Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Page 763

Sparks: bumped and screwed

Sparks fans got an email yesterday notifying us of dates changes for two games: the July 17 home game was rescheduled to Aug. 19, and the Aug. 9 game was moved to Aug. 10. Apparently the first date was changed because promoters are anticipating Beyonce will sell out her July 13 concert and need a second date. The second game was bumped for the boy group the Jonas Brothers.

The change means that the Sparks will only have ONE home game the month of July, and that fans won’t get to see the team for an entire month. The team will have four home games for June and July, and 10 in August:

http://www.wnba.com/sparks/schedule/

Though the schedule hasn’t been this imbalanced ever, in my memory, the rescheduling has happened before. In 2006 the Sparks’ PLAYOFF game was moved to Anaheim so they could have some circus at Staples Center. The rationale is that the concert/other events make more money, so they have to reschedule the event (Sparks game) that makes less. People jump on that one because money always wins, but I question the scheduling.

If you look at the Staples Center schedule, it’s pretty wide open:

http://www.staplescenter.com/wide.php?page=events

Why don’t they hold their ground, and if an act wants to schedule on a date that the WNBA already has, make the act move? It would only be a day off from what they wanted.

Of course, I already know the answer: people don’t want to stand up for women’s basketball. In some circles it’s still cool to trash female ballers, and especially the WNBA.

I’m trying to look on the bright side: I can go on trips in July, and Candace Parker will be even stronger on the court in August than she would be earlier.

But it’s still wrong to bump a team like that.

Chamique Holdsclaw speaks

Amazing piece by scout.com writer Maria M. Cornelius on former Lady Vol and new Atlanta Dream centerpiece player Chamique Holdsclaw, whose return to the game is highly anticipated:

http://alabama.scout.com/a.z?s=14&p=2&c=859748

Critical part:

Holdsclaw took a leave of absence from the Mystics in July of 2004 and was immediately the target of rumors as to why she had left the team. She made few public remarks, tried to slip away from the public’s scrutiny and sunk into a deep depression that had been building over time.

“At first I was embarrassed,” Holdsclaw said. “When I left the team, now that I look back, I wish I had been upfront about what happened, just came out and said it, but I was embarrassed and I kind of just retreated. I didn’t know how to handle it. I didn’t want anyone to think I wasn’t OK because us athletes we’re so strong and we can handle anything, you know? It’s something people can’t see.

“The criticism and the things that you hear that was probably the hardest part for me. I’m from New York so I’ve heard a lot of trash talking and people criticizing folks – that’s just the way I grew up – but when you’re going through something so sensitive and so personal it really hit me to hear people say, ‘Oh my God, she’s bipolar, she’s this and she’s that.’ In some instances these were people who had never met me. People were just judging and being judgmental. That was really tough for me.”

Holdsclaw later openly talked about her clinical depression in media interviews. She spoke about it as a public service and made a video with medical writer Jeanne Blake for Words Can Work, an online resource guide for adults and children dealing with depression and other medical issues. An excerpt of Holdsclaw’s video can be viewed at: Words Can Work. Summitt also made an appearance on Holdsclaw’s behalf.

I remember that time, and subsequent times after that, where those on rebkell and other message boards publicly speculated – and ridiculed – Holdsclaw for her depression. I don’t know why clinical depression was so misunderstood in the first place, and I’m glad it’s become so much less stigmatized than it was 20 years ago when anti-depressants became widely available. But people still make light of the condition and make fun of it. More education clearly needs to take place, and stories like Cornelius’ can help.

Other great things about this piece: the anecdotes about Pat Summitt and Niya Butts. I love to hear what’s on players’ minds.

Warlick, Caldwell hitting the road again to fight breast cancer

Infamous D1 coaches Holly Warlick (Tennessee) and Nikki Caldwell (UCLA) again join forces next weekend on a 1500-mile ride to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer and research:

http://www.govolsxtra.com/news/2009/apr/23/042409digest/

Donations: www.championsforacause.org

What a great way to take some time off after the season.

Great news from HD Woodson High School in DC

Jeniece Johnson and Bernisha Pinkett found a new home after decommitting to North Carolina State University – they are Kentucky Wildcats:

http://www.ukathletics.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/042009aaa.html

“I am so proud of the girls! Hard work pays off and anything is possible through faith!!!” Coach Frank Oliver told me.

Oliver is also proud of his point guard, Ronika Ransford, who is mentioned in this story from the ESPNhoopgurlz site:

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/recruiting/basketball/womens/news/story?id=4085868

Last fall I interviewed Oliver and some of his players via telephone. Oliver had enough enthusiasm in his voice to go all the way across the country to me in Los Angeles, and back again. I could see why his players love him.

Though the team was dealt a setback when Johnson was ruled ineligible to play a fifth year, and didn’t finish as many thought they would, the team continues to produce solid players. Since Oliver works at the middle school that feeds into Woodson, I’m confident this tradition will continue.

Bout time: Holdsclaw signs with the Atlanta Dream

She’s baaaaaack: http://sports.espn.go.com/wnba/news/story?id=4083833

So the torture for one WNBA team’s fans is over. Now if Lauren Jackson would just stop letting the Seattle Storm fans twist in the wind.

Confirmed: Monique Oliver decommits from USC

http://lbpostsports.com/newsdesk.php?story=2773

Texas or Maryland, huh? With schools like that courting, why would she “stay local” ?

Happy birthday, Candace Parker

CP is 23 today, April 19. I happen to remember the night of the day she was born, as I ran my lifetime PR in the 10k. Her mother said CP was born with her eyes open, looking around. Interesting.

A few weeks ago, CP took a moment to do something she didn’t need to do at all: she found my kid in the crowd and waved goodbye to her. (We had seen CP before the game we were all at). I’ve always been one to watch what people do rather than necessarily listening to what they say, and CP’s actions spoke volumes that night. Candace Parker is a caring person, and she’s pretty damned nice, too.

Happy birthday, Candace. I will see you on the court in June.

Love,

Sue

Jody Wynn wastes no time getting to work

Long Beach State’s new head coach at the HAX today for a basketball tournament, along with a bunch of other NCAA coaches. It’s lookin season, baby.

Some great women’s basketball links on this page

Pat Summitt, Brittney Griner, Mariah Chandler, ACC’s finest, St. Michael’s Academy – OOO! But one of the coolest things when clicking on each story page is the page-turning sound effect when hitting the “next” arrow. Dig:

http://www.insidewomensbasketball.com/contents.php

Parade names 2009 All-America High School Girls Basketball team

First Team (Name, School, City, Height)

Brittney Griner Nimitz Houston, Tex. 6’8″

Skylar Diggins Washington South Bend, Ind. 5’10”

Kelsey Bone Dulles Sugar Land, Tex. 6’5″

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis Mater Dei Santa Ana, Calif. 6’0″

Tayler Hill South Minneapolis, Minn. 5’11”

Markel Walker Schenley Pittsburgh, Pa. 6’1″

Cokie Reed Midway Waco, Tex. 6’4″

Joslyn Tinkle Big Sky Missoula, Mont. 6’3″

Tierra Ruffin-Pratt Williams Alexandria, Va. 5’11”

Kelly Faris Heritage Christian Indianapolis, Ind. 5’11”

Second Team

Jasmine Hassell Wilson Central Lebanon, Tenn. 6’3″

Destiny Williams Benton Harbor Benton Harbor, Mich. 6’2″

Chiney Ogwumike Cy-Fair Cypress, Tex. 6’3″

Monique Oliver Poly Long Beach, Calif. 6’3″

Taber Spani Metro Academy Olathe, Kan. 6’1″

China Crosby Manhattan Center New York, N.Y. 5’7″

Tierra Rogers Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep San Francisco, Calif. 5’11”

Waltia Rolle Westbury Christian Houston, Tex. 6’6″

Bria Hartley North Babylon North Babylon, N.Y. 5’10”

Stephanie Holzer Cardinal O’Hara Springfield, Pa. 6’4″

Third Team

Samarie Walker Chaminade Julienne Dayton, Ohio 6’1″

Sam Ostarello Stanley County Fort Pierre, S.D. 6’2″

Morgan Stroman Lower Richland Hopkins, S.C. 6’2″

Morgan Tuck Bolingbrook Bolingbrook, Ill. 6’2″

Mikaela Ruef Beavercreek Beavercreek, Ohio 6’2″

Chelsea Gray St. Mary’s Stockton, Calif. 5’10”

Lindsey Moore Kentwood Covington, Wash. 5’10”

Ieasia Walker O’Connell Copiague Copiague, N.Y. 5’7″

Shanay Washington Del Valle Del Valle, Tex. 6’0″

Alexandria Bentley Ben Davis Indianapolis, Ind. 5’7″

Fourth Team

Anne Marie Armstrong Wesleyan Norcross, Ga. 6’3″

Mariah Chandler Southwest Atlanta Christian Atlanta, Ga. 6’1″

Lauren Avant Lausanne Collegiate Memphis, Tenn. 5’9″

Laurin Mincy University Newark, N.J. 6’0″

DeNesha Stallworth Pinole Valley Pinole, Calif. 6’3″

Sugar Rodgers King’s Fork Suffolk, Va. 5’10”

Bianca Lutley American Heritage Plantation, Fla. 5’11”

Layshia Clarendon Cajon San Bernardino, Calif. 5’9″

Jennifer O’Neill St. Michael Academy New York, N.Y. 5’6″

Amber Henson Sickles Tampa, Fla. 6’4″

The only minor surprise was that Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Mater Dei in Santa Ana, CA was named first team. Not surprising because of her skill, but that it was recognized. This young sophomore has an extremely bright future in the game.

Link, which includes a video of Brittney Griner: http://www.parade.com/news/2009/04/parade-all-america-high-school-girls-basketball-team.html

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