Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tamika Catchings is named WNBA's MVP

Finally, Tamika Catchings has a Most Valuable Player award. Tonight, she resumes pursuit of a more compelling quest: winning a WNBA championship with the Indiana Fever.

“I don’t want us to get sidetracked on me winning MVP,” said Catchings, whose award was announced today by the league. "I don’t want me to get sidetracked.

“If anything, it needs to give us more fire.”

The top-seeded Fever will open the best-of-three Eastern Conference finals against the No. 3-seeded Atlanta Dream at 7 at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The East champion will play the Minnesota Lynx or Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals, which open Oct. 2.

After a decade of coming close, the 32-year-old Catchings was a decisive winner in voting by a media panel. She received 21 first-place votes, followed by centers Tina Charles of Connecticut and Sylvia Fowles of Chicago with six each.

In total points, Catchings had 292, Charles 209 and Fowles 148.

Catchings finished second in voting in 2003, 2009 and 2010, and was third in two other years.

She was rewarded for all-around impact. She finished 10th in the league in scoring (15.5), ninth in rebounds (7.1), 13th in assists (3.5) and fourth in steals (2.03). She has also been honored as Defensive Player of the Year four times.

No MVP had ever finished lower than fourth in scoring or averaged fewer than 17 points.

Catchings acknowledged that she pushed aside thoughts of becoming MVP because she reasoned that she didn’t score enough. She was not going to amend her approach so she could influence the voting.

“That is probably the biggest thing about it, being able to change that trend and being able to change how people look at the MVP,” Catchings said. “Not necessarily looking at the player that scores the most points being the MVP, but the player who makes the biggest overall impact for the team.

“So hopefully, it does start a trend,” she said. “And not just in professional basketball and this arena, but in all arenas.”

Kelly Krauskopf, chief operating officer of the Fever, said she was moved to tears when she learned Catchings had won. It was the decision of Krauskopf and then-coach Nell Fortner to select Catchings with the No. 3 pick of the 2001 WNBA draft.

Catchings has subsequently become the only player in WNBA history with 5,000 points, 2,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

Krauskopf said she never gave up hope that media would someday vote for Catchings as MVP. The Fever executive said she reacted emotionally because of how valuable Catchings has been locally with community service and her foundation.

“I know the kind of person she is and what kind of heart she has, and how much she means to this community and this city,” Krauskopf said. “And she does a lot of it on her own, the way she follows up with e-mails to kids she might meet. Just things like that resonate throughout the community.”

“She epitomizes all the things that we talk about with role models that are great professional athletes.”

Krauskopf said it was also a big moment for Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Catchings is the first Indiana MVP in the NBA or WNBA.

The Pacers collected three MVP awards in the former ABA: Mel Daniels in 1969 and 1971, and George McGinnis in 1975. McGinnis shared the award with Julius Erving of the New York Nets.

Catchings said the first person she called to deliver the news was her sister, Tauja. She also told her parents, Harvey and Wanda, and brother, Kenyon.

Catchings conceded others wanted her to be MVP more than she did herself.

“When it comes out, my phone is going to go off the chain, I know that,” she said. “People are going to be so happy.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Class Act

From the South Carolina Web site: When The Gamecocks women’s basketball team visits Knoxville, TN on Feb. 2, USC coach Dawn Staley plans to bring something to Tennessee coach Pat Summitt — a check.

Staley’s staff and players have formed a team to participate in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Oct. 15 at Finlay Park. They hope to raise $20,000 in honor of Summitt, who announced last month she is suffering from the onset of the terminal disease that robs sufferers of memory and body function.

“It’s a disease that will touch all of us at some point,” Staley said.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Brewer No Longer on Team

Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee head women's basketball coach, announced this afternoon that Alyssia Brewer was no longer with the Lady Vol basketball team.

"We met with Lyssi yesterday and came to an agreement that she would no longer be a member of the team," said Summitt. "She will finish this semester at UT and we will help her if she'd like to transfer to another school."

Brewer, a 6'3" senior from Sapulpa, Okla., averaged 2.9 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 10.0 minutes per outing in 20 games as a junior. She earned seven starting assignments after coming back from a torn Achilles tendon suffered before the start of the 2010-11 season.

During her career, she scored 599 points (6.9 ppg) and grabbed 396 rebounds (4.6 rpg) while appearing in 87 games and starting 20 contests.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2012 SEC Women's Hoops Tournament Information Announced

The SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament makes a return trip to Nashville, Tenn. and the Bridgestone Arena in 2012. This is the fifth time the tournament has been held in Nashville. Previous tournaments held there are 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2011.

The winner of the 11-game tournament will receive the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. The tournament seeds and conference champion will be determined by the 16-game regular-season SEC schedule. The top four seeds earn a first-round bye.

The 2012 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament will once again enjoy live television coverage. FSN continues its dedication to SEC events by televising all first round and all second round games. The semifinals will be aired on ESPNU for the second consecutive year, while the championship game will again be televised on ESPN2.

Public tickets for this year’s event will go on sale October 4 and can be purchased through the SEC website or by calling 1-800-732-4849.

Prices are: reserved tournament book, $90; reserved single-session (six sessions total), $17; and general admission single-session, $12 (can only be purchased day of event at arena box office).

Below is the schedule with game times for the 2012 SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament:


Thursday, March 1

Noon Game 1 - Seed #8 vs. Seed #9 FSN

2:30 p.m. Game 2 - Seed #7 vs. Seed #10 FSN

6:30 p.m. Game 3 - Seed #5 vs. Seed #12 FSN

9:00 p.m. Game 4 - Seed #6 vs. Seed #11 FSN


Friday, March 2

Noon Game 5 - Seed #1 vs. Game 1 winner FSN

2:30 p.m. Game 6 - Seed #2 vs. Game 2 winner FSN

6:30 p.m. Game 7 - Seed #4 vs. Game 3 winner FSN

9:00 p.m. Game 8 - Seed #3 vs. Game 4 winner FSN


Saturday, March 3

3:00 p.m. Game 9 - Game 5 winner vs. Game 7 winner ESPNU

5:00 p.m. Game 10 - Game 6 winner vs. Game 8 winner ESPNU


Sunday, March 4

5:00 p.m. Game 11 - Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner ESPN2

All times CENTRAL and subject to change. FSN - SportSouth; FS Southwest; Sun Sport

Thursday, September 01, 2011

"We Back Pat" T-shirt

The University of Tennessee Athletic Department is proud to announce the official "WE BACK PAT" t-shirt. All proceeds from the sale of these shirts will benefit Alzheimer's Tennessee as well as UT Medical Center.

At Coach Summitt's request, the funds generated from the sale of these shirts (as well as other official items) will be applied to research and programs related to Alzheimer's disease here in the state of Tennessee.

The UT Bookstore, the Official Team Shop of Tennessee Athletics, will have the shirts available starting Saturday, September 3. Shirts may also be purchased online at beginning Friday, Sept. 2.

Future official events and news related to the "WE BACK PAT" campaign will be made by the Tennessee Athletic Department.

Link to purchase the "We Back Pat" T-shirt.

"We Back Pat" campaign launches

ennessee fans are united behind Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt in her fight against early onset Alzheimer's, and now you can sport a new t-shirt to show your support.

The UT Athletics Department has launched a new campaign called "We Back Pat." It will benefit Alzheimer's Tennessee and UT Medical Center.

Lady Vols coach reveals she has early onset Alzheimer's

The shirts are $10 and proceeds from the "We Back Pat" T-shirt and other items that are being developed will go directly to fund cutting-edge Alzheimer's research as well as fund Alzheimer's programs right here in Tennessee.

You can get your shirt right now at the UT Book and Supply store, and starting Monday, you can order them online at the WBIR General Store. Soon, they will be available at other retailers around town.

Also, keep your eye out for other official events for "We Back Pat" throughout the year.