The Los Angeles Sparks found a late surge to carry themselves over the Connecticut Sun 80-76, and secure their eighth consecutive win. Chelsea Gray led all scorers with a season-high 27 points, three points shy of her career-high. Four players scored in double digits for LA, including Gray (27), Candace Parker (12), Nneka Ogwumike (17), and rookie Te’a Cooper (14).
“That was not easy to do…when you add what’s been going on for the last week, for a lot of us that took us over the top,” Derek Fisher said. “ For them to be able to somehow find a way to channel the energy and commitment to each other, it just says a lot about who they are as people.”
At the start of the first quarter, both teams seemed to be feeling each other out. That quickly changed with the energy of Chelsea Gray. Gray owned 10 of the team’s 18 first-quarter points, but the Sparks still headed into the second quarter trailing by two. Connecticut led through the first half, shooting 50% from the field on 16-of-32 shooting.
Three-time All-Star Gray’s consistency and efficiency throughout the game helped the team overcome their 39-32 trail at the half.
The Sparks turned up the heat on both ends of the court in the second half. Los Angeles shot 56.2% in the third quarter and Cooper led the charge scoring 12 of her 14 points in the second half, and 10 in the third. The Sparks outscored the Sun in both the third (27-24) and fourth quarter (21-13).
As the game’s intensity increased, the Sparks defense did as well, holding DeWanna Bonner to just 13 points and zero in the third quarter. Brittney Sykes and Cooper drew a few momentum-shifting charges to pick up the team energy and come out on top. By the final buzzer, the Sparks forced 23 Connecticut turnovers, adding to their league lead in forced turnovers. Cooper finished the night with six rebounds, a career-high for the rookie.
The Sun had four players in double-digits: Alyssa Thomas (19), DeWanna Bonner (13), Jasmine Thomas (12), and Brionna Jones (10). The Sun shot perfectly from the free-throw line and 7-for-17 from three- point range.
The Sparks next game is Sunday, Aug. 30 at 5 p.m. PT against the Atlanta Dream live on Spectrum SportsNet, WNBA League Pass and Facebook.
Los Angeles Highlights:
- Sparks finished the game with four players scoring in double-figures: Chelsea Gray (27), Nneka Ogwumike (17), Te’a Cooper (14), and Candace Parker (12).
- Chelsea Gray finished with a season-high 27 points, three points behind her career-high.
- Candace Parker passed Sparks legend Delisha Milton-Jones for 12th all-time in field goalsmade
- Nneka Ogwumike reached 400 career steals, the 37th player to reach the milestone.