Chicago, IL- Erica Wheeler relentlessly showed up in clutch moments to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to their second straight road win, 82-79, over the Sky in Chicago in overtime.
“We just keep getting better and better. We are working towards something super special, so to get this win is super glorifying,” said Wheeler.
With 12 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Wheeler blew by Diamond Deshields and drove to the basket to tie the game at 73.
It was anyone’s game in this nail biter. There were five lead changes and six ties.
The Sky were unable to provide an answer in regulation, so they continued to battle it out in OT.
Out of a Sparks timeout, Derek Fisher’s crew ran an Isolation play for Wheeler. She drove to the rim, scored a go-ahead layup, to give the Sparks a 3-point lead, 82-79, with 36 seconds left.
Astou Ndour-Fall had a decent look at the basket for Chicago, but it was off the mark as LA was able to fend them off and sweep the weekend series.
Wheeler’s aggressiveness radiated onto her teammates as they rallied and fought their way back after having a slow start trailing 14 points, 27-13, in the first quarter.
Chicago came out the gate with great energy playing as though they were seeking redemption from Friday night, but they were unable to pull through.
The Sparks’ disruptive defense carried over from Friday’s game, as they forced a total of 25 turnovers, converting 24 points from those turnovers, and were able to lock down the Sky defensively, flustering them on the offensive end.
The Sparks were able to persevere, show grit, and displayed some mental toughness when their backs were against the wall.
“I think it shows some growth for us. We are starting to turn the corner in that area and that’s a good sign. That collective grit, and accountability from player to player is what’s needed and that’s what the best teams have,” said Fisher.
As a team, the LA Sparks shot 41.1% from the field, and 44.4% from 3-point range.
Four Sparks finished in double-figures as Nneka Ogwumike led the way with 21 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and Wheeler dropped 17 points and dished 7 assists. Four players combined for 70 of the team’s 82 points.
Chiney Ogwumike was out with right knee soreness.
For the second straight game against LA, Former Spark Candace Parker was sidelined, still nursing a left ankle injury.
The LA Sparks continue their road trip as they take on the Dallas Wings on Tuesday, June 1st, at 5 p.m.