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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

League president Richie defends ESPN coverage
 

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.   Shortly after a visit here in August, WNBA President Laurel Richie promised the MSR a one-on-one sit-down interview later in the season. The third-year league president made good on her promise during the playoffs, and we respectfully discussed several topics. Despite a six-year extension, this columnist remains unimpressed that ESPN will ever see the WNBA as other than a stepsister in its overall coverage. 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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The WNBA: where it’s been, where it’s going

WNBA media coverage still far short of equitable 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second of a four-part series
 

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. According to Scoreboard for Equality, a new on-line blog that began this summer monitoring women’s sports coverage, America’s longest running women’s pro league championship didn’t make the New York Times’ top sports stories, with just a brief mention in both USA TODAY and the Washington Post. Sports Illustrated had four writers covering baseball playoffs, but only one for the WNBA playoffs. ESPN’s almighty SportsCenter aired the Minnesota Lynx’s three-game sweep of Atlanta only after five other sports stories were aired. Continue Reading →

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Two of WNBA’s greatest retire

Both Tina Thompson and Katie Smith, the WNBA’s number one and two all-time scorers respectively, announced their retirements during the 2013 season. Thompson, the league’s last original player, was the W’s overall pick in its first-ever draft in 1997 and the only player to play in each of the league’s 17 seasons. She scored over 7,000 points and 3,000 rebounds and

finished her three-team illustrious career against Minnesota. She gave her Seattle Storm a brief one-point lead late in Game 2 of the first-round playoff this season but eventually lost to the later-to-be-crowned champion Lynx. “I’m very blessed to be able to play with such very talented players,” said Thompson on her all-but-certain Hall of Fame-caliber career, which includes four league championships, two Olympic gold medals, and nine-time All-Star. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota celebrates champion Lynx!

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 →

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Lynx players, coaches, fans reflect on championship run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 →

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Lynx in WNBA Finals still low on media radar

The 2013 WNBA Finals now heads south to Atlanta for Game 3 on Thursday between the Minnesota Lynx and the Atlanta Dream, the last two teams standing. “Anytime you get to this point when you’re at the end of the season in the Finals, these two teams know that there are a maximum of five more games before they’re hoisting a trophy,” said President Laurel Richie Sunday before Game 1 took place in downtown Minneapolis. “It truly doesn’t matter which two teams are in it. It just matters that we’re at the Finals and ready to bring it on. I think it’s going to be a wonderful way to end what has been a terrific season for the WNBA,” Richie said. Continue Reading →

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Minnesota ‘the team to beat’ in 2013 WNBA playoffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 →

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Top WNBA teams hope to peak in playoffs

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

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 →

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