UCR To Host WNBA Preseason Game Between Los Angeles Sparks & Tulsa Shock On May 19

Sparks are led by two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Candace Parker

basketball player dribbling

WNBA star Candace Parker will lead the Los Angeles Sparks against the Tulsa Shock in a WNBA game at the UC Riverside Student Recreation Center on May 19, 2013. Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)  — The UC Riverside Department of Intercollegiate Athletics announced today that the on-campus home of Highlanders basketball, the Student Recreation Center Arena, will host a WNBA preseason game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Tulsa Shock on Sunday May 19. Tip is slated for noon PT.

Tickets are $35 each for VIP courtside seating, $10 for general admission adult seating, and $5 for children ages three to 12. Children under the age of three are admitted free of charge. Tickets are on sale now, and may be purchased by visiting the UC Riverside Athletics Ticket website.

“We are excited to host a WNBA game on our campus,” said Athletics Director Brian Wickstrom. “This is a great step towards community outreach and this event will attract a lot of people to our campus.”

The Sparks and Shock have combined to win five WNBA Championships with the Sparks winning in 2001 and 2002 and the Shock taking home the title in 2003, 2006 and 2008 when they were located in Detroit. When the Shock won the 2003 title, they upended the Sparks in what many consider to be the best WNBA Finals ever played.

Los Angeles finished the 2012 season with a 24-10 record, good enough for second place in the Western Conference. The Sparks then beat San Antonio two games to none in the first round of the WNBA Playoffs, before falling to top-seeded Minnesota in the Conference Finals.

Carol Ross returns for her second season as head coach of the Sparks. She joined the team in January of 2012 following three seasons as an assistant with the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, and 16 seasons as head coach of the Florida Gators (12 years) and the Ole Miss Lady Rebels (4 years) women’s basketball teams.

The Sparks are led by 2008 MVP and two-time US Olympic Gold Medalist Candace Parker who averaged 17.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocked shots a year ago. Teammate Kristi Toliver paced the squad with 17.5 points and 4.9 assists per game in 2012.

Tulsa, who relocated to Detroit prior to the 2010 campaign, was 9-25 on the year, finishing in fifth place in the West.

The Shock are coached by Gary Kloppenburg, who got his start in collegiate coaching at California’s Lassen Community College. His NBA stops include stints as an assistant with the Charlotte Bobcats and Toronto Raptors, while his WNBA resume includes time with the Indiana Fever, Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury. He also has stamps from the the Continental Basketball Association the Venezuelan Professional League on his coaching passport.

The Shock’s Glory Johnson returns for her second season in the pros after averaging 11.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.2 steals per game during her rookie campaign in 2012. Tulsa also recently traded for a pair of veterans in 2011 WNBA Champion Candace Wiggins and 2005 WNBA Champion Nicole Powell. Both players plied their trade collegiately at Stanford.

The Sparks and Shock split their four meetings from a year ago with both teams winning a pair of games on their respective home courts.

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E-mail: john.maxwell@ucr.edu

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