(This is the 11th in a series of commentaries on Val Ackerman’s report on the state of NCAA women’s basketball.)
Val Ackerman’s charge was to look at NCAA women’s basketball, and the piece of her report about governance focused solely on groups that had influence within the collegiate structure. That made sense in terms of her task, but in reality, few significant changes can be made without the approval of outside entities as well.
The WNBA would have much preferred one of the Three to See, or Candace Parker and company, in the Finals. The league can certainly deal with Minnesota, with Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus, but 17-17 Atlanta, two-time losers in the Finals, isn’t exactly the dream opponent (sorry).
The positives are that the Dream love to run, so there should be lots of points, and Angel McCoughtry could melt down in SportsCenter-worthy fashion at any moment.
ATLANTA – It was showtime in Georgia at the Full Court Fresh 50 Invitational, as 40 of the nation’s top high school players were selected from a field of 120 at the Super Showcase Select with Ganon Baker to play in two featured events.
Elite prep players from all over the country have converged on Westlake High School in Atlanta, and 20 of the participants in the Super Showcase Select with Ganon Baker skills' camp have been chosen to play in the Full Court Fresh 50 Invitational Sept. 29.
After a first round full of first-game on-the-road upsets, form held in the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals Thursday –- sort of.
The results came out as expected (that is, if you expect the home team to win), though the Atlanta-Indiana game was off script for much of the night. Still, some semblance of order was restored, along with a certain sense of inevitability about the Minnesota Lynx and the 2013 championship. They’ve looked very focused so far, and have played very well at home –- and, of course, have the home-court advantage the rest of the way.
Though many thought the Mercury would ride Brittney Griner and a healthy Penny Taylor to a WNBA title, Taylor wasn’t healthy, and Griner hurt her knee.
Those injuries and the Phoenix struggles got Corey Gaines fired, and Russ Pennell was brought in to get the Mercury to play defense and rediscover their mojo. He’s done both, but Taylor is still hurt and Griner, because of the injuries or the rookie wall or just because of the level of play, has been far from dominant.
The two first-round sweeps couldn’t have been more different.
Minnesota had to battle Seattle for 80 hard-fought minutes; all Indiana had to do was apply some playoff pressure and watch Chicago collapse.
Minnesota completed its sweep before a small crowd in a strange arena, as the Storm had to move the game to Tacoma because Key Arena was rented out; Indiana thumped the Sky in front of a raucous home crowd excited about defending a WNBA title.
If Dick Vitale were calling WNBA games, he’d be frothing at the mouth while lionizing Lin Dunn’s masterful coaching job in Indiana’s upset – but Dunn wasn’t out there bombing threes. What the Fever shooters did had more to do with Indiana’s first-game victory than Dunn’s strategy, but then again it would unwise to underestimate the veteran coach’s ability to get the most out of her team.