Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Whatever Happened to Christy Smith?

If you hang on to John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER) the way a drunk hangs on to a lamp post - "for support, not illumination", Christy Smith of the Charlotte Sting in 1999 had the best season in the WNBA that year with a PER rating of 36.08, a good 4.16 points above eventual MVP Yolanda Griffith.

Christy Smith played a grand total of 19 minutes over four games in 1999. She took four field goal attempts - three from 3-point land - and hit three of them. She also went 5-for-6 from the free throw line, and had one assist and one steal. Not bad at all.

So what happened? Hard to say. I found note of an article on Google News that she was put on the injured list by the Sting in 1999. She had had an ACL injury at Arkansas in 1996; maybe it was exacerbated by WNBA play. Apparently, she never recovered from the injury. She went back to Arkansas and earned her master's degree in exercise science in 2001. Somewhere along the line, she became Christy Smith Flowers, the wife of Arkansas Razorback defensive back Jeremy Flowers. She had two children.

I assume she did what a lot of ex-WNBA players do after that - go into coaching. She was an assistant high school coach in 2006-07, a head high school coach in 2007-08, and in August 2008, joined the Valparaiso University women's basketball staff as an assistant coach.

The Crusaders are 5-5 this year. If you see Christy Smith Flowers on the sidelines, be sure to say "Hello" for me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cynthia Cooper and the "Keltner List"

So what have I been doing since the European leagues went on vacation and since there's no news in the WNBA? I've been working on two projects:

a) create an expanded biofile based on the great biofile created by RebKell poster pilight
b) use this file in conjunction with a statistical analysis of WNBA players.

Of course, this requires a lot of cutting and pasting from the website. Unfortunately, the info there isn't entirely accurate. They are very quick to correct things and are very nice and answer immediately, but it is the holiday season, so they won't get back till January. So I'll have to be patient.

I began working on the 1997 and 1998 seasons and began calcuating John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating (PER) for each of the players. I wasn't following women's basketball (or basketball at all, for that matter) in 1997 or 1998, but looking at the PERs for 1997 and 1998, one player lept out.

Cynthia Cooper. Her PERs are not only much better than her contemporaries, but I believe that for 1997 and 1998, she was the only WNBA player with a PER above 30 in both years. To have a PER above 30 for a season should make you a "Runaway MVP Candidate" according to Hollinger's PER scale, and Cynthia Cooper won the WNBA MVP in 1997 and 1998.

Unfortunately, with the short seasons and lack of established statistical benchmarks for greatness ("should it be 5,000 points in a career? more? less?") it's hard to know - statistically anyway - how great Cynthia Cooper really was.

However, the great sabrmetrician Bill James created something called "The Keltner List" which is a bit more subjective. It asks generalized questions about a player and aids in the thought process for forming a case for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Since there is no WNBA Hall of Fame - yet - we can begin to argue the case for Cooper with some changes.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in baseball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in baseball?

So we change this. "Was Cynthia Cooper ever regarded as the best player in the WNBA?"

The ESPYs thought so. I consider the ESPYs just one step above a joke, but when they started voting for the honor - in 1998 - Cooper won it three years straight. No greater a source than Dean Oliver - the king of basketball statistical analysis - concluded that Cooper was the best ballplayer in the United States. Clay Kallam had her as the second best player of all-time, meaning she was certainly highly regarded. (However, he had Sheryl Swoopes as #1.)

There are a lot of articles that have Cynthia Cooper as the "Best Player in the WNBA". The argument could certainly be made that the best was Coop.

2. Was he the best player on his team?

Okay, was she the best player on her team? It's sort of an unfair question since her team had Tina Thompson and Sheryl Swoopes on it.

Let's look at the totals of Wins Shares from 1997-2000 for all three players: I don't count 2003.

Cynthia Cooper: 34.9
Sheryl Swoopes: 25.6
Tina Thompson: 20.0

I'll make the argument that Cooper was the best of the Comets from 1997-2000.

3. Was he the best player in baseball at his position? Was he the best player in the league at his position??

I don't know if Cooper was a #1 guard or a #2 guard, and I have yet to sort out who played #1 and #2 in history. However, Cooper was the best in Wins Score and PER, but if you're looking for assists per game and steals per game, you could argue that Teresa Weatherspoon or Michelle Timms had more guard "skills".

4. Did he have an impact on a number of pennant races?

Four championships, all in the years she played full time. I'll venture a "yes".

5. Was he a good enough player that he could continue to play regularly after passing his prime?

Cooper was 37 years old in her final season, and briefly played at age 40. If she played that well in 1997 at the age of 34, I'd be frightened to death of her at age 27 or 28.

6. Is he the very best player in baseball history who is not in the Hall of Fame?
7. Are most players who have comparable career statistics in the Hall of Fame?

No Hall of women's pro basketball.

8. Do the player's numbers meet Hall of Fame standards?

Due to the fact that she missed several years due to the non-existence of the league, we need to look at the percentage records.

She's 26th all time in field goal percentage with 45.85 percent shooting.
She's 22nd all time in 3-point percentage with 37.70 percent shooting.
She's 1st all time in minutes per game with 35.19. And only three players (Katie Smith, Jennifer Azzi, and Tina Thompson) have 34 min per game.
She's 2nd all time in points per game with 20.98. (Seimone Augustus is first, with 21.25, but that mark might not stand after a few more years for Seimone.)

I've seen enough. I'd say she's a Hall-of-Fame player based on points alone.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his statistics?

PER, Wins Score, and the like capture offensive stats very well. Not so well defensive stats. You could make the argument that Cooper wasn't a good defender. According to Clay Kallam, she played at least decent defense. Defense defense + Hall of Fame offense probably equals Hall of Fame.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame but not in?

So who is in the WNBA Hall of Fame again?

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close?
How many All-Star-type seasons did he have?

She won two straight MVPs in 1997 and 1998. Since I don't have a list of MVP votes in front of me, I don't know if she was in contention in 1999 or 2000. The two MVPs alone would merit Hall of Fame consideration.

12. How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the other players who played in this many go to the Hall of Fame?

Cooper was All-WNBA First Team every year she played except for her brief stint in 2003. She was on the actual WNBA All-Star teams in 1999 and 2000, and the first WNBA All-Star Game was held in 1999. It's easy to imagine her being on several All-Star teams if her basketball career started in 1997 instead of being over half-over.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win the pennant?

Oh hell yes.

14. What impact did the player have on baseball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way?

Cynthia Cooper didn't change basketball in any significant way.

15. Did the player uphold the standards of sportsmanship and character that the Hall of Fame, in its written guidelines, instructs us to consider?

Well, it's Major League Baseball that has written guidelines. On the court, she never displayed poor sportsmanship, and other players weren't jealous of her accomplishments, the way they'd be with a player they actively disliked. According to Wikipedia:

In January 2008 the NCAA penalized Prairie View for NCAA rules violations committed by Cooper, reducing the number of scholarships for the team. The school was placed on four years' probation for "major violations" in 2005-06 that ranged from Cooper-Dyke giving players small amounts of cash to various forms of unauthorized practices. Cooper also gave players free tickets to Comets game, which is another NCAA infraction.

I don't know if this really counts or not.

(* * *)

In short, Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, in my opinion, would easily be placed in the WNBA Hall of Fame if it existed. I only wish there was some institution that would honor her....

...oh! There is one! Whew, I was starting to get worried there! (/wink)

WCBA 22/2008 - Beijing 91, Hayao 56

As usual, Translate Google and the WCBA website are sniping at each other, so I don't have a box score. What is clear is that Beijing (15-7) had no trouble with visiting Hayao (12-10) to win 91-56.

Furthermore, Jiangsu lost to Guangdong 100-95. (That's what happens when you get rid of Ann Strother!) This breaks the tie for third place and gives Beijing sole possession of third place.

Unfortunately, no boxscore. Furthermore, there's a suspicious #17 in the Beijing boxscore, and I thought Jennifer Lacy's number was #16! Hopefully, they've not sent her home, too!

Assuming that

1. The standings list is accurate, and
2. Tied teams are listed in order of final finish,

here should be the WCBA 2008-09 playoffs. The first round is a best-of-three series.

#1 Liaoning (17-5) vs. #8 Liaoyang (11-11)
#2 Bayi Telecom (17-5) vs. #7 Hayao (12-10)
#3 Beijing (15-7) vs. #6 Guangdong (12-10)
#4 Jiangsu (14-8) vs. #5 Henan (13-9)

The playoffs start next week. As soon as I can find more about the boxscore - and Jennifer Lacy - I'll write it up.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Here is the entire schedule of what the various players from last year's Atlanta Dream are doing this week:


WCBA: Beijing (14-7) vs. Hayao (12-9) - final regular season game

Now you know why there haven't been many posts lately.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sancho Lyttle Talks About Her Future

This is from the Houston Roundball Review: Sancho Lyttle was watching a game in Houston and discussed her current team, the Atlanta Dream:

"Right now, I think it's a good opportunity for me. It's a new start from everything else that's been going on. I just have to wait and see until I get there how the coaching staff is and what they want in their program."

Don't worry, Sancho. I think we'll find a place for you.

P. S.: There was so little going on in the WNBA world that I thought there wouldn't be a post today. Thank you, HRR!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

WCBA 21/2008 - Beijing 77, Shanghai 74

Beijing (14-7) needed just one more win this year to clinch at least a fourth-place regular season finish and a guaranteed home advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Shanghai (4-17) was hoping that they wouldn't finish dead last in the league. Zhejiang lost 89-48 to Liaoning, so both sides get their wish as Beijing wins 77-74 on the road to clinch their spot.

Beijing's last game is December 30th against Hayao (12-9) at home. If they win and Jiangsu (14-7) loses to Guangdong (11-10) on the road, then Beijing would slip into third place to finish the season.

The translated (for now) boxscore is here.

You have to give this game to Beijing - they really wanted it. Beijing came out ice cold and was held to only nine points at the end of the first quarter, down 22-9. However, Beijing immediately began to close the gap and hold Shanghai to 11 second-quarter points. At halftime, Shanghai could only take a 34-33 lead into the break. Shanghai began to tighten their defense, and managed to hit the final three shots of the third quarter to lead 57-53 after three quarters.

Jennifer Lacy, however, provided "frequently in Shanghai manufacturing team insider threats" and the Beijing team took the lead in the last four minutes. In the end, Shanghai was forced to foul and hope for the best, but they let it slip away.

Shanghai had a great shooting game, hitting 52 percent of their shots and 56 percent of their inside shots. Unfortunately for Shanghai, Beijing hit 54 percent of their total shots and 60 percent of their inside shots. Both teams rebounded fairly evenly, and had the same number of turnovers. Shanghai, however, would send Beijing to the free throw line 21 times and Beijing would go 19-for-21, the real key to Beijing's victory.

Feng Yi scored 22 points and had six assists for Beijing. The pair of untranslatable characters known as "焦岚" scored 17 points and four rebounds, and Zeng Meiling scored 11 points for Shanghai.

There were three breakout players for Beijing - Zhang Lin scored 26 points and eight rebounds and Zhang Fan had 15 points and also picked up eight rebounds. Jennifer Lacy would score 19 points, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and hitting all seven of her free throw attempts.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Another Writer Who Didn't Do The Research


Another study out of Florida State University showed suppressed testosterone levels in males who found themselves on the losing end of a given competitive situation. No hormonal difference was noticed between female winners and losers. So what does all this research mean? Maybe nothing. Maybe all it means is that WNBA teams are less prone to losing streaks. But these studies do seem to show not only a psychological aspect but also a physiologic aspect to losing.

Yup. You don't get many losing streaks in the WNBA. True, I'm not expecting the guy to do a statistical study, but still...sheesh.

Things That Went on While I Was Enjoying Christmas

1) The WCBA and Translate Google have gone to war. At least, I think that happened. Translate Google refuses to touch that boxscore of that Zhejiang-Beijing game.

2) I got two DVDs of college basketball games from Ethan Johnson, the proprietor of Haven't had a chance to sit down and watch them yet, but you know that's coming.

3) Ivory Latta has been tearing it up in Israel:

a) During the semifinals of the Israeli Cup - a mid-season competiton among the best teams in Israeli women's basketball - she scored 23 points in a 78-72 win over Elizur Holon to move Ramat Hen on to the finals.

b) In the finals, they give the ball to Ivory for the money shot, and she hits the final shot which wins the game for Ramat Hen and grants Ramat Hen the Israeli Cup with a 72-71 victory over Ramat Hasharon.

It was Ramat Hen's first cup in a quarter century, and it took place on Christmas. I suppose if you were going to give Ivory Latta a Christmas present, it would be "you'll hit the winning shot and bring victory to a team that hasn't tasted it in over twenty years".

c) p_d_swanson posts this pic, which he swipes from the Israel League and which I swipe from him over at RebKell:

That isn't Ivory Latta in the foreground, is it?

4) Painel do Basquete Feminino posts this pic, which they swipe from, and which I swipe from them:

And they gave the Santa hat to Erika de Souza. That's one tall Santa!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Heading Home

Getting ready to visit Mom over the holidays. So blogging over the next two days will be light to nonexistent.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwazy Kwanzaa, Satisfactory Solstice. Enjoy!

WCBA 20/2008 - Beijing 76, Zhejiang 68

Since there are only 12 teams in the WCBA, the season ends with each team playing 22 games - one home and away against each of its opponents. Zhejiang (2-18) had been mathematically eliminated weeks ago, but they were hoping to sneak by visiting Beijing (13-7). Despite a slow start, Zhejiang appears to have at least kept it interesting before falling to Beijing 76-68.

The win secures a playoff spot for Beijing, as the worst Beijing can finish is at 13-9, which would be them tied for sixth. However, with Jiangsu also at 13-7 and Henan right behind at 12-8, Beijing really needs to win its following two games to secure a fourth place finish and home field advantage in the first round.

I don't have a translated boxscore yet - I just have the original boxscore, which crashes when I try to throw it into Google translate. So I'll just finish this whenever I get a translatable boxscore. I can tell you that Jennifer Lacy led her team in scoring.

More (hopefully) later....

The Dream's Newest Player

It looks like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has scooped the basketball news again! They're reporting on the Dream's newest acquisition....

According to this Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, two Dream players made an appearance at an Atlanta event....

This year’s Frank Ski Celebrity Wine Tasting & Live Auction raised more than $166,000 for the Frank Ski Kids Foundation. Celebs in attendance included Young Jeezy, DJ Spindarella, Elder Bernice King, author E. Lynn Harris, Trumpet Awards CEO Xernona Clayton, Kenny Leon, artistic director of True Colors Theatre Company, and Atlanta Dream players Chantal Anderson and Tanya Alleyne.

It looks like they misspelled both "Chantelle Anderson" and "Tonya Alleyne". As for our mystery second player, let me tell you about her. Tonya is a 1992 graduate of Seton Hall University who is eighth on the all time assist list for Seton Hall. She was 139-for-190 at the line, hitting 72 percent of her free throws. She also has skills from behind the arc, shooting 44-for-124 for a 35 percent percentage from 3-point land.

Granted, Tonya Alleyne is currently Vice President of Media Relations of the Atlanta Dream, but I'm sure with a nice contract and some enticement we could get her out there on the court.

P. S.: Just kidding. Hey, not even the AJC is perfect!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Superleague A Russia 9/2008 - Nadezhda Orenburg 98, Slavyanka 46

God, I have to tell you, I'm exhausted from all of the Christmas hullaboo. Everyone looks forward to the holidays, and some small part of that is looking forward to the holidays being over. For Nadezhda Orenburg (4-5), they wanted a nice easy game before the Christmas break and they got it in visiting Slavyanka (0-9), which was crushed by Nadezhda by a score of 98-46 in front of 500 Slavyanka spectators who undoubtedly felt like they've gotten coal in their Christmas stocking.

Here are two translations of the boxscore. One translation comes from, and the other comes from

Believe it or not, for the first ten minutes, Slavyanka actually put up a fight, and played Nadezhda to a tie after the first quarter, 18-18. But the second quarter ended up 31-10 in favor of Nadezhda, and the home team was held to eight points in the third quarter. Egad.

Only one stat is needed to describe the game:

Nadezhda: 51 percent shooting
Slavyanka: 26 percent shooting

There's really no point in discussing the game beyond that.

Betty Lennox had a game worthy of the Russian Superleague. She scored 38 points and had 10 rebounds with four assists. If she had scored eight more points, she'd have matched Slavyanka's entire total for the game.

B-Money, however, gave out some Christmas presents - she actually let other players on her team score. Shameka Christon scored 19 points and five assists, and Zane Tamane scored 13 poitns for the winners.

Slavyanka's team of Russian nationals only had two players score in double digits. Yuliya Kiseleva scored 10 points with nine rebounds, and Irina Romanova scored 12 points and four rebounds.

Merry Christmas, B-Money!

Israeli Cup Quarterfinals - Ramat Hen 82, Tel Aviv 70

Women's basketball in Israel is currently on its winter break, but they believe in basketball during the holidays. The "Israeli Cup" is held in the mid-season break and Ivory Latta got no rest after being signed by Maccabi Ramat Hen from her former Turkish club Ceyhan. She put in a great effort to help lead Ramat Hen to a quarterfinals win.

The boxscore is here.

Ramat Hen led 25-13 at the end of the first quarter and led 41-30 at halftime. According to the writeup, the biggest lead of the game for Ramat Hen was 20 points and there wasn't much of a chance for Tel Aviv to stage a comeback. Everyone got a chance to play in the second half and the goal was to keep Ramat Hen's starters free from fatigue.

Ramat Hen shot 44 percent from the field compared to 37 percent shooting from Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv, however, outrebounded Ramat Hen on the offensive boards by a factor of 18 to 12. Neither team really turned over the ball, and even though Tel Aviv was sent to the free throw line 22 times, they only made 14 shots - Ramat Hen shot 13-for-17 from the line.

LaToya Pringle had an amazing 18 points, 18 rebounds double-double for Ramat Hen. Pringle served as a backup F/C for the Phoenix Mercury this year. Tamara James, who last played for the Washington Mystics in 2007, would score 20 points and six rebounds. Ivory Latta, just getting off the plane it seems, would score 18 points but take 22 shots (16 FG, 6 FT) to do it. However, she had eight assists, not too bad when you're serving as point for a brand new team.

Tel Aviv would only play eight players and their leading scorers would be foreigners. Alex Anderson, a graduate of UT Chattanooga, would score 20 points and 14 rebounds with four assists, a second double-double in the game. Diamond Rogers would score 21 points and 7 rebounds - Rogers graduated from Alabama-Birmingham this year. Tierra Willson, a graduate of Fresno State, would contribute 12 points in the Tel Aviv loss.


Most of the leagues are taking time off for the regular season and won't resume regular season play until January or even February.

This doesn't mean that the leagues are asleep. Some of these leagues have "cup" competitions. These are competitions where teams take places in an elimination match to win some sort of trophy. What makes it interesting is that lower-division teams sometimes are allowed to go face-to-face with the highest pro levels -- something like the Kansas Jayhawks playing the Boston Celtics.

There's an "Israeli Cup" taking place and Ivory Latta has already played a quarterfinal game. More on that later.


Superleague A Russia: Slavyanka (0-8) vs. Nadezhda Orenburg (3-5)


WCBA: Zhejiang (2-17) vs. Beijing (12-7)
Israeli Cup Semifinals: Elizur Holon vs. Maccabi Ramat Hen


WCBA: Beijing (12-7) vs. Hayao (10-9) *

* - Standings as of December 22, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

LFB (France) 15/2008 - Union Hainaut 52, Challes-les-Eaux 49

With a month off looming ahead, Union Hainaut (9-6) must have been hoping for a Villeneuve d'Ascq loss and a chance to move into fourth place in the Ligue Féminine. Despite the fact that they beat visiting Challes-Les-Eaux (10-5) by a score of 52-49, Union Hainaut certainly thought that they'd be at the top of the French League instead of sitting in fifth place and being flushed out of Euroleague play.

The box score is here. Union Hainaut puts an end to a five-game losing streak stretching over French League and Euroleague play.

It was either a defensive struggle for both teams or an offensive mess. At halftime, the score was only 24-19 in favor of Union Hainaut. Challes-les-Eaux was only able to score six second-quarter points. At one point, Union Hainaut led 34-22, but Challes-les-Eaux staged a comeback in the third quarter with an 11-0 run and Union Hainaut's lead was cut to one point, 38-37 at the end of the third quarter.

According to Women's Basketball in France, Emilie Duvivier of Challes-les-Eaux hit a shot to put the visitors in the lead. It didn't last long, however, as Union Hainaut went on a 7-0 run to go up 50-43. Somehow, Union Hainaut managed to hang on for the victory as they would only score with two more points for the rest of the game.

Shooting wasn't good on either side - Union Hainaut only shot 35 percent from the field, but Challes-les-Eaux only shot 33 percent. There wasn't much offensive rebounding from either side. Challes-les-Eaux was just a bit more sloppy with the ball, turning the ball over 20 times. They would also get no help at the free throw line, going to the line only four times and earning only three points from free throws.

Bernadette Ngoyisa was the player of the game for Union Hainaut, scoring 12 points and 11 rebounds for a double-double. Tiffany Stansbury also had a great game, scoring four points, six rebounds and four steals. Chioma Nnamaka would only score six points and even though Clémence Biekes scored 11 points, she missed three free throws and had three turnovers. Most of her points were third-quarter points.

Laina Badiane would score nine points and seven rebounds for Challes-les-Eaux. Martina Luptakova-Gyursci scored 10 points, the only player to score in double figures for Challes-les-Eaux. Kirby Copeland, a former Virginia Tech player, would score two points in 13 minutes of play.

More News on Ann Strother

Someone close to Ann Strother sent me some more information about Ann Strother's sudden disappearance from the Jiangsu team in the WCBA.

What happened was that the center of the Jiangsu team was injured. This left Jiangsu in a pickle, as they had no good backup center and they wanted to make a play for the WCBA championship. They could get a new center from the United States by the name of "Williams" (the characters used to describe her name are the common ones used to transliterate "Williams") but the problem was that Jiangsu could only have one "foreign aid" player.

So it was a tough choice - bring in the new center and give up Ann Strother, or keep Ann Strother and effectively challenge for the WCBA championship without a good #5.

They made the tough choice. Williams showed up, and Ann Strother was sent home, taking home some good memories and making some new friends.

I hope that something opens up for Ann Strother in the rest of the off season if she wants it. It looks like Ann will have an unexpected Christmas present. See you next year, Ann!

LFB (France) 15/2008 - Bourges 67, Villeneuve d'Ascq 50

Villeneuve d'Ascq (9-6) has certainly gotten a few steps better since the beginning of the year - they added Iziane Castro Marques to replace Fatua Sacko, and managed to turn things around to at least compete in the Ligue Féminine. However, there are teams playing at another level, like Bourges (14-1). Bourges delivered a decisive 67-50 defeat at home in front of an announced crowd of 2,000 spectators to the visitors of Villeneuve d'Ascq, giving Villeneuve d'Ascq a lot to think about over the break.

The box score is here, and as you can see above, someone made a film of highlights of the game. The problem is that both teams are wearing similar-colored uniforms; it's very hard to tell who is who.

Bourges showed their strength by holding Villeneuve d'Ascq to just seven first quarter points. At halftime, the score was 35-18 in favor of Bourges. Villeneuve had only scored 28 points by the end of the third quarter, and Bourges pulled out their puzzle books in the fourth quarter and relaxed, knowing that there would be no comeback by Villeneuve d'Ascq.

Bourges hit 45 percent of their baskets, compared with a 40 percent rate by Villeneuve d'Ascq. The rebounding rate was even more lopsided in favor of the home team. Villeneuve d'Ascq turned the ball over a couple of times more than Bourges. Villeneuve d'Ascq would not make up anything at the free throw line - Bourges only afforded them ten visits.

Only two players scored in double digits for Bourges - Ana Lelas scored 15 points, and Nwal-Endéné Miyem scored 13 points. Ana Cata-Chitiga scored six points for Bourges, but picked up nine rebounds. Alessandra Santos de Olivera, who last played for the WNBA in 2001, scored only five points in 15 minutes of play.

Geraldine Robert scored 12 points for the visiting Villeneuve d'Ascq and Florence Lepron scored nine points. Iziane Castro Marques scored 10 points, but shot horribly from the field, 4 for 16, and turned the ball over four times.

Villeneuve d'Ascq only played seven players. Jolene Anderson did not play.

(* * *)

With that, regular season play takes a nice long European vacation. The Ligue Féminine will not resume regular-season play until February 7th, 2009.

Villeneuve d'Ascq has been presented with a problem. Iziane Castro Marques was signed by Villeneuve d'Ascq only until December 20th - the goal was that Izi would play just long enough for Fatou Sacko to recover. Izi was expected to be a sort of B-class player. Instead, Izi's play really helped the team turn around.

Fans and press want Villeneuve d'Ascq to sign Iziane Castro Marques for the second half. The question is if Villeneuve d'Ascq has enough cash to sign both players - with the world economy the way it is, does Villeneuve d'Ascq really want to spend that money? No one has heard anything from club management one way or the other, so the French fans don't know if Izi will be back in February. I guess we won't know until February, either.

TBBL 9/20098 - Samsun 81, Mersin 77

Ivory Latta might not be in Turkey anymore, but Alison Bales still is. Bales, who plays for Samsun (7-2) didn't contribute much to the game against Mersin (7-3), but a stellar performance by Erlana Larkins made up for it as Samsun won on the road 81-77.

According to a writeup that becomes word salad when inserted into a "free online translator" (!), Mersin took an 11-5 lead to start the game but Samsun fought back to tie the score after one quarter and begin to slowly pull away. After three quarters the lead was nine points, with Samsun ahead 64-55. Mersin stated a comeback with the help of Mistie Williams and at one point closed the gap to within two points, 69-67 Samsun. Samsun, however, was just too much for the home team and maintained their lead for the rest of the game.

In terms of shooting percentage, Samsun had a slight 43 to 39 percent advantage, but Mersin actually scored more goals. Furthermore, Mersin only committed 11 turnovers. Unfortunately for Mersin, they would send Samsun to the free throw line 29 times, and Samsun hit 26 of their shots. Three out of ten Samsun points were scored at the free throw line.

Allie Quigley, a graduate of DePaul University, scored 18 points and four fouls. Makbule Amachree - who might be Maktabene Amachree, a former WNBA player - scored 15 points and eight rebounds. Mistie Williams (Houston Comets) scored 17 points. Lindsey Harding (Minnesota Lynx) would score eight points, but turn the ball over six times. Olympia Scott (Phoenix Mercury) scored eight points but fouled out.

For Samsun, Erlana Larkins was the player of the day scored 29 points and 13 rebounds, a double-double augmented with four assists. Julie McBride scored 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Alison Bales would only score five points, but had eight rebounds.

Free Image Hosting at

Greek Women's A1: Paleo Faliro 65, Ano Liosa 44

I don't know if Kristin Haynie was the key or not, but there's something in the eggnog they're drinking at Paleo Faliro (7-4). Their 65-44 win against Ano Liosa (5-6) is their fifth straight win of the year. Paleo Faliro is holding on to fifth place in the Greek A1 Women's League.

The boxscore is here.

Here's the amazing fact of the game: ANO LIOSA WAS HELD TO ONE FIRST QUARTER POINT. That's "one" and not "eleven". Of course, it could be just some sort of transcription error, but we'll never know because Greek media pretty much ignores women's basketball. However, the 34-16 score at halftime makes me think I'm right. It was 53-28 after three quarters, so no, this was not a game that was in doubt in any way, shape, or form.

Paleo Faliro shot only 42 percent from the field, as opposed to the 33 percent from the field for Ano Liosa. Believe it or not, Ano Liosa won the battle of rebounding, picking up 13 offensive rebounds - so how come none of those rebounds translated into more than a single first-quarter point? Ano Liosa turned the ball over 22 times. They won the battle of free throws, but when you only go to the line 11 times and hit six of them, you're not going to make up that first quarter deficit through making free throws.

Foutoula Volonaki led all Paleo Faliro players with 13 points and five rebounds. Atalanti Tasouli, a former draft choice of the Houston Comets, scored 12 points and six rebounds. Teana Miller picked up 13 points and eight rebounds.

As for Kristin Haynie, she scored five points and four rebounds in 30 minutes of play. Karen Mourd scored two points in a brief appearance.

For Ano Liosa, Kari Koch led all players with 18 points and 10 rebounds, a double-double. Koch was a WNBA prospect and is a graduate of Missouri State University. Olga Smirnaiou was the only other player in double figures for Ano Liosa with 12 points. Meg Tierney, who is probably the Oregon State '03 Meg Tierney, only scored two points but had seven rebounds in 30 minutes of play.

Marynell Meadors is a Woman on the Way

From Atlanta Business Media:

Who is a WOW woman? She is a woman who is in the pipeline of corporations and nonprofits; she has not reached the pinnacle of her professional career but is climbing the corporate ladder one rung at a time. Her career is on a trajectory upwards and she has been identified by her company as a future leader. She is a Woman on the Way.

Marynell Meadors made the list of twenty. Among the list are a 3-time Emmy Award Winner, a 2008 World Series Poker player, and several corporate executives.

Congratulations, coach!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

PLKK 16/2008 - Polkowice 76, Rybnik 74

With regular league play not resuming until January 21st, Rybnik (10-6) wanted to go into the break with a win. With Polkowice (11-4) visiting, the game looked good for the Rybniki for three quarters, but Polkowice came back in the fourth quarter to steal a 76-74 win.

The loss knocks Rybnik to fifth place in the league. Polkowice moves up to fourth place, 1 1/2 games head of Rybnik.

Polkowice won the first quarter, but Rybnik came back on its home ground, leading 41-36 at halftime. Both teams fought evenly in the third, and the gap remained unchanged after the third quarter with Rybnik still up by five, 60-55. However, Polkowice held to Rybnik to just 14 points in the final quarter, and accoring to a (very) brief writeup, a decisive rebound by Polkowice with 15 seconds left sealed the game for the visitors.

Rybnik actually had better shooting than Polkowice - Rybnik shot slightly over 50 percent from the floor, whereas Polkowice scored 41 percent. Both teams rebounded evenly, but Polkowice won the battle of offensive rebounds 10-8...and who knows, maybe one of those offensive rebounds was the one that won the game. What killed Rybnik's shooting advantage were deficiencies in the other parts of the game. Rybnik turned the ball over 21 times and sent Polkowice to the free throw line thirty-one times. Granted, Polkowice only hit 15 of those 31 giveaways, but you rarely send your opponent to the line that much and walk away with a win.

For Rybnik, Natalia Trafimava scored 10 points and picked up seven rebounds, and was probably the player of the game for Rynik. Ketia Swanier scored 21 points and had six rebounds and five assists...but turned the ball over eight times. She had six turnovers in her last game, and I suspect that she's fallen victim to Europe's dribbling rules. Kasha Terry scored 14 points and eight rebounds. She shot 6-for-11 from the field, but unfortunately, shot 6-for-11 from the free throw line. LaTangela Atkinson only scored two points and had six rebounds, but six turnovers as well.

Jillian Robbins, who graduated from Tulsa in 2007, scored 19 points and had 13 rebounds for a double-double for Polkowice. Amisha Carter, who played briefly for both the Shock and the Liberty, scored 14 points and 12 rebounds for the second Polkowice double-double. Daria Mieloszyńska scored 17 points and seven rebounds as well.

Hopefully, either the Rybnik fans or the Polkowice fans will post some pictures soon.

Free Image Hosting at

LFB (Spain) 13/2008 - Ros Casares 65, Extrugasa 56

The Liga Feminina has completed the first half of its season. There won't be another game on the schedule until January 10th - I guess they celebrate Christmas in Spain. For Extrugasa (2-11), the season has been a nightmare, and for Ros Casares (12-1), it has been everything they hoped for. Proving that they could lose just as easily witout Tamera Young as with her, Extrugasa lost its 11th game in 13 tries, losing to El Ros 65-56 on the road.

The box score is here.

No report on the game, since Erika de Souza didn't take part in it. I don't think it was because Erika's hurt, but rather because - well, because it's Extrugasa, and it gives Erika a chance to recuperate. Coach Isma Canto recently reported that this is the first time he's had all of his players healthy.

Candice Wiggins is going to be joining this little club soon. Ros Casares is going to be stacked with talent.

If you look at the box score, it's a weird game. Extrugasa only started seven players - guess they decided to take an early break. They only attempted 44 shots all games, and took only 19. They had 23 turnovers. I don't think I've seen a team take as few shots as Extrugasa in a box score in a professional game.

Erika, get healthier and spend more time with your brother (who recently came to Spain as a prospective soccer player). We'll pick up with you after Christmas!

Ivory Latta Out of Turkey and Back in Israel

Ivory Latta has terminated her contract with the Turkish club Ceyhan. Apparently, this hit the Turkish news on Wednesday; I found out about it just now. Yesterday, she signed a contract with the Maccabi Rabat Hen team in Israel.

Latta was averaging 20.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. She was the second leading scorer in the Turkish league.

Why leave? Probably because Israeli club Maccabi Rabat Hen came calling. The basketball season in Israel is half over and there's some sort of cup match going on before the season resumes on January 22nd. Rabat Hen is 8-2 and in a four-way tie for first place in the Israeli league.

Latta coming to Rabat Hen will unite her with Tamara James, Matalya Belvin, and LaToya Pringle. Matalya Belvin graduated in 2007 from Langston University, an NAIA school. Tamara James last played in the WNBA with the Mystics in 2007. LaToya Pringle played for the Mercury this year.

All I can say is "best of luck to Ivory Latta in Israel!" What better place to be during the Christmas season?

A Game

A game: see if you can identify the personalities in this pic. Extra credit if you can name a) the pic source, and b) where the pic was taken.

WCBA 19/2008 - Beijing 73, Liaoning 71

As anyone who follows Chinese women's basketball knows, there are only two brides - Bayi Telecom and Liaoning - and a bunch of bridesmaids. Whenever one of these two teams falls, it's probably cause for celebration/fear in some quarters of Chinese basketball. Liaonang (15-4) was the #1 team in China going into this game, and they are still #1, but Beijing (12-7) squeaked by with a 73-71 victory at home.

The win keeps Beijing in fourth place, giving it a home field playoff advantage with three games to go in the regular season. In a 12 team league, there are still 10 teams contending for eight playoff spots. One more win in the next three games will mathematically clinch a playoff spot of some sort for Beijing.

The translated box score is here.

Looking at the quarter-by-quarter score, it appears to be a tight game all the way. The game was tied 36-36 at halftime. Beijing led by two after three quarters (57-55), but Liaoning had not thrown in the towel yet.

With 40 seconds to go in the fourth, Liaoning had recovered the lead and led 70-67. A referee's call - "it seems that the ball was touched round opponent after the referee awarded (Beijing)" - led Liaoning players and their coach to protest and risk a technical.

Beijing scored on their next possession to make the score 70-69, coming within one of Liaoning. With 20 seconds left, Zhou Honghua of Beijing stole the ball and ran the fast break for an easy basket to put Beijing up 71-70. Both sides swapped free throws, and with four seconds left, Jia Guang of Liaoning missed the final bucket that would have sent the game into overtime.

Liaonang had a better scoring percentage than the home team, 53 percent to 43 percent. So where did Beijing find space in the box score to come back? The answer is in the other three "keys to victory". In a game with few rebounds, Beijing got most of the offensive rebounds, leading by a 12-8 margin. Liaoning turned the ball over 19 times to Beijing's 13. Furthermore, both teams were sent to the free throw line equally often, but Beijing was 12 for 16 from the line - Liaoning was 8 for 15.

Who led Beijing? Jennifer Lacy, and she did it in a big way. She scored 20 points and took 20 shots (14 FG, 6 FT) to do it. She picked up eight rebounds to lead both teams. Three other players scored in double figures for Beijing, including Zhang Fan with 17 points and Zhang Lin with 14 points.

For Liaoning, Ji Xiao would lead the visitors with 16 points and four rebounds - no other Liaoning player would have more than four rebounds. Zhang Dan scored 12 points and four rebounds and Chen Xiaoli added 11 points. Tangela Smith, the "foreign aid" player for Liaoning who is also the center for the Phoenix Mercury, scored 10 poitns and four rebounds in only 17 minutes of play.

This was a big win for Beijing. Just remember Jennifer, "one win and you're in!"

WCBA 19/2008 - Jiangsu 100, Shangdong 79 - Goodbye, Ann

Jiangsu (13-6) beat Shangdong (7-12) by a score of 100-79. It was a nice road win for Jiangsu, and the boxscore can be found here.

However, this is the third straight game without Ann Strother for Jiangsu. "Williams" has replaced her in the boxscore.

This translated article implies that Ann Strother has been dismissed from the team. The impression I'm getting is that it was "just business", that Jiangsu wanted someone stronger to take them into the playoffs as there are only three games left in the regular season.

I hope Strother had a good time in China. I'll no longer be reporting on Jiangsu in the team reports and will focus on Jennifer Lacy in Beijing.

WNBA Losing National TV Exposure?

From the Sports Media Watch blog:

Only thirteen WNBA games will air on ESPN and ABC during the 2009 season, the first of a new eight-year television agreement. The 13 games is down from 22 last year, and marks the fewest number of national television appearances ever for the WNBA.

After airing eight WNBA games last season, ABC is currently set to air only one game in 2009, an Opening Day matchup between the Shock and Sparks -- the teams who famously brawled during a game last season. ABC is also likely to air the yet-to-be-announced WNBA All Star Game. Meanwhile, ESPN2 will air 12 "WNBA Tuesday" telecasts, down from 14 last year.

Well, that's certainly an emptying of the glass. But you can still look at the full part of the glass - the current TV agreement is an eight-year agreement, and the WNBA still gets national exposure.

Furthermore, there are still the regional networks like CSS and MSG that show games locally.

I'm just surprised that no one on one of the WNBA message boards picked up on this.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holdsclaw Comments About Possibly Coming to Atlanta

Most of you probably already know about this AJC article. If you don't, Chamique Holdsclaw speaks (or maybe e-mails) to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about playing for Atlanta.

Marynell Meadors called Holdsclaw several days ago to ask her about the prospect of playing for the Dream.

“I told her it’d be a great thing for me to play in Atlanta,” Holdsclaw said Wednesday. “The main thing now is me getting healthy. But if I’m in good health and in good spirit, I’m definitely going to step on the court with the Dream.”

There are other quotes as well.

Of course, there are issues. Holdsclaw will be 32 years old next year. She's coming off arthroscopic knee surgery. When the season starts, it will be two years since she stepped on a WNBA court.

And of course, there's the depression issue. As a depression sufferer myself, I know it's no easy thing and people who don't have it don't understand how it can completely take over your mind when you're unawares.

On the other hand, Holdsclaw probably understands a lot more about depression that she did when it hit her the first time and when she relapsed. She has her family in North Carolina. She lives in Atlanta. She has a support group here.

My question is if the players will be welcoming or understanding. Some aren't. A lot of athletes believe that depression is simply just an emotion, or a sign of incapability, that you're spirtually flawed as a human being. Athletes believe in the myth of the "self-made person" - that depression is another word for "quitting", and that through sheer willpower the body's chemistry can be changed.

Even so, Holdsclaw is such a talented player that people would be happy just to see her back on the court in any capacity. I will, and I'll be happy for deeper reasons than just the typical comeback story. For people suffering from depression, Holdsclaw is an inspiration. Her failures are our failures. Her coming back is our coming back.

Kasha Blogs From Poland!

Kasha Terry, currently playing for Utex Roy Rybnik in Poland, has a new blog entry up on the Official Atlanta Dream Blog.

You know it's Christmas time! (And Kasha already got an XBOX for her birthday.) The very least you could do is click the link above and comment!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Euroleague 10/2008 - Ros Casares 89, Sibenik 72

There's a rule in baseball among coaches that says it's okay to split a series or even lose occasionally against tough teams - but you must beat the weak teams, always. Ros Casares (8-2) must have taken that advice to heart, as they beat Sibenik (2-8) by a score of 89-72 at home in Valencia.

It wasn't for position of any sort. The game writeup is here, and it confirms that Ekaterinburg's win over Union Hainaut put the Russians in first place in Group C and consigned El Ros to second place.

The boxscore is here.

Ros Casares won each quarter of the game. They took a 44-39 lead into the break in front of 1200 spectators. As the game report says, Sibenik closed the gap to 46-43 in the third quarter but Ros Casares went on an 11-0 run. The closest Sibenik would come to Ros Casares after that was nine points.

Ros Casares dominated in field goal percentage (56 percent to 33 percent). In offensive rebounds and turnovers both teams were even but Sibenik sent Ros Casares to the line 26 times during the game.

Delisha Milton-Jones scored 20 points and six rebounds for Ros Casares, and five players scored in double digits, including Erika de Souza with a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. Roneeka Hodges would contribute 10 points and six rebounds. Famed player Amaya Valdemoro would only score four points in 19 minutes of play.

For Sibenik, Luca Ivanovic would be the lead scorer with 21 points and seven rebounds. Kerri Gardin, who saw limited time for the Connecticut Sun this year, would score 13 points, five rebounds and four assists for Sibenik. Constance Jinks, a graduate of UNLV, also added 10 points and six rebounds.

(* * *)

So the first round of Euroleague is over. What does it mean for the four teams that had active Dream players on the roster in 2008?

For Nadezhda Orenburg, Union Hainaut, and Villeneuve d'Ascq...Euroleague is over. All of these three teams failed to qualify for second round play.

However, Ros Casares made it into the Euroleague's "Sweet Sixteen". They finished in the #2 spot in Group B and will be matched up with the #3 team in Group D, Kosike, that finished 6-4 in their group. The two teams will play a "best of three" series with Ros Casares having home field advantage. The series will be played home-away-home, giving Ros Casares the edge if it goes to three games.

Kosike, a Slovakian team, has among its players Catherine Kraayeveld of the New York Liberty and Sidney Spencer of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Euroleague will be taking some time off. Ros Casares will not be playing Kosike until January 30, 2009, and other Euroleague games have similar late January starts. These ladies deserve a rest, anyway.

Euroleague 10/2008 - Riga 77, Villeneuve d'Ascq 70

For Villeneuve d'Ascq (3-7), their Euroleague season only turned around when they picked up Iziane Castro Marques. They had dreams of possibly sneaking into fourth place into Group B - and therefore, the second round - or at least not finishing last.

But it was too little, too late. Weeks before, Villeneuve d'Ascq was mathematically eliminated from further playoff competition and at Riga (4-6), a late Riga run would give Riga a 77-70 win at home, locking Villeneuve d'Ascq into last place in Group C.

The box score is here. A game writeup can be found here.

Villeneuve d'Ascq actually did a fairly good job in the first three quarters: they led 22-14 after the first quarter and held off a Riga comeback, taking a 36-34 lead into halftime. Both teams played evenly in the third quarter and in front of 300 Latvian spectators, Villeneuve d'Ascq held on to a 45-43 lead.

Villeneuve d'Ascq held on to a 60-55 lead with 8:26 to go...and then the unthinkable happened. Riga went on a 14-0 run, and with 5:01 left, Riga was suddenly up 69-60. Villeneuve d'Ascq never got closer than five points to Riga for the rest of the game.

Shooting was fairly even - 44 percent for Villeneuve d'Ascq, 42 percent for Riga. However, Riga picked up twenty offensive rebounds. Iziane Castro Marques had something to say about that:

"TTT (Riga) played well today, they put some pressure on us and we lost the battle for rebounds. We had won five games in a row but today our winning streak came to an end." Riga's dominating rebounding made up for turning the ball over 16 times. Riga also went to the free throw line 14 times to Villeneuve d'Ascq's eight, with each team missing a pair of gimmes.

Riga's leading scorer was Tatyana Troina, with 26 points. Essense Carson - a guard/forward for the New York Liberty last year - scored 11 points for Riga. A pair of Riga players, Ieva Kublina and Aija Brumerman, had 11 and 10 rebounds respectively for Riga.

For Villeneuve d'Ascq, Geraldine Robert's performance was judged the best, with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Fatua Sacko would score 26 points and seven rebounds for the visitors and Laurie Datchy would score 11 points. Iziane Castro Marques would score only nine poitns in 21 minutes of play and Jolene Anderson would score zero points in 19 minutes of play.

As I'm at work, I'll attach the pics later.

2009 WNBA Schedule

The 2009 WNBA Schedule has been released. Oddly enough, it was released on USA Today. I don't mind; USA Today has been a good supporter of the WNBA.

Looks like Atlanta Dream fans should pencil in June 6th, 2009 as opening day. The first regular season game is scheduled for 7 pm against the Indiana Fever at Philips Arena in Atlanta. I know where I'll be.

No preseason game info yet.

Another Offensive Metric: Team Field Goal Percentage

I still have a couple of Euroleague games to report, but work has taken a lot of my time - it's the ol' Christmas rush. So here's a bit of a diversion.

There's an interesting post on the Basketball-Reference Blog that writes about the various measures used to measure how important a player is to the offense of the team. There are a lot of ways to do this: by usage, by boxscore measures, by a new metric called "touches" which measures how often a player has the ball in his/her hands, etc.

The post introduces an "old-school metric", as they call it: the percent of team buckets the player played a direct role in. The formula becomes:

percent = (player FG + player assists) / (team FG)

Given that we accept the above, here are the WNBA leaders:

Top 20 Players in Team Field Goal Percentage for 2008

Sue Bird, Storm - 38.84 %
Becky Hammon, Silver Stars - 36.85 %
Candace Parker, Sparks - 36.50 %
Diana Taurasi, Mercury - 35.69%
Jia Perkins, Sky - 34.79%
Cappie Pondexter, Mercury - 34.53 %
Alana Beard, Mystics - 34.46 %
Seimone Augustus, Lynx - 33.05 %
Betty Lennox, Dream - 32.18 %
Candice Dupree, Sky - 31.92%
Lindsay Whalen, Sun - 31.81 %
Ashja Jones, Sun - 31.50 %
Sophia Young, Silver Stars - 31.30 %
Katie Douglas, Fever - 31.28 %
Katie Smith, Shock - 30.29 %
Ticha Penicheiro, Monarchs - 29.01 %
Lisa Leslie, Sparks - 28.73 %
Ann Wauters, Silver Stars - 27.86 %
Shannon Johnson, Comets - 27.73 %
Ivory Latta, Dream - 27.60 %

For example, Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm was involved in roughly 38 percent of her team's total scoring - either through scoring shots herself (FG) or giving the ball to someone who then scored (Assists). If you take a team, and add every players Team Field Goal Percentage, you'll get a number greater than 100 percent for the whole team. This is to be expected, as a field goal can be credited to two people - the person making the shot and the person finding the open player.

Of course, there are some points of contention:

a) Are assists really worth as much as field goals? Furthermore, all assists get rated at equal difficulty. (Then again, all field goals get rated at equal difficulty as well, so that's not much of an argument - all "home runs" in baseball get rated at equal difficulty for a baseball in offensive evaluation.)
b) It's an additive metric - it rewards players for overall contribution, so players that have played in more of their team's games get higher percentages than players with injuries.
c) It doesn't take into account the team's offensive scheme, although it nicely equalizes for offensive pace.
d) It doesn't take into account fastbreak opportunities or defensive blocks/steals/offensive rebounds that might have been just as important in setting up a field goal.
e) In general, the metric punishes players who don't create assists, so centers get a raw deal. Janel McCarville, the Liberty center, leads all Liberty players with 26.07 percent. But can you say that McCarville is relatively less important to the Liberty than Bird is to the Storm or Augustus is to the Lynx?

Given the above in mind, we look at the Dream.

Values for Atlanta Dream Players

Betty Lennox - 32.18 %
Ivory Latta - 27.60 %
Iziane Castro Marques - 16.54 %
Tamera Young - 13.52 %
Kristin Haynie - 12.51 %
Katie Feenstra - 9.72 %
Erika de Souza - 6.26 %
Stacey Lovelace - 5.69 %
Kasha Terry - 5.14 %
Alison Bales - 4.58 %
Kristen Mann - 3.57 %
Camille Little - 3.35 %
Ann Strother - 2.12 %
Chioma Nnamaka - 0.89 %

(Bold players started the season but were traded later.)

The only surprises for me were Kristin Haynie's 12.51 percent - I didn't know she had that much value in terms of field goal creation. Erika de Souza has a low value, but she was injured much of the season. Katie Feenstra looks great, until you realize that Kasha Terry and Alison Bales are mid-season acquisitions and their numbers compare just as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dream Trades for Chamique Holdsclaw, Gives Up 13th Pick to Los Angeles

From the Atlanta Dream Official Website:

ATLANTA, December 17, 2008— The Atlanta Dream acquired the rights to forward Chamique Holdsclaw from the Los Angeles Sparks today in exchange for the 13th overall pick (first round) in the 2009 WNBA Draft. Holdsclaw, an eight-year veteran, is returning to the WNBA after a two year hiatus.

“We are very excited to bring one of the best players in Tennessee women’s basketball history to our roster,” said Team President & COO Bill Bolen. “The excitement this will bring to our fans is huge. We think it’s going to make a big impact on the Atlanta community and the entire southeast.”

Was she brought in because of her talent, or because of her Tennessee connection? Is Chamique too much of a Milo to be successful on a struggling team? I don't know - but I'm damned excited about this news. We might have so many potential starters we don't know what to do with them all....

Euroleague 10/2008 - Beşiktaş 74, Nadezhda Orenburg 72

Shay Doron, resting on the job.

With both teams at 2-7, and both teams facing a last place finish in Euroleague Group A, Nadezhda would at least get the advantage of playing on its home court. Unfortunately, that advantage wasn't enough as visiting Beşiktaş won 76-72 over Nadezhda in a very tight game.

The final boxscore is here. The game report is here.

The game report basically tells the whole story, so I'll summarize. It was a game where the lead changed hands on several occasions, and Nadezhda led 72-68 with 1:57 to go. However, Milica Dabovic of Beşiktaş hit back-to-back 3-pointers and put Beşiktaş on top 74-72.

Anastasiya Veremeenko missed a jump shot to tie the game with 37 seconds left. Nadezhda had to foul someone to get the ball back, and Veremeenko would make the foul in sending Shay Doron to the line, who hit two free throws with 17 seconds left to put Beşiktaş up 76-72. Betty Lennox would try a three-pointer with 8 seconds left, but the shot missed and Nadezhda was essentially out of chances.

Beşiktaş shot 38 percent from the field, no better than Nadezhda's 37 percent. Beşiktaş would pick up 14 offensive rebounds to outmuscle Nadezhda, but Nadezhda would get sent to the free throw line 26 times and hit 20 shots.

Zana Tamane of Nadezhda had 19 points and 10 rebound for a double-double for Nadezhda. Betty Lennox would score 23 points and seven rebounds for the home squad. The only other Nadezhda player to score in double figures was Anastasiya Veremeenko with 11 points. Shamika Christon would only score six points and three rebounds in 27 minutes of play.

As for visiting Beşiktaş, Shay Doron scored 23 points and eight rebounds. Doron last played for the New York Liberty in 2007. Five players scored in double-digits for Beşiktaş, including Laura Harper with an astonishing double double of 19 points and 18 rebounds. Harper was a forward for the Sacramento Monarchs this year. Alexis Hornbuckle, who played for the Detroit Shock this year, would not take the floor for Beşiktaş.

Pictures can be found at the site and will be provided later.

Euroleague 10/2008 - Ekaterinburg 85, Union Hainaut 56

Sandrine Gruda, busy NOT playing for France.

Union Hainaut (3-7) needed to have to things happen in order to advance to the second round of Euroleague. They'd have to beat Group C leader Ekaterinburg (9-1) on the final game of first round Russia. Second, Prague would have to lose its game to Gdynia.

Not only did Prague beat Gdynia, but Ekaterinburg delivered an 85-56 whipping of Hainaut that will leave Union Hainaut fans numb.

The writeup of the game is here. The box score is here.

The game report pretty much says it all. Ekaterinburg trailed 2-1 in the first quarter. Then, Ekaterinburg would score seventeen straight points to go up 18-1 in the first. Union Hainaut was held to four first quarter points. The first quarter finished 26-4.

At halftime, it was 55-12. That's right, Union Hainaut scored 12 points in 20 minutes of play. That's when you pull out the Sudoku if you're on the Ekaterinburg bench.

Ekaterinburg shot 55 percent from the field compared to Union Hainaut's 35 percent. Ekaterinburg made more 2-point baskets that Union Hainaut made in 2-point and 3-point buckets combined. Ekaterinburg made more rebounds and forced Union Hainaut to cough up the ball 22 times. Union Hainaut also sent Ekaterinburg to the free throw line 23 times.


Oddly enough, it wasn't one of the American players doing the heavy lifting for Ekaterinburg. The best performance was probably from Sandrine Gruda (Connecticut Sun), who scored 15 points and had five rebounds. To have Gruda on a Russian team instead of a French team must be making someone in the French basketball hierarchy very unhappy. Maria Stepanova (Phoenix Suns, 2005) would score 11 points and seven rebounds.

The minutes were fairly evenly spread around, with no player playing more than 27 minutes on Ekaterinburg. Deanna Nolan (Detroit Shock) scored seven points. Yelena Leuchanka (Washington Mystics 2007, possibly Atlanta Dream 2009) scored six points and five rebounds. Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix Mercury) scored five points. Svetlana Abrosimova (Connecticut Sun) scored 11 points and five assists. If you had WNBA pedigree, it was a good day.

Only one player for Hainaut would score in double figures - oddly enough, Hainaut's player of the game was Chioma Nnamaka with 11 points and four rebounds. Melanie Plust would score nine points for Union Hainaut. Bernadette Ngoyisa would score four points in 23 minuts and Tiffany Stansbury would score two points in 18 minutes.

There are pictures from this game, but they're at work, so I can't post them. Definitely will post later.

Sheryl Swoopes and Coming Out

Outsports writes a review of a new book by public relations expert Howard Bragman called "Where's My Fifteen Minutes?" Bragman has handled the "coming out" (of the closet) parties of more than one celebrity, including Sheryl Swoopes:

The gay community itself doesn’t always make it easy for those who come out. Sheryl Swoopes, the great WNBA star, was the first pro athlete to come out at the peak of her career since Olympic diving medalist Greg Louganis. When I met Sheryl, she was quite upset because she was facing enormous disapproval from the power brokers in the lesbian community. Sheryl wasn’t buying the party line, and she was telling the world that her decision to become a lesbian was a choice.

This book might be worth a read, if you're a public relations person.

Gangsta Granny

In the December 16th, 2008 version of the Pass The Ball Blog of the Washington Mystics, Nakia Sanford talks about the dangers (sometimes) of life in Russia:

I did the universal sign for I don’t have any money… pat the pockets, and then hands in the air. This didn’t satisfy her, and she HIT ME. Y’ALL SHE HIT ME on the shoulder, and yelled “give me 10 rubbles!!!” My face y’all, if you could have seen it. I am southern, and I don’t disrespect elderly people, even when they are acting crazy. So I start walking away down the street. Do you know she followed me? She kept pointing at the apartment building, and telling me to give her money. When I just looked at her like she was crazy, SHE SIZED ME UP!!!! She looked me up and down, around to my book bag, trying to find what she could jack me for.

Nakia, have a great time in Russia...and watch yer back. Sriously.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TBBL 8/2008 - Samsun 70, Botaş 69

L to R: Erlana Larkins, Alison Bales and Marcedes Walker meet up.

In the last minute of a game, there are certain things you can do and things you cannot do. For Samsun (6-2), the thing they had to do was to come from behind and find a way to win on their home court. For Botaş (2-7), the thing you cannot do is to make an egregious mistake that can cost you the game. It seems that the latter was the case as Botaş lost 70-69 on the road.

Botaş certainly got off to a great start - they led 16-14 after one quarter and took a 38-29 lead into halftime. Samsun managed to close the gap to 54-50 at the end of three quarters.

Samsun manged to tie the game at 56-56 early in the fourth quarter but couldn't seal the deal. Botaş led 65-62 with three minutes left. Nihan Anaz of Samsun closed her team to one point, 67-66, with 1:44 minutes left and both teams exchanged baskets. Botaş took a 69-68 lead into the final minute.

What happens next depends on the vagaries of a cheap online Turkish-English translator. The translation implies that Erlana Larkins picked up a couple of free throws on some sort of Botaş technical foul. Whether the foul was technical or not, Larkins sank the buckets that gave Samsun the lead again at 70-69 - a lead they kept until the final buzzer.

Samsun outshot Botaş 42 percent to 34 percent, but the stat is misleading - Botaş took many more shots, taking thirty-one 3-point shots...and only hitting six of them. Botaş actually outrebounded Samsun on the offensive boards, 17 to 12. Samsun, however, got sent to the free throw line more often, sinking the final two free throws that won them the game.

Erlana Larkins had a big double double - 19 points and 16 rebounds - in addition to sinking the winning points. Three other players scored in double figures, along with Julie McBride with 12 points. As for Alison Bales, she scored zero points in 15 minutes. She had six rebounds, but also four turnovers.

Botaş was absolutely driven by its foreign players, with Shannon Bobbitt leading the way with 30 points, 11 rebounds...and eight turnovers. Bobbitt is a guard for the Los Angeles Sparks. Marcedes Walker, a rookie center who played with the now-defunct Comets last year, scored 21 points and 16 rebounds. Angela Tisdale, a Baylor guard drafted by the Chicago Sky but who was waived in May, scored nine points.

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TBBL 8/2008 - Ceyhan 78, Çankaya Üniversitesi 67

When you're among the bottom half of the league, you get few chances to be the favorite. Ceyhan (3-5) must have felt like a favorite when the Çankaya Üniversitesi (1-7) team came to visit. The outcome was no surprise - Ceyhan won by 11 points, 78-67 at home this Sunday.

Ahead 13-9 in the first quarter, Çankaya Üniversitesi went on a mini 5-0 run to stretch their lead to nine points and they had a 10-point lead with two minutes to go in the first quarter, which they carried to the end of the first with a 24-14 lead. But the second quarter started with a 7-0 run by Ceyhan to close the gap back to three and Çankaya Üniversitesi held a slim four point lead, 38-34 at haltime. The third quarter started with a 6-0 run by Ceyhan and Ceyhan finally had a 40-38 lead which they extended to 58-49 by the end of the third. Once Ceyhan took a 10-point lead in the fourth, they would be ahead by at least 10 for the rest of the game.

Ceyhan outscored Çankaya Üniversitesi by a factor of 47 percent to 36 percent. Both teams were evenly matched in rebounding and turnovers. However, Ceyhan would send Çankaya Üniversitesi to the free throw line 22 times, and the visitors would hit 18 shots, helping Çankaya Üniversitesi to stay in the game.

Michelle Campbell led all players for Ceyhan with 25 points and eight reboundds. Four other players would score in double figures, including Charel Allen with 12 points and Izabela Piekarska with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

As for Ivory Latta, her claim to be the best scorer in the TBBL might be in jeopardy. She only scored four points in 17 minutes of play, but had five assists and three rebounds.

For Çankaya Üniversitesi, Bojana Vulic was the team's best player with 17 points and eight rebounds. Ashley Battle would also score 17 points and five rebounds for Çankaya Üniversitesi. Lindsey Bowen would contribute 10 points for the visitors. Battle played for the New York Liberty this year; Bowen played for the Liberty in 2007.

No pics from the TBBL website. Sorry.

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WCBA 18/2008 - Liaoyang 65, Beijing 62

This is one of those games that you'd be embarassed to lose. Imagine that you show up to play a team - let's call it "Liaoyang" (8-10) - that only dresses six players. Furthermore, only four of their players actually score in the game. Whereas you - let's call you "Beijing" (11-7) - are able to play nine players to their six. And you're the better team. And yet, you lose, on the road, by three points.

The translated boxscore is here. (I wonder if it's an Internet Explorer thing - the box score translated first time automatically in Firefox.)

The quarter-by-quarter score indicates a back and forth game. After one quarter, Liaoyang is up 13-11 but they only lead by a point at halftime, 29-28. Liaoyang manages to extend the lead to five points after three quarters (40-35) and manages to keep the visitors at arm's length.

How did they do it? Liaoyang outshot Beijing 46 percent to 37 percent, but that's not the whole story. Beijing tried twenty-four 3-point shots and only hit seven of them. Zhou Honghua went 1-for-5 from behind the arc. Zhang Fan went 2-for-9. Jennifer Lacy did a little better, going 2-for-3.

Beijing won the battle of offensive rebounding - 10 of their 27 rebounds were off the offensive glass. Each team had similar turnovers. Unfortunately, Beijing sent Liaoyang to the line 16 times and Liaoyang hit 15 of their shots.

Why was Beijing trying to win this game strictly on the basis of the three pointer when they could have simply muscled the starting six out of the game? We may never know.

Of the six Liaoyang players, two didn't score. The other four, not surprisingly, scored in double figures. Zhang Lan Han scored 23 points. Liu Dan scored 19 and the mysterious "Song Peacekeeping Force" scored 13. Zhao Shuang came close to a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Zhang Fan scored 19 points and six rebounds for Beijing. Zhang Wei scored 14 points but also fouled out of the game. Jennifer Lacy might have had the second best game for Beijing, scoring 10 points and six rebounds in a losing effort.

Will we know the mysterious secret of the Liaoyang-Beijing game? Probably not.

WCBA 18/2008 - Bayi Telecom 92, Jiangsu 82 - Where is Ann Strother?

Now that I seem to have whipped this awful sickness - well, I haven't whipped it but I'm feeling much better - I just need to whip the WCBA website in shape and catch up on those two TBBL games that were played on Sunday.

As for the WCBA, it appears that Bayi Telecom (13-5) has just beaten Jiangsu (12-6) at Jiangsu by a score of 92-82 on the road.

The untranslated box score is here. The problem is that when you try to translate the boxscore into English using Google Translate, Google Translate throws up its hands and says, "we can't find this page".

I hope that the case is that the WCBA has become so popular that the webpage is getting many more hits than expected, leading to the inevitable crashes. Unfortunately, I don't think that's the case.

I won't be writing up the boxscore for that reason, and for another reason: it seems that Ann Strother has been replaced by "Williams" yet again. I don't know what on earth has happened to Ann Strother - she wore #16 for Jiangsu and "Williams" wears #17. Both players are listed on Jiangsu's roster, which is very strange, since teams can only have one "foreign aid" player.

If Strother doesn't show up for the game this Saturday, my only conclusion will be that she's left the team, and I'll stop following Jiangsu.

If Google Translate/the WCBA website can get their collective acts together, I'll report the Liaoyang/Beijing game. I know Jennifer Lacy played in that one.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Week's Schedule

I am now officially, certified "sicker than a dog".

Which partially explains why I'm behind in the blogging. I feel as if I were hit in the face with a shovel. My nose weighs about 40 pounds right now and has lost its former efficiency as an olfactory nerve.

There are still a couple of TBBL games I want to get to, but for now, here's this weeks schedule:


WCBA: Liaoyang (7-10) vs. Beijing (11-6)
WCBA: Jiangsu (12-5) vs. Bayi Telecom (12-5)


Euroleague: Nadhezda Orenburg (2-7) vs. Beşiktaş (2-7) *
Euroleague: Riga (3-6) vs. Villeneuve d'Ascq (3-6) *
Euroleague: Ekaterinburg (8-1) vs. Union Hainaut (3-6) *
Euroleague: Ros Casares (7-2) vs. Sibenik (2-7) *


LFB (Spain): Extrugasa (2-10) vs. Ros Casares (11-1)
LFB (France): Bourges (13-1) vs. Villeneuve d'Ascq (9-5)
LFB (France): Union Hainaut (8-6) vs. Challes-les-Eaux (10-4)
PLKK: Rybnik (10-5) vs. Polkowice (10-4)
WCBA: Shangdong (7-10) vs. Jiangsu (12-5) **
WCBA: Beijing (11-6) vs. Liaoning (14-3) **
TBBL: Bahçeşehir (0-8) vs. Ceyhan (3-5)


TBBL: Mersin (7-2) vs. Samsun (6-2)
Greek Women's A1: Paleo Faliro (6-4) vs. Ano Liosa (5-5)

(next Monday, December 22)

Superleague A Russia: Slavyanka (0-8) vs. Nadezhda Orenburg (3-5)

* - Euroleague standings
** - Standings as of December 15, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Slow Train from Turkey

It looks like the TBBL site is down, so I'm still waiting on news about the games in Turkey.

In other news, tomorrow begins the time when teams in the WNBA can (officially) communicate with free agents. However, teams can't be signed until January 5th. I wouldn't expect any contracts being signed until February.

LFB (Spain) 12/2008 - Ros Casares 94, Hondarribia 67

Ros Casares (11-1) stands on top of the Liga Feminina using the same methods it has used all year - plowing through the opposition like a bulldozer through a glass window. This time, the victim was Hondarribia (5-7), by a score of 94-67 in front of 1,300 spectators.

The box score is here. Looking at Ros Casares throughout the year, here is how the results have stacked up:

Won by 30+: 5
Won by 20+: 2
Won by 10+: 2
Won by between 4 and 9: 2
Won by between 1 and 3: 0
Lost by between 1 and 3: 0
Lost by between 4 and 9: 1 (to Perfumerias, 91-86, on the road)

Very scary. In the quarter by quarter score, El Ros didn't lose a single quarter. They held Hondarribia to just eight second quarter pounts, taking a 45-24 lead into halftime. In the fourth quarter, Coach Isma Canto of Ros Casares took his starters off the floor.

So which of Ros Casares's multiple weapons were used to obtain the victory? They outshot Hondarribia 56 percent to 47 percent. They held Hondarribia to just 21 rebounds, and only two offensive rebounds. Furthermore, Hondarribia went only 3 for 10 from the free throw line while Ros Casares went 10 for 13.

The real reason for the win was probably that Hondarribia only had seven players take the court. If I were playing for Hondarribia, I wouldn't want to take the court, either. I'd declare I had the flu or the blues or something.

Amaya Valdemoro led all Ros Casares players with 27 points and six rebounds. Anna Montanana had 10 points, four rebounds and five assists. Delisha Milton-Jones scored 13 points and five assists.

Roneeka Hodges scored nine points and Erika de Souza scored 12 points and four rebounds in 15 minutes of play. Elisa Aguilar Lopez scored zero points, but definitely dished the ball with 10 assists.

With only seven players playing, Hondarribia had four players score in double figures. Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert (remember her, Dream fans?) led all scorers with 20 points, but two rebounds and four turnovers. Helen Santos Luz scored 11 points but turned the ball over six times.

Greek Women's A1 10/2008 - Paleo Faliro 75, Siemens 57

At of this writing, Greece has finally calmed down after eight days of violent street riots resulting from the police shooting death of a 15-year old. Some parts of Greece can be pretty dangerous these days. However, life, or at least basketball, moved forward and Paleo Faliro (6-4) managed to travel to Siemens (2-8) and get yet another win to tie them for fourth place so far in the Greek Women's A1 League.

The boxscore is here.

Paleo Faliro won both of the first two quarters and took a 33-25 lead into halftime. They extended the lead even further in the following quarters - they led by 16 after three quarters (58-42) and closed the game with an 18 point win.

Paleo Faliro won the shooting battle, 41 percent to 38 percent, but Siemens would only sink 19 buckets overall - whereas Paleo Faliro made 29 2-pointers but only scored 1-for-12 from 3-point range. Paleo Faliro won every part of the game decisively, in rebounds (43-30), in turnovers (13-19) and managed to hit all 14 of its free throws. I'm surprised that Paleo Faliro didn't win by 30.

Dimi Giannopoulou would lead Siements with 24 points five rebounds. She would be the only play for Siemens scoring in double figures. Petroula Mouli scored nine points and five rebounds for Siemens.

Paleo Faliro had three players score in double figures: Karen Mourd scored 25 points and eight rebounds, Teana Miller had a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Atalanti Tasouli scored 12 points with seven rebounds. Kristin Haynie would play 30 minutes, but score zero points, going 0-for-5 from the field.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

PLKK 15/2008 - Rybnik 74, Jelenia Góra 67 (OT)

Next week, on December 20th, all PLKK teams play a regular league game - then, the league takes almost a month off! Rybnik (10-5) gives itself an early Christmas present by going on the road and beating Jelenia Góra (6-8) in overtime, 74-67.

The writeup of the game is here.

According to the writeup, the score started out 7-7, but Rybnik quickly took a seven point lead, 17-10, which they carried to the end of the first quarter. Jelenia Góra managed to close the gap to four points at haltime, 40-36. However, Jelenia Góra held Rybnik to 11 points in the third quarter, with Katariny Ristic scoring a 3-pointer to put Jelenia Góra up 51-50, a lead they extended to 55-51 at the end of the third.

However, LaTangela Atkinson turned it on, and almost singlehandledly led the team back to a 61-61 tie. With four seconds left in the game, Magdalena Gawrońska of Jelenia Góra scored a bucket to tie the game 65-65 at regulation. Unfortunately for Jelenia Góra, they would be held to a grand total of two points in the overtime period.

On the face of shooting percentage alone, you'd think this would be an easy win: Rybnik shot 52 percent compared to Jelenia Góra's 39 percent. However, Jelenia Góra sank almost as many buckets as Rybnik (they just sank more baskets) and outhustled Rybnik in offensive rebounds, 10-5. Rybnik would turn the ball over 16 times and only shoot 61 percent at the free throw line.

Ryan Coleman, a graduate of Eastern Michigan, scored 15 points and 10 rebounds for Jelenia Góra. A player of American nationality named Hollie Meredith - I don't know if she played ball only in Poland or has played some American b-ball - scored 10 points and seven rebounds. Magdalena Skorek scored 13 points and five rebounds.

As for Rybnik, LaTangela Atkinson was the clear hero, scoring 26 points for the visitors. Aleksandra Chomać would score 15 points and eight rebounds. Nataliya Trafimava would only score eight points but have 14 rebounds, one bucket short of a double-double.

Ketia Swanier scored 12 points and three rebounds. Kasha Terry would only play eight minutes and score five points without any rebounds.

Maybe they'll be some pictures posted. We know that the Rybnik ladies make great calendar girls!

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LFB (France) 14/2008 - Villeneuve d'Ascq 74, Aix-en-Provence 68

Iziane Castro Marques was only scheduled to be in France as long as Villeneuve d'Ascq (9-5) player Fatuo Sacko remains injured. However, with the way Villeneuve d'Ascq is playing, they must have decided to keep Izi for a while - both Izi and Fauto managed to go on the road and beat Aix-en-Provence (7-7) by a score of 74-68.

The box score is here. Villeneuve d'Ascq has been 6-1 with Izi on their side.

Villeneuve d'Ascq got off to a slow start, falling behind 19-14 in the first quarter and down 37-34 by half. However, Villeneuve d'Ascq outscored Aix-en-Provence 40-31 in the second half to take their ninth win of the year.

Hollie Grima scored 23 points and 14 rebounds to clearly lead all players on Aix-en-Provence. The only other two players to score in double figures were Renae Camino (14 points) and Laurence van Malderen (yes, she's female) with 12 points. K. B. Sharp who played for the Chicago Sky in 2008, scored nine points and played the full 40 minutes.

Five players scored in double figures for Villeneuve d'Ascq. Geraldine Robert scored 17 points, 15 rebounds and five steals - she was clearly the best player of the game. Fatuo Sacko scored 18 points and eight rebounds. Iziane Castro Marques would score 10 points and five rebounds, and Jolene Anderson would score 10 points in 22 minutes of play.

I'm sure pictures will be posted soon.

LFB (France) 14/2008 - Calais 90, Union Hainaut 69

It just seems to go up and down for Union Hainaut (8-6). A few weeks ago, they were fighting for third place in the LFB (France) but after a 90-69 whipping by Calais (8-6) on the road, it looks like Union Hainaut might be fighting to keep its record above .500 as the second half of the French season begins.

The box score is here.

Calais and Union Hainaut were evenly matched at first, the score ending 17-17 after the first 10 minutes, but Union Hainaut would be held to 15 points in each of the second and third quarters. Calais led 42-32 at haltime, extended the lead to 63-47 after three quarters, and the game was effectively over.

The home team out-shot Union Hainaut 54 percent to 35 percent. Union Hainaut fought back on the offensive boards, scoring 14 offensive rebounds to Calais's six.

However, Union Hainaut would send Calais to the free throw line an astonishing 37 times, and Calais would hit 28 of their shots. Union Hainaut would be sent to the line 29 times in a foul-prone game, but only hit 20 shots. Two players - Tiffany Stansbury and Kathy Wambe - would foul out for Union Hainaut.

Anne-Sophie Pagnier scored 20 points for Calais and Lauren Neaves had a double double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Sara Leemans scored 13 points and Olayinka Sanni, a rookie with the Detroit Shock this year, scored 11 points and three rebounds.

Only two players would score in double digits for Union Hainaut - Bernadette Ngoyisa scored 16 points and was a one-woman rebounding machine, scoring 17 rebounds, one short of half of Union Hainaut's total rebounds. Clémence Biekes scored 13 points. Chioma Nnamaka scored eight points, and Tiffany Stansbury scored only two points in her eight minutes of play before fouling out.

WCBA 17/2008 - Beijing 100, Shangdong 62

The WCBA site is still out. I don't know if the WCBA website is undergoing a major redesign - game results can be found at the CBA page - or if the site's gone down before more people have clicked it, or if it's just falling apart from lack of use. What I do know is that Jennifer Lacy's team, Beijing (11-6), managed to beat visiting Shangdong (7-10) by a score of 100-62.

The boxscore is here.

I don't have a play-by-play, but I wouldn't be surprised if Beijing was never behind during the game. They won every single quarter and took a 43-32 lead into halftime. Shangdong was outscored 57-30 in the second half.

With such a huge point gap, you'd think that Beijing simply outshot Shangdong - and you'd be right. Beijing hit 58 percent of their shots compared to 40 percent by Shangdong. Shangdong was held to only 20 rebounds, and only made 7 of 14 free throws.

Zhang Lin of Beijing led the team with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Jennifer Lacy scored 20 points on 16 shots and made four rebounds - and she did it in only 21 minutes of play. Li Shu scored 12 points, and Zhou Honghua scored nine points and nine rebounds.

For Shangdong, Sun Weiying led with 30 points and five rebounds. The only other player to score in double digits for Shangdong was "Si Secretary" with 10 points.

It doesn't look like Jennifer Lacy is in danger of losing her job. Although, if Ann Strother was removed from Jiangsu, I'd tell Jennifer to keep a suitcase packed, just in case.

WCBA 17/2008 - Jiangsu 104, Liaoning 89 - Has Ann Strother Been Let Go from Jiangsu?

When reading a writeup on some games, I found this translated-into-English-from-Chinese article:

Jiangsu team league before this round of the replacement of the foreign aid, a strong center to replace the Houwei An Williams - Sizhuo this game for the first time the new foreign aid on behalf of the Jiangsu team debut WCBA.

Also note the boxscore: "Ann Sizhuo" wears #16, but we have a new "foreign aid" wearing #17 - "Williams".

I have no way of figuring out who "Williams" is, because the entire WCBA site seems to be down. However, we know that:

1) Ann Strother missed this game, and that I don't think she's missed a game all year.
2) WCBA teams can only have one "foreign aid" player.

I'll try to figure out what's going on.

However, I've also found out that there's going to be an All-Star Game after the regular season. There will be a "Northern" team and a "Southern" team.

It is therefore time to get your votes in. I'll write out a sample ballot later. But obviously, we want to elect "Jennifer Rashid" (Jennifer Lacy) and "Ann Sizhou" (Ann Strother); it's just that the ballot isn't entire straightforward. It's a bit tricky.

Chinese Democracy

It looks like the Internetz is temporarily down in China, thus no WCBA results.

Until I can find out what happened, here's an article on the musically connected Chicago Sky.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Houston Comets and Hardball

Kris Gardner of the Houston Roundball Review asks why the comets disbanded when Gardner's sources stated that at least two groups were interested in buying the Comets and keeping them in Houston.

The answer, as always, is money. My understanding is that even though the WNBA was operating the Houston Comets, Koch still owned the Comets. The WNBA was basically spending its money to keep the Comets alive and acting as his real estate broker, shopping the Comets around.

I'm sure, however, that months ago someone came up with the obvious conclusion. "We can either act as a broker, and sell the Comets - and all of the money ends up in Hilton Koch's hands. We might get a deal from Koch to recuperate the operating costs from him when we ran the team, but that's all we can hope for."

"Or, we can just let the Comets fold. Koch gets to take the entire loss. Furthermore, all of those binding agreements Koch made with other businesses like Reliant Arena also go under as well - no team, no agreements. We let the ground sit fallow for a year or two."

"We then let someone in Houston start a new team. The cost of the new franchise - $10 million - goes right into the league's coffers. Someone smart comes in, and they can negotiate a new set of deals and we look like winners. They can even call the team the Houston Comets. It's likely that Koch owns the 'colors and indicia' of the Comets, but he's hurting financially. If he owns those rights, we'll buy them back for a pittance. And if he doesn't want to sell those rights, then screw him, we'll just call the team the Houston Dynamos or something."

"Everyone's happy. The league makes cash. The Houston fans have a team. The new owners are happy. The press reports about the WNBA's renaissance. The only one who isn't happy is Koch, and who cares if he isn't happy?"

Gardner is right . Not ALL of the options to keep the Houston Comets alive were explored. Because the patient was worth more dead than he was alive.