Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, women's basketball writer Mechelle Voepel will stop by to chat some hoops.
Voepel has covered women's college and pro basketball for ESPN.com since 1996. Read her blog at www.mechellevoepelblog.com.
Send your questions now and join Voepel Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (2:03 PM)
Good afternoon. If you're in an area that's currently heated like the Midwest, I hope you are doing your best to keep you and your pets cool. In general, my pet is always way cooler than me. :) Now let's get started!
As of now, who do you think will be named to the All-Rookie team? Also, who would be your Rookie of the Year?
Mechelle Voepel (2:06 PM)
Right now, I'll go with Nneka Ogwumike, Sam Prahalis, Glory Johnson, Riquna Williams and Shenice Johnson. As for ROY, I'd say Ogwumike and Prahalis are neck-and-neck right now. If they finish in a dead-heat tie, then we'll either have a coin flip or a run-off, unless one just agrees to give up her ROY spot. Oh, wait, sorry ... was thinking about track and field there for a second. :)
The Sparks are in a bit of a slump. Can they recover? Should they be worried about their playoff hopes?
Mechelle Voepel (2:09 PM)
I don't know that I'd call losing three in a row a slump ... they are still firmly in second place in the West. There are issues - including CP3's knee - that may be concerns, but no need to be that "worried" right now. Could have a different answer by next week, though.
I feel like a lot of fans are finding this season to be boring because the lynx are so dominant.. Your thoughts?
Mechelle Voepel (2:11 PM)
The Storm was pretty dominant in 2010 and the Lynx were - in retrospect - also fairly firmly in control all of last year. I think this year, despite the Lynx's success, there is still a lot of intrigue in terms of all the other teams. So to me, it's not boring.
How would you rate Jeanette Pohlen this season. Do the Fever have a chance to go all the way?
Mechelle Voepel (2:15 PM)
She certainly had a good day yesterday against the Chicago Sky, as did the Fever as a team from behind the arc. That's what Pohlen provides to Indy: Someone who can come in off the bench and stretch the defense. As long as she's hitting with a good percentage from 3-point range, she is filling her role for the Fever. As for Indy's chances of going all the way, they could make another WNBA Finals appearance because they can compete with all the East teams. But it's hard right now to see anyone beating the Lynx in the postseason.
kevin (macon ga)
Saudi Arabia graciously allowed a single female athlete to compete under their flag at the London Olympics. The one they chose was not born in Saudi Arabia and does not live in Saudi Arabia, and wound up not qualifying for the games. The IOC says this is sufficient progress to allow the Saudis to compete in the games. What can be done to correct this injustice?
Mechelle Voepel (2:19 PM)
Women. and men who are truly women's advocates, need to get more power in their national governing bodies and in the IOC. You know this is a longtime problem with international sports. Saudi Arabia has no business being in the Olympics; the country's treatment of females is a constant human-rights violation.
Blake Whitney (Washington, D.C.)
So, the Mystics are terrible. Think they'll fire Trudi during the season? And, more importantly, do you think that would even help?
Mechelle Voepel (2:23 PM)
Trudi Lacey was Sheila Johnson's hand-picked choice after the dismantling of the Mystics' successful duo of Julie Plank-Angela Taylor following the 2010 season. Of course, we remember that Johnson also voiced her "belief" in Lacey with the answer of "Who knows?" when asked if she really believed TL could be successful. The Mystics are reaping what they sowed. Do I think a coaching change would help? At this point, I'm not sure how it could hurt.
Rachel (Baton Rouge, LA)
Do you think the sex discrimination scandal will affect UCONN's recruiting effort?
Mechelle Voepel (2:27 PM)
Seems like it will largely depend on the resolution of this case. UConn has a lot of history and success to sell to recruits ... I'm just trying to be pragmatic and realistic here. Most recruits are not worried about anything they don't perceive as directly affecting them. If they and/or their parents are concerned about the suit, UConn's coaching staff will discuss it with them, I'd imagine. Then it's up to them to make their own decision. I would guess that unless there is a highly unfavorable outcome for Geno Auriemma, it will not have a big impact on recruiting.
Any chance Tulsa can turn their season around after their dismal start or are they a lost cause?!
Mechelle Voepel (2:30 PM)
The Shock rallied and had a good chance at defeating Indiana on Saturday, then did beat Los Angeles on Tuesday. So that's a good indication they are not a lost cause. There's a good attitude, actually, despite the losses. The players themselves feel they are making progress.
kevin (macon ga)
Why is the grunt-o-meter only being adopted for women's matches? Many male players are just as loud or louder.
Mechelle Voepel (2:38 PM)
As far as I can tell, it's because the WTA is taking the lead on trying to reduce grunting based on complaints by its own players against some of the bigger grunters. Some of the women's players say the grunting is intentionally in violation of the hindrance rule. The WTA has also said that some fans find it "bothersome," although I think the biggest motivating factor for examining the issue should be the thoughts of the players themselves. If the ATP wants to examine the issue based on its players' concerns, they'd have to take the lead for their tour. Personally, I admit I find excessive grunting annoying as heck, regardless of the gender of the grunter. But I think maybe the higher-pitched "squeals" of the female grunters get more bad publicity. Is that fair? Probably not.
Can you summarize Title IX's affect on the WNBA and women's sports in general? I played college basketball for a Division I school and it was an experience I'll never forget.
Mechelle Voepel (2:44 PM)
It forced institutions to do the right thing for their student body. It put a legal hammer behind the fight for more equal treatment. It just can't be underestimated in terms of the impact on both academic and athletic opportunities for women in the last 40 years. For the people who say it was all going to happen anyway without Title IX, I say this, "Have one person walk to a destination that's hundreds of miles away. Have another person drive there. Do you think they're both going to arrive at the same time?" Of course, nothing against walking, it's good for you. But you get the point. :)
kevin (macon ga)
The ESPY nominees for W player of the year are Augustus, Catchings, Charles, McCoughtry, and Taurasi. Who would you vote for?
Mechelle Voepel (2:46 PM)
I don't vote for this, but the award for the 2011 season should go to Seimone Augustus. I think that's a pretty easy decision.
Mechelle Voepel (2:47 PM)
Thanks for the questions. Next week, I'll be at the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament, but Thursday should still be chat day. Will update via Twitter if that changes.