How the American Coastal Conference is adapting their season
There are few things that come with more pressure than being a first year head coach at a powerhouse school with ruthless fans. Now add in being in the middle of an international health crisis, and Kara Lawson has plenty on her plate.
The former Tennessee and WNBA star point guard took the helm at Duke University after a brief stint with the Boston Celtics as an assistant coach.
In her first ACC season, she’ll have to navigate the roads with the same precision as opposing defenses. The conference is expected to cluster road games based on geographical location, meaning that road trips could become daunting, especially for schools that are more dispersed up north like Syracuse and Boston College.
With programs playing two more conference games than normal, the ability to play rivals outside of the conference is also in jeopardy. While a game between Clemson and South Carolina could still happen, it would be the first time without a Tigers-Gamecocks showdown since 1976 if they cannot agree on a date.
Whatever the final schedule ends up being, players, fans and coaches alike are just itching to see who is on the slate and when, especially Lawson. “I’m waiting for it too, man. I’m ready to have it like yesterday.”
Back up in the big leagues, the reigning and raining champs Seattle Storm have some contract Tetris to play. They have Breanna Stewart for cheapish for one more year before she’ll command what should me the biggest contract in WNBA history.
For now, though, their focus will start with their two defensive stars, Natasha Howard and Alysha Clark. Both players are past their prime, but their intangibles could possibly garner them extra cash if they wanted to trade potential postseason glory. With a core as good as Seattle, I doubt either player gives up the chance to go back-to-back, even if it means taking a slight pay cut.
The other key for the Storm’s offseason is just some point guard with a few rings. Seattle would probably let Sue Bird run the franchise if she so pleased, so if she wants to come back for year 18 they will find a way to pay her.
All this cash does mean that Seattle may have to sacrifice some of its depth, but that’s the downside of a championship that people are willing to take.