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, June 06, 2017

Rob Knox's WNBA Notebook: Washington's Ivory Latta Adds a Children's Book to Her Forte

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

WASHINGTON – One of Ivory Latta’s goals has come to fruition.

The diminutive Washington Mystic two-time All-Star guard can add another title to her name: Author.

 Latta just recently published her first book, an autobiographical children’s book called “Despite the Height.” It’s available now on Amazon and other outlets.

Now in her 11th year in the league, Latta has a testimony as she has thrived in the WNBA despite standing 5 feet, 6 inches. She enjoyed a decorated career as a high schooler in South Carolina and an amazing career at the University of North Carolina, leading the Tar Heels to the 2007 NCAA Final Four.

The book is a perfect inspirational tale of the power of positive thinking and not allowing any obstacles to deter you from your dreams. The back cover of the book has the saying “big things come in small packages.”

“I always wanted to write a children’s book,” Latta said following the Mystics 78-72 win over the Atlanta Dream Sunday afternoon. “It’s been my passion. It took me about four years to get it done the way I wanted to get it done.

 “I have an awesome illustrator. I am blessed that (the book is) finally here. My thought here is to help these kids out as much as possible. Tell them my story.”

In a world dominated by giants, Latta has stood tall throughout her career. She’s in her fifth season with the Mystics averaging 8.2 points per game this season.

 Latta recently become the 10th player in WNBA history to make 500 career three-pointers. She has 504 and is third among active players behind Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird.

However, her impact extends beyond statistics.

The passionate Latta is the undisputed leader of the Mystics, who are 6-2 overall following Tuesday’s 101-89 road victory over Dallas.

 Latta was one of five players to reach double figures in the Mystics latest victory as she scored 10 points. The Mystics have won five consecutive games and have the best record in the Eastern Conference.

In addition to excelling on the basketball court, Latta has also had a benign tumor removed from her left breast in 2014.

“Every team that I played on I was always the shortest person but at the same time, I accomplished so much by never giving up,” Latta said. “I’ve been in the league 10 years in the league and it’s just a blessing to be able to share all of the great things I accomplished in high school and in college and now here in the WNBA. That’s the whole process behind the book.”

The Mystics will host the undefeated Minnesota Lynx (7-0 overall) Friday night at the Verizon Center. It’s the start of a three-game home stand for Washington, which is 2-2 against the Western Conference opponents this season.

Speaking of the Lynx

The Lynx continue to roll improving to 7-0 on the season after beating down Seattle on the road, 100-77 last Saturday. Minnesota, the only remaining undefeated team in the league, hit the century mark for the 15th time in franchise history and fifth time on the road.

Even scarier for opponents is Maya Moore hasn’t hit her stride yet for the Lynx.

Minnesota set a franchise record for field goals made in any half with their 26 first half baskets. The previous high was 25 vs. Dallas on July 9, 2016.

The Lynx tied a franchise record for points scored in a first half with 64 first half points tonight (64 vs. Sacramento on Aug. 28, 2009). In outrebounding the Storm, 31-21, the Lynx have now won 54 consecutive games since 2011 when outrebounding their opponent by double-digits.

Fueling the Lynx romp was Sylvia Fowles, an early MVP candidate. The 6-5 Fowles was at her dominant best against Seattle with a game-high 26 points on 10-of-12 from the field including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

She leads the WNBA with five games of 20 or more points. Washington’s Elena Delle Donne could tie her if she scores at least 20 against Dallas.

Terrific Taurasi

Three-time WNBA Champion Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for May 29-June 4, the WNBA announced Monday. For Taurasi, it’s the 20th Weekly honor of her career, which is the second-most in league history behind Tina Charles and Tamika Catchings, both of whom have 22.

The Mercury guard made history in Phoenix’s 99-91 win over the Sky on Thursday, June 1, and finished the week averaging 27.0 points, 3.5 assists and six made three-pointers in the two games.

On Thursday in Chicago, Taurasi scored a game-high 37 points, the most points she’s scored in a game since scoring 39 on June 18, 2010, and dished four assists in the win. Additionally, the sharpshooter knocked down eight three-pointers, which tied for the most three-pointers made in a
game in WNBA history; eight made three-pointers has been done four times, three of which were by Taurasi. With her first three-pointer of the night, Taurasi became the league’s all-time leader in made three-pointers, surpassing Katie Smith.

She now stands at 914 made three-pointers in her career. In her quest to become the league’s all-time leading scorer, Taurasi also passed Catchings in Chicago for second place on the all-time list and now only trails Tina Thompson by 73 points as the all-time leader.

Liberty Rising

The Liberty were reeling after a loss to Los Angeles left them with a 2-3 record. Things didn’t look great either.

Already playing without Brittany Boyd, who suffered a torn Achilles, the Liberty were losing Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn for a significant period of time to compete in the EuroBasket championships.

For a team that was struggling to score, this didn’t appear good.

However, after a perfect weekend, New York is rolling after consecutive victories over Dallas and Phoenix. The Liberty are 4-3 heading into Wednesday morning’s game against Atlanta.

Kiah Stokes and Shevonte Zellous were phenomenal this weekend. Stokes scored a career best 23 points and had 13 rebounds for her second straight double-double and her first career 20-point game. Meanwhile Zellous posted her first consecutive 20-point games of her career. After scoring 27 against Dallas, she scored 20 against the Mercury.

Meanwhile, Tina Charles earned her 22nd career Eastern Conference Player of the Week honor after averaging 25.7 points. In addition to making 15-of-16 foul shots, Charles also averaged seven rebounds. The highlight of the week for the 6-4 center was a career-high 36 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, in a 93-89 win over the visiting Dallas Wings on June 2.  Charles also contributed 10 rebounds and three assists in the win.


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