Sun Still Adjusting; Whitmore Unsure Of Return
By JOHN ALTAVILLA
The Hartford Courant
8:07 PM EDT, July 12, 2009
UNCASVILLE — - Just when the Connecticut Sun had all of their players in place, it looks as if things may not be as ideal as they seem. Forward Tamika Whitmore, whose WNBA consecutive-games streak ended at 204 when she could not play in Saturday night's loss to the Detroit Shock, may be lost for a prolonged period.
Whitmore said Saturday she's not sure when she'll be able to play again because of a lingering calf injury she aggravated in practice Thursday.
"I really don't know," Whitmore said. "It's been 10 years of wear and tear. Hopefully, I won't be out too long, but I really don't know right now.
"These things usually can heal pretty quickly, but I've been playing and playing and playing and haven't given it a chance to heal."
The Sun (5-6), who play the Los Angeles Sparks on Tuesday night at Mohegan Sun Arena, may finally get Amber Holt back. Holt sustained a broken right hand in the preseason.
Center Sandrine Gruda, 6 feet 4, should help them deal with Whitmore's absence. But Gruda has been inconsistent in her first three games since joining the Sun after leading France to the gold medal at the European Championship in Latvia.
After scoring 23 points (11 of 18) in her debut at Detroit on July 2, she has scored only nine in 45 minutes. In the 79-77 overtime loss Saturday, she was scoreless in 24 minutes and fouled out.
"She's long and athletic, said Asjha Jones, who played with Gruda in Russia last winter. "She has a year under her belt; last year was her first year in America.
"She got in a little foul trouble, but she has the ability to get inside and get us offensive rebounds. She's a big presence inside on defense."
After winning three straight, the Sun have lost three of four.
"We need to try harder and stay positive," said Lindsay Whalen, who scored 20 Saturday to surpass 2,000 career points (2,001). "We just need to stay focused on the things we need to work on."
The Sun need to figure out how to better incorporate Gruda and Anete Jekabsone-Zogota into the offense. Both were non-factors against the Shock, combining to shoot 0-for-9 with no points in 37 minutes.
Jekabsone-Zogota, captain of the Latvian national team, was second in scoring (20.3) during the European Championship. But she has only 11 points in four games with the Sun, playing 65 minutes and shooting 3-for-15 from the field.
"The roster changes are not something we can worry about. It's uncontrollable; all we can control is how we do on the court," Jones said. "We practice hard, watch video and try to make adjustments and try to improve on them.
"We're up and down. ... We're not going to get any worse. We are going to get better."
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