Sparks run down Lynx in star studded season opener
By Gary Montgomery, BVN Staff –
The Los Angeles Sparks tipped off the 15th season of WNBA professional basketball last Friday evening with a 82-74 win over the Minnesota Lynx and the leagues number one draft pick Maya Moore in front of an announced crowd of 13,589 fans.
Los Angeles, one of the League’s most successful franchises and one of only two teams located in a major media market serves as a fitting place for the season opener showcasing their newest and brightest league stars.
Moore, the women’s collegiate player of the year, three time winner of the Wade Trophy and winner of two national championships as a Connecticut Huskies, joins an already talented Lynx squad with Lindsey Whalen, Simone Augustus, Candace Wiggins, Alexis Hornbuckle, Charde Houston all college superstars.
The league’s newly hired president Laurel Richie made her debut and held pregame locker room meetings with each of the teams. “I wanted to let them know that the league is healthy, thanks to them and how important each of them was to the league,” said Ritchie.
“We have incredibly talented young ladies in this league and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with them.”
Ritchie, a marketing and finance professional, has the immediate challenge of securing sponsorship and growing league revenues in one of the most competitive sports markets ever. Ritchie has an abundance of young stars to work with. At no time in its history has the WNBA had more young stars than it does today.
“I was amazed, she new every player in the locker-room by name,” said Sparks Head Coach Jennifer.
After moving the game time back an extra hour to deliver the game to a national television audience, the WNBA’s 15th season got underway with a very unusual rousing ovation for the visiting team’s best player, Maya Moore.
With all of the excitement over Maya, the Sparks had to feel a little overshadowed. Led now by Candace Parker, the Sparks are re-establishing their identity. Parker is joined by veterans DeLisha Milton- Jones, Tina Thompson, Ticha Penicheiro and Noelle Quinn in the starting lineup.
Moore scored 21 points to lead all scorers in her first professional game, but the Lynx couldn’t hold off a late rally by the Sparks. The Lynx have lost eight straight games to the Sparks and have not beaten them since 2009.
After giving up a 10-point early lead, the Lynx lead 43-37 at the end of the first half. Los Angeles took a slim lead in third outscoring the Lynx 24- 14 during the period. The fourth quarter belonged to the Los Angeles. Lead by the hot shooting of Noelle Quinn, the Sparks outscored the Lynx 23- 17 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
Sparks leading Scorer Candace Parker had 19 points and 10 rebounds. The WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, Tina Thompson had 15 points.
Noelle Quinn had 11 points and DeLisha Milton added 8 points.
“I thought we came out defensive minded in the second half and that was the difference in the game. I have been trying to get that though to them for two weeks. We know we can score but we have to be able to stop people,” said Coach Gilliam.
G. Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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