wnba

Sparks face Wings for second time in Los Angeles

Jordon Kelly-The Sporting Tribune
The Sparks lost to the Wings, 84-83, on May 26th in Crypto.com Arena.

LOS ANGELES — The second opponent in the Sparks’ three-game home stand is a familiar opponent.

The Dallas Wings are back in Crypto.com Arena to face the Los Angeles Sparks. The last time they faced each other was on May 26th when the Wings scraped by the Sparks with a one-point win.

But the Wings have not really done well since. Dallas has lost three straight games after that victory in L.A. Their record is now down to 3-5.

The Sparks are right below them at 2-7 and they are in a three-game skid themselves. So one of these teams will get to snap that slide on Friday night. This will also be part of the Commissioner’s Cup, where the Sparks are currently 0-2.

In that May 26th contest, Cameron Brink scored a career-best 21 points. She did get in foul trouble in the third quarter but Brink managed to play through it in the second half.

“That’s just something I need to continue to adjust with,” Brink said after the game. “Coaches and my teammates are giving me grace so I’m just going to work through it.

“There were a lot of fouls that didn’t go our way. I think there was one foul where I was just completely tackled, blindsided out of nowhere. So that led to a frustration foul on my end so that’s where maturity comes in.”

Arike Ogunbowale is what makes the Wings’ offense go. The Sparks did a great job making Ogunbowale work as she put up 30 shots to get to 20 points. But if L.A. can’t rebound, they can’t get possession of the ball.

And that became the issue for the Sparks, especially on the offensive rebounds. Dallas had the advantage there, 16-10, and there was one play late in the game that made a difference.

“Their differentiator is their offensive rebounding opportunities,” Coach Curt Miller said. “They are just so big and physical around the rim. That big offensive rebound putback by Maddy Siegrist was maybe the difference down the stretch. We didn’t have an offensive rebound in the second half. Not one.”

That Siegrest lay-up made it 83-80 with 36 seconds left in the game. And the Wings would go on to win, 84-83.

The Wings employ two 6’7″ centers in Teaira McCowan and Kalani Brown. They also have 6’6″ Stephanie Soares and 6’4″ Monique Billings (who was cut by the Sparks before the regular season started). So Dallas has a massive size advantage against the Sparks (or any team in the league, really).

Funny enough, the team only combined for 14 turnovers in their first contest as these two teams have turned the ball over at a high rate (Sparks lead the league in turnovers while the Wings are have the third most).

But the Sparks have to get off to a good start; they are only averaging 14.0 points per game in this three-game losing streak. And for a team that goes on long scoring droughts, every point is a premium for L.A.

Let’s see if the Sparks can stop the slide on Friday night.

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