By Charles Hallman
There are approximately 100 African American and other student-athletes of color this school year at the University of Minnesota. Beginning this week and throughout the 2013-14 school and sports year, the MSR will highlight these players. This week: Gopher sophomore volleyball player Daly Santana
Although last Wednesday’s Minnesota-Wisconsin volleyball match wasn’t billed that way, it featured an “Only One” matchup as U of M soph outside hitter Daly Santana and Twin Cities native Dominique Thompson, a U of W junior, were the
only players of color that night at the Sports Pavilion. Santana finished with 10 kills, 11 digs, and had one of the team’s three aces in the 3-1 regular-season home finale win. “You look at her performance tonight — it was really strong,” remarked Gopher Coach Hugh McCutcheon afterwards. Continue Reading →
It again occurred literally seconds after the Minnesota Lynx last week won its second WNBA title in three years — the “d” word was vainly uttered. After reading a local newspaper’s Sunday Lynx dynasty story, the team’s longest tenured beat reporter looked up “sports dynasty,” which is subjectively too often overused by uneducated sportswriters. The term “sports dynasty” applies to a team that dominates its sport or league for multiple seasons. Examples are UCLA’s 10-straight national championships in 12 years; or eight straight for the Boston Celtics or the Houston Comets, winners of the first four WNBA titles in as many tries (1997-2000); or Concordia University’s six Division II volleyball titles. Or there’s the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team, two-times-straight national champions, who I watched last Friday win their 52nd straight game. 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 →
Monday’s Minnesota Lynx championship celebration looked more like a bon voyage send-off, especially given that every player soon will leave for off-season overseas jobs. “It’s awesome having our fans out here and be able to say good-bye to them,” said Lynx guard Monica Wright, who heads to South Korea by month’s end.
Added Israel-bound rookie Sugar Rodgers of her first overseas assignment, “I’m going down to take care of a little business, to see my family before I head out.”
“It’s a long off season, and I will miss this group,” noted Maya Moore, who will play again in China. Mounds of confetti became a temporary asphalt blanket on Monday as the procession that carried the 2013 WNBA Champions Lynx moved slowly along Nicollet Avenue, with adoring fans providing escort as they made their way to their downtown Minneapolis basketball home. There, inside, a large crowd impatiently awaited the arrival of the only local pro team that boasts a championship trophy these days. Continue Reading →
The cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in the closing scene of the series finale together sang, “It’s a long, long way to Tipperary.” To initially begin our WNBA playoffs discussion, we note that it’s simply a long, long way to seven wins, the required number needed to capture a championship trophy next month. Winning the first in a best-of-three series generally puts additional pressure on the other team that now must win the next two contests to advance. Several “insiders” recently shared their thoughts and prognostications with the MSR on the 2013 WNBA eight-team playoffs that begin Thursday. “I think it will be a battle between those two [on] who will come out of the West,” says Indiana Coach Lin Dunn on Minnesota and Los Angeles, seeded one and two respectively in the West. Asked about her club’s
post-season chances, Dunn says, “Right now we’re not a great team, but we got a chance.”
“It doesn’t matter where you are going into the playoffs as long as you get in,” adds Indiana forward Tamika Catchings on the Fever’s 4th-seed position in the East. 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 →
By Charles Hallman
The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Procter & Gamble last week announced a new partnership that solely focuses on Black girls. My Black Is Beautiful was started in 2007 by the Procter & Gamble (P&G) Company, and in April they released Imagine a Future, a 30-minute documentary on Black women in America and Africa. A program of the same name was started as well and now will connect with the WNBA, the world’s longest running women’s professional team sports league, where over three-fourths of the players are Black females. “It’s a slam dunk,” said P&G North America Brand Operations Director Julie Eddleman in a July 22 press release. Although the specifics have yet to be released, the WNBA-P&G partnership will be woven into the league’s WNBA Cares program. 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 →
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 →