The L.A. Sparks drop the big D again

Nneka Ogwumike taking a charge from Glory Johnson during the Dallas Wings vs Los Angeles Sparks game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Full Image 360)
Chelsea Gray carving up the paint at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ca on June 13, 2017. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Full Image 360 file photo) 

The Dallas Wings have adopted an unfortunate team slogan.

“There’s no ‘D’ in Dallas;” meaning there’s no defense.

Best believe the Los Angeles Sparks took note of that.

The Sparks poured in 95 points against the travelling Dallas Wings in its 95-74 win at STAPLES Center on Sunday, this after Dallas gave up 109 points in its loss to the Seattle Storm on Friday.

Coming off her historic triple-double against San Antonio on Friday, Candace Parker grabbed a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds to go along with five assists. Nneka Ogwumike tallied 22 points and seven rebounds, while Chelsea Gray ended her streak of back-to-back single-digit scoring with a 16-point display.

As the Sparks distributed a season-high 28 assists Sunday afternoon, eight of those came from Odyssey Sims’ season-high assists tally. Gray also tied her career-high eight assists.

“Odyssey in our lineup helps (the rhythm of the game),” Los Angeles Sparks head coach Brian Agler said. “The tempo is quicker when she’s on the floor and Candace pushes the ball well and we want to keep encourage Chelsea to do that too.

“You can’t do that unless you get stops. They got to the free-throw quite a bit on us tonight and when they didn’t, we were getting stops and pushing on transition,” he concluded.

Aerial Powers put up 23 points for the Dallas Wings.

Parker and Ogwumike combined for 31 of the Sparks 49 first-half points, with the latter going for a perfect 6-for-6 shooting in the half.

In a high-octane first quarter, the Sparks poured in 20 points five minutes into the game. Los Angeles capitalized on three quick Dallas turnovers that helped Parker jump to 12 points for in the same time-span.

“Candace is playing very well right now at both ends,” Agler said. “I like how she’s distributing the ball and I like how she’s taking things to the rim – finishing around the rim. We need her to continue that way.”

Though the team settled down for the rest of the quarter, the Sparks maintained momentum and the double-digit lead heading into the second quarter.

The Wings regrouped at the start of the second quarter to cut its deficit to five midway into the frame.

Then things got chippy.

The Sparks put up eight fouls for the rest of the half and the Wings took full advantage of it to stay within distance. The Wings finished the game shooting 28-for-31 from the line.

Though Parker and the Sparks cooled down, Ogwumike stepped up and garnered eight more points in the quarter to keep the Sparks’ lead intact.

“I’m really proud of us in the second half and we really stopped fouling,” Parker said. “We go to ourselves. We go to our huddle. We let Coach Agler handle (the calls) and we just focus on the game and the next play, and that’s what we did.”

As the Wings attempted to further disrupt the Sparks’ momentum at the start of the second half, Los Angeles inevitably regained focused and outscored the Wings 10-0 with three minutes left in the third quarter to establish a 19-point lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.

The Sparks added to its lead, eventually stretching it to a game-high 24 points in the final frame.