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Women's Hoops Blog

Jayda Evans covers college and pro women's basketball. While its her first year on the Washington beat, she has covered the Storm since its inception. She'll offer observations, critiques, occasional off-beat tales and answers to select e-mail inquires. Evans also has written a book on the Storm and women's hoops, called "Game On!"

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July 6, 2007 9:18 AM

Hello playoffs?

Posted by Jayda Evans

The WNBA is just hitting the halfway mark, but with the latest news out of L.A., the current standings may be your four Western Conference representatives for the postseason.

Sparks coach Michael Cooper is saying he doesn't want reigning MVP Lisa Leslie to rush back after delivering her first child in June just to be half the player she was. L.A. lost 57-56 to Indiana on Thursday, scoring less points than hotdogs eaten (66-63) in a New York contest on the Fourth. But even before the miserable game, Coop had glimpses into a dark second half, apparently.

Sitting below the Storm at 7-10, Coop insisting Leslie not return could be the best thing for Seattle (9-7). It can continue with its inconsistent play and always be buoyed by L.A., Minnesota (5-12), and Houston (4-12), who don't seem to have the pieces or are too young to make a serious run at the final playoff slot. The Storm also has a chance to improve on its fourth-place position. Only 1 1/2 games separate Seattle from first-place Sacramento (11-6).

Yet, while Coop sounds convincing, I still say Leslie will return. The pull might not be the postseason, but her national team desires. Team USA has yet to qualify for the 2008 Olympics and, according to Leslie's mother, the three-time Olympian wants to be in China beating Australia for gold. Leslie can train all she wants at home, but the best game action is the WNBA. Especially if she wants to join the national team for its attempt to qualify for the Games in Chile in September.

In other Sparks news, former Storm center Tye'sha Fluker was signed by L.A. on Thursday. A native of Pasadena, Calif., I'm sure she's happy to be back home and in the league. Fluker was cut by Seattle on Monday to make room for PG Shona Thorburn, who's providing backup while Sue Bird has knee surgery.

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