Just finished the Sun's post-practice session with the media, and naturally, all the talk centered around the brawl.
Unfortunately for the Sun, they've become embroiled in the firestorm that will most likely envelop this situation only because of their schedule. If Connecticut was playing New York or Indiana or somebody other than L.A. or Detroit, Sun players and coaches would have been asked about the brawl, but had every right just to dismiss it with a 'no comment.' Because L.A. is practicing in their arena tonight in preparation for their final match-up tomorrow, they have really have no choice but to say something about the situation.
That's not to say there aren't some ways around it.
"I wasn't there," Asjha Jones said when asked of her reaction to the brawl. "I was outside." (The entire team had met at Thibault's house the night before for dinner and to watch the game.)
Tamika Raymond, though, did see it. (Or at least admitted so.)
"It was unfortunate that it happened, but we’re just worried about what we have to do and who we’re going to be playing against," she said. "We gotta play L.A. That’s kind of how we look at it. Of course, I was like everybody else and looking at it and saying, ‘Wow, this is not the publicity that we want.’ (But) we gotta play L.A."
Asked if all publicity is still good publicity for the league -- the clip of the brawl led Sportscenter with the actual story not following too far behind -- Raymond didn't really agree. (Asked the same question, Thibault said, "I'm not going there.")
"I don’t know," Raymond said. "Of course I think that’s bad publicity. We have a young crowd and an older crowd and that’s not what you want. But like I said and Coach said before practice, whoever shows up tomorrow, they’re going to be gun-ho for the people who are sitting out or whatever happens, they’re going to be ready to play. We have to be ready and prepared for what we have to do.
"Is it surprising?" she continued. "Yes because it doesn’t happen every day. When you say something is a surprise, if I went off and punched all three coaches in the face, that’s a surprise. That’s something nobody does. If I win the lotto, that’s a surprise. This is a surprise because it hasn’t happened a lot in this league. We’re a pretty straightforward league, family-oriented supposedly so something like this just looks bad. I think the players involved probably feel bad about it, and for us, we’re just trying to focus on (today)."
Thibault said he had never seen anything like this in women's basketball. But he has been a part of similar situation, including when he worked as an assistant coach with the Chicago between the 1982 and 1986 seasons.
"I was in the league before the clearing-the-bench rule was in so everybody was in (the fight)," Thibault said. "The first one I was ever in, a big one, I went out to try and be a peacemaker and ran smack dab into Moses Malone. (I was) with Chicago. We had a fight with Philadelphia. I said, ‘Excuse me big fella.’ (He did) nothing. He probably didn’t even notice I was there, with the size difference.
"It’s an unfortunate thing," he added of the Detroit-L.A. fight. "The whole thing."
L.A. was apparently held up in Detroit, but they are scheduled to practice later today here at Mohegan Sun Arena.
One other significant note from Sun practice: Tamika Whitmore left roughly an hour into the session to undergo what Thibault said was a scheduled MRI on her knee. The appointment has been set up for some time, but the coach did add that Whitmore "tweaked" earlier in the day.
"She’s got creaky knees," Thibault said. "We’ll see. It’s been a while (that it’s been scheduled). We wanted to do it before the Olympic break."
Asked what he would designate her as (doubtful, questionable or probable), Thibault said, "Seriously, I have no idea (if she’ll play)." There's no word on when the results will come back either, so count Whitmore's status as unknown at the moment.
Update: No word on suspensions or fines or when they'll come down. It seems likely some type of word will come from the league office today, but there's no definite timetable.