With the participants in the 2013 WNBA Playoffs seemingly set in stone for some time now, the biggest women's basketball news of the weekend didn't necessarily come from the action on the court.
So we'll begin today's links with some info about the luminaries inducted into the Hall of Fame, move on to a player who added herself to the record books, and then finish with a few highlights from the weekend. For weekend scores not mentioned here - including Penny Taylor's return, which James Bowman covered for us - check out our WNBA scores section.
- A.P. Steadham of the Daily Progress looked at the induction of Dawn Staley into the Naismith Hall of Fame from the perspective of her being a relatively small player who excelled "in a sport professed to be for those with exceptional size." Using quotes from former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and journalist Mel Greenberg, Steadham looks at her legacy as a college player. Read more >>>
- Scott Mammoser of the Phoenix Women's Sports Examiner interviewed Phoenix Mercury forward Candice Dupree about her experience playing both for and against Staley: Dupree describes how she "actually hated Temple" during the recruiting process and then later having to play against Staley in the pros, the first time a collegiate coach and player tandem faced each other as players. Read more >>>
- Gabe Whisnant of the Gaston Gazette described how Sylvia Hatchell chose her two presenters for the Hall of Fame, now-fellow Hall of Famers Hubie Brown and Nancy Lieberman. Hatchell says that she and Brown "love to talk basketball and strategy" and helped each other. The idea that Brown follows women's basketball at all only makes me want him to do WNBA commentary even more - Coach Hatchell, make the pitch! Read more >>>
- Raul Dominguez of the AP reported that Riquna Williams was speechless after her WNBA record 51-point performance against the San Antonio Silver Stars yesterday. And it's hard to produce words to describe a 51-point performance in a 40 minute game. So we're here to help: Jake Sundstrom of Silver Star Stream has put together an infographic to put the performance in context and below is a video where you can watch her performance (via the WNBA).
- Mike Brown of the Tulsa World previewed the Shock's loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night by discussing Williams being inserted along with Skylar Diggins and Candice Wiggins to share ball handling duties. Williams (fittingly) noted that she doesn't think she'll "ever get completely comfortable playing (point guard)...I've been a scorer all my life." Strangely, she was removed from that Sparks game after about a minute in favor of Angel Goodrich, who returned to action after missing games due to illness. Read more >>>
- Mark Ambrogi of the Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn was proud of the contributions she got from her bench in a 69-60 win over Connecticut on Saturday that helped them clinch a playoff berth. Jessica Breland, Layshia Clarendon, and Jeannette Pohlen in particular drew praise, with Clarendon recording a career-high in assists (6). Read more >>>
- Jack McCarthy of the Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Sky aren't about to use Courtney Vandersloot's absence from Friday night's game against the Indiana Fever as an excuse for the 82-77 loss. And that probably makes sense given that the Sky have now lost three of four to the Fever this season, with varying degrees of health for both teams. Read more >>>
- Mark Giannotto of the Washington Post reports that Washington Mystics coach Mike Thibault is less worried about making the playoffs and more worried "...about our mental state and how to approach these types of games and grow up. . . . Growing up has growing pains and we have them." The Mystics can clinch with one win, with a road game against Indiana and home games against last place Connecticut and playoff contender New York coming up (in that order). But if the Mystics lose the two games prior to hosting the Liberty, it would essentially set up a one-game playoff that Albert has already affectionately described as "The Treadmill Bowl". Stay tuned to Swish Appeal for complete coverage of this exciting event (and possibly dueling rants from Albert and Queenie). Read more >>>
- John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant reports that Anne Donovan hasn't thought about what her role in the Connecticut Sun's disappointing season, but Mike Thibault went into Mohegan Sun Arena thinking about one word: "'My word for the week, and it keeps coming to my head, is karma,' Thibault said." Nevertheless, things did go right for the Sun on Friday night with a 77-70 win over the Washington Mystics. Should Washington lose in Indiana on Tuesday night, Thibault would have a chance to clinch a playoff berth at home against his former team. Read more >>>
- Paul Coro of azcentral sports reports that Phoenix Mercury coach Russ Pennell was pleased with his team's performance against the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday night to clinch a spot in the 2013 WNBA Playoffs: “It was probably the best game from start to finish that we’ve played since I’ve been here." Fittingly, the game came a day after the Mercury held their first practice in Pennell's tenure with a fully-healthy roster, according to Richard Obert of azcentral. But still they had their signs of defensive problems: they gave up a 23-7 run in final nine minutes of the fourth quarter. Read more >>>
There were more links from the weekend so feel free to drop them in the comments of create a fanshot. If you have a longer commentary to make, write up a fanpost to share with the community. And, since we're on the subject of Dawn Staley, if anyone can find footage of her commercial with Lisa Leslie and Sheryl Swoopes (described here) I'd love to see it.