It took a few days, but once WNBA teams got rolling, the free agent signing period has delivered plenty of news – though unfortunately, the biggest news was about a player who won’t be on the court in 2013.
That would be Seattle’s Lauren Jackson, arguably the finest player of her generation, whose career-long battle with injuries has resulted in her taking the entire summer off to recover from a hamstring operation. Jackson will only be 32 in May, but many felt her career would be glorious but short, and sadly that appears to be the way it’s playing out.
Every generation throws a hero up the pop charts.”
Paul Simon, “Boy in the Bubble”
With three seconds to go in the one-point deciding game, Lauren Jackson, arguably the best women’s basketball player in the young 21st century, had the ball on the right block, where she’s had it many times before.
Rounding out our series of interviews with WNBA coaches heading into the playoffs, we caught up with Cheryl Reeve, coach of the reigning champion Minnesota Lynx, and Brian Agler, who guided the Seattle Storm to their second WNBA championship in 2010. (Ann Donovan took the Storm to the title in 2004.)
LONDON -- Deep in the bowels of North Greenwich Arena, home to London 2012's men's and women's basketball contests in their knockout stages, in a rabbit warren known as the mixed zone, one of the few areas in the Olympic venues where athletes and the media are permitted to interact, Kristi Harrower stood crying.
It’s the same old song, Australia vs. Team USA going head-to-head in international competition with medals on the line – only this time, it’s in the semifinals rather than the finals. Still, the stakes are just as high and the competition will be just as fierce.
LONDON -- So often the focus is on the stars, but even though Liz Cambage (Tulsa Shock) scored a game-high 17 points for Australia, the reason the Opals beat China, 75-60, in the quarterfinals of the London 2012 Olympic competition in women's basketball today wasn’t the 6-8 20-year-old sensation, nor even the all-around play or record-breaking scoring of superstar Lauren Jackson (Seattle Storm). The real reason for the win was the depth of Australian roster.
LONDON -- Australia will be the 11th nation to step onto the track at Olympic Stadium here in London Friday evening for the Opening Ceremonies of the XXXth Olympiad. When they do, Lauren Jackson will be at the head of the delegation, proudly carrying her nation's flag. The selection to carry the nation's flag in the Parade of Athletes is widely considered to be one of the highest honors an athlete can achieve.
Purists believe in the game. They believe in “Hoosiers,” in team ball, in tenacious D, in taking the charge.
Owners believe in the bottom line. They believe in full arenas, high ratings, in jersey sales.
Somewhere in between is the reality of professional sports, the reality of the WNBA. The game of basketball is not only being played to win, it’s a product that’s being sold, and in a perfect world, both goals are equally honored.