Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

WNBA: Sun Stops Mystics While Atlanta Stays Perfect

By Mel Greenberg

UNCASVILLE, C onn. _ Having been crushed by an Atlanta Dream squad Friday that is now alone and unbeaten atop the WNBA's Eastern Conference, the Connecticut Sun had to get resilient real quick on their return to home to face a roaring Washington Mystics squad Sunday that had gotten off to a 3-0 start.

If Connecticut coach Mike Thibault had been shocked how badly his team played 48 hours earlier, he was all smiles again at the Mohegan Sun Arena where his team shut the visitors down and walked away with an 85-60 win.

"After Friday night, this was a real good win," Thibault said. "We dug in for most of the night and played good defense. We rebounded better, we only gave up two fast break points and we got to the free throw line (23-for-30). Those are all good signs when you're trying to build a winning team."

It's also a good sign when the bench performs well and a different player becomes the focus of postgame attention each time out.

On Sunday the media crowd in the locker room rushed to the seat occupied by former Mississippi State star Tan White.

The fifth-year pro had a team-high 15 points, grabbed six rebounds, and grabbed three steals to bring it to both ends of the court.

"Coming off the bench, bringing energy to my team, that's what's expected of me," White said. "I think now, being here in Connecticut, I'm a lot more confident in my shot so I don't hesitate to shoot the open three (4-for-5). Don't hesitate and just shoot and that
s what I've been doing."

Thibault said there was never a doubt that White was in the Sun's blueprints which called for major revisions in the offseason.

One of them will get attention Thursday when the Minnesota Lynx play here marking the one-game return of Lindsay Whalen, the All-Star guard dealt away to land former UConn star Renee Montgomery and ultimately recently-graduated Huskies sensation Tina Charles, courtesy of the No. 1 overall pick of the draft.

"I thought she did a great job," Thibault said of White. "She brings a high level of energy. We don't need her to be our leading scorer, but we need her to be a consistent scorer."

Charles had another double in scoring with 10 points as the Sun went to 2-1.

Former Nebraska star Kelsey Griffin continued to impress, scoring 11 points off her first start after being acquired from the Lynx in a draft-day trade after she was picked third overall.

"The thing about this team is we are playing a bunch of players so whether you start or are coming off the bench you are contributing to the team. It's about having team wins and that's how I'll be successful this year."

The Sun connected on 9-of-21 three-point attempts. Other players scoring in double figures were Anete Jekabsone-Zogota with 14 points, and Kara Lawson with 11 points.

Willingboro's (N.J) Crystal Langhorne, the former Maryland star, had 16 points for the Mystics, while her former Terrapins teammate Marissa Coleman gave Washington 11 points and All-Star free-agent signee Katie Smith scored 10.

"Offensively, we never got into a rhythm," Smith said of Washington's struggles against the Sun. "They picked us apart. Give them credit."

Meanwhile, Atlanta in its third year in the league, is now 4-0 after beating New York a 100 miles South in Madison Square Garden 86-77 as the Liberty fell to 1-2.

Second-year pro Angel McCoughtry scored 21 points for the Dream while New York newcomer Cappie Pondexter, the former Rutgers star, also had 21 points.

On Friday night, New York was in Washington with a 61-61 tie before the Mystics ran away with the final 16 points of the game.

-- Mel

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