Some WNBA fans need to get over the college thing

This week several UConn fans were taking up for the Mercury after they won the first draft pick next year. Because Diana Taurasi is on the team, they were acting like the Mercury were the Huskies. They were giving the twitter virtual middle finger to anyone (most people) who were upset that Phoenix won first pick.

I’ve heard this before on the Tennessee-UConn spectrum. Vol fans are leary of the Connecticut Sun, as it’s stacked with former UConn players. Husky fans don’t seem to like teams with former Lady Vols on them.

The school from which an athlete graduated seems to matter much more to the fans than to the players themselves. Tonight I saw Swin Cash tweet to Candace Parker; yesterday I saw Ashley Robinson tweet to Cash; and Kara Lawson and Renee Montgomery stood next to each other yesterday upon receiving their respective awards, giggling.

The media does it too. After winning the gold medal at the London Olympics last month, reporters got Tamika Catchings, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi together for an on-camera interview, as they’ve been on the last three Olympic teams together. The reporter made a crack about them getting along as Tennessee-UConn alumni, and all three laughed awkwardly. Catchings said “yeah,” and then they seemed to be ready for the next question.

The whole thing was ridiculous, as Catchings graduated in 2001, Bird in 2002 and Taurasi, 2004 – a while ago. Undoubtedly each still has pride in their school, but maintaining the same intense rivalry feelings to this day? No.

Fans and some media need to get over it. This is the pros – not college. If former Tennessee and UConn players can be friends as adults and get along, then fans should too.


  1. The fans live for these petty confrontations that are in their mind only. People who think Phoenix laid down to get the #1 pick should be mad at the Merc and their management, not some prior collegiate affiliation. The players are all friends for the most part, most of the time. They are members of that elite sorority of women's basketball players whoget paid to do what they love.

  2. "mercury related with uconn because DT" is ridiculous..
    and all the pro stuffs that u sayin, i totally agree and 100% with u on that.
    but lets admit it. college spirit is always in us. we will never ever graduate. i mean, duke fans never gonna get along with UNC fans. its just the way it is. same with tenn-uconn. like i agree that diana taurasi is one of the best player in the world if not the best but clearly i like tamika catching more.

    lets just put it on perspective.

  3. This reminds me of way back in the late 1990s when I was at a San Jose Lasers open scrimmage. The Lasers had Charlotte Smith, Jennifer Azzi, Sheri Sam, etc. Stanford's star center from the year before Anita Kaplan didn't even start among the top 10 in the scrimmage.

    And yet a couple behind me in the stands actually made the comment "Not bad, but I'm sure Stanford would beat them rather easily."

    For some reason fans just can't take the leap with women's basketball to the pros. Of course, as long as they let Geno pack the Olympic team with UConn kids it doesn't help the media get away from such comparisons.

  4. One more thought on this:

    I looked at all the WNBA rosters just now. There are only three or four "mid-major" players in the entire league while the NBA has dozens. Not only that, the number of BCS conference schools represented in the WNBA is miniscule. You'll see a bunch of Stanfords and maybe one player from a few of the other Pac-12s. Many a Big East school has no one in the W.

    With so many of the players from so few schools it also makes it more likely people will dwell on the confrontations between Tennessee or Connecticut or Rutgers or Stanford players.