L.A. Sparks to play Chinese team at SDSU arena on Saturday

The Los Angeles Sparks will face the Chinese national team Saturday night at Viejas Arena in the first Women’s National Basketball Association exhibition game in San Diego.

The game is being played in San Diego because “we thought it was a great opportunity to engage a larger footprint of Southern California,” Sparks President Kristin Bernert told City News Service.

Bernert said the catalyst behind the game was San Diego State women’s basketball coach Beth Burns, who she knew when both worked at Ohio State.

“She invited me to a game and introduced me to some people that run the arena,” Bernert said. ‘It seemed like a nice venue.”

In addition to the game, the Sparks will visit an elementary school on Friday and conduct a student leadership conference before Saturday’s game with the team’s owners, Burns and some San Diego State players, Bernert said.

“We’re going to show who we are when we’re in San Diego,” Bernert said. “Our team is very focused in making a difference in the community.”