Sparks don’t sweep Wings this season, lose 8th straight

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sparks couldn't make it 4-0 against the Dallas Wings this season.

A streak has been stopped. But unfortunately for the Los Angeles Sparks, it’s not the streak they had in mind.

The Dallas Wings ran away in the second half as they finally beat the Sparks this season and avoided a season sweep, 98-84.

We didn’t see much defense in the first two quarters. Nneka Ogwumike got off to a good start while Jordin Canada made back-to-back threes to close out the first quarter as L.A. led, 30-26, after one.

Then in the second quarter, it was all about Satou Sabally and Natasha Howard dominating inside. On the Sparks’ side, Dearica Hamby did her best to help them keep up. It was still a very close game by the half but Dallas led, 52-48.

A Nneka three-pointer put the Sparks ahead briefly, 57-56. And then Arike Ogunbowale, who hadn’t shot particularly well against the Sparks, caught fire. She scored 12 points in the third quarter. After a Sabally lay-up right before the horn, the Wings were up, 77-67, after three.

It was an 8-point game with four minutes left before the Wings put it away with a 9-0 burst. Natasha Howard and Ogunbowale made backbreaking threes while Crystal Dangerfield pulled up for a midrange J that punched the Sparks in the gut. The Wings continue their winning streak; they have now won five in a row. The Sparks didn’t complete the season sweep against the Wings and, even worse, they have now lost 8 straight games.

The Wings just beat the Sparks up in the paint and on the boards. It’s tough to stop that Dallas troop of bigs (Howard, Sabally, Teaira McCowan, Kalani Brown, Awak Kuier). The Wings outscored the Sparks, 54-32, in the painted area and outboarded them, 38-24. What sticks out even more is that Dallas had 13 offensive rebounds while Los Angeles only had three.

It didn’t help that the Sparks were hit by another injury. Karlie Samuelson was deemed out before the game, putting the Sparks back at 9 players. Yes, I know; it’s next woman up but the amount of injuries the Sparks have suffered this year has been absurd. This was their 14th different starting line-up this season.

The Sparks did have five players in double figures and they were led by Dearica Hamby with 18 points. Nneka Ogwumike and Jordin Canada each had 16 while Lexie Brown scored 14 points in her first start in about a month.

The star players of the Wings dominated. Natasha Howard had 28 points and 11 rebounds. Satou Sabally put in 26 points and grabbed 11 boards. Arike Ogunbowale, who had been held in check by the Sparks this season, went off for 25 points.

The Sparks do go back home for a four-game home stand as they play the Indiana Fever twice followed by the New York Liberty twice. Hopefully, this home cookin’ is the solution to all these woes by the Sparks.