Another week of WNBA action for L.A. and another week of winning just as much as losing as the Sparks stay at .500.
L.A. Sparks 77, Chicago Sky 62
The Sparks started the week off well, beating the Chicago Sky 77-62 thanks to another dominant performance from Nneka Ogwumike, who recorded her fourth double-double in a row with 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Jordin Canda, a player more known for her defensive prowess and ability to distribute the ball, had a big offensive game scoring 16 points. Dearica Hamby matched that point total in what was easily her best game as a Spark.
Los Angeles was in control the entire game and even with a poor shooting night (the team went 4-of-23 from beyond the arc), they were able to close things out in the fourth, going on a 15-2 run to secure the win.
Many positives came out of this victory against an Eastern Conference opponent, but one negative was the injury to Layshia Clarendon during the second quarter. They suffered a leg injury, had to be helped off the floor and went straight to the locker room.
INJURY UPDATE: Sparks guard Layshia Clarendon suffered a partial tear of the right plantar fascia. They will be out approximately 4-6 weeks. A further update will be provided when available.— LA Sparks PR (@LASparksPR) June 11, 2023
On Sunday, the team updated us on Clarendon’s injury and confirmed that they had a partial tear of the right plantar fascia and will be missing approximately 4-6 weeks.
Losing a starter for 4-6 weeks will put a strain on this team as they try to get out of the .500 record range and establish themselves as a top-four team in the WNBA. Will Karlie Samuelson step up? Or can Zia Cooke take on a bigger role and take one of Clarendon’s shifts?
Minnesota Lynx 91, L.A. Sparks 86
Los Angeles squandered a chance to get two games above .500 and lost to the one-win Minnesota Lynx 91-86 on the road.
While many aspects of the game played a role in the loss, it was the final three and a half minutes, when Minnesota outscored L.A. 19-3, that secured the upset.
It wasn’t just the Napheesa Collier show for the Lynx; Tiffany Mitchell stepped up with 17 points and five assists and Kayla McBride had 13 points, three rebounds and two assists in the upset.
With the combination of elite Minnesota guard play, Collier being Collier, and the Sparks getting outrebounded 38-26, L.A. found themselves losing a winnable game.
Lexie Brown was one of the few bright spots. After struggling earlier in the week against Chicago, she found her footing and shot 70 percent from the field, good for 21 points.
In the week ahead, the Sparks will have the opportunity to get above .500 and they hope to settle into life without Clarendon. They play against the Dallas Wings in an early game (Tuesday, 1 p.m. ET) before a rematch against the Lynx at home (Friday, 10 p.m. ET). They conclude the weekend against the Connecticut Sun (Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET).
Winning two of three against these opponents will be easier said than done, but at some point, L.A. will have to start dominating against good teams if they want to avoid the WNBA purgatory that is a .500 record.