The Los Angeles Sparks are going through a tough stretch of games at the moment after losing their last four games, following a winless two-game road trip over the weekend.
Los Angeles’ Candace Parker recently returned from injury and got back on the floor in their match-up with the Washington Mystics at home. However, the Sparks were promptly blown out at home.
They did have hopes of getting back on track on their two-game road trip against the Seattle Storm and Phoenix Mercury.
Storm beat Sparks in Seattle
The Sparks met the Seattle Storm on Friday evening to begin their road trip. Alana Beard (left leg) made her return to the floor for the Sparks in this game but it was not enough as the Storm routed the Sparks 84-62.
Led by Jewell Loyd and Natasha Howard, the Storm were efficient from the three-point line as they shot 53.8 percent. Loyd made a career high five 3-pointers to help the Storm give the Sparks problems from beyond the arc.
The Sparks got off to an early 10-3 lead with Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker connecting with one another on offense. Their lead did not last long as the Storm stayed within a good distance until the Storm took a 22-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The offensive struggles for Los Angeles remained prevalent throughout the game despite some great moments in the second quarter with Sydney Wiese, Riquna Williams, and Chelsea Gray making three-pointers within a good distance. However, Seattle held their 12-point lead going into halftime.
In the second half, the defense for the Sparks helped them out in the first five minutes of the third quarter. But once again their offense could not follow up as the Storm kept the ball moving.
The Storm led the whole second half despite the Sparks inching their way back into the game.
Seattle held a 20-point lead at the start of the fourth but the Sparks went on a 5-0 run. That was then answered by the Storm who did not let up on their lead to prevent the Sparks from making a comeback.
Nneka Ogwumike finished with 10 points and five rebounds to lead the way for the Sparks. Beard had eight points, three rebounds, and two assists in her return.
Sparks can’t comeback in Phoenix
In Phoenix, the Sparks took on the Mercury who were looking for a win after dropping their previous three games.
The Mercury were able to pull off an 82-72 victory against the Sparks behind the play of the starters who all finished in double figures.
The Sparks started better offensively in the first quarter, which has been atypical so far this season. Gray set off the momentum for the Sparks with scoring and facilitating the ball.
The Mercury would not let up though despite the Sparks having some contributions from Tierra Ruffin-Pratt in the first quarter. Ruffin-Pratt’s defense was on par per usual and it paid off well on the offensive end of the floor.
Despite fouling out later on in the game, Ruffin-Pratt finished with 11 points on 3-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Sparks made the most out of Mabrey’s production in the second quarter on both ends of the floor. Mabrey stole the ball to open the quarter before connecting on a layup. Despite her threes not falling, the Sparks were able to get offensive rebounds to create second-chance opportunities.
Phoenix was able to grab the lead in the second quarter and extend their lead going into halftime.
The second half was full of three pointers especially in the third quarter. Whether it was to bring the Sparks back into the game or extend the Mercury’s lead, three-pointers were falling and much-needed layups were made.
In the closing minutes of the third quarter, the Sparks put together some good offensive possessions by Alexis Jones and the Ogwumikes. Chiney Ogwumike made back-to-back layups to bring the Sparks within four at the end of the quarter.
Jones and Parker then put up points for the Sparks during the final quarter. However, Phoenix were on a roll after sinking a trifecta of threes to cement their lead on the game.
Parker and Chiney Ogwumike finished with 12 points each to lead the way for the Sparks. Both Ruffin-Pratt and Nneka Ogwumike had 11 points.
With these two losses, the Sparks are now on a four-game losing streak as their record is now 4-6.
The Sparks head home to face the Las Vegas Aces and will look to get a much needed win to end this losing skid. Los Angeles will play the Aces on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. PT.