Los Angeles, CA -- Welcome to game number six for the Sparks.
The Staples Center should've been full, however, it wasn't, but why? You have some of the top athletes in the world playing some of the most compelling basketball you've ever seen.
All around you see the Lakers' "World Champion" jerseys through the arena, and even a Taylor Swift "most sold performance" cloth draped about ... but where is the Sparks' love? Like, Damn! There were two Sparks' jersey's hung high, but it took me a while to find them, the real love, though, was found in the stands.
Women and girls, men and boys, young and old, gathered together to watch their idols that everyone else seems to be ignoring.
Do you even know what each of the players had to go through to be where they are today?
I want you to take a moment. Think about each game played. Each practice, each injury, and each victory, and each defeat.
Everything was in slow-motion. However, the game was on FIRE!
Before writing for Swish Appeal, I myself hadn't given the WNBA much thought unless I saw something on ESPN or Fox Sports post-game show over at a bar while I was 4-5 drinks deep.
But now, here I am experiencing the real deal. Watching the fans unite and the players put on the best game possible.
The undefeated Los Angeles Sparks vs. The San Antonio Stars, who have only one W to their name this year. While there's two things, I never bet on ... sports and "red", I had no doubt the Spark would add a sixth win to their name ... and they did.
Nneka Ogwumike was the big scorer for the Sparks with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists.
For San Antonio, Kayla McBride was the shining star, with 20 points, and 3 rebounds.
Post-game, I was able to meet up with Candace Parker, who scored 10 points, had 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
I didn't ask her the usual questions, she was crowded by people asking the "You guys won, but it wasn't a great victory ... how can you improve?" and the good ole' "what's next" question.
I instead asked ... "What's the first thing you put on Netflix when you come home after a game," and "What's your favorite post-game snack?"
Both questions seems to bring a smile to her face as she explained she would put on "Fuller House" if her daughter was still up, and she likes to snack on mangoes and grapes (the healthy things), again, unless her daughter was up and then you'd likely have a bit of popcorn.
Pleased with the answer and feeling as though I had done good, I moved on to find Coach Agler. Speaking about the closeness of the game, Agler stated:
"I hate to use anything for excuses; we're a mature enough team that we have to have the ability to lock in and understand that each and every game is really important, and how every team that plays you will throw different things at you."
Although the Sparks had added that 6th victory to their undefeated record, everyone was acting like they lost. I mean, damn, yeah it got close for a bit, but as I learned from "Fast and Furious," Winning is winning... whether it's by an inch or a mile."
Candace Parker's name rang throughout the Staples Center, along with Nneka Ogwumike, Alana Beard, and Kristi Toliver.
The first half was reasonably close, with the Stars putting 19 on the scoreboard, and the Sparks with 25.
As the team barreled towards the half, they reached a score of 35-31, Sparks barely squeaking by enough for the people I bought a beer from to twitch at the idea they were only four points ahead.
After the half, the game continued to be close. Sparks staying only 3-5 points ahead until the buzzer, ending the third 49-46.
Into the final quarter. At 7:21 the game was tied. 52 to 52, then 54-54 ... Finally, the Sparks broke away with six minutes left, ending the game 68-61.