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Sparks Roll with Sixth Straight Win

If you need a basketball fix this summer, do yourself a favor and check out a Sparks game — winners of six straight after a 94-72 victory Friday night.

candace dribblingMuch like another white-hot L.A. team that has been unstoppable lately, the Sparks might be the league’s hottest team.  They have won six straight games including four straight on the road, where they were previously 3-5.

Staples Center has been kind to them evidenced by their league-best 11-2 home record.

Their most recent victim was the defending WNBA champion, Indiana Fever, who is led by seven-time all-star Tamika Catchings.

The Fever has been floored by injuries this season, most notably to all-star guard Shavonte Zellous.

The Sparks got out to a quick start Friday night, scoring 28 points in the first quarter.  Kristi Tolliver scored 16 points in the first quarter, nearly outscoring the entire Indiana squad.  Tolliver would finish with a game high 28 points on 11-15 shooting.

Trailing by 12 at the half, the Fever made a run in the third quarter, led by Catchings and Erin Phillips, who each finished with 16 points.  After cutting the lead to six, the Sparks responded with a string of fast breaks, pushing their lead back to 16, capped off by a Tolliver three.

L.A. shot 63 percent to Indiana’s 44.

The Sparks also took care of business at the free throw line going 20-23.

Four different players scored in double figures and 10 different players scored to pace a balanced and up-tempo Sparks offense.

Candace Parker did her usual stat-sheet filling with 18 points, six rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.  Nneka Ogwumike was just as effective up front with 16 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three steals on an efficient 6-7 shooting.

Fever coach Lin Dunn called them (along with backup Jantel Lavender) the best front-court rotation in the league.  Just think of Parker and Ogwumike (both all-stars this year) as the WNBA’s version of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Ogwumike, last year’s rookie of the year, is explosive at the hoop and is never scared to attack.  Parker is one the of the best all-around players in the league.  She can post up, run the floor and find teammates, and can pop a long one. She comes up with big plays on defense late in games.

Friday’s win gave the Sparks one more win than the Minnesota Lynx, however, Minnesota maintains first place based on win percentage.

The Sparks find themselves hot at the right time, as the season heads into its final month.  With the offense clicking on all cylinders, and everyone contributing, the Sparks will be hard to slow down.

They still have key games with Western Conference foes Minnesota and Phoenix remaining, but at this point, the Sparks control their own destiny.

 

Brittney Griner stood quiet at Baylor

Brittney Griner appears to have kept mum about her sexuality for a bit longer than she might have been comfortable with, revealing that Kim Mulkey, her head coach at Baylor, informed the players to keep quiet about it.

Griner, now a member of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, openly acknowledged that she was gay during interviews last month.

She has said to have been open about being gay since her freshman year in high school.

Mulkey silenced that in an effort to keep recruiting efforts strong. She did not want the image at Baylor to be tarnished.

Griner is the three-time Big 12 Player of the Year and was instrumental in leading the Bears to a 40-0 season and the 2012 NCAA championship. She was selected No. 1 overall in the 2013 WNBA Draft.