commentary + critique

from tamryn spruill

Home-court Advantage? WNBA Teams Still Booted from Arenas During Playoffs

Every year, a WNBA team or two loses its home arena during the playoffs: the time of year a team needs familiarity and consistency most. In 2021, the No. 5 Phoenix Mercury will play their first-round single-elimination game against the No. 8 New York Liberty on Thursday (Sept. 23) at Grand Canyon University (GCU) Arena because of what the team is calling a "scheduling conflict" at the team's home arena. But there is more to this recurring theme of disrespect....

More Trash Graphics in a WNBA Broadcast

Accurately naming the two teams playing against each other is as basic as it gets in terms of duties related to televising a basketball game. When it comes to coverage of the WNBA, however, the task apparently isn't so simple....

Caitlin Clark Is the Rightful Winner of the 2021 ESPY Award for Best College Female Athlete

ESPN brazenly favors University of Connecticut Huskies women's basketball players for its Best College Female Athlete ESPY. The blind devotion to UConn sent Caitlin Clark (University of Iowa) home without the award in 2021 even though she outperformed Paige Bueckers: the anointed Husky du jour who received it. UConn has dominated the category so egregiously in the 20-year history of the ESPYS that only two players from other other programs -- Candace Parker (University of Tennessee) and Brittney Griner (Baylor University) -- have ever won it.  A'ja Wilson, the eventual No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2018 WNBA Draft, would have been the rightful winner had ESPN not made the dubious decision to cancel the category that year. ...

Simone Biles Models Team Spirit That USA Basketball Needs to Embrace

Watching Diana Taurasi engaged in war with her own body is as painful a sight to watch as the look of USA Basketball no longer dominating on the world stage, and putting its gold medal potential at risk because of loyalty to a few individuals over the good of the team. It is long past time for USA women's basketball to ensure that more players get the chance to realize their Olympic dreams....

Digging into USA Basketball’s and the WNBA’s Blind Loyalty to a Bird and a Bull

USA Basketball and the WNBA have worked hard for years to ensure the individual legacies of Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi. Such unbridled devotion, however, has come at increasingly steeper costs in recent years -- putting at risk the success of the teams they play for and denying other players the opportunity to chase their dreams. Seimone Augustus held this awareness of other players in mind when considering retirement. By putting "we" over "me," she surrendered ego and greed, and humbly stepped aside. Is it time for other players who've already fulfilled their dreams to follow suit? ...

Layshia Clarendon Leads the Fight in the War Being Waged on Transgender Americans

Emerging as a force to be reckoned with against gender identity discrimination, Layshia Clarendon, the WNBA’s first openly trans and non-binary player, has been nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award. Yet, in the same breath that we celebrate the joy of gender euphoria for countless people challenging the gender binary, we must band together and fight the intentional harms caused to our transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming siblings. In short, we are at a time where federal and state legislation has waged war against transgender and non-binary Americans. This prompted us to look into where states housing the 12 WNBA teams stand in terms of LGBTQ protections and anti-trans legislation. ...

Black Women in the WNBA Know No Bounds When It Comes to Pursuing Financial Wellness

And Candace Parker -- 2016 WNBA champion, Finals MVP, two-time league MVP (2008, 2013), reigning Defensive Player of the Year, 2008 Rookie of the Year and  five-time All Star -- is the perfect case in point. Parker recently returned from an ankle injury and, in just 17 minutes, helped the Chicago Sky snap a seven-game losing streak. The impact of her presence off the court may be even greater. ...

Any Expansion Should Be by Measured Approach, WNBA History Reveals

The WNBA features a logjam of talent that has pushed some of the country's best players out of the league, and expansion is the only solution. Yet, history illustrates the need to proceed with caution when growing a women's professional sports league. Of the four teams the WNBA added on this day in 2000, just two remain....

Seimone Augustus Deserved the Honor of Retiring a Lynx

Like Lindsey Whalen and Rebekkah Brunson before her, Seimone Augustus was a key figure in helping the Minnesota Lynx win four championships in seven seasons. She deserved to retire in Minnesota, where she built her legacy and helped turn the struggling Lynx franchise into a dynasty. Her retirement press conference was filled with wisdom. And on her way off the basketball court, she showed uncommon selfishness toward younger players seeking to become one of the 144 lucky women to claim a roster spot in the WNBA. But the biggest question looms: Which superstars get to retire where they built their legacies and which do not?...