Sparks’ perimeter shooting defeat Clark, Fever

Grace Hollars/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK
The Sparks even their season series against the Fever after escaping with a win in Indiana on Tuesday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Sparks shot the lights out.

Los Angeles made 10 of 13 3-point shots in the second half, added some timely buckets and the Sparks defeated the Indiana Fever, 88-82, despite rookie sensation Caitlin Clark scoring a career-best 30 points at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.

The Fever scored the first 11 points of the second half and were poised to get their second win of the season. But the Sparks countered with an 11-0 run to end the third quarter. From there, Kia Nurse and Aari McDonald scored 12 in a row for Los Angeles and then held off Indiana the rest of the way.

McDonald scored 21 points, easily her best with the Sparks.

“I’ve just been telling myself not to overthink,” McDonald said. “I know in the beginning of the preseason, I was not myself. I was just trying to learn the system, learn my teammates.

“I just thank my coaches and teammates for trusting in me. Just trying to be consistent and do my job.”

McDonald played 30 minutes after Lexie Brown was hurt in the first half. Rae Burrell also got ample playing time (12 minutes) and scored eight points off the bench.

“(Burrell) was big. Hit a couple of big threes for us,” Miller said. “I thought she was penetrating and getting paint touches for us.

“But also, her length, her athleticism gave us a different look for our guards tonight.”

Rookie forward Rickea Jackson started her first game of her young WNBA career. She finished with 12 points.

“Excited for Rickea (Jackson). Ran a couple of early plays for her,” Miller said. “Was able to get to the foul line early. Tonight, earned 10 trips to the foul line, which was huge.”

Caitlin Clark scored 30 points in the Fever’s loss to the Sparks. (Henry Tran/The Sporting Tribune.)

Dearica Hamby had yet another double-double, finishing with 17 points and 10 boards.

“My teammates, GM and coaches are all just feeding me confidence, giving me direction to help lead for this team so I’m just happy I’m able to come out to have the mentality to do that,” Hamby said.

Kia Nurse caught fire, hitting 5 of 6 3-pointers on her way to 22 points while McDonald added 21.

As for the Fever, Caitlin Clark played her best all-around game, getting five rebounds and six assists while making 13 of 15 free throws. Aliyah Boston added 17 points.

The Sparks again were plagued by turnovers, committing 19 to Indiana’s 14.

With the win, the Sparks avenged their loss from Friday and evened their season series (1-1). Their road trip continues at Chicago where they meet Angel Reese and the Sky on Thursday night.

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