Long Beach, CA – Los Angeles Sparks find a way to hold off an aggressive Phoenix Mercury team 86-72 tonight at the Walter Pyramid.
It was a truly a dog fight with the Sparks slowing down the Mercury just enough to go up two games to zero.
From opening tip Candace Parker came out aggressive on both sides of the ball finishing with 24 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists.
“She (Parker) really competed on both sides of the ball,” said coach Brian Agler “She so versatile and can make her teammates better.”
Stepping up for the Sparks on the offensive end was guard Odyssey Sims with 21 points. Four of five starters were in double figures.
“Main focus was to take what the defense is giving us,” said Sims, “When the lane was open I took my opportunities.”
The referees kept trying to control the game calling 22 personal fouls on the Sparks and additional 19 fouls on the Mercury.
Diana Taurasi led her team with 21 points, scoring 16 of them in the first half of play. They really pushed the Sparks tonight to keep up the overall game.
“If you relax on good teams, the will score big points,” said coach Alger “We have to take things personal defensively. ”
Brittney Griner is such tough guard in the paint due to length and physicality. Even with the Sparks sending a double team most of the night she still finished with 16 points and only 5 rebounds.
The Sparks defense started on the rebounding off the glass being plus ten in rebounding category.
“We try to make them (Taurasi & Griner) make tough ones,” said Parker, “Like coach says muddy up the water.”
In the end Phoenix pushed Los Angeles just enough to make them uncomfortable and on their toes making plays.
Now the teams will travel to Phoenix to play game three Sunday September 17, noon with the Sparking leading this best of five (2-0).