In a match up that could have significant playoff implications, the Los Angeles Sparks (12-8) kicked off the second half of the 2019 WNBA season with a hard fought win over the visiting Liz Cambage and the Las Vegas Aces (14-7).
The Sparks jumped on the Aces in the first quarter behind the efforts of Candace Parker. Inactive since July 9th, she returned strong. Parker scored nine of her 16 points in the first, shooting two for two from three point range putting the home team up 24 to 15 at the end of the quarter.
In the second period, the Aces countered LA’s run, out scoring the Sparks in the period. They were lead by Kayla McBride’s 11 point quarter on 60% shooting including a buzzer beating jump shot off a questionable moving screen. The shot tied the game at 40 going into the half.
Both teams came out swinging in the third, shooting 50% from the field and setting a furious pace up and down the court. The Sparks out scored the Aces 23-20 in the highest scoring quarter of the contest.
The final quarter was a back and forth battle as both teams struggled to find their offensive rhythm. Los Angeles shot a low 29% from the field while Las Vegas toiled with their own output of 21%.
The Sparks began to pull away from the Aces on a three pointer make by Parker with 2:30 left in the contest giving them a 74-68 lead. LA point guard Chelsea Gray iced the game with a turnaround fade away shot at 1:15 minute mark, securing the victory with a final score of 76-68.
For the Sparks, Candace Parker added seven rebounds and four blocked shots to her scoring contribution while power forward Nneka Ogwumike scored a game high 19 points with 11 rebounds on 53% shooting. Chelsea Gray had 16 points and 10 assists respectively.
For the Aces, Kayla McBride also scored 19 points as well distributing five assists while center Liz Cambage struggled with early foul trouble. Shooting guard Kelsey Plum also had an off night as she was 3-13 from the field, 1-4 from three point range. Las Vegas was without the services of their leading scorer A’ja Wilson for the contest.
The Los Angeles Sparks will host the Seattle Storm on August 4th as they continue their journey towards the WNBA Playoffs.