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Sparks assessing where they’re at midway through season

The Los Angeles Sparks need to stop the bleeding as they sit one game out of the playoff picture.

2023 WNBA All-Star Game
Nneka Ogwumike
Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Sparks (7-13) entered the 2023 WNBA All-Star break on a low note, losing six straight games for the first time this season. Their last matchup was against the juggernaut Las Vegas Aces and they were outmatched and outclassed 97-78.

L.A. was never in contention of winning, given they were missing key players such as Lexie Brown, Layshia Clarendon and Chiney Ogwumike, all due to injury.

The All-Star break was much needed for the struggling Sparks — a moment to get healthy and celebrate Nneka Ogwumike, an All-Star starter. She’s putting up career highs in points and rebounds, producing even better than she did in her MVP year (2016).

In the All-Star Game, she played for Team Stewart and ended the night with six points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

Upcoming Games

With the Sparks returning to play on Thursday versus the Minnesota Lynx, the team is at a crossroads. They have to string together a series of wins if they want to avoid missing the playoffs for the third season in a row.

General manager Karen Bryant and head coach Curt Miller are holding a midseason state of the team press conference to answer questions, discuss short and long-term goals, player career years and progress and provide injury updates. It’s a good sign that management and the coaching staff seem to understand the importance of the moment at hand. Now we just need to hear what they have to say and hopefully key players like Brown and C. Ogwumike will be off the injury report and available once again.

Following the Lynx matchup, the Sparks have a road game against the Dallas Wings, whom they’ve beaten three times this season already.

And next Tuesday, L.A. finally returns home to face Aliyah Boston and the Indiana Fever at 10 p.m. ET. The Fever may be 5-15, but they’ve lost many close games and with Boston at the helm, they always have a puncher’s chance of pulling off the upset.

Los Angeles doesn’t need to start the first week of the second half of the season 3-0, but they do need to start racking up wins if they want to stay in the playoff race. If they are healthy and focused, they can return to playing .500 ball like they were during most of the first half when their starters were relatively healthy.