(Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA)—It was on a “Take Me Back Tuesday” promotional night, 8/20, that the Sparks (15-10) re-asserted themselves on their decisive homestretch drive to the playoffs. The first roadblock that lay ahead was the Minnesota Lynx, (13-14). Fortunately for the Sparks, there would be no Lynx All-Star and MVP, Maya Moore, to stand in their way. She had declared herself out for the season due to a personal decision. Nonetheless, the Sparks were looking to add on to their current eight game home win streak.
Celebrity Watch: Delisha Milton-Jones/L.A. Sparks Player, 1999-2004/2 World Championships, 2001 & 2002; Re-acquired in 2008. Olympic Gold Medalist in 2000 & 2008. Attendance: 9,244
The Lynx started the following line-up: #1 Odyssey Sims; #8 Stephanie Talbot,#24 Napheesa Collier, #34 Sylvia Fowles, and #92 Damiris Dantas, while the Sparks came out with: Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, Chelsea Gray, Sydney Wiese, and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (TRP). Riquna Williams is ready for her return to the team on Thursday vs. the Indiana Fever after serving her final game out of the line-up due to the WNBA’s 10 game suspension.
Photo Gallery Credits: Emarie Marie/T.G. Sportstv1.
Game Summary: (1st Qtr)—Both teams were very cold to start the contest. Lynx scored first at the 8 minute mark. Sparks got on the board when Nneka Ogwumike was fouled in the act-of-shooting. She made both, (2-2). Candace Parker then leaked out for a fast break score, (4-3). All-Star, Sylvia Fowles, crashed the offensive boards for a put-back, (5-4) Lynx with 5:30 remaining. CP3 scored again underneath, (6-5). Carter o the middle of the key for short j, 7-6.) Fowles scored on a lay-up, followed by a Media Time-out. Chiney Ogwumike was then fouled in-the-act-of shooting handmade both, (9-8) Lynx. C. Ogwumike scored on a put-back after. amassed shot, (11-10) Lynx. Odyssey Sims hit on a pull-up jumper from 16′, (13-10). Chelsea Gray was fouled on a jump shot attempt @ 2:31. She made both (13-12) Lynx. Alana Beard checked in with 2:00 left. N. Ogwumike then scored underneath (14-13) Sparks. Guard, Alexis Jones came in. Beard hit a soft baseline jumper from 10′ out. Maria Vadeeva came in with :36 seconds left. She was fouled after grabbing an offensive board, and made one free throw, (17-14) with :16.0 ticks left. Jones then drew shooting foul from 13′ out and made one for an (18-14) lead. The period ended with a failed shot attempt at 1.4 seconds left.
(2nd Qtr)—Alexis Jones began the home team’s scoring (20-15). Lynx answered with a 3-pointer, (20-17). A jumper by Napheesa Carter, (20-19), Sparks. C. Ogwumike committed a turnover that led to a successful drive by Carter, (21-20), Lynx. Jones then scored on a dribble-drive, (22-21) @ 7:34 left. Jones had drawn the hot hand, and hit a 3-ball from the right side. Sydney Wiese followed that with a breakaway lay-in, (27-21). Media Time-out taken @6:41. Lynx ball on return to play. Fowles hit a nice turnaround jumper from the baseline, (27-23). Vadeeva scored in the lane with a 5′ running hook shot (29-23). Jones was then fouled in the act of shooting @5:40. She made both (31-23). Her free throws gave her 10 points. She added another trey from left corner for a (34-23) lead. Timeout called by the Lynx @4:41. Danielle Robinson hit a jumper for a (34-25) score. Vadeeva hit a soft jumper from 8′ out. Jones, still red hot, drove for 2 more, (38-25), Sparks. Gray stepped up and dropped in a 3-point bomb from straightaway, (41-25). N. Ogumike followed her missed shot underneath and then scored on a 5′ jumper in the key, for a (43-25) lead. Media time-out taken at 2:37. A good “dribble drive” plus an “And 1” by Temi Fagbenle. made it (43-27). Then, Gray, from CP3 for an easy lay-up (45-27). Seimone Augustus then hit a nice jumper, (45-29). CP3 worked hard for a “tip-in” off a N. Ogwumike miss from close range for a (47-29) advantage. After a CP3 turnover gave the ball back to the Lynx, Lexie Brown hit a 3-ball, (47-32) with 5.5 seconds left in the half. Next, CP3 went in for an uncontested lay-in to close out the half, giving the Sparks a comfortable 17 point lead, (49-32). Of Significance: Defensive pressure restricting Minnesota’s franchise player, Sylvia Fowles, to just 2 points in the half.
HALFTIME SCORE: Sparks 49 Lynx 32
(3rd Qtr)—CP3 picked up where she left off with a long trey from the top of key. On the next possession, she was fouled and then went to the line for 2 shots and made both, (54-32). T. Fagbenle hit a jumper. Gray answered with a deep trifecta, (57-34) and then came back with a repeat of the same play for another 3-ball, (60-34). Staples Center was on fire with 3-point bombs landing on their targets! Lynx called TO with 7:02 left. The Fans appreciated a great back-door move by Wiese on an assist from N. Ogwumike, (62-34). CP3 drove through the lane with a left handed floater, for a huge 30 point lead, (64-34). N. Ogwumike stirred up the crowd with an athletic up-and-under move, (66-36) with 4:00 minutes left in the period. CP 3 scored underneath when she got her own rebound, (68-38). Lexie Brown was fouled on a 3 point shot, and made all three, (68-41) with 2:50 left. Damiris Dantas hit a 3 pointer, (68-44). Neither team could find the basket in the short time remaining in the quarter.
(4th Qtr)—The rout remained on for the Sparks, but it stalled a bit during the period as the Lynx’s Lexie Brown, Temi Fagbenle, and Napheesa Carter all took turns scoring baskets, (68-51). A Time-out was called at 7:29. Lexie Brown hit another trey, for a (68-54) score. With 6:28, C. Ogwumike was fouled on a shot and made one for (69-54) advantage. CP3 returned to fire up the offense. Alana Beard promptly hit a 3 from the corner, (71-56). Lexie Brown remained on fire with her 3 point sniping (71-59). A great defensive play took place when C. Ogwumike took an elbow, and the player-control foul, on a drive by O. Sims. That was immediately followed by Technical foul on Simone Augustus with 4:20 left. Alana Beard came back with a basket of her own, (74-59). Fagbenle then hit another trey, (74-62) with 3:40 left in game. The lead was whittled down to (12) at that point. O. Sims cut it down to 10 on a successful drive (74-64). A Media time-out was taken at 2:18. Upon resumption of play, the Sparks failed to bring the ball across the timeline under the required 8 seconds, resulting in a turnover and then a time-out called by the Lynx with 2:09 left. Lexie Brown banged in another trifecta, but then CP3 answered it with 1:10 left. Napheesa Carter muscled in a bucket from underneath (77-69) with :50 seconds left to play. Gray answered with a lay-up with 43.0 seconds left, moving the point spread back to 10. She made the “And 1”, for an (80-69) lead. Lexie Brown stayed hot with yet another basket giving her an even 20 points on the night. In the closing moments, Beard was fouled and hit one of two free throws, (81-71). The Sparks ran out clock to end game after taking the ball out of bounds on a missed shot.
Game Note: Alexis Jones scored her highest points in a game in her Sparks career with (19), on (5-7) field goal attempts; (2-4) 3 point attempts; (3-4); free throws; (2) defensive rebounds; and a total playing time of: (15:57).
FINAL SCORE: Sparks 81 Lynx 71