Sparks travel to face Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury – Orange County Register

0
150
Sparks travel to face Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury – Orange County Register

The Sparks have faced the Phoenix Mercury twice this season, but their Western Conference rival will be a very different opponent on Sunday. Not only will WNBA legend Diana Taurasi return to the line-up, but the Sparks have played two games since they last met, an 80-66 win for Phoenix on June 18, 3pm matchup at the Phoenix Suns Arena. Since the Mercury (6-7) split two games in Los Angeles, the Sparks (6-7) have been trying to figure things out, losing a close 76-73 to New York Liberty and pulling one 89-82 against Washington -Mystic. “I think our team is just trying to figure out how to do it together because things are always changing,” said Sparks manager Fisher. Fisher alluded to the chemistry that contributes to offensive fighting and alluded to the timing and convenience of team line-up when dealing with injuries. Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike stay out of the squad with knee injuries. Fisher said Chiney, who hasn’t played since May 18, might understand better her return next week. Meanwhile, Nneka is continuing her 4-6 week recovery plan after suffering a 2nd degree knee sprain on June 1st. The spark guards Kristi Toliver (eye) and Bria Holmes (foot) are questionable for the game on Sunday. Without them, Los Angeles might only have eight active players. The Mercury, on the other hand, welcome the WNBA’s all-time scorer. Taurasi broke his sternum in a 78-86 loss to the Connecticut Sun on May 16 and then played two more games before the injury was diagnosed. In her five games this season, the former Don Lugo high star averaged 15.8 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. The Mercury went 4-5 in range as it recovered. “It makes our team better. I mean, this is Diana Taurasi, ”said Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello on Saturday. Taurasi said there was no minute limit for them against the Sparks. Next month, Taurasi and her teammates Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith will represent the United States in red, white and blue for the Tokyo Olympics. The Sparks will take on the three Olympians who controversially removed Nneka Ogwumike from the Olympic squad six days after the official announcement. After Amanda Zahui B.’s outstanding performance in Thursday’s win, Sparks rejected any questions about the win or her contribution. She just wanted to talk about Team USA’s decision. “I think it’s straightforward (Taurus),” said Zahui B. “I think they play it and that’s unacceptable.” She noted that politics played a major role in this. Without naming anyone, Zahui B. said that people who have power in the decision-making process are too “emotional” and hold onto trivial resentments. On Sunday, Zahui B’s focus is on the two-time Olympic champion Griner. In the two matchups in Los Angeles, the Sparks struggled to contain Griner and Diggins-Smith. Points in color and rebounds are likely to be key factors. With Griner, the Mercury in the livery (35.4 points) are a top five team. In their win against the Mystics, the Sparks beat the color for 40 points. In both games against Phoenix, the Mercury outperformed the Sparks. In fact, Los Angeles is at the bottom of the WNBA for rebounds at 28.8 per game. Even so, the Sparks retain their status as one of the top five defensive teams in the league. “They are a tough team,” said Taurasi. “They’re really good at closing and crawling, so they create a lot of trouble on the defensive.” Sparks (6-7) in the Phoenix (6-7) When: Sunday, 3 p.m. Where: Phoenix Suns Arena TV: Facebook

[ad_2]