August 9, 2020 

Sparks can’t find consistency; fall to Aces

Parker had fourth consecutive double-double

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Candace Parker had her fourth consecutive double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Sydney Wiese had a season-high 18 points, and Chelsea Gray added 16 points and four assists, but it wasn’t enough.

The Las Vegas Aces outlasted the Los Angeles Sparks, 86-82, on Friday in a back and forth game that came down to the last couple of possessions. For the most part, the Sparks were able to withstand an offensive surge from Aces star A’ja Wilson, who had 12 points in the fourth quarter.

But it was a couple of late scores from Jackie Young and a couple of empty possessions on offense that sealed the loss for Los Angeles. Wiese was the primary defender on Young late in the game and was unable to hinder Young from getting where she wanted to go.

After the game, Wiese placed a lot of the blame squarely on her shoulders.

“I’ll take that one, that’s who I was on the last part of the fourth. She was making great plays,” Wiese said. “What I was failing to do was cutting her off and making her go the other way. I was trying to get under the screen and I stopped short. She had an angle to the basket and made tough shots…I need to do a better job next time making sure I take care of her any way that I can just to make sure she doesn’t score.”

Heading into the game, the Sparks were already shorthanded after the hamstring injury suffered by Nneka Ogwumike in the win over the Indiana Fever. The team would later learn right before the game started that they would also be without Seimone Augustus who has been one of the Sparks most consistent players this season. Augustus told the team that she didn’t feel 100% able to play.

Despite being without two very important players, the Sparks put up a valiant effort against one of the better teams in the WNBA. They had multiple opportunities to seize control of the game but were never able to capitalize on the moment. Late game defensive miscues hounded the Sparks and Parker suggested after the game that both defense and rebounding needed to be more of a focus.

“We got to figure out how to string together wins. I feel like we always bounce back after a loss but we always lose after a win,” Parker said. “I think it’s our defense, but we’ve also gotten outrebounded every game with exception of one and that was last game and we tied them in rebounding. I think we need to commit and trust and help each other. Those are all things that teams say when they’re not getting things done on the defensive end. If we rebound, and we outrebound them, there’s not many teams that are going to want to stay with us in transition.”

Despite the inconsistent start to the season, head coach Derek Fisher remains optimistic that the team will be able to string together some consistency, that in a season that’s anything but normal, it’s going to take a little more time.

“We still have high expectations. We still know that we are going to be where we need to be at the right time, but there are no short-cuts to becoming great. We can’t kid ourselves into thinking we can just show up and be great,” Fisher said. “It’s going to take time, going to take adversity, and it is going to take us asking ourselves the hard questions and finding the answers and solutions to get us to where we are trying to get to. There is no short-cut or way around that, it’s hard work and a journey.”

David has been with The Next team since the High Post Hoops days when he joined the staff in 2018. He is based in Los Angeles and covers the LA Sparks, Pac-12 Conference, Big West Conference and some high school as well.

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