Shorthanded Sparks try to end Seattle losing streak – Daily News
It’s been almost two weeks since the Sparks tasted victory, and the next hurdle as they try to end their four-game losing streak is another tough road game Wednesday night against the champion in WNBA Seattle Storm title.
The shorthanded Sparks (6-11) kept things competitive in Game 1 of the two-game miniseries against the Storm (14-4) on Sunday in LA. Nine points at halftime, the Sparks used a 26-9. at the end of the intermission to open a 56-48 lead at the end of the third quarter. However, they couldn’t keep up that energy and Seattle outscored them 36-18 in the final 12 minutes of the game, en route to an 84-74 victory. The Storm limited the Sparks to a single basket in an 8-minute streak that turned the game around.
Instead of dwelling on their losses – including the last three to Seattle and Las Vegas, teams that share the league’s best record – the Sparks are trying to focus on 3-minute intervals.
“We’re just going to try to lean on so that we don’t see the wins and losses as the only barometer of what you do as a team on the pitch,” said Sparks coach Derek Fisher.
For much of the third quarter on Sunday, the Sparks did everything right. The league’s lowest-rated offense scored a season-high 28 points in one period while shooting 58% from 3 points.
“When things work out, we go back there until the team we’re playing that night finds a way to stop it,” said Sparks guard Brittney Sykes. “,
They will have to learn to run more regularly on the offensive side to try to get out of last place in the Western Conference standings.
The Storm is directed by the trio of Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd. The Sparks struggled to contain former MVP Stewart as Bird moved up to sixth on the WNBA’s career scoring list (6,452) in Sunday’s game. Loyd was absent with an ankle injury.
Sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike haven’t played for the Sparks in more than 10 games after sustaining knee injuries less than a week apart. Kristi Toliver (eye) also didn’t play during the team’s four-game skid.
Toliver received stitches after being shot in the face during a game against the Washington Mystics on June 24. Fisher said ahead of Sunday’s loss that Tuesday may be as early as possible to remove the stitches. As with any head injury, Fisher said they were proceeding with caution.
The Sparks have just two more games to go before the WNBA’s one-month Olympic break. The two Ogwumike sisters, along with their younger sister Erica, were named on Nigeria’s provisional list on Tuesday. If they are on the final list, they will dress in green in Tokyo.
Meanwhile, the Sparks will continue to focus on improving on the pitch and health.
“Being in good health is essential for any team to reach their full potential, and that’s something we just haven’t done this year,” said Fisher. “We’ll get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”