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Understaffed Sparks Fall to Storm
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Editor
Published July 8, 2022

Storm forward Breanna Stewart guards Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

With injuries plaguing the Los Angeles Sparks’ roster, the Seattle Storm was able to nab a 106-69 victory. The Sparks only had eight players available to compete as five players were sidelined.

“We left a lot of points inside the locker room tonight and it kind of hurts,” said Sparks head coach Fred Williams. “It’s tough because sometimes you may not have that person the day of.”

Sparks guard Lexie Brown led with 13 points and three steals and forward Nneka Ogwumike had four rebounds. Storm forward Breanna Stewart led with 23 points and center Ezi Magbegor made 11 rebounds.

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Among the injured players was center Chiney Ogwumike, her teammates did not know she was not able to play until hours prior to the game. The injuries also allowed young players like center Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Kianna Smith a chance to earn experience.

Sparks guard Jordin Canada scored 14 points and six assists (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Sparks were on pace with the Storm until Seattle guard Jewel Loyd found her offensive rhythm, scoring 11 points in the second quarter alone. Although the Storm had more turnovers, the Sparks gave up more points from their own turnovers in the first half.

Seattle forward Breanna Stewart was 3-4 from downtown, helping her reach 19 points. Center Ezi Magbegor controlled the boards with nine rebounds by halftime.

The Sparks returned with a mind for attacking the paint, pushing the pace, and drawing fouls.

“We were aggressive, we punched first and we got on our little run,” said Sparks guard Jordin Canada. “So I think we’re all on the same page of bringing that energy and we’re together and we’re aggressive, we’re a really good team. So we just have to be consistent.”

Seattle shot at 64.6 percent from the field and 47.1 percent in three-point shots. Storm forward Tina Charles led the bench effort with 18 points, the Seattle reserves tallied up 41 points.

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“They shot the ball well on us from the outside and actually, we outshot them,” Williams said. “They really got balanced scoring with some players who can put it up.”

Sparks guard Kianna Smith (5) earned playing time for the first time since the preaseason (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

As the Sparks head into the All-Star break, they know they cannot sulk on the loss. Brown planned to train Friday to prepare for their game against the Washington Mystics on Tuesday.

“The break isn’t that long, it’s only two or three days,” Brown said. “I’m gonna still be locked in.”

The loss gives the Sparks a 10-12 overall record while the Storm is 15-8 overall. Los Angeles is currently ranked seventh in the league, still putting them in playoff contention.

“Obviously, you want to be better, but we’re going into the break,” Canada said. “So we got to just think about resting, doing what we can to regroup because we’re back at it on Tuesday.”

The Sparks will return to action when they host the Washington Mystics on Tuesday at 7:30P.M.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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