Although the Sparks willed themselves to a two-point victory over the Storm in Seattle on Tuesday, the team has struggled mightily since releasing Cappie Pondexter on July 1 (who has since signed with the Indiana Fever).
Since parting ways with Pondexter, LA has won just two of the six games they’ve played.
Yesterday in Tinsel Town, the Sparks managed to win the second quarter but lost the other three, including a fizzled-out final period. The Sparks lost the final quarter by 11 points — courtesy of a successful 21-2 fourth-quarter run by Dallas.
But the Sparks had no answer for the Wings’ defensive efforts, thereby, letting Dallas beat them at their own game. Specifically, the Wings out-rebounded LA 36-27, including grabbing an eye-popping 12 offensive boards to LA’s five. A team that takes care of the boards to this degree, the way Dallas did (getting second-chance scoring opportunity after second-chance scoring opportunity) should always be favored to win.
Court general Skylar Diggins-Smith created shot opportunities of her own, dishing 11 assists and scoring a game-high 22 points to crush the hopes and dreams of the Tinsel Town crowd.
Per usual, Diggins-Smith had plenty of help from her friends.
Of the starters, Liz Cambage scored 12 points and Glory Johnson contributed 11. But Azura Stevens scored 16 points and grabbed 6 rebounds off the bench and Cayla George added 12 points and pulled 4 rebounds off the bench.
If Stevens, and now George, continue to play at this level with the second unit, the Western Conference powerhouse teams better be on high alert. Dallas Head Coach Fred Williams may be a man of few words, but it is clear his mind has been in overdrive cooking up championship-winning plans.
Final score: LA Sparks (77) vs. Dallas Wings (92)
The Wings will Storm into Seattle on Saturday July 14 for an evening game. The Wings have demonstrated an ability to dominate the best teams in the league (see Phoenix Mercury and LA Sparks in this week alone), and Stewie & Co. should come ready at KeyArena expecting nothing less.
The Sparks face off against the Aces on Sunday July 15 in a matinee Sin City matchup. Of concern for LA will be the health of Alana Beard, who left yesterday’s game after fewer than five minutes of play due to a groin injury. She did not return. Sydney Wiese has been upgraded to day-to-day and has been traveling with the team, but has yet to see any game minutes.