Wings hope to take advantage of Sparks (Jun 8, 2017)

Skylar Diggins-Smith and the Dallas Wings hope to take advantage of a Los Angeles Sparks team that has not played its best basketball away from home when the two teams meet at College Park Center in Arlington, Texas, on Friday.

Defending WNBA champion Los Angeles (4-2) lost its first two games on the road this season before routing the Liberty in New York on May 30. Meanwhile, Dallas (3-5) is just 1-2 at home on the campaign.

Nneka Ogwumike had 20 points and 11 rebounds, her first double-double of the season, and Alana Beard added 18 points as the Sparks overcame a cold-shooting third quarter to beat the visiting Chicago Sky 79-70 on Tuesday.

The Sparks are a perfect 3-0 at home and have won two straight overall despite allowing opponents to shoot 47.7 percent from the field, which ranks second-worst in the WNBA.

“Defensively, I felt like we are making some improvements,” Sparks coach Brian Agler told swishappeal.com after notching his 300th career victory versus Chicago. “We’re moving in the right way. I like that part of it, we just have to be more fluid offensively.”

Diggins-Smith was tied for the game-high with 23 points and added seven assists, and Glory Johnson scored 19 for the Wings in Tuesday’s 101-89 home loss to the Washington Mystics, the team’s third straight defeat.

Training camp invite Kayla Thornton provided some pop off the bench with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting for the Wings, who have lost five of seven overall.

“She’s a sparkplug for us off the bench,” Wings coach Fred Williams told The Dallas Morning News regarding Thornton, who is seventh on the team in scoring, averaging 7.8 per game. “For her to be what you would call a walk-on to come on with us and help us out, it’s tremendous.”

Dallas’ defense has allowed 95 points per game during the losing streak. Diggins-Smith, meanwhile, is putting up solid numbers during the team’s winless three-game stretch, averaging 20 points and five assists.

Odyssey Sims will make her return to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the first time since the Wings traded her to the Sparks in the offseason. Sims, who played 34 games with Dallas in 2016, had seven points against the Sky and has been limited to three games this season because of an ankle injury.

It is the first of four meetings this season between Los Angeles and Dallas. The Sparks swept the three-game season series with the Wings last season, winning by an average margin of 12.3 points.