The Sparks won an overtime thriller against the Chicago Sky, sweeping the two-game set in Chicago to even their record at 2-2. The Sparks started slow, but played better as the game went on, getting good performances from Nneka Ogumike and Amanda Zauhi B in regulation, defensive stops from Brittney Sykes, and the game-clinching layup from Erica Wheeler.
The first quarter was tough for the Sparks, as they ended the quarter down 27-13 and were down by as many as 17. They were able to recuperate from that with a dominant second quarter, holding the Sky to a mere 10 points. From there on out ,the game was even with marginal differences in assists, turnovers, and points. The results of the game couldn’t be decided in regulation, so the Sky and Sparks went into overtime.
In overtime, the Sparks made just enough key stops thanks to Sykes’ defense and got the lead for good thanks to another Wheeler layup. The Sky struggled offensively with turnovers and fouls as starter Ruthy Hebard fouled out of the game in the closing minute.
The game was particularly physical with Ogumike being smacked in the face by Astou Ndour-Fall in the second quarter. The foul didn’t appear malicious, but was severe enough to be called a flagrant 1. Diamond DeShields was also given a flagrant 1 for her foul on Wheeler. In overtime, Sykes had a flagrant 1 called on her that gave the Sky a four-point play and possession late in OT. The intensity was present throughout the game, which is no surprise as both teams are already feeling a sense of urgency to win even with the season being so young.
The Sparks earned the grind-it-out victory. They got the typical superstar performance from Ogumike, who had 21 points and 9 rebounds in her 39 minutes of play. Zahui B continues to be a rising star for the team, she had 17 points and eight rebounds in her 35 minutes of play off of the bench.
The Sparks needed these wins badly. They were struggling this year starting the season 0-2, but are now 2-2 despite so many changes to the roster this offseason. There won’t be another week-long break in between games anymore, as the Sparks play the Dallas Wings next on Tuesday. Hopefully, the Sparks can get Chiney Ogwumike back as she missed Sunday’s game due to right knee soreness.