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Women's Hoops

The latest news and analysis on college and pro women's basketball.

June 6, 2006 at 7:00 PM

Just asking…

Reporters still wondered after practice today why guard Betty Lennox only played 14 minutes in Sunday’s two-point loss to San Antonio, brought in for the final 8 seconds to hit a potential game-tying shot to force overtime.
She missed, but the move didn’t influence the game. The Storm’s once 14-point lead was already chopped to 55-53 with 5:31 remaining in the third quarter when Tanisha Wright substituted for Lennox. And Seattle led by seven with four minutes left in the game, getting outworked on offensive rebounding, which led to the loss.
But Lennox signed a two-year contract worth the player max during the offseason and she’s already been “benched,” as reporters call it, twice this season. Donovan explained that Lennox wasn’t really “benched” on Sunday, however.
“You’re not going to put words in my mouth,” she said. “You’re looking for a negative reason for why she’s not playing and it’s based on the needs of the team. [When we need] defense, we have T and Shaun [Gortman] out on the floor.”
So, Lennox isn’t as good a defender as Wright and Gortman?
“It’s not that Betty is not doing anything, it’s that we have people on the bench that are playing defense we need to have,” Donovan said.
Lennox, the team’s third-leading scorer (10.3), did have an impressive practice in response to her game on Sunday, where she was 1 for 4 from the field. Some might think that the heavily covered Lauren Jackson or Sue Bird, who was 6 for 10 from the field for a season-high 18 points, might have better choices for the final shot.
But Donovan playing chess with Lennox, Wright, and Gortman is a great strategy for the Storm. Many teams have offensive weapons that are swapped for defensive ones. Yet, usually the offensive player gets a little more court time than Lennox did.
“I hope I don’t sit out the whole game and then play 7.7 seconds,” Lennox said. “I don’t think Michael Jordan can come out and then try to score in 7.7 seconds when he’s been out the whole game. But did I try to make it? Yes. I tried to warm up, tried to go hard, shoot the jumper, I even tried to bank it off the backboard because my shot hadn’t been falling. But…I can’t say nothing about that situation. I tried. I tried to be the hero, but obviously I wasn’t.
“This is Anne Donovan’s team, she’s the coach and when she tells me to go out and play, I play. When it’s time for me to sit on the bench, I sit on the bench. I’m here to play. This is what I want to do, but I don’t have any control over when I’m out on the court and all that.”
So, is the change in her role confusing?
“In a way, but I’m here to just play when I get an opportunity,” Lennox said.

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