Practice Beat

By Ros Gold-Onwude

Coach Whisenant gave the players Sunday and Monday off, held a hard practice focusing on scrimmaging against the male practice players on Tuesday, and held a lighter shooting and scout practice on Wednesday before heading to Connecticut for the first game.

HEARD IN PRACTICE:
“We can’t get frustrated! That’s how they get two or three in a row. Stay Focused!”
-Coach Whisenant on not allowing fast breaks off of bad plays or turnovers on offense.

“It must be every single time. Every single time we cannot let Tina grab those boards."
-Coach Whisenant on keeping Tina Charles off of the offensive glass.

KIA VAUGHN: OFFENSIVE BOOST
Kia Vaughn is coming off of a 14-point 9-rebound performance against Tulsa in the last game of the regular season. Vaughn has struggled offensively since suffering a concussion right before the Olympic break started. Vaughn’s strong offensive showing may have come at exactly the right time- right before a playoff series against the best post tandem in the league- Tina Charles and Asjha Jones.

How were you able to score? What was different?

“The flow of the game helped me- we are best when we are sharing the ball. I also feel that the team was looking to give me the ball more. It’s also easier for me when teams are paying extra attention to Cappie."

What’s your takeaway from the final Tulsa game?

“I know I’ve struggled since the concussion but I just keep playing- not getting frustrated. This game gives me confidence, for sure. I just want to bring impact to the game- our defense is exhausting but I’ve got to have impact on both ends of the floor."

What’s the hardest part about guarding Tina Charles?

“She never stops. And she plays well within their system."

Where are you most comfortable on the floor?

“I like shooting. I like the hook shot, and of course, put backs.”

After winning the WNBA’s Most Improved Player Award last year, what grade would you give yourself this season?

"Maybe a 'C.' I don’t feel I was as consistent as I would’ve liked. And the concussion really slowed me down, but I’m fighting back and ready for playoffs!"

KARA BRAXTON: TURNING POINT
We asked Kara Braxton what she feels was the turning point of the season:

“I think it was right around the Olympic break when everyone got on the same page. We had a lot of injuries and because of that people had to keep switching positions and adjusting to new responsibilities. Once we were healthy and could practice together and people were rested everything started clicking.”