It took longer than they wanted, but it appears that the Los Angeles Sparks have figured out how to win games.
The Sparks (9-13) take a three-game winning streak into Sunday afternoon’s clash against the host New York Liberty (11-13). That contest begins a six-game road trip that will go a long way toward determining if they make the playoffs.
Los Angeles posted a 66-64 victory over Atlanta on Thursday to complete a two-game sweep of the Dream. Nneka Ogwumike capped a 17-point performance by converting a putback with 0.1 seconds left to snatch the win.
Coach Derek Fisher told the Los Angeles Daily News earlier in the week that the Sparks are battling to earn the league’s respect.
“If you don’t win and your record says this, that’s how people see you,” he said. “We’re going to have to find a way to play through it and demand that people respect us, essentially. But we’ll have to play in a way that creates that environment.”
A healthy Ogwumike — who missed 14games with a knee injury — helps do that. The 2016 WNBA MVP averages 15.5 points and 7.3 rebounds on 58.1 percent shooting from the field.
While the Sparks are outside the eight-team playoff picture at the moment, New York is presently in the field as the No. 7 seed. But the Liberty have lost four of their last five games, including a 99-83 decision Friday night at home to Seattle.
New York trailed just 66-63 late in the third quarter, but the Storm rattled off 12 straight points to take control. The Liberty converted just 38.6 percent of their field goal attempts and were outrebounded 41-29.
They will be looking for Betnijah Laney to bounce back from a difficult performance. Laney, the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, made only 3 of 12 shots and finished with just nine points on Friday night.
–Field Level Media