Los Angeles, CA – After starting the season 4-2, the Los Angeles Sparks felt that they were well on track to be one of the best teams in the league when Candace Parker returned. However, things took a sour turn when on her return, the team ended up losing three straight with Parker back in the lineup and four in a row overall. Parker on her return struggled find any footing, scoring only four points on 2-for -18 shooting in her first two games back. After their fourth loss in a row, the team needed to learn how to adapt with their chemistry.
“After starting 4-2 and losing four in a row, we learned that we aren’t good enough,” Sydney Wise said. “Sometimes success makes you complacent and you can see that in the early wins. We let our foot off the gas pedal.”
After four players scored in double figures in a win against Las Vegas on Thursday, the cohesion continued as their offensive dominance across the board gave the Sparks a 94-69 win over the Chicago Sky and back-to-back victories to move on track.
“Defense has been an area of concern, especially with Candace back in the lineup,” Sparks head coach Derek Fisher said. “Each game we are trying to find a rhythm, and it is nice to get back home and not worry about travel and just feel comfortable getting used to the game.”
Much like against the New York Liberty, the Sparks allowed the Sky to crawl back late in the first quarter. After just a three point lead in the first 10 minutes, Los Angeles dominated from all sides of the ball using just about everyone on the court.
“We have been working really hard all this week and managed to tighten up a lot of our defense,” Weise said. “We challenged each other. You saw it today when we loaded ourselves on the ball a lot more. We forced a lot of jump balls and bad possessions, and it’s a lot of fun to see things working.”
Everyone on the Sparks managed to make the stat sheet and score. In consecutive games the Sparks had five players score in double figures with Riquna Williams leading the way with 19. Chelsea Gray and Sydney Wise joined in on the fun with 13 and 11 points respectively. All in all, the Sparks throughout the game just seemed like they were having a lot of fun and let their flow of the game control the tempo.
The Sparks finished June on a high note, but keeping this pace will be tough as they will have a week off before they suit up against Washington next Sunday.
“The only thing we need to worry about now is see if we can maintain that kind of mentality a week from now,” Fisher said.