The first of many character wins of the season for the Sparks
Energy was imperative for the Los Angeles Sparks in their 81-76 win over the Connecticut Sun as they maintained momentum in the second half of the game. Los Angeles handed the Connecticut Sun their third loss in a row (0-3) as the Sun pined for their first win of the season.
Even with the Sun’s Dewanna Bonner having a huge game with 33 points, the Sparks zeroed in limiting the others for Connecticut in the win. As they did that, the Sparks had a spark of their own with performances by Seimone Augustus, Te’a Cooper, and Riquna Williams bringing energy and production on the floor.
Connecticut got out to a quick six-point lead but the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike got the team’s first points on the board. The Sparks big three in Ogwumike, Candace Parker, and Chelsea Gray were able to help the team go toe to toe with the Sun in the first quarter. Parker gave the Sparks a one-point edge 19-18 at the end of the quarter. Gray’s scoring in the second quarter helped the Sparks garner control of the game, reaching double-digits at the half.
Riquna Williams found herself on a bit of three-point roll in the second quarter. She scored three 3-pointers in the quarter to advance the Sparks lead heading into halftime. Williams finished the game with 9 points on 3-5 shooting from the three.
When Augustus touched the floor, she wanted to bring the spark in any way possible for the team. Augustus was mainly focused on making sure that her teammates were getting going offensively which allowed her to produce on the floor and bring the energy that the Sparks needed in the third quarter through their run.
When the Sparks were on their 15-7 run to end the third, Augustus scored 9 points with a three-pointer to give Los Angeles a four-point lead at the 1:11 mark of the quarter. Augustus was 4-5 from the field in the third quarter. Augustus was not only of help offensively but defensively, she was able to display her versatility in guarding the one to four positions. The veteran was able to switch on Bonner and Alyssa Thomas setting screens on plays.
“To me, it’s action. Everyone can talk and things like that, but to back it up with action, Seimone helped us out with that tonight,” Candace Parker said.
Augustus continued to bring energy in the fourth quarter. Her tenacity and personality shone brightly on the floor after hustle plays and good ball movement plays as well.
After having to sit out of the Sparks’ game on Tuesday due to illness, Te’a Cooper was ready for the opportunity to be back on the court with her teammates. Cooper stayed in her hotel room to recuperate as the Sparks lost to the Chicago Sky. Having to miss out on bringing her energy and effort with the team, made her realize that she should not take anything for granted.
Cooper was well and on her marks against the Sun as she came off the bench. On the defensive end, she was fighting her way through screens, getting hit at points on screens, and she did not give up on her assignment through the night. In her 17 minutes of play, Cooper was resilient on the floor defensively while also scoring 8 points and dishing an assist.
“She was huge tonight, and she was able to come off the bench and really “Spark us,” Chelsea Gray said, “ I’m really proud of how she came into the game.”
The Sparks had their biggest lead of the game in the fourth quarter at one point being up by 12. Overall, the Sparks outscored the Sun in the paint 40-30, held the Sun to 35% field goals, and held to 33% from the three.
Gray led the team in scoring with 15 points, 6 assists, and 3 steals. Ogwumike followed up with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Parker recorded the first double-double of the season with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles (2-1) will look to build on their success against the Connecticut Sun when they play the Seattle Storm on Saturday, August 1st at 8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and Spectrum SportsNet.
Great story Megan. Thanks for your great WNBA coverage!