The Los Angeles Sparks came up short in Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Mercury 82-72. Losing once again, for the fourth game in a row. With a record of 4-6 for the year, under new Coach Derek Fisher. There were good moments and despairing moments, towards the end of the fourth quarter. Let’s dive into yesterday’s loss against the Mercury.
Good start for the Los Angeles Sparks
The game started physical, and Alana Beard of the Sparks got injured at the beginning of the first quarter. The first quarter started well for the Los Angeles Sparks with Candace Parker with two quick free throws. Nneka Ogwumike had a great start as well, with 7 points in the quarter. The Sparks were shooting 75 percent in the first quarter.
That is to say, Nneka finished the quarter with 9 points. Parker wasn’t shooting well, however she did help the Sparks grab some boards, with 5 rebounds. During the second quarter, the Sparks were leading 33 to 30. That helped transition the Sparks to a great start for the second quarter.
Meanwhile, Nneka was dominating the game for the Los Angeles Sparks, with 11 points in the first half. As a result, Nneka is averaging 7.7 total rebounds per game, and she did just that in yesterday’s game versus Phoenix. The Sparks outrebounded Phoenix 39 to 35, on the boards.
Foul Trouble for the Sparks
The Sparks’ early foul trouble did not help them. In the third quarter alone, there was Nneka with five fouls and Chiney Ogwumike with two fouls. Pratt also had 6 fouls and team total fouls for the Sparks were 24. The Sparks ended the third quarter trailing by four. 56 -60
Phoenix was unstoppable in the 4th Quarter
Four players for the Sparks helped them stay close in the game. The four players with double-digit points were: Tierra Ruffin-Pratt with 11 points, Candace Parker with 12 points, Nneka finished with 11 points, and her sister Chiney with 12 points. Parker played amazing with 11 boards and 3 assists. Nneka with 13 rebounds for the game.
It was mostly an even game throughout the duration of it, as both teams had 11 turnovers. However, that did not stop Phoenix to dominate in the 4th quarter. The Sparks defense couldn’t put out the fire of Leilani Mitchell. Mitchell was unstoppable with 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists. Brittney Grinder also contributed with the win, with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 assists.
Another superstar that dominated for Phoenix was DeWanna Bonner, with 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists. Most importantly, Phoenix had the biggest lead by 11. Offensively, Phoenix won the battle and the Sparks weren’t able to finish strong enough at the end.
In summation, Mitchell was too dominant for the Sparks to come back and win the game. Both teams had 30 points in the paint, and that is tough if you want to stop the offense from scoring.
The Sparks could have won the game if they could have finished strong, and stopped a couple of plays, on the defensive end. The Sparks are the better team despite their 4-6 record.