In honor of Marcus Morris’ misogynistic comments from Wednesday night, here are some of my favorite ‘female tendencies’ on the court.
Frustrations boiled over for the Knicks in a blowout loss to the Grizzlies Wednesday night, with Elfrid Payton shoving Jae Crowder out of bounds late in the fourth quarter. A scuffle ensued, which included Marcus Morris pushing Dillon Brooks and then using his post-game platform to unload some misogynistic brain vomit about the kind of player Crowder is.
“He’s got a lot of female tendencies on the court, flopping and throwing his head back…he’s soft, very woman-like,” said Morris, per a video shared by the SNY TV Knicks Twitter account.
Morris has been rightly dragged for his ignorant and obnoxious comments and issued an apology on social media not long afterward.
I’m sure he’d like to put these comments behind him but the league may yet weigh in and these kinds of things have a way of following a player around. Whether you think the misogynistic comments reveal something about his character or were just unintentionally leaning on familiar tropes to denigrate an opponent, doesn’t really matter. They were bad.
But let’s try to make something good out of them! In honor of Morris’ comments, here is a very incomplete and unordered list of some of my favorite ‘female tendencies’ on the basketball court.
Liz Cambage’s tendency to finish through contact
Sometimes she gets the call, sometimes she doesn’t, but Cambage’s pure power around the basket is incredibly unique. One of the WNBA’s most impactful post players, almost any paint touch is going to accompanied by a defender (or defenders) draped all over. In the two seasons since she returned to the WNBA, Cambage has completed 73 And-1s, most in the league. The next-highest total is Brittney Griner with 46, who had the luxury of playing nearly 400 more minutes than Cambage did.
Elena Delle Donne’s tendency to score from anywhere
Delle Donne just wrapped up a remarkable season, winning MVP and leading the Washington Mystics to a WNBA championship. It was not a breakout performance though, Delle Donne (who also won MVP in 2015 with the Chicago Sky) has been one of the league’s most dominant and diverse offensive weapons since her rookie season in 2013.
In her three seasons with the Mystics, she’s twice finished with a usage rate about 25.0 percent, and a true shooting percentage above 63.0. Her “down” season, she had a usage rate of 26.7 percent and a true shooting percentage of 59.2. Put on your sunglasses and try not to get burned by her shot chart for the past three years:
Outside, inside, spotting-up, posting-up, creating for herself off the dribble — Delle Donne can put it up from anywhere in any situation and the ball has a tendency to go in the basket. (And she’s also a career 93.8 percent free-throw shooter).
Arike Ogunbowale’s tendency to create something out of nothing
Ogunbowale’s rookie season was tough. The Wings traded Liz Cambage before the season began and were without star guard Skylar Diggins-Smith for the entire year after the birth of her son. With a roster in the process of being rebuilt, Ogunbowale took it upon herself to carry the offensive load. She finished third in the league in scoring at 19.1 points per game, the sixth-best mark by a rookie in league history (fourth-best if you discount Cynthia Cooper and Ruthie Bolton, who were both in their 30s in the league’s inaugural season).
Incredibly, just 22 percent of Ogunbowale’s 2-pointers were assisted on. As a rookie, she led the entire league in unassisted 2-point baskets, edging out 27-year-old veteran Chelsea Gray, the only other player to top 100 unassisted 2s.
Natasha Howard’s tendency to create stops
Howard’s offensive game exploded last season in the injury-related absence of Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart. Her usage rate jumped from 22.4 percent in 2018 to 29.2 percent in 2019, and she more than doubled her assist rate as well. Acting as an offensive hub for the first time took a toll on her efficiency but she was still incredible. Even more incredible was that the extra offensive responsibility didn’t seem to slow her down at the defensive end at all.
Howard still conserved enough energy to be the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, earning her second-straight All-Defensive team selection. In the two seasons since she joined Seattle as a full-time starter, she has racked up 243 “Stocks” (steals + blocks), an average of 3.6 per game. The next closest player on the list is Brittney Griner with 188 and only four other players have even racked up more than 150.
Here’s hoping next Monday at my regular pick-up game I’m able to display some of these ‘female tendencies.”