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By Julia Coleman ( From Willie McCray, WBCBL Founder)

September 6, 2010

Miami, Fla. - The Womens Blue-Chip Basketball League's (WBCBL) 2010 season has come to a close and the Rock County Robins of Wisconsin claimed the championship in this, their first year in the league. The Robins overcame an 11-point halftime deficit to claim a 71-67 overtime victory over the Gulf Coast Storm on
August 22, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Fl.

The WBCBL is a semi-pro league for women who are at least 20 years old. Players pay to play, and teams hold open tryouts each year to fill out their roster. Founder Willie McCray provided some background. Several years ago, I founded a mens league in the
Dallas area, and after a while, more and more women were showing up asking to join a mens team. So because of demand we founded the first womens division actually the women get the credit for making us pay attention - in Texas and that was followed very quickly by adding some teams in the Atlanta area. 

Now comprised of nearly 60 teams in 10 divisions stretching from the East coast to the West coast and from
Texas to Wisconsin, the WBCBLs mission is two-fold. First, it provides a competitive outlet for women, including former collegiate, WNBL and WNBA players, as well as some currently playing overseas. Additionally, the WBCBL is a showcase for scouts looking for talent. McCray explains that since its inception, more than 200 WBCBL players have signed contracts to play abroad. But the odds are long and the sacrifices are many.

I will play until I die, says Stephanie Raymond, starting point guard for the league champion Robins. I make my work schedule fit my basketball schedule. Raymond, who had a brief stay with the Chicago Sky of the WNBA, lives and works in Rockville, Illinois, and commutes on weekends to practices and games for the Robins who are based in Beloit, Wisconsin.
 

The Robins also boast their own version of the Miller twins of WNBA fame, as twins Jeana and Jenna Hoffman often handle both backcourt positions. The Hoffman twins, like their WNBA counterparts, are from the
Midwest and will do whatever it takes to play on the same team. Jeana played in the Netherlands last year but vowed not to play without her sister as her running mate in the future. 

Robins starting forward Jennifer Pozzani is a mother and a teacher when she is not blocking out players much taller and faster. The 5-foot-9 Pozzani had been out of hoops for five years before hearing about open tryouts for the Robins. But even with her changing priorities, her love for the game remains strong, as evidenced by her perpetually outhustling her opponents and launching a sweet long-range jumper at crucial times to help the Robins into the championship game.


Many players in the WBCBL are motivated by a shot at catching on with a professional team, but many others are just driven by their desire to keep playing at a high level.


I still have a love for the game, explains the Miami Rains Telisha Quarles. Quarles, who played her college ball for Coach Debbie Ryan at the
University of Virginia, was drafted but cut by the WNBA a few years ago and has since played in both Israel and Turkey. Thinking it was time to move to a new chapter in her life, she entered corporate American in Washington, D.C. A short time later she heard about the WBCBL. The call for tryouts was the siren song that led her back to the gym. 

Quarles plays for the Miami Rain, who hosted both the Regionals and the Championship Tournament for the 2010 season. The Rain are co-owned by Notosha Austin and Kofie Wynter; two women who share a passion for creating opportunities for women and in exchange, expect those women to become active in their communities. We want to give women an opportunity to take it to the next level, explains
Austin. We are role models, adds Wynter. Our community outreach activities this year included a breast cancer awareness walk and feeding the homeless.

This is an exciting brand of basketball played by skilled athletes. The on-court product bears a striking similarity to that on display by the WNBA. The shoes still squeak on the hardwood, the coaches still demand precise execution, and the players still dive for loose balls. But the differences are a little more stark and subtle. At halftime of one of the semi-final games, one player stopped just before entering the locker room to attend to her 3-year old who just needed a hug from mommy. She let her teammates pass, picked up her son, cuddled him gently and whispered something that put a smile on his face and then handed him back to his caretaker before joining her teammates in the locker-room.
 

In so many ways, the WBCBL really is all about love and basketball.
   

 
BCM Danzio Timisoara eye Tiffany Brown
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RALEIGH, NC -- The RDU Sting Women's Development Program Overseas Update.  

With the importance of making the most of any opportunity,  Tiffany Brown (Georgia Southern) continues to generate interest in Romania where she has racked up some very impressive stats.

 
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