For much of the country, there is a big heat wave, and it's supposed to hit over 100 degrees here in DC again. Severe storms are hitting the northeast which should give them temperature relief, but hopefully not an overly damaging storm like what we saw throughout the Mid Atlantic and midwest last Friday.
In overall sports news so far today, Serena kicked off the weekend by winning her 5th Wimbledon singles title by defeating Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets. If you are a Yankees or Red Sox fan, you're in luck today as your teams are in a doubleheader as well in Bean Town. It's in progress and right now the Yankees are winning big.
For basketball, there are four WNBA games tonight, and we find out who will be donning the red white and blue for the 2012 USA men's basketball team. Pretty big day for basketball fans and players alike. First I'll write some additional Mystics notes from last night in their game against the Sparks, after the jump.
Thoughts on Mystics vs. Stars Last Night. DC Lost 78-73
I was pleased that the Mystics played relatively well, and I was in particular pleased with Natasha Lacy who came back after missing a couple games due to concussion like symptoms. She scored 6 points on 2-3 shooting for the night. However, the Mystics' overall turnover numbers, as well as a 13-4 run to start the 3rd quarter is what I feel doomed the team.
Michelle Snow had some potentially telling quotes last night in the two articles I presented. One was the "sore loser" quote in the Times link, but it was really a lead in to the fact that the team needs to be able to play four quarters of strong basketball, which they only have been able to do ONCE this entire season. This quote Snow said in the WNBA/AP recap (link above) is here too...
"You just want to scream, you want to blow up, you want to fight, whatever it takes to wake everybody up. Honestly, a change is going to come. You can be part of that change here or you'll just be part of that rotation (leaving town). That's the way any job is.''
I don't want to read too much into it because most losing teams' players will say things like this regardless. But at the same time, the Mystics are not meeting their own public expectations to return to the playoffs after missing it last season. Tomorrow, the Mystics play the Shock on the road but I'll worry about that game tomorrow.
Team USA Olympic Men's Basketball Team Selection Show, 7 PM ET/4 PM PT on NBA TV
This is the first time I can ever remember in 20 years that this team was never called "Dream Team" this or "Redeem Team" that. It's just Team USA, because we know that basketball around the world has improved leaps and bounds, and in order to continue to show that American basketball is the best in the world (flashes American flag for homerism).
On NBA TV tonight, we will find out which players will represent the US of A in London. I've given up speculating who is on the roster, aside from Kobe, LeBron, KD, Deron Williams, and CP3 because he has his hand on his chest for the Jeep commercial and is on every SB Nation basketball blog. Last time I checked there were only really three or so spots up for grabs...
Team USA is currently at UNLV in Las Vegas, NV to practice for the Olympic games and will practice there until Wednesday. Next Thursday, Team USA will get its first exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas at 6 PM PT/9 PM ET. According to NBA TV, the game will be on tape delay, but I would imagine that it has to be live.
Team USA will then travel to Washington DC and hold practice at the DC Armory next Saturday, July 14, and practice at The George Washington University the next day. On July 16, which we have certainly advertised well enough, the Americans will play Brazil at about 8 PM ET in the Verizon Center, or about 30 minutes after the preceding women's game is over which starts at 5:30 PM ET. After Brazil, the Americans will play the UK on July 19 in Manchester Arena; then they'll be in Barcelona to play Argentina on July 22, and Spain on July 24. All of the teams will have at least one NBA starter-level player if not more, so none of these games should be taken as a walk in the park. I'm surprised we're this close to Olympic Basketball time, but that's why I talked so much about it.
Game 1: Chicago Sky (8-6) at Indiana Fever (8-6), 7 PM ET/4 PM PT
The Fever won all three previous meetings this season against the Sky. Sylvia Fowles has so played very well against Indy in the teams' previous matches, and in all likelihood, she'll have to deliver another great performance tonight. I wouldn't be surprised to see Erin Phillips sit out tonight for the Fever, because she suffered concussion symptoms from Thursday's game vs. San Antonio even though she is listed as day to day according to the Fever release. Both teams are coming off of losses in their last matches.
If you're in the Chicagoland area, turn on CN100 to watch the game.
Game 2: Connecticut Sun (11-4) at Minnesota Lynx (13-3), 8 PM ET/7 PM CT/5 PM PT
Game of the Night.
Easy pick for me considering that this is a matchup between the leaders of both conferences, and it may be a WNBA Finals preview.
The Lynx lost two in a row and look to avoid losing three in a row for the first time in two seasons. Fortunately, they're back at Target Center because the Stars and Sparks losses this past week were on the road. While the Sun is commonly referred to as "Tina Charles' team," Kara Lawson has been having a hell of a first half of this season so far, averaging 14 points and nearly 4 assists a game all season long along with 50 percent shooting and over 40 percent from three. I think she should be an MIP candidate for sure so far this year.
If you're in the Twin Cities, turn on Fox Sports North.
Game 3: Atlanta Dream (7-8) at Phoenix Mercury (4-11), 10 PM ET/7 PM PT and Arizona Time
The Dream is currently 1-1 on its eight game road stretch. Tonight, Angel, Sancho, Lindsey, and the gang have a real shot to reach the .500 mark after an inconsistent start to the season, considering that the Mercury is playing its bench until at least the latter half of the season.
As for the Mercury, despite the record and all, I am actually quite pleased with DeWanna Bonner, Charde Houston, and Sammy Prahalis carrying the load of scoring while the team's top players are out. The rest of the games before the break aren't going to be easy either (2 against Seatlle and one against LA), but I'd like to see them steal a win from a rival team that may be looking forward more toward the Olympics than toward a particular game.
Game 4: Seattle Storm (7-8) at LA Sparks (11-6), 10 PM ET/7 PM PT
The Sparks have beaten their arch rivals from up north three times this year, including an epic come from behind victory on the road to kick off the season. However, that was before the Storm began its five game winning streak and the Storm won six of its last seven games.
The Sparks have lost three of their last four games, including one to Tulsa on the road, but they did beat Minny this past Thursday at home. Either way, their cold streak combined with the Stars' recent hot streak has now dropped the Sparks to third in the West.
On the injury front, Ann Wauters missed last Sunday's game and has a small Achille's tendon tear and that may keep her out tonight. Also Ewelina Kobryn has a hamstring injury.
This game is on ESPN2 and ESPN3 for all Candace and Sue fans everywhere and therefore, not on LiveAccess.
Enjoy the games, and BEAT THE HEAT!!!!