With only three games over the last two days, we skipped the links post for yesterday which left us with quite a few interesting stories for today.
We begin with a bizarre phenomenon occurring in Phoenix: defense.
- Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic reports that he was forced to use words that he couldn’t recall typing previously after the Phoenix Mercury’s 75-58 win against the Indiana Fever last night: “the defensively-great Mercury”. Under new coach Russ Pennell, who Domingo wrote about on Tuesday, the Mercury have forced 51 turnovers, a season-high for any three-game span this season. Although the night brought another scoring milestone for Mercury All-Star Diana Taurasi, the game was defined by the Mercury’s newfound interest in the defensive end of the court. Read more >>>
- John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant reports on the events that led up to rookie guard Kelly Faris getting her first pro start for the Connecticut Sun last night in an 88-86 home win against the Atlanta Dream. The result: 11 points, including 3-for-3 3-point shooting, and 7 rebounds, all career-highs. After the impressive performance that resulted in a much-needed win, Donovan said Faris will start again on Friday in Atlanta. Read more >>>
- Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune reports that Chicago Sky All-Star rookie Elena Delle Donne has been diagnosed with a mid-foot sprain that could keep her out of action a couple weeks. The Sky had her evaluated in Seattle and will re-evaluate her when the team returns to Chicago after tonight’s game against the Seattle Storm. Read more >>>
- The WNBA Blog looks at the health of the top three teams in the Eastern Conference with the injuries piling up and the Sky are now giving the Fever a run for their money in the competition for most banged up. Read more >>>
- Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reports on what Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot did this offseason to improve, which had to do primarily with building her confidence as a pro and 18 pounds of muscle mass. Although the improvement may not show up immediately in boxscores, she has made a huge leap in her efficiency as a distributor: Vandersloot’s pure point rating of 3.36 entering this week is more than 4 points higher than her career average (-1.50), a significant development for her individually and the Sky as a whole. Read more >>>
- Evans also reports that Seattle Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson returned to the court on Wednesday for the Oceania championship and was “pain free”. Jackson is aiding Australia’s quest for a spot in the FIBA World Championships in Turkey. Jackson has previously stated that she will return to the Storm in 2014. Read more >>>
- Charles Hallman of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder caught up with Minnesota native and WNBA rookie Tayler Hill during the Washington Mystics’ return to her home state to play the Minnesota Lynx, which ended up being a big win for the rookie’s team. In reflecting on Hill’s performance thus far in her rookie year, Mystics coach Mike Thibault said, “I thought she put a ton of pressure on herself when she came in…We told her to relax — to turn this franchise around is not a one or two-person thing.” Read more >>>
- Rick Cleveland of the Hattiesburg American caught up with Syracuse alum and Jackson, Mississippi native Juanita Ward recently. It’s a nice piece capturing the experience of women’s professional basketball players overseas, with the story of the Ice Station Zero perhaps being the most eye-opening aspect for those not familiar with the playing conditions players sometimes face overseas. Read more >>>
- David Vertsberger of Hickory-High did an analysis of the impact of mid-season coaching changes in the NBA, with results consistent with what we’re seeing with the Phoenix Mercury right now: teams who make mid-season coaching changes have experienced an immediate improvement after the change followed by a small decline in performance after the first 10 games. Of course, the WNBA is much shorter so even the small gains that NBA teams see could make a big difference for a WNBA team. Read more >>>
- The Electronic Urban Report reports that former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw will appear on the next episode of OWN’s “Iyanla: Fix My Life” on Saturday, August 17 at 9 p.m. Holdsclaw considers the appearance to be part of her effort to raise awareness about mental illness after being found guilty of aggravated assault earlier this year. Read more (and watch a sneak preview) >>>
As usual, feel free to leave your thoughts on these articles in the comments or share any links you feel are missing there or with a fanshot. If you have a longer commentary on something you’d like to share with the community, feel free to write a fanpost.