Chelsea Gray had herself a career game in the Los Angeles Sparks’ victory over the New York Liberty.
The Los Angeles Sparks defeated the New York Liberty 78-73 following a late push by Chelsea Gray in the fourth quarter at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York Tuesday morning.
Gray’s career game was capped off with a late personal 5-0 run in the fourth quarter to put the Sparks ahead 71-69 with 2:04 remaining in the game.
Gray finished the game with a career-high 29 points to go with three rebounds and four assists.
Sydney Wiese opened the game for Los Angeles on a three-pointer that was assisted by Gray. Wiese’s first two three-pointers fell for the Sparks just minutes apart and doubled her point total from the home-opener.
Gray’s assist to Wiese to start the game was the first of the three that she needed to reach her career record of 500 assists.
Los Angeles started the game off slow as it was an early 8 a.m. PST/11 a.m. EST start due to it being the Liberty’s “School Day” game.
Sparks struggle early
The Sparks gradually built offensive momentum in the first quarter. It was a low scoring quarter for both teams and they had a combined six turnovers in the latter half of the quarter.
New York was the aggressor late in the opening quarter. They went on a run and held Los Angeles to 31.8 percent shooting from the field.
The Sparks were able to find some ground in the second quarter, despite a rough start offensively. There just was not any ball movement or flow for the Sparks.
Los Angeles went on a 7-2 run to tie the game at 23 all and Nneka Ogwumike was able to score her first points of the game in that run. Ogwumike struggles to score throughout the entire game.
The Liberty were able to go on a 6-0 run to tie things up once again at 29. Tierra Ruffin-Pratt shot a long distance three-pointer in response to the Liberty’s run. With 2:39 left in the quarter, the Liberty’s Tina Charles committed a flagrant foul on Ogwumike with an inadvertent elbow to her face.
The Liberty’s Defense held the Sparks to four points over the last two minutes of the first half but the Sparks were able to maintain a two-point 36-34 lead over the Liberty at the half.
Gray gets career high
In the opening minutes of the third quarter, Gray hit double figures with 10 points. Gray’s three-pointer from deep in the corner gave Los Angeles the 43-39 lead.
The Sparks went on a 7-0 run that was highlighted by three-pointers from Wiese and Gray. New York then responded with a 5-0 run of their own. The third quarter was a back and forth game of runs between both teams.
New York was not making it easy for Nneka Ogwumike in the paint. At one point, the Sparks did not take care of the ball for a stretch which led errant passes that resulted in multiple turnovers. Los Angeles had three turnovers in the quarter.
Gray’s 500th career assist came in the latter half of the quarter when she assisted on a Chiney Ogwumike layup to give the Sparks a 49-44 run with 4:21 remaining in the third.
Los Angeles was able to hold onto a four point lead early in the fourth until the Liberty’s Rebecca Allen shot a three-pointer to give New York a 60-59 lead. Kalani Brown then responded with a basket in the paint for the Sparks.
The Liberty managed to respond with a 6-0 to lead 66-61, their biggest lead of the game, but a Gray three-pointer cut the deficit to 66-64. Amanda Zahui B responded with a three of her own to extend the Liberty’s lead.
The Sparks then went on a 7-0 run of their own. Gray had herself a 5-0 run of her own to cap off the team’s run to put Los Angeles up 71-69 with 2:04 remaining. Gray’s efforts late in the fourth quarter gave the Sparks the edge to win.
Chiney Ogwumike had 15 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and steals. Alexis Jones had 10 points and two assists off the bench. Wiese had eight points.
Nneka Ogwumike struggled in the game as she finished with nine points on 2-14 field goals to go with nine rebounds, two assists, and three steals.
The Sparks now move to 2-1 on the season with their first road win. Los Angeles continues along with their road trip in Connecticut to play the Sun on Thursday at 4 p.m. PST.