Dominant defense and 54 percent on the ground shots led the Los Angeles Sparks to their fifth straight win, a 91-62 win over visiting team Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday.
Los Angeles (14-18) held Phoenix off the field with a 40.7 percent shot rate, including just 18.8 percent (3 of 16) from 3-point range. The Sparks held their third straight opponent to under 80 points.
The Sparks complemented their stunning defense with 34 of 63 shots and a stunning 10 of 17 hits over the archway, led by Karlie Samuelson’s 3 of 3 shots from long range. Samuelson finished the race with 15 points.
Azura Stevens had game-highs of 20 points and nine rebounds and led Los Angeles. She scored six points in the final 2:21 of the first quarter, contributing to a 20-6 run by the Sparks that gave the hosts a 15-point lead by the end of the quarter and left Phoenix catching up the rest of the way.
Los Angeles’ Jordin Canada shot 3 of 4 balls from long range and provided seven assists, which is the highest score, en route to 11 points.
Zia Cooke added 11 points from the Sparks’ bench. Dearica Hamby added nine points and grabbed six rebounds on reserve duty, and Jasmine Thomas shot 4-for-5 from the floor for another nine points.
Phoenix, who lost their fourth straight game, were without Brittney Griner (health and safety record), Diana Taurasi (toe) and Shey Peddy (concussion record).
Sophie Cunningham led Phoenix (9-24) with 16 points and six assists. Megan Gustafson scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds, the team’s highest, and Liz Dixon finished the game with 12 points off the bench.
Michaela Onyenwere, who played college ball at nearby UCLA, struggled badly, taking three points on 1-of-10 shooting while being called for five fouls. She also committed three turnovers, part of the 16 Phoenix coughed up that night.
The Mercury gave away possession nine times in the first half.
Los Angeles ended the evening with just seven turnovers.
https://deadspin.com/sparks-ride-strong-defense-to-rout-of-mercury-1850769107?utm_source=regular Sparks ride strong defense to drive Mercury away