The Los Angeles Sparks fell to the New York Liberty 87-79. New York sank 15 three-point shots, 10 more than the Sparks, and led by as much as 27 points in the matchup. Their effort on the offensive end held Los Angeles to 25 rebounds while they made 42.
“New York challenges teams in this league so much with their spacing and their ability to shoot threes,” said Sparks head coach Curt Miller. “They were hurting us on the boards for a team that was shooting well until late.
Forward Dearica Hamby led the Sparks with 21 points and six rebounds. She noted how running the floor and playing hard helped her perform well.
“My activity got me going early and gave me some confidence to be aggressive throughout the game,” Hamby said.
Liberty forward Breanna Stewart scored 25 points and center Jonquel Jones made 13 rebounds.
Accurate shooting by New York launched them to a 19-point lead. Hamby came off the bench to help Ogwumike go on an eight-point run. Forcing seven turnovers helped the Sparks get back in the game.
Throughout the first half, Hamby spearheaded the Sparks’ offensive efforts. However, they struggled against New York guard Marine Johannes’ three-point shooting. Johannes ultimately scored 15 points.
While offense came easy to the Liberty, the Sparks found baskets by forcing turnovers. New York gave up 17 points with their 17 turnovers. Los Angeles also battled with heart on defense, making 10 steals and three blocks.
“In my opinion, defense is heart, it’s just who wants it more,” said Sparks center Azurá Stevens. “We made them hesitate and they move the ball around, they spray it but when you make them hesitate, it’s good for us.”
Los Angeles found their three-point shot in the fourth quarter which helped them go on an eight-point run. With 1:47 left in regulation, Hamby made a hook shot to bring the Sparks within seven points. Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu made a three-pointer soon after, dashing the hopes of a come-back victory for the Sparks.
Los Angeles outscored New York 29-18 in the fourth quarter alone. Canada poured in an 11-point effort in that phase and ultimately scored 17 points.
“There was a couple of buckets that we probably wish we could get back,” Hamby said. “Starting the game 20-2, that’s a really big hole, to come back from that against the top two team in this league.”
The Sparks will battle the New York Liberty at home again on Tuesday at 7:00P.M.