Three former Lady Lions begin play in WNBA playoffs

University Park, Pa. — Three former Penn State Lady Lions will begin their quest for the 2009 WNBA Championship this week. Tanisha Wright and the Seattle Storm take on the Los Angeles Sparks in a best-of-three series that began Wednesday night on ESPN2, while a pair of former Penn Staters meet in the other Western Conference series, which began Thursday, with Kelly Mazzante and the Phoenix Mercury taking on Helen Darling and the San Antonio Silver Stars.

Wright is having a career year for the second-seeded Storm (20-14). The fifth-year pro is averaging 12.2 points, 3.9 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. She also ranks third in the WNBA in free throw percentage with a .906 mark this season. Wright is in the Top 10 in the league in assists per game (8th), minutes played (1,072; 10th) and total assists (129; 9th). She has five games this season with 20 or more points.

Mazzante and the Mercury are the top seed in the Western Conference after posting a 23-11 record during the regular season. In her sixth season in the WNBA, Mazzante is averaging 3.4 points and 1.3 rebounds per game this year. In her only other playoff appearance in 2007, Mazzante averaged 6.4 points and 2.0 rebounds per game to lead the Mercury to the 2007 WNBA title.

Darling is in her ninth year in the WNBA and is averaging 3.1 points, 2.9 assists and 0.9 steals per game for the Silver Stars, who are 15-19 this season. She has appeared in all 34 games with 13 starts under her belt this season. Darling has always been a solid playoff performer in the WNBA. Darling averaged 4.8 points, 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals per outing in six playoff appearances with three different teams.

Lady Lion Basketball season tickets are available by calling 1-800-NITTANY or 814-863-1000. Season tickets are $117 for adults, $52 for youth and $91 for seniors. Penn State fans that attend the Indiana football game can use their football ticket to receive buy one ticket, get one free ticket for the Lady Lions' game against NJIT on Sat., Nov. 15.

The 2010 WBCA Pink Zone at Penn State will take place on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m., as the Lady Lions take on Illinois in the Bryce Jordan Center. The game can be seen on www.bigtennetwork.com. The first three Pink Zone events have raised more than $80,000 for breast cancer awareness. This year's fundraising efforts will benefit the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, the Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. For more information on the Pink Zone at Penn State, visit the official Pink Zone website at www.gopsusports.com/pinkzone.

The Lady Lions are on Twitter. Follow head coach Coquese Washington (@psucoachquese), sports information contact Kris Petersen (@ladylionsid) and the Lady Lions and assistant coaches (@pennstatewbb) to get the inside scoop. The Lady Lions are also on Facebook. Search Lady Lion Basketball and become a fan.

2009 WNBA Western Conference Playoff Schedule

No. 2 Seattle vs. No. 3 Los Angeles
Game 1: at L.A., Wed., 9/16, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 2: at Seattle, Fri., 9/18, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3*: at Seattle, Sun., 9/20, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2

No. 1 Phoenix vs. No. 4 San Antonio
Game 1: at San Antonio., Thurs., 9/17, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Game 2: at Phoenix, Sat., 9/19, 10 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Game 3*: at Phoenix, Mon., 9/21, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2

*-if necessary

Contacts: 
Last Updated November 18, 2010