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Lawson Leads A Fast Start

The Hartford Courant

No player on the Connecticut Sun is more familiar with foreign nationalanthems than Kara Lawson, the veteran guardand 2008 U.S.Olympic gold medalist.

On Friday, Lawson heard the anthem of thePolish national team -- played by a polka banddressed in lederhosen and fake pigtails--beforethe Sun's second exhibition game at the MoheganSun Arena.

Even though this was an international friendly,with no discernible diplomatic impact, thescene seemed to fire up Lawson.

"What was funny about that was Renee[Montgomery] and Kelsey [Griffin] were standingbeside me andwere putting their hands overtheir hearts," Lawson said. "I'm thinking tomyself, 'That's not our country's [anthem].' "

Lawson (5 of 11) scored all of her 14 pointsamong Connecticut's first 27 over the first 6:16 tolead the Sun to their 89-46 victory.

"The first quarter was good," Lawson said."The worst part of it was that it ended."With UConn assistant coach Marisa Moseleysitting behind the Sun bench, rookie center

Tina Charles (6 for 9) added15 points, giving her36 in 49 minutes in the two preseason games.

Free agent rookie guard May Kotsopoulosof Vermont, theleading scorer in theAmerica East lastseason, also scored 15points (3 of 5 fromthree) for the Sun.

"I'm lucky to bestill here, but alsovery excited," shesaid. "People in Vermontask me whenI'm coming home. Idon't know. It couldbe tomorrow. It couldbe in a few days."

The Sun end theexhibition seasonTuesday morning at10:30 against the NewYork Liberty at Madison Square Garden.

Sun coach MikeThibault's biggest concern sofar, aside from his three missing starters --Sandrine Gruda, Anete Jekabsone and Asjha Jones--had been slow starts in the scrimmagesand previous exhibition game.

For instance, in Tuesday's game againstAtlanta, the Sun trailed 11-0 before getting ontrack for an 86-79 victory.

"Starting quickly was definitely somethingwe talked about as starters," Lawson said. "Wewanted to grab the lead and set the tonequickly."The Sun scored the first 10 points, led 37-15after one quarter and extended it to 52-18 athalftime.

Most of the mystery about the construction ofthe team is over.

Jekabsone will practice for the first time withthe team on Sunday. Jones is slowing workingher way back from a sore Achilles', even thoughit's unlikely she'll be ready for next Saturday'sopener against Chicago. And Gruda will eventuallyreport, likely in the first week of June.

Until Jones is ready, the Sun will go with 10players since they'd have to cut someone toreplace her on the active roster. And nine ofthose spots are set. The 10th likely will go to oneof two free agent guards, Ivy League player ofthe year Judie Lomax of Columbia or Kotsopoulos,unless Thibault signs a veteran who'scut by another team.

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