Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Update: Sun rout Shock in home finale

Renee Montgomery scored 22 points, Asjha Jones added 18 and the Connecticut Sun, already eliminated from playoff contention, went out on a high note at home Tuesday with a 90-62 victory over the Tulsa Shock in this season's Mohegan Sun Arena finale.

Tina Charles (10 points, 10 rebounds) added to her WNBA record total with her 21st double-double, and Sandrine Gruda chipped in 13 points for the Sun (16-16), who matched their season win total from a year ago.

The Sun have two more regular-season games remaining, Friday at Chicago and Sunday at New York.

Update: Sun lead Tulsa at break

Renee Montgomery has 11 points, Asjha Jones has nine and the Sun lead the last-place Tulsa Shock, 41-34, at halftime here at Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Sun led by as many as 16 before the Shock cut it to four points with under a minute to play in the second quarter. But a Jones three-point play stopped the bleeding just before the half. The Sun are shooting 47.2 percent from the floor while Tulsa is shooting 31.6 percent.

A wasted week? Hardly

As a head coach, this is a new experience for Mike Thibault.

The Connecticut Sun, eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday's 79-66 loss to the Indiana Fever, begin the first of three games tonight that many would consider meaningless. In Thibault's eight-year tenure, Connecticut's only been in this position once before -- last year -- but it only had to endure one game that didn't have any relevance toward a playoff spot.

But three games? Never before, including during his years as Omaha's head coach in the CBA, has Thibault found himself in this position.

But he has been through it in the past, as an assistant coach with the Chicago Bulls in the early 1980s.

"Our first two years in Chicago, when we rebuilt the team" we were in this situation, Thibault said Monday night. "We went thorugh this process. The first year was just OK and the second year was better. We had a long way to go and we got better and we just worked through it. We knew both of those years we weren’t goign to be in the playoffs a little while before the playoffs, especially the first year.

"The third year we added (Michael) Jordan and got better and made the playoffs late in the season. In my fourth year, Jordan missed 60 perent of the season or more with an injury (broken bone in his foot) and we still got in. We lost to Boston in the playoffs when Jordan had a big game (a playoff-record 63 points in Game 2 of the series).

"We knew it was going to be a process to get better. I’ve watched other teams go through it on our league and you hope it’s not ever you. But the reality is if you want to build an organization up the right way, patience is the hardest virtue. For everybody."

Thibault said the preparation didn't change for tonight's game with Tulsa (7:30 p.m., CSN). The team still had practice, still did the regular amount of opponent prep.

"That’s their job," Thibault said of the players. "Most of them are going to be here next year. ... We’re going to use this week to keep getting better. There’s going to be carry over from this year to next, hopefully in a positive way."

And there were encouraging signs, too, he said.

"Two players remarked that even though we lost (Sunday), there was kind of a turning point in figuring a few things out," Thibault said. "It was just a sense that they had about the team. It was just an unsolicited opinion. They felt we got beat down the stretch on experience by a great player (Indiana's Tamika Catchings, who scored 26 points). We have a ways to go to reach that level but we’re heading in the right direction."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hightower will 'probably' miss rest of season

Rookie guard Allison Hightower, who’s missed the last two games with an unspecified illness, is “probably” going to miss the rest of the season, Sun coach Mike Thibault said Monday.

Hightower approached team trainer Jeremy Norman before the weekend about not feeling well. She was on the bench but did not dress for each of the last two games.

“I really cant say right now” what it is, Thibault said. “There are some tests being run. We really don’t know, and I’m not at liberty to talk about it” due to the HIPAA Privacy Rule.

“She just hasn’t felt well,” he added.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Update: Fever end Sun's playoff hopes; Charles set two records

Tina Charles set new WNBA records for rebounds and double-doubles in the season, but the Connecticut Sun couldn't avoid elimination from playoff contention, falling, 79-66, to the Indiana Fever on Sunday at Mohegan Sun Arena.

Charles finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, her 20th double-double of the season, breaking a tie with Utah's Natalie Williams. She now has 368 rebounds, which eclipsed Cheryl Ford's mark from 2006 of 363.

The Sun's (15-16) loss combined with the Washington Mystics' 80-71 victory over Seattle mathematically eliminated the Sun from reaching the playoffs.

Update: Sun trail at half; Mystics win

Renee Montgomery has eight points and six assists, and the Sun were able to trim a 12-point deficit to five by halftime, 42-37, against the Indiana Fever.

Tamika Catchings has 13 points for Indiana.

Meanwhile, the Washington Mystics beat the Seattle Storm, 80-71, to improve to 19-12. The Sun need to win today to avoid elimination from playoff contention. Indiana, New York and Atlanta have already clinched spots in the East. Connecticut currently trails the Mystics by 3 1/2 games.

Keep an eye on the District

Greetings from Mohegan Sun Arena. The tip for the Sun-Fever is abot 30 minutes away, but follow the Washington Mystics-Seattle Storm game here.

A Mystics win and Sun loss eliminates the Sun from playoff contention. Lauren Jackson, who sat with back spasms Friday at Connecticut, started and played eight minutes of the first quarter in Washington.