Hoops Insider interview with Los Angeles Sparks assistant coach Sandy Brondello

June 1, 2011 6:02pm

Entering her first year as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Sparks, Coach Sandy Brondello brings with her a wealth of experience as both a player and coach as she begins her 12th year in the league. After serving the previous five seasons with San Antonio, including the most recent as head coach of the Silver Stars, Brondello now has the task of helping to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to a Western Conference championship. She recently spoke with Hoops Insider to share her thoughts about this year’s Sparks team.

On Coach Brondello’s first year with the Sparks and her impact

With this being my 12th year in the league and having experience as both a head coach and an assistant coach, I know a lot of the teams. I am an ex-player, so I can definitely relate to the players in that regard.  Jen (head coach Jennifer Gillom) has been great and has allowed both me and Joe (assistant coach Joe Bryant) to bring our strengths to the team.

On Candace Parker’s impact this season

I know this is the first time I have coached Candace, but some of the stuff she does I’ve really never seen a woman do. We just have to put her in the right spots to be successful. She is one of the best players and if we can keep her healthy she can have another MVP season.

On the current state of the point guard position

We’ve been happy so far. Ticha is the leader of this team on the court, and has such great experience. Natasha Lacy is a different player than Penicheiro, which is a good thing. She likes to have the ball in her hand, can get to the rim and be aggressive on the offensive end. She is quite tenacious on the defensive end and deserves a shot at that back-up point guard position.

On a couple players that might surprise this season

Jenna O’Hea’s a smart player. She can pass, get out in transition and really shoot the ball.
Jantel Lavender brings that back to the basket presence. She’s young, but look for her to improve in each game she plays.

On the two of the team’s best defenders

Everyone obviously knows about Noelle. She can defend both the smaller and bigger guards on the perimeter.
Ebony is a very physical player and makes every single post player work for their position.

On the characteristics of this year’s team

We are very athletic and have a lot more depth. We want to put our hat on defense, create turnovers and do the things on defense that will allow us to run because we have players that will be hard to guard.

On the style of play you will see from the Sparks

We want to rebound, get out in transition and make easy baskets. These girls can run, and like to play up-tempo basketball. By the same token we have to play smart basketball. We don’t want to take quick, bad shots just to get into a running game.

On Tina Thompson’s status for Friday

She was back in practice on Tuesday and is moving much more freely. She’ll be good to go for the game.

On the Spark’s chances in the West

Obviously we are really focused just on what we are doing, but we have great depth and experience. It’s all about how quickly you develop chemistry and stay healthy. We have a team that can win a championship, but a lot goes into it.

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