LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Sparks are back home after a road trip that was… pretty calamitous. The Sparks went 0-3 on that trip and have fallen to 7-10. A lot can happen in life… and that includes the WNBA. They were just at .500 last week.
But as many have said, the WNBA keeps going so the good news is that they can recover from this within a week. The problem is that the Sparks have been dealing with the most injuries this season and we’re checking to see who is not on that list on any given day.
Even before the season started, free agent signee Stephanie Talbot tore her ACL in her native Australia. Katie Lou Samuelson is on maternity leave so she’s not playing this season. And then another free agent signing Azurá Stevens missed the first few games because of a back ailment. Jasmine Thomas didn’t play for the first few weeks; she’s still working her way back from her torn ACL.
Injuries only continued to mount. Layshia Clarendon has an injured foot and they haven’t played in a month. Lexie Brown has a non-COVID illness and has missed the last 6 games. Chiney Ogwumike has been in and out of the line-up because of a foot injury. Nia Clouden has been out for weeks because of a knee injury. And Jordin Canada missed the Atlanta game because of a bum shoulder.
The good news is that Jordin Canada is back for Wednesday’s game. And as you can see on the headline, yes, the Sparks are going against the Atlanta Dream again.
The injuries and lack of womanpower have really caught up to the Sparks. Curt Miller mentioned after Sunday’s game that they really felt it there. Combine that with the Dream’s Rhyne Howard getting lava hot (43 points!) and the Sparks didn’t stand a chance. The Sparks tied for their biggest loss of the season as the Dream defeated them by 28 points.
The Sparks just haven’t played very well and, honestly, it’s tough to play well when practically half their roster is hurt. Roles get too large for some and fatigue plays a huge factor. Nevertheless, Azurá Stevens mentioned that they have to stay together as they have from Day One.
As for the play on the court, there’s no doubt they’ll mix coverages for Rhyne Howard. But also do remember that the Dream also have Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker, both first-time all-stars. Also, former Spark Nia Coffey got off to a good start and dropped 13 points on Sunday.
It’s a matter of withstanding whatever runs the Dream do. As has been the theme for the Sparks, they hope to be there at the end of the game and take the win in the last few minutes. Jordin Canada’s return should help on that. Fewer turnovers would be great as well as not getting lost defensively.
Right now, it feels like a bit of survival mode for the Sparks. It’s really too bad that injuries have really put a damper on this season so far. Hopefully, the Sparks can get healthier sooner than later before the season gets away from them.