Last night, with a win over the South Carolina Gamecocks, the University of Connecticut Women’s Basketball Team extended its already epic win streak to 100 wins. That 100th win encompasses more than two straight years of victories, the vast majority of which were earned by beating opponents by 40 or more points. It surpasses the team’s old streak of 90 games by a nice round number of 10 and beats the longest win streak by a men’s college basketball team by twelve. The Huskies have weathered injuries, close calls and changes in talent to reach this unprecedented mark. It’s truly awe-striking.
The 2016-2017 season is shaping up to be one of the best years for women’s college basketball. There have been really good games so far and it’s only going to get better from here. The New Year means conference play time and time to start thinking about March Madness. Now, GladiatHers®, I know what you’re thinking- you haven’t seen many games this year and you’re not sure who is mixing up the scene now that the 3 Super Giants, Moriah Jefferson, Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck, are gone. And I know you don’t want to get your predictions wrong, especially after last year’s unpredictable Final Four. Well, I’m here to help. Remember these names when drawing up your brackets in March and as you watch women’s basketball in 2017…
Right now it may be difficult to avoid thinking about how racism and sexism continue to permeate American society. But in the midst of political and social upheaval, it’s so very important that we also focus our energy on women and people of color who are winning in spite of powers hell-bent of their suppression. So today we bring you the story of and interview with LaChina Robinson. LaChina is a former standout Wake Forest basketball player. After a successful career in college basketball, LaChina transitioned into sports broadcasting. With a laser focus on expanding the coverage of and respect for women’s basketball, LaChina has firmly cemented herself as a force to be reckoned with. She is a reporter and analyst for NCAA and WNBA basketball with the ESPN family, FOX Sports and NBA TV; and she hosts espnW’s “Around the Rim” podcast. Beyond talk of women’s basketball, LaChina is a woman of substance. As she grows her brand she is careful to offer a helping hand to those who come after her and quick to credit her success to a higher power. Meet LaChina Robinson. Continue reading
If you read this blog with any sort of regularity, and by now you definitely should be, you know that I played sports for practically my entire childhood and until I graduated from college. I played tennis through college, ran track until I got to college and played soccer up until I got to high school. Last week, Megan Rapinoe, women from the Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury and other women in sports took knees during the National Anthem in protest of racial injustices in the United States. Watching these women and reading the comments sections (note to reader: never read the comments section) under articles about these women took me back to the days where my athletic prowess was on fleek. What dawned on me was that I don’t ever remember having the National Anthem played or flag raised at any of my events. Now maybe my 32-year-old mind is leaving out an occasional occurrence, but I can say with absolute certainty that it was nowhere near routine for the National Anthem to be played or flag to be acknowledged at the tennis matches, track meets or soccer games that I played in from my childhood to early adulthood. But the way Americans have reacted to a handful of athletes kneeling for the Anthem suggests that reverence for Old Glory before sporting events is a time-honored, almost mandatory tradition. So how was I robbed of such a large part of American culture for so long?
The Olympics have come and gone. I must say, aside from Ryan Lochte’s full-on frat bro display of stupidity and utter disrespect, I enjoyed what I saw. I was unquestionably entertained and inspired. I actually think that it’s the inspiration piece that really makes the Olympics so great. Not only are athletes providing entertainment and bragging rights, but they’re using their lives’ work to inspire and teach millions of people. That’s why we wait in anticipation and watch without flinching every four years; we want to be inspired and be taught to be better than we were yesterday. Through the Olympics we learn about true perseverance, love, dedication and talent. We learn just how much each athlete has to give up for the opportunity to represent their country, and we’re inspired to give a little more of ourselves.
We all grow up with certain expectations in life. We have ideas about what careers we’ll have, who we’ll marry, how many kids we’ll have…what our adult lives will generally look like. On the road to adulthood and living our fairytale lives, however, there are often unexpected events that shift our focus and our expectations. Sometimes those shifts have us doing things we never thought we would and living lives that don’t match our original expectations. But very miraculously, those unexpected events place us exactly where we should be, doing exactly what we were designed to do. That’s pretty much the story of this month’s GladiatHer® Wives feature. If you asked Courtney Ajinça when she was sixteen what she’d be doing when she was twenty-eight, I doubt that she would have told you she’d be an event planner who balances life as an NBA wife and mother. But that’s where she is and it suits her in a might fine way. Don’t believe me, just take a peek.
Today we have our second addition to our newest feature, GladiatHer Grads, and she’s a dynamic sports writer who’s taken her passion for dance and people to help carve out a growing career in the sports industry that improves on the lives of others. Meet Nicole Powell!