Clark and Fever prevail against Sparks

LOS ANGELES  – The Los Angeles Sparks discovered the Indiana Fever is more than a one-person team. With a lot of hype surrounding Caitlin Clark, the rookie guard from Iowa, the other players for the Fever helped Indiana come up with its first win. And they did it at the expense of the Sparks.  

Clark struggled in the Fever’s 78-73 win at Cryptocom Arena. For the game, Clark made only 4 of 14 field goal attempts and finished with 11 points, not exactly earth-shattering numbers. But she didn’t have to be perfect. Her teammates took up the scoring slack.

Indiana recorded its first win by playing defense, especially in the second half. At halftime, Indiana trailed the Sparks, 45-34. The double-digit deficit was mostly of their own making as the Fever misfired on open looks at the basket. 

After giving up 45 points in the first half, Indiana held the Sparks to 28 points through the last two quarters. The pivot in the game came in the third quarter when Los Angeles scored 11 points while the Fever put up 19 points. Indiana then finished the Sparks with a 25-17 advantage in the fourth period. 

For the Sparks, a team in the same boat as the Fever with just one win on the season, the defeat could be blamed on several factors. For one, the Sparks played giveaway for most of the night, accounting for 18 turnovers in the game. The sloppy ballhandling by the Sparks led to 14 fastbreak points for the Fever. 

Putting the ball in the basket was another issue for the Sparks. After scoring 20 points in the team’s only win of the season against the Washington Mystics, Sparks guard Lexie Brown scored five points on a 2 of 10 shooting from the field in 38 minutes of action. Forward Kia Nurse was just as off as Brown. 

Nurse, one of the more dependable scorers on the Sparks, connected on just 2 of 11 field goal attempts for four points. Nurse also went 0 for 7 on three-point attempts for the ballgame. As a team, the Sparks shot 42 percent from the field. The Fever had something to do with that. 

All those open lane passes zipping through Indiana’s defense in the first half flipped to turnovers for Los Angeles. Some of these miscues were attributed to Indiana playing aggressive defense and Sparks’ players trying to force the issue when there were no open lanes to pass the ball. 

One of the major takeaways from the team’s third loss on the season is that Sparks have to figure out their identity. It was clear against Indiana, that the Sparks don’t have a real go-to player they can depend on in the crunch. What’s also missing is leadership.  

As Indiana was making its run in the second half, the Sparks didn’t have anyone to step up to stop the bleeding. That could be because the Sparks have a very young team and everyone is still trying to find their way.       

The Sparks did have some bright spots against the Fever. Rickea Jacskon, the No.4 overall pick in the 2024 WNBA draft, had a productive night, going for 16 points in just 20 minutes of playing time. Dearica Hamby continued her steady play with 18 points and 12 rebounds. 

And despite being in foul trouble, Cameron Brink tallied 15 points and 9 rebounds for the Sparks. But this night belonged to the Fever. 

And amidst the hoopla around Clark, the Fever has a pretty decent team. Indiana center Aliyah Boston gave the Sparks fits with her inside the paint physicality. And with the Sparks so focused on locking up Clark, Kelsey Mitchell dropped 18 points on them.     

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