08/03 07:41 CDT Loyd starting to feel more comfortable in the WNBA
Loyd starting to feel more comfortable in the WNBA
By DOUG FEINBERG
AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) --- Jewell Loyd is beginning to pick up the nuances of the WNBA.
The league's top pick in this season's draft started out the season slowly,
only scoring in double figures once in her first eight games. Since a 21-point
performance in Tulsa she's picked up her scoring, averaging 10.8 points over
the Storm's past 13 games.
"Just trying to do something as a rookie, take what the defense gives me as
much as possible," Loyd said. "Repetition helps a lot, it starts in practice as
well, get aggressive and attack. Seeing everyone a couple times in this league
has helped as well."
Loyd's development hasn't been lost on teammate Sue Bird.
"I think early on she was getting adjusted, a little tentative, trying to feel
her game out," Bird said. "Now she's starting to see where she can be
successful. Almost a 180 in terms of her aggressiveness."
Loyd was the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft in April after deciding to leave
Notre Dame after her junior year.
She's part of a rookie class that didn't produce an All-Star this year, but has
provided valuable talent to teams.
"There is a lot of talent across the board," New York coach Bill Laimbeer said.
"There may not be that dominant player yet, but they're still players providing
New York has two stellar rookies of its own in Kiah Stokes and Brittany Boyd.
Stokes already set the franchise record for blocks in a game with eight against
Connecticut. She's second in the league in blocked shots per game averaging 2.4.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Bird became the first player to score 5,000 points and get
2,000 assists when she reached the scoring plateau on Sunday in New York. While
it came in a loss, Bird was still happy for a chance to do it in front of her
"It's pretty cool," Bird said. "Rare that your family and friends are in the
arena for that. If it was going to be somewhere this isn't a bad place."
Bird is in 13th place on the league's all-time scoring list.
WELCOME BACK: Candace Parker made her return to the Los Angeles Sparks after
sitting out the first half of the season to rest. She's averaging 20 points, 9
rebounds and 6 assists in her three games. The Sparks are 2-1 since the
two-time MVP returned.
HONORING BECKY: The New York Liberty honored former star Becky Hammon, putting
the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach in their ring of honor Sunday at halftime
of their game against the Seattle Storm. Hammon helped the Liberty reach the
WNBA Finals three times, including getting New York within a game of the
championship in 1999. She played for the Liberty from 1999-2006 and ranks
second in franchise history for games played and 3-pointers made, and is third
on New York's career scoring list.
The 5-foot-6 guard went on to play eight more seasons in San Antonio before
retiring at the end of last year. She then joined the Spurs' staff as the first
full-time paid female assistant coach in the NBA.
She coached the Spurs to a summer league title in Las Vegas last month.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Lynx at Mercury on Friday night. The top two teams in the
Western Conference will square off as Phoenix hosts Minnesota. The Lynx are 3-0
since acquiring Sylvia Fowles in a trade last week. Phoenix has looked strong
since the return of Brittney Griner from her suspension, winning nine of its 12
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