It was a busy week in the world of women’s basketball. Here’s what happened:
Liz Cambage interview ignites social-media storm
On Monday, Bleacher Report released Taylor Rooks’ latest interview with Liz Cambage, who played 25 games for the Los Angeles Sparks last season before stepping away from the WNBA.
In the interview, Cambage, who had a falling out with the Australian women’s national team, suggested she intended to join the Nigerian women’s national team, a statement that sent shock waves through the women’s basketball world considering the alleged incident that occurred between Cambage, then still with Australia, and members of the Nigerian team during a scrimmage ahead of the 2020 Olympics.
SB Nation’s James Dator recounts the competing details of the infamous scrimmage.
Promise Amukamara, who plays for Nigeria and participated in the scrimmage, pushed back against Cambage’s claims.
Jordin Canada, who played with Cambage on the Sparks last season, also indicated she disputed some of Cambage’s contentions about her time in LA.
WNBA travel conversation again emerges
After the Dallas Wings lost to the Las Vegas on Tuesday, Satou Sabally shared how travel burdens impact players’ ability to consistently be at their best, saying, “I hate to make excuses that we’re tired, but reducing travel time increases recovery…The league has an issue with charters…The league needs to step up.”
At The Athletic, Ben Pickman investigated what the WNBA is—and is not—doing to improve players’ travel experiences. Even as the WNBPA has proposed several solutions, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is adamant that a rich media rights deal is a prerequisite for providing charter flights for all teams.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert says charter flights are not yet financially feasible.
“They’re not going to have jobs in three to five years if we did it today.”
— The Athletic (@TheAthletic) August 8, 2023
Mavs-Wings make sponsorship history in Dallas
Last Sunday, the Wings trumpeted their new jersey sponsor: the Dallas Mavericks.
The Dallas Wings of the WNBA and Dallas Mavericks of the NBA have announced a first-of-its-kind sponsorship.
The Wings become the first WNBA team to sign a marquee agreement with an NBA franchise operating under a different ownership group.
— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) August 6, 2023
The Mavericks are the first NBA team to sponsor a WNBA team operated by a different ownership group. The Wings’ jerseys will feature the Girls Empowered by Mavericks (GEM) logo. According to the announcement, GEM “was created by the Dallas Mavericks to engage, inspire and empower young females through the use of physical activity as a backdrop to their development and success.”
While it is encouraging to see an NBA team embracing the WNBA through a tangible investment that also uplifts girls’ athletic aspirations, it is worth asking if the emphasis on the “historic-ness” of this sponsorship was intended to celebrate the Wings or polish the reputation of the Mavs, an organization that inadequately addressed allegations of sexual harassment until a 2018 investigation by Sports Illustrated.
Paige Bueckers is back!
Iowa shoots for all-time attendance record
On Oct. 15, the Iowa Hawkeyes will host the DePaul Blue Demons in an outdoor exhibition in 69,000-seat Kinnick Stadium in an attempt to set the all-time attendance for a women’s basketball game. The current record is 29,619, set at the 2002 national championship game in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
Iowa will attempt to set the all-time women’s basketball attendance record when it hosts DePaul in an outdoor exhibition at 69,000-seat Kinnick Stadium on Oct. 15, the school announced Thursday. https://t.co/exLsFwAJoo
— ESPN Women’s Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) August 10, 2023
Meanwhile, this week in Iowa, Caitlin Clark’s handle was as smooth as butter.