WNBA News and Notes August 28

WNBA News and Notes August 28

Sparks ready to renew push for the playoffs

WNBA gets back to action after Olympic break and L.A. aims to reach the postseason.

Meanwhile, back in the WNBA . . .

As the league tries to re-build momentum after the Olympic hiatus, a few dormant questions have sprung back to life.

Who will emerge atop the Eastern Conference, where the New York Liberty and Detroit Shock trail first-place Connecticut by half a game with 2 1/2 weeks remaining? Can the San Antonio Silver Stars continue to hold off injury-riddled Seattle in the West?

And what about the Sparks? Will they begin playing like the front-runners many envisioned, or continue to cement themselves as one of the league's all-time biggest underachievers? Penny Toler, general manager of the Sparks, believes she has the answer to the final question.

"This team will make the playoffs," she said.

The Sparks, a preseason pick by a majority of general managers to win the WNBA title, find themselves in the middle of a jam-packed Western Conference, where all seven teams remain in the hunt for one of four playoff berths.

With seven games left, six against conference rivals, the Sparks (15-12) are tied for third place with Sacramento, their opponent tonight at Staples Center. "We're about to be in a dogfight," Toler said.

The Sparks appear to have the toughest remaining schedule, including two games against San Antonio (18-9) and another against Seattle (17-9), although the Storm will be without defending most valuable player Lauren Jackson, who is scheduled to undergo ankle surgery.

The biggest hurdle could be fatigue. The Sparks were the only team to send three players to the Beijing Olympics, where the team's front line of Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker and DeLisha Milton-Jones helped the U.S. win gold last weekend. Leslie turned 36 this summer, Parker has been playing non-stop for the last 12 months -- the last five with a separated shoulder -- and Milton-Jones is dealing with a bothersome Achilles tendon.



"We've just got to keep moving," Leslie said.

The Sparks won 10 of their first 13 games. Leslie quickly reverted to form after sitting out last season to have a baby, and Parker made an impressive rookie debut, nearly compiling a triple-double in her first game and later joining Leslie as the only player to dunk in a WNBA game.

However, in late June against visiting Washington, the Sparks blew a seven-point lead in the last 33 seconds and lost in overtime, 77-74. The Sparks tumbled to a 5-8 record over the next month.

Sparks Coach Michael Cooper spent much of the Olympic break working the supporting cast into shape. They went through a series of strenuous practices, and several players are noticeably thinner.

"A lot of players are hurting now, but you can see their body's changing and they're toning up and getting in better basketball shape," Cooper said.

The Sparks did suffer one setback during the break. Christi Thomas, a reserve forward, injured her left knee and had season-ending surgery last week. To fill her spot, the Sparks signed 7-foot-2 center Margo Dydek of Poland, a 10-year WNBA veteran who gave birth to her first child in April.

"If we want to get to the playoffs and we want to go further than that and win the championship, it's all on us," Cooper said

latimes.com

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Re: WNBA News and Notes August 28

CONNECTICUT (16 - 10) at INDIANA (12 - 14) - 8/28/2008, 7:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
CONNECTICUT is 4-11 ATS (-8.1 Units) vs. division opponents this season.
CONNECTICUT is 67-43 ATS (+19.7 Units) in road games since 1997.
CONNECTICUT is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) in road games in August or September games since 1997.
INDIANA is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) after allowing 75 points or more this season.
INDIANA is 1-9 ATS (-8.9 Units) after scoring 75 points or more this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHICAGO (8 - 17) at NEW YORK (15 - 10) - 8/28/2008, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
NEW YORK is 14-2 ATS (+11.8 Units) when playing with 3 or more days rest over the last 2 seasons.
NEW YORK is 20-7 ATS (+12.3 Units) after allowing 75 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 14-4 ATS (+9.6 Units) as a road underdog of 6.5 to 9 points over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSTON (14 - 12) at SEATTLE (17 - 9) - 8/28/2008, 10:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
SEATTLE is 24-14 ATS (+8.6 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
SEATTLE is 6-0 ATS (+6.0 Units) as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points this season.
SEATTLE is 11-3 ATS (+7.7 Units) in home games this season.
SEATTLE is 7-1 ATS (+5.9 Units) in home games vs. division opponents this season.
SEATTLE is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
HOUSTON is 228-171 ATS (+39.9 Units) in all games since 1997.
HOUSTON is 37-18 ATS (+17.2 Units) on Thursday since 1997.
HOUSTON is 23-13 ATS (+8.7 Units) vs. division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
HOUSTON is 67-37 ATS (+26.3 Units) after 3 or more consecutive wins since 1997.
HOUSTON is 18-9 ATS (+8.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SAN ANTONIO (18 - 9) at PHOENIX (12 - 15) - 8/28/2008, 10:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
SAN ANTONIO is 1-7 ATS (-6.7 Units) in road games vs. division opponents this season.
SAN ANTONIO is 4-12 ATS (-9.2 Units) after a win by 10 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
SAN ANTONIO is 7-17 ATS (-11.7 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 77+ points/game after 15+ games over the last 3 seasons.
SAN ANTONIO is 8-17 ATS (-10.7 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 77+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
PHOENIX is 112-82 ATS (+21.8 Units) in home games since 1997.
PHOENIX is 40-19 ATS (+19.1 Units) in home games in August or September games since 1997.
PHOENIX is 4-11 ATS (-8.1 Units) vs. division opponents this season.
PHOENIX is 8-16 ATS (-9.6 Units) after scoring 75 points or more this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

SACRAMENTO (15 - 12) at LOS ANGELES (15 - 12) - 8/28/2008, 10:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
SACRAMENTO is 27-47 ATS (-24.7 Units) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points since 1997.
LOS ANGELES is 11-4 ATS (+6.6 Units) revenging a loss versus opponent this season.
LOS ANGELES is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
SACRAMENTO is 37-25 ATS (+9.5 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
SACRAMENTO is 45-26 ATS (+16.4 Units) on Thursday since 1997.
SACRAMENTO is 21-8 ATS (+12.2 Units) after allowing 75 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 0-6 ATS (-6.6 Units) on Thursday this season.
LOS ANGELES is 0-6 ATS (-6.6 Units) off an upset win as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 9-20 ATS (-13.0 Units) after scoring 75 points or more over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

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Trend Sheet

7:00 PM CONNECTICUT vs. INDIANA
Connecticut is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games when playing on the road against Indiana
Connecticut is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games when playing on the road against Indiana
Indiana is 4-12 ATS in its last 16 games
Indiana is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games


7:30 PM CHICAGO vs. NEW YORK
Chicago is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Chicago is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road
New York is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home
New York is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home


10:00 PM HOUSTON vs. SEATTLE
Houston is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Seattle
Houston is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games when playing Seattle
Seattle is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
Seattle is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home


10:00 PM SAN ANTONIO vs. PHOENIX
San Antonio is 6-11-1 ATS in its last 18 games when playing Phoenix
San Antonio is 5-13 SU in its last 18 games when playing Phoenix
Phoenix is 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against San Antonio
Phoenix is 9-4 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against San Antonio


10:30 PM SACRAMENTO vs. LOS ANGELES
Sacramento is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Los Angeles
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Sacramento's last 11 games when playing Los Angeles
Los Angeles is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Sacramento
Los Angeles is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Sacramento

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Re: WNBA News and Notes August 28

INDIAN COWBOY'S WNBA DAILY RESEARCH

Conn. vs. Indiana


Indiana beat this team 81-74 at home and previously had beaten this team when Conn was injured, 76-43, Conn has won 3 in a row including a 22 point win at Washington and beating the Sparks by 26 at home, Indiana comes off a big win on the road at Phoenix, as they won outright as 7 point dogs, this is a game that Conn can win outright though with revenge, hence, the small chalk.

Chicago vs. New York

Chicago covered all 3 games between these 2 teams last year, this is the first time they meet this year, Chicago lost to Houston by 14 and San Antonio by 11 losing both road covers of late, they had covered 5 previously including on the road at Conn and Detroit, New York has won 6 of 7 straight up, 8 points is about right for this ballgame, I wouldn't be surprised to see Chicago cover this game as that would be my lean, but not an ideal play here.

San Antonio vs. Phoenix

Phoenix is 12-16, if they want any hopes at a playoff spot, they need to get their act together and fast at that. They are at home playing SA today, they are actually 2 point dogs, the majority of the public are backing Phoenix at home as still Taurasi carries wait despite this team being sub .500, San Antonio beat this team by 12 on the road the last ballgame, they also beat them at home too as well, the Silver Stars come off a big 12 point win over Detroit on the road while Phoenix is coming off a home loss to Indiana in which they were favored by 7, if anything, conventional wisdom would say a team does not lose to another 3 games in a row especially in a competitive series, but I just don't trust Phoenix.

Houston vs. Seattle

The line here opened up at -1 and quickly jumped to -4 where it sits now, Swin Cash is listed as questionable due to her back for this game, Seattle is 13-1 at home while Houston is 3-10 on the road, and yet the small spread, Houston has won 5 in a row at home, their last 5 ballgame,s and has lost 3 in a row on the road however, as per this game, despite injuries the lean on Seattle, although an eeriliy low opening spread given that Seattle is at home.

Sacramento vs. Los Angeles

You can never predict what the Sparks have in store. However, the public blindly takes them along for the ride as they are a 2:1 favorite today, Sacramento beat this team by 18 last time around, so this is a revenge game for the Sparks, however, Sacramento typically does well off a loss, granted, this a loss after the summer break for the Olympics, but a loss nonetheless, Sac did win 5 in a row before that loss to Seattle on the road, the Sparks to their credit did win on the road at Minny outright in their last ballgame, the Sparks are the public favorite here, but I given the pounding they took at the hands of Sac last time, I can see them doing well tonight.

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