What we know so far ...
While the biggest stars of the WNBA -- American and global -- are in Greece battling for gold, silver and bronze, the rest of the league's players are busy with PR stuff at home.
For instance, some of the Minnesota Lynx went to the zoo for a 2-year-old dolphin's birthday party. I don't know, for sure, what kind of presents dolphins like, but what young aquatic mammal doesn't enjoy a good birthday celebration? (Meaningless trivia: What was the name of the dolphin who portrayed "Flipper?")
There are also charity bowling tournaments, appearances at state fairs, ice cream socials, meet-and-greets, reading to kids, visiting grocery stores, back-to-school carnivals. And even practice. But the league is in a competitive holding pattern until the beginning of September.
What did we learn from the season thus far?
Every team in the East has either 13 or 12 victories. Which one is going to assert itself as the ultimate leader of the pack? How could anyone even have a clue? Every team has looked both good and not-good.
(Oh, back to the trivia question sparked by Minnesota's dolphin party ... "Flipper" was a "he" as a character but a "she" in real marine life, portrayed by a dolphin named Mitzi. Although a few sources claim Mitzi was only in the movie, but Susie did the TV show. After an extensive Internet search, we'll give the nod to Mitzi, who had great dramatic range but apparently couldn't do the "tail-walking" trick. For that, she had a stand-in stunt dolphin named Mr. Gipper.)
Minnesota native Lindsay Whalen might at first have felt like a fish out of water (huge groan; Mitzi rolls over in her Florida grave) in Connecticut.
But Whalen has gotten more comfortable and is having an excellent season, too. Her misstep was allowing her agent to talk her into charging for autographs at an appearance in Minnesota. Young players sometimes don't quite grasp who works for whom. Good rule: It's OK to charge for camps, not for signatures.
Washington's top pick, Alana Beard, struggled early on, particularly with her shooting, but she has come around, too. Beard's numbers seemed to have gotten better as the Holdsclaw saga has grown stranger.
The Sparks' double-overtime victory at Sacramento just before the Olympic break was a microcosm of why they are so good. They never give up on a game. You can throw anything at them, and they still think they are going to win.
So now we wait to see if those two and their 10 other USA teammates can continue the Americans' dominance in the Olympics. Then, we'll watch how the league does with a season that ends in October.Mechelle Voepel of the Kansas City Star is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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