Silver Stars - Sparks Preview
The Silver Stars have had a week off to get ready for the Los Angeles Sparks. That preparation should serve them well for more than just one night.
Three of the Silver Stars' next four games are against the Sparks, beginning with a home game Saturday night when Los Angeles will be completing a back-to-back.
San Antonio (3-4) was busy last weekend, losing 60-57 in Atlanta on June 7 before an easy 80-67 win over struggling Seattle the following day. Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes challenged his reserves to step up in the second game of the back-to-back, and they responded by outscoring the starters 41-30. Danielle Adams finished with a team-best 13 points off the bench, while fellow reserves Shenise Johnson and Ziomara Morrison added 12 apiece.
"We always thought our bench could be a factor,'' Hughes said. "To see some of the young ones get some confidence is kind of exciting.''
Hughes, who called last Saturday's win the "best basketball game'' San Antonio has played this season, now hopes his team can come out sharp after the week-long layoff.
Fatigue could be a problem for the Sparks (7-2), whose five-game winning streak ended with a 92-59 loss in Atlanta on Friday. The lopsided score, however, allowed Los Angeles coach Carol Ross to rest some of her starters down the stretch with the outcome no longer in doubt.
Candace Parker, whose 20.1 scoring average ranked fifth in the WNBA before the game, finished with nine points and didn't play in the fourth quarter. The Sparks didn't have a player in double figures until Nneka Ogwumike scored her 11th point midway through the final period.
Ogwumike, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, finished with team highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which fell behind by as many as 17 in the first quarter.
"We need to come out with a lot of energy,'' Parker said. "We can't start the way we did because it trickles down the rest of the game. We need to stay aggressive.''
The Silver Stars, who have gone 3-1 against the Sparks each of the last two seasons, hope they can be the ones to set the tone in the early going at the AT&T Center, where they've won their two games this month by a combined 32 points.
"We just hope when L.A. comes in here we can start off as aggressive as possible," said San Antonio's Sophia Young, averaging team highs of 14.4 points and 7.7 rebounds.
Becky Hammon, second on the Silver Stars at 14.0 points per game, averaged 28.3 on 55.8 percent shooting in last season's three victories over the Sparks, but scored five while misfiring on 12 of 14 shots in the loss.
While all but one of San Antonio's remaining games this month come against Los Angeles, the Sparks have four other June games to play not involving the Silver Stars.
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