Thursday, May 1, 2008

Off on the wrong foot

The Sun opened their preseason in ugly fashion with a 68-57 loss at the Minnesota Lynx Thursday. They opened the game 5-for-31 from the field, and had no one in double figures, getting eight points from Kerri Gardin and seven from four others. Here are some key things to know:

(1) "I expected it to be rugged,”Sun coach Mike Thibault said, adding with tongue in cheek,“and it exceeded my expectations.”The Sun improved in the second half, notching 39 points, but just for a point of reference, the 57 points would have been a season-low last season. In Connecticut's defense, it played all 14 players, never allowing anyone to get a solid rhythm, and the results don't differ too much from last year's preseason. The Sun finished 1-2, never scoring more than 61 points.

Other problems areas: The Sun committed 22 turnovers, were whistled for 25 fouls and were outrebounded, 36-25.

(2) Amber Holt, Barbara Turner, Kamesha Hairston and Danielle Page each had seven points. Asked if there were any positives he could point to, Thibault hesitated before saying,“Uh, I don't know. There wasn't anything special about it.”

"I thought as a group, Cori Chambers and Barbara and Amber Holt, they were in together as a group for a while and they did a pretty good job for a little stretch,” Thibault offered. “There was just no consistency. You shoot the ball that badly, it kills any momentum you need to get going.”

The point of these exhibition games are also to help coaches get a better idea of who looks capable of sticking around to help the team. Thibault said that was even difficult to determine Thursday.

"That's the frustrating part,”he said. "Maybe a little bit (I got a better idea). Maybe. But not enough to make an overall judgment based on one game.”

(3) Jamie Carey is scheduled to visit with doctors Friday after sustaining what Thibault described as an Achilles' tendon injury. "But I don't want to say, I don't know enough about it," Thibault said. "She played the game, but we're sending her to see the doctor (Friday). It was during the game, and she didn't think it was that bad but it got worse.”

It's unclear how serious it's going to be, but it's unexpected, especially for Carey. The fourth-year guard said on Tuesday she was feeling as good physically as she's felt in her professional career.

(4) Lindsay Whalen, a Minnesota native, was on hand for the game, watching from the Sun bench in street clothes. Her ZVVZ USK Prague team's season is over, and Thibault said he expects the All-star guard in training camp by Tuesday, along with offseason acquisition Tamika Whitmore.

The arrival for Asjha Jones and Sandrine Gruda is less certain. Their UMMC Ekaterinburg team lost in its league's semifinals, but they are required to play in a third-place game,“which is crazy," Thibault said. The coach said the series may run until May 13 or 14, putting the pair's arrival very close to the season opener on May 17. If it does run that long, Gruda may miss that game against Atlanta as she has personal matters to attend to at home in France before coming to Connecticut. The same goes for Evina Maltsi, whose Spanish league team is still alive in its playoffs. She has personal business to take care of back home in Greece after her season's end, and she has yet to sign a contract.

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