San Antonio bench crucial in overtime victory over Sparks; the Fever get a key win at home

San Antonio 98, Los Angeles 85

San Antonio (4-4) survived overtime to beat the Los Angeles Sparks (7-3) 98-85 in the second of two WNBA games Saturday night. It was the first overtime win for the Silver Stars this season.

San Antonio led at the half, 44-35 but the Sparks roared back in the third quarter and took the lead at 3:33 after a jumper by Candace Parker. The game had nine lead changes and three ties. The teams ended regulation tied at 83. The Silver Stars took complete control in the extra period, starting off 13-0.

Becky Hammon finished with 24 points and seven assists. Sophia Young also had 24 plus eight rebounds. Hammon was not pleased with her team’s fourth quarter performance.

“I didn’t think we closed the fourth quarter particularly well,” she said. “Obviously they made some shots down the stretch and we missed some. We regrouped for the overtime. (We) came out and gave them another punch. It was a good all-around win for us.”

San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes was happy with the pace of the game and his team’s overtime effort.

“We tried to keep the tempo up,” said Hughes. “I was pleased to see us deal with the fact that good teams are going to come back like L.A. did and then we had to sub in the overtime because we were starting to get tired with that group and then the new group jelled in the overtime and gave us good play. That’s what good teams do in those situations. Good teams like L.A. are going to make runs at you and us becoming a good team means we answer those runs.”

Bench players Danielle Adams and Jia Perkins were crucial to San Antonio’s win. Adams scored 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds while Perkins had 10 points.

“Our bench is huge,” said Hughes. “You’re looking at 36 points off of them. We had 41 last time and that’s just a real signature for us and part of our DNA.”

Hammon agreed about the bench’s contributions.

“I thought our bench was great tonight,” she said. “Shenise (Johnson) played one of her best games. Maybe she only scored four points but she really impacted the game.”

The Sparks were without the services of rookie Nneka Ogwumike. She missed the game to attend her graduation at Stanford.

“I was incredibly proud of our team,” said Sparks head coach Carol Ross. “I thought we had to overcome a lot of obstacles and adversity playing without Nneka. We have two players at home with injuries, were short handed on a back-to-back, and I thought there was a lot of adversity over the course of the game, which we couldn’t overcome.

Injured post players Ebony Hoffman and Nicky Anosike did not make the trip with the Sparks.

Alana Beard led the Sparks with 23 points. Parker had 21 points and 11 rebounds. She fouled out in the last seconds of the overtime period. Kristi Toliver also fouled out of the game. She finished with 16 points and five assists. Jantel Lavender scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds.

Indiana 84, Chicago 70

While the Chicago Sky (7-2) got off to a hot start in Indiana, the Fever (5-3) overcame the offensive prowess of their visitors and halted a three-game losing streak, winning 84-70. They also halted Chicago’s six-game winning streak.

“That was a great, gut-check win for us,” said Fever head coach Lin Dunn. “We got great help from the bench, especially Davenport (Jessica). We moved the ball. We shared the ball. We defended at a high level. We did a lot of switching and talking. It was a good win for us.”

The Sky hit twelve of their first thirteen shots but the Fever led going into halftime, 42-38. Sky guard Epiphanny Prince left the game late in the first quarter with an injured right foot and did not return to the game. The Sky’s Sylvia Fowles had 16 points going into the break.

“We did some good things in the first half to give ourselves a chance to win,” said Sky head coach Pokey Chatman. “Epiphanny (Prince) going down didn’t help. Second half, we didn’t contain them the way we needed to. We need to work on defense without fouling and hopefully we’ll get on the other side of the coin.”

The Fever capitalized on the Sky’s 21 turnovers. Jessica Davenport led the Fever with 17 points off the bench. Katie Douglas had 12 points. Briann January added 14 and Tamika Catchings had 12.

Sylvia Fowles led the Sky with 26 points and six rebounds. Courtney Vandersloot had her best scoring performance of the year with 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Swin Cash had 15 points, four rebounds and three assists.

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