SBD/29/Leagues Governing Bodies

WNBA SELECTS 32 PLAYERS; WOLTERS MEETS HARTFORD'S FAITHFUL

          The WNBA held its inaugural draft yesterday as 32
     players were selected by eight teams.  The Houston Comets
     selected USC All-American Tina Thompson with the first pick. 
     The WNBA begins its season on June 21 (WNBA).  In S.F., Jake
     Curtis writes that "of the dozen top college seniors
     targeted by both the WNBA and the American Basketball League
     in their competition to sign high-profile players,
     [Stanford's Jamila] Wideman and Thompson were the only two
     signed by the WNBA" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/29).  In Hartford,
     around 400 people greeted the ABL's press conference
     announcing Kara Wolters' signing with the Blizzard (Bruce
     Berlet, HARTFORD COURANT, 4/29).
          TALE OF TWO LEAGUES: In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs compares
     the WNBA and ABL: "At this point, it's hard to determine
     whether the WNBA is a basketball league or the Jock Miss
     America Pageant. ... [the] WNBA seems content as arena-
     filler to jackknife between tractor pulls and indoor
     football."  Jacobs, on the ABL: "Women's basketball might be
     huge in Hartford.  But there's a bigger beast than the WNBA
     in much of America.  It's called potential lack of interest"
     (HARTFORD COURANT, 4/29).  USA TODAY's Dick Patrick profiles
     the two leagues, noting "If the ABL has the edge with '96
     Olympians and the class of '97, the WNBA counters with three
     marquee names" in Lisa Leslie, Sheryl Swoopes and Rebecca
     Lobo.  But Patrick writes the WNBA's "reputation is less
     player-knowledgeable and player-friendly," and that it
     "alienated some players with its inflexible approach on
     salaries and decision deadlines."  Jerome Stanley, agent for
     Tina Thompson: "It's hardball.  It's the same as the NBA
     only it's dressed up because this is women and it's new"
     (USA TODAY, 4/29).  In N.Y, Jack Cavanaugh calls the Wolters
     signing "another coup" for the ABL and a "balm of sorts" for
     Hartford which is "still reeling" from the Whalers' decision
     to relocate (N.Y. TIMES, 4/29).

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