Womens' Basketball

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
13,837
Pittsburgh, PA
I looked around and couldn't readily find a WNBA or Womens BB thread, and figure there ought to be one - we do know there are some WNBA fans here, and commentary on the Women's NCAA tournament in the College forum, but nothing more general.

I'll start it off with this gem of a retrospective - I had no idea that women's basketball was introduced at the Olympics only in 1976, and that for the first few olympiads, we got our asses handed to us by Soviet countries. The story of Uljana Semjonova is pretty spectacular, I'd never heard of her but the tidbits involving Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain were just great. So here's this first USA WBB team, composed of some college players many of whom would go on to HOF induction, but pre-Title IX, so none of them had scholarships to play. Pat Summitt is a co-captain, which I also didn't know. So they practice together for 6 weeks, somehow win the regional qualifier, and end up going against a bunch of Eastern Bloc countries whose players were full-time professionals. Soviet Union kicked their asses by 35, in no small part due to Semjonova.


20 years into Title IX in 1992, we still got chucked aside by the post-Soviet Unified Team... but starting with the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, we have won 48 straight in Olympic competition (6x 8-0), and 47 of them were by double-digits (closest matches: USA 66 Russia 62 in Athens 2004; USA 88 Russia 77 in Sydney 2000).
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
I love women's hoops so thanks for the thread idea!

I think a legitimate question is (and this will piss some people off but oh well) whether or not an all-star team of UConn could beat an all-star team of everyone else. So...UConn vs. the World.

So right now, here's what UConn's team would look like:

Starters:

G - Sue Bird - all-time great, still a phenomenal player, making the WNBA all star teams 11 times, and in both 2017 and 2018. Would be an Olympian if the Olympics were held this year.

G - Diana Taurasi - 9x WNBA all-star, 2009 MVP, 10x WNBA all-first team, still one of the very best players in the world.

F - Maya Moore - skipping basketball right now to pursue other important matters, but would be an all-star lock right now and assuming she's in shape, she'd be a top-5 player in the world right now.

F - Breanna Stewart - WNBA MVP in 2018 before getting hurt and missing 2019. Probably the best player in the world right now.

C - Tina Charles - 7x all-star, made the team from 2017-2019, 2012 MVP, all-WNBA first team, one of the best centers in the world.


Bench:

G - Kia Nurse - Current WNBA all-star

F - Napheesa Collier - WNBA rookie of the year, current WNBA all-star

G - Tiffany Hayes - 2017 WNBA all-star

C - Stefanie Dolson - WNBA all-star in 2015, 2017

Also: Moriah Jefferson, Bria Hartley, Katie Lou Samuelson, Morgan Tuck

That starting five would be ridiculous. The non-UConn "World" team would have better depth - all-stars at every position, but it would be difficult to come up with a better starting 5 than this group here. Especially if you let Geno coach this team - they'd all know his stuff and would be far more cohesive than the World team.
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
30,902
This depends if game takes place now or 5-10 years ago. Give me Sue and Diana in their primes and I don't care who the other 22 players are.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
This depends if game takes place now or 5-10 years ago. Give me Sue and Diana in their primes and I don't care who the other 22 players are.
I agree. But even now, Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Stewart, and Charles are still among the very best players in the world. I'd take that starting five against any 5 the rest of the world could put up there. I don't know that this group would automatically win, but I'd like their chances, even now.
 

DJnVa

Dorito Dawg
SoSH Member
Dec 16, 2010
41,553
If you're taking players in their primes I feel like I should let you know women's basketball predates UConn's rise to national prominence.
 

canderson

Fomenting voting confusion and angst since 2016
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
25,850
Harrisburg, Pa.
If you're taking players in their primes I feel like I should let you know women's basketball predates UConn's rise to national prominence.
I went to SFA and they were one of the most dominant programs, to further this po8nt.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
If you're taking players in their primes I feel like I should let you know women's basketball predates UConn's rise to national prominence.
Yes I'm quite familiar with Cheryl Miller and the McGee twins at USC and the great Tennessee teams under Summitt, etc. I would still take UConn's group against any of them.
 

Kliq

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 31, 2013
12,813
The 10 part ESPN Documentary, Basketball: A Love Story, has a great piece on the sisters of Immaculata, anyone with ESPN+ should check it out.
 

scott bankheadcase

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2006
987
hoboken
This doesn't have much to do with the sport but, at my job I've dealt with many professional atheltes for many years.

Nobody is nicer or easier to be around than WNBA players. They're, on the whole, absolute pleasures to work with.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
This doesn't have much to do with the sport but, at my job I've dealt with many professional atheltes for many years.

Nobody is nicer or easier to be around than WNBA players. They're, on the whole, absolute pleasures to work with.
Agreed. I'm thrilled for them that they got a huge bump in pay with their latest CBA.
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
4,190
I agree. But even now, Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Stewart, and Charles are still among the very best players in the world. I'd take that starting five against any 5 the rest of the world could put up there. I don't know that this group would automatically win, but I'd like their chances, even now.
It’s absolutely ridiculous- I’ll just not that in addition to the accolades you mention, all five were #1 picks- but a lineup of, say:

Cynthia Cooper
Catchings
Swoopes
Leslie
Candace Parker

I think can absolutely hang, and as you say, World team’s bench is a pretty huge advantage when the can bring in the likes of Lauren Jackson, Dawn Staley, Delle Donne, Swin Cash and Tina Thompson off the bench. Or take you pick of about a dozen other equally deserving players to round out the team.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
It’s absolutely ridiculous- I’ll just not that in addition to the accolades you mention, all five were #1 picks- but a lineup of, say:

Cynthia Cooper
Catchings
Swoopes
Leslie
Candace Parker

I think can absolutely hang, and as you say, World team’s bench is a pretty huge advantage when the can bring in the likes of Lauren Jackson, Dawn Staley, Delle Donne, Swin Cash and Tina Thompson off the bench. Or take you pick of about a dozen other equally deserving players to round out the team.
Right, well you're talking about all-time players. I'm talking about playing right now. If we were to do UConn's ALL-TIME group in their primes, omg you could add Rebecca Lobo, Kara Wolters, Jen Rizzotti, Svetlana Abrosimova, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Charde Houston, Renee Montgomery, Kelly Schumacher, etc. All those players were WNBA champs and/or Olympians and/or WNBA all-stars.

Swin Cash, by the way, was a UConn grad. And here are her accolades:

WNBA champion (2003, 2006, 2010)
WNBA Top 20@20 (2016)
All-WNBA Second Team (2003, 2004)
All-Star (2003, 2005, 2009, 2011)
2-time gold medal Olympian
2-time NCAA champ
All-American

And she'd be a bench player on the UConn team.
 

DannyDarwinism

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 7, 2007
4,190
Right, well you're talking about all-time players. I'm talking about playing right now. If we were to do UConn's ALL-TIME group in their primes, omg you could add Rebecca Lobo, Kara Wolters, Jen Rizzotti, Svetlana Abrosimova, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones, Charde Houston, Renee Montgomery, Kelly Schumacher, etc. All those players were WNBA champs and/or Olympians and/or WNBA all-stars.

Swin Cash, by the way, was a UConn grad. And here are her accolades:

WNBA champion (2003, 2006, 2010)
WNBA Top 20@20 (2016)
All-WNBA Second Team (2003, 2004)
All-Star (2003, 2005, 2009, 2011)
2-time gold medal Olympian
2-time NCAA champ
All-American

And she'd be a bench player on the UConn team.
Ah, my bad- and brain cramp on Swin.

In that case, yeah, I think UConn takes it. What’s the world starting 5? Diggins-Smith, Delle-Donne, Brittney Griner, Seimone Augustus, and Ogwumike? Maybe Catchings comes out of retirement to try to stop the UConn guards?
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
Well here's who I'd go with as an all-time top-10 non-UConn list, and I admit that I think more modern players are, like in other sports, better than those from 30+ years ago. So as legendary as Cheryl Miller was, I wouldn't put her in this group.

G - Cynthia Cooper, Cappie Pondexter, Lindsay Whalen
F - Sheryl Swoopes, Tamika Catchings, Lauren Jackson, Candace Parker, Elena Delle-Donne
C - Lisa Leslie, Britney Griner

Match those 10 up against UConn's 10:
G - Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi, Tiffany Hayes,
F - Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Swin Cash, Asjha Jones
C - Tina Charles, Rebecca Lobo, Napheesa Collier

And that's a hell of a game. The world team probably has the overall edge because all 10 are legends, while not all 10 UConn players are legends. But UConn probably has 5 of the top, what, 8 players of all time in Bird, Taurasi, Moore, Stewart (yes, even though she's young), and Charles. And you've got Lobo and Cash - all-time greats - coming off the bench.

The fact that we can even have this conversation about UConn versus the rest of the entire world, and it be legitimate, is crazy town.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,558
My wife and her mom have been season ticket holders to the Connecticut Sun since they moved from Orlando in 2003. They are absolute diehards, and I agree with the above of how nice the players have been over the years. They do an autograph section of the game every home date, when the players come up and sign for 20-30 minutes afterward in the arena lobby. One of the couple of times I tagged along and we won the honor, current Celtics assistant Kara Lawson was one of the players and signed my back since I had a Sun shirt on.

It's amazing how early on the timeline women's basketball is compared to the quality of play out there already. As far as major developments the men's game has really only had game/shot clock and 3-point line changes over the course of the last 80 years, whereas the women's game finally went to 5-on-5 in 1970-71 and a national college championship only starting in 1972.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
13,837
Pittsburgh, PA
It's amazing how early on the timeline women's basketball is compared to the quality of play out there already. As far as major developments the men's game has really only had game/shot clock and 3-point line changes over the course of the last 80 years, whereas the women's game finally went to 5-on-5 in 1970-71 and a national college championship only starting in 1972.
The timeline is fascinating, and mirrors early decades of other professional sports pretty neatly. I went learning a bit more about how we ended up at the present, and the attempts to found a women's pro BB league have had as many false starts as the founding of women's pro soccer leagues (or, let's be honest, men's pro soccer leagues in the US, at least post 1930ish). It's not quite a collection of scoundrels starting and running these things, but certainly a bunch of naive and under-funded amateurish attempts (in the management, not the balling).

At the start, you've got the WBL from 1978-1981, building on the introduction of women's college teams and the 1976 Olympic team, but prior to the introduction of the Womens NCAA tournament. They appeared to have decent traction getting butts in seats and keeping things organized, but money was the problem - in one case, the Minnesota team walked off the floor before a game in Chicago to protest unpaid salaries. And then: "Bill Byrne had founded the league hoping that the 1980 Summer Olympics would showcase the game's stars and bring media and public attention to women's basketball, but the United States-led boycott of the Moscow games only added to the league's misfortunes." The league's owners pretty much ghosted the commissioner after the 1981 season.

You next had the WABA, whose name has been used 4 different times, the first in 1984. That 1984 iteration didn't make it a full season - under-capitalized, like so many other failed ventures (the AAF last year being perhaps the most spectacular failures of capitalization). If you can't afford to let people know about the league and games and have a good time when they come, you can't afford to pay athletes.

The WBA then started as the first women's summer league in 1992 (initially called the WWBA), and were the first commercially successful venture. They started with a barnstorming tour the first year, 6 teams X 15 games in 1993, expanded to 8 teams for 1994 and 1995 (all of them midwestern, Memphis to Minnesota). Were doing OK commercially, but then Fox Sports bought their media-company parent and dissolved the league. League founder Ned Mitchell wrote a memoir, and claims that the NBA ultimately used most of his business plan that he pitched around back when founding the WBA.

Building on the 1995-1996 surge in popularity of women's basketball, particularly driven by the gold-medal run at the Atlanta Olympics, that fall of '96 you had the ABL launch as a fall-to-winter pro league with 8-9 teams. Because they got a 6-month-earlier start than the WNBA, they managed to sign a majority of the 1996 women's national team (including Dawn Staley) and were a higher level of play than the WNBA in their 2.5 seasons. Like MLS, they were founded as a single-entity structure, designed to control costs, but they were ultimately under-capitalized and lost out to the better-funded marketing of the WNBA. They were the Campus Network to the WNBA's Facebook. So maybe don't chalk this one up to bad management or strategy - they just got beat.

In 1997, the fall-to-winter NWBL was founded - as a competitive amateur league (which is a pretty neat hack to avoid paying your players). In 2001 they went pro, and their status as an "offseason league" for the WNBA led them to host players like Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Sheryl Swoopes who didn't want to go to Russia or China for their offseasons. At their peak ~2004-2005 they seem to have had 8-10 teams, but folded entirely in 2007.

Which brings us to the WNBA. Founded in early 1996 but not launching until summer 1997, that timeline gave them the ramp-up to find good owners, venues, coaches and lay early marketing relationships with some lead time. They also had the organizing force of David Stern behind them, as the NBA founded the league (today, only 5 of the 12 teams share ownership with an NBA team). For a while, the knock on them has been that they'd collapse without the NBA's support - certainly, Bill Simmons had no shortage of jokes at their expense, and I remember some cringe-worthy ones - but the brief example of the ABL suggests that the league would do fine today without any NBA support, even if they were paying market rates for their venue rentals and such. They just couldn't pay as much as Russian oligarchs, so there might be a little talent bleed.

There have been smaller regional leagues in the times before and since those larger-scale efforts. Another edition of WABA (sharing a name but not owners) formed in eastern PA in 2001 and played in 2002 (as WABA) and 2003-2004 (as the WEBA), with teams from York PA and Harrisburg all the way to Wilmington DE, up to Reading and Schuylkill and Allentown, and New York and Brooklyn.

There are also semi-professional second-tier leagues that have risen and fallen (including the NWBL above, which was dramatically successful with its amateur / "showcase" model). The most notable is the WBDA (Women's Basketball Development Association, formerly Women's Blue Chip Basketball League), which started in 2004, runs as a summer league, and today has over 30 teams. Many of its players are NCAA players or other pro-hopefuls who want year-round competition and training.

---

I don't know half as much about basketball history as most posters here, but one thing I do know is that the early days of men's pro basketball (30s-40s), and likewise pro football in the 20s and 30s, were absolutely full of failed proto-leagues, with owners not paying their players, franchises moving, and all manner of unprofessional shenanigans. The most stable part of it were the company-teams, created to give some entertainment to the factory workers. Maybe the existence of earlier women's pro leagues in eastern Europe and China meant fewer false starts here than would have happened otherwise. Either way, despite not being able to see a game, I occasionally check in on the Attendance (flat) and TV Viewership numbers (slightly positive). The appointment of a serious business executive, Cathy Engelbert, to run the league last year seemed a very positive move (if for nothing than someone of that stature being interested in the job).

Let's remember that the NBA, too, had some early over-expansion and contraction periods, even after the NBL-BAA merger to form the NBA in 1949. They went from 12 (1949) to 17 (1950) back down to 12 (1951), then 10 (1952), then 9 (1954), then 8 (1956). That they managed to survive those early days, get back on stable financial footing, improved their marketing abilities, and resumed expansion is something of a minor miracle. They went back up to 9 in 1962, 10 in 1967, 12 in 1968, 14 in 1969, then 17 in 1971... and from that point, nobody's really questioned their ongoing viability in the 50 years since. But those were some dark years for the league from 1951 to 1967 or so, except for Celtics and Lakers fans.

Where is the WNBA in that continuum? Well, they survived the initial contraction in the 2002-2003 span, and two more in 08-09, and have now been stable (with relocations) at 12 continuous franchises for over a decade. Maybe they're only a few years from emerging from that dark-ages period, and seeing a steady rise of interest and expansion.
 
Last edited:

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,558
Nice summary! I think the pay increase in this new agreement is key, and probably the first priority as opposed to expansion. Once the young female players start to see the opportunity to make basketball a career even for the rotational-type players, I think the commitment to the game increases for more players from high school up through college and into the WNBA. Then the league has a bigger selection of professional players, and the comfort to expand the number of teams and maintain a high level of competition.

The pay increase was also a "prove it" thing I wanted to see as a fan. Although the Mohegan Sun Arena is notoriously expensive for all events compared to other venues, my wife's tickets behind the basket are north of $30/game. At some point you want to feel like the substantial gate the team is making is going towards compensating the players enough that it is not automatic they want to play overseas in the offseason.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
I love the WNBA. My wife works with the Sun. We are huge fans. The sad reality is that the WNBA is a major money-loser, and couldn't survive without money from the NBA. I, for one, am very happy that the league exists and that the NBA supports it. But there just isn't enough of a market out there for women's pro basketball to survive, at least not in its current form. I hope that changes. It really is terrific basketball. Can they do everything the men can do? No, obviously not. But I don't care. I love watching quality basketball at any level. But I get that not everyone is like me, and so many men look down on the women's game because it's played below the rim.

The saddest part for me is that in 2019, attendance was the worst it had been in forever. Always had averaged between 7,000-8,000 a game, attendance fell to below 6,800 a game in 2018, and then less than that in 2019. I hope that turns around. It's a good product.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
21,895
Saskatoon Canada
If you compare the WNBA fanbase to anything bu the NBA, or NCAA in North America it is pretty impressive. I mean 8000 people for summer hoops league is huge. That type of crowd for anything but the highest pro level is strong. The direct comparisons to the nba are meaningless and help nobody. As ahigh school coach I watch a ton of WNBA for Xs and Os. they play more ike FIBA rules, but the physics of the game are closer to high school. Where does the point send the ball rather than just flip it up to 12 feet in the neighborhood of the rim. There is lot of decision making going on.

In way the WNBA is mirroring what is a happening with pro hoops in Canada. There are a ton of talented dedicated players, but they soon tire of playing overseas to make money. The WNBA paying just a bit more makes it viable for more players, and the talent level will take a big jump.
 

Joe Sixpack

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Sep 9, 2002
4,565
Canton, MA
Since I'm pretty sick of hearing about how awful the MLB owners have been lately, it's really refreshing to read stuff like this:

And, despite the disruption caused by the global pandemic to our 2020 season, the WNBA and its Board of Governors believe strongly in supporting and valuing the elite women athletes who play in the WNBA and therefore, players will receive their full pay and benefits during the 2020 season.
I just recently started following and watching the WNBA and the level of play is outstanding - it's a fun league and I'm looking forward to this (abbreviated) season.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,558
Like to hear that: my wife was just on a season ticket "state of the union" conference call with team executives and coach from the Connecticut Sun, and they said salaries from the new agreement will mean an increase in roughly $500,000 total for the team this year over last. That's a pretty good start. The big question going forward will be if the NBA permanently shifts their season forward and what that leaves for the time of year for the WNBA season. I'm not sure whether the WNBA pays enough yet to keep players from bailing on the league in favor of their overseas opportunities if the calendars now conflict. Of course the calculus may also be shifting as a result of the virus, in terms of less dollars here to dollars overseas shifting the decision to stay in the States.
 

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
1,954
Austin, TX
Just thinking out loud -- what if the WNBA moves to the FIBA calendar, goes head to head with Europe, and the season can conclude with a WNBA vs Euroleague championship? The WNBA would lose a lot of players and you'd face tougher domestic competition for eyeballs, but you'd also be playing in a more traditional basketball season, could maybe make some strides internationally, and would hopefully have a more compelling final event.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,558
The Conn Sun franchise player, Jonquel Jones, has said she will sit out the "bubbled" WNBA season. So their season has ended before it begins. At least Sun fans get the benefit of tanking without having to hold their noses in the arena watching the losing in person.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
I know I've posted about this before, but Maya Moore's efforts came to fruition.


She is an absolutely remarkable human being. I can say this not just as someone I read about in the news; I have known her personally for years. Everything good about people...she's got it.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
1,558
Politics aside (can leave that for V&N), does Loeffler not know the typical WNBA consumer? Seems like this sentiment is a bit off target with greater than 50% of the players and fans.

 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
13,837
Pittsburgh, PA
Politics aside (can leave that for V&N), does Loeffler not know the typical WNBA consumer? Seems like this sentiment is a bit off target with greater than 50% of the players and fans.
Much like her day job, this inheritante was largely gifted it, thinks she's entitled to it, and thinks she's bigger than she is. She gets temporarily appointed to the Senate, and thinks she ought to be above having to campaign. She's got a WNBA team, and thinks she can act like NFL owners.

There are few better arguments for inheritance taxes than Kelly Loeffler.
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
Quite a number of WNBA players are calling for her removal as owner. Not sure how that could even work. But clearly her message...isn't exactly resonating well.
 

Phil Plantier

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Mar 7, 2002
2,679
Season kicked off today. Big wins for Seattle, LA, and DC. Another tripleheader tomorrow..

I hadn't watched a WNBA game in 25 years, so it was a surprise to me how good it was (I mean, a little rough, but that's expected). I love the 10-minute quarters. And they had the best BLM/Breanna Taylor memorial I've seen.
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
13,837
Pittsburgh, PA
I had no idea, somehow, that the WNBA was doing a bubble model in Bradenton FL. Here's an article about it, and the USA Today for some reason has a ton of WNBA content to whet your appetite:

---
SUNDAY

Connecticut Sun vs. Minnesota Lynx, noon (ESPN)

Chicago Sky vs. Las Vegas Aces, 3 (ABC)

Dallas Wings vs. Atlanta Dream, 5 (CBS Sports Network)

Pre-game reading
WNBA commissioner confident bubble season will be completed

Senator, WNBA team co-owner: 'They can't push me out'

Mercury players will wear Breonna Taylor jerseys in WNBA opener

Mystics to play MVP Delle Donne's full salary even if she doesn't play

Candace Parker, daughter a 'package deal' for WNBA bubble

WNBA players adjusting to life in their Florida bubble

Diana Taurasi 'made for quarantine' after years in Russia
---

(you can safely ignore the Kelly Loeffler one)
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Dec 24, 2002
33,953
So Sabrina is looking like a superstar already.

She is already putting people in jail, she can shoot from anywhere on the floor, she has some smooth lefty hook/floaters in her repertoire and she is so creative as a passer. Watch to the end because she throws a sick half court dime.


View: https://youtu.be/NVzJjYmDTtQ
 

InstaFace

MDLzera
Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
Sep 27, 2016
13,837
Pittsburgh, PA
Who doesn't love Sabrina Ionescu? I root for UConn in NCAA, but I love that she decided she wanted to be The Star at a second-tier program, rather than be one of the stars at a powerhouse factory - and then damn near beat the eventual champs and was favored to win this year. My favorite story* is how she decided to try out the 3x3 format with a couple of her Oregon teammates, had to ask about the rules when she showed up to the US Nationals tournament, won it, and then went to the world cup as the youngest team and swept their pool (including title holders Russia) before losing in the QFs. Kobe Bryant used to talk to her several times a week. She's a killer in the Diana Taurasi tier, and that's not something I've said in years (I wouldn't even say it about Breanna Stewart).

Internationally, she's technically eligible to play for Romania, and speaks fluent Romanian. She played for Team USA in youth national competitions and for the senior 3v3 team several times, but I wonder if Romania's olympic committee tries to make a push for her in some fashion. UO's athletics wire once noted,

But as Ionescu began her international career and played in the Czech Republic with USA Basketball's U17 team, Romanian outlets began writing about her exploits. She knows this because extended family members still living in Romania post the links on Facebook. When articles are written about UO's five international players, Ionescu bristles, Campbell said: "She immediately jumps in and says, 'Me, too, I'm Romanian!'"
The only reason I bring it up is that Romania has absolutely no success in basketball to date, Georghe Muresan aside. They last made the Olympics in 1952. She could go a long way towards popularizing it there, which would frankly be a greater achievement than just continuing to rack up the Team USA medal count, much as I love that. And I wouldn't say that Sabrina Ionescu and 4 random girls from a Bucharest gym could make the Olympics (not in Europe, anyway), but I'm sure she could find some other dual-national talent. FIBA rules allow for one naturalized player (someone who became a citizen over the age of 16) to be on a team.

* There are a lot of these. Another: In 2013, Ionescu wasn't among those invited to USA Basketball's U16 national team tryouts. She went to Colorado Springs anyway and became one of two non-invitees to be selected.
 

Ale Xander

Lacks black ink
SoSH Member
Oct 31, 2013
30,902
I know I've posted about this before, but Maya Moore's efforts came to fruition.


She is an absolutely remarkable human being. I can say this not just as someone I read about in the news; I have known her personally for years. Everything good about people...she's got it.
They're now married!
 

BaseballJones

goalpost mover
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
9,435
This is not a twist that I expected.
I TOTALLY expected this. I told my family for the last year that this guy is going to fall head over heels in love with her, and if her efforts succeed, they're gonna end up together. Lucky guy - she's an absolutely amazing person. I'm thrilled for them.