Sorry for the late update but was waiting for the Detroit-New York series to finish before posting it. Great game by the way. You have to feel for McCarville, who had a great series (14 points, 5.67 rebounds, 2.67 steals per game) but missed the game-tying free throw with less than four seconds to play. But it seemed like that was the Liberty’s game to lose for a while, and they simply couldn’t stop Cheryl Ford, who played 39 minutes, scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds on an aching knee.
“We gave Cheryl a new nickname tonight,” Deanna Nolan said, according to WNBA.com. “She’s now the ‘Woman-Child.’”
Too bad she’s a Louisiana Tech grad. On to the former Huskies.
(Note: All the players’ averages are their first-round series numbers)
(1) Nykesha Sales (UConn, 1998): 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists per game (three games played)
Low-down: After leading the team with 25 points in its Game 1 triple-overtime win, Sales was almost nonexistent in Games 2 and 3, totaling 12 points. Her first points Monday came on a game-tying 3-pointer with less than 10 seconds to play, but her play exemplified her inconsistency during the season.
Sales’ offseason remains one of the ones to watch for the Sun. Her contract is up and she reportedly said earlier this season she doesn’t plan to retire. But after missing 20 games the past two seasons with injuries, her durability is certainly a concern. Her return to the Sun is, at best, up-in-the-air.
(2) Asjha Jones (2002): 15.7 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists (three games played)
Low-down: Jones followed a breakout season, her first as an All-Star, with a solid series. She scored 21 points Monday after notching 20 in the opener and carried the Sun offense for long stretches in Game 3. Of all the Sun starters, she is the only one under contract through next year, and remains a cornerstone to build from with Katie Douglas (who is definitely expected to re-sign) and Lindsay Whalen (who, if she didn’t return to the Sun, would probably surprise many).
(1) Swin Cash (2002): 8.7 points, 5.33 rebounds, 1.7 assists (three games played)
Low-down: Unlike Jones and Sales, Cash’s season surges on into the Eastern Conference finals after the Shock’s 71-70 win over the Liberty in Game 3 of their first-round series Tuesday. Shock finished the game with eight points and nine rebounds, and hit the game-winning lay-up in overtime. It followed a 14-point, three-assist performance in the Shock’s Game 2 win.
In three games played this year against the Indiana Fever – Detroit’s opponent in the next round – Cash averaged 9.67 points.
(1) Ann Strother (2006): 3.0 minutes, 1.0 steals (one game played)
Low-down: Strother saw three minutes of garbage time in the Fever’s 19-point Game 2 win on Saturday, but she didn’t play in either Game 1 or Game 3. It’s a safe bet she won’t see any meaningful time in the Eastern Conference finals.
New York Liberty:
(1) Ashley Battle (2005): 3.7 points, 2.33 rebounds, 1.3 assists (three games played)
Low-down: Battle saw 33 minutes in the Liberty’s Game 3 overtime loss, scoring three points and grabbing four rebounds. Her best offensive game, strangely, came in the game she played the least: Game 1, six points in 14 minutes.
(1) Diana Taurasi (2004): 21.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists (two games played)
Low-down: Taurasi, Cappie Pondexter and Penny Taylor combined for 64 points a game in the Mercury’s two-game sweep of the Storm. Game 2 certainly wasn’t easy as Seattle tied it at one point after trailing by as many as 22. But Taurasi had a big hand in making sure the Mercury rolled through into the Western Conference finals. She scored 20 points, dished out six assists and hit the tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left after Seattle clawed back to knot it at 85 points.
(2) Kelly Schumacher (2001): 1.5 points, 2.0 rebounds (two games played)
Low-down: Schumacher was largely a non-factor in both games, seeing an average of 15.5 minutes and scoring a team low three points. She did add two assists, though, after averaging 0.4 a game during the regular season.
(1) Sue Bird (2002): 16.5 points, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals (two games played)
Low-down: Seattle was the only team in the playoffs to bow in two games, but Bird played well, leading the team in minutes in the series and notching 21 points, six assists and three steals in the Storm’s Game 2 loss. While disappointing, the loss now starts an offseason that may see the end of Lauren Jackson’s time in Seattle. Thinking around the league says Jackson may skip next season to train with the Australian national team for the Olympics, and there have been rumors she doesn’t want to play for the team if it moves to Oklahoma City with the Seattle Supersonics (which is still a very likely possibility).