The morning warmup: United Women’s Lacrosse league ready to debut with draft tonight

Here’s what people are talking about in the world of women’s sports on Wednesday…

New league to debut: The United Women’s Lacrosse League will debut this spring with four teams and the draft to be held Wednesday night. Play will begin on May 28. Founder Digit Murphy and COO Aronda Kirby have launched two companies: United Women’s Sports LLC and Play It Forward foundation, both of which are geared towards providing opportunities for women in sports.

Don’t forget to check out this week’s lacrosse round-up as well.

From Excelle: All the questions and all the answers. Check out this chat with the New York Liberty’s vice president of business and basketball operations Kristin Bernert. With the NCAA gymnastics championships right around the corner, Auburn senior Caitlin Atkinson and LSU junior Ashleigh Gnat both chatted with Excelle Sports. UConn’s fourth championship created an interesting dilemma in Storrs, Conn.: how to mark the occasion signage-wise all over campus.

Record pace for Aussies: Via Kim Vandenberg: Three of the Australian women went under 53 seconds in the 100 freestyle at the Australian Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide. The pace put the three swimmers in three of the top four spots in the world in the event. Sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell raced at world record pace for most of the race as Cate clocked in a time of 52.38, just missing the Australian record. Bronte was second with a time of 52.78 seconds as both claimed individual spots in the event for the Games. Emma McKeon was third with a time of 52.80. The Australians are clear favorites for gold medals in the 100 freestyle and 4×100 relay in Rio this summer. No American woman has gone under 53 seconds in the 100 freestyle.

#EqualPayEqualPlay: U.S. men’s national team midfielder Graham Zusi found himself in the middle of the Equal Pay debate in this Sports Illustrated interview. American Soccer Now reporter John D. Halloran questioned gender equality with the National Women’s Soccer League and proposes a league rule similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule that would make it mandatory to interview more women in top roles within the league.

The debate even spills into tennis where, while men and women play in the same stadiums, the women earn less than their male counterparts with the exceptions of Grand Slam tournaments and some combined events where the prize money is equal.

Settlement reached in Illinois: The University of Illinois reached a settlement with seven women’s basketball players who alleged that members of the coaching staff, including head coach Matt Bollant, created a racially hostile work environment. The university also developed a code of conduct for player-coach interactions (a compliance officer will monitor the code).

Banham is WNBA ready: Minnesota guard Rachel Banham is ready to take her game to the next level following a senior season that saw her tie the NCAA single-season scoring record in February when she dropped in 60 points against Northwestern. Banham is slated to go seventh in the final edition of Excelle’s WNBA Mock Draft.

Speaking of the draft:

Riveters re-sign defensemen: Ashley Johnston and Kiira Dosdall will both be returning to the NWHL’s New York Riveters for their sophomore seasons. Both players logged significant time for the Riveters in the league’s inaugural season. Johnston appeared in 16 games, scoring one goal and adding six assists. Dosdall played in all 18 games and both playoff contests for New York, tallying two goals and six assists.

Wambach update: Retired U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach pleaded guilty to DUII in Oregon on Tuesday afternoon. The Multnomah County judge ordered a breathalyzer to be installed in her vehicle and that she goes to drug and alcohol treatment.

And now you’re up to date in the world of women’s sports!

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