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Topic: Minnesota

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December 13, 2012 at 12:37 PM

WNBA NOTES: New rules, status, extensions and a move to prime time

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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Comments | More in Final Four, Storm, WNBA, WNBA Draft | Topics: Brian Agler, Brittney Griner, Cheryl Reeve

October 1, 2012 at 9:00 AM

News and Notes from Game 2 of the Minnesota-Seattle Western Conference playoff series

StormCrazies.jpgUPDATE: In case you haven’t heard, Minnesota Timberwolves G Ricky Rubio purchased 500 tickets to the Lynx (1-1) decisive Game 3 playoff game against the Storm (1-1) on Tuesday. He gave them away Monday morning. Prior to Friday’s Game 1 at Target Center, teammate Kevin Love did the same and the Lynx reported a sellout (9,213).
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Storm fans may be bopping into work on Monday, hoarse but ecstatic about a 86-79 double-overtime playoff win against Minnesota at KeyArena on Sunday. The victory tied the best-of-three opening-round Western Conference series between the WNBA’s past two champions at one game apiece. A decisive Game 3 is Tuesday.
Veteran forward Tina Thompson doesn’t see your excitement. Pushing for extra time on a machine to help stave off pain in her left knee that was sprained in July, she was still in grind mode.
“I think I would have to be a fan of this game to find the entertainment in it,” she said. “It’s kind of far away from me right now. I guess I can understand if I’m watching an NBA game or something like that, you enjoy the intensity of it or the nerves and all that type of stuff. Yeah, for a fanatic it’s great.
“For this game, no, I’m not feeling the entertainment. It was a tough, physical game. When you’re down in and you’re focused and you’re in grind-mode, for me, (entertainment) is the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t care how it looks, I just care about the results.”
Of Game 3, the 16-year veteran was very succinct. Thompson, who’s under a two-year contract with Seattle, won four consecutive titles with defunct Houston (1997-2000).

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Comments | More in Storm | Topics: Minnesota, playoffs

September 30, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, WNBA playoffs Game 2

STORM WINS: Columnist Steve Kelley wrote about Seattle’s loud week of screaming celebration. He should have waited until Monday’s paper. The Storm defeated the Lynx 86-79 at KeyArena before 8,479 Storm Crazies. Check that. Screaming Maniacs that didn’t want the season to end. It was the turbo boost Seattle (1-1) needed in a game that saw 11 lead changes and nine ties. Many might have thought the game was over in the first half when the Lynx built a 13 point lead in the second quarter. Augustus scored 14 of her final 20 points in the third quarter. But the Storm’s defense increased its pressure, holding the Lynx to 23.1 percent shooting in the fourth quarter. Agler began to call simpler plays and Jackson, Wright and Bird all made clutch three-pointers to salvage a season that started off at 1-7 and faced 10 different lineups due to the players combining for 30 missed games due to injuries. Seattle hadn’t even won when behind all season. Still, it won to force a decisive Game 3 on Tuesday at Target Center. The winner plays Los Angeles (2-0) in the Western Conference Finals possibly beginning Thursday. “The Key is tough a tough place to play as it is with nothing at stake,” Minnesota coach Cheryl Revee said. “Now you add to it that it’s win or go fishing? You fully expect that they’re going to give their best effort…We stalled and we stalled in a really bad way. Seattle’s defense is very good.” Bird, who missed the final four minutes of Game 1, finished with a team-high 22 points on 8 for 15 shooting. Wright added 18 on 5 of 8 while Jackson had nine points (4-for-17) and 14 rebounds. The monster game went to Brunson, however, she had a team-high 22 points with 15 rebounds — seven on the offensive glass. But Minnesota’s streak of seven consecutive playoff wins is dust. Seattle will try to make the Lynx (1-1) season that, too. “It’s always nice to rewind things four, five or six times,” said Agler of tweaks going into Game 3 from watching film. The Storm will rise around 5 a.m. for a 8 a.m. flight to Minneapolis. “We’re excited about the opportunity to go back to Minnesota,” he said.
SIX POINTS: Don’t know what it is with the six-point deficit, but we’re at it again. The Storm is down 59-53 at the end of the third quarter. Jackson hit her past two buckets, good sign? Wright leads with 15 and Bird has 12. Augustus has 19 and six boards. Moore has only scored two points since the break. I’m out to write the newspaper version. It’s win or this is it for the Storm. Now or see you in 2013.

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Comments | More in Game Thread, Storm | Topics: Minnesota, playoffs

September 28, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, WNBA playoffs Game 1

STORM LOSES: Blogging system went out, again. But probably would have shut down anyway given the tight finish to the game. Bird opted to sit out the final four minutes, wanting the lineup on the floor to continue its solid play. Smith and Wright nearly pulled out an upset, but plays to setup Jackson didn’t connect. Jackson, playing in her 10th WNBA game, missed an open three-pointer and an 11-foot jumper that combined could’ve cut the Lynx lead to one point with 33.2 seconds left in the game. Instead, Seattle lost 78-70 to Minnesota in the best-of-three playoff series. However, if Seattle (0-1) would have made the 10 free throws it missed (13 of 23) or a few more of the three-pointers it lobbed at the net (7 for 24), it wouldn’t have needed the late-game heroics. “There are just so many things that we can do better,” Agler said. “I don’t know if it’s frustrating. We put ourselves in a whole early. Got back…we missed some free throws. We missed some open looks. We couldn’t keep them off the free throw line in the third quarter. Those things were factors.” Game 2 moves to KeyArena on Sunday at 6p.m. PT on ESPN. “We like playing at KeyArena,” Revee said. “We’re a team that thrives on that environment. But I know this, Game 2 will look nothing like Game 1.” Whalen led all scorers with 20 points and Augustus added 19 for the Lynx (1-0). Jackson had one point in the second half, finishing with 12 along with Smith. Stricklen had team-high 13 points off the bench with seven boards and two assists.
LEAD GROWING: Minnesota is 6-for-8 from the field to start the second half, building a 48-35 lead. It’s shooting 50 percent overall.
QUICK TIME: Wright missed a three-pointer, Little turned the ball over and Agler had seen enough. He called for a timeout after Augustus scored under the hoop untouched. There’s 8:42 remaining in the third quarter and the Lynx have matched their game-high lead at 10 (37-27).

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Comments | More in Game Thread, Storm | Topics: Minnesota, playoffs

August 21, 2012 at 10:44 AM

Game Day: Minnesota at Seattle

AussieJackson.jpg
UPDATE: Storm C Lauren Jackson was present at KeyArena on Tuesday. She was given a bouquet of flowers during a pregame acknowledgement of her Olympic achievements, but did not play in the 86-73 loss to Minnesota before a low 6,169 fans.
Here’s our game story heavily featuring Jackson’s return. She’s expected to practice on Wednesday and start in Thursday’s matchup against Indiana. The Fever lost on Tuesday at Los Angeles.
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A curious thought crossed Sue Bird’s mind last week.
“I was watching (practice) and thinking some of these players haven’t even played with her (Lauren Jackson),” Bird said. “They don’t even know who she is really as a player, a person, anything from first-hand experience. It definitely will be great to have her back. We’ll just have to (continue) to hold down the fort until she does like we did the first half of the season.”
A three-time WNBA MVP, Jackson is at least stateside. She had unexpected Australian national team obligations after being named flag bearer for the Olympic Games, leading parades and attending functions with the country’s Prime Minister. Jackson, a four-time Olympian, also set the all-time Olympic scoring record as the Opals won bronze.
Storm coach Brian Agler said Jackson won’t play Tuesday. There’s also question whether she’ll even be at KeyArena for the nationally televised game against Minnesota on ESPN2. She could be given time to recover from jet-lag like C Ann Wauters when she arrived from Belgium during training camp.
It could mean teammates don’t practice or see Jackson until Wednesday’s practice.

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Comments | More in Storm | Topics: Minnesota

June 17, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Live game thread: undefeated Minnesota at Seattle

STORM WINS: The Storm appeared to exorcise its own faults in addition to stopping an impressive start to Minnesota’s season at 10-0. Seattle win 65-62 at KeyArena, getting two massive rebounds from Thompson to salvage a once 17-point lead. “You’re seeing more and more of our toughness and rebounding,” Storm guard Katie Smith said. She had a key three-pointer late in the fourth quarter when Seattle’s offense stalled. “It’s not always pretty but we’re definitely matching whatever is coming our way.” The Storm held the Lynx to a season-low 37.5 percent from the field, Moore trying to win the game on a three-pointer with one second left. It brushed the front of the net as time expired. “I felt like it was on target, just a little short” she said afterward. “With one second, having to inbound it and catch and shoot, I thought it was a great look. But it shouldn’t have come down to that.” Reeve was still peeved after the game, saying all was lost in the first half when her team was repeatedly “punched in the face” and didn’t respond until after halftime. It was interesting to watch the Lynx succumb to the environment in that manner, but knowing they had the depth to rally back. Augustus scored 10 of her final 12 points after the break, Wright keeping her on lock down. In the end, Seattle did all the little things to win. Bird led all scorers with 21 points, making five three-pointers. Wright had 12 with eight assists. Seattle (3-7), which moved into fourth place in Western Conference standings, plays against Friday when it hosts San Antonio (4-4).
BREAKTIME: Seattle is shooting 51.1 percent from the field and leads by 13. Even though the team has had colossal collapses before this season, I’m going to guess the Storm can hold on to this one. I’m off to write the daily version and will be back with a wrap after the game. Bird leads all scores with 21 points and no Lynx player has reach double digits in anything other than misses.
MONEY: Well, Augustus popped a three-pointer to cut the lead to 52-44, but Bird quickly answered with a jump shot to get the lead going. The game is getting more intense, but Seattle is handling it. Like with a three-pointer by Bird that slipped through the net without touch any nylon. Seattle now up 57-44.
CRACKING?: Thompson snapped her head and gave a quick stare down toward Lynx reserve Candice Wiggins, who got a little dirty play in on defense. Reeve called timeout to cool tempers on her visibly frustrated team. WIggins smacked her seat cushion before sitting down. It’s real physical on the court, but no more so than the games in Minnesota. The difference is Seattle has finally learned to play through it. Seattle up 52-37 with 3:07 on the clock.

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Comments | More in Game Thread, Storm | Topics: Minnesota

June 6, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at Minnesota, trying to stop a run

STORM LOSE: Bird wouldn’t point to one category for the 79-55 loss to Minnesota at the Target Center on Wednesday. “Clearly our offense wasn’t very good tonight. I don’t think our defense was very good tonight. We just had a very off game and they took advantage of it,” she said. Still, the Storm was exposed 32-18 in the paint, an area it was supposed to be strong at with Wauters, Little, and Thompson rotating around. But the Lynx, with a roster full of lottery picks, pushed the vets around and dropped Wauters to the court a few times. Minnesota shot 54.7 percent from the field in winning its franchise best eighth consecutive game, one from the WNBA record for the best start in history (9-0). Five players were in double figures, led by McWilliams-Franklin’s 17 on 8-for-8 shooting. T-Wright led the Storm with 14 points and three assists. Smith and Bird were a combined 2-for-12 from the field. “I got to the basket, I just missed shots,” said Little, who finished with five points on 1-for-4 shooting. “We’ve just got to play better.” Seattle plays at San Antonio on Saturday. The good news is the Silver Stars are lacking a strong post presence, so maybe the Storm (1-5) will find a way to win.
BREAK TIME: I’m out to focus on the daily story. Please check the Twitter feed to your right (@JaydaEvans) for an immediate final score and I’ll be back after postgame interviewing for a wrap of the game. Seattle is down 58-38 with 2:13 remaining in the third quarter behind an 11-0 run. Wright is the only Storm player in double figures for Seattle (10). The Lynx have four players in double digit scoring.
NEGATIVE: The Lynx are as feisty as their feline mascot. They got more aggressive in the paint as Seattle tried to comeback, Moore even getting a payback whack at Wauters, to go back up 51-38 with 4:19 remaining in the third quarter. Minnesota is on a 8-0 run and Agler wants time to discuss.
COMEBACK?: The Storm was once down 18 and is jumping on Minnesota out of the break to pull within 43-36 after a nice three-pointer by Thompson. But McWilliams-Franklin scored on a putback while being fouled by Wauters. She missed the ensuing FT and Seattle is within 45-36 with 7:10 on the clock.
HALFTIME: Bird made a one-hand jumper to put the Storm within 43-30 at the break. Seattle is, again, losing the rebounding battle 16-7 and scoring in the paint 20-6. Brunson leads Minnesota with 10 points, but isn’t the rebounding maven. That’s the bench, which has combined for nine. Wright has eight points to lead Seattle. The Storm has committed less turnovers than the Lynx (6 to 9), but is shooting 35.5 percent when it doesn’t muster a shot. The halftime show was a dry as the game, a fan answer trivia questions to obtain golf balls and then putting three to win an autographed basketball. He made it. Yay.

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May 27, 2012 at 3:40 PM

Live game thread: Seattle at defending champion Minnesota

STORM LOSES: There’s another level the Storm is going to have to reach and it’s just not happening right now. They lost 84-71, zinging the ball all over the court for 17 turnovers. It didn’t help that Bird was 2-for-10 from the field (1-for-6 from three-point range) for seven points and five turnovers. And that the posts were outworked in the paint, getting outscored 30-18 inside. The team continued the same mantra after the loss, stating it was improving. “We have to put the periods of good execution and good defense and team defense together,” said Smith, who had 12 points off the bench. “We have spurts but you can’t give a team like this that has a lot of weapons that cushion. We have to put more good periods together and have a 40-minute, solid performance.” One thing working for the Storm is their three-point shooting, attempting and making a franchise record 14-of-34. Smith and Stricklen made three apiece while the starting post players combined for six. “You usually don’t have so many post players with that (three-point) range, and we do,” Bird said. “Thirty-four is obviously not something we aim for every game, but when the opportunity presents itself, of course we’re going to shoot them.” Seattle is 0-3 to start a season for the first time since 2003. It’s worst mark is 0-4 from the inaugural season in 2000. Seattle is unlikely to match that because it hosts Tulsa (0-3) at home on Friday. But with both teams needing a win, you never know. Wauters led the Storm with 13 points and nine boards while Moore led the Lynx with 19. The Storm was outrebounded 40-27 overall.
STAT WATCH: By the way, Seattle is one shy of a record for three-pointers attempted, attempting 32 in the game which ties the franchise record in overtime set in 2009 and in regulation in 2005.
BREAK TIME: Shutting down to work on the daily story. Little nailed a three-pointer and Seattle is down 74-59 with 5:42 left in the game. Wauters leads with 10 points and nine rebounds. Moore has 19 for the Lynx. Augustus has been contained to 10 on 2-for-7 shooting.
FOR THREE: Is there anyone on the Storm roster who can’t shoot the three? Reserve Eva Kobryn just nailed one to make the deficit 66-50. Seattle only has 13 miscues, below its season average, but Minnesota is within its margin of victory.

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May 27, 2012 at 7:05 AM

Storm makes first visit to defending champion Minnesota

ChampBanner.jpgThe Storm plays its first game against the defending champion Minnesota on Sunday in an unfamiliar position — the Western Conference basement. Seattle is (0-2) to start the season, its worst since going 0-3 in 2003 and not advancing to the postseason.
News doesn’t get much better for Seattle in five of the upcoming six games are away from the comfy confines of KeyArena. But Seattle was 6-11 on the road last season and finished second in the conference, so there’s your glimmer of hope.
“What we have here is a very good team and we have the chances to be a great team,” Storm PG Sue Bird said after practice this week. “We have all the pieces, it’s just getting it together.”
Turnovers have been the Storm’s biggest issue, averaging 23 in its two games, both against Los Angeles (3-1). Minnesota will easily capitalize on that fault, getting out in transition where it loves to score, anyway.
Add Rebekkah Brunson’s work underneath the basket and the game could get away from Seattle fast. The Lynx have outscored opponents by a league-best 16 points this season and four of Minnesota’s players average double-figure scoring, three chipping in at least 7.3.

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May 24, 2012 at 12:30 PM

TV Alert: Showdown between Minnesota and Los Angeles

UPDATE: Minnesota defeated Los Angeles 92-84 at Target Center before an announced crowd of 7,923. You can read the game story here. ___________________________ Ah, it’s games like these that I try not to trip about the WNBA’s selection of coverage. But dang I wish Thursday’s Western Conference showdown between Los Angeles and Minnesota was on regular…

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Comments | More in WNBA | Topics: Los Angeles, Minnesota