LOS ANGELES — Well, thank goodness the All-Star break is here, right?
The Sparks’ losing streak went up to 6 going into the extended break as the Las Vegas Aces ate them up, played with their food, and whooped that… well, I think you get what I’m saying here. The final score was 97-78 in a more lopsided contest than the end tally indicated.
The Aces jumped on the Sparks early. They scored the first 7 points of the game. And every time A’ja Wilson got the ball, she would effortlessly make a move and a shot at the post. It was so automatic. Death, taxes, A’ja Wilson at the post. She outscored the Sparks by herself in the first quarter, 16-15. The Aces overall scored 32 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
It was more of the same in the second period. Nneka Ogwumike and Destanni Henderson did their best to keep up but the Aces were just too strong. The halftime score was 54-31, Aces. The Sparks turned the ball over 10 times in the first half.
But coming out of the halftime break, the Sparks came out of the gate hot. Los Angeles scored 10 straight after Kelsey Plum split her foul shots. The Aces quickly recovered and got back into it, playing hellish defense and making every shot in sight. At this point, we were just hoping for the MTV Rock and Jock 25-point basket (you guys are way too young for that reference). Anyway, the Aces ballooned the lead to 80-52 at the end of three and there’s really no need to further “analyze” what happened in the fourth quarter.
Even before the game, Coach Curt Miller (jokingly) lamented about the Las Vegas Aces’ defense.
After the game, Coach Miller made his priorities known during the break.
Nneka Ogwumike talked about what she had learned about the team in the first half and what they needed to work on.
And I asked Zia Cooke how she would rate her rookie year thus far.
Like I said, the Sparks have lost 6 games. But the good news is that they will get a lot of rest before their season resumes on Thursday of next week. Hopefully, they can get some of their players back sooner than later.
Azurá Stevens had her best game of the season statistically with 22 points and 12 boards. The Sparks’ all-star Nneka Ogwumike had her 11th double-double of the season (tying her for fifth in career double-doubles with Tamika Catchings at 96 overall) with 20 points (she is now tied for 17th all-time in scoring, tying the legendary Spark DeLisha Milton-Jones) and 10 rebounds. As for the Aces, A’ja Wilson scored 23 of her 25 points in the first half. She also grabbed 12 rebounds. Kelsey Plum scored 21 points and had 5 steals while Chelsea Gray ended with 18 points.
Hopefully, the second half of the season will go better for the Sparks. But at this point, they need all the rest they could get. In the meantime, Nneka Ogwumike will be starting for the All-Star game and I will also be there for some coverage. Until then!