WNBA update: Breanna Stewart, 2019 draft

Despite being the offseason, it has been an eventful few weeks for the WNBA, with the future of the league drawing many questions.

First: the good news around the WNBA. The 2019 WNBA Draft is in the books, bringing many exciting new players into the fold. The Las Vegas Aces had the first overall pick and selected Jackie Young of Notre Dame. Interestingly, five Notre Dame players were taken within the first 20 picks. 2018 NCAA Tournament standout, Arike Ogunbowale of Notre Dame was selected fifth by the Dallas Wings.

For more local players, Missouri guard Sophie Cunningham went 13th to the Phoenix Mercury. Missouri State’s tournament opponent, Stanford’s Alana Smith went eighth, also to Phoenix.

Below are the full results of the three rounds of lottery picks as reported by slamonline.com/wnba:

ROUND 1

1. Las Vegas Aces: Jackie Young — Notre Dame

2. New York Liberty: Asia Durr — Louisville

3. Indiana Fever: Teaira McCowan — Mississippi State

4. Chicago Sky: Katie Lou Samuelson — UConn

5. Dallas Wings: Arike Ogunbowale — Notre Dame

6. Minnesota Lynx: Napheesa Collier — UConn

7. L.A. Sparks: Kalani Brown — Baylor

8. Phoenix Mercury: Alanna Smith — Stanford

9. Connecticut Sun: Kristine Anigwe — California

10. Washington Mystics: Kiara Leslie — NC State

11. Phoenix Mercury (from Atlanta): Brianna Turner — Notre Dame

12. Seattle Storm: Ezi Magbegor — Australia

ROUND 2

13. Phoenix Mercury: Sophie Cunningham — Missouri

14. New York Liberty: Han Xu — China

15. Chicago Sky: Chloe Jackson — Baylor

16. Minnesota Lynx: Jessica Shepard — Notre Dame

17. Dallas Wings: Megan Gustafson — Iowa

18. Connecticut Sun (from Minnesota): Natisha Hiedeman — Marquette

19. L.A. Sparks: Marina Mabrey —Notre Dame

20. Minnesota Lynx: Cierra Dillard — Buffalo

21. Connecticut Sun: Bridget Carleton — Iowa State

22. Dallas Wings: Kennedy Burke — UCLA

23. Atlanta Dream: Maite Cazorla — Oregon

24. Seattle Storm: Anriel Howard — Mississippi St

ROUND 3

25. Indiana Fever: Paris Kea — UNC

26. New York Liberty: Megan Huff — Utah

27. Chicago Sky: Maria Conde — Spain

28. Indiana Fever: Caliya Robinson — Georgia

29. Dallas Wings: Morgan Bertsch — UC-Davis

30. Minnesota Lynx: Kenisha Bell — Minnesota

31. L.A. Sparks: Angela Salvadores — Spain

32. Phoenix Mercury: Arica Carter — Louisville

33. Connecticut Sun: Regan Magarity — Virginia Tech

34. Mystics: Sam Fuehring — Louisville

35. Dream: Li Yueru — China

36. Storm: Macy Miller — South Dakota State

Plenty of familiar names here from the NCAA in addition to some intriguing overseas talent. We of course look forward to seeing these rookies in action with their new squads!

Breanna Stewart Injury

Unfortunately, the biggest news from the world of women’s hoops was an injury. Reigning MVP, Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm has suffered an achilles injury while playing in the Euroleague. It is looking like Stewart will not be able to help her Seattle team defend their title next season.

While the injury itself is the real news, the implications also raise some questions that have already been asked for years now. Why is the MVP playing overseas anyway? Simple: she makes more money playing for the Russian team, Dynamo Kursk than she does for the reigning WNBA championship team.

While WNBA health insurance does cover the injury, it clearly highlights an ongoing issue with professional women’s hoops.

The league’s players are not delusional about their monetary opportunities compared to their male counterparts in the NBA. The NBA commands substantially more revenue than the WNBA. However, steps should probably be taken if the league can’t even afford to monopolize what is likely it’s top player.

Everyone accepts that in basketball women will not get paid what the men get paid, at least for the foreseeable future. What the players do want is a piece of the pie that is comparable. Men draw a larger percentage of the league’s revenue than the women do. Whether or not the WNBA can afford to give their players a similar opportunity depends on their overhead but also their willingness to increase player salaries.

Breanna Stewart’s injury will likely become a rallying call for a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league. This could be an interesting offseason.

That’s it for now! Keep checking back for basketball news from all levels, tips, and training opportunities here at The Basketball Movement.

Read More

Happy International Women's Day from The Basketball Movement!

In sports, school, business, well… everywhere, there are female figures both prominent and unnoticed that are deserving of appreciation.

Basketball offers an incredible platform for women at every level of the sport. We are seeing more female coaches, referees, and sponsored athletes than ever before. Naturally, society still has room for improvement in terms of acknowledgment and appreciation of women, but we are getting there!

In thinking of the most touted accomplishment’s by women at the height of the sport, things have been unfortunately stagnant. The NBA is on only its third female referee since Violet Palmer broke that barrier in 1997. Becky Hammon broke barriers as the first female assistant coach, but she has already been at it for five years. It would be nice to see more movement on this front in the Association.

It would not be difficult to imagine Hammon stepping into a head coaching position in the NBA after such a successful tenure under legendary coach, Gregg Popovich. We’ll see.

The WNBA is currently as talented if not more so than it has ever been. All-time leading scorer, Diana Taurasi is still doing her thing in Phoenix, as well as the legendary Sue Bird for Seattle Storm. There is also plenty of young talent such as Elena Delle Donne, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Maya Moore… you get it.

Unfortunately, despite the enormous talent in the league, revenue streams are not strong enough to support player salaries that rival their male counterparts. Basketball purists can appreciate the talent, but without increased support, many of the top players may start venturing overseas to make more money. Let’s keep these ladies here, shall we?

The NCAAW scene is thriving. March 2018 provided as much madness as we can remember for some time on the lady’s side. The sustained greatness of programs like UCONN mixed with up-and-comers such as Mississippi State has made for some incredibly entertaining basketball.

Locally, women’s basketball is going strong as well. The Missouri State Lady Bears are looking like a contender in the upcoming Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, currently seeded second with only one game to play. The Drury Lady Panthers? Oh, they can’t lose. 28-0. Crazy.

Ranked at the top, the GLVC tournament is theirs to lose. The first game is tonight at 6:00PM in Illinois against McKendree, who are winless against the Panthers all-time, including a 17 point loss earlier this season.

Success abounds at the high school level as well, with many of our Yanders Law players and The Basketball Movement athletes showing out all season long. The future of women’s basketball is strong and we hope to help in making it stronger.

Special shoutouts also to all of the mothers, grandmothers, and other guardians of basketball players. Often unsung heroes, we see these special ladies giving so much to their players to put them in the best possible position to succeed. We see you, and we appreciate you.

Happy International Women’s Day again from your friends at The Basketball Movement!

2018 WNBA Finals - It's a wrap

The 2018 WNBA season is officially done thanks to a Finals sweep by the Seattle Storm.

WNBA playoff series are all best-of-five from the first round through the Finals. Somewhat surprisingly, the Seattle Storm only needed three games to put away the Washington Mystics and claim the title of champion for the 2018 season.

The final game was largely decided by perimeter shooting, with the Storm going 13 of 26 from deep. The stretch-bigs proved to be the difference. A four-time NCAA champion at UCONN, the Storm were led by regular season MVP, Breanna Stewart. This is the sixth time that a player has won the regular season MVP award and also gone on the win Finals MVP.

Stewart’s greatness at just 24 years old is impressive. On the other end of the spectrum, her teammate, Sue Bird’s continued excellence at age 37 stands out as well. She is one of the most tenured and respected players in the league.

The Washington Mystics, led by star Elena Della Donne are certainly disappointed by the results, but had a great season.

First and Second Team All-WNBA

Following the championship, the WNBA also released the picks for All-WNBA First and Second team. For anyone following along, the list is not too surprising. The league tweeted out the selections below.

Congratulations to Finals standouts and First-Team selections, Breanna Stewart and Elena Della Donne as well as everyone else selected. It was another great season.

Now the wait is on for NCAA and NBA basketball. NBA preseason action starts September 28th, so it will be here before you know it! OKC Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook has already been declared out for the preseason with arthroscopic knee surgery, so basketball news continues.

The Basketball Movement will continue to cover all things basketball, so keep checking in!

The 2018 WNBA Finals are set

The Washington Mystics and Seattle Storm are set to face off in the 2018 WNBA Finals

The WNBA is the undisputed pinnacle of women's basketball talent. Some of the league's best will be going head-to-head in this year's WNBA Finals matchup. Yesterday's deciding playoff games set a dramatic tone with both series' arriving at their conclusion.

Though the Western Conference Champion Seattle Storm were higher seeded, there was still doubt that they would be able to oust Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury. With Taurasi, the Mercury were 13-0 in series deciding games. Thirteen and zero. Diana Taurasi's greatness needs to be acknowledged, but it is the Storm that will be moving on.

Seattle was able to capitalize on their own star power, led by current MVP, Breanna Stewart and a monster fourth-quarter performance by the great Sue Bird.

In the Eastern Conference things were just as tight. Despite banged-up star Elena Delle Donne giving everyone an injury scare in game two, the Washington Mystics held on to take the deciding game five. This marks the first time that Washington will be in the WNBA Finals.

They defeated the number one-seed Atlanta Dream and will now face off with the Storm, playing game one on the road. Game two will be back in Atlanta while the remainder are played at a neutral location - George Mason University in Virginia.

It is another best-of-five series that will beginning this Friday (Sept. 7). Game two will be Sunday (Sept. 9), game three Wednesday (Sept. 12), game four Friday (Sept 12 if necessary), and game five Sunday (Sept. 16 if necessary). The first game will be on ESPNews, the second on ABC, and the rest on ESPN2.

Again, this is women's basketball at the highest level. Ladies, pay attention as these players are some of the best to watch and learn from. Fellas, it may not be a bad idea for you to watch as well, especially those of you (most of you) that play below the rim at this stage. The footwork, passing, driving, and shooting are top-tier.

For more on all things basketball, stay right here at The Basketball Movement.

2018 Basketball Hall of Fame inductees

One of the highest honors of the basketball world is to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 2018 Hall of Fame inductees were announced a little while ago, but the Hall of Fame presenters have been announced recently. Below is a full list of this year's inductees as well as those that will be presenting them and the year that they themselves were inducted. This information is directly from hoophall.com

2018 Inductees and Presenters

Ray Allen, presented by Reggie Miller (’12)

Maurice “Mo” Cheeks, presented by Billy Cunningham (’86)and Julius Erving (’93)

Charles “Lefty” Driesell, presented by John Thompson (’99), Mike Krzyzewski (’01), and George Raveling (’15)

Grant Hill, presented by Isiah Thomas (’00), Mike Krzyzewski (’01)Patrick Ewing (’08)and Alonzo Mourning (‘14)                   

Jason Kidd, presented by Gary Payton (’13)

Steve Nash, presented by Don Nelson (’12)

Dino Radja, presented by Larry Bird (’98)

Charlie Scott, presented by Dave Cowens (’91), Julius Erving (’93)Larry Brown (’02)James Worthy (’03)Jerry Colangelo (’04)Roy Williams (’07)and Spencer Haywood (’15)

Katie Smith, presented by Dawn Staley (’13)      

Tina Thompson, presented by Cheryl Miller (’95)

Rod Thorn, presented by Jerry West (’80)

Rick Welts, presented by Bill Russell (’75), Lenny Wilkens (’89 & ’98), Annie Meyers (’93), Russ Granik (’13), and David Stern (’14)

This is clearly an impressive list of inductees, headlined by some big-name players. The bottom half of the list from Dino Radja to Rick Welts is comprised of individuals selected by committees that focus on preserving the game including: The Veterans Committee, International Committee, Early African Pioneers Committee, and the Contributor Committee.

Three point sniper Ray Allen is a two-time NBA Champion that rounded out one of the best Celtics squads since Bird, McHale, and Parish. Then, he helped LeBron James win one in Miami.

Steals artist Maurice "Mo" Cheeks was a four-time NBA All-Star, and is currently an assistant coach of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Charles "Lefty" Driesell is the only coach in NCAA history to be named Conference Coach of the Year in four different conferences, per hoophall.com

Jason Kidd was a 10-time NBA All-Star and Champion with the Dallas Mavericks. One of the best to never win a championship, Steve Nash was a two-time NBA MVP and eight-time All-Star.

Grant Hill was a seven-time NBA All-Star whose career was hampered by injury. He made his presence felt nonetheless. Katie Smith is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and Tina Thompson was a four-time WNBA champ.

The ceremony will be held at the hall in Springfield, Massachusetts Friday, September 7th. A television showing is likely to be held on NBA TV, if not ESPN. Tune in to hear from some of the greatest to play the game of basketball!