LOS ANGELES– Nneka Ogwumike scored 16 points as the Los Angeles Sparks lost to the Las Vegas Aces 89-72 and fell in a two-way tie with the New York Liberty for 8th place.
The Sparks played noticeably different after they parted ways with former General Manager and Head Coach Derek Fisher. Interim head coach Frank Williams vowed to distribute minutes equally amongst the roster; however, no one that Los Angeles threw at Aja Wilson could stop her.
The Las Vegas center was in MVP form, scoring 22 of her season-high 35 points in the first half.
However, at times Wilson left Liz Cambage visibly frustrated.
Williams stated, “Guarding Aja Wilson is a tough task because she knows how to get down and fadeaway and get her shot up.”
Moving forward, Williams plans on altering defensive schematics in hopes that it can protect Cambage.
“With a new way that we are trying to be aggressive on defense, it’s going to help Liz a little bit more to keep her inside the paint instead of coming out on the shooter.”
Despite the drubbing, Williams and the Sparks remain optimistic. Williams wants the Sparks to shoot 75-80 shots a game. Los Angeles shot 36.6% from the field on 26-of-71 attempts. The length of Las Vegas crowded the paint and forced the Sparks to settle for long jumpers.
Los Angeles battled and stayed engaged despite the insurmountable deficit.
“I still had their eyes in the huddle,” Williams stated.
The Sparks, having twice faced the Aces with minimal practice time, have been dealt bad hands.
Los Angeles has had little time to sure up defensive schemes and philosophies. In addition, Los Angeles’ restrictions and a coaching change have not been easy on the talent-rich team.
Nonetheless, Williams stated, “By the time we play next time here at home, you will see a big-time result here with this team.”
Sparks fans look forward to the changes that lie ahead.