Los Angeles, Ca – The Los Angeles Sparks looking energized and focused in tonight’s 98-95 game over Tulsa Shock, winning their second in a row after beating San Antonio Stars the night before. Tonight’s game definitely was not a 1-possession game, the Sparks energy stayed high throughout and the defense was on point. The high light of the night was Kristi Toliver’s career high of scoring 43 points, surpassing the record made by MVP legend Lisa Leslie.
In the beginning jump ball the Sparks gained the ball leading to their first basket by Nenka Ogwumike followed by Johnson hitting another basket. Plenette Pierson of Tulsa shoots a basket, then the Sparks picking the ball back up to score 2 more points by Jantel Lavender who finished 10 points. Tulsa’s Karima Christmas began her streak of points by shooting an open 3 pointer and finished with 20. Brianna Keisel kept the Tulsa advantage by then scoring 2 points. The Sparks were weary of the immediate loss in control of the ball and decided to regroup in a time-out in the first 10 minutes of the 1st quarter, they decided to strategize a new game plan. The 1st quarter was then a back and forth of controlling the flow of the game. The announcer ringing out the names of Plenette Pierson, Riquna Williams and Jordan Hooper of The Tulsa Shocks and Nneka Ogwumike, Kristi Toliver and Tameka Johnson of the Sparks as they racked up the beginning scoring. An efficient play took place when Erin Philips made a clean pass to Johnson whom passed it to Ogwumike to shoot a basket, ending the 1st quarter at 14-23, Tulsa.
The 2nd quarter was deceiving with Tulsa gaining the ball up out the gate, but Ogwumike came back with a good move to the basket an assist from Johnson. Toliver followed with straight away shot dribbling down the court and scoring basket, she then is fouled and makes the and one free throw. Tulsa picked up the pace then scoring a string of 2-pointers by Pierson and Paris pushing the score to 24-29, Tulsa. The Sparks came back in 2nd quarter and began to tighten up their defense. Toliver’s streak of 3 pointers began, allowing The Sparks have their 1st lead at 32-31. Johnson rounded out the first half scoring 2 baskets & a free throw, ending 1st half and tied 42-42.
The second half was colored with interceptions by The Sparks gaining leads from The Shocks. Williams and Hoover of the Shocks made good share of baskets in the last segments and Toliver of the Sparks was on a 3 pointer barrage, that led the Sparks win. When asked what helped the team tonight Toliver said, “Staying focused and continuing to build”. Ogwumike praised Toliver performance, “She is amazing, sharp and a very smart player”, and “These past 2 games have been the best the team have played.”
Next up for the back to back wining Sparks will host Phoenix Mercury and Brittney Griner Sunday July 5th at 2pm PST at Staples Center.