WNBA Today, 06/29/2011: Pain and suffering. Plus some basketball.

Okay, I’ll get to last night’s games in a minute, but first the really important news – all the freaking injuries. This is just depressing. As reported yesterday, Candace Parker was already gone for six weeks with her knee injury. Then last night Indiana starting point guard Briann January crashed into Penny Taylor, twisting her own right knee before collapsing to the ground in agony. An MRI today confirmed everyone’s worst fears, and January’s done for the 2011 WNBA season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Meanwhile, the Seattle Storm were at the White House, visiting the President as part of their reward for winning last year’s championship. During the visit, head coach Brian Agler dropped the bombshell that Lauren Jackson will be having surgery on her hip tomorrow, not waiting three weeks and hoping that rest would be enough as originally planned. The surgery has an estimated recovery time of 8-12 weeks, which is going to leave the tantalising possibility of an LJ return hanging over Seattle’s season. Eight weeks would give her six regular season games to play, 10 weeks only two, and 12 weeks would bring her back right around the Conference Finals. Regardless of how that plays out, the Storm are going to spend the vast majority of the season without their best player.

I’m so tired of losing so many important players every single year. The women’s game doesn’t have the depth of talent to cope, and because most of these ladies play practically 12 months a year the injuries become all the more inevitable. It’s hard to blame the players that decide to skip the WNBA when you see what can happen to those who never take a break. Until we reach some distant mystical wonderland where the women’s game is popular enough for players to make the bulk of their earnings in the WNBA, I don’t know that there is any solution to the global women’s basketball calendar. But it’s just so sad that so much talent ends up on treatment tables instead of the hardwood every damn season.


Anyway, back to the games. Continue reading


WNBA Today, 06/28/2011: WNBA by Haiku

Another Monday without any games brings about the long-awaited return of my WNBA haikus. Well, long-awaited might admittedly be a stretch, but I did them once back at SportsPageMagazine and they went down okay, so see what you think. I was going to provide them in my standard East-West alphabetical format, but then decided it would be more fun if I left you all to guess which one applied to which team.

Therefore, 12 haikus, and extra brownie points if you work out the applicable teams and the pattern they’ve ultimately been presented in. Normal service will resume tomorrow, with more game coverage and slightly less artistic expression.



Winds of change often

leave carnage in wake. One star

needs help to conjure.


Tide can only rise

when at its lowest. Canute’s

kids may need new king.

Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/27/2011: Deep Thinking

Three WNBA games yester… oh no, wait, four WNBA games yesterday. Almost forgot the gripping Tulsa-Washington matchup. Safe to say that we won’t be spending very long on that one. The most important event in Sunday’s games might well turn out to be the injury suffered by yet another key player, but before we get to the disappointing news let’s worry about the game of the day. Minnesota, coming off that disappointing loss in Seattle where the Storm held them to 55 points, welcomed the Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Fever to the Frozen North for their yearly visit. Two teams that had shown some form in the early stages of the season, and the first matchup between Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore – this one had all the signs of being interesting and entertaining, and it didn’t disappoint.

Indiana stuck with their new starting unit featuring Jessica Davenport at center, while the Lynx starting five was the same as it’s been all year. Part of the intrigue with this game was how the rest of the rosters would produce. Minnesota went into the year with everyone talking about how much talent they had, and whether there were enough minutes to go around. As it’s turned out, head coach Cheryl Reeve has ended up relying heavily on her starting five, while her bench players have struggled to produce, especially at the offensive end. Indiana, on the other end, have recently discovered some depth, with Erin Phillips, Jeanette Pohlen, Shavonte Zellous and even the recently demoted Tammy Sutton-Brown all offering important support from the pine. Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/26/2011: Old Dogs Still Bite

You know how in every sports movie, there’s a scene where the big, bad reigning champ shows our plucky young hero that he isn’t actually ready yet? He might’ve thought he was, or he might’ve just been wandering along the road minding his own business, but one way or another the old power has to show that they’re still in charge. Still the big man. Still on top. Well last night, a couple of teams that have seen the WNBA Finals in recent years showed a pair of shiny new upstart teams that the balance of power hasn’t quite swung just yet. They might have been there, done that and bought the t-shirt, but they aren’t going to hand anything over without a hell of a fight.

Okay Phoenix, I see you. I get the message. Four wins in a row for our first old dog; finally a win against a team that can vaguely rebound and moderately shoot (as requested here yesterday); and, most importantly of all, some tiny signs of actual defense from a team in Mercury uniforms. Really! I swear! I can’t stop using exclamation marks because it’s so unlikely! Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/25/2011: Storm -1 Still Blow a Gale

Sometimes, basketball games are about more than just winning and losing. Sometimes, even just three weeks into a season, a team has to go out on the floor and prove that they still belong. That they’re still the champs, and that the route to this year’s title still goes through them. That without their star player they can still compete with the best teams in this league. And that however horrific their offense might be, you’re still going to have trouble scoring points against them. Ladies and gentlemen, your Seattle Storm!

For anyone who caught yesterday’s article before the late update (or the few of you with the temerity to not even read it at all), Lauren Jackson has been ruled out for ‘a minimum of three weeks’ with ‘a labral injury in her left hip’. They’re going to let her rest, then try physical therapy, and if she doesn’t respond well enough only then will they resort to surgery. So the Storm went into last night’s game at home to Minnesota not just smarting from the ass-kicking they took from the Lynx two weeks ago, but shorn of last year’s WNBA MVP. However, as we all know, in life and in sports – beware of the wounded animal.

Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/24/2011: Sky win a barnburner. Apparently.

For once, it’s not my fault that this update is being published later than originally intended. I wanted to bring you coverage of everything that happened in the WNBA yesterday, which would’ve included analysis of the obvious ‘game of the day’ between Chicago and Connecticut. However, for whatever reason, WNBA.com’s LiveAccess service failed to broadcast the game and as of this evening, hasn’t uploaded an archive video either. So the only people who’ve seen the game were the couple of thousand who made it to Allstate Arena in Chicago, and anyone who was watching CN100 on local Chicago television last night. Which doesn’t include me.

What I can tell you is that the game went to double-overtime, finishing 84-84 at the end of regulation and 93-93 after the first extra period. The Sky pulled away in the second OT, running out 107-101 winners. Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/23/2011: Walking Wounded

Okay, I’ll be honest. Very little happened in the WNBA yesterday that was remotely worth talking or writing about. Which is why this update is so late – I was waiting for inspiration to strike. It didn’t. So instead, I present a collated WNBA injury update, covering all the people on rosters who are currently known to be hurt, missing, or potentially out. Thought this might be useful to some people, at least. Back to normal updates tomorrow.


The roster, as far as I know, is fairly healthy. Angel McCoughtry’s been back for six games now, starting for five, and appears to be pretty much all the way back. The only current absence is Sancho Lyttle, still featuring for Spain at EuroBasket Women in Poland. The good news for Dream fans is that Spain got creamed by France yesterday, and an upset loss to Latvia tomorrow could leave them in danger of missing the quarter-finals. It’s still unlikely, but at least vaguely plausible. Should Spain get knocked out at the current stage, Lyttle might well make it back to the US for the June 30th game at home to New York, rather than having to wait for the July 9th game in Chicago to make her return.

Sandora Irvin or Kelly Mazzante are currently looking like more likely suspects to be released when Lyttle returns than the recently signed Courtney Paris. Don’t forget that Belorussian center Yelena Leuchanka, also currently featuring at EuroBasket, is also expected to join the Dream at some point. Then it’ll be Paris or whichever’s left from Irvin/Mazzante that goes.

Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/22/2011: Night of Celebration finds a Hollywood Ending

It was WNBA madness yesterday, with five games spread from lunchtime until midnight on the US East Coast. I spread the load a little with a Pseudo-Live Game Diary of the early game between Atlanta and Chicago, so now we get to focus on the four late games. Here’s the quick tale of the first three: two decent teams beat two crappy teams even though they were without a key player for most or all of the night; and one mediocre team beat another mediocre team who were missing a key player of their own. The end. Okay not the end, and I’ll cover all three games in a little more depth towards the end of this article, but first we’re going to skip to the night’s showpiece event – New York @ Los Angeles, a rematch of the first ever WNBA game, commemorating the WNBA’s 15th season.

Firstly, this was the most entertaining game we’ve had so far this season, so if you didn’t watch it, I’ll wait while you go and check out the archive. Go on, I’ll still be here when you get back. You can even just click here and it’ll start for you. See how good I am to you?

Anyway, on to the analysis. Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/21/2011: First Ever WNBAlien Pseudo-Live Game Diary!

Nothing to write about from yesterday, five games today that’ll drive me crazy if I try to cover them all tomorrow, and the first camp day game of the year. You know what that means? It’s Pseudo-Live Game Diary time! I figure this’ll get one of the five out of the way, give us a closer look at the Chicago Sky and Atlanta Dream, and might even be mildly entertaining along the way. So I’ve got Wimbledon on mute on the TV, LiveAccess linked up to my gorgeous IPS monitor, and plenty of Diet Coke and snacks ready to go.

All we need now is for some actual basketball to replace this ‘Game has not started’ screen…



Phew, the feed’s actually started. I wasn’t looking forward to coming up with something else for the update today. Also a positive, this game’s on Fox SportSouth in the US, so we get some halfway decent production values for once. Our Atlanta broadcasters, Bob Rathbun and LaChina Robinson, focus on the Sylvia Fowles-Erika de Souza matchup in the introduction. That’s reasonable, considering the Dream perimeter went 0-a million in their last game and Sancho Lyttle is still somewhere in Poland. Expect LaChina to say something completely nonsensical at some point this afternoon, just to keep us entertained. Or possibly because she doesn’t know the rules of basketball. Continue reading

WNBA Today, 06/20/2011: Blowouts and Beginnings?

Firstly, apologies for the late hour of posting. Once in a blue moon I actually have other things to do besides watching and writing about the WNBA. Another quadruple-game day yesterday, and three of them ended up in blowouts of one description or another, so let’s start with the only one that didn’t. Indiana visited Phoenix, the last team left in the league without a win (and it’s kind of embarrassing to lag behind Tulsa, even if the Merc had played three games fewer than the Shock due to the quirky WNBA schedule). The Mercury were desperate for a win to get their season started, and after being held to a miserable 54 points on 29% shooting by the Storm in their previous game, the Fever will have been salivating at the prospect of facing some nice friendly Phoenix ‘defense’.

The Mercury got off to their now-customary early lead, pushing out to an eight-point edge behind some transition scores and Kara Braxton actually managing to make a few layups. That made a nice change, after the number of point-blank efforts she’d missed in the opening three games. Continue reading