Saturday Open Thread: The League Commemorates Title IX's 40th Anniversary with Three Games, Starting at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT

Alright, it's Title IX's 40th anniversary today. I will note any special events home teams are doing as appropriate. Unlike most days, all games are on ESPN and ESPN3 unless I say otherwise.

So, we go straight to the games, now that the NBA Finals are over.

Game 1: Chicago Sky (7-2) at Minnesota Lynx (11-1). 12:30 PM ET/11:30 AM CT and Local Time/9:30 AM PT | Sky Celebrates Title IX Anniversary With IL Gov. Sheila Simon | Lynx Honoring Title IX | Sky Preview | Lynx Preview

Minny is in the second game of a three game homestand, this one against the Sky, with both teams playing really well to say the least. The Sky will still have a matinee game against Indiana next Wednesday so this is a rough two game patch on the schedule. Without Epiphanny Prince who has a broken foot after starting out with breakout scoring performances and she'll be out 6 to 8 weeks, this game will be an uphill battle for Chicago.

Great game to showcase on ESPN. If you're out east, this is a perfect lunch time game. If you're in the pacific coast, enjoy your Wheaties and omelets while watching this game. If you're in the centrail and mountain time zones, enjoy brunch!

The Lynx will invite former UNCW and now Texas Southern head coach and Comets legend Cynthia Cooper, and six members of the All American Red Heads basketball team, which will be in the Naismith Basketball HOF this year.

Both teams will wear their Title IX jerseys today, and the Lynx will auction seven of them starting in the 3rd quarter. There will also be a post game celebration at Huberts Bar and Grill after the game, per the Lynx's website.

Game 2: Indiana Fever (6-4) at Tulsa Shock (1-10), 8 PM ET/7 PM CT and Local Time/5 PM PT | Shock Celebrates Title IX | Fever Preview | Shock Preview

This is not on the four letter network, and it's likely because the home team is Tulsa. Sorry Jessica and ttdomi. So turn on LiveAccess.

Anyway, the Shock will have its hands full with an Eastern Conference power in the form of the Catch Squad, which has split its last two games against Connecticut. In their last game vs. LA, three Shock players were out due to injury. Hopefully, they can get at least five players into double figures, like what we saw against LA as well. For Indy, this is a "cupcake" on the schedule, so the Catch Squad must take care of business, to avoid a loss like what happened in Washington last Friday. I hope that Tulsa can play competitive ball again tonight, and perhaps pull off a Mystics like win.

The Shock has called tonight the Williams Women of Inspiration Night. Five women with local ties will be honored. They are Felicia Collins Coreia, Risha Grant, Alicia Latimer, Suzann Stewart, and Kathy Taylor. In addition, Oklahoma Sooners women's basketball head coach Sherri Coale will speak at a pre-game reception for this game. I also saw that assistant coach Kathy McConnell-Miller will also give a pre-game talk for the fans.

Game 3: LA Sparks (9-3) at Phoenix Mercury (3-7), 9 PM ET/6 PM PT and Arizona Time | Mercury Celebrates Title IX |

Because ESPN will have the game, the players will wear the IX uniforms as well.

Both teams in tonight's game come off of wins last Wednesday. Sparks are on a two game win streak and would like to make it three today on the road, and they'd like to clinch the regular season series tonight. The Mercury would certainly like Candice Dupree and Nakia Sanford to return if they want a good chance to win this game, let alone DT and Penny. Considering how Sammy Prahalis played in the closing minutes last game, even if it's just the Mystics, this could also be a good game to watch if you are an impartial observer tonight. For the Sparks, can Nneka and Candace continue their dominating play in the frontcourt? They look as good as any other duo in the league right now, except Minnesota of course.

If you go to the Mercury's website often, you probably have seen a splash page for a special guest tonight for the last several days if not longer, who I didn't mention until now. It was by choice because it wasn't relevant, at least to me. But now it is. Tonight is the Mercury's "Woman of Inspiration" night, and this year, the team has selected Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the USA women's soccer team as its woman of inspiration for the year. Solo will be recognized during the game for her accomplishments tonight. What I think makes this award more notable is this.

Solo is a Washington state native, played college soccer at the University of Washington and plays for the Seattle Sounders women's soccer club. Did I say....Seattle? WNBA team rivalry aside, Solo is a deserving recipient. She played very well in last year's World Cup, and will be a big factor in this year's Olympics, but that's another topic for another day.

So, that's my take on the games today and later tonight on Title IX's 40th Anniversary.

So, enjoy flashing the badges, celebrating big plays and victories, and thank the women before and during the Title IX era who have helped progress the sport to where it is today.

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