Led by 20 points from Nia Coffey, including four 3-pointers, the Sparks overcame a halftime deficit to defeat the Las Vegas Aces 80-71 in their opening scrimmage.
Chiney Ogwumike scored the first Sparks basket of the game with a 3-pointer to give the Sparks a 3-1 lead. The Sparks showed an early commitment to spacing with all three frontcourt starters in Ogwumike, Amanda Zahui B. and Jasmine Walker attempting 3-pointers. Walker, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2021 draft, sunk a 3-pointer to pull the Sparks to within two at 10-8. A Nia Coffey mid-range jumper tied the game at 16-16. Aces rookie Destiny Slocum and Coffey exchanged triples to end the first quarter with the score tied at 19. Coffey led the Sparks with seven first-quarter points.
Chiney opened up the second quarter with a jumper and took a charge on Liz Cambage to give the Sparks a 21-19 lead. The Aces rattled off a 9-1 run to go ahead 28-22. The Sparks responded and a Watts 3-pointer pulls the Sparks within 28-27. A Sykes basket plus the foul gave the Sparks the lead back at 30- 29. The Aces closed on a 6-2 run and led 35-32 at the half. C. Ogwumike and Coffey led the Sparks in first-half scoring.
The third quarter began with both teams keeping pace, as the Aces led 43-38 at the media timeout with 4:57 left in the period. Zahui B. who led the Sparks in rebounding, found Erica Wheeler for a triple off an offensive board to pull the Sparks to within 43-42. A Zahui B. three-pointer gave the Sparks a 45-44 lead. The Aces were in the bonus and after several free throws went up 49-45. Coffey responded with back-to-back triples. A Bria Holmes layup tied the game at 53-53 to end the third quarter. Coffey had 15 points at the end of the period.
The Aces started the fourth quarter on a 4-0 run before Coffey responded for the 17th point on an elbow jumper. A Holmes basket tied the game at 57 with 8:08 remaining, and a Coffey triple put the Sparks up 60-57. A Holmes triple put the Sparks up 63-59 with 7:18 remaining. Holmes hit another triple to give the Sparks a 66-61 lead, before a Slocum triple pulled the Aces to within two at 66-64. A Sydney Wiese triple gave the Sparks a 71-66 lead with four minutes left. Wiese followed that up with a runner to put the Sparks up 73-67 with two minutes left. A Walker leaner put the Sparks up 75-69 with just over a minute left and she then added a triple to give the Sparks a 78-69 lead. The Sparks held on to win 80-71.
G- Erica Wheeler
G- Brittney Sykes
C- Amanda Zahui B.
F- Jasmine Walker
F- Chiney Ogwumike
10 LA Sparks players entered the game today. Kristi Toliver (rest), Nneka Ogwumike (rest), Seimone Augustus (rest), and Kristine Anigwe (clearing health and safety protocols) did not play.