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Notes & Quotes: Wings Defeat Sparks, 92-77

SPARKS NOTES:

– Candace Parker led the Sparks with 21 points, including nine free throws made
– Nneka Ogwumike had 12 points, extending her season-long streak of double-digit scoring totals
– Riquna Williams recorded 16 points off the bench, including four 3-pointers
– Chelsea Gray led Los Angeles with five assists
– The Sparks got to the line 24 times, making 19 of their attempts for a 79.2% clip
– The Sparks were held to just 23.5% from 3-point range, shooting 4-17
– Los Angeles scored 31 bench points
– Alana Beard left the game in the first quarter with a groin injury

WINGS NOTES:

– Skylar Diggins-Smith led the Wings in scoring and assists, registering 22 points and 11 dimes
– Five Wings players scored in double figures
– Liz Cambage was ejected in the second quarter on a double technical
– Azurá Stevens led the Wings in bench scoring, posting 16 points
– The Wings went on a 21-2 run to take a 20-point lead with 1:23 left
– Dallas has now won five straight games
– Cayla George added 12 points and three boards off the bench

Quotes:

Sparks Guard Riquna Williams

On playing without Alana Beard
“Losing [Alana Beard], we thrive off that, she’s the head of our defense, she gets us going. We just got to pick up what she left out. We know how to defend; it’s all about effort.”

On aggressive offensive play in the first half
“We know we have to do a better job of getting to the free throw line, we made the effort to come into this game to get to the free throw line. You always want to attack her [Cambage] and get out of there quick.”

On positive outlook despite the struggles in the fourth quarter
“We have another game, we still have a lot more of the season left. We can’t get discouraged. We have to go back and look back at the film, get better, and get ready for Vegas.”

Sparks Guard Alana Beard

On defensive effort in the second quarter
“In the first half, after the slow start, everything looked great, everyone was doing their part, whether it was defensively or offensively. We just kept taking punches and punching back. That was really good to see.”

On having to sit out of a game and how not being out there helping her team
“It’s another day. Injuries are a part of this sport, it’s always tough to not compete, and to be able to help your team. But I’m a vet, it’s but tomorrow, it’s another day and we’ll see what it brings.”

On rebounding and Dallas’ second chance points
“That’s been our issue all year. It’s something that’s been spoken about within our locker room before every game. Some days we just do really well at it and some days we can’t complete the task. We as individuals need to dig a little deeper, just to make sure we do our part in making sure we have our players boxed out and getting the ball. Once we get that taken care of, we can put ourselves in a pretty good position to win.”

Sparks Coach Brian Agler

On the team’s defensive effort
“In the second half, we weren’t quite as sharp. Not quite as good on the point of attack in pick and rolls. Didn’t do a very good job on second chance points. They’re very good at that, they lead the league in offensive rebounds.”

On takeaways from the game
“The most critical thing is to stay together, and have the ability to be honest with yourself and see what the issues are with regard to the X’s and O’s, and come out of it.”

On Wings’ organization as a whole
“The league has really improved over the last couple of years. Dallas is one of those teams that has had much improvement.”

Wings Guard Skylar Diggins-Smith

On stopping the Sparks
“They were getting to the line in the first half. I thought the post plays we did a good job of stepping up, holding Candace [Parker] and Nneka [Ogwumike]. Having half of their points in the first half to only 5 in the second half combined. It was a total team effort.”

On Liz Cambage getting ejected
“When Liz went down, all of us came in here at halftime and just talked about how we all needed to step it up and be a little more aggressive on defense.”

On her role in the game and on the team
“For me, I just try to be aggressive and find my teammates. When we take our shots and are aggressive on both ends, we are one of the best teams in the league. We’re just playing with a lot of confidence right now.”

On the referees and playing through bad calls
“Whatever they call, you got to deal with it. Thought we did a good job in the second half. We played good defense without fouling. We were able to go on our run and get out on transition. That’s really our game.”

On defense factoring in to the Wings’ five-game winning streak
“Anybody in this league can beat you any night, especially at home. It starts on defense. Being able to rebound, help, get really aggressive on the ball, getting tips. That’s when we’re playing our best and it definitely translates on offense.”

Wings Coach Fred Williams

On five-game winning streak and state of the team
“Defensively, I think we’re stepping it up a lot on both ends, the post and perimeter game. We’re shooting the ball much better than we did in the first 10 games of the season. It’s all coming together. We’re just thriving off of that and thriving off the team energy that we have.”

On Azurá Stevens stepping up after Liz Cambage’s ejection
“She’s been doing that all season. She’s been our super-sub right now, giving us rebounding, steals, and blocked shots, enabling us to steal possessions away from teams.”

On Skylar Diggins-Smith’s performance
“That second half, the third quarter, and a little bit of the fourth, she just woke up. I thought she was very selective in the first half, but in the second half I pretty much told her to go with her first option or what she wanted to do in her mind, and that was shooting the ball.”

On 21-2 run to win the game in the fourth quarter
“I thought the energy level [was better]. Each timeout we had, whether it was from us or media, I just told them to take each two minutes or three minutes at a time and get stops and engage it from there, and that’s what they did. They went out and made a few stops, and got some runouts.”