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IN STREET CLOTHES
|UNCASVILLE, Conn. -- There is a routine and a rhythm to pregame preparations at any arena.
Certain players casually shoot free throws in a shooting shirt and warm-up pants. Others work up a sweat against a coach or trainer, shooting from certain spots or working on certain moves. Vendors map out their routes, and television technicians uncoil cables. Always the same, always a sense of relaxed focus.
But like a nature special's cameras spotting a lion lurking near a watering hole, the sense of unease and tension grows palpable when something in that routine seems out of place.
So it was at Mohegan Sun Arena more than an hour before the tip of Game 2. It was coach Mike Thibault spending an extra minute chatting with rookie point guard Jamie Carey on the sideline, assistant coach Scott Hawk and Katie Douglas exchanging knowing looks after a warm-up session and whispered rumors about Lindsay Whalen's absence from the court. The atmosphere in an arena can tell as much as any press release, and Thursday, it spoke volumes about the task ahead of the Sun.
And sure enough, when Whalen arrived, she was dressed in street clothes and sat out her first game of the season.
-- ESPN.com's Graham Hays