Friday, October 19, 2018
Page 737

Draft pick number doesn’t mean much during regular season

Funny that in the WNBA, quite often the higher-picked rookies aren’t the ones who end up shining as the season goes on. Mark Bodenrader talks about the issue on the dot-com. Terps Kristi Tolliver (third pick) and Marissa Coleman (second pick), have struggled to get their games on this summer, while DeWanna Bonner (fifth pick) and Shavonte Zellous (eleventh pick) have come out of nowhere and become leaders on their teams.

Some players adjust better to the WNBA game than others. In the same way that the International game is different from the US game, the W game is not the same as the college game. There are so many variations in the college game, too, with the number of coaches out there.

The moral of the story is that even if you play for a smaller school like Pittsburgh, as Zellous did, you can make it in the WNBA. That sounds so American.

Lady Vols begin individual workouts

OOO!

(Thank god) there are only three frosh this year. Taber Spani sounds like she ate metal for breakfast. Kamiko Williams and Faith Dupree are probably laying in bed right now, staring at the ceiling:

Freshman Faith Dupree:
“The intensity was a lot higher than what it was in high school and I learned that we need to be loud and communicate with everyone on the floor. Having gone through high school with Coach Collier (former Lady Vol and Webb School coach Shelley Sexton-Collier), I thought I would be somewhat ready for the first day, but things were definitely more intense than high school.”

Freshman Taber Spani:
“We waited all summer to get in here with the coaches and it’s finally here; I’m really excited. This is my dream becoming a reality. I love the hard work, the focus and the intensity. You can tell what makes this staff and program special and why they’ve won eight national titles. I’m excited to go after number nine this year.”

Freshman Kamiko Williams:
“This was a very different experience from high school, but I enjoyed it. In only a day, I was able to learn a lot and know what I need to improve upon. I’ve never had to play defense like this, so that was clear that I need to work on that part of my game. The coaches are all very good with details and communicating exactly what they want us to do.”

Tina Thompson says no to 2012 Olympics

She’s being honest, but this quote makes me sad:

“I’m tired,” Thompson said after the Sparks’ 78-63 victory over the Minnesota Lynx. “I’m getting older.”

Sun Devils have a new facility

And two players graciously take us on a tour in this video. Nice place! Love the humor, too.

Sparks 78, Lynx 63

Lisa Leslie had a ridiculous game, and in the process, lifted the Sparks to the win over Minnesota. She went an incredible 13-15, and was hitting shots from everywhere on the floor. She’s had some big-scoring games lately, and frankly, I’m glad to see it. If you’re going to retire, go out the way your fans remember you. Too bad Yo Griffith and Sheryl Swoopes couldn’t do the same.

It was an exciting game because the Sparks were doing everything right: defending, rebounding, shooting. More importantly, they were taking the ball to the rack! Some really slick plays in the process – pure Hollywood – that got the crowd screaming and on its feet. Now that’s more like it! It’s the team I remember from last year (most of the time).

I feel sad for the Lynx, who I like. They were held in check tonight despite the efforts of Candice Wiggins, with 13 points. I can’t help but wonder how they’d be doing if Seimone Augustus hadn’t been injured.

So the battle for third and fourth place continues, as LA travels to San Antonio Friday. It’s goin down!

There are two huddles before tipoff: the starters and the non-starters.

I wish this picture had come out better, because it was fun to see Shannon Bobbitt and Renee Montgomery square off again.

It was “UCLA Night,” which meant both the female and male Bruin mascot were wandering around with Sparky during the first half. It also meant the Bruin team was recognized at a timeout (above). Very cool.

Another reason it was UCLA night is that Coach Nikki Caldwell (above) was honored at halftime as an Inspirational Woman. Excellent choice.

Grandmama (Coach Jennifer Gillom).

The Sparks took turns guarding Nikki Anosike. (#21)

That’s Candace Parker’s foot. She needed a stretch toward the end of the second quarter.

A grip of players, including Anosike and Leslie (above), were wrestling for the ball in the fourth quarter, and it took the refs forever to blow the whistle. I’m convinced they did it on purpose to see what would happen.

This is Halle Berry’s back (doncha love the “Berry 1”?). Because as she was walking through the tunnel right below me, I was standing there staring for a minute before I remembered I should be taking pictures. She’s shorter than I thought she would be.

Sparks 72, Mystics 69

The Sparks won at home!

Candace Parker gave Marie Ferdinand-Harris credit for her nine points in the final eight minutes. The authors of this recap also gave the credit to CP, who had yet another double-double. Lisa Leslie added a whoppin’ 20 points. But I’d like to give credit to the entire Sparks team, which looked more like a team tonight than they have at points this season.

They were playing better defense, and were actually taking the ball to the hole instead of standing outside the perimeter jacking up shots. There was in-the-paint play! I was delighted.

The one thing I didn’t like, though, was the intense physical play that the Mystics brought. They were taking it too far with the shoving and the pushing. I haven’t seen the Sparks players hit the floor as many times in all the home games of the season than I did tonight. Washington’s Chastity Melvin was T’ed up in the third quarter when she took her hand off the ball to push away the hand of Leslie, who was defending her. Nakia Sanford fouled out of the game in the fourth quarter, and the crowd was so happy they stood up to wave. Matee Avajon also fouled out, thankfully.

The irritation built up until the third quarter, when Leslie was going to the basket. She charged into (I think) Melvin and left her sprawling, then walked away. It was one of those things where there was just enough doubt that the refs didn’t call it, but those of us who’d been watching the entire WWF match until then had a feeling Leslie probably did it on purpose. We giggled.

In the fourth quarter Leslie and Sanford tangled under the basket and Sanford landed on her butt as the whistle sounded. Leslie looked down at her, giving her the classic stare, and walked off. In the past, Leslie has been one of those physical players, and I didn’t like her for it. But tonight I couldn’t even be mad at her for pushing back at the Mystics; I would have done it too. And I even laughed when she did it.

Credit to the Mystics goes to Avajon, who came off the bench to lead her team in scoring, with 20. Lindsey Harding added 19.

Noelle Quinn continues to impress. The Sparks have a big gem in her.

Tina Thompson continues to slump. Hope she pulls out soon.

Tomorrow, Minnesota. I’m looking forward to seeing them in person.

First half play had the Mystics trying to score in front of the Sparks bench.

This is how timeouts have been looking lately: Assistant Coach Marianne Stanley talks to the team first……

…….and then steps aside while Cooper has a turn.

Candace Parker playin mad D in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Tina Thompson (far right) swings a pass to the top of the key.

The handshake line was very civil in light of the way the teams had just played against one another.

Givin’ my Lady Vols a bad time I: Shannon Bobbitt makes a muppet face during a timeout.

Givin’ my Lady Vols a bad time II: A few seconds later, Candace sees something she doesn’t like (I couldn’t tell what it was).

Interesting WNBA transactions

Yesterday the Detroit Shock traded Kristin Haynie to the Sacramento Monarchs in exchange for Crystal Kelly. Today the Shock let Barb Farris’ seven-day contact expire and signed Nikki Teasley.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think Bill was back in charge.

Atlanta Dream explained

Pet at Pleasant Dreams answered my question as to why/how Atlanta is making a surge late this WNBA season. A big reason has to do with rookie Angel McCoughtry.

I shoulda known.

Eight players named to 2009-2012 US National Team

Eight gold medalists return:

Seimone Augustus
Sue Bird
Tamika Catchings
Sylvia Fowles
Kara Lawson
Candace Parker
Cappie Pondexter
Diana Taurasi

MMM! MMM! MMM!

WNBA standings

As of this moment, the league standings look like this:

Western Conference

Phoenix 17-8
Seattle 13-11
San Antonio 11-13
Minnesota 11-13
Los Angeles 9-13
Sacramento 7-18

Eastern Conference

Indiana 19-5
Atlanta 13-11
Washington 12-11
Connecticut 12-11
Chicago 13-12
Detroit 9-13
New York 8-15

Random musings:

Seattle. What happened? They started out so strong, and have had a grip of losses this month that have dropped their standing and killed their momentum. Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times promised she’d have some answers in a blog the other day, so I look forward to her theories.

Atlanta. What happened? No one expected them to be in second place in the East. What kind of Wheaties are they eating, juice are they drinking to keep winning so many games lately? Have they clicked together as a team? Maybe pt will know.

Is the Western Conference really that much more difficult than the Eastern Conference? I don’t think so, but for some reason, four of six Western teams are below .500, compared to two of seven Eastern teams.

Sacramento. After seeing them in person Friday night, me and mine don’t understand why they have the record that they do. As one of my section mates commented last night, “they’ve got some ballers!” Brunson and Powell, for starters. If Whisenant can’t bring more out of them, he should fire himself.

Los Angeles. I didn’t mention Friday that both Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker had heated words with Coach Michael Cooper during the game at one point. Tension on the team was visibly high, and as they all sulked into the tunnel after the game, I was thinking that you couldn’t pay me enough to be on the plane yesterday morning. But they won in Sacramento, and handily, too. LA fans are hot, though. On the Sparks message board, people are calling for Cooper’s head. Some have said that it’s not his fault if all the vets can’t mesh, and others say its his job to make them fit together.

I wonder if owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson have started thinking about a replacement for next year, yet? I really hope so.

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