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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 10, 2013 at 5:23 PM
Seattle’s expecting 90-degree weather on Wednesday, but that didn’t stop leaves from falling from trees to signal fall and the start of the NCAA basketball season. Washington’s D-I schools are gearing up for some highly anticipated seasons, Tuesday being the Pac-12′s official first look at who’s playing who. (Yeah, some PR blip caused an early posting of UW’s sked. Considering the talent Montlake is expecting this season, you can understand why it jumped the gun)
The Pac-12′s 266-game schedule tips Nov. 8. The conference will make a league-record over 100 television appearances during the regular season, including 101 telecasts on the Pac-12 Networks and five on the ESPN networks as part of the conference’s television package. Among those 106 appearances, all nine games of the Pac-12 Tournament at KeyArena in Seattle will be televised, with nine appearing on the Pac-12 Networks and the championship game on ESPN on March 9.
ESPN2 will also televise the USC at Stanford contest on Jan. 27, 2014 for the Pac-12′s first-ever “Big Monday” appearance. Stanford will travel to California on February 2 for an ESPN2-televised game, while Washington hosts the Cardinal on ESPNU on Feb. 9.
Stanford’s trip to UConn on Nov. 11 is part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. The game from Storrs will air on ESPN2. USA Basketball recently announced UConn coach Geno Auriemma would return to coach the national team for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Cal, which won its first share of the Pac-12 regular-season championship last season, will be on ESPN2 on Dec. 22 taking on defending NCAA Champion Connecticut in the Maggie Dixon Classic.
September 9, 2013 at 11:49 AM
Ah, the 1990s. In terms of basketball, I’ll always remember the decade as O.J. Simpson’s freeway chase that interrupted my Knicks’ playoff broadcast, Arizona winning the 1997 NCAA championship (Bear Down!) and studying poolside in Tucson while watching my two favorite point guards dish and score their way to success.
The personalities that are Dawn Staley and Gary Payton can be the only explanation why a budding young woman in Arizona would care about Seattle and Richmond, Va. Enraptured, I’d watch Staley high-step, yap-jaw and gum-smack to wins with the defunct Rage on BET. In college at Arizona (Bear Down!), I lived and died with the Sonics and Payton as I studied poolside and watched the playoff struggles on a 8-inch black-and-white TV.
I just loved watching them play and always wondered what the heck they were saying to themselves, teammates, opponents, fans, officials — seemingly anyone within earshot. Who knew I’d grow to actually find out, covering both through the Seattle Times. So, it was especially cool to witness the greatest point guards from my generation enter the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame together on Sunday.
But who entered as the greatest trash talker?
“Dawn can trash talk with the best of them,” said 17-year WNBA veteran Tina Thompson, who won Olympic gold with Staley, played with her for the defunct Houston Comets and against Staley as she starred for the defunct Charlotte Sting (1999-2006).
“Gary’s use of verbiage was a lot different,” Thompson continued in comparing the elite trash talkers. “He would be a lot more tormenting than Dawn. But they’re both pretty good trash talkers.”
July 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM
Thank goodness for my iPad. It’s going to be a busy weekend trying to fit in my first live Renton River Days and Seafair weekend (can’t wait to see the Miss Seafair coronation at the Torchlight Parade) while also keeping up with the FIBA U19 World Championship and 2013 WNBA All-Star Game, the league’s 11th annual.
The WNBA is up first online at ESPN3.com. The league will air the Western and Eastern Conference practices from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Friday at noon PT. Storm All-Star Tina Thompson will rep Seattle. Follow her Instagram account (@iamtinathompson) for cool pics from the weekend and even the kickoff with former teammates and family after Seattle defeated her native Los Angeles on Thursday at Staples Center.
Next up is the USA U19 squad. The winner of the Americans game against Japan on Friday will face Australia in the U19 World Championship semifinal in Lithuania on Saturday. In-coming Washington freshman PG Kelsey Plum is on the team, although UConn stars Breanna Stewart (18.2 points), Morgan Tuck (15.3 points) and Duke standout Alexis Jones (4.5 assists) are the headliners.
The first semifinal matchup airs on ESPN3 at 8am PT between Spain (7-0) and France (6-1). The Aussies (6-1) are expected to play the Americans at 10:15am on ESPN3.com on Saturday.
July 19, 2013 at 9:12 AM
UPDATE: The USA U19 Team defeated China 103-56 in the second game of the FIBA U19 World Championship on Friday. UW freshman PG Kelsey Plum was scoreless in 12 minutes of play, missing her three three-point attempts. The Americans (2-0) will play Mali (0-2) on Saturday at 10:15 am (PT).
Washington PG Kelsey Plum, an in-coming freshman, will be part of the USA U19 World Championship Team that plays China (1-0) at 10:15 am PT on Friday. FIBA will provide live stats of its U19 World Championship tournament.
The Americans (1-0), who have Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves as an assistant, defeated Lithuania 113-47 in the FIBA U19 World Championship opener on Thursday in Panevezys, Lithuania. Plum played 16 minutes against Lithuania (0-1), finishing with seven points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists in the game. Connecticut star Breanna Stewart led the USA with 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 20 minutes.
Plum is part of UW’s best in-coming class in program history. The group is led by C Katie Collier, who missed the 2012-13 season due to a knee injury. She’s rehabilitated and cleared to play. F Chantel Osahor and G Brianna Ruiz round out the freshmen class. First-year coach Mike Neighbors also signed former Miami C Macy Keen this offseason but she’s ineligible to play until 2014-15 due to NCAA transfer rules.
April 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
Washington has begun its search to replace women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff. And already I’ve heard rumors that because Tia Jackson failed as a coach, the Huskies wouldn’t hire another black woman assistant for her first head-coaching job.
This isn’t fair to coaches like Charmin Smith, the longtime assistant at California, and others who should receive consideration for the job. Or to UW, which, I assume, will hire the coach it thinks is best for the position.
True, UW’s hire of Jackson didn’t work out. She is a talented recruiter, earning praise for the skill at Duke and now as an assistant at Rutgers. Jackson recruited good players to Washington, too, including PG Jazmine Davis, the Huskies’ leading scorer last season and the Pac-12 freshman of the year in 2012.
But the example of Jackson’s unsuccessful run as a first-time head coach should not be a sweeping assessment of black women first-time head coaches. Nearly all current black women head coaches were assistants first. C. Vivian Stringer, Dawn Staley and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke are the only exceptions I can immediately remember.
Staley and Cooper-Dyke entered the field with instant credibility because of their success as Olympians, WNBA and college players. Staley, now at South Carolina, started her career at hometown Temple. Cooper-Dyke, after coaching the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, coached in college at Prairie View A&M, UNC Wilmington, then Texas Southern, before being hired at USC last month. Stringer was the trailblazer. She coached and taught at Cheyney State College (now Cheyney University), a historically black school.
March 22, 2013 at 9:30 AM
As we saw on Thursday, President Obama has Pac-12 co-champion California, a No. 2 seed, upsetting top-seeded Stanford to advance to the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. On the eve of the most exciting tournament in women’s college hoops, I thought I’d share a few more picks since seemingly everyone has weighed in on their lucky final four and overall champion. Here are a few I’ve gathered starting with mine. As you know, nothing is scientific. My granddaughter (via marriage) pointed at No. 7 seed Texas Tech to win it all.
Jayda Evans, women’s basketball reporter
Final Four: Baylor, Stanford, Kentucky, Notre Dame.
Ashley Corral, Washington Mystics guard and former Prairie HS star
Final Four: Stanford, Kentucky, Baylor, Notre Dame.
Lindsay Schnell, sports reporter at The Oregonian
Final Four: Stanford, Notre Dame, UConn, Baylor.
Winner: UConn (I believe Griner is beatable).
June Daugherty, Washington State head women’s basketball coach
Winner: Notre Dame.
Mel Greenberg, former Philadelphia Inquirer women’s basketball reporter
Final Four: UConn, Notre Dame, Baylor, Stanford.
Winner: Notre Dame.
March 18, 2013 at 7:20 PM
The NCAA women and men’s tournament brackets are out. The Pac-12 advanced four teams to the NCAA women’s tourney, its most since sending four in 2009.
While you’re filling the brackets out, here’s a poll for you to ponder.
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.”
January 26, 2013 at 6:47 PM
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 coach/GM Brian Agler confirms he is here scouting Kelly Faris. Seattle has 6th pick in the #WNBA draft
— John Altavilla (@jaltavilla) January 27, 2013
So, are you getting excited for the start of the Storm season? Or is there another team you’re looking forward to seeing? We’d like to know.
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