The Los Angeles Sparks helped the San Antonio Stars enter the postseason when they defeated the Minnesota Lynx last night at the Staples Center. Before Friday, the Lynx and the Silver Stars were tied for fourth place in the Western Conference, the lowest position needed to gain a playoff berth. Los Angeles is in third place, Seattle holds the second place spot and the Phoenix Mercury are first in the West and the league.
Minnesota was eliminated from contention and missed making the playoffs for the fifth straight year.
Los Angeles travels to Seattle for their first playoff game Wednesday, Sept. 16.
In the last game of her professional career, Lisa Leslie, a 13 year veteran of the WNBA led her team in the 90-61 win over Minnesota with 19 points. Leslie, 37, announced her retirement in February.
The pregame festivities for the retiring legend included speeches, gifts and appearances from luminaries such as Magic Johnson and her USA Basketball teammate and women’s basketball legend Dawn Staley. Celebrities in attendance included Wanda Sykes and Janina Gavankar.
The Silver Stars (15-18) play their final home game tonight against Seattle Storm (19-14) who end their season on the road in San Antonio.
The Storm will be without All-Stars Lauren Jackson (back injury), Swin Cash (attending a family funeral) and possibly Sue Bird (neck injury) who is a game-time decision. Reserve Katie Gearlds is also out with a knee injury.
Seattle recently signed A’Quonesia Franklin and La’Tangela Atkinson to end-of-regular season contracts to help the injury-depleted squad cope with the absence of key players.
The Silver Stars face the Mercury Thursday Sept. 13 at home for the first of a three-game series. The second two games will be played in Phoenix. Playoff tickets for Thursday go on sale Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m at all TicketMaster locations, online at SASilverStars.com, at the AT&T Center Box Office and by phone at (210) 444.5090. Ticket prices start at $5.
Notes: Also on Friday, Erika DeSouza had 15 points and 15 rebounds to help the Atlanta Dream (18-15) clinch their first ever playoff berth with a 88-64 win over the Connecticut Sun (15-18). Angel McCoughtry had a game-high 18 points and Sancho Lyttle scored 16 for the Dream. The Sun were eliminated from playoff contention.