Among the most significant of the Los Angeles Sparks' improvements this season is their 3-point shooting - through three games, they're shooting 10% better than they did last season.
The result, and of course a contributing factor, is far better spacing on the court and the ability to put pressure on the opposing defense to rotate out on their shooters as they continue to move the ball well.
Although forward Candace Parker has had a noticeable impact on facilitating that better shooting, one of the more impressive individual contributors has been third-year guard Kristi Toliver. After struggling to find her comfort zone in her first two seasons, George Toliver - her father and the NBA's Director of Referee Development - described why L.A. has been such a good situation for her in a Father's Day interview on SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.
Kristi Toliver's Father-Daughter 'Basketball Connection' Still Evolving With Her WNBA Career - Swish Appeal
"I think Los Angeles' style of play is certainly complementary," George said. "I think the personnel on Los Angeles' team creates some spacing that I think is good. And I just think a positive state of mind, contributed with those two factors, certainly bodes well for how she plays."
The 5'7" guard out of the University of Maryland is currently third on the team with a career-highs 13.3 points per game to go with a 52.6 percent 3-point shooting percentage. And while George cites an increased composure and determination for her improvement, Toliver sees it as a continuation of what she started at the end of last season.
"Towards the end of the season this team started to really click and started to get in a rhythm and playing pretty good basketball," Toliver said in an interview last Friday. "So definitely the previous games that I've been competing in and playing well has given me the confidence to go in to this season and be confident and just play basketball."
Toliver's increasing confidence was evident in her last visit to KeyArena during the Sparks' first round playoff loss to the Seattle Storm last year in which she tied for a team-high 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting. But the Sparks will need more than Toliver's shooting to beat the Storm to launch their 2011 season series.