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

June 10, 2006 at 4:26 PM

Remember when?

Indiana guard Tully Bevilaqua is featured on the cover of the Fever’s media guide in an eerie photo where she’s clasping forward Tamika Catchings around the waist as both beam bright smiles. Storm fans may remember a similar photo with Bevilaqua, a former Seattle guard, after the 2004 championship when the Australian walked around KeyArena with forward Lauren Jackson in the same embrace. That photo was used in the Storm’s 2005 media guide.
All that’s missing are the championship hats and an Aussie, of course.
Bevilaqua’s gritty style has endeared herself to the Indiana fan base, which you can read more about in Monday’s Seattle Times. The seven-year vet has broken into the starting lineup, was named to the league’s all-defense team, and led the Fever to the Eastern Conference finals last summer.
Bevilaqua is just one of three Aussie point guards being considered for the World Championships against the will of her coach in Australia, Jan Stirling, whose Opals organization tried to keep the players at home to train by nixing their eligibility if they competed in the WNBA. But with the way Bevilaqua and Erin Phillips of Connecticut are playing, there would probably be a riot if they weren’t given serious consideration.
Kristi Harrower, a former Minnesota guard, is the frontrunner for the position.
Rookie watch
Everyone was set to hand Minnesota newcomer Seimone Augustus the Rookie of the Year award when the Louisiana State alumnus was drafted No. 1 overall in April, but second pick Cappie Pondexter of Phoenix has added spice to the competition.
As of Saturday, the rookies were ranked 1-2 in league scoring, with Pondexter narrowly topping Augustus, averaging 23.7 points to the Lynx guard’s 23.3. Pondexter has taken 24 less field goals and is sharing the limelight with guard Diana Taurasi, who’s third in league scoring (23.0).
Augustus, meanwhile, is her team’s offense, taking 127 shots overall while forward Kristen Mann is second in attempts on the Minnesota roster with 60. Bookend centers Nicole Ohlde and Vanessa Hayden, who are 6 feet 4, aren’t even seeing much of the ball, combining for 83 shots this season.
Seems Pondexter is the better teammate, which would give her the edge in my voting if the season were to end today. Love scoring, can’t stand ball hogs. But we’ll see when the Storm travels to play the Lynx on Wednesday.
In college, Augustus was far from the ball-hog mentality. She found her offense in the groove of the Tigers’ system and often didn’t go off until her team needed her late in the game. Plus she was a pretty good defender. We all know Minnesota was desperate for offense, so Augustus could just be doing her job.
It is interesting to note that of the top-10 scorers in the league, only three are original WNBA players ­- Lisa Leslie, Tina Thompson, and Sheryl Swoopes. The rest are from the new generation of players, and four were drafted in the past three seasons. Jackson, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001, ranks fourth (21.4).
“The rookie class is strong. It shows you the bright future we have for the WNBA,” Storm guard Betty Lennox said. “You have to give respect. These are great players that are coming in here, and it’s nothing against the veterans. It’s a talent level, and they’re just there. Coaches at the college level did a good job of preparing them for the professional level. And overall [this class] has been the best and toughest ever.”
Lennox should know. She has already been waxed by Pondexter, who’s averaging 25.5 points in two losses against the Storm. Next up is Augustus.

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