WNBA president prevaricates on league issues

By Charles Hallman

Someone on Twitter recently complained that WNBA President Lisa Borders has mainly adopted a “cheerleading” posture rather than providing real answers on several hot topics facing the league. In her September 7 press conference transcripts, Borders seemed to dance around nearly every topic asked by reporters in Seattle, where the 2018 Finals began.

On revenue sharing between the W owners and players, an oft-discussed topic by the latter during the season: “We are happy to have an open and informed conversation,” Madame President stated. “We are very different from all the other leagues. We do not have the revenues today to support greater revenue sharing with our players.”

On charter flights for teams to travel to games in light of the Las Vegas problem that ultimately cost them a game by forfeit: “We are always happy to talk about any topic that our players want to talk about or that our business needs to address because that’s the smart thing to do,” Borders responded.

“We don’t have the revenue today to support charter travel,” she declared. “Today charter travel is prohibitively expensive for our league. It will come in due course, but not today.”

On set broadcast times for WNBA games on ESPN, which has too often this season bounced telecasts around their various channels and kept fans and others bewildered: “It’s coming, but it does take time,” the league president stressed.

Borders mostly relied on well-worn themes such as her frequent reminders of the vast age differences between her league and the NBA, its founding father. “I remind you that the NBA is 72. We are the youngest at 22 years of age,” she continued. “We’re excited that we’re 22, but we know that there are lots of women’s professional leagues who never made it to 10 or 15 or 20.”

Lisa Borders, chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation, made introductory remarks at the panel on "Social Justice in the 21st Century: Empowering Minds, Changing Hearts and Inspiring Service." Photo by Marsha Miller.Marsha Miller
Lisa Borders, chair of the Coca-Cola Foundation, made introductory remarks at the panel on “Social Justice in the 21st Century: Empowering Minds, Changing Hearts and Inspiring Service.”

However, as some predict that the WNBA players will decide to opt out of the current CBA later this fall, Borders concluded her Finals press conference in her usual cheerleading fashion.  “We love, love, love our players. We are very, very honored to have the privilege of running this league and watching these women play and live out their dreams on and off the court,” she said.

Finals high points

With Game three set for Wednesday in Washington, and Seattle up two games to none in the best-of-five championship series, the Storm have won seven straight Finals games (2004, 2010, 2018) and six straight home victories (2004, 2010, 2018). Both are the most in Finals history.

Natasha Howard, who played the last two seasons in Minnesota and was named the league’s Most Improved Player earlier this month, is now in eighth place in Finals games played. She is expected to play in her 17th contest Wednesday against the Mystics.

Washington Mystics rookie forward Ariel Atkins surpassed the Lynx’s Maya Moore for most points scored by a rookie in a single postseason: Moore scored 110 points in 2011, and Atkins now has 128 points.

Atkins, Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson, and Diamond DeShields of Chicago were three unanimous selections who received the maximum 11 votes from the league’s 12 head coaches — who can’t vote for their own players — and made the 2018 All-Rookie Team. Azura Stevens (Dallas) and Kelsey Mitchell (Indiana) also made the squad.

This article originally appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

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