Sparks forward Dearica Hamby (5) scored 18 points and 10 rebounds against the Las Vegas Aces (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Los Angeles Sparks battled with grit to defeat the reigning WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces 96-92. The win was a team effort as every Sparks player who played scored.

Spearheading the effort was forward Dearica Hamby, who got her ninth double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

“She has to be an All-Star,” said Sparks head coach Curt Miller. “She continues to keep carrying us as our leader and it’s her motor, always been special in this league.”

Aces center A’ja Wilson poured out 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, two steals, and six blocks, leading her team in four categories and tying in one. The physical contest resulted in the Aces getting four technical fouls and head coach Becky Hammon getting ejected with seconds left in regulation.

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Las Vegas jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first three minutes of the game. Los Angeles found their rhythm from behind the arc and was able to get back into the game by the end of the first quarter. While the Sparks trailed 26-21 at that point, they outscored the Aces in the next three quarters.

Guard Aari McDonald defended Aces guard Kelsey Plum, both were teammates on the Washington Huskies women’s basketball team during the 2016-17 season.

“I know she’s always gonna give me her best shot,” McDonald said. “Now that I’m here, I’m on this level, I’m going back at her and just always being relentless and just knowing I’m here for a reason.”

Rookies Rickea Jackson and Cameron Brink stepped up in the bout: Jackson tied her career high of 16 points and Brink matched her career high of five blocks.  Hamby noted how she works to keep their confidence up throughout the game.

Sparks guard Rickea Jackson (2) defends Aces center A’ja Wilson (22) (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

“[Brink] and [Jackson] might make some mistakes and I just keep telling them “play through” and “that’s just part of the game,”” Hamby said. “[Jackson] is keeping it aggressive, [Brink] keep playing with energy, she really helped us on the defensive end tonight.”

Going into the fourth phase, the Sparks were up by nine but foul troubles threatened their lead. After the Aces put forth a late rally, Sparks guard Rae Burrell hit back-to-back three-pointers.

“You just got to have that mentality when your number is called,” McDonald said. “You got to step up and you got to deliver.”

Burrell ultimately scored seven points and McDonald scored 16 points off the bench.

The Sparks will embark on a seven-game road trip. Their first stop will be the Seattle Storm on June 11 at 4:30P.M.