It wasn't until the second half of tonight's game that the Los Angeles Sparks looked like a playoff caliber team. They were down by as many as 19 in the first half to a struggling, injury ridden Atlanta Dream team. The Sparks shot a dismal 32% from the field in the first half and were out rebounded 50-32 for the game.
After struggling most of the first half, the Sparks were down 48-32 heading into halftime. Head coach Carol Ross spent every minute of halftime to talk to her players. The Sparks didn't even return to the court until the second half buzzer rang. They came out of the locker room with energy and played with a sense of urgency. They outscored the Dream 50-44 in the second half, but despite their efforts, the Sparks lost to the Dream by a score of 92-82.
Erika de Souza stole the show for the Dream. It was her dominance in the post that kept the Dream leading throughout the game. The Sparks had no answer for the Brazilian native. de Souza had 27 points on the night and pulled down 6 rebounds. Rookie Alex Bentley also had a fine showing, putting up a double-double with 10 points and 11 assists and making some impressive plays that don't show up on the stat sheet.
Atlanta's starters outscored the Sparks starters 88-70. Despite injuries to key players Sancho Lyttle, Tiffany Hayes, and Arminte Herrington, the Dream were still able to put the ball in the basket.
Nneka Ogwumike led the Sparks in the losing effort with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Both Candace Parker and Lindsay Harding contributed 16 points and Kristi Toliver matched a career high with 9 assists.
The loss puts the Sparks at 21-9 while the Dream improve to 15-13.
The Sparks are back in action Wednesday night as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Lynx. The game will be shown on WNBA Live Access and will start at 8pm ET.