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 →
By Charles Hallman
She’s seen it all — the team’s first-ever victory in 1999, the endless roster changes, the hiring of two Black female head coaches, a rookie-of-the-year winner and sixth woman winner, and a league-record four all-stars two seasons ago. She also took part in the area’s first championship season since 1991. Debbie Montgomery is no bandwagon Lynx fan . She has been with them through all the downs and the ups. It seems only fitting, then, that the Minnesota Lynx organization honor her, which they did during last Saturday’s 15th season opener at their downtown arena. 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 →
The Big 3 draft” was no surprise. Through the days and weeks, if not the last few years, leading up to Monday’s WNBA draft, top picks Britney Griner, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne were a three-headed Carly Simon anticipation trio of college stars that the league hadn’t seen before. The picks played out as expected. It was essentially two drafts in one. The game-changers went first:
The 6’-8 Griner, “an impact player,” was picked first by Phoenix. Continue Reading →
As this year’s NCAA tournaments crown new men’s and women’s national champions, this reporter took a stroll down my own memory lanes. I didn’t begin watching college hoops until the mid-to-late 1960s – I sneaked downstairs and watched the UCLA-Houston game played in the Astrodome on television – it was past my bedtime. As a result, I watched Lew Alcindor (UCLA 1967-69) but not Bobby Joe Hill of Texas Western (1966), the first national champion with five Black starters. The UCLA great — now known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, guards Earvin Johnson (Michigan State 1978-79) and Mateen Cleaves (Michigan State 1998-2000); and forwards Keith Wilkes (UCLA 1972-74) and David Thompson (North Carolina State 1974) are my personal five-player, all-time great tournament team. Georgetown (1983-84) always will be my all-time championship team simply because the Hoyas were the first men’s national champs coached by a Black man. The UCLA squads (1966-69; 1971-73), N.C. State (1973-74), Indiana (1975-76), Michigan State (1978-79) and UNLV (1989-91) ranks just right behind them. If I had to choose the most memorable historic moment, although I didn’t witness it, it would naturally be Texas Western’s 1966 title win. Continue Reading →
Baseball each year is like that groundhog that supposedly predicts how long winter will last. It reminds us of a welcome change of seasons ahead.
Spring training begins this week, which signals that the frigid weather hopefully soon will soon be gone. Along with thi
s comes the annual optimistic aura that engulfs each team, including the Minnesota Twins, who twice have come within a game of losing 100 games in consecutive seasons. During the off-season,
the Twins rid themselves of the little on-field diversity it had by dismissing its only Black coach and trading away its two recognizable Black players. Continue Reading →
Despite playing sick, Tayler Hill poured in 24 points last week in her last collegiate visit to her hometown. In the process, the Ohio State senior guard and former Minneapolis
South standout surpassed 1,700 career points — to do so, she needed only three points coming into last Thursday’s contest against Minnesota. “I actually didn’t know about it,” admitted Hill afterwards of the career mark. The 5-10 guard has the Big Ten’s longest active double-figure scoring streak. Hill reached the 50-game mark against the Gophers and leads the conference in scoring just over 21 points a game (11th nationally), and also leads the league in minutes played (32 minutes a contest). Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
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 →
By Charles Hallman
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 →
By Charles Hallman
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 →