Around the League: Marketing buzz, statistical leaders, rookie performances and more

Marketing Brouhaha

Since the preseason, several articles about the league’s marketing have made their way into print. Some of them talked about the lack of impact of WNBA marketing among marginal fans (including new president Laurel Richie before her appointment) and a need for new ideas without using hokey slogans and tactics that talk about women’s equality and their ability to play sports at a high level.

“It is probably less than comforting for followers of the WNBA to discover that the new boss, whose self-stated mission is to persuade more of the masses to sample the product, acknowledged she was watching [in person] her first game Friday night,” wrote Jim Alexander of the Press-Enterprise on June 4. “In other words, before being paid to do so as league president, Laurel Richie had never felt compelled to watch women’s professional basketball.”

Hardcore fans have been saying for years that marketing should focus on retaining the current fan base and enticing others with less of the “oh my god, look at us, we can play sports too and do it well” approach and for the league to realize that there are some people who will never like women’s basketball, for whatever reason, be it misogyny or just plain lack of interest.

The “we are players, please watch up play” tactic is worn out and does not fit a league that is 15 years old and has an enticing product – the world’s best players in the globe’s toughest women’s league. Richie, a marketing expert, who does have quite an impressive background, has her work cut out for her. Hopefully, future marketing does not have any tinge of messages that aim to prove women belong in sports. Women have been playing basketball since 1892. The league has grown up and so should its marketing.

John Altavilla of the Hartford Courant wrote “Ten Ways to Improve the WNBA” which included some lighthearted and faux, comedic suggestions mixed in with some serious and well-meaning advice. Unfortunately, the comedic was taken as serious by some and the gems of his article on marketing somehow got lost in a Twitter conversation among some sports writers about the league’s marketing. Lighten up people, the suggestions about making the uniforms tighter and smaller was a joke. Maybe not funny, but nonetheless, a JOKE.

His number 10:

“Most of all, stop trying to convince those who will never be attracted to women’s sports to embrace the WNBA. Wasted time, wasted assets. Concentrate on how to better serve those who have already demonstrated their love by buying tickets and marketing contracts. Serve your constituency and your constituency will serve you.”

Marketing articles roundup:


After the second week of play, standings in the league and the performance of San Antonio made a mockery of the league’s first week of power rankings released on June 10 which had the Silver Stars in eighth place. With the outstanding performances by veterans Becky Hammon and Sophia Young and a breakout game by rookie Danielle Adams, the Silver Stars finished the week with the best record in the league. Minnesota, first in the power rankings, is second in the rankings at 3-1 and has played the most games of any team so far this season.

Standings as of June 14  


  1. Indiana (2-1)
  2. Chicago (2-1)
  3. New York (2-1)
  4. Connecticut (2-1)
  5. Washington (1-2)
  6. Atlanta (0-3)


  • San Antonio (3-0)
  • Minnesota (3-1)
  • Los Angeles (2-1)
  • Seattle (1-1)
  • Phoenix (0-2)
  • Tulsa (0-4) Power Rankings as of June 10 

  1. Minnesota
  2. Indiana
  3. Connecticut
  4. Washington
  5. Seattle
  6. New York
  7. Los Angeles
  8. San Antonio
  9. Phoenix
  10. Chicago
  11. Atlanta
  12. Tulsa


Statistical Leaders

Players of the week announced on Monday include the Indiana Fever’s Katie Douglas for the East and the Minnesota Lynx’s Rebekkah Brunson for the West.

This week’s statistical leaders:

1 3 34.3 21.0 8.0-14.7 .545 3.3-6.3 .526 1.7-2.7 .625
2 3 35.0 20.0 8.3-13.7 .610 0.0-0.3 .000 3.3-5.0 .667
2 2 31.5 20.0 6.5-14.5 .448 3.0-6.5 .462 4.0-4.0 1.000
4 3 33.5 18.7 7.7-12.0 .639 0.0-0.0 .000 3.3-5.3 .625
5 2 35.4 18.5 7.5-17.0 .441 2.0-5.5 .364 1.5-2.0 .750
6 3 35.4 18.3 6.7-14.7 .455 0.7-3.0 .222 4.3-4.7 .929
7 3 34.3 18.0 8.0-14.0 .571 0.0-0.3 .000 2.0-2.3 .857
8 3 35.9 17.3 5.0-15.0 .333 0.0-0.3 .000 7.3-9.3 .786
8 3 31.4 17.3 4.7-11.0 .424 2.3-4.7 .500 5.7-7.0 .810
8 3 34.1 17.3 6.7-14.3 .465 0.3-1.7 .200 3.7-5.7 .647


Leading the rookies, why look, it is Danielle Adams (Texas A&M). Many were surprised at NCAA champion Adams’ performance over the weekend against Atlanta as she scored 32 points including three straight three-pointers. But for fans of the Big 12, those threes were no surprise as every team in that conference painfully knows first-hand about her outside game.

Rookie Leaders:

3 20.5 16.0 5.3-10.7 .500 2.0-5.3 .375 3.3-4.3 .769
4 29.5 15.5 4.0-11.0 .364 0.0-0.0 .000 7.5-8.5 .882
4 30.2 14.5 5.5-12.5 .440 1.8-5.5 .318 1.8-2.0 .875
3 30.6 10.7 3.7-6.7 .550 1.7-2.3 .714 1.7-2.0 .833
4 26.7 9.5 3.5-8.5 .412 0.2-2.8 .091 2.2-2.5 .900

The biggest surprise? Maya Moore is third. Well, it has only been a week. The rookies have an entire summer to prove themselves in the race for Rookie of the Year.

Cambage and Technicals

During Sunday’s game in Uncasville at Connecticut, rookie center Cambage went down after an inadvertent hit in the face by her own teammate, Tiffany Jackson, during the fourth quarter. As the referees ( #4 Sue Blauch, #21 Byron Jarrett and #44 Felicia Grinter), let play continue as players headed to the other end of the court and back, it took them too long to stop the action. Point guard Ivory Latta asked the Connecticut bench for assistance and Tulsa’s trainer finally reached Cambage and helped her off of the court. She is listed as day-to-day regarding her playing status. The Shock are in Indiana for a game tonight.

Cambage, a fiery player with tons of talent, has let her temper get the best of her a couple of times so far and leads the league in technicals with two. Other players with one technical so far: Temeka Johnson (Phoenix), Cappie Pondexter (New York), Katie Smith (Seattle), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix), and Kristi Toliver (Los Angeles). According to the league rule book:

Recipients of technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct will be assessed a $200 fine for the first offense and an additional $200 for the second offense in any one given game, for a minimum total of $400.

Janel Speaks

Janel McCarville ended her Twitter silence since May 13 on Monday assuring fans that she was not injured nor had any other major issues going on in addressing her absence from the New York Liberty roster this summer. It was already reported that Liberty coach John Whisenant denied her request for time off between the end of the playing overseas and the beginning of WNBA training camp. The Liberty issued a terse statement indicating that McCarville had been suspended. And although it was known that the team was fining the forward, the Liberty did not make that tidbit public. But McCarville’s tweets on June 12 and 13 shed more light on the situation:

Hello everyone,sorry for keeping you in suspense this whole time! I am enjoy’n life at home with my family and loved ones! thanks for asking

i want to wish my t’mates the best of luck this season. i see yall balling out already. as usual NYL has to fight of the haters!!

Thank you to everyone who has been asking about me!! Love my fans and i am sorry i am not going to be able to see yall in NYC/NJ this year.

to kill some of the rumors, the reason i am not playing is NOT cause of my contract overseas, NOR am i hurt. planned on being in camp, but..

For the record, my season ended in Italy on may 11 at 10pm. I was on flight out at 8am on the 13th. Had 24hr travel. Home on the 14th @ 1am

The same day I’m supposed to report to camp.. I couldn’t get 4-5 days to hug n kiss my family or unpack/repack my bags. I was already..

I was already taking an enormous fine all because my season went late in Italy.. In my eyes – $1000 a day is a bit steep! And I didn’t stand

For it.. Not everyone knows all the details, so before you pass judgemet on others, get ya facts straight!

The Liberty did not respond to media requests regarding McCarville for a few weeks and strangely pointed fans to an AP story on with the text of the suspension instead of posting the suspension details on their own team website. Truly bizarre.

All-Star Voting

Fan voting for All-Stars began on Saturday, June 11. Sponsored by T-Mobile, fans can vote online and via text. Voting ends on July 10. The All-Star game is July 23 in San Antonio.

Weekend Scores

Friday, June 10

  • New York 81, Indiana 80
  • San Antonio 93, Tulsa 62
  • Chicago 78, Connecticut 75
  • Los Angeles 98, Phoenix 84

Saturday, June 11

  • Indiana 86, New York 80
  • Chicago 84, Washington 77
  • San Antonio 86, Atlanta 74

Sunday, June 12

  • Connecticut 90, Tulsa 79

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

Tue 14 Atlanta @ New York   7:00pm    
  Tulsa @ Indiana   7:00pm   ESPN2
Thu 16 Connecticut @ Washington   7:00pm Comcast SportsNet
Fri 17 Atlanta @ Minnesota   8:00pm  
  New York @ Chicago   8:30pm CN100
  San Antonio @ Phoenix   10:00pm FSA
  Indiana @ Seattle   10:00pm  
Sat 18 Washington @ Tulsa   8:00pm  
Sun 19 Chicago @ Connecticut   1:00pm  
  Minnesota @ Atlanta   3:00pm SPSO FSNN-MIN
  Indiana @ Phoenix   6:00pm  
  Seattle @ Los Angeles   8:30pm PRIME
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