Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tully Feature

Graham Hays has a neat story on about the improbable path that led former Storm guard Tully Bevilaqua to become the starting point guard for one of the favorites to win the WNBA Championship.

Perhaps Tully Bevilaqua's globe-traversing odyssey through the world of women's professional basketball isn't that terminus on the axis of oddity, but the Indiana Fever point guard neatly summed up just how improbable all that was to come would have seemed if presented as prophecy to her younger self.

"I probably would have said, 'Oh bugger off, you're telling some porkie pies,' " Bevilaqua laughed.

Sometimes stranger things haven't happened.
Hays doesn't even touch on something those outside the Storm camp might not be familiar with - Bevilaqua was close to hanging them up after winning the championship in Seattle in 2004. One of my first questions for Bevilaqua as the Storm was conducting exit interviews two days after the win over Connecticut was whether she planned to return.

Now, Bevilaqua is in her third year as a starter with the Fever, having been named to the All-Defensive First Team each of the last two years, and she's got another year after this on her deal.

Bevilaqua might just add another championship ring, but that task got more difficult with yesterday's news that Tamika Catchings will miss 2-3 weeks with a partial tear of her left plantar fascia. Without Catchings, the Fever lost to Chicago last night, allowing Detroit to reclaim first place in the Eastern Conference in the all-important battle for home-court advantage in the probable East Finals matchup.

In that game, the Sky got a big boost from guard Jia Perkins, who scored 17 points off the bench in 25 minutes. Perkins has been incredible for Chicago over the last 10 games, averaging 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists while shooting 54.3% from the field and nearly 60% from downtown.

That makes me think of Chandi Jones. Like Perkins a scoring tweener guard taken in the 2004 Draft, Jones was the comparison I used for Perkins a couple of years ago to explain why the Sky got a steal in the Expansion Draft. While Perkins is now making good on that potential, Jones is out of the league after being cut by Minnesota in training camp. You never know the path young players will take in their development, but it saddens me that Jones' career has fallen off a cliff since she was the centerpiece of the Lynx's deal for Katie Smith.

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