February 28, 2019

Weekend Plans With WNBAer/ESPN Analyst Chiney Ogwumike

CHINEY OGWUMIKE is a woman of many hats, balancing the roles of a WNBA Connecticut Sun Forward, WNBPA VP and a full-time analyst for ESPN, all at just 26 years old. While some players may use their off days during the season to rest and recover, Ogwumike’s starts hers with an hour commute to ESPN’s Bristol campus at 3:30am ET. “I only live my life according to 24 hours, that’s what helps me keep everything straight. It's a challenge, but it's one of those things that I take the same mindset to being an athlete and being prepared and giving it my all.” Ogwumike found time in her busy schedule to talk to THE DAILY about what was on her docket for the NBA All-Star Weekend. 

BIG WEEKEND: Friday morning is the NBA Tech Summit. Then we have the celebrity game, which I’m very excited about, and that's pretty much my ESPN hat, being an analyst for the celebrity game. Saturday morning, I have a Bleacher Report panel that I'm doing in honor of Black History Month. After that, I’m going to the NBA Africa luncheon. I've been on a lot of trips with NBA Africa; I've been to Rwanda with them, Kenya and Nigeria. Then, I will attend the Saturday night festivities with all the fun All-Star competitions. I'm going to use it as a networking opportunity. Then on Sunday, I’m actually not even able to stay for the game. I fly out first thing in the morning at 6:00am and I'm working in the studio as the women's college basketball host with games at 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00. Then at 7:00, when the All-Star Game is, we'll be having our ESPN NBA radio show, and I'll be hosting that.

BALANCING ACT: I'm pretty lucky because both careers happened when I was in Connecticut, playing for the Connecticut Sun and also working for ESPN. I guess you could say it's convenient for me to do both. But I'm not gonna lie: It's a grind and it's really hard. During the WNBA season, I'm with my team and then on my days off, instead of resting, I’ll drive to ESPN and go and be on their shows, covering the NBA, the latest news, all that stuff. They've really allowed me to share my voice, which I'm excited about. I'm so glad that they chose to invest in me, because it's a gamble in a way. I know I'm credible because I know what I bring to the table, but a lot of people question women's roles in sports. Those are stereotypes that I'm really excited to help break down. I just feel blessed and fortunate, which is why I'm trying to grind so hard to show them that, 'Hey, your investment in me is worth it.'

GLOBETROTTER: If I have time, the first thing I did when the season was over was I went back to Nigeria to reconnect with my family. And then I even went to South Africa for my cousin's wedding, hung out in Cape Town for a little bit. If I have weeks on hand or if I need to decompress for real, I love to travel. I'm already trying to plan for next time. I have African heritage, so I try to sort of explore that area. I'm thinking about going to Ghana, but the more I think about it I'm actually going to try to go to Zanzibar, which is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth.

    February 18, 2019

    Aumnae Playing in Australia, Europe, Asia


    Brittany's team, the Perth Lynx was eliminated in the semifinals by the Canberra Capitals. Brittany had 10 points and 19 rebounds in the game.

    The Perth Lynx Coaches’ award went to Brittany McPhee after her impressive first season in the WNBL, where she averaged 13.61 points, 6.87 rebounds and 1.83 assists per game.

    McPhee had her breakout game with 32 points in a win over the Townsville Fire in round 2.


    Kayla Pedersen Set To Retire

    Jayco Rangers import Kayla Pedersen will play her final WNBL game this weekend after announcing her retirement.The 29-year-old, who last season was crowned the WNBL’s Robyn Maher Defensive Player of the Year, is returning home to America to start the next chapter of her life after getting engaged to partner Nathan last month.

    “It’s time for a new adventure. It was perfect timing this summer, I ended up buying a place in Arizona, met an amazing guy Nathan, he came over here and proposed, so we’re going to travel a bit, start a family and I feel like God is calling me to something else now,’’ she said. 
    “I have no clue how it (her final game) is going to feel. I just want to have fun with the girls because that’s what it’s all about and the relationships you’ve built.” “Rachel (Jarry) was like “this week’s for Kayla” and I hate attention but it’s going to make it special. There’s going to be a lot of tears, a lot of thankfulness but it’s time, I’m ready.” 
    Pedersen first played for the Rangers in 2013-14 before competing in the WNBA and winning a championship in Italy. She returned for a second stint in season 2017-18.She says Dandenong, and Australia, will always hold a special place in her heart.“Being at Dandenong has been so special. The organisation has taken care of me, they care about the person too, to have that support has been amazing. And being in Melbourne and Australia, I love the culture, the breakfast and coffee is the best thing ever, having church friends and all that it was just kind of perfect that I had a life here as well, so that makes it even harder to say goodbye, but even more special.”
    Pedersen says she’s glad the final game of the home-and-away season is at home so she can say goodbye to the Jayco Rangers fans. “One of the best times has been getting to sign autographs after the game and talk to people. The fans never give up on us, I’ve always felt support from them, no criticism, nothing, over the years. It’s really great to have a home game, be on this court again to give my cheers to the fans.” “It’s perfect.”

    Europe, Asia, Africa

    Erica McCall is playing for Atomorenu in Hungary. Her team is tied for 2nd place and she is averaging 13pts and 6.9rbs per game.
    Bri Roberson is playing for Araski in Turkey. Araski is in 7th place and Bri is averaging 7.5pts per game.


    Amber Orrange is playing for Maccabi Raanano in Israel. Her team is in 8th place and Amber is averaging 11.4pts and 4.4 assists per game

      Cissy (Alissa) Pierce is still with Goettingen in Germany. Her team is tied for 7th place. Cissy is averaging 8.8 pts and 3.6 rbs per game.

    February 5, 2019

    Christin Hedgpeth ('94) Promoted to WNBA COO

    Christin Hedgpeth Promoted to WNBA Chief Operating Officer

    NEW YORK, Feb. 5, 2019 – The WNBA announced today that Christin Hedgpeth has been promoted to WNBA Chief Operating Officer, effective immediately.  Hedgpeth had been serving as the league’s interim COO since October 2018 and will continue to oversee WNBA strategy, business development and marketing functions.  She will report directly to WNBA Interim President Mark Tatum.

    “Christy is an effective strategic leader and well-deserving of this promotion to COO,” said Tatum.  “With her strong experience in sales and marketing, Christy will continue to play a key role in our efforts to build more corporate partnerships, expand our fan base and grow the WNBA business.”

    Hedgpeth previously served as Vice President, Team Marketing and Business Operations (TMBO) for the NBA, consulting with WNBA and NBA teams where she provided strategic support to WNBA teams in ticket sales, sponsorship and marketing, while also helping NBA teams drive their youth basketball and overall branding initiatives at the team level.  During her tenure in this role, WNBA team sponsorships grew nearly 30 percent.

    “It has been a true privilege to collaborate with WNBA and NBA teams in TMBO,” said Hedgpeth.  “I am inspired by the extraordinary women who play in the WNBA and by the deep commitment our organization and owners have to the game.  It is incredibly energizing to have the opportunity to continue to evolve the WNBA brand together with our players, teams, and corporate partners.”

    Prior to joining the league in 2014, Hedgpeth held a series of leadership roles with Under Armour, Spalding and Russell Athletic, where she was responsible for business strategy, P&L management, and brand marketing initiatives.

    Hedgpeth was a starter on Stanford’s 1992 National Championship team before playing three seasons in the American Basketball League (ABL) for the Seattle Reign after she helped launch the league as Director of Player Development. A native of Thomasville, North Carolina, Hedgpeth earned her undergraduate degree at Stanford University and her MBA from Duke University.