After recording a loss against the New York Liberty, the Los Angeles Sparks have a fresh approach ahead of their Tuesday game against the Washington Mystics.
Against the Mystics, LA will look to be re-energized from their road trip and back to back from this past weekend.
This is their first meeting this season since and first since Elena Delle Donne and the Mystics blew the Sparks out 96-64 in the conference semifinals last postseason.
So far this season, the Sparks and Mystics have the same record at 4-3. However, the Sparks are currently in fourth, while the Mystics sit fifth in the standings.
The Mystics started June with dominating wins against the Atlanta Dream, Chicago Sky, New York Liberty, and Dallas Wings. Things were looking up for the Mystics until they faced the Connecticut Sun.
Their loss against the Sun began a two-game losing skid as they then fell to the Seattle Storm 74-71. The Mystics played well against the Storm throughout the whole game but blew a 13-point lead in the fourth, getting outscored 22-8 to end the game.
Washington has been putting up numbers in bunches, while their defense has followed suit for them during the first seven games. Their play will pose a challenge to the Sparks as the Mystics try to prevent a three-game losing skid.
The Sparks are back at home for a bit before traveling to Seattle at the latter end of the week. This match-up with the Mystics will be their third home game so far this season.
After the 98-92 loss to the Liberty, the Sparks are hoping to overcome some of their issues from that game and will hope to be refreshed from their road trip.
“It’s nice to wake up in our own beds,” Chiney Ogwumike said about being back home.
“I think we’re still trying to push through finding our rhythm and our tempo.
But I think that we learned from our last game that it was more our mental errors.”
The Sparks will need to be locked in against the Mystics and make sure everyone is on one accord so that they don’t let another game slip away from them.
Keys to the Game
The main keys for the Sparks in this game are to come out on a good start offensively and sustain defensive pressure. The Sparks started the game against the Liberty well on the offensive end but were unable to keep it up the rest of the way.
“We just need to continue to learn how to sustain who we are over the course of 40 minutes,” Sparks head coach Derek Fisher said.
Though it was a high scoring game against the Liberty, there were quality shots that did not fall for the Sparks and some offensive lapses too, having turned the ball over 14 times in the loss.
They will need to make sure that they have control of the ball on the offensive end.
Any opponent that plays the Mystics has to get it done on both ends of the floor. The Mystics hold opponents to 78.3 points per game and shoot 44.3 percent from the field.
Bringing energy and effort on both ends of the floor will also be key for the Sparks in trying to pull out a win.
The Sparks had been waiting on the imminent returns of Candace Parker (hamstring) and Alana Beard (left leg) as their statuses have been day to day. Maria Vadeeva is still out due to international obligations with her national team.
Both Parker and Beard’s statuses have been upgraded on Monday afternoon.
Parker will make her season debut with the Sparks against the Mystics and Beard’s status is questionable.
This will be Tierra Ruffin-Pratt’s first time playing against her former team in the Mystics, who she spent six seasons with, since signing with the Sparks during the off-season.
Los Angeles will take on the Washington Mystics at 7:30 p.m. PT.