Sparks Looking To Get Elusive First Win Over Aces
After starting the season winning their first nine of 10, Las Vegas kept the wins coming, rolling to a victory in its last four of five to continue its dominance on top of the Western Conference.
Los Angeles, while falling three times already this season to the Aces, is still square in contention for the playoffs. The season has not been going quite as smoothly for the Sparks as it has for the Aces, with the team dropping its last three of five.
In the first meeting between the two, Vegas defeated LA at home, downing the Sparks 104-76. The Aces had five players in double figures by the end of the game, led by A’ja Wilson, who scored 24 on 10-of-15 shooting. The Sparks, meanwhile, dropped their fifth straight with Chennedy Carter coming off the bench to lead the team with 17 points.
The second game was a bit closer, however, ended with the same result, as Los Angeles fell 89-72 at home. Wilson once again took over for Vegas, putting up 35 points and bringing down 11 rebounds while Dearica Hamby also added 20. The Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Jordin Canada combined for 39 points.
Game three was the closest yet between the teams, ending with a 79-73 Aces victory in Los Angeles. Kelsey Plum and Wilson carried the way for Las Vegas, scoring 29 and 25 points respectively, while Ogwumike put up 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Sparks.
With Las Vegas’ winning margin getting slimmer with each game against the Sparks, is game four a chance for Los Angeles to get the win?
Las Vegas Aces the Offense
With the No. 1 scoring offense in the league, it’s no surprise the Aces have found themselves on top of the Western Conference.
Las Vegas has averaged 90.7 points a game this season thanks to Wilson, Jackie Young, and Plum, all former No. 1 overall picks and also all chosen for the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game.
Plum, leading the offense scoring 19.7 points a game, was also chosen as the All-Star Game MVP. Wilson isn’t far behind averaging 19.3 a game while Young tips in 16.6.
Rounding out the Aces’ starting five is Hamby and Chelsea Gray, with both also averaging double digits.
While Las Vegas averages the most points nightly, Los Angeles is in the bottom three in scoring defense, allowing 85.5 points a game. The Sparks will have to figure out a way to slow down the Aces’ strong offense in order to keep up.
Ogwumike Provides the Spark
Las Vegas has a slew of players that are high contributors to its offense. Los Angeles’ main production comes from Ogwumike, a former No. 1 pick herself.
The Sparks average 81.2 points a game, which ranks seventh in the WNBA. Ogwumike leads that scoring with an average of 19 points a night, good for sixth in the league.
Ogwumike led the Sparks to success in Los Angeles’ last two games, scoring 35 in an 86-79 victory over Indiana and 20 in an 85-78 win against Atlanta.
She also leads Los Angeles in rebounds, pulling in 6.8 a game for 13th in the WNBA, which contributes to the Sparks’ 31.2 boards a game.
While Ogwumike gets the scoring going, teammates Liz Cambage, Brittney Sykes, and Samuelson also offer scoring options. Cambage averages 13.1 a night while both Sykes and Samuelson add in 10.6.
Although Las Vegas has plenty of scoring threats, with Ogwumike in charge, the Sparks can score as well, as evidenced in their past couple of games.
Sparks vs. Aces Game Information
Game: Sparks 12-14 (5-7 away) at Aces 19-8 (9-5 at home)
Location: Michelob ULTRA Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Day/Time: Saturday, July 23, 10 p.m. ET
Sparks vs. Aces Preview
While the Aces have continued to stay on top of the standings, winning their last four of five, the Sparks have struggled recently with three losses in their past five games, however, they are on a two-game win streak.
Las Vegas is ready to clinch its spot in the postseason with Los Angeles looking to hold on to the sixth seed where it currently resides.
With the Aces’ top-scoring offense going against the Sparks’ 11th-ranked scoring defense, combined with the fact Vegas will have home court, the Aces should be able to get a strong win at home.