(Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.)

The Tattoo

--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---

March 16, 1998

Sales' shot divides students, coaches

By HILA YOSAFI
The Tattoo

Like everyone else, local students and coaches
disagree sharply about whether University of
Connecticut basketball star Nykesha Sales should
have been given a free shot to break the team's
all-time scoring record recently.

"I think it shows good sportsmanship," said
Lauren Dziekan, a junior at Eastern who helps
coach the school's freshman girls' basketball
squad. "She earned her position."
 
Eastern freshman basketball player Tim Barret
said that the shot shouldn't count. Mel Davis,
who plays on the freshman football and
basketball teams, said the Sales controversy
will weaken the future of women's sports.

Sales injured her Achillesrquote  tendon with
one game left in the season -- when she was a
point shy of the record that everybody thought
she'd break easily.

Facing surgery, Sales appeared to have no hope
of pushing past Kerry Bascom to capture the
school's scoring record.

But coach Geno Auremmia cut a deal with his
counterpart at Villanova, the Huskies' opponent
in the last regular season match-up, to let
Sales shoot an uncontested lay-up to start the
game. With that basket, Sales moved into the top
spot, with Bascom's blessing.

The move set off a firestorm of debate across
the country and around the world.

So what's the problem with giving Sales a
freebie to cap a tremendous career?

The coach of Eastern's girls' varsity basketball
team, Tony Floyd, said, "The only ones that
complain about this is mostly guys."

"She shouldn't have got it," said Bristol
Eastern freshman and junior varsity basketball
player, Billy Emmert. "Injuries are a part of
basketball," he said.

However, Eastern freshman basketball player Kyle
Phelan supported Auriemma's idea.

"It's right," he said. Phelan said he would
accept a shot like the one Sales' took.

J.P. Sullivan, who also plays Eastern freshman
basketball, added that Sales "was a big
contribution to the team."
 
Most women interviewed were on Sales' side.

Captain of Eastern's girls' varsity basketball
team, senior Michelle Getz, said, "I think it's
about time (women's) sports have publicity."
 
Getz said if she were in Sales' position, she
would have done the same thing.

Donna Hamzy, who plays for Eastern's freshman
and junior varsity basketball teams, said that
if she were in Sales' shoes "I think it would be
real depressing if I didn't get that" last
basket.

Luana Gridacucco, who also plays for Eastern's
freshman basketball team, disagrees with her
teammate.

"Personally, I think she shouldn't have got the
shot," Gridacucco said.

But Eastern sophomore Lisa Cote said Sales
"would have done it anyway. She would have done
double or triple the points."

Many Bristol high school coaches agree with
Auriemma's decision to help Sales over the top. 

"I don't see it affecting anything in women's
sports," said Floyd. "It's been around in men's
sports for years. It's just catching up, that's
all. Your're just used to guys doing it all the
time."

Floyd said it's not like it was "500 points."
 
The assistant girls' varsity basketball coach at
Bristol Central, Bill Ryan, said Auriemma "did
the right thing."

Ryan said that if he were in Auriemma's shoes,
"I would have done it right away."

The boys' varsity soccer coach at Eastern,
Michael Greene, said Auriemma "did what he
thought was right.  He did it from the heart."

 
"I feel bad for Sales. People who don't know her
will always think of her as the person who was
the record-scorer," says Greene.

Tattoo staff writer Collin Seguin contributed to
this story.

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