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Paging LA Sparks Olympians(We Need Bullies)

SparksNation holla at ya girl! That was a hard “pill” to swallow last night. It took me about 2hours to “begin” to shake it off, and yet I still have not succeeded! I can tell you one thing I am though, mad. I’m ready to see my team impose their will on this Storm team. Let’s be clear, I’m not crazy…I know that they have some good players on their team, but the leading scorer is out, the lil general is their (Sue Bird), but these “role” players are treating our olympians with no respect.

 Now this was the pick that sent me over the edge last night! You see that elbow in Candace’s rib cage, Ashley Robinson is the “bully” for this Storm team, and last night she had her way. She was pushing, shoving, and carving out space all night long for her fellow teammates. We all know that 1 on 1, Swin Cash cannot do anything but shoot jumpers against Candace Parker, but with picks like that she at the rim. All I want to know is, where are my players at? Tina stays intense, but the rest of the team letting things go! I want bullies!
Lisa Leslie this is your FINAL year donning the Sparks logo (the team you built), we need you now more than ever. I have seen you for 12yrs have your way on the opponent, and Batkovic-Brown will not “cost” you to a title or send you to early retirement. Remember anything less than being in the finals is an early retirement. Get her out of the paint, and Ashley Robinson want’s to be a bully, show the youngster how it’s done.
Delisha Milton-Jones I am CALLING YOU OUT. I have watched you score relentlessly in Washington, and we all know your defensive skills. But last night I saw something from you that I never thought I would see: We up by 1, and you “allow” Camille Little to make a “non-contested” lay up?! I just knew you were going to darn knock her head off if you had too, sending her to the line, but you “gave” her the basket. Even Tina was swinging at her, she just missed. Now I know we got a lot of “new” fans because Candace Parker joined the team, but I know your “name and I know your worth” and last night, that just wasn’t it! When you step on that court tomorrow, I hope I see “D NASTY”…Sunshine can come out when the clock hit’s 00.00!
Honestly, I really don’t have anything to say about the way Tina played last night! We all know that if she was coming off the bench, she would have been 6th woman of the year. She definitely get’s my “iron woman” award. She leads the team in minutes played, and “SWAG LEVEL RAISED”…so I hope everyone else will feed off of that. I think this is the problem we run into with all these Superstars on this team…no one has been established as the go to player. This is the playoffs, nominate the player, and let’s do this!
Now for the reigning MVP…Candace “R U Serious” Parker! We need you to let GO! It’s time for a “R U Serious” moment! For those who may not know what i’m talking about,R U Serious (1:15) mark. I know it was 2yrs ago, but what I’m talking about is the fire she had in her eyes. I know everyone trying to stay “humble” on this team, but we need that from Candace. This will be her team after Lisa leaves, and their is no time like the present for her to assert herself. Candace when you have Swin Cash taking you to the block, and scoring, it’s time to reach down deep and do your thang! I know Swin is a good player, but have you seen how she looks when Candace is coming at her 1 on 1, like a deer in headlights (check the pic above). Let’s be clear, their is not one player in the league, that’s not on The Sparks team, who can check Candace one on one. Now with that being said, she has great assist skills, so people keep moving, she will get you the ball.
On Sunday, I want to see the olympians get it in! It’s time to impose “our” will on the Storm. I’m not looking “past” them by no means…cause just from looking at the regular season matchups we knew that the match up will be intense. I only hope that Michael Cooper will play the “match ups and the hot hand”…Betty Lennox has to be on the floor, she is the best rebounding guard we have. Oh and Ashley Robinson, thanks for waking up the “bullies.”
 

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

 

Tina officially signs with the LA Sparks!!!!

Sparks Sign Olympian & WNBA Veteran Tina Thompson
E-mail photo
NBAE/Getty Images/Johnny Vy
The Los Angeles Sparks announced today that they have signed WNBA veteran, two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA Champion Tina Thompson.

Thompson has spent her entire 12-year WNBA career with the Houston Comets leading them to the first four WNBA Championships in league history. Averaging 16.3 points and 6.7 rebounds for her career, Thompson had another stellar season in 2008, in which she won her second Olympic gold medal in Beijing and led the Comets in scoring (18.1 ppg) and rebounding (6.9 rpg).

“We are ecstatic about adding a player of Tina’s caliber and talent to our roster,” said Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper. “She can dominate on both ends of the floor and will be an integral piece of the puzzle as we look to win another Championship.”

A five-time All-Star and MVP of the 2000 All-Star game, Thompson has been named to the All-WNBA First Team three times (1997, 1998, 2004) and the All-WNBA Second Team five times (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007). Ranking second on the WNBA all-time scoring list, she surpassed the 5,000 point mark on June 5, 2008 and now has 5,424 career points.

“I’m excited to be back in Los Angeles because it’s home,” said Tina Thompson. “I’ve been away from home for a long time and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to play in front of my family and friends again. This is where basketball started for me.”

Originally selected #1 overall in the inaugural WNBA Draft by the Houston Comets in 1997, Thompson has become one of the faces of the WNBA and a legend in her own right. Thompson has averaged double figures in points in each of her 12 WNBA seasons as well as averaged 12.8 ppg over five All-Star game appearances. In 2008, she ranked in the top 10 in the WNBA in 13 categories including 1st in minutes/game, 5th in points/game and 6th in defensive rebounds/game.

A native of Los Angeles, CA, Thompson played high-school basketball at Morningside High before playing four years at the University of Southern California where she was selected to the 1997 Kodak District VIII All-American Team as well as the All Pac-10 First Team. She finished her career as the Pac-10’s third leading scorer (2,248), second leading rebounder (1,168) and was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1994.

With the signing of Thompson, the Sparks become the first team to have four Olympians on their roster. The Sparks current roster owns nine Olympic gold medals, four WNBA MVP awards, the first 6 WNBA Championships and 21 All-Star selections.

“I’ve always been a big fan of Tina’s going back to her days here at USC,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “She’s a great woman on and off the court, at the same time a great mother as well. With her championship experience down in Houston, she has what it takes to help Lisa, Coop and the Sparks bring a championship back to L.A. And, I am honored that she will be wearing my old #32 in the purple and gold.”

Thompson will wear #32, in honor of Johnson, when the Sparks open the 2009 WNBA season on June 6th at the STAPLES Center against the Defending WNBA Champion Detroit Shock at 11:30am. For information on how you can secure your Sparks season tickets call 877-44-SPARKS or visit http://www.lasparks.com.

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2009 in LESLIE, Lisa, Sparks, Thompson, Tina, wnba

 

TINA THOMPSON SIGNS WITH THE LA SPARKS

Tina Thompson to play for Sparks
Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times
Lisa Leslie, left, and Tina Thompson embrace after the gold-medal triumph in the Athens Olympics.
WNBA’s No. 2 all-time scorer will fill a gap created by Candace Parker’s absence.
By Lisa Dillman
March 12, 2009
Tina Thompson, the WNBA’s second all-time leading scorer behind Lisa Leslie, is coming home to play for the Sparks.

The team is expected to formalize the signing of the free-agent forward with a news conference in Los Angeles on Thursday. Though the move was widely expected, Thompson’s presence will fill the large opening created by the absence of Candace Parker to start the season. Parker is expecting her first child and will miss an undetermined portion of the season.

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Thompson has almost come full circle, as she’ll join forces with her fellow Olympian and former antagonist, Leslie. Thompson followed Leslie to high school at Inglewood Morningside, a freshman during Leslie’s senior season, and again to USC.

And now she will do it again, playing with Leslie in what will be Leslie’s final WNBA season.

Thompson became an unrestricted free agent when the Houston Comets folded. She was a cornerstone of the dynasty there, winning four WNBA titles, playing in seven All-Star games and became only one of three players to score 5,000 points in the league.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2009 in CANDACE, LESLIE, Lisa, Sparks, Thompson, Tina

 

Olympians Leslie/Thompson Reuniting?

Olympians Tina Thompson and Lisa Leslie reuniting?
Current mood: happy
Category: Blogging

TTLL.jpgWord is former Houston forward Tina Thompson (pictured far right by The Los Angeles Times) is close to finalizing an agreement to play with Los Angeles, choosing the Sparks over the Phoenix Mercury. There is a press conference scheduled for today, but I’m told that the Thompson announcement will most likely be later in the week.

Today is supposedly all about Lisa Leslie (also pictured right) announcing that she’ll retire after this season. Her playing along side Thompson almost brings together the full Olympic frontcourt that won gold in Beijing when you include Candace Parker, who plans to return from her first pregnancy this season, and DeLisha Milton-Jones. (C Sylvia Fowles plays for Chicago) The reuniting also goes a little old-school, when Thompson and Leslie played together briefly at USC, winning the Pac-10 championship in 1993-94 when Thompson was a freshman and Leslie was a senior.
And it’ll it probably feel as good. Leslie, 36, is on her way out but LA GM Penny Toler is taking a page out of Storm coach/GM Brian Agler’s book with all the glitzy news this offseason. Landing the six-time All-Star in Thompson plus securing Leslie while Parker is out and coupling them with trade-pickup Vanessa Hayden on the bench has championship moves written all over it. Only Toler is doing it with younger players.
The Sparks still could use backcourt help. Temeka Johnson had a rough season in 2008, which was probably due to her grandmother’s death. The woman raised the pint-sized point guard. If Johnson can return to her 2006 season as a Spark and Shannon Bobbitt has learned from her rookie bumps, Diana Taurasi can go ahead and repeat that LA should never lose a game.
It all makes you wonder what’s going on in Seattle. It’s good that Sheryl Swoopes plans to stick around after being cut, but Agler needs to move quick on securing quality frontcourt help for F Camille Little if the Storm is going to get past the Sparks — or anyone else. And PG Sue Bird can’t average 38 minutes and make it through what appears to be a harsh postseason. The Storm needs Lauren Jackson and Janell Burse along with Yolanda Griffith just to stay afloat, it seems.
Yet, it’s still early. Thompson’s name isn’t on the dotted line and people predicted either one of these teams to win the title last summer. And look what happened — congratulations Detroit.

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2009 in Lelsie, Lisa, Sparks, Thompson, Tina

 
 
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