LA Sparks Fall At Home to San Antonio Silver Stars
What: The Silver Stars defeated the Sparks, 91-71.
Where: STAPLES Center—Los Angeles
When: Sunday, June 24, 2012
How: San Antonio’s Sophia Young posed the biggest threat for the Sparks, taking advantage of LA’s anemic offense and un-energized defense to hand the team its first loss at home. The forward led her team in points, scoring 20, 13 of which came in the second half. In the same half, San Antonio shot 54.1 percent compared to LA’s 37.5 percent and made three of six three-pointers (50 percent), while the Sparks converted just one of 11 (9.1 percent). The Silver Stars came together to record 27 assists on 35 made field goals, only eight going unassisted. San Antonio’s Becky Hammon, who leads the league in assists with 5.8 averaged per game, led her team with 10 assists.
Although the Sparks did not hold a single lead all game, the Sparks closed the gap to 47-44 at the 7:37 mark of the third quarter before the Silver Stars went on a 14-4 run. LA gave up much-needed opportunities at the free-throw line, missing 10 of 18 attempts. Rookie Nneka Ogwumike made only two of nine free throws. With 4:15 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Sparks rallied back to trim the deficit to 12 points thanks to a jump shot by DeLisha Milton-Jones. But that was as close as the Sparks would get in the fourth quarter. A 13-3 run by San Antonio powered the Silver Stars to their biggest lead of the game, 22 points.
• Candace Parker recorded a double-double by halftime (10 points, 11 rebounds) and finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds, but only on 6-17 shooting.
• Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists.
• Despite LA grabbing 14 offensive rebounds, the Silver Stars scored 10 more second-chance points (16-6).
• The Silver Stars made eight of 18 three-pointers for 44.4%.
• The Silver Stars outscored the Sparks every quarter except for the second (16-16).
• Sophia Young scored 13 of 20 points in the second half. In the half, San Antonio outscored LA 49-35.
LA Sparks Head Coach Carol Ross:
On losing the first home game of the season:
“It was a tough loss, this one in particular was, because it was a loss at home. We didn’t respond well to back-to-back games. I thought San Antonio seized control of the game right from the opening tip and we never got a response. We couldn’t sustain a response, but we tried to find our way through it.”
On defensive adjustments throughout the game:
“All defense requires is a lot of effort and we just didn’t have it. We played everyone in uniform trying to find a spark, trying to find something positive, but whatever we did find was short-lived. They shot the ball extremely well, and it was a bad combination of us not being in a good defensive mentality and not being good offensively.”
San Antonio Silver Sparks Head Coach Dan Hughes:
On playing the Sparks after LA’s back-to-back games:
“We’ve been fortunate. We’ve played them twice in their back-to-backs so that we are a little fresher. We haven’t played since Friday. I thought our bench was helpful to us. We made some shots in the second half—that always helps.”
On whether or not San Antonio’s record reflects the team's talent:
“The record is what it is. I think we’re a team that is coming together in different ways, just because of how we got this team together. We’re a team that kind of relies on a bench, so I think it takes a little bit longer to get into a rotation or groove that reflects that. We’ve been on the road quite a bit, and it’s not very easy on the road because this Western Conference is extremely challenging.”
San Antonio Guard Becky Hammon:
On areas to improve when the two teams meet again Thursday:
“The second quarter got away from us a little bit, so we want to put together a full 40 minutes. Overall we played a solid game, but we don’t want to have those mental lapses—they’re too good of a team to give that opportunity to. We gave them a window last game (and) they came back in overtime, so they don’t have any quit in their tank. So when we’re putting our feet on the gas, we want to put it down for all 40 minutes."
Sparks Forward Nneka Ogwumike:
On whether or not back-to-back games had an effect:
“No. We just didn’t have any energy. You can have all the points in the world but it’s all about the effort when you get out there on the defensive end. We weren’t pushing ourselves out there.”
What’s Next: LA plays Tulsa on the road Tuesday and will meet the Silver Stars again Thursday at San Antonio.
Reach Staff Writer Amanda Martinez here