Sparks face Aces to finish three-game home stand

DJ Cabanlong-The Sporting Tribune
Coming into the Sparks' house on Sunday night's Commissioner's Cup game are the defending champion Las Vegas Aces (5-3).

LOS ANGELES — The Sparks are coming off a much-needed win after they beat the Dallas Wings on Friday.

It snapped a three-game losing streak and they hope to start a new streak that’s more on the positive side. With the win, they are now 1-2 in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Coming into the Sparks’ house on Sunday night’s Commissioner’s Cup game are the defending champion Las Vegas Aces (5-3). The Aces themselves are coming off a loss against the Seattle Storm.

The last time the Sparks (3-7) faced the Aces was in their second game of the season on May 18th. Los Angeles fell short in Las Vegas, 89-82, but it was a well-played game by the Sparks despite the loss.

Coach Curt Miller talked about their match-up with the Aces on practice Sunday morning:

“The thing that hurt us in the first game, in a very good game at Vegas, was they scored 25 points off of our turnovers,” Miller said. “They’re a team that has not turned everybody over consistently this year so can we get shots on goal? Can we execute to high percentage shots? And not allow them to use our turnovers as their offense.”

To Coach Miller’s point, the Aces are 9th in forcing turnovers this season. But the Sparks turned the ball over 17 times in their first match-up so keeping them down is key.

Coach also talked about the rebounding.

“The other thing… they were double digits in offensive rebounding. We got ’em to miss a lot of shots but didn’t always come up with the one-and-done stops. Can we rebound better tonight defensively?”

The Aces had 10 offensive boards compared to three in that first game. So that will be another key for the Sparks.

In that game, Dearica Hamby scored a career-best 29 points against her former team. It goes without saying that she’ll be motivated to go against them.

β€œYou know, we played Vegas very tough. Personal game for me but I think we can come out with a win,” Hamby said after Friday’s win against the Wings.

Cameron Brink made a huge impact defensively as she swatted five shots against the Aces.

β€œI thought Cameron really affected the defensive end with her rim protection. I know they credited her with five blocks but she also altered shots,” Miller said about Brink after their first game against Vegas. β€œHer defensive presence, while she didn’t have as good of an offensive night and is capable of having, she really impacted the game that way.”

As for the Aces, Jackie Young will be out due to an illness. Chelsea Gray continues to be out with a leg injury. And Kierstan Bell will also not be playing.

Either way, the Sparks will have to do a bit more than their first game to get over the hump against the Aces. If Friday’s game was any indication, they have a pretty good chance of doing it.

The Sporting Tribune’s Fredo Cervantes contributed to this report.