The Seattle Storm have developed a powerful inside tandem with star forward Breanna Stewart and center Ezi Magbegor.
Those two will present a significant challenge for the Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night in Seattle.
Stewart is back after a two-game absence due to the WNBA’s health and safety protocol. She returned to have 13 points, five rebounds and four steals in 30 minutes of a 74-71 home victory against defending champion Chicago on Wednesday.
Magbegor filled in for the injured Mercedes Russell and had 10 rebounds, eight points and seven blocks against Phoenix last Saturday. She tied a career-high with 21 points against the Sky as the Storm (2-3) ended a three-game losing streak Wednesday.
“When Ezi is aggressive, everyone is able to play off of her,” Stewart said. “Her taking on a bigger role and realizing that and embracing it is obviously going to help her continue to grow in her career.”
The Sparks (2-3) must be concerned about dealing with the Storm’s pair of 6-foot-4 players after getting out-rebounded 40-26 while losing their home opener to previously winless Minnesota 87-84 on Tuesday night.
“Rebounding is a mentality,” said Nneka Ogwumike, who led the Sparks with 22 points and eight rebounds. “I didn’t do that well. You just have to want it, and we have people that do but you gotta want it more than who you’re going against.”
A potential bright spot for Los Angeles is the fact that its player rotation might be stabilizing. The Sparks used a repeat lineup for the first time this season when Lexie Brown made her second start alongside the standard foursome of Ogwumike, Liz Cambage, Brittney Sykes and Jordin Canada.
Brown made 4 of 6 3-pointers and Katie Lou Samuelson, in her first game since returning from helping her team win the Spanish league championship, played the most minutes of anyone off the bench (23) and made 3 of 5 3-pointers.
–Field Level Media