Some nights the ball won’t bounce your way. That night was Wednesday for the Los Angeles Sparks, although they had a good excuse.
The Sparks were deprived of four players due to injury, including three starters. They only had nine players available, and one of them, Lauren Cox, just joined the team today. And on top of that, they were up against one of the best teams in the league, the Las Vegas Aces.
The end result – a loss of 99-75 – was a bit predictable.
What was less predictable was how it was done. The Sparks started the game strong against the stacked Aces and held a 17-15 lead with just over four minutes left in the first quarter.
And then someone put a cover on the rim, and the hits just couldn’t fall. The Sparks scored just two more points the rest of the quarter, and halfway through the second quarter, they had added just two more.
Still, the looks were decent. Even without Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver, the Sparks were able to move the ball around the perimeter well and get into the lane.
But between the cold and Liz Cambage and A’ja Wilson patrolling the paintwork for Vegas, the Sparks couldn’t make a basket. “I think sometimes we did a lot of really good things, we just didn’t convert on some of the opportunities that we had,” said coach Derek Fisher Said. “Good shots for a professional basketball game … it’s not that we couldn’t get opportunities, we just couldn’t convert. I thought more than that, we did some pretty decent things. overall, at least offensively.
As the shots continued to crack and the deficit grew more and more, the defensive effort began to slip, as it does in these situations. “Defensively, a little bit in the game we started to split up and spread out, and fatigue starts to set in with the short rotation,” said Fisher. “And when the punches don’t come in … it just starts to drain your energy.”
The Aces used a balanced attack to shatter the Sparks, with six players hitting double digits, a 45.7% field mark and 27 assists. Their three reps in the All-Stars game against Team USA all excelled, with Wilson (17 points and 10 rebounds) and Cambage (13 points and 11 rebounds) registering double-doubles, while Dearica Hamby (13 points and 7 rebounds) ) had a great full set. But Vegas showed its depth, as Jackie Young (18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists) led the team.
The Sparks were led by Amanda Zahui B., who had 22 points on 9-20 shots, and held firm against the Vegas stars with 9 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. Erica Wheeler’s and Te’a Cooper’s starting backcourt had 28 points but needed 27 shots to get there.
As for Cox, she stepped in and played almost 19 minutes. And while her stats (4 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals) aren’t that remarkable, she has displayed skills and feelings for the game that will make the organization excited to have her for the rest. of the season.
“I thought Lauren, in a really tough spot, had just done some really good things,” Fisher said. “No training, no shootaround, no idea of terminology, sets and actions, but thanks to his sense of the game he did some really good things.”
There isn’t much you can do, as a player or as a team under these circumstances. Even though the Sparks have limited their mistakes and turnovers, and generally look decent, you can’t win a lot of games shooting 34.1 percent from the field.
These games are coming, but LA will have a chance for revenge. The Aces stay in town and face the Sparks on Friday night.