WNBA News and Notes Monday 6/8

WNBA News and Notes Monday 6/8

Monday's Best WNBA Bet
By COVERS.com STAFF

Los Angeles Sparks at Detroit Shock (Pick, 144)

The Detroit Shock are the WNBA's reigning champions, but a loaded Los Angeles Sparks club figures to be perhaps their greatest threat to defending their title.

One game in, it's hard to imagine the Shock threatening the Sparks.

Los Angeles looked dominant in its blowout of Detroit in the league's season opener, but the Shock will get a chance to redeem themselves Monday night when the teams complete a home-and home set at The Palace.

Detroit claimed its third championship last season with a three-game sweep of San Antonio, but it was the team that the Silver Stars beat in the Western Conference finals that had the busiest offseason.

The Sparks added stars Tina Thompson and Betty Lennox via free agency to a team that already boasted 2008 MVP Candace Parker and three-time MVP Lisa Leslie.

Parker is out until July after giving birth last month and Leslie had just six points as Los Angeles hosted Detroit on Saturday in each team's season opener, but the Sparks' new additions shined. Thompson had 18 points while Lennox added 17 points and 10 rebounds as Los Angeles blew out the Shock 78-58.

"It's great," Leslie said. "We have a lot of weapons and I think it's going to be like an orchestra - any given night anybody's going to have a solo and Tina and Betty have played well all training camp. ... I just hope to join them."

Though the final margin wasn't close, the game wasn't without some intrigue. Detroit's Plenette Pierson got tangled up with Thompson in the second quarter and it appeared Thompson threw the Shock guard down. Pierson left clutching her already injured right shoulder and coach Bill Laimbeer wasn't happy.

"You can't intentionally pull them over your back and injure them, that's not good," Laimbeer said. "They targeted Plenette today and that's unfortunate. Tina did it on purpose. She had her and she took advantage of her."

Pierson was also at the center of a memorable altercation with Los Angeles the last time the Shock and Sparks met at The Palace. On July 21, she got tangled with Parker underneath the basket and a fight ensued. Pierson, Detroit assistant Rick Mahorn and nine others were suspended for their roles in the altercation.

Shock forward Cheryl Ford tore her ACL while trying to restrain a teammate in the Sparks' 84-81 win and hasn't played since. She's expected to miss Monday's game before likely making her return.

In addition to the absences of Ford and Pierson, the short-handed Shock are also dealing with the six-game suspension of forward Kara Braxton, who pleaded guilty to drunken driving charges.

That means Detroit will need even more production from stars Katie Smith and Deanna Nolan, who combined to shoot 9 for 27 in the opener. The Shock shot a woeful 30.6 percent (19 for 62) overall.

"It's alright. We'll make more," said center Taj McWilliams, who had 12 points. "It's our first game and now we have a basis and we can go from here."

Pick: Detroit

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Re: WNBA News and Notes Monday 6/8

LOS ANGELES (1 - 0) at DETROIT (0 - 1)

Top Trends for this game.
LOS ANGELES is 8-18 ATS (-11.8 Units) after a non-conference game over the last 3 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 1-9 ATS (-8.9 Units) in road games after a win by 10 points or more over the last 3 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 12-23 ATS (-13.3 Units) after scoring 75 points or more over the last 3 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 7-18 ATS (-12.8 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record over the last 3 seasons.
LOS ANGELES is 18-8 ATS (+9.2 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
LOS ANGELES is 4-1 against the spread versus DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
LOS ANGELES is 3-2 straight up against DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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