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Monday Morning Links: Epiphanny Prince Clutch In 'Instant Classic', Liberty & Storm Pick Up First Win

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With 11 games on the schedule this past weekend - including five games yesterday - there were quite a few WNBA links floating around the web this weekend.

To help filter all those links, I did the same thing I've done previously: offer links with insight that best represents the statistical story of the game.

But it's hard not to start the weekend review with a game that our own James Bowman called an "instant classic" and a pair of outstanding performances this weekend by Chicago Sky guard Epiphanny Prince. After we get past that excitement, we'll move on to a day-by-day roundup in addition to some other miscellaneous links.

  • Richard Cohen of the WNBA Alien blog recapped the Chicago Sky's thrilling 94-92 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Saturday, noting that their overwhelming rebounding dominance, "...was what ultimately won them the game." While guard Epiphanny Prince's 33 points and big shots got the headlines, it's hard to ignore Fowles' 19 rebounds as central to what earned the Sky a road win. Read more >>>
  • Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune recapped the Sky's last second win against the Washington Mystics on Friday night in which center Sylvia Fowles beat the buzzer with 0.2 seconds left. But the night belonged to Epiphanny Prince who set a now-regulation career high with 31 points and accounting for a remarkable 53.83% of the team's overall statistical production. Read more >>>


  • Marc Allard of the Norwich Bulletin nicely summarized the Connecticut Sun's weekend by highlighting their poor shooting efficiency (33.75% effective field goal percentage) in their loss to the Minnesota Lynx on Friday and their very impressive free throw rate (50.82%) in their win against Washington yesterday. Of course, Tina Charles has been the key to their success and getting the ball to her yesterday was a key to the game. Read more >>>
  • Allard also highlighted the importance of Kara Lawson's performance against the Mystics yesterday. In addition to hitting two big threes down the stretch, Lawson shot 5-for-7 overall and tied a team-high with 6-for-6 free throw shooting to finish with an outstanding game-high 93.36 true shooting percentage. Read more >>>
  • Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reports that Seattle Storm coach Brian Agler chose not to foul on the deciding play of last night's 67-65 road loss to the Los Angeles Sparks last night for fear of fouling them on a shot and the concern is understandable considering the way the game went: the Sparks had 21 free throw attempts to the Storm's 12 and made 17 of them. Read more >>>
  • Roman Augustoviz of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve knew that her team could not maintain the 68% field goal percentage they shot in the first half against the San Antonio Silver Stars yesterday. Sure enough, they only shot 38% in the second half and were outscored by 17 points. Nevertheless, the held on to win the game 83-79. Read more >>>
  • Odeen Domingo of the Arizona Republic writes that Phoenix Mercury rookie Samantha Prahalis might have had her best game yet in the WNBA while battling flu-like symptoms. Prahalis led her team to a 79-72 win over the Tulsa Shock with a game-high 6 assists to only two turnovers for an elite pure point rating of 5.71, which gives Mercury coach Corey Gaines plenty of confidence that "she'll be putting up big numbers soon." Read more >>>
  • Kristofer Habbas of SB Nation Arizona writes that while Prahalis was a major factor in the game it was the Mercury's rebounding that ultimately decided the game. The Mercury nearly doubled the Shock's offensive rebounding percentage with a solid mark of 35%. Read more >>>
  • Tracy Jusay of Sports Page Magazine summarized the deciding factor of the New York Liberty's first win of the season yesterday as "defense and hustle." The Liberty forced the Fever into turnovers on nearly a quarter of their possessions, showing signs of the type of defense that will make them a competitive team. Read more >>>


  • James Oldham of the Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana Fever tied a team record for 3-pointers in Saturday's win over the Liberty with 13, surpassing the 12 they hit against Atlanta earlier this season. The hot shooting from beyond the arc helped them finish with an impressive effective field goal percentage of 57.5%. Read more >>>


  • Aaron Lommers of the Everett Herald wrote that things finally started to click for the Storm on Friday night in a 76-58 win over the Tulsa Shock. It was the Storm's first win of the season and the 212th of Storm coach Brian Agler's career, a U.S. women's professional basketball record. Storm point guard Sue Bird led the way with a game-high 27 points, including 5-for-7 3-point shooting that helped her team shoot significantly more efficiently than the visiting Shock. Read more >>>
  • Mike DiMauro of The Day reports that former Sun player Taj McWilliams-Franklin attributed the Sun's inability to get the ball into Charles to a lack of patience, which is something that both Lawson and Sun coach Mike Thibault have discussed as well. Read more >>>
  • Ben Standig of CSN Washington tries to offer a positive spin on the Mystics' shaky start thus far this season, noting that they've been in position to win games but just haven't closed the deal. He suggests that getting post Crystal Langhorne more involved in the offense would help, but that can be a difficult task when the team is turning the ball over on nearly a fifth of their possessions as they did Friday against the Sky. Read more >>>
  • Terrence Thomas of the San Antonio Express-News reports that San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon is already a bit banged up but still managed to connect on a franchise record-tying seven 3-pointers to help the Silver Stars to a 85-66 victory. The combination of Hammon's threes and 30 fast break points on 21 Mercury turnovers helped the Silver Stars to a 52.9% effective field goal percentage. Read more >>>

Other Links

  • Jayda Evans of the Seattle Times reports that Russian guard Svetlana Abrosimova is close to rejoining the Seattle Storm. The plan is for her to return at the end of June, but there is still the possibility that she would decide to stay in Russia if they change their position on having her try out for the Olympic team. Read more >>>
  • Habbas also wondered how Mercury coach Corey Gaines will manage the rotation now that they've re-signed guard Andrea Riley, their fourth "point guard". As he notes, Riley isn't exactly a "pass-first" point guard but would have to take away minutes from Prahalis or Alexis Gray-Lawson if she were to play. Read more >>>
  • Thomas wrote up a Q&A with WNBA president Laurel Richie who discussed what she learned in her first year on the job, finding a sustainable financial and marketing model for the league, and addressing the 11-player roster limit. She reiterated what she's said before about the rosters: they will remain at 11 for the foreseeable future. Read more >>>
  • Patricia Babcock-McGraw of the Chicago Daily Herald writes that the Olympic break in the WNBA can serve as a welcome reprieve for weary players who play basketball year round to compensate for salaries that pale in comparison to their male counterparts, even if the women representing the nation in London won't get that break. Read more >>>
  • Richard Goldstein of the New York Times reported that former Los Angeles Sparks coach Orlando Woolridge died on Thursday. Woolridge was the first NBA player to coach in the WNBA and led them to a 20-12 record as coach before being, "...fired at the season’s end for what management called philosophical differences." Read more >>>

As usual, feel free to read other links that you found insightful in the comments along with any observations, gripes, etc.