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Holy Smokes, Batman and Robin can’t rescue Sparks from Sky

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Los Angeles entered the game one win shy of advancing to the WNBA Championship. However, halftime adjustments made by Chicago changed the pace of the game, which favored the Sky and forced a game 4 in the series.

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Rosemont, IL — During the Game 1 broadcast last Wednesday night, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe talked with Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike about her sister’s chemistry with fellow Sparks forward Candace Parker. Rowe likened the two Los Angeles superstars to Batman and Robin, a superhero and her sidekick. Chiney was quick to correct Rowe. “They’re more like Batman and Batman,” she explained.

Overall it was a light moment, but one that indicates what the Los Angeles Sparks are operating with this postseason. Two league MVPs. Two superstars. Batman and Batman.

For the first quarter at least, that was on full display Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena. The Sparks looked to complete the sweep against the Chicago Sky in Game 3 of the WNBA Semifinals.

It seemed inevitable early on. The Parker-Ogwumike two-man game couldn’t be stopped. They combined for 19 of their team’s 23 points after the first 10 minutes.

But the Sky weren’t done just yet, clawing their way back into the game with their defense. They forced turnovers, rattled the Sparks and, most notably, limited the effectiveness of Parker and Ogwumike.

“They wanted to play their zone to take away our post play and our interior,” Parker said after the game. “And for the most part, it worked because we settled for outside jump shots and didn’t attack and penetrate.”

Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot played an outstandingly gritty game, and praised her rookie teammate Imani Boyette’s defensive presence when faced with handling Parker and Ogwumike.

“What was most impressive to me were those rebounds she got down the stretch. Those were huge.”

Crucial to the Sparks success in Tuesday’s Game 4 will be maintaining their offensive efficacy in the midst of Chicago’s zone, something they failed to do today.

“In the first quarter our tempo was good, we were playing with pace. If we didn’t get it in transition at least we were setting up our offense with 21, 19 seconds on the shot clock. In the second half, we walked the ball up the court, and we let their zone affect us,” Parker said.

So Sparks fans have to wait at least another two days to see Batman and Batman jet back to Los Angeles with a ticket to The Finals. League MVP Ogwumike seems unbothered.

“This is what champions strive for. You’re not going to sweep everybody.”