Huskers in the WNBA: Week 12 Review
Former Husker All-Americans Kelsey Griffin (Connecticut) and Jordan Hooper (Tulsa) helped their teams to victory heading into the final week of the regular season.
Hooper and the Shock remained in the hunt for the final Western Conference playoff spot by going 2-1 on the week with wins over Los Angeles and San Antonio, but the Shock missed a chance at a perfect 3-0 week by letting a double-digit halftime lead slip away at Seattle on Sunday night.
For the week, Hooper averaged 5.7 points and 1.7 rebounds while going 3-for-12 from three-point range. Heading into the final week of the regular season, the 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., leads all WNBA rookies with 46 threes on the year while shooting 34.3 percent from long range.
For the season, Hooper is averaging 6.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists while competing in all 32 games for the Shock with one start.
Hooper opened the week with seven points and one rebound in just 14 minutes in a 96-90 win at Los Angeles on Aug. 5. She scored seven more points and added another rebound in 22 minutes of action in Tulsa's 79-62 victory over San Antonio at BOK Center in Tulsa on Friday night.
The Shock then made a quick turnaround to head back to the West Coast for Sunday night's game at Seattle. Tulsa jumped to a 23-15 lead at the end of the first quarter, before building the lead to 13 points at 42-29 at halftime. The Shock maintained their 13-point edge with seven minutes left in the third, before a 9-0 run by the Storm changed the complexion of the game.
By the start of the fourth quarter, Tulsa's lead had dwindled to one at 54-53, and the Storm took the lead for good at 55-54 after a pair of free throws by Sue Bird with 8:58 left. The Shock went just 5-for-14 from the field and 3-of-7 from the free throw in the fourth quarter. They also committed four turnovers and were assessed a pair of technical fouls in the final period of the 74-68 loss.
The setback sent the Shock into a tie for fifth with the Storm at 12-20, two full games behind San Antonio (14-18) and two-and-half games behind the Sparks (14-17) with just two games left on the season.
Tulsa's final two games of the regular season will come at Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta on Friday at 6 p.m., before facing defending WNBA champion Minnesota at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by NBA TV.
Griffin and the Sun also enter the final week of the season with a 12-20 record. The Sun notched a dramatic 89-81 win over Washington in a double-overtime at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Sunday. Griffin scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds, while adding two steals, an assist and a block in 26 minutes of action.
Griffin sent the game to overtime with offensive rebound of a Kelsey Bone miss with one second left and a putback to tie the game with 0.2 seconds left to tie the game at 70. Earlier in the fourth quarter, Griffin hit a pair of free throws with 1:47 left to put the Sun up 67-64.
Griffin hit a huge three-pointer in the second overtime to put the Sun up 79-75 with 2:18 left. It was one of only two made field goals for Connecticut in the final period, as the Sun went 9-of-10 at the free throw line to close out the win.
Griffin's seven points in the final two minutes of regulation and the overtimes allowed Connecticut to get the win after watching a 13-point lead (62-49) with six minutes left in regulation evaporate. The Sun trailed by one at the half and led by just two points (51-49) with 1:30 left in the third quarter until an 11-0 Connecticut run appeared to put the Sun in firm control. But the Mystics responded with a 20-4 surge that included a trio of three-pointers in just over five minutes to take a 69-67 lead.
Griffin's performance capped a solid week for the fifth-year WNBA pro. She averaged 6.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in just under 23 minutes per game. The 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska opened the week with six points and nine rebounds in an 82-66 loss to Chicago on Aug. 5, before adding six points and five boards in a 71-66 loss at New York on Friday.
For the season, Griffin is averaging 4.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game for the Sun. Connecticut was eliminated from playoff contention later on Sunday by a Chicago victory, but the only Eastern Conference team to clinch a playoff spot is Atlanta, and the Dream went 0-3 with losses to Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago to slip to 17-14.
Connecticut plays host to Washington on Friday at 6 p.m., before closing the week and the regular season against the Dream at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, Aug. 17, at Noon.Huskers in the WNBA (Week 12 - Aug. 4-10)
- Kelsey Griffin (5th season, Connecticut Sun) - 4.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.2 spg (29 games/10 starts)
- Jordan Hooper (1st season, Tulsa Shock) - 6.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg (32 games/1 start)
Week 13 Schedule (Aug. 11-17)
- Washington at Connecticut, Friday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
- Tulsa at Atlanta, Friday, Aug. 15, 6 p.m.
- Tulsa at Minnesota, Saturday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
- Atlanta at Connecticut, Sunday, Aug. 17, Noon