The Los Angeles Sparks make the 2nd coaching change of the season

July 11, 2011 9:07am
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Sparks Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler announced Sunday that assistant coach Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, father of Lakers NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, will replace Jennifer Gillom as the coach of the Sparks. This is the 2nd coaching change this season as Tulsa replaced Nolan Richardson just days earlier.

“This was a very difficult decision, but I felt it was necessary to take the team in a different direction at this point in the season. Joe’s familiarity with the Sparks organization puts us in the best possible position to compete going forward, and should make for a seamless transition,” Toler said.

The Sparks started the season 4-1 before heading to San Antonio, where they fell in overtime after leading almost the entire game. They continued on their road trip to New York where Candace Parker got hurt in a 77-67 loss. Those two games have been part of the Sparks current 5 game losing streak.

“We respect Jennifer’s commitment to the Sparks and understand she has faced adversity with player injuries during her tenure.  That being said, with a short season and playing in the competitive Western Conference, winning games early in the year is critical and the Sparks’ goal remains to contend for a WNBA Championship.”

During their last 5 games the Sparks have lost by an average of 12 points per game and have surrendered almost 1.1 points per possession on defense, the worst of any team in the league over their last 5 games. Los Angeles heads to San Antonio where they fittingly started their 5 game slide with a new coach at the helm in Joe Bryant.

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