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Sparks hope to stand heat in Phoenix
By Evan Barnes (Sports Editor)
Published September 23, 2009

REMATCH: Sparks forward Vanessa Hayden takes a shot against Phoenix center Tangela Smith when the teams met on July 9. The teams clash Friday in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals.

Sparks hope to stand heat in Phoenix

WNBA Conference Finals resume Friday


By Evan Barnes

Sentinel Sports Editor


One thing stands between the Sparks and the WNBA Finals – the Phoenix Mercury and their high scoring offense that won three out of four meetings this season.


Friday is Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals down in Phoenix and by Saturday morning, we’ll know for sure if they withstood the heat or wilted under it.


What’s clear is this. This weekend could be the last games of Lisa Leslie’s storied career and the last WNBA game for Michael Cooper who’ll be on the sidelines for the USC women’s team this winter.


It’s that sense of urgency that propelled this team from being in danger of missing the playoffs to playing their best ball of the season. They took advantage of a Seattle Storm missing key parts and save for a mental lapse at the end of Game 2, sent them packing easily toward the offseason.


Candace Parker is playing her best ball of the season and the Sparks have followed her and Leslie’s lead heading into this matchup.


They have to find a way to shut down the 1-2 punch of WNBA scoring leader Diana Taurasi (20.4 ppg) and No. 4 scorer Cappie Pondexter (19.1)? Can their bench contribute enough to match rookie forward and Sixth Woman of the Year Dewanna Bonner?


Enough questions. Game 1 last night has created several to be asked and debated today. Both teams are finally at full strength so there will be no debate on who the best in the West is by the end of this weekend.





Categories: News (Sports)

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