The Los Angeles Sparks earned their fourth win in the Wubble after defeating their long-time rivals the Minnesota Lynx 97-81. This is the first time the two teams met since forward Seimone Augustus was traded to the Sparks after her 14-season stint with the Lynx.
She continued to be a reliable contributor coming off the bench with 13 points.
Guard Riquna Williams scored in all five of her three-pointer attempts, leading the Sparks with 21 points. Center Candace Parker was an assist shy of a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists. She was taken out of the game with 6:54 left in regulation and did not return.
Sparks head coach Derek Fisher noted that he spoke with Parker about getting back into the game during a timeout.
“She played for the third [quarter], she was just coming out for a rest for three minutes and then the plan was to get her back in,” Fisher said. “She didn’t really seem to be pressed about it at all … I think ultimately, it wasn’t worth the risk.”
Parker was more concerned about securing the win than any personal accolades. She would have made the ninth triple-double in WNBA history and the second in her career.
“It’s one of those things where you try to hunt for something, you go back in and something happens,” Parker said. “So, I have to respect coach [Derek] Fisher and his choice.”
Minnesota rookie guard Crystal Dangerfield led all scorers with 29 points and center Damiris Dantas grabbed seven boards.
The Sparks made the extra pass during their possessions to find scoring opportunities. Both Ogwumike and Parker had three assists each at the end of the first phase. Ball movement benefited Los Angeles as five players scored in the double-digits and 11 players reached the scoreboard. Los Angeles made 27 assists in the contest.
Fisher mentioned how making that extra pass “separates the good teams from the great teams.”
“That’s a level of trust that has to be there for a championship-caliber team and it’s something we talked about,” he said. “It’s hard to do game in and game out because when you’re one of the best basketball players in the world, you’re always going to trust your ability to make a play.”
Minnesota struggled to get their offense going throughout the first half, shooting at 35.3 percent from the field and 22.2 percent in three-pointers. However, Los Angeles shot from 69.2 percent from the field and 60 percent from downtown. Dantas kept the Lynx competitive, scoring 13 points by halftime.
The second half of the game belonged to Lynx rookie guard Crystal Dangerfield. She chipped away at a 10-point lead, by not dropping five free throws and shooting with accuracy, scoring 24 points after halftime.
“She’s a great point guard and that’s a [Tennessee] Volunteer saying that a Connecticut Husky is a good point guard, so that’s a lot,” Parker said about Dangerfield. “She sees the floor, she’s fearless. Her handles are nice, she’s strong, she can finish through contact.”
Although Dangerfield fought valiantly, her effort could not combat the 31-points Los Angeles scored in the fourth quarter.
The L.A. Sparks will battle the New York Liberty on August 9 at 4:00P.M.