LOS ANGELES – Talk about June Gloom, and I certainly don’t mean the weather.
The Los Angeles Sparks have been in a free fall ever since the calendar turned to June losing 7-of-8 including the last four coming into Thursday night’s game against the Tulsa Shock at Staples Center.
A nice ray of sunshine for the Sparks who were led by Candace Parker’s game-high 24 points halting that losing skid beating Tulsa, 87-77.
The defense sparked the Sparks as they turned 15 Shock turnovers into 13 points with most of them coming in a first quarter that saw Los Angeles pull away early and never look back.
“We played well in the first couple of minutes of the game.” Said Parker who also grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out 6 assists. “It got us off to a good start. Got some easy buckets. Got some stops. I think that was the key.”
After Tulsa took the opening tip Jantel Lavender stole the ball pushing it forward to Parker for the 2-0 lead.
Leading 19-10, Armentie Herrington got in on the thievery and pushed it to Alana Beard who got the hoop and the hack scoring three of her 20 points putting L.A. up by 12.
“We knew that we needed to come out and jump on them defensively,” said Lavender who registered a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. “We knew if we handled them on the defensive end our offense would flow. We were making the extra passes and got into an offensive rhythm early in the game.”
Lindsey Harding added 18 for the Sparks who widened their lead to 23 in the third quarter.
Nneka Ogwumike was held to just two points and left the game in the third after getting stuck by an elbow in the nose. She immediately went to the locker room where x-rays taken were negative. Diagnosed with a severe bruise she’ll be evaluated later in the week.
The win improves the Sparks’ record to 4-7. Los Angeles plays host to the San Antonio Silver Stars Sunday afternoon at Staples Center. The Sparks were trounced in San Antonio last weekend, 101-74. Sunday’s tip-off is set for 12:30pm PDT.