Los Angeles, Ca- The LA Sparks (3-13) ran out of gas in 59-53 defeat to first place in eastern conference New York Liberty (12-5). This game was decided by hustle and the Liberty had 16 2nd chance points with 55 rebounds. The Sparks had 20 less rebounds in the game which was so critical in a poor shooting performance by both teams Sparks 31.7% & Liberty 25.8%.
Kristi Toliver lead the Sparks with 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assist, Jantel Lavender finished with 12 points and 3 rebounds short of back to back double-double. This was a slow low scoring game. Liberty forward Tina Charles who led with14 points, 14 rebounds will have good flight back to east coast. Epiphanny Prince poured in 13 points and key technical foul at 3:18 mark in 4th quarter.
The first half was like a hangover for the Sparks playing on second night of a back to back. Luckily the Liberty helped them out by only shooting 28.2% from the field. The Sparks only trailed New York by 7 points 31-24. Tina Charles in first half was explosive and she was well on her way to a double-double.
The Sparks started 1st quarter with ok 41% shooting but when you looked up at the half the big three Ogwumike, Lanvender, & Toliver shots were just not dropping combining 6/18 shooting from the field. They hung around with sound rebounding and not allowing the Liberty to have easy looks at the basket.
The East Coast vs West Coast battle with New York being on the top of east standings going into the break. The Sparks will have their MVP back to make a strong push in the West in the second half. It’s always nice when you have the two largest cities in U.S. playing against each other. They both hold a rich WNBA Final history, Liberty appeared 1997, 1999, 2000, & 2002, Sparks appeared in 2001, 2002, 2003 & 2 time WNBA champions.
These two storied franchises tonight reminded us why there is nice break during the season to allow for quick rest and time to refocus on the fundamentals of the game. The Sparks now have to make a tough roster decision to make room for the return of Candace Parker next week. The bench has been forced to play more due to injuries and layoff time so who will be the unlucky number…….
Above photos by Jordon Kelly
Enjoy the Boost Mobile WNBA All-Star Game Saturday July 25th at 3:30pm on ABC network.