Being a Bloomfield H.S. Alum (1983) I can honestly say the two most famous alums of "Warhawk Nation" are Dwight Freeney and Nykesha Sales. And Sales could ball....when she decided on UConn over Ohio State if I recall, it gave the Huskies program a big piece of the pie that would play a large role in the 1995 National Championship and the start of a fantastic career in Storrs.
Sales was named USA Today's National High School Player of the Year in 1994 and participated in the WBCA All American Game that year where she scored 21 points....Her timing was perfect when she arrived in Storrs as an already talented starting five, coming off an Elite 8 appearance in 1994, was ready to take the next step. And you know the story of that season...35-0, Big East Titles, a Final Four and the First of 11 National Championships. Sales, a member of the Big East All Tournament team, averaged 11 points and 5 boards per game, while doing what she did best, steal the basketball with a team high 102. All this coming off the bench with Carla Berube..
Her Sophomore season of 1995-96, Sales moved into the starting lineup, averaging 16ppg and again going over 100 steals with 104. Another solid Big East Tournament where she made the All Tournament Team. Then in the NCAA's, a 21p-10r double-double in the Sweet 16 against San Francisco and a career high 28, including an OT forcing three in the game's final seconds against Tennessee in their Final Four loss....
The Huskies were again stacked in the 1996-97 campaign, where UConn was on track to another perfect season. Sales averaged 16ppg and recorded a career high 143 steals to earn Unanimous All American Honors. Sadly the season was derailed again by the Lady Vols, this time in the Elite 8 in Iowa City, where Sales had a 26p-14r double double in the loss.
The 1997-98' Team only had one piece of the puzzle from the 95' Champs, that would be Nykesha Sales....And her Senior Campaign was on track to be memorable. On December 21st in Lakeland, Florida against Stanford, Sales broke the single game scoring record with 46 points..The first Husky to eclipse the forty point mark. She also had a couple of soon to be stars as young teammates in Sophomore Shea Ralph and Freshman Svetlana Abrosimova.
Senior Day at Gampel against Notre Dame, Sales was set to pass Kerry Bascom as the school's all time scoring leader. Needing just one more basket inside of five minutes to play, Sales slipped and fell in the frontcourt quickly holding the back of her lower right leg. The next day the second ranked Huskies got the worst news, a torn achilles tendon that ended her career just one point shy of the school record. Two nights later in the regular season finale at Villanova, there were rumors going around that Geno Auriemma and Nova' Coach Harry Perretta coming up with a plan to allow Sales to break the record. And it played out as UConn won the tap, passed the ball to Sales underneath the UConn hoop and she layed it in to break the record. Nova was then allowed a easy hoop and it was game on. However the hoop set off a media firestorm that no one really expected to the point Geno was getting grilled on Mike & The Mad Dog Show on WFAN in New York and interviews on ESPN. Despite the Okays from Bascom and Big East Commissioner, Mike Tranghese. Sadly, Sales was right in the middle of it....
Over her four year career at UConn, Nykesha Sales racked up 2,178 points and is the only player at UConn to amass over 400 steals. (447). The points lead lasted 12 years before Tina Charles passed it in 2010.
Her WNBA Career started in Orlando with the Miracle and then the franchise headed north to Uncasville, CT to become the Sun. Sales followed the team home where she led the team to back to back Finals Appearances in 2004 & 2005. A six time All Star and owner of the sixth longest consecutive games streak with 248 games. She played thru 2007 before deciding not to play in the 2008 season, saying she needed a break with nagging injuries. She didn't play again. However Sales was named to the WNBA's All Decade Team as the league celebrated it's 10th Anniversary.
These days, Sales resides in Orlando and is on the coaching staff of UCF's Women's Basketball Team that has become a contender in the American Conference.....A Warhawk and CT Sun Star forever, and a UConn Legend, Nykesha Sales