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A pair of teams from the WNBA’s Western Conference square off down in the Lone Star State. The Los Angeles Sparks are on the road as they make the trip to face the Dallas Wings Friday night. Los Angeles won their fifth straight by cooling the Fever, 74-55, at home Tuesday night. Dallas lost for the second time in three games, falling 91-83 on the road at Minnesota Tuesday night. The teams split four meetings last season with the home team prevailing in all four matchups.
Los Angeles Sparks Seek Sixth Straight Victory
Los Angeles reeled off a fifth straight win as they completely shut down Indiana’s offense en route to an easy victory. The Sparks ran their mark to 9-2 on the year and entered Friday in a virtual tie for first place with the Mercury in the Western Conference. Los Angeles led by two at the half, by six after three quarters and by five with 5:57 to go before closing things out on a 16-2 run. The Sparks shot 47.1 percent from the field, including four of 13 from three point range, and sank all six free throw attempts. Los Angeles held Indiana to 30.4 percent from the floor, including three of 14 from deep, while forcing 17 turnovers to overcome a 45-29 beating on the boards. Candace Parker led four Sparks players in double figures with 15 points in the win.
The Sparks are seventh in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 79.9 points per game. Los Angeles is last in the league in rebounding (29.6 boards a night) and stand tied for fourth in assists with 19 per game. The Sparks lead the league in scoring defense as they give up just 73.9 points a contest. Nneka Ogwumike leads Los Angeles with 16.5 points plus 7.5 rebounds a game. Candace Parker chips in 16.4 points, 6.5 rebounds plus 3.5 assists per contest while Chelsea Gray (15.5 points, 5.9 dimes) and Odyssey Sims (12.6 points, 3.4 assists) also score in double figures. Riquna Williams, Essence Carson, Alana Beard and Cappie Poindexter are all valuable pieces of the Sparks’ rotation. The Sparks lead the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.3 percent as a team on the year. Los Angeles is 10th in the league in three point field goals per game (4.9) and stand third in three point percentage at 34.6 percent. The Sparks are fourth in the league in free throw percentage as they cash in 82.7 percent of their chances at the line.
Dallas Wings Look to Take Flight
Dallas struggled out of the gates against Minnesota, which put them in a hole they couldn’t rally from. With the loss, the Wings fell to 5-5 on the season, putting them 3.5 games behind the Sparks and Mercury for the Western Conference lead. Dallas was down 11 points after the opening quarter and saw their deficit balloon to 18 after three quarters. The Wings rallied in the fourth but drew no closer than four, 87-83, with 20.7 seconds to play before succumbing. Dallas shot 46.7 percent from the field, including six of 21 from three point range, and cashed in 21 of 27 free throws in the loss. Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Wings with 17 points and seven assists in the loss.
The Wings come into this one fifth in the league in scoring with 82.9 points per game this season. Dallas is second in rebounding (37.4 boards per contest) but rank tied for last in the league in assists with 15.7 per game. The Wings are in the middle of the pack defensively, ranking sixth by allowing 81 points per contest. Skylar Diggins-Smith leads Dallas with 21.4 points plus 5.9 assists per game on the year. Liz Cambage is a solid secondary scoring option with 19.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Kayla Thornton, Glory Johnson, Allisha Gray, Kaela Davis and Azura Stevens are going to have to step up and contribute for the Wings. Dallas will miss Karima Christmas-Kelly, who is done for the year after undergoing season-ending knee surgery earlier this month. The Wings are eighth in the league in field goal percentage as they hit 42.4 percent as a team. Dallas is eighth in three pointers per game (5.7) and stand 11th in three point shooting as they hit only 28.2 percent from long range. The Wings are just ninth in free throw shooting as they convert 78.3 percent of their chances at the stripe.
- Sparks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games
- Sparks are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest
- Wings are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 Friday games
While the home team prevailed all four times last season, it might be a tough road to travel for the Wings in this one. Dallas’s big advantage is on the glass but the loss of Christmas-Kelly puts a lot of pressure on the Diggins-Smith/Cambage combo to carry the offensive attack. The Wings are going to have to contend with the stingy Sparks’ defense. Throw in the fact that Los Angeles leads the league in field goal percentage on the offensive end and it’s a major challenge. Dallas hangs around but in the end, the talent of the Sparks carries them to the win.