Laurel Richie

Recent Articles

Women pros still struggle for media attention

PHOENIX — The WNBA All-Star Game annually is snubbed by sports fans and sports media alike. Last Saturday’s contest here unfortunately remains only a summertime favorite for those of us who do care. It was his first-ever All-Star Game, Earl Malloy told the MSR, admitting that his wife finally convinced him to join her in watching women’s pro hoops. “I’ve been a season ticket holder since day one,” added Carolyn Malloy, who also went to the 2000 game, the last time it was played in Phoenix. “The women players play a lot better than the men.”

 

 

“I love it already,” proclaimed Roosevelt Scott, a St. Continue Reading →

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WNBA league, players reach 8-year contract agreement

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new eight-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the WNBA and the players will add 12 more players to the league, beginning this season. Expanding the rosters, even if only by one spot per team, was a key goal for the players. According to released statements last week:

“We expect all of the league’s constituencies to benefit from the teams’ ability to sign a 12th player,” said WNBA Players Association Director of Operations Pamela Wheeler. “This agreement caps a successful 2013 season both on and off the court,” added League President Laurel Richie. The new deal, which continues through 2021 and includes salary-cap increases, “provides the league with a long-term foundation for growth while also guaranteeing increases in player salaries and benefits,” Richie said. Continue Reading →

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Local leading coach nominated for national honors

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

DeLaSalle Girls’ Basketball Coach Faith Johnson Patterson is among this year’s nominees for USA Today national girls’ coach of the year.  Johnson Patterson in 2012 became the first Black female basketball coach to be inducted into the Minnesota Girls’ Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. “They [USA Today] go around to different states, looking for the top coaches,” Johnson Patterson said exclusively last week to the MSR. “People are selected from each region. My name was brought up several times. “It’s a two-to-three week period where you have to vote, and the top coach from each region is selected as a finalist. I think the winner gets a [cash prize] and a banner to be placed at the winner’s school,” surmised Johnson Patterson. Continue Reading →

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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

League president Richie defends ESPN coverage
 

Although it’s America’s longest running women’s pro league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is still seen by too many as below major league status. The MSR talked about this and related issues with coaches, players, analysts, fans and league officials throughout the league’s 17th season; their insights are included in this multi-part series on the WNBA.   Shortly after a visit here in August, WNBA President Laurel Richie promised the MSR a one-on-one sit-down interview later in the season. The third-year league president made good on her promise during the playoffs, and we respectfully discussed several topics. Despite a six-year extension, this columnist remains unimpressed that ESPN will ever see the WNBA as other than a stepsister in its overall coverage. Continue Reading →

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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

How to better promote the WNBA
 

 

Although it’s America’s longest running women’s pro league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is still seen by too many as below major league status. The MSR talked about this and related issues with coaches, players, analysts, fans and league officials throughout the league’s 17th season; their insights are included in this multi-part series on the WNBA.  

The WNBA has over the course of its existence used season-long promotions that frankly bombed. “We Got Next” and posing star players in evening gowns are just two sad examples. Prior to last spring’s draft, the W launched a new logo as part of what League President Laurel Richie called its “rebranding initiative.” Then came its “3 To See” campaign, for which the president credited ESPN with the season-long theme. Continue Reading →

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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

WNBA media coverage still far short of equitable 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second of a four-part series
 

Although it’s America’s longest running women’s pro league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is still seen by too many as below major league status. The MSR talked about this and related issues with coaches, players, analysts, fans and league officials throughout the league’s 17th season; their insights are included in this multi-part series on the WNBA. According to Scoreboard for Equality, a new on-line blog that began this summer monitoring women’s sports coverage, America’s longest running women’s pro league championship didn’t make the New York Times’ top sports stories, with just a brief mention in both USA TODAY and the Washington Post. Sports Illustrated had four writers covering baseball playoffs, but only one for the WNBA playoffs. ESPN’s almighty SportsCenter aired the Minnesota Lynx’s three-game sweep of Atlanta only after five other sports stories were aired. Continue Reading →

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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

Roster size — go to even or stay odd?  

First of a four-part series
 

Although it’s America’s longest running women’s pro league, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) is still seen by too many as below major league status. The MSR talked about this and related issues with coaches, players, analysts, fans and league officials throughout the league’s 17th season; their insights are included in this multi-part series on the WNBA.  

Injuries perhaps hurt the WNBA more than any other pro league. Each WNBA club has 11-player rosters, and unlike other leagues they do not have an injured reserve list. Continue Reading →

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Lynx in WNBA Finals still low on media radar

The 2013 WNBA Finals now heads south to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday between the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream, the last two teams standing. “Anytime you get to this point when you’re at the end of the season in the Finals, these two teams know that there are a maximum of five more games before they’re hoisting a trophy,” said President Laurel Richie Sunday before Game 1 took place in downtown Minneapolis. “It truly doesn’t matter which two teams are in it. It just matters that we’re at the Finals and ready to bring it on. I think it’s going to be a wonderful way to end what has been a terrific season for the WNBA,” Richie said. Continue Reading →

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WNBA President Richie in town — Addresses questions about expansion

 

 

 

The ‘E’ word — expansion — again was heard. It was asked at the All-Star Game a couple of weekends ago, and again last weekend when WNBA President Laurel Richie spoke to the tiny Minnesota press corps prior to the August 2 Minnesota-San Antonio contest. Too bad the quizzical reporter, as well as others who keep bringing it up, hasn’t gotten it yet. A dozen teams — six in each conference — is fine right now. This reporter, who has covered all 17 WNBA seasons, has seen the league expand too fast during its formative period, only to see teams like Cleveland and Charlotte later close shop after a couple of years. Continue Reading →

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