College, LA Sparks news

College items:

Undefeated? Sure: the Duke freshmen are off to a good start.

Tennessee’s Angie Bjorklund is up for a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

Paul “The Guru of Go” Westhead is still going strong at 71.

#18 Iowa dumped #10 Michigan State tonight, 66-64.

South Carolina upset #24 Georgia, 57-48.

On the LA Sparks tip:

Players overseas update.

Candace Parker tells ESPNW that she “has a lot to prove.”

The Sparks added three to their staff this week:

Los Angeles Sparks Announce Three Key Front Office Hires

Imhoff, Rosenberg and Alkaly Join Franchise’s Management Team

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks today announced the appointment of three experienced sports industry professionals to key front office positions, in advance of the franchise’s 15th WNBA season in 2011.

Diana Imhoff has been named Vice President of Marketing Partnerships, while Lou Rosenberg will serve as Director of Ticket Sales and Ben Alkaly assumes the role of Director of Communications.They join Director of Marketing Christopher Forrest – now in his sixth year with the Sparks – as the lead external relations team reporting to President Mike Levy, who began his tenure with the franchise in August 2010.

“With the addition of Diana, Lou and Ben to our current management team, the 2011 Sparks will be talented in the front office as on the court,” Levy said. “We welcome them to the Sparks family and expect tremendous success in the areas of sponsorships, sales and publicity during our 15th anniversary season and beyond.”

Imhoff joins the Sparks from Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Cartan Tours, where she held the position of Vice President of Business Development.There she designed and implemented the company’s marketing plan, with a focus on its 2010 FIFA World Cup™ travel packages.In addition to driving new sales and cultivating new strategic partnerships, Imhoff developed and executed Cartan’s media outreach surrounding the World Cup project and served as company representative.

Previously, the Los Angeles native spent four years as Director of Sports and Olympic Partnerships with Hilton Hotels, managing its partnership with the United States Olympic Committee and overseeing sponsorship activation at the 2008 Beijing Games.On the team side, Imhoff worked in the Seattle Seahawks’ front office for five years, first as Group Sales Director and later as Executive Sales Director, managing suite and sponsorship sale and marketing.

Earlier this month Rosenberg brought his nearly 20 years of sports industry sales and marketing experience to the Sparks, most recently as Director of Business Management with the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives.There he oversaw the day-to-day business operations for the team including sales and marketing, public relations and game operations.He also recently spent six years (2004-2010) with direct sales company Smart Circle International as a National Account Director, boasting clients including professional sports franchises and collegiate athletic departments.

Rosenberg’s career highlights include directing ticket sales for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ – which produced the largest crowd ever for a women’s sporting event in the U.S. – and developing season, group and individual ticket promotions for the Los Angeles Avengers that made the team one of Arena Football League’s leaders in seats sold.He also spent seven years in the front office of the Los Angeles Clippers and two with the Long Beach Ice Dogs.

Alkaly will direct the Sparks’ public and community relations endeavors after serving as Marketing and Communications Manager at FOX Soccer Channel since 2007.There he helped develop publicity and advertising campaigns surrounding major network initiatives such as the launch of premium channel FOX Soccer Plus in 2010.He also oversaw the network’s Facebook and Twitter platforms – among the most widely-followed in the soccer industry – and coordinated FOX Soccer’s branding presence at major competitions and trade shows.

Previously Alkaly worked as an Assistant Media Relations Director at his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara, serving as the primary contact for the school’s nationally-ranked women’s basketball and women’s volleyball programs for five seasons.There he executed promotional campaigns that helped three Gaucho basketball players earn All-America distinction, including current Minnesota Lynx forward Kristen Mann and former WNBA standout Kayte Christensen.

The Sparks begin their 15th anniversary season on Friday, June 3, hosting Minnesota at STAPLES Center at 8 p.m. PT.For group and season ticket information, call 877-44-SPARKS or visit