Today’s game results:
The Fever came from behind to beat the Sky, 91-79. It was the season’s first road win for Indiana.
WNBA player news:
College team news:
College coach news:
Today’s game results:
The Fever came from behind to beat the Sky, 91-79. It was the season’s first road win for Indiana.
WNBA player news:
College team news:
College coach news:
Seattle – For a few moments on Sunday afternoon, KeyArena felt just a bit like Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
Fans wore purple. The University of Washington Marching Band and cheer-and-dance team performed at halftime as mascot “Harry the Husky” roamed the floor. And the loudest round of applause in pre-game introductions went to San Antonio Stars rookie Kelsey Plum.
This was the homecoming for the Washington star-turned No. 1 overall draft pick. Fans also celebrated first-year Storm guard Sami Whitcomb on “UW Night.”
But while the crowd was welcoming, the Seattle Storm was not. The 5-foot-8 guard finished with just eight points on 2-of-11 shooting, as her Stars fell to 0-11 with a 75-57 loss to Seattle.
By margin, it was San Antonio’s largest defeat of the year, as the team shot a season-low 29 percent from the field and made a season-low 19 field goals on the night.
“I thought that Seattle outplayed us,” said San Antonio head coach Vickie Johnson. “We had no desire to compete tonight. We’re not built like that. I put this team together because I thought we had heart. No matter our record, we still always fought. Tonight we didn’t fight and I’m very upset about that.”
Breanna Stewart led all scorers with 22 points and 15 rebounds – her third double-double of the year- as Seattle got back over .500 at 6-5. Kayla McBride paced the Stars with 11 points and nine boards.
“If we come out like that and just continue to push them and press the aggressiveness, be the aggressors, it’s hard for the other team to try and score,” Stewart said.
Cold shooting plagued both teams in the first half, with San Antonio shooting just 29 percent from the field after 20 minutes. Seattle fared little better at 38 percent, but went 9-of-11 from the free-throw line to take a 11-point lead into the break.
A quick 5-0 San Antonio run to start the third cut that lead to six and forced the Storm to call timeout, but Stewart responded with an 8-2 run of her own to give Seattle its largest lead of the game at that point at 12.
“I didn’t think we came out of halftime very sharp at all, and they just came back from 20 down on L.A. and cut it to five, so we had to make sure that we tightened things up very quickly,” Storm head coach Jenny Boucek said. “Stewie happened to get hot, that helped us, but I also thought we tightened things up defensively at that time also.”
The Storm took a 55-41 advantage into the fourth, and led by as many as 20 in the final period. While Seattle bounced back to shoot 45 percent over the final two quarters, San Antonio could not jump start its offense, going just 9-of-31 from the field in the second half.
Boucek had praise for her team’s defensive effort.
“I thought we started to look more how we’re supposed to look,” she said. “I have to go back and watch the film to evaluate exactly how well we did or did not play, but I did think we got more to how we want to play on both ends of the floor.”
Seattle is back at KeyArena on Friday night to finish a three-game homestand against the Phoenix Mercury, while San Antonio will try again for its first win of the season on Wednesday at Dallas.
“It’s been great,” Plum said of the fan support on Sunday. “It’s frustrating because I’m competitive and we want to win. I want to play well and I didn’t. I’m trying to take some good out of this trip and it’s amazing to be back. The fan support — 9,600 people — I feel very loved and am appreciative of that.”
Los Angeles – Diana Taurasi scored 19 points to become the WNBA’s career scoring leader Sunday as the Los Angeles Sparks routed her Phoenix Mercury, 90-59.
With 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter, Taurasi dribbled around a screen and drove past Nneka Ogwumike to score the layup. She now has 7,494 career points, eclipsing Tina Thompson’s 7,488.
The game was stopped and Taurasi was given a standing ovation for the achievement that took her 13 seasons; Thompson needed 17. Earlier this month, Taurasi set the league’s all-time three-point shot mark.
Ogwumike finished with 18 points for Los Angeles, while Candace Parker added 17. Riquna Williams scored a season-high 15 points.
The Sparks raced out to an early lead, hitting 22-2 at one point and finishing the quarter ahead 38-17 – their highest-scoring quarter and two points short of the WNBA record for most points in a quarter. They took advantage of early foul trouble for Taurasi and Brittney Griner, who was limited to just 11 points on the day, and scored 30 points in the paint before halftime.
Los Angeles hit the 30-point lead mark early in the fourth period, and never looked back. But despite the rout, Taurasi was happy about breaking the scoring record.
“It feels good,” she said. “The last couple of weeks it’s been a little bit of weight on my shoulders. It’s pretty special when you pass Tina in anything. She’s been such an amazing player for the WNBA and just for basketball in general, she’s such an icon.”
“There’s been so many great players in this league and that’s what we want to get to. We want to create history every time. This league puts out the best basketball players in the world and I’ve been lucky. I’ve been really lucky to be in one team for my whole career, to have coaches really have confidence in me and let me play.”
Thompson was quick to congratulate Taurasi for surpassing her mark.
“Congratulations to Diana on becoming the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer,” Thompson said. “I am excited that it is Diana, and it is my absolute pleasure to pass the torch on to her. She and I have shared so many amazing moments throughout our basketball careers, whether it was gold medals, championships or all-star games.”
“Diana is one of the best players to ever play the game, and definitely one of my favorites. She has done amazing things, and I am so grateful that I’ve been able to share many of those with her. I am really excited for Diana and I think she is going to blow that record out of the water.”
The historic achievement was also special for Taurasi because it occurred near her hometown. Taurasi spent her childhood years living in North Hollywood before moving to Chino, California at the age of eight.
“It’s huge!” Taurasi said of the coincidence. “I used to come to this arena all the time. I used to go to the Great Western Forum…I’ve played a lot of basketball in the streets of Los Angeles, in the Valley, in Riverside. It’s really where I fell in love with the game.”
Ogwumike attributed the Sparks early success to playing as a team.
“I think we are hitting our strides a little bit, but we are also realizing our individual roles and our roles as a team,” she said. “We want to stick to what we do well and we play defense well. That’s kind of what fuels our game.”
Ogwumike praised Taurasi.
“It’s amazing! Amazing!” she said. “That is something you have to honor. She got it for a reason—she’s a winner and a scorer.”
However, despite a 31-point victory, Sparks coach Brian Agler was quick to note that the Sparks still have plenty to work on with a lot of season left.
“We’re still improving; I don’t think we are a finished product by any means,” Agler said. “It was really good to see a couple things: us getting off to a good start with our starters, and people coming in off the bench really contributing and not having a drop off.”
With their loss, the Mercury are 6-5 and tied for fifth in league standings, while the Sparks are second.
Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello expressed sadness that such an iconic moment happened in such a lopsided defeat.
“I’m just sad for Diana that we didn’t put up a bit of an effort for this history making game,” she said.
“Unfortunately, We’re going to remember a game where we just got our butts kicked. It is what it is, it doesn’t take away from what Diana has achieved. It’s amazing, she’s a special player. She wants to win, her will to win probably exceeds any kind of player I’ve seen.”
Brondello said Taurasi is purely focused on team success, prioritizing that over individual accolades.
“People don’t realize, but for Diana it’s not about all the records she’s breaking, it’s about the winning and the cameraderie. That’s really what makes her special. She’s all about ‘We’re a team, this is how we’re going to win, as a team.’”
“She’s so humble, so unselfish, that’s the kind of person she is, on and off the court. Hopefully she’ll look back and realize what she’s done and enjoy it for a few days and keep adding to that tally.”
I was knocked out by the advertisement for U Kotex Fitness-brand tampons in today’s paper, above. The ad featured a large-sized, African American woman with the slogan, “My period is a symbol of my feminine strength.”
First, Kotex gets major props for using a more diversified representative of fitness than the standard white woman with no butt. Even more significantly, they’ve reclaimed something that has been used against women: their menstrual cycle. Over the last 20 years, as views of women in America have retreated backwards, the menstrual cycle has been portrayed as a weakness. Kotex turns that on its ear and claims it as a strength. And rightly so.
The menstrual cycle represents the capability of women to bring life into the world. This is an underrated superpower – especially for basketball players and other athletes – who often return to competition fairly soon after giving birth.
Perhaps due to social media and the constant quest for “likes,” America has become a nation of followers. If there’s a popular opinion, people are likely to go with it rather than stick with or hatch their own views. That seems to have influenced WNBA consumption.
San Antonio Stars coach Vickie Johnson made an observation in our interview last week that I have written about before:
“For us when we were growing up, we watched a lot of basketball,” she said. “Now they don’t watch basketball. They don’t watch their own league. You don’t watch the WNBA, but you want to be in the WNBA. It doesn’t make sense to me.”
Me neither. But as young men have been allowed to join the NBA sooner, and as play in that league has become more acrobatic and less fundamentals-based, popular opinion has become that NBA play is the way the game should be executed. And it does seem like every young female basketball player has plenty of NBA knowledge but understands very little, if anything, about the WNBA.
The secret is, and always has been, that each person decides their values for themselves. Just because someone says being shy is negative, for example, doesn’t mean that you have to think that way. Claim shyness if you’re shy. You can only be shamed if you let yourself be shamed.
Women should not feel badly about being women. Differences with men exist: women have different bodies, different ways of processing information and emotions, and different ways of solving problems. But differences don’t necessarily equate to one being better than the other; that’s merely a value judgement.
Like the recent success of the feature film “Wonder Woman,” this Kotex ad gives me hope. Perhaps a better day lies ahead where women will claim their power and strength and support other women, rather than deferring to defeatist viewpoints and impeding their own progress.
Supporting other women means you’re supporting yourself.
What a difference two weeks make.
After winning four of its first five games, Seattle dropped to .500 on Tuesday after an overtime loss to Atlanta. It was the Storm’s third consecutive loss, all three by eight points or less.
And in all three, the now 5-5 Storm were in a position to win.
Seattle entered the fourth quarter in Indiana on June 9 up by five, were tied with five minutes to play, and ultimately were a missed Sue Bird three-pointer at the horn from sending the game to overtime.
Two days later in New York, the Storm again took a lead into the fourth, and held a one-point edge with less than four minutes to play before a series of costly turnovers put the game out of reach in the closing moments.
The first game of the homestand that followed brought a different brand of frustration, as the Storm mounted a furious comeback late Tuesday to erase a 10-point deficit, only for the final shot in regulation to fall short, and the team as a whole to fall short in overtime.
Combined, about a dozen possessions, give or take, are the difference between 5-5 and 8-2. It is a surprising turnaround for a team that ended May on a four-game winning streak.
Head coach Jenny Boucek pointed to the team’s defense as the biggest difference not just in the losing streak, but the stretch of the last five games.
“We need to recalibrate that,” Boucek said after the loss to Atlanta. “We need to recalibrate both ends of the floor. We’ve kind of gotten away from what we do and what brings us success.”
The numbers certainly back that up.
After holding opponents to an average of just 76.4 points per game over their 4-1 start — a figure that would be good enough for second in the league behind Minnesota — Seattle has allowed 88.8 on average over the last five. That ranks worst in the WNBA for the season.
And after allowing no more than 82 points in the first five games, Storm have eclipsed that mark four times, and passed 90 points three times.
That problem is magnified by the team’s consistent performance on the offensive end, with Seattle scoring almost the same number of points in the first five games (417) as the last five (414); an 83-point-per-game average. Both Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart are in the top-10 in the league in scoring, averaging 20 and 17 points per game, respectively.
But to an extent, a lack of offensive production from the bench and a reliance on that starting five has also hamstrung the team. With draft picks Alexis Peterson and Lanay Montgomery seeing little action, and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis out as she recovers from a right knee scope, Boucek has four veteran options to turn to outside of the starting lineup.
Those players have shown flashes – notably Ramu Tokashiki’s 14-point effort in the season-opener in Los Angeles (albeit in her lone start), and Sami Whitcomb’s 22-point performance on 6-of-8 shooting in the team’s come-from-behind win over New York.
The unit’s best outing came in a 94-70 win over the Fever, as all six available bench players combined for 29 points.
But the most the bench has scored since that outing is 18. Most notably, the second unit was held to just three points, all from Tokashiki, in the 83-80 loss to Indiana.
Expected to be a key contributor in the post, offseason acquisition Carolyn Swords is on pace to post career lows across all major statistical categories.
After starting all 34 games, and playing just over 17 minutes a night last season for the Liberty, the 6-foot-6 center is averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in eight minutes a night off the bench this season.
Seattle will try to get back over .500 on Sunday, against perhaps the best possible foe: the winless San Antonio Stars.
“The good thing about the WNBA is games come quick, so you can’t focus on a loss for too long,” Stewart said after the Atlanta game. “And more so it’s getting back to — not the loss — but the way we are. We weren’t playing at our best.”
Today’s game result:
What a game.
WNBA player news:
After last night’s game, Diana Taurasi is 14 points shy of eclipsing the league scoring record.
Former WNBA player news:
Tomorrow’s game schedule:
A day after the final cuts were made, reserve San Antonio guard Sequoia Holmes probably received at least four dozen text messages from supporters and well wishers alike.
The UNLV alum had successfully made her way back onto a WNBA roster after nearly a decade, and since passing through nine different countries honing her craft as a professional basketball player.
Now, only a few months after a chance meeting with San Antonio General Manager Ruth Riley and new Stars head coach Vickie Johnson at a free agent camp at the Final Four this past March, there was a sense of fulfillment and redemption for Holmes.
And it was none too soon for a player who is so beloved in her hometown of Las Vegas that she had her jersey retired at her alma mater, Mojave High School.
Although her San Antonio team still has yet to get into the win column this season, Holmes is grateful for the opportunity to play the game she has loved since a kid in the best women’s league in the world.
“I told myself that after all the rejection and disappointments I would not seek anybody out trying to get on their team,” Holmes said. “If it was in God’s plan and they wanted me, fine. But I wasn’t going to make any more phone calls. Luckily, my agent was persistent and kept staying positive, so it motivated me to keep moving forward in pursuit of my dream to play in the WNBA.”
Holmes went undrafted in the 2007, and opted to sign with the Houston Comets because of the rich tradition that four consecutive championships brought to the city back in the early stages of the league.
There, she met Tina Thompson, who made an immediate impact in her life. Thompson, a former WNBA legend and three-time Olympian, was the only remaining link to the glory years in Houston that saw four consecutive league Championships from 1997-2000.
“She took me under her wing and taught me how to be a professional on and off the court,” Holmes said. “I still stay in contact with her and talk to her about certain things. She is somebody who I have always looked up to.”
Holmes started in three of the Comets’ 17 games before the longtime franchise that was once the pillar of the WNBA folded in 2008. This left Holmes’ professional career in limbo only a year removed from graduating college.
After being out of the league for a year, Holmes signed with the Phoenix Mercury in 2010, where she played in 15 games for the Mercury.
A training camp invite from the Detroit Shock followed the next season, but Holmes was the final camp casualty for the team. But rather than dwelling on it, Holmes decided to use the snub as fuel.
“While I was in Detroit (under current New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer) I gained a lot of experience on how to be tough because their team was a basically an extension of the Bad Boys (80’s Pistons),” Holmes said. “It taught me how to be tough and how to be a professional. But I admit it was very disappointing, because I knew I could play at this level. It made me push myself harder.”
Over the next four years, Holmes played overseas in Spain, Germany, Israel, Slovakia, Europe, Finland and Angola, and secured a pair of championships in the process. Then, in 2015, she took advantage of camp invites from both Chicago and Atlanta, but again was the final player cut from the roster in each circumstance.
Still, Holmes never wavered in her hopes of dotting a WNBA roster before she retired.
“I am a competition junkie, so I always wanted to be on the biggest stage,” Holmes said. “In the WNBA you are able to test yourself against the very best players in the world. But I will admit the rejection got tough because I knew in my heart I could compete in this league.”
With unwavering support continuing from her loyal parents and agent, Holmes surged ahead until Johnson finally took a chance on her.
“Sequoia has a great work ethic and she brings a lot of energy,” Johnson said. “We believe she is a great fit for our system, and I know she will be a great player here in San Antonio.”
Playing for Johnson, who suited up for San Antonio herself for four years before becoming an assistant coach, has given Holmes a great perspective on what being with the franchise could mean for the rest of her career.
“Being able to learn the game from a Hall-of-Famer is a real blessing,” Holmes said. “She understands everything from a player’s perspective, and has really embraced me as a player.”
Even though she has been used sparingly in the last few games after starting the first three in San Antonio, Holmes has embraced her role on the Stars, and is steadily beginning to flourish.
In seven appearances this season, Holmes is only averaging about three points per game in limited minutes, but her impact in San Antonio has already been realized.
Holmes best offensive output may have been a seven-point, four assist night in a 89-74 loss at Washington on May 14, but the highlight of her season for many Stars fans was the wicked block of super-rookie Alisha Gray during a home game against Dallas, in which she ran down the speedy Gray and timed the shot perfectly, sending the ball into the stands.
It was those type of athletic plays that marvel her teammates and solidifies her place in the league.
“For somebody that has went through some of the things Sequoia has went through to play in this league shows tremendous focus,” teammate Sydney Colson said. “She is constantly working on her game, she plays lockdown defense and she can really shoot that thing. Now that she is here, I am expecting her to have a vital impact on our team.”
Ultimately, Holmes’ success as a professional player will not be measured on wins or whether or not she makes an All-Star team, but rather the influence she will leave on her teammates and the young girls she tutors during the off-season for the AAU select teams she owns in Las Vegas.
Her organization features girls 8-18 years of age that travel to participate in competitive basketball tournaments all across the country during the summer.
“Defense is part of my DNA so that’s one thing I can pass along to the kids,” Holmes said. “I want them to be able to achieve some of the same things I have on and off the court.”
Until then, Holmes is content to play her role on a young roster that will be formidable over the next few years in San Antonio, despite their early season struggles in Johnson’s first year as head coach.
“Being here in the WNBA is a result of everything I have worked so hard for so I am extremely blessed,” Holmes said. “It’s been a long time coming and I couldn’t ask for anything more. It’s exhilarating.”
Arlington, Texas – A hard-fought game saw the New York Liberty pull away from the Dallas Wings in overtime to win, 102-93 on Friday night.
Shavonte Zellous led New York with 28 points, which included a critical jumper to tie the game at 88 with .6 seconds left. The Liberty then dominated the extra period to easily seal the win.
Zellous credited her teammates not only for finding her on the floor, but for turning to center Tina Charles down the stretch, who finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds.
“She was getting some big shots, so it’s just when preparation meets……practices and……games,” Zellous said.
Dallas was in control until the fourth quarter, when shots stopped falling and they began to lose the rebounding battle. New York made up a 12-point deficit and forced the overtime.
Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Wings with 23 points, while Allisha Gray added 16.
Dallas coach Fred Williams said that most of the improvements the team needs to make in order to string some wins together are mental.
“A lot of it is watching film, getting some walk-through stuff and just hanging in there, just staying at it,” Williams said.
The Liberty played a great two-man game with Zellous and Charles. They also had help from their shooters – Sugar Rodgers with 19 points and and Bria Hartley, who scored 17. Combined, they shot 52 percent from beyond the arc. Charles said abandoning zone defense aided them in getting the win.
“We were just more so trying to pack the paint. We noticed at halftime, [Assistant Coach] Herb Williams told us to make them shooters, all they want to do is drive,” Charles said. “They’re great drivers, and finishing at the rim, and creating contact. So we just tried to pack up the paint more so.”
The Liberty are now 7-4, and the Wings fall to 4-8. Dallas, who just returned from a road tirp, needs rest and time to heal. The team is playing one of the toughest schedules in the league, and will notch 11 games by month’s end – 4-6 more than other teams.
Williams said every team in the league goes a little struggle and a little strain.
“For us, we just have to find a way to win the war on the boards and also to get the hustle plays. That is the main thing,” he said.
There is still no timetable for rookie Alaina Coates to return from injury and make her debut with the Chicago Sky, the organization said today.
The Sky selected the South Carolina center with the second overall pick in the WNBA draft this past spring. Coates, sidelined since the SEC tournament with an ankle injury, had surgery on in April and saw the cast removed last month, after which she began rehabilitation.
Chicago coach and general manager Amber Stocks said during preseason play that there was no immediate expectation for Coates’ return to the court, and that it could be September before she is able to play. The franchise repeated that message today.
“Alaina is continuing to rehab her ankle, and we are continuing to monitor her progress. There is no timetable for her return,” a spokesperson for the organization said.
Tonight’s game results, so far:
The Liberty needed an overtime to down the Wings, 102-93. Shavonte Zellous led the way for New York with 28 points.
Still with one more quarter to play at the moment is Chicago-Phoenix. But it doesn’t look like Diana Taurasi will break the scoring record tonight (see below).
WNBA player news:
Diana Taurasi went into tonight’s game, which she’s playing in right now, 29 points shy of becoming the league’s all-time leading scorer.
College team news:
College player news:
Oral Roberts player Ashley Beatty was found dead in her dorm room last night. It is thought to be suicide.
College coach news: