Los Angeles, CA – Even with some future NBA Hall of Famers in attendance, the LA Sparks still could not overcome the Las Vegas Aces in the star-studded event. Current and former NBA players such as Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, Damian Lillard, and Quinn Cook made an appearance to show their support for the LA Sparks Wednesday night. The shorthanded LA Sparks (6-9) hosted the Las Vegas Aces (12-4), where they fought hard, but would ultimately fall to the Aces 99-75.
All seemed well for the Sparks in the opening quarter.
Amanda Zahui B. got her team going early by scoring the first 8 points. She led all Sparks with 22 points and 9 rebounds.
Their biggest lead came around the 5-minute mark where they led the Aces by four, 15-11.
The Aces would then make a run to take the lead and end the first quarter 28-19. The LA Sparks were unable to recover.
The LA Sparks were finding open shots, they were just unable to convert on these opportunities. Unfortunately, this would prove to be the theme for the rest of the night.
The Sparks shot 28/82 FGs going for 34.1 percent from the field. They also went 7/24 with 29.2 percent from 3-point range.
“I think at times we did a lot of really good things. We just didn’t convert on some opportunities that we had around the basket. The fatigue started to set in with the short rotation. For eight minutes and thirty seconds in that first quarter, we were playing decent basketball. And we just blew the end of the first quarter and that’s what good teams can’t do,” said Fisher.
LA also battled up against some trees down low in A’ja Wilson, Liz Cambage, and JiSu Park. The Aces outscored the Sparks in the paint 52 to 30. The Aces also outrebounded them 55 to 39.
“It’s tough to just keep fighting, fighting and fighting when things seem to just keep getting harder and harder every time they do something. We can’t beat ourselves up too long. We play this team again on Friday night. So, we’ll look at some things and be ready to go again on Friday,” said Fisher.
Despite the loss, it was a win for women’s basketball to receive the support from the NBA players.
“I think it’s really important that the support comes in. These are their sisters. The leagues are joined together in a lot of ways. We appreciate it here in LA. I think our players appreciate it. Our fans appreciate it. It’s important to continue to grow this game. They are the best basketball players in the world. So, when they support something, I think other people around the world tend to pay closer attention. We welcome them here in LA anytime and we appreciate the support in a major way,” said Fisher.
“It’s always nice to see all of their faces. It’s a great feeling to see them supporting us. It’s all love from each side,” said Cooper.
Cooper also commented on teammate Erica Wheeler not being nominated as an All-Star.
“She deserves to be an All-star. She has been hooping. I’m proud of her. Fish is proud of her. The staff is proud of her. Everybody is proud of her. It’s just unfortunate because she definitely deserved to be there.”
LA has been making some roster changes as season-long contracts in the WNBA became guaranteed this past Monday, at 2 p.m. PT.
On Wednesday, the LA Sparks signed the 2020 No. 3 overall pick Lauren Cox to a contract for the rest of the season. Cox was waived by the Indiana Fever on Sunday. She averaged 1.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 8.6 minutes for Indiana. The Baylor alum was also teammates with current Sparks guard Te’a Cooper in her last season at the university.
Cox made her debut Wednesday night scoring four points, five rebounds, and two steals.
“It’s always a great feeling to play with somebody who you have played with before. It was refreshing to see her face. I was happy to see her,” said Cooper.
Forward Bria Holmes was waived on Monday, and was re-signed on Wednesday under a hardship exception contract. She has been averaging 5.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 18.8 minutes per game.
On Tuesday, LA terminated Karlie Samuelson’s hardship contract, but she was re-signed on Wednesday. She has been averaging 3.2 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 13.0 minutes per game.
The LA Sparks also terminated the hardship contract of 6-foot-4 center Kristine Anigwe on Tuesday. Anigwe averaged 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.6 minutes per game.
In addition to the Ogwumike Sisters being out due to knee injuries, Kristi Toliver was also out and missed her second game due to an eye injury against the Washington Mystics last Thursday.
The LA Sparks host the Las Vegas Aces again this Friday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m.