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January 23, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Around the WNBA: Injuries, returns and extensions

BettyMeadors.jpgThe WNBA is keeping itself in the news this offseason and not all in a good way. You know about president Donna Orender departing and there’s no update there. The league also is mum about Diana Taurasi’s suspension from the Turkish League, waiting for the alleged doping violation to travel through the proper channels and challenges before deciding any position.
On the flip side, Atlanta locked down Marynell Meadors, who coached the Dream to its first Eastern Conference championship after three years of existence. She’s signed through 2013 while her staff will remain until at least the 2012 season.
The Dream also picked up two new owners, joining Kathy Betty. Entering the 2011 season, Atlanta doesn’t expect to make many roster changes, but wants to get stronger at point guard and possibly add a post player.
Speaking of additions, free agents can be signed Feb. 1, giving general managers and teams just over a week to make final pitches to free agents and reserved players. But Connecticut coach Mike Thibault has a blase approach. He’s looking to mainly deal with his team, stating “it’s not a big market for free agents.”
Here’s a look a news from the other 10 WNBA teams:

SEATTLE:
Got tickets to Wednesday’s 76th Annual Sports Star of the Year banquet at Benayora Hall? Well, president and CEO Karen Bryant will be presented with the Seattle Sports Commission’s Executive of the Year award. She was the Storm’s first hire in 1999 and has helped lead the team to two championships. Brian Agler, coach and director of player personnel, plans to attend and reports that All-Star Lauren Jackson is improving from an acute Achilles injury, needing weeks instead of months to recover.
LOS ANGELES: Seems Candace Parker is working her way back to form after missing majority of last season due to shoulder surgery. She scored 26 points in a win Jan. 17 for her Russian team.
MINNESOTA: G Candice Wiggins has done a lot of offseason publicity work while rehabilitating a torn left Achilles tendon injury. She shot promos and spoke out for Worlds AIDS Day (National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is in February) and attended a Golden Globes viewing party earlier this month to raise awareness in eliminating child trafficking. Currently she’s preparing to take interested fans who have about $3K on an overseas trip to Spain to experience the other side of a pro WNBA player.
PHOENIX: Star Penny Taylor traveled home from her Turkish team due to a family issue. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Fenerbahce and regret that I must leave to address some personal issues in my life,” she told an Australian newspaper. Meanwhile the Mercury signed coach Corey Gaines to a contract extension, not releasing terms of the agreement. Gaines led Phoenix to the 2009 championship. In book sales, PG Temeka Johnson got a boost from LSU alum Trev Faulk (NFL), who bought 200 copies of “Meek Moments: Decisions Decisons Decisions” and donated them to an elementary school.
TULSA: If you missed it, take time to watch ESPN’s Town Hall discussing Martin Luther King and the image of black athletes. G Marion Jones is part of the panel, representing black women athletes as a whole. The two-hour piece is an eight-part series on Youtube.com, I’ve included the first here to get you started.

SAN ANTONIO: The Silver Stars said they were going to name a new coach within the month and only eight days remain. It’s odd not to have one in place, but since GM Dan Hughes is selecting the team and training camp doesn’t open until May, it’s not pressing. The draft is in April. Hughes could be shifting through free agency and draft prospects to finalize his roster, then selecting a coach to fit that style.
CHICAGO: The Sky named former LSU coach Pokey Chatman to its vacant position in October and she checked in with the new gig during the overseas winter break. She coaches Sue Bird and Lauren Jackson with Spartak Moscow. Chatman held pizza parties, mingled with season-ticket holders and named a few assistants before heading back to Russia. Former Sky coach Steve Key is expecting the birth of his child this month and to reunite with his family in Germany if unable to obtain a job stateside.
INDIANA: Former Skyassistant Stephanie White was named to Indiana’s staff. She’s the first former WNBA player the team’s had. Former coach Brian Winters, whose daughter is a sophomore G at Gonzaga, was a former NBA player.
WASHINGTON: The biggest news is star Monique Currie will not return due to a torn ACL in her left knee. She suffered the injury while playing in Turkey and posted the below on Twitter in response to all the well-wishes. Currie, a 6-foot F, averaged 14.1 points on 43.6 percent shooting last season.
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Thanks for all the well wishes yall. I’m sooo grumpy!!! I think its the medsless than a minute ago via ƜberTwitter



NEW YORK:
The Liberty hired former Sacramento coach John Whisenant to replace Anne Donovan. Here’s a feature checking into his new position.

PHOTO CREDIT:
Owner Kathy Betty (left) and coach Marynell Meadors celebrate advancing to the WNBA Finals by Hyosub Shin of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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