The Indiana Fever have been struggling all year, mainly because of injuries. With Jeanette Pohlen, Katie Douglas, and Jessica Davenport unavailable since the beginning of the season, the defending WNBA champs struggled to find any consistency. Even with the return of Pohlen just a few games ago, the team still couldn't find a rhythm in its 74-64 loss to Los Angeles Thursday night.
"We weren't really focused and ready...in that first quarter," Fever head coach Lin Dunn admitted. "Then we played even the whole rest of the game. We just didn't seem like we had the energy we needed to compete with them."
The Sparks fell behind early after the Fever scored the first eight points of the game. But then they used a 13-0 run to get ahead and never looked back from there.
Despite the return of forward Candace Parker, who was out with a right wrist injury, it was third year forward Jantel Lavender who showed out. She had 18 points and 9 rebounds to continue her string of impressive games. Since Parker's injury, Lavender has stepped up. In the past four games, she's averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds. She's been an integral part of the Spark's offense as of late and didn't back down even as Parker rejoined the team.
"I just wanted to come in like I started the game," Lavender shared. "Candace is a great player. I just did the little things, rebounded and set screens."
The Sparks dominated in the paint, scoring 50 of their 74 points down low. They also outrebounded Indiana, but by just three rebounds (35-32).
Parker scored 17 points in her first game since the All-Star game. Lindsay Harding added 12 points and 5 assists while Nneka Ogwumike chipped in with 14 points and 5 boards.
Tamika Catchings led the way for the Fever with 17 points on 6-14 shooting.