Mechelle Voepel wrote during the WNBA Finals that, "There is something a little extra special about seeing players in the WNBA Finals that you got a chance to watch a lot when they were in college."
Voepel’s statement describes one of the primary reasons I am excited about Swish Appeal’s transition to women’s college basketball coverage for the 2009-2010 season: it’s that little something extra we can learn about the game in its entirety by understanding the college to professional pipeline.
For a basketball junkie like me, it’s like being a seven year old in Toys’R’Us again (which is where I believe I bought my first Nerf Hoop).
It is my belief that part of women’s basketball solidifying its place in the national sports conversation is following the types of stories that Voepel describes and developing the "characters" that people can follow into the professional ranks. In addition to the emotional attachment that develops between players and fans over time, it’s exciting to watch a basketball player develop their game over time.
Most importantly, following women’s college basketball is not only about giving the game the exposure it deserves but appreciating and honoring the value of female athletes having the opportunity to participate in intercollegiate athletics, beyond the lofty political rhetoric.
But of course, Phoenix Stan and I couldn’t manage following all of women’s college basketball by ourselves, so we set out to add writers that could contribute to the effort.
In the spirit of SB Nation, we looked for passionate fans to write about the teams they love from a local perspective and complement -- not compete with -- more traditional media outlets. Ultimately, as people who care about the development of women's sports, the goal is to give the game the quality of coverage it deserves, but rarely gets...and do so in a style that is both informative and engaging.
While a secondary goal was to help Swish Appeal overcome its blatant West Coast bias and provide a more complete portrait of women’s college basketball from across the nation, by some strange twist of fate, we happened to end up with three Big East writers.
So much for being fair and balanced.
However, with 7 of the top teams in the nation (based on pre-season polls) playing in either the Big East or Pac-10, in addition to some of the top talent in the nation, we believe that we will be able to provide solid commentary on some of the top stories developing in the game as well as interesting analysis. Every writer has a unique lens on the game and differing levels of experience.
But judge for yourself -- without further ado, I introduce you to our Swish Appeal college writers.
Queenie aka Rebecca aka @NYCscribbler has been a WNBA and New York Liberty fan since day one, and a college fan since about 2004. She holds season tickets to the Liberty and the Red Storm of St. John's, but has a tendency to pop up in a lot of other places as well (Rutgers and Seton Hall in particular).
Her "Game Notes of Doom" can be found on her blog (http://gamenotesofdoom.blogspot.com/). They are opinionated, lengthy, often profane, and occasionally profound. Here she will touch upon matters less specific than individual games- less beat writer, more columnist.
Terry Fletcher started his journey into the world of NCAA Women’s basketball in a very up-close and personal way. For the past two years he has volunteered his free time to help the West Virginia University Mountaineers on the court as part of their "scout team".
At WVU, as well as other women’s basketball programs around the country, the "scout team" is made up of male students who are willing to sacrifice their bodies and weekends (something not easily done in a place like Morgantown) in the hopes of helping the women’s team reach their ultimate goal of a national championship. A senior journalism major, avid basketball fan, and born and bred Mountaineer, Terry has infused his love of the "Old Gold and Blue" with his passion for writing in the attempt to bring WVU to the forefront of Women’s College Basketball.
You can read more about the WVU team at Terry’s blog, WVU women’s basketball (http://mountaineerbasketball.wordpress.com/).
Scotter had the good fortune to grow up in Chicago during the 90s, and has contributed statistics orientated commentary to SBN's Blogabull since 2006. As a young basketball geek he didn't think twice about watching the 1995 NCAA Championship game, and he immediately fell in love with both the women's game and the UConn program.
Being a long distance fan of UConn has become dramatically easier over the last 15 years, and he'll try to find original and interesting ways to write about women's basketball most covered team, while also keeping an eye on the rest of WCBB as well as the professionals playing overseas.
Quentin McCall will follow both Seattle University’s first year in Division I competition as well as the University of Washington. He went to one of those universities where the men’s team drew larger crowds than the women’s team despite the women’s team being far more competitive. It wasn’t exactly Tennessee, but unfortunate nonetheless.
For he and his friends that attended every single game, it not only meant luxurious front row bleacher seats, but also the gratification of believing that every single one of their obnoxious jeers had an affect on the psyche of the opposing team. While that was fun, actually following the game seriously for the first time will be a fun learning experience.
Phoenix Stan will follow Arizona State University occasionally, most likely for big match ups with top teams. However, that should only come as a challenge to you, the readers: surely, if you flood his inbox with emails, we can pressure him into taking time away from his beloved Phoenix Suns and attending more ASU games.
Max Simbron is our lead photographer, whose work you may have already seen on our site as well as Phoenix Stan’s Bright Side of the Sun blog. He writes the blog PShizzy: The Blog at www.pshizzy.com and you can see all of his work from the WNBA playoffs here at his PhotoShelter site here . In addition to providing us with images of the Pac-10 from Arizona State, Max will be helping us identify photographers at our other sites.
While these are the writers we’ve identified by searching the web for quality college basketball coverage, we also encourage fans of other teams outside of the Pac-10 and Big East – * gasp * -- to contribute to the site with "Fan Posts" in order to provide first-hand experiences from other schools. We are especially eager to the storylines that we may not be able to cover up close: What kind of impact does Griner make at Baylor? How will Tennessee rebound after a disappointing season by their lofty standards? How will the ACC sort itself out? How will Epiphanny Prince do overseas?
It should be an exciting season and we look forward to having you along for the ride.
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