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Aneika Henry (left) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (photos: Ron Hoskins, Scott Cunningham/NBADigital)

Monday September 10, 2012Gators in the Hunt for WNBA Playoff Spots - Sept. 10 Update

Gainesville, Fla.

Aneika Henry (left) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (photos: Ron Hoskins, Scott Cunningham/NBADigital)

With nearly all eight WNBA playoff spots having already been secured with just under two weeks remaining in the regular season, a trio with ties to the Gators look to not only make playoff appearances, but find success in pursuit of the 2012 WNBA Championship.

 

Two former Gators have already clinched a playoff spot with the Los Angeles Sparks where they currently sit second in the Western Conference standings and look to stay in that spot with four games to play and a two game lead over the third-place San Antonio Stars. Sparks’ Head Coach Carol Ross, who coached the Gators for 12 seasons, which included nine NCAA Tournament appearances and an Elite Eight appearance during the 1996-97 season, took over as head coach of the Sparks on January 5, 2012.

 

Ross, along with starting forward and former Gator All-American DeLisha Milton-Jones, hope to make a playoff run after the Sparks missed the playoffs last season.  Milton-Jones played under Ross in Gainesville during that spectacular 1996-97 season and won the Wade Trophy which is given annually to the best player in the country. Milton-Jones has been a key contributor to the Sparks success once again this season as she has appeared in and started all 30 games for the Sparks, while averaging 27.2 minutes per game along with 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game in her 14th season in the WNBA, 11 of which have been with the Sparks.

 

Milton-Jones has seen her share of success since she was drafted by the Sparks in 1999 as the No. 4 overall selection. The two-time WNBA Champion, three-time WNBA All-Star, and two-time Olympic gold medalist (2000 & 2008) looks to add more hardware to her collection this season as the Sparks look towards the postseason. Second place is just what the Sparks need as they have accumulated a 12-1 record when playing at home this season with their four remaining games to also be played at home in the Staples Center. The Sparks’ impressive home record is second to only the Minnesota Lynx who are 15-1 at home and lead the Sparks in the Western Conference standings by five games.

 

Another former Gator, Aneika Henry, looks to make a playoff run with the Atlanta Dream as they are currently the third-seed in the Eastern Conference with just four games to go and have done all, but officially secured a playoff spot. The Dream look to build on recent success as they have taken the Eastern Conference Championship in each of the past two seasons, but were runners-up as they were swept in the WNBA Finals both times. Henry has seen a good amount of action during her rookie season, as she has appeared in all 30 games for the Dream, while starting 14 of them and averaging just over a total of 19 minutes per game. After being signed by the Seattle Storm in March of 2011 only to be released two months later, Henry was signed by the Dream in February of 2012 and has been with the team ever since.

 

Both the Sparks and Dream will be in the national spotlight on NBATV over the next few days, when the Dream welcome the Seattle Storm to Atlanta on September 11 at 7:00pm and the Sparks host the Chicago Sky on Thursday, September 13 at 7:30pm.

 

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