Los Angeles, CA – A 17-0 start by the Connecticut Sun (23-6) ignited their dominance over the LA Sparks (10-19) to win 75-57 in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
The Sparks came out hesitant and were simply outmatched from the opening tip.
“When you’re playing against a good defensive team that’s already difficult to score on, to be down 17 early, like it just makes the game so much harder. Like you need everything to go right from that standpoint. And it’s just not how the game of basketball goes,” said Head Coach Derek Fisher.
The Sun, however, are the top-seeded team in the league and looked every bit deserving of their ranking.
The Sparks are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and the Sun are on a roll with an 11-game winning streak.
The Sun bullied their way in the paint during the opening period. They scored 14 of their 19 first quarter points (7/11 FGs) around the rim and led 19-8 at the end of the period.
MVP candidate Jonquel Jones was straight cooking all night.
Jones stuffed the stat sheet with 21 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 2 assists, and 2 blocks.
Towards the end, the LA Sparks seemed to run out of gas in the fourth quarter. They shot 5/15 from the field on 33% shooting in the final period.
“Sometimes we just mentally get in our way. Sometimes when you try too hard, it just doesn’t work right,” said Fisher. “We just have to take full ownership and accountability for what’s happening and do things to change it. And it doesn’t all happen in one night. It won’t all of a sudden be the best team in the league come Sunday, but we gotta figure out a way to be better than we were tonight in order to have a chance to win.”
The Sun held the Sparks to 23/55 FGs on 41.8% shooting, and 2/10 3PTs on 20% shooting from 3-point range.
Nneka Ogwumike put up 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals.
“Fish [Coach Fisher] is right. You have to have that mindset of preparedness and focus and we just have to tap into that as a collective. Especially when things don’t go well for us. It’s all about composure. We’re playing great teams. They’re going to challenge us and how we respond is really what’s telling of us,” said Ogwumike.
Despite the loss, the Sparks are still in the playoff hunt as they are vying for the last 8th spot.
They currently sit at No. 10 in the standings and are one game back from clinching the 8th seed.
This week, both Nneka Ogwumike and LA Sparks Assistant Coach Seimone Augustus were both named on the WNBA’s Top 25 All-time Players List.
The LA Sparks play the Seattle Storm in their last home game of the season on Sunday, September 12th at 6 pm at the Staples Center.