Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

The Big Lead, one of the most-read, popular sports blogs on the Web posted today about lesbian relationships in college basketball.

His source: The Dallas Morning News (great pick! <insert sarcasm here>). This story discusses a female basketball player named Jennifer Colli at SMU who is suing the school and its head coach basketball Rhonda Rompola for revoking her scholarship.

This all happened after Colli complained to the athletic director about “inappropriate questions and comments” regarding her sex life and other gay relationships on the team.

Now, of course The Big Lead will have something intelligent to say about this, since they’re so familiar…

“In football, we could see Urban Meyer shouting at Tim Tebow on the sideline, “What’s the matter, man, you get so much ass last night that you can’t focus?” and teammates laughing. But for a coach to say, ‘hey Sally, did you spend all night gettin’ busy with Suzie?’ and both Sally and Suzie were in the huddle, well, that’s pretty messed up.”

Actually, dude, BOTH of those situations are wrong… for multiple reasons.

First, college sports is a job. And nobody should be discussing anyone else’s relationships OR sex life. It’s something that needs to remain private, because (obviously) too many people have differing opinions.

Second, college coaches have no right to pry or ask their players about things going on in their personal lives, no matter what the nature.

Third, these things should NEVER be discussed in front of other players, if at all.

As for Urban Meyer shouting to Tim Tebow, that’s ridiculous, incredibly degrading, sexist and also inappropriate.

I have to say, with the WNBA FINALS happening over the weekend, don’t you think The Big Lead could find something slightly more interesting in women’s sports to talk about?

If you really want to be disgusted, check out the comments.

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If you’re in the New York area on Friday night, you should consider getting tickets to the New York Liberty – they’re selling them, cheap!

In case you aren’t aware, WNBA is right in the height of their playoffs. Friday’s game will be a great preview and might be your last change to see a game.

Semifinals start Sunday:
Eastern Conference Finals: New York Liberty vs. Detroit Shock (Sunday, 3PM on ESPN)
Western Conference Finals: LA Sparks vs. San Antonio Stars (Sunday, 5PM on ESPN)

But if you’re in the NY area and want to catch a good game, click the picture below and enter the code STRETCH.

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I came across this podcast on the WBCA Web site. Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli were at Nike Nationals in South Carolina this summer, one of biggest AAU recruiting event of the year. This is a great overall outline of what we’re looking at for women’s basketball on multiple talent levls.

They talk about the recruiting process, how AAU influences a girls’ ability to get into college and what a high-level AAU tournament is like. They also discussed the WNBA fight and USA’s preparation for the Olympics.

On the high school level, the topic of conversation was Brittney Griener, the AAU star I wrote about earlier. Other players mentioned were Destiny and Tamika Williams. They said you can go down the list from every team there and find a girl who is going to “play major basketball.”

As I mentioned earlier, Beth and Debbie also touched on other subjects such as the WNBA fight (it was the most publicity the league has ever gotten), and preparing for the Olympics (this podcast was recorded before the Olympics) and some highlights from college basketball (top paid coaches).

They also talked to Mark Lewis, the columnist for women’s basketball at ESPN.com’s Hoopgurlz. Mark discussed how attention is drawn to younger girls who might progress to be stop stars, and “hot spots” around the country (highlight on Texas).  Mark also provided some advice on what girls should be working on, including emphasis upon skill work.

Mark was right when he said we need to “give hats off” to Nike, who sponsors multiple tournaments and camps to work on girls’ skills. Their sponsorship is certainly important for the future of women’s basketball.

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In today’s issue of USA Today, we earned an entire section of the paper. Its title: “Women in Sports.”

I almost jumped out of my chair when I started reading. Seven complete pages of content and photos of women who have completed milestones in sport.

The cover article is particularly interesting.

Heather Tucker published a groudbreaking article in the world of women’s sports. She discussed the heroines of milestones of the past, heroines of the present and obstacles that lie ahead for the future of female sports. If you haven’t done so already, please go check it out here.

She discussed Billie Jean King’s defeat of Bobby Riggs in 1973 in the “Battle of the Sexes,” a day after Title IX was passed.

She said, “King, who accepted Riggs’ challenge to play a televised match at the Houston Astrodome, soundly defeated him in three sets and put a damper on critics’ voices that women could not compete with men.”

Awesome. Totally awesome. I wish I were alive for that moment. Even though I wasn’t I know that what she did affected my ability to compete and succeed in sports twenty years later.

Tucker then pointed to Candace Parker, calling her a hero of today’s image of women’s sports due to her ability to beat five male competitors in the 2004 McDonald’s All-American Game, including Josh Smith, who won the NBA dunk contest the nest year.

She also mentioned Danica Patrick’s milestone in her “breakthrough” Indy-car race in Japan in April, when she became the first woman to triumph in a national oval-track touring circuit (Indy Racing League or NASCAR).

Then, Tucker talked about perceptions, and how the above milestones have inspired and influenced young women to compete on the playing fields today.

She said, “Perceptions of what women are capable of and what they can offer have been elevated thanks in part to these stars.”

Then, she wrapped up by highlighting the challenges that lie ahead, such as coaching, managing and team ownership, areas of influence that women have yet to solidly break through in terms of a “glass ceiling” in sports.

This is an incredibly crafted article. In my opinion, it’s too short. A lot of names are missing from this list of heroines. It takes much more than three influencers to break barriers. It takes an army, and decades of time and struggle.

Hopefully one day we’ll get there. Until then, articles like these will help keep the spirit alive. Thanks USA Today.

Other stories include player profiles on Jackie Joyner Kersee, Pat Summit, Mary Lou Retton, Janet Guthrie, Anny Meyers Drysdale, Nancy Lopez, Leslie Visser, Dot Richardson, and Brandi Chastian.

A separate article discussed sports marketers and how their altering their pitches as more female fans tune into sports. That particular article along warrants another post from me. I’ll be back in just a moment with more. (so excited!)

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This June, Nike opened the doors to The Stringer Center for Child Development at its 177-acre campus in Beaverton, Ore.

I tired to find pictures online, but unfortunatley had no such luck (the picture on this post is of the front of Nike headquarters).

The Stringer Center is a 35,000-square-foot facility that houses 26 classrooms, providing care, learning and development for approximately 300 children between the ages of six months and 5 years old.

According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, Stringer is the third woman, the second coach, and the first African-American woman to have a building named after her on Nike’s campus. She has directed Rutgers to two Final Four appearances during her 13-year tenure. In 2000, she became the first coach, male or female, to take three different programs to the Final Four. This past season, Stringer became just the third women’s coach and the ninth coach overall to record 800 wins.

Wooo Hoo! Go Vivian, Nike, and Rutgers!

I bet Nike’s campus is something incredible. I’d love to go see it someday.

Nike is a strong supporter of women in sport. The commercials often say women will be stronger, healthier and more independent if they are allowed to play sports.

These are messages that need to be ingrained in the minds of our youth, and I’d like to commend Nike for their support of our efforts on the playing fields.

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14-year-old Jaime Nared is making headlines across the country. So far, she’s been on ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN’s Headline News and featured in Thursday’s New York Times as well as big time sports blogs like The Bleacher Report. Why? Because she’s breaking barriers.

Gender barriers… in basketball.

The NY Times calls her “12 going on Candace Parker.” At 6 foot 1″, Nared is catching attention for her participation on Team Concept boys’ team in Portland, Oregon.

All was cool until a game back in April, when she scored 30 points. Suddenly, Jaime got a call from her coach who informed her that she was banned from planning on the team.

Interesting coincidence.

Apparently, Team Concept played in a league called Hoop, a private gym that runs the league that Team Concept plays in. All of a sudden, after her performance scoring 30 points, the league cited a previously unenforced rule against mixed-gender play.

Timing seems a little bit too perfect, doesn’t it?

Only problem now is the GIRLS don’t want her playing with them, either. Poor kid.

Girls teams don’t want her playing because she KILLS. Apparently, the last time she played against girls her age, the final score was 90-7. Her coach equated her participation with girls her age like Shaq playing on a high school team.

By forcing Jaime to play against girls her own age, she’s not getting any better.

The NY Times even says, “Playing with boys is a standard part of girls’ basketball training. Often it’s where talented girls can find the game best suited to their skills.”

So it is going to take some pushing.

It’s not surprising to me that there’s a strong-willed mom behind this effort.

When Jaime’s mother, Reiko Williams, heard that her daughter had been kicked off the boys’ team, she says she felt she needed to act. “I have three daughters,” she told the NY Times. “The world is going to give them pink and dolls. My two older daughters, Jackie and Jaime, want to play basketball. I feel it’s my job as a parent to help them be the best they can be at what they choose to do.”

After the league cut Jaime from the boys’ team, Jaimie’s mom called the Portland media. Then, a trail of media coverage and support followed.

When I read the NY Times article on Jaime last week, I sent it around to some of my blogger friends. One asked me whether I think Jaime should be allowed to compete with older girls or if she should compete against boys her age.

My answer..

Playing with the boys got her on Good Morning America.

I say stick with the boys.

Best of luck, Jaime!

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It seems that the rivalry between the University of Connecticut and the University of Tennessee, established through tough competition in women’s basketball play, is extending to football – the two football clubs have agreed to play each other in 2015-2016.

I don’t think too many people would disagree with the fact that Pat Summit’s Tennessee program and Geno Auriemma’s UConn program have drawn both incredible talent and great media coverage for the sport (and women’s sports in general).

But I thought it was really interesting ESPN actually went out on a limb and reported on it, saying that the football teams “don’t have quite the same pedigree.” I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read that!

Apparently, the USA’s women’s basketball powerhouses are actually being given some credit in their ability to draw attention, even in the “big dog” world of college football. This is the first time I’ve ever seen it happen.

Here’s what ESPN had to say:

Connecticut and Tennessee’s rivalry is moving from the basketball court to the football field.

Connecticut announced Thursday that Tennessee will visit Rentschler Field in East Hartford in 2015, and the Huskies will travel to Neyland Stadium in Knoxville the following year.

The two women’s basketball powers had met annually, until Tennessee canceled the series a year ago. The schools’ football teams don’t have quite the same pedigree.

Tennessee won the 1998 national championship in football and has 13 Southeastern Conference titles to its credit. UConn is beginning its sixth season in the Bowl Championship subdivision and is coming off a 9-4 season and its first Big East co-championship.

Needless to say, I’m going to watch this game, and see if the commentators happen to say anything about how the women’s basketball programs have built a rivalry that has extended beyond their sport and gender. My guess is it will be mentioned, briefly.

If only they’d announce women’s sports schedules that far in advance on ESPN….

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Thanks for this one, Total Pro Sports. Seems like I’m getting more and more evidence every day.

Included on this disgusting list are Jenny Finch, Kerry Walsh, Misty May-Treanor, Dara Torres, Chen Xiaoli. Ok, so all five are stars. Four are from USA. One is randomly from China, and hers has my favorite comment,

“Almost two meters of Chinese hotness.  I bet she has a pair of chicken balls under those shorts.”

I think “DanD” wins on the “Beyond ignorance: sexism PLUS added racism = I’m stupid” award. Any company who advertises or associates with that blog is plain stupid. Law suit waiting to happen.

These women have been working hard their whole lives on becoming Olympic athletes, and once they get to this level, they’re immediately materialized by their male counterparts’ fans. So typical, and so disappointing.

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I’m so glad that Dave recently commented on my WNBA post. The pictures he found on WNBA.com are really awesome. Arthur Ashe stadium never looked so cool. Take a look at a few…

SO COOL. Fireworks at a basketball game? What a great idea. Thanks Dave!

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At 50 years old, Nancy Lieberman is making a comeback to professional basketball.

Here’s what she had to say to ESPN:

“It’s really a one-game deal,” Lieberman said in a telephone interview. “My motivation stems from the fact that I love this game and I never stopped playing it whether it’s a pickup game with Deion Sanders and Tony Romo at a church or at a park with my son.”

It seems all too convenient that this is happening the same week that the fight broke out. Bill Laimbeer  an ESPN analyst, refutes this, however.

“This is not a gimmick,” Laimbeer insisted. “I talked to her last year about this and again two weeks ago. This opportunity probably would’ve happened if we didn’t have the incident the other night.”

However, Lieberman’s spot opened up when forward Cheryl Ford suffered a season-ending knee injury Tuesday night during the fight.

All I have to say is, if I had a “season-ending” knee injury because of some idiot fight that my teammates got involved in, I’d be a little more than pissed off!

That said, even if this contract is only for one game, GO NANCY!!!

Here’s a little background from ESPN on her professional career (if you’re not already familiar with her): Lieberman was the general manager and coach of the Shock from 1998-2000. During her professional playing career, she averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists. She played at Old Dominion University from 1976-80, helping the school win two national titles, and played for the U.S. Olympic team in 1976 and 1980. Lieberman was the first woman to play professionally with men as part of the USBL’s Springfield Fame in 1986.

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