Michaela Onyenwere on fertility planning; All-Star Game starter rankings

The last year of Michaela Onyenwere’s life was a whirlwind.

The New York Liberty selected the former UCLA forward sixth overall in the 2021 WNBA draft, and within weeks she was in sea foam at Barclays Center, playing her way to the rookie of the year honors. She earned her degree at UCLA, played overseas in Spain and now in year two of her professional career she begins planning a family.

No, no, not like that. Onyenwere, who turns 23 on August, learns about her reproductive health and fertility as part of a campaign with Modern Fertility so that she is prepared for that part of her life beyond.

“We’re going overseas, so it’s like, OK, if I’m going to have a child at some point in my life, I know I might have to miss basketball. I know I might have a should miss part of my career, “Onyenwere told Yahoo. Sport. “I think it’s so important to me to – not that I want children soon – it’s very important to me to have that resource and option to do that.”

Onyenwere is joined on the campaign by Liberty teammate Betnijah Laney and WNBA counterparts Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike. The campaign highlights the difficulty for female athletes to have a family when their bodies are literally their careers and support is largely lacking.

That second issue is starting to change for the better. When Title IX turned 50 this week, the sports world celebrated progress while also focusing on the next 50 years of growth in equality. This includes maternity protection and access to family planning so that athletes are not restricted in their careers.

The WNBA included it in its groundbreaking 2020 collective bargaining agreement, a big leap from when Sheryl Swoopes gave birth to her son shortly before the first WNBA season kicked off in 1997. The CBA includes fully paid maternity leave, compensation for fertility support and adoption fees, childcare allowance and the end of the stigmatizing use of “suspended” when a player is out due to pregnancy.

Players have already benefited from the changes. Cheyenne Parker and Napheesa Collier each gave birth to daughters while Breanna Stewart, who used a surrogate, and Parker, whose wife carried their son, welcomed children.

But talking about it in a campaign is very different from silently using a job advantage. Onyenwere, who is the youngest W star in the campaign at six years old, said she was a little nervous when she first heard the pitch, because reproductive health is still such a taboo subject. Her first thought was, “OK, we’ll deal with it later,” and she thought back to a six-week college class on Black motherhood that piqued her interest.

“It made me more interested in gaining knowledge about my body,” Onyenwere said. “I know about my body on the athletic side. I could push my body on the athletic side. But I’m not so familiar with the reproductive side, the hormones and my eggs and things like that. I think it’s a no- brainer kind of collaboration that I’m very excited to keep learning about. “

The progress made in the WNBA, other sports leagues and society in general when it comes to family planning also comes at a time when the Supreme Court appears to be ready to Roe v. Wade, a 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide, to reverse. (After this piece was published Friday morning, the court announced its formal vote, 6-3, to overturn the law.)

“I was very angry about just because it’s like there are men who are men who will never go through things that women go through on any level in any landscape that makes decisions for women,” Onyenwere, whose degree is in sociology, told Yahoo Sports said. “No matter how much I read about it, no matter how much I process it, I just get it. And unfortunately that’s just how it was for a long time.

“But it’s just as disappointing to see such things. See the world like that. Look at how women’s bodies are regulated, even from years and years and years and years ago. Decades ago. So it’s really, really sorry to see it I pray that we will be able to get to a space where it does not happen, where we can have the choice to have children, not to have children, to make those decisions for yourself that is best for yourself. “

WNBA All-Star Rankings

A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Sylvia Fowles and Sue Bird shares captaincy duties as four of the 10 All-Star starters announced by the league on Wednesday. All-Star picks are always interesting because they are a weighted voice between fans, media and players, so it gives insight into where each sector stands. And there were some big differences between those parties.

At the waiting position, the numbers 5-7 finishers each had margins of at least seven between the highest position and the lowest. Seattle Stormwag Jewell Loyd was third by players, fifth by fans and 10th by the media (East Coast bias proven?).

Blames Diggins-Smith, who did not waste time pointing out the difference on Twitter, was third by media, fourth by fans and 14th by players. She was the only top-10 guard in weighted score to receive a double-digit player ranking. The second neighbor was Rhyne Howardwho came ninth and finished ninth in the weighted score.

Arike Ogunbowale was ranked fourth by media and players, but 11th by fans to fall out of the starting pool. (Marketing and / or racial prejudice play out?) And Kelsey Mitchell was ranked by both sixths, only to fall due to a no. 13 finish with fans.

WNBA All-Star Voice Total.  (WNBA)

WNBA All-Star Voice Total. (WNBA)

At the front position, where there are six All-Star spots, it was sixth place Candace Parker (fan third, media seventh, player 13th) and Elena Delle Donne (4, 12, 20) who have seen such drastic differences. The low player rankings are not new to Parker, who was named “most overrated” in a confidential player poll. by The Athletic in September 2019. Delle Donne’s difference can be attributed to her situation as a part-time player, while fans probably voted her high in excitement to have her back.

But the biggest thing to note in the rankings is prevailing MVP Jonquel Jones. She finished third in each of the media and player ranks, while finishing only eighth on the fan front ranks and 15th out of all players. This should not be overlooked, this result appeared on the day of Katie Barnes’ piece for ESPN highlighting marketing problems and prejudice regarding Jones and within the league as a whole.

In overall voting, Wilson was first (88,407) followed by Stewart (79,520), Plum (68,678), Parker (66,462) and Delle Donne (45,876). I had an All-Star ballot, which I will share in the spirit of transparency with a few notes.

Guards: Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Mitchell

Give the new kids some love. Plum and Young are clear. Ionescu reached another level in June and has an impact on every part of the statistics sheet. Mitchell got the nod because of what she did without experienced talent around her, but Ogunbowale and Loyd were hard to stop.

Voorhof: A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones, Sylvia Fowles, Brionna Jones, Elena Delle Donne

Her Hope Stats made a good case for Brionna Jones, who is an important part of the Sun’s strong start. And I partly put Delle Donne in for her success after two years away and that the Mystics are such a different team without her. Many players were hard to let go of, such as Dearica Hamby, Nneka Ogwumike and Emma Meesseman.

WNBA x NBA Draft mashup

Family members of past and present WNBA players had their moments in the spotlight on Thursday night during the 2022 NBA draft.

Washington Mystics Center Elizabeth Williams was in town to see her brother, Mark Williams. Mark attended Duke just like his older sister and chose the school after seeing Elizabeth, the 2012 National First-Years of the Year, play there.

Rhonda Smith Banchero, who graduated as Washington’s leading scorer, raised her son, Duke’s Paolo Banchero, in the women’s game. Smith Banchero (who played as Rhonda Smith) was drafted by the Sacramento Monarchs in the third round of the 2000 WNBA draft.

And then there is Niele Iveyand son, Jaden Ivey. The Indiana Fever selected Niele Ivey from Notre Dame as 19th overall in the 2001 WNBA draft. She played five seasons before becoming a coach and ending up back at Fighting Irish, where she took over after former coach Muffet McGraw’s retirement. Jaden was born in 2002 while playing for the Fever and he played collegiately at Purdue. Both mother and son reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournaments in March.

Twitter user TC Collins said it best: “Biggest takeaway from the NBA concept. Guys with moms who played in the WNBA are better prospects than guys whose dad played in the NBA.”

WNBA news you may have missed

The latest about Brittney Griner:

TV schedule for the weekend

Games are available on WNBA League Pass unless broadcast by broadcasters as listed below (excluding Facebook and Twitter). All times ET

Friday: Liberty at Dream (19:30, CBS Sports Network)

Saturday: Mercury at Wings (20:00, NBA TV), Sparks at Storm (21:00, Facebook), Mystics at Aces (22:00, NBA TV)

Sunday: Sun at Dream (15:00, Amazon Prime), Lynx at Sky (18:00, CBS Sports Network)

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