Nia Coffey leads Los Angeles in scrimmage win at Las Vegas, 80-71

May 2, 2021 - Las Vegas center Liz Cambage and Los Angeles forward Chiney Ogwumike. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.
May 2, 2021 – Las Vegas center Liz Cambage and Los Angeles forward Chiney Ogwumike. Photo: NBAE/Getty Images.
  • Los Angeles starters: Erica Wheeler, Brittney Sykes, Amanda Zahui B, Jasmine Walker, Chiney Ogwumike
  • Las Vegas starters: Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Liz Cambage, A’ja Wilson, Angel McCoughtry

In the second scrimmage of the WNBA preseason, the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Las Vegas Aces in a closed scrimmage, 80-71, at Michelob Ultra Arena on Sunday. The teams used the scrimmage to test out different player combinations and give newcomers a chance to acclimate.

Fifth-year forward Nia Coffey led the Sparks with 20 points.

“I just really appreciate how we were able to come together in training camp and then show bits and pieces of it today,” Coffey said post scrimmage. “Of course, we have a long way to go, but so far, I think we’re doing a good job of trying to find each other and set that foundation up now.”

This will be Coffey’s first summer with Los Angeles after spending last season with the Phoenix Mercury. Sparks head coach Derek Fisher praised her effort.

“The way she performed today, we’re not surprised by it,” Fisher said. “She showed us all week that she has the ability to impact the game at multiple levels in multiple ways. That’s what she did today and not just about the points but just competing, and playing hard, and emptying her tank to do everything she can to help the team win. Those are the kind of players we want on our team, and I think Nia did a great job today.”

Fifth-year guard Bria Holmes, who will also be playing with the Sparks for the first time, scored 10 points. Three players finished with eight points: Chiney Ogumike, Jasmine Walker, and Erica Wheeler.

Ogwumike, who sat out last season, was a welcome sight on the court for Fisher and her teammates.

“Chiney just deserves a tremendous amount of credit for getting out there and playing pretty good today for someone that hadn’t played basketball since 2019,” Fisher said. “A lot of people have and continue to question whether or not this is what she really wants to do and loves to do because of her success off the court. And I think that’s something that women, and women of color, in particular, always battle – to show people that they’re more than one thing and that she actually can be good on the court and also have a brand and have a platform off the court that people recognize and respect.”

Inactive players from the Sparks included Kristi Toliver, Nneka Ogwumike, and Seimone Augustus, who all sat out to rest. Kristine Anigwe, who is in the middle of league health and safety protocols, also missed the scrimmage.

For the Aces, the league’s reigning MVP, forward A’ja Wilson led her team with 14 points. Australian center Liz Cambage, who sat out last season, scored 10 points. Fellow center JiSu Park, another player who missed the 2020 campaign, added nine points. Among the newcomers, second-round draft pick Destiny Slocum out of Arkansas had a good outing with 10 points.

Aces guard Chelsea Gray is in Las Vegas but is waiting to complete the league’s medical protocol and exit quarantine. Gray spent five seasons with the Sparks before signing with Las Vegas in February.

The Aces travel to Los Angeles on Saturday, May 8, for their final preseason game at 1 p.m. PT. Yesterday, the Atlanta Dream topped the Minnesota Lynx 69-61 in Atlanta. The league’s regular season begins May 14.

2021 WNBA Preseason Schedule

Date Game Time Location
May 1 Atlanta 69, Minnesota 61 (Scrimmage) 3 p.m.ET Gateway Center, College Park
May 2 Los Angeles 80, Las Vegas 71 – Closed Scrimmage 12 p.m. PT Michelob Ultra Arena
May 3 New York at Connecticut – Closed scrimmage TBD Mohegan Sun
May 5 Atlanta at Washington – Closed game 7 p.m. ET Entertainment and Sports Arena
May 8 Washington at Minnesota – Closed game 2 p.m. ET TBD
May 8 Connecticut at Dallas – Closed game 12 p.m. CT UT Arlington
May 8 Las Vegas at Los Angeles – Closed Game 1 p.m. PT LA Convention Center
May 8 Seattle at Phoenix –  Preseason game 3 p.m. PT Phoenix Suns Arena
May 9 Chicago at Indiana – Preseason Game 12  p.m. ET Bankers Life Fieldhouse
May 10 Phoenix at Seattle – Closed scrimmage TBD TBD
May 11 Indiana at Chicago – Preseason Game 3:30 p.m. CT Wintrust Arena

WNBA Season Key Dates

  • May 1: Pre-season Games/Scrimmages Begin
  • May 11: Last Possible Date for Pre-Season Games
  • May 13: Final Roster Cut-down Date: 12 players, 5:00 pm EST
  • May 14: WNBA Season Begins
  • July 11: Last Date for Games before Olympic Break
  • July 15-August 11: Olympic Break
  • August 15: Second Half Schedule Begins
  • August 21: Trade Deadline, 8:00 pm EST
  • September 19: Last Day of Regular Season
  • September 23: Playoffs Begin
  • October 19: Last Possible Finals Date


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