Taj McWilliams-Franklin

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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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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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Lynx rookie Peters off to a strong start

 

Devereaux Peters was drafted third overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft in April by the Minnesota Lynx. Despite being injury-prone, she’s proved herself ready to play thus far. At Notre Dame, Peters had two knee injuries and three surgeries in her first three seasons. “In the women’s game, [previous injuries] can play a part. I tried not to concentrate on that and just work on getting back to the college game,” she recalls. Continue Reading →

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Lynx aggressively defend their championship

 

Is there a dynasty in the making? By Sheri Crockett

Contributing Writer

 

The Minnesota Lynx started this year on a 14-game winning streak, dating back to the Western Conference semifinals last year. This year’s team set a new league record — the longest undefeated start in league history at 10-0 — and three games later they became only the second team in WNBA history to open a season 13-1. While the Lynx’s start has been nothing short of phenomenal, it’s only one more reason why the defending champs remain the team to beat again this year. They have the core group of women back from last year, save for two players: rookie Devereaux Peters and 10-year veteran Erin Thorn. 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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WNBA off-season action slow

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Will the Minnesota Lynx re-sign Charde Houston, a restricted free agent? Nobody’s asking this question, which is typical among the local mainstream media who ignore WNBA off-season moves, but the veteran forward is among 21 restricted free agents around the league still unsigned for the 2012 season. Since Feb. 1, WNBA teams now can negotiate with their own “core” and “reserved” players, as well as “restricted” and “unrestricted” free agents. Minnesota already has re-upped both Taj McWilliams-Franklin (core) and Jessica Adair (reserved), and did a sign-and-trade with Alexis Hornbuckle and sent her to Phoenix Feb. Continue Reading →

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Wanted: more Black women athletic directors

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman
Staff Writer

Less than 10 percent of Division I athletics directors are women, and only two percent are women of color. Schools can’t say they can’t find Black women to fill these roles when openings occur. They can’t say that there aren’t qualified candidates, especially since the NCAA regularly holds training opportunities to learn the nuts and bolts of athletics management. “Until we say that someone is held accountable for diversity and inclusion, it won’t happen,” Black Coaches and Administrators Executive Director Floyd Keith pointed out at a NCAA convention educational session in January. Some have suggested a Rooney Rule for colleges, but this NFL mandate sometimes is a perfunctory gesture as teams still hire a White head coach. Continue Reading →

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