Special Note From the Editor: This marks the second game that was backlogged from earlier this month. We have only one more to become current with our home game coverages.
(Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA)—On 8/4, the Sparks (12-8), winners of their last five of six games, came into this highly awaited match-up with the Seattle Storm (12-10) with the strict intention of improving their record, currently good for 4th place. A near mid-season surge in the Western Conference would give the team a huge vote of confidence to finish strong and head into the playoffs with a highly valued momentum. However, the reality is that the Sparks trail the Storm in the standings at this point in the season. The Sparks are looking to make it six home games in a row with a victory. Leading the Storm into battle for this game were: starters, Jewell Loyd, Natasha Howard, Alysha Clark, Jordin Canada, and Mercedes Russell. From our perspective and interest, we begin our closer coverage of Santa Ana’s Mater Dei alumni and UCONN 2nd Team All-American (2014-15), Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, now in her fourth season with the team.
Celebrities & VIPs: Adriana Franch/Goalkeeper & Allie Long/Midfielder, 2019 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team & World Cup Champions; and Cappie Pondexter, Retired WNBA All-Star. Attendance: 12,820.
Game Summary: (1st Qtr)—The offense was in gear right from the start when Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (TRP) drove the lane for an easy basket. CP3 followed with her first score of the game. The Storm came back with a two pointer, followed by a 3-pointer, giving them a (5-4) lead. Sydney Wiese scored her first basket with a triple. Chelsea Gray dazzled he defense with a great pass to a cutting CP3 for a score to tie the game at (9) apiece. CP3 grabbed a missed shot and was fouled on the put-back. She made the basket and then sank the free throw for a (12-9) lead. Gray then dropped in a 3-pointer, (15-11). The Storm answered back with their own three, (15-14). Natasha Howard then scored 4 in a row, (16-15) Storm. A media time-out was taken at 4:26. Gray then sank another 3-pointer, for a Sparks (18-16) lead. Gray then dished to Maria Vadeeva for lay-up (20-16). Next, the Storm hit a trifecta, (20-19) Sparks. Then the Sorm’s forward, Alysha Clark then hit a twisting lay-in for a (21-20) lead with 2:25 left. The Sparks tallied again on a lay-up after a scintillating Wiese pass to Vadeeva, (22-21), Sparks. Time-out taken by Storm with 1:56 left. Alexis Jones made a steal and then scored on an uncontested lay-up, (24-21), Sparks. Vadeeva was fouled on a power move and made both free throws for a (26-21) lead. Storm answered back with a triple, (26-24). Gray was fouled in the act of shooting and made one, (27-24). Sparks held the ball for the last shot, but were unsuccessful in scoring.
(2nd Qtr)—Gray started the period off with a beautiful 3-pointer from the corner, (30-24). Kalani Brown scored in the key from 3′ out, (32-24), but Seattle answered with a lay-up, (32-26). Storm got another bucket underneath, (32-28). Good defense was displayed by Gray when she was credited with taking a charge. A time out was called with 7:48 left in the half. Kalani Brown scored a lay-up on an assist by CP3, (34-32). The Storm’s Shavonte Zellous then tied it with a mid-range jumper. CP3 was fouled in act of shooting, with 6:11 left. She made both, (36-34), Sparks. CP3 again on a drive in the key, threw it up with left hand for a score, (38-34). A minute later, she put in a right hander, again in the key, (44-38). Then Gray dazzled the crowd with a “dipsy-do” assist to CP3 on a great fastbreak. Then, on defense after the play, CP3 went after a loose ball on the floor, dove at it, and then the crowd went silent when she didn’t get up immediately. Coach Fisher come out to check on her, and she then responded by getting up on her own power. She was shaken-up but stayed in the game. N. Ogwumike hit a baseline 14′ jumper, for a 10 point lead, (48-38) with :45.9 ticks left in the half. Gray was again featured on a great assist to a cutting N. Ogwumike, (50-38). The Storm’s Sami Whitcomb buried a deep 27′ trifecta drawing them to within 9, at (50-41) to close the first half.
HALFTIME SCORE: Sparks 50 Storm 41
Photo Gallery: Erik Sarni, Director of Photography, East L.A. Sports Scene Productions
(3rd Qtr)—The Sparks took it out to start the action. CP3 scored the first basket on a drive and the fans took their seats. Then they came back on another assist by Gray for a scoop lay-up, (54-41). Storm scored on a strong drive by Mercedes Russell, (54-43). Then N. Ogwumike answered with her own basket, (56-43). After a Storm time-out, Sparks forced a turnover, but gave it back. Then Gray, showing nice resemblances to the Harlem Globetrotters ball wizardry, got it to N. Ogwumike for a baseline jumper, and a score for a (58-43) lead with 6:20 left. Assist by CP3 to TRP for a lay-up made it, (60-43). A Storm basket by Russell and a 3-pointer by Alysha Clark quickly moved the score to (60-48). A media time-out was called at 5:01. A “give ‘n-go” basket to Parker from N. Ogwumike, made it (62-48). Natasha Howard then answered, (62-50). Vadeeva hit a jumper from right elbow, (64-50). Former Windward HS, UCLA All-American and All-PAC 12 selection, Jordin Canada came back with a basket for her 6th point of the contest, (64-52). Vadeeva then hit a 10′ baseline jumper, (66-52) with 2:45 left. Vadeeva was fouled in act of shooting, and then made both free throws, (68-52). That basket earned 12 big points from the Sparks bench. Vadeeva stayed warm with her long, to mid-range jump shots, (70-56). The Storm missed a short drive just outside the paint, as the period ended.
(4th Qtr)—N. Ogwumike came up with a steal, and a basket on the other end, to open the scoring at (72-59). Whitcomb answered with her trey, (72-62). Marina Mabrey and Kalani Brown were brought in for Wiese and N. Ogwumike. Mabrey’s then hit a “spot-up” jumper from 18′ out, (74-62). Another Mabrey hoop for 3, from 24′ out, moved it to (77-62). Mabrey stirred the pot again for her a trey for an (80-64) lead. Time-out was taken with 5:28 left. Sparks ball with 3:50 left. Then CP3 with a “no-look pass” to N. Ogumike underneath, gathered it nicely and then was fouled in the act of shooting. She made one for an (81-66) lead. CP3 passed to Mabrey who shot a lay-up but was fouled hard. Two free throws were awarded and resulted in an (83-66) lead. The Storm narrowed their deficit from 16 to 8 after they made a flurry of shots by N. Howard and M. Russell to close out the game. But it was too little, too late—the Sparks captured their 6th home game win in a row.
FINAL SCORE: Sparks 83 Storm 75
Next Up: The Phoenix Mercury on 8/8 at home.