Sparks face Ogunbowale, Wings at home

Henry Tran-The Sporting Tribune
The Sparks beat the Wings three out of four times last season.

LOS ANGELES — The Sparks are back at Crypto.Com Arena after an electrifying game against the Indiana Fever. They didn’t come out of the winning side, though, so they are 1-3 in this young season thus far.

“But every game is an opportunity to learn,” forward Dearica Hamby said after the game against Indiana. “We’re hanging our heads a little bit right now but the league moves fast. We have another game in a day and a half. Quick memory. Gotta forget it.”

The WNBA is moving quickly, indeed, as the Dallas Wings (2-2) are in town to play the Sparks on Sunday night.

The Wings are on the rare WNBA back-to-back as they played in Phoenix on Saturday night. They came out with the victory in a rather high-scoring affair. Arike Ogunbowale dropped a 40-piece against the Mercury.

So it goes without saying that the Sparks have to make Ogunbowale work for her points. The Wings are missing starters Natasha Howard and Satou Sabally due to injury. But Maddy Siegrist (#3 overall pick in 2023) and Monique Billings (cut by the Sparks during training camp) have filled in very well for them.

The Wings also carry two 6’7” players in Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown. That kind of size will definitely test Cameron Brink and the Sparks frontline.

To round off the rotation, the Wings have Turkish point guard Sevgi Uzun and their first round draft pick Jacy Sheldon.

Dallas, however, has the same problem as the Sparks: they turn the ball over quite a bit. L.A. averages 19.8 giveaways per game, which is the most in the league. Dallas isn’t far behind at 19.0, which is the third most.

“We got outtoughed at both ends of the court, on the glass, and it contributed to 13 second half turnovers, which has been our Achilles’ heel,” Coach Curt Miller said after the Fever game.

So the Sparks hope to take better care of the ball against Dallas. This definitely affects their scoring and as mentioned in past games, Los Angeles tends to go on dry spells (ex. Sparks went scoreless for four minutes to start the second half against the Fever).

They do have capable scorers. Dearica Hamby is having a banner season (21.0 points, 13.3 rebounds per game). Kia Nurse (13.3 points) and Lexie Brown (12.3 points) have had scoring bursts this season. Rickea Jackson (11.3 points) is becoming more and more comfortable in the pro level.

If the Sparks can put it all together for 40 minutes and not turn the ball over, they should be fine against the Dallas Wings.

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