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Wednesday morning links: Lin Dunn's mentoring of Stephanie White, Team USA roster finalized

10 links, including everything from the WNBA to using idiots to promote sports.

Michael Hickey

There was actually plenty of news yesterday and we have most of the highlights of what USA Basketball did in our FIBA section so let's begin with the WNBA news.

WNBA

  • Autumn Allison of the Indianapolis Star recapped Stephanie White's introductory press conference with the Indiana Fever, including video of the presser. The interesting trivia challenge presented by the article was White's comment that she can't think of another person has spent her entire athletic career in one state (I can't either). But the more important comment was probably this one about Lin Dunn: "I think one of the greatest things that I love about her is that she takes her role as being a mentor and preparing the next generation to be head coaches seriously," White said. "And she's one of the main reasons I'm standing here right now and one of the main reasons why I'm prepared to take over at the Indiana Fever." Read more >>>
  • Fox Sports Arizona reported that it will be airing a season-in-review show about the Phoenix Mercury's championship season over the next couple of weeks hosted by Ann Meyers Drysdale. Included in the show: "Exclusive footage from the championship-clinching Game 3 will air for the first time as a part of the show. Footage also will take fans inside the champagne-soaked locker room where the team celebrated their season-long journey to glory." Read more >>>
  • Ryan T. Scott of Insight News offers yet another positive review of the WNBA's progress after a highly rated Finals series, which includes some hope for the league's future marketing efforts: "Since the beginning of time people have always figured out ways to do things better. WNBA basketball and all women's sports will do the same. There will be more women that dunk, and players like Moore will improve upon the greatness she's already displayed. As this happens, the media and advertisers will be forced to focus a more prominent light on WNBA stars, and their competitions." Read more >>>

FIBA

  • USA Basketball shared Geno Auriemma's thoughts about what Team USA's style will be going forward: "I think you saw some of our style of play in the second half today," added Auriemma on what he sees as the key to this team. "We want to get up and down the floor quickly, take advantage of our depth and take advantage of our athletic ability in a lot of ways. I think that's the style that they players want to play, and it suits them and it suits me just fine. We also know that you can't just be like that. You also have to be a really good half court team. But I think our transition game is probably going to be our style. Defensively, creating offense and keeping the pace quick enough that we can use our depth." Read more >>>
  • USA Basketball has more quotes on yesterday's win against the Czech Republic to close out the women's team's exhibition season, which included this tidbit from Nneka Ogwumike about playing with Tina Charles and Breanna Stewart in a big lineup: "I think one huge strength is always versatility. We have people that can go inside and out, we have big men that can be on the perimeter. People can score from all over the place, so I think it’s really great for us to utilize everyone’s strengths, inside and out, and I look forward to mixing up the matchups in every game that we play." Read more >>>
  • Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reported on why Canada made the decision not to include San Antonio Stars center Kayla Alexander on its roster: "Someone like (the 6-foot-3 Achonwa) has played for the last umpteen years, so she understands the system, while Kayla has never been there before. The positive is she did learn things pretty quickly (at training camp) and we’re hoping to see her back next year and try to make it all work so that we can have her included on the team." Read more >>>

NCAA

  • Rich Elliot of the Connecticut Post highlighted what fans and conspiracy theorists alike have already taken note of: "UConn junior All-American Breanna Stewart has been named to the 12-member U.S. World Championship Team, USA Basketball announced Tuesday. She is one of five players with UConn ties on the roster, which also features Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Tina Charles, Maya Moore and Diana Taurasi." Read more >>>
  • John Rook of SB Nation's The UConn Blog wrote about the significance of former UConn AD John Toner, who passed away yesterday, which should be considered relevant to women's basketball fans: "He also hired two relatively obscure young basketball coaches to head up the athletic department's men's and women's programs, bringing in Geno Auriemma in 1985 and Jim Calhoun in 1986. Auriemma had been an assistant at Virginia and Calhoun the head man at Northeastern. Neither one was exactly a can't-miss coaching prospect...Whenever UConn's success in discussed, conversation is rightfully focused on the program-building legacies of both Calhoun and Auriemma...But all of it began with the vision and, quite frankly, the guts of Toner." Read more >>>

Miscellaneous

I happened to see one of those Ted Lasso ads for NBC's Premier League coverage yesterday, chuckled, wondered, "What is this foolishness?" and proceeded to Google who the idiot was (I don't watch much network television). Tom Hoffarth's article in the Los Angeles Daily News came up and appropriately answered my question

Lasso may be an idiotic characterization of a know-it-all former U.S. football coach hired to reinvent London soccer, brought to life by former "Saturday Night Live" actor Jason Sudeikis.

Ah, ok - well kudos to Sudeikis for nailing that.

But, if you can stay with me a bit longer, Hoffarth has more on NBC's reasoning behind this approach, which is why I'm posting this on this site:

We wanted to approach this in the way we have with ‘Sunday Night Football,’ and show Americans there’s a good reason why the rest of the world pays attention to something else called ‘football,’ " said Bill Bergofin, NBC Sports senior vice president of marketing. "Americans are not exposed enough to it, or may not have a reason to be interested, outside of the World Cup. The challenge is to activate those who are scratching their heads and make it OK not to know anything. This kind of greases the skids for people who can say, ‘If Ted Lasso doesn’t get it, then it’s OK for me to get in on the joke as well.’

So what is the payoff?

YouTube had 8.3 million views of the first Lasso video that came out a year ago. The current video hit 3 million viewers after three days.

And this is relevant to something we've discussed here, promise:

"You're playing like a bunch of little boys out here."

The other day a few of us got into a discussion about how the WNBA should market itself, objecting to the notion that selling sex appeal is effective (it isn't and you can almost say that's objectively true for women's sports). But these Lasso ads -- and the reasoning behind them -- are interesting: the videos apparently have 8.3 million+ views worth of attention and, as an introduction to something that estadounidense have historically had little interest in, the rather simple ads at least grab your attention.

So the question I leave you with: is there anything about NBC's approach to that that would be effective for a WNBA marketing campaign, another sport that many people simply haven't been exposed to? As the article notes, attempts at humor can go terribly wrong, but would showcasing a little humor be a way to draw people in? (Related: I still think Nike's Little Rascals WNBA ads ade by far the besr ever.) Or is the league at a point where an irreverent gimmick would hurt more than help?

Let us know in the comments or feel free to drop other actual women's basketball news below or, better yet, create a fanshot.