wnba

Sparks open 2024 regular season against Atlanta Dream

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The Sparks went 2-2 against the Atlanta Dream last season.

LONG BEACH, Calif. — The Los Angeles Sparks will start their season Wednesday night against the Atlanta Dream at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach.

What makes this interesting is that the Sparks swung a trade with the Dream to bring Aari McDonald and the eighth pick (which was eventually traded to Chicago for Julie Allemand and Li Yueru) to Los Angeles in exchange for Jordin Canada (who happens to be out with an injury) and the 12th pick (which the Dream used to select Nyadiew Pouch, who will stay overseas for this season). So McDonald will go against the team that drafted her immediately.

The Dream made the postseason last year as a No. 5 seed with a 19-21 record, which was only two games ahead of the Sparks. The Sparks were able to split their four games against Atlanta.

The teams last met Aug. 25 of last season, when L.A. was able to extend their winning streak to a season-best six games.

Atlanta had three all-stars last season (Rhyne Howard, Allisha Gray, and Cheyenne Parker-Tyus). The Dream also have the versatile Haley Jones and reliable forward and ex-Spark Nia Coffey. And in the offseason, Atlanta added Crystal Dangerfield via trade, Aerial Powers (free agent from Minnesota), and the legendary Tina Charles (who sat out last season).

Howard went for 43 points in an Atlanta win so it is in the Sparks’ interest to stick focus on the Dream’s all stars. Still, the Dream adding more potential weapons like Dangerfield and Charles would make this plan more difficult.

The Sparks will have to get scrappy (a Curt Miller signature) and put Atlanta into a mudfight. Los Angeles did a great job of packing the paint in previous games against the Dream.

Now that they added Cameron Brink to the mix, this might work even better.