Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1/29 Overseas Update

Iziane Castro Marques' team, Ourinhos of the Brazilian League, swept Fluminense in the best-of-five quarterfinal round with three impresive wins. Castro Marques had 32 points in game one, as Ourinhos tore apart Fluminense 97-29. In game two, Castro Marques continued her strong play with 34 points in a 102-32 win. Game three was no different and she had her best game of the series with 39 points in a incredible 121-40 win. Next round's opponent for Ourinhos has not been decided yet.

Lauren Jackson's and Sue Bird's Russian SuperLeague team, Spartak (Moscow Region), improved their record to 12-1 with a win against Dynamo on Jan. 27. Spartak crushed Dynamo 90-55. Jackson tied for the team lead with 14 points. She also had five rebounds and three blocked shots in 15 minutes. Bird led Spartak in assists with eight in 18 minutes. Spartak remains one game behind 13-0 CSKA (Moscow) in the standings. Up next for Spartak (Moscow Region) is a game against 2-11 Spartak (St. Petersburg) on Feb. 1.

On Jan. 28, Tanisha Wright's Israeli DI National League team Raanana Hertzliya beat Elizur Holon 67-60. Wright led her team with 16 points on a great shooting night, as she went 6-of-7 from the floor. She also had six rebounds, four assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Raanana Hertzliya is currently third in the standings with a record of 11-2. They are one game behind 12-1 Electra Ramat Hasharon. Next up is a matchup against Bnei Yehuda on Feb. 4, who has a record of 5-8.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New CBA Means Heat Up the WNBA Hot Stove

Terrific news for the WNBA today, as the league and its Players Association announced agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that will cover the next six WNBA seasons through 2013.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, player salaries are
guaranteed to increase each year league-wide, and the individual minimum and
maximum player salaries will also continue to grow. In addition, the new
agreement, like the expired CBA, includes a revenue sharing component should
league revenues hit agreed upon benchmarks.

The new agreement also includes adjustments to the free agency system
that will increase player movement -- specifically, the number of players that
each team may designate as core players decreases from two to one beginning in
2009. When a team designates a player as a core player, the team receives
exclusive negotiating rights to that player in exchange for an offer of a fully
guaranteed, one-year contract at the maximum salary.

The completion of negotiations on the CBA means that the WNBA off-season will kick off in earnest shortly. The Expansion Draft to stock the new Atlanta Dream franchise will take place next Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Since assuming the duties of Storm head coach and director of player personnel on Jan. 9, Brian Agler has been working with his coaching staff to prepare for what promises to be a busy off-season for the Storm, with just four players under contract. The Storm had to prepare for multiple contingencies as the CBA was being negotiated.

"There's probably, if you think about it, 5-10 different scenarios that could come back to us," Agler said when he was introduced to the Seattle media. "We have to be ready for all those, because once we get that we probably won't have a lot of time.

"The dynamics of that will really affect our approach to some things - especially free agency, restricted and unrestricted, and the number of players we have to protect in regard to the expansion draft."

It doesn't sound like free agency will be tremendously different this season from what it was under the old CBA. Going down to one core player designation will change the playing field starting in 2009.

That said, the Storm is one of multiple teams with the flexibility - just four Seattle players are under contract for 2008 - to be aggressive in free agency. That should make things very interesting over the next couple of months. Start up the trade talk and scuttle about free agency now. Thanks to today's news, we're ready to really get going on the off-season.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

1/23 Overseas Update

Lauren Jackson helped Spartak crush USVO in a EuroLeague game on Jan. 23. Spartak improved their record to 9-1 in Group C with a 96-62 win. Jackson finished the game with 31 points on 9/12 shooting. She also had six rebounds and four blocked shots in 35 minutes. Jackson leads the EuroLeague in points per game with 23.1. He field goal percentage of 57.9 puts her at seventh in the league.

Sue Bird also played well for Spartak in their win. Bird had 16 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals in 39 minutes. Bird is seventh in the league in assists per game with an average of 4.3.

Up next for Spartak is a game on Feb. 5. against TEO Vilnius, who has a record of 3-7 in Group D of the EuroLeague.

On Jan. 23. Janell Burse's team, USK Praha, beat Jolly JBS Sibenik 69-59. Burse had a tremendous game rebounding, as she finished with 12 to lead her team. She also had nine points, two steals and a blocked shot. She is currently ranked seventh in the EuroLeague with an average of 8.7 rebounds per game. The win puts USK Praha in fifth place in Group B of the EuroLeague with a record of 3-7.

Katie Gearlds EuroLeague team, Kosit 2013, lost to Lotos PKO BP 78-60 on Jan. 23. Gearlds finished the game with six points and two rebounds in 21 minutes. The loss leaves Kosit 2013 with a record of 3-7 in Group C of the EuroLeague.

Phard Napoli, Astou Ndiaye-Diatta's team in the EuroLeague beat TTT RIGA on Jan. 23. 68-65. Ndiaye-Diatta did not play in the game, so I will be looking for an update on the reason.

Tanisha Wright's team, Raanana Hertzliya in the Isreali DI National League has an upcoming game on Jan. 28 against Elizur Holon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

1/22 Overseas Update

Betty Lennox shined in Nadezda's (Orenburg) game against Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird's team, Spartak in the Russian SuperLeague, but it wasn't enough to put her team over the top. Lennox led her team with 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists in Nadezda's 85-97 loss. She was flawless from the free throw line, going 12-of-12. Sue Bird had nine points, seven assists and four steals in 34 minutes. Jackson was Spartak's scoring leader with 23. She also had 11 rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

The win leaves Spartak with a record of 11-1 and Nadezda at 3-9. Spartak still trails CSKA (Moscow) by one game in the standings. Next up for Nadezda (Orenburg) is a matchup against CSKA (Moscow) on Jan. 26. Spartak will be playing Dynamo on Jan. 27.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Agler on ShockCast

Brian AglerMy good buddy John Maxwell of the Detroit Shock has started the ShockCast podcast on Shock.com, and new Storm Head Coach Brian Agler was a guest on the most recent edition. Give it a listen to hear Coach Agler on his new job, Katie Smith, the Quest vs. the '99 Houston Comets and more!

1/18 Overseas Update

On Jan. 16, Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird's team Spartak of the Euroleague defeated Gambrinus Brno 85-77. Spartak was led by Jackson who had an incredible night. She had 33 points, nine rebounds, and two steals in 35 minutes. She is the leader on Spartak in points per game with 22.1 and rebounds at 6.3.

Sue Bird also put in a solid performance in Spartak's win. She had 13 points, three rebounds and one blocked shot. All but one of Bird's points came were three point shots. She was four of six from behind the arc, good for 66.7 percent.

With the strong play from Jackson and Bird, Spartak is eight and one and the leader in the standings of group C. Up next for Spartak in the Euroleague is a game against USVO on Jan. 23. USVO is fourth in the standings of Group C, with a record of four and five.

Janell Burse's team, USK Praha, lost to Halcon Avenida on Jan. 16, 80 to 73. In 20 minutes, Burse had 10 points on four of nine shoooting. She also had five rebounds and one steal. Up next for Burse and USK Praha is a matchup against Jolly JBS Sibenik on Jan. 23. Burse leads USK Praha in rebounding with 8.3 a game. USK Praha is ranked sixth in Group B with a record of two and seven.

Kosit 2013, Katie Gearlds team in the Euroleague lost to USVO on Jan. 17, 73-65. In 29 minutes, Geralds had seven points and two rebounds. Kosit 2013 plays again Jan. 23 against Lotos PKO BP. Kosit is ranked fifth in Group C with a record of three and six.

Betty Lennox continued her solid play in the EuroCup league. She led Nadezhda to victory over Challes-LES-EAUX Basket 79 to 61 on Jan. 17. She had a great night shooting, as she scored 20 points. She hit eight of 20 two points field goals, good for 66.7 percent. She also had two rebounds, one assist, and three steals in 24 minutes. Up next for Nadezda is a game in the eighth-finals of the EuroCup league against Beretta-Famila on Jan. 30.

In the Brazil National League, Iziane Castro Marques is playing for the 15 and one Ourinhos, who are first in the standings. On Jan. 18, she had an incredible game against Catanduva, who was 14 and one at the time. It was the last round of the regular season, and Marques took complete control of the game, as she scored 44 points in the win.

In the Euroleague, Astou Ndiaye-Diatta who is playing for Phard Napoli is averaging 13.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists a game. She is leading her team in rebounds per game and the second leading scorer. She is shooting 64.6 percent, with 51 of 79 two point field goals made.

On January 16, Hondaribbia-Irun, Ashley Robinson's Euroleague team beat Gospic 79 to 74. In 11 minutes, Robinson had one rebound, one assist and three blocked shots. Hondaribbia is still one game behind Cras Basket Taranto with a record of four and two.

In the Isreali DI national league, Raanana Hertzliya lost to Ramat Hasharon. Tanisha Wright had a great game with 23 points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals in 36 minutes. Wright is currently ranked third in the league in points per game with 21.7. She leads the league in assists with 5.8 per game and is second in steals with 3.3 per game.

Doneeka Lewis, who is playing for Fiera di Roma Pomezia in the LegA Basket Famminile league last played on January 13 and lost to Pool Comense 72 to 78. In the game, Lewis had 22 points.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Levinson on The Mountain

A quick heads up: Fans have a chance to hear from new Storm co-owner Anne Levinson tomorrow. Levinson will be a guest on KMTT's (FM 103.7) Marty Reimer Show Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: Here's the audio from the interview.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

1/15 Overseas Update

Clash of the Unbeatens: The Russian SuperLeague had an incredible matchup, featuring two of the league's best teams on January 12. Sue Bird's and Lauren Jackson's team, Spartak, lost to CSKA 79-65. Jackson finished the game with no points on 0-of-5 shooting. However, she did bring down 6 rebounds and had 3 steals in 18 minutes. Bird finished the game with 5 points, 6 assists and 3 steals in 40 minutes. Spartak is now 10-1 overall with CSKA at 11-0. Up next for Jackson and Bird is a game against Nadezda (Orenburg) on Jan. 20, which features Betty Lennox.

On Jan. 9, Jackson helped Spartak defeat Dexia in the EuroLeague. Jackson had a tremendous game, scoring 34 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. She hit 13-0f-17 shots, good for 76% from the field.

Bird has been putting together solid performances in the EuroLeague, where she is averaging 8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game.

Spartak has a record of 7-1 in Group C of the EuroLeague. Spartak's next game is Jan. 16 against Gambrinus Brno, also 7-1 in Group C, which should make for an exciting matchup.

In 8 games with USK Praha of the EuroLeague, Janell Burse is averaging 13. 8 points and 8.8 rebounds. Overall she is shooting 46.5%. On Jan. 10 she had a season-high 19 points against Wisla Can-Pack. Up next USK Praha will play Halcon Avenida on Jan. 16.

Katie Gearlds, who is playing for Kosit in the Euroleague, is averaging 8.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. On Jan. 16 she will play again against USVO. Kosit is currently ranked fourth in Group C of the Euroleague.

Lennox moved to Nadezhda from her team in Cyprus, changing teams but remaining in EuroCup competition. In eight games, she is averaging 21.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists as well as 2.3 steals per game. Currently, she is ranked seventh in the EuroCup in points per game.

Ashley Robinson is averaging 2.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game for Hondarribia-Irun in the EuroCup league. In the last game on January 9, Hondarribia lost to Gospic 90-71. In the game, Robinson scored a season-high 7 points. Hondarribia is in second place of Group J with a record of 4-2. They are one game behind Cras Basket Taranto in the standings.

In the Israeli DI national league, Tanisha Wright is playing for Raanana Hertzliya. She has played outstanding for her team, as she has been averaging 21.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 3.4 steals per game. In one game playing in the Israel Cup, Wright posted 42 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 1 steal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Your Take: React to Today's News

So, by now I figure you've heard the news: Force 10, L.L.C., a group of local businesswomen, has secured an option to purchase the Seattle Storm. The Storm will remain in Seattle and continue to play at KeyArena.

This is an exciting day for Storm fans, and I'm sure there's a lot on your mind. Here's your chance to share your feedback with the prospective new ownership group and offer your reaction to the news.

I had a chance to chat with the new ownership group in its entirety as today's press conference wrapped up and their passion for women's athletics in general and the WNBA and the Storm in particular is obvious. I'm excited to see what that passion can do in terms of maintaining and expanding upon the Storm's position as one of the (if not the) premier franchises in the WNBA.

Again, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Durant the WNBA Fan

Kevin DurantYou may remember Sonics rookie Kevin Durant attending a Storm game this summer while he was in Seattle this summer working out before the NBA Draft. What I didn't realize, until he mentioned it the other day, was that Durant had taken in the Washington Mystics in his native D.C.

The Sonics are playing in Washington Sunday, and Durant was asked about the experience of playing at the Verizon Center.

"I always used to go watch games all the time, back when they were the Bullets," he said. "I'd go to Mystics games."