Dallas Wings end preseason with a win

Kaela Davis, left, scored 14 points in the Dallas Wings’ May 6 preseason victory over Indiana Fever. Skylar Diggins-Smith scored 13 points in the game. (Tammye Nash/Dallas Voice)

Rookie Kaela Davis, the 6’2″ guard who helped South Carolina win the NCAA championship in March, scored 14 points to lead the Dallas Wings to an 80-75 win over the Indiana Fever on Saturday night, May 6, in the Wings’ second — and final — preseason game this year. It was Davis’ second dougle-digit-scoring game of the pre-season. She was also perfect at the free throw line, going 6-for-6, and ended the game with 4 rebounds.

The Wings kick off regular season play against the Mercury in Phoenix on May 14, after a 1-1 pre-season slate. Their first home game in May 20 against the Minnesota Lynx.

The Wings started off slow against the Fever, ending the first half down by 9 points. But veteran Skylar Diggins-Smith, back full force this year after sitting out much of last year — the team’s first in Dallas — with a knee injury, kicked into high gear with five unanswered points in the third quarter, to bring the Wings to within 1, 44-45. With just over a minute left in the quarter, Davis scored on a reverse lay-up to give the Wings a 55-54 lead going into the fourth.

Diggins-Smith had 13 points in the game, including one three-pointer. She had 2 rebounds and 5 assists.

Team-wise, the Wings recorded 19 total assists, the most in preseason play, and 38 rebounds, compared to 17 assists ad 36 rebounds for the Fever. It was the second straight game in which the Dallas players out-rebounded their opponents.

Another veteran, Karima Christmas-Kelly, hit in double-digits, with 10 points, while veteran Courtney Paris led the team in rebounds with 9. Allisha Gray, another rookie from the South Carolina championship team, was 2-for-2 on three-pointers.

All but two players on the pre-season roster saw playing time in Saturday’s game, and every Wings player that took the court scored at least 2 points. The team’s field goal percentage was 39.7 percent — 42.9 percent on three-pointers — and they were 69.7 percent from the free throw line.

Diggins-Smith praised the Wings rookies that played in Saturday night’s game, calling the victory over the Fever “a win by committee.” Head Coach Fred Williams said defensive pressure by his players, “especially in the fourth quarter,” was a key factor. He also praised the team’s rookies, and said that this game was “just the beginning” of Diggins-Smith return to full power. “The way she is orchestrating things with her teammates is keeping us really balanced,” he said of the four-year veteran.

—  Tammye Nash

One more thing about the Wings …..

During Media Day today at College Park Center, Dallas Wings players Tiffany Bias, Kayla Thornton and Courtney Paris decided to bust out a little Destiny’s Child ….. And apparently Tiffany and Courtney didn’t know how well Kayla can sing !

—  Tammye Nash

Dallas Wings get ready to kick off the season

The Dallas Wings, DFW’s WNBA team based at the College Park Center at the University of Texas in Arlington, kicks off the 2017 season on May 14, and their first home hame is May 20. On Tuesday, May 2, the players and coaches invited the DFW media to College Park Center for Media Day, giving the reporters a chance to get to know the 2017 Wings. Here are a few shots from the activities. And watch for a report here on InstanTEA from the press conference also held Tuesday.

—  Tammye Nash

Australian Opals lose to Serbia in quarter finals

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Dallas Wings guard Erin Phillips scored 10 points in Wednesday’s quarter finals game against Serbia. But her strong contribution wasn’t enough to score a win.

Phillips is competing in the Olympics as part of the Australian Opals basketball team. In the first week of play, the Opals were undefeated. Serbia, competing for the first time in Olympics competition, beat Australia 73-71.

This is the first time since the 1992 games in Barcelona that the Opals didn’t win a medal in women’s basketball.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Wings guard Erin Phillips heads to Olympic quarter finals

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Erin Phillips (Photo from Basketball Australia)

Out WNBA Dallas Wings guard Erin Phillips, participating in the Olympics on the Australian Opals women’s basketball team, is headed to the quarter finals.

The Opals earned a 5-0 record in Group A last week.

For their next match, Australia faces Serbia on Wednesday, Aug. 17. Serbia goes into the quarter finals with a 2-3 record in Group B.

Australia and the U.S. are the only two unbeaten women’s basketball teams.

Here’s what Basketball australia has to say about Phillips:

Erin Phillips has been quieter, held scoreless in two contests, but her game is not always helped by stats as teams still need to honour her shot which opens up the lanes for Mitchell.  Her three assist average is good for third best on the team too.

—  David Taffet

Wings lose to Indiana in Pride Night game

The WNBA’s Dallas Wings lost to the Indiana Fever 92-87 in the teams first Pride Night game on Saturday, June 25.

Warming up on the court pregame, both teams wore rainbow Orlando United shirts and the large screen in the center of the arena announced, “Wings Pridenight, Saturday 6/25 vs Indiana.”

Plenette Pierson, profiled in this week’s Dallas Voice, scored seven points. Karima Christmas racked up 21 points, Odyssey Sims 18 and Glory Johnson, back after a suspension, 15.

The season runs through Sept. 18 with eight more home games that are played at College Park Center on Center Street in Arlington on the UT Arlington campus and Dallas Wings games are a blast.

—  David Taffet

Dallas Wings dominate the court in home opener

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Odyssey Sims

The Dallas Wings, the area’s new WNBA franchise, pulled ahead of the San Antonio Stars in the first minute of the game and maintained their lead throughout the team’s sold-out home opener.

Odyssey Sims is quickly becoming a team favorite. Not only did she grow up in Irving, but she scored 10 of the team’s 21 points in the first quarter, continued scoring throughout the game and intercepted the ball in every quarter.

Although the Wings kept their lead throughout the game and were winning by more than 10 points through much of the third quarter, the game wasn’t without excitement. San Antonio finally seemed to wake up during the middle of the fourth quarter and narrowed their deficit to just two points. At four seconds before the final buzzer, the whistle blew calling a foul.

Sims scored two points. The score was 82-77.

The whistle again at 3 seconds. San Antonio had the ball. Final buzzer the Wings won their home opener.

The Wings opened their season out-of-town and are 3-1 on the season so far. If they keep playing like this, they’ll be a championship team soon.

Some notes about the game:

WNBA games are a whole lot of fun. Although the games are played on the UT Arlington campus, lots of people from the community made the drive from Dallas.

The Dallas Wings transferred from Tulsa, where they were known as the Tulsa Shock. Judging by the T-shirts people wore, lots of people made the drive from Oklahoma are are remaining loyal to their team.

Most of the team is new. Plenette Pierson is the team’s elder statesman. When I spoke team members several weeks ago at their College Park Arena home, the rookies look up to her for advice. She along with Coach Fred Williams, who’s from Oak Cliff, by the way, have done a great job of bringing this group of women together to work well as a team. Each time Sims signaled one of her teammates, that person was clear to catch her passing the ball. Watching such team work, especially among a group of women working together for the first time in their new home, was a pleasure.

I should note that the team played with just 11 players. Glory Johnson, one of the team’s stars, is on a seven-game suspension. She’ll be back in a few weeks and so will I. Can’t wait to see her on the court.

One thing I’ve noted before is I’m not a sports reporter, but I played one on TV. You know something I love about reporting sports? When I write anything else, I have to maintain some objectivity. When it comes to sports reporting, I can throw my objectivity out the window. You never heard a Dallas reporter talking about how great the Yankees are after they’ve blown out the Rangers. Or, hey, wasn’t that a great Giants win against the Cowboys.

So I can say it. San Antonio pretty much sucked throughout the game, and I love our Dallas Wings. The next game is Friday, May 27 against Atlanta. Do yourself a favor, have some fun and go.

Dallas Wings play at College Park Arena. Exit I-30 at Center Street and go south several miles. You’ll see the parking garages on your right. Parking is just $10.

—  David Taffet

Right-wing media upset with fed money studying lesbian and gay health

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Random Internet picture of a guy who’s obviously gay, because straight men aren’t as toned, according to new fed study

A new study that’s mostly been reported by conservative-leaning newspapers and blogs says that lesbians tend to be obese and gay men tend to be toned.

But the reason these websites and newspapers are reporting it is because they’re accusing the federal government of wasting money — $3 million so far — studying gay and and lesbian health issues.

The conservative Washington Times reports that dollar amount in its lead sentence.

Right-wing website The Blaze writes, “What have taxpayers gotten for their money? A handful of research papers delivering some small insights into homosexual health.”

That’s because heterosexual health matters. Gay and lesbian health doesn’t.

The conclusion of the study is that lesbians don’t tend to self-perceive as being overweight, while gay men have a greater desire for toned muscles than straight men, but straight men are more likely to go to a gym.

The report also says gay men and lesbians are less likely to be on athletic teams.

OK, so here’s where this report — or at least the right-wing media interpretations of this report — are full of crap.

Lesbians are less likely to be on sports teams than straight women? Please. Go to a local softball league game or a WNBA game. When the WNBA first began playing, announcers were falling all over themselves to report when a player’s husband was in the audience, because they were so few and far between. Lesbians are well represented on sports teams. I’m wondering how many accurately self-reported, because of the blatant discrimination in sports.

On the other hand, lesbians don’t starve themselves to get into a size 0 dress to please their overweight pig of a husband who will dump her when she turns 40 for a young bimbo. Put another way, women are less likely to criticize other women because of their weight than straight men are. What lesbians perceive as good looking is different than what straight men perceive as good looking. Anorexic isn’t a lesbian ideal. Of course, overweight can be unhealthy and finding a healthy weight is something lesbians — really everyone — should do with their doctors.

Gay men are less likely to go to a gym? But we have more toned bodies? Yes, we’re less likely to play on a professional athletic team — maybe because when one gay man is finally drafted into the NFL, all ESPN can think to report on is his showering habits. But the toned bodies don’t come from nowhere. We go to the gym. We exercise on our own. We play team sports. Or maybe the gay gene just makes us better looking with better bodies and that’s pissing off the dumpy straight conservative media writers.

—  David Taffet

Out WNBA stars Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson engaged

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Griner wrote “Last Night was a Night to Remember I became the happiest person on this earth! (almost pass out but when that one word came out I came back to life) Me and my baby @missvol25 are in it for Life!”

Baylor University alumna and Phoenix Mercury Brittney Griner proposed to her girlfriend Glory Johnson, of the Tulsa Shock, this weekend.

The couple posted photos of their engagement on their Instagram accounts.

Griner, who is from Houston and played basketball at Baylor, came out in an interview with SI.com, Sports Illustrated’s website, in 2013. She published In My Skin: My Life on and off the Basketball Court, a memoir, earlier this year, detailing her struggles growing up and remaining in the closet as a lesbian.

According to the Washington Post, “Griner was not to come out publicly because university officials, including [coach Kim] Mulkey, worried it would hurt recruiting. She lived in what many call a “glass closet;” she would bring her college girlfriend to events, but elsewhere, both online and offline, Griner was expected to live under a cloak of ambiguity.”

The couple have been together since June.

—  James Russell

WNBA to market to LGBT fans

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As if the WNBA needed any more lesbian fans, it may get more in the coming months now that its management plans to launch a marketing campaign geared toward the LGBT community.

The WNBA commissioned a 2012 study that found a quarter of lesbians polled watch WNBA games on television, and about one fifth have attended games.

With the launch of the campaign last week, it marks the first pro league to specifically recruit LGBT fans to games. The initiative will include a website, as well as team participation in local Pride events and advocacy for inclusion.

“For us it’s a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately,” WNBA President Laurel Ritchie told the Associated Press. “This is one of those moments in the ‘W’ where everybody comes together.”

Ritchie added that the WNBA has participated in some pride events since it started in 1997, and that the new campaign is intended to build off of that participation.

Phoenix Mercury center and Texas native Brittney Griner, who came out last year, told the AP she plans on wearing rainbow-colored shoes during June in support of the initiative.

“We’ll pave the way and show its fine and there’s nothing wrong with it. More sports need to do it. It’s 2014, it’s about time,” Griner said.

—  Dallasvoice