Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Charles, Griffin shine for Sun

So much for the rookie jitters.

With all due respect to Anete Jekabsone-Zogota, who scored a game-high 18 points, you could make an argument that the Connecticut Sun's two best players in Saturday's 74-61 season-opening win over Chicago were rookies Tina Charles and Kelsey Griffin.

Charles, facing Olympian and All-Star Sylvia Fowles, outscored the Chicago center 17-16 and outrebounded her 10-9. Griffin had eight points and 10 rebounds, none more impressive than the offensive rebound in the third quarter when she outfought three Chicago players for an offensive rebound and alertly delivered a pass to teammate Tan White in the left corner. Griffin also drew two offensive fouls on Fowles.

"It is a great example for veterans to see a young post player like that not afraid to take on one of the biggest players and most physical players in the league," Connecticut Sun coach Mike Thibault said of the two charges drawn by Griffin. "Those
were huge momentum plays at the time that they happened. We had just scored on one of them."

With DeMya Walker limited to nine minutes in the first three quarters and the Sun without post players Asjha Jones (who is recovering from offseason surgery on her left Achilles tendon) and Sandrine Gruda (who is not expected to report until early June), the Sun seemed to be in some trouble.

But Charles and Griffin came up big helping the Sun build up a 29-point lead en route to the victory.

"It was one of our biggest (points of) emphasis about this game," Thibault said. "I thought we've been mediocre rebounding the ball during training camp and we had to be really good today to give ourselves a good chance to win. We had a lot of people get rebounds and it is pretty good."

Charles downplayed the individual matchup between Fowles, a player who dominated Charles in the NCAA tournament when Charles was a freshman.

"I was just playing my game. I wasn't really looking at the whole Tina vs. Fowles, it was the Connecticut Sun vs. Chicago," Charles said. "You get up for every game. I don't think there's ever going to be a team where I can say 'oh this center, I can take the night off.'"

Charles will be heading to Washington when UConn is honored with a ceremony at the White House on Monday.

"I am excited," Charles said. "I get to see President Barack Obama, I am definitely excited about it and I know (so are) my teammates are back at UConn. It definitely will be special."

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