The Norman Transcript

National Sports

July 23, 2013

WNBA rookies already making big impact

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

Despite not being able to play recently because of a sprained left knee, Griner is still making the rounds. She was at the ESPYs, winning for best college player, and appeared on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show.

“The Conan show was sweet. I loved that,” Griner said. “He was very funny and he’s really tall, too.”

While Griner hasn’t been able to help the Mercury much on the court lately, Delle Donne has been instrumental in guiding the Chicago Sky to first place in the Eastern Conference. She scored in double figures in her first 15 games and is trying to lead the Sky to their first playoff appearance since the franchise began in 2006. The Delaware star is averaging 18.6 points and shooting nearly 95 percent from the foul line.

She was honored as June’s rookie of the month and the Eastern Conference player of the week twice this season.

“One of my goals has always been to bring as much positive attention to the WNBA and the Chicago Sky as I can,” Delle Donne said. “The fact that a lot of people out there are wearing Chicago jerseys makes me very happy!”

More important to her, the team is winning. Chicago has just two fewer victories then all of last season, and fans are taking notice. The Sky are averaging nearly 2,000 more fans this season and are on pace for their best season at the gate. Many of those fans, as well as those on the road, are wearing Delle Donne’s jersey.

Griner and Delle Donne were voted last week to start in the All-Star game Saturday. The 6-foot-5 Delle Donne was the leading vote getter, the first time a rookie has done that.

“I definitely feel good that the WNBA is in great hands and where the league is headed,” said Sheryl Swoopes, one of the original stars of the league. “It does great things for the league to have Skylar, Elena and Brittney. They all bring something different to the game.”

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