Sparks look to get back on track vs. reeling Sky (Jun 5, 2017)
The Los Angeles Sparks come home to face the struggling Chicago Sky on Tuesday evening at Staples Center after a disappointing road trip that ended on a positive note.
The Sparks (3-2) sustained close losses to the Indiana Fever and the Atlanta Dream before beating the New York Liberty 90-75 in the final game of the trip.
The Sky (1-6) have lost four in a row. The most recent setback was a 99-91 loss to the Phoenix Mercury.
Nneka Ogwumike scored 22 points and Candace Parker posted 20 points and 11 rebounds in the Sparks' victory over the Liberty. Los Angeles coach Brian Agler was pleased with his team's performance after losses to Indiana and Atlanta.
"We have to start tying things together," Agler said. "It's nice to see us start moving in that direction, but there's still so much we have to improve on, both how we play physically and how we think the game. Our main thing is to keep improving and develop some consistency. We need to develop an identity."
Parker said that could take time for the defending WNBA champions.
"I think we're a work in progress," Parker said. "It's a new season. The recipe that worked last year isn't going to work this year. I think we figured that out during the two losses. We've got to be better defensively.
"We're not going to win a championship today, but you have to do the things today that will prepare you to be in a position to do so. Last year, we took it game by game, possession by possession. This year, it seems like we're trying to hit a home run every game, and that's not what we need to do. That's why it's so hard to repeat."
Chicago is also trying to find its way after former WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne left during the offseason to join the Washington Mystics.
Stefanie Dolson scored a career-high 21 points in the Sky's loss to Phoenix, but Mercury star Diana Taurasi torched Chicago for 37 points.
The Sky shot 53.5 percent from the field and made 11 3-pointers, but the Mercury shot nearly 49 percent.
"I think any coach would be happy shooting 54 percent from the field on a night like tonight," Sky coach Amber Stocks told the Chicago Daily Herald. "It was a back-and-forth, intense night. A lot of clutch shots were being attempted and made."