All Scores

Seimone Augustus, Kate Fagan bring women’s hoops lore to life in new book

Diana Taurasi and Seimone Augustus, depicted here in 2007, have an iconic interaction featured in the book. (David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

When readers get their hands on the new book basketball legend Seimone Augustus and longtime sports journalist Kate Fagan are creating, they will open it to find a colorful encyclopedia of sorts about the world of women’s basketball and pop culture.

“Hoop Muses,” the title credited to Augustus and anticipated to release in Spring 2023, will be a compilation of mini chapters with subjects ranging from landmark historic events, like the first intercollegiate women’s game ever played, to infamous moments of lore, like when Diana Taurasi kissed Augustus on the cheek during a heated play in a WNBA game.

(Illustration by Sophia Chang)

As our society slowly wakes from the coma of defining sports as male, there are massive gaps to be filled in telling the stories of women’s sports. Augustus and Fagan (and their publishers at Twelve) are motivated to fill that gap with “Hoop Muses” in a way that is fun and exciting, and that is a true representation of the joy and drama athletes and fans feel in their love for the game.

In a recent interview with Just Women’s Sports about the book, Fagan put it simply, “We don’t want it to feel like a dissertation on Title IX.”

With Fagan doing the writing and Augustus curating the content, they needed a stellar illustrator to complete the team and were beyond pleased to bring artist Sophia Chang on board. A talented and young multimedia designer, Chang has made a name for herself in the streetwear and sneaker industries.

“She gave you that feel, she gave you that funk that you were expecting,” Augustus says of the artist. “To tell the stories on the inside, you actually have to have that visual effect to really have that profound feeling of intensity of the story and of the movements you’re reading about.”

(Illustration by Sophia Chang)

An illustrated medium also allows Augustus and Fagan the freedom to get creative in not only telling the real-life stories of the game, but also re-imagining history and what it could have been. Like the forthcoming chapter where they recreate an iconic SLAM Magazine cover to feature Chamique Holdsclaw alongside the words “She Got Game.” Or the planned (W)NBA Jam chapter, where they bring to life the “top 10 dynamic duos that would have ruled the ’90s.”

“We want to build out cool, not anachronistic, but almost multiverse-level stuff. Like in a different world, here’s what NBA Jam would’ve looked like and here’s who you would have played,” Fagan explains. “Things that should have existed but didn’t. We want to build out that world, too.”

With the increased attention the WNBA garnered during its 2020 Wubble season, primarily due to the social activism and magnetism of the players, Augustus and Fagan feel the timing of their vision for this book is right on track with the demand from fans.

“It was becoming so clear over the last few years how many ways we’ve celebrated, mythologized, told the history of, created cultural value around men’s sports,” Fagan says. “We know the current logo of so many men’s teams and we know the previous seven logos. And we can trace the iteration of how the 1890s New York Yankees became the current New York Yankees. Women’s sports has never had that. Mythologizing women in sports is a crucial piece of building the cultural value around the game. We want this book to fill that gap.”

For Augustus, who lives by the “learn something new every day” adage, the opportunity to help educate current generations about those who paved the way has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the project.

“When you start reaching back in time and finding those moments where women had to go through certain things or certain eras for us to get here, it’s a beautiful thing to see,” Augustus says. “We want to give those players their flowers for what they’ve done to help us get where we’re going.”

Cheryl Miller (Illustration by Sophia Chang)

While Fagan is a seasoned author of several books, including the national bestseller “What Made Maddy Run,” this is Augustus’ first foray into the world of publishing. When she decided to retire from professional basketball and transition into an assistant coaching role for the Los Angeles Sparks just before the start of the 2021 season last May, the move was more sudden than she (and many of her fans) expected. Now, getting this experience in the world of publishing may be a stepping stone to writing her own book eventually.

“It kind of helps me put together a bigger idea of, if I were to put out a book of my own personal life at some point of basketball, what would that be like? But it’s all about having a great team,” Augustus says.

Fagan herself has recently chosen a new team. After many years at ESPN, she left the sports media conglomerate to care for her father in the final months of his life. Reflecting upon her career during that time, Fagan realized that although ESPN was a great experience for her in so many ways, she wanted more. She wanted her presence and content to be a more complete picture of who she is and what women’s sports are like.

“At ESPN, you’re so boxed in,” she recalls. “It’s hard to be funny. It’s hard to avoid being the person who just comes in when there’s a domestic violence claim in football. People start to see you in only one way.”

Now with Meadowlark Media, Fagan has teamed up with producer and co-host Jessica Smetana to create the extremely entertaining podcast “Off the Looking Glass.” She credits “Hoop Muses” with igniting many of the ideas and stories they cover on the pod. With both projects, Fagan has been able to incorporate much more of her natural humor and joy into what she wants to say about sports and society.

“You can try to get your point across for decades in a really earnest way, like, ‘You should care about this! Look at what those dudes are saying! Isn’t that ridiculous!’ And people don’t get it. Then you write a [comedy] sketch about it and you just let them come to their own conclusions,” she says. “It’s a different way to try to get the same point across. And I don’t think it has been one that has really been used very often in trying to explain the world of media and sports and women.”

Similarly, you can write a dissertation on Title IX and explain all the reasons women’s sports are important, fun, entertaining and valuable for an endless number of pages. Or you can put together a trio of one passionate basketball legend, one charismatic writer, and one cutting-edge artist, and show the world what it’s been missing.

Pat Summitt (Illustration by Sophia Chang)

Tessa Nichols is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports.

Barcelona to Face Lyon in Champions League Rematch This Weekend

UEFA Women's Champions League Final"Barcelona FC - Olympique Lyonnais"
Saturday's game will be the third UWCL final meeting for Barcelona and Lyon, having previously gone up against each other in 2019 and 2022. (ANP via Getty Images)

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off in Bilbao on Saturday, with a couple of familiar foes set to face off for the trophy.

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin, making its 11th final appearance since 2010, will go head to head with a Barcelona side making its fourth final appearance in a row.

This will be the third time these two teams meet in the UWCL title game, having previously appeared in the 2019 and 2022 finals. Lyon won both of those prior games against Barcelona, alongside a total of eight Champions League trophies. That’s double that of any other club, with Eintracht Frankfurt coming in a distant second with four. 

Should Barcelona win, this would be the team's third title — breaking a tie for the third in the UWCL total titles race. 

But as these teams return to the UWCL final, it also marks the end of an era for both clubs. The game will be the last for both club managers, as Barcelona’s Jonatan Giráldez and Lyon’s Sonia Bompastor depart for new jobs after the season's end.

Giráldez is set to leave for the NWSL's Washington Spirit, while Bompastor will take over for incoming USWNT coach Emma Hayes at Chelsea. Both coaches have earned one UWCL trophy during their tenures, while Bompastor also brought two Champions League trophies to Lyon as a player. She was the first coach to win a UWCL trophy as both a coach and player.

This season, Barcelona is looking for its first quadruple, having won a fifth Liga F title alongside the Copa de La Reina, and the Spanish Supercopa. 

"We hope he can go out with the four trophies because we know how competitive and ambitious he is," Barcelona midfielder Patri Guijarro told ESPN. "It has been a winning era with him in charge and for him to go out with all four trophies would be historic and incredible."

But Lyon's Damaris Egurrola is excited about her team's chances of overcoming Barcelona once again — and to do it in front of family and friends.

"Lyon have something special," she told Forbes ahead of the weekend's final. "We have a great team and we have the players with enough talent to win any match."

The game will be a homecoming for Egurrola, who began her professional career with Athletic Bilbao.

"I’ve been thinking of this day and night," she said. "I’ve been dreaming of playing this match. Having the opportunity to play in San Mames is amazing. This is where it all started for me."

The UEFA Women's Champions League final kicks off Saturday, May 25th at 12 PM ET and is free to stream on DAZN.

World No. 1 Iga Swiatek Headlines a Stacked 2024 French Open

Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico
Iga Swiatek serves against Coco Gauff during the group stage of the 2023 WTA Finals in Cancun, Mexico. (Robert Prange/Getty Images)

The 2024 French Open starts on Sunday, with a match schedule that promises to wrap the short clay court season up in style.

Looking for her fourth title at the major is three-time Roland Garros champion and World No. 1 Iga Swiatek, considered the favorite to win the whole Slam. Three of her four major titles have come at the French tournament. 

Swiatek's career record at the French Open is a dominating 28-2, and she's currently on a 16-game winning streak fueled by victories at tune-up tournaments in Madrid and Rome.

But that doesn't mean she won't face some serious challengers along the way. Get to know some of the Polish tennis champ's strongest competitors.

Aryna Sabalenka

Sabalenka is ranked No. 2 in the world and faced Swiatek in the finals at both Madrid and Rome. She lost in three sets in Madrid, which included a close third-set tiebreak, before losing in straight sets at the Italian Open. 

She enters the French Open having won the Australian Open in January, successfully defending her title in the first Slam of the season. At last year’s French Open, Sabalenka reached the semifinals — a career best — before being ousted by Karolina Muchová in three sets.

Season record: 25-7

Coco Gauff

Currently sitting at No. 3 in the world, the highest-ranked American on the schedule is none other than Coco Gauff. Gauff won her first major at the US Open last year, and reached the semifinals of this year’s Australian Open. She faced Swiatek in the semifinals of the Italian Open last week, losing in straight sets. 

But her first major final came at the French Open in 2022, before being ousted by Swiatek in the quarterfinals at last year’s French Open. The two are on a crash course for a meeting before the finals, as Gauff anchors the other quadrant on Swiatek’s side of the draw, should they both advance deep into the competition.

Season record: 25-8

Chicago Sky Upset New York to End Liberty’s Unbeaten Streak

chicago sky's angel reese on the court against new york liberty
Angel Reese registered a near double-double against a strong Liberty side. (Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Liberty’s unbeaten streak came to an end on Thursday as Angel Reese and the Chicago Sky got the upset win over New York with a final score of 90-81. 

Angel Reese stood out with a near double-double, registering 13 points and nine rebounds. She’s currently the only rookie this season to exceed 10 points in her first three games, and the first player in Sky history to begin their career with three consecutive double-digit scoring games, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The outcome may not have come as a surprise to Liberty stars Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones, who sung Reese’s praises ahead of the game.

"She’s a workhorse," Stewart told The Post. "She doesn’t stop. She’s tough, she’s strong, she’s tough to box out and good at cleaning up for her team offensively and defensively."

"I feel like she’s an energizer bunny," Jones added. "She doesn’t stop moving, she doesn’t stop crashing the boards. Just someone that is gonna be relentless in her approach to getting to the glass and playing tough."

It was the first time Chicago has met New York this season. The game was especially meaningful for new Chicago head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, who led the Liberty for seven years as a player and joined the team's Ring of Honor in 2011.

"This place means a lot to me... I played in that jersey, I adored that jersey, I adored every player that I had an opportunity to play with. The love that I received even today was overwhelming," Weatherspoon reflected after the game.

Following the win, Sky guard Dana Evans had some kind words for her coach.

"I mean, it's just special. She's special," Evans said. "She just breeds confidence in each and every one of us. We love her. We just wanted to go so hard and play hard for her, and I feel like this one was really for her. We really wanted this for her more than anything."

Thursday's victory brings Chicago's record to 2-1, a somewhat unlikely feat given that their offseason featured starter Kahleah Copper getting traded to Phoenix. The Connecticut Sun are now the only undefeated team left in the league this season, and will formidable foes for the Sky as they take their winning streak on the road to Chicago this weekend.

New USWNT Coach Emma Hayes Embracing the Challenge

United States Women's Head Coach Emma Hayes
The ex-Chelsea skipper has officially arrived in the US — now it's time to get down to business. (USSF/Getty Images for USSF)

Emma Hayes has officially begun her tenure as USWNT manager ahead of the team’s June friendlies.

Hayes made the rounds on Thursday, appearing on the Today Show and speaking with select media about her goals and underlying principles with the team. It’s a quick turnaround for the decorated coach, who just won the WSL with Chelsea last weekend.

One thing that she won’t do, however, is shy away from the high expectations that come with managing the US. The squad is looking to reinstate its winning reputation at the Paris Olympics this summer following a disappointing World Cup in 2023. 

"I know the challenge ahead of me. There is no denying there is a gap between the US and the rest of the world," she told ESPN. "We have to acknowledge that winning at the highest level isn't what it was 10 years ago. It's a completely different landscape. And my focus is going to be on getting the performances required to play at a high level against the very best nations in the world."

While Hayes was formally hired six months ago to lead the USWNT, her deal stipulated that she remain with Chelsea through the conclusion of their season. In her stead, Twila Kilgore has led the team, with the coach "drip feeding subliminal messages" to the roster on Hayes’s behalf.

"It's a bit ass-upwards," Hayes joked to reporters. "I know about the staff, and the team, and the structure behind it. We got all of that. Now it's time, I need to be with the team."

With Olympics now just two months away, Hayes dropped hints this week regarding her thought process behind building the roster, saying there’s still time for players to make their case.

"You can't go to an Olympics with a completely inexperienced squad. We need our experienced players, but getting that composition right, that's my job between now and June 16th," she said on the Today Show.

"What I can say from my time [in the US] is, I've always loved the attitude towards performance and the expectation to give everything you've got," she later affirmed to reporters.

And as for winning gold?

"I'm never gonna tell anyone to not dream about winning," she added. "But… we have to go step by step, and focus on all the little processes that need to happen so we can perform at our best level.

"I will give it absolutely everything I've got to make sure I uphold the traditions of this team."

Start your morning off right with Just Women’s Sports’ free, 5x-a-week newsletter.