Sky vs Sparks Preview 7/13

The Chicago Sky looks to carry their momentum from Sunday night’s win over the Phoenix Mercury when the Los Angeles Sparks comes to Allstate Arena on Wednesday for an 11:30 a.m. CT matinee matchup.

This is the third and final time that the Sky and Sparks will meet this WNBA regular season. Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike have led Los Angeles to a 2-0 series advantage over Chicago this year. The Sky fell to the Sparks most recently on June 14 at the Staples Center, 98-85. Cappie Pondexter led the Sky with 20 points and five assists. Erika de Souza dominated the boards, grabbing her season-high 12 rebounds. Ogwumike shot a blistering 12-of-14 from the field, good for 27 points and also added 12 rebounds. The two teams first meeting came in Rosemont on May 24, where despite a 17-point, 10-assist double-double by Jamierra Faulkner, the Sky tumbled 93-80.

This will be a homecoming of sorts for Sparks forward Parker. The Naperville native is averaging 16.9 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. The 2013 WNBA MVP currently ranks third in the league with 91 assists on the season. Seattle’s Sue Bird ranks first with 116 assists, while the Sky’s own Faulkner comes in second with 96. The dynamic duo of Faulkner and Courtney Vandersloot at the point for the Sky has increased the team’s offensive efficiency over the past couple of games.

This balanced offense helped the team on Sunday to a 100-95 win in a back-and-forth game that featured 18 lead changes and 14 ties. A new starting lineup, featuring Imani Boyette, Cheyenne Parker, and Jamierra Faulkner, in addition to the usual Delle Donne and Tamera Young, proved effective in getting the team back on the winning track. Six Sky players had 10 plus points, led by Allie Quigley with 21 points and five assists. Boyette added 12 rebounds and 13 points, good for the second double-double of her young WNBA career. The Sky dominated the boards overall, holding a 43-21 advantage. Diana Taurasi led the Mercury with 26 points and six assists. Brittney Griner had seven blocked shots in the loss.
The Sparks sit atop the Western Conference standings with an 18-1 record, the only loss coming to the Minnesota Lynx. The team is on a seven-game winning streak, the most recent win coming against the Washington Mystics on Sunday at the Staples Center. Parker led the Sparks with 26 points and 11 rebounds in the 93-82 win. Ogwumike added 26 points and seven rebounds, while Jantel Lavender contributed 20 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Tip-off between the Sky and Sparks is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, July 13 in Rosemont. Wednesday’s game can be viewed on NBA TV or online via WNBA League Pass.