Saturday, January 30, 2010
Mersin had two advantages going into the game against Kocaeli. The first was that Mersin was playing at home. The second was that Kocaeli had not won a TBBL game this year. It was enough for Mersin, who advanced to 11-1 in the Turkish league with a 78-54 win over 0-12 Mersin.
The box score is here.
Most of the really good teams in Turkish ball have a lot of WNBA players. Kocaeli had no WNBA players, and Turkish basketball hasn't quite caught up with the United States. Kocaeli barely led 15-14 after the first quarter, but Mersin won the following three quarters.
Ceyda Kozuka led Kocaeli with 16 points and 3 rebounds. Asli Sevinc scored eight points and 14 rebounds for the visitors.
And who was the best player for Mersin? Erlana Larkins had nine points and 12 rebounds, and Korel Engin had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Mersin had some great shooting for this game. Ivory Latta, however, was Mersin's leading scorer:
3-for-6 from 2-point range
3-for-6 from 3-point range
23 minutes of play
Hopefully, the TBBL will put up some pics of this game.
Krakow continues to work in the Polish League for a good position in the post-season, beating Leszno in Krakow by a score of 86-65. Krakow advances to 13-5 on the season, tied with Polkowice for third place. Leszno falls to 8-9 and to seventh place.
The box score is here.
Krakow didn't have many problems against Leszno. Krakow got off to a slow start, down 22-13 at the end of the first quarter, but fought their way to a 39-39 tie at halftime. The second half was all Krakow, as Leszno was held to nine points in the third quarter and never found their way back. Another problem was that Leszno found itself in foul trouble.
Magdalena Gawrońska led Leszno with 20 points and three rebounds. Joanna Walich had 11 points, five rebounds and three assists for Leszno.
For Krakow, Ewelina Kobryn had another great game with 20 points and five rebounds. Janell Burse had 11 points for Krakow.
And how did Iziane Castro Marques do? Iziane did well in the third quarter and had a good game for her limited minutes.
19 minutes played
Where Ros Casares was fighting to be in the top of the league, Perfumerias had it slightly easier against Cadi la Seu in Salamanca, winning 76-55 with little trouble. Perfumieras climbs to 15-2 and is tied for second place with Rivas Ecopolis. Cadi la Seu falls to 6-11.
The box score is here.
Perfumerias only led by 23-20 after the first quarter, but Cadi la Seu faded away at the 15-minutes mark, scoring only seven points and falling behind 40-27. The fourth quarter was another waste for the visitors as Cadi la Seu scored only 10 points in the final ten minutes - by that time, Perfumerias was holding a glorified practice.
Jasmon Covington, a graduate of Louisville, led Cadi la Seu with 16 points, four rebounds, and four steals. The big game, however, belonged to Sancho Lyttle of Perfumerias:
22 minutes of play
No pictures yet. If I find them, I'll post them.
Ros Casares holds an impromptu team meeting during the Rivas Ecopolis game.
Ros Casares broke the tie for the #1 spot in a battle of the two top teams in the Spanish League. On their home ground, Ros Casares had a big fourth quarter to beat Rivas Ecopolis by a score of 75-60 in Valencia, sweeping Rivas Ecopolis for the season.
The box score for the game is right here. Ros Casares now leads the Liga Femenina at 16-1; Rivas Ecopolis falls to 15-2. A gallery of images can be found here.
Ros Casares came out intense for this game, with Erika de Souza scoring eight of the first 10 points for El Ros. Tied 18-18, Ros Casare went on a 7-0 run in the second quarter but Rivas Ecopolis worked hard on defense and did their best to deny de Souza rebounds. At one point in the second quarter, Rivas Ecopolis led 34-29 but Amaya Valdemoro and Erika de Souza scored the last points for Ros Casares in the second half to tie the game at 34-34.
Ros Casares edged ahead in the third quarter, but Crystal Langhorne fought back for Rivas Ecopolis and worked the gap down to 50-47 at the end of three quarters. However, Anna Montañana scored three 3-pointers for Ros Casares in the last six minutes of the game to kill any hope of a Rivas Ecopolis comeback.
Anna Cruz scoredd 10 points and five rebounds for Rivas Ecopolis and Crystal Langhorne scored 13 points and had five rebounds, but also four turnovers.
Delisha Milton-Jones had 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists for El Ros. Erika de Souza also had a great game:
11 rebounds (3 offensive rebounds)
29 minutes of play
Thursday, January 28, 2010
I wonder what cold medicine she's taking?
There are eight teams competing for the Polish Cup, and Krakow took on Siemens, a team standing at 4-13 in the PLKK. It didn't take much for Krakow to win, cruising easily to an 83-54 win and on to the quarterfinals which will take place later in the year.
The box score is here. A gallery of pictures from the game can be found here.
What happened? Very simple: Krakow outscored Siemens 34-6 in the first quarter, and Krakow coasted the rest of the way towards the victory. Even though Siemens won two of the following three quarters, they didn't win by enough to overcome that 28 point first-quarter deficit.
Ugochukwu Oha scored 18 points and 14 rebounds for Siemens (Owa is a graduate of George Washington University). Alena Novikava scored 12 points, four rebounds and five assists for Siemens.
For winning Krakow, Ewelina Kobryn led all scorers for 20 points and 10 rebounds. Marta Fernandez had 14 points and four assists.
Iziane Castro Marques, recovering from a cold, had a so-so game.
17 minutes played
I'm told this is Michelle Snow. So what do YOU think?
Dynamo Kursk jumps into another "best of two" aggregate score competition, this time against Hungarian team Györ. The winner of the series is the team that scores the most points over two games. Dynamo Kursk, playing at home, got off to a big jump, winning 85-56 in Game One.
A game report, box score, and play-by-play report can be found here.
Kursk played in Russia to a crowd of 1000 and got off to a 20-12 lead after one quarter. Györ, a Hungarian team, managed to close to 30-24 by halftime, but in the second half it was all Dynamo Kursk.
Hadjana Radunovic led Györ with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Orsolya Englert had 12 points and four assists, but also seven turnovers.
Svetlana Maksimenko led Dynamo Kursk with 23 points. Sandra Linkeviciene had 13 points, 11 rebounds and six steals for Dynamo Kursk.
Michelle Snow's scoring line for Dynamo Kursk:
7 points on 2-for-5 shooting
28 minutes played
Not this drum.
Ethan at Actionless Activity writes about what soccer fans (and some hockey fans) are permitted to do and what WNBA fans are permitted to do:
As for how this would play out at a basketball game, using the Atlanta Dream as my case study from afar, I’d say if Petrel and company showed up with a drum and Atlanta Dream scarves and wanted to designate a specific section as “Dreamland” where the passionate fans stand and chant for 48 minutes, in a vacuum the organization would balk and probably deny them entry. Sans drum, if everyone stood and chanted, they’d probably get the PA voice of God booming “please be seated during play and [reiteration of arena policy].”
This does not mean that there’s no hope for fan-supplied atmosphere outside of the hated “ev’ry-bod-y clap your hands” canned clip or “thundersticks” called out at random intervals. Talking with the front office NOW during the off season is ideal to hash out what they’re willing to accept versus declaring that they’ll provide the entertainment, thanks, now siddown and please buy season tickets.
I therefore decided to see what I would be allowed to get away with. The first question: could I get a scarf and a drum? It's not hard to buy a drum, and if you don't have a drum, you could probably make one. A scarf, on the other hand, is simply impossible to obtain unless you make one yourself. Granted, there's a lot of cool swag at the NBA Store, but unfortunately, scarves are not along the swag.
There is a web site called the Atlanta Dream A to Z Fan Guide, which is probably just a version of the Atlanta Hawks/NBA Fan Guide rewritten by substituting "Dream" for "Hawks". Some highlights:
Banners and Signs
Banners and signs are allowed at Philips Arena; however they may not obstruct the view of guests, obscure advertising, or impede the operation of the facility. In addition, banners or signs may not be commercial in nature or contain objectionable material.
The Cleveland Cavaliers site forbids banners/signs from being put on posts or being beyond a certain length. However, it appears that signs are legal if you don't obstruct someone's view. All you have to do is find a deserted section of Phillips or just make sure that you have a large group of well-wishers behind you.
The doors to Philips Arena will open one hour prior to tip-off during the 2008 season unless otherwise noted.
I'll put a note in my TARDIS manual.
For the comfort and safety of all guests, the following items are not permitted to enter into the arena:
# Air horns.
# Alcoholic beverages.
# Backpacks/large bags/purses over the size of 12" X 12".
# Banners or signs that obstruct the view of guests, obscure advertising or impede the operation of Philips Arena, contain objectionable subject matter or are commercial in nature.
# Cans, bottles or other beverage containers.
# Chains/spiked wrist or neck bands / spiked belts.
# Flag poles.
# Hockey sticks.
# Ice chests.
# Illegal drugs or paraphernalia.
# Laser pens and pointers.
# Outside food or drink.
# Pepper spray and mace.
# Silly string.
# Video cameras or recording devices.
# Weapons (guns, knives, weapon parts, etc.).
# Wrapped gifts.
# Any other items deemed to be dangerous or inappropriate. Electric noise-making devices.
There's nothing there that states that you can't bring drums, but note that last sentence - a constitutional scholar would call that the "elastic cause". Really, "any item we say prohibited is prohibited" - and I wouldn't have it any other way. I agree, for example, with the ban on air horns and electronic noisemakers, which can produce ear-splitting noise.
But what about drums? Do you have to get a Papal dispensation? I'm going to write someone at the DFO and find out if Drums are specifically prohibited.
As a matter of fact, all of Ethan's ideas at the end of his post - a "supporter's section", working with the Front Office - are worth looking into. For superfans that want to start a supersection in Atlanta, Ethan's post is the "how-to" guide.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
From Frisco Del Rosario:
1. Explain how you calculate a pitcher's earned run average.
2. Name five current Lakers other than Kobe.
3. Name all of the golf masters tournaments.
4. Who is the winningest college Division I men's basketball coach and which years was he at the school(s) he compiled that record?
5. Which NFL player recorded the most career touchdowns, what years and who'd he play for?
6. Name the last ten Heisman Trophy winners and where they played in college.
A heads-up: Frisco didn't write this quiz, so we won't blame him for #3, as there are no "golf masters tournaments." There is the Masters Tournament, which is one tournament. Undoubtedly they meant to ask for #3, "name all of the golf Grand Slam tournaments.
The sports information director in charge of women's basketball at the University of the Pacific was given this quiz because she wanted to work at ESPN - before offering an interview, they wanted to test her sports knowledge.
1. It seems that what ESPN cares about is: baseball, pro basketball, golf, men's college basketball, men's college football and pro football. No other sport actually exists as ESPN: I watch women's college basketball on ESPN but virtually nothing else. Aside from poker, I don't remember any other "sports" being represented there. Maybe a few MLS games.
2. How hard are these questions? I can only answer one of them - the pitcher's earned run average question, since I used to follow baseball very closely. (Old baseball, that is.) You would have to follow six sports closely enough to get those questions, and you'd have to follow them in some depth - two questions ask you for the name of more than one person.
I suspect that #1, #4 and #5 might be the easiest, because each asks you to recall one prominent fact. #2 and #3 ask you to have intermediate knowledge about a sport (pro basketball, golf). #6 can only be answered by college football mavens.
3. Was it a fair quiz? Is this one of those cases at Southern polls in the 1950s where one group of voters is asked to spell "cat" and the other is asked when the Edict of Nantes was revoked? That, I don't know. My question: how many of these can you get right? Frisco del Rosario implies that the majority of ESPN talking heads couldn't get all of these right, and I concur - I'd be surprised to meet some that could get three right.
You can get the answers by highlighting the text in white below.
1. Earned run average is simply earned runs divided by innings pitched.
2. Any five of these names will do: Ron Artest, Shannon Brown, Andrew Bynum, Jordan Farmar, Derek Fisher, Pau Gasol, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, Adam Morrison, Larmar Odom, Josh Powell, Sasha Vujacic, Luke Walton.
3. The Masters, the US Open, the British Open, and the PGA Championship. Double points if you call the British Open "The Open". If I were the woman who was asked this stuff, I would have answered the Kraft Nabisco, the LPGA Championship, the US Women's Open, and the Women's British Open and dared the man to claim otherwise.
4. I believe that for coaches who have only coached at current Division I schools, the men's basketball leader is Bob Knight. 1965-71 at Army, 1972-2000 at Indiana, 2001-08 at Texas Tech. I believe this is 42 seasons.
5. Jerry Rice: 1985-2000 at San Francisco, 2001-04 at Oakland and 2004 at Seattle.
6. In reverse chronological order: Mark Ingram Jr, Alabama; Sam Bradford, Oklahoma; Tim Tebow, Florida; Troy Smith, Ohio State; Reggie Bush, USC; Matt Leinart, USC; Jason White, Oklahoma; Carson Palmer, USC; Eric Crouch, Nebraska; and Chris Weinke, Florida State.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
John Altavilla claims that the All-Star Game will take place at the Mohegan Sun Arena. The format will be WNBA stars vs. the USA National Team, in order to prepare the National Team for the World Cup.
I wish they could have held it somewhere else. In the brief amount of time I've been following women's basketball it seems that the game has been played in Connecticut forever.
Kathy Betty's full speech to Women Out Front. (From Dream Diary - The Official Atlanta Dream Blog.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
The Good Angels Kosice team - Angel McCoughtry's team - has made it into the "1-6 Group" in the postseason. My understand is that the 1-6 group moves to the next level of the playoffs and the 7-10 group fights to avoid relegation.
How long Good Angels Kosice will be playing in the 1-6 Group is beyond me. However, their first match was on the road against #6 finish Poprad, where the Good Angels won convincingly 70-50.
UPDATE: McCoughtry on Twitter says that this wasn't a playoff game. Like I wrote, the postseason in Slovakia is confusing.
The box score is here.
I can't find out any details about the game itself. The Good Angels won every quarter of the game, so it couldn't have been much of an exciting victory.
Katarína Tetemondová led Poprad with 15 points and eight rebounds. As for the Good Angels Kosice 70, Candice Dupree had 16 points and nine rebounds.
McCoughtry had a good game as well:
Hartford and Xavier switch places in the Mid-Majors poll. Hartford won three games this week in the America East Conference, but Xavier got a nice win on the road against St. Bonaventure in the Atlantic 10.
Numbers provided by Real Time RPI.
Mid-Majors Top 25
1. Xavier 14-3
2. Hartford 16-3
3. TCU 14-4
4. Gonzaga 16-4
5. SMU 14-4
6. Temple 14-5
7. Vermont 16-4
8. Eastern Michigan 12-4
9. San Diego State 12-6
10. Bowling Green 15-4
11. Dayton 15-4
12. James Madison 16-3
13. Fresno State 15-5
14. Richmond 14-5
15. Wyoming 10-5
16. Drexel 12-6
17. New Mexico 11-7
18. Old Dominion 8-9
19. Toledo 15-4
20. Creighton 11-6
21. East Carolina 15-4
22. Illinois State 13-5
23. Tulane 14-4
24. Houston 9-9
25. St. Bonaventure 14-6
Low Majors Top 25
1. Marist 16-4
2. Middle Tennessee State 13-5
3. Princeton 13-2
4. Lehigh 17-3
5. Arkansas-Little Rock 15-5
6. Wisconsin-Green Bay 16-2
7. Charleston 13-6
8. Florida Gulf Coast 14-4
9. Chattanooga 14-6
10. Columbia 11-5
11. East Tennessee State 10-7
12. Harvard 9-6
13. Lamar 13-4
14. Gardner-Webb 14-3
15. N. C. A&T 11-7
16. Western Kentucky 11-8
17. Liberty 13-4
18. Cleveland State 9-8
19. Denver 13-6
20. America 12-7
21. Sacred Heart 15-6
22. Butler 12-6
23. South Dakota State 10-8
24. Appalachia State 10-9
25. Eastern Washington 11-6
Michelle Snow's Dynamo Kursk club takes some time off from the regular season, but will be busy with the 8th Finals in Eurocup. Angel McCoughtry's undefeated Good Angels Kosice continues its way through the odd Slovakian playoff system. News about Chamique Holdsclaw is still impossible to come by.
The big game this week: Ros Casares vs. Rivas Ecopolis, in Valencia. Both teams are 15-1 and the winner is the top team in the Liga Femenina.
Eurocup 8th Finals: Dynamo Kursk vs. Györ, Game 1
LFB: Ros Casares (15-1) vs. Rivas Ecopolis (15-1)
LFB: Perfumerias (14-2) vs. Cadi la Seu (6-10)
PLKK: Krakwo (12-5) vs. Leszno (8-8)
TBBL: Kocaeli (0-11) vs. Mersin (10-1)
Slovakia Extraliga 1-6 Group: Good Angels Kosice (1-0) vs. MKB Ruzomberok (1-0)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
This one was a gimme for Krakow. Deciding not to play Iziane Castro Marques, Krakow won a against bottom-dwelling Inea AZS Posnan 84-65. Krakow advances to 12-5 in the Polish league while Inea AZS Posnan falls to 3-12. Castro Marques has a cold, and she was doubtful even before the game started. It looks like she wasn't needed after all.
The box score is here.
Agnieszka Skobel had 13 points and five rebounds for Inea AZS Posnan. For Krakow, Janell Burse had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Ros Casares keeps its almost pristine record in the Liga Feminina by beating Giron on the road 86-61. El Ros moves up to 15-1 on the year, while Girona falls to 6-10.
The box score is here.
It looks like Girona gave Ros Casares an initial challenge, leading 21-15 after the first ten minutes. However, Ros Casares would win each of the following three quarters, starting a 14-0 run in the second quarter. They were leading 43-32 after the first half and holding Girona to just nine points in the final ten minutes.
Erika de Souza had a monster game for Ros Casares. She played 33 minutes, shooting 6-for-14. She had 15 points, 17 rebounds and five assists. It didn't hurt that Ros Casares only played eight players. Becky Hammon had 27 points for Ros Casares. Hammon will play with Ros Casares until the end of the season.
Kiesha Brown led Girona with 17 points, but had six turnovers. Girona turned the ball over 19 times.
If there are any pictures, I'll post them when I have them.
The Turkish Women's Basketball League held their All-Star Game this Sunday, and their version was "Turkey vs. The World". However, "the World" was stuffed with current and former WNBA stars and the results were what you would expect: a 108-78 victory in favor of the non-Turks.
The box score is here.
The Turks actually started the game 6-0 and managed to only be down by one point, 25-24, at the end of the first quarter. By halftime, the Turks were still within striking distance, 50-42. Unfortunately in the second half the Turks were outgunned by a factor of 58-36 and the WNBA showed why it's the best women's basketball league in the world.
I suspect that not much defense was played. The Turks took 91 shots; the World took 107 shots. The World shot 46-107 with a clear advantage over the Turks and outrebounded them 72 to 39.
Nykesha Sales was named the Most Valuable Player, scoring 21 points and eight rebounds. Tuba Palazolu led the Turkish team with 15 points. Nevriye Ylmaz had 4 points and 11 rebounds.
Ivory Latta did not start, but she had a good game:
12 points on 5-for-10 shooting
2-for-5 from three point range
19 minutes played
Michelle Snow's blogging at MichelleSnowLive.com has suddenly come to life. There are three new recent posts by Snow.
One about the dangers of GPS:
The thieves had used the GPS to guide them to the house. They then
used the garage remote control to open the garage door and gain
entry to the house. The thieves knew the owners were at the football
game, they knew what time the game was scheduled to finish and so
they knew how much time they had to clean out the house. It would
appear that they had brought a truck to empty the house of its contents.
Even though the above tale is a urban legend with elements of truth, GPS and other devices might give malefactors more information about you than you'd like to have known.
Another more serious post is about a personal incident that happened to Snow at a sushi restaurant while waiting for a train to Kursk: dealing with an obnoxious drunk whose behaivor escalates to racial slurs:
I said a silent prayer about how I really wanted to keep my spiritual center balanced. I knew this was only a test and if there was anyway possible I wanted to pass it. At the same time no man will ever put there hands on me and I just stand there and take it. Abusive men nauseate me so imagine my disgust at an abusive racial man. I turned my disgust towards good thoughts. That was not easy to do, but it was what had to be done. I just thought about the pain that he must be going through to even be that drunk at seven in the morning. I said a prayer for him and sent out several tweets for others to do the same.
The newest post is about Will Smith and how he uses fear as a motivational fuel. Attached in the post is a YouTube clip of Smith speaking.
Will Smith has no special powers or secret devices that are unavailable to any of us. He simply understands that we are all given certain talents yet some of us chose not to develop our talents. I would be a perfect example of this. I'm a beautiful 6'5'' woman who plays, professional basketball for the WNBA, yet if I had not honed my skills throughout my life there is a pretty good chance that I would not be playing professionally sports. My height is a talent given to me but that talent had to be developed properly in order for success to ensue.
There are some great posts and you need to be reading them. I just hope that Michelle Snow can keep up the blogging - but I don't want the blogging to get in the way of her game.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
On Sunday, the All-Star Game will take place in Turkey. It seems to be a "Turkey vs. the World" format, and Ivory Latta has earned a spot on the World All-Stars for Turkey. Latta is averaging 13.5 points per game and 3.7 assists per game.
The complete rosters:
Turkey vs. The World!!
04. Tuğba Palazoğlu Galatasaray
06. Birsel Vardarlı Fenerbahçe
07. Nilay Yiğit Galatasaray
09. Gergena Branzova Erdenay Beşiktaş Cola Turka
10. Sariye Gökçe Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi
11. Nevriye Yılmaz Fenerbahçe
13. Yasemin Horasan Galatasaray
14. Gülşah Gümüşay Botaş
24. Kübra Siyahdemir Tarsus Belediye
32. Naile İvegin Beşiktaş Cola Turka
33. Esra Ural Panküp Kayseri Şeker
55. Gülşah Akkaya Samsun Basketbol
Coach: Ayhan Avcı, Panküp
04. Doneeka Donyell Hodges İstanbul Üniversitesi
10. Chasity Monique Melvin Botaş (replaces Yelena Leuchanka, out due to injury)
12. Matee Ajavon Fenerbahçe
13. Julie Mc Bride Panküp Kayseri Şeker
14. Panny Taylor Fenerbahçe
15. Tamara Sutton Brown Fenerbahçe
20. Nykesha Sales Beşiktaş Cola Turka
21. Sharnee Zoll Botaş
22. Barbara Turner Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi
33. Ivory Rochelle Latta Mersin Büyükşehir Belediyesi
34. Michelle Marie Campbell Ceyhan Belediyesi
40. Megan Frazeee Çankaya Üniversitesi
Coach: Haydar Kemal Ateş, Fenerbahçe
Congratulations to Ivory Latta!
Now with two losses, Perfumerias has to work a lot harder to stay close to the top of the Liga Femenina now that Ros Casares and Rivas Ecopolis only have one loss each. Perfumerias traveled to Real Celta Indepo, also known as Vigo, and managed to escape with a 64-62 win.
The box score for the game is here. Oddly enough, both teams limited themselves to using just eight players. Sancho Lyttle, however, was not one of the players that saw any time. Jordi Gallano, the coach of Perfumerias, wanted to make sure that Lyttle was fully healthy for the opening Euroleague game against Bourges. Furthermore, next week Perfumerias plays Cadi la Seu and the chances are good that Lyttle might be held out for that game as well. Sayeth the coach:
It is true that muscle fatigue and creep is important and comes up a week of matches on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday is going to be killer.
Euroleague matches begin the first week of February, so Perfumerias isn't taking any chances.
My wife came up with a new chant for the Dream, like one of those English football chants. Here goes:
We love you Dream Team
Oh yes we dooo-OOOO
We love you Dream Team
In your light blue
And to our Dream Team
We will be true!!
Oh Dream Team, we love you!!
(To the tune of "We Love You, Conrad" from Bye Bye, Birdie)
I hereby name this the Official Song of the Atlanta Dream
(An unstructured rant. Blame Q McCall and Megan Hueter for sparking it with their fine articles.)
Imagine that you are the new head of sales for Coca-Cola. You want to maintain your dominance over Pepsi in the soft-drink market.
Furthermore, imagine that you are presenting your new marketing campaign to Coca-Cola executives in Atlanta, GA. You make the following argument.
"Our market research has indicated that most of the people who drink Coca-Cola also drink orange juice. Therefore, we are going to limit all of our Coca-Cola advertising to the hours of 8 am to 12 noon, when most people drink breakfast. I guarantee success."
This is the problem that the WNBA faces in its advertising. Indeed, it's the problem that all sports advertising faces. It appears to me that the promotion of women's basketball takes place in only two contexts:
The first advertising is limited to a very narrow spectrum, namely, channels mostly devoted to sports programming. The only place I've ever seen WNBA commercials are in the middle of women's and men's basketball games. ESPN, or NBA-TV or maybe on of the local sports networks that carries a game. If these commercials are on network television, I've only seen them in those rare circumstances during hours when a women's game was shown on television.
The other type of advertising takes place strictly at the word-of-mouth level. Visits to schools and clinics. Community building at a basic level.
The problem with the first type of advertising is that the WNBA is fishing in a pond crowded with other fishermen. The demographic that the WNBA actively seeks - heavy consumers of male sports - is a demographic that is actively courted on a daily basis by better established leagues. Furthermore, these consumers are already aware of the WNBA and have by and large rejected it. Why the WNBA wishes to seek converts among an actively hostile audience is beyond me.
The other advertising is the most successful advertising of all - but it has to be followed up. Repetition equals truth. It reminds me of a joke about a movie that had such a high budget that "we can sell it to one viewer at a time".
This ties in to to two articles recently written by Q McCall over at Swish Appeal and Megan Hueter at Because I Played Sports regarding the opportunities that women's basketball sometimes abandons when reaching out to a new audience.
McCall writes about attempting to obtain media credentials for Swish Appeal writers:
So I sent out about 20 emails inquiring about the process of obtaining a credential for both writers and all of the great photography you see on the site. Some didn't respond. Some responded immediately and simply said they would grant us access. Others granted us access after a follow-up discussion. But some said they had a policy of only granting media access to writers for "major news media outlets" and would not provide us with a credential.
Hueter tells the same story:
When I (a small, yet proactive blogger who has an interest in your team) calls you to ask for media credentials, please don’t tell me you “don’t do blogs” (yes, it’s happened). That just makes my heart hurt. Who are you waiting for? ESPN?
This type of attitude certainly doesn’t make friends. Embrace any type of journalism that comes your way. Give up some control and trust us. It’s a rare thing these days.
It seems that bloggers fall into what Brad Hicks would call a "f***-you constituency" in women's sports. Hicks's term is used to describe political groups with influence but no power to set an agenda. Bloggers appear to fall into a middle ground between traditional sports reporting and fandom. Economic progressives and social conservatives are a "f***-you constituency" - major parties ask for their money but they then get no role in setting agenda, because the message is then, "well, f*** you, what are you going to do - vote for the other party?" Likewise, if a blogger is turned down, what is he or she going to do - not support the team?
If media directors had their way, they would prefer to deal with newspapers, radio and television rather than with bloggers. The problem is that, as in the WNBA's approach to advertising, this vein has been mined dry. We all know how it's been in many WNBA cities. The local papers cover the team grudgingly, if at all, and seem more interested in scandal or failure than in any successes that the W might experience. My suspicion is that sports reporters would rather remain masters of the two or three sports with which they're familiar rather than learn anything about a new sport - which drives sports departments to cover the same sports over and over and over and over....
New journalism, as Hueter wrote, needs to be embraced. So how does this tie into my opening statement about advertising. Because journalism IS advertising. What do you call the sports section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution? Free advertising - at least for the men's sports in Atlanta. However, journalism is not practiced only by people who have a four-year college degree, although many people define those graduates as "journalists" and everyone else as "not-journalists". McCall writes that
Good writing usually involves the writer making some sort of claim about what happened and fleshing out the argument with the facts or provides the context and justification for a question that people should be asking but aren't. In that regard, it seems that good sports writing not only requires a desire to inform by reciting facts or just repeating what people have said, but a genuine interest in understanding what you're seeing better.
The WNBA's problem with advertising is exactly the same as its problem with journalism - go to the same old places. Preach to an indifferent audience., while ignoring the audience that is eager to spread the message.
If the WNBA is going to climb out of its self-imposed ghetto, it needs to go to new places. For advertising, this means broadcasting commericals in venues where one wouldn't expect to find them. What kind of audience do you want? Free thinkers? Then maybe you should be putting some commercials on the ScyFy Network. Hey, if Happy Herb's Used Cars can put together a 10-cent commercial and sell it, why can't the local WNBA teams sell local commercials.
For journalism, this means going to new places as well. Bloggers. Social media. Read Hueter's article for suggestions to make the game experience more immediate and more intimate. The old model where a media director completely controlled the message is fading fast - too many holes in the dam. The only way to control the message is to get it out there first, and that's where social media is kicking traditional journalism's ass.
What I can't understand is why women's college basketball refuses to try anything new. The WNBA is embracing social media and live telecasts - yes, I know that there are complaints but I'm in the minority of giving the WNBA thumbs-up in its efforts. It's time for women's college basketball to do the same.
More non-traditional advertising. More non-traditional journalism. Because I go to women's games and look at the empty seats and let me tell you, traditional ain't making the grade. For women's sports, it starting to look like that quote by G. K. Chesterton - it's not that promoting women's sports tried and failed, but rather that it was never tried.
The new name is the old name: the Tulsa WNBA franchise will be known as the Tulsa Shock, beating out the other suggested names of Fire and Tempo.
The new colors are red, black, and gold. From the Tulsa Shock website:
After months of anticipation, the new WNBA Tulsa franchise officially unveiled its identity today with the announcement of the new team name, logo and colors. The new franchise will be named the Tulsa Shock and its colors black, red and gold. The logo features a basketball on top of “Tulsa Shock” with a lightning bolt through it. The “Tulsa” lettering has an Art Deco inspiration which was influenced by the city’s rich history in Art Deco architecture.
Compare this to the former logo:
There are some differences, particular along the name. You can see the Art Deco style in the new logo.
Next up: the uniforms. I like the colors, however. Red, black, and gold are really strong colors.
I'm currently hooked up to one of those NBA polls where I'm asked to fill out surveys regarding WNBA marketing efforts. I was asked to look at five WNBA commercials and give my grades. I managed to get four of the five URLs - I forgot to save the one URL before I moved on to the next question and the survey did not allow backtracking.
I don't know if you can play these, but give it a try:
They all suffer from the same problems. The survey asked if I had any specific comments; here's what I wrote:
All five videos had the same problem - they all have the same theme, namely "we women can play great basketball, too" - a theme which will convince no one who thinks that the WNBA is per se inferior. None of the videos are particularly clever, nor do any make use of humor. The split-screen video which compares NBA players to WNBA players is particularly annoying; one doesn't compare apples to oranges and the video is guaranteed to please neither side.
WNBA fans don't need to compare their league to the NBA; NBA fans will reject the comparison. I hope the makers of WNBA videos will stop trying to specifically market to disinterested NBA fans and make more videos marketing to those who have been traditionally ignored by sports marketing - more videos on ESPN just isn't going to cut it.
Which reminds me: how come every time I see a WNBA commercial it's always on ESPN2 or on NBA-TV? If you're going to market to people who might become WNBA fans, you need to get out of the male sports ghetto.
On January 14, 2010 Georgia Tech celebrated its "Women Out Front" celebration with Kathy Betty as keynote speaker. Betty is the owner of the Atlanta Dream.
A video of Kathy Betty's speech can be found at the Atlanta Dream's Facebook page. (Unfortunately, I'm not able to post it to the blog.) Apparently, there were forces out there that tried to dissuade Betty from purchasing the franchise:
And let me tell you, I had a lot of people come to me and say, "Don't do it." "This is not the right time", "this is not the right investment" - but my heart was always there.
And I think as women support women, we understand that there's a bigger decision than just logic, or just your head. It's all about your passion, and your love and your support. And believe me, we're going to make a difference in Atlanta, we're going to make a difference not only on the basketball court in the community.
And we're going to work with every little girl so she can dream to be a professional baseball - I mean basketball player! Sorry, it's way past my bedtime...!
Betty got some chuckles from her gaffe, but...well, why not professional baseball as well? Maybe Betty was just thinking big.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The first round of Euroleague is over - and All-Star Game voting is now ready. The format is "Europe" vs "The Rest of the World". You can go here to vote.
Erika de Souza, Sancho Lyttle and Angel McCoughtry made the ballot on the "Rest of the World" side of the ballot, so vote them in! And there's some room left over to vote for your other non-Dream favorite stars. (I think you can vote once per day). You can also select Iziane Castro Marques in the "other players" category.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Good Angels knew they were going on to the Eighth Finals, but the questions was whether they'd finish second in Group C - or fourth. They had to go on the road to Poland to face Gorzow, and managed to win 95-88 on the strength of great performances by Angel McCoughtry and Candice Dupree
Good Angels Kosice finishes at 6-4 in Group C and advances to the Eighth Finals. Their next opponent will be Beretta, which finished at 7-3 in Group B.
The game report, box score, play-by-play and a small gallery can be found here.
Both teams stormed out of the gate, with Gorzow leading 35-23 after the first quarter and 53-51 at the half. With 1:01 in the third quarter, Gorzow led by ten points, 77-67...but the Good Angels scored the next 10 points to tie the game. Up 82-81 with 4:57 to go in the game, the Good Angels went on an 11-2 run to secure the victory.
Liudmilla Sapova scored 22 points and five rebounds for Gorzow. Candice Dupree had an amazing game, with 22 points and 19 rebounds.
However, Angel McCoughtry was no slouch herself:
21 points on 7-for-16 shooting
10 rebounds (3 offensive/7 defensive)
5 assists (but unfortunately 6 turnovers)
Iziane Castro Marques tries to stop Carla Thomas.
All Krakow had to do to secure first place in Group B was defeat Gospic, a team 1-8 coming into this game. True, Krakow would have to play on the road but how hard could a win against Gospic be?
However, Krakow's perfect Euroleague record was broken the previous week with a 92-88 loss to Beretta. It seems that Krakow needed everything it could get to beat Gospic, squeezing out an 85-84 win to secure first place in Group B. Krakow moves on to the Eighth Finals where they will play the Hungarian team Pecs, which finished at 4-6 in fourth place in Group B.
The write-up, box score, play-by-play and a small gallery can be found here.
It was a great game, with no quarter being decided by more than three points, and with Krakow leading 63-61 after three quarters. Jelena Ivezic tied the score at 71-71 with a jumper with 5:13 to go, but Krakow regained the lead - but Gospic was always a basket behind. With Krakow leading 85-81 going into the final quarter, Carla Thomas of Gospic hit a 3-pointer to close the score to 85-84 with 49 seconds to go.
Krakow worked 15 seconds off the clock before Katerina Zohnova attempted and missed a 3-pointer for Krakow. Ivezik got the reabound and they worked the clock down for Gospic to take the final shot. With one second left, Ivezic took the shot for Gospic to win the game - and missed. Ivana Jurcevic got the rebound and tried an at-the-buzzer shot but that didn't go down either.
Great game. A shame that only 300 people saw it.
Carla Thomas led Gospic with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. Ewelina Kobryn scored 15 points and 14 rebounds for Krakow.
But what about Iziane Castro Marques? She tied Janell Burse in points with 17 for Krakow.
17 points in 19 minutes played
Perfumerias, like Ros Casares, was hoping that Krakow would lose to Gospic and that they would beat Beretta, giving Perfumerias an outside shot of finishing in first place in Group B. Finishing first in Group B was out of Perfumeria's reach, but they won at home against the Italians by a score of 80-62.
It was actually the final game played on Wednesday night. Perfumerias completes the first round at 8-2 and secures second place in Group B and will play against Bourges in the Eighth Finals, which finished 5-5 in Group C.
All of the information you need: game report, box score, play-by-play, gallery - is here.
Beretta played Perfumerias close and managed to squeeze ahead of Perfumerias 48-47 with 2:20 left in the third quarter. Unfortunately, Beretta was outscored 24-12 over the final ten minutes. Bernadette Ngoyisa scored 12 points and 6 rebounds for Beretta. Nicole Antibe contributed 14 points and 7 rebounds.
However, the player of the game was clearly Sancho Lyttle:
25 points on 10-for-16 shooting
De Souza makes it look easy.
In order for Ros Casares to claim the top spot in Group A in the final game of first-round Euroleague play, they needed to defeat Galatsaray and Ekaterinburg needed to lose to Riga. Ros Casares won easily, 77-47 but Ekaterinburg had no trouble with Riga, winning by 39 points.
Ros Casares finishes in second place and advances to the Round of 16 - the "Eighth Finals". Their next opponent will be Prague, which finished 5-5 in Group C. Those games will be played February 2nd-5th-and 10th, as all of the Sweet Sixteen games are scheduled on those days.
The box score, the play by play, and a small photo gallery can be found here.
There's nothing much to be said for Galatsaray. Galatsaray didn't show up with Yelena Leuchanka, who had a knee problem. (Maybe Leuchanka is actually sneaking off to sign with the Dream, something which has been promised/threatened for three years now.) As the write-up states, "In the EuroLeague Women Group A game, the Spanish team led by 15 after one quarter, 22 at the half, and eventually stretched the lead to 35 after three quarters of play, much to the pleasure of the home crowd in Valencia." (Crowd size = 1400.)
At least Galatsaray survived the first round, finishing Euroleague's first round in fourth place in Group A. The bad news is that they get matched up against Ekaterinburg.
Amaya Valdemoro led all scorers for Ros Casares with 21 points. Sophia Young scored 20 points and had nine rebounds for Galatsaray.
Erika de Souza had a great game too:
14 points on 6-for-11 shooting
9 rebounds, including four offensive rebounds
Michelle Snow commented recently about how cold it was in St. Petersburg. Well, it just got colder as Dynamo Kursk lost its second road game in a row by less than a single basket, 68-67. Dynamo Kursk falls to below zero itself with a 5-6 record, while St. Petersburg crawls out of the snow at 4-6, avenging an 81-77 loss at Kursk earlier this year. The only good point: only 550 people saw the game, understandable if the temperatures are -35.
The box score is here.
What killed Dynamo Kursk? A horrible first quarter where they found themselves down 26-12. From that point on, Dynamo Kursk had to dig itself out of the snowbank - they were down 38-31 at halftime, and they made a valiant fourth quarter comeback but fell short.
I can't find any pictures or other kind of write-up. If I find something, I'll let you know. I did find an interesting interview with the St. Petersburg coach - in Russian - and I got to hear the words "Michelle Snow" spoken in a Russian accent.
For St. Petersburg, Anna Petrovka led all scorers with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Catherine Savel'eva had 10 rebounds for St.Petersburg, but only three points.
Michelle Snow's line:
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This post is an update of the post called The Future of the WNBA, which attempted to extrapolate near future events from current trends, much like professional futurists do.
We therefore have to create some scenarios:
1. The most likely case. All current trends continue into the future.
2. The best case. "Everything goes right."
3. The outlier cases. What low probability events could spark high-level disruptive changes?
4. The worst case scenario. "Everything goes wrong".
(* * *)
The most likely case: What kinds of trends will continue, given everything that has happened up to 2009? The most likely case reminds me of a rhyme told about the wives of Henry VIII:
Divorced, beheaded, died,
Divorced, beheaded, survived.
For the Detroit Shock, there was a "divorce" - the team relocated to Tulsa.
For the Atlanta Dream, there was a "beheading" - the team was sold to a different owner.
For the Indiana Fever, there was survival. Word had it that the team would be folded by the Simons unless they won a WNBA championship. They didn't, but they came close. The death of Melvin Simon might have changed the ownership picture as well.
For the Sacramento Monarch, there was an unexpected death. The undercapitalized Maloofs threw the Monarchs off the sled.
Following this picture, we expect that 2010 will bring more of the same - relocation or collapse of franchises. I didn't see the 2008 folding of the Comets as part of a trend, but as I wrote, I would see it as a trend if two franchises folded. Now, the other shoe has dropped. The fact of the matter is that in the past five years, three franchise have folded.
This puts the chance of another franchise folding at about 60 percent. Detroit/Tulsa will survive, at least for one year - every relocation gets a one-year honeymoon. Indiana and Atlanta are suspects - if Indiana can't repeat, maybe the franchise can be folded away from the public eye. (A word of warning to weak franchises: win games.) Perhaps Kathy Betty will decide that she's no better at improving the stature of the Dream in the Atlanta community than Ron Terwilliger was. And of course, there's the possibility that we discover that a franchise previously believed to be strong turns out to be weak.
On the other hand, there are some positive trends. Both Phoenix and Los Angeles took advantage of a new form of marketing - jersey space on the front of the jersey, where the team name used to be. In the WNBA, jerseys aren't sacred spaces - no WNBA team has been around long enough for a logo to become iconic, and furthermore, savvy WNBA fans follow players overseas where corporate names on jerseys is a fait accompli.
The problem with the above is that we don't have a very large sample size. If another team manages to sell its jersey space in 2010, expect this to become a trend, with every team scrambling to make a jersey deal.
My prediction for 2010 - franchise stability will still be a very real issue.
The best case: In this case, there are no franchises folding. Furthermore, at least one other team sells its jersey space for the same kind of multimillion dollar deals that Indiana and Phoenix got. WNBA teams lose money, but they don't lose nearly as much money as NBA teams do - a jersey deal effectively insures the solvency of a team for as long as the contract lasts.
In addition, the best case assumes that we'll have another WNBA Finals on the order of Phoenix-Indiana. Phoenix-Indian might not have been the best WNBA Finals, but it was the most notorious - in the good sense. The Indianapolis community rushed out to support the Fever, as Indiana basketball fans were desperate to see a state team take a national championship - even a WNBA championship. The response was strong from Indiana; if Indiana wins the East the WNBA might pick up a real following in Indianapolis.
Revenue at least remains stable. Writers like Ben York, Stephen Litel and Clay Kallam over at SLAM continue the steady work of advocating the WNBA to a skeptical male audience. Connecticut wins the NCAA tournament, which allows the media to follow the story right to Tina Charles's #1 Draft pick. In the best of all worlds, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution hires more women in the sports department.
High impact, low probability:
* The NBA withdraws its support from the WNBA. Generally a pipe dream of chauvinists, this remote probability has increased due to the unstable financial situation of big-time sports. This is the highest impact of all, as a lot of the WNBA (but not all of it) is paid out of the NBA general fund. (Individual clubs have the choice of contributing specifically to the W or not. I suspect most don't.) If the NBA withdrew its support, all sort of legal complications would ensue to continuing the league in its present form, down to whether or not individual clubs could use the same names! What's left of the W might consider it easier to rebuild a new league from square one.
* There is an unfounded rumor that certain WNBA players are being paid by the Russia Superleague A to consider not returning to WNBA play in the off-season. This could be considered a low-key bidding war (a "cold war")? Neither the WNBA nor the European leagues like it much when their players return from the "other season" exhausted and injured. If the Russians decided they had the money to get American players to consider skipping seasons, that would be the very definition of "high impact".
* A WNBA player's strike. Some former Detroit players are supposedly dragging their feet regarding relocation to Tulsa. Rosters were cut in 2009 and the salary cap is being lowered in 2010. Players might decide that it's just not worth it anymore.
The worst case: The WNBA TV deal is assured, come what may, but at least one franchise folds, bringing dismissive commentary from a largely neanderthal sports media. Attendance could also decline across the league as some families can't even find the scratch for relatively cheap WNBA tickets.
(* * *)
Last year, I wrote about the canary in the coal mine - WNBA President Donna Orender. I wrote that if she decides to leave the WNBA, see that as a sign that the powers that be have bet on their own careers over the WNBA.
Bill Laimbeer, for example, left the Detroit Shock to pursue a probable coaching job in the NBA. (He finally found it with the Timberwolves.) However, Donna Orender was courted by the LPGA and for whatever reason, the LPGA chose someone else. Orender didn't resign and she seems as committed to the WNBA's success as she was the previous year.
I expect the 2010 WNBA season to be tumultuous, but always interesting.
From Our Sports Central:
ATLANTA, Ga. - The WNBA Atlanta Dream has hired Toby Wyman as the organization's new Chief Operating Officer. Team owner Kathy Betty recruited Wyman from the Atlanta Braves organization where he served as Assistant General Manager of Business Operations for the Gwinnett Braves.
Wyman had rejoined the Atlanta Braves organization in 2008 after leaving in 2006 to start his own mobile marketing company that provided branding and marketing support to sports organizations. During his tenure with Gwinnett Braves, Wyman tripled net profits, increasing total gross revenue 216 percent.
From 2001 - 2006, Wyman worked with the Richmond Braves responsible for the day-to-day operations of the club.
Wyman has extensive experience in advertising and consumer branding having worked at executive level on national accounts for Ocean Spray, T.J. Maxx and the Boston Globe. As Vice President of Advertising for Foot Locker, Wyman worked with global brands such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas.
Finally, the Chief Operating Officer spot is filled. I wondered how long that was going to be left vacant.
What do I think of the choice? I think it's a great one. Why? Because I think a lot of the WNBA promotion really sucks. It's been my belief for a long time that the WNBA needs to be promoted more like Triple-A baseball. In Triple-A baseball the fans are unlikely to know the names of the players, so the goal of the franchises is to make sure everyone has a good time. Get people to visit first, then they can begin learning the intricacies of the game.
If you can get the Famous Chicken to show up at a Dream game...well, I know people who would attend a game for that reason alone. Mr. Wyman, please call The Chicken.
Hortencia Marcari, the head of women's basketball in Brazil, stated that she had an emotional conversation with Iziane Castro Marques regarding Iziane's future with the Brazilian national team.
"It was the first time I saw her, I knew better Iziane and their way of thinking. We had a positive approach. She was sensitive and cried. Talking about this subject is not pleasant for her. I think nobody had sat down to chat with it,"s he said.
The telenovela continues. "Will the evil Iziane wear green and gold again and kick poor starving Paulo Bassul to the curb as coach? Or will the scheming Bassul manage to keep poor Iziane away from the team?" I'm sure that we'll have more episodes in the future.
(Thumbs up to the Painel do Basquete Femenino, from which the above text is linked.)
Monday, January 18, 2010
Last year I thought it would be interesting to answer the question "what if the mid-majors existed in women's college basketball?" The reason I asked this question was to create a "Top 25" ranking only for the mid-major conferences.
It's obvious who the "majors" are - these are the conferences which take part in the "Bowl Championship Series" in college football. They are sometimes called the "BCS Schools".
Six Majors (the BCS)
Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
Pacific Ten (Pac-10)
According to Real Time RPI, these are the six strongest conferences in women's basketball.
The next lowest ranking is that of the "Mid-Majors".
America East (AE)
Atlantic Ten (A-10)
Colonial Athletic Association (CAA)
Conference USA (CUSA)
Mid-American Conference (MAC)
Missouri Valley Conference (MVC)
Mountain West Conference (MWC)
West Coast Conference (WCC)
Western Athletic Conference (WAC)
Last year, we had the Horizon League on the list of Mid-Majors. We have now swapped out the Horizon League and have replaced it with the America East conference, giving us the top 15 conferences in college basketball according to Real Time RPI. All schools below the "Mid-Majors" are said to be the "Low Majors".
Mid-Majors Top 25
1. Hartford 13-3
2. Xavier 12-3
3. TCU 13-4
4. Vermont 14-3
5. Temple 12-5
6. New Mexico 10-6
7. San Diego State 11-5
8. James Madison 14-2
9. Creighton 10-5
10. Eastern Michigan 11-3
11. Bowling Green 13-4
12. Dayton 14-3
13. Gonzaga 14-4
14. Richmond 13-4
15. Toledo 13-3
16. Missouri State 12-4
17. East Carolina 15-2
18. Tulane 13-3
19. SMU 12-4
20. Fresno State 13-5
21. Houston 8-8
22. Illinois State 10-5
23. Drake 11-5
24. St. Bonaventure 13-5
25. Pepperdine 12-5
Low Majors Top 25
1. Marist 13-4
2. Wisconsin-Green Bay 16-0
3. Middle Tennessee State 11-5
4. Lehigh 15-3
5. Princeton 13-2
6. Charleston 12-5
7. Arkansas-Little Rock 13-5
8. Florida Gulf Coast 12-4
9. Chattanooga 13-6
10. Columbia 10-5
11. Harvard 9-5
12. North Carolina A&T 9-7
13. Lamar 11-4
14. East Tennessee State 8-7
15. Gardner-Webb 13-3
16. Sacred Heart 13-4
17. Western Kentucky 9-7
18. Cleveland State 8-8
19. Coastal Carolina 7-4
20. Liberty 11-4
21. Cal Poly 11-5
22. Idaho State 7-9
23. Oral Roberts 10-7
24. American 10-7
25. Prairie View A&M 7-6
The Good Angels finished their regular season 18-0 - undefeated - with a 75-51 win over MBK Ruzomberok. Certainly, all of you Slovakian basketball experts out there know how important this match us, as it was MBK's last chance to derail the Good Angels perfect season. Ruzomberok will have to be satisfied with their 15-3 finish.
Let's see. The second best team in women's Slovak basketball lost 77-56 to the Good Angels at home and lost 75-51 to the Good Angels on the road. I wonder how those finals are going to turn out.
As for how the actual finals work, there's no telling. During last year, there was a set of confusing elimination rounds that took place in February that involved virtually every team. How this will play out is incomprehensible.
At the very least, you can get the Good Angels half of the box score from their website. They're so dominant, they don't need to put the enemy stats up, because who cares?
I don't see Angel McCoughtry's stat line anywhere in the box score. Is she still playing for the Good Angels? She's still on their promotional material, so I'm assuming the answer is "yes".
Euroleague will wrap up its opening round of play this week. It appears that all of the clubs in Euroleague which have Atlanta Dream players for them will advance to the round of sixteen, and the only remaining question is where those clubs will be playing. Those "Eighth Finals" games, however, won't start until the beginning of February.
Turkish regular season play takes the week off. So does Cypriot regular season play, but it doesn't matter because there's no way to find out the box scores of Chamique Holdsclaw's league games in Cyprus come hell or high water.
Yesterday, Slovak regular season play concluded (I think) with Angel McCoughtry's club Good Angels Kosice undoubtedly getting ready for the playoffs. I'll try to find out about that Sunday game.
Russia Superleague A: St. Petersburg (3-6) vs. Dynamo Kursk (5-5)
Euroleague: Ros Casares (7-2) vs. Galatsaray (4-5)
Euroleague: Perfumerias (7-2) vs. Beretta (7-2)
Euroleague: Gospit (1-8) vs. Krakow (8-1)
Euroleague: Gorzow (3-6) vs. Good Angels Kosice (3-6)
LFB: Vigo (9-6) vs. Perfumerias (13-2)
PLKK: Inea AZS Posnan (3-11) vs. Krakow (11-5)
LFB: Girona (6-9) vs. Ros Casares (14-1)
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Michelle Snow vs. Candace Parker
Five thousand people showed up in Ekaterinburg to watch the undefeated UMMC squad - now supplemented by Candace Parker take on a Dynamo Kursk team that was barely above .500. Ekaterinburg and Spartak Moscow are usually so tough that they win in walkaways, but Dynamo Kursk came within a couple of baskets of a major upset, 75-72.
The box score is here. Ekaterinburg's team is virtually a list of WNBA all-stars. Ekaterinburg will remain undefeated at 11-0 while Kursk falls to 5-5.
However, Kursk led after the first quarter 28-21 and managed to hang on to a first half lead by a score of 40-37 and it looked like Kursk was going to steal the win. Unfortunately for Kursk, they were held to just 10 points in the final quarter as opposed to 21 points from Ekaterinburg.
Cappie Pondexter led all Ekaterinburg players with 19 points. Maria Stepanova had 13 points and 14 rebounds for the home team.
As for Dynamo Kursk, Anastasia Bocharova scored 17 points and Sandra Linkyavichene scored 13 points and 10 rebounds. Michelle Snow had a good game, too.
Michelle Snow's line:
12 points on 5-for-13 shooting
UPDATE: Sports Page Magazine came through with a gallery of pics! Lots of good snaps of Michelle Snow!
Yes, that's the actual score - a 47-point whalloping by Wisa Can-Pack Krakow, which advances to 11-5 in the Polish league. Rybnik falls to 6-8. (Remember Rybnik when Kasha Terry was playing there?)
The box score is here.
Krakow shot 56 percent from the field, with Rybnik shooting 32 percent. Krakow led 56-26 by haltime. Rybnik had a couple of players with double-doubles - Nikita Bell had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Devanei Hampton had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Hampton had nine "fouls received", suggesting that Krakow spent most of the game beating the crap out of her.
As for Krakow, Katarina Zohnova led Krakow with 22 points. Iziane Castro Marques only played 21 minutes.
Well, not exactly. This is from a gallery of pictures taken at a reception at the Valencia city government celebrating Ros Casares's victory in the Copa de la Reina. In addition, there are pictures from Ros Casares's win over Joventut.
The full gallery is here. Check it out.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Mersin picks up its 10th win in 11 games in Turkish league play with a 85-53 win over Istanbul University. Mersin still remains 1/2 game behind 10-0 Fenerbahce.
The box score (in Turkish) is here. There's no write-up of the game as of yet.
Jocelyn Penn was the top player for Istanbul with 11 points and eight rebounds. Penn last played for the WNBA in 2004.
For Mersin, the top player was Erlana Larkins with 17 points and 12 rebounds, with 7-for-7 shooting.
Ivory Latta's line:
11 points in 24 minutes of play:
2-for-9 shooting (with one 3-pointer) but 6-for-6 at the free throw line.
Becky Hammon sizes up the opposition.
With Rivas Ecopolis moving up to a 14-1 record, it was up for Ros Casares to match that record. In Valencia, they had no trouble with visiting Joventut, 88-56. Ros Casares is now tied with Rivas Ecopolis at the top of the Liga Femenina at 14-1 while Joventut falls below .500 at 7-8.
The box score is here. A good writeup of the game can be found here.
What's there to write up? Ros Casares won every quarter of the game, going on a 14-0 run between the first and second quarters. El Ros out-rebounded Joventut 37-23 and hit 20 out of 23 free throw shots.
Shay Murphy was the best performer for Joventut with 16 points and three steals. Gisela Vega had eight points and eight rebounds.
As for Erika de Souza - the Beast was unleashed! She had an amazing performance:
21 points on 9-for-10 shooting - de Souza was finishing well at the basket
UPDATE: A gallery of pictures can be found here.
The only blemish on Rivas Ecopolis's record this year was a home loss to Perfumerias. Rivas Ecopolis had a lot to play for, as neither team wanted a second loss. Revenge proved to be enough of a motivator as Rivas Ecopolis beat Perfumerias on the road in their rematch, 77-58.
Rivas Ecopolis advances to 14-1. Perfumerias drops to 13-2. The box score is here.
What's amazing is that Rivas Ecopolis, after getting thumped by Perfumerias in the (somewhat meaningless) Copa de la Reina, Rivas Ecopolis held Perfumerias to just 20 first half points. Perfumerias managed to get back within single digits, 64-53, with four minutes left, but Rivas was just too much for Perfumerias.
Why are these Euro games even important to a WNBA follower? Because when a player from your team is playing in a foreign league, if her team goes deep in the playoffs it means greater chances of both injury and a late return to the United States.
Catherine Joens was the player of the game for Rivas Ecopolis with 19 points and Jelena Dubljevic scored 16 points for Rivas Ecopolis. However, the best player of the game was Sancho Lyttle of Perfumerias. Lyttle had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the game's only double-double.
The final line for Sancho Lyttle:
23 points on 5-for-11 shooting
6-for-7 at the free throw line
I thought there would be some pictures from this game...but not yet, it seems.
A summary of the Copa de la Reina from YouTube. About 1:45, if you look closely, you can see Sancho Lyttle (in blue) and Erika de Souza (in white):
Wouldn't it be great if people could bring drums to a WNBA game? Or wear those cool scarves emblazoned with the team name?
For those who just can't get enough of Erika de Souza or Sancho Lyttle here's some video from the second quarter of the Ros Casares/Perfumerias Copa de la Reina final in Spain. (Sorry, no sound.)
Friday, January 15, 2010
Jayda Evans at the Seattle Times writes a provocative article about the opening of free agency in the WNBA. Her comments about the Whalen/Montgomery trade:
Since a source back east said fan/media meddling led to the trade of PG Lindsay Whalen and the second overall draft pick from Connecticut to Minnesota for PG Renee Montgomery and the top overall pick, I'm wondering what you'd conjure up for the Storm or your favorite team.
And check out the comments:
It was no surprise to Shock fans that some of the players didn't want to go to Tulsa, especially those who attended the event Plenette put together after the team was moved. The mother of one of the players involved in this mess(who was already overseas) said then that her daughter wouldn't play in the WNBA next summer. What shocked me is how surprised by and unprepared to deal with it the league seemed to be. - CG12
CG12: A few reporters have calls into WNBA for an answer about the dual cored players, but aren't getting a response. Tulsa has problems anyway because former Shock players don't want to play there and are rumored not to play in the WNBA this summer. The WNBA may have flexed its rules because it needs big names to draw ticket sales and make games interesting. The Paris twins aren't going to do that on their own. Still doesn’t make it right. Stay tuned…- Jayda Evans
....and now it gets interesting. Teams are not allowed to communicate with free agents and make offers. Players can begin signing offers on February 1st.
ucdt3 over at RebKell gives us some definitions of free agent terminology.
Unrestricted Free Agent:
6 or more years service in league
Able to sign with any team unless designated as CORE player
Restricted Free Agent:
4-5 years service in league
Able to sign with any team, but prior team as 10 days to match qualifying offer
(becomes UFA if no qualifying offer is made from prior team)
Reserved Free Agent:
3 or less years service in league
Able to sign with prior team only
(becomes UFA if no qualifying offer is made from prior team)
3-year contract + 1-year team option
The full list is over at the WNBA website.
Coco Miller is an unrestricted free agent. Erika de Souza and Jennifer Lacy are restricted free agents, and Ivory Latta and Yelena Leuchanka are reserved free agents.
Let the fun begin!
Spartak Moscow can now sleep more soundly. The only other undefeated team in Euroleague, Krakow, lost on the road in Italy to Beretta 92-88. With Krakow 8-1 and Perfumerias and Beretta right behind at 7-2, Krakow needs a win in Croatia against 1-8 Gospic next week to finish in first place in Group B.
Tied at 68-68 entering the fourth quarter, a jumper by Beretta's Marissa Coleman put the home team up for good with 4:23 to play. Krakow could have tied it at 86-86 with 43 seconds left, but Audret Sauret-Gillespie's jumper fell short.
All of the information you need - a box score, play by play info, and a mini-gallery - are all here.
Laura Macchi was the top performer for Beretta with 24 points, four rebounds and five assists. Ewelina Kobryn led Krakow with 27 points and 7 rebounds..
Iziane Castro Marques's line for Krakow:
17 points on 6-for-12 shooting
35 minutes of play
1-for-3 from 3-point range
Despite the 77-75 victory in Ruse, Bulgaria over visiting K. V. Imperial, K.. V. Imperial advances to the 8th Finals of Eurocup. K. V. Imperial crushed Ruse 93-65 in the first game of the two-game series and the team advances on aggregate points, 168-142.
On Twitter, Chamique Holdsclaw had some sharp words for the Bulgarian fans.
@Chold1 Jus played n da most hostile gym ever. Omg cats was spitting throwing receipt rolls. I was about to get my Ron Artest on fuk dat.
@Chold1 I've been playing in Europe for 8years and never experienced anything like this. Like I was waiting for spit to connect.
A box score of the game can be found here. It's odd that the FIBA Europe site doesn't even have a play-by-play.
Holdsclaw did not take part in this game, probably because she joined the team mid-season. I've still not been able to find out any information about the game between K. V. Imperial and AEK Larnaca on January 10th. If I learn anything, I'll let you know.
In front of a crowd of 900 spectators, Dynamo Kursk clinched a move to the 8th Finals, or the "Sweet Sixteen" of Eurocup with a 93-72 win over visiting Besitkas. Dynamo Kursk won both of their games against Besitkas, by a factor of 188-141.
Information about the game can be found here.
An interesting quote from Dynamo Kursk coach Algirdas Paulauskas:
Now we are qualified to the 8th finals and that is what we wanted, but I am not satisfied with the team. It may sound strange, but it was harder to play at home, than to play in Turkey. When we played in Turkey all the girls were motivated to win and today many of the players relaxed and in the second period we began to lose the game, but found the way to recover to the fourth period and win.
Indeed, at halftime the score was 39-37 in favor of Besitkas. In the back half of the game, however, Dynamo Kursk outscored Besitkas 56-33.
For Besitkas Nykesha Sales had 29 points and five rebounds. Jillian Robbins was the leading player for Dynamo Kursk with 21 points and 12 rebounds...but Michelle Snowhad a game almost as great as Robbins's was.
Michelle Snow's line:
Dynamo Kursk will face Györ, a Hungarian team, in the 8th finals, in another "best of two" aggregate matchup. Eurocup teams will have one week off before the next round.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
It looks like Angel McCoughtry was all that Good Angels Kosice needed to turn their Euroleague season around. The Good Angels advance to 5-4 in Euroleague and move into second place in Group C with an 89-75 win over Prague in the Czech Republic.
The last game in opening round play is next week against Gorzow. If the Good Angels win, they secure second place and move into the round of 16.
All the good stuff - the game report, the box score, and the play by play - is at this link.
Candice Dupree and Angel McCoughtry helped the Good Angels to a 14-0 run in the second quarter that put the Good Angels up for good. Dupree and McCoughtry scored all 14 of those points. Prague managed to close to 69-66 in the fourth quarter but could get no closer.
The Good Angels shot 35-64 for the game and had 46 total rebounds, winning despite 20 personal fouls and 20 turnovers.
Sonja Kireta was the top performer for Prague with 21 points and 7 rebounds. As for Angel McCoughtry...
...McCoughtry was dynamite. Candice Dupree had 23 points and 11 rebounds, but Angel McCoughty had 28 points and 15 rebounds. It was her best Euroleague performance of the year. Congratulations, Angel!
Lady Comfort plows by Sancho Lyttle.
Despite the presence of 1000 French fans (who can't be wrong), Villeneuve d'Ascq - also known as Lille Metropole - was flattened by Perfumerias 97-72. The win moved Perfumerias to 7-2 in Euroleague play, but Schio is right behind at 6-2 and Krakow is 8-0. Perfumerias will still have to fight.
All the good stuff - the game report, the box score, the play by play and gallery - are all here. Praise Euroleague.
Like its sister team Ros Casares, Perfumerias had some hot shooting - they shot 34-for-60 in the game and hit 16 out of 25 of their 3-pointers. Perfumerias won every quarter of the game.
Lady Comfort was the player of the game for Villeneuve d'Ascq with 16 points and 5 rebounds. Comfort was a graduate of Temple. Anke de Mondt scored 24 points for Perfumerias to lead all scorers.
Sancho Lyttle's line:
13 points in 20 minutes
What's de Souza wearing on her hand?
This year, Ros Casares's first loss in Euroleague was to Taranto. They made up for that loss by beating Taranto in front of 1400 spectators to move to 7-2 in Euroleague play. They split their season with Ekaterinburg, but they scored more aggregate points in those gamees, so I'm guessing that Ros Casares has an outside chance of finishing first in Group A if Ros Casares beats Galatasaray at home next week and Ekaterinburg loses to Riga in Russia - but that second outcome is highly unlikely, unless Riga has a good methamphetamine supply.
Everything you'd want: a box score, a game report, play by play, and a photo gallery - is here. It looks like Taranto hung in there for almost all of the first half, and then just faded away. Ros Casares shot 33-for-61 overall and hit 12 of 25 of their 3-point attempts.
Amayo Valdemoro led all Ros Casares scorers with 20 points. Elodie Godin was Taranto's top performer with 12 points.
As for Erika de Souza:
8 points in 35 minutes of play
15 rebounds, including 5 offensive rebounds
For those of you who don't know much about the internet, Wikipedia is a user-defined encyclopedia with several million entries. Users can edit encylopedia entries and accept that their own work will be edited. Just about every WNBA player has an article - those articles might not be up to date, but the articles exist.
One interesting fact about Wikipedia is that there is a statistics page where a user can enter an article name and determine how many hits the article gets. Wikipedia hits appear to measure popularity of articles both familiarity as well as intensity - an article which is being continually edited or read by the same subgroup of people will get lots of hits. Both depth and intensity of popularity can be measured in the same number.
Given that, I looked up how many hits each Wikipedia article devoted to an individual member of the Atlanta Dream received in the month of December 2009. All eleven current players of the Dream currently have articles; I duly entered each person's (article) name and counted the hits.
Wikipedia Hits for Dream Players in December 2009
Chamique Holdsclaw: 2090
Ivory Latta: 744
Angel McCoughtry: 707
Michelle Snow: 707
Coco Miller: 394
Iziane Castro Marques: 266
Armintie Price: 249
Erika de Souza: 225
Sancho Lyttle: 224
Jennifer Lacy: 186
Shalee Lehning: 146
The numbers all seem to pass the "smell test". Holdsclaw, having a decade-long history in the WNBA, having been the #1 Draft Pick and considered the future of women's basketball should be getting a lot of hits in a month.
As for the players of foreign nationality - Castro Marques, de Souza, and Lyttle - they don't get a lot of hits. In the case of the Brazilians it's because they didn't have college careers in the United States.
Some placements are real head scratchers. Michelle Snow might get hits because she dunked in a college game and because she's a Tennessee alumna. And why does Shalee Lehning have the fewest hits of all? At least it gives an idea of why it was so surprising that Marynell Meadors would let Ivory Latta (#2 in hits) go for a relative unknown.
However, there are WNBA players out there who make the Atlanta Dream's total number of Wikipedia hits seem paltry. Becky Hammon's 2266 total hits exceed Chamique Holdsclaw's. Sue Bird's 4621 hits make her Wikipedia article more popular than the articles of the six leading players in article hits among the Atlanta Dream.
Diana Taurasi's 6336 hits make her - by herself - more popular than the entire Atlanta Dream! As for Candace Parker's 21,547 hits, it makes Candace Parker a force to be reckoned with.
Can we do this for teams as well as players? Why not?
Wikipedia Hits for WNBA Teams in December 2009
Los Angeles Sparks: 5308
WNBA Tulsa: 3450
New York Liberty: 2600
Phoenix Mercury: 2306
Seattle Storm: 2267
Chicago Sky: 2047
Atlanta Dream: 2042
Connecticut Sun: 1974
San Antonio Silver Stars: 1895
Washington Mystics: 1793
Minnesota Lynx: 1733
Do these numbers mesh with official attendance statistics? No, they don't. However, it makes sense that the Sparks and the Liberty would be the two most popular teams. Maybe going to Wikipedia can make sense out of the attendance numbers supplied by the WNBA. If Wikipedia is a better indicator of team popularity than announced attendance, it might give us a better idea of which teams have the most solid fan support.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The big news in the WNBA is that Connecticut and Minnesota have traded first-round draft picks. Previously, Minnesota had the #1 Draft Pick and Connecticut had the #2 overall pick.
to Connecticut: Minnesota's first round draft pick (#1 overall) and Renee Montgomery (PG)
to Minnesota: Connecticut's first round draft pick (#2 overall) and Lindsay Whalen (PG)
What does Connecticut get? First, it gets the #1 Draft Pick, which gives the Sun the chance to pick up senior center Tina Charles out of the University of Connecticut. Since Montgomery is also a UConn player, it looks like the Sun is stocking up on local players to help draw a crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena.
However, Tina Charles is no slouch. She'd probably edge out Jayne Appel of Stanford as the majority #1 consensus draft pick. She was #10 in the Boxscores Values for 2008-09, and most of the players above her were seniors and WNBA draft picks in 2009. Furthermore, 11 of the previous 13 WNBA #1 picks have been stars.
My prediction? Charles will be a great player, but you don't need a metric to see that.
Now what about Renee Montgomery? The player most statistically similar to Montgomery after her first year of play is Stacey Dales. The point guard most similiar to Montgomery after her first year of play is Matee Ajavon. Dales was at least an average player in the years before her first retirement; Ajavon has been less impressive.
Montgomery's rookie year vs. Dales's rookie year.
Montgomery's rookie year vs. Ajavon's rookie year.
Whalen, on the other hand, has been really good. I have Whalen as #25 in WNBA history in player efficiency rating (PER) among starters. She's a two-time All Star and is mentioned with Becky Hammon and Sue Bird among the premier point guards in the WNBA. Furthermore, Whalen will be 28 next year, and if 28 isn't a peak age, it's close to it.
So the question becomes "how good is that second pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft going to be?" If it's good, then you'd have to give Minnesota the win in this trade. However, this year's draft is generally acknowledged as a weak one and only five of the thirteen overall #2 picks can be considered to be stars - Griffith, Cash, Beard, Pondexter and Fowles. Given that, I think that the balance tilts in Connecticut's favor.
Of course, I could be wrong. And being wrong is the fun part.
Friday for those of you who don't have a calendar. Teams can negotiate with players and agents. Teams, however, may not sign contracts with free agents until February 1st, 2010.
Our only free agents are Erika de Souza and Jennifer Lacy - at least, I believe they are both restricted free agents. There's a whole bunch of stuff about RFAs and qualifying offers in the WNBA Player's Assocation Collective Bargaining Agreement (2008), but it all depends on the players' salaries and how many years of seniority each player has and if they're core players or not.
My conclusion: re-sign Erika de Souza, at all costs.
Regarding this news story, here is the new 2010 WNBA Draft order:
1. Connecticut (*)
2. Minnesota (**)
5. San Antonio
8. Los Angeles
12. Los Angeles (***)
13. New York
14. Washington (****)
17. San Antonio
20. Los Angeles
25. New York
29. San Antonio
32. Los Angeles
The Sacramento Monarchs folded and their picks are removed from the list.
(*) - Minnesota obtained Rafaella Masciardi and one of Los Angeles's two first round picks in exchange for Noelle Quinn. Los Angeles had obtained New York's first round draft pick - which turned out to be a lottery pick due to New York finishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference - in exchange for Sidney Spencer. Minnesota then traded their first round pick and Renee Montgomery to Connecticut in exchange for Lindsay Whalen and Connecticut's first round draft pick.
(**) Minnesota obtained Connecticut's first round pick by trading their first round draft pick and Renee Montgomery in exchange for Linsday Whalen and Connecticut's first round draft pick.
(***) - Los Angeles obtained Phoenix's first round draft pick in exchange for Temeka Johnson.
(****) - Washington obtained from Minnesota Lindsey Harding, the Lynx's #23 pick in the 2009 draft and Minnesota's second round pick in the 2010 draft for Washington's #9 and #15 picks in the 2009 Draft.