Hoopism Game Report: Silver Stars vs. Sparks, 86-77
Preseason: San Antonio Silver Stars vs. Los Angeles Sparks
Arena: The Pyramid at Long Beach State, Long Beach, CA
Officials: #15 Scott Twardoski , #43 Brenda Pantoja , #13 Cameron Inouye
LONG BEACH, Calif. â€” The Sparks started out strongly enough. They built a ten-point lead mid-way into the first quarter, largely on the strength of play of Delisha Milton-Jones, who just returned to town, and Marie Ferdinand-Harris. Milton-Jones, in particular, was on fire to start. Then the first five: Ticha Penicheiro, Noelle Quinn, Rashidat Junaid, Milton-Jones and Ferdinand-Harris – were switched out for Betty Lennox, Tina Thompson, Bianca Thomas, Andrea Riley and Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton. The momentum changed.
Riley held her own against Stars veteran Helen Darling, and had one brilliant steal and drive for the bucket where she got fouled. But San Antonio began boxing out and they slowly crawled back. A crazy Darling three-pointer at the buzzer tied it at 25.
The second quarter saw Shannon Bobbitt, Long Beach State’s own Karina Figueroa, and Ieesha Mohommed for the first time. Milton-Jones and Quinn filled the other two spots. Bobbitt started self-destructing again, picking up two quick fouls and committing two turnovers. When she got the second foul, Coach Jennifer Gillom looked like she was going to flip out. But then Bobbitt redeemed herself when she stole the ball, drove and got fouled. The Sparks were ahead 37-30 at the 6:05 mark, but again, they let their opponents back into the game by standing around and not boxing out. At the end of the second, Stars players were able to get three rebounds in a row and they tied it up at 43 for the break.
The Stars lead by one for most of the third quarter; whenever the Sparks would score, they answered. The Los Angeles defense was horrible. There was one play where a Silver Star stole the ball, and everyone just stood there and watched her take it to the rack. Members of the audience behind me were saying, “are you going to roll out a red carpet for them too?” and the like. To think that last season it seemed like all the Sparks had was defense, and now this year maybe all we have is offense? Craziness. Bobbitt also had another coast-to-coast drive to the bucket for the and-one….more on that shortly.
Going into the last quarter with the Silver Stars ahead 62-59, the score stayed there for almost two minutes before Milton-Jones unleashed a three. There were some beautiful moments. My favorite was Penicheiro’s dish to Milton-Jones from the top of the key, then her sweep to the right wing to take the ball back when Milton-Jones was locked down on D. Penicheiro drove to the hoop, and as her defender swooped in on her, she dished to Junaid in the center of the key, who swished it in.
I love watching veterans.
But the Sparks let them pull away, and a five-point San Antonio lead at 2:06 ballooned to the nine-point win that it was. Ferdinand-Harris lead the Sparks with 13 points, while Milton-Jones had 11 and Quinn added 10. Belinda Snell was the high-scorer for the Stars, with 17, and Edwige Lawson-Wade put up 15.
- I was impressed with Riley. Some have liked to characterize her as a loose cannon, but I didn’t see any indication of that today. She was aggressive, but she never looked out of control. With some more work, she’d be an excellent back up to Penicheiro.
- Mohommed scored the most quiet six points I’ve ever seen.
- Figueroa wasn’t as impressive as she was in the Sparks’ practice the other night.
- Junaid has potential, but she’s slow getting up the court.
- Bobbitt should really stop the biceps-flexing and gloating after her coast-to-coasts. It’s embarrassing.
- Why didn’t Candace Parker play? She wore street clothes today. I had been so looking forward to her debut. She was so thin I didn’t recognize her at first. All those pictures from Russia, where it seemed like she didn’t have an ounce of body fat on her, were no lie.
- The Sparks are loaded, no doubt about it. I just hope that this coach can utilize that talent to the fullest more so than the last coach.
The Sparks huddle immediately before tipoff.
Originally posted at Sue Favor’s Blog: They’re Playing Basketball.