If just about anything, Fred Williams looked the component.
Immediately after two a long time of polo shirts and quarter-zips, the Sparks’ new interim coach ascended to the direct chair dressed in a black fit, crisp white shirt and pale purple tie. His team’s performance did not match the coaching staff’s upgraded wardrobe, nonetheless.
Desperate for steady footing after splitting from coach Derek Fisher very last week, the Sparks shed 89-72 to the league-foremost Las Vegas Aces on Saturday at Crypto.com Arena.
Aces forwards A’ja Wilson (35 factors, 11 rebounds) and Dearica Hamby (20 points, 8 rebounds) overpowered the Sparks, who dropped their second consecutive recreation. The WNBA’s most effective offense, led by Kelsey Plum (17 details, 8 assists) and former Sparks stage guard Chelsea Grey, buried the Sparks in a 26-issue hole by the third quarter.
For a group in turmoil, Williams located a lighthearted moment following the match, indicating he didn’t want to get rid of by 28, which was how significantly the Aces (11-2) clobbered the Sparks by past thirty day period.
“I bought what I wanted to get in and get on film and get activity-tested,” Williams reported. “We’ve been apply-tested, but we require to get game-tested. And we acquired tested with one particular of the ideal teams in the league.”
The Sparks (5-8) thought they had star electricity to match the Aces getting into the period. But Nneka Ogwumike mustered only 16 details and nine rebounds to lead the slumping team. All-Star center Liz Cambage experienced just 6 details and six rebounds.
“She’s nevertheless obtaining her conditioning up and she’s receiving triple-teamed inside,” stated Williams, who coached Cambage in Dallas. “Sometimes she will come up empty simply because everyone’s collapsing on her and occasionally gets discouraged, and she’s gotta study to engage in by it. After she gets that out of her process, she’ll be a ton far better.”
Cambage, who arrived in L.A. from Las Vegas in February, was anticipated to perform a vital function in the team’s revival soon after it missed final season’s playoffs. Fisher’s eyesight for the 4-time WNBA All-Star bought her on coming to L.A. to assist the struggling franchise regain its championship relevance, but the coaching adjust has given the crew a new take a look at.
“When things at the major starts off swaying, the base is likely to buckle if you’re not holding it up,” Cambage explained.
Fisher’s tenure ended with a spectacular drop on protection. Following being one particular of the WNBA’s best defensive groups the final three yrs, the Sparks experienced a 107.2 defensive score entering Saturday’s activity that was on speed for the worst in franchise background. The matchup amongst the league’s worst protection and the greatest offense went as envisioned.
In addition to changing Fisher as standard manager, the Sparks are conducting their fourth coaching lookup in the very last 10 years. Ogwumike, who was drafted by the Sparks in 2012, took the news of the most recent adjust with grace, but also mentioned, “I’d like to experience it a lot less.”
The 11-12 months veteran is the longest-tenured Sparks participant, a pillar of consistency for a team that’s struggled to come across its id in recent a long time. The franchise after leaned on Candace Parker, but sensing the wobbly long run, the two-time MVP bolted to Chicago previous 12 months.
Despite the escalating concerns close to the Sparks, Ogwumike does not anticipate a very similar break up in her long run.
“I’ve usually had faith in L.A.,” Ogwumike mentioned last week. “I do not see myself putting on any other jersey at minimum that’s how I come to feel suitable now, that’s what I’ve normally felt and I’m listed here to contribute to that balance. I love this staff, I appreciate this metropolis, I enjoy this organization.”