One bully happening astir the sour aftertaste stemming from the Sparks’ frustratingly adjacent nonaccomplishment Thursday successful Connecticut?
L.A. won’t person to hold agelong for an accidental to rinse it away.
The Sparks instrumentality Saturday to Mohegan Sun Arena for a rematch with the first-place Sun, to whom they squandered a nine-point pb successful a 76-72 nonaccomplishment 2 nights earlier.
“We ever similar that,” said Sparks defender Erica Wheeler of the swift rematch. “We sent a connection aboriginal on; it was a adjacent game. Now conscionable ticker film, spot however we tin onslaught them, hole our mistakes and conscionable travel Saturday acceptable to play.”
With conscionable 8 regular-season games remaining and the Sparks (10-15) successful ninth place, teetering connected the bubble for a playoff berth, they’ll effort to tidy up their turnovers – they finished with 15 connected Thursday – and anticipation that’s capable to topple Connecticut.
The Sun (19-6) person won 7 consecutive games by slowing things down and executing defensively, giving up conscionable 71.5 points per game, fewest successful the WNBA. The Sparks let conscionable 78.7 points per game, second-fewest, but they besides mean 73.7 points themselves, fewest successful the league.
Predictably, Thursday’s gathering was antiaircraft tug-of-war – and, notably, a competitory 1 until the last minute, erstwhile the Sparks were wrong 2 points of tying the game.
What went incorrect “can beryllium fixed,” insisted Wheeler, who finished with 13 points, 9 assists and six rebounds. “We’ll spell and look astatine film, spot however we tin close those things and travel backmost poised and beryllium much disciplined.”
The Sparks’ on-court chemistry is progressing, too, arsenic the relation players who carried astir of the load aboriginal successful the play larn to play with Nneka Ogwumike, Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver, each of whom missed important clip earlier the Olympic break.
One of those contributors: Nia Coffey. The fifth-year helping started the last 15 games of the archetypal fractional and has continued to radiance disconnected the seat present that Nneka Ogwumike is back. On Thursday, Coffey’s violative aggression resulted successful a season-high 18 points. She finished with 15 points successful the Sparks’ nonaccomplishment Tuesday successful Washington, D.C.
“She’s done a truly bully occupation successful galore areas for us,” Sparks Coach Derek Fisher said of Coffey, who’s made astatine slightest 1 artifact oregon bargain successful 22 of 25 games this season. “We asked her to bash a batch successful astir situations, much than she’s ever been asked to bash – and she’s handled it well.”
Rookie Arella Guirantes besides has played good successful this week’s losses, notching a career-high 8 points Tuesday arsenic the Sparks rallied to marque the people respectable successful their 78-68 nonaccomplishment to Mystics. And Guirantes had six points successful a pivotal agelong Thursday against the Sun.
“She deserves a batch of recognition for sticking with it, putting a batch of clip successful in the gym earlier practice, aft practice,” Fisher said of the 5-foot-11 Guirantes, whom the Sparks drafted No. 22 wide – a steal, they believe, considering the erstwhile Rutgers standout had been predicted to beryllium a first-round draftee.
“She’s a hoops junkie, loves the game, and truthful hopefully she tin proceed to instrumentality vantage of her opportunities erstwhile they’re there,” Fisher said. “We cognize she wants to positively interaction the crippled and she’s been capable to bash that the past mates nights.”
SPARKS (10-15) astatine SUN (19-6)
When: 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
18 PTS | 2 BLK | 1 REB
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) August 27, 2021
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) August 26, 2021