Friday, June 27, 2008


Mike Thibault said the twice -- unprompted -- during his press conference following the Suns' 109-101 overtime victory over the Atlanta Dream Friday. (Now that I think about it, I may have started a previous post in a similar way. Either way, this one probably deserved it more).

Some notes, reaction and keys from tonight's victory, which helped the Sun improve to 12-4 and avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season:

(1) Asjha Jones (30 points, 10 rebounds) and Tamika Whitmore (28 points) both scored season highs. Jones also set a new career-high with 13 made field goals, which is tied for the most in franchise history, and Whitmore took a career-high 13 attempts at the free throw line.

The Dream couldn't trump the Sun, but individually, Betty Lennox can't be topped. Her career-high 44 points is tied for the third most in league history, the most this season and set a new record for most ever by a Sun opponent. The WNBA record for points scored is 47, held by Diana Taurasi. Detroit's Deanna Nolan also scored 44 earlier this season against Minnesota.

(2) The Dream fell to 0-14, setting a new WNBA record for most losses to start a season and tying the league record for longest losing streak, a dubious distinction held by the now-defunct Portland, which also lost 14 spanning the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Atlanta plays at Detroit on Sunday. There will be much more on them in Monday's WNBA Notes column.

(3) The Sun's 109 points were the most this season. The 35 free throws made (on 42 attempts, for an amazing 83.3 percentage) are a franchise best. Asjha Jones became just third player in Sun history to score 30 or more twice in a career, joining Shannon Johnson, who did it three times, and Nykesha Sales, who did it twice.

(4) Ketia Swanier played just 10 minutes, but her defense on Lennox late was one of the deciding factors in the Sun win. Entering with 2:54 to play in regulation, she held Lennox to one field goal and four points the rest of the way before the Dream guard hit a meaningless 3-pointer with 3.4 seconds to play.

A combination of Amber Holt (for the majority of the time) and Lindsay Whalen tried stopping Lennox for most of the game.

"She (Swanier) did a terrific job on (Lennox)," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "I thought Amber’s speed would keep up with her and have some length on her, but Betty gets her shoulders below the bigger players sometimes and gets a step on them. … I thought Ketia was a huge influence on the game down the stretch."

(5) Just as big was the play of Whitmore and Jones, who scored the Sun's first 14 points of the overtime period. Thibault said the plan was to put it down low and consecutive three-point plays by the bruising pair all but sealed the game with under two minutes to play in overtime.

Jones has led the Sun in scoring in nine of the team's last 10 games.

(6) Somewhat overlooked was Lindsay Whalen, who netted a double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds, and joined Jones as the fifth tandem in team history to record double-doubles in the same game. It was Whalen's fifth double-double of her career.

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