November 26, 2013 at 10:53 AM
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.
November 21, 2013 at 7:02 AM
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!
October 31, 2013 at 8:00 AM
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:
September 9, 2013 at 8:21 AM
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.
September 7, 2013 at 11:30 PM
UPDATE: According to multiple sources, former Storm camp invitee Samantha MacKay was treated for injuries and released Sunday. Another source with Northwestern said C Daniella Diamant was not with the team, receiving clearance to attend her grandfather Jerry Tarkanian’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame this weekend.
Prior to Seattle’s 75-60 loss to Minnesota on Saturday, the team heard news of former training camp invitee, PG Sam MacKay, being involved in a auto accident in Hungary. MacKay had just joined the Uni Gyor Hungarian club. But, according to news reports and the Storm, she suffered two cracked vertebrae while her team’s manager Peter Tapodi and head coach Fuzy Akos were reported dead.
Among teammates injured was Daniella Diamant, a standout Northwestern graduate and granddaughter of legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tarkanian, 82, is being inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Storm coach and GM Brian Agler was receiving updates from MacKay’s former high school coach, who also coached Agler’s daughter.
“What we’ve heard is she broke the third and fourth (vertebrae),” Agler said of MacKay. “Most of the players were hospitalized and the manager and head coach were killed. From what I understand, it was a situation where the bus driver was trying to avoid a head-on collision with a car that came over in their path.”
January 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM
TV Alert: No. 5 Stanford at No. 7 California tips-off rivalry play on Pac-12 Networks; Storm All-Star Sue Bird update
I’m sorry, did the NCAA tournament start? Looks like it when perusing No. 5 Stanford’s schedule. Beginning December 19, 2012, seven of the Cardinal’s eight games are against currently ranked opponents, ending January 19 at Maples Pavilion against No. 14 UCLA (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12) .
The latest ranked opponent for Stanford (13-1, 2-0) is a back-to-back grudge matchup at No. 7 Cal (12-1, 2-0) this week. The favored conference pairing is part of month-long rivalry games planned to air on Pac-12 Networks. The Cards and Bears play at 7pm on Tuesday on the network.
No. 23 Colorado (11-2, 0-2) hosts Utah (9-4, 0-2) to open the double-header at 5pm on Tuesday. A budding in-conference rivalry for the schools, both joined the Pac-12 last season. The Buffs are 9-11 all-time against the Utes. The teams split the series last year.
And the newbies are part of the reason for the early scheduling quirk. Most of the schools will play its nemesis twice in the same week. Washington (10-3, 2-0) its hoops Apple Cup lineup against Washington State (5-8, 1-1) next week. Only UCLA-Southern California and Arizona-Arizona State don’t play their rival until February.
Stanford has won 80 consecutive Pac-12 games. But last week’s opening weekend wins at Colorado (57-40) and Utah (70-56) plus an upset to N0. 3 Connecticut (61-35) did show some weaknesses Cal maybe could capitalize. But the Bears had their own fight to make it through the road swing against the Mountain schools. It defeated Utah 55-50 and benefited from mistakes by Colorado to win 53-49 on Sunday
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