Los Angeles – San Antonio dominated the Sparks from buzzer to buzzer Sunday night, holding them to 38.7 percent shooting and taking the win, 91-71. It was the first home loss for Los Angeles this season, now 10-4.
Sophia Young lead the Silver Stars with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Shameka Christon added 16 points. Christon pushed San Antonio to a quick start, as she scored 11 of her points in the first quarter. Two other Silver Stars were in double figures.
The Sparks went on a 12-3 run at the end of the second quarter, and San Antonio lead only 42-36 at the half. But the visitors ignited in the third quarter, forcing six Los Angeles fouls and pushing the lead to as much as 22 points in the half.
Candace Parker finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds for the Sparks, while Delisha Milton-Jones added 13.
The Sparks faced the Silver Stars last weekend, at the end of a back-to-back game stance, just as they did last night. Los Angeles Coach Carol Ross acknowledged that consecutive games were the cause of more than fatigue.
“We need practice- we’re clearly a team that needs to practice,” she said. “We need to get back and get our fundamentals in. That’s my biggest concern – not our opponents.”
Silver Stars Coach Dan Hughes like his team’s effort, as well as their luck.
“I knew LA was going to make a run at us. I liked the fact that we took the hit and came back and delivered a run of our own,” Hughes said.
“We’ve been fortunate. We’ve played them twice in their back to backs so that they we are a little fresher. We haven’t played since Friday. I thought our bench was helpful to us. We made some shots in the second half—that always helps.”
San Antonio’s next game is in three days – when they face Los Angeles again, at home. The Sparks hit the road to play Tulsa tomorrow night before heading to Texas.
Other game quotes:
“Defensively, we played zone and man, and played them both, and played them more actively. I think the activity level didn’t necessarily turn them over, but we contested a lot of shots.”
“(Our) record is what it is. I think we’re a team that is coming together in different ways, just because of how we got this team together. We’re a team that kind of relies on a bench, so I think it takes a little bit longer to get into a rotation or groove that reflects that. We’ve been on the road quite a bit, and it’s not very easy on the road because this Western Conference is extremely challenging.”
“Trying to get to more options in the offense, we weren’t able to get everyone we wanted in rotation early in the season, and now we are kind of getting into this rotation, and getting into the second and third options of what we do, trying to play fast, which is not something we’ve always done, but we find it to be one of our strengths.”
“Defensively, we just continue to work some of those areas are a bit of a challenge with this team, but they’ve been a good team not worrying about whether we win or lose, but trying to get better. We’ve benefitted because we’ve had a lot more practice time than LA has. At some point, they’re going to get some practice time and we’ll be on the road.”
“Who schedules these games? The one advantage that we have against playing L.A, all of those players in the locker room know how good they are. The start they have gotten off to has really taken notice. They play as good basketball as anyone in the league. Them and Minnesota are the two separating teams. My team is really ready to play a good team because of what they’ve done. It’s a long season, and we just have to keep trying to get better. We hope we’re making progress but we know there’s a lot ahead. ”
“Clearly San Antonio was very good out of the gate. They set the tone and took the game over early. We were not ready for whatever reason. We didn’t come out with any energy, we struggled to score, and then everything became hard. If you can’t sustain defensive energy it’s hard – especially if you’re not making shots, too.”
“It’s a combination of anemic offense and unenergized defense, and San Antonio was able to capitalize on all that.”
“Back to backs are a way of life in this league, and unfortunately we’ve had San Antonio at the end of two of them. It’s our job to make sure we’re ready to play everytime we put the uniform on and we weren’t, and it’s disappointing.”
Silver Stars forward Sophia Young –
“It’s about team basketball. Whenever we come out aggressive we can compete with anyone. LA’s a great team – they came in 10-3 to this game, so we know they play great at home. Our focus was being aggressive from the start, and I think Danielle Robinson did a great job from the digging in to getting us into a system. She was really aggressive tonight, and whenever she’s like that, it’s great. We were physical with them, and we played team basketball, and that’s what we have to keep doing going into next game.”
Sparks forward Nnemkadi Ogwumike –
“We just didn’t have any energy. You can have all the points in the world, but it’s all about the effort when you get out there on the defensive end. We weren’t pushing ourselves out there.”
“It’s really simple. We just have to play harder.”