Topic: Brittney Griner
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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.
July 25, 2013 at 12:02 PM
You can bet Storm F Tina Thompson would rather spend this weekend with family in Los Angeles. She played her final regular-season game at Staples Center on Thursday, retiring this fall after a storied 17-year career in the WNBA. Instead, the four-time WNBA champion is headed to Connecticut to participate in the league’s 11th All-Star Game.
Thompson, 38, was added on Thursday as an injury replacement for Phoenix rookie Brittney Griner. While the 6 foot 8 C has been all over to pub the league since the WNBA tipped in May, Griner hasn’t played her past five games due to a left knee sprain. She was voted an All-Star starter by fans.
Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve, who’ll lead the Western Conference stars due to winning the 2012 conference title, will name a replacement in the starting lineup later. Reeve has four players on the squad while the Sparks have three to dominate the West lineup. San Antonio (Danielle Robinson), Tulsa (Glory Johnson) and now Seattle have one player apiece. Phoenix All-Star Diana Taurasi will also rep the Mercury at Mohegan Sun Arena.
The midsummer classic airs on Saturday at 12:30 pm PT on ABC.
Technically, being placed on the team in this manner isn’t ideal for Thompson, an eight-time All-Star. Saturday’s game marks a record-ninth All-Star appearance, placing Thompson ahead of C Lisa Leslie (Los Angeles) and F Tamika Catchings (Indiana). Leslie competed in eight WNBA All-Star Games in 12 seasons; Catchings is set to participate in her eighth this weekend.
June 2, 2013 at 5:42 PM
BREAK: The Storm is luring the Mercury into its game and it’s working. Quinn drained a three-pointer with 16.4 left in the third and on defense the team forced a turnover to take a 60-56 lead into the final quarter. Seattle is hustling, rebounding and if Sanford wouldn’t have missed two freebies, I’d say they were doing that, too. Hard work can beat anyone kiddies and that’s what the Storm is giving. Wright leads with 15 points. Griner has 16 points but had to take a seat in the third after collecting a fourth foul. I’m out to focus on the newspaper version. Check out the Seattle Times’ Monday paper for a full wrap.
THE LEAD: Shocked? Storm is up 48-42 and you can thank knuckle-headed play by Phoenix as the reasoning. Wright and Bonner did get testy on a stretch of two plays. But the Mercury had Griner respond by giving and obvious chest shove on a screen against Wright. The Flagrant 1 put Wright at the line. She made both and the momentum swung. The Storm is outscoring the Mercury 13-4 in the third.
SANFORD & STRICK: The old-school television, the Storm duo are taking junk and turning into beauty. That wasn’t what the show was about, but that’s what’s happening in the game. Since a Griner layin with 3:55 left in the quarter, Strick has scored eight and Sanford has made a jumper over Griner to pull the Storm within 36-35 with 35.6 remaining in the half. The Key is on its feet.
May 21, 2013 at 1:02 PM
Caught up with Storm All-Star C Lauren Jackson (way) early Tuesday morning to get her thoughts about the WNBA season without her and Sue Bird due to injuries. More from the interview (and a chat with Bird) later, but Jackson did give some insights to what would be a successful season for the Storm considering all of the changes. None of ESPN’s prognosticators have Seattle advancing for a WNBA-record 10th playoff appearance and league general managers pretty much feel the same, only giving Seattle a nod for its staple fan support and coach Brian Agler’s strategies the final two minutes of a tight game.
“Obviously a successful season is dictated by wins and losses,” Jackson said. “But when teams are rebuilding or dealing with injuries, you’ve just got to get your players better and stronger and ready. You never know what can happen. Stranger things have happened. The girls could come out and win every game, you never know. Chemistry is a really important thing. I’ve played sport long enough to know you can’t really rule anybody out.”
Maybe, but here’s a release of what the league’s GMs think. The full tally can be found on the WNBA’s website:
2013 WNBA.COM GM SURVEY TAPS PHOENIX MERCURY TO WIN TITLE
– L.A. Sparks’ Candace Parker Picked to Win MVP Honors –
– Seattle Fans Again Provide Storm Best Home-Court Advantage –
– Minnesota Lynx Selected as Team that’s Most Fun to Watch –
May 6, 2013 at 3:38 PM
There’s not much faith in the Storm sans All-Stars Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird – if you believe the Seattle Times’ unscientific poll. Both are out this season due to injuries, the first since 2002 that at least one wasn’t in the Storm’s lineup. More than 60 percent of a small sampling of readers voted the team will have a losing season and miss the playoffs for the first time in a WNBA-record nine seasons.
No doubt the Western Conference will be tough with the addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Brittney Griner, who I hear has already found a reason to dunk five times in the opening day of Phoenix’s training camp practice Monday. But the Storm having a losing season and no trip to the postseason where four of the six teams in the conference advance anyway? Ouch. And some must have forgotten a losing record hasn’t kept a team from advancing to the postseason in the past. Seattle (16-18) and New York (15-19) achieved the dubious feat in 2012, losing in the first-round.
Vote your early thoughts below:
May 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Considering recent news of basketball players Brittney Griner and Jason Collins announcing they are lesbian and gay, respectively,it’s fitting this week the LGBT community would also hear about its first sports Hall of Fame.
According to a press release sent Wednesday, the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, based in Chicago, will recognize those who have stood up to stereotypes and worked to break down the walls of differences to bring people together for the good of the games, according to the group’s executive director, Bill Gubrud. Nominations are currently being accepted and the inaugural induction is set for August at the Center on Halsted, a LGBT community center in Chicago.
It’ll be interesting to see the first inductees. CBS recently compiled a list of openly gay athleteson its site. Aside from being the first actively gay NBA player to come out, Collins has hardly done much athletically to be considered and Griner is on the cusp of her WNBA career, unable to express her sexuality while making history at Baylor due to a code of conduct.
April 6, 2013 at 5:03 PM
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.
March 28, 2013 at 10:54 AM
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 changed its logo to reflect women’s athletic advancement in basketball. It was rumored the former logo was inspired by legend Sheryl Swoopes. The new one almost looks like Baylor star C Brittney Griner going up for a dunk.
The last broadcast extension between the broadcasting network and WNBA was in 2007. That deal was to expire in 2016. The WNBA released the announcement officially at a press conference Thursday with John Skipper, President of ESPN, Inc., Co-Chairman of the Disney Media Networks, and WNBA president Laurel J. Richie.
The Storm has the sixth overall pick in the April 15 WNBA draft. It opens its exhibition schedule May 12 against Los Angeles and its regular-season opener on the road at LA on May 26. The Storm’s home-opener against Phoenix is set for June 2 at KeyArena.
Naturally household names Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins are prompting more television coverage.
The Storm will play the 2013 season sans PG Sue Bird (knee), Lauren Jackson (hamstring) and Ann Wauters (personal). The team also lost free agent G Katie Smith to Detroit. F Camille Little and G Tanisha Wright are the only returning starters. Training camp opens May 5.
February 6, 2013 at 9:31 PM
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.”
December 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM
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.
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