Nancy Lieberman-Cline of the Phoenix Mercury was fined $500 by the WNBA for holding the Los Angeles Sparks’ Jamila Wideman around the neck in a game last weekend.
Kelly Krauskopf, director of basketball operations for the league, said Lieberman-Cline held Wideman around the neck as time expired in the first half of Sunday’s game at Los Angeles.
Sparks coach Linda Sharp was fired and assistant coach Julie Rousseau was named the interim head coach after the team stumbled to a 4-7 start in the inaugural WNBA season.
Orlando Woolridge, a 13-season NBA veteran who had been working in the Sparks’ front office and helping at practices, was named as an assistant coach.
The WNBA, saying it is drawing more fans than it expected, has revised its average attendance projection upward, to 6,500 per game.
The women’s pro basketball league went into its first season expecting to average 4,000 per game. But, according to president Val Ackerman, the first 42 games in eight cities drew 374,699, or an average of 8,921 per game.