Los Angeles, CA – The LA Sparks were in the driver seat all throughout overtime as they battled against the Atlanta Dream Tuesday night to take home the win 85-80 in Los Angeles.
The Sparks were relentless when it mattered most.
Kristi Toliver hit a turnaround fade away jumper at the buzzer to tie the game at 74 to send her team into overtime.
Staples roared in pure pandemonium.
“When there’s a big moment and a game is on the line, that’s always my favorite time. I just wanted to get to my spot. That spot was the elbow. I felt Kobe in me. It felt good to see one go in at a big moment. But that all starts from Fish and just how he instills that confidence in us every single day. So, I’m glad that I was able to deliver,” said Toliver.
The fans were on their feet for the entire duration of overtime and served as the sixth man for their home team.
“Credit to the fans,” said Erica Wheeler. “We’re in LA. You could be anywhere in the world. So, for them to support us and give us that sixth man energy we definitely appreciate that.”
The Dream went cold in OT.
Baylor alum Odyssey Sims was on fire for the first three quarters but cooled down the rest of the game. She scored 23 points through the third period and led all scorers with 26 points and 6 assists.
The crowd was simply electric, and the Sparks fed off their energy in overtime.
The LA Sparks were being aggressive down low and were dishing it to each other left and right.
Ball movement was the name of the game in this victory as the Sparks finished with 29 assists as a team.
“I think we moved the ball better in the second half and were just making the right decisions. We trust each other. I think we wanted the game more,” said Wheeler.
The LA Sparks were down by as many as 10 in the third quarter 39-49, but they never stopped fighting.
“In the third quarter when they kind of knocked us around a little bit and it was 49-39. They could have packed it in and said it was too hard to do it tonight. But they kept playing and fighting for one another. We can build on that. As a coaching staff that is something that I am very proud of their effort in that regard,” said Head Coach Derek Fisher.
Their resilience as a squad truly shined through.
“We talked at halftime and our biggest adjustment was our competitive spirit. But we came out and we were resilient. This was a character game. We were able to show that high character, that spirit, that togetherness, and that grit. That’s who we are,” said Toliver.
Brittney Sykes led all Sparks with 17 points, 5 assists, and 2 steals.
In her second game back, Nneka Ogwumike flirted with a triple double by scoring 13 points, 9 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Ogwumike went down in the second quarter grabbing her left knee that she previously injured and left for the locker room. She then returned in the third quarter and played for the rest of the game.
Six Sparks scored in double figures including all Sparks starters.
Chiney Ogwumike is progressing towards a return to action and has been upgraded from week-to-week to day-to-day from right knee soreness.
The Sparks seek their 18th consecutive home win and go for round two against the Atlanta Dream on Thursday, August 19th at 7:30 pm at the Staples Center.