LOS ANGELES — After a not-so-great start in the home stand, the Los Angeles Sparks made up a bit of ground by winning the last two games of their L.A. stay against Dallas. Now the Sparks are back to .500 as they embark on a bit of a road trip for the next three games.
Their first two games will be in Chicago against the Sky. And the first of two games will be on Wednesday morning (9 AM in Los Angeles time!). Their first match-up happened in Los Angeles and it was the Sparks that came away with the win after ending the contest with a 15-2 run. The Sparks were really physical against the Sky and their aggressiveness got them to the line 22 times compared to the Sky’s 8 foul shot attempts. L.A. getting those foul shots and them packing the paint really upset head coach James Wade after the game.
Well, it got even worse for the Chicago Sky after that. Overall, the Sky have lost 6 straight games (they’re now at 5-9) since their thrilling overtime win over the Indiana Fever. The closest they got to a win during this losing streak was in a rematch against the Fever when Kelsey Mitchell made a game-winner with under a second left. And the Sky were blown out in their last two games; they got beat by 21 against the Washington Mystics last Thursday and then the Connecticut Sun won by 24 against them on Sunday.
So, no, not the greatest two and a half weeks by the Chicago Sky.
Still, the Sparks should really be on their guard. You know that the Sky will have a huge sense of urgency of winning a game. Kahleah Copper will try to do better than she did in their first match-up against L.A. (10 points). Alanna Smith and Elizabeth Williams combined for 9 blocks with Alanna scoring 19 and Liz putting in 14 points. Marina Mabrey had a career-high 36 points in their loss against the Fever so you know she’s capable of getting all the buckets.
But like I said, the physicality really affected the Sky last June 9th. They turned the ball over 17 times against the Sparks. Nneka Ogwumike had another double-double at 20 points and 14 boards. Dearica Hamby went for 16 points, 8 boards, and 5 steals. Jordin Canada had 16-5-5. Both teams shot badly from three so that might be something to watch out for. And James Wade might have a point about not getting any respect because they are last in free throw attempts going into Wednesday morning.
The usual suspects (Lexie Brown, Nia Clouden, Layshia Clarendon, and Katie Lou Samuelson) are once again out as of this writing. But the Sparks have persevered through it all and we’ve seen fantastic contributions from Destanni Henderson and Rae Burrell. Karlie Samuelson hit a career-best 14 points against Dallas on Sunday. And we’re hoping Zia Cooke can work through her struggles and have a big game soon. Either way, the Sparks will be in Chicago for two games and we’re all hoping for a 2-0 run here in the Windy City.