Lisa Leslie’s Back, Candace Parker is the Truth and Kristi Toliver is the Most Underrated
Hey America. I’ve been sick but now I’m back in the saddle. And since I’m back, I want to give a shout to women’s hoops. First off, Lisa Leslie is coming back to the Los Angeles Sparks in May.
The last time she played – before taking a season off for maternity – she was the 2006 WNBA MVP. Though Michael Cooper returned to coach the Sparks in 2007, Chamique Holdsclaw, the University of Tennessee’s last “future greatest player ever,” retired and the season was lost. Now, with Leslie back, Tennessee’s latest “future greatest player ever,” Parker, could be the number one pick on the 2008 draft. And guess who has the top pick? Cooper and the Sparks.
Parker is coming off a Championship season in which she was the College Player of the Year and NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player. She’s led Tennessee to an 8-0 record this season and the Lady Vols have topped both polls all season.
Andrew Shurtleff — Associated Press
Another player with a Championship ring is Maryland’s Kristi Toliver. And while Parker is lauded for being able to play every position… well, Toliver is often overlooked when the best players in the land are spoken of. Nonetheless, Toliver is averaging 17.5 points, nearly 8 assists, more than 3 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 14 games. And the Terrapins are a booming 13-1 and ranked fourth in the Nation. Toliver is the quarterback of the team and keeps the team cool under pressure. In a recent game against UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, Toliver hit six 3-pointers and scored 22 points, and No. 3 Maryland overcame a 16-point second-half deficit to beat UCLA 79-75.
Tennessee and Maryland can’t meet in the regular season but could meet late in the NCAA Tournament. And while Toliver won’t guard Parker, who plays Center and Power Forward, Parker might guard Toliver on a possession or two. But even if they don’t face off at all, it will be some treat to see each of them lead their respective teams on the road to another Championship.
And don’t think that the idea of sending a message to Maryland through a like opponent who the Terrapins barely escaped is lost on Tennessee and Parker. I’m sure they will try to dismantle the Bruins on December 19th to further solidify their standing as the top team in the Nation.