After suffering a tough loss this past Friday against the Dallas Wings, it was refreshing to see the Los Angeles Sparks step on the court and get off to a remarkable start against the New York Liberty.
Candace Parker got the team energy going with an and-one runner to start the game. Parker ignited the team and held the Liberty to only two points in the early goings. An 8-0 run followed for the next four minutes of the game, giving the Sparks a significant lead in the first quarter.
Scoring contributions in the beginning of the game from Parker, Ogwumike, and Carson, led the team to an 18-12 lead to end the quarter.
Amanda Zahui B, and Tina Charles were able to bring New York back within two points with only six minutes left in the second quarter. But the Sparks were relentless and responded with an 18-4 run to end the half.
The team shot 56.2% from the field, sinking 18 of their 32 attempts. Riquana Williams was impressive in the first half, drilling four three-point shots, including a 24-foot buzzer beater. Los Angeles went into half time up 43-27 over the Liberty.
Half way through the third quarter, Chelsea Grey completed a career-high 11 assists with a one-handed pass to Ogwumike, she cut to the basket for a layup. The Sparks finished the quarter strong, ending it with a 61-41 lead.
Williams took control once and for all during the fourth quarter, tallying the first 9 points from the field to start the final frame.
The Sparks held on strong, pushing the lead to 29 points following a first ever WNBA 3-point bucket from Maria Vadeeva.
Williams Leads the way
Riquna Williams, who has been in fine fiddle as of late, led all scorers. She shot 7-9 from the 3-point line, totaling 25 points when the final buzzer sounded.
Nneka Ogwumike recorded her fourth double-double of the year, recording 12 points and 10 rebounds. Candace Parker stayed consistent with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Finally, Chelsea Grey helped distribute the ball, racking up a career high 11 assists.
After a disappointing loss against Dallas Friday, Coach Agler was very relieved to see his team get off to a good start.
“I know we’re not going to win every single game, that’s impossible, almost, but we’ve got to be consistent with our efforts and our ability to compete, that’s what it comes down to.”
Sparks Consistent Throughout the Day
The Sparks did just that today. Los Angeles stayed consistent throughout with an all-around team effort.
Coach Agler was very proud of the way Williams managed her role and get the rest of the offense going.
“…I liked how we moved the ball, I mean it was nice to see Riquna [Williams] really get it going. She’s starting to warm up.
You know she’s had a couple games where she started hitting some shots but I liked how we defended as a team.”
Agler was proud of her ability to stay strong even throughout injuries and the defensive presence she has added to the team.
When asked about the team’s performance, Williams seemed to be very happy with the way they played today. She looked composed on the court, opening herself up to knock down some key field goals for the Sparks.
We asked William’s what the difference in her shooting was today. She said, “Just the way my teammates believe in me and know what I can do and what I could help bring to the team to keep making us get better every game,”
The team did just that.
Chelsea Grey tallied up 11 assists, finding Williams open to hit some of those game changing shots. The team definitely meshed well tonight, looking full of confidence after that heavy defeat.
Having a full roster will only be a good thing for the Sparks. Should they find ways to consistently keep this style of play up, they will continue to soar this season.
On the Look Out…
With the sparks 12th roster spot still up for grabs it was interesting to see such a promising competitor like Karlie Samuelson step on the court today and get some playing time.
Although she didn’t see the court much, Samuelson’s ability to shoot the ball could make her the perfect fit for this team.
The Sparks have the opportunity for revenge on Tuesday night. They will get a second shot at the Wings, as the two battle at Staples Center. Tip off for this game is at 7:30 PM.