Saturday, January 31, 2009
Isaac Fernandez in better days.
It's beginning to look like a long year for Extrugasa (2-14). There are only ten games left in the season and Extrugasa is desperately trying to avoid relegation to the 2A league of the Liga Feminina. Unfortunately, today's 72-60 loss to Ibiza (8-9) means that Extrugasa would have to win at least two games to get out of the Spanish cellar.
The box score is here.
Part of the problem was that Extrugasa started out flat, held to 13 points in the first quarter. Extrugasa managed to close to within seven points of Ibiza, down only 37-30 at halftime. Ibiza played Extrugasa evenly for for the rest of the game, and Extrugasa left Ibiza with their 14th loss in 16 games.
Ibiza hit 52 percent of their shots, and from inside the 3-point line, they hit 60 percent of their shots. Extrugasa, by contrast, only shot 44 percent. Both teams rebounded equally well, with Ibiza doing slightly better. Ibiza turned the ball over 20 times, but Extrugasa was so luckless that they couldn't capitalize - Extrugasa had 21 turnovers.
Extrugasa was sent to the line 14 times - but only hit eight shots. Compare this with Ibiza, which was sent to the line 12 times but hit 10 of them.
Leading Ibiza was (hopefully) future Atlanta Dream star Sancho Lyttle. Lyttle had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, with five steals. With just eight players scoring, five scored in double figures, including Shannon Johnson with 11 points and five rebounds. Sandra Pirsic scored 10 points and eight rebounds.
As for Extrugasa, Iziane Castro Marquez scored 12 points to lead Extrugasa. She was 5-for-7 inside the 3-point line, but outside it, she was a dismal 0-for-5. She had three rebounds but turned the ball over five times. Elisha Turek was probably Extrugasa's MVP, with 10 points and four rebounds. Sara Gomez also scored 11 points.
(* * *)
I just found out that three days ago, coach Isaac Fernandez of Extrugasa resigned. He had coach Extrugasa for eight years, but this season was the end. Most likely, he resigned before he was fired.
Tito Díaz takes over the helm at Extrugasa. Díaz is an experienced coach of men's basketball. However, looking at the score above, Tito Diaz has a ways to go before he can turn Extrugasa around.
Accoring to Jim Fuller at the Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register, we have a prospective date for the 2009 WNBA Draft.
It will be on April 9, 2009 at 3 pm somewhere in New Jersey. Where, I don't know yet, but at least we have a date and (half of) a place.
With all of the trades going on - I won't be mentioning them - the 2009 WNBA Draft Order has changed. Here is the new draft order:
8. New York
9. Minnesota (from Los Angeles through Washington) *
13. Los Angeles (from San Antonio through Atlanta) **
14. San Antonio (from Atlanta)
15. Minnesota (from Washington) *
17. Connecticut (from Minnesota) *
21. New York
22. Los Angeles
23. Washington (from Connecticut through Minnesota) *
24. Washington (from Detroit)
25. Atlanta (from Seattle)
26. San Antonio
34. Phoenix (from New York)
35. Los Angeles
39. San Antonio
* - Minnesota exchanged Lindsey Harding and their second round draft picks in 2009 and 2010 for Washington's first and second round draft picks in 2009. Washington's second round pick in 2009 - the #23 position - came from a conditional right to swap second round picks with Connecticut; we can only assume that they will.
** - Atlanta traded their first round draft pick obtained from San Antonio to Los Angeles for the rights to negotiate with Chamique Holdsclaw.
Friday, January 30, 2009
How big was this game? See that man in glasses? That's Ivan Gašparovič, President of the Slovak Republic. After a 98-53 blowout of Kosice in Valencia, you couldn't blame Slovak fans for hoping that Kosice might have a better showing on their home court in front of an announced crowd of 1500 spectators and the president himself.
No dice. Ros Casares ran Kosice right off the floor, winning 81-48 and winning the first two games of the best-of-three series to move on to the Euroleague Quarterfinals in February.
El Ros started slowly...they were behind 8-2 early on, but then went on an 11-0 run and never looked backwards, leading by 19-10 and holding Kosice to 11 second-quarter points to led 37-21 at halftime. Ros Casares won both of the remaining quarters, and held Kosice to 12 third quarter points to extend their lead to over thirty points.
Ros Casares shot 50 percent from the field. Kosice shot 30 percent. That alone tells the story of the victory. Kosice lost on the offensive boards, in total rebounding, turned the ball over 19 times and sent Ros Casares to the free throw line 18 times, where they hit 14 shots.
The Euroleague candidate for player of the game was Atlanta's own Erika de Souza, who scored 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting and had nine rebounds. Four players would score in double figures for Ros Casares, including Amaya Valdemoro with 16 points of her own and Delisha Milton-Jones with 10 points. Candace Wiggins would only score three points in her 18 minutes of play, but would have five rebounds.
Cathrine Kraayeveld was considered Kosice's top performer, with a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds. Sidney Spencer also reached double digits with 10 points, and Liron Cohen added 10 points of her own.
(* * *)
So far in the quarterfinals, we only know one of the four matchups. The matchup will be Ros Casares against Spartak Moscow in a best-of-three series with the Russians having the home court advantage. The first game takes place on February 17th in Vidnoje, Russia.
Sue Bird. Diana Taurasi. Sylvia Fowles. Lauren Jackson. This is going to be the big test for Ros Casares, and Spartak Moscow might provide a hurdle that El Ros can't jump.
There's an article in the New York Daily News about a show that hopes to find "America's Top Baller".
The idea is pretty much swiped from "America's Next Top Chef/Model/Designer". A bunch of basketball players who still have "hoop dreams" (and have 'em bad, coach, REAL BAD!) will be whittled down by a panel of basketball expert judges week by week to see which player might just have the stuff to make it into the big leagues.
And "girls allowed", too. The hope is that the winner, whoever he or she is, will get an agent and the opportunity to work with pro scouts of either the NBA or the WNBA.
Unfortunately, the Atlanta Dream is overflowing with talent right now (!) so I don't think there will be any spaces in the ATL. Furthermore, the WNBA might take a pass on that player in the ill-fitting wig who calls herself "Randy Breed".
Thursday, January 29, 2009
To: Sports Editor, The Daily Beacon, University of Tennessee
Dear Mr. O'Daniel,
Sadly, there are a lot of sports editors across the country who know nothing about women's basketball. If you had told me that the sports editor of the student newspaper at the University of Tennesee didn't know anything about women's basketball...I would have been astonished, to say the least.
Looking at his past archive or articles, it seems that Mr. Merritt has given little thought to the success of the women's basketball program at the University of Tennessee. In his article of October 30th, "UT shifting focus to hardwood", we get the bizarre comment:
"Vol fans have helped Bruce Pearl make the impossible, possible — turning Tennessee into a basketball school."
Odd, I thought eight NCAA National Championships would cement Tennessee's reputation as a basketball school.
However, the comment in his recent article, "Reaching for the Summitt" takes the cake:
"Without this great rivalry the college game may have gone the way of the WNBA."
I suppose Mr. Merritt is unaware of Candace Parker. He might have heard of her. She was the MVP and Rookie of the Year for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA, an organization that still exists. And last time I checked, Ms. Parker was playing - guess where? - in Tennessee, on the team that won Pat Summitt's eighth National Championship for the Vols.
Mr. Merritt might have been speaking tongue in cheek. If his goal was to make a humorous putdown at the WNBA's expense, he should have telegraphed his punch more clearly - without it, he simply comes off as clueless.
I'm not asking that Mr. Merritt become a women's basketball fan if he isn't one. What I'm asking is that maybe, someone who actually knows something about women's basketball write the laudatory articles.
It's bad enough that Coach Pearl has only been four years at Tennessee and is paid more than twice as much as Coach Summitt, despite the fact that the closest he's come to a national championship in his sport is in buying a ticket or turning on the television. If Mr. Merritt wants to remain ignorant about women's basketball, that's his choice, but please don't let his stupidity permeate your newspaper. Keep him in his cloistered world, and don't let him comment on things that he obviously knows nothing about.
"...those who can't do, teach...."
These are the leaders in turnovers/minute in a WNBA career:
Minimum 1 minute: Cory Chambers, 2 TO, 1 MP, 2 TO/MP
Minimum 10 minutes: Marcedes Walker, 4 TO, 11 MP, 0.36 TO/MP
Minimum 20 minutes: Angie Hamblin, 7 TO, 29 MP, 0.24 TO/MP
Minimum 50 minutes: Cara Consuegra, 11 TO, 50 MP, 0.22 TO/MP
Minimum 100 minutes: Jenny Boucek, 22 TO, 112 MP, 0.20 TO/MP
Minimum 500 minutes: Rhonda Blades, 80 TO, 630 MP, 0.13 TO/MP
Minimum 1000 minutes: Kristen Veal, 124 TO, 1019 MP, 0.12 TO/MP
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Yes, everyone who has read RebKell not only knows this but has known it for eons. Even Detroit Shock assistant coach Cheryl Reeve let the "secret" slip out in a WNBA post.
Now, we have confirmation in the print media by John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant. So I guess we can say it's not even an open secret anymore.
I'll bet she's behind the arc....
Which WNBA players have taken most of their shots as three point attempts? The abbreviated list is below. And believe it or not, there was one player in history who only took five shots, all 3-pointers!
Minimum 5 FGA: Chandra Johnson, 5 FGA, 5 3PA (100 percent)
Minimum 100 FGA: Laurie Koehn, 222 FGA, 205 3PA (92.3 percent)
Minimum 500 FGA: Kelly Mazzante, 811 FGA, 548 3PA (67.6 percent)
Minimum 1000 FGA: Tully Belivaqua, 1074 FGA, 619 3PA (57.6 percent)
I received my Statis Pro Basketball game in the mail on Monday. I'm having to get used to the game and adjust a game designed to simulate pro play into a game designed to simulate college play.
My posts about Statis Pro Basketball will be moved to their own blog: http://statisprobasketball.blogspot.com. I'll make my observations for the about fifty or so people who still play this game.
Erika de Souza, just doing her thing.
Ros Casares looks like a team that could hold its own against any WNBA team. El Ros has Amaya Valdemoro, Erika de Souza, Delisha Milton-Jones...and has now added Candace Wiggins to its roster. With the eighth-finals opening in Valencia, Ros Casares had no trouble with their Slovak visitors, beating them 98-53 to take the first game of a best-of-three series in front of an announced home crowd of 1300.
The boxscore and gallery are here.
Ros Casares took a 19-10 lead to start off the game, but it was the second quarter that became a rout. Kosice was held to just nine points and Ros Casares led 44-19 at halftime. The home team won each of the following quarters by ten points, and Kosike was never really in the game.
Ros Casares would hit 57 percent of their shots, compared to just 32 percent for Kosike. Kosike also turned the ball over a nightmarish thirty times and sent Ros Casares to the free throw line 21 times. It was a mess of a game for the visitors.
Four players scored in do9uble figures for the visitors. Candace Wiggins made her Euroleague debut with a 23 point game. Erika De Souza added 17 points and six rebounds in just 20 minutes of play. Amaya Valdemoro scored 16 points, and Delisha Milton-Jones added 18 points and five rebounds.
Despite having a couple of WNBA players of their own, it would be Liren Cohen who would lead Kosice with 15 points, the only player to score in double digits. Cathrine Kraayeveld of the New York Liberty scored eight points and six rebounds for Kosice and Sidney Spencer of the Los Angeles Sparks added seven points and seven rebounds in the losing effort.
Game Two of the eight-finals takes place on Friday at Kosike. Ros Casares would close the series and move on to the Euroleague quarter-finals with a win.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Before this game there were three teams tied for the top in the Israel D1 Women's League - Ramat Hen (10-2) and Raanana Hertzeliya (9-3) were two of them. Even though they might have been equal in the win-loss column, they weren't equal on the court yesterday as Ramat Hen beat Hertzleiya with ease, 88-68.
There are only two teams currently tied for first place - Ramat Hen and Elizur Ramla.
The box score is here.
Ramat Hen jumped out to a 23-14 lead after the first quarter and was able to establish an 11-point lead at halftime, 45-34. Hertzeliya closed to within eight points at the end of the third quarter, 61-53, but Ramat Hen held the visitors to just 15 fourth quarter points to lead the outcome in no doubt.
Hertzeliya shot 43 percent from the floor, but they were no match for Ramat Hen which shot 57 percent. Hertzeliya only had five offensive rebounds in the entire game. Both teams had very few turnovers (Ramat Hen 9, Hertzeliya 10) but Hertzeliya sent Ramat Hen to the free throw line 25 times and Ramat Hen earned 18 points in the form of converted free throws.
LaToya Pringle had an amazing game for Ramat Hen. She had 27 points and 20 rebounds for a "twenties double-double". Tamara James added 22 points for the home team.
And how did Ivory Latta do in her first game in regular season play? Not bad. She shot 5-for-8 and hit both of her free throws, scoring 14 points and four assists total.
Leading Hertzeliya was Sheri Sam with 21 points and seven rebounds. Sam currently plays for the WNBA champion Detroit Shock. Temeka Johnson, a member of the Los Angeles Sparks, contributed 16 points and four assists to the losing cause. Katia Abramzon would also score in double digits for the visitors with 10 pointss and four rebounds.
Finding pictures isn't that easy, although I might have some info about a video clip in a later post. Doron Berger explains that part of the problem might be a generalized lack of interest in women's BB in Israel.
Game against the Maccabi Ramat Chen, Mhzikt new trophy, was attended by 120 viewers. If one considers ומקורבים are invited to come to something like zero fans.
I don't know if he's an objective observer or just a hater. We know that in the US the line between the two is sometimes murky. (Look up the definition of "sympathy troll".)
Monday, January 26, 2009
Tamera Young is heading off to Latvia to play for top-ranked Latvian team SK Cēsīs. SK Cēsīs is 14-2 so far this year in Latvian play. She will debut on February 6th against TTT Riga, which is currently 17-0.
It appears that the plan was that Young was supposed to move directly from Extrugasa in Spain to SK Cēsīs in Latvia. However, Young's ankle injury derailed that plan and SK Cēsīs was forced to wait. Young has been training for the last two weeks and is expected to arrive in good condition in February.
Young will be hooking up with former Dream player Kristen Mann who plays for SK Cēsīs. In addition to Latvian play, she should also be playing in some Baltic Women's Basketball League games.
It's good to see Young back on the court and we wish her the best of luck from the Pleasant Dreams blog!
Here is this week's schedule of games involving Dream players overseas:
Israel D1: Maccabi Ramat Hen (9-2) vs. Bnot Raanana Hasharon (9-2)
Euroleague 8th Finals (Game 1): Ros Casares vs. Kosice
Euroleague 8th Finals (Game 2): Kosice vs. Ros Casares
LFB (Spain): Ibiza (7-9) vs. Extrugasa (2-13)
LFB (Spain): Ros Casares (15-1) vs. Perfumerias (14-2)
Greek Women's A1: Esperides (14-2) vs. Paleo Faliro (10-6)
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Paleo Faliro (10-6), which had managed to keep up slightly with a tough Panathinaikos team on Wednesday, had to host the toughest team in Greek women's basketball today - undefeated Athinaikos (16-0). Paleo Faliro came to within one point of dealing Athinaikos its first defeat in league play, but fell short by one point, 59-58.
The box score is here.
Athinaikos must have been surprised by Paleo Faliro as the home team took a 21-12 lead over the visitors after the first quarter. Athinaikos came out tough in the second quarter, but Paleo Faliro would take a 32-27 lead into halftime. By the end of the third quarter, Athinaikos had caught up with Paleo Faliro and led 47-45.
So what happened in that exciting fourth quarter? Was it a last-minute basket at the buzzer? Did Athinaikos score a pair of critical free throws? We'll never know. The Greek media records only very abbreviated boxscores, and never any play-by-play. It appears that women's basketball has no advocates in Greece, at least not in the Greek media.
Athinaikos outscored Paleo Faliro at a rate of 41 percent to 35 percent, with Paleo Faliro taking 54 shots and Athinaikos taking 48 shots. Both teams were effectively even in rebounding on both the offensive and defensive sides. Paleo Faliro turned the ball over 16 times and Athinaikos turned the ball over 13 times. Both teams went to the free throw line with great regularity - Paleo Faliro went 16-for-21, and Athinaikos shot 15-for-29. Clearly, Paleo Faliro shouldn't have sent the best team in the Greek Women's A1 league to the line so many times, even if they barely hit 50 percent of their free throws.
Paleo Faliro spread the ball around, with only Teana Miller scoring in double digits. Miller scored 14 points and 12 rebounds for a double-double. Kristin Haynie scored eight points and six rebounds. Karen Mourd would only score two points in 13 minutes of play.
For Athinaikos, LaToya Davis led all scorers with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Davis graduated from Texas Tech in 2006. Katie Gearlds of the Seattle Storm scored 22 points and six rebounds for the undefeated Athinaikos. Nikol Souli added nine points for the eventual winners.
Added a new website: the Women's Eastern Basketball Alliance.
The WEBA is designed to be a minor-league pro league. According to this article:
The Eastern Basketball Alliance is an East Coast-based league that features former college stars, mostly from Division 2 and 3 schools. It is a low-budget league, with a maximum pay of $150 per player per game that allows players to showcase their skills in a competitive setting, while providing affordable family entertainment, said league owner Dick Anzolut.
I would like to see minor league women's B-ball succeed. I hope that things turn out well for them.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Once again, a member of the Atlanta Dream is unemployed. Kasha Terry and LaTangela Atkinson's contracts with Utex Row Rybnik have been terminated.
It wasn't anything that Terry or Atkinson did. The club has no money to pay them. The notice:
Club Koszykarski ROW Rybnik Sp. z oo advises that in view of the financial problems that affect our advertisers and sponsors of the club are forced to introduce a savings plan in the season 2008/2009. The introduction of savings is intended to preserve and maintain the club at the level of women's basketball in Rybnik ekstraklasy in the following years.
Utex Row is looking into sponsorship to help them financially. They hope to keep Ketia Swanier on the team and are working towards some kind of arrangement.
Club president Adam Greczyło said, "We need this, because we do not want to end the season with 200 debt or 300 thousand." Part of the problem is that the American players are paid in dollars, and Polish currency has fallen against the dollar.
I guess all I can say to Kasha Terry is "welcome back" and it's a shame that your experience in Poland got cut short. As for Atlanta Dream fans, we know that Kasha Terry and Tamera Young will be rested up, at the least....
Tickets were booked for Terry and Atkinson for a flight on Saturday. Undoubtedly, they are on their way home.
At times, I'm sure it must have seemed a race to the bottom. Estudiantes (4-12) was in 11th place, and Extrugasa (2-13) was in dead last. It seems that Extrugasa is winning the battle of the worsts, as they lose 64-48 at home to one of the worst teams in the Liga Feminina.
The box score is here.
Extrugasa failed to get off the blocks and only scored nine points in the first quarter - but Estudiantes didn't do much better, only scoring 12 points. Estudiantes would score 24 points in the second quarter to help take a 36-28 lead into halftime.
However, Estudiantes was held to nine points in the third quarter. Killer defensive effort from Extrugasa, right? No. Extrugasa only scored five points in the third quarter, and managed to fall behind further - Estudiantes would win every quarter of the game.
So where do we find the greatest fault in what must have been a bevy of them? Estudiantes scored 44 percent from the field with Extrugasa only hitting 35 percent of its free throws. Both teams had the exact same number of rebounds, so intensity under the glass wasn't a factor. Estudiantes did a great job of protecting the ball, turning the ball over only 11 times, and at the free throw line they were golden, hitting 13 of 15.
For Extrugasa, the best effort was probably from Taru Tuukkanen, an Extrugasa veteran who scored nine points and seven rebounds. Elisha Turek, a graduate of Oral Roberts University in 2007, scored seven points and five rebounds. Fellow Brasilian Katia Da Silva scored four points.
The only player to score in double digits was Iziane Castro Marques, with 10 points. But she had five turnovers and only shot 31 percent from the field, shooting 4-for-13 (the most shots taken by any player on Extrugasa). She also had four fouls and probably hurt Extrugasa more than helping it.
The visitors were led by Elin Eldebrink of Sweden, who scored 15 points. Laura Herrera would add 14 points and Sandra Ygueravide scored 13 points. Brooke Wykcoff of the Chicago Sky and Leah Rush of Oklahoma University and (briefly) the Chicago Sky, added seven and four points respectively.
Extrugasa is willing to spend the money, it seems, to avoid relegation. But can they save the morale of the team and their fans?
There have been quite a few of the college basketball websites that have spoken about how much Kay Yow meant to the world not just of women's college basketball, but college basketball, period. Kay Yow died this morning. She was 66.
I wanted to find a few quotes from Kay Yow. Instead, I was fortunate enough to find a long interview from Coach Yow. So I'm just going to let Coach Yow speak her own words.
One of the common themes from television commentators today was that Kay Yow was an extraordinary and wonderful person, a person whose death diminishes the mass of humanity. After reading the linked interview...I understand why.
(* * *)
"They tried to explain to me what expectations were. And when people laid them out and there are rules and regulations and guidelines, that's what you do. There is a process to change those things, but just not to do them is not the process."
"I know if I ever complained my mom she would let me say what I would say, but then she might remind me, "Kay, the man without shoes felt bad until he met the man without feet."
"If you don't have something good to say about somebody, then don't say anything. It's hurtful. It tears people down, and the idea is to build people up. So you shouldn't be negative in that way about people."
"I just have a love for competition, and I feel it's a love in the right direction because I think competing with people rather than against people, it's just a mindset. It's how you arrange your mind about competition. I don't think you can perform as well when you go out with a mindset, 'I'm going to complete against these people.' It's nothing against anybody that you're competing with, but that's what you're doing, competing with them. You just give the best that you have and they give the best they have, and if at the end you've even gotten a little bit better because of that experience in itself. You know there can be only one winner on the score board, but there could be all winners, as people."
"Well, my philosophy on leadership—leadership is influence, and even greater, it's an inspiring influence. I'd have to say my leadership is probably based a lot on the word love. I have a strong faith, and in the Bible, in First Corinthians, chapter thirteen, there's a chapter that describes love, that entire chapter. It has a section where it starts saying love is kind, love is patient, love is self control, and when you go through that if you think of what they are talking about, or what God is talking about love to be, [it's] a leader. You can put, 'a leader is kind.' 'A leader is patient.' 'A leader is self control.' 'A leader is honest and truthful.' A leader is all of these things, and I feel that if leadership is based in love and service, this is my idea. "
"When I came to NC State, the thing that I hated most of all was we added women's varsity teams and we didn't add sports information people. We didn't add people in the equipment room. We didn't add in the cafeteria. We didn't add anywhere, in the strength training, I mean we didn't add personnel, but we added people that all of those people had to service and take care of and still get paid the same amount of money but additional load. Well, I saw that right away, and I knew that is a tough situation. I didn't make that decision. That's just the decision that had to be made at that time. NC State was wanting to give women an opportunity to play at the varsity level, and this is the only way they could do it at that time. So I knew from the beginning that some people would have some hard feelings, and understandably so. I always was just as cordial as I could be to everybody because I was understanding of that, and I tried not to ask for things that we really didn't need, only for things that we needed at that time. "
"Well, we become so much more visible. So many more people know what is happening with basketball. Then people want to get involved in it, and then everything with men's sports and men's basketball become our challenges. Everything. All of it. "
"Yes. Money, recruiting, everything. People have higher expectations because of more visibility. More people, then more temptation to get in the gray area for recruiting and then need more money. "
"It's almost like we need a psychiatrist, a sociologist, we need a social science person. We need all these people together to answer this question for us. I really feel that way. I would like for them to tell us why they won't accept women in sports. I'm not really sure of the people who are just head strong against women in sport. Everything that we have used to justify men in sports in higher institutions of learning has been about what they will get from the experience, the qualities and characteristics that will be developed to help them to be a success, and that they're the lifeline and sort of the heartbeat of the university. They are the school spirit. It's where it comes from. So why that wouldn't be for all people is an absolute mystery to me. It's just a societal, attitudinal problem. It will take generations to erase that, and we simply can't, I feel, do that much about it for those people until other generations come, and when they come into the world this is just the way it is. They don't know any other way. There's too many people still living that know other ways. It wasn't like this. "
"I have received letter after letter after letter of people who have thanked me for speaking out, and how much it has helped them. They say I've encouraged and motivated them in their own battle just from speeches I've given or from interviews that I've had or whatever. And then this past November, 2004, I had a diagnosis of a recurrence of breast cancer. Now the same thing. People call. People write. I meet people on the street. I just met someone yesterday who stopped me. She just wanted to thank me for being a role model. She's had breast cancer. It's been about a year, and she's open with it, and she's fighting it she says because I inspired her to do it. That makes me feel good, and I'm really glad because I know that people who stay positive and people who do what they can do, and they just stay strong and courageous, they have their best shot. And if I can help people to have that kind of mindset and that kind of attitude and to go on with their life I think they have the best chance. So I'm really glad to be a part of that, and I'll just continue to speak at places about it, to be a part of races that raise money for cancer research."
"I once read something that said the first third of your life is about learning. The second third is about earning, and the third part is about returning. Somehow I sort of think there's a lot of truth in that, though I think learning is a lifetime process so you never stop, but perhaps the main focus early is learning, and then you have that period of your life the main focus is earning, and then the last, the main focus is returning or serving...."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Don't say San José didn't work for it.
It doesn't matter who you throw at Ros Casares (15-1) - except for Perfumerias or the Euroleague, Ros Casares has always managed to come up triumphant. The domination of the Liga Feminina continues with an 83-62 trumping of San José (8-8).
The box score is here.
In this game, El Ros didn't waste any time at all: they outscored San José 33-13 in the first quarter. We've seen teams all year that couldn't score 33 points in three quarters, much less one quarter. After that, Ros Casares simply played at the pace of San José, matching them pretty much the rest of the game and coasting to victory.
Ros Casares would shoot 53 percent from the field, including 6-for-15 from the 3-point line. San José would shoot 44 percent, but it clearly wasn't enough. Both teams were dead even in rebounding, but turnovers killed San José, a team which would go on to lose the ball 26 times in the game.
Granted, San José had the typical imports. Eshaya Murphy, a guard for the Washington Mystics would lead San José with 18 points and eight rebounds, but would turn the ball over six times. The only otehr player who would score in double digits for San José is Cindy Garcia with 10 points. Kimberly Butler out of Oregon State in 2006 would only score six points and four rebounds, and Shona Thorburn would only score two points in 16 minutes of play. Thorburn last played on the Seattle Storm in 2007.
Ros Casares had another excellent game. Jana Vesala's 15 points, 4 assists and eight steals would lead all players. Delisha Milton-Jones would score 16 points and five rebounds. Anna Montañana scored 12 points. With output coming all around from Ros Casares, the typical leaders - Amaya Valdemoro and Erika de Souza - only scored eight and seven points respectively. They didn't need to work hard.
Next week: Perfumerias, in second place, comes to visit Ros Casares for what will undoubtedly be the match of the year. Perfumerias is currently 13-2 and in second place, and they are the only team that has beaten Ros Casares in Liga Feminina play, winning 91-86 at Perfumerias in October. This should be a great game.
For just a couple of years together....
There's a rumor that Tina Thompson, formerly the face of the Houston Comets, will be hooking up with Lisa Leslie as the newest member of the Los Angeles Sparks. What makes this potential signing particularly interesting is that Leslie and Thompson are 1-2 in career points in the WNBA.
I decided to look only among the top 16 scorers in WNBA history and see if any of them had played on teams with each other. I then determined the combined career points of those players - even if they only played together briefly. (Why the top 16? I wanted an easy to calculate Top 10 List.)
Here are the teams - and the years - you had to be watching if you wanted to see the WNBA's top career scorers playing on the same team (*):
1. Lisa Leslie, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Mwadi Mabika, Sparks (2005-06) - 13,456 career points
2. Sheryl Swoopes, Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith, Storm (2008) - 13,425 career points
3. Lisa Leslie, Delisha Milton-Jones and Mwadi Mabika, Sparks (2000-04) - 13,087 career points
4. Tina Thompson and Sheryl Swoopes, Comets (1997-2000, 2002-07) -10,028 career points
5. Katie Smith and Betty Lennox, Lynx (2000-02) - 8,556 career points
6. Yolanda Griffith and Tangela Smith, Monarchs (2000-04) - 8,342 career points
7. Lauren Jackson and Betty Lennox, Storm (2004-07) - 8,081 career points
8. Chamique Holdsclaw and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Sparks (2007) - 7,737 career points
9. Nykesha Sales and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Miracle/Sun (1999-2006) - 7,717 career points
10. Vickie Johnson and Becky Hammon, Liberty (1999-2005), Silver Stars (2007-08) - 7,515 career points
* - Top 16 Career Scorers only considered
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Maccabi Ramat Hen (9-2) was hoping to break the logjam of 8-2 teams at the top of the Israel Women's D1 League. They're still waiting for Shay Doron, but it didn't matter - this was the first regular season game with Ivory Latta, and the opponent was short-handed (I don't know why) Hapoel Tel Aviv (2-9). They proceeded to whip up on the home team 91-42.
The box score is here.
What's to say? The high point for Tel Aviv was when they scored 13 points in the first quarter - but Ramat Hen had scored 27. If there was any thought of sportsmanship, it would have to be in the fact that 35 of Ramat Hen's points were scored off the bench.
This game reminds me of the first game that the Dream played against the Sparks in Atlanta - Ramat Hen shot 54 percent to 26 percent shooting from Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv was rebounded by 50-29 - that's a college basketball score, North Carolina vs. Podunk State. Tel Aviv only got a chance to shoot two free throws - and only hit one of them.
A further complication was the fact that Tel Aviv only had six players. Leading - and really carrying - Tel Aviv was Diamond Rogers. Rogers graduated from the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2008 and scored 24 points, with 9 for 20 shooting, hitting five 3-point field goals and pulling down eight rebounds. However, no other Tel Aviv player broke single digits.
For Ramat Hen, there were a lot of points and minutes to spread around. Michal Epstein was the point leader with 17 points and seven rebounds. Tamara James scored 13 points for Ramat Hen. James last played for the Washington Mystics in 2007. LaToya Pringle scored 10 points, eight rebounds, and four assists for the visitors. Pringle is currently playing for the Phoenix Mercury.
How well did Ivory Latta do? She played 18 minutes, and scored 10 points and six assists, taking six shots. That's a good debut for limited minutes.
As for Shay Doron, her joining Ramat Hen has hit a snag. Her old club doesn't want to give her up and is appealing to FIBA. We'll find out two things in the future: a) the conclusion to this drama, and b) how well Israel's news supplies game pictures.
All birthdays require at least ONE embarassing picture.
Chantelle Anderson hits the big 2-8 today. We either will, or won't see her in a Dream uniform this year, but I'm betting that the answer to that is that we will. Happy Birthday, and have lots of fun!
...and finally purchased Statis Pro Basketball off Ebay.
Your first question is probably, "what the hell is Statis Pro Basketball?" Well, back in the days before there was NBA Live 09 on your XBox, there were still people out there interested in recreating the experience of a professional basketball game. With no computers, however...how did they do that?
The answer was that they did it with specialized cards. Each player has a specialized card that contains ranges of numbers corresponding to his (this game is meant to re-create the NBA) ability to shoot, assist, steal, be charged with a foul, etc. A specialized deck of cards called the Fast Action Deck moves the game along.
The game went out of print when computers (usually, for the worse) took over the course of simulation sports gaming. However, there are a few hardcore aficionados out there who still have their games and still play the game.
Furthermore, there is an amazing man called Phil Graham who is not only keeping Statis Pro Basketball alive, but taking it to new heights. He has specialized cards for WNBA players and specialized Fast Action Decks meant to guide the two half, 20-minute days of the WNBA for seasons up to 2005.
So what happened that made me purchase this game? Frisco Del Rosario wrote about his replaying the 2008 Phoenix Mercury season using Statis Pro Basketball. He wanted to replay Phoenix's season thusly:
Theory: The 2008 Phoenix Mercury would've fared better than 16-18 if:
1) Rookie forward/center Brooke Smith had played 700 minutes instead of 100; and
2) The ball were in point guard Kelly Miller's hands more often.
However, with his women's college basketball reporting, he's had to put this project on hold. Still, in eleven games he's managed to win one more game than that actual Mercury of 2008.
My plans are different - I want to create a fictional college basketball season at a mid-major, and maybe do some fiction writing. We'll see how that progresses. I hope to have my game in a few days....
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
There are two opinions about the Superleague A Russia. The first is that it's as good as the WNBA. The second is that it's better than the WNBA. Given that fact, Nadezhda Orenburg (5-6) was looking forward to playing a team that wasn't stocked with current and potential WNBA superstars. Furthermore, Betty Lennox and Shameka Christon finally got their travel papers in order. All of that added up to a 87-66 win over home team Spartak-St. Petersburg (1-10) in front of a crowd of 750 spectators.
The boxscore is here.
St. Petersburg managed to keep up with Nadezhda for one quarter, and actaully led 18-17. But in the second quarter, St. Petersburg was held to just eight points as Nadezhda took a 43-26 lead. St. Petersburg came out fast and scored 27 points in the third quarter, closing to within 63-53. The home team, however, couldn't keep up with Nadezhda and St. Petersburgh flattened out in the fourth quarter, scoring just 13 points.
Nadezhda must have been looking forward to this game, as they shot 54 percent from the field compared to St. Petersburg's 36 percent. It appears that St. Petersburg beat Nadezhda in offensive rebounding by a score of 15-7, if "CHSCH" stands for offenseive rebounding. At the free throw line, Nadhezhda was dominant, scoring 14 of 16 shots.
Most of the work of St. Petersburgh came from the "four Olgas", as Olga Speranskaya (16), Olga Yakovleva (15), and Olga Firsova (11) all scored in double figues. Olga Gritsaeva would score 9 rebounds, matched only by Olga Yakovleva.
Betty Lennox got back to work in earning her money, scoring 30 points on 12 for 20 shooting, with six defensive rebounds. Tamane Zane would score 17 points and Shameka Christon added 13 points. Anastasia Veremeenko would add seven points and 12 rebounds for the eventual winners.
"We're always working to see if we can get an NBA game or a WNBA game here, and we think we're getting close to that too,” Hanson said.
I think Kansas just got that much cooler. You know, if the W wants to expand and someone in Kansas has the money....
Name every head coach that has led a team to a WNBA championship.
Houston Comets (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000) :
Los Angeles Sparks (2001, 2002):
Detroit Shock (2003, 2006, 2008):
Seattle Storm (2004):
Sacramento Monarchs (2005):
Phoenix Mercury (2007):
(Answers in comments.)
Paleo Faliro (10-5) hoped to stay in third place in the A1 Greek Women's League all by itself, but they would have to come visiting hungry fourth-place Panathinaikos (10-4) to stay there. Paleo Faliro had a horrible second quarter that they couldn't climb out of - no matter how hard Panathinaikos tried to let them - and lost third place to the home team by a score of 58-51.
The box score is here.
Paleo Faliro managed to keep up with the home squad and were only down by five at the end of the first quarter, 22-17. Unfortunately, Panathinaikos would outscore Paleo Faliro 25-8 in the second quarter and put Paleo Faliro down by 22 points at halftime, 47-25. However:
- Panathinaikos would only score six points in the second quarter. Paleo Faliro wouldn't catch the hint...they only scored ten themelves, and were still down 53-35.
- Panathinaikos decided to give the vistors a stronger hint. They only scored FIVE points in the fourth quarter, and only scored 11 points in the second half of the game. Paleo Faliro woke up but could only close the gap to seven points at the end.
Panathinaikos's 42 percent shooting managed to eclipse Paleo Faliro's 32 percent shooting. Paleo Faliro won the battle of offensive rebounds 20-15 - but did Panathinaikos even try to rebound in the second half? There might have been some hope that Paleo Faliro could win it at the foul line, a place they visited 19 times compared to Panathinaikos's six times - but Paleo Faliro only shot 10 from 19 from the free throw line.
Three players scored in double figures for Panathinaikos. Erin Thorn scored 15 points and nine rebounds, but shot 7-for-21. Thorn currently plays for the WNBA's New York Liberty, and will play for the Chicago Sky in 2009. Ekateri Spartharou scored 10 points in just 14 minutes of play. Anastasia Kostaki scored 10 points and five rebounds. Kristen Rasmussen would score just four points and play for only nine minutes. (Maybe she's depressed about being waived by the Minnesota Lynx a few weeks ago.)
Teana Miller would try to carry Paleo Faliro on her back, scoring 25 points and 14 rebounds. Unfortunately, no other Paleo Faliro play would come to within double figures. Kristin Haynie would score only three points in 30 minutes of play. Fotoula Volonaki scored seven points and nine rebounds for Paleo Faliro.
Paleo Faliro now has to travel to (currenty, as of this writing) undefeated Athinaikos on Sunday. Good luck, Kristin!
P. S.: Shout out to Rebecca for the corrections.
I was reading the good ol' WNBA message boards and bemoaning the fact that Alison Bales got traded to the Phoenix Mercury. One of the wiser posters, Richyyy, stated that it was most likely that Atlanta's embarassment of riches - due to Holdsclaw possibly playing and the acquisition of Lyttle - meant that the Dream had to jettison someone from an overcrowded boat, and that Bales drew the short straw.
As for the #18 pick we received in return, Richyyy surmised that it was most likely the person coming to camp would not be signed, thus allowing the Dream to get rid of Bales's salary without taking on any obligations in return. But this led me to ask myself a question ...how many #18 picks have ever seen time in a WNBA uniform?
The answer might surprise you: all of them! Let's go through the list:
1. Chantel Tremitiere (1997) - Tremitiere came in with a slew of great players in that first draft year. Unfortunately, she was outclassed. She played one year for the Utah Starzz, and then played two more years for the Sacramento Monarchs. Acquired in the expansion draft in 2000 by the Indiana Fever, she played one more year before retiring with an ankle injury.
She played one season with the Shreveport Aftershock as quarterback in the Independent Women's Football League in 2007 - at 37 years old.
2. Andrea Kuklova (1998) - Kuklova played two seasons with the Phoenix Mercury - in the second season she only played five games. She continues to play basketball in Europe and owns a pension (sort of a bed and breakfast) in Slovakia.
3. Michele Van Gorp (1999) - Van Gorp played six years in the WNBA, first with the New York Liberty, then with the Portland Fire, and the final four with the Minnesota Lynx. Her best years were with Minnesota, but she was never a superstar. A stress fracture in her foot suffered with the Lynx in 2004 led to her retirement and an eventual lawsuit against the Lynxy's medical staff. She's probably best known for being the WNBA's first openly gay player.
4. Tonya Washington (2000) - Washington played for the Washington Mystics from 2000 to 2002, and was traded mid-season in 2003 to the Seattle Storm. In all of her years, she was a "below replacement level" player. In 2004, she was playing in Europe, but she disappears from the radar after that.
5. Tammy Sutton-Brown (2001) - Sutton-Brown played for the Charlotte Sting until the team folded in 2006, and then moved her skills over to the Indiana Fever, where she still plays.
6. Lenae Williams (2002) - Williams played the 2002 season for the Detroit Shock. She would be traded to the Phoenix Mercury after the 2003 training camp, be picked up by the Charlotte Sting and Indiana Fever, and never play a minute for any of those latter three teams. She is currently playing for Mondeville in the French league.
7. Jordan Adams (2003) - Adams played one season for the Lynx in 2003. She would be signed - then waived - by the Seattle Storm in 2006. Adams is currently a special education teacher.
8. Kelly Mazzante (2004) - Mazzante was drafted by the Charlotte Sting. After the Sting folded, she picked up with Phoenix and has played there ever since. Mazzante has had a couple of decent WNBA years.
9. Angelina Williams (2005) - Williams played for the Mercury in 2005 and the Shock in 2006. In her rookie year with Phoenix, she only shot 30 percent from the field. The last time she was seen in 2008, she was playing for the Tampa X-Factor of the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League.
10. Liz Moeggenberg (2006) - Moeggenberg played a couple of years for the Chicago Sky. She is currently playing for Tarbes in the French League.
11. Tyresa Smith (2007) - Smith played for the Shock in 2007 - for a grand total of seven minutes. She was signed as a free agent in 2008, but waived two months later. That winter she played for Novosibirsk in the Superleague A Russia; it is unknown with what team she's playing now.
12. Olayinka Sanni (2008) - Played for the WNBA Champion Detroit Shock in 2008. So what will happen to her in 2009?
In other words, even if the #18 pick doesn't play for the Dream, she might play somewhere. But as you see, not all #18 picks are Tammy Sutton-Brown.
The newest version of the WNBA Draft Order after the Bales-to-Phoenix trade.
8. New York
9. Washington (from Los Angeles)
13. Los Angeles (San Antonio to Atlanta, then Atlanta to Los Angeles)
14. San Antonio (from Atlanta)
17. Connecticut (from Minnesota) *
18. Atlanta (from Phoenix)
21. New York
22. Los Angeles
23. Minnesota (from Connecticut) *
24. Washington (from Detroit)
25. Atlanta (from Seattle)
26. San Antonio
34. Phoenix (from New York)
35. Los Angeles
39. San Antonio
* - Conditional. Connecticut has the right to swap second round picks with Minnesota; we can only assume that they will.
What I expected has come to pass. Alison Bales is no longer a member of the Atlanta Dream. That probably leaves Chantelle Anderson and Katie Mattera to share the role of center. In exchange, the Dream get Phoenix's second round pick. (I'll post the new draft order later.)
I think it was a mistake. Bales was one of the best things that happened to the Dream. Oh well, our loss is Phoenix's gain. Good luck Alison, and thank you for your play and for the memories.
"Hey, why take unnecessary chances?"
1. Cheryl Ford * (4817)
2. Nakia Sanford * (3754)
3. Katie Mattera * (2213)
4. Alisa Burras (2052)
5. Sancho Lyttle * (1835)
6. Pollyanna Johns-Kimbrough (1730)
7. Vanessa Hayden * (1673)
8. Chantelle Anderson * (1571)
9. Kara Wolters (1290)
10. Bernadette Ngoyisa * (1116)
* - denotes active player
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
What does the future hold for #23?
Tamera Young's first season in the WNBA was sort of a work in progress. Her Player Efficiency Rating (PER) was 9.309 in 2008, a rating that suggested that if Young were anything other than a first round draft pick, she'd be suffering the fate of Kristen Mann, playing the "have-team-will-travel" game that lower echelon WNBA players play.
So how well will Tamera Young be doing in 2009? Normally, you could use a system like the Simple Projection System, the system I used for Chamique Holdsclaw and Nikki Teasley. However, we have a problem - Tamera Young has only played one year, so we can't predict Tamera's future by looking at Tamera's past. So what do we look at?
We could look at similarity scores - find players which are similar to Tamera Young, and then see how those players developed in their second year. However, similiary scores have normally been used to compare careers - the most similar player to Tamera Young careerwise is Crystal Kelly, a forward who is also in her first year of play.
Let's look at parts of careers. We'll compare Tamera Young, who was about 21 in 2008, and see how similar she has been to other players in history who were also 21.
One problem we've had in similarity scores is that it doesn't consider height, which should be very important. I added the rule:
* Subtract one point for each difference of 1" in height
...and looked at the players similar to Tamera Young when they were age 21:
This list ought to raise some questions: Ruth Riley? Sandrine Gruda? How similar is a forward to a center, or a guard-forward?
I therefore further adjusted the similarity score depending on what position the player played.
For players of different positions, one subtracts a value equivalent to the difference in the positions listed: Comparing a forward (100) to a guard (20) subtracts a difference of 80 points in similarity - quite a bit - whereas when comparing a forward to a forward-center or guard-forward subtracts a difference of 40 points of similarity.
The values, now adjusted for position:
The great thing about the list is that in the list above all players except for Crystal Kelly have played more than one year. We can therefore compare how well they performed in Year One vs. Year Two. We'll average the percentage changes to see what kind of values we get:
The drop in eight percent is roughly similar to the median value, which would be a drop in slightly more than three percent. The only players on the list that had significant better years in their second year than they did in their first are Asjha Jones and Brooke Wyckoff. Most of the time, players similar to Tamera Young did worse in their second year than they did in their first.
Is this something specific to Tamera Young, or would this be true of any player? I suspect that players as a whole do worse in their second WNBA year than they do in their first. Baseball calls it the "sophomore jinx". When a player is performing in her first year, she's an unknown quantity - a coach can tell you all the stuff in the world about how she players, but her opponents have never experienced her play. In the player's second year, the opponent has practical knowledge and puts it to use. The newness has also worn off of a WNBA career, and enthusiasm flags once you come to terms with facing the same old drag all over again.
So what will Tamera Young's PER probably be in 2009? Somewhere around 8.561, probably still scrounging for minutes. Tamera didn't have to fight for minutes last year because we didn't have anyone better to give minutes to. But with a lineup with maybe Sancho Lyttle or Chamique Holdsclaw or Angel McCoughtry? Tamera Young's learning curve has just become that much tougher.
Bring your mouth guard.
(Note: since nothing is going on in the WNBA right now - and I mean nothing - I'm going to fill the hours with posting some very weird WNBA career and season statistics.)
Most Personal Fouls Per Minute Played in WNBA Career *
1. Tausha Mills, 0.248
2. Vanessa Hayden, 0.224
3. Summer Erb, 0.210
4. Katye Christensen, 0.198
5. Teana Miller, 0.192
6. Jennifer Lacy, 0.187
7. Heidi Burge, 0.185
8. Jessie Hicks, 0.181
9. Tasha Humphrey, 0.179
10. Maylana Martin, 0.177
* - minimum 500 career minutes
Monday, January 19, 2009
There are seven WNBA players who have been listed at either 5'2" or 5'3" tall at some time during their careers. You certainly can't look down (figuratively speaking) on any of the players listed below - but can you tell me who they are?
1. Who says small women aren't tough? She got suspended by the WNBA this year for her role in a fight.
2. Worked at a resort in Vermont before playing in WNBA its inaugural year.
3. Played alongside tallest player in WNBA history in 1999 - she has the longest career of the height-challenged players and 16 career blocked shots.
4. You might see her in Indiana next year if you look closely. In a sense, she's the opposite of #3.
5. She was a Rookie of the Year.
6. The last we saw of her (!) was when she was waived by two teams in 2004 two years after playing her last WNBA minute.
7. Lady Lion who played in WNBA's inaugural year.
Incidentally, all of these women have at least one career blocked shot. "The more you know...."
Update: Answers will be in the comments section.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Greek Women's A1: Panathinaikos (9-4) vs. Paleo Faliro (10-4)
Superleague A Russia: Spartak-St. Petersburg (1-9) vs. Nadezhda Orenburg (4-6)
Israel D1: Maccabi Ramat Hen (8-2) vs. Hapoel Tel Aviv (2-8)
LFB (Spain): San Jose (8-7) vs. Ros Casares (14-1)
LFB (Spain): Extrugasa (2-12) vs. Estudiantes (3-12)
PLKK: Rybnik (10-6) vs. Wisła (13-3)
TBBL: Samsun (8-3) vs. Beşiktaş (8-3)
Greek Women's A1: Paleo Faliro (10-4) vs. Athinaikos (14-0) *
* - Standings as of January 18, 2009
A picture of Kristin Haynie! From the Ano Liosa game, but still...!
Paleo Faliro (10-4) picked up their 10th win of the year against visiting Megas Alexandros (3-10) by a score of 75-55 in a game where it didn't seem as if Paleo Faliro was in much danger. Paleo Faliro should at least be able to hang onto fourth place in the Greek Women's A1 as the second half of the Greek season gets underway.
The boxscore is here.
Paleo Faliro took a 24-11 lead at the end of the first quarter which it extended to 25 points at halftime, 46-21. Megas Alexandros managed to stage a mini-rally in the third quarter and closed the gap to 11 points, 57-46. Unfortunately for the visitors, they were held to just nine points in the final ten minutes and Paleo Faliro cruised to a victory.
Not only did Paleo Faliro out-shoot Megas Alexandros 46 percent to 36 percent, Megas Alexandros would only attempt eight 3-point shots and hit only two of them. Megas Alexandros was marginally outrebounded by the home team but turned the ball over more often than Paleo Faliro. Megas Alexandros was kept in the game by being sent to the free throw line 22 times, but they only hit 15 of their short. Paleo Faliro had a better showing, shooting 10-for-13.
Eleni Vlani scored 15 points for Paleo Faliro, but the best performance was probably that of Teana Miller, who scored 12 points in only 15 minutes of play, with seven rebounds. Karen Mourd would score 11 points for Paleo Faliro, with five of those points being fre ethows. After her amazing game of a week before, Kristin Haynie would only score four points in 14 minutes of play, with three assists.
Megas Alexandros - a team of Greek nationals - was led by Zoi Dimitrakou with 20 points and 18 rebounds - but she shot 5-for-17 from the floor and made 10 of her 20 points on free throws. Iro Koufogianni (one of the Koufogianni sisters?) scored 16 points and 12 rebounds for the second double-double of the game. (Tatiana Zotova of Paleo Faliro had 10 rebounds but only three points.) Niki Tsakiridou would also score 10 points for the visitors.
Pictures? Santa didn't give me any pictures, although I keep looking.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Extrugasa (2-12) had to wait a week before the debut of Iziane Castro Marques. You would think that that the Spanish media would be all over their match with Celta (8-7), but despite a week of rest, Extrugasa fell short in a 61-60 loss on the road.
The boxscore is here.
I can't find any information about this very close game. The quarter-by-quarter boxscore is very interesting, to say the least. Celta took an 18-13 lead after the first quarter, but the second quarter was a time warp for both teams. Celta was held to six points in the second quarter, and halftime ended with a 25-24 Extrugasa lead. In the third quarter, Extrugasa scored 20 points, the most points that had been scored by either team in a quarter, and Extrugas took a 45-37 lead into the final quarter.
Doesn't this sound like an Extrugasa win? No? Well, you must have figured out that Celta came back to beat Extrugasa by one point. I'm sure there's a spectacular story about Extrugasa's last-second comeback, but you won't even find it on the feb.es website.
Guess we have to go to the box score. Celta put nine players on the floor. Eight scored. Extrugasa put eight players on the floor. Seven scored.
What happened to Mandisa Stevenson? Extrugasa is already planning on throwing her through the club's revolving door. What happened to Tara Tuukkanen? She's "with her selection", whatever that means.
This left fifteen players, more or less, for both teams. Celta shot 41 percent from the field to Extrugasa's 37 percent. Both teams were almost equal in offensive rebounding. Extrugasa had only 11 turnovers for the game, which helped them keep up with Celta.
Extrugasa would be sent to the free throw line by Celta 22 times - and only hit 11 of them. If Extrugasa were an American college team, they'd be washing their own practice gear. Celta has no reason to laugh - they were 6-of-18 from the free thow line, the worst free throw shooting I've ever seen, only 33 percent. And despite shooting 33 percent from the line, Celta still won.
Leading for Celta were Agne Ciudariene with 17 points and eight rebounds, and Maja Miljovic with 12 points. For Extrugasa, four players scored in double figures, led by Iziane Castro Marques with 16 points and four steals. Unfortunately, this was gained by 6-for-17 shooting, a horrible performance where she hit 1 of 5 free thows. Elisha Turek would make her debut with 11 points and 15 rebounds - maybe Turek will hang around and Jlakin Zlatanova would score 13 points.
There probably won't be any pictures. I expect the FEB wants Extrugasa to play under an assumed name.
P. S.: Finally! Some information from p_d_swanson from RebKell about the finish: "Maja Miljovic's free throw with four seconds left capped an 11-2 finish as Celta edged Extrugasa." Well, then.
Cadi La Seu (4-11) hoped that they could at least approach the Hondarribias and San Josés of the Liga Feminina, and still hopes that they can sneak into eighth place. But traveling to Ros Casares (14-1) and beating them at home isn't easy. Ros Casares outshot and outran Cadi La Seu on the way to a 107-71 victory.
The boxscore is here.
El Ros opened up the game with a 36 point first quarter and led by eighteen points at the end of the first quarter. They took an 11-0 lead and forced Cadi La Seu to take a time out in their first two minutes. By halftime, the score was 61-38 and the rout was on. Ros Casares won every quarter of the game, despite scoring only 20 points in the final quarter.
Cadi La Seu had no problems with accuracy - they shot 53 percent and Ros Casares shot 56 percent - but Cadi La Seu would only get up 49 shots. Ros Casares made 46 field goal attempts, and Cadi La Seu was simply overwhelmed. Why didn't Cadi La Seu shoot more? Probably because they never had the ball. Cadi La Seu turned the ball over 34 times, which I think is the most that I've seen from a team all year.
The lead players for Ros Casares were Amaya Valdemoro and Erika de Souza. Valdemoro scored 25 points and De Souza scored 17 points and had seven rebounds. Delisha Milton-Jones would contribute 13 points and three rebounds and Candace Wiggins would have 13 points and six assists in an easy victory for Ros Casares.
Only eight players would take the court for Cadi La Seu. Marta Zurro scored 15 points and 10 rebounds for the game's only double-double, but she turned the ball over eight times. Kelly da Silva, a Brazilian player, would score eight points, six rebounds and four steals.
With the second round of play beginning in Turkey, Samsun (8-3) hoped to go on the road and deliver a defeat to traditional Turkish basketball power Galatasaray (7-3) on its own home court. It was a great game, but home field advantage proved decisive as Galatasaray held on for a three-point victory, 64-61. Samsun will now have to share second place with Beşiktaş and possibly Mersin, if Mersin beats Ceyhan today.
Galatasaray took a 9-2 lead to start the game but Adeola Olanewaju and Erlana Larkins turned on the defense and Samsun fought back to within two points at the end of the first, 21-19. Samsun managed to lead by one - 26-25 - at one point in the second quarter, but Galatasaray answered with a 6-0 run. Samsun managed another 31-31 tie but Galatasaray took a 38-34 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Galatasaray came out hot and managed to take a 12-point lead at one time, 48-36 - Samsun would be held to just eight points in the third quarter. Leading 54-44 in the fourth quarter, Samsun went on a 7-0 run to close within three, 54-51. Julia McBride would managed to score the basket that brought Samsun to a 56-56 tie, and Nihan Ahaz would score the next bucket to put Samsun up 58-56 late in the fourth quarter. A basket by Seimone Augustus tied the score at 58-58 and going down to the final minute Yasemin Horosan of Galatasaray scored again to give Galatasaray a 60-58 lead, and Samsun would never catch up.
Samsun beat Galatasaray in the shooting war 43 percent to 37 percent, but Galatasaray took more 3-point attempts. Galatasaray would beat Samsun on the offensive glass with 12 offensive rebounds to Samsun's seven. Furthermore, Samsun would send Galatasaray to the free throw line 17 times - Galatasary, however, would only hit 11 of those free throws, and Samsun would shoot 8-for-9 at the free throw line.
Turnovers killed Samsun. They turned the ball over 22 times, compared to Galatasaray's 14 times.
Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Spurs) led all performers for Galatasaray with 16 points and seven rebounds. Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx) would score 16 points as well, but only two rebounds. The only other Galatasaray player in double figures was Işil Aben with 12 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Kiesha Brown (Los Angeles Sparks) would score only two points in eight minutes of play, but earn three rebounds.
Nihan Anaz would take the lead for Samsun, scoring 16 poitns on 7-of-11 shooting but turning the ball over five times. Julie McBride would score 14 points and Erlana Larkins would score eight points and 11 rebounds, but they couldn't keep their hands on the ball either - McBride turned the ball over five times and Larkins turned the ball over four times.
Alison Bales would score only one point in 14 minutes of play. Good news: she didn't turn the ball over. Bad news: her name was misspelled as "Alison Babes" in the boxscore.
Jennifer Lacy introducing Jia Guang to WNBA-style play.
After losing the first game of the semifinals, Beijing needed a win to have a chance at being the first WCBA champion that wasn't either Bayi Telecom or Liaoning. They traveled to Liaoning for a must-win game, but fell 79-67. It was Beijing's second loss in a best-of-three series, and Beijing is officially eliminated from contention. Liaoning goes to the finals for the fourth straight year.
I managed to get Google Translate to give me a translated box score here. Your mileage may vary. If that link doesn't work, try this one.
So what happened? Beijing was missing leading scorer Zhang Wei because they leased her from Liaoning at the beginning of the season - obviously, she wasn't going to be allowed to play against a team that held her contract. Beijing managed to lead Liaoning 24-22 at the end of the first quarter, but in the second, Beijing was just held to 11 points and Liaoning took a 41-35 lead into the break.
Beijing fought back in the third quarter to cut the lead down to three points, 58-55 at the end of three quarters. Beijing would manage to close the gap to just one point, 62-61, with five minutes left, but Beijing would be outscored 17-6 in those final five minutes.
In terms of shooting, this was a premiere game from both sides. Liaoning shot 50 percent and Beijing shot 41 percent, but both teams shot over 50 percent from inside the 3-point arc. Both teams hit about 25 percent of their three pointers, but Beijing made 26 attempts to Liaoning's 11 (it only resulted in three extra hits for Beijing).
Beijing picked up more offensive rebounds, winning that battle almost by a 2-1 margin. Turnovers were even. What crushed Beijing was sending Liaoning to the line 26 times - and Liaoning hit 22 of their free throws, scoring at an 84 percent margin. Excellent shooting at the free throw lilne has sent Liaoning to the finals once again, where they will meet either Bayi Telecom or Jiangsu. (Bayi Telecom won their game, evening the Bayi Telecom/Jiangsu series at 1-1. The rubber game of the match is tomorrow.)
"Yang half with" - whoever she is - led Liaoning with 20 points. Tangela Smith scored 19 points and had seven rebounds, shooting 7-for-10 from the field. Ma Zengyu would also score 18 points for Liaoning.
As for Beijing, it was hoped that Zhang Fan would be a big force for the visitors, but she suffered an injury and only played seven minutes, scoring only six points. Zhang Lin would score 23 points and eight rebounds to lead all Beijing players. The only other player to score in double digits was "周宏华" with 12 points. Ten players would score points for Beijing, but Jennifer Lacy would only score five points in 32 minutes of play. Lacy also scored six rebounds and had four assists. For some mysterious reason, Lacy did not start.
(* * *)
So Jennifer Lacy's season is over, and she's theoretically free to return to the United States. However, through an act of ballot box stuffing, Lacy got enough votes to be named the starting center for the North All-Star Team of the WCBA. The WCBA plans on playing an All-Star Game on February 15th - if they can find someone who will host it.
Was today's game Jennifer Lacy's last game in China? Or will there be another?
No, I don't have a special feed to the Atlanta Dream website: the above is just an image of a new video blog from Atlanta's own Ivory Latta! Ivory tells us a bit about life overseas. So click the link, go to the website, and hear it from The Source.
Friday, January 16, 2009
On the message boards and elsewhere, there is a lot of speculation as to which players will end up on the Dream's roster in 2009 - particularly if it's true that WNBA rosters will shrink to 11 players.
However, the answer is right in front of us. There have been four players who have been advertised by the Dream all winter - heck, you see them every time you go to the Dream home page.
Everytime time the page loads, the random image of someone associated with the Dream pops up in the space at the top of the page. I've hit "refresh" 25 times and I get the same five people, over and over. Clearly, there's a consensus as to which persons will serve as the face of the 2009 Atlanta Dream.
Those persons are:
Marynell Meadors, the coach
Katie Mattera, who is still referred to as "Katie Feenstra"
Tamera Young, and...
...occasionally Betty Lennox will show up.
A lot of traditional sports fans decry WNBA team names which are usually singular nowns. Only four of the thirteen WNBA teams have names that end in the letter "s". When the Seattle Sonics moved to Oklahoma City, traditionalists were up in arms that the new name - the Thunder - was another non-plural noun.
Even though baseball and football don't have teams with non-plural nouns, basketball - a sport which only found itself on firm professional footing in the 1950s - has been more willing to experiment. In 1974, the New Orleans Jazz because one of the first major franchises without a traditional plural noun as a team name. In the late 80s, the Jazz (now in Utah) was joined by the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat.
Perhaps the reason so many WNBA teams have non-traditional names is because it isn't "traditional" for women to have a professional league of their own. If conventional wisdom was to be set on its ear by the WNBA, why not set aside the old naming conventions as well? Aside from soccer, non-traditional team names have also become synonymous with the WNBA.
Here are the origins of the team names of the thirteen WNBA teams:
Atlanta Dream - The nickname for the expansion Dream was chosen in a contest. The name is evocative of the famous "I Have a Dream" speech from Dr. Martin Luther King, the famous civil rights activist who was born in Atlanta.
Chicago Sky - The name was decided by the franchise and is evocative of the Chicago skyline. Chicago boasts three of the five world's tallest buildings.
Connecticut Sun - The team was originally named the Orlando Miracle, after its brother NBA team the Orlando Magic. It was then purchased by the Mohegan Native American tribe in Connecticut and renamed after the Mohegan Sun casino.
Detroit Shock - The name keeps with the automotive theme of its brother NBA team, the Detroit Pistons. Shock owner William Davidson is also the principal owner of the Pistons.
Indiana Fever - This rather generic name was chosen to evoke the feverous passion for basketball that exists in the state of Indiana. The team shared the colors of the NBA Indiana Pacers.
Los Angeles Sparks - From a quote from WNBA: A Celebration
"Los Angeles President Johnny Buss's inspiration was from an unlikely source. With a final deadline approaching, Buss was discussing the nickname while on the phone with the WNBA. At the same time, Brandi Bratcher, who worked for Buss, was on the phone with her dad, who was a welder. He suggested Sparks because, he said, when welding, sparks will fly and the basketball team should do the same thing. Buss was sold."
Minnesota Lynx - The name keeps with the wild animal theme of its brother NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Glen Taylor owns both the Lynx and the Timberwolves.
New York Liberty - The team derives its name from the Statue of Liberty, which is used as the Liberty's logo.
Phoenix Mercury - The team was formerly owned by Jerry Coangelo, who was the former owner of the Phoenix Suns. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. The name has a unique triple-meaning - the Mercury art deco logo is avocative of the vehicles of the 1950s such as the Ford Mercury, and Phoenix is known for its hot temperatures.
Sacramento Monarchs - The name keeps with the royalty theme of its brother NBA team, the Sacramento Kings. The Maloof family owns both the Kings and the Monarchs. The Monarchs logo also has the suggestion of the butterfly wings of the Monarch butterfly.
San Antonio Silver Stars - The team was originally named the Utah Starzz, to honor of the old ABA team the Utah Stars - the Stars was customized to "Starzz" because of the double-zz ending of the Utah Jazz, and both the Starzz and the Jazz were owned by the same owner in 1997. The team moved to San Antonio in 2003, and combined the silver color of the San Antonio Spurs with the "lone star" of Texas.
Seattle Storm - The Storm was named after the Seattle rainy weather. The name also was "what the team plans to do to the league".
Washington Mystics - The name keeps with the magical theme of its brother NBA team, the Washington Wizards. After 2005, the Wizards and Mystics were owned by separate companies.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Ekaterinburg (8-2) had no problem defeating Nadezhda Orenburg (4-6) by a score of 82-52 in front of an announced crowd of 3800 spectators. Ekaterinburg led 21-7 after the first quarter and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way.
Why was the win so easy? It was easy because neither Betty Lennox nor Shameka Christon played. Both had trouble getting their documentation in order on the way back to Nadezhda and didn't make it to the game in time. Christon is the leading scorer in the Superleague A Russia and we all know how good Bad Azz Betty is. With those two players missing, it's going to be tough to take on players like Deanna Nolan and Cappie Pondexter.
Name the five players in the WNBA (without looking at basketball-reference) who have scored over 1000 free throws in a career. We'll give you some hints:
1. MBA and MVP
2. Three Gold Medals
3. ABL Player
5. Three Silver Medals
Name the four players who have played in every season of the WNBA.
1. Friend of Dikembe Mutombo
2. Three-time All Star
3. Listed in last question
4. Champion long jumper
Name the other four players (excluding the above four) who have played both in 1997 and 2008:
1. Rough girl
2. First dunker
4. She's a Trotter
FIBA has just opened up All-Star Voting for Euroleague players, so if you're following Euroleague (and I am), be sure to vote.
There are three Dream players on the ballots, so be sure to stuff the ballot boxes. Of course, things are weird for all the players:
Erika de Souza is listed as a European player, when she clearly belongs in the "Rest of the World" category, being from Brazil.
Iziane Castro Marques is still listed with Villeneuve d'Ascq instead of her new team, Extrugasa.
You can also vote for Chioma Nnamaka, even though the Pleasant Dreams blog will no longer be following her individual games.
Let's get another Dream All-Star. Hey, if Beijing fans were willing to stuff the ballot box in the WCBA to get Jennifer Lacy on the All-Star team, then why can't we do the same?
It is with a great amount of regret that I've pulled Rethinking Basketball from the link list.
It was probably one of the best women's basketball blogs out there, both for thoughtful writing and in-depth statistical analysis. Unfortunately, the author disappeared in September. I wrote him at the beginning of the month, asking if he'd ever update the blog - but I got no reply.
In science fiction, they call this "gafiating" - from GAFIA, or "get away from it all". Q has gone to the Glades of Gafia, and he will be missed.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Two members of the Dream family are saying goodbye, through no fault of their own. Chioma Nnamaka and Ann Strother have been waived.
For Chioma, everyone saw it coming. She had the lowest PER on the entire team. She scored the fewest points and played the fewest minutes. For Ann, I was surprised. She had a higher PER than Tamera Young, and she had a better overseas season than Young. But she only played 160 minutes to Young's 715, and Young was a first round draft choice. So that was that.
Whenever I see Chioma and Ann in my mind's eye, they'll always be wearing a Dream uniform. Best of luck and Godspeed in this world.
According to the linked article, Jennifer Lacy was just named the starting center of the North Team for the WCBA All-Star Game.
Guess Jennifer won't be coming home until after February 15th. Supposedly, there was some ballot-stuffing by Beijing fans - Yolanda Griffith of Henan ended up sixth or seventh. (Hands up - which one is better?) I enjoy the following commentary:
This shows that Internet voting is sometimes mischievous. However, Yolanda people do not attach importance to this, she is already the two Olympic champions, have been WNBA championship WCBA All-Star selection can not, can only say that the way this selection is very ridiculous.
Unfortunately, the WCBA faces a lot of problems of the WNBA: "WCBA All-Star Game to develop in February 15, 2009 held, but the venue has not yet been determined. It is understood that the Chinese Basketball Association wanted to get organized to give them 300,000 yuan to the contractor the race, but women's influence is limited, so far nobody wants to take over."
Liaoning needed to win two of three games against Beijing to go to the finals, but would have to travel to Beijing for the first game. They overcame that first obstacle by winning 81-74 on the road. Beijing will now have to win on Saturday and on Sunday in order to advance to the WCBA finals - one loss and Beijing is done for the season.
The translated boxscore is here.
Beijing had two problems. First, Beijing's main scorer Zhang Wei wasn't allowed to play - because she was leased (like a soccer player) at the beginning of the year from the Liaoning team. Second, Beijing was dominated in the paint due to Tangela Smith having a massive game. Beijing was able to keep up, behind 20-18 after the first quarter and 36-33 at haltime. Liaoning then turned on the full court press and Beijing began to fade away. They were down by eight (59-51) at the end of three quarters and never got an offensive rhythm.
Liaoning outshot Beijing 58 percent to 43 percent, but Liaoning took fewer shots - part of the disparity comes from Beijing's 5-for-18 performance at the boards. Liaoning only got four offensive rebounds compared to Beijing's 11 offensive rebounds. Furthermore, Liaoning turned the ball over more. Unfortunately for Beijing, they sent Liaoning to the free throw line 20 times and Liaoning hit 16 shots.
Zhang Fan led all Beijing players with 25 points, six assists and five rebounds. Sun Yu scored 12 points and 18 rebounds for Beijing. Two other players would score in double digits for Beijing, including Jennifer Lacy, who scored 10 points but only had two rebounds for Beijing.
Leading Liaoning - and dominating the game - was Tangela Smith with 27 points and 13 rebounds. She shot 12-for-15 in the game. Ma Zengyu scored 19 points in the game, and "Yang half with" scored 13 points and four rebounds.
I might have mentioned a couple of times in passing that it would be nice to have statistics of the players of the American Basketball League (1996-1998) available. For those unaware of the ABL's existence, it was actually founded before the WNBA - in fact, it was the ABL that was the impetus for David Stern to form the WNBA.
For two years, the league fought the WNBA for players, media exposure, and sponsors. The WNBA would emerge triumphant and the ABL would be forced to declare bankruptcy on December 22, 1998, in the middle of its 1998-99 season.
Was the internet around back then? Yes. But it was called the capital-I "Internet" and USEnet ruled the world. Most conversation didn't take place on messageboards, but in places called rec.something.somethingelse. Back then, if you had a 24K modem, you were the bee's knees.
So I told myself, "Okay, self, it's time to gather those ABL statistics and perform some analysis." But then I ran into a barrier. There is nothing harder to find in the world than ABL stats.
If you go to the old ABL page - you can only get there from Web Archive - you won't find season-by-season states (hey, even WNBA.com doesn't have those). And trust me, you don't want to read the Web Archive page. Some of the code there is corrupted and throws up the wrong graphics, revealing a particularly nasty picture not suitable for children or adults.
You can go to John Sage's Replica ABA Page to see what the old ABL page looked like when it was functional. But he doesn't have stats, either.
The Detroit Shock statistical warehouse has a list of all-time ABL leaders. But no season statistics, and no rosters.
The old page from CNN/SI still exists, giving a snapshot of what it looked like on that fateful December 22nd. But there are no team statistics, no hint of what the rosters looked like.
If you follow the old team pages - columbusquest.com, atlantaglory.com, etc. - they are occupied by cybersquatters or worse. Furthermore, if you go to Web Archive to locate the contents, columbusquest.com is blocked from archival by a robots.txt file.
Any stats on the old rec.sport.basketball pages? Nope.
Alright. Now we get desperate. Go to Ebay and look up "ABL" or "American Basketball League". You might get a few items of old memorabilia, but nothing substantive like a media guide.
What about old newspaper archives? Sorry. Those are hidden behind paywalls. And if they aren't hidden behind paywalls, they don't archive the six-point type that is found on the sports statistics pages.
What about The Sporting News archives? Please, don't make me laugh. The Sporting News would like to forget that women's basketball even exists.
So how could a fully functioning league with all kinds of internet followers simply disappear so completely from the internet, leaving only tantalizing scraps behind? It must have been an act of extermination. Martians. Martians, I tells ya!
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
At the imitation site to Basketball-Reference.com (note the missing dash in the URL which takes you to a completely different website that B-R.com), the idea of Similarity Scores for NBA players is developed.
Similarity Scores was designed to be a fair way to compare players by their career statistical lines. The idea is "start with 1000" points and then begin to take away points from points of difference. For example, if two players had career steals totals that were 20 steals apart, we would take one point away from the Similarity Score of the two players, reducing the total score to 999. We keep doing this for other statistics and come up with a numerical value for "how similar" one player is to another.
There are three faults to this method that should be made clear:
1. It doesn't take into account the "missing years" of certain ABL players for whom I don't have ABL stats.
2. It compares currently active players to players who have either retired or might have missed years due to absence, and
3. It does not account for player position. Guards are compared to both forwards and centers, instead of other guards. I might fix this in a future version.
Given that, I created a spreadsheet to calculate these scores, and then ran the players of the Atlanta Dream through it. These are the values I obtained:
The player most similar to Betty Lennox is Deanna Nolan (976.72).
The player most similar to Erica de Souza is Jessica Davenport (991.49).
The player most similar to Katie Mattera is Kara Braxton (984.05).
The player most similar to Ivory Latta is Sidney Spencer (993.87).
The player most similar to Alison Bales is Teana Miller (991.78).
The player most similar to Iziane Castro Marques is Edna Campbell (981.57).
The player most similar to Kristin Haynie is Annie Burgess (990.42).
The player most similar to Kasha Terry is Kelly Santos (996.49).
The player most similar to Ann Strother is Navonda Moore (996.54).
The player most similar to Tamera Young is Crystal Kelly (993.59).
The player most similar to Jennifer Lacy is Michelle Marciniak (990.61).
The player most similar to Chioma Nnamaka is Wendi Willits (999.15).
The player most similar to Chamique Holdsclaw is Natalie Williams (932.25).
The player most similar to Nikki Teasley is Kedra Holland-Corn (977.81).
The player most similar to Sancho Lyttle is Sharon Manning (986.68).
The player most similar to Chantelle Anderson is Clarisse Machanguana (994.31).
(* * *)
An interesting caveat on Similarity Scores: the true definition of a Hall-of-Famer is that there is no one who is truly similar to her. Note that the really good players (Lennox, Holdsclaw, Teasley) have a smaller degree of similarity to their next closest counterpart, whereas for Chioma Nnamaka we can find someone to within 0.85 similarity. For example, the player most similar to Lisa Leslie is Tina Thompson (864.05) - Thompson was the closest person the system could find.
Thought exercise: Suppose we took the 16 current (and possibly future) Atlanta Dream players up above and matched them against a team made up of their most similar players listed above.
Who would win the match? And why?