The WNBA Weekly Recap: Week 10

By Josh Cohen

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Lindsay Whalen and the Sun head into the Olympic break atop the Eastern Conference after a pair of victories against the Sparks and Mystics this past week.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Hall of Famer Makes Historic Return

Legend Suits Up For Shock: Everything your average 25-year-old can do, a 50-year-old can do too. Whether it’s traveling around the world, running a marathon or dishing out no-look passes in basketball, they can surely do it too. Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, for instance, demonstrated that on Thursday when she returned to the court as a player for the first time since retiring after the inaugural WNBA season in 1997. She, in fact, made history by becoming the oldest player to appear in a WNBA game after signing a seven-day contract with the Shock. Her two assists in nine minutes of action during Detroit’s defeat in Houston will go down as just one of the historic and memorable moments this season. Although released after the game, Lieberman was added to the team when Cheryl Ford went down with a season-ending knee injury. We have already seen, moreover, the first professional outdoor game in North America, a rookie erupt for 40 points, a legend eclipse 5,000 points and another become the fastest to surpass 3,000. So, what will be the next big thing in the WNBA? Stay tuned after the Olympic break to find out.

The Olympic Break Is Here: It has been one of the most entertaining WNBA seasons in recent memory. There have been so many awe-inspiring moments, breathtaking plays, brilliant individual performances and splendid finishes. Above, I discussed Nancy Lieberman’s historic return and alluded to other memorable 2008 moments like the Outdoor Classic and Candace Parker exploding for 40 points in a game. Thus, with the Olympic break upon us, let’s examine where we are in the season. The Western Conference is up for grabs with every team excelling. San Antonio currently sits atop the conference with Seattle, which will get Lauren Jackson back after the Olympics, and Sacramento right on its tail. You can never rule out Lisa Leslie and Parker’s Sparks or the defending champs. Meanwhile, the East got interesting with Cheryl Ford’s season-concluding injury. Watch out for the scorching Liberty when the season resumes.
"The WNBA and its players represent all that is good about sports: passion, hard work and sacrifice. On a nightly basis our players display extraordinary skill, athleticism and competitive fire. The events Tuesday, however, were inexcusable and in no way indicative of what the league stands for. We hold our players to a very high standard and these suspensions should serve notice that the behavior exhibited at the end of Tuesday’s game will not be tolerated.”

-- WNBA President Donna Orender, in response to the events at Tuesday's game between the Shock and the Sparks. A total of 10 players and a coach were suspended.

Sophia Young, Silver Stars
Three Games: 20-39 FG, 12-17 FT

Candice Dupree, Sky
Three Games: 22-37 FG, 25-26 FT

Candace Parker, Sparks
Three Games: 22-41 FG, 13-18 FT

Lindsay Whalen, Sun
Two Games: 10-17 FG, 1-3 3-pt FG, 10-11 FT

Katie Douglas, Fever
Four Games: 21-59 FG, 7-22 3-pt FG

Nikki Blue, Mystics
Three Games: 2-10 FG, 0-4 3-pt FG

Betty Lennox, Dream
Three Games: 6-19 FG, 0-7 3-pt FG

Yuko Oga, Mercury
Four Games: 2-11 FG, 0-3 3-pt FG

  • Olympic Break Begins
  • Smith

    For the first two years of her WNBA career, Janel McCarville did not live up to her No. 1 overall draft pick status. The last two seasons, on the other hand, she has turned things around and now is arguably one of the best players in the league. Last year’s Most Improved Player and a Player of the Week award winner earlier this season, McCarville once again demonstrated why she is one of today’s rising stars. The former University of Minnesota standout scored 15 points and hit a go-ahead driving layup with 6.4 seconds remaining to catapult the Liberty to a thrilling victory over the Sparks on Friday at Madison Square Garden. She followed that extraordinary performance with a 22-point effort in New York's triumph over Atlanta on Sunday afternoon.
    There will be several candidates for Coach of the Year honors by the end of the season. Some obvious contenders include San Antonio’s Dan Hughes and New York’s Pat Coyle. But recently, Sacramento’s Jenny Boucek and Houston’s Karleen Thompson have put themselves in the conversation. Before the start of the year, not many people expected their teams to compete for playoff positioning. Nonetheless, the Monarchs, who before Sunday's loss in Seattle matched a franchise best with seven straight wins, and the Comets, winners of five in a row, are perhaps the WNBA’s best surprises. Each team lost a former MVP before the season (Yolanda Griffith, Sheryl Swoopes), yet both have managed to develop their young talent such as rookies Laura Harper (Monarchs) and Matee Ajavon (Comets). Expect Sacramento and Houston to remain in the hunt when the season resumes after the Olympic break.