LOS ANGELES — It was a hell of a comeback by the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Sparks were in danger of losing four in a row before they scratched, clawed, bit, punched, kicked, and slammed their way back after being down by 17 points. In the end, it was the Sparks who came out on top by beating the Dallas Wings, 76-74.
The Wings got off to a scorching start. An Arike Ogunbowale three made it 10-2, Dallas. The Sparks threw some careless passes on the way to 6 turnovers. A Destanni Henderson three-point play made it a little less painful for L.A. as Dallas led going into the second period, 27-13.
The Sparks played better in the second quarter as they took care of the ball. Natasha Howard kept the Wings ahead by double digits for most of that stanza. But Henni continued to keep the Sparks in it; her late three-point play cut the deficit to 42-33 going into halftime.
L.A. got aggressive in the paint as they whittled down the deficit slowly. A three-point play by Chiney Ogwumike topped off an 8-0 run to tie the game at 58. However, Teaira McCowan made a putback lay-up to give the Wings a 60-58 lead going into the fourth.
And then it was the usual grind for the Sparks as it once again came down to the wire. The Wings led, 67-60, before the Sparks scored 7 straight, which was topped off by Destanni’s three. It was back and forth before Jordin Canada tied it with another lay-up at 74. Canada made free throws as the Sparks kept going at it inside. The Sparks had a chance to put it away before Canada’s jumper didn’t go in. The Wings got the rebound and decided to run down the court instead of calling a timeout. Crystal Dangerfield missed a floater and the three-game losing streak was done.
What a comeback for the Sparks. The Wings led by as many as 17 points. After a fast start by Ogunbowale, she was pretty much shut down for the rest of the game. Natasha Howard and Satou Sabally made it difficult for the Sparks but the aggressive attack by L.A. as the game progressed took a toll on Dallas. In the end, it was the guard tandem of Jordin Canada and Destanni Henderson (along with the consistent Nneka Ogwumike) that got the job done for the Sparks.
Coach Miller talked about the importance of practice in pre-game when I asked him about it:
After the game, Coach Miller opened the presser about the win.
Since it was Pride Night, Coach Miller talked about what it meant to him.
Destanni Henderson, who had an amazing game, talked about the importance of getting that one practice in.
And I asked Jordin Canada how she felt since she has played so many minutes as of late.
The Sparks were led by Nneka Ogwumike with an honestly quiet 20 points. Destanni Henderson made a lot of noise with those 18 points. Jordin Canada also had 18.
In Dallas’s side, Natasha Howard (23 points, 12 rebounds) and Satou Sabally (13 points, 11 rebounds) had double-doubles. Arike Ogunbowale scored 12 in the first period but only four more after that as she was harassed by the Sparks guards in the second half.
Even though the Sparks had 6 early turnovers in the first quarter, they ended up with 14 while it was Dallas who scrambled their way through the game with 20 giveaways.
The Sparks and the Wings have identical 6-7 records now. And they’re going to do it again on Sunday afternoon. The Sparks have an opportunity to close the home stand with two important wins against a talented team like Dallas.
The Sporting Tribune’s Lauren Smith contributed to this story.