There’s no place like home and there are no games quite like the one’s down to the wire.
The 8 and 13 Sparks have been struggling this season with injury and without legend Candace Parker, now back home with the Chicago Sky. Even their top player Nneka Ogwumike has faced dual snubs in both the 2021 WNBA All-star game and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Although she did play for the Goon Squad this summer in LeBron James’ ‘Space Jam-A New Legacy’.
After being injured alongside her sister Chiney, Nneka returned to the Sparks last weekend. They in turn came back to their Los Angeles Staples Center home for the first time in two years.
It was a double celebration that has led to a three-game winning streak for the Sparks.
First they gave Indiana real fever with a 75-70 win.
Then Tuesday was all a dream against Atlanta like their Twitter feed said in victory, referencing Biggie.
After a close contest and a tight thriller the LA Sparks came away with an 85-80 victory in overtime in their house. One that come summer is no longer Lakerland or even the Clippers’ court.
Six Sparks had double figures in this game, but it was two-way player Brittney Sykes who really stepped up with 17. Slim really got into the thick of it on both ends as the Atlanta Dream were making things a nightmare in Hollywood.
Odyssey Sims from the A led all scorers with 26 points and 6 assists. Whilst Dream catch and shooting star Courtney Williams missed her first eight field goals, but finally got on the board with a clutch one with 52.8 seconds to go in the fourth. She added a dagger with 5.4 to go, up 74-72. Feeling it with the hot hand in California.
But then Kristi Toliver (11 points) hit a turn around classic clutch shot to force OT that will go down as a 25th WNBA season highlight.
Toliver took it upon herself to lead her team in the extra period too. Putting the Sparks up by six with two minutes left.
Count on Kristi. The two-time champ who has also just scored an assistant coaching job with the Dallas Mavericks.
The real deal like Bradley Beal, Erica Wheeler added 16. Nneka had a nice line of 13 points, nine rebounds and nine assists after missing most of the first half and returning in the third. Whilst new self-dubbed “Sparkle” Amanda Zahui B. had 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists, despite nursing foul trouble throughout.
And if that wasn’t enough the shot of Nia Coffey also had 10.
The Sparks made third time the charm tonight too. Giving the Dream more restless nights for LA’s 18th straight win at Staples. Thanks in part to bright Spark Te’a Cooper’s showstopping, Michael Cooper like defense.
After Kristi Toliver’s Tuesday clutch shot and afternoon Mavs hire she looked to put the A away again in the clutch. She missed, but her shot was put back by Nneka Ogwumike (17 points this time) for a 66-64 Sparks win. Doubling up on their Dream double-header.
LA are loaded all the way to the fuse for the second half of the season after the Olympic break.
Now just wait until they get the other Ogwumike sister back in the act.
Then it will be a mic’ drop in Hollywood.