Sparks Overcome 16-Point Deficit to Win Fifth Straight


LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Los Angeles Sparks came back from a 16-point deficit to defeat the Chicago Sky 84-81 and give the team their fifth straight win and their 11th win in 13 games. Chelsea Gray led the Sparks with 26 points and six assists while becoming the 10th player to pass 1,500 career points as a member of the Sparks. Nneka Ogwumike recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Ogwumike is averaging a double-double over her last eight games with 19.5 points and 10 rebounds. Allie Quigley’s 20 points kept Chicago in the lead until the fourth quarter alongside Cheyenne Parker’s 19 points.

Maria Vadeeva led the Sparks through a messy first quarter that featured 14 total turnovers,seven per team. The Sky’s Astou Ndour scored the first four points of the game and Chelsea Gray answered two minutes in. The Sky went on an eight-point run before Vadeeva ended the scoring drought at 14-6. Los Angeles still struggled to find the net until Vadeeva hit a three to bring the score to 20-9. She knocked down each of her three field goal attempts in the opening period. Chicago showed off a balanced attack with Diamond DeShields and Quigley finishing the quarter with six and five points, respectively, while Vadeeva’s seven points carried the Sparks.

The Sparks faced a 12-point deficit to open the second quarter, but the final minutes of the half brought them within five points. After Gray pulled up for a jumpshot with two and a half minutes left, Candace Parker found Sydney Weise for two points under the basket. With one minute left on the clock, N. Ogwumike stole the ball and scored an uncontested layup to bring the score to 44-37 Chicago. Marina Mabrey fed off the energy to force a jump ball with Quigley and won the possession. Gray drew a foul with six seconds left before Ogwumike closed the half with two more points to lead the Sparks with nine points. The Sparks shot 44.1% compared to the Sky’s 42.9%, but Chicago outrebounded Los Angeles in the first half, 19-13. The Sky finished ahead 44-39 as Cheyenne Parker’s ten points led all scorers.

A competitive third quarter cut Chicago’s lead to two points by the end, 61-59. Gray collected 11 more points in the period. The back-and-forth play continued into the fourth quarter where the Sparks took their first lead of the game when Vadeeva scored an and-one. The Sparks stopped the Sky’s next possession and Mabrey hit a three to give Los Angeles its biggest lead of the game at 65-61. DeShields responded with a 3-pointer, and the teams continued exchanging baskets. The Sparks picked up their rebounding, finishing the game with 34 rebounds compared to Chicago’s 35, and they shot 45.7% from the field compared to Chicago’s 43.1%.

With two minutes left in the game, Gabby Williams found Quigley beyond the arc to give Chicago a four-point lead, but Gray brought the Sparks to within one point with one minute on the clock when she banged a triple of her own. Los Angeles forced a shot clock violation to get the ball, and Gray drew a foul off Ndour to claim a one-point lead with two free throws. Quigley missed a jumper on the next possession when Gray grabbed the rebound and Parker found Ogwumike for a layup that put the Sparks up 84-81. As time expired, Quigley’s 3-pointer to force overtime rimmed in and out.