PHOENIX — Again the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx were well represented at the 2014 WNBA All-Star Game, this time by league-leading scorer Maya Moore, veteran guard Lindsay Whalen, and injured star Seimone Augustus. The Lynx coaching staff headed by Cheryl Reeve coached the West stars. The Phoenix Mercury, the hottest WNBA team with a 12-game win streak and 18-3 record, like the Lynx had three All-Stars: Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner, and Candace Dupree. The game was well played from start to finish and delivered plenty of excitement for the national television audience over ESPN. The game featured 11 lead changes, the East and West both had double-digit
leads, and the game was tied 10 times. Continue Reading →
It could be said that five games into the season might be a bit premature to celebrate the 2014 Minnesota Lynx. I disagree. The defending WNBA champions picked up where they left off last season and are off to another fast start in pursuit of their third title in four years. Coach Cheryl Reeve has the ultimate challenge this year. All-Star Rebekkah Brunson, the team’s leading rebounder, and key reserves Monica Wright and Devereaux Peters all had knee surgery before the season and have not played yet. Continue Reading →
Thus far, Gopher AD Norwood Teague is two-for-two in firing coaches in consecutive years. He fired Pam Borton as the school’s women’s basketball coach, seemingly less than 24 hours after her last game last week. She got the ziggy in less time than Tubby Smith got axed around this same time nearly a year ago. Borton was my fifth coach I covered as the longest tenured Gopher women hoops beat writer, She had her faults — no coach is perfect, and for whatever reason, she couldn’t convince too many local Black females to play for her.
Former Gopher Leah Cotton, who played for Borton (2010-13), recently spoke to the MSR while in town for the team’s Senior Night March 2. Continue Reading →
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 →
Spotlight on the Gophers 100
By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. In an occasional series throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Freshman center Amanda Zahui B.
After sitting out last season after arriving at the University of Minnesota, one might think homesickness could be a common reoccurrence for Swedish-born Amanda Zahui B. But she says it’s not so: “I’ve been by myself since I was 15. I’m used to being away from my family,” the 6’-5” redshirt freshman center tells us. Despite her Patti Labelle declaration of being on her own, Zahui still misses her family. Continue Reading →
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 →
Monday was a special day a day of celebration for the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. Since 1978, I have covered sports with great distinction in this town, and days like Monday are rare indeed, the community coming together to celebrate being number one. It does not happen often; winning is easier said than done. The Twins, led by the late Kirby Puckett, brought home championships in 1987 and 1991, and the Lynx in 2011 won it all the first time. As they say, that’s all folks. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
The 2013 WNBA Playoffs begin this week: Washington-Atlanta and Indiana-Chicago in the East, and Minnesota-Seattle and Los Angeles-Phoenix in the West in the four best-of-three first-round matchups.
“When we get into the playoffs, it’s our own destiny,” notes Indiana guard Shavonte Zellous, a member of the 2012 defending champions. The Fever, the only sub-.500 club among the eight playoff teams, has been injury-riddled all season. “We’ve gotten some good wins and some tough losses as well,” explains forward Tamika Catchings. “I think we’ve gotten better from the beginning of the season to now.”
“We are going to make a good run,” predicts Zellous. Continue Reading →
UNCASVILLE, CONN. — “Her-stories” were aplenty here last Saturday at the 2013 WNBA All-Star Game. “I think it is very reflective of the 17th season of the WNBA,” said League President Laurel Richie. “We have a wonderful mix of rookies and first-timers but also many of our veterans coming back.”
After a couple of near opportunities that for one reason or another didn’t materialize, Shelley Patterson was finally a West All-Star assistant coach. “It’s taken me a long time,” admitted the Minnesota Lynx’s only Black assistant coach. Continue Reading →
They haven’t as yet received attention similar to “The Big 3” WNBA rookies — Brittney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne — but here are two other “under the radar” rookies who are also worth noting.
A first-round selection usually is a roster lock, but that’s not necessarily the case for players picked in later rounds. Once a projected first-rounder, Minnesota guard Ta’Shauna “Sugar” Rodgers was the 14th overall pick in the 2013 Draft. “I had to come in here and try out,” recalls the second-rounder. “When I made the team, I was excited. Continue Reading →