Saturday, February 28, 2009

LFB 21/2008 - Ros Casares 76, Estudiantes 54

It seems like the two Brazilian members of the Atlanta Dream are ready to help each other out. With Extrugasa (led by Iziane Castro Marques) failing to move up the league table, Ros Casares (20-1) and Erika de Souza shove Estudiantes (4-17) into the 14th and final slot of the Liga Feminina with a 76-54 victory.

For Nikki Teasley, it was an ugly introduction to Liga Feminina play. Teasley played 16 minutes and didn't score a single point.

It was the 17th straight Liga Feminina regular season win for Ros Casares. Ros Casares only needs to win three of the five remaining games to clinch the first seed in the post-season playoffs, which will be a fine consolation after being knocked out of Euroleague.

The box score is here.

El Ros won every quarter. They led 42-27 at halftime, extended their lead to 61-40 after three quarters, and cruised to victory with little effort.

Ros Casares hit 48 percent of their shots compared to Estudiantes, who hit 31 percent of their free throw attempts. Estudiantes was out-rebounded 42-30, but had a 12-10 edge in offensive rebounds. Each team had a high number of turnovers - 18 and 19 respectively. Estudiantes only went to the free throw line eight times...and only hit two shots.

Ros Casares

Amaya Valdemoro: 14 points, 5 rebounds.
Candace Wiggins: 18 points in her first big game for Ros Casares.
Anna Montanana: 9 points, 8 rebounds.
Erika de Souza: 8 points, 3 rebounds. 6-for-9 shooting.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 8 points, 4 rebounds.


Elin Eldebrink: 18 points, but 7 turnovers.
Brooke Wyckoff: 10 points, 6 rebounds.
Nikki Teasley: 0 points in 16 minutes. One rebound. Two turnovers, and four fouls. 0-for-5 shooting.

Breaking News - Nikki Teasley to Estudiantes in Spain

Nikki in her new duds.

With Estudiantes looking at a possible relegation, they have taken a page out of Extrugasa's book. Extrugasa hired Iziane Castro Marques to keep them out of the bottom of the league, and now Estudiantes has hired Nikki Teasley to give them such much needed wins with six games left.

The translated article is here. This happened on Friday, February 27th, so I was very lucky to find out about this, as Ros Casares played Estudiantes today and I saw Teasley's name in the box score.

Leah Rush, who last played for the Chicago Sky, terminated her contract with Estudiantes which made room for Teasley. I don't know how much impact Teasley can make in just six games...but it looks like we're going to find out pretty soon....

LFB (Spain) 21/2008 - Ibiza 88, Perfumerias 87 (OT)

Anke de Mondt has the ball for Perfumerias.

The bizarre part of being a professional player is that one season someone who is your most trusted teammate might be your most dangerous opponent in the following season. WNBA pro ball players have this happen at least once a year - rosters and relationships are shuffled every off-season in Europe.

In 2008, Sancho Lyttle and Michelle Snow were teammates on the Houston Comets. Next year, they'll be teammates on the Atlanta Dream. However, in the off-season, Sancho Lyttle represents Ibiza (11-10) and Michelle Snow represents Perfumerias (17-4). Perfumerias might have made it to the quarterfinals of Euroleague, but at home Ibiza treated Perfumerias to an 88-87 overtime loss in Liga Feminina play.

The box score is here.

Iziba took a 22-17 lead after the first quarter, and expanded their lead to 42-35 at halftime. But Perfumerias is one of the best teams in the Spanish League, and they scored 25 points in the third quarter to take a 70-68 lead. Down 73-66, Ibiza scored six points with slightly more than a minute remaining, and a shot by Shannon Johnson with 0.6 seconds left sent the game into overtime., and managed to score one more point than the visitors in the five minutes of overtime.

Ibiza hit 47 percent of its field goal attempts, and hit 56 percent from inside the 3-point line. Perfumerias took 73 shots and only hit 44 percent. Perfumerias had the edge in rebounding, holding Ibiza to just five offensive rebounds. Both teams did a great job in maintaining possession of the ball, each side only having 11 turnovers.

Perfumerias would only hit 54 percent of its free throws. They only scored two free throws less than Ibiza, but that turned out to be the difference.


Sancho Lyttle: 28 points, 14 rebounds. She was clearly the player of the game.
Silvia Morales Martin: 25 points, 7 rebounds, 4 turnovers.
Shannon Johnson: 21 points, 5 assists, fouled out.


Michelle Snow: 20 points, 13 rebounds. She was 9-for-17. Fouled out.
Gunta Basko: 15 points, 6 rebounds.
Petra Stampalija: 17 points, 12 rebounds. The third of three double-doubles in the game.

Next week, these teams will meet again during the Copa de la Reina - the "Queen's Cup" - in a quarterfinals game. Ros Casares will also be playing in the Copa.

LFB (Spain) 21/2008 - Olesa 79, Extrugasa 61

The hope of crawling away from those final two spots in the Liga Feminina just got that much tougher. Extrugasa (5-16) was forced to go on the road against tough Olesa (12-9), and as expected they fell 79-61. With five games left in the season, the #11, #12 and #13 teams are tied at 5-16. There are 14 teams, and if I'm right, the last two get relegated.

The box score is here.

Olesa had this game well in hand, beating Extrugasa in every quarter played. Olesa led 40-34 at halftime and held Extrugasa to just 11 third quarter points.

Olesa was simply the better shooting team, hitting 46 percent of their field goal attempts compared to 36 percent from Extrugasa. Olesa had the advantage in overall rebounds and picked up 12 rebounds to Extrugasa's eight. Extrugasa had its typical 65 percent free throw shooting game, whereas Olesa hit 83 percent of their free throws.


Thyra Liljestrand: 19 points, 2 rebounds.
Tracy Reid: 13 points, 7 rebounds for the ex-WNBA Rookie of the Year. Kelly is a forward for the Sacramento Monarchs.
Cristal Kelly: 6 points, 7 rebounds.


Iziane Castro Marques: 26 points, 9 rebounds. A good day for Izi.
Katia da Silva: 9 points, 9 rebounds.

Greek Women's A1 21/2008 - Paleo Faliro 52, Apollon Ptolemaidas 51

Man, this game looks good. Paleo Faliro (13-8), playing a rare Saturday game, defeats visting Apollon Ptolemaidos (10-11) by a score of 52-51. But the sad part about it is that finding any information about this game through the Greek media is virtually impossible.

The box score is here.

Looking at the quarter-by-quarter score, you know that this game must have been tight. 12-12 after the first quarter. 27-26 in favor of Paleo Faliro at haltime. 40-39 in favor of Paleo Faliro in the third quarter, and both teams score 12 points in the fourth as Paleo Faliro escapes with the win.

Unfortunately, what wasn't tight about the game was any sort of shooting accuracy. Both teams were throwing up bricks, or as they say at Rebkell, there was a lot of 'chucking' going on. Paleo Faliro shot 29 percent from the field - and won. That's because Apollon Ptolemaidas only hit 32 percent of their attempted free throws.

Apollon Ptolemaidas won the battle of rebounding 42-35. However, they turned the ball over 23 times, negating the "advantage" of shooting 31 percent. Apollon Ptolemaidas was slightly better at the free throw line, but two extra free throws wasn't enough.

Paleo Faliro

Fotoula Volonaki : 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists. If she hadn't only played 18 minutes....
Kristin Haynie: 22 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals. 8-for-11 shooting.
Karen Mourd: Only 5 points on 3-for-11 shooting.
Teana Miller: Only 3 points on 2-for-8 shooting, but 8 rebounds.

Apollon Ptolemaidas

Chloe Kerr: The graduate from Southern California 18 points and 11 rebounds on 12-for-21 shooting.
Starvoul Spanidou: 12 points, 11 rebounds.
Crystal Smith: 3 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 turnovers for the Washington Mystics guard.

Friday, February 27, 2009

WNBA Windex (TM) Women

Gee, I can't figure out why the Fever wants her.

If you're unfamiliar with Windex, it's a liquid used to clean glass. Another way to clean the glass is to get an offensive rebound. Dick Vitale created the famous All-Windex Team, honoring the best offensive rebounders of college basketball, and the expression stuck.

So who is the best in the WNBA at getting the offensive board? There are two ways to look at the problem: persistence and effectiveness, as well as a combined metric that looks at total offensive rebounds multiplied by offensive rebound percentage - rewarding players for both.

All names in bold font are active players.

Most Offensive Rebounds, Career

1. Yolanda Griffith, 1045
2. Lisa Leslie, 826
3. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, 794
4. Chasity Melvin, 741
5. Natalie Williams, 733
6. Tina Thompson, 662
7. Cheryl Ford, 568
8. Murriel Page, 566
9. Tangela Smith, 560
10. Lauren Jackson, 554

Highest Percentage of Offensive Rebounds as Total Rebounds
(min 100 Total Rebounds for career)

1. Tonya Washington, 64/116, 55.2 percent
2. Wanda Guyton, 84/162, 51.9 percent
3. LaToya Pringle, 52/102, 51.0 percent
4. Laura Harper, 68/137, 49.6 percent
5. Kisha Ford, 106/218, 48.6 percent
6. Danielle McCulley, 52/107, 48.6 percent
7. Shay Murphy, 63/130, 48.5 percent
8. Jessie Hicks, 174/361, 48.2 percent
9. Bridgette Gordon, 78/165, 47.3 percent
10. Andrea Gardner, 52/111, 46.8 percent

Among the top ten rebounders of all time, Yolanda Griffith has the highest percentage with 42.9 percent.

Career Leaders in Offensive Rebounds x Offensive Rebound Percentage

1. Yolanda Griffith, 448.10
2. Chasity Melvin, 304.88
3. Natalie Williams, 293.28
4. Taj McWilliams-Franklin, 283.72
5. Latasha Byears, 230.67
6. Lisa Leslie, 216.18
7. Adrienne Goodson, 215.85
8. Tamika Raymond, 207.00
9. Murriel Page, 199.85
10. Tina Thompson, 198.21

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chamique Holdsclaw Leaves Club in Poland

Chamique Holdsclaw and the Polish club Wisla Can Pack have decided to mutually terminate the contract Holdsclaw has with the team.

From a translated article:

"At present, Chamique is not capable of training, and thus also to the game. . The decision to terminate the contract was made jointly with koszykarką - Vice President informed the TS Wisla INTERIA.PL, Piotr Dunin-Suligostowski."

Wisla Can Pack is somewhat screwed, because the deadline has passed for Wisla to acquire another player to replace her. From what I can glean, Holdsclaw had a knee operation recently and when she returned to Wisla Can Pack, supposedly she was a shadow of her former self. (Although a Polish message board poster pointed out that her stats were rather good. She's going to return to the USA to undergo treatment.

The article surmises that this throws Holdsclaw's potential return to Atlanta in jeopardy. Everything now depends on how well Holdsclaw's rehabilitation turns out.

One poster on a Polish basketball message board wrote:

"The situation repeats itself ... look what happened, and Chamique has signed for the entire season in Gdynia .... abandonment of the WNBA... Now - a desire to return and the same thing ... super... super ..."

I guess whenever Chamique walks away from a bad situation, people are going to conclude the worst about her. I guess with her past, those will always be the breaks.

Dunking Trivia

Who was the first woman to dunk:

a) in a high school game?
b) in college?
c) in the WNBA?

Spawn of MZone has the answers for you.

By the way...I wonder if anyone ever dunked in the ABL....

Atlanta Dream: Class A Basketball At Its Best

From the article at the Atlanta-Journal Constitution called "Take 10: State basketball tournament games we'd like to see", a interesting matchup is proposed by writer Glen LaFollette:

5: Wesleyan vs. Atlanta Dream (Class A girls) — Well, sure it’s a long shot. But we’d like to see someone challenge Jan Azar’s squad. We think the Dream would certainly be a defensive nightmare, but we have faith in Anne Marie Armstrong and Azar to bring home another title.

Heh. That's the first time anyone called us a "defensive nightmare". I'd love to see the game, but it's one of those situations where you get nothing if you win it and lose everything if you lose it. Maybe a one-quarter exhibition game? Bring them to Philips Arena for some honor? Bueller?

Hmm. If Marynell Meadors and Carol Ross don't work out, maybe we can call Jan Azar.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Rethinking Basketball" LIVES!

Just heard from Q at the amazing Rethinking Basketball blog. It looks like after wandering in the wilderness of GAFIA (Getting Away From It All), we found him in the nearby woods of GAFMOI (Getting Away From Most of It).

But enough convoluted acronyms. He's back. With a new post. And just in time for the new season coming up.

Go to the link, and show yer love.

P. S. I re-added the link, with much happiness, to my list o' links.

Tamera, Your Game Has Been Cancelled

It looks like the game between SK Cēsis and the Ukrainian team Kozachka has been cancelled by the Ukranians. From what I can figure out from the SK Cēsis website is that Kozachka is doing so well in the Baltic League that they figure if they win their next two games, they'll go to the tournament anyway - therefore, they save money by not playing and tanking this game.

SK Cēsis and the Baltic League are left scratching their heads.

Hola a Todos from Iziane Castro Marques

The blog bug has become an epidemic. Iziane Castro Marques has posted a new blog entry at Dream Diary - The Official Atlanta Dream Blog.

Visit the link, and say hello to Iziane in English, Portugese...or whatever your native language is!

Euroleague Quarterfinals 3/2008 - Spartak 79, Ros Casares 70

Sylvia Fowles knows the outcome. Erika de Souza and Elena Tournikidou don't.

The hope of Ros Casares was that they would make it to the final four in Euroleague this year. Unfortunately, standing in their way was the two-time defending champion, the Russian superteam known as Spartak. Unlike the other quarterfinals matches this one took all three games, but Ros Casares fell by a 79-70 score, eliminating Ros Casares in the Euroleague.

The last standing Spanish team in Euroleague is Ros Casares's rival, Perfumerias, the only team to beat Ros Casares in regular league play. It must be very disheartening to fans of El Ros.

The box score is here. When clicking the link, you'll find both a gallery and a game writeup.

Spartak led 25-18 after the first quarter but Ros Casares closed the gap to just three points at halftime, 44-41 (it was 42-41 at one time). In the third quarter, Ros Casares fought back to actually take the lead 54-53 on a 3-pointer by Delisha Milton-Jones. Elisa Aguilar followed with another 3-pointer, and El Ros led by four, 57-53.

Down 59-54, Diana Taurasi put on a show. She would score the next nine points of the game as Spartak turned a five-point deficit into a 63-59 lead at the end of three quarters.

For the first three minutes of the fourth quarter, Spartak did not score. Free throws by Ros Casares cut the gap to one point, but Spartak went on a 9-2 run and led 72-64 with 3:32 left in the game. A pair of free throws by Milton-Jones cut the gap to 73-69 with 1:42 to go, but Ros Casares would come no closer.

Spartak hit 45 percent of its field goal attempts, including shooting 8-for-17 in 3-point shooting. Ros Casares would only shoot 37 percent. Spartak outrebounded Ros Casares overall 37-29, although both teams were even in offensive rebounding. Amazingly, Spartak turned the ball over 24 times but managed to win. Both teams performed more or less evenly well at the free throw line.


Diana Taurasi: 22 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists. Undoubtedly, the player of the game. Taurasi is the Phoenix Mercury's franchise player.
Sylvia Fowles: 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 turnovers. Her play sparked at least a couple of Spartak runs. "Big Syl" will return to the Chicago Sky this year.
Sue Bird: 15 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists. Ros Casares's defense had trouble with Bird and Taurasi. Bird is one of the stalwarts of the Seattle Storm.
Lauren Jackson: 12 points, 3 rebounds for this MVP free agent.
Kelly Miller: Only four minutes played. Zero points for this Minnesota Lynx guard.

Ros Casares:

Delisha Milton-Jones: 18 points, 4 assists, 5 steals.
Erika de Souza: 11 points, 8 rebounds. Only played 26 minutes, fouling out of the game.
Amaya Valdemoro: 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 turnovers.
Jana Veselá: 4 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists.

Another Take on the 2009 Draft

Therefore I Blog guesses the first round of the 2009 WNBA Draft. The writer's picks are:

1. Dream - Angel McCoughtry
2. Mystics - Ashley Paris
3. Sky - Renee Montgomery
4. Lynx - Marissa Coleman
5. Mercury - Kristi Toliver
6. Fever - Briann January
7. Monarchs - Courtney Paris
8. Liberty - Shavonte Zellous
9. Lynx - Dewanna Bonner
10. Sun - Chante Black
11. Shock - Lyndra Littles
12. Storm - Kia Vaughn
13. Sparks - Whitney Boddie

Mascot Star: Not A Music Fan?

David Manning's Photoblog catches the Atlanta Dream's mascot Star at a Georgia-Arkansas women's basketball game at Athens, GA. It appears that Star heard a group of elementary school kids sing the National Anthem. The picture is Star's editorial comment on the process.

Of course, this pic is All Rights Reserved, David Manning. Which means that you have to visit his blog to see it. Click on the pic for the larger version.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Twenty-Five Blocked Shots

From the Brittney Griner Blog:

The newly minted Baylor signee had 21 points, 13 rebounds and 25 blocked shots as Nimitz of Houston beat Alief Hastings 69-18 last Tuesday. The 6-foot-8 Griner's 25 snuffs eclipsed the national mark of 23 by Myeisha Jones of Oakland (Calif.) Claremont against Oakland Tech in 1997. Jones went on to play at Merritt College and UNLV.

25 Blocks. How is that even possible? My suggestion is that if you want to practice for a game against Brittney Griner, just put up a plywood wall that partially obscures the basket.

More People Surprised that Brittney Griner Can Dunk

Griner vs. Parker. Coming to a court near you in 2013.

Last month, I wrote a blog post about Brittney Griner being a possible "killer app" for the WNBA - a person so interesting that even those normally not interested in the WNBA at all would tune in just to see Griner dunk on someone.

A Yahoo Sports Blogger has just posted on Brittney's dunking acumen. Of course, he starts out by being dismissive of the earlier dunks by Lisa Leslie and Candace Parker. This is no surprise to anyone that really follows women's basketball and how those that...well...don't like women that much (there's no polite way to say it) would simply "move the benchmarks" whenever women accomplished something.

Anyone who has followed the-history-of-women-succeeding-in-anything knows all about "moving the benchmarks". The first argument is that women can't accomplish "A", and if a woman ever does accomplish "A", the haters either redefine what "A" means or say that it isn't enough to accomplish "A", one must accomplish "B" and "C", too. The first knock on the WNBA was "women can't dunk" and then after Leslie and Parker put that to the lie, the knock was "women can't dunk with authority". (Definition of "with authority" an elastic concept.)

And now, Griner comes along and she dunks...well..."with authority" by pretty much anyone's definition. So when you go into the comments - if you have the intention of losing a few brain cells - the fumbling retards at Yahoo are simply left to conclude that she must be some sort of man in disguise. (Which means that the tank on the haterade just went empty - when you're opponents only have ad hominem left in their quiver of arguments, it's a sign that the fight has gone out of them and they're just left two minutes away from grunts and poo-slinging.)

Oh yeah. Griner can dunk. Definitely. Absolutely. I don't think much of dunking per se - it's just a very flamboyant way to score a pedestrian two points - but I enjoy the discomfort it seems to be bringing to some people. Yep, women's basketball is a real sport - they have uniforms and everything, ya know.

Worst at the Free Throw Line

You never call Stacey Thomas to shoot your technicals.

Let's imagine that you're a coach. You're down by two, the ball is in your hands, and there's six seconds left on the clock. You have to carry the ball all the way downcourt to score.

You know the bad guys are going to foul someone. Therefore, you want the ball in someone's hands who can make those clutch free throws in case of a foul.

And yet, there are active players in the WNBA who have mastered the art of Shaq Fu when it comes to free throw shooting. How can you hit 60 percent (or less) of your free throws and still be in basketball? Well, like Shaq, you need to compensate with some other skill - an ability to rebound, or to avoid turning over the ball, or shooting very well.

If you see any of the players below at the free throw line shooting those criticial two shots, you had better grab your Maalox if you're a coach, and a rosary if you're a fan.

(Side note: The worst shooting percentage of all time could arguably be Lenae Williams's 0-for-5 lifetime free throw shooting for the Detroit Shock in 2002.)

Worst WNBA Free Throw Shooters

(minimum 150 attempts)

1. Stacey Thomas, 112-217, 51.6 percent
2. Armintie Price, 143-276, 51.8 percent
3. Val Whiting-Raymond, 95-176, 54.0 percent
4. Tamika Raymond, 229-422, 54.3 percent
5. Sharon Manning, 103-188, 54.8 percent
6. Nakia Sanford, 337-599, 56.3 percent
7. Vanessa Hayden, 129-220, 58.6 percent
8. Tracy Reid, 189-321, 58.9 percent
9. Tiffany Jackson, 91-152, 59.9 percent
10. Cheryl Ford, 501-835, 60.0 percent

- bold face denotes player active in 2008 season

Monday, February 23, 2009

A New Pic?

This might or not be a pic of Maccabi Ramat Hen celebrating its 100-60 win over Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv. I'm a bit suspicious, as I thought Ramat Hen was playing at home, so shouldn't they be wearing white?

Then again, it might have been at Tel Aviv. According to the Israel media, only 100 people attended this game.

Waiting for Israel

I have the result of the Maccabi Ramat Hen-Bnei Yehuda game today - 100-60 in favor of Maccabi Ramat Hen, which is Ivory Latta's team. Unfortunately, there are no statistics up at the site yet.

So we're all waiting....

Pictures from the SK Cēsis-Lemminkainen Game - February 22, 2009

A gallery of pictures from the SK Cēsis-Lemminkainen game has been posted at the SK Cēsis website.

The above is the only Tamera Young picture. But that doesn't give you an excuse not to visit.


Here is this week's schedule of overseas games involving Atlanta Dream players:


Israel Women's D1: Maccabi Ramat Hen (13-3) vs. Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv (4-12)


Euroleague Quarterfinals: Spartak (Russia) vs. Ros Casares (Game 3)
BWBL: SK Cēsis (7-1) vs. Kozachka (Ukraine) (9-2) *


LFB (Spain): Olesa (11-9) vs. Extrugasa (5-15)
LFB (Spain): Ibiza (10-10) vs. Perfumerias (17-3)
LFB (Spain): Ros Casares (19-1) vs. Estudiantes (4-16)
BWBL: BC Star/TLU (Estonia) (5-7) vs. SK Cēsis (7-1) *
Greek Women's A1: Paleo Faliro (12-8) vs. Apollon Ptolemaidos (10-10)

* - Standings as of February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

LFB (Spain) 20/2008 - San José 86, Ibiza 74

Ibiza's (10-10) quest to climb out of the middle of the pack in the Liga Feminina and finish fourth or better - a fourth place finish guarantees the home field advantage in the first round - was set back today with an 86-74 road loss against San José (11-9) despite a great game by future Atlanta Dream player Sancho Lyttle.

The box score is here.

Ibiza took the lead in the first half of the game. Ibiza led after the first quarter 27-21 but by halftime San José had closed the gap to three points, 41-38. San José continued to surge forward, and by the end of the third quarter led 61-60. In the fourth quarter, San José held Ibiza to just 11 points to finish off the visitors.

San José had a slighty better shooting percentage than the visitors, at 50 percent to 47 percent. San José scored 34 rebounds, including 14 offensive rebounds.

San José

Kimberly Butler: 27 points, 4 rebounds. Butler, an Oregon State graduate, shot 12-for-20 during the game.
Eshaya Murphy: 29 points, 7 rebounds. Murphy, a member of the Washington Mystics, would have been the best player of the game if not for five turnovers.
Maria Sanchez-Aguilera: 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals.


Sancho Lyttle: 20 points, 11 rebounds for the only double-double of the game. The future member of the Atlanta Dream shot 9-for-13.
Shannon Johnson: 19 points, 3 assists, 3 steals...and 6 turnovers.
Sandra Pirsic: 14 points, 7 rebounds.

LFB (Spain) 20/2008 - Ros Casares 81, Celta 55

The real news would be if Ros Casares (19-1) didn't win a game. It's the same old story. Celta (10-10), a team at the bottom of the playoff ladder, came to Ros Casares and like the teams before it, walked out out Valencia with a loss, 81-55.

The box score is here.

Celta actually did a fine job against Ros Casares - relatively speaking - in the first thirty minutes. El Ros led by 22-19 after the first quarter, and led only 40-33 at halftime - Celta was still in it. Celta managed to close the gap to six points, 55-49 after thirty minutes. Unfortunately for Celta, they were held to just six points in the fourth quarter, and Ros Casares scored 26 fourth-quarter points to account for the difference between the teams. At one point in the fourth quarter, Celta went six minutes without scoring.

Ros Casares hit 54 percent of their attempted field goals - who knows how many of those field goals they put away in the fourth quarter - compared to just 40 percent from Celta. Ros Casares won the battle of rebounding, and Celta only scored five offensive rebounds. Ros Casares turned over the ball 16 times, compared to 22 turnovers from Celta. Ros Casares only hit 58 percent of its free throws, but it didn't have to be good at the free throw line to dominate the visiting Celta team.

Ros Casares

Elena Tornikidou: 16 points, 4 rebounds. 8-for-9 shooting.
Erika de Souza: 13 points, 7 rebounds. 6-for-9 shooting in just 10 minutes of play.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 10 points, 4 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play.
Candace Wiggins: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals.


Iva Sliskovich: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals.
Agne Ciudariene: 14 points, 4 rebounds.
Maja Miljovic: 14 points, 3 rebounds, 4 turnovers.

BWBL 8/2008 - SK Cesīs 76, Lemminkainen 67

Lemminkainen (7-4) is a Lithuanian team, by the way. From what I understand - or from what I think I understand as Translate Google convolutes the text from Latvian into English - SK Cesīs (7-1) takes these games as seriously as the Baltic Women's League seems to. That is, SK Cesīs sees these games as good warmups for their Latvian league play. Given that, Lemminkainen is a tough Lithuanian team and SK Cesīs was happy to get the win on the road, winning 76-67.

The box score is here. (To access it, click on "View match statistics".)

It was certainly a closely contested game. Lemminkainen led 21-20 after the first quarter, but SK Cesīs pulled into a 41-36 lead at halftime. By the third quarter, Lemminkainen caught up again and the score was tied 56-56. SK Cesīs was able to hold the home team to 11 points in the final quarter and walked away with a nine-point victory.

SK Cesīs led in shooting percentage, 43 percent to 41 percent. However, Lemminkainen only attempted 49 shots compared to SK Cesīs's 68 attempts. Both teams rebounded evenly, with SK Cesīs holding a 10-7 edge in offensive rebounds. Lemminkainen turned the ball over 21 times during the game. However, the Lithuanian team hit 15 out of 20 of its free throws.


Aušra Naidėnienė: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.
Alesia Puško: 15 points, 5 rebounds.
Eglė Žygelytė: Only 4 points, and 9 turnovers.

SK Cesīs

Kristen Mann: 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 4 steals for the ex-Atlanta Dream player.
Tamera Young: 12 points and 4 assists. THey only needed her to play for 25 minutes.
Elina Babkina: 12 points, 3 rebounds.

Greek Women's A1 20/2008 - Apollon Kalamaris 70, Paleo Faliro 65

With Kastoria having folded and with Aris Holargos playing junior high basketball, it shouldn't be too hard to sneak into the Greek Women's A1 playoffs. Paleo Falrio (12-8) hoped to pick up another road win this Sunday but faltered on the road against Apollon Kalamaris (12-8). It was a disappointing 70-65 road loss.

The box score is here.

Paleo Faliro actually led 24-17 after one quarter and kept a five point lead going into halftime, 43-38. Unfortunately, the second half would tell a different story. Apollon Kalamaris caught up with Paleo Faliro in the third quarter and led 56-52 with ten minutes to go. All we know is that Paleo Faliro would go down to defeat after that.

Paleo Faliro was more accurate than the home team in field goal percentage, 49 percent to 43 percent. However, Apollon Kalamaris hit 9 out out of 23 shots from long range. Paleo Faliro's rebounding was better overall, but they would turn the ball over 17 times. Apollon Kalamaris was greatly helped by hitting 11 out of 13 of their free throw opportunities.

Apollon Kalamaris

Johanna Solverson: 28 points, 7 rebounds. Solverson was a senior at Iowa during 2007-08.
Nelli Bibiri: 3 points, 7 rebounds, 4 steals. All in just 21 minutes of play.
Alex Giannopoulou: 7 points in 18 minutes.

Paleo Faliro

Karen Mourd: 15 points, 10 rebounds. 7-for-11 shooting.
Teana Miller: 8 points, 12 rebounds. 5-for-7 shooting.
Kristin Haynie: 12 points, 5 assists. However, she had four turnovers.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

LFB (Spain) 20/2008 - Hondarribia 78, Extrugasa 75

The winning streak couldn't last forever - Extrugasa (5-15) is still a very weak team. Faced with a challenge from visiting Hondarribia (10-10), Extrugasa was leading after the third quarter but let the game get away from them as Hondarribia came back in the fourth to lose by three points, 78-75.

Whatever the result of the Perfumerias-Estudiantes game, Extrugasa still remains one game out of last place. The goal for Extrugasa is to not end up in last place and be relegated to a lower division.

The box score is here.

Extrugasa led 25-20 after the first quarter, but Hondarribia fought back and tied it up 37-37 going into halftime. In the third quarter, Extrugasa pulled back ahead 56-52, but playing well for three quarters doesn't guarantee a win.

Did Hondarribia win at the buzzer? I don't know. I can't find a good writeup of the game, and I can't find any pictures yet.

Extrugasa hit 51 percent of its field goal attempts...but Hondarribia hit 57 percent of theirs. Hondarribia was outrebounded 32-21, but Extruga


Katia Da Silva: 17 points, 6 rebounds. She would draw six fouls from Hondarribia.
Elisha Turek: 12 points, 9 rebounds.
Iziane Castro Marques: 23 points, 3 rebounds. She had five turnovers, but she drew five fouls.
Taru Tuukkanen: The veteran of Extrugasa had 12 points and 7 rebounds.


Henen Santos Luz: 13 points, 2 rebounds. Turned the ball over four times.
Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert: 18 points, 3 rebounds. Lovelace-Tolbert played for both the Atlanta Dream and the Detroit Shock last year.
Katja Bavendam: 10 points, 7 rebounds.

LSBL 23/2008 : SK Cesīs 102, Turība/Kolonna 53

When you're a team as dominant as SK Cesīs (21-2), road games probably don't bother you much. Visiting Turība/Kolonna (9-14) - a college team playing in the Latvian Women's League - the atmosphere was probably that of a shootaround as SK Cesīs won easily, 102-53.

The box score is here. I can find no gallery, as Turība/Kolonna have probably changed their names by now.

Obviously, SK Cesīs won every quarter. They led 57-26 at halftime, and just kept on rolling on. Turība/Kolonna was held to just seven fourth-quarter points, and SK Cesīs showed no mercy, dumping 25 points on them.

Turība/Kolonna shot 38 percent from the field...but SK Cesīs shot 57 percent, including 14-for-28 from behind the 3-point line. SK Cesīs only turned the ball over six times, compared to 22 turnovers from Turība/Kolonna. Neither side shot particularly well from the free throw line - 60 percent for Turība/Kolonna, 57 percent for SK Cesīs - but did it really matter?


Ieva Veinberga: 23 points and 10 rebounds for the only Turība/Kolonna double-double, shooting 5-for-13 from 3-point range.
Anete Horelika: 15 points and 5 assists for the only other Turība/Kolonna player to shoot in double-digits.
Anete Vorma: 3 points. 1-for-6 shooting. 8 turnovers. 4 personal fouls.

SK Cesīs

Kristen Mann: 19 points, 6 rebounds for one of the leading scorers in the LSBL.
Elīna Babkina: 12 points, 8 assists, 4-for-5 from 3-point range.
Santa Dreimane: 17 points, 3 assists, 5-for-5 from 3-point range.
Tamera Young: 13 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists - imagine what she would have done if she played more than 23 minutes!

Euroleague Quarterfinals 2/2008 - Ros Casares 73, Spartak 71

Hugz for Delisha and Erika! (Note Coach Rátgéber on his knees in dismay.)

With Ros Casares having lost the first game, it was do-or-die for the Spainiards. They had one home game in this best-of-three series, and their goal was to set an attendance record for this game. They made it with an amazing 6,616 spectators - the most that have ever seen a Euroleague game - and the home floor advantage was just too much for visiting Spartak as Ros Casares sealed the deal at the last second by a 73-71 score.

The box score is here. Accessing this page should bring you to the game report, play-by-play, and a nice gallery.

With the home crowd behind them, El Ros jumped out to a 27-15 first quarter lead, and led by sixteen points at halftime, 49-33. Spartak's all-star team could only close the gap by one in the third quarter, and Ros Casares looked well in control, 65-50, going into the fourth quarter.

It was then Spartak's time to shine. They started the fourth-quarter with an 11-0 run, cutting Ros Casares's lead to just four points with slightly under six minutes to go. Ros Casares was held to just eight fourth-quarter points as Lauren Jackson's jump shot tied the game at 67-67 with 2:52 to go.

With the game still tied at 69-69 with 2:07 left, Kelly Miller of Spartak fouled Amaya Valdemoro with 1:22 left. Valdemoro hit both of her free throws, and when Valdemoro blocked a Diana Taurasi jump shot, El Ros was able to get the ball back into Valdeomoro's hands for a jump shot to bring the lead to 73-69.

With 32 seconds left, Laia Palau fouled Diana Taurasi, who made both of her free throws. With just six seconds left, Valdemoro missed a jump shot putting the ball into Sue Bird's hands with the score 73-71. But Bird turned the ball over at the last second when Laia Palau stole the ball, and Ros Casares kept their amazing two point win to stay alive in Euroleague.

Both teams shot under 40 percent - Spartak shot 39 percent from the field, and Ros Casares shot 37 percent. Ros Casares had a slight edge in offensive rebounding, and Spartak had a slight edge in overall rebounding. It was Spartak's 21 turnovers that kept Ros Casares in the game, and in a physical game by both teams, Ros Casares would make 18 of 22 shots at the free throw line, with Spartak making 24 of 31.

American/WNBA Players in Bold Face

Ros Casares

Delisha Milton-Jones: 16 points, 8 rebounds. Five personal fouls, though.
Amaya Valdemoro: 21 points, and 9-10 from the free throw line.
Erika de Souza: 11 points and 6 rebounds for the forward/center from the Atlanta Dream.
Candace Wiggins: 3 points, 2 rebounds in 10 minutes of play.


Diana Taurasi: 33 points and 4 rebounds, but 7 turnovers.
Sylvia Fowles: 14 points and 11 rebounds, the game's only double-double.
Lauren Jackson: 10 points and 7 rebounds.
Sue Bird: 8 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.
Kelly Miller: No points, but 6 rebounds in 25 minutes of play.

(Shout out to RebKell and Kevin Pelton of StormTracker for their great articles.)

Ivory Latta Congratulates McDonald's All-American

That would be Erica Wheeler, out of Parkway Academy in Miami, Florida.

Why would "Ivy Latta" (the article misspelled her name) congratulate some high school player out of Florida, who is going to Rutgers? Simple. Latta was a McDonald's All-American, too.

Friday, February 20, 2009

BWBL 7/2008 - SK Cēsis 96, Kazakhstan NT 48

Tamara, it's really unfair of you to dunk on the Kazakhstanis.

I suppose that sooner or later, I'd end up like Daniel Boone. Boone said that he was never lost, but he admitted to being bewildered for three days.

In deciphering the Baltic Women's Basketball League, I admit I'm bewildered. I suspect that the BWBL is made up of a sort of Eastern European Euroleague, which includes countries which were former Soviet Republics.

The schedule for the BWBL looks a little haphazard. Some of these teams have played 11 or so games - others have played just a few.

I know the score of this game. The score is in the title, obviously. However, the BWBL page does not have a result. Neither does Basket LV, the website for all those Latvians out there who love basketball.

Nor does SK Cēsis. SK Cēsis is quite happy to tell us about how the game went (the writeup is here) and is glad to provide all sorts of great pictures.

The gallery is here.

Unfortunately, they don't provide what serious basketball fans want - a box score.

I know that the score at halftime was 28-12 in favor of SK Cēsis. By halftime, the score was 58-29. Kazakhstan NT was held to just 19 points in the second half. Ouch.

The roster of Kazakhstan NT must remain a mystery. is usually the ultimate source of information, but Kazakhstan NT falls under the heading of "" and there isn't even a roster there. There's a website link, but they don't have the writeup, either.

Here are some random facts:

Tamera Young: 22 points. That's all I know.
Ieva Tare: 17 points.
Kristen Mann: 16 points, 10 rebounds.

Not bad. If I ever find a box score, I'll just attach it to this post.

Delay of Game

Heavy day at work, so it might be a while before I get to write up anything. Still have to look into a game between SK Cesis (Tamera Young's team) and Kazahkstan. Furthermore, the Euroleague rematch between Ros Casares (Erika de Souza's team) and Spartak takes place today.

We might not see anything on the blog today unless there's a major trade or acquisition. Our apologies.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Chantelle Anderson of the Dream Blogs NBA All-Star Game

Chantelle Anderson, who recently signed a training camp contract with the Dream, got a chance to go to the 2009 NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix. She blogs about it at a new link at the Atlanta Dream Diary.

The diary entry has a link to her picture gallery, which I recommend. She's a striking woman.

By the way, the pic above is of Chantelle with a NBA player. Can you guess who it is? Hint: He had to stand on a curb. :D

Traditional Statistics

A really good set of statistics should tell us something. They great thing about baseball statistics, for example, is that they are simple to understand - a .300 batting average means that the player gets three hits for every ten hitting chances - and translate into something meaningful. To be a .300 hitter is to be a great hitter; to say "so-and-so hits .300" is meaningful shorthand equivalent to "great hitter".

Baseball has good statistics, in part, because it's a game of individual vs. individual. Baseball is a great sport to break down into pieces like that.

Team sports, on the other hand, aren't as meaningful because you can't look at them outside of context. Football really only has a few meaningful stats. A running back's total rushing yards. A quarterback's pass completion percentage. There have been some coined stats like quarterback efficiency rating but those numbers don't have much meaning.

As for basketball, the traditional stats are "points per game", "rebounds per game" and "assists per game". They're the stats that are used for the "abbreviation line" to sum up a player's total contribution. All of them are context dependent. For example, "points per game" might depend on what sort of scoring role is assigned to the shooter. All of them depend not just on position played, but on total minutes played.

What sorts of relative value due these three stats have?

Let's take an example: Suppose you're a GM and you get a shot at three players (A, B, and C). This is all you know about them:

Player A: 20 ppg, 0 rpg, 0 apg
Player B: 0 ppg, 20 rpg, 0 apg
Player C: 0 ppg, 0 rpg, 20 apg

Which one do you want? A, B, or C?

Well, how do you win in basketball? You win by scoring more points than the other team. Therefore, the Iron Law of Basketball Worth is "a player's worth is dependent on how many points she helps her team score". Note that the definition says nothing about scoring points - you can help someone else score points and still have value.

I imagine that Player A must be some kind of shooting guard or shooting forward, a #2 or #3. Clearly, she has value to the team: she scores 20 points a game, and brings the team 20 points closer to victory on the average. However, she doesn't pull down any boards - at all - and doesn't assist either. She's probably a shoot-first-ask-questions-later ballhog with no strength or size. But she will give you 20 points a night.

Player C also has some value, too. She doesn't score 20 points a game, but she contributed to 20 field goals scored by other players. Of course, the definition of "contribution" is rather weak in the United States, since the definition requires that the pass to other player actually "assisted" the scoring player, and sometimes scorers are so liberal that they virtually award an assist to the player touching the ball before the scorer touched it.

In order to assess C's value, we'd have to determine how many of those assists were "real" assists. Undoubtedly, however, C has value. How many players do you know who average 20 assists per game? Magic Johnson didn't even do that well.

Player B's case is more problematic. There's a difference between an offensive rebound and a defensive rebound. One gives you the chance to shoot again, the other takes away the opponent's chance to shoot again. Unfortunately, rebounds do not necessarily lead to scores. If they were all offensive rebounds, then why wasn't player B able to score with any of them. Still, Player B's rebounding rate is almost that of a Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain. What's surprising is that if Player B is a center - which I suspect - then why wasn't Player B able to dish out at least once and score an assist?

So who is more valuable? A, B, or C.

I'm actually leaning towards Player C due to the rarity of her accomplishment. However, I'd think that Player A might be more valuable than Player C, with Player B being of (relatively) lesser value.
All are good players, but each is astonishingly one-dimensional.


a) does an assist equal a field goal? Or just part of one? Half a field goal? Or more?
b) is a rebound equal to some fractional part of a field goal?

The fact that traditional basketball stats might not tell you much has led to some stat mavens creating their own basketball stats to determine a player's true worth. I'll talk about the simplest kind of coined stat - the "linear metric" - next.

An Update on the 2009 Atlanta Dream

Okay, with the Snow signing yesterday, this is what we look like:

A: Players Who Played Last Year

C Mattera (married name of Katie Feenstra)
C Snow (free agent signing)

F/C de Souza
F Lacy
F Lyttle (acquired from dispersal draft)

G/F Castro Marques
G Haynie
G Latta
G Young

B: Players Who Didn't Play Last Year, But Whom We Expect To Play

C Anderson
G Teasley

C: Players Who Might Or Might Not Be Signed, Or Show Up

F Holdsclaw
C Leuchanka
?? #1 Draft Pick

D: Players Who Played Last Year, and Have Been Traded/Waived

Ann Strother
Chioma Nnamaka
Alison Bales
Betty Lennox
Kasha Terry

Dumb Headlines Department

"Atlanta Dream Sign Woman Who Can Dunk".

Words fail me, my Lords and Ladies. If you didn't read the article, you might be forgiven for believing that this person didn't possess a name. Perhaps she was born under a full moon in the land of Dunksyvlania.

Wait till Brittney Griner hits the WNBA. We'll never hear the end of it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Snow Marketing Program

Does the Dream Front Office know how to market or what? Looks like they had this well prepared ahead of time.

P. S. How did they get Michelle in that Dream uniform? Photoshop?

Michelle Snow Signs With the Atlanta Dream

This hasn't been posted at the Atlanta Dream website, so I'll just post the press release "verbatim":

Atlanta, February 18, 2009 - The Atlanta Dream announced today that the team has signed unrestricted free agent center Michelle Snow. Snow was widely regarded as one of the top available free agents this off-season. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are excited about adding an experienced post player to our roster," said Dream General Manager and Head Coach Marynell Meadors. "Snow is an extremely athletic center and we expect her to make an immediate impact for us. We are thrilled that she chose to be here in Atlanta."

Snow, a 6-5 center, spent her first seven seasons in the WNBA as a member of the Houston Comets where she was originally selected with the tenth overall pick in the 2002 Draft. The two-time All-Star started all 34 games last year for Houston, averaging 9.9 points and 6.8 rebounds while shooting 52.9% from the field.

"I am so excited to become an Atlanta Dream team member," said Snow. "This is an organization that I believe exemplifies inspiration, hope and commitment to its fans, as well as to the business and community sectors at large. The namesake alone 'DREAM' creates a mindset and feeling that allows for the reality that anything is possible. I look forward to adding my leadership abilities to an already strong group of professionals who are committed to establishing 'The Dream' as a stellar team that uplifts all."

A standout at the University of Tennessee, Snow averaged 10.9 points and 6.5 rebounds in four seasons for the Lady Vols. Snow scored over 1,000 career points in her collegiate career and earned Associated Press All-American Honorable Mention recognition as a senior. She also made headlines by recording three dunks in her collegiate career.

"We are thrilled not only about adding Michelle to our team on the court, but also excited about the opportunity Michelle will have to make a difference in the Atlanta community both with her charitable work and her passion for building her business career here long-term," said Dream President and COO Bill Bolen.

The Atlanta Dream: offering a daily dose of OH HELL YES! We might even have an Atlanta Dream dunk next year, if Marynell allows it.

LSBL 22/2008 - SK Cēsis 82, DU/Swedbank 52

It would be hard to think of two teams more mismatched than SK Cēsis (20-2) and DU/Swedbank (2-20). DU/Swedbank is at the bottom of the Latvian League and SK Cēsis is in second place.

So what do you hope for when you're the better team? You hope that you win and that no one gets hurt. Even though SK Cēsis pulled away with the 82-52 win, SK Cēsis would lose Anda Eibele after a collision with Ēriku Mauriņu in the second quarter. The full extent of Eibele's injury is not known.

The box score is here.

For SK Cēsis, the win was very much a blowout. DU was held to just 11 points in the first quarter and only 10 in the second, leading 42-31 at halftime. They led by over 30 at one time in the third quarter, and had no trouble winning every quarter of the game.

DU/Swedbank only shot 39 percent from the field, but hit 9 out of 18 3-pointers. SK Cēsis would shoot 44 percent and almost match DU 3-pointer for 3-pointer. SK Cēsis had 14 offensive rebounds in the game.

No one would have confused this game with good basketball. It was sloppy. SK Cēsis turned over the ball 18 times and DU/Swedbank turned the ball over 27 times. Furthermore, DU/Swedbank only visited the free throw line four times - and only hit one free throw.

Leading DU/Swedbank were Olesja Jevsejeva with 10 points and eight rebounds, and Kristīna Egle with 18 points, shooting 6-for-12 from 3-point range. The other performances from DU/Swedbank were negligable.

What about visiting SK Cēsis? Rima Maregeviciute was the player of the game with 18 points and nine rebounds. Kristīne Kārkliņa scored 11 points in just 19 minutes of play. Former Dream player Kristen Mann scored only two points but had six rebounds. Tamera Young only played 18 minutes, and shot just 3-for-10 for six total points and four turnovers.

As for Anda Eibele, she was averaging 6.3 ppg/4.3 rpg/2.3 apg. We at the Pleasant Dreams blog hope she gets better soon.

I'm hoping to find some pictures from this game. Maybe later.

"You Forgot Latvia"

I feel like John Kerry being chided by George W. Bush. And who could forget Tamera Young? It came to me in a dream. She said, "Pet, I'm being neglected."

And therefore, I've fixed the schedule below.

A Bevy of Stats

Player Efficiency Rating (PER) can be found in here....

A commenter asked me to break down John Hollinger's Player Efficiency Rating, or PER. To whom I say with a grin, "Sure."

Now, according to Mr. Hollinger himself, "The PER sums up all a player's positive accomplishments, subtracts the negative accomplishments, and returns a per-minute rating of a player's performance."

Sounds nice, doesn't it? Now, let's go to the definition of PER from

uPER = (1 / MP) *
[ 3P
+ (2/3) * AST
+ (2 - factor * (team_AST / team_FG)) * FG
+ (FT *0.5 * (1 + (1 - (team_AST / team_FG)) + (2/3) * (team_AST / team_FG)))
- VOP * DRB% * (FGA - FG)
- VOP * 0.44 * (0.44 + (0.56 * DRB%)) * (FTA - FT)
+ VOP * (1 - DRB%) * (TRB - ORB)
+ VOP * DRB% * ORB
+ VOP * DRB% * BLK
- PF * ((lg_FT / lg_PF) - 0.44 * (lg_FTA / lg_PF) * VOP) ]

Most of the terms in the formula above should be clear, but let me define the less obvious ones:

factor = (2 / 3) - (0.5 * (lg_AST / lg_FG)) / (2 * (lg_FG / lg_FT))
VOP = lg_PTS / (lg_FGA - lg_ORB + lg_TOV + 0.44 * lg_FTA)
DRB% = (lg_TRB - lg_ORB) / lg_TRB

Did any of that make a damn bit of sense to you? I have a degree in mathematics, and the first time I looked at that formula, I said, "huh"? It's certainly clear that field goals, assists, turnovers, rebounds both offensive and defensive, steals, blocks, and some league averages and team averages go in there somewhere.

However, there is nothing intuitive about any of this. If you read Hollinger's book (which I don't have), he'll be glad to go over each component with you in an explanation probably requiring several pages. And all of the above is just the first part of PER!

So our anonymous Jennifer Lacy fan might ask the question, "Pet, if not even you can explain PER, why the hell do you use it?" My answer:

a) I trust John Hollinger,
b) the results pass the "smell test": by that I mean that you'd expect the people you'd think are the best players in the league to have high PER and the worst to have low PER - which they do - and
c) the final number can be translated to something meaningful.

If you've got a PER of 30 or more, you're having one of the WNBA's great seasons. If you've got a PER of 15, you are an average WNBA player. The arithmetic mean (average) of a bunch of unadjusted PER numbers is taken, more adjustments are made, and the number "15" is thrown in there so that the mean PER for the WNBA comes out to be exactly 15.00. We have defined "average mean unadjusted PER" to be precisely equal to 15.00.

Once you get into a PER of 9.00, we're pretty much at what Hollinger called "replacement level", meaning that you could probably find some overlooked college player who just missed being drafted or got cut at training camp, get her up to speed, throw her out on the court and she could probably rack up a PER of 9.00 under good conditions. I don't really agree with that, because Hollinger's analysis was done with NBA players and not WNBA players. I will agree that a PER of 9.00 is nothing to be proud of.

PER has its weaknesses, and its detractors. For one thing, PER undervalues defensive contribution, so a player who is a defensive specialist won't have that value reflected in PER. Those players will have lower PER than a more just and fair allotment of PER should give them.

I keep all of this crap in a spreadsheet which I'll be glad to send anyone. Unfortunately, if you didn't understand any of that above formula (and I'm with you), you might not feel any better. PER suffers from the "black box problem" - you dump a bunch of stats in one end of the black box and out comes one number from the other end, but you don't really know what takes place inside the box.

There were 193 people who took part in the WNBA season last year: here are the top PER performers.

Leaders in Player Efficiency Rating, 2008

1. Diana Taurasi 29.83
2. Candace Parker 27.28
3. Sancho Lyttle 27.17
4. Lauren Jackson 26.63
5. Lindsay Whalen 24.68
6. Janel McCarville 24.57
7. Sophia Young 23.39
8. Tamika Catchings 23.14
9. Candice Wiggins 23.13
10. Jia Perkins 22.94

These numbers seem to make sense, although the computer would have given Taurasi the MVP and not Candace Parker. This might be why computers don't award MVPs, although I think Phoenix Mercury fans would jump up and say, "PER was right! PER was right!"

Who is the WNBA's "Most Average Player"?

61. Ivory Latta 15.03

Now there's a surprise!

Out of the 193 players, where does Jennifer Lacy show up? In the #135 slot.

134. Quianna Chaney 8.33
135. Jennifer Lacy 8.31
136. Sandora Irvin 8.31

"Okay," you might say, "this is just a bunch of numbers. It doesn't prove anything."

I agree. But here's the question: "do the results pass the smell test?" Suppose were were talking to say, Bill Laimbeer or Bill Dolan or whoever. And suppose we were to say, "given all things being equal - that is, we're not looking at salary or team need - who would you rather have on your team, Diana Taurasi or Ivory Latta?"

Is Diana Taurasi better than Ivory Latta? I would say "yes" - and I LIKE Ivory Latta! Likewise, who is better, Ivory Latta or Jennifer Lacy?

I think Ivory Latta is better than Jennifer Lacy. I'm not knocking Jennifer Lacy, I'm just saying that Ivory Latta brings more value on the floor than Jennifer does. In terms of leadership or the locker room or coaching or gameplan, it might be a different story. However, I think that Latta is more productive than Lacy, in which case, I agree with PER.

PER might not be right every time - was Sancho Lyttle worth more to the Comets than Lauren Jackson was to the Storm last year? - but it's right often enough for me to like it.

Of course, the next question would be "why don't you just use traditional stats?" More on that later. I'm just getting warmed up. :D

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Euroleague Quarterfinals 1/2008 - Spartak 65, Ros Casares 57

Diana Taurasi threatens to throw a ball at Erika de Souza for her impertinence.

In the best-of-three quarterfinals of Euroleague, every game is critical. For Ros Casares, it's even more critical as El Ros does not have home field advantage. They had to travel all the way to Russia to face a virtual all-star team in Spartak, a team with players like Lauren Jackson and Sylvia Fowles.

And believe it or not, they managed to close to within two points with less than two minutes to go. Unfortunately, close only counts in horseshoes as Ros Casares lost on the road 65-57.

The box score, write-ups and game gallery can all be found here.

Spartak took off with the lead and almost never lost it. They led 21-13 after the first quarter and led by 13 points at one time in the second quarter. At haltime, they led 33-24.

In the third quarter, however, Amaya Valdemoro of Ros Casares scored three straight field goals, including a layup that put Ros Casares ahead 42-41, their first lead in the game. Spartak fought back and led 47-42 after three quarters.

Spartak was like a rabbit with a hound dog on its heels - they could never establish a significant lead over Ros Casares in the first part of the fourth quarter. Delisha Milton-Jones hit a 3-pointer with 3:34 left to tie the game at 55-55, and her next jumper would close the score to 59-57 Spartak with 1:43 left in the game.

But if a team knew how to win, it was Spartak. Diana Taurasi found Sylvia Fowles for the layut which turned into a 3-point play on a Delisha Milton-Jones foul. Valdemoro tried a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left that didn't fall - but the 3-pointer by Lauren Jackson with 14 seconds left found its mark and Spartak would win by eight. (Spartak would only hit two of their 21 3-point attempts, but that one would be a killer.)

Spartak only hit 33 percent of their field goal attempts, due to going 2-for-21 behind the 3-point line. Fortunately for the home team, Ros Casares only hit 30 percent of their attempts. Both teams had similar rebounding and turnover stats. Foul trouble hurt Ros Casares, as they sent Spartak to the line 21 times and Spartak hit 81 percent of its shots.

Four players scored in double figures for Spartak. Lauren Jackson, a former MVP and now free agent, scored 17 points and seven rebounds. Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury) and Sylvia Fowles (Chicago Sky) scored 12 points each, with Fowles adding nine rebounds. Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm had 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Kelly Miller of the Phoenix Mercury also threw in six points. Jurgita Streimikyte, who last played for the Pacers in 2005 only scored two points - but both points were free throws with less than three minutes remaining.

Amaya Valdemoro picked up a double-double for Ros Casares with 20 points and 11 rebounds. The other WNBA players on Ros Casares's roster didn't do so well. Elisa Aguilar was the only other Ros player in double digits with 11. Delisha Milton-Jones only scored eight points and seven rebounds, Candace Wiggins only had four points and two rebounds, and the Atlanta Dream's own Erika de Souza could only add six points and six rebounds in 21 minutes of play.

(* * *)

The next game for Ros Casares is at home on Friday, February 20th. According to Bert at the Painel do Basquete Feminino blog, Ros Casares's goal is to have 6500 people show up on Friday. This would be a Euroleague record, and Ros Casares is an interesting club and has a shot of reaching that goal.

Letter to ESPN Ombudsman

To: Le Anne Schreiber, ESPN Ombudsman

Dear Ms. Schreiber,

I understand that you are the journalistic ombudsman for ESPN. In which case, I would like to register a complaint regarding one of your better-known journalists, Mr. Bill Simmons.

It is my understanding that he made the following quote during a podcast:

"Oh I have some good news for you. WNBA probably done after this year. I don't know if that's good news. Yeah it's not good news, I take that back, cause, you know, it's nice that we have a professional league that girls can aspire to play in. Unfortunately, it loses money hand-over-fist and it's a bad business plan. So at some what point does it just become charity?"

It is implied that Mr. Simmons has some inside information about the status of the WNBA. In which case, why does he not quote a source, or if he wishes to keep his source a secret, then why does he state explicitly that he heard this information from a highly-placed NBA or WNBA insider? Without such quotation, Simmons implies that it's simply common knowledge that the WNBA is "done" -- knowledge so common that sources need not be quoted. And who could foist an argument against that tsunami of hot air that passes for "common knowledge" in the sports world?

In effect Simmons - and ESPN in extension - are influencing the future financial health of a league that has several fans that watch ESPN. With the economic downturn in the United States and the suspension of operations of the Arena Football League for one year, every sports franchise is in financial trouble and small operations like the WNBA the moreso. What effect will Mr. Simmons's pronunciamentos have when the WNBA seeks future advertisers?

In attempting to mix journalism with opinion, he gets the journalism wrong and the less said about his opinion, the better. How important is ESPN's journalistic credibility? If Mr. Simmons is given carte blanche to pass off opinion as fact then my answer would be "not very important, obviously".



Jennifer Lacy Re-Signs With Atlanta Dream

Jennifer Lacy has signed up for another season with the Atlanta Dream. The news from the Atlanta Dream organization is here.

Here are Jennifer Lacy's Player Efficiency Ratings (PER) for her three years of professional basketball:

2006 - Phoenix - 9.21 - 22
2007 - Phoenix - 5.70 - 23
2008 - Atlanta - 8.31 - 24

The final number is player age.

With 9.00 being replacement level, we see that Lacy hasn't had much of an opportunity to shine - Phoenix was more hurt than helped by Lacy in its 2007 championship season. I don't expect Lacy to be much better in 2009.

However, Lacy brings a couple of intangibles with her. The first intangible is that she is a very close friend of Chamique Holdsclaw. The second is that according to the press release, Lacy was one of the Dream's team captains last year. (Who were the other captains for 2008, I wonder?)

This means that Lacy, despite the somewhat unproductive seasons, is a player that has the admiration of either Marynell Meadors or her fellow Dream teammates. And believe it or not, that counts for a lot on a team. Staying on a team is as much a function of chemistry - that the team has a better experience when you're with them - as it is raw output. I hope that Lacy can lead the Dream - maybe not on the floor, but in the locker room - to a 2009 playoff spot.

Annie Oakleys

Azzi: A Hall of Fame Gunner

Why will Jennifer Azzi be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame? Oh yeah, she had a great college career and she won two gold medals for the United States, and she played in both the ABL and WNBA, but what's amazing about Jennifer Azzi is her ability to hit the long-range shot.

You need at least a 0.300 clip from beyond the 3-point line to be considered a long-range gunner. That's equivalent to a 0.450 2-point field goal percentage. Hitting 0.400 from beyond the 3-point line is nothing short of astonishing if you can do it regularly. Not surprisingly, there are only nine women who have played in the WNBA with a percentage over 0.400 and who have over 100 3-point attempts.

Even though Azzi is only 60th all time in 3-point shots attempted - Katie Smith has far and away the most tries with 1,862 - Azzi has the most attempts among our Annie Oakleys.

Highest 3-Point Field Goal Percentages
(minimum 100 attempts)

1. Jennifer Azzi, 158-345, 0.458
2. Laurie Koehn, 92-205, 0.449
3. Cathy Joens, 46-110, 0.418
4. Sidney Spencer, 85-205, 0.417
5. Kristen Rasmussen, 59-142, 0.415
6. Sandy Brondello, 114-278, 0.410
7. Jackie Stiles, 65-160, 0.406
8. Jamie Carey, 84-207, 0.406
9. Eva Nemcova, 131-326, 0.402
10. Korie Hlede, 83-209, 0.397

Update: Fixed at least three typos in this post. Sheer dogged professionalism here at Pleasant Dreams. Where's my proofreader?

Monday, February 16, 2009

"One Team. One Dream."

Atlanta Dream season ticket holders have spoken. This is the motto for 2009 - "One Team. One Dream." A little nonspecific, but it works for me!

The announcement is here. I'm going to abbreviate the slogan as 1T1D.

Israel Women's D1 16/2008 - Maccabi Ramat Hen 73, Elizur Ramla 70

Latta was perfect at the free throw line for Ramat Hen.

Not a good sign when you get the first game on your week's schedule wrong - it appears that the game happened yesterday, and not today. And I had the wrong team penciled in. Oh well, for Atlanta Dream fans that won't matter as Maccabi Ramat Hen (13-3) came back from behind to win 73-70 against home team Elizur Ramla (11-5).

The win puts Ramat Hen tied for first with Electra Ramat Hasharon with just five games to go in the season. The box score is here.

Visiting Ramat Hen took a 21-19 lead and edged out to a 41-36 lead at halftime. They began to extend their lead, at one point leading by 12 points early in the third quarter. It was then that Elizur Ramla woke up, and started their run. They led 58-57 at the end of three quarters and led by six points (70-64) with just 2:30 left in the game. Shay Doron of Ramat Hen would hit a 3-pointer to start a nine point run as the home team was shut out by Ramat Hen for the rest of the game.

Home team Ramla only hit 39 percent of their field goals compared to Ramat Hen's 48 percent. In terms of offensive rebounding, however, Ramla crushed Ramat Hen, getting 10 offensive rebounds compared to Ramat Hen's pitiful three. Ramla would also only turn the ball over 10 times, keeping them in the game.

Undoubtedly, the clincher for the visitors was that they were sent to the free throw line 24 times. Furthermore, they hit 20 of their shots, an 83 percent free throw percentage. Two Ramla players would end up fouling out.

The home team was led by Abiola Wabara, who scored 24 points, including 12-for-13 free throw shooting. Matalya Belvin, a graduate of NAIA Langston University, scored 13 points for Ramla but was one of the two players to foul out. Tamara Moore, who last played for the Houston Comets in 2007, scored 12 points for the home team with eight rebounds and four assists.

Two players from Ramat Hen would break the 20-point mark. Ivory Latta would score 23 points, hit four 3-point shots and go 7-for-7 at the free throw line for the visitors. LaToya Pringle would scored 22 points and 13 rebounds for a double-double. Tamara James scored 12 points in forty minutes of play and Shay Doron scored 10 points.

Ramla's bench would score only six points. Ramat Hen's bench would only score 16. You don't need much depth in the Israel Women's D1, it seems.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Here is the week's upcoming schedule of teams in Europe involving Atlanta Dream players:


Israel Women's D1: Elizur Ramla (11-4) vs. Maccabi Ramat Hen (12-3)


Euroleague Quarter-Finals: Spartak (Russia) vs. Ros Casares (Game 1)
LSBL: DU/Swedbank (2-19) vs. SK Cesīs (19-2)


BWBL: SK Cesīs (5-1) vs. Kazakhstan NT (4-4) (Kazakhstan)


Euroleague Quarter-Finals: Ros Casares vs. Spartak (Russia) (Game 2)
LSBL: Turība/Kolonna (9-13) vs. SK Cesīs (20-2) *


LFB (Spain): Extrugasa (5-14) vs. Hondarribia (9-10)


LFB (Spain): Ros Casares (18-1) vs. Celta (10-9)
LFB (Spain): San José (10-9) vs. Ibiza (10-9)
Greek Women's A1: Apollon Kalamarias (11-8) vs. Paleo Faliro (12-7)
BWBL: Lemcon (Lithuania) (6-3) vs. SK Cesīs (5-1)

* - Standings as of February 18, 2009

Greek Women's A1 19/2008 - Paleo Faliro 67, Panionos 57

Paleo Faliro (12-7) is determined to secure its place in the Greek Women's A1 playoffs. With only seven games left, they needed just two wins to assure themselves a .500 record in a Greek league of 14 teams - one of which has folded (Kastoria) and one of which is no longer competitive (Aris Holargos). They are one step closer to qualifying with a 67-57 win over visiting Panionos (9-10).

The box score is here.

The game was less close than the final score lets on. Paleo Faliro led 18-13 after the first quarter, expanded their lead to nine points at halftime (32-23) and to eighteen points at the third quarter (52-34). Panionios staged a slight comeback at the end...

...or maybe they didn't. It's very hard to tell. Women's basketball in Greece takes place in a vacuum. There are no game write-ups. There is no press coverage. There are no pictures. We have only box scores.

Paleo Faliro hit field goals at a 51 percent clip - oddly enough, they only attempted 51 baskets - whereas Panionos ould only hit 32 percent of their baskets. Panionos was generally outrebounded, but only turned the ball over 13 times compared to Paleo Faliro's 18. The problem is that having your opponent turn over the ball is only half the game - if you can't do anything with the basketball once you get it, it's meaningless. Both teams shot in the 60 percent range during free throws; I'm surprised a few players didn't get agressive and give away fouls.

Teana Miller was the player of the game with a double-double of 19 points and 11 rebounds. Her teammate Karen Mourd scored 18 points and had 11 rebounds of her own. It almost makes Kristin Haynie's effort of 17 points, five rebounds and four assists look positively weak.

As for visiting Panionos, it looks like Sheri Sam must be playing somewhere else now. Pelag Papamichail led Panionos with 13 points and nine rebounds. Lindsey Wilson must have come over from Teo Vilnius to play for Panionos, and scored 13 points and had five assists. Wilson is not the small NAIA school in Kentucky but is a graduate of Iowa State in 2003. Katerina Deli added 11 points for the visitors. Tye'sha Fluker, who played for the Chicago Sky in 2008, only scored six points in 25 minutes but had eight rebounds.

I suspect that Greece will restore the monarchy before we find any game pics.

Gran Canaria: "Extrugasa are cheaters!" - Extrugasa: "Gran Canaria are LIARS!"

I found out from Bert at the Painel do Basquete Feminino that there has been some dispute in the Spanish League over Extrugasa's win over Gran Canaria. At the Gran Canaria website, Gran Canaria have made many accusations against Extrugasa - that Extrugasa played dirty, that Extrugasa's fans were allowed to sit behind Gran Canaria's bench and be disruptive with noisemakers and insults, and that Extrugasa was getting the benefit of biased refereeing.

Some named "Jlsaav" posted a video at YouTube as a response. (I keep getting a message that the video is no longer available - you might have better luck watching it at the PBF website link, above.) It's a very creative response that appears to combine a children's song about liars and video clips from the Extrugasa-Gran Canaria game. If you can get the video to load, look at #11 in the white jersey: that's Iziane Castro Marques, and she's putting on quite a show.

(I now have a headache from that children's song....)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Georgia Tech and Their Pink Uniforms

I took some film of the Georgia Tech women's basketball team on February 8, 2008 during their game against N. C. State. The pink uniforms were in honor of the late coach Kay Yow.

After some YouTube experimentation, I was able to load the videos up onto YouTube. Therefore, you get to watch my amateur cinematography.

LFB (Spain) 19/2008 - Ibiza 69, Cadi la Seu 54

For Atlanta Dream players in Spain it has been a good week. Ros Casares won. Extrugasa won not once, but twice. It was up to Ibiza (10-9) to complete the trifecta, and at home Ibiza sent Cadi la Seu (6-13) to another loss with a 69-54 home victory.

It is Ibiza's seventh win in the last eight games. The arrival of Sancho Lyttle and Shannon "Pee Wee" Johnson was the key to turning Ibiza's season around.

The box score is here.

The first quarter was an even one, but it was the second quarter that secured the game for Ibiza - Ibiza scored 23 points in the second quarter and held Cadi la Seu to just six points. Leading 39-20 at the half and 58-35 after three quarters, Ibiza allowed Cadi la Seu a little mini-run in the fourth quarter -- but 23 points is just usually too much to overcome in ten minutes.

Despite only hitting 2 of 17 3-point attempts, Ibiza still had a 42 percent field goal percentaes. Cadi la Seu only hit 2-for-10 from three-point land and shot just 40 percent overall. Ibiza had 44 rebounds - with Sancho Lyttle doing most of the work. Ibiza's greatest weakness was in hanging on to the ball, turning the ball over 22 times in the game - but Cadi la Seu was even worse, turning the ball over 23 times.

Four players on the Ibiza squad scored in double figures, but the Queen of the Game was future Atlanta play Sancho Lyttle, who dominated the game. She scored 20 points and 21 rebounds for a 20-point double-double. Silvia Morales scored 12 points and six rebounds, and had eight assists for Ibiza (but she also had eight of Ibiza's 22 turnovers). Shannon Johnsonscored 10 points in 24 minutes of play. Johnson was Lyttle's teammate last year in Houston, but was not chosen in the dispersal draft.

Marta Zurro lead all Cadi la Seu players with 13 points. Sonia Borges dos Reis scored 12 points and four rebounds for the visitors.

LFB (Spain) 19/2008 - Extrugasa 65, Rivas Ecópolis 55

Perhaps, winning is just a matter of habit. It seems that way for Extrugasa (5-14). Extrugasa hadn't won a Liga Feminina game in almost four months. Taking a two-game winning streak on the road, Extrugasa traveled to third place Rivas Ecópolis (14-5) and with neither team playing ten players, Extrugasa scores a surprising 65-55 road win for its third in a row.

The box score is here.

Extrugasa would end the first quarter with a 20-15 lead, but the hard part would be keeping the lead against a tough team. With a halftime lead of 38-33, Extrugasa managed to hang on to their lead and held Rivas Ecópolis to just 22 points over the second half.

Extrugasa had a great shooting day - they shot 54 percent from the field compared to 38 percent from Rivas Ecópolis. The visitors even out rebounded Rivas Ecópolis 36-24. Despite Extrugasa's 17 turnovers, Rivas Ecópolis would only visit the free throw line eight times and hit six shots.

Petra Ujhelyi scored 18 points and seven rebounds for home team Rivas Ecopolis. It almost seems like a different team from the one that played Extrugasa in November. Roneeka Hodges - recently added to the Minnesota Lynx after being "dispersed" from Houston - scored 12 points and five assists. Ruth Riley of the Silver Stars would play nine minutes, go 0-for-4 and commit four fouls. Laura Camps Collell, a Spanish native that once played for Florida International, scored only two points in 22 minutes of play.

Iziane Castro Marques had another great game, shooting 6-for-9 from the field and scoring 19 points and 8 rebounds. Elisha Turek scored 16 points and nine rebounds for Extrugasa. Veteran Taru Tuukkanen added 14 points to the winning team's total, and scored six rebounds.

Basketball Fans Interviewed about the W

Jason Burke on Vimeo talks about how he likes the NBA and doesn't like the WNBA. He decided to interview three people who watched the NBA (at least occasionally) and asked them about their feelings regarding the WNBA.

The blog link is here where you can read his inital comments about the process. It inspires me to grab my own camera and see what people think about the W.

NBA vs WNBA from Jason Burke on Vimeo.

Friday, February 13, 2009

LFB 19/2008 - Ros Casares 85, Gran Canaria 64

When Gran Canaria (4-15) allowed Ros Casares (18-1) to visit, the message sent by El Ros was most likely, "Look, don't exert yourself. Sit down. Relax, and this will be painless." Ros Casares would win on the road, in a 85-64 victory that could have been a lot worse.

The box score is here.

In the first quarter...well, the less said about that the better. Ros Casares scored 37 points in the first quarter alone, or about two baskets every minute. With Ros Casares taking a 20-point lead after the first quarter, Gran Canaria would only win one of the remaining quarters. Life isn't easy when you're at the bottom.

Ros Casares won the shooting battle, hitting 47 percent of their field goals to Gran Canaria's 40 percent. They also outrebounded the home team 41-29. Ros Casares had more turnovers but...were they really trying.

As for free throw shooting? Ros Casares visited the free throw line 18 times. They hit 15 free throws. Whereas Gran Canaria visited the line 16 times, and hit only nine.

The best performances from Gran Canaria probably came from Vanessa Ble (it looks like she's not calling herself Doukole Ble anymore) scoring nine points and ten rebounds. Iva Perovanovic scored 14 points and seven rebounds, but committed four turnovers and turned the ball over four times. Tiina Sten, a graduate of St. Johns, scored only two points in 13 minutes of play.

The player of the game was Ros Casares's Erika de Souza, who scored a double double with 16 points and 17 rebounds. Jana Vesala added 13 points and four rebounds. Former and curent WNBA players like Amaya Valdemoro (13 points), Delisha Milton-Jones (11 points) and Candace Wiggins (five points) probably enjoyed the rest in a game where no one on the visiting team played more than 22 minutes.

Ros Casares is definitely in the post-season. As for Gran Canaria, they have fallen to last place in the Liga Feminina, and only have seven games to dig themselves out or face relegation.

LSBL 21/2008 - SK Cēsis 98, TTT Rīga Juniors 49

"No one to pass to? No prob. I'll just score again."

There are two things that I've learned about Latvian women's basketball. The first is that there are only two good teams - TTT Rīga and SK Cēsis (19-2). The second is that there's a big gap between the second place team and the third place team, which are the TTT Rīga Juniors (14-8). (And isn't it strange that TTT Rīga is so good that they have a juniors team playing in the A League?) Or at least, there's a big gap between Tamera Young and the TTT Rīga Juniors as she almost singlehandedly demolished the Juniors 98-49.

The box score is here. A picture gallery from the game is here.

With a 98-49 win, you'd expect SK Cēsis to win every quarter. They did. They held the TTT Rīga Juniors - an all-Latvian team - to just seven points in the first quarter and the score was 48-19 at halftime. Believe it or not, that first quarter was the Rīga Juniors best performance, as they only lost the first quarter by nine points. All other quarters were lost by at least double digits.

This was a real butt-whipping. SK Cēsis shot 53 percent. The Juniors shot only 29 percent and lost every single key of the game. They turned the ball over 24 times, and 19 of those turnovers came from SK Cēsis steals. They sent SK Cēsis to the free throw line 30 times and SK Cēsis hit 23 of those shots.

Did any of the Juniors have good performances? Only two scored in double digits - Anna Sonka, for example, scored 17 points and only had one turnover. Līga Šurkusa only had five points but she had fifteen rebounds. The rest of the performances were forgettable. Oh well, that's why they're the TTT Rīga Juniors - every game is a learning experience.

And the Master Instructor was Tamera Young, who showed that she was ready to play some ball.

36 points on 13-for-24 shooting.
6-for-8 at the free throw line.
13 friggin rebounds for a double-double.
Six steals.

Of course, there were other players earning a paycheck from SK Cēsis. Ieva Tāre had 16 points and eight rebounds. Rima Maregeviciute also had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Former Dream player and now Mystic Kristen Mann did not play.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

LFB 18/2008 - Extrugasa 64, Gran Canaria 55

The only pic I could find. The person shooting is Izi. Or maybe not.

Extrugasa (4-14) has had a great last four days or so. Not only have their won their second game in a row - this time against fellow cellar-dweller Gran Canaria (4-14) at home by a score of 64-55 - but they are no longer alone in last place in the Liga Feminina and if they can keep their level of play up, they might avoid relegation at the end of the year.

I almost overlooked this game. There certainly wasn't any notice on the FEB website. This game was a make-up game that had been postponed due to bad weather that kept Gran Canaria's team from leaving their island paradise.

The box score is here.

For a few moments, Extrugasa fans wondered if their team was going to be on the ropes again. Gran Canaria took an 18-13 lead to start the game in the first 10 minutes and Extrugasa was looking at a six-point halftime deficit, 34-28. However, in the third quarter Grand Canaria was held to just seven points and after three quarters Extrugasa led 47-41, a lead they were able to extend by three points before the final buzzer.

Neither team exactly shot the lights out. Extrugasa's field goal percentage rested at 40 percent, but Gran Canaria only shot 33 percent from the floor. Gran Canaria turned the ball over 18 times to Extrugasa's ten. However, Gran Canaria hit 18 of 22 free throws compared to the 11 of 13 free throws from Extrugasa - for Extrugasa, it was definitely an atypical day at the free throw line.

The MVP of the game was undoubtedly Atlanta's own Iziane Castro Marques, who scored 24 points with 9-for-16 shooting and hit five of six of her free throws. Extrugasa veteran Taru Tuukkanen scored 15 poitns and six rebounds for the home team, and Elisha Turek scored six points and five rebounds for Extrugasa.

Left to carry the burden for Gran Canaria were Doukole Ble with 14 points and 10 rebounds and Iva Perovanovic with 12 points and 10 rebounds - it's very odd that the only double-doubles of the game were scored by the losing team. Tiina Sten, a graduate of St. Johns, only scored two points in just three minutes of play.

Chantelle Anderson Signed to Training Camp Contract

According to the 2009 WNBA Transactions board, Chantelle Anderson has been signed to a training camp contract in 2009 with the Atlanta Dream.

For those who follow the women's BB message boards, this is no news, and for those who have been following the Dream, this is no surprise. (Kasha Terry's being waived was news - I hadn't heard about it - but it wasn't a surprise.) Anderson has been doing all sorts of community work and interviews and talking about the upcoming season in the future tense as if she'd be a part of it.

There's that old saying from athletes: "all I want is a chance to prove myself". Anderson has now got her chance, although if Michelle Snow ends up on the Dream - and the rumbles of that happening sound fainter and fainter - it might be a snowball's chance, if you know what I mean.

Here's what I find interesting: some WNBA players get "signed" (Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, Ashley Robinson, Chasity Melvin) and some get "signed to a training camp contract" (Anderson, Yuko Oga, Crystal Smith).

So what is the difference between the two? It appears that being signed to a training camp contract is no guarantee of being signed for the season. Is there pay involved in being signed to a training camp contract, or are you just given the opportunity to participate? (Bring yer own shoes.) Is there an upper limit to the amount of people that can attend training camp?

I just find these sorts of things interesting.

Update: The press release from the Atlanta Dream.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Atlanta Dream Waives Kasha Terry

The news was right here. Under my nose, all along. It wasn't reported on the WNBA Transactions Board, I don't remember seeing it posted at RebKell and it isn't on the Atlanta Dream Message Board. Unless season-ticket holders got the news, this might be the first time anyone's heard about it. At least, I'd like to think so. Maybe I'm just clueless.

So Kasha Terry goes from being out of a job in Poland to out of a job...period. Egad. And it only took me a week to find out.

P. S.: Now I know why it went unnoticed. It was probably overlooked in all the hoop-la over Betty Lennox being waived and Lisa Leslie retiring.

P. P. S.: This frees up #35 for Angel McCoughtry to wear.

On Shooting Field Goals

Jackie Stiles (#10) should just let Cara Consuegra shoot.

One of the great things about basketball is that there is a lot of action. It was the invention of the 24-second clock that changed basketball from becoming something like football and baseball. Baseball's selling point is that there is a potential for action, and every ball or strike changes that potential by forcing the pitcher to adjust what he does. Football's action is actually the result of a long march downfield and all of the "hard hitting" disguises the fact that there's really not much of anything going on in football - the famous phrase is "violence punctuated by committee meetings", with a lot of that clash of bodies contributing nothing to the final result.

Instead, basketball is a collection of mini-dramas with the goal of taking a ball and putting it into the basket. Each of these dramas is interesting in itself, and each of these dramas plays out in brief periods of time. If the attempt succeeds or fails, the other team will get a chance to do what the first team couldn't.

Baseball doesn't care where the ball is hit, as long as it's hit between the two foul lines. Football doesn't even require that you carry the ball to the endzone to score - you can always kick the ball between the uprights if you are forced to. Basketball, on the other hand, requires that the ball be fired through a small circular rim not much bigger than the ball is. (Basketball and golf have that much in common.)

Like making a putt from six feet, people underestimate just how difficult this task is. It's very hard to put that ball through the rim when a) you only have 24 or 30 seconds to do it, b) there are very specific rules as to how this ball may be carried to the hoop, c) you can make only minor physical contact with someone while moving with the ball, d) for women, the rim is suspended in the air so high that it can't be reached by a simple jump and e) there are possibly people who are taller than you who could just bat the ball away as you hurl it.

For some reason, Europeans look at the 2-point field goal and the 3-point field goal as entirely separate acts. They are calculated in different columns, with record-keeping separate. In America, the 3-point field goal is seen as a special kind of field goal, with the 3-point column a subset of the 2-point column. Even though the record keeping doesn't really matter, I think the Americans are looking at it the right way.

There are 48 WNBA players who played their entire careers without scoring a field goal. You would think that those careers would be short, but they're not as short as one might think. Cara Consuegra was given 15 games and 50 minutes of play to try to get the ball in the bucket. Five attempts. All in vain. She did, however, make two of four free throws, but a free throw is not a field goal.

At the other end of the table, there are only 31 players in WNBA history that have made 1,000 field goals. Only one has made 2,000, and one is very close behind her. Those players might end up playing on the same team this year. It's truly an amazing thing to make a field goal.

Here are the WNBA leaders in field goals made:

Most Field Goals, Career

1. Lisa Leslie, 2188
2. Tina Thompson, 1915
3. Sheryl Swoopes, 1721
4. Tangela Smith, 1701
5. Lauren Jackson, 1615
6. Katie Smith, 1575
7. Vickie Johnson, 1545
8. Chamique Holdsclaw (*), 1531
9. Yolanda Griffith, 1497
10. Nykesha Sales, 1481

(*) contracted to the Atlanta Dream