More

Star-studded event: A WNBA All-Star game for the record books, Seattle represented nicely

usatsi_13110502.jpg
USA Today Images

Star-studded event: A WNBA All-Star game for the record books, Seattle represented nicely

It came down to the wire in Las Vegas at the 2019 WNBA All-Star game as Team Wilson defeated Team Delle Donne on Saturday afternoon, 129-126.

Team Wilson, whose captain is Las Vegas Aces star A’ja Wilson, held on late to knock off Team Delle Donne, whose captain is Washington Mystics star Elena Delle Donne.

Team Wilson won and she didn’t even see the floor.

The Aces forward suffered a sprained ankle earlier this month. She was replaced in the starting lineup by Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley.

Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler finished with a game-high 25 points and seven assists, shooting 9-of-17 from the field. Wheeler went undrafted and in her first All-Star game, she took home the MVP honors.

Wheeler hit six three-pointers in the first half coming up just one short of matching the WNBA All-Star game record.  

NBA STARS IN ATTENDANCE

NBA players were scattered all around courtside on Saturday to take in the game with the best women basketball players in the world.

Trail Blazers forward Rodney Hood, along with former Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher were just a few of the NBA stars watching from the stands.

Kobe discussed in a sideline interview with ESPN/ABC reporter Holly Rowe about his longtime special relationship with Seattle Storm All-Star guard Jewell Lloyd.

“I’ve watched her grow… She’s like a little sister to me,” Kobe said.

REPPIN’ SEATTLE

Loyd, who sat out for three and a half weeks due to an ankle sprain, returned last week just in time to make her first All-Star Game start.

Loyd finished with six points and three assists in the losing effort on Saturday.

As for Storm forward Natasha Howard, she was one of six newcomers making her All-Star Game debut.

This season injury has plagued WNBA stars all across the league, including 11-time All-Star and the Seattle Storm’s own Sue Bird (knee).

Howard scored 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting. She also pulled down six rebounds and had one steal in the win.

The Storm forward has been putting up MVP like numbers this season with 18.1 points, rebounds, 8.3rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game.

BREAKING RECORDS

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner broke a record and showed off her dunking skills on Saturday.

After handling the point guard duties in the first quarter, Griner took the ball up the court easily took it to the hoop and completed it for the one-handed slam. Griner didn’t wast anytime throwing down her second dunk about a minute later.

Dunk number three came later in the first half where Griner went with the two-handed slam.

Throwing down three dunks in an WNBA All-Star game was a first for any player.

Griner finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.

Also a new record: Team Wilson took a 77-63 lead at halftime, and set a new record for points in a half.

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

usatsi_13479913.jpg
USATI

Tampa Bay/Montreal deal stalled... what it could mean for MLB to Portland

On Wednesday, it was revealed that negotiations stalled to split the Tampa Bay Rays home games between Tampa Bay and Montreal. Now, the organization has decided to honor their agreement with Tropicana Field and remain in Florida until 2027, announced in a letter from St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addressed to City Council.

However, once the agreement ends the Rays will most likely be moving away from the area and playing in a different market. Evidenced by the organization declining Kriseman’s offer to extend their deal beyond 2027. Last season, despite making the postseason, the Tampa Bay Rays were second to last in Major League Baseball in average attendance.

This could be positive news for supporters of the Portland Diamond Project, an organization dedicated to bringing Major League Baseball to Portland. With the Rays’ decision, it appears a MLB franchise will be looking to relocate and Portland may be able to host the team. 

Back in November 2018, the Diamond Project announced an agreement with the Port of Portland to develop Terminal 2 property as an eventual site for the stadium. 

Investors for the property include Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Nike, and more. Also, the petition to bring Major League Baseball to Portland has reached over 44,000 signatures.

Wouldn't it be cool to see something like this happening in Portland? 


One can only hope. 

Get to know Huskies new head coach Jimmy Lake

screen_shot_2019-12-02_at_2.32.06_pm.png
Jimmy Lake/Twitter

Get to know Huskies new head coach Jimmy Lake

The University of Washington sports world was shaken Monday after it was announced that head football coach Chris Petersen would step down following the team's bowl game. 

In the process, UW promoted defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake to take over.

Here are five things maybe you didn't know about the Huskies new head coach.

  • Lake was an honorable mention All-Big Sky and academic all-conference honoree at Eastern Washington as a strong safety and was a graduate of North Central High in Spokane, WA. Lake and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Jimmy Jr., Faith and Bronson.
  • Lake began his coaching career at EWU in 1999 and spent time at Montana State and in the NFL (Tampa Bay and Detroit) before joining Petersen at Boise State in 2012.
  • Lake previously served as an assistant at UW under Keith Gilbertson in 2004 and returned to Seattle as the defensive backs coach in 2014. He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator before the 2016 season and to defensive coordinator in 2018.
  • From 2015 through 2018, Washington's defense led the Pac-12 in both total defense and scoring defense all four years. Eight former Husky defensive backs coached by Lake are currently on NFL rosters.
  • This is Lake’s first head coaching job. According to Steve Berkowitz of USA Today, Lake’s contract is for five years with an annual salary of $3 million. “I could not be more excited about taking over as head football coach at the University of Washington,” said Jimmy Lake in a press release. “I’ve been dreaming of this opportunity for as long as I can remember and I can’t think of a better place to do it than in the world-class city of Seattle and at such a prestigious university with a rich football tradition. This wouldn’t be possible without the mentorship of Coach Petersen and I would like to thank him for everything he has done for me, as well as Jen Cohen for entrusting me with this opportunity.”

Central Catholic, Lake Oswego punch ticket to 6A football championship

1321.jpg
OSAA

Central Catholic, Lake Oswego punch ticket to 6A football championship

And then there were two!

The Central Catholic Rams cruised to a 35-7 win over Barlow at Hillsboro Stadium to punch their ticket to the the 6A football final.

Running back Elijah Elliott ran for three touchdowns, all of which came in the second half, and finished his day with 151 yards, including a 77-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Here's postgame reaction from Central Catholic's victory:

Lake Oswego punched their ticket into the 6A football championship with a 28-21 win over the Jesuit Crusaders in the evening match-up at Hillsboro Stadium. 

Casey Filkins, who spent most of the season at tailback, played QB for the fourth playoff game where he rushed for 110 yards on 30 carries and completed 13 of 27 passes for 225 yards and one score with one interception.

Filkins accounted for all three of Lake Oswego’s first-half touchdowns. Senior Thomas Dukart had eight catches for 170 yards in the win. 

“You can’t really put a game like this to words,” Casey Filkins said postgame. “But, we’re not satisfied.”

Lake Oswego has the opportunity to go back to back years with a state title.

Watch the Lakers postgame reaction:

Poppycock! Legislators uneasy with losses in Oregon's sports betting app

Poppycock! Legislators uneasy with losses in Oregon's sports betting app

Apparently, it seems, some of our state legislators are upset and surprised about the sums of money people are wagering – and losing -- in the state’s new online sports betting app, "Scoreboard." State Representative Paul Evans (D-Monmouth) is one of them:

But since then, the lottery established a limit that Evans and other critics think is no limit at all: $250,000.

Evans says that's irresponsible. "I think that's absolute poppycock," he says. "Two hundred fifty thousand dollars is the price of a low-end home. I think that's a joke."

The limit has the attention of other legislators, too.

"That's way beyond what we should be letting people bet," says Sen. Chuck Riley (D-Hillsboro).

Lottery officials say Scoreboard is exceeding expectations: More than 30,000 players signed up in the first month, betting more than $13 million. The largest single bet so far is $10,000, and one player bet a total of $234,015, losing $12,750.

I think our elected folks in Salem must be just a little on the naïve side. Yes, if you legalize betting and put it on an app you can use on your phone, more people will gamble. And those people may just bet substantial sums of money because it’s so easy.

But if a player wagered a total of $234,015 since this thing began, it’s not a huge sum – nor is his percentage of losses, at $12,750. In the world of sports betting, people tend to wager with their hearts as well as their minds. They get carried away. I’m not a fan of that and don’t wager on sports. But a $250,000 limit? It's usually only going to impact somebody with enough money to lose $250,000.

But I will say this, they’ve probably been betting illegally, anyway, and now, at least, the state gets a portion of it. And there is a control, in that you make bets based on how much money is in your account and when that money runs out, you can’t bet. So, at least in that scenario, nobody is going to get his or her leg broken because they didn’t pay their bookie.

The outcry in the legislature amuses me. I mean, did they think people wouldn’t lose? Did they think they could stop people from becoming addicated to gambling any more than they can stop them from becoming addicted to alcohol?

That’s so Oregon. Next thing you know, the state will attempt to pay them all back for their losses.

And that, of course, would be poppycock.

Headstrong: Seattle Sounders Stefan Frei emphasizes that everyone should find their passion

Headstrong: Seattle Sounders Stefan Frei emphasizes that everyone should find their passion

The month of November is Men's Health Awareness Month. ‘The Movember Foundation’ uses November to bring awareness to various men’s physical and mental health issues, as well as support to those tackling prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health, and more.

Throughout this month, NBC Sports will be releasing numerous videos that feature sports superstars discussing the importance of mental health as well as how they approach the subject. Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who recently hoisted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy over his head as an MLS Champion, was one such athlete that participated in the nationwide project.

The mental side of prepping as a goalie— you will have nerves, butterflies. It’s a good thing you have butterflies. It means you care, you’re engaged. Mentally, it’s not a turn on, turn off deal. It’s a constant battle. I think that’s why if you don’t deal with it properly, it can add up, and  it can destroy you if you don’t deal with it.

Frei recently shared his love for art and uses it to express himself, but also, decompress. 

“It’s always been a passion of mine, growing up. It’s always been something I’ve enjoyed doing. As a goalkeeper, I don’t get to enjoy being creative, too much.”

And while a mistake on the soccer pitch can be costly, Frei opens himself up to making mistakes on a canvas. 

“For me, art, as difficult it is to surrender, if I do make mistakes, it can actually lead to something beautiful. It’s kind of like an exploration, and there is no wrong."

Frei emphasizes that finding something you’re passionate about is paramount to a happier and healthier life.

“When you have an injury, you get treatment. But, we do so many things beforehand to prevent injuries. Mentally, there needs to be something there, as well.”

You can watch the full video above.

Social Media reacts: Seattle Sounders win the MLS Cup

usatsi_13651247.jpg
USATI

Social Media reacts: Seattle Sounders win the MLS Cup

It's time to celebrate in Seattle.

For the second time in four seasons, the Seattle Sounders have won the MLS Cup. This time in front of a franchise record 69,274 fans in the franchise's first final played at CenturyLink Field. After an ugly first half, the Sounders owned the second half to win the game 3-1. 

You can read our instant analysis here.

Let’s take you through the game and how social media reacted.

Kelvin Leerdam (57’)

To end the scoreless tie, Kelvin Leerdam’s shot ricocheted off a Toronto FC defender into the back of the net. It would have been the fourth own goal in MLS history, but the league deemed it not one. Watch below and see for yourself.

Here’s how the Seattle faithful reacted to Leerdam breaking through.

Victor Rodríguez (76’)

To break the game wide open, Rodríguez would fire a laser into the bottom right corner of the net to create a two-goal advantage.

Social media could sense the championship.

Raúl Ruidíaz (90’)

Not to be outdone, the Sounders' star would get a goal of his own to add to the sheet.

Now Seattle knew it was over. Here’s how they celebrated.

Instant Analysis: the Seattle Sounders win their second MLS Cup

usatsi_13650855.jpg
USATI

Instant Analysis: the Seattle Sounders win their second MLS Cup

The Seattle Sounders are the MLS Champions for the second time in four seasons after defeating Toronto FC 3-1 in front of a franchise-record 69,274 fans at CenturyLink Field. 

In the 57th minute, Seattle became the first Western Conference team to score a live goal in the MLS Cup since 2014 when Kelvin Leerdam’s shot bounced off a Toronto defender into the net. It was the fourth own goal in MLS Cup history. 

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore played through a quad strain when he entered the game in the 66th minute to try and equalize the game. It was his first action of the playoffs after suffering the injury on Decision Day. 

However, Seattle put the game away in the 75th minute when Víctor Rodríguez shot a rocket into the bottom right corner to gain a two-goal advantage.  For the icing on the cake, Raúl Ruidíaz also scored in the 90th minute after he collected a deep ball. 

Altidore would put one in the back of the net in stoppage time to put Toronto on the scoreboard.

Tough pill to swallow for Toronto

The first half was dominated by Toronto who had 65 percent possession with the Sounders dropping back looking to score on a counter. Toronto FC passed circles around Seattle in the midfield but couldn’t finish in the last third of the field. 

When Seattle got on the counter they also had multiple blown opportunities where shots either sailed over the net or right at the keeper. Additionally, Toronto CB Michael Bradley also had three different goal-saving tackles in the first half to prevent his team from going down a goal. 

Of all the players to be upset, Bradley should be the most affected. If Toronto had won the game, a clause in his contract would have added another guaranteed year at $6.5 million for winning the MLS Cup. 

Familiar Final

This was the third time in four years that Seattle and Toronto matched up in the league final with the teams splitting the previous matchups. However, this was the first time the MLS Cup was held at CenturyLink Field. In 2016, the Sounders infamously won the game in penalty kicks after not achieving a single shot on goal during the 120 minutes of play. The following year, Toronto got their revenge defeating Seattle 2-0 in a final that was never in doubt. 

 

Eight things to know about Sunday's MLS Cup Final

usatsi_13591530.jpg
USATI

Eight things to know about Sunday's MLS Cup Final

The Seattle Sounders (34-16-8) will host Toronto FC (34-13-14) at CenturyLink Field at 12:00pm, with only one team leaving happy. 

Here are eight things to know ahead of the game.

  1. A Familiar Matchup

This will be the third MLS Cup in four years that’s played between the Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC. The two teams have split the series so far. Seattle upset a record-setting Toronto FC team in the first matchup, despite not registering a shot on goal. The next season, Toronto FC would get revenge winning the match 2-0. 

  1. Expect a great atmosphere

Although, this matchup of familiar foes will feature a new location: CenturyLink Field. The first two MLS cup matchups took place in Toronto, and the Seattle faithful will be hungry for another championship. The Emerald City Supporters create one of the league’s best home field advantages and this game sold out in a mere twenty minutes. It’s also expected to set a new Seattle Sounders attendance record, surpassing the previous record of 67, 385 by over 2,000 people. 

  1. Both teams were lower seeds

With the new knockout rules for the MLS postseason, it’s not surprising to see a lower seeded team in the MLS Cup. However, both Toronto and Seattle entered their conference championship games as heavy underdogs, and won. Seattle, the second seed, upset top-seeded LAFC and fourth-seeded Toronto FC upset second-seeded Atlanta FC. With just one game left, anything can happen.

  1. Can Seattle break the curse?

Remember when I told you that Seattle won an MLS Cup without a shot on goal? Well, they haven’t been the only Western Conference team to put up a poor offensive performance in the league final recently. In fact, the last time a western conference player scored a non-penalty kick goal in the MLS Cup was in 2015 when then-Portland Timbers forward Rodney Wallace scored a championship-winning goal.

  1. Will Altidore play?

Toronto FC forward Jozy Altidore hasn’t suited up since injuring his quad on Decision Day, October 6th, 2019. Despite playing without him the entire postseason, his team has made the league final. The USMNT player said it would take a miracle for him to suit up but the Sounders are preparing as if he will play.

  1. Some homegrown talent

Sunday afternoon will be special for all players, but for Seattle’s homegrown talent it’ll just mean more to play in a league final in their home state. Midfielder Handwalla Bwana grew up in Seattle and forward Jordan Morris was born there before growing up in Mercer Island, WA. Morris’ ten goals is good for second on the team. 

  1. Lots of Experience

Not only have the Sounders played in three of the four previous MLS Cups, but they have made the postseason each season for the past decade. This is a club that expects to find success and will play Sunday looking for a second championship.

  1. Only one matchup between them this season

While they have played in the postseason frequently and recently, the two teams only played once in the regular season: a 3-2 Sounders victory in Seattle. Will Bruin scored two goals and Christian Roldan added one more in the victory for the Sounders. The lone scorer for Toronto was Jozy Altidore who will most likely miss the MLS Cup Final. 

 

Social media reacts and remembers the great Gert Boyle

Social media reacts and remembers the great Gert Boyle

Media, politicians, and fans alike share their thoughts on the passing of Gert Boyle who famously took Columbia Sportswear to new heights. 

https://twitter.com/StephanieSidley/status/1191341598195376129?s=20

Also, here is a great look that our friends at KGW did: