Print and Go Back espnW.com: News & Opinion

Monday, June 20, 2011
Courtney Paris' unexpected ride

By Michelle Smith

Courtney Paris probably didn't figure her pro career would work out quite like this.

She left college as one of its biggest stars, with one of the most decorated careers in the history of women's college basketball. She holds the NCAA women's basketball record for rebounds in a single season. She logged a consecutive double-double streak of 112 games. She became the first college player, male or female, to collect more than 2,500 points and 2,000 rebounds. She was a four-time All-American at Oklahoma.

Paris followed her college career as the No. 7 pick in the 2009 WNBA draft, going to the Sacramento Monarchs.

From there, the plan went off the rails.

After a quiet rookie season with the Monarchs in which her time on the floor was relatively limited, the team folded and she was picked up in the expansion draft by the Chicago Sky.

Paris was cut by the Sky at the end of training camp and did not play in the league in 2010. Paris was signed by the Los Angeles Sparks for their training camp roster this past spring, but again was cut before the season.

And now, she's been signed in-season by the Atlanta Dream, who are looking to replace in the inside presence of Sancho Lyttle, who has returned home to play with the Spanish national team. Lyttle will miss four games.

For the first time in two years, Paris got WNBA minutes Sunday, playing nearly14 minutes in the Dream's 77-64 loss to Minnesota. She scored seven points, hitting all three of her shots from the field, and pulled down four rebounds.

Following Sunday's loss to Minnesota, Dream coach Marynell Meadors said this opportunity could be important for Paris.

"There's two ways to look at it when you bring in a player like Paris," Meadors said to the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution." "She could come in and beat somebody out, or other teams are going to have an opportunity to look at her. She has a chance to get back in the league again."

First wins club

It was a weekend of first wins for two WNBA teams. One you'd expect to be in this situation, the other ... not so much.

The struggling Tulsa Shock finally got on the winning side with a 77-59 victory over Washington on Friday night.

And on Sunday, the Phoenix Mercury needed overtime, but defeated the Indiana Fever to end a brief run as the league's only winless team. Diana Taurasi scored 32 points in the win. She said it felt like "Game 5 of the WNBA Finals."

"That's how we have to treat every game," Taurasi told the Arizona Republic. "But the key is to build on it. It's no good if it's just for one game."

Surprise, surprise

How about the San Antonio Silver Stars, who are the league's only unbeaten team at 4-0.

The Silver Stars are playing well under coach Dan Hughes, playing well without help from center Jayne Appel, still out of the lineup following knee surgery and without Chamique Holdsclaw, last year's starting forward who is a free agent and not playing in the league this season.

The Silver Stars are doing it with offense. They lead the league in points scored so far at 93.25 per game and field-goal percentage, shooting 51.1 percent from the floor.