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

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

By Tamryn Spruill 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. This season, the No. 5 Phoenix Mercury will play their first-round single-elimination game against the No. 8 New York Liberty at Grand Canyon University (GCU) Arena because of what the team is calling a "scheduling conflict" at the team's home arena. But WNBA teams getting booted from their home courts is nothing new. A university arena is not the same as a professional one, especially for the Mercury, who pride themselves on the facilities they’ve installed for the team’s myriad working mothers. GCU is only a 20-minute drive from the Mercury’s usual home court, at the Footprint Center, so their X-Factor fan base is likely to turn out in droves. But close proximity to a substitute arena isn’t always the case. In 2018, the Washington Mystics were booted from Capital One Arena and forced to play three playoff games at Charles E....

More Trash Graphics in a WNBA Broadcast

More Trash Graphics in a WNBA Broadcast

By Tamryn Spruill 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. On Sunday, a screen-sized graphic advertised a nonexistent contest between the Las Vegas Aces and the Indiana Fever. The Aces were hosting the Washington Mystics, not the Fever. Olympic gold medalists A'ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray (of the USA Basketball 5x5 team) and Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young (of the USA Basketball 3x3 team) reunited with Liz Cambage, Riquna Williams and the Aces' other difference-makers to force an 84-83 come-from-behind win. But, sadly, no matter what great things happen on the court, pedestrian mistakes such as listing the incorrect team on a graphic, mispronouncing players' names or bungling graphics featuring starting lineups are gallingly common in coverage of the WNBA. Multiple times during the 2021 season, starting...

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

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

By Evan Cooper Emerging as a force to be reckoned with against gender identity discrimination, Layshia Clarendon, the WNBA’s first openly trans and non-binary player, is “at the forefront of the league’s groundbreaking social justice efforts and is tasked with engaging community conversations, advocacy and education on important topics surrounding social justice.” For all of their grassroots efforts in challenging policy and culture around gender in sports, Clarendon 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.  There is no federal law that classifies transgender people as a protected class, requiring protections from very real discrimination and the dangers it provokes. We are left to our own resources to maneuver...

Seimone Augustus Deserved the Honor of Retiring a Lynx

Seimone Augustus Deserved the Honor of Retiring a Lynx

“Minnesota knows that they have a piece of my heart,” Seimone Augustus said, a tapestry featuring the logo of the Los Angeles Sparks undulating gently behind her. It was late into last week’s retirement press conference when a question by Charles Hallman, a longtime reporter for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, brought her to tears. Six days before, Augustus -- the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, a four-time champion with the Minnesota Lynx, an eight-time All-Star and top-10 all-time WNBA scorer -- announced her retirement, for reasons familiar to any athlete lucky enough to experience career longevity: the body. To prepare for training camp in her second season in L.A., Augustus worked with a trainer on cardio and conditioning. Asked to run 48 sprints, the Baton Rouge, La. native obliged, but not because it was easy. “My ego got me through the 48 sprints,” Augustus said. “But then when I got to my car, I couldn’t even crank my car because I was just, like, exhausted. I was...