LOS ANGELES (News4usonline) – Candace Parker had only two points on the scoreboard by halftime. The Los Angeles Sparks all-world forward would finish the game with a total of eight points and just three rebounds against the Indiana Fever.
Upon seeing those statistics, a person with an iota of basketball knowledge would think that those numbers would pave the way for a disastrous game outcome for the Sparks.
Well, that’s not the case. Parker, who has had to carry the Sparks on her shoulders at times by herself in the past, doesn’t have that burden this season. She has backup. Parker certainly didn’t have to worry about that Thursday night with sisters Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike dominating play on both ends of the floor to lead the Sparks to an easy 98-65 win at Staples Center.
The game wasn’t even that close. Indiana, a team sitting third from the bottom in the WNBA standings, initially looked like they were going to make this contest a ballgame, scrapping their way to a 18-14 lead after the first quarter. The Sparks, led by the Ogwumike sisters, took over the game after that.
The Sparks outscored the Fever 29-13 in the second period to walk into halftime with a comfortable and safe 43-31 lead. While Parker could only manage to convert just one field goal in the first two quarters for her two points of the half, the Sparks got it going offensively behind Nneka Ogwumike’s 11 points and Chiney Ogwumike’s eight points.
That momentum carried over into the third period for the Sparks as they widened their lead substantially with a 27-11 advantage in the quarter. That was your ballgame, folks. The Fever, playing to not get further embarrassed, narrowed the scoring gap by scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter. The Sparks countered the visitors’ scoring surge by dropping 28 points themselves in the period.
Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike were the obvious statistical leaders on this night for the Sparks, but they had plenty of help. The Sparks had six players score in double-figures. Kalani Brown (10 points), Chelsea Gray (10 points), Riquna Williams (10 points), and Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (11 points) joined the Ogwumike sisters in the scoring parade.
With the win, the Sparks improve to 17-10 on the season, while the Fever dropped its 19th game (9-19) of the year. A big reason why Indiana couldn’t get its offense going was the fact that the Sparks were too busy playing suffocating defense, holding the Fever to just 38 percent shooting (23-60) from the field. On the flip side of that coin, the Sparks made half of their field goal attempts (38-76) enroute to their blowout win.
The Sparks also outrebounded Indiana, grabbing 41 rebounds, while the Fever could muster only 27 boards. Thankfully, this was not a night that the Sparks had to rely on their 3-point shooting to bail them out. Despite shooting 50 percent from the field, the Sparks only converted 6-of-20 shots from behind the arc, a not-so-good 30 percent.