Monday, November 30, 2009

This Week's Games

Wednesday, December 2

Euroleague: Riga (1-4) vs. Ros Casares (4-1)
Euroleague: Krakow (5-0) vs. Perfumerias (4-1) (Iziane Castro Marques vs. Sancho Lyttle)
Euroleague: Kosice (2-3) vs. Sopron (3-2)

Thursday, December 3

Eurocup: Dynamo Kursk (1-2) vs. Samsun (0-3)

Saturday, December 5

LFB (Spain): Gran Canaria (3-6) vs. Ros Casares (9-0)
LFB (Spain): Perfumerias (8-1) vs. Vigo (6-3)
PLKK: Lider Pruskow (3-8) vs. Krakow (7-4)
TBBL: Mersin (5-1) Vs. Besitkas (3-3)

Sunday, December 6

Russia Superleague A: Dynamo Kursk (3-3) vs. Dynamo Novosibirsk (4-2)
Slovakia Extraliga: Cassovia Kosike (1-13) vs. Dobri angeli Kosike (14-0)

Monarchs Watch: Day 11

If you want something done right, call Mama. 'Cause Mama ain't afraid of you.

After the Monarchs championship banners went missing at Arco Arena, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee contacted someone who would give her a straight answer: Colleen Maloof, the matriarch of the Maloofs.

The mystery is, no one seems to know who did it. Bee columnist Ailene Voisin on Friday approached Colleen Maloof and asked why the banners are missing.

"I have no idea what happened," the visibly miffed matriarch told Voisin. "Why would anyone do something so stupid? I asked Gavin (Maloof) to talk to Geoff (Petrie) and find out what happened, but Geoff didn't know anything about it, either.

"But I don't care who made the decision; those banners are going back up. This is ridiculous."

End of discussion. Get those banners back up there. And don't take "I don't know" for an answer. That stuff didn't walk off by itself. (Although I like Queenie's theory of a Yolanda Griffith midnight raid.)

Marion Jones To Play in the WNBA?

I'm sure that you took a double-take when you read that blurb. Marion Jones, released from federal prison after perjuring herself in the BALCO steriods investigation, wants to play in the WNBA.

What qualifications does she have? The last time Jones played basketball was in 1997. She was the freshman point guard on North Carolina's NCAA Champion women's team in 1994.

Unfortunately, Jones hasn't played much basketball since 1997. Currently, she's working out with an assistant coach and a trainer from the San Antonio Silver Stars (*) Supposedly, in May she got a call from someone in the NBA asking if Jones would be interested in playing the WNBA. However, Jones was eight months pregnant and Jones wasn't coming off an MVP season like Candace Parker - Parker returned to the court in 2009 soon after the delivery of her child.

My question is: what the hell is the NBA thinking? Is this what it's come to? Stunt casting? Hey, if you want a female who is athletic and famous, get Eliza Dushku or Lucy Liu or Geena Davis - but I suspect those women are busy. Maybe you could call Lori Petty and see what she's doing.

This story reminds me an awful lot of Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Ex-track star. A steroid connection, although nothing more than guilt-by-association. Played basketball in college, away from the game from several years. Both would be the same age coming back, age 34.

I'm sure that Marion Jones's story will end the same way if she comes back. Joyner-Kersee scored 16 points in 17 games with the Richmond Rage. I don't expect Jones to make an impact - frankly, I don't even expect her to make a roster unless the NBA puts pressure on some WNBA team to sign her.

The steroid angle is interesting - could steroids help someone play basketball better? I doubt it. Steroids seem to have the greatest impact in one-dimensional sports: weightlifting, cycling, swinging a bat. Basketball requires multiple facets of athleticism. Even if Barry Bonds were to put Jones on his personal training regimen, I suspect that Jones won't be playing in the W any time soon - but if the WNBA goes for cheap publicity, I won't be surprised.

(*) The New York Times had the name of the San Antonio team as the "Silver Streak". Thank God the Gray Lady is not run by inaccurate bloggers.

Armintie Price Blogs Again

The second installment of Armintie Price's blog - "The A. P. Wire" - is up at Dream Diary: The Official Atlanta Dream Blog.

I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. My husband and I spent the week in Boca Raton, Florida with the Ole Miss team. We had a tournament at FAU (Florida Atlantic University) and we won the tourney!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dream Games Overseas

Ros Casares 87, Ibiza 74: Ros Casares moves up to a 9-0 record in the Liga Femenina of Spain with yet another win, this time 87-74 over Ibiza (1-8). Despite being at the bottom of the table, Ibiza should be happy - 13 points is as close as anyone else has been able to get to El Ros. Erika de Souza had 19 points and 7 rebounds.

Perfumerias 80, Estudiantes 56: Perfumerias remains one game behind Ros Casares, tied with Rivas Ecopolis for second place (Rivas is the only team to beat Perfumerias in Liga Femenina play). Sancho Lyttle not only had 11 points and 7 rebounds, but also picked up seven steals as well!

Gorzow 83, Krakow 76: Wisla Can-Pack Krakow went up against undefeated Gorzow, which remained undefeated in the Polish League with a road win to lead the PLKK 11-0. (Krakow, at 7-4, is in fourth place). Iziane Castro Marques scored 11 points, but only with 2-for-7 shooting.

Košice 84, Poprad 46: Slovakia never tells you how any of their games went, so it's a cold war secret as to how well Angel McCoughtry is doing. However, the Good Angels are 13-0 while Poprad falls to 6-7.

Monarchs Watch: Day 10

For anyone who follows the WNBA, this year has been a very "jagged" year - a year with a lot of ups and downs, more so than 2008 in my opinion. We've had to worry about the health of three different franchises - Atlanta, Detroit and Indiana - and fans held their breath to see if all, or any, would survive.

The loss of Sacramento has been very difficult. For some bizarre reason, it has been difficult for me emotionally. I don't know why - I was never really a fan of the Monarchs but I am still lamenting their loss even after a week. Detroit's relocation hasn't struck me in such a way; maybe the difference is between a slow death and a sudden lightning bolt.

Even if Sacramento resurfaces somewhere in the Bay Area, it's taught me one thing - it's not enough to be a fan of the WNBA, you almost have to be a prognosticator. The team that you were following today could be gone tomorrow. The economy has hit every major sports league, and the leagues on the margins - like the WNBA - are hit worst of all.

I sort of feel like Thomas Paine writing about "the times that try fans souls" - and the tough times aren't over just yet. Maybe we should imagine Paine himself speaking to us:

By preserverance and fortitude, we have the prospect of a glorious future for the WNBA; by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils - a ravaged women's basketball fandom - an assault on Title IX itself - no women's basketball team will be able to call itself safe, and a general hopelessness will descend -- our hopes will be pushed back with the argument that if the WNBA doesn't deserve to survive, then why should whatever team of female players have rights to an arena, or to money, or to whatever the men's teams might desire of their resources if the men's teams can claim greater love and admiration from a reactionary media? Young girls will have no hope of making a career in basketball; the only thing they will look forward to is retirement or to exile to a foreign country to ply their trade. Look on this picture, and weep over it! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch who doubts these words, then let that one suffer this fate, unlamented.

New Tulsa Team Down to Three Names

(Alternate title: "Lions and Tigers and Tempo, O My!")

The WNBA has a web page where you can vote for the new name of the Tulsa WNBA team. However, you only get three choices:

* Tulsa Fire
* Tulsa Shock
* Tulsa Tempo

The article from the Tulsa World gives a little bit more insight:

One of the more popular nicknames that didn't make the cut was the Lightning.

"That was one of the names
on the initial list," Cameron said. "We had well over 100 names to start. As we went through the WNBA process some were eliminated and that was one of them. It did have a lot of support. It just didn't pass the WNBA screening."

Cameron said several criteria come into play, including marketability and trademark availability.

"I don't remember exactly why that name didn't work, I just know it was rejected," he said.

With all due respect, I believe that Mr. Cameron is lying through his teeth. If you can read between the lines, you can figure out why.

It's the remark about "marketability and trademark availability". The (W)NBA doesn't want to be sued by come college, pro, or minor-league team on copyright issues - which basically means that the WNBA will never choose a name like "Tigers" or "Bears", because there are about 100 teams with those names and out of 100 people, there has to be at least one idiot looking to bring a lawsuit.

The Lightning was rejected because there's a pro team with that name - the Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL. "But why couldn't they just draw a logo that looked nothing like Tampa Bay's?" Because I'm sure that Tampa Bay has about fifty Lightning-themed promotions and puns, and Tulsa would have inadvertantly duplicated at least one of those, opening them up to legal action. "Better not to risk it," thinks the WNBA.

Which is why we get the following three names:

1. Shock: The Shock is simply the name of the former Detroit team. However, "Shock" was chosen in conjunction with the NBA's Detroit Pistons, which leaves one wondering what is so shocking about Tulsa.
2. Fire: The Fire is the name of a former WNBA team, the Portland Fire - which folded after three years. If you're going to recycle old names, why not the "Comets" or the "Sting"?
3. Tempo: The Tulsa Tempo has to be a pretty lame name, and sure to bring howls of derisive laughter. A tempo can also be painfully slow, since it's the speed of a musical composition. When I hear the word "Tempo" I think, "Old Ford automobile that they haven't made in 15 years." (At least it will be a connection to Detroit.)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Dunking and Vertical Leaping Ability in Men and Women

A recent blog entry from a company that seems to want to sell information about how to increase your vertical leap provides some data. The quotes are from an article from David Patterson and D. Fred Peterson in Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science.

I'll list the 5th percentile number (the number where 95 percent of subjects exceed the value), the mean number (or average value) and the 95th percentile for both sexes:

Men: 16.5 inches/22.1 inches/28 inches
Women: 10 inches/14.1 inches/19 inches

Note the difference between the 5th percentile for men and the 95 percentile for women. This means that a man who is pretty much in average shape - not overweight but not a trained athlete - can outleap the woman at the 95th percentile value.

It seems that with Britney Griner now becoming a sensation, the haters are moving the goalpost once again.

Initial argument: "Women's basketball sucks because women can't dunk."
Newer argument: "Women's basketball sucks because the women who can dunk can't dunk like men."
Post-Griner argument (brand new): "So Britney Griner throws down? Big deal. She's 6'8" tall. She should be able to dunk."

(I always respond with my "Playboy Dunkers" argument - if everyone in the WNBA looked like a Playboy model and dunked like Superman on crack, the haters would still hate women's basketball. Their hatred isn't based in rationality, but in reactionary jerkitude.)

Let's examine the average NBA player vs. the average WNBA player. The average NBA player is probably around 6'8" tall. The average WNBA player is about 6 feet or 6'1".

The height of a rim above the court is 10 feet. A 6'8" player might have arms which are about 2'6" long - maybe longer, as basketball is a sport in which a larger reach is more advantageous. (All human proportion figures are from this website, with extrapolation.) Let's assume that with his arms fully extended, his middle index finger might extend to 9'3" above the floor. Add the diameter of a basketball ball - about 10 inches - and he needs a 19 inch vertical leap to get at least close to dunking. Lucky that most relatively athletic men should have a vertical leap of 19 inches. If he has long arms, it becomes that much easier.

Let's look at the 6'1" woman. Her arms are about 2'3" long. With her arms fully extended, her index finger might reach to eight feet above the floor. Add the missing two feet and 10 inches, and she needs to be able to jump about 36 inches to dunk - a leap which is fairly routine for some men, who might have vertical leaps exceeding 36 inches, but which would be a ludicrous vertical leap for a woman - theoretically impossible, in fact.

As a matter of fact, let's go back to the case of Britney Griner. At 6'8", she also needs to jump about 19 inches in order to dunk. Even for an athletic woman, 19 inches is a very difficult leap, a leaping distance limited only to women which are very fit. Which means that we should expect a few dunks from Britney, but not very many. Still, it's a lot more than the zero dunks you can expect from her shorter competitors.

As a matter of fact, not every 6'8" basketball player has dunked.

Maria Stepanova, Haixia Zheng, Razija Brcaninovic, Rhonda Smith, Margo Dydek, Lindsey Taylor, Katie Mattera are the only WNBA players I know in WNBA history who were 6'8" or taller. None of them ever dunked. Dydek could have dunked - she was 7'2" tall, for goodness sake - but chose not to, undoubtedly out of fear of hurting herself. (She also seems to have a vertical leap of five inches.)

Lisa Leslie dunked at 6'5". Candace Parker dunked at 6'4". They are the only players ever to dunk in a WNBA regular season game. A 6'6" Sylvia Fowles dunked - on the second try - with everyone agreeing to get out of the way - in the 2009 WNBA All-Star game, an extremely unimpressive dunk. Michelle Snow, who is 6'5", dunked while she was a player in Tennessee but never in the WNBA.

So Griner's extra three inches of height above Lisa Leslie not only gives her a major advantage. Furthermore, less than one percent of all the women who have played in the WNBA have been 6'8' or over - and only one of those was over seven feet tall. Compare that with the NBA. Add the numbers on vertical leap and you'll see that a dunk is going to be an example of exceptional athleticism in the WNBA - but something so pedestrian in the NBA that the dunkers have to try to add degree of difficulty just to keep it interesting. The haters won't get it, but anyone with knowledge of how the odds are stacked against female dunkers will be damned impressed.

Monarchs Watch: Day 9

An interesting little blurb from the Sacramento Bee:

WNBA fans attending games at Arco Arena will notice something different in the rafters. The banners honoring the 2005 WNBA championship team and retired jerseys of Ruthie Bolton and former general manager Jerry Reynolds are no longer there.

It was announced last week that the Monarchs had ceased operations as Kings ownership decided to focus on the NBA team. The WNBA hopes to find new ownership for the team in the Bay Area.

Well, I hope that anyone reading this blog can forgive me for not supporting the Kings and hoping they go 0-82. Then again, I don't watch the NBA anyway so I don't think the Sacramento Kings are going to notice my missing patronage.

This reminds me of the end of the Charlotte Sting in 2006. The Sting retired Andrea Stinson's number - #32 - and there was a banner at what was then called Charlotte Bobcats Arena. This banner - from what I understand - is no longer there. Furthermore, I can't find out an answer from anyone what happened to it. Moved to the basement? Thrown in the trash? I've written the arena, but I've never gotten an answer to that question. If anyone knows whatever happened to that banner, please write.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Monarchs Watch: Day 8

"When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor"

--Steely Dan, "Black Friday"

If you're not an American reader, today is Black Friday - the day after Thanksgiving. The term was coined sometimes before the mid-1960s by the Philadelphia Police Department most likely. It was a tough day for a policeman, since everyone would be shopping on that day looking for a Christmas bargain.

There is no Monarchs news anywhere. Not in Google News, and not from the WNBA itself. Maybe President Orender will begin in earnest on Monday to start shopping the team around.

So for those of you philanthropists out there, let me suggest the purchase of a WNBA team, slightly used. The team is called the "Sacramento Monarchs" but it could be a part of your home city wherever you live. It probably brings in about $5 million a year but probably costs about $6.5 million a year to operate, so the price tag is a net deficit of about $1.5 to $2 million a year. It's initial purchase value is $10 milllion, which is payable in installments.

It's pretty large to put under a tree, but trust me, I don't think the fans will mind if it doesn't come gift-wrapped.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Today's Games

Euroleague: Perfumerias 74, Schio 64: Perfumerias pulled ahead early in the first quarter and kept Schio behind them. Perfumerias moves up to 4-1 and in second place in Group B in Euroleague. Sancho Lyttle scored 14 points.

Eurocup: K. V. Imperial 62, Dynamo Kursk 53. In the first three games of Eurocup, Kursk falls to 1-2 in Group H while K. V. Imperial remains undefeated. Ahead 43-37 going into the fourth quarter, Dynamo Kursk only scored two points in the first 6:15 of the quarter. Michelle Snow had five points, but 17 rebounds.

Oh Marynell!

Davan Mani in his My Rants and Opinions blog writes that best finder of talent anywhere in pro basketball today is...Marynell Meadors?

Lot of scouts and GM's tend to get individual players but not try to build a team. In Marynell case, she gets players and builds teams. She likes players who believe in hard work but fair play. When she was Charlotte, she built a solid nucleus of players such as Vicky Bullett, Andrea Stinson, Dawn Staley, and Rhonda Mapp who had those characteristics. As a scouting directing for the Sol, she built a solid nucleus of Ruth Riley, Sheri Sam, Yelena Baranova, and Sandy Brondello. When they folded, these players continued to play at a high level with other teams the characteristics of hard work and fair play. Now in Atlanta, she has those type of players in Erika DeSouza, Shalee Lehning, Sancho Little, Michelle Snow, and Angel McCoughtry which brings success and continuity.

Mani hopes that if Meadors loses her job for whatever reason, that she would be come a director of scouting for some NBA team. I must say that Mani makes a persuasive case. If Nancy Lieberman can coach in the NBDL, then why can't Marynell Meadors scout men's basketball?

Monarchs Watch: Day 7

While President Donna Orender of the WNBA posts her Much to be Thankful For which can be linked from the WNBA front page, the link which states that the WNBA is trying to find a home for the Monarchs has finally disappeared. This doesn't mean that the WNBA isn't actively looking for a new owner for the Monarchs - and they're not going to be looking during the Holidays - but if the WNBA is planning to kill the Monarchs this is the right time to end any Monarchs talk, namely when everyone is looking at a turkey leg. (Or imitation tofurkery leg.)

nickv1025 over at Rebkell suggested that the WNBA's strategy is to quietly let the Monarchs die, but to offer a carrot with the stick. Namely, to state that they would increase the roster sizes of each team from 11 to 12, with the 12th player remaining inactive if the other 11 players are healthy - or likewise, to make it more simple for an injured player to stay on the roster. This also makes it more likely that the Monarchs players could find a safe landing spot.

Mechelle Voepel over at her blog page states:

All business owners have to think in business terms if they want to be successful. And yet it never fails to amaze me how so many people who reach power through successful businesses can sometimes fall so far short of the responsible way to deal with other people, particularly their employees.

Certainly, the Maloofs had the right to pull out of the WNBA if they felt it was financially too burdensome for them. But they could have said proper farewells to the players and those who worked for the Monarchs organization. They could have faced the music in that way.

I'm in complete agreement. It wasn't that the Maloofs dropped the Monarchs, it's the way that it was handled. The fomer Monarchs org didn't even have the common decency to inform their players individually - they were left to find out about it from other sources or to be surprised by the initial announcement.

Of course, I don't expect any news over the Thanksgiving holiday - but this is the first day in the national press since last Friday's announcement that there was no mention of the Monarchs at all, not even in an opinion article. Whether there will be an effort to save the Monarchs, or whether everyone will say "You know what? After the Shock, the Dream, and the Fever being in peril this year, we're just too tired to care anymore." And that would be a shame, particularly on Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Euroleague 5/2009 - Ros Casares 63, Galatsaray 62

Jia Perkins of Galatsaray tries to get by Laia Palau of Ros Casares.

El Ros (4-1) had to go all the way to Istanbul, where they played against Turkish power Galatsaray (3-2) in front of a crowd of...400 spectators? Not four thousand, but four hundred. I guess either Ros Casares has reached a rough spot or those four hundred fans were cheering really loudly, as Galatsaray came close to knocking off Ros Casares 63-62.

The game report, the box score, play-by-play results and a small photo gallery can all be found right here.

Part of the reason the game was so close was that Ros Casares got off to a bad start. A basket by Yelena Leuchanka put Galatsaray up 15-5 with 2:07 in the first quarter. Ros Casares was held to eight points in the first quarter. At one point, Galatsaray was up by 11 points, 25-14 in the second but Ros Casares ended the second quarter with three consecutive three-pointers to close the gap to 33-29.

In the third quarter, Ros Casares continued their struggle and Galatsaray stayed ahead, but only by one or two baskets. With 1:04 left in the third quarter, Ros Casares finally regained the lead with 1:04 left in the third, 49-48 on a basket by Delisha Milton-Jones. Galatasaray retook the lead, but a pair of free throws by Anna Montañana gave Ros Casares the lead 51-50.

At one point in the fourth, Ros Casares led by six points, 63-57 with 3:45 to go...but Ros Casares would not score another point as Galatsaray's defense kicked in. A jump shot by Jia Perkins closed the gap to 63-61 in favor of Ros Casares with 2:02 left. Unfortunately, neither team could buy a shot after that. Galatsaray missed three shots. On the Ros Casares end of the court, Elisa Aguliar missed a jump shot and Laia Palau missed a pair of free throws with only six seconds on the clock. Galatsaray would have the ball, and they could score either a potential tying or winning shot.

With one second left, Jia Perkins of Galatsaray was fouled by Jana Vesela. This put the game in her hands with one second left. She made the first free throw. 63-62 Ros Casares, and Perkins could tie the game on the next shot....

....but...she missed. Delisha Milton-Jones got the rebound, and the game was over.

And now, a look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 41 percent, Galatsaray 39 percent. Almost even. Ros Casares, however, hit more 3-pointers, going 7-for-20 from long range.
Turnovers: 13 turnovers for each team, no advantage.
Offensive rebound percentage: Galatsaray 38 percent, Ros Casares 29 percent. Yelena Leuchanka was a beast with six offensive rebounds and 13 total rebounds.
Free throws: Galatsaray 11-for-14, Ros Casares 8-for-11.

And now, the name performers from each club:


Jia Perkins: 19 points, 5 rebounds. 7-for-14. A great game, but sadly, she missed that final free throw. Perkins plays for the Chicago Sky.
Yelena Leuchanka: 12 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists. Leuchanka last played for the Mystics. They keep saying that she'll play for the Dream...I think we have her rights, anyway.
Sophia Young: 12 points, 5 rebounds for the San Antonio player.

Ros Casares

Delisha Milton-Jones: 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists. 6-for-12 shooting.
Erika de Souza: 8 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.
Anna Montañana: 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists as well.
Belinda Snell: 8 points, 3 rebounds.
Becky Hammon: 5 points and 3 assists in 23 minutes of play. 1-for-6 from 3-point range.

Today's Euroleague Action

Ros Casares 63, Galatsaray 62: Ros Casares moves to 4-1 in Euroleague play as Jia Perkins needs two free throws to tie the game and send it into overtime with one second left on the clock, but she misses the second one. Galatsaray, a Turkish power, falls to 3-2.

Krakow 77, Gospic 75: Krakow comes within a basket of being upset by Gospic as Gospic still doesn't have a Euroleague win after five tries. Iziane Castro Marques gets the final basket with 29 seconds left and then gets a defensive rebound with 22 seconds left as Ivana Jercevic misses a 3-pointer that would have given Gospic the lead. It seems that Krakow was able to dribble out the clock - time outs have to be reported to the scorer's table. Krakow , substituting for CSKA, moves up to 5-0.

Kosice 70, Gorzow 65. Kosice jumps to 2-3 and Gorzow falls to 1-4. Kosice took the lead in the second quarter and Gorzow got within two points but it was Kosice 's game to lose. Angel McCoughtry had 25 points and eight rebounds.

I'll probably write about some of these selected games today or tomorrow.

Monarchs Watch: Day 6

The only good news is that Sacramento 's newspapers are expressing their pain at losing the Monarchs and keeping the Monarchs demise on the table, as it were. (If the Dream were folded, you'd never get an editorial out of the AJC - you might get a brief article or an "I told you so" opinion piece that the AJC runs instead of news.) Ailene Voisin writes that "The Monarchs demise leaves bitterness, memories" and an editorial at the Sacramento Bee states Fallen Monarchs Won't Be Forgotten".

According to the WNBA's front page, the W is still involved with talks. I wonder if that blurb will quietly disappear over the Thanksgiving holiday?

In the meantime, I was thinking about something that might have been able to help the Monarchs but which is completely taboo in sports. This is the idea of public ownership.

A better term would be public financing. As they say, "the devil is in the details". What this would mean is that instead of the Sacramento Monarchs having one owner, they would have had several owners. Since the most famous example of public ownership is the Green Bay Packers, let's use the Packers model as a hypothetical attempt to save the Monarchs.

Assume that the Monarchs went to the public ownership model of the Packers. Monarchs fans would have been given the chance to purchase "Sacramento Monarchs Stock". Anyone who has been charged with fraud in litigation, who has been convicted of a felony or who participates in sports gambling would probably be denied purchase rights. The shares would sold to the general public at some named price: the price doesn't matter because you could probably by as much stock as you wanted, up to some predetermined limit, say, you would not be allowed to hold more than 25 percent of all available shares.

Before you think of retiring by shoving the stock in your mattress, the stock would have some heavy restrictions. The stock would state, in bold enough letters, that it would never pay dividends. Any profits earned from the operation of "Sacramento Monarchs LLC" would be invested back into the company. Furthermore, the stock could not be transferred to other people and could be cashed in only under very specific circumstances. The papers would read that the stock is an extremely poor investment and should be considered a vanity purchase only, suitable for framing but not much else - however, it does make you a shareholder and grants you specific voting rights.

The shareholders would then elect seven members of the board of the directors: a president and six other officers, with the president the only officer receiving a salary, serving in the role that the owner formerly served. The other six officers serve in an unpaid advisory capacity. (Whether any such person wanted to serve the club in a non-salaried role, would be up to the board - for example, an officer could be the head of a Sacramento accounting firm, which might volunteer accounting services to the club.) If the fans want, diversity clauses could be enforced, namely that the officers must represent a cross section of age, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation of fans in the Sacramento area.

The roles of the shareholders would be limited to electing the board of directors and, like the Packers, probably meeting en masse once a year at ARCO to decide on specific matters as directed by the board. (The joy of such shareholder meetings is that shareholders have the right to speak at public meetings, even if they own only one share of stock.) The general rule of stock ownership is, "one share, one vote", meaning that if you had 250 shares of stock and your pal had 5 shares, you would have 250 votes compared to her five votes. The real power would rest in a clause that stated that if the shareholders decided to sell the club, the money would go to some local charity and not to the WNBA.

The latter clause would ensure that the club would, in effect, never be sold.

"Okay. But WNBA clubs don't turn a profit, in general. What will the stockholders do when the club runs out of money?" Either more shares of stock will have to be sold to raise enough money to run the club for another year, or the company will have to be dissolved or the club sold.

Could such a model actually *work* in the WNBA? You might not be able to find one person willing to lose the $1.5 million-$2 million a year which is the estimated net loss of running a WNBA club. However, you might be able to find 2000 people in Sacramento willing to spend $1,000 a year to keep the club alive. You might not be able to find one big philanthropist that will own the club - but you might find 2,000 little philanthropists that will. I think the odds of that are pretty high, speaking frankly.

It is certainly a model worth attempting. Why not give public ownership an opportunity, when it seems to be working elsewhere in the world? It worked for the Packers when the NFL was as weak as the WNBA (the Packers have made four such offerings of stock). It has worked for AAA baseball, it works for soccer teams in Europe . Really, what does the WNBA have to lose by trying this?

The primary objection will be "what if the shareholders can't raise the capital?" Well then, I guess we know that a team can't survive in Sacramento. But...what if they can raise the capital?

Public ownership - or public financing - is something the sports world doesn't want to talk about. It is so reluctant to talk about it that finding the actual operating details of financing schemes is almost impossible to find on the internet. The only mention of how models are working or could work are hidden in academic and legal journals, all behind pay-walls. It's as if the entire matter has been buried and all discussion about such schemes fall into two categories - the category of "weird historical aberration" and the category of "this thing that can never work".

The big three leagues - the NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball - have explicitly banned public financing in their operating laws. The only exception is Green Bay, and Green Bay was grandfathered in to the NFL by-laws. There will never be another system like the Green Bay system in the NFL, not if the NFL has anything to say about it.

Why do sports teams not wish to pursue public financing? There are many reasons. First, the league doesn't like it. Companies that are not private businesses but owned by several individuals have to open their books - at some level, the public has to know what is going on behind the curtain. The WNBA is probably one of the most conservative leagues around, in terms of sharing virtually zero information with its fanbase. Most likely, the WNBA doesn't want anyone to know what goes on financially, not even at the franchise level.

Second, WNBA franchises aren't worth much now - but they might be worth something someday. If/when WNBA franchises have value, like anything that has value, the withdrawal of that value also means something. The hope that WNBA owners have is that ten, twenty, maybe fifty years from now they, too, can shake down cities for public money for facility improvement by threatening relocation. The WNBA would rather not have any surviving public financing models around if that day ever comes.

Why? Because of the third reason - it is very likely that a publicly-owned Monarchs team is going to be very parsimonious. There might be no halftime dancers, no smoke machine, no nothing - just basketball. (They might make players bring their own H20 to games.) The WNBA would like to say to prospective owners and to cities "it costs X to operate a team". A publicly owned Monarchs team might show that it only costs 25 percent of X. Furthermore, if Sacramento can run the Monarchs on the cheap, it would be much harder for future owners to plead poverty with the managers of their arenas - which are usually publicly owned.

Fourth, it smacks of the eeeeeeeeeevil socialism! No, seriously. A capitalist society casts a suspicious eye toward community-operated ventures. Because if a community-owned Monarchs can succeed but a privately-owned (team X) fails, then it becomes an indictment of private ownership. Owners are more sensitive about that than you think. Which leads to Reason 4a - a community-operated Monarchs would set a "bad example" for the other more major leagues.

(* * *)

So here's the point: it seems that the WNBA would like to save the Monarchs - but not if it means public financing. They won't even consider public financing. They won't even take the concept seriously. It's not even on the table.

For all I know, the WNBA might not even be an independent entity. Theoretically the WNBA exists apart from the NBA, but I don't know what the truth is. Does the NBA "own" the WNBA in any sense? Is the WNBA an official NBA side project? What is the actual truth?

Furthermore, the NBA owners that currently own WNBA teams - Indiana, Phoenix , New York , Minnesota , Washington, and maybe "part" of Tulsa - will never allow a community based model for the WNBA. Which means that the threat of a publicly financed team is almost dead in the cradle because the WNBA Board of Directors will never approve it.

Yes, the WNBA will be encouraged to find alternate sources of revenue, alternate ways of financing, new and bigger philanthropists, and will even be allowed to put company names on jerseys. But community financing? You'll never see that happen. They'll close the WNBA down before it gets to that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lauren Jackson Leaves Spartak, Will Play for Canberra

From ABC News in Australia:

The Canberra Capitals will sign Opals superstar Lauren Jackson tomorrow for the rest of the Women's National Basketball League season.

The Capitals are yet to raise the $220,000 for Jackson but will register her after she was released by her Russian Club in Moscow.

Two thoughts: 1) How much money was Jackson getting for Spartak? I suspect the $220K is a discount for living in the comforts of home.

2) What does this mean for Spartak when someone who might be the best player in the world - the argument could certainly be made, Taurasi fans - leaves them? Of course, Spartak gets $220K but is the widow of a billionaire really that hard up for money....?

Oh yeah. Jean Davidson. Never mind.

Kathy Betty Thinks Dream Can Succeed

From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“If we have a good marketplace and we have a good team that wins, to me there should be a business model that works,” [Betty] said. “As I get more and more experienced, I may come back and say, ‘You can’t,’ but I’m going into it thinking that you can.”

Good article, but I don't get why they asked Betty about the Atlanta Spirit and the owners of the Hawks and Thrashers. I suspect many Dream fans couldn't name any of the owners of either team if you paid them.

By the way: click the link above and show the AJC you care about the Dream.

Monarchs Watch: Day 5

By now, WNBA fans have known about the folding of the Sacramento franchise for about five days. News of the franchise's demise from the reactionary sports media has dwindled to nothing as something else has grabbed their attention - I suppose Shaquille O'Neal has released another rap album or something.

In the meantime, we haven't heard anything from the WNBA, but the square "WNBA in Talks to Move Monarchs to Bay Area" still resides proudly on the splash page at Either the WNBA are bad liars, or the talks are still taking place.

This begs the question, "What exactly is the Bay Area?" The Bay Area, better known as the San Francisco Bay Area, is a nine-county area serving as the home of about seven million California residents. The area includes San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. San Jose was formerly the home of the San Jose Lasers of the American Basketball League.

So could we see the Monarchs become the San Jose Lasers/Monarchs? Aside from the NHL's San Jose Sharks, I don't think that any other sports team - major or minor - uses the San Jose Arena, which is now called the HP Pavilion at San Jose. I'm sure that San Jose would be glad to have the business over the summer - you can't have a concert every day of the week.

The problems are two-fold. The first one is finding a purchaser in San Jose, which would really be the same problem in any city for any sports franchise in any sport anywhere. The second one is trying to determine if the WNBA could survive in San Jose. During the tenure of the Lasers in San Jose, the average attendance for the team was listed at 3,181 for the first season, 4,773 for the second season and 4,447 over the truncated third season. This attendance probably just includes tickets sold/distributed and not bodies in seats. And this was at the peak of interest in women's pro basketball in the late 1990s.

I would be very surprised to see a WNBA team land in San Jose. However, it's not out of the question.

WNBA Tulsa Looks for Marketing Director

From NBA Team Jobs:

WNBA Tulsa is currently seeking an individual for the position of Director Marketing. Specific areas of focus include: advertising, market research and analytics, promotions, database and e-marketing as well as overall brand development, public relations, community relations, event presentation/operations, graphic design, video production and interactive marketing. This position is responsible for overseeing all marketing functions for the team.

To those who are interested in this job, my plan of action would be two fold:

a) Gather the marketing plans that all other sports teams in Tulsa are using.
b) Lock those plans in a safe place so that they can't harm anyone in the Tulsa Front Office.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Erika de Souza: Q & A

The Atlanta Dream website has posted a question-and-answer session with Erika de Souza.

Excerpts from the page:

What do you miss most about Brazil?
My family, especially my grandmother. Brazilian food is not so difficult to find like it was 10 years ago, and Atlanta has so many great Brazilian restaurants. After so many years playing abroad, I can adjust to almost all cultural differences (but talking about the US is not so difficult because I love the American way of life). My family is always what I miss the most.

What do you think was the key thing to your transformation into the Beast from Brazil, as Coach Meadors called you, from your former level of play? You were amazing to watch this year and a decidedly more aggressive, formidable player.
Practice is the key to reach any goal and I have been giving my best since I started playing. I can say also that the key in my case is my self confidence. When you believe in yourself, people believe in you too and help you to bring out the best in yourself.

How long have you known Izi and how many teams have you played on together?
I have known Izi since I was 17, when we played together in Osasco, Brazil. We just played there together and in Atlanta and on the Brazilian selection teams too.

Definitely check it out.

Athlete Blogs, and The Potential Failures Of

I just took a look at a new blog entry by Chamique Holdsclaw. If these are her words, Holdsclaw can definitely write. It also looks like Armintie Price is starting a mini-blog on the Atlanta Dream web site. Price is off to a good start, mentioning the fact that she is working as an assistant coach for Mississippi during the off-season. A few athletes have blogs at the WNBA site itself.

The blogs are of varying degrees of quality. The best ones are the ones that give some insight into the team itself. The next best are the ones that give the best glimpses of the life of an athlete. What's practice like? How many times/hours does a team practice a day? What are the travel and living conditions?

Following that are blogs with an insight into the personality of the athlete. What are their favorite foods, movies, etc? Below that are when the athlete writes about unrelated topics, but some writes (like Chantelle Anderson) can make even that compelling.

I was directed to a blog entry by Becky Hammon, one of the most popular players around. What astonishes me is how little insight is provided. I'm more interested in Hammon than I used to be, primarily because she's on the Ros Casares team where Erika de Souza plays. Instead, the blog entry is more a treatise about positive thinking; Hammon's time at Ros Casares in mentioned briefly and almost off-handedly.

Athletes face a few problems in creating blogs, and WNBA athletes face particular problems. The first is that not every WNBA player is a writer, far from it. Like athletes in any sport, some players are adept with a pen or keyboard, and for others every character on the screen is a testimony to illiteracy. If you read the messages of some WNBA players on Twitter, it becomes obvious that some of them have problems with basic grammar. True, some are typing on tiny, tiny phones but for others I doubt it is the case.

The other problem is that WNBA athletes don't make a lot of money. If LeBron James wants to post a blog, he doesn't even have to type it if he doesn't want to. One of his entourage can do that, or someone at the NBA head office can do it - and I'd be surprised if the thoughts expressed were actually his own. Even if James wants to put pen to palimpsest himself, there will be at least an editor to clean up the text - he can definitely pay for not just a proofreader but for a web site manager. (For athletes making $10+ million a year, that might be a wise investment.) Whereas many athletes in the WNBA don't make much more per year than a low level clerk at the IRS. Web site management is an esoteric discipline, and the learning curve is too steep for many not to make a mess of it.

For some athletes (Curt Schilling, Barry Bonds) one point of having a website is to get around the restrictions of the press. Instead of a Boston sportwriter botching your message (or a San Francisco sportswriter letting out what a surly prick you are) you just go to your own soapbox on the web and let the fans hear the truth from your ears. This model doesn't seem to work for the WNBA, since the WNBA controls its message very closely and I doubt the league front office would let anyone go off the reservation. Kristen Mann accidentally strolled off message when she Twittered about how much she hated season ticket holder functions; you can bet the WNBA won't be making that mistake again.

The biggest problem, however, with athlete blogs is that posting isn't frequent enough. My contention is that there is only one thing that drives blog viewership - content. You can have the best Wordpress platform and the newest web gadgetry conceivable, but if you only post every six months, what's the point of having a blog in the first place? A blog is a conversation with the world, and if one party isn't speaking then there's not much of a reason to continue.

So here's my question to the readers: which WNBA athletes have the best blogs? A good blog should be at the very least interesting or should have frequent posts. Is there any WNBA athlete who is truly an excellent blogger? Chantelle Anderson comes to mind immediately, but are there others?

Monarchs Watch: Day 4

Right now, both Monarchs fans and WNBA fans are waiting for some rumbling somewhere - anywhere - in the Bay Area or from the WNBA that the Monarchs will be relocated/find an owner.

The first problem is that there is a deadline of sorts. The 2010 schedule has to be finalized and teams need to know if they're going to be playing the Monarchs or not. Flight and hotel arrangements have to be prepared. If there's a dispersal draft, teams need to know before they start talking seriously to the available free agents.

Aside from snide commentary: no news. Not even any rumors. Supposedly, President Donna Orender is hard at work, but one problem is the holiday season. You can bet in many locations this is an abbreviated and non-attentive week. What are the chances of finding any major philanthropist or CEO in his or her office during Thanksgiving week?

In the meantime, hope springs eternal that the 'Narchs can find a landing spot somewhere in the Bay Area. I don't think the arena is all that important. What is important is an owner who can handle the initial losses. We don't need another Hilton Koch situation.

Iziane 3, Bassul 0

Some surprising news from the Painel do Basquete Feminino blog. It looks like Paulo Bassul's days are numbered as the coach of the Brazilian women's basketball team.

My understanding is that it's leaking from the highest levels of Brazilian basketball that Bassul will be figuratively placed on an ice floe and set adrift at sea. Hortencia Marcari, playing the role of Donna Orender in Brazil, simply said "The issue is not the coach for now."

PBF thinks that Bassul is doomed. Not only is he doomed, this opens the door for Iziane Castro Marques to play for the Brazilian national team again. Everyone and his dog knew in Brazil that Bassul was the obstacle keeping Iziane from returning to the team. Iziane hates Bassul, and I suspect the feeling was mutual. Bassul wanted Iziane to at the very least make an act of contrition, but Iziane preferred not to play instead.

As PBF put it:

This bizarre situation has actually rewarding those who should be punished. The presence of Iziane is a matter of honor for Hortense, who has maintained frequent contacts with the wing and try to convince her to accept a new call. Without Bassul, it is certain that she will accept. It will be a three-pointer of indiscipline.

The Most Conservative Sport?

Essayist Chuck Klosterman writes about popular culture as a music critic and sometimes-sports commentator. In a recent article for ESPN, he writes about why he is a football fan. The gist of Klosterman's argument is that football is a sport with an amazing slight-of-hand : it passes itself off as a conservative sport in terms of its values but is actually the most liberal sport in terms of game innovation. As a socially conservative sport, it will always appeal to those who believe in paternalism and macho toughness - as well as what he calls a "reactionary" sports media. (*) However, as Klosterman puts it:

What the NFL has realized is that they have no better marketing tool than the game itself. Every other sport tries to fool us. Baseball sells itself as some kind of timeless, historical pastime that acts as the bridge to a better era of American life, an argument that now seems beyond preposterous. The NBA tries to create synergy with anything that might engage youth culture (hip-hop, abstract primordial competition, nostalgia for the 1980s, the word "amazing," Hurricane Katrina, etc.). NASCAR connects itself to red state contrarianism. Soccer aligns itself with forward-thinking globalists who enjoy fandom more than sports. But football only uses football. They are the product they sell. Unlike David Stern's failed vision for the NBA, the NFL Network does not try to expand its empire by pushing the sport toward nonchalant audiences with transitory interest; it never tries to trick anybody into watching something they don't already like.

Later on, Klosterman answers the question about why he thinks football is so compelling - why someone might like football, as opposed to something else. The important point, however, is that other sports attempt to sell something other than the game itself - nostalgia or some form of social contrarianism. Since the NFL only sells the game, as it were, the game is endlessly reinvented and tinkered with. If the schedule has to be expanded, why not? Instant replay? Why not? Radios in helmets? Why not? (**)

Despite the high-quality writing, what I found most appealing about Klosterman's essay was the dichotomy between the presentation and the actuality: football presents itself as conservative but is highly innovative. You could apply this dichotomy to other sports:


Football - conservative presentation, liberal actuality
Baseball - conservative presentation, conservative actuality
NBA Basketball - liberal presentation, slightly conservative actuality
Soccer - liberal presentation (in the United States), conservative actuality

Unfortunately, this implies that football and baseball are exactly conservative in the same way. Maybe we should use a continuum and give football a "10" on conservative presentation and baseball an "8".

Baseball is a little bit less conservative than football in its presentation - how could a sport that has figures like Jackie Robinson and Bill Lee be truly conservative? - but in terms of the rules it is very conservative. The fundamental rules are to be left untouched; interleague play caused a firestorm and they're still arguing about the designated hitter 30 years later.

Basketball would only get a "4" or a "5" on the presentation scale for conservatism. The sport has two contending social groups, those that think that Bob Cousy is the bee's knees and those that think that LeBron is Da Bomb. In terms of a sport, it hasn't changed that much at all. The 3-pointer is the only major innovation in several years in basketball. (***)

Soccer - in the United States anyway - is seen as a sport that threatens the long-standing reactionary order of sports and would probably get a "2 or 3" on the conservatism scale. In terms of the rules, however, the sport would get a hard "9" or maybe even a "10". I can't think of a major soccer rule change since the Dane's head was first kicked across a field in England.

The above led to wonder where women's basketball fits into these scheme. I came to a startling conclusion. Namely, that the WNBA is sort of the "anti-NFL". The NFL presents itself as a conservative sport but is actually a liberal one; the WNBA presents itself as a liberal sport, but might be the most conservative form of basketball there is.

In terms of the WNBA's presentation, it would be hard to think of a sport with a more liberal consciousness. The WNBA can't seem to decide whether to sell the game itself, or to sell "sisterhood is powerful" - so it sells both. The first campaign for the WNBA was "We Got Next" - "we" being "women" in this case - so in the very first ad campaigns, it wasn't so much the game being sold as the fact that women were playing it. Note that it's not the the NBAW but the WNBA - "women" comes before "basketball".

The sport has an active lesbian fanbase and in terms of the major sports, the individual teams probably do more to recognize their gay fanbase than just about any other sport. (Yes, it's a pitiful job, but when compared to the four major sports the WNBA is almost a consciousness-raising group.) The criticism from the reactionary sports media is that the WNBA - and its fans - are freaks, either too mannish or not mannish enough, choosing whichever cudgel they believe will draw the most blood.

However, the sport itself is very conservative, more conservative that football pretends to be. Hell, the WNBA is more conservative than the NBA! The WNBA doesn't have that weird charge arc in the lane. They haven't adapted the "three steps and dunk" traveling rule that the NBA is so eager to try out. For such liberal thinkers, the WNBA's hard core fans are martinet purists when it comes to their sport. Very few of the dimensions of the women's game are scaled down from the men's game. Maybe the 3-point arc is tweaked a little bit but the same court markings are there. The only major concession is the smaller ball, and some fans don't even like that much change.

There have been calls from sources to perhaps lower the size of the rim a few inches or to shrink the size of the court. Most of those calls have come from those who don't follow the sport. (****) These calls are almost unanimously rejected. There are two reasons why these arguments are rejected. The first is that women's basketball fans want the game not be dominated by athleticism and height, and lowering the rims would tilt the game in that direction. The second is that historically authorities have changed the rules of women's basketball in order to marginalize women's sports. As a result, many women want the game to be as much like the men's game as much as possible.

The problem is that the WNBA is very much like the men's game - the men's game of 1957, before the height of the players had caught up to the dimensions of the court. Furthermore, even though shrinking the size of the court would increasing scoring and not really change the passing game so beloved by WNBA fans, fans want the WNBA's court to remain the size of the men's. (*****)

All right. There are valid arguments for not lowering the rim. There might even be valid arguments for not changing the size of the court. But the reactionary attitude of the WNBA fans to any tinkering at all begs the question: would any change to the WNBA game be welcomed? Is the WNBA going to be like baseball, with its purists fighting off any suggested changes with a flurry of "yes-buts"? It seems that the only criticisms that the WNBA will accepts are ones from "within the academy" so to speak. After all, even your worst enemies might have some good ideas.

Maybe this explains why I like the WNBA so much. What was the sport I was following before I started following the WNBA? Baseball. Maybe, despite my attraction to what I think of as social liberalism, I have a longing for conservative sports.


(*) - There is a ton of discussion - on this blog and others - as to why the WNBA is so slow to gain acceptance in the old media. Maybe the explanation is that "the gatekeepers in traditional sports are reactionary sexist pigs". Frankly, the explanation might need be no more complex than that.

(**) - However, there is something lost in liberalizing the rules of your sport - rule changes and tweaks make it much harder to compare players across eras. It's very easy to compare players across eras in baseball; it's much harder in football.

(***) - The impact of the new charge arc and traveling rules is yet to be seen.

(****) - It appears, unfortunately, that most critics of women's basketball come from the reactionary douchebag school. They'll come up with two or three ideas that might be worth considering, and then torpedo their entire effort with something like "and the players should also all play in lingerie". It's like they have a cognitive version of Tourette's Syndrome.

(*****) - A lot of the arguments that fans use to defend the rules of women's basketball come from cost effectiveness - "We can't change Rule X/Equipment Y because it would be too expensive." The initial arguments against the smaller ball came from the perspective of the bean counter, that it would cothat it would be an unfair costs to high schools and colleges who would now have to purchase separate balls for the women. It's sort of a conservative argument if you think about it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Vulture Culture, or "What Happens to Sacramento"

Let's assume for the sake of argument that Sacramento will not relocate, because if they do it makes the following exercise useful only as a thought exercises. Already, fans are asking, "what happens to Sacramento's players?" They've already asked on the Atlanta Dream Message Board; they will ask elsewhere.

It all seems a bit untoward. It undoubtedly reminds Sacramento fans of the scene in A Christmas Carol where Scrooge's former servants are covetously divvying up his personal effects before the body isn't even cold. And in the case of Sacramento, the body isn't even dead yet - it's on life support with the family perched about the bed and someone waiting for a miracle cure.

The problem with sports franchises is that they are not islands in themselves. If Sacramento expires, this means a "dispersal draft". This is how we got Sancho Lyttle in Atlanta. The former players of Sacramento are divvied up among the teams of the WNBA, in the order of worst finish to best finish. The order would go thusly:

1. New York
2. Minnesota
3. Connecticut
4. Chicago
5. San Antonio
6. Washington
7. Tulsa
8. Los Angeles
9. Atlanta
10. Seattle
11. Indiana
12. Phoenix

Note that Sacramento technically only has 11 players to distribute. That leaves Phoenix out.

Furthermore, three of Sacramento players - Hamchétou Maïga-Ba, Kara Lawson, and Ticha Penicheiro - are unrestricted free agents and immune to a dispersal draft. Which knocks out Indiana, Seattle...and Atlanta. Unless Atlanta decides to sign a free agent, Sacramento's loss will not be Atlanta's gain.

So where do the other eight players go? If we assume that teams will draft for the best players available and not draft for need, here's how I see it going:

1. New York: Rebekkah Brunson
2. Minnesota: Nicole Powell
3. Connecticut: Courtney Paris
4. Chicago: Laura Harper
5. San Antonio: DeMya Walker
6. Washington: Kristin Haynie
7. Tulsa: Chelsea Newton
8. Los Angeles: Scholanda Robinson
9. Atlanta: pass
10. Seattle: pass
11. Indiana: pass
12. Phoenix: pass

Catching Up

It's nothing short of amazing. You wait one week, and a lot can change in the WNBA, both for the Dream and elsewhere.

* The most important piece of news that struck was that the Sacramento Monarchs had folded. The Monarchs had been in the league all 13 years of its existence, leaving only four original teams that have been with the league from day one - New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Utah/San Antonio. Houston, Charlotte, Cleveland and now Sacramento have bitten the dust.

I felt that it was a shame that the Maloofs - the owners of the Sacramento Monarchs - decided to give so much little notice of their decision. Mechelle Voepel heard that there was going to be a change somewhere along the way in the WNBA about a week ago, but had no details. Now, the shoe has dropped.

The hope - and I think it's an outside hope at best - is that the Monarchs can relocate to Oakland. I mean, with all of the jokes aside, if the WNBA can't survive in San Francisco then it can't survive anywhere. The problem with such a relocation is the venue. The Cow Palace is a decrepit arena in a bad part of town. As for going to the Oracle Arena - where the Warriors play - the obstacle appears to be Chris Cohan, the owner of the Warriors. (I can't figure out why. Either he thinks that lesbian fans will give him the cooties, or he feels that a successful WNBA franchise would point out to one and all how sorry the Warriors are.)

Furthermore, basketball in San Francisco might not be a slam dunk. Frisco Del Rosario writes that "Professional women's basketball has never been more than a curiosity [in San Francisco]." The San Francisco Pioneers in the WBL couldn't draw. The San Jose Lasers in the ABL couldn't draw either. After coming back home after a visit to San Fran, I see Frisco's point. San Francisco is a bad sports town for the same reason that Los Angeles is one - there's just so much to do in those cities that basketball isn't going to capture anyone's attention, whereas if you live in Dallas.... (*)

I hope - I really hope - that the Monarchs can find a home in the Bay Area. I believe the prospects, however, are dim.

* Another surprise was Ros Casares's loss in Euroleague to Cras Basket Taranto in Italy. What was more suprising is how far El Ros fell behind. They were down 60-36 at one time in the third quarter, but somehow managed to crawl to within five points, 72-67 with 1:27 left in the game on a shot by Delisha Milton-Jones. That would be as close as Ros Casares came, as El Ros could only score two more points, losing 78-69 on the road.

This just goes to show you how tough Euroleague is. Anybody can beat anybody. Ros Casares's dream of being undefeated in both the Spanish League and Euroleague goes by the wayside. Me, I blame Becky Hammon. (**)

* Armintie Price got married as well. I believe that the Atlanta Dream's website is posting photos. Congratulations to Armintie Price, and here's to many years of married bliss.

* Georgia Tech lost to Oklahoma State on the road, and beat Florida Gulf Coast at home in the Women's National Invitation Tournament. Georgia Tech starts out 2-1 on the year.

I'll get back on track sooner or later. It was probably good for me to be away from the keyboard for a week, anyway.


(*) A joke for Ethan over at Actionless Activity.
(**) Another josh, this time to Becky Hammon's many fans.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

En Vacance

Now currently enjoying about a week of vacation. So for those disappointed visitors, there are some great links on the left hand side of the page worth visiting. Hoping to be back around Saturday or (next) Sunday.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

In Transit Tomorrow blogging will be light on Saturday, to say the least. Off for some well-deserved down time.

BTW, Georgia Tech beat Winthrop in the first round of the Preseason WNIT. 21 points, 8 steals. Not bad, I say, not bad.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Euroleague 3/2009 - Rivas Ecopolis 74, Košice 58

#35 (minus one) drives forward.

It looks like blogging frequency at the Pleasant Dreams Blog is going to go into a steep decline. The problem is that my work is looking into steps to severely curtail employee internet access. Which sucks, because whenever it was slow at work, I could always fill the down time by blogging. Now, I can't even do that anymore. This leaves the only blogging time left as either after work or the weekends, and both of those are taken up by family time.

Therefore, I'm probably not going to write up every game involving Dream members overseas. Instead, I'll just highlight games that I think are interesting. I had the choice between writing about Sancho Lyttle and the Pécs vs. Perfumerias game or Michelle Snow and the Dynamo Kursk-Samsun game. However, I chose Rivas Ecopolis-Košice because this was the first Euroleague game for Angel McCoughtry.

Some background for non-frequent readers: Košice desperately wants to win in Euroleague, in order to shore up their financial situation. Unfortunately, Košice is doing what Extrugasa in the Liga Femenina did last year: turn the club into a revolving door, and get rid of players when they seem to be cold. Chamique Holdsclaw got dumped. Shanna Crosley was the latest victim of the Axe. Now, Angel McCoughtry has been called in to perform miracles, and apparently, one woman cannot be a team.

The box score, write-up and a gallery of pictures are all right here.

The write-up tells the story. The game was pretty tight, with Rivas Ecopolis (3-0) up 12-8 ,and then the Spaniards followed up with a 10-2 run. Rivas Ecopolis led 26-12 at the end of one quarter, but Košice (0-3) went on an 8-0 run in the second quarter helped by five points from McCoughtry. Košice had closed the gap to 36-31 by halftime.

In the third quarter, another McCoughtry shot closed the gap to 48-43 with 2:07 left in the third. Unfortunately, that was the high point of Košice's game - Košice would only score 15 more points and fall behind in double digits in the fourth.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Rivas Ecopolis 49 percent, Košice 40 percent. Helping Rivas Ecopolis was the fact that they went 9-for-14 from 3-point range.
Turnovers: Košice 15, Rivas Ecopolis 19. Advantage to Košice.
Offensive rebound percentage: Rivas Ecopolis 30 percent, Košice 25 percent. Rivas's overall advantage was 39-31.
Free throws: Rivas Ecopolis 9-for-11, Košice 6-for-13.

The performances of the game....

Rivas Ecopolis

Jelena Dubljevic: 18 points, 5 rebounds on 8-for-10 shooting.
Anna Cruz: 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists.
Cathy Joens: 12 points, all on 3-pointers. Joens last played for Chicago in 2008.
Crystal Langhorne: 3 points and 9 rebounds in 20 minutes of play for the Washington Mystics player.


Candice Dupree: 17 points and 12 rebounds on 8-for-17 shooting for the Chicago Sky forward.
Angel McCoughtry: 19 points, 5 rebounds. McCoughtry was the high scorer for both teams.
Linda Frohlich: 12 points. Frohlich played for three teams in the WNBA, the last being Sacramento in 2007.

Euroleague 3/2009 - Krakow 77, Villeneuve d'Ascq 71

Agnieszka Majewska of Krakow and Elodie Bertal of Villeneuve d'Ascq contest the ball.

I love the spin that the FibaEurope web page put on this game - namely, that a lot of teams might have had hopes for beating Krakow (3-0), a team which one could assume would be a weaker successor to now-defunct CSKA. Instead, Krakow is now undefeated, their latest victim being Villeneuve d'Ascq (1-2) in a 77-71 loss on Villeneuve d'Ascq's own home court.

The box score, play-by-play, a write-up and a small gallery are all here.

The game was tied 11-11 with 4:57 left in the first quarter, but Krakow would only score one more bucket in the first ten minutes as Villeneuve d'Ascq went on a mini 9-2 run to close out the quarter. The important run, however, came in the second quarter. Down 28-20 with six minutes before halftime, Krakow went on a 14-0 run with Ewelina Kobrin scoring seven points during the run. They led 38-35 and never lost the lead.

It got close, however. Villeneuve d'Ascq managed to close within a couple of baskets at least three times, the latest being a 75-71 deficit with just 16 seconds left. However, Marta Fernandez of Krakow managed to make a basket with five
seconds left to insure the 77-71 victory.

A look at the Four Factors of the Game:

Field goal percentage: Krakow 53 percent, Villeneuve d'Ascq 44 percent. Krakow was only 2-for-7 from 3-point range, but Villeneuve d'Ascq was 7-for-25.
Turnovers: Villeneuve d'Ascq 11, Krakow 15. Liren Cohen had six turnovers for Krakow .
Offensive rebound percentage: Krakow 19 percent, Villeneuve d'Ascq 16 percent. Not exactly a clash of the power forwards. Ewelina Kobrin had three of Krakow 's five offensive rebounds.
Free throws: Krakow 13-for-15, Villeneuve d'Ascq 2-for-2. Yes, 2-for-2. Krakow only fouled six times on Villeneuve d'Ascq's home court. Free throws might have been why Krakow won the game.

Key performances from both teams....

Villeneuve d'Ascq

Elodie Bertal: 15 points.
Jolene Anderson: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists. Anderson played for the Connecticut Sun in 2008.
Lady Comfort: 14 points and 4 rebounds for the 2008 graduate of Temple .


Ewelina Kobryn: 24 points and 10 rebounds. Kobryn was 10-for-11 at the free throw line.
Janell Burse: 15 points, 10 rebounds. 6-for-11 shooting.
Marta Fernandez: 12 points, 4 assists.
Iziane Castro Marques: 2 points in 26 minutes. 1-for-4 shooting.

Euroleague 3/2009 - Ros Casares 87, Ekaterinburg 68

Of the five gallery pictures, three were of Becky Hammon.

If there was anything that I didn't expect, it was that Ekaterinburg (2-1) would lose a game in Euroleague. Despite Ros Casares's (3-0) strengths, despite the fact that they are one of the best teams in Europe , I didn't think anyone could beat one of the Russian superteams from the Superleague. However, in front of 2800 spectators in Valencia, El Ros not only won, but won decisively, 87-68 on Wednesday to remain undefeated in Euroleague and perhaps make a few Euroball followers reconsider who the next Euroleague champion might be.

The box score, a play-by-play for the game, and a gallery of pictures can all be found here.

According to the write up, part of teh problem was that Ekaterinburg point guard Celine Dumerc was injured. (I've seen Dumerc play, she not only dishes the ball like Shalee Lehning but can make plays.) Without her, Ros Casares took a 12-0 lead to start the game and led 24-12 at the end of the first quarter. However, Ekaterinburg patiently fought back in the second to close to 40-35 at the end of the first half.

Both teams battled evenly in the third, with an Ann Wauters 3-pointer just before the end of the third temporarily closing the gap to five points again, 57-52. An 8-0 run in the fourth quarter closed Ekaterinburg to three points, 67-64 with just 6:14 left in the game. Unfortunately for the visitors, Ros Casares answered with a 14-2 run of its own that put the game out of reach.

Taking a look at the box score:

Field goal percentage: Ros Casares 51 percent, Ekaterinburg 47 percent. Slight edge to Ros Casares, but Ekaterinburg went 6-for-11 from 3-point range compared to 4-for-11 for Ros Casares. That cuts Ros Casares's edge slightly.
Turnovers: Ros Casares 13, Ekaterinburg 20. This was the key to the game. In effect, Ekaterinburg can blame Cappie Pondexter, who lost the ball seven times.
Offensive rebound percentage: Ros Casares 29 percent, Ekaterinburg 21 percent.
Free throws: Ros Casares 17-for-23, Ekatinerburg 6-for-12. Each side made 19 personal fouls, but when those fouls were made seems to have been important.

And now, the key performances of the game:

Ros Casares

Erika de Souza: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals. A great performance, with 6-for-13 shooting and five offensive rebounds.
Delisha Milton-Jones: 19 points, 6 rebounds. 6-for-12 shooting.
Laia Palau : 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals.
Anna Montanana: 9 points in 15 minuts of play.
Becky Hammon: 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 turnovers. Hammon only played 14 minutes in her debut with El Ros.
Belinda Snell: 3 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists in 28 minutes of play.


Ann Wauters: 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the San Antonio Stars center.
Agnieszka Bibrzycka: 13 points on 5-for-8 shooting.
Cappie Pondexter: 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 personal fouls...and 7 turnovers from the Phoenix Mercury guard.
Sandrine Gruda: 9 points from the Connecticut Sun player and French native.
Deanna Nolan: 8 points and 3 rebounds in 35 minutes of play from Nolan, who plays for the Detroit/Tulsa team.
Asjha Jones: 5 points and 8 rebounds in 19 minutes of play. Jones, who plays for the Sun, led Ekaterinburg in rebounds.
Maria Stepanova: Zero points in six minutes of play. Stepanova last played for the Mercury in 2005.
Svetlana Abrosimova: Zero points in seven minutes of play. Abrosimova last played for the Sun in 2008.

Dream Diary: Kathy Betty

After about five months of dormancy, Dream Diary - the official blog of the Atlanta Dream - wakes up with a post about new owner Kathy Betty.

I'm glad to see Dream Diary updated again. It looks like the Dream Front Office is stirring to life once again.

There Will Be Dunk

In 1920, Babe Ruth became a full time hitter for the New York Yankees. Ruth's arrival signaled a transformation of the game of baseball itself, primarily because he was such a prodigious home run hitter. Before Ruth, they called the baseball played before Ruth the "Dead Ball Era" for a number of reasons, one of which was that in the pre-Babe Ruth Era the strategy was to push runners on hits rather than to clear the bases with one swing of the bat.

That changed. Babe could hit more home runs by himself that entire teams put together. The home run became the "payoff" in baseball games and fans flocked to see how Babe changed baseball.

However, other teams noticed what was going on, and they wanted to have their own Babe Ruths. Part of Babe's ability came in his swing, which was a different kind of swing than the standard swing of the baseball bats. It wouldn't be hard for batters to adapt to the power swing, and the new generation of batters would learn it from childhood. There was, however, one obstacle that had to be overcome for a new era in home run hitting to begin....

...the field itself.

You might have heard baseball fields being called "Green Cathedrals". Well, the 'cathedrals' part was certainly right - some of those old fields were about as big as a cathedral. Some of those fields had a distance from deep center to home plate of 450 feet - or more! Outfields in that era were truly cavernous.

So what to do? Gradually, other teams began to change the shape of the game. They began to slowly bring the fences forward, and in effect, shrink the size of the baseball field. This made home run hitting a lot easier, and everyone wanted to see home runs, so there were few complaints.

Let's suppose that Britney Griner becomes the "real deal", a figure who is Ruth-like in what she can do on the ball court. (Hints are, however, that she does not have the ebullient Ruth-like personality, but we can't have everything.) Suppose she begins to dunk with alarming frequency. Suppose that say, for whatever WNBA team she ends up with she can register about 20 real dunks a year compared to, say, zero dunks or one dunk for all other teams in the WNBA combined?

If this happens, I predict that we are going to see real pressure to lower the rims in women's basketball. If Griner's dunking ability fills the seats for whatever WNBA team she ends up with and if all the rest of the sports world can talk about is Griner-Griner-Griner, then every WNBA team is going to want to have their own Griner. Period. And as it might take another century to grow another Griner from scratch, the question will then be asked, "why not give everyone the chance to dunk?"

Of course, there will be an uproar from those who want to keep women's basketball the way it is - a game where the results are not tilted in favor of height and leaping power. Those that want to keep the game free from flash will speak, and speak loudly against such a thing.

What will happen at the Stern/Orender levels of power? Two things will have to be weighed, one against the other:

* a few voices crying for restraint
* turnstiles turned, increased visibility for the sport, celebrity, and $$$

Guess which side wins battles like that? The rims will start to drop, and women's basketball will be divided into two eras, with the 10 foot rim-era being viewed the same way we view six-on-six basketball and the WBL. As a sort of quaint era before the "real basketball" began in the WNBA.

And then what happens? What will happen is that a lot of fans will turn their backs on women's basketball. This is what happened in baseball with the advent of the Babe Ruth Era. Believe it or not, many fans, writers, and players decidedly did not like the new direction in which baseball was going. Ring Lardner, one of the great baseball sportwriters, slowly gave up following a sport he did so much to help popularize. Ty Cobb bemoaned the fact that his game had become home run ball, and one legendary story about him was that on May 25, 1925 he once hit three home runs in a game just to shut reporters up - the argument being that any fool could hit home runs. His scientific approach to getting on base had fallen out of fashion.

Of course, for every fan of dead ball baseball who found some other sport to follow, there was at least one new fan to replace him, and the Dead Ball Era was consigned to history. A lot of women's basketball fans would be facing the same dilemma if the rims were lowered - do you keep following the less pure form of the sport, or do you just give up altogether?

There is a way to stop this from happening. Simply petition the NCAA and ask them to ban dunking in women's basketball. (It could be banned in the WNBA as well, but the WNBA likes the publicity it gets from its occasional dunk - not a good sign.) The NCAA banned dunking in men's basketball between 1967 and 1976 - some claim the ban was written to stop Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) from dominating the game. Even that ban didn't work, because Abdul-Jabbar developed the nigh-unstoppable skyhook in response and took it with him to the NBA in addition to the dunk.

If dunking is coming, it will come, and we won't be able to stop it. Of course, we can hope that it doesn't come, or comes later than sooner. My suggestion is that if you can't stop Griner from dunking, then make sure that the word
"skyhook" is not mentioned within fifty miles of her presence.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Broken Backboard

Just got back home. Pretty much exhausted. Big work crunch. Posting for the next few days might be a bit spotty, because energy is low.

For those waiting for Euroball goodness, I hope I can get to that soon before I fall too far behind.

Interesting news: a STH wrote me that her tix representative told her that the plan was to close off the upper level at Philips and move everyone to the lower level. I'll be interested in learning how that turns out.

Friday night is the first game of the Georgia Tech women's basketball season. GT vs. Winthrop in the opening round of the Women's NIT at Alexander Memorial Coliseum at 7:30 pm. I know where I'll be....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dream Looking for Director of Tix Sales

There's not much news today, but what there is, I got. Posting is going to be difficult over the next three days, but I always write that and the next thing you know, things change. We'll see.

From the NBA Team Jobs site:

Summary: The Atlanta Dream are seeking a highly motivated self-starter with sales-oriented and customer service experience to train and manage a team of energetic Ticket Sales Account Executives.

If you have a bachelor's degree, at least three years working for a pro sports franchise in ticket sales, and at least two years of management experience, you might be who the Dream are looking for.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Angel McCoughtry Signs With Dobrí anjeli Košice

Okay, Chamique Holdsclaw didn't work, and they got Candice Dupree to replace her. Now, Shanna Crosley isn't working out, and the "Good Angels" picked up Angel McCoughtry to replace her.

According to przemoe over on RebKell, the plan was for McCoughtry to play in China during the off-season. However, the unnamed team in China withdrew the contract which gave Dobrí anjeli Košice the opportunity to sign McCoughtry.

If you read the translated article, the reason for the sudden change is desperation. Even though Dobrí anjeli Košice is a perfect 11-0 in Extraliga play in Slovakia, the club is 0-2 in Euroleague. This could be the last time that Dobrí anjeli Košice participates in Euroleague if there's no reversal of fortune. Times are tight.

My understanding is that McCoughtry is signing with Košice for seven weeks. Whether she stays longer or not depends on Košice, on their Euroleague performance and their finances. Just a heads up for McCoughtry - if Košice doesn't win right away, you might be the one that gets the blame, fairly or not. Just thinking about what happened to The Claw.

This Week's Game

This week's games involving Dream players, including Angel McCoughtry and a monster of a game on Wednesday.


Euroleague: Ros Casares (2-0) vs. Ekaterinburg (2-0) : The biggest game in Europe this week. This game could be a preview of the Euroleague finals, and will probably be the debut of Becky Hammon on Ros Casares.
Euroleague: Villeneuve d'Ascq (1-1) vs. Krakow (2-0)
Euroleague: Pécs (0-2) vs. Perfumerias (1-1)
Euroleague: Rivas Ecopolis (2-0) vs. Košice (0-2)


Eurocup: Dynamo Kursk (0-0) Vs. Samsun (0-0)


LFB: Perfumerias (5-1) vs Ibiza (0-6)
LFB: Ros Casares (6-0) vs. Zaragoza (5-1)
PLKK: Krakow (5-3) vs. Torun (6-3)
TBBL: Tarsus (2-1) vs. Mersin (2-1)


Extraliga (Slovakia): Roznava (3-8) vs. Košice (11-0)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Bill Bolen out at Dream Front Office?

The new front office staff directory has been posted at the Atlanta Dream website. It seems that Bill Bolen, the former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Dream, is no longer at the DFO. He has become a director at Homrich and Berg, Inc. and remains the Chief Financial Officer at the Terwilliger Family Office. His time as President and COO of the Dream is listed as past employment.

Tonya Alleyne remains as Vice President of Media Relations. On the coaching side, Marynell Meadors, Fred Williams, Carol Ross and Sue Panek are still listed. But in terms of a president or vice-president - the positions formerly held by Bolen and Donehew - those positions aren't even listed on the new org chart.

Someone told me that Kathy Betty intends to be a hands-on owner. If so, I wish her the best of luck - my impression is that it's a steep learning curve.

Photogenic Iziane

Three new photos of Iziane Castro Marques from Maciej Oleszko:

Iziane is flying high!
Walls were meant to climb over.
Bringing the ball in.

Give them a look! (Thanks to rzymi at Twitter.)

TBBL 3/2009 - Mersin 84, Kayseri 82

For the first time in a long time, Ivory Latta got to say hello to her old Atlanta Dream teammate Tamera Young. (As well as 2008 teammate Kasha Terry.) This time, they would be on the opposite sides of the battle, with each team hoping to get over .500. Latta was the number one scorer for Mersin (2-1) and Young tied for the top scorer for Kayseri (1-2), but it looks like Mersin squeaked by with the win at home, 84-82.

The box score is here. Usually, the Turkey Women's Basketball League will at least have a write-up, and some pictures. I think this is the very first time I've seen a box score without a write-up. And of course, no pictures, as those usually come a day later.

So all we have is the box score. Seems like it was a close game. It was Kayseri that came up on top in the first quarter, leading 22-15 over Mersin, one of the heavyweights of the TBBL. Mersin would have to scrap their way back, and were only down by three points at halftime, 42-39.

Coming out of the first half, Mersin outscored visiting Kayseri 25-19 to take a 64-61 lead into what must have been a hard-fought fourth quarter, but Mersin came out on top.

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

Field goal percentage: Kayseri 49 percent, Mersin 46 percent. However, Mersin took 71 shots compared to Kayseri's 51. Mersin was 12-for-22 from the 3-point range.
Turnovers: Kayseri 17, Mersin 19. Almost even.
Offensive rebound percentage: Mersin 31 percent, Kayseri 11 percent. Another big edge for Mersin, as Kayseri only had three offensive rebounds.
Free throws: Kayseri 23-for-29, Mersin 6-for-8. This is where Mersin almost lost the game - on the free throw line. Mersin committed 22 fouls in the game (and Sariye Gokce fouled out); Kaseri only committed 13.

And now, the game performances:


Ivory Latta: 24 points, 6 assists. She was only 3-for-11 from 2-point range, but a deadly 5-for-6 from behind the 3-point arc.
Erlana Larkins: 10 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists. Larkins's double-double was not the only one of the game.
Barbara Turner: 10 points, 4 rebounds.
Olympia Scott: 8 points, 6 rebounds. 4 turnovers.


Latoya Pringle: 18 points, 13 rebounds, for the other double-double. 6-for-13 overall shooting, and five turnovers.
Tamera Young: 18 points, 4 steals. 7-for-10 overall shooting. A very pleasant performance.
Julie McBride: 16 points, but 6 turnovers. The Syracuse grad briefly played for the Chicago Sky in their inaugural year.
Kasha Terry: 6 points and 3 rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Russia Superleague A 5/2009 - Nadezhda 60, Dynamo Kursk 56

Michelle Snow (#5, in blue) can only watch as Anastasia Veremeenko blocks another shot.

Despite the presence of Michelle Snow, Dynamo Kursk (2-3) is struggling in Russia Superleague A. Playing Nadezhda (4-1) on the road in front of a crowd of 1100, Dynamo Kursk lost their second straight game to fall into the middle of the pack of Russia Superleague A, losing 60-56 as Catherine Snytina of Nadezhda was responsible for one-half of her team's offense, scoring 30 points. Future superstar Anastasia Veremeenko scored 18 rebounds against the visitors.

A box score is here. A gallery of images from the game can be found here.

Looking at the quarter-by-quarter score, Dynamo Kursk got off to a poor start, falling behind 17-8 in the first quarter. By halftime, the score was 28-19. Clearly, this was not going to be a high-scoring game. In the third quarter, Dynamo Kursk managed to catch up and retake the lead, leading 40-38 with one quarter to go. Nadezhda, however, scored 22 points in the final ten minutes and took their fourth regular-season win of the year.

We'll take a look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Nadezhda 35 percent, Dynamo Kursk 34 percent. It was a poor-shooting game from both sides, and the key to Nadezhda's victory must lie elsewhere.
Turnovers: Nadezhda 15, Dynamo Kursk 18. Slight edge to Nadezhda.
Offensive rebound percentage: Nadezhda 36 percent, Dynamo Kursk 33 percent. Another slight edge by Nadezhda.
Free throws: Nadezhda 9-for-11, Dynamo Kursk 6-for-8.

It seems that Nadezhda played marginally better than Dynamo Kursk at all levels, and that Catherine Snytina's performance pushed Nadezhda over the top - she played for almost 38 minutes of the game.

Let's look at some of the game performances:


Catherine Syntina: 30 points, 6 rebounds, 4 steals. She was 5-for-10 from close up - and 6-for-10 from 3-point range. A great game.
Anastasia Veremeenko: 14 points and 18 rebounds from Veremeenko. Five blocked shots. Veremeenko is a Belarussian center that is only 21 years old and those in Euroball have been singing her praises for years.
Oksana Zakalyuzhnaya: 9 points, 5 rebounds.

Dynamo Kursk

Michelle Snow: 17 points, 8 rebounds. 5 turnovers. Snow is the offense for Dynamo Kursk.
Svetlana Makismenko: 14 points, 4 rebounds.
Jillian Robbins: Zero points. Robbins only played for eight minutes.

PLKK 8/2009 - Krakow 78, Siemens 67

Iziane Castro Marques on the way to another win. Leona Jankowska tries to block.

It's been a great day for Atlanta Dream players so far. Both Erika de Souza's and Sancho Lyttle's teams win, and now Iziane Castro Marques has been undefeated while playing on her new club, Wisla Can-Pack Krakow (5-3). Krakow hit the road and came back from behind from a horrible first quarter, winning 78-67 against Siemens (3-6) on the road.

The box score is here. Nothing with regard to pictures or a write-up just yet.

Krakow got off to a poor start. They were down 18-8 after the first 10 minutes...but Krakow soon woke up. Krakow took a 35-32 lead into the halftime break and never lost a quarter after that.

A quick look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Krakow 50 percent, Siemens 45 percent. Both teams were very good from 3-point range: Krakow was 10-for-20 and Siemens was 10-for-22.
Turnovers: Krakow 11, Siemens 14. Another edge for Krakow.
Offensive rebound percentage: Krakow 35 percent, Siemens 24 percent. This might have been where Krakow won the game, or....
Free throws: Krakow 12-for-20, Siemens 3-for-3. Siemens didn't get any trips to the free throw line. Janell Burse had four personal fouls but no other Krakow player had more than two.

A look at game performances from both sides.


Leona Jankowska: 22 points, 8 rebounds from the Czech native. Fouled out.
Alicja Perlińska: 21 points.
Alena Novikava: 13 points, 6 assists.


Liron Cohen: 19 points, 4 assists. 5-for-6 from 3-point range.
Iziane Castro Marques: 18 points. 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
Janell Burse: 11 points, 6 rebounds.
Marta Fernandez: 7 points, 4 assists.

LFB 6/2009 - Perfumerias 80, Olesa 72

Ever since losing that game to Ros Casares, it seems that Perfumerias (5-1) has been on a mission in the Liga Femenina to prove that they're a top team. Olesa (4-2) came into the game with one loss on their home court, but Perfumerias turned up the heat in the final quarter to win 80-72 on the road.

The box score is here. We have no write-ups or pictures from the game yet.

This game reminds me of the Cadi la Seu-Ros Casares game today: a close game where the winning team struggles during the first thirty minutes and comes on at the end like a tardy student cramming for a test. Perfumerias only led by three points after ten minutes and only led by a bucket at halftime, 42-40. I don't know if Olesa led - or how frequently they led - but Perfumerias only led 59-58 going into the final ten minutes.

But that was it for Olesa. Perfmuerias scored 21 points in the final quarter compared to Olesa's fourteen.

A look at the Four Factors of the game:

Field goal percentage: Perfumerias 48 percent, Olesa 42 percent. Perfumerias was 10-for-22 from 3-point distance.
Turnovers: Olesa 11, Perfumerias 11. No advantage for either side.
Offensive rebound percentage: Olesa 22 percent, Perfumerias 19 percnet. All six of Perfumerias's six offensive rebounds came from...Le'coe Willingham.
Free throws: Olesa 9-for-10, Perfumerias 8-for-10. Michelle Maslowski had four personal fouls; no player on either side had more than three.

And a look at the game performances....


Iva Perovanovic: 13 points, 10 rebounds. Three offensive rebounds for Olesa by Perovanovic.
Michelle Maslowski: 23 points and 5 rebounds, but also 6 turnovers from the Drexel (2002?) graduate, who has her own web page.
Silvia Morales: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists. 4-for-12 shooting.
Shona Thorburn: the English-born Canadian player and former WNBA player scored 9 points and 5 rebounds.


Le'coe Willingham: 20 points and 16 rebounds. An amazing rebounding night, Willingham had all six offensive rebounds. 7-for-13 shooting.
Anke de Mondt: 14 points, 7 assists.
Sancho Lyttle: 10 points, 5 rebounds. 5-for-6 shooting in 24 minutes of play.