Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Ashley Houts Georgia #1 last week
Kelsey Luna Indiana State # 2 last week
Taylor Lilly Oregon #3 last week
Quenese Davis San Diego State NR last week
Jordann Plummer Drake #4 last week
MIA: Courtnay Pilypaitis (Vermont)
Kalana Greene Connecticut #1 last week
Alison Lacey Iowa State #4 last week
Ashley Barlow Notre Dame #5 last week
May Kotsopoulos Vermont #2 last week
Brittainey Raven Texas #3 last week
MIA: They all stick
Alysha Clark Middle Tennessee #1 last week
Danielle McCray Kansas #3 last week
Shanara Hollinquest Chattanooga #4 last week
Nyeshia Stevenson Oklahoma NR last week
Heather Bowman Gonzaga NR last week
MIA: Lacey Simpson (Illinois), Monica Wright (Virginia)
Kelsey Griffin Nebraska #1 last week
Jenna Smith Illinois #2 last week
Jacinta Monroe Florida State #3 last week
Dana Mitchell St. Bonaventure NR last week
Erica Beverly Hartford #4 last week
MIA: Siarre Evans (East Tennessee State)
Tina Charles Connecticut #1 last week
Jayne Appel Stanford #2 last week
Keke Carrier Auburn #3 last week
Alyssa DeHaan Michigan State #4 last week
Angel Robinson Georgia #5 last week
MIA: They all stick, but I am only tracking 5 of them...Monroe falls at #4 here if I were ranking her at center.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
|Ashley Houts||Georgia||#2 last week|
|Kelsey Luna||Indiana State||#3 last week|
|Taylor Lilly||Oregon||#5 last week|
|Jordann Plummer||Drake||#4 last week|
|Courtney Pilypaitas||Vermont||#1 last week|
I had to pull JJ Hones from the list after it sunk in that the 4th year student red shirted last season and has one more year of eligibility remaining.
MIA: They all stick.
|Kalana Greene||Connecticut||#1 last week|
|May Kotsopoulos||Vermont||#2 last week|
|Brittainey Raven||Texas||#4 last week|
|Alison Lacey||Iowa State||NR last week|
|Ashley Barlow||Notre Dame||#3 last week|
MIA: Brittany (Ray Rutgers)
Ray drops out as Raven and Lacey pull ahead.
|Alysha Clark||Middle Tennessee State||#1 last week|
|Lacey Simpson||Illinois||#2 last week|
|Danielle McCray||Kansas||#3 last week|
|Shanara Hollinquest||Chattanooga||#4 last week|
|Monica Wright||Virginia||#5 last week|
No movement in the list, but Kalana Greene would have slipped to number three this week behind Simpson were I tracking her at the forward slot.
MIA: They all stick.
|Kelsey Griffin||Nebraska||#2 last week|
|Jenna Smith||Illinois||#1 last week|
|Jacinta Monroe||Florida State||#3 last week|
|Erica Beverly||Hartford||#5 last week|
|Siarre Evans||East Tennessee State||NR last week|
The top players swap spots. After watching Smith play this week I considered moving her to Center, but decided to keep watching her here as a likely Power Forward consideration in the WNBA. Sweat continues her inconsistent play and drops from the list this week.
MIA: Ashley Sweat(Kansas State)
|Tina Charles||Connecticut||#1 last week|
|Jayne Appel||Stanford||#3 last week|
|Keke Carrier||Auburn||#4 last week|
|Alyssa DeHaan||Michigan State||NR last week|
|Angel Robinson||Georgia||NR last week|
I took Amber Harris off the list as an astute reader pointed out she is a red shirt Junior this season. Jenna Smith qualified as #2 on this list as well, while Jacinta Monroe would have been #4.
MIA: Harris' exit leaves me with only 5 senior centers to track. I may have to consider moving either Monroe or Smith over to this position.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Canberra has a lucrative contract offer that has been made public, but it is almost certain that every team in the WNBL will be vying for her services.
Friday, November 20, 2009
For males, taking part in team sports was associated with fighting and binge drinking, but also linked with lower levels of smoking and depression. For females, taking part in sports was associated with lower levels of fighting, depression, smoking, drug use and unhealthy weight-loss habits.
The question of particular interest is whether the "association" is a direct tie or more a set of behaviors that happen to occur in parallel.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
- Lauren Jackson's injury
- Sue Bird's performance
- A lack of perimeter depth
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Lauren Jackson was a perfect 3-3 from long range in the first half but sat out the second half to rest her injured achilles tendon. When questioned about her remarkable performance despite injury, the ever humble Jackson claimed innocence. She said she just ran up to the line and shot without playing any offense or defense in the game.
Sue Bird played a solid game herself, with the only double-double of the afternoon, 16 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.
Sylvia Fowles took two uncontested attempts to dunk the ball in the final seconds to the delight of the fans.
This was one of the better ASG's in the recent past, mostly due to the back and forth scoring. Neither team controlled the game until the fourth quarter when the West added some defense to fulfill LA Sparks forward, Tina Thompson's demand that they win this game.
Bird was unable to recover from the bad luck of shooting last in the first round and first in the second, as she squeezed by the NY Liberty's Shameka Christon by hitting her last money ball of the first round. Becky Hammon's 16 points won the second round, beating the 12 points tying Bird and Detroit's Katie Smith. Hammon and Bird showed that, while Smith may hold the current record, these two young players are going to give her a run for the money in their careers.
Cash's MVP performance in the game itself made up for her missed free throw that set her Western team behind in the Skills Challenge which was won by the other Western team made up of Minnesota's Charde Houston, Phoenix's Cappie Pondexter and San Antonio's Sophia Young.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I will be the first to admit, that it is harder than it seems.
I am not a great writer, though I have some skill with language. However, trying to fit your thoughts into 500-800 words after a game with cohesion and flair...that takes true talent.
I am certainly learning the craft with each piece I write, but I am also learning that I miss the role of the fan. My kids were right. I do enjoy being a fan. This role as a media representative prevents me from fulfilling that role.
I have a new respect for the pros. It is not just asking the right question at the right time. I have seen every reporter in the room get the disdainful look from a player or a coach for asking a question they feel is wasted. We all have stories to write and angles we want to pursue. Our questions are as biased and colored as the answers we get.
It is the ability to find the theme or the thread of interest that drives an article that is so very difficult.
Anyone can talk about sports.
I suspect a large, but somewhat smaller subset can write about sports. Blogging is a free form that allows us to journal our thoughts in a shared forum. Some use it exactly that way, while others strike a more formal path.
I find that I, through my commitment to covering the games, find less time to do the things that I enjoy doing about the games. The last game I ran the numbers for was the Sky game last month. By the time I finish my commitment, I find I lack the passion or the energy, or perhaps simply the time to do what I have always done.
Please forgive my delays in game analyses as I fulfill my commitments. I believe so strongly in the need to cover this league at the local and national level, that I have sacrificed some things that I WANT in order to ensure that this team is covered. I am not blogging all that much, I am not Tweeting, and my son is seeing less basketball than ever. I feel good that the tickets are paid for, but sad that the seats are empty.
I will get back to my data. It just may take a little more time than it used to. In the mean time...if the economy is slapping you around, but you want to see a game. Let me know. I have four seats begging for fans.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Floor%: Lauren Jackson (63%), Swin Cash (60%), Tanisha Wright (50%)
eFG%: Swin Cash (71%), Lauren Jackson (67%), Sue Bird (60%), Janell Burse (50%)
TS%: Swin Cash (100%), Sue Bird (85%), Lauren Jackson (70%), Camille Little (50%)
Offensive Rating: Lauren Jackson (140.98), Swin Cash (123.40), Tanisha Wright (101.97)
Individual Rating: Lauren Jackson (124.87), Swin Cash (119.40)
Sue Bird +9
Lauren Jackson +6
Ashley Robinson +3
Ashley Walker +1
Camille Little 0
Shannon Johnson -3
Katie Gearlds -8
Janell Burse -9
Tanisha Wright -11
Top Performing Lineups
Floor%: Katie Douglas (63%), Khadijah Wittington (60%), Tammy Sutton-Brown (56%), Ebony Hoffman (54%)
eFG%: Khadijah Wittington (67%), Katie Douglas (63%), Tammy Sutton-Brown (50%)
TS%: Katie Douglas (80%), Khadijah Wittington (67%), Ebony Hoffman (60%)
Offensive Rating: Katie Douglas (150.28), Khadijah Wittington (119.73), Ebony Hoffman (18.36), Tammy Sutton-Brown (117.03)
Individual Rating: Katie Douglas (122.74), Khadijah Wittington (120.20)
Tammy Sutton-Brown +17
Ebony Hoffman +11
Tully Bevilaqua +7
Yolanda Griffith +3
Katie Douglas +2
Tameka Dixon -2
Briann January -3
Khadijah Wittington -3
Christina Wirth +5
Top Performing Lineups
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Sue Bird: +21
Lauren Jackson: +19
Swin Cash: +12
Tanisha Wright: +10
Camille Little: +9
Ashley Robinson: 0
Janell Burse: -2
Katie Gearlds: -5
Shannon Johnson: -6
Ashley Walker: -8
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
PLUS/MINUS (My numbers for this game do not align with the WNBA)
Kara Lawson: +8
Courtney Paris: +8
Nicole Powell: +4
Chelsea Newton: +3
Crystal Kelly: -2
Laura Harper: -3
DeMya Walker: -5
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba: -10
Rebecca Brunson: -15
Scholanda Robinson: -16
Ticha Penicheiro: -22
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Lauren Jackson: +30
Sue Bird: +23
Tanisha Wright: +17
Katie Gearlds: +14
Janell Burse: +2
Shannon Johnson: +1
Camille Little: +1
Ashley Walker: -6
Ashley Robinson: -14
Swin Cash: -18
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
PLUS/MINUSChelsea Newton: +13
Crystal Kelly: +1
DeMya Walker: 0
Courtney Paris: -1
Rebeccas Brunson: -1
Kara Lawson: -3
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba: -9
Ticha Penicheiro: -9
Nicole Powell: -9
Laura Harper: -10
Scholanda Robinson: -21
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
Monday, June 01, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Ashley Robinson: +5
Tanisha Wright: +2
Ashley Walker: +2
Sue Bird: -2
Katie Gearlds: -2
Camille Little: -5
Shannon Johnson: -6
Janell Burse: -9
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
PLUS/MINUSAllison Bales: +17
Laurie Koehn: +13
Brooke Smith: +10
Le'Coe Willingham: -1
Cappie Pondexter: -3
Dewanna Bonner: -8
Temeka Johnson: -9
Diana Taurasi: -10
Tangela Smith: -12
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
Monday, May 25, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Katie Gearlds: +11
Shannon Johnson: +7
Kasha Terry: +7
La'Tangela Atkinson: +7
Aja Parham: +3
Kimberly Beck: +3
A'Quonesia Franklin: +2
Camille Little: +2
Ashley Robinson: +1
Janell Burse: 0
Mara Freshour: 0
MOST EFFECTIVE LINEUPS
Friday, May 22, 2009
I completed my first game from press row, and it was definitely a new experience. I still get to enjoy great professional basketball but my focus and my enjoyment of the game is more analytical and less personal. I am not sure yet how I feel about that change.
It was a new skill to perform post game interviews with the coach and players, and I definitely had some rookie jitters, but am looking forward to improving over the course of the season. I got the quotes I was looking for with regard to my post game article, but also took some time to talk with the three rookies about their first WNBA game. Parham and Freshour particularly seemed surprised to have someone interested in speaking to them. They both handled themselves well, however, and gave me some good quotes for a rookie story I am considering.
It great to see a nice size crowd for an exhibition game, looking forward to a much more packed house on opening night.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
My rookie nerves had me ready to fall flat on my face, ask a stupid question, miss the key interview or just be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Thankfully, the Storm PR staff are pros and they made sure everything moved along smoothly. Other members of the press were very helpful, sharing logistical advice and being very friendly in general. I was not the only rookie, and I appreciated that fact.
I enjoyed watching the seasoned pros at work in the process, and took my time, watching and learning through the early interviews, waiting for my spot. As the morning wore on, I felt a little more prepared and asked a few more questions. We had just a handful of us around for many of the players with other interviews with Sue Bird and Brian Agler being more crowded.
I listened to my interview recordings on my run this morning...searching for a theme for my first piece. There is so much material, I understand now why I was told Media Day could provide me a foundation for the entire season.
I am looking forward to covering my first game this Thursday.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
It has been the combination of a number of things:
* Slow News
* Busy Schedule
but the kicker has been over my decision to change my role covering the Storm this season.
I have agreed to cover the Storm in an official capacity for Sports Page Magazine. As a result, I will have access to more information, however, my content will be at SPM's site.
I will continue to provide statistical analysis here on the team, but most of my writing will be done in official capacity.
I have to make a few sacrifices to take on this role, and perhaps the hardest will be surrendering my fan experience. My kids were the ones who were most concerned about that aspect, and perhaps they are showing some key insight. We shall have to see.
I will be attending Storm Media Day tomorrow, and I will likely share my personal experience here on the blog, though the interview content will be on SPM's site.
I am excited about the new challenge and the opportunity that SPM has offered me to increase the depth of my coverage and convert from a casual blogger into a more official, journalistic role. I hope those that follow me here will continue to follow me over at SPM.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Also you should read Kevin Pelton's exclusive interview and listen to the recordings. LJ was truly moved, and strangely surprised by the outpouring of genuine support from Seattle fans. She points out, specifically, how the notes wishing her only happiness without regard for her final decison swung the pendulum firmly into the Storm's camp. Her comment that "I really had no idea how passionate people were about the Storm and me coming back." were almost amusing in their true humility. Her choice of the word "family" is a key one, in fact I believe I was one of the ones who used that term in my thank you to her. She is a part of our family and we are just oh so glad she has decided to come home!
Welcome home, Lauren.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
She said she was responding the "Swin Flu" jokes on the web that she was told of by a friend, leading to the loss of Swoopes, Griffith and LJ.
Glad she has a sense of humor.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Obama said that as the father of two young daughters, he especially appreciates the success of female athletes like the Connecticut team.
"My girls look at the TV when I'm watching 'SportsCenter' and they see women staring back," Obama said of the ESPN program, a personal favorite. "That shows them that they can be champions, too."
According to the article, the president played a game of P-I-G with the UCONN Huskies after recognizing them as 2009 NCAA champions.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
Probably one of the better offensive players in the draft.
Ashley was my #5 player overall based on senior performance, behind Courtney Paris, Dewanna Bonner, Angel McCoughtry and Marissa Coleman. She was my number two post performer behind Courtney Paris and just ahead of Ashley Paris. She was a very effective rebounder, ranking #7 overall on Rebounds per 40 minutes. She was not spectacular in any other area, but rose to the top because she was consistently solid in 9 of my 11 categories, ranking in the top 25 of all of them other than strict offensive rating.
Floor %: 57% of the time Walker attempted to score on a possession she was able to put at least one point on the scoreboard.
Effective Field Goal %: 55%
True Shooting %: 60%
Defensive Rebounding: Walker secured 15% of all available defensive rebounds for Cal this season. (15% of Cal defensive + Opponent offensive)
Offensive Rebounding: Walker secured 10% of all available offensive rebounds for Cal this season. (10% of Cal offensive + Opponent defensive)
Rebounds per 40 Minutes: Walker was just shy of 11 rebounds per 40 minutes this season.
Offensive Rating: Walker scored 77.16 points per 100 possessions.
Adjusted Indvidual Rating: With adjustment for strength of schedule, Walker had an individual rating of 101.09.
Points Produced Per Game: Just under 8 points per game can be attributed to Walker (based on partial scoring for assisted baskets and offensive rebounds)
Adjusted WinScore: 6.5
Usage %: Walker utilized approximately 30% of Cal's possessions this season.
BoxScores: Walker could be credited for 8 of Cal's 25 wins this season. In other words Cal would only have been expected to have 17 wins this season had Walker not played.
Walker was actually the top performer early in the season, going head to head with Courtney Paris in terms of numbers and overall performance. Once her front court partner Devanei Hampton returned from injury mid-season, though, her numbers dropped as the talented Hampton took advantage of some of those post scoring and rebounding opportunities.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
We had our first practice last night, and I feel pretty good hearing from one Mom that her little girl's comment in the car was "Wow, T-Ball is soooo fun!" Two of our girls were so ready to play they were the only ones to show up for practice with their own batting helmets.
My first teaching moment was the first girl to bat missed the ball entirely, to hear giggles from the crowd behind her. I just whispered into her ear not to worry because she will hit the ball soon and she will still be a faster runner than any of them. She flashed a big smile and ran her heart out after she got her first hit on the ball.
I had a blast coaching, even with all the extra work I am having to spend on the T-Ball USA site learning what skills to teach, how to teach them and trying to come up with fun, engaging games to incorporate those skills in a way that 5-7 year olds can learn without knowing they are learning. I am looking forward to fall and a sport I actually know something about!
Janell Burse (#28), Erin Buescher (#23), Jia Perkins (#35), Sheri Sam (#20) and Taj McWilliams-Franklin (#32) were all 2nd or 3rd round picks who have made nice careers for themselves.
3rd round pick McWilliams-Franklin has been an All-Star (1999-2001, 2006-2007), All-WNBA (2006-2007) and All-Defensive team member (2006).
Even in what appears to be a thin draft year, a player with the right mix of skills, desire and luck can connect with the right coaching staff, team and environment to surprise all the pundits.
As an irrepressible fan of the underdog, I am rooting for all those players in the last two rounds to take off.
Here are a few I am rooting for specifically:
Megan Frazee F Liberty
Shalee Lehning PG Kansas State (could go at the end of the 1st)
Kristi Cirone PG Illinois State
Danielle Gant F Texas A&M
I will be tweeting during the draft at Noon Pacific today!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tomorrow all those draft questions will be answered as the draft airs in High Definition for the first time.
Who will go first? Will it be McCoughtry, Paris or the new favorite, Montgomery?
Which point guard is the first to go, Toliver or Montgomery?
Do the Storm pick a wing or the best player available?
What happens in the jumble that is Courtney Paris, Dewanna Bonner and Marissa Coleman?
What happens to my favorites, Lehning, Frazee and Cirone?
Which of the 15 invitees is left alone waiting for their name to be called?
Monday, April 06, 2009
Connecticut put Stanford away quickly despite some great play by Jayne Appel. I didn't even finish this one as it was over before halftime.
Championship on Tuesday and the draft short behind.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Final Four begins this afternoon..looking forward to the adventure. I intend to be live on Twitter during most of the two games, but I have been informed that I am kicked off the TV at 8pm Pacific for Amazing Race.
The big questions for me are whether Connecticut can hold up dominance for another game and whether the Paris sisters can do a better job controlling the paint this time around.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
I will continue to experiment during the Final Four games on Sunday and on into the draft next week.
The .com has their draft site up now...as do both the Storm and the Lynx. Of course there is also WNBA Draft Net.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I did not hang on long for the Iowa State/Stanford game, though, that one got away and I missed seeing Appel make school history.
Seniors to watch tonight will be Renee Montgomery for Connecticut, Briann January and Sybil Dosty for Arizona State in the first game. Lauren Lacy was a player we tracked this season but is not one I expect to get drafted. The second game features Courtney and Ashley Paris as well as Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton for Purdue. Ashley was on Coach Agler's watch list, but won't likely be around at number 12. Wisdom-Hylton is a skilled but undersized post in the mold of Camille Little, and I think there will be players that are better fits available at number 12.
Fate screams out for Connecticut and Oklahoma to advance...we will see if ASU can muster a challenge or if Purdue can compete with the strength of Oklahoma's posts and speed of its guards.
I was once again struck by the emotions in college basketball, I was equally impressed/moved by the sheer joy of Angel McCoughtry (Where are you Kara Lawson? President Obama! President Obama!) and the devestation of Marissa Coleman.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I still put McCoughtry as somewhere between Sheryl Swoopes and Swin Cash, but she is clearly a top pick in the draft. She does so much on both ends of the court and clearly possesses the desire that creates greatness. It will be hard for her to fall out of #1.
I really like even the injured Allison and assertive Player, though Morrow doesn't cross the line for me. I don't think either make the cut in a tightened roster year, though.
Next up for me on the DVR is Maryland. Just have to wait 5 more minutes for the kids to finish up on Kingdom Hearts.
Monday, March 23, 2009
First, the Storm waived Kelly Santos with little fanfare. It is somewhat surprising to me to see a player with a non-guaranteed contract waived before camp unless it was decided she was not likely to make the roster and wanted to allow her a chance to find another opportunity.
Half of the Great Barrier Reef is signed with Suzy Batkovic returning to the Storm, now we just need her buddy to sign. Suzy showed offensive promise with the Storm and her olympic play makes me think she has grown in her time away from the W.
I saw Shavonte Zellous from Pitt play on Saturday in the NCAA tournament, and her physical gifts are remarkable, she reminds me of Betty Lennox with hops. You can catch her against Gonzaga tonight at BOA Arena at Hec-Ed Pavillion on the UW at 6pm or on ESPN2. Gonzaga, by the way looked great taking out #5 seeded Xavier, but the will be out-sized and have to contend with Zellous tonight. I don't think they can handle both those issues in one game.
Tennessee lost yesterday in the first round and failed to make the sweet 16 for the first time ever. The joy on the faces of #12 seeded Ball State team after their win, was truly invigorating, but I also saw the other side when Mandy Morales went to the bench as her team lost to Pitt on Saturday. Her anguish at a end of her college career was palpable.
There were a few upsets this weekend other than Tennessee and Xavier, #7 Notre Dame fell to #10 Minnesota, number 6 Texas fell to # 11 Mississippi State, and #7 Depaul fell to #10 San Diego State. I am looking forward to round 2.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Swin Cash has launched a new website with video blogging and she dropped a big exclusive in her first post sharing she will be having back surgery on March 9th and hopes to be healthy and contributing to a Storm championship this season.
We will have to wait for official Storm word on the recovery time expectations.
Monday, March 02, 2009
The first game offered me a chance to see McCoughtry and Bingham again as well as my first look at Storm prospect Shavonte Zellous. McCoughtry was brilliant and Bingham played quite well, setting her career high on Senior Day. I like Zellous quite a bit, and she would be a nice option for the Storm if she is still on the board at number 12. Zellous has a lot of elevation to her jumper and she is a nice scorer off the dribble going to the basket. She is similar to Tanisha Wright with a leaner build and more length and athleticism. Wright is actually taller than Zellous but has a more compact build...Zellous has long arms and more "hops."
The second game was my first opportunity to observe Kristi Cirone in action. I like her game a lot. She has a sweet jumper and works very hard to keep her team involved. Earlier this season she set the all time Illinois State record for career assists and shortly into the second half of this game she set the record for career scoring. She is only 5'8" but seems taller, perhaps it is just part of the issue with college versus pro play...there are less tall players available to fill college rosters.
Also, this weekend, the injured Shalee Lehning from Kansas State was honored by having her jersey retired on Senior Day. She has set every record at the school and they celebrated her contributions to their program in a fitting style.
A side thought for me this season has been wondering what Baylor will look like next year. They will lose three key players in Morrow, Allison and Player, but they will add high school phenom Brittany Griner. Griner is 6'8", lean, athletic and can jump out of the gym. Like Sylvia Fowles, she has a physique you just don't find in the women's game and she backs it up with skill. I will be watching her growth over the next few years. It should be exciting as she plays against stiffer competition and continues to mature physically, and mentally. She is so young, it is scary to imagine how good she could become as she gets experience and really learns the game of basketball.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
- Courtney Paris: 6'4" Oklahoma center. Courtney has set a virtually unbeatable record in NCAA Women's Basketball with triple digit, consecutive double doubles. That streak was broken this year in a win over Pat Summit's Tennessee Lady Vols. Courtney is a fantastic rebounder and is virtually unstoppable under the basket. She has serious bulk to back up her height and knows how to use it without fouling. The biggest knock on Courtney is that in the pros she will simply be out of shape and too heavy. Centers will be taller, stronger, faster, more athletic and more well rounded in the pros and her strengths will not be enough unless she improves her fitness.
- Ashley Paris: 6'3" Oklahoma power forward. This past summer, Ashley did what Courtney has yet to do. She lost weight, quite a bit of it. The change to her body has redefined her game and she has become the perfect post counterpart to her twin. She is faster, stronger and more athletic, plus she is a better outside shooter. She has played so well this year that she is somewhat of a golden girl with Bobbie Knight telling a national television audience (in his first role calling a women's game) that Ashley was the better of the twins based on that single Tennessee game. I still think that if you take Courtney off the team, Ashley's numbers drop considerably as the double teams move to her. Courtney's better numbers come given she is the first option for her team. They defend her more tightly, they focus on her, they TRY to box her out. Ashley gets a lot of freebies as a result.
- Natasha Williams: 6'3" DePaul power forward. I haven't seen Williams play yet this season. She is a great scorer, a great shooter and rates very high for BoxScore, but her rebounding is not all that impressive. I need to review her game to have some observations to back up the numbers.
- Ashley Walker: 6'1" California power forward. Ashley puts up great numbers but she is a bit undersized for a pro post and that will impact her place in the draft. She is a solid scorer, shooter and rebounder, but she has a fairly low offensive rating. That means that within her system, she does not produce as much offense as the other senior posts, she sat at the very bottom of this category. I haven't taken the time to watch Walker yet this season, though she started the season stronger than she is finishing. I am not sure how much the return of Devanei Hampton has impacted her numbers as she must share the post with a better player than with whom she started the year.
- Marshae Dotson: 5'11" Florida power forward. She is playing well on a strong team, but she hasn't stood out when I have seen her play, and she is by far too small to play the post in the pros. There are pro point guards taller and stronger than Dotson. I don't see Marshae going until the second round at best.
- Chante Black: 6'5" Duke center. Ah, a true post in size who actually puts up strong numbers! It seems like such a rarity in a draft full of overperforming undersized posts. Black is going to go in the first round, though she doesn't stand out enough to be selected by a team that is not looking for a post.
- Star Allen: 5'11" Ohio State power forward. Need I go on about size some more? Allen has bulk, power and feistiness that have led me to compare her to Latasha Byears. She could find a place on the bench of a 13 roster team in another year, but I don't think she sticks in this 11 player roster system.
- Robyn Fairbanks: 6'1" Utah Valley State center. She is an offensive power house in a "free agent" college program that is not tied to any conference. She has played well against ranked teams with solid posts in the past, but she is not likely to get enough attention to warrant a draft outside the third round at best.
- Candyce Bingham: 6'1"" Louisville power forward. Candyce puts up solid numbers next to potential #1 pick Angel McCoughtry. Angel draws so much attention that Candyce is easily overlooked. Strong tournament play could turn GM eyes her way.
- Noteisha Womack: 6'3" Seton Hall power forward. I am not sure that Womack's performance will be noted in a smaller school despite her decent size. There are lesser performing players with greater recognition likely to be drafted prior to Womack.
Honorable Mention: Aisha Mohammed (Virginia), Whitney Thomas (Indiana), Jessica Adair (George Washington), Lindsay Wysdom-Hylton (Purdue), Tiffany Green (Old Dominion), Marlies Gipson (Kansas State), Traci Edwards (Wisconsin Milwaukee), Christina Wirth (Vanderbilt)
Big Disappointments: Megan Skouby (Iowa), Kia Vaughn (Rutgers), Sybil Dosty (Arizona State), Rachel Allison (Baylor), Devanei Hampton (California)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Here is how the current batch of senior perimeter players looks by my new ranking system:
- Dewanna Bonner: 6'4" Auburn small forward. Bonner is tall and lean...with the lean being her current biggest knock. Her height and length will make her a tough defender and tough to defend at the three in the pros. On the other side of the coin, she was simply pushed off the block by much shorter players who had greater strength and bulk. If it is tough for her to post in college it will be even harder for her to post in the pros.
- Marissa Coleman: 6'1" Maryland small forward. Coleman had a rough start to the season but has really come on strong as part of a senior tandem with Kristi Toliver. I think her numbers could be even better if Toliver learned to recognize mismatches even when the game is on the line.
- Kristi Toliver: 5'8" Maryland point guard. Toliver has a solid WNBA body, she is a great ball handler and has nice court vision, especially on the break. She has an amazingly quick release and a gorgeous fadeaway three she uses against bigger defenders when they switch on picks. She is not afraid to penetrate and take a hit in the lane. My biggest concern is that once she decides to take over a game, she drives with her blinders on and forgets that she has Coleman there to help. If her shot is on, they win, if her shot is off they lose. She needs to learn to lead by making the right choice rather than simply lead by keeping the ball in her own hands.
- Kristi Cirone: 5'8" Illinois State point guard. I haven't seen Cirone play yet this season (heading to the DVR to look for games shortly), but she shoots and scores even more effectively than Toliver. Her Floor Percentage is much higher than her Maryland counterpart and she offers slightly better shooting percentages as well. Essentially her numbers are all around better than Toliver's but her team has had less success with a lighter schedule. How much of that is due to the presence of Coleman on Maryland is not something I am prepare to vote on until I see Illinois State play.
- Danielle Gant: 5'11" Texas A&M small forward. Gant is a player that might be the Storm's pick at number 12 this Spring. She plays hard at both ends of the floor, and when they beat #2 Oklahoma this week she guarded much larger players like Courtney and Ashley Paris. In the second half she started a 17-0 A&M run with six points in less than a minute. By the end of the run, she was vomitting on the bench and had to miss the final seconds after sustaining a blow to the head in a previous game. On the court she never missed a beat, playing with fire and verve against a superior opponent. At that timeout she virtually collapsed having truly left it all out on the floor.
- Angel McCoughtry: 6'1" Louisville small forward. Angel offers physical gifts that could make her the number one pick in the draft. She has great length and athleticism which she uses to be perhaps the best wing defender in draft. If I could do a better job getting defense into my scoring system, she would likely be my number one as well. She rebounds well, blocks shots and leads the NCAA in steals. She needs to improve her shooting and learn how to use that length and athleticism to get higher percentage baskets. I struggled with a WNBA comparison for her leaving her somewhere between Sheryl Swoopes and Swin Cash which is not a bad place to be. I see her becoming a star in this league within a few years.
- Whitney Boddie: 5'9" Auburn shooting guard. I have to admit, I was so interested in watching Bonner play that I virtually ignored her team mate. I am hard pressed to find a particular thing at which Boddie excels, yet she does pretty well in every area I track pushing her near the top of the list. Playing with Bonner and lacking a standout attribute will hurt Boddie more in an 11 roster limit draft year than it would in past years.
- Shalee Lehning: 5'9" Kansas State point guard. Lehning is one of my favorite players this season. She has been either first or second in the NCAA all season in assists despite lacking real scorers to support her. She rebounds better than any point guard I have ever seen, particularly at the offensive end. She is always in the right spot for the rebound, and if the opponent corrals it and brings it down, she will rip it right out of their hands. She can get in the lane anytime she wants against every team she has played this season. The two biggest knocks against Lehning are her utter lack of 3 point shooting and concerns about her individual defense and poor lateral speed.
- Renee Montgomery: 5'7" Connecticut point guard. People love her or hate her. I think she will make a perfect complimentary player and could make a team like Phoenix or LA really shine. She has never been the star but has stepped up each year as her role has shifted under Geno's system. She knows when to get the superstar the ball and when to score it herself. She gets knocked for shot selection, but all I ever see is her coach telling her to shoot those open threes. She is small and could struggle against some of the taller, stronger guards in the pros.
- Amber Guffey: 5'7" Murray State point guard. Amber reminds me of Lindsay Whalen. She has the same build and the same fearless willingness to drive right into the trees and try to score or draw the foul. She is not a prober, when she heads to the paint she is going to get to the basket by you or through you. She is a strong shooter and a solid defender. My biggest concern is that a player from a small school will likely not get enough focus without a combine.
Honorable Mentions: Mandy Morales (Montana), Rachel Porath (UW Green Bay), Amber Bland (NC A&T), Briann January (ASU), Porchia Green (Ball State), Shavonte Zellous (Pittsburgh, another Agler watch list member)
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Spring in Golden Tail
Cold damp warms.
Auburn youth rises in tail,
Tween two, round three or four or five
The Runner rises to shine.
A new spring emerges as the oated citrus finds the spiderless web amidst the emerald towers.
Spring returns the bird brings with it the wings that lead to flight.
Runner morphs to turn to fade to fall.
Gold from auburn back in tail,
New trails born as wasteland fades..
Season ends though flight goes on in new life found.
Whose wings bring spring once more is lost as two to one...
Golden tail to trail to three, to turn, to fade to fall again
the end, too soon,
the season fades but golden tail stands tall
the crown is seized from the head whose tail has fallen
by ring, by hand by auburn past.
Spring flies in once more with flock in tow...
Golden tail with wings and flock to fly...
to trail to three to turn to fade to fall and fall and fall and fall...
Golden tail cannot grasp its golden dream...
a loss felt deep is followed by more...
from the depths of loss comes fire and furor and victory...
all who face the golden tail, the bird with beak askew, the flock
they fall and fall and fall again till noise and joy unfelt arises
the flock carries the bird with golden tail aloft and lifts a land aloft.
Spring roars in again...
migration rends the flock...
beak knocked askew once more...
yet still the trail the three the turn the fade the fall shall fly.
yet still the pain...
in limb in loss in heart in mind
the dream is wrenched from grasp again.
Spring limps in on battered limb...
the ticks the count the golden tail is held
counted, counted, stopped.
the pain blossoms as once the masses grew themselves...
yet worse...the fear...
clay from dusty bowls stirs fear of endings, of friends, of family.
more pain, more loss and stopped, stopped,
Spring roars in once more...
To turn to fade to fall to post to block to three to WIN.
Fear is stirred but fails but...
the turn the fade the post the block the three must fall
as must the fear.
Crown and scepter seized again but still...
unknown but stopped once more.
A Perfect Spring as golden tail and bird join flock so newly born...
fear is vanquished as hope and joy and dreams emerge...
To steal to block to turn to fade the three to fall and fall and fall again.
The bird and flock must fly alone as golden tail must seek again...
gold cannot be grasped and tail not gold must face the pain...
The bird awaits within its nest...
a new flock has formed to wait...
Emerald towers sway in gray unbroken,
cold damp unwarmed.
Will Spring return in golden tail
to trail to three to turn to fade to fall...
to scream to stand to leap to cry to hope to fill.
to see to know...
Friday, February 20, 2009
Just under one month later, Yolanda Griffith has signed with the Indiana Fever.
The Storm defense takes another huge blow. While JB is a strong offensive player and rebounder, she has never offered the kind length and commitment to rebounding and defense that made Yo the anchors for multiple, league leading, defensive teams including the 2008 Storm.
Additionally, it is now rumored that LJ has made the decision to sign...somewhere. Apparently, so has Tina Thompson. Many people are assuming LJ signs with Phoenix and Tina with LA, but there is not definitive word on that made public at this time. Theoretically there is a trade involved as well. A sign and trade that nets something in return for a loss of that magnitude lessens pain, but what can you get back for a player of that caliber?
I will withold my comments on the LJ part until we hear the final answer.
Losing Swoopes and Yo will definitely hurt the team's defensive capabilities, even in diminished physical capability these two women brought a wealth of defensive experience and intelligence to the floor for the Storm. Combined with Swin Cash, they created a strong blend of perimeter and post balance to complement 2007 Defensive Player of the Year Lauren Jackson. There is not a veteran free agent available to balance things out. Yes, the Storm will have some cap space to sign a top free agent, but the question is who that FA will be.