Defense Gives the L.A. Sparks an 84-74 Win Over the New York Liberty – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

Defense gives the LA Sparks an 84-74 win over the New York Liberty

Sparks guard Jordyn Canada (21) had 11 points, four rebounds and seven assists against the New York Liberty (Amanda Scurlock/LA Sentinel)

Despite a late rally by the New York Liberty, the Los Angeles Sparks secured an 84-74 victory against them on Sunday at Crypto.com Arena. The win puts the Sparks in playoff contention, as their 9-11 overall record puts them in seventh place in the league. Having more games at Crypto.com Arena will help the Sparks win, according to guard Jordyn Canada.

“I think having seven home games is really huge for us, being able to play at home, having the energy from the crowd, just being locked in,” Canada said. “We knew tonight was going to be a playoff-type game and we knew it was going to matter.”

Having seven home games in July is a big contrast from May, when they spent most of the month on the road. Center Liz Cambage mentioned how the layoff was the “craziest thing” she’s experienced during a WNBA season.

“It’s been very testing … yesterday was the first time we’ve had delays,” Cambage said. “I think the way we did with May, we just knew we had to stay together, we had to find that chemistry.”

Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (30) defends Liberty Marine forward Johannes (23) (Amanda Scurlock/LA Sentinel)

Five Sparks players scored in double figures; forward Nneka Ogwumike led all scorers with 22 points. Center Chini Ogwumike had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

“Having someone that you can relate to so easily, but also sets a high standard with every possession, how she plays, you’re going to be great just playing with her,” Chini said of Nneka.

Liberty forward Marine Johannes led the way with 17 points and guard Sabrina Ionescu had nine rebounds. Canada recalled the years of competition against Ionescu.

“She’s such a great player, very smart offensively, a point guard with a very high IQ,” Canada said. “She’s a special player, but tonight [we] just tried to make it difficult for her. She had six turnovers and that came mostly from [Sparks guard Lexie Brown] to be able to guard her for most of the game.

Brown filled the stat sheet with four steals and four assists while scoring eight points through three quarters, making her the impact player leader.

Sparks center Liz Cambage (1) had 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists against the New York Liberty (Amanda Scurlock/LA Sentinel)

The Sparks took care of the ball, notching five offensive rebounds in the first quarter. They also had just eight turnovers by halftime. Los Angeles took advantage of the Liberty’s foul trouble, which gave the Sparks several free-throw opportunities. Liberty guard Crystal Dangerfield sat out most of the second quarter after picking up her third foul.

While the Liberty gave up 11 points off turnovers, they found their rhythm on the perimeter. Their shooting accuracy would give them a three-point lead by halftime. By the third, New York’s three-point shooting began to miss the mark as Nneka and forward Katie Lou Samuelson made baskets to regain the lead.

Dangerfield’s lone 3-pointer started an eight-point streak, bringing the Liberty within one point of the Sparks with 4:42 left in regulation. However, Los Angeles closed out the game with a 10-2 run led by Cambage. Sparks head coach Fred Williams told them not to be too aggressive defensively in the final minutes.

“Let’s get some transition baskets off if we can and let’s try to beat them on the back end of their defense,” he said. “The main thing is we just shared the basketball and we can get some shots inside with Neka and Katie Lu.”

The Sparks will take on the Phoenix Mercury on July 4th at 4:00 PM at the Crypto.com Arena.

Defense Gives the L.A. Sparks an 84-74 Win Over the New York Liberty – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel Source link Defense Gives the L.A. Sparks an 84-74 Win Over the New York Liberty – Los Angeles Sentinel | Los Angeles Sentinel

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