Brushes with history worth noting as WNBA season concludes

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


This 2012 WNBA season is now history. Throughout the league’s 16th season the MSR brushed with several historical “firsts” — persons who did something that hadn’t been done before and, in some cases, hasn’t been duplicated.


Tamara Moore — the first  Minneapolitan

“I am so grateful for the opportunity that I had with the Lynx,” says the team’s first and only Minneapolis-born player. A former 2002 first-round pick by Miami, Moore was traded to Minnesota in June 2002 for Betty Lennox and a future first-round pick, which at the time was considered a controversial trade.

“To be the first…and being part of the program and seeing where it is right now is a great experience,” Moore says.


Jim Lewis — a triple first 

“I’m just a little pioneer,” says Lewis, who completed his first season as a Sparks assistant coach in Los Angeles. He achieved a triple first: the first Black male head coach in the WNBA, the first-ever head coach of the Washington Mystics (1998), and the first Black male assistant coach at Minnesota (2006).

On guiding the Mystics in their inaugural season, “It was a marvelous time in my life,” he points out. “I’ve been blessed to see a lot of transition in my 43 years of coaching. My mentor is Earl Lloyd.” Lloyd is the NBA’s first Black player and first Black head coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Teresa Edwards — a WNBA living legend

“I try to approach everything I do and give it all I can,” says Edwards, who was the oldest player drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft by Minnesota. She is the first Black point guard to lead the Lynx to their first-ever playoff appearance (2003) and the first Minnesota female player to be inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame.


Finals final thoughts

The MSR asked WNBA President Laurel Richie during her October 14 press conference about her league’s partnership with 100 Black Men of America. “This is an organization that is dedicated to nurturing the relationship between adults and kids and to encouraging kids to lead healthy, active and meaningful lives. [It] is a natural connection point to us in that we have content to offer to that organization as we look to gain from their membership.”

When asked about why the percentage of Black head coaches went down 10 percent despite the league getting an A for racial hiring in this year’s “Racial and Gender Report Card,” the president responded, “The beauty of doing a study like the one that Dr. [Richard] Lapchick does is it shines a light on where we are doing well…[and] where there is room for improvement.”


Twelve is enough…for now

A reporter asked Richie about expansion: “We do not have plans to expand” the current 12-team WNBA, she responded.


All-sistahs WNBA team

Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus, 2012 MVP Tina Charles (Connecticut), Tamika Catchings (Indiana), Candace Parker (Los Angeles) and Cappie Pondexter (New York) were named to the first-team All-WNBAers. Named to the second team were Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen of the Lynx, Chicago’s Sylvia Fowles, Kristi Toliver (Los Angeles) and San Antonio’s Sophia Young.


2013 draft class — simply fabulous?

The probable top three overall picks in the 2013 WNBA Draft, not in any particular order, include Brittney Griner (Baylor), Skylar Diggins (Notre Dame) and Elena Delle Donne (Delaware). “As we look out and think about the possibility and the potential of that, I think that bodes very well,” surmised President Richie. “I think that would be fabulous for the league and fabulous for women’s basketball.”


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