(1st in West)
2499 (2nd overall, 1st in West)
2432 (13th overall, 7th in West)
+2.0 (5th overall, 4th in West)
100.6 (4th overall, 2nd in West)
96.8 (6th overall, 4th in West)
Possessions per 40 min.
72.0 (2nd overall, 1st in West)
What are these stats?
Award Winners & Honorees
All-WNBA, First Team
All-WNBA, Second Team
2003 Draft Recap
Rd. 2 – 27, Schuye LaRue
Rd. 3 – 42, Mary Jo Noon
Five out of seven years
2003, Lost in WNBA Finals
2003 In Review:
What Went Right?
The Los Angeles Sparks posted the best record in the West for the fourth consecutive season and almost pulled off a three-peat falling to the Detroit Shock in three of the best playoff games the WNBA has ever seen.
Second-year point guard Nikki Teasley
became the first player in WNBA history to average at least 10 points (11.5), 5.0 rebounds (5.1) and 5.0 assists (6.3) in a season. She also was named the MVP of the 2004 WNBA All-Star Game and finished the year ranked third in the league in three-point field goal percentage (42.4).
Once Lisa Leslie returned from her midseason injury, the Sparks got things on track again, and entered the playoffs as one of the hottest teams in the league riding a five-game winning streak. Despite missing 11 games, Leslie was still one of the best players in the world when healthy, and she might have been looking at another MVP award had she not been injured.
What Went Wrong?
A number of Los Angeles’ starters missed action due to injury on the year – Leslie (11 games), Tamecka Dixon (4), DeLisha Milton-Jones (3) and Mwadi Mabika (2) – which caused the Sparks to drop seven of ten games in the middle of the season, costing them home court advantage in the WNBA Finals.
The Sparks’ depth in the post, once one of its primary strengths, disappeared last season as the team released Latasha Byears and Rhonda Mapp was suspended by the league. The team was left to rely on the likes of a 39-year-old Jennifer Gillom, Vanessa Nygaard, Lynn Pride and Jenny Mowe.
Los Angeles’ offense has declined in each of the past two seasons from a league-high 107.1 points per 100 possessions in 2001 to 103.2 in 2003 to 100.6 a year ago.
| Michael Cooper|
|2003 Starting Line-up|
|Key 2003 Reserves|
|G||Teresa Weatherspoon (FA)|
Looking Ahead To 2004:
Can Los Angeles win back the title? The early returns aren’t good what with Milton-Jones lost for at least some of the season with a torn ACL suffered during offseason training with the USA Olympic Team USA
Can Sparks General Manager Penny Toler rebuild the team’s bench? Former New York Liberty point guard Teresa Weatherspoon signed with the Sparks during the offseason as did a number of other journeyman WNBA players and international unknowns. With Milton-Jones possibly out for the entire season, some of these bench players will have to play major roles in 2004.
Can Jackie Stiles come back from her injuries? A series of wrist and foot ailments beset the 2001 Rookie of the Year in her second WNBA season. After averaging 14.9 points and connecting on 43.1 percent of her three-pointers during her freshman season, Stiles played just 382 minutes in 2002, averaging 6.0 points and connecting on 34.1 percent of her three-pointers. Once again, with the injury to Milton-Jones, a healthy Stiles could be of paramount importance to the Sparks.