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Friday morning links: USA Basketball has some decisions to make, Brittney Griner's eye injury, WNBA Finals TV ratings

Who will make the USA Basketball Women's National Team? Will Brittney Griner play in Game 3 of the 2014 WNBA Finals? Nobody knows, but we take stock of the situations.

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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Lots of actual news today from the Women's USA Basketball Showcase to the WNBA Finals to some quirky NCAA info.

Without further ado, we'll jump right into the happenings with the USA Basketball Women's National Team.

Team USA

  • USA Basketball offered a recap of some of the highlights of its Women's USA Basketball Showcase last night on ESPN2 and added that some cuts could have come as early as last night. Three players who stood out as avoiding the first cut might have been Lindsay Whalen with the way she ran the offense beautifully, Jantel Lavender for looking like she had been playing with Whalen for her entire life, and Nneka Ogwumike for leading all scorers with 26 points. For those in search of the final stats, click here for the box score (via the Minnesota Lynx).  Interesting to note that the Red team won by finding their way to the free throw line (Kayla McBride had a game-high 5 attempts) despite being outshot by a significant margin.  Read more >>>

  • John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant summarized the showcase from a UConn perspective, highlighting the play of current Huskies forward Breanna Stewart. Stewart won the game and scored 10 points and is considered by some a viable option for the team as a collegian. "She says she has been using this camp to help expand her ample skill set. And she is not willing to settle for just being a spare part if chosen...'I've been working on my ball-handling all summer, coming off screens. So far, I feel more comfortable when the ball is in my hands.'" Good luck with that, NCAA opponents. Read more >>>


  • Tyler Killian of AZ Central Sports reported on the possibility of Brittney Griner being out for Game 3 due to a retinal procedure. Griner is expected to be with the team, but will be a game-time decision. Killian reports that both coach Sandy Brondello and All-WNBA star Diana Taurasi are taking the possibility of Griner's absence in stride. Read more >>>
  • Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune wrote a great feature about Candice Dupree on the eve of her return to place she began her career, the UIC Pavilion. It was written before the league announced that she was left off the All-WNBA team, but this excerpt seems to speak perfectly to the sentiment around that: "Consistency doesn't always attract attention, even if it makes for a nicely alliterative sobriquet in this case: Consistent Candice. That is fine with the 6-foot-2 power forward, happy to be a star for basketball purists, especially coaches, who marvel at the quiet efficiency and court intelligence that allow her to be a force as a scorer, rebounder and defender." Read more >>>
  • Killian also reported earlier in the day that Phoenix Mercury coach Sandy Brondello is looking to wrap this series up with a win on the road in Game 3 tonight: "This better be our last game here." Hey, who ever said the WNBA didn't need a little more bulletin board material every now and then? Read more >>>
  • Phil Ervin of FSN North reported that the Minnesota Lynx's Olympic trio has made the All-WNBA team for the third consecutive year (2012-2014). As for as I can tell, the last time any team before that put three players on the team was 2003 (Detroit with Swin Cash, Cheryl Ford, and Deann Nolan), but no other franchise has even put three players on the All-WNBA teams in consecutive years at all since the Houston Comets did it from 1998-2000 (Cynthia Cooper, Sheryl Swoopes, and Tina Thompson). Just FYI in case you thought the Lynx were your run-of-the-mill Western Conference runner-up. Read more >>>
  • Paulsen of Sports Media Watch reiterated the WNBA Finals ratings that were announced by ESPN yesterday, but the league announced a few extra notes about this Finals: this year's Finals are up +92% over last season's through two games. Despite airing during the NFL's kickoff Sunday and the previous report of an "even" overnight rating, Game 1 was the most viewed Finals game since 2000. Read more >>>
  • The San Antonio Stars put together a nice list of their biggest milestones from the 2014 WNBA season, including some notes on McBride being the first rookie in franchise history since Sophia Young (2006) to lead the team in scoring and Jayne Appel tying a rebounding record that had stood for over a decade. Read more >>>


  • Sean Isabella of the News Star reports that first-year Louisiana Tech coach Tyler Summitt has already encountered his first challenge: scheduling. Summitt said in a statement that he is dismayed by LaTech having just two non-conference home games this year. Read more >>>

Miscellaneous Sports & Society

  • Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel took on the topic of the NFL's self-serving embrace of breast cancer awareness month and (rightly) argues that they should take on domestic violence for a month instead because it's a major problem of their own. "The NFL's lackadaisical attitude toward violence against women is a goddamn disgrace, especially considering how huge a huge problem domestic violence is in this country...Pushing for more Awareness would be redundant even if the NFL's A Crucial Catch program were well-run and effective in actually fighting cancer...And the NFL is in a unique position to take this (domestic violence) disaster and turn it into something incredibly useful and good." While we're on the subject of pink washing, if you still haven't seen Pink Ribbons, Inc., please watch it before the onslaught in October.  Read more >>>