2008 Blue White Game
Duke Stomps Anderson, 98-29
The 2008 WNBA season ended with the Detroit Shock defeating the San Antonio Silver Stars for the WNBA title. Let's check in on how the seasons ended for former Duke and other ACC players.
Former Duke Players
Alison Bales, Atlanta Dream
Bales' Dream lost 10 of their last 11 games but somehow surprised LA toward the end of the year. She finished that stretch averaging 4 ppg and 5 rpg (averaging fewer than 4 shots a game), slight upticks over her season's average. Ali did firmly establish herself as a starter for the Dream, and her ability to step outside and hit the occasional jumper gave her an edge over the other bigs for Atlanta. The chuck-it style of Atlanta's guards helped her in the sense that Atlanta didn't try to make Bales into a traditional pound-it-inside post on offense. She's always been a skilled finesse player on offense and would do well to be paired with a more athletic, physical forward next season. The Dream have to be very pleased with what they got in their trade with Indiana.
Alana Beard, Washington Mystics
The Mystics proved to be one of the biggest messes in the league. Shortly after trading veteran post Taj McWilliams-Franklin to Detroit (a move that essentially allowed the Shock to win the WNBA title), the Mystics not only lost their eight games after the Olympic break, they were blown out in all but two. As a result, GM Linda Hargrove was finally fired after years of questionable decisions. Alana was still averaging around 18 ppg during the season-ending losing streak (especially frustrating since a playoff berth was in reach before the break) and put up good all-around numbers, but she was obviously becoming more and more frustrated with the way the team was playing. Don't be surprised to see Washington try to trade her for draft picks. A player of her offensive and defensive caliber would be highly prized around the league.
Monique Currie, Washington Mystics
Mo went above her averages in both scoring and rebounding during the Mystics' slide, scoring in double figures in all but two. She especially improved at getting to the foul line, though her occasional listlessness on defense caused her to get in constant foul trouble. She picked up 4 fouls in 6 of her final 8 games. It's not a coincidence that her best game (23 points against Connecticut) came the only time she played over 30 minutes. Given her ties to the area, I suspect the Mystics will likely keep her around.
Lindsey Harding, Minnesota Lynx
Lindsey finished her season strong, averaging 9 ppg, 4 apg and 3 spg for the Lynx, who went 3-5 down the stretch. She played to her strengths: attacking the rim, pushing tempo and hitting short shots. She was efficient as well, shooting in the high 40's and never taking more than ten shots a game. It took her much of the season, but Harding started to display why she had been a #1 pick and front-runner to win rookie of the year before she tore her knee. The Lynx narrowly missed the playoffs and were competitive in almost every game. Lindsey also established herself as a full-time starter after coming off the bench to start the season, outplaying Noelle Quinn. The Lynx have drafted wisely of late and are just a player or two away from being a very good team.
Brooke Smith, Phoenix Mercury
After sitting for much of the year, Smith became an extremely active player post-break, averaging 4 ppg and 4 rpg in nearly 13 minutes of play a game. She was an effective rebounder and had nice passing numbers for a post (an assist a game), but she was handcuffed a bit by averaging nearly 4 fouls a game. Still, she showed considerable promise once she was given a chance.
Mistie Williams, Houston Comets
Mistie's minutes depended largely on the availability of other players. When there were injuries, she played a lot more, and often made the most of that extra playing time. She had 13 points and 9 rebounds in a key win against Chicago and 12 & 6 in a loss to New York. Houston's future as a franchise is a bit up in the air at the moment (they could be a victim of contraction), but Mistie would be sought after as a solid, dependable back-up center.
Other Former ACC Players
Kerri Gardin, Connecticut Sun
Gardin had some big games after the break, including double-figure scoring tallies against Atlanta and Indiana in wins and 12 points against the Mystics. She was a solid contributor in the playoffs as well, providing help whenever needed. The scoring was a bonus for this hustling athlete, something to build on for next season.
Laura Harper, Sacramento Monarchs
Harper averaged a solid 6 ppg and 5 rpg down the stretch for Sacramento, coming off the bench for this playoff club. She was a bit jittery in the playoffs, piling up more turnovers and fouls than points or rebounds. While not a star, she was an effective big body off the bench for a team that needed one.
Amber Jacobs, Los Angeles Sparks
Jacobs was cut by the Sparks after the break.
Crystal Langhorne, Washington Mystics
Langhorne pretty much stayed at her average during Washington's slide: 5 ppg, 4 rpg. She was a bad match for Washington because she couldn't defend and was only effective when she had the ball. When she did get the ball (which wasn't often given Washington's lack of a true point guard), she scored quite efficiently. Given that Langhorne was exactly like this in college for four years, I don't see much changing in her career, especially if she doesn't play for a team that gears its offense around her.
Erlana Larkins, New York Liberty
Larkins got better and better as the season unfolded, putting up double figure scoring games in 3 of her last 4 regular season outings. Her rebounding also became more and more dogged, and she became a regular in New York's rotation in the playoffs thanks to her offensive rebounding acumen. She averaged 4 ppg and 5 rpg in the playoffs in about 15 minutes a game. Her toughness, physicality and willingness to do the dirty work came in handy for New York, who pushed the champion Shock to a three-game series.
Ivory Latta, Atlanta Dream
After a series of strong scoring games before the break, Latta's numbers sank when she returned. She averaged 7 ppg (4 under her season average) and was 4-23 from three. To her credit, her assists went up and her turnovers down during this slide.
Camille Little, Seattle Storm
Little was superb for a Storm team that was missing Lauren Jackson down the stretch. She averaged 13 ppg and 4 rpg after the break, nearly doubling her scoring average. Little averaged 12 ppg against LA in the playoffs, including a combined 30 points in the last two games of their series. She shot well over 50% from the field in helping to lead the Storm to the playoffs.
Chasity Melvin, Chicago Sky
Melvin's numbers went down a bit as the season wore on. Melvin averaged 5 ppg and 3 rpg down the stretch, which helped chill Chicago's chances at a playoff spot.
Chioma Nnamaka, Atlanta Dream
Nnamaka only got a last-minute appearance after the break.
LaToya Pringle, Phoenix Mercury
Pringle averaged 4 ppg and 5 rpg down the stretch for Phoenix, who missed the playoffs a year after winning the WNBA title. She also picked up 10 blocks for a team that needed that kind of defense. She lived on garbage points, getting just 4 shot attempts a game, but thrived in such a system thanks to her quickness. While Phoenix missed Penny Taylor, Little helped make up for absence a bit. She has a bright future in that system as a valued role player.
Brooke Queenan, Chicago Sky
Queenan was cut by the Sky after the break.
Kasha Terry, Atlanta Dream
Terry was relegated to the bench by the emergence of Bales and didn't have much of an impact the rest of the season. Her best game was an 8 point/3 rebound showing against Seattle.
DeMya Walker, Sacramento Monarchs
Walker's return to action after injury was a slow one, only really dipping into double figures in minutes in the last two games of the regular season. In the playoffs, she averaged 7 ppg and 5 rpg, proving that this athletic forward could be effective at a high level again after injury.
Khadijah Whittington, Indiana Fever
KD's minutes bounced up and down, with a 10 point/3 rebound showing against New York her best regular season game. She actually played 8 minutes a game against the physical shock in their series, grabbing 4 rebounds in game 3 of their series. Whittington started to show signs that she was growing acclimated to WNBA play and could see more playing time next year. Editor's Note: She is playing in France with Sheana Mosch this winter.
Brooke Wyckoff, Chicago Sky
Wyckoff was a role player for Chicago whose stats had minimal impact: 2 ppg, 2 rpg, 2 apg. She's dependable, plays several positions and makes few errors, which is how she earns her playing time.
2008 Blue White Game
Duke Stomps Anderson, 98-29