December 09, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA is moving along in its search to find a new president.

NBA Deputy Commisssioner Mark Tatum, who is overseeing the WNBA on an interim basis, said Wednesday that finding a successor for Laurel J. Richie is well underway.

''There are several high-caliber, high-quality candidates that have expressed interest,'' Tatum said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. ''We're having those conversations right now and we're thrilled at the level and the quality of the candidates. We're focused on finding the right person for the opportunity so we're moving quickly and moving expeditiously.''

Tatum updated the league's Board of Governors about the search at its annual meeting this week. He said that even without a president in place, the WNBA's plans for the league's 20th anniversary celebration next season are in great shape. While he couldn't give specific details, Tatum was excited about what's in store.

''It was universally well received by our ownership group with the concepts we presented,'' he said. ''It's not just a TV campaign, but a full integrated marketing platform to celebrate the 20th season of the WNBA. We were very happy with the feedback and reception we got from the board for our plans for the 20th season.''

Richie, who stepped down last month, was hired shortly before the league's 15th anniversary season.

Other things that were discussed at the meetings included:

-Expansion. The league hasn't yet formed a committee to look into expanding to more than the 12 current teams.

-Tulsa's move to Dallas. Owners Bill Cameron and Chris Christian talked about the enthusiasm in the market place for the new team.

-Scheduling changes. Discussions took place about potentially forming a more balanced schedule and having three divisions instead of two conferences. No vote was taken, but Tatum said that if any changes were warranted, they could still potentially take place by next season.

''Everyone feels very positive about the upcoming season,'' Connecticut Sun President and CEO Mitchell Etess said ''There hasn't been anything lost because of the vacancy of the presidency. If anything it appears that Adam (Silver) and Mark are extremely engaged and that's a very good thing.''

The Board of Governors passed a few rules changes that were suggested by the competition committee earlier this month. The 24-second shot clock will reset to 14 seconds after an offensive rebound or when the offensive team otherwise retains possession after the ball hits the rim. The WNBA will mirror the NBA's rules in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime as far as advancing the ball to midcourt, shooting free throws and on replay. In the past those rules only took effect in the final minute.

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