Mon, 15 Aug 2022

Wings in funk with improved Sparks ahead

Field Level Media
01 Jul 2022, 06:25 GMT+10

The Dallas Wings will look to move past back-to-back uneven performances and get back on a winning track when they host the up-and-down Los Angeles Sparks on Friday at Arlington, Texas.

The teams have played twice this season, each winning on their home court, most recently a 92-82 win for the Wings on June 19. Dallas had three players score 20 or more points in that victory, a first in franchise history.

Dallas (9-11) has dropped two straight games, including a 92-64 walloping by then last-place Minnesota on the road Tuesday. The Wings trailed by 26 points at halftime and never contended in the second half in an uncharacteristically poor defensive effort.

Arike Ogunbowale led the Wings with 16 points, with Veronica Burton adding a career-high 11. Marina Mabrey was only 1 of 11 from the floor, while Dallas went just 5 of 16 from 3-point range and was outrebounded 53-30 in the loss.

"We're still becoming (a complete team)," Wings coach Vickie Johnson said, according to the Dallas Morning News. "We have spurts. You can see our defense, you can see the flow of our offense, and then we go back to becoming a young team."

Ogunbowale was named to the WNBA All-Star Game this week as a reserve.

The Sparks (7-11) head back to the Dallas area for the second time in two weeks on the heels of a 79-73 defeat at home Monday to league-leading Las Vegas. Los Angeles showed improvement in the setback after losing by an average of 22.5 points in its previous two games against the Aces.

Nneka Ogwumike led Los Angeles with 18 points and 11 rebounds against the Aces while Lexie Brown scored 17 points off the bench, Liz Cambage added 12 points and 11 rebounds and Brittney Sykes tallied 10 points.

Los Angeles' improvement has come after the addition of veteran guard Kristi Toliver. Toliver is getting closer to 100 percent physically after a delayed start to her WNBA campaign while working as an assistant coach for the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

"The game is very, very slow for me right now," said Toliver, who has started five straight games for the Sparks. "That's kind of been interesting to feel and be a part of. It should feel harder for me right now, just given the situation. But it doesn't, really."

The Sparks are 2-4 since former assistant Fred Williams took charge of the team after Derek Fisher's firing on June 7.

--Field Level Media

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