In this week’s news, some well-known names in the women’s hoops world are making big moves:
The Sky scoop up Spoon
On Thursday, the Chicago Sky officially named Teresa Weatherspoon the organization’s next head coach. The leading candidate for the job since late August, the Hall of Famer and New York Liberty legend most recently served as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Pelicans (2020-23). The Sky will hold a press conference announcing the hiring on Oct. 24.
‘ ‘ @WNBA legend and Hall of Famer Teresa Weatherspoon has been named the next Head Coach for the Chicago Sky.
Welcome to Skytown, Coach @Finisher_11!
— Chicago Sky (@chicagosky) October 12, 2023
Weatherspoon’s hiring extends the trend of WNBA franchises naming former players as head coaches, with Weatherspoon joining the Liberty’s Sandy Brondello, the Storm’s Noelle Quinn, the Aces’ Becky Hammon, the Dream’s Tanisha Wright and the Sun’s Stephanie White. For ESPN, Kevin Pelton considers the implications of the NBA-assistant-coach-to-WNBA-head-coach pathway, taken first by Hammon and now Weatherspoon. Are WNBA decision makers increasingly valuing NBA experience when hiring head coaches? Will this result in former players who desire to become a head coach prioritizing an opportunity with a NBA team over one in the WNBA or college basketball?
While it is encouraging that more franchises see women, including former players, as strong head coaching candidates, experience working for an NBA team should not carry more perceived credibility than working in women’s basketball. The still-recent hirings of Quinn, Wright and White suggest organizations consider women’s basketball as an equally-valuable incubator for a future head coach.
Aliyah Boston joins Big Ten broadcast team
No one will be surprised when Aliyah Boston turns in another stellar rookie performance—this time as a women’s college basketball analyst. The 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year will serve as a studio analyst as part of Peacock’s coverage of Big Ten women’s basketball.
State Farm taps Caitlin Clark
State Farm, which has featured NBA and WNBA players in commercials for years, has added Iowa’s Caitlin Clark to the team. She is the first college athlete to sign a NIL deal with the company.
Haley Cavinder will return to college hoops
After helping Miami reach the Elite Eight last spring, Haley Cavinder, along with her twin sister Hanna, announced she had concluded her basketball career, despite having a season of eligibility remaining. The twins chose to begin to pursue the post-hoops opportunities presented by the WWE.
Haley, however, has changed her mind, entering the transfer portal with the intent of again playing college basketball in 2024-25. She will spend the next year training for her final season on the hardwood.
Keep watching the W!
We have even more proof that prioritizing the coverage of women’s sports results in more (and more) people watching women’s sports. Game 1 of the WNBA Finals was the most-watched Finals game of all time, while WNBA Countdown received the most viewers in the show’s history. Through two games, this has been the most-watched Finals in 20 years.