LOS ANGELES-As the NBA season winds down, the WNBA season is gearing up. That mean more hoops for basketball junkies. It also means another possible run towards a championship for the Sparks, something that evaded the team last season.
The Los Angeles Sparks got bounced out of the WNBA playoffs earlier than they expected last season. Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Suns ended the Sparks’ titles hopes prematurely last season in the first round. The Sparks, with coach Carol Ross leading the way again this season, is looking to go much deeper in the postseason.
Ross and her team will get together again with the Mercury on Sunday, May 18 at Staples Center in the Sparks’s season home-opener. On paper, it looks like the game game should be a doozy as Griner and Taurasi lead the way against the talented front line of the Sparks, which includes last season’s MVP Candace Parker.
Parker had a monster season last year in winning the second MVP award of her young pro career. Unfortunately for Parker and the Sparks, the Mercury put an end to the story season with a deciding 2-1 playoff series win. Parker and her teammates seems revved up for the season to get started. Parker won’t be traveling this 2014 season journey alone. She has plenty of backup.
Stalwart point guard Lindsey Harding will be a lot more comfortable running Ross’ offense in her second season with the team. Shooting guard Kristi Toliver spaces the floor well and gives the Sparks a perimeter threat every time she touches the ball. Forward Nneka Ogwumike is certainly capable of taking over games. In fact, it’s not too far-fetched to see that Ogwumike has the ability to turn into an MVP candidate of her own.
Ogwumike could very well be the best player on the Sparks roster this season, which is loaded with lots of talent. Jantel Lavender can back up both Parker and Ogwumike and should be a steadying force in the paint. Guard Alana Beard gives the Sparks’ backcourt plenty of depth. Candace Wiggins and Armintie Herrington bolster the Sparks’ already deep bench.
Having already dispatched the Chinese National Women’s Olympic team and the Seattle Storm in preseason warm-up tests, the Sparks’ defense will be key in their success during the regular season. The Sparks can score with anyone in the league with their offensive talent. But the defensive-minded Ross will have her team in a defensive kind of mood this season.
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. A news and sports reporter, Dennis has written about social justice, civil rights, education, politics, and crime. He also covers the NFL, NBA, MLB as well as other sports. Based in Southern California, Dennis earned a journalism degree with a minor in criminal justice from Howard University. The real HU!!