WNBA’s Seattle Storm Honored At The White House

Last month President Barack Obama welcomed the 2010 WNBA Champions the Seattle Storm to the White House.

President Obama remarked that the WNBA is “the most successful women’s sports league in the world. Attendance is up. Ratings are up! And basketball is now the most popular sport for girls in the nation…When the team’s future in Seattle was uncertain, four female season ticket holders joined forces to become co-owners. [And] they are the first all female ownership group in history to win a championship…True teamwork and unselfish play brought at WNBA Championship to Seattle!”

Every professional athlete and owner dreams of the day when their team will be honored at the White House, and this season the Storm’s dream came true! In case you missed it…here’s video from the ceremony. Enjoy!

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana

Happy Father’s Day!

Me and my Dad!

Today is Father’s Day, and I want to wish all of the “#1 Dads” out there a Happy Father’s Day! Especially my dad – Edward K. Glass Jr.

If it wasn’t for my dad, I know wouldn’t have picked up a basketball and I wouldn’t have gone to countless summer basketball camps. Spending my summers playing basketball is where my love for the game grew and developed, and for that I have to thank my dad!

Right now I’m watching the WNBA’s LiveAccess and the Minnesota Lynx are taking on the Atlanta Dream in its “Dads and Daughters Day.” I am happy to see that so many dads brought their daughters to watch WNBA basketball, because if the perception of women’s professional sports not being competitive and entertaining is ever going to change – it’s going to be the dads to lead the charge.

 One of the things that irritates me the most, is when I hear critics talk about the WNBA and how it’s not exciting and not worth watching. And when I hear this I have to ask, “Don’t these guys have daughters?” “Don’t they want their daughters to grow up strong, tough, and confident?” I know my dad did, and still does.

Studies show that girls who play sports are less likely to tolerate an abusive relationship and more likely to focus and work hard in school. And girls who play sports are less likely to have an unwanted pregnancy and more likely to be leaders in their schools and communities. It’s no secret that tomorrows CEO’s are on the basketball courts of today.

I want to thank my dad for everything that he has done for me and women’s sports. Thank you for encouraging me and shaping me into the woman that I am today. Thank you for making my dreams – your dreams. I couldn’t have done it without you!  

Love you Dad!

Alana

WNBA Movement: Laurel J. Richie named WNBA President

Today the Women’s National Basketball Association announced that Laurel J. Richie will serve as its 3rd President. Richie is replacing Donna Orrender who stepped down in December 2010.

I was already excited about the WNBA’s 15th season and now I am absolutely thrilled to see Richie take the helm. Richie is not a household name unlike her previous predecessor Val Ackerman, collegiate All-American at the University of Virginia and former president of USA Basketball. However, she has exactly what the WNBA needs – marketing experience. 

On May 16th when she steps foot into league’s New York offices she will bring over 30 years of marketing experience to the WNBA. During her illustrious career she has worked on major marketing campaigns with clients includingAmerican Express, Campbell Soup, Oscar Meyer, and Pepperidge Farms.

 Most recently she was the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Girl  of the USA. In this role she was responsible forGirl Scouts of the USA’s brand, communications, publishing, marketing, and Web-based initiatives. Additionally, she was directly involved in launching the Girl Scouts’ new core business strategy by eensuring that a comprehensive media and communications strategy was in place to support the organization’s strategic priorities.

Moreover, in her capacity as a member of the Girl Scouts senior leadership team, she said I have great passion for the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place, and I am committed to giving every girl the opportunity to benefit from the leadership experience that is so unique to the Girl Scouts Movement. 

Welcome to the WNBA Ms. Richie. I love your passion and I can’t wait to see you launch the WNBA Movement!

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana

I Have a ‘Dream’ – WNBA’s Atlanta Dream adds new owners

On Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King was celebrated and remembered all over the world. Dr. King’s dream of equal opportunity began in Atlanta and it is still thriving there today ­- especially through the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

14 months ago, Atlanta businesswomen, Kathy Betty, took over the reigns as the Dream’s majority owner. She purchased the team with a vision to “provide accessible and affordable world-class entertainment for the families of Atlanta.” At the same time, Betty believes that young girls need role models, and the CEO’s of tomorrow are on the basketball courts of today.

Last season, the Dream lived up to the expectation of providing world-class entertainment. The team not only made its second appearance in the playoffs, they advanced to the WNBA finals!

In an interview during the playoffs, Betty was asked about the Dream’s future. She said, “You better believe I have a plan. It’s like anything you do in business. You set out a plan, you understand what you have to invest to get there, then you’ve got to get it on course. I’ll tell you, winning a conference championship really jump-starts that plan. I didn’t plan for this.”

While it’s clear Betty didn’t plan to go to the 2010 WNBA Finals this soon, she certainly hinted at better things to come on the financial front.

This week Betty made good on that promised, and announced two new investors in the Dream’s ownership group – Mary Brock and Kelly Loeffler. Brock is a philanthropist and sports advocate. While Loeffler is the Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate communications for IntercontinentalExchange. Betty is also no stranger to the business world. Her background is in finance and computer science, and she was one of the first female partners at Ernst & Young. Betty, Brock, and Loeffler are the only all-female pro sports ownership group in Atlanta, and one of four all-female groups in the WNBA.

When I watched the press conference announcing this new venture, I was so excited to see these amazing businesswomen genuinely interested in investing their money and time in women’s basketball; especially since it’s no secret that the WNBA has fought long and hard to get fans, sponsors, and the media to support the league.

Behind every great sports franchise is someone with heart, determination, and a PLAN! The franchises that thrive are the ones with true leaders from the top down. Kathy Betty is showing Atlanta and the sports world that she’s willing to lead the Dream into a prosperous future and she has a plan to do it.

Good Luck Kathy Betty and the Atlanta Dream! We will all be watching!

Good Night Sports Fans,

Alana  

She’s Back! Diana Taurasi re-signs with the Mercury

The WNBA Playoffs are in full swing!

Angel McCoughtry and the Atlanta Dream sent the Washington Mystics packing. Tonight I’m watching the other Eastern Conference series that might come to a close if the New York Liberty can pull out a win against the Indiana Fever on its home court.  Yesterday, MVP candidate Lauren Jackson and the Seattle Storm closed out Tina Thompson and the LA Sparks. The Sparks were playing without its star forward, Candace Parker, who has been out rehabbing from shoulder surgery. Candace Parker is a tough competitor, and I expect that she will be back next season ready to lead the team to a WNBA Championship. The other side of the Western Conference final is set as well. The San Antonio Silver Stars couldn’t handle strength and dominance of Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury.

As I watched Taurasi and her teammates play, I couldn’t help but think what next season would look like without her. Last month, Taurasi publicly stated that she was contemplating taking the 2011 WNBA season off to rest. She has played seven professional basketball seasons without a break,  and prior to her professional career she was a student collegiate player with the Connecticut Huskies where she led them to three consecutive NCAA National Championships. While student-athletes technically have a summer break, we all know that champions are made in the off season. Taurasi’s total is closer to eleven consecutive seasons of competitive basketball, and of course that doesn’t include high school and AAU basketball.

Continue reading “She’s Back! Diana Taurasi re-signs with the Mercury”

Ode to the Detroit Shock

I love the WNBA. The games are so competitive and the women are fierce. Once-upon-a-time I was in great shape. Now I am just in awe (and somewhat envious) of the athletic talent of the players, which make me a perfect candidate for ownership.

Speaking of athletic talent, I want to take a moment and give a shot out to Lindsey Whalen from the Minnesota Lynx and former Golden Gopher. Whalen and I played together at the University of Minnesota. During my senior year she was a stand-out freshman. She is tough, skilled, and the kindest person you’ll ever meet. After starting her career with the Connecticut Sun, she’s back in Minnesota playing in front of the home fans. Right now the Lynx are fourth in the Western Conference standings, so I hope to see her leading the team into the playoffs.

Back to the rest of the WNBA…

I have to say I have been a little sad this season. The Detroit Shock was sold at the end of last season and the team moved to Tulsa Oklahoma. I miss the Detroit Shock. Joni Mitchell said it best, “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

The deal seemed to happen so fast. First, there were rumors swirling and then the next thing I knew the team was sold. And anyone that knows anything about “the art of a deal” the sale of the Shock didn’t just happen overnight. Between the lawyers, underwriters, accountants, and investors the deal had to be in the works for months.

Now the Tulsa Shock looks nothing like the Detroit Shock. There’s a new coach – Nolan Richardson, former head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks and known for his “40 minutes of hell” defense. Plenette Pierson is playing with the New York Liberty. Katie Smith is playing with the Washington Mystics. Kara Braxton is playing with the Phoenix Mercury.
Deanna “Tweety” Nolan and Cheryl Ford are not playing in the WNBA this season. After four conference championships (2003, 2006, 2007, and 2008) and three WNBA championships (2003, 2006, and 2008) the Shock of yesterday is gone. Continue reading “Ode to the Detroit Shock”