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The Women’s College World Series attracts more viewers every year. As the hype of college softball increases, so does the presence of up-and-coming Black superstars.

This year, as eight teams headed to Oklahoma City, there were many storylines: Oklahoma looking for its fourth consecutive national championship; Texas leading the pack as the No. 1 seed; and the underdog ACC champion Duke, which made history in its first WCWS appearance.

With so many storylines, it’s a moment to acknowledge the standout Black talent in Oklahoma City.

Duke coach Marissa Young became the first Black coach to compete at the WCWS. The tournament became an official NCAA championship during the 1981-82 season in 1981, the same year Young was born. She has accomplished arguably one of the largest milestones in her career as the first Black coach on softball’s biggest stage.

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“I didn’t have that as something to see growing up, and obviously taking the job here I understood that I had an opportunity to do something that has never been done,” Young said. “I love just looking at our team and all the diversity, and everything that we stand for is really special, and I hope that it continues to open up doors for others both in the professional setting but also for players that want to play at this level.”

The 2024 ACC Pitcher of the Year, Jala Wright, a senior, led the Blue Devils and Young to historic feats with her career ending in Oklahoma City. With her signature pitching stance, her long blond braids and her overall dominance, Wright has left her mark on college softball.

“You see me with the braids, the lashes, the swag, the unapologeticness of myself and like women of color, we can do it too,” Wright said. “This is a game all about just if you have talent, it shouldn’t matter the color of your skin, so if you’re a Black girl and you feel like you can dominate, play the damn game.”

Although the Blue Devils’ season ended May 31 against reigning national champion Oklahoma, Wright’s legacy continues.

Another standout pitcher this season was USA Collegiate Softball Player of the Year, NiJaree Canady. For the second consecutive year, Canady led the Stanford Cardinal deep into the postseason, and the team went to the semifinals of the WCWS. Canaday is known for her lethal rise ball and post-strikeout celebration stomp.

Canady ended her sophomore year with a ERA of 0.73 and an overall career ERA of 0.67, meaning that each game, there was an average of less than one earned run scored.

“Her competitiveness is the piece that continues to awe me every single day. Her skill set is unique, but really just the way she competes sets her apart. I’ve never seen a situation that she backs down from,” Stanford coach Jessica Allister said after their season-ending loss against Texas.

Canady and the Cardinal ended the season of a familiar Pac-12 foe, UCLA, in Oklahoma City. A mainstay in UCLA’s line up has been senior infielder Maya Brady, whose explosive bat and versatility earned her Pac-12 Player of the Year honors twice. Outstanding athletic achievement runs in the family: her uncle is seven-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady and her mother, Maureen, was an All-American at Fresno State.

“She is a fierce ball player but she is such a respected and loved leader on this team and she left her mark on the game,” UCLA coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. “Everybody loved to watch her play because she is just one swing away from just adding to the numbers, but if you knew her, it’s so much more than that.”

In the championship series at the WCWS, Oklahoma’s now four-time national champion Jayda Coleman and Texas’ Mia Scott, one of the vital components in the Longhorns’ runner up finish in 2022, went head-to-head for the championship.

In the championship series, Scott led her team in all hitting categories and was named to the 2024 All-Tournament team. With some amazing plays in OKC, including a show-stopping catch in the semifinals against Florida, Scott is just a junior and will have one more year on her quest to win a national championship.

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That was close 😅 #Texas #Longhorns #softball #WCWS

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On the other hand, Coleman will leave college only knowing what it’s like to win a national championship. She has been the starting outfielder behind every national championship win of her career, with some brief appearances playing first base her freshman year. Joined by other standout athletes like outfielder Riley Boone and first basemen Cydnee Sanders, the Sooners were unbeatable in the championship series.

Whether it’s a SportsCenter Top 10 catch from Scott or a walk-off home run from Coleman, these athletes have the ability to change a game with one play, and watching them face off in the championship series was a culmination of all the Black talent that was represented in Oklahoma City this year.

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By: Cayla Sweazie
Title: Women’s College World Series showcases Black softball talent
Sourced From: andscape.com/features/womens-college-world-series-showcases-black-softball-talent/
Published Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2024 15:21:59 +0000

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Adam Silver says the NBA may be ‘past the point’ of having a competitive all-star game

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Adam Silver says the NBA may be ‘past the point’ of having a competitive all-star game – originally posted on Sportslens.com

A hot discussion topic around the NBA over the last few years has been the overall product of the all-star game. In the past, the competition level in the all-star game has come into question. Specifically, on defense. The all-star game has turned into a glorified three-point and dunk contest. Not what fans want to see. 

Ahead of Game 3 in the 2024 NBA Finals last night, the NBA Commissioner sat down with the NBA Countdown desk. Silver was asked if any changes could be made to improve the all-star game. Reluctantly, the Commissioner noted that players don’t have any real incentive to play at a high level of competition. Has the NBA given up on trying to make the all-star game competitive again?

What can the NBA do to increase the level of competition in the annual all-star game?

ESPN’s Michael Wilbon asked Commissioner Adam Silver about the possibility of a US vs. International all-star game. He offered this idea as a way to bring a new level of competition. While Silver listened to the idea, he responded saying that the league may be past the point of making the all-star game competitive again. Silver noted that it’s hard to get players to give 100% effort in a game that has no real incentives or meaning. Additionally, players do not want to risk getting injured in an all-star game.

In 2024, the all-star game was out of hand. The league returned to the East vs. West format this season. With no defense being played in the all-star game, the East won by 25 points and scored 211 total. That’s simply not a realistic score for a basketball game no matter how talented the players are. Before this year’s all-star game, NBA legends like Larry Bird went into the locker rooms and discussed the level of competition. Despite the speech from Bird, the all-star game was an offensive showcase. Hardly any defense was played.


The most exciting part of this year’s all-star weekend was the three-point shootout between Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu from the New York Liberty. Their shootout was a refreshing twist on all-star weekend, Compared to the product they’ve been putting out of the last several years. Is there anything the NBA can do to save the all-star game? Surely Adam Silver and his colleagues will tackle that issue this offseason.

From Sportslens.com – NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB News, Rumors & Betting Picks

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By: Zach Wolpin
Title: Adam Silver says the NBA may be ‘past the point’ of having a competitive all-star game
Sourced From: sportslens.com/news/adam-silver-says-the-nba-may-be-past-the-point-of-having-a-competitive-all-star-game/
Published Date: Thu, 13 Jun 2024 14:20:59 +0000

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Adam Silver hinted at three potential cities for NBA expansion teams in the future

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Adam Silver hinted at three potential cities for NBA expansion teams in the future – originally posted on Sportslens.com

While the NBA Finals are still going on, the offseason is approaching. Twenty-eight of the league’s 30 teams are already in their offseason. Boston and Dallas are still battling for the rights to be the 2024 NBA Champions. Ahead of Game 2 on Sunday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sat down with NBC Sports Boston. 

Silver was asked about possible expansion in the NBA and where potential teams could be located. He was not able to give much detail, but Silver did mention how the NBA is working to see what is the best move for their league. Commissioner Silver mentioned Seattle, Las Vegas, and Mexico City.

When will the NBA expand the league past 30 teams?


As it stands, 29 of the 30 current teams in the NBA play in the United States. The Toronto Raptors are the only franchise not in America. What cities would be best for future NBA expansion? Talking with NBC Sports Boston, Adam Silver mentioned Seattle, Las Vegas, and Mexico City. Seattle is a market that would certainly be a fan favorite. They used to be home to the SuperSonics before the team was relocated and changed to the OKC Thunder. There’s no doubt Seattle would love to have a professional basketball team back in Washington.

There’s also Las Vegas, which would be a no-brainer. Several expansion teams have been added in other professional sports leagues. The NBA could follow their lead and make an expansion team in Nevada. Commissioner Silver also mentioned Mexico City as a possible expansion destination. The NBA has played a few games in Mexico City in the past. If made an expansion team, Mexico City would become the second team in the league not in the United States.


Expansion is not going to happen this offseason and the league needs some time to make that happen. They are currently in deep negotiations with NBC, ESPN, and Amazon for a new media rights package. Once that is all settled, then the league can start doing more research on expansion cities and teams. To keep the league at an even number, two cities will get an expansion team. One in the East and one in the West.

From Sportslens.com – NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB News, Rumors & Betting Picks

———————–

By: Zach Wolpin
Title: Adam Silver hinted at three potential cities for NBA expansion teams in the future
Sourced From: sportslens.com/news/adam-silver-hinted-at-three-potential-cities-for-nba-expansion-teams-in-the-future/
Published Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2024 17:56:25 +0000

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Yankees vs Dodgers Weekend Match Up Could Be World Series Preview

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Yankees vs Dodgers Weekend Match Up Could Be World Series Preview – originally posted on Sportslens.com

The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers entered the 2024 MLB season as two of the favorites to win the World Series, and not much has changed in that regard over the first 2+ months. Both have commanding and growing leads in their respective divisions, and are still at the top of the odds list when it comes to championship likelihood.

Yankees vs. Dodgers Could Be World Series Preview

This weekend, the two powerhouses will meet for a three-game series in New York, which could very well be a preview for this October’s World Series.

Despite being 6 games behind the Yankees and in 5th place overall when it comes to the best record in the major leagues, the Dodgers are still the heavy championship favorites. Los Angeles will enter the weekend with a +290 designation to win the World Series, given their balanced attack and brutal batting order. They are currently 8 games up in the NL West, and have the second-best record in the entire National League behind the Phillies.

The Yankees are currently in second on the World Series odds list with a number of +500, but are arguably the best team in baseball right now. They have the most wins in the majors with 45, and are one of two teams (along with the Phillies) who have yet to lose a 20th game. They’ve won 8 in a row and 19 of their last 24, and have lengthened what was the smallest division lead in the majors to 4.5 games over the Orioles.

Both Teams Are Minus Money For This Weekend’s Series Overall

When it comes to the odds for the upcoming series, both teams are listed as minus-money. The Dodgers will be the slight favorites at -115, with the Yankees coming in at -105. The pitching matchup for the first game of the series on Friday will be Yoshinobu Yamamoto against Cody Poteet.

The success of the Yankees has plenty to do with star players Aaron Judge and Juan Soto, who are listed as the two favorites to win the American League MVP award.

From Sportslens.com – NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB News, Rumors & Betting Picks

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By: Anthony R. Cardenas
Title: Yankees vs Dodgers Weekend Match Up Could Be World Series Preview
Sourced From: sportslens.com/news/yankees-vs-dodgers-weekend-match-up-could-be-world-series-preview/
Published Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2024 18:36:38 +0000

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