A Tale of Two Rookies

The Charlotte Sting travels to Bridgeport, Connecticut this weekend for their first preseason game of 2005. It marks the first official WNBA appearance for the Sting rookies, including #1 draft pick Janel McCarville and #24 draft pick Jessica Moore.

The weekend will prove to be interesting for both McCarville and Moore. McCarville will face off against her collegiate teammate of three years, Lindsay Whalen. The pair played for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and led them to the Final Four in 2004.

�I think playing in Connecticut is going to be exciting,� said McCarville. �It�s going to be fun playing against one of my old teammates. It�s going to be a new adventure for me.�

�Lindsay and I had a good time with each other in Minnesota. We both love the game and we played well together. Unfortunately, we have to play against each other now, but I think it will be fun.�

Whalen, a second-year point guard for the Sun, enjoyed an outstanding rookie season a year ago as she helped lead the Connecticut Sun to the Eastern Conference Championship and the WNBA Finals. Named to the team of WNBA All-Stars that took on the USA National Team at Radio City Music Hall, Whalen finished the season ranked fifth in the league in assists averaging 4.8 per game.

�Lindsay has gotten pretty good over the years,� remarked McCarville. �She improved in everything last season. It�s a totally different game coming into the WNBA. She came in and struggled a little early on but once she got adjusted, she excelled. There aren�t too many flaws in her game right now. You can always work on something, but for the most part she�s got it down.�

While Whalen has established herself as a force in the WNBA, McCarville will be looking to do the same beginning with this exhibition game. Having completed two weeks of her first training camp, she is ready for some real game action.

�I�m definitely ready,� she commented. �Coach has been working us pretty hard. I think this game will be another time to be able to go out and shine. I also just want to go and basically have a good time.�

Moore returns to Connecticut, the same state where she enjoyed a lot of success on the collegiate level, having played for Geno Auriemma at the University of Connecticut. Moore was a part of three NCAA National Championship teams and played with the Sun guard Maria Conlon and Sun forward Asjha Jones not to mention WNBA stars Diana Taurasi, Swin Cash and Sue Bird.

�I�m really excited,� explained Moore, when she was asked about returning to Connecticut to play in her first professional game. �I think it�s going to be a really special moment. My family, my mom, my grandma, my aunt and my uncle, are going to be there as well as some of my former teammates. Just to be in Connecticut will be lots of fun, because I�m kind of missing it right now.�

She recalls fondly the time she spent playing in Storrs. �Playing in Connecticut was absolutely awesome. The fans there are great. They treated us like we were a professional team. Everywhere you went everybody knew who you were and everybody was so nice to us.�

Moore won�t be in Connecticut just to play basketball this weekend though. She will have a busy Sunday, attending graduation ceremonies in the morning and then playing against the Sun at 4 p.m. that afternoon. In addition, she has to take a final exam when the team arrives in Connecticut Saturday night.

�It�s going to be crazy,� said Moore. �I just hope I can get to the gym on time and stay focused. After graduation in the morning we have to race to Bridgeport to get to the game. It�s about and an hour and 15 minute drive from the university to Bridgeport.�

Following the game in Connecticut, the Sting return home for two preseason games on May 12 at 6 p.m. vs. Los Angeles and May 16 at 7 p.m. vs. Houston. Both games will be played at the Bobcats Basketball Center and tickets are just $5.