Led by Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles bounces back with 77-59 victory over Chicago
Parker and Ogumwike lead Sparks over Sky
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) June 10, 2018
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Sparks (5-2) made a triumphant return to the court Sunday afternoon after Friday night’s disappointing defeat at the hands of Seattle Storm. Today the Sparks beat the Chicago Sky 77-59 with 8,239 in attendance at Staples Center.
Los Angeles came out with renewed focus and energy. Defense was the key to helping them get back into the win column. The first quarter saw the Sparks firing on all cylinders lead by former MVP Candace Parker who had 10 points in 10 minutes. Her team sprinted out to a 14-7 lead going into the first TV timeout with 3:50 left in the quarter. Parker, playing like she wants to regain the MVP crown, helped the Sparks take a double-digit lead over the Sky (3-5) heading into the second quarter, 26-16.
The Sparks’ other former MVP Nneka Ogwumike started to dominate in the second quarter with back-to-back athletic post moves, helping increase Sparks’ lead to 30-16 with 7:45 left in half and matching Parker’s 10 points.
After a midrange jumper from Parker, the Sky, went on an 8-0 run led by Cheyenne Parker to cut the Sparks lead to eight, 32-24, with 3:40 left in 2nd quarter.
The Sky continued with the momentum to cut the deficit down to 34-31. Chicago had the Sparks on the ropes until the last 9.3 seconds in the second quarter when the Sky’s Parker fouled the Sparks’ Parker as Candace attempted a three pointer. Cheyenne compounded the personal foul with a technical foul and unfortunately for the Sky, free throws by Chelsea Gray and Candace pushed the Sparks lead back up to 38-31 going into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Sparks pulled away 51-37 until a traditional three-point play by Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot cut the lead to 51-40 with 2:40 left in period. Los Angeles closed out the third with a 56-44 advantage.
To say the Sparks turned up the defensive pressure in the last period is an understatement. Los Angeles went on a run topped off with a Parker trey giving them their biggest lead, 63-45, with 7:20 left in the game.
The Sparks’ defense held the Sky to just one point for over nine minutes. Chicago didn’t record a fourth quarter field goal until the 2:13 mark. Overall, the Sky went 21-74 from the floor for a 28.4 field goal percentage. In addition, they were 3-of-23 from beyond the arc, an abysmal 13 percent.
The Sparks shot 29-of-59 from the floor, a 49 percent clip. Parker lead Los Angeles with 24 points on 10-14 shooting plus six rebounds and three blocks. Ogwumike added 16 points plus eight rebounds and Gray contributed 15 points.
Cheyenne Parker paced the Sky with 17 points and 12 rebounds. She was the only Chicago player in double figures.
Sky center Stefanie Dolson did not suit up for the game due to a strained tendon.
The Sparks activated their first-round pick Maria Vadeeva this weekend. She arrived in Los Angeles from Russia on Saturday. The 6-4 rookie center was the 11th overall pick in the draft and has played. professionally in Europe since 2014.
Los Angeles hosts the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. PT. The Sky continues their road trip and plays at Seattle on the same day.
- Points in the Paint: Sky 32, Sparks 46
- Second Chance Points: Sky 11, Sparks 6
- Fastbreak Points: Sky 6, Sparks 8
- Biggest Lead: Sky 0, Sparks 24
- Lead Changes: 0
- Times Tied: 0