The Los Angeles Sparks fought hard to maintain their playoff hopes but could not thwart the offensive gusto of the third-seeded Connecticut Sun on Thursday. The Sun beat the Sparks 93-69.
The loss knocked the Sparks out of playoff contention, they have not competed in a playoff game since the 2020 season. Their season was filled with obstacles including injuries, travel woes, and the abrupt departure of center Liz Cambage.
“We’ve dealt with so much adversity on and off the court and that’s not an excuse, but it’s reality,” guard Brittney Sykes said. “We stuck in there, we fought hard, down 20, up 10, it didn’t matter. We did what we’re supposed to do and sometimes the pieces just won’t fit.”
Sykes, who is known for her defensive efforts, showed her prowess on the offensive end by leading the Sparks with 18 points. Forward Nneka Ogwumike made nine rebounds. Guard Jordin Canada committed five assists.
“I know we fell short, but I feel I was able to get better. Sykes was able to get better, she was doing things I never seen her do before,” guard Chennedy Carter said. “[Canada], it was her birthday, she was doing crazy things trying to get to the rim.”
This season, Sykes took a more active role as a leader on the Sparks, she credits her overseas teammate Kelsey Griffin for developing her leadership skills. Through Griffin, Sykes learned how to manage different personalities.
“I give a lot of kudos to [Griffin] and my teammates in Australia and then my teammates here,” Sykes said. “When I came here and they see that I’m being a little bit more vocal, they respected me and I think that’s a big thing.”
Guard Chennedy Carter came off the bench to score eight points. Carter had not seen any action in the past four games. Sykes noted how proud she was of Carter’s perseverance through the season.
“She pushes the hell out of me in practice,” She said about Carter. “It’s a headache, but I’m glad she’s on my team because I don’t gotta guard her in real life.”
Interim head coach Fred Williams noted how he desires to protect Carter.
“It’s important for me as a coach, more like a godfather in this league … for me, it’s important for that,” he said. “All I know is she was out there playing basketball and having fun.”
Sun forward Alyssa Thomas led with 18 points and nine rebounds. Forward DeWanna Bonner had seven assists.
“They play physical, they can also hurt you inside the paint,” Williams said. “They do a good job as far as outside shooting … they got a balance of players. They’re gonna be tough moving forward in the playoffs.”
The Sparks play their final game of the season at home against the Dallas Wings on Sunday, August 14 at 4:00P.M.