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Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Nneka Ogwumike Leads Sparks Over Liberty

LOS ANGELES – When it came time to move on the day after her 32nd birthday, Sparks’ All-Star forward Neneka Ogwumike scored 10 of her game-high 22 points in the third quarter, taking the Los Angeles Sparks to 84-74. Gone. Win at home against New York Liberty.

With playoff position on the line, LA hosted NY on Sunday afternoon. Both teams entered the game with an 8–11 record, with the Liberty 8th and the Sparks 9th in the WNBA standings.

Later, the roles were reversed. The Sparks improved to 9–11 and dropped the Liberty to 8–12, giving the Sparks six weeks to control the league’s eighth and final playoff spot before the end of the regular season.

With Sparks guard Brittany Sykes ruled out due to health and safety protocols, Sparks guard Lexi Brown was inserted into the starting lineup and given the green light to shoot open three-pointers. Brown finished with eight points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds, while playing a team-high 38 out of a possible 40 minutes.

“I think she is seeing an increase in minutes, some games starting, some games coming off the bench and helping us. His outside three-point shooting helps us a lot to raise the defense a little bit,” said Sparks interim head coach Fred Williams. “Her role is coming and right now she is getting opening minutes, even if she is coming off the bench, she is getting those kind of minutes.

“I think he has worked hard and has added value to us as a defensive player as well and has grown a lot with what we are trying to do.”

Sparks reserve forward Chini Ogwumike scored eight points early in the first quarter and finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, his second double-double of the season.

LA led New York in the second quarter with a 25 to 21 lead.

However, Liberty went ahead 43-37 with 2:07 in the second quarter after a 12-0 run driven by Liberty center Han Tzu, Liberty guard Marine Johannes and Liberty forward Natasha Howard, who hit back to back threes.

Sparks overtook Liberty 43-40 at halftime. The Sparks took a 49-45 lead at the start of the third quarter with a 9-2 run. 25-14 runs gave them a 65-57 lead in the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Sparks center Liz Cambage paced LA with eight of her 16 points in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-9 Cambage also caught eight rebounds and made three assists.

Meanwhile, Williams said New York Liberty All-Star Sabrina Ionescu is a great, triple-threat player, which Sparks doesn’t want to allow her to turn corners and shoot corner jump shots or drive toward the basket. was. ,

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