Sting staying put, even if Hornets do not

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

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.