Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

First Look

September 23, 2004|Mike Terry

A look at the matchups in the best-of-three, first-round WNBA playoff series between the Sparks and Sacramento Monarchs:

GUARDS

* The Sparks' Nikki Teasley (9.9 points per game, 6.1 assists per game) and Tamecka Dixon (9.7 ppg, 3.4 rebounds per game) vs. the Monarchs' Ticha Penicherio (6.0 ppg, 4.9 apg) and Edna Campbell (3.4 ppg, 0.90 rpg). Teasley displaced Penicherio as the league's assist leader this season. Dixon has historically been at her best in playoffs. Penicherio will have to make outside shots consistently. Campbell has difficulty creating her shot against tight defensive pressure.

EDGE: Sparks

FORWARDS

* The Sparks' Mwadi Mabika (14.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Christi Thomas (5.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg) vs. the Monarchs' Tangela Smith (11.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg) and DeMaya Walker (8.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg). Smith and Walker are active rebounders and solid defenders. Mabika can light up any defense. Thomas' value will be in trying to neutralize either Walker or Yolanda Griffith on the inside.

EDGE: Even

CENTERS

* The Sparks' Lisa Leslie (17.6 ppg, 9.9 rpg) vs. the Monarchs' Yolanda Griffith (14.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg). Leslie has had an MVP-caliber season; Griffith has been steady if less spectacular. Both need to stay out of foul trouble and therefore may not guard each other.

EDGE: Sparks

COACHES

* The Sparks' Karleen Thompson and Ryan Weisenberg vs. the Monarchs' John Whisenant. The transition from former coach Michael Cooper to the tandem of Thompson-Weisenberg went smoother than expected, and they are both accustomed to playoff pressure. Whisenant and his team looked in trouble with a plodding first half, but the Monarchs rallied to win seven of their last 10 to make the playoffs.

EDGE: Even

ANALYSIS

* The teams split four regular-season games. Sacramento needs to win the first game because it will be tough to beat the Sparks twice at Staples Center.

PREDICTION: Sparks in three.

-- Mike Terry

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|