Lisa Leslie has become an owner of the WNBA team she helped to launch, the Los Angeles Sparks announced at halftime of Friday night's game against the Tulsa Shock.
At the conclusion of a halftime ceremony honoring three women -- award-winning theatre director Debbie Devine, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, and Shaun Robinson, co-anchor of "Access Hollywood" -- with the team's 2011 Lisa Leslie Inspiring Women Award, Leslie remained on the court that bears her name, with her retired No. 9 jersey hanging above her from the rafters of STAPLES Center, as Paula Madison, chairperson of the ownership group that owns the Sparks, announced that Leslie would be joining the group as a member of the management team.
FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, will continue its push of 3x3 basketball with the first-ever Invitational 3x3 Youth World Basketball Championships to be held in Rimini, Italy, from September 9-11, and USA Basketball will be there, fielding both boys and girls teams composed of athletes 18 years old and younger.
Representing the United States girls 3x3 team will be four members of the 2011 USA U16 National Team who just recently helped the U.S. claim gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in June: Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, GA), Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S. /Owensboro, Ky.), Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.), and Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S. /Fishers, Ind.).
According to FIBA, the 3-on-3 format is the most popular variation of the game played by youngsters and adults on playgrounds throughout the world. FIBA also sees the 3x3 game both as a learning tool and a form of "basic training" for future 5-on-5 players and as a means to popularize the sport worldwide.
In the case of women's basketball, what FIBA hasn't said publicly, but was a clear theme underlying its promotion of the concept during the International Congress on Women's Basketball held concurrently concurrently with the 2010 FIBA Women's World Basketball Championships in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, last September, is that the 3x3 format also holds the potential for equalizing the international playing field in the face of U.S. stranglehold on the 5-on-5 women's game.
SHENZHEN, China -- Four American players notched double digits as Team USA (6-0) claimed a record eighth World University Games gold medal in women's basketball in Shenzhen, China on Sunday, August 21, with a 101-66 trampling of the Taiwan. The previously unbeaten Taiwanese settled for silver, while Australia (5-1) broke a late-game tie and took the bronze with a much closer, 66-56, win over Sweden (3-3) in Sunday's undercard.
Stanford's Nnemkadi Ogwumike (Cypress, Texas) led the Americans with 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals. Also coming up big on the night was University of Delaware's Elena Delle Donne (Wilmington, Del.), who barely missed a triple-double after contributing 18 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
She's easily recognized on the court, dishing and driving, whether attired in red, white and blue as she leads Team USA toward the medal stand at the World University Games or in Irish Green as she guided Notre Dame to the national championship game last season. But off the court and out of context, you just might miss her.
Still, if you look closely some night at a local high school dance in Indiana, you just might recognize the face of the DJ spinning the rock-and-roll hits.
SkyDigg is "in Da House."
Yep, Skylar Diggins, the Notre Dame junior guard, whom one local reporter has dubbed the Face of College Basketball, has time between studying, playing basketball, and watching game (after game after game) to jam with the kids as a disc jockey. It is something she has been doing since high school.
If Team USA's 19-and-Under squad had its troubles early in the tournament -- squeaking past China, 80-77, and falling to Canada, 52-64, in the preliminary rounds -- they left no doubters of their dominance when they strode to the podium for the medal ceremonies of the 2011 FIBA U19 Women's World Championships in Puerto Montt, Chile on Sunday night. The American women took the gold for the fifth time in six junior World Championship outings, and they did it in style, with a 69-46, gold medal game shellacking of Spain, on the heels of an 82-66 victory over Brazil in the semis.
In both games, the Americans came out strong from the start, and though Brazil managed to close within five during the third quarter of the semifinal, in both games, the U.S. quickly closed the door on their opponents to seal the victories.
Two Americans -- Tennessee-bound Ariel Massengale (Bolingbrook High School, Bolingbrook, Illinois) and Connecticut-commit Breanna Stewart (Cicero-North Syracuse High School, North Syracuse, New York Class of 2012) -- were named to the All-Tournament team. Though held to just three points in Sunday's final, Stewart averaged 11.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game -- both team highs for the Americans -- in just 19.9 minutes per game, roughly one-third less time on the floor than most of the other players on the tournament's leaderboard. Meanwhile, Massengale was one of the tournament's assist leaders, averaging 4.3 dishes (to 2.4 turnovers) per game and serving up nine each in the U.S. wins over Italy and Brazil and seven in the championship victory over Spain. Massengale also contributed 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds per outing.
The pair were joined by tournament MVP Damaris Dantas of Brazil, who averaged 20.9 points and 12.6 rebounds per game (both tournament highs), and posted 26 points and 13 boards to lead her team to a 70-67 win over Australia in the bronze medal game.