Laurel Richie

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W’s goin’ through them changes

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

The WNBA last week did a Buddy Miles “Them Changes” and announced several new moves for the upcoming season.  

W draft in prime time 

After years of having their annual draft shown during daytime soap opera hours, the 2013 WNBA Draft will be shown for the first time next spring in prime time. ESPN2 will show the first round at 7 pm Central time on Monday, April 15. The second and third rounds then will be shown on ESPNU. Both league and network officials cite the historic change due to an anticipated star-studded first round that is expected to include Baylor center Brittney Griner and Notre Dame guard Skylar Diggins. Continue Reading →

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Athletes encourage youth to stay active, healthy

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Around 100 local boys and girls worked with WNBA stars October 15 on staying active and living healthy. The five Minnesota Lynx starters — Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Taj McWilliams-Franklin — along with WNBA Legend Teresa Edwards worked with Southside Family Charter School students on basketball fundamentals at the WNBA FIT Dribble to Stop Diabetes clinic on the team’s home court. “It warms my heart, and it says a lot of the character of the women,” Edwards noted of the five Lynx players whom she beforehand introduced individually to the students. Each of them had played a game the night before but spent part of their off-day with the kids. “Having the young kids here and being able to interact with them” was important for the Lynx players, added McWilliams-Franklin. Continue Reading →

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Out-coached Lynx settle for runners-up

 

To win one championship is magical, but it takes more to repeat. I watched Houston win four consecutive WNBA Finals, still a league record, and interviewed each of their Big Three: Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes and Tina Thompson, as well as their Hall of Fame coach Van Chancellor. Borrowing from former U.S. Senator and once vice-presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen, I must say, “Minnesota, you’re no Houston.”

That was a dynasty. Winning two in three years by Los Angeles, and later the same for the Detroit-now-Tulsa Shock, are certifiable dynasties. But for those who foolishly compared the Lynx to the now-defunct Comets, winning one title only makes you a faux-dynasty. Continue Reading →

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Brushes with history worth noting as WNBA season concludes

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

This 2012 WNBA season is now history. Throughout the league’s 16th season the MSR brushed with several historical “firsts” — persons who did something that hadn’t been done before and, in some cases, hasn’t been duplicated.  

Tamara Moore — the first  Minneapolitan

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had with the Lynx,” says the team’s first and only Minneapolis-born player. A former 2002 first-round pick by Miami, Moore was traded to Minnesota in June 2002 for Betty Lennox and a future first-round pick, which at the time was considered a controversial trade. “To be the first…and being part of the program and seeing where it is right now is a great experience,” Moore says. Continue Reading →

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WNBA President Laurel Richie Photo by Sophia Hantzes

 

It was “a terrific summer for women’s sports,” proclaimed WNBA President Laurel Richie in her second “State of the League” address on Sunday prior to the first game of the 2012 Finals. From Title IX’s 40-year celebration to the USA women’s basketball team’s fifth consecutive gold medal, “We were very, very proud that all 12 members of that team are currently on WNBA rosters…a great, great summer for women’s sports,” said the second-year league president. Richie proudly talked about “some real breakout stories” this season by the sistahs in her league: “Kristi Toliver [Los Angeles] was just on fire this season. It was terrific to see her as our most improved player. We all got to see what it looks like when Candace Parker [Los Angeles] is 100 percent healthy throughout the entire season. Continue Reading →

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WNBA now on Olympic break

 

Mid-season month off affects teams differently

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

 

With the entire U.S. women’s Olympic basketball team entirely composed of WNBA players, the league schedule is now on break until August 17. The interruption has both good and not-so-good consequences for the league’s teams and players. “First and foremost, I think it is a terrific opportunity to showcase the talents of the WNBA,” observes League President Laurel Richie on this summer’s Olympic Games in London. “It’s an incredible opportunity for them to compete on the international stage.”

However, is the month-long stoppage of play bad timing or momentum-killing for teams such as Connecticut and San Antonio, who respectively are playing the best ball in the WNBA? The Sun is on a five-game win streak, and the Silver Stars went into the break on a nine-game roll. Continue Reading →

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Richie’s ‘rookie’ year as WNBA pres brings progress

 

 

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 →

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