By Johnni Matthews
The Los Angeles Sparks playing in front of forty-nine hundred fans on Father’s Day at Staples Center gave the fans reason for HOPE this season as they played another hard fought game against a league leading team, the Connecticut Sun. The Sparks were unable to send the fans home with their first victory of season, as the short bench continued to exploit fatigue issues allowing the Sun to defeat the Sparks 76-68 to improve their record to 6-1, while the Sparks dip to 0-4.
The Sparks gave the Sun all they could handle in the first half, increasing a single digit first quarter lead to a double digit, ten point lead by halftime at 40-30. All of the Sparks starters contributed offensively with a balance attack led by Jantel Lavender’s double -double 17 points and 10 boards. Center, Marianna Tolo and shooting guard, Farhiya Abdi starting for the injured Erin Phillips each had 12 points while forward, Jennifer Lacy shot 3-4 from behind the arc for 9 points.
Veteran, Temeka Johnson played her best game of the season finishing the game with a double- double on 15 points, including 7-7 from the charity stripe and 10 assists before fouling out with forty seconds to play in the game.
Playing with only eight players for the second consecutive game, the Sparks made costly turnovers in the last two minutes of the game due to fatigue. The sixteen turnovers compared to only eight by the Sun which led to 21 points proved to be key in deciding the game. The Sparks was able to capitalize for 12 points on the eight turnovers by the Sun.
The Connecticut Sun prevailed in three of the five major statistics against the Sparks with 12 steals standing out the most in the victory. Sun guard, Alex Bentley had a game high 21 points, 3 steals and no turnovers as she had help from nine teammates who scored at least two points or more.
The Connecticut Sun assured themselves a tie for the league’s best record with the Tulsa Shock who knocked off the Minnesota Lynx in the WNBA’s marquee game of the day.
The Los Angeles Sparks get ready for a three game road trip to Washington, Connecticut and New York before returning home to Staples Center on Thursday, July 2 to face the San Antonio Stars at 7:30 p.m.