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2004 in Review: Betty Lennox


Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty
LENNOX'S STATISTICS
2004 PLAYOFFS
11.2 PPG 14.6
5.0 RPG 3.6
2.5 APG 2.6
1.1 SPG 1.0
0.1 BPG 0.1
28.8 MPG 31.4
.421 FG% .454

Storm Coach Anne Donovan on Betty Lennox:

"Betty is the reason we won the Finals. Her series against Connecticut was phenomenal, and I think, without a doubt, that being able to capitalize on that matchup in that series put us over the top. So it was a great year for Betty, a great welcome to Seattle."

2004 Season:
One of the first questions Betty Lennox was asked when she arrived in Seattle last March to participate in the Storm's "Stormin' the Sound" community program was whether she had finally found a home. After a promising start to her career in Minnesota, where she was an All-Star and Rookie of the Year, Lennox had bounced to Miami, Cleveland and now Seattle over a two-year stretch, seeing both the Sol and the Rockers fold on her.

"I won't call it home unless I've been here at least three or four seasons," Lennox told storm.wnba.com before the season. "I won't go and have a good season and then call it my home. I've done that before, and nothing but turmoil comes out of it."

Lennox's answer was consistent throughout the season. As she became a key part of the Storm's run to the WNBA Finals, Lennox never wavered. Until the Storm won the championship and she - Betty Lennox - was named Finals MVP.

"This does feel like home," Lennox finally told the crowd that gathered at the Westlake Center to celebrate the Storm's championship.

Lennox came to Seattle with questions about her game. She had not shot better than 40% since her rookie season and had served as a reserve for both Miami and Cleveland. After incumbent Sandy Brondello elected not to return to the Storm, however, Lennox never allowed anyone else to even think about the starting two-guard position. She had a phenomenal training camp, demonstrating one-on-one ability the Storm had never before had in a shooting guard.

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  • Lennox's first two games in a Storm uniform made a statement. She had 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Lynx in the opener on May 20, then followed it up two nights later with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting in a blowout win over the Sparks. By the end of June, Lennox had scored double-figures in 11 of 12 games, but her production suffered after she had her nose broken on June 22 against Houston. She was not herself in a June 26 loss to New York before undergoing surgery on the nose, which kept her out two games.

    Lennox never quite got used to the mask she had to wear to protect her fragile nose, and was happy to shed it midway through July. Lennox scored a season-high 23 points on July 30 at Minnesota. Still, the time with the mask - during which Lennox averaged just 8.6 points per game - cost her a possible spot on the WNBA All-Star team for The Game at Radio City.

    Lennox finished the season with averages of 11.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game, dramatic improvements over her 2003 marks, and shot 42.1% from the field. She finished third in Most Improved Player voting, getting eight votes to the nine apiece for Connecticut's Wendy Palmer and Indiana's Kelly Miller.

    The best part of Lennox's season was still to come. She was quiet in the first round of the playoffs against Minnesota and struggled somewhat in the Western Conference Finals, but Lennox was biding her time for a bigger stage: The WNBA Finals.

    Once on it, she exploded. In Game 1 at Connecticut, Lennox had 17 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort. In Game 2, she dominated, scoring 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting and nearly single-handedly fighting off Nykesha Sales' 32-point outing as the Storm hung on for a 67-65 win. Lennox shot just 2-for-9 during the first half of Game 3, but she scored 14 points after halftime, matching the five field goals the Sun had as a team. She finished the series averaging 22.3 points per game on 50.0% shooting, hitting three of her five three-point attempts and 16 of 18 free throws. Her effort earned her Finals MVP honors.

    ďMe, Betty Lennox?Ē Lennox said in the post-game press conference. ďThis celebration? Not only this celebration, the award that I just got? I canít believe it. Me? Everything that Iíve been through, so many teams that Iíve been on, so many situations that Iíve been in, so many bad raps on Betty Lennox? Iím speechless. Iím speechless right about now.Ē
    - Kevin Pelton, storm.wnba.com

    2004 Highlights:

  • Became the fifth player in Storm history to record a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in her debut vs. Minnesota.
  • Scored a regular-season-high 23 points at Minnesota on Jul. 30.
  • Scored double-figures 20 times and led the Storm in scoring four times.
  • Finished third in Most Improved Player voting
  • Won WNBA Finals MVP honors after averaging 22.3 points per game during the three-game series
  • Led the Storm in scoring all three games of the Finals

    storm.wnba.com Player of the Week:
    May 17-23

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