CHICAGO — The first game in Chicago didn’t go so well for the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Chicago Sky has undone their long losing streak of 6 games and defeated the still-shorthanded Sparks, 80-63.
The Ogwumike sisters, Nneka and Chiney, got Los Angeles off to a good start. They led after the first quarter, 20-19. But they also had 6 turnovers in those first 10 minutes.
After the Sky took the lead, they got a 7-0 run near the end of halftime as Elizabeth Williams and Alanna Smith did the work in the paint. A Jasmine Thomas long J stopped the bleeding but the score was 46-37 in favor of Chicago.
And the Sparks really couldn’t get over the hump after that. The Sky would counter whenever a run was attempted. It’s either a jumper by Kahleah Copper or Courtney Williams. A Marina Mabrey three would also punch the Sparks in the gut. Los Angeles would make one final run as they cut the deficit down to 7. But Courtney Williams and Alanna Smith would score 6 straight, shutting the door on the Sparks. As mentioned, the Sky’s 6-game slide is over and the Sparks are below .500.
Nneka Ogwumike would get her 8th double-double of the season with 16 points and 11 boards but she notably shot 5 for 15 (.333). And we know Nneka rarely shoots below .500. Jordin Canada had 13 points and 5 assists while Karlie Samuelson and Chiney Ogwumike had 11 points each.
Courtney Williams had a season-high 21 points; I’m sure her former coach Curt Miller is very familiar with those performances. Kahleah Copper scored 14 points (though she didn’t shoot well at 4 for 13, .308) while Marina Mabrey put in 13.
The Sparks haven’t been taking care of the ball; they had another 18 turnovers against the Sky. And I mentioned in the preview that the three-point shooting might be something to watch out for as I felt one of them would break out of that; the Sparks only shot 4 for 13 (.308) while the Sky shot a tidy 9 for 21 (.429). That’s a +15 on threes alone. The Sky were lucky that the bad free throw shooting (11 for 21, .524) didn’t come back to haunt them. James Wade talked about how they weren’t getting enough respect in terms of being in the paint and getting to the line but they seemed to take care of business there. They outscored the Sparks in the paint, 32-22.
Well, the Sparks don’t have much time to turn around but, at least, they’re getting a familiar opponent on Friday. They’re going to face the Sky once again in Chicago. This time, they hope to have a different result.