WNBA's Skylar Diggins-Smith Beefs with Jazmine Jones ... "Girl Shut TF Up!!!"

"Girl shut tf up!"

That's how Skylar Diggins-Smith responded to some shade Jazmine Jones threw her way this week ... and yeah, there's now some Grade-A beef going down in the WNBA!!!

The epic clapback from the Phoenix Mercury star went down Monday afternoon ... after she saw an IG comment Jones had left on one of her highlight videos.

Bleacher Report had posted footage of Diggins-Smith destroying NY Liberty rookie DiDi Richards during their game Sunday ... and Jones hated it, noting Diggins-Smith's squad still lost to the Liberty despite the highlight clip.

"Yeah but caught the L….." Jones wrote. "Hyping up the wrong stuff."

Jones went on to say the video should've featured her star teammate Betnijah Laney, who helped lead the Liberty over Diggins-Smith's Mercury squad, 85-83.

Diggins-Smith, though, was having NONE of the shade ... she responded by telling Jones to shut her mouth -- adding, "They can’t post a highlight?"

"Complain to your organization, first, why they only hype one person!"

Jones didn't take long to fire back, writing, "'Girl Shut tf up' is fighting words … so what’s really good."

The Liberty and Mercury won't play again until August ... so here's to hoping two months doesn't prevent everybody from keeping this same energy when they clash on the court!

Shoni Schimmel Ex-WNBA Superstar Arrested Felony Assault, Criminal Mischief

Ex-WNBA superstar Shoni Schimmel -- the 2014 All-Star Game MVP -- was arrested following an allegedly violent incident in Oregon on Monday ... and is currently behind bars.

TMZ Sports has learned, 29-year-old Schimmel is being held on felony charges of assault and criminal mischief ... as well as misdemeanor charges of menacing, recklessly endangering another, harassment, and domestic abuse.

Jail records show Schimmel was booked at 1 AM. Her bail has been set at $48,750.

We’re working on the rest of the details -- stay tuned on that.

Schimmel -- a native of Mission, Oregon -- was an All-American guard for Louisville before going #8 overall to the Atlanta Dream in 2014, where she became a 2-time All-Star.

Schimmel was named ASG MVP in 2014 after scoring 29 points and adding 8 assists ... winning the honors over Skylar Diggins and Maya Moore.

She was traded to New York prior to the 2016 campaign ... playing for the Liberty for one season.

After sitting out the 2017 season, due to personal reasons, Schimmel signed with the Las Vegas Aces in May 2018 ... but was waived 8 days later.

Story developing ...

Hall of Famer Dawn Staley Confident In Coaching NBA ... I Can Lead Men!!!

Hall of Fame hooper and coach Dawn Staley is 100% confident she would THRIVE at the helm of an NBA team ... saying, "I surely can stand in front of men and lead them."

Staley -- one of the greatest WNBA players of all time -- is reportedly one of two female candidates interviewing with the Portland Trail Blazers to replace Terry Stotts ... and if hired, she would become the first woman to be named head coach in the NBA.

While breaking that kind of barrier could come with an insane amount of scrutiny, Staley says "There are a lot of women good enough" for the task.

"I come with a lot of credentials," Staley told the New York Times. "I surely have the confidence. I surely can stand in front of men and lead them. First team All-Stars. MVPs. I’m okay with that."

Of course, Staley's résumé is stacked -- she was a 6-time All-Star in the WNBA and most recently named Coach of the Year with the Gamecocks in 2020 ... but she understands there will be a ton of critics against the hire.

"A lot of people would be out there, just waiting for you to make a mistake, waiting for you to be wrong," Staley added. "There’s a whole dynamic that men, white or Black, just don’t have to think about. It’s a female thing. The expectation will be so much greater than the male coach. So much greater."

Staley -- who led South Carolina to a national title in 2017 -- says she's more than happy with her current position at the college level ... but is adamant she is capable of making the jump.

"I haven’t coached in the league. But you know what? I’m a quick learner."

Staley and San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon are among the several coaching candidates to interview for the Blazers gig ... proving it's a matter of when, not if, a woman gets that kind of opportunity.

"It would be huge. We just need the right situation."

While she says she's more than happy coaching future WNBA talent at the college level ... but if she's interviewing with NBA teams, it's an obvious sign she's open to change.

WNBA Coach Curt Miller Suspended for 'Offensive' Comment About Opposing Player's Weight

The WNBA has suspended Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller over an "offensive" comment he made about an opposing player during a game ... when he complained to a ref that she weighs "300 pounds."

The player he was talking about is Las Vegas Aces star Liz Cambage -- who says she weighs 235 pounds and was deeply offended by the comment.

Here's the backstory ... Cambage -- the #2 overall picking the 2011 WNBA Draft -- claimed Miller crossed the line when complaining to the refs about her during Sunday night's game in an effort to get a call against her.

Cambage claims she overheard Miller saying something like, "C'mon, she's 300 pounds!"

Cambage unleashed a fiery post on social media ripping Miller -- saying she's "very proud of being a big bitch" ... and "I will never let a man disrespect me, ever, ever, ever, especially a little white one."

DON'T DISREPSECT ME

Miller apologized Monday morning -- saying, "I made an inappropriate and offensive comment in reference to Liz Cambage's height and weight. I regret what I said in the heat of the moment and want to sincerely apologize to Liz and the entire Aces organization."

He added, "I understand the gravity of my words and have learned from this."

Now, the league has dished out punishment -- issuing a 1-game suspension against Miller and tacking on a $10,000 fine.

Miller will miss the Sun vs. Seattle Storm matchup on Tuesday as a result of the suspension.

Timberwolves & Lynx A-Rod's Ownership Group Closing Deal to Buy Teams ... $1.5 BILLION!

Alex Rodriguez is finally getting into the owner's box ... he's in the final steps of closing a deal to buy the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx for $1.5 BILLION!!

A-Rod had partnered up with former Walmart exec Marc Lore to make a run at the NBA and WNBA teams, both owned by billionaire Glen Taylor.

And, according to multiple outlets including The Athletic and Front Office Sports, the group has a deal in place to close for $1.5 billion.

There are still a few hurdles ... but nothing major.

Before it can formally close, A-Rod and M-Lore need to get approval from the other NBA owners ... but that shouldn't be a problem.

Per the terms of the deal, Lore will continue to operate the team through the 2023 season, according to F.O.S. ... and after that, it's A-Rod time!

The ex-MLB superstar made a serious run to buy the NY Mets with his then-fiancee Jennifer Lopez, but they were ultimately outbid by billionaire Steven Cohen.

By the way, Glen Taylor reportedly bought the T-Wolves in 1994 for $94 million -- and added the Lynx in 1999. Talk about turning a profit!!

WNBA's Asia Durr Will Miss 2nd-Straight Season Over Serious COVID Medical Issues

Horrible news out of the WNBA ... NY Liberty star Asia Durr will miss the entire 2021 season because she's still reeling from the effects of COVID.

The 24-year-old shooting guard -- the #2 overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft -- missed the entire 2020 WNBA season due to the effects of COVID. She has previously talked publicly about how the virus wreaked havoc on her body, putting her basketball career in jeopardy.

Now, the NY Liberty has placed Durr on the full-season suspended list, noting it was a "personal decision."

But, Durr's issues are no secret -- she was featured on HBO's "Real Sports" back in January and spelled out how COVID has destroyed her life and career since she tested positive on June 8, 2020.

At the time, Durr said she had lost 32 pounds and experienced massive problems with her lungs.

"I couldn't breathe. I was spitting up blood. It was just lung pain that was just so severe. It felt like somebody took a long knife and was just stabbing you in your lungs each second."

She continued, "I woke up 2 o'clock in the morning, vomiting, going back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn't keep anything down."

Liberty coach Walt Hopkins has said the team fully supports Durr -- but fact is, nobody knows when or if she'll ever rejoin the team.

NBA & WNBA Teams Raising Money for Daunte Wright Fund ... Donating Worn, Signed Items

The NBA and WNBA teams that honored Daunte Wright by wearing custom shirts in the wake of his death are now auctioning off the items to raise money for Wright's family, league officials confirm.

Players from the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx -- along with the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat all wore special warm-up shirts this week with the message "With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL" in the days after Wright was killed by a police officer in Minnesota.

Now, the teams say various players will sign their warm-up shirts and donate them for an auction -- with proceeds benefitting The Daunte Wright Memorial Fund, which supports the Wright family.

Some of the players who wore the shirt are Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Karl-Anthony Towns, DeAndre Jordan, Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and many more.

The bidding starts at $200 per shirt -- but some of the items are exploding, like KD's shirt ... which already hit $500 just minutes after the auction went live.

Bidding closes at the final buzzer of Friday's Wolves vs. Heat game.

20-year-old Wright was shot and killed on April 11 during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis.

The officer responsible for the shooting, Kim Potter, has been arrested and charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter.

Potter has claimed she was trying to deploy a Taser on Wright -- but accidentally grabbed her handgun instead, fatally wounding him.

The shooting sparked outrage around the country -- and several NBA and WNBA teams held a moment of silence for Wright before games this week.

Wright is survived by his 2-year-old son -- and his family has set up a GoFundMe page to help covert funeral and burial expenses along with "mental health and grief counseling for Daunte's family."

The family says "no part of these funds will be used towards legal fees."

WNBA's Angel McCoughtry Claps Back at Draymond Green ... 'Do Your Research!'

DO YOUR RESEARCH

WNBA star Angel McCoughtry is insulted by Draymond Green's claim that female athletes have only "complained" about the pay gap and haven't taken any real meaningful action ... and she's ready to educate him.

The 5-time WNBA All-Star says she's personally been in the trenches trying to get powerful sports leagues, production companies and sponsors to spotlight more women's sports ... but she keeps getting shut down.

McCoughtry even called out Lebron James and Steph Curry -- saying she's brought female athlete-centric projects to their production companies, but no one is pulling the trigger.

The 34-year-old -- 2-time Olympic gold medalist -- even invested in the PlayersTV network with the hopes of bringing more female athlete stories to the masses.

So, when she saw Draymond saying he's "really tired of seeing [female athletes] complain about the lack of pay" and suggesting they take more action ... it really rubbed her the wrong way.

LESS COMPLAINING, MORE ACTION
Golden State Warriors

"Draymond, have you done your research?! Have you asked us questions," Angel said Thursday during a USA Basketball training camp news conference.

"Don't you think we've tried to do that kind of stuff?! No, he hasn't done his research! That's my only thing with Draymond!"

Angel continued, "We want to get our stories out. I created a TV show about these kinds of issues, its a dramatic comedy called 'Fair Game.' I've gone to Springhill Entertainment, I've gone to Sony where Steph Curry's people are. We got turned down! 'Oh, we don't want a show about the WNBA.'"

McCoughtry says she's happy Draymond is keeping the women's pay issue in the headlines -- but suggests he "talk more to the women before just thinking he had a bright idea."

And, shout out to Girls Talk Sports TV for teeing Angel up with the question.

Draymond Green Tired Of Women 'Complaining' Over Pay Gap ... Demands More Action

LESS COMPLAINING, MORE ACTION
Golden State Warriors

Draymond Green says he's "really tired of seeing [female athletes] complain about the lack of pay" -- insisting the time for griping is over, and there needs to be more action.

Maybe not the best choice of words -- but ultimately, Green is arguing that women DESERVE better pay, and need to change their PR strategy in order to achieve their goal.

Draymond explained during a Wednesday interview why he believes female athletes -- specifically WNBA players -- are "doing themselves a disservice by just complaining."

NBC Sports Bay Area reporter Kerith Burke pushed back and told Green "the women are doing more" than voicing their displeasure ... and that's when the Golden State Warriors star explained his position.

"They’re not laying out steps that they can take to change [the pay disparity]," Draymond explained ... "So, it’s coming off as a complaint."

"Because the people that can change it, they’re just going to continue to say, 'Well, the revenue isn’t there. The revenue isn’t there. So, if you don’t bring in the revenue, we can’t up your pay.' They’re going keep using that."

Green argued that female athletes need to band together to hold sports leagues, advertisers and other influential organizations responsible for effectively marketing women's sports -- including putting real time, energy and money into promoting talented superstars like WNBA legend Diana Taurasi.

Bottom line -- Green considers himself an ally to the women's equal pay movement ... and seems pretty passionate about it.

NCAA Rep We're Fixing Women's Tourney Weight Room ... 'We Fell Short'

11:04 AM PT -- Change is coming -- NCAA VP Lynn Holzman says the women's tournament facilities will be upgraded by Saturday morning ... admitting, "We fell short."

The decision comes after teams and administrators held a discussion regarding the condition of the weight room on Thursday.

The NCAA is ADMITTING it gave the men's tournament teams a better weight room set up than the women -- but it's blaming the disparity on a lack of space.

Riiiiight.

It all started when Stanford's performance coach, Ali Kershner, exposed the difference in the two setups Thursday on social media ... showing a giant workout area for the men in Indianapolis complete with machines, benches, racks, etc.

The women in San Antonio got stuck with yoga mats and 6 sets of dumbbells.

The post drew outrage from WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu and NBAers like Ja Morant and CJ McCollum ... who blasted the NCAA over the disparity.

"Thought this was a joke," Ionescu said. "WTF is this?!?"

NCAA VP Lynn Holzman tried to justify the difference by claiming they simply couldn't find the space for a larger, more comprehensive training area ... and the organization was working on getting more equipment to the women's facility.

"We acknowledge that some of the amenities teams would typically have access to have not been as available inside the controlled environment," Holzman said.

"In part, this is due to the limited space and the original plan was to expand the workout area once additional space was available later in the tournament."

Oregon Ducks player Sedona Prince was quick to call B.S. on the NCAA ... sharing a video of plenty of open space at the women's facility.

The vid caught Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry's attention ... who demanded the issue be fixed.

"Wow-come on now," Curry said. "@marchmadness @NCAA yall trippin trippin."

Holzman added the NCAA is "actively working to enhance existing resources at practice courts, including additional weight training equipment," ... although it's unclear when that'll actually happen.

Originally Published -- 6:48 AM PT

Renee Montgomery & Group Buy WNBA's Atlanta Dream ... from Sen. Kelly Loeffler

BIG MOVES
TMZSports.com

9:58 AM PT -- LeBron James is showing some serious love to his "More Than A Vote" initiative partner ... congratulating Montgomery on Twitter.

"So proud of this Queen," James said Friday." This is everything we are about!"

Remember, the Lakers superstar previously expressed interest in putting together a group to buy the Dream ... but it's safe to say he's thrilled with the new ownership.

Renee Montgomery has gone from the WNBA court to the owner's box -- she's part of an ownership group that just bought the Atlanta Dream from Sen. Kelly Loeffler.

The exact financial terms of the deal are unclear -- but we're told the WNBA and NBA Boards of Governors both unanimously approved the sale.

The move makes Montgomery -- who recently retired after 11 seasons -- the first former WNBA player to have an ownership stake in a WNBA team.

Montgomery's 3-person ownership group is comprised of 2 big wigs from the Northland real estate firm -- chairman Larry Gottesdiener and President and COO Suzanne Abair.

"My dream has come true," Montgomery said in a statement to TMZ Sports.

"Breaking barriers for minorities and women by being the first former WNBA player to have both a stake in ownership and a leadership role with the ownership team is an opportunity that I take very seriously. I invite you to join me as the Dream builds momentum in Atlanta!"

Montgomery played 2 seasons with the Atlanta Dream before opting out of the 2020 WNBA season to focus on social justice initiatives.

In fact, the 2-time WNBA champion was an outspoken supporter of the WNBA and its players for pushing Black Lives Matter messaging during games -- despite pushback from Sen. Loeffler.

Loeffler was loudly against the WNBA promoting the Black Lives Matter movement during the 2020 season -- claiming it "promoted violence and destruction across the country."

Montgomery publicly disagreed and questioned why Loeffler "wants to be involved with a brand that just doesn't align with her views."

Loeffler and her former Dream co-owner Mary Brock issued a statement on the deal -- saying, "10 years ago we stepped up to keep the Dream in Atlanta, as an important asset for a vibrant and diverse city."

"It was also important to us to help level the playing field for women’s professional sports. We are proud of what we accomplished and wish the team well in their next chapter."

"We will always value the hard work and dedication, and the memories, fans and friendships that sustained our commitment to the Atlanta Dream over the last decade."

Renee and her team have their work cut out for them -- the Dream was 7-15 in 2020 and didn't make the playoffs.

However, there are bright spots on the roster including rising stars like Chennedy Carter, who made the WNBA's All-Rookie Team after an impressive 2020 season.

Montgomery has been super busy off-the-court -- she recently teamed up with Marshawn Lynch as a co-owner of Team Beasts in the new Fan Controlled Football League.

Plus, she also co-hosts the "TMZ Sports" TV show, which airs nightly on FS1.

Congrats!!!

Originally Published -- 9:02 AM PT

Renee Montgomery Retires from WNBA After 11 Seasons ... 'Hangin' Up My Kobes'

WNBA superstar Renee Montgomery -- a 2-time champ who sat out the 2020 season to focus on social justice work -- is retiring from pro basketball, she confirms to TMZ Sports.

"This is my 'Dear Basketball' moment," 34-year-old Montgomery said on the TMZ Sports TV Show (which she co-hosts nightly on FS1) ... "I'm gonna hang up my Kobes!"

TIME TO MOVE ON
TMZSports.com

When asked why she's stepping away now, Montgomery explained, "I just feel like there's so much momentum that I’ve created just with the things going on here in Atlanta … and I don't want to stop it."

Montgomery had one helluva career -- in college, she led UConn to a national championship in 2009 and was such a legend, the University added her to the "Huskies of Honor" (essentially the school's Hall of Fame) while she was still an active player!

She was a 1st round pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft (4th player selected) and won 2 WNBA titles with the Minnesota Lynx.

Montgomery was an All-Star in 2011 and won the league's 6th Woman of the Year award in 2012.

During her illustrious career, Montgomery also played with the Connecticut Sun, Seattle Storm and most recently, the Atlanta Dream.

Montgomery admitted she could be open to a comeback if the situation was right -- but she understands the hard work and dedication required to be successful in the WNBA and says "I don't want to do it if I can't do it right."

WNBA's Layshia Clarendon Undergoes Breast Removal Surgery Hopes to Inspire Trans Athletes

WNBA star Layshia Clarendon has undergone successful surgery to have her breasts removed -- and is now going public about it in hopes of inspiring other trans athletes.

Clarendon -- who identifies as non-binary -- uses all pronouns (she/her/they/them/he/him).

In other words ... by society's standards, Layshia is comfortable being referred to as a woman ... but personally, doesn't identify solely with one specific gender.

Sources close to Layshia tell us the 29-year-old NY Liberty star underwent breast removal surgery (also known as "top surgery") in early January and is recovering well.

"I’m feeling free & euphoric in my body & want Trans people to know and see that we’ve always existed & no one can erase us," Layshia said in a statement.

You may be wondering ... are there any issues with the WNBA, which has the "W" for "Women" right there in the name of the league?

The short answer is no.

We're told Layshia has been in contact with the league and there are ZERO issues with her status as a player.

As one source close to Layshia explained to us, "Layshia does not identify as a man. They're not journeying to a destination. Gender is actually a spectrum."

One of the main reasons Layshia is going public with her story ... we're told Layshia wants to initiate a "very real, inclusive, sensitive conversation about how to INCLUDE trans people in sports, instead of how to exclude them."

"Trans youth want to participate in sports ... let's have the conversation."

Layshia was a 1st-round pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft -- and was an All-Star in 2017.

WNBA's Asia Durr COVID Has Ravaged My Body ... Career May Be Over at 23

WNBA star Asia Durr says COVID has wreaked havoc on her body -- and the damage is so severe, the 23-year-old isn't sure if she'll ever play basketball again.

"My life has completely changed since June 8," Durr said on HBO's "Real Sports" ... noting the day she was diagnosed with coronavirus.

Since then, Durr -- the 2nd overall pick in the 2019 WNBA Draft -- says she's lost 32 pounds after suffering some horrific symptoms. Her usual playing weight is 151 lbs.

"I couldn't breathe. I was spitting up blood. It was just lung pain that was just so severe. It felt like somebody took a long knife and was just stabbing you in your lungs each second."

She continued, "I woke up 2 o'clock in the morning, vomiting, going back and forth to the bathroom. I couldn't keep anything down."

Durr was a superstar at Louisville before being drafted by the NY Liberty -- but she had to miss the entire 2020 season due to her illness.

In fact,. Asia says she hasn't been able to pick up a basketball since her diagnosis because her doctors fear her health is still too fragile.

"I've talked to doctors and they told me I'm not cleared yet. I'm not cleared to do anything physically which could cause flare ups."

"That's what's really hard for me because in life whenever something was like hard, I would go and play. I cant even do that now. I cant even shoot a free throw."

Durr issued a statement after the segment aired Tuesday night -- saying, "I’m grateful that I get to tell my story to the world. It’s definitely been a challenge, but gotta keep fighting. Only choice."

Get well soon, Asia -- we're all rooting for you.

Renee Montgomery I'm Dead Serious About Buying WNBA's Dream ... 'Definitely Interested'

I'M INTERESTED!
TMZSports.com

LeBron James might have some stiff competition (or a great partner!) if the WNBA's Atlanta Dream does go up for sale ... 'cause Renee Montgomery says she's dead serious about potentially buying the squad too.

"Listen, I'm interested," the WNBA star said on the "TMZ Sports" TV show on FS1 (which she co-hosts). "I think that people talking about it are actually serious. And, I'm actually serious."

Of course, the Dream is NOT for sale at the moment ... but team owner Kelly Loeffler -- who just lost her U.S. Senate run-off election in Georgia this week -- has become a villain in the league, and it's led to speculation a sale could be imminent.

In fact, it seems Loeffler's players would actually prefer that ... 'cause members of the Dream have been so outraged by Loeffler's controversial comments during the Black Lives Matter movement this summer, they openly encouraged people to vote her out of office.

And, if Loeffler does end up selling over it all, LeBron tweeted on Tuesday he was "gone put together an ownership group for the The Dream," adding, "Whose in?"

Apparently, Montgomery is ... with the 34-year-old saying Wednesday, "If everything goes OK, I would definitely be interested."

Montgomery is no stranger to owning orgs ... as we previously reported, the WNBA player -- who played for the Dream before taking a hiatus to focus on social justice issues in 2020 -- co-owns the Beasts team in the new Fan Controlled Football league.

"I already got in on my first team," Montgomery said. "So, let's just keep it going! Let's keep it going!"

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!