After a 78-74 win win over the Phoenix Mercury on Friday, the San Antonio Stars were compared to their ‘brother team’, the Spurs. Their solid ball movement, stellar defense, execution on both ends of the court was the key to their success, but they would have trouble finding their footing against the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday.
Candace Parker scored 23 points and Kristi Toliver added 15 as the Sparks crushed the Stars 83-62 in front of 5,317 fans inside the Staples Center on Sunday afternoon.
Nneka Ogwumike returned from a lower back injury and finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for Los Angeles (2-1), who avoided their worst start since they began 0-3 in 2010.
”It’s always exciting when you get a home win, and with this new ownership, I think it’s a testament to the change that we’re trying to make,” Ogwumike said. ”We’re trying to identify ourselves as a stronger, kind of different team. New ownership is a wonderful act to follow, and also a wonderful organization to be within. Unfortunately, we lost when Magic [Johnson] was here last time, but I’m sure he’ll be at more games, and he’ll be able to see us play like we did today.”
The Stars were led by Jia Perkins who scored 17 points off the bench. Danielle Robinson, Becky Hammon and Kayla McBride each scored eight for San Antonio, who had their two-game winning streak snapped.
Parker scored 12 of her 23 points in the third quarter that included a left hand floater and a turnaround jumper. Jantel Lavender gave the Sparks a 15 point lead off a bank shot before San Antonio trimmed it to 61-54 after the third quarter.
”It just comes with it,” Parker said of her third quarter. ”As talented as our team is, I think I just look for what’s there. Whether it’s spread the floor or kick out or set good screens, it’s just being active, and I think that that’s what going to change from game to game is how aggressive I have to be. In the third quarter, I saw that I had to be a little bit more aggressive and take control a little bit more.”
Parker put the Sparks up for good with a corner three-pointer to make it 71-58, the Stars would never get the score back into single digits again.
”I thought the energy we exerted to get back in it unfortunately left us a little bit tired,” San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes said. ”There’s going to be runs in the game, but we had to exert a lot of energy to get ourselves back into that game, and I think it showed up in the fourth quarter.”
San Antonio began the game down 13-0 and trailed by as many as 16 points in the first half. They would put together a 17-4 run, finished off by Kayla McBride’s three-pointer to cut the Sparks lead to 41-38 at halftime.
The Stars are now 2-2 on the season and will return home to welcome Skylar Diggins and the Tulsa Shock to the AT&T Center on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.