Tuesday, September 30, 2008

WNBA in Nashville?

The following article hypothesizes about a potential expansion of the WNBA into Nashville, Tennessee.

I wouldn't mind seeing the WNBA in Nashville if Nashville citizens wanted it. Nashville would probably be the only city I wouldn't mind taking a road trip to to see the Dream play.

Also, note at the end of the article:

The league eventually hopes to expand to 20 teams, and though Orender couldn't provide a timeline for a possible Nashville team debut, she says she's sure "the positive buzz will help feed the momentum."

Twenty teams? Is that a number like that $700 billion number, one pulled out of thin air?

2009 WNBA Draft Order

2009 WNBA Draft Order

Lottery probabilities (see explanation at bottom of page)

Atlanta: 41 percent
Washington: 25.6 percent
Chicago: 16 percent
Minnesota: 7.5 percent
Phoenix: 7.4 percent
Houston: 2.5 percent


1. Atlanta *
2. Washington *
3. Chicago *
4. Minnesota *
5. Phoenix *
6. Houston *
7. Indiana
8. Sacramento
9. New York
10. Washington (from Los Angeles)
11. Connecticut
12. Detroit
13. Seattle
14. Atlanta (from San Antonio)


15. San Antonio (from Atlanta)
16. Washington
17. Chicago
18. Connecticut (from Minnesota) **
19. Phoenix
20. Houston
21. Indiana
22. Sacramento
23. New York
24. Los Angeles
25. Minnesota (from Connecticut) **
26. Washington (from Detroit)
27. Atlanta (from Seattle)
28. San Antonio


29. Atlanta
30. Washington
31. Chicago
32. Minnesota
33. Phoenix
34. Houston
35. Indiana
36. Sacramento
37. Phoenix (from New York)
38. Los Angeles
39. Connecticut
40. Detroit
41. Seattle
42. San Antonio

*: Position will be determined by lottery among three worst teams in each conference. Relative probabilities for placement, beginning with the first pick, are at the top of the page.
**: Conditional. Connecticut has the right to swap second round picks with Minnesota; we can only assume that they will.

What I Got Is What There Is

With no posts yesterday, I'll give you what I can find.

1) France. There are hardly any pictures of the Union Hainaut-Calais game. The one above is a typical representative. No Chioma Nnamaka pics. Note the hot pink uniforms of Calais. The Atlanta Dream fans almost chose this hot pink color as our uniform color. We dodged a bullet.

2. Spain. I have not found a boxscore of a single Spanish league game. All I have is this report of a preseason game between Extrugasa and Perfumerias. Perfumerias won 81-79, but you don't get a box score which is annoying beyond all belief.

Tamera Young at least was on the starting five in this preseason game, scoring 11 points. No more info on Erika de Souza for now.The regular season starts October 4th.

3) Poland. The best coverage so far comes out of Poland, with complete box scores that are easy to find. However, there doesn't seem to be a gallery for the Rybnik-Jelenia Gora game. The other two games had galleries. I'd like to post a pic of Kasha Terry wearing her new #10 jersey.

4) Turkey. Hey, even the new schedule for the TBBL hasn't been posted yet. I suspect the season will start sometime in November, which makes me wonder how Ivory Latta and Alison Bales are occupying their time.

5) China. You wish. Jennifer Lacy is supposed to be playing for the WCBA this year, but I suspect that all WCBA games are played in the Forbidden City. Info on Lacy's games is nonexistent. Chinese society in terms of equality of gender opportunity is pretty amazing, but for some reason, Chinese men's basketball is more popular than the women's game. This has been commented upon by sociologists. I guess it's the whole Yao Ming factor.

6) Everybody else. Betty Lennox, Kristin Haynie, Ann Strother and Iziane Castro Marques still haven't finalized anything, or if they have, we've not heard of it yet. (Remember that Katie Feenstra will get married in the fall and probably won't play until after Xmas, if at all.)

As for posting other items, looking at my web hits is a very interesting exercise. By far, the #1 way people get to the Atlanta Dream Blog is looking for information about the 2009 WNBA Draft. I've posted some statistical analyses, but there's just no way I can elaborate on them. Hey, I've predicted the draft prospects...do you want to know anything else about the draft? I'll post the order in a separate post.

Regaring the WNBA Finals: I've found out something important about myself. Most WNBA fans have favorite teams other than the one they follow regularly, but I only seem to have one favorite team - the Atlanta Dream. Watching these non-Dream games...there just seems to be something missing from them. Now, Sophia Young's last second shot was wild and the fact that the Libkids came from behind to throw Detroit's quest for a WNBA Championship in jeopardy were both very compelling stories - but if I don't see Ivory Latta moving the ball up from halfcourt, it just ain't the same. I'll certainly watch the WNBA Finals...but I miss my Dream. So you might have to go to other blogs for "pulse-pounding WNBA action!" as Sufferin' Stan Lee might put it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

LFB 1/2008 - Union Hainaut 63, Calais 57

Basketball also opened in the LFB, or the French League today. It was Union Hainaut's time to debut. When they were Valenciennes last year, they finished 19-7, good for second place. Calais finished 6-20 last year, good for 13th out of 14th. Unforunately, Valenciennes was eliminated by third place Montpellier in the semi-finals.

The writeup of the game is here. The boxscore is the form of a PDF file which is found here.

Of course, the symbols need some translation, so I'll provide them.

Nom - Name
T/Ter - Minutes
Pts - Points
Tot - FG/FGA
% - FG%
T3 - 3PG/3PA
% - 3P%
T2 - 2FG/2FA (2 points shots made vs. attempted)
% - 2P% (2 point shot percentage)
T2i - probably "interior" 2 point field goals
% - percentage of same
T2e - probably "exterior" 2 point field goals
% - percentage of same
% - FT%
F - Fouls
Fpr - Fouls received
Ro - Offensive rebound
Rd - Defensive rebound
Rt - Total rebounds
In - Steals
Blk - Block
Bp - Turnover
Du - ???
Ass - Assist
Eval - Evaluation

As it turns out, Bernadette Ngoyisa still hasn't shown up for Union Hainaut. I wonder what's happening there.

Looking at the stats, it appears that Calais owned the first half and Union Hainaut made a comeback. Calais outshot Union Hainaut an amazing 46 to 36 percent. However, they turned the ball over more (20-15), were whipped on the offensive boards (15-8) and sent Union Hainaut to the line more (20 times vs. 15). Everything that Calais did well was negated by the "little things" that decide a ball game. This game was Calais's to win, and somehow they lost it. According to another writeup, the game was tied 55-55 going into the final two minutes.

Chioma Nnamaka's stats were dismal. Only nine minutes played. Only 2 points made in two shooting attempts. A couple of rebounds, a steal. It reminded me of Chioma's underperformance for the Dream this year. If Nnamaka continues to be a non-factor, her basketball career is going to be very, very short.

PLKK 3/2008 - Rybnik 86, Jelenia Gora 64

My learning curve continues. It turns out that there are two teams in Poznan. There is the Inea Poznan team and another team called MUKS Poznan. What MUKS Poznan stands for I don't know. The team that Rybnik beat on Wednesay was the Inea version.

Rybnik and Jelenia Gora kept it close for the first minute, but sometime in the second quarter, the Jelenia Gora transformed back into the 2007/08 team which went 2-22 for the year. Jelenia Gora was beat every which way but loose. They shot a dismal 31 percent from the field and Rybnik shot 56 percent from the field. Rybnik got five blocks - Kasha Terry had three of those - and Jelenia Gora didn't block a single shot. Nice win for Rybnik on its home court.

Jelenia Gora was outgunned. The only American player they had was Ryan Coleman, a graduate of Eastern Michigan who was signed by the Detroit Shock in 2006 but released without playing a single game. She scored 24 of Jelenia Gora's 64 points and played 37 minutes.

As for Rybnik, Kasha Terry led all players with 20 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks. She also only fouled two players, and fouling has been Terry's biggest problem. Look at the minutes played and you'll see that Rybnik relies a lot on particular players who play essentially the whole game - LaTangela Atkinson, Elzbieta Miedzik, Malgorzata Chomicka.

Game oddity - according to the boxscore, Terry has abandoned her #35 and has adopted #10 as her jersey number. I have no idea if this was some sort of European ball necessity or it was a personal choice by Kasha.

Rybnik is now at the top of the PLLK table with a 3-0 record. They are tied with Gorzow Wielkopolski. Gorzow Wielkopolski has Lindsay Taylor (her Wikipedia article is monstrous) and Shala Crawford, two skilled American players with extensive European experience.

Pictures will come when I can find them. Rybnik's next game is against Polkowice on Wednesday, which is already 0-2. Furthermore, Rybnik will be adding Jia Perkins to the roster.

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De Souza Scores 18 in Ros Casares Preseason Win

Here's the writeup.

My understanding is that this is a preseason game with Santa Eulalia which Ros Casares won 84-49. Erika de Souza scored 18 points with 11 rebounds. Santa Eulalia had a very hard time with turnovers, giving up the ball 18 times in the first half. By halftime, the score was 48-22 Ros Casares, who were never less than 17 points in the lead after that.

Here's a question for you: how come I can never find Spanish boxscores? I can't even find them on the Ros Casares web site. Hopefully, when regular season play opens, I'll have some boxscores.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Young Scores 12 in Preseason Tournament but Extrugasa Falls

Here is the translated article. Haven't been able to find much of a boxscore yet, but this is a preseason game and I probably wouldn't have posted it if I found it.

The season begins around October 4th in Spain.

Dream Fans at Work; Will Ivory Play Point Guard?

Dream Fan at Work

Big update at Dream Diary, the official blog of the Atlanta Dream. At least 200 photos of fans (and occasionally, fans and players) can be found from the link in the post.

There are two commands for you:

a) go to the link, and
b) make a comment on the diary, because we have to appreciate the sheer amount of effort

There is also a question and answer session with Coach Marynell Meadors regarding the signing of Iziane Castro Marquez to a three-year contract extension, where Meadors explains some of the reasoning behind the signing.

The big statement:

Changing our lineup around a little bit with adding Nikki Teasley at point guard and being able to shift Ivory to two-guard, I think Teasley will be able to see her a little bit better because of her height. I think Izi can really run the floor and fill the lanes which will result in some fast break opportunities for us.

This is a done deal, it seems. If Nikki gets back in shape - a big "if" - Ivory will definitely be moved to the two-spot and Teasley will be the new point.

They also asked Meadors what Izi's reaction was to the new deal. Meadors answered:

She loves our organization, she loves the city of Atlanta, and she especially loves all of our fans.

Damn straight. So do I.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More Pics from Rybnik-Poznan

Looks like they have kid dancers in Poznan, too.

Some more pictures of the Rybnik-Poznan match. I'll bet you can't guess where I got them. The numbers at the bottom of the pictures where you can rate the photos, but there's no indicator whether "1" or "5" is the best rating - or if there is, it's in Polish.

Guess who will also be joining Rybnik? Jia Perkins. That Jia Perkins, the "I'm scoring 17 points a game" Jia Perkins. She'll join the club after their next match with Jelenia Gora. Man, Rybnik is gonna be loaded.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Diana Taurasi: "Shut the Hell Up, Melissa Rohlin".

A few days ago, a WNBA hater named Melissa Rohlin wrote a article that had so many flaws in it than it would be a waste of my labor to number then. Astronomers don't come down from telescopes to tell morons that no, the moon is not made of green cheese.

Read Diana Taurasi's response to Rohlin's feature "article". Diana says it better than I could.

Rybnik-Poznan Pictures

Kasha Terry goes up for a jump ball against Reda Aleliunaite-Jankovska of Poznan.

The pictures of the Rybnik-Poznan game are finally up. Other pictures can be found at this link.

A Primer: How European Women's Basketball Works

There is a great article from Women's Basketball magazine that discusses European competition. It answers more questions than I could think of.

The following is definitely of interest:

Of course, that means women’s basketball players essentially work year-round, and the physical and mental wear and tear is substantial. Several veteran American players have abandoned the WNBA entirely, choosing to rest in the summer. That’s why Vicki Bullett, Kedra Holland-Corn and now, Chamique Holdsclaw, can only be seen in Europe, and more, including players like Tina Thompson, may follow in their footsteps.

And in Europe, teams usually only play two games a week, as opposed to the three or four in the WNBA, and the lifestyle is a bit more leisurely. It’s not exactly a European vacation for American players, but it’s a lifestyle many have adjusted to, and many more are destined to sample.

Which explains why I can read about Chamique Holdsclaw in Poland, but not in the WNBA.

Tickets $2.22

Just some oddness...I was reading an article about the Rybnik team and it stated that tickets were five zlotny. As it turns out, 5 Polish zlotny = $2.22.

That's a good deal. And students get in free!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PLKK 2/2008 - Rybnik 102, Poznan 88

I get to learn something new every day. It turns out that European teams don't have mascots. Instead, most of them are sponsored by companies. Utex is a fashion company. INEA, I believe, is a software company. I hope Kasha's getting some free clothing out of the deal.Therefore, Utex Row Rybnik will simply be named "Rybnik", after the city of Rybnik in Poland.

The game was a lot closer than the box score lets on. I was "watching" the live update of the boxscore. It was tight until the fourth quarter when visiting Rybnik turned it on and it became a decisive win.

Rybnik was shooting hot, about 49 percent to Poznan's 44 percent. Despite 18 offensive rebounds to Rybnik's nine, Poznan made more turnovers and sent Rybnik to the line more frequently.

If you look at Rybnik's statistics, you'll note that only seven players actually played. (Well, eight, but I wouldn't count Przekop's 42 seconds.) Miednik played all forty minutes, something I'd never seen before. Latangela Atkinson played all but 42 seconds. Chomac' played 32 minutes and 14 seconds.

#7 and #9 - I don't want to have to type those names - still haven't played a single minute. #10 also got to watch the entire game on the bench. Rybnik has a good chance of wiping out its starting five to injury.

So what about Kasha? 6 points, 6 shots. Four rebounds. Not bad, but she didn't play much. Note that she earned four personal fouls. In Europe, it only takes five personal fouls to foul out. Three players fouled out for Poznan, and one for Rybnik. A really rough game.

Rybnik goes back home to play Jelenia Gora on Sunday. Jelenia Gora went 2-22 last year- and actually finished 12th out of 13, ahead of Lomianki at 1-23. However, Jelenia Gora is already 1-0, already halfway to their win total of 2007-08.

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More Information on Dream Overseas Play

A post on the RebKell Message Boards has solved some of the mysteries of where various members of the Atlanta Dream will be playing in Europe.

Alison Bales - Samsun (Turkey)
Erika DeSouza - Ros Casares Valencia (Spain)
Jennifer Lacy - China (don't know team name)
Ivory Latta - Ceylan Belediyespor (Turkey)
Chioma Nnamaka - Union Hainaut (France)
Kasha Terry - Utex Row Rybnik (Poland)
Tamera Young - Extragusa Valencia (Spain)
Yelena Leuchanka - UMMC Ekaterinburg (Russia)

Katie Feenstra is getting married this fall and will not play until after that.
Nikki Teasley is not likely to play until January when she will be in game shape after working out all fall
Chantelle Anderson likely will focus only on rehab to ensure in good shape for 09

Izi Castro Marques, Betty Lennox, Ann Strother, and Kristin Haynie are all still finalizing deals on where they play

Congratulations to WBD for posting that.

Double congratulations to Katie Feenstra. Happy Honeymoon! I'll be following the players in the off season as best I can, and will do my best to update you.

Bolen to Speak about Sports

Bill Bolen, President of the Atlanta Dream, will speak to the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce on October 6, 2008 on the topic, "WNBA, the Atlanta Dream, and the Impact of Sports on the Atlanta Economy."

Info is here. I'd like to hear his speech, but a) I'll be working, and b) I don't have the $40 to spend. Maybe Dream TV could post it...?

P. S.: You are now reading post #300. Woo hoo!

Utex Row 2-0 on Year in Poland, 6 Points for Terry

Utex Row Rybnik went on the road and beat INEA AZS Poznan 102-88. It was Poznan's first game of the year, so they drop to 0-1.

Kasha Terry played only 11:44. She scored only six points with four rebounds. Nataliya Trafimava led all scorers for Rybnik with 27 points and eight rebounds; Monika Sabora of Poznan matched her with 27 points for the home team.

I'll post the box scores later, and hope to add pics.

WNBA Bashers Bring You the WNBA on ESPN

Have you heard of Erik Kuselias? He was paired-up with Nancy Lieberman doing coverage for the WNBA on ESPN.

Milton Kent at Sports and the World at Large has some background about this guy. A fan of women's basketball, he ain't.

Here's an idea - instead of giving a hater air time on a women's basketball program, why not put Milton Kent in as announcer? (Instead of the nth iteration of Colin Cowherd.) Ooops...sorry. I was expecting ESPN to do something rational. What the hell was I thinking?

One More Dreamer in Europe

According to La Voix du Nord, Chioma Nnamaka arrived in France this morning.

Union Hainaut's first game is on Sunday, September 28th. Just thought you might want to know.

Dream TV

Just a reminder...if you haven't yet, you need to go to Atlanta Dream.net (which is the WNBA Dream home page) and go down to "Dream TV". In the lower right hand corner of the front page there are three parts of a radio interview between the DeeJays of V103 in Atlanta - I believe it's Frank and Wanda - and a list of Dream players including:

* Marynell Meadors
* Betty Lennox
* Ivory Latta
* Stacey Lovelace (this lets you know how long ago this was taped)

This must have been taped before all the losing set in - everyone is having a great time. Betty Lennox's pink "Air Jordan" jacket is particularly kicking.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

President Ivory

According to an article from the Herald of Rock Hill, South Carolina, Ivory Latta will be visiting the White House on Friday as one of two professional athletes who will be reading to children with George W. Bush.

We find out also will depart for Turkey next week. Hopefully, there will be more articles about Latta's White House visit coming up soon.

In the Clutch

Swanny's Stats Page has a list of "Prime Time Performers". This is a list of statistical leaders in the WNBA, for the fourth quarter only.

Betty Lennox was sixth this year in fourth quarter points with 195 points, which probably doesn't mean much - Lennox is a leading scorer anyway and we'd expect her to score a lot of points in any quarter. Indeed, she certainly didn't have the highest field goal shooting percentage in the fourth quarter - that belongs to Janel McCarville, shooting an amazing 55.6 percent in the fourth.

On the other hand, if you're looking for poor fourth quarter shooters - then you'll find some Dream players. The worst fourth quarter shooter in terms of percentage is Iziane Castro Marques with 27.9 percent (19 for 68). Also in the top five is Ivory Latta with 32 percent (32 for 100). Ivory, however, makes up for her poor shooting with the second most assists in the fourth quarter with 37. Ticha Penicheiro edged her out with one extra assist at 38 for first place.

Ivory Latta and Betty Lennox also get a lot of steals. They are tied for fourth place (with Alana Beard, Tully Bevilaqua, and Taj McWilliams-Franklin) with 17 fourth quarter steals.

Alison Bales is tied for eighth (with Swin Cash and Ruth Riley) for most blocks with 11.

Betty Lennox is tied with Becky Hammon in eighth place for a dubious stat - most fourth quarter turnovers. Each of them have 25 turnovers in the fourth quarter. This category seems to "favor" people who handle the ball a lot, as Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie lead in this category.

Can anything be gleaned regarding Atlanta's performance in the "clutch"? Well, first you'd have to define what "clutch" means in basketball. Furthermore, with 4 wins and 30 losses, Atlanta was very rarely in clutch situations. As a matter of fact, most of the time the other team had the game well in hand by the fourth quarter. Maybe we should call these "anti-clutch" statistics....

Monday, September 22, 2008

Semi-Official: Nnamaka to France

According to the Union Hainaut website of the Ligue Feiminine de Basket (the French Women's basketball league), it looks like Chioma Nnamaka has landed in France.

Union Hainaut opens its season on September 28th against Calais.

According to the translated version of a page from La Voix du Nord, Union Hainaut had to cancel a preseason game since it only had three players on the roster. Four more players will be showing up, including Bernadette Ngoyisa.

As for the rest of the article, it's hard to make heads or tails of it. So it is with Chioma Nnamaka.

De Souza arrives at Ros Casares in Spain

From this website (in Spanish).

The gist of it is that Erika de Souza and Roneeka Hodges are expected to arrive in Spain today. They'll get a medical checkup over Monday and Tuesday and begin training with Ros Casares. Ros Casares is already beginning to play their "friendlies" which are essentially preseason games. Hopefully, we'll see Erika on the court soon.

Kasha at the Line

This is Kasha making a free throw at her game with Utex Row last night. The gallery of game pics is right here. LaTangela Atkinson is #23, by the way.

P. S.: Looking at the pictures of the audience, it appears that Polish women's basketball fandom is about 90 percent men....

Kasha Terry's (Polish) Thoughts on Playing in Poland

This is from the PLKK website, which is the website of the Polish women's league. I found a Polish-to-English online translator and this is what came out:

"I have spent several days after season with family - WNBA and now I am in poland already. New challenges before I, new league, new girlfriends. I be glad on new challenges it said after arrival for under-cracovian - just Balic Terry. I be glad - most, that I can take a stand in one with friend team Tangie Atkinson. We are known from childhood. We played in school together, we played in WNBA together, but we have spent last season in Israel commonly, however, in detached teams."

It looks like Kasha isn't alone over there. Her next game will be on Wednesday...I think. More on Spanish league action in October and (possibly) Turkish action in November.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Utex Row Wins First Game of Season; Terry Scores 19

Utex Row Rybnik won its first game of the PLKK, the Polish League with a 71-58 victory over Cukierki.

LaTangela Atkinson, who played five games with the Sacramento Monarchs this season, led all scorers with 29 points and 10 rebounds. Atkinson also had six assists. Kasha Terry scored 19 points, shooting 42 percent from the field and getting 10 rebounds as well. Four of Terry's rebounds were offensive rebounds. Terry also had two blocked shots.

Amber Petillon, formerly of Richmond University, led Cukierki with 19 points.

By the way...Terry is still wearing #35....

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Minor Cleanup

Not much going on. I decided to go ahead and clear out a few of the links which seemed either dead or not updated in a long time. They'll probably not be missed, but if you miss them let me know.

While the first round of the WNBA Playoffs continues at 3pm, with Detroit hoping to eliminate the Fever and the Sparks hoping to upset the Storm, my heart is in Poland. Utex Row plays its first game of the season at 3 pm EST. I don't know if Kasha Terry is with her new team yet, but I'll give you the results as soon as I know them.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Worst WNBA Teams of All Time: #5 Through #1

We continue with the WNBA's Ten Worst Teams (so far).

5. 1997 Utah Starzz: -1.890. Hey, in the inaugural season of the W, somebody had to be the worst team, and the luck of the draw fell to Utah. Their .374 shooting percentage was only .001 point ahead of the Phoenix Mercury for last place among all teams, and with the league shooting .414 on the average, the Starzz suffered in scoring points.

For the WNBA, 12 years is a long time. None of the players on the old Starzz roster are still playing. Wendy Palmer's last year was 1997 with Seattle. Coach Denise Taylor was fired after her first year when she compiled a 7-21 record. The Starzz are now the San Antonio Silver Stars, a victim of NBA owners washing their hands of WNBA teams. We all love the Silver Stars now, but the Stars/Starzz have the dubious distinction of having three of the worst teams of all time.

The 1997 Starzz finished at the bottom in attendance...and in their latter years, they were always in the fight for the bottom. Being in conservative Utah couldn't have helped.

In 1998, the Starzz would get the first pick of the WNBA Draft. They chose Margo Dydek. It wouldn't help. Let this be a lesson to you. Never listen to Elena Baranova.

4. 2006 Chicago Sky: -1.939. The expansion Chicago Sky set a dubious WNBA record - worst attendance of any team in WNBA history. The Sky averaged 3,390 in 2006 for the year and have never cracked 4,000 in an arena which seats 7,000 in their three-year history.

The Sky won their first game of the year, 83-82 against a team that no longer exists, the Charlotte Sting. Then they dropped their next 13 games before getting another win. Despite picking up Candice Dupree for that first 2006 season, it was a real struggle for Chicago. Their average margin of victory was minus 10.7. The team was at the bottom of the league in field goal shooting (39.4 percent) and free throw shooting (69.8 percent)

At the end of the first season, Dave Cowens fled to the NBA's Detroit Pistons. The team has never won more than 14 games in a season since its inception and has a franchise winning percentage of 30.9 percent (31-69).

Owner Michael Alter gave himself between three to five years to become either a winning team or a profitable team. With three of the five years up, we can only hope that he's making money.

3. 1999 Cleveland Rockers: -1.960. The Wikipedia entry for the Cleveland Rockers describes the 1999 season as "dismal". We can only agree, as the team only averaged 62.9 points a game.

It got so bad that Janice Braxton came out of retirement to suit up because she felt sorry for the Rockers. Then, she re-retired in June of the same year, leaving Cleveland with a weak front court. Isabelle Fijalkowski, their leading scorer and rebounder in 1998, decided not to come back to the W. Eva Nemcova went off to play for the Czechs. Suzie McConnell-Serio only played 18 games with them due to an injury.

The Rockers ended up losing their first seven games of the season until finally beating the Mystics, but wins would be hard to come by in Cleveland. The Rockers were 20-10 in 1998; they ended up 7-25 in 1999.

It got ugly in Cleveland. The highlight of the season was a fight with the (guess who) Detroit Shock that ended with a two game suspension for Tracy Henderson. Just minutes after Cleveland's final game, coach Linda Hill-MacDonald was shown the door. Her assistant, Susan Yow, was booted out with her.

2. 2004 San Antonio Silver Stars: -2.177. At 9-25, the Silver Stars would finish at the bottom of the Western Conference.

On paper, it didn't seem to be a bad team - the Silver Stars just couldn't win any games. They lost eight straight at one point to set a then franchise record. Maybe it was the coaching. They had LaToya Thomas and Marie Ferdinand-Harris. They had Adrienne Goodson.

Brown must have hoped that Shannon Johnson of the Connecticut Sun would be the key to a good season, having given up three draft picks for her in the offeason. However, Brown benched Margo Dydek for most of the season, and then resigned as coach after a 6-18 start, forcing Shell Dailey to take over. (He had to take over the previous year as well, when Candi Harvey was fired.)

After 2004, Jennifer Azzi decided to retire to go into the fitness business. It's hard to blame her.

(* * *)

And now...the Worst WNBA Team of All Time....

1. 2008 Atlanta Dream: -2.424. You had to ask?

Dream of an Angel

Ballers Network has a profile on Angel McCoughtry, the highly-touted forward who wil be playing her senior year at Louisville. She's certainly in contention for a #1 pick - which the Dream will have if the ping-pong balls bounce the right way.

Note who she lists as her favorite basketball teams - the Atlanta Dream and the Atlanta Hawks. Angel, are you finagling for a #1 pick?

P. S. At the bottom of her profile at U of L, it says that Angel's major is "undecided". Where do you get a job in "undecided"?

WNBA Attendance Problems Solved

Ethan Johnson has the second part of his WNBA attendance analysis posted. So get over there and start reading.

Also: go down to the bottom of the comments. Clearly, the New York Liberty are having no problem filling Madison Square Garden.

Interview with Coach Isaac Fernandez of Extrugasa

The Federacion Espanola de Baloncesto has an interview with Coach Isaac Fernandez of Extrugassa, the team that has Tamera Young.

(* * *)

The team has done with services Tamera Young, Zlatanov and Sholokova, what has been sought on them to improve the team?

Unable to move ten players and stay with a staff of eight or nine, we sought young people who have hunger and desire to make a name, and above that were versatile, who could play in two places, great people and physically very good for endure the pace of the two competitions. Knowing well that even youth can be a double-edged sword. This is what we were looking for and we are very happy with the additions. Now see how lack arrive and how they fit into the city, the club and the team.

What are candidates for the title this year 2008/09?

In theory Ros Casares is above the rest. But lately Perfumeries Avenue is competing very well against them, but this year I see Rivas also trained to compete for that second place. Eivissa would later, and then setting up a group of teams who do it best will be able to reach these posts calm and beautiful playing. Anyone who does so badly, it will suffer down.

(* * *)

Yeah, so Google Translate doesn't work that well, but I get the jist of it. Fernandez was looking for young, versatile players.

Ros Casares has Erika de Souza, and will also have Delisha Milton-Jones and Roneeka Hodges in 2008/09. That will be an interesting matchup between Ros Casares and Extrugasa.

Atlanta Dream 2008 Inaugural Team Survey

Dream Diary, the official blog of the Atlanta Dream, has a lot of news regarding the Dream's plans for the off season. Therefore, there are two links you need to hit:

a) the link to the Dream Diary post, which is here. Read it carefully...there's a lot of cool information

b) an official team survey. The link is right here. Follow the link and answer questions about what you liked this year. There's also a text box where you can suggest changes.

Don't just stand there. Get going!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

WNBA Celebrate the Dream

On Friday, September 19th at 9:30 pm, NBA-TV will have a program called "WNBA Celebrate the Dream". I'll definitely want to watch that!

This time is tenative. If it changes, I'll let you know. But program your TiVOs and VCR's now!

Worst WNBA Teams of All Time: #10 Through #6

Earlier, I hinted that the use of standard deviation - a statistical concept - might help determine which teams historically have been the worst WNBA teams of all time.

Every year, there is a different sort of "scatter" among wins and losses in the WNBA. In one year, you can have extremes like 1998, in another year you have a lot of teams that have .500 records, like 2004. Every year in the league is different, but there is something called "standard deviation" - the idea that a certain percentage of teams will be within a certain range of a .500 record. (Since the number of games has differed from year to year in the W, we'll be looking at the standard deviation of winning percentage.)

About 67 percent of teams are within one standard deviation of the mean winning percentage. About 95 percent of teams are within two standard deviations. It's very rare to find a team in any year that's more than two standard deviations away from the mean of winning percentages. Undoubtedly, winning percentage is not distributed binomially, but the concept gives us a running start.

Ten Worst Teams in WNBA History

10. 1998 Washington Mystics: -1.682. This team finished with the worst winning percentage of any team in WNBA history - .100, a 3-27 record. The reason that they're not the first team on the list is because the "scatter" of teams was great in 1998 - two other teams, Sacramento and Washington, went 8-22. The average margin of victory was an amazing -15.4 points. They were at the bottom of the league in two of the four keys to victory: field goal percentage (.395), turnovers (625, 98 more than the 9th place team), and shot .645 from the free throw line.

At the time, it was the worst performance by an expansion team in the brief two years of WNBA history. It was a horribly young team, about 25 years old on average. At least the fans supported the "Mistakes" at the gate. They got Chamique Holdsclaw the following year as their number one draft pick, so the argument could be that they did a tank job. But if you look at their Pythagorean Percentage, this team actually overperformed.

9. 2000 Seattle Storm: -1.695. Another expansion team, this one finishing at 6-26 in its first year, at the bottom of the league. Like the 1998 Mystics, it too lost games by an average of about 10 points. Only the Miami Sol (another expansion team) shot worse from the field and the Storm were at the bottom of the league in offensive rebounding.

Coach Lin Dunn had to acquire and release players frequently in an attempt to keep the team in games. At least, the fans supported the "Drizzle" and at least they knew their audience. The WNBA was one of the first teams every to hold a "Gay Pride" night. The next year, they'd get Lauren Jackson as the first pick in the WNBA Draft and the team would never win less than 10 games again. Coach Dunn is still coaching (with the Fever) and the Storm clouds eventually cleared with a WNBA championship.

8. 2005 San Antonio Silver Stars: -1.715. Unlike the first two teams, the Silver Stars didn't have the excuse of expansion to explain their 7-27 finish. Nor did they lose games by more than 10 points.

It was Dan Hughes's first year as the San Antonio head coach. Hughes had been hired because the 2004 Silver Stars, believe it or not, were even worse. This was a good while before the Silver Stars had Becky Hammon, and they were not media darlings in any way. Hughes's job was to convince his players that the bad old days were over and things would be different. That was, until he could get rid of them - the top five scorers on the team in 2005 wouldn't be on it in 2007. Now, it looks like the Silver Stars are everyone's favorite team - but it wasn't always like that.

7. 2003 Phoenix Mercury: -1.867. Ever since 2000, the Mercury were on a downward slide, going from winning 20 games to a record of 8-26. A good 21 players saw time on a Mercury roster that year, including Plenette Pierson and Iziane Castro Marques.

It was the first year for head coach John Shumate, who implemented a new defensive scheme. The Mercury would lose eight games by five points or less, giving fans heartache pains and possibly serving as one of the reasons Shumate would flee to the NBA the following season. The only attraction was that Lisa Harrison was the sexiest babe in basketball. (Playboy wanted her to pose nude for them in 2001, but she turned them down.) In 2004, the Mercury would get a #1 draft pick, who would be Diana Taurasi, and four years later, they'd be WNBA champions without any help from Hugh Hefner.

6. 2005 Charlotte Sting: -1.886. 2005 was a banner year for the WNBA, with two worst teams of all time.

It would also be a heartbreaking year in another sense, as coach/GM Trudy Lacey dealt away Dawn Staley in the middle of the year. Lacey didn't last long, as she was kicked upstairs after a 3-21 start and Muggsy Bogues, an ex-NBA player with no coaching experience (he was working in real estate) was asked to turn the team around.

Management bet that the opening of a new arena, the Charlotte Bobcats Arena, would help turn things around. They selected Janel McCarville with the first pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft, but that Janel McCarville wasn't the Janel McCarville of the 2008 Liberty - she started only 3 games and shot a horrible 34 percent from the field in her rookie year and was best known for adding personal fouls rather than points.

In 2006, the Sting got their new arena, and finished 11-23. The next year, owner Robert Johnson did not wish to keep the club running, and with no purchasers, the Sting faded out of existence.

Want to Make a Quick $600? You Could Be a Ref!

According to this article from Mental Floss - no point in reading it unless you want to, because it sites an article on Scout.com but fails to provide a link - a WNBA referee makes between $600 and $800 a game.

Now before you bemoan the fact that WNBA refs only make $19,000 a year, most of these referees are either a) college referees in the off-season, or b) trying to make it as a ref in the NBA. This $19,000 is a nice little income supplement.

My thoughts:

a) Boy, if you could drop $100,000, you might be able to fix a WNBA game. But WNBA games don't see that kind of action because the odd-setters are a part of the "jock crowd" who don't understand women's B-ball and won't let gamblers put down a lot of money, lest they become vulnerable to a bettor who understands the women's game better than they do.

b) If we give Michael Price $19,000, will he go away? We should raise $800 a game from the audience.

Nikki's Knees

This is from the Mystics Insider blog of the Washington Post.

**Nikki Teasley's departure: Teasley's knee problems were a surprise to no one. She practically didn't practice all of 2007 and regularly walked around with basketball-size bags of ice taped to both knees. Her knees had deteriorated by the end of the 2007 season and when she became pregnant -- which made her unavailable for at least half of the 2008 season -- the Mystics released her.

Teasley signed with Atlanta this year, but didn't play a game for the Dream. I did ask Linda Hargrove if there was any effort to bring her back though. "I have been in contact with her all year," Hargrove said. "We would have loved for that to work out but it was and is going to take a lot for her to come back from the pregnancy and the knee injuries to be the player she was."

I'm beginning to suspect that Nikki is being brought to the Dream in a backup role. (She'll be thirty in 2009.) Meadors was on the Mystics coaching staff all through 2007, so if Nikki has awful knees, Meadors would be the one to know about it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Attendance and Ratings Looking Up for WNBA

This is the newest media release from the WNBA, courtesy of SPMSportsPage.com.

Attendance in the WNBA from last year is up 2.21 percent...if you believe attendance figures. However,

a) TV ratings on national TV are up 19 percent,
b) the WNBA.com web site set an all-time high in visits and page views,
c) WNBA merchandise sales are up 36 percent, and
d) WNBA jersey sales are up 46 percent.

Not bad. Not bad at all. I'd like more comprehensive data, but I'll take what I can get.

Parity in the WNBA

A poster named "bluesky" over at the Rebkell Message Board complained that the 2008 playoffs were not very interesting. The argument was that these were the same teams as last year. bluesky furthermore complained about "parity" in the WNBA.

What is "parity"? "Parity" refers to an equal playing field where all teams have an equal chance to compete regardless of financial circumstances. Is there a way to mathematically measure parity? Yes. Back from my baseball days, I used something called the "Noll-Scully Measure" to determine how much parity existed in any given league.

In a perfectly competitive WNBA, all teams would be clones of each other. They'd all have the same talent, suffer the same injuries, having the same coaching, the same finances, whatever. Teams would be so evenly matched that on neutral grounds, a gambler would be shafted - trying to determine which of the two teams would win would be similar to flipping a coin.

However, not every team will finish at 17-17 because of the random chance factor. Random chance is always a determinant, because if you flip an unbiased coin ten times, you don't expect five heads and five tails. Sometimes you get six heads and four tails, or either greater "deviations". (Remember this term.) So there would be some deviations from a 17-17 record.

With a lot of games, the "number of wins" variable approaches a bell curve distribution. Our imaginary "pure average" team will win between 14 and 20 games about 68 percent of the time. It will win between 11 and 23 games about 95 percent of the time! A "perfectly .500" team winning 10 or less games or 24 or more games would happen very infrequently, less than 5 percent of the time.

What the Noll-Scully measure does it that it compares the "scatter" of a perfectly matched league to the "scatter" of any league you give it. The actual measure is (standard deviation of wins in given league)/(standard deviation of wins in perfect league) = (standard deviation of wins in given league)/[(1/2)*(square root of games played)]. The denominator comes from what one would expect the standard deviation of wins to be in a binomial, or "coin-flip" distribution.

A "perfectly competitive" league would have a Noll-Scully measure of 1.0, since the numerator would be equal to the denominator.

Here are some Noll-Scully measures for various leagues:

National Football League: 1.48
National Hockey League: 1.70
National League: 1.76
American League: 1.78
National Basketball Association: 2.89

There isn't a lot of parity in the NBA. The good teams tend to stay good for long periods of time, and bad teams tend to remain bad - just ask the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, let's look at the Noll-Scully Measure for the WNBA over its history.

WNBA Noll-Scully Measures:

1997: 1.400
1998: 2.605 - expansion
1999: 1.624 - expansion
2000: 2.086
2001: 1.962
2002: 1.638
2003: 1.704 - contraction
2004: 1.299 - contraction
2005: 2.061
2006: 2.188 - expansion
2007: 1.581 - contraction
2008: 1.896 - expansion

Average Noll-Scully: 1.953

In short, there isn't as much parity in the WNBA as in baseball, football or hockey, but there's a lot more parity in the WNBA than there is in the NBA, where you can expect the same teams to march to the playoffs every year.

Remember: low numbers equal more parity.

Was "bluesky" right? Yes,there wasn't as much parity this year than there was in 2007, but it was a better than average year in terms of parity. The year when the WNBA had the most parity was 2004, where there were a huge number of teams clumped around the middle. The worst year was 1998, when you had Houston's historic high of 27-3 and the Mystics low of 3-27. You had 10 teams and three of them didn't really have a chance, losing at least 20 games each. (Sacramento, Utah, and Washington.)

One great thing we can do with the standard deviation work is attempt to determine the best teams all time and worst teams all time in the WNBA. That will come as a later post.

Kristin Haynie Leading Bidders in Dream Jersey Auction

The white game jerseys for the game that promoted breast cancer awareness are now up for auction. Here's who is leading in the bidding:

Kristin Haynie: 3 bids, $320
Tamera Young: 2 bids, $240
Ivory Latta: 2 bids, $220
Betty Lennox: 2 bids, $220
Alison Bales: 1 bid, $200
Erika de Souza: 1 bid, $200
Nikki Teasley: 1 bid, $100
Iziane Castro Marques: no bids
Katie Feenstra: no bids
Jennifer Lacy: no bids
Chioma Nnamaka: no bids
Ann Strother: no bids
Kasha Terry: no bids

I've never understood why Kristin Haynie has so many fans. Not that I hate Haynie, I just have my trouble wrapping my mind around the concept of her fandom. Someone illuminate me.

Pokey Chatman's Blog

I just found it.
It's right here.
Cool, eh?

Krunchtime for Kasha

The first game for Utex Row in Poland is scheduled for September 21st, when they play Cukierki. The game is listed as Utex Row - Cukierki, and I don't know what the "European style" is - is Utex Row the home team, or the visiting team?

Some interesting facts about how European basketball works:

1. Each team plays two games against all other teams, one at home and one away. There are thirteen teams in the Polish league, making 24 games for all teams.

2. Each team will play each of the other teams once in the first 12 games. For the next twelve games, they will play their opponents in the exact same order as they played them in the first twelve games, with home and away being switched.

3. The top eight teams advance to the quarterfinals. For the Polish League, the first two rounds are best of five. The finals are best of seven.

4. No games will be played between December 20th and January 21st. I understand that many European teams have winter breaks.

WNBA: Ten Biggest Stories of 2008

1. The Dunk(s): Heralded Rookie (see #6, below) dunked not just in one game, but dunked in two straight games, becoming only the second woman to dunk in WNBA history. Her dunking excited WNBA fans, left WNBA-bashers resetting the benchmarks for a "real" dunk and sparked a debate about the place and necessity of the dunk in the women's game.

2. The Fight: Speaking of Candace Parker, she was one of several Los Angeles and Detroit players involved in a scuffle at the end of a Sparks-Shock game in Detroit that resulted in player suspensions. Some said the scuffle disgraced women's basketball, others said it was time for women's basketball to stop being held to a different behavioral standard.

3. The Outdoor Game: It was the first outdoor basketball game between two professional basketball teams since 1972 - and that NBA game was a preseason game in Puerto Rico. The NBA will hold another outdoor preseason game this year, but this WNBA game counted. "Gimmick" or not, the WNBA blazed a trail that the NBA will have to follow.

4. The Retiree: Who would have thought that Nancy Lieberman would set foot on a basketball court again? Probably just Nancy Lieberman and Bill Laimbeer, the head coach of the Detroit Shock. The 50-year old Lieberman's "comeback" consisted of one assist in a few minutes of play, and then Lieberman was released. It might not have proved that Lieberman was the same player she was in the 1970s, but to several, it proved that 50 ain't "geriatric".

5. The Losing Streak: In this case, the losing streak of the WNBA expansion Atlanta Dream, who could simply not find a win. They lost their first 17 games of the WNBA season to set a WNBA record - with a 34-game season, the Dream were just playing for pride when they finally snapped the streak against the Chicago Sky on July 5th. But the real story was that the fans kept supporting the Dream and didn't abandon the franchise in fickle Atlanta.

6. The Rookie: It might be Candace Parker's world, and we just live in it. NCAA Championship. Number one draft pick. 34 points and 12 assists in her debut. Dunking in back to back games. Multi-year deals with Adidas and Gatorade. Olympic gold medalist. Consensus Rookie of the Year...and maybe, MVP. Has any other women's basketball player been this dominant in her first year?

7. The Comets: While attendance was generally up in the WNBA this year, one franchise was in trouble. The Houston Comets, winners of the first four WNBA championships, found their club taken over by the WNBA as owner Hilton Koch found paying the bills a bit troublesome. The Comets are now looking for new ownership, and there is the real threat that they might play elsewhere in 2009...if the club isn't disbanded.

8. The Hammonites: The only place you might hear "Candace who?" is in San Antonio, as the Silver Stars finished first in the Western Conference at the end of the season. Becky Hammon - in her second year with the Silver Stars - led the Hammon-mania from start to finish, with the photogenic star grabbing the headlines in her quest for an Olympic medal with the Russian team. Was Becky a traitor, or just looking for her American dream in Russia? One might make the argument that Sophia Young or Ann Wauters contributed just as much to San Antonio's surge, but you'll find it hard to heard over the chants of "Bec-KY! Bec-KY!"

9. The De-Peat: With a new coach in Phoenix, and with many of the big guns coming late to training camp, the Phoenix Mercury found the 2008 season a struggle in a Western Conference where every team was a contender. At the end of the year, the 16-18 record of the Mercury tied them for last place in the West, making it the first time in WNBA history that a reigning champion from the previous year failed to make it to at least the playoffs in the following year.

10. The Storm: Every team has had to jump a few hurdles of its own, but it seemed that Seattle has had to jump more than many. Brand new ownership. The NBA franchise in Seattle picking up and leaving town. A cast of what some said were aging stars that would be lucky to contend. However, Seattle proved that they were a force to be reckoned with, and even with the loss of Lauren Jackson it will be a foolish team that takes Seattle lightly in the playoffs.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Three More Years of Izi

According to WNBA.com three days ago, the Atlanta Dream signed Iziane Castro Marques to a three-year extension.

Are You Ready For Some Baloncesto?

Extrugasa Vilagarcia will play Gran Canaria on October 4, 2008 as the Spanish Women's Basketball League begins play.

Extrugasa is Tamera Young's new team. Young will be joined by Meredith Alexis, who played in France last year. Alexis was a center from James Madison who graduated a year ahead of Tamera Young but was not chosen in the 2007 WNBA Draft. She was signed by the Mystics but was waived in 2007. Last year, she played for USO-Mondeville. It looks like there's going to be a Dukes reunion in Spain.

Coach Isaac Fernandez is facing a problem that WNBA coaches face - all of his players aren't there yet. Right now, there are only five players in training camp. Tamera Young is expected to show up on September 18th or 19th. (Heads up to Baloncesto enCancha.com.)

Bulgarian youth prospect Jaklyn Zlatanova will also be joining Extrugasa.

(* * *)

In Turkey, it looks like Charel Allen is going to be joining Ivory Latta for Ceyhan Belediyesi. Allen, a rookie, has played a grand total of 31 minutes for the Sacramento Monarchs so far this year.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Be Betty Lennox! (And lose some weight!)

From this link, and this other link, it looks like Betty Lennox will be coming to a Wii near you. There will be a new video game of three on three basketball where you can choose female players, and Betty Lennox will be among the three you can play.

This paragraph is interesting:

Somebody has to lose, and expansion teams never do well in their first season, but does losing to an opponent's bench to cap a 4-30 season really help the WNBA? And do you really think that makes international players like Erika DeSouza (Brazil), Iziane Castro Marques (Brazil), and Chioma Nnamaka (Sweden) want to return?

Well, we're probably the best of the worldwide women's leagues. With Izi's horribly inconsistent play, it might be better if she didn't come back. As for Chioma, she should be happy. She got paid an entire year's salary for 84 minutes of basketball. Somewhere else, she'd actually have to play.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

2008/34 - Storm 77, Dream 72 (Part Two)

And now, the "Tale of the Tape" as they call it. All of these comparisons, mind you, are massively misleading. Sue Bird didn't play. Yolanda Griffith didn't play. Sheryl Swoopes didn't play. Swin Cash and Lauren Jackson were injured. These stats are the Dream vs. the Seattle "White Team", as I think one of the players said on the radio last night. (I assume there is a "white team" and a "green team" for Seattle's intrasquad scrimmages, the green team being the starters.)

Shooting: Seattle's B squad smoked us, 47.5 percent to 41.3 percent. However, note that 41.3 percent. When we shoot over 40 percent, we have a good chance of winning, and the final score shows we hung in there.
Offensive rebounds: Basically even, 11-10. Overall rebounds were basically even, 32-30. Seattle's rebounding was highly commended for their second unit.
Turnovers: Seattle beat us 12-14. Not much to say there.
Free throw visits: Virtually even. Seattle B squad went to the line 21 times, we went 20. We also shot virtually even, with the B's leading 76 percent to 75 percent.

Flow of the game: Looking at the quarter by quarter score is really misleading - it suggests a game where the lead swung back and forth a lot. We won the second and third quarters, they won the first and fourth quarters. However, we only had the lead one time in this game, a brief one point lead in the bottom of the third quarter that evaporated in ten second. Most of the game, we were limited to being tantalizingly in reach, but never getting there.

Shooting efficiency: Us, then Them


Young: When Betty Lennox went out of the game with achilles tendonitis, Young stepped up in a big way. She scored 20 points in 16 attempts. Tamera Young was the Dream's Player of the Game.
Feenstra: 16 points, 12 attempts, 5 rebounds. I was tempted to give Kit POG honors, but Katie can't drive an offense. Tamera did.
Izi: 10 points, 19 attempts. Absolutely horrible, and sort of like Izi all year. If she gets hot, she stays hot and if she starts slow, she disappears.
Latta: 7 points, 9 attempts, 4 assists. One three pointer. I don't know what to think of that.
De Souza: 5 points, 4 attempts, but only three rebounds.


Little: 21 points, 18 attempts. A career high. Also six rebounds and four assists. I'd name her Seattle's Player of the Game, easily.
Gearlds: 20 points, 21 attempts.
Wright: 14 points, 15 attemps, 4 rebounds.
Santos: 8 points, 7 attempts, 5 rebounds. The Seattle announcers gave her a lot of credit for her defensive intensity. However, that might just be hyperbole. That man was screaming his head off every time the Storm touched the ball.
Ely: 7 points, 12 attempts. Horrible shooting, but great rebounding. Eight rebounds.
Robinson: 5 points, 6 assists, 6 rebounds.

Southern Belle Milk Carton of the Game: To give it to Kimberly Beck of the Storm is very tempting, but I have to give this one to Izi for her horrible shooting. Izi was 3 for 15 on the night.

(* * *)

Whew. That's it. No more games until next year. Very sad. No lessons to be learned, either. They'll be forgotten by the end of the year.

Here's the near post-season in a nutshell. Today, the Dream will be returning to Atlanta around 3 pm EST. There will be a contingent of fans to meet them there and say their final goodbyes and thank them for their work this season.

On the 14th and 15th of this month, I understand there will be "exit interviews". Meadors will talk to each of the players individually, probably with either suggestions ("you need to stop going for the dribble drive, Ivory") or with the sad news ("Chioma, we have no plans to resign you. You'll have to fight for a spot on the roster in training camp like everyone else.)

After that...the Dream will scatter. European seasons, like the Spanish (Young), Polish (Terry) and Turkish (Latta) begin in October. The Dream will be playing ball for their new teams, and it's my hope to find out how well they're doing and report back.

(* * *)

Now, a few comments about our record.

Our record of four wins is about a .100 winning percentage (.117 to be exact). The old Washington Mystics of 1998 had a .100 winning percentage (3-27). The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA had a historical bottom of 9-73, for a .109 winning percentage. There have also been a couple of NBA teams that have crossed the 70 loss mark.

Let's look at the best records of WNBA teams. The 1998 Houston Comets went 27-3 for a .900 record, and the 1999 and 2000 Los Angeles Sparks had 28-4 records for two years in a row, an .875 winning percentage. In the NBA, the amazing 1995-96 Chicago Bulls went 72-10, for a .878 winning percentage, the best ever in the WNBA. The amazing 1971-72 Lakers - who won 33 straight games at a time - went 69-13, for an .841 winning percentage.

In baseball, the rule is that "you'll win a third of your games, you'll lose a third of your games - and the rest is up to you." It's very rare for a baseball team to either win more than 108 games or lose more than 54. Teams that cross either benchmark are rarely encountered.

So it looks that the Dream's experience in 2008 has given us a rule for basketball like the rule for baseball: "you'll win a tenth of your games, you'll lose a tenth of your games - and the rest is up to you".

Basically, the only games we won were "random gimme games". It wasn't so much that we were playing brilliantly, it was either a) our time to win our one out of ten games that every basketball team gets to win, or b) the other team's time to lose its one out of ten games that it's destined to lose. (This rule does not apply to college basketball, as teams can be of wildly divergent strengths).

We have to face the cold truth. The Atlanta Dream was about as talentless as a WNBA team can be and still be called a WNBA team. That's okay. We'll get better.

But, there's also a truth for the Seattle Storm, who just beat us with their B squad: "Don't get cocky." For Los Angeles, it just might have been one of those statistical one-out-of-ten games where nothing was destined to go right for them. Our win over the Sparks might have not testified to talent on our part, but failure on theirs.

My suggestion for the playoffs: you might want to start Sue Bird this time....

Iziane Castro Marques vs. the Los Angeles Sparks

This YouTube imbed was posted at Painel do Basquete Feminino, a Brazilian basketball blog.

Watch Izi shoot right over Lisa Leslie. It's butta.

The Dream: Last in Wins, First in Fan Loyalty?

This link is from Dream Diary, the official Atlanta Dream Blog. They mention an AP article which was posted on the ESPN website. Read this:

The Dream rank in the top six in three different key categories: average attendance, full season tickets, and individual game tickets. Not so bad for a that finished with a 1-16 record at home this season.

Atlanta averaged 8,500 tickets sold per game and had three sellouts. The league's last expansion team before Atlanta, the Chicago Sky, averaged 3,642 a game in 2006. The Sky play their home games at the University of Illinois at Chicago Pavilion, which holds 6,958.

You think we'll be there next season? Damn straight. Now if only the media will take notice.

2008/34 - Storm 77, Dream 72 (Part One)

No Art, this is Betty's BROTHER. See the sign? Brought to you by SPMSportsPage.com. Go see 'em.

It's the very last game of the season. So rather than go for accuracy, I'm going to go with familiarity and tune in to the great Art Eckman.

1) The Dream start Latta, Lennox, Castro Marques, De Souza, and Bales. It looks like Meadors has finally found a consistent starting lineup.

The Storm start Little, Ely, Gearlds, Wright, and Santos. I guess they're saving Bird for the playoffs. According to Art, Seattle is starting their second unit.

2) Betty's father is courtside, which is kind of cool. Even though Betty is no longer in Seattle, he is still supporting the Storm (when they don't play the Dream). Also very cool that both Betty and Izi have gotten standing ovations, and according to Art, the ovation brought Betty to tears.

UPDATE: It's not Betty's father, it's her brother (see the comments below). Oh well, Art Eckman's not exactly Wikipedia.

3) Lauren Jackson is back, which is cool. Art's microphone cuts out to complete silence when he's not speaking, which makes me suspect that the game is being broadcast by ham radio.

4) "Politics has moved the Seattle SuperSonics franchise to Oklahoma, where the state tree is a telephone pole." - Art Eckman

5) Art says that he's having to broadcast from far up. I think he means it. So much for Art. I'm switching to the Seattle feed.

6) Kelly Santos is just whipping up on Atlanta. She's scored four of Seattle's 10 points, and Marynell is calling a time out. The Storm lead 10-4. It doesn't help. Santos scores over Feenstra. Before we know it, it's 15-4 Seattle, the Storm going on a 9-0 run.

7) Feenstra walks, and turns over the ball. According to the Storm announcers, the Atlanta Dream are just dead, playing listlessly. The announcers state that the Seattle Storm's defense has just clamped down on Atlanta. The Seattle Storm remain resolute, and they lead 17-10 at the end of the first. The Storm lead in every sense of the term, and the Dream have four turnovers to the Storm's one.

8) Now the Dream are on an 8-0 run to close it to 17-14 in the second quarter. The announcers say that Marynell Meadors said that they'll have Chantelle Anderson next year. Interrrrresting.....

9) Pass to a wide open Kasha Terry in the second. She fumbles it. Out of bands, Atlanta. Good thing Gearlds has missed her last four shots. However, the Dream get three wide open layups, and two offensive rebounds. Result: 0 for 3.

10) Seattle continues to go cold. Seattle is missing a ton of shots and the Storm's poor shooting is keeping Atlanta in the game. Feenstra is leading all Dream shooters with eight points, and she's playing great defense.

11) Kevin Pelton will be back for 2009, according to Seattle. That's great news; I enjoy reading his website.

12) In the first eight minutes of the second quarter, the Dream have outrebounded the Storm 10-2. The Dream is hanging anywhere from within two to seven points throught the quarter. With one minute left, a Castro Marques free throw closes it to 28-27, but the Storm score the next basket. The Dream get the basket with 14 seconds left, but Latta is forced into a desperation shot.

At halftime: Seattle Second Unit 30, Dream 27.

13) Minutes played by:

Sue Bird: 0:00.

14) Atlanta is being outshot 41 to 33 percent at halftime. The Dream have taken nine shots from behind the three throw line and missed all of them - a major difference from the Los Angeles game.

15) HOLY CRAP. The starting lineup for the second half for the Dream is Latta, Izi, Young, Feenstra....and Lacy. The Seattle announcers speculate that Betty might have hurt her ankle...but Betty has been in Meadors's doghouse before.

16) Izi finally hits her three. We tie 32-32 early in the first quarter. The Dream are in a 1-2-2 fullcourt press. The Storm score six straight, but we answer with five straight. We're still hanging in there, pressing like crazy. We manage to hang within one point in the third quarter for what seems to be forever, about the first five minutes. Brian Alger still hasn't brought in his big guns, and Betty is now out for the game with achilles tendonitis. It seems that no one has scored in like...forever.

17) Tamera Young steps up and ties the game again, 43-43. At this time, she's leading all Dream scorers with 12 points.

18) By 2:48 left in the third, the Storm is only leading by three points. The Storm is starting to rebound much better. The game seems interminably dull. It's probably the fact that I know that if we get close, Agler can put in the starters whenever he wants to. Swoopes, Griffith and Bird are still perfectly rested. Furthermore, We've seen the last of Betty Lennox for this season.

19) Listening to the Seattle announcer, my first thought is "Boy, is this guy loud!" It's not at all like Art. Art manages to keep this composure whenever the Dream score; this guy sounds like he's going to drop a load with excitement.

20) Tamera Young scores another three to close it to 51-50. She's now taken over the role of Betty Lennox, leading all Dream scorers with 18 points. It has been Tamera Young who has kept us in the game in the third quarter. With 15 seconds left, a bucket by Erika de Souza puts us in the lead 52-51, but Camille Little answers back and grabs the lead back, 53-52 at the end of three.

21) Latta is having another horrible night. Three points. A bounce pass to nobody. Feenstra inexplicably on the bench. The Storm pull out to a five point lead early in the game, 57-52.

22) The Storm lead by about five or six, but can't really pull away. The Dream still have a chance to win it if he doesn't put Bird in. Latta hits two free throws and we're down 65-61 to the Storm. However, Seattle is shooting much better.

23) A pair of free throws put the Storm up by 10, but Young hits a shot with 3:40 keeping the Dream within eight points.

24) Late in the game, the Dream have the advantage that Seattle's over the limit in fouls. Seattle's announcer is swearing with every bucket, "That might just do it!" but Seattle's lead has been tenuous at best this quarter. We're down by seven with 1:18 left, 75-68. Then Young hits another shot to close it to 75-70 with just 59 seconds left. Can the Dream steal another game?

25) In the last minute, Feenstra grabs the rebound on a missed Storm shot, but she dribbles the ball on the endline. However, Kristin Haynie gets the steal and has the ball with just 25 seconds left, still down by five.

26) The ball makes it into Young's hands, and she shoots for a three...but misses. The Storm get the rebound, Katie Gearlds gets the two free throws. The Dream get a couple more points, but the Storm get the win, 77-72 and the Dream become the first team in WNBA history to lose 30 games in a season.

It's a sad moment. No more Dream basketball until next year. It's late. I'm tired. Tomorrow for the post-mortem.

Friday, September 12, 2008

AJC Update: Scarab Writes to Mike Knobler

Dream fan Scarab posted the following to the Atlanta Dream Message Board. She sent Mike Knobler an e-mail about the missing Dream article, and here is her message and his response

(* * *)

(Scarab writes)

Here's the response I got about there not being anything in the AJC about our win against the Sparks (FYI, Knobler's done some of the more recent Dream articles in AJC):

From: Mike Knobler [mailto:MKnobler@ajc.com]
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2008 5:02 PM
Subject: Re: What about the Dream win last night?!

There was an Associated Press story about the Dream's victory in the edition of the AJC delivered to my house. It was on page E8. If it was not in your edition, it means that your edition was printed earlier than mine. Los Angeles is on Pacific Time, which means the game finished too late for the story to appear in all of our editions.

Thanks for your interest in our sports section.

Mike Knobler

P.S. — Here is the final AP story (even the edition delivered to my house did not have this version, but an earlier one without any quotes):

BC-BKL--Dream-Sparks, 2nd Ld-Writethru,0437

Dream rally for 83-72 victory over Sparks
Eds: Dream 83, Sparks 72; UPDATES with quotes.
AP Photo LAS102, LAS101, LAS103
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Iziane Castro Marques scored 15 of her 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Atlanta Dream rallied for a 83-72 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night, snapping a 10-game losing streak.
Betty Lennox added 21 points and Ivory Latta tied a career best with 10 assists for the expansion Dream (4-29), who avoided breaking the WNBA record for losses in a season. Atlanta closes the season Friday night at Seattle.
"We grew up a lot tonight," Atlanta coach Marynell Meadors said. "L.A. by far has the best talent of anybody in the league. But our team controlled the tempo, especially in the last part of the third quarter and in the fourth quarter. I thought that was the difference."
Candace Parker had 23 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and four blocks for the Sparks (19-14). DeLisha Milton-Jones added 21 points and Lisa Leslie had 16 points and nine rebounds.
"We knew that this team had nothing to lose," Parker said of the Dream. "But we were very sluggish. When we play bad, it's bad. But when we play good, we're capable of being in the hunt for the championship."
The Sparks held a 63-57 lead with 8:52 to play but scored just eight points during the next 7:54. Meanwhile, Castro Marques scored 15 points in a span of 5:57 as the Dream built a 79-69 advantage with 2:12 remaining.
"I just had open shots off the plays we had," Castro Marques said. "I was more aggressive, too, in taking it to the (basket) on fast breaks."
Los Angeles trailed 49-37 before using a 12-0 surge to force a 49-49 tie with 4:42 left in the third quarter.
Margo Dydek, the WNBA's all-time leader in blocked shots, made her season debut after signing with the Sparks on Aug. 27. The 7-foot-2 Dydek, who gave birth in April, did not score in 2 minutes.

(* * *)

And that concludes this whole shocking tale. We now return you to your regular stations.

Ivory is a Good Sport

Ivory Latta has been named by the Atlanta Dream as its nominee for the Kim Perrot Sportsmanship Award, according to a poster at RebKell. According to WikiPedia, it is given "to the WNBA player who has exhibited the best sportsmanship in the league during the season".

Here are the nominees team by team:

Dream: Ivory Latta
Sky: Armintie Price
Sun: Tamika Raymond
Shock: Taj McWilliams-Franklin
Comets: Shannon Johnson
Fever: Allison Feaster
Sparks: Kiesha Brown
Lynx: Kristen Rasmussen
Liberty: Cathrine Kraayeveld
Mercury: Cappie Pondexter
Monarchs: Ticha Penicheiro
Silver Stars: Vickie Johnson
Storm: Sue Bird
Mystics: Nakia Sanford

AJC Dreams On

...but in Atlanta, you might not know that the Dream had beaten anybody.

There isn't a single "Dream beats Sparks" article anywhere on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website. Yes, the win came past the print deadline, but this is the internet era, baby! How hard is it for you to throw the AP writeup on the web page?

I'd write a nasty e-mail, but guess what? There's no general comments e-mail address to be seen anywhere on the AJC.

This, among several other reasons, is why I don't bother picking up the local paper. If I need Georgia Bulldogs football coverage, I'll head to the nearest f@#$ing bar and pull up a seat next to the local drunk.

2008/33 - Dream 83, Sparks 72 (Part Two)

What? We won? You gotta be kidding me!

Okay, it's time for the post-mortem and a few thoughts about last night's win.

Shooting percentage: The Dream had the edge, 42.6 percent to 36.4 percent. When the Dream doesn't shoot at least 40 percent, they have virtually no chance of winning the game. Beating the Sparks in shooting was a necessity to get a tough road win.
Offensive rebounds: The Sparks won - but not by much, 15-13. What is even more astonishing is that the Sparks virtually tied the Dream in overall rebounding, 36-35. Either the Sparks failed to be aggressive under the basket, or the Dream stepped up to the challenge of getting the ball.
Turnovers: The Dream led this category, but it was a virtual tie, 15-16.
Free throw attempts: The Sparks easily led, 29-18. They were sent to the free throw line much more often than the Dream were.

So where does the Dream win come from? We'll have to look for it elsewhere. First, let's go back to free throw shooting. The Dream went 17-18 from the line, for 94.4 percent shooting. Despite Los Angeles's 29 trips to the line, they only hit 23 shots for a 79.3 percentage. For all the time the Sparks got sent to the line, they scored a measly six more points than the Dream.

Second, let's look at the shooting. The Sparks tried 12 3-point shots and only hit one. Whereas the Dream tried 24 shots - and hit eight of them, for a 33.3 percent 3-point percentage. It was the combination of poor free throw shooting by the Sparks and the deadly 3-point accuracy of the Dream that did the Sparks in on their own home court.

There's a third factor that might be overlooked: the "X" factor. The Sparks, as I wrote yesterday, are only 2-7 when behind at halftime, which is an odd statistic. When the Sparks get behind, they tend to mentally snap. I suspect that Lisa and Candace get frustrated with the rest of the team, the rest of the team responds in kind, and everyone breaks down. The Spark played with a distinct lack of oomph, and the faces on the Sparks bench did not betray frustration, but rather resignation. "We lost this game...oh well."

Flow of the game: The quarter by quarter score portrayed a seesaw affair. Even in the fourth quarter the Sparks still held the lead, but were outscored by the Dream 26-13 to lose it yet again.

Who is guarding who?: It was Ferdinand-Harris's job to guard Betty Lennox when Ferdinand-Harris came off the bench. Ferdinand-Harris lasted a grand total of 7 minutes and 16 seconds. That wasn't working.

Los Angeles starters in the backcourt were helpless. Kiesha Brown and Shannon Bobbitt combined for a grand total of two points.

It seemed as if Alison Bales was guarding Candace Parker and Erika de Souza was given the thankless job of guarding Leslie. Neither were very effective. Parker would score a double-double and Leslie woued come close.

Shooting efficiency: Us, then Them


Castro Marques: 23 points, 18 attempts, 4 for 9 with 3-point shooting. Castro Marques is clearly my Player of the Game for the Dream.
Lennox: 21 points, 26 attempts. Five rebounds. Not that great a game considering Los Angeles's lousy backcourt.
Lacy: 9 points, 7 rebounds. Astonishingly, she wasn't throwing bricks out there.
Latta: 7 points, 12 attempts. Horrible shooting, yet her 10 assists makes up for it. This is the second time in Latta's career that she's had 10 assists - she had 10 assists in a 97-76 loss to Detroit where she scored 26 points.
Young: 7 points, 7 attempts, 6 rebounds. She actually got significant playing time.
Bales: 6 points, 6 attempts, 9 rebounds. Alison was doing a Erika de Souza-type job.


Paker: 23 points, 24 attempts, 11 rebounds, 7 assists. She'd be the Player of the Game on the Sparks's side.
Milton-Jones: 21 points, 21 attempts, 7 rebounds. Not bad at all.
Leslie: 16 points, 23 attempts, 9 rebounds. Leslie's free-throw shooting was particulary bad, as she went 8 for 12.

Could been a billionaire....: Raffaella Masciardi and Margo Dydek. Only the act of taking a shot - and missing it - kept each of them from amassing a completely blank statistical line.

Southern Belle Milk Carton of the Game: Shannon Bobbitt of the Sparks. Oh-fer-5 in shooting, no free throws, one rebounds. Started the game. Played almost 15 minutes with nothing to show for it.

(* * *)

And now, let's look at the implications this game has for the Dream.

The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers amassed a staggering record of losses in an 82-game NBA season. They went 9-73 for the year, for a .109 winning percentage. In my opinion, this is the worst winning percentage of any major pro franchise in history (that isn't football, which has a very small number of games).

The Dream challenged this record, but with their fourth win, they are guaranteed at least a .117 winning percentage (assuming they lose to Seattle tonight). The Dream are not the worst pro franchise in history. That's saying something.

Are they the worst franchise in WNBA history? It depends on what benchmark you set.

Do they have the fewest number of wins? No. The 1998 Washington Mystics went 3-27.
Do they have the most losses? If they fail to beat Seattle tonight, then yes. The 2006 Chicago Sky went 5-29. A loss tonight would be the first 30-loss season in the WNBA.
Do they have the smallest winning percentage? No. The 1998 Mystics finished with a .100 winning percentage.

There is another method to measure a "worst team". After the season is completely over, we'll see how the Dream stacks up against historically bad teams.

What does all of this mean for coach Marynell Meadors? She has the excuse that this an expansion team with a lot of bad players. What has happened to the coaches of bottom-feeding expansion teams?

1997: Denise Taylor of the Utah Starzz managed to keep her job after finishing 7-21 in the first year of the WNBA's existence. However, after heading towards another bottom finish for the Starzz in the Western Conference, she was fired in mid-season in 1998.

1998: Jim Lewis of the historically bad Mystics lost his job just 18 games in the season, after a 2-16 start.

2000: Lin Dunn managed to survive a 6-26 opening season with the Seattle Storm. Not only did she manage to survive, she's head coaching the Indiana Fever.

2006: Dave Cowens resigned after his 5-29 first season with the Chicago Sky to join the Detroit Pistons coaching staff of the NBA.

It's hard to read the tea leaves, but history suggests that the head coaches of expansion teams that finish at the bottom usually don't get fired. If Meadors ends up in the toilet again in 2009, she'll probably lose her job. I would put money, however, on Meadors keeping her job and leading the Dream (hopefully) to victory in 2009. She'll make the decisions regarding who we draft and her signature will be on the team for some time to come.

All right. Enough yakkin'. Enjoy the win. Let's go to Seattle, whip them, and then plan for the off-season.

2008/33 - Dream 83, Sparks 72 (Part One)

How did I get this typed up so quickly? Call it “Live Blogging!” Well, not exactly live blogging, but more “I typed this while I was watching the game at home.”

Can the Dream manage to steal a victory against the Los Angeles Sparks, a team that held the Sparks to 26 percent shooting in Atlanta? We’re going to find out.

1) Interesting fact – Betty Lennox has led the team in scoring in every game since the Olympic break. That dark period where Lennox was being held in the single digits appears to be over. But can Ivory break out tonight?

2) Starting lineup: De Souza, Castro Marques, Bales, Lennox, and Latta. My God. I think this was the lineup from the last game!

For the Sparks: Milton-Jones, Parker, Leslie, Bobbitt and Brown. And Margo Dydek, #12, being held in reserve.

3) Whoa! Alison Bales scores the first five points, including a three pointer – but she’s not much of a match for Candace Parker. The Dream is hitting their shots, and when the first time out is called, the Dream are leading 11-9!

4) The commentators talked to Latta before the game. Latta supposedly likes her situation in Atlanta with the Dream – she gets along with her teammates and they get minutes on the court. If Latta doesn’t start shooting efficiently, however, she could jeopardize this good thing she has.

5) Twice in the first quarter, Izi has tried to find Erika on a pass and has thrown it 3 feet over her head. And for our Brazilian readers, that’s 0.98 meters. Ugh.

6) Ferdinand-Harris faked Betty out of her underwear in the first quarter. That’s going to go on someone’s highlight reel.

7) Neither team is really working with an offense; everyone’s just trying to make individual shots. Most of the Sparks’s points are in the paint, most of Atlanta’s are elsewhere. Both teams are shooting evenly at the end of one, but the Sparks are strong under the basket. However, we’ve managed to tie the Sparks, 22-22 at the end of one.

8) Atlanta rolls off a 7-0 run to start the second to lead 29-22. I got to see a sweet behind-the-back dribble by Latta, but Latta is still trying to drive in towards thebasket. Lennox, however, is shaking off Ferdinand-Harris. Coach Michael Cooper of the Sparks is forced to call a time out.

9) NBA TV does not have the commercials timed right. It’s annoying, as sometimes they have to immediately cut away from a commercial for action. I don’t mind missing the commercial; I mind missing the action.

10) The Atlanta run is extended to 13-0. Jennifer Lacy hits a three – she’s finally hitting something – and the Dream lead 35-22 with almost six minutes left in the second.

11) Our run is broken up. I understand why. “The foul is on Kasha Terry, who just entered the game….”

12) First, Lacy doesn’t take a pass – not paying attention – and then when she gets the ball, she basically throws it away. Can our reserves actually hold it down?

13) Candace Parker has played almost the entire game at this point, going into the bottom part of the second quarter.

14) Interesting stat: Atlanta is the worst team in the league with assists, averaging 14 a game. By 4:13 in the second, Atlanta had 11 assists.

15) The Sparks finally start to box out and rebound. Los Angeles goes on a 10-2 run to begin closing the gap, and at 1:49, Margo Dydek sees her first action. We finally get to see Dydek vs. Feenstra!

16) Amusing point – when Latta dribbled right past Dydek, who must have been thinking, “I’m going to have to reach down if I’m going to stop her. “ No, Dydek would have had to stoop down. By halftime, the Dream led 42-35.

17) Looking over the halftime stats, we might be leading by 15 if we didn’t keep sending the Sparks to the line. Betty Lennox had three fouls at halftime.

On the other hand, Los Angeles was shooting 31 percent. Atlanta was 15 for 36 from the field at 44 percent. Oh, let us keep up the hot hand!!

18) Did the halftime announcer say that the Sparks shot 3 for 17 in the second quarter?

Dream: 2-5 record when leading at halftime.
Sparks: 2-7 record when trailing at halftime.

19) Cooper calls a timeout – a FULL timeout – with less than two minutes in the third quarter passed after Izi drops a 3 on the Sparks. Boy, he looks pissed.

20) Awful play by the Dream. The timeout has helped the Sparks, who have gone on a 8-0 run. Latta trying another useless drive to the basket. Izi trying another implausible three point shot. Betty trying to work through a double team. The Sparks close it to 49-45 with 5:39 left in the quarter.

21) Good Lord. Leslie scored, fouls by Feenstra. 49-47 Dream. Then another failed Latta dribble-drive. The Sparks tie it, 49-49, going on a 12-0 run. Leslie and Feenstra are really going at it.

22) What the hell? Offensive foul against Atlanta against Feenstra. That was a “make up foul”, for not calling the foul earlier. I hate it when refs try to correct their mistakes.

23) With 1:37 left in the third, Kasha Terry (who else) fouls Delisha Milton-Jones to put the Dream over the limit. Milton-Jones hits two free throws to put the Sparks ahead for their first time since the first quarter, 55-53.

24) And another foul by Kasha Terry with 43.9 seconds. We are not going to have a chance to win games as long as Kasha Terry is on the roster. Thank goodness Leslie missed both of the free throws. Then Kristin Haynie fouls Candace Parker…who hits her two points.

25) At the end of three quarters, the Sparks lead 57-55. This is the stat that tells the story:

Free Throw Attempts at the end of 3 Quarters:

Atlanta: 9
Los Angeles: 25

26) The Sparks take a 6-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Atlanta closes it right up after Betty Lennox t=comes back in and it’s a tie game again, 63-63.

27) DAMMIT! Parker drives and doesn’t hit, but draws the foul. We cannot keep sending the Sparks to the line and expect to win this game.

28) Izi comes in, drives, makes the bucket and draws the foul. Then, she makes the bucket. Atlanta leads again, 66-65, with 5:49 remaining in the fourth.

29) Izi gets a three-pointer! Then Latta gets the steal from Candace Parker, and then the foul! Atlanta leads 70-67. Latta hits both shots, and the Dream lead by five, 72-67.

30) Dammit! Foul on Erika de Souza. I’m hoping that we’re not reaching the limit as we approach the four-minute mark….

31) Izi hits two in a row! The second shot is a three pointer! We lead 77-69 with 2:37 and the Sparks are forced to take a full time out! Holy Moley, here we go! Don’t let this game end the way the Fever game did!

32) With 2:12 left, Muriel Page fouls Ivory Latta. Iziane Castro Marques goes to the line. Michael Cooper is looking down at his hands.

33) I can’t tell, but I think that the Sparks are over the limit. Lennox hits her first free throw, and then her second. Atlanta leads 81-71. There’s 1:10 left and we have a full 24 seconds to shoot….

34) 55.5 seconds left. Erika de Souza commits a foul, her sixth foul, and fouls out. The Dream isn’t over the limit. Boy, the Dream is going to make this a close one.

35) They find Tamera Young inside. 83-71. 28.4 seconds left. Lisa Leslie misses her first free throw. She hits the second. 83-72. The Dream call a time out with 28.4 seconds remaining. All the Sparks can do now is foul. Atlanta is smiling, but there’s none of that bouncy-bouncy exuberance. I suspect Atlanta won’t believe they’ve won until the final buzzer.


I’m going to bed! The post-mortem will be tomorrow!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

CafeMerc: Me Likee

Q over at Rethinking Basketball has an entry about CafeMerc, a social networking site for Phoenix Mercury fans. What's amazing is that the site appears to be hosted off the WNBA's servers.

If anyone from the Dream organization is reading this, I have a question: how do we get one of these? I'd definitely be making blog entries on such a site, even if they were duplicates of the ones on the Pleasant Dreams blog.

9/11 and the WNBA

This article from WISH TV in Indianapolis points out something I hadn't noticed - the gradual move from 9/11 being a "memorial day" with no events scheduled to a day not unlike any other on the sports calendar.

Of course, there will be tasteful memorial ceremonies at the games. There are living families who lost relatives at the World Trade Center. However, the games will take place as scheduled.

I don't know if the author is correct, but the author claims that this is the first day since 9/11/2001 that the WNBA has actually scheduled games on 9/11. Baseball is of course scheduling games and I believe it has scheduled games on 9/11 for a long time. I suspect that if 9/11 fell on Saturday or Sunday, the college or pro football schedules would remain unaffected.

I think this is a good thing, of course. The best response to terrorism is not to have the terrorists disrupt one's daily routine.

However, I'm sure children born after 9/11 are going to see the whole remembrance thing as a bit odd. As time passes, 9/11 will become less and less significant. In about sixty-five years, 9/11 will be about as significant as 12/7 is to us today. (December 7th is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on an American naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.) What people forget is that life simply moves on, no matter how much we might expect or wish otherwise.

The WNBA and Minority Viewers

Which American sport has the lowest percentage of non-Hispanic, white fans (and therefore, the highest percentage of "traditional minority" fans)?

According to this link, the list goes as follows:

1) WNBA: 60 percent non-Hispanic white
2) soccer: 61 percent non-Hispanic white
3) men's or women's tennis: 67 percent non-Hispanic white
4) NBA: 69 percent non-Hispanic white

What sport has the highest percentage of non-Hispanic, white fans? The NHL with 85 percent.