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Thread: Cnotes 2019 WNBA News - Notes - Picks Thru The Playoffs !

  1. #1 Cnotes 2019 WNBA News - Notes - Picks Thru The Playoffs ! 
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    Young is the No. 1 pick in WNBA draft
    April 10, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) Jackie Young said it was a dream come true to be taken first in the WNBA draft.

    The Notre Dame guard, who decided to enter the draft early and skip her senior season, was selected No. 1 by the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday night.

    ''Since I was a little girl I always wanted to play in the WNBA and now I have my chance,'' she said.

    She's the second Irish player to be drafted first after entering early joining Jewell Loyd, who had the honor in 2015.

    It's the third consecutive year the Aces have had the No. 1 pick. They took Kelsey Plum in 2017 when the franchise was still in San Antonio. The Aces then drafted A'ja Wilson last season with the No. 1 pick when the franchise moved to Las Vegas.

    Young wasn't thrilled that she didn't have much time to make her decision after the Irish lost the championship game Sunday night to Baylor. She had 24 hours to decide whether she wanted to turn pro or go back to play for the Irish.

    ''It was definitely a hard process for me,'' Young said. ''I had to sit down, talk to my family, talk to Coach (Muffet) McGraw and make the best decision for me.''

    Young was the first of five Notre Dame players to be drafted. Arike Ogunbowale went fifth to Dallas. Brianna Turner went 11th to the Atlanta Dream. She was later traded to the Phoenix Mercury for Marie Gulich. Jessica Shepard was taken 16th by the Minnesota Lynx. Marina Mabrey was the fifth Notre Dame player to go, drafted 19th by the Los Angeles Sparks.

    ''It's a historic moment for our program,'' Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. ''We've had a lot of accomplishments, but this one stands alone. It's probably something that will never happen again. Because of the injury to Bri and Jess coming in, it's atypical of having that kind of class. But it's incredible what they accomplished.''

    Tennessee is the only school to have that occur with college players, in 2008. Candace Parker was taken first. Alexis Hornbuckle was drafted fourth. Shannon Bobbitt and Nicky Anosike went back-to-back in the second round and Alberta Auguste was taken in the third round.

    Asia Durr went second to the New York Liberty. The Louisville guard, who was a two-time AP All-American, was the No. 2 scorer in school history. The Indiana Fever then took Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan at No. 3. Chicago drafted a UConn player for the second consecutive season taking Katie Lou Samuelson fourth reconnecting her with former Huskies teammate Gabby Williams.

    Another UConn player went sixth with Napheesa Collier headed to Minnesota. She could provide some help for the Lynx, who will be missing Maya Moore for the season as she sits out to focus more on things other than basketball. The Lynx had a busy draft taking Shepard and Cierra Dillard of Buffalo in the second round. They also traded Natisha Hiedeman, whom they drafted 16th to Connecticut for Lexie Brown. They drafted Kenisha Bell of Minnesota in the third round.

    The Los Angeles Sparks took Baylor center Kalani Brown seventh. It's been a whirlwind 72 hours for the 6-foot-7 center as she helped Baylor win a national championship on Sunday.

    Australian Alanna Smith, who helped Stanford win the Pac-12 Tournament title was drafted eighth by Phoenix. The Mercury are coached by fellow Aussie Sandy Brondello. Kristine Anigwe went ninth to Connecticut. The Cal center, who led the nation in rebounding, was the national defensive player of the year. Washington took Kiara Leslie with the 10th pick and Ezi Magbegor closed out the opening round by going to defending champion Seattle.

    Chinese sensation Han Xu was drafted 14th by the New York Liberty. The 6-foot-9 center became the first Chinese player drafted since 1997. There was some talk that Han wouldn't be able to play this summer as she would have to compete for the Chinese national team. She said that she expected to play for New York this summer.

    The WNBA season opens on May 24th with training camps opening up a few weeks earlier.
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    WNBA MVP Stewart done for 2019
    April 17, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) Reigning WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart is expected to miss the upcoming season after she ruptured the Achilles tendon in her right ankle.

    Stewart injured the leg on Sunday in the EuroLeague Women championship game in Hungary. She flew to Los Angeles where test results confirmed the injury.

    The Seattle Storm announced the diagnosis on Wednesday.

    ''As we all know there are highs and lows throughout a career,'' Stewart posted on her Twitter account. ''This is just another obstacle that I will overcome. I'm thankful that I have so many people in my corner to help me every step of the way. I'm feeling every emotion possible at this point but just know that the bounce back will be real and I'll be back better than ever.''

    She will undergo surgery performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at a date to be determined. She is expected to make a full recovery for the start of the 2020 season.

    Stewart was playing for Dynamo Kursk, a Russian club, when she appeared to land awkwardly on the foot of fellow WNBA star Brittney Griner after attempting a jumper late in the first half against UMMC Ekaterinburg. She immediately grabbed at her lower right leg while grimacing in obvious pain.

    Stewart was attended to by trainers on the court before being helped to the locker room while not putting any weight on her right leg.

    ''This is a tough time for Stewie and our hearts go out to her,'' Storm CEO and General Manager Alisha Valavanis said. ''The Storm family is behind her and we will support Stewie in every way we can as she begins her journey back to the court.''

    The 24-year-old Stewart won four national titles at UConn, and was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA draft. She won both the league and finals MVP awards while leading the Storm to the franchise's third WNBA title this past season.

    Stewart has played overseas in the offseason since she joined the WNBA. Her Dynamo Kursk squad fell 91-67 after she left the game.

    The WNBA season begins May 24.
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    CBS signs multiyear deal with WNBA
    April 22, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA is nearly doubling its national TV exposure with a multiyear deal with CBS Sports.

    CBS Sports Network will broadcast 40 WNBA games beginning next month when the season opens. The Minnesota Lynx vs. the Chicago Sky on May 25 will be the first game on the CBS Sports Network.

    ''Through our partnership with CBS Sports Network, the WNBA is joining an elite lineup of premium sports programming,'' said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. ''We thank CBS Sports for making such a meaningful commitment to women's basketball and for providing another platform to showcase the world-class athletes of the WNBA.''

    The league, which will begin its 23rd season on May 24, also has a deal with ESPN to show 16 regular-season telecasts, including three on ABC. Last year, the WNBA had a strong regular season with combined average viewership across ESPN2 and NBA TV up 31% over 2018. The CBS deal is the latest in an active offseason for the WNBA with AT&T as a new marquee partner, new uniforms by Nike and a rebranding of the league with a new logo.

    All-Star Sue Bird and the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm will make six appearances on CBS Sports Network this season. That includes a WNBA Finals rematch against former league MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics on June 14.

    The TV channel will use local broadcast feeds for now, similar to what NBA TV does for WNBA games. The upcoming NBA TV schedule of WNBA games has not been finalized yet, but nearly 50 games are expected to be broadcast - the same as last year.

    ''We are truly excited to partner with the WNBA, bringing the country's premier women's sports league to CBS Sports Network. This partnership is one of the biggest and most impactful women's sports programming arrangements ever at CBS Sports, offering national exposure of 40 games per year,'' said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus. ''This agreement provides great live content throughout the summer in prime time and on weekends, and aligns two great brands in the WNBA and CBS Sports. We look forward to working with the WNBA for many years to come.''

    CBS executive vice president of programming Dan Weinberg said the WNBA was exactly what CBS was looking for to bolster its schedule.

    ''We are looking to partner with established brands that are growing with dedicated fan bases,'' he said in a phone interview. ''The WNBA checks every one of those boxes. (Playing in the) spring-summer lends itself to our programming schedule. We are clearly and obviously talking about the best basketball players in the world at the highest level. Associating ourselves with WNBA, it's a great powerful established brand with popularity across the country.''

    The sides are still discussing expanding the coverage to include features and other WNBA programming.

    ''It's going to be beyond highlights,'' said David Denenberg, who is the Senior Vice President, Global Media Distribution and Business Affairs for NBA Entertainment. ''Whether it's features we develop or CBS develops, we want to do more.''

    It's unclear how the WNBA will decide which games will air on ESPN or CBS Sports Network going forward after this year. The league didn't seem too concerned.

    ''Suffice it to say we have enough games we think we'll put together a robust schedule for everyone,'' Denenberg said. ''We'll announce the CBS schedule, ESPN schedule. I think we're going to well serve all our partners.''
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    LA Sparks acquire G Alexis Jones from Lynx for Odyssey Sims
    April 22, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Sparks have acquired guard Alexis Jones from the Minnesota Lynx in exchange for guard Odyssey Sims.

    Jones shot 38% from 3-point range and 86% from the free throw line in a limited role during her rookie season last year. She was drafted 12th overall by the Lynx in 2017 after playing collegiately at Duke and then Baylor.

    Sparks general manager Penny Toler cited Jones' experience in winning the 2017 WNBA championship with the Lynx as a benefit of the deal announced Monday.

    Sims was acquired before the 2017 season in a trade with the Dallas Wings. She started 24 of 34 games for the Sparks last year, averaging 8.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

    The Sparks open the season May 26 at Las Vegas.


    Mercury star Taurasi likely out 12 weeks after back surgery
    April 25, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    PHOENIX (AP) Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi has undergone back surgery to alleviate symptoms from a disk protrusion and will miss the start of the season.

    The team said in a statement Thursday that Taurasi had the procedure on Wednesday. Taurasi had been experiencing pain and muscle weakness during offseason workouts, leading to the surgery.

    She is expected to return in 10 to 12 weeks. Phoenix opens the season May 25 against Seattle.

    The 36-year-old Taurasi has played 14 WNBA seasons, all with the Mercury, and sat out in 2015 to rest. The league's all-time leading scorer is a three-time WNBA champion, nine-time All Star and was the 2009 MVP.


    Ogwumike traded, reunited with sister
    April 27, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) The Ogwumike sisters are back together.

    The Connecticut Sun traded Chiney Ogwumike to Los Angeles for the Sparks' 2020 first-round pick on Saturday. The move reunites Ogwumike with her sister, Nneka, who plays for the Sparks. The two played together in college at Stanford.

    ''I am absolutely thrilled to be playing with my sister,'' Chiney Ogwumike told the AP in a phone interview. ''Basketball has always been a family thing for me.''

    Chiney Ogwumike was the No. 1 pick by the Sun in 2014 and she has been one of the most popular players in the franchise's history. She's had to miss two seasons because of injuries. She missed the 2015 WNBA season with a knee injury and sat out 2017 because of an Achilles tendon injury. Both were suffered while she played overseas.

    ''I absolutely loved and appreciated my time in Connecticut,'' Chiney Ogwumike said. ''I love the organization and they were my family away from home. They believed in me in my darkest days after I got hurt twice. Connecticut will always be home.''

    Last season, Ogwumike was an All-Star and averaged 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. She shot 60.3% from the field, the third-highest mark in the league.

    ''Chiney Ogwumike is one of the most athletic, versatile and efficient front-court players in the WNBA,'' Sparks general manager Penny Toler said. ''Chiney provides us additional inside scoring, rebounding and rim protection. She will be a great addition to our roster.''

    The Ogwumikes become the second pair of sisters in the WNBA to play for the same team, according to the league. The Millers, Coco and Kelly, played for Atlanta in 2010.

    ''It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad we can pick up where we left off,'' Nneka Ogwumike told the AP in a text. ''Playing with my sis was always a dream, so I'm excited to pursue another championship dream with her on the court, by my side.''

    While injured, Ogwumike started working for ESPN and last year became a full-time basketball analyst for the network. At 27, she is one of the youngest analysts at ESPN and one of the few women in that role. ESPN has studios in Los Angeles.

    The Sun had a 21-13 record in 2017 when Ogwumike was hurt and the same mark this past year when she was healthy.

    Trading Ogwumike helps Connecticut clear up some salary cap space.

    ''It gives us some flexibility on the cap on a year when we'll have a boatload of players come off contract,'' Sun general manager and coach Curt Miller said. ''It also gives us an asset we can turn around this year or we can play out how the season goes and how LA does and see who is coming into the draft.''

    Miller was sad to see Ogwumike go.

    ''I truly enjoyed coaching Chiney,'' he said. ''She was the consummate pro with a tremendous work ethic. She was easy to coach and brought the same positive attitude and energy every single day to the court and the locker room. You know what you can expect every single day with Chiney and that's what makes her special.'
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    Los Angeles Sparks re-sign Gray
    April 30, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Los Angeles Sparks have re-signed two-time WNBA All-Star guard Chelsea Gray.

    Gray averaged a career-high 14.9 points, 5.1 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game in 2018, earning All-Star honors for the second straight year. She is currently playing for Cukurova Mersin in the Turkish league playoffs. The Sparks begin their season on May 26.

    Gray will be entering her fourth season with the Sparks. She was drafted 11th overall by the Connecticut Sun in 2014 and was acquired by Los Angeles in 2016. Gray led the WNBA in 3-point percentage in 2017, making 48.2% from beyond the arc.


    WNBA G Williams charged in fight
    April 30, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    PAHOKEE, Fla. (AP) WNBA free agent guard Riquna Williams has been arrested after authorities say she attacked her ex-girlfriend at a Florida home.

    According to an arrest report, Williams forced her way inside and repeatedly struck Alkeria Davis in the head and pulled her hair. Two men told Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputies they spent 10 minutes trying to break up the fight in December.

    When they finally separated the women, authorities say 28-year-old Williams grabbed a firearm from her blue Camaro, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying ''you'll get all 18'' before speeding off.

    Davis said she and Williams had been together on and off for five years and had broken up a month earlier. She told authorities she thought Williams was jealous they were no longer together. She said Williams had never been violent in the past.

    Davis was treated by paramedics for a small lump on her head.

    Authorities said before entering the home, that Williams hit Davis' car with a skateboard.

    Williams was booked Monday for burglary and aggravated assault charges. A judge ordered that she remain jailed in lieu of a $20,000 bond.

    A spokeswoman for the WNBA says the league is aware of the situation and gathering more information.


    Tina Charles adds filmmaker to resume
    May 6, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    NEW YORK (AP) Tina Charles can add filmmaker to her already impressive resume.

    The WNBA star produced a documentary about her father Rawlston and his Brooklyn-based record store and music label - known as Charlie's Calypso City and Charlie's Records, respectively - and it debuted over the weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival.

    ''I put my heart and soul into this and was so excited to let the world know about my father,'' Charles said in a phone interview Sunday.

    Charles acknowledged she was nervous and excited before the film ''Charlie's Records'' premiered Friday night. The documentary was so well-received that the film festival added a second showing on Saturday night.

    She was so happy that her dad enjoyed the film.

    ''He was speechless, didn't have any words,'' Charles said. ''He saw the hard work I had put in, he was with me every step of the way, so he saw everything I was doing.''

    Charlie's Records opened in 1972, five years after his arrival from his native Tobago. He wanted to create a place where immigrants from his area could hang out and where Calypso music, an Afro-Caribbean style that originated in Trinidad, could flourish. The store continues to operate on Fulton Street in Brooklyn - a few minutes' drive from where the filmmaker's WNBA team practices now. Mementos from his daughter's basketball career adorn the walls of the store.

    ''He's an unsung hero. It was really neat for me to tell the story,'' the New York Liberty star said.

    Charles, who is the youngest of her father's six children, was just a child during the record label's heyday. She was hanging out at her father's store in 2017 when former UConn teammate Kalana Greene suggested that Charles make a documentary about her father.

    She initially thought the project would be a good one for Spike Lee and the WNBA All-Star was able to get a meeting with the director to pitch the idea. Lee remembered hearing the music blasting on Fulton Street as he was growing up.

    ''When I told him about it, he saw how passionate I was,'' she said. ''He said, `You know you have to do your own movie. You have to go through this. Nobody else is going to tell your father's story the way it needs to be told other than you.''

    Lee gave Charles two DVDs. One was ''4 Little Girls,'' which he directed, and the other was a Kobe Bryant DVD. He signed them saying, ''Do your damn movie'' on one and ''All the best Tina'' on the other. They've served as inspiration for her during the filmmaking process.

    Charles did not play overseas during the past two WNBA offseasons as she usually has, instead spending nearly every free moment working on the film. In addition to filming and researching in New York, she flew to Trinidad and Tobago to interview famous Calypso performers. She even landed an interview with Prime Minister Keith Rowley.

    Charles had no background in making movies, but she was fortunate to meet Jane Rosenthal - one of the founders of the Tribeca Film Festival.

    ''She took me under her wing and sealed the deal on the documentary,'' said Charles, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA draft after an outstanding college career at UConn.

    ''She was sort of like coach (Geno) Auriemma, that she got the best out of me and not let me be complacent,'' Charles added. ''Not settle on the depth of creativity.''

    Charles was used to being interviewed, having played professionally since graduating from UConn and knew how to get the best responses out of her father and other people she spoke to for the film.

    Charles' teammates from the Liberty took in the premiere Friday night. The documentary had special meaning for guard Kia Nurse.

    ''I called my grandparents right after because they are from Trinidad. My dad is from there as well. I told them there's this whole movie, you're going to love it,'' she said. ''These are all songs that we listened to with my grandparents at Christmas. I didn't know the whole background to it, but as they were playing the music through the movie I was like, My grandma loves these, we dance to them at Christmas. It's her happiest time of year.' I can see how happy his music makes people even when they are far away from home and that's really special to me.''

    Charles thinks she isn't done being a filmmaker.

    ''In my mind, thinking what can I do next?'' she said. ''I know there are so many other unsung heroes out there like my father. WNBA players doing great things off the court that's not documented. A lot of things are going through my mind. How can I continue to put individuals out there?''


    Dream's McCoughtry recovering (knee)
    May 9, 2019
    By The Associated Press

    ATLANTA (AP) Atlanta Dream forward Angel McCoughtry's status for this season is uncertain as she continues to recover from a serious knee injury.

    Atlanta opened training camp this week without McCoughtry, the two-time Olympian and two-time WNBA scoring champion. Coach Nicki Collen said Thursday she has to prepare as if McCoughtry could miss the full season.

    ''We are prepared to be without her for the entire `19 season,'' Collen said. ''That is the approach I went into with free agency, that we couldn't wait on her and we had to be prepared.''

    Collen said McCoughtry, 32, will be evaluated ''month to month, strength test to strength test.'' She said McCoughtry has good range of motion in the knee but still has ''a lot of strength-building to do.''

    McCoughtry, a five-time All-Star, suffered torn ligaments in her left knee on Aug. 7, 2018 and missed the playoffs as the Dream lost to Washington in the semifinals.

    Collen said McCoughtry's uncertain status led the team to acquire forward Nia Coffey in a draft-day trade with Las Vegas and sign free-agent forward Haley Peters.

    Collen said the team will be patient with McCoughtry's rehabilitation.

    ''She's not a spring chicken anymore,'' Collen said. ''... This is her first major injury. We have to take it slow and steady and get her strong. ... I wouldn't expect her out on the court anytime soon.''

    McCoughtry has averaged 19.2 points in nine seasons, all with Atlanta. She sat out the 2017 season and returned to average 16.5 points and a career-high 6.0 rebounds before the injury last season.

    Guard Blake Dietrick said having to finish last season without the high-scoring McCoughtry will help the Dream prepare for being without the forward for at least part of this season.

    ''Everybody has to step up and I think we're ready for that because Angel went down last year and we're prepared to play without her,'' Dietrick said. ''We'll be ready for that.''
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