Uncasville (May 24, 2018) – The Sparks went into Mohegan Sun Thursday trying to avoid their first loss to the Connecticut Sun in the Curt Miller era and fell short, losing to the 102-94. With Sun bigs Chiney Ogwumike, Alyssa Thomas and 2017 Most Improved Player Jonquel Jones all active, size was going to be a concerning factor with the Sparks still missing Candace Parker (day to day), Jantel Lavender (overseas) and Maria Vadeeva (overseas). The frontcourt disparity ultimately proved too much as the Sun out-rebounded the Sparks 29-14 and scored 50 points in the paint to the Sparks 26.
The Sparks started the game with four uncharacteristic early turnovers leading to easy baskets for the Sun, but made enough shots to trail by just two heading into the second quarter, 22-20. Although the storyline heading into the game was size, both teams shot the ball well from the perimeter early. The Sparks shot 5-of-10 on 3-pointers in the first half and the Sun shot 3-of-7 which led to a high score of 47-46 heading into the break.
Both coaches Brian Agler and Curt Miller received technical fouls in the first half in a highly competitive game featuring two contenders.
The Sparks held a slim lead throughout the first half of the third quarter before going on a run sparked by Odyssey Sims and Chelseay Gray continuing to attack the basket. The Sparks took a 74-65 lead into the final period, holding the Sun to 19 in the third.
But the Sun started the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to take 75-74 lead before a Riquna Williams three point play ended the run. The game seesawed back and forth as the Sun pounded the ball inside while the Sparks guards continued to take advantage of their speed.
The Sun took a 92-88 lead on a Chiney Ogwumike layup as the Sun continued to take advantage of a short-handed Sparks frontcourt, ending the game by playing Thomas, Ogwumike and Jones together which ultimately was the difference. The Sparks head back to Los Angeles for their home opener Sunday against the Phoenix Mercury.
|LA SPARKS (2-1)||20||27||27||20||94||Gray – 21||N. Ogwumike – 4||Sims – 7|
|Connecticut Sun (2-0)||22||24||19||37||102||C. Ogwumike – 18||A. Thomas – 9||J. Thomas – 8|
-This was the first time the Ogwumike sisters faced off since 2016
-The Sparks face the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday, May 27th at 2PT
– Chelsea Gray scored a season-high 21 points
– Odyssey Sims continued to score at an efficient clip scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting