🏈 Who run the world?
From agents to coaches, 2019 and 2020 proved that women indisputably have a place on the bench and behind the scenes in sports.
- Let’s start with Baylor Lady Bears college head coach (and fashionista) Kim Mulkey. In February 2020, she became the fastest D1 basketball coach — as you know by now, male or female — to reach 600 wins. And get this, she did it in just 700 games.
- Now let’s switch gears and talk football. At the beginning of February 2020, the Washington who must not be named’s hired Jennifer King as an assistant coach, which made her the first full-time Black female coach in the NFL. ’Bout time, no?
- Sticking with the NFL, despite her San Francisco 49ers squad losing the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs, offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers became the first woman and openly gay coach in Super Bowl history.
- Baseball also got in on the fun. In January 2020, Alyssa Nakken was hired by the San Francisco Giants as the first female full-time coach in MLB history. Hey batter, batter, batter.
- ICYMI the NHL is expanding to Seattle in October and we’re already big fans of the franchise. In September 2019, they hired former Team USA captain, gold medalist and Hockey Hall of Famer Cami Granato as one of the team’s full-time scouts, making her the first female pro-scout in NHL history.
🤸 Breaking records and taking names
t’s been a stellar 14 months for women on the field and the fans supporting them. Our favorite moments?
- We can’t have an IWD email and not talk about college basketball player Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced YOH-NESS-COO). Just last month, this Oregon Duck senior solidified herself as the best collegiate basketball athlete of all time when she became the first NCAA player — yes male or female — to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. What, like it’s hard?
- And then there’s Christine Sinclair. At the end of January 2020, this humble and tenacious leader of the Canadian women’s national soccer team (CANWNT) became the all-time leading goal scorer — again, male or female — in international soccer history. Forget “Bend it like Beckham,” let’s “Bend it like Sinclair.”
- Women’s hockey also got in on the fun. For the final game of the Rivalry Series between Team USA and Team Canada, a record 13,320 fans filled the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, the most for a U.S. women’s hockey game played on home soil.
- How could we talk about women killing it and not talk about American gymnast Simone Biles? In October 2019, Biles became the most decorated gymnast — we repeat, male or female — at the World Championships winning an all-time record of 25 world medals, including 19 golds. Just imagine what her trophy case looks like.
🏀 And the beat goes on
The GIST: Just like the NHL, the NBA is oh so close to the postseason too. And as if we ever had any doubt, the reigning champion Toronto Raptors are looking like strong playoff contenders.
Weren’t they losing?: Yes, but not anymore. After a three game losing skid, the Raps finally broke the bad luck streak with a 123–114 win against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night. The Raps have had a season of highs and lows, going on a 16-game winning streak in January and February while also dealing with a slew of injuries.
- The Raps need just a few more wins to clinch their playoff berth, and we thought tonight’s game against the league-worst Golden State Warriors was going to be a sure thing. However, the Warriors are welcoming back their franchise superstar Steph Curry, who’s returning from a broken hand that kept him off the court for 58 games. So who knows how this one's going to go down.
What else is going on in the NBA?: Zion Williamson is still in #BeastMode. The New Orleans Pelicans’ No. 1 draft pick and Rookie of the Year contender put up 21 points against Luka Dončić and the Dallas Mavericks last night. Despite losing in overtime, Zion has now gone thirteen straight games with 20+ points, the only teenager to ever do that. When we were teens we were that productive too…
🏀 Two of a kind
The GIST: Kobe and Shaq. Serena and Venus. PB and J. The world has been treated to some amazing dynamic duos over the years, and in just a few months, we’ll have one more: Kia Nurse and Sabrina Ionescu (pronounced YOH-NESS-COO).
Remind me, who’s Kia Nurse?: She’s one of the greatest basketball players to ever come out of Canada. Nurse plays for the Canadian women’s national team, the New York Liberty in the WNBA and the Canberra Capitals in the WNBL, the Australian women’s professional basketball league (WNBA players often spend their offseason playing basketball elsewhere because they don’t get paid enough…don’t get us started!).
- Yesterday, Kia hit the game-clinching shot, securing the Capitals’ second consecutive WNBL championship. Talk about clutch. Kia was also named the season’s league MVP. Hell yeah, she did.
And who’s Sabrina Ionescu?: Ionescu plays NCAA college basketball for the Oregon Ducks, and she’s quite possibly the best women’s basketball player the league has ever seen. She’s set some unreal records in her four years as a Duck, and this week she tallied her ninth double-double in the final regular season game of her college career before sharing a heartfelt speech in front of a sold-out crowd.
- And get this. When Sabrina started at Oregon, average attendance of women’s basketball games was 2,595. Now it’s 11,588. She’s got the power.
And when will they play together?: The WNBA Draft is set for April 17th and the New York Liberty, the winners of the Draft Lottery, will have the first overall draft pick, where they’ll undoubtedly select Ionescu. We literally cannot wait for the season to start in May.
Any other Canadian women’s basketball news?: But of course. The U Sports Women’s Final 8 national championships are taking place in Ottawa this weekend. All eyes will be on the hometown team Carleton Ravens, who will have to face the heavily favored Saskatchewan Huskies in tonight’s quarter-final. Watch the entire tournament on CBC.
🏒 The heat is on
The GIST: It’s crunch time. The NHL playoffs begin on April 8th, giving teams less than five weeks to clinch their spot in the postseason. Here’s a look at who’s in, who’s out and who’s on the bubble.
Who’s in?: Technically, no one yet, but realistically, there are three teams in each conference that should be shoo-ins. In the Eastern Conference, it’s the Washington Capitals, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning. Over in the Western Conference, it looks like it’s the Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars and the reigning Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues.
- For something to go wrong, these teams would have to play v. v. bad — we probably have better odds of finding love on Love Is Blind than any of these teams not making the postseason.
Who’s out?: In the midst of a rebuilding year, the Detroit Red Wings are statistically the only team already eliminated. They’ll likely be joined by the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
Who’s on the bubble?: In the Eastern Conference, the Carolina Hurricanes and New York Islanders are sitting in the most precarious spots. The Hurricanes are dealing with goalie issues (no duh), while the Islanders, who were looking solid up until a few weeks ago, are facing a tough schedule and have hit a recent rough patch.
- In the West, the Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks hold their fate in their own hands. If the Flames can learn how to win at home (they have the fourth-worst at-home record in the league this season) and the Canucks’ defence can learn how to just generally be better (they kind of suck right now), these two Canadian teams can clinch postseason berths.
How are our other Canadian teams doing?: Not great, but not too bad, either. The Montreal Canadiens likely won’t make the playoffs, but the Toronto Maple Leafs should earn a spot (despite them playing pretty bad lately). Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets need to win at least 10 of their remaining 14 games to clinch, which is...not a great position to be in.
- The good news is that the Edmonton Oilers, led by the dream duo of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, have a 98% chance of locking in a playoff berth. It’s been 27 years since a Canadian team won the Cup, so at this point, we’ll take anyone.
Any other hockey news?: Yes, but this one’s not for the faint of heart. On Tuesday night, New York Islanders defenceman Johnny Boychuk took a skate to the face (luckily it avoided his eye) and it took 90 stitches (!!!) to sew him back up.