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Teasley, Cooper Team for WNBA

October 14, 2003|Mike Terry | Times Staff Writer

Nikki Teasley is still feeling the sting of the Sparks losing their WNBA championship to Detroit, a pain she cannot make go away, although she's doing her best to ignore it.

"[The loss] is in my repressed memory," Teasley said. "From the series, I took away determination and desire of the opponents. And it was humbling; we never thought anyone could beat us. There will be a different hunger for us next season."

But there will be no winter of discontent. The Los Angeles guard, who continued her impressive pro progress by making the All-WNBA second team in her second year, is already back on the court.

She is joining nine other WNBA players in the international basketball federation's Women's World Cup 2003 tournament at Samara, Russia, today through Sunday.

The WNBA "Select Team," coached by Spark Coach Michael Cooper, is one of eight in the tournament.

Others are from Korea, Australia, Brazil, France and Mozambique. Host Russia has two teams.

"We are honored to have been invited by FIBA [the international federation] to participate in this historic tournament," WNBA President Val Ackerman said. "The competition will be very strong, with WNBA players competing on the rosters of many of the teams. The event will only highlight how global and far-reaching the women's game has become."

The striking thing about the group representing the WNBA is its youth. The senior player is Adrian Williams of Phoenix, who just finished her fourth season. Detroit's Ruth Riley and San Antonio's Marie Ferdinand are three-year veterans. Teasley and Houston's Michelle Snow have played two years.

The five other players -- Detroit's Cheryl Ford, Indiana's Coretta Brown, Sacramento's Kara Lawson, New York's K.B. Sharp, and Cleveland's LaToya Thomas -- were all rookies last season.

Cooper believes he is working with a group that could make up the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.

"Our other [Olympic] players are starting to get old," Cooper said. "Riley, Ford and Ferdinand are some good players who can compete at this level. Plus they are young."

WNBA players with other teams include the Sparks' DeLisha Milton-Jones and Mwadi Mabika, Seattle's Lauren Jackson and Kamila Vodichkova, Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith, Detroit's Swin Cash, Washington's Chamique Holdsclaw, Charlotte's Allison Feaster and Houston's Sheryl Swoopes.

"It will feel weird seeing some other WNBA players," Teasley said. "But we are going out to win this thing. We will be focused. We are representing the WNBA as well as the league's young generation."

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