The Connecticut Sun was without Asjha Jones during Thursday’s loss in New York and will be for some time. She has been dealing with a sore Achilles tendon since before the Olympics, and even though she averaged only 10.3 minutes in seven games she was really no better when she returned.
“Yeah, Asjha didn’t play a lot because she’s too old now,” joked Olympic coach Geno Auriemma. “But you know what, we put her on the team for just one reason. She’s a pro. She could have sat there on the bench for 11 games and in the 12th game she would won the game for us.
“I gave Asjha one job – sit tight and when the time comes [to do something] to know it.”
That time came in the second half of the semifinal game against Australia. Center Liz Cambage, 6-8, tore up the USA defense [19 points] in the first half, helping the Aussies to a 47-43 lead.
Jones came off the bench to help Tina Charles hold Cambage scoreless in the second half as the USA rallied for a 86-73 win.
“Diana Taurasi and I talked about it in February,” said Auriemma. “She said, ‘Coach, Asjha is going to win a game for us [at the Olympics]. I said, ‘Absolutely she is because she is Asjha Jones.’”
Jones’ absence, which could last for two weeks, forced the Sun into action this week. They re-signed veteran center Jessica Moore, who was waived by Atlanta on July 5, and cut rookie post Chay Shegog.
Not only will Moore give the Sun more experience, but she will be able to step right in to help Mistie Mims support Charles, something Shegog wasn’t ready to do. Moore played 11 minutes on Thursday.
Charles, who was third on the Olympic team in minutes (21.3), was held to only four points Thursday, shooting 1 of 7. But she had 12 rebounds and to leave her just two shy of 1,000. She will accomplish that quicker than any player in league history.
“It feels good to be back. There’s a lot of camaraderie here and we’re like a family,” said Charles. “I feel good about the rest of the season. I think we just need to work on our turnovers. I’m not too worried about tonight’s game because we’re a good team and this was just one night.”
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