espnW: WNBA All-Star Game
I'll be coaching the East in Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game, and I think it's obviously a great thing that Cheryl Reeve and I will be coaching this game.
It's always an honor to coach a marquee event like an All-Star Game. For both of us, it's a reflection of the good teams we have had, playing each other in the WNBA Finals last year, and so for that it's nice to be recognized.
What is special, though, is that it's the first time there have been two female coaches in the All-Star Game. That's saying something since this is the WNBA. I was actually surprised when I was told that was the case, since our league stands so strong for women. But I guess it just shows that we need to have more women win a championship!
Looking back, I guess we've just had three of us win a championship -- Anne Donovan, Cheryl and I. So I think it's good for the game. It's good to have female role models in leadership positions. It's another reason we need to have a female president!
Do I take any particular pride in being a part of the first game with opposing female coaches? Absolutely! I think that any time you have a woman in a leadership role who is successful, it creates a mentor role model for all women. I think that can only be positive.
The truth is, with the Indiana Fever, we've had a rough start to our season. Fortunately, we've gotten a little better of late, but my mind really hasn't been focused on coaching this weekend in Connecticut. I'd have loved to have a couple of extra days to recover for the second half of the season, but like I said, this is a benefit of being in the Finals last year.
For that, I wouldn't change a thing, and Cheryl and I will try to make things entertaining for the fans. See you at Mohegan Sun!
The WNBA All-Star Game has always been a great event for the league. Players, coaches and fans all enjoy the experience of having the top players in one place, showcasing their talents in a fun environment.
Here are just a few of my favorite All-Star Game memories:
• You always remember your first time -- the 2002 All-Star Game hosted by the Mystics was quite the show. I enjoyed everything from the intros to the national anthem to the exciting game. I also remember bringing my niece and nephew into the locker room to meet the players -- it's something they've never forgotten.
• Cheryl Ford's 16-point, 13-rebound, 5-assist MVP performance in 2007. She was unstoppable that day.
• And of course I've enjoyed the dunks through the years -- Lisa Leslie, Michelle Snow, Sylvia Fowles ... and even though she didn't complete them, I have to give props to 5-foot-10 Deanna Nolan's two attempts in 2005.
The All-Star roster for the Western Conference is loaded with great players. I'll work really hard to give the fans a great show while trying to balance playing time. Going into the game, my mindset will be to let the deans of the All-Star Game -- the vets -- show the younger All-Stars the way. Once we get in the game, the circumstances on the floor will guide me.
The Minnesota Lynx organization being represented by four players speaks to the unselfish play of each of them. Sometimes when you have four great players, there can be a tendency to want more for one's own self. I am most proud that Seimone [Augustus], Lindsay [Whalen], Rebekkah [Brunson] and Maya [Moore] are some of the most selfless, humble individuals I've ever been around. They have guided this franchise to unprecedented success, and I'm thankful that the fans and coaches have recognized each of them with this great honor. And on Saturday, I have no doubt that you'll see all four of them on the floor together as we try to run some of our favorite plays.
There are very few challenges in coaching the WNBA All-Star Game. I only want two things: (1) I want the players to have a great time with each other, and (2) I want a great show for the fans who are in the arena and watching us on ABC (3:30 p.m. ET).