|ESPN.com: WNBA||[Print without images]|
|IN THE SPOTLIGHT|
Jackie Stiles, Portland
Jackie Stiles is simply amazing. After she entered peoples' hearts and minds during the Women's NCAA Tournament, I'm sure people said, "Well, she is good in college. But can she play at the next level against the WNBA's great players?" Well, against Washington recently, Stiles made Nikki McCray look like me -- retired. She put a move on McCray that made McCray practically break her ankles and twist her knees. She had no clue where Stiles was going, and McCray is a fairly decent defensive player. But Stiles is quick, has great hops and can get her shot off on virtually anybody. She can handle, shoot and pass. She is more athletic and a better defensive player than people think. Stiles is a joy to watch. Comets coach Van Chancellor said he would pay to see Stiles play. Everything about Stiles is a positive and good for the game. I love her attitude and the look on her face. She gives everything and is a team player. She is not into the crowd or anything flashy. I can't remember seeing a player so focused. I don't think Stiles is interested in the money or the notoriety. She just wants to play basketball. A year ago Betty Lennox was the only rookie to make a big contribution. Several players from the 2001 draft, however, have made impacts, including Stiles, Lauren Jackson and Marie Ferdinand. But Stiles plays as well as anybody and will be star in the WNBA for a long time.
-- Nancy Lieberman-Cline