Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Senior Watch Weeks 5-6

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

NCAA Senior Watch Week 4


Ashley HoutsGeorgia#2 last week
Kelsey LunaIndiana State#3 last week
Taylor LillyOregon#5 last week
Jordann PlummerDrake#4 last week
Courtney PilypaitasVermont#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 GreeneConnecticut#1 last week
May KotsopoulosVermont#2 last week
Brittainey RavenTexas#4 last week
Alison LaceyIowa StateNR last week
Ashley BarlowNotre Dame#3 last week

MIA: Brittany (Ray Rutgers)
Ray drops out as Raven and Lacey pull ahead.


Alysha ClarkMiddle Tennessee State#1 last week
Lacey SimpsonIllinois#2 last week
Danielle McCrayKansas#3 last week
Shanara HollinquestChattanooga#4 last week
Monica WrightVirginia#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 GriffinNebraska#2 last week
Jenna SmithIllinois#1 last week
Jacinta MonroeFlorida State#3 last week
Erica BeverlyHartford#5 last week
Siarre EvansEast Tennessee StateNR 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 CharlesConnecticut#1 last week
Jayne AppelStanford#3 last week
Keke CarrierAuburn#4 last week
Alyssa DeHaanMichigan StateNR last week
Angel RobinsonGeorgiaNR 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

NCAA Seniors Week 3

I mucked with my formulas this week to better differentiate the values for posts vs. perimeter players.

Houts and Lilly return, and I move Pilypaitis over from shooting guard to take over my top spot at the point. The Vermont backcourt is confusing to me, and I have not seen them play. Pilypaitis is taller than Kotsopoulos, but she appears to be the primary playmaker.

Courtnay Pilypaitis Vermont (NR last week)
Ashley Houts Georgia (NR last week)
Kelsey Luna Indiana State (#1 last week)
Jordann Plummer Drake (#4 last week)
Taylor Lilly Oregon (NR last week)

MIA: Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State), Jareica Hughes (UTEP), Mickel Picco (Boston College)

Moving Pilypaitis to point lets Green take the top spot, and the newly tracked Kotsopoulos fills in the # 2.

Kalana Green Connecticut (#2 last week)
May Kotsopoulos Vermont (NR last week)
Ashley Barlow Notre Dame (#5 last week)
Brittainey Raven Texas (#4 last week)
Brittany Ray Rutgers (NR last week)

MIA: Lele Hardy (Clemson)

I am tracking Green at shooting guard, but she would be #2 on the SF list as well. Wright falls back and Simpson continues to climb.

Alysha Clark Middle Tennesee (#1 last week)
Lacey Simpson Illinois (#5 last week)
Danielle McCray Kansas (#3 last week)
Shanara Hollinquest Chattanooga (#4 last week)
Monica Wright Virginia (#2 last week)

MIA: They all stick.

I move Jacinta Monroe to PF from C after watching her play this week. Florida State plays her mostly at PF and she ranks higher in that list this week.

Jenna Smith Illinois (#2 last week)
Kelsey Griffin Nebraska (#3 last week)
Jacinta Monroe Florida State (NR last week)
Ashley Sweat Kansas State (NR last week)
Erica Beverly Hartford (#2 last week)

MIA: Ashley Ellis-Milan (Minnesota), Gabriela Marginea (Drexel)

I moved Monroe to PF, but she would have been 4th on the C list had I left her. Her move saves DeHaan after a bad week.

Tina Charles Connecticut (#1 last week)
Amber Harris Xavier (#2 last week)
Jayne Appel Stanford (#3 last week)
Keke Carrier Auburn (NR last week)
Alyssa DeHaan Michigan State (#5 last week)

MIA: They all stick.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Working the Numbers

I didn't have a chance to catch any games yesterday, though my DVR captured three of them for me.

Instead, I had the privilege of attending a coaching workshop through the Ballard Boys & Girls Club run by the Seattle Storm and led by head coach Brian Agler.

It was a real pleasure to experience first hand what I heard throughout last season with regards to Coach Agler's skills as a teacher. As likely the least experienced attendee, I learned quite a bit, though most of it won't help my Kindergarten/1st Graders. I did decide to keep coaching and will be picking up either a third grade boys or girls team next week.

I am crunching numbers for last week and should have a post up on Tuesday with the current state of my senior watch.

The Storm have their practice facility for the next five years having inked a deal with SPU.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Weekend Watch

I managed to fit three college games in yesterday, two were recordings of games from earlier this week.

North Carolina @ Michigan State
This game was a nice upset by Michigan State of the #4 ranked team in the nation. North Carolina made it interesting with a big second half comeback, but did not have enough steam left to secure the road win. I was watching this game to observe Michigan State senior center Allyssa DeHaan. I was disappointed at first as she picked up two quick fouls and sat out the entire first half. In the second half she played quite well, displaying some skills at both ends of the floor to go along with her obvious attributes of size (6'9") and length.

Florida State @ Indiana
I had a chance to watch Florida State take out Indiana in the Big 10/ACC Classic. I wanted to catch senior Forward/Center Jacinta Monroe and did get to see quite a bit of her. The Seminoles play her mostly at Power Forward, so I will add her to this week's list at that position as well as at Center. Monroe played very well in this game, scoring, rebounding and blocking shots. Like DeHaan, though, I think she will need a stronger base to play the post in the pros. Her 6'8" height is great, she has nice long arms, and she does seem to have more of a wiry strength than I saw in DeHaan.

Louisiana Tech @ Baylor
Yes, I am watching as much Baylor as I can this year even without a senior prospect on my list. I can't pass up a chance to watch Griner and see how see matures over the next four years. The last high school phenom I watched, Candace Parker, was much more polished when she arrived at Tennessee (of course she redshirted her freshman year). Griner brings a raw quality with her skills and physical abilities that is more exciting. You watch this young woman play and wonder what things will be like next year. In this particular game, Baylor faced almost all man to man coverage in the first half. Louisiana Tech's coach, WNBA great Teresa Weatherspoon refused to use the zone defense until the game was mostly out of reach. Griner and a sharp looking set of players starting and on the bench made them pay. The 10 point final margin is deceptive, as Baylor led by 15-20 points most of the game and only allowed themselves to relax in the final two minutes. Griner ended the game with 22 points, 8 rebounds and 6 blocks. I really like senior Morghan Medlock, but at 6'1" I don't think her skills will translate to the pros. On Louisiana Tech's side, I am tracking senior Power Forward Shanvia Dowdell. She was last on my PF rankings last week but in my top 40 overall players. She was clearly Tech's best player, and played remarkably well against superior competition, but at 6'2, I don't know that her skills will translate as a pro.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

NCAA Seniors Week 2

Lots of movement in the guard realm this week, but the bigs are staying tight. Tina Charles is still in front of the whole pack at this point, not that we expected anything less.

Kelsey Luna Indiana State (#3 last week)
Andrea Riley Oklahoma State (#1 last week)
Jareica Hughes UTEP (NR last week)
Jordann Plummer Drake (NR last week)
Mickel Picco Boston College (NR last week)

MIA: Tasha Harris (Boise State), Ashley Houts (Georgia) and Taylor Lilly (Oregon)

Courtnay Pilypaitis Vermont (NR last week)
Kalana Green Connecticut (#3 last week)
Lele Hardy Clemson (NR last week)
Brittainey Raven Texas (NR last week)
Ashley Barlow Notre Dame (NR last week)

MIA: Alison Hightower (LSU), Tyra Grant (Penn State), Deirdre Naughton (DePaul), Alexis Rack (Mississippi State)

Alysha Clark Middle Tennesee (#2 last week)
Monica Wright Virginia (#4 last week)
Danielle McCray Kansas (#1 last week)
Shanara Hollinquest Chattanooga (#5 last week)
Lacey Simpson Illinois (NR last week)

MIA: Sade Morris (Kansas)

Kelsey Griffin Nebraska (#3 last week)
Jenna Smith Illinois (NR last week)
Erica Beverly Hartford (#2 last week)
Ashley Ellis-Milan Minnesota (NR last week)
Gabriela Marginea Drexel (#4 last week)

MIA: Ashley Sweat (Kansas State), Pauline Love (Southern Miss)

Tina Charles Connecticut (#1 last week)
Amber Harris Xavier (#2 last week)
Jacinta Monroe Florida State (#5 last week)
Jayne Appel Stanford (#3 last week)
Alyssa DeHaan Michigan State (NR last week)

MIA: KeKe Carrier (Auburn)

Lest We Forget...

Remember how lucky we are...


I am more than halfway through the numbers for last week's NCAA seniors...I should finish them up today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NCAA Senior Rankings

Through the first week of play here are my top performing senior WNBA prospects...this list will change GREATLY as more games are played and RPI starts to have actual meaning.

Andrea Riley Oklahoma State
Tasha Harris Boise State
Kelsey Luna Indiana State
Ashley Houts Georgia
Taylor Lilly Oregon

Alison Hightower LSU
Tyra Grant Penn State
Kalana Greene Connecticut
Deirdre Naughton DePaul
Alexis Rack Mississippi State

Danielle McCray Kansas
Alysha Clark Middle Tennessee
Sade Morris Kansas
Monica Wright Virginia
Shanara Hollinquest Chattanooga

Ashley Sweat Kansas State
Erica Beverly Hartford
Kelsey Griffin Nebraska
Gabriela Marginea Drexel
Pauline Love Southern Miss

Tina Charles Connecticut
Amber Harris Xavier
Jayne Appel Stanford
KeKe Carrier Auburn
Jacinta Monroe Florida State

Jackson May Stay Home, Baylor Rolls


As the wife of the recently murdered Spartak owner looks over her finances and how she will structure her team, the highly priced Lauren Jackson may not return to Russia and Sue Bird's status is also in question. The Australian press seems certain that Jackson will remain in Australia, where she has been recovering from surgery since the Storm were eliminated from the WNBA playoffs this autumn.

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.


I caught my second Baylor game yesterday in addition to watching San Diego State run all over Arizona in the second half.

Baylor looked very well balanced against Cal, and freshman #1 recruit Brittany Griner seemed to have settled down after her opening game jitters in Tennessee. There was solid play from their junior leader Melissa Jones who had a double double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. The rookies were great as well, with guard Shanay Washington adding 18 points and 4 assists to go with Griner's 15 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocks. Baylor won the game 69-49.

Griner looked to notch her first collegiate dunk (other than her dunk in the exhibition season) near the end of the game on a nice wrap-around pass from Jones, but was fouled hard at the rim and missed the jam. A second Cal player then wrapped up Griner who attempted to rebound the ball despite the whistle. Griner, showing some grit as a freshman essentially threw the Cal player off with one arm. Cal had stated before the game that they did not intend to allow a dunk on their court. Baylor coach, Kim Mulkey pulled Griner from the game after her free throws to protect her freshman from injury or her own retaliations.

As nice as Baylor looked in this game, they may be even better next year having signed a letter of intent with the top ranked high school point guard in the nation, Odyssey Sims out of Irving, Texas. Championship caliber teams are often built on combing a dominant post with a solid point guard. With the complimentary players that Baylor already has in place they could look to be a serious contender for the next few years.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Can Team Sports Have Negative Impact on Teens?

The answer according to a recent study is both yes and no. It also appears that most of the negative impacts are relegated to boys rather than girls.

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.

The strength of peer support in a team sport environment could certainly increase the amount of peer pressure to participate in risky behaviors like drinking or fighting. I find it particularly interesting that the negative impacts don't cross genders which leads me to think that the social behaviors of boy's and girls within gender specific social structures like a sports team may be a key piece of the puzzle.

Males and females bond and interact in different patterns and with different priorities. These differences may drive riskier behaviors in males while promoting positive behaviors in females. It would be interesting to see someone examine the data from this study with an anthropological approach to better understand where the behaviors are initiating within the teams and what impact gender has on the resulting behavior.

Monarchs Fold

The Maloofs have shut down the Sacramento Monarchs as of today to focus on fixing their ailing NBA franchise, the Sacramento Kings.

The WNBA quickly responded with the news that they are actively pursuing ownership to relocate the Monarchs a short drive south to the San Francisco bay area.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Senseless Tragedy, Help if You Can...

As a parent, and now a coach, I beg you to help two helpless victims who face so much adversity from an overwhelmed and under-supported foster care system. Thank you to former Connecticut Husky and current Minnesota Lynx star, Charde Houston for bringing this tragedy to the national stage.

LJ is in Demand

The current word on the street is that the wife of the assassinated owner of the Spartak Moscow basketball team will take over ownership and continue employing Lauren Jackson, Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles and other WNBA stars this WNBA off-season.

Despite that assurance, the Canberra Capitals (coached by Opals Head Coach and Jackson friend, Carrie Graf) of Australia's WNBL are aggressively pursuing LJ with a $250,000AUD or ~$US230,000 contract offer to finish out the WNBL season. That is pretty heady money for the WNBL which averages near the same salaries as the WNBA if my research is accurate.

According to the article Jackson fully intends to honor the Russian contract if it remains solvent, and she has shown that loyalty is a core part of her personal/professional character. I know she went to Russia after only one year with Korea on a two year contract, but I believe that Korea broke that deal in order to build their local talent in preparation for the Beijing Olympics.

On a side note, my K-1 boys faced their first girls in competition this week, the opposing Timberwolves fielding two young ladies on their roster. My boys won bonus points from me for not even commenting on the fact that there were girls playing, and I was certainly not going to point it out to them.

When my older son played (5 years ago) the boys all giggled about playing against girls. My boys didn't even notice. That may be a side effect of the growth of the Storm in our community as most of these kids have been to a Storm game or even met Storm players at their schools or after school clubs. We play as part of the Ballard Boys & Girls club which has had the Storm out a number of times and boasts Storm logos (painted on the wall of one room) and gear all over the facility. It may be a small sample size, but I will extract my own observations in any case.

Overseas updates are in vogue...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Bill Simmons LOVES the WNBA

Ok, so we all know that is far from the truth, but now we have photos of him carousing with a WNBA mascot and holding what could be his first WNBA jersey.

We will need to remember these pictures next time he goes on a WNBA bashing spree.

In his recent "sports-hate" column, he only hates WNBA commercials, not the league itself so maybe he is coming around.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It has been far too long since I have posted, and to be truthful I have barely thought about the WNBA or women's basketball in that time frame. With Phoenix wrapping up a second championship, my focus drifted elsewhere.

In August I was fortunate enough to return to my former job, which, while more rewarding on a personal level, is also more demanding.

I have not quite made it halfway through the Storm's 2009 season from a numbers perspective, and the NCAA season is already upon us. I am prepping my senior rankings and will have my first data next week after enough teams have opened their seasons.

I am coaching basketball for the first time, though at this level it is more about herding cats as I try to teach 10 K-1 boys how to enjoy the game. I am actually really enjoying it myself, though I feel like I could teach them more if I had more time. We had two one hour practices a week for a few weeks and now we play games twice weekly with 15 minutes of practice before the game.

Even at this early age, the talent beast rears its head as it is pretty clear which kids simply have a knack for the game. Experience matters, too, even for these kids. The boys who have spent time with a basketball prior to joining the team are simply more comfortable out there. For some, it is hard to watch how their brains get something before their bodies are able to help them execute.

It was disappointing that we didn't have a single girl sign up, but perhaps they don't get involved until they are a little older.

On a side note, I will not be covering the Storm for next season. It was a nice experience, but convinced me that I am simply not a journalist. Additionally, I really missed sitting in the stands as a fan and sharing my love of the game with my sons, even if they are currently rebelling against being forced to watch basketball. Next season I will be back in my seats cheering on the team once more.

Be sure to catch Kevin Pelton's season recap...

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Sense of Urgency

As we approach Game 2 of another playoff series with the Storm down 0-1, we will hear people talk about the same things:

  • Lauren Jackson's injury
  • Sue Bird's performance
  • A lack of perimeter depth
All of these three are truly important, and we can add in the need for BOTH Bird and Cash to step up in the abscence of Jackson.

Having watched all four game 1's so far this post season, though, I will step out and say that I think the key for the Storm in the next game and beyond will be one simple directive.

Play with a sense of urgency.

We saw this in Detroit as the Shock overcame a significant deficit to hold serve on their home court.

We saw this in San Antonio as the Silver Stars pushed on every weakness they could expose on the Phoenix defense and stars found their games in the waning moments of what we knew would be a tight game.

We saw this in Washington as the Fever refused to let the lower seed win that first game despite their inspired play early on.

We did NOT see this from Seattle or LA in their game 1. Seattle allowed themselves to be punished early and despite a late push could not recover. LA was in control of the game and then relaxed enough to allow Seattle to challenge them.

With their backs against the wall, the Storm will need to play with that sense of urgency. I don't mean that they should change their style of play or take badly rushed shots. I mean they need to put every ounce of effort on what they do best. Every player on the floor, all eight of the available players, will need to play like every possession matters, because it will.

LA has enough bravado to avoid playing their best game. They don't play Seattle with a sense of urgency. They are sure enough of themselves that they will expose themselves to a focused attack and true hustle.

Players like Little, Wright and Walker play like this every game, but the rest of the lineup needs to take that cue and play with the same grit, determination and hustle. Talent will not win this series, I doubt it will win a game for Seattle with Jackson on the bench. In my opinion, LA has Seattle beat EASILY on the talent meter at the moment.

Hustle, passion and a sense of urgency are the things that will win this series for Seattle, the question is whether they have the desire to express them.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lineup Info

I am only a third of the way through the season data, but here is a quick look at the first 11 games of the season....

Top Performing Lineups

Bird-Wright-Cash-Little-Jackson +68 (146 minutes) +18 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright-Cash-Jackson-Burse +16 (28 minutes) +23 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Little-Jackson +10 (18 minutes) +22 per 40 minutes

Top Player Pairs

Bird-Jackson +103 (318 minutes) +13 per 40 minutes
Bird-Wright +97 (286 minutes) +14 per 40 minutes
Bird-Little +74 (253 minutes) +12 per 40 minutes

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Luck of the Draw

Sometimes fate just smiles on you.

My wife is out of town, and I was only able to get a babysitter for 2 of the next 4 home games while she is gone. It just so happens that the games I get to attend as a fan (since I have no sitter, I get to bring the kids to the game) are the returns of Tully Bevilaqua and Iziane Castro Marques.

It will be nice to get to be a part of the crowd on those two evenings, as I was able to do for the All-Decade Team game as well.

Indiana will be a true test for this Storm team and their home court prowess.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proud of Storm All-Stars

Seattle has a lot to be proud of with regards to the WNBA All-Star game this season. Fans voted three of the Storm's players to start in the All-Star game and all three performed very well. Surprise starter, Swin Cash showed any doubters that she deserved her spot in the game and she gave those fans quite a show. Cash set a WNBA All-Star scoring record with 22 points, eclipsing the 21 point record set only minutes earlier by first time All Star, Nicole Powell from the Sacramento Monarchs. Cash added six rebounds and four assists to earn All-Star MVP as her Western squad reclaimed the All-Star crown in a 130-118 scoring battle.

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 know that for some this is the dream job. You cover a sport that you love, and people read your thoughts and ideas.

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

Game 3: Seattle @ Chicago

Seattle Storm

Top Shooting

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%)

Top Ratings

Offensive Rating: Lauren Jackson (140.98), Swin Cash (123.40), Tanisha Wright (101.97)
Individual Rating: Lauren Jackson (124.87), Swin Cash (119.40)

Plus Minus

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

Bird-Gearlds-Cash-Little-Jackson +8
Bird-Wright-Cash-Jackson-Burse +4

Chicago Sky

Top Shooting

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%)

Top Ratings

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)

Plus Minus
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

Bevilaqua-Douglas-Catchings-Sutton^Brown-Hoffman +13
January-Dixon-Douglas-Sutton^Brown-Hoffman +5
White-Douglas-Catchings-Sutton^Brown-Hoffman +4

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Game 2 Seattle vs. Sacramento



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Katie Gearlds64%83%83%5
Janell Burse61%75%82%8
Lauren Jackson56%66%74%25
Camille Little55%50%51%11
Sue Bird53%63%58%15


Katie Gearlds159.77154.98
Lauren Jackson126.71121.09
Janell Burse119.76117.88
Sue Bird114.76112.80
Camille Little111.8395.07


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


Bird-Wright-Cash-Little-Jackson: +10
Bird-Johnson-Wright-Little-Jackson: +5



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Nicole Powell60%67%74%14
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba54%50%82%8
Chelsea Newton52%63%63%5
Kara Lawson50%68%67%17


Nicole Powell143.66128.59
Chelsea Newton123.95113.02
Kara Lawson123.17116.52
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba121.76107.60

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


Lawson-Newton-Powell-Walker-Kelly: +7
Lawson-Maiga^Ba-Powell-Kelly-Paris: +4

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Game 1 Seattle @ Sacramento



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Lauren Jackson82%75%96%23
Katie Gearlds51%64%64%9
Tanisha Wright47%63%58%21
Ashley Robinson41%100%100%2


Ashley Walker233.33200.00
Lauren Jackson189.09151.95
Katie Gearlds147.13112.41
Shannon Johnson113.6776.86
Sue Bird111.6166.84


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


Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Jackson-Burse: +9
Bird-Johnson-Wright-Little-Jackson: +8
Bird-Johnson-Wright-Gearlds-Jackson: +7



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Laura Harper70%57%74%11
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba68%50%58%8
Rebecca Brunson60%50%58%8
Ticha Penicheiro51%33%58%11


Laura Harper147.95127.12
Hamchetou Maiga-Ba128.9498.28
Rebecca Brunson127.0299.05
Ticha Penicheiro105.6380.36


Chelsea 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


Lawson-Newton-Powell-Brunson-Harper: +8
Penicheiro-Newton-Maiga^Ba-Walker-Kelly: +3

Monday, June 01, 2009

Atkinson and Terry Cut

With this next round of cuts...only rookie Parham and 2nd year player Franklin remain in camp and on the bubble. Given the significant playing time and subsequent play from Gearlds and Robinson, it looks like the roster is decided. I am not sure of the reasoning for keeping Parham and Franklin at this point...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Preseason Game # 2 Stats



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Ashley Robinson37%50%50%4
Ashely Walker52%36%45%12
Tanisha Wright45%40%48%16
Katie Gearlds29%40%40%8


Ashley Walker108.8184.89
Tanisha Wright97.9284.91


Ashley Robinson: +5
Tanisha Wright: +2
Ashley Walker: +2
Sue Bird: -2
Katie Gearlds: -2
Camille Little: -5
Shannon Johnson: -6
Janell Burse: -9


Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Little-Robinson: +4
Bird-Wright-Gearlds-Walker-Little: +4
Johnson-Wright-Gearlds-Walker-Robinson: +3
Johnson-Wright-Gearlds-Little-Burse: +2



PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
Diana Taurasi52%60%60%13
Temeka Johnson43%65%65%13
Brooke Smith31%100%69%2
Laurie Koehn38%60%60%6


Laurie Koehn115.13108.72
Temeka Johnson111.81111.50
Allison Bales108.83106.38
Diana Taurasi107.28102.46


Allison 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


Oga-Brooks-Koehn-BSmith-Bales: +8
Johnson-Pondexter-Mazzante-Willingham-TSmith: +6
Johnson-Taurasi-Pondexter-Bonner-TSmith: +5
Brooks-Quigley-Koehn-BSmith-Bales: +4

Monday, May 25, 2009

Guest in the Key

Read Q's great post on his visit to Key Arena for last week's preseason game.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Preseason Game # 1 Stats


PlayerFloor %eFG%TS%Points
La'Tangela Atkinson61%67%64%5
Ashely Walker63%50%54%10
Shannon Johnson52%67%64%5
Janell Burse54%50%56%10
Kimberly Beck51%75%75%3


Kimberly Beck153.73139.69
Ashely Walker124.3199.81
La'Tangela Atkinson117.99114.24
Janell Burse112.4799.19
A'Quonesia Franklin100.4593.49


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


Johnson-Atkinson-Gearlds-Little-Burse: +4
Johnson-Atkinson-Gearlds-Little-Terry: +4
Franklin-Johnson-Gearlds-Walker-Burse: +3
Franklin-Gearlds-Little-Walker-Burse: +3

Friday, May 22, 2009

Monarchs vs. Storm 5/21

I do intend to run the numbers for this game, but I have a badly sprained ankle that makes sitting to type rather uncomfortable. Hopefully it will start to feel better soon.

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 first Media Day

I survived.

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

Storm Media Day

So, I have not been posting much of late.

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

Storm Entry Video

If you haven't seen it, you should.

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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swin makes some funnies...

On Twitter today...Swin Cash teased that she knew where LJ had signed, but of course she ran out of room on the 140 character limit...twice.

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

The President on Women's Sports

From an AP article by Andrew Miga, the Seattle Times quotes President Obama...

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

Ashley Walker Senior Profile

Here are the senior year numbers for Ashley Walker, the Storm's 1st round draft pick, the person Coach Agler called,

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

Girls in Sports

I have my first chance this year to have an early impact on girls and their attitudes about sports, athleticism and even themselves. I was conned into coaching my five year old's T-ball team, which has a nice diverse group of kids. We have 15 kids aged 5-7, of which 1/3 are girls.

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!

Draft Day Steals

A new article at covers past draft day steals. There were a few names on there that I had forgotten were late rounders...

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

Husky Champions

Well, it wasn't our own Huskies, but the other dawgs finished the school's third perfect season behind great play from Tina Charles, Renee Montgomery and Maya Moore. The game started very close, but by the end of the first half, Louisville was starting to show cracks. Coach Auriema shoved his crow bar into those cracks and yanked in the second making this game even less of a contest than the men's championship on Monday night.

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

Final Four

Louisville pulled off an upset off some emotional play by Angel McCoughtry. The game started in Oklahoma's favor early, but they failed to put the Cardinals away, missing a number of opportunities and allowing the underdog to stick around. After a tongue lashing from their coach, the Cardinals came out in the second half and took over. Oklahoma had a chance to win it with a three at the buzzer but the ball went in and bounced back out. They were unable to rebound and shoot fast enough to tie. Courtney Paris promised to make good on her guarantee to pay back her scholarship. It will take her a few years on a $45K or so rookie scale contract unless she gets some endorsement deals.

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

Cleaning up the Mess

I don't know what Blogger did, but it has taken me weeks to fix all the problems with the blog with disappearing text and shifted margins. Hopefully it will all hold steady for a while.

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

Butterfly Effect

Write it and they will come, Kevin...

How does it feel to be a source?

How many times will Michael Cooper leave LA to pursue more money?

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Twitter Experiment

As a worker for an IT company, I am always open to the new technology, so I decided to experiment with Twitter during last night's two tournment games. It is certainly easier to comment moment to moment than it is to write up a detailed analysis.

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 do both the Storm and the Lynx. Of course there is also WNBA Draft Net.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Elite 8

You know you have a good tournament game when you one team is clearly losing, but you refuse to fast forward because you know the other team could make that big comeback. Watching Louisville/Maryland yesterday I just couldn't let go of the thought that Maryland just might shoot their way back into the game. They did not ever get there though...Louisville had an answer every time Maryland hit a big shot and Maryland just wasn't interested in defending Louisville for 40 minutes of game time.

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

Sweet 16 Part 1

OK, I "knew" that Louisville would be moving on. The 1-2 combo of probable #1 pick Angel McCoughtry on the wing with likely 2nd round pick Candyce Bingham in the post was going to beat the somewhat gimpy senior trio of Player, Morrow and Allison. Baylor put up some serious fight until around the 10 minute mark of the second half when their lack of depth began to fail them.

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

Been a While

I have been doing a lot of numbers and very little writing here of late, so I thought I should catch up.

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 to have Back Surgery Today

via Pilight at rebkell...

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

Weekend Basketball

I watched two games this weekend, Louisville vs. Pittsburgh and Illinois State vs. Northern Iowa.

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

Leading Senior Post Players

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

Leading Senior Perimeter Players

I have added a split to my senior data to look at posts and perimeters separately...which included different weightings for shooting and rebounding. That is my first step towards improving the prospect ratings. I still need to add some individual stats to the mix like steals and blocks and track this years rookies as well as run the system over the best rookies of the past few years.

Here is how the current batch of senior perimeter players looks by my new ranking system:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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

an LJ poem

Inspired by the thread on RebKell and the challenge for a pro Seattle poem...though I am no poet, it was fun to play one for a day...

Spring in Golden Tail

Grey breaks,
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..
Oasis blooms...
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...
In health...
In fire...
In fury...
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...
The End?
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, gold,
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...
to wait...
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...
or only
to wait,
to wait
to wait.
We wait,
to scream to stand to leap to cry to hope to fill.
We wait.
to see to know...
we wait.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Yolanda to Indiana for sure, is LJ the next to leave?

After all the talk of the fantastic chemistry last season...the exodus begins. Swoopes was waived by the Storm on January 31st.

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.