(Los Angeles, CA-Staples Center)—For the 11,667 devoted Sparks fans in attendance, and the thousands more watching on Cable TV, it was game #12 on the schedule, but it looked more like their 20th, as the Sparks showed definite signs of creating a spontaneous WNBA fireworks show with its fine array of players. Just ask the Chicago Sky as they felt the brunt of the fusion and firepower. They were hit by a Sparks’ deluge of (35/71) field goals for 49.3 %, (10/24) 3-pointers for 41.7%, (21) assists, great free throwing (14-15) for 93.3%, dominant board work with (36), a potent (25) on the (+/-) scale, a season-game high total points of (94), and all-out hustle as the team’s confidence grows stronger with each passing game.
Note From the Editor: This production includes a game write-up, and our “post-game” video player interviews with Rookie/Notre Dame/Marina Mabrey, and 3rd year guard, Sydney Wiese/Oregon State. There’s also the now regularly scheduled “post-game” Press Conference with Head Coach, Derek Fisher. If you would like to share your comments on the team with us, please do so by calling (323) 723-2830. Thanks in advance!
1st Qtr—The Sky jumped out to a (5-0) lead but Candace Parker scored 5 of her own to tie the game. Shooting Guard, Riquna Williams, then hit her first trifecta, making it (8-5) Sparks. At 5:39 it was (11-10) Sparks. Williams then hit her second 3, moving it to (14-10). Appearing in Staples since her trade to the Sky was Jantel Lavender who started at Center. Williams was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all free throws, pushing the lead to (17-10). Chiney Ogwumike came in to replace CP3. Chelsea Gray then hit her pet shot Jumper from the right elbow, (19-12), Sparks. A timeout was called at 3:55. The Sky re-engaged and hit a trey, cutting the lead to (19-15). Kalani Brown was subbed in. Sydney Wiese then subbed in at 2:49. A great block by Chiney Ogwumike on a driving Jantel Lavender fell into the hands of the Sky’s Kahleah Copper who buried a 3-pointer, (19-18), Sparks. Marina Mabrey was subbed in. Kalani Brown hit a jumper, (21-18) with 1:29 left. Allie Quigley hit a 3-pointer, but Wiese answered with her own to the delight of the big crowd. With :20 seconds left, the Sky missed a 3-pointer ending the period as the clock ran down. The score at the end of one, was (24-21), Sparks. Of Significance: Alana Beard was not with team due to personal reasons.
2nd Qtr—Riquna Williams started up the offense with her 3rd trey of the game, (27-21). Chiney Ogwumike worked on the offensive board extremely hard and was rewarded on a put back underneath, (29-21). After a big Kalani Brown block, Mabrey hit an open 3 in transition, (32-21). CP3 returned at 7:16. Then a crowd pleaser came from Mabrey to Wiese on a 2-on-1 fast break. Another 3- pointer was stuck by Allie Quigley again, closing the gap to nine at 34-25. Then Brown drew a foul on a shot taken underneath and she calmly sank both free throws for a (36-25) leads. Another block by Brown on a lay-up hit a Sky player and the ball was awarded to the Sparks. Then a quick turnover gave it back to Chicago. At 5:42, the Sprx called timeout in possession under their basket. The Sky hit a lay-up after the Sparks turned it over, then Wiese hit another trey, (39-27). After a CP3 foul, DeShields shot 2 free throws and made both, (39-29). CP3 hit a step- back from 20′, (41-29). At 2:18 Williams would be fouled on a lay-up and she cashed in both attmepts, (43-29). DeShields hit 2 more free throws, with 1:47 left, (43-31) Sparks. The ever-active Williams was fouled again on a drive, hitting just one this time (44-31). The Sky’s Copper hit free throws, then Nneka Ogwumike crashed the boards for 2 more. Then a Sky 3-pointer by Courtney Vandersloot made it (46-36). Nneka scored next on a put-back, (48-36). With 24.2 seconds left, the Sparks missed a scoring opportunity when Chelsea Gray got tied-up in the lane and was stripped of the ball. The Sky transitioned quickly but missed a 3 pointer to close the half’s scoring.
HALFTIME SCORE: Sparks (48) Sky (36)
3rd Qtr—Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Riquna Williams, and CP3 hit rapid-fire baskets to open the period, expanding the lead to 18. Then, TRP hit 2 free throws on a shooting foul and the lead ballooned to 20. Jantel Lavender made a couple of baskets to stop the Sparks run. CP3, sparkled on a beautiful “one-on-one” to the hoop making it possible by a devastating “cross-over” move, making it (60-42). Nneka grabbed a board after a CP3 miss and worked her way up for a good put-back, (62-42). After 2 more offensive boards, the ball was worked around the printer to Chelsea Gray who then scooped in for the driving lay-up, (64-42). After a block by Nneka the ball found TRP who spotted up and hit an open 3-ball shot, (67-42). C. Ogwumike grabbed another miss and put up a shot underneath, was fouled and rewarded with 2 free throws, (69-46) with 2 minutes left. Diamond DeShields, the Sky’s leading scorer kept them on the board with points, but the lead was still (20) with 37.7 seconds left. Marina Mabrey earned an assist when she found an open C. Ogwumike for a basket that moved the score to (71-50) to close the period.
4th Qtr—Sydney Wiese opened the scoring gates with a 3-pointer, (74-50). DeShields answered. Then a classic, and beautiful “back-door” play brought the fans to their feet whenKalani Brown found Mabrey, (76-55). The Sky’s Cheyenne Parker scored on consecutive put-backs underneath, (76-59). Chelsea Gray then hit an open “J” for a (78-59) lead. Copper hit a 3-ball, (78-62) then a timeout was taken by the Sparks with 6:08 left in the game. Gray came back to hit a lay-up, (80-62). Then after a steal, N. Ogwumike, in total disbelief was called for an offensive foul on a drive to the hoop. Deshields then hit another 3-pointer for an (80-65) score. Williams then drove hard to the hoop on a lay-up, (82-65). Nneka added 2 free throws, (84-65) with 4:30 left. Then, after a two-timing steal by Nneka and Chelsea Gray, it was off to the races in an open court “3-on-1”, when Gray went strong to the rack and scored on a great twisting cork screw lay-up. The fans erupted in applause to show their appreciation.
From this point on, it was once again “All-Academic” as the game’s last fireworks faded off and up into the Staples Center rafters. The Sparks literally set fire to the Sky and came away with their second win in a row, moving their record to an even (6-6). More importantly, they remain here at home for the week to rest up and then get ready for the huge rematch with the Washington Mystics, who return for a Sunday matinee start time of 2:00 pm next Sunday, July 7th. Wishing Everyone a very Happy and Safe 4th of July Holiday!
FINAL SCORE: Sparks (94) Sky (69)
Sparks GameStatLine: Riquna Williams/19 pts/3 rebs/3 assts/1 stl/(3-8) 3-pt FGA/6-7 FTA; Chelsea Gray/13 pts/5 rebs/5 assts/1 stl/(6-13) FGA; Candace Parker/12 pts/6 rebs/3 assts/1 stl/1 blk/(5-10) FGA; Sydney Wiese/11 pts/3 rebs/(4-6) FGA/(3-5) 3-pt FGA; Chiney Ogwumike/10 pts/7 rebs/1 asst/2 stls/1 blk/(4-7) FGA/(2-2) FTA/18:17 minutes played; and Nneka Ogwumike/8 pts/6 rebs/3 stls/1 blk/(2-2) FTA.