August 30, 2011 |
Candace Parker scored a season-high 27 points and the Sparks defeated Seattle, 68-62, Tuesday night at Staples Center, denying the Storm a chance to clinch a playoff berth. Parker scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including three free throws in the final minute to secure the win. Tina Thompson had 12 points and Ebony Hoffman scored 11 to help the fifth-place Sparks (13-17) remain 11/2 games behind San Antonio for the final playoff spot in the West. The Sparks have four games remaining, three at home, including a showdown next Tuesday against San Antonio at Staples Center.
July 17, 2011 |
It was Joe Bryant's first loss since returning as head coach one week ago. And it was the Sparks' first loss at Staples Center this season. But the most painful part for the Sparks was that it happened during the greatest second-half comeback in WNBA history. The Washington Mystics rallied from a 24-point deficit and beat the Sparks in overtime, 89-85, Sunday night. In the locker room after the game, the players hung their heads and sat in silence. When prodded, Tina Thompson said she was disappointed "beyond words.
June 19, 2011 |
It seemed as if the Sparks were doing well, but they hadn't yet undergone the ultimate battle test. It came on a cloudy Father's Day evening, in the form of 6-foot-5 center Lauren Jackson and the defending champion Seattle Storm. The upshot? Western Conference, watch out. The Sparks won, 74-50, breathing a real sense of excitement into a crowd of 9,119 at Staples Center. After all, the Sparks (3-1) had just crushed a team that didn't lose a playoff game last season, while snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Storm (2-2)
June 10, 2011 |
Enough was enough. The Sparks sang the blues far too many times last year, losing to the Phoenix Mercury four times, twice by one point. Instead of morosely swaying to the tune of "One Is the Loneliest Number," the Sparks were all smiles, winning by a comfortable margin, 98-84, over the Mercury on Friday at Staples Center. The Sparks remained in control throughout the second half, their lead never falling below nine, in a team effort that left them two three-pointers shy of tying their franchise record of 15. "When we share the ball, it's going to be hard to lose," Sparks Coach Jennifer Gillom said.
May 25, 2011 |
Ten weeks into the owners' lockout of the players, Commissioner Roger Goodell noted the negative effect the labor dispute is having on the NFL. "Clearly it has had an impact on the fans," Goodell said Wednesday as the owners completed their spring meetings in Indianapolis. "We see it in various metrics. There's been a noticeable change. TV ratings were down on the draft roughly 4 million people. NFL.com traffic [is down], we see that. " Ticket sales also are down. "Fans want certainty," Goodell said.
May 14, 2011 |
When training camp began last year, things looked pretty grim for the Sparks. They had a new coach, three-time WNBA most valuable player Lisa Leslie had retired, and more than half of the team was still playing overseas. This year, with audible tinges of excitement in her voice, Sparks General Manager Penny Toler said everything will be different when camp opens Sunday. All 15 players will be in attendance, including 2008 WNBA MVP and rookie of the year Candace Parker, Tina Thompson (the league's all-time leading scorer)