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 (2:02 PM)
Good afternoon. Minnesota awaits its opponent in the WNBA Finals, and we'll find out who that will be tonight. Let's get started.
Brett S. (Lawrence, KS)
Who ya got tonight?!
Mechelle Voepel (2:04 PM)
All things considered, I have to think the Sun will prevail tonight at home. That said, if the Fever gets the kind of scoring performances out of both Catchings and Douglas that they got Monday in Game 2, Indy could pull out this victory.
Are you surprised that Candace Parker has not won a championship by now?
Mechelle Voepel (2:13 PM)
Not really, considering the injury factor, pregnancy, the Sparks' coaching issues over the years, etc. When you look back on it, Parker's rookie year of 2008 probably was her best chance that she's had so far to win a title ... and if Sophia Young's buzzer-beater misses in Game 2 at San Antonio of the Western Conference finals that year, the Sparks would have been facing Detroit in the Finals. Parker carried a big load for the Sparks this year, of course, but I think she still needs to work on how she wants to be an emotional leader for her team. Parker has always been a perfectionist who is hyper-critical of mistakes, both those made by herself and the people around her. At times, I think she shows too much "disgust" - harsh term, but it *is* disgust - for mistakes that get made. As much as she makes a coach's job easier with her enormous ability and will to win, I think she can present some challenges, too. That said, I also think Carol Ross is up to figuring out the best way to have a good working relationship with CP3. A lot of the Sparks really are happy with how Ross has brought a good, positive vibe into the team while still aiming toward excellence.
Tim Irvin (LA, CA)
Do you think it's time the Sparks consider moving to a smaller venue like USC's Galen center? I am not a regular WNBA viewer, but it seemed like there was a better vibe from that building than from the Staples Center.
Mechelle Voepel (2:15 PM)
I don't think that's something the Sparks organization would consider, but I'd be curious if fans of the team in any way consider the Galen Center to be preferable?
The Big 12 preseason poll was obviously right with Baylor and I can see OU and WVA in the top 3 too that seems to make sense. K-State at 9th? I think the Wildcates never get the preseason love. I really doubt they will be 9th---they always seem to get in top 4 position. And was OSU too low at 7th after a WNIT title?...I could see with their returning talent of a top 5 finish. And one team or a coach in the hot seat would be Texas Tech if they are at the bottom this yr I don't know if they will keep coach Curry. I feel the fans will be restless in Lubbock. In fact, you did an article on that fact late last year.
Mechelle Voepel (2:22 PM)
I always think it's goofy that coaches can't just vote for their own team to finish first in these preseason polls. :) Because there's certainly not the slightest debate over who is preseason No. 1 in the Big 12 this year. As for Kansas State, you're right that the Wildcats over the last several years have defied preseason low expectations quite a few times. But K-State is actually way more comfortable being in that position than they are when the expectations are high. As for Tech, they've had such a disaster recently in regard to the messy exit of Billy Gillispie from the men's basketball program, I don't know how that might impact anything that goes on with the women's team. But things definitely have not gone the way either Curry or the Tech fans have wanted them to go since she came there. It's been bumpy. And, lastly, Oklahoma State ... it was a very good finish last year after such a tragedy that the program went through. And the Cowgirls have pretty much the same group back. So they may indeed be a better team than seventh in the league.
kevin (macon ga)
Will the W employ anti-flopping rules similar to those the NBA is introducing?
Mechelle Voepel (2:25 PM)
I don't see it as being a great idea ... it adds one more layer of judgment calls into what's already a pretty difficult and oft-criticized job. Admittedly, refs are already making some judgments on when they think someone is legitimately fouled and when she is "flopping." I just wonder if an anti-flopping rule would cause more problems than it would fix.
I've been following the WNBA for a little while. I first got hooked on women's college basketball and as players graduated, I followed their WNBA careers. I know that many players go overseas during the winter. How can I follow those games? Do you write any articles about their teams or leagues?
Mechelle Voepel (2:32 PM)
We at ESPN.com really don't do much at all on overseas women's hoops leagues. In my case, I cover the WNBA, the women's college game, volleyball, the LPGA, and some other stuff that comes up - the last couple of years I did a lot of men's soccer and wrestling. So the overseas leagues get pretty squeezed out, time-wise. I've raised it as a point of discussion that it would be good for us to try to be more active in coverage of that action. So it is something that at least has been somewhat discussed. There are various web sites and ways to watch overseas games on-line. I've had the idea to put together a good "primer" for trying to follow the pro game overseas, and that's something I'll try to get done this year.
WNBAlien (Somewhere, Out there)
Your superstar big has been lighting the opposition up all night. You've been struggling to run high screens all series because your guards can't handle the opposition's traps. You're down a point with 6 seconds left in a game that could end your season. And your head coach draws up a high pick that your guard is meant to drive off to win the game, with your superstar post vaguely hoping to get an offensive rebound.Explain that one to me.
Mechelle Voepel (2:35 PM)
I think Ross made a mistake. I wasn't there covering that game, but it seemed to me like she was trying to out-think the obvious. And it didn't work. Parker has a right to be upset by that, and I hope she can communicate with Ross in a very honest way about it. And for the Sparks' sake, one hopes Ross can learn from it. Good coaches do that.
Mary (Twin Cities)
Was it a good sign that the Twitter posts from Seimone over the air freshner incident garnered so much local media attention? They went overkill on it, but I am guessing a few years ago it would not have even registerd a beep.
Mechelle Voepel (2:41 PM)
Well, it at least means that Seimone Augustus registers with the Minnesota media as being someone worth paying attention to, right? It was an unfortunate incident, and "bad" things that happen do tend to draw more media interest. That's the way it goes. Of course, Augustus obviously didn't do anything really "wrong" ... and I could understand why she was upset. But it also seems like she let it go pretty quickly.
Mary (Twin Cities)
It is justified that Lynx fans feel their team and players are not treated like defending champions. Their players have not won many individual awards. The video of their WCF trophy presentation is not up on wnba.com. And the league tweets that L.A. would face the winner of Indiana/Connecticut. I know the argument for the individual awards is that the players cancel each other out, but it still feels like the team is overlooked in a lot of ways.
Mechelle Voepel (2:50 PM)
I can't say how fans should or shouldn't feel when it comes to whether they think they are overlooked. But I will say that as far as the one thing I have *some* avenue of "control" over, we at ESPN.com have covered all of the Lynx's playoff games and in my individual case, did vote for a Minnesota player as MVP. I can see where the Lynx fans view all the awards going elsewhere and wonder if their team is getting short-changed. But ... nobody gets to vote on who the champion is. That's what the teams themselves control, and I think the Lynx are focused solely on that. (For what it's worth, as a Cardinals fan in baseball, I do understand that sense that fans in the central part of the country have that their team is frequently "overlooked," especially by East Coast media.)
Mechelle Voepel (2:53 PM)
Sorry to cut the chat rather short today and not to get to more questions. Enjoy tonight's Game 3 of the East. The Finals start Sunday. Chat with you next week.