April 28, 2019

Chiney (14) traded to LA Sparks; Markisha (07) and Melanie (11) moving on

    Sparks trade for Chiney Ogwumike

    The Los Angeles Sparks have agreed to trade their 2020 first-round pick to the Connecticut Sun in exchange for Chiney Ogwumike, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This move will reunite Chiney with her sister and former league MVP Nneka Ogwumike.

    With Chiney on board, the Sparks have moved from title contention to the championship favorite. Chiney, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft, returned to her star self last season after she was hampered by injuries. The former Rookie of the Year missed the entire 2015 season due to micro-fracture surgery in her knee, and the 2017 season due to an Achilles injury in China. Chiney returned in 2018 and averaged 14 points on 60 percent shooting, and seven rebounds. Much like her sister, she’s a bruiser in the paint with excellent finishing abilities in the low post.

    The Sparks are nearly complete with a team that should compete for a title even without the long-rumored move for last year’s MVP-runner up Liz Cambage. LA is expected to re-sign all-star point guard Chelsea Gray, and has already retained defensive star Alana Beard, former MVP Candace Parker, Nneka, and selected Baylor star Kalani Brown with the No. 7-overall pick in April’s draft.

    Sparks fans have every reason to be thrilled with the trade for Chiney. The team’s centerpiece, Parker, now has the ultimate relief in the post. The Ogwumike’s and Brown should take the burden of battling down low with true bigs and boxing out for rebounds off the versatile point-forward. Chiney is also as reliable as they come to cleanup shots around the rim.

    For the Sun, gaining a first-round pick is critical as they try and grow a talented roster into an elite one. Clearing Ogwumike means more minutes for young stars with high potential like 2019 No. 9 pick Kristine Anigwe and 25-year-old Jonquel Jones. Connecticut will run for a playoff spot this season, but they might not have the components for a big run just yet. Maybe an extra pick next season can convert into another star through the draft or by trade.

    The rest of the WNBA should be gearing up to face the Los Angeles Sparks, however. The Ogwumike sisters on the same team will be a problem few can handle.
    Major coaching changes at two Atherton schools
    Two of the Peninsula top basketball coaches have stepped down from their posts over the last several weeks. Menlo-Atherton’s Markisha Coleman and Sacred Heart Prep’s Melanie Murphy have both stepped aside after five-year runs at their respective schools. Coleman will be taking over at Eastside College Prep, her alma mater. There was no word on Murphy’s future.
    “I understand the allure of going back to Eastside College Prep,” M-A co-athletic director Steven Kryger said. “She had tears in her eyes when she told me. She told me this (the ECP position) is the only job she would leave M-A for.” 

    Coleman, a 2007 Stanford graduate where she walked on to the Stanford women’s basketball team before earning a full scholarship her junior and senior years, was in the unenviable position of having to replace the legendary Pam Wimberly, who had guided the M-A girls’ program for 41 years. Beginning in 1968 and lasting through the 2012 season. Coleman was an assistant for two years under Morgan Clyburn, Wimberly’s immediate replacement, before moving into the head coach’s chair beginning the 2014-15 season.

    After taking the coaching reins, the Bears returned to the top of public school basketball on the Peninsula. In her five years, Coleman compiled a Peninsula Athletic League South Division record of 55-5. Overall, Coleman had a win-loss record of 120-37, winning 20 games or more four straight years. She just missed the 20-win plateau this season, finishing 19-12. Her teams qualified for the Central Coast Section tournament all five years, including a pair of invitations to the CCS Open Division. The Bears made two CCS championship games, falling short in 2015 and again in 2018 and had a CCS record of 8-6. The team qualified for the Northern California bracket all five years of Coleman’s tenure, going 6-5 and advancing to the Division I semifinals in 2016 and the Division IV finals this past season.

    “I think she is a phenomenal role model for the girls,” Kryger said. “Here’s a woman … who carries herself with class and respect. She demonstrates to [the players] how much she cares for them, while also holding them to a high standard on and off the court.”

    Coleman be will taking over an Eastside College Prep program that is among the best in the state. She is replacing Donovan Blythe, who spent the last dozen years as the Panthers’ head coach. He already left for China to run a basketball academy. Blythe led the Panthers to back-to-back Division V state titles in 2016 and 2017.

    Murphy had a very similar path as Coleman. Murphy is also a former Stanford player who graduated in 2011. She also was coming into a program where expectations were high as the team was a little more than a decade removed from their last of 10 CCS titles. While the Gators always seemed to struggle in West Bay Athletic League play — they were just 18-36 in league play under Murphy — she always had the team ready for the postseason. Beginning the 2015-16 season, Murphy’s second with the team, she took SHP to four straight CCS championship games, winning a pair of CCS Division IV titles in 2016 and 2018, while compiling a CCS record of 11-3. She was also 5-4 in four Nor Cal appearances, twice reaching the semifinals.
    Murphy finishes her SHP tenure with an overall record of 84-57.  

     Melanie                                                                                                               Markisha

April 14, 2019

Kayla Pedersen - June Wedding

Kayla Pedersen, June Wedding

How We Met
"You guys should meet. You're both tall." So we did. As soon as introductions finished, our friends seemingly vanished, leaving us to awkward conversation. Though neither of us knew what could happen between an engineer and a professional athlete, Nathan got some digits and asked Kayla out for coffee. After just a few short weeks, we made our relationship official while attending a Christian music festival together.
    The Engagement
    Kayla went to Australia to play in her last professional basketball season while Nathan stayed to work in Phoenix. Over letters and video dates, our love and friendship grew stronger. Nathan came to the Land Down Under to visit Kayla for a few weeks in November. He surprised Kayla by having a few of his buddies visit and join in on a road trip down the Great Ocean Road. Day One of the trip was met with a sandstorm on the beach, a power outage, and a thunderstorm. Not the most romantic day for a surprise proposal. Day Two presented Nathan with a beautiful setting to get down on one knee. We climbed to the top of Cape Otway Lighthouse and with the wind blowing at hurricane force, Nathan held onto the ring and asked Kayla to marry him. She said yes! We climbed down the tower and had some time of prayer together before joining our friends for some more adventure!
    What Now?
    Now that Nathan and Kayla are both in Phoenix for the foreseeable future, the wedding planning has begun. We can’t wait to get married!
    With Christ as our foundation, we can't wait to do life as 'one' and celebrate this union with our family and friends.
    Kayla and Nathan will be getting married June 1st in Granby, Co. Congratulations to them!