The Los Angeles Sparks erased an 11-point second-half deficit to defeat the Dallas Wings 93-83, behind Nneka Ogwumike tallying a season-high 27 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday at Crypto.com Arena.
With the win, the Sparks defeated the Wings for the 3rd time in the month of June and improved to 7-7 on the season, winning their last 3 of 4 games. Dallas fell to 6-8 on the year with the loss.
Ogwumike also added four assists, two steals, and two blocked shots and was named to her eighth WNBA All-Star game earlier in the day.
“I definitely feel blessed to be still playing this deep into my career and also feeling the way that I’m feeling to put up numbers that helped me become an All-Star and ultimately a starter,” said Ogwumike. “I was already grateful to be named an All-Star the first time it happened.
“I want to shout out, again, Nneka’s play,” Sparks coach Curt Miller said. “Obviously, on the heels of her being named a starter for the All-Star Game, she came out and had a monster game for us. I reiterate her stats are better than her (2016) MVP year early in the season.”
Los Angeles used a 13-0 run in the final 2:26 of the first quarter to take a 26-18 lead into the second period. The Wings went on to outscore the Sparks 26-18 in the second quarter to tie the game at 44-44 through the half.
The Sparks had four players finish in double figures with Dearica Hamby scoring 17, Karlie Samuelson adding 14 and Jordin Canada nearly tallying a double-double with 10 points and nine assists.
Wings star Arike Ogunbowale finished with 18 points and eight assists on 6 for 18 shooting, making only 1 of 9 three-point attempts after being defended by Canada. Crystal Dangerfield also had 18 points, Teaira McCowan added 14 points and nine rebounds and Natasha Howard had 13 points.
“No one will write enough about what Jordin Canada is doing,” Miller said. “Defensive players of the year in this league are always going to be the shot blockers and the defensive rebounders, and they get all the votes.
“But if there’s a little guard guarding better than Jordin Canada right now, I need to see it on film, because she is asked to go guard the best guard every single night and then run our team, and it’s been really impressive what kind of defender she is and she’s had a really good series against Arike, who is one of the best players in the world.”
Dallas used a 18-7 run to take its largest lead of the game at 71-60 two minutes into the third but Los Angeles capped the period on a 11-2 run. Destanni Henderson and Samuelson hit back-to-back 3-pointers and Ogwumike finished a three-point play to get within two, 73-71 heading into the fourth period.
The Sparks outscored the Wings 11-4 during the final 3:59 of the fourth after Ogwumike made a lay-up and Wings were unable to score more than one field goal resulting in a 93-83 win for LA.
“Without a couple of those big threes, without a couple of those baskets there, basketball is such a fine line between winning and losing,” Miller said. “That 11 could have gone to 17 just as easy, and the game would have been over, but we made some big plays and all of a sudden it’s under a two-possession game and we got the momentum going into the fourth.”