Wednesday, September 23, 2020

On the Beat With the Los Angeles Sparks 09/17/20

This is a few days late, but the WNBA and Athletes Unlimited is giving me lots of content all at once. In a couple weeks, when both seasons end, I'll be wishing for stuff to cover.
The Los Angeles Sparks finished the WNBA regular season with a record of 15-7 good for 3rd place in the Western Conference. The Sparks were also the three seed in the playoffs due to the WNBA ranking by overall record regardless of the conference.
After a first game bye, the Sparks faced the Connecticut Sun in a single elimination game in the second round of the playoffs. The Sun had beaten the Chicago Sky 94-81 to advance. The Sun was the seventh seed based on their 10-12 record, although they had finished in second place of the Eastern Conference.
Last Thursday, the Sun defeated the Sparks 73-59. It wasn't a shocking outcome, but it was a bit of an upset by the Sun.
After the game, Coach Derek Fisher talked about the game, the season and the team. Obviously disappointed in the loss and exit from the playoffs, Fisher remained positive and praised his team for all that was accomplished this season.
In the playoff loss, Candace Parker played 40 minutes, scoring 22 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, dishing five assists and and blocking two shots. That's a very impressive stat line, even for one of the greats of the game.
The first pick in the 2008 WNBA draft, Parker has played her entire 13 year career with the Sparks. She's a two-time MVP and a five-time All-Star. She has been an All-WNBA 1st or 2nd team selection eight times.
Like Coach Fisher, Parker was disappointed, but remained positive about the season. Parker got a bit reflective, discussing moments from her career. She addressed the issue of possibly leaving the Sparks, but did not commit either way. From her tone and her history, this reporter thinks Parker is staying in Los Angeles for te duration of her career.
The Sparks ended their season with a disappointing loss, but like all other teams in the WNBA, nothing will diminish all that was accomplished during this season. The Sparks should be right in the thick of it again next season, especially if Parker is still part of the core. 
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