Thursday, September 8, 2011
Behind The Scoreboard
What’s up in WNBA?
It would be very easy for one to immerse one’s self in covering sports topics such as the U.S. Open and, better yet, the opening weekend of collegiate football featuring the ever best SEC.
We are aware that one of the SEC’s rated teams was opening its bill right down the road from us at the University of Memphis. The number-20th-ranked Bullies of Mississippi State were facing the Tigers for both teams’ first game of the season. We are not trying to low rate the Tigers as they continue to rebuild but this was not perhaps a fair measuring stick. The outcome was very similar to last season’s opener. They played on Thursday.
The second-ranked Crimson Tide was opening up on Saturday and was manhandling Kent State 24-0 when I stopped checking the stats. The defending champs, Auburn Tigers, were being challenged by Utah State. They had bounced back to tie it at 21.
The other topic which I am shying from is the U.S. Open. Both the Williams’ sisters were seeded but Venus had to drop out after her first match, suffering from a debilitating disease called Sjogrens’ Syndrome.
As has been the norm for the last few seasons, if yours truly hasn’t mentioned the WNBA, some enquiring mind will ask, “What’s happening in the WNBA?” Well, actually quite a bit. For openers the league has a new boss. The new president of the WNBA is Laurel Richie, the former chief marketing executive for the Girl Scouts of America. The new ramrod says her main priority is to get more fans in the stands. Richie has been on the job about three weeks and both attendance and TV viewership have increased, however, she is not taking credit for that – yet. The upward trend could be attributable to the current lockout in the NBA. Fans could be thinking this just might be the only pro basketball they will see this year. Of course, I don’t feel that way (hee, hee).
There are still a dozen teams in the league, however, the Shock (formerly of Detroit) is now in Tulsa. At this juncture, Tulsa is one of four teams in the league playing below .500. Going into this weekend no team had won a conference title but a trio had clinched playoff berths – Indiana Fever and Connecticut Sun of the East and the Minnesota Lynx of the West. The Sun and Fever are running neck and neck in the East.
But the real story this season is in the West. The Lynx have won the top seed for the first time in theirs and the WNBA’s history. Even after a loss to the N.Y. Liberty (Sat.), they still will finish the season with the best record.
Fans and critics say that Maya Moore, former super star of the UConn Lady Huskies and Geno Auriemma, is responsible. Moore compiled a record of 150-4 and two national titles while in their employ. The Lynx won only 13 games last season and is now the team to beat.
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