Today in the WNBA: August 30, 2008

By Josh Cohen

Aug. 30, 2008: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Today in the WNBA Archive

For the first time in franchise history on Saturday, three Indiana players, including Tammy Sutton-Brown (21 points), scored 20 or more in the same game. Tamika Catchings (23) and Katie Douglas (21) also eclipsed the mark.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
A Rivalry That Generates Sparks and Brings Out Stars

Sparks Edge Silver Stars in West Showdown: It may be the best, most exciting hoops rivalry in the United States, if not the world. If a pack of golden retrievers from Los Angeles clashed with a cluster of german shepherds from San Antonio in a friendly game of doggy basketball, it would be must-watch television. How awesome would that be, by the way? For the past decade, nonetheless, we have seen superlative playoff showdowns between the Lakers and Spurs in the NBA. And now, the rivalry is a part of the WNBA, too. It showed on Saturday as Lisa Leslie registered 18 points and 12 rebounds and fellow gold medalist Candace Parker added 17 and 15 to help the Sparks overcome a late five-point deficit and knock the Silver Stars out of first place with a defensive-minded victory. The idle Storm moved up to the top spot out West, while the Sparks remained in third place. If L.A. and San Antonio do end up playing each other in the playoffs, which is a strong possibility, expect an intense and physical series.

Predicting Can Be a Bad Habit: Itís nearly impossible to predict sports outcomes correctly 100 percent of the time. Sure, if you follow a sport religiously, you have a better chance than those who donít. But nobody has a Magic 8-Ball for a mind, so if you do happen to get it all right, you are a very lucky person. In fact, if I were to survey 1,000 people before this season had started, it would be close to a miracle if anyone correctly forecast how the Western Conference standings would finish up. Of course the season isnít over yet, but would you have predicted the Mercury to finish last and the Monarchs to qualify for the playoffs? As of right now, this would be true as Sacramento coasted past Houston to increase its chances of advancing to the postseason for the sixth straight year. With Minnesotaís win over Washington, meanwhile, it amplified the possibility that Phoenix goes from first to worst in the West in back-to-back seasons.
"One night you win and you're in the playoffs and the next one you lose and you're not. That's how tight it is in the West."

-- Comets coach Karleen Thompson, talking about the ever-changing playoff picture in the Western Conference following her team's loss on Saturday.

Alana Beard, Mystics
27 pts, 10-18 FG, 2-5 3-pt FG
92-78 loss at Lynx

Tamika Catchings, Fever
23 pts, 7-13 FG, 4-6 3-pt FG
87-72 win vs. Dream

Betty Lennox, Dream
27 pts, 10-15 FG, 2-3 3-pt FG
87-72 loss at Fever

Sophia Young, Silver Stars
1-10 FG, 8 pts
58-53 loss at Sparks

Monique Currie, Mystics
2-11 FG, 0-1 3-pt FG, 11 pts
92-78 loss at Lynx

Ticha Penicheiro, Monarchs
0-3 FG, 0 pts
80-65 win vs. Comets

Sunday's Games ...

  • Seattle at Connecticut, 1 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Detroit at Chicago, 6 p.m. ET
  • Bird

    ďUh-oh.Ē Thatís what opponents of Tamika Catchings are saying to themselves as they try to defend her these days. For more than a month after she returned from a torn Achilles tendon in her right foot, Catchings wasnít her normal self. Her rhythm was off, in fact. But now, after a very efficient Olympic run in Beijing, Catchings appears to be ready to lead the Fever to the postseason. Her 23 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks on Saturday helped Indiana cruise past Atlanta and open up a 2.5-game lead over idle Chicago for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. For all you daring competitors out there who have to guard Catchings the rest of the way, good luck!
    Assuming Candace Parker wins the 2008 Rookie of the Year award, it will be the fourth straight year and sixth all-time in WNBA history that a player from the SEC earned the honor.Trivia: Who is the only SEC player that won WNBA ROTY honors but didnít play at either Tennessee or LSU? You can get the bonus point if you can answer with the school she played for. Answer. Nevertheless, even if somehow Parker doesnít get crowned, it is possible that the prize will still be given to a former SEC standout. Nicky Anosike, for example, who was CP3ís teammate at Tenn., has had an outstanding first year and helped guide Minnesota past Washington on Saturday. Her current teammate and ex-Pac-10 superstar Candice Wiggins, who scored 22, would love to steer the ROTY award in a different direction.