister.

I have witnessed the past. The Twins and I are witnessing the present. My players and The Twin’s sisters are going to be the future.

Funny how basketball can cross generations.

****

You can reach Us at finest76er@yahoo.com and Melissa at Rothum@aol.com

Welcome and Other Odds and Ends
Posted: By Melissa, June 19, 2006 6:30 p.m. ET

Let me tell you, lying around in bed gets real boring after a while. 200 cable channels on and nothing good to watch. High School baseball, World Cup and a preview of the fall college football. I am so bored. Where is my W!

First and foremost let me thank everyone for their best wishes, thoughts, and prayers.

Second, please move from in front of the TV screen I am jonesing bad for my W fix. These withdrawals are killing me. I started this piece a week ago before Alana Beard's and Washington gave me a heart attack. Literally. Snicker. No, it wasn't them. But they are good.

I love being a blogger for the W. I was so excited and stunned when I got my e-mail telling me I was selected. When I read who was selected, I realized that a lot of team’s fans were not going to have a voice. I decided to try hard to talk about issues that transcend across the league.

Today I am going to be an unabashed Connecticut Sun Fan!

Welcome Ashja Jones to the 500 Rebounds Club!

Welcome NyKesha Sales to the 1,000 Rebounds Club!

Welcome Le’Coe Willingham to the 100 Point Club! Yes 100 points. Hey we fans want to cheer our favorites on. She my not get a lot of court time but we love her play and her pre game dancing to the tunes.

Welcome Katie Douglas to the 1500 Points Club! I apologize for being late on pointing this out.

Welcome Margo Dydek to the Thief’s Club as she is averaging 1 steal per game.

Welcome Lisa Weistart, the new Marketing Director. I promise not to abuse your e-mail or phone number. You are cordially invited to visit Section 12, rows D, E, and F as we would love to share with you our love for the Sun and the fun things we would like to do to help sell the team. Plus we are just plane fun to watch the game with.

I am going to digress for a moment and talk about Margo. Large Marge has found a home in Connecticut. We have a significant Polish community here and they are coming out to support her. Margo’s play has become more aggressive on the floor. She smiles more on and off the floor. I think she has finally found a place that loves her for her and not because she is 7’2” and it is reflected in her numbers. She is averaging in double figures for the first time since 2003. She is shooting 60% from the floor and 87.5% from the free throw line. She needs 8 more blocks for 750. Margo is in the top 20 in 14 different categories of statistics in the league. Including having the best field goal percentage.

Yes you read that right... Large Margo is THE most accurate shooter in the league right now. Go look it up.

So welcome to Connecticut Margo. We are glad you are here. Now make my day and dunk. Just once. Not to humiliate anyone but rather to make the crowd go crazy and give us a chance to say we love your skills. You are a great role model for the little tall girls out there.

Oh and one other thing. The next time some out of town fan shows up and makes rude comments about Margo’s height within Margo’s ear shot, I will personally correct your poor behavior. If your momma did not teach you manners I certainly will school you in etiquette. It is not cool to be a jerk.

While “experts” predicted that Detroit would win it all this year, once again The Sun was leading the league with its win loss record until dropping two to the West on the road. Why there is this lack of respect to the team who has back to back Eastern Conference Championships, I do not know. But I say go right ahead and disrespect this team as they go to the Finals again.

I think the game on Sunday the 11th between Washington and Connecticut is a foreshadow of the Eastern Conference Finals. Washington has added solid players in Milton-Jones and Teasley to the Alana “Oh My Gawd did you just see that move” Beard Show. But Washington just does not have the depth in the bench that Connecticut has. Our bench has to many role players to deliver max performance on their limited time on the floor. This is a very ring hungry team. But with Delisha Milton Jones possibly down with her knee, this team will have to find its heart quickly.

On Sunday the 11th, I got to visit a Skybox. Beautiful room. Spacious with comfortable seats and great food. Ironically I hated the view. It would be great to watch a concert from but I want to see the sweat roll off someone’s brow or hear Katie Douglas scream at the refs for Alana Beard moving as she threw the ball in. That girl can yell! Oooooo I so do not want to get her pissed off at me.

There is one thing that Katie does that has me laugh out loud every time I watch it. When Katie gets the steal or outlet pass and drives the floor, the defender always sets themselves and Katie at the last second flips the ball to her left hand and scores. There is a faint smile when she does that and I laugh as I think, “Sucker. She got you again.” Why you ask? Cause Katie Douglas is a left-handed player and people forget and defend her as if she was a righty. They try to force her to the left thinking it is her weak hand. Hence the faint smile.

To the All-Star voting and voters: Are you nuts? Lindsey Whalen not in the top 5 guards of the East? Are you WHACKED????????? Only problem is I can’t say which guard should not be in that top 5. So I guess I will just sputter about the lack of Whalen and Cheer that people are finally seeing the quiet greatness of Katie Douglas.

Acts of Kindness:

While we missed Taj at the past few games, I completely agree with her decision to be with her daughter for her graduation. And I applaud The Sun for supporting her through the giving her time off. Acts of Kindness do not have to be great overt actions. Sometimes they are simple things like the expression of a mother’s love and making it easy for that love to be expressed.

Mindless Quote:

“You have had a heart attack and you want to know the score of the game?” Laura an ER Nurse at Norwich Hospital.

Puff Pieces
Posted: By Kevin, June 18, 2006 9:36 p.m. ET

Dear Swin,

I'm a huge women's basketball fan but my favorite pro league is really starting to tick me off. They keep producing these sickeningly cute features for their website while ignoring a great many things that would be of interest to fans of the sport. For example…

They webcast a great many games, but the links on the website don't always work and when they do they open in an awful browser that can't even resize the picture. I don't want to see a game on a postage stamp, I want it full screen! I'm thankful that RebKell has found links that open them in a better browser but I hate that my league makes me go offsite to find them.

They sometimes have games broadcast on Fox Regional Sports networks or the MSG network, but they're almost always blacked out for me even though I live nowhere near a WNBA team. Does someone really think the Monarchs' attendance will be adversely affected by having their games available for broadcast in Georgia? Of course the networks and the cable/satellite providers blame each other, and my league stands by and does nothing.

They continue to have inaccurate or incomplete information about players and teams on their site. I can't find out how many games Nykesha Sales has started in her career or how Bridget Pettis did before this season, but I can find out what KB Sharp's favorite movie is. Sheryl Swoopes was listed as probable for a game in Washington when she didn't even make the trip. Just a couple of weeks ago they listed Ashley Robinson, Anna DeForge, and Penny Taylor as probable starters for the Mercury against the Shock even though none of them are playing for Phoenix this year.


I love this league, Swin, and I know you do too. It just seems that their priorities are out of whack. It hurts me to see them screw up the things that would give them the most positive exposure while putting out loads of puff pieces that make people take the league less seriously. I need your advice on how to express my displeasure without making them think I'm one of those yohos that just hate's women's ball. Please help!

- Kevin, Macon GA

All-Decade Debate Rages On
Posted: By Lisa, June 16, 2006 12:30 p.m. ET

Congratulations to the 10 wonderful women chosen to represent the first 10 years of WNBA history! Looking through the list, I see a lot of good memories and great highlights. The final 10 looks almost identical to my personal ballot, with the exception of Nykesha Sales replacing Dawn Staley in my voting.

My criteria for voting was that a player had to at least be playing in their fifth year considering we were voting for the best of the first ten years. Secondly, I looked for players that have given me personally that "wow" moment. You know, that moment as a fan when you said, "Holy #$%&! That was unbelievable!" For me, those are the moments that define the WNBA and its fans. Those are the moments that move a fan from being a casual attendee of a sporting event to a frothing WNBA fanatic.

So that narrowed the list down a bit. I can hear some folks saying "How could you have left off Tspoon then? 'The Shot' that beat Houston in the playoffs is definitely one of those defining moments! And what about Ticha? Certainly she has made you go 'wow' with all of her crazy, acrobatic passes!" All of these are true and I could probably go down the list and come up with similar moments for most of the players. I mean, the votes had to be for ten of the thirty most dynamic women in the history of the WNBA. This wasn't easy.

My next step was to look at stats, awards, championships, and other easily measurable success factors in a player's career. Players that consistently lead the WNBA in points, assists, steals, rebounds, blocks and other categories got moved higher up my list. Then I started to look at the impact that player has had on the WNBA. Their impact on the growth of the game. Did their presence in the league redefine how we think about the position they play? Do young girls look up to this player and base their own personal game style on the player? Is this player responsible for bringing in new fans of the WNBA and helping to make sure that the league thrives and grows for another 10 years?

Even with all this criteria, my voting wasn't easy. The 30 women chosen are all absolutely amazing and should be proud just to be on that list. But I think that the WNBA, its fans and the media did a really decent job of meeting my criteria and coming up with an All Decade Team we can be proud of. Congrats again to all!

Fan Dissension

One of the byproducts of the announcement of the All Decade Team is the angry posts I have seen on the subject on the message boards I frequent. To be truthful, I was amazed and saddened at the anger and negative feelings shown by some of the posters against these wonderful athletes. Sure, I could absolutely understand showing frustration at having one of your favorite players not make the cut. But to take that frustration out on another player and try to undermine their moment just blows my mind. These athletes are all worthy bearers of this title. No matter how many we would have picked for the team, somebody would have been slighted somewhere. There always has to be those who just missed the cut. But that doesn't warrant saying nasty things about some of the players who did make the cut. I have to say that reading those negative threads was one of the low points of being a WNBA fan for me. Quite sad.

Obligatory Storm Content

After having played four of the five games in the Storm's first Summer Death March, I am starting to see my team gel. Like I hoped in one of my earlier blogs, the adversity of a long road trip is bringing the team together, building chemistry, and giving the bench players a chance to shine. In particular, Tiffani Johnson and Shaunzinski Gortman have picked up their game and come through big for the Storm on this road trip. Tiffani has helped to fill the gap for the missing Wendy Palmer with some big boards and critical shots down the stretch of the last few games. And Shaun has provided help with her great defense, helping to limit the amazing Seimone Augustus to just 6 points in the final quarter in Minnesota. Betty Basketball is back in the house also, with B-Money providing energy and points when LJ and Sue have been under the weather. She had an amazing first half against the Fever. And finally, LJ broke out of her recent slump with an amazing 15 points in 8 minutes in last night's game in Chicago. She finished with 27 and 10 rebounds for her first double double of the year. With one more game against the reigning champions at Arco, the Storm has a chance to come out of this road trip with a winning record going into a long home stretch. Kudos to Anne and the rest of the team for making lemonade out of lemons!

All-Decade Team
Posted: By Kevin, June 11, 2006 10:36 p.m. ET

OK, I know you've all seen the official All-Decade team. I worked out my own list a while back (yes, I voted) and 7 of the 10 are the same as the actual list. I had Cooper, Griffith, Jackson, Leslie, Smith, Swoopes, and Thompson. In place of Bird, Catchings, and Staley I had…

Ruthie Bolton. A sentimental pick, I guess. Bolton was the WNBA's all team leading scorer for six days in 1997 and I wanted to include her just for that reason. Beyond that, she was a great player, tough as nails and completely fearless on the court.

Chamique Holdsclaw. Here's my boggle. How can Katie Smith be on the team ahead of Holdsclaw? Holdsclaw averages more points (18.0 to 17.0), rebounds (8.6 to 3.2), assists (2.6 to 2.4), steals (1.3 to 0.9) and blocks (0.6 to 0.2) per game than Smith and has a higher FG% (.439 to .410). Holdsclaw has made the playoffs three times (2000, 2002, and 2005) and made the conference finals once (2002). Smith has made the playoffs twice (2003, 2005) and was eliminated in the first round both times. Smith led the league in scoring once, as did Holdsclaw. Holdsclaw also led the league in rebounding twice, while Smith has never led the league in any other major category. Neither has ever finished higher than 4th in MVP voting. I think both should make the team, but if I could only have one I would have to take The Claw.

Teresa Weatherspoon. Let's forget about numbers for a second (although even there Spoon stacks up pretty well against Staley). The New York Liberty have reached the WNBA finals four times and the team has the third highest winning percentage of any franchise in league history. Now, when it's time to celebrate the first decade of play we're going to forget all that so we can honor players who played for perennial underachieving teams like Smith & Staley or Jenny-come-lately's like Catchings & Bird? That makes no sense to me. T-Spoon was the face of the great Lib teams from the first introduction in 1997 (Jasmina Perazic-Gipe) all the way to Nikki Teasley's last second three ball in 2002. That's enough to put her on my All Decade Team.

Two notes from previous entries:

As it happens, there's yet another original 1997 player who has come back this year. Bridget Pettis is back in Phoenix. Somehow I overlooked her when I was writing about Tot Byears.

When I was writing about places to talk WNBA I kept feeling like I was forgetting something. Sure enough, I left out Full Court Press. It's another subscription site, although the message board is free. I think it's worth subscribing for serious fans. Check out the board here.

History Lesson
Posted: By Rebecca, June 15, 2006 9:13 p.m. ET

Good morning/afternoon/evening. My name is Rebecca, and I'll be your history teacher today.

I've just received your All-Decade votes, and I'm very disappointed. It seems that some of you didn't read the directions thoroughly and thought you were voting for simply the best players, not the greatest players or the most influential players. Players like Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi didn't make the league what it is today… but they're making it what it will be in the next ten years, and those accomplishments- both the ones they and their generation have and the ones they will- ought to be acknowledged at the next milestone, not this one. No handing in assignments early, class.

In light of these events- really, how could some of you have forgotten the league's all time assist leader, one of only three five-time All-Stars, one of the greatest rebounders America has ever produced, or the Comets' glue during the glory years?- it seems that someone needs to provide a refresher in basic WNBA history. Pay attention; this may make a return.

The WNBA was not born this year, though Cappie Pondexter and Seimone Augustus have taken their teams to new heights.

The WNBA was not born in 2004, although Diana Taurasi and Alana Beard are two of the best in the league.

The WNBA was not born in 2002, although UConn's Fab Four brought incredible notoriety and skill.

The WNBA was not born in 2001, although Tamika Catchings and Lauren Jackson headlined the deepest collegiate draft in league history.

The WNBA was not born in 1999, although the addition of the ABL players definitely brought the league to a new level.

No, the WNBA was born in 1997. It was born with eight teams, none of which were Seattle, Detroit, Indiana, or Connecticut. It was born on the backs of Charlotte's Andrea Stinson, Vicky Bullett, and Rhonda Mapp; on Cleveland's Janice Braxton, Merlakia Jones, and Michelle Edwards; on Houston's Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson, and Janeth Arcain; on Los Angeles's Lisa Leslie, Penny Toler, and Tamecka Dixon; on New York's Teresa Weatherspoon, Vickie Johnson, and Rebecca Lobo; on Phoenix's Jennifer Gillom and Michele Timms; on Sacramento's Ruthie Bolton and Latasha Byears; on Utah's Elena Baranova, Wendy Palmer, and Tammi Reiss; on the rest of those rosters, the other 65 players who were there at the beginning; and yes, even on the developmental players, some of whom (Latasha Byears, Rushia Brown, Simone Edwards) turned into pretty good WNBA players. Without those teams, without those players, I might be posting on ABL.com about the New England Blizzard and the Philadelphia Rage… or I might not be here at all, because I would never have known the joy that this game could bring.

There are some things I know better than schoolwork, better than my own phone number. Any discussion of the greatest of all time doesn't start with Jackson and Taurasi. It starts with Cooper and Swoopes. Pick a Comet, either Comet, and you'd be right. Maybe you bring in Leslie, and I really couldn't argue that. But to start the discussion with anyone who came in after Cooper left? It tells me that someone has forgotten their history, forgotten that Coop was a cold-blooded sniper when she needed to be, and that it was her horrendous shooting night that lost Game 2 for the Comets as much as Crystal Robinson's second-half barrage and Teresa Weatherspoon's SHOT won it for the Liberty. Maybe in five years, ten years, twenty years, you can have Jackson and Taurasi in the discussion, along with whoever follows them. But right now, the discussion starts with "Cooper or Swoopes?"

There are little things that bother me, too. The Liberty have been exhorting their fans to raise the roof. It's in the list of things they've been raising for ten years. It's in the rally song. But true Liberty fans, old school Liberty fans, remember that Cynthia Cooper brought raising the roof into the WNBA and did it on the Garden floor. No true Liberty fan would ever associate with a Comet tradition, because we remember so many years of despair. It tells me that even the Liberty don't care about their past. It would sure explain why they couldn't mention voting for Vickie Johnson for All-Decade, though they mentioned Becky Hammon and Rebecca Lobo, neither of whom earned the right. It would explain why #24 has already been through two iterations after Tari Phillips, why Iciss Tillis is allowed to wear Crystal Robinson's #3 without even a year's break, why Monique Coker was allowed to put #23 on a blue jersey (because real Liberty fans know, #23=Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuue Wicks, and Sue never wore the blue), why Bernadette Ngoyisa was allowed to take #50 the year after Rebecca Lobo left- again, what, no time lapse? It explains why Carol Blazejowski felt she was entitled to tell Liberty fans to push their Robinson and Baranova jerseys to the back of the closet when Crystal went to the Mystics and Elena stayed home- she seems to think that a franchise as storied as the Liberty can choose when to acknowledge its past and when to pretend it never happened.

Oh, but the Liberty aren't the only team that do this. I nearly pitched a fit when I saw Brandi Davis in #21 for the Sparks, because Tamecka Dixon has always been #21 for the Sparks. It takes a lot of nerve, or a lot of anger, to take the number of an inaugural player from an original team and, as soon as she's signed elsewhere, hand that number to a player who is never going to have half the significance of Dixon. It's an insult to the number, it's an insult to Dixon (a key piece to two championship teams), and an insult to the fans who have remained loyal to the Sparks even since their horrendous beginning. Though the Storm weren't an inaugural franchise, Francesca Zara wearing #7 for Seattle- Kamila Vodichkova's #7- was another example of teams forgetting their history. (Of course, sometimes it works out okay. I think Deanna Nolan is doing justice to Cindy Brown's #14 in Detroit, don't you?)

Yes, I know. If you don't want to see a number worn, you retire it. Some teams have done that- Phoenix with Timmsy's #7, Houston with Coop's #14 and Kim Perrot's #10, Sacramento with Ruthie Bolton's #6, Charlotte with Andrea Stinson's #32. And I'm fairly certain it's no coincidence that no Liberty player has worn #34 since Kym Hampton, or #11 since Teresa Weatherspoon (especially since Kelly Schumacher's collegiate number was #11, and she changed to it in Indiana as soon as Texlin Quinney vacated it, and Loree Moore has also said she prefers #11). But sometimes the sentimental value is more important than the player's actual value on the floor. Much as I love Sue Wicks, her WNBA career did not merit retiring her number, but you had better believe that I'll be up in arms if anyone dares wear #23 unless she's proven, talented, willing to sacrifice her body on defense, proud to be representing New York… and okay, is preferably from Rutgers and has authorization from Sue to wear the number.

What I'm trying to say is that it seems in this year that's all about history, everyone- the league, the teams, the fans- seems to have forgotten the history already made, so fixated are they on the history they're planning to make or be a part of. Maybe I'm just reactionary, maybe I just don't like change, but it bothers me how many people make their choices or form their opinions without full information.

So, to return to the metaphor I opened this entry with…

Class, you have two assignments. The first, as always, is to go to the next WNBA game in your vicinity. Appreciate not just the present and the future, but also the past.

The second? Pick a 1997 player and Google her. See what she did. Don't take the easy way out and look up Swoopes, Thompson, or Leslie. Find someone less current, someone who seems to have been forgotten, and plug her name into a search engine. It might give you some more appreciation for the modern league if you know the foundations.

Bright Lights For Dark Nights
Posted: By Jen, June 14, 2006 11:58 p.m. ET

Editor's Note: While Melissa continues to recuperate from her illness, some of her friends have continued to pitch in and serve as Guest Bloggers in her absence. She wants to thank everyone for your prayers and good wishes.

As everyone has probably heard, our good friend and Fan Blogger Melissa recently became ill. In honor of a fellow vet and at her request, here I am writing this blog entry. Yikes. We’ll see how it goes, so please stick with me! When Melissa asked my to write this post, I knew immediately what I would write about. It’s personal and very important to me but hey; everyone loves a human-interest story, right?

As I said, both Melissa and I are fellow vets and huge WNBA fans. While she served in Desert Storm, I served two tours of duty in Iraq. In the spring of 2004, my fellow Marines packed up, shipped out and headed to the Big Sandbox in the East. Missing our families, missing the comforts of home? I was just mad that I was going to miss the WNBA season and the Olympics.

Fast-forward a couple of months. The fighting in Fallujah had broken out and almost every unit was mobilized into the city, including mine. Nine Marines in my unit, including myself, were injured our first day in the city. An injured friend of mine and I were sent to an Army hospital in another part of the country for further care. And that is where I had one of the best and worst experiences of my life. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

I grew up in Southern California and have been watching Diana Taurasi play since high school. I went to El Toro High School with the Mendiola sisters and got to see them and our school versus Diana’s school a couple of times. When she went to UConn, I became a full-blown fan. How could you not be a fan after watching her play? The attitude, the skills, the whole basketball package. I loved watching her play and looked forward to every game I could catch on TV.

So back to that Army hospital back in the desert…there I was in the middle of a war zone, hurt, hot and away from my friends…and I couldn’t have been happier. The hospital had a satellite feed and that meant that for the two weeks I was stuck there, I was watching our girls light up the competition in Athens and winning the gold medal. Including Diana.

In June of 2005, I got my little sister tickets to go see her first WNBA game in L.A. Of course, the visiting team was Phoenix. We obviously wanted “our team” to win and my little sister wanted a sign so we did what any self-respecting fan would do: We resorted to bribery. We both got a kick out of it when Diana laughed and yelled “That’s a contract!” at us when she saw the sign that said “Hey D, $20 for 20 points”. After the game (after almost getting kicked out for not having a VIP pass!) I managed to catch up with Diana. My sister jokingly tried to make good on our “contract” by stuffing a 20 down D’s shorts, which resulted in her getting chased around the stands by Diana. When I had a chance to talk to D I was able to briefly tell her about my experience and about why I wanted her to have my Purple Heart. She didn’t want to accept it but I told her that she was to keep it, it was good luck. It was my way of giving something back to her, and all the women of the U.S. team, for giving me a chance to cheer during one of my darkest hours.

So here’s to the women who for two weeks made US stand up and be proud to be Americans.

I’ll be going to the Phoenix game in Los Angeles on June 30th. Do me a favor, will you all? Don’t tell the Staples Center workers I’m coming. *wink* I might actually get another chance to run into Diana that way.

An Open Letter to Chamique Holdsclaw
Posted: By Christal and Christia, June 14, 2006 12:05 a.m. ET

Disclaimer: Instead of attacking the league or the other selections, we figured the best way to defend Mique is to tell her how deserving she is. Hence, the letter. We know it's biased and maybe even unprofessional but that's a risk every fan blogger must take :. Feedbacks are welcome at finest76er@yahoo.com

Dear Mique,

Honorable mention? Ouch. We know you've heard. It's not so much as a disrespect as it is a "y'all must a forgot" moment. There are couple of things the all-decade players have that you don't have yet. Seven of them are champions, five are league MVPs. But it's like they forgot how you changed or are changing the game.

Because part of the all-decade team criteria was the player's impact to the game, we honestly thought you were a shoo-in. Take it back to 1999 when they called your WNBA career as "one of the most anticipated careers in the history of women's basketball." Remember that? It ain't like it's been a disappointment since then.

It seems it slipped out of their minds how you're the only player to lead the league in scoring and rebounding in the same season. That you rank top 5 all-time in total points, points per game and rebounds per game. And girl, you're not even done yet. You also led the league in rebounding in back-to-back seasons. Add those to your ROY, all-star appearances and all-WNBA team selections.

But you didn't have the hardware that matters most and our best guess is, the lack of championship bling eclipsed all your other achievements. Or maybe it's the recent off- court drama that cost you. Nah. That can't be it. They can't hold you responsible for something that even you can't control, can they?

Pam Ward said the W might assemble another all-decade team 10 seasons from now. We can't believe it'll take another 10 years before you get the love that you deserve. In theory, 10 years is not that bad. We just don't understand why you have to wait for something that should have been decided now. Knowing you though, you'll prove them wrong sooner than later.

With love always,
The Twins

Update on Melissa
Posted: By David Siegel, June 12, 2006 4:00 p.m. ET

Yesterday was a home game for the Connecticut Sun. It was kicked off with a fan fest, to be followed by an exciting, important game against division rival Washington Mystics. I was nervous about the game, with Taj McWilliams-Franklin away enjoying the correct priorities in life (her daughter’s graduation) and excited for my daughter Danielle to again see two of her favorite visiting players, Alana Beard and Delisha Milton-Jones, both of which have been very friendly to her over the last couple of years.

I spoke to my friend, Melissa, your regular blogger, in the morning, to arrange meeting, because she wanted to see Dani meet up with Alana, as possible blog material, and she was going to start at the fan fest, which she also thought would make good material. See Melissa takes her blog seriously. She explores human nature, and people, not just the game itself. While others discuss stats, their team, or whatever motivates them, Melissa spends a great deal of team watching. Watching the game, watching people, watching the world.

We got their late due to soccer commitments, and saw Melissa for no more than a friendly wave at the start of the game. I went to go see her at halftime, and saw that she must have gone to get something to eat. Then the 3rd quarter started, and no Melissa. I was very surprised when I didn’t see her in the 4th quarter, because she really loves her Sun games!

About half way through the 4th, around 5:30 or so, I text messaged Melissa “Where R U?” I figured she must have not felt well and left.

It wasn’t until 9:30 I got a response. I sent Dani to get my phone when I heard the chirp of a message. I asked her what it was, and with a pale face, she said you better read it yourself. I still get a chill when I type it now:

“Hospital heart attack”

I was able to talk to Melissa last night, and she was doing okay, in a hospital in Norwich, CT. She said she would try to get in touch with me later. I said okay, don’t worry what time. At 11:59 pm, I got a text message:

“I had to leave what was final score”

I just started laughing. How’s that for a fan! No kidding you had to leave! But Melissa didn’t know who won the game, and NEEDED to know! So I sent her back the Sun won by double figures, and knowing Melissa she went to bed happy, with visions of KT Douglas 3 pointers dancing in her head.

So is this still just a game? Do people think the WNBA is just girls trying to play basketball? Well, it’s not. It’s excitement, it’s friendships, it’s passion, and it’s an escape, all at the same time. The players are our heroes, our companions, our friends. This isn’t just about basketball; it’s about all of these things and then some.

So I hope Melissa is feeling better, and is back on the blog soon. I have this feeling she’ll be at the Sun game vs the Lynx next Thursday (it was nice of the Sun to arrange a road trip so Melissa can relax a little). And when I get to the game, I’ll look for her seat and ask “Have you seen her?”

Hoopapalooza
Posted: By Christal and Christia, June 12, 2006 12:21 a.m. ET

Apparently, our ranting works. Either our CSP (cable service provider) got tired of us complaining about the lack of WNBA games or it's just a huge coincidence that five games were televised this week. Either way, we win.

Speaking of winning let's go to…well let's just go to the New York Liberty. We watched the Liberty play against Connecticut, Houston and San Antonio. In those three games, New York averaged just over 64 points. It seems this team is struggling with the new 24-second shot clock, four quarters format. New York lack the offensive punch to compete with the points produced by opposing teams. But they showed resiliency by winning against the Silver Starzz in a back-to-back schedule.

Our beloved Mystics also struggled with two road loses against the Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun. We learned one thing from the Indiana loss: the next time Catch mentions she's playing hurt, we're not going to believe her. There's no point getting our hopes up thinking our team has an advantage. She was fine, it didn't look like she wasn't 100 per cent.

We are crossing our fingers that Nykesha Sales' newly dyed black hair is the reason behind the Mystics' loss and not the fact that we're bad luck to one of our favorite teams. Despite playing without Taj McWilliams-Franklin (our prayers are with you and your family) the Sun looked impressive to make another serious run in the playoffs.

Fans e-mailing fans:
As a follow-up to our Small Wonders entry, a few fans responded with some interesting suggestions behind the "rolling of the jersey" phenomenon. Here's three of them. Actually, this is all of them:

"On wnba.com you said e-mail you if anybody had another suggestion for the players rolling their jerseys, so I am. A reason why they might do that is it might be hot and the jerseys may be thick. They are playing just as hard as the men and if the jerseys are thick then that may make it hotter. Rolling the jerseys may be a way to make it cooler. But again that's just a suggestion for why they may do it. I watch the WNBA game when they're on TV and it don't look as bad as the NBA players do when they wear the sleeves and the high socks."
-Alysa Wilfong

"Hi.
Here is a possible answer or rather my answer to your question about why WNBA players roll their jerseys.
Well for me rolling my jersey has always been something I do. Before the start of each game I roll and tuck the jersey into the straps of my sports bra. I do this just to have the jersey tighter I guess. WNBA players probably do the same thing and even though the league got better fitting jerseys they still do it because a jersey will always be loose unless it is skintight like the Australian body suits.
Hope that this answer suits you."
-Carly Koebel

"That's easy…they think they are at gun show.... 'look at those guns girl'"
-Gayline Clifford

We love the e-mails. Keep them coming, finest76er@yahoo.com.

Where to Talk WNBA
Posted: By Kevin, June 11, 2006 12:44 p.m. ET

I got an email the other day from someone who read the blog and wanted to provide some feedback. They contacted me through the email address on my website, the one in the bio. They also wanted to know how to contact the other bloggers, since there's no comments or other way to contact them listed here on wnba.com. I helped as best I could. I have email addresses for all the other bloggers but didn't quite feel right handing them out to just anyone.

The person who contacted me was also lamenting a lack of other WNBA fans to talk with. Like me, she lived far from any WNBA team and that limited the number of local fans. I pointed her to a couple of places online to talk W, and that got me thinking. I bet there are a lot of people like my new friend who would like to have people to talk about the league with but don't know where to look.

Let me tell you about some of the places I frequent….

At the top of the list has to be the WNBA message board at ESPN. That's where the Hot Topics under the Our Voices section of wnba.com come from. It's been in operation since 1999, making it one of the oldest WNBA message boards around. There are lots of enthusiastic fans here.

http://forums.espn.go.com/espn/forum?forumID=766

ESPN also has individual team boards, but they are not heavily used. They're also a little out of date. There's no Sky board but there is a Rockers board.

http://forums.espn.go.com/espn/category?categoryID=43

Probably the most active board is Rebkell's Junkie Boards. It started in the 2004 season when the ESPN board was having technical difficulties. This place can keep you occupied all day and all night just trying to keep up with all the posts! Most of the fan bloggers post here (all but the twins, I believe) so if you want to tell Queenie how great she is this is the place. Rebkell also offers a WNBA fantasy game similar to the Virtual GM game that ESPN used to run.

http://boards.rebkell.net/index.php

I have a great affection for wnbatalk.com. It's slowed down, activity-wise, from a few years ago but the people who post there have a unique insight into the league. This one also has individual team boards.

http://wnbatalk.com/

Basketballboards.net has a WNBA forum. It's mostly links to WNBA news posted by truebluefan, but when you can get people to talk they're usually on the ball pretty well.

http://www.basketballboards.net/forum/forumdisplay.php?s=f43a1cdc93402aa32f60d1516570b95e&forumid=132

Of course AOL, yahoo, and icq all have WNBA forums. Yahoo is the busiest. AOL's was just restarted at the beginning of the season.

http://messageboards.aol.com/aol/en_us/articles.php?boardId=151370&func=3&channel=Sports

http://beta.messages.yahoo.com/Recreation_&_Sports/Sports/Basketball/forumview?bn=7737488

http://www.icq.com/boards/browse_folder.php?tid=11980

Womenssportsnet.com has a collection of message boards, including a basketball board. The main site is a must for anyone interested in women's sports.

http://www.womenssportsnet.com/forums/Default.aspx

Women's basketball magazine has a message board, although it's not heavily used. The magazine is very nice, however, and is definitely worth checking out for WNBA fans.

http://www.wbmagazine.com/forum/


As for individual teams, well…

The Lynx have Lynx Lane, which even features occasional appearances by Lynx front office people.

http://mnwomensbb.shortstreet.net/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=2

The Storm have stormfans.org. This is the one that announced Jessica Bibby's injury even before Anne Donovan knew about it a couple of years ago.

http://www.stormfans.org/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi

The Comets have thehrr.com. The message board is free. Most of thehrr is a subscription site, but it's well worth the price if you're interested in Comets, Rockets, or Houston area college ball.

http://thehrr.com/discus/messages/26/26.shtml?1049368209

The Shock have a message board attached to their website. It's funny to me to see fans clamoring for the coach to be fired on an official team website.

http://pistons.infopop.cc/eve/ubb.x?a=cfrm&s=488102901&f=584103441

The Mercury have gotnext.com. It seems like its been around forever, and maybe it has. It's always fun to check up on the adventures of the Mercury Brigade.

http://www.gotnext.com/mercury/

There are probably other boards too, but these are the ones I check in on and that should be enough to keep you busy.

However, there are two more places I'm going to tell you about.

You can keep up with WNBA news at The Women's Hoops Blog. Sara, Ted, and all the guest bloggers do a great job with the news of the WBB world.

http://www.womenshoops.blogspot.com/

Womensbasketballonline.com is a great treasure trove of stuff. Stats, transactions, links, interviews, attendance figures, and who knows what else. I'm putting it here at the end because everyone knows you should save the best for last…

http://womensbasketballonline.com/

The Sky's the Limit
Posted: By Lisa, June 9, 2006 5:23 p.m. ET

I got my first look at our newest expansion team on Wednesday. The Chicago Sky made their first and only trip to Key Arena and played a gutsy game, never folding until the Storm made a late run. The talent on the team is probably the best I have ever seen on an expansion team. Candace Dupree is going to be very good in the not too distant future. She made some post moves on LJ that reminded me of Nicole Ohlde in her rookie year.

That said, it is probably going to be a long year for Sky fans. They just don’t have the depth off of the bench to match up with a more mature team’s supporting cast. But it shouldn’t take them too long to get competitive, thanks to the strong expansion draft they had.

I would like to give a shout out to Coach Dave Cowens for having a great wit about him. During the early part of the game last Wednesday, the Storm had jumped out to a 13-4 lead with a three-pointer from LJ. Dave was standing right in front of me and I shouted, “Hey Dave, it looks like it is time for a time out!” Without missing a beat, he turned to me in the crowd and said, “You’re right. Thanks!” Before turning to the ref and calling his time out. His response got a great chuckle from the crowd. Kudos to bringing it right back at us Dave!

Expansion Worries

Watching the Sky got me to thinking about the WNBA’s expansion plans for the future. Donna Orender has made numerous comments that the WNBA was hoping to add 10 teams in 10 years. And this really has me worried. The quality of play in the WNBA is getting good enough now to get attention outside of its core fans. A lot of that increase in quality is coming from deeper benches. I can remember Storm games in their first few years where you cringed when a bench player came into the game because you knew that the quality of play was going to go down. Way down. Nothing deflates a crowd like knowing that your team just got much worse because you needed to give your stars a breather. But so far this year, I haven’t seen that happen in too many games. The quality depth on the various WNBA benches is really pretty darn good. Many times, I see bench players coming in to spark teams. This can only be good for the longevity and financial health of the league.

But then you have the expansion plans. If the WNBA is as aggressive in expanding as they say they are, two things are going to happen. First off, bench depth is going to go down in quality. That’s a given. So coaches are going to be forced to go to shorter rotations to keep the quality of play up and that is going to put wear and tear on the players. The other thing is that the quality of the expansion teams will go down as the benches lose their depth. Do you think that a new team has a chance in hell of garnering the legion of fans it is going to need to succeed when their team is composed of players that probably wouldn’t even make teams today? I think not.

The number of quality women’s players is growing every year as college programs spit out more high quality players than ever before and overseas players start matching their US counterparts in skill. So expansion is very possible, but only if it is in a controlled way. I would say that the league could support a new team every two years at the most. Otherwise, I think you risk a loss of quality and at a time when this young league is finally gaining well deserved respect, that would be bad.

On The Road

The Storm enters its first Summer Death March of the year, with 5 straight games on the road. And of course, it couldn’t come at a worse time, with Wendy Palmer sidelined for 4 to 6 weeks and Tiffany Johnson coming up lame with a groin injury. But champions are born of adversity, so I am hoping that this trip will help the players to gel and build that chemistry that will be needed to bring another trophy home to Seattle.

But one of the things I hate the most about these long road trips is the inability to follow the games except through the radio. It makes me feel like I have lost touch with my team. I went out and bought the Total Sports Package on DirecTv in order to get as many WNBA games as possible. So far, I have to say that I am disappointed with the lack of TV coverage.

If the WNBA is ever to grow and reach more people, Donna Orender is going to have to find a way to get all of the WNBA’s games available on TV. This doesn’t have to be free TV. I would gladly pay for a WNBA season package that brought me every WNBA game. I would pay good money for that. You could also have team packages that bring you every one of your favorite teams’ games. If Donna can get this to happen, you will have more fans getting excited about the WNBA and their home teams, instead of getting distracted by other summer events when these long road trips happen. Come on Donna! My credit card is in hand!

All the News... Riiiiight
Posted: By Rebecca, June 9, 2006 12:09 a.m. ET

New York City has four major dailies, three of them among the top ten in national circulation. The New York Times is one of the most respected newspapers in the world. The New York Post is famous for some of the most sensational news coverage in the country. Both the Post and the New York Daily News pride themselves on having the best sports coverage in this sports-saturated city.

Together, these four dailies wrote barely over a thousand words on the June 7th game between the New York Liberty and the Connecticut Sun, no single article longer than 350 words. Yours truly alone penned over 1500 words of gameday notes, although I grant that I cover things unrelated to the game and not worthy of newspaper coverage. The Times, while noting the presence of Liberty owner James Dolan, neglected to mention either team's leading scorer, any critical analysis of the game, or the presence of WNBA president Donna Orender; in fact, President Orender's presence went unnoticed by any of the papers.

The Post mistook second-year guard Ashley Battle for rookie guard Sherill Baker, an interesting trick since they wear completely different numbers and have strikingly different physiques. It's not the first mistake in that vein the paper has made; for years, they were convinced that Richie Adubato was the only coach in franchise history and the team started in 1999.

The News could not be bothered to spell Shameka Christon's first name correctly, while Newsday fell prey to a spelling error in Cathrine Kraayeveld's given name. It's still better than the News's old penchant for mixing up Teresa Weatherspoon and Sophia Witherspoon, especially in Witherspoon's last year with New York, when she cropped her hair and dyed it gold.

New Jersey was not immune, either, although Sheila Miller's article for the Bergen Record is the best-written of the home press; however, Margo Dydek is only 7-2, not 7-5.

Only two of the New York metro papers, the Post and the News, even mentioned Shameka Christon's twisted ankle, surprisingly not including the Bergen Record, which opened with a listing of things that went wrong during the game. Only one gave any post-game prognosis. Shameka Christon is supposed to be the future of this franchise, and only one newspaper can be bothered to find out exactly what happened to her?

Now, compare this to the Hartford Courant- which, for starters, sent its Sun beat writer on the road, as did the Norwich Bulletin. Lori Riley's article, nearly 500 words long, offers detailed coverage of the game and the flow of it, along with information on their team's players- in the Sun's case, Katie Douglas (who had been poked in the eye in practice the previous day) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (nursing a broken pinkie and off to Europe this weekend for her daughter's high school graduation).

Arthur Sherman's 557-word piece for the Norwich Bulletin is just as good, using Taj McWilliams-Franklin's great game and her postgame quotes as the jumping-off point for the article, with an interesting quote from Coach Thibault about the hour of the game.

New York's not the only city with this problem. Trying to find coverage of the Sparks has been frustrating… hey, at least it's not inaccurate, right? ;) Only recently has the Indianapolis Star, despite sponsoring the Fever broadcasts' league roundup feature, ramped up its coverage of the Fever. But New York City, home of the league office and one of the biggest media markets in the country, is slacking off, and that's bad news for the league… and for 8 million or so New Yorkers who are missing out on young players like Sherill Baker because they just don't know she exists (or think she's Ashley Battle).

What makes me sad is that it wasn't always like this. There was a time when game day articles took up a good quarter of the page. There were off-day features. There were pictures, the better to identify, and identify with, players. It's a problem that became glaringly noticeable in 2004, when the Times ran with the AP story for a home game. (It's also not limited to the WNBA, as the women of St. John's can attest to, but that's a topic for a different blog.)

Enough is enough. This Liberty fan is not going to stand for third-class coverage. I've already e-mailed Lori Riley and Arthur Sherman in appreciation of what they have done, and will soon be castigating the sports editors of the New York dailies for what they couldn't be bothered to do. I'd like to see others who care about the league, even if they don't care about the Liberty or the Sun, do the same. Only through input from the public can we get newspapers to respect the WNBA. This fan is tired of yet another article about the drama around the Knicks- there is, after all, a team *currently* playing at the Garden- or yet another article about whether Barry Bonds is or ever was using.

Madison Square Garden
Posted: By Melissa, June 8, 2006 10:56 p.m. ET

I cannot imagine what it would be like to play in THE GARDEN. That is all you have to say is “THE Garden” and everyone know what you are talking about. The history of the place. All of the sporting events that have played out there. Boxing, dog shows, circuses, Greatful Dead; and basketball of all kinds ... high school to the pros, all have been inside ... {say it with reverence} The Garden.

Joe Louis vs Max Schmeling in 1938.

Jordon ending his career in game 6 with a 20 footer.

Willis Reed, with a banged up leg, willed the Knicks to the NBA title in 1970.

Ringling Brother and Barum Bailey Circus.

Joe Frazier knocked out Muhammad Ali, while Frank Sinatra snapped pictures at ringside in 1971.

John Lennon gave his last live performance by paying off a bet to Elton John when he joined him onstage for a duet on "I Saw Her Standing There" in 1974.

Mark Messier lived up to his guarantee that the New York Rangers would win the Stanley Cup in 1994.

T-Spoon’ s “Da’ SHOT”.

The list goes on and on and on...

This year is the home of the WNBA’s All-Star game in the leagues 10th year.

There is a lot of history for the Liberty every time they walk onto the court. Look to the rafters and there are all the championship banners. Lots of memories and moments from other sports in that holy mecca of athletics. All around the country the W is playing in spots that are filled with the history of sports. They are adding to that list of magical moments.

The first season the Sun came to Connecticut, I looked at our “tiny” arena of 10,000 seats. It was originally built for concerts and other events the casino was holding. The rafters were empty. No championships to display. No history to live up too.

Now me, I am big on history. The past. I am a 17th generation American. Yup Mayflower and all. A couple of relatives signed a few of the documents that started this country. My grandmother always told me, whenever I had some hair brained idea “Your family helped host one revolution; we can always host another”. Grandma was cool.

So the first season the Sun was here, I did not buy season tickets. I sat all around the arena. I was looking for “MY” seats. I was looking for the spot where history was made. I was looking for the past.

And then I realized there was no past. That this arena was brand spanking new for a brand spanking new professional WOMEN’S team. I did not have to wonder about what it would have been like to witness sports history in the making, I could be part of history making moments. Way cool. The rafters of the arena are starting to fill with championship banners. And I can say I saw them won and then lifted to the rafter heavens in a prayer of celebration. It is the arena to me now. It isn’t The Garden but it is my sports shrine. And this shrine is being built with women’s sweat and women’s sports stories and women’s athletic dreams.

Not HIStory but HER dreams.

The Garden is cool. And the Liberty are great; but I am hanging with the Sun as they make history. Section 12, row E, seats 1&2. My usher Jane seats me and I witness.

I bow my head in prayer for my fellow soldiers with the singing of the National anthem; I worship at the athleticism of Kesha as she drives the lane, or Large Marge when she swats one into the side lines. I lift my voice in praise when Katie drains a 3 or Lindsey makes an amazing pass. And I preach the gospel of the W to all who will listen. And I sit shiva when my beloved team loses. I whisper in my evening prayers, “Please God, this year, let them win it all this year.” Of course God is a fan of the W and roots for the Sun.

We worship during the months of May through September. Services are held 2 to 3 times a week. Starting times are posted on the web site. Seating is limited so please make your reservations with the Ushers at your local place of worship.

And try to get to The Garden for the All-Star game. Everyone should make a trip to Mecca at least once in their lives. Ashante and I will be worshipping somewhere close to the floor.

New members to various WNBA “clubs”

Katie Douglas 1500 points scored, Dawn Staley 2000 points scored, Tamika Whitmore 2000 points scored, Lauren Jackson 3000 points scored

Swim Cash 750 rebounds, Cheryl Ford 1,000 rebounds, Nykesha Sales 1,000 rebounds,
Margo Dydek 1750 rebounds

Tamika Catchings 500 assists

Katie Smith 200 steals, Tully Bevilaqua 250 steals

Ruth Riley 250 blocks

Acts of Kindness:

“I’m Lisa Leslie and you are watching ‘In The Life’ on LOGO.” Way cool.

Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde
Posted: By Lisa, June 6, 2006 1:32 p.m. ET

As a Storm season ticket holder, we get pretty used to winning at home. Key Arena has always been a daunting venue for opposing teams. But this year, there is an uncertainty in the air. The reason? We have no idea which Storm team will be showing up. Will it be the team that steamrolled the LA Sparks? Or will it be the one who bowed down before the mighty Houston Comets? Will it be the team that outrebounded the Mercury on Friday 45 to 27, holding Phoenix to 9 offensive boards? Or will it be the team that got outrebounded two days later by the Silver Stars 37 to 21, including giving up 18 offensive rebounds?

As a fan, one of the worst things that can happen to your team is inconsistency. You can handle losing. It happens. Each team has so many great players that any one of them could "go off" on a given night and beat you. On Friday, Cappie Pondexter made a valiant effort, scoring 30 points, including a late run where she seemed to hit everything she threw up. On Sunday, it was Kendra Wecker sparking the team with a stream of baskets in the second half that sent the crowd reeling. But that's not what troubles me. I can handle being beaten by Sheryl Swoopes having another career game. What I have trouble with is inconsistency and lack of effort. Every team has a down game now and then. It happens. But when you seem to have a down game every other game, that's a problem. Coach Donovan has been fuming at practice. Here's hoping that she can fix the Storm's chemistry and get this team on a roll.

Rookie of the Year

I had my first chance to see Cappie Pondexter in person on Friday and I have to say that I am very impressed. She played with poise. When her team was down double digits, she single handedly stepped up and brought them to within four, draining contested jumpers on every possession. This girl is the real deal. Any other year, she would be the hands down favorite for ROY. But this year, we are blessed with two rookie superstars. Seimone Augustus has been even more impressive of late, racking up her first Player of the Week award and actually leads the WNBA in scoring. Watching these two young superstars battle it out for the ROY award will be one that we will never forget.

Silver Stars

In my preseason predictions, I said that the Silver Stars would be a vastly improved team this year. After watching their gutsy performance against the Storm on Sunday, I would have to say that is an understatement. Coach Dan Hughes has his team playing like a team, with well rounded scoring and great team defense. On Sunday, he had 6 players scoring in double digits. It seemed as if Coach Hughes could rotate in one scoring machine after another. Kendra Wecker, Sophia Young, Vickie Johnson, LaToya Thomas and Agnieszka Bibrzycka all came into the game and sparked the team with points, rebounds or defensive pressure. On a night where the Storm was shooting a lights out 47.4%, the Silver Stars retaliated as a team and prevailed. So my apologies to the Silver Stars for the preseason slight. This team is really good.

Odds andEnds
Posted: By Melissa, June 6, 2006 10:18 a.m. ET

While I have several “thought” pieces done and ready to post, I am consumed with random thoughts from this past weekend.

WHAT IS UP WITH SAN ANTONIO? It seems their extended lease on the basement apartment of the West Division is up and they are moving out. Wow. No more “guaranteed” win over this team. Wecker and her 3s. While I think it is WAY to soon to talk about Rookie of the Year, I am going to say to those who are already discussing the subject, that this kids name needs to be added to the list.

WHAT IS UP WITH PHOENIX? You have Dee, Cappie, and Kamilla and you STILL haven’t won a game? What you picked up the rent on that basement apartment? When Jen D is leading your team in rebounds (luv ya Jen but) the it is “Houston we have a problem” moment. While I am all for giving a new system and coach an extended try, there clearly is a fly in the soup so to speak.

WHAT IS UP WITH WASHINGTON? Oooooo They have finally found the right pieces and are going to be giving my beloved Sun a run for the East this season. They have come to play. Kudos to Washington for bringing back Tot. “Yeah what Kevin said!” in his blog post. I hope Tot tears it up. There were a lot of pissed of fans over her treatment and it was a situation that should not be repeated again. They added some serious depth with McCray, Milton-Jones, Teasley and Johnson. Every team who gave up those players is going to regret it when they meet this new Washington team. It isn’t the Alana Beard show anymore.

WHAT IS UP WITH CONNECTICUT? Oh my beloved team you are giving me heart problems again. My doc said stress was not good for me. Lindsey is looking better and playing with one less ankle brace from last year but she clearly is not her usual “dang did you see that?” self. Erin Phillips is all that AND the large bag of chips. It broke my heart to lose Brooke but I sure understand now why Phillips was protected ion the expansion draft. The Sun have always been a streaky team within the game and yet manage to pull out a win. But this year there just seems to be something missing. Maybe it was the short preseason and with team Mom Taj coming late to camp, they just haven’t quite pulled into their smooth play yet. Or maybe they haven’t gotten used to the 24 second clock. Don’t know but they are at the top of the East.

WHAT IS UP WITH LA? I hate to tell people this but you need more than Triple L Throw Down to carry your team. There are 5 people on the floor at a time for a reason. And while I am all for giving new coaches a chance, get a real coach. Someone who has actually coached and not just fathered a kid. Yeah disrespect intended. There are lots of qualified women coaches out there and I am sick and tired of watching boys with no qualifications try and lead these professional women. This was a championship team. Yes WAS! And while you have Claw, you need more than one other player to make a team. I actually feel sorry for these super star players having to carry the full load night after night. And I feel for their supporting cast who should be given larger roles.

WHAT IS UP WITH NEW YORK? Far be it for me to actually defend New York but here goes. Get off Patti’s back. I actually agree with some of the stuff she is trying. We fans ripped Mike a new one when he dismantled the 2003 Sun until we saw the 2004 Sun win. I think Patti is trying to do the same thing. Not enough veterans but she took a step back and said we are not winning with this group we need changes. So I so give New York a shot. I think they are going to get it together in the second half of the season and play spoiler in the East. And in 2007 they are going to be in the hunt again. I love T-Spoon but New York fans, Da’ Shot did not win a championship. New York as been the bridesmaid for a long time and recently you haven’t even been to the wedding so give Patti a shot. Stop boycotting and work on becoming the rowdy sixth “man” you were in the past.

No, I am not commenting on the other teams right now. They are playing as I would expect of them.

I am impressed with what Chicago is putting together. They maybe an expansion team but they have a QUALIFIED coach and some good journeyman players. Lets see who they get from the 2007 draft and free agency and they may develop faster than people think.

Katie Smith is back in her pre-injury form. I wasn’t sure she would get there but the girl is looking buff and is all net these days with her shots.

Tamika Whitmore is playing like she has something to prove. Big girl is playing hard ball and making herself felt under the basket in Indiana. Something for people to think about in the Most Improved category.

I love the 24 second clock. It completely changes the flow of the game and picks up of the energy of the fans. But the lack of jump ball bothers me. I like to see the big girls get up. It is one of the parts of the game that should not be evened out. If you get out jumped each quarter, well it sucks to be you. Yes, Connecticut has Margo but I have seen her out jumped. The lack of a jump ball each quarter maybe what the international game has but it smacks to much of the old attitude from when I was young ... somehow girls need things to be fair for them cause they are to weak other wise.

Muggsy Growth Chart? Oh that is just so wrong. It is wrong on so many levels. ITS THE WOMEN'S GAME!!!!!!!!!! The growth charts for kids need to be women and they need to be tall women. Loved your play in the NBA Muggsy but this fan thinks you need to make your bones before you come to the W.

There are lots of women assistant coaches in the W who HAVE made their bones and deserve their shot. No I am not on my feminist soap box. I am on my FAN soap box. I want to see what Coop could do again, now that she has spent sometime at the college level. Or Bernadette Maddox from my Sun. Cindy Bloggett who is coaching college in Boston. Teresa Weatherspoon needs a shot at being an assistant coach before she gets a Head slot. Lin Dunn has had an ABL team and the Storm and now is at Indiana as an assistant. There is talent you just have to be open to the possibilities. With hopefully ten new teams over the next decade; the W needs to look father than the NBA for its coaches.

I read Jayda Evans’ book “Game On!” over the weekend. Get it. Read it. I lost my grandmother, who raised me, when I was 22. I was so devastated I dropped out of college. For L.J. to go through that and play ball? And win a championship? All I can say is Aussie Aussie Aussie ...

Acts of Kindness:

Indiana Fever Give-A-Game Program http://www.wnba.com/fever/community/community_FeverFund.html

Over the past five years, individuals and companies have purchased Fever season tickets and donated those tickets to the Pacers Foundation or another organization of their choice, allowing youth in the community to attend a Fever game. Last year, over 25,000 tickets were donated over the course of the Fever season. Call (317) 917-2864.

The teams that do this need to move this option to their ticket pages and put a link on their web site front page!

Mindless Quotes:

“The New Boston Curse. How many years will it take for Boston to win a World Series after they lost Johnny Damon to the Yankees?” Neighbor Dave June 3rd, 2006

Small Wonders Part I
Posted: By Christal and Christia, June 3, 2006 10:21 p.m. ET

Warning issued to our cable service provider (you know who you are): When there are no televised WNBA games, our minds tend to wander. Sometimes it's a creative concept, like our last blog entry. Sometimes it's nonsensical, like this blog.

For the past few years that we've been fans, there are several thing that have boggled our minds. Here's one of them.

What's up with WNBA players rolling the "sleeves" of their jerseys?

Back when WNBA jerseys were loose, we thought players rolled their jerseys because an oversized jersey is uncomfortable. However, when the league changed the style of the jerseys in 2003, this theory went out the window---the players continue to roll their now fitted, non-sleeved uniforms. For this we ask, what's up with that?


Photo: Mitchell Lyton/NBAE/Getty Images

We have come up with possible theories. This puzzling (and quite frankly, annoying) habit may be a fashion statement. As silly as this may sound, it has to be put into consideration because we have fashion forward players like Swin Cash and Ticha Penichiero. Maybe it's the players' way of telling the league they want a halter top version. Or in Deanna Nolan's case, it may just be a chance to showcase her tattoos.

Worse, this could be a compulsive a behavior. An unstoppable habit that began in high school when jerseys were twice one's size and has now been carried to the pros. May be they are so used to rolling their jerseys, it has became a superstition.

If you have another suggestion or if you're an actual player with a definite answer, please save us from our misery and drop us a note at finest76er@yahoo.com

Small wonder on deck: Lauren Jackson's halftime hairdo change…

Faces Behind Posters: Ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. Please claim your poster. E-mail us with some proof and something about yourself and you'll feel the joy of seeing your name on the Internet, as you will get a shout out on the next entry.

June 3, 2006. Madison Square Garden. New York Liberty versus Los Angeles Sparks.
Photo:
Mitchell Lyton/NBAE/Getty Images

The Other Original
Posted: By Melissa, June 2, 2006 5:22 p.m. ET

Records to be Broken

I was in the process of writing this when the W Dot com site put their article up. So I held on to it for a while thinking I was going to scrap it. And then I said, “When history is being made there is never to much commentary”. So....

While my fellow bloggers are talking about opening day games and activities I am thinking about the season as a whole. My apologies to Kevin the resident stat man for talking numbers but this year, the 10th anniversary year, records should be set by many people and I hope to witness as many as possible. History is a wonderful thing and I want to be able to say “I saw...

Lisa Leslie join Katie Smith in the 5,000 point club

Sheryl Swoopes score her 4,000th point

Nykesha Sales, Yolanda Griffith, and Vicky Johnson pass the 3,500 point mark

Mwadi Mabika, Wendy Palmer and Lauren Jackson pass the 3,000 point mark.

Chasity Melvin, DeLisha Milton-Jones and Tamika Catchings pass the 2,500 point mark

Nykesha Sales grabbing her 1,000th rebound and Swim Cash getting to 750 rebounds

Becky Hammon, Dominique Canty, and Tamika Catchings making their 500th assist

Ticha Penicheiro making her 500th steal, Nykesha Sales her 450th and Lisa Leslie her 400th, Tully Bevliaqua her 250th and Katie Smith; Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird should get to 200 steals this year

Margo Dydek needs 18 more blocks to make the 750 mark and Lisa Leslie needs 5 to get to 650.

Lots of bench marks should be made this year. Bench marks that are Hall of fame material.

One of the fun things I get to write about are the great moments, great plays and great players I have watched. I am amazed at the number of history making moments that should occur this year. While the sports shows talk about Bonds and his home runs, the W is about to set some equally amazing records. And I certainly hope the record setting balls are collected, marked and put in the Hall of Fame for our kids to talk about. And if they are not put in the Hall then I certainly hope they are given to the players because they CERTAINLY deserve to keep a piece of their personal history.

And ten years from now, we will all get to say “I remember watching...”

Tangela Smith scored her 3,000 this past week.

In the 2004 Olympics I got to watch, courtesy of the TV, Mia Hamm pass the ball to Kat Reddick, who scored the winning goal. I just smiled and said, “That was history”. That was the moment women’s soccer was passed into the hands {or feet in this case} of the next generation of women superstars. Literally.

So what does this have to do with basketball you say?

Friday, June 2, 2006 at 7:30 CDT, Dawn Staley, Head Coach of Temple Women’s Basketball and the Starting Point Guard of the Houston Comets, will play Candice Dupree, Class of 06 Temple and Starting Forward of the Chicago Sky. If I did not have to attend a wedding tomorrow; I would be in Chicago just to watch that MOMENT.

Dawn Staley. What can I possibly say about her that has not been said. And Candice Dupree, her student. In some weird way I hope Candice steals the ball from Dawn. It would be a poetic moment. The literal passing of the game from one generation to the next.

Acts of Kindness:

Mystics Blood Drive
Donate a pint. Save a life. What could be more cool than that?

Mindless Comments:

"My life is enough to make you want to laugh so hard you snort water. I am so not blonde enough for this." My friend Bert May 31, 2006

The Other Original
Posted: By Kevin, May 31, 2006 10:22 p.m. ET

Tamecka Dixon
Vickie Johnson
Lisa Leslie
Mwadi Mabika
Wendy Palmer
Sheryl Swoopes
Tina Thompson

Those seven are the only players in the league today who were also in the league in 1997, right? That's what it says here and here, so it must be true.

Suppose I told you there was another original WNBA player in the league now. Would you think that Elena Baranova or Janeth Arcain made a surprise return? Maybe you would think Andrea Stinson decided to unretire. Perhaps you would think that Jessie Hicks was making another comeback and snuck onto a roster without anyone in the league office noticing. As far as I know, none of those things have happened. However, there is another player who played in the W in 1997 and is playing in the league now.

I'm speaking of Latasha Byears, of course. In 1997 she started 19 games for Sacramento and in 1998 she led a dreadful Monarchs team in scoring. She was traded to Los Angeles after the 2000 season and as the enforcer off the bench was a key player in their 2001 & 2002 title runs. She was abruptly waived by the Sparks early in the 2003 season. I'm not going to go into the reasons for her dismissal. You can google it if you don't know already. Suffice to say that she was accused of some very ugly stuff, but no criminal charges were ever filed, no civil case was ever brought, and no evidence of her guilt has come into public view. I wouldn't presume to use the word innocent to describe Tot, but in this case she certainly hasn't been proven guilty.

Anyway, after two seasons of exile she's back in the league and playing well. She had a double-double against the Lynx the other night. Why is she conspicuously absent from the league's celebration of the few players remaining from 1997? She signed with the Mystics back in February so they had months before the start of the season to add her in. I can think of a couple of reasons the league might have left her out.

Byears is not on the best of terms with the league. She was involved in a highly visible lawsuit against the WNBA that was settled this off-season. She was critical of the league while she was on the outside, most notably in a lengthy interview with Scoop Jackson that appeared on espn.com and a long feature story about her in the LA Times. It would seem a bit petty for the league to leave her out based on that, but stranger things have happened.

Byears doesn't fit the WNBA's marketing strategy. She's been busted for marijuana possession. She has grillz that Nelly would kill for. She hangs out with guys named Juju, Neckbone, and Killer. She parties hard in places and with people that the league would rather not be associated with. She says stuff like "You know what my attitude is? (Expletive) the world. I'm a winner". She has more tattoos on either arm than Deanna Nolan has on her entire body, and they're not cutesy things like Cappie Pondexter's WNBA logo. She once tried to take off Michelle Marciniak's head with a basketball. In short, she doesn't present the family friendly image the WNBA wants to promote.

Byears' recent absence is somewhat embarrassing for the league. Putting her on the list of originals would almost require some mention of her missing 2004 and 2005, and the explanation of it would require some serious spin. It's something the league, and Tot too, would probably prefer to leave alone and move on from.

I understand the reasons the league has for leaving her out of the remaining players celebration. I don't agree with them, but I get why they've done it. Most people probably didn't notice or care that she was left out, but I'm one fan that knows Latasha Byears belongs on that list at the top of this entry.

Archives: More Fan Blog

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    Video

    Courtside Countdown

    Check out the Top 10 plays from last week's WNBA Action.

    Liberty vs. Storm

    Cappie Pondexter scores 20 points, Tina Charles adds 18 points and 14 rebounds as the Liberty defeat the Storm in overtime.

    Johnson's Triple-Double

    Tameka Johnson records a triple-double with 13 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 10 rebounds in the Storm's tough loss to the Liberty.

    Mercury vs. Sparks

    DeWanna Bonner scores 22 potions, Britney Griner and Diana Taurasi each score 18 points as the Mercury defeat the Sparks.

    Timeout: Katie Douglas

    Take a timeout with Connecticut Sun All-Star, Katie Douglas.