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Category Archives: Candace Parker debut

The Wait is OVER! WNBA MVP CP3 will play Sunday!


LOS ANGELES – Sparks forward Candace Parker, the reigning WNBA MVP, will return to the court on Sunday, July 5th at STAPLES Center as the Sparks take on the Phoenix Mercury at 6:30pm, it was announced today.

Parker has missed the season until this point after giving birth to her first child, Lailaa Nicole Williams, on May 13th. She was cleared by doctors to begin practicing on Tuesday, June 30th, and Parker has continually said that she will play when she feels ready.

“I feel like I’m really beginning to get my rhythm back,” said Parker. “This was a great week of practice, and it felt good to be with my teammates on the court. I’m not expecting to play 30 minutes but I definitely can’t wait to get back out on the floor.”

In 2008, Parker became the first WNBA player to win both the WNBA MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season and just the third player between the WNBA and NBA to receive both honors in the same year. She started all 33 games she played in, led the league in rebounding and led all rookies in scoring and rebounding.

“We’re extremely happy to have her back,” said Head Coach Michael Cooper. “After watching her practice this week, it looks like she can play some minutes. It’s a huge addition for us and a big game for her to come back. She made her rookie debut against Phoenix and now she will come back against them. Obviously she isn’t 100% and we will take things slowly but clearly Candace, even at less than 100%, is an incredible player.”

In honor of #3’s return, the first 50 fans to purchase tickets online will have the opportunity to buy $10 seats for just $3. CLICK HERE to purchase the seats online now or for more information on how you can be there as Candace returns to the floor call 1-877-44-SPARKS.

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THE MVP IS BAAAACCCKKKK! WNBA-BREATHE

The last day of June, one month into the WNBA season, the league just became OFFICIALLY WARNED! Yeah warned. Candace Parker-Williams began light practice with the team…and after almost 10months of not playing basketball..due to the pregnancy and birth of her daughter Lailaa Nicole…she “looks” like she will step on the court right now and put 20/5/5 on you in 25minutes. People that is NOT an exaggeration, understand the person we are talking about here: 2008 semi finals versus Texas A&M, Parker shoulder dislocates, not once, but twice…SHE RETURNS TO THE GAME, AND FOUND A WAY TO BE EFFECTIVE. She is side-lined with a knee injury her freshman season…comes back her sophomore season and is the Wade Trophy winner! Understand people this is no ordinary PLAYER..she is the equivalent of Magic Johnson, meaning she can play all 5 positions legitimately and at this point in her career she will only get better…yeah people she is only 23!!!!!

Parker is also a marketers dream! She is beautiful, intelligent, and has a good heart as well!She is constantly giving of herself to various community projects, and her fans! She has already transcended heights that had not been reached before in the WNBA, even with the names of Diana Taurasi, or Chamique Holdsclaw.
So LA Sparks fan, treat her with love, and never take her for granted, because this is the leader who will bring more championships to the city! Candace Nicole Parker welcome back!

 

LISA LESLIE OR LAUREN JACKSON?


Every since 1998 these two ladies have been going at it. It all started in the World Championships. Lisa Leslie has been getting the best of Lauren Jackson when it counts the most, on the WORLD stage, but Lauren Jackson has been coming for that #1 spot for a minute. I know that when Lauren won her WNBA championship in 2004, she felt some of the weight being lifted off of her, but yet the olympics still proved that Lisa was the best center in the world.
Now mind you I am biased here…and ANYTIME I hear someone say that Lauren Jackson is the best female basketball player on the planet..I just shake my head in disgust..it’s like the Kobe and Lebron debate all over again! Lisa Leslie is the BEST female center to ever play the game! Why? 101pts in a game, 4 gold medals, 2 wnba championships..nuff said. I’m not even going into the MVP’s or the fact that she is the All-Time Scoring leader in the WNBA.
The sad part for Lauren is that right now she is considered the best in the league, and it’s mainly because Lisa Leslie is 35yrs old and out with an injury, and THE BEST FEMALE BASKETBALL PLAYER OF THIS GENERATION HAS YET TO LACE THEM UP THIS SEASON..so it’s like when the Spurs won the championship the year the NBA was a short season…like by default. Now don’t get me wrong…I know the “worth” of Lauren Jackson, and I am not ignorant to all she has accomplished, but ease up on the BEST STATEMENTS, cause there are still 27 games to go, and the Sparks have yet to get their 2 best players on the floor at the same time. THAT’S SCARY…GIVE ME LISA!

 

THE 2 BEST WNBA TEAMS OR AT THE BOTTOM RIGHT NOW!


The Los Angeles Sparks and the Detroit Shock are at the bottom of their perspective divisions right now, and their are A LOT OF EXCUSES AS TO WHY, but can excuses really be used?
Let’s start with my BELOVED Sparks, who are 2-5 right now! The two wins coming at home. When this season started, once again the Sparks were predicted virtually by every GM to win the WNBA title, but turbulence has struck the favorites due to injury by Lisa Leslie, and the pregnancy of Candace Parker. Candace Parker delivered a beautiful baby girl on May 13, 2009 with husband Shelden Williams, but the Sparks picked up LA native Tina Thompson, who was a free agent due to the collapse of the Houston Comets,who also avg 18ppg in Houston. Then their was the acquisition of all-star shooting guard Betty Lennox, who in my opinion has the mentality of Kobe Bryant on the court when she is allowed to roam free. So now tell me why is this team 2-5?
Well the Sparks started off their season with a very impressive win over the Detroit Shock at the Staples Center!Everything seemed to be clicking well for the team, until Detroit made 1 adjustment…ZONE! The first half of that game the Sparks scored 52 points, and in the second half they only scored 26pts. But that was only the beginning, in the game against Phoenix, the Sparks were in control and Lisa Leslie went down…and here we are! This has not been a great home-coming so far for Tina, but because she understands adversity, she is their helping the younger players to know it’s a long season.
The Detroit Shock on the other hand have been challenged in several different ways, from injury, to losing the most winningest ACTIVE coaches in the WNBA, Bill Laimbeer. I don’t have a lot to say about the Shock, but I do want the fans to tell me, which team will be above .500 first, and what it’s going to take for them to get their.

 

LA Sparks vs Detroit Shock opening day 2009

The Los Angeles Sparks opened their WNBA season versus the defending champs-Detroit Shock. No one ever knows what to expect when these two teams hit the floor(no pun intended) after the fracas from last year starring Candace Parker and Plenette Pierson. Yet today showed two entirely different teams, the Sparks showing off their star-studded lineup with 4 time WNBA champion Tina Thompson(of the now defunct Houston Comets) and 2004 Finals MVP Betty Lennox, who was waived by the Atlanta dream after last season…still shaking my head on that move. Today as the Sparks took the floor, I just wanted to see if I could “identify” this team on the floor. Starters: PG Kristi Harrower SG Betty Lennox SF Tina Thompson PF Delisha Milton Jones C Lisa Leslie, each person on the floor know what it’s like to be a MAJOR contributor for their previous teams, so how would they be willing to sacrifice their games? Well they started with going into the CAPTAIN (Lisa Leslie)from the beginning, but she was off, so as she passed out of double teams, Tina Thompson and Betty Lennox took the cue and went bananas! Tina finished with 18pts/6brds, and Lennox had a double double with 17pts/10brds…one of the best rebounding guards in the league, the other being Alexis Hornbuckle for the Shock.

Deuce Deuce is truly going to be the key to this Sparks team. They are DEEP one through 11, and if Betty Lennox can keep her “cool” she will have her second WNBA Championship. Lisa Leslie shot a dismal 3-11 today and the Sparks were still up by 20, on the play of Tina Thompson and Betty Lennox, also the bench came in and did their job as well. Shannon Bobbitt is on the bench right now, playing behind Noelle Quinn and Kristi Harrower, but she just needs to be patient, because when they need to speed the team up, their is NO BETTER guard.
The Sparks will have to work their offense against a zone defense, because once Detroit began to play zone, the Sparks offense stalled greatly. Yet I believe Michael Cooper will make the correct adjustments. Oh yea I must mention the play of Vanessa Hayden. She was magnificent, 12pts/3rbs in 20minutes of play (going 6-6). So her scoring help to make up for Lisa’s average.
Well the Sparks get to do this again on Monday when they are in Detroit, watching the ring ceremony, hopefully that will get them fired up. Plenette Pierson got tangled up with Tina Thompson today and ended up falling on that bad shoulder, and was out for the rest of the game…Kara Braxton is suspended for 6gms for D.U.I., and Cheryl Ford was still out from tearing her ACL, so they are short-handed right now, but nonetheless a great win for the Sparks in their quest for the Championship.

 

A Fans Perspective of The Los Angeles Sparks 2009



The Los Angeles Sparks are about to embark on the opportunity of a lifetime as an organization! The Sparks fell short of their goal last season. They were 1.3 seconds away from advancing to the WNBA finals.(Darn that Sophia Young..lol)! Now they start this season off with a lot SPARKS..ha…Candace Parker aka CP3 aka female MAGIC aka anything you can do I can do better, aka Mrs ESPN the Magazine aka the WNBA’s first female TRUE MARKETERS DREAM..is OUT at the beginning of the season! I do honestly believe the WNBA is “strong” enough to hold on until Candace Parker grace the court again! The pregnancy of Candace came out of no where, but it’s probably the best thing that could have happened to the Sparks as well as the WNBA. This young lady just turned 23 years old and has nowhere but UP to go in her career. I’m not sure when she will get the “motherhood” bug again, but hopefully little Laila will keep her very busy for a minute.

Now the L.A. Sparks will be the favorites to win the WNBA Championship, as they should be. Boasting a lineup of 4 olympians (3 until CP3 return), and a year older Shannon Bobbitt in the backcourt, with a sharp shooter in Betty Lennox (a Finals MVP with Seattle), 1-10 the Sparks have the best team. I know a lot of people want to see Shannon Bobbitt gone this year, but they truly do not respect this young lady for what she brings to this team. She has a mental toughness that’s is hard to find in ANY athelete…unless your name is Kobe Bryant! No I’m not saying that Shannon is as good as KB24 skill wise, but she loves winning as much as he do!So Sparks fans I promise you, just like people questioned Pat Summitt when she brought Shannon into the #1 program in women College Basketball history, to play along side the #1 player in the country at the time in CP3. Whether your point guard can score or not, the most important part is running the offense, and I believe she is ready to do just that. The woman was a rookie last year, give her a break.
After watching the Sparks only preseason game of this season, versus the Conneticut Sun, Sparks fan better be thanking THE LORD for the signing of Tina Thompson!Tina Thompson has not LOST a thing, but maybe speed on the defensive end. She hit 2 three’s in this game in transition, and pulled the guns out. Oh it’s so good to see her in the purple and gold. Lisa was just being Lisa, dominating on the boards, and playing hard all the time. Yet my focus was on the guard play. Noelle Quinn started this game, and was totally INEFFECTIVE! Turnover after turnover she was not able to get the team going on any level. Then I watched Kristi Harrower come into the game, she was steady, and actually did very well, being that she just came into camp like the day before. I could see her and Shannon Bobbitt being the point guards on this team. The shooting guard spot is a win-win! Betty Lennox with no doubt will be starting, and having Marie Ferdinand-Harris or even Marta Fernandez as a backup is great options for the Sparks. The center position to me is a no-brainer, Vanessa Hayden is the backup to Lisa Leslie. The play of Hayden in that preseason game was classic. I love Jessica Moore because she is a hard-working player, and has been with the Sparks for years, but I think for this championship run, and having to trim down the rosters, she will be the odd woman out. Delisha Milton-Jones is the X-factor for this team to possibly be the first team in WNBA histor to go undefeated in the regular season! It’s a mini USA basketball team. Even if Candace Parker comes in and be a “shell” of herself, it only gives this team a greater chance of becoming a dynasty! Lisa Leslie shouldn’t worry at all, as long as this team stays focus, the WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP IS ASSURED!

 

Michael Cooper Keeping Sparks Roster Options Open


Michael Cooper keeping Sparks’ roster options open
6:57 PM, May 22, 2009

Lisa Leslie and her 22-month-old daughter, Lauren Lockwood, pose during a photo session on the Los Angeles Sparks’ basketball media day in Hawthorne, Calif., Wednesday, May 20, 2009. Leslie wants to go out with a bang in the WNBA. The soon-to-be retired All-Star wants a championship and she’s hoping to have teammate Candace Parker back by late June to help her make it happen. After the Sparks’ first week of training camp, Sparks Coach Michael Cooper says “you’re starting to see the clarity in the water a little bit more as far as the type of people we need for our ballclub this year.

“I’m changing lineups obviously to give everybody their best opportunity to show what they can do,” Cooper said. “Just giving everybody their fair chance to assess that properly.”

Cooper maintained he didn’t have a set starting lineup, though he acknowledged the combination of Noelle Quinn, Betty Lennox, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie “is a very good lineup for us.” That unit often played together in Friday’s practice, but players at Wednesday’s media day said Cooper has fielded between five and seven different combinations.

“Obviously with Noelle at the 1 brings us that big 1 that we used to have with Nikki [Teasley] in the years we had our championship,” Cooper said. “Betty is that awesome 2 guard you want to get points in transition as well as out of your set. Both of them can spread the defense. Both are good three-point shooters.”

“D-Nasty (Milton-Jones), you know what she brings at the 3. Tina, we’re seeing more and more of her real value not only to the Houston Comets but to this league with being able to stretch the defense to the NBA [three-point line]. Her tenacity of getting in there and knowing how to win. Smooth [Lisa Leslie] is Smooth. It’s a unique situation to have, but again they say sometimes talent doesn’t win. It has to be brought together right. That’s the coaching’s job. That’s what we’re doing.”

Forward Candace Parker, last season’s most valuable player, gave birth on May 13 to a girl and will miss an undetermined part of the season. Despite the absence, the Sparks are still considered among the preseason favorites to win the WNBA championship this year, a season after falling to the San Antonio Silver Stars last year in the Western Conference finals.

Cooper’s practices mostly entail drills in the morning and scrimmaging in the evening. Because of the WNBA’s rule to cut roster sizes from 13 to 11, Cooper says he’s waiting until June 5 before he’ll decide his complete roster. Silver medalist guard Kristi Harrower hasn’t been at training camp yet, as the Australian native is trying to iron out paperwork upon arrival. Sparks General Manager Penny Toler said through a spokesperson that Harrower is expected to arrive on May 28 or May 29, giving Cooper more reason to keep his options open. The regular season opens June 6 against the Detroit Shock, last year’s WNBA champion.

“In making our team with the 10th or 11th person, they’re not going to impress me a lot by shooting the ball,” said Cooper, who added he plans to rotate nine players each game. “We got people who can shoot the ball. We need people that can get them the basketball and then play defense. Those two attributes will help me a lot as far as determining who’s going to be that 10th or 11th pick.”

Among the players competing for a backcourt position include guard Shannon Bobbitt, guard Marie Ferdinand-Harris and guard Marta Fernandez.

“I think the year overseas definitely helped Bobbitt,” Cooper said. “I think sometimes you just need to play in this league. As a rookie coming out of college, you don’t understand the real significance of being a pro unless you’re playing other pros. It doesn’t help you to play sporadically here or there. So the years she spent in Turkey, it helped her. You can see the maturity that she has.

“Obviously Marie, the year she had last year, was one she would like to have back. I think the fact that shes’s in a right frame of mind. She is looking for that starting spot. So don’t be surprised to see her in the starting position.”

Even though the Sparks have a very loaded frontcourt with four Olympians (including Parker when she returns), Cooper says he’s been impressed with forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton and Ashley Paris. The Sparks selected Wisdom-Hylton (Purdue) in this year’s WNBA draft with its 13th overall pick, while Paris (Oklahoma) was drafted 35th overall in the second round.

Cooper on Wisdom-Hylton: “Active rebounder, real good passer for a big, has that diversity that we like in our bigs in being able to play multiple positions. She showed she can move around to the 3. Five might be out of her realm, but against certain teams she may be able to play the 5 spot.”

Cooper on Paris: “Ashley is a better ball handler than expected. She’s another one that can move out and play multiple positions. I know in college she was mainly just a 4 most of the time. But here she’s probably going to have to put in a little work at the 3. So that’s always a good thing because again the more positions you can play, the more minutes you can spend out on the court.”

Stay tuned for more Sparks coverage.

–Mark Medina

 
 
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