Los Angeles, CA – With a handful of games to go, the Los Angeles Sparks have a small grasp of the number four seed in the WNBA playoffs. That would institute a first round bye and guarantee a home contest with a chance to move on to the semifinals. Indiana came to Staples Center amidst the Sparks 10-2 home record, second best in the league. A second quarter surge only allowing the Fever to score 9 points and failing to make a three pointer up until the final quarter gave Los Angeles another comfortable 98-65 win that keeps hold of their four seed for now.
“Everything worked tonight,” Candace Parker said. “It was a lot of fun to be a part of this game and build a cohesive unit. Our offense surged and defensively we put ourselves in a prime position to control the game.”
With Riquna Williams returning for the Sparks after a 10 game suspension, this gave the Sparks a full roster for the first time all season. Her presence on the court seems like they have been uplifted with a much more spread out offense. An 11-3 run with Williams’s three at the end of the half was much more than what the Sparks had seemed like they were missing, even if they have been dominant at home.
“With Williams back, we noticed a huge change in our team,” Candace Parker said. “We are still trying to figure ourselves out, but it is nice to have a complete team for once and give everyone a chance to play and dominate.”
Six Sparks players finished in double figures and all but one player was on the court for at least ten minutes. The Sparks also improved to 11-2 at home, winning also their tenth straight at Staples Center.
It is hard to think ahead to the middle of September, but Los Angeles can arguably be the team to beat, even if they would finish at the number three or four seed. Of course while the Sparks are aiming for the top spot, currently three games back, as well as two games back from the two seed, they certainly know that stealing a road win in this league during the playoffs gives the team the upper hand. In fact, all but two teams have a losing record when on the road this year. With a potential semifinal or final preview against the Connecticut Sun on Sunday, Los Angeles may notice the intensity level rise a notch.
“We have to treat Sunday like its just a regular game,” Chiney Ogwumike said. “We still have a handful of games left to go, and every game does matter at this point. We just can’t let our guard down.”