Los Angeles, Ca – Unlike their game against the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday night, the LA Sparks came out seeking redemption on Friday night. In their second consecutive game against the Aces, the LA Sparks showed major improvement by tightening up their defense and held the Aces to just 66 points. Even though the Sparks were hungrier in their second effort, the Aces were still able to close the deal and win 66-58 over the Sparks in Los Angeles.
The LA Sparks came out with a vengeance and fought until the final buzzer.
Erica Wheeler led all Sparks with 15 points and 5 assists.
“I’m proud of my team on both ends, defense and offense. I think we played a better game today,” said Wheeler.
Tenacious defense was the name of the game for the Sparks.
The Sparks held the Aces shooting to 37.7% from the field and 18.2% from 3-point range.
The Sparks had not led since the second quarter.
With 5:34 left in the final period, the Sparks regained the lead from a drive by Te’a Cooper to put Sparks up, 55-54.
The crowd went ballistic.
But the Aces made a run to go up by four, 60-56, prompting Derek Fisher to call a timeout with 2:37 left in the game.
The Sparks had some good looks at the basket in the final seconds, but they were just unable to knock them down.
“For whatever reason, the ball is rattling in and out these past two games. So that’s just us needing to get back in the gym, but I think we kind of got whatever we wanted on offense. We just didn’t connect,” said Wheeler.
The Sparks really began to assert their defensive pressure in the second quarter. They were boxing out, communicating, and moving their feet on defense.
A key catalyst for this pressure stemmed from a block party by Nia Coffey.
Coffey made her defensive presence known down low by finishing with four blocks for the contest.
“The quietest people are the most dangerous ones. Nia is definitely a great example of that. She’s an even greater human. It’s really a great pleasure playing with her,” said Amanda Zahui B.
Zahui B. recorded her second double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
“We made some strides. Our defense got better in transition and everything that we talked about we did. Our shots just didn’t fall today. If that would have happened, then I think we would have gotten the game. Because our defense was great,” said Zahui B.
Head Coach Derek Fisher also commented on his team’s tenacious defensive effort.
“To see the way the group is fighting on defense coming back after Wednesday night where Vegas scored 99 points, and to put up this type of effort just says a lot about our players. They wanted to come out and have each other’s back tonight and they fought hard on the defensive end,” said Fisher.
The LA Sparks take on the Seattle Storm on Sunday, July 4 at 6 p.m. at the Los Angeles Convention Center.