The Los Angeles Sparks returned home after playing its first eight of 10 games on the road to start the season.
Brittney Sykes led all scorers with a season-high 25 points off the bench as the Sparks went on to defeat the Dallas Wings 93-91 for their second win in a row on Tuesday night at Crypto.com Arena.
The Wings battled back from a 16-point deficit and took a brief three-point lead in the fourth only for the Sparks retook a five-point advantage after Sykes made two free throws with 18.2 seconds left.
Isabelle Harrison drained a three with 5.5 seconds remaining to pull within two, 93-91, allowing Dallas one last chance after the Wings forced Sykes into an offensive foul on the next possession.
On the next play, Arike Ogunbowale aggressively attacked the rim and was fouled with 0.8 left, but ultimately was unable to take advantage as she missed the first free throw and was called for a violation on the second.
“We were waiting on this game since last season,” said Sykes. “Credit to Dallas, they’re a great team… they knocked us out of the playoffs last year so this was a personal one and we needed to defend home court.”
Dallas converted 11-of-27 shots from three-point range while Los Angeles only made 3-of-8 shots but it was the Sparks who shot 64 percent from the field and held the Wings to 45 percent shooting.
Nneka Ogwumike had 16 points and 10 rebounds while Liz Cambage added 19 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four blocks for Los Angeles (5-6). Katie Lou Samuelson chipped in with 13.
Harrison had 20 points and eight rebounds for Dallas (5-4) while Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey each scored 16.
L.A. got on the board early, and had 14 points — and a 14-7 lead — midway through the opening quarter before closing the period with a 28-15 advantage. The Sparks led 52-40 at the half and saw the Wings get within eight points in the third, 73-65.
“Going through the adversity of the start of the season and having to ask the hard questions right from the start, to me, that will help us over time,” said Sparks head coach and general manager Derek Fisher. “Even though on paper today we’re not in first place – who remembers who is in first place a month into any season in any sport?
Dallas started the fourth on a 16-5 run to take an 81-78 lead but it was L.A. who was able to respond and close the game out by out-scoring the Wings 15-10 in the final 5:34 of regulation.
“We’ve been learning on the fly!” said Cambage on the team’s grit thus far in the season. “A new team, bit of a rough start during May, on the road, it can really drain you of energy. But we kept it together, we got a few wins and now we’re home for a minute, so we got a lot to work on while we’re home.”
Cambage finished with an and-one basket late in the game, giving Los Angeles an 91-85 with 36 seconds left.
“Shoutout to Fish with our offseason pickups,” Sykes said of Fisher. “Because that’s honestly what’s given me the space to go and drive, we have shooters on the perimeter who knock down shots, we got Liz in the paint, we got Nneka, we have pieces where we keep you honest on defense and then one on one, we got that.”
The L.A. Sparks will next travel to take on the Phoenix Mercury (2-7) on Sunday, June 5 at 3:00 P.M.