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Candace Parker couldn’t shake Lauren Jackson on defense. Aaron Last/Storm Photos
Jackson Leads Storm Defense


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Kevin Pelton, | May 17, 2010

On a night where shots weren’t falling, defense carried the Seattle Storm to an 81-67 Opening Night victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. The Storm held the Sparks to 36.8 percent shooting, forced 22 turnovers and rebounded all those missed shots, surrendering just five offensive boards. Perhaps the most important part of the defensive effort was the way the Storm contained 2008 MVP Candace Parker. Fresh off a 24-point, 12-rebound effort in L.A.’s opening game at Phoenix, Parker was limited to 10 points. She shot 4-of-11 from the field and turned the ball over five times. Defending Parker was a team effort, but Storm counterpart Lauren Jackson‘s ability to defend Parker one-on-one was key to making that work.
“Candace Parker’s a great player,” Storm Head Coach Brian Agler said after the game. “There is absolutely no question about it. Lauren Jackson’s defense tonight was unbelievable. Unbelievable. We have some people who can stay in plays with Candace. A lot of teams don’t have that, so they have to gimmick and do different things to defend her, go to zones and things like that. I’m sure there will be games Candace will have big games against us. But Lauren really did a great job. I told her that afterward.”
The Storm began the game double-teaming Parker in the post, but with the Sparks knocking down five three-pointers in the first 12 minutes of the game, that strategy could not continue.
“What they did to us early is they threw it to her, then we’d go help to her and they’d kick out and hit shots,” explained Agler. “So we had to adjust from just totally going into help to cat and mouse – not giving her a good read of whether we were going to come or stay with shooters.”
That put more pressure on Jackson to handle Parker without the benefit of help. She responded well – despite the fact that she admitted she still wasn’t sure how to stop Parker, whom she called “a great player.”
“I don’t know what I was trying to do,” Jackson said. “I didn’t really have a plan or anything. I knew she was going to score. I guess it was just my 29 years on this Earth.”
Los Angeles Head Coach Jennifer Gillom also cited Jackson’s veteran savvy as key to the matchup.

“That’s why she’s on our roster. That was very important for us.”
Aaron Last/Storm Photos

“I think Lauren has a little bit more experience over Candace and she probably knows how to defend her,” noted Gillom. “With them being the same size it definitely helps her as well. Yeah, I thought she played her pretty tough, but all that’s going to do is get Candace better. “

Editor Note: We all know that Lauren Jackson is the most happy that Lisa Leslie has decided to retire. Lisa robbed her of gold medal, after gold medal, after gold medal. She was also her obstacle from being called the greatest in the league. Sort of like, Kobe/Lebron. Well now Lauren is trying to use her “veteranship” to impose her will on Candace Parker…and it’s time for Candace to let her know, that’s not going to happen. Candace is more than able to take over a game…and sometimes I wonder if having great players like Tina, and Delisha don’t sometime hinder Candace from truly being great. I say that because she doesn’t DEMAND the ball, like say she would when she was in college, or become aggressive on both ends of the court. I know that Tina or Delisha have no problem with allowing Candace to be great, and now Candace simply just have to BE GREAT!

Oh and everybody already know, I am first a LadyVol for life, and I’ve been a Sparks fan since inception, so all I expect is championships. Loving Candace Parker is a no-brainer, but it’s time to put this team on your back…demand the ball, jut your jaw out like Kobe, TAKEOVER…the Sparks are 0-2, it’s time to go now.


Los Angeles Sparks Shannon Bobbitt…CROSSOVER



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Swish Appeal WNBA Mock Draft v 1.0: Balancing Impact & Upside

Even after what most people considered a "down" year for  Stanford University center Jayne Appel, her passing ability in the post  remains an asset to WNBA teams. (Photo by Craig Bennett/112575 Media)

Even after what most people considered a “down” year for Stanford University center Jayne Appel, her passing ability in the post remains an asset to WNBA teams. (Photo by Craig Bennett/112575 Media)

It may seem obvious, but it might as well be said again because inevitably some people either ignore it or refuse to accept it: drafting is not a science.
Nevertheless, fans will either cheer or complain when their team makes a pick assuming to know more than the general managers that have watched 100s of hours more of one prospect than the average fan sees of the entire field of prospects, not to mention actually talking to the players and getting to know them beyond the recycled words of the media. And even then, the “experts” will be proven wrong.
Nobody can really claim to know how these draft things will actually turn out 3-5 years down the road.
For the WNBA, the situation may be even more difficult this season — with rosters being cut to 11 drafting becomes even more difficult, especially in what analysts consider a “weak” draft. Whereas NBA teams will often draft players on potential and keep them as projects — perhaps even fetishizing potential at times — there is simply less room for that in the WNBA this season.
“There is less room, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said Chicago Sky coach and general manager Steven Key in an interview with Swish Appeal yesterday. “Although we lost a team in Sacramento I think what its done is cause even greater parity. We went down from 13 players down to 11. The cap room came down and everything else. I just think it evens out because it will make the product a lot better…It’s just hard that some people aren’t going to get in in this situation — not being about to have that 12th or 13th person that you see how in a couple if they get and they grow possibly turning into a regular or starter on your team. So on one side it’s good that you’re going to get more talent overall when you only get 11, but on the other side you know that you definitely won’t get an opportunity that much or that often, unless you have a team where 5 or 6 people are eating up the majority of your cap and you need some of the younger players in order to fit under the cap.
“There could be a situation — and I’m sure some teams will look at it that way — where that’s going to be how they carry that extra person in order to see if a couple of years from now whether or not they pan out.”


This dilemma of balancing impact and “upside” could affect this draft as early as when Key has to make a selection at #4. After the top 3 or 4 players, there are a number of players with promising strengths and successful college careers that also have noticeable flaws. From talking to general managers this off-season, the 2010 WNBA draft will involve a delicate balancing act of talent, need, and potential – there are very few clear cut picks.
So after conversations with coaches, the WNBA pre-draft media conference, statistical analysis, and watching far too much basketball, here is my first attempt at a mock draft. Although the draft itself and the ensuing player development is quite unpredictable, we can take stock of player strengths and weaknesses to get a sense of what a player might offer a WNBA team. The following is my current assessment of the draft, with explanations for each pick below.
WNBA First Round Mock Draft as of March 31, 2010
1. Connecticut Sun: Tina Charles, center, University of Connecticut
2. Minnesota Lynx: Jayne Appel, center, Stanford University
3. Minnesota Lynx: Monica Wright, guard, University of Virginia
4. Chicago Sky: Epiphanny Prince, guard, Botas-Spor/Rutgers
5. San Antonio Silver Stars: Alysha Clark, forward, Middle Tennessee State University
6. Washington Mystics: Kelsey Griffin, forward, University of Nebraska
7. Tulsa Shock: Andrea Riley, guard, Oklahoma State University
8. Los Angeles Sparks: Allison Hightower, guard, Louisiana State University
9. Atlanta Dream: Jenna Smith, power forward/center, University of Illinois
10. Seattle Storm: Alison Lacey, point guard, Iowa State
11. Indiana Fever: Kalana Greene, guard, University of Connecticut
12. Los Angeles Sparks: Jacinta Monroe, center, Florida State University



Marion Jones Press Conference with Tulsa Shock

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Posted by on March 11, 2010 in marion jones, tulsa shock, wnba


Marion Jones to the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock

Sprinter Jones to join Tulsa Shock

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The WNBA’s Tulsa Shock will hold a news conference Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET to announce the signing of former track star Marion Jones.
Jones worked out for Shock coach Nolan Richardson last Saturday.
Jones was stripped of five medals she won in the 2000 Summer Olympics after she admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs prior to the Summer Games.
She was given a six-month prison sentence after she admitted lying to federal prosecutors.
Now, at age 34 and after giving birth to her third child just eight months ago, Jones is attempting an athletic comeback — this time in basketball.
Jones has not played basketball since leaving North Carolina in 1997, choosing instead to concentrate on her track career. But as a freshman point guard with the Tar Heels, she helped UNC win a national title in 1994.
Jones was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in 2003.

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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in marion jones, tulsa shock, wnba


Diana Taurasi Cited for DUI

Associated Press

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mercury star Diana Taurasi said Friday that she’s embarrassed after being cited for drunken driving a few hours after she helped lead her team to victory over the Seattle Storm.

An officer stopped Taurasi early Thursday for speeding, police spokesman Luis Samudio said. The officer smelled alcohol and gave the player several field sobriety tests, according to a police statement.

Taurasi, the WNBA’s leading fan vote-getter for the July 25 All-Star game, was then driven to a mobile DUI van, where she gave a blood sample, then was cited and released. Authorities did not know her blood alcohol content.

The team said Friday that Taurasi notified the club immediately but would not comment further until it knows more of what happened.

But after Friday’s practice, Taurasi told reporters that her DUI citation was “just something that’s embarrassing and unfortunate for my family and the organization.”

Taurasi said she couldn’t comment on the specifics of the incident because it was a legal matter “but personally, I’m going to have to do some things to make it straight.”

The former Connecticut star said she plans on playing in the Mercury’s next game Sunday night in Los Angeles.

Taurasi scored 22 points and blocked four shots Wednesday night in the Mercury’s 93-81 win over the Storm.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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Posted by on July 5, 2009 in diana, drunk, dui, mercury, phoenix, taurasi, wnba


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.



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!



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’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 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 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.

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