Lawson Leads A Fast Start

No player on the

Connecticut Sun

is more familiar with foreign national anthems than Kara Lawson, the veteran guard and 2008 U.S.Olympic gold medalist.

On Friday, Lawson heard the anthem of the Polish national team -- played by a polka band dressed in lederhosen and fake pigtails--before the Sun's second exhibition game at the Mohegan Sun Arena.


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

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

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

"The first quarter was good," Lawson said. "The worst part of it was that it ended." With


assistant coach Marisa Moseley sitting behind the Sun bench, rookie center

Tina Charles

(6 for 9) added15 points, giving her 36 in 49 minutes in the two



Free agent rookie guard May Kotsopoulos of Vermont, the leading scorer in the America East last season, also scored 15 points (3 of 5 from three) for the Sun.

"I'm lucky to be still here, but also very excited," she said. "People in Vermont ask me when I'm coming home. I don't know. It could be tomorrow. It could be in a few days."

The Sun end the exhibition season Tuesday morning at 10:30 against the New York Liberty at

Madison Square Garden


Sun coach MikeThibault's biggest concern so far, aside from his three missing starters -- Sandrine Gruda, Anete Jekabsone and

Asjha Jones

--had been slow starts in the scrimmages and previous exhibition game.

For instance, in Tuesday's game against Atlanta, the Sun trailed 11-0 before getting on track for an 86-79 victory.

"Starting quickly was definitely something we talked about as starters," Lawson said. "We wanted to grab the lead and set the tone quickly." The Sun scored the first 10 points, led 37-15 after one quarter and extended it to 52-18 at halftime.

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

Jekabsone will practice for the first time with the team on Sunday. Jones is slowing working her way back from a sore Achilles', even though it's unlikely she'll be ready for next Saturday's opener against Chicago. And Gruda will eventually report, likely in the first week of June.

Until Jones is ready, the Sun will go with 10 players since they'd have to cut someone to replace her on the active roster. And nine of those spots are set. The 10th likely will go to one of two free agent guards,

Ivy League

player of the year Judie Lomax of Columbia or Kotsopoulos, unless Thibault signs a veteran who's cut by another team.