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WNBA: We've got next

By Brian Howard

Last week, I was flipping through the channels late at night and stumbled across SportsCenter on ESPN.

After watching for about 15 minutes, I found highlights of a WNBA playoff game that was burried 45 minutes into the show.

So, that got me thinking about the WNBA. Am I mocking the league? You bet I am.

But, before many assume that I am a pig and only care about men's sports, read on and see what I mean about mocking the league.

You see, I am by no means a pig. I love women's college basketball and girls high school basketball, but when it comes to the WNBA, I simply can't get into it.

I mean, let's take the coaches in the league. Bill Laimbeer was once coaching in the WNBA. Is he really in need of some money? I mean he is no Pat Summitt.

Summitt reminds me of Darth Vader as a women's college basketball coach.

Although Laimbeer is just one name, I can't name another coach in the league. Heck, did anyone notice that the finals are taking place. You know, the Sacramento Monarchs/Connecticut Sun series. Boy, can you smell the excitment in the air? At least one Sacramento team made it to the finals. I mean, the Kings or shall I say Queens (Thanks Shaq) came close.

The WNBA is plain. There is nothing there. The players are obsolete and before one were to start with me, I would simply ask, can you name at least 10 players in the league?

I can name Diana Taurasi. Hey, she is a player for sure and not bad looking in a dress either. The only reason I can remember her is because she played at Connecticut and won a bunch of national titles.

I asked this question to a few people last week and they gave the standard answer - Rebecca Lobo. Here is a trivia question. ... What college and WNBA team did Lobo play for?

She went to Connecticut and was drafted by the New York Liberty.

Hey, I am no genius, but Lobo is VH1's version of WNBA players' "where are they now".

I am not here to knock the league. The reason why nobody cares and nobody knows these players is because the league doesn't know how to market themselves.

The very first year, I watched a few games, including the one-game final. Was I intrigued in the league, maybe, but it was the slogan that got me hooked.

"We've got next."

The league did things different. A summer season that had a short schedule and a one-game final. Can you imagine the NBA going to a one-game final at a neutral area? I mean that would be a dream come true. Instead of the playoffs starting in mid April and running until the beginning of July, the season would be over a month earlier.

The WNBA isn't the only league that finds it hard to market themselves. Take Hockey, a traditional Canadian sport. When the strike happened, nobody cared that Hockey was gone. Nobody went home and said I need to catch the Detroit Red Wings-Colorado Avalanche game.

The reason why NASCAR, NFL and Major League Baseball are so popular is because they know how to market their product. The NBA can market players, like LeBron James, Shaq and Kobe "I just cheated on my wife" Bryant.

I am a huge college fan.

I covered the Peach Belt Conference for two years and after watching women's basketball in the league, I can say that those players are good, and if they went to a Division I school, they would be a good role players.

The WNBA still has a long way to go to become popular among fans. But until something is done about the WNBA from a marketing standpoint, the league will remain the same, plain and boring.

(Brian Howard is a sports writer for the Daily and his column will run weekly on Wednesday's. He can be reached at bhoward@news-daily.com )