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Analysis: Warriors’ Steph Curry shines spotlight on women

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Stephen Curry is grateful for the women in his life. He celebrates them every chance he gets.

Whether they want that treatment or not.

This is the story of Nanea McGuigan. Only the most ardent NBA fans likely know who she is, but millions saw her on their televisions three weeks ago when the Golden State Warriors handed out championship rings to players. McGuigan unexpectedly got hers, too, that night after Curry and the Warriors decided to pull off a surprise and show her — and the world — how revered she is.

“It’s about understanding the value that women bring into this male-dominated league,” Curry said in an interview with The Associated Press. “She was one of the first people I met when I got drafted. She made me feel right at home, my family feel right at home. She was a great ambassador for what the transition was going to be like. Now 14 years later, we felt it was right to honor her with the ring with everybody watching.”

Curry and his wife Ayesha have three young children, two of them girls. The girls aren’t currently interested in being like their dad. He’s hoping they want to be like McGuigan, whose official title is Director of Basketball Administration and Player Programs. Translated, it means she runs a whole lot of stuff for the Warriors, their players and their families.

“I know my daughters are watching and they’re starting to get curious now: ‘What’s her role? What does she do?’” Curry said. “Neither one of my girls wants to play basketball. But they can still have an opportunity in the business of sports. It’s amazing that’s being celebrated and encouraged more across the league.”

Not all the national NBA news involving women has been positive lately.

Robert Sarver. Ime Udoka. Joshua Primo all have stories that aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. Sarver hasn’t sold the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury yet. Udoka’s future — whether the Brooklyn Nets will hire him or not — will likely be decided soon. Primo’s problems may just be starting. Those stories involving women merit attention and should remain in the news, though they have been overshadowed by the ongoing Kyrie Irving saga.

But highlighting women’s roles isn’t a new or one-time stance for Curry. He’s been an advocate for women within the game for a while, particularly this year as the 50th anniversary of Title IX was being marked.

A pair of one-of-a-kind, hand-painted shoes he wore during the NBA Finals against Boston back in June bore the words “Retire Inequality,” and they were designed by a team that included UConn women’s guard Azzi Fudd — who represents Curry’s SC30 brand through a name, image and likeness deal. The message on the shoes was in reference to, among other things, the gender pay gap.

He didn’t only wear them for warm-ups or just long enough to get it on Instagram. He wore them to play. In the NBA Finals. With the world watching.

Fudd and UConn open their season on Thursday night. With Paige Bueckers out for the year with an ACL tear, UConn’s hopes might rest on Fudd. She’s a 3-point shooter. It’s not a coincidence that she and Curry — the most prolific 3-point shooter of all-time — were drawn to one another.

“I look at not just my daughters, but all the women in my life that have had such a major influence on who I am, their different personalities, the talents, value, morals and values that they instilled in me,” Curry said. “We have an opportunity to leverage the game into a great opportunity for young girls and women to pursue positions where they can make a difference, like changing communities, changing industries, it all matters.

“I learned as much about how to be a human being, how to protect my own, hard work, discipline and all that from my mom and both of my grandmas.”

His approach is also a tribute to his aunt, India Adams. She runs a Montessori school and played basketball at Belmont Abbey, a four-time all-conference player there. She knows the game. And after every Warriors game, Curry gets a text.

“Look forward to it every game,” Curry said. “She’s as invested in what I do now as ever.”

The Warriors aren’t good right now. They’re struggling, winless on the road and looking nothing like the team that won the NBA title five months ago.

There’s time to get it right. Same goes for a lot of teams off to slow starts. It has not been a banner three weeks for many in this league, Milwaukee and Utah and Giannis Antetokounmpo and Luka Doncic among the few exceptions. Some teams will figure it out and turn things around.

And Curry wouldn’t mind a few more Nanea McGuigan stories, too.


Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)


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Report: NWSL to expand in Boston, Utah and California

The National Women’s Soccer League is close to expanding by three teams, which will be in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco area, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The women’s pro league previously indicated it would add at least two teams by 2024. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the franchises in northern California and Utah are set to start play next year, with Boston to join at a later date.

The NWSL did not confirm the report in a statement Saturday to The Associated Press, saying: “We remain engaged in our expansion process and are excited about our prospects. When we have news to share, we will do so.”

The NWSL has 12 teams, after Angel City in Los Angeles and the San Diego Wave joined the league last year.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Boston and Bay Area groups will pay about $50 million in franchise fees. The Utah team will pay a reduced fee because of a previous agreement struck when the Utah Royals folded in the 2020 season.

Before the NWSL draft earlier this month, league commissioner Jessica Berman said it would be “somewhere between days and months, more like weeks, when we’ll be in a position to share information” about an expansion.

“What I can say is that I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have in front of us,” she added.


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Former MVP Candace Parker to sign with champion Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former two-time MVP Candace Parker announced on social media Saturday that she would sign with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

Parker spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown Sky, leading Chicago to the WNBA championship in 2021. She also won the 2016 title playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

She posted on Instagram that Chicago would always be her home, but “my family’s home is on the west coast.

“To play for a championship close to home is the perfect situation for us. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey this summer in Las Vegas.”

The free-agent signing period begins Wednesday, and the Aces can’t comment until then.

Parker, a 6-foot-4 forward/center, adds to an already loaded lineup that includes reigning MVP A’ja Wilson, who also won the league’s top award in 2020. Wilson also was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Chelsea Gray was MVP of the WNBA Finals and Kelsey Plum MVP of the All-Star Game. Wilson, Plum and Jackie Young were All-Star starters.

Parker and Gray were teammates on Los Angeles’ 2016 title team.

The Aces traded one of their key pieces, two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, to the Sparks on Jan. 21, creating speculation Las Vegas was creating salary cap room to sign a big-name player.

Parker, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2016 Finals MVP, certainly fits that bill. Even at 36 last season, she averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Sky.

“Candace has done so much for our franchise in her time here,” Chicago coach and general manager James Wade said in a statement. “I understand her reasons for wanting to be closer with her immediate family. We wish her nothing but the best. She will always be a part of the Sky family. We will celebrate her time here as she deserves.”

Losing her is a big blow to the Sky, who made the semifinals in last season’s playoffs before losing in five games to the Connecticut Sun. Kahleah Copper is the only starter under contract for next season, so the Sky could head into a rebuild.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to win a championship in my hometown and parade down the same streets I watched the Bulls parade down as a young girl first falling in love with the game of basketball,” Parker posted.

Parker joins the Aces at a time the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said it wanted that organization investigated regarding allegations that Hamby made after being traded. She posted on Instagram she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against” because she is pregnant with her second child.

The Aces still have not commented on Hamby’s allegations.


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Estrada, Hofstra end No. 18 Charleston’s 20-game win streak

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — This season, Hofstra has been a one-man show. This time, Aaron Estrada had some help as the Pride ended the nation’s longest winning streak.

Estrada scored 25 points, but just two in the second half, while Darlinestone Dubar added 18 as Hofstra had four players in double figures to knock off No. 18 College of Charleston 85-81 on Saturday — ending the Cougars’ 20-game win streak.

“That’s a really big for our program,” Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said. “To beat a nationally ranked team on their home court when they’ve got it rolling like they do speaks volumes about our kids.”

Claxton saw a team effort to take down the hottest team in the country.

“It wasn’t just Aaron,” Claxton said. “He had a great first half, but we had other guys step up and make baskets or get rebounds when we really needed them.”

The loss ended Charleston’s spotless run that began after losing to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Nov. 11.

Hofstra, the CAA’s leader in field-goal shooting, used that to move past Charleston in the second half as it made 18 of 32 attempts. The Pride led 76-69 with 6:10 to play before the Cougars cut it to two points on Ryan Larson’s foul shots with 2:02 to play.

But Charleston managed just two free throws after that and missed all four 3-pointers they tried.

This is the second straight season the Pride have beaten a Top 25 team. A year ago, Hofstra defeated then No. 24 Arkansas 89-81. The Pride’s only other victory against a Top 25 team came against Southern Illinois in 1976.

Hofstra (15-8, 8-2 Colonial Athletic Association) beat the Cougars (21-2, 9-1) at their own game — 3-point shooting. The Pride were 11 of 22 from 3-point range and overall shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half.

Estrada, who had 23 points in the opening half, shredded the Cougars defense at will. Estrada was 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

“Estrada is a great player, hit a bunch of tough shots, especially in the first half,” Charleston coach Pat Kelsey said. “Hofstra is a very, very talented team. It’s not just Estrada. They were better than us tonight.”

Then Estrada took over. The CAA’s leading scorer at 21.1 points a game scored 16 of the next 24 points for the Pride, including four 3-pointers.

Ante Brzovic’s dunk at the buzzer gave the Cougars a 46-44 advantage at halftime.

Tyler Thomas had 17 points and eight rebounds for Hofstra.

Brzovic finished with 18 points to lead the Cougars.


Hofstra: The Pride are on a roll in 2023. winning seven of their past eight games, including three in a row.

College of Charleston: The Cougars chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large bid took a major blow with the loss to the Pride. Despite having the nation’s longest win streak for three months, Charleston will most likely have to win the CAA Tournament in March to advance to the NCAAs.


The Cougars’ 20-game win streak wasn’t the only streak to end on Saturday. College of Charleston played 14 of its first 23 games at TD Arena to start the season and were a perfect 13-0 at home before facing the Pride. Charleston’s 13-game home win streak included three wins in the Charleston Classic. The Cougars became the first mid-major program to win the ESPN event, beating Virginia Tech 77-75 in the championship game. Charleston will finish the season playing four of their final eight games on the road.


Charleston’s first loss in nearly three months might drop the Cougars from the national rankings. They have been part of the last four rankings, entering at No. 23 before reaching No. 18 this past week.


Hofstra returns home to play Towson on Thursday night.

College of Charleston starts a two-game road trip at Drexel on Thursday night.


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