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Sidwell Friends’ mother, daughter duo stick together amid rumors

Kendall Dudley, here playing in the Jr. NBA Global championship, is the No. 4-ranked recruit in the class of 2024. (Pamela Costello/NBAE via Getty Images)

Tamika Dudley was fed up with the rumors, and so on Dec. 30, the Sidwell Friends girls’ basketball coach took to Twitter to quash the scuttlebutt.

“I have NO intention on leaving Sidwell after Kendall graduates,” Dudley wrote, referencing her daughter, a star sophomore guard for the Quakers. “I have been coaching for 15+ years and Kendall has only played for me for two of them.”

Those two years, though, have raised the profile of mother and daughter, who’ve helped lead the Sidwell Friends program to its greatest heights in more than a decade: The top-ranked Quakers have so far won conference and D.C. State Athletic Association championships, have beaten top teams from across the country and are the favorites to be the last team standing at GEICO Nationals in April.

There is no uncertainty attached to Kendall’s future: The 6-foot-1 wing is the No. 4 player in the country for the class of 2024, per ESPN, and will have her pick of Division I programs pining for her services.

But there is less of a clear path for elite high school coaches, some of whom do have dreams of reaching the next level. And then there are those like Tamika, who told Just Women’s Sports she has no intention of leaving Sidwell Friends anytime soon. The Naismith High School Girls’ Basketball Coach is proud of the program she’s helped build and feels at home in the community.

She knows that as long as Sidwell Friends’ success continues, though, those rumors will keep surfacing. Tamika said she’d heard this latest gossip came from local coaches trying to turn prospective players away from the Quakers.

“I don’t know if it’s a thing where people feel threatened,” Tamika said. “I thought it was best (if) something was said in the open.”

Tamika, to be fair, did get her coaching start at the college level, when she worked as an assistant at UNC-Wilmington after wrapping up her playing career at LIU-Brooklyn in 2004. She found the position to be emotionally draining, and derived more purpose from her job as an assistant at Potomac High School (Dumfries, Va.). She left the sideline after three seasons when she gave birth to Kendall and didn’t intend to return.

Then George Washington, her old coach at Woodbridge High School (Va.), called with an offer. He wanted Tamika, his former point guard, in the coaches’ room.

“I told her, ‘You need this as much as it needs you,’” said Washington.

Part of Washington’s pitch was that Tamika, a single mother, could bring Kendall along to practice and teach her the game. Indeed, some of Kendall’s earliest memories are in the Woodbridge gym, where Tamika, her players and even Washington introduced her to the intricacies of basketball. Washington often picked Kendall up from school or daycare to bring her to practice.

The trio became even closer through tragedy. Kendall was 4 when Washington suffered a cardiac event on the sideline and Tamika performed CPR on him before the paramedics arrived. Washington made a full recovery, but retired from coaching and handed the program off to Tamika. She led Woodbridge to a Class 6 state title in 2019 and earned USA Today Coach of the Year honors.

That’s when she caught the attention of the Sidwell Friends administration, and when she took the Quakers’ job, she brought Kendall with her. Even if mother and daughter already had a strong basketball foundation — Kendall often watched Woodbridge game tape with Tamika in the living room — it would be the first time they’d share a bench.

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Kendall grew up around the game of basketball thanks to her mom. (Courtesy of Tamika Dudley)

The relationship has borne fruit this season for the Quakers, who are also led by senior point guard Kiki Rice, a UCLA commit and arguably the top player in the country, and junior guard Jadyn Donovan, also a five-star recruit.

The group has elevated Sidwell to a status in the area normally reserved for teams in the more prestigious Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, like St. John’s, Paul IV and Bishop McNamara. Tamika isn’t surprised the success has led to some hearsay about her future, though she hypothesized there might be deeper reasons for the rumors.

“My first year coaching in this league, in general, there were situations with officials. And I was like, ‘Is it because I’m female and Black?’” said Tamika, whose mother is white and father is Black. “I hate to take it there. I normally don’t even go there.

“It’s definitely tougher for me to deal with male coaches than it is female coaches.”

Kendall, meanwhile, doesn’t pay much attention to the discourse surrounding Tamika’s future. But she does wish more people would recognize her mother’s success.

“You can’t stop people from talking,” Kendall said, “but you can always make an effort to show them what’s wrong about what they’re saying.”

Josh Needelman is the High School Sports Editor at Just Women’s Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JoshNeedelman.

Cameron Brink likes Caitlin Clark for 2024 WNBA Rookie of the Year

Cameron Brink poses with Caitlin Clark at 2024 wnba draft in new york
Cameron Brink poses with fellow draftee — and possible WNBA ROY —Caitlin Clark. (Photo by Emily Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images)

Cameron Brink already has her rookie of the year pick for the upcoming WNBA season, and it’s Indiana-bound star Caitlin Clark

In the latest edition of Kelley on the Street, host Kelley O'Hara caught up with Brink in New York hours before the Stanford phenom went No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Sparks at the 2024 WNBA Draft. When O’Hara asked who would win the WNBA's rookie of the year, she answered without pause.

"Caitlin Clark," she said, while a fan commented that she thought Brink would take home the award. Brink later added that the extra foul granted to WNBA players will be "good for me."

"I hope it’s me," Charisma Osborne, who was later drafted by the Phoenix Mercury, said when asked her ROY prediction. "But, I don’t know — we’ll see."

Watch more of Kelley on the Street:

Dash winger Maria Sanchez confirms trade request a day shy of NWSL deadline

María Sanchez of Houston Dash during a NWSL game
In December, Sanchez signed a new three-year contract with the club worth $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images)

Maria Sanchez issued a statement on Thursday, confirming recent reports that she has requested a trade from the Houston Dash. 

In it, she revealed that the club has been aware of the request "since late March."

"This has all taken a toll and isn’t an easy thing to talk about, but I want to confirm that I’ve requested an immediate trade," she wrote. "My expectations and reasons have been clear. I trust that my current club’s management will honor my decision in a timely manner and proceed with accepting a trade."

"I’m eager to refocus and dive back into what I love most: playing football," she concluded.

Reports of Sanchez's trade request first surfaced on ESPN last week, and were later confirmed by multiple sources. 

In December of last year, Sanchez signed a three-year contract with the Dash valued at $1.5 million including bonuses and an option year. It was the largest contract in NWSL history at the time — a figure that would be eclipsed by multiple contracts in the following months. 

Sanchez spent the offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning that Houston could match any other team's offer to retain her rights. Should the Dash trade Sanchez, her current contract terms would remain intact, limiting potential buyers to teams able to afford to take on an inking of that size.

The Dash has yet to address the trade, instead reiterating to ESPN that Sanchez is "under contract, a choice she made in free agency at the end of 2023." 

Both the NWSL trade window and transfer window close tonight, April 19th, at 12 a.m. ET. The window will stay closed through the next 11 regular season games, reopening on August 1st, 2024.

Seattle Storm debut state-of-the-art $64 million practice facility

Jewell Loyd #24 of the Seattle Storm during warms up during practice on July 11, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida
Jewell Loyd, seen here practicing at Florida's IMG Academy, and her team are in for a major upgrade this season. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

The four-time league champion Seattle Storm unveiled their new practice facility on Thursday, with Storm co-owner Lisa Brummel dubbing Interbay's Seattle Storm Center for Basketball Performance the team’s "new home."

"It's just such a special space," Brummel told Fox 13 Seattle. "I think when the players get here, it's gonna be overwhelming."

The sprawling 50,000-square-foot, $64 million property is just the second designated practice facility to be designed and built expressly for a WNBA team, with the Storm further noting that 85% of all design and engineering team members involved in the project's construction were women and people of color. The finished product holds two professional indoor courts, two 3x3 outdoor courts, a state-of-the-art locker room, and players' lounge, plus designated areas for strength and conditioning, kitchen, dining, and nutrition, and recovery. 

"This facility reflects our commitment to providing our athletes an exceptional environment that supports their growth, health, and performance," said Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder in an official team release. "It’s built for women, by women, embodying our dedication to leading the way in professional women’s sports."

For their part, the team can't wait to make the faciilty their own.

"It's amazing," Storm guard Jewell Loyd told Fox 13. "Not having to drive everywhere around, knowing you have access anytime of the day to get into the gym, to workout." 

Head coach Noelle Quinn said she predicts the team is "never going to leave this building."

"Which is a good thing for me," she continued. "You talk about having an edge in performance. We want our athletes to not only perform on the court, but get whatever they need."

All of the Storm's staff and operations will now live under one roof, and the team also has plans to launch a youth basketball program operating out of the building.

Mystics relocate game to accommodate Caitlin Clark fans

Maya Caldwell, Erica Wheeler, and Lexie Hull of the Indiana Fever celebrate Caitlin Clark
Get ready — Caitlin Clark is coming to town. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

The Caitlin Clark effect is quickly making its mark on the big leagues, as WNBA host teams around the country rush to upgrade their Fever games to larger arenas in order to accommodate surging ticket sales.

With Clark mere weeks away from her Indiana Fever debut, both the Las Vegas Aces and Washington Mystics have officially relocated their scheduled home games with head coach Christie Sides' squad. On Thursday, the Mystics became the latest to adjust their plans, moving their June 7th matchup from Entertainment & Sports Arena in Southwest DC to the more centrally located — and much larger — Capital One Arena "due to unprecedented demand."

The Mystics home court's capacity taps out at 4,200, while Capital One Arena — home to the Wizards, Capitals, and Georgetown Hoya's Men's Basketball — can fit nearly five times that crowd at some 20,000 spectators.

"The move to Capital One Arena will allow for additional fans in the stands as well as premium hospitality options, including Suites and the all-new all-inclusive courtside Hennessy Lofts," the team announced via Thursday's press release.

The Aces were one of the first teams to switch venues, aiming to take on the Indiana Fever in front of as many as 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena on July 2nd. That’s a sizable a boost from their home venue, which holds just 12,000.

For those still planning to face the Fever in their home arenas, ticket prices have skyrocketed. Previously scheduled construction has already forced the LA Sparks to relocate their first five games — including their May 24th clash with the Fever — to Long Beach State's Walter Pyramid. The temporary venue is quite the downsize, holding just 4,000 in comparison to Crypto.com Arena's near-19,000. As of Friday, the get-in price for that game started around $400.

Despite fans launching a Change.org petition urging relocation, the Chicago Sky say they're unable to move their June 23rd Fever meeting from Wintrust Arena's 10,000-seat facility to the 23,500-seat United Center due to a concert. Tickets for that game start around $325 as of Friday.

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