The 116-88 loss to the Dallas Wings marked the end of a tumultuous season for the Los Angeles Sparks. Despite the tough loss, guard Brittney Sykes made a career-high of 35 points. She and guard Jordin Canada led in assists with five each.
This season was the first time Sykes had an abundance of possessions since her high school years. She gleaned knowledge from interim head coach Fred Williams, former coach Derek Fisher, and Canada about the point guard position.
“I’d pick their brain, they had grace with me like I had grace with myself. There was some games where I turned [the ball] over a little too much,” Sykes said. “I’m just thankful that my teammates had my back and trusted me to continue to figure it out.”
Sykes stepped up to be a leader on the team during this season. Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike noticed how she understands that she must communicate with teammates differently.
“That comes with a lot of responsibility when you’re producing on the court,” Ogwumike said. “I think where she can really elevate her game is empowering and elevating those both tangibly and intangibly and I see that as a part of her processing.”
Sykes kept the Sparks competitive throughout the first quarter, but Los Angeles could not stop the offensive surge of the Wings in the second phase. Dallas scored 41 points in the second quarter alone, Los Angeles never recovered.
The Wings pushed the pace with 17 fast break points and scored 52 points in the paint. Guard Marina Mabrey led Dallas with 27 points and center Teaira McCowan made eight rebounds.
Williams noted how having size in the paint would be an asset for the Sparks to be a contender next season.
“Definitely go to get something in the middle,” Williams said. “There’s no big secret, you got to find somebody, a big hammer in the middle that’s just gonna dominate. Tonight, [McCowan] dominated, and she got better.
Young players Kianna Smith and Jasmine Walker saw more playing time. Smith scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
The overall record of the Sparks is 13-23 at the conclusion of their 2022 season.