The Sun's season opener with the Atlanta Dream tips off in about 10 minutes. Here are the starting lineups:
(G) Lindsay Whalen
(G) Amber Holt
(F) Kerri Gardin
(F) Asjha Jones
(C) Tamika Whitmore
(G) Kristin Haynie
(G) Betty Lennox
(F) Iziane Castro Marques
(F) Jennifer Lacy
(C) Stacey Lovelace
It's surprising to see Gardin in the starting lineup, but it's a testament to how well the Virginia Tech product has been playing in camp. Plus, at 6-foot-1, she's a little bigger than Barbara Turner, which the Sun need against the Dream, a good-sized squad that features two forwards 6-foot-2 or taller and the 6-foot-8 Katie Feenstra coming off the bench.
Some keys to watch: Asjha Jones has had two practices before her first game. Unless she comes out on fire, expect Mike Thibault to temper her minutes a little today (and he still might even if she's shooting well). Even playing overseas, she'll have to get her legs a little bit, and of course, she hasn't had much time to get used to any of the teams' new plays or the rhythm the other players have developed together. That said, Thibault said she on Thursday she looked like she never left, so it will probably come to her quicker than it would most other people because she has spent so much time in the Sun's system.
Just hopped off the court with UConn alum Ann Strother, who seems genuinely excited about the chance she's getting in Atlanta. She isn't starting today but she hopes for a bigger role than she did in Indiana last year. Plus, she said there is a real buzz around Atlanta about the team.
"Our first exhibition game, we had like, 8,000 people there ... not even for a real game, and it was loud," she said. "We go around the city and people know us. It's exciting.
"It's kind of like," she said, pausing for effect, "Connecticut."
Officials for today: Sue Blauch, Denise Brooks-Clauser and Jeff Smith. Check back here around 5 p.m. for a halftime update.