Saturday, July 11, 2009


Coach Says Sun Still Need Improvement

The Hartford Courant

July 11, 2009
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NEW LONDON — - There is only one measuring stick Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault uses and that's the WNBA standings.

His team is 5-5, not as good as he had hoped, but good enough to share second place in the Eastern Conference, more than a third of the way into the season.

"I had hoped the top end [after 10 games] would be 7-3," Thibault said. "Considering all the changes we've made, 6-4 would have been fine, too. But where we are now is acceptable, although we do need to start accelerating the pace. Between now and the end of July we need to get markedly better because the schedule is only going to get tougher."

The Sun play the Detroit Shock, their arch rivals and defending WNBA champions, tonight at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

The Shock are 2-7 and winless in all six conference games. Hartford native Rick Mahorn has replaced Bill Laimbeer, who resigned as coach June 15, but the team has lost five of six since.

It will be the Sun's first home game since June 27. They were 1-2 on their trip to Indiana, Detroit and Atlanta. This will be the first home game for their two newest players, center Sandrine Gruda and guard Anete Jekabsone-Zogota.

Thibault said he thinks Gruda and Jekabsone-Zogota, starters in the recent European Championships in Latvia, will make his team better.

"It's gone a lot like training camp goes," Thibault said. "I've had to re-teach some things. Since Sandrine was here last year, things have come a little quicker for her. Anete instinctively understands some of it, but we use different terminology. ... She'll get it, although it will likely take some time."

Holt Close
Forward Amber Holt, out with a broken right hand sustained in an exhibition game, is close to returning. She had her second day of full-contact practice and Thibault said she might be in uniform for tonight's game. ... Veteran forward Tamika Whitmore did not practice because of calf problems with her left leg.

All-Star Practice Open
Mohegan Sun Arena will host open practices for the East and West All-Stars on July 24, the day before the WNBA All-Star Game.

The East is scheduled to practice from 3 to 3:45 p.m., and the West from 4:15 to 5. Arena doors open at 2:30.

Starting lineups will be announced Tuesday. ... Sun players will sign autographs from 3 to 4 p.m. at four Stop & Shop locations on Sunday. Gruda will be at the Stop & Shop in Montville, Tan White will be in Groton, Kiesha Brown will in Waterford and Jekabsone-Zogota will be in Old Saybrook. Aside from autographs, fans will be able to win tickets to Sun games as part of a partnership between the team and Coca-Cola.

•Shock at Sun, Mohegan Sun Arena,

7 p.m., Ch. 59

Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant

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