Sparks Hire Derek Fisher As Head Coach – The Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA have hired Derek Fisher as head coach, sources told ESPN. Fisher, a five-time NBA champion player and former head coach of the New York Knicks, will be introduced at a news conference on Friday in Los Angeles, sources said. Fisher will inherit a team that includes two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker. Fisher is the 12th head coach in Sparks history, which includes Michael Cooper, another ex-Lakers championship role player. Fisher replaces Brian Agler, who resigned last month after four seasons at the helm. Agler led the Sparks to the 2016 championship and is the only coach to have led two different franchises to the WNBA title. He also won the 2010 championship with the Seattle Storm.
Nuggets Hire WNBA Star Bird To Front-Office Post – Three-time WNBA champion Sue Bird, introduced Friday as a basketball operations associate for the Denver Nuggets, wasn’t looking to get into NBA management when Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly called this fall with what she called the “perfect match” for her goals. Not long after Bird led the Seattle Storm past the Washington Mystics to win this year’s WNBA title, Connelly reached out to her through a mutual friend, longtime NBA forward Caron Butler, a contemporary of Bird’s at the University of Connecticut who played for Connelly with the Wizards before Connelly’s move to Denver. Bird, who plans to return for her 17th WNBA season at age 38, was quickly sold on the fit. “It was really a perfect match, because here they are giving me this amazing opportunity but also understanding that I’m still a player,” said Bird, who is the WNBA’s all-time leader in assists. “I still have a season, and I’m still preparing for that. It’s just, for me personally, the best of both worlds.”
Lynx Assistant Wade Hired As Sky Coach – A person familiar with the situation says Minnesota Lynx assistant James Wade has agreed to become the head coach of the Chicago Sky. The person spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made. Wade replaces Amber Stocks, who was let go after compiling a 25-43 record in two seasons with Chicago. The Sky didn’t make the playoffs either year. The 43-year-old Wade was an assistant with the San Antonio Stars from 2012-16 before joining the Lynx. He was with Minnesota for two seasons and inherits a strong group led by guards Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. The Sky drafted Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams last season with the third and fourth picks and have the No. 4 pick in next year’s draft. Chicago announced it will have a news conference on Tuesday to reveal its new coach. The Sky also revealed a new logo recently.
Wednesday’s Game – Game 3:
- Seattle Storm 98 – Washington Mystics 82 (SEA win series 3-0)
Highlights: Breanna Stewart led the Seattle Storm to their WNBA title Wednesday night, scoring 30 points in a 98-82 victory over the Washington Mystics in Game 3 of the best-of-five series. Stewart was the league MVP and was selected the Finals MVP after averaging 25.6 points in the three games. She scored 17 points in the first half as the Storm raced to a 47-30 lead. Natasha Howard added career-high 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Storm and first-year coach Dan Hughes. Sue Bird, also a member of a Seattle’s championship teams in 2004 and 2010, had 10 points and 10 assists. assists. Elena Delle Donne scored 23 points for the Mystics. Kristi Toliver had 20 points. Washington starting center LaToya Sanders sprained her left ankle diving for a loose ball in the third quarter. She was carried to the locker room and did not return.
Sunday’s Game – Game 2
- Washington Mystics 73 – Seattle Storm 75 (SEA leads series 2-0)
Highlights: Breanna Stewart scored nine of her 25 points in the fourth quarter, and the Seattle Storm held off the Washington Mystics 75-73 on Sunday to take a 2-0 lead in the WNBA Finals. Stewart went nearly 18 minutes of game time without scoring, but was responsible for six of Seattle’s final seven points as the Storm held off Washington’s late rally. Washington’s Kristi Toliver made two difficult jumpers in the final 90 seconds to keep Washington within one, but the Mystics were unable to get a shot up on their next possession trailing 74-73, when Toliver lost the ball going baseline and a mad scramble led to a jump ball Seattle won. The ensuing jump ball between Natasha Howard and Tianna Hawkins ended up in the hands of Jewell Loyd. Seattle was able to run seven seconds off the clock before Alysha Clark was fouled and her free throw gave Seattle a two-point lead. Washington was out of timeouts and couldn’t advance the ball into the front court. Ariel Atkins‘ desperation half-court shot at the buzzer was well off. Elena Delle Donne led the Mystics with 17 points but was scoreless in the fourth quarter, taking just one shot. Toliver and Ariel Atkins both added 15 points for Washington. But the Mystics missed all 16 3-point attempts. Loyd finished with 13 points. Seattle will head to Washington for Game 3 on Wednesday night needing only a split back east to claim the third title in franchise history.
Friday’s Game – Game 1:
- Washington Mystics 76 – Seattle Storm 89
Highlights: Jewell Loyd made 9 of 12 shots and scored 23 points, league MVP Breanna Stewart added 22 points, and the Storm opened the Finals with an 89-76 victory over the Washington Mystics on Friday night. Loyd scored 10 consecutive points during the second quarter, when Seattle took control thanks to a 16-4 run, and combined with Stewart to score 20 of Seattle’s first 22 points of the third quarter. Seattle led by 27 in the third quarter and 26 early in the fourth quarter. Seattle shot 53 percent, outscored Washington 46-28 in the paint and had 23 assists on 35 field goals. Sue Bird, the hero of Game 5, scored just four points, but her points weren’t needed on this night. Natasha Howard added 19 points, making 8 of 9 shots. Game 2 is Sunday.
Tuesday Games – Game 5:
- Phoenix Mercury 84 – Seattle Storm 94
- Washington Mystics 86 – Atlanta Dream 81