Count connected Derek Fisher to support a philosophical approach.
With Saturday’s 76-61 nonaccomplishment astatine Connecticut, the Sparks’ 3rd consecutive defeat, L.A. fell to 10-16 wide and slipped a spot further successful the standings, to 10th (though conscionable a half-game retired of eighth spot and a playoff berth). But with conscionable six regular-season games remaining, including 2 much connected this challenging six-game roadworthy swing, Fisher stayed glued to the large picture.
“Success, excellence, elite show isn’t finite,” Fisher said. “There isn’t a last destination, it’s conscionable benignant of this changeless travel and improvement of who we are arsenic a team.
“So this agelong of games, it’s portion of that process. I don’t cognize if ‘solace’ is the word, but I bash consciousness whether you triumph oregon suffer a crippled connected a peculiar night, determination are decidedly things you tin larn from it that tells you a batch astir your team, and continues to pass you of those things you’re susceptible of doing each night.”
One happening the Sparks person learned for definite this play is that Erica Wheeler is going to springiness them arsenic overmuch arsenic she can.
The 5-foot-7 defender is having a vocation play for the Sparks, averaging idiosyncratic bests successful points (13.6), minutes (29.7) and rebounds (3.0). Her 4.6 assists per crippled are her champion per-game mean successful six WNBA seasons, the erstwhile 4 of which she starred successful Indiana – wherever the Sparks play Tuesday (4 p.m., Twitter).
As the Sparks struggled the past 3 games, including losing their past 2 to the first-place Connecticut Sun, Wheeler remained a agleam spot. In those losses, she averaged 11.7 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds and 1.7 steals. (Nia Coffey besides gave the Sparks a pick-me-up, averaging 15 points connected 50% shooting successful those contests.)
“She’s been learning however to pb connected a caller team, a caller organization, wholly antithetic acceptable of circumstances coming into the play with beardown personalities and leaders similar Nneka and Chiney (Ogwumike) and Kristi (Toliver),” Fisher said aft signifier Monday.
“And each of a abrupt (because of injuries), she recovered herself being the lone of those 4 retired determination for agelong stretches of time. I deliberation she’s developed and matured successful a batch of ways arsenic a person and arsenic idiosyncratic we tin trust connected each nighttime she’s trying to springiness her best. She’s improved defensively, her dependable has gotten stronger and her teammates respect what she’s trying to get accomplished connected the court. She has plentifulness of country to proceed to turn and amended and get amended arsenic a player, and she’s already truly bully now.
“So we’re fortunate to person her and we’re hoping that her archetypal clip bring backmost present successful Indiana, things tin spell good for america and the fans that are capable to travel retired amusement the emotion for her that she deserves.”
Wheeler acknowledged Monday that “Indiana is location for maine still,” appreciative of the situation wherever she became an All-Star successful 2019 – and the archetypal undrafted subordinate to gain designation arsenic the All-Star Game MVP.
“It’s ever bully to beryllium back,” Wheeler said. “But my garment says ‘L.A. Sparks’ truthful that’s who I’m rocking with. And each crippled that we person moving guardant is precise important.”
The Sparks bushed Indiana, 78-68, connected Aug. 15 astatine Staples Center, the archetypal of 4 consecutive victories. Since then, the last-place Fever (5-19) person won erstwhile and mislaid twice.
Indiana seems – connected insubstantial anyhow – similar an perfect hostile to assistance the Sparks get backmost connected way again, adjacent if L.A. plays without Chiney Ogwumike (who is questionable with genu soreness) and Kristi Toliver (who volition beryllium retired with a manus injury).
“We person to enactment wrong ourselves,” Wheeler said. “Not look excessively acold ahead, look astatine what radical are saying astir playoffs, astir the fig of games we need.
“We person Indiana time and that’s each we request to beryllium disquieted about.”
SPARKS (10-16) astatine FEVER (5-19)
When: Tuesday, 4 p.m.
Where: Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Indianapolis, Indiana
15 PTS | 7 AST | 6 REB | 1 STL
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LASparks) August 29, 2021