(1st in West)
(1st overall, 1st in West)
2361 (10th overall, 6th
+3.9 (2nd overall, 2nd in West)
Winners & Honorees
Lisa Leslie, First Team
Teasley, Second Team
2005 WNBA MVP
Player of the Year
2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 -
12, Christi Thomas
Rd. 2 - 25, Doneeka Hodges
out of eight years
2004, Lost in First Round
What Went Right?
Another year, another
20-win season for the Sparks, who paced the WNBA with 25 wins, marking their sixth
straight season with more than 20 wins. Since the beginning of the 1999 season,
the Sparks are an astounding 150-46 (.765) with two WNBA championships.
Los Angeles has enjoyed astonishing continuity during their reign as the
WNBA's best team. Lisa Leslie
, Mwadi Mabika
and Tamecka Dixon
have played together
for all eight seasons of the WNBA's existence. DeLisha Milton-Jones joined that
trio prior to the 1999 season, and the results have been explosive.
the leading scorer in WNBA history, won her second MVP award. The league's leader
in rebounds (9.9) and blocks (2.88), Leslie also earned All-WNBA and Defensive
Player of the Year honors. She was the league's third leading scorer (17.6 ppg),
she led the league in double-doubles (17) and posted a rare WNBA triple-double
with 29 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks on September 9 vs. Detroit.
(14.4 ppg), Milton-Jones (9.8) and Dixon (9.7) all enjoyed their usual productive
seasons, as did third-year point guard Nikki Teasley, who scored 9.9 ppg and averaged
a league-leading 6.1 apg. She was named to the All-WNBA Second Team.
Christi Thomas looks like a keeper. The 6-3 forward stepped in for an injured
Milton-Jones and averaged 9.5 points and 6.4 rebounds over the final eight games
of the regular season.
The Sparks season had everything in 2004 except a
In early July, Head Coach Michael Cooper accepted an assistant
coach position with the Denver Nuggets. Assistants Karleen Thompson and Ryan Weisenberg
took over and shared the reins, leading the team to an 11-3 finish.
suffered a season-ending injury on July 9, ending her season after only 19 games.
The front-court depth took another hit when Laura Macchi returned to her native
Italy over the Olympic break and wasn't available until the team's final playoff
game vs. Sacramento.
The Monarchs matched up well with the Sparks and had
an axe to grind, having been eliminated by the Sparks in the Conference Finals
in 2001 and 2003. Furthermore, they were the only team to beat Los Angeles twice
during the regular season.
Sacramento's Yolanda Griffith and company neutralized
Leslie, holding the MVP to 11.3 ppg in Sacramento's unlikely 2-1 series win. In
the decisive third game, the Sparks suffered their worst home loss of the season,
a 73-58 lashing that put a surprising end to an otherwise outstanding season.
It marked the first time the Sparks had ever lost a first-round series.
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Nikki Teasley
F- Mwadi Mabika
F- DeLisha Milton-Jones
C- Lisa Leslie
Ahead To 2005:
Four the first time in four seasons, the Sparks will have to pencil a
new name in the starting lineup. The Sparks made the biggest splash of the offseason
when they traded Milton-Jones and their first-round pick to Washington in exchange
for Chamique Holdsclaw
. Will the former Mystics star be able to overcome her battle
with depression with a fresh start in Los Angeles?
How much will Milton-Jones
be missed? Thomas showed she could step up her game last year, but is she ready
to do it on a full-time basis in her second season? Even if she can pick up the
slack offensively, can she bring the defense like her predecessor?
who will be in charge of making that decision? The team has yet to name a head
coach for what has to be the league's most-coveted job. Whoever that person is
will have the task of maintaining the closest thing to dynasty that exists in
team sports, and a tandem of Leslie/Holdsclaw that rivals Seattle's combo of Sue
Bird and Lauren Jackson as the most talented duo in the WNBA.