Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Huskies update (5th edition)

Sorry about the late update, but here’s the weekly rundown on UConn alums around the league, with their season averages in key categories. Expect another full update on Tuesday, and then a considerably shortened one in the weeks to follow as the playoffs start and fewer Connecticut grads will be playing.

Connecticut Sun:
(1) Nykesha Sales (UConn, 1998): 13.2 points, 4.08 rebounds, 3.3 assists per game
Low-down: Sales exploded for a regular-season career high of 32 points in the Sun’s 77-74 win over Indiana Wednesday. She had 11 straight points during one stretch and her 13 made field goals tied a franchise record set by Lindsay Whalen earlier this year.

There will be more to come on Sales in Friday’s edition of the Bulletin.

(2) Asjha Jones (2002): 15.3 points, 6.10 rebounds, 44.9 field-goal percentage
Low-down: Jones sat out Wednesday’s game after she injured her right ankle in Tuesday’s loss to Washington. The severity of the injury is unclear – a Sun official called it a strain following the game – but a Washington Mystics official said Jones was seen leaving the Verizon Center that night wearing a protective boot. Jones had hurt it on the final play of the game.

With the Sun already a lock for the playoffs and the third seed, the expectation here is they’ll be cautious with Jones, even if it’s not too bad of an injury. Connecticut, a game back of the Fever, still has a chance of catching them for the No. 2 seed, but the Sun have always played well against Indiana, home or away. Having one home game rather than two may not matter in this case.

Detroit Shock:
(1) Swin Cash (2002): 11.1 points, 6.10 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Low-down: After the Shock clinched homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs with a win over Indiana on Saturday, Aug. 11, Cash, battling a balky back, sat out the next game and only saw 16 minutes of action – the fewest among starters – in the Shock’s 81-73 loss to Houston on Tuesday. Though Detroit has lost two straight and is also dealing with the loss of Kara Braxton (suspended two games), expect the team and Cash to be ready to go for playoffs. It’s not surprising they’re not playing to their potential in what really are throw-away games at this point.

Indiana Fever:
(1) Ann Strother (2006): 2.3 points, 0.75 rebounds
Low-down: Strother played only six minutes in the loss to Detroit last Saturday and didn’t see any time against Connecticut on Wednesday. She’ll most likely see little to no time from here on out, especially when Tamika Catchings (day-to-day, partially torn plantar fascia) returns.

New York Liberty:
(1) Ashley Battle (2005): 7.6 points, 3.81 rebounds, 1.06 steals
Low-down: Battle remains one of the Liberty’s top options off the bench and in her last three games, she’s played 18, 19 and 21 minutes, respectively, and scored nine and 11 points in consecutive games. She, like the rest of her teammates, need to step up big tonight against Washington if playoffs are going to remain a possibility. If the Mystics win tonight, they clinch the league’s final playoff berth.

Phoenix Mercury:
(1) Diana Taurasi (2004): 18.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.4 assists
Low-down: The Mercury have won nine of 10, recorder their franchise record 21st win last Saturday and are in the driver’s seat for the top seed in the West – if they can hold off San Antonio. Taurasi wasn’t at her best in Phoenix’s last game on Saturday (12 points on 4-of-14 shooting) but she did tie a season high with eight assists. With a lot still at stake, don’t expect the Mercury to rest Taurasi or any of their starters, and don’t expect Taurasi to not play like she deserves another First-Team All-WNBA selection.

(2) Kelly Schumacher (2001): 4.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, 47.1 field-goal percentage
Low-down: Schumacher continued to see her usual minutes (16 minutes per game over her last three) and has done the things the Mercury expect of her. She’s averaged 5.0 points and 8.0 rebounds since Aug. 7.

Seattle Storm:
(1) Sue Bird (2002): 10.3 points, 4.8 assists, 1.50 steals
Low-down: Bird, much like the Sun’s Whalen, is capable of very different games on different nights but seems to contribute each time regardless. She’s scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting in a blowout win of the Mystics last Saturday and followed that with a six-point, seven-assist performance in an easy win over Minnesota. The Storm already have a playoff and are locked into the No. 4 seed.

Los Angeles Sparks:
(1) Jessica Moore (2005): 3.9 points, 2.81 rebounds, 38.0 field-goal percentage
Low-down: Moore has played in the Sparks’ last give games because of a sprained right knee. With Los Angeles playing out the string in a lost season, it’s anyone’s guess if she even tries to return.

Houston Comets:
(1) Barbara Turner (2006): 4.4 points, 1.90 rebounds, 40.8 field-goal percentage
Low-down: Turner continues to see limited time as the Comets are out of playoff contention. In her last three games, she’s seen a total of 10 minutes on the floor and she’s scored four points.

Minnesota Lynx:
(1) Svetlana Abrosimova (2001): 9.4 points, 4.34 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Low-down: Abrosimova continues to finish off the season in strong fashion. She’s played 26 or more minutes her last three games, where she’s averaged 15 points and 3.3 rebounds. She had 20 points in the Lynx win over Seattle last Tuesday, Aug. 7.

(2) Tamika Raymond (2002): 1.1 points, 1.3 rebounds
Low-down: Raymond played 10 minutes last Tuesday, scoring three points, but she didn’t plat Tuesday, a game after going a scoreless eight minutes against the Sparks.

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