s Sales’ Connecticut scoring record legitimate? Why not?

In the last few months, we’ve heard reports of Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley throwing a bar patron out a glass window. We’ve heard of Latrell Sprewell choking and threatening to kill his coach.
On a more local level, we’ve been beaten to death by reports of Courtney James beating his girlfriend with an address book. And last week, seven members of the Gophers women’s basketball team were suspended for violating an unspecified team rule.
But none of these incidents received the press Connecticut and Villanova coaches Geno Auriemma and Harry Perretta did for allowing Nykesha Sales to score an uncontested basket last week.
Forget the fact that everyone involved, from Sales to the conference commissioner to the coaches, approved. Forget the fact that she inevitably would have obliterated the record, seeing as how UConn still had two regular season games and the postseason left.
Sportswriters created “Nykesha Sales Gate” and closet fans everywhere were incensed.
To these egomaniacal, unfeeling and opinionated folks, I issue this heartfelt statement: Too bad.
Nykesha Sales earned 2,176 points in nearly four complete seasons. While driving for the layup that would have given her the two points needed to achieve the record, she shredded her right Achilles’ tendon.
In some places, this would have tragically ended a journey she definitely deserved to complete.
Sales is known as a selfless, team-oriented player and is revered by all of her teammates.
And if the No. 2 Huskies weren’t so good, it wouldn’t have been an issue. If she had whined her way back into a few of the many blowouts the team has enjoyed, just to pile up the points, the record would have been hers long ago.
Yes, Sales not only deserved the record, she earned it.
Critics — ranging from some coaches to sportswriters — say the record is tainted and that it hurts the legitimacy of the sport.
Such statements are wrong.
ESPN did a poll in which 60 percent of fans responding approved of the record-setting set-up. One can only wonder what percentage of those people are going to pay more attention to the sport after the record than they did before.
Yes, the fact that Sales couldn’t get the record during the heat of battle is a shame. But she contributed more than enough to Connecticut and to women’s basketball to earn her place in the books.
And since the coaches, previous record-holder Kerry Bascom-Poliquim and the conference commissioner, Michael Tranghese, had no problem with the move, why should we?
For once, life is fair.

— Andrew Tellijohn is a senior reporter at The Daily. He welcomes comments at [email protected]