The Los Angeles Sparks began the season with a big win. Betty Lennox had a double-double (17 points and 10 rebounds) in her first game with the Sparks. She spent last season with the Atlanta Dream which won only four games in its inaugural year. Another Sparks first-timer yet league veteran Tina Thompson led all scorers with 18 points.
Early on in the game, Detroit forward Plenette Pierson took a hard fall after getting entangled with Thompson. She landed on an injured shoulder and left the game. Detroit, already missing post players Cheryl Ford and Kara Braxton, will have to figure out a game plan when they face the Los Angeles again on Monday on the Shock’s home court. Ford is out with recovering ACL surgery until the third or fourth game. Braxton is serving a six-game suspension for an off-season guilty plea to a DUI.
During the preseason, Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer indicated that he was not worried about player injuries but he may be rethinking that assessment after today’s game. Veteran Deanna Nolan, Katie Smith and Taj McWilliams-Franklin will probably be expected to ramp it in upcoming games.
Notes: The televised halftime featured a segment on women’s basketball pioneer Nera White….Detroit made ten turnovers in the first half….Los Angles backup center Vanessa Hayden was 6 of 6 for 12 points….Lisa Leslie had a slow start, with two travels in the first half and finished with just six points and three rebounds. Her daughter upstaged her in a post-game interview with a cheer of “Go Sparks” and then breaking out into song.