Nneka Ogwumike third quarter leads sparks to big come from behind win

WNBA 2019: Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Centeron July 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 18: Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike #30 during the Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA – Returning from a three game road trip, winning their last two, the Sparks had everything going for them as they faced the lowly Dallas Wings. However, two key pieces were out of the lineup. Candace Parker was a no show favoring her ankle, and Riquna Williams was laid down a 10 game suspension following an April arrest for a domestic violence charge last year.

With Riquna out especially, the Sparks offense lacked some structure.This meant it was Nneka Ogwumike to the rescue. Her third quarter surge helped the Sparks erase a big deficit in the first half during a 69-64 win that extends their winning streak.

WNBA 2019: Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“In the first half there were variables that did not allow us to play as intensely as we could have,” Nkeka said. “We are also experiencing things that will hinder our performance. We were not focused in the first 20 minutes. Our defense fueled our offense later and that was a big difference.”

Aside from Nneka’s third quarter performance, the Sparks changed their strategy in the final 20 minutes, controlling the tempo on the offensive end. They managed 16 second half points in the paint, which also allowed them to head to the line 14 times. It became the difference as Dallas finished the second half on just 23% shooting.

Keeping things close throughout the first, Dallas’s 8-0 run made the Sparks look lethargic on both sides of the ball in the first half. Los Angeles had no control of the Wings’s inside game, as well as struggling to find any kind of offensive rhythm. Dallas managed to go up 16 at one point before the Sparks closed the gap to 10 by halftime.

Head coach Derek Fisher loud and clear let the team know his thoughts on the first half.

WNBA 2019: Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“Long story short we had to take this personal,” Nneka said. “Every moment is an opportunity. That’s as far as we can go with what happened.”

The game took a 180 in the third quarter. Nneka took over the show with 13 of her 22 points occurring in the third, with seven of them coming from the charity stripe. Her offensive charge allowed the Sparks to play much more aggressive all around, heading to the line as well for 11 shots and making 10 of them. Nneka’s free throws with two minutes remaining gave the Sparks the lead they never relinquished.

“Everyone felt that grit and mentality in the second half,” Chiney Ogwumike said. “Coach Fisher challenges us and at halftime the message simply put was asking if we were going to just roll over or be the one that will throw the first punch. We gave ourselves a little flex and played much more aggressive.”

WNBA 2019: Chelsea Gray driving to the basket during the Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center on July 18, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Marina Mabrey off the bench contributed with 12 points. Chiney also had 12, while Chelsea Gray had 11.

The Sparks have two road games before the all star break, facing New York and Atlanta. They return back home August 1 against the league leading Las Vegas Aces.

Connecticut hot outside the circle, reign over Fever

WNBA 2019: Connecticut Suns vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 14, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
WNBA 2019:Natalie Achonwa with the and one over Courtney Williams during a Connecticut Suns vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 14, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

INDIANAPOLIS — The home team at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse couldn’t stop the Connecticut Sun from draining three-point shots Sunday as the Fever lost the game 76-63.

Throughout the game, Indiana struggled with its shots going in the basket. At one point in the fourth quarter, center Teaira McCowan (3 points,  8 rebounds, 1 assist) missed a shot at the post, got her own rebound then missed her second shot, letting the Sun get off another 3. Making only 37.1% of their shots, the Fever couldn’t keep up.

Connecticut went 10-22 from distance, Shekinna Stricklen had four of her own. Indiana shot 16 3s and made 0, a franchise record low.

WNBA 2019: Connecticut Suns vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 14, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Candice Dupree ( 11 points,  rebounds, 4 assists) gave her take on the Sun’s 20-4 run in the third quarter. “Way too many threes … they picked us apart with the middle pick and roll in the first half, I thought we did a better job of it in the second half, but we have to recognize when we need to help and when we don’t.”

Betnijah Laney is becoming a key part in the Fever’s lineup with 11 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals, a career high. Laney struggled at the glass, but found success with her mid-range shot.

Dupree moved into 6th place in WNBA scoring, with 6,267 points. Fever head coach Pokey Chatman said “I feel like every three or four games she’s doing something. It speaks to Candice’s career, to be able to do it at a level where she is the primary focus on a younger team – it’s in all facets of the game. I’m excited for her.”

WNBA 2019: Courtney Williams with a fade way during a Connecticut Suns vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 14, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Stricklen and Jonquel Jones turned up in the third quarter, scoring 22 of 23 points. Jones led the game with 26 points, shooting 57.9%.

When Indiana would slow down the play and not turnover the ball, they were capable of going on runs against the Sun. Natalie Achonwa fought for and earned a few foul shots to keep the ball away from Jones, keeping the Fever competitive.

“We were hammering our players on transition defense, and we didn’t get it done,” Chatman said. “Every team in this league is too good to get that type of lead and then play catch up.”

WNBA 2019: Candice Dupree with a monster block of Bria Holmes shot during a Connecticut Suns vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 14, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

 

Fever’s stellar 4th quarter doesn’t make up for Sparks lead

WNBA 2019: Los Angeles Sparks vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 12, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
WNBA 2019: #12 Chelsea Gary shooting over #0 Kelsey Mitchell during a Los Angeles Sparks vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 12, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

INDIANAPOLIS – The third quarter in Banker’s life Fieldhouse Friday night belonged to the visiting Los Angeles Sparks, leading by as much as 30 points. The home team fought back in the final quarter but went on to lose 84-90, the team’s second loss at home this week.

In the fourth, Shenise Johnson and Stephanie Mavunga led the Fever on a 32-14 run. Johnson (11 points, 5 rebounds) and Mavunga (10 points, 5 rebounds) both came off the bench to compete with LA. Indiana cut the lead down but couldn’t come through.

Fever point guard Erica Wheeler shot 66.7% for 11 points, and her three assists lands her in 3rd place (471) for assists in franchise history.

WNBA 2019: Los Angeles Sparks vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 12, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

“I applaud those players, we had the guts to bounce back,” Indiana head coach Pokey Chatman said to start her press conference. “Paris Kea (8 points, 2 assists, 2, rebounds) was not very good when she first went in the game. She has a reset, she gets some energy from a couple of teammates, she came out there and showed why she was drafted. A steady of diet of that is not something that is going to carry us, but it’s come confidence, it’s momentum for her and some trust in teammates and in herself.”

Sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike stunted for the crowd in Indianapolis, Nneka led the game with 22 points, as well as 6 rebounds and 6 steals, while Chiney added 19 points with 9 rebounds. The two helped LA get ahead early in the game; Indiana trailed 17-23 after the first quarter.

WNBA 2019: Nneka Ogwumike shoots during a Los Angeles Sparks vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 12, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

LA was up 54-35 at halftime and would come back stronger in the third. Indiana struggled with turnovers while LA capitalized on them.

“First and foremost, I will credit LA … however, we aided in our demise,” Chatman stated. “Sub, call a timeout; sub, call a timeout; get some momentum.”

Indiana (6-11) has two more home games before going on the road. “It’s really hard for so many players with not a lot of experience to play together.”

Fever lose steam and game in 4th quarter to Las Vegas

WNBA 2019: Natalie Achonwa blow past Dearica Hamby during a Las Vegas vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)
WNBA 2019: Tamera Young with a nasty block of Shenise Johnson during a Las Vegas vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Fever started a stretch of home games with a loss against the Los Vegas Aces Wednesday afternoon. Despite a strong, 26-point third quarter and four players in double digits, The Fever fell in the final minutes of the game.

 

With a 70-point tie and 33 seconds to play, the Aces took their final time out. Vegas’ A’ja Wilson went to the glass for a two-point lead. With 15 seconds left, Wilson fouls Indy’s Candice Dupree, who at that point in the game was three points shy of becoming the sixth leading scorer in the WNBA.

 

Dupree made her first shot from the free throw line but not the second, Wilson got the rebound right before being fouled by Tiffany Mitchell. Wilson shot 2/2.

 

WNBA 2019: Kayla McBride with 2 of her 14 points during a Las Vegas vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Down three, Indiana made a play calling error, sending Kelsey Mitchell into the circle to shoot for two instead of three.

 

“If you look at the stats, that tells one story. But what I told my team is ‘5 and a half minutes … we gave up 12 points. We turned the basketball over three times. We didn’t step up to the occasion. As the stakes rose up, we didn’t turn our awareness on what’s needed,” Fever head coach Pokey Chatman said after the game.

The Fever have one six of their 16 games so far, matching last season’s six win total for last place in the league.

“We’re not taking advantage of things. That’s a very good basketball team over there,” Chatman said regarding Las Vegas. “There are no moral victories in the pros, it’s about Ws and Ls, and we took this one on the chin.”

 

WNBA 2019: During a Las Vegas vs Indiana Fever at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on July, 10, 2019 (Photo by Andre Hollis / fi360 News)

Rookie Teaira McCowan recorded another double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Since June 19, McCowan is the only player averaging a double-double.

 

The opening minutes of play favored the home team, as the Fever led 8-0. From there, Indiana lost five turnovers and got behind Las Vegas 12-9. The rest of the game would mirror Indiana’s inconsistencies.

 

The second and third quarters Indiana making 47.% and 50% of its shots respectively for 23 and 26 points. In the fourth quarter, the team went 4-17, 23.5%.

“We have to focus forward, we have a hungry LA team coming off a loss here Friday.”

One week later, a complete game and a Sparks Win

WNBA 2019: Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
WNBA 2019: Nneka Ogwumike getting her balance after a steal during the Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA – Just less than three weeks ago, the Washington Mystics ran out the Los Angeles Sparks out of their own home in a near 30-point blowout. Shots wouldn’t fall. Turnovers fell apart the Sparks offense. Come Sunday afternoon it started to become deja-vu as the Sparks started 0-for-5 from the field and could not control the basketball. Nneka Ogwumike had a different direction she wanted this game to go, scoring at will and put the offense to a different level.

She scored 14 of her 31 in the first quarter, pushing the Sparks offense to right the ship and never trail from three minutes into the game. Revenge was in order after a dominant 98-81 victory.

“We were all glad that we were ready to shoot today,” N. Ogwumike said, “Wins into this part of the season are important since after the all star break the feeling is different. It was great to win like this being able to make our shots and have a great defensive presence.”

WNBA 2019: Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

After trailing 4-0, Nneka knocks down two free throws and then a three from the right corner. After she got herself going, the rest of the team followed suit. Riquana Williams would then join the party with Nneka. Then the Sparks bench in the second. By then Nneka fed her shooting love to Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Chelsea Gray that had the team eventually score at will.

“Our defensive pressure allowed us to score,” Gray said, “Working out our half court defense was able to set up our offense and be able to open up easy transition shots. As the game moved through we were more engaged in the game and had control.”

Last time around the Sparks only scored 52 points and committed 26 turnovers, dismantling momentum throughout the game. In the first 20 minutes, they knocked down 51 points and lost the ball just four times, six in total, which proved to be crucial as the Mystics kept up with their high-powered offense.

WNBA 2019: Alana Beard goes for a layup during the Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

By the second half the Mystics seemed to lose a lot of their firepower, shooting just 4-for-20 in the third, with no response to the Sparks defense. Washington tried to make things interested as they cut the lead to seven with four minutes remaining. Back-to-back three balls by Williams ended all hopes of a comeback.

Williams finished with 19 points, including going 5-for-10 from three. Gray had 13 points while Ruffin Pratt closed the game with 12 points. Gray also managed 10 rebounds and 13 assists, becoming only the eight player in WNBA history with a triple double.

WNBA 2019: Washington Mystics vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on July 7, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“I had a small feeling when I kept getting assist after assist,” Gray said, “It wasn’t on my mind, though. I knew I needed other things, but it wasn’t really a thought. It just ended up going my way.”

It has been a week since the Sparks took the floor. After a dominant win since sitting out for so long, they now hope to keep the ride along as they take the road against Dallas to start a three game road trip.

YOU SHOULD KNOW ME: VERONICA “RONNI” TIMMS

By Terry Collins

“You should know me” is an ongoing column that is intended to introduce accomplished Bay Area artists and entertainers to the mainstream media.

Image result for veronica timmsI have the pleasure of introducing you to Veronica Timms.  Veronica, affectionately known in the industry as “Ronni” is a talented and gorgeous songstress that has performed with Lenny Williams, Chico Debarge, Michele, Christopher Williams, Yo-Yo, Raheem DaVaughn, Adrienne Marcel and many others.

Since 1998,Ronni has performed on countless songs, completed 2 albums, 3 music videos, and owns V’enti cosmetic line.  It would seem logical that she would have blown up or been delivered to your timeline via social media. Too often, the general public’s knee jerk reaction is to assume that the artist is not talented or has some personal issues that prevent rising to the next level.  I presented some of these questions to Ronni and requested nothing but the uncut truth.

Who is the artist Veronica Timms?

 Music saved my life. I am divorced and have a 30 year old son. I am my mother’s only child who grew up cute and spoiled in Oakland.  My family and friends bullied me because I was small in stature.  My youth also provided a healthy musical foundation.  Ledesi lived across the street from me and we used to write songs as kids in junior high.  Raphael Siddiq also stayed down the street.  As a young child, I fell for Sam Cooke, Mini Riperton, Billy Holiday and the Blues. Now, I have matured into a strong and aggressive woman that refuses to be mistreated.  However, underneath this hard exterior, is still a soft person that loves “lullaby music.  My song “Be With Somebody” is my female anthem.  I would like people to hear my voice and get chills, feel the emotion, love the arrangements, and relate to the lyrics.

What are the common factors that prevent talented people from becoming mega stars?

Sometimes it is as simple of getting “the break” or you just “lucked up.”  You really have to know someone in the industry.  There are famous artists, such as Goapele, who wisely spent her money on a publicist who was instrumental in getting the necessary exposure.  Also, we are still parents and have financial obligations.  Your relationship can also handcuff your opportunities. I believe many women mistakenly suppress their dreams and opportunities for the sake of their current relationship. Marrying too young and being in an unhealthy relationship hindered my career.  I have also seen others elect to pursue other dreams or opt to satisfy an immediate financial demand.  They simply gave up. 

What really happens behind the curtain in the industry?

You really need a competent person that knows how to collect the money.  For me, my mother is my “De-Bo” that will ensure that I’m getting my money as promised.  As a female, you have to be careful not to mix business with pleasure.  Only experience can help you detect a person’s true intentions.  You can have amazing chemistry with someone and create beautiful music. Unfortunately, when the relationship sours, it can have an adverse effect on the future. You also have to engage with the right promoter that knows how to book you and get the proper exposure.  Locally, “Grasshopper” is really doing his thing promoting local artists.  Promoters will try to pay you $100 to perform.  You have to know how to demand your worth. 

What are the lessons that you have learned?

I have to be a better judge of character.  You have to always be on time.  You also need to be ready to work tomorrow, despite what is happening in your personal life.  You eventually learn how to handle the emotions of being rejected or denied an opportunity.  You come to almost expect rejection.  However, this is when it is most important to write and create music.  In addition, your management team has to make prudent decisions.   There are some local artists that got paid and their team mishandled the money.  They failed to reinvest into the music.  After a while, the artist gets frustrated and loses their desire to be part of the industry.  The talent never fades, but the desire and dream is crushed.

What is your next move now that you are no longer a rookie?

 I am currently working on new music.  I plan to release my new music and videos by the end of the summer 2019.  As a licensed cosmetologist, I launched V’enti, my own cosmetic line of high-end lip glosses and eyelashes.  I will continue to walk my dogs, roller skate and enjoy life.  I hope people will continue to enjoy what I am trying to share with the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece and only hope to introduce you to some of the finer people that the Bay Area has to offer.  I encourage you to support Veronica Timms and judge her for yourself.  You can find her music on Spotify, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram@veronicatimmsmusic, and V’enti at www.ventibyveronicatimms.com.

Veronica Timms

Site: https://veronicatimms.com/

You Tube:  Ronnie Timms

Lashley wins the inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit

PGA 2019: Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)
PGA 2019: Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

Detroit, MI – Nate Lashley came into this tournament as a third alternate. He failed to advance from the Monday qualifier but his alternate status took effect when David Berganio Jr withdrew on Wednesday. Lashley would be the last player in the field to qualify for the Rocket Mortgage Classic. That may have been all the motivation he needed because he has been on tear, leading every round since Thursday.

With a 2:05 tee time Lashley had a chance to see how the field was shaping up but with a six-stroke lead going into the final round, it was his game to lose. Paired with J.T. Poston, they moved about the course greeted by fans at each hole. With the majority of superstars not making the cut to the third round, fans began to latch on to Lashley and others like, J.T. Poston, Ricke Fowler, Cameron Tringale and Patrick Reed .

PGA 2019: Harold Varner III during the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

Lashley became the fan favorite for the afternoon and that was evident by the cheers in the larger fan areas (holes 14-15-16). “It was great having them on my side. It made it feel like I wasn’t out there alone and I’m just really thankful for how great they were to me today.

“I was just happy to get in this week, and to end up winning is just a dream come true,” said Lashley.

With the win Lashley moves up to no 40 in the FedEx Cup standings and secures full PGA Tour membership through the 2020-2021 season. “Obviously getting into that Top-40, that’s going to be my goal for the rest of the year is to get to that Top-30 and make the TOUR Championship. So just looking forward to that with the rest of the season”

PGA 2019: Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

This was a big win for Lashley and even bigger win for Detroit who has never hosted a PGA Championship! With a sold out crowds both Saturday and Sunday I can see this event growing.

 

Ebb and flow gives LA Sparks back to back wins

WNBA 2019: Chicago Sky vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
WNBA 2019: Chicago Sky vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA – After starting the season 4-2, the Los Angeles Sparks felt that they were well on track to be one of the best teams in the league when Candace Parker returned. However, things took a sour turn when on her return, the team ended up losing three straight with Parker back in the lineup and four in a row overall. Parker on her return struggled find any footing, scoring only four points on 2-for -18 shooting in her first two games back. After their fourth loss in a row, the team needed to learn how to adapt with their chemistry.

“After starting 4-2 and losing four in a row, we learned that we aren’t good enough,” Sydney Wise said. “Sometimes success makes you complacent and you can see that in the early wins. We let our foot off the gas pedal.”

After four players scored in double figures in a win against Las Vegas on Thursday, the cohesion continued as their offensive dominance across the board gave the Sparks a 94-69 win over the Chicago Sky and back-to-back victories to move on track.

WNBA 2019: Jantel Lavender back at Staples during the Chicago Sky vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“Defense has been an area of concern, especially with Candace back in the lineup,” Sparks head coach Derek Fisher said. “Each game we are trying to find a rhythm, and it is nice to get back home and not worry about travel and just feel comfortable getting used to the game.”

Much like against the New York Liberty, the Sparks allowed the Sky to crawl back late in the first quarter. After just a three point lead in the first 10 minutes, Los Angeles dominated from all sides of the ball using just about everyone on the court.

“We have been working really hard all this week and managed to tighten up a lot of our defense,” Weise said. “We challenged each other. You saw it today when we loaded ourselves on the ball a lot more. We forced a lot of jump balls and bad possessions, and it’s a lot of fun to see things working.”

WNBA 2019: Rookie playing defense K. Brown #21 during the Chicago Sky vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 30, 2019. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Everyone on the Sparks managed to make the stat sheet and score. In consecutive games the Sparks had five players score in double figures with Riquna Williams leading the way with 19. Chelsea Gray and Sydney Wise joined in on the fun with 13 and 11 points respectively. All in all, the Sparks throughout the game just seemed like they were having a lot of fun and let their flow of the game control the tempo.

The Sparks finished June on a high note, but keeping this pace will be tough as they will have a week off before they suit up against Washington next Sunday.

“The only thing we need to worry about now is see if we can maintain that kind of mentality a week from now,” Fisher said.

The inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic in Motown

PGA 2019: Charles Howell III in the fairway during Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

Detroit, MI – This week the PGA Tour makes its first ever stop in the City of Detroit for the Inaugural Rocket Mortgage Classic at the Detroit Golf Club. Nestled in the west side Detroit neighborhood of Palmer Park, the Donald Ross designed course has a rich history spanning 120 years.

Some of golf’s biggest names are in town to compete for $1,314,000, like Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Chez Reavie and Rocket Mortgage ambassador Rickie Fowler. A total of 156 golfers started Round 1 play on Thursday with tee times of 6:45 am & 12:55 pm. It turned out to be a rough start for Johnson and Woodland as they would finish the day outside of the top 100.

PGA 2019: Dustin Johnson on the tee box during the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

Surprisingly the last golfer in the 156 man field Nick Lashley ended up being the leader at the end of round one with a 63 (-9). When asked what the best part of his game was Lashley stated, “I hit really well on the back nine. But 9 under, you’re kind of doing everything well. Just hopefully can continue through the week.”

Lashley 130 (-14) would maintain his lead through Friday’s second round. The biggest news of round two would have to be the lowest 36 hole cut in relation to par since the RSM Classic in 2016……a 5-under. Missing that cut were most of the headliners and fan favorites Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland and Chez Reavie. Saturday and Sundays rounds have been sold out for weeks with fans hoping to cheer on their favorite golf stars. It will be interesting to see the crowds going into Sunday’s final round and missing most of the top stars. Honestly, I don’t think it will matter because the fans here are happy to have the PGA in town!

PGA 2019: Rickie Fowler writing in his book during the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

As of 12 noon EST on Saturday Lashley (-14), Champ (-13) and Howell III (-12) are your current leaders and are set to tee off at 2:00 pm EST.

PGA 2019: Charles Howell III teeing off during the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, MI (Photo by Carl Jones II / fi360 News)

a blunder of errors hand la sparks back to back losses

Washington Mystic vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)
Washington Elena Delle Donne going up for a shot during the Washington Mystic vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Los Angeles, CA – With Candace Parker making her 2019 season debut, the LA Sparks felt like they had a good chunk of their offense back as they took the court Tuesday to face the Washington Mystics. Instead, it became a struggle from practically start to finish. A bravado of turnovers, countless in-and-out shots, and lackluster shooting handed Washington a 81-52 victory that left the LA Sparks wonder where all the thunder has gone.

“Playing games like these will won’t win you any games,” Nneka Ogwumike said. “When you face yourself in such a large deficit you do beat yourself up at times. Throughout the game we were trying to figure out what worked and we really just could not peg that.”

What was supposed to be a big pick me up after a setback to the Liberty on Friday turned into one of the more lopsided losses Sparks fans rarely see.

Sparks Nneka Ogwumike goes up jump ball during the Washington Mystic vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“For us it turned into a day one type of game,” Chiney Ogwumike said. “Getting Candace back got us excited but it’s a rhythm. The missed shots and turnovers are tough. At the end of the day its basketball so its back to the grind.”

Candace Parker in her return only managed 3 points on 1-for-9 shooting. The rest of the team caught her bug finishing under 30 percent and were unable to recover after Washington pulled ahead on a 20-3 run to start the contest.

Turnovers were also a plenty. More than half its 27 turnovers, one shy of a team all-time high, came off of erratic passes that led to  Mystics points. For the entire game, the LA Sparks were playing a mental game of their own trying to recover as Washington relished on each mistake.

Coach Derek Fisher arguing calls with referee Michael Price during the Washington Mystic vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

“Coach Fisher and the rest of us took tonight as a learning curve.” Nneka said. “Sometimes these types of games happen and you can’t dwell off of this. It doesn’t excuse the mistakes we made but we have to look back at this performance as correcting all of our mistakes.”

Sparks Chelsea Gray going for a lose ball during the Washington Mystic vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center. (Photo by Jevone Moore)

Ariel Atkins for the Mystics quietly finished with a team high 22 points. Shatori Walker-Kimbrough led the bench with 17 points.

The LA Sparks played in a game they would like to truly forget. Seattle is up next on their schedule Friday night.

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