LA Sparks Poised to Return to Glory
With College basketball over and done it’s time to look at the WNBA season. Of the 12 teams that comprise the WNBA, the LA Sparks (LA Lakers sister team) continues to be the most dynamic team of them all. They hold two national titles (2001 & 2002), 3 conference titles, made 10 playoff appearances in 13 seasons, and rank 1st in all time win percentage (.626).
With College basketball over and done it’s time to look at the WNBA season. Of the 12 teams that comprise the WNBA, the LA Sparks (LA Lakers sister team) continues to be the most dynamic team of them all.
They hold two national titles (2001 & 2002), 3 conference titles, made 10 playoff appearances in 13 seasons, and rank 1st in all time win percentage (.626).
And, if things couldn’t get any better for the franchise, the fan base seems to be increasing by the thousands. The Sparks currently have over 4000 fans on Facebook and Twitter, and have finished in the top 3 in league attendance every year since the WNBA’s inception in 1997. In fact, the average attendance for the 2009 season broke the 10,000 mark for the first time since the 2004 campaign.
Besides wins, the team has also given back to the community with their many philanthropic efforts. To name a few (only a few), they have raised money for the Women’s Care Cottage, the Gay and Lesbian Center and they teamed up with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for their 5th annual 5K Run and Friendship Walk to raise funds and awareness for ovarian cancer.
Competitively speaking, if the Sparks are Superwomen, only the Houston Comets can be considered their kryptonite. The Comets defeated the Sparks in the conference finals (1999, 2000) to advance to the Championship, and they lead the league in championships (4).
Also, there will be one player noticeably absent from the starting lineup this season, Lisa Leslie. Leslie, LA native, Sparks headliner since 1997, and arguably the most recognizable face in all of women’s sports, announced her retirement at the end of last season. Her dedication to the league’s success, as well as her contribution to the winning record of her home town team will be sorely missed.
But don’t worry Sparks fans; Candace Parker is ready to step into the role as the new face of the franchise. Parker leads the team in points per game (13.1) and rebounds (9.8), and currently ranks second in assists (2.6) behind Noelle Quinn. She was the first player in WNBA history to be named Rookie of the Year and WNBA MVP in the same season, and also received the 2009 Peak Performer Award for rebounds.
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The team’s 5 starters are expected to consist of Parker, Quinn, Delisha Milton-Jones, Tina Thompson and newly signed Ticha Penicheiro. Penicherio joined the squad this month and is widely regarded as one of the greatest point guards in the history of the WNBA. The current roster boasts 5 all-stars and has won 8 WNBA Championships, things are definitely looking up.
Even better news is that the popularity of the league seems to be soaring. There is talk of possible expansion cities, including San Francisco, Baltimore, Nashville, Toronto and Denver. And in 2008, merchandise sales were up more than 36%, with two Sparks players, Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie leading the way in shirt sales.
Their 2010 regular season kicks off on May 15 in Seattle. But before their debut on ESPN 2, the ladies in Gold will be competing against the Chinese National team on May 1 at San Diego’s Viejas Arena. The second (and last) preseason game is set for May 8 at The Pyramid in Long Beach. The first home game of the season will be on May 28 versus the Washington Mystics.
Make sure to buy your tickets now because 2010 is shaping up to be one memorable season!
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