Stanford All-American Chiney Ogwumike will be available for a live online chat with readers on Wednesday at noon. This week marks the end of an era at the Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle. The No. 4 Cardinal will play its final conference matchup without an Ogwumike in the lineup. Chiney,…More
Category: WNBA Draft
No. 23 Gonzaga (8-1) returned to Spokane early Wednesday morning, so a groggy coach Kelly Graves hadn’t turned his full attention to playing at No. 6 Stanford (7-1) on Saturday. The series between the top programs out West will air at 1 pm (PT) on Pac-12 Networks.
Graves mentioned this morning that two tapes were waiting for him in his home office to view. It’s the beginning of the week’s prep for the Zags’ toughest nonconference game, yet. GU hasn’t defeated Stanford since the annual series began in 2010.
“One of these days we’re going to get them,” Graves quipped. “We’re not going to change too much with the way we play. We’re going to change defenses as often as we can. We’ve done a nice job of pressuring people.
“Obviously (Stanford All-American) Chiney Ogwumike is going attract attention. I haven’t watched enough to see what they’re doing to get her to spots where she’s kicking everyone’s butt. Their point guard, Amber Orrange, is going to be better than the two point guards we played this past week. But we’re really good at guarding in the backcourt. Jazmine Redmond is terrific and so is Hadien (Palmer), so we matchup pretty well there.”
The Zags’ final game prep was a pair of wins on the road against quality Big Ten programs Ohio State (59-58) and Wisconsin (70-55). GU saw big leads dwindle late but was able to secure the win. The Zags also received solid play from its bench. Redshirt sophomore F Shaniqua Nilles nailed a buzzer-beater against OSU on Sunday. GU’s bench outscored UW’s 18-7 on Tuesday, junior G Danielle Walter scoring a season-high 10 points in the win at Wisconsin — eight in the final six minutes.More
Pac-12 pride brimmed at Washington practice last week. While the Huskies enjoyed a Thanksgiving holiday without basketball due to a scheduling conflict, the conference was busy knocking down teams ranked in the AP top 25.
“They’re genuinely excited,” said Washington coach Mike Neighbors of his team’s reaction to the conference going 4-2 against ranked teams the past week after an 0-7 start. “They see that you have to make the most of your opportunities when you play a ranked team.”
UW’s first chance is Saturday when it plays at No. 23 Texas A&M (4-2). Washington plays at Houston (3-4) on Wednesday. Naturally, the Huskies (1-2) would like to sweep to flex its Pac-12 muscle like its rivals.
Washington State (4-4) made 12 three-pointers to defeat then-No. 10 Nebraska 76-72 on Saturday. Playing before 5,933 fans, it was the Cornhuskers’ first loss in its sparkling new Pinnacle Bank Arena. It was the Cougs’ first win over a Top 10 team in program history.
“A lot of our girls had never played in an arena this loud, so for us to keep our composure and poise when they came back on us showed that we can hang with some of the top teams,” WSU junior G Tia Presley told reporters in Lincoln, Neb. She scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half, none from three-point range.More
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is known for getting people to talk, whether it’s expressing animosity toward NBA officiating or backing support for the Sonics not to be relocated in 2008.
Cuban’s latest gem is contemplating using his second-round pick in June’s NBA draft to select Baylor star Brittney Griner. Maybe he’d even sign the 6-foot-8 center to play in the NBA summer league.
“Would I do it? Right now, I’d lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com this week. “You never know unless you give somebody a chance, and it’s not like the likelihood of any late-50s draft pick has a good chance of making it.”
Naturally, it sparked a debate over whether Griner could play in the NBA given her size and dominance of the NCAA women’s game. More than 13,000 people participated in an ESPN SportsNation poll about the topic.
Griner, who has an 88-inch wingspan, graduated as the NCAA Division I all-time leader in dunks (18) and blocks (748) and finished second in all-time scoring (3,283 points).
Yet the debate makes zero sense. Not because of some sexist stance or because women don’t need to prove they can play.More
The WNBA signed a six-year extension with ESPN that is separate from the network’s NBA deal, according to breaking news from Sports Business Daily. Sources said the deal is worth $12M per year, which amounts to about $1M per WNBA team, and runs through the 2022 season. Along with the broadcast announcement, WNBA More
The WNBA released its schedule on Wednesday. The Storm season-opener is May 26 in Los Angeles. The home-opener is against Phoenix at 6pm on June 2 at KeyArena. Seattle plays Phoenix and LA four times each this summer and has 10 weekend games overall.
But, of course, the news of the day is three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson opting to skip the 2013 season in order to fully recover from right hamstring surgery in January. The native Australian is already missing her WNBL season and said Wednesday she’s uncertain whether she’ll even be able to play for the Canberra Capitals in 2013-14.
“With the Capitals, what if in June I’m feeling great and running and want to play but I can’t?” said Jackson, who’s already forgoing a combined $400,000 to fully heal her body for the first time in her 12-year pro career. “There’s a team in Albury and I’ll be working out with them (eventually). I’m giving up a lot but I have to do this. And the team will probably be better from this as well.”
No one was blindsided by the decision. Storm coach and GM Brian Agler and Karen Bryant, the team’s CEO and president, were involved in talks since November. Both expressed concern for Jackson, not wanting her to experience any more pain. Bryant said the organization intimated to her in January that it would be OK to miss the season.
“We hadn’t yet ordered our bobbleheads,” Bryant joked of holding a planned giveaway for Jackson last year that the Olympian couldn’t attend due to commitments for being her country’s flag bearer at the London Games. “This is still pretty fresh, although we’ve known this was a possibility for a little bit here. We’re going to take on this challenge with a tremendous amount of resiliency and competitiveness. In some ways where excited for the challenge.”More
The WNBA schedule should be out next week. Free agents are able to sign contracts Feb. 1. The WNBA draft is in April. And Storm coach and general manager Brian Agler and his staff are midway through their college scouting season, stopping in Cincinnati on Saturday to scout No. 3 Connecticut (17-1, 4-1 Big East). Seattle…More
The WNBA brass convened last month and Renee Brown, the WNBA’s chief of basketball operations and player relations, revealed its decision on new rules Thursday morning. Sorry, there’s no anti-tanking rule to protect what many believed Phoenix was guilty of last season to grab a coveted No. 1 overall draft pick. And, thankfully, UConn legendary coach Geno Auriemma’s idea to lower rims in women’s basketball also wasn’t installed.
Here’s the release on the rulings the league did make:
The WNBA will implement new rules regarding flopping and defensive three-seconds, while also extending the three-point line, Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown announced today following the league’s Board of Governor’s Meeting. The rules will go into effect beginning with the 2013 season.
“Flops that are intended to mislead referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into believing a foul call was missed are a detriment to the game,” Brown said. “With that, both the Board of Governors and the Competition Committee felt strongly that a player who, upon video review by the league, is believed to have committed a flop will, after an initial warning, be given an automatic penalty.”
“Flopping” will be defined as any physical act that, upon review, reasonably appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player.
The primary factor in determining if a player committed a flop is whether her physical reaction to an action by another player (whether or not that action resulted in contact) is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force, direction, or nature of the action of the other player. An example would be a player who lunges, flails, or falls following minimal or non-existent contact with an opponent.