Chat with Mechelle Voepel
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, women's basketball writer Mechelle Voepel will stop by to chat some hoops.
Voepel has covered women's college and pro basketball for ESPN.com since 1996. Read her blog at www.mechellevoepelblog.com.
Send your questions now and join Voepel Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mechelle Voepel (2:04 PM)
Good afternoon ... it's actually kind of chilly in Kansas City today. Where did the summer go? It slipped away from me. Now we're here at nearly the end of the WNBA regular season. OK, let's get started!
Eileen (Washington, DC)
After last week's lively chat, some folks on rebkell were concerned that all that animated back and forth might scare you off. I, for one, certainly wouldn't want you to end up huddled in front of your keyboard like a glassy-eyed newt. So, I thought I'd begin today by lobbing you an easy one right down the middle of the plate. So, Mechelle, what's your favorite color?
Mechelle Voepel (2:06 PM)
Hahaha! Well, I am a glassy-eyed newt staring at a laptop most of the time, I'm afraid. But I don't mind debate. As for my favorite color: Green. I'm sure everyone has been dying to know that. :)
Are the Liberty locked into playing in Newark again next year? Any chance a swing will be taken at playing at the Barclays Center instead?
Mechelle Voepel (2:08 PM)
Liberty fans (or anybody else) can correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I thought it was one more summer at Newark unless they get the work done at MSG ahead of schedule. I don't think there was any thought of going to a different facility.
How much longer do you see Trudi at the helm in DC? What major changes can take place for the Mystics to be successful again and will this happen before the franchise folds as they can not be making any money.
Mechelle Voepel (2:15 PM)
If I thought that logical decisions were what drove the Mystics franchise, I could offer what seems like logical answers. But the truth is, this franchise threw away so much fan goodwill over the past two seasons that you could almost think they were trying to kill the team. Part of the reason you'd keep any coach or GM in a job when they have struggled for a while is that you truly think they have the long-term answers for success. But Sheila Johnson said the VERY DAY she announced they'd hired Trudi that it was a crapshoot. So at this point, is Trudi any closer to being successful "someday" than she was when she started? Is there anyone else the organization is looking at that it thinks could be a better coach?
Why would Phoenix shut down Diana Taurasi for the season, right before they play Tulsa, unless they really wanted those extra ping pong balls? They could easily quell us conspiracy theorists by shutting her down after that game, since Tulsa should almost certainly go winless the rest of the season (along with Washington in their remaining games).
Mechelle Voepel (2:19 PM)
I guess that Phoenix doesn't care about the conspiracy theories ... and unless the league president has talked to them about this topic, the Mercury probably thinks the organization doesn't have to answer to anybody but their own fans. The Merc fans seem to have accepted whatever is going on in Phoenix. Other fans/organizations are raising questions, and that's where it's the league's job to at least be monitoring the situation. Obviously with the lottery coming up so soon after the end of the season now, this topic is going to be a big one for the next two weeks.
Judith (Wash DC)
Will Notre Dame's move to the ACC be a good thing for women's basketball?
Mechelle Voepel (2:24 PM)
I don't know that it's necessarily good or bad. It just is. It will make the Big East less interesting, but it should provide more good ACC match-ups. One worry would be losing what's turned into a good rivalry between ND and UConn from a conference perspective. ND and UConn can still opt to play each other, though. I guess I've become almost numb to the conference team swapping. Does it make any sense for a school in Indiana to be in the Atlantic Coast Conference? No, but a lot of the league affiliations don't make geographic sense anymore, of course.
Judith (Wash DC)
ESPN Mag's new "Franchise" issue ranks the Washington Wizards dead last -- 122d out of all 122 NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB franchises -- when it comes to "fan relations." The Wizards and the Mystics share ownership (Ted, Sheila and their partners) and top management (Greg Bibb). This stuff isn't rocket science. Why do you think these people are failing SO badly in dealing with the folks who buy the tickets?
Mechelle Voepel (2:26 PM)
It's an attitude from the top, and then that permeates through the rest of the people in the organizations. That's why it's hard to see a lot of daylight in D.C. The mindset of the people in charge would really have to change.
With the NCAA season quickly approaching who are your top teams this year? Besides Baylor and Uconn of course.
Mechelle Voepel (2:31 PM)
Maryland and Duke in the ACC come to mind quickly. Despite the loss of Nneka, I'm not writing off Stanford. Doubt anybody else is, either. We'll have to see how well Notre Dame responds to its senior losses. I think there is a lot of potential, but also a ton of question marks, throughout the SEC. I really start concentrating more on the college season around the first of October. I'm intrigued by how well some new coaches are going to do in their programs. I actually had a dream last night I was watching Texas AM play somebody (don't know who it was) and I was thinking, "I wonder how good their defense is going to be with Vic Schaefer gone to Mississippi State?" So obviously the college season is starting to creep more into my mind. :)
Mechelle Voepel (2:35 PM)
Well, looks like a relatively easy chat this week. Next week, we'll tackle season awards, all-WNBA teams, etc. By then, I'll pretty much have to make up my mind. :) Chat with you then.