When Carolyn Peck works a game from the studios, as she is doing for this year’s WNBA Finals, she admits there is no ‘home court advantage.’
“I see from the studio monitor the same thing that you see at home,” explained Peck. “When I’m working the game, I’m watching as a coach,” said the former WNBA coach-general manager, and the first and only Black female coach to win a Division I national women’s basketball championship. “I’m looking at it from the perspectives of both coaches — what’s working well for you, and what is not working for you and what adjustments that need to be made that we can talk about at halftime.” Peck admitted that it’s hard to separate the fan from her job as an analyst. “I remember going nuts when [the Lynx’s] Seimone Augustus made that quick move [to the basket] with the crossover through the middle,” she recalled, adding how relieved she was that her microphone wasn’t on at the time. “She is just a fantastic player to watch. Continue Reading →
Unlike last year’s top-heavy, star-studded draft, the 2014 WNBA Draft was instead more workwoman-like. Filling specific team needs took precedence over obtaining star players. The MSR, during the April 10 pre-draft media conference call, asked ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and LaChina Robinson if they foresee “a publicity let-down” from last year’s “3 to See” draft that featured Britney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Della Donne. “I don’t think necessarily we have an Elena Della Donne or Britney Griner in this class,” explained Robinson. “We do have a lot of impact players: Chiney Ogwumike (Stanford), Odyssey Sims (Baylor), Kayla McBride (Notre Dame), Alyssa Thomas (Maryland). Continue Reading →
The 2013 WNBA season opened last weekend in Dickensian fashion — great expectations. “I think this is the most anticipated season for me,” proclaims ESPN analyst and former WNBA coach/general manager Carolyn Peck. SB Nation’s Nate Parham analyzed each W club, in 25 words or less, by conference, beginning with the East:
[New coach Mike Thibault] “will make a huge difference” in Washington, but unresolved ball-handling issues may prove too much. Atlanta still is Angel McCoughtry’s team, but point guard might be a problem. This year’s second overall pick, Elena Delle Donne, will help Chicago, but can the Sky overcome the early absence of star guard Epiphanny Prince, who contractually must play in Russia in June? Continue Reading →
Can we say with all surety that parity was finally achieved this year in men’s college basketball? KFAN’s Henry Lake (HL) and Robert Littal (RL) of BlackSportsOnline recently shared their thoughts on this and this year’s cliché-filled NCAA tournament already in progress. (Please note: Lake and Littal’s comments were made prior to Sunday’s tournament selections.)
View: Was there indeed parity this season? HL: There always will be premier schools, but what I think is different this year is that some of those teams that we always penciled in as top seeds in the tournament essentially have taken a step back, [and] other teams have taken a step forward. I am not surprised that there is parity. Continue Reading →
Under Laurel Richie’s leadership after being named WNBA president in 2011, a national cell phone company signed a multiyear deal and became the first league-wide marquee partner — one of eight new corporate marketing partnerships. “We are so thrilled to have the partnership with Boost Mobile,” Richie told the MSR during a May 20 one-on-one interview. “Our partnership was formed midway last season, so we took time in the off-season to really think about how we activate that.”
Richie predicts the Boost Mobile deal may become “a model” for future agreements. Along with this, television viewership of WNBA games was its highest in six years. Not a bad list of feats for Richie’s “rookie” year as WNBA president; she assumed her duties in April 2011. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
Nykesha Sales is a WNBA legend, a term that both her former league and the NBA these days uses to tell us that once-active players are now retired.
But the six-foot forward-guard and former seven-time all-star last week told the MSR by phone from Venezuela that she hasn’t yet hung up her sneakers. Sales was there working with young people in Caracas and three other cities in Venezuela for the U.S. State Department’s SportsUnited Envoy program. “A lot of people say I’m retired, but I’m actually still playing — just not in the WNBA,” Sales pointed out. “I just got home from Latvia maybe a month and a half ago” after her club won that country’s league championship. Continue Reading →
I get into the WNBA annual draft the same way I used to get into the NBA draft before it became nothing more than too many annually selected players long on potential but very short on stardom. The W draft prospects are four-year seniors, matured players. But like any draft, some will be busts — one (training camp) and done. Nonetheless, I enjoy watching these women college basketball players play below the rim, sizing them up. Sadly though, to find any local male media type who’ll discuss the three-round April 16 WNBA Draft with the same seriousness with which I approach it is a virtual no-go. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The Big Ten for several seasons has assembled 16-game regular-season schedules in which each team has six single-game opponents each year. Minnesota, for example, only plays Indiana, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern once each this season. Now that the conference has 12 teams, one would think a return to a round-robin league schedule — each Big Ten squad plays its opponent twice (once home and once away) — is in the near future. The MSR last week asked Indiana Coach Felisha Legette-Jack if it’s time to do away with the league’s “One Plays” format.
“I’m totally optimistic that they [conference schedulers] are going to get it right this time,” she opined after her Hoosiers completed their one-game slate with the Gophers, losing 84-43 to the hosts.
Colorful present and past
Overall there have been 23 Black head basketball coaches in the Big Ten, 13 males and 10 females. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
ESPN Analysts Carolyn Peck and Kara Lawson recently discussed this season’s women’s college basketball storylines. Here are some of their observations:
1) A breakout year for Britney Griner: “I think the international experience that she
had this off-season definitely helped her,” observed Peck of the 6-8 Baylor junior center. She also sees Griner’s body maturing, “…catching up to what she wants to do” as an offensive player.
“The thing I’ve seen Britney improve on is her aggressiveness and [ability] to handle double teams,” noted Peck, especially the junior’s anticipating the doubles coming at her quicker and passing the ball before they arrive. The Gophers will play nationally ranked Baylor in Williams Arena December 4 as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
ESPN will show a record-high 130 women’s basketball games this season on its family of channels: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU and ESPN3. Along with their Full Court’s pay-per-view package, nearly 250 games are scheduled for telecast during the 2011-12 season. “We are adding more and more each year,” said Carol Stiff, the network’s vice president of programming and acquisition during a November 11 media conference call. “There is a lot to watch.”
The network also will air all 63 games of the NCAA tournament in March. However, women’s college hoops coverage is still just a blip — only two games were part of Tuesday’s ESPN 24 Hours of Hoops marathon coverage. Continue Reading →