(Special Note From The Editor): We deeply apologize for the lateness of this posting. Due to the special coverage of several new projects, coupled with a personal and family milestone event, our priorities were thus shifted in an appropriate manner. We will be current in all of our home game coverages and postings by Monday, 8/19.
(Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA)—On 8/1, the L.A. Sparks, came into this crucial encounter with an overall record of (11-8). It was the first match-up of a four game home-stand vs. the Western Conference leading Las Vegas Aces (14-6). The Sparks were extremely glad to have the return to their starting line-up of Candace “CP3” Parker, one of the WNBA’s finest all-around players. On the other hand, Chiney Ogwumike would not suit up for the game due to an injury to her jaw, and the highly valued veteran, Alana Beard, would still not be available for action due to the rehabbing of her hamstring injury.
Celebrity Watch: Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets/NBA; Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jr. Game Attendance: 11,692
Game Summary/(1st Qtr)—The Aces scored first on a Liz Cambage post up, lay-in off the glass. The Sparks lighted their scoreboard on a 3-pointer by Sydney Wiese at the 8:00 minute mark, (3-2). With 6:46, Candace Parker took a 3 point shot, scored it and was fouled. She made her free throw for a (7-4) lead. Nneka Ogwumike hit a spinning 5′ jump shot in the key, (9-4). Then after an Aces’ turnover, CP3 was alone downcourt for a 50′ pass and hit the shot, (11-4). Time out taken by Las Vegas at 5:51. Parker was just warming up and hit her second trey, (14-4). After an Aces basket, N. Ogwumike went to work in the paint and used a great drop-step to bank one in, (16-6). CP3 went down hard after that play and signaled to Coach Fisher to check her out. The Aces then hit a 3 pointer to close it to (16-9). The Sparks took a time out with 3:43 left in the quarter. Alexis Jones and Kalani Brown subbed in. Chelsea Gray hit her first shot of the game on a drive, (18-13). The Aces’ Tamara Young then scored on a lay-up, (18-15). Gray scored on another athletic drive, (20-15). She then made a “back-to-back” shot, making the score (22-15). Maria Vadeeva returned to the team for her first action of the season. Alexis Jones, returning to the active player roster, hit a right side elbow-jumper for (24-15). With the game clock winding down for the Aces, they missed an open jumper to end the period at (24-15).
(2nd Qtr)—Kalani Brown hit a 3′ put-back in the key after a miss by Maria Vadeeva, (26-15). Coach Fisher used the occasion to insert his two centers in the game at the same time. Sugar Rodgers hit a long jumper to cut the Sparks lead to 5, (26-21) at 8:00 minute mark. Marina Mabrey checked in at 7:25. N. Ogwumike came back in for Vadeeva. LV’s T. Young hit another open jumper, (26-23) with 6:45 left in the half. The highly animated crowd of 11, 692 disliked the ref’s call on Gray for reaching in. The Jumbotron video replay showed all ball. Two free throws by Cambage made it a one point game (26-25). McBride tied it at 26 with a free throw, then gave them the lead with her second, (27-26). Gray answered with a 18′ jumper. The Aces’ Kayla McBride came back with her own shot, (29-28) with 3:50 left. On a textbook run-out by N. Ogwumike took the great pass by Gray for an uncontested lay-up, (30-29) with 4:10. Free throws came up again for McBride, and she made both, (31-30). She then hit a trey from the corner, (34-30) Aces, with 3:04 remaining. N. Ogwumike, with an assist from Wiese, scored on a mid-range jumper in the key, (34-32). She came right back and stepped to the charity stripe for two free throws when fouled in act of shooting. Both were made to tie the game at (34). CP3 was fouled with under 2 minutes and made both for (36-24) lead. A great steal by Gray gave the ball back to the Sparks with 1:19 left. Kelsey Plum then scored on a lay-up but was answered by Gray, (38-36) with :52.8 ticks left. LV’s Jackie Young hit 2 free throws for the tie. CP3 then scored on fast break after a Vegas time-out (40-38). Kayla McBride hit a buzzer-beater to tie the game at (40). Tierra Ruffin-Pratt fell to the court on the play when she got tangled up with Wiese and was prone for a few moments while the medical staff treated her. She was able to rise and walk-off the court, while favoring her left arm.
HALFTIME SCORE: Sparks 40 Aces 40
(3rd Qtr)—The Sparks in-bounded the ball to start the period but missed their first shot. After the rebound, the Aces scored, but then Sydney Wiese hit her second 3-pointer for a (43-42) lead. After an exchange of baskets, the Aces went back up by three, (46-43) with 7:50 left. The Aces came out fired up and ready-to-go when the hot hand was dealt to Liz Cambage. She suddenly became offensive minded in the paint, hitting a nice turnaround jumper, (48-43). A timeout was then taken by the Sparks. Upon returning, they missed their shot. LV’s Dearica Hamby scored on a dribble drive, (50-43). N.Ogwumike then hit an 18′ straight-away jumper, (50-45). That was followed by a beautiful “give-n-go” from Gray to Ogumike, (50-47). Shooting guard, Kelsey Plum then hit a trifecta, (53-47) with 5 minutes left. After a steal by CP3, Wiese buried her third trey, cutting the lead to (53-50). McBride, keeping the Aces close the entire game with her sharpshooting skills, buried another 3-pointer, making it (56-50). Ogwumike answered that in-kind, (56-53) with 3:35 left. Jones and Brown then entered the game. The pair combined for a clean “give ‘n go” plus the “And 1”, tying the game at (56-56). However, on another crowd-pleasing “give-‘n-go”, Brown’s shot was blocked out of bounds at the last second. Not allowing the scoring opportunity to get lost in the shuffle, Jones stepped up and drained a 3-pointer, (59-56), but Las Vegas answered for a (59-58) score. Vadeeva assisted Wiese for an easy lay-up, (61-58), Sparks. Then a shot clock violation by Vegas turned the ball over to the Sparks with :55 seconds left. Then another beautiful assist by Gray to Brown earned her a bucket. Vegas next scored to cut it to (63-60). The Sparks squandered a last period shot when Gray got tangled up in the key and lost the ball. She protested the “no call” and was assessed a Technical foul to officially close out the period. The score ended at (63-60), Los Angeles.
(4th Qtr)—The Aces missed the Technical-foul shot to start the final period. Both teams played on after missed shots. The first points went up ontheboard at the 7:30 mark when Plum hit a jumper, (63-62). CP3 subbed in at 6:17. Sparks had ball when Cambage was called for an offensive foul with 6:10 left in game. Then Gray gave the Sparks a big lift when she hit a deep 3 pointer (66-62). Time-out called with 5:28 remaining. Cambage grabbed an offensive rebound and hit a put-back for a score of (66-64). Ogwumike scored inside on an assist by Gray, (68-64). A Technical foul was charged to Plum who claimed she was hit in the face. Gray made free throw for a (69-64) lead with 4:20 left. McBride kept her “hot-hand” with a floater, (69-66). Alexis Jones then got a huge offensive rebound and scored underneath for a put-back, (71-66). The Aces scored on a 10′ runner by guard, Jackie Young, (71-68). CP3 then stepped back and with huge confidence, hit a deep trey from the left side, (74-68). Gray then hit her patented “step back-fall back” game-sealing jumper for the victory, moving the score to (76-68).
FINAL SCORE: Sparks 76 Aces 68