The Los Angeles Sparks lost to the Las Vegas Aces in their second game of the season with their record at 1-1, the Sparks travel to Vegas on Saturday to get revenge on the Aces’ ring night.
On Thursday, the Sparks played with a few players out due to injury/illness. Notably star Nneka Ogwumike was out due to a non-covid related illness. She is now probable for a return to tonights game.
The Sparks’ focus continued to be defense. They put pressure on the Aces offense forcing them to have a total of 20 turnovers. Los Angeles led at the half by 10 points before eventually losing to the champs. Chiney Ogwumike led the team with 19 points. Lexie Brown also had an impressive game with 15 points; she made her first five shots while Jordin Canada and Karlie Samuelson had 11 each.
Lexie Brown talked about their defense after the game, “Curt has really locked in on defense. We work on that like 75% of practice. We have a team that has bought in to the defensive system. I think that’s the hardest thing to teach a team.”
Dearica Hamby continues to impress just two months after having a baby. On Thursday, she stepped into the starting line-up and scored 11 points in 27 minutes of playing time (compared to her season opener where she eased into it with 15 minutes). After the game, Chiney said, “She had a baby like 8 weeks ago. To show up in this capacity against you know her former team and start the game the way she did that woman is a freaking super woman. Dearica Hamby is special.” She will now go into Saturday’s game ready to face her former head coach Becky Hammon, who is coming back after her two-game suspension due to the pregnancy discrimination allegations.
This team continues to step up and play no matter the situation. Chiney added, “We are players that play with heart and fight.”
As for the Aces, they have a stacked roster with all-stars and MVPs. Adding former Spark Candace Parker only boosted the already-loaded 2-0 Las Vegas team. As mentioned on Thursday, the Aces came back from a 10-point deficit to win. Jackie Young, who was named the Most Improved Player last season, was incredible with 30 points while A’ja Wilson, last year’s MVP, had 19.
For the Sparks to get the win, we know they’re going to fly around on defense. It’s a tough task (as seen on Thursday) to do that for all 40 minutes but L.A. hung around all game the last time. Their first half went as well as it could for them. The Aces are also known to make tough shots. If they can close out better on shooters in the second half, they might be able to pull the victory off. However, they will have to do this without Jordin Canada, Chiney Ogwumike, and Layshia Clarendon as it was just announced they will be out due to a non-covid related illness. Ahead of the game the Sparks have just signed Rae Burrell to a hardship contract after being waived on May 19th this year. Burrell was the 9th overall draft pick for the Sparks in the 2022 draft.
The Aces are set to unveil their championship banner and have a ring ceremony at home before facing the Sparks with Coach Becky Hammon back on the sidelines after serving a two-game suspension.