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Round 2, Game 1

The Sparks organization did a great job of simulating the Staples Center last night at USC’s Galen Center.

They put the Sparks’ home court down, the bright yellow contrasting a little with the rust-colored seats. Fans were each given a Sparks rally towel at the door, and people really waved them hard during the team’s surges in the second and fourth quarters. It was a pretty sight.

Just inside the entry was also a table full of Sparks merchandise for sale, including T-shirts, beads, car flags, and other things usually found in the team store. (Owners Kathy Goodman and Carla Christofferson are no dummies). The goods were being peddled by USC students, who had to look up the price of everything before they sold it.

The ushers also were young and didn’t take the militant stance the Staples ushers do, so theoretically all of us season ticket holders could have sat wherever we wanted. But the Sparks staff did such a good job of arranging for us to all sit in the same area we would have if at Staples, that we didn’t move. Daniel and I were right where we usually are, behind the Sparks bench.

I guess I don’t need to go over much of the game, since it was broadcast, but we were pleased. Marie Ferdinand-Harris looks like she’s returned to her “old” self, i.e. someone who scores. Temeka Johnson had the hot hand, putting in points, and Lisa Leslie looked like the aggressive center who was missing for a time. San Antonio started strong and went on a run in the first quarter, but after that it was all Sparks.

Though Galen Center is a beautiful facility, it’s much smaller than Staples Center, so it was a little strange being there. But in the end, a W is a W, and I’ll take it.

My only complaint was having referee Kurt Walker officiate – the third out of four games this week that he’s done so. His calls have always been questionable, and I think they need to send him to the Eastern Conference for a while.

The Kryptonite Award of the night went to Candace Parker, who managed to score yet another double-double while suffering from the flu. She is one of the most mentally tough athletes I’ve ever witnessed, and even so, she continues to amaze. I hope she feels better soon.

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