Cappie Pondexter may have not been a fit with the Los Angeles Sparx, who cut ties with her earlier this month, but she is becoming a factor for her new team, the Indiana Fever.
Pondexter, one of the league’s all-time greats, is now on a struggling team, but her influence is having an impact on her teammates, as was the case when Indiana proved to be a tough matchup for the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx.
“We came in the huddle and everyone was slumped,” Indiana forward Natalie Achonwa said. “Cappie was like, ‘It’s a tie game.’ That just got us sitting back up. Just because a couple of possessions go wrong doesn’t mean we’re not engaged.”
“We had the momentum from the start of the game,” Pondexter said. “[The Lynx] were on their heels. Sometimes you have to remind them the game is about runs. You’re going to have good runs and bad runs. You have to remember the momentum is on our side. Small things like that.”
Indiana coach Pokey Chatman, who coached Pondexter with the Chicago Sky from 2015-16, knew what the veteran brought to the table and immediately worked to bring her into the fold.
“Cappie’s an experienced player who knows how to compete at the highest level,” Chatman said. “She knows how to start a game and close out quarters. Just that experience. Having to learn under the lights and learn how to practice. … It’s one thing for me to show them on video after the fact. It’s nice to have someone on the bench speaking the same language, and on the court doing the same things.”
Pondexter has spent enough time in the WNBA to understand the business side of it, as she understood the Sparx’s decision to release her.
“It’s a business at the end of the day,” she said in the visitor’s locker room at Target Center. “If you focus on the past, you can’t really step into future. I’m 13 years in [the league]. I understand it’s a business. I understand the organization had to do what was best for the team. At the same time, this organization had to do the same thing.
“I wasn’t frustrated at all. I was told to trust [Agler], and that’s what I did. It is what it is. Now I’m in Indiana, and when Pokey calls me and plays me, I’m ready. I’m fresh. I didn’t play the first half of the season. … I’ve still got a lot to contribute.”
Indiana has a refocused and re-energized Pondexter moving forward.
“I’m 35 years old,” Pondexter said, “but I’m a 21-year-old at heart.”
Sun Trade Kristine Anigwe to Wings for Theresa Plaisance
The Connecticut Sun had acquired forward/center Theresa Plaisance from the Dallas Wings in exchange for rookie forward/center Kristine Anigwe, according to ESPN.
“Theresa is a talented, versatile offensive player and is considered one of the best stretch post players in the league. She is someone who we have targeted for a few seasons and we are excited to have her with us. Theresa gives us an experienced, young veteran presence who has a tremendous reputation across the league as a fantastic teammate and unifier in the locker room,” Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said in an official statement.
Plaisance is averaging 6 points and 4.4 rebounds for the Wings this season and is second among centers with 23 made 3-pointers this year.
Mystics’ Elena Delle Donne Partners with PETA
Washington Mystics’ superstar Elena Delle Donne has teamed up with PETA in an effort to raise awareness on adopting shelter dogs in an ad campaign.
“My wife had adopted Rasta when she was in college. And I was lucky enough to meet Rasta at age 4, and now she’s my daughter, too.” Delle Donne said (h/t ESPN). “They are the greatest part of our family. Coming home and being able to see their excited faces and their wagging tails — it just kind of erases anything that didn’t go so great in the day.”
“There are so many animals … in need of homes,” Delle Donne said. “Just look at their sweet little faces and their kind hearts, and you can just make their life by bringing them home and giving them a caring family to be around.”
Mercury’s Diana Taurasi Criticizes WNBA
Phoenix Mercury superstar and WNBA legend Diana Taurasi is taking aim at how the WNBA is marketing their game, and their players, as well as how players are getting paid, and how the league treats it’s players.
Basically, Taurasi isn’t happy with how the WNBA operates as a whole, and isn’t shy about sharing her opinion.
“It’s just so sad to me. You know, 15 years in, it’s just such a sad thing to talk about” Taurasi said when discussing the pay disparity in the league, according to ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss.
“We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalists, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in sixth grade. And even then, even within our pay scale, it doesn’t make sense. On a team, you could have seven players making the same amount of money. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
“Something’s missing. I don’t know. I don’t know what the solution is. But what’s going on now, it’s not working. And I use an example of when B.G. [Brittney Griner] was a rookie, she was walking in this arena, and the janitor was making more money than her. But you want Brittney Griner to be this superstar and carry the league into where? The kid’s got to go to Russia [in the offseason] for the next 10 years to get paid what she deserves.
And it’s just shocking to me, as we have the NBA as the best model ever. But the WNBA always finds a way to mess it up. I just don’t get it. I’m so disillusioned with it all … not because of what I had to go through, but for the younger kids. When you’re in it, when you’re playing and you’re young, you don’t worry about these things. You’re just so worried about proving yourself and getting to the playoffs, being a better basketball player.
But when you get older, like Sue [Bird] and I, we start thinking about these things, like it’s been 15 years. I think Sue said it best. In the last 11 years, I think we’ve had a 1.5% increase in our pay salary. I mean, who doesn’t leave that job? It’s like [Lionel] Messi. You play for Barcelona, and then you go back to Argentina and play in a YMCA league because you love the game. And you know what? We come back every single summer because we love the game. It’s pathetic.”
Taurasi says that the WNBA simply doesn’t care that players have to go overseas to play and make money, and noted that a contentious CBA negotiation is likely to take place because of these, and many other, issues.
Of those other issues, Taurasi isn’t thrilled with how the WNBA has marketed the game, or it’s superstars.
“Once again, I just don’t understand how the NBA has made rock stars out of their best players … if you think about what they’ve been able to do marketing-wise. And obviously it started with Magic and Larry and Isiah, and then obviously Jordan took it to the next level. And then you had Kobe, Shaq, and now you have LeBron, Harden, Steph, Durant.
They’ve made rock stars out of these players. And we just have not been able to capitalize on any of that. Not even a little bit. Not even one bit. Like, are you kidding me with some of the stuff that they do marketing and promoting-wise? It’s almost mind-boggling.”
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