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Tuesday, January 29
Sting staying put, even if Hornets do not

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Sting of the WNBA intend to play in Charlotte this season even if the Hornets move to New Orleans.

The Sting, one of the eight original WNBA franchises, are managed by the NBA's Hornets. The Sting reached the WNBA finals last year and open training camp April 29.

"Despite the uncertainty surrounding our situation beyond the 2002 campaign, we still have the opportunity ... to make a statement about the long-term viability of professional women's basketball in Charlotte," Sam Russo, the Sting's executive vice president of business operations, said Monday.

Hornets co-owners George Shinn and Ray Wooldridge want to move their club to New Orleans, a deal that could be completed in the spring. That would not leave enough time to sell tickets and sponsorships if the Sting tried to play in another city this summer, WNBA officials said.

The WNBA is owned collectively by the 29 NBA owners. No WNBA team has moved or folded since it began in 1997. All teams have been in cities where an NBA franchise is located.

The Hornets' coliseum lease expires June 30. Coliseum managing director Mike Crum said he has been approached by Russo about extending the lease through the summer for the Sting. Crum said he didn't anticipate a problem with an extension.

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