WNBA

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Overshadowed pioneers in women coaching men

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Becky Hammon last week began her first season as a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach. Sadly, not mentioned or oft-overlooked is the fact that two Black women, Stephanie Ready and Bernadette Mattox, earlier paved the way for the recently retired WNBA player’s historic debut. “It will be a nice education piece for this generation” to learn about the historical place that both Ready and Mattox rightfully hold, says Chicago Sky Head Coach and General Manager Pokey Chatman of the WNBA. Asked his view shortly after Hammon’s hiring, Chatman told the MSR, “I think those of us on the inside who know Becky Hammon and the people that know Pop [Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich] and the organization know it is not a gimmick. She’s a perfect fit for his culture and his style of play. Continue Reading →

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What it takes to win in the ‘second season’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

The 2014 WNBA playoffs officially begin Thursday: Minnesota hosts San Antonio in game one of the best-of-three first-round series. But actually, the regular season’s last couple of weeks have been playoff-like as post-season slots were still undecided going into the final week of action. “It is anybody’s game to win it this year. The competition has heated up,” observed Los Angeles GM and interim coach Penny Toler. She is one of only three Black coaches among the eight post-season field. Continue Reading →

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Women pros still struggle for media attention

PHOENIX — The WNBA All-Star Game annually is snubbed by sports fans and sports media alike. Last Saturday’s contest here unfortunately remains only a summertime favorite for those of us who do care. It was his first-ever All-Star Game, Earl Malloy told the MSR, admitting that his wife finally convinced him to join her in watching women’s pro hoops. “I’ve been a season ticket holder since day one,” added Carolyn Malloy, who also went to the 2000 game, the last time it was played in Phoenix. “The women players play a lot better than the men.”

 

 

“I love it already,” proclaimed Roosevelt Scott, a St. Continue Reading →

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Lynx guard Wright is back and catching up

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

She won’t let on where her rehabilitation stands on a scale of 10. The only thing Monica Wright would report that she’s getting there. “In my mind, I’m a 10,” the fifth-year Minnesota Lynx guard recently told the MSR. After an unexpected arthroscopic surgery on her left knee just before training camp on April 25, the 5’-10” player didn’t make her 2014 season debut until June 15. After her return from off-season play overseas, Wright recalled experiencing unusual soreness in the knee, and the subsequent MRI result was “a huge surprise,” she admitted. As expected, upon her return, Wright also experienced her rhythm off a bit in her “mental training camp,” wanting to get back to full strength as quickly as possible. Continue Reading →

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WNBA rookie report

A rookie’s first year as a professional athlete mostly is an up-and-down experience. The usual adjustments normally include no longer being a regular and now fighting for meaningful minutes. Asia Taylor, who started every game for Louisville in her senior season, has, after a stellar training camp, settled in her role as a typical rookie waiting her turn. Other than a DNP-CD (did not play-coach decision) in a June 22 home game, the 6’-1” first-year forward has averaged nearly four minutes of clock in the Lynx’s last six contests. “I’m part of a team with a lot of veterans,” she told the MSR after Sunday’s Minnesota- Seattle game. Continue Reading →

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WNBA players’ dilemma: Make money abroad or stay home and rest?

A  “time off bonus” of up to $50,000 a player can earn for “limiting their overseas play to three months or less” is part of the collective bargaining agreement signed earlier this year by the WNBA players and the league. But is 50 grand enough of an enticement to keep them from going overseas or shortening their time there? “I think that all of the athletes can and should take advantage of the situation to stay home and get that bonus,” advises Columbia College Chicago Assistant Sports Management Professor Monique Maye, whose sports management company also represents female pro players. She believes that the players could instead use the WNBA off-season for attending graduate school or working in their collegiate field of study. “There are so many things out there that they can do using their degrees,” continues Maye. Continue Reading →

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Women hoopsters play longer — and pay a price

A false argument sometimes used in comparing women and men pro athletes, especially in basketball, is using pay disparity as a starting point. Rather this week’s “View,” for your consideration, offers the following fact of at least equal if not greater importance than the pay issue: WNBA athletes work longer than their NBA counterparts. Call it you will, there’s no rest for female hoopsters. While NBA athletes typically get up to three months or more as an off-season, most if not all WNBA athletes’ passports are annually stamped as they head overseas and virtually play all year long, from season to season. “I’ve been going for nine years non-stop, back and forth,” admits New York Guard Cappie Pondexter, a nine-year veteran. Continue Reading →

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The rookie and the vet: two new Lynx

There are a few new faces on the 2014 Minnesota Lynx roster 
this season. This week’s “View” takes a look at two of them
 

Asia Taylor

Normally. a later-round pick is considered a long shot to make a WNBA roster, yet alone one that virtually carried over its 2013 championship squad intact. Forward Asia Taylor as a result didn’t beat any odds, but rather took advantage of circumstances clearly out of her control and had an impressive training camp. The 6’-1” Taylor told the MSR that her college coach, Louisville’s Jeff Walz, who also coached All-Star Angel McCoughtry, prepared her well for the present. Continue Reading →

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Lynx stay unbeaten at 5-0

 

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 →

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A sports reporter’s spring notebook cleaning

Marlene Stollings’ second hire on her Gopher women’s basketball coaching staff is Nikita (Niki) Dawkins. She is a 23-year coaching veteran who has been a VCU assistant coach the last two seasons and held similar positions at Old Dominion, Michigan and Ohio State, her alma mater. In a released statement, Stollings called Dawkins, whose duties include recruiting coordinator, “one of the top assistants in the country.” She joins Tiffanie Couts, who Stollings named director of basketball operations. Couts was a grad assistant last season at VCU. The women are the only two Blacks on the staff. Continue Reading →

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