Arlington, TX – Azura’ Stevens had a good old-fashioned coming out shooting affair, as the Dallas Wings enjoyed routing the Los Angeles Sparks Friday night.
The rookie started for the first time and she didn’t disappoint the largest home crowd of the season. Every move Stevens made in the first half was made with sure confidence. She crashed the boards. She hurried to the opposite end of the floor in hopes of capitalizing on fast breaks. Stevens even shot with great poise from the three-point line. She split her four attempts from distance and wasn’t afraid to show her emotion. Her teammates celebrated right along with her.
The Wings set the tone on defense early and controlled the pace of the first half, leading by as many as 17 points. Despite two early first quarter fouls, center Liz Cambage scored 14 first half points and secured five rebounds.
Allisha Gray contributed 11 first half points. Starters Skylar Diggins-Smith and Kayla Thornton only managed two points respectively in the first half, but their defensive presence and 10 combined assists proved to be incredibly helpful for the Wings.
At one point the Sparks cut the lead to three points, but the Wings capitalized on hustle plays. At the half, the score was 47 – 33 in favor of the Wings.
The Sparks were determined to not let Diggins-Smith run all over them Friday night. They double teamed the star point guard and stuck to her like glue with every move she made. Diggins-Smith, however, didn’t allow the aggressive defense to stop her from finding her teammates. While her shot attempts were limited to just two, she finished the game with eleven assists.
“I complimented Skylar,” said Coach Fred Williams at the end of the night. “The other team keyed on Skylar a lot and she got rid of the ball when she needed to and it paid off for us.”
The Sparks attempted to make a second half run, but the Wings were simply too much. Everyone was involved in the Wings offensive scheme. Glory Johnson scored eight points. Aerial Powers exploded off of the bench with 16 points.
New arrival Cayla George even hit two three-point shots in her 12 minutes of play. Cambage completed her sixth 20-point game of the season.
The Wings appeared to have fun throughout the entire game. They shared the ball well and capitalized on the Sparks’ mistakes. Candace Parker was held to just nine points. Nneka Ogwumike was the only Los Angeles player to score double digits, with her 17 points.
Total team effort for the Wings resulted in total domination, as they defeated the Sparks 101 – 72. The Wings (6-5) are scheduled to face the Sparks (9-3) again in Los Angeles next Tuesday.