No dazzling intro today because I can't really find any sort of thread that strings these articles together -- I can't even really say that they're all from yesterday, even though I came across them just yesterday.
But let me give it a shot anyway: the following is a list of things I read yesterday that I thought you might find interesting today. I'm sure I missed something. They're not the newsiest items. But they're interesting. So feel free to let us know about other things we missed in the comments or, better yet, create a fanshot.
- Matthew Snyder of Slam Online wrote an extended feature about Lia Galdeira's role in turning around the Washington State program. It was a great story about Galdeira's journey to Pullman, but senior Tia Presley is probably a player worth watching as well this season: "It’s hard not to get excited about where the Cougs can go this season. Four starters are back, including Presley, who’s now a senior and even further removed from the ACL tear that prematurely ended her sophomore season. Daugherty marvels when she mentions that Presley looks even more athletic now." (Yes - I'm already scouring the NCAA for draft prospects.) Read more >>>
- TexasSports.com announced yesterday that, "Big 12 women's basketball led the nation in home attendance average in 2013-14 for the 15th consecutive year." The Big Ten and SEC were second and third, respectively.Read more >>>
- sbas2 of SB Nation's Backing the Pack summarized a talented recruiting class for N.C. State as recognized by espnW. Read more >>>
- Jon Solomon of CBS Sports examined the phenomenon of 4-year guaranteed scholarships that the NCAA allowed there years ago and whether schools are actually using it. The excerpt relevant to women's basketball: "USC will guarantee four-year scholarships for all football, men's basketball and women's basketball players if they remain in good academic standing and don't have disciplinary issues, a move that USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement he hopes will "lead the efforts to refocus student-athlete welfare on and off the field." Read more >>>
- Sandy Ringer of the Seattle Times relayed the news that former All-Pac-10 point guard Nia Jackson is joining the LMU women's basketball staff. But the sad news is that Jackson, who is definitely one of my all-time Pac-10 favorites, had her career cut short by nagging knee injuries that limited her while at Oregon: "Jackson played one season (September 2012-April 2013) of professional basketball for HoNsU Jyvaskyla in Finland, leading the team to its first playoff appearance in franchise history. After retiring from playing due to knee injuries, Jackson has worked as a personal trainer and coach in Seattle, while also working in operations at LA Fitness." You might not have ever heard of Nia Jackson, but it's a shame that bad knees robbed her of what could've been an even better college and pro career. Read more >>>
- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports wrote an article the other day about why it's problematic for Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to be the coach of the USA Basketball Men's National Team: "As much as ever, USA Basketball has been co-opted into a Krzyzewski leverage play for the Duke Blue Devils...As one Duke alumnus would tell you: There is a USA Basketball storefront selling patriotism and duty with a backroom reality that peddles the Blue Devils and Nike swooshes." I bring it up now because over the past couple of days two people have brought up the same issue in private about women's basketball: does UConn coach Geno Auriemma get an unfair advantage by coaching the USA Women's National Team? Read more >>>
- Bob Corwin of Full Court published a list of the top 10 most improved WNBA players in 2014, which included a mention of Jantel Lavender who could still have an outside shot at making the USA Basketball World Championship roster if, for some reason, Brittney Griner is out due to injury. Corwin's comment on Lavender's game: "One thing the stats don't show is an increased shooting range. While no 3-point specialist (Lavender netted only one of her five long-ball attempts this year, though she hadn't tried any in previous seasons) Lavender is able to operate far more effectively from mid-range than was seen earlier in her pro career." Read more >>>
If this play wasn't your choice for play of the year, what was? Click here to read more about it and watch it repeatedly from multiple angles as it deserves.Brian McCormick's Hard2Guard Player Development Newsletter included an elaboration of his previous blog post about Minnesota Lynx and USA Basketball guard Lindsay Whalen's amazing underhanded lob pass to Maya Moore on a fast break during the first round of the 2014 WNBA Playoffs. As part of a longer commentary about the nature of creativity, he challenges Malcolm Gladwell's (misguided) notion that spontaneity in basketball is only created by repetitive practice (which I'm going to quote at length): "Whalen demonstrated creativity, which combines novelty (i.e. originality) and functionality (i.e. usefulness, effectiveness, appropriateness, success, or adequacy) as its two key dimensions...If we assume that Whalen and Moore do not spend their off-days in the gym practicing underhand alley-oops, how did this play happen? The coordination of the pass is an example of self-organization based on the demands of the task. There was likely only one way to deliver the pass and score the basket, and Whalen solved the movement problem. As Gladwell suggested, this was not a premeditated decision, but a split-second, spontaneous decision and action. She saw Moore sprinting the floor, and she responded with a novel and functional pass given the task demands: Moore’s speed and the location of the defensive players. Rather than practice this pass over and over, her body coordinated the movements to complete the pass, just as Moore coordinated her movements in the air to catch and finish." It's a fascinating phenomenon that's worthy of study simply as an example of what the human mind is capable of. Read more >>>
Miscellaneous Sports & Society
- Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times was part of a discussion on HuffPost Live with Marc Lamont Hill about the sexualization of women in response to the Colombian women's cycling team. Evans talked about whether sex sells sports and how more WNBA players are feeling free to represent themselves how they want, but there was also an interesting exchange between Hill and Evans about the way that media tried to legitimize Brittney Griner by saying she could play in the NBA and de-legitimize her by questioning her gender identity. Read more >>>
- Former women's basketball player Janine Ingram wrote for the Huffington Post that, "The true significance of Title IX, for all women and certainly for me, has been the increase in opportunities off the court. Bernice "Bunny" Sandler, who helped draft the legislation and now works as a senior scholar for the Women's Research and Education Institute in Washington, D.C., calls the law "the most important step for gender equality since the 19th Amendment gave us the right to vote." Achieving the same level of success for girls in STEM that was experienced by girls in sports is vitally important." Read more >>>
Got links that I (and others) might find interesting? Let us know in the comments below or create a fanshot.