(Los Angeles, CA-Staples Center) — The Sparks came out fired-up and ready-to-go against their visitors from the Windy City, the Chicago Sky (3-5). Having learned well from their first home-game loss of the season against the Seattle Storm last week, there was no doubt about the team’s confidence and the will to work even harder against this opponent.
Game Recap: The Sparks emphatic “return-to-form” after a one-game absence is what can best describe the team’s effort in their dominant victory over the Sky. Led by All-WNBA 5x 1st teamer, Candace Parker, the Sparks awakened from their previous game’s cold spell in the 1st quarter and were content to take a (26-16) lead at the end of the 1st period. The 2nd period was played fairly close with the Sky outscoring the Sparks (15-12). The halftime score favored the Sparks, (38-31).
The 3rd quarter was the defining stanza in the game when the Sparks held the Sky to a scoring output of just 13 points, while they put up 18 for a comfortable double digit lead of 12, (56-44). The 4th quarter also revealed more outstanding defensive play by the Sparks as they only allowed 15 points. At the final buzzer, the final score was (77-59), Sparks. With the win, they moved to a (5-2) season record.
Game Stats: Leading the team in scoring was Candace Parker with 24. The rest of her statline looked like this: 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. Behind Candace were Nneka Ogwumike with 16 points, 8 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. The third member of the constant and reliable “triple-threat player” attack was Chelsea Gray who dropped in 15 points, to go along with 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal. Starting point guard, Odyssey Sims, contributed 5. Leading the scoring efforts for the Chicago Sky was Forward, Cheyenne Parker, with 17 points. She also added 12 rebounds for a “Double-Double” credit. The Sparks defense, anchored by Alana Beard, only allowed Forward, Gabby Williams, a mere 2 points, while conceding the Sky’s leading scorer, Guard, Allie Quigley, just 7 points—10 under her average as one of the Association’s current “Top 10“ scorers. This work turned out to be the difference-maker in the contest.
Head Coach Brian Agler utilized the wide margins in the score to sub-in his reserves for much-needed playing time. Here’s what his 2nd unit players accomplished. Veteran All-WNBA Pro, Cappie Pondexter continues to produce positive results with her playing time. Her statline included 6 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist in 14:44 minutes. Essence Carson chipped in with 6 points and Jantel Lavender, still adjusting to the WNBA season’s conditioning demands, added 12 minutes of solid playing time. Although posting up just 2 points, compared to her career average of 8.9 ppg, she provided 6 offensive, and 2 defensive boards for a game total of 8. And, credit her with 1 assist. Rookie 1st Round Draft pick, Maria Vadeeva suited up but did not see action based on the Coach’s Decision. The reported total attendance was 8,329.
Next Up: Atlanta Dream (5-3) on Tuesday, 6/12 at 7:30 pm. This team comes in with good momentum as they just defeated the Seattle Storm on their home court this past Sunday, 6/10. They are led by the WNBA’s current #10 scorer, Guard, Tiffany Hayes, just voted the Co-Player of The Week with Brittney Griner.
Photo Credits: Erik Sarni, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions