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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Former SNU Athletes In The News

When I checked my email tonight I had one from the Alumni Relations Dept. at Southern Nazarene University my alma mater. The were promoting the upcoming Homecoming events that will be taking place next month. One of the big events during the Homecoming activities is the basketball games. So I went and checked out the SNU Crimson Storm Athletics website and found a couple of interesting articles that I thought I'd share with you!

Astou Ndiaye-Diatta is quiet though eloquent, good-natured but no pushover and astute enough to know how to work free from any sticky situation.

She's in one of those situations now as a member of the Comets but too busy accepting accolades for bailing out her teammates on Sunday to worry about it.

Ndiaye- Diatta's rebound basket with three seconds remaining gave the Comets an 82-80 comeback victory over the Phoenix Mercury at US Airways Center.

In her best game as a temporary member of the Comets — and her best WNBA game in three years — Ndiaye-Diatta instilled renewed confidence to an injury-riddled squad that's limping toward a potential playoff spot.

Watching the DL

In the back of her mind is the notion that when the Comets get Tina Thompson (strained right calf) and Dominique Canty (broken hand) back, she has an automatic ticket out of Houston. Again.

"I know what I was getting myself into," Ndiaye-Diatta said Monday, shortly after the Comets arrived in Sacramento where they'll face the Monarchs tonight at Arco Arena.

"So that is that. I was (brought) here to replace (injured players), and when they come back, they have been doing their thing. So it doesn't bother me."

Ndiaye-Diatta is in her second stint with the Comets. She signed as a free agent on April 14. But she was late arriving to training camp because of a basketball commitment overseas and was cut after playing in just one preseason game.

Because the injuries to Thompson and Canty left the Comets with just nine healthy players, the organization was able to re-sign a replacement under the WNBA's "injury-exception" rule.

Fighting her way back

Ndiaye-Diatta is used to nettlesome situations. She played two seasons for Seattle of the American Basketball League. When the bankrupt league folded in 1998, she landed on her feet with the WNBA's Detroit Shock.

She played most of four seasons in the Palace at Auburn Hills, then was sent to Indiana in 2004.
Ndiaye-Diatta missed all but 10 games that year while recovering from knee surgery that also resulted in her missing all of 2005 and being waived by the Fever.

Although the past three seasons have at times been hard to cope with, the graduate of Southern Nazarene — the most successful NAIA women's basketball program in America — has found a way to survive with a smile. Never did she doubt whether there was a place for her in the WNBA.

Quite a save

On Sunday, Ndiaye-Diatta (whose full name is pronounced ah-STOO EN-jy JAW-tah) gave the Comets boost. Her 13 points off the bench helped the reserves outscore the Mercury backups 26-16.

During a 98-95 victory over the Mercury at Toyota Center last Thursday night, the Comets didn't get an offensive rebound.

Six of Michelle Snow's game-high 13 boards were off the offensive glass at US Airways Center. The Comets had 14 offensive rebounds overall to just nine for the Mercury.

None was bigger than Ndiaye-Diatta's final one, putting the crowning touch on a victory. It was just an indication, she said, of what she's capable of when given the opportunity.

"I know if I'm not injured," she said, "for me being confident and having the confidence of my teammates and my coach, the sky is the limit.

"I learned this game, the fundamentals, and I know what this game is all about. And the bottom line is winning. And when you win, things roll. There's a chemistry. It always feels good."

(BETHANY,OKLA.)---Former Southern Nazarene University men’s basketball standout, Tyrone Ellis, is making ways throughout the world in the sport of basketball. This summer, Ellis has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Ellis appeared is currently averaging 8.8 points per game and 24.6 minutes for the T’Wolves.

Tyrone has also recently joined the Federation of Georgia’s national team and will compete for the nation of Georgia.

Ellis, a 2001 graduate of SNU, left the Crimson Storm program as the school’s fourth all-time leading scorer, posting 1,822 points in his four year career. Ellis averaged 14.1 points per game in 129 games played. As a senior in 2001, Ellis posted the schools third best scoring season, netting 676 points, averaging 22.5 points per game. During that season, Ellis became SNU’s second First Team NAIA All-American.

Ellis also currently holds an SNU record in career three pointers made (248).

During his professional career, Ellis has traveled throughout Europe. Last season, Ellis played for Besiktas in Turkey, where he averaged 10.9 points per game in 36 games.

Before playing at Besiktas, Ellis averaged 21.5 points and 4.7 rebounds with the Skyliners in 7 Euroleague games. He won the 2003-04 German League with the team of Frankfurt, but last season he suffered a severe injury that kept him away from the courts for several months. Before his two years in Germany, Ellis had played in Girona of the Spanish League. He played college ball in Carter HS from 1997 to 2001 and the following year he landed in the NBDL with the Huntsville Flight.

To follow Tyrone’s progress during the Vegas Summer League, click on the following link.


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