Last years to the wire WNBA Finals between the reigning champion Los Angeles Sparks and the then defending one the Minnesota Lynx ended with a clutch, game and series winning basket. This years rematch between the two teams by the end of the fourth quarter began the same way.
But this time it was reigning WNBA Finals MVP Candace Parker siren screaming in woman of the moment Chelsea Gray’s ear, as her L.A. teammate’s last second shot at the buzzer sparked Los Angeles’ other purple and gold team over the Minnesota Lynx. As they sealed Game 1 with a big escape out of Minny, 85-84.
14 seconds and a shade under 2 seconds was all Gray needed to put the game and the series advantage away for a finals that will determine who the real great WNBA champion truly is. Expect this one to go the distance too between these two evenly matched teams as the Sparks 28-2 advantage in the first quarter (shadowed by another Gray three) and 78-66 one in the fourth was erased to a next basket wins end of the final quarter and first finals game.
“All athletes dream of that moment” Chelsea told reporters afterwards as she capped off a career high 27 points with the greatest moment of her WNBA conception. Doing what fellow L.A. Spark Alana Beard did at STAPLES in Game 1 of last years WNBA Finals versus the Lynx. These razor edge close shaves really keep mirroring each other and if this is the case then things are looking good for the Sparks on reflection.
Superstar leader Candace Parker added a double/double of 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Sparks, whilst Sylvia Fowles of the Lynx played with her own 22 and 13. But it was Maya Moore who paced Minnesota with 27 points as the Lynx turned a 26 point deficit to an 84-83 advantage with 6.5 on the clock remaining.
Despite foul trouble against Fowles and co, Los Angeles WNBA MVP of last season Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points against the Lynx along with Odyssey Sims’ 16. Whilst Minnesota’s Simone Augustus countered with 19 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists against the Sparks in a contest for a series that proves to be an evenly matched, balanced attack.
But there was a subplot to this storied rivals next episode as these WNBA players responded to President Donald Trump’s call for the NFL to fire players who don’t stand for the national anthem and his refusal to invite the NBA champion Golden State Warriors to the White House following Steph Curry’s decision not to attend the traditional victory visit. As the Lynx players linked arms at home for the ‘Star Spangled Banner’, the Sparks road team left the floor only to return to a chorus of boo’s before they made another silencing statement.
And this is only the beginning.
Sister Act. Ogwumike Siblings Spark Hollywood Reunion In Los Angeles
It’s a family affair in Hollywood.
‘Mike check, 1…2, 1…2. Chiney Ogwumike has gone from the Connecticut Sun to a Californian one to reunite with Stanford sister Nneka.
And in an instant the Candace Parker Sparks have plugged themselves in to this year’s favourite to be the HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER, ‘Captain Marvel’ of the WNBA.
The Sparks are now illuminated by this former scorching Sun star, her former MVP sister, Candace, Point Goddess Chelsea Gray and hot clutch shooter Alana Beard. And that’s just for starters, before we get to the splinters that will stick in you from the bolstered bench. Or their seventh seal in this year’s draft, the Baylor made star Kalani Brown.
Looks like Laker legend and new coach Derek Fisher-no stranger to the closing seconds of the game himself-has a lot to light up from his sideline fuse.
The Sparks gave up a first round draft pick from next year’s 2020 lottery to get this former number one pick in the 2014 pick of players and it was well worth every spot. Chiney is a star in her prime now, whilst her sister Nneka is a veteran legend. Combine the two of them together on the same squad like their Stanford college alumni days and you have a one, two punch like the Sparks had in the legendary Lisa Leslie days alongside Candace Parker. Except the Los Angeles Sparks still have Parker. One of the best players in the league right now and for all time, giving them an even better big-three and superteam then they’ve ever had in their purple and gold coronation.
This is beautiful for a game that is all about family. From the Grant one to the Lopez twin peaks. Even sons inheriting the skills of their father from Gary Payton II to Tim Hardaway Jnr. To what’s to come from Bol Bol, Shareef O’Neal (let’s make this special and get him drafted to pops Lake Show) and Bronny.
Oh yeah and the Ball boys.
But nothing is quite as special as these sisters doing it for themselves and each other on the Lakers sister squad that now stands as its own in STAPLES like the California clashing Clippers.
After becoming Rookie of the Year, Chiney suffered through knee and Achilles injuries whilst playing in China which stunted her seasons. But in the last one this low post threat, bullied back in the paint with a 14 point average and half of that in rebounds with seven. Expect those stats that would be the perfect compliment to Candace and big sis to only improve anyway. As will the perimeter presence of the likes of All Star point Gray and Beard trimming down those shots from downtown Pico.
Peek at your 2019 WNBA champions. Because the best of the best Skylar Diggings-Smith and Breanna Stewart will join the legendary likes of Diana Taurasi and Maya Moore missing the majority if not in most cases all the forthcoming season. Which is such a shame, even if there is so much more talent on display in this expect great league. But with Storm’s weathered in Seattle and Dallas Wings clipped, these Sparks with the Fish that saved L.A. in charge are showing like in the Michael Cooper days they are more than just a legendary name plugged into their head coaching seat.
The stand for one of the best leagues in the greatest game and it’s next generation starts now.
Watch them make way and lead the charge in their game, their way.
And worthy of a Hollywood story, but a real household one, these sisters are each other keepers.
Canada’s Bridget Carleton selected 21st overall WNBA Draft
“Number 21 — went number 21, maybe there is a little karma there.”
Canadian Bridget Carleton (Chatham, Ont.) was selected 21st overall (2nd round,9th pick) by the Connecticut Sun at the 2019 WNBA Draft.
Carleton concluded arguably the best season by a Canadian woman at the NCAA division one level — culminating a spectacular career as the best small forward in the country earning the recipient of the 2019 Cheryl Miller award and Big 12 player of the year award — a first for a Cyclones player and a Canadian.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be drafted by the Connecticut Sun,” Carleton said. ” They have a great franchise and an amazing coaching staff. I can’t wait to get there, soak it all in and work as hard as I can. I am looking forward to starting this chapter of my basketball career.” —
In four years with Cyclones the 6’1″ guard racked-up almost every accolade possible, including consecutive unanimous all-Big 12
Consistent throughout her NCAA collegiate career, Carleton averaged a career-best 21.4 points per game, alongside 8.6 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks while improving her already impressive shooting numbers to 46.3% from field, 37% from three-pointers and 85.4 the foul-line.
Starting in 121 out of a possible 124 games for Iowa State, Carleton came-up eight-points shy of the school’s all-time scoring mark with 2142 points — failing to score under 19 points in a game just once in the
If it all goes according to plan, Iowa State could become the first NCAA school to have multiple Canadians selected in the WNBA and NBA drafts’ in the same year.
Both Marial Shayok (Ottawa) and Lindell Wigginton (Nova Scotia) who played crucial in the Cyclones men’s basketball program also declared in for the 2019 NBA Draft and strong cases for being selected in second-round.
Carleton’s selection marks the fifth straight year a Canadian has been drafted into the world’s best professional basketball league. Kia Nurke (2018) Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe (2017), Adut Bulgak (2016), Ruth Hamblin (2016), Nirra Fields (2016), Natalie Anchonwa (2015)
Lastly, she is the first Canadian to be drafted out of the Big 12 since Canada’s highest WNBA pick — Stacey Dales out of the Oklahoma Sooners went third overall to the Washington Mystics back in 2002.