Fresh off a loss that ended their nine-game winning streak, the Los Angeles Sparks came out of the gates slowly against the Dallas Wings on Wednesday. The Wings quickly doubled up the Sparks, taking a 18-9 lead that would be 23-17 after the first quarter.
But a few minutes into the second quarter the Sparks started clicking, and rode the star power of Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray. With six minutes left in the half, they trailed 34-25. But they rattled off a 23-5 run to turn that deficit into a nine-point halftime lead, with Parker and Gray combining for 14 of those points.
It was a metaphorical — and at times literal — flexing of the muscles by L.A., who was playing without superstar Nneka Ogwumike, but still had a hearty talent advantage over the rebuilding Wings.
And it was not without its fair share of highlights.
As she has been all year, Parker was the best player on the court for the Sparks. And as she has been in more games than not, she was the best player for either team. She finished with a game-high 22 points, a team-high 10 rebounds, and a game-high 6 assists, with L.A. outscoring Dallas by 20 points in her 29 minutes, and getting outscored by 12 in the 11 minutes she sat.
She controlled the game against her former coach, Brian Agler, and seemed to come up with a big play anytime Dallas gained momentum and made a threatening push.
Despite the slow start, it turned into a highly efficient game for the Sparks, who got 16 points and 8 rebounds from Gray, and 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting from Brittney Sykes. As a team they shot 51.7% from the field and a blistering 52.9% from beyond the arc.
That’s good enough on most nights, and it was certainly good enough on Wednesday, as the Sparks got back in the win column and improved to 12-4.
They’re back it on Friday with a huge showdown against the Seattle Storm.