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Recap: Sparks take hold of fifth place with another feel-good home win

The Los Angeles Sparks moved to .500 behind Nneka Ogwumike’s phenomenal performance against the Dallas Wings.

Dallas Wings v Los Angeles Sparks
Nneka Ogwumike
Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

A couple hours after it was announced she would be a 2023 WNBA All-Star Game starter, Nneka Ogwumike had 27 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks and her Los Angeles Sparks went on a 12-2 run to lead 90-81 with 51 seconds remaining, leading to a less-nerve-racking 93-83 win over the Dallas Wings Sunday afternoon at Arena in Los Angeles.

The Sparks had beaten the Wings 76-74 when Dallas missed a shot to tie at the very end of Friday’s contest. Sunday’s win broke the tie between the Wings and Sparks and put the Sparks, now 7-7, alone in fifth place in the WNBA.

A Dearica Hamby layup that made it 80-79 LA with 5:21 remaining gave the Sparks the lead for good. N. Ogwumike later went on a 4-0 individual run that made it 88-81.

The Sparks were down by as much as 17 on Friday; they were down 11 with 1:56 left in the third on Sunday. They went on a 9-0 run to cut it to 71-69. Destanni Henderson, one of the heroes of Friday’s game and a feel-good story as a hardship contract player, hit a left-wing three and Karlie Samuelson followed that with a transition three before N. Ogwumike scored a transition layup off a Henderson block and made the awarded free throw for a 3-point play.

Jordin Canada aided the winning cause with 10 points and nine assists while Hamby and Samuelson (4-of-5 from three) had 17 and 14 points, respectively. Henderson finished with a solid nine points and three helpers.

Crystal Dangerfield had a big-time game in defeat with 18 points, six boards, five assists, four swipes and two rejections. Wings guard and All-Star Game starter Arike Ogunbowale was one off her career high for assists with eight and added 18 points.

The Wings went on an 8-0 run to build a 67-57 lead with 3:01 remaining in the third. Dangerfield scored the final six points of the run. An Awak Kuier steal led to a Dangerfield 3-point play in transition and on the very next possession Dangerfield stole the ball creating another opportunity for Dallas. On the ensuing possession, Dangerfield buried a deep three.

The Sparks were not down the whole game like they were on Friday. They led by as much as 12 earlier in the game.

Dallas went on a 10-0 run from 7:36 in the second to 5:25 in the second to cut it to 33-31. The run consisted of five layups, three of which came in transition. One of those transition layups came off a steal, but the other two, which were the last two layups of the run, came off defensive rebounds and the Wings doing a good job of getting up the floor quickly.

The Wings would tie the game at 36 on a Teaira McCowan steal-turned-Ogunbowale transition layup. The score was then tied at 44 at the break.

An Azurá Stevens three one minute and 14 seconds into the third put LA up 50-48. Dallas would later go on a 6-0 run featuring five points from Dangerfield to go up 56-53.

The Sparks closed the first on a 13-0 run to take a 26-18 lead. Samuelson scored five points on the run off a left-wing transition three and a layup, and Zia Cooke notched four points on the run, as well as a steal that led to two free throws for her.

LA would go up 12 with a 7-3 run to open the second. Hamby scored five of the seven points.

The Wings got off to a good start again, leading 11-4 after Ogunbowale free throws at the 5:57 mark of the first. By the time it was 16-11 Dallas, Satou Sabally had two threes and Natasha Howard had two transition layups.

N. Ogwumike was 8-of-8 at the stripe on the afternoon.