The New England Blizzard was a women's professional basketball franchise based in Hartford, Connecticut. The Blizzard was a charter member of the American Basketball League (ABL). Playing from 1996 through 1998, the team produced many memorable moments for New England basketball fans and followers of women's sports in general.
The Blizzard played most of its home games in the Hartford Civic Center, but occasionally the team played at the smaller Springfield Civic Center. Though they never won a title, the Blizzard consistently drew the most fans of any ABL franchise. This was partly because of the strong winning tradition established at the University of Connecticut, which built a large, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable base of local fan support for the women's game. Additionally, the Blizzard hired Boston Celtics legend K. C. Jones as Head coach in 1997. Jones was easily the most widely recognized of the ABL coaches. Finally, the team featured several former Huskies.
|New England Blizzard|
|League||American Basketball League|
|Team history||1996–1998 (3 seasons)|
|Based in||Hartford, Connecticut|
|Arena||Hartford Civic Center (Capacity 15,418), Springfield Civic Center (Capacity 8,712)|
|Colors||Sky blue and White|
|Head coach||K. C. Jones (Head coach), Belinda "Boe" Pearman (Associate coach)|
With their first draft pick, the Blizzard selected former UConn Husky center and 1996 Olympic team veteran Rebecca Lobo, who never signed with the Blizzard. Their second pick was guard Teresa Weatherspoon who played her college ball at Louisiana Tech, and also never played for the Blizzard, choosing instead to play for the New York Liberty of the rival WNBA. But the Blizzard made up for that loss by picking up the former Auburn University standout Carolyn Jones (later Jones-Young), who became the Blizzard's most consistent scorer.
In the team's second season, the team drafted another Husky center, Kara Wolters, and two other ex-Huskies. The team's winning percentage improved, and by finishing second in the Eastern Conference, the Blizzard made the playoffs for the first and last time, where they lost in the first round in two straight games to the San Jose Lasers.
In its third season, thirteen proved to be an unlucky number for the Blizzard: 13 games into their season, on December 22, 1998 the ABL folded. Connecticut was luckier than most ABL venues—it eventually got a WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun, which got all the way to the WNBA finals before losing in 2004 and 2005.
|1996-97||16||24||.400||4th Place, Eastern Conference|
|1997-98||24||20||.545||2nd Place, Eastern Conference|
|1998||3||10||.231||5th Place, Eastern Conference|
Carolyn Jones (ABL 2nd Team 1996, ABL 1st Team 1997)
1999 WNBA draft – 6 April 1999
On September 15, 1998, two more players were assigned prior to the expansion draft.
On April 6, 1999, a WNBA expansion draft took place.
On May 3, 1999, another round of player allocation took place.
On May 4, 1999, the regular WNBA draft took place.
On December 15, 1999, an additional expansion draft took place for the 2000 WNBA season. See 2000 WNBA draft for more details.2000 Cleveland Rockers season
The 2000 WNBA season was the 4th season for the Cleveland Rockers.2000 Orlando Miracle season
The 2000 WNBA season was their second in the league. The Miracle made to the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, only to lose to the Cleveland Rockers in three games.2000 WNBA draft
2000 WNBA draft – 25 April 2000
On December 15, 1999, a WNBA expansion draft took place.
On April 25, 2000 the regular WNBA draft took place.American Basketball League (1996–98)
The American Basketball League, often abbreviated to the ABL of 1996 was the first independent professional basketball league for women in the United States. At the same time the ABL was being formed, the National Basketball Association (NBA) was creating the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA). The ABL began league competition in the Fall of 1996, while the WNBA launched its first game in June 1997. Both organizations came into existence during a surge in popularity for women's basketball in the United States that followed the perfect 35–0 national championship season for the Connecticut Huskies in 1995 and the undefeated, gold medal-winning performance of the United States Women's basketball team at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
The ABL lasted two full seasons: 1996–97 and 1997–98. The Atlanta Glory and Long Beach Stingrays folded prior to the start of the 1998–99 season, and were replaced by two expansion teams, the Chicago Condors and Nashville Noise. On December 22, 1998; with almost no warning, the ABL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and suspended operations. Each team had played between 12 and 15 games of the 1998–99 season.
The ABL got off the ground before the WNBA, and at least early on its quality of play was higher than the rival league. This was partly due to the league's signing of a majority of players from the 1996 USA women's national team. Although the WNBA was bankrolled by the NBA, the ABL offered higher salaries. The two leagues didn't compete directly; the ABL played during the winter while the WNBA played during the summer. Despite this, the ABL ultimately found the WNBA's stronger financial resources--augmented by the NBA's marketing muscle--to be too much to overcome.
Some of the ABL's problems were of its own making. The league operated as a single-entity structure, which was intended to control costs until it found its feet. However, it also meant that even the most basic decisions related to team operations had to go through the league office in Palo Alto, California. League officials were so fixated on national sponsorships that they hamstrung the teams' efforts to market themselves locally. The ABL was also underfinanced. According to Condors general manager Allison Hodges, she was on her way to a press conference announcing her team's name when the league office called to say the season was canceled. Minutes later, the office called back to say the season was on again. Hodges and the other general managers only found out about the league's shutdown when they were in the middle of their weekly conference call, though she suspected league officials had decided to pull up stakes long before then.Of all the ABL cities, Chicago, Seattle, and Atlanta now have WNBA teams.Barbara Farris
Barbara Farris, (born September 10, 1976), was a basketball player for the Detroit Shock in the WNBA.
On May 29, 2009 Farris signed with the Detroit Shock.
Farris previously played for the New York Liberty. In the 2007 season she played in 28 regular-season games and all three of the Liberty's playoff appearances. Farris started in 2006, but was relegated to the bench after the Liberty acquired Janel McCarville, Jessica Davenport, and Tiffany Jackson in 2007.
Farris graduated from St. Martin's Episcopal School in 1994. She is a member of the St. Martin's Alumni Athletic Hall of Fame. Farris graduated in 1998 from Tulane University, where she majored in sociology. As a member of the Tulane Green Wave women's basketball team, she was named to the Conference USA All-Star first team in her junior year and posted a total of 34 double-doubles.
From 2000-2005, Farris played for the WNBA's Detroit Shock. She also has played professionally in France, Spain, and Korea, and for the New England team in the American Basketball League.
She has been an assistant coach with the New York Liberty.Carolyn Jones-Young
Carolyn Jones-Young (born Carolyn Jones on July 29, 1969) is an American former professional women's basketball player. A 5'9" guard, she played for the New England Blizzard of the American Basketball League (1996-1998), and also played for the Portland Fire of the Women's National Basketball Association. She holds several ABL career records.Clarissa Davis
Clarissa Davis (born June 4, 1967) is former Texas women's basketball All-American, who is also known as Clarissa Davis-Wrightsil. She is a National Player of the Year, Olympic and pro standout, and was inducted into The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2006. She was one of six inductees in the Class of 2006, which features four former players and two coaches. Born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Davis played under coach Mike Floyd at John Jay High School before playing at the University of Texas. She also played basketball in Europe with Galatasaray Istanbul and Fenerbahçe Istanbul in Turkey and won Turkish Championships with both of these rival clubs.January 25–27, 2011 North American blizzard
The January 25–27, 2011 North American blizzard was a major Mid-Atlantic nor'easter and winter storm, and a New England blizzard that affected portions of the northeastern United States and Canada. This storm came just two weeks after a previous major blizzard had already affected most of these same areas earlier on the same month of January 2011. The storm also came just one month after a previous major blizzard that affected the entire area after Christmas in December 2010. This storm was the third significant snowstorm to affect the region during the 2010–11 North American winter storm season. It was followed a few days later by another massive storm that blanketed much of the United States and Canada.January 8–13, 2011 North American blizzard
The January 8–13, 2011 North American Blizzard was a major Mid-Atlantic nor'easter and winter storm, and a New England blizzard. The storm also affected portions of the Southeastern regions of the United States. This storm came just two weeks after a previous major blizzard severely affected most of these same areas in December 2010. It was the second significant snowstorm to affect the region during the 2010–11 North American winter storm season.Jennifer Rizzotti
Jennifer Marie Rizzotti (born May 15, 1974) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player, and current Division I coach at George Washington University.John Rocco
Christopher John Rocco (born July 9, 1967), simply known as John Rocco is an American illustrator of book covers and children's books. He is best known for illustrating the covers of books in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He is the sole creator of some children's picture books.K. C. Jones
K. C. Jones (born May 25, 1932) is an American retired professional basketball player and coach. He is best known for his association with the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA), with whom he won eleven of his twelve NBA championships (eight as a player, one as an assistant coach, and two as a head coach). As a player, he is tied for third for most NBA championships in a career, and is one of three NBA players with an 8-0 record in NBA Finals series. He is the only African-American non-player head coach to win multiple NBA championships. Jones was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.Kara Wolters
Kara Wolters Drinan (born August 15, 1975) is a retired American collegiate and professional basketball player. Standing at six feet seven inches (2.01 m), she was nicknamed "Big Girl". She is the tallest player in University of Connecticut women's basketball history and one of the tallest women to ever play in the WNBA.Maryland Terrapins women's basketball
The Maryland Terrapins women's basketball team represents the University of Maryland in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I competition. Maryland, a founding member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), left the ACC in 2014 to join the Big Ten Conference. The program won the 2006 NCAA Women's Division I Basketball Tournament championship and has appeared in the NCAA Final Four five times (1982, 1989, 2006, 2014, 2015); Maryland also appeared once in the AIAW Final Four (1978). As members of the ACC, the Terrapins won regular season conference championships (1979, 1982, 1988, 1989, 2009) and an ACC-record ten conference tournament championships (1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2009, 2012). The program won the Big Ten Conference regular season and tournament championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017.
Since 2002, the team has been led by head coach Brenda Frese. Over her 16 season tenure, she has led the Terrapins to 13 NCAA tournament appearances, 8 NCAA Sweet Sixteens, 6 NCAA Elite Eight, 3 NCAA Final Fours, and the 2006 NCAA National Championship.Mid-February 2015 North American blizzard
From February 14–15, 2015, a potent blizzard occurred in the Northeast United States. The storm dropped up to 25 inches (64 cm) of snow in the regions already hit hard with snow from the past 2 weeks. The storm system also brought some of the most coldest temperatures to the Northeast in its wake.Out of Order (novel)
Out of Order, first published in 1936, is a detective story by Phoebe Atwood Taylor which features her series detective Asey Mayo, the "Codfish Sherlock". This novel is a mystery of the type known as a whodunnit.Stacey Lovelace-Tolbert
Stacey Lovelace (born December 5, 1974) is an American professional basketball player who played in the WNBA.
Lovelace attended college at Purdue University and graduated in 1996. On May 2, 2000 she was assigned with the Indiana Fever later in 2000 Lovelace played with the Seattle Storm. She also had stints with the Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky, and the Washington Mystics.
On March 27, 2008 Lovelace signed with the Atlanta Dream. She was waived on July 8, 2008 and is currently a free agent. On July 11 Lovelace was signed by the Detroit Shock, however, on August 8 she was waived by the team. Lovelace was an assistant coach of the Tulsa Shock in 2013.XL Center
The XL Center (originally known as the Hartford Civic Center) is a multi-purpose arena and convention center located in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. It is owned by the City of Hartford and operated by Spectra. In December 2007, the Center was renamed when the arena's naming rights were sold to XL Group insurance company in a 6-year agreement. The arena is ranked the 28th largest among college basketball arenas. Opened in 1974 as the Hartford Civic Center and originally located adjacent to Civic Center Mall, which was demolished in 2004. It consists of two facilities: the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the Exhibition Center.
On March 21, 2007, the Capital Region Development Authority (CRDA) selected the Northland/Anschutz Entertainment Group proposal. It was revealed that Northland will assume total responsibility for the building paying for any and all losses, and will keep any profits. In 2012, the CRDA, put the contract out to bid with hopes of combining the operations with Rentschler Field. In February 2013, Global Spectrum of Philadelphia, was chosen to take over both the XL Center and Rentschler Field with Ovations Food Services taking over all food and beverage operations.