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Tammy Sutton-Brown – Canada’s WNBA Queen



As young teenagers most of us have no clue as to what our destiny in life is going to be. However at the age of 13, and at a height of 6-feet, Tammy Sutton-Brown’s destiny stood right in front of her. Just by taking one look at the lanky Markham, Ontario native, you knew she was going to be a ball player – and an imposing one at that.

Surprisingly, with all of her height, basketball was never at the top of Tammy’s list until she joined the Markham Basketball League in the 8th grade. It was there that the coach of Markham District high school saw her play and asked her if she would be interested in competing for his program.

“Being a part of the Markham program exposed me to a lot of different things related to the game, such as tournaments and club ball. It was this exposure that really got my career off the ground.”
It really didn’t hit Sutton-Brown that she had the potential to continue playing at the post-secondary level until her junior year. Letters started pouring in, and U.S. coaches began making trips across the border to watch her play. It was no surprise that Tammy attracted all of this attention. During her entire four years in Markham, she led the high school to the regional championships each year as well as leading her club team to back-to-back provincial silver medals in 1992 and 1993.

In 1997, it was time for Tammy to decide which college she would attend. This was not an easy task as she had to sort through all of her recruiting letters from schools such as Michigan, Iowa, Vermont and SMU (Dallas). However, it was Coach Vivian Stringer, from Rutgers University (Big East Conference) that really caught Tammy’s attention.

“During Coach Stringer’s home visit, she really got her vision across to not only me but to my parents. They loved Coach and her vision of the program ‘being the jewel of the east’. It was the whole family atmosphere that made me take that visit to Rutgers. I got along with the girls and liked the university…everything just seemed to fit.”

For the next four years, Tammy played for the Scarlet Knights and in the process racked up many accolades. For three consecutive years, she was named Rutgers Most Improved Player. During her junior year, she was named to the Big East All-Tournament team; she led the team in blocks, field goal percentage and was ranked third in scoring and rebounding.

In her senior year, Sutton-Brown became a finalist for the National Player of the year award, while helping her team make it past the first round of the NCAA tournament after posting a 23-8 record. With her imposing height and strong all-around game, it was no wonder that the WNBA came knocking on Tammy’s door.

In 2001, Tammy Sutton-Brown became the second Canadian to be drafted into the WNBA. With the 18th overall pick, the Charlotte Sting selected the 6-4 center to their squad. During her rookie season, Tammy and the Sting made it all the way to the WNBA Finals against the Los Angeles Sparks. Although the Sting fell to the Sparks in the best of 3 series, Sutton-Brown showed that she was able to compete at the next level by causing match-up problems for league MVP Lisa Leslie.

After having a great rookie season with the Sting, Tammy became a force to be reckoned with. She improved her rookie numbers in the 2002 season as she posted 12.6 points per contest and snatched down 6.9 rebounds in the process. Sutton-Brown also finished fourth in the WNBA in field goal percentage (.530) and was selected as a WNBA All-Star.

Entering her fifth season with the Sting, Tammy has shown her durability by playing in all 129 career games which has allowed her to become the all-time leader in blocked shots (196) in franchise history. She hopes to improve on her 2004 season stats where she averaged 9.6 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.1 swats. Tammy also hopes that the team will improve on last year’s performance by making the playoffs after a sub-par season which landed the Sting the number one overall pick in the recent WNBA draft.

“Unfortunately we did not make playoffs, and the first 3 years I had been there we did, so last year was kind of a set back. The first thing we want to do is get back there, win the eastern conference and then hopefully the championship.”

Many might question how a Markham native was able to compete at such a high-calibre level, but for Sutton-Brown the answer is clear. Four years of playing with the Rutgers squad has taken her to unprecedented levels in her professional career with the WNBA. Tammy humbly gives all credit to her Rutgers mentor, Coach Stringer, for giving her the confidence and the ability to compete at the next level.

“She completely prepared me for my professional, career,” Sutton-Brown said in regards to the impact that Coach Stringer has had. “The great thing about Coach Stringer is that not only is she a basketball coach; she tries to blend in life lessons as well. Now 4 years out of Rutgers I look back at the things she did and I understand how she was trying to instill discipline and competitiveness in myself and my teammates.”
It is this type of discipline that has given Tammy the confidence to play her game in the WNBA and continue the style of play that brought her success at Rutgers.

While the WNBA has been the focal point of Tammy Sutton-Brown’s pro basketball career, she has also gained valuable experience by playing in professional leagues outside of North America. During the past four off-seasons, Tammy has played professional basketball in Russia as well as Korea. Since the WNBA season is only 3-months long, Tammy has kept in shape and improved her skills by continuing to compete overseas.

“Playing overseas was a big adjustment, the culture was very different, but the basketball pretty much remained the same. The style of play and the talent overseas really helped me prepare for this upcoming WNBA season.”

In addition to playing internationally, Tammy had the opportunity to represent her country on a national scale. In 2000, Sutton-Brown got to experience an event like no other – along with her teammates, Tammy represented Canada in the 2000 Sidney Olympics.

“Up to today, that was probably the best experience that I’ve ever had. Just being able to say that I played in the Olympic Games is just surreal. You grow up watching the Olympics and seeing all of the competitors, and being there makes you know just how much hard work it takes to get there. It was incredible!”

Although Tammy averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds at the games, Canada finished 10th overall in the standings. Tammy had hoped to improve on her performance at the next Olympics; however Canada failed to qualify for the 2004 games in Athens. With so much talent in Canada, Sutton-Brown hopes that the team will do well at the world qualifiers being held later this year, and eventually play at the 2008 games in Beijing.
As the WNBA gets ready to kick off their 9th season on May 21, Tammy Sutton-Brown is looking forward to the challenge as well as having the endless opportunity to encourage other young women so they too may reach this stage.

As one of the greatest Canadian representatives to play the game, Sutton-Brown has become a role model for all female players looking to get to the next level. Tammy knows that the WNBA has been a major factor in inspiring young women to play the game, and hopes that the league will continue to grow and develop as each season goes by.
“I think the positive part about the WNBA is that they have added a new team to the league for the 2006 season, and I know that this is an indication of growth for the league and more importantly for women’s basketball.”

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Gray Jumper Lifts Sparks Over Lynx In WNBA Finals Game 1




Last years to the wire WNBA Finals between the reigning champion Los Angeles Sparks and the then defending one the Minnesota Lynx ended with a clutch, game and series winning basket. This years rematch between the two teams by the end of the fourth quarter began the same way.

But this time it was reigning WNBA Finals MVP Candace Parker siren screaming in woman of the moment Chelsea Gray’s ear, as her L.A. teammate’s last second shot at the buzzer sparked Los Angeles’ other purple and gold team over the Minnesota Lynx. As they sealed Game 1 with a big escape out of Minny, 85-84.

14 seconds and a shade under 2 seconds was all Gray needed to put the game and the series advantage away for a finals that will determine who the real great WNBA champion truly is. Expect this one to go the distance too between these two evenly matched teams as the Sparks 28-2 advantage in the first quarter (shadowed by another Gray three) and 78-66 one in the fourth was erased to a next basket wins end of the final quarter and first finals game.

“All athletes dream of that moment” Chelsea told reporters afterwards as she capped off a career high 27 points with the greatest moment of her WNBA conception. Doing what fellow L.A. Spark Alana Beard did at STAPLES in Game 1 of last years WNBA Finals versus the Lynx. These razor edge close shaves really keep mirroring each other and if this is the case then things are looking good for the Sparks on reflection.

Superstar leader Candace Parker added a double/double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Sparks, whilst Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx played with her own 22 and 13. But it was Maya Moore who paced Minnesota with 27 points as the Lynx turned a 26 point deficit to an 84-83 advantage with 6.5 on the clock remaining.

Despite foul trouble against Fowles and co, Los Angeles WNBA MVP of last season Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points against the Lynx along with Odyssey Sims’ 16. Whilst Minnesota’s Simone Augustus countered with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against the Sparks in a contest for a series that proves to be an evenly matched, balanced attack.

But there was a subplot to this storied rivals next episode as these WNBA players responded to President Donald Trump’s call for the NFL to fire players who don’t stand for the national anthem and his refusal to invite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House following Steph Curry’s decision not to attend the traditional victory visit. As the Lynx players linked arms at home for the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, the Sparks road team left the floor only to return to a chorus of boo’s before they made another silencing statement.

And this is only the beginning.

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The Sky Is Not The Limit…Delle Donne To D.C.



Elena Delle Donne

Strange. Call it part of the Mystic arts, but former WNBA MVP and the league of great expectations greatest player Elena Dell Donne is done with her Sky high-time in the Windy City of Chicago.

Just when Chi-town thought they had enough problems with the big beef amongst the Bulls trip of superstars Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo-not to mention the rest of the team-the town lost another superstar with their former champion sister franchise.

D.D. now finds herself in D.C. just when you thought people wouldn’t want to lay a foundation in this city unless it was with a placard or picket. Still trumping all of that ignorance in a sexist and misogynstic world, Elena looks to take Washington to new heights. Making an exclamation for the capital city for these States of America that need to remain United.

Traded to the Washigton Mystics to what on paper remains a mystery this Olympian who lead the womens national Team USA to the Gold like McConaughey in Brazil for the 2016 Rio games last Summer. But on the print of tabloids like the Tribune it was clear to read that Delle Donne was about to leave Chicago for clearer skies. Whether times where turbulent in the city of wind for their Captain Marvel was as unclear as this whole Butler and Wade vs Rondo mess, but in this Golden State age of player power it was clear Elena was about to go all Kevin Durant on the Oklahoma City Thunder. She announced it herself. And fair play to somone who allowed the Sky to prepare for whatever the weather with her free agent forecast.

And before she became truly unrestricted Chicago wanted to make sure they got some soldiers in return for their Warrior…and oh did they. The Sky have acquired All-Star Stefanie Dolson, number 7 pick in last years draft Kahleah Copper to the brass and the wind of whoever comes in at the number 2 spot in a future draft for this Summer season.

Three for the price of one is an offer you can’t even get in stores but then again Delle Donne is one of a kind. Maybe in a million…at least in a Hall of Fame. Because when it’s all said and done Elena Delle Donne will go down as one of the greatest to ever play this game (and we’re not just talking about the womens game). We’re talking top 10 for this number 11.

Chicago may have some top draft picks for future faces for their blue skies but Washington have their number one and we’re not talking about the White House. The House of Guards has someone even bigger calling Verizon home now the Mystics have pulled off and out a magic trick of the wand that could even spellbind a Wizard.

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Sparks’ Magic Fires Up L.A.’s First WNBA Championship In 14 Years



La Sp Sparks Lynx Finals 20161020 Sna

11 lead changes and 1 point highlighted just how little was between the two WNBA franchises who both started the season with 11 game unbeatable runs until they met each other.

Not to mention a full five game series, tied at two games a piece.

But as this seasons MVP Nneka Ogwumike hit a clutch basket with 3.1 seconds to go that was all she wrote folks as the Los Angeles Sparks clinched their first WNBA title in 14 years over the Minnesota Lynx, behind Finals MVP Candace Parker’s 28 points and 12 rebounds.

And to think this dynamic duo was left off the 2016 Gold Medal winning Olympic team that took Rio by storm.

But in the end the Minnesota Lynx’s Team USA stars Maya Moore, Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles (who Mamba mentality played through the Kobe like pain of a dislocated finger popped back in place), who haven’t had a break all season, couldn’t keep up with two Most Valuable Superstars who had some doubters to disprove.

Maya Moore may have had more points with 23 and 11 rebounds but Nneka’s 12 and 12 iced by her game winning bucket she put back after the Sparks spilled a couple of shots in the paint was so much more. Dethroning the defending champ Lynx who have been in five WNBA Finals in the last six seasons, winning three of them.

NBA purple and gold brotherhood, Los Angeles Lakers legend and Sparks owner Magic Johnson couldn’t have been prouder of Candace as he held her in an emotional embrace postgame (Candace herself getting choked up with a tearful tribute, dedicating the win and championship to late, legendary coach and mentor Pat Summitt) after watching her put on a show. “Thank you so much” she cried, as Earvin earnestly replied, “you did what you do”! High praise from NBA histories selfless G.O.A.T. The majority owner of MLB’s Dodgers will be looking for another big hit from L.A. sports before the young Brandon Ingram, D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson Lakers take to the plate and do their thing. But right now he’s just watched his Sparks step up and knock it out the park.

Giving the Lynx three strikes infront of Minnesota Timberwolves future Karl Anthony-Townes, Andrew Wiggins, Zach Lavine and Ricky Rubio in homestand support, the Sparks were plugged by more than their new smooth and silk duo that is all fire and ice. From Alana Beard’s game one net cutting winner to Chelsea Gray handling this 11 lead change game with 11 of her own consecutive points in the fourth to ignite the Sparks’ comeback before the game faded to black and backboard red.

As we watched all this teamwork accept what it means to be great we bore witness to not one, but two teams who could rule the WNBA for many seasons and finals to come like the mens Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Minnesota Lynx have been here for years, but not since the days of 20 for 20 leading legend Lisa Leslie have the purple L.A. team seen this much gold.

This Spark has started a fire.

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