Thursday, July 24, 2008

Looming decisions ...

It's roughly 10 a.m. and there's no word from the league office yet on possible suspensions and fines surrounding Tuesday's Detroit-L.A. brawl. Here are the links to today's story, one more from the Sun's angle and another L.A.'s.

This didn't make the print or online edition, but here's the scout box and some notes for tonight's game.

(1) Lisa Leslie didn't practice Wednesday, sitting out to get treatment on what she described as a sore back, neck and hip suffered during Tuesday's game and ensuing fight. She's called it a game-time decision if she'll play, but it didn't sound serious.

"I'll probably put some padding on," Leslie said.

(2) Much like the Sun (14-10), the Sparks (14-10) have endured a streaky season. A stretch of six wins in seven games in mid- to late-June was replaced by a difficult July, in which they've gone 4-6 and lost four of five before Tuesday's win over Detroit. One of the main problems, coach Michael Cooper said, is Los Angeles has played down to its opponents. The Sparks have beaten teams like Connecticut, Detroit (twice) and Seattle, but have lost to inconsistent teams like Washington, Minnesota and Phoenix.

"Have we underachieved? To some people, we have," Cooper said. "But to us, I think it's gone along those same lines that we knew this was going to be difficult. People looked at us on paper before the season and were like, 'Wow, you should blow everybody away.' That's not going to happen anymore. This league is tough all around. (The Western conference) reminds me of the East early in the '90s, where the East was the toughest conference and separated by a game or two."

Scout Box:
(Note: I didn't include Los Angeles' probable starters because they'll most likely be vastly different than usual.)

7 p.m., today
Mohegan Sun Arena, Mohegan

Records: Connecticut 14-10; Los Angeles 14-10.
Last game: Connecticut beat Chicago, 74-67, on Sunday; Los Angeles won Tuesday at Detroit, 84-81.
Next game: Connecticut plays Sunday at Washington; Los Angeles plays Friday at New York.
TV/Internet: MyTV9, NBA TV/
Series: The Sparks lead the all-time series, 10-7, and took the previous meeting between the two teams this season, 98-93, in overtime on June 13 at the Staples Center. The Sun are 4-3 against Los Angeles at home.
Injuries: Connecticut—Tamika Whitmore (knee injury, questionable). Los Angeles—none reported.
Scouting report: The Sparks are in the midst of a five-game-in-nine-day stretch. Their final six games before the Olympic break were or are all on the road. "I believe the road helps develop the chemistry and the consciousness to help win a championship," Sparks coach Michael Cooper said. "I don't mind being out on the road. I think it brings a lot together for a team trying to win a championship and the road is where it's going to be won. Pat Riley always told us in the '80s, championships are won on the road. If you can get out there and play well on the road, split 50-50 … then when you play at home, it just makes it easier." … Since June 27, Connecticut is shooting 66.2 percent (114-for-172) from the free throw line; it went 9-for-15 in Sunday's win over Chicago. … Lindsay Whalen needs two 3-pointers to pass Adrienne Johnson (88) for fourth on the Sun's career list. Her 25 3s this season are already a career high. … The Sun are holding an 'Olympic send-off' for Thibault, an assistant for the U.S. Olympic team, at tonight's game. The first 4,000 fans at the game receive a complete set of Sun trading cards. ... The Sun announced a 4-for-$40 ticket plan is now on sale for each of the team's final four home games following the Olympic break. Those who buy the package will also receive priority purchase standing for the playoffs. Call 1-877-786-8499 or e-mail for more information.

41 F Kerri Gardin 3.0
15 F Asjha Jones 16.7
00 C Tamika Whitmore 11.7
13 G Lindsay Whalen 15.3
1 G Amber Holt 6.2

Connecticut reserves

22 Barbara Turner 8.2
7 Sandrine Gruda 6.0
33 Jolene Anderson 4.4

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