Sparks finish road trip in Indiana against Fever

The Sparks have defeated the Indiana Fever twice this season.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Los Angeles Sparks (10-18) halted a three-game losing streak after defeating the Washington Mystics on Sunday. They are hoping to end this three-game road trip on a good note before they play back in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Their opponent is familiar. They have the Indiana Fever (7-21) on Tuesday night. And as we remember, the Los Angeles Sparks beat them in back-to-back games a couple of weeks ago.

The first game was a close one that saw Jordin Canada make a game-winning three with 3.2 seconds left. The second was a more complete game for the Sparks, defeating Indiana by double digits in their only comfortable win in the last 6 weeks or so.

Both games had this in common, though: the Sparks would not let Aliyah Boston get loose. The Sparks immediately converged on her in the painted area. Boston only scored 9 points in that first game. And while she scored 10 points in the first half of the second game, Boston could only manage two points in the second half. Head coach Curt Miller talked about how much more space Boston gets in the WNBA than in the collegiate level. Well, Miller made sure she didn’t get space to operate against the Sparks in those first two match-ups. And I honestly expect the same on Tuesday: throw everything at Aliyah. A double-team, a triple-team, the A-Team… everything.

The Fever’s other all-star for this year, Kelsey Mitchell, led the team in scoring in their first game with 19 points. But she was held in check by the Sparks defense in the second game as she only put in 7. The Indiana Fever have a capable roster that can fill it up but if the Sparks were to choose the lesser of two evils, they’d rather have the supporting cast beat them than Aliyah and Kelsey.

The Sparks do have to watch out for Victoria Vivians, who scored 17 in the first game. Kristy Wallace did some damage in the second game as she scored 13 off the bench. The most consistent thus far for them has been ex-Spark Erica Wheeler. She scored 15 and 17 in the two games against Los Angeles.

Nneka Ogwumike had two of her best games against Indiana as she went for 30 points in the first and 25 in the second at Crypto Dot Com Arena. Jordin Canada had 20 points and 10 assists (and the game-winner) in their first match-up and then followed it up with a 21-point, 7-assist performance. Jasmine Thomas also had her best game of the season in a Sparks uni with 8 points in that second game.

The Sparks hope to make it two in a row before they go home to face the Atlanta Dream on Saturday. It would be good to have some momentum as they face one of the better teams in the W.

But first, get past the Fever.