Skylar Diggins

Recent Articles

East narrowly gets overtime win

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 →

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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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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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‘Under-the-radar’ rookies take their best shots

 

 

 

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.  

Ta’Shauna Rodgers 

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 →

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Wiggins and Diggins: Tulsa’s new backcourt

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The Tulsa Shock reconstituted its starting backcourt over the recent off-season. Like a musical duo, a guard tandem must develop a rhythm, an on-court synergy that the rest of the team can successfully follow. Over a course of a month or so, the Shock first acquired Candice Wiggins in a three-team trade in March, and then picked Skylar Diggins with the third overall pick in April’s draft. To date the two guards have started all but one game together this season. Each is averaging an identical 10.2 points and 1.4 steals per game, along with a combined seven assists per contest. Continue Reading →

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WNBA season preview

 

 

 

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 →

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2013 W draft: a ‘huge buzz’ and no surprises

 

 

 

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 →

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Minneapolis’ Tayler Hill is Mystics’ first pick

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Tayler Hill, the first Minneapolis City Conference player to be a WNBA first-round pick since Tamara Moore in 2002, was among 12 invited prospects to attend Monday’s draft at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut. During last week’s pre-draft media conference call, the MSR asked Hill, the 5’-10 Minneapolis South graduate who played her college ball at Ohio State, about any anxiety leading up to the clear possi

bility of hearing her name be called. “I’m a little excited, but I am anxious too at the same time,” she admitted. “I’m trying not to over think it. Whatever team I get drafted to, it’s going to be a blessing.”

That team that drafted Hill Monday night was Washington. Continue Reading →

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ESPN extends deal with WNBA; financial details kept $ecret

 

 

Two big changes were recently announced by the WNBA: an extension of its current deal with ESPN for six years, and a new logo was unveiled. “This new extension,” proclaimed ESPN President John Skipper at the March 28 press conference in New York, “ensures we will be together a minimum of 26 years. We have been with the league since it started in 1997.”

“I feel like we’ve spent the last three or four months meeting with literally every department within ESPN to talk about how these two great companies can come together and really take women’s sports to the next level,” added WNBA President Laurel Richie. Up to 30 W games, including playoffs, the draft, and the all-star game, will be shown on ESPN during the extended deal that now runs through 2022. That adds up to only 180 games over the life of the contract in comparison to the 220 NBA games telecast each season on ESPN, ABC, TNT and NBA TV. Continue Reading →

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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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