Former Husker All-Americans Kelsey Griffin (Connecticut) and Jordan Hooper (Tulsa) helped their teams during a busy 10-day stretch as the WNBA heads into the final two weeks of its regular season.
Griffin and the Sun went 1-3 over their last four games capped by a narrow 70-69 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday. Griffin, who has been battling an ankle injury, played just four minutes at Los Angeles, managing one steal in the setback.
She helped the Sun to an 89-79 victory at San Antonio on Friday. Griffin scored three points on her lone three-point attempt of the night, while adding five defensive rebounds and a pair of steals in 15 minutes of work. The victory allowed the Sun to eclipse their win total from all of last season, when they finished 10-24.
Although Connecticut is in last place in the six-team Eastern Conference, the Sun are just two games behind Indiana and Washington in the win column. The Fever and Mystics are tied for second in the East at 13-15. Atlanta leads the Eastern Conference with a 17-10 record as the only team in the division to clinch a playoff berth. The top four teams in both the West and East qualify for the playoffs, which begin later this month.
Her performance at San Antonio followed two points, three rebounds and an assist in 11 minutes in an 89-80 loss at Atlanta on July 29.
She opened the four-game stretch by sitting out Connecticut's 76-65 loss to Minnesota on July 27. Griffin did not play because of her ankle injury.
For the season, Griffin is averaging 4.3 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game for the 11-18 Sun.
While Griffin and the Sun opened the week with a loss to Minnesota, Hooper and the Shock closed a busy stretch of five games in 10 days with an 84-75 loss to the Lynx on Saturday, Aug. 2. Hooper went scoreless in 17 minutes off the bench against Minnesota, but did manage a rebound and a steal, as the Shock slipped to 10-19 on the season.
The loss to the Lynx followed an 85-75 setback to Atlanta in Tulsa on July 31. Hooper pumped in six points on a pair of threes, while adding three rebounds, two steals and an assists in just under 17 minutes.
The Shock picked up their 10th win of the season with an 80-74 victory over Seattle on July 29. Hooper did not score but did have two rebounds and an assist in just over 13 minutes of work against the Storm to help Tulsa notch its second straight win.
The victory over the Storm followed a 79-69 win over Chicago on July 27 in Tulsa. Hooper poured in nine points on 3-of-8 shooting from three-potnt range, while adding three rebounds, an assist and a blocked shot. The Shock were plus-19 in efficiency with Hooper on the floor in her 18 minutes of action.
Hooper opened the five-game stretch with another nine-point effort in an 82-77 loss at Washington on July 25. Hooper hit 3-of-7 threes while adding five rebounds, two assists and a block in nearly 24 minutes of action off the bench.
For the week, Hooper averaged 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.0 assist to help the Shock to a 2-3 record. She scored all 24 of her points off eight three-pointers in five games, going 8-for-22 (.364) during the span.
For the season, Hooper is averaging 6.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.6 assists while competing in all 29 games for the Shock with one start. Hooper has helped Tulsa climb into fifth place, a half-game ahead of Seattle in the six-team Western Conference. The Shock are three games back of San Antonio in pursuit of the final playoff spot in the West. Phoenix (23-4) and defending WNBA champion Minnesota (22-6) have clinched playoff positions in the West. LA is 13-15, while San Antonio is 13-16.
The WNBA regular season concludes on Sunday, Aug. 17.
Both Hooper and Griffin will be in action three times this week. Griffin and the Sun open on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. tip at home against Chicago, before heading to New York to battle the Liberty on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The Sun conclude the week with a Sunday afternoon tip at 3 against Washington.
Hooper and the Shock open the week at Los Angeles on Tuesday night with a 9:30 tip on NBA TV. The Shock are back home in Tulsa on Friday night to face San Antonio in a key game to keep their playoff hopes alive. They head back to the West Coast Sunday to face Seattle on Sunday night at 8 in another game with potential playoff implications carried by NBA TV.
Huskers in the WNBA (Week 11 - July 25-Aug. 3)
- Kelsey Griffin (5th season, Connecticut Sun) - 4.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 spg (26 games/9 starts)
- Jordan Hooper (1st season, Tulsa Shock) - 6.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg (29 games/1 start)
Week 12 Schedule (Aug. 4-10)
- Chicago at Connecticut, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 6 p.m.
- Tulsa at Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 9:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
- Connecticut at New York, Friday, Aug. 8, 6:30 p.m.
- San Antonio at Tulsa, Friday, Aug. 8, 7 p.m.
- Washington at Connecticut, Sunday, Aug. 10, 3 p.m.
- Tulsa at Seattle, Sunday, Aug. 10, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)