The WNBA announced its collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union was ratified by the Board of Governors on Friday. Los Angeles All-Star Nneka Ogwumike, who was seated among the KeyArena’s Stanford crowd for the Pac-12 tournament, was relieved. “At first we were like, ‘What’s going to happen?’” Ogwumike said of talk among WNBA players…More
Category: Overseas Hoops
From the Storm: Lauren Jackson to Miss 2014 Storm Season Jackson to rehab right knee, left Achilles SEATTLE – Following Monday’s surgery on Lauren Jackson’s right knee and left Achilles, the Seattle Storm and Jackson have announced that she will not return to Seattle for the 2014 Storm season. “I’m so sad that I can’t play this year…More
Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson underwent successful knee and Achilles surgery late Monday in Melbourne. The injuries were discovered while playing in China and she’s expected to need a four-month recovery in order to extend her career until she’s 40. But that means she’ll likely miss a second WNBA season, which opens training…More
Storm All-Star Tina Thompson and Seattle U coach Joan Bonvicini are among the city’s six women nominated for Female Sports Star of the Year by the Seattle Sports Commission. Winners will be announced Jan. 22, 2014 during the 79th annual Sports Star of the Year banquet at Benaroya Hall downtown.
Created by Royal Brougham and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 1936, the event celebrates achievements of those in the local sports community and industry. Anyone can vote once every 24 hours for the winners on the commission’s website.
Voting began earlier in December and runs through Jan. 15, 2014. The total vote is based 50 percent by the public and 50 percent by the Sports Star Committee.
Storm All-Stars Sue Bird (2002), Lauren Jackson (2003) and former coach Anne Donovan, who led the franchise to its first WNBA championship in 2004, were past winners from the pro basketball team. Former Stanford All-American, Kate Starbird, won in 1997.
Thompson, who won the inaugural four WNBA championships with the defunct Houston Comets, retired after a 17-year career in the league. Playing her final two seasons for the Storm, she finished as the all-time leading WNBA scorer with 7,488 points and is second on the all-time rebounding list with 3,070.More
I’m helping out with The Seattle Times’ coverage of the NCAA volleyball championship this week. No. 3 seed Washington made the Final Four, creating a unique vibe around KeyArena. There were scattered single tickets available on Wednesday, more could pop up Thursday as teams return what they couldn’t sell to their own fans.
UW plays No. 2 seed Penn State 30 minutes after defending champion Texas, a No. 1 seed, faces No. 12 seed Wisconsin at 4:30pm (PT) on Thursday at KeyArena. The matches will air on ESPN2. The championship match is set for Saturday night.
“You’ve gotta be there,” UW coach Jim McLaughlin said of his team knowing all season the Final Four would be in its hometown and wanting to be part of the field.
“You’ve gotta work real hard and take advantage of this opportunity that some other people gave you,” he continued of the planning that was involved in bringing the championship to Seattle. “So it’s a very, very special thing to be here in front of our fans and then have the whole United States volleyball come to Seattle which is kind of neat. These guys have prepared for every week for every challenge, and the challenges have become more significant. They know they have prepared…and they know that they’re ready for this.”More
Forget New Year’s Day, Samantha MacKay has Jan. 2 circled on her calendar.
Four months after her Hungarian team’s bus accident in September left two dead and her with three cracked vertebrae (C3, C4, and C7), MacKay will be cleared to travel to rejoin her Uni Gyor squad. Currently in a hard neck brace after the accident flung her through a window into a ditch, MacKay said she’ll finish her rehab in Hungary.
She’s determined to play this season.
“I’ve always been pretty stubborn,” MacKay said in a phone interview last week from her family home in Philadelphia. “Laying in the hospital that day, I was like, no matter what, you’re going to get back’ and I’ll deal with whatever has to happen.
“But I’m getting back to playing, again. The doctor said there’s no reason I can’t. I just need to allow it to heal and give it enough time and try not to rush back.”
Of the players able, MacKay, a former Storm training camp invitee, is the last member of the Hungarian team to return. Former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot (Chicago Sky) and Storm F Joslyn Tinkle are some of the replacement players filling out the roster.More
History won’t be televised, again. Mass exposure is probably the last nugget to change in Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer’s storied career. She’ll aim for her 899th and 900th career wins in Mexico as part of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope this week.
When VanDerveer reaches the milestone, she’ll join an elite circle of five coaches to reach 900 or more career wins in former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt (1,098), North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell (908), Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (905) and former Texas coach Jody Conradt (900).
VanDerveer has led the Cardinal to 26 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and six consecutive 30-win seasons. The Card is the 13-time Pac-12 champion, winning the regular-season and conference tournament titles seven years in a row. Last season Stanford was a regular-season co-champion with Cal.
“She’s a legacy, she has an amazing legacy,” Washington State coach June Daugherty told the Associated Press. “She has mentored so many of us. I don’t think she gets enough of her due for what she’s done for Stanford basketball — Pac-8, Pac-10, Pac-12. She’s been innovative about her game. She is a first-class act.”
In speaking about the women’s basketball game for a feature on Pac-12 Networks, VanDerveer said the growth is beyond what she imagined. She also teased that her dad said she could never make a career out of basketball. Glad she was a rebel from the start.More
Lauren Jackson should be dizzy by now. I just spent 30 minutes shaking the global hoops star, cracking up with every “Oh my God” she deadpanned.
What the? Exactly. There’s this new wave of virtual branding for celebrities and marketers called “HeadCasts.” As if Twitter, Instagram, Podcats, personal websites and Facebook weren’t enough, now in an animated app you can sort of interact with stars — if you have a smart phone, of course.
And you thought video games were the only way to toy with athletes.
To quote the company, HeadcastLab, “We’re a team of media professionals and animation obsessives with years of experience stretching from Spitting Image to Lara Croft. We develop characters and environments that beguile audiences, whoever or wherever they may be.”
Jackson, a three-time WNBA MVP, recently played her first game in China. Through this crazy technology, she chats with you about her experience so far (like watching a friend eat duck beak) while making face gestures. Tap her, poke her or shake her — while creepy — makes her bounce a basketball or spout “Oh my God” like she knows it’s completely insane to shake your phone to get a reaction from a virtual her. Jackson is an advocate against domestic violence, making the whole taping her face thing weird, but you gotta love the “realness” of the image down to her bad hair dye. And it’s cool to actually hear from her.
Yeah, I could call, but you probably can’t. And she’s in China!More
Series Note: The Storm was swept in the opening-round of the WNBA playoffs by Minnesota on Sept. 22. Game 2 was played at the Tacoma Dome due to a scheduling conflict at the team’s KeyArena court by one of its sponsors, Microsoft. Minnesota went on to win the WNBA championship as Seattle players dispersed to offseason destinations the following days after holding exit interviews with coaches and the media. This series will feature conversations from the 11-player roster.
The WNBA offseason won’t feel as long given news the league should generate on the business side. The league’s collective-bargaining agreement expired Sept. 30 and a new agreement will need to be in place before free-agency can open as tentatively slated in February. The 2014 WNBA schedule likely will be moved up to accommodate for the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Turkey from Sept. 27-Oct. 5.
Storm-wise, the team could remain the same in 2014. Here’s a conversation with PG Sue Bird, who missed the WNBA season along with C Lauren Jackson (hamstring) due to offseason knee surgery. Bird, who turned 33 in October, returned to play with her Russian team, UMMC Yekaterinburg, on Oct. 15. She played 25 minutes and finished with 16 points and six assists in the team’s 87-64 Premier League debut at Enisey Krasnoyarsk. Bird has played three games overall to date, one in the Russian Cup series, to average 13 points and 3.7 assists. She’s teaming with former Storm posts Ann Wauters and Eva Kobryn on a stacked roster. You can catch the promo video below. Bird didn’t play the WNBA season but counted on the roster and was paid her WNBA-maximum salary in order to rehabilitate her injury through the organization with first-year Storm strength and conditioning coach Susan Borchardt. This conversation with Bird is bits and pieces throughout the season as well as before she left for Russia, so it’s extremely long. It may take the entire offseason to read. But first, that promo video:More
Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson is nearing the end of her rehabilitation from January hamstring surgery, signing to play in China this winter. The Australian native will join the Heilongjiang Shenda Basketball Club based in Heilongjiang University Gym in Harbin City, which is the capital of Heilongjiang Province.
“I’m looking forward to my arrival in China and Harbin City,” Jackson said in a released statement on Monday. “I have been very privileged to play basketball all over the world and this is a new, exciting challenge for me, playing for this club in the WCBA league.”
With Jackson signing, WCBA arguably passed Russia and aligned itself with Turkey as the second-best women’s basketball league in the world, trailing only the WNBA.
WNBA stars Maya Moore (Minnesota), Brittney Griner (Phoenix), and Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles) have already signed to play in the league this offseason. Aussie C Liz Cambage (Tulsa) played in the league last season and could return after rehabilitating from an ankle injury suffered in August.
Storm F Camille Little played in China last offseason but her agent said she’s close to signing a contract to play in Turkey this winter. Storm All-Star Sue Bird is nearing the end of her rehab from May knee surgery and plans to return to Russia this winter before playing the 2014 WNBA season. Bird, 32, was medically cleared last week for all non-contact, on-court drills. She began participating in shooting drills with the team Tuesday.More