Los Angeles, CA – The second half of the WNBA 2021 season could look better for the Los Angeles Sparks.
After entering the break with a six-game losing streak, a 6-13 record and ranking 11th in the WNBA standings, the Sparks will get to play three straight games at Staples Center and might even have Nneka Ogwumike on Sunday.
Owgwumike suffered a knee injury early June and hasn’t played since, although she did get to work out with the Nigerian national team at the Las Vegas training camp before the Tokyo Olympics. During Monday’s media availability, Owgwumike talked about her progress.
“Each day is incrementally better,” she said “When you suffer an injury like this, you still are a little ginger at times, but I try to put it out of my mind because I think that’s kind of what contributes to limited action and limited capabilities. It’s a mental thing.”
The Sparks need as much help in the offense as they can get. They currently have the worst offense in the WNBA with an average of 73.2 points per game. Ogwumike averaged 16.4 points per game in the five games she played earlier this season. Her absence made a significant impact on the team, especially because Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver have also been in and out of the lineup due to injuries.
This was already going to be an interesting season for the Sparks. In January, they lost Candace Parker to the Chicago Sky, and Chelsea Gray to the Las Vegas Aces. They were the top two scorers for the team and, along with Nneka Ogwumike, were a big part of the Sparks’ identity.
But although there have been some struggles, Los Angeles can potentially steer the season to a better direction if the Sparks pick up momentum right away. The first game back is on Sunday against the Indiana Fever, the one team sitting below the Sparks in the standings.
The Fever currently holds a 4-16 record and has only won one out of nine games on the road this season. When the two teams met on June 3, the Sparks took a comfortable 98-63 victory.
The next two games will be on August 17 and 19, against the Atlanta Dream. Atlanta is one spot above the Sparks, although it shares the same 6-13 record.
“We still have the foundation by which we started the season,” Owgwumike said. “We really want to take a microscopic approach for a macroscopic outcome.”