Monday, July 17, 2006

One Final Hurdle

Since Mike Thibault became head coach of the Connecticut Sun for the 2003 season, he has accomplished almost everything someone of his position could do.
Twice he’s guided the franchise to the Eastern Conference championship, twice he’s coached the East in the All-Star Game — leading the conference to its first victory a week ago — and he even led the Sun to last season’s top record. Aside from claiming a WNBA title, there is something that has eluded Thibault.
Dating back to the franchise’s 1999 inception as the Orlando Miracle, the club had never won at the Seattle Storm, its only such occurrence against league opponents. That streak, which included two losses in the 2004 WNBA Finals, came to an end Sunday night.
The Sun avoided losing back-to-back games for only the second time this year, and fourth since 2005, with a 92-83 win to complete the season sweep of Seattle.
“I was telling Lindsay Whalen after the game, ‘Lindsay, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever won in this building with Orlando or Connecticut,’” said Sun leading scorer Katie Douglas, who was drafted by the Miracle in 2001. “And then, coach came in like a parrot and said that we’ve never won here, either franchise. So that’s huge for us. Obviously, we have memories of losing here in the finals and it’s just a tough place to play.”
It was also Connecticut’s first win on the West Coast in four tries this season. The Sun, who still have road games at San Antonio and Houston this season, are 6-3 against the Western Conference.


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