Sky-Sparks Preview

ESPN logo
Saturday, June 29, 2019

The Los Angeles Sparks should eventually bring it all together with their key pieces back in place.

That looked to be the case in their most recent outing, one the Sparks hope to build on Sunday against a visiting Chicago Sky club aiming to avoid a season-high third consecutive defeat.

Candace Parker, Riquna Williams and Chelsea Gray each had 18 points as the Sparks (5-6) controlled the middle quarters to snap a season-high four-game slide with an 86-74 home win over Las Vegas on Thursday. It was Los Angeles' first victory in four games with Parker (8.8 points, 7.3 rebounds per game) in the lineup. Fellow veteran Alana Beard is also back from injury, meaning the Sparks appear healthy enough at the moment to get things in gear.

They're also soon to have forward Maria Vadeeva back from international duty.

"Sports is still a competition, and often times who is really for real competes the hardest and just wants it the most, they're going to have the greatest chance, and I thought we represented that more (Thursday)," coach Derek Fisher said via the Sparks' official Facebook page. "It's a good sign."

Los Angeles will try to win back-to-back home games for the first time this season to close out the month of June. Forward Nneka Ogwumike (14 ppg, 9.5 rpg) is likely to be available after she was essentially rested on Thursday.

The focus for the Sparks shifts to the Sky (6-5), who tipped off a three-game West Coast trip with a 79-76 loss at Seattle on Friday. Diamond DeShields (14 ppg) had 19 points and Jantel Lavender added 13 with 10 rebounds as Chicago shot 47.7 percent, but could not fully overcame being outscored 33-21 in the first quarter and committing 15 turnovers for the game.

While Chicago's defense has improved in its first season under coach and general manager James Wade, keeping control of the basketball continues to be an issue. The Sky's 15.8 turnover average ranks third in the WNBA entering play Saturday and they've combined to commit 32 in losing their last two contests.

"We can't be an elite team until we appreciate the ball enough," Wade told the Sky's official website earlier this week. "We can't turn into a 'my bad' team, where possessions don't matter to us."

The Sky had won four in a row earlier in June, but have dropped three of four since then. Chicago has also lost four straight versus Los Angeles, where it was roughed up 77-59 in its only trip last season.

Parker scored 24 points in that contest.