Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Finding A Role

Erin Phillips will never be considered for rookie of the year. She’ll probably never climb higher than her position as the Sun’s seventh-leading scorer this season.
But the 21-year-old point guard from Australia has a chance to get something those other first-years are likely a few seasons away from: a WNBA title. And to boot, she might be a large reason Connecticut gets over the hump this year after two straight losses in the Finals.
After watching Phillips score 10 and 19 points, respectively, the past two games, it’s hard to think of her as a rookie any more. Seimone Augustus and Cappie Pondexter have never looked like rookies this season, and Candice Dupree and Sophia Young have rarely shown their inexperience. But that quartet may have no representatives in the playoffs.
Phillips already helped Connecticut clinch its spot last weekend.
Although it took some time for Phillips to find her role — sometimes she’d take too many wild shots, other times she never wanted to shoot — the feisty blond is looking more comfortable than ever.
Most of the time she’s looked at ease when handling the ball — her nearly 2:1 assist to turnover ratio of 54 against 28 ranks 11th leaguewide — but shooting, especially from outside, has been hit or miss. Phillips is 6-for-10 on 3-pointers the past two games after missing 27 of the season’s first 38 attempts.
“It’s definitely something I’ve been working on for a while now,” she said after Tuesday’s win. “Probably my biggest devil in the past was thinking about shooting the ball too much.”
Her confidence has made teammates, and now opponents, take note. The next challenge will be making more shots against enhanced defenses, since opponents can no longer dare her to shoot. The past five games have seen Phillips miss just nine shots, shooting 63 percent with 15 makes.


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