Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Guru's Musings: WNBA Connecticut Sun Rises In Standings But Not On Twitter

By Mel Greenberg

it's a Monday night and the well is temporarily dry.

There's no WNBA week-ahead to preview since there's no WNBA action until Aug. 16 when the league resumes after the Olympics.

There's no stats to update from the Philly Summer League for another 24 hours when the next-to-last night of the regular season occurs and, besides, going over potential tiebreakers for playoff qualifiers and seeds is not really worth it until the next set of games conclude.

So what's a Guru to do?

Well, trolling around he suddenly got an idea off of twitter stats and one thing led to another and so why not see what and who's popular in the WNBA and USABasketball anhd who's less so and right from the jump did he get a shock.

Running a list of followers at each of the 12 team sites and seeing how they ranked produced a stunner.

When it comes to correlating the standings versus twitter followers -- and also perceived attendance since unlike the old days figures couldn't be found -- guess which team has the worst number of followers?

No, it's not the Washington Mystics, though except for Michelle Snow, finding individual Washington players on a site that has profile links and numbers requires a full-scale search party -- perhaps Crystal Langhorne has a handle but is not on the report.

Tulsa Shock? Guess again.

Would you believe that as of the readout late Monday -- numbers change on the fly in twitterworld -- a team that shares the best record in the WNBA standings at the break is almost out of radar range.

No, it's not the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, which is among the leaders.

How about the Connecticut Sun, which has a dominating 15-4 record and a comfortable four-game lead over the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference?

Several of the best Sun stars -- there's a phrase -- are among the individual leaders but it's like this: If the franchise twitter follower rankings were used instead of the competitive action on the floor and a lottery for the draft didn't exist, then Baylor star Brittney Griner or Delaware star Elena Delle Donne, depending on the Sun desires, could start residence-hunting along the middle Connecticut coastline.

Just 3,431 followers were on the Sun profile late Monday, trailing the No. 11 Washington Mystics profile, which had 4,569 followers.

At the high end, a slightly incredible and runaway 17,763 followers are connected to the Los Angeles Sparks, which might be driven by the fact that Sparks All-Star and USA Olympian Candace Parker, the former Tennessee sensation, is the runaway individual leader among a slew of present and some past players with 385,243 followers, which is more than the approximate 299,000 that follow the WNBA league handle twitter posts.

Second is second-year pro Minnesota's Maya Moore, an Olympian and former University of Connecticut with 165,782 followers.

Former Sparks great and Olympics all-timer Lisa Leslie, now retired, is third at 101,605 f0llowers, just above Olympian Diana Taurasi's 74,456 followers of the Phoenix Mercury and former UConn all-timer.

The Seattle Storm's Sue Bird, another former UConn great on the Olympic squad, is eighth overall and seventh active with 32,429, just behind Olympic teammate Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, who has 32,686 followers.

A third Lynx on the Olympic squad -- Lindsay Whelan -- is 20th overall and 17th active with 13,122 followers.

For one of several comparisons sake, while the Sun statistic is at 3,431, the University of Connecticut women's twitter profile Monday night listed 19,240 followers.

Furthermore, Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, also the USA Olympic coach, has 9,822 followers, while his daughter Alysa, who writes a popular blog, has 1,522, which is surprisingly below the more than 2,000 followers of DishNSwish or the current 1,800 plus following the Guru.

Sun players among the leaders in the individual chart are Olympian Tina Charles, 15th overall and 13th active; Kara Lawson, 17th overall and 15th active; and Renee Montgomery at 21st overall and 18th active.

Ten individuals with UConn or Connecticut Sun ties and Auriemma are in the top 24 active, including rookie Tiffany Hayes at 24 active with the Atlanta Dream and 7,260 followers.

Meanwhile, someone needs to do some marketing for past Sun All-Star and former UConn standout Asjha Jones, who has made her first USA Olympic team but is at 56th active and 68th overall with 2,103 followers.

That's way below the next Olympic teammate, the Chicago Sky's Sylvia Fowles, who is 21st active and at 25th overall with 8,766 followers.

The New York Liberty, which is in fifth place in the East, is fifth with 8,396 followers, but after former Rutgers star Cappie Pondexter, coming in ninth active and eighth overall, with 32,057 followers, the next Liberty player on the charts is former Rutgers star Essence Carson at 32nd active and 38th overall with 5,424 followers.

New York teammate Kia Vaughn, a former Rutgers star and next Liberty player on the charts, is listed activre at 55th active and overall at 67th with 2,119 followers, just ahead of Asjha Jones. Former Stanford star Nicole Powell is the next Liberty listed at 1,308 followers, which ranks her 88th overall.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad for the Liberty to land Diggins, eh? She has 256,159 followers, which would bolt her to No. 2 in the WNBA. Delle Donne as of Monday night has 976 and Griner has 862.

Yikes. The Guru has almost more than Delle Donne and Griner combined. That won't last.

Meanwhile WNBA president Laurel Ritchie has 2,419 followers.

Here's the team list first before moving on to the individual stats. The ranking will also include the team's place in the competitive standings next to the ranking number. There were two inherent ties -- Atlanta and Chicago for third in the East while San Antonio and Los Angeles were virtually knotted for second in the West at the break.

WNBA Team Twitter Followers

1. W2 Los Angeles 17, 763
2. W1 Minnesota 10,550
3. W4 Seattle 10,095
4. E3 Atlanta 8,542
5. E5 New York 8,396
6. W5 Phoenix 7,640
7. E2 Indiana 6,316
8. W2 San Antonio 5,637
9. E6 Tulsa 5,221
10. E3 Chicago 4,914
11. E6 Washington 4,569
12. E1 Connecticut 3,431

Here is the some of the ranking of individuals but this will be an active list so those not in the league will have an X and a number to help establish the overall number, in parenthesis, of the active players.

USA team members also noted of which 11 of 12 are in the top 21 active list.

Individual WNBA and USABasketball Player Twitter Followers

1. Candace Parker, LA, USA: 385,423
2. Maya Moore, Minn., USA: 165,782
X1. (3) Lisa Leslie, Ret.: 101,605
3. (4) Diana Taurasi, Phoenix, USA: 74,456
4. (5) Candice Wiggins, Minn.: 38,332
5. (6) Lauren Jackson, Seattle, Australia: 33,939
6. (7) Seimone Augustus, Minn., USA: 32,686
7. (8) Sue Bird, Seattle, USA: 32,429
8. (9) Cappie Pondexter, New York: 32.057
9. (10) Michelle Snow, Wash.: 30,055
X2. (11) Rebecca Lobo, Ret.: 22,743
10. (12) Swin Cash, Chi., USA: 22,661
11. (13) Angel McCoughtry, USA: 20,165
12. (14) Tamika Catchings, Indiana, USA: 19,371
13. (15) Tina Charles, Conn., USA: 18,209
14. (16) Tina Thompson, Seattle: 16,943
15. (17) Kara Lawson, Conn.: 16,538
16. (18) Ticha Penicheiro, Chi: 15,411
X3 (19) Nancy Lieberman, Ret.: 14,367
17. (20) Lindsay Whelan, Minn., USA: 13,122
18. (21) Renee Montgomery: 12,218
19. (22) Ivory Latta: 10,990
--. Geno Auriemma, UConn, USA coach: 9,822
X4. (23) Marion Jones, Not in league: 9,546
20. (24) Liz Cambage, Tulsa, Australia: 8,844
21. (25) Sylvia Fowles, Chi., USA: 8 ,766
22. (26) Epiphanny Prince, Chi.: 8,754
23. (27) Alana Beard, LA: 7,875
24. (28) Tiffany Hayes, Atlanta: 7,260
X5. (29) Sydney Colson, Not in league: 6,906
25. (30) Nickey Anosike, LA (injured): 6,680
X6. (31) Shyra Ely, Not in league: 6,393
26. (32) Tammy Sutton Brown, Indiana: 6,376
27. (33) Kristi Toliver, Los Angeles: 5992
28. (34) Marissa Coleman, Los Angeles: 5,896
29. (35) Charde Houston, Phoenix: 5,748
30. (36) Monique Curie, Wash.: 5,737
31. (37) JayneAppel, San Antonio: 5,463
32. (38) Essence Carson, New York: 5,424
33. (39) Monics Wright, Minn: 5,367
34. (40) Tameka Johnson, Tulsa: 5.159
35. (41) Crystal Langhorne, Wash: 5,135
36. (42) Candice Dupree, Chi.: 4,754
37. (43) Courtney Paris, Tulsa: 4,551
38. (44) Tully Bevilaqua, San Antonio: 4,486
39. (45) Tamera Young, Chi.: 4,423
40. (46) Sophia Young, San Antoni9o: 4,417
41. (47) Danielle Robinson, San Antonio: 4,332
49. (57) Kalana Greene, Connecticut Sun: 3,157
55. (67) Kia Vaughn, New York: 2,119
56. (68) Asjha Jones, Conn., USA: 2,103
58. (71) Katie Smith, Seattle: 1,974
66. (82) Matee Ajavon, Wash.: 1,393
67. (83) Shannon Bobbitt, Wash.: 1,385
68. (85) Danielle McCray, Conn.: 1,362
71. (88) Nicole Powell, New York: 1,308
75. (92) Allison Hightower, Conn.: 1,255
*-Becky Hammon, San Antonio: 457
*-Not on list but twitter says Hammon is at 457.

That's it for now. Next up is Tuesday nights summer league roundup unless other news comes along first.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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