Ex-UConn star returns to Connecticut
HARTFORD, Conn. -- The Connecticut Sun completed a three-way trade Thursday with the Washington Mystics and Phoenix Mercury that will bring former UConn star Asjha Jones back to the state.
Washington will trade Jones to Connecticut and get speedy Phoenix guard Tamicha Jackson in return. Phoenix, which has the first pick in next month's college draft, gets the Sun's eighth pick in the draft.
Jones, a strong 6-foot-2 post player, played on two national championship teams at UConn including the 2002 squad that went 39-0 and also featured current WNBA players Sue Bird, Tamika Williams and Swin Cash. Jones was the Mystics' first pick and fourth overall in the 2002 draft.
"We're thrilled to have her for a lot of reasons," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "We think this is a young improving player and has gotten better in each of her two years in the league. I think she can come in and compete for a starting job."
Jones averaged 8.5 points and four rebounds last season and improved her outside shooting.
Jones, currently playing in Italy, said she is looking forward to returning to Connecticut.
"The fans are wonderful, and it's a family atmosphere," Jones said in a written statement. "There aren't many places where women's basketball is No. 1, but Connecticut is one of those places."
Taj McWilliams-Franklin is the veteran post player for the Sun, who lost 6-4 center-forward Rebecca Lobo to retirement and 6-4 Jessie Hicks, who signed with San Antonio in February.
"Getting younger and more athletic was something that was important to us," Thibault said. "It doesn't hurt that she has a fan base and following here."
She will join another former UConn All-American, Nykesha Sales, on the Sun.
The Sun were the Orlando Miracle before they were bought in January 2003 by the Mohegan Indian Tribe in Uncasville. The team's inaugural year in Connecticut was the most successful in franchise history. The Sun advanced to the Eastern Conference finals before losing to eventual WNBA champ Detroit.
The Sun still have four picks in the draft -- fourth, 16th, 24th and 29th.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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