Los Angeles, CA- The Los Angeles Sparks trailed by as many as 20 points in the 2nd quarter to the Connecticut Sun but found themselves up 72-71 after Nneka Ogwumike made a layup and free-throw after being fouled.
Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as Chiney Ogwumike, Nneka’s sister, made a layup of her own with 18 seconds to give the Sun the lead and the victory 73-72 Tuesday night at Staples Center.
“We just loved playing the game and with each level that came before us we decided to just tackle it and challenge ourselves,” said N. Ogwumike, “We share a lot of similar experience.”
The ladies in gold had an opportunity to go ahead but with 3 seconds to go, Chelsea Gray and her team saw the game slipped away as the ball slipped through her hands for a turnover.
LA had been plagued with slow offensive starts majority of the season and Tuesday night played into that trend. The Sparks only managed 8 points in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, we had a few defensive breakdowns and not enough execution on the offensive end when we really needed it, and I think that hurt us,” said Alana Beard, “We kind of kicked ourselves in the butt the way we played in the first half.”
The Sparks were able to get back into the contest by regrouping at halftime and coming out with a 26 point third quarter.
Nneka gave the home team its first lead of the game 65-64 on a layup with 4:48 left in the game. It seemed like the Sparks would pull away, Candace Parker hit a jump shot to put them up 3 30 seconds later.
Nneka lead the Sparks in scoring with 20 points adding 5 rebounds. Parker finished with 17 points on 6 of 11 and 7 rebounds.
Chiney lead all scorers with 21 points tacking on 7 rebounds.
We played much better in the second half, but the tale of the game is how poorly we played in the first half. We just didn’t play at our standard,” said coach Brian Agler, “We had mistakes at both ends, and just enough for them to regain the lead.”
The Sparks fall to 12-6 on the season and are back on the court July 5th. They travel to take on the defending WNBA champions Minnesota Lynx.