On Thursday, the Los Angeles Sparks hit the road to take on the Seattle Storm after coming off a big win against the Dallas Wings. However, they were unable to keep the momentum going. This time, it seemed that Nneka Ogwumike’s presence was truly missed on the court, as Breanna Stewart took led the night in Seattle’s 81-72 win, finishing with 27 points.
Seattle Gets Hot Early
Seattle opened the game with a 13-point lead. The Sparks bench came in and added some fire, cutting the lead to only 8 points, with a key three-pointer from Riquna Williams. However, Seattle was still able to pull away at the end of the quarter to go up by eight.
The Sparks came out defensively in tact in the second quarter after giving up 25 points in the first. During the second, Los Angeles were able to hold Seattle to only 15, a vast improvement for sure. All that energy spent on the defensive end was tough, though, because it seemed like the Sparks were tired on offense, only putting up 17 of their own.
Because of LA’s lack of offensive efficiency, the Sparks could only trim Seattle’s lead to five points ending the half down 41-36. Candace Parker led the team with ten points at the half, while Sue Bird and Natasha Howard led the storm with eight points each.
The Sparks took control at the start of the second half, with Candace Parker finally making her presence felt. Parker scored 14 points and 4 rebounds in the third quarter alone. The offensive outburst from Parker allowed Los Angeles to cut Seattle’s lead to two, closing out the quarter 57-59.
But Stewart dictated the tempo the remainder of the game. She found answers for every Sparks’ attempts at getting back in this game. Williams and Chelsea Gray cut the lead to just four points after making a couple of big buckets. Seattle, however, took over in the end with a 4-0 run to finish the game. “It was a very competitive game. I was proud of how we battled,” Coach Brian Agler said.
Parker Takes Control
Candace Parker was the star of the game for the Sparks last night. “Candace did a good job. She was aggressive and played smart. She had a good effort,” Agler said.
Parker finished the game with her fourth double-double of the season, scoring 27 points, while hauling down 11 rebounds. But Parker didn’t just dominate Thursday’s game against the Storm. The veteran has gotten everything she wants against Seattle’s defense this season. In the last two games alone against Seattle, Parker has scored a combined 56 points.
Number One Ranked Offense Too Much To Handle?
The Seattle Storm proved why they earned the title of the number ranked offense in the WNBA. “I felt like they put it to us initially, but they’re a good team. It’s hard to win up here, and they do a good job,” Candace Parker said afterwards.
The Seattle Storm have, arguably, the most dominant line up in the WNBA at times, which could make them seem almost unbeatable. They have a talented youngster in Stewart, who tied Candace Parker atop of the points leader board. Jewell Loyd who also tallied up 13 points and six boards, as well as a season high four steals, that turned into crucial plays for the team.
Seattle also has Natasha Howard who contributed 14 points in the Storm’s victory. And, finally, let’s not forget about the ten time All-Star, Sue Bird who recorded her 25th all time double-double, passing a season high 11 assists, and scoring 10 points.
It’s going to take a more seasoned Sparks team to take a win from Seattle, especially on their home court.
“We didn’t play with as much poise and composure down the stretch as I thought we needed to. We had our opportunities and didn’t take advantage of it. Seattle made some timely shots and got some timely rebounds. That was the difference down the stretch.” Brian Agler said.