Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (4:33 PM)
Good afternoon from Indianapolis. Sorry for the late start ... let's get going.
Air Jazzy (DC)
Shouldn't Coach Reeve have been ejected in game 2? Seemed like the refs let her dictate the game after that, they stopped making calls for Indy (including when Catchings was mauled at the 3 point line and when January had a mysterious backcourt violation while being pushed over the backcourt, or when Phillips drove the lane a few times with no call, or how about when Maya Moore gets in the jump ball that Wiggins caused and when Dunn protest she gets a T...) no surprise Indy lost their confidence and could no longer compete with the lopsided calls? Do you agree, can you at least see where I'm coming from ?
Mechelle Voepel (4:38 PM)
Might as well hit the ground running. Clearly, this is how Indiana coach Lin Dunn felt, and why she made the comments she did yesterday. As to whether Reeve should have been ejected ... I think she was lucky that she wasn't. Seemed like she was willing to risk it because she felt like her team really needed a spark. I think trying to "take sides" when teams are unhappy about officiating is pretty much a no-win situation for a writer. In the Eastern Conference finals, Mike Thibault was convinced Indy was getting all the calls. Indy is convinced that Wednesday, Minnesota got all the calls. I'm sure they both had their legitimate gripes ... but I'm also sure there were things they were seeing through their own competitive lenses. Ultimately, Reeve took a risk to throw that kind of a tantrum, and it worked for her. It's on the officials to decide if they put up with that or not, and this time - other than the technical - they did.
kevin (macon ga)
Was Elena Delle Donne saying she wants to play in Chicago a indirect way of saying she does not want to play in Tulsa?
Mechelle Voepel (4:41 PM)
I wasn't there, so I didn't get a chance to ask that follow-up question. That may be the case. Or it may be that she wants to live in a big city. Or both.
jbb1985 (eager for WCBB to start)
The WNBA finals are more intriguing than one would have thought given the regular seasons of the Lynx and the Fever. Is this now a 4-game finals or 5-games all the way to final whistle series?
Mechelle Voepel (4:42 PM)
I thought after the Fever won Game 1 that it meant the series was probably going five games. I still lean toward that.
Can you explain to me why Cheryl Reeve didn't get ejected from Game 2 after her meltdown? She got T'd up for walking onto the court. She then threw her jacket ... and nothing. I've seen other coaches in the league get tossed from a game for doing less.
Mechelle Voepel (4:48 PM)
I don't know why the refs decided not to eject her. But they decided not to. The league has fined Reeve, though ... it was announced today.
glenn (Fresh Meadows, NY)
College Question: Do you think the NCAA relocating the Trenton Regional was a smart move. I understand the stand against gambling but couldn't have they just fulfilled their existing contracts and never came back...this just seems high horsed and very short notice for everyone involved.
Mechelle Voepel (4:50 PM)
The NCAA does get "high-horsed" at times. I would agree that fulfilling the contract and then not returning would make the most sense.
Mechelle, you still haven't corrected your WNBA Game 1 article "Fever Refuse To Back Down" where you attribute a comment made by Erin Phillips to Tamika Catchings. What's up with that?
Mechelle Voepel (4:52 PM)
Isn't it? I was going through my quote sheets Tuesday afternoon and saw that I had misread a quote sheet and thought Tamika said something in regard to "It doesn't mean anything unless we win two more games." That's not the exact quote but something like that. Erin said that, not Tamika. I wasn't in the interview room during Tamika and Erin's press conference, I was in the Fever locker room then. So it was my fault for misreading the transcript afterward. But I think that quote was taken out of my story when I alerted my editor. I'd have to go back and double-check.
kevin (macon ga)
Any names linked to the Mystics coaching search yet?
Mechelle Voepel (4:55 PM)
I've talked to quite a few folks involved with the finals, and either they really don't know or they're not saying. Bill Laimbeer's name has come up, and Cheryl Reeve said while she hasn't talked to him in a while, she doesn't believe it's out of the question that he'd think about returning to the WNBA. The names of a few assistants - including that of the Fever's Steph White - have been floated. I talked to Steph ... she said no one in D.C. has contacted her. So I guess the answer is it's still mostly rumors.
After her illness and injury the last two years, I can't wait to see Drey Mingo back at full strength this year. That's a story that the WBB community should get behind, right?
Mechelle Voepel (4:55 PM)
Oh, absolutely. It is an amazing story of strength and courage.
Julianne (Venice Beach)
Do you think Lin Dunn was wrong for calling out Coach Reeve? Also, what are your thoughts on coach Reeve responding by saying that "I don't give a hoot what Lin Dunn thinks" to the media? Thanks!
Mechelle Voepel (5:01 PM)
Lin Dunn is known for speaking her mind, but I was surprised she was as critical publicly toward Cheryl Reeve as she was. Mostly because I think it's not necessarily wise to stir up the hornets' nest with the Lynx. That said, I'm assuming that Dunn thought she had to do this because she thinks she's "lost" the officials to Reeve and she is upset about that. I think Reeve is also known for saying pretty much what she thinks, so after Dunn opened the door, I'm not surprised that was Reeve's response. :) It's kind of fun, I guess ... supposed "bad blood" gets some spectators even more jazzed up about watching.
I know it's a couple of months away, but any comment on the UMD at UD game on Dec. 20th? I went online to buy tickets yesterday and all the good and not-so-good seats are sold out. I ended up way back behind the basket.
Mechelle Voepel (5:03 PM)
That's awesome. Having seen a game at Delaware with a big crowd - against Drexel two seasons ago - I know how loud that place can get. That will be a great atmosphere. And, of course, Maryland was the only team to beat Delaware in the regular season last year.
Genny (Western MA)
Do you think the high ratings for Game 2 are a really positive sign or more of an aberration (not a lot of competing sport events)?
Mechelle Voepel (5:07 PM)
Maybe a little of both? I would have to talk to some of the folks on the TV side who specialize in reading these numbers and making judgments/assumptions off of them. Obviously, it probably helped that the Tiger-Yankees game was rained out, the Cards-Giants were in a 3-hour-plus rain delay and there was no NFL on. I'd imagine some sports fans were just flipping channels and maybe some of them settled on the WNBA game. That said, there are some marquee names involved in this series, so that probably helps, too.
We know about the "Big Three" in the next WNBA draft. Who do you think will go #4 to the Mystics?
Mechelle Voepel (5:09 PM)
Everybody has talked about Tayler Hill of Ohio State. But Tianna Hawkins of Maryland is another player that some of the WNBA GMs are pretty high on. And she is in the Mystics' backyard. We'll have to see what kind of season she has with the Terps. That pick, of course, is still totally up in the air.
Ryan (Sacramento, CA)
Is it possible that assistant coach Steph White gets a start tonight for the Fever?
Mechelle Voepel (5:13 PM)
She's in pretty darn good shape, but she's sticking to coaching, broadcasting and chasing around her little boy, who turned 1 year old last month. Steph is very interested in being a WNBA head coach, but said she's not in a "rush" to do it and added that having a child has made her even more cautious about what opportunities she'd consider because, as she said, "I have a great situation here an Indiana where I learn a lot, and I don't want to drag my son all around the country just to get another job." Pretty smart, level-headed attitude.
Fever Fans are calling Los Lynx out for being thugs. In your long-term memory of the league, how would you rate the Lynx for excessive physicality, on a scale of 1-10? (with the Centenarian Sisters of Mercy as a 1, and the ol' Detroit Shock being an 11.4)
Mechelle Voepel (5:17 PM)
Well, I hate the word "thugs" ... it just doesn't sit well with me for a lot of reasons. I guess I'm surprised the Fever, which is not exactly known as a finesse team, is so upset about physical play. Like I said, Connecticut's Mike Thibault was griping that Indy was too physical. I realize that the "elbows" thing that Cheryl Reeve said has some people riled up ... but I really don't see the Lynx as being some super-physical group of rough-housers or anything like that. But obviously, Cheryl Reeve did pick up a thing or two from Bill Laimbeer.
Cheryl Reeve's jacket toss = Good or Bad for the league?
Mechelle Voepel (5:23 PM)
I have to be honest ... I thought it was funny. It reminded me of long-ago Nebraska coach Angela Beck (I'm old) who used to throw her jacket regularly, and in one "famous" (to old people who remember it) incident, went to rip off her jacket but ended up ripping off several shirt buttons, too. Yes, it resulted in a "wardrobe malfunction." It also reminded me of some of Baylor coach Kim Mulkey's dancin' and prancin' on the sidelines ... she has one famed "high-stepper" routine that came in a game against Oklahoma State, if memory serves. In all seriousness, I recognize that coaches have to maintain decorum, but when one of them flips out every once in a while, I try to find the entertainment value in it.
Genny (Western MA)
How about . . . ahem, the game tonight? Who has the advantage, given game 2, in Indy, and the latest coaching back and forth?
Mechelle Voepel (5:26 PM)
Maybe Indy wins tonight, then the Lynx stand up Sunday and force the series back to Minnesota. You know me ... my predictions are awful. :)
MVP 2012 is in the books. Yep, Charles deserved it. But. Can we EVER expect to see a guard (under 6') get this award? Not since Coop has any player under 6' win this. Hammon? Bird? Most unfortunate, I'd say, this lack of 'balance'.
Mechelle Voepel (5:30 PM)
I think it's nature of the MVP that it goes to a "big statistical numbers" person in every sport. Both at the pro and college level. I know over the years, people such as Bird and Hammon have gotten MVP votes, but never enough. I don't know how you "fix" this.
Genny (Western MA)
I am a big Katie fan, but if she is able to play but not 100%, would it be better to sit her? The team so far has been able to use her being out as a rallying point.
Mechelle Voepel (5:40 PM)
OK, we're back, so I'll make this my last answer. :) I think Katie's injury is pretty bad, and trying to play at this point _ in the Finals _ on an injured ankle is obviously really tough. I will be surprised to see her on court ... but athletes do sometimes find ways to overcome pretty big physical obstacles. Thanks for all the questions, enjoy tonight's game. Something tells me both coaches will keep their garments in place tonight, but we'll see.
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