Category Archives: WNBA

Maya Moore Is One Busy Young Woman

by Categorized: Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx, WNBA Date:

When the Minnesota Lynx visited the White House in June to be honored for winning the 2013 WNBA championship, Barack Obama, the noted basketball maven, admitted there was a player on the trip who already knew her way around the joint.
“Basically, there’s like a Maya Moore wing in the White House. When she comes, we’ve got all her stuff here. She’s got a toothbrush,” Obama said of Moore.
The president was right. It was already Moore’s fifth visit to the White House in her young career; two with UConn national champions, two with the Lynx, and one with the 2012 US Olympic team.
“It’s been such a blessing in my life to be a part of so many championship teams so close to each other,” Moore said after practice on Friday. “It’s humbling. It’s an honor to be able to engage with the president, who is such a basketball fan. I know he appreciates us [the female athlete] as role models for his own daughters.”

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Dolson Says Nothing Special Planned For White House Return

by Categorized: Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, Washington Mystics, WNBA Date:

Catching up with Stefanie Dolson, Bria Hartley and Kalana Greene on Wednesday after the Washington Mystics practiced in Uncasville made for a nice hour. They all look good, feel good and are excited about Thursday’s game at the casino against the Connecticut Sun.

“Just walking through airport [Bradley International] it felt nice to be back,” Dolson said. “Seeing all the fans again is going to be fun.”

Hartley agreed.

“I was saying to Stefanie that this feels like home,” Hartley said. “Maybe not being at Mohegan, although we did play here last year [the American Athletic Conference tournament]. But just Connecticut, in general. We hope the Connecticut fans we have here will show us a little bit of love [Thursday].”

Dolson and Hartley said most of their former UConn teammates and coaches are planning to attend the game. And they both were hoping to spend some time on campus with those now on campus taking classes and playing pick-up games at some point Wednesday, if transportation could be arranged.

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How Does Renee Montgomery Fit In? Be Careful How You Ask

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Renee Montgomery, WNBA Date:

Anne Donovan’s patience clearly wearing thin Sunday after Sunday’s 85-76 win for the Connecticut Sun over Atlanta at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Seldom does any coach – especially one with a WNBA title and Olympic gold medal – enjoy being asked about how and why they use – or don’t use – players. And that certainly was the case when Donovan was asked what’s been up lately with Renee Montgomery, now in her fifth season with the team.

“As I’ve told Renee, if Alex [Bentley] is in there and does well, Renee probably is not going to get an opportunity,” Donovan said. “That’s how it’s been. Whoever goes in there first, when they play well, they keep the opportunity [to play]. Same thing with Chiney [Ogwumike], same thing with (Kelsey) Bone. It’s not just Renee specific.
“Anybody else have any questions on that? You guys [the media] are looking for something … This is the game of basketball. People play based on production.”

Ok Anne, I think we get the point. It’s the coaches prerogative to play who she wants to play. And its the media’s prerogative to ask why.

But here’s another point:

In the three previous games, Montgomery had played just 15 minutes, including none in the team’s first win of the season, May 23 against Seattle. During last week’s road trip in Indiana and Chicago, which resulted in two defeats and featured a 4-for-25 performance from three-point range, Montgomery played seven minutes in Indiana and eight in Chicago. During those eight minutes, Montgomery was 4-for-5 from the field and scored 11 points.

After playing such a big role in the win Sunday – 18 points in 19 minutes – Montgomery was clearly happy. The former UConn All-American, who had made 210 three-pointers in her first four seasons with the Sun, has been admittedly curious about her role and why it has diminished. But she didn’t want to speculate why.
“Are you trying to get me in trouble?” Montgomery asked. “I don’t want to stir up trouble. I just want to let the way I play speak for itself. I’m not going to try to get into the who, what, where, when or why.
“I just want to work hard and give myself the best chance to be ready when my number is called.”
While Montgomery remains one of the Sun’s potentially potent offense players, it’s her defense and size that has apparently caused the coaching staff to stray.
“It’s very rare that an opponent specifically goes at me [challenges her defensively],” Montogomery. “But I was told that I haven’t caught fire, that I haven’t been making shots and haven’t been playing defense. So now it’s about me doing all of the above.”
Montgomery was inherited from the Mike Thibault era, which now features just four remaining players on the current roster – Montgomery, Kelsey Griffin, Allison Hightower and Danielle McCray.
This new roster is based on bigger guards with more defensive strength and reach. And Bentley, the former Penn State star, was specifically acquired by Donovan in the three-team trade that shipped Kara Lawson to Washington in the offseason.
“I’m looking at Renee for more offense,” Donovan said Sunday. “That’s Renee’s strength – her offense.”
Donovan was forced to shuffle her personnel Sunday because Griffin missed the game with a stomach disorder and the team was coming off back-to-back road games in Thursday and Friday.
She gave forward Kelsey Bone the start and then dipped more liberally into her bench, at least as it concerned Montgomery and Kayla Pedersen, who played nearly 15 minutes after getting just 31 in the previous six games
“Keeping Bone and Chiney [Ogwumike[ fresh, that's where both the other posts [Pedersen and Kelley Cain, who played 9:35] got minutes,” Donovan said. “And both did a nice job by the way. Alex [Bentley] has been playing point very well, Renee [Montgomery] has been inching her way up there and then Allie [Hightower] got into foul trouble. So it was not really by design. I think by need and by necessity.”

Where and how Montgomery will fit into Donovan’s future plans remain unclear, which Montgomery seems to understand.
“I understand this is a different situation, but I know what I’ve accomplished in the past,” Montgomery said. “I spent the first four years of my career in the WNBA trying to prove myself. Last year was basically lost to injury.
“But I felt I was going to have to reprove myself this season, which happens sometimes after injuries, especially when you have a different coach. I’m just trying to make sure that I’m proving I belong here … It’s different, I admit. I’m technically considered a veteran now, and now I’m in a situation where I need to constant prove myself over and over again.
“I guess it’s good. I didn’t expect this. But I’m just going to do my best to stay ready, whether I play one minute or 40.”

 

Kelly Faris Trying To Adjust To New Role: Waiting For A Chance

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Throughout her successful career as an Indiana high school star and UConn focal point, Kelly Faris has always understood nothing worthwhile has come easy for her.
She has relied on impeccable fundamentals and work habits to compensate for whatever physical skills were lacking. And somehow she has always been able to make it work for herself and her team.
But in her second season with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Faris is facing the first serious roadblock in her career.
On a young, rebuilding team, stocked with many like-talents, she is now the last player on a 12-player depth chart in a rotation that has rarely gone deeper than nine.

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Leuchanka Final Sun Cut, Look At Roster

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, WNBA Date:

  The Connecticut Sun announced today they have waived Yelena Leuchanka to reach the WNBA maximum of 12 players on the roster.

 Leuchanka, a 6-foot-5 center, has played in 61 games in four seasons in the WNBA, most recently with Atlanta in 2012. She arrived in Sun camp on May 8 and did not see action in any preseason games.

The Sun open the 2014 season on Friday against New York at Mohegan Sun. They will carry five posts: Kelley Cain, Kayla Pedersen, Chiney Ogwumike, Kelsey Bone and Kelsey Griffin and seven guards/wings: Renee Montgomery, Allie Hightower, Alex Bentley, Alyssa Thomas, Kelly Faris, Katie Douglas and Danielle McCray.

Head coach Anne Donovan was not at practice Thursday, and has missed most of the week, due to the death of her father. She is expected back in time to run the pregame shootaround on Friday

Kelsey Bone Understands What Natalie Butler Is About To Deal With

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Kelsey Bone, Natalie Butler, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

There may be no player in the WNBA who understands more about what UConn transfer Natalie Butler will be going thru next season than Connecticut Sun forward Kelsey Bone.
Bone, 22, a former big-time UConn recruit from Houston, Texas, transferred after her freshman season at South Carolina to Texas A&M in 2010. And because of NCAA rules she was forced to sit out the following season.
Butler, the freshman of the year in the Big East last season at Georgetown, will transfer to UConn in the fall but will not be able to play during the 2014-15 season. She would join the team as a sophomore the following year.

What Butler will miss could mirror what Bone missed while she sat: The Aggies won the NCAA championship in 2010-11 during Bone’s year in limbo.
“I was there and in practice every day,” Bone said. “But that was the year that changed basketball for me. It was the first time since I was 11 years old that I had not played basketball competitively. When you practicing all year against a player like Danielle Adams [the former A&M All-American now playing for San Antonio] every single day, it was invaluable for me.

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WNBA’s Summer Hoops Campaign Kicks Off

by Categorized: WNBA Date:

Hey everyone, just wanted to bring your attention to an initiative the WNBA is currently sponsoring that may impact you in some small way.

WNBA Summer Hoops tips off with the signature WNBA Cares Week beginning today. WNBA teams will incorporate WNBA Summer Hoops and outdoor activities into their events, showcasing their commitment to the communities in which they live, learn and play, and building excitement for the summer season.

As part of WNBA Summer Hoops, Operation Orange will launch in multiple WNBA markets. Teams will “take over” outdoor basketball courts in public areas during WNBA Tip-Off presented by Boost Mobile between May 16 and May 26.

The “takeovers” will include transforming courts into everything orange including the nets, and stenciling courts and surrounding pavement with the WNBA logo. All participants including team members, local personalities, group leaders, youth organizations and fans of all ages will participate in the cleanup using orange work gloves and orange garbage bags. Fans will also be encouraged to find the orange nets in their neighborhoods and upload photos to social media and WNBA.com with the opportunity to win WNBA prizes.

Set to tip off and begin running this weekend during the second-round games of the 2014 NBA Playoffs as well as on NBA TV, the new WNBA spot, WNBA Summer Hoops (http://www.wnba.com/video/wnba/2014/05/08/wnbasummerseasonpromoV2mov-3263662) welcomes fans to basketball’s summer season. It will continue to air throughout the season during WNBA games and on NBA TV. In addition, the WNBA Summer Hoops graphic elements, including a new icon and hashtag (#summerhoops), will be used in promos and videos for broadcast, social media and in-arena throughout 2014. Extensive coverage of the campaign will also be provided on WNBA.com and team websites,

Hartley And Dolson Combine For 16 Points In Preseason Debut

by Categorized: Bria Hartley, Stefanie Dolson, Washington Mystics, WNBA Date:

Former UConn All-Americans Bria Hartley and Stefanie Dolson combined for 16 points as the Washington Mystics opened the preseason with an 80-63 win over the Indiana Fever on Tuesday. The teams will play again Wednesday in Washington.

Hartley played 16 minutes, 54 seconds, made 4 of 11 shots (2 of 6 from three) and had six rebounds and two assists to score 10 points.

Dolson played 22 minutes, 01 second and was 2 of 5 from the field with four rebounds and two blocked shots. She scored six points.

As an added bonus, check out this video of the two provided by the WNBA. You will see a side of them – and hear some admissions from them – that neither of them ever spoke of during their days at State U.

 

Charles Not Expected To Be With Liberty Sunday

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, WNBA Date:

A spokesman for the WNBA’s New York Liberty just told me that Tina Charles is not expected to be with the team on Sunday when it opens the preseason against the Connecticut Sun at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Charles, the former rookie of the year and MVP, was dealt by the Sun to the Liberty on April 14 in accordance with her wishes. She has been playing in Russia during the offseason and has just returned to the United States.

It’s expected Charles will be ready to play Thursday when the Sun and Liberty complete the preseason at Madison Square Garden in an 11 a.m. game. The teams then open the regular season at the casino on May 16.