COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 16, 2018) –A total of 19 members of the 2018-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team athlete pool, including three members of the Seattle Storm, are expected to participate in the USA Women’s National Team’s April 24-26 camp in Seattle.
The three-day camp will culminate with an exhibition contest against the China National Team April 26 in Seattle’s KeyArena. The final USA roster for the exhibition game will be comprised of athletes participating in the training camp and will be announced on April 25.
As you all know, the WNBA Draft was held April 12,2018 on ESPN2 to announce the new draft picks for the 2018 WNBA season. We, at Chicks into Sports, love all WNBA squads but our loyalty will always lie with our home team, the Atlanta Dream! The Atlanta Dream had 3 picks, two in the second round and one in the third. In the second round, at the fifteenth pick, the Dream selected Monique Billings from UCLA. Also in the second round, directly after Monique, the Dream selected Kristy Wallace from Baylor. In the third round, at the twenty-seventh pick, the Dream selected Mackenzie Engram from UGA! Lucky us, we got a chance to chat with Head Coach Nicki Collen after the draft ended so that she could share with us her thoughts on her new players and how the night went for her.
Post Draft Interview w/ Coach Nicki Collen,
Yakiri: Because of the loss of Sancho Lyttle and Bria Holmes and with the return of Angel Mccoughtry, are we rebuilding the Dream or is that in the cards? What’s going on?
Coach Nicki: I would say that this is not a rebuild. I think that we’re adding players that give us great success and continue to let us play the way we want to play.
Yakiri: Tonight it was mentioned that there was an overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions happening. I just wonder how are you feeling after this awesome, emotional night?
Coach Nicki: The rollercoaster had dips but not big drops. I think it made the first round a little stressful as we watched things unfold. We saw the options we had, being pick 15 and 16 and so definitely emotional but a lot of fun! I’ve got a great staff, a great office and it’s really been fun to share with the whole Dream franchise.
Errica: After acquiring Monique Billings, Kristy Wallace and Mackenzie Engram, what are you predictions for them and their expectations towards them for this season?
Coach Nicki: For those players specifically, Monique Billings is unbelievable with running the floor, rebounding out of her area, just really a special athlete. Her best days are ahead of her but what’s gonna get her there is her work ethic. She plays incredibly hard, she’s really competitive. As we have time to work and develop her, we’ll work her into being a little more of a stretch forward, being able to step out of her range. When she steps out on the floor,she’s gonna compete. She’s definitely one of the most successful players in UCLA history so I’m really excited to add her. Kristy Wallace is someone that I’ve known since she was 16 and I was an assistant coach. When it came time to choose a school, she chose Baylor. She didn’t choose me but I followed her career. I think before she got injured, she was a late first round, early second round pick and I feel like with the depth of our roster, we could wait on her. I think it’s not gonna be easy for anyone to make our roster, a second rounder to make our roster. She’s someone that by drafting her, knowing she’s had an ACL injury and will be recovering all year; she just gives us an asset, someone who will compete for a spot in 2019, so I’m really excited about her. Mackenzie Engram, played at Georgia, from Cobb County, she’s someone who can really run the floor, plays really well for her size. She does a lot of things well and she’s very efficient, had an amazing senior year at Georgia and continues to climb in the SEC. Really good additions for us to look at!
Errica: With so many departures, arrivals and returns, how do you intend to really unite this team and make them one?
Coach Nicki: It starts with our culture, what we do in the locker room, the relationships that we start to build and create on and off the court. This team is really talented and we have the pieces to put together to play a lot of different ways with a lot of different lineups. The players really really can complement one another, so while it won’t be easy and it will take time to put our system in and really get them to understand what we’re looking for and what they should be looking for when they’re out on the court, there’s a genuine excitement for all of them to get into camp and see how they play together and do things differently. I’m just so excited to get all of them in camp and start fitting them together.
Shout out to the Atlanta Dream, we cannot wait to support you all full throttle this season! Congratulations to Monique Billings, Kristy Wallace and Mackenzie Engram and to all the other draft picks on your new professional careers!!
ATLANTA – Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams has signed a multi-year contract extension with the franchise, Head Coach Nicki Collen announced Tuesday. Terms to the agreement were not disclosed per team policy.
“I am really thankful for the Atlanta Dream organization,” Williams said. “They took a chance on me after my rookie year and I’ve had the chance to grow on and off the court ever since. I am really looking forward to building a great culture with this team and in doing so, help bring a championship to Atlanta.”
Williams, a three-year WNBA veteran, enters her third season for the Dream. Since being acquired prior to the 2016 season in a trade with the Connecticut Sun, Williams has started all 68 regular season games and has been named the 2016 WNBA Most Improved Player and earned a reserve spot for the Eastern Conference in the 2017 WNBA All-Star game.
Young has made a name for himself as a freshman guard with excellent passes and an impressive 3-point shot. During Young’s first and only season the Sooner’s made the #4 ranking in the national polls and are 18-14 overall this season.
The first team All-American is currently averaging 27.4 points and 8.7 assists per game making him the first college basketball player in history to lead in both categories. He previously shattered the Big 12 conference freshman scoring record with over 800 points beating out runner up Devonté Graham by over 250 points. Averaging 9.9 points per game more than any other player in the league, Young is the first to lead by such a gap in 20 years.
Young is already predicted to be the lottery pick in the upcoming NBA draft. He tells ESPN “I’ve been preparing most of my life to join the NBA. That time has come for me now.”
Earlier this season the Sooners held a 10-game winning streak before their NCAA dreams were dashed in the first round of the tournament against Rhode Island. The second half of their season has been rough and given the OU history before Young’s appearance they will have to overcompensate for the loss of this star player and his impressive stats.
The North Star State might have a new star quarterback. Kirk Cousins likely to sign a blockbuster deal that sends him to Minnesota—3 year, $86 Million fully guaranteed according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Once the deal becomes official, Cousins will be the first QB in NFL history to change teams after putting up 4000+ passing yards in each of the last 3 seasons.
Betting against the house, Kirk Cousins opted to be franchise tagged back-to-back years rather than signing a long-term deal to keep him in Washington. The 29-year-old veteran rolled the dice and is set to cash out as the highest paid player in the league…. I think he likes that. And so does Doug Baldwin. Seahawks Pro Bowl wide receiver tweeted out his appreciation to Cousins calling him a “hero.”
Kirk Cousins is a hero for all the young players that will follow after him. Now we need more players to bet on themselves until fully guaranteed contracts are the norm and not the exception.
Kirk is not only a hero but also a game-changer when it comes to NFL deals. Unlike the NBA or MLB, there has never been a fully-guaranteed contract in the NFL… until now. Of course, it is not a done deal but Cousins is expected to have dinner with Vikings coaches and decision makers tonight before visiting the brand-new team facility on Thursday.
Big contracts mean big expectations. After reaching the NFC Title game last year, Vikings fans are hoping to “skol” all the way to a Super Bowl with Cousins in the purple and gold.
Free agency officially begins at 4PM todaybut teams are wasting no time on swooping up some of the biggest names on the market. Thankfully, this chart from CBSSports.com lists the top 50 free agents, their current team and where we can expect to see them next year (unofficially, of course).
Here are some initial thoughts about a few moves thus far:
Once you beat them, join them? Malcolm Butler heading to Tennessee despite trouncing them with his former team during the AFC divisional game last season. With a chip on his shoulder after the Super Bowl benching, Bulter might be having the last laugh becoming one of the highest paid defensive stars in free agency to the tune of $61 million with over $30 million guaranteed.
Jimmy Graham is making Aaron Rodgers a very happy QB. However, Rodgers will need to (discount)double check when he looks to throw downfield because unlike a good neighbor, Jordy Nelson, his favorite target will not be there. The quarterback-WR duohold the Packers’ record for most touchdowns with 65. Despitevoicing his desire to finish his career in Green Bay Nelson was cut from the roster, saving the Packers $10,218,750 in cap space. To borrow words from Drake: business is business, its strictly financial.
Run-first no more. The Bears addressed the glaring need for a wide-receiver by snaggingNo.1 Allen Robinson early. With the addition of Robinson followed byTE Tre Burton,Rookie QB Mitch Trubisky should have a better chance of using the middle of the field and running Matt Nagy’s up-tempo spread offense.
One team that has been very quiet throughout free agency have been the Atlanta Falcons… Comment or tweet us at @chicksintosportswhoyou would like to see come to ATL!
For the first time in nearly four years, Venus Williams beat out her sister Serena Williams in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. This was their 29th meeting after last years Australian Open.
Venus came out strong in the 1 ½ hour match, breaking Serena at love in the sixth game. With a 6-3 6-4 game she took the lead with back-to-back aces clocking in at over 100 miles per hour. She definitely caught her groove breaking 4-2 after her first two service games. Venus now ranks as one of the top 10 players in the world and was seeded eighth in the event.
Serena faced 41 unforced errors several of which were on her forehand side. The new mother has mentioned in previous interviews that it will take time to return to her Grand Slam championship status. She does still hold a 17-12 advantage over her sister and she did score a winning backhand shot down the line for a deuce in the second set.
Game, set and match, Venus Williams: 6-3, 6-4.
But the night belongs to both Venus and Serena. What an absolute treat to watch. This time, it was older sis who was just a little too strong #BNPPO18pic.twitter.com/lMPORI2jkZ
The Vegas favorite Kevin Harvick took home his 100th career victory at the Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube. After his 39th Cup win he becomes the fourth driver in history to accomplish this along with Richard Petty, Kyle Busch, and David Pearson.
Jimmie Johnson who has experienced several technical issues this season started off at the back after failing 3 car inspections. Kyle Busch, who still managed to finish second, and Chase Elliot were also set behind during a crash later in the race.
Selection Sunday is coming (March 11th to be exact)… meaning for the next month, brackets will dominate the college basketball conversation. But before making a bracket, it helps to know how this whole March Madness thing works.
WHO: 68 teams are invited to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament AKA the Big Dance– 32 automatic bids for conference champions and 36 at-large bids given out by the NCAA Selection Committee based on performance throughout the season.
WHEN & WHERE: The Tournament tips off March 11th with the Final Four in San Antonio, Semi final on March 31st and the championship game on April 2nd.
Here’s a full schedule.
March Madness Schedule
Selection Sunday (March 11)
First four (March 13 and 14)
First round (March 15 and 16)
Second round (March 17 and 18)
Sweet 16 (March 22 and 23)
Elite 8 (March 24 and 25)
Final Four (March 31)
National Championship (April 2)
HOW: They don’t call it March Madness for nothing. If you’re confused about the tourney, that’s ok! We’re here to break down just how the Big Dance works… starting with the First Four.
The “First Four” is exactly what it sounds like– the first four rounds of games between the last four at-large teams selected and the last four overall seeded teams. Losers go home and winners advance to the second round as sixteen seeds.
After the First Four, the regular tournament begins with the remaining 64 teams. There are four quadrants made up of 16 teams who are ranked from first to last in order to determine how teams are paired. The top seed faces off against number 16, number 2 plays number 15…. you get the picture. Only 16 teams make it past the first weekend and are referred to as the “Sweet Sixteen.”
The third round narrows the playing field to eight teams or the “Elite Eight,” and the last four teams standing are the “Final Four.”
If all the times you heard “four” in this article has you dumbfounded, forget the numbers and follow your feels. There is (almost) always a Cinderella story about an under-dog team who defies the odds, strings together a few wins and steals all of our hearts. It’s worth watching for the grown man tears and emotional post-game interviews.
And don’t forget about “One Shining Moment,” the video montage at the end of the title game celebrating great basketball and everything we love about sports. There will locker room celebrations, heads draped in towels after an upset, buzzer beater shots and plenty of coaches yelling passionately courtside.
Now that you’re an expert on how March Madness works, it’s time to predict what will go down in your own bracket. It’s the blind leading the blind here… Each year millions of people try and construct the perfect March Madness bracket but the odds are less than 1 and 9.2 quintillion. No pressure!
In 2015, Gilbert Arenas, a retired NBA player, who is known for having “no chill” made some very negative remarks about WNBA players. Arenas “recommended that the women dress like they are getting ready to go work at a strip club rather than play basketball to make the league more popular.”, which led me to the question of why women have to look a certain way to get a man’s attention, especially if they play the same sport. The WNBA released a statement about his remarks on the WNBA, in return, defending the players and clarifying that his statements were absolutely wrong.
Recently, Angel McCoughtry, WNBA player for the Atlanta Dream made a statement in an interview where she said “Pay us like you pay the men.”. She went into further detail on how she feels bad about having to go out of the country to get paid more for what she loves to do and wants a solution for the unequal pay situation that is still prevalent for women in professional sports. Also, she responded to negative comments on her Instagram page to speak for all women who feel how she does:
“So basically I have been getting a lot of negative messages lately all because I said I want to get paid more in my own country! In particular I’ve noticed most of the really mean-spirited comments have been coming from men who seem determined to compare us women athletes to our male counterparts. My question is why? Why invest so much hateful energy into knocking the female athlete? Clearly our bodies are not made the same and our games are different so why make the comparison? I wish they would judge us on our own merit, or if not at least judge us in the one area where our game and the men’s game is the same – That is when we go out there our main goal is to entertain! We live for the smiles and the roar of the crowd, we live to win, for ourselves and for our amazing fans! And sure we enjoy the fact that we’re paid to do it, wouldn’t you? Why hate on that? For all the people out there who were upset by me saying I wish I could get paid more I offer this…the next time you go to your boss and ask for a raise for the hard work you do I want you to picture me routing you on. Trust me I route for success, for me and for others. Why should we ever route against one another? As for the game I play, the game I love, if you don’t like it that’s cool but the negativity is so pointless. I honestly feel though that most people who slam the women’s game have never really given it a chance. I always tell people come try a game once, and if you don’t like it then I will refund your ticket myself. Trust me I haven’t had to refund a ticket yet! That being said if you want to get at me with a comment? How about suggesting constructive ways to help us make the game more entertaining? Instead of hurting why not help? Help me continue to help my teams win! Help me to grow my game’s popularity! Help me to continue to help my country win Gold 🥇 ! Help me to continue to be great !! Help ME to entertain YOU!!! Encourage don’t discourage!!”
Questions I have about this include reasons of why we’re still talking about gender equality in sports in 2018?
Why are women so unworthy of attention or equal pay to men in the same exact career field? Why should women have to look a certain way to gain attention from men? Why should men and women be against each other when support could just unite them? How can sports get more entertaining for both genders to gain equal attention? To what extent can women reach men to gather more support for women in the world of sports? Another interesting point I thought of was how come we rarely see players of the same sport but of different gender dating or hanging out? How can we solve this socioeconomic issue and bring both women and men in the same career field closer?