Sports 101

The NFL is still preparing for its coming season, and Major League Baseball still has more than a month before its playoffs begin. So what pro sport is hot right now? Women's basketball, the WNBA. Houston is the team to beat. The Comets have won the past two championships, and they have clinched the best record this year. The team's star, Cynthia Cooper, says she'll never tire of winning: "The feelings and emotions you get from winning a WNBA championship are awesome." The playoffs begin Aug. 24 on ESPN.

Q: What is the new playoff format?

A: The format has been expanded from four to six teams. Three teams from each conference will advance to the postseason. The top team in each conference receives a bye in the first round. The Eastern and Western Conference champions will meet Sept. 2 in the best-of-three championship title series.

Q: What are some rule differences between the NBA and WNBA?

A: The three-point line is 22 feet in the NBA, 19 feet in the WNBA. The NBA plays four 12-minute quarters, the WNBA plays two 20-minute halves. As for the shot clock, the NBA gives teams 24 seconds to shoot, while the WNBA allows 30 seconds.

Q: What is Expansion 2000?

A: Indiana, Miami, Portland, Ore., and Seattle are new franchises for the 2000 season, expanding the league to 16 teams. To join, each franchise must sell 5,500 season tickets by October.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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