A deal to save the women’s minor league basketball team announced this spring and set to play at the Civic Center beginning in July is being worked out after members of the Oklahoma Tatanka became upset with existing ownership.
Civic Center manager John Cruz said details were being worked out on transfer of ownership to keep the team in place and on schedule to begin the team’s inaugural season in the Women’s Minor League Basketball Association.
Otis Logan Jr. was the owner and assembled the Tatanka, that was introduced in April as a member of the Texas-headquartered league with teams in Georgia, Houston, San Antonio, Baton Rouge, La., and Topeka, Kan.
“Our girls are ready to represent Muskogee,” said head coach Gena Logan Maxwell on Thursday. “We had a little bit of uprising on our hands with some issues and have had some administration changes and just got things in order within the last few days. As far as players and girls they are ready to play and bring some championships to Muskogee.”
Cruz said the situation was “unfortunate” but was confident after discussing it with all parties involved that the plan would work.
“For personal reasons a mutual agreement is in the process between Otis Logan and the players from the Tatanka to take over the administration of the team,” Cruz said. “The plan is to have a collective team ownership, with a board of directors between coaches and players with a board director as a mediator.”
Maxwell, who is related to Logan Jr., will remain as coach. The original 12 girls selected will remain intact, she said. Recognizable names include Angel Goodrich, former Sequoyah standout who later played in the WNBA, her sister Nikki Lewis, who played both at Sequoyah and Connors State before moving on to Taber College; former Muskogee Rougher Bethany Hall, and Haskell alum Shakayla Love, who played collegiately at Mid-America Christian. Additionally, Shaunda Hagler, Marjorie Bigpond and Dametria Dawson all played at one point for Bacone.
It also includes a couple players with playing experience in Europe who have ties to other Oklahoma schools.
Cruz, who said the matter was initially brought to his attention over the weekend, had discussions with the team this week and was hoping to have final details worked out within 24 hours, he said Thursday.
The WMLBA did not release a comment. Kre’Tonia Morgan, president of business operations, said they were tied up in league related meetings Thursday.
The league season begins June 14. The Tatanka is scheduled to start the season June 22 and 23 at Topeka, Kansas, playing Dallas the first night and Topeka the second night. Two additional road games at San Antonio on June 29-30 would precede the home opener which is set for July 6 against Georgia.
Logan Jr., did not respond to requests to comment.
Women's Minor League Basketball Association website: www.wmlba.com