Posted Jul 8 2008 9:23PM
By Brian Martin, WNBA.com
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson are the only two members of the WNBA's 5,000-Point Club.
Juan Ocampo/NBAE/Getty Images
Lisa Leslie acknowledges the crowd after the game against the San Antonio Silver Stars in which she scored her 5,000th career point at the Staples Center on June 25, 2006.
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images
Tina Thompson, a Comets fan and Comets Owner Hilton Koch celebrate Thompson joining the 5,000-Point Club prior to a Comets game at the Reliant Arena on June 14, 2008.
When the Houston Comets face the Los Angeles Sparks on Wednesday night at STAPLES Center, it will be the first meeting of the WNBA’s exclusive 5,000-Point Club.
The club has only two members – Lisa Leslie of the Sparks and Tina Thompson of the Comets – the two highest scoring players in league history at 5,702 and 5,148 points, respectively.
Leslie opened the 5,000-Point Club on June 25, 2006 with her first basket in a 41-point performance in a win over the San Antonio Silver Stars. Nearly two years to the day later, Leslie opened the 3,000-Rebound Club when she collected the last of her 11 rebounds in an overtime loss to the Washington Mystics on June 26, 2008.
Tina Thompson joined the 5,000-Point Club on June 6, 2008 when she sank a 10-foot jump shot from the baseline in a loss to the New York Liberty.
While Wednesday night's matchup will be the first time they have been on the same court since achieving the WNBA's top scoring milestone, sharing the floor is nothing new for this pair of legends.
The Southern California natives both attended Morningside High School in Inglewood, California, where they were teammates during the 1989-90 season. Leslie's senior season at Morningside was Thompson's freshman season and the pair combined to lead the Monarchs to the 1990 California state championship.
Leslie would go on to star at the University of Southern California and Thompson soon followed as they teamed up again during the 1993-94 season for the Women of Troy. While at USC, Leslie and Thompson were each selected to three All-America teams and finished their careers with 2,414 and 2,248 career points, respectively. Leslie, who was named the Naismith National Player of the Year in 1994, had her jersey retired at USC in 2006.
Leslie and Thompson have been rivals throughout their years in the WNBA, but have teamed up on numerous Western Conference All-Star teams – Leslie is a seven-time All-Star, while Thompson is a five-time All-Star. They have also played together in international competition for USA Basketball and will do so again next month as they were both named to the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympic Basketball Team.
Thompson and Leslie teamed up to win gold medals at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. The medal count would have been higher had it not been for injuries suffered by Thompson, which prevented her from playing for the 1998 and 2002 World Championship teams after being named to each team. Leslie is attempting to capture her fourth gold medal at this year's Olympics, which would match Teresa Edwards for the most gold medals in Olympic play for a women's basketball player.
PHOENIX, July 8 (AP) - Diana Taurasi hit a 3-pointer with 42.6 seconds left, then blocked a shot on the other end to help lift the Phoenix Mercury over the Houston Comets 99-94 Tuesday afternoon.
Taurasi scored 30 points and got into the WNBA record books, reaching 3,000 career points in fewer games than any other player. Taurasi needed 151 games to reach that mark. Seattle's Lauren Jackson held the record, hitting 3,000 in 162 games.
Houston led by as much as 14 in the first half.
Tina Thompson scored 23 points and Sancho Lyttle added 18 points and nine rebounds for the Comets, who had won the last two and eight of 10.
Michelle Snow made a shot in the lane with 54 seconds remaining to give Houston a 90-89 lead, but Tamecka Dixon fouled Cappie Pondexter on the next possession. Pondexter, the league's second-leading scorer, made a free throw but missed the second and Mercury forward LeCoe Willingham grabbed the rebound.
Willingham got the ball to Tangela Smith, who found Taurasi open on the perimeter for a big 3.
Snow went up for a layup on the other end but Taurasi knocked it away, got the loose ball and found Pondexter for a layup. Another Comets' turnover led to a pair of free throws by Kelly Miller with 18 seconds left to give Phoenix a 97-90 lead.
Phoenix went on an 11-2 run after halftime to grab the lead briefly. Dixon scored six points in the final 1:32 of the third quarter to give the Comets a 74-68 advantage going into the final 10 minutes.
Thompson made 9-of-20 from the field, including 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, but had only four points in the second half.
Dixon and Snow each added 14 points for the Comets, and Pondexter had 22 and Smith 17 for the Mercury.
LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Sparks’ WNBA Rookie of the Year candidate Candace Parker came home a winner from the 2008 ESPY Awards.
Parker won the coveted best female athlete award, beating a distinguished list that included golfer Lorena Ochoa, auto racer Danica Patrick and skier Lindsey Vonn.
In the best female college athlete category, Parker was selected over Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher and North Carolina field hockey standout Rachel Dawson.
"I was thrilled when I heard I was nominated for two awards,” Parker said. “It was a huge honor just to be nominated and then to win, it feels great.”
Awards are nothing new for the 22-year-old Parker. Prior to being drafted by the Sparks, she was selected college player of the year after leading Tennessee to its second consecutive NCAA title.
Fans determined the ESPY winners in 37 categories by voting online or with mobile phones. The 16th annual ESPY awards hosted by Justin Timberlake airs on ESPN Sunday, July 20 at 6 p.m. PDT.
Parker is enjoying an outstanding rookie season, having shattered the previous rookie mark of points scored in a debut game with 34 and leading all rookies in scoring average, (18.7), rebounds per game, (9.5), assists per game, (3.8), blocks per game, (2.4) and minutes, (33.9). Parker is also in the top 10 in the WNBA in scoring average, rebounds per game and is second in blocks behind Lisa Leslie.
The Sparks are on the road leading up to the Olympic break, where Parker, along with teammates Lisa Leslie and DeLisha Milton-Jones, will help lead Team USA in pursuit of a gold medal in Beijing.
The Sparks return to Staples Center Thursday, Aug. 28, against the Sacramento Monarchs. For Sparks’ ticket information, call 1-877-44-SPARKS. Tickets also are available by calling 1-877-WNBA-TIX or by visiting either Ticketmaster.com or wnba.com/tickets.
NEW YORK, July 19 (AP) - The Indiana Fever overcame the heat and humidity, and stole the spotlight - under the moonlight - from the New York Liberty in the WNBA's first outdoor game.
On a basketball court laid on top of the tennis court at Arthur Ashe Stadium, Katie Douglas scored nine of her 20 points in the fourth quarter, Tamika Catchings had 15 points and nine rebounds, and the Fever (11-11) beat the Liberty 71-55 on Saturday night.
Catchings believes the weather conditions - the game-time temperature was a steamy 87 degrees - were a factor as the game went on.
"All of us came out with a lot of energy, but eventually that energy ran out and then on top of that you have the heat,'' she said. "We were trying to stay hydrated and with a 20-minute halftime, that did not help.''
What might have helped Indiana is not having a lot of time to dwell on the historic game. The Fever were coming off a tough loss at home to Seattle the night before.
"Definitely, I feel like that could play a role in just not really having to think about it,'' Catchings said. "We had to think about last night's game ... talking about what we didn't do and what we needed to do today as far as we wanted to get back on the winning side.''
Indiana lost three of four coming in, and Douglas also agreed the short turnaround could have helped her team's focus.
"Sometimes everybody gripes about playing back-to-back, but sometimes it's great to get out there and fix those things that went wrong the night before,'' Douglas added. "This is hopefully a turning point for this team. I hope we can really enjoy this, really remember what it feels like and start building on this.''
Catchings was also part of the first outdoor women's college game when Tennessee played Arizona State at Bank One Ballpark, the Arizona Diamondbacks' baseball stadium, on Dec. 27, 2000.
Since opening in 1997, the world's largest outdoor tennis-only venue has been the main stadium for the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. It's where Serena and Venus Williams have won two women's titles each, and Roger Federer the last four men's championships.
For one night, there was a different ball bouncing on the court in the first outdoor regular-season game in professional basketball history - men's or women's.
The game drew 19,393 to the 23,226-seat stadium. The attendance fell short of the team's Garden record of 19,563, achieved three times - the last against Charlotte on Aug. 11, 2002.
Fireworks shot out from the sides outside the stadium before the Liberty's starting lineup was announced, and on the court during the introductions as the players ran on the court.
Janel McCarville had 10 points for New York (12-10), which had won three straight and five of seven coming in.
"It was not the outcome we were expecting,'' Liberty coach Pat Coyle said. "This game was an unbelievable experience. Being the first at playing outdoors and making history is special. That part was terrific. ... I was disappointed for the thing we did and didn't do on the court tonight. Too many things affected us and I am not referring to the outside factors. I mean our play on the court was disappointing.''
Indiana seized control with an 8-0 run midway through the third quarter, taking a 48-34 lead on Ebony Hoffman's jumper with 1:29 to go in the period.
Douglas' fastbreak layup with 7:09 left in the game pushed the Fever's lead to 59-42.
The Liberty followed with two 3s - one from Loree Moore and another by Cathrine Kraayeveld - in a 28-second span to pull within 11, but didn't get any closer.
"I felt like we were a little up and down and we just needed to play a little harder,'' Kraayeveld said. "We've been playing really well and it just didn't come out the way we wanted to tonight.''
Catchings' reverse layup with 2:08 left gave Indiana a 68-49 lead, the Fever's biggest advantage.
Hoffman and Tammy Sutton-Brown added 12 points each for Indiana.
Indiana shot 47 percent (26-for-55) from the field, and held New York to 28 percent (18-for-63).
"It's just a little different being outside,'' Kraayeveld said. "You're not really looking up in the sky or up to the ceiling if you are indoors. We knew we were outside, but we really didn't have that feeling. No matter what, you still have to shoot, you still have to play your game, you can't try to think about it and adjust.''
The Liberty have ventured outside the Garden for home games before, playing six contests at Radio City Music Hall in 2004 while the Republican Convention took over Madison Square Garden.
The NBA's Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in an outdoor preseason game on Sept. 24, 1972, at a baseball stadium in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Suns are set to face the Denver Nuggets in another outdoor preseason game at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, Calif., on Oct. 11.
NEW YORK, July 24, 2008 – In response to the events at Tuesday's game between the Detroit Shock and the Los Angeles Sparks, WNBA President Donna Orender issued the following statement:
"The WNBA and its players represent all that is good about sports: passion, hard work and sacrifice. On a nightly basis our players display extraordinary skill, athleticism and competitive fire. The events Tuesday, however, were inexcusable and in no way indicative of what the league stands for. We hold our players to a very high standard and these suspensions should serve notice that the behavior exhibited at the end of Tuesday’s game will not be tolerated.”
The suspensions follow:
Shock forward Plenette Pierson has been suspended for four games for her actions that initiated and escalated the altercation.
Shock assistant coach Rick Mahorn has been suspended for two games for escalating the altercation.
Shock center Kara Braxton has been suspended for one game for leaving the area of the bench during an on-court altercation.
Shock forward Tasha Humphrey has been suspended for one game for leaving the area of the bench during an on-court altercation.
Shock guard Elaine Powell has been suspended for one game for leaving the area of the bench during an on-court altercation.
Shock forward Sheri Sam has been suspended for one game for leaving the area of the bench during an on-court altercation.
Sparks guard Shannon Bobbitt has been suspended for two games for leaving the area of the bench and becoming physically involved in an on-court altercation.
Sparks guard Murriel Page has been suspended for two games for leaving the area of the bench and becoming physically involved in an on-court altercation.
Sparks center Lisa Leslie has been suspended for one game for throwing a punch.
Sparks forward DeLisha Milton-Jones has been suspended for one game for throwing a punch.
Sparks forward Candace Parker has been suspended for one game for throwing a punch.
As is league policy, in order to enable the Shock and Sparks to dress the minimum number of players (eight) for games affected by the penalties, the dates on which players will begin serving their suspensions will be staggered.
Pierson and Mahorn will begin serving their respective suspensions with tonight's game at Houston. Braxton and Humphrey will serve their suspensions tonight as well. Sam will serve her suspension on July 27, when the Shock hosts San Antonio. Powell is injured and will serve her suspension at a later date after being medically cleared to play.
Bobbitt will begin serving her suspension with tonight’s game at Connecticut. Leslie, Milton-Jones and Parker will serve their suspensions tonight as well. Page will begin serving her suspension on July 25 when the Sparks visit New York.