Thank goodness for my iPad. It’s going to be a busy weekend trying to fit in my first live Renton River Days and Seafair weekend (can’t wait to see the Miss Seafair coronation at the Torchlight Parade) while also keeping up with the FIBA U19 World Championship and 2013 WNBA All-Star Game, the league’s 11th annual.
The WNBA is up first online at ESPN3.com. The league will air the Western and Eastern Conference practices from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut on Friday at noon PT. Storm All-Star Tina Thompson will rep Seattle. Follow her Instagram account (@iamtinathompson) for cool pics from the weekend and even the kickoff with former teammates and family after Seattle defeated her native Los Angeles on Thursday at Staples Center.
Next up is the USA U19 squad. The winner of the Americans game against Japan on Friday will face Australia in the U19 World Championship semifinal in Lithuania on Saturday. In-coming Washington freshman PG Kelsey Plum is on the team, although UConn stars Breanna Stewart (18.2 points), Morgan Tuck (15.3 points) and Duke standout Alexis Jones (4.5 assists) are the headliners.
The first semifinal matchup airs on ESPN3 at 8am PT between Spain (7-0) and France (6-1). The Aussies (6-1) are expected to play the Americans at 10:15am on ESPN3.com on Saturday.
But before the youngins crown their title on Sunday, the pros take the stage in what should be an entertaining WNBA All-Star game. The game starts at 12:30pm on Saturday on ABC. You can keep track of All-Star updates and stories by following HoopFeed.com on Twitter (@hoopfeed).
The WNBA announced on Friday it replaced rookie F Elena Delle Donne (Chicago) with Atlanta C Erika de Souza in the All-Star game. Delle Donne suffered a concussion in Wednesday’s loss at Washington. The league’s fourth-leading scorer (18.2 points), Delle Donne was the first rookie to lead the fan-vote, named a starter for the Eastern Conference. She was looking forward to the game, but will participate in the weekend festivities.
On Sunday, the FIBA U19 World championship gold medal game will be aired at 10:15am PT on the ESPN3 online site (and app). The bronze medal game is at 8am.
Here’s some thoughts about Plum from Paul Nilsen a FIBA.com contributor who recently launched his own global women’s basketball online publication, 24 WHoops Magazine.
She (Kelsey) has been exactly what Coach Katie Meier (Miami) probably needs her to be, a solid enough back-up. Importantly she has played decent defense and came up with some nice steals. She looks compact and a capable organizer who hasn’t wasted the ball. However, she hasn’t really been able to get her outside shot going which has been a slight issue and she wasn’t used against France – I assume because standout European Olivia Epoupa is lightening fast and that means tough to guard and tough to avoid being placed under intense pressure when handling the ball. I don’t think she (Plum) had an injury so in summary, a mixed bag in Lithuania but looks like she could make a decent (college player). ~ Paul Nilsen
I’ll be back Tuesday with my thoughts about the first half of the WNBA season aand the weekend’s events, including the Miss Seafair winner (naturally). Seattle (7-10) hosts Phoenix (9-9) on Thursday at KeyArena to begin the final push for a WNBA-record 10th playoff berth. The game will air at 7pm locally on Live Well and on the league’s LiveAccess site. You can also listen to the rematch in the four-game, regular-season series on The Fan (1090 AM) or by following me on Twitter (@JaydaEvans).