LOS ANGELES — The Sparks couldn’t get it done again.
The Lynx came in and got another one against Los Angeles, 67-61.
In the first quarter, it was all about Nneka Ogwumike getting all the buckets. She scored 11 points, which surpassed her total from their last match-up on Friday (which was 8 points). Still, behind Tiffany Mitchell’s two steals that led to lay-ups and Napheesa Collier, the Lynx had a slim 19-18 lead after the first quarter.
Turnovers really plagued the Sparks in the first half. But the Sparks got a great boost from Rae Burrell, who scored five quick points. The Lynx couldn’t capitalize off the turnovers and the Sparks led, 33-32, by halftime.
In the third, the Sparks took much better care of the rock. Nneka and Napheesa did their thing for their respective teams. A tip-in by Napheesa tied the game and we were back to Square One after the third, 49-49.
It was a close game throughout. The Lynx got a couple of three-pointers from Bridget Carleton. The Sparks got it close to 62-61 after that jumper by Rae Burrell. But Collier made a jumper late. The Sparks had a chance to cut it to one or even tie the game but they lost the ball and the Lynx came up with it. Free throws put away the game for Minnesota.
It’s the fourth quarter again that got away from the Sparks. They endured 15 turnovers in the first half and still held the lead at halftime. They were much better in taking care of the ball in the second half (just four) but not even getting a shot off with a chance to tie the game with 24 seconds left was huge. Neither team shot well (both under 40 percent) and it was not a pretty game to watch. But in the end, as Coach Curt Miller said, the Lynx made the plays in the big moments while the Sparks did not execute.
Coach Miller was asked about how to salvage this home stand.
I asked Coach about Rae Burrell’s performance. She’s on a hardship contract but she played well tonight, scoring 7 points.
Nneka Ogwumike talked about the game not being executed well.
Minnesota Lynx shooting guard Kayla McBride had this to say about having the Sparks’ number:
“Their post play is something we really came in trying to suppress. You know Nneka, Chiney, Dearica, Azurá, they play big. And we play big. We wanted to suppress that and kind of just push the pace, get into their bench. And I think we really did a good job. Obviously, they have an all-star in Nneka Ogwumike, who is able to get her points. But to contain the rest of the players, we really hang our hat on the defensive end and that was able to propel us to win these games.”
The Sparks had 19 total turnovers while the Lynx only had 12. Both teams only had two players in double figs; Sparks had Nneka at 20 points and 9 boards while Jordin Canada had 10 and the Lynx had Napheesa Collier at 26 points and 14 boards while Bridget Carleton made four threes on her way to 14 points.
L.A. is on a three-game losing streak. They hope to finish the home stand with one or two wins as the Dallas Wings will be in Crypto on Friday and Sunday.
The Sporting Tribune’s Laurie Smith has contributed to this report.