Chiney Ogwumike said after shootaround Friday that the Sparks and the Aces bring out the best in each other.
That may have been the case for Las Vegas, but it wasn’t true for Los Angeles. Nneka Ogwumike led the L.A. Sparks in points with 19 and tied with her sister Chiney Ogwumike in rebounds with five. Unfortunately, those were the only shining moments in a game where the Sparks were simply outmatched and outclassed by the Aces. The Sparks lost 97-69 in a game that was essentially over by halftime. The transition defense struggled early on, the offense never got going, and Las Vegas took a 20-point lead at halftime and never looked back
The Aces were a well balanced attack as they had five players in double figures. Jackie Young, A’ja Wilson, and Dearica Hamby tied with 17 points, with Hamby leading the way by dropping 13 of her 17 in the first half. The Aces dominated the glass, outrebounding the Sparks 44-28. This is similar to the season opener when the Sparks were outrebounded 45-25.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the Sparks. They’ve done a good job taking care of the basketball, only committing eleven turnovers in Friday's game. The Sparks got eight steals tonight and are currently second in the league with 12 on the season.
Shooting is one aspect that has to improve. The Sparks shot an abysmal 36.5 percent from the field. Shooting that poorly makes it virtually impossible to win any game, much less a game against one of the top teams in the league. They also failed to win any quarter. With a 20-point deficit midway through the second, you’d think there would be a rally at some point, but that didn’t happen against Las Vegas. The Aces kept their foot on the gas and outscored the Sparks 21-15 in the fourth, which is a testament to their focus and concentration, but also a concern for the Sparks, who are now averaging an abysmal 70 points per game.
The good news is Sparks have another week off in between games to regroup. The bad news is their next game is against the currently undefeated Chicago Sky. It will be challenging for the Sparks to right the ship then and earn their first win of the 2021 season.