Saturday, October 31, 2009

LFB 5/2009 - Ros Casares 94, Vigo 75

With their defeat of Vigo (3-2) in the Liga Femenina today, Ros Casares (5-0) is not only undefeated in the Liga Femenina, but they've made it look easy. Until they play Perfumerias, it looks like Ros Casares's only challenge will come in Euroleague play.

The box score of Ros Casares's 94-75 victory is here. A write-up of the game is here.

Against El Ros in Valencia, Real Celta Vigo had a hard time getting off the ground. They were down 22-14 after the first quarter and a 14-0 Ros Casares run set the score 46-29 at halftime. Vigo was only able to win the third quarter, and only by one point. At one point the score was 56-47 Ros Casares but this was as close as Vigo could get. I suspect that the first half pretty much took care of Vigo.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 52, Vigo 51. However, Ros Casares was 12-for-19 from 3-point range. If you look at effective field goal percentage - where a 3-pointer is 1 1/2 field goals - the numbers are Ros Casares 61 percent, Vigo 55 percent.
Turnovers: Ros Casares 20, Vigo 29. Not a great game in taking care of the ball for El Ros, but a horrible game for Vigo.
Offensive rebound percentage: Ros Casares 31 percent, Vigo 28 percent. Slight edge to Ros Casares.
Free throws: Ros Casares 10-for-11, Vigo 10-for-19. Vigo had more visits to the free throw line but couldn't take advantage.

And now, the individual performances....

Ros Casares

Jana Vesala: 14 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals.
Laia Palau: 12 points, 6 assists, 4 steals.
Belinda Snell: 16 points. 4-for-6 3-point shooting.
Erika de Souza: 12 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists.
Anna Montanana: 8 points, 3 rebounds.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 13 points, 4 rebounds, 5 turnovers. Fouled out.
Amaya Valdemoro: did not play


Egle Stakneviciene: 20 points, 6 rebounds, 6 turnovers. Stakneviciene is from Lithuania.
Iva Sliskovic: 13 points, 8 rebounds.
Noemi Jordana: 15 points, 5 assists, 4 turnovers.

Ros Casares/Rivas Ecopolis Game on YouTube

The FEB - the governing body of baskeball in Spain - has placed the entirety of the Ros Casares/Rivas Ecopolis match of YouTube. El Ros won the match 73-56.

It's a hard, no-frills slog. There's no scoreboard to watch, one camera, and no way to identify the players without looking at the box score - although Erika de Souza is hard to miss. What's more interesting is a look at Rivas Ecopolis's home court - there are no bleachers on three sides of the court. However, the small crowd provides noise that could equal a WNBA game.

If you want to see the game in a larger size than the one offered by this blog, go to this YouTube link.

TBBL 2/2009 - Fenerbahce 71, Mersin 61

Olympia Scott tries to stop the Yellow Navy.

It just seems to go back and forth between Fenerbahce (2-0), the winner of last year's TBBL championship, and Mersin (1-1), the runner up last year and winner of the President's Cup game against Fenerbahce this year. This time, the defending champions managed to hold off Mersin, winning 71-61 at home.

The box score is here. A write-up of the game is here.

Fenerbahce scored the first few points, but Mersin came back to close to within 11-9. However, the "Yellow Navy" of Fenerbahce started to pull away, leading 18-11 after ten minutes and 27-17 in the second quarter. I believe at one point Fenerbahce led by 15 at one point in the second but they took a 38-28 halftime lead.

Barbara Turner played well, but Ivory Latta did not. Both could only watch as Fenerbahce extended the lead to 15 again and with five minutes to go, the lead was still at 15 for Fenerbahce.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Fenerbahce 46 percent, Mersin 38 percent. Fenerbahce was 5-for-11 from 3-point range, Mersin was 2-fo-10.
Turnovers: Fenerbahce 13, Mersin 16 - advantage to Fenerbahce again.
Offensive rebound percentage: Mersin 28 percent, Fenerbahce 25 percent. About even. Tammy Sutton-Brown led both teams in offensive rebounds with three.
Free throws: Mersin 19-for-23, Fenerbahce 10-for-14. It could have been a lot worse for Mersin.

The individual performances:


Tammy Sutton-Brown: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists. 9-for-15 shooting for the Indiana Fever player.
Nicole Powell: 17 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists for the Sacramento Monarchs player.
Nevriye Yilmaz: 12 points, 6 rebounds.
Kristen Nevlin: 12 points and 6 rebounds for the Stanford graduate. (Known as "Newlin" when playing for Stanford.)
Penny Taylor: 2 points on 0-for-5 shooting. Played 16 minutes.
Matee Ajavon: One point in eight minutes of play.


Olympia Scott: 17 points, 5 rebounds.
Barbara Turner: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers.
Erlana Larkins: 11 points, 7 rebounds.
Ivory Latta: 10 points on 1-for-8 shooting. (Latta was 8-for-8 at the free throw line.) She had six of Mersin's 16 turnovers.

PLKK 7/2009 - Gdynia 78, Krakow 70

Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (4-3) had made a turnaround after losing their first two Polish league games, but today they ran into Lotos Gdynia (7-1) and Gydnia showed why they were one of the toughest teams in the PLKK, beating Krakow 78-70 in Krakow.

The box score is here. I won't be writing these games until Iziane Castro Marques shows up next week.

Marta Fernandez scored 23 points for Krakow, with Liren Cohen and Janell Burse scoring 10 points each. Shameka Christon of the New York Liberty led Gdynia's scorers with 21 points and Erin Phillips of the Connecticut sun had 12 points.

LFB 5/2009 - Perfumerias 69, Zaragoza 53

For Perfumerias (4-1), still smarting over their losses to Rivaa Ecopolis in the Liga Femenina and to Krakow in Euroleague, an opportunity presented itself: the undefeated Zaragoza team was coming to visit. This time, it would be Perfumerias that would walk away with the victory, beating the Zaragoza (4-1) visitors 69-53 in Salamanca.

The box score is here.

No write-up of the game just yet, and no pictures. Looking at the boxscore, it appears that Perfumerias had a choke-hold on Zaragoza from the opening tip, leading 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and 31-21 at halftime. Perfumerias extended the lead to 17 points after thirty minutes (52-35) and it seems as if the final result was never in doubt.

With the loss by Zaragoza, Ros Casares will be the only undefeated team in the Liga Femenina if it defeats 3-1 Vigo today.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Perfumerias 46 percent, Zaragoza 40 percent. Perfumerias was 2-for-15 and Zaragoza was 3-for-13 from field goal range - neither team could depend on long-range accuracy.
Turnovers: Perfumerias 14, Zaragoza 19.
Offensive rebound percentage: Perfumerias 29 percent, Zaragoza 14 percent - a two-to-one advantage for the home team.
Free throws: Perfumerias 15-for-21, Zaragoza 8-for-10 - Perfumieras controlled all four keys to victory.

And also a look at the individual performances:


Sancho Lyttle: 10 points, 14 rebounds, 5 steals. 4-for-6 at the basket and 2-for-3 at the line. Lyttle was clearly the player of the game, with 3 of Perfumerias's 8 offensive rebounds.
Silvia Dominguez: 13 points, 4 steals.
Le'coe Willingham: 18 points and 3 rebounds.
Alba Torrens: 8 points and 4 assists.


Lucila Pascua: 7 points, 6 rebounds.
Agne Cuidariene: 10 points, 3 rebounds. Cuidariene was the only Zaragoza player to score in double figures.
Tiina Sten: 8 points in just nine minutes of play for the St. John's graduate.
Jessica Dickson: The South Florida grad scored 5 minutes in 22 minutes of play.
Allison Feaster: The 10-year WNBA veteran only scored 4 points in 33 minutes of play. Feaster turned the ball over five times.

Ros Casares Victory over TTT Riga Second Largest in Euroleague History

Just found out this factoid from, namely that the 118-38 drubbing of TTT Riga on Ros Casares's home court was the second biggest win in Euroleague history:

It was on 27 February 2001, when the Lotos VBW Clima (Poland) beat by 107 points (146-39) Sporting Athens (Greece). The 80 points of income achieved Ros Casares are the major difference that Valencian team has ever achieved in Europe's top competition.

Delisha Milton-Jones added:

I do not remember so bloated victory in the Euroleague, perhaps had won overwhelming victories and of some national league, but never in the premier cup competition.


Maybe it was a bad night of Riga or a great work of Ros, I suppose a bit of both.

It's a win both sides can be proud of, if you think about it - TTT Riga's pride comes from not abandoning the game and playing it out to the end. Trust me, TTT Riga is looking forward to the Baltic Women's season.

Friday, October 30, 2009

(Nancy) Lieberman vs. Obama: It's On!

Nancy Lieberman - who is about as famous as you can get in women's basketball - has challenged President Barack Obama to a basketball game.

Well, not exactly:

That’s right. Today I am declaring myself eligible for the presidential pickup games. Please allow me to present my credentials. I am no stranger to being on court with the boys. In high school and college, I played pickup with guys at Harlem’s Rucker courts and also played in summer leagues with NBA stars from the L.A. Lakers and the Utah Jazz (and I’m still pals with those teams’ then-coaches, Pat Riley and Frank Layden). I was also the first and only female player in the all-male United States Basketball League. I’ve played against the most famous team in the world, the Harlem Globetrotters. I'm fortunate to have been an Olympic silver medalist in women's basketball, and honored to be a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Plus, your right-hand man Reggie Love, the former college basketball star who plays in your games, can vouch for my reputation as a former college player who still has serious skills.

You'd better bring your game, Barack. That's all I gotta say.

Dream Website Wakes Up

There is a story and picture about the ownership change at the official Atlanta Dream website. It's the first website update of any kind in almost a month.

Granted, it just links to a story at the WNBA website. But I'll take what I can get. Let's go, Dream!

Mechelle Voepel Writes About Atlanta Change of Ownership

Her new article can be read at the ESPN website:

"I am a businesswoman, first and foremost. I believe that to be successful, you have to -- at the end of the day -- make money. I can sell something when I'm passionate about the product. Developing more sponsorships and continuing to get the community active in the Atlanta Dream is something that will come naturally to me."

Betty is a graduate of Alabama, while her husband's alma mater was Georgia Tech. Both of them became very supportive of Yellow Jackets sports. But Betty said it was a talk by Georgia Tech women's hoops coach MaChelle Joseph to the school's athletic board a few years back that really hit home for her.

"I thought, 'You know, I could help,' " Betty said. "It really got me interested in supporting them at a different level, not just to be a fan. But to also reach out and make a real difference."

I'm hoping that Kathy Betty can make the Dream a success both on the court and at the turnstiles.

Taurasi Serves Her Time

It wasn't hard time. The judge ended up suspending nine days of her ten-days sentence. But Diana Taurasi pleaded guilty to drunk driving and she ended up spending one day in jail.

"The long national nightmare is over." Next time, just call a cab.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Night at the Opera

Atlanta Dream fan Scarab asks the question: "How many WNBA ballers, current & former, can u recognize?" I believe the pictures were taken at Opera Atlanta, a popular nightclub.

(I think I can only recognize four....)

Dream It AND Be It: Dream Sold to Kathy Betty

Left to right: Atlanta City Council President Lisa Boarders, new Dream owner Kathy Betty, WNBA President Donna Orender, Atlanta Dream Head Coach Marynell Meadors and Dream player Jennifer Lacy.

We now have the word that we've been waiting for. No, not word about the infamous Surfin' Bird, but word that the Atlanta Dream has safely landed in the arms of a new managing partner, Kathy Betty. However, in the colloquial sense of the term, Betty is the new owner. The existence of the Atlanta Dream is assured to at least the end of the 2010 season, and hopefully, many years beyond that.

According to the WNBA news release, the Atlanta Dream will be owned by Dream Too LLC, an investment group headed by Kathy Betty. She becomes the first woman in Atlanta history to own a sports team. Here is the same article (essentially) from:

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution story, one which gives more background into Betty's motivations for purchasing the Dream. This is an update from an earlier article this morning.

USA Today

Atlanta Business Chronicle

For those who haven't been following along, Betty is the widow of Earthlink CEO Garry Betty. She's been a major supporter of Georgia Tech women's basketball, so purchasing the dream is simply a logical extension of her interests. (Mr. Betty was a graduate of Georgia Tech.) She also has further Atlanta ties as a former executive vice-president of Scott Madden Inc, an Atlanta-based consulting firm.

Apparently, Dream Too LLC had some help from Atlanta mayoral candidate Lisa Borders, currently president of the Atlanta City Council. Borders "carved out time to bring sponsorships to the table and find investors who will make the Dream a continued reality for the staff, players and, of course, our fans" according to Betty. (It doesn't hurt that Borders is running for re-election.) The news has gone up on her political website as Borders claims that the Dream staying in Atlanta increases the flow of tourist money in the coffers of Atlanta businesses.)

According to Steve Visser's additions to the updated AJC article above, it is implied that Mr. Terwilliger no longer has any ownership stake in the Dream. I do not seek to condemn him, but to praise him. Just remember, without Mr. Terwilliger we might not have had an Atlanta Dream for the last two years. Thank you, Mr. Terwilliger, for all of your support of the greatest team in the WNBA. (My opinion.)

As for certain staff members of the Sports Department of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it looks like they'll have to wait at least another year to pull out that "Dream folds" article they've had queued up since 2008. To quote Cleveland Indians manager Lou Brown:

The local press seems to think that we'd save everyone the time and trouble if we just went out and shot ourselves. Me, I'm for wasting sportswriters' time. So I figured we ought to hang around for a while and see if we can give 'em all a nice big shitburger to eat!

And now, let's sing! "We're a wild and an untamed thing...we're a bee with a deadly sting...!"


From Deadspin, one can find excerpts from a book written by disgraced referee Tim Donaghy. The book is called "Blowing the Whistle" and was scheduled to be released by Triumph Books, a subsidiary of Random House. Then the NBA threatened to sue and Random House told Triumph to pull the book.

Some excerpts from the unreleased book:

Relationships between NBA players and referees were generally all over the board-love, hate, and everything in-between. Some players, even very good ones, were targeted by referees and the league because they were too talented for their own good. Raja Bell, formerly of the Phoenix Suns and now a member of the Charlotte Bobcats, was one of those players. A defensive specialist throughout his career, Bell had a reputation for being a "star stopper." His defensive skills were so razor sharp that he could shut down a superstar, or at least make him work for his points. Kobe Bryant was often frustrated by Bell's tenacity on defense. Let's face it, no one completely shuts down a player of Kobe's caliber, but Bell could frustrate Kobe, take him out of his game, and interrupt his rhythm.

You would think that the NBA would love a guy who plays such great defense. Think again! Star stoppers hurt the promotion of marquee players. Fans don't pay high prices to see players like Raja Bell-they pay to see superstars like Kobe Bryant score 40 points. Basketball purists like to see good defense, but the NBA wants the big names to score big points.

If a player of Kobe's stature collides with the likes of Raja Bell, the call will almost always go for Kobe and against Bell. As part of our ongoing training and game preparation, NBA referees regularly receive game-action video tape from the league office. Over the years, I have reviewed many recorded hours of video involving Raja Bell. The footage I analyzed usually illustrated fouls being called against Bell, rarely for him. The message was subtle but clear-call fouls against the star stopper because he's hurting the game.

So what does this have to do with the WNBA, you might ask? Well, one of tne of the reasons that the NBA took off in the 1950s was because of a point-shaving scandal in college basketball. The former college basketball fans couldn't be sure if their games were on the up-and-up, and transferred their allegiances to the NBA.

Anything that causes fans to question the veracity of what they're seeing can cause fans to shift allegiances. (I shifted my allegiance to the WNBA after baseball's steroid scandals.) Fans of competing leagues in the same sport end up benefiting. Men's college basketball, women's college basketball and the WNBA could all come out the winners. It's not that I'm rooting for the a decline in NBA attendance; I'm merely stating that this tends to be the result of sportwide scandals.

One can argue that the WNBA should be free of such chicanery because the stakes are too low. (Then again, with Michael Price behind the whistle, you never know.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Euroleague E1/2009 - Krakow 65, Perfumerias 60

Liron Cohen looks for a Krakow player.

The match between Iziane Castro Marques and Sancho Lyttle will have to wait until later in the year - Castro Marques doesn't show up to Krakow until November 6th - but there was still a game to be played in Salamanca. Wisla Can-Pack Krakow came into the match as a substitute for CSKA, and upset Perfumerias 65-60 at their home in Salamanca.

All three parts of the package - a game write-up, a box score, and a play-by-play - can be found here.

If anyone would know how to beat Perfumerias at home, it would be Krakow's coach Jose Hernandez - Hernandez coached Perfumerias last year and left to seek a bigger paycheck and greater challenges. Perfumerias led 13-11 after the first quarter but Krakow opened the second with three point shots by Liren Cohen and Katerina Zohnova and took the lead. Leading 32-22 with 51 seconds left in the hand, Sancho Lyttle scored the final five points of the first half to close to within five, 32-27.

Perfumerias managed to close to within two in the third quarter but Krakow led 51-44 after thirty minutes. With one minute left in the game, Alba Torrens hit a jump shot to cut the lead to 61-58. Both teams traded shots, and with 25 seconds left, Krakow had the ball back. With 16 seconds left, Perfumerias was forced to foul Liren Cohen, who hit both of her free throws and essentially put the game out of reach at 65-60.

Now, let's look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Krakow 41 percent, Perfumerias 37 percent. Krakow was 6-for-14 in 3-point shooting; Perfumerias was 3-for-19.
Turnovers: Perfumerias 16, Krakow 18. Slight edge to Perfumerias.
Offensive rebound percentage: Perfumerias 30 percent, Krakow 25 percent.
Free throws: Krakow 11-for-11, Perfumerias 9-for-13. Krakow really needed those extra free throws.

And the performances of the game:


Sancho Lyttle: 11 points, 12 rebounds on 4-for-10 shooting. Only one offensive rebound, but Lyttle was the player of the game for her team.
Le'coe Willingham: 11 points, 2 rebounds.
Olexandra Gorbunova: 11 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.


Liron Cohen: 21 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. Cohen carried Krakow to the win.
Katerina Zohnova: 15 points, 3 rebounds.
Janell Burse: 10 points, 13 rebounds.
Marta Fernandez: 11 points, 3 rebounds from the former member of the Los Angeles Sparks.

Euroleague E1/2009 - Ros Casares 118, TTT Riga 38

This is how much bigger Ros Casares was.

Yes. You read that right. Ros Casares 118, TTT Riga 38, as in "eighty-point victory". Ros Casares wouldn't even beat a Liga Femenina 2 team this badly.

The box score and game write-ups are both here. To the side there is a small gallery of photos.

It happened in front of 1700 spectators in Valencia, Spain, who probably couldn't believe what they were seeing. El Ros led 50-18 at the half and simply continued extending their lead, scoring 36 points in the third quarter. And there's really no excuse for Riga. Riga didn't have anybody sick, no cars crashed, nothing like that. It simply goes to show that the best team in Latvia just doesn't compare with the best team in Spain. I wonder if TTT Riga will win so much as one Euroleague game.

Let's look at the mass-uh, I mean the box score and the Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 55 percent, TTT Riga 24 percent. That was the game right there. TTT Riga were 2-for-13 from the 3-point arc.
Turnovers: Ros Casares 14, TTT Riga 23.
Offensive rebound percentage: Ros Casares 57 percent, TTT Riga 14 percent. More amazing numbers. The overall rebound differential was 52-18 in favor of Ros Casares.
Free throws: Ros Casares 29-for-30, TT Riga 6-for-12. When a team is shooting 97 percent from the free throw line, look out! The only Ros Casares player to miss a free throw was Jana Vesela, who went 5-for-6.

And now, a peak at the performances:

Ros Casares

Delisha Milton-Jones: 25 points, 9 rebounds. El Ros almost had two double-doubles. Milton-Jones shot 8-for-15.
Erika de Souza: 24 points, 10 rebounds. De Souza also had four steals.
Jana Vesela: 12 points, 8 rebounds. Make that "almost three double-doubles."
Anna Montanana: 11 points, 7 rebounds. No, make that four....
Belinda Snell: 9 points.

TTT Riga

Lyndra Weaver: 16 points on 5-for-19 shooting. The name reads "Lyndra Shajuan Weaver" but in the Latvian League she's known as Shajuan Weaver and she used to be known as Lyndra Littles! Yep, Lyttles used to play for the Connecticut Sun but didn't make it past the training camp stage.
Cindy Lima: 6 rebounds, 5 rebounds.
Liga Surkusa : 5 points, 3 rebounds. 1-for-1 shooting. Believe it or not, she was TTT Riga's "top performer" according to the Eurobasket website.

PER Ratings: Atlanta Dream

On Swish Appeal, I've gone ahead and posted the WNBA's player efficiency ratings for 2009.

If you're interested, here's how the various players of the Atlanta Dream did in PER:

Angel McCoughtry (23.2)
Sancho Lyttle (21.3)
Erika de Souza (20,0)
Chamique Holdsclaw (14.8)
Michelle Snow (14.6)
Ivory Latta (13.5)
Tamera Young (12.1)
Coco Miller (10.4)
Iziane Castro Marques (9.8)
Shalee Lehning (8.7)
Jennifer Lacy (5.8)
Armintie Price (4.2)

If the numbers aren't pleasing, you might want to beat up on John Hollinger, the guy who created the formula.

You Know You're a Women's Basketball Fan When....

1. When you are tempted to spell the word "summit" with an extra "t".
2. When you know how to both spell and pronounce Geno Auriemma.
3. When the folding of a women's basketball club two continents away is a great cause of concern.
4. When you groan whenever someone says the WNBA was the first women's professional basketball league.
5. When you no longer put "women's" as an adjective in front of "basketball", perplexing your friends when you talk about Appel and Charles and Lavender and Jackson and Taurasi and what great players they are.
6. When the first think you think of New York is "Pffft! What championships has New York ever won in anything?"
7. Whenever someone talks about how groundbreaking it would be for baseball or football to have an openly gay player, you can't help but chuckle.
8. When you further purplex your friends by complaining about how short the basketball season is.
9. When you read every part of the paper except for the sports page, and
10. When you know "The Shot" took place in 1999, and not in 1989.

Coco Miller in Moscow?

At least according to the 2009-10 WNBA Overseas Roster. I've not seen any confirmation about this on the Russian websites or at Eurobasket.

However, Kelly Miller is playing for Spartak Moscow. Maybe the W, like many others, can't tell the difference either.

More Actionless Activity

More great posts from the Actionless Activity Blog:

WNBA: Hierarchy of Needs
WNBA: Choices
Regarding the Haters

I suggest you give them a read.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Atlanta Dream Similarity Scores for 2009

Last year, I did a few posts regarding similarity scores. From the earlier post:

Similarity Scores was designed to be a fair way to compare players by their career statistical lines. The idea is "start with 1000" points and then begin to take away points from points of difference. For example, if two players had career steals totals that were 20 steals apart, we would take one point away from the Similarity Score of the two players, reducing the total score to 999. We keep doing this for other statistics and come up with a numerical value for "how similar" one player is to another.

Furthermore, the new set of 2009 similarity scores is adjusted for position. So this leaves us with the question of "given a particular Atlanta Dream player, which WNBA player's career statistics are the closest?"

The player most similar to Iziane Castro Marques is Stacey Dales (976.90).
The player most similar to Erika de Souza is Crystal Langhorne (974.91).
The player most similar to Chamique Holdsclaw is Swin Cash (931.15).
The player most similar to Jennifer Lacy is Shyra Ely (988.76).
The player most similar to Ivory Latta is Erin Phillips (986.09)
The player most similar to Shalee Lehning is Francesca Zara (993.27).
The player most similar to Sancho Lyttle is Camille Little (973.64).
The player most similar to Angel McCoughtry is Charde Houston (968.63).
The player most similar to Coco Miller is Elaine Powell (970.55).
The player most similar to Armintie Price is Alexis Hornbuckle (979.48)
The player most similar to Michelle Snow is Tammy Sutton-Brown (954.32).

Gallery: Mersin/Kokaeli

There are some pictures up of the Mersin-Kokaeli game at the TBBL website, but the only picture with Ivory Latta is the one above. However, if you're a fan of Olympia Taylor, Barbara Turner or Erlana Larkins you might find some pics.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Some Pictures from Dynamo Kursk/Spartak St. Petersburg

The linked article has three pictures from the Dynamo Kursk-Spartak St. Petersburg game of this weekend. The one at the top of the post is the only one with Michelle Snow

Head Coach Algirdas Paulauskas of Dynamo Kursk said, "Snow doesn't know our system. After some work and training, she can acquire it."

This Week's Games

Euroleague fires up in the middle of the week, with Perfumerias taking on Krakow...which still won't have Iziane Castro Marques until November 6th.


Euroleague Group A: Ros Casares (0-0) vs. TTT Riga (0-0) (*)
Euroleague Group B: Perfumerias (0-0) vs. Krakow (0-0) (*)


LFB: Perfumerias (3-1) vs. Zaragoza (4-0)
LFB: Ros Casares (4-0) vs. Vigo (3-1)
PLKK: Krakow (4-2) vs. Gdynia (6-1)
TBBL: Fenerbahce (1-0) vs. Mersin (1-0)

(*) - Euroleague standings.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Or the Beach

OhDangItsCrystal has a funny skit Lauren Jackson. Don't take it personally, Jackson lovers. :D

Departing Donehew Discusses Dream

Jim Fuller at the New Haven Register writes about a discussion he recently had with Danielle Donehew. Donehew left her front office job at the Atlanta Dream to become the Assistant Commissioner for Women's Basketball in the Big East Conference.

I also asked Donehew about the future of the Dream considering some rumors have been circulating about their staying power.

"I have high hopes for the Dream and for the future of the franchise. Over the last two years we built a great product. We were able to take an expansion team that only won four games in the first year to 18 wins in the second year and a playoff berth. I am really pleased with what we built. I think over the time the Dream will continue to build and be something that the WNBA will be very proud of.

"There are always rumors, in an economy such as this funding is always tough but I am excited to say that there are some new investors at the table," Donehew said. "I can't get into any details right now but I do think over time there will be some new investors that are going to come in and make a huge difference."

In short, we know little more than we knew before. "We're negotiating. Be patient." The Dream's main website hasn't been updated since October 1st and communication from the DFO has been minimal. (Though not absent.) I'm hoping for a big payoff, myself.

Mystery Dream Players Work With Toles

Dan Fleser over at Go Vols Extra reports something interesting about Tennessee freshman guard Morgan Toles:

One of the prime examples is a freshman: guard Morgan Toles. She's the daughter of former Tennessee linebacker Alvin Toles. She's worked out regularly with members of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream.

I wonder who is working with her.

1/2009 TBBL - Mersin 78, Kocaeli 58

Mersin (1-0) - the new team for Ivory Latta - is hoping to return to the TBBL finals this year. Kocaeli (0-1) was promoted from TBBL2 to the big leagues last year and is just hoping to stay alive. (One problem for Kocaeli - no WNBA players on the roster.) Mersin had no problem with getting their first win at home, 78-58.

The box score is here. No pictures just yet.

It looked like this game was going to be decided early. Mersin started out the game 13-4 and led 21-10 after the first quarter. However, Kocaeli surprised the home team by fighting back to within three points, 23-20 in the second quarter. Mersin closed the first half 39-33.

Barbara Turner had a good third quarter to help Mersin take a 54-38 lead at one point in the third quarter. Mersin held their sixteen-point lead at the end of 30 minutes, and led by 23 points - 71-49 - at one point in the fourth quarter.

Let's take a look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Mersin 37 percent, Kocaeli 36 percent. Neither team shot well, but Mersin went 7-for-28 in 3-point shooting. Yes, that's 28 3-point attempts. All in all, Mersin made 76 field goal attempts and Kocaeli just 58.
Turnovers: Mersin 16, Kocaeli 28. The TK column is the turnover column.
Offensive rebound percentage: Mersin 29 percent, Kocaeli 21 percent. Kocaeli had 42 rebounds altogether; Mersin had 40.
Free throws: Mersin 15-for-21, Kocaeli 13-for-17.

And the performances:


Olympia Scott: 12 points, 8 rebounds.
Barbara Turner: 11 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.
Erlana Larkins: 7 points, 8 rebounds.
Ivory Latta: 9 points, 3 assists. Latta only played for 20 minutes.


Ceyda Kozluca: 15 points, 4 rebounds.
Meryem Kolayli: 13 points, 9 rebounds. According to Translate Google, she's "Mary Easy".

Seda Bayraktar: 12 points, 5 rebounds.

President's Cup/2009 TBBL - Mersin 86, Fenerbahce 74

Ivory Latta greets her new teammates.

It looks like I'm a little bit late on reporting on the President's Cup in the TBBL - the Turkish Women's Basketball League. It looks like the Turkish season gets started with the President's Cup, and Mersin - which was swept 3-0 in the TBBL championship last year - gained some measure of revenge with an 86-74 win over defending champion Fenerbahce.

Finding a box score is going to be a little difficult, as it seems that the TBBL hasn't stored it anywhere - the game doesn't count as a regular season game. Furthermore, let's just say that Turkish isn't Google Translate's strongest point, particularly when it comes to sports reporting.

So what do we know about the game?

* We know that Ivory Latta played in it.
* We know that Mersin led 22-16 at the end of the first quarter and 48-31 at the half.
* We know that Fenerbahce started the third quarter with an 8-0 run.
* However, Mersin would score the next 13 points to make it a 61-39 game. Fenerbahce closed to withing 69-54 at the end of the third period.
* Mersin would take a 20 point lead at one point in the fourth, 79-59. Clearly, Mersin was in control.

We also have some idea of the game leaders:


Penny Taylor: 18 points, 3 rebounds from the Phoenix Mercury forward.
Nevin Nevlin: 17 points, 8 rebounds from the former Kristin Newlin, a graduate from Stanford in 2007. Newlin became a naturalized Turkish citizen and changed her name to Nevlin.
Nicole Powell: 9 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists. Powell is another Stanford graduate who now plays for the Monarchs.
Tammy Sutton-Brown: 6 points, 2 rebounds from the Indiana Fever center.
Matee Ajavon: 5 points, 3 assists from the Rutgers grad who has played for both Houston and Washington.


Ivory Latta: 27 points, 4 assists. A big game for Ivory Latta.
Erlana Larkins: 18 points, 8 rebounds. Larkins, a forward for the New York Liberty, played for Turkish team Samsun last year.
Olympia Scott: 14 points, 5 rebounds. Scott played for several teams in the WNBA until 2005.
Barbara Turner: 6 points, 4 rebounds. Turner is currently a guard for the Connecticut Sun.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Russia Superleague A 3/2009 - Dynamo Kursk 81, Spartak St. Petersburg 77

After suffering a tough 102-65 loss at the hands of Spartak Moscow, Dynamo Kursk (2-1) took on a lesser Spartak - Spartak St. Peterburgh (0-3) - and got back on the winning tract, winning 81-77 at home in Kursk.

The box score - provided by - is here. The Russian Superleague boxscore which provides the quarter-by-quarter breakdown is here.

Dynamo Kursk put a lot of pressure on Spartak St. Petersburg, winning the first quarter 26-14. It took the second quarter for Spartak St. Petersburg to come back, and close the gap to 44-39 at halftime. After an indecisive third quarter, Spartak St. Petersburg made another run and closed the gap to 74-73 with three minutes remaining. However, Dynamo Kursk pulled out the win - without Michelle Snow, who by that time was sitting on the bench with five fouls.

No pictures yet. Maybe we'll find some.

A look at the Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Dynamo Kursk 56 percent, Spartak St. Petersburg 42 percent. However, Spartak St. Petersburg took a lot of shots - 66 to Dynamo Kursk's 50.
Turnovers: 15 for both sides.
Offensive rebound percentage: Spartak St. Petersburgh 31 percent, Dynamo Kursk 15 percent. Dynamo Kursk only had four offensive rebounds, and Michelle Snow had two of those.
Free throws: Dynamo Kursk 20-for-30, Spartak St. Petersburgh 14-for-21.

Some performances from the game:

Dynamo Kursk

Michelle Snow: 21 points, 9 rebounds. Snow was pretty much the player of the game, but fouled out near the end. Dynamo Kursk managed to pull out the win.
Varvara Psareva: 18 points, 7 rebounds.
Jillian Robbins: 12 points, 3 rebounds from the Tulsa graduate.

Spartak St. Petersburg

Olga Firsova: 14 points, 4 assists.
Eugeniya Belyakova: 13 points, 5 rebounds.
Dalila Eshe: 10 points and 6 rebounds from the Florida graduate.

Gallery: Perfumerias/Vigo

It looks like I might have a source for Sancho Lyttle pictures. (I wonder if P. Martin Puertas is a Perfumerias fan.)

There are 184 photos here of the Perfumerias/Vigo game. Including more than one photo of #15, Sancho Lyttle. You might want to take a look.

LFB 4/2009 - Perfumerias 86, Cadi la Seu 81

Supposedly a picture of Sonia Reis vs. Sancho Lyttle.

It's been a rough year for Perfumerias (3-1) so far. On the road, they took a 48-36 lead at halftime but home team Cadi la Seu (1-3) played the visitors tough in the second half. Not tough enough, however, as Perfumerias escaped with an 86-81 win.

The box score is here. No pictures or good write-ups just yet, but there is a brief write-up here.

According to Ricard Alonso-Bartol, Perfumerias tends to have trouble getting into games at the beginning. Cadi la Seu scored the first eight points. However, Perfumerias woke up and tied 10-10. After taking a 24-19 lead in the first quarter, Perfumerias opened up the lead to 17 points in the second quarter, 42-25. However, Cadi la Seu fought back and brought themselves up to 48-36 by halftime.

Cadi la Seu managed to close the game to two points, 60-58, with three minutes left in the third quarter but Perfumerias got another run and led 69-60. Perfumerias retained the lead, but Cadi la Seu made one final run to close within 84-80...but it wasn't enough.

A look at the Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Perfumerias 52 percent, Cadi la Seu 49 percent. Perfumerias was 6-for-14 in 3-point shooting, Cadi la Seu was 5-for-15.
Turnovers: Perfumerias 15, Cadi la Seu 19. A slight advantage for Perfumerias.
Offensive rebounds: Cadi la Seu 33 percent, Perfumerias 22 percent. Sancho Lyttle's three offensive rebounds led Perfumerias.
Free throw percentage: Perfumerias 20-for-25, Cadi la Seu 16-for-19. Something tells me that this was a very physical game.

And the performances of the game:

Cadi la Seu

Sonia Reis: 22 points, 5 rebounds.
Kerri Gardin: 16 points, 5 rebounds from the Connecticut Sun forward.
Jasmon Covington: If you made it down this far, this is the interesting story. Jasmon "Jazz" Covington graduated from Louisville in 2007 and this year, she played for the Women's Blue Chip Basketball League's Atlanta Battlecats. Who says that the WBCBL doesn't have good players? Jazz scored 7 points and 6 rebounds in 22 minutes, but she fouled out of the game.


Sancho Lyttle: 21 points, 9 rebounds. 7-for-14 shooting. Clearly, the best player of the game.
Isabel Sanchez: 17 points. Sanchez was fouled 7 times in the game.
Olga Podkovalnikova: 11 points.
Le'coe Willingham: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 5 turnovers.

LFB 4/2009 - Ros Casares 73, Rivas Ecopolis 56

It was a match between two unbeatens: one was Ros Casares (4-0), last year's Liga Femenina winner, and the other was Rivas Ecopolis (3-1), which surprised a few Spanish basketball followers by defeating the powerful Perfumerias team. Rivas Ecopolis, however, is not on the level of El Ros, not yet anyway, as they lost 73-56 to the visitors.

The box score is here. No photos, not yet anyway. The win leaves Ros Casares in a tie for first with Zaragoza, the only other 4-0 team in the Liga Femenina.

At Cerro del Telegrapho - "Telegraph Hill" - Rivas Ecopolis played the visitors strong in the first quarter. Rivas Ecopolis scored the first five points, and the best defense in the league - Rivas Ecopolis - held the best offense to a 15-15 tie after 10 minutes. (*) Then it all fell apart. The combination of Delisha Milton-Jones and Erika de Souza was unstoppable, and Rivas Ecopolis was held to just 13 third quarter points.

Looking at the Four Factors of the Game:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 47 percent, Rivas Ecopolis 43 percent. Three point shooting helped Ros Casares - looking at effective field goal percentage, the numbers change to Ros Casares 52 percent, Rivas Ecopolis 46 percent.
Turnovers: Ros Casares 10, Rivas Ecopolis 14. This would have been a nice game to watch. Neither side was sloppy on the offense.
Offensive rebound percentage: Ros Casares 35.4 percent, Rivas Ecopolis 30 percent. De Souza had six offensive rebounds, Crystal Langhorne had three for Rivas Ecopolis.
Free throws: Ros Casares 7-for-10, Rivas Ecopolis 1-for-1. Yup, 1-for-1.

And now, the high points of the game:

Rivas Ecopolis

Anna Cruz: 12 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists.
Clara Bermejo: 9 points.
Crystal Langhorne: 6 points, 7 rebounds.
Cathy Joens: Only 2 points in 17 minutes of play.

Ros Casares

Delisha Milton-Jones: 18 points, 3 rebounds. 6-for-9 shooting.
Erika de Souza: 13 points, 10 rebounds. The combination of Milton-Jones and de Souza was too much to overcome.
Belinda Snell: 9 points.
Anna Montanana: 5 points in 22 minutes of play.
Amaya Valdemoro: Did not play.

(*) - Before the game, Ros Casares was scoring 83.3 points a game, and Rivas Ecopolis was allowing 55.3 points a game.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shalee Lehning to Play in Hoops for Hope Game

Hoops for Hope will play a basketball game in Ashland, Kansas on Friday, October 30th. And it looks like Shalee Lehning will put her books down for long enough to take part. Lehning is finishing up her degree at Kansas State in the off-season.

The roster:

Coach: Jackie Styles (WNBA)
Coach: Cynthia Cooper-Dyke (WNBA, Prairie View)

Shalee Lehning (Atlanta Dream), G
Marcy Sudbeck (Wichita State), F
Katie Smith (Kansas), G - not the Detroit Shock Katie Smith
Tasha Trundle (Missouri), G
Shahidrah Roberts-Cowgill (Nebraska), G
Ann Cavey-Jameson (Missouri State), C
Jannica Shultze (Sterling College), G
Molly Carter (Drury), G
Kelsey Konrade (Ashland HS), G
Naomi Bonilla (Ashland HS), G
Ashley Odermann (Ashlahd HS), G
Kira Hart (Ashland HS), PG
Nicole Preisner (Ashland HS), P
Megan Cunningham (Ashland HS), G

The money goes to the Kay Yow Fund and to cancer-preventative care provided by the WEPAC Alliance.

Ros Casares/Girona Gallery

Anna Carbo works against Erika de Souza. Carbo had six points.

From Game 3 of the Liga Feminina, provides some photos of the Ros Casares/Girona matchup. Click the link to see the gallery.

Also: Sancho Lyttle was named the enCancho Player of the Week by for her 24 point, 15 rebound performance against Vigo.

In The 13th Season

In the 13th season....

...of Major League Baseball (1888) there were two leagues - the National League and the American Association. The National League was the "purer" of the two leagues, the AA was the upstart. (Since the American Association was called the "Beer and Whiskey League" what better initials for it than AA?)

The leagues were in direct competition with each other. There were probably too many teams in baseball at the time - there were sixteen - but the AA was still holding on. Each league played each other in what could loosely be called a "World Series" but there was no fixed number of games between the two leagues. Each league was quite happy to poach the other's players when it could.

Already, the AA was instituting cost-cutting measures. There might not have been giveaway tickets, but prices were lowered to 25 cents and visiting teams were denied a percentage of the gate - they simply got a flat $130 for showing up.

There were still franchises in trouble. Oddly enough, the franchise that was in trouble was Detroit of the National League. One reason the AA made the move to limit visiting gate receipts was to kill Detroit - the Wolverines knew the only way they could survive was to sign big stars and hope for a big showing at the gate while on the road. Home attendance wasn't good enough to keep the team alive, and it disbanded after the 1888 season.

Detroit was gone at the end of the year. The National League stole the AA's Cleveland team and the AA replaced that team with one from Columbus.

Oddly enough, not only did the Detroit team disband in the 13th season of Major League Baseball, that Detroit team won the league championship the previous year.

In the 13th season...

...of the National Football League (1932) the fortunes of the NFL were at their lowest ever. In the midst of a Depression, the league had contracted to just eight teams. The previous season, the Frankford Yellow Jackets folded in mid-season. In the off-season, the Providence Steam Rollers and Cleveland Indians called it quits.

Generally, the rule of the previous 12 seasons was that the regular season champion was also the league champion. However, there were a lot of tied football games in those days - the Bears finished 6-1-6 - and the championship was given by winning percentage with ties excluded. Chicago and Portsmouth each finished 6-1 (not counting ties) and rather that split the title the NFL decided to have a playoff game.

Unfortunately, it couldn't be played at Wrigley Field due to severely cold weather. It was moved indoors to Chicago Stadium, which wasn't large enough for a full-sized football field. In spite of that, the idea of a playoff game was very popular.

You could say that the playoffs rejuvinated the sport. The following year, the NFL expanded with two more teams.

In the 13th season....

...of the National Basketball Association (1958-59), the league was actually doing very well. However, there was quite a bit of relocation going on, mostly from small cities to big cities. There were still the Minneapolis Lakers and the Philadelphia Warriors. The Celtics finished the year by winning their second NBA championship. It was only Bill Russell's third year as a Celtic, and Bob Cousy was still with the squad.

Looks good doesn't it? Oh by the way, the size of the NBA in 1958-59? Eight teams.

At the end of the 13th season....

...of the WNBA (2009) looks like there will be a 14th season to follow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

LFB 3/2009 - Perfumerias 84, Vigo 61

After an overtime loss on the road, Perfumerias (2-1) returned home to recover against Real Club Celta Vigo (2-1). A strong third quarter and a fantastic game from Sancho Lyttle assured an 84-61 win for Perfumerias.

The box score is here. As with the Ros Casares games, there are no write-ups yet and no pictures. Maybe we'll have those, maybe we won't. Perfumerias won every single quarter of the game, with Perfumerias leading by 10 at the half and 22 after three quarters.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Perfumerias 44 percent, Vigo 35 percent. Both teams shot a lot of 3-pointers, but they hit any of them. Perfumerias went 3-for-21 and Vigo went 3-for-17.
Turnovers: Perfumerias 13, Vigo 21. Vigo might have quite literally given the game away.
Offensive rebound percentage: Perfumerias 39 percent, Vigo 33 percent. Oddly enough, Sancho Lyttle only had one offensive rebound.
Free throws: Perfumerias 27-for-34, Vigo 14-for-20. Vigo also gave the game away by sending Perfumerias to the foul line. All and all, both teams committed 47 personal fouls.

Some key performances:


Sancho Lyttle: 24 points, 15 rebounds, 5 steals. 12 of Lyttle's 24 points were scored at the free line, and Lyttle drew eight fouls.
Le'coe Willingham: 20 points on 6-for-8 shooting.
Isabel Sanchez: 10 points.
Olexandra Gorbunova: 10 points, 6 rebounds.


Iva Slisovic: 16 points, 9 rebounds. 7-for-8 shooting.
Olga Maznichenko: 11 points. 5-for-5 shooting.
Sara Gomez Ferreiros: Zero points in 18 minutes of play.

LFB 3/2009 - Ros Casares 79, Girona 53

For visiting Girona (1-2), it was a rough introduction to the best team in the Liga Feminina, Ros Casares (3-0). Girona played in the lower division last year, and Girona was down 19 points at the end of the first quarter along the way to a 79-53 defeat.

The box score is here. Currently, there are neither write-ups nor photographs, so all we have to look at is the box score. Girona lost every quarter of the game except the final quarter - which they won by one point.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 58 percent, Girona 39 percent. That was pretty much the game right there. Ros Casares is just a scoring machine.
Turnovers: Ros Casares 17, Girona 17. A wash.
Offensive rebounds: Girona 24 percent, Ros Casares 19 percent. It's weird to see Ros Casares behind in offensive rebounds...but defending MVP Erika de Souza only played 24 minutes.
Free throws: Ros Casares 11-for-14, Girona 5-for-8. The cap of a bad day for Girona.

Some highlighted performances:

Ros Casares

Delisha Milton-Jones: 14 points, 4 assists, 4 steals. She was fouled six times, leading to 6-for-8 at the free throw line.
Erika de Souza: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals. 5-for-6 shooting.
Anna Montanana: 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists.
Belinda Snell: 5 points in 24 minutes of play.
Amaya Valdemoro: Did not play. I wonder if she's still hurt from the Joventut game.


Astou Traore: 9 points, 4 rebounds.
Nina Bogicevic: 11 points, 8 rebounds. Bogicevic was the only Girona player to score in double digits.
Kaayla Chones: Chones, who played on the Mystics and the Seattle Storm, scored 4 points. She had the greatest number of minutes of any Girona player.

Where in the World are the Dream?

You got us. The Dream webpage has been pretty much dormant since the end of the season. Other teams have started to update their offseason overseas player pages, but the Dream's offseas page still has the 2008-09 offseason information.

So...anything going on in the DFO?

Wilson: WNBA Lost $2 Million in Detroit Last Year

Tom Wilson, the President of the (former) Detroit Shock, gave some insight into the financial considerations that resulted in the Shock moving into Tulsa.

"The attendance this year was the toughest ever, and we had to make the call. If you guessed, we lost somewhere near two million dollars. We had owners stick by year after year through millions of dollars in losses, but they felt obligated and believed in the product. It was just time."


"We were never really part of the core (teams of Detroit) and you can attribute that to the (women's) game, you can attribute that to the summer or whatever, but no matter how much we spent on marketing or advertising, no matter how many appearances the women made, we still weren't able to capture the critical mass to make it make sense."

One of my ongoing pet projects is to try to figure out how much it takes to run a franchise. I'm assuming that the $2 million dollars is a net loss. If it takes about $2-3 million in income, the team probably lost about $3-5 million. The Shock could have lost as much as $20 million net over its history.

Granted, for a billionaire it would mean you would go bankrupt in 500 years, but in the tough Detroit economy finances were the clincher.

A Suggested Formula for WNBA Success

An insider from the Detroit Shock organization posted this at Rebkell:

the formula...

genuinely interested, committed nba owners + sponsorship $ + print and tv media support = successful wnba franchise

But, as someone replied, it's very hard for a franchise to meet all of those criteria.

Delays of Game

Since my work has shut down my ability to access Blogger (*) - much less update my blog or moderate comments - I have found that this really, really sucks. It only took me two days to find that out.

Not only am I not able to address immediate issues at work - I had to come back home on my lunch break to post this much - the timeliness of the blog has been damaged. When no one's comments get released (due to the recent vandalism) and when posts are less frequent (since home time is family time), the work ban has really put a crimp in my blogging style.

Therefore, I'm thinking of a word to Wordpress which is in its tentative steps. For a little while, I'll be mirroring blog posts to a Wordpress site. (URL not released until I have enough content.) However, a lot depends on how negotiations between Kathy Betty and the Atlanta Dream end up.

If the Dream get a complete green light for next season, I'll simply stop posting at this blog and begin posting at the new location, leaving one last referring link. If the Dream, however, are done...then I'll just stop posting at both locations altogether.

I keep hearing that new things are in store for the Dream. Well, new things might be at store for this blog as well. Keep your ears open.

(*) - This work place ban was not directed at me specifically. Then again, you never know. If Wordpress gets banned, too, I might have to take the step of looking for blog help. For right now, however, Wordpress is probably the best solution.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Taurasi Gets Some DUI Charges Dismissed

I suppose victory has its privileges. According to Cheryl Coward at, Diana Taurasi has had three of the four DUI charges against her dismissed.

The charges that were dismissed were the ones related to speeding and to having a alcohol content above .08. The "DUI-Impaired to Slightest Degree" charge still stands, and Phoenix has heavy (some say draconian) penalties for drunk driving.

It's Official: Shock to Tulsa

The post - on the (Former) Detroit Shock website - says it all.

We really didn't need a press conference...this was virtually an open secret, but at least we have "closure".

Some Changes

Some gremlins visited the blog last night. Must have been Halloween, or someone horribly bored with his life. Which means I spent a little time cleaning the overturned pumpkins.

Comments will be moderated for a little while. You might have to wait until much later in the day to see them, but they'll show up.

(Hmmm...thinking about Wordpress as a platform....)

Monday, October 19, 2009

This Week's Games

Here's where the Dream is this week and when they're playing overseas. Sunday marks the beginning of Turkish league play and Ivory Latta gets her start with Mersin.


LFB: Perfumerias (1-1) vs. Vigo (2-0)
LFB: Ros Casares (2-0) vs. Girona (1-1)


LFB: Rivas Ecopolis (2-0) vs. Ros Casares (2-0) (*)
LFB: Cadi La Seu (1-1) vs. Perfumerias (1-1) (*)
Russia Superleague A: Dynamo Kursk (1-1) vs. Spartak St. Petersburg (0-1) (*)
TBBL: Mersin (0-0) vs. Kocaeli (0-0)

(*) - Standings as of October 19, 2009

Negotiations Continue Regarding New Dream Owner

Tara Polen over at has some heartening news for Atlanta Dream fans:

Although they may be getting near to their last time out, an unnamed Atlanta Dream official assured me today that the team is still on the court.

...Negotiations continue, and until things are comfortably settled and all assurances are made, the Dream will not be taking the next step of going ahead and selling renewals to its season ticket holders.

That said, all indications look very good for [Kathy] Betty to be the new owner, according to this Dream insider. The team personnel are in "stand by" mode, and are being asked to be "patient." Thus, they are extending this request to their fans and season ticket holders. But the mood is definitely positive.

As for rumors of a move to Gwinnett Center -- those seem to be unfounded.

You need to go over to the actual link to read the rest of it. However, it is very good news. It looks like the game might not be over just yet.

Why Detroit Failed

The Detroit Shock are still alive, thank goodness. However, they most likely will not be in Detroit at the beginning of the 2010 season. Can anyone say "Tulsa Shock"? AP sources claim that the Shock are definitely moving to Tulsa. Tulsa gets a team - albeit a used team - and Detroit gets left out.

Part of Detroit's good luck was a man named William Davidson. Davidson - the former owner of the Shock - loved both the NBA and the WNBA. Every time either the Pistons or Shock would win a championship, he'd rename the home street of the Palace of Auburn Hills "X Championship Drive" with "X" standing for the number of combined titles. In this case X = 6 - three from the Pistons and three from the Shock. The jockocracy moaned every time the number was incremented because, in their eyes, WNBA championships weren't "real" championships. Davidson didn't care.

Unfortunately, Davidson passed on and control of both franchises passed to his widow, Karen Davidson. My understanding is that the Guardian Glass Company, the source of the Davidson fortune, has suffered particularly in the Great Recession. Karen Davidson - who was probably not as attached to the Shock as her husband was - let the Shock go off to Tulsa.

I had stated earlier that in order for a sports franchise to have value, the franchise has to either turn a profit or to have stable and predictable losses. However, the economic downturn in the United States has necessitated a tightening of the budget wherever losses are occurring, and for those owning both NBA and WNBA franchises, it is most likely that the WNBA franchise will be the first to go. Why? For the same reasons that when you have to cut your budget, you cancel your magazine subscriptions before you stop making car payments. Make the easiest cuts first and make the hard cuts in case of necessity. Cutting the WNBA was an easy choice for Davidson.

So clearly, we have one reason why the Shock failed - it wasn't a high priority enough for the Davidson family in the economic downturn. However, that's only one reason why the Shock moved to Tulsa.

Part of the problem - the biggest - was the lack of fan support in Detroit. I realize that there was a core of passionate and numerous Shock fans, but the problem was that they weren't numerous enough. It's been an open secret in the WNBA that Detroit's announced attendance numbers must be due to giveaway tickets, because it certainly didn't look like there was anything close to the announced attendance when the Shock played on television. The cavernous Palace at Auburn Hills didn't help the Shock much either - all you could see was row after row of empty seats. If there's no fanny-in-seat revenue, subsidiary sources of revenue - like sales of T-shirts, concessions, parking - were also unavailable to the Shock if they ever were available.

One problem of the Shock - and one problem any future ownership of the Atlanta Dream should pay close attention to - was the location of the Palace in a suburb of Detroit instead of the city itself. I won't get into the history of race relations of Detroit, but there has been a long-duration flight from the city center out to the suburbs, and as a general rule, it's harder to get from suburb to suburb than to the city center where all roads lead. This might have made it difficult for the Shock to draw. I don't know if Auburn Hills had the mass transit access that, say, Philips Arena has.

Another problem was the city center itself. Detroit is a city in crisis, with double-digit unemployment a dysfunctional city government and a flight out of the city's core. The old billboard of the 70s might need to be resurrected - "Will the last person to leave Detroit please turn out the lights?" Most of the Detroit city dwellers were having difficulty making basic ends meet; it was unlikely that they were going to drive out to Auburn Hills to see a WNBA game.

The local press didn't help much. My impression was that the Detroit Free Press weren't exactly WNBA supporters. I don't know of a sports franchise in any sport that has survived long term with an indifferent or a hostile press.

Horrible local economy, loss of patron, suburban arena, indifferent press - all of these combined to put the whammy on Detroit. Which is sad, because my understanding is that the franchise itself was intelligently run. Money certainly wasn't being thrown away and there was no mismanagement. The Shock's front office did all they could, but they were at the mercy of forces out of their control.

Maybe the first sign that the Shock were going to lose their franchise was when Bill Laimbeer left his head coaching position after just a couple of games into the 2009 season. He might not have had insight into the inner machinations of the Davidson family or the WNBA front office clique, but he was smart enough to put two and two together. (Laimbeer's intelligence has always been underestimated.)

So what does this mean for the WNBA as a whole? The good news is that the franchise itself has survived - it has simply relocated. Franchise relocation and franchise termination are not the same thing; the tent simply folded up to find another set of paying customers. Tulsa, here's hoping you have good luck with the Shock - you have to live up to the glory of this franchise. Treat it well.

It's also good that the WNBA has one less combined NBA/WNBA owner. Even though it's great for WNBA teams to have access to easy income, it always means that the franchise will come in second place if there's any financial difficulty. Tulsa might not have the capacity to borrow cash from the Davidson private vaults but at least they can survive or fail on their own terms.

It's definitely a sad day. Fans from Salt Lake City, Orlando, Miami, Portland, Cleveland, Charlotte and Houston can sympathise. The Shock have been "rescued" in a matter of speaking, but it will take a while for the Detroit Shock fans to learn to love WNBA games again. The next step for the WNBA is to make sure the same fate doesn't befall Atlanta.

Detroit Shock To Move to Tulsa

From The Associated Press:

A Detroit Shock official says the WNBA team is moving to Tulsa, Okla.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press on Monday because he was not authorized to make the announcement.

Detroit made its debut in the league in 1998 and won titles in 2008, 2006 and 2003. The Shock lost last month to the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference finals after rallying to earn a playoff spot.

That's the entire post. It's hard to believe, but at least the Detroit Shock still survive...just not in Detroit.

Now it remains to be seen if the WNBA will have thirteen teams next year...or twelve. Come on, Dream Front Office, end this vow of silence, even if it's just to officially say, "We'll say more in two weeks."

None Dare Call It "Social Networking"

The powers that be have decided to call a "social networking" site, and have blocked access to it.

Which means that any updates to the Pleasant Dreams Blog will have to happen after working hours. We'll just have to deal with it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Russia Superleague A 2/2009 - Spartak Moscow 102, Dynamo Kursk 65

Here's a thought. You have a team with Janel McCarville and Sylvia Fowles. Throw into the mix Ilona Korstin, one of the best Russian players, and add Edwige Lawson-Wade and Kelly Miller just to be on the safe side. Put Pokey Chatman in as that team's head coach. Then have them play a visiting team that only has eight active players. What you end up with is a 102-65 drubbing in front of 1,000 loyal Spartak fans.

The box score is here. The "Mak Kar-wai Dzhenel" person is actually Janel McCarville; Translate Google looks at the Cyrillic translation and is left scratching its head.

Spartak won every single quarter of the game. They led 57-32 at halftime and just kept pouring it on. There is nothing more to say about that.

A look at the game's Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Spartak 62.6 percent, Dynamo Kursk 38.7 percent. That was the game right there.
Turnovers: Both teams were tied at 20.
Offensive rebound percentage: Spartak 30.4 percent, Dynamo Kursk 5.8 percent. Yes, 5.8 percent. There weren't that many rebound opportunities since Spartak shot the lights out. Kursk was out-rebounded 39 to 18.
Free throws: Dynamo Kursk 12-for-14, Spartak 12-for-15.

And now the high points of the game - if there are any.....


Janel McCarville: 18 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals. Not bad as she only played 17 minutes - I believe the rule is that there can only be two non-Russians on the court for a given team.
Sonya Petrovic: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 6 turnovers.
Ilona Korstin: 13 points.
Anete Jekabsone-Zogota: 10 points, 5 assists. Jekabsone-Zogota debuted for the Connecticut Sun this year.
Sylvia Fowles: 7 points, 7 rebounds.
Kelly Miller: 5 points, 7 assists, 4 rebounds.

Dynamo Kursk

Michelle Snow: 16 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds. 4 turnovers, 4 personal fouls. 5-for-10 shooting.
Ausra Bibayte: 10 points.

There seem to be a few players and a few points missing from Dynamo Kursk's list of players. Maybe someone accounted for 27 of those missing points in the box score. Very, very weird.

LFB 2/2009 - Rivas Ecopolis 80, Perfumerias 71 (OT)

Anna Cruz blasts by a Perfumerias defender.

It was a keynote match between Perfumerias (1-1) and Rivas Ecopolis (2-0), a pair of teams that would love to knock Ros Casares out of the LFB championship. It was also a battle between Sancho Lyttle of Perfumerias and Crystal Langhorne of Rivas Ecopolis. Lyttle won the battle of points, but Perfumerias lost the war, losing in overtime 80-71 on the road.

The box score is here.

Rivas Ecopolis started out with a 9-0 run to start the game, but Perfumerias answered with an 11-0 run of their own to take a 19-12 lead out of the first quarter. However, Rivas Ecopolis came back strong in the second quarter and only a 3-pointer by Isabel Sanchez as the buzzer expired in the second quarter put Perfumerias up at halftime, 35-33.

In the third quarter, Rivas Ecopolis went into a 2-3 zone which perplexed Perfumerias and held them to just nine third-quarter points, with the home team leading 50-45. Perfumerias - aided by Sancho Lyttle - began to win the battle in the low post and mount a comeback. Rivas Ecopolis's Clara Bermejo got banged up during the fourth quarter but managed to hit a killer three-pointer that tied the game with 21 seconds left, 66-66. Perfumerias had the ball for one last possession but couldn't score,

In the overtime, Rivas Ecopolis rolled off the first six points. Perfumerias was out of steam and was held to just five points in the overtime.

A look at the Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Rivas Ecopolis 49 percent, Perfumerias 46 percent. If you go to effective field goal percentage, the margin is wider: Rivas Ecopolis 54 percent, Perfumerias 50 percent.
Turnovers: Rivas Ecopolis 17, Perfumerias 20. Another edge for the home team.
Offensive rebounding percentage: Rivas Ecopolis 23 percent, Perfumerias 13 percent. Perfumerias only had four offensive rebounds, two provided by Lyttle.
Free throws: Rivas Ecopolis 16-for-23, Perfumerias 15-for-26. Both teams were just about even, but Perfumerias was less accurate.

And now, a look at some high points of the game:

Rivas Ecopolis

Jelene Dubljevic: 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists. 8-for-11 shooting. An outstanding game.
Petra Ujhelyi: 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists.
Crystal Langhorne; 8 points, 6 rebounds. 3 turnovers. Langhorne currently plays for the Washington Mystics.
Cathy Joens: 8 points, 4 personal fouls. Joens last played for the Chicago Sky in 2008.


Isabel Sanchez: 21 points. Sanchez was fouled nine times in the game and shot 7-for-9 from the line.
Sancho Lyttle: 23 points and 7 rebounds, but 6 turnovers. Lyttle shot 10-for-15.
Marta Dominguez: 5 points, 5 turnovers.
Le'coe Willingham: The Phoenix Mercury forward had 4 points, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 30 minutes of play.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Perfumerias to Play Tomorrow

Perfumerias - Sancho Lyttle's team - will be playing tomorrow, not today as I thought.

Michelle Snow's Dynamo Kursk team also plays in Russia Superleague A action tomorrow.

More Rumors: Shock to Move to Tulsa

Rumor patrol continues. Of course, this is just hearsay, which is second hand information. "Someone told me that someone else said" etc.

From the message board:

I just received information that Mrs. Davidson is cutting her losses and has sold the team to Tulsa Oklahoma. All the coaches and staff are losing their jobs. Purely a business decision.


If this is true, people who work at The Palace didn't know about it yesterday when I talked to them. Not people who work in the box office or at the concession stand either.

How legit are you with this, or not you Ryan, but who told you this?


I was told by a person who works for the Shock and Palace Entertainment. She's losing her job...found out yesterday morning. Mrs Davidson is losing millions on Guardian with the economy. She made
a business decision to sell the Shock to stop the bleeding.

It's true, I'm surprised something has leaked out yet. It's not public information yet. I've been refreshing a few times per day to see when they break the story. Maybe I should email Sherrod.

"Yesterday morning" in the messageboard back and forth was October 15. "And there will be relocations and rumors of relocations...."

PLKK 6/2009 - Krakow 74, Leszno 62

Krakow (4-2) went on the road to play Super Pol Tecza Leszno (3-2) and won their fourth game in a row, 74-62, after outscoring Leszno 44-29 in the second half.

The box score is here. At the level that Krakow is playing, Krakow might be well in the lead for PLKK title contention by the time Iziane Castro Marques arrives on November 6th.

Ewelina Kobryn had 25 points and 9 rebounds to lead Krakow. Marta Fernandez, a guard for the Los Angeles Sparks in 2007, scored 22 points for Krakow. Joanna Walich led Leszno with 15 points, and Sherry McCracklin, a graduate of UNLV in 2006 did not play for Leszno in this game.

LFB 2/2009 - Ros Casares 84, Joventut 70

Ros Casares (2-0) took its act on the road, and the outcome was never truly in doubt. Against Joventut Mariana (0-2), they won the first three quarters and led 69-50 after three quarters on the way to an 84-70 victory, with both Erika de Souza and Delisha Milton-Jones scoring in double figures.

The box score is here. (A key to reading these box scores is here.)

According to the write-ups on the web, de Souza and Milton-Jones dominated the early game so quickly that Shay Murphy, who had only recently arrived from the WNBA, was thrown into the game to prevent it from becoming a massacre. The only bad news was that Amaya Valdemoro left the game in the second quarter with a hurt calf muscle. Joventut went on a 7-0 run in the fourth quarter - but winning the fourth quarter wasn't enough to erase what had happened in the previous three quarters.

A look at the game's Four Factors:

Field goal percentage: Some people like to read effective field goal percentage, which counts 3-point shots as 1 1/2 field goals. I'll stick to the ordinary definition. Ros Casares hit 56 percent of their shots; Joventut managed only 45 percent.
Turnovers: Joventut 20, Ros Casares 24. Both sides had a lot of trouble in holding on to the ball - it would have been an awful game to watch.
Offensive rebound percentage: Ros Casares 34.4 percent, Joventut 20 percent. Erika was dominant in the paint. She had five offensive rebounds by herself; Joventut as a team had seven.
Free throws: Ros Casares 8-for-14, Joventut 6-for-9.

And now, the best performers on both sides:


Shay Murphy: 23 points on 7-for-12 shooting. 2-for-4 from 3-point range. The Indiana Fever back up guard had four turnovers, though.
Gisela Vega: 16 points, 6 rebounds, 4 turnovers.
Murriel Page: The 34-year old Page - formerly of the Mystics and Sparks - scored 6 points and 9 rebounds.

Ros Casares

Erika de Souza: 23 points, 16 rebounds. 5 turnovers. A dominant performance from the Beast from Brazil. 10-for-15 shooting.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 22 points - but an astonishing 12 turnovers. Five personal fouls. If Milton-Jones had been able to hang on to the ball...oh well, El Ros had Erika.
Belinda Snell: 9 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists.
Anna Montanana: 4 points in 15 minutes.
Amaya Valdemoro: 3 points in just 5 minutes of play. Left the game with an injury.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wisla Can-Pack Krakow Moves Up to Euroleague

Krakow, the off-season team of Iziane Castro Marques, will be expecting more from her when she arrives in November 6th - Krakow will be taking place in the prestigious Euroleague competition, the same competition between some of the best teams in Europe, like Ros Casares and Perfumerias....

...and CSKA. Here's what happened. CSKA - the big team of players like Janel McCarville and Becky Hammon - folded in the off-season. They withdrew from the Russian Superleague A and their Euroleague obligations.

This left Euroleague one team short. Krakow was taking part in the less prestigious (but still prestigious) Eurocup. Wisla Can-Pack Krakow asked to play in Euroleague, and they were accepted.

It's a pity that Iziane won't show up until November. Krakow opens the Euroleague season against Perfumerias, which is Sancho Lyttle's team. However, the teams plays home and away, so we'll have to wait later for that match-up of Dream players.

Rob Parker: "Shock Appear to be Heading to Tulsa"

From the link provided:

No matter how many championships they won or championship runs they made, fans here just weren’t going to buy tickets to see women play basketball on the professional level.

It may sound mean. It isn’t. It’s just the reality.

That’s why the Shock, three championships and all, appear to be heading to Tulsa.

There could be an announcement any minute. That’s how white-hot the buzz is about the sale of this franchise is right now. While some will say good luck, the majority will probably say good riddance.

My question is how good are his sources? Regardless, bad press is the very definition of "not good news".

Fan Post on Swish Appeal

I added a fan post to Swish Appeal on what distinguishes between successful and unsuccessful sports leagues.

My conclusion: the WNBA should apply that rule to the Dream and the Shock.

Tulsa: New Team or Old Team?

From the All Basketball Review:

Forrest Cameron (no relation to Bill Cameron), publisher of the Greater Tulsa Reporter newspapers, told the Free Press that Nolan Richardson, the former coach at Arkansas and Tulsa, was involved with a group that is trying to bring the Shock or another team to Tulsa. Bill Cameron and fellow investor David Box have said Richardson would serve as the team’s coach and general manager should Tulsa land a franchise.

This sort of implies two things:

a) Tulsa is open to having a team relocated, and
b) there is no landing spot for Marynell Meadors if that team is Atlanta.

Michelle Snow in Kursk

I believe that's Michelle Snow up front. Here's another pic of Snow.

Interesting line from a game writeup: "Actively involved in the game team newcomer Michelle Snow, who once unsuccessfully played for the Moscow club."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Russia Superleague A 1/2009 - Dynamo Kursk 77, Dynamo Moscow 61

You can't say that Michelle Snow has been taking it easy in the off-season. After a pre-season tournament in the Cup of Russia, Snow takes no rest for the regular season...and scores 18 points in a 77-61 victory in front of 800 spectators in Kursk.

There doesn't seem to be a thorough write-up of the game. Dynamo Moscow (0-1) would take a 20-17 lead after the first quarter, but Dynamo Moscow only had 10 minutes of basketball in them. Michelle Snow turned it on in the second quarter, and Dynamo Kursk (1-0) led 39-32 at the half and never looked back.

The box score is here. Unfortunately, the box score seems to be...incomplete. I wondered why only 66 of the 77 points were accounted for, but if you look at the final column - time - only 171 of the 200 total team minutes are accounted fore. 29 minutes are missing, but 29 minutes belong to Michelle Snow. And none of the other box scores in the Russian Superleague are broken.

We do know that Snow's stat line is correct. She had 18 points and 6 rebounds with 7-for-13 shooting. Barbara Psareva led both teams with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

For Dynamo Moscow, Marina Cousin had 25 points and 6 rebounds. Catherine Sytnyak had 12 points for Dynamo Moscow, a team that does not have any American players on the team.

Maybe Gillian Robbins out of Tulsa is missing from the box score. Russia: a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Fourth and Eight

Bob Corwin posted at RebKell that Danielle Donehew, the Executive Vice President of Operations and Finance for the Atlanta Dream, has accepted a job with the Big East Conference as their Associate Commissioner, Women's Basketball.

At the Dream, Donehew had a strong presence in the Atlanta community as well as the internal workings of the franchise, including the start-up phase of the organization. She managed the basketball operations side including, but not limited to, staff recruitment, financial implementation, contracts, payables, organization of team travel and arena management liaison. Donehew headed up all broadcasting efforts for television, radio and the Internet, along with managing the talent and production.

One way you can tell that a franchise/league/company is on the ropes is when top personnel begin to leave. (The colloquialism is "the rats are leaving the sinking ship".) For all we know, this move might have been in the works for a long, long time. After all, if you were an executive for a women's basketball organization, and someone asked you to be the #2 person for Big East women's basketball, wouldn't you accept a job?

Still, that can't look good, that someone so important to the organization has decided to leave now. Combined with the fact that the season ticket holders have heard nothing from the Dream - not even banalities - and the fact that Tulsa has officially put in its paperwork to become a franchise, it foretells a convergence of events that looks very, very ugly. Dark clouds don't always mean rain, but you'd better have an umbrella.

Once again - if there is anyone in the Dream front office that is going to speak up and tell us something about the future of the Atlanta Dream - that time is now. Please.

Then again, there might not anything to say. Nothing good, anyway.

Making predictions is a loser's game. Ron Terwilliger might decide to put in another year. Kathy Betty might buy the franchise, or someone else. The Dream might rework its lease with Philips Arena. But right now, it's fourth and eight, and I'm hearing the rumbling cleats of the defense closing in.

Tulsa to Make Formal Application to WNBA

From USA Today, via the Associated Press:

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — With new supporters on board, a group of investors in Tulsa plans to formally apply to the WNBA to purchase a franchise.
Lead investor Bill Cameron announced Thursday that his group, called Tulsa Pro Hoops LLC, will try to buy a WNBA team and expects a decision from the league by the end of October.

Cameron says Scott and Katie Schofield are the latest investors to join his group, which announced in July that it hoped to gain enough financial support to bring a team to Tulsa in 2010.

The league had set a Sept. 1 deadline for Tulsa to get a franchise by next season, but WNBA president Donna Orender later softened the date.

That's the entire article. I have no idea what a "formal application" is. I suppose it's Tulsa claiming (in writing), "here's what we've got" and the WNBA will either accept the application or reject it.

"By the end of October". It would be funny if the decision came out around Halloween. It could at least spark a team name for Tulsa if they're clever.

Opinion? I think that someone knows something with regard to something (???) so Tulsa has been cleared to no longer hold off their application.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snow Hooks Up With Russian Team

I've been trying for about a month to find information from the website regarding Michelle Snow and Dynamo Kursk - which was useless. After finally doping out how to translate "Michelle Snow" (Мишель Сноу) into Russia, I can finally give some information.

First, I believe that Snow managed to make it to Russia sometime around October 9th, and took part in a friendly four-team tournament soon after - the Cup of Russia. I can't find any box scores - or pictures - or anything - but It seems that the mini-tournament started with four team: Nadezdha (Betty Lennox's team last year), Dynamo Kursk (Snow's new team), Spartak-SHVSM-Moscow (promoted to Superleague A) and Energy Ivanovo, a Superleague B team.

Dynamo Kursk beat Spartak-SHVSM-Moscow 80-66 in the first game. Snow scored 22 points in the game. They beat Energy Ivanovo on Saturday 91-55 with Snow scoring 16 to lead the team again. Now 2-0, they faced Nadezdha, which was also 2-0. Unfortunately, Dynamo Kursk lost to Nadezdha 71-55. In all three games, Snow was the leading scorer, this time with 19.

Both teams will move on to the Quarterfinals on November 14th-15th and the "Final Four" takes place on January 24th-25th.

If anyone out there knows where Коллин Миллер will be playing this year, let me know.

PLKK 5/2009 - Krakow 92, AZS Poznań 51

It looks like Krakow, Iziane Castro Marques's future team, has turned it around after an 0-2 start. They whalloped visiting AZS Poznań 92-51 and have won their third straight game.

The box score is here. No write-ups until Iziane shows up in November.

Adrianne Ross was the only player to score in double digits for ZS Poznań - she had 20 points. Janell Burse had 21 points and 14 rebounds for Krakow and Ewelina Kobryn had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the game's other double-double.

Current Projects

It's a slow time right now in the WNBA - and really, it's a slow time overseas as a lot of the foreign seasons haven't started. Furthermore, there are a lot of questions regarding the Atlanta Dream that aren't answered yet. Will Kathy Betty purchase the Dream? Will the Dream still be in Philips Arena next year? Until we have answers or results, there's not a lot to report.

Some of my current projects:

* Trying to find the font of WBL statistics. The WBL is the Women's Professional Basketball League, the first professional league for women. The league existed from 1978 to 1981. Karra Porter writes about the league in her book "Mad Seasons". I've sent Ms. Porter an e-mail, but haven't received an answer yet.

* Working on a "BCS College Database". I would be tracking women's basketball season statistics for the "BCS" teams, or what are nominally called the "Power Conferences" (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 10, SEC). These are the teams that will win the NCAA Championships and send their seniors to the WNBA. It would be interesting to follow the top players over the season - the big problem with this project is that the stats are scattered across sub-pages in conference websites. Tracking on a day-to-day basis is almost impossible without help, week-to-week might be more manageable.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fever Will Be Back in 2010

The link is right here.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The Indiana Fever organization tells 24-Hour News 8 that the team will return next season. The team said fan support during their playoff run contributed to the decision.

Bob Corwin might have been right when he called Indiana vs. Detroit the "Survivor Series". I don't know about Detroit, but Indiana's survival was assured - for one more year at least.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Under Yer Hat

Iziane Castro Marques is expected to arrive to play with her new Polish team Wisla Can-Pack Krakow on November 6th. I heard it from someone on a Polish message board.

This Week's Games

I have no clue whether or not Michelle Snow will be playing for Dynamo Kursk or if Coco Miller will play another year in the Russian B Superleague. What I got is what I got.


PLKK: Krakow (2-2) vs. AZS Poznan (1-2)


Russia Superleague A: Dynamo Kursk (0-0) vs. Dynamo Moscow (0-0)


PLKK: Leszno (3-1) vs. Krakow (2-2) (*)
LFB: Mariana (0-1) vs. Ros Casares (1-0)
LFB: Rivas Ecopolis (1-0) vs. Perfumerias (1-0)


Russia Superleague A: Spartak Vidnoe (0-0) vs. Dynamo Kursk (0-0) (*)

(*) - Record as of October 11, 2009.

Expected Wins Method: Pat, Geno...and MaChelle?

A while back I wrote an article about rating WNBA coaches using a system created by John Hollinger. His idea was to find a mathematical way to predict the record of a coach before the season started and then to observe if the coach was able to achieve his or her expect win total. The coach would be graded by increase in expected wins per seasons played.

Hollinger weighted a coach's record based on

25 percent of the winning percentage two seasons before, plus
50 percent of the winning percentage one season before, plus
25 percent of a .500 winning percentage

The .500 winning percentage is a good idea: it raises the expectations for a coach performing poorly, and helps to not penalize a coach that is very successful. Both successful coaches and coaches on the hot seat should reach at least .500 every year. Coaches like Laimbeer and Dan Hughes dominated the metric, winning about 2 to 3 more games a year on the average than expected.

I then thought: if this metric worked for WNBA coaches, why wouldn't it work for women's college coaches? After all, those coaches play about 34 games a year, too. Their records are adversely impacted by injuries in the same manner as a WNBA coach. The only difference would be that winning coaches generally keep winning due to their skill at recruiting.

Furthermore, the major coaches have coached at their institutions for 20 years or more -there would be no paucity of data. I decided to choose two very successful coaches and one "test" coach who, thought generally successful, is not as bedecked in glory as my other two choices.

The first coach is MaChelle Joseph, the current coach at Georgia Tech. The two years before Joseph started, the Yellow Jackets had records of 15-14 (.517 win percentage) and 20-11 (.645 win percentage). Her predicted percentage based on the two years of her predecessor should have been (.25*.517 + .50*.645 + .25*.500 = ) .576, which translates to a 17-12 record over a 29 game season. Josephy went 14-15 instead, and had an expected win difference of -3.

We add all of the expected win differences over Joseph's eight-year career. From 2001 to the present, Joseph has gone 106-76 and has an expected win difference/season of 1.167. In general, Joseph will outpredict the formula above by 1.167 wins a season. You can think of the number - very loosely - as meaning that Joseph adds value at the rate of 1.167 wins a year.

Now, let's look at the biggest coaches of all.

Pat Summitt's started coaching in the 1974-75 season. She has eight national championships to her credit and a 1005-193 lifetime record. Her best year by Hollinger's system was the 1998-99 season where she won the NCAA Championship after coming off a 29-10 season with a 39-0 record. She had a +11 in expected wins that year.

Summitt's expected win difference/season is +2.886. That's pretty amazing, implying that three of Tennessee's wins per year are solely attributable to the coach. This year was a bad year for Summitt, who went -5 expected wins over the 2008-09 season. However, the last time she had a negative differential was way back in 1981-82, when she went 22-10. It really was the worst season for the Lady Vols in two decades.

And of course, you can't talk about great coaches without talking about Geno Auriemma. He took control of a Connecticut program that finished 9-20 in 1983-84 and 9-18 in 1984-85. His first season, he went 12-15 with the Huskies...and had never had a losing season since then.

Auriemma has had three undefeated seasons as head coach of Connecticut. He has six national championships of his own. Auriemma's expected win difference/season is an amazing +3.792. Hollinger's system says Geno is better than Pat!

We can argue with John Hollinger's methodology, of course. However, arguing between "who is better, Geno or Pat?" is like arguing "who was better, Babe Ruth or Ted Williams?" As a Tech fan, I'm hoping that someday Joseph's name will mentioned along with the greats, with the numbers to prove it.