The WNBA set a number of attendances records and TV viewership is up in several areas, the league announced Tuesday. Some highlights:
(1) The league set a record for total attendance in May (269,287) and sold out 14 games, also the best in its 12-year history. The Indiana Fever also became the first team to open the season with three straight sell-outs, no doubt an impact of Katie Douglas' return to her home state and, at least in one game, the presence of Candace Parker and the Los Angeles Sparks.
(2) In two games on ESPN2, viewership was up 45 percent (266,000 vs. 184,000) and ratings rose 44 percent (0.23 vs. 0.16).
(3) WNBA.com received nearly 3 million visits and more than 15.5 million page views, setting a new monthly mark, and again, Parker had a lot to do with it. Her player page on the Web site received more page views than any NBA player with the exception of the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant for the week of May 18-24.
This release is partly the WNBA patting itself on the back and a way to prove its relevance, which still is a struggle compared to any male professional sport. Then again, for everyone to say, 'Oh, the league is growing,' is one thing. To actually have some statistics that prove as much is another.
As for some Sun news:
Sun guard Kamesha Hairston (torn right lateral meniscus) returned to practice full-time Tuesday. After undergoing surgery on May 9, she’s spent the last three weeks shooting and undergoing rehab, but participated in five-on-five and full-court drills with no problems at Conn College.
“Right now, she really doesn’t have any restrictions,” Sun trainer Jeremy Norman said. “(The process) went real quick. Dr. (Ammar) Anbari is real happy with how fast she’s been going with this. We’ve got a little bit of time until this next game (Friday, against Minnesota) so we can kind of re-matriculate her into playing aghttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifain. And it gives me a couple days, too, to how she responds to it.”
Norman said there’s still soreness, and until the swelling totally subsides, “she won’t be as strong and everything she does will be a little bit slower.” But Hairston has experienced no setbacks.
“She was a little tentative in a few things, but she did a good job,” said Sun coach Thibault, who hasn’t decided if he’ll make her active for Friday’s game with Minnesota. (The Lynx, by the way, with an 85-81 win over the Atlanta Dream. Charde Houston hit two free throws with 38 seconds left to seal it.)
Maltsi doubtful to show
Thibault reiterated that he doesn’t expect Evina Maltsi to join the Sun this season due to responsibilities back home in Greece.
Thibault does not have all the specifics on the guard’s situation, but explained it as such:
“She’s employed in a job that’s been set up. I don’t know if the Greek government does it or the national federation, but they want her around. It’s one of those things if you walk away from it, it might not be there when your playing career is over. I don’t know the whole thing. All I know is I’m not counting on her being here.”
The news will leave permanently leave the Sun without another outside scoring threat, but allows them to avoid making a cut until Erin Phillips arrive after the Olympic break.
“She’s very frustrated with the whole thing,” Thibault said of Maltsi. “But she can’t walk away from the situation she has.”
Though a CT-Scan Tuesday revealed she didn't have a fractured nose, guard Jamie Carey will wear a protective mask as a preventative measure. The fourth-year guard was inadvertently “popped” in the nose by Chicago’s Armintie Price late in Sunday’s win over Chicago, and she is not expected to miss any time.