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 07, 2015

Guru's Musings: Leslie and Staley - Gone From Starting Lineups But Not Gone From Public View

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Thought the Guru would take time to pen a notebook over all kinds of odds and ends and ramdom thoughts and reactions while having a little time on his hands.

The Guru last week finished writing a bio page(s) on Lisa Leslie for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame printed program for induction night, which will be made public Sept. 11 when the ceremony occurs.

Anyhow, while gathering the material, during the interview availability prior to Leslie's induction last month into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., some discussion took place on a reflection that isn't part of the Naismith copy but the Guru thought was worth bringing up here.

We got to a point in the narrative and reflection from Leslie, who took us through her timelime, that the Guru mentioned to her that now both herself and her longtime friend Dawn Staley, the South Carolina coach, would be together in both basketball halls of fame -- the famous inside/outside combination in USA Basketball women's history.

Leslie proceeded to respond with this passage:

"Dawn: She was a dream come true. The two of us together were a perfect combination. She’s fiery. She’s fisty. She was such a tenacious player at 5-6. She played like she was 6-5.

"Then that particular team, they called me `Hollywood' because I came from L.A. and I’m into fashion and I’m very girly but step on the court and we’re the same kind of people.

"I’m fiery. I’m fisty, I want to win. And it’s all about my team and I was a very unselfish player. She’s a very unselfish guard.

"She was like `Big girl get on the block.’ That was always her word. Like I’m on the block.

"'Don’t’ settle for jumpers' and then she said, and she’d lick her fingers every now and then and she said, `If you need help, throw it back out to me and I’ll knock down a three for you.’

"So I remember we played one time on the way to the Olympics in Australia (2000).

"There were about six seconds left on the clock. We were playing in San Diego.

"She said, `Big girl. Get on the block. I’m telling you. They’re going to double you. Look for me. Just look for me I got you.'

"The play happened just like she said. I go down. I’d get double and tripled team. Usually I’d do a crosscourt pass off a reverse,

"Dawn’s at the top of the key, I hit her and she hits the open jumper, like, `See I told you I told you.’

"Those moments I’ll always remember being with her.

"But one of the most difficult moments is when we won our first WNBA championship (2001 L.A. Sparks over the then-Charlotte Sting),

"I had to beat one of my best friends. Everyone Is crying on the court.

"I’m always like there’s no crying in basketball. They don’t go together. But I remember crying because she deserved to win a championship, too. But it had to be one of us. And of course the big girl had to win it."

Today both continue to be successful -- Leslie is on the new CBS Sports Network all-female hosting panel "We Need to Talk" and also is involved around broadcasts of NBA games in Los Angeles, as well as heading several humanitarium causes and individual develoipment.

Staley went into coaching while still at the back end of her illustrious playing career first making Temple nationally regarded and then on to South Carolina where she guided the Gamecocks to their first NCAA Women's Final Four last April.

At the moment, she is coaching the USA Basketball U-19 squad in international competition to soon get under way and is an assistant to UConn's Geno Auriuemma on next summer's Olympic staff.

Just Monday 24 hours ago the NCAA announced the annual women's basketball attendance figures and Staley's program was the leader with an average over 12,000 that broke a two-decades plus stranglehold for the No. 1 spot held by Tennessee or UConn.

The stat reminded the Guru of Staley's first year at Temple. Prior to the official start of that season (2000-01), there was either a public scrimmage or preseason exhibition game.

About an hour prior to the opening tip, the Guru, glancing at the few spectators in the standings, the Guru said to her and her assistant Shawn Campbell, who previously was a longtime UVa assistant to Hall of Famer Debbie Ryan where they both coached Staley, "When this placed starts to get filled we'll remember this night."

It never got quite that big, though there were some noteworthy numbers in the eight years in the cavernous Liacouras Center.

But, obviously at South Carolina, where the local populous had better things to do until Staley finally got the program into daylight, perhaps she can look back and remember that first night in her hometown near the neighborhood she grew up.

One other note before leaving the topic, in writing the Leslie bio for Naismith, there were so many records the basketball great set from her formative high school years at Morningside in Los Angeles, on to Southern Cal, and then with the Olympics and the WNBA Sparks, that the Guru could just touch the most prominent ones given space requirements.

So last week for a moment, the Guru briefly considered mentioning the 41 points in a game she set for Los Angeles during her WNBA career but also began to think, `What if somebody breaks it, no one is going to see this until two months from now.'

Thus, the Guru let it go and sure enough two nights later Kristi Toliver just eclipsed the mark with her 43 points against the Tulsa Shock.

Did Dolan Get the Last Laugh? This is just speculation but did MSG honcho James L. Dolan use the WNBA New York Liberty partial ownership offer to Isiah Thomas to get him safely into the presidency of the franchise given Thomas' past history in the sexual harrassment trial of Anucha Browne, now vice president of women's basketball for the NCAA.

Though enough voices can be heard from the NBA beat writers on the Knicks about what little regard Dolan has for what other people think, consider this.

The ownership situation is basically Thomas taking a bit of the cost load off Dolan's hands -- remember that wild rumour last winter in one of the NY tabloids on the gossip page saying Dolan wants to dump the Liberty because he could make more money in the Garden in the summer staging rock concerts?

Anyhow, from the moment Dolan's intentions regarding Thomas became news, the whole focus was on denying Thomas the ownership share with the presidency position given secondary consideration.

But understand this regarding the Liberty, the presidency is where all the power is.

Titles notwithstanding, when Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski was in the driver's seat, that is where everything converged.

Oldtimers associated in the past with the Liberty repeatedly told the Guru after the controversy flared that Blaze ran everything (and when she was let go then it was Steve O'Neil, now with the 76ers in Philly), Dolan was rarely seen.

Blaze speculated to the Guru last winter when that rumor reared, that, "Hey, Dolan was a great citizen for the league (considering the financial implications), a great citizen to David (former NBA commssioner David Stern) and perhaps now it's time to move on."

But given all that,with New York offering to suspend the ownership application -- the Guru has strong reason to believe the WNBA easily had the votes to oppose -- Thomas will still be the president and since Dolan doesn't actually personally represent the franchise at WNBA executive meetings, unless Kristin Berrnert (the highest NY position in terms of WNBA knowledge) is the appointee, then Thomas will be the one representing the Liberty cause.

WNBA Looking for More Coverage Several days ago in an article in USA Today WNBA president Laurel L. Richie talked about wanting more coverage of the league in terms of how the four majors are covered.

A little while back in time Minnesota Lynx and former UConn star Maya Moore penned a well-thought out piece of coverage.

Here is the problem the way the Guru sees it in terms of concept and reality.

Concept is fine -- there are stories to be told, lots of stories.

But two problems exist and there is not much of a solution to either and it is just the reality.

First, if we are talking mainstream media, as in print newspapers, the downsize of the industry means less reporters, less space, etc.

And as a starting point, the 12 cities themselves because of economics, space, etc., especially if the local. WNBA team isn't performing well, do not all make an ongoing commitment.

Few beat writers travel at all and none to the Guru's knowledge at this point in time make all their team's road games. There were places in more plentiful times where Seattle, Los Angeles, Indiana, would have one of their own.

And then, nationally, if a team isn't nearby unless there is some specific interest, those publications aren't going to be sending writers, either.

For that matter, not all the team public relations people are on the road all the time with their squads.

And here is the other thing as the Guru sees it -- the reality of the WNBA schedule is a major handicap even if there were resources available. This is observation, not complaint, so let's all understand that the Guru is looking at this academically.

The schedule does not provide the legs to create the same rhythm as the four major sports because there are not enough games.

Let's take one of the places the Guru is a regular -- Washington.

Right now the Mystics are playing one game in 13 days and other teams also have gaps. How do you generate interest when even if TV and print had no problem providing stories and broadcasts, there's no ongoing pulse -- it's start/stop.

Hey, the Washington Post does a great job given what is in its sports package and has a great guy on the beat in Gene Wang, who, by the way, covers a ton of sports.

And given that fact, with the Mystics out of sight, he is not sitting around idle until they re-appear.

However, that doesn't mean anyone who is looking for news can't find it due to newer media ventures from teams themselves and other recent startups.

In Washington, for example, owner Ted Leonsis has created a cottage industry with his Monumental Network so if you live in Philadelphia and haven't seen coverage on local star Natasha Cloud out of Saint Joseph's, there she is in the flesh and blood at the Mystics' website.

And there are other ventures such as Blue Star Media @BlueStarMedia1, which on the men's side for example has reknown scribe Dick "Hoop" Weiss over in Greece covering the USA U19 men's tourney.

They will be on the scene later this month in Toronto for the Pan Am women's games, which on the USA squad, involves incoming Villanova senior Caroline Coyer.

For a minimal fee you can get the Live Access from the WNBA on your tablets to at least see the games. And of course there is ESPN.

Meanwhile, in the last couple of days, the Guru has seen mention that the winning USA women's soccer team needs to appear at WNBA games.

But that's backwards. Looking at it in afterthought, perhaps it would have been good for the league to be in Vancouver this past weekend getting the right teams to play a single our doubleheader regular season game Saturday night before the finals.

And for those of you who think the colleges get better treatment, you should know that from once was a group of several hundred papers at the Women's Final Four without regard to if one of their teams were in the quartet or it was being held nearby, that number is zero and has been for a while.

Now there are about 15 of us that still get there but we are wearing different uniforms than in the past, so to speak.

Fortunately, the Associated Press national women's basketball writer Doug Feinberg is proficient enough with his commitment beyond routine to coverage that papers without having to pay any travel cost will get a well-writen comprehensive piece by way of the wire service.

And if they do trimming like they do to all AP stories, usually the full version will be on the web at Yahoo, for example,

Anyhow, the Guru has written enough to make up for not doing his own notebook for a while. On Tuesday night, it's Philly Summer League time against this week and Thursday, which the Guru will get to since the Washington game is at 11:30 a.m.

-- Mel







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Monday, July 06, 2015

WNBA Notebook: Washington Looks to Gain a Little Distance on New York

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

All eyes will be on Thursday morning’s New York Liberty-Washington Mystics game and not because it’s the only one on the WNBA schedule that day.

The “Camp Day” showdown at the Verizon Center matches a pair of 6-4 squads looking to stay near the top of Eastern Conference standings and the surprising Connecticut Sun.

Both teams will be well-rested entering this game as the Liberty last played on June 30 when it beat Chicago, 89-81, on the road and the Mystics dropped a 73-50 decision to the Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Washington has three things in its favor as it meets the Liberty for the third time this season.

The Mystics have won both matchups so far, including 74-59 in the last meeting on June 14 in New York. Washington hasn’t lost consecutive games this season, rebounding from defeats with solid efforts in its next game. Lastly, the Mystics have won two straight home games.

However, it will be the Mystics' first look at the Liberty with its prized offseason acquisition Epiphanny Prince, who was acquired from Sky via an offseason trade in exchange for Cappie Pondexter who landed in her hometown Chicago.

Prince missed the first nine games of the season due to a pre-existing commitment to compete in the Eurobasket Women 2015 Tournament.

She was expected to play in last week’s victory over the Chicago Sky but didn’t see action even though she was in uniform.

A Brooklyn native, who competed collegiately at Rutgers University, Prince played her first five WNBA seasons for the Sky, eclipsing 2,000-career points while averaging 14.1 ppg.

The Mystics will be anxious to play after enduring an unusually rough contest.

They were led by Stefanie Dolson and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, each of whom scored 12 points each.

Expected soon-to-be all-star Emma Meesseman pulled down a team-best nine rebounds.

The final numbers were gruesome for the Mystics, who committed 18 turnovers, scored a season-low point total, made 3-of-21 from beyond the arc, shot 29.3 percent and tallied 16 points after intermission.

“In every aspect of the game, we got outworked toughness wise,” Washington head coach Mike Thibault said following the Indiana game. “They got almost a third of their points off our turnovers, about 30 percent of their points in the first half came off our turnovers.

"We obviously didn’t shoot the ball well from three. They caused a lot of that. They were short-handed with guards so they just decided to get physical and pound us defensively and they did a good job of it. We missed some shots when we had a chance to stay connected mid-third quarter and it just turned.”

Dolson, who has enjoyed a solid season for the Mystics, believes this is just a small bump in the road.

She was part of a defensive effort that limited New York’s Tina Charles to a season-low six points at Madison Square Garden in the last matchup between the two squads. Dolson, one of three Mystic players averaging double figures for the season, had 15 points and six rebounds in the win over the Liberty.

Meesseman leads Washington in scoring (14.9 points per game) and rebounding (7.0). Ivory Latta, who had 20 points against New York on June 14, is second on the team in scoring (13.0).

“We just have to take care of the ball a little better,” Dolson said. “But that’s something that we can work on. Anything that we didn’t do the second half we can go back and practice and get better at it. We still have a lot of games left in the season so we just have to move on.”

Lately New York has been led by third-year guard Sugar Rodgers, who has started her team’s last four games and in college excelled in the nation's capital playing for Georgetown in the old rough-and-tumble Big East.

In helping New York win three of the four games she’s started, Rodgers has averaged 15.7 points per game, 2.5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds.

In its win over the Sky, New York had five players score in double figures for the first time this season and scored a season-high 89 points. The Liberty outscored the Sky 34-28 in the paint and drilled a season-high nine 3-pointers.

Charles (26 points, 11 rebounds) and rookie Kiah Stokes (11 points, 10 rebounds) made it two Liberty players with a double-double for the first time this year.

It was the first-career double-double for Stokes and the fourth of the season for Charles, who has 101 for her career. Both players starred at powerful Connecticut.

The Liberty had 26 assists on 30 made baskets, led by Essence Carson who had a season-best seven assists.

New York’s bench outscored Chicago’s 34-7 and the Liberty had two bench players (Candice Wiggins, Stokes) score in double figures.

Stokes has made an immediate impact in her first month in the league. She is averaging two blocks per game which ranks third in the WNBA, and first among rookies. She is second in the league with 20 total blocks.

Defensively, the Liberty leads the league, limiting opponents to just 36.4 percent from the field. New York forced teams to shoot under 40 percent in eight of its 10 games, and held two teams under 30- percent.

Both teams will be on the road for their next games. The Mystics enjoy six days off before visiting Chicago on Wednesday, July 15 for a 12:30 p.m. start. Meanwhile, the Liberty visit Atlanta for a Sunday matinee at 3:00 p.m.

MYSTICS PERSONNEL MOVE: Thibault announced that forward LaToya Sanders has joined the team. The Mystics have held the rights to Sanders since acquiring her in a trade prior to the 2012 season.

“LaToya will bring us an experienced presence at both ends of the floor,” said Thibault. “She is an elite defender and rebounder, as well as a high percentage shooter. She has been one of the premier power forwards in Europe for the last several years and is coming off an excellent Eurobasket performance for Turkey the past month. LaToya will fit in extremely well with the team we have.”

Sanders was selected in the first round (13th overall) by the Phoenix Mercury during the 2008 WNBA draft. She finished that season ranked fifth in block shots (1.52) and first in blocks per 40 minutes (4.66). Sanders spent the 2009 season on the roster of the Minnesota Lynx where she saw action in 17 games.

In 2011, Sanders averaged career highs in field goal (.473) and free throw (0.889) percentage as a member of the Los Angeles Sparks.

An alum of the University of North Carolina, Sanders has spent the last five years as a member of the Turkish team TED Keyseri, where she averaged 16.7 points per game and 8.4 rebounds per game in Eurobasket play. She has also spent the last three years as a key member of the Turkish National Team.

Washington waived Kayla Thornton, who averaged 2.2 points and 2.1 rebounds per game this season.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Tamika Catchings of the Indiana Fever and Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks were named the WNBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week.

Catchings, a nine-time All-Star selection and the 2011 WNBA MVP, earned her first Player of the Week award of the season and league-record 22nd of her career.

Now in her 14th active season with the Fever, she led Indiana to a 2-0 week with wins over the top two teams in the Eastern Conference – the Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics.

The 35-year-old Catchings led the Eastern Conference in field goal percentage (.714, 15-of-21) and was second in three-point shooting accuracy (.800, 4-of-5). She also ranked fourth among conference players in scoring (20.5 ppg), sixth in rebounding (8.5 rpg), and 11th in assists (3.5 apg).

Catchings opened the week with 26 points, 10 rebounds and two assists in a 92-84 win at Connecticut. She made her first six field goal attempts and finished 9-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-4 from three-point range. During the game, she also became just the fourth player in WNBA history to record 3,000 career rebounds.

The University of Tennessee product followed that up with 15 points, seven rebounds, five assists and two steals as the Fever defeated visiting Washington 73-50 on July 2 to improve to 5-6.

For Ogwumike, a two-time All-Star and the 2012 WNBA Rookie of the Year, the Player of the Week honor is her first of the season and the fourth of her career.

The fourth-year player helped the Sparks to a 2-1 week as Los Angeles notched consecutive victories over the San Antonio Stars and Tulsa Shock for their first wins of the season, before falling in overtime to the Phoenix Mercury.

For the week, the Stanford University product ranked second in the Western Conference in scoring (24.0 ppg), while pacing the West in rebounding (12.3 rpg) and tying for second in steals (1.67 spg).

Oguwmike opened the week with 27 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and two steals in an 86-81 win over San Antonio. She then contributed consecutive double-doubles with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and two steals in a 98-95 win over Tulsa.

TOLIVER SETS RECORD: Kristie Toliver hasn’t wasted any time in making her presence felt. The former Maryland sensation, who missed the Sparks first six games while playing for Slovak Republic at the EuroBasket 2015 tournament in Hungary, is quickly making up for lost time.

In her third game back, Toliver went berserk to set a Los Angeles Spark franchise record for most points in a single game with 43 to fuel a 98-95 win over the Tulsa Shock.

The seven-year pro broke recent Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Lisa Leslie's mark of 41 points when she made two free throws with nine seconds left. In her season debut at Madison Square Garden against the Liberty, Toliver delivered 30 points in a close loss.

Against the Shock, Toliver hit 15 of 24 shots, including 7 of 12 3-pointers, and made all six of her free throws. She also matched her career high with nine assists. In the third quarter, Toliver hit all four of her three-pointers and scored 19 points, surpassing 2,300 points for her career.

“It's a very special feeling,” Toliver said following her historic performance. “It's a very special franchise and I'm just happy to be a part of it,'' she said.

In 2006, Toliver hit the buzzer-beating three-pointer in regulation in Boston that sent the Terrapins in overtime on to their first NCAA title, beating Atlantic Coast Conference-arch rival Duke.

DIGGINS DONE FOR YEAR: The news that Tulsa third-year star Skylar Diggins will miss the rest of the season after tearing her right Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a blow to everybody.

One of the most popular athletes on the planet, Diggins will undergo ACL reconstructive surgery, but a date for the procedure has not been set at the time of this writing.

“I'm focused on getting healthy and stepping on the court even stronger,” said Diggins. “For the remainder of this season, I will continue to support my teammates in every way possible.”

The injury occurred with 44 seconds remaining on the clock during the Shock’s game versus the Seattle Storm at the BOK Center on Sunday, June 28th. The Shock won 93-89 and Diggins scored 31 points in the game, which was her season high.

The former Notre Dame all-AmericanDiggins at the time of her injury led the Shock in minutes averaging 32 per game, and in points per game averaging 17.8.

She was also averaging five assists per game and was ranked fourth in the league in both scoring and assists. Diggins was the WNBA’s Most Improved Player and a First-Team All-Star in 2014.

With her leading the way Tulsa was looking like it was heading to its first playoff appearance since the franchise moved from Detroit where the former Shock won three titles under current New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer.

Since Diggins' injury, the Shock has lost three consecutive road games. Tulsa has also played a significant part of the season without former Baylor all-American Odyssey Sims.

The Shock finishes their four-game road trip against Atlanta on Tuesday night in a nationally-televised showdown on ESPN2. It will be the annual “Hoops for Troops” game.

DELLE DONNE AND DIGGINS TAKE MONTHY HONORS FOR JUNE: Though the injury to Diggins marred what had been an otherwise great beginning, the performance for June along with that of Chicago's Elena Delle Donne earned the duo the first WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month for the season presented by Samsung, which was the official WNBA presenting marketing partner for the first time in 2014.

The Samsung name will be part of the presentations of the top WNBA individual honors, including the Most Valuable Player, Most Improved Player, Sixth Woman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Rookie of the Year.

Those awards have been picked in the past by a media panel comprised of representatives from the 12 franchise cities and several individuals who are considered national reporters of the league.

Delle Donne, the former Delaware all-American and the Eastern Conference Player of the Week in each of the first three weeks of the season, earned the Eastern Conference award for the second time in her three seasons.

She aided the Sky to a 5-5 record by averaging a league-leading 28.7 points, a WNBA record for the first 10 games of a season (surpassing Cappie Pondexter’s mark of 25.7 points with the Phoenix Mercury in 2008). Delle Donne also led the East in rebounding (9.9 rpg) and blocks (2.6 bpg), and was second in free throw shooting percentage (.978, 91-of-93).

The two-time All-Star selection opened the season with 31 points, eight boards, four blocks, and three steals in a 95-72 victory over Indiana, and immediately followed that performance with a then-career-high 40 points and nine rebounds in a 101-93 road loss to Tulsa.

In the season’s third week, Delle Donne grabbed a season-high 14 rebounds in an 83-77 win at the Indiana Fever, and she also set career highs of 45 points and six blocks to go with 11 rebounds in a 100-96 overtime victory over the Atlanta Dream. Her 19-of-19 effort at the foul line against Atlanta set a league record for most made free throws without a miss in a single game. The 45-point outing was the sixth best in a game in WNBA history and enabled her to become only the fourth player in league history to notch multiple 40-point games in the same season.

Meanwhile, after Tulsa’s season-opening loss at Minnesota, Diggins led the Shock to eight straight wins and the top spot in the Western Conference standings through June 28, before her injury.

During June, Diggins ranked second among West players in scoring (17.8 ppg) and three-point shooting percentage (.448 on 13-of-29 from behind the arc), and fourth in assists (5.0 apg). She also tied for fifth in the conference in steals (1.56 spg) and was sixth in free throw shooting percentage (.918, 45-of-49).

The Notre Dame product scored 20 or more points four times, including a season-high 31-point effort in a 93-89 victory over visiting Seattle on June 28 in which Tulsa tied its franchise record of eight consecutive wins. Diggins also poured in 26 points and added eight assists in an 86-78 win at Minnesota on June 21 as the Shock supplanted the Lynx for first place in the West at the time.

AWESOME ACHONWA: Natalie Achonwa of the Indiana Fever was named the WNBA’s Rookie of the Month in June.

Achonwa, another former Notre Dame all-American, led all rookies in points (10.2 ppg) and placed second in field goal percentage (.526), fourth in rebounds (4.6 rpg), and fifth in minutes played (21.5 mpg).

Overall, she ranked sixth among all WNBA players in field goal percentage. Achonwa had career highs in points (14) and minutes (32) to go with five rebounds in a 78-69 loss to the Minnesota Lynx on June 6.

The ninth overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft presented by State Farm, Achonwa was sidelined all of last season due to an ACL injury sustained during the NCAA Tournament in 2014.

The Irish alum has started in all but one game for the Fever and posted double digits in scoring in seven of her first 10 games this season. She ranks second on the team in rebounds and fourth in points.

Highlights of Achonwa’s month included finishing with 10 points and six rebounds, including a career-high five defensive rebounds, in a 95-72 loss to the Sky, tallying a career-high 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field in a 78-69 loss to the Minnesota Lynx and grabbing a career-high seven rebounds, including a career-high four offensive rebounds, in a 77-74 win.

ALL-STAR UPDATE: The 2015 Boost Mobile All-Star starters will be announced during an ESPN telecast of “SportsCenter” on Tuesday, July 14, just one week away.

Reserves will be announced on Tuesday, July 21, during ESPN2’s game telecast of the Phoenix Mercury and Los Angeles Sparks (tip-off at 11 p.m. ET).

In the case of players who are unable to play due to injury – such as Diggins, who recently sustained a season-ending injury – replacement players will be named by WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. Any changes to the starting lineup necessitated by injury will be made by the head coach of the respective All-Star team.

The game will be played in familiar settings June 25, a Saturday afternoon, at the Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the Connecticut Sun, where it has been played several times in the past.

Elena Delle Donne was the overall winner the last two seasons but missed each game due to injuries and illness.

McCOUGHTRY MOVING UP: Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry scored 23 points in Sunday’s 72-64 win over the Seattle Storm to move into 27th place on the WNBA career scoring list at 3,890 points sliding past Asjha Jones (3,872). She also extended her current streak of consecutive games with double-digit points to 17. McCoughtry last failed to hit double-digit points on Aug. 7, 2014 vs. Seattle when she finished with two. It was also McCoughtry’s sixth 20-plus scoring effort this season.


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Friday, July 03, 2015

Philly Summer League: Neon Green Holds off Red While Pink Ties Gold for First at 5-0

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

HATBORO, Pa. --
Appropriately heading into theJuly 4th holiday there were fireworks performances from individuals and just two lopsided outcomes of the six games played Thursday night in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in lower Bucks County.

Maroon’s Dallas Ely, a recent West Chester graduate, matched the season high nightly performance milestone for the league with 31 points, fueled by six 3-pointers in a 67-51 triumph over winless Royal Blue (0-6), also known as Penn State-Abington.

In a slam-bang encounter Chelsea Woods, a Saint Joseph’s sophomore, torched the nets again with her third 28-point performance of the season but it was not enough by the finish as Red fell just short to Neon Green 75-73, which stayed in the upper portion of the standings in fourth place.

Woods also scored 31 points in another game but Red is now 3-3 in a tie for sixth with Ash.

Neon Green got 25 points from Villanova’s Megan Quinn, a junior out of Episcopal Academy while Samantha Stipa, a Lafayette sophomore out of Spring-Ford, scored 20 and the game-winner.

Saint Joseph’s senior Sarah Fairbanks also hit the nightly 20-or-more milestone scoring 22 points as Pink stayed unbeaten with idle and defending champion Gold at the top of the standings at 5-0.

Kelly Green snapped a four-game losing streak with its first win of the summer, beating Black 68-51.

Purple, also known as Division I USciences squandered as comfortable lead but rallied for a 63-56 win over Orange that kept the Devils in third place a half-game behind the frontrunners.

Ash returned from Millersville camp, the cause of the forfeits by absences, to get a 56-49 win over Sapphire Blue, apologized for the no-shows and stayed in the hunt for one of the eight playoff berths when the postseason portion of the schedule kicks in at the end of this month.

Longtime commissioner David Kessler said they have a plan when the conflict occurs in the future to avoid a repetition of the absences.

Looking Ahead

On Tuesday night at the high end of the standings Purple and Neon Green will meet at 7 p.m.on Court 1 before Red and Maroon meet on the same court at 8:15 p.m.

Next Thursday at 7 p.m. Purple and Pink meet on Court 2 while at 8:15 p.m. Gold faces Red.

Orange takes its turn handling a bye on Tuesday night.

Natasha Cloud Alert

Just noting that former league and Saint Joseph’s star Natasha Cloud who is having a fine rookie season to date with the WNBA Washington Mystics will be in action in a home game in the Verizon Center next Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m.

Those who do not work in the daytime can make it down to see the Mystics host Connecticut and still get back in time for the 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. summer league starts.

The Guru advises if you drive it go through Annapolis and the round trip will only cost $6 in tolls.



Beginning this week in the standings for better readability on the Guru’s blog, the numerical position followed by a hyphen will be listed in front of each team. Besides the running results for the summer, the bottom portion houses the total tracker for each team.

But you don’t have to leave here at the moment to go there because the Guru will give you the scenarios as they exist right now.

With three weeks concluded teams are now hitting or about to hit the six-game halfway point on the 12-game schedules.

Following Thursday night’s games there were three sets of ties, one at the top between the last two unbeaten teams of Gold and Pink at 5-0, one deadlock in sixth place between Red and Ash, both at .500 at 3-3, and one down at 10th place between Kelly Green and Sapphire Blue at 1-4.

Gold and Pink don’t meet until July 21 when if both are still unbeaten the tie will be broken with the outcome. That will also determine the top seed and second seed in that scenario since only one more night afterwards exists on the regular season schedule thus the head-to-head takes precedence.

But for now Pink is placed ahead of Gold in their deadlock because of two better wins having topped Red and Neon Green.

In sixth, Red gets the nod over Ash because of a win over Purple.

And in 10th, Kelly Green is placed ahead Sapphire Blue because of the win over Black, though the placements are technically academic if the standings were final since neither team would make the playoffs.

Recaps

Neon Green 75, Red 73: The winners (4-1) stay in fourth a game out of first and the work of Quinn and Stipa have already been noted above.

On Red (3-3), besides Woods’ big night, Saint Joseph’s senior Ciara Andrews, a graduate of Cheltenham High, had 16 points, and Devin Gold, a recent Caldwell graduate out of Council Rock North, had 15 points accumulated off five 3-pointers.

Maroon 67, Royal Blue 51: Besides the work of Dallas Ely on Maroon (4-2), which is holding fifth 1.5 games behind the leaders, Tori Smick, a Golden Rams junior out of Woodstown High scored 13 points,

Tyniqua Henderson, a Penn State-Abington senior out of Dobbins High, scored 16 points and Maggie Locke, a Holy Cross freshman out of Spring-Ford, scored 13 for Royal Blue (0-6).

Pink 60, Forest Green 56: Though Fairbanks with her 22 was the only double-digit scorer on the unbeaten winners (5-0) who hold the top seed right now since there’s no head-to-head outcome yet, Sarah Payonk, a Division III Scranton junior out of Spring-Ford, scored eight points for the team dominated by Scranton players on the roster. Jaclyn and Julia Glantz each scored seven points. Jaclyn is a Scranton senior out of Haverford High, while Julia is a Bloomsburg freshman out of Archbishop Carroll.

Kiernan McCloskey, a Lehigh junior out of Germantown Academy, scored 16 for Forest Green (2-4), also known predominately as Division II Holy Family,which is in ninth place a half-game out of eighth heading into Tuesday night’s game with unbeaten Gold at 8:15 p.m. on Court 3.

Katie O’Hare, a Tigers freshman out of Bayard Rustin High, scored 13 points, while Erin Fenningham, a Tigers senior out of St. Basil Academy, scored 11 points, and Michala Clay, a Saint Joseph’s freshman, scored 10 points.

Purple 63, Orange 56: Micah Morgan, a USciences player out of Caravel Academy, and Colleen Walsh, a Devils junior out of Shipley School, each scored 17 points for Purple with Morgan nailing four treys while Walsh hit three and was 4-for-4 from the line.

Amber Reilly, a USciences senior from High Point Regional, and Sarah Abbonizio, targeted for 2020 graduation out of Episcopal Academy, each added seven points to the Purple total.

Mackenzie Carroll, Colgate freshman out of Central Bucks West, scored 12 for Orange (1-5), which is heading for a bye, while Lindsey Kelly, a Nazareth College senior out of Central Bucks East, and Lauren Rothfeld, a Salisbury junior out of Upper Dublin, each scored 10 points.

Kelly Green 68, Black 51: In getting its first win of the season Kelly Green (1-4) got 15 points off five treys from Kaitlyn Kelly, a DeSales sophomore out of Pennsbury High, while Amanda Fioravanti, a Saint Joseph’s junior playing her first game because of having been in summer school, scored 13 points, and Mary Ellen McCollum, a 2014 Holy Family grad out of St. Basil Academy, scored 10.

Black (2-3), which fell to eighth place and dropped its third straight, got eight points from Alynna Williams, a 2021 targeted grad out of Division II Philadelphia U. and Plymouth Whitemarsh, while Jacqueline McCarron, a Rams senior out of Lansdale Catholic matched that total, and Valez Jackson, a Phila. U. freshman out of Merion Mercy, scored seven points.

Ash 56, Sapphire Blue 59: Celeste Robinson, Aunjel Van Brakle, and Taylor Pritchett each scored 11 points for Ash (3-3) while Jessica Gerber, a Kenyon freshman out of Council Rock North, and Jade Farquhar, a Millersville freshman, each scored seven points.

Rachel Falkowski, a junior with Division II East Stroudsburg, which dominates the roster of Sapphire Blue (1-4), scored 14 points – she is also a Central Bucks South grad, and Michelle Boggs, an ESU senior out of Springside, scored nine points.

Standings

Team W-L G.B. PF PA Pct.

(Thru Mon., July 6)
(True Order This Week)

1-Pink 5-0 -- 332 238 1.000
1-%-Gold 5-0 –- 304 244 1.000
3-Purple 5-1 0.5 355 288 .833
4-%-Neon Green 4-1 1.0 289 239 .800
5-Maroon 4-2 1.5 414 365 .667
6-Red 3-3 2.5 408 414 .500
6-&-Ash 3-3 2.5 222 220 .500
8-Black 2-3 3.0 275 280 .400
9-Forest Green 2-4 3.5 328 394 .333
10-Kelly 1-4 4.0 286 346 .200
10-Sapphire 1-4 4.0 268 289 .200
12-Orange 1-5 4.5 351 363 .167
13-Royal Blue 0-6 6.0 307 463 .000

%-includes 1 forfeit 2-0 win
&-includes 2 forfeit 0-2 losses


Season Results

Thurs., July 2

Maroon 67, Royal Blue 51
Ash 56, Sapphire Blue 59
Pink 60, Forest Green 56
Kelly Green 68, Black 51
Neon Green 75, Red 73
Purple 63, Orange 56

Bye: Gold

Tues., June 30

Red 60, Purple 47
Orange 89, Royal Blue 43
Gold 76, Kelly Green 60
Maroon 67, Black 48
Forest Green 60, Sapphire Blue 54
Neon Green 2, Ash 0, forfeit

Bye: Pink

Thurs, June 25

Maroon 77, Orange 56
Purple 59, Sapphire Blue 54
Red 94 , Kelly Green 64
Gold 2, Ash 0, forfeit
Pink 87, Royal Blue 31

Bye: Neon Green

Tues., June 23

Black 49, Orange 47
Neon Green 91, Forest Green 42
Purple 59, Ash 31
Red 89, Royal Blue 84
Gold 87, Maroon 84
Pink 54, Sapphire Blue 49

Bye: Kelly Green

Thurs, June 18

Gold 70, Royal Blue 57
Ash 74, Forest Green 67
Sapphire Blue 62, Orange 60
Neon Green 69, Maroon 60
Pink 67, Red 50
Purple 66, Kelly Green 40

Bye: Black

Tues, June 16

Maroon 59, Kelly Green 54
Gold 69, Orange 43
Black 73, Red 42
Pink 64, Neon Green 52
Purple 61, Forest Green 47
Ash 61, Royal Blue 41

Bye: Sapphire Blue

Looking Ahead

Tues., July 7

7 p.m.

Purple (5-1) vs. Neon Green (4-1), Court 1
Royal Blue (0-6) vs. Sapphire Blue (1-4), Court 2
Black (2-3) vs. Pink (5-0), Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Red (3-3) vs. Maroon (4-2), Court 1
Ash (3-3) vs. Kelly Green (1-4), Court 2
Forest Green (2-4) vs. Gold (5-0), Court 3

Bye: Orange (1-5)

Thurs., July 9

7 p.m.

Neon Green vs,. Sapphire Blue, Court 1
Purple vs. Pink, Court 2
Forest Green vs. Royal Blue, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Orange vs. Kelly Green, Court 1
Gold vs. Red, Court 2
Black vs. Ash, Court 3

Bye: Maroon


Tues., July 14

7 p.m.

Gold vs. Black, Court 1
Kelly Green vs. Royal Blue, Court 2
Maroon vs. Purple, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Pink vs. Ash, Court 1
Red vs. Sapphire Blue, Court 2
Neon Green vs. Orange, Court 3

Bye: Forest Green
Thurs., July 16

7 p.m.

Black vs. Royal Blue, Court 1
Gold vs. Purple, Court 2
Kelly Green vs. Neon Green, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Red vs. Forest Green, Court 1
Pink vs. Orange, Court 2
Maroon vs. Sapphire Blue, Court 3

Bye: Ash

Scoring 20 Points or More

31-Dallas Ely, Maroon (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – July 2
31-Chelsea Woods, Red (W) vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 25
30- Megan Quinn, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) - June 23
30-Maureen Leahy, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23

28-Chelsea Woods, Red (L), vs. Neon Green (W) – July 2
28- Chelsea Woods, Red (W), vs. vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
28-Chelsea Woods, Red (L), vs. Pink (W) – June 18
25-Megan Quinn, Neon Green (W), vs. Red (L) – July 2
25-Tori Smick, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23
25-Ashley Wood, Gold (W) vs Orange (L) – June 16
25-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W) vs Maroon (L) – June 18

24-Jasmine Elum, Gold (W) vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 30
24-Sarah Fairbanks, Pink (W) vs Red (L) – June 18
24-Tyniqua Henderson, Royal Blue (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 18
23-Mackenzie Carroll, Orange (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 25
23-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Maroon (L) – June 23
22-Sarah Fairbanks, Pink (W) vs. Forest Green (L) – July 2
22-Alex Thomas, Purple (W) vs. Sapphire Blue (L) – June 25
22-Micah Morgan, Purple (W), vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 18
21-Chelsea Woods, Red (W) vs. Purple (L) – June 25
21 – Sarah Payonk, Pink (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 25
21-Natalya Lee, Red (W), vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
21-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23
21-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Royal Blue – June 18
20-Samantha Stipa, Neon Green (W), vs. Red (L) – July 2
20-Maggie Locke, Royal Blue (L) vs. Orange (W) – June 25
20-Mary Ellen McCollum, Kelly Green (L) vs, Red (L) – June 25
20-Margaret Melham, Red (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
20-Brittany Sicinski, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23

Tie-Break Tracker
True Order This Week

Gold (5-0) vs. O (W), RB (W), vs. M (W), Ash (W-*F), KG(W)
Pink (5-0) vs. NG (W), Red (W), SB (W), RB(W), FG(W)
Purple (5-1) vs. FG (W), KG (W), A(W), SB(W), Red (L), O(W)
Neon Green (4-1) vs. Pink(L), M(W), FG (W), Ash (W-*F), Red(W)
Maroon (4-2) vs. KG (W), NG (L), G(L).O(W), Black (W), RB(W)
Red (3-3) vs. Blk (L), Pink (L), RB(W),KG(W), Purp(W), NG(L)
Ash (3-3) vs. RB (W), FG (W), Purple (L), Gold (L-*F), NG(L-*F),SB(W)
Black (2-3) vs. Red (W), O (W), FG(L), M(L), KG(L)
Forest Green (2-4) vs. Purp (L), Ash (L), NG(L),B(W), SB(W),Pink(L)
Kelly Green (1-4) vs. M (L), Purp (L),Red(L), Gold(L),Black(W)
Sapphire Blue (1-4) O(W), Pink(L),Purp(L), FG(L), Ash(L)
Orange (1-5) vs. Gold (L), SB (L), B(L),M(L), RB(W),Purple(L)
Royal Blue (0-6) vs. Ash (L), Gold (L), Red (L),Pink(L), O(L),M(L)

*-Forfeit win or loss

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Philly Summer League: Woods Leads Red to Upset Over Purple

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

Another big evening from Saint Joseph’s sophomore Chelsea Woods carried Red to a 60-47 upset of previously unbeaten Purple (4-1) also known in the winter as the DII USciences squad, and into a fifth-place tie with Maroon (3-2) Tuesday night in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League at Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades in Hatboro, Pa.

Defending champion Gold (5-0) stayed perfect with a 76-60 triumph over winless Kelly Green (0-4) and moved into sole possession of first place a half-game ahead of idle Pink (4-0), which served its bye and is the only other remaining unbeaten squad of the 13 in the league.

Neon Green (3-1), another team starting to get into the mix, came off its bye to get a win while being idle as Ash (2-3) also known as Millersville, for the most part of its roster, gave up its second straight forfeit for another 2-0 setback.

In a game in which someone was going to get their first victory of the summer Orange (1-4) topped Royal Blue 89-43 to send the opponent all alone at the bottom of the standings, though Kelly Green is only a half-game ahead alone in 12th place.

With one of the two nights scheduled for week three completed, the standings are set in true order for the first time this season.

Factoring the byes to date – Gold is next to have the night off on Thursday – teams have either played the maximum five or just four if having served a bye.

Just four players hit the Guru night individual 20-or-more points standard highlighted by Jasmine Elum with 24 points fueled by one of the better marks in league history with seven connected 3-pointers playing for Gold.

Woods has scored 20 or more points in four of her five games with the three previous wins collecting 31, the league high to date; and 28 twice.

Two other of the performances occurred in the same game with Mackenzie Carroll, an incoming freshman at Colgate out of Central Bucks West scoring 20 points for the winning Orange squad and Maggie Locke, a Holy Cross freshman out of Spring-Ford, scoring 20 for Royal Blue.

Looking Ahead

On Thursday night, the highlight in the six games under three doubleheaders has Neon Green meeting Red in the 7 p.m. game on Court 3. While teams are separating themselves in the standings to eventually determine eight playoff participants at the end of this month none of the higher group will meet each other.

Next week after the holiday, which doesn’t affect the schedule this summer because of when July 4th fell, Purple meets Neon Green at 7 p.m. Tuesday night on Court 1, Black and Pink meet the same time on Court 3 while Red and Maroon, currently tied for fifth, meet each other at 8:15 p.m. on Court 2.

On Thursday next week Purple and Pink meet on Court 2 at 7 p.m. followed by Gold and Red at the same location. Orange will serve its bye on Tuesday night while Maroon gets the night off Thursday.

Moving Up

Congratulations to Saint Joseph’s assistant Jada Pierce, who landing her first Division I head coaching job Tuesday, being announced at Niagara. She has been helpful to longtime commissioner David Kessler in the summer league in recommending the Hawks duos who should play together on the various teams under the NCAA rule that only allows two each from respective Division I programs unless an incoming freshman hasn’t enrolled.

The regulation is not applicable for graduates, however.

Breaking Ties

There are now only two deadlocks at the moment with Red in fifth breaking its tie with Maroon off a better win off Tuesday’s upset of Purple, while in eighth place Ash, despite the two forfeits, gets the upper hand off Forest Green with a head-to-head win.

Everyone else, beginning with Gold, as mentioned, stands alone in their position. Since more upper portion teams are going head-to-head with lower portions squads the next two nights, things will either get tighter through upsets or separation will grow more off the favorites being able to prevail.

Tuesday’s Recaps

Gold 76, Kelly Green 60: The performance of Elum, a 2012 Bethune-Cookman graduate out of Bodine High, has already been mentioned for the unbeaten champs (5-0), while Kristalyn Baisden, a Saint Joseph’s freshman, scored 14 points off four treys, and American University’s Lauren Crisler of North Penn and Danielle Derr, a 2013 Bloomsburg graduate from Upper Dublin, each scored 12.

Megan Gallagher, a 2014 DeSales grad from St. Basil, scored 15 for Royal Blue (0-4) and and Jenna Swope, a recent Gettysburg graduate from Archbishop Wood, scored 12 off four 3-pointers.

Red 60, Purple 47: Besides Woods’ night for Red (3-2), Saint Joseph’s senior Ciara Andrews out of Cheltenham, scored 16 points.

Micah Morgan of USciences out of Caravel High scored 13 for Purple (4-1), which held third despite the loss to stay a game out of first, while Sarah Abbonizio, a 2020-listed Devils projected graduate out of Episcopal Academy, scored 11.

Maroon 67, Black 48: Locked in a tie for fifth with Red, Maroon (3-2), also known as the Division II West Chester group, got 18 points from senior Brittany Sicinski of Downingtown West, while Mariah Powell, a senior out of Bayard Rustin, and senior Kendall Benovy out of Hershey High each scored 12.

As Black (2-2), also known as Division II Philadelphia U, which has played West Chester in the winter, fell to .500 alone in seventh place, Alexandra Heck, a senior out of Archbishop Wood, scored nine points, Valez Jackson, a freshman from Merion Mercy, scored eight points, and Mary Newell, a senior from Villa Joseph Marie, also scored eight points.

Orange 89, Royal Blue 43: In the first win for Orange (1-4), besides Carroll’s performance mentioned in the opening to today’s post, Lauren Rothfeld, a Salisbury junior out of Upper Dublin, scored 15 fueled by four treys and that overall point total was matched by Lindsey Kelly, a Nazareth College senior out of Central Bucks East.

Besides the 20 from Locke, the predominately Penn State-Abington Royal Blue (0-5) group got 10 from Elizabeth Jones, shooting 7-for-8 from the line.

Forest Green 60, Sapphire Blue 54: This was the closest game of the night – incidentally the Guru was in Connecticut for a WNBA game and writing this while almost all the way home. Indy’s Maggie Lucas, a former Penn State sensation from Narberth got hurt late in the game and her status was unknown after being carried off the floor.

The Guru will be on the scene Thursday night.

Back in Lower Bucks County, Erin Fenningham, a Division II Holy Family senior, got 11 points for Forest Green (2-3), composed primarily of Tigers players, while that total was matched by Alexandra Sommers, an MCCC senior, and Michala Clay, another Saint Joseph’s freshman, scored 10.

Emily O’Donnell, an Albright senior from William Tennent, scored 14 points for Sapphire Blue (1-3), which is dominated by East Stroudsburg, a Division II program up in the Poconos. Michelle Boggs, a senior from Springside, scored eight points, while Samantha Hicks, a Bryn Athyn College freshman from Archbishop Ryan, and Noelle Powell, an East Stroudsburg freshman from Bayard Rustin, each scored seven points.

Neon Green 2, Ash 0 (forfeit): Neon Green (3-1), would have probably won this anyway the way the Villanova duo of Megan Quinn and Alex Louin have been playing, but the no-show from Ash (2-3) meant Neon Green players, coming out of the bye, had two straight nights of being

Standings
Team W-L G.B. PF PA Pct.

(Thru Wed., July 1)
(True Order This Week)

%-Gold 5-0 –- 304 244 1.000
Pink 4-0 0.5 272 182 1.000
Purple 4-1 1.0- 290 232 .800
%-Neon Green 3-1 1.5 214 166 .750
Red 3-2 2.0 335 335 .600
Maroon 3-2 2.0 347 314 .600
Black 2-2 2.5 224 212 .500
&-Ash 2-3 3.0 166 171 .400
Forest Green 2-3 3.0 272 334 .500
Sapphire 1-3 3.5 00 219 233 .250
Orange 1-4 4.0 295 300 .200
Kelly 0-3 4.5 218 295 .000
Royal Blue 0-5 5.0 256 396 .000

%-includes 1 forfeit 2-0 win
&-includes 2 forfeit 0-2 losses


Season Results

Tues., June 30

Red 60, Purple 47
Orange 89, Royal Blue 43
Gold 76, Kelly Green 60
Maroon 67, Black 48
Forest Green 60, Sapphire Blue 54
Neon Green 2, Ash 0, forfeit

Bye: Pink

Thurs, June 25

Maroon 77, Orange 56
Purple 59, Sapphire Blue 54
Red 94 , Kelly Green 64
Gold 2, Ash 0, forfeit
Pink 87, Royal Blue 31
Forest Green 56, Black 55

Bye: Neon Green

Tues., June 23

Black 49, Orange 47
Neon Green 91, Forest Green 42
Purple 59, Ash 31
Red 89, Royal Blue 84
Gold 87, Maroon 84
Pink 54, Sapphire Blue 49

Bye: Kelly Green

Thurs, June 18

Gold 70, Royal Blue 57
Ash 74, Forest Green 67
Sapphire Blue 62, Orange 60
Neon Green 69, Maroon 60
Pink 67, Red 50
Purple 66, Kelly Green 40

Bye: Black

Tues, June 16

Maroon 59, Kelly Green 54
Gold 69, Orange 43
Black 73, Red 42
Pink 64, Neon Green 52
Purple 61, Forest Green 47
Ash 61, Royal Blue 41

Bye: Sapphire Blue

Looking Ahead

Thurs., July 2

7 p.m.

Pink (4-0) vs. Forest Green (2-3), Court 1
Sapphire Blue (1-3) vs. Ash (2-3), Court 2
Neon Green (3-1) vs Red (3-2), Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Kelly Green (0-4) vs. Black (2-2), Court 1
Maroon (3-2) vs. Royal Blue (0-5), Court 2
Orange (1-4) vs. Purple (4-1) , Court 3

Bye: Gold (5-0)

Tues., July 7

7 p.m.

Purple vs. Neon Green, Court 1
Royal Blue v. Sapphire Blue, Court 2
Black vs. Pink, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Red vs. Maroon, Court 1
Ash vs. Kelly Green, Court 2
Forest Green vs. Gold, Court 3

Bye: Orange

Thurs., July 9

7 p.m.

Neon Green vs,. Sapphire Blue, Court 1
Purple vs. Pink, Court 2
Forest Green vs. Royal Blue, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Orange vs. Kelly Green, Court 1
Gold vs. Red, Court 2
Black vs. Ash, Court 3

Bye: Maroon

Scoring 20 Points or More

31-Chelsea Woods, Red (W) vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 25
30- Megan Quinn, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) - June 23
30-Maureen Leahy, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23
28- Chelsea Woods, Red (W), vs. vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
28-Chelsea Woods, Red (L), vs. Pink (W) – June 18
25-Tori Smick, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23
25-Ashley Wood, Gold (W) vs Orange (L) – June 16
25-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W) vs Maroon (L) – June 18
24-Jasmine Elum, Gold (W) vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 30
24-Sarah Fairbanks, Pink (W) vs Red (L) – June 18
24-Tyniqua Henderson, Royal Blue (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 18
23-Mackenzie Carroll, Orange (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 25
23-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Maroon (L) – June 23
22-Alex Thomas, Purple (W) vs. Sapphire Blue (L) – June 25
22-Micah Morgan, Purple (W), vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 18
21-Chelsea Woods, Red (W) vs. Purple (L) – June 25
21 – Sarah Payonk, Pink (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 25
21-Natalya Lee, Red (W), vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
21-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23
21-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Royal Blue – June 18
20-Maggie Locke, Royal Blue (L) vs. Orange (W) – June 25
20-Mary Ellen McCollum, Kelly Green (L) vs, Red (L) – June 25
20-Margaret Melham, Red (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
20-Brittany Sicinski, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23

Tie-Break Tracker

True Order This Week

Gold (5-0) vs. O (W), RB (W), vs. M (W), Ash (W-*F), KG(W)
Pink (4-0) vs. NG (W), Red (W), SB (W), RB(W)
Purple (4-1) vs. FG (W), KG (W), A(W), SB(W), Red (L)
Neon Green (3-1) vs. Pink(L), M(W), FG (W), Ash (W-*F)
Red (3-2) vs. Blk (L), Pink (L), RB(W),KG(W), Purp(W)
Maroon (3-2) vs. KG (W), NG (L), G(L).O(W), Black (W)
Black (2-2) vs. Red (W), O (W), FG(L), M(L)
Ash (2-3) vs. RB (W), FG (W), Purple (L), Gold (L-*F), NG(L-*F)
Forest Green (2-3) vs. Purp (L), Ash (L), NG(L),B(W), SB(W)
Sapphire Blue (1-3) O(W), Pink(L),Purp(L), FG(L)
Orange (1-4) vs. Gold (L), SB (L), B(L),M(L), RB(W)
Kelly Green (0-4) vs. M (L), Purp (L),Red(L), Gold(L)
Royal Blue (0-5) vs. Ash (L), Gold (L), Red (L),Pink(L), O(L)

*-Forfeit win or loss

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Monday, June 29, 2015

WNBA: Dolson's Record Night Helps Washington Top Chicago

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

WASHINGTON --
Back in last month’s training camp here at the Verizon Center, if WNBA Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault had known enough to indicate that second-year pro Bria Hartley, the former University of Connecticut star, and veteran center Kia Vaughn out of Rutgers might not be playing regularly until sometime in July, that might have been enough for fans to start lighting distress flares along the banks of the nearby Potomac River.

Not to worry however.

Despite Chicago coming to town riding the hot hand of league-leading scorer Elena Delle Donne in her third season, the Mystics were able to break their second-place standings deadlock with the Sky in the Eastern Conference and gain an 86-71 victory in a Sunday afternoon matinee.

So without getting much of anything so far from Hartley (not dressed due to right foot stress factor) and Vaughn (concussion), Washington has bolted to a 6-3 start just 1.5 games behind the surprising Connecticut Sun (7-1), who have won all seven straight after the Mystics took a league opener off the Sun on the road earlier this month.

The big statistic as a team for Washington was the 37-24 domination on the boards.

“Our rebounding was a little better. We’ll wait until we play other teams but that’s a good first step,” Thibault said, who began his postgame remarks quipping, “I guess I should feel good we held (Delle Donne) to three below her average.”

The former University of Delaware star, who made shots heard around the league with a career-high 45 points earlier in the week against the Atlanta Dream in an overtime win, finished with 26, though in a decisive 23-14 third quarter Delle Donne was held scoreless.

“You know Delle Donne is tough. She’s going to get some calls. She’s a great free throw shooter,” Thibault said.

The story of the win on the Mystics’ side is wrapped around the play of second-year pro Stefanie Dolson, the former UConn post sensation, who had a career-high 19 points, one behind third-year pro Emma Meesseman’s 20.

Dolson also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.

“I think I’ve had a little more confidence lately,” Dolson said. “Obviously you know it sucks not having Kia but it gives people an opportunity to step up and in practice I’ve been getting a lot of reps.

“So I’ve just been trying to go in and have the mentality of working as hard as I can, doing what the coach asks and when I get the opportunity to score the basketball.

My guards did a good job of getting me the ball and getting me open and I did a good job of getting them in,” Dolson said. “Coach is making sure we’re always working on it (rebounding) and we always have it in our head.

“As posts we had a goal for ourselves today, certain number of rebounds as something to reach for. So going into the game, we really had it in our minds. We had the mentality of making the extra effort.”

Thibault noted the rapid rise in Dolson’s game after her rookie season and playing overseas this past winter.

“Huge progression. She’s rebounding the ball. Making decisions with her passes. She’s slowed herself down. I always compare it to when a quarterback comes into the NFL, the first year their game needs to slow down before they can improve and I think that’s what happened for her a little bit.”

Meesseman, a native of Belgium who came into the league the same time as Delle Donne, continued to receive praise from Thibault on her development.

“You know I’ve been touting Emma’s horn all season,” he said. “I think she’s an All-Star. It would be a pretty good All-Star game to see her and Delle Donne playing together (for the East) but I think that gives us something to throw back at teams as a weapon. It’s pretty sensational right now.”

The annual mid-season classic will be played up in Connecticut on July 25 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Ivory Latta, the former North Carolina star, had 16 points, making 5-of-7 three-point attempts, a category in which Washington shot 10-for19, a season-high 52.6 percentage as a team,

Tayler Hill, the former Ohio State star, scored 16 off the bench and hit 4-of-5 treys.

She was the fourth overall pick of the famous draft three years ago when Baylor’s Brittany Griner went first to the Phoenix Mercury, Delle Donne was then taken by Chicago, and then the Tulsa Shock picked up Notre Dame’s Skyler Diggins.

It was a big disappointment at the time of the lottery announcement for the organization and its fan base after Washington had finished with the worst record in the WNBA.

Then Thibault became available after being let go in Connecticut after coaching the Sun in their first decade and he used the pick to select Hill.

“Yeah, the first pick of the other draft,” he quipped Sunday. “She’s continuing to improve. Sometimes she lets her shooting dictate her approach to the game.We’ve been trying to harp on her, `Even the nights you’re not making shots, you can do other things.’

“I think that’s sinking in. Obviously, she made shots tonight but I thought her body language the last couple of days is really good. In practice the other day, the team she was on was really struggling and I thought she got them to fight through it a little bit. That’s a good leadership role for someone coming off the bench.”

Though Tierra Ruffin-Pratt scored just two points, Thibault credited her for defensing Sky veteran league star Cappie Pondexter into scoring just 10 points, the same total as former DePaul star Allie Quiggley, who also scored in double figures for Chicago (5-4) with 10 points.

Washington rookie Natasha Cloud, the former Saint Joseph’s star out of Cardinal O’Hara High and suburban Broomall, Pa., scored two points in 13 minutes, 24 points of action, off the bench. She also grabbed four rebounds.

On Chicago’s side afterwards, Sky coach Pokey Chatman said of the Mystics, “I thought they got off to a quick star offensively and we never quite gained the momentum back. We had a couple of runs but we had breakdowns in areas you can’t have them, like transition offense, missed layups, transition three, turnover … transition two and those are things we can clean up against any team in the league let alone against a team that is playing well.

“They’re at home, got a lot of weapons and that’s just something we have to work on.”

As to how the game went, Delle Donne said after playing the closest to home she gets in the league for the first time this season, “Truthfully it’s the 86 points they scored that we are most upset about. Putting up 71, that’s not too bad a game, unfortunately we were unable to get stops and that affects our offense a big amount.

“I think the biggest thing is we just have to become more of a consistent team, defensively.”

Before the game, Chatman was asked about her other Delaware player, rookie Betnijah Laney out of Rutgers.

“Just love her,” the Chicago coach said. “She’s such a hard worker. The minute I open my laptop, she comes rushing over and I have to tell her, `I’ve got ten other players I have to worry about, too.’”

The Sky next hosts the New York Liberty on Tuesday and then travel to Connecticut, Thursday, the same night Washington next plays visiting the Indiana Fever.

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Saturday, June 27, 2015

WNBA: Delle Done and Chicago Make First Visit to Washington

By Rob Knox @knoxrob1

Led by the WNBA’s scoring machine Elena Delle Donne, the Chicago Sky invades the Verizon Center to meet the Washington Mystics in a late Sunday afternoon matinee beginning at 4:00 p.m.

The Sky has been the WNBA’s road warriors to start the season. This will be their seventh road game in their first nine contests, although for Delle Donne it is a psuedo homecoming considering the short distance from D.C. to the University of Delaware where she excelled not far from her home in Wilmington.

Vice President Biden, a fellow alum, is a Delle Donne fan and attended seceral of her games with the Blue Hens.

Meanwhile, after stumbling out the gate with losses in two of their first three games, the Sky enter Sunday’s first of five meetings against Washington riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak.

Both Chicago and Washington sport 5-3 records. Each team is two games behind the 7-1 Connecticut Sun at the quarter poll of the WNBA season.

Each squad played Friday night with mixed results.

The Sky rode the tandem of veteran guards Cappie Pondexter and Allie Quigley, who combined for 40 points, to claim an 83-77 victory on the road over Indiana. Meanwhile, the Mystics fell to the Atlanta Dream for the second time this season, 83-80, despite 18 points from Ivory Latta.

In the win over the Fever, Delle Donne posted her fourth straight double-double (14 points, 14 rebounds). It was the first time this season that the WNBA’s leading scorer failed to score at least 24 points. Of course, she was the talk of the league following her career best 45-point performance in a 100-96 overtime win over Atlanta earlier this week.

Pondexter led the Sky with 23 points on 10-for-17 shooting – her third game with 20 or more points this season. Quigley added 17, while Courtney Vandersloot contributed 13 points, seven assist and six rebounds. Chicago finished with 11 offensive rebounds on the night and outscored the Fever 16-2 in second-chance points.

“Obviously when you can get a win on the road against a very good team, it’s positive,” Sky coach Pokey Chatman said following the Fever game. “More importantly for us, it was the second [half] on defense. We gave up 52 points in the first half and 25 in the second.

"We have to make sure that we continue improving on that end of the floor. It was nice to see us play off of Elena Delle Donne. You know she’s been putting up crazy numbers so they sent a double team. And it was nice to see my team make some reads and get [the ball] to open players. I think Cappie Pondexter and Courtney Vandersloot really stepped up.”

The Mystics have done a great job of immediately overcoming defeats this season. They have followed each loss with a win. Each of Washington’s three losses has been by four points or less. Washington will be looking to rebounding literally after being outrebounded by a combined 71-48 in its last two games against Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Washington has grabbed 24 rebounds in each of its last two games. It’s a number that should improve once Kia Vaughn returns to the lineup.

Emma Meesseman (14 points), Stefanie Dolson (12) and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (10) also scored in double figures for the Mystics. Meesseman has scored 20 or more points in three straight home games for Washington, which was outscored 21-9 in the third quarter against Atlanta.

“They outplayed us particularly in the third quarter,” Mystic coach Mike Thibault said. “The difference in the game was offensive rebound points and turnovers. It seems like a broken record for me against them. They got 72 points and 42 of them came off of offensive boards and our turnovers.”

The game against Chicago begins an odd stretch in which Washington will play four games over an 18-day period. The next home game for the Mystics will be against the New York Liberty on Thursday, July 9 at 11:30 a.m.

SKY FEATURED ON ESPN2 PRIDE NIGHT TELECAST: For the second consecutive year, the WNBA is celebrating inclusion and equality throughout the month of June as part of WNBA Pride month.

The league will also celebrate WNBA Pride with a national television broadcast featuring the New York Liberty and Chicago Sky on Tuesday, June 30 (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2). The telecast will include in-game Pride related content and the WNBA Pride logo on courtside signage.

“The WNBA embraces people of every gender and sexual orientation,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “We are very excited to once again celebrate our diverse fanbase in partnership with our teams, partners and fans during WNBA Pride month.”

The WNBA is promoting Pride with an integrated marketing, media, grassroots and social responsibility program. Beginning in June and continuing throughout the season, the league and its teams’ Pride content, events and schedules will be posted on WNBA.com/pride and shared through the league’s social media channels with the hashtag #wnbapride.

Fans can purchase WNBA Pride T-shirts designed by adidas, the league’s official oncourt uniform and apparel provider, which are available on WNBASTORE.com. Proceeds will benefit GLSEN, a long-time WNBA partner.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Philly Summer League: Saint Joseph's Chelsea Woods the Latest Hawk to Impact Action

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

HATBORO, Pa. –
For the last several years a Saint Joseph’s player among several Hawks stars has been in the group of various outstanding performers in the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League here at Kelly Bolish Gym, one of the AAU Renegades in lower Bucks County not far from the northern city limits.

Several years ago it was Katie Kuester, now an assistant to Joe Logan at Loyola of Maryland in Baltimore, leading several teams to the summer title.

A year ago it was Natasha Cloud of the championship Gold squad who now is making an impressive debut as a WNBA rookie with the Washington Mystics after being chosen 15th overall in the second round.

Perhaps one night on this summer’s Philly schedule if the Mystics are home and off the former Cardinal O'Hara star out of Broomall might return to her old haunts.

Now in the early going with two weeks completed after Thursday night’s games, it looks like Saint Joseph’s sophomore Chelsea Woods might keep the Hawks streak alive here.

Woods, who had scored 28 points, each, the two previous nights, hit the high scoring performance of the summer Thursday with 31 points in Red’s 94-64 triumph over winless Kelly Green (0-3) as Red (2-2) with two straight victories made it to .500 and a seventh place tie in the 13-team action in which eight at the end of July will go to the playoffs.

She was also one of four players who hit the nightly 20-or-more points individual standard, which is the only stat the Guru can feature since points are the only statistic reported in the three nightly doubleheaders.

Each team gets one bye on the night with red-hot Neon Green (2-1) idle Thursday night and Pink serving its bye next Tuesday when the games resume.

In the same Red-Kelly Green contest, Mary Ellen McCollum, a 2014 graduate of Division II Holy Family in Northeast Philadelphia, scored 20 points for Kelly Green.

Alex Thomas, an incoming USciences freshman, scored 22 points in Purple’s 59-54 win over Sapphire Blue (1-2) to remain one of three unbeaten teams tied at the top along with Gold (4-0), which gained a 2-0 forfeit win over Ash (2-2), composed primarily of Millersville players, which failed to have enough personnel on hand when the tipoff deadline arrived.

Gold was a very strong favorite in its game Thursday so the result via forfeit might be academic.

Sarah Payonk, a junior on Division III Scranton, which dominates the Pink roster, was the fourth player to hit the 20-or-more standard scoring 21 to keep Pink (4-0) also unbeaten, courtesy of a lopsided 87-31 win over Royal Blue (0-4), dominated on the roster by Penn State-Abington players.

A narrow 56-54 victory was the first of the summer season for Forest Green (1-3), which upset Black (2-1), handing the Division II Philadelphia University group their first loss.

Besides Royal Blue (0-4) and Kelly Green (0-3), Team Orange (0-4), which fell to Maroon (2-2), the the primarily Division II West Chester squad, is also looking for its first victory.

Looking Ahead

One more team will get its first triumph of the season Tuesday since the 0-4 squads of Royal Blue and Orange will meet on Court 3 in one of the three 7 p.m. games.

Maroon (2-2) and Black (2-1) meet in the opening action of the night on Court 2 with the two squads under their winter affiliations at schools having met in the past.

With Red suddenly on a roll, an intriguing game on Court 3 in an 8:15 start looms with the matchup being with unbeaten Purple.

As teams begin to separate themselves some dates to take note among the top contenders in the early going are:

--Neon Green vs. Red on Court 3 in next Thursday's 7 p.m. start.
--Purple vs. Neon Green at 7 p.m. at Court 1 on July 7, with Black meeting Pink at the same date and time on Court 3.
--Purple vs. Pink on Court 2 at 7 p.m. on July 9 and Red meeting Gold on the same court immediately following at 8:15 p.m.
--Gold and Purple at 7 p.m. on Court 2 on July 16.
--Gold vs. Pink at 8:15 on Court 3 on July 21.

The Recap Skinny

With all the night’s highlighted mentioned, here’s the recap of the five games played, remembering that as mentioned Gold-Ash was a forfeit result after listed as a 7 p.m. start.

Under the bylaws as promulgated by longtime commissioner David B. Kessler, the 7 p.m. games allow a 15-minute grace because of traffic and distance for those directly coming straight from work or homes located a significant amount of time away from the venue located in Willow Grove Commons Business Park alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike and near the intersection of Davisville and Byberry Roads.

Incidentally, there is no admission charge and there is a snack bar with cheap and tasty food such as hot dogs and hamburgers.

Thursday’s Action

Red 94, Kelly Green 64:
Besides Woods’ performance, Red got 18 points from Natalya Lee, a Division II Kutztown player out of Rancocas Valley High across the Delaware River in southern New Jersey, 16 from Devin Gold, a recent Caldwell grad out of Council Rock North, and 12 from Lauren Gold, a Shippensburg junior out of Abington Friends.

Besides McCollum’s 20, Kaitlyn Kelly a DeSales junior out of Pennsbury High, scored 14 points for which most came off four 3-pointers by the Kelly Green player.

The commissioner keeps noting its tough to achieve more parity across the board because of players and Division II and Division III squads who express a desire to be together prior to the annual May draft to make up the rosters.

Forest Green 56, Black 54: Michala Clay, a Saint Joseph’s incoming freshman, scored 17 points in Forest Green’s first win, as did Erin Fenningham, a Holy Family senior. Katie O’Hare, a Holy Family freshman, scored nine points for the winners.

Mary Newell, a Philadelphia senior out of Villa Joseph Marie, scored 11 points for Black, while Jess Kaminski, a Rams player out of Archbishop Wood, and Tori Arnao, a recent Rams grad also out of Archbishop Wood, each scored 10 points.

Holy Family, Philadelphia U., and USciences have familiarity with each other since the three schools all compete in the southern division of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.

Maroon 77, Orange 56: Jiana Clark, scored 19 points for the primarily West Chester squad on which she is a senior as Maroon got back to .500 at 2-2.

Kendall Benovy, a senior on the Golden Rams out of Hershey High, scored 11 points, while Camden Boehner, a junior from Gettysburg Area High, and Dallas Ely, a recent West Chester grad, each scored 10 points.

Emma Dorshimer, a Gettysburg freshman, scored 14 points for Orange, which also got 11 from Lindsey Kelly, a Nazareth College senior from Central Bucks East, and 10 from Brianna Spector, an Oneonta State junior from Upper Dublin High.

Purple 59, Sapphire Blue 54: The USciences group let a 15-point lead shrivel to a mere single one before Sarah Abbonizio, listed for 2020 graduation out of Episcopal Academy, saved the day with foul shots at the finish to keep Purple unbeaten at the top in a three-way tie among the 4-0 unbeaten squads.

Sapphire Blue got 17 points from Michelle Boggs, a Division II East Stroudsburg senior out of Springside High, and 10 from Noelle Powell, a freshman at the school which dominates the summer roster of Sapphire Blue (1-2).

Pink 87, Royal Blue 31: Besides Payonk’s 21 for the predominantly Scrannon group, Julia Gantz, a Bloomsburg freshman out of Archbishop Carroll, scored 16 points to keep Pink unbeaten, while Sarah Engman, a Division III Widener senior, scored 14 points, and Jaclyn Gantz, a Scranton senior out of Hasverford High, scored 13 points.

Tyniqua Henderson, a Penn State-Abington senior out of Dobbins High, scored 12 points for Royal Blue while Elizabeth Jones, a junior at PSU-Abington out of St. Hubert’s, scored nine.

And that’s the report. As previously mentioned, next weekend’s July 4th holiday doesn’t impact the league schedule this summer so no extra night will be needed across the Tuesday and Thursday night dates to make up for any disruption.

When the impact has occurred, the commissioner usually let’s the previous day go dark or also doesn’t schedule when the holiday falls on a Tuesday or Thursday and then inserts a Wednesday night set of games on the three courts the following week.

Standings
Team W-L G.B. PF PA Pct.

(Thru Mon., June 29)

(Ties Listed Alphabetical For Now)

%-Gold 4-0 –- 228 184 1.000
Pink 4-0 –- 272 212 1.000
Purple 4-0 –- 243 172 1.000
Black 2-1 1.5 176 145 .667
Neon Green 2-1 1.5 212 166 .667
&-Ash 2-2 1.0 166 169 .500
Maroon 2-2 2.0 280 266 .500
Red 2-2 2.0 275 288 .500
Sapphire 1-2 2.5 165 173 .333
Forest Green 1-3 3.0 212 280 .250
Kelly 0-3 3.5 158 219 .000
Orange 0-4 4.0 206 257 .000
Royal Blue 0-4 4.0 213 307 .000

%-includes 1 forfeit 2-0 win
&-includes 1 forfeit 0-2 loss


Season Results
Thurs, June 25

Maroon 77, Orange 56
Purple 59, Sapphire Blue 54
Red 94, Kelly Green 64
Gold 2, Ash 0, forfeit
Pink 87, Royal Blue 31

Bye: Neon Green (2-1)

Tues., June 23

Black 49, Orange 47
Neon Green 91, Forest Green 42
Purple 59, Ash 31
Red 89, Royal Blue 84
Gold 87, Maroon 84
Pink 54, Sapphire Blue 49

Bye: Kelly Green

Thurs, June 18

Gold 70, Royal Blue 57
Ash 74, Forest Green 67
Sapphire Blue 62, Orange 60
Neon Green 69, Maroon 60
Pink 67, Red 50
Purple 66, Kelly Green 40

Bye: Black

Tues, June 16

Maroon 59, Kelly Green 54
Gold 69, Orange 43
Black 73, Red 42
Pink 64, Neon Green 52
Purple 61, Forest Green 47
Ash 61, Royal Blue 41

Bye: Sapphire Blue

Looking Ahead
Tues., June 30


7 p.m.

Gold (4-0) vs. Kelly Green (0-3), Court 1
Maroon (2-2) vs. Black (2-1), Court 2
Orange (0-4) vs. Royal Blue (0-4), Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Sapphire Blue (1-2) vs. Forest Green (1-3), Court 1
Neon Green (2-1) vs. Ash (2-2) , Court 2
Purple (4-0) vs. Red (2-2), Court 3

Bye: Pink (4-0)

Thurs., July 2

7 p.m.

Pink vs. Forest Green, Court 1
Sapphire Blue vs. Ash, Court 2
Neon Green vs Red, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Kelly Green vs. Black, Court 1
Maroon vs. Royal Blue, Court 2
Orange vs. Purple, Court 3

Bye: Gold

Tues., July 7

7 p.m.

Purple vs. Neon Green, Court 1
Royal Blue v. Sapphire Blue, Court 2
Black vs. Pink, Court 3

8:15 p.m.

Red vs. Maroon, Court 1
Ash vs. Kelly Green, Court 2
Forest Green vs. Gold, Court 3

Bye: Orange

Scoring 20 Points or More

31-Chelsea Wood, Red (W) vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 25
30- Megan Quinn, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) - June 23
30-Maureen Leahy, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23
28- Chelsea Woods, Red (W), vs. vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
28-Chelsea Woods, Red (L), vs. Pink (W) – June 18
25-Tori Smick, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23
25-Ashley Wood, Gold (W) vs Orange (L) – June 16
25-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W) vs Maroon (L) – June 18
24-Sarah Fairbanks, Pink (W) vs Red (L) – June 18
24-Tyniqua Henderson, Royal Blue (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 18
23-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Maroon (L) – June 23
22-Alex Thomas, Purple (W) vs. Sapphire Blue (L) – June 25
22-Micah Morgan, Purple (W), vs. Kelly Green (L) – June 18
21 – Sarah Payonk, Pink (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 25
21-Natalya Lee, Red (W), vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
21-Alex Louin, Neon Green (W), vs. Forest Green (L) –June 23
21-Lauren Crisler, Gold (W) vs. Royal Blue – June 18
20-Mary Ellen McCollum, Kelly Green (L) vs, Red (L) – June 25
20-Margaret Melham, Red (W) vs. Royal Blue (L) – June 23
20-Brittany Sicinski, Maroon (L) vs. Gold (W) – June 23

Tie-Break Tracker

True Order Coming in a Few Weeks

Gold (4-0) vs. O (W), RB (W), vs. M (W), Ash (W-*F)
Pink (4-0) vs. NG (W), Red (W), SB (W), RB(W)
Purple (4-0) vs. FG (W), KG (W), A(W), SB(W)
Black (2-1) vs. Red (W), O (W), FG(L)
Neon Green (2-1) vs. Pink(L), M(W), FG (W)
Ash (2-2) vs. RB (W), FG (W), Purple (L), Gold (L-*F)
Maroon (2-2) vs. KG (W), NG (L), G(L).O(W)
Red (2-2) vs. Blk (L), Pink (L), RB(W),KG(W)
Sapphire Blue (1-2) O(W), Pink(L),Purp(L)
Forest Green (1-3) vs. Purp (L), Ash (L), NG(L),B(W)
Kelly Green (0-3) vs. M (L), Purp (L),Red(L)
Orange (0-4) vs. Gold (L), SB (L), B(L),M(L)
Royal Blue (0-4) vs. Ash (L), Gold (L), Red (L),Pink(L)

*-indicates forfeit result.

Don’t Forget to Like League on Facebook Page (Link to Come)

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WNBA: Back on the Sparks Veteran Temeka Johnson Recalls Her Lifetime Journey

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)

WASHINGTON –
Temeka Johnson is living proof to the notion that great treasures come in small packages.

An affable 5 foot, 3 inch quicksilver guard, Johnson has consistently stood tall in a sport dominated by giants during her brilliant career in which she has carved out a special place in WNBA history as one of the all-time great guards.

Now in her second stint with the Los Angeles Sparks, the 32-year old Johnson recently reflected on her journey from her hometown of New Orleans to LSU, back to Hollywood along with the places in between.

Johnson couldn’t help but to give props to those who believed in her, shielded her from harm and made sure she succeeded.

“I am really a product of it takes a village to raise a child,” Johnson said Tuesday night during an extensive postgame interview following the Mystics 84-80 win over her Sparks at the Verizon Center. “I was fortunate because the neighborhood I grew up in; there were so many people there that supported me.

"There were so many people who believed in me since day one. I am thankful for that and my neighborhood for holding me accountable. I could’ve easily conformed to my environment and the drugs. I thank God because he had a different plan for my life.”

The talented Johnson has succeeded because of her fearless play and selfless attitude. It also helped that she had extra motivation to silence her bleacher critics who deemed she was too small to play professionally.

Darting in-and-out of sneaker squeaking traffic, Johnson made her teammates better everywhere she has played.

“Coming into the league, my goal was to constantly compete and close out all of the people who said I couldn’t do anything,” Johnson said. “I definitely proved them wrong.

"For people to say that I don’t belong. Who are you to say that I don’t belong? You don’t know the work and the time that I’ve put in to improve and prepare.

"I’ve gotten it all my life.

"At the end of the day, it’s the game of basketball. Once a ball is put into your hands, you have to do what you got to do. Size doesn’t matter to me.”

She has an incredible competitive drive and never backs down from a challenge.

There were times during the Mystics game in which she was in the post battling the 6-5 Emma Meesseman and Stefanie Dolson.

As the Sparks (0-5 overall) enter the middle contest of their three-game east coast trip against Connecticut (6-1) Friday night, Johnson is closing in on some nice round numbers.

Her 1,295 career assists are 10th in league history. She needs five to become the 10th woman in league history to drop 1,300 dimes.

Johnson has played in 298 games and recorded 294 steals. Sunday’s game against New York will be her 300th career contest.

While currently leading the WNBA in assists (7.0) and posting consecutive double-doubles against Connecticut (15 points, 10 assists) and Washington (17 & 10) is nice, Johnson’s biggest contributions have occurred away from the bright lights of her basketball sanctuary.

She has done her best work in the community.

“As much as I love the game of basketball, it doesn’t give you the same sense of pride in helping somebody,” Johnson said. “My whole foundation has been about giving back to underprivileged kids and the community.

"I want to share my story and let everybody know I am from the same places and areas. If you cut me, we bleed the same color.

"It’s possible that things can be done and you don’t have to conform to your environment. There are other ways out. Surround yourself with people who believe in you just as much as you believe in yourself. ”

A beacon of optimism, Johnson founded and runs the charitable organization, Heaven Open People’s Eyes (HOPE), which provides inspiration to youth, families, and communities to help them to lead a healthier lifestyle.

The main objectives for her Foundation are to make an impact in every community that she adopts, to strongly express the importance of education and support for at-risk schools.

She’s also an author of the children’s book series, Meek Moments, with its first title, “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions”, published in August 2010. In addition, Johnson initiated the Jewel Johnson Education Scholarship for those looking to pursue a career in education.

“Hope can come in many shapes and sizes,” Johnson said. “It doesn’t have to be tangible things. You can be an ear for somebody. You can give them a hug. Having hope keeps the light bright.

"I am happy to be that. It brings me joy to see somebody smile just by being able to do the little things that I do for them. I want to share my story with young kids and give them a sense of hope and something to be proud of.”

Her career has also been one to cherish. She was saluted this past spring as a Southeasten Conference women’s basketball legend.

“I didn’t know if I should be excited that I am a considered a legend so young or does that means I am old,” Johnson said laughing. “In all seriousness, the SEC was a tough conference and we had some great talent come through there. I was honored to be acknowledged like that. It’s a blessing.”

All she did at LSU was set the school and SEC record for career assists. Johnson played a key role as the Lady Tigers started their run to five consecutive NCAA Final Fours during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

She was the 2005 recipient of the Lieberman Award which is awarded to the nation’s top point guard and named a 2005 All-American First Team selection by the United States Basketball Writers Association. Johnson claimed All-SEC First-Team accolades in 2004 and 2005 along with the 2003 SEC Tournament Most Valuable Player.

The accolades have continued in the WNBA. She was the 2005 WNBA Rookie of the Year with the Mystics and a member of the Mercury’s 2009 championship team. Johnson is one of four players in league history to have posted a triple-double (13 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), a feat accomplished last season as a member of the Seattle Storm.

The only thing that has eluded Johnson during her basketball career has been an appearance in the all-star game, which could happen this year.

“I’ve always known that God was the head of my life and he’s kept me,” Johnson said. “He’s allowed me to be on this platform as the little general and do big things for his glory, not even for myself. I am living proof that you can do any and everything you put your mind to. I am thankful to God for giving me the gift and talent to play basketball.”

Johnson has paid it forward by providing opportunities for others. That’s bigger than any victory or accolade Johnson has achieved during her career.

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