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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

June 15, 2006 at 6:00 PM

Best day ever

Got a text message from a good friend this afternoon asking what I was up tto. Oh, just sitting nine rows back from home plate at Wrigley Field!
My hook-up, we’ll call him Mark, did it again. First he set me up with the celebrities at the Super Bowl and yesterday he fulfilled my dream of seeing the Chicago Cubs play live. I was so geeked. I just wanted to see the stadium and touch the Harry Caray statute outside the ballpark, but my man went high class sans the limo (loved the Jeep, though Mark!).
So, in a 24-hour stretch of time I’ve seen probably the greatest WNBA rookie in Seimone Augustus (Minnesota) go off for 32 points, rode the hotel elevator with the Boston Red Sox’s Manny Ramirez, and saw the Cubbies lead the Houston Astros 2-1 through seven innings before losing 3-2.
What really amazed me was that the stadium was packed with 40,236 fans and there was only one fight. No, seriously, I was surprised that many people are constantly able to take the afternoon off for baseball and that there continues to be support for a losing team. I’m not a diehard baseball fan, so it doesn’t matter to me how the Cubbies do, but what pain the diehards are going through ­– again.
Storm coach Anne Donovan and I spoke briefly about this unabashed loyalty. In a way WNBA teams like the Chicago Sky need that kind of following until it gets off the ground. I’m hearing from natives that the team will do well eventually – if it starts winning, gets a star player, and has someone with a local connection. All three are nearly impossible to accomplish immediately in the midst of the league’s 10th season.
The WNBA began by allocating players to its teams, that’s why forward Sheryl Swoopes is in Houston, miles from her Brownsfield, Texas home. But with the inaugural draft in 2002, where guard Sue Bird was shipped crosscountry to Seattle, the possibility of regional allocation ended.
It’ll take a miracle, or back-to-back losing seasons, for the Sky (1-8) to get its hands on Illinois native Candace Parker, the Tennessee star. And the Sky ain’t the Cubbies, so I doubt the independent owners can wait that long in an arena full of empty seats.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Kevin Garnett and coach Dwane Casey, a former Sonics associate head coach, attended the Storm’s win against the Lynx on Wednesday. Garnett is a season ticket holder who always brings his friends to the games. “He’s a basketball junkie,” Casey said. The coach usually makes his way to the court after work, enjoying the development of the women’s game.
“Augustus is an exciting player, I like watching her play and I definitely want to see the Storm play,” Casey said. “She can come off the dribble and create her own shot and that’s something the WNBA has come to – their players are creating shots for themselves where as before it was more of a catch-and-set shoot. There’s more athleticism now.”
Although Casey looked relaxed following his first season as a head coach, he said he’s still under stress. He’s preparing for the draft and Minnesota’s never ending problem of trying to find quality players to compliment Garnett.
“That’s the stressful part,” he said. “The draft is fun, but the stress is going to be free agency.”
Shout out
To Chicago Cop Joe, whose first words following his motorcycle accident this week were “Anybody got a Roethlisberger jersey?” Hope you get better, dude.



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