The Los Angeles Sparks earned a 96-70 win over the New York Liberty improving their record to 15-5 this season. Before the game, Head Coach Derek Fisher emphasized the importance of a strong start and capitalizing on taking home the first quarter. The Sparks did just that winning the first quarter 25-12 and the team didn’t look back. Chelsea Gray tallied a season-high nine assists and the team dished out 32 total assists, the second most in a game in franchise history.
The Sparks also got 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists from Nneka Ogwumike, 14 points, seven assists and five rebounds from Candace Parker, 20 points from Riquna Williams, a career-high 14 points from Kristine Anigwe, and a career-high 15 points from Te’a Cooper, who started the first game of her career. The Sparks were without Sydney Wiese (ankle) and Brittney Sykes (abdominal contusion). Tierra Ruffin-Pratt hurt her shoulder in the first minute of the game and did not return.
The Sparks started out the contest extremely strong shooting 55.6% from the field in the first. Candace Parker made her MVP candidate case even stronger, recording 8 points, four rebounds, and four assists in the first 10 minutes to help the Sparks take a 25-12 lead.
Liberty rookie Jocelyn Willoughby was an offensive force in the first half, putting up 13 points and helping the Liberty tighten the gap to 42-31 heading into halftime. The Sparks scored 12 points off of 8 Liberty turnovers in the first half.
The Sparks continued their dominance in the third quarter led by Nneka Ogwumike who scored 11 of her 20 points in the third, helping the Sparks outscore the Liberty 26-15 and take a commanding 22-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Guard Te’a Cooper found her rhythm in the fourth quarter, where she shot 100% and scored 11 points in the quarter.
Kia Nurse added 13 points and Paris Kea chipped in 11 to go along with Willoughby’s season-high 21 points.
The Sparks next matchup is on Thursday, Sept. 10 against the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. PT live on CBS Sports Network.
Los Angeles Highlights:
- Five Sparks players recorded double digits in scoring: Ogwumike (20), Williams (20), Cooper (15), Parker (14), and Anigwe (14).
- Sparks shot 54.4% from the field and 93.3% from the free-throw line.
- Chelsea Gray had a season-high of 9 assists.
- Kristine Anigwe and rookie Te’a Cooper both notched career-highs in scoring.
- The Sparks as a whole recorded 32 assists, the second-most in a game in franchise history