Sparks Fail to Find Rhythm in Second Loss to Sun

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Despite a quick start in the first quarter, the Los Angeles Sparks couldn’t find answers for the remainder of the game. With a Game 2 loss in the WNBA semifinals 94-68 to the Connecticut Sun, the Sparks trail 0-2 in the series.

After Los Angeles went 5-for-22 from beyond the arc in Game 1 on Tuesday, the Sparks opened up with back-to-back 3-pointers from Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike.  A turnaround jumper from Chelsea Gray followed by a steal and a layup from Riquna Williams gave the Sparks a 16-6, forcing the Sun to burn a timeout midway through the first period.

Connecticut exploded for a 9-0 run to cut their deficit to one, but a step-back jumper from Gray ignited a 6-0 Los Angeles run. Gray found Ogwumike with a no-look dime under the basket, giving the Sparks a 22-15 lead heading into the second frame.

Williams and Gray – who combined for just six points on 3-of-17 from the field on Tuesday – combined for 11 of Los Angeles’ 22 points at the end of the first quarter. The Sparks backcourt in Gray, Williams and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt combined for 13 first-quarter points, more than their performance in all of Game 1.

In the second period, Ogwumike and Gray both drained shots extending the Sparks lead to 26-15, but the Sun strung together a 14-5 run, capped off by an and-one from Jonquel Jones to knot it up 31-31. The two teams exchanged buckets before Courtney Williams buried a floater to give Connecticut its first lead of the night, heading into the locker room with a 41-40 lead.

Ogwumike – who shot a perfect 6-of-6 from the field in the first half – helped Los Angeles shoot 45.9% from the field compared to Connecticut’s 36.4%, but the Sparks gave up 13 second-chance points after getting outrebounded 29-14 by the Sun.

After the break, Connecticut went on a 12-1 run. The Sparks went without a field goal in a three minute span and jumped ahead 55-47 before a right-wing jumper from Riquna Williams ended the run. But Los Angeles couldn’t stop the bleeding.

Connecticut outscored Los Angeles 24-11 in the fourth quarter and held the Sparks to 9-of-26 in the second half. Ogwumike finished with 18 points while Riquna Williams finished with 14 points, but the Sparks struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the second half, dropping back-to-back road games.