A strong effort from the Los Angeles Sparks’ front court gave them a 77-62 victory over the Chicago Sky. Three Sparks players scored in the double digits with forward Nneka Ogwumike making 19 points and 14 rebounds.
Los Angeles took care of the ball, out-rebounding Chicago 42-34 and scoring 18 second-chance points compared to Chicago’s eight.
Center Dearica Hamby tied her career high of five steals to go along with her 16 points and eight rebounds. Sparks head coach Curt Miller believed that this was Hamby’s best game so far with Los Angeles.
“It was from the first quarter on with her desire to run the floor and put pressure on their defense in transition,” Miller said.
Hamby was 6-14 from the field; while she holds herself to a higher standard, the effort helped her regain confidence.
“I felt so much more mentally clear today,” Hamby said. “My teammates are always super encouraging like “give yourself some grace” that’s been the hardest part for me.”
The wingspan of Chicago forward Alana Smith provided problems as she blocked shots and grabbed rebounds. She had five blocks in the matchup. However, the Sky gave away 20 points from 17 turnovers.
Guard Jordin Canada, with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists, created the tempo on both sides of the ball.
“[Canada] does a really good job of finding her moments based on how the game is being played,” Ogwumike said. “She goes in there with the goal to finish and make the right play.”
The Sparks led throughout the first half with Hamby and Ogwumike leading the offensive effort. Chicago found their scoring rhythm after halftime. A three-pointer by Smith with 5:05 left in the third quarter was the Sky’s first lead in the game. The Sparks went on a five-point run soon after.
As the Sky tried to close the gap in the fourth quarter, the Sparks scored shots at the free throw line, keeping the game out of reach.
This game marked the season debut of forward Azurá Stevens and guard Jasmine Thomas. After playing for under 12 minutes, Thomas scored five points and one rebound.
“My soldier that’s been by my side for all eight years as a head coach is Jasmine Thomas, who’s been a warrior and an iron woman in this league is coming back from her first major injury of her pro career,” Miller said. “Certainly, she’s not 100 percent of herself but so proud that we got her back.”
Although they were happy with the win, the Sparks desire to improve their three-point shooting in upcoming games. Los Angeles went 3-20 from behind the arc during the contest.
The Sparks will travel to battle the Minnesota Lynx on June 11 at 4:00P.M.