The Evster's Midseason WNBA Awards

The Evster's Midseason WNBA Awards

It's been another roller coaster season in the WNBA filled with ups and downs and women throwing the ball off the bottom of the backboard and right back into their own faces. In the East, the Chicago Sky (led by local hero Elana Delle Donne) have SKY'ED to the top of the standings, while out West, the Tulsa Shock have been shitting all over themselves, delivering another shit-filled summer to the shitty fans in their shitty city.

Perennial fan favorites like Tina Thompson, Jet "The Jet" Jett and Fancy Nancy Reagan have continued to amaze, while young stars such as Dr. Jane Naismith, Kevin Durant's fiancé and Wilma Rudolph Jr. have taken the ligg by storm.

So seeing as the past few months have been chest-pass-arrific©, let's give out The Evster's Midseason WNBA Awards.

Most Incredible Layup

Oh man, there have been so many sweet layups so far this season: Right-handed layups, left-handed layups, OFF-DA-BACKBOARD layups. I even saw one layup that was meant to go off the backboard, but instead went over the backboard, into another player's hands, and then that player tried put it back in, missed, got her own rebound, back-dribbled off her foot, over to another player, who then collided with a different player, knocking the ball loose and causing six women TO SIMULTANEOUSLY CRASH TO THE FLOOR OH GOOD GOD THE HUMANITY.

Rookie of the Year

It's a two-horse race this summer between the former Blue Hen, Delle Donne, and the Phoenix Mercury's Britney Griner, last year's NCAA player of the year. EDD has been sensational for Chicago, but Griner has been HUGE for the Mercury, literally, she's by far the tallest woman on the planet. The first-born daughter of Gheorghe Muresan and a giraffe, Griner stands at 19 feet tall and averages over 300 points per game. Experts all over the country are debating which one of them has had the greater impact, so I asked University of Tennessee Head Coach, Imelda Marcos, who she thought has had the better start to her career.

Imelda Marcos: "I love shoes!"

Thanks, Imelda Marcos.

I'm giving the award to Delle Donne because she's prettier.

**Evster's Note** I'd just like to take a second to say that I actually sort of enjoy watching women's basketball, specifically the USA National Team, and feel kinda bad about making fun of the sport. Over the past 25 years, the women's team has consistently outperformed the men, winning seven of the past eight olympic gold medals while the men have only won six. I also recognize that any woman in the WNBA could destroy me on the court -- or in the bedroom -- and that I am a terrible and pathetic person. That being said, it's still really fun to rag on the WNBA, so let's continue with this mildly offensive, kinda sexist blog post. Next award!

Chick With the Biggest Rack

I'm kidding, I'm kidding, I'm kidddddinnnnnggggggg.

Most Valuable Player

According to EmilyMaynard.com, the first half MVP has been Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks. So yeah, that's great, I agree, Candace for MVP, whatever. But more importantly, did you know that Candace is married to former Duke and Atlanta Hawks SUPAHSTAH, Shelden "My Name is Shelden" Williams?!?!

It's true!

The couple married in 2008, and have a lovely 4-year-old daughter together, Lailaa, whose name is spelled with a ridiculous amount of A's. Lailaa is an aspiring soccer player and amateur artist, and recently drew this picture of her Mommy and Daddy.

Candace is the one wearing headphones.

Also that picture of Shelden is INCREDIBLE.

Based on her Instagram, it seems as if Parker is living a truly #blessed life, as evidenced by the fact that she recently met Mr. Belding!

Best Mascot

After googling "WNBA + mascots + I'm so very lonely", I discovered that the Houston Comets -- the former back-to-back-to-back-back (that's four backs!) champions -- are no longer a team! Can you believe it? Me neither! I'm actually being serious right now, that's friggin' really weird (and sad). Other teams who have folded are the Charlotte Sting, the Detroit Shock, the Cleveland Rockers, the Orlando Miracle, the Miami why do I keep naming teams this isn't even interesting. Anyway, that's pathetic that the team who won the league's first four championships had to fold. Not as pathetic as what's happened to Mr. Belding's career, but still.

Even sadder is the fact that Haley the Houston Comet, the weirdest-looking mascot in the history of mascots, is now dead! That lady was a total weirdo!

What is even going on there?!?!

#75?

So I guess now the Seattle Storm's mascot, Doppler, looks to be the league's best. Doppler is a big, furry, brown idiot whose favorite broadcaster (according to the Storm's website) is Hannah Storm. That's kinda funny, actually. Doppler's favorite movies are listed as Rain Man and Gone With the Wind. His favorite color is white lightning, which isn't even a real color, so now I sort of hate him. He might not even be a he. He might be a she. Explain to me why I chose to write about the WNBA again?

Best Kevin Durant's Fiancé

Monica Wright, Minnesota Lynx, hands down. She's the only player so far this year to get engaged to the NBA superstar. I could tell you more about the young lovers -- like the fact that they met years ago at the McDonald's game -- but instead let's just check out Monica's Instagram account, because clearly that's the only research I'm capable of doing.

Here's Monica and KD getting ready to go paddle boarding. Interesting that Durant is goin' with the "Hang Loose" Hawaii hand gesture while Monica is throwin' down deuces like her name was MC Ren.

Monica posted these pics over the past couple of Wednesdays, giving props to that Geico Humpday commercial (WHICH I LOVE). Not only did she post a screenshot of the spot, she also recently bought a t-shirt featuring the camel. I love this woman.

And this is her dog wearing sunglasses!

So there you have it, folks. You're all caught up on the wonderful world of the WNBA.

You're welcome!

You can follow the future Mrs. Kevin Durant on Twitter @Monnie22. You can also follow The Evster @TVMWW, or Imelda Marcos @ThePhilippinesFinest.

Eagles Injury Update: Isaac Seumalo, Wendell Smallwood, Vinny Curry still out

Eagles Injury Update: Isaac Seumalo, Wendell Smallwood, Vinny Curry still out

The Eagles were back to practice on Tuesday without the same four players.

Isaac Seumalo (pec), Wendell Smallwood (concussion), Vinny Curry (knee) and Taylor Hart (knee) were all held out of practice.

On Monday, head coach Doug Pederson said the team would hold Seumalo back from practice until he was 100 percent. Pederson expects Seumalo back next week and then the team will make a decision about the starting offensive line.

Pederson also said he expects Curry and Hart back for the season opener on Sept. 11.

For the second straight day, however, Carson Wentz (ribs) and Jordan Matthews (knee) were practicing. Neither will play on Thursday in the preseason finale against the Jets, but both also said they'll be ready for the opener.

The Eagles wrap up their preseason at the Linc on Thursday with a 7 p.m. kickoff against the Jets.

Penn star receiver Justin Watson ready to keep doing it all in 2016

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Photo: Dave Zeitlin

Penn star receiver Justin Watson ready to keep doing it all in 2016

As Penn football players spread out around Franklin Field to take photos and do interviews for the program’s annual media day, Justin Watson hung by the track, playing a quick game of tag near the hurdles.

“Come and get me, J-Wat!” cried out Vhito DeCapria, the precocious 5-year-old cancer patient the team adopted last year through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation and who’s now back for his “sophomore” season.

Watson, known as “J-Wat” to most, smiled and played along. Being Vhito’s favorite player is just one of the many hats he wears. He’s also one of the team’s hardest-working, smartest and most versatile players — and he enters his junior season as perhaps the top wide receiver in the Ivy League, if not the entire FCS.

“Does he do anything to surprise me?” senior quarterback Alec Torgersen said from media day Monday. “Not anymore. He did at the beginning when he first got here. But now it’s just expected of him. I expect him to make those crazy one-handed grabs. I expect him to catch every ball I throw to him. When he doesn’t, I get disappointed.”

Torgersen has had plenty of opportunities to throw Watson passes — and not only last season when the star receiver caught 74 balls (fourth all-time at Penn) for 1,087 yards (second all-time) and nine touchdowns (third all-time). Throughout the summer, the two friends worked together at the same internship downtown. They ate lunch together every day and, at 5 p.m., they hopped on a subway back to Franklin Field, where they worked out in the weight room and practiced back-shoulder fades and option routes.

“A lot of college quarterbacks and receivers can’t have that type of chemistry but I think us being here all summer really helped,” Watson said. “It’s been cool doing that. It’s a special thing that’s definitely going to help us in the fall.”

In truth, Watson is actually more than just a receiver. Last season, he was also used on running plays, gaining 154 yards on the ground, including a 79-yard scamper that sealed Penn’s huge upset at Harvard. Watson finished with a staggering 249 all-purpose yards that day at Harvard Stadium, helping the Quakers win the game that effectively led to them sharing a piece of the Ivy League title. And he said he was all set to play another position by taking direct snaps in the team’s regular-season finale vs. Cornell before getting hurt.

“The uniqueness about Justin is not only his talent and skill on the field but his football IQ,” second-year head coach Ray Priore said. “During the course of the year, he in theory played every skill position on offense. And he didn’t even blink an eye doing it. That’s a special characteristic.”

Priore laughed when asked if he can find more ways to utilize Watson in 2016 but said he won’t put him back on kick returns, “which he probably could do.” He will, however, play safety when the Quakers line up in their “victory defense” at the end of games, “so you may see an interception.”

Watson says he’s ready for anything.

“That’s so much fun,” he said. “When you’re a kid in middle school, that’s what you do. It’s awesome to be back doing that. Anything I can do to help us win, I’ll do it, whether it’s running back or receiver. I don’t think they’ll let me throw it at quarterback after seeing my arm. But anything else I’m definitely willing and ready to do.”

In the end, though, playing receiver is what Watson loves most, saying that catching a deep ball — and hearing the crowd “hold their breath when the ball’s in the air and then erupt” — is his favorite thing as a football player. It’s also his skills as a receiver that has him earning so much attention heading into Penn’s opener vs. Lehigh on Sept. 17. Among his preseason accolades, the junior was named one of 22 players on the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year Watch List — the only Ivy Leaguer to receive such an honor.

But if all of his records and accolades leads to opposing defenses paying more attention to him, Watson isn’t worried. That’s because he knows the team’s other receivers like fifth-year senior Cam Countryman and sophomore Christian Pearson are more than capable of having big years too.

“If you put two guys on me, we’ve got a bunch of other great receivers who will be open and will kill you down the field,” Watson said. “If I’ve got to take two or three guys every game, we’ll be 10-0 because I know everyone else will be making plays.”

It’s that kind of selflessness that has endeared Watson to his teammates, who enjoy the energy he brings to practice and how he always seems to be the first player in the training room.

“He’s an incredible player,” said Countryman, one of Penn’s leaders. “I have the utmost respect for him. When he came in his freshman year, you noticed right away the talent he had. So all of the accomplishments that he gets, I’m not surprised at all. 

“And they’ll keep coming in.”

Phillies-Nationals 5 things: Following a shutout, Phillies get to face Max Scherzer

Phillies-Nationals 5 things: Following a shutout, Phillies get to face Max Scherzer

Phillies (60-71) vs. Nationals (76-55)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies couldn't hit in Monday's series opener, but they did receive the positive of Jake Thompson finally looking like he can get outs at the big-league level. Thompson allowed two runs over seven innings, but the Phils were blanked by Tanner Roark for the third time this season.

The task Tuesday night is no easier.

1. Due vs. Scherzer?
When the Phillies face Max Scherzer, you can essentially chalk it up as an automatic loss. The Phils are one of the weaker offenses, Scherzer is one of the game's best pitchers, and his track record against them is nearly flawless.

Scherzer (14-7, 2.92) has faced the Phillies eight times since 2013. He's 6-0 with 1.74 ERA and a 0.82 WHIP, with 62 strikeouts and 10 walks in 57 innings. 

Scherzer had some early missteps this season, caused mostly by home runs, but he's been incredible since the middle of May, when he tied a MLB record with 20 strikeouts in a game. Since that game, he's 11-5 with a 2.40 ERA and .172 opponents' batting average in 20 starts. He's struck out 181 and walked 29 in those 139 innings. Ridiculous. Otherworldly.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, they'll be seeing a lot of Scherzer moving forward. He's in the second of a seven-year, $210 million free-agent contract with the Nationals that, to this point, he's lived up to.

Scherzer has a blazing fastball and a disappearing breaking ball. He throws strike after strike after strike, which is ironically what gets him into trouble at times. Like Cliff Lee, Scherzer is around the plate so often that hitters tend to attack his early fastballs. The result is a lot of solo home runs. But Scherzer has even corrected that issue of late, allowing just five homers over his last 11 starts.

2. Learn from Herrera
Odubel Herrera has had by far the most success of any active Phillie vs. Scherzer. He's 6 for 19 with a double, a triple and five walks. There are only six players in baseball with at least 20 plate appearances against Scherzer and an on-base percentage higher than Herrera's .458.

Herrera had a multi-hit game Monday, his fourth in his last eight contests. He's hitting .283/.361/.413 in 540 plate appearances this season, providing pretty much the same offense he did a year ago. But still, the Phillies would like to see more consistency from Herrera over the season's final month. His OBP had declined every month this year until August.

Phils manager Pete Mackanin said on Monday that Herrera will remain in center field the rest of the season. Mackanin had indicated several weeks ago that Herrera would see some time in the corner outfield to allow the organization to get a look at Aaron Altherr and perhaps even Roman Quinn in center field in September, but that's no longer the plan. Quinn is on the concussion DL at Double A, and the Phillies don't want to move Herrera around or do anything to affect his confidence at this point.

It still seems likely that Herrera will end up at a different position in the future because the Phillies have better defensive centerfielders.

3. Their steadiest starter
Jerad Eickhoff tonight makes his 27th start of 2016 and 35th career start for the Phillies. He's 9-12 with a 3.87 ERA this season and 12-15 with a 3.57 ERA in his career.

Eickhoff is coming off yet another quality start, his 14th. He's pitched at least six innings in 17 of his 25 starts. 

Strange as it is, Eickhoff has faced the division-rival Nationals only once in his career so far. He allowed two runs to them over seven innings with 10 strikeouts in his penultimate start last season.

Eickhoff has been much better this season at home (3.27 ERA) than on the road (4.56).

4. A night for small ball
One of the Phillies' goals this season was to manufacture runs because they don't have a ton of power. That will be especially necessary tonight against Scherzer, who's shut down every Phils hitter with pop.

Maikel Franco, Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp are a combined 5 for 31 (.161) off Scherzer. Ryan Howard, who's unlikely to play, is 1 for 18 with 11 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, Herrera has gotten on base with regularity against him, and Cesar Hernandez is 5 for 18 with a double. Herrera and Hernandez will need to reach base and run tonight. Scherzer, however, does a better job than most aces of controlling the running game. He's allowed just 11 steals on 14 attempts in 60 starts with the Nationals.

5. This and that
• A loss tonight would put the Phillies 12 games under .500. Their record hasn't been that bad since June 27, which was 53 games ago.

• The Phils are 6-12 against the NL East since the All-Star break.

• It would have been difficult for Jayson Werth to play up to the seven-year, $126 million contract he got with the Nationals after 2010, but when you look back at his tenure in Washington he's had only two bad years out of six. In more than 3,000 plate appearances with the Nats, Werth has hit .269/.361/.442 for an .803 OPS that is 18 percent better than the league average over that span.