Normally we try to get the weekend links posted in the morning, but since we had other pieces in the queue the links have been bumped a bit.
But as long as we're doing things differently, we're going to have an additional twist today: this weekend I introduced National Sports Rankings' simulated predictions (which you can now find among our links to WNBA resources on the left hand side of the site) for WNBA games; it got 7 of 9 games right, barely escaping another "loss" at the hands of the Tulsa Shock.
So in addition to posting links that reflect the most statistically significant elements of this weekend's games, I'll start with looking at what happened in those games the simulator missed: the Connecticut Sun's win against the Indiana Fever on Friday and the Chicago Sky's win - and low turnover rate - against the New York Liberty yesterday.
- James Oldham of the Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn thought that a brief injury absence for star forward Tamika Catchings made a difference in their 89-81 home loss to the Connecticut Sun on Friday. Yet in more concrete terms, she attributed losing a second half lead to missed layups, which contributed to the Fever shooting less efficiently than the Sun. Read more >>>
- Joe Jenkins of the New York Daily News reports that New York Liberty coach John Whisenant was nervous about fatigue entering yesterday's game against the Chicago Sky and it might have contributed to a deficit that ballooned to as much as 17 points in the second half. Their inability to maintain their defensive intensity certainly did them no favors in trying to contain Sky guard Epiphanny Prince, who was as dominant as ever in shooting 5-for-8 from the 3-point line. Read more >>>
- Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reported that Chicago Sky coach Pokey Chatman "looked physically and emotionally exhausted after Friday night's 98-91 overtime victory" over the Tulsa Shock. Once again, it was Prince that saved the day for the Sky with a demoralizing buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Chatman credited Prince for her effort on the defensive end as well. Read more >>>
- Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune highlighted the play of Sky wing Tamera Young, who had a strong weekend complementing the performances of Prince and center Sylvia Fowles. Although the focus of the article was on her energy, one statistic did stand out for a turnover-prone this weekend: her 5 turnovers were the least of any Sky rotation player. Read more >>>
- Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote that Maya Moore's big third quarter was what helped the Minnesota Lynx to their 9-0 start, but it's also worth noting Taj McWilliams-Franklin's impact that game: against a team that likes to apply pressure the way that the Tulsa Shock do, having a center that can come up with 4 assists and no turnovers is valuable. Read more >>>
- Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin writes that Connecticut Sun center Tina Charles has exceeded the expectations placed on her as the #1 pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft after recording 50 double-doubles in 75 games. Allard also reports that Charles has been molding her game after a couple of NBA centers as well: San Antonio's Tim Duncan and former Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon. Read more >>>
- John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant reports that the Connecticut Sun's 61.7% shooting from the field (a 67.5% effective field goal percentage) against the Dream was the second-best in team history. Guard Kara Lawson was a major part of that, becoming the third Sun player to shoot 5-for-5 from the 3-point line. Read more >>>
- Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reported that the Seattle Storm are 1-6 for the first time in franchise history after their 80-67 loss to the San Antonio Silver Stars on Saturday. She suggests that the only reason the Silver Stars finished shooting 46.8% was that both teams conceded the outcome and the numbers support that theory: the Silver Stars finished the third quarter up by 16 points and shooting 51.1%. Read more >>>
- Evans also reported that Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes didn't really want to get himself ejected in Friday's 3-point loss to the Atlanta Dream but initially got upset about a call against reserve guard Tully Bevilaqua. Read more >>>
- Amanda Martinez of Neon Tommy reported that Los Angeles Sparks rookie Nneka Ogwumike recorded her first career double-double on Friday night in a 90-74 win against the Phoenix Mercury. Yet perhaps equally noteworthy was the performance of Kristi Toliver, who was one assist shy of a double-double herself. Her 9 assists and 2 turnovers in 27 minutes was good for a pure point rating of 14.81. Read more >>>
- Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post reported that porous first quarter defense did the Washington Mystics in against the New York Liberty on Friday. The Mystics fell behind by 29 points in the first half while allowing the Liberty to shoot 60% from the field. Center Michelle Snow believes that "...the team’s lack of consistency shows it still must 'buy into the system, buy into the philosophy.'" Read more >>>
- Joan Niesen of the Fox Sports North wrote about the two-pronged problem with the way people view the WNBA: people's response to the players' sexuality and the tendency to compare the game to the men's version instead of appreciating it on its own merits. Read more >>>
- MinnesotaLynx.com had a great feature on Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson's value to the team, which I'm recommending primarily because her performance this season might be a bit of an underrated story in their record-tying start to this season. Brunson is not only arguably the statistical MVP of the team right now, but most player metrics I've seen have her as a MVP candidate for the league. The explanation is simple: she's dominating the boards but also scoring extremely efficiently. Read more >>>
As usual, feel free to put any additional links in the comments along with your insights, observations, and laments from the weekend or predictions moving forward.