Saturday, September 30, 2006

Hey Susan, Why Not the Mystics? The Washington Post reports this morning that Susan Ralston, a "top aide to presidential advisor Karl Rove, passed along inside White House information to superlobbyist Jack Abramoff at a time when she was also accepting his tickets to nine sports and entertainment events."

According to the Post, Ralston received free tickets from Abramoff to the Wizards, the Caps and the Orioles, as well as to Bruce Springsteen and Andrea Bocelli concerts. No mention of any Mystics tix! Perhaps we'll know that the WNBA has really "arrived" as a league when tickets to the games become part of the currency of K-Street lobbyists, and are sought after by those in power or with access to it.

The Post also reports that "Ralston also helped Rove get tickets from Abramoff for a game in the NCAA (men's) basketball tournament," but the White House confirmed that Rove "paid for the tickets." [Memo to the Washington Post: In the opinion of the BasketCases (who are internationally famous --- especially in Latvia --- sports bloggers) it's not whether you pay for NCAA tickets that determines whether there's a political favor . . . it's getting access to "buy" them in the first place.]

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bling Bling
On Sunday, the BasketCases returned to Comcast Center -- home of the National Champion Maryland Terrapins -- for the first time since the end of last season. What a joy to have the elevator doors open onto the concourse to this view:

This glitzy display of the Orbitz Trophy, presented to the Terps by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association on April 4, 2006 after they won the National Championship, was unveiled a couple of weeks ago at a small, invitation-only reception (the BasketCases would have thought that having the best blog about the Terps on the web would have been enough for an invite, but no!) and is now on permanent public display for ooohing and ahhing. The crystal basketball was crafted by Waterford, and the trophy is valued at $30,000! There is a great deal of very interesting info about the season on the base of the trophy, including the total points scored by Maryland in overtimes -- 75 -- versus the total scored by their opponents -- 37. Overtime truly was their time!

The actual NCAA National Championship Trophy (a piece of wood that looks as though it were crafted by the folks at Home Depot) is housed in a separate display case along with the trophy from the Albuquerque Regional (a similar block of wood); however, the Natty was missing the day we were there. We were told that it was away for "a photo shoot" (like a runway model?), but the BasketCases wonder whether TSA screeners have noticed anything fitting the Natty's description in Coach Frese's carry-on luggage when she's on her recruiting trips. (Or is that prohibited by NCAA rules?)

Final Floor


Another new addition to Comcast Center is a huge piece of the actual court (complete with authentic Crystal Langhorne scuff-marks!) on which the Final Four was played in Boston. "The Court" is hanging on a wall, along with a big blowup of the now famous photo of Kristi Toliver launching "the shot." Duke's Alison Bales's fingers are SO close to the ball, you realize that if KT had let go so much as a micro second later . . . well, all these goodies would be on display at Cameron, not Comcast!

Photo Credits: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Liar Liar Pants on Fire. The BasketCases awoke this morning to a story in the Washington Post announcing that the Verizon Center -- home of the Mystics, Wizards and Caps -- will no longer allow fans to bring in food or beverages. The Verizon Center is owned by Abe Pollin's Washington Sports & Entertainment, the former owner of the Mystics and Caps and current majority owner of the Wizards. As the owner of the Phone Booth, Washington Sports gets a chunk of all food and beverage sales made in the arena. However, Pinocchio Matt Williams, a spokesperson for Washington Sports, claims that the new prohibition on outside food and drink was adopted to "add to the safety of our patrons" and that "concession sales did not figure into our decision." So let's see now. That overpriced, deep fried, high cholesterol basket of chicken tenders and fries that you can buy inside the arena is totally safe, but the healthy bean bowl that you can get next door from Chipotle is now a terrorist threat? Matt, the BasketCases were born at night, but not last night.

Update! After we posted earlier this morning, a BasketCases confidential informant leaked us a copy of a highly classified report from the Department of Homeland Security which concludes that if every fan attending a Mystics game brought in (and consumed!) a Chipotle Bean Burrito, the excess gas generated --- if ignited by a spark from pregame pyrotechnics --- could indeed result in a major safety threat to the patrons of the Verizon Center. So obviously, Matt was right . . . it's not about increasing concession revenue, it's all about safety!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Au Cu + Sn. If you slept in this morning, you missed Team USA obliterating Brazil in the bronze medal game, 99-59. The hosts were no match for the Americans, who played with a focus and intensity that were lacking in their semi final matchup on Thursday against Russia. Diana Taurasi was on fire, scoring 18 points in the third quarter, 28 total in the game -- and she didn't even play in the fourth period! It was clear early on in the game that Team USA was not going to be denied a medal in this tourney, even if it wasn't the one they had expected. This is the 8th consecutive World Championship in which the Americans have won a medal (or, in the words of sports announcers, who have created verbs that never before existed, it's the 8th in a row in which the USA has medaled).

One consequence of Team USA's not bringing home the gold is that they will have to qualify to play in the 2008 Olympics, despite the fact that they are the defending Olympic champions. The BasketCases think that's not fair, but no one asked us to make the rules. Well, perhaps playing together more in international competition will turn out to be a blessing in disguise (say the BasketCases, trying to make lemons into lemonade).

For now, congratulations to Team USA on their medal!

* * * * * * *
Saturday afternoon update: And congratulations to the Australians, who defeated Russia today to win their first World Championship.

FIBA Games on TV Today. According to the WNBA's FIBA World Championship web page, both the bronze medal game between the USA and Brazil -- at 8:30 A.M. EDT (9:30 A.M. in Brazil, and is that early for a game or what?) -- and the Championship game between Australia and Russia -- at 1 P.M. EDT -- will be shown live on NBA TV! Interestingly, NBA TV's own web site says that at 1 P.M. EDT today it will be showing the "2006 FIBA Women's World Championship Quarter Finals Live." To which the BasketCases say: there is no substitute for careful fact checking and proof reading!

Now, if NBA TV really does show the gold medal game live today, even though the USA isn't in it, can the BasketCases take credit because we called them yesterday and urged them to broadcast it? Or, could it be that the network had blocked the 1-3 P.M. slot today for that game, assuming that the Americans would be playing, and, having set the time aside, will show the game anyway? Well, we don't care. We just hope we really get to see it!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Double Standard. Until this morning, the Washington Post had either ignored the FIBA Women's World Championship (literally -- some U.S. games were not even reported on) or given Team USA's results in one or two sentences within a larger "News & Notes" section of snippets about various subjects compiled from news services. Never a picture, never a headline, never more than about a inch of type (usually much less) as the American dream team secured victory after victory during the first two rounds and the quarter finals.

Today, however, was very different. The BasketCases opened their paper this morning to see the following huge, screaming, bold faced headline on page 2 of the Sports section: "U.S. Loses in Women's Basketball." This was followed by a four paragraph story probably taking up more space than the paper had devoted to the rest of the tournament combined. And, above the headline was an enormous picture from the game as well (a really ugly picture of Katie Smith), six and a half inches high, six inches wide (!) and in color no less. The BasketCases had earlier complained to the Post's Sports Editor about the virtual lack of coverage, to no avail. When the phones open this morning, we'll be complaining about the double standard and the editorial choice to throw Team USA's defeat in people's faces when it virtually ignored the team's wins.

Nothing will change if the Post doesn't hear from people about this. If you'd like to make a call, the Sports Editor is Emilio Garcia Ruiz, and he can be reached through the paper's main number, 202-334-6000.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

UPSET!!! The Russians handed Team USA a huge, surprising, loss tonight, 75-68, in their semi final game. It was a tough match for the Americans, who were held to 6 (six!!) points in the third quarter. The USA plays host Brazil on Saturday in the bronze medal game, but that's certainly not the color they were hoping to come home with.

No Picture?? And as for the World Championship game between Australia and Russia, well, it appears that we Americans are not likely to see it. NBA TV (yes, the BasketCases' favorite network) had announced before the Championships began that it would continue to show FIBA games as long as Team USA was in them. (A typically American view of the world; if we're not there, how important can it be? Kind of like the ferry that sinks in the Indian Ocean with 435 people aboard that you read about on page 25 of your paper.) We hope the network will change its mind, but don't hold your breath.

Richie Does Rio Sampa. A familiar face in the crowd at Ibirapuera: Washington Mystics Coach Richie Ricardo Adubato is now on hand for the World Championship medal round, as GM Linda Hargrove decided "there's no place like home" and, like Dorothy and Toto, has headed back to Kansas. The BasketCases are happy to see that Richie's selection of casual shirts is as colorful as his ties!

Photo Credit: thanks to globe-trotting Rebkellians, Sebibb and the Sixthwoman, for this photo!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dreamgirls Advance; Russia up Next. The Americans spotted Lithuania most of the first period tonight in their quarter final match in Brazil. However, once Team USA woke up and realized that they were actually playing a game, that was it for Lithuania, as the Americans held their opponents to 6 points in the second quarter and 5 in the third, ultimately winning 90-56. The Russians edged out Spain today, 60-56, and presumably it will be dosvedanya for them tomorrow as they face the U.S. in the semi finals at 6:45 P.M. EDT (yes, live on NBA TV!).

* * * * * *

Role Reversal. Yesterday, Rookie blogger Linda Hargrove finally provided fans with another (and unfortunately her last) report from the World Championships in Brazil. The BasketCases have to admit that this rookie definitely shows some promise! Linda's latest blog is funny, informative and a big improvement over her earlier reports . . . which were pretty good, but this one is better! Of course, she does admit to making one rookie mistake . . . hitting the "delete" button instead of "send" . . . this blogging is harder than you might think! She also sends a shout out in her blog to none other than BasketCase Eileen (that should earn her some more blogging minutes with the BasketCases next season). One of our favorite parts of Linda's blog is her story of a little role reversal between Alana and Alana's Mom. Czech it out . . . this blog is a must-read for Mystics fans.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ann Richards's Memorial Service was not without some fitting reminders that Govenor Richards was a women's hoops fan. The University of Texas Longhorns coaches and players were in attendance, and according to an Associated Press article on, Richards's 19-year- old granddaughter, Lily Adams, had this to say about her grandmother's love of women's basketball:
"It wasn't until I was older that I knew that boys played basketball, too," Adams said, to chuckles in the audience. For years, Richards was a fixture at the (Lady Longhorns) games, always seated behind the team, shouting at referees and peppering coaches with questions. "We didn't just go and cheer politely," Adams said. "We sat behind the bench with (the late U.S. Rep.) Barbara Jordan and yelled until we were hoarse."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Czech Out. In its closest test in Brazil thus far, Team USA defeated the Czech Republic tonight, 63-50, to remain undefeated after group play. The Czechs kept the game tight in the first half, but couldn't sustain the effort after the break. Playing the third game in as many days, and the sixth game in a week, both teams looked tired. However, an almost-highlight moment came at the very end of the first quarter, when Candace Parker got the ball on a fast break and was wide open heading toward the basket. No doubt everyone in the arena (and everyone watching the game on TV) thought that Candace would dunk, except Candace. Her indecision resulted in a missed basket, as she merely tossed the ball upward at the very last moment and it bounced off the glass.

Team USA will take on Lithuania on Wednesday at 6:45 PM EDT in a Quarter Final match. And yes, of course, you can see the game live on NBA TV!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Dreamgirls Deux It Again. Playing their second game in deux days, in the second round of the FIBA World Championship tournament, Team USA dominated in the second half . . . allowing only deux points in the final quarter . . . to remain undefeated as they beat the French National Team by a score of 76-41. Diana Taurasi led all scorers with 15 pts and Tina Thompson was the only other player scoring in double figures with 12. France, down only single digits at the end of the second quarter (thanks to a 3-pt buzzer beater) looked like they might actually make the Dreamgirls work for the win, but the French team failed to carry any momentum into half number deux . . . which was all-USA, all of the time.

Team USA plays the Czech Republic Monday at 6:45 PM EDT (and once again the game will be broadcast live on NBA TV.) Tomorrow's game is the final game in second round play for the Americans. The USA team's record already assures them of advancing to the Quarter Finals, which begin on Wednesday. Unlike the first deux rounds, the Quarter Finals mark the beginning of elimination play. The USA Dreamgirls and the Aussies led by Lauren Jackson are the only two teams still undefeated in the Championship. If the expected happens, these two teams will meet again in the finals to decide the gold medal, as they did in the 2004 Olympics.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Dreamgirls Roll On. Team USA beat Cuba this afternoon, 90-50. There's really not much to be said about a game in which one team is just totally outclassed. The Americans really are a dream team. When you go to your bench in a game that's showing all the signs of an early blowout (34-17 at the end of the first quarter certainly qualifies as one), and the players you bring in include Alana Beard, Sheryl Swoopes, Michelle Snow, Candace Parker, and WNBA Rookie of the Year Seimone Augustus, the other team is usually in big trouble, and Cuba certainly was today. It was another impressive and predictable performance by the Americans, but in a way, somewhat soporific for viewers . . . which the BasketCases know firsthand, since one of us (who shall remain nameless) nodded off during the third quarter.

On Sunday, the USA Dreamgirls take on France, who upset Russia today. The game will be shown live on -- yes -- NBA TV at 1 P.M. EDT. Okay Mystics fans, here's a trivia question. The winner will get a genuine BasketCases T-shirt (well, the winner would if we had one). Name the former Mystics player on the French National Team. (No fair looking it up.)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Hargrove and Lacey Get Wrecked in Brazil. Who would've guessed that solid citizens Linda Hargrove (Mystics GM and grandmother from the Midwest) and Trudy Lacey (Charlotte Sting GM) would get themselves "wrecked" within days of arrival in Brazil for the FIBA World Championship? Well . . . certainly not the BasketCases! But, yes, readers, it's true. Not that you would ever doubt us, but you can read about it yourself in Linda's latest blog from Sao Paulo. Linda also tells us that she's heading home soon . . . in light of the "wrecking" maybe that's not such a bad idea.

* * * * * * * * *
USA v. Cuba. On Saturday, the Americans take on the Cubans at 3:15 P.M. EDT. The game will be broadcast live on -- you guessed it -- the BasketCases' favorite network, NBA TV!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Rest in Peace, Mystics Fan.
Best known to the world as the feisty, funny, sharp-tongued, Harley-riding, one-term Governor of Texas, Ann Richards died yesterday of cancer at the age of 73. But she was many other things; and among those other things, she was a Mystics fan. In the early years of the franchise, while in Washington, Ann Richards would often stop by the Phone Booth to watch the Mystics play ball. She didn't arrive with an entourage, or bodyguards, or any fanfare. She wasn't there to receive an award at halftime or to use the occasion to promote a cause. If you didn't recognize her, you wouldn't have known she was there. She sat with friends, she laughed, she cheered . . . just like any other Mystics fan. Now other teams' fans, like the Comets, might try to claim her as their own --- we won't object --- we'll agree to share her. Because Ann Richards was one very special fan who, if truth be told, fans of any WNBA team could probably say belonged to them . . . at least a little. Ann Richards wasn't just a fan of women's basketball, she was a fan of extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. And perhaps after ten years, we forget that that's what the WNBA, when it was launched, was all about --- and continues to be to this day --- extraordinary women doing extraordinary things. The BasketCases have no doubt that Ann Richards, a woman in her late-60s when she sat in the stands at games, at some point must have reflected on the fact that when she was the same age as Nikki McCray, Murriel Page, Tina Thompson, Sheryl Swoopes and others, it was beyond imagining that women would some day be be playing professional basketball in an NBA arena in front of 16,000 screaming fans! Yes, an extraordinary woman, Ann Richards, who did extraordinary things . . . how could a woman like that not be a friend and fan of the WNBA? The BasketCases are left to wonder how much better would the world have been if she'd been reelected to a second term as Governor of Texas. We guess we'll never know. But we do know that yesterday, Mystics fans and WNBA fans everywhere lost one of their own. Rest in Peace, Ann Richards. (And, Ann, if you happen to be talking with the Big Gal upstairs, would you mind whispering in her ear: Go Mystics . . . Go WNBA?)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Competition! Loyal readers, as you know, the DC BasketCases blog has been a resounding success this year. . . your one-stop shopping for all Mystics news and notes. Well, since imitation is the greatest form of flattery, the BasketCases are flattered to tell you that the Mystics' very own GM, Linda Hargrove, has decided to take a page from the BasketCases' book and give the blogging business a shot. Yes, loyal readers, the BasketCases now have competition! As any great athlete will tell you, there's nothing quite like some intense competition to bring out your A-game. So the BasketCases welcome Linda to the blogging ranks and say Bring It On!

Linda is blogging from Sao Paulo, Brazil where the FIBA Women's World Championship is currently underway. In her first blog, Linda tells us that her curling iron and phone charger don't need a converter and she's been playing charades with Brazilian taxi drivers (Linda, does your husband know?) And, there's plenty more . . . worth a read! The BasketCases think Linda's blog is pretty good --- for a Rookie.

You Do the Math. Two pre-season college polls have just been released. Lindy's ranks the Terps as the pre-season Number One, but Athlon has Maryland at Number Two, behind UNC. UNC? Wait just a minute, Athlon! The BasketCases seem to recall being in Boston on April 2, 2006, watching as the Terps beat UNC in the semis at the Final Four. Not to mention, the Terps also handed Carolina its only loss during the regular season . . . on UNC's home court! And by the way Athlon, did you happen to notice that the Terps are returning all five starters from the National Championship Team? Repeat after us --- all five starters from the National Championship Team, as well as the top seven scorers and rebounders. (Not to mention that former high school National Player of the Year Sa'de Wiley Gatewood, who transferred from Tennessee, will be eligible to play this season, as will Virginia Tech transfer Christie Marrone.) So if A was greater than B, and A is still A (or, actually, better than A), and B is still B, isn't A still greater than B?

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Walkover. Team USA began its quest for FIBA gold tonight by blowing out China, 119-72. The Chinese were simply outclassed by the Americans. It was great to see Alana and DeLisha on the court for the U.S. Dee started the game, while AB came in to play the point when Sue Bird went out for a rest. Look for Alana to get more time against the better teams. And in case anyone was wondering, Candace Parker is just awesome. (12 points and 10 boards in 18 minutes.)

Tomorrow: Nigeria.

* * * * * *
Other (former) Mystics at the Worlds News: During halftime of the USA game, NBA-TV showed highlights from the day's other games. The BasketCases were just delighted to see Brazil's Helen Luz hit a put back with five seconds left in the game against Argentina to nail the 71-69 victory. (Luuuuuuuuz!) Another big contributor for Brazil: Alessandra Santos de Oliveira. Would that she'd played so well back in the day in D.C.!!

* * * * * *
Don't Fly That Airline! FIBA has issued an official statement explaining what happened to Team Lithuania. Their original flight to Brazil was cancelled and they were re-routed through French Guyana. Unfortunately, anyone entering Brazil from that country needs a malaria shot (apparently with an incubation period), which the Lithuanians did not have, since they weren't planning on being in French Guyana in the first place. So the BasketCases are wondering how many mosquitoes can there be in the airport anyway?

Photo Credit: ANTONIO SCORZA/AFP/Getty Images

Shot Clock Violation. Although the FIBA World Championship gets underway today, there are reports from a Brazilian WNBA fan (thanks, BCBG!) that the Lithuanian team may not be able to enter the country. It seems they did not get the malaria shots they needed for a Brazilian visa in time. Hello, team manager???

The Maher the (not so) Merrier. Mystics fans watching the USA play China later today may notice a very familiar face on the bench for China: their coach, Tom Maher. As the BasketCases recall all too well, Maher, the former coach of the Australian national team, was brought up from down under to coach the Mystics in 2001. He was coach number five for the team, entering its fourth season. After running the team into the ground finishing with a 10-22 record, tied for worst in the league, Maher "resigned" in early 2002. (We long-time Mystics fans have really suffered, haven't we?)

Back to School. Okay, loyal blog readers, can you name the Mystics Head Coach who succeeded Tom Maher? If you said "Marianne Stanley" without having to look it up, you would not only be correct but, like the BasketCases, you would also be long-suffering. (And you have our condolences.) Stanley, who coached the Mystics in 2002 (going 17-15, the team's first winning season) and in 2003 (9-25, yikes!!) and then "resigned" (a common move by Mystics coaches) was most recently an Assistant Coach for the New York Liberty. Well, Stanley has just left the Libs and signed on as an Assistant to legendary Rutgers Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer. It sure is getting harder and harder to keep track of all the Mystics coaching alums!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

WNBA Season Ends. The Shock won the Championship. Now, on to other news.

FIBA World Championship to Start. The FIBA World Championship starts in Brazil this Tuesday, Sept. 12. They are literally counting down the time on the official web site, which thankfully for the language-impaired is available in English as well as Portuguese. Team USA will play its first game on opening day, against China, at 6:45 P.M. EDT. As we have mentioned before, the USA's games will be broadcast live on NBA-TV. (And you did take our advice earlier this summer to sign up for NBA-TV, didn't you?) The USA plays Nigeria on Wed., Sept. 13, also at 6:45 P.M. EDT, followed by a Thursday match-up against Russia at 4:30 P.M. EDT. (Surely that's sufficient reason to leave work early, isn't it?) The schedule can be found here. Simply subtract one hour for EDT. (Okay, the schedule is in military time. The BasketCases know you can do it!)

Friday, September 08, 2006

World Tune-Up. In what could hardly be called an offensive battle, the USA National Team defeated Australia, 56-49, on Thursday night at Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium. The exhibition game was a prelude to the FIBA World Championship starting next week in Brazil. As Mystics fans know, Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton-Jones are both members of Team USA. AB scored 7 points in 22 minutes of play (to go along with 2 steals and 2 turnovers), while Dee scored 9 points and had 7 rebounds and 1 steal in 23 minutes. There was also a Mystics alum on the floor for the Aussies, Jenny Whittle, who long-time fans will recall was, well, just a whittle disappointing when she played here in the WNBA. . . the BasketCases have a hard time recalling whether she scored even a single point when playing for the Mystics. She scored 2 points last night in 11 minutes of play. The USA's Tina Thompson led all scorers with 15 points.

Alana clearly enjoyed being back on her college floor:
"It was a great feeling being back. I started getting hyped when the band starting playing when we were out there warming up. I started reminiscing about being out there, starting in the games. So that was really exciting for me."
The USA's World Championship games will be shown live on NBA-TV, with Fox Sports rebroadcasting the games at midnight EDT. (Now, we told you earlier this summer what a great deal NBA-TV is, didn't we?)

U-S-A! U-S-A!

Photo Credit:

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Game Five Needed. When the BasketCases stay up well past their bedtime on a school night, they'd really like to have something good to show for it. Unfortunately, the Monarchs couldn't deliver, and lost to were blown out by the Shock, 72-52, at Arco no less, in front of more than 14,000 thousand very disappointed fans. (At least it was three hours earlier in California, so the fans got a good night's sleep!) The fifth and decisive game of the WNBA Championship series will be held on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 3:30 P.M. (ESPN 2).

However, while the game will be played back in Detroit, it won't be on the Shock's home court at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which was already booked for a concert, but at the Joe Louis Arena instead. Loyal blog readers, did you think that arenas held their dates open for women's sports, even a potential championship game? Do we need to show you a bridge in Brooklyn? Recall that earlier in the playoffs, the Sparks were bounced out of the Staples Center in L.A. to the Arrowhead Pond in Annaheim, also because of a prior booking. (The American Idol tour!! Now, that is important!) WNBA President Donna Orender claims the league is going to remove the "wiggle room" that allows the arenas to do this. Maybe the BasketCases need to show Donna that bridge in Brooklyn!

Photo Credit: Hickok Sports

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Monarchs Can Wrap Up The Crown. Yes, it's a school night, and the game won't tip off till about 9 P.M., which is really stretching it for the BasketCases, but we do intend to be up watching as Sacramento takes on the Shock for game 4 of the best-of-five WNBA Championship series at home in Arco (ESPN 2) . With Sac ahead 2-1, the Monarchs can pull off a title re-peat tonight with a win. Which the BasketCases hope they do, for many reasons. Among other things, we really like Sacramento as a team. Not just because of our home-town girls, Kara Lawson and Becky Brunson (and, blog readers, we've written about them enough so we won't say any more), but also because the Monarchs have a whole roster of terrific players who have class and talent. And we'd really like to see Yo, one of the greatest players ever, get another title before she retires. (While we'll miss Yo if she really does hang it up, which she is hinting she might not, we won't miss the tiresome announcers telling us for the ten zillionth time that she used to repo cars for a living. Oh, and did you know that Kara played pee wee football when she was a kid?)

It is also a factor for us that the Monarchs are playing Detroit. Because the BasketCases have never been anything but honest with you, our loyal blog readers, we'll be candid here. We just don't like Detroit. It starts with their Coach, Cave Man Bill. One of the good things about having microphones on the coaches as ESPN 2 has had for this series is that more and more people are seeing Bill Laimbeer for what he has become as a coach: a whiner who tries to bully and intimidate the refs during games (and in our opinion who often succeeds), a constant complainer about the officiating when the Shock lose (he was just fined by the league for his most recent tirade), someone who is often cold or obnoxious toward his players, and someone who sits back and visibly checks out of games with plenty of time left when the going gets rough. He has an enormously talented team, and yet when they get blown out, as has happened twice in the finals, he's reluctant to accept any responsibility for how they play. He is fond of saying, as he did after the Shock were routed by Sac on Sunday, that his team didn't come out "ready to play" as hard as they should. Well, Coach, isn't is part of your responsibility to make sure that they do?? (And hey, if you are as tired of Ruth Riley as you seem to be, send her here to D.C., the Mystics could use her!)

Go Monarchs!!

* * * * * * * *
Shame on the Washington Post. It's bad enough that the Post has pretty much been ignoring the WNBA Championship series (except for AP post-game stories). It wouldn't have taken much creativity to do a feature, for example, on the Monarchs' DC-area connections. But apparently that was asking too much. Today takes the cake, however. Neither the "On the Air'" box in the Sports section shows that Game 4 is being televised, nor does the Sports portion of the "Highlights" box on the TV page in the Style section. As far as the Post is concerned, it's not happening. Boo on them.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Update on chat with Alana and DeLisha. While other folks were asking Dee and AB such weighty questions during this afternoon's chat as whether, given the collapse of the USA men's team, the women's team feels great pressure to win the gold, the BasketCases cut right to the heart of the matter, asking the Mystics duo whether they would be bringing their pandas to Brazil for good luck. The happy, to-the-point, answer from each of them was, and we quote, "Yeah." So that's it for the rest of the world's chances.

Fear the Panda!

Photo Credit: DC BasketCases

Monday, September 04, 2006

Chat with Alana and DeLisha. On Tuesday, Sept. 5, at 3 P.M. EDT, chat on line with Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton Jones, who are in Durham, N.C. with the USA Women's Senior National Team, preparing for next week's World Championship in Brazil. With the recent withdrawal from Team USA of both Lisa Leslie and Yolanda Griffith, the Mystics' stars and their USA teammates will have a tougher road ahead as they go for the gold. Here's your chance to ask Dee and AB what they are doing to prepare for the international competition (besides talking on their cell phones).

Photo Credit:

Sunday, September 03, 2006

George, stick to what you know. Until a few years ago, George Solomon was the sports editor of the Washington Post. He presided over a section of the paper that gave short shrift (to say the least) to women's sports. So it's no surprise that the Sunday sports column he's been writing ever since leaving the editor's desk is mostly about football, baseball, and other men's sports. Which is just as well, because the column is generally so dull you run the risk of going back to sleep if you read it before your coffee in the morning. But every now and then, George throws in some crumb of news or opinion about women's sports --- out of the blue. Today was one of those days . . . here's what George had to say:
The Mystics made the playoffs but were bounced quickly by the Connecticut Sun. Suggestion to the moribund WNBA: Take a page from the NBA history book and consider a territorial draft that might bring some Maryland players to Verizon Center.
George, the first sentence is true, but that news is two weeks out of date! And the second sentence is not only a non sequitur, but it's absurd. Moribund? George, were you at panda-giveaway night? Well, Etan Thomas was there. (George, you know Etan, don't you? He plays men's pro ball.) Just ask Etan how "moribund" the Mystics crowd was that night. In any event, here's a news flash, George: the Mystics draw more people than the Terps do. And whatever the NBA may have done eons ago, TV and the Internet have vastly changed the marketing of professional sports, the fan base, and the fans' ability to follow their favorite players. For example, the BasketCases love seeing DC-area-natives Kara Lawson and Becky Brunson competing for the WNBA Championship on a California team. Maybe we'd have less interest in the finals if it weren't for those "local" connections. And who in DC doesn't love seeing Alana Beard -- a Louisiana native and a Duke grad -- on the Mystics? Besides which, the only Maryland player who will be a senior this coming year and who has any chance of a WNBA career is Shay Doron. And as much as the BasketCases adore Shay, and we do, the Mystics don't need another shooting guard. They need a Big. So George, please, do us all a favor; stick to what you know.

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