A Women's Hoops Podcast + More

Unlike Simone Biles, Diana Taurasi and USA Basketball seem okay with risking the team a medal

The USA is not at its best with Diana Taurasi version 2021 on the team. After sustaining what appeared to be a hand injury in the early going against France, she asked head coach Dawn Staley to sub her out. On the sideline, she appeared frustrated with herself and clearly at war with her own body. It is a sight as painful 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....

The Hard Screen Newsletter | July 2021

In the July 2021 issue of The Hard Screen Newsletter, we dig into ESPN's bias towards UConn when it comes to the ESPYS, why the network owes A’ja Wilson an ESPY for Best College Female Athlete and the reason Caitlin Clark of Iowa should have won the award in 2021 instead of Paige Bueckers of UConn. We also examine the important lesson USA Basketball can stand to learn from Simone Biles. And we shared a sneak peak of A'ja Wilson's experience at the Tokyo Olympics. ...

Vic Schaefer, Dawn Staley in Elite Eight battle of familiar coaching foes

Vic Schaefer can escape the Southeastern Conference (SEC) but he can't avoid a postseason meeting with Dawn Staley apparently. The South Carolina Gamecocks, under master-planning from Hall of Fame coach Staley, won six of the last SEC Tournament titles in head-to-head matchups with the Mississippi State Bulldogs, coached by Schaefer until 2020. Although he moved into the Big 12 in 2020-21 to coach the Texas Longhorns, Schaefer faces familiar coaching rival, Staley, yet again. Only now, their meeting comes much deeper into the postseason, with nothing more at stake than a trip to the NCAAW Final Four....

THS Newsletter March 2021

The March 2021 newsletter features a deep dive into role mainstream sports media has played in thwarting the WNBA's growth and efforts to build a stable, successful league. Members also got a first listen at our interview with Gabby Williams, and more! AT THE FINGERTIPS OF MEN, THE WNBA NEVER HAD A CHANCE "At last we have a professional basketball league in which a player can arrive for a game in a silky dress, mascara and high heels and it's considered no big deal," Greg Cote, columnist for The Miami Herald, started his column for June 22, 1997, one day after the WNBA's league-opening game slate. "But enough about Dennis Rodman." In one sexist, homophobic sweep of the pen, Cote exemplifies the chest-puffing claim men have made on the sports space and the sexist, homophobic and racist views they were willing to sling to keep it. ......

Breakout Baller, Comeback Queen and more from the 2020 WNBA season

Although 2020 was in many ways devastating, some bright moments emerged from the WNBA season of social justice. Check out The Hard Screen's picks for Breakout Baller, Comeback Queen, Emerging Voice, No. 1 Justice Fighter and Pleasant Surprise of the 2020 season. Bonus: What the WNBA absolutely must not carry forward into the New Year. ...

2020 WNBA jersey sales show the old guard is finally getting its due

Sue Bird's jersey topped sales during the 2020 WNBA regular season suggesting the veteran Seattle Storm star, and other future Hall of Famers such as Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (second in sales) and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (third in sales), are gaining long overdue mainstream recognition. But what about the league's young stars like Breanna Stewart and A'ja Wilson, who will battle in this year's WNBA Finals for the Storm and Las Vegas Aces, respectively? Will culturally ubiquity come for them before they're teetering on the door of retirement?...

S1E5: Why Black Girls Are Cheering for WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson

When the Las Vegas Aces tip off in Game 1 of the 2020 WNBA Finals, A’ja Wilson–this year’s WNBA Most Valuable Player, a two-time All-Star and the 2018 Rookie of the Year–will be playing for Black girls everywhere, especially those with apostrophes in their names. Rich or poor, tall or short, athlete or non-athlete, Black women and girls have needed something to cheer about this year and Wilson’s success provides. But fans should not underestimate the pressures and demands she faces as an elite basketball player trying to win a championship during pandemic and protest. In late September, the league announced its decision to award the 2020 WNBA Community Assist Award to all players for their work on social justice. Wilson and Sydney Colson of the Chicago Sky, both members of the league’s newly-created Social Justice Council, spoke to select media via Zoom conference about the council’s work and the impact of racial injustice on their lives. Bethany Donaphin, head of W...

Courtney Vandersloot in the East, A’ja Wilson in the West 

A'ja Wilson (Western Conference) and Courtney Vandersloot (Eastern Conference) are the WNBA Players of the Week for games played through Sunday, August 9. Wilson's name already is swirling atop MVP conversations. Can Vandersloot now rise from understated workhorse to bona fide star?...