Cappie Pondexter may have not been a fit with the Los Angeles Sparx, who cut ties with her earlier this month, but she is becoming a factor for her new team, the Indiana Fever.
Pondexter, one of the league’s all-time greats, is now on a struggling team, but her influence is having an impact on her teammates, as was the case when Indiana proved to be a tough matchup for the defending WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx.
“We came in the huddle and everyone was slumped,” Indiana forward Natalie Achonwa said. “Cappie was like, ‘It’s a tie game.’ That just got us sitting back up. Just because a couple of possessions go wrong doesn’t mean we’re not engaged.”
“We had the momentum from the start of the game,” Pondexter said. “[The Lynx] were on their heels. Sometimes you have to remind them the game is about runs. You’re going to have good runs and bad runs. You have to remember the momentum is on our side. Small things like that.”
Indiana coach Pokey Chatman, who coached Pondexter with the Chicago Sky from 2015-16, knew what the veteran brought to the table and immediately worked to bring her into the fold.
“Cappie’s an experienced player who knows how to compete at the highest level,” Chatman said. “She knows how to start a game and close out quarters. Just that experience. Having to learn under the lights and learn how to practice. … It’s one thing for me to show them on video after the fact. It’s nice to have someone on the bench speaking the same language, and on the court doing the same things.”
Pondexter has spent enough time in the WNBA to understand the business side of it, as she understood the Sparx’s decision to release her.
“It’s a business at the end of the day,” she said in the visitor’s locker room at Target Center. “If you focus on the past, you can’t really step into future. I’m 13 years in [the league]. I understand it’s a business. I understand the organization had to do what was best for the team. At the same time, this organization had to do the same thing.
“I wasn’t frustrated at all. I was told to trust [Agler], and that’s what I did. It is what it is. Now I’m in Indiana, and when Pokey calls me and plays me, I’m ready. I’m fresh. I didn’t play the first half of the season. … I’ve still got a lot to contribute.”
Indiana has a refocused and re-energized Pondexter moving forward.
“I’m 35 years old,” Pondexter said, “but I’m a 21-year-old at heart.”
Sparks Sign Ashley Walker
The Los Angeles Sparks signed forward Ashley Walker last week, bringing the veteran forward back to the WNBA.
Walker, the 12th overall pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm, is currently playing in the Turkish League for Mersin where she is
averaging 16.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.4 assists while shooting 58% from the field.
Lynx’s Maya Moore Not Playing in 2019
Minnesota Lynx guard Maya Moore has announced that she intends to step away from the court, and the WNBA, for 2019.
“My focus in 2019 will not be on professional basketball, but will instead be on the people in my family, as well as on investing my time in some ministry dreams that have been stirring in my heart for many years.
“I will certainly miss the day-to-day relationships with my teammates and basketball family this season, but my no for the 2019 pro season allows me to say yes to my family and faith family like I never have before.
Moore, 29, has played her entire career in Minnesota.
I’m sure this year will be hard in ways that I don’t even know yet, but it will also be rewarding in ways I’ve yet to see, too.”
Aces’ A’ja Wilson Wins WNBA Rookie of the Year
“It means a lot with that rookie class,” Wilson said. “There are so many great players.”
Although the Aces struggled this season to a 14-20 record, Wilson was a star, and averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.67 blocked shots and her scoring average was second all time by a WNBA rookie, to Seimone Augustus’ 21.9 PPG rookie campaign back in 2006.
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