In a matchup between two of the WNBA’s premier players and teams, it was clear that Candace Parker wanted to make a statement — and that she did.
The Los Angeles Sparks, having ceased their surprising slump to start the season, took down the Chicago Sky again. At 85 points a game, the Sky are the best offense in the league; if you checked the box score for this game, you’d see that the Sky scored 21 points below that season average. That, in itself, is pretty remarkable, and a very, very good sign for resurgent Los Angeles.
Elena Delle Donne was the best player on the floor for the Sky (shockingly); she had 23 points on 7-19 shooting, including 3-5 from deep, and 6-6 from the free throw line. But she was one of only two Sky players in double figures; Cappie Pondexter had 11 points on 5-14 shooting. The Chicago bench delivered a meek 18 points, on 6-17 shooting, lead by Allie Quigley with eight points.
Also unsurprisingly, Candace Parker was the catalyst for the Sparks, but here’s the difference: her teammates played well, too. Four of the five Sparks starters were in double point figures, with Parker leading the way with 21. The most important numbers to look at for Parker are not the points, however; it’s the assists and rebounds, in which she had 10 and eight, respectively.
The game started off innocently enough; a one-point first quarter lead turned into a three-point halftime deficit. However, the third quarter was a cold bucket of water, dowsing any chance of a victory.
That three-point halftime deficit turned into a 16 point beatdown, and though the Sky held tough defensively in the fourth and outplayed the Sparks, the damage had already been wrought.
This loss drops the Sky to 15-11, including a dismal 5-8 away from home. Even more importantly, it dropped the Sky to the fourth and final playoff spot in the East, only three wins better than the Connecticut Sun. They play the Washington Mystics on Friday, August 21st, once again away from home. Washington has a fearsome defense, and could cause real trouble for the Sky.
The Sparks, in contrast, move to 8-16, including 6-7 at home. They tighten their grip on the fourth and final playoff seed in the West, one win and one loss above the San Antonio Stars. They move on to play the Indiana Fever at home in Los Angeles, on Tuesday, August 18th.