Saturday, October 9, 2004
Huskies in the house for Game 1
By Melanie Jackson
Special to ESPN.com
UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma, part of ESPN2's studio team, was hardly the only Husky on hand Friday.
At least five current UConn players attended Game 1, cheering on three former Husky standouts: Sue Bird of Seattle, and Connecticut's Nykesha Sales and Asjha Jones.
Neither Jessica Moore nor Willnett Crockett were taking sides.
"I'm rooting for all the Connecticut people to do good," Moore said.
College basketball fans should note that Moore, who suffered a torn ACL in April's NCAA title game as the Huskies won their third straight national championship, will practice with UConn when the 2004-05 season officially gets under way next Saturday.
"My knee feels good, I feel awesome," Moore said. "I have a few more weeks of rehab."
Moore expects to participate in every drill except scrimmages or contact situations. Right now, she's just trying to maintain her conditioning, running two miles a day, and spending "a lot of time on post work and foot work."
Seattle's Lauren Jackson put in another accurate performance from downtown. Trouble is, she only attempted four 3-pointers.
Entering Friday's game, Jackson was 13-for-17 (74 percent) from beyond the arc in the playoffs. She hit 2 of 4 3-pointers from downtown in Game 1, as her averaged slightly dipped to 71 percent.
From the field, however, Jackson went 6-for-19, a far cry from the 54.4 percent accuracy in the first two rounds.
"I was fading away on all my shots inside. Obviously, they were all falling short," she said. "I think if I power up a little bit harder, I won't miss those shots. I just have to focus on getting in there and being tough inside.
Seattle shot just 35.1 percent (26-for-74) from the field. But the Storm also committed 17 turnovers, including 11 in the first half.
So what's more critical for Seattle to focus on?
"Making shots," Storm coach Anne Donovan said. "We have to keep the floor spread a little better so Lauren can read the double team. We've got to knock some shots down."
Several records were set Friday, including:
Lindsay Whalen's nine assists was a Sun playoff record. Whalen only committed two turnovers.
Connecticut's 15 steals were a single-game WNBA Finals record. The previous high was 12, set by Houston in 1999. Sales and Taj McWilliams-Franklin each made four steals. The Sun's 28 field goals were one short of tying the single-game finals mark.
Despite the loss, Seattle grabbed a WNBA Finals single-game record 42 rebounds, eclipsing 41 set by both Phoenix in 1998 and Detroit in 2003. A record 20 of the boards came on the offensive glass.
Led by Seattle's 17 turnovers, the Storm and Sun combined for 32 turnovers, tying the previous mark set in an overtime game in 2000, where New York and Houston each committed 16 giveaways.
The prez says ...
Expansion is always a hot topic, and WNBA President Val Ackerman expects to add teams in each of the 2006 and '07 seasons. Nothing's formal yet, but Ackerman is hopeful there will be news to announce by the end of the year.
"We're continuing to have discussions with new owner prospects," she said. "We are in different stages with different potential groups.
"In '06, we are optimistic that we are going to add the 14th team."
Melanie Jackson coordinates ESPN.com's WNBA coverage.