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!"
July 11, 2008 6:21 PM
Posted by Jayda Evans
Los Angeles coach Michael Cooper was rushed to a local Seattle hospital this evening after suffering a flare-up with a herniated disk in his lower back.
The Sparks arrived today and Cooper traveled with the team to the Storm's training facility for practice. But toward the beginning of the session, he felt a sharp pain in his side. He was taken to a hospital because the last time he felt a similar pain, he needed surgery. No more information was given on his condition.
Assistant coach Marianne Stanley conducted the remainder of practice and the Sparks were a lively bunch. Candace Parker and Lisa Leslie teamed for finally shooting to end the session then Parker had to give seven phone interviews.
The Sparks lost to Sacramento on Thursday in the second of a back-to-back set. Leslie said her team played 34 minutes of good basketball then just gave the game away.
Meanwhile the Storm is reporting everyone healthy and star Lauren Jackson left to spend the remainder of the afternoon packing for Beijing. She leaves Sunday for a small vacation in the states, then will leave for her native Australia on July 17. Her national team is going to a retreat together then Jackson will have a few days with family before leaving for the Games.
July 11, 2008 12:47 PM
Posted by Jayda Evans
What irks me about these types of league-generated stories is the omission of intangibles seen in games that should really be considered when selecting top awards like MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.
About 50 percent of 240 people that clicked on the link by this afternoon actually said rookie Candace Parker should be the league MVP at this point. Say what? Parker is an incredible player. And when she's done -- barring any major injuries -- she'll have turned this game on its head. But she's nothing beyond an MVP consideration at this point.
Parker is way too inconsistent, following up a 40-point night with 14 in a loss to Sacramento on Thursday. She's scored in double figures in every game this season, the low being 10.
If we're being fair, Lisa Leslie is the Sparks' rep for MVP at this point. She's steady as ever, despite a year off due to giving birth to her first child. Leslie is averaging 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds, although she's had two dud games, too, including a seven-point night against the Monarchs.
I asked broadcaster Adia Barnes about her pick at this point and she thinks Lauren Jackson. "Of course I'm going to be biased," she said. "But they're winning [five games in a row] and that started when Lauren turned her game around." Barnes believes Parker should be considered but that she "overshadows" Leslie, the real pick.
Jackson picks Diana Taurasi, but they're buds, so I'm putting that on a friendship selection.
I'm wondering where Connecticut forward Asjha Jones' name is in all of this.
As of this moment, Jones is my pick for MVP. Did you see the way she worked over Jackson in the Sun's win at KeyArena? Jones is averaging 16.9 points and 6.1 boards this season, shooting 49.8 percent from the field with 2.0 assists.
Teammate Lindsay Whalen has a better efficiency rating than Jones, but Jones is always there to hit a key basket to help win a game. The Sun is 13-7 because of both, but I'm picking the finisher over the passer in this case.
Of course Jackson is also on my list with Tina Thompson (Houston) and Denna Nolan (Detroit), yet how the Storm performs for the five games without their star is also a factor.
It's an interesting race because at this point in the season, no one has clearly separated themselves from the pack. At this point last summer, Jackson already had five games scoring 30 point of more, winning the Player of the Week honor for the first week of July 2007.
She ranks third in scoring behind leading scorer Taurasi (23.8) and Cappie Pondexter (Phoenix), neither of which can be an MVP in my book because they're currently outside the playoff race at 9-10. Yet, Minnesota is also 9-10, so anything can still happen.
And it'll certainly be cleared up by the time play resumes after the Olympic Games because someone will start playing out of their mind to nab their team a coveted playoff spot.
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