Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Cindy Brown, in glorious ABL action.
Here are the leaders in Adjusted Wins Score for the American Basketball League season of 1996-97. It was the first women's professional basketball season from a durable league in the United States since the demise of the Women's Professional Basketball League in 1981.
(Adjusted Wins Score uses the Wins Score formula but assigns 0.3 points for every defensive rebound and 0.7 points for every offensive rebound. Wins Score simply assigns one point for every rebound, offensive or defensive.)
1. Cindy Brown, Reign, 243.0
2. Crystal Robinson, Quest, 240.6
3. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Rage, 223.7
4. Natalie Williams, Power, 208.5
5. Carolyn Jones, Blizzard, 194.3
6. Adrienne Goodson, Rage, 186.7
7. Valerie Still, Quest, 158.1
8. Katie Smith, Quest, 149.9
9. Teresa Edwards, Glory, 146.4
10. Dawn Staley, Rage, 137.3
And where was the 1996-97 ABL MVP, Nikki McCray? She was 17th on the list with 82.6. The argument could be made that the ABL gave the MVP to the wrong player.
So what happened to Cindy Brown? She was born in Portland, Oregon and played for the Long Beach State 49ers in college. When Brown graduated in 1987, the only place a woman could play basketball professionally was Europe. She ended up playing in Italy, then Japan, then Italy again, and then Israel and France.
She played one year with Seattle Reign - she actually had to take a $50,000 pay cut to play in the United States. The season after, she was to be assigned to Long Beach with the 1997-98 season, but Brown skipped out and signed with the WNBA.
She ended up with the Detroit Shock in the 1998 season as part of the allocation draft. By that time, Brown was 33 and there weren't many years of basketball left in her. She had a great first year in Detroit, finishing second in the league in rebounds and hitting 47 percent of her field goals. However, Brown dropped off dramatically in 1999, fighting injuries (which I can't find out anything about) and looking at the stats it appears that a scrub had snuck onto the court wearing Cindy Brown's uniform. She was traded to Utah along with Korie Hlede for Wendy Palmer, a trade that probably had more to do with Nancy Lieberman-Cline becoming a dead woman walking in Detroit than any shenanigans with Anna DeForge. (Hlede was the Ivory Latta of the Shock in terms of popularity.) Brown played nine games for the Starzz with no better results, but still playing slightly above replacement level.
Then, at 34, Brown retired. After that, she disappears completely from the internet. No coaching jobs. No overseas play. No nothing.
Where is Cindy Brown? Did she settle down and raise a family? Did she move back to Japan or somewhere else overseas? Is she coaching for a Division II or Division III school somewhere? Wherever you are Cindy, you are missed.