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.

Monday, August 28, 2017

In Search of a New NCAA Women's Basketball Czarina

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

As the 2017-18 collegiate women’s basketball year is fast approaching, and in the more recent world of change already started arriving, what many consider perhaps the most important hire in the entire sport, and, yes, that also includes the WNBA, is up for consideration.

No, it’s not the UConn coaching job, or some other position, either coaching or administratively at the elite level of the Power Five or high Mid-Major schools.

Earlier this month, Anucha Browne, former Northwestern star and all-timer in Big Ten women’s basketball, announced she is leaving her post as the NCAA’s vice president of women’s basketball for a position with UNICEF near her native Brooklyn in New York.

Incidentally, she led the nation in scoring her senior season with the Wildcats.

An aside: During her NCAA stint she probably produced more selfies -- yes she got yours truly several times -- than her entire photo archive of her fabulous career at Northwestern.

Browne’s announcement came on the fifth anniversary of the announcement of her hire from a position as senior women’s administrator and also senior associate athletic director for marketing at Buffalo.

Before that she held a high marketing position with the NBA New York Knicks, where she made headlines winning a sexual harassment lawsuit against then-general manager Isiah Thomas, now president of the WNBA New York Liberty, and Madison Square Garden, the corporate entity which involves ownership of the Knicks, NHL New York Rangers, the Liberty, and several other sports franchises.

“I feel I’m leaving the NCAA at a time when we’re in a very good place. Things went extremely well in Dallas last April with the sellout and the entire event,” she said after her departure was announced. “At the same time, personally, it will be great to be back on the East Coast but I’ll always be ready to do whatever I can to help the cause of women’s basketball.”

Browne’s title was different and more inclusive of all three divisions than that of her predecessor Sue Donohoe, then Vice President of Division I basketball who went on to head the Kay Yow Foundation for a stint and also serve as president of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., before her retirement to Texas.

Donohoe was also an assistant to Gary Blair at Stephen F. Austin and Arkansas and served with him under Leon Barmore at Louisiana Tech, her native state.

“It’s a biggie, no question,” Donohoe said last weekend of the vacancy. “You’re talking about continuing to oversee the growth of the women’s basketball tournament and many other aspects.”

As of this initial posting from your Guru on the topic, it seems to be still unknown whether the job will open to all applicants or whether a search committee will be formed.

But what is known that things are a little different than last time around with the ultimate decision, pending approval from NCAA President Mark Emmert, will be in the hands of Dan Gavitt, senior vice president of basketball, who was hired several months before Browne as men’s vice president of basketball.

Gavitt, the son of Hall of Famer and Big East founder, the late Dave Gavitt, was later promoted to Senior Vice President of Basketball and became Browne’s boss besides being over the two men and women’s basketball oversight committees.

In 2012 there was a search committee and Mark Lewis, no longer with the NCAA, then called the final shot at a time that a lot of viable women’s candidates refrained from pursuit either because of the advertised salary, happiness in their jobs at the time of being contacted, reluctance to live in Indianapolis, or not desired to be employed at the NCAA at a time when the organization was involved in more than its usual share of controversies.

 In some recent off the record talks there is a general consensus of comfort with Gavitt, who certainly knows many women’s basketball notables he could reference, even if he had to do the whole drill himself.

One is his former boss, Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman, for whom he was in charge of the conference men’s tourney prior to his arrival at the NCAA and at a time after the great schism that saw the other piece of the old Big East become the American Athletic Conference.

Ackerman was pursued by the NCAA outside the search committee in 2012 and gave a polite no thank you but soon after agreed to do a white paper for the organization on the state of the sport and soon after that became the commissioner of the new Big East.

Some with knowledge of the national organization say fit and the being able to work under the NCAA culture will be important components in filling the position. 

And the person shouldn’t be arriving with a needed education in the sport, though if the person was someone outside the sphere as Laurel Richie was in becoming WNBA president, depending what is brought to the table, that kind of hire might be not be objectionable.  

Another individual heavily pursued last time around outside the search committee was ESPN’s Carol Stiff, who was served in various roles as the liason between NCAA women’s basketball and the giant sports TV network.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see her pursued again.

 The 2012 search committee included former WBCA head Beth Bass, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw and Penn State coach Coquese Washington, among others.

Browne isn’t leaving until late October with the hire to be on board by November or December.

“It’s a tricky time,” Donohoe said. “I got hired in December and arrived in January and at the time we didn’t even have the hotels designated yet for the 2000 tourney in Philly, which is still one of our biggest all-time in terms of attendance and media credentialing.

“Of course, we had a three-person staff at the NCAA in our area which is much, much larger now.”

Donohoe was also aided in the fact that Cathy Andruzzi, then executive director of the local organization committee, was an expert in raising money – a record at the time for the tourney – and tournament infrastructure so she was able to jump start things like seating charts, etc.

So while names internally haven’t popped yet,  we're at the reason that many of you are reading this, based on text messages as "when’s it coming," this is the Guru’s long list headed by the short list. The reason for the long list is if I don’t mention other names, you’ll ask why not, so you will now see why not.


Michelle Perry – “You never want to say `never,’” she said recently. She was the former right hand to Donohoe and those of us at the early mock selections knew her as the professor of women’s bracketology in taking us through the procedure.

She went on to consulting and is now the local executive director of the 2018 Women’s Final Four in Columbus. While that might be seen as a problem, considering that job won’t conclude until April, it also calls for synergy with the NCAA and since she knows both sides of the street, the period between December and April could be managed with a little bit of creativity.

And she already comes with a learning curve in terms of the NCAA.

Kelly Krauskopf – Was a finalist last time around and a favorite among the masses with knowledge of the search. As general manager of the WNBA Indiana Fever, moving expenses would be nil. She has past experience in the old Southwest Conference. But she wasn’t ready to change addresses last time and one doesn’t know as the Fever enter a rare rebuilding phase whether she would be this time around.

Leslie Claybrook – A basketball committee member who oversees Southeastern Conference women’s basketball and is a past referee when asked, said, “It’s a good job. I’m sure many will go after it.” Whether she might be one is not known but certainly has a lot of qualifications on the intangibles.


Danielle Donehew – Head of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Happy where she’s at as a popular hire several years ago to help shore up the existing problems of that organization.

Carol Callan – Head of USA Basketball women’s programs. Not likely to leave where she is at, especially with the state of Colorado a factor.

Chris Polonsky – SWA and other positions at Texas. Wealth of experience but not leaving the Lone Star State

Nora Lynn Finch – Head of ACC women’s basketball and the only time you find her above the Mason-Dixon Line is for required meetings, conference teams in competition or other premium women’s basketball events. Like Plonsky, wealth of experience, though, and served with Kay Yow at N.C. State and later became the SWA with the Wolfpack.

Sandy Barbour – If she was still in a former job at Cal-Berkeley, mark her down. But she’s the Penn State AD. Not happening.

Ceal Barry – Former Colorado coach and now the Buffs’ SWA and senior associate athletic director for internal operations at the school. Would need some real persuading to ply her from the Rockies.

Marsha Sharp – Former Texas Tech coach and now Associate AD for special projects. See Ceal Barry but substitute Texas for Colorado.

Connie Hurlbut – Was a finalist last time. Now is women’s senior administrator for West Coast Conference. A recent hire from the WAC will keep the rest of her body with her heart in San Francisco.


Joni Comstock – A past chair of the women’s basketball committee but not likely since she’s running half the organization that’s not Division I WBB.

Lynn Holzman – Current commissioner of the West Coast Conference. Played basketball at Kansas State and served 16 years in the NCAA with membership and academic activity and in the position women’s basketball ran many things by her. Don’t know interest.

Diane Dickman – Working at NCAA in governance and mentioned by people with organization knowledge as someone who could be a viable candidate from the inside if interested.


Renee Brown – No longer serving in the women’s pro league but with the NBA. Don’t know interest but you have to at least find out and then take it from there in the vetting process.

Theresa Wentzel – President of the Atlanta Dream. Past experience as the SWA at Georgia Tech. Known to look at jobs for her ability to make an impact as compared to the financial viability against whatever her current position might be.

Amber Cox – Fabulous marketing experience. Worked under Ackerman at Big East as the women’s associate but she’s happy to be in the pros where she is a high executive with the Connecticut Sun and the Black Wolves lacrosse squad owned by the Mohegans.

Kraren Bryant – Past executive with the WNBA Seattle Storm and also the former ABL Seattle Reign. Don’t know what she’s doing now or interested but several types offered her name in the Guru casting call for WNBA crowd candidates.


Jill Bodensteiner – SWA at Notre Dame and member of the WBB committee. Might consider it once all specs are known.

Felicia Hall Allen - President and CEO of Felicia Hall Allen & Associates, a motivational speaking, training, consulting and sports management company.  An attorney also and played for current Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer at Iowa and was also an executive with the former WNBA Charlotte Sting. Was a finalist in the last search and also in the WBCA search. 

Teri Howes – Oversees WBB and other sports at West Virginia. Don’t know interest if approached.

Theresa Grentz – Besides well liked by longtimers who remember Immaculata playing days and then others in her Saint Joseph’s/Rutgers/Illinois coaching career, it’s her marketing pizzazz and ability to work the boys in the boardrooms that cause her name to be mentioned when these type of jobs open. Don’t know, however, how she and the NCAA culture would mesh.

Linda Bruno – Former Atlantic Ten commissioner and past head of the WBB committee at a time when things really grew and popped. She’s out there. She knows them and they know her. How much traction that’s worth time will tell. Don’t know yet if she is considering getting involved.

Bernadette McGlade – Now Atlantic 10 Commissioner. Was a WBB committee chair, and SWA of the ACC prior to Nora Lynn Finch. Her past jobs would put her on the list. Her current job probably means no thanks.

Sarah Baumgartner – A Guru rising star submission.  Has climbed rapidly in the Rutgers athletic department doing great things in fundraising and other activity. Also has overseen women’s basketball. Don’t know if interested if were approached.

Ok that’s it for starters. Any of you who have others who need to be discussed and want to whisper, you know where to find your Guru. To be continued.







Saturday, August 26, 2017

WNBA: Fourth Quarter Shutdown Carries New York to Seventh Straight With Win Over Washington

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEW YORK – In the WNBA over the last month or so four teams have had their engines motoring them forward to the playoffs of September and early October, one has kind of idled a bit due to injuries and the other seven have all been in reverse with one exception in the group to the point that the Phoenix Mercury have not lost much ground because the teams behind have not closed the gap.

The exception has been the Seattle Storm, which made a coaching change and has not lost a game yet to move from pending extinction to potential life after Sept. 3.

Meanwhile, up here the island of Manhattan, the New York Liberty, who have been on a roll, hosted a healthier Washington Mystics, the team that has been idling, in Madison Square Garden Friday night with playoffs assured for both but battling the next phase of best seed possible.

After a back-and-forth evening, New York again used a strong fourth quarter defensively outscoring Washington 13-6 with four of the six occurring in the final minute to gain a 74-66 triumph extending the Liberty win streak to seven.

More important, New York (19-12) tightened its grip on fourth seed, which has the perk of a first-round bye, over Washington (17-3) by moving 1.5 games in front of the Mystics with three games remaining, while Washington has four.

The win gives New York the tiebreak in the season series 2-1 should both finish fourth.

Of course, the Liberty have their sights on a little more since they trail third place Connecticut by just one game after the Sun (20-12) got spanked at home earlier 96-83 by Chicago (12-18) allowing the Sky to remain on life support in the race for the last spots.

Chicago visits New York Sunday while Washington will host the Dallas Wings Saturday night with Dallas looking to land a playoff spot.

The Sun loss dropped them three games behind the second-place and defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks.

Minnesota, riding at the top of the league, ran over the San Antonio Silver Stars 89-70 in Texas where the home team has already been living in 2018 draft lottery city for some time.

Washington welcomed the return of former Delaware star Elena Delle Donne, who had been out with a hand injury and for the first time in the New York series the Mystics had both Delle Donne and Emma Meesseman in the game at the same time but it was to no avail.

But it was to no avail, though Delle Donne had 15 points and Meessemann had 12, while Krystal Thomas scored 17 points and Kristi Toliver scored 11.

Though healthier, Washington was still without former Saint Joseph’s star Natasha Cloud, who is out with a left hip injury while Tayler Hill was sidelined much earlier for the rest of the way with a torn right ACL.

New York thrived on its defense, out-rebounding Washington 40-32, improved its ball handling by committing just eight turnovers, and got a strong 20-20 basket vision performance by Tina Charles, a former UConn star, and Epiphanny Prince, a former Rutgers star, who each scored 20 points.

Shavonte Zellous, a standout in college at Pitt, scored 18, while the whole group, thanks to Prince, managed to overcome Sugar Rodgers’ 0-for-9 night in which she went scoreless for the game. Bria Hartley was also in double figures, scoring 10 points.

The Liberty win streak Is the longest in seven seasons outperformed by just the 10-0 run during the 2010 season.

Considering that New York had a three seed last season and got bounced after the first-round bye at home by Phoenix in the then-new one-and-one first and second round setups, and that coach Bill Laimbeer had enjoyed greater success winning three titles with the former Detroit Shock (now the Dallas Wings after a stint as the Tulsa Shock), the former Detroit Piston NBA “Bad Boy” was accepting the Oscar for the win but was not totally enamored of the performance.

So his review of his team’s work was mixed, saying, “I don’t think we played well at all, our defense was lackluster at many times during the game, we didn’t shoot well, obviously,.

“I think we have to play with more intensity and more passion against Chicago on Sunday. They got a nice big win tonight so they are feeling good about themselves. We have to play better than that.”

Yet Laimbeer had some positives, saying, “I told the players that in this league, `Anytime you win a game it’s a great feat.’ This is a tough league to win games in, and we got a win tonight.”

The fact that New York’s record has uplifted since former UConn star Bria Hartley, a new arrival via offseason deal with Washington, moved into the starting lineup, Laimbeer pointed out that she gives the Liberty more speed, rather than having Prince in that spot being a little more stagnant with the offense.

Prince said of her game, “I feel good. I am being more aggressive. .. trying to assert myself more. I am just playing my game and getting everybody else involved when I can and just doing what I know I can do.”

Of course, things were a little more somber on the Washington side of the arena in a season in which promise thrived early when everyone was healthy and now improvement is coming in lesser steps.

“We really struggled,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “We didn’t make a lot of outside shots. Both teams kind of played each other the same way.

“The game comes down to them having ten more field goal attempts than us, our live ball turnovers,and their offensive boards hurt us more than anything. We held them under 40 percent shooting but they got second chance shots and they got some breakouts on our turnovers.”

As for his evaluation of Delle Donne’s return, the Washington coach said, “I thought her legs were good. Her conditioning was good. She shot the ball pretty well but we have to give her better touches in open space. We’ll work on that between now and next week and see if we can get her some easier looks too.”

Delle Donne, herself, responded to her self-evaluation question, saying, “We lost so I didn’t give myself a grade. I’m not giving our team a grade because tomorrow we have Dallas and there’s no time to put your head down.

“Obviously, we wanted to come in here and get a win so definitely not thrilled with that but it’s time to just focus on Dallas tomorrow.”

NCAA champion South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, also the next USA Women’s Olympic coach, will be in Washington Saturday night to give former North Carolina star Ivory Latta of Washington the WNBA Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award, which was announced earlier Friday.

Ironically, with Dallas in town, the Wings have former Notre Dame star Skylar Diggins-Smith, who was the 2013 Dawn Staley Guard award presented at the Union League in Philadelphia.



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

WNBA Feature: Former UConn Star Bria Hartley Has Become the X-Factor in the New York Liberty Surge

NEW YORK – Even as whispers of doubt swirled through her head, Bria Hartley’s faith never wavered.
The concerns were valid for the electric New York Liberty guard. Would she return as the best version of herself after giving birth to a boy, adjusting to a new team following a trade, and recovering from nagging foot injuries?
“It was an adjustment I had to make personally for me,” Hartley said in June following a Liberty win over Dallas at Madison Square Garden. “I had to understand that things don’t come as quick as you think they’re going to. You go out there sometimes and you get frustrated because things you’re normally able to do, you can’t do. I just had to keep working, trust the process and take it day by day.” 
It’s taken some time, but Hartley has found her groove.
Hartley’s shimmering streak of excellence has helped the Liberty soar to its current five-game winning streak and into the WNBA playoffs for the third consecutive year. Among the victims during the Liberty’s recent run have been the league’s top three teams in the standings: Minnesota, Los Angeles and Connecticut. In each game, the Liberty rallied from an early double-digit deficit to eventually sprint to victory. 
At 17-12 overall and sitting in fourth place overall in the standings, New York is looking to keep the good times rolling when it visits Indiana Wednesday and hosts Washington Friday night.

 Hartley has been the spark plug during New York’s winning ways, guiding the Liberty to a 9-3 record since entering the starting lineup with purpose, poise and passion. 
A whippet from Long Island, the former UConn star has performed at a high level since re-joining the starting lineup on July 16. Over the previous 12 games Hartley has scored in double figures eight times, twice matching her season-high of 17 points, averaging 11.5 points per game while shooting .444 from the field and .418 from 3-point range.
She led the Liberty in scoring in back-to-back games for the first time this season, posting 17 points at San Antonio on Aug. 1, and following that up with 16 against the Sparks on Aug. 4.

 Hartley scored in double figures in four-straight games from Aug. 1-11, her longest such streak since her rookie season in 2014, when she had a stretch of five-straight games from June 13-22.
Since being inserted into the starting lineup as point guard, the move has allowed Epiphanny Prince to play shooting guard and Sugar Rodgers to thrive while providing firepower off the bench. 
The Liberty has seen improvement across the board in nearly every offensive category, in some places drastically, particularly with a scoring average jump of nearly four points per game and an opponent points per game that has decreased by nearly five points.

It’s been a lot of work to get back to this point for Hartley, who was determined to showcase her special ability that made her one the WNBA’s most dynamic young players. She worked out while she was pregnant. With her family nearby, she was able to focus on getting back in shape. 
“After having the baby, I lost a lot of muscle,” Hartley said. “It’s always been hard for me to build muscle in the first place and building that back was one of the toughest things for me. 

“I made sure I worked out during my pregnancy. Maintaining the muscle I had was the biggest thing for me. I lifted two-to-three times a week while I was pregnant. Six weeks after giving birth, I was able to start on my core workouts. Four weeks after the baby, I was doing basic work like planks, and mat work. The lowest level workouts to build up.
“Also, I was going out to White Plains to work out with Teresa Weatherspoon three times a week. I loved working with her and I was glad that I was able to work with her before the season started.

  “It helped build my confidence. When I didn’t go, I worked out on Long Island with my trainers and lifting weights. I was grinding out and doing multiple workouts a day to get myself back to this point. I have a long way to go.”
Being traded from Washington proved to be a blessing in disguise for Hartley. 
“I was excited especially with the new baby,” Hartley said of the trade. “I am closer to my family so it made this situation a lot easier. Coming here to New York, I got more of an opportunity to play a little bit more and make an impact. I didn’t start the way I wanted to the first few games, but now I am making progress.”
Being pregnant also helped Hartley’s ankle heel. During the last two years in Washington, her explosiveness was reduced to a sputter because of injuries. 
“I had foot problems and a history with that,” Hartley said. “It helped to take that time off and I haven’t had time like that in a long time.
“Obviously, you’re not resting because you’re pregnant so your body goes through a lot of changes and you have to recover from that as well. It’s good and you don’t have the pounding on your body when you’re playing overseas and in the WNBA. The rest was good for me and came at the perfect time.”
Just like Hartley’s gorgeous game returning right on schedule to help the Liberty enjoy a potentially lengthy playoff run.
NOTES: New York leads the WNBA in defensive field goal percentage at .409 and has held three of its last four opponents under 40 percent from the field … Over the past five games, New York is limiting its opponents to just 70.6 points per game and .371 shooting from the field and .297 from 3-point range …  The Liberty has held three of its last five opponents under 40 percent from the field, and limited both Los Angeles and Minnesota to fewer than 70 points when they visited New York.

Monday, August 21, 2017

New York Turns Garden Into Thump Tower Again, Rallying to Beat Minnesota and Clinch Playoffs

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEW YORK – For the first time since 2004 the WNBA Atlantic seaboard triad of the New York Liberty, Washington Mystics, and Connecticut Sun are playoff-bound and the Indiana Fever have become a postseason spectator.

All this became official with the results of Sunday's games when the New York Liberty pulled another huge rally, this time to upset the Minnesota Lynx here in Madison Square Garden 70-61 to clinch a spot while Washington in Indianapolis beat the Fever 87-72 to also claim a spot after a year’s absence while at the same time the loss knocked out the Fever snapping what was a WNBA-record 12-straight postseason appearances.

Meanwhile up North, the Connecticut Sun, which previously clinched a spot for the first time since 2012, put a dent in the Phoenix Mercury’s drive, beating Diana Taurasi, Britney Griner and the duo’s teammates 99-66 to stay in the hunt for the second seed and at least hold third at 19-10, two games behind the defending Los Angeles Sparks (21-8) and two ahead of Washington (17-12)  and New York (17-12).

Phoenix (15-14) is still likely to make the eight team field trailing the fifth seed position by two games but leading the seventh 1.5 points over Seattle and Dallas, who are tied at 14-16.

Seattle helped itself in Sunday’s other game in which the Storm put a temporary halt to the Chicago Sky’s aspirations, beating the Windy City crew 103-66 to tie idol Dallas for the seventh spot with four games left while Chicago (11-18) was sent back to ninth outside the playoff loop 1.5 back.

So the San Antonio Silver Stars (7-23) and Indiana (9-21) are lottery bound for what is considered a lucrative draft next spring with Atlanta (10-20) facing elimination on the next Dream loss or Seattle and Dallas win.

Minnesota (22-6) still holds the top spot and bye to the semifinals despite Sunday’s loss in a game in which two top Lynx stars were sidelined with injuries – the ongoing one from a fractured hand to All-Star Lindsay Whalen and a sprained left ankle to Rebecca Brunson.

Los Angeles (21-8) is in second for the other double bye at the moment trailing Minnesota by 1.5 games for overall home court advantage with Connecticut (19-10) still good enough for third and a first-round bye two games behind the Sparks.

Washington, which has been playing without superstar Elena Delle Donne, bounced back from Friday’s 89-79 home loss that gave temporary momentum to Phoenix (15-14) before Connecticut put a stop two days later.

In the game here, for the second straight Sunday at home, New York extracted a huge rally to beat two of the top three teams in the league after trailing by 11 and then going ahead by as much as 14 in the second half after doing likewise to Los Angeles last week.

In between New York won at Connecticut Friday night.

For the second straight season the playoffs, which follow the close of the four-month 34-game schedule that occurs on Sept. 3, will be under a revamped format in which the best eight teams regardless of conference affiliation make the field and the first two rounds are one-and-done affairs.

A year ago New York had the best record in the East but was third best overall and after a first-round bye was upset at home by Phoenix, which also pulled an opening round road upset.

On Sunday the Liberty defense held Minnesota to a season-low 61 points on the heels of the Lynx’s 111-51 win at home Friday over Indiana.

New York topped Minnesota 42-28 in the second half.

Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, who won three WNBA titles guiding the former Detroit Shock in the last decade, low-keyed the clincher pointing out the expectations were well beyond that milestone.

“We were supposed to make the playoffs,” he said. “Now it becomes mental. We know who we are physically, we know who we are role-wise, we know who we are as a basketball team.

“Now it’s about every minute of every play, bringing that focus for 40 minutes. If we do, we’re a very fine basketball team. If we don’t, we’re vulnerable like you saw in the first half. So I think we know who we are.

“We think we’re solid across the board. We think we have lots of weapons and we play good defense. It’s just a matter of the energy level, the commitment to the mental toughness and determination of executing both offensively and defensively.”

He noted Minnesota has that toughness and his team is working to get there.

Tina Charles had 19 points and nine rebounds for New York, while Epiphanny Prince had 15 points, and off the bench Sugar Rodgers scored 10.

Maya Moore had 22 points for the Lynx, while Simone Augustus  had 13. New York was able to limit Sylvia Fowles, offensively, holding her to seven points, though on defense she grabbed 15 rebounds.

At one point several weeks ago Minnesota seemed poised to perhaps finish with the best-ever record for the regular season but has stumbled in recent games, other than Friday, in part to the absence of Whalen.

“We stopped putting the ball in the hole,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, a former star player at La Salle University in Philadelphia out of South Jersey, of Sunday’s performance in the second half. “You have to give New York credit for their defense, they were pretty turned up in terms of their physicality.

“New York has been defending at a high level. It’s their identity, it’s what they do. I thought they got that done and they were playing off their defense. We were not surprised at this game. We didn’t handle it very well. I don’t know if we were assertive enough or aggressive enough,” Reeve said.

“I thought we had good flow to start the game. I liked where we were to start the game and that just kind of waned as the game went on.”

New York next heads to Indiana on Wednesday, hoping to finish in the third seed spot of a year ago, while Minnesota, the top seed last season, next hosts Phoenix on Tuesday.

In Washington’s win, Emma Meesseman had 21 points, while Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Kristi Toliver each scored 18 points and Ivory Latta scored 12. Krystal Thomas pulled down 11 rebounds.

Marissa Coleman had 20 points for Indiana, former Temple star Candice Dupree scored 18,  Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga had 13 points, and Erica Wheeler scored 12.

Seattle, which is 3-0 since the coaching change that put Gary Kloppenburg in charge in an interim capacity for now, trounced Chicago 103-66 as second-year pro and former UConn star Breanna Stewart had 19 points and nine rebounds, Jewell Loyd had 17 points, as did Alysha Clark, while Sami Whitcomb scored 10.

Stephanie Dolson was the only Chicago player in double figures with 10 points.

At the casino in Unxasville, Conn., the Connecticut Sun handcuffed Phoenix as Jonquel Jones had 20 points and eight rebounds, Courtney Williams scored 16, Alysha Thomas had 17 and 122 rebounds, Jasmine Thomas had 14, and Shekinna Stricklen scored 12.

Britney Griner had 18 points for the Mercury, Monqiue Currie Scored 12 but Diana Taurasi, who scored 25 Friday night in Washington, was held to seven points.

Connecticut next hosts Dallas on Wednesday night.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

WNBA Feature: A Career Demanding Perseverance Has Become Rewarding To L.A.'s Candace Parker

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)
WASHINGTON – Candace Parker has a purpose in every move she makes.
Whether it’s going through her smooth pre-game routine of jumpers, one-handed push shots in the lane, dribbling exhibitions, casually chatting with women’s basketball hall of famer Rebecca Lobo before Wednesday’s game against the Washington Mystics; or posing for selfies, signing shirts, slips of paper and hats for fans and completing the tedious task of removing athletic tape from her ankles, Parker is a sponge absorbing every moment. 
She also knows there’s a special set of eyes on her at all times. 
“My daughter,” Parker said. “She really pushes me everyday and motivates me to want play as hard as I can. I know at some point when she plays basketball, she’s going to look back at these tapes and realize ‘you didn’t play hard on this possession, mom.’ I don’t want that so I have to represent.”
Little Lailaa would have been proud of her mom’s performance against the Mystics in her only visit to the newly renamed Capital One Arena. In leading the Sparks to a 95-62 victory, Parker was special as usual. 
Her transcendent talents of soaring and scoring, passing, rebounding, blocking and stealing were on complete display, finishing with 21 points and seven rebounds. She punctuated her performance with a no-look pass from the top of the foul line to the post that resulted in a Sparks’ basket. 
At 20-8 overall, the Sparks are in perfect position to earn one of the double byes to the semifinals in next month’s playoffs. With the Minnesota Lynx experiencing some rare regular season turbulence in the form of a current two-game losing streak, the Sparks have an outside shot of earning the No. 1 overall seed. 
Seeding doesn’t matter as the Sparks won the WNBA championship last year on the road in Minnesota. During its five-game road trip that concludes Friday in Chicago, the Sparks beat the Lynx to even the season series at 1-1. The two rivals finish their season series Sunday, Aug. 27 in Los Angeles.
“We want to win the championship again this year,” Parker said. “It’s very hard. It was hard last year. I’ve always said that the mark of a great team is when you do things multiple times. If we win another championship that can’t be disputed. That’s our attitude. Last year was great to get a championship, but this a new year.”
While she never needed a championship to validate her brilliant career, it was great to see her finally experience the ultimate triumph and earn her ring. A role model and hard-worker, Parker is a treasure of excellence who has helped the WNBA grow. 
“I hope that I inspire in terms of individuals that careers, opportunities or things that they want don’t necessarily go the way they planned,” Parker said. “I hope that my career is a testament to keep persevering and that things will work out eventually. I went through injuries early on in my career, had a child, a few obstacles and setbacks, almost wins in the playoffs, heartbreaks and stuff like that, but you have to keep persevering.”
Despite those early detours, Parker continued displaying the championship hallmarks of great character and resilience in how she’s picked herself up and continued persevering until she finally reached the champagne-soaked promised-land last season. 
She also understands that the only thing last year’s memories are good for is when Parker is giving her induction speech in Springfield, Mass., and sharing stories with her friends and family in the next decade. She can watch the replays later, but she has more to offer. 
At 31 years old, she’s is in the prime of her career and enjoying life. 
“My main thing is taking one step at a time,” Parker said. “I am not going to try and plan anything out or figure out when I am done playing. 

“I figure I’ll go by how I feel and if I can still contribute. I don’t want to be that player out there looking crazy. I think legacy is something you finish and look back at.

“I didn’t really have any perspective on college until I was finished with college. I kind of leave that for everybody else. I am just really enjoying basketball, just playing and excited that we’re still continuing to play at a high level.”

WNBA: Washington and L.A. Unite For National Anthem Before Sparks Stall Mystics' Playoff Clinch

By ROB KNOX (@knoxrob1)
WASHINGTON – Long before the reigning WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks applied the finishing flourishes on a 95-62 victory over the Washington Mystics at the Capital One Arena Wednesday night, the most meaningful moment occurred before the starting lineups were introduced.
In a show of solidarity, players, coaches and trainers for the Mystics and Sparks stood side-by-side with locked arms during a moment of silence for victims killed and injured in Charlottesville, Virginia. They also remained that way as the national anthem played while everybody in attendance reflected on another tumultuous week in our country.
“It was amazing to stand in solidarity especially with the events that are going on in our country right now,” Los Angeles Spark center Candace Parker said. “To be able to stand alongside and basically say that we all are equal and we are all together is great. We as women are strong and we’re going to fight to create those opportunities for the future. That’s my focus so my daughter lives in a world that isn’t full of hate. It’s full of love.”
Even though the Sparks are in the midst of a five-game road trip, Parker indicated that she had discussions with her daughter Lailaa about what occurred over the weekend. 
“I talk to her about a lot of different things,” Parker said. “I am really lucky because she’s been able to travel the world and see a lot of different cultures and experience a lot. So she doesn’t understand it.”
Washington head coach Mike Thibault and his players realize the significance of their pre-game statement.
“I like the fact that players in our league have a conscience and are willing to express it,” Thibault said. “Our team talked about it this morning and I thought they did the right thing. It was appropriate and it sent a positive message for what needs to be in our country.”

Unlike a year ago when the league initially issued fines for players’ actions supporting Black Lives Matter before soon rescinding them, WNBA president Lisa Borders was on board with the move here and later in Seattle, which hosted Minnesota, tweeting, “We fully support our players, who are offering a demonstration of unity that we hope America can emulate in the wake of the tragic events in Charlottesville.

“We offer our sincere condolences to the families who lost loved ones and our support to those who were injured during the inexcusable violence that transpired.”

That statement was also included in an Associated Press report that prior to the start of Wednesday’s games the WNBA sent a memo to its teams effective through August 25 saying the league is “suspending the national anthem protocol (which entails lining up in a dignified posture along the foul lines during the playing of the national anthem) beginning (Wednesday) and ending August 25.”

The communique explained the league was making this move to accommodate the support of the players’ voices and to “honor the victims of the Charlottesville tragedy”.

The WNBA said it made the move in answer to a request from Nneka Ogwumike, a star on the Sparks and league MVP last season who is president of the players’ union.

Sparks guard and former Rutgers standout Essence Carson also weighed in.
“This means a lot because of our current situation and the current state we are in socially,” Carson said. “It’s everywhere in the world, but specifically here in America. At this moment to show that you can unite as players and women of different ethnicities, different backgrounds and we’re able to unite and play this game of basketball while standing together for a cause means a lot.”

 As for the game, the Sparks never trailed as they swept the three-game season series from the Mystics. They led 22-18 after the first quarter. 

In helping the Sparks cruise to their 20th victory of the season, Parker led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds. Odyssey Sims and Nneka Ogwumike had 18 points each. Sims dished seven assists and recorded four steals for the Sparks, who shot 61.5 percent. 
“I think our defense was good,” Parker said. “We had eight or nine steals in the first half so when you have that type of defensive effort – our main concern now is second chance points and making sure we’re keeping people off the boards and we’re able to rebound because when we’re able to rebound and get stops we’re at our best.”
Forward Emma Meesseman led the Mystics with 20 points and seven rebounds. It was Meesseman’s 10th consecutive game scoring 15 or more points. Guard Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored in double figures for the second-straight game, netting 16 points in 18 minutes. 

Los Angeles, fighting for the second seed with the Connecticut Sun at the moment, came into the game off a loss Sunday in New York and the win temporarily stopped Washington from returning to the playoffs after losing out last season. 
Help could be on the way soon for the Mystics as they are targeting Elena Delle Donne’s return to the court next Friday at New York according to Thibault. The Mystics close their four-game homestand Friday against Phoenix.
“When you are shorthanded you have to find other ways to do things,” Thibault said. “We can't just sit there and wait for Elena to get back, we have to find a way to do something positive. We have done that, won five of our last six games but fact of the matter is that we are playing some teams that are just as desperate as us to get their playoff seeding right. Phoenix is chasing us and it’s the tiebreaker. There is a lot at stake.”

Monday, August 14, 2017

WNBA Gamer: New York Second Quarter Offensive and Defensive Attacks Fuel Upset of Los Angeles

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEW YORK – Los Angeles Sparks coach Brian Agler, head of the defending WNBA champions, and New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer were in total agreement with why the home team here in Madison Square Garden Sunday afternoon was able to turn around an 11-point deficit at the end of the first quarter into a 14-point victory.

Trailing 27-16 at the end of the quarter when Los Angeles hit a lot of jumpers, New York roared to life with a 20-0 run in the next period that was the large part of a 28-8 advantage to complete the half on the way to an 83-69 triumph that snapped a five-game skid to the Sparks dating back to the 2015 season. 

The game was the only one on Sunday's WNBA card.

Pointing in the direction of the Liberty dressing room, Agler exclaimed, “You’re going to get a lot of answer’s down there how we played from them about the way we they played. Tonight’s game, I think New York had a lot to do with how we played. They were very aggressive. They were committed to having success. They were hungry. They were physical.

“Teams this time of year, when they’re hungry, they usually play like that. And New York’s trying to move up into the standings.”

The win put New York at 15-12, good enough for fifth place in the overall standings, with a magic number of three to return to the postseason where a year ago the Liberty had the third best overall record.

Looking in front of them, they trail fourth place Washington by a 1.5 games, third-place Connecticut, which clinched a first-playoff appearance since 2012 Saturday night, by 2.5 games, and second place Los Angeles, which fell to 19-8 with the loss, by 4 games. 

The Minnesota Lynx, with the best overall record, is just about out of reach of the Liberty holding a 21-4 record and a 7.0 games lead.

Behind New York, the Phoenix Mercury (14-13) sits just a game.

If the playoffs began right now under the revised format of a year ago where the top two teams get a double bye into the semifinals and the next two teams in third and fourth place get a first-round bye, New York in fifth place would get a home game in the opener without the benefit of a bye.

The first two rounds are one-and-done affairs and after being one of the top dominant teams in 2016 but not dominant enough, the Liberty sat round one out and then fell to Phoenix, which was an upset winner in round one.

Los Angeles was the two seed last year and ultimately in a thrilling best of five finals beat the Lynx in Minnesota in the fifth and deciding game in the final seconds.

As for Laimbeer’s take on what turned Sunday’s game around, the former coach of the former three-time champion Detroit Shock, now known as the Dallas Wings with a tweener stop in Tulsa for several seasons, observed, “We’re starting to understand who we are. The game plan was to keep (Los Angeles)  in the perimeter.

“Once we figured that out, we stuck to it and they didn’t make the shots anymore, then we rammed the ball down there throats.”

He also thought Los Angeles got tired in the second period, having arrived here on the heels of a hard-fought 70-64 win at Minnesota Friday night.

“We know that we are a solid defensive basketball team and a solid rebounding team,” Laimbeer spoke of the Liberty positives. “Those are two trademarks you can hang your hat on all day long. You’ll be in every game if you play outstanding defense and you rebound the basketball and limit second shots.

“We know that, that’s been our hallmark for three years. That’s our third year with that. The offense will show how good we can be.”

Laimbeer acknowledged there are still potential speed bumps ahead like the one New York hit in San Antonio to open the month, and big challenges with a visit to Connecticut next on Friday night before hosting Minnesota on Sunday.

Then the Liberty will close out its season slate visiting Indiana, which will either be still fighting at the door to extend the Fever’s postseason streak appearance WNBA record to 13 or looking to the lucrative lottery for the talented 2018 draft.

That stop is  followed by hosting Washington, which is fighting for an upper spot; hosting Chicago, which is involved in a giant traffic jam involving the seventh and eighth spots; San Antonio, likely to be lottery gazing at that point; and finishing at Dallas, which is likely to be readying a first playoffs appearance since the glory days when the franchise was still in the Motor City.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, the team best positioned in the hunt for top seed and fighting to at least hold second, continues its road trip in Washington Wednesday night, leaky newly-named Capital One roof permitting; and then completing the four-game travel stops at Chicago.

 Then comes hosting San Antonio, visiting Phoenix, and then hosting a trifecta of Minnesota, Atlanta, which like many others, could either have qualified, still could qualify, or been eliminated, and playing  Connecticut, which as of this hour could still be alive to take second or at least hold third or fourth to gain a bye and hosting perk.

As for the tale of the tape in terms of who stood out on Sunday, New York’s Tina Charles, the former UConn great who is in the league MVP hunt, scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds; former Pitt star Shavonte Zellous had 19 points; former Rutgers star Epiphanny Prince scored 18 and grabbed seven rebounds, as did Kia Vaughn, another Rutgers alum; in terms of the rebounding stat; Sugar Rodgers had six points off the bench; and former UConn star Bria Hartley had six points and five assists.

Los Angeles got killed on the boards to the tune of a 37-26 deficit, but on the offensive side of things, newcomer and former Baylor star Odyssey Sims had 18 points.

 Though all-everything veteran Candace Parker had 14 points, she shot 4-for 12 from the field. Chelsea Gray had 15 points, reigning 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike had 12 points, but veteran Alana Beard was scoreless.

“We just had to be aggressive,” New York’s Zellous said. “Los Angeles has been dominant against us for some time and it’s one of those things you’re tired of losing to the same team.”

Noted Prince, “I thought we were moving the ball well today. I was able to knock down some shots (7-for-13, including 3-for-5 on attempted treys) when my teammates found me and we got the win.”

On beating one of the top teams for the first time this season, having missed a chance at Minnesota, losing by a point last month, Prince said, “It means a lot. L.A. is one of the top two teams in the league and the defending champs. We’re showing we can play with the best of the best.

“I feel like if we can keep it close, we’ll have a chance to be able to pull it through and getting the win was big for us.”

After beating Minnesota to keep hope alive for the top spot, the Sparks took a step back with the loss.

“Obviously, we didn’t want to lose this game,” Parker said. “But I think we need to figure out our issues on the road (L.A. is 7-7 while being 12-1 at home). I think it’s been trouble for us this year. We’re not going to make any excuses – we didn’t play the way we wanted and New York hit shots.”

L.A. hit shots early but Agler, while refusing to make excuses, explained, besides giving credit to New York’s performance, “We got away from the strengths of our team. When we get away from that, we don’t play as well and that’s what happened tonight.

“We fell in love with the jump shot,” Angler alluded to the second quarter rout. “Some teams are going to give you some things and that’s where the veteranship and leadership come in. What’s more important, me taking this open shot they’re giving me right now, or making our team play the way we need our team to play well?

“And that’s always a dilemma. Young players sometimes don’t understand that. Veteran players should understand that. And that’s where we got to get to.”

After winning the title last year following a long drought, there’s been a lot of changes to the roster.

“We know what we have, we have to figure out the best way to utilize our people, figure out the best way for us to play, and we just have to take on everybody that comes at us.

“We’re not worry about who we had last year that’s not here. We’re not worrying about who’s in here, we’re not worrying about these people are new. We’re not worrying about that. We are who we are and we have to work through that,” Agler continued.

“There’s times when we play really well and there’s times we don’t play really well.”

New York opened the game with a somber moment of silence for the victims in Saturday’s violent events in Charlottesville, Va., and closed the night for the fans with a celebrity basketball game in which singer Justin Bieber was one of the players.

New York’s 28 points in the second were the Liberty’s season high for the period as were the consecutive points accrued on the 20-0 run. In that same period on the defensive side it was the lowest point total in any quarter yielded by the Liberty and also the lowest scoring period for Los Angeles this season.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

WNBA Feature: Getting Zealous Over Shavonte As The New York Liberty Hit The Playoff Stretch Drive

By Andy Lipton
NEW YORK -- She plays with the spirit and enthusiasm of a college player. Her winning smile and youthful countenance give the impression of an athlete at the beginning of her career.
Yet no one on her New York Liberty team has been in the WNBA longer.
She is the vocal quarterback of the team, despite not playing the point-guard position, and in only her second season and first as a starter with the Liberty.
Her excellent athleticism and fitness suggest an athlete in the prime of her career.
And if it were up to her fellow WNBA players, she would have been on the All-Star team this season.
The Liberty’s Shavonte Zellous, now in her ninth WNBA season, has been one of the pillars of the franchise this year as New York enters into this season’s home stretch, pushing to make the play-offs for the third year in a row.  
After this Tuesday night’s close win over the Indiana Fever, 81-76 at Madison Square Garden, the 13-12 Liberty was in fifth place in the WNBA combined conference standings, vying for one of the eight play-off spots.

A year ago New York was the dominant team in the East and the third seed overall when the playoffs began, though after a first-round bye, the Liberty got upset at home by the Phoenix Mercury in the new one-and-done deal for the early rounds.

Under the previous WNBA playoff system when teams played within their divisions until the finals-- the top four in both the East and West in the field regardless of record -  coach Bill Laimbeer’s group might have gotten to at least the championship.

But for right now heading into Atlanta Friday night where New York plays the Dream before returning home Sunday to host the defending champion Los Angeles Sparks at 3 p.m., the Liberty have a three and a half game advantage over Atlanta and the Seattle Storm, who are in the ninth and tenth spots, respectively. 

Nine games are left in the regular season.
Zellous, who at 5’10” gives true meaning to the term “small forward”, is one of only two Liberty players – the other is Tina Charles - who have started every game this season.  She is averaging almost 30 minutes a game, the second highest in her WNBA career, and second highest on the team next to Charles.
She is the vocal leader on the court, constantly communicating with her teammates as she directs, cajoles, and encourages.
Zellous knows what is takes to win, having been part of a WNBA Championship with the Indiana Fever in 2012, a EuroLeague championship with Galatasaray in 2014, and a state championship in high school.
And Zellous has experienced individual accolades as a leading scorer and star player most of her college career.  She was first-team All-Big East three years at Pitt, at a time when the Big East had some terrific basketball teams from UConn, Rutgers, Notre Dame, and Louisville.  

 When Zellous was a senior,, Pitt was ranked #15 in the nation.
 In the WNBA, Zellous was on the All-Rookie Team in 2009 and the All-Star Team in 2013.
In my few conversations with her, she is team-first and humble.
Watching Zellous play, you get the sense that because of her skills and team approach, she can adjust her game to fit whatever strategy the coaches design.  
Although the ball is often in the hands of Charles, Sugar Rodgers, and Bria Hartley, Zellous has found ways to score this season and is the second leading scorer on the team averaging close to 12 points a game. 
She has gone to the foul line more than anyone on her team and is shooting a very reliable 82% from the line.  Her shooting percentage is very good at 42%.  And Zellous draws many fouls driving to the hoop.  

Arguably those shots would be scored at a higher-than-her-average percentage had she not been fouled.
In the game against the Indiana, Zellous scored 16 points and was the second leading scorer for the Liberty. The stat line showed 3 for 10 shooting.  But it also showed Zellous went to the foul line 11 times and sank 10.
With the ball in her hands, the ball is going to move to the hoop via a pass or drive.  No wasteful dribbling or holding on to the ball. 

 She can beat her defender off the dribble in either direction.  Her passes are direct and effective.  In the half-court offense, Zellous is the one who in-bounds when the ball is out of bounds.
She leads the team in assists and is slightly behind Epiphanny Price for most assists per game at 3.1.  If she finishes at 3.1 per game, it would be Zellous’ WNBA career best.
At one point in the Indiana game, she made a pass to Kiah Stokes in the post, who quickly passed it back to her on the perimeter.  

Understanding the importance of getting Stokes involved in the set offense in the post, Zellous quickly passed it in again to Stokes who than made her move to the hoop. 

 Yes, a simple and direct play, but important if Stokes is to become a scoring threat.
Zellous is fleet of foot with long strides that take her up and down the court quickly, bearing proof of her days as a successful high school 100-meter sprinter.  Those same feet have serious hops – she was also a successful long jumper in high school -  and she is frequently battling for rebounds.
In the Indiana game, she led both teams in rebounding with eight, three of which were offensive rebounds.  Her 4.2 average rebounds per game are on track to also become her WNBA career best.
Defensively, Zellous is effective as she plays the angle on her opponents to deny the ball while able to sag off when she is on the weak side to show potential weak-side help as well as clog things up.
This season, the WNBA players were given a vote as to who should be the All-Star game starters.  Their vote was weighted with the vote of the fans and the media.  The coaches picked the reserves on the All-Star team, but  Zellous was not selected.
However, based on the vote of her fellow WNBA players, Zellous was voted the number four guard in the Eastern Conference.  If only the players’ vote decided all the players on the team, Zellous would have been an All-Star this season.  

Her peers, the people she plays against and with, understand her worth.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

WNBA Roundup: Home At Last Following Long Road Trip New York Slips Past Indiana

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

NEW YORK – It was quite the pseudo homecoming for the Indiana Fever’s Erica Wheeler, the former Rutgers three-point shooting ace, class of 2013 Tuesday night in a key WNBA game here in Madison Square Garden, but a real one for the New York Liberty on the same court turned out to be the better of the two.

Coach Bill Laimbeer’s squad overcame Wheeler’s career-record 33 points, one short of the Indiana mark set by Katie Douglas, and losing what had been a 14-point lead to emerge in the final minute with an 81-76 victory.

Wheeler also tied Douglas’ Fever record with seven connected treys set in a game in the 2012 season.

New York hadn’t played here in the Garden since the morning of July 19, earning a win over the surging Connecticut Sun prior to the All-Star game in Seattle that was followed by a 13-day, five-game road trip.

Indiana (9-18), fighting to extend a WNBA record 12-season playoff appearance streak, came to town off an impressive win over the front-running Minnesota Lynx and on the doorstep of the eighth and final spot for the playoffs with the stretch drive under way.

But the Liberty (13-12), which had gone 2-3, the two being narrow wins at Indiana and Chicago, have their own playoff needs, pursuing a first-round bye but also to avoid slipping to fighting for just the right to be playing past the first week in September.

“For six weeks, we’ve been through a lot,” Laimbeer said after not losing any more ground to Connecticut, which rallied at home to beat the Seattle Storm on a night the Sun honored longtime University of Connecticut associate head coach Chris Dailey, who played in the early 1980s at Rutgers, with their Margo Dydek award.

“It’s been grinding,” Laimbeer said. “We didn’t play great but we played with enough energy to win the game and that’s all you can ask when you come back off a long road trip. … I think Erica Wheeler shocked them into the game. Her making all those shots. We had the energy and that was what was important.”

Wheeler, who played with New York in 2015 and signed this season as a free agent with Indiana, had 20 of her points in the first half, and shot 7-for-11 on three-point attempts for the game, while Temple grad and all-star Candice Dupree scored 14.

But New York got production the reliable from Tina Charles in the post for 26 points and seven rebounds, and 16 points from Shavonte Zellous. 

Sugar Rodgers, the Georgetown grad and all-star member from the Liberty along with Charles, only got two points, but Bria Hartley, another former UConn star, in her first season with New York coming from the Washington Mystics, had 13 points while former UConn star Kiah Stokes had 12 off the bench.

“(Hartley) played pretty well tonight, I think,” Laimbeer praised. “Her confidence is growing every day. She knows she doesn’t have to look over her shoulder right now. Early in the season she was new to the team and she was coming off a baby – that’s not an excuse, I don’t use that as an excuse – but a new team, new coach, jumping in and out of the starting lineup, you get pulled quickly, her confidence was down, but now she’s very in tune with what her job and responsibility is with us and she knows she’s going to play quality minutes, barring foul trouble and things like that.

“That takes a big load off a player’s mind and they’re able to go play basketball. And she’s having a real solid second half of the season right now.”

The Liberty built a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter and extended it to 14 in the second before Wheeler’s hot shooting brought Indiana back to within one. New York then countered to go up by six at the break.

In the second half it got to nine on a Charles’ shot for the Liberty before Indiana began slicing from behind again to take a brief one-point lead before Stokes got it back just before the third period ended.

Indiana got its biggest lead when Stanford grad Erica McCall and Arizona grad Briann January propelled the Fever to go ahead by three early in the fourth. 

New York got rid of that and the two teams spent the middle of the fourth within a point of each other before Rutgers grad Epiphanny Prince pushed New York ahead for good with 1:53 left in the game .

It got to seven in the last half-minute on Stokes’ two free throws off of Dupree’s foul. Wheeler with a pair of treys helped get it back down to a three-point lead but she fouled Prince, who made the game’s final points for the 81-76 finish.

“I’ll start with the 27-point first quarter,” new Indiana coach Pokey Chatman, formerly over the Chicago Sky, said afterwards of the Liberty opening eruption. “I always give credit to the opposition, but we have to be better than that.

“If we look at every other quarter after that, it’s pretty good – even in the fourth quarter when we had to foul just to stop the clock.”

The Liberty’s recent road trip featured a rally from a deep deficit to win at Indiana.  

New York, which had a crowd of 10, 068, hosts the defending champion Los Angeles Sharks, holding the league’s second best record behind Minnesota, Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Indiana next plays at Washington Saturday at 7:30 in the Verizon Center.

The crowd included Chelsea Clinton, former President Bill Clinton’s daughter, who prior to the opening tip, autographed copies of her new children’s book in the Madison Square Garden Theatre Lobby.

Newly-retired WNBA great Tamika Catchings, now an executive with the Indiana organization, made the trip from the Midwest.

         Elsewhere Around the WNBA

Two other league games were played Friday night with the Connecticut Sun rallying at home to top the Seattle Storm 84-71 to stay third overall and tops in the East while Minnesota shook off its loss to Indiana at the finish to maintain the best overall record in the WNBA after beating the host Atlanta Dream 81-72.

Connecticut (16-9) won with a huge fourth quarter when the Sun outscored the Storm 33-9.

Second-year pro Breanna Stewart had 17 points for Seattle (10-16), while veteran All-Star standout Sue Bird had 14 points and four assists, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, had 15, and former Notre Dame star Jewell Loyd had 11 points.

Connecticut, which has former Duke standout Jasmine Thomas (sprained ankle) and former Maryland star Lynetta Kizer on the injury list, got a game-high 27 points from Courtney Williams, the former South Florida great; 20 points and 14 rebounds from former George Washington great, All-Star Jonquel Jones, 17 from former Maryland star Alyssa Thomas, and 12 off the bench from former Penn State star Alex Bentley.

Connecticut, under second-year coach Curt Miller, is over .500 on the season and has a magic number of three to make the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Minnesota (21-3), whose two of three losses were at the finish, got 27 points and 13 rebounds from Sylvia Fowles, 16 points from Maya Moore, 13 from Renee Montgomery, and 10 points and nine rebounds from Rebecca Brunson in beating Atlanta (10-16), which is fighting for a playoff spot.

The Dream got 16 points and 11 rebounds from former Duke star Elizabeth Williams, and 13 each from former UConn guard Tiffany Hayes, an East All-Star starter; and 13 from Layshia Clarendon, who played at California.



Saturday, August 05, 2017

Rob's Take: The Electronic Arts Agreement Is More Proof the Future Remains Great for the WNBA

The problem with our impatient society is we want everything yesterday. We are forever comparing things and judging situations without knowing complete context.
Progress is always slow and steady. Very rarely does something goes from 0 to 100 instantly. 
For historical perspective, it took the NBA more than 35 years to finally have its Finals televised live instead of on tape-delay. The NBA used to have live playoff games begin at 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The NBA’s popularity didn’t occur overnight. It took lots of time for it to become today’s monolith.
This brings me to the WNBA. 
Now, in its 21st year, the WNBA has made terrific strides from the league’s debut in 1996. Sure it may not be where it wants to be, but the league is continuing to move in the right direction as it leverages evolving technology, various media outlets and an outside-the-box approach to share their stories.
Among some of this season’s major highlights has been live streaming 20 games on Twitter, signing a deal with Fan Duel for daily fantasy games and bringing the Verizon All-Star Game to Seattle, rewarding the city as well as its loyal fans better known as the “Storm Crazies.” 
“We are seeing more than a million people playing the fantasy game,” WNBA president Lisa Borders said during her recent Verizon All-Star Game press conference last month. “I'm not smart enough to do that, but clearly if a million people are doing it, somebody must be having some fun. So FanDuel and Twitter, both new platforms for the WNBA and relatively new platforms for sports, are equally successful in our league, again, the youngest of all the professional leagues.”
The biggest sign of growth was the landmark announcement this week by Electronic Arts Inc. that WNBA teams and players will be playable in NBA LIVE 18, launching this fall on Xbox One and PlayStation®4. This is terrific and long overdue. Borders also mentioned that league attendance is up from last year. She declined to provide specifics only to say, she would share at the end of the season.
“We are delighted to collaborate and make history with EA as NBA LIVE 18 becomes the first video game to feature the WNBA’s full roster of teams and players,” said Borders. “With EA’s expertise and ingenuity, the game will provide a terrific platform to showcase the players and the league, enabling fans to experience the WNBA in a new, exciting way.”
Despite competing for attention in an over-saturated summer programming space, the WNBA has continued to shine. Just because the NBA Summer League got lots of coverage last month and ESPN enjoyed significantly high ratings, it doesn’t mean that the WNBA is an endangered species as some have suggested. 
That couldn’t be further from the truth as the recent Verizon All-Star Game showcased. The game featured nine first time players along with golden greats Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, who are in the twilight of their magnificent careers. Maya Moore is enjoying an excellent season as she has become the bridge between the veterans and young players coming into the league.
“I normally don't talk about my big brother except to praise him, and so I'm going to do that,” Borders said. “I'm going to praise him. We like talking about basketball and having it available 24 by 7 by 365. Highlighting the Summer League, highlighting the W, we're not fighting for space, it's all about basketball, and this is the game we all love, so we think it's helpful when everybody is focused on basketball.”
The action on the floor as the league heads into its penultimate month is compelling. While the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles are seemingly headed on another WNBA Finals collision course with a combined record of 38-8, it’s not guaranteed because of the Connecticut Sun, who have emerged as the story of the season. 
Even though Minnesota is the first team in league history to win 20 or more games in seven straight seasons, the Sun handed the Lynx one of its two losses this season.
The Sun are 15-9 following Friday’s thrilling one-point win over the Phoenix Mercury. Connecticut  started the season with a 1-5 record. Even more impressive is the Sun survived a 33-point scoring eruption from Taurasi.
The Sun have been special and a joy to watch compete using the good old-fashioned hallmark of team basketball to capture 14 of its last 18 games. 

The elevation and maturation of Jasmine Thomas’ game has fueled the rest of the Sun to play at a level they always believed they were capable of attaining. All-Stars Jonquel Jones and Alyssa Thomas have formed a dominant one-two combination and Courtney Williams is shooting the ball with lots of consistency.
Meanwhile, Skylar Diggins-Smith is quietly enjoying a fantastic season after recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in 2015. Averaging 18.5 points per game, Diggins-Smith has the Dallas Wings on track for a playoff spot. It would be great to watch the former Notre Dame standout compete in the playoffs for the first time in her career. 
Unfortunate injuries to Washington’s Elena Delle Donne, Tayler Hill and Natasha Cloud has made things tough for the Mystics, who have already surpassed last year’s win total. They will have lots to say about where they ends up in the playoffs as Washington hosts the Mercury twice, Wings, and Sun in a makeup all this month. The Mystics also visit the New York Liberty.
The revised playoff format – eliminating traditional east and west bracketing – has increased importance on every game as the Mystics August schedule dictates.
The league is trending upward and is in great shape as it continues to elevate and enhance its profile. Players are always accessible, appreciative and attentive. Sure, higher player salaries across the board, more national coverage across ESPN platforms, and stronger and consistent coverage would help accelerate the WNBA’s growth. 
The WNBA isn’t going away. It’s here to stay. It’s an awesome product. The social engagement is great as the league and teams continually produce appealing content. Fans of the league can help by retweeting their favorite stories, graphics, and more.
“Let me just say in closing these remarks that I am incredibly proud of our athletes,” Borders said. “It's a privilege to lead this league. Our players are amazing athletes. They display their talents every single day. But that's what they do. That's not who they are. There are dimensions to their personalities. They have passions. They have purpose in life, and they understand that they have a platform to share what they think about any and possibly everything.”   

Friday, August 04, 2017

Philly Women's Summer League: Team White Holds Off Team Maroon/USciences 53-50 in Title Thriller

By Bob Heller and Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru

HATBORO, Pa. – In the tradition of some of the great ones in many sports who called it a career and went out a winner – in this league former Saint Joseph’s star Katie Kuester, currently ops director at her alma mater comes to mind – with 39 minutes elapsed in Thursday night’s title game of the Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA-Certified Summer Basketball League, Team White coach Keith Wood had yet to learn whether he might be like those before him when the moment approached that he would depart Kelly Bolish Gym, home of the AAU Renegades, for a final time in his current role.

Team Maroon/USciences, the top seed in the playoffs, had made it back from a 42-32 deficit existing late in the third quarter and seemed poised to snap a two-game losing streak to Team White as their opponent had done the same a year ago as Team Gold in the championship with an easy 48-34 win.

That Team White (8-3 regular season), the third seed with a roster consisting of six new players, had made it this far after a 1-3 start – the one being an opening day win over Team Maroon (9-2) – was in itself one of the great comebacks in league history as they surged with a seven-game streak to finish a game behind Maroon and regular season co-champion Forest Green/West Chester, whose upset had started Team White on its slide.

And now after two straight disappointments in the championship, Maroon twice took a one-point lead with a three-ball and then a pair of foul shots, the latter with 49.1 seconds left in regulation.

On the next possession, one of the Team White vets also contemplating saying adios: Michelle McCaughern, a 2012 La Salle grad out of West Chester East, had lost control and thought that miscue might have been fatal except the ball bounced into a retained possession off a held ball.

On the ensuing move, the ball got to Shira Newman, who whipped a three-pointer to give the advantage back to White for the lead to stay.

However, the person who ultimately shut the door in the overall frantic finish in the last minute was Saint Joseph’s senior Amanda Fioravanti with a putback, two huge rebounds, and a free throw for the final 53-50 score to enable White to win again.

It was by far the most exciting summer league title game in some time, perhaps all-time considering that most in recent memories have been one-sided outcomes.

Fioravanti, who was our regular season most valuable player off a 15-member All-Philly WBB League team, finished with 20 points and becomes the choice of your two Womhoops Guru byliners as the MVP of the playoffs, carrying Team White to a quarterfinal win over Team Black/Jefferson U. (Formerly Philadelphia U.), and then a revenge win over Forest Green in the semifinals and finally the championship win over Team Maroon.

In the title game, Fioravanti was a one-woman highlight to the point we are not listing the 15-or-more points citation separately in this section because Fioravanti was the only one who exceeded it in the title game.

A year ago Fioravanti’s senior Saint Joseph’s classmate Chelsea Woods was the star of the summer and went on to be voted last winter the Big Five’s Most Improved Women’s Player off her performance with the Hawks.

It would not surprise to see Fioravanti, who started at Virginia before transferring to Hawk Hill, achieve similar recognition this coming collegiate season. 

While we easily named her the additional MVP of the playoffs, we decided to refrain from picking an all-playoff five, however, respecting both teams’ balance and wanting to avoid slighting players that would be caused by that limited number.  

As for coach Wood’s immediate reaction to finishing his summer league career on top, he just smiled and said, “Like they say, defense wins championships.”

His daughter, Ashley, another veteran, helped hold that up. She is a former star of Kutztown U., graduating in 2013 and also starred at Spring-Ford High.

And though the elder Wood, citing the long trips from Limerick, Pa., in the distant suburbs, for the twice weekly games here, decided to shut the door behind him, some claim he did not lock it, nor throw away the key, as he talked about in the future missing the joy of coaching on the sidelines.

But we will have to wait for the draft next May before we see if in fact some of the White mainstays are truly going to relegate themselves to solely the league history and not the current action.

While Wood might soon be spinning yarns on great encounters here and previous sites over the years, the only yarn he was ready to spin right now was producing shirts for his squad saying Back-to-Back to denote the two championships.

One person who is about to go into his own funk in the manner Wood discussed is longtime commissioner David Kessler, in his third decade bringing total organization to the operation.

During the season and well before draft night arrives, he is doing all kinds of chores leading to the opener and then, of course, produces his own twice-weekly newsletter on game nights Tuesdays and Thursday with standings, notes, and results across what was the 11-game schedule this summer.

He already has announced the 2018 lead-up timeline and mentioned that next summer the entire week of July 4 will be dark and the playoffs will conclude a week later than the last several go-rounds.

This love is why it was no surprise and certainly heartening to see the number of parents and players as their teams’ seasons ended stop by and thank him for his work and another enjoyable summer.

And the Guru, who goes into solo WNBA mode now through the pro league playoffs and on to preparing for the 2017-18 NCAA women’s basketball season, again thanks co-author Bob Heller for the meaty game descriptions of each matchup that has added to the Womhoops Guru Philly WBB Summer League coverage.

And our thanks to the parents and players who expressed similar sentiments to us that they did to Commissioner Kessler.

So with that said, here is Bob one last time with all the highlights of Thursday’s action followed by your Guru’s statistical numbers to recap the entire season.

Phila. Women’s Summer League Title Game. 3-Team White 53, 1-Team Maroon/USciences 50
Shira Newman’s three point basket with 21 second left gave Team White the lead for good as they held off Team Maroon to earn their second consecutive Philadelphia/Suburban Women’s NCAA Summer Basketball League Championship with a 53-50 victory Thursday night at Kelly Bolish Gym in Hatboro, Pennsylvania.
The Maroon/White matchup was a rematch of last year’s championship contest, albeit with White wearing Gold in last year’s game as the Gold/White squad earned a 48-34 win over the Maroon squad, also known as USciences.  The Maroon/USciences squad (11-3 inc. postseason) has made it to the championship game in each of the last three seasons, only to come up short each time, losing to Neon Green, a team led by the Villanova duo of Alex Louin and Megan Quinn in 2015 and to the Gold/White squad (11-3) the last two seasons.
The 2017 championship game turned out to be one of the most competitive championship contests in recent history with a total of 14 lead changes in the first two quarters alone and 18 for the game, including four in the final 1:20. 
St. Joseph’s senior and regular season league MVP as selected by your co-authors Amanda Fioravanti came up big in the final minute of play, with a putback basket, two big defensive rebounds and a made free throw after the Newman three-ball to help seal the victory.  

Fioravanti finished the night with a game high 20-points.  Newman added ten to join her in double figures. 
Jess Huber, an incoming freshman out of North Penn High School, led the Maroon/USciences squad with ten points while junior Alyx McKiernan added nine. USciences seniors Colleen Walsh and Laura Trisch had eight points apiece.
Newman’s three-ball put an end to a Maroon rally that saw them erase an ten point deficit (42-32) late in the third quarter to take a one point lead, 48-47 with 1:20 left in the game via a Trisch three-point bucket. 

 Fiorvanti’s putback  with 59.1 seconds left switched the lead to White 49-48 only to have Huber sink a pair of free throws ten seconds later to give Maroon a 50-49 advantage.
White missed two chances to go ahead on their next possession but was able to maintain control of the ball after a held ball call with 28.4 seconds left.   

 Less than eight seconds later the ball was kicked out to Newman on the left baseline for the go-ahead three-pointer and the 18th and final lead change of the game.  

 Maroon could not score on their next possession and Fioravanti made the second of two free throws to put White up 53-50 with five seconds left.  

 Alex Thomas’ shot as time was winding down would not fall and White held on for the win.
Maroon still made their share of three-point field goals over the course of the game, with six different playing making a combined total of nine long balls in the game after pouring 14 through the nets in the semifinal win over Forest Green/West Chester.  

White made only five but none bigger than Newman baseline shot in the waning seconds.  

Championship Game Rosters

TEAM MAROON (USciences) (2017 League Finalist)

TEAM WHITE (2017 League Champions)

Team Maroon and Team White Season Recaps

MAROON (USciences) (11-3) (Regular Season Co-Champion, League Finalist)

June 15: vs. White L: 50-56
June 20: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 42-33
June 22: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 80-36
June 27: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 74-50
June 29: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) W: 73-69 (2OT)
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Electric Green W: 62-51
July 11: vs. Sky Blue W: 65-46
July 13: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 83-35
July 18: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 91-55
July 20: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 54-57
July 25: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 68-54
July 27: vs. Orange (Holy Family), W: 2-0, forfeit, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. Electric Green W: 72-56, Playoff Semifinals
August 3: vs. White L: 50-53. League Championship

WHITE (11-3) (League Champion)

June 15: vs. Maroon (USciences) W: 56-50
June 20: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 51-57
June 22: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 64-65
June 27: vs. Sky Blue L: 70-77
June 29: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 61-45
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 68-47
July 11: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 71-47
July 13: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 70-56
July 18: vs. Electric Green W: 58-52
July 20: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 65-53
July 25: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 75-54
July 27: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 76-56, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) W:  73-56, Playoff Semifinals
August 3, vs. Maroon (USciences) W: 53-50, League Championship

Final Regular Season Standings

Team,  W-L, Pct., G.B., PF, PA

$=}+ Maroon, 9-2, .818, -- ,  742 542
$=+ Forest Green, 9-2, .818, -- , 741 646
$=}{ White, 8-3, .727, 1.0,  709 603
$-&^%-Royal Blue, 7-4, .636, 2.0 , 591 538
$= Electric Green, 7-4, .636, 2.0, 728 654
$-Black, 7-4, .636, 2.0, 721 603
S-@-Sky Blue, 5-6, .455, 4.0, 650 667
$-!-Orange, 5-6, .455, 4.0 ,  617 659
X-^*-Sun, 5-6, .455, 4.0 615 596
X-!%-Red, 2-9, .182, 7.0, 505 580
X-Pink, 1-10, .091, 8.0, 517 830
X-@-Purple, 1-10, .091, 8.0 492 708

@-Includes forfeit wins of Sky Blue over Orange and Purple over Red.
!-Does include Orange forfeit loss to Sky Blue and Red forfeit loss to Purple.
^-Does include Royal Blue forfeit 2-0 loss to Sun.
*-Includes Sun 2-0 forfeit win over Royal Blue.
%-Does include Red forfeit loss to Royal Blue.
&-Includes Royal Blue forfeit win over Red.

$-Clinched playoffs
X-Eliminated from playoffs
+-Regular Season Co-Champion (Maroon top seed thru head-to-head tiebreaker)
}-league finalist
{-League champion


Thursday, July 27


1-Maroon 2, 8-Orange 0, forfeit
5-Electric Green 72, 4-Royal Blue 64
2-Forest Green 76, 7-Sky Blue 63
3-White 76, 6-Black 56

Tuesday, August 1


1-Maroon 73, 5-Electric Green, 56
3-White 73, 2-Forest Green, 56
Thursday, August 3


3-White 53, 1-White 50

 Individual Players In Postseason With 15 Or More Points

25-Amanda Fioravanti, White, W, vs. Forest Green, Semifinals, August 1
24-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, L, vs. White, Semifinals, August 1
22-Jen Huber, Maroon, W, vs. Electric Green, Semifinals, August 1
22-Hannah Fox, Electric Green, W, vs. Royal Blue, Quarterfinals, July 27
20-Amanada Fioravanti, W, vs. Maroon, Championship, August 3
20-Jaryn Garner, Electric Green, L, vs. Maroon, Semifinals, August 1
20-Jaryn Garner, Electric Green, W, vs. Royal Blue, Quarterfinals, July 27
20-Michaela Clay, Royal Blue, L, vs. Electric Green, Quarterfinals, July 27
19-Whisper Fisher, Sky Blue, L, vs. Forest Green, Quarterfinals, July 27
19- Mary Sheehan, White, W, vs. Black, Quarterfinals, July 27
18-Alex Thomas, Maroon, W, vs. Electric Green, Semifinals, August 1
18-Alynna Williams, Black, L, vs. White, Quarterfinals, July 27
17-Briana Winston, White, W, vs. Black, Quarterfinals, July 27
16-Jen Horvatinovic, Forest Green, W, vs. Sky Blue, Quarterfinals, July 27
16-Katie Jekot, Sky Blue, L, vs. Forest Green, Quarterfinals, July 27
15-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. Sky Blue, Quarterfinals, July 27

Individual Players in Regular Season With 20 Or More Points

41-Amanda Fioravanti, White, L, vs. Sky Blue, June 27
33-Kristen Daley, Sun, L, vs. Orange, July 20
33-Jess Huber, Maroon, W-2OT, vs. Forest Green, June 29
31-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, W, vs. Sky Blue, July 13
30-Hannah Fox, Electric Green, W, vs. Pink, July 20
30-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, W, vs. Red, June 27
29- Liz Radley, Orange, W, vs. Sun, July 20
28-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, W, vs. Forest Green, July 11
27-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, L, vs. White, July 18
27-Amanda Fioravanti, White, L, vs. Royal Blue, June 22
27-Kendall Grasella, Sky Blue, L, vs. Forest Green, June 15
26-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. Black, July 20
26-Katie Jekot, Sky Blue, L, vs. Black, July 18
26-Amanda Fioravanti, White, W, vs. Black, June 29
26-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, W, vs. Black, June 22
25-Erin Lindahl, Sky Blue, W, vs. Pink, July 25 
25-Caitlyn Cunningham, Black, W, vs. Sky Blue, July 18
25-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, L, vs. Royal Blue, June 15
24-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. Royal Blue, July 25
24-Shayna Rodriguez, Pink, L, vs. Sky Blue, July 25
24-Beverly Kum, Black, W, vs. Orange, July 13
23-Lydia Konstanzer, Sun, W, vs. Purple, June 27
23-Chelsea Woods, Electric Green, L, vs. Sun, June 20
23-Kendall Grasella, Sky Blue, L, vs. Royal Blue, June 20
22-Kristen Daley, Sun, W, vs. Red, July 18
22-Amanda Fioravanti, White, W, vs. Sun, July 13
22-Irisa Ye, Maroon, W, vs. Pink, July 13
22-Sierra Taylor, Royal Blue, L, vs. Black, July 6
21-Anjeliah Hayes, Orange, L, vs. Electric Green, July 25
21-Kristen Daley, Sun, L, vs. Maroon, July 25
21-Ashley Smink, Purple, L, vs. White, July 6
21-Caitlyn Cunningham, Black, W, vs. Pink, June 20
21-Jada Smith, Orange, W, vs. Purple, June 20
21-Amanda Fioravanti, White, W, vs. Maroon, June 15
20-Amanda Fioravanti, White, W, vs. Purple, July 25
20-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. Pink, July 18
20-Meghan Pickell, Orange, L, vs. Maroon, July 18
20-Kendall Grasella, Sky Blue L, vs. Maroon, July 11
20-Vicky Tumasz, Red, W, vs. Sky Blue, June 29
20-Katie O’Hare, Orange, W, vs. Royal Blue, June 29
20-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. Orange, June 27
20-Alynna Williams, Black, L, vs. Royal Blue, June 22
20-Mia Hopkins, Forest Green, W, vs. White, June 20
20-Beverly Kum, Black, W, vs. Pink, June 20
20-Amanda Fioravanti, White, L, vs. Forest Green, June 20 

Womhoops Guru All-Philly WBB Summer League Team
(Regular Season)
(Listing in no particular order with MVP also named)

*^-Amanda Fiorvanti             White
Jess Huber                          Maroon
Colleen Walsh                   Maroon
Chelsea Woods                 Electric Green
Mia Hopkins                       Forest Green
Jenny Horvatinovic           Forest Green
Erin Lindahl                        Sky Blue
Caitlyn Cunningham         Black
Michaela Clay                    Royal Blue
Sierra Taylor                      Royal Blue
Alex Thomas                      Maroon
Nia Holland                        White
Alynna Williams                Black
Liz Radley                           Orange
Shayna Rodriguez             Pink

*-MVP, regular season
^-MVP, playoffs


XX-Playoff Team (Records include Playoff Results)

XX-BLACK (Jefferson University – formerly Philadelphia U.) (7-5)

June 15: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 70-42
June 20: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 89-42 
June 22: vs. Electric Green L: 57-59
June 27: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 50-74
June 29: vs. White L: 45-61
July 4:  No Game (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) W: 70-62
July 11: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 63-35
July 13: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 79-55
July 18: vs. Sky Blue W: 68-62
July 20: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 69-70
July 25: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 61-41
July 27: vs. White, L: 56-76, Playoff Quarterfinals 


June 15: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 47-56
June 20: vs. Sun (Ursinus) L: 46-73
June 22: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 59-57
June 27: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 77-63
June 29: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 74-55
July 4: No Game (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 51-62
July 11: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) W: 68-60
July 13: vs. Sky Blue W: 81-66
July 18: vs. White L: 52-58
July 20: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 95-47
July 25: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 73-58
July 27: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) W: 72-64, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 56-73, Playoff Semifinals  

XX-FOREST GREEN (West Chester) (10-3) (Regular Season Co-Champion)

June 15: vs. Sky Blue W: 74-59
June 20: vs. White W: 57-51
June 22: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 55-52
June 27: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 61-48
June 29: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 69-73 (2OT)
July 4 : No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 70-60
July 11: vs. Electric Green L: 60-68
July 13: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 77-66
July 18: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 75-42
July 20: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 70-69
July 25: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) W: Forest Green W: 73-58
July 27: vs. Sky Blue W: 76-63, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. White L: 56-73, Playoff Semifinals

XX-MAROON (USciences) (11-3) (Regular Season Co-Champion, League Finalist)

June 15: vs. White L: 50-56
June 20: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 42-33
June 22: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 80-36
June 27: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 74-50
June 29: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) W: 73-69 (2OT)
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Electric Green W: 62-51
July 11: vs. Sky Blue W: 65-46
July 13: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 83-35
July 18: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 91-55
July 20: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 54-57
July 25: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 68-54
July 27: vs. Orange (Holy Family), W: 2-0, forfeit, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. Electric Green W: 72-56, Playoff Semifinals
August 3: vs. White L: 50-53, League Championship

XX-ORANGE (Holy Family) (5-7)

June 15: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 60-56
June 20: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 68-51
June 22: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 60-44
June 27: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 48-61
June 29: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) W: 83-63
July 4:  No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Sky Blue L: 0-2 forfeit
July 11: vs. White L: 47-71
July 13: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 55-79
July 18: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 55-91
July 20: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 84-63
July 25: vs. Electric Green L: 57-78
July 27: vs. Maroon L: 0-2, forfeit, Playoff Quarterfinals

PINK (PSU-Abington) (1-10)

June 15: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 55-52
June 20: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 42-89
June 22: vs. Orange (Holy Family) L: 44-60
June 27: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 47-83
June 29: vs. Sun (Ursinus) L: 46-76
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. White L: 47-68
July 11: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) L: 71-78
July 13: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 35-83
July 18: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 42-75
July 20: vs. Electric Green L: 47-95
July 25: vs. Sky Blue L: 41-71 

PURPLE (Delaware Valley) (1-10)

June 15: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington ) L: 52-55
June 20: vs. Orange (Holy Family) L: 51-68
June 22: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 36-80
June 27: vs. Sun (Ursinus) L: 50-70
June 29: vs. Electric Green L: 55-74
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Sky Blue L: 58-77 (originally scheduled July 20)
July 11: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 35-63
July 13: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 66-77
July 18: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 33-69
July 20: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 2-0 forfeit win
July 25: vs. White L: 54-75 

RED (Chestnut Hill) (2-9)

June 15: vs. Orange (Holy Family) L: 56-60
June 20: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 33-42
June 22: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 52-55
June 27: vs. Electric Green L: 63-77
June 29: vs. Sky Blue W: 88-72
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) L: 0-2 forfeit
July 11: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 78-71 
July 13: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 0-2
July 18: vs. Sun (Ursinus) L: 41-73
July 20: vs. White L: 53-65
July 25: vs. Black (Thomas Jefferson U.) L: 41-61

XX-ROYAL BLUE (Kutztown) (7-5)

June 15: vs. Electric Green W: 56-47
June 20: vs. Sky Blue W: 76-65
June 22: vs. White W: 65-64
June 27: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 83-47
June 29: vs. Orange (Holy Family) L: 63-83 
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 60-70
July 11: vs. Sun (Ursinus) L: 0-2 forfeit
July 13: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 2-0 forfeit
July 18: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 69-33
July 20: vs. Maroon (USciences) W: 57-54
July 25: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 58-73
July 27: vs. Electric Green L: 64-72, Playoff Quarterfinals


June 15: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 59-74
June 20: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 65-76
June 22: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 51-46
June 27: vs. White W: 77-70
June 29: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill): L: 72-88
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 77-58 (originally scheduled July 20)
July 11: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 46-65
July 13: vs. Electric Green L: 66-81
July 18: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 62-68
July 20: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 2-0 forfeit
July 25: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 71-41
July 27: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 63-76

SUN (Ursinus) (5-6)

June 15: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) L: 42-70
June 20: vs. Electric Green W: 73-46
June 22: vs. Sky Blue L: 46-51
June 27: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 70-50
June 29: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 76-46
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 60-70
July 11: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) W: 2-0 forfeit
July 13: vs. White L: 56-70
July 18: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 73-41
July 20: vs. Orange (Holy Family), L: 63-84
July 25: vs. Maroon (USciences) L: 54-68

XX-WHITE (11-3) (League Champion)

June 15: vs. Maroon (USciences) W: 56-50
June 20: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) L: 51-57
June 22: vs. Royal Blue (Kutztown) L: 64-65
June 27: vs. Sky Blue L: 70-77
June 29: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 61-45
July 4: No Games (Holiday)
July 6: vs. Pink (PSU-Abington) W: 68-47
July 11: vs. Orange (Holy Family) W: 71-47
July 13: vs. Sun (Ursinus) W: 70-56
July 18: vs. Electric Green W: 58-52
July 20: vs. Red (Chestnut Hill) W: 65-53
July 25: vs. Purple (Delaware Valley) W: 75-54
July 27: vs. Black (Jefferson U.) W: 76-56, Playoff Quarterfinals
August 1: vs. Forest Green (West Chester) W:  73-56, Playoff Semifinals
August 3, vs. Maroon (USciences), League Championship